Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Week In Review: Summer heat, TE Radio 10, Jam fest

I have been tending to other sort of business here.  Thursday Night, I managed to hit one of those jam sessions that are few and far between for musicians.  I got invited to a Thursday Night show what you can do expose up at Wrigleyville in Marion Iowa, located across from KFC.  I brought the guitar to do a couple songs only to leave it out in the car and banged on this cheap 10 dollar drum set and a couple trash can lids for cymbals for two songs.  The first one, this guy was wailing away on guitar showing off his Eddie Van Halen skills, so I told him if he knew the opening riffs to You Really Got Me, I can fall in with the words. Amazingly that went off pretty good.  It also was the first time I led any band into a jam song on my own willingness.   I stayed up for one more song, the obligatory Sweet Home Alabama and then it was off to hanging around and talking old times with an old classmate from high school and high five all the folks that thought I sounded good.  Next jam session will be this Thursday at the same place.

For the first time in 2 years we finally got that famed July heat wave that cooks everything up. It's amazing that the highway of storms we have the last month has gone east and north this time.  The weather bureau last week miss the prediction of 2-3 inches of rain, we got about 10 sprinkles Saturday Morning but for the most part we were soaking up sunshine and humidity and I spent the weekend celebrating my best friend's birthday with a 12 dollar hamburger at New Bo Alehouse and a misguided waiter who tacked on a 20 percent gratuity rate, which was bullshit since we not a party of 8 or more, which seems to be standard procedure for going out on a town and going somewhere which is not Hardee's or McDonalds.  After complaining to the owner about this and saying we not a party of 8, we had separate checks, the fee got waved off.  Perhaps the waiter was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd there, we don't know, he'd disappeared for a good while but I thought he was worthy of something since he did managed to keep the drinks flowing.  I still gave him something for a tip, but it did fall shorted of his expectations and the next tattoo he wants to get.

We went across the street to Parlor City, for more drinks and checking out The Ramblers, a Americana band of sorts that played some Irish Celtic songs in the process, which of course got my best friend about talking to playing again.  Which lead to the usual, we need to do this song or that song and of course the Rush Song Of The Day to play.  Which means nothing ever changes around here.  Parlor City is where the lesser known bands play which don't focus on the tired bar band requests, although the medley of Stairway To Heaven/Smoke On The Water/Free Bird was very interesting.  Reunion bands are so hit and miss, which is why I continue as The Townedgers on my own.  However, if my best friend makes it to the Jam session this week, it will be the first time we played together since 2008.  We'll see what happens after that, if I can keep him off the golf course.

In this day and age, driving on the road is like playing Russian roulette.  Too many accidents and you're either getting stuck behind somebody going 45 in a 55 or an asshole riding your ass and going 80 in a 55 (or in my case, see last week's blog about the butt plugger and their finger flipping feet out the window douchecanoe).  Driving the interstate is a taking in your life in your own hands, or highway 100 to which KGAN weather dude Justin Roberts got into a accident with a car, whose driver died on the scene a 19 year old Zoee Norton.  From what I have read it seems to be too commonplace about what happens and I do not know the cause of Zoee's passing, could it been a faulty brake line that didn't work?  Car malfunction?  Tire blow out?  I don't know but a sad fact might be a case of texting and driving, which does have dire and fatal consequences.  If you don't believe me, take a lunch date at any Restaurant of your choice and spend 15 minutes watching the traffic flow by.  You will not believe how many folks talk on the cell phone or checking their smart phone or texting and not paying any attention to what they are doing.  I get distracted too, but usually is changing a CD and trying to place it in the discman just right.  Today's youth and society have now up the dangers of driving with Smart Phones and texting and not confining with the rules of the road and thus most of us are playing with fire.  To the slow poke in front, to the GD asshole in the back too busy in a hurry to get somewhere and trying to run us off the road, someday I might be a cross on the side of the road due to incompetent drivers and the fucking red lights help either.  Which a clear road becomes a traffic jam because some programmer is having fun at our expense of not keeping the lights in sync.   But Zoee Norton becomes yet another statistic in highway fatalities, another makeshift cross on  the side of the road and perhaps the dangers of being on the road.  The investigation is ongoing so opinions will keep a secret. But a good reminder that texting and driving don't go well together, and so is talking on a cellphone and dropping it while driving and trying to pick it up. Justin Roberts will be laid up for a while but the good news is that he's out of the hospital and recovering.  Zoee Norton will be laid to rest, with her organs donated to help others in need.  She's an angel now. 

Luke Bryan continues to stick his foot in his mouth once again, thus pissing off the traditional country folk.  The king of wearing women's skinny jeans said he would never ever be a outlaw country singer (like he would ever be)  laying in the gutter and snorting cocaine like Waylon and Willie did which really got a response and not in a good way, even ruffling the feathers of one of Waylon's relatives who told Luke to stick that in his girly jeans.

I don't comment about Luke Bryan or try not to.  I bought a couple of his CDs, thought they were shit and donated them back to science.  His My Kind Of Life is one of the all time worst garbage songs ever (that Conway/T Pain pairing extra groan points and another reason to shoot Dallas (Cliche Master) Davidson) and another song about growing corn is another salt rub in the wound song that makes me hate the guy anymore.  Basically Farce The Music does a much better job smacking Luke and Sam Hunt and FGL around better.  Since my time is limited anymore, I do not choose to listen to these singers or autotuned specialists, chances are I won't like them.  In this day and age, social media makes it easier to take somebody's comments and twist them around and both sides do that.  The GOP and the Liberals, the country music fans and haters.  And I try to find some sort or middle ground without resorting to rant and ravings.  As for Luke Bryan, he's the new country sound, for worse and wear.  He might claim to cite Waylon as a musical hero but as a musical influence, another story that doesn't wash very well.

And there's no love in CCR country either.  John Fogerty has sued his ex band mates  with breach of contract issues on Friday.  This has been a big burning point for Fogerty who agreed to let the guys use Creedence Clearwater Revisited provided both Stu Cook and Doug Clifford is on stage together.  Basically without Fogerty's songs CC Revisited would not exist in their own right. Although Cook and Clifford have wrote songs on occasion, it's the CC Revival songs that people want to hear and the royalty checks coming in.  While we all love John and his music, it's C C Revisited that comes through during the state fairs and monster truck rallies around here.  I don't recall Fogerty ever playing Jones County Fair or anything around this area.  And he continues to get most of rock's A list of stars at his Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame jam sessions.  I can see the dirty slamming of Doug and Stu but I do think John can be a bit of a hypocrite himself.  Say what you want about the guys who are tarnishing John's songs but they're doing the dirty work of going to Casinos and state fairs while John is more content with the spotlight and bigger paychecks and slamming the guys on every magazine.   And of course vice versa.  I expect John and the boys reunite about the time John plays a local state fair or Casino visit.  Which basically means, don't hold your breath for either.

The death of BB King sparked some issues saying that he was poisoned to death but the official results of his autopsy was of natural causes and partly of Alzheimer's as well.  Which may have explained the reason why his St Louis concert (one of his last shows) turned out the way it did. BB still lives in the music and concerts that he did performed.  Sad reminder that life is fleeting even in our main years.  And I wish it could be the 1970s all over again and not the Corporate Crap of this era.

And now a case study in quality taking the day off. And everybody knows that MCA Records had some mighty piss poorly made LPs and 45s back then.  A forgotten single WKRP In Cincinnati from Steve Carlile that turned out to be his only hit.  This record is a glory hole.   This record could only play on a specially made record player.  And here it is.

Forthcoming events this week is Solon Beer, Beef Days this weekend.  The weather is expected to be plenty hot out there in those tents up around Solon and what better way of having beef is the mass amounts of beer and thousands of flies landing on you and yours during this wonderful time.  If beef is not what you came up there for, there's always the Mexican Place El Sol on the corner.  The flies will be less in there.  Next week is the Jones County Fair, with Tim McGraw headlining.  Basically an all country lineup with the usual Sunday Gospel group as well.   And next Thursday will be RAGBRAI coming around the area.  They'll be going through Springville but not here in the suburbs. Bob Pitchford takes the picture of a gorilla who thinks of all of this.  Pfffft. Or perhaps Grumpy Gorilla is listening to FGL against his will too ;)


Blossom Dearie (Verve 1956)

It's not that I've stopped buying classic rock music, on the contrary I still listen and buy them, I just don't have the time for the same shit you hear over and over on the radio.  Bob Lefsetz's constant Spotify touting, streaming etc etc, but in the old days, we have going into the store and picking something up cheap and seeing something that might appeal to the ears.  Streaming is great for not having record or cd clutter around the house but is any streaming service going to have anything from The Townedgers on board? Or Train Hits Truck?  Or some band that was had some exposure on the radio back in the 90s and beforehand?  With parents or grandparents leaving this world and their Andy Williams or Herb Alpert records behind,  there's artists that have yet to be discovered.  For better or worse.  The preppies today are buying just about every rock and roll record or jazz record and touting them on their FB site, which makes the listener collector ready to smack them.  In my later years I have gone to the cult artists of the 50s and 60s and so on.  The Theolonois   Monk Riverside albums,  Nina Simone, even Tim Buckley has reentered my life.  But for a while, I have referenced Blossom Dearie as someone to seek out if and when I could find a decent overview of hers.  The Diva Series, is a nice sampler of who she's about, but I ended up finding this S/T album reissue for 2 dollars.  Which is really a low key, stripped down affair backed only by Jo Jones on drums and Ray Brown on bass, except for a couple songs with some background singers in, the bonus track Johnny One Note sounding like the Hi Lo's were in town.  Her voice had that Betty Boop, little girl lost sound, and perhaps her trademark although she was a fine piano player in her own right.  The songs sung in French I could do without and I'm sure Thou Swell was heard by Nina Simone and done in her own way.   Plenty of Rogers and Hammerstein numbers to choose from here, but perhaps the best remains Blossom's own Blossom's Blues, which dark and spare arrangement is a nice ending to a stunning debut of originality.  Norah Jones and Nellie McKay may have been influenced by Blossom Dearie from their debut albums as well.
Grade B+

Three Dog Night-The Complete Hit Singles (Geffen 2004)

Not the fully complete hit singles, they're missing Nobody, their first and their last Everybody Is A Masterpiece for singles but you can hear the development of  one of rock's best singles band of the late 60s and early 70s.  Another line of corporate bullshit is that these are the single versions, actually they're not, One fades out on the forty five, and Let Me Serenade You the keyboard intro is more up front.  But Joy To The World and Old Fashioned Love Song are original 45 mixes.  As well as Liar. But still it makes one wish that Real Gone Records would have compiled this.  As an overview this replaces The Best Of Three Dog Night and for that matter the Joy To The World best of with better sound and perhaps the best known songs beginning with One.  But I still like Golden Biscuits for the inclusion of Woman and Nobody, which seems that the latter song gets no respect.  3 Dog Night was the ultimate cover band, and they picked some of the best songs written by other people.  Who else could cover Paul Williams, Harry Nilsson, Hoyt Axton and John Hiatt?  They also covered Spooky Tooth, Free and The Youngbloods on their albums.  To which Sure As I'm Sitting Here is the long album version as well as Play Something Sweet and not the single version, which tends to grate on the nerves of the completest who looking for what he remembers hearing on the radio.  Still most of the hits are here, Harmony their best overall album before the ruts sat in and number 1 single Black And White topped the charts.  And then teenyboppers moved on to something else although 3 Dog Night still managed to break out a cool song or two (Shambala, Let Me Serenade You) before they wimp out on the number 11 chart placing of Till The World Ends, which seems to, despite Everybody Is A Masterpiece being the last true single but not well known anymore thanks to Corporate Classic Rock, seems to be a fitting way to end the best of.  I've never cared much for Till The World Ends, but can listen to it, unlike Another Brick In The Wall. But to hear things start out with the urgently rocking One and ending on Till The World Ends, their admission of defeat, makes The Complete Hit Singles one of the best rise and fall of a singles band ever made on CD or LP.  But I cannot in good faith give this a five star review, more like a four star recommendation that if you need only one Three Dog Night CD, this would be it.  As a fan, I think Golden Biscuits is the better buy, but that's not coming out on CD.  Maybe in a streaming service (up yours Bob Lefsetz)
Grade B+

Tim Buckley-The Dream Belongs To Me (Manifesto 2002)

When all is said and done, I will forever enjoy the folk troubadour of the late 60s rather than the sleeze porn rhythm and blues of Greetings From LA years but Buckley is a one of a kind artist who followed his own muse, even as fucked up as it would get.  Look At The Fool, his final effort was knocked around by critics but I found some sort of guilty pleasure of hearing it.  Greetings From LA  made me want to take a shower after hearing it.  Robert Christgau was never too kind to him, even on Starsailor, the album that was his best, or so said the critics.  Myself his first two are the ones to get, simply that they're more assessable than the later stuff.  This record splits between two 1968 sessions, both folky and not bad.  Part 2 stems from a February 1973 session to which you get 8 songs of the same funk groove and Buckley's vocals more druggy and out front, singing through the pain I guess, by then Buckley's view of the world and music really changed and not in a very good way.  This version of Sefronia actually is better than the studio version and it points out to Buckley doing the songs on feel and expression.  An acquired taste, but enough to established a cult following, The Dream Belongs To Me shows the two sides of Tim Buckley: the hopeful folkie and the dirty white boy who tried to funk up the beat.  This includes a 60 second promo of a Elektra album tacked on at the tail end of Quicksand.
Grade B

Q-Dancin' Man (Epic 1977)

Forgotten band that made a fine single.  Dancin' Man is basically a very simple get up and dance number that in a perfect world would be played as much as Play That Funky Music White Boy.  Robert Peckman had an eye and ear for that AM radio hit smash and Dancin' Man was it. Dancin Man the album, though has them trying to revamp Dancin' Man vibe and of course the followups flopped and failed but that doesn't mean they didn't have that charm of the hit single.  Do I Love You and Jump For Joy are perhaps the best songs, although I can't understand why the B side Love Pollution didn't get any vinyl lovin for album inclusion.  The perfect feel good throwaway number (Particles of happiness spreading all around) I think I played that side as much as Dancin' Man.  Q tries elements of doo wop (the side 1 closer Have I Sinned) and William Thomas takes a turn for a slow jam Make Us One Again which sounds like The Manhattans and sticks out like a sore thumb.  A valiant effort but Dancin' Man,the album shows Q to be a dance band, you won't remember the songs but you'll have a good time dancing to it.  Provided if you still live in 1977.
Grade B

Dean Martin-Country Style/Dean Tex Martin Rides Again (Collector's Choice 2001)

I always fancied Deano to be a country star if he wanted to be, in fact his 1983 Warners album might have been his best country sounding album before he passed on five years later but these mid 60s Reprise 2 on 1 CD is basically pop sounding like country.  Make no mistake Deano can sing the phone book in one take, and judging by the way the songs came out on Country Style, Martin did one take and moved on to the next.   Chuck Seagle didn't do him any favors either, most of the arrangements sound too much alike and the background singers are still 10 years behind the times.  On Rides Again, Jimmy Bowen adds a bit more production and style and Marty Paich was a better choice than the Mantovani style of Seagle.  Still, the record feels like a weekend get together before Martin returned back to the movies and Mat Helm (or his TV show).  A shame that Bowen didn't get around to produce I Walk The Line, which Seagle sinks in bombastic finale and of course those background pop singers not helping either.  Some inspired moments,  (Take Good Care Of Her, Room Full Of Roses) but not enough to warrant this collection back to the two dollar bins, along with the vinyl counterparts which can be found at the local Salvation Army.
Grade C

Ivy Doomkitty, we miss ya.  (Photo by York In A Box, great picture!)

Townedger Radio 10 (Broadcast 7-15-15 Via Lucky Star Radio)

Cinnamon Girl-The Gentrys
Oscillation-Silver Apples
Heaven And Hot Rods-Stone Temple Pilots
Wish In One Hand-Blackberry Smoke
The Big Time (1989 Demo)-Dwight Yoakam
If You Want To Be A Bird-The Holy Modal Rounders
Don't Bogard That Joint-The Fraternity Of Man
It's My Time-The Townedgers
The Castle-Love
I Broadcast-Blur
Feed The Tree-Belly
The Wild Ones-Waylon Jennings
They're Coming To Take Me Away AH HA-Napoleon XIV
D Boon-Uncle Tupelo
The Billboard Song-Homer And Jethro
Cut Me Off-Gear Daddies
Bullethead-Van Halen
North Cedar-House Of Large Sizes
Two Heads-Jefferson Airplane  

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