Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Week In Review: US Women's Soccer, Reviews, Ringo 75

Some odd notes found over the weekend during the forth of July.  Big news is that the US women soccer team took care of business and blew out Japan 5-2 in World Cup play Sunday, the first time the women won it all since 1999 and they get revenge from the let down of the 2011 season which Japan won on penalty kicks.  No let down this time as the US scored and scored often, including a Carli Lloyd 50 foot bomb that went past the Japan goalkeeper.  After that school was out.  It could have been a bigger score but in reality Lloyd's hat trick scoring was all that matters.  In other words, Japan met the Soccer Godzilla.  Long time player Abby Wambach, one of the best players ever ended up giving  a kiss to her wife, which pretty much gave Conservatives or Man and Woman Marriage Supporters a run to the bathroom to throw up.   Nevertheless Abby can now retire on top, the girls didn't let up this time around.  Almost the perfect soccer game ever played for the women.  And no shirts were taken off in the process.

Unlike the rest of the world, I stayed home on the Fourth Of July. I was tired and had stomach pains all weekend to which I found out that on a doctor's visit that I have what they call a belly button hernia and probably need to have that fixed.  This has been a constant pain for as long as I remember but on a walk downtown the next day, I needed to get some sort of exercise and thankfully I didn't get attacked by any redwing blackbirds, however while straying off the trail to check out a butterfly on a flower I almost got hit by a bicyclist, who came out of nowhere and right under my blindspot.  Once again, another reminder of how this year has sucked in trying to get exercise and going into town, taking my life into my own hands.  I have never witness such a year that I had to endure this type of shit luck.  I may never venture out again way things are going.  No shortage of asshole drivers and red lights in town to which road rage becomes when one thing leads to another.  Long red light=shit head drivers that ride your ass or do things to cause road rage.  Namely bumming around kids, with one bright minded dude with their legs out the window and showing their IQ as you yell at them to GTFOMA. Which I wanted to go after them but they had the traffic and red lights on their side as they were laughing all the way down C St. (Picture above is practically the same color of car that was changing my radio stations on the car, although you don't see Shit For Brains showing you their IQ finger).  Which they can thank their lucky stars, the next time, I would have taken all of them out and kick their ass all the way to Hell for being bad drivers.  But I'm sure all of you fine readers have had your share of bad drivers as well.  In a world of instant information during texting, cell phone yacking or just plain not paying attention and being in a hurry to get somewhere at the expense of others, this is what the world has become today and not in a good way.  You think things will get better?  So far things are  continuing to get worse.  Drive like they're out to get you?  Hell might as well say live before they do get you, be it dumb-ass drivers or raging redwings.

Basically it was 35 years ago that Led Zeppelin played their last show together before John Bonham's fondness for booze cost him his life and I'm surprised that Atlantic hasn't bothered to put this out on stand alone CD or DVD although some of the songs did appeared on that DVD years ago.  When Robert Plant called it the last show, he didn't know it would be the last show, after Bonham's 40 shots of Vodka a couple months later, it was the last show:

Four years ago, I lost one of my best friends Dennis Pusateri.  It surprises me that time has gone by that fast since then.  Dennis was one of those good heated people  that never said a bad word to anybody and found ways to make people laugh. I still remember the days we used to listen to cassettes and CDs working in the Pell Department of the old beloved NCS, a place that used to be a great place to work. Last I heard, he still has no headstone on his gravesite but I'm thinking he's buried with his parents and his brother, who was murdered in 1988 and the case not solved.  I'm still haunted of the memories of not talking to Dennis at Hy Vee three weeks before he passed away from a motorcycle accident which he was killed from a driver not paying attention and pulled out in front of him. I'd always thought I'd talk to him the next time I see him.  Which turned out to be his funeral. R.I.P my brother.

Before they got big and famous, this was this little ad calling for Nirvana fans to be into a video called Smells Like Teen Spirit.  Little did everybody involved would know that this would be the next big thing....for better or for worse.  A blast from the past photo from 1991.

Ringo Starr, the most lovable Beatle (IMO) turned 75 Tuesday.  Ringo has outlived Bonham and Keith Moon for that matter despite him have a cigarette in either hand on any given day or photo shoot.  It turns out that out of all The Beatles, I have more Ringo in my collection than Paul (4), George (3) or John (Zero although i have had a few of his albums at one time).  Ringo had more fun albums and songs for that matter.  I tend to be partial to his B sides, Down And Out (B side to Photograph) or the more mysterious Blindman (B side to Back Off Boogaloo) with Klaus Voorman helping out.  Ringo's albums were uneven, his best were the Richard Perry produced Ringo and Goodnight Vienna albums but also the 1991 Private LP Time Takes Time which Ringo jammed with the guys from Jellyfish on the majority of the songs and came up with the Byrds sounding Weight Of The World.  Although Ringo continued to make albums, they became less and less entertaining for me, Mark Hudson got too full of himself on Choose Love and Ringo booted him out in favor of Dave Stewart on Liverpool 8, another disappointment of a album as he returned to Capitol for that one fateful album. 

Problems with the Bullfrogspond site, somebody directed me to this link that will work if you want to see chart positions of songs.


Trouble (United Artists 1977)

Not to be confused with the metal band of the 80s that recorded for Metal Blade and later Def America, this Trouble band has more to do with booze rock of the mid 70s.  The lead vocalist is Rick Failla, who might be the closest to Paul Rodgers and this record sounds like them digging on Free's last album Heartbreaker.  Cary Raymond does a mean Paul Kossoff.  Basically the songs do pale in comparison with Heartbreaker but they give it a good ride, especially on I'm Leaving You which could be Heartbreaker part two.  Bits of Mott The Hoople and Bad Company come to mind, N Y City the former, Out On The Road the latter.  I'm sure Richard Digby Smith had a hand in the Mott/Free sound, he produced Free.  This record hardly got noticed back then, and it sat in the dollar bins for a while before I took a chance on it.  For boogie booze rock, it's not bad. Brian Glascock would later play drums for The Motels and Iggy Pop to name a couple other bands.
Grade B+

Morris Grants Presents JUNK (Argo 1961)

Is jazz ready for satire?  In 1961 not really.  One of the more interesting albums that I found up town was this obscure jazz record that makes lighthearted fun at Norman Granz JATP series that came out on Verve Records (and later Philo Records) with this complete with canned applause and speeded up freakouts (Frensi).  Things come to a head to C Jam Blues which a fight ensures towards the end. For a parody satire album the jazz performances are quite good although you have to really dig deep into the internet to see who's behind the songs.  Turns out Doc Severisen is the Trumpet player  however things get muddier.  The mysterious Jordan Ramin is on various saxes and plays piano (rumors of Clark Terry might be the sax player since this was released on Argo, Chess's jazz label), Trigger Alpert on bass, Bernie Leighton on piano, and Don Lamond on drums.  Basically this is mostly Ramin's idea and it was a good hearted jazz satire album, although the jokes were kinda corny and dated at the time. Ramin actually had his own label, Thunderbird Records in the 50s (Ramin put out five singles and one album under the Thunderbird Records banner, the album The Worst Of Morris Garner which was a parody of Earl Garner, and the results angered Garner's manager and Columbia Records which got Ramin blackballed by Columbia and radio wouldn't play it. A few years later Ramin resumed the Morris Grants name on the Argo LP Morris Grants Presents  JUNK  (aka Jazz University's New Kicks).   While the record isn't perfect, jazz purists still have a hard time getting into this I come to find the JATP parody to be as good intentions as say, Homer And Jethro doing a country parody or Weird Al doing rock.  I'll doubt if I'll ever hear the Worst Of Morris Grants, that record is even more rare than JUNK. The Ornotte Morris parody of Ornette Coleman may give oddballs looks but the Morris Brubeck parody of Mr. Brubeck is spot on.   Ramin died in 2012 so whatever secrets he had he took to his grave.  The UK reissue label Hallmark issued this on CD.  For this Argo LP, there's pops and clicks but the record doesn't skip and I have to say, it's interesting jazz.  Fun too.  But not for jazz snubs.
Grade A-

Denny Laine-Holly Days (Capitol 1977)
Mike McGear-McGear (Warner Bros. 1974)

A case of two different Paul McCartney produced efforts.  The Denny Laine album is basically a Buddy Holly tribute album made during a Busman's holiday.  Hard to think Laine was the lead singer and part of The Moody Blues, by this time he was employed as a Wings sideman with Paul and Linda Mac.  And say what you want about Linda, she does bring a bit of good charm to her vocals be it on this album and the McGear album.  Critics never took to Holly Days, it does sound underproduced. A few interesting ideas, It's So Easy might have worked better had Laine and McCartney not slowed down the tempo for Listen To Me, and the Acapella arrangement of Rave On is not bad, and Heartbeat actually gives me visions of Fleetwood Mac when they did Buddy's Song on the Kiln House album.  But it becomes a curio listen, since the instrumentals that end both sides of the album really don't go anywhere and I'm Looking For Someone To Love shouldn't be treated as a lazy jam number.  It's uneven but Holly Days does have its heart in the right place.

McGear, is the 1974 album that has Mike McCartney leading the Wings band (with Gerry Conway on drums, he of Fairport Convention fame) and brother Paul producing and it's a very interesting sound this has.  Mike does share a bit of Paul's pop sensibility although Mike has more of a eccentric sound to his.  A Syd Barrett vibe is heard on Have You Got Problems? and Givin Grease A Ride rocks harder than anything Wings ever did (although Helen Wheels comes close).  I think side 1 is the better side, it shows a bit of creativeness. Taking on Roxy Music's Sea Breezes might have been a bit extreme, I like it fine and the rocking Leave It as well.  Of course the buying public never caught on to this, and perhaps Warners didn't promote this as well as they should have (see Badfinger for more on how to screw up a band) but McGear is a strong debut from a lesser known McCartney brother who could be as witty as Paul could.

Holly Days B-
McGear B+

Iommi (Devine/Priority 2000)

Believe it or not, the Billy Corgan track Black Oblivion is pretty damn good in this otherwise all star jamming with the Black Sabbath riffmeister.   When this came out, Tony Iommi pretty much retired the Black Sabbath banner after the disappointing sales of Forbidden, and turned out his second solo record (the first was Seventh Star which Warner Brothers tacked on the B.S. name to generate record sales) with many of the in demand lead singers of metal bands of that time.  From the likes of Henry Rollins to Dave Grohl to Phil Anselmo this record takes forever to get its act together and really doesn't until the Smashing Pumpkins bald dude does his best Ozzy on Black Oblivion and all everything Kenny Aronoff doing his best Bill Ward imitation.  Then the record kicks in, with Ian Astbury rocking out with Flame On, the late Peter Steele's death metallic Just Say No To Love and perhaps for the last time, getting original Black Sabbathers Ozzy Osborne and Bill Ward on the best track (naturally) the dark and brooding Who's Fooling Who, which wouldn't sound out of place on the Sabbath's 13 album, recorded 13 years later and is the best sound of what had Bill played on 13.  The record then sinks in self parody with cornball Billy Idol's sophomoric and laughable lyrics to Into The Night despite having Soundgarden's rhythm section playing a tight beat.  Bob Marlette who produced doesn't help with cliche' production and cheese beats although the Ozzy and Billy Corban numbers does give this album heavy metal credibility.  In other words, one of those tribute albums that fall short of expectations.
Grade C+

Green On Red-Gas Food Lodging/Green On Red (Restless 1999)

A reissue of the Gas Food Lodging LP and the EP, two different styles from a band that started out Velvet Underground fanatics but also threw in Bauhaus and The Dream Syndicate (the Steve Wynn led group) and I find the EP's Goth rock slant to be a bit boring for my liking.  A change of pace and Dan Stuart upped more of an cowpunk sound that never sounded better on leadoff track That's What Dreams Are Made For. Credit newbie Chuck Prophet for finally getting Green On Red that sound that was missing on the EP.  Certainly Dan Stuart's fondness for booze and other thing immoral helps, Hair Of The Dog and the Dream Syndicate nod Fading Away makes Gas Food Lodging their best album overall, although they would still visit their Bauhaus gothness on Sixteen Ways   I think that's where their heart was at, but thankfully Gas Food Lodging is one of the better early Americana albums of the 80s.  Green On Red never did topped that on later albums.
Grade B+

Third World-Reggae Greats (Mango 1984)

In theory Third World was too disco and too much soul to be taken as strict reggae artists seriously.  They tried to be jack of all trades and the first half of this best of, shortchanges their Jamaican beats in favor of latter day Motown soul disco, never mind Now That We Found Love turned out to be their biggest hit at that time. In terms of Jah beats, Jah Glory is fine reggae, you won't mistake The Wailers but Third World could do that beat if they wanted to.  Their 96 In The Shade is a classic too but I think I prefer to hear that song on the namesake album they released.  There's soul to it but thankfully the disco beats is held to a minimum.  For reggae got soul. Third World does rank with Toots And The Maytals and The Pioneers, T.W. being third, for pure reggae they're further down the list when you include Bob Marley And The Wailers to the equation.  An uneven best of.
Grade B  

And once again, The Townedgers We All Sleep Alone reclaims the number 1 spot on the Lucky Star Radio top ten songs of the week.  I still think it's a feel good moment regardless, I know the Timesquare Media fools would never consider hearing the song in the first place but having a net radio station of fans of new music liking The TEs music is just a good feeling if not better.  Thanks Diggy Kat for the love and support.  Now I have to learn the song to play live now! ;) (we'll forgive you for Skid Row though)

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