Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Week In Review; TE Radio 21 Paul McCartney, 50 Cent CD Reviews

During the big jams going on last week, I did stumble upon some CDs found for 50 cents at the Salvation Army with their 50 percent off sale and managed to find a bunch of goodies from the past.  All were in good shape.

What was found:

The Cars (1978)  It's debatable how this album managed to grab a spot on the classic rock list and I still enjoy the overplayed Good Times Roll, Best Friends Girlfriend, Just What I Needed and Don't Cha Stop.  And of course the wonderful Bye Bye Love, but I still think the last two numbers Moving In Stereo and All Mixed Up are filler songs.  The late Ben Orr made the songs become rock classics, Ric Osacek doing the more freaky I'm In Touch With Your World.  It's not a five star album to my ears, just like the beginning it's a B plus. No more no less.

Hanoi Rocks-Two Steps From The Move (1984)  These guys were the bridge from glam to what Guns and Roses would succeed with their debut but now sadly a footnote in rock history.  Who knows what would have happened had Dazzle the drummer not gotten into an ill fated ride with Vince Neil.  I don't think they would have done much in rock and roll, they were way too British for the US folks to care much about, but this album, echoes lots of Slade and even The Motors.  Their only known hit was a cover of CCR's Up Around The Bend, and the ballad Don't You Dare Leave Me is part Alice Cooper, part Mott The Hoople.  Overall, I like this better than Appetite For Destruction or even Mott (the 1973 album).  And Guns And Roses did pay tribute to them by issuing most of the Hanoi Rocks albums prior to Two Steps From The Move.  I give this an A minus

Billy Joel-The Nylon Curtain (1982)  After Billy's rock move Glass Houses, he went back to a more progressive piano sort of pop and while reviewers scream out POMPOUS and OVERBLOWN, I tend to enjoy this record a bit more.  Goodnight Saigon does kinda have that progressive rock vibe to it. I sure Bruce Springsteen wrote better blue collar songs than Allentown or Foreigner doing a better rock number than Pressure but I like both songs better than what the boss would come up with or that matter the latter band.  Mark Prindle would disagree with me on both songs.  B+

Sammy Hagar-Through The Fire (1984)  Basically a thrown together live document of original songs done with Neal Schon, Mike Shrieve and Kenny Aaronsen as the Red Rocker tried his back to revisit the first Montrose album.  Of course the original Montrose album wins out, better songs, better guitar player and a more rocking rhythm section, Shrieve is better at during the latin rock of Santana.  Not a lot of substance for songs but Top Of The Rock is a nice song and Without You could have been a hit had Sammy decided to record it for his own solo album.  For a busman's holiday, it's a okay album, but for a rock and roll album it does sound forced.

Other things:

Blogging for 14 years has been a labor of love, I sure didn't get into this to make money, none is being made here.  As I continue to look at the tanking ratings and back to double digit views,  I can see why folks like Groove Sandwich and others quit doing them.  In a way, it's a diary in the 14 years of buying music and commenting on things that matter or bands that matter.  It's a balancing act of trying to go to work, pay bills, play in bands and documenting all the happenings.  But I think at some point the frustrations of trying to keep things going with minimal comments, or people actually read this blog makes it even worth continuing on.  I've seen good music mags with a much more shorter life than Record World come and gone.  It's a far cry from the peace and love mags that I read growing up in the 70s onward, at some point the good intentions and good vibes become Corporate owned and all of a sudden the world makes The Kadashians  superstars.  You can do your best trying to tout bands that should have been better known, and there's other sites that do that, and once in a while you'll find a band that does take notice of your efforts but they're few, far and between.  And people do lose interest, I really don't have any of my original followers from hanging around.  You get married and have better things to do, be a grandparent and post pictures of grandkids, work and try to survive their lives, some pass on.   It's tough to continue to blog on and cuss the computer out when words get misspelled or seeing editing errors and missing words to prove a point or review an album.  But rather a love of keeping the obscure and up and coming bands some acknowledgement.  Is it worth mentioning about the forthcoming announcement of Paul McCartney going back to Capitol a third time, nor Pink Floyd re reissing their albums via Columbia anymore?  They are established stars but in reality neither Pink Floyd has made any new albums lately, or Macca making a listenable album  worth a mention.  A few weeks ago Steven Tyler made his country album but nobody talks about that.  Used to be new albums were a big deal, now they're just a shrug and move on to the next flavor of the minute.   For new bands, NME named a few that I never even heard about in the first place, Glass Animals, Alex G, some 13 year old rapper Lil Poopy? And hard to believe that the Arctic Monkeys have been around for 10 years now.  And you still don't hear them on radio.

With KRNA making a return to Classic Rock, it's just going around in a circle. The classic rock format hasn't changed at all , you're still hearing the same ole tired crap and let's face it, classic rock hasn't changed at all since Kurt Cobain left us. The three Corporate Major Labels don't promote the up and coming rock and rollers who could fall in that classic rock format and they certainly don't play the new Eric Clapton nor Blackfoot or Skynyrd but they be happy to give you Free Bird or Sweet Home Alabama every hour on the hour.  It's fun to do something on net radio, where Townedger Radio base itself from, perhaps it would be better if a corporate radio station would promote something off the beaten path, or give a glimpse into how radio was forty summers ago before Slick Willie and his cronies gave us the Telecom 1996 act and basically killed free form radio as we know it.  Or promote the regional artist.  That don't exist anymore.

By then people give up buying music and simply play the stuff they grew up with or what Corporate Radio plays.  Or have the local band play those overplayed classic rock stuff at the local bar.    You can talk about it, rave about it in your blog and try to get the word out as best as you can, but in the long run there comes a point you just throw your hands up in the air and said I did my best and get off the social media and go mow the yard.  It might be 660 views or (today) 43 viewers but in the end, it really don't matter.  It just seems that you haven't accomplished a thing, even though you did your best to rave about forgotten bands that made an impact in your lives.  Despite the good intentions of KRNA, they will not play Swinging Steaks, nor The Townedgers.   They will mention a new song from the likes of Metallica but in the end, they end up playing Enter Sandman.  

Preston Hubbard, bass player for Roomful Of Blues and later The Fabulous Thunderbirds was found dead Wed.  He was 63.  Years of hard living caught up with him.  He's best known for the classic period of the Fab Birds (Tuff Enuff through Walk That Walk Talk That Talk).

The fire season in California has been hell for the people in San Bernardino County and a Route 66 icon Summit Inn was consumed by the Blue Cut Fire.  At 3:00 PM the staff was told to vacate at once and two hours later, the fire came through and burned it to the ground.  Only the sign was left among the ruins. (Photo from Cactus Hugs)

Is the third time the charm for Paul McCartney?  At the end of his career he decided to return back to the label that started it all for him, he signed a big deal with Capitol to once again reissue his back catalog starting his 1970 McCartney album and everything else along with it.   In this day and age, it may be his final victory lap but in three headed monster known as the major labels, this is looked with indifference  and a shrug.  By now, most everybody has had their albums in their lives and what could Paul possibly do to get people to reinvest in the forth make over of Band On The Run?  Capitol is no longer a major EMI label but rather part of the big Universal behemoth.  Or just a satellite label and a shadow of its former self.   I just don't look at this as anything major, unless it's the last of a dinosaur artist still valid enough to command some sort of dollars due to his legacy and being part of a band known as The Beatles and still have enough in him to make a classic album such as Band On The Run.  Outside of his Give My Regards To Broadway soundtrack, none of his albums since has made much of an impression on me.   In the meantime, McCartney did leave Capitol for a few years on Columbia and returned and then went to Concord for a few years and now has returned back to Capitol to join the likes of The Rolling Stones and Elton John, although Capitol didn't like E.J.'s last album, they had to reassign that to Virgin/Island.  It's still Universal regardless.  It means that Capitol will issue the new McCartney album next year and maybe in 1976 or even 1996 it would have been big news.  And for myself still into rock and roll forty years onward, it's worth reporting.  But by tomorrow you'll forget all about it.  Just like reading this blog and forgetting all about it the next day. That's how it is in a Pokemon-Go text and crashing your car into another not paying attention to the rules of the road.

And what else?

First Flight-First Annual Iowa Album (Snowflake 1980)

If you're from Iowa you would know more about this early album of some of the finest CR Musicians playing on 10 songs of living in Iowa.  My jam buddy Dan Johnson plays bass on half of the ten songs, including Iowa City Wild Weekend Nights with legendary guitarist Craig Erickson, all 2 minutes of its glory.  If you listen to this, you'd swear that the Craig Erickson that would make the more noisy lead guitar all over the place of his albums for Mike Varney's Blues Bureau label.  Dennis McMurrin, Dan's guitar playing buddy contributes Feeling Blue, a standard in the DaddyO/DJ duo blues band which they still play from time to time.  Mcmurrin and Johnson also help Roger LaBarge on his folk Mississippi River song.  Not a lot of rock and roll to choose from, Billy Janey coughs up his song Stone City with Jace Boleros,  and Voyager shows off their inner Rush tendencies with The Final Battle, which like early Rush, a nice medley of song ideas and music execution but it does feel like a filler track before you get the best cut on the album.  Akasha's Madam Operator to which they add a bit of EWF and Steely Dan to their jazzy blues rock.   The record tends to be a bit too folkish for repeated listenings and Billy Janey did make a better version of Stone City somewhere but for 1980 it did give a valid argument that Iowa musicians can make good music.  Sometimes a great song too.  For example seek out the SouthEast Iowa Comps of the 1980s and 1990s.
Grade B+

The Beach Boys In Concert (Brother/Capitol 1973)

The so called last album of the wilderness years before American Graffiti came along and rendered the Beach Boys to pure nostalgia.  In some ways they were trying to branch out to something outside other than Girls, Cars, and Surfin.  Hey, I like them doing Sail On Sailor and Marcella, but not so much Trader or Leaving This Town to which the folks waiting to hear California Girls or Help Me Rhonda took a pause for the cause or went and got more beer.  Mike Love was still creepy back then if you think about it, but with Carl and Dennis Wilson and Al Jardine still around they did keep him in check.  Hell of a backing band too, Ricky Fataar smashing and crashing drums left to right all the way to Fun Fun Fun which rocked pretty damn hard.  It's easy to dismiss this all together but it is a fun album even on the throwaways such as We Got Love or Funky Pretty; the version of Help Me Rhonda sounding like a jam band of all things.  The Beach Boys would never get this rocking ever again, even if Mike Love still continues to milk the Beach Boys name for all its worth, he'll never top these live performances from 40 plus summers ago.   Certainly the end of an era.
Grade A- 

Blackfoot-Highway Song (Atco 1982)

An import at the time (Wounded Bird did issue it in the 2000s) it showed the classic Blackfoot lineup tearing through some of their songs in front of a British crowd loving every minute of it.  Something about Jakson Spires that I really love to hear him pound those drums on Every Man Should Know and Train Train and they did pick out the best of the Atco sides, from Gimme Gimme Gimme to Road Fever to the Free Bird jam of Highway Song.  Would have been nice if they would have dig deeper, say Catch A Train or Flying High from the early albums  Nevertheless it's a jolly good time.  At least from the British fans side.
Grade B

Flight 16-(550 Music 1998)

Cry all the way to the bank, writes the dude from All Music Guide and even in 1998, Flight 16 was behind the times.  They couldn't figure out who to be, Alice In Chains, Verve Pipe, Our Lady Peace, Soundgarden but unlike the two star review in AMG, there are some enjoyable songs among the muck, Fly has got a nice beginning hook, My Only Love apes a bit of The Beatles and Poison Apple grabs a bit of Black Sabbath to go with their post 90s alt grunge rock.  For 56 minutes, even if you managed to sit through this album, the self loathing will eventually get to you.  It's amazing that I still have this cd in my collection after all these years, but to be honest, I still enjoy their attempt to recapture that flannel moment that passed them by.   But I don't know, even Flight 16 sounds a bit resigned to the fact that this album was a Sony Music tax write off and all they got for their effort was this album, now taking up space at local bargain bins at flea markets, next to Hootie and Limp Bizkit.  Even Dave Jerden, seemed to have a half hearted  (or half assed) in the production and mix of this album, the songs really don't come alive.  And their so called big hit If All The World Hated Me (wouldn't you be the one to love me) was wishful thinking although the rest of world had other things to worry about, like those up and comers Limp Bizkit's classic 3 Dollar Bill Y'all.  Certainly I go more for the pout rock of Flight 16 rather than the Bizkit goofballs and probably will dust this album off when the moment is right.  But pout rock never has aged all that great.  Just ask Matchbox 20, (or The Verve Pipe)
Grade C+

Townedger Radio 21-The Music of 1976 Edition  (Broadcast 8/18/16 )

Two String Guitar Song-Rodney Smith
Roadrunner-The Modern Lovers
Double Trouble-Lynyrd Skynyrd
Honey Child-Bad Company
Flyin' High-Blackfoot
Are You Ready For The Country-Waylon Jennings
Slick Titty Boom-Elvin Bishop
Turn It Loose-The Doobie Brothers
Sick As A Dog-Aerosmith
Walk Away-Joe Walsh
This Ain't The Summer Of Love-Blue Oyster Cult
Get Across To You-Eddie And The Hot Rods
Rolling And Tumbling-Dr. Feelgood
Good Vibrations-Todd Rundgren
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead-Warren Zevon



TAD said...

Well, I almost didn't read this, cos I thought you were gonna review a new album by 50 Cent (who?). Then halfway through I thought you were gonna hang it all up. Glad you didn't. Your post did at least wake me up.
I get bummed by the low response sometimes too, but at this point I'm doing this for me, and at least I'm writing SOMETHING. It's compulsive for me just to DO it, and I feel bad if I don't. I feel like if I don't do it I'm wasting my time, talent, life. Gotta do SOMETHIN'. And if folks like my stupid jokes or get turned on to some new band, then GREAT! Besides, I still think it's big fun to post instant responses to all the music I've never heard before -- no matter how old it is. Until that format gets boring to me, I'm gonna keep going. I bet you will too, no matter how much you protest that it ain't fun no more.
But I don't wanna be the last guy doing this, so for Ghod's sake, don't stop.

R S Crabb said...

Hi Tad
Thanks for your support of this site of rants and raves and reviews. This hasn't been a very good summer myself, what happened at my place of employment. Tonight I ask myself while fighting a crappy job I was scanning, why the hell am I killing myself over this GD job that I work at.

Anyway, record collecting has always been a hobby and blogging about it I have managed to think I'm accomplishing something in social media, although my traffic is much much less than Burning World or Farce The Music or Saving Country Music. A mention from these folks and a link might boast ratings. And for 14 years too, and still an unknown. I always give kudos to you and those who have their sites (2000 Man, Rastro, Jamie Lee, Groove Sandwich) and try to support the best way possible. People get very bored with things and move on to other things. Sometimes my job sucks the fun of blogging, or a bargain hunts that I found nothing worth buying or hearing. And as you know me, I try to make this a year long venture, and I'm sure when I get to December look back to see if I want to sign up for another year of music news and who died. As long as Blogspot keeps going the archives will be up for those who want something other than what the bimbo Katashians are going to bed with nowadays. Or Taylor Swift for that matter. Somebody's gotta promote the new artists out there. Plenty to choose from.

Usually life happens and the bloggers I know (Trucker Kitty, Sound Woman, Groove Sandwich) are either going to school and don't have the time to blog like they used to. A friend of mine The Vinyl King could debate me on music for hours upon end, but alas he went through a hard time and now is basically born again and I wish him the best. But for me, it's a force of habit to continue to search for the obscure and expose the forgotten artists, I know nobody has ever mentioned anything about Cliff Steward or Chuck Murphy or Gene Cotton. For rock and roll, Mom's Apple Pie's manager did read my blog and filled in the blanks, and Swinging Steaks even provided a link of my blog from their website. Which is why I continue to blog. Once in a while I'll come up with something that will strike a chord or get people to seek the band out.

I try not to repeat myself like Bob Lefsetz is guilty of; lately he's been repeating himself to the point that I only read his stuff every other week rather than every day. Or Robert Christgau who tends to get way too much into world music and rap and adds too many 10 dollar words and phases nobody understands. Unlike myself, they get paid, for you and I it's a labor of love that you invest your time in to get the word out or temp people to buy something from Wooden Nickel Lottery or Trio for that matter. I'll still be around in some way or another, if you don't hear from me in over a month then you can be concerned.

For now it's business as usual.

2000 Man said...

I wish I had more time to sit and write. I'm sure you guys all get way more hits than me, and when I looked at the site counter that wasn't Blogger's, I always had WAY less hits than Blogger said. Not that I care. No one gives a shit about the music I listen to. We went out with my sister-in-law and niece the other night and I drove and it was nice when SIL said, "I really like this music - what station is this?" I just had a USB stick in playing random cuts from like 20 GB of mp3's. So I know that when people actually listen to what I listen to, a lot of them say, "I like this." So that's cool.

We got bought by another company, so I've been really concentrating on work (and we're down seven people from a year ago with no replacements cuz we don't know what's happening, I guess). So writing hasn't been on my mind. Well, it has, but when I start it gets real disjointed, real fast. Guess it's hard to concentrate, or it could just be that when I'm listening to music, I need to listen and just let it do the job of getting me out of my head for a bit.

I check out yours and TAD's places a couple times a week though!

R S Crabb said...

As always thanks for your support 2000 Man. I always know you're out there somewhere. Our wonderful place of employment has laid off 10 percent of our work force, the good ones get let go, and we been stuck doing a emergency job that our competitors couldn't finish. I'd love it if they just let me go but I don't think they want to pay me a full year severance with benefits just quite yet.

I tend to think Blogger does inflate the numbers, what else to say about the 660 views last month and 14 views of today but I continue to do this since something I write might strike a chord with somebody out there. If i get somebody to listen to something other than the usual classics and get them to hear The Pirates, Swinging Steaks, etc, that I think I succeeded.

Sometimes we all need a break from the rigors of free blogging. Till I come across something worth blogging about. That usually happens in a matter of days it seems ;)