Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crabb Bits: Riff West, Jimmy Ruffin, TE Radio 2

I got news on Wednesday via Riff West's Facebook page that West passed away from complications stemming from a car accident that eventually cause lung failure.  Riff West one of the good guys of rock and roll played in Molly Hatchet beginning with No Guts No Glory and concluding with Lightning Strikes Twice.  He also played bass in Foghat for a time in the early 90s (The Dave Peverett led band before the original guys got back together a few years later).  West was instrumental behind the Jamming For DJB project which got most of the original Molly Hatchet band back together when Danny Joe Brown was still alive but slowed by a stroke. West started out in a band called White Witch before Molly Hatchet.  Later played on Gator County with Jimmy Farrar (DJB's replacement in Molly Hatchet in 1980) and Paul Chapman of UFO Fame.  He'll be missed.

Jimmy Ruffin, the older brother of David Ruffin who had a top ten hit of What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted passed away at age 78.  He later had a hit with Hold On To My Love which had help from the Bee Gees in 1980.  One of the more underrated soul singers of the Motown era.

I forgot to mention that Rick Rosas also died last week.  He was the choice bass player for Neil Young and played on the last Crazy Horse tour when Billy Talbot couldn't go.  Rosas also played for Joe Walsh, Crosby Stills and Nash and many others.

After two successful radio shows, Townedger Radio has it's own site where you can read the playlists and see videos of music and bands that I think should get some airplay, instead of Barracuda every damn day.  Or You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet, or Hungry Heart.  The biggest pain in the ass is on air announcing.  Not much of a speaker myself but the songs speak for themselves.  Thanks to my editor and A and R director Diggy Kat, he edited show number 2 and despite a slow computer stuck on XP and constant freeze ups and Shockware not working, the show went on without a hitch.  However, I destroyed a mouse in the process and a 11 30 run to the Anamosa Wally World saved me from missing out.  Got a few likes and kudos from the faithful.  Thanks for your support.

Townedger Radio Playlist 11/19/14

Living For The Depression-Flipper
Gas Girl-The Bottle Rockets
Don't Take It So Hard-Paul Revere And The Raiders
Sugar Song-Masters Of Reality
Bill's Song-Bill Amesbury
Babs Uvula Who-Green Day
Faygo (Version 1)-The Townedgers
You Better Check Yourself-Soul Brothers Six
Paingiver-Full Fathom Five
Dust-Fleetwood Mac
Razor's Edge-Angel City
Drivin' Blues-Frijid Pink
Devil In Disguise-J J Cale
Don't Talk To Me About Work-Lou Reed
Jack The Ripper-The Raybeats
Love's Made A Fool Out Of You-The Townedgers
Talk About You-Senseless Things

The Mojo Gurus-Who Asked You? (Red River)

I guess greasy boogie blues is still alive and well from these Florida southern rockers.  Led by Kevin Steele, whose vocals remind me of David Thomas of Pere Ubu fame and the odd time mutant blues of Way Over My Head sums up everything quite well about the music biz.  They certainly have their Rolling Stones influence down pat and a love of old time rock and roll with The Last Rock And Roll Show and I enjoy the Dick Dale meets Morricone on the song Bandito. or attempting vintage acoustic blues on Bad Attitude but Who Asked You is not for the radio ready masses but rather for folks who like an idea of Pere Ubu meeting with the Rolling Stones to make greasy boogie blues.  A good time when you see them play live.  And pay for it the morning after.
Grade B-

Slipknot-5  The Gray Chapter (Roadrunner)

The passing of Paul Gray became the subject at hand of this new album from Corey Taylor and the collective group known as Slipknot.  And yes Slipknot is the best known band that hit the big time that came from the great state of Iowa but their abrasive thrash prog metal albums never did much for me, (generation gap ya know?) but I actually come to find myself listening to the whole album. Sometimes tuneful and Corey Taylor seems to carry a tune, even on the screamalongs such as The Negative One and Skeptic which really praises the departed Gray and rips him a new one as well.  Losing one to drug overdoses will do that to you.  The goth doom metallic Killpop is not a love song that's normal, especially on the final coda DIE AND FUCKING LOVE ME!   No matter what people think of Joey Jordison's missing on this album, the new drummer can speed metal with the best of them and there's a bit of evil fun on Custer with the Cut Cut Cut Me up, Fuck Fuck Fuck Me Up shouts which splits at the ends to sound like echophonics gone astray. However final cut If It's Rain That You Want is a perfect way to end this dark and touching tribute to Gray.  The recording is brutal but there's heart to it.
Grade B+

The New Basement Tapes-Down By The River (Harvest)

On the flip side of reissue of The Basement Tapes Raw is this overhyped collective put together by John Henry (T Bone)  Burnette and a cast of characters which has Elvis Costello, Jim James, a Mumford And Sons dude, a Carolina Chocolate Drop and the main singer from Dawes using unfinished Dylan song lyrics that came from The Basement Tapes years.  Perhaps a good reason why the Dylan lyrics were never recorded was that they didn't fit to Dylan's standards.  Which doesn't mean this is as bad as the 1973 Dylan album that Columbia threw at the world and sells for more it's value worth, but it has they typical T Bone Burnett production that's he's recycled since O Brother Where Art Thou.  And a lot of the songs are just plain weird.  Rhiannon Giddens oddball shriek to Costello on track 2, Married To My Hack, the even more oddball Six Months In Kansas City (Liberty Street), in fact the Costello adds a weirdness that has been his trademark over the past decade and not in a good way.  Unlike the Dylan/Band Basement Tapes, which kept it simple, Burnett and company tries to cram different types of instruments and arrangements to make the songs stand out but a lot of the songs just don't have enough melody to keep my attention going.  There are some moments worth revisiting, Jim James' lead off Down On The Bottom is probably the only song that feel at home on the original Basement Tapes.  And too much of Costello and Marcus Munford and not enough of Taylor Goldsmith who holds his own with Liberty Street and Card Shark. If you're going to throw music to unfinished Dylan lyrics at least give them some melody. There's a 20 song deluxe edition that probably tells the story much better but then again I don't think much of the deluxe vs single album debate that seems to be a part of music now.  There's probably one or two songs that could have given Down By The River a bigger kick in the pants than the 15 songs selected.  For the casual listener who might have 20 bucks to throw away, you're better off sticking with the original Basement Tapes by the Dylan and the Band.  This is okay, but not essential.
Grade C+

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