Monday, February 23, 2015

Week In Review: Physical Graffiti redux, Blind Blake

Well we haven't gotten the snow and blizzards that have been burying the Northeast and Niagara Falls has have so much snow and cold that the falls actually have frozen over in spots.  The problem has been a blocking low over Greenland which actually been ushering in more cold Siberian and Canadian temps and pushing the snow more south and east.  The lesser of the evils and I'll take cold over snow anyday although Callie the Outdoor Cat has a different opinion.   She's certainly wearing out her welcome by plopping her ass on my new car half the time, leaving muddy paw prints after I got done washing it on a sub zero day (a lost cause, since I live out on gravel roads and the damn dust covers the clean car up anyway.   She's also been on my shit list since sneaking in the doorway and sharpening up her claws on the couch.  To which a squirt bottle and an evil eye works wonders.  But it's gonna come down to eventually drop her to a no kill shelter and hopefully she can get a good home.  She's a good cat, a smart cat but this house indoors is not made for a feline who likes to walk on CDs and records and scratch up the couch and rocker.

Gary Glitter: rock and roll pedophile and his fall from grace complete by the UK courts, giving him a 16 year sentence for his actions against minors.  I once liked him and his album that had Rock N Roll Part 1 and 2 until the latter song became a jock itch anthem.  The guy lived a shady double life and the more I read about his history I have come to despise him, some freaky 70 year old pervert trying to go after the pre teen girls that used to like his music.  I'll never listen to his music again and perhaps Glitter, his 1972 album could be misinterpreted as a concept album about his actions in the songs of I didn't know I loved you till I saw you rock and roll, Shakey Sue or the cover of Baby Please Don't Go.  It's a shame really, Glitter did have some good songs, but his twisted mindset and actions has blackballed him ever from my record player again; 

Curtis Lee who had a one hit wonder with Pretty Little Angel Eyes passed away at age 75 from a long illness.  The sign of the times, we'll all getting old and someday we'll all be gone too.  Just ask Jerome Kersey who also left the world.  And Clark Terry, jazz trumpet player that played on Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Miles Davis in their bands and albums, he was 94. And a few others.

Farce The Music has been one of the longest followers of my antics on Twitter, though we really don't talk much.  Their meme's are hit and miss but this Monday's meme's might be one of the best that they have come up yet.

A blast from the past became a facebook friend. Kathy Welsh worked at Record Realm back in the late 70s and every guy including myself had a crush on her.  She would have made a beautiful pin up doll. Still stunning in her 50s, she moved to California got married and had twins along the way.  Somehow she found my FB site.  Still a sweetheart.

Better off alone just ask Steve Earle.  His new album is now out although Best Buy did not have it.  Terra-plane, produced by R.S.Field (John Mayall, Webb Wilder) and showing more of a blues side to Earle, but also he wrote a song called Better Off Alone, which means that his 7th wife Alison Moorer and him are now separated.  I think Alison was with Steve when he played Iowa City last year but as they say, together we grew apart.  Perhaps the part of touring and raising a autistic son may have also strained the relationship.  Sometimes it's like that in life, sometimes you can find the perfect partner to help you through life, and sometimes you have to go through 3 or 4 or even 7 or 8 to find the right one, or maybe you never do. Some folk needs somebody in their life, others prefer to be alone.  Being a musician/record collector/hoarder also can play havoc too.  Problem is that sometimes your better half tries to change you into somebody else.  Which doesn't work.  And never will.  Steve is doing quite well being the hard core troubadour on his radio show on Outlaw Radio  and of course being a top notch voice of the generation.  He's a restless spirit and maybe he'll find a new love and wife number 8.  Better off alone?  That depends on who you ask.   And we wish Alison Moorer the best of luck on life's highway.

I guess they'll moving new releases to Friday now, instead of being the last in line on Tuesday.  Of course, Bob Lefsetz, well nothing left to say, ends up bitching about that and those who buy vinyl or CDs don't impress him, which makes me think if it doesn't bother him, why does he continue to bitch about it?

As the years go by, and new music not impressing me that much I tend to, like every other online music blogs go back to different places and times. 25 years ago, I would make trips out to the mall and hang at Camelot Music and buy out the cutout CDs at 7.88 or the lesser known at 3.88 and ended up getting most of Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry's albums that way.  35 years ago, cable came into our house and I spent countless hours watching Video Concert Hall and Night Tracks and old black and white comedy shows.  And worked as a small time gas sales associate at Marion 76 and being enshrined with any young woman with curves and sunshine smile.   Basically after graduating from high school, I basically fucked off about three years of my life and have been trying to play catch up ever since.  As time goes by, the names of them girls that I wished for a date for have become faded or blurry or messed up.  I'm sure they don't look like that anymore, neither do I for that matter.  But think a while and faces from the past come out of the deep ends of your mind and you can see them again.  The girl at Record Bar that would always smile and wink at me after making a sale. The chatting petite woman at Radio Shack that slightly touched my arm after a pleasant conversation. The world of a shy boy who would fantasied about a date with one of the two while playing albums on lonely weekend nights I remember quite well.  Looking back I think I had chances of dating a few more girls if I wanted to, but my world revolved around records and music.  Then I tried to play catch up and that didn't work very well;  the 80s and most of the 90s I was the dateless wonder.  Didn't help that much that when I did ask somebody out, it never lasted more than a couple dates and that was it.  Really 1980 was a year of discovery of new things and the new medium known as satellite TV and cable, and going to the mall and spend most of my check on video games at Lindale Mall.  Or see what new releases was out at Record Bar and trying to maintain eye contact with the winking sales clerk which my mind was looking elsewhere.

And now Rob Sheffield's look at Rush:

And the continuing tax where it hurts, Emperor Branstad signed into law a 10 cent gas tax increase which they say will repair roads and bridges but we all know that they'll vote themselves a raise in pay and more roundabouts for accidents to happen. In the meantime gas prices have continued to go up and up, from 1.79 to now 2.35 a gallon thanks to the usual excuses of pipeline maintenance and  and spontaneous combustion as tank cars blow up and pipeline leaks causing ecological harm.  The only thing good out of this, is that Obama vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, which one company has pulled their dirty oil out of this forthcoming money pit.  To which Bitch McConnell, pockets full of Koch Brothers and Big Oil bribes is screaming about unpatriotic the president is. And the loss of 23 permanent jobs.  Whereas, here in the great Midwest, we continue to feed Big Oil, and the GOP with yet another tax hike which we can't pay our bills in the first place. In a perfect world, the assholes who voted for this would get voted out but judging from the last election, the lazy folk will vote sitting on their ass, while Koch Industries continue to get the voters out, by basically bribing them so they can vote for the 1 percent party. And the one percent continue to get richer. 

And I always had a wondering mind. (sorry hon, I wasn't paying attention ;-) )
Which reminds me to tell you that Blogger is changing their adult content policy of posting sexually explicit photos on March 23rd.   Which is explains if anybody complains about certain pictures this could be taken down, or this becomes a private blog.  Judging by the ratings and readership Record World is a half step above private anyway.  This might also explains the disappearing Ivy Doomkitty  photos from various blogs. Here one minute gone the next although the pictures that came from my personal collection have disappeared entirely and none of the St Louis or Steve Earle concert photos were explicit.  It's annoying to see those gone and it's a bitch to try to find them and post them back up if I hadn't deleted them from my camera.  Since 2006, Blogger has been the choice home after My Space lost it's luster and most of my blogs prior to February 2008 where some classic stuff went into the great black hole in cyberland, lost forever.  While some adult content pictures seemed to fit the mood, none I would think would be that bad, although the picture about the protesting girl saying she gets more than the GOP did get airbrushed off one of the blogs that I had up a few years back. But let's face it, we really don't have freedom of speech like we used to.

The intention of Record World is basically a peek of what's going on in my world be it music, records or who died and once in a while Ivy Doomkitty, the cos player devine. But for every 9 people that agree or like what you read, there's always that 1, that's either complaining about the slightest thing, or trolling to make anonymous negative bullshit that makes me rewrite the rules of comments here.  Or the 1 that throws in porn association comments in the keyword search as well.  Do I have to change of how I word things?  Do I have to change record porn to record art since that 1 person didn't get the joke?   Does the photo of the Look In My Eyes Dammit Cos player have to be taken down since I can't use it to do a funny observation?  Is the bicycle race girls posted a couple weeks ago so offending that while the majority call it art, some call it porn? Have we lost our sense of humor to the point that we can't comment on anything anymore?  Is showing off any new record finds going to cause chaos and bedlam in here?  Hell it ain't worth it, not with minimal readership.  Record World is not even a dust spot in the internet world.  Once in a while I'll write up a blog that was get noticed (Swinging Steaks, Mom's Apple Pie) and might get commented on or bring a link from a website to get folks to read it, but 99 out of 100 blogs go by without any notice.  And Natalie Monet (number 6 on the most used keyword) nor Ivy (number 3 on the list) haven't brought in the readers either. 

The fact of the matter is the pride of posting the lost 45s, you can only find here at Record World.  But it's a hobby, a show and tell of sorts, and the Singles Going Steady blogs are not high rated sellers either.  The latest installment, despite promoting it only brought in 20 viewers from the world.  Which makes me think that maybe they did put me in private mode.  Although I'm sure Blogger's new rules is geared to shut down the naughty sites or turn them adult and private is a good thing and perhaps clean up their website. Beauty and content is in the eye of the beholder and reader I guess. Which means the bicycle girls may have to go riding into the sunset, unless they cover up.  Or have somebody edited out the eye girl below to slightly above the neck.  Then you won't be detracted as she points and say LOOK IN MY EYES DAMMIT!


Led Zeppelin-Physical Graffiti (Swan Song 1975)

The big story is the reissue of this 2 record classic with a bonus CD of 7 songs of alt mixes or demos and since I rather much have the original album in tact, my observation is that the original album is a necessity, the expanded edition a luxury you can live without, unless you're hard core, then it is for you. Go get it.  That said, P.G. is one of the most definitive 2 record sets ever released, rivals to Exile On Main Street or Hampton Grease Band Music To Eat so to speak.  I always thought that the original album mix kept the record at bay, Custard Pie screams to be heard all the way up, The Rover rides a rockin groove and In My Time Of Dying remains a all time favorite.  What's amazing about this track is how John Bonham really simplifies things without complications, you really have to be a seasoned drummer to either hesitate or omit the snare on the third bar.  A lot of the songs on Graffiti came from other sessions earlier in the 70s but somehow work better, Houses Of The Holy sounds more at home here than it would have on the namesake album.  If you want funky rhythms Trampled Underfoot works quite nicely and the Wonton Song comes close.  The sweet country swing of Down By The Seaside, the 50s throwback rockabilly of Boogie With Stu (with a little help from Ian Stewart with a nod at Richie Valens) the folk eclectic of Black Country Woman, and Side 4 of Night Flight and ending with the rocking Sick Again makes me think that perhaps P.G. might be even better than Exile On Main Street,  I don't think there's a minor track anywhere on this record except maybe the Jimmy Page instrumental but I think it's pretty damn good here.  Believe it or not, my least favorite song is everybody's favorite, Kashmir which really ushered in a new type of metal that would lead to other imitations of that style (Stargazer from Rainbow is almost identical, Richie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio really studied Kashmir). I do not hate Kashmir, it's damn good, I just don't play it thanks to Corporate Classic Rock Radio doing that for me.  I rather listen to Custard Pie, or Time Of Dying or the reflective Ten Years Gone, which reminds me of the one that got away.  This is a band collective effort and John Paul Jones is just as valuable to Zep as was Page's guitar, Plant's vocals and Bonzo's drumming, it's him driving the band on Trampled Underfoot, it's him at the haunting beginning of In The Light and it's him shaping up the counterpoint on Custard Pie.  When Page remastered the album in the late 90s he finally had the technology to make it sound like the true classic it is today and I'm sure the even newer mix is more to the point. Led Zeppelin would never make another album this hard rocking and as good ever again, they only had two left before Bonham drank himself to oblivion in 1980 but Physical Graffiti remains (to me) their best ever. Bob Lefsetz agrees too.  End of the world next.

Grade A+     

The Metronone All Star Bands (Bluebird 1988)

If you're into big band or jazz swings this might be of some interest to you.  RCA back in the old days would put together collective all star jam sessions off and on and it wouldn't be out of the ordinary to have Fats Waller sit in with Tommy Dorsey, or Buddy Rich jamming it with Count Basie and a collection of who's who brings some fun from these sessions which begin in 1937 with Honeysuckle Rose by Waller and Dorsey with the forgotten George Wettling on drums.  The Blues selections are basically easy listening, but things pick up with Buddy Rich leading a Count Basie/Coleman Hawkins/Charlie Christian/Harry James jam through a swinging Bugle Call Rag.and One O Clock Jump.  The historical and final January 3 1949 has a dream lineup of Dizzy Gillespie/Miles Davis/Fats Navarro/Kai Winding/J J Johnson with Shelly Manne pounding away on two wild versions of Overtime to which Shelly Manne never seems to get enough credit for being a legendary drummer himself.  They just don't make them like that anymore, nor the All Star jam sessions that made swing jazz listenable back then.
Grade A-

Ahmad Jamal-Tranquility (Impulse 1968)

Jamal has been very underrated over the years.  While best known for But Not For Me, a album that came out enos ago on Argo and part of the Chess Masters reissues, Jamal has worked best in a trio format and every album that I have heard has been just about picture perfect.  This late 1968 issue has Jamal trying out a couple of Burt Bachurach numbers (I say a little prayer for you, The look of love) although with mellow themes and it's quite nice to hear.  Side 2 containing the progressive jazz sounding of the title track and Manhattan Reflections gives me visions of Rick Wakeman for some reason.  The moody bass drum beginning and end of the title track and Jamal's interweaving with bass player Jamil Nasser on M.R.makes the second side essential listening for jazz improvisation.  It's argumentative but I tend to think Ahmad's years with ABC Impulse was his classic period.  Tranquility makes a valid point about that.
Grade A-

Rockin' Instrumentals (Cornerstone/MCA 1998)

When I was growing up, I tend to favor specialty songs, or instrumentals, most could be heard before the top of the hour on the AM stations years ago and today, the folks at Underground Garage will use them before a has been rock star or DJ pops up to bore you with useless blabbing.  Cornerstone Marketing, had two of them out before the turn of the century, one was more pop, this one more rocking although Lawrence Welk's Calcutta is about as rocking as Vaughn Monroe's Swinging Safari which was once used for the opening of a game show.  Being square as Mr. Champagne Welk or Square Pants Vaughn was, I actually enjoyed the hook to Safari and find some guilty pleasure in Calcutta. Anything that was hit instrumental in the late 50s and early 60s is right here and where else can you have Al Hurt's Java hanging with the In Crowd by Ramsey Lewis, Lonnie Mack's Memphis, Ray Anthony's Peter Gunn Theme (although the hard rumble of Duane Eddy's version is missed, but I grew up with both versions on singles) and Link Wray's Rumble, the only thing hard rock that Archie Beyer issued on his label and regretted releasing it. And that's on disc 1.  Disc 2 has a bit more cheese (Fifth Of Beethoven, White Sliver Sands, Hawaii Five O and the aforementioned Welk/Monroe tracks) but also has the cowbell laded Grazing In The Grass, the surf classic Pipeline and the rare long version of Time Is Tight by Booker T and The MGs, to which perhaps the shorter single version would have been a better choice.  In a nutshell, Rockin Instrumentals shows how wild and varied the songs could be for two minutes and playing riffs without words. Unless you count somebody yelling Tequila.  Or the Heh heh hehs of Watermelon Man.
Grade  A-

Blackberry Smoke-Holdin' All The Roses (Rounder 2015)

For all the comparisons to new country, Blackberry Smoke is more akin to The Georgia Satellites or Dash Rip Rock and Kentucky Headhunters; hard southern rock with a more attention to detail in the song lyrics.  Charlie Starr boasts another positive, he sounds like a southern Dave Edmunds as well.  Taking pot shots at Dallas Davidson and the Peach Pickers in particular, Let Me Help You Find The Door is a big middle finger to bro country Rock And Roll Again leveled at what ever passes for modern rock is another zinger song but perhaps the best of the bunch is Wish In One Hand (Shit in the other and see which one fills up first for you brother), perhaps the runner ups on The Voice or American Idol should take to heart.  Too High might be dedicated to the Smoke themselves.  Credit should be given to Brendan O Brien, who has worked with southern rock bands with good effect before and his production really shines.  Probably the best album of 2015 that I have come across, but that's not saying much, I only reviewed three others.  But I do believe after the year is gone, this will be in my top favorite albums of the year.  Music I can relate to.
Grade A-

Tim Buckley (Elektra 1966)

In his short recording career (his son Jeff's was even more shorter and more influential, which is debatable) Tim has proven to be a very eccentric and a very erratic recording artist but on his debut album, he is presented as a folk artist.  And perhaps out of all of his Elektra and Straight/DisCreet albums, his first is the most listenable.  Starts out with the hippie dippy I Can't See You but Buckley does let loose what would be his trademark high tenor screams on Strange Street Affair Under Blue and of course failed single Aren't You The Girl.  I actually come to enjoy the moody melancholy of Song Slowly Sung, basically a throwaway but for myself it actually works quite nice.  I found this album used for a dollar and it's been played a few times but out of all of Buckley's albums I like this one the best  although the consensus think that Buckley was being held back by Paul Rothchild's production, which basically sounds a lot like the Doors' debut.  And Rothchild's production can be heard on the majority of the Elektra roster at that time be it Tim, or Love or Jim Morrison.  A good band is backing him up (Billy Mundi, Van Dyke Parks, Jim Fielder and Lee Underwood).  After this album, Tim would slowly rethink his music and turned it upside down on later albums (Starsailor, Lorca, the porn soul of Greetings From LA, the faux soul of his final one Look At The Fool) but for straight folk rock, Tim Buckley the album shows promise and potential.
Grade B+

Howlin Wolf-Live And Cookin At Alice Revisited (Chess 1972)

For the legend that is Chester Burnett, it's a sad fact that he was never recorded in his prime, basically he started late in life anyway but by the time we get to this 1972 live set, Burnett was in ill health although you wouldn't know it by his powerful vocals.  Most of the living Chicago blues sessionmen (at that time) backed him up, Hubert Sumlin, Louis Myers, Sunnyland Slim, Eddie Shaw and Fred Below are present and accounted for.  Instead of recording in a south side juke joint, Ralph Bass decided on a coffeehouse.  Burnett not playing it safe goes for a obscure song list, the best known was Sitting On Top Of The World which was recorded a few times before.  But to prove a point the riffs known for Back Door Man or Spoonful or Burnett's signature Smokestack Lightning are rearranged but with different lyrics.  I would like to say that it would be required listening but it turns out to be  curio for Howlin Wolf fans only. Lead off track When I Laid Down I was Troubled gets off on the wrong foot; either this was their first attempt or they didn't have their stuff together, Fred Below not even on the same beat.  It's rough blues, even Sumlin and Shaw hit a raw and sour note on Sitting On Top Of The World.  And the band never really starts cookin till Don't Laugh At Me comes into play six songs in the album.  The bonus tracks tend to be the better, The Big House and another attempt at Smokestack Lightning in the way of the long and jammed out Mr. Airplane Man ends this on a much better note than the original album version. But there's hardly anything out there of Burnett's live performances and the ones that are out there, are poorly recorded import bootlegs. Which leaves Live And Cookin as the only Howlin Wolf live album worth noting.  Even with the actual product it's buyer beware.  But get the expanded edition, the bonus tracks do help a lot.
Grade B-

Record find of the day::  West Coast Blues  Blind Blake

Steve Warren, owner and picture taker of this album found this at a thrift store for a dollar which may be the find the year for anybody.  Because, it's one of the famed Paramount Records of the late 20s and number 2 and most importantly the even rarer 78 Paramount Record sleeve is harder to find. If the record is in VG or better shape, he can probably get at least 100 up to a 1000 thousand dollars from hard core collectors looking for anything off Paramount Records.  Blind Blake remains one of the most mysterious and famous of the post war acoustic blues and being a top recording star in the late 20s before disappearing  after making his final recordings for Paramount as they were shutting operations down in 1932.  After many many years and many folks trying to find anything of his whereabouts, it was noted that Blake died on December 1, 1934. from TB.  
Another link about Blind Blake:


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