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.

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