Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Week In Review: Irish Fest, Halfway Point of 2015

Summer is here, so have been the rains and floods and other outdoor events.  The uptown Amphitheater is being put to good use.  ZZ Top and Blackberry Smoke will be playing outdoors in September.  I am more inclined to see Blackberry Smoke more than that little ole band from Texas.  This week Irish Fest came and went and Devon Allman played that night as well.  Allman who is the son of Gregg Allman has been known to put together a great show.  And the show went on despite 4 inches of more rain and more floods to deal with.  We missed out on Tropical Storm Bill, which you can see the clouds from that storm in the southeastern skies.  Forthcoming shows this weekend in Central City at the Linn County Fair is a AC DC tribute band and Sammy Kershaw and the ageless Leroy Van Dyke doing a afternoon show with Dave Dighton Band.

Here we are at the halfway point of 2015, another year to forgot.  Another year of some dipshit going into a church and shooting innocent blacks who simply were praying for a better world.  Another year of promise falling apart by more bullshit and bad luck.  I can't recall another year which shit fuk luck has been the rule and not the exception.  Another year to try to get better things into the house and on the net to hear net radio stations and Townedger Radio only to have once again, issues to which I couldn't listen to the whole program.  And deciding to pull the plug after the 12th show. Technology has made things better but also the usual demons that screws things up, made it for the worse as well. There hasn't been a happy medium to anything this year.  After trying out the new CD burner and finding that it doesn't even play the GD duplicate CDs  has sucked the fun and life out of me. Why even try anymore? 2015 has been the year of No Fun.  Looking for bargains in faraway towns, only to hit 8 out of 10 red lights and with red lights we get traffic jams and congestion.  Or having some idiot either driving 10 miles under the speed limit, or some Bubba in a Pickup going 90 miles an hour, yacking on a cellphone and weaving in and out of traffic.  I sit back and watch many folks, yacking on a cellphone while driving in cars with one headlight and they don't get pulled over.  However, if you slow and go on a stop sign on a deserted road, only to find headlight pop up out of nowhere and relieve you of 200 dollars, you realize that you are under the frickle finger of fate's butt once again.  Same thing while doing a cancer walk and have a fucking redwing trying to carve their initials in the back of your head.  I think sometime in the near future I'll be buying a gun from the NRA and go shoot the flying bags of shit that poaches along each and every road sign here in Iowa.  I'm not sure where the good times are at, but I do know that for everytime I think I'm going home in a good mood, mother nature will send yet another flying bag of shit upon me and we can relive the attack birds scene just like Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds.  Can't win the lottery or have anything good happen to me, but boy oh boy we can have an angry redwing screeching at me.

And just like that, the GOP clown bus is now stopping here, a year and a half before the next bought out elections and already we have had Rick Perry ads shoved down our throats.  Watching the news isn't much better with Big Pharma annoying the hell out of America with endless drug commercials.  Cable and Satellite TV has never been worse than they are now, bad reality crap on each and every channel. Even The Weather Channel is now Bad Weather Reality Channel.  Up at the car dealership which I got my car serviced on, they have the retired old guy Eldon up there.  He used to be a salesman and a nice guy and I have seen and talked to him the last three or four times up there.  When I do see him, he doesn't remember me, plus he loves to watch Fox News Channel.  Which is why I go around Maquoketa looking for something else to do.  But never in this life that we got so little to see to hear on so many channels that are available to us.  Radio is just as bad if not worse.  I tend to get a bit annoyed to hear the same songs from 30 or 40 years ago. Variety is the spice of life, but repetition is the pebble in your shoe, even if you do get it out, there's one or two more to take its place it seems.

That said, 2015 had its share of decent albums and good music although they have become few and far between.  So far the best record remains Blackberry Smoke Holding All The Roses, Blur The Magic Whip, Delta Moon Low Down and Graham Parker Mystery Glue.  A list that is a far cry from what Rolling Stone, or New Musical Express is touting.  Forty years onward, I have slowed down a lot in terms of checking out new bands.  The overhyped bands tend to have overhyped albums and in the end result got donated back for a few cents on the dollar. Of course it all boils down to if the albums will stand the test of time or just become footnotes and donated stuff at Goodwill.  Even Mark Prindle brings up that Judas Priest Redeemer Of Souls is no better than Black Sabbath's 13, by the numbers heavy metal that doesn't tarnish the reputation of said bands.  Mark didn't say that last sentence but I'm sure he may have thought it that way.   Still, things haven't changed all that much, Apple continues to screw the artist with their lack of royalty payments and Bob Lefsetz continuing to tell us that if you're not streaming and if you're still buying albums and cds, you suck. Ever since getting the new computer I have not paid much attention to his latest rants.  A hoarder always, I have no use for streaming and paying for it, that's why we still have CDs and discman players.  Nice to know Bob can pay or get the new technology, while in my case this new computer is already outdated.  But then again, get too many records and your place can collapse, just like an old antique store in San Diego did.  But then again and again, Lefsetz probably lives in a studio which he could only fit about 100 records or cds in.  Which is why he continues to tout the albums he grew up with and gets pissed off at unsolicited music from the young ones.  If you want to retire get out of the way Bobbie boy, says an old 60's band.

The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame aka Jann Wanner's favorite bands Incorporated have decided to get rid of a few known rock critics and former A and R men in favor of getting hip with the times. The two big names that stood out for me was Greg Geller and Joe McEwan, the latter who put out some great reissues and compilations on Warner Brothers in the 90s and Greg Geller, one of the more knowledgeable guys on R and B acts.  It really makes no sense to continue harping and bitching about how bad the Hall has become over the years, now with Wanner and Jon Landau being larger than life itself and continue to dictate the rules, it makes one cringe to read about who gets in next year.  I'm sure both Geller and McEwan has something to do with getting The Five Royales, a R and B band from the 50s that recorded for King Records indicted and pissing the masses off.  But in this life nothing ever makes sense unless you have plenty of dollars and are related to the success of Bruce Springsteen.  Then again rock and roll hasn't been rebellious since Mitch Miller was doing his sing alongs. And that was a long long time ago my friends.

Cat Logic:  Since posting his photo, Adolf has disappeared or gone back to his family.  No big loss to me but to Callie, our outdoors cat, I think she's been a bit lonely, now that Rocky Rococo met a sad and tragic ending, he ventured into unfriendly yard and a neighbor shot him.  There was a feeble reason that Rocky was killing the guy's cat, to find I call bullshit.  Rocky had three legs and Callie used him as a punching bag.  I don't think he was all feral, he could come up to you if you had food in your hands but he did have a hard life, venturing in and out of this town and scrapping and coming out on the losing end on cat fights.  Unlike Callie, who continues to remain in this yard ever since she showed up unannounced seven months ago.  I could handle her jumping on the cars and taking a snooze on the old gray POS, she seems to like that car the best.  She does know when to hide when the June Monsoons hit the area and only comes out when things pass over.  It takes getting used to her, but she does come as someone I can talk and bitch about the day I am having and rubs my legs as if to tell me things will be better.  I sure hope some day.

Every June, it's big storms and this year is no exception.  We have about 8 inches of it this month but the main difference this year is the basement improvements that has kept the water out of my livelihood.  And why didn't we get this done sooner is a good question.  I have seen rivers of rainwater go through the drains and coverts outside here, last year I'd be taking time off and drying out the basement but with a new sump pump and a nice little indoor moat, we don't have the running creek going through the basement anymore.  Last year at this time, we had the tornado hurricane that gave us 9 inches of rain, knocking out power and making this the worst time I ever spent in this house.   And things are still not in order a year later.  But it's nice not having an ulcer wondering when the water seeps in and taking a week's vacation time trying to dry things up.   And perhaps the only good argument of streaming stuff, especially after losing my Dio, Metallic, Jesus And Mary Chain and part of The Rolling Stones Cds as they fell into the water of last year.  Nice to have some piece of mind but I still fucking hate rain. 

Finally, Happy 62nd birthday to Paraphernalia/Tyrus vocalist Mike Swearingen, still of my favorite vocalists of all time.  And the best vocalist that I have had the pleasure of being with.  I think we blew his voice out of Highway To Hell or Rocky Mountain Way but he remains a character of sorts and why he's not in the Iowa Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (although Bob (legend in his own mind) Dorr is in there twice).  Mike has played in many bands of note here in Iowa, Swede is the best known of them.  I look forward to jamming with him one more time before we all die of old age, or injuries suffered from a pissed off Redwing blackbird.  That said, he's a great guy.  Happy Birthday Mike.

Randy Rogers, who will be playing here in July, lost his daughter born six days before her passing talks about the disease that took the life of Rumer Rain Rogers. http://www.people.com/article/randy-rogers-newborn-daughter-dies-nonketotic-hyperglycinemia?xid=socialflow_facebook_peoplemag

Frank Cho, one of the more interesting cartoonists out there: http://apesandbabes.com/

Bill Bentley has replaced Al Kooper on The Morton Report but he puts together his best of 2015 (the first half that is).  Can't argue with most of the selections. http://www.themortonreport.com/features/bentleys-bandstand/bentleys-bandstand-best-albums-of-2015-the-first-half/?fb_ref=Default

We used to laugh and cringe at this, now we embrace it thanks to bad rap, bad beats and Florida Georgia Line, beautiful music. WMT FM was one muzak station.  KAHM out in Prescott continues the beautiful music of James Last, Frank Crackenfield and Barry Manilow.  I discovered this by accident back in 2008 but from time to time when Lucky Star Radio bangs out the gargle metal and I have to recollect my thoughts.  http://www.kahm.info/

NOTE: Kahm has quit steaming, but you can find them on the radio dial should you venture into that part of Arizona. 

Happy birthday Donna Will aka Brooksie, one of my favorite music friends out there and who used to have her own blog of top ten songs of the week.  I suppose I should put it to rest but I always valued Donna's opinion on new music and got me to listen to The White Stripes and become a fan.  It's been about two years since we last talked.  Perhaps she found the ideal guy and got married again and turned off the computer, or maybe she did join with a traveling hippie consortium that hang out at Widespread Panic concerts.  She'll always will have a special place in my heart and I hope she's doing all right.  We got together in 2004 for a five day jaunt around Washington DC and Gettysburg.  One more smooch...for the good times and beyond. Much love. 

This week's reviews:

Midnight Oil-Redneck Wonderland (Columbia 1998)

The two selections that were selected for their best of, were some of the weakest tracks on this angry comeback album which turned out to be their final Columbia platter but it does use some interesting angry guitar and EDM beats, before EDM became the rage.  Somebody must have been listening to the Prodigy.  I'm sure co producer Magoo was responsible for that.  But nevertheless Peter Garrett is pissed off at the world as the title track suggest, and even the next two songs Concrete and Cemetery In My Mind continues this love fest with beats and distorted guitar.   This album falls out of favor as Garrett shouts through a bullhorn or through distortion on Return To Sender and BLOT.  I donno, while there's moments that showcase the anger that does recall their classic years, although nothing does sound as vital as Beds Are Burning or New Sky Mining. Drop In The Ocean actually ends things on a more quieter note, I do like the anger that Garrett bestows in songs like Redneck Wonderland or White Skin Black Heart but the album tires me out if I listen to it all the way through.
Grade B

The Best Of Dick Dale and His Del Tones (Rhino 1989)

For the self proclaimed King Of The Surf Guitar, Dick Dale played some of the more wildest surf music, in comparing him with Link Wray or Duane Eddy, I think Eddy was the more popular although Eddy favored more pop numbers than both Link or Dick.  I'm also guessing Wray was the more raw of the trio but the most ferocious was Dick Dale with Misirlou, the song that defined him.  While Better Shred Than Dead covered almost everything Dale recorded including a early 90s album that I can't recall, the single Rhino edition is basically his best known Deltone and Capitol singles and albums.  Like Link Wray, singing was not one of Dale's better suits but get the girls singers to sing King Of The Surf Guitar and Wray's guitar does the talking.  He also wails away on Mr. Eliminator and Nava Nagila, but the final song Pipeline is special, Stevie Ray Vaughan guest stars but lets Dale do most of the lead guitar playing.  In this day and age, kids probably don't care or want to hear surf music but those with a open mind will enjoy these 18 songs of surf and turf mini classics.  If you don't like this music, you're a Ho Dad.
Grade B+

Dick Feller-Dick Feller Wrote (United Artists 1974)

One of those singer songwriters that probably were too quirky or too good at their craft than most country artists at that time, Feller's songs were covered by Jerry Reed, John Denver and a few others. He was good at story telling and was a very underrated fingerpicker guitarist.  He could be as sentimental as Bobby Russell (He of Honey and Saturday Morning Confusion fame) or write a song like Tom T Hall (Feller's Daisy Hill comes to mind) but his forte was the novelty number (The Credit Card Song, Lord, Mr. Ford).  Like Tom T Hall, he tends to pepper songs with cutesy kiddie background singers (Nobody Rides A Train), but sometimes those kiddies songs turn out to be coming of age songs.  Case in point: Biff The Friendly Purple Bear,  a anti Cats In The Cradle song about a child that outgrows his stuffed animal.  Or Jericho Springs, one of them tragedy love songs that reminds me of Knoxville Girl done by the Stanley Brothers years ago.   Dick Feller Wrote is a fine album that did so so but I'm keen to seek out his Asylum record No Word On Me which was released a year later, which had his best known number Making The Best Of A Bad Situation.  To which being the only country artist on Asylum might have been Feller's theme song.
Grade B+

Albums Of My Youth-The Best Of Z Z Top (London 1978)

That's right folks, before they were on Warner Brothers, that little ole band from Texas spent their 70s on London Records which wasn't the same label when The Rolling Stones was labelmates.  In fact London Records was in a disarray although their 8 tracks looked real neat, all blue.  And basically their London albums still hold up, although who in their right mind decided to redo the drum tracks for that dated 80s drum sound on ZZ Top Six Pack (and reissues) was a dumb idea.  Warner Brothers thankfully decided to keep the original mix at hand on the first of many many best ofs, the first Best Of ZZ Top remains the best of the bunch, before Tube Snake Boogie, before Gimme All Your Lovin' which Corporate Classic Rock Radio has ruined forever.  Of course, La Grange is their theme song, about a cathouse shack (you know what I'm talkin' about), the perfect Billy Gibbons tongue in cheek song all the way to the John Lee Hooker how how hows. When I bought the 45 that song was an edit, just like B side Just Got Paid.  All of the songs off Best Of, were bar band favorites, from Tush to Heard It On The X, and Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers.  The only song I never warmed up to was the deep blues of Blue Jean Blues, too slow for my liking and this best of ignores Tejas, their most underrated album. (Arrested While Driving Blind, It's Only Love) which is why I probably don't like it as much as I originally did back then.  But at least this record keeps the drum mix in tact and shows ZZ Top to be the most stripped down back to basics rock blues band before they decided to upgrade to vintage cars and scantly cladded women in the 80s.  Back then they had that formula down pat. All the way to the medley of Waiting For The Bus/Jesus Just Left For Chicago, and even Francine, which does hint toward Gimme All Your Lovin.  Music with hooks and a catchy chorus.
Grade A-

And The Townedgers finally made the net radio bigtime, scoring with their first number 1 hit with We All Sleep Alone, from Forthcoming Trains.  I'm in shock but ecstatic that after 33 years, we're an overnight sensation.  How cool is this.
We All Sleep Alone actually unseated Abi Ann's summer hit of 2015 Future Ex Boyfriend from number 1 to number 2.  Her song would sound quite nice on Americana Radio, but she's opening for Kelly Clarkson on Kelly's summer tour.  Check her out if you can. Abi Ann is this month's eye candy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Last Bargain Hunt: Maquoketa Again

As the title says, it's been a costly month for me.  Going to Maquoketa to get the car's oil changed and what I thought would be a hour long stay turned out to be a three hour affair.  As my car technician Jamie marched me to the service bay and point out a tire that was shredding tread.  I knew about needing new tires before fall but looking at this peeling and full of splits tire I basically had no option but to get new tires and align my investment of bargain hunts car and put things on the backburner.  Which in the end they politely relieved me of 756 dollars. Which to add another 576 dollars for a new computer the amount needed for Arizona went to other things.  I'm sure Allegiant Airlanes will have a sale to Mesa for under 100 dollars in the near future but the ones that will suffer greatly would be Zia's Records.  Usually they're the place which I hang out when I'm in the AZ area.

There's not a lot to do in Maquoketa, but they do have the pawnshop with the friendly doggie and dollar CDs and Goodwill.  Brad Deery Motors is uptown so it's a nice walk when the sun is out.  So I tend to look at the 2015 cars and dream away.  The Impala I have for 2 years and 38,000 miles has done a remarkable job in the trips for me and St Louis of last year.  I like the full size cars, in fact Ron, the salesman who sold me Redd keeps emailing me wonderful news that with trading Redd in, I could get a 2015 for 36K or 508 dollars a month.  I'm already in the poor house, and Ally is demanding another payment before the end of month.  With us being idle at work, payments are going to a bit more to make ends meet.  Unlike the Koch Brothers, getting a new car every year is a pipe dream, I'm more inclined to pay Redd off before next year and hope it stays together.  Unless I win the lottery.  But alas, I wasn't in that line for good luck, but I can have a GD Redwing attack me in a crowd of people and two weeks I'm still livid over that.  Thankfully downtown Maquoketa was missing those angry birds, so consider that a good day.

Basically after glancing over the new Impalas and seeing a salesman across the street just waiting to make commission, I decided for Chicken in cheese sauce for lunch at the downtown Mexican place. And then off to the pawnshop, to replace a copy of Dick Dale and The Deltones I once had and a couple of LPs at the MacQ Goodwill, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells and Elegy from The Nice, albums you rarely see anymore, curios from the past.  There was some Emerson Lake And Palmer albums and some 70s stuff (Stranger In Town Bob Seger, Linda Ronstadt, oh, Frampton Comes Alive).  I dropped off a few CDs for donation, the stuff I got for a dollar here in town and decided to share the wealth with some open minded folk.  Then went out walking around to kill another hour.  They were putting up a stage area which tended me to think that there was a art festival going on.  Comparing towns, I think Anamosa has a block or two more empty buildings but Maquoketa has a Goodwill, a Wal Mart and a Fareway and a downtown movie theater, but they also have on the outskirts of town on US 61 and 136 their own drive in.  The 61 Drive In, which has been a family fest for many years and has been filled to capacity in the summer months.  I think it's been about 7 or 8 years since I've gone there, last movie I saw was the final Shrek Movie.  But even while driving out of town after the car got fixed and got new shoes put on it, I drove past the 61 Drive In at around 6 PM, and started seeing about 10 cars already lined up ready to go on....even though the movie didn't start for another 2 and a half hours later.  But it's a nice perfect place to let the kids run loose while Mom is busy checking out her smart phone and Dad popping a few and swatting Mosquitoes before sunset.

I would have loved to stayed longer, however I picked a day that we things to do at work and I couldn't get it off, nor change the appointment, so I just loaded up with tunes and drove the hour and half back to work. The way it goes sometimes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Townedger Radio 9-Mud Games

Since getting a new computer, I can now watch things up on You Tube and turn on Net radio and not have to deal with a slow running computer and those GD'ed unresponsive plug in messages that annoy the hell out of me.  It's nice to hear Lucky Star Radio and my program without freeze ups.  It's what I hope I can do to preserve music as I knew it years ago, program the hard to find songs that Timesquare Media (the Corporate media outlet that bought out Cumulus here in the area) doesn't play anymore.   But this weekend, I wasted it away by watching about 6 hours of old NFL football highlights.  Teams from the 60s and 70s, where back then they didn't play in state of the art stadiums but rather big old stadiums with chewed up turf and rain storms making things into quagmire conditions.   If you like mud and plenty of it, not better place than go to War Memorial in Buffalo or Cleveland Municipal Stadium, to where at any given point in the season, you would see a big mud bath in the making.   Hell with field grass, this is real football. (Below, Neil Leifer took many pictures of this 7-0 1974 slopfest win by Cleveland you can find at Getty Images, Neil had a way to take the pictures as if you were playing linebacker and giving 49ers QB Tom Owen another mud facial on their failed 2 minute drive)

Cleveland remains the ultimate in mud games.  Certainly the 1964 Championship where they shut out the Baltimore Colts as Jim Brown slogged through the mush in a 27-0 victory.  After that, time was not kind to the Browns; the next season, found themselves up in Green Bay, in even more muddier conditions and seeing the Packers slide on by.  It was so bad and so muddy that they have to change shirts at half time, only to get covered up in goo goo muck.  Baltimore would get their revenge a couple years later, returning to the Browns' stadium in a windswept day and kicking the Browns' ass in a 34-0 blowout, to which somebody posted part of the second half on You Tube.  Compare to other games, it wasn't a total mudbath, but certain parts of the field had mud and it showed when Paul Warfield tried to catch a overthrown ball and lost his clean coolness.  Cleveland's starting QB Bill Nelsen couldn't move the team and the hero of the 64 game Frank Ryan comes in and...fumbles the ball and the Colts recovered.  The Cleveland crowd wasn't too impressed and booed Ryan for the rest of the game but at time the Colts were the much better team.  They went on to get beat by the New York Jets 16-7, which had their own mud bowl by beating the Oakland Raiders.

I thought putting together an all time Mud Bowl best games but really couldn't come up with a list.  Cleveland at that time seems to have the majority of games, moving over to the AFC in 1970 and watching their playoff hopes get smothered in mud by Dallas.  Two years later, the Colts came calling, and yet in another mud in your eye game, Don Nottingham ran through it all in a 23-3 blowout and the Browns were never the same.  Which leaves us back to Buffalo and the 1967 season to which they played a early fall game in a blizzard  and every home game was soggy field, plenty of mud and a high cleaning bill to boot.  By 1971, the late Ralph Wilson had enough of the mud games and opened a new stadium with artificial turf and later the more preferred field turf.  But basically football up prior before fake grass and hard carpets, there was always given moment that at some point in life there would be a rainy day and the field would turn things into mush.  Given a highlight, a 1964 Mud bowl at Sportsman's Park (the first Busch Stadium) where St. Louis and New York battled to a 10-10 tie.  Splat.  I'm surprised anybody could get any footing on this turf.

I have memories of seeing the Minnesota Vikings play in mud fields as well.  The 1969 Thanksgiving Massacre of Detroit, Vikings winning 27-0 in a blizzard at Tiger Stadium.  I could probably tell you of a few more mud games that I recall.  Atlanta beating Joe Namath and New York in 1973 sloggerroo.  Gayle Sears running amok against San Francisco which might be the the best effort by a football player in the mud.  And, of course Minnesota as well, in the Wrigley field cowpie pasture.

I'm going out on a limb by naming the three most muddy games ever played, at least the ones that I have seen.

All Time Mud Bowl-Minnesota 14- Los Angeles 7  (Los Angeles 1977)

(A mud bath for Jim Marshall)

I Remember this game all too well.  I wanted to take the night off from work and watch this but my dad had other ideas and I had to go work at the old Apco that night.  Minnesota that year was on the decline but this team overachieved, even after losing Fran Tarkenton to an broken leg.  Bob Lee, managed to help the Vikings make the playoffs but they didn't have much of a chance against the highly favored Rams.  Thanks to a fan who continues to post their well worn VCR tape of this Mud classic, you too can witness the Vikings uniforms, so nice and clean at the beginning, and then watch the numbers fade into blackness.  Chuck Foreman would be unrecognizable by the second series.  I think the weight of the mud on his jersey may have something to do with him having trouble getting off from the slop, due to a ongoing very rare southern California rainfall, to which they have not seen since then.  While the Rams were constantly good, they could never beat The Vikings in the playoffs. I still enjoy watching this from time to time and it reminds me of a faraway time.  To when the Vikings played outdoors and there was a team in Los Angeles at the Coliseum, to which they had their share of mud games.  It even beats out Cleveland and Buffalo for all time mud game. Fun fact: Vin Scully called the game.  Still worth watching on You Tube (if you're a Viking fan, or lover of mud games, John Madden calls it one of the best mud games ever).

Runner up: Green Bay 23  Cleveland 12  (Green Bay 1965)

While the 1994 playoff game with San Francisco was somewhat played in the same conditions, one cannot deny that game looked like a tea party given to this slopfest up in Lambeau Stadium.   I suspect this is the true Mud Game of them all, before Minnesota/LA 12 years later.  I remember seeing Elijah Pitts get about five yards of turf in his face.  Green Bay, like Cleveland's stadium is capable of a mud game and none was evident as this Championship game to which Green Bay was king of the NFL. The super bowl would be a couple years away, to which Green Bay would beat Dallas, in what is called the ice bowl, which the field's heating system failed and the Lambeau became a ice rink.  It may have been fun, but not as muddy fun as the mud slog of this game. Cleveland would continue to have problems beating Green Bay till 1969, when the annual mud bowl would be back at home. Cleveland Stadium.

3rd one:  St Louis 10  New York Giants 10  (St. Louis 1964)

No shortage of mud games, you can choose anything from Buffalo, The Pittsburgh/Cleveland games of the early 70s were muck fun especially the 1971 and 1972 games, any Green Bay/Detroit games at both cities come to mind, Green Bay's 9-7 winner in 1961 (which is going out on a limb since I was about 9 months old anyway and we all know I didn't watch football back then).  San Diego and Buffalo had a few mudfest up at War Memorial. But since there's plenty of pictures of this forgotten tie game up in St Louis in 1964 and  Sportman's Park's turf was ideal for mud fun  that day.  This would been fun to watch even though it ended up in a tie.  The New York Giants were going through a shitty season but this 10 10 tie didn't help either. Y A Tittle was winding down after a great career and would retire at the end of the season.  Here, Charley Johnson Cards QB decides to go with a mud facial. For the Cardinals however, 1964 proved to be a pretty good year and they finished second to Cleveland.  For their reward they defeated the Green Bay Packers 24-17 in the NFL Playoff Bowl that year in Miami.   To which Vince Lombardi called that game the Toilet Bowl (or the Shit Bowl, RIP Vince).  NY/STL mud games photos courtesy of Spokeo dot com.
PS. There's a You Tube showing of the 1964 New York Giants season, a disaster upon itself since they won 2 games tied 2 games and lost the rest but there's a 2 minute segment of this 10 10 tie. Looking at the field this may have been the all time mud bowl ever.  Sportman's Park had nothing but 99 yards of pure mud, pure baseball infield mud and very little grass to speak of.  Sportman's Park would be renamed the original Bush Stadium.

Certainly there's much more mud games to discover, more can be found here: http://gridironuniforms.forumotion.com/t540-mud-games

In this day and age, modern technology and the NFL's policy of looking good on TV have pretty much ended the mud games of yesteryear.  While there are some games that do revert back to the days of mud and fun, last year's Kansas City/Oakland game was a reminder of how things were, chewed up turf gets replaced the next game.  The crappy and hard to play on Astro turf of the 70s eventually gave way to something called Field Turf which has the look and feel of grass but without the mud and dirt.  While grass stadiums are few and far between, the best known ones remain Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium (which had field turf originally and replaced with grass) and Pittsburgh's Heinz Stadium.  One recent mud bowl games includes a playoff win against the new upstart Cleveland Browns team and a playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, i.e. the old Browns that moved to Baltimore in the mid 90s.  The final game in the old stadium was a Browns win over Cincinnati 26-10 in 1995, to which Art Modell would move the team to Baltimore and it would be four years till the NFL granted a new team to that area.  By then the next year, they took a wrecking ball to the old stadium and rebuilt it with a new one in the same place.  Although it still the same field, new upgrades and new types of grass, that we rarely see the mud baths of long ago.  While the old Browns (The Ravens) continue to make the playoffs, the New Browns continue to struggle and rebuild each year.  I still have a fondness for the old Cleveland Stadium, after all, The Beatles, Aerosmith, The Beach Boys, The Who and The Rolling Stones (plus many others) had shows in that old cavernous place, famous for their mud baths as well.

Muddiest Stadiums of all time:
1. Cleveland Stadium
2. Kezar Stadium-San Francisco
3. War Memorial Stadium-Buffalo
4. Yankee Stadium-New York
5. Jeppensen Stadium-Houston
6. Lambeau Field-Green Bay
7. Wrigley Field/Soldier Stadium-Chicago
8. Sportmans Park-St Louis
9. LA Coliseum
10. Tiger Stadium-Detroit

Most if not all stadiums were subject to the elements that would turn grass into muck.  While Cleveland's games are documented into muddy messes (you can look them up on Getty Images). San Francisco's Kezar Stadium had their share of mudbaths, best known was the Packers 12-0 shutout of the 49ers in a late 1960 game which famous for the Forrest Gregg mud pack photo.  Then again Cleveland went out there in late 1962 December game in foul weather and Jim Brown and company won 13-10 in front of 35,000 miserable fans.   Neil Leifer' pictures really put you in the center of all the mud flinging around.  Leifer would also provide the mud shots in a 1974 7-0 Browns victory over San Fran. It's rumored that you can have grown grass off the uniforms from that game.  Anyway, back then, there was no drainage systems into place which meant a good rainfall, worn turf equals mud.  And usually November and since Cleveland Stadium was off the lake games would turn into big messes.  Rarely did Pittsburgh come into town and not deal with mud.   The weather sucked big time in Buffalo to the point that they need to switch to artificial turf.

Perhaps the muddiest team may have been the 1964 New York Giants, the farewell of Y.A.Tittle and Frank Gifford, the 10-10 tie at St Louis may been a boring game had a major rainstorm turned Sportmans Park into a bowl of mud soup and players uniforms unidentifiable.  Final game of 1964 was Cleveland scoring 52 points at Yankee Stadium in Tittle's last game, to which he sported more mud on his jersey in the first quarter than the Giant's line.  No wonder he retired. 

All time mud games and teams playing each other:

Detroit/Green Bay
Cleveland/New York Giants
Cleveland/San Francisco
Green Bay/San Francisco

History lesson. The Baltimore Stallions winning the CFL Gray Cup and life after that: http://www.rollingstone.com/sports/features/wild-stallions-how-a-team-from-baltimore-rocked-canada-and-changed-the-cfl-forever-20151118

Music news:  Donald Trump announced he's running for President (BWAHAHAHAHAHA) and chose Neil Young's Rockin In The Free World as a background song, to which Neil Young and his manager was not impressed and told Mr. Ferret Wig Head to quit playing it and endorsed Bernie Sanders as his choice.  It seems these GOP folk tend to choose songs from the flaming liberals who would never endorse the GOP idiot running for anything.   Heart didn't like it when John McCain used Barracuda for a song and neither did John Mellencamp when a forgotten GOP person played Small Town during a campaign.  In the meantime, idiot South Dakota Senator John (Koch) Thune introduced a bill that would eliminate and close 122 local forecast offices across the country and centralized them into six regional offices for the entire country.  In this day and age unacceptable given the amount of floods, tornadoes and hurricanes and earthquakes that happen day in and out.  This is the kind of logic that become the scorn of the GOP or Tea Party.  That everything should be tax cuts for the 1 percent and the hell with the rest of the world. Thune would be perfect for Communist Russia and it's time to fight back and tell the stupid fuck clueless CS'er that do not mess with the precious few weather offices that keep us up to date of what goes around in this area.  The bill directs NOAA to create a new system for issuing severe watches and warnings. Please contact Sen. Thune’s office to oppose this bill. You can reach him through the US Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-2321 – Ask for Senator John Thune. And tell him failure to not listen to the public will lead to his defeat during the next election, providing if people get off their collective asses and vote him out. One can only hope that can happen.

Dave Grohl's nasty fall off the stage last weekend prompted The Foo Fighters to cancel the rest of their summer tour while he recovers from a broken leg, to which he actually finished the show propped up in a chair.  The guy is a true rock and roller and I'm sure he'll return to the stage as soon he's healed.

The Rolling Stones continue on their 50 years of rock tour, with a show in Nashville and having southern rocker Brad Paisley open up for them and coming on stage to sing Dead Flowers.  Paisley has been gradually fading from the country spotlight, his last album was his poorest selling album since the the debut and really, he's never looked good in a goatee, but he can still play guitar pretty well.

Watch out for cranks,  That would be Ginger Baker, who in typical pissed off old man mode decried his tenure in Cream as torture (I wasn't playing I was banging on my drums due to anger, I couldn't hear myself above the bloody fucking nose of Bruce and Clapton).  I give him props for giving a different beat to Hawkwind (although he disowned that period) and Masters Of Reality Sunrise On The Sufferbus (ditto) but the old poop continues to bitch and moan as he continues his jazz tour. He still plays that old Zildjian sizzle ride crash all this time but if the term the longer you bitch the longer God lets you live, he'll be here for another 100 years.  Even Satan doesn't want Mr Baker in his neighborhood anytime soon. 

A sad ending to an interesting story.  This spring a black bear was seen moseying around the Dubuque area and going through the Iowa farmland before getting hit and killed by a semi outside of Jesup, which is a good hour away from the city of attack Redwing blackbirds. While the wayward bear enjoyed himself, the sad fact that Yogi the bear would end up in the same fate as a lot of animals that venture on the road   There was another smaller bear  that may or may not been around (known as Boo Boo) Dubuque but that one has disappeared as well.  Bears are rare in this state, Minnesota has more of them up there but for a time this bear came down here to investigate things before meeting his demise.  Somebody took a picture of the bear, but I rather not post it.  On  another note I have never been to Cabela's.  They got one up in Owatonna but it's not high on my list to go visit.

Music Reviews:

Steppenwolf:The Complete Dunhill Singles (Real Gone)

Continuing their tribute to the 45, Real Gone turns their focus on Steppenwolf and if you had any of their singles, you'll noticed that they were a bit more different than the album versions.  I still recall Born To Be Wild to be one of the more louder 45s that I have heard in my life.  And all but Monster are in their edit form, Kay who comments on the songs on this album hated the single version to the point that he requested the album version instead for the best of and he has a point, ABC Dunhill butchered the 9 minute song with a 3 and half minute edit that you can still get on 16 Greatest Hits, still available in cut outs.  Despite the 4 minute title on the label, It's Never Too Late is missing the second verse and is about 3 minutes long.  I basically had to locate a copy of Rock Me just to hear the drum into of Jupiter's Child a perfect b side, and the B sides could be just as good as the A side (Take What You Need, Everybody's Next One). And then there are the rarities, the infamous 8 minute 46 second of For Madmen Only,  B side to Ride With Me and full of bizarre sound effects for that horror film in the back of your mind, pointless to have unless you're a completest.  The tacked on end to Hay Lawdy Mama, which is better than the meandering version on the live album or best ofs.  It also includes 4 singles from John Kay after the band broke up, and perhaps my favorite is the late Alan O'Day's Easy Evil and a lot better than the hack version 3 Dog Night did on American Pastime.  If you grew up in the 60s and listened to the radio and juke boxes, you're more in line to get this album but if your a latter day casual fan, the 1999 Greatest Hits remains the better and cheaper buy.  But this comp proves that Steppenwolf were one of the better singles bands at that time out there.  And Jerry Edmonton remains one of the best unheard drummers ever.  He knew his stuff too.  As well as Goldy McJohn, the fabled keyboard master but still the leader was and still is John Kay.  He continues to tour and put albums out, but none of them ever matched the highs of Steppenwolf.
Grade A-

The Darkness-Last Of Our Kind (Canary Dwarf 2015)

Let's face it, The Darkness are the last of the true classic rock bands in an era that classic rock is looked at like Big Band music is looked at forty years ago.  But I believe that they were more AC DC or Rolling Stones than Queen, in fact I think Justin Hawkins reminds me more of the late David Bryon, lead singer for Uriah Heep in the early 70s (Easy Living, Stealin'). Of course 11 years ago, The Darkness was hailed as the band who can save rock and roll, of course that never came true although they had more faithful fans over there than here in the US.  Combining elements of just about every glam band out there (Sparks, Slade come into play although with AC DC Queen comparisons), but also Spinal Tap as well.  Could anybody else put out a PG version of Permission To Land replacing F bombs with the word Duck or less offending words? Anyway Atlantic, in their usual business practices, gave up on them after two albums and here we are with their forth effort which might be their best since Permission To Land.  Starts out strong with two taylor made for Classic rock stations with Barbarian and Open Fire.  While the press continue to either admire or mock Justin Hawkins' Bryonesque vocal power, the MVP remains  Dan Hawkins, who can go from Malcolm Young to Keith Richards to T Rex in as many songs.  A change of drummers, Ed Graham is replaced by Emily Davies who has now been replaced by Rufus Taylor, son of Queen drummer Roger, so basically keeping the Queen legacy alive via the drummer's seat.  Emily does a good job maintaining the beat.  Like Bryon, Justin Hawkins can annoy as well as amuse listeners with his screams, which sometimes I think of Ian Gillan back in the day to when Gillan could scream with the best.  At their best, they can hold their own with their idols, be it AC DC or Spinal Tap, on their least of the songs, (Sarah O'Sarah, Mighty Wings)  the glam don't work as well and sometimes you wish somebody would stick alum in Justin's mouth and knock off those high notes.  The lyrics are quite nonsense when you read them in the booklet or hear Justin singing them, a throwback and nod to Spinal Tap I imagine.  But really this record I think is their best since Permission To Land  and even if they never did catch on here in America they're a lot more preferable than Tame Impala or whatever passes for rock music nowadays.  The bonus tracks are straight down rock and roll  fun from Messenger to Always Had The Blues, the latter their most blooziest.  Truth in advertising: calling it Last Of Our Kind, and The Darkness just might be.
Grade B+

Nina Simone-Best Of (Compact Jazz) (Mercury 1989)

For an introduction back during the beginning of the CD age, it's not bad but better comps have come and replaced this sampler of what the late great Nina Simone could do.  She had a voice that was wise and older sounding than her years and she could do just about anything that comes to mind. She could cover Chuck Berry one minute (Brown Eyed Handsome Man) and then straight showtunes the next (Don't Explain),  Duke Ellington (Mood Indigo) Screaming Jay Hawkins the next (I Put A Spell On You).  She could take the rage of Strange Fruit and make it her own.  For an eccentric singer Simone may have more radical than the average Sam Cooke but she did follow her own road.  When I bought this in the cheap bins, I didn't know I had most of the songs on another best of, the 2002 Diva Series album that Verve put out, and Sony Music's Ultimate Collection which remains the best out of the three, which means I probably donate this collection to a more needy pair of ears that would like a cheap overview of one of the most underrated musician of our time.  It tends to focus more on the slower stuff but does end things on the 10 minute gospel jam of Sinnerman, which gives you a feel of the future of Nina as she took her music over to RCA for perhaps her most radical time.
Grade B

The Crossfires-Out Of Control (Sundazed Reissue 1991)

Before they were The Turtles, they were a surf band based upon Dick Dale, The Surfaris  and one of the more fun garage acts of the early 60s.  And perhaps the best use of Al Nichol on guitar, who was as good as Dale could be on the track Out Of Control.   The Crossfires had a couple singles that sold so so, the radical Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, which starts out like Stranger On The Shore before going into surf zombie punk and One Potato Two Potato, a throwaway novelty number that The Shadows Of Knight covered years later.  The Turtles would take up some of the madness of some of these songs and Justine isn't that bad despite what the liner notes say.  A very good surf band at the beginning but once Flo And Eddie decided to put down their saxophones and start singing pop songs, the band would reimagine themselves  as The Turtles.
Grade B+

A Thousand Horses-Southernality (Universal Republic 2015)

Let's face it, Country Music today is not your dad's Waylon or Willie. The times have changed, they added rap and electric dance beats and autotuner to become the big flavor of the day although FGL's time is due to expire.  I'm not against bands that cite Lynyrd Skynyrd or Black Crowes as a influence. They owe to the Stones via  First Time   And then they hit the country twang of the goofy Smoke which turned out to be a country hit.  There's moments of inspiration (Travelin' Man)  the best  song is Hell On My Heart, and I get a chuckle out of the powerchord Landslide but the problem remains too much country cliche, and the title track gives visions of what would have happened had Poison gone country. Or to a lesser known and forgotten band Junkyard.  A Thousand Horses can bring the tunes, but they definitely to work on their lyrics to get past junior high level.  That's their weakest link. Note to band, get rid of Kirsten Rogers and Whitney Coleman.

Grade C+

Townedger Radio 9 (Broadcast 6/17/15 via Lucky Star Radio)  Playlist:

Rollin' And Tumblin'-The Townedgers
Shit Shots Count-Drive By Truckers
Pop Song 89-REM
First Night-Savoy Brown
Love's Made A Fool Out Of You-The Crickets
Somebody Get Me A Doctor-Van Halen
All For Myself-Them
500 Miles-Blue Mountain
Turbulence-Warren Zevon
Liar-Del Shannon
Fight Fire-The Golliwogs
Jumping From Love To Love-Dr. Feelgood
Frosted Flakes-The Townedgers
Diesel On My Tail-Jim & Jessie
Washing Machine-John Hartford
Sukie In The Graveyard-Belle & Sebastian
Dear Lisa (Live In The Studio)-Rodney Smith
I Don't Want The Night To End-Nick Lowe
Cowboy Boots-The Backsliders
Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)-Los Lobos


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Crabb Bits: The Rainy Season, ARSA, Coral Ridge Mall Shooter

Tis the season I guess.  We have had a dry April and May, but Thursday we began the rainy season with about 3 inches of rain.  Parts of Cedar Rapids got four to four and a half inches of rain and of course the low lying areas got a lake for a few hours.  Usually Center Point Road and 42nd Street and the parking lot of the former K Mart.  For the first time, it was a test to see if our 8,000 dollar waterproofing job would hold up against the pounding rains and so far so good, the basement remained dry.  Since this is June and since more stalled fronts will sit upon us and give rain after rain, it will be put to the test once again, to see if we stay dry from the June Monsoons that are on the horizon.

Had my first colonoscopy Friday and hope it's the last one.  I didn't think much of the solution that they give you to clean you out (think Sprite with salt water) and having no food on the day before sucked.  I guess it went okay, although I knew I would not remember much of anything after that, and just like the script went, I did not.  I recall Do Do Do Dah Dah Dah playing in the background and bitching that KOKZ played it on the way to the hospital (they may have the FOX on, corporate classic rock radio all sounds the same) and next thing I know, I am back in my room, with my clothes on.  My brother says I did put them onward but dammed if I remembered anything about that or going home.  For most of the afternoon, I was entertained by a bunch of ducks outside the door and Callie the cat peeking in through the window.  I spent the evening with a DVD, the Sex Pistols The Filth And The Fury, and it did recall the times of 1977 and how the band fell apart in our very eyes, ending with an ill fated US Tour that ended things.  Strange to go see them play in San Francisco which the encore song they did was a cover of The Stooges No Fun and seeing a frustrated Johnny Rotten saying his famous line of Ever got the feeling you've been cheated, thanked the folk and walked off.  The weakest link was Sid Vicious, a character upon himself that could do a nice poser of a bass player.  I'm sure John tried his best to keep some sense in Vicious but when Nancy Spurgeon came into the picture and that heroin messing up Sid for life, he was beyond saving.  A strange couple to which had a sad ending and a chapter to the Rock and Roll Babylon book, she did him in, before he did her in and then did himself with a lethal dose of H.

The Sex Pistols in my youth, I didn't like them much, it may have been the Conservative in me at that time, but they were no different than The New York Dolls, although early in the movie John Lyndon gave us a peek of who influenced him, the Quasimodo of a movie comes to mind and basically a working class pissed off attitude of no future. After all, the UK in 1976 wasn't a fun place to be.  Certainly while Malcolm Mclaren may have been the money making villain that took advantage of these four white trash Brit boys, he did find ways to get the band going.  Glen Matlock, the original bass player got booted out for a love of the Beatles and keeping clean in favor of Vicious, who fit the criteria of the Sex Pistols.  The legend of them being bought out by EMI and A&M, which the latter 45 collectors have been paying big bucks for, and finally Virgin Records which has kept their memory alive with their only album Never Mind The Bollocks, and a few other comps along the way. Certainly back then while the classic rockers wanted The Pistols to fall flat on their faces, the Pistols music is today more tolerable, radio still doesn't play them.  But I do recall their 1978 US romp, with stops in Atlanta and Texas, playing at a road house where Merle Haggard would play a week later, and some rednecks throwing a beer bottle and hitting Vicious in the face, but he kept playing.     In the end, they only played 8 times, mostly down south before concluding at Winterland.

Still The Filth And The Fury is a better overview of what the Sex Pistols were all about more than The Great Rock And Roll Swindle, a dvd that I once had and watched once and filed it away.  While The Original Pistols reunited a few times (The 1996 Filthy Lucre Live album is a nice wrap up and victory lap, with Rotten-Lydon at his best recreating the angry young punk as angry old man).  Lydon has done better with Public Image Ltd. it's the Pistols first and only album that defined an angry generation of UK punks to give us punk rock and give that a genre a good kick in the pants.  And hopefully Sid and Nancy are happier, wherever they may be in the afterlife.

Strange days are here.  Coral Ridge Mall Friday Night.  Some security guard comes up and hassles a young lady, young lady reports him for harassment, security guard gets fired.  Security guard goes berserk, goes home and gets a gun, goes back to the Mall, shoots and kills girl and then runs, only to be caught outside of Walcott, arrested on sight and admits his crime. Welcome to the world of Alex Kozak, some psychopathic kook.  It seems like in this day and age you can't go to the malls anymore without some sort of this shit happening.  In social media land, Kozak has his own FB page full of the NRA gun rights and redneck lunacy.  So now they have to bury Andrea Farrington whereas Asshole Kozak goes to prison forever.  Which leaves another victim as well, his wife, which he married last year and seemed to be that happy couple that starts out after being married. And who knows what happened after that. Dumbasses never know the damage that they cause when it's done and changed forever.

On a better note, my best friend's parents Russ and Ida Swearingen celebrates 60 years of being together.  Congrats and may you have many more.

If you like archives of radio top 30 surveys try this site: http://www.las-solanas.com/arsa/index.php

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Week In Review: Dubuque River Festival, Ornette Coleman

Summertime is heating up and the concerts are coming out   This weekend, Dubuque has America's River Festival and it promises to be something for everybody.  Providing if you don't have Redwing blackbirds attacking you via Alfred Hitchcock The Birds.   Friday Night is bro country Friday, with Dan + Shay, Old Dominion and Farce The Music's favorite new artist (to hate) Sam Hunt.  Saturday Night will be old rockers night, with America, Grand Funk Railroad and Tommy James and The Shondells concluding the night.  Mark  Farner has left Grand Funk behind, but Mel and Don continue to lead the revived We're An American Band with former Jack Mack and The Heart Attack and 38 Special member Max Carl doing the lead vocals.  Brewer has done double duty, he did play with Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band for a time but he remains a killer drummer and true to spirit with Grand Funk.  America's Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley (Dan Peek left a long time ago and died as well) has remained one of the best loved folk rock acts.  If I was going I would love to see Tommy James perform, he was one of my favorite artists growing up and I had many of his Roulette singles in my collection for years.  He also wrote Me and The Mob an account of his tenure with Morris Levy and Roulette Records and is a must read.  Tickets vary from 15 to 30 dollars.

Forthcoming bands to Dubuque and the Mississippi Moon Bar: Tony Orlando appears July 25th, Ace Frehley appears on September 11th (by then the red wings may have cleared away and walking on the river walk would be safe again;  I hate them fucking birds) and Otis Williams and The Temptations September 25 and 26th. Otis is the last original member of that band that had the big Motown hits and regulated to an oldies act.  And Kansas (without Steve Walsh who retired but the band continues onward) will be there on October 24th.

This week's entertainment had Monday, Barenaked Ladies playing at the downtown Amphitheater for 40 dollars you too could have seen half the band that gave us One Week.  Wed brings us George Thorogood and the Destroyers and Brian Seltzer but the cheap way to go would be the Spazzmatics, the ultimate 80s tribute new wave band for five dollars Friday Night.  I've seen a version of this band in Vegas a few years ago and they are just as fun to hear and listen to as well as Hairball, the hair metal tribute band which will be hitting around here a few times this summer. I'd probably hang out to hear George under the stars but I have to work that night and will be recovering from a colonoscopy on Friday.  Maybe I should do a blog that night, chances are I won't remember it if I do.   

Everybody Dies: RIP Jean Ritchie, considered  the mother of folk music passed away at 92.  James Last, the king of easy listening format passed away at age 86.  Musak would not be known had it wasn't for him.   Nick Marsh from Urban  Voodoo Machine from cancer 53, Allen Fryer, vocalist for Heaven and one time tried out for the AC DC vocal job after Bon Scott passed away, also claimed by cancer he was 60.  Christopher Lee, one of all around best actors passed away at the age of 93.  Basically known from roles from Count Dracula to Lord Of The Rings, perhaps one of my favorite horror movies is The Skull to which he actually played a good guy, warning Peter Cushing not to buy a cursed skull.

For musicians, nobody could be more avant garde in free jazz than Ornette Coleman.  While best known for a 37 jazz jam called Free Jazz which could be considered the start of the fusion jazz era, Coleman led great bands with Don Cherry, Charlie Haden and Billy Higgins in them. His 1988 album for Portrait Virgin Beauty even had Jerry Garcia on guitar. Coleman passed away from a heart attack at age 85.  (Bill Kopp: photo credit)

Jim Ed Brown died on Thursday, from lung cancer (Smoking).  He was 81.  Best known for Pop A Top, he also scored hits with his sisters known as the Browns.  

Next week, I should be getting a new computer to replace this old Dell which 12 years later has gotten too Grandpa for the tasks at hand and I'm surprised I have not  had cardiac arrest, since half the time this computer freezes up, or has unresponsive plug in messages or messages telling me of slow running program (like I really need to see the virtual memory low messages anymore?).  So basically I'm putting my trust into somebody at Office Max to build me a computer that will enable me to continue to do music research and try to do three things at once without a GD computer freezing up.  Microsuck, didn't do nobody any favors by discontinuing old Windows for Windows 8, which is now 10.  I'm throwing my lot into a new computer that isn't a Dell, that has AMD processors and not Intel, and I'm hoping that I didn't throw 558 dollars down the toilet for something that won't work.  It's been a long and sometimes wonder ride for this old war horse but the last six months of hang ups and computer freezes made me realize I had to update.  So hopefully things will be better and here's hoping old Delly doesn't freeze up so I don't lose this entry.

Interesting read comes from Bottom Of The Glass, where they talk about Lone Justice being the best of the 80s bands that did Americana rock and the argument coming that the Blasters were just rockabilly.  I guess he never listened to the 2nd or 3rd albums from The Blasters, I don't think it was straight rockabilly but more of a CCR type of rock that has held up quite well.  I used to have all of the Lone Justice albums and CDs, but I think donated them to Goodwill. Certainly parts of the first album and Shelter have moments of greatness (I Found Love, Ways To Be Wicked) but I also found songs of trying to hear through without pushing the FF button on the player (Wheels).  Nonetheless, Steve Van Zandt helped them a lot too, but the implosion of the band after Shelter pretty much committed them to the ages.  Their music holds up well, but in the end, I prefer The Blasters, or Los Lobos: http://bottom-of-the-glass.blogspot.com/2015/06/marias-justice.html

There was a guy called 7th Wave that used to be part of the music chats years ago at Multiply and About.com.  Looking through the archives, I noticed that he's still alive and still contributes to his rock and roll page of forgotten bands and artists. He never ventured much past 1958-1963 era, and there was a running joke about him calling records and CDs outdated storage media units.  But his music site does a fine job of preserving the music of long ago and far away. http://tsimon.com/rockroll.htm

The usual monthly cleaning of CDs from the main bins to the bargain bins was done by Half Priced Books and there's plenty of REM CDs to be bought.  I don't think I've seen as many copies of Life's Rich Pagent or Murmur in the 2 dollar bins.  Since I have them all I don't need any more.  No shortage of Van Hagar stuff, although they did throw in a CD/DVD edition of A Different Kind Of Truth, which you can't beat for 2 dollars. As far as I know, the trade stuff that I got 14 dollars from, HP Books made a profit on that, since I didn't see any of the Minuteman, Dwight Yoakam latest and John Lee Hooker stuff.  Fact of the matter remains that I still look for things and buy them and what I don't need anymore gets donated.  Makes no sense whatsoever trading stuff I bought for 100 dollars total and barely get back enough for a half tank of gas back home. I should open my own music store on my time off work and try to make just enough to pay bills before being recalled back to work in the fall.  

This week marks the 75th birthday of Nancy Sinatra, Frank's daughter and one of the original girr singers and most underrated.  She may have been Frank's daughter but her heart was rock and roll and Lee Hazelwood gave her songs and a counterpoint that is the essence of classic music.  The Nancy And Lee album remains a cult classic, Rhino's Fairy Tales & Fantasies has been one of the more sought out CDs ever, copies still sell for 50 dollars or more on a given day, and somehow I have found five copies of that CD from time to time.  Some Velvet Morning could be considered early goth.  The RCA album a few years later was more spotty and not as memorable, but the kicker remains Down From Dover and Arkansas Coal (Suite).  However, these ears tend to favor Nancy's Greatest Hits, another Rhino comp now out of print that has most if not all of Nancy's best songs, These Boots Are Made For Walkin'  How Does That Grab You Darlin?, Lightning's Girl up to Hook And Ladder.  I still enjoy this over the latest best of Varese put out (You Go Go Girl).  Nancy dropped out in the 70s to become a wife and mother, but she has come out of retirement to make a couple of good albums, most notably her S/T 2004 on Morrissey's Attack label and having U2 write a song for her.  Most of the time you can catch her on Twitter, with her thoughts over there.   She even follows me over there.  She should be in the rock and roll hall of fame too. As along with other notable bands (Deep Purple, Yes, Moody Blues, etc etc etc, and oh yes....Foghat). 

Record Reviews Of The Week:

Graham Parker And The Rumour-Mystery Glue (Cadet Concept/Universal 2015)

While Three Chords Good was a nice comeback of sorts, Mystery Glue is more of a full band participation, like I remembered it from years ago when they were a tough and angry pub rock band of the 70s.  Today, Parker is not as the angry young man as he once was, but on this effort not as the boring old fart that made albums like Burning Questions or Human Soul. It's really nice to hear Bob Andrews add more keyboards to the songs, or Brinsley Schwartz and Martin Belmont having more guitar.  The songs are very easy going, but with enough Stephen Goulding drums to make it rock more than 3 Chords Good.  Funny thing is though, only GP is the only member in the pictures, which might be a slight dry wit of sorts but don't let that fool you, The Rumour is more involved this time out.  Of course, Parker's remains full of dry wit and observations, Going There perhaps a new GP telling the folks looking for the old angry GP to look elsewhere, a rather uplifting song about being your own person.  Swing State is a true state of affairs about the political side of things. But the fun part of Mystery Glue is that a lot of the songs here are worth playing a lot more than 3 Chords Good, even if Slow News Day comes across as filler, it's not.  Pub Crawl has a few mentions of Brinsley Schwartz' band by using some of that band's titled albums, And Long Shot with the Mystery Glue reference might be the best song Parker has come up in years, and it's easy to sing along with too.  It's strange to see Parker returning back to Universal, on a old Chess Records offshoot label as well.  But make no mistake, if 3 Chords Good suggested that The Rumour can even in a room with GP (All but Bob Andrews and Martin Belmont played on previous GP albums in one form or another) Mystery Glue makes it clear that this band and GP were made for each other.  History be dammed, I think Mystery Glue is Parker's best since Squeezing Out Sparks.  That's saying something.

Grade A-

Paul Kelly's Greatest Hits-Songs From The South (Mushroom 1997)

While Paul is more related to Bob Dylan in songwriting, I took to him more of the fact that he sounded like Doc Neeson, the late great lead singer of The Angels, and The Messengers, Paul's backing band did owe something akin to The Angels (or Angel City in the US).  He's been around forever, but this late 90s best of, focuses on his tenure with A&M in the states and it made me revisit Gossip and Under The Sun, his two classic albums and to a lesser extent, So Much Water, So Close To Home.  Overall, I consider Paul to be part of the new eccentric singer songwriter craze of the mid 80s which also bought us Peter Himmelman and Robyn Hitchcock, all three different but more alternative than John Mellencamp or perhaps John Hiatt. This overview, not so much of a greatest hits mind you, Kelly had none in the US and was basically a cult artist at best is a decent sampler of what Kelly could do.  I still think the highlights are with the Messengers but his later albums like Deeper Water or Wanted Man are worth searching for.  Give In To My Love is where he shows his inner Himmelman, Bradman is where Bob Dylan comes in.
Grade B+

The Rolling Stones-Sticky Fingers Expanded Edition (Capitol/Universal 2015)

The bonus tracks are outtakes, the Eric Clapton Brown Sugar is more of a jam than actual song, Wild Horses is stripped down without the ragged backing vocals and Can't You Hear Me Knocking without the Bobby Keys and second part, is Keith Richard still messing around trying to get the song right.  Dead Flowers is more electric than acoustic, fun to hear. Which leads a extended alt take of Bitch, probably the best of the bunch but as they say, don't add much to the historic value of their 1971 album.  That band that Mick Taylor was in the early 70s were at their best, perhaps the super bonus edition with a full set at Leeds the one to get but causal fans are not going to pony up. Which leaves the five cuts at the Roundhouse sounding a bit more polished than the ragged glory of Get Your Ya Yas Out, and even if Charlie Watts's drumming was the crazy glue holding things together, you never know if the band was going to fall flat on their face.  Which is why I still think Ya Yas is their finest live album.  Long time ago, Sticky Fingers was the first Stones album issued on their own imprint via Atlantic and a great debut too till, they went one further and up the ante on Exile On Main Street.  Classic rock radio killed off Brown Sugar just like Start Me Up, but it leaps out of the album with an attitude, and hits the ground running and never stops till Moonlight Mile.  There are no bad songs, Sway with Paul Buckmaster's strings adding color to Mick Taylor's guitar, to Wild Horses, still one of the more prettier country numbers the Stones ever did.  And then FM album pick to click Can't You Hear Me Knocking to which the second part is as crucial to the first half with the latin flavorings and Bobby Keys and Billy Preston guest stars galore.  Ending side 1 to a tribute to Fred McDowell.
Side 2 leads off with B Side classic Bitch one of the best and potent Stones songs ever made.  Looking at it all I Got The Blues is perhaps the only good track in a album of greatness but Sister Morphine featuring Ry Cooder's manic slides and Dead Flowers return the album to essential greatness, and then ending with Moonlight Mile which features one of the best Charlie Watts drumroll towards the end.   The Rolling Stones were firing on all fours on this era and with Mick Taylor, their most memorable from Let It Bleed, to Ya Yas, this album and Exile they really could do no wrong, till they got too complacent and made Goat's Head Soup and never did scale the highs ever again (although Some Girls did try).  Is the expanded edition worth buying? Only if you're a completest.  The bonus tracks are a nice work in progress but they do pale in comparison with the final songs that made it on Sticky Fingers which remains a solid A album.  But in this context, less is more and perhaps it's another dust collector on the shelf, or another 2 dollar trade in at Half Priced Books.  But for building a true classic rock collection, you only need the original album.
Grade A-

McKendree Spring-God Bless The Conspiracy (Edsel 1996)

Last week, I revisited Dillard And Clark and posted a blog about that on the Consortium side of things. McKendree Spring is a different sort of country rock although they reminded me more of a lesser Mason Profit or a less interesting It's A Beautiful Day or Quicksilver Messenger Service.  This kind of hippie dippy country rock tends to grate on the nerves, especially on the drumless No Regrets or Morning Glory which are second rate to Tom Rush and Tim Buckley.  McKendree Spring knew how to find the right cover songs to do but at times they come across as wrongheaded and over the top, much evidenced on Down By The River which had to be heard to believed.  It's not all bad, they do a credible Fire And Rain (which might have been a hit had James Taylor decided not release his song as a single) and Jerry Jeff Walker's Fading Lady, which doesn't differ much from a Powerglide era New Riders Of The Purple Sage. And God Bless The Conspiracy is somewhat interesting and has roots in It's A Beautiful Day all the way down to echoed Violin.  Problem is, it goes on too long, as it does on other songs including Eric Andersen's What Was Gained, done in by an overdone ending.  Which is why McKendree Spring remained a cult band and why Mason Profit was better. Mason Profit knew how to keep it simple and under four minutes most of the time. A dated period piece for sure.
Grade C   

Saturday, June 6, 2015

KCRG SUPER 30 SURVEY June 6 1975

A look back at the life and times of being in Cedar Rapids 40 years ago.  Back then, we had drive ins.  We still had the Armar Ballroom with the Do's and the Dont's playing there. Chubby Checker would be playing at the Ramanda Inn on June 11. Certainly there was much more places to play at. Frank Osmanski and the Chordsmen playing from 9 to 1 30 from June 2 through the 14th.

As I remembered it, FM was becoming more of a go to place to hear new music, whereas KCRG was still good for hearing Paul Harvey and having a top 30 list of assorted music.  Northern Light's Minnesota was their only charted single, Sha Na Na was considered a fluke and the less said about the Captain and Toni Tennile the better although I heard Neil Sedaka sing that song and preferred that version.  While there had been R and B hits in the past, that week's survey only has one black artist on the top thirty and that was War. But if you look on the Bubbling Under 30, Van McCoy's The Hustle would take over the top spot a month later.  There's no shortage of the novelty numbers, CW McCall's Classified benefited greatly from Convoy the previous release and I'm surprised Classified got up to number 6 on the charts. The late Roger Whitaker would also hit the top ten with his Last Farewell, perhaps one of the last gasp of MOR pop music making it on AM Radio, although I think Q 103 did play that one and of course the majority of songs here. America, Alice Cooper and Elton John's Philadelphia Freedom were on the way out, One Of These Nights, Jive Talkin, Listen To What The Man Said, Midnight Blue and the odious Please Mister Please debuted on the chart.

I used to collect the Super 30 surveys in the early 70s and forgot all about this one till somebody posted it on Facebook and decided to share the nostalgia with y'all.  After all, I do remember.  It's also my parents 55th anniversary too. 

The KCRG Top 30 of 6/6/75

1.  Love Will Keep Us Together-Captain And Tennile
2.  Magic-Pilot
3.  Just Like Romeo And Juliet-Sha Na Na
4.  Thank God I'm A Country Boy-John Denver
5.  Wildfire-Michael Martin Murphy
6.  When Will I Be Loved-Linda Ronstadt
7.  Classified-CW McCall
8.  Hey You-Bachman Turner Overdrive
9.  Long Tall Glasses-Leo Sayer
10. Before The Next Teardrop Falls-Freddy Fender
11. Pinball Wizard-Elton John
12. Minnesota-Northern Light
13. Take Me In Your Arms-The Doobie Brothers
14. I'm Not In Love-10cc
15. I'm Not Lisa-Jesse Colter
16. Why Can't We Be Friends-War
17. Trouble-Elvis Presley
18. Only Women Bleed-Alice Cooper
19. Sister Golden Hair-America
20. Bad Time-Grand Funk Railroad
21. Bloody Well Right-Supertramp
22. It's A Miracle-Barry Manilow
23. Misty-Ray Stevens
24. Jive Talkin-The Bee Gees
25. Please Mister Please-Olivia Newton John
26. One Of These Nights-Eagles
27. Midnight Blue-Melissa Manchester
28. Attitude Dancing-Carly Simon
29. Philadelphia Freedom-Elton John
30. Listen To What The Man Said-Wings

Bubbling Under:
Black Friday-Steely Dan
The Last Farewell-Roger Whitaker
Goodnight Vienna-Ringo Starr
The Hustle-Van McCoy

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Week In Review: Rip Offs and Bank Robberies

And so the Fred Hoiberg era is over at Iowa State. After five seasons and four NCAA trips, the Mayor of Ames is returning back to the NBA and back to Chicago Bulls, where he will be the new head coach. Comparisons to Tim Floyd, another ISU coach that went to Chicago, (and ended up with  disastrous results) will probably take effect, but unlike Floyd, Hoiberg was a player there at one time.  It's a five year deal that will pay off substantially if Fred takes them to the playoffs or gets a buyout if things don't go according to plan.  This could lead Jeff Hornacek back to ISU (maybe) since his tenure as head coach of the Phoenix Suns has not been as winning.  Wouldn't that be ironic if Jeff decided to return back to Ames.  We'll see but as of the moment don't look for Jeff to return to Ames anytime soon. Here's hoping he can turn Phoenix around before they get rid of him.

The Kardashians can't seem to stay out of the news, or that the news won't let them stay out of the spotlight, as vamp Kim is knocked up again (be fruitful and multiply, some people take that to extremes, right Robin Bailey?) and perhaps she'll be dumb enough to call this new one East or South, better not to be a celebrity baby.  However, the bigger story is Caitlyn Jenner, the former Bruce makes her debut new look on Vanity Fair.  File it under WGAF but as a transgender, she/he doesn't look too bad.  Which leads us into playing the song of the week, Slick Titty Boom by Elvin Bishop.  Moving On. (I would love to say a few words about  Josh Dugger and keeping it in the family but I already said too much)

J and P Cycle out of Anamosa announced they're moving their operations from here to Louisville Kentucky. MAG Retail of California, which bought this place out a few years ago, decided to on business models and gracious tax credits from the state of Kentucky decided that it was the best fit for them.  Again, another corporate merger that benefits only the shareholders and not the working families.  Which means more unemployment in this state as people wonder what they're going to do with their lives. But then again I didn't hear many good things about working for J and P Cycle after MAG retail took over, how much of a shitty place to work with.  Which means when you go up to Dubuque, you'll be seeing more empty buildings along the route.  The almighty dollar.

The art of buying and selling CDs at the local Half Priced Bookstores, at times when I think I'm not going to get much from them, they give me a great deal on music, and when I think I might break even, they shortchange me on the buyback.  It irks me to know to take about 20 CDs of varying degree and only get 14 dollars back in return makes me think I should donate them to Goodwill and get credit on my tax refund.  Which is why we hoard things.  We hold on to things hoping that they'll get more in value whereas most of the time, they don't.  I'm still trying to unload my 40 year old collection of beer cans, some have to be worth more than just 5 cents at the recycling store.  But CDs are not exactly a wise investment anyway, even when you think trading The Smiths Louder Than Bombs up there and seeing another copy up there for sale.  Certainly this summer I'll be taking stock in the inventory and eventually thin a few more 100 out.  Or just have a big record sale in the yard.  And hope I get more than 14 dollars out on things I'm selling.

Cat logic:  If you feed one hungry stray, word gets around and two or three more show up against your wishes.  The breaking point is now.  Callie has been the main alpha pussy in the yard but I noticed an ugly old black and white three legged sleeping in where Callie used to be at.  My brother calls this one Rocky and from the looks of it, he does look like Rocky after a major fight.  Again, I'm not a cat fan and can really do without anymore but Rocky looks so damn pathetic you can't help but feel sorry for the poor bugger.  Trying to feed the alpha cat, Rocky looking under the truck meowing so loudly you think he never been fed.  So I feed the bastard only to have it meow more.  And me looking down upon this thing and telling it, you have enough food.  In the meantime, Callie looking down upon this mutant pussy, hissing at it.  Guess what world, we have the Feline Bickersons, with Callie chasing Rocky around the yard scowling and howling at it.  The prefect henpecked male, that's Rocky.  Sometimes I have aspirations to chase it out of the truck and tell it to be on its way but I do feel sorry for him so I let him sleep and do my own thing.  In the meanwhile, last night a big white and black cat appeared at the back door last night, much to the chagrin of Callie to which the theory of feeding strays always leads more cats wondering into the yard comes true and me getting tired of this shit.  Next step is to trap this black and white fat cat and take it elsewhere.  He don't get fed but I do give him lots of water.   Much to his dismay.

Using a outdated computer continues to be a pain in the ass.  I wrote a couple reviews in the last blog but the continual unresponsive messages and freeze ups will have to result into getting a more updated computer. This dell has been a good 10 year computer, but once Microsuck stopped  supporting Windows 7, things get slower and slower and they now up to Windows 10.  They never leave things alone. In the next couple weeks I'll be on the lookout for a newer version that will let me listen to net radio and perhaps Townedger Radio in it's entirely without the fucking crashes this computer is famous for.  Next broadcast is June 17th at midnight.  Playlist will follow.

Going to work Tuesday was as hectic as they come.  Of course I got to the exit ramp on Highway 13 merging into US 30 and seeing off the right of me, a fast moving pickup truck and about 5 police cars chasing it.  And about three unmarked cars pursuing as well.  Turns out the guy in the pickup truck robbed a bank on Mount Vernon Road about 2 30 and was making the way down when I almost ran into him.  He must have turned off on a gravel road for he got caught down on Old River Road.   Two other highway patrol cars came from the west side as well.   The story: (cue up Bonnie And Clyde Theme from Flatt and Scruggs:)

A Cedar Rapids man was arrested after police say he robbed a Cedar Rapids bank before leading police on a chase Tuesday.

Christopher Lee Feeney, 42, of Cedar Rapids was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with second-degree robbery and second-degree theft, both felonies, as well as "numerous traffic violations," according to a press release from the City of Cedar Rapids.

According to the Cedar Rapids Police Department, Feeney robbed the Community Savings Bank, located at 3414 Mt. Vernon Road SE, just after 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Police say they then located Feeney's vehicle in the area of East Post Road and Lakeside Drive SE, and Feeney took off.

He was later apprehended near the Cedar Rapids Police Department Shooting Rage, located on Old River Road SW, just before 2:50 p.m. Tuesday.

Police say Feeney did not display a weapon during the robbery, and no one was injured during the robbery, pursuit or arrest.

And tomorrow I want a fucking road less of merge maniacs and police chases. 

Speaking of loss leaders, I did find a few more bargains of note.  Bryon Lee & The Dragonaires Soca Bacchanal (Sony Discos 1989) is what they call the hop and skip a beat album (it's dancehall or what Sly and Robbie call Taxi Music) but it's a nine song 34 minute calypso reggae album that's fairly good, all the way to the Jimmie Swaggart/Bandit medley, you remember that 1988 episode that Jimmy Swaggart got caught with his pants down and then he went on his gospel show and cried about his sins? They wrote a song about it.  Despite the 2 Live Crew cover shot, this is not X rated rap but rather good time PG dance music. And give it a B plus.

In 2000 I gave Elastica-The Menace (Atlantic 2000) the best record of the year award but I kinda of forgotten about it till I found the CD in the 2 dollar bin during my 14 dollar take at HP Books and decided to revisit it to see if it holds up.  I think overall, Chumbawamba's WYSIWYG was the better of the two best albums of 2000, but The Menace still remains an A minus album.  I like Elastica of the fact that their music is like Wire, they even covered Human on The Menace.  And they keep things around 2 and a half minutes including failed hit Mad Dog and a wonderful cover of Trio's Da Da Da. But my favorite track remains  Nothing Stays The Same, to which that title said plenty about that band.  Five years before they were alt rock darlings with their S/T album on Geffen but the five year wait between albums may have doomed them. And soon afterward they did break up.

I fucking hate the Redwing Blackbirds, they're nasty in the spring and even worse in the early summer.  They attack everything, even a bald eagle on my way to Dubuque to do a Walk Against Cancer walk.  500 people out there and one MF'ing blackbird and guess which one the flying shit bags attack. Nothing more will take the fun out of things when I'm walking around, and having this flying pyscho shit bag hitting me upside the head and me going to ground trying to wave this thing off and of course having the dipshits in front of me laughing about that.  How come it didn't attack them, why me? why always me?!  Why is it everytime I want to do fun thing, shit happens?!  The dude mentioning there was a Redwing nest in the bushes, well dude I was about 10 feet away from it, closer people were there, why is it always me that gets the wrath of mother nature?  Told the guy I might go to wal mart and get a b b gun and shoot the psycho bird, I wasn't too happy with that, and made it known with a few f bombs.  Of course the smart ass kids that thought it was funny,  kept walking a lot more faster after I told them it'd be funny to see you get hit in the back of the head, how'd you like it, not so funny now delbert.  What amazed me a bit more is that the Barney Fife security guard was mentioning about their nest in the damn parking lot, nothing about Are you okay?  Like it was my fault to tampering with the future flying attacking shit bags nest?   You try to help a cause by paying money for food that goes to cancer research and out of all of the 100's of people there, this fucking bird is pecking away at me. Which I told the guard, you know this is why people go ballistic at gatherings.  Does it have to be at my expense every GD time I go somewhere, and dealing with rude folks, bad traffic and irate PMS birds that I can't have fun for a fucking hour? You're fucking lucky dude, that this GD bird didn't cut me open or go to the hospital.  You might a lawsuit on your hands.   That said, this incident ruin a good day and I doubt if I'll ever venture out to anymore Walk For Cancer get togethers till the fucking birds are back in the cornfields  Which would be October or the first snowfall.  Don't need this shit. 

Before the attack of the crazed radioactive brain dead Redwing, I did stop at Moondog Music although I kept it brief since somebody was playing Guns And Roses Appetite For Destruction  I ended up buying four cds, two new and two used.  Thankfully I was done before Sweet Child O Mine came on. Goodwill had a couple of those Sounds Of The Seventies CDs and while looked interesting, I ended up getting only one of them AM Heavy Hits, simply of the fact it had Driver's Seat by Sniff n The Tears. Time Life actually did a fairly good job compiling the songs, (Bare Trees, Jeweled Eye Judy, Hard Drivin Man) AM Heavy Hits works as a nice tribute to K Tel, only they left the pop stuff off.  Even if you have to sit through Carry On Wayward Son or Long Time, there's not too many comps that have Girl Of My Dreams or Looking For  A Love on it.  And now, for this week's poster girl, the remarkable Elizabeth Chaffe, excellent singer songwriter.  I touted her work for many years.  Magic 8 is a great album.

Record Reviews as we go along:

Melody Gardot-Currency  Of Man (Verve/Decca 2015)

She started out somewhat in the league of Norah Jones, but while Norah went Americana, Melody sought out Joni Mitchell via Hedija and Nina Simone and went abstract jazz. I loved her first album, not so much the second and passed on the third before checking this one out.  For 10 songs that goes over 50 minutes it's interesting to hear how she strings the songs out, even on the Tom Waits influenced Preacherman.  While the Mitchell/Simone comparison is noted, I also hear Phoebe Snow in Melody's singing as well.  I recall hearing a 2 and half minute single edit of Same To You on You Tube but on the album it's goes five minutes and kinda wears out its welcome towards the end.  Currency Of Man is weird and oddball but it's weird and oddball in a good way. Melody does tend to not change the mood or tempo that much, which can be good or bad or if it makes a classic album, or a one you file away or donate.  I didn't care for her second album because of too many muzak ballads and she hasn't abandoned that but at least there's a sense of mystery and aura on the 7 minute If Ever I Recall Your Face, which is better than anything off that second album.  And ends with the weepy Once I Was Loved.  Currency Of Man is an improvement but I still think Melody can make the ultimate five star alternative jazz album somewhere down the line.  She's good and she'll get better.  You just need patience with her.
Grade B+

Paul Revere And The Raiders-Here They Come (Columbia 1965)

For the greatness that was Paul Revere And The Raiders, they were even better live,  although they looked at themselves as R and B ravers rather than the pop rock that was to come but everybody's gotta start somewhere and  someplace.  And the first side is six live numbers that defined The Raiders as a top notch live act at that time. Beginning with You Can't Sit Down, with Mark Lindsay blowing wailing sax, they tear through Motown, Don and Dewey and of course, Louie Louie which is not as chaotic as The Kingsmen, although some swear Paul Revere's version was better.  Nevertheless, they would not be so revealing of their love of R and B cover songs as side 2 switches over to studio songs, beginning with Sometimes and a version of Gone written by Bruce and Terry.  To Keep up with the times, they cover PF Sloan and The Rolling Stones although Time Is On My Side was done by Irma Thomas, a R and B number.  The weakest track is the one original song written by Lindsay/Revere, an afterthought called A Kiss To Remember You By.  Here They Come is a fun record and maybe should have been done as live album all the way.  But they would get much better down the road.
Grade B+

Willie Nelson-Lost Highway (Lost Highway 2009)

It's hard to tell who recorded more albums for Lost Highway, Willie or Ryan Adams but this overview cherry picks the better known hits and timeless songs done by guest artists, but I think time has actually been a lot better to Mendocino County Line, done with Lee Ann Wommack, or the Toby Keith Beer For My Horses and even Maria done with Rob Thomas who seems out out of Willie's league.  As for the remakes, Shania Twain does add something to Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain more than Mr and Mrs Elvis Costello on Crazy but Lucinda Williams' on Overtime seems to be a label marketing ploy.  In the end, the more suited duets are with the late great Ray Price on two numbers.  Nelson originally signed with Island Records but when Polygram sold everything off to Universal, they moved Willie over to the Americana Lost Highway side of things. This comp really doesn't harbor much on the Ryan Adams' Songbird album, nor the Reggae influenced Countryman, both albums get one song each and Willie sings with his sons on Over You Again.  However the best songs are the unreleased Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond Of Each Other and Ain't Going Down On Brokeback Mountain, which Willie shows his humorous side before ending the album with another version of Lost Highway,done with Kurt Nilsen.  I wouldn't say Universal picked the best songs off the albums but there's enough oddities to make this curio, a nice overview of Willie's decade at Lost Highway Records.
Grade B+

History Of Rhythm And Blues Volume 1-The Roots 1947-52 (Atlantic 1968)

This album was replaced by a more extensive 7 volume 2 record set in 1985 but Atlantic in the late 60s put out a four volume set of R and B that ended in 1960.  But even Atlantic borrowed from other labels (Jubilee and Mercury/Savoy) for Ol Man River by The Ravens and an obscure number from Edna McGriff (Heavenly Father).  Atlantic tinkered with a big band type of R and B with Laurie Tate with Joe Morris (Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere) and on side 1 the growing pains are there.  With straight doowop from The Orioles (It's Too Soon To Know), jump blues from Sticks McGee (Drinking Wine Spo-dee-o-dee) taken from a 78 that seen better days, jump jazz from Frank Cully (Cole Slaw) and even the blues from Ledbelly (Goodnight Irene).  Side 2 is the beginning of Atlantic R and B with the likes of The Clovers whose two songs bookends that album (Don't You Know I Love You and One Mint Julep), the just about forgotten Cardinals who did the original Wheel Of Fortune, Ruth Brown's 5-10-15 Hours and the legendary Big Joe Turner's first big hit with Chains Of Love, featuring the crazed piano of Harry Van Walls.  I have seen chewed up copies of this album selling for 20 dollars all told, this one cost a dollar and the record is a clean VG with some pops and clicks on some songs, most notably Heavenly Father.  The nadir is the fake stereo to these mono recordings, somebody threw a bit more echo in Big Joe Turner's vocal but for a historical document, this does lay claim to the argument that Atlantic knew their rhythm and blues and they would improve on it later on the 50s and 60s with the likes of Ray Charles, Clyde McPlatter and The Drifters, as well as the Coasters.  As far as I know, Rhino continues to have the 1985 History Of Rhythm And Blues in print.  The original album is a nice sampler of things to come.
Grade A-

The Spinners/Best Of Spinners (Atlantic 1977)

Whatever the case may be, I don't think Motown dropped the ball on The Spinners, they were simply the second team soul band to the all stars of The Four Tops or The Temptations or The Miracles and never really got that big push of a hit in their time at Motown, although Stevie Wonder gave them their biggest Motown hit with It's A Shame.  With Atlantic, The Spinners went from Detroit to Philadelphia and hooked up with Thom Bell and the MFSB band and their early 70s hits were loads better than anything they did on Motown.  Phillipe Wynne got all the kudos and credits but the late Bobby Smith sang the hits with I'll Be Around and so forth.  Need we say more that Earl Young was drumming on most of the hits too? The first Atlantic best of remains the cheapest and better way to hear their hits without seeing them being cheapen by Michael Zager on the 1979 Working My Way Back To You Medley or Cupid Medley done by Johnathon Edwards (no relation to the dude who wrote Sunshine for Capricorn years ago).  A few singles were left off (I'm Coming Home) and too bad we didn't get the full version of Rubberband Man.  Certainly Wynne's best songs are here, Ghetto Child, Mighty Love and the band duet with Dionne Warwick on Then Came You is solid gold soul. But to me the song that continues to stand the test of time remains They Just Can't Stop It (Games People Play) from Bobby Smith to Phillipe Wynne and Richard Fambrough and whoever is singing the woman part.  Alas, Best Of Spinners do capture the best known singles and after Rubberband Man, they never would grace the charts so highly and so often;  I tend to think Workin My Way Back To You/Cupid medley were the label trying to capitalize on a band based on nostalgia.  But the early Atlantic years prove that a change of scenery, The Spinners were just as good as a soul band as their Motown counterparts.
Grade A

Chuck Prophet-The Hurting Business (Cooking Vinyl 1999)

He has better luck in later years helping out Ajeandro Escovedo but on this 1999 effort he turns into Beck Jr. As much as I don't mind Beck, I take him in very small doses, be it Mellow Gold or his Grammy winning album of last year Morning Glory, but I really don't need a Odeley Part 2, that album I could take or leave. At that time, the DJ mixes and turntables were cutting edge but hearing the rap like Dyin' All Young, I rather not hear.  Which leaves perhaps the two songs I probably listen to again before donating it back to Goodwill, the humorous I Couldn't Be Happier and album closer La Paloma.  It's a shame Prophet didn't go that route on this album.  Technical ho hum.
Grade C+

Since there has been more readership over at the Review Consortium Blogspot site from here, I plan to post more record reviews and bands over there.  Even though Record World is a look at the news and events of the world from this side of the fence, The Consortium will remain 100 percent music and bands.  As always, blog sites don't pay the bills but they can provide some entertainment value and hopefully let the reader discover a forgotten band or two, or three.  The majority of blogs will be over here but look for a couple entries of bands on the Consortium in the near future.  

Finally, revering back to Caitlyn Jenner. Perhaps it's the Kasdashians that influenced the decision of showing the former Bruce to the cover of Vanity Fare and basically with this came the usual facebook stickies of stand with Caitlyn on her decision to come out, but another blog takes a more in dept look at this.  While Jenner got free publicity, Laura Jean Grace, the former guy singer for Against Me! didn't get a free ride insomuch but I did hear Against Me's last album with the new Laura Jean in tow and it's angry pop punk rock which I actually like.  While Transgenders continue to come out and embark on new lives it really doesn't effect me much.  In fact it doesn't at all.  I have friends that would like to see Caitlyn's head on a stick and making the usual jokes but in reality it don't effect them either.  Unless Jenner is chasing them.  Which isn't happening.   In the end we live in a world bound by Wi-fi and computer talk on social networks.  We basically live in a world that Republicans are out for it themselves and Koch Industries, and cable tv's world of unreality reality crap that if you leave the channel off you won't notice anything about the Kasdashians or Jenner.  And if you're famous like Caitlyn Jenner (or well known)  the tabloids and E entertainment will camp outside your door.   But if you're a lesser known or everyday person that got tired of being a he (or she) and decide to trans-switched, the only ones that will take note are bullies that belittle you in person or in the social media.   It's the way of the world and we're two steps up from the compost heap.  If Caitlyn or Laura Jean are happy in this way then so be it.  It doesn't bother me, nor shall it you.  I have other problems to contend with.  Like pissed off Red Wing blackbirds that seem to single me out at a crowded fundraiser.  And I absolutely hate that,and them birds. http://bottom-of-the-glass.blogspot.com/2015/06/uncompromising-and-aggressive-impatience.html