Saturday, November 26, 2016

Week In Review: Florence Henderson, Iowa Football

Looks like Blogger has done a few upgrades and I'm not used to them.   I wish blog sites would quit tweaking things, I'm still trying to figure out how to do it the old fashioned way.  The big story is Florence Henderson passing away on Thanksgiving evening, due to heart problems.  She was 82.  She'll be forever known as Mrs. Brady on The Brady Bunch.  Back when that sort of TV shows we wanted our neighborhood to be a lot like.  Perhaps our favorite TV mom.

Passings: Fritz Weaver, veteran stage actor who appeared on The Twilight Zone, passed from a long illness, he was 90....Tony Martelli, former major label president and later started the T J Martelli Foundation, also passed away on Sunday.  He was 90.

(Photo: Steven Malley-The Gazette)

Funny how a month can change a team from being a pretender to contender.  Four weeks ago, Penn State shredded Iowa's defense for 599 total yards.  Since then Iowa has gone 3-0, took out Michigan, shut out Illinois and then whopped Nebraska 40-10 and kept the Heroes Trophy.  LaSaun Daniels went over 1,000 yards this season and scored two TDs as well. Akim Wadley scored on a 75 yard TD romp, and Riley McCarron burned the Popcornhuskers defense with a 77 TD catch. I think this game showed that maybe Iowa was good as advertised and perhaps Nebraska was overrated.  Ohio State blew them out 62-3 at Columbus. For Tommy Armstrong Jr, it's his final game against the Hawkeyes and he was fighting hamstring issues and wasn't 100 percent.  But neither he or his back up QB had much luck against a Hawkeye defense that has gotten their act together.

 (Photo: James Daniels blocking for older brother LaShan Daniels, from NCAA)

But still it has been a bittersweet month, even though Iowa went 3-0, they ended up losing four top star recruitment players, three from Texas citing the no visit policy of the Iowa Coaches, that stopped them from visiting other schools. But that has been the Kurt Farenez way of coaching, surely if you're committed to playing to one school, why visit someplace else.  One of the players wanted to check out Arizona State, since they're in need of defense players. ASU is the worst defense team of the NCAAs, not exactly what you want if you want to make the playoffs and ASU couldn't beat winless and last place Arizona and keep the territorial cup, losing 56-35, the first pac 12 victory for Arizona.  ASU finishes their rebuilding and disappointing year at 5-7 and I'm guessing changes will be forthcoming on the defense side of things, coaches and players involved.  But as for Iowa, they actually finished with a strong 8-4 record and will probably go to a nice bowl game.  Even though they turned things around with a 3-0 record, the ESPN naysayers won't have much to say about the Hawks, in Colin Cowpussy's show he'll only criticize Nebraska for being pretenders too.  A bowl victory may not play into much but for perhaps a number 25 rating but the past three games, we finally got to see how the Hawkeyes could play winning football.  Better late than never although losing to Northwestern and Wisconsin didn't help things either.  In the end, it will be Penn State against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship next week, Penn State blew out Michigan State 45-12 and Wisconsin continues to have a hold on Paul Bunyan's Axe by beating Minnesota and winning the West Division title. Minnesota did have a 17-7 halftime lead but the Badgers scored 3 TDs in the fourth quarter and Mitch Laudner, ends his Big Ten Career with 4 interceptions, unable to withstand the Badgers rush in the second half.

Fidel Castro passed away Friday, old age at 90.  He survived 11 US presidents and a few coup attempts in his 50 plus years of ruling Cuba and you either love the guy or not. History will be kind to him.

Thanksgiving with the folks went okay.  Although Mom did say that this would be her last Thanksgiving cooking turkey and supper.  At age 72, my mom has done her damnedest to cook Thanksgiving and having to deal with the old man bitching about something being burned or undercooked and sometimes I wish that I could be more help than hinder in such dinners.  Five years ago was the last time I bought company and a girlfriend over.  Family gatherings for dysfunctional folks like myself, it's hard to go to anybody's else home for Thanksgiving, in fact I can't recall going to anybody home for Thanksgiving dinner.  In 1993, I went to an ex girlfriend's folks Thanksgiving and ended up sleeping on the sofa watching the ball game.  An early 1999 get together in Portland bought out my date's mom telling me that she doesn't forsee me coming back to her family after that and she was right.  So the only recourse of relief is still having my parents still alive to get together on these holidays, and we'll do it again on Christmas Day.  Family time is more important than Black Friday or buying gifts.

(photo: KCCI-Housefire)

My friend Doug Bonesteel was in town visiting his mom and he called me up to offer some old records that his mom or grandma had in her collection and we chatted a while and picked up a couple small crates of old records, mostly country and Christmas stuff, not a lot to get excited about, but there was some decent copies of Wanda Jackson and George Jones although a lot of the albums did show they got played a few times.  Doug also played in The Open Highway Band of the 1980s and starred on the sessions that bestow upon the world a chaotic version of Rocky Mountain Way.  Doug and his family managed to get back home just in time to have their house burn down, which is a total loss.  A Go Fund Me page has been set up for donations.  Even though Doug can be a bit of a radical right winger at times (he has managed to infuriate my former band mates with his pro Regan rhetoric) Doug has been a very good supporter of my music blogs and Townedger Radio. He's gone through a few rough go's in his life and I'm sure he'll pull through on this. The Link is here:

Update: Doug said that the washer was the cause of the fire. It may have been overheated. If anything new comes up I'll pass it along. 

(Photo: Head East in Davenport, Roger Boyd on keyboards-Karie Skogman Pic Credit)

I didn't partake in any Black Friday Record Store Day Special Events but Ragged Records put on a fine showcase of talent on Friday, as well as the folks at CDs 4 Change and Moondog Music. Kevin Schaefer doing a book signing at Ragged Friday Afternoon.  In the Quad Cities, 50 Shades Of Rock played at one place and Shock Treatment, the Ramones Tribute Band featuring Lincoln Hinzman and Brook Hoover played in Rock Island.  Brook turned 55 on Wednesday and we exchanged birthday greetings and pledged to work together on something in the future.  To which while compiling this blog at midnight, Brook buzzed me through messenger to come on over so we can work on a new song.  I'd would have taken up on his offer, but the lateness of hour and playing drums at 2 AM in his part of town wouldn't make nice neighbors.   But I might be free this weekend, so perhaps I show up, with drumsticks and drumset in tow unannounced and asking where to set up.   I really don't have any more bargain hunts to partake for the rest of the year, except when Half Priced Books had 20 percent off like they did on Black Friday.  I ended up getting an Urban Verbs CD plus a couple dollar ones from the likes of Bob Marley (Exodus) and The Donnas (Gold Record).  If I hold out a little more longer, I can probably score Squeeze Play or The Sinceros and Harem Sacrum for 2 dollars a piece.   Or maybe not.

(Photo: Shock Treatment at RIBCO 11/25/16, by Rob Miller)

With the Miranda Lambert and Mike Eldred Trio albums reviewed, this ends my 2016 albums to be reviewed and eventually I will try to pick the best albums of the year.  The major labels don't help with the amount of crappy shit they put out and modern rock is as bad as top 40.  Not much really stood out, and while critics raved about Miranda's latest effort, the bad production and recording made it her least interesting album, but not enough to make it on the turkey list.  But on a second listen Revolution Radio from Green Day didn't do me any favors, which I dropped the grade to a B minus, still not enough to call it a turd of the year.  I'm still surprised I haven't traded in the latest Weezer album though, it actually has held up through repeated listens.  Also, the new Whiskey Myers album Mud is getting better each time I listen to it.

For the bargain hunting season of 2016, I'm still surprised of what I continue to find in the dollar bins, and if the future has anything in store, it's that I'll continue to be surprised of what I might find.  As I go into the Goodwills around here, I'm disappointed of how they managed to cram all the CDs, Tapes and LPs into a small media storage unit and I tend to think that both they and the Salvation Army do weed out the rock and roll albums to sell at inflated prices.  It's probably been their method of doing things which explains you rarely see a Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin album, unless it's moldy, trashed or both. My favorite source of media storage, the 45, this year is the most hit and miss in the vinyl revival era. At the right time, I have found some worthwhile stuff, but let's face it, the world isn't getting too excited for a Margaret Whiting or Cliff Steward 45.  For Nostalgic value, Born To Be Wild on the original Dunhill label by Steppenwolf is fun and I basically got it for Everybody's Next One.  But I think the bargain hunts of late is to try to find LPs and 45s that I grew up with as a child, which might mean that I'm winding down, not only in bargain hunts for 45s but in life itself.   Still in good health while dealing with HBP and an elevated liver but I been dealing with the latter for almost 20 years now and it hasn't killed me. As long as I have some sort of meaning to find music and blog about it, it's a good bet I'll be around a little while longer, give or take a year or two or three.   But I am beginning to draw the line on museum pieces, i.e. 45's over 5 dollars, or the unmarked 45 at local record shops.  To which the owners would look up on EBAY the selling price and then act accordingly.  That scratch on Dillard & Clark's Don't Let Me Down is the same as finding a copy of it with worn off grooves at a thrift store.  And Goodwill is as guilty as selling a 3.88 45 of Dave Clark Five's Bits and Pieces, with no grooves on it.   The general rule of thumb has always been most donated copies of 45s and LPs have been played to the point of no grooves or the label peeled off back in the past.  Sometimes it's a rare occasion to find any sort of Beatles or Rolling Stones in decent shape at thrift stores.  It's nice to own a Vee Jay copy of Please Please Me in decent shape but in reality, it's a luxury item that doesn't get played much here either.  Better to frame it on a wall.

Let's face it, the 45 era is long gone and not the revised 10 dollar copies you see as Record Store Day Exclusives are going to bring back top 40 45s for sale at 92 cents at your local K mart, that is if you still have a K mart in your town.  Losing Hastings Entertainment has put a big kabash in finding the cheap CD, one of the highlights of long ago Arizona Trips.  Up here we got lucky with Half Price Books coming into town 11 years ago to continue our discovery of cheap music, but for the rest of the world, your FYE stores are dying and on life support and unless you have a consignment store (Savers, Stuff  Etc, Bookmans) you're SOL and have to go online to look for bargains.  Or Goodwills if they have anything of value.  Or Salvation Army or St Vincent De Paul. Or take out a second mortgage and hit a Antique Store. Or Flea Markets, but in the case buyer beware; there's still honest sellers and traders out there but there's plenty of ones that fuck you in the can and steal your money while trying to play "Pawn Stars" with an outdated 45 of Prudence and Patience that looked worthy of hearing (for under a dollar), but not at 5 dollars.  I realize they gotta make a profit too, but I know that I have bills to pay and have to eat.  Some places I'll continue to check out from time to time (BDW in Marion's mini Antique Mall where Balster's used to be at) if the prices are affordable, but if a sleeveless 45 with scratches all over it and worn grooves are going for 4 dollars a piece then that place can have that museum piece.

But as for myself, if the price is right and under 2 bits, I'll volunteer my time and effort to listen to it, or rediscover a classic album, such as Exodus by Bob Marley, The Cars first album and Dave Brubeck Jazz At The Pacific Volumes 1 and 2.  But I'm more than half way to 60 now and time is beginning to be more and more valuable to me and my ears and really cannot invest in time and money for that big Pink Floyd Boxset or the Complete Bob Dylan 1966 Tour.  Coffee table boxset CDs might be a nice conversation piece but unless you're on the go and have a CD player to boot (or stream it as the case may be today) chances are you won't play it.  Hell I don't even play my Nuggets boxsets most of the time and yet to open up the Children Of Nuggets Boxset that Rhino threw out years ago.  A reminder on how dollar foolish I have become in the 3 decades of CD collecting and bargain hunting for that matter.  No matter how I continue to insist that I'm cutting back on my buying, my friends and dear readers (all four of you) will think otherwise.   You can't change a person collecting music for 5 decades to quit overnight.

Record reviews of the week:

Urban Verbs-Early Damage (Warner Brothers 1981)

Kind of confusing band of the early 80s.  They had elements of Talking Heads Fear Of Music, plus elements of Pere Ubu and Throbbing Gristle as well, judging from the noisy opener When The Dance Is Done, which goes into the Ubu like  Jar My Blood and Acceleration, which Linda France adds a bass work somewhat like Gang Of Four.   Don't know if this industrial new wave was worth the effort or Wounded Bird reissuing this as CD and at times it gets tedious.  Which all ends on Terminal Bar, which they take a page out of Wire's book of oddball alt new wave.  Not exactly accessible nor rock and roll but weird enough to suggest to Bauhaus fanatics as well.
Grade B

Bob Marley And The Wailers-Exodus (Island 1977)

I always consider Marley's live albums to be the ones to listen to and Legend the best overview of his work but finding this for 2 dollars in the thrift bin is worth a listen and pickup.  You can't quibble with Three Little Birds and One Love/People Get Ready (the latter version in its original mix which is much different than the Legend mix) but I think the lesser known Heathen and romantic ballad Turn Your Light Down Low are worth a listen.  I also still think the Barrett brothers' heavy rhythm of the title track remains one of their highest classic moments.  Carlton Barrett, king of the one drop beat, second to none, often imitated but never duplicated.   I'll leave it at that.
Grade A-

Delbert McClinton-Keeper Of The Flame (Capricorn 1979)

He can flat out work that harmonica and knows how to cover a good song but it does leave me to go seek out the original artists, Don Covay (Have Mercy) Roscoe Gordon (Just A Little Bit) and even Emily Lou Harris cover of Two More Bottles Of Wine.  Overall, a nice workmanlike type of Rhythm and Blues but I think Delbert has done better albums.
Grade B-

Dave Brubeck-Jazz At The College Of The  Pacific (Fantasy 1953)

There are arguments about how valuable this live recording is.  In the early to mid 50s, Dave had a damn good timekeeper in Joe Dodge, a very modest and shy drummer who rather forgo drum solos in favor of being behind the scenes and then would leave around 1957 to go back into banking, to be replaced by another Joe...Morello, who would shape up the classic Brubeck lineup.  Ron Crotty also playing a vital role behind the scenes as well as bass player.  Still this is Brubeck and Paul Desmond at their best, scatting around fast tempo songs All The Things You Are and Lullaby In Rhythm, featuring a rare Dodge drum solo.  Desmond's sense of humor has been a staple of great albums which made them much better, before the arrival of Joe Morello and Eugene Wright and more of those guys elbowing themselves for solo space on later albums.   I have yet to hear a bad live Brubeck band album anywhere, and Jazz At The College Of The Pacific  is a classic live album of the early jazz era of the 50s, as new musicians and bands started turning jazz into something much more different than it was.  Dave Brubeck has mentioned that Joe Dodge was a very good drummer in his own right.  This album proves that Dave was right.
Grade A-

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