Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Record Store Day 2016, Townedger Radio 18, The Dawn

For the third straight year, Davenport was the place to be for the 2016 edition of Record Store Day, to which the major labels stick out limited edition product with inflated prices on what you could have gotten for 8 dollars 30 years ago.  I wasn't impressed with the titles the major labels put out, in fact the only album that I bought was a band from Geneseo Illinois called The Dawn.  They are not new to the area, in fact The Dawn have been playing around The Quad Cities area for about 2 years now and have recorded a couple of album, the most recent is At First Light, to which the band sold for 10 dollars for vinyl copies, five for CD.  Jam bands can try patience but The Dawn really is a nice rocking band somewhere along the likes of Widespread Panic   The new album At First Light only has four songs, the shortest is 7:55 seconds, the rest fall around 10 or 11 minutes.  Of course there's going to be the Grateful Dead comparisons.  For local jam bands around here, The Dawn is one of the better ones.  Not sure if they'll make it up to my neck of the woods but the QC folks will get to see them a few times this summer. http://www.thedawnband.com/home.html

Usually Record Store Day I celebrate more often than the mid April date.  Last year it was 45's galore from Ragged Records but this year, I didn't buy any.  But I did purchase 3 cds, a Tim Buckley, A Rain Parade and Sylvian Sylvain's RCA's debut on Wounded Bird.  Co Op Moline I got The 11th House a fusion jazz album on Vanguard.  For thrift stores, The Essential Skeeter Davis for a dollar and Montgomery Gentry Carrying On for 50 cents.  Last time up at Goodwill, they had plenty of 45s, but this time out, nada.  The only 45 worth noting I got at the Salvation Army As Is Store, was Bad To Me by Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas. The cashier dude was very careful to wrap the 45s in newspaper so they didn't get scratched by the jewel case.  First time I ever seen that happen but i admire the guy for doing that.

Plenty of road construction to screw things up and the I-74 bridge to Illinois was one lane south.  So I had to go the long way, back to downtown Davenport and the Centennial Bridge in Moline and to Co Op Moline.  River Drive was all fucked up, so it was a maze of road closed and one lane signs and every GD light I hit was either red or turning red.  Since I got there late, the Quad Cities River Bandits played a one o'clock game to which Kane County beat them 5-4.  Last season the Bandits had the best record in the minor leagues but most of the players have moved on to double or triple A ball and the new team isn't very good, at least not at the first week.   So I may not be going there to watch as many games as I did last season.  It's also too fucking bad, that my luck of hitting red lights didn't transcribe over to the slot machine at Rhythm City Casino, which I lost 6.94.  Even with penny slots my luck sucks, unless it's hitting red lights, then I have the best luck.  Outside of that, the weather was nice, the temps were in the 80s and there a nice breeze coming off the river.

A week ago on April 9-10 1973  our town got 15 inches of very wet snow and closed everything down for two days.  On the third day, temps warmed back up into the 70s and all the snow melted within a week leaving a muddy mess for the majority of April

AC/DC continues to cheapen themselves.  Turns out that Axl Rose is the replacement singer for the booted Brian Johnson and the Angus Young Band continues on.   Rose is also busy with Guns And Roses back in tow.  But we can all give a middle finger to Angus' version of a AC DC tribute band, even though Cliff Williams the bass player has been there since 1978.  Nevertheless, I'm not interested to see Axl with AC DC or GnR for that matter.

There has been things going on between The Wiley Kats, and last weeks popcorn jam to which I made note of in the Townedgers Blogspot site and didn't feel like repeating that. This Sunday's jam was the final performance of The Lab Rats,  Tim Duffy has been threatening to move to Georgia and it looks like he'll be going there in May.  It was Shuffle Sunday as the Wiley Kats did La Grange, Cold Shot, So Excited and Pride And Joy, which didn't please the drummer who in rebellion sped up Cold Shot to almost punk like, to which Stevie Ray Vaughn might be spinning in his grave but Lemmy would have approved.  The Wiley Kats, with guest star Tim Duffy and later Bart Carfizzi ended up doing Scuttlebuttin, Crossroads and Red House Blues for almost a half hour.  Not bad consider the drummer was sun burned from hiking at the Nature Center.  Highlights included Dana Rocky Smith, showing off on drums on his set and R S Crabb joining the Labs for the final number, a version of Hush, The Deep Purple version to which Bart Carfizzi could go home happy.  It was a nice day so most of the jammers stayed home and mowed the yard,  I can't recall the last time only 3 drummers jammed at Rumors.  A very short guest star list included the infamous The firegirl, who sings that George Strait number The Fireman, Ian and Kyle too.  Present but didn't perform was John Hernandez and Shawn Ster.  To which I'm sure Ster did go to Cooters for the acoustic jam and do his songs.  He usually does things solo.  As with the Wiley Kats, the problem of band practice and time restrictions and getting everybody together is becoming well known and might be reaching an impasse.  Perhaps a rethink or more dedicated band mates might help. In my case, I have a actual real working job at evenings that I'm not about to give up over playing for 250 dollars split three ways.  Bills do not decrease over time.  In the meantime, In The Attic, usually jam regulars have been out and about promoting their new EP, here they are rocking out to the masses at Hy Vee Wilson Avenue.

In each and every city, the city governments are as crooked as they come.  They don't fix the streets in Marion but they'll gung ho about putting up fucking roundabouts.  In Cedar Rapids, Ron Corbett, the Boss Tweed of the 21st century and a couple of GOP council members (Justin Sheilds, Ralph Russell)  are ready to add an 15 cent tax increase to pay for that library downtown, five months after voters rejected a 27 cent increase referemdem (can't spell it, spell checker isn't helping). Shady politics as usual from this motley crew of jackoffs, who think putting a water fountain in Green Square Park will bring more visitors.  Or buying empty lots in thinking they're going to put a casino there.  In this day and age dollar foolish is the norm, especially from Ron Corbett's dollar ignorance.  With voters staying home and not voting Ron nor Justin or Raphie out of office, they get to reap the rewards of not voting.  Or seeing those wonderful lights that change color at Green Square Park that don't work half the time.  Just like Ron Corbett.

The Rock Hall Of Fame highlights will air on HBO on April 30th but you may not get to see Steve Miller's part of the show.  Still reeling mad over the high jinks Miller said that he has not signed off on the agreement to air his induction and may not do so since he didn't like the contract the rock hall has given him.  He's also not too happy with Capitol, now part of Universal which will make Miller more grumpy than usual.  You'd think all them airplays of The Joker or Rock'n Me would be raking in the dollars for The Space Cowboy, but it's not, I'm sure the majors have taking a big chunk of change for themselves.  Still the Rock Hall's idea of pairing today's pop stars introducing the old dinosaurs of music is BS anyway.  I can't see Miller listening to the Black Keys (and vice versa). And The Black Keys really have not made an album I can sit all the way through to listen with.  Miller would have probably quit after the first song.

Archives: We revisit the recording significance of Blue Oyster Cult.  Their best albums was with the original lineup of Al and Joe Bouchard in the band.  When Al left the band, Revolution By Night suffered a great deal and Club Ninja was worse.  So far Secret Treaties has benefited by bonus tracks and the first album and second album not so much. They'll always be known for Don't Fear The Reaper but in all fairness Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll remains their best song. http://rscrabbmusicconsortium.blogspot.com/2013/09/blue-oyster-cult.html 

Passings: Gib Guilbeau of the Flying Burrito Brothers passed away Monday, undisclosed illness. He was 78....Doris Roberts, the beloved Mom on Everybody Loves Raymond passed away from natural causes on Sunday.  She was 90...Pete Zorn, former Steeleye Span player and Richard Thompson collaborator passed away in his sleep from cancer.  He was 65....Chyna (Joan Lauden) WWE wrestler and adult film star passed away Monday under mysterious circumstances, she was 45.  Dwayne (Pearl) Washington, one of the best college basketball players of the 1980 for Syracuse passed away from a brain tumor, he was 52.

On Thursday, Prince Rogers Nelson was found dead in an elevator at Paisley Park Studios in Minnesota.  He was 57.  He was suffering from the flu virus at the time, but perhaps he just wore himself out making so much music for the world to hear.  RIP Prince. You will be missed.

Lonnie Mack, famed guitarist best known for his version of Memphis and later Wham! passed away from natural causes, he was 74.  Stevie Ray Vaughn was instrumental in getting Lonnie back into the spotlight and co produced his Strike Like Lightning for Alligator Records and then recorded on Epic for Road Houses And Dance Halls.  Mack was also a profound fisherman to which when he played up here in Iowa, he'd go fishing on the Wapsipinicon River around Waubeek or Central City.  He retired from live performance in 2001 but on occasion would hit the local jam circuits in his area.  Guess Stevie Ray was calling for him and Lonnie decided to join up.  He will be missed. http://mailman.305spin.com/view/?cid=5&sid=8016&uid=71772&ue=marc%40allig.com&lid=6571
There's debate on when Jim Morrison was saying Do It Robbie, Do It on Roadhouse Blues, the article errors by saying it was Lonnie, but Lonnie was playing bass instead.  Robbie Kieger says:
Krieger: " 'Roadhouse Blues' is one of my personal favorites. I Was always proud of that song because, as simple as it is, it's not just another blues. That one little lick makes it a song, and I think that sums up the genius of the Doors. I think that song stands up really well as an example of what made us a great band. And the session was really cool, one of my fondest memories of the band. We cut the tune live, with John Sebastian playing harp and Lonnie Mack playing Bass, he came up with that fantastic bass line. - He just happened to be hanging around. I think he had a contract with Elektra and wasn't recording so they gave him a job at the studio. We just said, 'Hey, why don't you play bass?'"

Krieger: "There was a bar near the Doors workshop on Santa Monica Boulevard that Jim and his friends would hand out called The Roadhouse. One little known fact is that Lonnie Mack played Bass on the studio version o 'Roadhouse Blues'."

Krieger: "He just happened to be working in the Elektrastudio that day, and I has always loved the way he played. So I asked him to play Bass and he said, 'Well, I'm not really a bass player, but I'll try'. And after that, I always called him a bass player which made him mad. He'd say 'I'm a guitar player, goddamit!'."

Mack also played bass on Maggie McGill. 

Milt Pappas was one of the best pitchers to wear the Baltimore Orioles uniform and spent 10 seasons with them before being traded to Cincinnati in the Frank Robinson deal.  He would later be traded to the Chicago Cubs and one of his highlights was an almost perfect game no hitter against Montreal.  He had a 209-164 lifetime record.  Roger Maris hit home run number 59 off Pappas when Maris was doing his record breaking HR record in 1961.  Pappas could also hit, he hit 20 home runs, including what would be the last HR hit by a pitcher before the designated hitter rule took effect in a 1-0 game, against Bill Stafford of the New York Yankees in 1962.  While he did well in Cincinnati, it turned out that Frank Robinson had a banner year, winning the triple crown in 1966 and helping the Orioles to win the world series, sweeping the LA Dodgers that year.  He was later traded to Atlanta and then on to the Chicago Cubs where he went 10-8 after Atlanta traded him in 1970.  Pappas' best year as a Cubs pitcher was 1972 when he went 17-7, including that no-hitter the last thrown at Wrigley Field.  But in 1973 a 7-12 record and having some injuries, the Cubs finally released him in 1974.  Pappas retired afterward, at that time he was the only pitcher that won over 200 games in his career and not post a 20 wins season but he did have back to back 17 games won in 71 and 72.  Both Baltimore and Chicago continue to embraced the legacy of Milt Pappas and he was a favorite whenever he was at Wrigley Field and at Camden Yards.  Pappas died of natural causes at age 76. http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2016/4/19/11463756/former-cubs-pitcher-milt-pappas-dies

Your dream date: Ashley Axeliss returns with a ultra cool photo from her instragram site. I figured this place needs a bit of eye candy and cheesecake.

Record Reviews:

The Dawn-At First Light  (Lonesome Driver Music  2015)

You have to love a band that sells their new album on vinyl for 10 dollars on Record Store Day, not only you got the vinyl but the band also threw in a CD for nothing and it turned out to be the bargain of the day.    The Dawn is from Geneseo Illinois but plays around the Quad Cities area.  And they are a jam band, with roots firmly into the likes of moe. and Phish and like both bands, this four song LP runs at 40 minutes and the shortest song is 7:55 minutes the rocking Let Me Down Easy.  The somewhat easy flowing Ticklelicious comes in at 10:47, and side two has the 10:08 Paradise and the 11:07 Slow Motion.  Even with the mellow beginning of Ticklelicious they do rock out toward the end.  Paradise begins life as a Reggae number before mutating into Starless type King Crimson.  And Slow Motion starts somewhat like the beginning of the Grateful Dead's Aligator before venturing into prog rock territory.   Sean Ryan knows enough of Trey Anastacio to almost sound like him at times and the other guys, Jordan Vanopdorp, Dan Olds and Josh Womack can improvise on the spot and take songs to other styles without disrupting the flow of the song.  It also helps having Patrick Stolley (The Multiple Cat, Mondo Drag) behind the production booth.  The CD version is nice to have out in the car but the vinyl mastering shows a much more warmer production and Ben Olds' stellar bass work shines through.   They really don't have much to say, some lyrics here and there and it's off to jam once again.  Even though the songs are long, they're not boring and plenty of surprises await.  Compared to Moe's 45 minute Meat, At First Light is better put together and more accessible. Certainly they're worthy to be included of the likes of moe. or Phish, At First Light is better than the last moe. album or for that matter Widespread Panic.  For hometown made jam bands, The Dawn are one of the best and At First Light almost captures their live music setting very well.   If you're into the above mentioned bands, you'll dig At First Light.
Grade A-

Sylvain Sylvain  (RCA 1979)

He was a sideman for The New York Dolls with good reason, David Johansen was the much better singer, Sylvain comes across more like Sha Na Na than NY Dolls and while this record isn't that bad, there's enough Sha la la, doo doo doos to make it more of a West Side Story type of thing.  He strikes out bad on the ballads (Without You, Tonight), and  Teenage News has a bit of NY punk to go with his late 1950s rock and roll. Which recalls more of Dion rather than David or Bruce for that matter. Perhaps the best track is What's That Got To Do With Rock And Roll, to which even in 1979, this album was doomed to failure since it wasn't disco or corporate rock.  But still even Sha Na Na has some sort of value, even for nostalgia. And Sylvain Sylvain is about the same, although he wrote his own songs and had a bit more teeth to his cover version of Ain't Got No Home.  But you'd never would think on  this album, Sylvain was part of the New York Dolls.  A trip to the nice wild side of things.
Grade B

Norah Jones-Introducing (Blue  Note 2010)

Jones, from the beginning of Come Away To Me, through her Danger Mouse collaboration has done just about everything except front a rock and roll band, and this uneven collection of duets tries to make a good case of how she can blend into things.  You have to admit anybody that can turn the Foo Fighters into a bossa nova band must be doing right, right?  Jones is great at towing the line between country smarts and jazzy cool, but she couldn't improve Here We Go Again with Ray Charles since the original song was the best version but she tries.  Nor Baby It's Cold Outside with Willie Nelson, since Homer And Jethro and June Carter did a better version.  She is not so great when Ryan Adams gives her a crappy song (Dear John) or Belle And Sebastrian gives her a so so song. When it works it's usually acoustic county as evidenced by Bull Rider (with Sasha Dobson) and Creepin In (with Dolly Parton).  The Outkast duet is a novelty but even with her sweetening up the rap numbers with Q Tip and Talib Kweli, both songs suck.  In other words, a mixtape cd of Norah helping out, with mixed results.
Grade C+

Cortelia Clark-Blues In The Street (RCA 1966)

In the time that David Houston's Almost Persaded won just about every Grammy out there in that year, this long forgotten album (reissued for a time by Collector's Choice Music) won best folk recording in 1967.  Not bad for an album that sold 700 copies new.  Clark was a street singer that sold shopping bags and would sing from time to time and Felton Jarvis recorded him in action with the sounds of the city all around them.  However since the cars passing by wasn't heard very well, so RCA enlisted Norro Wilson and Jerry Reed to honk their horns and spin their tires.  It's amazing how Blues In The Street did beat out Peter Paul And Mary that year, Clark didn't have I Dig Rock And Roll Music in his song list.  Even with Wilson and Reed hot rodding up and down the RCA parking lot, you still get to hear people throwing coins in Clark's cup and Clark's shouting "Shopping Bags!" after each song. It does get a bit monotonous even toward the end of side 2, and even improvising lyrics to Bye Bye Love and Trouble In Mind shows that Clark didn't know the actual lyrics, they don't exactly fit.  His own songs are a bit better (Love Blues, Baby What Have I Done, which suggest Clark might have listened to John Lee Hooker) and the comparisons to Jesse Fuller seems right.  Street singer recordings tend to be bare boned and stripped down, with the sounds of city as accomplishment (for further listening try to find David Lannen's Street Singer that came out on San Francisco Records many years ago)  This would be Clark's only album release, RCA wrote the album off as a tax loss and Clark would eventually die from injuries received from a accidential house fire accident  in 1969.   The record itself is uneven, at times the missteps like Bye Bye Love make Clark seem like Wesley Willis, but unlike Willis, Clark doesn't turn them into parody.   Many a street singer that I have known have known to blotch lines to songs many times over.   But for a curio that won Best Folk Album of 1967 it probably beats Anita Kerr and The New Vaudeville Band for a better listen.
Grade B

Albums Of My Youth-Journey  Escape (Columbia 1981)

This was the album that made Journey mega-superstars but it also alienated me into paying less attention to them from here on out.  You know the story, Greg Rolie and Neal Schon were part of Santana, hooked up with Ross Valory and Anysley Dunbar and made three fair to meddling albums before getting golden boy Steve Perry to sing and Infinity started the road to arena rock.  A slight change was made, Rolie wanted out to start a solo career and ex Baby's keyboardist Jonathan Cain replaced him.   The lead off track Don't Stop Believin' has become a monster of its own, overplayed as hell on Corporate rock stations, baseball arenas, wedding receptions and funerals.  If your living here on Planet Earth, you will not escape that song.  That said, the album was a disappointment to me from Departure and the blame might be on Steve Perry, who started out somewhat in the background, being part of the band on Infinity but each album begin to demonstrate his vocal power to the point that he's actually leading the band more often than not and oversings at every chance he gets, during the chorus of Keep On Running and Lay It Down, to the point you want to cut off his mike. The ballads made the senior prom and any slow dance a chance to reconnect with your loved one, Open Arms the syrupy weeper to which I've seen grown men simply cry as they embraced their dates, wives, potential nookie getters etc etc and somehow managed to make it on the oddly titled Heavy Metal S/T to that movie.  Open Arms is as heavy metal as Love Will Keep Us Together. Who's Crying Now was another 80s monster ballad anthem, but usually if your I Heart owned radio station played anything from Escape it would be Don't Stop Believin', Open Arms and Who's Crying Now, in basically that order.  In some ways, Escape was a desperate attempt to hit rock radio and it did, as well as the soft rock stations too.  Looking at this album now, listening to all the pompousness of this album still doesn't change my view of this record.  There are some decent moments; the straight ahead rock of Dead Of Alive or the hooks that comprised  Stone In Love, but the over the top ending of Escape and the bombastic Mother Father, which is a bizarre attempt for prog rock before Perry's singing the chorus line puts it in Jim Steinman territory and the overall saturation plays of Open Arms and Don't Stop Believin'  makes Escape just about unlistenable to me.  For every original Journey fan that got off the bus after Escape, 10 thousand new fans joined up.  But they got their number one album but this new found sound would eventually split up core members, Ross Valory would get replaced by future American Idol judge Randy Jackson and Steve Smith returned back to jazz fusion, which he liked more but it didn't pay as well as being a part of Journey.  In 2016 Steve Smith has rejoined Journey for a few selected dates in the summertime but Steve Perry has not.   For classic albums of my youth, Escape remains more of an anti classic, this album never did much for me, just like REO Speedwagon's Good Trouble became their death knell and me moving more towards bands that didn't have to rely on sappy ballads or over the top throatnomics of Steve Perry.  I don't deny this album being a landmark and one of the 80s best selling and essential albums from fans who continue to love Escape and Don't Stop Believin'  But that doesn't mean I should reserve a space in my CD or record collection for a record that never did much but put me off Journey for a long long time.
Grade C

Townedger Radio 18-Broadcast On Lucky Star Radio 4/20/16

One Two Three-Ramsey Lewis
Something Is Me-Paul Westerberg
Shout Bamalama-Otis Redding
Almost Beautiful-Tommy Bruner
May Not Be A Next Time-The Townedgers
Sunshine-Johnathan Edwards
Dick Soup-Banjo & Sullivan
Truck Driver's Queen-Moore & Napier
Commit A Crime-Howlin' Wolf
Pulstar-Julian Cope
Night Woman-Gerard McManon & Kid Lightning
Bring It On Home-The Townedgers
Turn On Your Love Light-Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
First I Look At The Purse-J.Geils Band
Morning Noon And Night-Climax Blues Band
And It Caved In-Junk Monkeys
Pipeline-Stevie Ray Vaughn/Dick Dale 
Just To Satisfy You-The Townedgers
I Don't Wanna Get Over You-Waylon Jennings.

(due to technical issues, The March edition was repeated)

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