Monday, May 23, 2016

Week In Review: Sanity Room, Cliff Steward

The BZ season winding down at my place of work and I managed to sneak out to Waterloo for the once every three months bargain hunt of finds.  Not much to report from the Goodwill stores, junk CDs, junk LPs.  The St Vincent De Paul isn't much better but at least they have enough LPs to justify going up there.  At least they have an inventory of 45s to further my interest, mostly pop 45s.  Somehow I decided upon two obscure Coral singles from the mysterious Cliff Steward and his San Francisco Boys  Don't Put A Tax On The Beautiful Girls (Coral 60560  1950) and You Better Stop Telling Lies About Me (Coral 60459).  Basically Dixieland jazz from San Francisco, but somebody thought highly of Tax that they put it up on You Tube.

Blue Scratch
(Photo: Julie Jules Gordon)

The happening place up in Independence is something called the Sanity Room, located downtown Indee and that's where I spent most of the night hearing Blue Scratch playing and talking with Julie Gordon for a spell.  Interesting guy by the name of Frank was up there and he was gracious to talk about the place.  The Goodwill store had Wild Horses from Gino Vanelli up there for a quarter and I was going to pick it up on the way home but since I stayed the whole night with Blue Scratch jamming up a store I figured I really didn't need it that badly.   The Sanity Room is a nice place to hang out after a afternoon at work, or my case just passing through.

(photo: Elizabeth Amenieh-KWWL)

Thursday's morning storms I slept through but there was some storm damage up north, around Oelwein  and Independence to which the northern  part of the marquee at the Malek Theater came tumbling down.  Although the theater has been dormant for the past decade or so, the owner says he still plans to get the movie house going in the future.  The cost of the repair of the marquee is estimated at 50 thousand dollars.

Being a bargain hunting record and cd finding drum playing musician and full time blogger in a blog that doesn't get many views, I do have my own sense of fun trying to find the obscure stuff such as Cliff Steward and making the local scene talking about bands that play around here.  And I have been around long enough to establish some sort of credibility.  In order to be a fan of bands, you have to be a fan of their music and I find ways to hear new bands music and post them here, or play them on Townedger Radio, the once monthly show on Lucky Star Radio at midnight the 3rd Thursday of each month.  The pay sucks, plenty of time is invested and so is money but there's a dogged determination to keep this going after 15 years and plenty of places that I did call home before Blogspot became the final destination.  I get tired of I Fart Radio's same 200 songs played over and over, there's more to life than Sweet Home Anamosa or Back In Black or Sweet Child O Mine.  I can't limit myself to the same old same old, so I venture out and see that I can find on the cheap. And discover what I missed.  Swinging Steaks comes to mind, finding their Capricorn album and than discovering their other releases and writing about it.  And they have been kind enough to use a link on their site about my little site.  The 1990s music has as much great classic albums just like the previous eras, but with more lesser known bands making great albums.   It's a tough job in a corporate controlled media filled world to get the word out but if a band grabs my attention, I'll let the 15 faithful readers know about it.  However I did miss Shake Rattle and Roll's gigantic free record sale the other day. Otherwise I might have chanced it going to Chicago.

Which comes to mind of Wooden Nickel Lottery, one of my favorite bands from this area.  Last year I got the chance to jam with Jess Toomsen and ended up being friends with her and her husband Rich, who leads WNL.  They were working to get their new album out this summer, called Down The Line.  Rich was kind enough to give me an advance sneak peak of the new songs, in rough mix form.  And I must say that they have upped the ante, this record is really good and improves from their first album On My Way, which I did pick a track from that album on the latest TE Radio show.   Being a fan of any band, it is special when the band shares with you forthcoming new tracks.  It's no secret that Rich Toomsen is one of the best guitar players out there and word does get out.  Which was why Anthony Gomes tapped them to be their opening act earlier in the year.  And Wooden Nickel Lottery will be back at the Redstone Room June 18th when they open up for Samantha Fish.  Samantha has been a regular playing in the state of Iowa for a few years and with each album she gets to be a bit better known. For the hard work that WNL has put in, it's beginning to pay off.  Certainly, in this Crabb's opinion the Wooden Nickel Lottery/Samantha Fish show at Redstone Room in Davenport is one of the most see events this summer.  WNL will also be at the great Bar B Q roundup in Cedar Rapids in June.  Rain or shine of course.

(Photo: Karie Skogman)  (L Bird Burghdorff, Bart Carfizzi)

This week's Popcorn Jam, featured a surprise return by Tim Duffy, who sat in on a few numbers and Rare Earth's Randy "Bird" Burghdoff took the jam to a whole new level.   He came late to the jam and then blew everybody away by duplicating not only Molly Hatchet's version of Dreams I'll Never See but also nailed The Allman Brothers version of Whipping Post.  Randy still plays in Rare Earth but has moved from East Lansing Michigan to Cedar Rapids and might be looking to put together a new band of sorts while Rare Earth is taking a break. Rare Earth is slated to do a small mini tour in June/July, with stops in Livonia Michigan on June 25th and then July 3rd in Celina Ohio and the 4th with Mark Farner in Elgin Illinois.  Except for a November 5th date in Everett Washington and a rock and roll cruise on   The Constilation in late February-early March 2017, Burghdoff will have plenty of down time.  My guess is that he will be familiarizing himself with the local music scene at popcorn and acoustic jams.  Welcome to Iowa Mr. Burghdoff.

(Photo credit: Chris Lee KOCO Storm Chaser)

The weather so far this spring has been below normal temps and rain.  Hard to believe we're almost done with May and yet no big storms have hit this area.  YET.  Things are changing; we got one stalled front that will probably make bring more humidity, warmer temps and instability in the atmosphere to bring stronger storms.  Down in Oklahoma, they take their sunsets with a side of Tornado.  They can have them.

Your dream girl of the month Cally Caine.  Because women bass players are so fine too.

While people continue to pass away the woman on the cover of the 1979 Supertramp album Breakfast In America turned 95 and still is alive.  Salute!

Bob Lefsetz continues to tout his love of Spotify, which continues to lose millions of dollars and he continues to blame you and me for buying CDs and albums.   I don't comment much anymore about his blog, he repeats himself to get traction.  He has some valid points bout Hillary and Bernie and the evil Donald Trump but he loses me when he touts streaming.

Cubs At St Louis Part 2.  Cubs take 2 out of 3 from the Cardinals.  ESPN finally showed them playing last night without any blackout restrictions, a rarity.  They won 12-3.  Wednesday, they outlasted the Cards 9-8, Jake Arrieta going 9-0 but didn't pitch his best game.  Kudos to Jason Himmel for going 8 plus innings, he seems to have found his groove too.

Whatever happened to Rona Barrett?  She's still around and fighting for the old folk too.  God bless her:

Nick Menza, former Megadeth drummer, died onstage playing a set with his band OHM Friday Night. He was 51.  He's considered to be  Megadeth's best drummer ever.  Cause of death: heart attack.

Bob Mothersbaugh Sr. father to the guys who formed DEVO and was known as General Boy in their videos passed away Monday.  He was 90.

(Photo: Monte Freeman-Photoshop Tornadoes)

Record Reviews:

Mudcrutch-2  (Reprise 2016)

Even though it's still Tom Petty's other band, the guys step up and add a few songs of their own.  Which seems to helped TP a lot this time out, for he may have written his best batch of songs since the bloated Wildflowers album 20 years ago.  Beautiful Blue and I Forgive It All are some of the best slow songs TP has come up, each member adds some rock and roll to the equation, Randy Marsh throws an AM pop spirit to Beautiful World, Tom Leadon gives a Burrito Brothers flavor to The Other Side Of The Mountain, Ben Tench revisits Jerry Lee Lewis on Welcome To Hell and Mike Campbell reveals his inner Dylan on Victim Of Circumstance.  But Tom Petty reminds all who is the leader is by bringing out a nice Byrds take on Save Your Water and bringing Trailer to life, which was an Southern Accents outtake.  Hypnotic Eye was a nice fine latter day TP/Heartbreakers LP but Mutcrutch 2 rocks a bit harder and is a bit more fun.  At least it's a bit more fun than the Mudcrutch debut, which wasn't too shabby either.
Grade A-

Chet Atkins CSP with Jerry Reed-Sneakin' Around (Columbia 1992)

Chet has always been a great guitar player but his solo albums tend to borderline on country muzak. No exception to the rule on this album which Atkins gets top billing, Reed only sings a bit on Here We Are, but it's mostly instrumental guitar pickings from Atkins himself.  He sings on Gibson Girl, which is about a guitar if you haven't guessed by now.  Jerry Reed doesn't get enough credit for being one of the finest guitar players to ever hit Nashville, but by 1992 he was slowing down and like Atkins, the hits dried up.  At least on CBS Chet got to show off a few licks on albums that included Mark Knopfler who appears on a couple tracks.  Basically lots of laid back guitar picking and grinning but it still remains country muzak, complete with dated drums and recording.
Grade B-

The James Gang-Yer Album (Bluesway 1970)

Strange to find their first album on ABC's blues label but that's where it started for the Joe Walsh era of the James Gang.  And even if I'm not totality warmed up to the whole thing the jam part of Lost Woman works better on the In Concert album, there's a certain method to the madness that makes their cover of the Yardbirds number admirable.  Or Bluebird, the Buffalo Springfield cover, done a bit more slowed down and bit more metallic.  Then again I can get lost in the 12 minutes of Stop more so than you can.  In 1973, Steve Barri damn near picked most of the best numbers from the Joe Walsh era James Gang for the more easier to take 15 Greatest Hits (If you have the vinyl 16 Greatest Hits, with Yadig? and the live version of Take A Look Around, before the CD simply omitted Ya Dig? and did the studio version of Take A Look Around, whew!), that best of, simply paid attention to Joe Walsh only and not the Dominic Triano led band on Passing Through and Straight Shooter.  Still Jimmy Fox and Tim Kress  could been the American's answer to The Who,  Fox is one of the more underrated drummers out there, somewhat jazzy and somewhat more of a controlled Keith Moon type of drummer.   Despite such classics such as Funk 48 or Collage, there's a bit too much covers to consider this to be  their definite work.  But Joe Walsh was one of a kind even back then, however credit should be given to Bill Szymczyk to record this album in a way to call it a minor classic too.
Grade B+

Blake Shelton-If I'm Honest (WB 2016)

In reality, he slit his own throat by stepping out with Gwen Stefini and this is a make or break album from a country music entertainer who has gone south with each album since Based On A True Story, while his ex continues to be female entertainer of the year.  Blake isn't reinventing himself either, Straight Outta Cold Beer, is rehashed Boys Round Here and so far the single isn't catching on.  Despite that misstep with that, the Warren Brothers Everytime I Hear That Song, or the goofy assed Green,  Blake is at his best when he does ballads, even slimeball Dallas Davison's One Night Girl is listenable.  Bet You Still Think About Me and You Can't Make This up are the standouts and even though Steven Thomas Erlewine doesn't like the Oak Ridge Boys hamming it up on Doin It To Country Songs, I like that one better than he did.  Blake has always done fair to good albums, he gets into trouble when he goes all out Bro Country, which raises the ire of country purists but what Blake is good at is sly ballads with a wink after each key line, which is evident on She's Got A Way With Words.  Trading Miranda in for Gwen is a step down, but sometimes love doesn't turn out the way it was supposed to be and If I'm Honest is his divorce album, it's done with commendable results.  And let's say, it's an honest album, in some ways.
Grade B

Singles Going Steady Medley: St. Vincent De Paul Finds.

You Better Stop Telling Lies About Me-Cliff Steward (Coral 9-60459)  1950

I commented about Don't Put A Tax On The Beautiful Girls earlier in the blog, so I turn my attention to Cliff's early 1950's lost barbership dixieland jazz classic.  But In 1950 there was no such thing as rock and roll and anything heavy was R and B driven.  Steward's recorded a few sides for Coral, two made the top twenty in The Old Piano Roll #18 in 1950 and the Aba Dada Honeymoon #19 in 1951.  You Better Stop Telling Lies About Me (Or I Will Tell The Truth About You) seems to be influenced by Louis Jordan in a way although Steward owes more to dixieland jazz.  Steward remains very elusive on the internet, not much is known about him and if and when I get around to posting the picture of the 45, it'll be the first of it's kind anywhere.

Everglades-The Kingston Trio (Capitol 4441)   #60  1960

A pretty good song written by Harlan Howard and covered by the folk trio, although I'm surprised of the low chart showing of this song.   The Kingston Trio would not have any charting songs in 1961 but did come back with a number 21 showing of Where Have All The Flowers Gone.

On The Beach (In The Summertime)  The 5th Dimension   (Bell 913)  #54 1970

I look more at them now with more fondness than I did back in 1970.  And this song did get some airplay on the AM station and is that Carol Kaye playing bass on this song?  Sounds like it although Bones Howe, had this sort of sound going for The Association.   The next song One Less Bell To Answer basically saved them from being dropped by Bell Records and The 5th Dimension continued to mine the soft rock and soul side of music for the next couple years before fading from view.

Classic album from my youth- Ted Nugent (Epic 1975)

While each passing day Ted continues to open his right wing big mouth about Obama coming to take his guns away (so far Obama hasn't in 7 plus years and a good bet he won't) but four decades ago, Nugent was one of my favorite guitar players.  Ted Nugent, the album, simply is his all time best album, full of guitar riffs and just enough vocal support from Derek St Holmes to make this a classic.  In fact only Nugent screams lead on Motor City Madman and the jazzy You Make Me Feel Right At Home.  But what better way to start the album with the familiar riffs of Stranglehold, all 7 and half minutes of it and then on to Stormtroopin' which would be recycled for Dog Eat Dog on the next album.   This remains Nugent's classic band, St. Holmes, Rob Grange and the late great Cliff Davies pounding on those drums.  While Call Of The Wild and Tooth Fang And Claw were good albums, they lacked Davies' drumwork.  Politics aside, these 9 songs symbolize what Ted Nugent is good at, in your face guitar riffs and leads.  There was a minor hit with Hey Baby, but songs like Snakeskin Cowboys, Queen Of The Forest and Just What The Doctor Ordered along with Stranglehold, Stormtroopin and the rest remains a classic guitar rock album, despite Nugent's efforts to piss off the liberal media and fans.  Of course Nugent continued to thinker with the effort and by 1978 a whole new band took over, Charlie Hahn was a perfect replacement for St. Holmes after Nugent gave him and Rob Grange their walking papers and they did one album for Warners called St. Paradise. In fact Huhn, on the live shows did hold his own on Just What The Doctor Ordered and Snakeskin Cowboys.  But for old time's sake the original lineup was the best and even though Free for All and Cat Scratch Fever are good, the first Ted Nugent Epic album is his all time best hands down. But it is docked a notch due to Nugent's big mouth.  I can't overlook that.
Grade A-

Robert Christgau's review of Cam

Cam: Untamed (Arista) She's a rebel as Nashville defines it, neither conscious nor unconventional but not therefore d'void of spunk. ("Country Ain't Never Been Pretty," "Half Broke Heart") **
Grade B

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week In Review: Jane Little, Julius La Rosa, Guy Clark, Duffy's Farewell Jam

An amazing way to go.  Jane Little, who was the bassist in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the longest tenured person to play in a orchestra went out in style as she died on stage during an encore performance of There's No Business Like Show Business Sunday Night. She debuted at age 16 in 1945 and played for 71 years before her final performance.   To me that's the ultimate complement and the best way to go out in life, playing on stage.  She had no children and was widowed.  She could have retired but in the end, the orchestra was her family.  She was 87.

Julius La Rosa was a pop star of the 1950s, and was part of Arthur Godfrey's talent show.  Godfrey fired La Rosa after a performance on his show and Archie Beyer, the music director of Godfrey's show.  La Rosa signed to Beyer's Cadence label and started recording new pop standards.  However, the firing started up a nice pop career of the 1950s to which La Rosa had a few hits on the Cadence label and Ed Sullivan signed him up to the Talk Of The Town program.  La Rosa passed away last Thursday at age 86.

Guy Clark, one of finest Nashville songwriters ever died Monday after a long illness.  He was 74.  Along with Townes Van Zant, and Billy Joe Shaver, Clark wrote some of the finest songs recorded (Desperadoes Waiting For A Train, L A Freeway) and his first album for RCA Old No. 1 influenced many up and coming songwriters, Steve Earle and Chris Knight come to mind.

 New Bo keeps changing from the last five years of coming together after the big flood of 2008.  Last week they moved the old White Elephant Building to a new location, but new two story apartment buildings and restaurants has turned that part of Cedar Rapids into a place to hang around.  They are also working on improvements to the old Dillon's/3rd Street Live Building. With the summer season beginning, there's plenty of new things to check out and see at the New Bo Farmer's Market, Parlor City and the NewBo Ale house.  The Ale house 3 cheese mac and cheese is a good suggestion if you're tired of burgers and buffalo wings.

(photo: Kathy Colbert-Carfizzi)

If you weren't there, you missed the farewell jam of Tim Duffy Sunday afternoon at Rumors, and there was a fairly decent crowd there to wish Tim best of luck as he returns to the Georgia music scene.  Backed with Dan Johnson, Tommy Bruner and Terry McDowell, Duffy serenaded us with his versions of Rikki Don't Lose That Number and other showstoppers as well.  Tim Wiley made his first appearance since the Wiley Kats set, one month ago and did his songs of Jimi Hendrix and Cream.  In the above photo, Tim and both Kathys get photobombed by two former members of Open Highway Band. That was fun, let's do that again!

But the shining moments was former Open Highway/Paraphernalia guitarist Dewayne Schminkey stepping in for Wiley and they did three songs together, for the second time in over 30 years.  And the former Wiley Kats drummer getting to play drums behind superdrummer Tiffany Zweibohmer singing the Four Non Blondes hit single What's Up was another great highlight.  Overall, it was Tim Duffy's show and I have to say, it was much fun jamming with a local legend these past 10 months of playing music again.  I'll miss him.

Outside of the 45s big find earlier in May, I haven't found much in terms of music.  I'm not impressed with the new Marion Goodwill, that opened last weekend, the place reeks of Listerine to the point of just about overpowering you.  And Goodwill's idea of a record and CD section is to pile everything in racks and while there is a place to have the CDs and DVDs, the records were not in order.  I did see some 45s at the new Salvation Army in town, still busier than ever, but the records were played a lot. An interesting one would have been the Hit Record band The Roamers doing Bits And Pieces but the record was scratched badly.  Outside of Nino Tempo/April Stevens Whispering the selections were poor, but they did have a couple of Julius La Rosa 45s just in case anybody wanted to celebrate the legacy of the man.   I passed on all of them.

Since last month's edition of Townedger Radio was a repeat of March.  This month's version of TE Radio will be the April edition instead.  The show will air on Thursday the 19th at midnight CST but if you wonder what the songs are before it airs you can get them at this link

New website to tell you about: No Such Thing As Was.  It's kinda like Record World in its own way.  If you like this site, you'll love No Such Thing As Was

Record Reviews:

Eric Clapton-I Still Do (Surfdog 2016)

Glyn Johns returns to produce EC and I tend to agree with the logic that this record echoes more of Backless rather than Slowhand and that Eric would rather be J J Cale rather than Guitar God.  There's always the feeling this could be the final studio album, as I'll Be Seeing You ends this, but like any aging rock star that knows music, Eric has been doing some pop standards the past decade, a far cry from the blistering blues leads he did with The Bluesbreakers or early Yardbirds but it shouldn't deter you, dear listener from hearing this album.  I don't think this record really grabs me as much as his final Reprise effort Clapton in 2010, his originals don't really stand out all that well, the best songs are the ones written by the late J J Cale, and there's the customary Robert Johnson number (Stones In My Passway), the customary other blues numbers by the likes of Skip James and Leroy Carr, and even a lullaby for babies.  My fave would be the Paul Brady helped I Will Be There, with the mysterious Angelo Mysterioso on guitar and vocals, which rumor had it being George Harrison but Clapton it wasn't.  Draw your own conclusion then.  The comparisons to Backless I'd say would be right; that album never really grabbed me all that much.  I Still Do is a bit more better and Clapton has plenty of friends along for the ride (longtimers such as Andy Fairweather-Lowe, Chris Stanton, and Henry Spinetti plus Dave Bronze and Paul Carrack too).   It's not a classic the way Slowhand is, but on a lesser scale, it does mirror Clapton well enough to say it's a pleasant listen for doing laundry or taking a Sunday drive.  This is Clapton taking another spin around his laid back style of soft rock and blues, not enough for me to say it's worth buying but does have enough songs that at least make it pleasant background noise if you're tired of Wonderful Tonight.
Grade B 

Scott Sanborn says:  Eric Clapton proves, once again, why he should not retire. So grateful for "I Still Do." Brilliant. Check it out.

The James Gang-Live In Concert (ABC 1971)

Sloppy and as rough as they come, but then again Joe Walsh has always been that way even after leaving The James Gang.  This concert does show them to be the US's answer to The Who in the way they play but the Stop/You're Gonna Need Me medley never really takes off.  There's a different spin on Walk Away, which owes more to The Who in improvising on the spot and it's really not that bad.  Nor is Take A Look Around/Tend My Garden   While the 18 minutes of Lost Woman might be as tedious as the 19 minute In Da Gadda De Vada, I actually like most of it, and Ashes The Rain And I as an acoustic break I like better than the studio version.  But like Iron Butterfly Live, it's an album of dated 70s rock and bombast.  And I guess you had to be there in person to hear it rather than on record.
Grade B-

Hour Glass-Power Of Love (Liberty 1968)

Before the Allman Brothers, it was Duane and Gregg Allman with future famed producers Johnny Standlin and Paul Hornsby and master session guitarist on bass Pete Carr, known as the Hour Glass. And while their first album bombed big time, this new album Dallas Smith lets them write their own songs...and then ruins them with his dated production.  While Dallas Smith tried to find some sort of hippy dippy hit singles, it never came together, not at least on the record charts and this album bombed too.   But you can tell that Gregg Allman's vocals were becoming more and more assured of themselves and side 1 does have some cool attempts to break the charts; I Can Stand Alone, and To Change Things aren't bad and they even rescue Changing Of The Guard from the Allman Joys era (which can be found on Dial Records if you look hard enough at your local junk shop).   The instrumental cover of Norwegian Wood is one part Beatles and one part whacked out Take Five.  Alas, Dallas Smith is the weakest link of this album, he's good at producing Bobby Vee and Del Shannon, with Hour Glass not so much.  And the band felt he wasn't a good fit as you can tell by Going Nowhere which shows them a bit disgusted with their producer.  The CD version fits in It's Not My Cross To Bear and Southbound, plus the instrumentals February 3rd and Apollo 8, which points the band into what the Allman Brothers would be famous for, blues and impromptu jams.  Even though Derek Trucks and Jaimoe replacing Sandlin on drums and Dicky Betts and Barry Oakley taking over for Hornsby and Carr, the Hour Glass, if you look at them, was the first supergroup of sorts although fame would come with different lineups.   Power Of Love is a minor classic despite having a clueless producer on board.  And the best would yet to come.
Grade B 

Golden Earring-The Continuing Story Of Radar Love (MCA 1989)

A questionable best of but if you are only familiar with Radar Love and Twilight Zone, this is the only Golden Earring you'll ever need.  The Earrings have been around for 5 plus decades, quite a feat for a rock band of any sort, and they rival The Status Quo for their longevity.  This comp takes the whole side 1 of Moontan, their biggest selling album in the states and while Radar Love has withstand the test of time and a slot on the forever played classic rock songs on your local Timesquare Media or I Fart Radio, the followup Candy's Going Bad did skirt the bubbling under and remains a fine song (The Godz did a killer cover of this song although their last part tends to bore me).  Underground classics like She Flies On Strange Wings and Leather showed them to be as worthy on FM radio too.  During the 80s, Golden Earring did return back to chart action with Twilight Zone and Quiet Eyes but unlike the 70s, their production is a bit more dated.  MCA basically got them back for this best of overview and starts at Radar Love and ends with Twilight Zone, and outside of She Flies On Strange Wings the early years are avoided.  There's some songs that got left off the platter due to time restrictions (When The Lady Smiles, Sleepwalkin, Violins) and Sleepwalking did come out on an edited 45 version, it does tend to sound too close to Radar Love for anybody to take notice, unless you like to think outside of the stagnant playlists of your local classic rock station. Golden Earring sometimes got into the realm of progressive rock, though the songs don't sound prog rock, the changing parts to Vanilla Queen and it's 9 and half minutes is considered somewhat prog rockish.  But in this day and age of cheap cds at the thrift stores, this overview does do justice to a two hit band.  And there was more to Golden Earring than just Radar Love or Twilight Zone, although they never did quite come up with anything as hook laden and tailored made for the top forty.
Grade B+

Michael White Plays The Music Of Led Zeppelin (Cash-Mir 1995)

Back in 1987 I got to see Michael White And The White play at Rockers in Phoenix, and dammed if they sounded like the real thing.  Even Jimmy Page and Robert Plant took notice enough to give White kudos and an one album deal with Atlantic.  Back in 1987 White had Plant's vocals down pat, but the album was so so.  A shame that Atlantic didn't decide to do that Zep tribute album back then.  Musically, The White have the Zep sound down, all the way to the mistakes made on record, although this 1995 release sounds a bit too polished and not enough of that tape hiss that Andy Johns gave that signature sound, or the Ron Nevison drum pound.   But tribute albums are that, a nice attempt but as they say often imitated but never duplicated  but co producer Sean Abbott does his best and Dazed And Confused comes close.  This won't make you forget the original boys but I appreciate the dedication of Mike White to come close to the original, but if you haven't already, seek out the real thing.  But if Jimmy and Robert approves, so do I.  The man earns respect.
Grade B  

Album from my youth:  The Godz (Millennium 1978)

Oh youth, why does thou listen to such empty headed rock and roll? BECAUSE THE GODZ ARE ROCK AND ROLL MACHINES! Out of all the bands of that decade that played such empty headed rock and roll, I was into The Godz simply of the fact that they rocked hard on their debut produced by Don Brewer (Grand Funk Railroad).  In terms of three chord rock and roll, The Godz knew how to rock. Eric Moore may had led the band and sings on all but three songs on side 1, Mark Chatfield and Glen Cataline would sing on the rest, and Cataline had the more rock and roll voice, being on Guaranteed and Candy's Going Bad, Mark's on Under The Table and Cross Country, which sounds more BTO ish. But it is the hard riffs that made Gotta Keep A Runnin a damn near classic although Moore's talk about rock and roll machines brings more gaffaws and laughs nowadays but as a 17 year old I believed in the rock and roll machines. The Godz did end their shows with Candy's Going Bad, complete with trainwreck endings, but it's better seen then heard. Almost 40 years after the fact, the album has shown boogie rock dateness but I can live with that rather than the bullshit that is modern rock nowadays.  Perhaps The Godz could have done another song and shortened the final two numbers but I believe that Don Brewer was capturing the live spirit in the studio.  Being on Millennium didn't help matters, they did promote them with Casablanca dollars on number 1 but the second album Nothing Is Sacred, Casablanca took over and while I loved the album back then in 1979, it's more poppier than rock and Eric Moore admits it wasn't all that great despite songs such as 714 or Luv Kage or Rok Yer Sox Auff, they did try to put a Slade spin on things and the record reveals it shortcomings.  In time, their first album remains their legacy and rightfully so, Rock Candy an import rock reissue label did remastered this in 2010 and the sound is much better than the Black Rose comp Power Rock From USA, which has most of Nothing Is Sacred, which means that comp isn't all worthless.  It's interesting to hear the future VP of Bank One in Columbus Ohio  shouting out Guaranteed, or Candy's Going Bad, Cataline was a very good drummer.  But in the end, while him and Bob Hill invested wisely and gotten day jobs that Eric Moore continued to lead The Godz into the 21st Century although he's mostly retired nowadays and Mark Chatfield has a guitar store out in Vegas and did play in Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band for a time. But still, The Godz remains a guilty pleasure and they were the anti disco rock least on their debut album.
Grade A-  

(photo credit: Rob Verhost)

Townedger Radio Playlist (TE Radio 18-April edition broadcast 5-19-16)

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

Note: Just To Satisfy You and I Don't Wanna Get Over You replaced Wasted by Pere Ubu on the show.  The Pere Ubu number couldn't play on the original CD sent to Lucky Star Radio and there was about five minutes left in the show so Diggy Kat added these songs.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week In Review: Mother Russia, Tim Duffy, New Monkees

May has been a very busy time for me at work, so it looks like the rest of the month is going to be news as it happens, outdated rant and ravings and who died this week and who played at the jam sessions.

(popcorn jam photo by Jean Gilmore) (L to R: Dave Bonham, Mike Lint, Tim Duffy)

With one more farewell popcorn jam session left Tim Duffy continued to lead the jammers this Sunday afternoon, helped along by the reliable Brook Hoover and Dangerous Dan Johnson and Jon Wilson bringing back his big marching band bass drum.  Guitar Dave Bonham was the surprise guest star making a rare showing since moving to Davenport earlier in the year.  Over at Cooters, Tommy Bruner co head lined with Michael Williams and Dan Hartman with Eddie the bass player.  And Tim Wiley continues to get better playing the guitar and this time out bringing out his acoustic guitars to sit in.   While The Wiley Kats have been put on hiatus for now, Wiley continues to be out and about to showcase his talents and perhaps soon he'll be back with a new set of Wiley Kats to take over the town.  But then again maybe not.

(Photo: Tim Duffy)

Meanwhile Tim Duffy has been busy of late, buying a brand new bass guitar at Guitar Center and managed to take a selfie while showing off his new baby.  And I'm sure he will be playing it on his farewell show next Sunday.   Questions remained of who's who going to show up, or if Wiley will say goodbye to him at Rumors.  But Tim Duffy will get back to the music scene down there.  In his archives  he managed to share the stage playing harmonica with the one and only Bo Diddley.  You know damn well I'm going to post that picture don't ya Mr. Duffy?  So here he is, in 1998, with Mr. Elias McDaniels.  Duffy knows Bo.

The Chicago Cubs are on fire and they swept the Washington Nationals in four games, concluding with a Javy Baez game winning home run in the 13th inning for a 4-3 Cubs Victory and swept of the Nats, who had the second best record in the National League prior to the series.  It's hard to vision how good the Cubs have been so far this season.  While the Cardinal faithful will point out once June and July come around the Cubs will stumble and fall, but with Joe Maddon at the helm, he will not let that happen.   Last year's team was in rebuilding mode and nobody expected them to come out of nowhere to take out Pittsburgh and St. Louis in the playoffs.   So far, after 30 games, the Cubs are 24-6, hotter than July.  Stealing Jason Heyward and John Lackey from the Cardinals plus Ben Zobrist from Kansas City has turned the Cubs into a real championship caliber team, something that I'd never thought I would ever see or say in this life, but getting Dexter Fowler back was key. And now Javier Baez has joined the ongoing roster of hitters, getting game winning home runs when it counts.   Make no mistake, the Cubs swept a very good Washington team, to which they might be playing each other come October.  For now, the Cubs had the upper hand this time around

The internet has been turned back on in Russia again.  I noticed a big spike in the ratings for this month, last three days over 200 views were documented, mostly from Russia viewers.  A couple of old blogs have stood out, the 2011 Radio Fuckall blog and the 2013 farewell to Annette Funicello  but for the most part, the more recent blogs still have the most views.  Which they should be.  Hanging With The Band Playlist from 2013 seems to be popular as well.  The Hanging With The Band blog also has a review of the last Goo Goo Dolls album, which I gave a B at that time.  I might have been a bit more generous than I should have been, given the new album Boxes I wrinkled my nose at.  Perhaps soon, I will compile that Goo Goo Dolls anthology just as soon as I blow the dust and cobwebs off those albums.

While the Marion Goodwill opened up their western side of the store, where the old Ace Hardware used to be at last Friday, I set my sights going to Maquoketa and seeing what their Goodwill had for dollar days and damned if I didn't find The Godz 1978 album on Rock Candy, the import CD label that issued it back in 2010.  An earlier issue from Black Rose in France was recorded off an old scratched up copy but what keeps that in my collection is that it has Nothing Is Sacred, (missing one track, Festival Season) as a 2 on 1, but the Rock Candy is licensed from Eric Moore and the sound is much much better.   I still love The Godz first album, it's good rock mindless fun all the way to the chaos that ends Candy's Going Bad, Gotta Keep A Runnin their classic moment although the Rock and Roll Machines segment is a bit Spinal Tap'ish.  Long time ago I gave Nothing Is Sacred the best album of 1979 but in this day and age, it fallen from a solid A to a still respectable B plus, simply of Love Cage and 714.  Eric Moore remains the last standing original Godz player, Glen Cataline  did partake in a 1995 reunion but last word was that he's a bank's vice president in Columbus. 

While You Tube has been getting blasted lately from the likes of Q Prime and Irving Azloff, I give You Tube credit for keeping alive the memories of old 45s and forgotten bands that Q Prime and Irving would have turned away at the door.  Rolling Stone Magazine, which has been in the toilet for many many years.....well I think I found the source that started R.S. Mag down the great black hole of decline which they never gotten out of an is still falling to this day.  On 1977,39 years ago, CBS aired a 10th Anniversary pat on the back to Rolling Stone, to which reviews were scathing at best.  From the AV Club comes this little nostalgic not so fond look back at that show.  The show was taken from a well worn VCR, however one of the fun skits was Keith Moon destroying a motel room in a Steve Martin skit that would eventually pop on in The Who's Kids Are Alright movie.  Highlights might be the commercials at that time.  The world was much better without Viagra spots back then.  

Passings; William Schallert.  He died Sunday at age 93.
Candaye Kane, blues singer and used to be a adult movie star, died from cancer. She was 54. 

Record Reviews:

Ace Frehley-Origins Volume 1 (eOne 2016)

Ace has been on a roll, beginning with Space Invader and now revisiting his rock roots with this all covers album.  Even with KI$$ Ace has always been known for picking choice covers,  he did that with 2000 Man from the Dynasty album and his solo career, beginning with New York Groove and then even the last album he redid The Joker.  Forty years onward, Ace remains a guitar rocker first and foremost, you don't hear this much guitar lead on the radio anymore.  On this, he "kisses" and makes up and then used Paul Stanley on the cover of Fire And Water, taps Slash to help play Emerald and manages to bridge Wild Thing with Lita Ford in the shape of the version done by Fancy of all bands.  Drummer Scott Coogan plays Robert Plant vocals on Bring It On Home and even if John 5 doesn't make you miss Jimi Hendrix on Spanish Castle Magic, I wonder if Frank Marino could have pull the job off much better.  Cover albums can be either a money grab or perhaps a fond remembering of the classic rock of the 60s and 70s and Ace does a fine job of adding lots of feedback to Magic Carpet Ride.  Even Gene Simmons gets a nod and wink on the final track Rock And Roll Hell, but if nothing else Ace reclaims the songs that he originally wrote for KI$$ back in the early 70s, Cold Gin and Parasite and makes them rock even harder.   Out of all the past couple years, Ace's albums sound more KISS than that band's last two albums, even though those two albums have been the best they have done in years.  But still, Origins Volume 1 continues that winning streak of Ace proving to both Gene and Paul that the rock and soul of that band has always been Ace, when Ace was up to the task.  Plus Origins is a lot of fun to listen to.  It does make me look forward to Origins Part 2 to see what tricks Ace has up his sleeve the next time around.   The most fun album I've heard all year from a classic rock and roller
Grade A-

Iron Butterfly Live (Atco 1970)

Next to Vanilla Fudge, The Butterfly's music really has dated over time.  Used to be they were one of the best selling artists on Atlantic/Atco till Led Zeppelin and Yes and Stone Temple Pilots came around and passed them by.   Their albums have been in and out of the catalog, Real Gone recently reissued Ball, with Bill Kopp writing the notes for that lackluster album.  Erik Braun would be eventually leaving after the release of Live, replaced by Mike Pinera and Larry Reinheart for the Metamorphosis album.  But in theory, a lotta of the stoner hippies did have I.B. Live in their collection and still swear by it's their best overall album ever.   Which is open for debate.  If anything Filled With Fear could be considered an early attempt of gothic rock/death metal, something that Cathedral would work with.  I still have to be in the mood to attempt to listen to whole part of side 1, although Are You Happy shows just how good Ron Bushy is behind the drums.  Which leads to 19 and a half minutes of their big hit single In da Gadda Da Vada, which has some different variation between the 17 minute version and the live version.  Of course the drum solo is way too long, but fall asleep and you'll miss Doug Ingle returning back to sing the final verse and chorus.  But then again you get critic hacks saying Live is their worst album ever or the worst all time live album ever recorded.  Which is open for debate and I disagree (ever heard of Happy Monday's Live? That might be the all time worse album, or Wire's Document And Eyewitness, which I don't think is) In Da Gadda Da Vada, played live is actually faster than the studio version.  Still, the record is dated and not of use to anybody wanted to hear what the fuss was all about.  But if you were one of the few that actually enjoyed this live document and want more, Wounded Bird is slated to issued a 2 CD set of The Fillmore East 1968 Concerts that will wet your appetite for another 20 minute version of their biggest hits.  Rumor has it the drum solo is worth the price alone.
Grade B-

Peter Paul And Mary (Warner Brothers 1962)

Dated artifact number two.  Hard to say if they saved Warner Brothers at that time since the only money making artist on that label at that time was The Everly Brothers and their star was fading even in 1962.  Before the Beatles came across the pond, it was basically surf music, teen idol stuff and folk that sold records, and usually the best selling folk albums came from PPM or The Kingston Trio and Chad Mitchell Trio.  Overall, I like (Moving) better than this debut which sets the stage of some the most cheesy songs this side of Dominique, It's Raining with it's liberal use of nursery rhymes.  This record also didn't help any with my brain playing an endless six hour marathon of If I Had A Hammer either.  Most of the songs did find their way on the 10 Years Together best of and probably is the way to go..  As for Man Of Constant Sorrow or even If I Had My Way, the song arrangements pale in comparison to The Stanley Brothers or Bobby Darin's  The Sermon Of Samson which basically the same song.  This record is seen countless times at the thrift stores, today's generation has no use for it, and for that matter perhaps the people that grew up listening to this.  Still some people love this album, for myself I could live without it.
Grade C+

New Monkees (Warner Brothers 1987)

No, they can compete with the original TV foursome.  When MTV showed old reruns of The Monkees TV show, it spurned a comeback of sorts from Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz to make a surprise hit with That Was Then And This Is Now, which may have been the kiss of death for the kids that became the New Monkees.   Since then Rhino has issued three new albums from the old Monkees, the next one slated for release May 27th  and of course I'll take a listen to it.  The New Monkees's TV show last one episode, to which a grainy taped VCR can be found on you tube:
Larry, Marty, Jared and Dino were no match for Davy, Peter, Mickey and Michael and Warner Brothers gave up and whatever copies went straight into the cut out bins.  While copies go for 20 dollars or more on Amazon, I found a dollar copy of this album.  If you're expecting a Daydream Believer or Last Train To Clarksville Part 2, you will be duped.  The best tracks are produced by Steve Barri (The Grassroots, Tommy Roe) who knows a bit of pop sense and the session players are not bad either (Dann Huff, Dean Parks, Paul Leim and Mike Slamer who played in Streets (with Steve Walsh of Kansas fame)).   But I can't help but think that New Monkees may have more to do with the boy band craze of New Kids on The Block and later Backstreet Boys/N'SYNC).  There are goofy shit on this album ( The Way She Moves, the odd vocal of Do It Again, Turn It Up's ending) but there's also songs that were carefully arranged to make an impact, after all they cover Tom Cochrane's Boy Inside The Man and Burning Desire, which might have been a hit single had Warners provided some promo love.   Overall, the best of the vocalist was Marty Ross and he sang the best ones, which were Boy Inside The Man.  And not bad on a first take since Steve Barri thought one time was it.   Ross was also right, it was an average album.  I'll take his word on that.

A second listen and The New Monkees album was a lot better than originally thought. Marty Ross really did the best songs Affection probably better than Boy Inside The Man.  The Way She Moves grew a bit more on me and even though Larry' guitar work is okay, the leads are very very dated.   Turn It Up does go on a bit too long but overall the New Monkees album, for assembly line songwriter and players is a fairly good effort, despite Warner Brothers writing it as a tax loss.

Grade B+

Marty Ross-  I like this album....I think some of the songs have some rather thin production values while others are more solid....there are a lot of contributors to this album. which was good since I hear that some of the New Monkees were working 18 hour days on the set and were drinking too...There are some rather cheesy moments ,such as "I Don't Know" But Larry Saltis sings " Carlene " very nicely....Dino sings the theme song " Turn It Up" with great aplomb until it falls apart at the end.......I thought I sang well on " Boy Inside The Man"....I wish I could have have a second take but I was happy to take the saline solution and the gurney ride out ...All in all an average album...but just in case someone from Warner Brothers is reading this and forgot all about it 5 STARS!!!!!
(From his review of the album at  12/16/2007)

Did you know that Marty Ross played in a power pop band called The Wigs?  They have made two very good albums you can still get at CD Baby   

All you need to know about the history of the New Monkees here. 

Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush-Dragonfly: The Best Of (Razor And Tie 1996)

In my teenage years, Live was one of the goto albums and I got my best friend Russ hooked on that to the point he became a big Frank Marino fan.  The story has been told time and time again but the ghost of Jimi Hendrix playing Frank a visit in the hospital and Frank picked up a guitar and played like Jimi but even Frank disputes that and said he had other influences as well.  Frank also doesn't have much kind words to speak of his Columbia years and being with the management team that managed big mouth Ted Nugent and dirty rockers Aerosmith and that the California Jam 2 concert was the one of the worst that Frank ever played at but you couldn't tell it from I'm A King Bee.  20 years after the fact, Dragonfly remains at best a so so mixtape of Frank's best songs, Mike Ragogna and Dave Rickman, who compiled this, did a half assed job; no The Answer, no Strange Dreams, no A New Rock And Roll, no You Got Livin or Loved By You, and nothing from The Power Of Rock And Roll and only one track from Juggernaut.  And of course, nothing from the 20th Century Fox years either.  Basically we could have done without Roadhouse Blues but the haphazardness of choosing the throwaway track Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame going into Mona from What's Next is why I can't recommend this album, unless you find it in the dollar bins like I did Monday.  Frank Marino has always been a excellent and underrated guitar player who was probably influenced by Rory Gallagher and Al Di Meola and Robin Trower as well as the aforementioned Hendrix, Dragonfly the song is one of the more funkier songs Marino has ever done and of course his Johnny B Goode from Live is worth the price of admission alone.  Marino also benefitted from a great rhythm section of Paul Harwood and especially  Jimmy Ayoub, one of the best drummers you never heard, his drumming to Hey Little Lover almost rivals Neil Peart.  Still for a sampler of the music of Frank and M.R  this still is a disappointment. With his CDs in print via imports you can probably do a better job of mixing your own songs and it would be better than Dragonfly the best of.   Even as a dollar CD I still cannot give this a better grade than a B minus.  So a B minus it will remain.

Triumph-The Sport Of Kings (MCA 1986)

They never did find the groove for me.  They started out third rate Budgie, then third rate Rush and then by the time this album came out, fourth rate Journey or Bon Jovi take your pick.  Somebody Out There might have worked at a outtake for Journey's Frontiers, in fact when radio played it, it was mistaken for Journey.  There's a bit of difference between Gil Moore and Ric (the screech) Emmett.  When they keep it Corporate Rock in such as Somebody Out There or even Hooked On It, I can tolerate them, when they up the bullshit on Play With The Fire,  you basically want to tell Emmett to stifle himself.   For my money, Thunder Seven was slightly better, but Ric Emmett is an acquired taste at best and a little of him goes a way long way. For this sort of Corporate Rock, Survivor did it better, as well as Journey...Rush....Budgie...etc etc.
Grade C

Albums from my youth:  Joe Jackson I'm The Man (A&M 1979)

Okay, so his second album wasn't as good as Look Sharp!, but if you look closely past the disco pop crap of 1979, there were great albums from the likes of  Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello (to an extent) and Joe Jackson who's second album came on the heels of the first album.  I tend to think side 1 holds up quite well, the quirky On Your Radio easily beats anything from Elvis C and Kinda Kute rivaled anything from Squeeze who was still learning their craft.  The reggae feel of Geraldine And John which reminds the world that Dave Houghton was damn near expert for that feel of beat.  And of course the dark It's Different For Girls that shows Joe Jackson could even out mope Ian Curtis of Joy Division, but of course my favorite track was the title track, to which A&M put out a fucking edited version on 45.  Jackson coming across a sleeve ball salesman trying to sell you anything from a safety pin to a pork pie hat and if he can't get to you he will go for you son.  Side 2 on the other hand does drop off in quality, still decent songs such as Don't Wanna Be Like That, to which Jackson and band could do punk rock, Amateur Hour which does come across as a Costello rip and The Band Wore Blue Shirts, which was could be aimed at our local bands in town, say Dave Major And The Minors.  That band played in local high schools and made a fair living from that and their albums.  Get That Girl has a catchy chorus line and Friday is a jazz punk raver but the last three songs really don't do that much for me.   This band would make the darker Beat Crazy and then Jackson disbanding the group and since then revisits his  early years of jump blues with Jumpin Jive and then the smooth lounge pop of Night And Day.  But I'm The Man remains a good album to listen to from time to time, and back in the days of mix tapes, four songs were used in a imaginary soundtrack called "hello"  and I won't go into great detail about what the movie was all about, but had the movie been made it would have been like Porky's or American Pie.  I had a great imagination back then.  It's the lesser album to Look Sharp, but that doesn't mean it's a worthless album, contrary to rumor, Jackson would never get this punky again, even with Beat Crazy next up. But Jackson would get the boys back together in the 2000's with Volume 4, a more mature sound somewhat akin to Costello's work but without Elvis C's stuffy words and music.   The CD reissue has a cover of Chuck Berry's Come On done at punk rock speed, that was the B side to I'm The Man and originally appeared on Propaganda, a odds and sods bunch of live stuff from The Police among others.   In the end, the album still remains a strong B plus album, even with Come On as the bonus track. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Singles Going Steady 30-This Month's BDW Record Finds

Every month at the Marion Antique Mall, the folks behind BDW Records bring up a batch of 45s of varying degree the first of the month.  And I have great luck in finding some of the more obscure 45s the past couple months.   It's not easy finding decent copies of 50 year old 45s without paying an arm and a leg off EBAY or record stores with the unmarked 45's selection.  Buyer beware on the unmarked 45 selection.   It's one thing to spend 10 dollars or more on stuff I've grew up listening to in my childhood and trying to recapture them buy spending 10 dollars or more.   It's another to find reasonable priced 45s at 3 for a dollar.  Hell, not even Goodwill Industries does that.  Ever since the vinyl revival, they raised the price to 88 cents and even 1,88 or 3.88 or more on Elvis or Wilson Pickett regardless of shape or condition of record.   At least with BDW Records, they are priced to move.

There are arguments to the CD vs Vinyl, as vinyl has been growing back in popularity, although they're nowhere near what CD sales were back say, 10, 15 years ago, before the major label industry got too greedy with copy protect CDs, loud recordings and that FBI logo and then the internet took over.  As for me, CDs do the trick, you can tote them in your car and play them since radio sucks.  But at home or at the junk store it is the 45s that have my attention.  55 years of living, and I've never grown out of buying 45s at some point as you can tell from previous S.G.S blogs on this page.  And when I'm dead and gone, they're all be back up on the block for buyers to buy but while I'm still living, I enjoy looking through moldy boxes of old 45s of forgotten songs, and once in a while making a unique find, such as Davenport a couple years ago.  I don't think I could ever top a Buddy Holly or a Sam Cooke or a Bob Dylan red vinyl 45 ever, but I do get surprised of what I still find, if I know where to look and know when to frequent the junk shops or Goodwills and Salvation Army/St Vincent De Paul Stores.  Collectors are out and about too but it is the element of being at the right place right time.   And I suspect that this month's finds might have been the best since the August 2014 Davenport bargain hunts.   It's not often that I find a Atco promo of a Troggs song that is rarely heard on the radio.

1.  Woman Is The N Word Of The World-John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band  Apple 1848  #57 1972
Due to the PC nature of the world, this song is no longer heard on the radio or for that matter satellite radio.  Certainly our AM radio stations did not play it, it was banned due to the offending N word.  But I always to find a copy of this 45 somewhere without taking out a second mortgage on the house. While Lennon is loved for his music and lyrical vision, I admired him from a far.  He got to be too preachy at times and while Give Peace A Chance was fun back in 1969 or 1970, it gets tedious after awhile. But he did nail it, Instant Karma!, Power To The People, Imagine are the classics.  This song did appeared on Shaved Fish, the Apple Lennon best of, but each ensuring best ofs, it was forgotten and left off.  But the old lyric publishing magazine Song Hits did print the lyrics a few times.   Come to think of it, in this day and age, Lennon's lyrics to this song still rein true.  And sometimes the world cannot handle the truth.

2.  I Can't Control Myself-The Troggs  Atco 45-6444  #43 1966

The second of two Atco releases before Fontana won out (this was on Fontana F-1557) in the bidding to release The Troggs songs and this was the poorest showing of the songs that made the top 50 for this band although Fontana did put out 8 more singles, only Love Is All Around made top ten.  Never seen a promo copy of this song on Atco till today. Of course I had to have it.

3.   Can't Get Used To Losing You-Fred X. Brown  Hit Record Number 60  1964

The Pickwick Records of the 1960s and I think we talked about the significance of Hit Records in a blog a few years ago.  Back when rock and roll was marketed for the kids without lawyers and copyright control freaks getting in the way and basically the major labels did their best to promote hit singles in various ways.  Hit Records was based in Nashville and for the most part used some of the finest session players available and sometimes the stars themselves, Skeeter Davis was under a alias.  This song was based upon the hit done by Andy Williams and those who couldn't afford the 98 cents to buy Andy's version could get this one for 39 cents (or even less).   B side is Baby Workout done by Leroy Jones who took on the soul and R and B sides.  I have a copy of him covering Major Lance's Um Um Um Um Um Um almost note for note.  Strangely, the Hit Records version sounded more polished than Lance's.  Which may or may not have been a good thing.

4.  The Lady Came From Baltimore-Bobby Darin Atlantic 45-2395  #62  1967

In the past few years of Singles Going Steady, Bobby Darin has made quite a few appearances here.  And really there's no shortage of his 45s out there available.  One time, up in Madison there was no fewer than about 10 Atco releases I thought about picking up.  Mostly his Sinatra attempts in the pop vein, but I come to find his folk period to be the most interesting of all.   This was his second attempt to cover a Tim Hardin song and it didn't do as well as If I Was A Carpenter.  Darin managed on his second stint with Atlantic to hold on to his record masters, and while the Bobby Darin Trust Company has issued the latter day Atlantic releases, I come to find them in need of better remastering. The original albums that I did have on vinyl sounded scratched up, despite the vinyl being in pristine shape.   Varese Sandabunde did a good job on Songs From Big Sur and If I Was A Carpenter best of.

5.  Where Did That Naughty Little Girl Go-Gary US Bonds; Legrand 1025   1962

Another interesting find was the promo 45 of this obscure Bonds classic.  Bonds was the quintessential party star of the early 60s, Quarter To Three with that bizarre outer space sound which got cleaned up in later reissues, and who could not forget Gene (Daddy G) Barge on saxophone.  Alas, this didn't chart at all, although it did on the regional stations.

6. Right String But The Wrong Yo Yo-Dr. Feelgood And The Interns  Okeh 4-7156  #84 1962

No relation to the UK band of Wilko Johnson and Lee Brilleaux but rather a more obscure country R&B band that was produced by Frank Law and Don Jones (Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins).

7. Be Careful Of The Stones You Throw-Dion  Columbia 4-42810  #31 1963

A bit more of a country side to Dion, which managed to hit scrape outside the top 30.  Even though it's still in teen idol mode, Dion was beginning to think outside by adding a bit more blues to this song.  Not full blown but the times were changing a bit.

8.   To Love You-Country Store  TA-189  #103  1970

Kind of a cult classic, this song was still considered to be part of the hippy dippy movement, but with an eye toward pop too.   Certain record labels I tend to look for, TA had a roster that included Seals And Croft but perhaps the best known song from that label was Do What You Wanna Do from Five Flights Up.  This song was written and produced by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who would later find their mark with working with The Four Tops, The Grassroots and Glen Campbell.

9.  I Can Hear Music-The Beach Boys  Capitol 2432  #24  1969

Something changed big time after singing songs about surfing, hot rods and hot girls.  Critics always have said that Pet Sounds was their best overall album but in the late 60s The Beach Boys had to come up with their own music after Brian Wilson took himself out of the band, cracking under pressure, still they did come through even after the failure of the Smile project, which came out in variations on other albums. 20/20 might be considered a hodgepodge of an album, it's no Pet Sounds but it does hold its own as one of the underrated albums of The Beach Boys. The final single from 20/20 shows Carl Wilson producing and singing this song and it's one of the more sweeter Beach Boys numbers without Brian Wilson around.  B Side is the hardest rocking thing they ever did All I Want To Do, produced by Dennis Wilson in all of its 2 minutes glory.  Including the infamous outro where Dennis is making whoopie with somebody, while Mike Love is screaming away at lead vocal.

10.  You Got To Me-Neil Diamond Bang B-540  #18  1967

It's simple.  While Neil started to get serious when he went to UNI/MCA and then became a big pop star for Columbia, his best music remains with Bang Records and Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich producing and helping out, certainly Ellie's background vocals made the songs stand out even more. Neil only made two proper albums for Bang, but his songs have been repackaged time and time again, even in 1973 when Neil was having a number 22 live remake of Cherry Cherry, Bang issued The Long Way Home which topped around number 91.  The power of his 1966-1967 output with Jeff and Ellie remains timeless and classic such as this song and I always the call and response of the chorus between Neil and Jeff and Ellie.  It's what made AM radio such a treat to listen to with songs like You Got To Me.

The rest of the finds.

Stillness Of The Night-Art Pettibone   Stop Records ST-1653  1971 (photo:discogs)
Surf City-Jan And Dean   Liberty 55580  1963  #1
Cab Driver-The Mills Brothers  Dot  DOH-250  1968  #23
Where Were You When I Needed You-The Grassroots  Dunhill D-4029 1966 #28
The Shape Of Things To Come-Max Frost And The Troopers  Tower 419  1968  #22
Take A Letter Maria-R.B.Graves  Atco 45-6716  1969 #2
I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving-Herman's Hermits  MGM K-13885 1968 #22
Too Many Fish In The Sea-Mitch Ryder  New Voice 822  1967 #24

The interesting one out of the bunch is Art Pettibone's Stillness Of The Night.  Like with most artists that recorded for Stop Records, the sound is honky tonk, but Pettibone has a yodel when he sings the word Night, in the way of Bill Monroe that it comes across more like an Americana song.  There is nothing about Art Pettibone anywhere on the internet except on this blog.   Produced by Tommy Hill. B side Take A Little Chance is a bit repetitive on Art repeating his lyrics twice and feels twice as long as the 2:22 timing indicates.  I don't believe Stop Records ever made any stock copies.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week In Review: Odds And Ends, Loud Drummers

The beginning of May and it feels like March.  Anyway, this month is our busy season so I will not be doing much reviewing or jamming in bands for at least a couple weeks.  But I have made plans to join on Tim Duffy's final Popcorn Jam as he moves to Georgia this month.  But in the meantime Tiffany Z has been hanging around here quite a few times, joining us once again for the Saloonatics 5th Popcorn Jam, and perhaps the final one.  The host drummer turned 50 shades of red, while yours truly was rocking out to some overplayed classic rock number and took exception on how the cymbals were gyrating and took away yours truly's drumsticks in the process.  Judging on past performances that I did do (and I have seen the video and pictures)  I'm sure his causes of concern were justified.  After the whole jam session, we had a good laugh and exchanged best of luck wishes. The host drummer remains a good guy, he's watching over his drumset like anybody would.  If he thought I was abusing his cymbals, wonder he thought when Rocky Smith came afterward and really make them things rock.   Afterwards, I'm positive that the host drummer might have hosted his last popcorn jam.   On another note, Terry McDowell will take over hosting the popcorn jam once Tim Duffy leaves, and Terry is a powerhouse drummer.   His drum set holds up after repeated bangings from previous popcorn jam sessions.   Next week, Brook Hoover, Dan Johnson and Jon Wilson will be the hosts with Tim Duffy.

Friday Night at Rumors, was Julie And The Mad Dogs playing to a small crowd, not like the one in Anamosa last month.  However they did work on the songs and this time out they almost had Fairies Wear Boots and War Pigs down just about right.  For somebody not even born when those songs came out Dakota McWhorter has turned into a nifty little guitar player.  For the most part, I did trade some drum talk with Mike Serbousek their drummer and he too plays in another band.  And lives in Monticello so I know there's two drummers that now live there, him and Dana Smith. 

While April is the time that temps go up, the end of the month was more like February going into March and Saturday I decided to brave the drizzle and the winds to see the Cedar Rapids Kernels play the South Bend Cubs. Really wasn't much of a game as South Bend took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, as Dereck Rodriguez couldn't find the strike zone and the Cubs managed to get two doubles in the process.   They never looked back.  The Cubs pitcher Alzolay no hit the Kernels for 4 and 1/3rd innings before CR got their first hit  and did score a run.  Kernels had a big chance to get back in the game, when Craig Brooks walked the first three Kernels to start the home half of the sixth inning but then struck out the next three batters and it was game over.  Most of the 1,237 paid attendance were either in the diamond suites or stayed home, the 237 shivered in the grand concourse, drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate and basically thinning out.  It didn't help that the game was played in a steady light rain, or that the Kernels bats were as cold as the weather.  They didn't even bother to play Sunday's game.  That was called due to rain and will not be made up anytime soon since Cedar Rapids doesn't play South Bend anymore this season.  In other words another fucked up time of having eastern division teams play the western teams for one series, usually in inclement weather in April.   Nice going guys.

Strange rumors going around.  Scott Stapp announced he's going to be Stone Temple Pilot's new singer.  The Stone Temple Pilots deny this and with good reason.  They don't need to cheapen themselves with the former Creed lead singer.  They already did that with Chester Bennington.  Perhaps it's time to hang STP up once and for all.

After a year and a half in business Fresh Markets is closing their doors in Cedar Rapids.  This company is based out of the South and I think they got some of the tax credits and grants to keep the store open long enough to reap the rewards and screw everybody else.  All of the locations in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Texas will close but you can always go down to the south to visit them.  In the meantime the CEO of Fresh Markets voted himself a nice pay raise too.  Asshole.

When you're washed up and have nothing left to say, you'll find ways to make news on the social media side of things. Sinead O'Connor has declared war on Arsenio Hall for saying he supplied drugs to Prince and laced her mary jane with a bit of PCP.   Hall responded by slapping a 5 million dollar lawsuit against her for libel and she told him to suck her hostess twinkie. I wouldn't be surprised if she did have one between her legs. Outside of that she does provide some sort of entertainment at her FB site and doesn't like Donald Trump.  On a related subject Caitlyn Bruce Jenner announced he/she will be posing nude for a magazine just to let you know he/she is still around. 

Whether you like it or not, Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee after Rafael Theodore Cruz hung it up after Trump whopped him in Indiana.  And basically this has become the nightmare nobody wanted to see.  After years of Tea baggery, Koch Industries tampering and just basic no nothing procedures from career fucks like Charles Grassley and Mitch Idiot McConnell, it has mutated into this.  The guy filed for bankruptcy four times and still managed to give us shitty reality crap and blowhard chest pounding and perhaps running for GOP may have been a inside joke to the Donald but no more.  If anything, getting Rafael Cruz out of the way and having him drop out  is a good thing, Cruz is a whacko who managed to piss everybody off by reading books to his daughters while the government was in shutdown mode a couple years ago.   Trump is right when he says the elections are rigged, on the other hand, Trump never served in a war and he's all for wars if he gets in.   On the other side it's Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Clinton will probably win out.  At this point they need to work together to ensure that the Donald doesn't get in to be POTUS.  We do not need any sort of a Trump presidency.  You might be staring at World War 3 if he does get in.  And on a side note, John Kasich threw in the towel.  Trump is the last man standing.   Unless Gary Johnson gets more involved.

Gene Hanson, decided to pay tribute to Prince by plowing his field into the symbol that Prince used.  It's most likely not to be up very long but he did managed to take the photo of this field.  Photo is by him.


Dave Trupaino didn't think much of my comment about Hey Soul Sister playing in the supermarket, so the Train fan told me to shop somewhere else.   Thanks for your concern about my well being.  Train thanks you for sticking up for them too.  Next up, Smashmouth.

In This Corner: More Record Reviews

Outrageous Cherry-Supernatural Equinox (Rainbow Quartz 2003)

Matthew Smith also plays in Volebeats, a pop rock Americana type of band but he's better known for this band that fuses The Velvet Underground/Jesus And Mary Chain/The Cowsills and sunshine 60's pop.  I have reviewed four of O.C. albums and all have good moments but they also have a lot of sub par moments and this one is no exception.   Smith does give Matthew Sweet a run for the money with the backwards guitar solo which he does about four or five times.  The good: when Smith keeps the songs under 3 minutes they work best.  Saturday Afternoon is that lost 60s classic done for the 2000s and it's a shame that Smith didn't go with that more often.  The bad: they show their Velvet Underground indulgence on the 8 minute closer See You Next Time or the 6 minutes of Psychic Wheels which shows that Hawkwind is much better for this type of music that O.C. tries to do.   By all means it's not a bad album, If You Want Me and Girl You Have Magic Inside Of You along with Saturday Afternoon are the highlights.  Problem is, for a 51 minute album, there's not enough of those highlights to justify this for more than a couple plays.  And even The Velvet Underground tends to overstay their welcome on the less inspired or more experimental numbers.   I'm sure Outrageous Cherry does have a classic album in them.  But it's not this one.
Grade B-

Eddie Harris-Jazz For Breakfast At Tiffany's (Vee Jay 1961)

Interesting idea, take Henry Mancini's soundtrack to said movie and turn it into a jazz album and Harris has done it before, Exodus comes to mind.  That record went gold and the stuffy jazz critics cried sellout.  Still, Harris, time at Vee Jay did managed to come up with some good to great jazz albums (A Study In Jazz, Bossa Nova) and Jazz for Breakfast At Tiffany's is a solid affair.  Harris's backing band is fairly unknown but Willie Pickens really adds some progressive type of piano work on Something For Cat and Hub Caps And Tail Lights reminds me of Frito Bandido commercial of yesterday.  Of course, Harris had to do his version of Moon River and the title track although I tend to favor Breakfast At Tiffany's more than Moon River.  Some great vibraphone work from Charles Stempley too.  You had to hand it to Eddie Harris, who took each and every song here seriously and gave them a fresh perspective and a good counterpoint to Mr. Mancini's soundtrack.  Worth seeking it if you're into jazz.
Grade B+

The Rock Album (K-Tel 1980)

In tribute to the late great K Tel dude, I managed to dust off this 1980 comp for old times sake and really The Rock Album precedes the Time Life Sounds Of The 70s and Dazed And Confused S/T by about a decade.  Of course, the Time Life Sounds Of The 70s sounds much better (as does Dazed And Confused) the major labels probably gave K Tel poorly mixed versions of the hits, hell Dream Police by Cheap Trick you have to turn the volume way up.  Surprisingly, most of the complete versions of the hits are here, Two Tickets To Paradise, Don't Fear The Reaper, More Than A Feeling, Lovin Touchin Squeezing.  There are edits,  Carry On Wayward Son and Dirty White Boy are 45 edits and Too Rolling Stoned by Robin Trower does fade out before Trower does his lead on the second part.   The other track you don't hear on radio much is Jethro Tull's Something's  On The Move and you can live without that.  Or Too Rolling Stoned for that matter, the rest of the songs still remain in regular rotation on THE FOX.   From Don't Let Me Down to Hold The Line, The Rock Album is a snapshot of radio of 1979 thereabouts and while I don't see a need for this in any other form, it's perhaps the best put together of K Tel albums of that time.  For 7.99 it was cheaper than buying the forty fives.  However on the down side, the poorly mastered sound has rendered this album useless.  To which you're free to make your own rock album by purchasing the Sounds Of The Seventies and garner the songs off there to your own mixcd. Or perhaps your own mix tape.  To which most of us did way back then.  Before CDs and the internet changed things for the better.....or worse.
Grade B

Ozzy Osbourne-Speak Of The Devil (Jet 1983)

This stop gap tribute to Black Sabbath stems from Brad Gillis, on loan from Night Ranger to take over for Randy Rhodes and Gillis does a fine job recreating that Black Sabbath guitar sound, although his whammy bar tends to drags things down a bit.  Certainly Ozzy has the right to revisit his Sabbath roots since he wrote the lyrics  to them all and he's always been the showman star, lotsa of Let me see your hands, and I Love you all or God Bless you all and at that time no F bombs to speak of.  A kind and more gentle time before then eh?  Tommy Aldridge provides power behind the drums, a bit more subdued than Bill Ward would ever been.  A couple of curve balls thrown, Iron Man goes into Children Of The Grave and Ozzy even dusts off  Never Say Die and The Wizard too.   I'm sure there have been better Ozzy live albums but Speak Of The Devil is probably the best of them all.  It certainly rocks harder than the original Sabbath Reunion album of 1996. And let that be written down for history's sake.
Grade B+

Samantha Fish-Wild Heart (Ruf 2015)

Perhaps her most varied album, this is where she goes for the contemporary MOR sound that Bonnie Raitt favored, this time out Luther Dickerson (North Mississippi All Stars) produces her in the rough down in Memphis at Ardent and Willie Mitchell studios for that down home blues.  While I was on board for her first two albums, Wild Heart just doesn't really do much for me.  At her best (Turn It Up, Road Runner) Samantha shows she's killer at the uptempo rock and blues that made Runaway a fun record to listen to.  At her least, she tends to go middle of the road and just doesn't convince me that acoustic blues is the way to go  (Go Home).  But even at her least, she has enough blues knowledge to be somewhat convincing if you're in the mood for middle of the road slow blues.   I hope some day Thomas Ruf will let her record an album with her live band.  Wild Heart is not bad but it is a letdown after the first two.  Perhaps Brady Blake would consider getting better cymbals to fit the mood next time too.
Grade B-

Goo Goo Dolls-Boxes  (WB 2016)

It's one thing to rid yourself of the drummer that kept the band in a rock and roll mode, it's another trying to stay relevant.  With Mike Matalin gone, John and Robbie have become Mumford and Sons light and whatever they used to be.  Superstar Car Wash and A Boy Named Goo, that band doesn't exist anymore.  In their 40s John and Robbie are desperately trying to fit into a musical world that has left them back in the past.   They got lucky with Dizzy Up The Girl, when they turned into emo Journey, the biggest misstep was the Glen Ballard fart Let Love In, but the last two albums did have a decent song or two or three to keep them on the shelves. Boxes however is even too pompous for them, big arousing chorus, stop start beats and plenty of new age keyboard and EDM beats to bullshit their way to thinking they mean something anymore.  At this point they don't although lead off track Over And Over (which would have made a better album title since GGD repeat themselves over and over) is listenable.   And the rest of the album, the songs don't stand out and worse, Robby's songs which were the most rock and rolling, has now succumbed to the Mumford and Sons bash and ball and really Boxes doesn't really have a true rock and roll song on this.  To which at this point, I have given up on them to ever return back to their alt rock roots ever again.  Boxes is not their worst album though, that honor still goes to Let Love In, and for 40 somethings they could do a decent new agey dance pop album if Johnny didn't sound so damn bored.   But I'm not into new agey dance pop.  So long guys.  It's been good to know ya.
Grade C

Album Of My Years: Dire Straits-Brothers In Arms (Mercury 1985)

Strange how Dire Straits best selling album of the 1980s was a disappointment.   Certainly Mark Knopfler was beginning to take over the band with each new album. Beginning with Making Movies, The Straits begin to extend their songs to almost epic timings;  the jury is still out on Tunnel Of Love but I always loved Telegraph Road, all 13 and a half minutes of it.  Love Over Gold remains the best of the latter day Straits albums, Brothers In Arms managed to be more successful with Money For Nothing, which balloons over 8 minutes the long version complete the derogatory F word, which I Heart Radio has banned, all stations do play the edited version.  Problem is while the songs are not bad, the over 5 minute mark for songs like So Far Away and Why Worry, which wears out its welcome halfway through.  And the long version do get tedious after a while.   Basically a waste of using Terry Williams who did great things with Rockpile and Man, but here, he's simply a hired hand on Money For Nothing.   Crank critic Robert Christgau compares Dire Straits to a blues Emerson, Lake And Palmer, not exactly right but substitute Greg Lake for Randy Newman and he might be right.  Even if Christgau has no use for Brothers In Arms, he did give it a B minus, probably on Money For Nothing alone.  I am tempted to give this album a straight B grade just like I did when I first encountered this album.  But the songs go on for so long that in the end I have to agree with Christgau on that B minus grade and when Warner Brothers remastered the CD in the late 1990s, they did improve on the sound quality of the cd.  First generation CDs you have to turn the player up full blast to hear everything, the recording is just about being there in the studio.   But when you're forced to hear the whole 8 minutes of Why Worry, it might put you to sleep.  And even the lesser known songs tend to meander all over the place, Walk Of Life or not.  Despite against the odds, Mark Knopfler and company managed to get on that MTV when MTV was playing videos and not bullshit reality garbage or B grade rap movies.  And Mark was laughing all the way to the bank and a video that captured the moment of an anti MTV old fart guitarist.   That ain't working indeed.  It's called luck, and a decent hook, and help from a certain Gordon Summer.
Grade B-