Thursday, May 28, 2015

Week In Review: Texas Flood, New Wave Theater

Well, it's been raining down south in Texas and Oklahoma.  Houston Monday Night got 11 inches of rain in 4 hours flooding each and everything in sight.  The river levels have never been so high, Austin got hit, so did Wemberley, a place where a lot of musicians call home.   Perhaps Mother Nature has issues with Greg Abbott, the GOP Idiot governor who been telling people that Obama is ready to invade their state.  I think Greg better worry more about Mother Nature who's doing the invading.  Of course with the chest beating, Abbott would now like the government to step in and help.  To which they, or we the taxpayers will, and then Greg will bitch about Government take over after everything said is done.

The double standard that is the GOP way of thinking has now come down to Jim Bob Dugger and his family, including his son Josh playing the game of incest with his sisters, which the internet blew up with this story.  TLC pulled the Dugger Show 19 Kids And Counting.  Not that I watch TLC, I don't but there's something wrong with this country when you have these Christian abiding Bible Thumpers screaming fire and brimstone to anybody else but if Josh is playing with his sisters they look the other way.  Look for more fun and hi jinx from the Dugger Family as time and years ensued.  I basically wasted enough space on this story anyway.

An afternoon in Davenport again. Deja Vu all over. Quad Cities laid into Kane County 13-4 in front of a sparse crowd, they said about 2500 showed up but most of the place was empty.  Strange for a team with the best record in the minor leagues.  I didn't figure that Kane County would be back up there this soon.  They started out hot with a three run homer and the next inning another Cougar got a inside the park HR, but The River Bandits chipped away at the lead and eventually had a five run 7th to pretty much seal the deal.  Of course the assorted yayhoos showed up, namely the rejects from CMT's Party Down South both teasing home player Bobby Boyd and Kane County's Dane McFarland, who last game damn near killed himself with a amazing catch in foul territory.  Alas McFarland hasn't had much of a hitting season, hitting .062 and going zero for four in Wednesday's game.  I'll probably find myself back in the Quad Cities a few more times before the season is over.  As for bargains, I did find a bunch of CD's for a dollar plus a Chuck Prophet and Alejandro Escovedo's Cds for 20 cents, which means I get to hear The Boxing Mirror all over again and see if it's improves from the original time I heard it.  For 45's I seen a Vicki Lawrence's The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia on Soma before Bell Records took over.  While it was a odd find, I didn't see the need to buy it, and after a half, somebody did buy the Jimmy Webb Suspending Disbelief CD I took down in December.  For records, I found three at Goodwill for 4 dollars, a Kayak Royal Bed Bouncer, Earl Scruggs Review Volume 2 and a Jan Akkerman Atlantic album which I'll never see again.  If nothing, this trip tried my patience, hitting every fucking red light and getting behind some of the worst traffic ever.  When you have 10 straight red lights to deal with, you will lose patience and of course I did.  The Moline Hardee's service sucked so bad, I decided to take my business elsewhere, to Arby's to which some old man tried to take my beef and Cheddar sandwiches.

The 2015 Iowa City Art Festival, for next week, will have Shawn Colvin and Marc Coen on stage Friday Night and The BoDeans on Saturday.  I'll probably sit this one out.  But it is the start of the upcoming summer festival tour to which Cedar Rapids already got entertained by Chicago in a overpriced outdoors show and Steve Miller Band playing the Five Seasons Center last week.

Back a long time ago, when cable TV was the new wild frontier before Charter and Comcast and Mediacom starting buying everything up and making every channel just about the same, there was a weekend program called Night Flight and it could be seen on USA Network before they became the CSI Marathon channel. One of the standout shows from Night Flight was something called New Wave Theater, hosted by Peter Ivers, a very eccentric person that made a couple of albums for Warner Brothers in the 70s. NWT showcased some of the up and coming punk bands of the LA area back in the early 80s.  Standouts included Fear, X and The Blasters who all found a hole via Slash Records at that time.  But it was famous for The Angry Samoans, Bad Religion, 45 Grave and included poetry from a then unknown Henry Rollins. For a couple years New Wave Theater was the underground choice of punk and new wave but unfortunately when Peter Ivers was killed the show died too. Somehow, somebody decided to put all the episodes up for your viewing pleasure and I'm sure the statue of limitations will run out and somebody will yank the shows due to some Corporate greediness. But if you want to see how different this show was and just how opened minded the USA network was back then you can see the show from here:

Record World Pin up Girl: Melissa McCartney

I tend to favor the plus size women of the world as you can tell.  The one's that I had been with were a lot more fun than the skin and bones type that seems to be the rage of the youth.  Ivy Doomkitty gets plenty of lovin here on Record World.  However, Melissa McCartney I think would be a dream date, I like watching Mike And Molly from time to time although I have seen the reruns about 10 more times than usual.   In some ways Melissa does remind me of somebody I went out with years ago all the way down to that mischievous laugh of hers. This season you can see Mike And Molly reruns on the local station and FX.  That dream date is a dream anyway, the lucky guy is Ben Falcone, her husband.  Oh, did I mention that he's one lucky guy? He is ya kno?

Some reviews of note:

Blindside Blues Band (Blues Bureau 1993)

For myself there are two types of blues that are known around here, one is the Chicago blues that is pretty much nonexistent and the second is the show off blues of guitar players playing lead at every given chance of song played.  The Blindside Blues Band fits in the latter.  Kind of a all star band, this features Jeff Martin on drums and Greg Chalsson on bass, both have played in Badlands, Jack E Lee's band of the early 90s when they were on Atlantic and Chalsson was part of Leatherwolf.  Scott Johnson and Mike Onesko are the guitar players who duel each other on the 10 songs of this debut album.  What I find about this album is that...anybody who has been on any of Mike Varney's label be it Shrapnel or Blues Bureau is that Varney tends to favor the show off lead guitar work that has made certain albums from Craig Erickson a bit hard to listen to.  Onesko does showcase a Johnny Winter guitar lead but also I hear Frank Marino as well as Scott Johnson, no relation to the Gin Blossoms' guitar player.  From the opening notes of Bad Premonition to the ending of Winner Takes It All, this is in your face hard rock blues with plenty of screaming guitar.  I tend to get bored with this style very quickly although Hit The Highway and perhaps Back Against The Wall is worth hearing once or twice more.  I tend to like my blues a bit more melodic and less chaotic.
Grade C+

Sam Lay Blues Band-I'm The One (Superbird/Cherry Red 2009)

This is more to my liking of blues.  Sam Lay is best known for The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and playing drums on Howlin' Wolf's 1962 Rocking Chair album.  And at 80 years old continues to play the blues, but this 2009 album does show with the right backing of band, you can still make a good blues album.  Lay's vocals is somewhat akin to Eddie Taylor or to a lesser extent Muddy Waters but he does do a good cover of Taylor's Ride Em On Down, or Both Sides Of The Fence.  Billy C Farlow is a underrated harmonica player and producer guitarist Fred James puts his heart and soul into product, he even wrote the liner notes to this album.  It's the instrumentals that make this record go, Lay put his trademark shuffle into (what else) The Sammy Lay Shuffle and Alabama Crawl.  CD adds six bonus tracks, including a more jazzed up Poison Ivy that's better than the album take and three more instrumentals to shake em on down.
Grade B+

Mark Knopfler-Golden Heart (Warner Brothers/Mercury UK 1996)
                         Shangri La (Mercury 2005)
                         Tracker (Verve/Mercury 2015)

I always enjoyed Dire Straits as a guitar based band of the late 70s and early 80s but with something changed him after the success of Brothers In Arms and by the time On Every Street came out, it was basically Mark Knopfler and company.  He tends to stretch them out too, the songs that is.  Golden Heart is no different than On Every Street or Sailing To Philadelphia but gawd I wish he would cut out the Celtic stuff and leave that to The Pogues.  This record he employ a lot of Nashville session people (Eddie Bayers, Chad Cromwell, Richard Bennett) and even Vince Gill pays a visit to add vocals too.  I tend to think Mark would like to be as laid back as say, Eric Clapton or even more so the late great J J Cale but the major difference is that Cale knew when to end the song, whereas Knopfler tends to drag them out.  Are We In Trouble Now would be great to hear had Jim Reeves been alive to record it or perhaps Vince Gill himself.  I enjoy Mark more when he ups the beat (Imelda, Don't You Get It) but most of the time Mark is contented to just play at slow to midtempo beat.  Which can be a double edge sword, as it is on this hour long 14 song collection.
Grade B

9 years later, Knopfler was riding somewhat of a successful streak, he would later have Emmy Lou Harris help out on All Of The Roadrunning which really benefited him more.  He could make good albums but he tends to drone on and on with those slow numbers and Celtic numbers to which is on his latest album Tracker (reviewed next week) but on Shangri La, he tells the Celtic folks to take a album off.  Still working with some choice Nashville Sessionmen (Chad Cromwell returns, so does Glen Worf and Richard Bennett), Mark doesn't alter the formula that made him successful with Dire Straits.  You get the usual slight uptempo numbers (Boom Like That), blues and shuffles (Donegan's Gone, Song For Sonny Liston) and plenty more slow songs that are perfect to drive home after a hard day at work.  Of course Our Shangri-la is the best of the slower numbers on this album.  But the problem remains that Knopfler works in a CD format rather than a LP format, instead of working up 9 songs for about 40 minutes, he ups the ante to 14 songs that total 56 minutes, which made Golden Heart hard to stay awake to. But on the plus side, it does get a B plus simply of the fact that the penny whistles are not on this album.  One of his better solo efforts and worth a listen if you find it for a dollar like I did.
Grade B+

If you take Knopfler's career in stride, he really does not rock all that much, perhaps he never did if you consider his Dire Straits career although once in a while Pick Withers would up the tempo or Terry Williams kick him in the ass on Twisting By The Pool, but if you accept his easy listening type of music it does have its moments.  Tracker, is no different from Privateering or Shangri La but if you play it at the right time of day it might move you.  Of course the Celtic stuff is there on lead off song Laughs & Jones & Drinks & Smokes but on Tracker, Knopfler moves back to England.  Usually Chuck Ainsley has produced in the past but on this effort Mark and long time cohort Guy Fletcher produces and this does sounds like Mark was more comfortable working this way rather than heading to Nashville.  There's a bit more of a swinging beat at times (I can't call it rock and roll) on songs like Beryl and bonus track Terminal Of Tribute To.  Fact of the matter is that the bonus tracks do have something to the album up to the minute forty four of Heart Of Oak, to which it's simply Mark and his guitar.  While Privateering was a comeback of sorts, I think Explorer is the better of the two, in fact I'll go out on a limb and say that this album is his best effort since Sailing To Philadelphia.
Grade B+


Singles Going Steady Medley:

Money Too Tight To Mention/Holding Back The Years-Simply Red (Elektra 7-65979) 1985

The two best songs they ever did and they're on a handy little seven inch forty five.  Mick Hucknoll gets points for playing in a Faces reunion without Rod Stewart a few years ago and he had aspirations of being a white soul man but I just can't into the Simply Red albums and singles after Holding Back The Years, which sounds fine on lite rock stations, but I don't listen to lite rock stations if I can avoid it.

Pretty Brown Eyes-The Golden Leaves (Challenge 59375) 1967

Hippy Dippy Muzak.

Good Clean Fun-The Monkees (Colgrems 66-5005)  1969

My goodness, the teenie boppers sure quit buying The Monkees after 1968 it seems.  But in my bargain hunts I have found more of their latter day stuff.  This limped up to number 82 in September of 1969 but in some ways this countrified sound would figure greatly in Micheal Nesmith's venture into country with The First National Band.  Not that he had anymore success than he did with the Monkees, he scored three songs that did hit the top 100, Joanne, the highest chart topper at number 21 a year later.  Nevertheless Good Clean Fun was a far departure than the days of Last Train To Clarksville or Pleasant Valley Sunday.  Perhaps Instant Replay was a better album than The Monkees Present, where Good Clean Fun is taken from. Never heard Instant Replay but I heard Present, and wasn't that fond of it much.  B side Mommy And Daddy is Mickey Dolenz hamming it up.

Song Of The Barefoot Lumberjack/Lil's Grill  Billy Leach (Bally 7-1039)  1957  A number 86 chart showing, it was a product of the times, a folk song with a pop arrangement. B Side Lil's Grill is slightly better, a bit more pop that would fit at home on a Seth McFarlane show.  Ever get the feeling that I tend to buy records that I would have never considered getting when I was younger.  Look for me on a future show of Hoarders-Buried Alive with records nobody gives a shit about anymore.

Jamaica Farewell-Harry Belafonte (RCA 47-6663) 1956

Another artist I never gave much thought about till after I turned 40, Harry has been more pop than calypso although if it wasn't for him doing calypso nobody would have heard of it.  Of course DAY O (the banana boat song) is what Harry will be forever remembered for, but I tend to like this slow sad pop song.  From a batch of 45s that Half Priced Books had up for sale where all of this edition of Singles Going Steady Medley came from, all in fairly good shape (with the exception of Greg Allman's Cryin' Shame-Capricorn CPS 0279) and treated very well by their previous owner.  I tend to think that there's not much out there left to get, unless I feel like putting another 258 miles on the car to retrieve that Vicki Lawrence Soma single of Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia.  Which after careful consideration, I'll let it pass and let somebody else claim it.


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