Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Playlist: New Format Same Old Songs

It used to mean that September would be the months of hot new releases, back when record stores sold new releases and not Best Buy cherry picking the oblivious.  Nowadays it means squat to the average consumer trying to read texts and catching up things on the smart phone.  But to the handful that enjoy new releases on Tuesday we get the new Robert Plant and Ryan Adams efforts in to listen to once and file away.  Paul Collins from the Beat has a new album out on Alive but I don't expect Best Buy to have that one.  Nor the new Pere Ubu.  Reissues are a mess, the best one would be Rhino's new The Very Best Of The Specials but Universal's repackaged 20th Century Masters now known as ICON will regurgitate out The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Josh Turner, Tesla and even John Lennon and Ringo Starr's hits.  Which dilutes the greatest hits format down to cesspool levels.  The major labels can't break new acts so they have to puke up the same ole same old. 

You can say the same thing for Corporate radio and THE FOX which continues to torture people with the same 200 Cumulus approved songs day after day after day.  The classic rock format needs to be retired.  It's funny how back thirty years ago we worried about ever hearing the rock classics, till Lee Abrams took the consulting business too far and the most requested songs of the past are now the most overplayed. Why even have Back In Black or The Wall anymore when THE FOX shoves Another Brick In The Wall down our ears and throat or Foreigner's crappy Cold As Ice.  T.N.T. couldn't get any airplay when it came out in 1976, now it's heard twice a day.  Radio hasn't had much variety since Newt Gingrich rewrote the 1996 Telecom Act and gave Clear Channel and Cumulus the status to buy up as many radio stations so they can take over world domination by playing the same 200 songs years later.  Radio used to break new acts, now they will not play the regional artist or the regional hits.  Thanks to satellites, you can now get piped in syndication from Nikki Sixx, who talks about a different version of Led Zeppelin's Black Dog and then the local yahoos plays Sweet Home Alabama instead.  A lotta people complain about Muzak stations but at least the songs vary more often then three times of Dream On every night.

Which leaves us to Gene Simmons ruffling feathers again about the death of rock and roll.  Rock isn't dead. Radio isn't playing them.  They're too busy rehashing a playlist that hasn't changed since Kurt Cobain offed himself.  The major labels, all three of them are not interested in breaking new acts.  After all if you get on a major label if your first record bombs you don't get a second chance.  In this world Journey and REO Speedwagon today would have been long gone.  After all it took Journey about four albums to break, and REO about 7.    KISS today would have been one and done.  Thank your lucky stars you were on Casablanca Geno.

The big story was Dan at work bitching about KRNA changing their format over from "real" rock over to Alternative. Which means nada to me since I don't do radio only at gunpoint when I'm stuck down in Packaging Hell land and Dan's got THE FOX cranked up to 11.  What it means that KRNA is more likely to play Sixteen Stone from Bush or Candlebox more often than Guns And Roses or Back In Black or (F me running) The Wall.  If you can get through the malware and the tons of commercials spots on their website you can check out KRNA's playlist and judge for yourself but their idea of alternative and mine  are two different worlds. http://krna.com/

In the real world this week.  Phoenix woke up to 2 inches of rain and plenty of flooding all over the place Monday Morning making most of the interstate and US 60 concrete rivers from Hurricane Norbert, and parts of the California desert got plenty of the 'liquid gold' thus prompting plenty of YAYs and bring it on from folks who either live in upper apartments or places that don't get flooded, the ones that you wish would get stalled out on the Black Canyon Freeway Temporary lake and rivers and float on.  So far we have managed to stay dry from the spring floods which still has left this place in disarray and waiting for the waterproofers to come this way to fix our water in the basement issues which has been a sorry ass way of life since being here.  Problem remains the media likes to sensationalize things by say HEAVY RAIN everytime we get a forecast of rain. Of FLOODING MAY HAPPEN.  Which did happen Monday night.  A stray storm that stayed for six hours and dumped four inches of rain which once again flooded the basement.

Gerard Wilson, one of the best jazz arrangers ever passed away Tuesday at age 96, still working 75 years into the music business.  Worked with Ray Charles, Redd Foxx, Bobby Darin.  One of my favorite albums from him was Brass Bag which I had on import years ago and then lost it somewhere.  Never to get it back.

Forgotten Singles Of The Past:

Need Your Love- Hawks

In a perfect world, every band would have their songs to be heard on classic rock radio and not just the overplayed crap we used to love growing up. Marginally tolerated songs like You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet or Dream On are now poison ivy to the ears and a change to another corporate owned station doesn't help. Even more so if the other Corporate owned station is playing the same song. But in 1980s, there was still hope for the up and coming band to get their music heard via the majors. One such band was Hawks, a band that came from the state of Iowa.  They caught the attention of CBS Columbia and signed up with a contract and they made two pretty good power pop albums with a sound like Cheap Trick, only a bit tougher and rocking sound but lacking a Robin Zander type that would stand out.  Their first album was produced with Tom Werman veteran producer who had worked with Cheap Trick and a few others (Gary Myrick, Mother's Finest, Ted Nugent).  Like many bands signed at that time and working on a cheap, Columbia couldn't figure out how to break the band and when the S/T album came out in 1981 it was under the New Artist/Nice Price line of 5.98 albums.  A blown chance was when CBS picked Right Away as lead off single, which to me was the weakest song and not the one best characteristic of the band's strengths. In fact Right Away has more in common with Air Supply than Cheap Trick.  Somehow, despite minimal airplay it did reach to number 63 in March of 1981.  The B side was much much better and could have been a top thirty hit. Somewhat of a new wave Cars combined with a Blue Oyster Cult guitar riffs with a dreamy chorus vocal, this lead off side 2 of the LP.  Some album rock stations did play this.  The second and final single taken off the first album was It's All Right It's Ok b/w Spend This Evening  (Columbia 11-02086) didn't chart and it's too bad.  Next to Need Your Love it was the second best song off that album and that song managed to be the only thing that The Hawks would be on CD till Not Lame issued a aborted third album and demos from the first album which were more rougher sounding.  

Hawks would make a second album, the humorous titled 30 Seconds Over Otho which they managed to get Clarence Clemons to play saxophone on the failed single If We Just Stick Together b/w Black And White (Col 18-02955). The best track Tonight You Are Mine should have been a single. While on a third album Columbia dumped them and after renaming themselves Junior Wild they recorded a few demos and one of them Runaway Girl was part of a four song EP with the winner getting a contract with EMI America.  Sad to say they lost out to some Micky inspired New Wave woman's song All His Friends Are Spies.  With that, the band broke up. But made it to the Iowa Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.  Kirk Kaufman and Dave Hearn continues to play together from time to time. https://www.iowarocknroll.com/inductees/174/the-hawks


Get Your Hands Off My Woman  Ben Folds and The Darkness
The Railroad-Grand Funk Railroad (We're An American Band)
Need Your Love-Hawks (S/T)
Glory-Television (Adventure)
She's A Fool-Lesley Gore (Best Of Lesley Gore)
Squealer-AC/DC (Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap)
Shakedown Cruise-Jay Ferguson (Real Life Ain't This Way)
Interlude (To Be Forgotten)-The Raiders (Collage)
World Turning-Fleetwood Mac (S/T)
She's So Fine-The Kitchen Cinq (Decca 32374)

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