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 http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/outlaw-country-songwriter-steve-young-dead/
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. http://www.andvinyly.com/
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: http://nodepression.com/live-review/it-was-one-those-nights
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. http://www.cbssports.com/video/player/collegebasketball/647736899843/0/iowa-slips-past-temple-on-insane-buzzer-beater
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. http://www.si.com/college-basketball/2016/03/19/northern-iowa-texas-march-madness-buzzer-beater-video
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. http://njcaa.org/sports/mbkb/2015-16/div2/releases/-3-19-16-_DII_MBB_Champ_Recap
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: http://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2016/03/samantha-fish-live-campbell-steele.html
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.