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.

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