Monday, July 25, 2016

Week In Review: RIP Hastings, Gary S Paxton, RAGBRAI

So who Marni Nixon?  She was the voice behind the stars on certain movies.  In other words, the ghost singer behind the stars.  She passed from cancer at age 86.

Jack Davis, best known for his drawings for Mad Magazine as well as country covers for the likes of Jerry Reed and Homer And Jethro left this world Tuesday after a long illness.  He was 91.

Pat Upton, lead singer of the Spiral Starecase (More Today Than Yesterday) died Wednesday from unknown causes.  He was 75.

Roye Albrighton leader of the prog rock band Nektar (Remember The Future) passed away at age 67.

Thomas Sutherland was held hostage by Islamic assholes for six years in Lebanon and then released in 1991.  Eventually he won a big payoff from Iran, which he gave to charity and Thomas became a actor later on.  He died of heart failure at age 85.

Remember Miss Cleo, the Psychic that you saw on info commercials back in the 1990s that you call and she'll predict your future.  No more. Colon cancer claimed her.  She was 53.

Sandy Pearlman, producer for the classic Blue Oyster Cult albums of the 1970s and later produced The Clash and Dream Syndicate died after a long illness.  He was 72.

Gary S (Flip) Paxton, once part of Skip and Flip, and later produced songs such as Alley Oop and Monster Mash passed away from liver disease and complications from heart surgery at age 77.  Paxton wrote Woman (Sensuous Woman), which became a number 1 country hit for Don Gibson. Paxton later became a born again gospel singer that got caught up in the Jim and Tammy Bakker scandal of the 1980s.  A interesting man to say the very least.

Bill Kopp has his own blog and I follow him via Facebook, and we touch base once in a great while but he's been very busy writing liner notes for reissue label Real Gone Music and doing interviews on selected magazines.  This time out he scores big with an must read interview of Sonny Rollins.

Last week bought the Jones County Fair through town with the likes of Boston and 38 Special playing the rock and roll one night, then bro country dipshits Florida Georgia Line played the next night and Carrie Underwood played Saturday among the bizarre weather we had.  I basically went to Davenport on Saturday to watch Quad City River Bandits blow out the Bowling Green Hot Rods 9-3, and for a while I wonder if the rains and tornadoes followed me down highway 61.  The skies got dark, there would be lightning off to the north and east and then the wind changed direction.  Somehow, the storm blew over, we got some sprinkles out of it, but on the way home, the pavement three blocks away was very wet.  In the course of this storm two tornadoes touched down, one near Worthington  and one on the newly constructed Lake Delhi.  The cold front finally came through Sunday, and basically took most of the humidity with it away. Just in time for the start of the July event known as RAGBRAI which got off to a tragic start when a bicyclist got hit and killed by a driver in a pickup.   This years bike ride is not going to be in the area.   Closest town would be Washington on Thursday.

Speaking of the Bro Country Beavis and Butthead FGL.  Seems that they made the Jones County Deputies not too happy about them requesting no police  backstage during their show at the Jones County Fair , but later requested a police escort out of town after their set, to which FGL was told to rock off by themselves.

As the sun sets down....   Hastings is closing their doors since they couldn't find a buyer and Draw A Circle LLC, strapped for cash sold it off to liquidators and the going out of business sales are popping up all over the 123 locations around the US.  The way it goes.  What used to be the golden age of CD buying (1994-2005, the year copy protected CDs were introduced) has been a slow death for Hastings, which still had plenty of people coming to that store to buy videos and hang out on a week night or weekend. It is the end of an era, Hastings did serve a purpose, however like everything else around here, the internet killed off business, kiosks popped up at local stores and Wal Marts and it was easier to rent movies that way.  With the three major record label pooping out crappy music and people streaming, trying to find decent music CDs was becoming harder to find.  The usual excuses, nobody is buying cds, nobody is buying books, nobody is renting videos, everybody has a Kindle.  I don't have a Kindle, that's why I go an Hastings store, to get away from the GD computer.  I spend too much time on this already.  Sometimes it's fun to go buy something new on CD or just to get out.  This world is becoming slaves to the net.  With the closings of Tower Records, FYE closing half of their stores, this remains the continuance and decline of the big box stores.  And Hastings came in handy for the small towns that couldn't have a Best Buy or FYE or Sam Goody (now history).

There are solutions to this problem of replacing Hastings and it can come from local businesses in their areas.  In the case of the Arizona Hastings stores,  I can think of one place that could come in handy, and that would be Bookman's, that has a couple locations in the Phoenix area, 4 in Tucson and 1 in Flagstaff that did eventually replaced their Hastings store.  Basically, Brookmans is located more around the college side of those towns, whereas Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City don't have a college hub, nor Kingman and since those towns are smaller than Flagstaff, it probably won't work.  Recently Zia's Records And Tapes have actually done better, since they have adapted more of a computer savvy attitude and branched out to comics and even music instruments.  They recently moved to a better location in Tempe and most recently opened up a brand new store in Mesa.  This wouldn't work for Zia's to start up a location in those AZ towns.   In this day and age, you better off throwing money down the toilet than starting up a CD and record business or even video or books. Neither Kingman or Lake Havasu City could support a Zia's in their area sad to say.

The only true option that remains would be opening up a consignment store such as Savers or Stuff Etc.  Perhaps a book store like Books A Million would help, but unlike Hastings, BAM doesn't allow trade ins. But at least they would provide some sort of entertainment for people who want to get away from the computer for a while and interact with other folks. Which was why Hastings was a great place to hang out.   Half Priced Books would be another great option, especially for cities like Amarillo or Albuquerque or Spokane, but the thought is not to overextend to the point that they can't make payments and have to close down such as what Draw A Circle did two years after buying Hastings.  And they didn't do nobody any favors either.   And in the end, I won't be heading to the Hastings going out of business sale, it's not cost effective for me.  But I will miss Hastings, simply of the fact that even a tourist from Iowa can come in any store and hang with the crowd and be part of them.   How I managed to pull that out remains a miracle upon itself.

And the Russia Bump has returned in the ratings.  Friday I ended up with 613 views.  With the bump, I'm sure I'll managed to scrape 4,000 views, and there is plenty to see from the archives to keep you busy reading stuff from 2011 or returning to such classic stuff like Hanging With The Band or My City Is Gone.  I can't tell you what's the secret, last I checked I haven't had many folks link this site with theirs and basically I don't flood Farce The Music with add my link to their site.  If that's the case we might have even bigger rates.  I haven't posted much of Your Dream Dates photos and Ivy Doomkitty changing her hair style to candy apple red isn't exactly a plus, but I still love her.  The bottom line is that Record World, just like my playing drums, is a time consuming hobby that doesn't pay, except having fun or being encouraged that something I write clears 100 views. I doubt this blog will do that but I can only hope.  Record World is just my opinion on the music biz and what I like and what might account for news.   And what I find for 45s and such.   So far, it's been a long 14 year run of highs and lows.  And just like Hastings, Record World will be over and done somewhere down that road.   But for now, we trudge on because somebody's gotta do it.

This month's dream girl: Heather DeLoach.  Back in the early 1990s Blind Melon had their number one hit single No Rain, featuring Heather as a 10 year old bee girl.  The song is now so old it's being played on classic rock radio  (there was a argument with a friend of mine saying such songs shouldn't be included on classic rock radio since they were not part of the 1960-1970 classic rock sounds, but with songs like No Rain twenty plus years old, how do you market it, original classic alternative rock?).  I never cared much for the song but the video was quite fun to watch.  Heather is now 33 and still looking pretty good, if not better over the course of time. Blind Melon is no more, the lead singer OD'd on drugs in 1995 and they never did follow up their album with anything worthwhile.  But if you want to go back to the memories of the bee girl and the song, this link will make you think it's 1992.  And really 1992 wasn't that bad of a time.

This is not the Bee Girl. 

Record Reviews:

Descendents-Hypercaffium Spazzinate (Epitaph 2016)

Who could have thought of these former punks now all grown up and in their 50s still playing that fast and loose punk rock that made them famous?  And once they were telling their folks to shut up are now telling their kids to shut up and listen to them?  Vicious full circle it is.  Their last album Cool To Be You was their most uninspired album, a label change didn't help so they're back with Brett Guerwitz and Epitaph for a much better sound, although Everything Sucks still sounds better. But Milo Auckerman's is more in tune with the dangers of bad food (No Fat Burger) and self shaming (Fighting Myself, Victim Of Me).  Bill Stevenson still plays drums at break neck speed and the rest of the guys (Karl Alvarez, Steven Egerton) know each other so well, they have no problems amping it up. The shorter songs work better, like every great punk band but the most telling of the album of Beyond The Music, they're no longer just a band but family.  And always have been. And will continue to be as long as they're still alive.
Grade B+

Counterpoint from a fan:  The Descendents are like those Japanese soldiers they'd find in the Philippines who still thought WWII was happening but for 1996 Warped Tours.

Carole King-Tapestry  (Ode 1971)

A landmark album since it sold many copies and established Carole King as established pop rock star. And it came out 45 years ago this week so I basically thought I'd take a first listen to this album.  My best friend's older sister has this record in her collection and so did most of the high school girls at that time.  I had Her Greatest Hits in my collection, but rarely played it, the best songs were off Tapestry.  I kinda miss Sweet Seasons or Jazzman but I don't see a need to buy her best of a second time.   I do think this is her definite and defining album, leading off with I Feel The Earth Move, b side to her top ten hit It's Too Late and concluding with Natural Woman but Smackwater Jack really rocks in its own way.  Jury is still out on You Got A Friend is better than James Taylor and So Far Away I can love one minute, hate the other and the lesser known tracks Where You Lead and bonus track Out In The Cold are nice songs before it ends with a live solo performance of Smackwater Jack.  In the end this record does deserve it's place as a classic.
Grade A-

Rod Stewart-Atlantic Crossing (Warner Brothers 1975)

This record is the past, present and future of Rod Stewart.  His first five albums he recorded for Mercury remains some of the best music he's ever done, Smiler on the other hand was a dog turd.  Stewart was part of Faces, which recorded for the WB and I'm sure that figured into him staying onward.  The past was that Rod Stewart with Faces made some great sloppy rock and roll and it shows on opener Three Time Loser and All In The Name Of Rock And Roll, which damn near outrocks The Rolling Stones at that time.  The present was Stewart revealed more of a R and B feeling on such numbers like Drift Away and This Old Heart Of Mine, featuring Mr. Al Jackson on drums before his untimely murder later that year.  But the future also reveals Rod was trying to become better known on the music scene looking for that followup hit to Maggie May, he would get it on the next album's Tonight's The Night, to which I didn't care much for even back then.  It also meant that the future would be those GD Great American Songbook series that he undertook when Clive Davis signed him up to J Records in the 2000s, after his Warner hits dried up.  Atlantic Crossing might have been a flop when released but in essence this was his best album since Every Picture Tells A Story and he managed to get some of the finest musicians on this record, from Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and Al Jackson from The MGs, to the Muscle Shoals Swampers (David Hood and Roger Hawkins with Pete Carr) plus Jesse Ed Davis and Nigel Olsson too.  I can do without his Greatest Hits Volume 1 with his Warner Hits, but Atlantic Crossing does convince me enough that this would be his last truly great album.  Great American Songbook notwithstanding of course.
Grade A-

The Replacements-Stink (Twin Tone/Rhino 1982)

Young, loud and snotty.  Like their other Minneapolis competition Husker Du, The Mats were a bit more punk pop than the abrasive noise of the Du's but in 1982 they were punk and haven't quite grasp what they were capable of till Let It Be came out.   Even with bonus tracks, this EP barely registers an album (27 Minutes long).  You're Getting Married hints at the future but the Mats are too busy getting drunk and fucked up.  Once in a while they'll connect with a punk anthem (Kids Don't Follow, God Damn Job) or add goofy country twang (Dope Smokin Moron), or simply don't know when to end a song (Rock Around The Clock, which the coda ending is twice longer than the song itself).  Still it's in good fun.  And still better than Hootenanny.
Grade B+

Ralph Stanley (DMZ/Columbia 2002)

He was ancient when John Henry Burnett signed him up on his off shoot label for Sony Music after delivering a potent Oh Death from O Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack that gave bluegrass another shot in the limelight briefly.   But in his own world weary voice, he sangs the gospel with glee, of ready to meet Jesus, to which he would eventually do this year.  Of course Norman Blake plays on this record too.  But even with half gospel songs, Stanley also devotes a fair amount of the old songs of tragedy and loss that the old bluegrass singers and bands used to do.  If you know your music you'll find that Little Mathie Grove the song, Fairport Convention would do as Matty Groves. And while Fairport's version might have been better remembered, Stanley's version is a bit more graphic.
Grade B+

Singles Going Steady Medley (Pop Corn Hits Of The 50s and Joni Mitchell too)

You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio-Joni Mitchell (Asylum AS-11010)  #25 1972

Reprise couldn't break her so she went over to David Geffen's newly formed Asylum label and managed to get a modest top 25 showing.  I can take or leave most of Joni's material (Raised On Robbery Yes!, Big Yellow Taxi-Sometimes) but I don't recall the radio playing this much.  This record spent a good year at the Davenport Salvation Army before I decided it looked good enough to play on the record player.  A few scratches but I would think the record is in VG- shape.

Freight Train-Rusty Draper  (Mercury 71102)  #6  1957

If anything Draper was like Guy Mitchell;  he started out as a pop singer than gradually moved over to country music.  I think Mitchell was much more convincing country singer, he'd covered Ray Price and Marty Robbins, Draper would have some luck with Hank Locklin Please Help Me I'm Falling and Willie Nelson's Night Life.  But Carl Stevens' arrangements echo more what Frankie Laine was doing at that time.  In other words, more pop than country.  This would be Draper's last top ten hit.  B Side Seven Come Eleven is a novelty Vegas type number including introduction of somebody throwing the dice.  Which according to rumor, turned out to be snake eyes.

Butterfly-Andy Williams (Cadence 1308)  #1  1957

Andy's attempt of a Elvis style rockabilly number and it actually holds up almost 60 years later.  You wouldn't think Andy would later become one of the all time pop artists of all time, I wouldn't believe that either till Sony Music issued 16 Greatest Hits which does steal some of Andy's Cadence sides as well as his famous Columbia hits.  Today's generation don't give a shit regardless but just wait, when they turn 50 a 100 years after Butterfly's number 1 chart placing they'll be searching for this song.  B Side It Doesn't Take Very Long, isn't as catchy.

Mutual Admiration Society-Eddy Arnold And Jaye. P. Morgan (RCA-47-6708)  #47 1956

#24 on the Cashbox top 100, a strange pairing of country singer Eddy with the sassy and brash Mary Margaret Morgan on a pop style hit.  I actually like this pairing of stars of this off the wall tune.  But like the previous three singles on this weeks Medley, all were part of somebody's extensive 45 collection  that they dumped off  at the Davenport Sal Army store.  And despite a couple more months of being handled by scavenger hunters, they were not scratched up.  Alas, the fifth 45, Moonshine Gambler by Frankie Laine was too worse for the wear and couldn't be played.  Problem with certain 45 and the vinyl grade, the hard plastic grooves were prone to wear thin.  All four of these vinyl pieces were from soft vinyl and played very well with minimal scratches, pops and clicks.  I'm sure next week, will be a new month of singles, and perhaps BDW Records at the Antique Mall will have something of value.  We'll see.

Records from my youth: Blue Mountain-Dog Days (Roadrunner 1995)

It's strange to see how 20 years later these albums came out.  Blue Mountain was very much loved by the Iowa City crowd, as Cary Hudson and company always came to play at Gabe's Oasis every year in the 1990s.  They were Americana but with a drive of Crazy Horse and a love of old time blues.  Special Rider Blues is updated blues, kinda like Canned Heat of the 1960's   Roadrunner Records was a heavy metal based label but in the mid 1990s, they decided to sign up some rockers and alt country folks, Kevin Salem was one, Blue Mountain was the other.  A year prior, you can find their S/T album at B J Records and that record is more rocking and more punk thanks to a drummer who was into punk rock.  Dog Days, Hudson recorded some of their songs off that album with Eric Ambel producing and a more straight ahead drummer.  Laurie Stirrat, is the sister to John who was part of Wilco and appears on the new Bun E Carlos album, and she brings the harmonies to Hudson's vocal.  I really don't know if Soul Sister or Band Called Bud are better versions than the original on the first album but they are a bit polished and less punkish, and Ambel's adds more of an old time production, something akin to the old vintage pre war blues records of the 30s.  Frank Couch is a more straight ahead drummer to replace the old one, bit more in Ralph Molina territory but still enough to throw a few cymbal accents to differ his sound.  The argument is that the CD goes on a bit too long, it's five minutes short of an hour and Roadrunner thought highly enough to reissue this and add six more songs. But the original 14 songs did reveal that Cary Hudson's Neil Young influence was obvious but Hudson could play the hell out of his guitar too.  For Americana classic, Dog Days is Blue Mountain's finest moment, but I reserve the right to say the first album was just as good but a bit more cluttered.
Grade A- 


TAD said...

Hi Crabby! Some good stuff here. The Girls are Looking Good. More, please. I like a lot of Joni Mitchell's middle period -- LOVE "Raised on Robbery," and am OK with the early-'70s stuff, but after HEJIRA she lost me. Love Rod's early stuff on his best-of's through NEVER A DULL MOMENT and a lot of Faces stuff, but have never heard ATLANTIC CROSSING, so thanx for the review. Keep rockin!

TAD said...

P.S. -- Roye Albrighton DIED? Sandy Pearlman? MISS CLEO??? WTF is goin on??? This will mean the end of the world as we know it....
Forgot to mention -- I was raised on Andy Williams's Cadence BEST when I was growing up, and I'm a sucker for "Butterfly" and "Canadian Sunset" and "Hawaiian Wedding Song" and "Bilbao Song" and even a lot of the more mainstream/pop-crooner stuff. He really did sound good back then (still does). But then he went to Columbia and seemed to bland out except for "Can't Get Used to Losing You" (NOT including "Moon River," yuccch) and "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Coulda maybe held on through the mid-'60s but just kept getting duller. Weird, huh? Now I'm older than he was then, and I ain't blanded-out yet....

R S Crabb said...

Hi Tad,

Atlantic Crossing is the last great Rod album, I was surprised how well it sounded to me. I was skeptical at first but since I found it for 2 dollars I figure it was worth a listen. As he got more hits, he lost his rock and roll ability. I guess Andy Williams fall in the same catagory but in the MOR Pop field. His Cadence 50s side are vintage classic pop and Butterfly is a honest attempt to go for a rockabilly sound. I like it fine myself and the ballads of Are You Sincere or Lonely Street. Columbia turned him into a lush pop star and I'm sure there's other cool songs, but Can't Get Used To Losing You was his last anything remote for light rock. Like Tony Bennett, Williams was good at lush pop, but for myself it didn't do much.

Yep, it's been a bad year for musicians passing on. For eye candy we'll see what's out there that's in good taste. Enjoy the views ;)