Thursday, May 29, 2014

Singles Going Steady 16-Recent Finds And Rejections

Since our last get together in this latest go rounds of Look What I Found department for the seven inch black circles, I managed to find a few goodies and past on a couple of them.  Why I didn't pick some of them up is simply that they were worn to the nubs.  Some are Philco rejects, Philco meaning jukebox copies and some do look unplayed but you know about jukebox records, most are played down to no grooves or have the juke box love marks on the vinyl.

I think my life revolves around the 45, it has held me hostage when I see it spin around on the turntable.  I could make a decent box set with all the ones that I put up for examples in the previous 15 entries.  And from the last entry to this one I have found plenty more candidates in the discarded pile of scratched up plastic in your local Salvation Army bins.  The future still looks bright for more of them.  The ones that stick out more often gets my attention.

1.  Uptown-The Chambers Brothers (Columbia 4-44296 1967)  A chewed up copy found in Davenport. Oldies radio has pegged the Chambers to be a one hit wonder band with Time Has Come Today (I don't know what version Underground Garage plays but it's not the 45 single edit but rather a pointless edit with the ending tacked on before the freaky cowbell part), but that's not the case.  They had another hit with Can't Turn You Loose but Uptown was a single before Time Has Come Today but radio didn't play it.  It didn't even chart on the top 100. Written by Betty Mabry, later known as Betty Davis who had some freaky albums on her own in the 70s.

2.  I Remember You-Frank Ifield (Vee Jay VJ-457 1962)  Not everything from the 60s was gold, in fact this record is  putrid.  There was a nice copy that I came across but I couldn't bring myself to buy this. Frank must have been a big Slim Whitman fan and it sounds like it with I remember You OOOOOOOOO, to which images of Mars Attacks! aliens's head explodes after they witness the power of Slim Whitman. Ifield would have just as been lethal to the invading army. ACK ACK ACKACKACK Boom!  Vee Jay Records were so intrigued by the Slim Whitman wannabee that they put a couple exploitation albums with Frank's selections added to a side of songs from a up and coming British band in around 1964.  I'll leave you to guess the name of that other band ;)

3.  That'll Be The Day-The Crickets (Brunswick 9-55009 1957)  It's a rare occasion to find anything from Buddy Holly and company in good shape on the original Brunswick label and I did find a VG copy still in a paper sleeve, a rare feat upon itself when going to Goodwill. A Jerry Allison and Buddy Holly co write although I'm sure Norman Petty, the other "songwriter" had little to do with the song itself outside of recording it.

4.  Groovy Grubworm-Harlow Wilcox & The Oakies (Plantation P-28 1969) Country instrumentals are rare when they hit the charts, even more so when they hit number 1 (number 30 pop chart) , but I remember hearing this song a lot on country radio in 1969 and took me years to even find a playable copy of this (last week in Davenport) somewhat of a cross between The Ventures, Johnny And The Hurricanes and Bill Black's Combo, in some ways reminding me of Vaughn Monroe's Mr. Moto.  Not much is known about the song although the folks at Engine 145 wrote a blog about it.
For some odd reason I ended up buying Golden Guitar Flower (Plantation P-45)  for a birthday present for my dad.  I don't think he thought much of that one, nor did the buying public.  It didn't chart.

5.  Time Can Change-Dick Glasser (Columbia 4-41782  1960)  I guess you can consider him a pop or teen idol artist although I don't recall hearing this on the radio at all. Glasser is better known as producer to Freddy Cannon, The Everly Brothers and The Vogues but no longer around. He passed away in 2000 from smoking too many cigarettes.

6.  If The World Don't End Tomorrow (I'm coming after you) Carl Smith (Columbia 4-41729 1960) One of the lesser known and anthologized songs of Carl's long tenure at Columbia (outside of a measly one cd best of, he's basically forgotten) this song is in a tempo of the way I Ain't Never is like for Mel Tillis.  B side Lonely Old Room is a bit more rockabilly as well.  Bear Family has a 6 CD set of his Columbia years and it's a good one although in Bear Family tradition very pricey too.  Written by Billy Sherrill, aspiring songwriter who later would become staff producer for Columbia and produced Carl Smith's later stuff (as well as George Jones and a few others) although I doubt Bill was producer at this time.  Probably Frank Law and Don Jones.

7.  They Don't Know-Kristy McColl (Stiff  Buy-47 1979)     Located deep in the archives I came across this single from McColl, which Tracey Ullman would have a bigger hit in 1985 thereabouts. Didn't know I had this.

8. Harlem Nocturne-Georgie Auld (Coral 9-65504 1952)  Jazz saxophonist  who was a big deal back in the 40s and 50s but also did the main saxophone solos on the Robert DeNiro move New York New York back in 1977.  Usually for the uptempo songs that Auld tends to favor, this version is more darker, kinda like 3 AM and on a misty and foggy night.  Written by Earle Hagen better known for Themes for TV series (I Spy, Gomer Pyle, The Mod Squad and The Andy Griffith Show.

9.  3000 Miles-Brian Hyland (Phillips 40354  1966)  It seems like ole Brian has been making plenty of appearances here and he has, a few Paramount ABC singles here and there.  As a teen idol, Hyland did have some catchy singles and next to Johnny Tollison one of the more under appreciated artists of that time and era.  3000 Miles, a forgotten single was produced by Snuff Garrett, Leon Russell arranged the sessions and you can bet the wrecking crew played on this.  Had a scratchy old promo copy found at a garage sale but found a much better copy (for about 3 dollars and not the 29 cents as advertised on the record sleeve) from Ragged Records.  Hyland recorded for Kapp, ABC Paramount, Phillips, Dot and Uni in the 60s, all now part of Universal Behemoth Corporation, best known for giving consumers and artists plenty of misery.

10.  Slippin Away-Bellamy Brothers (Warner/Curb WBS 8558 1978)  Random pick from the archives, this song really didn't do much on the pop or country chart.  After scoring a number 1 hit with Let Your Love Flow, four other singles from their debut hung around the lower 70s of the top 100. With Beautiful Friends the LP, they would go from Phil Gerhard (Lobo) to bubblegum specialist Michael Lloyd and results were not that great.   In fact, I don't think I ever heard this on the radio and how I managed to have the 45 is the stuff of hoarders being made.  With a number 19 chart rating of said song, The Bellamy Brothers decided to cast their lot with the country music crowd  and had better results with Lovin On and later their 1979 country hit (and last pop charting single) If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me?  And managed to have a successful country career in the progress.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Doors-Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine

The Doors might be the most binge and purged bands of all time.  Certainly the market is over-saturated with various Doors best ofs, box sets and compilations that it just might be Five To One in terms of best ofs over actual albums. And true to form I do have the six studio albums plus Other Voices, the 1971 life after Jim Morrison album that got so so reviews, I still enjoy Tightrope Ride and would have bought that as a single had the stores had it in stock back then.   Never bought Full Circle their 1972 farewell.

You might not care but Rhino has reissued Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine this week and although I have no need for that album, I did once had it on vinyl when I lived in Arizona and Tower had it for 10 dollars on sale. Basically the second best of at that time (13 was issued earlier) Weird Scenes is more of a tribute to the legend that is Jim Morrison and although the majority of songs have been issued time and time again, the rare exception was Running Blue, the failed 1969 single, which had a middle eight sounding more country and off the wall.  Other oddities include Who Scared You, the B side to Wishful Sinful and Ray Manzarek doing a cover of You Need Meat Don't Go No Further.  But for the most part it has the most of what we know that is Jim Morrison, all the way to the 11 and half minute The End and the 11 plus When's The Music Over.  Which is also on many other best ofs.  It also includes the quite boring Maggie M'Gill, and The Spy, from Morrison Motel, an album that I don't play very often.  In 1972, Weird Scenes was a adequate but expansive (12 dollars back then) overview that is more a luxury than essential.

Since then, The Best Of The Doors came out in 1985 and Weird Scenes was eventually cut out from the catalog. And then The Doors Legacy replaced The Best Of The which The Legacy, The Absolute Best remains on my shelf.  Found for 2 dollars at a pawnshop, it does include some oddball stuff, Break On Through (with Morrison screaming She gets HIGH when the offending word High was edited out of the original version) the cover of Van Morrison (no relation to Jim...DUH) Gloria and the overblown Celebration Of The Lizard it's perhaps the best of the Mix Cds as we call them.

But for shits and giggles I ended up getting the soundtrack to The Doors, since there was a dollar copy at Half Priced Books and it has a bit more of the Jim Morrison poetry that graced An American Prayer, the 1978 album to which the surviving Doors played along to the musings of Mr. Mojo Rising.  It's another pointless comp, adding the Velvet Underground's Heroin and Carmen Buranda as cheap entertainment. But it's still a money grab regardless.

So in the end is Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine worth 17 dollars on CD and a bit more on vinyl (the local record store had a RSD copy of it for 50 dollars)?  If your thinking of nostalgic values it is, some people today still consider it the Ultimate Jim Morrison for better or for worse over the countless repackages of the Doors' best.  And perhaps the more darker and brooding images of Morrison's songs (Mute Nostril Agony on Horse Latitudes one of Morrison's best zingers...which also feels like my damn nose after a week of the flu/cold).  If The Absolute Best Of The Doors, Legacy is the band's best overview, Weird Scenes is Morrison's legacy to the band, that is without him they were basically the backing band.  And it's better to hear all of this on vinyl rather than CD.  The pops and cracks that begin The End on my old copy is the stuff of legends to hear on the record player rather than MP3 or CD.

Grade B+  


Since nobody bothered to, I ended up getting that cheap 2 dollar The Future Starts Now, the last Doors best of.  I really didn't expect much but I think this was for the 40th year celebration of The Doors first album.  There are some new surprises on the remixes, L A Woman now is expended to Ray Manzerek's opening chords, to an extended endings of Love Her Madly and Hello I Love You and of course Break On Through To The Other Side leaves in "she gets high" which was on the Doors Legacy 2 CD best of.  There's more clarity to Robbie Kruger's guitar work and John Densmore's drums are more fuller on the tracks from LA Woman and the mixes do have a bit more bite.  Not much else for surprises, The End is the edit from the Apocalypse Now Soundtrack and the hardcore are bitching about that.  If that bothers you enough, you can find the full version on the first album and Very Best Of The Doors, or Doors Legacy or Weird Scenes. Bruce Botnick mix for the 40th anniversary is perhaps the most clear that I have heard out of all the 20 best ofs and albums out there.  A bit too much dependence on the first album (7 Songs are on this) but all the chart toppers are on this and Jim Morrison's poetry is kept to a bare minimum.   In other words, a more cheaper alternative to the 2 CD Very Best Of The Doors for those who don't have any Doors.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reviews: Bread, Coldplay, Neil Young Etc.

Basically you can't kill something that you enjoy doing right?  Only I do this whenever I get the feeling to blog or review something, cuz somebody gotta do it right?

Certainly this month I have continue to mine to pawnshops and thrift stores for off the wall stuff or flavor of the week gone stale the next  and as long as the world turns I continue to find them wherever and whenever I could.  For the first three months I only bought 5 new releases, the past month and half that has been doubled. But I tend to pick and choose very carefully.  And I try not to lower myself to Bro Country artist's standards of them boasting of their latest piece of shit (looking at you Chase Rice) and calling it radical.  But really, turn on GAC and you see 10 videos of the same horseshit and drinking, scantly clad 17 year olds and getting some of that and trucks with plenty of autotuner and call it radical.  Bullshit. But then again I just made Chase Rice a ton of money by slamming him.  As his cigar chewing manager looks on with glee (looky here KACHING, out of touch critic with no followers slamming my boy, when will they learn..when will I learn?). Haters be dammed anyway.

For us over 50 folks we have our decades and our music to fall back upon and when it was good and not cliche. Let's face it, I'll never warm up to the Bro Country or the modern rock or Top forty anymore, I'm out of the target age range.  But I still have plenty of music from 7 decades to choose from.  There's not shortage, you just gotta keep a open mind.  And know where the find the music at.

For starters let's try Bread (Elektra 1969), their first.  True they're soft rock but their debut has plenty of pop guitar and music to keep it interesting and includes their first attempt of It Don't Matter To Me which would be polished up the next time for a hit single.  Evenly divided up songwriter wise, David Gates gets six songs, James Griffin (RIP) and Robb Royer (RIP) get the other six and shows the diversity of styles.  In the end Gates's songs are more radio ready. Look At Me is the perfect example of the formula Gates would later use for songs like Diary or Aubrey.  Griffin wrote the more rocking numbers.  Overall Bread the album is a strong debut for a band that would sell more records later on.  They get lambasted by critics but really Bread could hold their own against anybody at that time.

Tom Johnston was the main songwriter for the Doobie Brothers in their mid 70s heydays but once Mike McDonald rechanged their sound with Minute By Minute, Johnston moved to a solo career.  Everything You Heard Is True (WB 1979)  is a disappointment, as if Bob was trying to be the answer to Minute By Minute and the record never catches on fire till the second side and finale Outlaw which does sound like the closest thing to the Doobies Tom did.  Elsewhere, he fails at the disco numbers although Savannah Nights was his first and only hit.

In our WTF department we have Human Drama-Feel (RCA 1990) to which they can't decide to be Echo And The Bunnymen or Simple Minds or Talk Talk and could only listen to side 1 before throwing this back to the donation pile.  The world don't need a emo version of Old Man.

Fun-Some Nights (Fueled by ramen 2012)  Blame Mumford and Sons on this one although the title track got ample airplay on the radio.  For a band that's supposed to be FUN, they're really not, the lead singer likes to say Fuck a lot and on Stars decides to turn the autotuner on full blast to sound like R Kelly or Drake.  To which he violates the Crabb credo, use Autotuner and I tune you out.   Destined to be the one hit wonder that they're forever to be.

In the archives I have Body Count Born Dead (Virgin 1994) the second followup to the scathing S/T album and song Cop Killer that got Ice T and company banished from Warner Brothers forever.  In fact I like Body Count, too bad more black artists don't go for heavy metal, they're too busy making fodder for Luke Giordano to make fun of on his This Songs Sucks series. Originally I gave this album a B plus but playing it 20 years later, this record really didn't have much to say outside of the usual Body Count chants (Body MF Count) and the plodding metal songs do just that, plod on like a dinosaur stuck in the tar pits and going down. And the most pit jammings are awkward at best.  Not a wasted effort, I still dig Who Are You and Street Lobotomy for shits and giggles.  Eddie Kramer who mixed the Hey Joe cover for the Jimi Hendrix Stone Free Tribute album didn't have much kind things to say about that.  He might have a point, it does feel like a band going through it one time and signing off.

The Russian Review guy G.S. convinced me to get Billy Joel River Of Dreams (Columbia 1993)  and he's right, it's better than the over the top and over-sang and overstressed Storm Front failure that Joel did with Mick Jones of not the Clash but the other band fame.  But again Joel overdoes it again on some of the songs and when he sangs falsetto, I just want to punch him (cut it out Joel, you're no James Brown or Mick Jagger).  And Color Me Bad guest starring on All About Soul? Over look that and the previous and it winds up a credible B.J. album, the best songs at the end, particularly Famous Last Words.  Which in part was B.J.'s last song written. Since then he scored a classical album and has a residency at Madison Square Garden but has not released a pop or rock album since River Of Dreams.

And of course the oddball record Jerry Lee and Linda Gail Lewis Together (Smash/Mercury 1968)  which brother and sister gets together to record an interesting duet album. Jerry Lee's ego is all over the place and threatens to take Linda Gail down with him on Jackson which sounds more nastier than Johnny and June or Lee And Nancy.   The single Don't Let Me Cross Over is more soul than country. The sibling rivalry adds more of a building tension on Don't Take It Out Of Me or Milwaukee Here I Come and Jerry Lee's pounding on his piano reminds me of the classic Star Club live album as well.  Linda Gail would later do a album with Van Morrison and is more of a footnote to history than actual singer but paired with her  brother, they seem to bring out the best in each other despite some of the lackadaisical throwaways on this album which are few and far between.  Duet albums should be this fun.

And for the new Coldplay getting bad reviews all over the place, here's another one:

And my take on Ghost Stories:  It's boring.  The last two albums had some kind of variety but Coldplay is stuck in this Radiohead/U2 vibe that doesn't vary from the slow pace from the beginning.  Oh they add some EDM to think they can rock out, but in essence Coldplay simply doesn't rock.  Grade C

Speaking of horse shit: Bob Lefsetz has been piling it on with the last three incoherent blogs in his website. I'm sure he spreads the gospel of Dallas Davidson and Luke Bryan's T Pan Conway tribute song but that's where the hardcore country fans get off the bus.  And the double entree of he knows there's people that can play but he just doesn't want to hear it since he doesn't have time for good, he wants great and for example gives up That's My Kind Of Night which is not great.  You can broaden your horizons if you look hard for it.  KHAK nor Dallas Davidson isn't that.  He summarizes that we get the music that we deserve.  Which is why people turn off the radio or quit listening or quit buying.  You can shout all you want about the future of music Bob but the future means nothing if all we have is subpar crap on the radio.  But then again in Bob's real world, albums would be forbidden and streaming music would be the absolute.  And those who disagree are inferior.

Spotify is nice if you can deal with it, but if I want to hear something right then and now, I usually put in a record or CD and I get to hear that song right then and now.  It's been that way for 53 fucking years.

A Letter From Home-Neil Young

It's been talked about for the past month and even Neil and Jack White did an on spot recording session one night on a talk show and now we get the official release of A Letter From Home, an album that recorded on a Voice O Matic' one of those long forgotten recording booths that was the rage back in the 40s and 50s and Neil thought it would be nice to record like a old field recording.  This is Neil at his most raw and even feeling out the songs in one take fashion.  On record he starts out with a greeting for his mom and on side 2 says to say hello to Keith, being Ben Keith his long time friend and sometimes Collaborator.  Neil gives us two shaky Willie Nelson numbers and Gordon Lightfoot songs as well, If You Could Read My Mind the better of the two over the overdone Early Morning Rain.  I guess Jack White adding a scratch mark for most of IYCRMM makes a valid argument why we prefer our music without scratches.   Unless you're a big fanatic of Neil Young or field recordings for that matter,  getting the deluxe edition (120 dollar retail price) makes no sense or value although the recordings themselves are leisurely fun.  But it's not something you would play on a regular basis.  File this under Trans and Everybody's Rockin as weird Neil.
Grade B  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hello (Back In Your Life For A Spell)

Hope everybody is doing all right.

I'm still here doing routine maintenance from time to time, checking out the stats and replacing dead pictures (ones that don't show up on top tens) with more recent or not obsolete pictures.  For a archives site, Record World is doing amazing well, in fact better than last month. Maybe a return to over 2,000 views?  Anything is possible I guess.

The Consortium, I managed to do the new Johnny Cash album review and got a reply from somebody I never heard from, basically telling me of their favorite country station WIRK,
So it goes.

From time to time if I get a hankering for doing new reviews and tell you of the musical happenings I'll post it, but most of the time I'm fighting the constant computer dragging and basically in need of faster computers since they're now much cheaper and faster than the old warhorse that has been going steady for 10 plus years. Unheard of actually.  While this flew under the radar, Alan Wills, the founder of Deltasonic Records (home of The Coral and the Zutons) was killed in a bicycling accident at age 52.  Deltasonic was distributed by Sony Music and The Dead 60s made their 2005 debut via the dreaded rootkit virus from those copy protected CDs that marked the downfall of the CD.  I'm sure Wills knew nothing of that. The main purpose was the get exposure of The Coral, whose S/T album remains an underrated 2000's classic.

That said, things around here have been hectic.  The usual water in basement issues has prompted me to forgo the Arizona Vacation this year in favor of waterproofing and that will probably take effect next month.  Not that I have been in the mood to bargain hunt, health issues have actually prompted me to stay closer to home and actually try to sort out the undesirables so that they can get a new lease on life from future bargain hunters.  No shortage of new music.  The new Black Stone Cherry album Magic Mountain is a return to their earlier sound after their last album was a blatant attempt for radio airplay and failed. BSC knows a good southern rock riff and they know their Soundgarden too.  But they don't do ballads very well and writing a song with Bro Country hacks The Warren Brothers is a play for the Bro Country crowd, after Florida Georgia Line covered their song Stay.   I still think Black Stone Cherry remains one of the best newer acts of rock today (although they're veterans since they been around since 2006) and Magic Mountain is a fine listen.  Their second album remains their best though.

UFO Hot N Live is part of the new Chrysalis deal via Rhino Records and you get two cds of The Michael Schneaker years and the other Paul Chapman, when he took over lead guitar from the departed Schneaker. And it's a nice primer of how UFO became a force on the live stage, earliest shows goes back to 1974 when they played to a handful at The Electric Ballroom to over ten of thousands in the late 70s and early 80s. Originally a drugged out space rock band, they took off when Schenker replaced Mick Bolton and started going for a more boogie blues sound.  Even the long departed Danny Peyronel can be heard on 4 tracks from a 1976 Roundhouse show, including his rolling Highway Lady one of the stand outs from No Heavy Petting. A rough mix of Rock Bottom (a more polished mix made it to their classic Strangers In The Night LP) is thrown in good measure.

But it is the second CD, The Paul Chapman years is the more valuable and shows why I think Chapman remains one of the better unknown leads. Not as flashy as the other guy, Chapman has his own style and shows it on Lettin Go and No Place To Run, two songs off NPTR, which ranks as one of their all time best albums ever.  However, Love To Love and Only You Can Rock Me sound more at home when Schenker plays them himself and Love To Love is somewhat lackluster, more of an afterthought.  But the songs which Chapman wrote do come out better in the live setting.  And the band remains very tight despite Way leaving in 1983, replaced by Paul Gray of Eddie And The Hot Rods fame and can be heard on the last three tracks.

That said, the liner notes suck. Although it's nice to have Pete Way's quotes and comments, Hugh Gilmour blows it elsewhere and even misspells Kenosha Wisconsin.  (Kenogha?,  Did anybody from Rhino bother to proofread the notes?). Sometimes informative, but most of the time Gilmour's droll humor doesn't translate very well.  Another nadir:  A fade out in When The Night Comes?  On a live album? That's another a dock of the grade.  Overlook the half assed liner notes and the fade out and Hot N Live is a good overview of two eras although the definite UFO Live album remains Strangers In The Night.  But we are spared of the hair metal parody of Missdemeanor when Tommy McClendon replaced Chapman and the wheels fell off.

As always, keep those cards and letters coming in.  I don't intend to revive the top ten or playlist anytime soon, but might throw up a Archives blog when the situation is right.  But I will continue to hang around this site and perhaps in your blog to see what's going on.  And if there's something worth telling you about, I'll do that as well.

Ta! for now.

More new stuff

Saliva-Rise Up

Losing their lead singer the band drafted Bobby Amaru into the fold and hasn't missed a beat although Island dumped them after the underachieving Under Your Skin and Jonesy Scott saying bye bye.  But on a new label and a new attitude Rise Up is what they say is a return to the arena rock (you can't call it nu metal anymore since Saliva gave up the rap rock of the early years) with XBOX potential battle hymms like In It To Win It and the title track.  Redneck Freakshow would probably find itself at home on a FGL album for the future as well.  With that said, Rise Up takes its cue from latter day Alice In Chains and some Linkin Park (mostly for Amaru's vocals who sighs and grunts after every lyric) with the usual hard rock riffs at the beginning and after the chorus and then the usual minor key bridge and repeat when necessary.  On Rise Up, the band feels like they have a new lease on life and Rise Up is actually better than the last Alice In Chains album. Modern rock that fits the format.  Welcome back guys.

Grade B+

 Petula Clark-Lost In You

Of course you never knew that  Pet Clark put out a album last year since no record store had it but she did.  But anyway....

The record is a nice surprise and of course it helps when John Williams (Proclaimers, Love Sculpture) helps produce this.  For being 80 years young, Clark's vocals really haven't aged that much since the glory days of Downtown which is slowed down for the new version  and Cut Copy Me might be mistaken for Beth Gibbons, kinda reminds me when Loretta Lynn got pared with Jack White for her Van Leer Rose album of ten years ago.  And she manages to cover Gnarls Barkley one hit wonder Crazy as well.  Certainly the nostalgic comes around on side 2, especially on Love Me Tender (the Elvis ballad) and Imagine (the John Lennon song, which Pet Clark sings with a bit of irony) and the original Downtown still wins out.  But overall, Lost In You is a very nice comeback for a legendary singer who never went away.  In fact, if she decided to make an alt country album I'd buy that.  Her own Never Enough would make a nice Nashville hit for Miranda or Martina.

Grade B+