Monday, September 28, 2015

Week In Review: Super Blood Moon, Wooden Nickel Lottery, Cubs Win, The 80 Club

So here we are into the fall after a eventful summer of jam sessions and checking out the local bands.  While Western Iowa got hit with 8 inches of rain from a tropical Pacific depression, high pressure on top of us blocked that over here, so we have had nice warm sunny days although we have now lost about an hour and forty five minutes of daylight.  Gets pretty dark after 7 PM here and it's bound to get darker.  Which means leaves will be turning colors and we'll be knocking them off the car once again.

There is joy in Chicagoland, The Chicago Cubs made it to the wild card playoffs.  Jake Arrieta won his 20th game of the year, the first Cubs player to do so since 2001 I think and somehow the crazy magic of Joe Maddon and the youthful players like Kris Bryant and Kyle Scharber managed to get the Cubs in the playoffs a couple years earlier than planned.  Anywhere else The Cubs would be in first place but they're third behind the St Louis Cardinals who should win 100 games this year and the Pittsburgh Pirates who seems to beat anybody else in other divisions but not in their own.  Although I did get to see a few games, (although ESPN did their damnest to enforce blackout rules and screw Cubs fans out of some weeknight games)  the loss of Chicago Land WGN in favor of USA Light Superstation WGN did figure into not seeing them more than we used to.  For the first time since the dreaded 2008 series, the Cubs will figure into a one game wild card playoff with Pittsburgh, but in all fairness and what this team has gone through, this season will be a success story.  And Jake Arrieta won his 21st game Sunday Night shutting out Pittsburgh 4-0, salvaging the final game of the series and stopping Pittsburgh's 8 game winning streak.  Can you say Cy Young winner?

On the other side of things, The Baltimore Orioles will be staying home.  Chris Jones being the most hard luck hitter this year with yet another amazing catch by Mookie Betts to end a game  Although he has hit 40 home runs, he could have at least 50 this year, but he's made the highlight reel the hard way with 8 of them being hauled from across the fence from various teams.  It's gets tiring to see that all that time, even when you think it cleared the fence, only to have a Mookie Betts take away a game winning "walk off" and turned it into a loss.  Some folks fall in rose bushes and come out smelling like shit, others vice versa.  It's even worse when you're the high school Marion Indians who once again lost Dewitt Central in the game of the winless teams.  35 years ago, the Indians won the 3A title beating Atlantic up in Cedar Falls.  This year they might go winless, and they looked worse for the wear in the mud last week when Solon ran over them 35-7.  The case of irony is Tony Perkins who QB that team that won it in 1980 is the coach of the zero for the season team this year and since winning the opening game last year, has not won since. Perhaps the ghost of Les Hipple, which Tony is tied for all time victories is prolonging that?  Dewitt Central held them off 21-14 after Marion's fertile effort to tie the game didn't happen.  If Marion was located in Arizona, they might have a chance to win at Kingman, which they do have a win but was shut out 59-0 from last years' champs River Valley. Kingman gets to play Lee Williams High which, like Marion is looking for a win this season.

The Super Duper Blood Moon was out in full force Sunday Night and while it looked a bit dicey with clouds, around sunset the clouds parted and the moon begin to disappear in the earth's shadow.  We were blessed by seeing the whole thing, and a few shooting stars as well.   Brian Johnson out in Arizona shared this photo of the happening.  It ended a big day of me going into town and participating in another jam session and then taking off to catch the last set of Wooden Radio Lottery, the up and coming rock band blues from here featuring Jess and Rich Toomsen and Mike Gallo's vocals.  And I talked to Rich and Jess for a few while digging their tunes with Tim Henderson one of my classmates in high school and we seem to catch each other at these venues, with him crashing a jam session and taking a picture of yours truly in action.   With them opening for Anthony Gomes in Davenport, their set list is what I consider to be rock and blues.  Both Gallo and Rich can play lead guitar and on a instrumental that I think was Eric Johnson inspired Rich Toomsen did a excellent job. And yes Jess can play her bass behind her back.  Mike Gallo is a pretty good vocalist as shown on the ole B B King classic Thrill Is Gone and Bobby Blue Bland Further Up The Road.  Perhaps the one who stole the scene was a 5 year old girl (I think she was the drummer's daughter) doing a version of You Are My Sunshine and she knew all the words.  A future star in the making perhaps?

After Chris Ackland's suicide, Lush was put to rest.  But they have announced that they are reforming and will appear together in a London show in May next year. Like the Primitives, Lush was a shoe gazer pop rock band, but a bit more spacey Choctaw Twins rather than the new wave punk that the Primitives favored.  4AD will issue Ciao! their best of as a 2 LP set and a box set called Verse. Lush CDs can still be found in the cheap bins and that's where I discovered them.  I like Gala, their 3 EPs on one CD set the best.

Eddie Montgomery announced that his son Hunter passed away from an accident and was on life support for a short time. He was 19.  Blake Shelton, still reeling from his divorce will put on a happy face and be the first performer to play at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.  Provided if he gets over his hangover.

The 80 club has two new members.  One is Johnny Mathis, who along with Nat King Cole redefined lush pop music made by black folks.  While plenty of his albums are in bargain bins at local Salvation Army stores,  I do have 16 Greatest Hits which has his trademark hits It's Not For Me To Say, Wonderful Wonderful and the eerie Maria.  I do recommend his 1973 album that he hooked up with Thom Bell titled I'm Coming Home, a rare moment that Mathis went for a updated soul music sound. For being a romantic style singer, he threw a curve by coming out gay, but then again with a voice like that you never seen him with any women back then.  After I'm Coming Home, Mathis retreated back into lush MOR pop hitting the charts with 1978's Too Little Too Late.  The other 80 year old is none other than Jerry Lee Lewis, who outlived all of his rock and roll cohorts (with the exception of Little Richard).  He should have been dead years ago, still he was the ultimate rock and roll rebel, being blackballed after marrying his 13 year old cousin.   Jerry Lee crossed over into the country market and reinvented himself, although he never gave up his rock and roll roots, The Live At The Star Club, was a scorched earth of a live album which could be considered a forerunner of punk music, backing him up.  His record label sat on it (it was issued aboard) till Rhino put it out sometime in 1990s.  For the 60s and 70s, Lewis had major country hits on Smash/Mercury, trying the patience of Jerry Kennedy, but in 1973 he was paired up with some fine musicians for The Session, Peter Frampton and the late Rory Gallagher adding some nasty slide guitar on Whole Lotta Shakin Going On.  Once the hits dried up, he later moved over to Elektra for a couple decent records, and to MCA for a forgettable effort.  Sire Records then picked him up in 1994 for Young Blood and since then, Jerry Lee has lived a semi retired life, with the occasional album with guest star musicians, Jimmy Page played on his overrated but truthfully advertised Last Man Standing album and a brief return to the major label on Mean Old Man for Verve/Forecast.  I kinda grew tired of his all star collaborations albums, and tend to favor his Sun years or the Smash/Mercury albums, most notably The Killer Rocks On and his duet with Linda Gail Lewis on the harder to find Together album.  It seems that Jerry Lee is so evil, the devil doesn't want him himself, his antics are the stuff of legends even if paying a late night visit to see Elvis and threatening to shoot up Graceland might be a bit extreme.   I wouldn't be surprised if Jerry Lee outlived us all.  Here's to you killer ;-)

I got to hand it to Real Gone Music for their lightning quick shipping of three cds that I bought during their annual big sale and ended up getting the droll McGrough and McGear 1967 album for EMI, the late Dick Wagner's sole Atlantic release and Belfegore's 1983 Elektra album which may have been the missing link between Killing Joke and Ministry.

Eye candy of the month- The "giant baby" Jaymee Lawton

If you lived out around Goodyear on the I 10 area, chances are you saw this big plywood picture of a big baby girl off the Duncan Family Farm.   Nevertheless Jaymee is now all grown and looking quite nice for a teen.  She turned out to be a pretty good softball player   Alas the term can't have nothing nice applies here, the big baby survived haboobs, heavy storms and fucking moron taggers and vandals but in 2013 they finally dismantled the baby.
As for Jaymee Lawton, she battled 663 her final year in high school and signed on to play at Utah Valley University, joining her sister Kelsey.  She's has come a long way since being the "giant baby" at Duncan Family Farms.


Los Lobos-Gates Of Gold (Los Lobos Records/429 Savoy 2015)

Although Made To Break Your Heart is pure rock and roll, the album feels more like Kiko or the Latin Playboys, the side project of David Hidalgo and Louie Perez.  David's son Junior is the main drummer (Bugs Gonzalez is saved for the Live performances) and his herky jerky rhythms seem to be perfect.  I have no problem with Cesar Rosas' Spanish songs, they do tend to fit very well in any Los Lobos albums and he's more in presence than on 2010's classic Tin Can Trust, and he's pure rocker than the abstract songs that Hidalgo and Perez usually do.  Still Made To Break Your Heart is the best song on the album, but Los Lobos continues to mine their influences of blues and rockabilly and Mexican as well.  The title track is second best and everything else is very good.  Perhaps a bit too much emphasis on the Latin Playboys sound and Tin Can Trust was a better album, but still I think it was worth the wait to hear what these longtime LA vets put out.  But then again the only song radio plays is La Bamba, Los Lobos are no one hit wonder and I have yet to hear a bad album.  Then again Louie Perez does not make a bad song either, David might be the better singer songwriter, Cesar might be the rocker, but Louis Perez is the one that keeps things going.  To which we are thankful he's still in the band.
Grade B+

Don Henley-Cass County (Capitol 2015)

Going country is not a big surprise to Don Henley, he's dabbed in country during the early years of the Eagles before they became Corporate Rock Darlings with Hotel California.   At times you want to smack him upside the head (The Last Worthless Evening, radio continuing to play Boys Of Summer 23 times in a day) and the never ending Eagles farewell tour, which continues 23 years after the fact. But honest to goodness, Henley hasn't made an album this good since I Can't Sit Still and for that matter Cass County is 10 times better than Long Road Out Of Eden, that disaster of a double album that I couldn't finish to listen to the end. The surprise of it all, is that the guest stars do a fairly good job, even Mick Jagger plays it straight on Bramble Rose and plays good harmonica too, a far cry from what he's known to do with his regular band. Of course Miranda Lambert helps out, as well as Dolly Pardon and even ole Merle Haggard on The Cost Of Living.  In these days and times, it probably pointless to put out an album that gets listened to once and file away and forgotten and I'm sure that fate will await Cass County, but for the first time in many years, Henley sounds committed on this album.   For real country, it sure kicks Luke Bryan's ass.
Grade B+

The Valley Girl Soundtrack (Rhino 1994)

Cult movie but the soundtrack was almost a perfect view of new wave music, although leaving off Girls Like Me by Bonnie Hayes takes this CD down a notch.  The movie was famous for acknowledging The Plimsouls and Josie Cotton, the S/T steals three songs from Everywhere At Once, The Plim's sole Geffen release and Josie has her two best known numbers here, Johnny Are You Queer and He Could Be The One.  I'm certain the the movie gave a big boost to Modern English I Melt With You to classic oldies status although some of the stranger numbers was hard rocker Pat Travers' I La La La Love You masquerading as  new wave or the overplayed Men At Work Who Could It Be Now.  Lesser known fun stuff from The Flirts (Jukebox-Don't Put Another Dime In) and Gary Myrick (She Talks In Stereo), but leaving off Bonnie Hayes and trading Sparks Eaten By The Monster Of Love for the more flawed Angst In My Pants, turns this comp from a must have to a curio luxury listen.  If you can find More Music From Valley Girl and combine the best tracks, you might have the idea version.  But in my days we call them mixtapes.
Grade B

Dick Wagner (Atlantic 1978)

Richard (Dick) Wagner was one of the twin guitar attacks that shaped albums like Lou Reed's Rock And Roll Animal and Alice Cooper's Welcome To My Nightmare and I contend to remember him that way.  On his sole S/T album, he has the usual suspects (Steve Hunter is the other guitar player as well as the late Dom Trioniano (James Gang, Guess Who)) and bombastic production from Bob Ezrin but in some ways this is more listenable than Welcome To My Nightmare or for that matter, Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell but once again Atlantic dropped the ball and issued this as Richard Wagner to which record stores stuck this in the classical section.  Wagner's steller career begin with The Frost and later the bombastic metal of Ursa Major but he learned his cues from Alice Cooper quite well, even bits of Elton John pop up on Small Town Boy.  Certainly the bombast of Motor City Showdown would have made Jim Steinman envious. If your a fan of Alice Cooper or for that matter Lou Reed's Rock n roll animal or Berlin for that matter, you might like this one.
Grade B+

At Last It's The 1948 Show (Cherry Red 2007)

Before Monty Python, The 1948 Show was British humor at its most British but John Cleese and Graham Chapman were the two main writers of this show and like Monty Python better seen than heard.   A 2 DVD set captures the visual side and perhaps a better buy than trying to decipher and picture the skits in your mind.  Cleese steals the show, Marty Feldman comes close and Tim Brooke Taylor plays straight man and Aimi McDonald just stands there and look pretty.  One of television's earlier form of dingbat although the complaint is that she brings nothing to the table, eye candy so to speak.  Early form of Monty Python can be heard on Bookshop and Four Sydney Lotterbies, The Python versions are better but they're here in rough form. Although the other show associated with MP Do Not Adjust Your Set was geared toward the kiddies, the 1948 Show's does mirrored more of what would be MP but without both shows, M.P wouldn't exist as we know it.  If your a Python fan, you probably tolerate The 1948 Show but if you're not a fan of them, or for that matter British Humor, this will be a waste of your time.
Grade B-

Widespread Panic-Street Dogs (Vanguard/Widespread Records 2015)

Jam bands tend to follow their own melody, Widespread has been doing this for close for 25 plus years and while John Bell still would like you to think Widespread Panic can jam with the best of them, he's never lost his inner Van Morrison.  Duane Trucks is now the new guy on drums and he fits in quite well and Jimmie Herring whereever he goes he puts the swing in the music.  That said Street Dogs is a bit uneven, even for this casual fan. Starts out great with Sell Sell, and even long time producer John Keane adds his own song with Welcome To My World.   Highlights are an cover of Tail Dragger, Street Dogs For Breakfast and on the bonus Joe Cocker tribute tracks of High Time We Went and A Little Help From My Friends.  Widespread have done better albums, they have done slight albums and this record is not their best nor worst.  It has moments of greatness but in the case of jam bands when they tend to bore they meander a bit, and that happens when they go over seven minutes.  Street Dogs is for the W.P. fan, not so much for the casual fan.
Grade B

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bob Meir's Story on Ben Cauley's Passing

Ben Cauley was the ultimate survivor. He lived through an infamous plane crash, and later recovered from what doctors assumed would be a fatal stroke.

Late Monday night, however, the great trumpeter – a member of legendary Stax Records group the Bar-Kays and a Memphis Music Hall of Famer – died at Methodist South Hospital, where he'd been taken because of ongoing health issues. His passing was confirmed by his daughter, Shuronda Cauley-Oliver. Mr. Cauley was 67.

For many, Mr. Cauley’s name was the answer to a tragic trivia question: the trumpeter was the sole survivor of the plane crash Dec. 10, 1967, outside Madison, Wis., that claimed eight people, including Stax Records star Otis Redding, and Cauley's Bar-Kays bandmates Phalon Jones, Carl Cunningham, Jimmy King and Ronnie Caldwell.

Yet Mr. Cauley's life was not defined by tragedy, but rather triumph.

"Ben was a strong spirit. You could hear it in his horn, you could feel it in his presence," said Stax Records historian and author Robert Gordon. "He survived the plane crash, he wasn’t stopped by the debilitating stroke. That zest for life could be heard in the high notes he hit so casually, and also the hint of humor in his phrasing. He was humble in an almost Zen-like way, in a way that represented the best of the Stax. He didn’t take his accomplishments for granted, and he seemed able to personally appreciate the joy he brought to people, like each smiling face was distinct to him."

“He had that happy-go-lucky personality that was contagious, just contagious,” said Mr. Cauley's longtime Bar-Kays bandmate James Alexander. “He was always the guy that showed out. Just a hell of a musician, a hell of an entertainer, a brother and a friend.”

Born in 1947 in South Memphis, Ben Cauley's musical grounding came as a child at the New Friendship Baptist Church, where and he and his mother sang in the choir.

He first picked up the trumpet in the seventh grade and soon fell in with a group of neighborhood kids and Booker T. Washington high school students, including guitarist Jimmy King, saxophonist Phalon Jones, drummer Carl Cunningham, keyboardist Ronnie Caldwell, and bassist James Alexander. They formed a group called the Imperials, later changing their name to the Bar-Kays.
Mr. Cauley, who was a couple of years older than his bandmates, began attending LeMoyne College in 1965. At the same time, the mostly underage band became a favorite at late-night clubs such as the Hippodrome, adding their flashy steps and dance moves into a repertoire of R&B songs.
Released in the spring of 1967, the group's debut single for Stax, "Soul Finger," would reach No. 3 on the Billboard R&B charts. Before long, the young Bar-Kays -- most of them still in high school -- were a hit act, and being groomed to become Stax's second house band alongside Booker T. & the MGs.

It was around this same period that Stax's signature star, Otis Redding, caught the Bar-Kays in concert, and was taken by their sound. "After our show he ran backstage, and said, 'Y'all bad!'" said Mr. Cauley in a 2007 interview with The Commercial Appeal. "He asked about us doing some gigs. And we said we're still in school, so we can't go on weekdays. He said, 'I'll take care of that, I'll pick you up in my plane on Fridays.'"

In the summer of '67, the Bar-Kays started their work backing Redding with a 10-night stand at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and then proceeded to tour the country. The young, energetic Bar-Kays and the tireless Redding proved a perfect musical fit. "It was a match made in heaven," said Mr. Cauley.

That fall, Redding paused from the road to have some polyps removed from his throat, and to write and record what would prove to be his swan song, "(Sittin' on the) Dock of the Bay." In early December, Redding and the Bar-Kays were back out on the road, doing weekenders at colleges. They had three gigs booked between Dec. 8 and 10, 1967, and most of the entourage was traveling on Redding's new twin engine Beechcraft. After a gig in Cleveland, they boarded the plane to Madison, Wisconsin. Bar-Kays bassist James Alexander, who'd volunteered to return the band's rental car in Cleveland and hop a commercial flight, dropped them off at the hangar.

Flying on little rest from the previous night, the passengers soon drifted off to sleep. At around 3:30 p.m., just a few minutes outside of Madison, Mr. Cauley woke to the plane's violent shaking. What happened next,” he said, "is something I can never erase."

The plane went into Lake Monona, on the banks of Madison, at a sharp 35-degree angle. Mr. Cauley was separated from the plane and thrown out an opening in the fuselage. Surviving the impact of the crash was only the first hurdle. Mr. Cauley, who'd never learned to swim, was now struggling in the waters of the frigid lake. Somehow, in between blacking out and rising to the surface of the water, he'd found a seat cushion, which was keeping him afloat. Amid the waves, he lost his hold on the cushion, but then another floated by and he grabbed it.

In the chaos, confusion and cold, he glimpsed some of his fellow passengers: Carl Cunningham surfaced for a moment without speaking; Ronnie Caldwell cried out for help. Mr. Cauley urged him to hold on, but his attempts to get to his bandmates were defeated by the hard, lapping waters.
The speed of the rescue team -- which got to the crash site in 17 minutes -- was probably the thing that saved Mr. Cauley. His body was perhaps a couple minutes from going into hypothermia when he was pulled from the waters. The cause of the crash was never determined. Mr. Cauley had escaped with relatively minor cuts on his head and his foot; the others -- including Redding and pilot Richard Fraser -- had not been so fortunate.

Taken to the hospital, Mr. Cauley was finally told that he'd been the only one to survive. "I kept asking, 'Are they all right?' And this guy just looked at me and said, 'Well, son, you're the only one alive.' Once he said that, I couldn't talk. I'd never been that way before in my life. I tried. I couldn't talk."

In the wake of the accident, the entire Stax family was shaken to its core. The loss of Redding and the promising Bar-Kays was a devastating blow. As label co-founder Jim Stewart later put it, “The company was never the same to me after that.”

After months of shock and mourning, Mr. Cauley and Alexander decided to try and pick up the pieces and re-form the band. Debuting in 1968, the reconstituted Bar-Kays became a successful group, recording and playing sessions at Stax and frequently heading out on tour with groups like the Temptations. But Mr. Cauley, who had a growing family, left the band in 1972.

Despite the lingering scars of his past, Mr. Cauley continued to work and perform, his horn in demand for sessions in Memphis, Muscle Shoals, and Nashville. Over the years, he would appear on recordings by B.B. King, Al Green, the Doobie Brothers, Hank Williams Jr., the Replacements, and many others

As the years passed, there was more sadness at Stax -- the company went bankrupt in 1975, and in 1989 they bulldozed the studio. That day, Mr. Cauley, stood outside playing a requiem on his trumpet.
Later that same year, he faced another brush with death when he suffered an aneurysm and massive stroke. Doctors told his family he would not survive more than a couple days. On the third day, he had recovered dramatically enough to leave the intensive care unit. Having lost much of his motor function, Mr. Cauley would have to relearn how to walk and talk and function. Returning home after months in a rehab facility, he saw his trumpet lying on the couch. "Honestly, I didn't even know what it was," he said. "But I went over and picked it up and started playing" – out came the first roaring notes of "Soul Finger."

In the early '90s, Mr. Cauley, by then fully recovered, would become a presence at the Memphis airport. He performed regularly at Da' Blues Restaurant and helped to put the imprimatur of Stax and Memphis music on the airport.

"In a weird way, his efforts as a solo act for years in the airport lounge were the epitome of his work — that drive to share the music, share the spirit, share the feeling," said Robert Gordon. "There couldn’t have been a more transient audience, and he quietly imbued them with a sense of Memphis’ permanence, asking for nothing in return, appreciating each nod of the head and tapping of the foot.”
In later years, he would become an important presence at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, appearing at anniversary concerts and events, and teaching the kids of the Stax Music Academy.

He also continued to perform, frequently with the throwback R&B band the Bo-Keys and in various combos on Beale Street. Mr. Cauley would remain an in-demand session man until the end. His final appearances came on 2015 albums by Boz Scaggs and Keith Richards.

Mr. Cauley is survived by his daughters, Shuronda Cauley-Oliver, Chekita Cauley-Campbell, Miriam Cauley-Crisp, Monica Cauley-Johnson, Kimberly Garrett and sons Phalon Richmond and Ben Wells. Plans for a memorial service are pending.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week In Review: New Blah Music, Marshall Koehn, Farm Aid

At some point, I'll be back here more often than I have been.  I've been busy writing archival stuff for The Townedgers Blogspot site of old albums or wasting afternoons watching football and going out to see baseball.  However I have some major hospital bills to take care of, which means I haven't gone up to Madison, and thank our lucky stars we didn't do Arizona this year.  Getting 500 dollar Unity Point bills for a 10 second cat scan really has drained the budget and more ways than one and GD if yet another 179 dollar bill came in the mail this week.  So for new releases I've been previewing them and I have to say that the C grade given to Alabama's Southern Drawl might be a bit generous, but I'm not going to change it to a worse grade. Alabama's ballads are their calling card and they do have some good songs, but alas the title track and Hillbilly Wins The Lottery or Footstompin Music is Bro country bad.  They should know better but perhaps this is the recording industry giving them one more victory lap before they go back into being a oldies act.  And too bad, they need Mark Herndon more now than ever behind the drums but that's not going to happen ever again.

You can't trust All Music or Rolling Stone for what they give out for four star albums.  The trick is to divide their star count in half and you'll get the best grade.  Wish I could say that the new Keith Richards album is worth getting but it's not.  For a 22 year followup from Main Offender, it's falls short of expectations and it has about 8 songs too many.  The world really doesn't need a hour long album, which half is subpar ballads and the rest a peek inside of Keith's record collection. Crosseyed Heart isn't a total bomb, the fans who like it have good reason, Richards knows enough Chuck Berry styled riffs to even make the less inspired uptempo numbers worth a listen or two.  Richard's keen sense of humor shines on Amnesia and Trouble, but I think I like Love Overdue better than his straight take of Goodnight Irene.  As always, The Winos, his longtime backing band featuring Waddy Wachel and drum god Steve Jordan suits him fine.  Chop this album down to 10 songs and it will hold its own against Main Offender or Talk Is Cheap. And give points for still rocking them out at age 71 and singing in his nicotine soaked vocals but it's a B minus overall.

Lana Del Ray remains an acquired taste but her third album Honeymoon (Polydor/Interscope) is an improvement over the Dan Auerbach fiasco of last year in spades.  She's got that weird Zombie pop type of music down pat, and at times sounds a bit like Laurie Anderson and Marianne Faithful. While critics are falling over themselves in praise of the the new record, I tend to look at it like I do Keith Richard's album, too many songs and it goes on too long at 65 minutes, you really have to be in a mood to listen to her.  That said, this might be her best album overall with key tracks such as Art Deco or Music To Watch Boys By and quoting David Bowie.  The music journey that Miss Lizzy Grant has embroiled continues on that dark and stormy slope of love and while she's not the second coming of Nico or Marianne Faithful she's getting there.  I tend to think that Dan Auerbach's guitar production may have sank Ultra-violence when I hear Honeymoon and while I'm not as enthused as the critics are on this album, I believe it's her best.  I'd give it a weak B plus but reserved judgement for future listenings.    And the new Darlene Love album is good as well.  A labor of love produced by Steve Van Zandt but I'm really not into her music but if you are a fan of Darlene Love, chances are you will love this album.  Believe the hype.  But I am more interested in the new Los Lobos album.  That one sounds like one of the best of 2015.

Passings: Yogi Berra, one of the best catchers of all time and one of the funnier commentators with his Yogi-isms passed away at age 90. Al LoCasale, who worked with Al Davis and The Oakland Raiders for 30 plus years died at age 82.  Like Davis, LoCasale, started with the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers before going over to Oakland to turn that team into one of the most feared teams of the late 60s through the 80s.

Ben Cauley was the only surviving member of the Bar Kays, the band that went down along with Otis Redding in a 1967 plane crash in Lake Monona and part of my pilgrimage to Madison when I go up there, but he has join the the rest of the guys in the Great Beyond.  He was 67.  He would later start up the Bar Kays with a more funky sound and made a few albums for Mercury along the way.  Cauley took part in sessions with Steve Cropper and Rufus Thomas plus the Staple Singers on some Stax Recordings.  

In the meantime since the passing of Al Davis, Oakland has been a shell upon itself in NFL football, no longer feared but featured also rans but in a former rage of glory they have told the NFL to stuff their gold 50 yard line in tribute to the 50th Super Bowl played on the 49ers field this year.  In this day and era of field turf, multi kinds of uniforms and endless promos of certain events it's nice to see somebody stand up and give the big FU to Roger Goodell and the No Fun League.  But then again you can file this under WGAF.

It was 30 years ago that the first Farm Aid show was broadcast and I recalled it was VH1, back in the days when they were into music and not in reality rap crap that replaced the music.  Maybe it was never about the music in the first place.  30 years later, originator Willie Nelson along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp are still part of the Farm Aid shows, along with Dave Matthews and a host of youngster ranging from Imagine Dragons to Kacey Musgraves who almost stole the show herself.  I'm sure there's better links but Rolling Stone did put a bit of effort in this report. 

In the football side of things, the big explosion you heard was Marshall Koehn kicking a 57 yard field goal to propel Iowa to beat Pittsburgh 27-24. Just as memorable was seeing Brett Greenwood take to the field on a walker for the coin toss. Greenwood who was one of the best DBs Iowa had in the late 2000s ended up with life threatening injuries to his brain that ended his NFL career.  Greenwood had to work hard to even make that trek on the 50 yard line which you had to see in person, with the rest of the The Hawkeyes in tow behind him.  The game itself revealed that Iowa's pass defense is once again lacking, although they did come up with two big interceptions in the first half, the Pitt QB managed to take the team down for a tying touchdown.  The Iowa Punting Team sucked, giving up a Touchdown on a blocked punt.  However the major difference was  C J Bethard, the QB that replaced Jake The Snake Rudock now up in Michigan,  CJ managed to take the team down on him running the ball to get a couple first downs and for the game winning kick.  Marshall Koehn, had a steller career as the Solon kicker, came to Iowa for the first couple years and had some unpredictable and erratic kicks, but beginning with last season found his comfort zone and becoming a reliable kicker.  Destiny was on his side Saturday Night.  In the usual fashion  Pitt called time out after the first kick went wide and short, a practice kick and the one wondering if Koehn would hit it at all.  The second kick removed all doubts and it could have been good from 60 yards, it had a few yards to spare.  Imagine the stunned and disappointed look on the star Pittsburgh running back face as the kick split the uprights and Koehn and company celebrated by running down the field and taking out a few Iowa cheerleaders in the process, something that you didn't see on the regular TV.  A 57 yard field goal attempt is either a good or a bad moment.  A miss and we go into Overtime, but a kick like that, when made, and you become big ten player of the week.  To which Marshall Koehn deserves it.

The Midwestern Minor League season is now over and West Michigan defeated the Cedar Rapids Kernels 3-2 to win the decisive game and series.  The Kernels did however score the first run in all of the games that they played and did so again on Monday, Austin Diemer hitting a solo shot and the Kernels added another run in the forth before The White Caps had a three run 5th, boasted by two walks, and two wild pitches, the second wild pitch giving West Michigan the lead for the rest of the game. Ross Seaton pitched 7 strong innings to pick up the win and Joe Jimenez getting his second straight save.  The usual annoyances were noted, more people were there and I had to endure the cowbell banging dude a couple rows down and the Kernel's fan screaming in my ear and pounding on the chair in the back of my row.  Somehow I managed to also sit in the section where a couple folks had their kids in tow, and Junior kept throwing his juice bottle about six times before he decided to leave and made a comment about not bothering me anymore.  Which in essence his kid really wasn't that bad, as daddy made a couple beer runs and wouldn't stay in his seat.  But since he left early it was one less hassle next to the rabid fan behind me trying to make me deaf along with Mr. Need More Cowbell.  However Mr. Need More Cowbell got the last laugh as about 100 White Cap fans made it down to our ball park and cheered their team on.  To the point that when Ross Seaton left the field, he tipped his cap to the fans.   The five game series might have been the best series in quite a while, but in the end West Michigan gets their first title since 2007.

RIP 1994 Corsica.  After 294,000 miles and being a part of this life for about 16 years, half of that too long, it went to the junk yard this week.  For the most part I didn't want to deal with it anymore and getting the 2013 Impala to replace it, regulated it to the far corner of this house.  If I had my way it would have been gone about 2 years before, the engine might have been saved but the body was rusted out and the damn stereo speakers didn't work half the time.  But Purple made a few trips to St Louis, Des Moines and Mad City, I pretty much got the car by default, my ex missed 3 car payments and I was a step ahead of the repo man to purchase it back.  But I think we got our money's worth out of it and up till 2008 it was reliable before 200,000 miles and it had a habit of destroying car tires.  The hope is try to pay off Redd and save up for another car, provided if I don't get let go from our company of employment.

Julie Pavlova has been one of my bigger supporters of music and recording music.  One of the most positive and sweetest of women that I have ever met online and would like to meet in person.  She lives across the world in the Ukraine and has a website to promote health and well being.  This is her website:

From the vaults, a 1980 half hour showcase of Captain Beefheart.

50 years ago this week: The Beatles cartoon series made its debut.  Hard to believe how dated these cartoons are have become but back then they were quality entertainment, safe and plenty of Beatles songs to go around.  If they came out on DVD they would sell but I'm sure the lawyers and copyright holders and Universal would intervene (I'm surprised that they haven't been yanked off You Tube yet), but they are a fun look at even after 50 plus years.  God we are old:

The Foo Fighters continue to surprise and amaze people with cover songs and special appearances, with a cover of Tom Sawyer with the Yes vocalist Jon Davison, (they couldn't cover a Yes song saying it was too hard?) and then Stevie Nicks appearing for Stop Dragging My Heart Around and Gold Dust Woman with HAIM, Stevie's vocal group helping out.  Even with a broken leg, Dave Grohl have been very creative in the Foo Fighters tour of this year and even winning a couple of Emmys for his Sonic Highways Show Season 1.  If anything Dave is trying his best to preserve rock and roll as well as loving to play rock and roll, even getting praise from his one time Nirvana band mate Kris Novosevic.  Although Kurt Cobain may have been the brains behind Nirvana, it's Grohl that turned out to be the rocker and by keeping himself alive keeping the spirit of rock and roll alive.  The Foos past couple albums never did much for me, but whatever Dave decides to do, I'm all for it and behind him 100 percent.   Plus he seems like a nice guy to go record buying with.
The Davenport finds of a couple weeks will conclude going there for a while.  I went over budget big time, but the secret tub of 45's turned out to be the holy grail of music with finding a better copy of Cruel World by Don Hollinger, to which copies go for 40 dollars on EBAY or in around that amount. Which makes one wonder about the high cost of nostalgia, and why one would have pay so much for a 45 that they couldn't give away at the drive in back in 1968.  While some people jump on the Pink Floyd bandwagon of influential music or The Beatles or whatever classic rock radio plays every damn day (Killer Queen), having a wide collection of cheap 45s back then made me appreciate the lesser known, The Don Hollingers of the world that managed to do one Atco single and disappear the next day.  Music goes way deep beyond the well known, and there's plenty of Northern Soul artists and garage punk bands of the 60s' who are not well known and made one single before getting real jobs to pay bills off.   I think what puts me off about hearing Hell's Bells or Killer Queen is that it feels like these songs are being shoved down our throats, especially the bell tone that you hear at every sporting event or Welcome To The Jungle. Hearing the same song over and over for 20 plus years is as torturous as Muzak. Finding the obscure album or CD or 45 says there's more out there to be heard if one searches long and hard.

Record Collecting today, is a bit more tricky than it was back then 10 or 20 years ago.  The biggest fly in the ointment is the record store having unmarked albums or 45s decides to look up the market value on EBAY and then post accordingly, supply and demand marked up.  And complaints have been rampant on Yelp, when record buyers thinking they're getting bargains are getting popped in the wallet  and the bargain isn't so much a bargain.  As a record buyer, I do have a set list of how much to spend on certain items and Goodwill and the Salvation Army is not going to have certain records in stock, nor the mom and pop record store.  Jukebox 45s are a dime a dozen and most have seen better days, but in the case of dollar wise, paying 10 dollars for Cruel World is like a bargain to me. I know for a fact I will not see that anywhere, unless somebody throws it in the donation pile and I hope to beat the scavengers to it, that is a rare 45.   Bob Herrington from Ragged Records has been very instrumental of having certain 45s of the past that I used to have and didn't take care of, managed to have replacement copies  to which I can relive my childhood.  If the price is right and if the bills are taken care of, then I'll gladly pay money for old 45s and live on Ramen Noodles for the rest of the month.  But there are also set rules from me, and that if I invest such and such dollars, is that the record has to be in very good shape without craters for scratches on 45s.  And in a sleeve too.

Which might separate a record store from a museum, the latter coined for record stores that overprice their stuff to the point that nobody wants to buy them.  In the old days of Rock n Bach, Jim Hanson had a nice inventory of quarter DJ 45s that I did find many things that radio didn't play but this was 30 years ago, to which you can get Neil Young Walk On or Foghat Step Outside for a quarter.  Nowadays somebody would look it up on EBAY and sell them 10 times that price.  Which frustrates buyers who find things unmarked in the dollar section of albums, only to have the owner connect to a computer and base price from Ebay or other sights and it's not a dollar anymore.  And the potential buyer gets pissed off and bashes that record store on Yelp.   If there's gonna be a survival of the remaining of record stores, there has to be a set price at that place and time.  And the consumer would either have to pay for that or leave it behind.  Taking chances at the thrift store is more miss than hit, in fact you're better winning a 10 dollar scratchoff lottery ticket than finding such and such a record. The mindset of the buyer is that they can download it for free on the net anytime they want and that's partly true for Pink Floyd or Zeppelin but not so much for Don Hollinger, Cruel World is not available as a single download or you tube video as of this writing.  Nor is Here There And Everywhere by The Foremost on Capitol.  Let's face it, the new music is not memorable and even myself, as you can tell, I don't buy much new music anymore and even the 2 dollar finds are donated back the next day.  Keith Richards has a 4 star album out on All Music but it's something I buy, play a couple times and forget about it the next week.    I will support the local record store as much as I can and as much as the finances allow but for record store museums they can have their artifacts. There's nothing out that I'd pay 50 to 100 dollars for a obscure 45.

I'd hold in my hands for a minute and put it back.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week In Review: Townedger Radio 12, CR Kernels, Gary Richrath RIP

Football season is upon us once again.  The rivalry that is Iowa/Iowa State took them to Ames and Iowa prevailed 31-14 to relocate the Cy Hawk trophy and take it back to Iowa City.  While it looked shaky at the start and losing Drew Ott to a dislocated elbow, the defense got tough in the second half and made life a living hell for Sam B Richardson, who in the last couple games had his way.  He got upstaged by C J Bethared who used his arm and legs to get the Iowa offense a jolt, something that Jake Rudock couldn't do last year and saw the writing on the wall and transferred to Michigan to become their starter quarterback under first year coach Jim Harbaugh, who decided that his job at San Francisco wasn't too long. Michigan won their game at home this week and although Harbaugh is in rebuilding mode, chances are good that he might get the team to be better this year and perhaps in the future beat the dreaded Ohio State University that has flourished under Urban Meyer.  While Rudock has proved to be a capable leader, his arm has always been suspect and he simply can't throw long like C J can.   But Iowa won't have to worry about facing Michigan this year as they clear some of the cobwebs that were in the empty trophy case.  Hopefully the trophy case will get crowded this year.

But we still have baseball going on and with three weeks left in the season, St Louis still leads, with Pittsburgh in the chase.  The Chicago Cubs on the other hand have faltered a bit, splitting a series with Philadelphia and may have to settle for the other wild card spot.  The relief pitching has become a Achilles Heel of sorts, with new acquired reliever Fernando Rodney replacing the now departed Soriano, in has been stoppers past their prime.  Tommy Hunter has been somewhat absent as well, while Joe Maddon gives halfwit Pedro Strop chances and Strop continues to help the other team.  On a plus note, the Cubs starters are still doing quite well, Jake Arrieta in the running for the Cy Young Award.  While the Cubs did take two out of three from St Louis last week, the Wednesday game showed that the relief pitchers simply didn't do their job and St Louis came back to win the game.  Still St Louis should still win the division, The Cubs started cold and didn't beat the Cardinals at all early in the season.  But at least Joe Maddon is doing his best to inject a new attitude for the team.

On the minor leagues, here in town The Cedar Rapids Kernels swept the Peoria Chiefs.  Game 1 saw Keaton Steele held the Chiefs to 1 hit in 8 innings.  LaMonte Wade had two hits and Max Murphy hit a 2 run home run to keep the game out of reach.  Peoria came back with a run in the night but Nick Anderson recorded his third straight save for the 3-2 Kernels win.  Game 2, played in Cedar Rapids started out with the Kernels taking a 1-0 league before Peoria came up with four unearned runs in the third inning.  With the bases loaded, T J White flubbed a grounder and threw wildly past first and Peoria scored two runs.  A balk forced another run in and another single gave them a 4-1 advantage.  But Cedar Rapids chipped away at the lead with a run in both fourth and fifth innings.  In the 7th inning the Kernels scored the tying run on a passed ball by the catcher and Chris Paul drove the winning run in with a single, scoring T J White who slid past the catcher's attempted tag.  TJ made up the errors with a couple of spectacular plays  in the 6th and 7th innings.  Lorman Yanda came in the eight to strike out Peoria but in the 9th after his forth straight strikeout, Brian OKeefe walked, despite the umpire missing a couple of borderline pitches.  Next batter, Steve Bean hit a screamer toward Nick Gordon who turned it into a unbelievable double play to end the game.  Cedar Rapids wins 5-4 and goes into the Championship round, with the first two games up in Michigan (West Michigan or Lansing)  and the rest of the series in Cedar Rapids next Saturday.  Which means I'll be missing another jam session on Sunday if need be.

As I try to take into what happened Friday Night between seeing the Dunshee Moon and then what turned out to be a mini high school reunion, it really hit home that I spent way too much time thinking some of the girls that I went out in high school, and that the ones I thought did like me, really never did.  I got that impression about Susan Raue who with Janice and a couple others that after all this time, while I doubt Janice would waste time to go to a reunion, if she was there I wouldn't know.  While Susan can be a bit more liberal than myself, we do share certain things and bands, it's easy to remember her license plate, which goes by Mama Kin, she tends to be more boorish and more uppity than when she was driving me nuts when we were in high school.  You'd think she would at least say hi but I guess we're not in the luxury enough for her to say hi to me too.  Nevertheless, the reunion was fun, I got to chat with many folks I haven't seen before.   That said, it kinda made me mad that our high school reunion of last year turned out to be a fucking bust, that most of us didn't get  invited and although 10 people did show up on a day notice it still was a fucking bust.  Not to get too caught up in that, I do recall that when they had it, we were dealing with floods and heavy rains but nobody bothered to do a make up date.  There was talk about a reunion at by Stone City but nobody followed up or cared enough to keep an interest to that.   Whoever gets to do the 40th reunion will have to find a different bar to go to; the usual place where we had the get together of previous reunions Bill's Tap is closing their doors this Saturday.  The owner is retiring and the city of Marion wants to do away with that bar anyway.  I'd like to go but I was never much of a fan of Bill's Tap and the Kernels will be playing that night.

The passing of Gary Richrath on Sunday was not noted very high in the music section.  His time has passed and Rolling Stone and SPIN magazine would rather deal with Nicki Minaj or the latest fad rappers but for us Midwesterners  he was a very important guitar player in the regional band better known as REO Speedwagon.  Back in the old days, when record labels were still grooming new acts for the radio and it took more than two albums to do so, REO Speedwagon was a nice rock and roll band that went a few changes before they struck the gold mine with the 1977 You Get What You Play For album that was a 2 record set of their best known songs.  And Gary was one of the main singer songwriters although he was more interested in playing guitar than sing, he only sang on two songs in the REO history.  Then REO became a ballads band and after a difference of opinions about musical direction, Gary left the band and started his own Richrath, which only made one album for GNP Crescendo and then spent the rest of his life fighting the drug and drink demons.  In 2013, Richrath made peace with Kevin Cronin and the guys got together during a Illinois fund raiser to raise funds for tornado victims to bash out Ridin The Storm Out, which was basically Gary's theme song.  Even as Kevin Cronin gave a heartfelt tribute to Gary's passing that didn't stop the folks from bashing Cronin's music direction of the band in around 1985.  Perhaps that may have more to do with shady managers and their record label trying to turn them into Muzak rock balladeers, The Epic Records of the 80s were much different than the label of the 70s with the revolving door of A and R men and record presidents coming and going.  In the early 70s of them trying to find that sound and going through capable vocalists (Terry Littell, Kevin Cronin and Mike Murphy before Cronin came back in 1976) REO Speedwagon made good albums (Their first remains their most adventurous), even their cult classic Riding The Storm Out showed them to be more pop  rock in the Crosby, Stills Nash way.   The REO album, to which Cronin returned is really the first album that would point them to the promised land of ballads, but they still rocked a lot harder thanks to Richrath's guitar work.  With the surprise selling of You Get What You Play For,  which may have kept them on the EPIC/CBS roster, REO would make that first ballad/rock album with You Can Tune A Piano But You Can't Tuna Fish, with better production (John Boylan), better sound and better songs which Time For Me To Fly would become one of many patented REO ballads that the girls couldn't get enough of.  I prefer Blazin Your Own Trail Again, and come to think of it, enjoyed Tuna Fish over their breakthrough Hi Infidelity and the overplayed Keep On Loving You which is being played somewhere on the net and radio 35 years down the road.  And after that, REO spent more time on the ballads rather than the rockers, to which Hi Infidelity might have been their last true classic, but again better albums like Nine Lives which did not have a ballad and Tuna Fish which got by on Gary Richrath's guitar chops and rock attitude.  In the end he had to leave the band, he was too rock and roll for the band's pop balladry of the 80s.  Time and age really did get to Gary, but he could still wail away on the guitar up to the end.  And Kevin Cronin knew this, to which he still has a old picture of his guitar buddy wailing away as Kevin is singing to either 157 Riverside Avenue, or Riding The Storm Out.  And is happy to share that picture to the world.

The thrift stores are expanding around here, no shortage of junk thrift stores as Stuff Etc's Blairs Ferry Road location takes over the spot where there was once a gym.  This Friday, Goodwill opens their third Cedar Rapids location on Mount Vernon Road, in the old Drug Town location. I'm sure I'll be spending lots of time there as well. 

Ragged Records, the chosen place of forgotten 45s has a new website. Tell Bob that Crabby sent ya (although you won't get a 10 percent discount if you do).  Ragged Records still remains the place to buy new vinyl records and they continue to keep up on the latest releases.

Singles Going Steady Medley: Same number, different labels

Sheila Tilton-Half As Much/I'll Be Whatever You Say (Con Brio CBK-110)  1976

She has a more soulful vocal than Debbie Grebel, the other Con Brio artist that was featured last week, but suffers from a slick Nashville Edition sound of backing that kinda sinks this 2 minute honky tonk single, B side is a bit more rough around the edges, and probably the better side. She was known as the girl with the heavenly voice which might suggest she has a gospel type of  vocal, but to these ears, she very much somewhat like a countryfied Bonnie Bramlett.

Rick Smith-The Way That I Love Her/Catching The 9:45  (Cin Kay 110) 1976

After hearing this second single I'm convinced that this Rick Smith is more in line with Bobby Goldsboro or Dickey Lee on this song, which does remind me of Honey by Goldsboro, and just as forgettable too.  B Side Catching The 9:45 is an improvement, but as the lack of record sales meant that world didn't need another Dickey Lee or Bobby Goldsboro.



Rachel Sweet-Fool Around (The Best Of) (Rhino  1992)

She could have been New Wave's answer to Brenda Lee, but once Stiff Records went belly up, CBS tried to turn her into Pat Benatar which didn't exactly work to her advantage, and the stand alone Collectibles CD of her last two Columbia albums are night and day. As a 15 year old, she knew her oldies and she had a sense of humor that made Fool Around, her debut, the best and perhaps we should focus our energies on that album for vintage new wave. Rhino used 13 of the 15 songs off that album but left off Truckstop Queen in the process.  A nice update of B A B Y and even if her version of Fool's Gold doesn't replace the Graham Parker version as the one to own, at least she got part of The Rumour to help out.  Be Still, the Devo cover is country and her wild style of Who Does Lisa Like or Put A Metal On Mary she aims to be Wanda Jackson.  But her Everlasting Love (which turned out to be her biggest hit) is something I'd never listen to again, it contradicts the new wave sound Stiff was trying to get out of her and more toward what Columbia wanted her to be.  But out of all the artists that were part of Stiff/CBS, Sweet survived the longest and when Then He Kissed Me came out, the fun was over.  Rhino ignores her last album Blame It On The Night with good reason. In the end, Fool Around, The Best of simply suggests that Fool Around (The album) is all you need from the teen from Akron Ohio.
Grade B-

Bill Cosby-Wonderfulness (Warner Brothers 1966)
Redd Foxx- Foxx A Delic (Loma 1966)
You Gotta Wash Your Ass (Atlantic 1976)

Bill Cosby's falling from grace from being accused by at least 50 women of various charges of being taken advantage of (I read the stories and accusations and trying to keep this clean) has tainted his cred and reputation of being the ultimate family dad on The Cosby Show.  Like many of you out there, his comedy albums of the 60s still remain classic despite the bad press and behavior of once was America's favorite dad.  Wonderfulness remains one of his best albums of childhood memories that most of us can relate to.  Getting our tonsils out and having him describe it in great detail all the way of getting ice cream only to find out that the parents bullshitted you.  Putting together go carts by stealing baby stroller wheels and having your own theme song while going downhill shows that life did exist without us having smartphones and still having a good time.  Cosby had a very keen eye and ear for detail about the past.  Side 2, the epic Chicken Heart remains one of Bill's best comedy routines, a segment about Bill getting too involved in a spooky radio show and getting into his dad's crosshairs.  Not all Cosby's Warner albums are classic, When I was A Kid never really warms up, and 200 Miles is a side long snoozer but next to Bill Cosby Is A Funny Fellow  RIGHT, Wonderfulness is Bill's best comedy, give or take a punch line or two. Grade A-

Redd Foxx on the other hand, is more of the blue comedians, more like a black Don Rickels but with more four letter words, Foxx made some of the more profane and hilarious race comedy records.  The Loma Foxx A Delic is a pretty raw album and somewhat laid back then the Laff/Dootone albums which were so X rated that you had to ask for them by name.  You Gotta Wash Your Ass is his sole Atlantic release, coming off the success of the Sanford And Son show series.  This is Redd Foxx as his most polished, he throws one liners, and quick jokes at hand.  You Gotta Wash borrows a few things from Foxx A Delic including the butcher joke later in the show. The title track comes into play at the end, where Mr. Foxx, in his Fred G Sanford voice reminds one to clean up before doing it. The Loma album is more rougher and rawer, but the Atlantic version is sweeter.  Both are B+ albums.

Wynonie "Mr Blues" Harris-Rock Mr. Blues (Rev-ola 2007)

While the US major labels have given up making anthologies for the original early R and B and rock and rollers, labels like Bear Family, Ace UK and Rev-ola have picked up and in some cases did a better job compiling the hits.  Harris, best known for Good Rocking Tonight, continued to have some major hits for King Records in the 1950s and this 30 song retrospect, even without Good Rocking Tonight, still makes a nifty little tribute to one of the more arrogant but excelling R and B shouter.  Plenty of anti P.C. songs on here (Keep On Churning Till The Buttermilk Comes, Sitting On It All The Time, Bloodshot Eyes), but Harris throws in a bossa nova rap on Please Louise, which reminds me a bit of Viva Las Vegas from Elvis done years later.  The lesser known songs like The Deacon Don't Like It or Mr Blues Comes To Town, is Wynonie on the top of his game.  His hard living of women and blues and good times was beginning to catch up with him and the sole and rare Atco single Tell A Whale Of A Tale/Destination Love shows that Harris was not exactly fitting into playing rock and roll and feeling like a fish out of water so to speak and his voice was beginning to show that, the long decline leading to a a couple more stops at various labels, his last at Chess, his voice shot but this collection stops after the Atco single.  The argument is that Harris made his best sides in the early 50s after Good Rocking Tonight, the compilation here backs that argument up.
Grade A- 

Don Williams-Currents (RCA 1992)

Williams' third and final platter for RCA doesn't differ much from the other two, in fact I have never heard a bad Don Williams album, a change of producers from the reliable Garth Fundis to Allen Reynolds (Garth Brooks) in a major label attempt to get Don back on the country charts. While the reviews were more giving of Currents, I liked Pure Love better.  While reviewers complained about the sameness of It's Who You Love or Too Much Love, I like them more due to of the sing along chorus.  It seems like a concept album at first glance, a lot of the songs deal with water. (Only Water, That Song About The River, Standing Knee Deep In A River (Dying Of Thirst), Catfish Keith). Too Much Love does come across like a list song (too much coffee, too much tea etc etc) but it's easy country rock feel does make you want to sing along if you're not complaining about it.  Reynolds while a good choice of producer does have that polished touch, it seems like Garth Fundis finds ways to make a Williams album sound better.  Alas, Currents didn't sell enough for RCA to keep interested so they cut Don loose.  But this is still a quality album, and Williams still reminds one of the best country artists ever.
Grade B+

Eric Clapton-Complete Clapton (Reprise 2007)

Given the wide range of music that E.C. has done over the years, trying to put it all into a 2 CD set can be a bit of work. Still, Polydor's Crossroads box set remains the overall champion, we didn't have to contend with Eric's blah 90s output or the muzak blues that became the unplugged version of Layla complete with some paid stuff suit whooping it up on the chorus line or when E.C. does a lead, that gets annoying after a while.  Disc 1, is the better of the two, it's has plenty of Cream hits and hits from the Polydor/RSO era to make it a nice resume up to I Can't Stand It.  But it does show that Clapton was getting more laid back as the albums progressed onward and his perfect life he wanted to be  J J Cale.  Disc 2, is the Warner/Reprise years and shows that Clapton was trying his best to have hits, his best album was Money And Cigarettes but only Rock And Roll Heart made it to the list. Way too much of the Phil Collins produced stuff, and Journeyman, while not as bad as Behind The Sun or August was, still overrated.  I find some beauty and comfort in Tears In Heaven but later drivel like My Father's Eyes or Change The World is simply background noise in a uncaring environment.  His blues numbers were uneven too, even for a guitarist with a love of the blues, he got too professional, even on From The Cradle although Motherless Child is one of the better latter day blues he did, even more than Sweet Home Chicago from his Robert Johnson tribute album. Concluding the whole thing with a song with J J Cale ends this on a upper note with Ride The River, one of the last Cale did before passing on a couple years later.  This collection was released around the time of the EC autobiography which is a must read.  The companion CD version is a luxury you can live without unless you find it in the dollar bins or if Crossroads the box set is a bit too much to listen through.
Grade B-

Alabama-Southern Drawl (BMG 2015)

The title track might be most blatant sellout attempt that they ever did, which sounds like Pour Some Sugar On Me countrified.  But life has changed on country radio and the type of music Alabama is famous for back in their hayday is basically big band and doesn't fit the Bro Country genre. Unfortunly it reeks, the usual line of we drink beer, drive trucks watch football bla bla is more suited for Cowpie Aldean or Jive Luke Bryan.  Or Hillbilly Wins The Lottery, which might worked better had Colt Ford or Cletus Judd did some rapping for fool value. They're good at one thing, ballads which Alison Krauss helps on Come Find Me, perhaps a updated Feels So Right.  Which will get the Alabama females fans swooning.  If you can overlook the cornball Bro Country attempt of the title track, it's Alabama as we know and sometimes like and tolerate.  But the ugly fallout between them and their former rock drummer Mark Herndon has kinda  tainted their reputation.  But you can always rely on them doing tributes to the American worker (this time out the farmer) and lamenting a return to go back to the country, to which they were compared as the ones breaking up tradition to the Nashville hit makers at that forgotten time.   In the end, I'll take their romantic Come Find Me over the Bro Daddy crashing Bro Country Junior's party of Southern Drawl the song.
Grade C


Townedger Radio Number 12 (Broadcast 9/16/15 via Lucky Star Radio)

Playlist: The Music Of The Townedgers

Just To Satisfy You (Unplugged Outtake from Fitting Finales)
Better Off Alone (Unplugged Outtake  From Fitting Finales)
We All Sleep Alone (Single mix from  Forthcoming Trains)
Tornado (Outtake from Forthcoming Trains)
Throw That Beat In The Garbage Can (From Bizarre Behavior)
Pale Blue Eyes (Outtake from Pawnshops For Olivia-From Townedgers Country)
It's So Hard (Outtake from The Highway Home)
Molly's Folly (Outtake From The Highway Home)
Be With Me (from 7/7/2007 Sessions)
Sail Away To A Brand New Day (From The Best Of The Townedgers)
New Maierburg Blues (outtake from 30)
The Perfect Life (Outtake from Pawnshops For Olivia-From Townedgers Country)
Midnight Rider (From Townedger Country)
Riders On The Other Side Of Midnight (outtake)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Summer Vacation Unplanned (Out on the town)

For the second year in a row, the Arizona getaway didn't happened.  Other assorted fun stuff that happened was a colonoscopy in June, A hernia repair in July and countless trips to Davenport which concluded with the Thursday night victory by Cedar Rapids and a final going through boxes that I missed before.   I have to hand it to Bob Harrington which I got to the checkout counter and mentioning about a big plastic tub underneath the albums that he had assorted DJ copies and other oddities.  Now I thought finding Mary Lou in mint condition was the find of the day, but since I was there long before closing, I thought it wouldn't hurt to look.  Hidden deep within the archives of lost 45s was a decent looking copy of Cruel World by Don Hollinger, one of the holy grail of 45s that I have been searching.  Until I Found You was the plug side, this record was one of a few promos that we won at a long forgotten drive in giveaway and it got played quite a bit and was not cared for properly.   Paying 10 dollars for it still is a bargain compared to what it sells on EBAY.  In the day and era of hipsters buying records, that finding promo copies of stuff back then costs more now than they ever did would back then.  But as I am in my winding years of bargain hunting and record hoarding, I'm still doing a fine job finding lost 45s and taking them home and playing them from time to time.  While the wallet takes an 80 dollar hit, I still end up adding to a eclectic mixture of 45s which will make some estate sales manager some big bucks once I leave this world behind.  And hoping they find a good home and not in some landfill.

This summer I did managed to have more fun hanging around in the area rather than my trek down on Arizona to spend a week blowing money and riding down Arizona 66 and getting sunburned watching trains off the Crookton Pass bridge, still my favorite zen place and wishing I could spend a day or two on my adopted home of Kingman.  I'm sure next year I'll think about going down there again but at this age and temperament it's unlikely that I will, unless I get a real craving of Del Taco and having a need to hit a Hastings store or two, if they're still around.  I kept busy with participating in jam sessions and hanging at the New Bo District and Parlor City.  Even with low gas prices, I didn't venture out to Madison like I used to do.  The thrift stores had enough cheap dollar CDs to keep me close to home.  Outside of the 45's Ragged Records had in the back room, other locations were more spotty, while last year's Davenport Salvation Army finds were the best, this year was different and nothing of note was found.  Once in a while a moldy oldie would be seen at a Goodwill, and how somebody would donate a decent copy of Bottle Of Wine from The Fireballs, which at Atco 6491 was issued one ahead of the lost Northern Soul Classic of Cruel Word by Don Hollinger which was Atco 6492 and in a stock copy to boot.  At 54 years old and collecting 45s for a half century, there's still enough of them out there to keep the interest going.  But I also know that if wanted to take that tub of forgotten dj copies at Ragged Records, I would have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it all.  It's the fun that counts and since I'm not married or seeing anybody I can still do this.

On Friday Night I thought that we were going work the whole evening and not get off work till 11, and there was a couple things I got invited to.  In the last posting, I talked about going to see The Dunshee Moon play at Checkers' Tavern, a hole in the wall off 6th St.  I remember it having wed night jam sessions but haven't trekked up there since the Bacon Jam of last year.  They still have bands playing there, usually around 7 to 11 which means I'd be missing out. One of the early jam sessions I went to, I struck up a conversation with Peter and his wife Cecie and brother Mike who is the guitar player. Familiar in his tie dyed T Shirts, Peter has participated in a few sessions, Cecie who could probably sing a better Stevie Nicks voice then Stevie herself.  Since I have been out of the loop in terms of bands playing in town, the reaction from others mentioned that The Dunshee Moon is a bit more laid back and acoustic driven, from what I heard, their playlist is very varied, and although Mike Stark is the only guitar player in the band, he did a excellent job in playing Hotel California and Whipping Post by himself.  All four of the band took turns in singing their songs, Mike doing a fair number of Beatles songs on his own, and Peter singing from behind the drum kit on Can't You See and Happy Together and a few others. But of course for the Mac songs it was Cecie leading the way be it Long Train Running or Gold Dust Woman or even Midnight Rider.  Since I promised I would get to Marion for meeting up with Dennis from Arizona, I managed to stay to hear two full sets concluding with them doing Flirting With Disaster.  While on a lengthy chat between sets Mike did say that they would going to do that, and I did wanted to hear that.  Not lost among the band, Donna might be the only person I know that has a Rickenbacker bass guitar and plays it very well.   Mike mentioned that he and Peter have been playing off and on since the mid 60s, the main influence is the Beatles and of course the Rumors' era Fleetwood Mac but they threw a few surprises in their playlist.  I don't think I ever heard any other band cover Brandy from the Looking Glass and then a Lonnie Mack Song up to Long Train Running and then Happy Together.  A few of the jam folks showed up and left and Kathy Colbert-Carfizzi showed up just about when I was leaving so I didn't get to talk to her.  So I thought I show off a picture of her and promise to make it up next time I see her at the jam sessions with hubby Bert.

I didn't expect to see when I headed to Louie's Scoreboard in Marion in terms of meeting up with Dennis and Russ, in fact Russ was hounding about my whereabouts.  But in some ways it turned out to be our high school reunion of sorts although I was a year ahead of Dennis. Last year, our 35th reunion turned out to be a dud, only selected folks got invited and showed up at Bill's Tap last year, probably the worst reunion ever recorded in our life.  Which was why I saw Alan Heeren as the first person who greeted me at the door and then locating Dennis and Russ and Doug Bonesteel, still in town after his dad's funeral on Tuesday.  In other words it was Tyrus/Open Highway reunion again, this time with Doug in tow although I don't think anybody took pictures of it.  Now the 1980 Marion Reunion is a bit different, I went out with three girls back then, two became Girlfriends for about a week or two. I don't think Janice was there, she lives in Texas and basically has nothing to do with this town anymore, but Penny was there with Karl, they were at the May Tyrus Reunion when Dennis was in town too.  For the first time in 35 years I got to see Sue, and of course she didn't say two words to me and I didn't expect that she would.  A long time, her and Janice ended up giving me a Valentines cards you would trade off in grade school or junior high and it's still around here somewhere.  Out of all the girls who had their names and phone numbers on that card, only Jenny Hansen came up and said hi to me.  And she still looks good as ever although she had to introduce herself to me since I couldn't place the name.  I seem to do a lot of that, forget names and faces.

Of course the usual band talk from Russ and Dennis and me but perhaps the highlight of the night was reconnecting with Jeff Kewley who was one of my best friends at Longfellow.  We kinda lost track of each other over the years, he had surgery and couldn't make it to our 30th reunion but we got spend a half hour talking about life and he mentioned that he was taking up the guitar and now has 10 of them at his house.  Which led me to tell him about the jam sessions around town and he should consider showing up at one and do a song or two. If I can do a song or two on guitar anybody could. Even we are of the same age, Jeff still looks as he did back in 4th grade.  I remember the times that him Russ and Me would ride our bikes around the old area and he had a crazy streak of doing things, jumping the old hill in front of the church and bending his Schwinn bike's frame in the process.  His brother had a very excellent record collection that he'd pick and choose and we listen to while Jeff's getting the newspapers ready to deliver, plenty of early Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and Rolling Stones was played.  Looking back in those years some of the best childhood memories was hanging with Jeff and Russ, and it's great to reconnect once again. I told Jeff if you want to jam look me up.  (perhaps we should have gotten more serious with band playing like back in forth grade eh?).  Nevertheless, Jeff will always been one of my best friends.  Brothers for life so to speak.

I really didn't talk to Dennis all that much, I figured he had friends from his class he wanted to chat with and women to talk to, so I hang out with Doug Bonesteel and Randy Hartwig and his wife most of the evening and then chatted with Christ Mundorf and Craig Canavan.  Al Gruwell says he remembers me selling him beer when I worked at Derby in 1979, which leaves me to think he's have a better memory of that then I do. As the night progressed on, Dennis was mentioning a certain kind of root beer that had a kick to it, and I was thinking was is he talking about?  Something called Not Your Dad's Root Beer, so I flipped him a five spot and told him to grab me one and one for himself. Turns out that he was right, it was  a different type of root beer, with about 6 percent alcohol to it.  I only had one of those things and I was getting a hell of a buzz and knocking it over a couple times I decided it was time to call it an evening and head home.  I stopped at a car wash to wash the crap off the car due to some overzealous road repair guy splashing concrete bits and water on the car and I still didn't get half it off the damn car.  And then parked it just in time for Callie to park her flea bitten butt on it, which she did get to meet Mr. Spray Bottle.  And to protect it from leaves and a crazy cat, put the car cover over it.  And I managed to do that being half crocked.

In the end, although I didn't plan it this way and thanks to my boss for giving me part of the night off I got to meet with friends and hear a great band led by good friends. On a side note, The Marion Indians lost again, Cascade came back in the second half and defeated them 29-26.  It was 35 years ago that Marion won the 3A football title in the state.  Now they can't even win a game anymore. They're 0-3 and Tony Perkins may be tied with Les Hipple for most wins forever way things are going.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week In Review: Labor Day Wrap Up, Kernels Sweep

The unofficial end to summer, Labor Day Weekend has come and gone and basically of my friends in local bands have been playing.  Bart Carlizzi and Tommy Bruner's Past Masters were in North Liberty.  Stan Hersom and Troy Harper's band Sky Pilot played at Cedar River Landing Friday Night and then The Red Baron the next day.  This Friday, I'm hoping to catch Peter and Cecie Stark's band The Dunshee Moon at Checkers.  Both of them have been very nice to me and supporting during the jam sessions of the summer at Wrigleyville which concluded their Thursday Night Jam Session with me debuting on guitar for a rousing version of Let's Work Together.

The Sunday Rumors Jam Session featured Seth Williams, a 15 year old drummer guesting on two songs, to which yours truly shared the stage to sing backup.  He really needs no encouragement from me since he has been on stage a few times in the past, hanging with the likes of Tommy Bruner and Dan Johnson as seen from a 2014 jamming thing.  I managed to talk to him for a bit and see what he dreams and ambitions were and like any 15 year old he would like a real drum set of his own.  But of course he had to wait his turn as Rumors had 6 other drummers wanting to take the stage.  I ended up doing two songs of Jimi Hendrix fame, Purple Haze and Red House Blues, the guy playing guitar did a good job playing Jimi.  And of course the usual fare, Ross, the owner playing his favorite songs and of course Mustang Sally, up coming alternative dudes In The Attic played a 15 minute set of their original stuff and a rare song of Mike Lint instead of Peter Stark playing drums on the Fleetwood Mac song Dreams.  Cecie Stark can do a nice Stevie Nicks soundalike.  You can catch them at Checker's Friday Night from 7-11 in C.R. They're known as the Dunshee Moon, featuring husband Peter on Drums

What a field day for the heat and this weekend was the hottest so far this year.  90 degree temps and 70 degree dewpoints made going outside a chore.  I have to say that this year's New Bo Art Festival was a bit of a let down, the only band I seen was the interactive percussion entourage known as Yahoo Drummers and by 4 PM went to the Rumors Jam Session and missed out on Saturday Giant. Of course main act The Blue Band played Saturday Night and moved over to Wabeek for the F and B Labor Day Party, something that they have done on Memorial Day Weekend as well. My original plans of going to see The Kernels play derailed, too many people there and it was too hot.  They're in the playoffs so I'll get to see them one more time as they take on The Quad City River Bandits...who have the best record in minor league baseball.  If there's any more baseball to be watched, it probably be in Davenport.  Which will probably bump any Madison trip back another week or two.

It might be some time before I go to my adopted home in Kingman but the Mohave County Fair offers up shows by Jack Russell and Great White on September 18, McKenna Faith, Doo Wah Riders, Snake Oil Sinners and ZZ-3 a tribute band will perform September 17-20 at the Mohave County Fairgrounds.  Admission is 7 dollars to get in.

News out of Sturgis is that the Full Throttle Saloon in that town has burnt to the ground Monday Night.  Crews from five other communities helped fighting the fire, nevertheless the place was a total loss. Chances are that they will rebuild it.  The Full Throttle was a major gathering point and place where bands could play at.

Tyler Sash, one of the more harder hitting DBs in Iowa football history was found dead late Monday Night, he was 27.  He had a short NFL career playing with the New York Giants and helping them beat New England for a Super Bowl title but his erratic behavior may have cost him his football career but his life.  He was arrested one year for driving drunk on a scooter and was barred for 4 games by the NFL for using a banned substance.  Perhaps getting hit on the head too many times led him down the same road as it did with Junior Seau and may have something to do with him taking his own life.  A shame really, for he was one of the nicer guys to meet.  Roy Marble, the all time leading scorer for Iowa Basketball in the mid 80s finally lost his battle with cancer, he didn't make it to fifty. Marble's son Roy Delvyn Marble was a Hawkeye a few seasons ago and did his dad proud.  But Marble will associated with the 1986-87 Hawkeyes that won 30 games that season.  During the Iowa/Iowa State game the Cyclones paid a nice tribute to both.  Update: Tyler Sash died from a accidental overdose from pain pills.

Brad Anderson, the cartoonist who gave us Marmaduke passed away on August 30, age 91.  For many years Marmaduke's cartoon strip was one of comics I would regularly read.

Ratings here in Record World have gone down of late, and perhaps the masses have moved on.  For myself I have been busy doing other things in various blogs and trying to get those up to date, mostly over at The Townedgers blog spot site where I'm busy writing up about past albums I have done.  And doing the various jam sessions around town.  Once I catch up on the Townedgers back catalog I might devote more to this site.  I'm sure we'll dip under 2,000 views again but then I wonder if those have been inflated.   As they say, stay tuned. 

The desperate means of trying to find new music is getting to the point that going to Best Buy doesn't cut it anymore.  It has been 10 years since Half Priced Books moved into town and they have been more into getting the harder to find music than the once great Best Buy who's CD section sucks as bad as Wal Mart or Target.  Regular music stores are out of town and the turnover of selection at Ragged Records or Moondog Music makes it less cost effective to look through the same old inventory.   At least Half Priced Books, like Stuff Etc, throws things into the 2 dollar bins after a certain time.  The Eric Burdon Till Your River Runs Dry, was demoted to the 2 dollar bin but somebody did picked that up.  Also, the latest Garth Brooks album Man Against Machine CD was in the 2 dollar bin, and I thought I would take a listen to that.  It's funny how I railed against him during the hit making years but came to the conclusion that his music of the 1990s was quite good.  The continuing manipulation of his back catalog repackaged over and over made him the biggest selling artist but it cheapen him to being a sell out.  For rock bombast, Garth does Bruce Springsteen quite well, but he could be a jack of all trades of country ballads (All American Kid) or taking a stab at country swing with the goofy Rodeo And Juliet.  Whatever he's doing now contradicts with what Luke Bryan or Jason Aldean or the autotuned boys from Florida Georgia Line.  But Garth is no longer the bad man of country music, that would be Brantley Gilbert.  But Garth Brooks' music back then and even on Man Against Machine is more honest than the Bro Country Hack nowadays, with each new act trying to be even more dumber than FGL.  That new Jake Owen song comes to mind.
But I find Man Against Machine to be a curio listen rather than essential and has one too many bland ballads to make it a recommendation.   But even as a weak three star album, it's better than Tyler Farr or Jake Owen.

The weirdness of 2 dollar CDs is rediscovering bands that I took a listen and passed on years ago and Montgomery Gentry has been back on the playlist, even going to the Goodwill to pick up Super Hits and then Playlist for 50 cents.  Tittie's Beer damn near put them on the black list but upon listening to their third album My Town, an album that I bypassed in 2002, I come to find out that record might be their best overall, although Tattoos and Scars is a nice debut. Sony Music has tried three times to compile a best of and every one of them has faults.  The original best of Something To Be Proud Of, falls flat on its face, leaving off key tracks from the first two albums.  Super Hits might be been the better on had Hillbilly Shoes was on that one, but Playlist seems to be the most diverse and adds the Bon Jovi cover of Wanted Dead Or Alive.  Once it was decided to have Troy Gentry take the lead more often made My Town the album of choice, and I think is their most southern rocking of the first three albums.  Alas, later albums tended to ape the The Don't Tread On Me altra conservative that made me give up on them after You Do Your Thing.  Country radio loved them for a time but Top Forty radio only gave them 2 top forty chart placements, the number 40 My Town song and at number 33 Roll With Me.  For southern country rock, a feat upon itself to penetrate the charts that high but despite the naysayers saying they're partly  responsible for   Bro Country,  I'd beg to differ. They owned more to Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker and any of the wallet chain wearing dudes of today.

I love Grace Jones, she blazes her own trail.

Singles Going Steady Medley: (A collection of Cin Kay/Con Brio singles found for 25 Cents)

Linda Cassady:
It's Your Song You Sing It (Cin Kay 111) 1976 (Charted #91 Country 1976)
C.B Widow (Cin Kay 107) (Charted #83 1976)

Hardcore honky tonk girl that made four singles and an album for Cin Kay.  Her vocals is part Connie Smith, part Loretta Lynn.  Cin Kay was a part of some of independent Nashville Labels that were under the NSD banner.  Her other singles were a remake of Little Things Mean A Lot (Cin Kay 115) which was her highest charted single at number 79 and last single It Don't Hurt Anymore (Cin Kay 116) petered out at number 91.  She had the voice and songs at hand, C B Widow which was an answer record to the C B craze, however the B side Do You Still Want What's Left Of Me would have been a better choice to hit the charts.  Alas, being on a small time label didn't help much and her final offering The Lonely Side Of The Bed (Cin Kay 131) managed to be her highest charted single at number 74.  Eventually she would have a career being a Nashville songwriter but for a short time in 1976 she did score a UK top ten hit with C B Widow.  Now known as Linda Tankersley

Side note: Do You Still Want What's Left Of Me is listed on the discography of Cin Kay records as Cin Kay CK 118 and probably released in early 1977.  Further research reveals that this version is a different take, with different producers (Jack Logan and Jack Adams) instead of Gene Kennedy who produced the first version.

Grandma Was The Motor-Debbie Grebel (Con Brio CBK 111)  1976
While there's something about Linda Cassady, there's very little known about Grebel who recorded three singles for Con Brio.  Reminds me of Melba Montgomery and Tanya Tucker on this uncharted country single.  She was nice enough to autograph this single, at least I think it's her signature. B Side You Won't Remember Her Name is okay b side.

I'm In Love With My Pet Rock-Al Bolt (Cin Kay CK 102) 1976 (#85)

ah yes, the pet rock craze of 1976.  Al Bolt recorded this and it was released in February 1976. More of a children's novelty song although this song didn't fare as well as the Pet Rock Popularity.  B side Paint Your World Happy wouldn't be out of the ordinary honky tonker that George Jones did.  A better side than I'm In Love With My Pet Rock.

Daddy How I'm Doing/The Blues Was Here To Stay-Rick Smith (Cin Kay CK 114)  1976

No relation to my brother or the dude in Underworld, this was one of the saccharine sweet tragic songs that would turn many a stomach, somehow in the style of Honey by Bobby Goldsboro or Rocky by Austin Roberts.  At least the B side The Blues Was Here To Stay has a more uptempo honky tonk sound that much more listenable and written by Smith himself.  The second and final 45 he recorded for Cin Kay before dropping out of site. It's been rumored that country stations that, if they played this at all, opted for The Blues Was Here To Stay.  In the end, nobody likes tragic sad songs.  To which to sum it all up, the answer to Daddy How I'm doing, is not so well.

More Record Reviews:

Los Lobos-Disconnected In New York City (429 Records 2013)

The frustration of trying to find albums of our favorite artists continue to suck the life out of me trying to keep up to date with any bands.  If Tommy Keene has a new album out, none of the stores will have it, and even if an established artist puts out a new album, there's no guarantee that it will be in stores.  Case in point: Los Lobos, one of my favorite bands being on the scattershot Savoy 429 label and Best Buy still doesn't have this on CD, but Half Priced Books had the album for 15 dollars. Life hasn't been easy for the band from East LA after leaving Slash Warner Brothers, hanging with Hollywood, Mammoth and Shout Factory before latching on 429.  Armed with new drummer Bugs Gonzalez, who was once part of Gloria Trevi's band I remember seeing them play in Iowa City in 2012 and getting to chat up with them in a meet and greet, David Hidalgo was nice and gracious but I have fun chatting with Steve Berlin and Louis Perez, Berlin told some fun stories but also didn't have kind words for a certain musician who had a classic album out in 1986 thereabouts. However, Bugs Gonzalez was a hoot, as we laughed it up for about 15 minutes before they had to leave for the next town. While they other drummers, certainly Bugs was one of the more direct rock and rolling drummers of that band, and one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet.  That said, Disconnected In New York, is a nice hour long live set of songs that they were playing back then and borrowed a bit from their last album Tin Can Trust, but this borrows a lot of the Spanish songs that Cesar Rosas is known to sing although Hidalgo sings that way on Malaque.  For a live album, Los Lobos really bring out the hits till side 4, when we get Set Me Free (Rosa Lee) and of course La Bamba with Good Lovin tacked on as a medley, which does remind me of the good times shared when I was in Iowa City that night they played and I had some woman coming out dancing with me before she disappeared after the song ended.  Disconnected In New York may be too eccentric or too Spanish for those who want the hits but as a live document it does show that be it with acoustic or electric instruments, Los Lobos always puts on a good show.  Which might make them the best rock and roll band still going but that's just my opinion.  Let's see if Best Buy can get their latest album in stores when it comes out later in the month. (my guess I may have to Amazon order it).
Grade B+

The Original Hit Performaces! All Time County And Western Vol 9 (Decca 1967)

Sampler country albums of the 1960s off various labels were always good/bad.  If you wanted true hillbilly music, the Starday/Nashville comps were some of the best, RCA and Mercury also had their charm and probably Decca although this collection is somewhat weak and a contrasts of styles.  Talk about going from one side of the spectrum, we go from murder ballads (Wilburn Brothers' graphic The Knoxville Girl, which was a bluegrass staple back then) to gospel songs (Red Foley's Steal Away) and those can be found on side 1.  Kitty Wells' Amigo's Guitar is one of her best songs of woe, but then again the nadir is Johnny Wright's Hello Vietnam, perhaps one of the most propaganda type of Why We Fight, knowing the outcome of that war, that song annoys the hell out of me. Strange to see that came from the mind of Tom T Hall, at that point one of the better songwriters and at that time Dave Dudley had a few hits that Hall written.  And it's a surprise that Mike Huckabee haven't used this for the future invasion of Iran, or Tom Cotton for that matter.  Which is why this album gets dotched two grade points.  Most of the rest of the songs feel like scrapings of the bottom of the barrel, even though Patsy Cline's A Poor Man's Roses is the best of the lot here, Bill Monroe's Molly And Tenbrooks a close second.  City Lights was a bigger hit for Ray Price and later Mickey Gilley but this is the first time I've heard the original Bill Anderson version.  Anderson is another of Nashville's elite songwriters but this version while nice is not as remember-able as Ray Price. Forgotten singers like Webb Pierce and Jimmy Martin turn in passable performances, but for Decca Records, this comp is about as half assed as they come.  Probably a good reason why I found a sealed copy of this for a dollar at the thrift store, even the original owner didn't see a reason why to open and listen to it.
Grade C+

The Doors-Other Voices/Full Circle (Elektra Rhino Reissue 2015)

While the Jim Morrison led band has been reissued to death, this is the first time both albums get their due in America, and perhaps the critics might have been right.  The Doors always been a great backing band for the antics of Jim Morrison but without them, they lack a distinct voice.  Ray Manzerek probably the better of the two over Robbie Krueger.  I recall when I heard Tightrope Ride that it was on WLS, neither the AM stations here played it much, nor did followup singles although I did find Get Up And Dance somewhere.  Overall, I didn't think much of Other Voices although I still have the import album that I got fairly cheap at BJ Records years ago. Tightrope Ride sounded better in 1971 than it does now but it's nice to hear it, or the jazz shaped Ships W/Sails  or the country tinged Down On The Farm, but the weirdness that is Hang On To Your Live  is so damn oddball that not even the lizard king could save it had he lived.  Full Circle isn't much better although the kookyness of The Mosquito made me listen to it twice in a row.  And Get Up And Dance really isn't a bad song and with the inclusion of Treetrunk you basically get the complete life after Jim Morrison Doors. The Peking King And New York Queen, Manzerek damn near copies LA Woman the song.  It would be easy to dismiss these two albums and give them both a C grade at best, but The Doors' music keeps the whole thing interesting.  Full Circle does hint toward what Robbie Kreuger and John Densmore would be doing in the short lived Butts Band (with Jess Roden that made a okay album for Blue Thumb around 1973).  With these two albums back in print, it finally reveals all things that was The Doors, beginning the S/T album and ending with a more jazzier approach to music.  The only thing that held them back was that neither they nor anybody else could replace Jim Morrison.  And so it goes.
Grade B

Cedar Rapids 5  Quad Cities 3 (Game 1 @ Cedar Rapids)
Cedar Rapids 3  Quad Cities 1 10 innings (Game 2 @ Davenport)

The Quad Cities River Bandits had the best minor league record of the regular season but in the all important playoffs, they were shut out.  Although the Kernels did score, it was the generously of The River Bandits who in the tenth inning of a sacrifice bunt,  two errant throws had Kernels at 2nd and 3rd base. Chris Paul then hit a single that scored TJ White and LaMonte Wade.  Nick Anderson came in the bottom of the 10th inning to shut the QC team down 123, for his second save.

LaMonte Wade made a great grab in Game 1 to rob Quad Cities of a big inning, but it was the great pitching of Felix Jorge to shut down the vaulted River Bandits attack.  Nick Gordon going 3 for 3 and Alex Real driving in 2 runs.  But it was 2 errors and 2 wild pitches by The Quad Cities Reliever Andrew Thome that gave Cedar Rapids two insurance runs.

That said, pitching did win both games, as Felix Jorge and Sam Gibbons kept the Bandits off base most of the game.  However the five errors committed by Quad Cities would seal their fate and they'll have to regroup for next season.

While Cedar Rapids the main team to root for, The Quad Cities Bandits have captured my heart as well, going back two years ago when they won the 2013 MiLB Midwest League Pennant  and for six games going to Woodman's Park a fun time.  They got the best stadium, the best seats and nice views of the Mississippi River and Centennial Bridge lightning up the waters.  While the players have gone and gone, moved up to double A or Triple A, it was nice talking to some of the Bandits while I attended games.  My favorite player is Bobby Boyd, who was kind enough to toss me a baseball while ending a Cedar Rapids Rally earlier and the game and was nice enough to toss it back after I drop the ball the first time.  To which I wish the best of luck to Bobby and here's hoping he will continue to follow the route the major leagues.

In the meantime Cedar Rapids moves on to play the Peoria Chiefs in the second round of another 3 game playoff series, hosting game one Sunday at 4 PM.  Peoria took care of Kane County in 2 games as well.  In fact all teams that won game 1 of the first round playoffs won the second game as well.   Western Michigan and Lansing will be the other teams playing in the second round.

Strange but true fact:  The River Bandits have been swept out of the first round by Cedar Rapids in each of their two best regular seasons in franchise history - a 91-46 finish in 1992 and their 88-50 finish this season.

 In addition to the best regular season winning percentage (.638) in full-season Minor League Baseball for the first time in franchise history, the River Bandits posted a franchise-record 2.65 ERA. The records came while Quad Cities led the Houston Astros organization by using 61 players and 37 pitchers - both franchise records.