Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Week In Review: Reviews, Weather And Ivy Too

It's been a rotten year for San Diego as the Chargers fizzled out and quite a bit this season but what might be their last game at San Diego they did beat Miami 30-14.  Phillip Rivers threw an interception but recovered the fumble 50 yards after the INT.   Will it mean that they will return back to Los Angeles after being gone for 5 plus decades?  Will I continue to root for them as LA?  I really don't know, I haven't been much into the NFL all season.  Too many commercials about E.D and the piss poor Southwestern Pauly Shore Wannabe.  After the game Eric Waddle decided to capture what might be the last moments in San Diego around the 50 yard line taking it all in.  This might have been the last time.

I haven't been to Iowa City/Coralville in a while so thought I pay my friends down there a visit.  Somehow managed to find a whole bunch of Dr Demento CDs for 1.88 at Goodwill, but before I could see the rest of them some other dude picked them up.  Some odds and ends, the Crusin' Series, of old radio station DJ airchecks and commercials are always fun to listen to, although they tend to select painful listening songs,such as Bobby Goldsboro's morbid Honey.  My good friend from Sweet Living Antiques let me borrow his CD of Unknown Garage Rock Bands of the 1960s provided if I bring it back to him next time I'm down there.  I did find four albums of note. The Dolenz, Jones, Hart and Boyce 1977 Capitol album (or 1976), plus The Grassroots Lovin Things, Silver (the 1977 minor super group of Tom Leadon, Brett Myland and John Batdorf) and Glass Moon's 1984 album for MCA. Housewerks had four more decent LPs from Sam The Sham Revue (I seldom see anything that not's tore up on record from Sam), Bill Haley And The Comets (WB), Beatlemania, a Rhino comp and a old Johnny Rivers on Pickwick that my dad had but had seem better days.  And Record Collector had a Jonathon King UK album from 1972 for a dollar.  The Coralville stores had nothing to offer but buildings are popping up all over the place, the new Aldi's is open and about 10 more fucking roundabouts to mess traffic up.  But for an Iowa City trip, I managed to find some things, and during the Christmas holidays I almost bought out Goodwill on the Demento stuff before putting them back.

Oh the weather is so frightful....Tornadoes before Christmas?  Strange about Wed afternoon is that temps snucked up to 55 degrees before the front came through and temps dropped about 20 degrees in an hour and half.  In the meantime across the Mississippi in Rock Island country, Scrooge sent a weak twister in that area.  And then freezing temps and icy roads.

Meanwhile down south a killer twister carved out a 250 mile path, killing 7 people, a sad tragedy that shouldn't happen before Christmas you think.

Ivy Doomkitty brings you some Christmas cheer.  Through the years of Record World Ivy has brighten up this blog with her presence and with help from Geri Kramer Photography as well.   I hope some day to visit her and get a picture of us together.  It may happen.

And while Mother Nature continues to throw her wrath at the world due to blizzards, storms, tornadoes and floods, trailer trash Bristol Palin popped out another baby.  And in the rest of the world 20,000 other mothers have given birth as well.   We spend too much time on such trivial and meaningless bullshit such as the Palins.   Bah Humbug indeed.

Nothing on TV and they're still raising cable rates and Time Warner, Mediacom, Dish Network hope you don't pay attention.   Since my life is basically on the internet I have no time for cable's bullshit and NBC managed to make It's A Wonderful Life go from 2 and half hours to an ungodly 4 hours with five minutes of movie compared with five minutes of commercials.  It makes no sense to really TV anymore, sports are nothing more then beer and the blue pill and every cable channel has unreality reality shit.  I'm content to leave it off, unless I want to put a DVD in and fall asleep watching Columbo shows.   But then again, I can't access reading something off the internet without ten pop ups or the now standard answer the question survey.  If my brother wants to cut the cable, I'm all for it since he pays that bill. 


Cruisin' 1968  (Increase 1986)

Back in the early CD age, we would get some interesting CD compilations that focused a lot on obscure singles of the golden era of rock and roll.  Almost 30 years after the fact oldies comps are bout as worthy as your old cassette mixtapes, but the folks at Increase managed to score some old air checks of legendary AM DJs of the past and on this 1968 overview WCAO's Johnny Dark is featured.   There are other series of past years beginning with 1955 and I think the cut off date was 1970.  Increase got together with Rykodisc for The Cruisin Years which ends at 1967 with Judy In Disguise and if you can find that one, it's the one to get, it does play better as AM radio with plenty of commercials spots and hits of the times.  Or American Graffiti as AM radio. The Increase CDs are brief, about a half hour with 10 songs for better or worse and the commercials spots not as many.  There are the hits, some good (Magic Carpet Ride, Spooky) some so so (Angel Of The Morning, Midnight Confessions, Cried Like A Baby) and then there's Honey (less said the better).  Unless you're nostalgic for old time AM radio and how it used to be, you can live without this.  But if you want to remember radio more than just bullshit Corporate Radio, well here ya go.
Grade B-

Johnny Rivers (Pickwick 1970)
Jeremy Spencer (Reprise/Real Gone Reissue 2015)

Nostalgia runs deep here at Record World.  It shows on the records that I buy and what looks good from the flyer of Real Gone Music.   Johnny Rivers made it big with his Whiskey A GO GO revamps of Memphis and Seventh Son but this Pickwick LP of long ago shows him trying either for an Elvis sound, or a Ricky Nelson sound or Buddy Holly although side closer Darling Talk To Me makes you wish he'd shut up and go away.  My father has this record in his collection, (it's trashed) so I found a better copy at Housewerks.  What I remember most from memory is that these failed 45s of long ago and far away sounded better back then than now.   These 10 cuts that comprise this album come from singles released between 1958 and 1960,  That's My Babe and Your First And Last Love came out via Coral 62425 in 1964, probably Coral's way of muscling in on the success of Memphis.  Two singles via CUB  (Everyday, Darling Talk To Me-Cub K9047  & The Customary Thing/ Answer Me My Love  (Cub 9058 later reissued as MGM K-13266)  One single for Guyden (You're The One/Hole In The Ground  Guyden 2003) and the last one was recorded for Dee Dee (Your First And Last Love/White Cliffs Of Dover  239) and I have no idea where Such A Fool For You was issued on.  Further research reveals Dolores (Dee Dee) Fuller would hock these demos to other labels when Rivers started making hits.   While there's nothing really remarkable about the songs on this Pickwick album it's kinda cool to hear how Johnny Rivers got his start.  The call and response of White Cliffs Of Dover is fun to hear and you can sing along to Hole In The Ground.  The Customary Thing is a nice rip off of Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop if you listen to it just right.  For a 1.99 curio that's all it amounts to be.   Dolores Fuller is no Lou Adler.

Jeremy Spencer's solo album never came out in the States but it has somewhat of a connection to Johnny Rivers in terms of style.  Whereas Johnny Rivers was trying to find himself, Jeremy Spencer on the other hand returned back to the days of Buddy Holly and doo wop and the songs he did do, did not fit on the Fleetwood Mac album Then Play On.  If nothing else Jeremy Spencer, the album is more of an template to what would be Kiln House, the next Mac album after Peter Green left.  This is an actual Mac album despite Peter Green playing only on one cut (on banjo no doubt). But his love for Buddy Holly rock is evident on Linda and Jenny Lee.  He didn't retire his trademark Elmore James blues rips, they're on Mean Blues (Sic).  And side one, Spencer balances his blues, rockabilly and doo wop quite well, but it wears thin on Take A Look Around Mrs. Brown (Sic).  He doesn't do well with surf numbers and the only song that would have fit on Then Play On, If I Could Swim The Mountains is more bizarre than memorable. The bonus track is bad Elvis.  What separates this from Kiln House is on that album, he gets bailed out by Danny Kirwan and Station Man.  This sinks into 50s parody after the 9th song.

Grades:  Johnny Rivers B
               Jeremy Spencer B+

Spike Jones Is Killing The Classics (RCA 1971)

RCA issued this in the early 70s as a concept album of Spike Jones and his City Slickers revamping classical music and turning it into something other than classical. And for myself, this remains my favorite Spike Jones album of all time.  The Dance Of The Hours would later be the theme music for Second City Television (SCTV) before NBC picked them up.  Plenty of guests appear, Homer And Jethro on Pal-Yat-Chee between hiccups, gunshots and belches.  And Carmen in this version is probably all that you need if you're not into opera or high pitched soprano lady singers.  And it's not complete with Doodles Weaver and his manic voiceovers, which gives way to Beetlebaum and the horse race segment on William Tell Overture.   Still a classic throughout the years.
Grade A-

The Spokesmen-Dawn Of Correction (Decca 1965)

Believe it or not, I actually like their original songs more than the obligatory Dylan covers, one that they do a credible Turtles soundalike of It Ain't Me Baby, the other Love Minus Zero sounds like Sonny Bono. Credit Jimmy Wismer (Tommy James) and Artie Butler (Monkees, Vogues, Neil Diamond etc) for impeccable arrangements.  John Madara can sing just anything, be it Billy Joe Royal (Down In The Boondocks), or John Lennon (You Got To Hide Your Love Away) and *Yawn* Phil Ochs (There But For Fortune or Donovan (Colours).  The other guys are David White (who co produced with Madara) and Ray Gilmore who, in keeping up with the times of the mid 60s cover folk protest songs and then came up with Dawn Of Correction, the answer to Eve Of Destruction.  Back then it was good intentions but hearing it now  sounds more like  wishful thinking than progress.   While the originals lack substance, I do like lead off track It Ain't Fair and For You Babe which sounds like The Fireballs (Bottle Of Wine era although that song was two years away).  Dawn Of Correction, the single managed to hit number 36, whereas It Ain't Fair didn't chart, which is a shame, I think it was better than Dawn Of Correction.  I actually found a decent mono copy of the LP and although it's dated now, it's still a fun listen.   But in the end, it's the stellar backing band lead by Wismer and Butler that wins out.
Grade B

Nino Tempo/April Stevens-Deep Purple (Atco 1963)

The brother and sister team of Nino and April made a couple choice singles and albums for ATCO in the early 60s and there's a certain cool and charm to Deep Purple the song, Tempo turned out to be a damn good arranger himself, adding a Everly Brothers charm to Baby Weemus, and a hard rocking bossa nova to One Dozen Roses.  Collectibles, while reissuing this calls this jazz, some might call it pop but there's a lot more rock and roll beneath the surface, all the way to I've Been Carrying A Torch For You For So Long That I Burned A Great Big Hole In My Heart, which almost rivals Ray Stevens Jeremiah Peabody Pills for longest song title in rock history.  I've shortened Stevens' title, takes too long to type it out.
Grade B+

Nino Tempo/April Stevens-Swing The Standards (Atco 1964)

The quickie followup to Deep Purple has them revisiting the older songs with the arrangements like Deep Purple but less successful results.  They try a couple things, taking St. Louis Blues to the blues and on Who, adding the Papa-om-mow-mow backing singing and Honeysuckle Rose gives Slim Whitman a run for the money with Nino's yodeling.  And Begin The Beguine adds a bit of doo wop to the swing pop.  A Sophomore slump as they call it, although Stardust is a bit different, I'm Confessing That I Love You is basically Deep Purple part 2, I Surrender Dear, Deep Purple Part 3 etc.
Grade B- 

Various: 60s Garage Unknowns Volume 2 (Gear Fab 1999)

Stolen from Sweet Living Antiques (I promised I give it back after listening to it but I've changed my mind)  these garage rock bands are even more obscure than the ones that was on the Teenage Shutdown series, which tends me to think that somewhere in somebody's basement or attic lies more 3 chord artifacts from the 60s.  Certainly The Beatles come into the songs and the Stones but also Paul Revere And The Raiders and 13th Floor Elevators and The Viceroy's Five Steps To Hell might be the forerunner to what would become heavy metal.  A lot of these bands scraped enough money to do a sloppy one take of their original songs, which either the drummer couldn't play the waltz to the chorus of Love Go Round by The Counselors or the band couldn't afford another take.  Still it's fun rock and roll as to hear these 29 obscure Vox and Fuzz guitars songs of bands that went under the radar. The Barons' Drawbridge or The Mark V's Over You.  Go Away by The Rockin Roadrunners, had Lenny Kaye heard of it would fit perfectly on Nuggets.  Or for that matter Pebbles.  You'll need a microscope to read the liner notes in the CD booklet but Fab Gear did a nice job of recreating the history of the unknown Garage bands of that time.  Here's hoping I can find Volume 1 before I'm dead and gone.
Grade B+

Singles Going Steady Medley:

Must Be Love-James Gang (Atco 45-6953)  1973  There was life after Joe Walsh for The Gang, although the Dominic Troijano years were bland at best.  Enter Tommy Bolin, late of Zephyr who managed to kick them in the can and put out a rocking single and album called Bang. After being on ABC for about 5 years, they took their act to Atlantic, which put them on the ATCO side.  This did get some FM airplay for a time and KLWW played it too.  The number 54 showing on the Billboard is a bit misleading, it did make top ten on the local charts in certain areas.  It also turned out to be the final top 100 showing for The Gang.  After the disappointing Miami, Bolin went solo before replacing Richie Blackmore in Deep Purple in 1976 and overdosed later on.  The James Gang soldiered on with two more ATCO LPs before calling it a day after the forgotten Jesse Come Home finale.

20th Century Man-The Kinks (RCA Victor 74-0620) 1971 From the last classic Kinks album they made before the rock and soap operas Muswell Hillbillies this single didn't chart at all and I overpaid for this record, 6 dollars compared to the 3 dollars for Must Be Love but I never see any Kinks RCA 45s and perhaps my favorite of the RCA years although it's a butchered edit.  Consider the fact that from Face To Face to Muswell Hillbillies, Ray Davies and company made perhaps the most classic albums in a row since The Beatles but unlike the Fab Four, The Kinks' albums weren't chart toppers. On a related note, Ray appeared during a Dave Davies concert and performed You Really Got Me last week.  Betcha didn't see that coming.

You're The One That I Love-The Everly Brothers (Warner Brothers 5466)  1964 The one that got away.  There was a DJ promo copy of this at Goodwill but alas the record was chewed up and probably best for a reference copy.  Of course The Everly's made the classic for Cadence and the first year or two for Warner Brothers before the hits dried up due to the British Invasion but Phil and Don were still putting together well crafted songs with those trademark harmony vocals.  Nobody was buying this song which may have been on the bubbling under chart but that's about as far as it goes.  This should have deserved better. 

Stardust-Nino Tempo & April Stevens (Atco  45-6286)  1964  One of the original singles that I remember growing up, this made number 32 on the charts but I don't think I ever heard it on the radio.  I always note the various types of music Mom would buy at the old Cigarette/Liquor stores in Lincoln although I don't recall much of anything outside of the record player or store.  Their tenure at Atco consisted of two albums and a handful of singles, B side 1:45 contained the note that the time of song was 1:45 + 1:00, probably Nino Tempo's sense of humor behind that.  I don't think it ever made it on CD although Collectibles did issue the two Tempo/Stevens albums on CD.

Mailbag: On the rating whore ESPN reject Colin Cowherd Cowpie C word
(and why you should quit giving him a second thought)

 The problem here is us Iowa fans/Cowherd haters. He continues his pointless, half fact ridden rants and we as fans/haters continue to give him the feedback he so desperately wants. You don't reward a 3 year old for throwing a tantrum by giving him a piece of candy. You get down to their level, talk slowly so they'll understand, and show them the proper way to act. Cowherd is that 3 year old.
 Jake Maine

RIP William Guest:

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