Monday, October 24, 2016

Week In Review: The Crabbys 2016, Bob Dylan Nobel Prize Winner

The feel good story of the year is the Cubs winning the pennant and now made the World Series for the first time since 1945 and they meet the Cleveland Indians.  I blogged about it earlier and got that out of the way.  Now it's back to reality.


And the reality is that the Iowa Hawkeyes are not very good.  Wisconsin came into town and reclaimed the Heartland Trophy for their sixth straight victory at Iowa City with a  17-9 victory. And still fell out of the top 10 in the Coaches poll.  Had Wisconsin made their two FGs and didn't fumble in the end zone it would have been a blow out.  It's a question if Wisconsin had a stellar defense (they really do) or if the Hawkeyes are terrible on offense, ranking 106th in total offense.  Plenty of injuries for sure but the offense line was poor in the beginning even with the first team starters. But with the replacements, all they could do was shout Look out as Badgers raced through their feeble blocks.  When they had chances to get in the game Iowa shot themselves in the foot, after a kick to the Badgers 35, George Kittle was flagged for offside and the Hawks went backwards. Freshman Keith Duncan missed a chip shot FG and the Hawkeye Defense couldn't tackle either.  Iowa has a bye week to figure out if they have anything left in the tank to make it to a bowl game, but they will not be in the Championship, that will be up to Nebraska and Wisconsin to see if they play either Ohio State or Michigan. Next game at Penn State.  Iowa has lost three games at home and probably two more.

Arizona State is also falling out of favor and players too. Washington State with big mouth coach Mike Leech came in and defeated them 37-32 in a not so happy homecoming.  Leech opened up his mouth and accused of ASU of stealing signals to which Todd Graham kept quiet but was steaming red, congratulating Leech but calling him a chickenshit at the end. Leech might have walked away a winner, but he's 10,000 dollars poorer, being fined by the Pac 12 for those stealing comments. Look for Graham to mark the next date they play in Pullman next season. You can bet he wants to win there and win big.  As for Leech, he did keep his big mouth shut after the game while being interviewed.  Probably the smartest thing he's done all week.

Music news; Bill Wyman has joined the 80 club.  He Turned 80 on Monday.

For those who missed out on the Rykodisc Yoko Ono, Onobox set, Strictly Canadian is reissuing her albums, three at a time in November.  You know you need these in your collection

The 2017 Winter Dance Party has been announced and with the original rockers dwindling down to select few (Bobby Vee now gone) not much of them are still. The party starts on Wednesday February first with the usual history lesson, Thursday Lloyd Price and Jack Scott and Tommy Allsup will appear. Friday The Whitesidewalls play with Roy Orbinson and Everly Brothers tribute bands, and the Saturday lineup will be Johnny Rivers, The Fireballs with Jimmy Gilmer and George Tomsco and Albert Lee and Friends. If you're going, better check with the Surf Ballroom for details.  The rules are complicated.

Passsing: Bobby Vee. Teen idol who's career started by replacing Buddy Holly on the illfated 1959 Winter Tour and then having a few hits on Liberty in the 60s passed away from Alzheimer's on Monday. He was 73.

Pete Burns, singer for Dead Or Alive, that had the 1980's disco hit You Spin Me Round, died from a heart attack, he was 57.  (Seems like 57 has been a number for people passing away of late)

John Zacherle, who had a hit with Dinner With Drac for Cameo in the late 50s but became a cult star hosting monster movies for five decades, passed from natural causes.  He lived to be 98.

Buck Ornsby of The Fabulous Wailers:

Get off my lawn department:  Phil Collins has been on a tirade lately, blasting Paul McCartney when Phil wanted Mac to autograph a 45 of his and Paul made fun of the situation.  He also cringed at taking part of the disastrous Live Aid 85 reunion of Led Zeppelin, saying he was playing air drums on Rock and Roll and threw the late Tony Thompson under the bus for Thompson's heavy handed drumming.  I'm guessing Phil didn't pay much attention to his drumming on Robert Plant's solo albums and 'ahem' Eric Clapton's August.  But the biggest laugh came when he said he would have taken over for Keith Moon in The Who after Moon's OD. Never mind that Kenny Jones and Simon Phillips were on drums during various tenures.  Jones a very good drummer was ridiculed, but judging by the material of The Who, I don't think neither he or Keith would made a difference.  Bring cheese to combat Collins' whine, it doesn't make him look good in the eye of the reader of the nit picking that he has done; if anything Collins did contribute a lot to the 80s with success as a solo artist or with Genesis but when you hear Collins go off, it makes him sound like an grumpy old fuck.  Phil also complains about not being able to play drums anymore, using somebody else when he goes on tour. If Rick Allen can lose an arm and still play one handed, there's no reason why Phil can't do it. But then again he'll find one more thing to bitch about to which you can read about in his new cranky autobiography Not Dead Yet (but get off my lawn anyway).

What Paul Macca thinks about that: (get on with your life)

Bob Dylan won the Noble Peace Prize in literature which shocked the whole book world.  Dylan hasn't been impressed about the honor. they have tried to get a hold of him but he continues to ignore them.

 (Photo: Panoramio courtesy of King Hawk Fan, sometime in the early 2000s, the windows to the gym have been opened since 1997)

The Viola School has been abandoned for 18 years and have had a change of ownership four times.  The plan to make it into apartments fell through and the Stone City Art Foundation was going to make it somewhat of place for artists to hang out but then they found out it was in worse shape. A new owner had the idea of doing a ghost hunters type of seance to call out the ghost in that school.  At last count, they have counted 22 entities of high energy, and the stories I heard were interesting. A school teacher that thinks it's 1930, a ghost that jumps from the teachers lounge to the auditorium and thinks it's 1982 and a janitor that whispers to ghost hunters to get out have been a few examples.  The owner of the school wanted to do a ghost hunting fundraiser to pay for a new roof and much needed repairs, then Linn County Planning and Development nixed the project and deemed the place unsuitable and unsafe for the events planned for last and this weekend.  In true fashion, the Deputies have stepped up their presence around the area to keep people from going inside but I've seen a few that sneaked into the school after hours.  The guess is that the owner might still plan to hold tours after November 1st, technical issues that my brother tried to explained to me but I didn't get much of it (something about taxes).  Alas, the 30 dollar tours did sell out in the two weekends prior, people do tend to like going to old abandoned buildings and maybe find a ghost or two.   It's a shame that in 1997, the Viola School looked well kept before the Anamosa school district closed it down and it's been decaying, but some things are still in tact.  The red drapes in the gym are still up and intact and in good shape, which is hard to believe since the window to the gym has been opened for 18 years.  The new owners paid 10,000 dollars to acquire the building and hoped to preserve it...and the 22 ghosts that occupy that grand old haunted place.

 (Photo: RAGBRAI Ian Cullis with Isabella Barbuzza during the 2012 Ragbrai festival with plans to turn the school into a place for artists to create art, which plans would eventually fall through)

Due to a big work load at my place of employment, I have been basically doing other things of note and not tending to this blog as much as I have, although I had to post the Cubs blog and threw together a Singles Going Steady.  I continue to buy new music and some cool used CDs, but the weather has been nice and I've been trying to take advantage of the fall weather before the winter comes.  I did the Kyle Oyloe Tribute Jam Sunday and many of Kyle's family and friends joined Julie And The Mad Dogs with Terry McDowell at Rumors.  Talking with my friend Mike Serbousek, who drums for them, he said that their gig at Knuckleheads was canceled due to the place having their liquor license being taken away and things need to be squared out before bands play again.   I don't think he was too happy of being out in the audience the first hour.  He was on a mission, pounding the drums to an angry version of Fairies Wear Boots before leaving for a family emergency.  Trevor Worcel worked on four songs with newcomer Ron LaFleur and wowed the crowd.  It was a fun jam I suppose but not everybody was happy.  Buddy, Dakota's father wasn't too happy about logging his sons stuff back to Anamosa after the show, or Buddy got yelled at by the owner for playing too loud.  Hell my ears are still ringing and I wore ear plugs. Anyway, that might be my last jam for a while, until the workload dwindles down.  Good news, our operations manager said that our company is starting back on the upswing after laying 10 percent of the workforce earlier in the summer and we should all be gainfully employed.  Downside: I can't play rock star except for the usual jams or Townedgers Recording sessions.  

One month after the big flood, Cedar Rapids' New Bo district is getting back to normal. The sand bags have been taken away from that area and the Kickstand has reopened once again. Still part of the bike trail still have Hasco barriers in tact, but the earthen temporary dam is now gone from Sinclair Park.  Still plenty of sand around though.

For new releases, I have heard the new Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker (Columbia 2016) and he continues to make pretty good album despite his age and declining health.  The title track might be one of the strongest songs he's ever made in quite a while.  The songs do deal with resentment about religion or God, but even if Leonard is not convinced about the Almighty he does comes to terms about the higher power at the reprise of Treaty. The strings and the fiddle on side 2 tend to slow the proceedings down to a crawl but the first half has the strongest songs.  I'm thinking more of a strong B plus but don't be surprised if I end up putting this on the ten best of the year.

Blackberry Smoke-Like An Arrow (Thirty Tigers 2016) While good, pales in comparison to Holding All The Roses.  There's no Help You Find The Door, no Wish In One Hand and the closest songs capturing that good time feel would be Waiting For The Thunder or Let It Burn.  Problem is that they sound a bit too complacent and not as hungry.  Greg Allman adds value to the final track Free On The Wing.  Working For The Man somewhat redeems the record to a more positive level and a B plus is not bad a grade, but this record will need a few more listens before it all comes together. I recommend it but with some reservations.  Let's hope it does get better with repeated listens.  But it remains me too much of the Georgia Satellites' Open All Night, which side 2 rendered it a good but not great album. A weak B plus.

Happy trails to Trucker Kitty, who has discontinued her blog on Blogspot.  I wish her good fortune in wherever her road leads. 

(photo: Al Dimeola)

Record Reviews:

James Brown-Please Please Please (King 1960)

Early crude doo wop R and B with a bit more emphasis on the slower numbers, the title track is what defined J.B, crying, pleading and rapping over a slow groove.  Try Me the other well known number is more in Little Willie John territory.   The uptempo stuff there's not enough of it for me to really play this again (Chonnie-On-Chod, No, No No No with the staggered 8 beats), and Brown bascially stole Honky Tonk to add lyrics of his own making in there too  (Let's Make It).  Everybody's gotta start from somehwere and Please Please Please is James' first album.  A promise of things to come
Grade B

Willie Nelson-Make Way For Willie Nelson/My Own Peculiar Way (Wounded Bird 2012)

These albums are problematic.  While Chet Atkins might have done wonders for Jim Reeves and any other RCA artists, he couldn't find a suitable way to promote Willie and the Anita Kerr Singers or Nashville Edition didn't help things either.  Nelson turned out to be somewhat darker songwriter, somewhere along the likes of Don Gibson but with a more dry sense of humor.  Make Way only has one Willie song (One In A Row) which is the best of the bunch.  He does turn in a credible version of Born To Lose and a few other standards of note (Mansion On  A Hill, What Now My Love) but overall, it's spotty.  My Own Peculiar Way brings Danny Davis (Nashville Brass) into co producing and there's an attempt to put Willie into Elvis territory with awful results (I Just Dropped Big). On that album, Willie does write half the songs and if Atkins or Davis would have based him with a stripped down sort of arrangements, it would have been better.  Even Nelson didn't think much of the production, he sounds a bit bored by it all.   Wounded Bird, not exactly putting big bucks in the liner notes ended up putting the original album covers so small you needed a microscope to read the notes.
Still, no wonder why RCA couldn't promote Willie at all.  He was way ahead of the times, despite
 the polished production.
Grade B-

Singles Going Steady Medley-Dubuque 25 Cent finds.

Promises Promises-Lynn Anderson (Chart 59-1010)  #4 country in 1968, song issued in 1967

Lynn had plenty of hits on the country side prior to Rose Garden but this was a top ten country hit for her and one of her best if not her best song.  At that point Chart Records was under RCA distribution, which might explains why this song ended up on a RCA country compilation that my dad had in his collection, although a later collection found this being under the Sony music banner.  Lynn is the daughter of Liz Anderson who was a very prolific singer songwriter of her own too. 

To Sir With Love-Lulu (Epic 5-10187)  #1  1967

An almost near mint copy of the Lulu's top charting single, but I got it simply to hear her cover of Neil Diamond's The Boat That I Row, which mirrors Neil's.

I'll Meet You In Denver-Bonnie Guitar (Dot 17249)  1969
Kind of a dull country ballad.  B side Perfect Stranger isn't much better.

(photo: Helen Caunt-Discogs)

Wild Thing-Fancy (Big Tree BT-15004) #14  1974

Surprise top ten hit here on the local scene, Helen Caunt, former Penthouse poster girl purred and cooed her way through the Troggs remake.  B side Fancy showed her having a bit of sassy bad, like Chrissie Hynde of unlike Chrissie, Helen didn't have the true vocals style if she ever did have any vocals. More of a Mike Hurst band project that featured Ray Fenwick (Spencer Davis Group).  Anne Cavanaugh would take over for Helen on followup single Touch Me.  Ray Fenwick would later go on to join Ian Gillan's Band and Fancy drummer Les Blinks would join Judas Priest for two albums on Columbia in the late 70s.  For porn rock Caunt did things quite orgasmic on Wild Thing.

The Crabbys 2016

It's that time once again for yours truly to put together the best places to find music.  The list keeps getting shorter although Cedar Rapids will have the Vinyl Vault, a new place for vinyl.

Is it pointless to continue to talk about best places to find CDs or LPs, when most are streaming.  But there's some that would want to get the fuck off the computer and turn on a stereo to play their music, and I'm one of them.  No shortage of finding used music, the thrift stores have plenty of them.  But a caveat is that it seems to me that the local Salvation Army or Goodwill seems to hold on more of the rock and roll albums than they do of country or God Forbid the gospel stuff, the Mantovini, the Herb Alpert and so on.  The Marion SA had a copy of Wings At The Speed Of Sound for thirty dollars still sealed.  And Goodwill has continued on their downward spiral of being a trendy store, but they tend cram their LPs, CDs. Tape and 45s into a small space.  It's mind bogging to see them stamp a scratchy old 45 to a 1.88 or priced albums from 1.88 to 3.88 if it's rock and any condition. Defeats the sense of purpose to the point that maybe I should quit going to Goodwill since the returns aren't worth the drive nor effort.  And Best Buy has shrunk their CD section to a half row, even they can't be trusted for new music.  Or the 3 major labels either. So we're basically on our own to see what donations can be found for used music.

Again, the best records stores are in a 2 and half hour drive from here and while I know the Madison stores, I had no interest of putting up with the crappy Des Moines traffic to see what Half Priced Books had in the clearance bins, or even taking a chance on the closest FYE store.  Even on a good day FYE has been hit and miss. Or where the good record stores are at in Des Moines.  So basically I stick around the area next to the Mississippi.   Every record store has its good and bad points, it's no different than it was the first time I did the Crabby Awards.      They're mentioned for the reason that I frequent them when I'm in the neighborhood.  But they're rated in what I would recommend if your are passing through.   Support all of them if you can but in the order that I place them.

Best Record Stores:

Moondog Music (Dubuque)
Like last year they topped the list due to keeping up with new releases and having a used Cd section that does vary everytime I stopped in.  Their vinyl section might not be as big as Ragged Records or even CDs 4 Change, down the road from them. The prices are in line what Relics used to be, they vary, but if you're looking for the new Blackberry Smoke or Whiskey Myers CD, this is the place that would have them.  Usually 45s are marked a dollar apiece. And sometimes I can find bargains to take home.  Sometimes the sales help can be a bit pushy but they mean well.

Ragged Records (Davenport)
You can't beat this place for new vinyl and Bob Herrington does a fine job keeping up with new vinyl releases but the drawback is that he doesn't sell new CDs from the majors, to which you're better off crossing the river to Co Op Records in Moline.  Ragged does have a cheap bin that has promo CDs for 4 dollars or less, which makes the ultimate crate digging of finding Holding All The Roses from Blackberry Smoke.  Unlike Moondog, Ragged sells used CDs but out of print CDs will cost you more than the 7.99 price tag for some of them.  They also sell 45s but beware of the unmarked ones, to which if you fished them out of the record room, they usually look up the value of the 45 on the internet and price accordingly, or the Rich Rosen method. On a whole getting Cruel World from Don Hollinger for 10 dollars was fair but paying four dollars for Leapy Lee Here Comes The Rain, or a scratchy 10 dollar Rocky Top from The Dillard/Clark Exposition is dollar foolish.  Ragged is very friendly to local bands and have their own label Cartouche Records that features local artists.  They were also the first place to turn me on to The Dawn.

Co Op Records (Moline)

Reid Robinson has continued to work this place for 20 years now.  Co Op does have new CD releases as well but they're a bit more expensive 15 or 16 dollars but if you don't want to pay for that, you're free to roam to somewhere else.   Co Op also has a vinyl selection although not as extensive as Ragged Records.  Davenport recently revived Co Op over there but the selection is suspect at best. If you look hard enough you can find out of print CDs at regular prices, which is how I found Robyn Hitchcock's Fegmania! Rhino Record Version for 12 dollars.

CDs 4 Change (Dubuque)
More of a vinyl place than Cds, but I did find Love's Real to Reel on CD.  They got new vinyl, but not new CDs but rather used ones.  Beware of the 45s selection when they're not marked for prices.

Record Collector (Iowa City)
The last record store standing in Iowa City and Kirk continues to rack in with some decent used Cds and albums.  His 45's are marked as priced.  The used CD section varies at times.  A good place for used jazz CDs.

Best Thrift Stores:

Half Priced Books (Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Madison)

Unlike Hastings Entertainment, Half Priced Books continues to thrive in this town, and still remains my second home 10 years after they opened one here in town.  CDs have a short life in the 5.99 and above price range and the less sellers get demoted to the 2 dollars or less bins.  To which my collection has ballooned with plenty of them.  They gotten also into the new vinyl field as well, mostly around 19 or 20 dollars for new ones and plenty of imports as well.  Let's hope that Half Priced Books will stay around a while. Otherwise I'd be bored to death.

The Source Bookstore (Davenport)

Their CD selection cost 5 dollars per disc but I managed to find some out of print classics up there, as well as some cheap LPs.  They got the good stuff, i.e. expensive stuff downstairs and it's always fun to sneak down there and dig deep.  The basement stuff is more expensive though.  Prices on 45s I think are a quarter a piece.  Most have seen better days.

Stuff Etc (CR, Iowa City, Coralville, Ankeny, Davenport, Waterloo)

Hit and miss most of the time but the better places to find CDs remains the CR and Coralville stores. Madison has Savers, which is Stuff Etc but not as cool.

St. Vincent De Paul (Waterloo, Madison)

Both stores have cheap 45s but they too vary in sound and quality but the prices I think are about 25 to 50 cents per record.  Cedar Rapids has one but they never have 45s.

Salvation Army (Davenport, Marion, Cedar Rapids)

Very hit and miss, even more so since the vinyl revival.  The Davenport junk SA store is where I have good luck finding 45s.  Marion and Cedar Rapids not much so.

Goodwill (various locations)

Don't care much for the new Goodwill, but sometimes somebody will donate a great 45 collection.  And I'll find a CD or two.  The Maquoketa Goodwill had The Godz CD.  Which is why I continue to shop Goodwill from time to time.

Sweet Living Antiques (Iowa City)

Plenty of records to chose from, sometimes I will find 45s up there too.

Crowded Closet (Iowa City)

They been lacking of late, I haven't bought anything from them in well over a year.  Sticking a price tag on a 45 isn't a good idea either.

James Moriarty took this picture of Ivy Doomkitty.  Or maybe she did.  Since you asked, she's still around.  This month's eye candy.

The Dawn's Set List of Led Zeppelin cover songs-Daytrotter 10/31/16

Thank you all so much for hanging with us last night. We had an absolute blast!!!! We really can't thank you enough!!!!!! Thanks to the entire Daytrotter staff, Soap, Sister Wife and Blind Baker Lighting for all of their hard work! Also, a huge thanks to The Tripp Brothers!

The Dawn- Daytrotter 10/31/16

Good Times Bad Times, Ramble On, Tangerine, Guitar Violin Bow Solo> Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Misty Mountain Hop, Over The Hills And Far Away> No Quarter, The Ocean, Houses Of The Holy, Trampled Under Foot, Kashmir*, Fool In The Rain

*= w/ Tripp Brothers

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Rock and roll and The CUBS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES

I never thought I would ever see the day that The Chicago Cubs would make the world series, their first in 71 years.   The usual talk, the legendary 1969 team that stormed out of the gate, only to finish second to the much hated New York Mets, the 1984 team that were up on San Diego before Leon Bull Durham's error opened up the floodgates.  And of course the last decade, when Atlanta swept them twice and then to top it all off,  the Bartman game to which that Cubs fan, plus a couple others. But Steve Bartman would be the villain and forever banished from Wrigley Field, never mind that on the next play Alex Gonzalez would boot a routine grounder for a double play and Miami would change the outcome and would win the 2003 title.  The Cubs would eventually fall into the gutter by 2009 and when Theo Epstein took over he promised better things to come but Cubs fans would have to wait.

And wait they did. They had to. Epstein begin to stock new players in the minors to develop and not go with the free agency although they did get players.  They traded Ryan Dempster, a fan favorite to Texas to get Kyle Hendricks, an upcoming but unproven pitcher.  Steve Feldman was dealt to the Orioles for Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta, who had sputtering success with the O's. Still the early 2010 edition of the Cubs was mostly awful, losing 101 games in 2012, to which at that time, the new players were beginning to usher in a more winning minor league teams during that time. Daytona in 2013 had the up and coming stars and the 2014 Kane County Cougars had Kyle Schwarber on their Minor league championship team.  Sooner or later things would change for the better, the record was slightly better for Chicago but they still lost 96 games in 2013 and 89 in 2014.  With Rick Renteria out after one season trying to put a bandaid over a scattershot team.  A big change came in 2015 when Joe Maddon, fresh from leaving the Tampa Bay Rays was tapped to turn things around.

When I originally wrote about them, I thought it would take at least 3 or 4 seasons to get things right.  Last season The Cubs caught fire in August and September and won enough to make it as a wild card team and outlasted Pittsburgh to play St Louis.  And for the first and only meeting that the Cubs/Cardinals play in the playoffs, The Cubs shocked The Cardinals by winning in six games, only to be swept away by the hated Mets in the pennant series.  And of course we had to hear the Bartman stories all over again by the clueless Bob Costas or Joe Buck, who's dad is the late great famed broadcaster Jack Buck, who broadcasted Cardinals games.  But the Cubs did more than what I thought they would do, which meant a small step in the right direction.

But this season The Cubs loaded up on free agents, snagging Jason Heyward and John Lackey from The Cardinals, Ben Zorbist from the world champs Kansas City Royals.  Lackey joined Jake Arrieta, John Lester, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks who ended up being the ace of the pitchers.  But a key transaction was retaining Dexter Fowler, who originally signed and then got released by Baltimore, to which the Cubs quickly got him back in pinstripes and he was very instrumental of providing offense pop to a lineup that featured Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Kris Bryant and Javier Baez.  This year the Cubs lost Kyle Schwarber to a freak injury in the first game. But the Cubs stormed out of gate and neither St. Louis or Pittsburgh could catch them.  The Cubs had great staring pitching, while Jake Arrieta faltered, Kyle Hendricks took over and managed to have the lowest ERA as starting pitcher.  Jason Himmel should get some love as well, he did pitch very well in the first three months before falling apart. Perhaps, the key trade was getting fireball specialist Adonis Chapman from the New York Yankees and he became the closer, taken over for Hector Rondon who was erratic at times.   While my best friend who roots for the Cardinals waited for the annual fade job, the Cubs got hot in August and by September 16th they clinched the division title.  And then played with the San Francisco Giants for four games before taking on The Los Angeles Dodgers, who haven't been to the world series since the 1988 season.

(photo: MLB)

In the deja vu bit of sense, Game 1 showed the Cubs getting a lead of 3-0 before the Dodgers came back in the 8th to take a 3-2 lead and Joe Buck continuing to mention Bartman with each pitch until Miguel Montero shut him up with a grand slam home run and Dexter Fowler connecting next and Chicago won 8-4.   In the next two games Clayton Kershaw and ex Cub Rich Hill would shut the Cubs to take a 2-1 lead and the Cub faithful would have to relive with idiocy of the past.  Next game the Cubs rolled over the Dodgers 10-2 and finished out the California trip with a 8-4 win, fueled by a Javier Baez two run home run off Joe Blanton.  There would be a game six in Chicago with both Hendricks and Kershaw facing off.

Only this time, Kershaw got hit and hit often by the Cubs. Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant hit back to back doubles to score the first run.  Wilson Contreras hit a home run in the forth inning off Kershaw. Anthony Rizzo would hit another HR and school was out for Kershaw.  The Dodgers had no answer for Kyle Hendricks, who only gave up two hits.  The Dodgers were desperate to the point that their closer Kenton Jensen worked three scoreless innings in relief.  But their hitters went cold.  Chapman came into the 8th and except for a walk in the 9th inning dominated the Dodgers.  Joe Buck and the Bartman story is old news and in the past.  These are the new Cubs, to which Joe Maddon ignored the superstitions of yore. When Puig hit into a game ending double play, I witness for the first time in my lifetime that the Cubs were finally going to the World Series after 71 up and down years of not playing to the end, or winning when it counted.  Somewhere in the great beyond Grandpa Smith is sharing a laugh or two with Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Jim Hickman and the 1908 Cubs and everybody else who donned a uniform or rooted for this team.   The new Cubs didn't buy the idea of the June Swoon, they overcame and if they did falter, Joe Maddon would tinker with the lineup to get the right players in there.  There's a method to his madness that it does work.

And now The Cubs have finally gotten into the World Series and it only took them two seasons under Joe Maddon, who continued to believe as well as the rest of the team that anything is possible and the guys are so confident in each other that they believe that they can win it all.  Cleveland, like Chicago has gone through a long dry spell too, they haven't won the WS since 1948, the Lou Boudreau/Bill Veeck era (Lou eventually became a Cubs coach and later a beloved radio announcer with Vince Lloyd).  The object still remains the same, win the last game of the year and share a spot with all time winners.  This should be a great series. 

But anyway, The Cubs are in a great position with the young players that they have and the minor leagues full of promising upstarts too.  The future is bright.  The Cubs are in the World Series.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Singles Going Steady 33 And A Third-Revisiting Some Old Records

A look at the recent finds of note:

1)  Just Dropped In To See What My Condition Was In-The First Edition (Reprise 0655) #5 1968

Well what does Kenny Rogers know about Psychedelia?  Well probably not much but considering the fact that the single came out as The First Edition, coming as a band effort although Rogers was clearly the leader of the band.  B Side Shadow Of Your Mind is Mike Settle pop configuration with sunny background vocals to boot.  Still The A side may have been the heaviest song Kenny ever did, judging from what I heard from his albums and such.    The 45 was fairly good shape despite missing a sleeve.

2)  Six Days On The Road-Woody Martin (Country & Western Hits 210)  1963

Remember Hit Records?  They had a country label named (guess) that had some of the finest Nashville musicians playing behind alias or unknown singer.   Martin recorded a few sides for C&W Hits between 1962 and 1965 and your guess is good as mine who he is.  He turns in a nice version of the Dave Dudley hit.  B side Satisfied Mind takes on the Porter Wagoner song with arrangement somewhat like RCA was putting out including backing vocals by perhaps The Nashville Edition done in 3/4 time.  Even for a budget label it amazes me how Hit Records could duplicate that polished sound that Chet Atkins was famous for (and demonized at the same time).

3)  By The Waters Of The Minnetonka-The Gadabouts  (Mercury 70495X45)  1954

Another pop song that isn't rock and roll, it falls under easy listening.  Or a novelty act.  Their highest charting song was Stranded In the Jungle a few years later.  Why do I keep buying stuff like that.  It was a 10 cent record in so so shape.  The other side is even more forgettable.

4)  I'm Still In Love With You-Al Green (Hi Records HI-2216)  #3 1972

Willie Mitchell producer and arranger, plus the great Al Jackson on drums as well. And soul man Al Green singing those love jams.  What could be better than that?

5)   I Confess-New Colony Six (Centaur 1201)  #80 1966

Another single that came my way many years ago, when my dad bought a bunch of them home from work, Radio didn't play it much if at all here.  In Chicago they did place in the top ten on WLS.  It's interesting for its robotic vocal beginning  before into a some repetitive vocals (You run around, run around baby etc etc) but it does have a certain charm to it.  The pressing plant that did this record did a shitty job and you have to position the record at a slight slant to correct the back and forth sound.  But I think my original copy suffered the same problem.  The replacement copy I found was in better shape, minus the big scratches that rendered my copy useless.  I like the B side Dawn Is Breaking better, very garage rock and utterly nonsensical, but a perfect song about insomniac and staying up way past your bedtime.  Later singles were issued on Sentar due to conflict of interest from a rival label or band. Rhino compiled both songs on a new hard to find best of The New Colony Six CD, worth seeking out.

6)   Mood Indigo-Norman Petty Trio (X-4X-0040)  1954

Before Norman discovered rock and roll and Buddy Holly, he was putting together mellow pop fluff, such as this ho hum cover of Duke Ellington's song, somewhat like Lawrence Welk would have done. B side Petty's Little Polka  is better, but's still  an 1 and half minute polka throwaway.  It doesn't waste your time like Mood Indigo does.

7)  Him Or Me-What's It Gonna Be-Paul Revere And The Raiders (Columbia 4-44094)  #5 1967

I had this on 45 years ago, and then it died during a frisbee toss.  But I found a ten cent replacement this week and I think this one was in better shape the my original copy, just like I Confess mentioned earlier in the blog.   Certainly in the early years when we were mere kids listening to the radio and discovering donated scratchy 45s the music was much more welcoming then the garbage played today.  And with the golden age of garage rock turning 50 moreorless, it still seems that Paul Revere And The Raiders made excellent music that holds up today.  B side Legend Of Paul Revere is just as good.  That side of the 45 needs to be clean up.  For sleeveless forty fives they tend to pack a lot of dirt between those grooves and mold spots.

8)  Born To Be Wild-Steppenwolf   (Dunhill D-4138)  #2  1968

One of the final singles to be issued on Dunhill before ABC tacked on their logo, this song along with Magic Carpet Ride continues to be played on both oldies and classic rock radio.  Perhaps the ultimate biker anthem, including the words heavy metal thunder which might be the first time that term has ever made it into a song.   The 3rd single turned out to be the charm, first song A Girl I Know didn't make much of a chart impression and Sookie Sookie bubbled over on the Billboard top 100.  I remember one time at the old Arlan's store in Fort Dodge, they had a juke box and some hippie kid, probably whacked out on Acid, played that song about 7 times in a row.  But as you know Born To Be Wild has been played in many of bar bands (including mine) and as long as they make Harley's that song will still be around.  However I like the B side Everybody's Next One better, simply of the fact it's not been killed on the radio, and the matrix number seems to suggest to be an A side.  In fact some of the big AM markets did play Everybody's Next One a few times.  Alas, the big chart showings of Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride and last top ten entry Rock Me (which you never hear on the radio anymore)  Steppenwolf would not make the top ten ever again, and Straight Shooting Woman would peak at number 29 in 1974, another song that you never hear on the radio anymore either.   After Goldy McJohn and Jerry Edmonton left, it would be John Kay's baby all the way.

9)  Teen Angel-Mark Dinning  (MGM K-12845)  #1  1959

I never been a fan of songs of tragedy of the early rock era, in fact stuff like Last Kiss makes me change the channel.  This 45 was part of the original singles that my mom and her sister Aunt Sarge had in their collection.  For better or for worse, those early stack of scratched up classic did influence me in terms of bargain hunting.  In fact the records vary, from Fly Me To The Moon (Tony Bennett) to Sweet Little Sixteen and Rock and Roll Music (Chuck Berry), from Elvis (Big Hunk O Love) to Fabian (You'll Never Tame Me-a fun b Side to the crappy Kissin Time) and of course doo wop from The Rays (Daddy Cool) and The Flamingos (I Only Have Eyes For You).  But there was plenty of teen idol stuff too, Rick Nelson figured and although my mom had the good taste of passing on Last Kiss, she did have Teen Angel.  Time has shown me to actually like it better than I originally did.  I didn't pick the record up in my August trip to the Salvation Army in Davenport, but two months later it was still there and still in the sleeve as well.  For its age and being played a few times by its previous owner, I hardly noticed the scratches or blemishes.  Sometimes records might look worse for the wear but some of them still play like new.  And vice versa.  I had records that looked in great shape but played awful on the player.   Little Man from Sonny And Cher come to mind.

10)  My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys-Willie Nelson  (Columbia 1-11186)  #44 1980

For a country icon, Willie hasn't had much action on the top forty pop and rock charts, he's had 8 of them, the highest on was Always On My Mind.  On the country side he owned the charts.  Of course I've been a big Nelson fan for many many years, actually liking his RCA albums a bit more than the classic Columbia records of the 70s and 80s.  Willie co produced this with Sydney Pollack for the Electric Horseman movie to which I think I watched on HBO and fell asleep both times it came on.  Maybe I'll seek out the DVD if it's available to see if I can stay awake to see it.  The old couch gets mighty comfortable.

These 45s did come from the Salvation Army Resale Store in Davenport and didn't come from the Madison bargain hunts nor the BDW finds early in the month.  I thought the other 45s were either too country or too pop and not enough rock to bother.   I might throw the best of the finds from those before the year is out but for now, I'm too tired to bother with it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week In Review: Townedger Radio 23, NO BO Festival, Chuck Berry 90,

Here we are halfway through October and the temps have been around 80 degrees. Gotta love that climate change.  Over the weekend we saw the first NO BO Festival to which a few heavy metal and hard rocking bands played on the parking lot of Tornados.  Something like 2500 people came out to witness the likes of CR Dicks, FLEX and October Rage playing outdoors in summerlike temps

(Photo: Tammy Thatcher-Shock Treatment 10/15/16)

Over at Campbell Steele, the Ramones Tribute band Shock Treatment opened for the Cynx who played Gabe's Friday Night.  Shock Treatment features Surf Zombie and Flaming Camaros Brook Hoover with Lincoln Hinzman playing their favorite Ramones songs.

(Photo: Linda McClintic-Dave Diebler/HOLS Reunion 10/15/16)

And that's not all, Dave Diebler reunited House Of Large Sizes for a benefit for Mark Munn's who is fighting cancer and needed some help from the fans. They put on a pretty good show at Octopus in Cedar Falls.

Football:  Marion has seen their playoff chances go by the wayside after West Delaware beat them 35-21.  Arizona State continues to show why they are more pretender than contender with a 33-13 smackdown at Colorado.  And Iowa outlasted Purdue 49-35 which turned out to be Darrel Hazel's last game as Purdue coach, he was fired on Monday.  While the Hawks played a flawless first half leading 35-7 at the half, Iowa defense once again fell apart.  At least Purdue's first team could score at will on the 2nd stringers of Iowa, which the first team did come back and Purdue scored a final touchdown on a defected pass, by then the game was decided. Both Akim Wadley and LeShawn Daniels went over 100 yards rushing, Wadley with a 54 yard TD scamper. Despite Desmond King's pick six TD interception, David Blough lit up Iowa's crappy pass defense for 458 yards and 5 TDs.  One canny deny that the Hawks played a great first half but in the second half became their mediocre selves and couldn't stop the pass, nor that fourth down stop.  Iowa's next game is home against a pissed off Wisconsin team that blew the lead and game with Ohio State.  Iowa has shown to be very ordinary in the games against teams they should blow out of the stadium   Wisconsin will the be 2nd toughest team Iowa has faced (the first North Dakota State still not taken seriously by ESPN) and basically we'll see if Iowa will fall flat on their faces just like the script says or finally wake up to play two halves with the same intensity. The road to Indianapolis is going to get that much harder in the next five weeks. In the meantime Colin Custardpie will have his mind on other things and better teams.

Passings: Dennis Byrd, beloved Jets player who had to quit football due to a broken neck injury was killed in a auto accident in Oklahoma last Saturday, he was only 50 years old.

Phil Chess: Legendary owner of Chess Records died Tuesday from natural causes. He was 95

Milestone:  Tuesday marks the 90th birthday of one of the most famous rock and rollers still alive: the one and only Chuck Berry.  If it wasn't for the riffs of Johnny B Goode, we wouldn't have The Rolling Stones and million of other bands that play the local bars.  I certainly have played Johnny B Goode many times, from The Townedgers, to Paraphernalia Tyrus to Julie And The Mad Dogs and it still remains a fun song to do.  Without Chuck we'd be nothing.  That said, Chuck's best moments did come in the 50s and early 60s when he was thinking up stuff like Sweet Little Sixteen, Bye Bye Johnnie,  Memphis Tennessee and No Particular Place To Go.  He made classic singles that still hold up, The Great Twenty Eight remains the best overview of Chuck's work.  His albums have been spotty, although Chess did issue Rockin At The Hops and From St Louis To Liverpool, but by 1965 he was beginning to take a back seat to the bands he inspired, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and while my first album was Fresh Berries, it sounded like Chuck repeating himself, even to the point of the same riffs to the same song, My Mustang Ford and Ain't That Just Like A Woman, the old Louis Jordan cover.  Chuck Berry has mentioned and given credit to Jordan as an inspiration, basically calling Louis the first true rock and roller.

By 1965 thereabouts, he signed with Mercury Records and the decline really started to sit in.Chuck Berry In Memphis might have been the best one but that's debatable.  At that time, Berry started putting together pick up bands, wherever he went he would seek out local bands and took his chances with them, or in some point started fucking around with them and play his hits in various chords not like the single version and challenged them to read his mind or 'lead' so to speak.  He did this with everybody he played, be it the Steve Miller Band on the Mercury Live At The Fillmore (The Mercury CD has more bonus cuts than the cheaper Rebound reissue) or the Keith Richard led band on Hail Hail Rock And Roll.  He turned the rock and roll hall of fame jam into a trainwreck leading the all stars into a bizarre arrangement of one of his songs to where everybody was playing different chords and notes and proceed to duck walk off the stage with a smirk.  He's had run ins with the law, served jail time and had to deal with the messy episode a lawsuit that accused him of video taping women and Johnnie Johnson, his long time piano playing musician claimed he helped Chuck write the hits, which later dismissed.

Leaving Mercury to return back to Chess, he then scored his first number 1, the goofy and awful My Ding A Ling but basically his Chess albums of that time showed him really out of step of the musical trends. His final studio album for Atco Rock It (1979) had some moments of greatness (Oh What A Thrill to which Rockpile would record a better version for the 1980 album Seconds Of Pleasure) but the strange double tracking of Berry's vocals made it more of a novelty then rock and roll return.  By then Berry didn't have nothing to prove, his hits of the 50s had generated enough royalties for him to make a decent living, playing at his Blueberry Hill bar in the Delmar district in St Louis every Wednesday till 2014 when he decided to really cut back.  The last time he played live was August this year and for a very short set.  However if he should decide to get down to Blueberry Hill on a Wednesday Night, he can set a record for the oldest rock and roller to play a gig at age 90.  He also is putting together his first album in over 35 years out in 2017, To which Berry would be the first ever rock and roller to record an album at age 90.

John Lennon might be right when he mentioned a long time ago that when you think of rock and roll, you think of Chuck Berry.  His music will continue to live on and inspire the local lads who want to play classic rock and oldies.  If you want to know the true history of rock and roll, The Great 28 (now replaced by the The Definite Collection   which has all the hits (including My Ding A Ling). But also Rockin At The Hops, Chuck Berry Is On Top and St. Louis to Liverpool are essential records to get as well.   The Mercury and Atco albums are luxuries you can live without.

 (Photo: Cunningham Group-The New Rhythm City Casino-Davenport)

Davenport on Tuesday  was one of the better days of finding things in the junk bins. Every store I went to had some decent bargains, The Source Book store had a Best Of The Herd and James Brown Please Please Please on CD, plus Jethro Tull's MU on LP, Ragged Records had a Best Of Ronnie Hawkins and Jackie Lomax Three, which was in better shape than the record I used to have.  Salvation Army had a few odd 45s, the best known was a Dunhill copy of Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf (not the ABC Dunhill version) and The Call Reconciled for fifty cents on CD.  CO OP Moline had the new BlackBerry Smoke album and The Rhino version of Robyn Hitchcock Fegmania! (which I like better than the Yep Roc version and this was a sealed copy too). Although there was 45s of note at Goodwill and the Moline Salvation Army, they were in poor shape.  I did finally pay a visit to the brand new casino Rhythm City off the interstate and it's a nice place to gamble or take in a band, or watch a ball game in the lounge to which I wasted an hour watching the Cubs sucking up a storm in game three.  So I went to do the slots and managed to win 255 dollars in the process on the fourth try.  It's kinda nice to do a bit of dancing in the aisle while the music is playing and the money keeps tallying up till it finally stopped around 254.16.  I never usually win gambling like most folks do, and when I usually do, it's gone in a flash.  Case in point: Excalibur in Vegas where I won 350 dollars and promptly gave it back in five minutes.  Not this time, I played the penny slots and did it very conservatively till the big pay came.   I'm sure Rhythm City will get it back in future endeavors but for now, I thought I would end things on a high note.

(From  a Meme seen in twitter)

And Joe Buck is the worst announcer with his continuing to bring up Bartman every time the Cubs are down.  Doesn't help that the last two games, they have been shut out, the latter by former Cubs Rich Hill, who looked like Rich Arrieta did when he no hit the Dodgers last year.  If the 2 3 4 hitters don't start producing runs or least hit the ball, it will be yet another wait till next year sob story.  Hash tag of the week: #Joebuckyourself.  Really Joe go buck yourself.

Townedger Radio 23  Broadcast on Lucky Star Radio (10/20/16)  Playlist

Next To You-The Police
Everybody's Next One-Steppenwolf
Slippin' Away-Jean Shepherd
Having A Blast-Green Day
That's What Dream Are Made Of-Green On Red
I Wouldn't Put It Past Me-Dwight Yoakam
May Not Be A Next Time-The Townedgers
No One Would Believe A Summer Would Be So Cold-John Dillon
Stalker-Kasey Chambers
Dogs Are Talking-The Angels From Angel City
Nightmares-The Creation
Sundown-The Townedgers
Sizzling Rivalry-Tommy Bruner
Can't Get Back-The Poorboys
Queen Of Eyes-Soft Boys
Mean Machine-Sugar Ray
Good Lovin'-It's A Beautiful Day

Bonus tracks:
Sick And Tired-Waylon Jennings
Where It Leads-The Townedgers 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week In Review: Cubs Win Again, Hurricane Brat, Floyd Stays Home, Desert Trip

And here we are again.  As with last week, this blog will be updated when the time comes or when something news worthy comes around or I have music to review.  Someday it will come to an end but for now I move onward.

The big story was Hurricane Matthew tearing the hell out of the east coast, from Florida to Georgia to the Carolinas.  It wasn't exactly the storm of the century but rather powerful enough to cause major damage and messes and so far at least 10 people lost their lives.

 (photo: Willow Blu Dickinson-St. Augustine under water)

At the same time, there was Hurricane Nicole off to the side of Matthew.  Now, during the big hurricane of the past couple days, there have been a few smartasses out there making funny meme's about this storm and the closeness between Matthew and Nicole, which Nicole won't be causing havoc in the states but rather keeping a close eye and safe distance from Matthew.  Bermuda might be the closest country if Nicole keeps going on but it projected that Nicole will steer north and east as a cold front begins to shred away at Matthew.  There was talk about the meeting of Matthew and Nicole at some point but that's not going to happen.  Nicole will be far and away into the Atlantic, and the hurricane love affair will come to an end. But not before Matthew floods the east coast.

And so it goes.

(photo: AP)

On the football side, Iowa gets to keep Floyd Of Rosedale for another year as they outlasted Minnesota 14-7 in yet another uninspired performance, saved only by Akim Wadley's 54 yard Touchdown run to put Iowa ahead and a successful two point conversion.  Mitch Leidner, the 5th year senior QB did drive the Gophers down the field with time running out but then he threw four incomplete passes and the much maligned Iowa defense kept them out of the end zone.  While kudos is praised on the Iowa O line, CJ Betherd continued to get hammered at every chance he threw the ball, he managed to get sacked one time.  I don't think it much as a defense battle as it was a lack of offensive output from both teams, except when Wadley did his game winning TD run with 5:38 seconds left in the game. Iowa dropped three passes that stalled drives and they had to settle for two FGs before Minnesota went ahead 7-6.  Usually Leidner had some stellar games against the Hawks, two years ago he went 10-13 passing in the 51-14 rout two years ago, and last year shredded the defense for 259 yards but came up short in a 40-35 Iowa win.  This time out, Leidner went 13-33 for 159 yards passing but didn't complete a pass till late in the second quarter.  For his final game against the Hawks it would be his worst showing, and in the end got to watch Floyd and the Hawkeyes wave bye bye as they go back to Iowa City, another year for Floyd to call Iowa City its home.  Next up, Purdue, the Hawks should win that.  On a side note Rutgers which lost to Iowa by the same 14-7 score got beheaded by Michigan 78-0.  Iowa gets to play Michigan sometime this year.

Arizona State beat UCLA 23-20 in a upset, but ASU is now 5-1 and we didn't see that one coming at all. Zane Gonzales kicked three field goals and ASU held the Bruins off.  ASU also lost their second string QB Brady White to an injury.  Gonzales now hold the FBS record for most FG made. The road gets harder as ASU goes to Boulder and play a much improved Colorado team. Without Brady White or Wilkens Jr, the QB might be very iffy and there's no cupcakes to play either.  Washington State blew out Stanford at Stanford 42-16 as hot shot RB Christian McCaffery got hurt and his streak of 100 yard games came into an end.  As well as his Heisman chances.


(Photo: Chicago Cubs)

In the meantime Chicago took the first two games from the San Francisco Giants in Chicago.  Friday Night  Javier Baez hit a home run and Jon Lester outdueled Johnny Cueto 1-0.  Saturday, The Cubs greeted former Cubs pitcher Jeff Smaritzja rudely, Travis Wood hit a home run, the first cubs player to do that since Kerry Wood and took game two 5-2.  It's out to San Francisco to see if the Cubs can put them away and move on to the finals.  Game three  The Cubs blew a 3 run lead, Jake Arrieta hit a 3 run Homer and the rest of the team couldn't get anymore runs till the ninth when Kris Bryant hit a HR to tie the game but San Francisco would win in 13 innings after the Cubs put two on and promptly hit into a double play. Game four, San Francisco had their way with the Cubs for 8 innings till The Cubs came through big time, scoring 4 runs in the 9th inning.  The Giant relievers simply couldn't not put the Cubs away, neither Derek Law, whose antics pissed off a late night crowd, nor 4 other pictures to which Javier Baez, drove in Jason Hayward with the winning run, and Aroldis Chapman came back big time to strike out three Giants with power pitching and The Cubs take the series with a 6-5 victory.  Chapman does pitch better when nobody is on base, unlike game 3 which he had to inherit runners to try to get six outs.  For the first time in 11 elimination games The Giants lost.  The Cubs move on the division finals and for the first time, the loss could not be blamed on goats or Bartman.  The key is to win the last game of the season.  Cubs have 8 to go in order to do that.  The competition will not be easy, but the trick is to keep winning.  We'll see if history will be made.

(Photo; Ronnie Wood)

(Photo: Anna Rumer)

There is music to talk about.  Big event is the Desert Trip playing this weekend which there has been some surprises from the likes of Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and The Who. Neil Young gave them a 25 minute workout of Down By The River (no word if he did the full hour version of Love And Only Love) and quip to the people to come back tomorrow and see Roger Waters build the wall and make Mexico again.  Bob Dylan did a decent run through of his songs but his interaction with the crowd was non existant.  The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger did more moving around the stage in 30 seconds than what Dylan did the whole show.  The Stones actually did cover a Beatles song, Come Together.   Perhaps the highlight was a rousing You Can't Always Get What You Want.  For 70 year old men, The Rolling Stones can still put a surprise or two, even if Bob Dylan acts like he'd rather go to bed or something to that effect. Neil Young set, with the new Crazy Horse known as The Promise Of Real might have outdone themselves and even getting Paul McCartney to come up to sing Give Peace A Chance.  Neil might be old and cranky but he's always been his best railing against Corporations and idiots like Donald Trump. Paul McCartney did a excellent set which Neil Young did pop up on a couple numbers.  We'll see how the Who and Roger Waters do later in the blog.

From reports The Who did a workmanlike set list of their best known stuff but Roger Waters let his feelings known for Donald Trump in a spirited performance.  I'm sure the Donald will probably wake up at 3 AM and post his displeasure but Waters may have been the best of the Desert Trip festival, which will take place again next weekend.


Passings:  Joan Marie Johnson, singer for the Dixie Cups (Chapel Of Love) died from heart failure Sunday.  She was 72.

If it means anything I have left Besides It's A B Side site after 5 or 6 years.  Guess Mark decided I didn't look good in those T Shirts and unfriended me somewhere along the way, he was very quiet on my timeline despite us being cubs fans.  Can't please them all I guess.  We'll all live on. 

Record Reviews:

Porter Wagoner-The Definitive Collection (Real Gone 2016)

Finally it took somebody to finally capture just about all of the best solo stuff that Porter put out in his 3 decades of being with RCA.  The Essential Porter Wagoner and the RCA Legends as well as the Pair best ofs, had highlights but this is the complete of where you can get his barstool classics (I Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand, Misery Loves Company) and some of the more graphic bizarre story songs Porter is famous for (Cold Hard Facts Of Live, Julie, The First Mrs Jones, two of them written by Whispering Bill Anderson, Julie by Waylon Jennings).  In today's world country would not touch The Carroll County Accident or The Rubber Room, the latter probably the only psychedelic country song ever known. Or Cold Dark Waters, which is one of more direct songs about suicide ever recorded.  This 2 CD overview defines Wagoner, as narrator (Confessions Of  A Broken Man, Skid Row Joe, What Would You Do (if Jesus came to your door) but for the first time anywhere, the original version of Uncle Pen makes its debut.  Wagoner was also excellent at bluegrass as well.  This doesn't cover all of the RCA years, it ends with Highway Headed South which is just as well, Porter did lose his way after Dolly Pardon moved on.  Nevertheless, this compilation does show that Porter Wagoner was one of the best honky tonk country artists of the 1960s, even in the dark mood of Cold Dark Waters, or the stalker going after The First Mrs Jones, Wagoner was one of a kind and could provide some uptempo knee slappers (Company's Coming, Howdy Neighbor Howdy) and could leave you With A Satisfied Mind.
Grade A

Webb Pierce-The Essential Hits  (Primo 2015)

Leave it to a import budget label to issue one of country music's all time chart topping stars of the 1950s, Universal's best of cheats the world out of Webb's late 50 and early 60s honky tonk, to which I like a bit more than the mundane disc one,  despite major hits like Why Baby Why or There Stands The Glass, and Sparking Brown Eyes has a falsetto worthy of Slim Whitman.  It also helps that Webb covered some songs by an up and coming songwriter named Mel Tillis which gave him a big hit with I Ain't Never and personal favorite No Love Have I.  It's also worthy of hearing Webb cover Bye Bye Love, which the Everly Brothers would get a major hit.  Nothing wrong with disc 1, with Webb taking the Hank Sr vibe during the early 50s but once Webb opened himself up to more uptempo honky tonk songs he does catch fire.  Like budget imports the sound is all over the place and of course buyer beware.  But since we can't get a decent overview of the one of the best selling country artists of the 1950s, this would have to do, warts and all and subpar 3rd generation scratchy 45 versions.
Grade B+

Kirsty MacColl-Kite (Greatpress/Charisma 1989)

I think she's always been more of a new wave star rather than pop, her collaborations with Johnny Marr confirms this.  The best songs are with Marr, even copping Mel Graynor (Simple Minds) on drums shows her new wave roots.  The cover of You Just Haven't Earned It Baby is great, the cover of Days is just as good.  For the rest of the album, MacColl's sly word play is worth hearing (Free World, Fifteen Minutes). I think Galore, her 1995 best of, is the one the seek out if you want to know about her time at Charisma, plus it has her They Don't Know song which Tracy Ullman had the bigger hit. Her studio solo albums tends to wander all over the place.  The French songs I can do without.
Grade B

Barry Gibb-In The Now (Columbia 2016)

Not bad for the last brother Gibb standing, who has his siblings helping out on the songs this time out.  Side 1 does rock out a lot bit harder than the average Bee Gees album (Blowin A Fuse, In The Now) and Starcrossed Lovers actually is nice decent ballad reminding one of How Deep Is Your Love.  Side 2 crumbles over too many ballads, although I'll give him credit for End Of The Rainbow, a nice farewell to Maurice and Robin Gibb plus Andy, all now in the great beyond.   The high falsetto tend to grate after a while, Barry has known to sing it straight before stumbling on the high notes that became Bee Gees trademark vocal starting with Main Course and afterward.  Another problem is that some of the songs go on forever (Shadows comes to mind) and at 54 and half minutes the ballads will tend to make your mind wonder.  I'm sure the nostalgic fans will buy this album enough for it to place on the top 100 and then play it once or twice and file it away.   That is if there are fans out there that still buy CDs.
Grade B-

Forgotten issues:

Three years ago, I decided to do a little camping the hard way.  A night spent in Seminole Valley Park, in the forbidden zone.  Never go past open gates into the woods, you may have to wait till morning to get out, that is if you can find somebody to let you out. Hillary insures.

Marion Indians are assured of their first winning season in over three years by upsetting Clear Creek/Amana 15-14 in overtime when Marion opted to go for two and succeeded.  They have three games remaining, three tough ones but still have an outside chance of making the football playoffs.

Finally, Hurricane Brat aka Nicole, after a couple days of spinning around the Atlantic and regained strength into becoming a Category 4 Hurricane after Hurricane Matthew disappeared and is ready to cause havoc on Bermuda this week.  There have been other Hurricane Nicoles in the past, but this one might be the better known of them all if predictions come true.  But if Hurricane Nicole is the brat of the two, Matthew is the bastard, with 17 people losing their lives.   I don't know, I tend to think of if and when I retire, it will be back out into the desert rather than on the east coast.  They don't have as many hurricanes as they do around Florida or Bermuda.   Stay safe everybody, next week is the monthly Townedger Radio playlist .  Plus other assorted observations.

(photo: AP)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week In Review: Madison, Hell, Iowa stinks again

I have decided that I am in Hell.  It seems that no matter what I do, I'm always either get inconsiderate drivers either going too fast, or too slow, mother nature hates us. The GD tree is shedding it's leaves and they seem to go into every crack around my car, windows, doors, under the hood, trunk, etc.  This fucking computer continues to mess up, fuck up and even while typing the keyboard doesn't work, and this Lenovo piece of shit is not even a year and half old.  A bit of good news, the rivers are returning to their banks, Rumors has their popcorn jam on for Sunday (if I'm there i'll blog about it) and that's about it.

Each week The Iowa Hawkeyes continue to stink and suck and Saturday was no exception, Northwestern going hog wild (with plenty of help from the referees) and Iowa offense line can't stop nobody.  They're very good being look out blockers to which C J Bethard got nailed 6 times and countless more after trying to pass. 38-31 Northwestern won it but Kirk Ferenez will be around for another 10 years.  Good thing Gene Barta gave him that decade long extension.  Can't blame Beth Mowins for this suckjob, she was in California.  It didn't help Iowa lost Matt VandeneBerg in practice but the so called great Iowa running game was non existant once again despite Akem Wadley scoring two touchdowns.  With no Iowa blocking they were stymied once again, and Iowa's run defense couldn't stop NW running backs either.   To quote Colin Cockadoodledoo: please don't talk about Iowa being any sort of contender anymore this season. If they stay above 500 that will be a miracle.  Iowa State can play 3 quarters to which they had Baylor 35-21 and looked great (at least the offense did). But teams that only play 3 quarters don't win ballgames and Baylor came back with 17 unanswered points and the victory.   Didn't help that the Cyclone offense quit after the 3rd quarter.  Baylor is the real deal, Iowa State has a very long road to go before they have any sort of credibility.  Too bad they didn't play Iowa Saturday, they might have won that game.  And Arizona State showed the world why they're in last place in pass defense.  USC blew them out of LA 40-21.

On the good side of things, The Chicago Cubs finished the year winning 103 games and coming from behind to beat Cincinnati 7-4.  It's the first time the Cubs won 103 games since 1910 and sorry folks I wasn't around to witness that, nor the 1908 Cubs winning it all.   A lot of people are saying that this is the best chance that The Cubs have had getting to the World Series, while we cannot deny the heroics of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Dexter Fowler, Addison Russell, it's been Miguel Montoro and the old man Dan Ross providing some much need RBI's.  While Jason Hayward's bat couldn't get past .235, his defense in the outfield helped in gunning baserunners out at the plate.  For those was thinking of a St. Louis/Chicago rematch, that didn't take place.  The Cardinals never seem to break out in any major winning streaks and while they did lead the league in home runs it seems, they didn't have the pitching this season.  So, for the wild card teams it ended up San Francisco which kept winning where needed and the Cubs nemesis The New York Mets.   For now The Cubs can earn some time off, but come Friday they'll start on their conquest to make the World Series, and hopefully win the last game of the year. 

Madison this time out...did I mention I live in Hell?  Madison is the 6th tier of Dante's Inferno.  Last time was a much better time, did the WNBR in June but this time without no nude bikers around, I just walked around Lake Monona and scanned through record stores looking for music to write about.  And then I had to deal with constant idiot bike riders riding through stop lights and stop signs, had dumbass people walk behind my car as I tried to get out the of thrift stores, or had walker walk out in front of me while trying to turn. I'm surprised that I didn't hit nobody or got hit.  Then it rained on Friday, the damn rain came from Lake Michigan.  Strange weather but it goes along with this strange year.  I did find some cool stuff but I come to find out that I did have David Johansen's Then Came The Night on CD at home when I found a copy for 2 dollars.  Reviews are down below of course, as soon as I can type the fucking things.

It's been a while since I posted some eye candy, so we will go with the new singer for Lez Zeppelin, Marlain Angelides.   Lez Zeppelin is an all girl tribute band to you know who.

A week ago, the HESCO barriers were in place and Tornados was fighting the flood with sandbags. This Monday shows the T Shirt place (with the gas pump now back in place) and Tornados surviving the flood aftermath.  The 16th Avenue bridge over the Cedar to Czech Village is now open.  Parlor City Blues Jam not ready to go this Tuesday Night but Daddy O and DJ Johnson will be playing Thursday Night.  Getting somewhat back to normal now.  (Photo from Red Ball Printing)

The flooding did put an end to Coopers Mill/Best Western, which decided to close their doors and sell themselves off to the City of Cedar Rapids for 2.2 Million or so it seems.  Coopers Mill Restaurant did have some nice breakfast menus and their pancakes were the city's best.

Best Buy continues to shrink their CD selection, now they're down to about a 10 feet section over by the refrigerators and perhaps its best just to order online, from someplace else.  At least they did have the new Drive By Truckers' CD American Band.  I think I like their last album better but American Band isn't that bad.

Another sign of the times, our wonderful shitty cable company has ended analog service, which means my TV has now 53 channels of snow.  I really see no point of having cable anymore, or upgrade to 100 channels of digital nothing on the tube.  The sporting events are clogged up by shitty GMO beer and Big Pharma shoving E.D. drugs down your throat.  I'll leave it up to my brother to upgrade to overpriced digital cable but for myself I have killed my television once and for all.  No more political bullshit, no more Viagra.  And I think I'll be much better off than the dumbing down of America be it, CNN, Fox news or whatever the hell Trump spews out.  Up theirs ass once and for all.

Passings: Rod Temperton, songwriter for Heatwave (Boogie Nights) and Michael Jackson (Thriller) died from cancer Monday.  He was 66. 

And it was 20 years ago that the movie That Thing You Do came out. One of the great fiction music movies ever, I think I like it better than This Is Spinal Tap (and I do like TIST a lot)  

And now, let's ride with.....Record Reviews Of Mad City stuff:

Steve Forbert-Little Stevie Orbit (Nemperor 1980)

The Missing piece of the Steve Forbert  catalog is this oddball album which got overlooked on the What Kinda Guy best of and perhaps there's a good reason why.  While Steve is a decent folk soft rocker, he goes Springsteen on this, or is a parody?  Fuck I don't know and it's so freaking weird it might be his Metal Machine Music.   Get Well Soon is so over the top, it makes Springsteen sound like Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Cellophane City might have been picked as a single but it's ruined by the ending.  I think I'm An Automobile the most straightforward song on this.  Reviews seem to be favorable and it's a album you have to listen multiple times to "get it". It's different but I'll stick with Alive On Arrival or Jackrabbit Slim  Excellent recording from Steve Brown though.
Grade C+

The Golliwogs Pre Creedence (Fantasy 1975)

Funny how Fantasy continues to rehash Creedence albums but for the early edition of CCR known as The Golliwogs, their output was part of a Creedence Clearwater Revival boxset and the stand alone album has been sought after from record collectors or curio record hoarders.  And there's a good reason why John Fogerty became main songwriter/singer-brother Tom's songs do not stand out.  To be honest Tom Fogerty had his eyes on the British Invasion, You Better Be Careful is a nod to The Zombies, Brown Eyed Girl (the first song John sings on this), is not the Van Morrison cover but rather an original that borrows from Them.  Side 1, there's plenty of doo wop songs and a couple times that Tom Fogerty borrows from The Beatles or Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas.  The only Tom Fogerty song that does stand out is the garage rocker Fight Fire, which found its way on a Nuggets box set, which hints at the future of CCR via The Shadows Of Knight.  Side 2 finds little brother John taking over the band and even if the songs are a bit rough in the Americana side of things (Fragile Child is John's last attempt at garage rock before moving toward the CCR sound), it's plainly clear that John was the better of the songwriters and it shows on Porterville, which eventually became the start of the CCR sound (B side Call It Pretending is a throwaway).  I do think there's more of a full band participation as Stu,Tom, John and perhaps even Doug Clifford adding harmonies on the songs. John may have been  an  tyrant in the band, but even Doug and Stu know that the songs John wrote for CCR still generates plenty of revenue and airplay on radio enough to tour as the ultimate CCR tribute band, I'm sure they're not playing anything from the Golliwogs era.  Even though The Golliwogs Pre Creedence might be a minor work from CCR, it's still a historical album showing the transformation of a band going from a doo wop garage rock band to a more original and rocking band.  One may disagree with me, but paying 25 dollars for a DJ used copy still is a bargain compared to the prices that I have seen on Ebay and Amazon.  Perhaps Concord should issue this as a stand alone CD.
Grade B+

Streetwalkers-Red Card (Mercury 1975)

Another dollar special find, The Streetwalkers was a short lived band featuring the likes of Roger Chapman (Family), teaming up with Bobby Tench (Jeff Beck Group, Humble Pie)  and Nicko McBrain (later of Iron Maiden fame) putting together an album of something sort of what Humble Pie was doing around Tinderbox/Smokin timeframe.  I think it's somewhat by the numbers boogie rock blues, but they don't alter the mid tempo of the songs.  Chapman's vocals can be a bit hard to take, he's part Steve Marriott, part Joe Cocker and a bit of John Baldry.  I tend to like Run for Cover which does echo Tinderbox Humble Pie and Daddy Rolling Stone is a nifty cover, mixed to mono for fun and giggles.  Like latter day Humble Pie when The Streetwalkers fall into a funk (as in snoozer type of boogie) it tends to plod on by. Christgau called them Aerosmith for grownups and it is their best album of the three they issue.  I'll go along with that.
Grade B

The Police-Outlandos d'Amour (A&M 1979)

It's funny how in my senior year of high school, music was so varied.  I mean I listen to the boogie of Foghat, the by now classic rock cliche of Journey and REO Speedwagon on the albums that made them becoming headliners and still found time for up and comers like Van Halen, and touted The Godz 2nd album as if it was the new Beatles.  Silly me.  But The Police was one of those bands that I took a chance on due to the name.  At that time, Roxanne was yet to be played on the radio and the song that FM radio did play was Next To You, which was punk rock masquerading as regular rock. At that time Andy Summers was the better known, playing in The Animals around the time Love Is came out and then played with the eccentric Kevin Coyne.  Stewart Copeland's dad was Miles Copeland, manager of Wishbone Ash and later formed IRS Records in the late 70s (or Illegal Records, where John Cale and Tom Robinson made their albums for) and the punk was Gordon Summer aka Sting who had a love of punk and reggae.  In 1979 I loved this album, 36 summers later, not so much love but rather tolerate.  Classic rock didn't do Roxanne any favors by overplaying it like they do today, and while Masoro Tanga was one my favorite songs before bedtime back then, it kinda dated itself today and I don't play it as much.  In fact I did look up a dollar CD copy to revisit the album and the songs at hand.  Next To You still comes out rocking, Hole In My Life is reggae jam fun and Peanuts is more goofy pub rock than goofy punk rock.  Make no mistake and even if Sting pretty much washes his hands of this band, the contributions of Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland are not to be avoided.  In fact, Copeland is one of the best drummers out there, one of the best reggae white boy drummers at that time.  Side 2 tends to weaken itself after Can't Stand Losing You, and the ode to the blow up doll sounds a bit more creepy then it used to be. Still Masoro Tanga ends the record on a positive note and even if its a throwaway, Copeland's drummer is still damn good.   Out of all their albums, this remains their most punkish. And rocking as well.
Grade B+

Soft Boys-Underwater Moonlight (Rykodisc 1980)

The second album from Robyn Hitchock and Kimberly Rew is their overall best. That is if you like weird lyrical consent from Hitchcock, but somehow I Wanna Destroy You brings out the mutation of The Byrds crossed with The Kaleidoscope.  The original ten song album could have been the answer to Side Trips from the former band mention above.  College radio did love them for the 2 minute Byrds tribute Queen Of Eyes, (with a nod toward The Cramps) but where the hell Robyn thought up of Old Pervert, Kim Rew adds mad guitar.  The Rykodisc adds 8 bonus tracks to really throw everything up in a chaoic loop (the drawn out Where Are The Prawns?), but it still doesn't deter the original the original album itself.  Later issued on Yep Roc.
Grade A- 

Green Day-Revolution Radio (Reprise 2016)

Given their persona over the years, they have become The Who, otherwise old farts disguised as old punks, what else to describes the woahs and shout along Ouis to Bang Bang or even the title track.  Billy Joe Armstrong still wants you young kids to know that they can still be punks, even though the parents that grooved to Dookie and Insomniac probably have moved on something else. Somewhere New shows more of a Pete Townsend slashing guitar riffs.  And while Bang Bang was touted as the next big single, it has actually bombed on the alternative and modern rock charts.  I didn't even know it was out as a single till I stumbled upon it in the shortened Best Buy CD section.  Say what you want about those trio of albums that they stuck out in 2012, it would have been a nice single Uno/Dos/Tres  CD.  There is a misstep on this album, and that is Outlaws, to which it is a desperate attempt to make top 40 radio or even modern rock for that matter, but for 5 minutes it lacks anything memorable to a 21 Guns off 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day's less interesting album of this century.  The second half of the album does get better, and Forever Now is another Billy Joe Armstrong mini opera which gets redeemed at the end with  a very complex Tre Cool drum attack before things conclude with an acoustic farewell called Ordinary World.  For back to the basics of what Green Day can do and do well, and that is to rock out full volume, Revolution Radio isn't all bad.  It won't make you forget Dookie, but it does suggest that any band that cites The Who as an influence and play like The Who when they were in their prime is doing something right.  And it's not a concept album too.  Maybe their answer to Who Are You.  Maybe.
Grade B

From Robert Christgau.

Drive-By Truckers: American Band (ATO) In part because the Hood-to-Cooley ratio is back up and in part because they're less relaxed as the Obama Age ends, this superb song collection is raggedier than the last superb song collection. But in recompense it's more explicit and bereaved. Having resettled in Oregon just in time to detail an Umpqua massacre preceded by a victim's nice morning and idyllic weekend, Hood also spends 6:27 in Ferguson and its branches nationwide. Cooley opens with "Ramon Casiano," which minimal Googling makes clear is an assault on the NRA, and soon follows with "Surrender Under Protest," about the actual outcome of that war the starry-eyed say ended at Appomattox. Then there's the finale that begins "I was listening to the radio when they said that you were gone." Gotta be Merle, right? Uh-uh—Robin Williams. It's about mood swings and depression out of control, a somatic heritage Hood tells us he knows firsthand. A