Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Forgotten Bands Of The 70s-Mom's Apple Pie

For winter in Iowa, we haven't gotten jacked in the jaw with anything heavy yet.  No major ice storms, or blizzards and the November ice chill gave way to a above average December and a January thaw that lasted most of the month.  Which meant some bargain hunts that I wouldn't usually do.  Waterloo continues to be a bust despite finding Steeleye Span Story and even Iowa City/Coralville was less than impressive although Record Collector had some interesting things from the likes of John Hammond, The Best Of The Blues Project, The Allman Brothers and a autographed Little Feat for 4 bucks.

But now that I got that out of the way, I remember finding something interesting at Goodwill in Iowa City a few years ago or some Goodwill: a copy of Mom's Apple Pie,  a band that got signed onto Terry Knight's Brown Bag label.  Knight being at one time Grand Funk Railroad's manager and guru till a severe falling out happened, but he managed to convey United Artists Records to sign off on a flagship label which Knight would sign some rock bands.  Only four come to mind, John Hambrick, Wild Cherry a band featuring Donny Iris and future Molly Hatchet/Foghat guitarist Bryan Bassett, Faith (whoever they were) and a 10 piece horn driven band by the name of Mom's Apple Pie. Led by the vocals of Bob Fiorino and Tony Gigliotti they scored a FM hit with Dawn Of  A New Day and  a cover of Mr Skin (the old Spirit song). But basically MAP was a cross between Chicago and Blood Sweat And Tears.  And they made two albums for Brown Bag Records.

I found the record at Goodwill and stashed it away but to show you how out of whack I was, I never knew how controversial the album art really was and didn't pay much attention to it until a conversation with somebody on a music page said the artwork was damn near pornographic.  The sly Nick Carluso's artwork depicting a horny looking Walton girl, holding a juicy apply pie to which if you look closely at the sliced piece, it depicts a vagina of all things!  The local K Mart and Woolworths would not have such a thing in their record bins so a different picture was put up, the pie with a brick wall,barb wire and two cops peeking in through the window while Momma' has tears on her face.  Even with the banned cover the album doesn't command high prices, but then again I got mine for a dollar thirty eight.  10 piece horn bands may have been the rage back then but in this day and age not cost effective and for the most part, MAP does come in a distant third behind Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears, although I think they were better than of another horn driven band I know of, Lighthouse.  But both their debut and the next album (#2) had some fine moments on them.  But they are the product of the 70s and it sounds like it. 

But I'm glad I have it in my collection of records.  But what I know now is that what seemed to be simply artwork turned out to be a banned cover, but who knows,  This record I had is a cut out before it got donated to Goodwill and whoever sold it at the time probably never knew of the offending photo as they stuck in in the 1.99 section.  Mom's Apple Pie pretty much disappeared after 1973 and after Brown Bag Records folded and United Artists passed on them.  But if you ever do come across the album, be it the nice cover or dirty cover, it's worth a listen and fits in with the times of the 70s and horn driven rock and roll.

Upon a second listen, I actually come to find that side 2 is much more stronger songs and the arrangements true to form on the Spirit cover Mr. Skin.  In the end I believe it's my favorite track off this album.  Dawn Of The New Day does give Blood Sweat and Tears a run for the money and Happy Just To Be gives me visions of The Spiral Staircase.  Producer Ken Hamann who also helped shaped the sounds of Grand Funk Railroad gives it a nice punchy sound as well.  For a 10 piece band from Warren Ohio, they held their own against the likes of BST, Chicago and Lighthouse.  And did quite all right.

Mom's Apple Pie No. 2 (1973) has more of a Chicago vibe with 3 Dog Night vocals. High moments tend to be the extended jams of Rain or My Times but my favorite track is Every Mother's Son. Given the overall performance, it's pales slightly to the first album but still worth a listen if you come across it. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Week in Review: 54 or 45 It's all the same

The big story of the week is RAGBRAI has announced the bike route for late July and for the first that I can ever remember, the road goes through our area and stays through our area. Beginning in Sioux City and ending in Davenport the stops along the way   Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Eldora, Cedar Falls, Hiawatha, Coralville and Davenport are the lucky towns hosting the thousands of bike riders. And basically going through Hiawatha, Coralville and Davenport you're basically in my area although it's doubtful that RAGBRAI will be going past my door like it did back a few years ago.  Looks like the big challenge will be a lot of the trail will be uphill.  So plan accordingly if you should decide to partake into our wonderful state. Come to think of it The St Louis Nude Bike Races might be on that week too. We'll check later. (due to adult content controversy, the Bicycle Girls picture got taken down.  Trying to keep it PG ya know.  So we'll try this one.

Chicago has been booked to play at the Amphitheater by the River this summer too.  Coming in May, local metal rockers Slipknot play at the Five Seasons Center (along with Hatebreed) in May.  Doubt I'll go, but at least we're getting more bands to play this area a lot more often.

It was a strange paring and I'm surprised that it lasted as long as it has but after almost 6 years of marriage Mandy Moore filed for divorce from Ryan Adams.  The usual reason of differences that couldn't be resolved. But then again nobody stays in love anymore. For better or for worse doesn't apply anymore. Moore, a pop singer in the mode of Jessica Simpson or Kelly Clarkson never made the big time but she did help sing background vocals on Ryan's latest album.  Celebrity marriages: they just don't last.

Last weekend, all three Iowa major colleges got their basketball team in the top 25, only to have Iowa getting smoked at Wisconsin 82-50 and having to hear used jockstrap hack announcer Dan Dakich scream and cry about Adam Woodbury poking the eyes out of  Wisconsin shooters and screaming that the NCAA and Coach Fran to do something about it.  To which Coach Fran told him in nicer terms to fuck off and die. Sooner the better. Dakich is the worst announcer who tries his best to be a shock jock but more like a used jock strap off a 400 pound tackle after playing in 90 degree and 80 percent humidity.  What Dakich wasn't paying attention to was  the game which the Hawkeyes shot a shitty 28 percent all game and Iowa point guard Mike Gesell who shoots 60 percent from the fucking free throw line.  Which came back to bite him in the ass in the Purdue game which Gesell missed important free throws in route to a Purdue 67-63 win.  Good bet the Hawks won't be rated.  Like the football team too Goddamned uneven to be a great or even good team.  In other words probably a team two games over five hundred when it's all said and done.  Iowa State after two big wins, went to winless Texas Tech and got beat.78-73.   But at least The Cyclones were spared of Mr Mighty Mouth Dan Dakich, a former assistant coach that couldn't cut it and now one of ESPN' asshat announcers. Be dumb and stupid and you might latch on to one of their announcer roles, as soon as a former jock gets booted for making unwanted passes at females temps at ESPN. 

This weekend, I celebrated my 54th birthday with another low key but uneventful bargain hunt into my old growing up area of Waterloo/Cedar Falls. However the pursuit of the 45 eluded me, although I did find some real scratched up copies of All Shook Up by Elvis and Homer And Jethro's Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyeballs, I didn't pick them up, they were too far gone with scratches and mold on them.  Not a whole wasted trip, I found The Steeleye Span Story, the old 2 LP set Chrysalis put out years ago for two bucks at St Vincent De Paul in Waterloo.  Since Waterloo doesn't have many places to find vinyl, I tend not to venture up there very much, and besides their thrift stores are always picked apart. I did strike up a conversation with an old man who told me he was looking for 8 tracks and had at least 7 working 8 track players in his house.  Sadly for him, the only 8 tracks they had was a Roger Whitaker and some other MOR artist I forgot who.  Stuff Etc had a couple CDs for two bucks unopened, plus Little Feat's Let It Roll, one of the CDs that got destroyed by last year's water in the basement episode.  The Independence Goodwill had a Lush Stray CD that I bought, Lush was a shoegazer band of the early 90s and I had the other ones but decided to revisit this one.  And still uneven as I remembered it.

My mom loves to tell the story about the day I was born.  It all started with a chili supper and indigestion which eventually lead to stomach pains and a trip down Route 66 where her water broke during a blizzard. And on 11 50 PM on a sub zero January 24th, I became born into this world and Mom threw up on one of the nuns afterward.  It has been a long and strange trip to many of record stores, from Woolworths to Arlans to Marion TV and Records and on to Goodwill and Salvation Army and many many stores along the way and now settling for Half Priced Books, Stuff Etc and who else that has CDs or LPs or 45s.  In life itself I have been a failure at love and relationships, and now chosen to live the rest of my life in chasing after vinyl stuff I still am looking for. I certainly don't expect anybody to come out of the woodwork to change my opinion about love, I'm too far gone.  Too set in my ways and besides. I got too used to this lifestyle.  Future bargain hunts I might look west to Des Moines since I haven't been there in five years, and if my health stays good perhaps Arizona, but that's speculation at best.  Madison in March for sure (weather permitting of course). Davenport if I get leads on used 45s at the Salvation Army.


Belle And Sebastian-Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance (Matador 2015)

To which B&S make their EDM move and shoot themselves in the foot.  Technically, a better album than Write About Love, Stu Murdoch and company decide to up the beats and the timings of the songs to a ungodly 61 and a half minutes of 12 songs.  Murdoch is good enough to know hooks and melody to make the songs listenable but when he crosses over the five minute mark he tends for the listener to lose focus.  Play For Today is one of those songs that starts out good than goes on and on to you wonder when the hell is he going to end the damn thing.  Same thing applies to Enter Sylvia Plath, which reminds one of what the Pet Shop Boys used to do and would have been perfect for, say Donna Summer is sadly isn't around anymore.  Problem is Play For Today is about 2 minutes longer than it should be, and it kinda derails the album.  Before I write this album off The Book Of You, including a heavy metal guitar lead toward the end captures my attention and I nod in approval.  For all the fun and disco music of this album, the whole thing ends on a bummer with Today (this army's for peace), the party's over on this song.  Overall, the new direction B&S goes after the lackluster Write About Love, I commend them for trying something different.  It has it's moments with Ever Had A Little Faith?, Nobody's Empire and Allie and is an improvement over Write About Love but it's no Dear Catastrophe Waitress or The Life Pursuit.
Grade B

Jimmy Hall-Touch You (Epic 1980)

Best known as lead vocalist for Wet Willie, Jimmy struck out for a solo deal after the flop of Which One's Willie, perhaps the least  of Wet Willie's albums.  On this album, Hall returns to a more nitty gritty R and B of covering Wilson Pickett' 634-5789 and having Bonnie Bramlett dueting on Private Number.  With some of Wet Willie's band members helping out, this feels more like a true Wet Willie album than Which One's Willie? And when Jimmy Hall gets decent material, he can sing the hell out of them.  He had a top twenty hit with I'm Happy That Love Found You, which wouldn't feel out of place on a Michael McDonald album.  While he can slow it down a bit (The Same Old Moon), Hall is better suited for the harder southern rocking stuff like Never Again or Rock And Roll Soldier.  A very good debut that holds up with the best of Wet Willie's stuff too. Side note:  Touch You was part of CBS Records 5.98 developing artists series of the early 80s. While the single I'm Happy That Love Found You made it to number 27 on the single charts, the album sputtered up to 180 on the top 200.  As far as I know, it has never been on CD in the US.
Grade B+

Little Feat-Feets Don't Fail Me Now (Warner Brothers 1974)
                 Let It Roll (Warner Brothers 1988)

A Little Feat fan is forever, at least during the Lowell George era.  While some people have their Feat Faves (Dixie Chicken, Sailing Shoes, Waiting For Columbus) I think I put my money on Don't Fail Me Now.  I think it's their most accessible album with FM deep cuts like Rock And Roll Doctor, Skin It Back and of course Bill Payne's Oh Atlanta which was their first hit single (oops they didn't have hit singles, but I got the forty five and KKRQ played it a lot in 75).  While the medley of Cold Cold Cold/Triple Face Boogie is a show stopper I think I like the more prog rock sounding The Fan more.  Although George was the leader of the band, it helped a lot that Paul Barrae and Bill Payne played crucial roles in the songwriting.

But after the death of Lowell in 1979, Little Feat disbanded only to return in 1988 with new help from Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League, American Flyer) and Fred Tackett  and Bill Payne And Paul Barrere taking over the role from Lowell George and dedicating the album to him.  I think I like this record because of Craig Fuller, an all around nice guy and really shapes up the album on side opener Hate To Lose Your Lovin'.  The other side opener is Barrere running through Let It Roll which really rocks.  Of course the New Orleans influences of Hate To Lose Your Lovin and Cajun Girl which gives me visions of Allen Toussaint.  This is collective band effort, all the way down to Sam Clayton's bass growls (or is that Bob Seger in the background).  Linda Ronstandt adds female counterpoint to Voices On The Wind which took me about 20 years to get into.  And Bonnie Raitt figures into this as well although I'm sure she's adding some slide guitar on a couple of these songs.  Nevertheless Let It Roll was a decent selling enough for the Bugs Bunny Label to commit another album (the less interesting but still entertaining Representing The Mambo) but being the restless soul that is Craig Fuller, he would leave after Shake Me Up, their first and only for Morgan Creek records after the Bunny label dropped The Feat and Shawn Murphy would take up more lead vocals, for better or in my case for worse for other labels. With the passing of Richie Hayward, the Feat continues on with another drummer for Rounder and the album Rooster Blues.  But let's face facts folks, there are two Little Feat bands, the band which Lowell George was the influence and the other, a tribute band making fair to good albums.  I consider Let It Roll a very good album, not a classic as say Feats Don't Fail Me Now, but perhaps to the second coming of the Feat after George, perhaps their classic album.
Grade Feats Don't Fail Me Now  A
           Let It Roll B+  (originally a B grade in 1988)

The Steeleye Span Story (Chrysalis 1976)

Perhaps the more traditional British Folk band of the 70s, They weren't as well known as Fairport Convention nor as musically inclined like The Pentangle but this generous 2 record set gives a great argument about the importance of Steeleye Span in British Folk Rock.  Like Fairport and Pentangle they had a great female vocalist in Maddy Prior and Tim Hart providing male vocal counterpoint.  Like Fairport, Tyger Hutchings came aboard after being bored with that band, hung around for a couple albums and left again to form the Albion Band, to which the classic lineup of Span was born with the addition of Bob Johnson and Rick Kemp, Peter Knight playing a vital role and eventually settling on Nigel Pegrum to play drums.  Picking the best songs from 9 albums, they range from vocals only (A Calling On Song) to flat out  rock and roll (Thomas The Rhymer and the drumless but still rocking Alison Gross), and at times hints of acoustic prog folk that Ian Anderson who borrow for his Jethro Tull album Heavy Horses in the repetitive Hard Times Of Old England.  Why they didn't make it in the US was simply they were too British for us to take in but for the open minded, listening to The Steeleye Span Story, is a perfect introduction.
Grade A-

The Blues Brothers-Briefcase Full Of Blues (Atlantic/Flashback 1978)

John Belushi may have been a goof ball comedian and fun time actor but he also professed a love of old R and B and blues recordings and so did Dan Ackroyd to which they became Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues.  Based upon a skit on Saturday Night Live which became larger than life and became a recording project, and they picked an all star lineup of soul music session-men featuring Matt Murphy (who goes all the way back to playing on Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson 2)'s last sessions, Steve Cropper and the late Donald Dunn from Booker T and The MGs and featuring a young upstart drummer by the name of Steve Jordan. And the horn section that boasted Tom Scott and Paul Shaffer leading them, they have studied and know their R and B roots well.  The weakest link is Belushi's vocals, he's really no different than the local dude at the bar playing Mustang Sally (which Thank God is Not on this record) but what he lacks in voice, he shows enough enthusiasm to show that he's not spoofing these songs whatsoever.  It's pure joy when he says Play It Steve on Soul Man or taking Willie Maborn's I Don't Know by accenting on the BaaaBEEEEEEE part.  Sometimes there's a bit of parody shown, the fake Jamaican accent on Groove Me does not work. And perhaps the band could have chimed on Hey Bartender.  But you have to give the man credit when Belushi tells the adoring audience to go out and buy as many blues albums as you can.  And give Mr.  Dan credit for introducing the world (and me) for Rubber Biscuit, to which I had to go find the original version by The Chips to hear how's it is done.  The success of this album would eventually lead up to John Landis directing the 1980 cult classic movie of The Blues Brothers to which they pay it forward and give credit and appearances to Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker.  Briefcase Full Of Blues is a fair covers album, but if it makes you seek out the originals then it did it's job.
Grade B

Exile's Greatest Hits (Epic 1986)

Country pop rockers who started in 1978 on Warner/Curb with Kiss You All Over but never followed it up on the pop charts so they went country in the early 80s.  They boasted two lead singers in J P Pennington and Les Taylor and their harmonies somewhat in the Alabama/Eagles tradition but the music is more Poco than either band.  Today's country has forgotten them but they hit the top ten with I Don't Want To Be A Memory, Give Me One More Chance (with a riff recycled from Clapton's Lay Down Sally) and the macho groove of Super Lovin.  The soft country sounds gets a bit repetitive, especially on side 2, and throwing in a remake of Kiss You All Over saves licensing fees, but not necessary needed but if you're going to include a best of, you have to include it in one way or another.  I guess.  Nothing wrong with Exile's Greatest Hits, it's pleasant and bland at the same time.  A perfect snapshot of early 80s country pop.
Grade B- 

Mark Lindsay-Arizona/Silverbird (Collectibles 1996)

Lindsay's journey into Muzak land.  A far cry from the rocking Paul Revere And The Raiders days, Mark decided to go MOR and enlisted Jerry Fuller (Gary Puckett and the Union Gap) to produce medium to slow ballads and plenty of strings in the process.  He got a top ten hit in Arizona and a top 40 one in Silverbird.  But on this 2 on 1 CD of his albums, he's competing with Andy Williams and John Davidson on ho hum versions of Sunday Morning Comin Down, We Only Just Begun, and a couple of Beatles ballads (guess which ones).  There's some guilty pleasures in hearing Leaving On A Jet Plane (ruined by a coda at the end) and Something (real honest but it won't replace George Harrison's version whatsoever).  Perhaps Lindsay, realizing how much it didn't rock would try to make a better effort on the revamped Raiders (with mixed results) but there's a reason why you see Arizona and Sliverbird in the dollar bins at Goodwill.  It's a couple steps above Mantovani and Barry Manilow but there's a couple times Barry kicks Mark's ass on some songs.  But it's still not rock and roll.
Grade C+

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mr. Cub Ernie Banks RIP

2015 is shaping up to be one of the most morbid years and we are not even out of January yet.  Nothing more depressing to hear that Mr Cub Ernie Banks passed away on Friday at age 83. Nobody and I do mean nobody who ever wore the dreaded Cubs jersey was more dedicated than Mr. Banks and that the fact that Ernie never had the chance to go into post season with the dreaded Cubs even though the lineup had some of the most remember-able players, Glen Beckert, Don Kissinger, Ron Santo, sweet swinging Billy Williams, Randy Huntley, fireballer Fergie Jenkins, Ken Holtzman who threw a no hitter in 1969.  And of course Mr. Cub himself.  You know by now of the 1969 Cubs who streaked out to a 17 and half game lead over everybody, only to wilt at the end and the much despised New York Mets got hotter than hell in August and September, overtook the Cubs and roared away.  The hated Mets would defeat the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series later.  Basically Ernie Banks had to play on the most shittiest of Cubs squads in his tenure, including a 1962 season of  "the college of coaches" a revolving door of managers (including the late great Lou Brodreau who would be better known as the side kick to Vince Lloyd on the WGN radio broadcasts, now a thing of the past too).  But the 69 Cubs had the best of shot to make it postseason but Leo Dorescher would run the same 8 players into the ground and not with a platoon of players to relieve a Santo or Willie Smith or Billy Williams and overuse of Phil Regan, the stopper would be the unraveling of this ball club.  Of course the Miracle Collapse of the Cubs have been noted time and time and time again, one cannot overlook the fact that The Mets from game 43 onward would compile a unbelievable 82-39 record. (they started with an 18-21 record)  An 82-39 winning record will get anybody from the bottom or middle of the pack to streak away and the playoff.  Consider this:  The Mets swept The Atlanta Braves in 3 and took out the Baltimore Orioles in five games and finished with 89-40 record.  While history likes to scapegoat The Cubs in every way possible, from the Durham boot of the 1984 Padres playoffs, to the Steve  Bartman getting in the way of a missed foul ball by Moises Alou in 2003, the fact remains that San Diego was the better of the ball club in 84, The Florida Marlins was the better ballclub of the 2003 playoffs and by far The New York Mets were fucking unstoppable in 1969.  Black cats be dammed. An 89-40 record has nothing to do with Whiskers the black cat crossing The Cubs path.  The object has been win the last game of the season.

Getting back to subject, Mr Cub played 18 seasons and hit 512 HRs, a great feat coming from a short stop. His glory HR years were from 1955 to 1960 to which he hit 40 HRs or more all but one year.  He had a 614 hitting percentage while hitting 47 HRs and driving in 143 in 1958 his greatest year ever. Even on the most shitty Cubs teams of 1962, Banks hit 37 homers and drove in 104. Perhaps the overuse of him in 1969 came into play, Banks only played 72 games but still hitting 12 Homers the next year. After 1971 Banks retired. After retirement, Banks remained viable and was a Chicago institution appearing on WGN to do the news from time to time and being the main spokesman for anything related to The Cubs.  One of the most positive people on this planet ever, there was never a bad work spoken about Mr Cub.  A champion that never played on a championship team, that is Ernie Banks, the most likeable man I've ever known.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week In Review: TE Radio 4

Passings this week include Dallas Taylor, the drummer who did so much drugs that even Keith Moon took notice and told him to stop and managed to get kick out of Crosby, Stills Nash and Young for that.  He did play drums for Stephen Stills and the project with Chris Hillman Manassas.  However, Taylor did eventually quit drinking and drugs and became an outspoken drug counselor
and did a very good job in that.  But the toll of the rock star years would led him to have a liver transplant and a kidney transplant from his girl friend which kept him alive but his body wore out anyway.  He was 66.

Daryl Coble was a (well still is) a friend and co worker of mine. I used to get him the latest music cds at best buy and let him use some of mine till he scratched up way too many of them.  But he was a reliable co worker and we used to lean on each other on realtionships when our GFs at the time weren't so nice.  The Keswick native Coble passed away Monday at age 43 from a sudden illness.

 There is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address.  Edgar Froese RIP.  Edgar was the mainstay and leader of Tangerine Dream, their best albums were with Virgin Records in the 70s.  They also did some quality soundtrack to movies as well (Sorcerer).  Tangerine Dream continued on after the departure of Peter Baumann and Christopher Franke, Jonas Schannonberg replaced Baumann and for a time Steve Joeffe was employed as a lead singer on the 1978 Cyclone album which featured Klaus Kreger who later joined Iggy Pop's band on New Values and Soldier albums.  Tangerine Dream would later record for Baumann's Private label in the late 80s.  Nevertheless Edgar continued T.D. with his son in tow up till the very end.  

California Breed, a band featuring Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham formed after Joe Bonamossa left to return to his solo work is no more.  They recorded one album and while touring on that album Bonham bailed out to do other things, (hanging with Sammy Hagar for one) and Joey Costello (QOTSA) took over and finished the tour.  It continues the saga of Hughes, former Deep Purple bass player and high note singer, who either seem to never find the right folk or maybe an ego problem.   Black Country Communion, the band which Bonamossa formed with Hughes and Jason made three albums and a live album before Joe's departure.  Even in his stints with Trapeze and Deep Purple a little Glenn Hughes goes a long way.  But it is beginning to appear that if Jason Bonham does decide to join your band, don't look for him to hang around.

The past week, I've been talking to friends about The Pirates and Dr Feelgood that I thought I would subject their last albums, the latter with Wilko Johnson taking leave after a severe falling out with the band on Sneaking Suspicion (Columbia 1977)  After two albums with Vic Maile producing, the Drs. went with Bert DeCoteaux  and while the sound isn't all that different from Malpractice or Down By The Jetty, there's a very uneasy tension between Wilko and the band, the most interesting song is written and sung by Wilko is Paradise which Johnson says he doesn't mind loving two women and even names them as well. The title track was issued as a UK single (I don't think Columbia ever released anything by Dr Feelgood on 45, unless it was promo only).  Johnson wrote half of the album's songs, and on the cover versions at least four of them came from Chess Records artists including an obscure Lights Out, written by one Dr. John. And the other, which cause Johnson to bail was Lew Lewis' Lucky Seven.  To these ears I think this one sounds a bit better than a rather lackluster version of You'll Be Mine, a latter day Bo Diddley throwaway in Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut, (I'd would have gone with I Said Shut Up Woman), and decent cover of Eddie Fontaine Ain't Nothing Shakin But The Leaves On The Trees.   Johnson's contributions of Sneaking Suspicion and Walking On The Edge also gives note that he's not happy with the band if you read into the lines.  Out of the three albums Wilko did with Feelgood, this one is the most disposable although there's enough hooks and melody to emit a few more listens.  It also shows the band coming unglued at the hinges. And Johnson would never settle the differences with Lee Brilleaux up till Lee's passing in the 1990s.  Worth a listen if you can find the record.  But the glossy production of DeCoteaux and recording by Pat Moran (later to work on albums by Robert Plant) tends to clash with the rough sound that was perfect for them by Maile.  Not sure where I picked my copy up but I'm guessing it may have brought at Zia's when I lived in Arizona in 87.  I give the record a solid B,

The Pirates' time with Warner Brothers up, they moved over to Pacific Arts for Hard Ride (Happy Birthday Rock And Roll, the UK name of said record) and like Dr Feelgood's album recorded at Rockfield but with Bill House (later The Rumour and Beach Boys) overseeing production although Vic Maile is on 1:30 2:30.  The choice of House was a more polished affair with an eye on the charts although the single Lady (Put The Light On Me) didn't chart (side note Brownsville Station had a minor hit with it in 1977).  While their version of Going Back Home (which Mick Green wrote with Wilko Johnson a few years ago) is a bit more sped up, I tend to favor Dr. Feelgood's version more from Malpractice.  Out of the trio of albums done, Hard Ride, like Sneaking Suspicion is their lesser effort although it's not without moments.  But the nostalgia tone of Happy Birthday Rock And Roll and Golden Oldies may have been a turn off for the punk rock crowd that got knocked out by Out Of Their Skulls/Skull Wars and wanted more of that. Nothing wrong with nostalgia but if you regulated to do a half inspired You Can't Sit Down and missing those days of Golden Oldies, it's not going to get the kids to ante up for this.  Again, I give this record a solid B or a weak B plus, and unless you have the other two albums, you really don't need this unless you have to hear it all.  And some folks do.

Back in the 80s, BJ Records in Iowa City had a big selection of cut outs or albums you could get for 4.99 or less, somehow that's where I managed to score The Beatles Let It Be or The Kinks, Arthur/Preservation Society/Something Else/Live Kinks and plenty others.  A 2.99 blues album of Lowell Folsom Soul (Kent) was a mercy buy.  Lowell had some minor hits on Checker but this hastily compiled selection of music from the late 50s and early 60s showed that Lowell could play the blues but he didn't shout the blues as well as he would straight sing them.  Don't know who F. Washington was, but he wrote or co wrote the majority of songs on this but the one I remember most is Andrew Hogg's Too Many Drivers.  The album is somewhere in the style of B B King although the folks at Kent Records give no indication of who did what on this album.  A fine album in its own right but somebody at EMI loved Black Nights so much that they added the song twice on the Tramp/Soul 2 on 1 CD that Flair/Virgin issued in 1991 and then added the song again on two EMI based bargain bin Blues compilations as well.  An A minus album still.

A site about record sleeves:

Retro picture:  Third drumset, I got for Christmas in 1969.  Only 10.99 at the time, it came with a flashing light inside the bass drum.  I eventually destroyed the drumset but how I love playing it.  Wish I still have it around.

Various Artists: Sixty Minute Man-The Madison Records Story (One Day/Not Now 2014)

I have to say that the folks at Not Now Music are doing an excellent job of finding obscure labels and artists that nobody in the states care much about anymore.  And while they're hard to find in music stores, Half Priced Books seems to get these compilations in bulk.  I passed on The Monument and The Swan Records comps simply of the fact that those had a wee bit too many pop and pap and not enough rock for me to invest upon hearing.  I also have to say that outside of the Viscounts and Bell Notes, I don't really know much about the rest of artists at hand although the guessing is that The Untouchables (not to be mistaken for the ska band of the 80s) were white guys covering the race records as the Billy Ward and The Dominoes and The Spaniels version of 60 Minute Man or Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight.  The Bell Notes known for I Had It (and they never topped it) gives us a shaky Shortnin' Bread and the followup of Real Wild Child is a decent cover of a Jerry Allison (Ivan) number.  Despite the pin up cover art, which makes you think this is cool music, the majority of the songs are either subpar covers, so so instrumentals (although Harlem Nocturne is vintage classic instrumental rock) or just plain fucking weird.  I doubt if the 20 foot Moon women that Buddy Clinton (no relation to Bill or George) swoons about would give him the time of day on the hilariously bad Take Me To Your Ladder (I'll see your leader later) pun novelty act. Or perhaps There Was A Fungus Among Us by Hugh Barrett & The Victors is Hugh himself.  But nothing more is more chilling or creepy as Jimmy Rand's Peggy Peggy to which jealous boyfriend kills his girlfriend and then pleads for forgiveness as his vocals fade out before the music ends.  And somewhere between all this mess is Motorcycle by Tico And The Triumphs which Paul Simon is incognito and his first billboard placing single.  It popped in at number 99 for one week.  An interesting footnote that Larry Uttal, who formed Madison Records would have better success forming a new label, Bell Records in the 60s and later Private Stock in the 70s.  60 Minute Man, The Madison Records Story taken as a whole is interesting as a historical artifact but for a valued comp, it isn't.  But listening to the covers you'd think that the Crew Cuts would be the Beatles and that Fabian is Elvis.  But the vintage pinup girls cover art is the price of admission alone.
Grade B-   

Townedger Radio Show Number 4 Playlist 1-21-15

Still in Love With You Baby-The Kitchen Cinq
When Time Runs Out-The Dangtrippers
Wiener Schnitzel-The Descendents
Greenback Dollar-The Men They Couldn't Hang
Rocking Down The Highway-The Doobie Brothers/Brad Paisley
Punk Out-The Suicide Machines
Good Intentions-For Love Not Lisa
Guns Are For Pussies-311
Teri (2002 version)-The Townedgers
Love's Not Here-The Townedgers
Norgaard-The Vaccines
Boys Don't Lie-Shoes
The Silent Sun-Genesis
Freedom Highway-Brian Auger/Julie Tippet
Rendezvous-The DBs
Back Again-The Townedgers
Down Down Down-Tom Waits
MB 20-The Townedgers
Bike Age-Descendents
Buzz Buzz Buzz-Primitives     

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Forgotten Bands Of The 70s-The Pirates

While chatting with 2000 man on the Dr Feelgood Down By The Jetty, it got me to thinking about the pub rock bands of the mid 70s that foretold the future of music in punk rock.  The Sex Pistols could barely play their instruments but managed to put out a raw debut that turned out to be their one and only studio record. The Clash were a bit more political but the late Joe Strummer was once part of The 101ers, a band that had a minor UK hit with Keys To Your Heart.

History has shown that the Pub Rockers of the mid 70s, Eddie And The Hot Rods, Ducks Deluxe and Dr Feelgood owed a lot to the blues and soul music of the 60s but with a much more driving beat and guitar work.  The Ducks were perhaps the more musically inclined, to which after the demise of that band, Nick Garvey and Andy McMaster would form The Motors, Sean Tyla would form Tyla Gang and Martin Belmont would be part of The Rumour.  Another all star Brit band Brinsley Schwartz, would have Brinsley and Bob Andrews help out Graham Parker and The Rumour, Ian Gomm, would enjoy a solo career with top ten hit Hold On, and main songwriter Nick Lowe become one of the more prolific musicians and later join with Dave Edmunds for Rockpile.   Eddie And The Hot Rods would cover a wide variety of songs from Van Morrison, to Question Mark to even Joe Tex and Wooly Bully; their speed freak version of Bob Seger's Get Out Of Denver actually is better than the original version.  And Dr Feelgood, would have the choppy lead guitar work of Wilko Johnson for four albums before leaving and Gypsie Mayo would replace him for a few years.

Which leads to The Pirates.  Wilko Johnson has mentioned that Mick Green has always been one of his major influences on guitar and it shows.  But The Pirates go all the way back to the late 50s and early 60s when the late great Johnny Kidd was the leader and gave us the original version of Shakin' All Over. While many members have come and gone the most remembered were Mick Green (Guitar), Frank Farley (Drums) and Johnny Spence (Bass and Vocals). When Kidd died in a car crash in 1966 the band disbanded, but a decade later, with the blessing from Kidd, The Pirates started up again.  Now, the Kidd led Pirates had guitar driven music as well.  Find the EMI import 25 Greatest Hits and you'll get a picture how they sound.

But the Green/Spence/Farley lineup was more harder rocking when they took to the stage in 1976.  Dressed up in pirated gear but not looking like rock stars (Farley the drummer, played shirtless and with a beer belly to boot) this over 30 bunch of guys could kick anybody's ass off the stage with their opener Please Don't Touch, to which Mick Green pounding on his guitar and taking no prisoners.  In the craze of the major labels looking for punk band, Warner Brothers signed The Pirates up and released the half live, half studio Out Of Their Skulls a perfect introduction to this band.  The live side is rock classic that makes them legends and if you can find the copy snatch it up.  The Studio side is a bit more tamer, with a cover of Drinking Wine, the old Sticks Mcgee cover and the wild guitar work of Gibson Martin Fender from Green.  It is noted that Vic Maile produced this, he also produced Dr Feelgood's first two albums and Teenage Depression from Eddie And The Hot Rods.  Anything Vic Maile did back in the 70s is associated with Pub rock and on name association you should watch out for.  He later produced the likes of Motorhead, The Screaming Blue Messiahs and The Godfathers to which Maile will pass away in 1989.  Another trait of Maile is that he would record some live sides to the bands he worked with.  The UK version of Teenage Depression was so so, till Maile added some live tracks, to which Island in the US would add on the album.  The half and half live/studio of Out Of Their Skulls can also be be Vic Maile's best example of his production techniques.

Out Of Their Skulls sold enough for Warners to commissioned another album and Skull Wars was put out in late 1978.  Slightly different than it's UK counterpart, Skull Wars USA has backing vocals on Long Journey Home and a few others and a slightly brighter mix.  Two singles came out, but didn't chart, a cover of Kidd's Shakin' All Over and All In It Together. a few live songs were thrown in, (Johnny B Goode, I'm Talking About You and on side two Honey Hush).  The studio songs were better on Skull Wars, from the Bo Diddley influenced Voodoo, a commentary of bands ripping off Chuck Berry on Johnny B Goode's Good and even Mick Green sang on a couple songs, Saturday Night Shootout and Diggin My Potatoes.  A strong album even though the Bugs Bunny What's Up Doc comment at the end of Shake Hands With The Devil is a bit campy (the UK version doesn't have it).

However, sales were worse than Out Of Their Skulls and Warner Brothers not sure of how to promote a bunch of old rockers as punk rockers dropped them.  In 1980 Pacific Arts (home of Micheal Nesmith) signed them and issued Hard Ride (in the UK it was called Happy Birthday Rock And Roll) and The Pirates tried to update their sound with so so results.  After the bash and crash of the WB albums, Hard Ride was less intense although they did do a nice cover of Lady Put The Light Out and the title track.  The record in the US was hard to find (only time I did find a copy was a cut out).  But in some ways, Hard Ride was a lot like Eddie And The Hot Rods 1980 Fish N Chips, a pub rock band that kinda lost its way although Hard Ride was a much better album.  Unfortunately Farley and Spence would leave and Mick Green would continue The Pirates in various lineups and albums that lacked the intensity of the early years.  Farley and Spence would rejoin in 1998 and would play at various clubs till Farley dropped out due to declining health and Green and Spence would continue on, till Green passed away in 2010.  And that was the end of the Rocking Pirates.

Side Note: The Pirates was part of a compilation album called Hope And Anchor Front Row Festival, featuring the likes of Wilko Johnson, Steve Gibbons Band, The Stranglers and XTC, which Warner Brothers issued it as an import.  It made number 28 on the UK album charts in 1978.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week In Review: Callie Rustbucket, Euphonic Bridge, Collector's Frenzy

There's not much music out there to check out in January.  It's too cold to bargain hunt outside of town and the week of snow and ice is taking a toll not only on me but on the car, which i slid out of control and the side of the curb on Ski jump ramp in the work parking lot.  Now the damn car is making a vibration now.  Fucking cold weather.  And the other car needs brakes and something to replace a leaky fuel line. So far 2015 continues where 2014 left off, shit luck and shit weather.

The neighbor's dog who always came over for treats and munchies got ran over a day before New Year's Eve, which is why I haven't seen her.  For 14 years Chelsea Leigh was a fixture in the front door looking in. The neighbors would let her run around town which may not been the best thing for a dog in the teens, I was more surprised that her dumb three legged friend down the road would have been the first road kill. Over the past couple weeks an abandoned cat has now appeared on my doorstep, a gray, green eyed calico tabby which I named Callie Rustbucket.  We have feral cats running around and all i have to do is open the door and look at them cross eyed and they speed off, not Callie.  She sat there, stared a while and purred up into the house.  To which I put her out again, and give her some kibble and bits to keep meat on the bones.  I'm not a cat fan, I don't like the majority of them.  My best friend has about three of them over at their house which I don't go over much.  Callie might be the sole exception, she so damn friendly and always purring, always singing and if I do take her in, she tends to lay on my lap and get in the way.  Me and my brother we talk about what to do with this wayward cat.  There's a no kill shelter in town but they're never open and although dropping it off at the other humane society they'll put her to sleep within a week if not adopted.  So we watch over her and if she's still around by friday, take her butt to get fixed.  We don't want no more wild pussy running around the yard.  She seems a good judge of character, she likes me and brother, she likes the guy across the street that feeds her, she hates dogs (she would hiss at Chelsea when she came over for a dog bone) and she certainly don't like the neighbors living in the meth house.  She was growing at them when I was out getting the mail.  She's got taste, now if she would quit sitting her butt on my new car we might be able to get along better.....

I haven't spent much time on Twitter lately but a new follower came on my site and might be worth checking out.  They're called Euphonic Bridge and they just started up.  Another alternative music and arts site you might get a kick out of.  

Another record site, a place where you can see where the albums went to the highest bidder.  you might have  a goldmine and you may not know it.:

As I grow older I tend to look back at my youth and wondered where did the time fly.  In my previous blogs of the past couple years I added some eye candy, although trying to find ones that don't overdo (or underdo) things.  The past couple years Maxey Greene has been one of the cutest plus sized models out there.  And at times  I try my best to show pictures of them off, but lately pictures continue to disappear and in record numbers, especially on the Top Ten Of The Week blogs of the early 2010's  Hindsight tells me that perhaps I should have stored them on the computer before posting them.  I'm not about to turn this back into Cheese Cake World rather than Record World, but if I find a beautiful pic of an Ivy Doomkitty or Maxey Greene, then I would.  I may kill the harddrive in this old warhorse computer but at least I'll get to see the pictures and not have them disappear while using Google for picture resources.

Clifford Hoard has decided to retire The Kings Of The Sun band name after making the comeback Rock Til You Die CD of last year.  However there might be some friction coming from his brother Jeffrey Hoad who has taken up the KOTS banner.  I don't know much about Jeffrey, but Clifford has been a gracious and good host of his site and we have been facebook friends for about a year now.  Cliff still remains a helluva drummer.  On a related note, The Black Crowes have called it a day, Rich Robinson making the announcement after Chris Robinson the former Mr. Kate Hudson, decided to add ridiculous demands to the band, and may have been attributed to him smoking some wacky mushrooms.   Didn't think much of the latter day albums but I still think By Your Side is their classic album.


12 Million Sellers (Forum/Roulette 1962)

In the early days of rock and roll, the major labels treated the genre more of a fad than anything everlasting and if they did issue anything, it would be on the 1.98 loss leader.  Forum Records was basically a budget lined label from Morris Levy and Roulette and I remember my dad bringing home a box of forgotten crappy budget priced garbage from the likes of Richmond (a 1.98 offshoot of London Records) and Forum (there were two interesting albums, one was Oriental Delight from the Hank Mardigian Sextet, (Forum 9010) which was jazz played by use of a oud that Hank was famous for and Jazz for Dancing by Maynard Ferguson (F-9035) which I never played, and I think I gave a bunch of those album to a neighbor lady down the road.  I recall a couple of German music comps via Forum Circle, less said the better.  But going to the downtown Antique mall I found 12 Million Sellers, actually a pretty good budget priced album of some of the early rock songs from the Roulette/End/Gee/Gone labels, owned by Levy but I think was put out due to the Twist craze, judging by the lead off and barely over a minute Hey Let's Twist by Joey Dee and The Starlighters, kinda lightweight if you asked me and followed by the cheesy Jo Ann by The Playmates (my mom had the forty five of this). Some of the stuff I've never heard before, Eddie Cooley's Priscilla and First Anniversary by Kathy Carr.  Some fun stuff from the likes of Ronnie Hawkins (Mary Lou), The Rock-a-teens one hit wonder Woo Hoo, The Cleftones Heart And Soul and the doo wop punk chaos of Barbara Ann from The Regents, a song that Robert Christgau never liked much, but the latter two songs would find their way on a very important soundtrack that would come out in 1973, American Graffiti.  The liner notes are hilariously funny, I really don't think that Cooley's Priscilla (misspelled on the back side) nor Crazy For You from The Heartbeats sold a million copies but perhaps all 12 of these golden oldies might have sold a million copies all together.  However it sounds like a 1.98 album, a quickie mastering job and out they went to the local cheap bins at the local Woolworths.  You can find most of them on better remastered jobs later in life but as record hoarder, this is the kind of album that gives me a foolish pleasure into acquiring and playing.  In other words, the seeds that would spring American Graffiti a decade later, and rekindled America's love affair of music of the 50s and early 60s.
Grade B+ 

Wishbone Ash-Blue Horizon (Solid Rockhouse/Intergroove) 2014

Given the fact that Andy Powell and Muddy Manninen (plus Bob Skeat on bass) have been guitar players longer in this version of The Ash longer than the original lineup pretty much sums up chemistry and although I didn't pay much attention to them between the 1982 Fantasy issue of Twin Barrels Burning and 2006's Clan Destiny which the latter album I did buy and thought it was worthy of their long legacy.  Blue Horizon continues the fact that Wishbone Ash remains one of the better guitar bands of this era, which is a dying art in itself.  In fact Blue Horizon wouldn't feel out of place if you compared it to their classic album Argus.  It also helps that Powell can still sing very well despite being in his 60s now.  If FM radio of the 70s still exists today, Blue Horizon the album would figure into the playlist of Beaker Street or perhaps KSHE although I have heard Take It Back, the leadoff track played on Deep Cuts.  The argument can be that Wishbone Ash can balloon a song to over five minutes with extended jamming and that's okay in my book.  Certainly the title track has enough lead guitar and a rhythm hook that keep you listening to the whole thing, even towards the end.  Certainly the ZZ Top shuffle of Deep Blues can make Billy Gibbons smile as well. Or moving to a more progressive rock on the next track Strange How Things Come Back Around. The rest of the record isn't boring either.   In other words, what I come to expect from a Wishbone Ash album.  Guitar rock that nobody plays much anymore.  Or in other words, Twin Barrels Are Still Burning.

Grade B+

The Rolling Stones-Get Your Ya Yas Out (London 1970)

For the so called World's Greatest Rock And Roll Band, their live offerings have been scattershot at best. Got Live If You Want It was poorly recorded from what I remembered it, and later offerings showed a trainwreck in progress although Flashpoint I can listen to once in a while.  But my favorite live Stones remains this Madison Square Garden show and the highlight is Charlie Watts simplistic but driving drumming. Using a strange lineup of high hats on side and two on the other I always loved this version of Jumpin Jack Flash.  New guy Mick Taylor tends to keep the music going whereas Keith is lighting up another cig before the next song.  Scoff all you want but I also prefer this version of Sympathy For The Devil to which (again) Watts leads the song all the way through.  As always Mick is hilarious, winking to girls about not having his trousers being ripped.  The recording varies and seems to get more muddier as it goes on, leading up to a grungy Street Fighting Man till Keef gets bored and stops playing guitar and the band calls it a day.  I had this on CD but lost it in the flood of June, but I ended up getting the vinyl back this week and I think it's better to hear this in vinyl form.  Ronnie Wood may have lasted the longest but I tend to think that when Mick Taylor joined, it's evidential that the early years when Taylor was in The Stones, they did become a damn good live band.   Ragged but right.

Grade A-

The King-Gravelands (Ark 21 1999)

Last week, the original king turned 80 and as we all know all too well the world is never short of Elvis impersonators.  And no substitute for the real thing.  There was a creepy Elvis impersonator Orion that made a few albums for Sun Records in the 70s, Ronnie McDowell a country singer did The King Is Gone in the Elvis mode and later became a modest selling country singer and let's not forget Dread Zeppelin, who had a lead singer that sang like Elvis, a strange case of what would have been had Elvis fronted Led Zeppelin.  And on this effort, a guy from Belfast named (ironically)   James Brown tackles on Nirvana, Sweet, Ac/Dc and Skynyrd.  And for the effort, it's all done seriously on Come As You Are, as if one wonders what would happened had Elvis would have done Nirvana, which had Elvis lived I doubt that he would.  Alas, the Bap Kennedy led band is no TCB band and while Brown's makes a semi interesting Elvis clone, his band fails him, more so on Voodoo Child, a song that Elvis would have never touched if he was alive (and for the record Elvis P left alone).  The record becomes a parody when Kennedy adds the theme from 2001 to the ending of Whole Lotta Rosie. Or whoever thought they should cover No Woman No Cry.  And Brown does messes up on the words on the songs too. The only real time Gravelands cooks up is on (what else) That's All Right, to which Brown and Kennedy does a fair job of capturing That's All Right Mama to a time that Elvis did jam with Scotty Moore on guitar alone.  And then you go to the real source soon afterward.  I really can't recommend this CD but consider this along the lines of The Fab Four doing Christmas songs in the way The Beatles would do them.  It's different but not something you'd listen to on a regular basis.

Grade C+

Willie Dixon-I Am The Blues (Columbia 1970)

Willie was perhaps the best known writer of the blues that propelled Chess Records in the 50s and give influence to white guys across the pond in the 60s, without Willie there wouldn't be a Led Zeppelin or Cream. But being a great songwriter and decent acoustic bass player (he's on the legendary tracks from Howling Wolf, which the Rocking Chair album IMHO the best overall album of Dixon penned numbers, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson and many many others) but as a vocalist, he was the least of the Chess men, although put his vocals in the right situations it did work well, example: Koko Taylor's Wang Dang Doodle. For this Columbia one off, he enlists a hand picked collection of Chicago musicians which on the CD doesn't tell you who played what but further research shows the likes of Lafayette Leake and Sunnyland Slim on piano,  Walter Horton on harmonica,  Johnny Shines on guitar and Clifton James on drums, and of course Dixon on bass,  all have played on Chess records sessions years before.  My original thinking upon hearing this the first time would call it exploitation, why else would Columbia issue this into getting the kids listening to Zeppelin or Cream to invest in this, but upon research and a second listen I come to conclude if you were in Chicago in 1970 and managed to catch a jam session with the bluesmen mentioned this is what it would sounded like although I'm sure the recording would not be as polished.  Dixon does speed up Little Red Rooster and I Ain't Superstitious and he rides the feeling to double the length of Back Door Man and I Can't Quit You Baby.  But since Columbia was footing the bill of this recording, Dixon and his band had fun with it.  For historians and blues fans for a curio listen, fun but inessential.

Grade B

RIP Tim Drummond, bass player who appeared on a few Neil Young albums.  He was 74.

The Second Disc has revamped their website and is where I get my information about new reissues and releases.  And now they're teaming up with Gordon Anderson and Real Gone Records for their own label named.....Second Disc Records.  Their inaugural release is the Johnny Mathis Complete Thom Bell Sessions which sparked a hit in Life's A Song Worth Singing  in 1973 and will make available the album I'm Coming Home, which I think was a nice updated soul album from Mathis. Also, the hard to find Complete Columbia Singles which commands for big bucks on EBAY will be reissued via Friday Music in February. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Week In Review: Booyah! (For Stuart Scott)

2015 has already kicked in and already I've seen a few more people check out of this world.  Elle Mae Clampett or better known as Donna Douglas has passed away, she was 81.  The great Little Jimmy Dickens made it past his 94th birthday before exiting stage left and beyond the sunset.  Always will be known as the guy that gave us May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.

Most of the sportscasters on Sports Center are fucking annoying.  John Buccigross, John Anderson, Neil Everett even old timer Chris (Boomer) Berman are reasons why I don't watch it anymore.  The shock value or waiting for one of them TO START YELLING for some idiotic reason makes me turn the channel.  I can tolerate the bald man Scott Van Pelt but when Stuart Scott passed away from cancer at age 49 gave me even more reason to say no.  Stuart was the best in using terms and coining the phase BOOYAH when somebody scored a TD or hit a home room and was "cool as the other side of the pillow".  Or when a NFL player made a heck of a tackle, he'd yelled up JACKED UP too. Scott died way too young.  You can clone about a 100 Neil Everetts or 1000 Buccigrosses but they'll never equal one Stuart Scott.

After a snow-less December, Mother Nature is making up for lost time by throwing a couple storms and then throwing an arctic front through here, knocking temps down to below zero.  Which was predicted by the Old Farmer's Almanac.  We should come to expect this shitty weather at this time every year, but never get used to it.  Of course, our Florida friends have to rub it in on us, baking in 80 degree temps with the car roof down, Ron Lemieke, former Kansas City resident and now Florida snowbird has continued his Jimmy Buffet styled tribute music and getting many Florida fans to flock to his shows, and countless remakes of Margaritaville as the air conditioner keeps him cool.  Which makes me wish that he would step on a pop top while walking the sands by the ocean.

No joy in Hawkeye country in football, The Iowa Hawkeyes concluded their season of flop and suck with a 45-28 kick in the ass by Tennessee, one of the lesser of the SEC teams with a 500 record, now 7-6 but they were on the up while Iowa went on the down with a dismal November.  Or in the words of Coach Mediocrity  Kirk Ferenez, that's football.  Or in my observation, that's bad football, the defense couldn't tackle anybody after the Northwestern game, and the offense had no consistency.  Jake (the flake) Rudock, the apple of KF's eye at QB stuck up the joint and let Nebraska back in the final game and C.J. Bethard who had a better arm sat too long on the bench to be of any use.  In the Taxslayer (Gator) Bowl,  Rudock wilted in the eyes of the fans and TV audience and Tennessee ran away and hid with a 42-7 score before Bethard came in and made the score less laughable. Rick Canzeri had a good game and could figure a lot for next season but questions remain if C.J. remains with Iowa or as his dad says, move on to another college team.  Gene Barta, the Iowa AD continues to throw his support with K.F. to which unless Kirk retires or quit (which isn't happening) he'll be back and we'll once again get to see another rebuilding year and hopefully try to recruit somebody that can fucking tackle the ball carrier.  And it doesn't look good for next season, since Iowa will a much more tougher schedule which means Ohio State and Michigan and Michigan State.  With Michigan getting Jim Harbaugh, they won't be pushovers like they were in 2014.  If Iowa finishes 6-6 will be a miracle itself.   At least Arizona State won their bowl game, although Duke lost on a desperation pass that was intercepted and ASU held on to a 36-31 victory.  They lose Taylor Kelly but Steve Bercovici will return at QB and so will D J Foster.  Coach Todd Graham had his second 10 win season in three years and next year's team will be even more stronger and should be serious contenders for the Pac 12.  But still Oregon remains alpha team in there.

New year, some new finds.  One album Blackstone (Epic 1971) I picked up as a curio. A unknown band they made one album of something that sounded like progressive rock or what Jethro Tull was doing before Thick As A Brick.  Tom Flynn's operatic vocals kinda reminds me of Dicky Peterson of Blue Cheer and they do have some kind of hooks going on, on opening track Love, Love Love, name-checking Moondog on Moon Dog and KC Funk wouldn't sound out of place on a Grand Funk album or even The Yes Album.  It's not bad but Epic never promoted this band and it was a one and one album.  One member of this band would go on to other things, namely being the backbeat to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, one Max Weinberg, who actually brings more of rocking and rolling style aka Don Farner or Carmine Appice than the straight ahead beat that he would perfect with The E Street Band.  Blackstone is no relation to Black Stone Cherry, but for an only album, it's really not bad but a product of what CBS was doing back then, signing bands left and right and writing the majority of these failed bands as tax write offs.   Never released on CD.

Continuing tradition in a condensed  form: WGN announced that they'll continue to broadcast Chicago Cubs baseball till 2019, basically 47 games whereas another station gets 23 other games.  The demise of cable and WGN moreorless.  Used to be I could watch up to 175 games about thirty years ago, when cable was the brave new world and not Corporate World Inc giving more time to commercials than programming.  It seems that half of a show is dedicated to commercials or in sports more drugs to solve your ED problems. While I continue to hear the usual grumblings on how The Cubs suck, I think this year they will actually be a competitive team.  WGN used to be my favorite channel to watch baseball but with them doing half Cubs and half White Sox and the rest of the time repeats of America's Funniest Videos, In The Heat Of The Night or How I Met Your Mother, I hardly watch WGN at all.  The line of thinking is that 2019 the Cubs management will finally everything back in one package to offer at premium prices for their own Cubs network.  Sign of the time and all hail money.  By then, for myself it won't matter. Baseball continues to take a back seat to music and record collecting.  And studies have shown we can live without baseball.

And this week if he was still living, Elvis Presley would have turned 80 years old.  But he continues to live in the music that is out there and the countless recycles of his RCA masters.

More reviews:

Dr. Feelgood-Down By The Jetty (United Artists 1975)

Forty years ago, this pub band made it's debut and ushered in the Pub Rock movement which laid the foundation of punk rock.  Led by Wilko Johnson's cutting guitar work and Lee Brilleaux's gruff vocal and harmonica, Dr. Feelgood became a cult hero band, and so damn true to their roots that they recorded the whole thing in mono. In the states the U.A. label had no use for it and so it was import only.  Although they owe a lot to Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker and big bad Bo Diddley himself, Wilko's guitar work inspired a new generation of punk rockers with his repetitive guitar sound, often imitated but never duplicated and you can hear it on Roxette and She Does It Right.  Produced by Vic Maile the late great legendary producer and recorded by Dave Charles (Dave Edmunds's drummer of the 1980s and later shaped up the sound of The Charlatans UK) the idea to record in mono was beginning a rare thing and in a colorized world of sound, this had a black and white sound and attitude.  In typical Vic Maile fashion, he'd record a live track (like he did with Eddie And The Hot Rods and The Pirates, other legends of the pub rock sound) and Boney Maroney/Tequila medley, got two members of Brinsley Schwartz to play horns and you had to be there to see it.  Wilko's songs were dry humorous songs (The More I Give, the less I get) were perfect for the band. The mono recording through the whole album has it's pros and cons, but for a debut Down By The Jetty shows promise, Dr Feelgood's next album Malpractice would be considered the best of the Wilko Johnson era and even though United Artists USA passed on that, Columbia issued it in the states (in stereo), but by album 3 Sneaking Suspicion. Wilko would move on to other things.  Hard to find anymore in its original UA mono format (I got mine for 5 dollars at the old Relics) Grand, the label responsible for Dr Feelgood reissues did put this out on CD.

Grade B+

And from 2000 Man, his review.

Joe Vitale-Plantation Harbor (Asylum 1980, Wounded Bird Reissue 2002)

Another tax write off for Asylum, I did see Plantation Harbor as an LP back in 1980 but never thought about picking it up.  It's no different than Joe Walsh was doing back then, after all Joe V played drums for Joe W throughout the 70s and had a drumming style that did fit Walsh.  Joe V did issue a long lost Atlantic album in 1974 (Roller Coaster Weekend) I've never heard but Plantation Harbor....think of it as But Seriously Folks but with Joe V doing the vocals instead of Joe W.  And it starts out fine with the title track although I could really do without the screaming chick singer on Man Gonna Love You or Never Gonna Leave You Alone. (Marilyn Martin?  Ricky Washington? Mickey Thomas who sings on Never Gonna Leave You Alone). A cast of all stars appears on this album, including Joe Walsh who saves the best for side 2 after Marilyn Martin retired for the night, a goofy phone call from Walsh telling Vitale he's got the ideal guitar riff comes on Sailor Man (His Greatest Riff the notes say).  And the record finishes strong with I'm Flyin.  It also helps that Don Felder, helps out on guitar as well.   A fun party and an underrated forgotten gem from Vitale, who sounds a bit like Mr. Walsh.

Grade B+

Rod Stewart-Time (Capitol 2013)

The return to rock and roll as advertised but in reality Rod the rocker hasn't existed since Out Of Order and although some albums had hints of rock, most of the time Rod was singing standards or rehashing old classic rock songs for Clive Davis and the Great American Songbook Series reeked of desperation. Somewhat autobiographical be it for the love of rock and roll (Don't Stop Me Now) or perhaps love gone world or divorces (It's Over co written with John 5 for shock value) Time is NOT the complete rock and roll album he would like you to think it is.  There's a power pop sense in lead off track She Makes Me Happy or the guitar riffs noteworthy of Faces and Ronnie Wood (Live The Life) but they really could have used Ronnie Wood to help out, or The Faces themselves.  I heard stories that Stewart wanted to record with The Faces after Time but with Ian McLagan now dead that's not going to happen anytime soon, unless Rod puts a call for Kenny and Woody to show, which ain't going to happen anytime soon either.  I can always go for a Rod Stewart rock album but that's not going to happen anymore, so what you get is a album that's as rock as Rod will allow it to happen.  Things fall apart on side 2, especially on the unsexy Sexual Religion or Make Love To Me Tonight which makes Do Ya Think I'm Sexy sound like Every Picture Tells A Story.  And then ends things on the sugary Pure Love.  Take the last three songs out and then it could be considered his most listenable in years.  But a return to rock and roll?  It's no Gasoline Alley or Maggie May, no matter how much Rod wishes it could be.

Grade B-

2000 Man writes about the latest album from Wussy.  Next time I go to Dubuque or Davenport I'll see if either Moondog Music or Ragged Records has it.

Looking for a band and you play guitar, here's a Des Moines based band that wants you.  Doug lives there. It'll be perfect for him.

Guitarists needed for glam-country band DOUCHES of HAZZYRD!!! (frat house near you)

We're aware that no pros are actually surfing craigslist. Well, we're not looking for pros! If you have a pointy headstock guitar in a neon color you NEED to be in this band.

We play both kinds of music, bro AND country. If you still wish you were in high school, then this is the band for you! Here's a little secret, musicianship DOESN'T effing MATTER!!! The "pros" around town play for tips. We are all about image and marketability. If you act like a rock star, the ignorant masses will start treating you like one! That's just lesson #1...join the band for more advanced secrets to ruling local car dealerships.

You'll notice that we're only advertising for guitar players. So, no, we don't need anything else. We have a drummer. We will assemble 5 guitar players and the worst one will hold a bass and probably won't even be put through the PA. Who cares?!? People just like to see a party on stage!

We're working on expanding our repertoire and sound...currently, that means playing SRV tunes with "our" sound of double humbucking guitars being run through Boss Metal Zone and Phaser pedals. If you don't have those two pedals, then GTFO!

Please get in touch ASAP as spots will fill up quickly; and always remember, at DOUCHES of HAZZYRD WE HEAR YOU!!!

P.S. - If your name is Robbie, don't bother responding again...we kicked your @$$ out and have moved on to bigger and better things!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015

Happy new year and welcome to another year beginning of Record World.  An oddball journey of music and sports and a lifestyle that about 1000 folks view it from all over the world.  I'm myself is recovering from too much food and too much fun and a caffeine buzz that lasted most of the night.  I could post pictures of that debauchery but to protect the guilty I won't ;-)

Usually New Year's Eve celebrating is the only time I get to be in the company of so many good looking women but it's all good; I've been celebrating New Year's with the hosts for about 5 years straight.  I do feel sorry for Jason who had to go to work at 6 AM and when I left at 12:45 he was still up putting chairs away. I begin to wonder if anybody was going to show since I showed up much earlier than usual but everybody seemed to come in about 7 30 and the fun begin.  Somebody bought some cheap Little Ceaser's Pizza  so I took the rest home and something to chow down while wasting the afternoon watching football and compiling this blog.  A week into fighting a fucking cold, I still continue to have congestion but for the most part I seem to be in better spirits.  Then again I decided to go into Iowa City on the way home and that was a mistake.  It's hard enough to hit every red lights in town and then deal with walking dead drunk students that seem to walk out in front of the car at every corner.  New Year, same shit. So much for less red lights and dumbasses to deal with.  Since I got off early at work, I had enough time to scour through the open thrift stores before going to party with friends and for bargains not much out there to choose from. Basically picked apart and why the hell Goodwill is charging 1.88 for scratched up 45's makes no sense to me.  No sleeves on most of them, some good time instrumentals from the String A Longs (Wheels) and The Fireballs (Quite A Party) but they were not worth 1.88 in their condition and with no sleeves.  Sometimes I think Goodwill in Iowa City takes too much advantage of the vinyl revival and charge a lot for poor shape records. There was a Elvis 45, Return To Sender in a interesting record sleeve 29 cents or 4 for a dollar that I would have picked up as a curio but not cost effective.  I did picked up the old Replacements CD for the same price at the Salvation Army across the road from Goodwill. So even on the last day of the year I still went out to do some bargain hunting.  Some things never change I guess.

Monday, the car had it's annual free oil change so I was in Maquoketa for a hour.  I don't like waiting in the waiting room at the car dealership, the channel is always on FOX news and they had quite a crowd up there and since it took 45 minutes to get the car looked at, I had time to walk up to their Goodwill and pawnshop. Their Goodwill store is different than ours or Iowa City,  I think they're part of the network that's up around Dubuque, Waterloo and Indpendence, plus the fact their records are much more cheaper.  Small town Goodwills are hit and miss and I haven't found much the last two times I been up there.  Main Street Pawn, in downtown Maquoketa is not hard to find, three doors down from highway 64, I really didn't know much about it and didn't pay much attention to it till somebody put out a Marshall amp in front of the store and thought may as well see what's in there.  After dancing around with some woman who continued to poke her way through the CDs I looking through, I did managed to find a couple to listen to on the way home.  For a small town Main Street Pawn does have a big selection of DVDs and a few CDs selling for a dollar each.  Where else could you find a Mark Lindsay Silverbird/Arizona 2 on 1, Pure Cult or Best Of Tom T Hall volume 2 at?   I suppose they had a great salesman in Tyson the doggie, who promptly greeted me at the door and then come back a few times to get wallowed around with.

Already this year is starting out weird.   Snow in Phoenix?  Kingman got enough snow to the point that Interstate 40 and US 93 got shut down due to too many slide offs. Vegas got snow, so did Southern California.  Up here, we had a snowless December and slightly above temps, but all good things must come to an end since this is now January and this month brings out the most cold and the most snow.  A far cry from the 15 inches of the white crap we had this time a year ago.  So I'm sure we'll get the arctic express that gave the desert their cold and snow.  For now, the weather is nice.

What's in store for Record World this year?  Probably the continuing story of the bargain hunts, whatever is found that's worth touting about and of course who departed this world.  We had many that passed last year that I knew, this year won't be any different.  The Playlist that was a standard feature the past year will be only done once a month via the Townedger Radio Show playlist that you can hear on Lucky Star Radio, every third Wed night at Midnight CST.  If you're only here for the cheesecake pictures, you might be disappointed, I haven't posted many of them due to disappearing acts of Google and Blogspot pictures and replacing them with alternative pictures is a waste of time and effort.  And those who type in search words like Porn are going to be even more disappointed when they come to find that this is a music site and not porn.  Record porn is vinyl record pictures and it's easy to scan off 45 record pictures now as you can tell that I have gone that route.  I had to.  I was seeing some of my own pictures of records disappearing and that angered me to rescan and post the pictures directly rather to rely on Google pictures.  Don't know if it's this computer only but the work computers also showed them gone as well.  I'm sure you can replace a Ivy Doomkitty or London Andrews picture easily, but not seeing The Marvellettes' Strange I Know is not acceptable to me.  Unless the copyright holders complained to Google about it, I don't know, but there's no reason why a picture I posted, which is mine, gets lost out there, the picture should be there.  The pictures of 45 SHOULD be there, like any other collector, it's my intention to honor the forgotten forty fives of a Leo Greco or Chuck Murphy or getting my own copy of a red vinyl Bob Dylan 45.  My intention to preserve record history, even though Record World is nowhere near of 45Cat of preserving music and having a broader fanbase.  In other words, another record collecting hobby site that a few people read each month.
And ratings have been fairly good.  And December usually is when I get the peak readership.

I'm sure this year I'll review some new albums, revisit some old ones and clean the shelves of unwanted stuff only to replace them with new stuff that is found on the cheap.  2014 turned out to be a shitty year for new music, music sales down once again and the only thing on the rebound was vinyl sales went up.  Will this trend continue?  Studies have shown that the vinyl revival might become a fad once again.  And new records are expensive but at the moment it's a reassuring feeling to see more people in record stores and thrift stores crate digging and trying to find the classic in discarded Mantovani or Gospel bands of long ago forgotten and made fun of in various websites.  If I can stay healthy, I'll do a Madison bargain hunt once the snows end and the weather gets warmer.  And every trip to Davenport or Waterloo has a story to tell.  If there's enough interest we'll do another Singles Going Steady or Forgotten bands and musicians series.  Right off the bat, we lost Jeff Golub, jazz guitarist at age 59.  I remember Jeff with his 2013 album with Brian Auger called Train Kept A Rollin, based upon a miracle accident that Golub fell upon train tracks and survived that.  He will be missed.

Until then, enjoy the ride.  This is going to be another roller coaster year for music and you and me.