Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl Weekend-Bands, New Elton John, More 45s

I have been lax on checking out the local band scene due to being stuck with the flu cold crap but I did take part of Friday Night off from work to witness a couple.  The first stop was Rumors, which getting to be my second home it seems, due to jam Sundays most notably.  The band was Rattlebox, from Mount Vernon and most notably a classic rock band with a more spin on the 90s music.  From my half hour being there, they took on Green Day, Weezer and even Zombie from The Cranberries.  If I wasn't pressed for time, I would have stayed more than a half set but in the near future should they come this way again I will stay a lot longer.

The Smokin Guns are more into straight country although they have enough rock and roll sensibility as well and they do play around the more smaller towns and venues in Eastern Iowa.  I've known and jammed with John Shaw and Pat McDuffee at jam sessions around town.  John is best known for his Les Pauls that he brings to the jams and for country music, he comes across as a rock and roller.  Lead vocals are shared between Derrick Patterson and Jessie Lee Smith, who on that Friday Night at The Chrome Horse her vocals were not coming through the PA.  Patterson, sang country covers as Mountain Music, which got the crowd dancing and the Bon Jovi via Montgomery Gentry Wanted Dead Or Alive.  They been known to close their gigs with Born To Be Wild.  Certainly not country by any means but for a good time band, The Smokin Guns do rock.

Saturday Night debuted a new lineup of Lipstick Slick, the seminal hard rock band led by Katie Skogman as she broke in a new guitarist Scott Runyan.  Ted Reilly showed off his new bass guitar and the band soar through some high energy loud rock and roll, tearing through metal hits of Judas Priest, BOC, Skid Row to name a few.   Rick Clay came later in the show after I left and he joined in the fun.  Next week Dunshee Moon and Toxic Blonde invade CRL,  the weekend bands are Sky Pilot on Friday and Fossiltones on Saturday at Rumors.

Super Bowl Jam at Rumors featured an all star lineup of Tim Duffy, Dan Johnson, Terry McDowell and Guitar Dave Bonham (shown above) with yours truly and Seth Williams providing drum relief for the big guy.  I sat in on four songs, most notably a couple of Beatles songs that Dan Johnson knew and a reworking of Cortez The Killer for about 8 minutes.  Then Ernest returns to do the Twist and his Bring It On Home/Love Your Woman medley.  Kudos to whoever provided the sloppy joes and pulled pork sandwiches for the jammers and the small crowd that turned out.  Next week, The Acoustic Kitties with Terry and Tim return.  As for the super bowl, defense won big time as Denver defeated Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 24-10.  In the battle of number 1 and number 2 draft picks, number 2 Von Miller was the better as Cam got sacked 7 times and Denver's defense was tough as nails.  Peyton Manning won his 200th NFL game in the process.   In the basketball side of things Iowa outlasted Illinois 77-65 in a off/on game that they had a 20 point lead but Illinois managed to chop the lead down to 11 before Iowa finally put them away.

The big new release this week is Elton John Wonderful Crazy Nights (Mercury/Island) and of course there's plenty of three star reviews out there, Elton mailing it in once again bla blah.  For somebody who's 68 and not too far from 70, Elton John still puts plenty of thought and craft into his albums, the problem was that on the album with Leon Russell The Union, a few songs were ruined by some soul sister who COULD NOT STOP YELLING, despite that record being a highlight for Brother Leon.  The Diving Board, while okay, had echoes of the 1997 The Big Picture, way too many ballads and not enough rock and roll and where the hell was Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson?  Fortunately, both of them are back along with Ray Cooper (on a few songs) and even though John Henry (T Bone) Burnett's production lacks the shine of  Gus Dudgeon who produced the classics of E.J.  Wonderful Crazy Nights finally shows Burnett fitting in with E.J.  At 10 songs totaling 41 minutes, Wonderful Crazy Nights doesn't overstay its welcome unlike the previous two John/Burnett offerings.  While the biggest complaints from the 3 star albums reviews  said E.J. was sounding too comfortable, I think having Davey and Nigel on board inspires E.J. and the music is much more rewarding.  And Elton does rock with caution but it's still nice to hear Johnstone's 12 string lead on Claw Hammer and the two harder rocking songs Looking Up and Guilty Pleasure, which are no means even close to in your face of The Bitch Is Back or Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting but they're uptempo enough to make me enjoy hearing them.   Even the ballads such as Blue Wonderful and A Good Heart could be heard on the soft rock station if KDAT ever played them.  Which is doubtful.  Even though I hear elements of Genesis' That's All in In The Name Of You, and the title track sounds a bit like I'm Still Standing, the fact is that E.J. sounds more inspired and it does sound like he's having fun this time out.  There's no guarantee that with Nigel and Davey getting up there in years they'll be back for the next album but if they are, I'll be waiting to hear that too.  Wonderful Crazy Nights is his best since 2001's Songs From The West Coast.  To which E.J. gets that extra fourth star, which BTW goes for the 10 song album.  The deluxe version has two more songs to which I have not heard.  Also new, is the super deluxe reissue of Black Sabbaths first three albums and Past Lives gets a official WB release.   Unless you're hardcore for alternative mixes and slightly revised lyrics, you can pass on this latest money grab.

The bluegrass awards were held this week; Winners are posted here.

It's all about me:  Looks like Peter Cetera's triumph return to Chicago has been derailed once again. He offered to sing 25 or 6 To 4 in a different key and play bass for the final song at the rock hall induction but the rock hall declined to accommodate him.  I'll give Peter this, he made a nice debut album then went gooey and got a number 1 hit with Amy Grant, the second album sucked, the third album had some good moments and I can't you how the rest went.  As for Chicago they still sold out the casinos and festivals they have played in since Peter moved on.  Can't play nice keep your ego home and get your rock hall award mailed to you.  Cetera did managed to sing the harder rocking Chicago songs of the 70s before David Foster pussed things up and make Pete a household ballads star.  Nowadays he's more Air Supply  than rock and roller and he's basically semi retired anyway.  Until he's in need of money and decides to do new versions of Next Time I Fall In Love or If You Leave Me Now and hocks the CD on late night TV.  To which if any is sold is in the dollar bins at the local Stuff Etc.  Even Danny Serpentine, the original drummer will be there with what's left of Chicago and Terry Kath in spirit.  Peter can stay at home and pout.

All about me 2:  Mike Portenoy, who left Dream Theater on his own free will continues to cry about returning to the band in the future and perhaps so that might work, but Mike Mangini is just as good as drummer if not better and not so egotistical.  Once in a while the folks at Anti Music will pay Portenoy a visit and Mike will mention things like he'd "welcome" a return, probably on his own demands.  Life goes on and Dream Theater has a new album to promote and that they will.  Portenoy has his own 4 bands he hangs out with and gives pricey drum workshops at your local Guitar Center.  There are drummers that make you want to take up drums, Neil Peart before all that drum action taking a toll on him and getting tendinitis, old timers like Buddy Rich, newbies like Galvin Harrison. Portenoy is one that sucks the life out of you,  he's great but most of what I heard from him gives me a headache. Plus he's not so nice when you see him at a meet and greet.  Which makes second hand news at Anti Music for about a line or two before you move on to the next order of business.

All about me 3: Kayne West, new video called Famous about wanting to get into Taylor Swift's pants after crashing her award years ago.  He'll do anything for attention.  In further Kanye happenings, he didn't like Pitchforks 9 out of 10 review of his latest crap, he tweeted it should be rated a 30 on a 10 scale and that white magazines shouldn't review black music.  Here at Record World we'll honor his request of not reviewing his shitty music.  Great black music remains Motown, Stax, jazz, Otis Redding, Mother's Finest, Bus Boys, even Body Count.  Jive music is Kanye's auto tuned glop set up as rap music, it ain't rock and roll.  Go beg for more money from rich white folks Mr. Kadashian.

Last weekend, was the winter dance party at the Surf ballroom and it was one of the most special nights they ever had with surviving members of The Crickets were there.  Jerry Allison who wasn't present during the last night Buddy Holly played but Tommy Allsup who did play 57 years ago was there, joined in the fun as well.  This show was in part a tribute to Joe Maudlin who passed away a year ago.  Gordon Payne who was part of the 1980s version of the Crickets sang and guest stars ranged from Tonio K to the legendary Albert Lee, Keith Allison and the Killer Vees, who were without Bobby Vee who has been in declining health over the years. The Thursday show featured Martha Reeves and The New Vandellas, The Coasters and Tommy Allsup, and Friday had Flash Cadillac.

New music website: Spill Magazine.  Perhaps the new version of SPIN for new bands. Plenty of reviews to go around and check out:

Your dream date: From OUTLAW via Facebook.  You can look but you better not touch.

If you live in the Chicago area, you're in luck to watch plenty of the 2016 Chicago Cubs as they build upon their successful 2015 season.  If you live elsewhere and got this USA shit replica called WGN superstation,you're screwed out of any sporting events.  Rub it in WGN America.

The one thing I haven't comment lately is cheap oil and I never seen prices this low since the 1990s or before Idiot 43 oil president became supreme leader.  I have seen prices as cheap as 1.39 and they tell me Oklahoma City had it for 1.11 and cheaper.  It's nice to fill the car up and have it under 20 dollars.  But rest assured if Eduardo Rafael Cruz or Dumbass Trump became head of state, we'll be back up to 4 bucks as quickly as it came down.  After poor showings, Chris Christie has gone back to the buffet section in town and Carly Fionna quit as well.  I don't think she liked me meeting up with her to say Vote for Bernie in Mount Vernon a couple weeks ago, but life goes on.

Passings:  Dan Hicks, died from liver cancer.  He was 75. Better known as Dan Hicks with His Hot Licks Band that recorded for Blue Thumb, Epic and Surfdog.

Goofy cat picture, courtesy of Callie Rustbucket, surveying the world from her throne after being in the garage for about two weeks.  It's safe to say that Callie has enjoyed the comforts of a warm garage rather than hanging in sub zero temps in the shed and back of the pick up truck.  She's been very self sufficient and has made good use of the litter box that was provided in January. Come springtime she'll want to be back in the yard again but for now, she's a quiet tenant in the garage to which I have to check off and on.

Singles Going Steady Medley (Half Priced Books Six Pack)

Jelly Jam-George (Wild Child) Butler    Jewel 793 (1965)

Little known soul blues classic from the pen of Willie Dixon and came out on Stan Lewis' Jewel label.   Dixon probably produced this as well.  In the 1990s Stan Lewis got in the CD business by putting out a few blues comps.  Out of the five Paula/Jewel best of blues, none of them has this song on it.  Guess you can call it a lost northern blues classic.

Come As You Are-Peter Wolf (EMI America B-8350)  1987  #15

Legendary front man for J. Geils Band and then went solo, Wolf's music career has been a trend of R and B and rock and roll with mixed results.  Lights Out went number 12 and this song was the second and last of the top 15 hits Peter has.  Come As You Are sounds more like a Springsteen ripoff but does have a catchy sing along chorus line.  I remember the CD being one of the first to get thrown to the cutout files, and what I recall it was okay, nothing flashy but nothing really stood out outside of the hit title track.  Problem was Wolf was on EMI America, a label that never had much luck breaking new artists, they dropped the ball on Jason And The Scorchers, The Del Lords and even David Bowie got bad promo.  Wolf would bounce around the labels making decent albums, but he'll always be known as the lead singer for J Geils regardless of what he does.  Yet another song that while making the top 20, classic rock radio doesn't play anymore. 

Pushbike Song-The Mixtures  (Sire Polydor SI-350) 1971  #44

At that time, the highest charting single from Seymore Stein's Sire label, which was more into progressive rock than the punk of The Ramones five years later but in the early days, Stein would have distribution through the likes of London Records and Polydor before standing on it's own two feet via Gulf and Western and later ABC.  This song is a cheaper version of Mungo Jerry's In The Summertime.  Or Jug band music.

Birthday-Underground Sunshine (Stardust Records (Canada) URC-1212) 1969 #26

For many years I was familiar with this version of The Beatles song, which I think I liked this version back in 1969 but nowadays it's sounds a bit dated and too bubblegumish.  Another one and done record just like the Mixtures.

I Got A Wife-The Mark IV  (Mercury 71403)  1959  #24

One of the novelty 45s of the late 50s, uptempo rock and roll and a vocal group in the tradition of The Crew Cuts but less stuffy, and this song being of the consequences of having a talkative wife, including speeded up chipmunk chatter that sounds like your better half chatting away.   For future references look up You Talk Too Much by Joe Jones and later George Thorogood and compare notes. Next up, The Goofers Goofy Dry Bones.....

Doing The Popcorn-Kim Melvin (Hi 2160) 1969

I found a better copy of this song to replace the one I have in my collection.  While this 45 is somewhat rare on the Northern Soul sound, I have actually found a couple copies in various stores, but the Half Priced Books one was in better shape.  Melvin Kimmonds aka Kim Melvin recorded two singles for Hi, and the guess of who is playing the drums is either Al Jackson Jr or Howard Grimes, the latter I'm guessing is the drummer.  The song is based upon either The Tighten Up or Shotgun, the beat is too straight for the James Brown version of Popcorn.    B side Keep The Faith sounds unfinished and could have made an impact on the pop charts had Melvin added more thought to the lyrics or the Hi Section playing in tune.


TAD said...

Man, is that REALLY the cover for Elton John's new album? Can't be. That's really lame. I could design a better cover than that, and take a better picture. What the hell is the music industry coming to?

R S Crabb said...

Doesn't this remind you of the One Wild Night album cover EJ did back in 2000? ;)

Despite the goofy photo, Wonderful Crazy Night is one of EJ's best of the 2000s. It may not be as classic as Madman Across The Water or Yellow Brick Road but it's just as good as Songs From The West Coast. By the end of the month everybody would have forgotten this album.