Monday, August 11, 2014

Playlist: Robin Williams Gone Away

Henry Stone.  Do you know Henry Stone?  You probably do.  In 1972 he started up TK Records in Miami and had a hand in the careers of George McCrae and KC And The Sunshine Band.  He goes back as far as producing some early 50s sides for John Lee Hooker and a young Ray Charles and a later album That's Where It's At for Stax Records in the late 60s.  Stone was also behind the scenes at King Records getting hits from Otis Williams And The Charms (Heart Of Stone) and James Brown (Please Please Please). TK Records went bankrupt in 1981 but Stone would return a few years later under the moniker of Two Live Jews, a parody of Two Live Crew and made a couple albums with his son Joseph.  Stone lived to be 93.

Paul Revere, the legendary 76 year old leader of The Raiders has decided to retire from touring but will stay on as Executive Producer.  His son will take over.  They'll be known as Paul Revere's Raiders. Health issues are forcing the beloved leader to retire.

That didn't take long.  Three weeks after release of Morrissey's latest effort World Peace Ain't None Of Your Business, Harvest/Universal dropped him.  The Harvest records we all know and love from the old days are no longer, it's just another faceless satellite label from the non caring Universal Family. Morrissey used to have his own label called Attack but now that Sanctuary is no longer viable (they too got bought out by...wait for guessed it...Universal Music) he took his chances on a upstart label with ties from the past but is not what it used to be. Told ya so M dude.

The Record Review Consortium has been busy lately.  We take a look at two more obscure bands of the 90s, one country, one alternative. The Remingtons and The Buck Pets.  Cuz somebody's gotta do it right? The continuation of thinning the CD shelf went on this week, as I took about 30 more to Half Priced Bookstore to free up shelf space, the most notable ones: Neil Young Letter From Home and Pharrell Williams' GIRL   Over the past six months about 500 CDs have been either donated or traded in for cash. Most of the CDs donated were from forgotten artists and bands of the 90s and 00s I found for a couple dollars or less.  Sometimes you have to downsize.

David Allen and Bob Weir have been under the weather to the point that they have canceled summer tours with their bands: Gong wth Allen and Weir's Ratdog and The Other Ones. And 19 years ago we lost Jerry Garcia.

Why Radio Sucks: Fewer owners, fewer choices, it's all the same on the FM Dial


Bryan Ferry-Olympia (Virgin)

I'm sorry to say this but the Bryan Ferry fan in me for the past thirty years has been too disappointed in his post Manifesto Roxy Music/solo albums that I  no longer care. He's been getting further and further into new age and disco wankerness that Olympia his 2010 effort is his worst album of a career that has been coming down. The best thing about this album: the cover art.  Bryan still manages to get some super looking models to pose for album covers. It starts out fairly good with You Can Dance and Alphaville comes close.  But way too often the sonic landscaping of the songs, get ruined by Ferry's tossed off vocal, which used to be biting and sarcastic, this time out  he sounds like a modern day Perry Como, a hushed voice comatose while in the background some woman singer coos and groans (shut up already) that is on the worst song BF Bass (ode to olympia). On Ferry's better albums, they fade the song out to keep interest up.  This time around most of songs go on forever and don't lead anywhere.  There really should be a law against the don't yell at me women singers.  A wide array of musicians familiar help out (David Gilmour, Phil, Eno  and Andrew from Roxy Music, steller musicians Neil Hubbard Andy Wilmark), but the performances while workmanlike, never catch on fire most of the time.  And on the last track Tender Is The Night, Ferry sounds like he's going night night and feels like he is falling asleep before your very ears.  You might notice that...if you haven't fallen asleep listening to this.  Ferry's (and Roxy Music) worst album.

Grade C

Good Morning Vietnam Soundtrack (A&M)

No matter how hard it is to understand the loss of Robin Williams what should be more important is to know that his legacy will live on in the movies that he made in his storied career.  Since I didn't have any of his comedy albums, the next thing would be to revisit this soundtrack to the 1988 movie that was somewhat about Adrian Cronauer and being a DJ overseas but was never like the character that Williams played in the movie. Of course Williams's DJ bits are the highlights of the movie and more funnier if you watch the movie rather then on the LP, but they still hold up.  For a soundtrack album, it's really not bad, somewhat along the lines of The Big Chill with less Motown (despite two tracks from Martha Reeves and the Vandallas and the beloved Marvellettes) or had A&M thought more of it, a American Graffiti for the Vietnam era. It certainly gave new meaning to James Brown I Got You (i feel good) but any compilation that features Five O Clock World, Baby Please Don't Go, Game Of Love and the Riverias California Sun gets big points for the lesser known.  It also gave Louis Armstrong another shot at the charts with What A Wonderful World which closes the record, but given the ending of Williams' life it also gives a more moody and sad close as well.  Which is not intentional. It makes me sad to listening to that and thinking of Robin's last moments here on Earth.  And better to remember the good times while he was here.

Grade B+

And you want more reviews: Bill Kopp's got them! He takes on Focus, Wishbone Ash and Marshall Crenshaw to name a few.

This week's playlist:

20th Century Man-The Kinks (Live From The Road)
You Can Dance-Bryan Ferry (Olympia)
It Mek-Desmond Dekker And The Ace (Uni Single 55130)
Daisy Star-David Dundas (Chrysalis Single CHS-2142)
Master Pretender-First Aid Kit (Stay Gold)
Morning Song-Compost (Compost)
Four Minutes To Twelve-The Fugs (Belle Of Avenue A)
I Can't Get Next To You-Al Green (Al Green Gets Next To You)
Song For Louise Post-The Buck Pets (The Buck Pets)
Young Man Blues-The Who (Odds And Sods)

Matchbox 20......Never my kind of band although Bob Lefsetz thought enough of their music to include a primer about them and then mentioned how far down they went.  To which Paul Docette and Rob Thomas took exception.  Rob Thomas nails Lefsetz a new asshole on this reply:

Finally, the shock of the week.  Robin Williams dead at 63.  Perhaps the most funniest comedian of my lifetime, Robin would have been a joy to talk with and everytime you seen him on TV he was whacked out with comedy.  The movies he made: Aladdin, the early 90s Disney movie to which Williams' voice over of the genie was the price of admission.  Of course he goes all the way back to Mork And Mindy and then he moved into movies and TV.  Mrs Doubtfire, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, even Popeye. Or the creepy One Hour Photo.  Or the HBO Comic Relief.  Like the rest of y'all I feel shock about Robin's depression finally getting the best of him.  Throughout the laughter came real tears  and somehow the pain he could never get over.  Like Robin, I too suffer from depression and I have good days and I have bad days and some days I rather not try and even the dark days of maybe ending it all.  But I continue to keep going through the depression and combating it the best way that I can, by Blogging here or bargain hunting there.  I don't do prescription drugs for depression, tried a couple of them, (Paxil anybody?) and they only worse the situation at hand.   So I do the best I can in this life by not taking depression drugs, and I pray that it never gets as bad as sticking a hose from the tailpipe in the car and starting it up.  That said, we'll never know what went on in the mind of Robin those final hours when it seem all hope was gone.   And now he is too.

No comments: