Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Week In Review: Labor Day Music, Waterloo, BDW 45s

For the next week I'm off from work.  It's been a very long and tiring summer of trying to complete a project for a state that would yank the contract away from my place of employment and give it to another competitor but yet we can still clean up this fucking mess that they left us.  It didn't scan worth a shit on our scanners and those 8 different vendors didn't know how to make scanning test scores.   What this summer was to be a furlough off to play in bands didn't turn out as planned.  But then again it's been that way at my place of employment for 6 years now running, layoffs and more job cuts and less and less work to do.  One gets tired of hearing the usual bad news from our CEO, it's no longer about the worker who tries to get things done with subpar and outdated materials, scanners and printers.   What used to be a company that cared about their employees, was sold off by a conman to another company which has been taking away the things that make going to work tolerable.  The makings of being on the USS Titanic, but unlike the ship sinking in a few hours, our company has had a slow leak since 2010, but now that slow lead is up to our necks.  I doubt if there will be a blue cart with my name on it when my last day arrives.  Just like Tom and Jim who was with this company for 40 years and the only reward is a payoff and a good luck in your future endeavors.

It has been yet another year of death and disappointments, most recently Bruce Stanley, which is in the previous blog, and now the one of original folks who started up Zia Records passed on too Brian Faber.  It's been three years since my last Arizona trip, but Zia's was one of my favorite hang out places when I went to AZ or Vegas for that week away to get away from Chaos Central. Thirty years ago, when I lived in Chandler, Zia's was my second home.  Zia's continues to be the exception to the rule of record and CD stores going out of business.  The guess is that Zia's will be around to stay, too bad we can't say the same to Hastings which is now history.   But the reality remains that I'll won't make it back to Arizona anymore.   The hassles of flying, renting a car, motel etc is simply not cost effective and certainly with Hastings gone less stores to find cheap music.  This year will mark thirty years ago that I attempted to move out to Arizona to start a new life, only to succumb making meager wages in a right to work state and a Aunt's impatience that threw me out of the house to come back up here.  To the point that I have nothing to do with Aunt Sarge and even my brother, who she still tries to maintain some sort of family connection with the usual monthly blabbering, wants little to do with her.   Bruce passes on but yet Aunt Sarge continues to live on, with years of living under 110 degree Arizona sun has melted her brains into cheese wiz. http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/music/2016/09/06/zia-records-owner-brian-faber-dies/89917626/

I haven't been much in a blogging mood, even less with Bruce now gone but as the way Bruce would want it, I continue to head into town to check out bands and partake on bargain hunts.  The big thing was Blitz Creek, a two day rock and metal fest at around Center Point to which most if not all rock and metal bands took part in.   The new boss wouldn't let us out early Friday Night, so I missed out on In The Attic playing at New Bo outdoors but managed to see 50 Shades Of Rock and Tiffany Z at J and A and chatted with her a bit.  With school starting up Tiffany will be hitting the books rather than the drums.  Regardless, I still love to watch her play drums and still remains one of the best drummers around, and I'll do my best to see her next time the band is in town.

Saturday, I went up to Waterloo to get away from it all for an afternoon of seeing what St. Vincent De Paul had for music but alas, there wasn't much for 45s, most were still the old scratched up stuff that's been there for months but I did find a three LPs, and a couple CDs for 3 dollars.  I doubt if anybody would ever buy Leapy Lee, George Hamilon, Dave Dudley, Chet Baker with Paul Desmond and The Gaslight Anthem in a single visit.  Another surprise was that Stuff Etc, somebody brought up a pristine collection of promo 45s of old R and B stuff.  Mostly big band, jazz but I had to hear Prez Pardo version of the Marilyn Monroe Mambo.  It certainly isn't rock and roll but one of those curios you had to hear just once.  Just like, um that George Hamilton By George! fiasco album.  Whoever kept those 45s, kept them in great shape, even sticking a zip lock bag over the original 45 sleeves.  And for 99 cents a piece they were worth a listen.  I managed to get a better copy of House Of Blue Lights from Chuck Miller than the one that I had.   But I'm not sure if anybody would be interested in these 45s for a future Singles Going Steady Blog, outside of Chuck Miller and The Platters' Only You, most are either pop big band or jazz.  They're certainly not rock and roll.  But I commend the owner for painstakingly keeping these 60 year old artifacts in good shape, so I think I'll keep the ziplock bags in tact.

There were some cheap CDs at the pawn shop in Waterloo I thought about getting but passed on that, likewise a bunch of 45s from the Goodwill Cedar Falls store; I'd love a copy of Daddy Cool from The Rays but the record seen better days and there a bunch more old big band classics from the likes of Gene Krupa and Perry Como, and a Hit Records attempt at the Lonely Bull and Telstar but I passed. Independence Goodwill had Radio Moscow first CD, and I wanted to revisit that CD.  I guess 8 years after the fact that it wasn't as memorable or good as my first review of it.  It's not bad for heavy trio blues hard rock in the style of Frank Marino leading Blue Cheer, but it's not an A minus that I originally gave it.  More like a straight B grade.  Independence is a small town but I tend to go there for supper rather than Waterloo's places of eatery.  The Pizza Ranch  really didn't have a good pizza selection so it was biscuits and gravy, and of course a porta potty would come in handy about 20 minutes later.  I drove back down 150 on the way to Waubeek to check out a local month jam session, which I stayed for 2 songs.  The guy had electric drums and I don't do well with electric drums.

Sunday was Ballgame with The Kernels and they were shut out 5-0, wasted an afternoon there, so I went down to Parlor City to catch up with Wooden Nickel Lottery's CD debut gig and while the intention was to stay for a short set then off to the jams, I ended up staying through all of the second set and managed to chat with Jess and Rich Toomsen.  Rich is a guitar slinging madman putting together some wild licks part Stevie Ray, part Joe Bonamassa and even Joe Satriani.  Delayne Stillman is almost perfect for the blues tinted songs that WNL does, as they promoted their new album Down The Line.  Rick Gallo sounds a lot like Vince Gill or Craig Fuller, he is the most elusive member of that band, I've never talked to him at great length like I have with Jess or Rich for that matter.  But he can also play guitar as well.   Jess told me that WNL doesn't have much coming up for gigs, mostly private parties and perhaps later addition back to Parlor City.  Basically a play it by ear since WNL doesn't do many covers,  Rick did cover I'm Not The Only One and Further Up The Road or The Thrill Is Gone.  But I'm sure Rich and band did do Nickels And Dimes on their third and final set.  By then, the Jams at Rumors and Cooters were winding down, Kick It subbing for Terry McDowell at Rumors and Julie Gordon and Lorie Parker in for Mike Williams at Cooters Acoustic Jam.  And I was out walking back to the car over the 16th Avenue Bridge where some bike riding woman not paying attention lost control of her bike as she fell over the sidewalk into the road. Thankfully she wasn't hurt.

Monday was Labor Day, so basically I picked up a couple things at Half Priced Books 20 percent off sale, passed on new drum gear at Guitar Center and was going to buy a few 45s at the opened Salvation Army store, only to find that both Convention 72 and Instant Replay 45s had a nasty crack in both so I passed on that.

In other words, life continues to go on.  I have a week off.  And the last thing I want to do is wonder about work.  I have things to do around the house, things to donate, things to throw away,  to try to clean house.  As you can tell, I'm still sitting in front of the computer, not getting anything done outside of writing up another blog of my adventures this weekend.

For now this will do.  Just another way to say I'm still around.  I'm always around.

PS:  Thanks to those who shared the Bruce Stanley Eulogy blog.  If there's any more pictures of Bruce playing guitar or drums for that matter, I try to post them and give credit for those who post them. To share and keep the memory of Bruce alive, is the intention.  Eventually we will all join Bruce in the great beyond in the near future. I'm honored to be a friend of his.

In the meantime Phyllis Schlafly, devout Conservative hag who mentioned that there'll be a woman president over my dead body might see that come true.  She passed away at age 92.  At the same time Anthony (Ann) Coulter bombed big time on the Roast Of Rob Lowe that she became target practice for the social media set this week.   And if you haven't turned  your TV on this week, you might want to wait till after November, the bullshit political ads are everywhere even in your mailbox as trees are being cut down for such propaganda nonsense from the hard working politicians putting up their signs all over this area, the only line of work that they have done all year.  Such backbreaking tasks of putting a sign in your yard, might have overworked them that they have to file workman's comp.  They are certainly not used to this kind of, or any other kind of work.  Just ask Chuck Grassley.

Cedar Rapids disposed of Wisconsin 3-1 to move on to the division finals against Clinton and will play them at home Saturday.  The Marion Indians have won more games this year than they have the previous two years, outlasting DeWitt Central in a 7-0 slugfest in the mud at Thomas Park Field, which has been inundated by rain the past couple days.  While it's too early to tell if Marion has changed their ways back to winning, they have looked fairly decent, even playing top notch defense, although DeWitt Central was pretty much bogged down in the mud all game.  Marion moves on to Dubuque to play Walert next Friday.

Record Reviews:

Chet Baker/Paul Desmond: Together-The Complete Studio Recordings (Epic 1992)

They really didn't record much together. in fact the three February 1977 songs would be the last before lung cancer claimed Desmond a few days later, but even in the end Desmond still could come up with a beautiful solo or two.  Strangely, those three tracks would wind up on A&M Horizon and not Epic, and history has shown but both Baker and Desmond recorded for Creed Taylor's CTI Records in the early 1970s.  It's nice to hear the interplay of both Baker and Desmond in a light jazz setting.  Two more tracks, You'd Be So Nice To Come Home Too and the 19 minute Concierto De Aranjuez come from guitarist Jim Hall's Concierto album of 1974.  Mostly, these tracks are more favorable to both Hall and Chet Baker, who throws in a cool version of How High Is The Moon.  I don't think this got issued in the US, lack of interest perhaps or licensing issues.  But for a jazz curio pairing of two of the more eccentrics of jazz  it's not bad gentle jazz.
Grade B+

The Wild Flowers-Tales Like These (Slash 1990)

I don't think the world was ready for a British version of Midnight Oil but this record was an improvement over Sometime Soon, although the alternative producer Matt Wallace didn't do them much favors either.  The call and response of Shakedown and the Cultish Hopes Crash Down are the two best, but ballads are not their specialty either.  Even with Wallace's polished recording, it still remains angry Brit rock, which isn't bad if you're not into happy love songs.  Some days I'm not into happy love songs either.
Grade B+

Singles Going Steady Medley: BDW Scrapings

Teen Age Goodnight-The Chordettes (Cadence 1299)  #45  1956
Lay Down Your Arms #16 1956

Back in the days of the 1950s radio stations tend to play the flip side from time to time.  The Chordettes famed for Mr. Sandman hitting number 1 in 1954 and Lollipop #2 1958, had the most chart placing 45s in 1956, mostly on the strength of the B side Lay Down Your Arms, a big band pop type of a song that was famous better in WW2.   I'll go with the echoey charm of Teen Age Goodnight which probably did close a few high school dances back in 1956.

There's A Grand Ole Opry Show Playing Somewhere-Red Johnson (Capitol 5318)  1964

Written after the tragic plane crash that took the life of Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins this did managed to pop up on the country charts, but in reality there's not much use for this song anymore, unless you like those songs of country stars who left us before their time.  You can update it by adding the likes of Merle, Johnny and Keith Whitley.   Originally HEP 2933, Capitol picked up this single.  Red's only Capitol single, although he would return back to Hep for a few more singles before another one off for Dial Records.   Fun Fact: Johnson co wrote Taxi Driver for Dave Dudley.  B side Railroaded, is a bit more brighter than Grand Ole Opry and a bit more fun too.

He'll Have To Go-Jim Reeves (RCA Gold Standard 447-0574)  #2 1960
Am I Losing You #31  1960

Reeves recorded many many sides for RCA, even after his passing, they continue to issued the beyond the grave songs that still charted up till 1979 but He'll Have To Go will be his signature tune regardless.  The number 2 chart was for the pop, we all know it topped the country charts in 1960.  Perhaps the best representative single of the polished Nashville sound that Chet Atkins perfected in the early 60s for RCA.  With the Anita Kerr Singers adding those lush vocals.  Am I Losing You was another top ten country hit although it didn't chart as high as He'll Have To Go.

Come Softly To Me-The Fleetwoods (Liberty F55188)  #1  1959
Graduation's Here-The Fleetwoods (Dolton No.3)  #39

One of the best loved vocal groups of the early days of rock and roll, Come Softly To Me is vocal perfection, two girls harmonies over the guy's lead vocal.  Originally on Dolton Record No 1, Liberty decided to add it to their collection when it hit number 1.  The followup single Graduation's Here didn't fare as well, squeezing in at number 39, but next single Mr. Blue would return The Fleetwoods back to the top spot for the last time.  The songs were arranged by Bonnie Guitar who would go on to a decent country music career.

Corina Corina-Ray Peterson (Dunes 45-2002)  #9  1960

Had a number 7 hit with the tragic song Tell Laura I Love Her for RCA before moving over to Dunes for a three year fling and this Phil Spector arranged song did hit number 9.  I guess Ray was a teen idol of sorts, after Corina, Peterson  would have one more top 30 hit with Missing You and a top 70 single with The Wonder Of You, a one off for RCA.  Later made stops at MGM, Reprise and UNI with uncharted singles. B side Be My Girl is a 2 minute yawner.

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