Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Week In Review: "irreconcilable differences", Coda, Rowdy Roddy Piper

Celebrity marriages, just don't last.  First it was Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, then it was Will Smith and Jada Pinkett and now it's Galvin Rossdale and Gwen Stefiani calling it quits after 13 years together.  It seems nobody stays in love anymore. Even Reba has call it a day with her hubby Narvel Blackstock.  So what is the point of love anymore if nobody stays in love anymore?

Billy Sherrill, legendary producer for Tammy Wynette and George Jones passed away at age 78 from a short illness on Tuesday. Most of the artists that you heard on Epic in the late 60s through the 80s, chances are you heard a song produced by Billy.  Originally a rockabilly artist he switched to production and originally worked with Jim and Jessie (Diesel On My Tail) before discovering Tammy Wynette.  Just like Jerry Kennedy at Smash/Mercury, Sherrill worked with a pop country sound and for many years was associated with George Jones up to Jones' passing.  He also gave fellow rockabilly star Charlie Rich a big hit with Behind Closed Doors in 1973.  Sherrill worked on Elvis Costello's 1980 Almost Blue album as well.   But Billy will be forever remembered for the countrypolitian sound of country music of the 70s.

Lynn Anderson passed away from a heart attack, she was 68.  Best known for her cover of Joe South's Rose Garden, Lynn had a few choice hits on Chart Records before moving to Columbia. I always loved her cover of Rocky Top.

Death continues on.  Cilla Black passed away at age 72, from complications from a fall.   Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away from a heart attack Friday at age 61.  Piper was one of the more interesting good/bad guys of the WWE and also was a B movie actor.  He will be missed.

In the US, you can't have anything nice, nor safe to go hitchhiking across America.  HitchBOT, a robot that survived going across three countries before trying his luck in America met his demise in Philadelphia after some drunken  man born without a penis  decided to take his wrath of no manhood on the poor defenseless robot.

  Perhaps the guy just couldn't cut it in Hip Hop or skating anymore, who knows, or perhaps he got his spraypaint cans taking away so he couldn't tag a building. While the masses would like to give Mr. number 12 a taste of his own asskissing, HitchBot holds no ill will against his attacker who lost out on a meth deal.  Even in death Hitchbot points out that sometimes bad things happen to good robots. But he lives on with his friends. Just like the oxygen robbing doofus lives on, to beat up on future Hitchbots that come into Philadelphia.  Next trip you might want to avoid that area.

The uproar continues against Dr Walter Pulltooth Palmer, the traveling poacher who killed Cecil the Lion and claimed he didn't know that the lion had a GPS collar last week. The public outcry and even the Zimbabwe Government wants to have Dr. Pulltooth extradited to face poaching charges.  Which of course, avid hunter and rock guitarist All American Ted Nugent had to add his two cents into the whole thing, we all know Ted's right.  While HitchBot might be forgiving to his no penis attacker, the world isn't so much on Dr. Pulltooth, calling for his head. Dr. Pulltooth Palmer might have been one of the best dentists in Minnesota, his reputation have now lowered him down to Hitler, Kim Jung Uncola or any Cubs pitcher that blows leads.  Angry people have been leaving bad reviews at River Bluff Dental via Yelp, and although Yelp continues to delete them, twice more bad reviews come up.  Dr. Pulltooth also ran afoul of the law by killing  black bear in Wisconsin a few years ago and lied about it.  Whatever the case may be and even with Ted Nugent on his side, Dr. Pulltooth pretty much slashed his own throat by killing Cecil the Lion, chances are he'll be in hiding for the rest of his years. Until a angry elephant stampedes over his teeth on the next big game hunt.  One can only hope.

Want Meth with your tacos?  That was the question posed when the local police shut down the Taco Bell on Blairs Ferry Road next to the interstate.  Remnants of a meth lab was discovered in the early morning hours and the shady Ken Duby was arrested on meth charges, the other guy was used to work there was an assistant manager.  While the usual complaining customers were crying about not being served, it's easy to point out that 10 minutes away you can go to Lindale Mall or the one across the street in Marion, or just drive down 380 to 33rd Avenue to have your hash browns not tainted with meth.  After all, there's no shortages of Taco Bells in town.  On a different but related note, Popeye's which enjoyed a half year of many customers on my side of town will get their own store off Edgewood Rd SW.  Which means they'll have to knock down an a couple houses (God forbid if anybody should purchase one of many empty buildings down that street), but it should open before the snows hit.

The Chrome Horse, which got shut down due to a fire last year is now relocated in the former Grill Your Own Steaks Place and Fieldhouse on Blairs Ferry Road (and a few miles away from Taco Metlab).  The hope is that this will be a place for local bands to play at and perhaps another jam session setting as well.   The move away from the old place at New Bo is due to cost effectiveness, but it wouldn't surprise me to see another mircobrewery to take the place of the old Chrome Horse. We shall see. 

It had to happen, a spoof on Metallica via Garfield, known as Hetfield the cat.  Enjoy the cartoons before the No Fun boys shut it down. http://hetfield-the-cat.tumblr.com/

The Dead is not dead quite yet. After the success of their Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago, Bob Weir, Micky Hart and Bill Kretzman will hit New York but without Phil Lesh.  Otell Burbridge will replace Lesh on bass, and the guitar player will be John Mayer.  Weir says that there'll be a few more concerts as well.  On a related note, what's left of Faces will play in a one off reunion.  It would be the first time Rod Stewart has played alongside Ron Wood and Kenny Jones.  A shame that this didn't take place when Ian McLegan was still alive.

Earlier in the year I came across this chewed up picture 45 sleeve of Jack Scott's Goodbye Baby for a quarter at the Salvation Army and thus begin a half year search to find a suitable single of this forty five.  Most were scratched up but Bob Herrington had a couple of decent ones and I settled upon a DJ copy of said song.  So now, you can say there's a nice reunion of 45 and sleeve.  Next up, trying to find a decent 45 of Swinging On A Rainbow by Frankie Avalon although it's not high on the list of 45s to get. For the dude who was searching for rocker bitch and her vinyl at the pawn shop, since you wanted some record porn, here ya go.  Record porn of Goodbye Baby by Jack Scott.  Enjoy!


Led Zeppelin-Coda (Super Deluxe Version) (Swan Song 2015)

I didn't buy the fourth time released Jimmy Page remastered supersets of Led Zeppelin albums, I did not see the need of rough mixes and reference copies of songs, although I'm sure the sound quality was improved, but then again the sound quality improved on the Jimmy's first trys of Led Zeppelin's catalog.  The original review of Coda was that Page missed the boat; we didn't get the whole try of outtakes and as long as Hey Hey What Can I Do wasn't on any album, be it Coda or perhaps it's more suitable home on Led Zep 3, the discography was incomplete.   Not this time, Jimmy Page finally closes the book and perhaps the vaults on this history of his most famous band on this 3 CD expanded edition of Coda, which Hey Hey What Can I Do is with Traveling Riverside Blues and Baby Come On Home, and would have rounded out the original album with at least an A minus grade.  However the treasure troupe of outtake goodies is somewhat rare and for a good reason left in the can although the shortened If It Keeps On Raining (later When The Levee Breaks) you can hear the band tinkering with it which would be redone later in a classic version.  And Bonzo's Montreaux, is basically John Bonham playing around with his drums, fun to hear but not required listening. The Bombay Orchestra sessions are hit and miss, Four Hands (later Four Sticks) kinda putting me to sleep whereas Friends is better but again it's not something I'd listen to.  In raw form The Wanton Song (Desire) and Everybody Makes It Through (In The Light) is interesting to hear, but certainly Robert Plant wasn't not sold on the lyrics on the latter song, a major rewrite would happen and with much better results.  There really wasn't much Led Zeppelin in the archives anyway, most of the songs were used on the albums and the outtakes were either jams or ideas waiting to be put to better use.  Coda did pretty much cleaned up the vaults with the exception of the long lost B Side to Immigrant Song on the first go around not included.  This time around, Jimmy Page does scrape the bottom of the barrel and I suspect that will be the end of it, unless he decides to redo The BBC Sessions or How The West Is Won, which would be pointless to get.  While Robert Plant has moved on to do his own thing, Page remains stuck in the past, promising to get off his collective butt and rekindle his solo career, which we haven't seen anything new since Outrider (1988) and his hanging around with The Black Crowes in the 1990s.  For the curious, Coda along with Led Zeppelin 1 are the deluxe reissues to get but only if you have an extra 20 dollars laying around and even being a fan, the outtakes are merely curios, which doesn't add much to the legacy of Led Zeppelin but if you're a fan, you might want to listen for a few times.

Grade B+

Split Enz-Waiata  (Mushroom/A&M 1981)

For New Zealand's best known band, they were too quirky for their own good.  The early Chrysalis albums showed a Roxy Music influence and even bits of prog rock but by the time they got their lucky break (and great single I Got You) they had more of a pop edge although the Eddie Raymer's instrumentals on this still hold roots in the early years.  However, while big brother, Tim Finn was still writing them out, Neil's songs had enough hooks and melody to give them that elusive hit single that was missing over the years (I Got You).  Waiata continues the Split Enz' pop direction sound, and although the reviews were not as glowing as True Colours, it was just as good of an album, although side 2's return to the old sound doesn't quite jell.  Standouts include the Squeeze like One Step Ahead and History Never Repeats which could have been a bigger hit had the band worked on the ending of the song rather than fading it out.  The lesser known (Iris, I Don't Want To Dance) are not bad and somewhat improve over Walking Through The Ruins or Ships.  Even though Tim Finn remains the main songwriter, it's Neil that is beginning to have his own sound and songs, which would eventually become Crowded House, the band after the Enz when Paul Hester, the last drummer to join the Enz would figure into Crowded House. Perhaps the last Split Enz album that still had its roots from Mental Notes before the whole pop thing took over.
Grade B

Shoes-Stolen Wishes (Black Vinyl 1989)

The thing about cult artists is that their albums or CDs usually are found in the 2 dollar all sales final bins and basically many things can be found, even Luke Bryan's Spring Break Checkin Out has been in the Clarence bins for a while.  Looks like Bro country on the way out?  Zion Illinois' very own Shoes have craved out a cult following living, making some of the best power pop on various labels (Elektra mainly) before returning back to their own label and putting out the occasional album or two. This 1989 album doesn't vary much on the sound, except for the more digitized drum sound but there's a catchy hook or two on She's Not The Same or Untangled. The vocal harmonies of Jeff and John Murphy and Gary Kiebe are super smooth but their lost their original drummer and Velvet Crush and Matthew Sweet drummer Ric Mench does a fine job.  Wish there was more of a variation of the songs, but Stolen Wishes is a nice listen anyway.
Grade B

The Bonnie Raitt Collection (Warner Brothers 1990)

For one of the best slide guitarist ever, male or female, I have never really paid much attention to her catalog and I suppose I should.  First of all, Bonnie never hid of the fact who her idols were and thank God for her mentioning Sippie Wallace and having her on two songs of this mixtape of her Warner Brothers years, compiled after Nick Of Time became the surprise hit of 1989.  While this overview steals quality tunes and surprises (a 1976 Women Be Wise song with Sippie Wallace helping out) and the early romps of Give It Up Or Let Me Go and Finest Lovin Man, these are the songs that give the legend that is Bonnie, and the funky numbers with Little Feat (with Earl Palmer stepping in for Richie Hayward) just as funky fun.  Too bad Warner Brothers decided on the single edit of True Love Is Hard To Find rather than the full version.  Of course there's those MOR ballads that made Nick Of Time what it is and those kinda derail the fun, I'll take the Rolling Stones riff of Willya Wontcha anyday over Love Has No Pride or The Glow for that matter.  If they would have included something with Fred McDowell and/or Me And The Boys I'd recommend it a bit more.  A good but flawed overview.
Grade B+

22 Cent CD Classic:  Rick Parker-Wicked World (Geffen 1991)

These days Rick Parker is better known for a producer (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) but back in the old days, he was once part of Lions And Ghosts, a West Coast band that sounded more British and their two EMI albums have moments of greatness. In 1991 he made his only solo album for Geffen, and Wicked World is one of those CDs that you see in the cheap bins that nobody buys.  Somehow this copy that I found for a quarter came from the Davenport Stuff Etc, and how it managed it found its way to Cedar Rapids is beyond me.  Perhaps one of two albums that Geffen messed up on the A and R side of things, the other Murray Attaway's In Thrall, Wicked World turned out be a freebie CD that seemed to be given away more than people buying it.  Perhaps the album cover showed Parker to be more of a boy band dude playing pop music, I wouldn't say if the pictures were the death of Parker's solo career, but Wicked World is not that bad.  It does have a slant toward Gene Loves Jezebel, also Parker goes for the blue collar type of songwriting like Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi for that matter.  Failed hit single Salesgirl Blues and the title track does rock honestly, but I think the sameness of how the rest of the songs sound makes Wicked World a good but passable listen.  Parker would try for a more pop sound on his next band Sparkler and their album Wicker Park.  The Lions And Ghosts albums are worth seeking out.
Grade B-

Albums Of My Youth-Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack (Polydor/Reprise 1977)

Perhaps the biggest selling double album in history, everybody had a copy of this on LP or 8 track and I suppose I'm no exception, if I didn't I wouldn't be talking about it.  You couldn't escape anywhere without hearing The Bee Gees' Staying Alive or How Deep Is Your Love and I wouldn't go so far as calling this Bee Gees Greatest Hits and other songs thrown in for fun is that they worked their butts off getting that right high helium sound which sound like caffeinated chipmunks.  The early hits of Jive Talkin and You Should Be Dancing do fit in the disco rock mode although Jive Talkin is not a disco song.  For soul Taveras' version of More Than A Woman is better and for a disco band K C and The Sunshine Band get shorted out (no Get Down Tonight) on the 2 minute Boogie Shoes.  David Shire's disco songs are filler and less useful than A Fifth Of Beethoven and MFSB, the outstanding Philadelphia session players to The Ojays and Jerry Butler, have a cover of the Nite Liters K-Jee which is more filler music, than say  Sexy, which would have a better selection.  Things end quite nicely with the masters of disco The Trammps burning the place down with Disco Inferno.  I have pleasant memories of high school dances that would play Saturday Night Fever (most of it anyway) but everytime I revisit this soundtrack, it really doesn't do too much for me.  Barry Gbb and that high end tenor gets a bit too much even on the hits.  It still remains a very important album of the late 70s, and even the 1995 remaster and putting it all on a single cd, the sound is quite remarkable. I'm sure the Reprise re remaster is just the same.  If you want to relive the 70s at your next reunion it will fit in quite nicely.
Grade B+

Playlist from 44 years ago. From the archives of Bill Pearson.

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