Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week In Review: Kyle Oyloe, The Leaves Of Fall, Lou Reed

This didn't make the local music news wire, SPIN and Rolling Stone indifferent but we lost one of our great musicians in Kyle Oyloe, guitar player for many bands who died suddenly from a stroke at age 46 Thursday Night.  Plenty of the finest musicians packed the Rumors Bar And Grill for the Sunday Afternoon Jam which got extended by about 45 minutes due to many musicians who wanted to take the stage and play in the honor of Kyle.  Proceeds from the jam session will  go to Kyle's family.  Traci Olson, Julie Gordon, and a host of others took pictures of this event.

Plenty of highlights to choose from but perhaps the ones that stand out was Wooden Nickel Lottery doing two songs off their CD, the hi jinx of Craig Dewitte and Yours truly rocking to the old Chuck Berry signature song (you know what it is) with Dan Hartman looking on with amusement and Brook Hoover joining Julie Gordon on Spirit In The Sky.  Bart Carfizzi on keyboards, Herman Sarsby on drums.  Below picture  is Julie with Brook and the Surf Zombies.  Kyle was in The Meerkats years ago.

 Laughs tears and memories filled up the place along with the tunes.  In any case Kyle was sent out in style and I'm sure he would have approved as he is now jamming with the big boys in the great rock and roll stage beyond.  The place was chock full of jammers and well wishers , somewhere in this picture is R.S.Crabb lurking in the background.  And be easily found among the crew, right next to one of the more funky bass players to ever hit the stage.

It has been a slow music news week, the only thing mentioning was that 70 year old Richie Blackmore announced a handful of rock dates doing Rainbow/Deep Purple numbers with a to be announced vocalist, that is not Joe Lynn Turner nor Glenn Hughes.  The sports venue has Kansas City and  The Mets in the World Series, and Iowa had the weekend off and still managed to crack the Top 10 football teams in the AP and ESPN polls.  Meanwhile Iowa State got blown out again despite the efforts of Joel  Lenning  replacing Sam B Richardson as QB and making the final score a lot more closer than it actually was 45-27.  Part of the reason why the score was kept down was Baylor lost Seth Russell to a broken bone in his neck.  They do have next week off before a Thursday night romp with Kansas State.  For the Cyclones though things are not as rosy, Mark Mangino and Paul Rhodes had  a difference of opinion and Mangino was let go as offense coordinator. Whatever the reason Mangino will find another job soon, perhaps at Miami where Al Golden was shown the door after Clemson whitewashed them 58-0  As for Rhodes he may be gone, Iowa State outside of outlasting Northern Iowa and beating up on Kansas which has lost something like 25 games in a row and haven't been the same since Mangino was let go down there.

The Fall changing of the leaves from the trees to the ground has gone past peak, about two weeks later in the year (thanks to climate change and a warmer than usual fall) and I haven't been able to get out and enjoy things all that much, I got hit with the GD flu around the time of the Kyle Oyloe jam that I managed to gulp about 4 vitamin C pills to go shoot some pics around the area.  It's always beautiful around the Mississippi, and the fall tour peak will continue down river.  If you're in the area go out and see it, enjoy it before all the leaves are on the ground.

Lou Reed: Musician/monster/asshole  two years gone:

It's been two years since Lou departed from this world and we are hearing stories about how much of a jerk Lou really was.  Course that shouldn't detached the fact that he was a excellent musician and influenced me but he had such a snarky way of treating band mates and ex wives that perhaps he did have a screw loose in his head, or perhaps he was mad at the world.  Certainly there are valid points that The Velvet Underground is overrated, after all they played the same three chord patterns with Lou's outlook on life, but The VU did play a role in the influence of my music with various bands, The Townedgers forthstanding.  Solo wise, Reed's career was all over the place, some good music, some great music but also some of the most uneven albums of his career.  I tend to find his Transformer album to be overrated, although thanks is given to David Bowie to give Lou's career a boost, it's just too glam for me.  Berlin is perhaps the album that defines Reed's logic and who the man really is and not for the better.  It's not a pleasant album by any means but it is not unlistenable either. Rock And Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live is defined by the band that backed him up, Steve Hunter and Rick Wagner.  The one thing I notice is how Reed would go in different directions after each albums,  Sally Can't Dance, another uneven LP seemed to have Lou on the way to being a rock superstar before Reed put out four sides of feedback guitar called Metal Machine Music, the biggest FU album ever recorded.  Though I commend Lou's daring to do something different and it's not a total waste of time, but it's also something you can't listen through either.  At least with the 4 sided record you can change it over to something else.  Reed tried to make nice with Coney Island Baby but by then he was demoted to cult artist.

I find Lou's Arista period to be equally interesting.  If there was a label that needed a Metal Machine Music album that would be Clive Davis' baby.  The only album that interested me was not Street Hassle, the 1978 critics darling but rather 1980's Growing Up In Public, a record that might be Lou's answer to The Who By Numbers, although given Lou's nature  songs like So Alone might be mistaken for him being a good guy trying to get a woman rather than the bad Lou who would smack his woman out on a night around town.   I'm interested to hear Lou's attempt to go comedy with the overblown Take No Prisoners live platter to which he namechecks critics for bashing his music.  But even Davis couldn't provide hits for Reed and Reed went back to RCA for perhaps the most consistent batch of albums that Lou would do in his career.

Hooking with with Robert Quine and Fernando Saunders, and getting the love of his life Sylvia (at that time)  Reed got inspired by making The Blue Mask, which might be his best moment on record. The title track he develops Metal Machine Music into a rocking 5 minute blast of guitar and drums that he didn't succeed the whole four sides of MMM. I also loved Gun too. Legendary Hearts, the next album is a bit more accessible with a minor hit with Don't Talk To Me About Work.  Even better, New Sensations proved that Reed could write a commercial album tailored made for rock radio with I Love You Suzanne and My Red Joystick. By then Robert Quine had enough and departed and for the rest of his life hated Lou with a passion. By all means New Sensations would be the last Lou Reed album that was made for the radio and the rest of his career Reed would do albums to fit his moods.  Which were usually dark.  Mistrial, flopped badly and Reed would take his act over to Sire/Warner Brothers for the rest of his years.

The Sire years would have special guests along the way.  Maureen Tucker, the VU drummer would play on the New York album along with Dion.  A project about the late Andy Warhol would reunite with John Cale on Songs For Drella, a album that worked fairly well despite the acidity presence of Cale and Reed, a clash of airmasses coming together for a cause.  Lou took the idea of morality and death to a new level on Magic And Loss, another uneven effort.  And then the end times came around, The Velvet Underground did reunite in 1993 for a handful of dates.  But it was not bound to last, another major fight between Cale and Reed and the band was over, Sterling Morrison died in 1995.  The band went into the rock hall of fame in 1996 and for the last time would perform with a song in tribute to Morrison.

Reed continued to make interesting albums, Set The Twilight Reeling and Ecstasy were the last two meaningful records.  Later in life Reed would revisit Berlin in its entirety in the late 2000s and his last album was done with Metallica in 2011 called Lulu, an album that critics both trashed Lou and Metallica for putting it out, but in all fairness this was Lou Reed's album and he was in charge of the songs, Metallica was the backing band.  It's a mess of an album but it has some moments of greatness, even to the last 7 feedback later moments of Junior Dad.    To which Lou Reed came full circle and would spend the last days of his life with Laurie Anderson and living a somewhat peaceful life.

It's no secret that Reed hated giving interviews or music critics. Generally, he made no bones about that, or the fairweather fans who jumped off the bus after Metal Machine Music,  Reed like Bob Dylan, or Neil Young followed his own muse although his extreme showing of music styles would really tax the patience of his fans and even the hardcore.  Even in New York people were advised to stay away from Mr. Reed should you find him at the local eatery. Laurie Anderson somewhat made life a bit more easier for Reed but it still wasn't enough for Reed to continue to hate to do interviews. As for myself, The Velvet Underground albums are easier to take but there are a couple of Reed albums that I will play from time to time, Coney Island Baby, Rock n Roll Animal, New Sensations, even Growing Up In Public.  In order to play Lou Reed, you have to forget that he was an jerk and an asshole and with the accusations of him being a wife abuser it will give a different meaning to hear his songs.  But now being dead for 2 years is now bringing out the accusations that he was not a pleasant man to live with or being in a band with. And that brought out the best and worst in Lou.  But Lou did things to please himself and he follow his own musical vision with passion and verve. But Lou Reed always made it clear that it wasn't you that he made the music for, it was for him and him alone.  And Lou Reed never cares about you either, even after death he doesn't.  But his music is there should you want to take a peek into it.  After all, it's only rock and roll.  Or is it?


Killing Joke-Pylon (Spinefarm 2015)

For melodic hard driving metal/rock the reunited original Killing Joke lineup continues to defy expectations and giving the middle finger to modern rock crap that Rock 108 plays but dares not to play Jaz Coleman and company.    They don't break new ground, they need not be, just like Motorhead and AC/DC you know what you're getting and they don't mess around either.  Gordie's guitar riffs played over and over till they're impaled in your brain, and there's no finer rhythm section than Youth and Big Paul Ferguson.  While their last album, while good, was somewhat in a holding pattern, Pylon is more into the muck like Hosannas From The Basement From Hell, their 2006 classic, featuring the last record with Paul Raven. With his passing, the original band got back together.  Certainly if you have followed Killing Joke since the reunion like I have, you get the impression that they found their mark even better than the early years. Lead off track Autonomous Zone sets the pace; 10 songs (shortest is 4:16, all but two go over 5 minutes) of repeated riffs, and Colemans' Gary Numan croon/Lemmy Yell shouts is the obvious sound.  I enjoy this straight ahead and in your face sound as well, the album gets better on the second side with Delete and I Am The Virus (which Coleman makes it sound like I am the walrus if your not paying attention) shaking the rafters.  It's Coleman who screams out what's wrong with this world, as if he's broadcasting the end of the world before your very eyes and ears but nothing you can do but bang your head and rock along with him and Ferguson's patented tribal drumming.  Their best since Ferguson's return.
Grade A-

The Blasters-Hard Line (Slash/WB 1985)

As rockabilly punk rockers they redefined Elvis and Fats Domino but on their albums Dave Alvin's songs echoed John Fogerty even down to Common Man and points for giving the Jordaniares, Elvis' favorite vocal to help out on Trouble Bound and Help You Dream.  Even the John Mellencamp produced stuff didn't distract them, Just Another Sunday and Colored Lights would have fit on Scarecrow.  But alas, this record would tear apart this band and the Alvin Brothers would not do much together outside of a couple Blasters reunions till last year when Phil and Dave made up and have made two blues based albums together.  The amazing scope of Dave Alvin's songwriter made this their best by far album together.  Almost to the point of  history comes alive, in the political world Common Man calling out politicians to their bullshit.
Grade A

Alan Klein-Well At Least It's British (Decca/RPM  1965)

A footnote in British Pop, Klein was kinda of a dry witted sort of lad that came up with what they called standard Brit music hall pop.  Klein was too British for the Americans to consider, he was the opposite of what The Beatles, Kinks, and Dave Clark Five were doing.  Very dry wit working class Brit humor, what else to explain the hiccup on Will You Ever Come Back Again, or perhaps I'm Counting On You, which might be the companion to The Yardbirds Heart Full Of Soul, which Klein sings about having somebody do him the favor and break the woman that left him heart so that woman gets back to him.   The original 12 track album does have a Joe Meek sound and influence, which is why RPM reissued this, in fact in 1962 Klein recorded 2 singles for Joe Meek, one including the oddball Three Coins In The Sewer, and Buddy Holly knock off Striped Purple Shirt, after all Meek was a Buddy Holly fanatic and most of his artists did try to record something akin to Buddy. The album after Meek, shows a lighthearted and humorful takes in Big Talk From A Little Man and 20th Century Englishman, which would fit perfectly for the Bonzo Dog Band and Monty Python.  Damon Alburn, would actually borrowed some of Klein's ideas and songs for his band Blur, which got me interested into listening to this in the first place.  You don't need to be British to enjoy this album, I find it jolly good fun, and a forgotten but essential piece of the traditional British Pop that America avoided back then.
Grade A-

Nik-Turner-Space Fusion Odyssey (Purple  Pyramid 2015)

Turner defied expectations and succeed on Space Gypsy, so for an encore he decides to go into the depths of space fusion and jazz on this 70 plus minute 10 songs of varying degree.   In his late 70s, Turner has his eye on Sun Ra as oldest fusionist, and this album echoes more of Gong, Frank Zappa, even In Search of Space Hawkwind but the source is Mahavishu Orchestra, which Billy Cobham plays drums on three songs.  If you're into this type of music you'll might want to take a listen to it, but for myself it tends to not be my cup of tea or Hawkwind but this is not bad.  Adjust The Future is 8 minutes of the same two chords repeated over.  Yes and Gong fans will dig this for Steve Hillage and Rick Wakeman on bonus track Random Acts Revisited with Jerry Goodman (Kansas, Dixie Dregs) on violin, and Billy Sherwood helping out recording the whole thing.  The music is forty years removed from today.
Grade B-

Waylon Jennings-Just To Satisfy You (RCA 1969)

I love Waylon just as much as Diggy Kat does but some of his late 60s albums for RCA really has his producers trying to fit him in with the Nashville crowd and it ain't working to Waylon advantage.   The title track was simplified for better use with Willie a decade later on, but you can sense the frustration in Waylon as Felton Jarvis adds too much of that polish Nashville sound too good for his liking.   The way Waylon wails I'm Doing all RIGHTTTTTTT to a strange arrangement of wah wah guitar on Lonely Weekends.  He goes one for two with the duet with Anita Carter, the best Rings Of Gold, the worst I Got You.  Even for Waylon's standards, this is too uneven.
Grade C+ 

Freddy Weller (ABC/Dot 1975)

For a latter day Raider, Weller held his own but he was a credible country singer and recorded for Columbia except for this one off for Dot in 1975.  Freddy rarely talks about this album, which boasted a number 52 hit with Stone Crazy, probably the only thing that rocks.  Most of the songs are paint by number mellow country, or corny country (Have You Ever Done It).  Kinda wished Collector's Choice would have found a spot on the best of for Stone Crazy when that CD was available.  Ron Chancey, hack producer really didn't do Freddy any favors either.  Probably the reason why this record is forgotten.  Weller would return back to Columbia a year later with good reason and better songs (Bar Wars).  The sound of Countrypolitian music of 1975, too polished and too laid back...and too corny.
Grade C

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