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has been a very busy time for me at work, so it looks like the rest of the month is going to be news as it happens, outdated rant and ravings and who died this week and who played at the jam sessions.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

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