Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week In Review: Wiley Kats, Jason Christensen, UNI Meltdown

The Popcorn Jam at Rumors this Sunday featured the long awaited debut of the Wiley Kats, a new power trio featuring Ben Benton on bass, Tim Wiley on guitar and vocals and R.S.Crabb playing drums.  Kinda hard to believe that this all took place within a week and two rehearsals.  Wiley has been a guitar picker on the Cedar Rapids music scene, Benton played in various heavy metal bands and the drummer, who spent 3 plus decades in The Townedgers  looking for something different to do.

Despite some rough spots  the band tore through a angry version of Voodoo Chile and Jailbreak before doing one blues instrumental with Tim Duffy popping up back on guest guitar.  After three songs that was it for the drummer but Wiley managed to play Help The Poor with Duffy doing the vocals.   Needless to say, the crowd was receptive and gave a hearty applause after Voodoo Chile and Jailbreak.  While the future is uncertain for the Wiley Kats, (the drummer works evenings and tends to focus his attention to record collecting and this blog), chances are if arrangements can be worked out and if everybody gets along together, you might be hearing more of this band in the near future. The future is also unwritten.

But the popcorn jam featured the return of Jason Christensen, who played in Scarlet Runner for a few years before trying his luck in Nashville/Memphis and returned home.  Christensen can play SRV or Eric Clapton just about note for note and he wailed away on The Killing Floor  and Tore Down.  Also this jam featured for the first time in two months Bart Carfizzi, taking a break in between concerts with the Past Masters.  Tim Duffy will return for next week's Easter edition of the Popcorn Jam and the Saloonatics coming back the week after. Look for more surprises.  Some of the highlights come from Kevin who continues to post the highlights via You Tube. Special props to Terry McDowell for laying down the beat. He's one of the best drummers in town. These highlights prove it.

The world keeps getting dumb and dumber.  Sarah (no brain) Palin is going to do a reality TV show with her being a Judge!  Yeah you read that right.  A Montana based production company to do a Court room show with Dingy Doo as judge and if enough people like it, it might be syndicated.  Time to KILL YOUR TELEVISION.

The unthinkable has happen Sunday.  Northern Iowa had a 12 point lead on Texas A&M and seemingly had the game out of reach before A&M took advantage of turnovers and half assed defense and even a bullshit referee foul to tie the game and eventually won 92-88 in double OT, by then the UNI scorers fouled out and A&M prevailed.  This loss really hurts for UNI since they had the game won at hand, unlike Iowa getting blown out of Brooklyn by Villanova by 19 and never was in the game.  Somehow the Panthers went in to panic mode and simply collapsed. With the exception of Iowa State in the Sweet 16, all other Iowa teams are done for the year.  Of course, it's hard to even imagine anybody blow a 12 point lead with 44 seconds left in the game, but Northern Iowa gets the hard knocks of forever having that distinction of blowing a 12 point lead in basketball, pro or college.  To which Lebum James saying that UNI should just quit altogether.  This comes from somebody who had to go to Miami and have a couple other guys help him win a championship. James hasn't exactly wowed the crowd with his own version of meltdown in previous playoff games. It didn't help Northern Iowa lost their guy to inbound the ball due to fouling out.  And they went into panic mode. And eventually would lose in two overtimes. I don't need to post the You Tube link of their meltdown, you can find it on your own.

The big rumor is AC/DC is getting Axel Rose to replace Brian Johnson on vocals on certain dates, despite Rose getting back together with Slash and Duff in Guns And Roses. Even for rumors I find that far fetched.  Brian Johnson was told to quit or risk losing more hearing (didn't he bother to use ear plugs?) and more rumors circulated that Johnson was kicked to the curb.  Hard to say but I'm sure AC/DC will find a old rock veteran with street cred to continue their cash cow concert tour, although there's plenty of AC DC Tribute bands that have vocalists that could sound like a Brian Johnson or Bon Scott (and come cheaper than Ethel Merman Rose).

Barry Manilow plays here in April at the Paramount and he is donating a new piano to the Cedar Rapids School District in hopes of getting people to actually play a real instrument. The grumblings I heard is that the district will put a gold plague thingy on it saying "donated by Barry Manilow, do not touch" and that may be so.  But why is it the kindness of famous musicians usually become "look what Barry donated to us to music alive and teach kids how to play music but do not touch".  The object is to get people to play music, not show off expensive artifacts from famous musicians. But I do think that's nice of Barry to do such a gesture.

The Review Consortium has a feature on Fred Neil and his albums:

Rory Feek's latest: 

Somebody donated a bunch of comedy albums at Stuff Etc, and I managed to pick up a few, couple of Homer and Jethro, Burns & Schriber and Laugh In 69.  And I managed to pick up a couple DVDs of Perry Mason's last season 1965-1966.  That will keep me busy watching something besides Dip Shit Palin, Attempted Judge (Jerry! Jerry!)

Sadly Sarah Palin keeps living. But a few more passed away this week including Ken Howard (The White Knight) and Joe Garagolia (I know I spelled it wrong) Sr.  Joe G played for the St Louis Cardinals and for a brief spell The Chicago Cubs and couple others but he's been known for broadcasting the baseball games of the week for NBC in the 70s.  Next to Curt Gowdy one of my all time favorite baseball announcers ever.  He was 90.  Garry Shandling passed away at age 66 from a heart attack, he was famous for The Larry Sanders Show.  And finally James Jamerson Jr, son of famed bass player James Senior also died, he was 58.  James Jr also played bass and for the last few years kept the Motown spirit alive with his music, most notably the Standing In The Shadows Of Motown shows.

Pointless banter:  It was 30 years ago that Todd Rundgren produced what some called the best XTC album ever Skylarking, I tend to disagree.  Social media brought up a war of words, taken out of context since social media likes to pick fights and supposedly somebody egged Todd on to call Andy Partridge a few choice names, to which Partridge flared back with a war of words, while acknowledging Todd did shape Skylarking into a decent record.  The song at hand was Dear God, one of my least liked XTC songs.  A song that almost didn't make the list due to album timing issues but once the CD came about, no problem adding it.  It kinda reminds me of when Brian Mullahan produced The Bums' Newfoundland Days and the band calling Mullahan a tyrant behind the boards. Everybody knows that Todd can be prickly when it comes to working with him, as well as Partridge who can be a very thin skinned, but Todd's production work did bring massive hits to Grand Funk Railroad and made The New York Dolls sound cool, as well as The Pursuit Of Happiness.  In reality, Skylarking got XTC in the limelight just by name association.  It may have hurt XTC by being mainstream that the next album Apples And Oranges wasn't as good despite The Mayor Of Simpleton being one of XTC's best moments. Skylarking earns it kudos but for myself I like Black Sea or English Settlement more, and Dear God is the all time ultimate XTC song, so I find myself agreeing with Partridge on that argument.  But it is obvious that XTC is done and anything with Todd Rundgren only amounts to social media trying to piss off a grumpy old art pop rocker and it worked.

Pointless banter 2: Michele Bachmann every-time she opens her mouth.    

Enough of the dingbats, let's us enjoy the beauty of Ashley Alexiss (with Joshua Paull taking the photo) to chase away the koo koo for coca puffs minds of Bachmann and Palin.

Record Reviews.  There are few.

William R. Strickland-Is Only The Name (Deram 1969)

One of the most strange progressive folk albums out there if there's any a term, Strickland's only album was reissued via Cherry Red, the UK company that specializes in weird and off the wall albums.  This record will fucking will try your patience, Strickland coming across like a schizo Tim Buckley (You Can Know My Body (but you'll never know my soul) or Nick Drake on K2 (If I Stand Here Much Longer).  And I damn near threw this CD out the window when the porn folk of Touch came on, I'm not interested of hearing Strickland getting his rocks off while a flute is playing in the background. What saves this record from the overrated as hell file is World War 3, (imagine Arlo Guthrie going to Vietnam instead of getting out of it during Alice's Restaurant) which is Strickland's 11:20 minutes of fame, it's a classic.  And Computer Lover supposedly influenced Keith Emerson on Karn Evil 9 segment of Brain Salad Surgery.   I should not reserve harsh judgement on Is Only The Name, especially when World War Three saves this from the return box at the thrift store.  But for now, it remains a C plus album.  (side note: Strickland did tour in 2010 and 2011 opening for Bill Cosby of all people but his website has been taken down and his FB page has been dormant for 5 years).
(side note 2-The Best Song World War 3 is at the end, it's not a standalone song at you tube, you'll have to fast forward to around 29 minutes to hear this song.  The rest of the stuff, good luck sitting through all of it).

Crossroads To Cowtown (Fantastic Voyage 2011)

A various artists of Hillbilly and cowboy boogie of the early 1950s overview.  I've seen a few of Fantastic Voyage albums for 6 dollars at Half Priced Books and it appears that Fantastic Voyage is trying to be the Rhino Records of this decade.  No shortage of fun stuff, Leon McAuliffe leads off with his rare single Take It Away Leon, and Tennessee Ernie Ford really is more than How Great Thou Are gospel as evidenced by Kiss Me Big.  Hank Penny does his own version of Wynonie Harris' Bloodshot Eyes and even latter day Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys Cadillac In Model "A" is still vintage Bob Wills, the guy still had it, when he went over to MGM.  Plenty of females had spice, especially Rose Maddox' Stop Whistlin Wolf and Rosalie Allen It'd Surprise You.   Not a surprise: the majority of songs are lead with a steel guitar, which was boss back in the early 50s and gave hillbilly country it's distinctive sound.  In this day and age, this type of music is more of a historical curio rather than essential, but if you're tired of hearing bro country bullshit and want to hear the real hillbilly side of country, Crossroads to Cowtown is a good place to start.
Grade A-

Supergrass-I Should Coco  (Capitol 1995)

Where does the time go?  I can't fathom how 21 years have passed since this trio from England stumbled upon the alternative music scene and scored a nice hit with Alright and Caught By The Fuzz, but these guys were more into glam rock than Green Day.  Led by Gaz Coomes they tear through 13 glam rockers and the occasional trip into Psychedelia on the 6 minute Sofa (of my lethargy).  The goofy cover art gives the impression that they are punk. The music reveals Supergrass was one of the best Britpop bands at that time, and compared to the likes of Blur or Oasis damn near forgotten.  As far as I know they never made a bad album.  This is considered their best.  That's debatable.
Grade A-

Pinkard & Bowden-Gettin' Stupid  (Cornerstone/Warner Special Products 1993)

The 80's version of Homer And Jethro, this duo squandered many of Warner Brothers dollars to make slightly humorous albums.  Mostly hit and miss but once in a while could remake a song to make it sound funny (Drivin My Wife Away, Mama She's Lazy).  Like most 80s country recordings, the cold sounding digital drums date the project.  In today's world of babes, tan lines and pick up trucks to rap beats, I rather much hear the unpolitical correctness of I'm Going To Beat The Cheat Out Of You over Baby You A Song anyday;  in today's country music world, the music is so damn bad that Pinkard $ Bowden couldn't do a parody on Locash or FGL if they wanted to, today's country parodies itself. Look at it this way, Locash is the Michele Bachmann to FGL's Sarah Palin.  But overall, Homer And Jethro were the best at country parody in their heyday, P&B held their own.  Sometimes their humor didn't translate very well on record, (Harvard A.K.A comes to mind) and I Lobster But Never Flounder really takes fish jokes past their expiration date but it's harmless and silly fun.  They do Homer and Jethro (or even Confederate Railroad)  proud on the trailer trash songs (Satellite Dish, Trailer Park Queen) and if anybody drives down the four lane highway tells the truth on bad drivers in the passing lane in Blue Hairs Driving In My Lane, complete with imitation Willie Nelson guitar leads.
Grade B

Homer And Jethro-Any News From Nashville?  (RCA  1966)

Speaking of which, this was a latter day album from Homer And Jethro and it pains me to say this is a disappointment.  It starts out fine with a revamp of Act Naturally and The Folk Singer's Song which they try to peddle songs to Perry Como and Eddy Arnold and get turned down.  Side 2 seems to be a song cycle of the ups and downs of Nashville today (being 1966 mind you) from the mind and pens of Homer And Jethro. Which shows that Homer And Jethro were better at covering and parodying other people's rather than their own stuff.  To which the titles themselves (Busted Musicians, The Lousiest Record, I Can't Afford To Be A Star, I Can Do Without Nashville) reveal a more cynical and defeated view that their time did pass them by.  And the end result is not a comedy record that you can listen to over and over again.  It's more like watching the curtain coming down on a duo whose comedy routine you're waiting for the punchline, but it never seems to come.  Not one of their better efforts.
Grade C+

Loggins & Messina-Mother Lode (Columbia 1974)

This is where it becomes more of the Kenny Loggins show rather than Jim Messina, although failed single Growin and FM underground track Changes are the best of the bunch here.  In any case, this record really is where soft rock becomes prominent and this record might be the cause of startup bands like Firefall, due to the flute on some of these songs.  The long tracks Be Free and Move On, pale in comparison to other  long songs such as Angry Eyes  or to a lesser extent Pathways To Glory but they're listenable compared to Brighter Days or Get A Hold, those songs point more to Kenny's future.  I'd say out of all the Loggins and Messina albums that I have heard, this is their least likable, I haven't heard So Fine or Native Sons yet.  I suspect Sittin In Again, the best of, is the one to hear their music, but that record is problematic, it leaves off Thinking Of You, My Music and Growin. Unless Sony Music decides to present a version of Playlist of Loggins And Messina, you'll going to be disappointed.  The other way is to make your own mix cd of their best songs, provided if you can find their CDs in the used bins.  Mother Lode only cost me 95 cents, which sounds just about right on your Loggins And Messina budget.
Grade C+

Joke of the day: 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Singles Going Steady 29-Easy Listening, Jazz And Pop

It's been a very busy time trying to keep up a blog, here and playing in a new band and of course the bargain hunts of finding old 45s but I continue to amaze myself and try to get things done.  Last weekend, a visit to BDW Records at the Marion Antique Mall I managed to find a few 3 for a dollar record plus one for a quarter and at the same time Goodwill had a couple of pickups as well.

It doesn't take much skill to find 45s in decent shape.  If you're feeling for a more simpler times of growing up like I do, then you search for them and see what you either missed or what you had for records.  Most of the records found have seen better days, but in rare occasions there have been 50 to 60 year old 45s still in sleeves.  The ones without sleeves tend to be a bit more rougher shape but the naked 45s that I have seen didn't have much scratches.  This time out, these records weren't exactly hard rock and rollers, I know there are collectors and EBAY hounds out looking for them as well.  There's plenty of jazz and middle of the road pop, perhaps the hardest rocker is the less likely of all. But once again, it's a hit and miss affair, the end results are that this version of the SGS series is the most uneven.  Perhaps the most fun.  We'll know more when the ratings come in.

1.  One Two Three-Ramsey Lewis (Cadet 5556) 1967  #67
Years ago when we moved to Waterloo for the second time, I ended up buying this when Ben Franklin was selling records for 9 Cents, surprising considering that this song was charted in February of 67 and we got the record about a half year later.  Down By The Riverside the B side got airplay and better consideration on a Best of, but this Afro-cuban rearrangement stands out even more, to the point of somebody remarking "boogaloo" after the beginning, something akin to Segio Mendes was doing.  I did find a replacement copy of this for a quarter, since my 9 cent copy was used for a Frisbee, but this record is poorly stamped, watching the needle bounce back and forth to the point that I have to re-position the  record so that it was wobble back and forth.   Somebody fucked up on the quality control of this record.

2.  Yesterday And You-Bobby Vee (Liberty F-55636)  1963  #55

Bobby Vee was excellent at teen idol pop, but he decided to do a big band number aka Mack The Knife and this song was written by Ross Bagdasarian or David Seville the guy behind the Chipmunks. But Ross was a expert song arranger.   B side Never Love A Robin is back to a teen idol ballad and is more up Vee's alley.  It popped in at number 99 for one week.  As for Yesterday And You, Bobby Darin did it better.

3.  Behind The Blue Horizon-Earl Bostic (King 45-4829) 1955

Bostic was one of best saxophone players of the 1950s and he basically recorded pop standards and sometimes blues jazz songs for King.  This song reminds me of Hurricane Smith's Oh Babe What Do You Say, cheesy pop arrangements and Bostic going through the motions.  The other side  For All We Know is a schmaltz ballad, I guess it was a hit but I couldn't listen to the whole thing all the way.

4.  What Kind Of Fool Am I-Billy Eckstine (Mercury 72022)  1962

The fabulous Mr. B hooks up with Quincy Jones on this song. Eckstine could jazz or blue or pop.  In a way I look at Mr B like I look at Sammy Davis Jr. great singer but most of his records I have no use of.  Tailored made for pop although it did not chart at all on the Top 100.

5.  Every Day-Count Basie With Joe Williams (Clef  89149-X45) 1955 #1 R and B
     Smack Dab In The Middle-Count Basie/Joe Williams (Clef  89169-X45)  1956

Every Day is one of more copied songs out there in blues land. Memphis Slim and BB King did it as Every Day I have the blues.  Clef Records was formed by Norman Granz, one of all time best jazz promoters out there (Jazz At The Philharmonic Series) who formed Clef and then later Verve.  Count Basie was the legendary jazz pianoist who lead a big band.  Usually the main vocalists would be Ella Fitzgerald or Joe Williams who sings on both songs I have posted.  In 1955, Granz somehow managed to put the whole 5 and half minute song on a 45, how he did that on a 78 I donno.  78s usually have a time limit at around 3 minutes, good idea in theory but 78s have always been cumbersome to tote around, and just plain too bulky.  The 45 of Every Day, you pop the needle on and song starts right up.  Stellar performance.  Smack Dab In The Middle  is not as long 3:35 and this copy was in better shape. Another top notch song, that Ray Charles would cover a few years later.  Written by the guy that gave us Shake Rattle And Roll too.

6.  The Silent Treatment-Ella Fitzgerald  (Verve Jazz V-2021-X45) 1956

When Norman Granz started up Verve Records, the jazz side had an orange and yellow label while pop and rock was black and sliver.  Fitzgerald had plenty hits on Decca but by the mid 50s rock was taken over and Ella's type of big band jazz was falling out of favor.  I think she's done better songs than this one.  B side is the slow pop of The Sun Forgot To Shine This Morning, the 50s answer to Love Will Tear Us Apart.

7.  Norwegian Wood-Sergio Mendes/Brasil 66 (A&M  1164)  1970

Sergio lasted a long time at A&M and while they would have sporadic hit or two, most were on the south side of the top 100, Night And Day I thought peaked higher than it's actual number 82 position.  They had a bit of luck with covering the Beatles.  Fool On The Hill peaked at number 6 but this one didn't chart at all.  Basically by the numbers Mendes arrangement of a soft beginning and picked up tempo a couple times and then back to a quiet fadeout.  I bought this for the 45 cover sleeve. Still in fairly good shape as with the record.  Which meant it spent 45 years gathering dust in somebody's collection.  Like it will be doing in mine.  Record hoarding at its best.

8.  Twilight Time-The Platters (Mercury 71289 X45)  1958   #1

One of the greatest vocal doo wop groups ever, The Platters classic years were the mid to late 50s.  They started out on King/Federal and making plenty of top 50 r and b hits before Buck Ram moved them to Mercury.  Only You was a remake of a Federal single that they did and it reached number 5 in 1955. Memories of my folks playing The Platters LPs  I recall quite well, the Platters Around The World a early 60s album and a cheap best of called Encore.  I've seen used copies but most were in beat up shape just like my folks.  Twilight Time is one of their best all time songs, Tony Williams doesn't push it over the edge like he would on Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, another number 1 later in the year.  Old fact:  the followup to T.T. was My Old Flame which Zola Taylor sang lead but You're Making A Mistake charted at number 50.  But I've never heard that on the radio.  Oldies radio seems to shortchange The Platters, outside of the number 1s of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes or Great Pretender, I seldom hear any other Platters songs.  But yet classic rock radio still plays 40 year old album cuts all the time.  Damn you I Heart radio.

9.  Secretly-Jimmie Rodgers (Roulette 4070)  1958  #3

Another victim of I Heart Corporate Radio hi jinx is Jimmie Rodgers, the pop singer of the 1950s and no relation to Jimmie Rodgers, the singing brakeman, and night and day, Honeycomb and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine still can be heard on oldies radio but not Secretly, another 45 that my mom had in her collection and shaped my warped views of an idea record collection.  The melody really borrows a lot from Silhouettes, a song done by The Rays, to a point that the songwriters could sue for song infringement but back then, everybody was trying help each other usher in a new era of music.  To which Born Too Late by the Poni Tales sounds somewhat familiar as well. Rodgers tended to rehash the Honeycomb hit single formula.  B side Make Me A Miracle (#16) is somewhat like Honeycomb, except at the end Rodgers ends on a high note and then the low hums that preceded it, which might be the second best song he ever did.  But for a fun sense of longing song, Secretly is my fave Jimmie Rodgers song overall.

10.  Do It Right-Brook Benton (Mercury 72365)  1964  #67

Out of all the singles for this blog, this one is the most rocking coming from an unlikely source. Brook Benton remains one of the best black R and B crooners but his time at Mercury was coming to an end, and the British Invasion took a toll on just about everybody, especially doo wop and R and B crooners.  This time out, Shelby Singleton Jr took over production and Luchi DeJesus (one half of the famed Hugo & Luchi producer duos) decided to add a swinging guitar intro to this song and a uptempo beat that one doesn't associate with Benton.   But right around this time, Mercury Records changed their famed black and sliver label to a all red label.  There are copies of the black and sliver laying around, but the one I have is the Red label.  Despite the swinging melody and guitar licks, this record stalled around number 67 (though it did chart higher on the regional radio stations before the black star that is I Heart radio and Corporate interests make things a distant memory) and Brook would make a couple more singles before leaving Mercury to other labels (RCA, Reprise) before getting a top hit for Cotillion with Rainy Night In Georgia, written by Tony Joe White.  Never heard Do It Right till this weekend and I do think it's my favorite Brook Benton song of all time.  Must be that guitar lick, or Benton's coy vocals. 

The You Tube version of Do It Right actually has a few more seconds tacked on at the end, which is the UK version.  The US version is a few seconds shorter. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Week In Review: Been Busy, March Madness Bracket Busters

There has been a lull going on here at Record World.  I've been busy with other things, a new band and trying to cut back on my blogging.  The carpel tunnel is acting up.

Sunday was the Popcorn Jam with the Saloonatics, who hosted two weeks before.  Sound problems with the electric drums, they sounded great behind the monitors but nobody could hear them at the front.   Despite the dismal showing,  I managed to air drum my way into a new band project with one of the locals, Timothy Wiley who is a regular on the local acoustic jam scene around town.  I guess he was impressed enough to convince me to play in his new band called The Wiley Kats.  A power trio of sorts, already after two practices there are gigs to be played this spring and summer.  Wow, that was quick.  I didn't intend to join any band, however the bass player has a drum set laying around his trailer home and I didn't have to bring mine over.  Plus Tim and Ben are seasoned veterans on the music scene. A win win situation.   So we'll see how this goes and if things can fit around my busy lifestyle of work, and music review.

Nevertheless, the Popcorn Jam had some highlights, plenty of blues and of course, Mike Lint singing Ain't No Sunshine and playing drums on a couple of numbers which might have been his best playing overall.   The host drummer, while being nice enough to let me play them for a few, was getting tired of all the blues and took over for the rest of the evening.  Overall, an interesting but uneven sort of jam session and a start of a new band.

Mick Ralphs decided to stay home in England rather than tour with Bad Company.  Ralphs also has his own band to which he's promoting his latest album and really didn't feel up to jump on a airplane to come over here in the US.  Can't really blame him, damn planes make me ill as well. Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes fame will take over on guitar.  Which begs the question,whatever to Dave Bucket Cowell?

Death continues to roam the area.  Frank Sinatra Jr suffered a heart attack and died Wednesday, He was 72.  I liked his cameos on The Family Guy.  Gogi Grant (The Wayward Wind) lived to be 91, she died over the weekend.   Steve Young (Seven Bridges Road) died Thursday, he was 73

Since death seems to be the norm for the aging musician, if the thought of being dead and having your ashes preserved on a scratchy vinyl piece check out this website.

But on a good note, Jerry Lewis turned 90 on Thursday.   He might outlive us all.

And being 82 years young, John Mayall was in fine form as witness from Joe McSpadden, excellent review here:

Late to the press. March Madness, Iowa managed to get into the NCAAs tourneys, to Brooklyn and Temple.  Hawks in typical fashion managed to go up by 12, only to see Temple storm back and taking the lead and things went back and forth.  Alas Anthony Clemmons ended up fouling a Temple player attempting a 3 point basket and in true Iowa fashion the guy made all 3 FTs and off to overtime.  The usually reliable Peter Jok going 1 for 2 in Free throws attempt on two occasions.  Even Jarrod Uthoff was missing them.  On the last play of OT, Mike Gesel threw up a poor jump shot, but Adam Woodbury in the right place, pushed a Temple defender out of the way to put the ball in the hoop for a 72-70 OT win, a bracket buster so to speak.  For their next effort, they get Villanova, yet another team playing close to home.  But for now Iowa can enjoy their overtime win.

Northern Iowa turned out to be a major bracket buster.  Getting in by winning their tournament, they had to go south to Oklahoma City to play Texas, basically home for the Longhorns.  UNI has shown they can play with the big boys, whopping North Carolina and Iowa State this season. UNI fell behind by 7 points in the first half and then they showed they can comeback and played Texas tough all through the game.  Texas tied the game before Paul Jesperson threw up a last second heave ho...and got his prayers answered with the winning shot that will be played forever, just like in 2010 when UNI upset Kansas in the same arena.  For their effort they play Texas A and M, another home south team.  One for the history books.

Nevertheless, this first round of basketball games a few teams bit the dust.  West Virginia and Baylor went down to defeat, but the big surprise was both Purdue and Michigan State get upset.  Usually Michigan State gets deep into the final four but this year Middle Tennessee State beat them 90-81, thus breaking the hearts of gamblers who thought Sparty would make it to the finals and even it all. Las Vegas will rolling in the dough, knowing they won't be handing any payout in that major bracket busters.  One telling fact:  Iowa swept both Purdue and Michigan State this season. And goes on the second round. Sparty and Boilermaker Mike will have to watch it on TV.

While all of this was going on, in the WNIT, the disappointment that was Iowa's Women's Basketball came to a sad end and a home loss to Ball State 77-72.   This ends the career of Kali Peschel, Nicole Smith and Claire Till and concludes the season at 19-14.

But Iowa did have a Basketball team win it all, and it was in our own backyard at Kirkwood Community College and they took out top rated Triton College 83-76 in the national junior college division 2.  Kirkwood broke Triton's 30 game winning streak in the process.  Good job guys.

Local band news; Tiffany Zweilbohmer is leaving Motorboat for a new job and life up in Wisconsin. She has two dates remaining with Motorboat.  One in Wilton on the 19th and her final farewell will be at J & A Tap in North Liberty on April 1st.  She is one of the top 5 drummers in this area, I have seen her do her work at a couple jam sessions and she's also part of the 50 Shades Of Rock, to which she says she will still be doing.  Look out Wisconsin, you got one of the best drummers heading to your state.

And Samantha Fish snucked up to Marion Iowa's Campbell Steele Theater and played Friday Night.  And I didn't know anything about it....till the next day! But Phillip Smith from Phillycheeze Rock And Blues Blog caught it and give his account:

Record Reviews:

Fred Neil-Tear Down The Walls/Bleecker & McDougall (Elektra/Collector's Choice) 1965

Fred Neil's albums have been very few.  Two for Elektra and two for Capitol and Tear Down The Walls is a half collaboration with Vince Martin and it's basically a traditional folk album, mostly dominated by Martin, although Neil does finally sing on the final few songs on side 2.  He's trying to find his own voice and vision and shows some of it on Dade County Jail and Wild Child In A World Of Trouble.  Overall, it's the sound of the times, very dated to say the very least.  Bleecker And McDougall is Neil on his own (with help from Felix Papparlardi and John Sebsastain) and probably stands as his best overall album.  The title track and The Other Side Of This Life, the latter covered by The Animals and Jefferson Airplane shows Neil's distinct baritone vocal, very laid back but assured.  Shedding himself from Vince Martin paid off, Neil tends to add more blues to the folk music that he does.  Which in essence turns out for the better.
Grade B- (Tear Down The Walls)  Bleecker And McDougall A-

The Beau Brummels-Triangle/Bradley's Barn (Real Gone Reissue 2016)

Originally issued via Collector's Choice, Gordon Anderson managed to convince Warner Music to let him reissue both albums.  Still, their albums for Autumn remain the better ones, The Warner Brothers albums while very adventurous and folkish, I have never warmed up to Triangle, to which they lost their drummer to Harper's Bizarre and their rock and roll as well.  There are highlights, Magic Hollow is one, Are You Happy is another but Sal Valentino overdoes it on Nine Pound Hammer and the almost five minutes The Wolf of Velvet Fortune is boring.  They worked their butt off on this album, by trying to find inspiration from Pet Sounds and Van Dyke Parks.  A critic's choice for sure but sometimes Critics tend to be stuffy and this belongs in the stuffy critics choice section.  Bradley's Barn is simply Ron Elliot and Sal Valentino with the Nashville sessionmen that were part of Owen Bradley's Barn studio wizards. And like the previous album uses another Randy Newman song (Bless  You California) and this time out, the songs are much more country sounding rather than the Pet Sounds pop of Triangle. Deep Water could have made a home on top 40 radio but even with that, Warner Brothers simply couldn't find a way to break the song nor album.   Both Triangle and Bradley's Barn earn their spot as one of the more influential albums of the 60s that didn't sell.  Both are worth hearing, but as for keepers, opinions vary.   Like mine.
Grade B-

Helen Reddy-I Am Woman The Essential Collection (Razor And Tie 1998)

The first half of the album shows Reddy to be somewhat of a varied song stylist, kinda cultish in a way.  There is where I considered her to be a guilty pleasure.  Certainly  I Am Woman gave her a mistaken feminist anthem but deep down I think she rather much be a soft pop singer.  At times she could rock in her own way, the over the top Delta Dawn I consider her signature song rather than I Am Woman but also Angie Baby, the Alan O'Day (Undercover Angel) penned number about a psycho music loving girl with a vivid imagination and does a boy with bad intentions in.  She could redo a song to her liking, I Don't Know How To Love Him, or go the folk route with Peaceful or Crazy Love.  The ballads that line up the second half of the album, she goes for Barry Manilow, and with the exception of the disco laden I Can't Hear You No More, it's muzak show girl pop.  Alas, the Kim Fowley/Earle Mankey produced Ear Candy only gives us You're My World and ignores the power pop overtures of that album.  Certainly Capitol has kept some sort of Helen Reddy Best ofs in print, however I Am Woman tacks on a couple MCA singles, adds Fool On The Hill from the Lou Reinzer 20th Century Records All Of This And World War 2, and a song from Pete's Dragon. And Razor And Tie may have done a much thorough job than the Capitol best ofs, although the ballads tend to bore me, especially toward the end.  Reddy's classic stuff was the early 70s and I may pull this out just to blare Delta Dawn to my idiot neighbor next door.   Reddy is a great singer.  But don't ask me to review a Captain And Tennile best of.  That's not happening.
Grade B

Otis Redding-Pain In My Heart (Atco 1965)

He recorded for Stax, but Atco managed to put this together.  Even back then, Otis was a very special vocalist, while people enjoyed his balladry, I liked his uptempo numbers even better.  I suppose the covers of The Dog and Louie Louie are filler and maybe so, but Otis had the MG's backing him up and of course Mr. Al Jackson Jr, the best soul drummer of that era (and in a era of Benny Benjamin, Clyde Stubblefield, Uriel Jones and Earl Palmer that's saying a lot) and Jackson could throw a groove on the throwaways such as The Dog or Louie Louie or I Need Your Lovin.  The title track and These Arms Of Mine would eventually be signature Otis Redding classics and damn right too.  The one thing that Otis did best was really lay the emotion down pat, right into the rare manic screams and shouts that end That's What My Heart Needs, pushed to the limit by the Memphis Horns and The MGs and Al Jackson smashing cymbals.  Alas Otis' dedication to his fans would cost him an ill fated trip to Madison in December of 1967, but two and half years before, Pain In My Heart would be the first of a few Otis Redding classics.  Rap music can't touch Otis, nor modern R and B.
Grade A-

Rick Nelson-Garden Party (Decca 1972)

Garden Party was Nelson's response to what happened to rock and roll once his teen idol years went into adulthood and from what I heard of his failed singles of the late 60s and early 70s, they were country rock and roll.  To which this album would featured Steve Love and Pat Shanahan who would move on to be a part of The New Riders Of The Purple Sage.  Despite the country rock flavorings, this record is uneven, and the update of I'm Talking About You is overblown (although SURPRISE Robert Christgau called it the best track on this album).  The two saving graces on this album, is of course Garden Party, who sums up each and every one who was either a part of the golden age of rock and roll in the 50s and 60s and nowadays, the classic rockers of the 70s and 80s and even the 1990s.  The other highlight was the failed Palace Guard, perhaps one of the best songs that Nelson recorded.   So Long Mama is quite funny in it's own rocking way.  Perhaps Christgau was right in calling this country rock album as good as Poco.  In some ways it was slightly better than From The Inside from Poco but Garden Party the album is so so country rock.
Grade B-

Various-The Mushroom Story-The Hits Of The 80s Volume 2 (Mushroom 1998)

Companion to the lesser interesting volume 1, Mushroom Records is Australia's best known record label, home to Split Enz, The Angels and Jo Jo Zep And The Falcons.  I found this 2 CD set for 2 dollars at Half Priced Books and it looked to be a interesting listen.  After all it does have Kings Of The Sun Serpentine which is worth the dollars itself.  Beginning with Jo Jo Zep All I Want To Do and running through many down under hits the flow of a eclectic mix tape, the boogie of Kevin Borich's Shy Boys Shy Girls and into the 80s Depeche Mode type of alternative pop, although two songs by The Models are about two songs too much.  The second disc is more of a mess, the Choirboys glam hair metal Run To Paradise, the disco Chantoonies Witch Queen and the intolerable Kylie Minogue Locomotion, dated very badly even compared to Witch Queen which is more disco dumb fun.  For every dull song like Locomotion and Kylie and Jason, Especially For You, a Donny And Marie clone sugary pop ballad that I couldn't finish listening to, there's a quality song like The Someloves' Melt or KOTS Serpentine and what better way to end the whole thing with The Angels Dogs Are Talking.  The down under version of K-Tel's 40 Explosive Hits.
Grade B

Bachman and Turner-Live At Roseland Ballroom, NYC (Eagle 2011)

As I recall, when Randy Bachman got together with Fred Turner with a reunion album, it was so so.  Certainly in my lifetime Bachman Turner Overdrive was played a lot of times on my record player.  They may not have been The Beatles or Prog rock, but their meat and potatoes rock and roll served a great purpose. Even in their late 60s, Randy and Fred still know how to "take care of business" and even during their casino tour of 2011, Live At Roseland Ballroom is them returning to their rock and roots.  This won't replace their classic rock staples, and this is about as useful as seeing the local bar band playing but it has its moments. Rock Is My Life And This Is My Song and Hold Back The Water still remain fun to hear but I think even Randy Bachman is tired of Takin Care Of Business and You Haven't Seen Nothing Yet, he shortens the songs and even the medley of Stay Awake All Night and American Woman is shorter than the original. Overall, this record is slightly better than the Curb BTO Greatest Hits Live packages of 30 years ago.   Still, Robin Bachman is sorely missed on drums.
Grade B-

The Bill Shepherd Singers Sing Bee Gees Hits-Aurora (Atco 1968)

Robert Stigwood could do just about anything it seems, so he gives somebody named Bill Shepherd an album to do muzak versions of Bee Gees songs.  Easy listening versions of Words, Massachusetts, and New York Mining Disaster 1941 that sounds way too cheerful for that song.  Holiday sounds like the old WMT FM of easy listening Muzak.  To which Stigwood and Atlantic wrote this off as a tax loss.  Bill Shepherd still says he likes this record.  He's probably the only one that ever did.
Grade C-

Photo Credit: Alonzo Adams
Update: Villanova blew out Iowa by 19 in the second round and Texas A&M overcame a 12 UNI lead with 33 seconds left to finally win in 2 OTs .  Nothing more to see here. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Townedger Radio-Best Of 2015 Edition

Broadcast 3/17/16 Lucky Star Radio

Townedger Radio 17-The Best Of 2015 (and some selected requests)

Come On In-Sonny James
On My Way-Wooden Nickel Lottery
It Don't Work Like That-Tommy Bruner
The Life We Lead-The Townedgers
Let Me Help You Find The Door-Blackberry Smoke
Country Music Sure Ain't Pretty-Cam
Like It Used To Be-Alison Moorer
River Lea-Adele
The Mosquito-The Doors
Wear You Out-Buddy Guy With Billy F Gibbons
Wrong Side Of Town-Delta Moon
Made To Break Your Heart-Los Lobos
Waiting For Blood-Uncle Acid
Better Living Through Chemistry-Meekats

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The way it goes-Steve Alford

While watching the rise and fall of January's team The Iowa Hawkeyes, out in UCLA Bruin land, UCLA stumbled to a 15-17 record and a very bad loss to USC 95-71, they are calling for Steve Alford's head and Bruin nation thinking of doing a Go Fund Me to raise the 10.4 million buyout of Alford's contract.  Alford seems to wear out his welcome.  At Iowa, he was the mistake Bob Bowlsby hired after riding Tom Davis out on a rail, to which Iowa gave Tom a nice sendoff by finishing in the Sweet 16 in the NCAAs.  Alford has been hated even as a coach, at one time he was Bobby Knight's star pupil on the Indiana squad, won a NCAA title, had a so so NBA career and became coach of Missouri State before Bowlsby came calling.  Outside of a 14-16 debut, Alford's hawks managed to keep above 500, but they did win the B1G Ten Tournaments twice.  Alas, the best Iowa team of 2005-2006 (ten years ago) they were 25-8, winning the last B1G Ten tournament for the last time, only to get upended by some team called Northwestern State 64-63.  Which Iowa Nation eventually ran him out of town after the next season, and he became a basketball legend at New Mexico before UCLA came calling and stole him away from Albuquerque.  The last two seasons UCLA did win 2 games before being eliminated, one by Florida, next season by Gonzaga and there was hopes this season would continue or even go further.  But this year, UCLA looked even worse than Iowa did on most occasions, And USC swept all three games for the first time in 74 years, unacceptable to Bruins Nation and not only SC beat them, they blew them off the court.  For the first time, no Bruins player made the first or second team but Bryce Alford got honorable mention. Bruins Nation was not impressed, they called the honorable mention Daddy Ball.  If anything they swept Arizona State, a team that was in turmoil most the season and broke even with Arizona, Washington State and Oregon State.  But Oregon and Washington joined USC in sweeping  UCLA and not even making any playoffs has Bruins Nation forming at the mouth to finally get rid of the Bobby Knight's star pupil, even if it means making Alford 10 million dollars richer.  Even though Alford did get UCLA to two sweet 16s the past two, the what have you done for me lately comes to mind and fans want him gone.

It hasn't been a love affair since AD Dan Guerrero picked Alford to replaced the previous coach.  UCLA is a blue blood basketball team, started by the late great John Wooden who is turning over in his grave a few more times. Bruins Nation was not impressed from day one, even though UCLA did well in the first two years, this year nothing came together, and it started off with a overtime loss to Monmouth College, but UCLA managed to pop up briefly in the top 25 before going to Seattle and Pullman and losing both games.  They rebounded with two wins against Arizona and ASU before USC started the first of three blowouts. Then going 500 before a five game losing streak happened and the quick exit in the Pac 12 tourney.

My feeling: somebody has gotta go at UCLA and it will probably be Guerrero first before Alford. Alford was smart to draw up a high buyout should things not go his way.  History has shown that Alford does bounce back after a so so year or even a disaster of a year.  If it anybody else UCLA would have shown them the door right then and there after that USC sweep.  Certainly, some assistants will be let go, there's might be the possibility of Craig Neal, falling out of favor at New Mexico may rejoin Alford somewhere down the road. Neal is facing backlash of his own brand of Daddy ball with his son playing guard and New Mexico going one and done in the Mountain West Tourney.

I'm sure there'll be updates as soon as they come pouring in, but the coaching ways of Steve Alford always does polarize the fans of the teams that he does coach be it Iowa, New Mexico and now UCLA. But unlike Iowa or New Mexico, UCLA is the giant stage and Bruins Nation expect the best each and every year. John Wooden would see to that. If Alford survives the axe, he better recruit and turn this team around to a final four next year.  If he stumbles like he did next season, he will be gone.

You can read the hate and discontent over here at this link:


Friday, March 11, 2016

Week In Review: Keith Emerson, Me And Rosie B, Springville Girls, Sir George Martin

 Just in:  Keith Emerson killed himself after finding out that nerve damage on two of his fingers was making it impossible for him to play anymore.  He was 71. Keith Emerson was once part of The Nice and then became a member of Emerson Lake And Palmer, the prog rock trio with the big hit Lucky Man.  Their first four albums remain their best, The S/T, Tarkus, Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery. Emerson Lake And Palmer would reunite from time to time but Emerson also played with Carl Palmer and Richard Berry in 3, which made one album for Geffen. Another sad day of another musician leaving this world behind.  This seems to mirror the suicides of Ronnie Montrose and Bob Welch, the latter who was also dying of a disease.  Monday, we lost George Martin, and the end of the week we lose Keith Emerson.   On a related note, Glen Campbell has lost the ability to speak but he's still alive and still can remember music and smiles and good food.

Spring is around the corner and we got a good taste of it during the weekend.  Taking a week off from the Popcorn Jam (Jon Wilson never brings more than one snare, one bass drum, one cymbal, high hats) I went up to the Key city of Dubuque.  This time the bargains were found big time.  I dropped 67 dollars at Moondog Music and picked up some long lost CDs from Fred Neil, Tim Buckley, The Kingston Trio, plus the Johnny Tillotson  It Keeps On a Hurting on CD.   CDs 4 Change is now open on Sundays, and I managed to pick up a couple LPs in the 2 dollar bins, the 1973 Byrds album and Moon Mulligan Greatest Hits, and a promo cd of the recent Love reissue Reel To Real.  Even Goodwill had a couple CDs worth getting.  The Moondog used CDs had a bunch of interesting stuff. plenty of Leonard Cohen, The Beau Brummels (I did have them once upon a time and really didn't like Triangle enough to revisit it.  And plenty of blues and R and B, even picked up Otis Redding Pain In My Heart.  9 out of 10 times the trips usually yield about 2 or 3 LPs or CDs.  This time I end up getting 15 CDs, about the same amount of CDs that I traded in at Half Priced Books the other day and got 45 dollars for the trouble.  A few albums were thrown in.  I'm guessing a dollar per record or CD.   The Dubuque run was one of the best.

Bart Carfizzi, back in town after visiting his daughter out in Oregon took the latest jam photo. Bart is also doing something called Bart's Piano Bar Tunes, which he'll be playing at the Home Run Pub in Cedar Rapids this Thursday.  A one man show but sometimes guest stars will show up, namely Tim Duffy and Cecie Stark from Dunshee Moon.

In our spotlight on local bands, I went to see Me And Rosie B playing to a packed crowd at Rumors. Rosie B is a versatile keyboard violinist and the rest of the band are long time CR music legends, Jeff Maddison on guitar,  Tom Bielefeldt on bass and Keith Lindsay is the drummer.  Past Masters drummer Tom Miller sat in on a couple songs and did his trademark Elvis medley Blue Swede Shoes and Hound Dog.  Another guest star played sax on Maggie May to which Rosie added violin to the coda.  Of course the usual bar band standards fall into place but the standing room only crowd sang right back to them on Doctor Doctor.  I am friends with Keith Lindsay via Facebook but I don't we even talk all that much.  Anyway, Me And Rosie B plays once in a while but when they do play live, they pack the place.

Local independent act and frequent Popcorn Jammers, In The Attic has finally finished their first EP called Sine Language and you can hear it here via Soundcloud.   In The Attic played the battle of the bands Saturday Night for a chance to take part of the forthcoming Irish Fest. They are playing live more often now, they'll be playing Gabes Oasis in Iowa City on the 25th.  You can download their EP for free here:

Nancy Reagan passed away Saturday from congestive heart failure, she was 94.  The first lady to Ronald Reagan, she was a great caretaker to her husband even during the last years of his being POTUS and then supporting him till his passing from Alzheimer's in 2004.  She will now be reunited with him in the great beyond and by his side in burial too.  Up to her death, Nancy Reagan was class all the way. She'll be missed.

Koyo Bala, singer for the South African band 3Sum passed away from cancer. He was 37. A gay singer Bala ended up getting rectal cancer in 2013 and vowed he was going to overcome it.  After his passing, the social media world blew up with ignorant homophobia sayings and I'm not going to get too deep in that.  Cancer is cancer be it cervix, or liver or stomach or even anal.   It is a sad state of affairs in the era of Donald Trump or Rafael Theodore Cruz trash talking each other in the so called debates and thanking one of these fools might be president.  And of course the sinless wonders of the world saying Bala got what he deserved WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, REPENT OR ELSE SPEND ETERNAL DAMNATION IN HELL.......and the Lord said beware of false prophets too, he's who without sin cast the first stone.   Everybody dies in the end, where we go from here on out nobody knows.  Cancer is a part of somebody's death.  We were born into the world without knowing but eventually learning from those around us and (sadly) from social media and faceless know it alls thinking they know God's Will and want to force it upon everybody who lives a different lifestyle. Not sure whose God the Destiny Angel has, but I know my God is a loving God that accepts each and every one of us and forgives our sins.  My God is a patient God,  otherwise He would have struck me down after I uttered his name in vain a thousand times over.  To rake Koyo Bala over the coals of his type of cancer is not the Christian way, I hope he's have a better afterlife and if he is a kind and gentle guy as they say he was, he'll forgive each and every asshole to put him down in social media one way or the other. RIP Koyo.

Found this interesting picture of who got paid during the Woodstock Festival.  Interesting to see while Jimi Hendrix got paid 18,000 for his showing but Blood Sweat And Tears got 15K and Joan Baez and CCR 10K.  Best bargains was Santana who got 750 dollars for their effort and Joe Cocker 1,375 dollars.  Of course nobody really talks about BS&T but then again this all might be a farce anyway.  If it was true, that 750 dollars for Santana turned them into major stars after their wild performance of Soul Sacrifice.

March madness has come around once again.  Our hometown Springville Orioles girls team defeated top ranked Turkey Valley 49-48 to win the Class 1A girls basketball title, their first championship since the magical 2008 years.  Springville fell short in 2009 and last year in 2015, runner ups.  It was interesting though, Springville led by 15 34-19 before Turkey Valley stormed back and took a five point lead before the Orioles roared back and set the stage up for a final rally which Alyssa Jaeger made two free throws with 3 seconds left, sealing the victory and another trophy to stuff into the trophy case. Yay girls.  On the men's side of things Northern Iowa outlasted Evansville 56-54 winning on a last second basket by Wes Washpun after blowing a 32-18 halftime lead.  It's been an up and down year for Northern Iowa, beating North Carolina earlier in the year but struggled in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 2-6 record before turning things around and winning the MVC tournament, upsetting Wichita State on Saturday in overtime.   Ben Jacobson has managed to win the Championship game last season as well. So Northern Iowa is rewarded with a spot on the NCAA's Tournament.  For the Iowa Women, they lost to Maryland in the B1G ten women's tournament by twenty points.  It's been a disappointment year for the girls even with a 19-13 mark it may not be good enough to get the NCAA's  they may have to settle for a NIT bid.   The Iowa men's team finally snapped their four game losing streak with a 71-61 road victory against Michigan. But both teams should make an NCAA appearance regardless of what they do in the upcoming tournament.

That was quick. Illinois whopped Iowa 68-66 in the first round in the B1G ten Tournament on Thursday, the third year in a row that Iowa played one and done.  Once again, like they have been since Penn State, the Hawks took shitty shots, got way down in the game only to come back and give the fucking lead up once again. Illinois hit 10 3 point baskets and 19 points from 18 generous Iowa turnovers. While Peter Jok and Jerrod Uthoff kept Iowa in the game with their points a combination of 50 points between them. Alas the three other seniors Adam Woodbury, Mike Gesel and Anthony Clemens went 2-20, Clemens having the worst game of his career, zero points and 4 turnovers in 28 minutes. The bench scored 11, 8 From Nick Baer.   The national grumblings around the state are getting annoyed at the lackadaisical play of Iowa the past three years, getting upended by Northwestern in 2014, Penn State last year and now Illinois. Iowa shares the dubious honor of not getting to the Saturday's game in now 10 years and the fifth seed to get knocked off twice, not something you want to be remembered from.  Then again the senior leadership provided by Woodbury, Gesel and the poor shooting of Clemens was lacking.  Clemens shot poorly most through the game, and it became evident after getting the tip off, proceeded to go down the court and shoot an ill advised three point basket.  It would only get worse from there on out.  And the usual rah rah, afterwards Uthoff insists that the Hawks will peak again.  It better be soon Jerrod, you got one game left, whoever you get to play in the NCAA's and another shitty game like the Illinois game and you'll be moving on to your next phase of life, as well as Woodbury, Gesel, and Clemens.  Next year will be a rebuilding year, provided if Fran McCaffery decides he's had enough of Iowa City and decides to move on.   It's one thing to be a January team kicking ass but you're better off doing that in March.  Perhaps the Hawks peaked when the snow and cold was around but as the weather warmed up they got cold and the Illinois game, they looked like they're in quicksand while Illinois guards went all around for easy baskets and 3 pointers.  It's better to win in March than to lose.  And one loss and you can file this season under another disappointment.  Right now, it looks like that the Chicago Cubs have a better chance of being in the world series than the Hawks winning another game in the B1G Tournaments.  This is not a upset anymore, it's a fucking embarrassment.

Your dream date of the month-The Acoustakitties.  They are the host band for the Acoustic Wednesday Night Jam at Checkers and the once in a while showing at Rumors but these women know how to play their guitars and sing purrfect harmonies as advertised.  Girls with guitars gone wild and best known for doing a twisted take on Spiders And Snakes and Save A Cowboy Ride A Cowboy.  They'll be popping up in your neck of the woods very soon so watch out for them.

The IDOT screen is known for witty sayings and then next showing how many folks died on the roads here in Iowa.  This time, from the Wilson Ave exit, they decided to use the Foghat song Slow Ride.  Too bad half the fucking idiots and Wisconsin drivers didn't heed the message and drive NASCAR all the way.

And on the review consortium, a look at Tim Buckley

Upcoming shows: in Dubuque Bret Micheals of Poison fame at Mississippi Moon Bar inside The Diamond Jo Casino Friday Night, Deana Carter at the Mystique Casino and Resort, at the last exit in Dubuque before you go into Walkerland (Wisconsin) Saturday Night and Bro Country star Kane Brown plays there Sunday Night, at 19 dollars very cheap to see an up and coming country star and Farce The Music target.  Sammy Kershaw plays Friday Night at the Opera House in Dubuque

The America's River Festival Lineup has been revealed by the riverwalk in You know where (Dubuque).  Friday Night-the legendary Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, celebrating 50 years of music headlines, Jon Pardi and Gunnar & the Grizzly Bears open.  Saturday is REO Speedwagon (Kevin Cronin and Bruce Hall trudge on) and Rock and Roll Hall Of Famers Cheap Trick, Pablo Cruise, another forgotten 70s band will open up.  Here's hoping the crowds don't get attacked by angry Redwing Blackbirds should you venture up there.  This takes place June 10-11  Port Of Dubuque, weather permitting rain or shine or thunderstorms.  


Mondo Drag-The Occultation  Of Light (Riding Easy 2015)

Last time we checked after their S/T excellent second album, they moved themselves out to Oakland California and replaced their rhythm section, the new bass player is Andrew O'Neil and Ventura Garcia is on drums.  On their third album they become a progressive rock band.  Gone is Pat Stolley who co produced their two albums, Mondo Drag produced this themselves and they do show off their Hawkwind via King Crimson sounds on Initiation.  John Gamino is the main singer but he loves the old time ELP sound or Yes and early day Uriah Heep. I think while listening to Out Of Sight or In Your Head, his influence is Keith Emerson.....of The Nice era, in fact Out Of Sight would not have sounded out of place on Effigy, the long lost Nice album on Mercury.  Mondo Drag's is more at home with the sounds of 70s prog rock rather than what passes for Prog Rock nowadays, they're not into Dream Theater or even Porcupine Tree although they're more to the former than latter band but not by much.  It is the Hawkwind/Magna vibe that gives them kudos and perhaps hope that they'll be able to get in the progressive rock side of things that radio rarely plays.  In fact Mondo Drag is more alternative than the crap played on KRNA and if a band can come up with a 7 song LP with a time around 35 minutes (the CD features a bonus track Ride The Sky which is their most pop sounding on this album) I'm more inclined to listen to them, then the 2 and half hour double CD Dream Theater that came out earlier in the year.  While their S/T album of last year is slightly better, The Occulation Of Light is not a let down but it does take a few more repeated listens to get into the music.  But any band that has Hawkwind or Magna or Starless era King Crimson for a influence is right up my alley. I hope Mondo Drag continues to improve their craft, they do have the makings of a damn good progressive rock band.  I wish them well.
Grade A-

Toto (Columbia 1978)

A bunch of session men who worked wonders for Steely Dan, it's hard to believe that this album came out 38 years ago.  Since new music sucks (what is playing on the radio that is) the old farts like myself agree that the best music came from the 60s and 70s although proclaiming this first album from Toto to be a bonafide classic is like comparing Christopher Cross' first album to be a rock classic as well.  I like them both.  The late Jeffrey Porcaro has always been one of the best rock drummers and is the rocker on this record.  Bobby Kimball, the Brad Delp wannabee is the weakest link here, he hits the high notes like Brad and at times tries too hard to get that high note.  David Paich writes most of the songs here and sometimes they can be cringe worthy (Angela is holding her child in her womb might be one of the all time worst lyrics ever). The bass player at that time is David Hungate, he later would relocate to Nashville to become one of the in demand session players, and the guitarist is Steve Lukather a excellent guitarist in his own wake.  While classic rock or soft rock would like you think of Toto being a pop band with a couple of overplayed songs on the radio, Toto wanted to be more of a progressive rock band, as Child's Anthem is somewhat prog rock before the pop rock of I Supply The Love with an ending being more prog rock as well. Georgie Porgey is a turd, never cared much for it then, can barely tolerate it now.  Girl Goodbye is a prog rock song dressed up as a classic rock song.  And while Angela, the final track with that bad lyric, the middle and final ending shows Jeff Porcaro playing a pissed off beat.  In the end, Toto got their first top ten hit with Hold The Line, which is part Boston borrowed, part Kansas borrowed and a heavy metal riff borrowed from Free/Bad Company, perhaps owed more to Judas Priest but we're reaching out a bit too far.  Hold The Line still sounds good enough not to change the channel.  The album itself is a all over the place mess, Georgie Porgey better suited for Boz Scaggs or Cheryl Lynn (got to be real), and they're still trying to figure if they want to be prog rock or light rock.  Eventually Toto would go more toward prog rock with Hydra and Turn Back before returning to pop rock with the million selling IV.  Overlook the banal lyrics and the first album is a guilty pleasure.  But the musicians are top notch, most of all Jeff Porcaro who left us way too soon.   It earns a higher grade for showmanship.
Grade B+ (original 1978 review C+)

Ramones-Adios Amigos! (Radioactive 1995)

The latter day Ramones got raked over the coals and no matter how much Daniel Rey tried, he simply couldn't get the right sound out of them as Ed Stasium did during the classic years.  Or the right songs for that matter, most of Adios Amigos Rey cowrites with Dee Dee Ramone, back as the songwriter and not the bass player singer.  A lotta indifference can be heard, Johnny Ramone didn't write any songs and Joey Ramone write 2, the half assed Life's A Gas and the other She Talks To Rainbows a much better song.  Also C J Ramone, takes lead vocals on five songs.  Which may have been why critics have been quick to jump on this final album as a half assed product.  By then The Ramones were running on fumes and couldn't get along with each other.  While it's not a masterpiece, there are high charges moments:  a rocking cover of Tom Waits I Don't Want To Grow Up and the hidden track, a in your face version of Spiderman  that's over and done in two minutes, classic Ramones and the best track by far.  And while C J is no Dee Dee, he does well on the remake of The Crusher and Cretin Hop and they are the highlights for him.  Marky Ramone's straight ahead drummer also a plus. Alas, the songs that are filler are exactly that (Got A Lot To Say even at a minute forty two overstays it's welcome, and the 3:35 Life's A Gas feels twice as long.  I heard worse finale albums and it's hard to believe that 10 years after the release both Johnny and Joey would depart from this world and Dee Dee too, leaving only C J and the two Ramones drummers Marky and Richie as the sole living Ramones.   Adios Amigos for better or worse was the last true album, it may not be Mondo Bizarro, the last good latter day Ramones album, but it's slightly better than Brain Drain, or the drab Acid Eaters.  And the world will have to live with that.
Grade B

Jim Morrison & The Doors-An American Prayer (Elektra 1978)

Jim Morrison's poetry has always been suspect, but a few years after Morrison passed away the surviving members decided to add new music to some of the poetry readings.  Mostly forgettable and downright laughable, you ain't live life unless you hear the immortal Lament with the classic line: death and my cock are the world.  Or how bout her C word gripped him like a friendly hand.  Musically the new Doors tracks fit the Morrison recital as if they never did gone away.  Except for a sloppy good Roadhouse Blues,  American Prayer shows Morrison as a very bad poet. And offensive to women too.
Grade C

Albums from My Youth: The Bellamy Brothers-Let Your Love Flow (Warner/Curb  1976)

Actual title: Let Your Love Flow and other hits.  It's easy to remember the albums of 40 years ago then anything of the past 10 years.  Back then we didn't have the internet or CDs, but rather an open mind to whatever radio played and back then radio's playlist was a lots more variety than the I Heart 50 song playlist that still plays classic rock from 4 decades ago and no new music (F U Bill Clinton and the Telecom 1996 Act which is the root of the problem).  Back then I made weekly stops at Marion TV and Records and picked up the latest hits.  One of my all time favorite songs was something called Let Your Love Flow, written by Larry E. Williams, a roadie for Neil Diamond to which rumor has it offered the song but Neil declined.  So Gene Cotton did a version which went nowhere and a unknown pair of brothers Howard And David Bellamy decided to record it.  It hit number 1 in 1976. Their first album was produced by Phil Gernhard who brought hits to the likes of Jim Stafford and Lobo, the other producer Tony Scotti would later have his own label Scotti Brothers. The Neil Diamond connection is that Dennis St. John played drums on Let Your Love Flow the album and his drumming does give the album a more harder rock sound.  On this album, there are 4 other singles, including the David Bellamy solo minor hit Nothing Heavy (#77 in 1975) that preceded Let Your Love Flow,  Later singles Hell Cat (#70), Satin Sheets (#73) and Highway 2-18 (do not chart) followed.   I'm surprised that Highway 2-18 didn't make any chart action over here since we do have a highway 218 going through town, but perhaps the song mirrored a bit too closely to Let Your Love Flow.  While Hell Cat sounds a bit dated now, it proved to be a worthy followup to LYLF, though it does sound like Neil Diamond in a way. They managed to even cover Willis Alan Ramsey with Satin Sheets (which a slight changing of the words in the chorus, replacing the word Mescaline with Tambourine, probably a suggestion from label head huncho Mike Curb).  Radio was indifferent, the old KKRQ played Hell Cat and nobody I know played Satin Sheets and KCRG played Highway 2 18 a couple of times.  As for myself, it's bizarre to have the album of Let Your Love Flow in between copies of Aerosmith Rocks, Steve Miller Fly Like An Eagle, Lynyrd Skynyrd Gimmee Back My Bullets and Boston but then again I also had the Four Seasons Who Loves You as well. Guess you can say I had very eclectic tastes, or I bought just about anything I could get my hands on.  The Bellamy Brothers were more country than rock and it showed on tracks like Roadeo Road, Nothin' Fancy (which did get KHAK airplay) and I'm The Only Sane Man Left Alive which would hint of the country hits that eventually came for them, their last pop placement If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me (#39 in 1979) would become the first of many country number 1's for Howard and David.  But this album was The Bellamys attempt to make it in the rock pop world, Hell Cat is harder pop rock and Let Fantasy Live somewhat a prog rock attempt (although the speeded up chipmunk like vocals at the end of the song puts it back into soft pop rock) and Let Your Love Flow the single still sounds good be it on classic rock or soft rock or even country rock. While side 1 has the better songs, despite LYLF and Hell Cat, the songs on side 2 are blah.  Living In The West plods for almost five minutes, Sane Man Left Alive is so so and Inside Of My Guitar is Barry Manilow gone country.  Not all that great.  In my original review I still like the record enough to give it a B plus, nowadays more of a strong B or three star album.  After this album, The Bellamys next album would flop, and Phil Gerhard was replaced by pop producer Michael Lloyd and by then The Bellamy Brothers would turn their focus to Country Music with better results.  But I find their albums after their first to be spotty  (the last good album was Best Of The Bellamy Brothers Volume 2) and not worth the time nor effort to listen to.  For some reason they had my attention on Let Your Love Flow And Other Hits, and while the latter part may have been wishful thinking, they'll always be blessed with their first single that would hit number one and the perfect springtime hit to combat Fly Like An Eagle or Frampton Comes Alive.
Grade B

Richard Linklater, has come up with a sequel with Dazed And Confused with Everybody Wants Some! to which the move will hit theaters in April.  He's also becoming this generations K Tel with the sound track that is as varied if not more than the Dazed And Confused soundtracks. I wouldn't buy it but it reminds of the day of KTEL 22 Explosive Hits and Super Bad. I give the album a B plus,  It's nice but I've heard it all before.  Namely on KKRQ and KOKZ

Top Ten Playlist Of The Week: (Photo Credit: Mark Grabosch Creations: Delta Moon at Manege Lintorf,  3-5-16)

1)   Everybody Went Low-John Hiatt
2)   Holy Roller-Michael Murphy
3)   Baby I Love You-Andy Kim
4)   Do I Move You-Nina Simone
5)   Maps-The Multiple Cat
6)   Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll-Blue Oyster Cult
7)   Speed King-Deep Purple
8)   Ramblin-Ornette Coleman
9)   Hamburger Midnight-Little Feat
10) Effigy-Creedence Clearwater Revival

RIP Sir George Martin one rock's most beloved producers. Of course he's best known for producing The Beatles but many others come to mind.  He was 90.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

ICON-Led Zeppelin

In short, I'm not going to go long winded on the importance of Led Zeppelin.  But back in the old daze, Led Zeppelin wasn't heard much on AM Radio outside of Whole Lotta Love, an edited version that took out the John Bonham cymbal taps and weird Jimmy Page excursions, but credit George Chkiantz  for the tape echo delay and Immigrant Song.  Led Zeppelin benefited from tough guy Peter Grant's strongarmed ways and keeping all these songs in full glory on 45s.

They are the stuff of legends, the screams of Robert Plant, the lead guitars of Jimmy Page and of course the heavy beats of John Henry Bonham, one of rock's all time most admired and often copied but never duplicated drummers.  John Paul Jones, also had his stake into the songs and like Page, was one of the UK's most sought after arrangers of the day.  Hard to believe JP Jones was behind some of Mickey Most's bands (Herman Hermits, Lulu, many others).  Page also played on many of the UK bands and figured into Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man, which Bonham plays the cascading drum rolls on that song while Page played wild lead.   The band was actually The New Yardbirds, a rethink of the original band Yardbirds.  A band that had Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck before Jimmy Page signed up and eventually replaced Beck but the band was falling apart. Jim McCarty and Keith Relf up and leaving for a new venture called Renaissance, a band more into folk rock rather than the old R and B rock and roll The Yardbirds were famous for.  In the end Page remained and then he drafted Robert Plant who bought along Bonham and Jones filled out the band.  The last Yardbirds album Little Games remains however their most pop sounding, blame Mickey Most for that but hints of the heavier sound would be here in the song Think About It.  The New Yardbirds were finishing up old Yardbirds dates and then a new beginning would happen, thanks to a off the wall funny delivered by Keith Moon, that the new band will go over like a Lead Zeppelin.

With Peter Grant as manager, Zeppelin got signed to Atlantic, which the band made it clear they were to be on Atlantic and not ATCO, the guys were keen to know that Atlantic was home to many of the influential musicians that had hits years before (The Clovers, Drifters, Wilson Pickett, etc), not that Atlantic was off limits to rockers, Bobby Darin returned to record for Atlantic after his tenure at Capitol was done for a couple. With Jimmy Page producing, Led Zeppelin made their S/T album and when I first heard it, I was floored.  The stop start beat of Good Times Bad Times, a failed single foretold that things were going to be quite heavy.  After the 2:43 single, you get three 6 minute plus whoppers, a acoustically Babe I'm Gonna Leave You including the improving jam that Chicago would use for 25 or 6 to 4, a slow plodding You Shook Me and Dazed And Confused based upon a old Jake Holmes song, why Holmes waited 30 years after the fact to mention something about it, nobody knows why ($$$). John Paul Jones' ominous organ beginning of Your Time Is Gonna Come showed he knew something about arranging songs.  Black Mountain Slide was part of an old Yardbirds instrumental number White Summer condensed.  Communication Breakdown was a 2 minute rock romp before things ended on a obscure Otis Rush number I Can't Quit You Baby and Page reworking How Many More Times from a Howling Wolf song.  Which turned out to be how Page would do things. For the first four albums, he would go into the Chess Records catalog and redo old blues numbers.  Usually Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters were the ones that Page would take things from.

Led Zeppelin 2 continues the hijinx, Whole Lotta Love, with inspiration from You Need Love from Muddy was the 5 and half minute 45 hit single,  The Lemon Song, (Killing Floor-Howlin Wolf) and Bring It On Home (Sonny Boy Williamson/Rice Miller) the blues turned rock but a bit more originality shows up, Ramble On, mellow soft rock before Bonham comes rocking in, What Is And What Should Never Be  another mellow start an ends up rocking number but perhaps the most heaviest song they ever did was Heartbreaker.  It's easy to see why people think this record is the best of the first four, it rocks hard, and it's also easy.  John Paul Jones was by no means the least important member, contrary to that, he added things to counter the heavy rock, the almost eternal Thank You and it becomes a beautiful love song. The calm before Heartbreaker (on record you have to turn it over since Thank You ends side 1).

Led Zep 3 originally was a bomb. Despite Immigrant Song and a plodding Since I've Been Loving You, the record is almost acoustic.  This time out Page decided to drive into British folk rock, citing the Fairport Convention albums as influence but he also looked deep into blues again, this time borrowing Leadbelly's Gallows Pole and Bukka White Shake em on down, to the confusing Hats Off To Roy Harper.  Led Zep could balance easy and heavy, while you rarely hear Out On The Tiles on radio, it's probably a throwaway track but John Bonham's drums and Andy Johns' stereo panning does make the song much better that what it is.  Side 2's all acoustic side is worth the price of admission up till That's The Way.  Critics call LZ 3 a step back, not me, it's a step forward.

But the first three albums lead up to LZ 4 or the ZOSO album   The hard rock is there (Black Dog, Rock And Roll, which is a variation of Little Richard's Keep a Knockin, Bonham interpretation of Earl Palmer's introduction) and then The Battle Of Evermore and Going To California which is what they did from the 3rd album.  The heavy blues of When The Levee Breaks (To which they do credit Memphis Minnie) which might be even more heavier than Heartbreaker.  While people believe Stairway To Heaven might be the best Led Zeppelin song ever recorded (I don't) the gentle acoustic beginning, then leading up to the building up to the all rock out finale of the song.  I think overall When The Levee Breaks is what Led Zep did the best.  Hard core blues with a heavy beat.  And nobody could lay a heavy beat like John Henry B.

Looking at the rest of their output there would be a dropoff although not by much. Houses Of The Holy starts out rocking with The Song Remains The Same but I could never get into The Rain Song, it goes on forever.  Over The Hills And Far Away is acoustic rock once again but I love that song anyway.  Bonham does a drunken Cylde Stubblefield on The Cringe and Dancing Days could have made a nice single (it was the B to Over The Hills....) D'yer Maker hasn't aged very well but No Quarter is a showcase for John Paul Jones and his keyboard mastery.  And The Ocean is Rock And Roll Part Too.

Perhaps the masterpiece album is the odds and sods Physical Graffiti a 2 record set that put together a few odds and ends from previous albums but added some new songs as well. Side one of Custard Pie and In My Time Of Dying plus The Rover are top notch and I suppose the 11 minutes of Time Of Dyin isn't for everybody but Bonham is playing drum solos within the songs. There are great songs, Houses Of The Holy works better here than it would on the original album, Ten Years Gone is one of the best songs L.Z. ever done, even more than the overrated Kashmir, which classic rock radio has turned into a 9 minute headache.  It's a good song but to me there's much better and less played.  Down By The Seaside is another nice softer rocking song, In The Light another John Paul Jones showcase and I tend to like side 4 the best, Night Flight to The Wanton Song to Boogie With Stu (with a few Richie Valens lyrics thrown in) and Sick Again, a throwaway I'm sure but in the same way with Out On The Tiles a fun song. Let's us not forget Trampled Underfoot. My favorite 2 album set of all time. 

Presence and In Through The Out Door are perhaps the weakest albums, still highlights are a plenty. Achilles'  Last Stand is another 10 minute epic and they once again raid the blues with Blind Willie Johnson Nobody's Fault But Mine (or maybe Josh White). Candy Store Rock was the single and I like it more than you do.  But the record is buoyed down by For Your Life and the side 2 closer Tea For One, which never gets out of it's wondering 9 minute funk and boy does it meander.   In Through The Out Door turns out to be the the album that is more into John Paul Jones and the keyboards are all over this album.  Not a lot of hard rock, In The Evening is perhaps the hardest rocking of the songs here.  Fool In The Rain turned out to be a sizable hit and dare I say Hot Dog is damn near the most country they ever sounded?  That said the 11 minute Carouselabama (What ever you call it) has rubbed a lot of Zep fans the wrong way, maybe there's too much John Paul Jones in this but I can live with this a lot better than say, Tea For One or For Your Life.  In the end I liked I'm Gonna Crawl a lot more than All My Love.  Alas this would be the end of the line, John Bonham drank himself out of this life and the band became history.  Coda in 1982 scrapes together  outtakes but it would be another 30 years before an expanded edition of Coda that Jimmy Page finally relented and tacked on Hey Hey What Can I Do, the B side to Immigrant Song that somehow missed being on Led Zeppelin 3.  And believe me that song would have worked even more wonders for that album.

With Bonham's death, the band was gone.  Jimmy Page lived off the royalties and  made a couple albums, the Soundtrack to Death Wish 2 and the 1988 Outrider, the only album so far which made him a solo artist. Robert Plant kept busy with his solo career and continued to push the boundaries of music. And John Paul Jones would go into production and once in a while ventured out to do solo projects and oddball bands (Them Crooked Vultures), In 1988 Robert Plant sang on one song on Page's Outrider and Page played guitar on two tracks from Plant's Now And Zen.  In the mid 90s, Page and Plant got together to do a tour together and a couple albums, Walking Into Clarksdale a 1998 new effort with Steve Albini recording.  The record is overlong, Albini's mix more muddier than usual and the songs were exactly memorable although there are some highlights (Please Read The Letter, Shining In The Light, Most High).  Perhaps John Paul Jones should have been included but then again I don't think they wanted a full blown part Zeppelin reunion, they did use Charlie Jones, Plant's bass player at that time but he was no John Paul.   In 2007, the unthinkable did happen. Led Zeppelin did reunite at the O2 Arena, with Jason Bonham playing drums in place of Dad.  Basically a farewell to Armund Ertugen who passed away a year ago, this turned out the only time that Robert Plant signed off on the deal.  While the rest of the guys really wanted to do a reunion tour and make oodles of money, Plant shot that down.  He just didn't really want to revisit that time ever again.  But Celebration Day the album ends the Zeppelin legacy on a high note.  The songs are done in a slower and different key and even Dazed And Confused is now at a much presentable 11 minutes rather than the 26 minute marathon was was on The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack.  A few curveballs are thrown in (For Your Life-hmmmm) but Celebration Day is an album of a band having fun, with nothing to left to prove.   Jason Bonham is no stranger to Led Zeppelin tribute albums (he did one In The Name Of My Father, a live in the studio recording released on....Michael Jackson's label MJJ/550 Music in 1998) and yes if anybody can do John Henry Bonham, it's Jason and he hold his own.  And when it was over, Robert Plant went back to doing he was doing and Jimmy Page went back to the archives and remastered the albums all over again.

Each time Page remasters the albums, something new always comes out.  The first generation Atlantic masters were muddy and not well defined, however I  kept my first generation copy of Led Zeppelin simply of the fact that the tape hiss that was evident on the 8 tracks I used to have still shows in the mastering.  In 1990 Page came out with the first box set of Zeppelin masters, and it was 4 CDs of cherry picking songs, to further get people to buy it, he did include a couple of BBC recordings (Traveling Riverside Blues) and what wasn't on that boxed set came out on Masters volume 2.  In 1994, with the late George Marino helping, Page remastered the albums again and the clarity is much more there.  With the original Atlantic label logo on the CD it felt more legit.  Page raided the vaults to put out THE BBC Sessions, one CD of live BBC 1969 in the studio recordings and the second disc a Paris concert in 1971.  It's interesting to compare how they were revamping Dazed And Confused from 6 and half minutes to 18 when they hit Paris in 1971.  Then you have three different run throughs of Communication Breakdown.   How The West Is Won are two 1972 shows, one in L.A the other in Long Beach that Jimmy Page discovered in the vaults and issued them in 2003.   Basically this Led Zeppelin at the top of their game, the performances are top notch but you might drift off to sleep on the 19 minute Bonham drum solo known as Moby Dick.  I think it's the best of official released live documents.   The Song That Remains The Same, the original 2 LP set from a 1976 Madison Square Garden show, the original album was ho hum. Not one of their better shows.  In 2007 Page decided to add six more songs to the collection and the record is much better for it.  Still those Plant screamings of Push Push  really haven't aged all that well.  It's a period piece and you had to be there.

In 2014 Page decided to add bonus cuts and remixed to the whole albums and the one two albums worth hearing are the the first which includes a live show for a second disc and the three CD Coda CD which brings the debut of Hey Hey What Can I Do, Traveling Riverside Blues and Baby Come On Home, which was heard on rock radio when the L.Z. Box 1 and 2 came out .  In essence, Page should have included Hey Hey What Can I Do on the first Coda album and the outtake of Sugar Mama.   I wouldn't put it past Page to see him make another remaster attempt before all is said and done.

In the beginning, Led Zeppelin was my era of The Beatles, though I was still too young to see them play live but I did buy anything that came out on 45 and LP and 8 track. Unfortunately, my cassette copy of Physical Graffiti didn't last too long, even with the 12 dollar price, the cassette was poorly made.  And the 8 track of the first album became spaghetti when the thing fell apart in the tape player.  But I bought them because they were the band that mattered most to me.  Sure as time flew by and classic rock radio ran them into the ground; the worst was when some radio stations did switch to a 24 hour a day Led Zeppelin playlist and hearing Stairway To Heaven 5 times a day was getting tiresome.   Still, it's much different when you play on your own, that the song can still speak to you like it did 45 years ago.  Many a rock band started when the less talented tried to do songs such as Rock And Roll or Whole Lotta Love, it turns out that John Henry Bonham's drumming wasn't so simple after all and I found that out the hard way.  But in the stale AM of pop radio and bubble gum, Led Zeppelin was that forbidden band with the heavy sound on the FM side of things.  And those who played Zep back then were ultra cool stations before the arrival of Clear Channel (I Heart) and the  same 30 songs that now choke the life out of radio.   While Robert Plant is out making new kinds of music and not interested of rehashing the past nor band reunions, there remains a few Zeppelin tribute bands that do a fine job of sounding like Zeppelin.  For entertainment only though, they remain no match for the real thing.  But the real band is gone, older, and John Bonham is in the great beyond toasting of the good old days with Peter Grant in tow.  Page continues to insist there will be new album from him but he's been saying since who knows when.  I'm sure Atlantic will continue to rehash best ofs if and when the time is right and I'm sure by 2019 when the 50th anniversary of Zeppelin comes around something will be there.  Best of like Mother Ship or Early or Later Days or the original boxset are basically mixtapes on CD of the greatest hits, not exactly needed if you have the original albums.  By now, there's nothing left to scrape from the archives, the next step is to reissue bootleg copies and make them official (Live At Blueberry Hill for example).  But if you really to discover rock history, purchase the first album and go from there.

Or listen to your local classic rock or modern rock radio station.


Led Zeppelin (Atlantic 1969)  A-
Led Zeppelin 2 (Atlantic 1969) A
Led Zeppelin 3 (Atlantic 1970) A-
Led Zeppelin 4 (Atlantic 1971)  A
Houses Of The Holy (Atlantic 1973) B+
Physical Graffiti (Swan Song 1975) A+
Presence (Swan Song 1976) B
The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack (Swan Song 1977) B-
In Through The Out Door (Swan Song 1979)  B+
Coda (Swan Song 1982) B+
The BBC Sessions (Atlantic 1997) B+
How The West Was Won (Atlantic 2003) B+
Celebration Day (Swan Song/Rhino 2012) A-