Friday, July 22, 2016

Week In Review: TE Radio 20, Alan Vega, Craig Erickson

From the newswire:  Alan Vega, singer in the protopunk duo Suicide passed away in his sleep.  He was 78.. Suicide made a couple of albums of note in the late 70s, I think Ric Ocasek produced their 1978 S/T effort.  I've seen them play on the long forgotten Live at the Peppermint Lounge show on USA, and really never gotten into their music.  A bit too abstract for me.

Leslie Witt worked at WXRT for 39 years, being that rare DJ of hanging around the same station despite Corporate Rock changes.  She passed away from ovarian cancer.

Sister Hazel Williams, not a musician but the Gainesville missionary who set up her own Angels Of Mercy Ministries which inspired jam band to take up her name Sister Hazel in tribute passed away on Friday.  She was 91.

Garry Williams, famed producers for the likes of Happy Days, Pretty Woman, Jack Parr and The Tonight Show and many others passed away from a stroke Tuesday.  He was 81.

Dennis Green, who coached Northwestern for a time and then Minnesota an the Arizona Cardinals (which he gave his infamous tirade about the Chicago Bears after they blew out his Cardinals on a Monday Night massacre ten years ago) passed away from a heart attack.  He was 67.

Lewie Steinberg, the original bass player for Booker T and The MGs, died Friday from cancer.  He was 82.  He played on Green Onions.

This weekend I really took time off to come up with a new show of Townedger Radio and stayed home Saturday and then did the Sunday Rumors Popcorn Jam.  It was the first jam that featured local guitar hero Craig Erickson.  Despite a very disappointing crowd and not too many jammers, people missed out perhaps some of the most fiery battle of the guitar between Craig and Tommy Bruner, who's been doing double duty with Past Masters and always finds a way to make to the jam after being somewhere in Missouri Saturday Night.   Even on a few hours' sleep Tommy did find ways to shine on the songs that he plays at The Popcorn Jam, You Can't Always Get What You Want or Gimme Shelter, this time out, with a second guitar player, the songs got extended past four or five minutes.  While Erickson did show his guitar flash, there were complaints from the faint of heart that the band was playing too loud.  In fact, the complaining was getting to be a bit too much, even to the point that host bass player Dan Johnson, practically shut his amp off during one of the songs.  With excellent cameos from Mike Lint, D J Hovenstot and Barb Myers, it turned out to be the Craig Erickson show and he shined on Shaky Ground and on the finale Comfortably Numb, which is turning out to be the jam's closing theme, with Terry McDowell's pounding beat. Two months after Tim Duffy's move, Terry has continued to put together some great host jammers, most of the time it has been Tommy Bruner and Dan Johnson doing the majority of the work and all have been very supporting of the jammers and those who pop up on stage.  But they have competing with Cooters Acoustic jam that's across 1st Ave and closer to home the Stone City Sunday Jam and the jammers have been fewer and fewer, although there is no shortage of drummers who show up.   The two guitars of Sunday's lineup has been a rarity and the guesswork is that most guitar players are either at the acoustic jam or playing a Sunday Afternoon gig.  Certainly Terry has worked his butt off to make the popcorn jam a success or keeping it afloat, Tommy Bruner remains the MVP since getting other guitar players have been much harder to find or even less, bass players, Dan Johnson was the sole bass player.  For now, the Popcorn Jam has holding its own, with Terry promising more of a harder rocking future jam, unless the owner of Rumors decides he's had enough and pulls the plug. But I'll do my best to continue to support the efforts  of The Popcorn Jam for as long as its fun or when it ends, whichever comes first.

(Photo: John Hernandez)

It turns out that Tommy Bruner mentioned that it was the first time he and Craig has jammed together in 42 years.  Hard to believe that both have been gigging in town for so long and it took them that long to get together once again.  On another side note in local bands, Dana "Rocky" Smith is now playing drums for Kick It, replacing Herman Sarduy who was last seen telling the female drummer from Flawd Logic to check out John Bonham videos on You Tube.

For the past month on my daily walks around the trail I have seen a majority of Smart phone zombies glued to their small screen in playing the absurd Pokemon Go game.  Basically I'm not going to comment much on zombie nation since I've seen many around New Bo, Rumors Bar And Grill, Thomas Park, Wasteland Mall in tune with their searching for Pokemon or who ever.  Just remember not to venture too far off trail, or avoid cow pastures.  For these couple, for their effort they got the future steak sandwich of America chasing them up a telephone pole.  Take that all you zombies.

(Photo Credit: J&K Farms)

Such wild weather we had over the weekend.  July brings heat and humidity, with the usual late night monsoons and basically I managed to sleep through another wild wind and rain storm, to which a EF-2 tornado ripped a roof off a apartment building and collapsed a house in Vinton as well as another EF2  twister smashed into Walford, that happened early Sunday Morning. Two more twisters were confirmed, an EF-1 that tore up a ag Co op building in Andrew and another small twister in Parkview.   There were plenty of tree branches and limbs on the ground in Cedar Rapids but up here we had mostly rain and some leaves fallen off trees and all over my car.  I think I slept through it all.

Since I crossed off doing the WNBR Madison last month, I opted out on the 9th annual St Louis WNBR trip, which is rivaling Portland and Chicago for most participants.  I'm sure there was a few of the Madison crowd that decided to take things off and ride around town in the buff.  For next year I might decide to show up in Mad City again, but this time out wearing some cool silk boxers, which had I found them in time last month I would have wore them instead.  The Riverfront New Times covered the whole thing, and of course, some of the pictures are not safe for work or for virgin eyes either.

As I get older, the less I'm interested in today's shenanigans of what The Kasdashians do or what Taylor Swift does  or if both Kim and Kayne butt heads with Taylor.  The social media world continues to blow up on such nonsense. The Look At Me I'm Wonderful persona that is Kim and autotuning Kanye just begs for attention, just like the last decade when Paris Hilton was sending tongues wagging and fingers tapping on computer boards. For Taylor Swift, she has become the poster girl for psychos with her going through relationships like I do on the weekly CD reviews and she has transformed from country star to pop diva.  She might be fighting Lady Gaga for this Century's Madonna, but I'm too old to care anymore.    Lady Gaga has been on the downside as well, Antipop didn't do as well as she thought it would and she broke up with her boyfriend after five years after a Valentine's Day proposal. It is beginning to look that love never lasts in life anymore, even less when you're in the social media spotlight.  If Taylor Swift did things right and invested her money, she would have never work again in her life, but we all know that she'll continue to fall in love and break up with future guys and will be fodder for TMZ in her battles with Kanye Kadashian and Katy Perry and write songs about it.  As for myself, I wish it could be 1968 all over again and didn't have to deal with rap or autotuned pop songs.  At least the divas back then made you have wet dreams about them, rather than the new stars of today that gives me dry heaves.   The Music of 1968 was much better than this crap you hear on radio today.

If you really care, Mick Jagger is having baby number 8 with his 29 year old love steady.  And in the meantime so is about 50,000 other folks this week. It just adds more woe to the population explosion to this world but in Jagger's case, the baby should not have to worry about starving too much.

The big stink this week was the Republican National Convention to which Donald Trump was paraded around in big fashion.  Spoiled sport Ted Cruz, looking forward to the 2020 election refused to give his blessing to Trump.  Meanwhile Third Eye Blind pissed off the right wing crowd by not playing their big hits of the 1990s and taunted the crowd by saying Do You Believe In Science, which was greeted with boos.  Perhaps they should have done a cover of She Blinded Me With Science.

Record Review Time:

Bud Powell/Don Byas-A Tribute To Cannonball  (Columbia 1961)

Basically Julian "Cannonball"  Adderley produced this comeback album of sorts for Don Byas who hadn't recorded since 1955 and to pair him up with the erratic and eccentric Bud Powell pays dividends.  This 1961 recording session wouldn't see the day of light till 1979 when Columbia issued it as an afterthought and then reissued it on CD. Byas is an throwback to the hard bop era and has a real easy going swing to his saxophone playing.   Adderley somehow managed to get some inspired performances from both Powell and Byas, who was going through his own demons.  Long time bass player for Powell Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke provide a steady rhythm section.  The CD has the only track that Adderley plays on, a in progress version of Cherokee, otherwise this is Byas' showcase.  Certainly the uptempo Just One Of Those Things do start things a jumping as well as Myth but also they could do a nice slow tempo song (I Remember Clifford).  There maybe other important and better jazz albums but A Tribute To Cannonball, is historic for perhaps one of the last  time that Byas and Powell played top notch and compliment one another , but it's also Julian Adderley's ability to be a excellent producer as well.   For standard 1961 jazz jams, it's worth to hear it.
Grade B+

The Firesign Theater-Shoes For Industry (Columbia/Legacy 1993)

For radio comedy of sorts, The Firesign Theater was hit and miss, but Sony Music decided to compile their best works into a sprawling 2 CD overview that captures just about all the highlights from their Columbia and Epic solo albums.   They owed more to old time radio and The Goon Show, they predated Monty Python by about 2 years.  Of course they had to include the original Nick Danger sketch, all 28 minutes of it, plus the followup detective shoes, including a Chinese version of Nick Danger.  Of course there are other classic moments, Beat The Reaper to which the secret disease wipes everybody out, a spoof on the Archie Comics (High School Madness!)  and Forward Into The Past, which revisits old time events into a old radio style show.   The drop in quality skits is noticeable on disc 2, (The Breaking Of The President, is awful).  However, Temporarily Humboldt County is dead on about the white man taking over the land from Indians and putting them on reservations.   Taken as a whole Shoes For Industry makes me lose interest on the subpar moments.
Grade B

Ronnie Dove-Rarities  (Collectibles 1998)

His easy listening pop hits reminded me of Bobby Vinton and Real Gone did compile most of his Diamond  hits of the 1960s, he was MOR but may have been one of the first artists to cover a Neil Diamond song and have Ray Stevens arranged a couple of songs in the process.  And like Bobby Vinton is easily heard in small doses.  This is all over the map taken from various labels but this time out, Rarities revealed that Ronnie Dove was a very good country singer as well.  Starting with one of his final Diamond singles of the 1960s, the over the top What's Wrong With My World (Dove would return to Diamond in the mid 1980s for a trio of singles), the album then slowly goes into a more country mode beginning with Never Gonna Cry.  It's hard to tell where the majority of the songs come from from various labels and since Dove has the masters, some of them came from processed fake stereo mixes that sound very dated.  And also suffers from the Nashville Edition backing vocals that also dates itself and such lush pop arrangements even on the country songs.  Something akin to what Jimmy Bowen was doing when he was producing  Dean Martin's Reprise hits.   A more reliable comparison would be Billy Joe Royal's time at Atlantic in the 1980s after his Columbia hits dried up.  Dove's better songs were done during his time at Motown's country division Melodyland/Hitsville to which Please Come To Nashville Dove finally puts it all together country style.  B side Pictures On Paper could have been a hit too.  A 1973 minor hit for MCA So Long Dixie is also included.  When Dove tries to go R and B it's sounds too Vegas to work for me (Sunny) and the way this album was put together seems scattershot, but that doesn't mean it's a waste of time.  In fact, had Dove decided to do a strictly country best of that would have been a better idea.  His voice, like Billy Joe Royal was high lonesome enough to generate hits, but Motown couldn't promote anything country and they had T G Shepard.  If nothing else Please Come To Nashville is a highlight upon itself but the best track may have been California Cowboy, to which I have no idea what label had that, a big missed opportunity that might have been a top ten hit single.  Dove might be better known as Diamond's (the label) answer to Bobby Vinton, but in the long run, I liked him better as a country artist.
Grade B+

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band-Delilah: The Best Of (Universal 2013)

In a perfect world Alex Harvey would be better known than just a cult hero but his studio albums could be spotty (Faith Healer was much better heard on the Live album), I think Castle put out a best of years ago but that too missed the mark.  But in some ways the world does some sort of overview.  Harvey could cover just about everything from School's Out to Framed to even Crazy Horses (The Osmonds!).  But then again the best way to hear Alex Harvey is to hear them live and the 1975 Live album covers all of his best songs from Vambo to Give My Compliments To The Chef (this version is the BBC version) to the Tomahawk Kid and of course Framed and the campy title track.   Even in his later years, he was way ahead of the times and never caught on in the states but he had a great band backing him up, the zany Zal Cleminson on guitar, Chris Glen and Ted McKenna the driving bass and drums duo, people to this day still rave about Harvey having the best damn rock band backing him up.  For studio albums, I'd go with Tomorrow Belongs To Me but for a mix tape overview it does the trick.  But I still say buy Live.
Grade B+

Jim Kweskin's America  (Reprise 1971)

For an album of standards, this is mighty fucking depressing.  As I'm sitting here trying to tolerate side 2's three long six minute songs and really just want to kill myself after hearing this.  Probably the most depressing Old Ragged Cross ever recorded, and I tend to believe that Robert Christgau is right, the Lyman Family isn't much fun to be around with.  He gave this record a B minus and he might have been too generous.  If Kweskin keeps it under three minutes it works better, Okie From Muskogee, Back In The Saddle Again are the two best moments, Sugar Babe comes in third.  After that, you might as well quit playing the record.  The liner notes are a hoot.  The music: they make Morrissey sound like Pharrell Williams.  Isn't that an accomplishment you never thought you would hear.  Don't take me up on that offer, you'll regret it.   Trust me.
Grade D+

Album From My Youth-Chuck Berry-Fresh Berries (Chess 1966)

One of my earliest album buys ever, I think it may have been my second or third album. Chuck was nearing the end of his Chess Records tenure, Mercury threw a ton of cash his way and those albums continue his long decline and he never did win over the hippie crowd, despite making a half assed attempt with Steve Miller and his band which that record has remained in print.  History has actually treated Fresh Berries with a lot more respect than those Mercury albums, although Berry was getting very lazy with his riffs.  Hell, he repeats himself wit the same riff on My Mustang Ford and the remake of Louis Jordan's Ain't That Just Like A Woman.  Berry made it clear that Jordan was the father of rock and roll, he even does a Latin version of Run Joe.   Berry's Chess albums always had some sort of filler to them, even classics  like Rockin At The Hops and St. Louis to Liverpool has some filler track, not as much as Fresh Berries though. He was never a convincing bluesman and Wee Wee Hours tend to plod along.  But Dave Edmunds did cover It's My Own Business and George Thorogood It Wasn't Me, the two best songs off this album.   In the end, I can't say it's a album to remember ole Chuck by, but compared to the bloated, uninspired and out of touch Mercury albums, it would be his last good album.
Grade B

Townedger Radio 20-Broadcast on Lucky Star Radio 7/20/16


Blondie-The Iron City Houserockers
What's Wrong With Yo Yo-The Van DeLeckis
Get It Over With-The Townedgers
Big Boat-Peter, Paul And Mary
Best Friend-Senseless Things
Leland-35 Summers
Got My Mojo Workin-Muddy Waters
Leaving Here-Eddie Holland
Bim Bam-Sam Butera With The Witnesses
He's Gonna Step On You Again-John Kongos
Let's Dance-Chris Rea
When The Skies Come Falling Down-The Pursuit Of Happiness
Keep A Walking-Sam And Dave
Solid Rock-Dire Straits
Greenback Dollar (45 Version)-The Kingston Trio
You Tell Me Why-The Townedgers

Setlist from The Dawn via Sean Ryan  (Photo: Dye Photography)

The Dawn- Camp Euforia 7/15/16

Roses Are Free, Let Me Down Easy, Comeback^, Freezeframe, Blue Indian, A Little Piece Of Mind, Ticklelicous, Don't It Make You Wanna Dance, Paradise

^= w/ Austin from Euforquestra

Featuring Edub Wilson on percussion for entire set



TAD said...

Wow Crabby, there is some great stuff and some real crap in that 1968 chart you posted. Quite a mix. And thanx for the info on SHOES FOR INDUSTRY. I'm gonna go check that out right now....

TAD said...

Hey, some nice picks for your radio show too -- Greenback Dollar, He's Gonna Step on You, Solid Rock. Where or how can I tune you in?

R S Crabb said...

Hi Tad

Lucky Star Radio plays the show at 10 PM your time 3rd Wednesday of each month.

TE Radio archives can be found on Mixcloud
(That was last month's show)

Type in Townedger Radio on Mix cloud and it will take you to a link.

If and when TE Radio 20 gets archived, I'll post the link, but it's not quite available yet.

2000 Man said...

Man, I love Alex Harvey! He was a certifiable big deal here in Cleveland, just about the only place in the US he caught on (Philly too, but not as much as here). I've got all kinds of his albums. That Castle Collection is excellent, and the vinyl version is a terrific sounding record. I'm sure the CD is too, but I've got it on vinyl. Next is one of those albums everyone my age has around here.

R S Crabb said...

Hi 2000 Man, so nice to see ya again.

It must have been a Cleveland thing, but I don't recall hearing SAHB at all around here, perhaps the college station may have played them, first album I ever got was SAHB Live and it's one of those must have albums. The Vertigo albums were hard to find even back then. I went to a junk shop and they had Tomorrow Belongs To Me on CD so I bought that and the old Disc Go Round had Live on CD. The Castle best of, does differ from the Universal 2013 upgrade. But I'm always on the lookout for the stray SAHB albums that I don't have.