Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PLAYLIST: Summer Took The Year Off

The last week of summer has passed us by.  Fall is here and basically it has been here since the beginning of September.  The AC was never put in the window for the first time since being out here in the boonies.  This will go down as one of the coolest summers we ever had.  One 90 degree day, some high 80s and the rest in a Seattle like pattern after the tornadoes and monsoons of the spring early summer days.  This place is going to be in a mess for the next week or so.  The waterproofing company is coming out to work on getting us a dry basement and I have a week to put things away or off the shelfs and see which ones don't get vibrated off the shelves and get donated to goodwill.  So what am I doing on the computer blogging if there's work to be done?

Over the weekend Stone City had their first arts festival Sunday and turnout was marginal.

Perhaps I take too much consideration in the ratings system that Blogspot has given us the past couple years but it looks like we're back on the ups with another boost in ratings, thanks to the Russian and Turkish counterparts out there that seem to boost the ratings quite a bit.  I still think the Xolodremont referring site is a spam site but if it generates inflated ratings just to boost the ego so be it.  I rarely get any comments anyway.  To be blogger is a labor of love.  We're not as flashy or trendy as say Rolling Stone or Pitchfork but we tend to give the unknown artists out there the spotlight over flavors of the day.  The Swinging Steaks was a successful blog, the Gene Cotton blog another story.  Only five views since I put it up on Saturday.  Guess nobody really cares about him.  Alas for me his You Got Me Runnin' has been stuck in my head as a earworm for the past eight hours.  Good song but like overplayed classic rock songs repeated over and over is annoying.

The U2 mess of last week, which Apple and said band gave them and about 500 million phone users (that's gotta be an inflated number) their new effort Songs Of Innocence pissed more people off then the ones that wanted the album.  Bono, the businessman singer calls it a victory but I call bullshit on that.  It's commendable that they would give away their new album....if anybody wanted it.   But in an era that selling 29,000 copies of an album from Robert Plant that makes number 10 on the Billboard, we can probably see Bono smirking his way to the bank.  But in this day and age, albums are not selling and once upon a time 29,000 copies of an album sold would register in the lower 90's 20 years ago.  As for the album itself, I wouldn't buy it. The last two albums were boring and despite Danger Mouse kicking them in the ass for the final sequence of songs  it shapes up to be another C plus album.  If you going to throw in a junior high lyric like Volcano/something in you wants to blow that'll bring up more graffaws and snickers rather than stirring things up.  And I think we're all sick of Bono and his ways of telling the world to contribute to charities while he's got his wallet tighter than Larry Mullen's snare drum.  And your thoughts? http://burnwoodtonite.blogspot.com/2014/09/if-its-tuesday-i-must-get-some-things.html

The old farts of rock and blues are still going strong.  Leonard Cohen turned 80 Sunday and John Mayall will be 81 in November and while Cohen's latest album is forthcoming, Mayall's A Special Life (Forty Below Records) is standard Mayall blues as we all known and loved from him through 5 and half decades of the blues and rock and roll.  Featuring a crack band with Rocky Athens (Black Oak Arkansas) playing lead guitar, Mayall leads the band through 11 blues and originals starting out with the C J Chenier accordion driven Where Did You Go Last Night.  Mayall's voice has not lost much over the years, at 80, he still sings as good as he did on Chicago Line, the 1988 Island album classic and as always, covers some of the more obscure stuff from Eddie Taylor (Big Town Playboy), Albert King (Floodin In California) and Jimmy Rogers aka James Lane (That's All Right).  But Mayall can still write them, he adds 4 of them including the title track A Special Life and he's right.  He has led a special life.

Two reissues from Jimi Hendrix make their way on CD form,  one of them for the first time ever in the states (Polydor did issue it in the 80s via Import) in Rainbow Bridge and The Cry Of Love, the final album that Hendrix was working on before he OD'ed 44 years ago.  The Hendrix Estate basically exhausting the rehashing of The First Rays Of The New Suns, finally returns The Cry Of Love back into print since Reprise had the rights to that album and it was easy to see that Hendrix was shaping up a new and exciting funkier sound with Freedom (#59 in 1971).  There had been rumors that Hendrix did want to make it a double album but after he died, Eddie Kramer and Mitch Mitchell cherry picked the better tunes and Cry Of Love to me remains the last new Hendrix album, and Rainbow Bridge would the the first of the vault clearing.  But Jimi left behind a whole wide array of songs to make a few more albums and Reprise did that, with Alan Douglas (RIP) adding overdubs and guest players on later albums.  Dolly Dagger, which struggled up to number 74 on the charts leads off Rainbow Bridge and while this may have makings of a cash grab, there's still enough fresh songs that suggest otherwise.  Earth Blues, with a catchy yeah yeah yeah from the Ghetto Fighters, the first version of Look Over Yonder, showing Hendrix's sly humor there with odd sounds and saying "that's my guitar" and some say that the version of Hear My Train A Comin' on here is his best although I tend to enjoy the version that made it on 1982 Jimi Hendrix Concerts more.  I'm sure somewhere down the line, Legacy and Jamie Hendrix will consider issuing War Babies too.  While this does suggest a cash grab, having the original album reissues is nice to have and not as time consuming as the later albums of South Saturn Delta or First New Rays Of The Rising Sun which are double albums themselves.  Of course the mastering of the album is not as compressed and as loud, more in line with the original vinyl mastering.  For an album format both albums are worth getting.

Robert Christgau returns with a new Expert Witness blog of reviews of what suits him. I may be one of the few that still care what he thinks.  https://medium.com/cuepoint/robert-christgau-expert-witness-299c3329fb6f


Joe Bonamassa-Different Shades Of Blue (J & R Musical Adventures)

He tells you that this is his return to the blues and most of it is, but it's his most blues sounding since leaving Black Country  Communion and kicking Glenn Hughes to the curb.  It's still a rocking album since Kevin Shirley has been producer of choice and have been the perfect foil for Joe B. Grabbing Reese Wynans on keyboards is always a plus, Reese was once part of Stevie Ray Vaughn's band.  Anton Fig plays drums as well so we can say for the blues it's Reese's B 3, for rock it's Anton's drumming.  What makes this album worthwhile is that Joe got lyrical help from the likes of James House, Jerry Flowers, Gary Nicholson and Jeffery Steele, most of time it's House that writes the majority of songs.  Oh Beautiful is more rock in context since it borrows the stop start beat of Led Zeppelin's Black Dog but has a more jammy part of song that Joe can dazzle you with his guitar playing.  And did he bring the guitars on this album, no fewer than 19 as he happily writes in his notes.  And uses 13 amps as well.  Which makes him a showoff right?  His singing is more James Dewar of Robin Trower fame plus Paul Rodgers.  And he can play a mean lead guitar although sometimes the theatrics get the best of him.  Although he's been very busy with side projects with another screamer Beth Hart, the now done BCC and Glenn Hughes and live albums, this is his first solo album since Driving Toward The Daylight  2 years ago.  Like the name says it's more blues based than DTTD but I don't believe it's any different than say what Pat Travers or what Elvin Bishop does. But I think overall DSOB is a better album than what either one has done this year.   My version has three bonus tracks that clocks the album over 65 minutes (which would bore Bob Lefsetz BTW) and they vary, from the overlong Scarlet Town, to a more Fab Bird rocking Better The Devil You Know and those with the original album misses out on my favorite number Black Irish Eyes, which sounds like Thin Lizzy.  Not exactly the blues, but I like it fine myself.
Grade B+

Leonard Cohen-Popular Problems (Columbia/Old Ideas LLC)

In later years, Leonard continues to surprise and amaze us with his albums. The exception was the creepy Dear Heather.  Like John Mayall, after turning 80 he puts out a new album of slow tempo like songs that Cohen tends to favor, but he has such a sly and dry sense of humor it may go over your head as you try to decipher that monotone croak as vocals.  He still works in a LP way, 9 songs that clock in at 36 minutes. But he catches your attention right off the bat with Slow (you want to get there soon/I want to get there last) a song you can either take it as being on a road with a fast driver or being with a  pushy lover.  Plenty of more sly humor is throughout the album but I think there's a share of wisdom that do come from life itself and that might stemmed from Leonard's time at the monastery to which at one we actually had him living within the neighborhood (the Melrose Abby between Dubuque and Cascade off 151).  There's also the trademark love gone wrong songs (Did I Ever Love You, Samson In New Orleans) and a throwaway blues done slow (My Oh My). But for a long gone wrong song, Cohen also gives us A Street, which after encountering perhaps love gone wrong, she may be longing for a return of what used to be but he says he's now landed on his feet.  Patrick Leonard returns to help produce and play keyboards and like the previous album Old Ideas makes Popular Problems a decent followup.  And while you're reading the liner notes and lyrics you can see Leonard's new hobby, shining his shoes.
Grade A- 


Us  Michael Been-On The Edge Of A Nervous Breakthrough
Kansas City-Wilbert Harrison (The Fire And Fury Records Story)
It's My Time-George Hamilton IV (The Gentle Country Sound Of George Hamilton IV)
Sexo y dinero-Gloria Trevi (Como Nace El Universo)
This Is The Place-Raindogs (Lost Souls)
Lizard King-17 Candle (Californ IA)
This Is All-Jason Sinay Band (S/T)
Soul Singing-The Black Crowes (Lions)
Just A Memory-John Mayall (A Special Life)
Planet Caravan-Black Sabbath (Paranoid)


TAD said...

Yeezus, Crabby -- We had 40 days with temps higher than 85 degrees this summer, one of the hottest summers on record here, only a few days over 90, but still.
And of course it started pouring rain on the 22nd, the first day of Fall....
So are you ready for 6 feet of snow? I think we're gonna get slammed out here to make up for last winter, which was really mild.
See ya at the sandbagging party!
P.S. -- More Ivy Doomkitty ... or have you found someone else even more awesome? Is that even possible...?

R S Crabb said...

Hey Tad,
Strange weather all around. Arizona got Iowa weather with Phoenix being flooded out, we got your weather, a very cool dry summer after the tornadoes and floods of May/June. For snow last year we were actually below average but it was colder than hell and if you believe the Farmer's Almanac we in line for another cold and dry winter. Can tolerate cold, not so much snow or ice. Of course by then, you'll be fully into your rainy season up there.

Look for more Ivy Doomkitty in the future I promise. Sometimes I do like a bit of cheesecake too with my tea ;-)