Monday, February 2, 2015

Week In Review: Radio Shack, Don Covay

Rod McKuen passed away last week.  Best known as a poet songwriter singer, his albums continue to be found in balk in dollar bins at the local Salvation Army or Goodwill, most of the best known The Wind.  I never considered much of his music to be the type I listen to, if I remember it was a lot like Rod Stewart but a less tuneful.  Oliver did a version of Jean which Rod wrote.  Which is why I never cared much to listen to McKuen's output.  Didn't like that song very much either.

Don Covay passed away at age 76.  He had been in ill health since suffering a stroke back in the 1990s and never recovered fully from that.  One of my favorite soul singers, Covay had hits like Mercy Mercy, Sookie Sookie (later covered by Steppenwolf-he overdubbed his vocals on a Atlantic single that wasn't on the Razor And Tie best of) and See Saw (later covered by Aretha Franklin).  One of my favorite songs was I Don't Know What You Got But It's Got Me that he wrote and sang backup to Little Richard and featured Jimi Hendrix on guitar, a classic song in its own right. Covay later moved to Mercury Records with I Was Checkin Out When She Was Checkin In and Philadelphia International for No Tell Motel. 

January was a much different month than last year, we didn't get much snow at all and if we did it was a inch here, two there and it would melt the next day but on the 31st we got our teeth kicked in with about 9 inches of the white crap and howling winds on Sunday.  A hectic week at work, once again packaging upper management messed around and on a weekend which they desperately trying to get help to come in and finished the Ohio project, which that Ohio kids needs to have in their procession on Tuesday to do their testing.  Whereas, the fearless ops manager more interested in taking more jobs to his friends up in Paradise Minnesota, the rest of the folk down here being drafted to finish the Ohio project while he wines and dines and cuddles up while stealing being our backs our work that should remain here.  It's like coming to work, and seeing this guy out in front and seeing all the life being sucked out of you.  And makes you want to go up and nut punch him.   I'd like to help out our packaging friends but last time I did that, I ended up getting back spams from lifting heavy boxes from one pallet to another since Charles, the senior down there couldn't keep his states from being mixed up and moving the heavy boxes from one pallet to another and back again.  The kind of ineptness that makes nobody want to be down there.  And my boss telling them that I will not available for any more of that till we get busy in a few weeks.  So perhaps getting a foot of snow might curtail the due date for a couple days but I don't think the Ohio kids would be complaining that much if the tests are late due to Mother Nature's wrath.  To which we have escaped most of the winter till now.  It could be worse, just ask the folks on the east coast.

With February coming up with snow and cold in place we're back to hibernating once again. The vinyl revival in place as more people are rediscovering vinyl  and much to the dismay of the crate digger seeing prices go up again.  The 1.88 scratchy 45 going a bit too extreme and nobody wants a G- 45 of a record with grooves worn off or with cat claws scratches on the record that look deeper than the Grand Canyon.  I guess the supply and demand is also the reason why I haven't found much at the thrift stores, more people are crate digging.  I wouldn't say it's a fad, record has never gone away but the interest returning it will look like more misses than hits.  Somehow the Davenport 45s August Finds has distorted me into thinking I'm going to get another 45 buyathon. It doesn't work that way, I was at the right place at the right time. So basically, we end up getting 14 inches of the fucking white shit snow and snowbound at home for three days.  Not exactly what I wanted but it is winter in Hell town.  There's always a Goddamn snowstorm that starts out as rain than changes over to snow and makes it even worse.  For those thinking about me moving somewhere, let me know if there's a 20 dollar an hour paying job in a red state that will let me live a decent life and I consider it.  The last 100 applications that I filled out I haven't heard back at all.

The obligatory ratings of the month and I cleared 2300 but haven't scored a 100 views since the middle of January although I had two days of 99 views and one 98.  The most read was the Mom's Apple Pie blog, Euphoric Bridge number 2 and the next three archival stuff.  Outside of the TE Radio, I have no plans of redoing a top ten playlist, not a lot requests for it and I'm still replacing or deleting vacant spots where pictures used to be on the blogs.  Pain in the ass actually to continue to replace pictures. Key search words are a joke, I wonder whoever typed in Old photos of Dodge City Prostitutes managed to find anything here of that sort.   Future blogs include the annual Black History Artist, more Forgotten Band's Of The Rock And Roll Era and obituaries.  Somewhere down the line another edition of Singles Going Steady, my tribute to the small black 7 inch singles with the big hole in the middle. Perhaps we're due for another one.

For the Super Bowl, New England wins 28-24.  While it looked like New England was going to run away with the thing, Russell Wilson got Seattle back in the game with a tying touchdown and then in the third quarter engineered the team to a 10 point lead before Tom Brady rallied the team with a go ahead TD pass to Julian Edelmann.  With two minutes left in the game, Wilson drove Seattle all the way down to the New England 3, ready to take the lead when Wilson decided to surprise the Patriots with a pick which Malcolm Butler managed to get in the way and intercept it to seal the New England victory.  Questionable call when you have Marshalle Lynch as power running back and probably would have scored had they decided to run it.  If the pick play would have worked it would have gone down as one of the biggest plays in Super Bowl history but since it didn't, you wonder WTF Pete Carroll was thinking pass instead of running it.  So that will give the Sportscenter folk many a day to question that call.  While the rest of us have better things to do.  As for the commercials, I really didn't pay attention to them, the Nissan Cats In The Cradle spot may have tried for the heart but for a car commercial it was hollow as hell.  The Bud commercial about Micro brew was dumb, I haven't drank Budweiser since a binge drinking in 92 and end up toilet hugging all night.  Can't do the taste of that beer.  The Verizon Can You Top This was senseless.  Even the Doritos empty seat spot was meh.  If any commercial stood out, I didn't see it.  I was too busy switching over the Shrek movie marathon on TBS.

In the archives department, I have come to find  that once again the pictures that I took at Seminole Valley State Park in usual fashion have disappeared from sight which once again pissed me off and therefore I had to find the pictures off my computer to resubmit them and hope to fuck they don't disappear. You can read about my camping night that I didn't figure in here:

Also the Kirksville Photos also disappeared without explanation so I had to look them up and added them for the fifth time again.  You can read about the last bargain hunt in Kirksville here.

Neil Young on the vinyl revival: A fashion statement.  This comes from somebody who's latest 2 LP set sells for 70 dollars new.  Because sound matters right?  I did drop 35 disposable dollars on Le Noise a few years ago and think it sounds good, but I prefer the old days when you could get vinyl new on the super saver series (now a distant memory)

The counterpoint is that PONO, Neil's new found player is that it costs too much, for the device and also for the albums, that sell for 25 dollars apiece at the pono store.  I love Neil Young as much as the next guy but in reality, that's too much to buy for a download.  The reviewer here thinks Young is full of it.  Judge for yourself. 

Is CD's better sounding than vinyl has always been a question to debate.  My take that it depends on the source although in the 2000's the LOUDNESS factor made listening to CDs a painful listening experience.

Vinyl Lovin:

Donald Fagen-The Nightfly (Warner Brothers 1982)

The thing about Steely Dan is that their ultra cool jazz rock of late 70s was classic status.  Although my opinion of Aja has diminished a bit since it's release and Gaucho has gotten better over time, both should be heard of in their entirety at least once.  Fagen's solo career has been releasing a album once a blue moon.  The best remains his 1982 classic The Nightfly which basically is the continuation of what he was doing with Steely Dan starting with Aja and then Gaucho.  But it's not a Steely Dan album, Walter Becker isn't on this. Still a super session set with the late Jeff Porcaro the drummer of choice but also James Gadson, Ed Green plus Steve Jordan lay the beat down, The Brecker Brothers on horns, Larry Carlton and Hugh McCracken (RIP) playing guitar and Valerie Simpson helping Donald out on backing vocals.  I used to get put off by the cover of Ruby Baby (listening to too much punk and metal in my formative years might had something to do with that) but I tend to enjoy it more often and IGY (what a beautiful world) makes me sing along with the chorus. New Frontier was one of my favorite videos (Night Flight played it all the time).  And the title track a perfect song about playing jazz on the early morning shift, a true Midwestern fantasy so to speak.  Like Steely Dan, the album is recorded quite nicely by Roger Nichols and mixed by Eliot Schneider.  And produced by the eccentric Gary Katz.  Fagen would disappear for another 11 years before making the followup, which Walter Brecker would produce, which would eventually lead to the return of Steely Dan. Still quite good in its own way and Steely Dan followups but The Nightfly would end up being Fagen's last real true classic album.

Grade A

Hoyt Axton-Road Songs (A&M 1977)

Axton has become a footnote in music history, he wrote The Pusher and Snowbound Friend, songs that Steppenwolf would later cover and Three Dog Night latched on to Never Been To Spain and (um) Joy To The World but he was a singer songwriter going all the way back to the early 60s with recordings on Vee Jay and giving the world Greenback Dollar.  His solo career highlights was with A&M with country top 20 hits When The Morning Comes and Boney Fingers.  He also used some of the finest sessionmen as well, James Burton appears on Boney Fingers, Flo And Eddie on Telephone Booth, the late Mike Botts, Tim Drummond as well as living legends Jim Keltner, Larry Carlton, and Linda Ronstadt who lends her vocal talents on Lion In The Winter and When The Morning Comes.  Axton also did No No Song which Ringo Starr carried to the top twenty on the charts but Ringo didn't have Cheech And Chong adding temptation to the horns break.  A decent sampler of Axton's later day songs although A&M never opted to issue any of his music on any CD compilations (if there were ones out there, they were import only) in the states.
Grade B+

Kate Wolf-Gold In California (Kaleidoscope 1986)

A legend folk singer who passed away at a young age, I have no idea who she was till I found this album for a dollar at Mad City Music X and filed it away and didn't paid much attention to it till after playing Steeleye Span Story that I should listen to her soon afterward.  She's not a don't yell at me singer like a Carrie Underwood but rather a more seduced honey voiced in the style of a Judy Collins or perhaps a Kathy Mathea or Nanci Griffin.  While the consensus tend to favor the Rhino 2 CD Weaver Of Visions (if you can find it used under the 137.99 listing for a used copy seek that out, if it's reasonably priced) Gold In California is compiled by Wolf before her passing in 1986.  While Green Eyes (missing here) is missed, the deeper stuff can be heard on side 3, with the anti nuke The Sun Is Burning and Emma Rose which wouldn't sound out of place on a Sandy Denny album (or Steeleye Span for that matter).  But the songs that defined her are Here In California perhaps the most honest song about love or failed love, and the one that is her epitaph: Unfinished Life to which she still had plenty to give before leukemia silenced her.
Grade A-

Bob Dylan-Shadows In The Night (Columbia 2015)

Bob continues to defy the critics and fans and follow his own muse.  After torturing the public the last few albums with a sandpaper on brillo vocals that made some of his albums for fans only, he rediscovers his voice on this tribute album to Frank Sinatra and believe it or not Dylan's vocals are probably his most tuneful since (who knows) Nashville Skyline? But at age 72 he still croaks and wheezes but he certainly put his heart into this 10 song collection, filled with plenty of Donny Herron's steel guitar and long time bass player Tony Garnier plucks quietly on the acoustic bass.  Like the Mitch Miller tribute Christmas In The Air, this is not rock and roll, it's standard pop and it's a sleepy walk through the whole thing.  Best song is the last one, That Lucky Old Sun which Dylan kinda turns it into the blues in execution.  While critics are falling over themselves either congratulating Bob for trying something new or the rest raking him over hot coals and calling it a joke.  It's not a joke, Dylan put a lot of thought and effort into this.  A slight problem is that it's mostly boring, none of the songs are uptempo.  It's perhaps best experienced late at night if you're in a blue mood or can't sleep. Fun fact: Dylan actually gave this album for free to the folks at AARP.  To which I commend him for his generously.  After all, you may never know this might be his last album (although as long as he is still alive I doubt it).  This record is certainly much better than that Bruce Kulick's piss poor  Metalhead tribute to Frankie five years ago.  To which this record while I certainly don't give a whole thumbs up, it's moved up a notch for having Bob's heart in the right place and then taking the time to really get the feel of them.  Which is what Bob is good at.  He knows his music and his influences. Doesn't translate into repeated listenings but at least Bob earned the right to do his thing.
Grade B

The Ink Spots (Coronet/Premier 1962)

The liner notes say The Original Ink Spots which is debatable, but my Dad had this in his collection for many years and scratched to hell but I managed to find a more better shape of album and even 50 years after the fact, this album does show up in thrift stores left and right.  Best known for If I Didn't Care for Decca many many years ago, this $1.98  release of later day music shows not much thought and musical arrangements to remember, basically the same melody is played on Clementine and Honeymoon as well as We'll Meet Again and Maybe.   Basically this album sounds like it was recorded quickly and in a day.  No mention of musicians or even the Inksters themselves anywhere. But I don't think it's all a lost cause; the gospel/comedy rapping on When The Saints Go Marching In still worth a listen. But it's still lower a half grade for no annotation.   And anybody under 50 years old won't see the need of it anyway.  Except living a part of childhood that we can never get back.  Memories.
Grade C+

Bon Jovi-Slippery When Wet (Mercury 1986)

It's pointless for me to review this with a straight face but I'll let George from Only Solitaire review it, but this is the record that blew open Jon's big popularity in rock music.  Watered down Springsteenisms cliche chorus and lyrics but music with hooks and easy to sing along, even if you can't stand Wanted Dead Or Alive or You Give Love A Bad Name. The songs continue to terrorize classic rock radio. 

Grade C

Late to press.

Radio Shack has filed for bankruptcy which will probably close the rest of the stores, except for some that will branch out in a deal with Sprint.  I have a love hate affair with Radio Shack, although for many years I used a Realistic cassette recorder which gave up the ghost 20 years later.  Problem was that cassette player recorded things faster than normal players which the playback on other players the sound would be much slower. I brought a Console Cassette Recorder Stereo in 1979 that lasted a good while too.  Radio Shack would be the place to go for reel to reel tapes and a few other things.  I recall striking up a conversation with a good looking woman there in the early 80s but never really followed up upon asking her out.  I seem to repeat that process a few hundred times in this life. Although the old Radio Shack in the old Target Strip Mall is now long gone, The Home Depot is in its place, a newer Radio Shack opened up over by Bed Bath And Beyond but I've never set foot in that store.

Gary Glitter, the pedophile singer famous for Rock And Roll Part 2, part of the Jock Itch Jams has been found guilty of child sex crimes and probably will spend the rest of his life in jail in England.  Better there than in Cambodia or Vietnam where they would have executed him.  A long time ago, I used to like Gary; his 1973 album Glitter on Bell Records was not bad but I think the overplayed Rock And Roll Part 2 and then his scandalous sex acts with underage kids sickened me and whatever Glitter albums I had, I donated away.  Still, sports arenas and college towns would continue to stockpile Glitter's royalties everytime The Hey Song got played.  With this guilty verdict, perhaps it's time to retire that song from ever being played again.  Or have the royalties from Glitter go to the victims of his crime.  But I rather never hear that song again.  Especially when it comes from a POS that is Gary Glitter.  May we never mention his name ever again. 


2000 Man said...

Man, that Super Bowl - I hate both of those teams. Seattle was looking like they might be the worst team to ever win a championship, but they're so arrogant they fucked it up. I love Fagen's Nightfly. Steely Dan is one of those bands where I like all their albums, for the most part. Everything Must Go is kind of a turd, but Two Against Nature was a great surprise and I really love it. Hoyt Axton wrote some good songs, but remember back in the 70's and 80's he was on TV shows all the time? He was on an episode of WKRP where Jennifer thought he wanted her to marry him. I always thought he'd have been a great lovable loser on Rockford Files, but I don't think that ever happened.

R S Crabb said...

The Super Bowl was as advertised although we had a foot of snow and the roads closed everything up, I ended up watching most of it. Even with Seattle on the 2, I still thought New England would pull it out. Basically Pete Carroll slit his own throat on that. I didn't pay attention to Katy Perry or the return of Missy Elliot on the halftime show.

I agree with you on the Steely Dan albums, Two Against Nature was a nice comeback album Everything Must Go, ho hum. The Nightfly is flawless. I recall the WKRP show which Axton appeared and sang two songs. I'm surprised that When The Morning Comes was his only top 100 chart placing single (#54 in 1974) while Boney Fingers made it only on Country Charts. When The Morning Comes was his only number 1 hit in Canada. But I always enjoyed him as an actor too, probably the best known part was in Gremlins. Hell of a songwriter too.

TAD said...

Hey Crabby -- Steely Dan's GAUCHO has two great songs: "Third World Man" and the GORGEOUS title track -- the tune to which they later admitted was stolen from Keith Jarrett. Still, that song was good enough to make me buy the album. Everything I've heard off NIGHTFLY was pretty good, but that's only 2 songs. Last time I saw a copy, they wanted more than I wanted to pay.
Pete Carroll's play call at the end of the Super Bowl has to be the worst in SB history. At least Pete admitted that HE made the call, but later he said "Yeah, we were gonna have Marshawn run it in -- but not on THAT PLAY." Now he's all about Thinking Positive for the future....
Sheesh, just two yards away from a repeat....

R S Crabb said...

Hiya Tad

The NBCSports Network showed the recap of the game and the line of thinking was that the Patriots' D was stacked up nine deep to combat Marshall Lynch if they ran the ball. Thus Carroll decided to pass, which may have worked had the Seattle WR would have got to the ball before Butler got there. I think it was a timing play. Had Wilson thrown the ball more to the right, it might have worked. But we'll never know. A painful pill to swallow if you're rooting for Seattle.

The Nightfly seemed to be in a trilogy of what Aja started and Gaucho followed with, but without the other guy in Steely Dan. IGY would sounded at home on Gaucho. But I like the coolness of the title track which sounds similar to Deacon Blues and even the lesser stuff like Goodbye Look and Walk Between Raindrops, Donald Fagan worked his butt off in creating that sound. I found the LP for a dollar years ago and do have the CD too. The CD sound is quite good, better than the LP. Kamirkad the followup isn't as good but I think I enjoy it more than the next two efforts Morph The Cat and the last one which I can't think of the name. If you can find The Nightfly reasonable I would say pick it up.