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.

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