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 https://www.facebook.com/The-Dunshee-Moon-352965395126/timeline/

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. http://www.timeout.com/london/music/grace-jones-autobiography-extract-rihanna-miley-gaga-kanye

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.

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