Friday, March 27, 2015

Week In Review: Records, Hawks, Ted Cruz sucks

A bit of unfinished business, AJ Pero Twisted Sister drummer passed away at age 55 from a heart attack.

John Renbourn, from the Pentangle and solo years was one of the better acoustic guitarist the world has known but when he didn't show up for a concert and when they went to his home, they found him dead from a heart attack.  He was 70.

Loretta Lynn finally played at the Paramount last night before a capacity crowd.  It was a family affair as her son, and grand daughters played the show.  A classmate of mine Donna Grant was kind enough to take pictures of the show, with Loretta looking grand than ever.  I wonder if Loretta played anything off Van Leer Rose.

The NCAA tourney's have come and gone and the biggest disappointments came from Iowa once again.  The lucky team is UCLA, a season which they got in at a higher than what they should have been rating and won the SMU game on a technicality.  However, the biggest loser was Iowa State which got upended by one point to Alabama Birmingham to which game two UCLA blew that team out. If the scrip goes to plan Gonzaga will beat them.  Which leads to Iowa finally winning their first NCAA game since 2001 by playing their best game against Davidson, and then turned around and Gonzaga politely showed them the door in a 19 point win.  Iowa never lead, starting things right off the wrong way with a turnover and the rest was history. Still the NCAA is Kentucky's for the winning, any upsets would be the major one.   In the NIT's Richmond ended Arizona State's miserable season. Which lead to Herb Sendek getting fired two days later after being ASU coach for 9 seasons and having 2 NCAA and 4 NIT appearances  The ASU team underachieved, the high point them beating Arizona in Tempe and downside getting their ass handed back to them in Utah and Colorado. Getting back to Iowa, they haven't been to the sweet 16 since Tom Davis' last year as coach as AD shit for brains Bob Bowlsby (now big 12 Commish) forced Davis out.  And Iowa still is paying for Bowlsby' mess.  Here's hoping next year's Hawkeyes will improve but it won't be easy.  Aaron White's career is done.

On the plus side the Iowa women are going to the Sweet 16 with a 88-70 win over Miami, as the Bethany Doolitte/Melissa Dixon/Samantha Logic farewell tour continues.  Overcoming a cold shooting first half, the Hawk girls lit up the usual dormant  Carver hawkeye baskets with 75 percent shooting in the second half.  And for their effort, gets to play Baylor this Friday.  And they lost 81-66 in a game they never led and had some behemoth man-woman center break Bethany Doolittle's nose.  Sam Logic gave her final triple double performance of her career but it wasn't enough.  It's too bad that we didn't have somebody come off the bench and give Sune Agbuke a punch where the sun don't shine after that non called elbow that she threw that broke Doolittle's nose.  The Hawks only had seven FTs attempted all game whereas Baylor had something like 15 or 16. Coach,Kim Mulkey's happy to know that the refs were on her side all game.  Nevertheless the Hawkeye Women had a great season.  Sad way to see it end when them playing against 8 players.

The big news from here is that Rod Stewart, long time vocalist who's best records are still the ones he cut with Mercury and that side project called Faces is coming to the Five this summer.  To which rumors of a Faced reunion might be forthcoming but Ian McLegan's death pretty much shattered it being a real band (Ronnie Lane checked out years ago) but the nostalgic folk will pony up dollars to see that.  Stewart hasn't done much since then, whoring himself out on the Great American Songbook and his last return to rock album Time was a mixed bag, more meh than yeah.  Over the weekend Heart appeared here as well.  I didn't go to that, I went to Davenport to waste a nice day (perhaps Friday and Saturday would have idea days to do Madison since Monday a late winter storm postpone going up there, thus starting up the here comes the crappy storms to fuck your trip up season) and to see if Bob down at Ragged Records would give me the green light to see his hidden 45s collection upstairs.  However, Bob said it would have preferable to give him a few days notice that he could clear space up there, which made me wonder if this is even worth the effort.  I don't doubt there may be lots of clutter upstairs but give a month notice for the next time might be even overwhelming for me.  So basically I ended up getting the new James McMurtry Complicated Game 2 Record set for 27 dollars and left it at that.

Since the August jackpot finds, each trip since then has not has as rewarding.  And of course the scavengers were out and about more often than not and I ran into one at the Salvation Army as he looked at an old Just For Fun scratched up 45 that was done by Bones Howe and mentioned he could have sold that for 50 dollars via Ebay had it been in better shape.  It's guys like him that makes bargain hunting a bit more harder to find for records of note, if anything comes up rock and roll, the album is usually scratched, the cover is moldy and looked it was in a flooded basement.   While the scavenger left there empty handed, I found some off the wall DJ promos and odd stuff that are byproducts of an era of music nobody cares about anymore.  The best of the bunch may be used for Singles Going Steady but the only interesting thing was a Jack Scott picture sleeve of Goodbye Baby/Save My Soul (Carlton 493) minus the record.  For six records I ended up paying 2 dollars for, most might be re-donated later on.  But for the most part, the same old Juke box country records of the 80s were still there at The Salvation Army, and probably will be there next time I'm back in town.  Just like that Jimmy Webb Cd that I donated six months ago and is still there today.

The love affair with Samantha Fish is over.  I used to get emails from RME, the Davenport outfit that would tout of forthcoming shows but most of the things I get in the hotmail addy is the usual ED drugs bullshit and countless spam of winning the Nigeria Lottery or shady business deals.  And half the time, the old out of date computer freezes up due to Hotmail's commercials that make things run even more slower.  While this was going on, Samantha Fish came back to The Redstone Room on March 13th to a filled with capacity electric performance.   She's still promoting Black Wind Calling and I know it would have been a great music show but once again with no promotion about it up here, I knew nothing about it.  Perhaps she can make an effort to drive up 61 to 30 to Cedar Rapids and play here once a while, maybe Bluesmore?  I'm game but she's not returning my phone calls or emails.

Kathy Welch was the lovely record girl at Record Realm that everybody in town had a secret crush on myself included.  Still lovely in her mid 50s she has since moved out of town and done all the things people do, get married have kids but she's started up her own little shop of jewelry and even specialty sandals.  Like all my friends I try to give props and promote their business whenever I can.  Here's hers.  

Gary Overton, the clown President of Sony Music Nashville stepped down.  If you don't get played on country radio you don't exist comment he made started a backlash and may have played a role in him stepping down.   Without Miranda Lambert, he would have been gone years ago.

The Library Of Congress added a few more pieces to the national recording registry.  The major albums are note is Sly And The Family Stone 1968 classic Stand!  (Despite the 13 minute Sex Machine, the rest of the record is flawless) Laryn Hill's album after The Fugees broke up, (not into that sort of stuff but it is worthy of inclusion of hearing Hill when she had her shit together before falling off the deep end), Steve Martin's Wild And Crazy Guy (1978 comedy album with King Tut although Let's Get Small is his classic moment), Radiohead OK Computer (I look at this record the way I do with Dark Side Of The Moon, one of the all time classic B albums out there, a must hear but not something I pull out to listen to after that) and The Doors first album (from Break On Through to The End an album way ahead of its time). Other notable recordings includes wax cylinder recordigs of the late 1890s of Benjamin Ives Gilman at the Chicago Fair (1893), Blind Lemon Jefferson 1928's Black Snake Moan/Matchbox Blues (an old Paramount Recording), Agnes Moorhead's Suspense radio theater show of Sorry Wrong Number (1943), A 1945 recording of FDR's funeral (we need another Franklin Roosevelt in the White House to combat the John Birch Tea Party and the one percent party), Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker My Funny Valentine (1953, 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1955, Stand By Me from Ben E King in 1961, Joan Baez 1960 folk album, You Lost That Lovin Feeling by The Righteous Brothers (one of the best Phil Spector productions ever before he became Looney Tunes) and a few others.

And the clown show is coming once again. Scott Walker has been here a few times and now it's official: Ted Cruz, the Canook wants to be president here.  This is where I play the birther card and say provide a birth certificate saying you were a US born citizen, wait you can't.  Republicans give elephants a bad name, the clowns vying for votes and Koch money are Jeb Bush (No more fucking Bushes in the white house, the last one really screwed things up), Donald Trump (wouldn't you like this clown for a President, declaring bankruptcy at least four times) Walker (his comment about union workers compared to ISIS really didn't help his cause) and now Ted (shut the government down) Cruz, today's Joe McCartney, perhaps the worst thing to ever come out of Wisconsin (although Scott Fitzgerald is making a ploy for all time worst). The Tea Party no different than the John Birch Society.  But then again the Democrats aren't much better, touting Hilary Clinton (No more Clintons either) or Joe Biden.  Whoever wins, we all still lose.  Cruz is just a joke, and it rhymes with lose.  Funny thing with the Conserves, they even turn on each other.  Just like Karl (Marx) Rove getting into a shouting match with Glenn Beck.   Which reminds me, this week is the new Ray Stevens album, one part novelty, one part obama bashing, one part pop, the rest all filler.  Even Wally World hasn't gotten that in.

Sunday, while going through the same records at Stuff Etc, a guy told me that Goodwill managed to get some 45s of note in, about 300 and I was in the vicinity, so I made it past the usual 4 stop lights turning red when you get there to Council street and that Goodwill.  The guy was right, there was a tub full of country records from the 60s and 70s.  Scavengers tend to overlook country, but since I grew up in that time I did like a few country records and I did managed to sort out and picked the 14 best suited songs for me.  There was some Johnny Cash (all scratched and played down to the nubs), Jerry lee Lewis (various shapes) Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells and so on but I did pick up a couple Buck Owens 45s that weren't too bad in shape, a couple Jim And Jessie, couple Dave Dudley's and some odds and ends, nothing exciting.   Perhaps I'll use them for a Singles Going Steady Country Sides blog.  The rock stuff was rare and I really didn't want a Winchester Cathedral single but for a country haul, it worked out okay.

Rod's Reviews:

Red Simpson-The Man Behind The Badge (Capitol 1965 thereabouts)

Oh, BTW whoever had the country singles donated a bunch of country albums, I did have the Buck Owens albums and the Jim Nesbitt Truck Driving Cat With Nine Lives LP had a scratch that made me put it back but I settled on this concept album from Red Simpson, who is better known for I'm A Truck and did have a best of that Diesel Only issued years ago on CD.  Simpson back then wrote a lot of songs for Buck Owens which is why he was on Capitol, back then labels actually supported the artists.  On this album Simpson salutes the men in blue in 12 songs about policemen.  Best song is Johnny Law, the familiar guitar sound of Don Rich playing and help from the Buckeroos themselves (Doyle Holly co wrote Johnny Law), the rest just what you expect from a concept album of 1965 saluting the men in blue. Perhaps Bruce Springsteen may have heard this album while penning Highway Patrol, which is by far anything better on The Man Behind The Badge but still with Ken Nelson's great production work and the Buckeroos (or whoever was backing Red up) impeccable playing, it's probably worth that 1.68 cutout price just to hear this. But if you do find this album, play 25 Years In Patrol and compare it to Neil Young's Southern Pacific, a song about a guy whose time in his profession has come and gone.  Even throwaway songs have a message if you listen closely.
Grade B-

Free-Heartbreaker (Island 1973)

My favorite Free album is also the one that doesn't have the late Andy Fraser playing bass on it. But then again Free was more inconsistent than Bad Company despite the latter's Rough Diamonds or Burning Sky but the former's Free At Last was one boring mess outside of Little Bit Of Love.  Reviews of Heartbreaker were mixed and toward the negative, but for these ears I actually enjoyed the lesser known ballads that John Rabbit Bundrick did on side 2.  On a whole, the album does showcase the breakdown and breakup of the band due to Paul Kossoff's bad habits, and Bundrick and Paul Rodgers punching each other out in terms of who was leading the band.  Kossoff does play on the majority of the album, and gets songwriting credit on Wishing Well although while not credited, that is him playing lead guitar. Kossoff's distinctive tone can also be heard on the title track and Come Together In The Morning, which his druggy lead somehow adds a bit of tone to the ballad.  Tetsu Yamanchi's bass quite nicely follows what Fraser did on previous albums, the chunky riff to Wishing Well, which in classic rock radio world would be played as much as All Right Now.  Wishing Well is the best song, second best is Easy On My Soul, a very mellow song that features a double keyboards from both Paul and John.  Heartbreaker, the song is damn near heavy metal, even if Kossoff wasn't full time, at least he made the most of his efforts with said song.  The original mix didn't appeal to Chris Blackwell and he sent Andy Johns to mix it better, and Johns put together a very bassy and mysterous mix that is part echo and part wow and flutter, in fact the original album I thought the compression made the songs much more harder rock sounding.  Make no mistake, this album you can actually hear the band falling apart at the seems all the way to the closer Seven Angels.   In the end, Heartbreaker is the end of Free and Rodgers and Simon Kirke would move on to a whole new level with Bad Company, where Kossoff would eventually form the Back Street Crawlers before dying in 1976 from heart failure, and Tetsu Yamanchi would replace Ronnie Lane in Faces.  John Bundrick would do a couple solo albums and session work before joining up with The Who but even he said that being in Free was a much better time, despite things falling apart.  The bonus tracks while interesting are not essential although Bundrick's guide vocal for the shelved Hand Me Down/Turn Me Around and minor B side Let Me Show You How (featuring the original Richard Digby Smith's mix, would give a idea how the record would sound like before Andy Johns came in to remix it.).  The album would have been slightly better than Free At Last. Chris Blackwell was right in his judgement to redo the sound recording.  In the end, while the Free fans tend to enjoy Fire And Water or Highway better, Heartbreaker is their finest work as they're being pulled apart by the forces of Rabbit going one way, Kossoff the other (he pitched a hussy fit when Snuffy Walden came on board as second guitarist) and Paul Rodgers riding the storm out along with Simon Kirke's powerful but economic playing.  A minor rock classic of it's own excesses.
Grade A-

James McMurtry-Complicated Game (2015)

While a reviewer at No Depression raved about this being James' best album ever, I'm not that sure or that enthusiastic to do the same but McMurtry has always been a quality singer songwriter the past 25 years, ever since Too Long In The Wasteland to which John Mellencamp gave his blessings and his band to help James.  But this record is much more stripped down than Too Long or anything else for that matter. Lead off track Copper Canteen would be a perfect bro country song for Luke Bryan to cover till he took a deep look in the lyrics and it's not all tanlines, pussy chasing and beer drinking. It's much more deeper than that, it's a song that looks hard and into the soul of somebody who looks at today's kids, and the big box stores that have replaced life the way it used to be.  Rest of the album is not as hard hitting as Copper Canteen but the blows are more than just glancing either.  Ain't Got A Place is kind of a update of I'm Not Around Here and it's interesting to read James' thoughts on some of the songs on the lyric sheet that is on both of this 2 record set that you have to play at 45 RPM (found that out the hard way).  James songs, like his dad's books, are imagines pined in between the grooves and the simple production does enhance the despair and desperation even in the love songs.  In some ways Complicated Game is no different than say, Where You Hide The Body or Just Us Kids, the hour long album comes across like a book or movie.  And it all makes sense to hear it in one setting, up to the end of Cutter which James ends the song with the thought of I don't know what to say to you, I shouldn't judge but I often do, there's really no way to top that, and so it ends.  The cold hard facts of life in those last two lines.
Grade A-

Silver Apples (MCA 1997)

They made two albums for Kapp back in the late 60s, and I recall seeing Contact, the second album in the 44 cent bins but never bought it.  This band features Danny Taylor playing drums and Simeon playing oscillators in different rhythms and sounds.  Very original ideal that nobody ever did back then.  I'm sure the original Kapp 44 cent albums are now worth more in price (Universal reissued the LPs on vinyl a few years back) although the novelty tends to wear thin if you hear both albums on this 2 on 1 CD that is both the first album and Contact)  Hearing You And I gives me visions of Pere Ubu and what Alan Revenstine would do in that band, I think Pere Ubu and David Thomas must have a Sliver Apples Lp in their collection.  Oscillations is their other classic song, even too weird for the hippie dippy generation.  I suspect Simeon may have found a banjo to pluck on, thus giving us a oddball cover of Ruby, the old bluegrass staple.  But next to Trout Mask Replica, Silver Apples' records are avant garde bliss (or torture).  Your choice.
Grade B

The Replacements-All Shook Down (Rhino/Reprise/Sire 2008)

I for one, was never a big Replacements fan, Husker Du was the band of choice.  And through their career the only two albums that appealed to me was Let It Be which still is their classic and the 1987 Pleased To Meet Me, an album that Alex Chilton was supposed to produced but even he was too eccentric or erratic for any value so Jim Dickinson stepped in.   Fast forward to 1991 where the Mats were down to Paul Westerburg and Tommy Stinson and whoever was in the recording studio, the rock numbers they sounded like Rolling Stones (if Ronnie Wood was lead singer, not Mick) but hell Westerberg sounded half bored on this album anyway. But I think All Shook Down was slightly better than Don't Tell A Soul, with the simplistic Merry Go Round being a nice but failed single.  And Torture is torture especially when the Concrete Blond singer starts screeching, Tina Turner Miss Napoliano is not.  The Expanded edition is the one to get, simply of hearing Paul's demos and the alternative reading of My Little Problem and adding a couple songs off the hard to find promo Don't Buy Or Sell It's Crap, which could have been the working title of All Shook Down. Tommy's Satellite is interesting in itself, after Paul broke up the Mats, Stinson continued under the Bash and Pop name and the underrated Friday Night Is Killing Me which Satellite suggests of how that band would sound.  For a band that started out with Sorry Ma Forgot To Take Out The Trash, I could see how that bumpy and decade long run would end with the subdued All Shook Down.  The original album is a B minus but the bonus tracks of the expanded edition does give this a very weak B plus.

Finally, it's been noted how crappy country music has turned into with hack acts like Chase Rice, Florida Georgia Line which has turned into a boom time for the Farce The Music dudes.  This little Craigslist add, is a parody of things but it pretty much sums up the major label requirements to make it on radio anymore.  I have no use for new country, the o has been left off for some time but this humorous add really sums things up.  It could also be used for the now vacant CEO job at Sony Music now that Gary Overton has been jettisoned.  Don't look for better music to come out anytime soon on K HACK, unless somebody builds a time machine and turn music back about 50 years. 

(from a old deleted Craigslist ad)

Major Nashville Record Label seeks Male Recording Artist aged 21-27. Not interested in female acts.

Be at least 5'8 tall, have straight white teeth and at least rudimentary knowledge of basic guitar chords. Preferable if you're new to town, haven't played out very much and aren't working with a Manager. Want to work with clean slate. Have every song needed for first album on hold. If you have your own songs we can talk about that down the road but not necessary. Track listing is below to get you excited for the project.

George Jones & A Mason Jar
Texas Hot Stick
All Y'all
Straight Outta Jerkwater
Beer In A Duck Blind
Hank It Up
Rural Route 69
Damn Girl (The Thigh Gap Song)
Skeeter Bite
17 Miles to Smyrna
Meemaw's Nanner Puddin'

Please send a Youtube/Soundcloud link to your singing and a clear picture. Have the opening spot on a MAJOR late Summer shed/small arena tour already secured so want to be recording ASAP.

  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers


2000 Man said...

I always liked Free better than Bad Co., but they really don't sound all that much different. I need to be in the mood for Heartbreaker because it's kind of a moody and slow album, but Wishing Well is probably their best song, and they've got a bunch of good ones, so that's saying something. Bad Co. just bores me and Paul's career after that is pretty awful.

Ted Cruz, Scott Walker - who cares what the name is. They're just shilling for Koch. Fuck the planet, fuck the middle class, Fuck the future of the US, I'm getting mine! I'm pretty sure that Republican platform hasn't changed since Reagan.

R S Crabb said...

Ted Cruz is a bad parody and I cannot him seriously as anything. It's better to leave somebody else to make fun of him. Reagan was B movie actor and a C level Politician but in the John Birch/Tea Party world Absent Minded Ronnie would be a liberal. If I was president, I'd be taxing Koch Brothers Incorporated a 90 percent tax fee since they're too busy buying elections (Joni Ernst comes to mind).

With that out of the way let us talk music ;)

Now that you mentioned it, Wishing Well is perhaps the only uptempo song off Heartbreaker. The title track to me sounds like a meandering dinosaur. It is a dark, moody affair, even failed single Travelin In Style does sound weary.

Some people do like Free over Bad Company, probably more originality in songs rather than the arena rock blues of Bad Company. What I come to find in Bad Company is that the songwriting got extremely lazy and it really shows up on Burnin Sky. For singers, Paul Rodgers is one of the best and sometimes Andy Fraser or Mick Ralphs could help out a song, but when Rodgers works alone, it sounds like he just reading from a bunch of unfinished love songs cliches. Even the best of Bad Company albums, there's always one or two stinkers that puts me to sleep. I really have no desire to work myself through Rough Diamonds ever again. ;)