Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week In Review: Motorboat, Julie And The Mad Dogs, More 45s

Friday Night was Motorboat's farewell to Tiffany Zweibohmer.  Tiffany who's going to school to get her P H D is relocating to LaCrosse with her hubby Eric.  Basically I told that story in a earlier blog and actually set aside Friday Night to go to North Liberty and the J & A Tap.  It was standing room only as Motorboat's set list included a lot of the 90s alternative rockers and a few curveballs.  In my opinion since coming out of retirement that Tiffany remains one of the best drummers out there, she plays loud, in fact she almost rivals me in terms of laying down a loud pounding beat but she can also sing.  The highlights was Tiffany taking Taylor Swift's Shake It Off and turn it into a Pat Benatar type of hard rocker that bares no resemblance to the original.

 But then again how many bands can you think of that still plays Tubthumper from Chumbawamba and make it rock and roll.  Of course her old bandmates from Blue Scratch paid her a visit,  Jay Dean and Jeorgia Robison  for a mini reunion of sorts.  For the first time anyplace my co worker Dan Moyer showed up, he is friends with the Motorboat guys.

It was nice to chat with Tiffany for a spell, she even mentioned about wanting to do Crazy Train sometime in the future with maybe 50 Shades Of Rock.   I wish her well in the future and I'll leave a chapter open should she venture down here from Wisconsin, male or female, she's still one of the best drummers out there.  Motorboat will play this Friday at Checkers Tavern with new drummer Chad Grimm taking over.  As for Tiffany, she'll be with 50 Shades Of Rock April 16 in Muscatine as Mississippi Brewing Company, and Bierstube Moline at Moline Illinois April 30th.  Catch them when you can.

Julie And The Mad Dogs played their first gig since January and it was back at Knucklehead's   Julie Gordon has been very busy playing in Blue Scratch and The Acoustic Kitties but in her own little group, she shows that she's a rock and roll girl.  While the Anamosa crowd was a bit sparse at the beginning more folks came after the Adult Prom was over and there was no shortage of party animal drunks although one dude crashed into the microphone thus getting the evil eye from the band members.  A continuation of Julie's birthday party bash (she had one Wednesday Night at Checker's Acoustic Jam),  one of her friends made her a interesting looking jello caster.  The Mad Dogs set list is a bit more varied than the usual bar band faves, but any band that can do Cinnamon Girl, War Pigs, Fairies Wear Boots and Tom Waits gets creative points from me and kudos.   And plenty of guest stars too, Julie is very liberal minded to give her friends from jam sessions and other bands to appear on a couple songs.  Dakota McWhorter continues to get better with each gig that he plays, replacing the departed Kyle Oyloe, to which Julie did a tribute song in his honor, and for a youngster who wasn't even born most of the songs, he held his own on the classic rock numbers.  For a rhythm section Kevin Michael and Mike Serbousek  do rock and roll with the best of them.  It got a bit interesting when Mike decided to do a quick bar hop during the break, to which a search party was mounted and quickly got him back into the fold after the Kyle Oyloe tribute song was over and done.  However, Mike did take over the lead for Johnny B Goode to which the guest drummer was so wild and kept dropping drumsticks that he was down to just playing with one drumstick before the song was over and done.   It was heard that he did a fairly good job keeping the beat with one drumstick, but I don't think he was up there to do a Rick Allen style of playing.  Certainly one of the best gigs that I have been to and Happy Birthday Julie once again.

So it wasn't a April's Fool joke and Guns And Roses reunion with Slash and Duff came true at the Troubadour.

Donald Trump has his haters, they're thinking of removing of his walk of fame star.  They shouldn't never included him in the first place.

Despite the no pictures policy, you can tell some fans managed to take some shots of the group in action.  Of course I didn't expect a full flown reunion, Izzy Stradlin basically is retired and Stephen Adler is always MIA, he was rumored to be a guest star but wasn't there.  But as long as Slash and Duff remain in good standing, the band will have tour dates coming up. That should make the folks at Blabbermouth happy (and many other rock sites).  I have no use for GnR but here's a nice review of GnR's Not In This Lifetime Tour.  I figured as long as everybody's alive they would get back togeher, just like you did.

All these band  gigs and I still managed to find a collection of 45s at the most unlikely of places, the SW Cedar Rapids Goodwill which usually is picked apart. And should make a very interesting mini Singles Going Steady this week.   It brings new meaning to the word record hoarding.  I also paid a visit to a resale store that had a few vintage 45s and CDs.  Beware, the place doesn't price their stuff and I balked at paying five dollars for pop singles but they threw in a Gold Disc of The Searchers on Mobile Fidelity for 20 dollars.   If it plays it's the bargain of the week.

Popcorn Jam was with the Saloonatics once again, third time in six weeks.  Highlights were Tim Wiley putting aside his differences with the gang and jamming on a few numbers.  Yours truly got to play the old Kansas chestnut Carry On Wayward Son and would have nailed it, had the old dropping the drumstick trip happened once again.  Seth Williams, the 17 year old, drummed on the majority of the songs and Ernest The Soul Man, tried to teach him how to play The Twist.  With me being in band mode nowadays I tend to play a bit louder and rougher and hope I didn't destroy Kim Bean's electric drums this time out.  On Flirting With Disaster, I bailed.  I need to play acoustic drums for that and I wasn't about to do yet another Rick Allen trick and play one handed once again.  I'm getting mighty tired of that.  Kudos to Barth Walter for excellent bass playing work.

Chris Stapleton has been the toast of Nashville music and on the ACM's he won 4 awards, including best album of the year, song of the year with Nobody to Blame, Best New Male Vocalist of the year and Best New Male Vocalist.   Poor Cam didn't win any awards although she was up for four of them.  To appease the Bro Country crowd, Jason Aldean  was entertainer of the year,  country ditz Kelsea Ballerini won best new female artist over Cam (can't figure that one out), Florida Georgia Line Duo Of The Year and best new artist, Old Dominion to which Farce The Music will be hacking up goobers on that.  Miranda Lambert won best Female Vocalist Of The Year and Vocal Event Of The Year with Smoking and Drinking with Little Big Town, who unlike the ACA's of last season, Girl Crush didn't sway the ACM. Thomas Rhett got Single of the year, with Die A Happy Man.  An upset so to speak and Eric Church Mr Misunderstood won Video Of The Year.   A shining moment was Martina McBride and Darius Rucker paying tribute to the recently departed Joey Feek, which just about compensate for the bad taste in the viewer's mouth of FGL and Old Dominion winning awards and of course, Mr Aldean who didn't win the douchebag of the year award, that went to Brantley Gilbert.

Villanova's Kris Jenkins sank a three point basket with no time left to propel Villanova to a three point victory over North Carolina 77-74 in what might be one of the greatest games ever for Championship Basketball.  Hometown hero Marcus Page tied the game with 4 seconds left with his own three before Villanova took it down court and passed to Jenkins for a desperation three pointer, which it did go in.  For the top rated Tar Heels, this was a very tough game to lose and even Roy Williams ended up in tears after the game.  The way Villanova played through the tournaments, they were not going to lose, even blowing Oklahoma back to Norman with a 95-51 win.  Already the pundits who can't wait for October to roll around has placed Duke at number 1 in the preseason top 25.   That's pushing it boys.

And baseball season started as the Chicago Cubs shut out Anaheim 9-0. Jake Arrieta and Travis Wood combined to shut the A's out and Miguel Montero hit the first home run of the season.  Good thing Dexter Fowler came back, he scored three runs.  Matt Schzur drove in three runs with a double in the 9th inning.  It's always good to start out with a win and the Cubs have done that.  Here's hoping they'll continue to win throughout the season.

The St Louis World Naked Bike Ride happens on July 16 this year.  I'm curious to consider making the trip to participate but chances are that I'll remain fully clothed for this.

From the stupid department: Donald Trump still leads the GOP, Sarah Palin continues to say everything stupid and Theodore Rafael Cruz is your worst nightmare.

Passings: Andy Newman, the piano player for Thunderclap Newman passed away at age 74.  The band recorded one album for Track called Hollywood Dream and best known for Something In The Air.

And American Idol is now history.  Thank you William Huang for the return.


CHEAP TRICK-Bang, Zoom, Crazy....Hello! (Big Machine 2016)

No Bon E Carlos, no Cheap Trick they say.  Course Daxx Neilsen is no Bun E. (but then again nobody is like Bun E. Carlos)  but on this new album, Daxx doesn't have to contend with cheesy ballads either.  Julian Raymond (Fastball, Pistoleros, Glen Campbell) has always had a power pop side to him that benefitted bands before, without him Fastball would be nobodies.  He worked with Cheap Trick before, the last album I believe but he cowrites most of the songs with the guys.  And for the first time since Heaven Tonight, Cheap Trick finally makes an album that is a worthy listen all the way through.  In their storied career they tend to try my patience even on their better albums (the self titled, Dream Police, In Color), but on Bang Zoom etc, every song is straight ahead rock and roll, with some power pop thrown in between.  Kinda wished they would have made the cover version of The In Crowd a bit longer or at least fade it out.  And it's been a while since they rocked as hard as they do on Blood Red Lips or even Long Time No See Ya.  While Cheap Trick fans do bitch about the lack of the original drummer, Daxx Neilsen is very good in his own style and it fits with the riffs of Rick Neilsen.  Even though they are on the label of Scott Borchetta, and he has to plaster his name underneath the credits, at least he's not there to pair them up with FGL or Locash.  This is their best record since Heaven Tonight.
Grade A-

With Bang, Zoom, Crazy... Hello, the Rockford, Illinois, foursome sticks to what they know: anthemic, melodic rock. The key elements have been in place since their self-titled 1977 debut: Robin Zander's powerful lead vocals, often doubled (an octave higher) by guitarist Rick Nielsen; Nielsen's mock-heroic (yet underrated) guitar abilities; Tom Petersson's thunderous, eight-string bass and Bun E. Carlos' solid-as-rock drumming. But — 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction notwithstanding — Bun's gone, replaced by Nielsen's son Dax. The difference is subtle but real, and something important has been lost. Some songs sound like rewrites: The intro to "When I Wake Up Tomorrow" echoes "Tonight It's You." The album offers nothing as immortal as anything they did in their early days (though "No Direction Home" comes close), but Bang, Zoom, Crazy... Hello is still a solid if unspectacular addition to the group's catalog. — Bill Kopp

BLACK STONE CHERRY-Kentucky (Mascot 2016)

For a band seeking creative freedom from being under the Roadrunner banner, they haven't changed very much if at all.  As far as I'm concerned Folklore And Superstition is their high water mark, with their debut a close second.  Number 3 they tried their best to crack modern rock radio and that failed and on number 4 even went so low to include Nashville hack songwriters The Warren Brothers on a song or two.  In a plus, BSC is still more melodic than Five Finger Death Punch, but on a negative side, BSC creates a lot of noisy guitars and don't say very much.  They borrow from Soundgarden quite a bit, Chris Robertson growls and scream like Chris Cornell and The Wave Of The Future or Shakin My Cage could pass as Badmotorfinger ear Soundgarden.  There's a bit of old gospel soul to the beginning of Rescue Me before the guitars start blaring through.  And of course for a cover, they dusted off War, which might be the most powerful track on that album.  But for the original songs, we have heard them all before and in better versions.   Five albums in, BSC is not going to change their style, and it's still from the Bob Marlette way of arranging songs, in heavy riffing after the first chorus and verse, the second slows down and then blares back up or simply going into the lead.  Sometimes I think Bob Marlette has done more harm than good on the bands he produces. For Kentucky it's the band that produces themselves (with David Barrick co producing and not Marlette but Marlette's touch is on this album).  One of the more anticipated albums has turned into one of the bigger disappointments but at least they'll still more listenable then most of their modern rock buddies.  But not by much.  And the Best Buy extras didn't help either.
Grade C

JOE JACKSON-British Live Performance Series (Rainman 2015)

While Joe Jackson is not too keen on live performances that he didn't authorize (
his original band really did rock and roll with the best of them.  He's right that the first disc of the live 1979-1986 2 CD best of shows a great band.  While BLPS may not be the best of the bunch, it is a step up from those awful Concert Classics Series that Renaissance continues to keep in print.  This brief 9 song set from 1981 has 5 tracks from Beat Crazy, Jackson's problematic 1980 album which shows the band at the crossroads but these live versions are actually good and Mad At You sounds more angry than the studio version ever did, as well as Fit.  Jackson goes bombastic on his hit single Is She Really Going Out With Him, which borrows more of the melody from Ace's How Long and the over the top ending gets annoying.  But what the Joe Jackson Band could do was straight ahead punk rock as indicated with I'm The Man and Don't Wanna Be Like That and the herky jerky rhythm of Beat Crazy the song.  Despite the so so recording, this album does show that out of all the bands and styles Joe Jackson has done, his original band remains the best.  For further proof, seek out Afterlife, their 2004 reunion live album. And Joe Jackson does have a point, the sound of this CD is awful.
Grade C+

DICK HYMAN-Moon Gas (with Mary Mayo)/Moog-The Electric Eclectics Of Dick Hyman (Omni 2015)

At age 89, Hyman continues to play off and on in various jazz piano configurations, but his two best known albums recently got reissued via Omni.  Moon Gas, originally recorded for MGM is what is known as Space Age Lounge Jazz argument-ed by  the sassy vocal styling of Mary Mayo.  The title track and Space Reflex (Blues in 5/4) somewhat sounds like Dave Brubeck O'Ding on Sun Ra and while Mayo does add some nice vocals on the jazz standards of Bye Bye Blues and Isn't It Odd, the record does go a bit too closely to muzak space jazz.  Moog on the other hand reveals the seeds of electronic music to the point that it may have influenced Kraftwerk and Neu! and Keith Emerson judging by the 8 and half minute The Minotaur, which Emerson may have used for inspiration for the ending of Lucky Man.  Amazingly there was a 7 minute edited version that may its way on 45 and did play on some FM underground stations.  Certainly the other side of the 45 The Topless Dancers Of Corfu lies between Ummagumma Pink Floyd, the Silver Apples  and early Tangerine Dream.  Although the album is Hyman experimenting different sounds and noises on the moog, the record is nothing like you heard before,  close to Sun Ra but not as going into deep other space as when Sun Ra gets going.   Two bonus cuts are taken from the second Command album The Age Of Electronicus, the outrageous cover of Turn It Up Or Turn It Loose and Kolumbo, which could be Minotaur Part 2 although not as interesting.  MGM did have Moon Gas out on a stereo LP but the masters have been lost, so you got the mono version instead.  Moog is the better of the two albums but both make a nice buy should you want to hear space age lounge jazz or hear how Keith Emerson got influenced by the latter album (Moog).
Grade B+

NEAL SCHON-Late Night (Columbia 1989)

Speaking of Bob Marlette, here's Bobby in one of his early productions, a bombastic, new age, full of echo bunch of hooey featuring Neal away from Journey.  As much I like Neal as a guitarist, Late Night is everything gone wrong and although Neal gets part of the blame, most of it falls under Bob Marlette who helped produced, arranged and mixed part of the album.  Most of the songs on Late Night would have sounded perfect for Miami Vice and not all the album is bad. Softly and I'll Be Waiting is somewhat listenable and the 8 minute The Theme featuring Steve Smith formerly of Journey but playing under his own band Vital Information sits on drums.  The problem is that when Schon gets to singing, he ends up more like Richard Marx rather than Greg Rolie or even Steve Perry.  Another problem is the don't yell at me soul sisters that ruin two songs, most notably Smoke Of The Revolution featuring one Sheryl Crow,  her all time worst backing singing songs ever.  Marlette's liberal use of dated keyboards and the album sounds like it was recorded in a cave.   Schon tries the rebound the Crow debacle with two new age fusion songs.  A shame that Steve Smith wasn't around to play drums, Omar Hakim sounds out of his league on those songs.  A double shame that Bob Marlette continues to get employment after this trainwreck of an album.
Grade C-

Singles Going Steady Medley:

Whole Lotta Shakin Going On-Conway Twitty (MGM K-12962)  1960  #55

I suspect Conway was more of a rockabilly pop star than the country maverick that he would later be. One of those 5 dollar specials that I just have to have.  It's actually a pretty good version if you think about it.  B side The Flame is something akin to Elvis' It's Now Or Never or Toni Fisher's The Big Hurt , but with more hokey string arrangements.

Itchin'-Jimmy Jones (Cub K-9076)  1960

Jones had two top ten hits with Handy Man and Good Timin, but Itchin' didn't chart at all, probably on the local charts or bubbling under.  I suppose the pop arrangement didn't help much.  The B side is a reworded version of Old McDonald aka EE I EE OH!  (Sue McDonald).  Cheesy.

Put Your Hand In The Hand-Ocean (Kama Sutra  KA-519)  1971  #2

In 1971 you could not escape this song.  It made number 1 for a couple weeks at KCRG.  One of those hippy Jesus songs that people would sing, even in our mixed chorus class we were forced this song upon us.  I recall there was a bunch of hippies that had a old 39 Ford pickup, with Jesus Saves in big block letters on the side and they would play this song as well.  It does have that nice backbeat that worked for The Band, Up On Cripple Creek.  You seldom hear this on radio anymore, even on Oldies it's not played all that much.    B side is one of those Get Together songs.

For Now And For Always-George Hamilton IV (ABC Paramount 45-9898) 1957 #25

ABC Paramount had George has a teen idol pop star, but this song seems to suggest a more country sound, despite Don Costa adding syrupy backing singers. This would be George's last top 25 chart showing for ABC Whatever, as frequent releases got further down the top 100.  B side One Heart is somewhat the song that Mitch Miller would get from his artists had George recorded for Columbia.  A nice pop teen idol song that wouldn't feel out of place on a Guy Mitchell or Frankie Avalon record. This copy the label needs to be glued back on.

Just Married-Marty Robbins (Columbia 4-41193)  1958   #26

Certainly Marty started out as country, but he had pop and rockabilly leanings and pestered Mitch Miller to do more of a pop sound, so Miller paired him up with Ray Conniff.  Part rockabilly, part pop due to the Conniff arrangement and that famed Columbia echo that made these records fun to listen to.  B side  Stairway To Love (#68) has Mitch Miller's signature sound all over it, all down to the bomp bomp bomps.   For a almost 60 year old 45, this plays very well.  Usually Columbia 45s are as cheaply made as possible but this is a rare exception to the rule.

White Sliver Sands-The Lennon Sisters/Pete Fountain  (Brunswick  9-55013)  1957

As we become more into Grandpa's music, let it be known that there's an interconnection between Lawrence Welk and The Lennon Sisters, Welk did record for Coral, whereas The Lennon Girls did this one on Brunswick although I think Pete Fountain was the major star of that label and got the girls on that label.  This is Dixieland pop for sure.  B side One Day A Little Girl is typical Lawrence Welk type pop.  Despite what the label says, Pete Fountain is not on this track, unless he's on the intro and end notes.

The Shelter Of Your Eyes-Don Williams (JMI-12)  1972

Don was part of the Pozo Seco Singers before striking out on his own and his early years he recorded for Jack Music Incorporated or JMI.  Even these early sides  you can hear that slow baritone on these soft ballads, such as the B side Playing Around, although Shelter Of Your Eyes has Don singing in a higher key.   Produced by an up and comer named Allan Reynolds who later go on to produce the likes of Emmy Lou Harris, Crystal Gayle and somebody named Garth Brooks.  Williams next single Come Early Morning had a B side called Amanda, which Waylon Jennings would score a top ten hit. Which is Don's version is just as good as Waylon.  Or Waylon knew enough of the arrangements to leave them be but add his own vocal style.

From Julie And The Mad Dogs

This will be the last season of Julie & The Mad Dogs. 
Our last gig on schedule for the summer is July 8th at Rumors. 
We have 6 gigs remaining: 
April 29th = Rumors-Cedar Rapids 
May 27th = Knuckleheads In Anamosa IA - Sharon Melville's Birthday Bash!!!
June 4th = CRL (Cedar River Landing-Cedar Rapids IA
June 25th = Hot shots-Anamosa 
July 8th = Rumors-Rumors C..R
Thank you ALL for your love and support. I hope to see as many friends/family as possible at these last few gigs heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon as we finish out for the season in honor of Kyle Oyloe
**DO 'LIKE' our page if you haven't already - it was me & Kyle's hope to get over 500 'Likes' ..LoL.. I know that's silly but what can I sa ya gotta be silly now & then emoticon

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