Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Playlist: Mad City Summertime

I don't deny this but going to Madison isn't much about bargain hunts anymore.   I figured going up there and rent a bike and hitting the trails just to clear my mind of the shit that I had to endure for this spring and summer.  Weather was beautiful and for the first time since the week before Easter in April it did not rain at all this weekend.  Somehow in the three months either it rained at some point on Saturday or Sunday or both. So what better way is to go up to the place that takes my mind off the bullshit than Mad City.

Well it's a big city and your going to run into dumbass drivers and red lights no matter where you go.  Some fuck keyed the passenger side of my new car Friday Night and I'm sure some jive fucks who may have been to the pawnshop done it.   Some juveniles ran a red light and almost ran into me when I was in the crosswalk going HA HA as they drove by.  So they got the number one.  Another carload of black women were yelling out the window down by Big Lots so they got the bird too.

Another thing that came up in my observations is how pissy the record clerk gets when you decline a bag for the records after buying.  Can't figure that one out, Kirk at Record Collector does that too, so did some hippie dude at Mad City Music X.  Whatever happened to save a tree don't bag it?  Some freaky help I'm encountering up there, at Ian's Pizza, I pointed out that I wanted a couple of Mushroom/Pepperoni slices and the freaky girl started waving her arms in the air.  The waitress over at Pizza Hut was much nicer for the pizza buffet but I forgot that Pizza Hut's thin crust pizza sucks.  They gave me three pieces but the rest of the pizza wasn't in the buffet.

For records I bought a few dollar ones Henry Paul Band's Anytime  with their hit Keeping Our Love Alive, The Kings Are Here, Keith Stykes I'm Not Strange I'm Just Like You  and Different Strokes, a Columbia best of that came out years ago for a dollar and had 19 selections, many butchered versions (Maggie-Redbone, Soapstone Mountain-It's A Beautiful Day under two minutes? WTF) but I got it of forgotten tracks by Bill Puka (Nothing At All) and Ballin Jack.  Those Columbia Rock Samplers bring back memories, the 3 record set The Music People is much better.  Sad to say the album skipped on side 2, back to donation bin.  And the Ballin' Jack song sucked.  I also did found The Plimsouls first album on Planet at Savers but didn't buy it, the record was warped.

Not a lot in terms of CDs, most were 20 cents at Pawn America and basically of bands nobody knows about (Judybats, Anthony Crawford) but I did snag a classic Squeeze albums, (East Side Story) and a not so classic (Play).  And for three dollars Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns Bordertown, his most underrated album.  However B Sides and Strictly Discs didn't have anything I really needed although I spent close to an hour in the basement and sorting through Strictly Disc's many many albums of forgotten bands.  I still recommend them if you're in Madison.

I did managed to hear the new John Hiatt and wasn't impressed to buy it. Ditto Eli Paperboy Reed's latest either.  I'm guess I'm getting picky for my old age and not really to settle for mediocre, which you play once and file away or trade away.  Half Priced Books continues to feed my vinyl and CD habit for less money although Mad City Music X's dollar selection was much better this time around.  But for future bargain hunts or road trips, the window of the obscure and obsolete bands continue to narrow.  And basically the better way to find bargains without wasting gas is to come into the living room and jump on the computer, or see what Collector's Choice Music has for new reissues that Best Buy can't seem to get.  And the 40 dollars paid for Dick's Picks from Real Gone was much cheaper than the 48 dollar price tag Strictly Disc or B Sides had for that box set.

But Madison in the summer time had some great bands coming up. Free show this week is from Cracker who seems to be up there as much as I am or Caravan Of Thieves who just played Cedar Rapids last week. YES plays this Friday Night with complete Close To The Edge and Fragile in all of their glory.  And Phil & Dave Alvin are at the High Noon Saloon as well.  I picked the wrong weekend to go.  No shortage of eye candy as scantly clad ladies riding their bikes and showing off their assets.  The weather was perfect for laying by Lake Monona, having the breeze blow off the water and keeping things rather cool.  20 years ago, I made my first trek into Madison and since then it's been a off and on again love/hate affair, I still love the city but the traffic and idiots ends up being a decision to wrap things up sooner than expected.  I spent the night at the Microtel and stayed way past my bedtime with MeTV and watching the cheesy monster movie night of House On Haunted Hill, to which I got on DVD for 2 bucks at Pawn America and then the all time cheesefest of Plan Nine From Other Space, the Ed Wood farce horror movie, the last movie of Bela Lugosi would appear, and he died during filming it and some stand in took over, keeping his face covered.  The movie has some merit of being a horror film but the god awful sound effects of the flying saucers makes it hard to even take this movie seriously.  Although the motel had no problem, the Howard Johnsons down the road, somebody shot and killed a traveler and that made the news.  Thankfully I didn't have to deal with that, we had enough of seeing eyeballs and shadows in the night going back to the motel from the pawn shop. A sign of the times and not a good one so to speak.

After hanging at the record stores, I finally found a rent a bike that I could have control over. (the regular bikes had the damn seat up about 5 feet that I couldn't reach the brakes and was out of control, joggers and other bikers had to scurry out of the way) and I managed to do the bike trails around State Street, the University district and Lake Monona and got a good workout.  But seen things I normally wouldn't see, including some woman out in the park giving oral pleasure to the guy she was with.  Or seeing another woman breast feeding her child at a sidewalk cafe.  Or the countless people checking their smart phones every other minute.  It's strange to see how much technology has taken over the past 20 years, where back then we didn't have such distractions or computers taking up our time. 20 years ago, I became in awe of all the bike riding college chicks on the UW campus and downtown.  It's depressing to think now that I'm simply too old for any of them, 20 years ago most of them were not even born.  Time goes on, and our youth slips away and you then realize you're simply too old for that anymore.  Nothing you can do is to look from afar and keep it to yourself.  As I move on to another record store I haven't been since the last time I was up here.

Life goes on elsewhere.  James Garner died at age 86.  The Rockford Files, Support Your Local Gunfighter, 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Daughter.  He was one of my favorite actors.

This just in, fire early Wed. morning broke out at the Chrome Horse causing a lot of damage to the place. But the line of thinking is that they will rebuild the area again.  Basically the last real place to see 2nd tier bands, The Horse used to be known as 3rd Street Live and Dillon's back in its heyday.  Seen Pat Travers rock the place in 1990 up there.  However, the open truck stage escaped fire damage since it was outside and in a converted truck bed.  Perhaps they'll continue to use that during their summer Friday night shows.

The Jones County Fair is now in the books and of course I had to deal with the Kid Rock crowd coming out of Monticello on the way home.  About 20 pickups came down the road like it was Redneck NASCAR.  Thankfully I missed the Luke Bryan chubniks that clogged the road on Friday.  And Miranda Lambert put on a great show.  She mentioned this is her 4th time playing at Jones County and will be back in the future.  Already next year's attractions will be Eric Church and Tim McGraw but who will be the Christian act or Rock act remains to be seen.

This month I came across a blogspot site called Burning Wood, a site that Sal Nunziato created to showcase some of the more obscure music of my years has decided that he had enough of the blog life and had decided to call it a day.  It's a shame really, losing another quality site.  The thing with blogging is that you have to be dedicated to continue to blog about things you like and get non existent ratings.  What keeps this going is the support for the dedicated followers who read the archives and comment from time to time.  It's not a money making venture, like everything else in life it's time consuming and not cost efficient.  And pointless babble like Xolodremont from Russia contributes nothing at all, unless they're hawking Russian Viagra. Traffic sources are pointless too, especially the keywords used to promote this site.  99 times out of 100 we remain under the 90 views mark.  And once you think nobody reads this, I get 150 views and think I'm back in business again.   Still, it's fun to document a bargain hunt to remember what I did, for when I go looking in the archives I read across something I forgot and it does jog the memory of mine, what's left of it.

I do hate to see Sal and Burning Wood go but I can agree with him about him taking time off.  But I'll give him this, he did like the new John Hiatt CD much more than I did. http://burnwoodtonite.blogspot.com/2014/07/john-hiatt-vs-black-keys.html

Even in retirement, I still have a need to go on, and go on I do.

Somebody is sick of the overplayed oldies: http://bottom-of-the-glass.blogspot.com/2014/07/epiphany-49-sweatin-oldies.html

And for the first time since April, it did not rain on the weekend at all here.  Not one bit. Miracles do happen.

15 years ago, Woodstock 99, the end all and their answer to Altamont was held on a hot and steamy weekend in July somewhere around Rome NY.  A disaster from the word go and overpriced as hell, greedy promoters and Gestapo security staff would confiscate people's bottled drinks and after paying 150 dollars just to get in, then they say you can buy bottled water for five bucks inside.  If the original Woodstock tried to promote peace and love, Woodstock 99 promoted the all mighty dollar and people got tired of it in a hurry.  This is when Limp Bizkit became the band of the day and their brand of Nu Metal and rap didn't feel like a peace and love event but a event of survival of the fittest.  Somebody had a bright idea of passing out candles on a Red Hot Chilli Peppers number and pissed off horny guys started setting everything on fire.  To which the RHCP ended up playing a version of Fire.  Woodstock 99 remains a black eye and a black weekend in rock history.  Not much love when you hearing Fred Durst to burn the place down.  http://ultimateclassicrock.com/woodstock-99-riots/

Link of the day: The radical Pink Tank: http://codepink.org/blog/


The Jason Sinay Band (Tomato)

There's no shortage of musicians and bands that have CDs out that you can find for a dollar or two at the local thrift store.  I have grown up in a world of off the wall forgotten artists that never got much of a chance to shine due to corporate owned radio and record label indifference.  Most of the time, the things I find at Pawn America for a dollar or less are played once and gotten rid of, some do stay around a while longer.  Jason Sinay recorded a album for Tomato back in 2005. But the label went belly up and Jason never got much airplay and any copy of this album went to the dollar bins.  Actually this is a very good album with Sinay on side one showing his Tom Petty love to the point you could consider him to be a imitator. Down To You could have fit in with Wildflowers.  But he does cover a obscure J J Cale number (I'll Make Love To You) which sounds like Petty era Let Me Up I Had Enough.  Before we write him off as a Petty imitator, side 2 shows that Sinay has a Wilco influence on perhaps his best known song Chico and then covering the Grateful Dead's Scarlet Begonias as well.   The variation of influences makes this album a curio and a good listen as well.  It's really a shame that he never broke it big as his influences did.
Grade A-

Anthony Crawford (Little Dog)

Despite Pete Anderson's rep as Dwight Yoakam's side kick and excellent guitar player of Dwight's classic Reprise albums, Anderson could back just about anybody up and make them sound great.  He did that with Rosie Flores and what used to be The Lonesome Strangers but it was Crawford that Anderson decided that he would form his own label (Little Dog) to put out this one album for himself.   However history has shown that Crawford has wrote songs and played in some of the biggest stars  of country and rock (Neil Young, Stevie Winwood, Steve Forbert, Blackhawk, the list goes on and on) and a jack of all trades, that's his photo cover of Young's Chrome Dreams 2 that you see.  On his debut, Anthony has the full backing of Pete Anderson's band and as with most of Pete Anderson's produced albums there are some decent tracks of note, failed single Fit In, the closer Got To Be More are the highlights.  Although Crawford's vocals are more higher in the vocal range than Dwight's they tend to be the weakest link, especially when he tries to go high. Caught between the too rock for country, and vice versa and Little Dog Records a minor label, this record went nowhere. And Crawford still continues to play to this day in various bands and sometimes Neil Young would call him up for some country dates or have him play in Pegi Young's band.  Which means he must be pretty good eh?
Grade B+

Yes-Heaven And Earth (Frontiers)
Tom Petty-Hypnotic Eye (Reprise)

I suppose at some time in life that your music heroes should accept the fact that their hit making days are long gone and perhaps they should call it a day.  It may look good for them to make albums that Rolling Stone or Spin gives three stars after a listen but to the casual listener nothing stands out.  The superstars of the 60s and the 70s are now either 60 or 70 and barely hanging on.  The new Yes album is perhaps their most light sounding Since Topographic Oceans 40 years ago.  It sounds more muzak than prog rock, in fact Fly From Here the last album rocks harder than anything on Heaven And Earth.  The Roger Dean artwork is classic.  But the new vocalist Jon Davison may be their least effective vocalist, at least Benoit David made a decent Jon Anderson sound-alike.  But songs don't stand out, Subway Walls has echoes of the days of Close To The Edge or Fragile but for 9 minutes the object is trying to stay awake.  YES fans are up in arms about Billy Sherwood returning and the legendary Roy Thomas Baker doesn't bother to tinker with the YES sound.  The best comparison to this album would be the late 80s Moody Blues.  True Jon Anderson is missed but the new YES people would have to accept.  It makes pleasant background music for those would don't have muzak but I doubt if people will remember this record when it's all said and done with YES.

The return to form term is what they are calling the new Hypnotic Eye album from TP and The Heartbreakers, more rocking songs, more controversial songs, Petty takes on the church in one, the American Dream in another and he can really crank out the cranky songs.  Which is why I probably like Tom Petty, he fits in quite well in my life.  That said, Hypnotic Eye does rock a little harder than  Mojo.  .  Bob Lefsetz, taking a break from the Bro Country crap that he's not touting on his blogs (bitter old man trying to fit in the times) spent most of his blog wondering where's the hooks at on this album and I have to come to agree with the old senile coot at times.  But most of the album Petty is content with the mid tempo rock and some of the songs are worth a listen or two.  But he tends to lose my interest on the mellow stuff  (Sins Of The Youth).  He also didn't give up on the blues as he shows on Burnt Out Town which sounds more lively here than anything on Mojo.  And when he gets my interests back up, he ends the record on Shadow People which returns him back to the mid tempo rock and roll of this album, and plays it too safe I think.  Overall Hypnotic Eye isn't that bad but the last time Petty made a statement album of this kind it turned out to be The Last DJ, which was a better album.  By a hair.

Heaven And Earth B-
Hypnotic Eye B  

Squeeze-East Side Story (A&M)
Squeeze-Play (Reprise)
Ace-No Strings (Anchor)

If anything the Mad City Bargain Hunt 14 ended up concluding my reviewing the back catalog of Squeeze and East Side Story turned out to be their best album overall.  Credit Elvis Costello or Paul Carrack joining the band after Jools Holland left and gave them a more soulful sound with their big hit Tempted. However my favorite track was the Dave Edmunds produced In Quintessence which borrows the bass line from Can't Turn You Loose by the Blues Brothers.  Side 1 has the best songs since it feels more like a group effort, all the way down to Mr. Costello helping on backing vocals.  Side 2 falls apart, since Glenn Tillbrook adds the usual bizarre numbers that don't make this a total classic (Labelled With Love, Someone Else's Bell) but at least you can return to side 1 and wished Paul Carrack had more songs to sang.  Alas, 1992's Play, 11 years after East Side Story, shows Squeeze out of touch with alternative rock and on a new label (Reprise) and a clueless producer (Tony Berg).  The liner notes makes this out to be some kind of a bizarre play but the problem is that the songs are just boring.  Squeeze would continue with a dizzying array of band member changes that could rival Hawkwind at times.  Paul Carrack would return briefly for their return back to A&M, Some Fantastic Place, which was a slight improvement Play.

Speaking of Carrack, his old band Ace, better known for How Long and a fairly good debut (Five A Side) would put out two subpar albums, the last being No Strings which shows a band bankrupted of ideas and not changing the tempo much.  It starts out promising with Rock And Roll Singer, failed single You're All That I Need and concludes with the somewhat hooky Crazy World, the rest of the album loses it's spark and the listener falls asleep somewhere on side 2.  Carrack sounds like he'd rather be someplace else and the band sounds like they ready to pack it in.  Final song C'est La Vie shows them going out with a whimper.  Trevor Lawrence didn't help much with his production either.  Blah.

East Side Story A-
Play C+
No Strings C



She Was Magic-Glass Moon (Growing  In The Dark)
Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo-Johnny Winter And (Johnny Winter And)
Baba Jinde-Michael Babatunde Olatunji (Drums Of Passion)
In Quintessence-Squeeze (East Side Story)
Fit In-Anthony Crawford (Anthony Crawford)
Bin Bam-Sam Butera (Ultra Lounge Best Of Sam Butera And The Witnesses)
I.L.B.T.'s-Joe Walsh (You Brought It, You Name It)
Oceans Away-Elton John (The Diving Board)
Who Buy The Guns-Joe King Carrasco And The Crowns (Bordertown)
My Sunday Feeling-Jethro Tull (This Was)

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