Monday, November 14, 2016

Week In Review: Townedger Radio 24, Leon Russell RIP, Hawkeyes Shocker

A couple things before I started the next blog.  One Billy Miller who was part of Norton Records and a big fan of the garage rock music scene died from kidney failure on Saturday.  More about this story as it infolds.


Leon Russell also departed this world.  He passed away in his sleep Friday.  He was 74.  Russell had a heart attack earlier this summer which kept him from touring and never recovered from the complications.  Leon will forever be known as the go to guy during the 1960s, working with Snuff Garrett and recording the likes of Bobby Vee and Gary Lewis and The Playboys.  Russell's second stint was being part of the infamous Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour with the late Joe Cocker, during which Leon formed Shelter Records with Denny Cordell and recording the likes of Willis Alan Ramsey, Tom Petty and J J Cale just to name a few.  I tend to look his solo career to be spotty but his S/T album and Leon Russell And The Shelter People are his two best.  He was also known as alter ego Hank Wilson and had a sizeable hit with Rollin In My Sweet Baby Arms. He hit the top forty in 1975 with Lady Blue and Back To The Island but later releases didn't chart.  Around 1976 Warner Brothers signed him with his own label (Paradise) but those releases were subpar at best.  Russell would later resurface on Virgin for Anything Can Happen and then in 2010 paired up with Elton John for the comeback album The Reunion.  Russell's final album was 2012's Life's Journey.  To which he has now rejoined Joe Cocker and J J Cale with the new Mad Dogs And Englishmen show, somewhere in the great beyond.

Sharon Jones of the Dap Kings fame passed away Friday 11/18/16 from cancer.

Mose Allison, influential jazz piano player and witty singer songwriter passed away in his sleep Tuesday.  He was 89 years old.  Best known for Young Man Blues (done by the Who) and I'm Not Talking (covered by the Yardbirds) Mose's albums for Atlantic proved to be his best.  The question if he was either a blues artist or jazz artist, but I tend to think he was more into rock and roll since he influenced a lot of bands.

Holly Dunn, best known for her mid 80s hit Daddy's Hands passed away from ovarian cancer Tuesday, she was 59.

Victor Bailey, bass player for the likes of Weather Report and many others as a in demand session player died at age 56 this Friday:


And now, the shock of the week.  Iowa stunned number 3 Michigan with a last second FG to win the game 14-13.  We thought the Cubs would win the world series but we never gave Iowa a snowball's chance in Hell right?  Well, that's why they play football and Iowa came ready to play, at least the defense did. Keith Duncan hit a 33 FG with no time remaining to pull off the greatest upset that Iowa has pulled since Daniel Murray defeated Penn State with a last second FG 8  years ago.  Iowa had a chance earlier but CJ Bethard took a gamble and threw a long pass which Michigan intercepted.  But the much maligned Iowa defense finally stopped Michigan for a rare 3 and out and the Hawks got the ball due to a short punt and a facemasking call which put the ball at the 36 yard line.  To which Duncan would hit the game winner. Although Michigan had a 10-0 lead,  a Jaleel Johnson safety of their running back and a Akin Wadley TD made the game interesting and the Hawks battled them toe to toe.  The refs continue to throw bullshit calls, the first ever Roughing The Center call ever made which lead to Michigan taking the lead on a 51 yard FG but the Hawks fought back and surprised the world.  To which Colin Cowpie Cowherd now will say that Michigan isn't a championship team since they lost to Iowa and anybody that loses to Iowa gets knocked out of the top 4.  Still Colin can gloat all he wants, but the fact is that finally Iowa beat a excellent top ten team.  Michigan still controls their own destiny but they have to beat nemesis Ohio State and Indiana.  Then they're in. The drawback: they play Ohio State in Columbus and Michigan hasn't beat Ohio State since  2011. The team with the inside track:  Penn State, they win their last two, they'll be in the Championship game. Probably against Wisconsin.  With the victory, Iowa has momentum, and they have Illinois (there) and Nebraska at home and now both games are winnable.  Each victory will get them a better bowl and an 8-4 record might grant them a New Year's game and keeping the Heroes Trophy.  Nebraska hasn't looked to be world beaters and they struggled against Minnesota before winning that game.

Still, Hell must be freezing or in need of a new Furnace.  Back in 1985, when Jim Harbaugh was QB Michigan, his number 2 rated team took on top rated Iowa.  Rob Houghtlin kicked four field goals to propelled Iowa to a 12-10 victory on their way to the Rose Bowl that year.  For a change, Harbaugh decided to put up Michigan posters to combat the pink covered visitor's locker room before the game. It didn't work.  North Dakota State trolled Michigan by putting up a picture saying of the teams that were in that locker room this season, only one team came out a winner, which wasn't Michigan.  Perhaps Jim Harbaugh should consider North Dakota State soon.   And let's hope that North Dakota State was the only away team winning a game in Iowa City. Still, people are considering this to be the greatest upset in Iowa Football history.  That might be stretching it but it does rank in the top 5 of all time great upsets. 

 (Super Moon over Madison 11/14/16) (Photo:

(Ragged Records: Davenport) 

(Supermoon over the Mississippi River, Davenport)

This week we had the chance to see another Supermoon and the place of destination was Davenport again. Stops at Ragged Records and Co Op Moline and Ragged had a scratchy CD R of Cozy Cole Hits for 10 dollars and Co Op had Stages by Eric Andersen.  Moline Salvation Army had a decent copy of Bobby Bare 500 Miles Away From Home (but in mono form), still that record was a part of my childhood years and getting any decent copy of that is worth the trip.  Stuff Etc had three CDs for a dollar apiece.  Since I was there last month, the Davenport As Is Salvation Army collection of 45s were the same as they were last month, a couple new thrown in but for the most part I passed on them. As well as a couple Moline Goodwill 45s, to which a B B King ABC Paramount 45 I'm Going to Sit  In Till You Give In was marred by a couple vertical scratches that made that side of the record unplayable.

B B's first ABC Paramount single finds the label trying to get him into the rock and roll boogie and it doesn't exactly work in B B's favor.  But it's one of those period pieces that would be a nice addition to a collection. B side You Ask Me returns B B to his crooning/shouting blues style of the Modern years.  Growing pains on being on a unhip label for the first time but eventually BB and ABC Records would find their own groove.  Still I came up empty in all three Goodwill stores in the Quad Cities, and I'm not too impressed in the way they continue to throw their CDs and LPs all in together.  Last time I was at the casino I won 250 plus dollars, this time out, I lost 10 dollars.   It's back to reality and shit luck once again.

It was 30 years ago that I made my way down to Arizona to start a new life and looking for gameful employment, but it turned out to be more of a four and half month party of living at Zia's, Rockaway and Tower Records.  But the life of living in a "right to work" state didn't help me in trying to find a job and even getting turned down left and right.  The only time I actually worked was for a whole week cleaning out an old department store for a temp agency, which included such fun things like picking up trash in a local landfill,  a three day job of picking up trash around the old Los Arcos Mall and my aunt Sarge telling me about a job working at some place across town digging ditches and me making the 45 minute trip early in the morning only the have owner telling me to go back home after I couldn't convince him to give me a chance.  What seemed to be a good idea turned out for the bad, an hour after moving stuff around the Aunt Sarge's house and having the Chandler police giving me an impromptu greeting.  It basically got worse soon afterward.  But I do recall seeing Michael White's Led Zeppelin Tribute show at Rockers and getting to see all these girls dressed up in spandex and looking cool.  And seeing Randy California and Ed Cassidy's Spirit Band outdoors in the most quietest concert I ever been to.   Despite hanging at the record stores, although they all enjoyed taking my money, they never considered me to be a sales associate, which really would have been the perfect job.  I recall wasting an hour at some temp agency and a couple ladies throwing their attitude around, I had to laugh at them as I drove away and both of them came running out the door. Perhaps they felt they were being threatened at, when after hearing their lame excuses of no employment I threw my hands up in the air and told them what a waste of time being there if they were not going to offer some sort of employment. And to see these two old birds hurrying outside for another confrontation added to the frustration.  No wonder why they got the old number one flipped at them.

I remember there was a heavy metal band practicing out a few blocks away and they might have been Flotsom And Jetsom, a band that is still around today.  Outside of my best friend Dennis, I knew nobody down in Arizona and even using my aunt for reference didn't help and things were becoming more frosty. Couldn't find any job outside of paltry part time help and rent was expensive. Most of the time going to job interviews turns out to be a big runaround and the usual don't call us we call you crap continued. I'd hang around Long Wongs for cheap pasta and watery sauce. Finally in March, my aunt wanted me out of the house and after a couple more job offers fell through, moved back to Iowa. Arizona remains a mystical and wonderful place to be although I tend to favor Kingman and the Route 66 towns along the way.  Since then I have managed to revisit the state off and on till 2013. Even back then I had to contend with change zombies and part time help bothering the hell out of me for donations during the Christmas season.  It's certainly not the land of plenty, especially when you have 10,000 people moving in each and every month down there. Even in Chandler at the old neighborhood, some thugs did harass Uncle Clint when he went out for a walk in broad daylight.  The question remains if I gave it a chance but Aunt Sarge did throw me out and I didn't have enough finances to hook up being a roommate anywhere else.  The pitfalls of being young and foolish. But in the end, all it turned out to be was a snowbird's vacation  and managed to get some cool used records. But somehow never good enough to establish myself on the music or record store scene.  Just a bad time to be there, it was the time of the infamous Evan Mecham era to which the former POW and war hero became a car dealer man and ultra Conservative governor who rescinded Martin Luther King Day and would get impeached and removed from office in 1988.  He died in 2008 but had he lived long enough, he might be President today considering the circumstances.  I'll always have the love for the great southwest and who knows maybe I'll be retiring out there.  But I don't know. I think my time being there has come and gone.  I have no desire to be chased by the change zombies out there. 

TV remains unwatchable but it got slightly better.  Duck Dynasty is ending after 11 seasons. 

Record Reviews:

William Michael Morgan-Vinyl (Warner Nashville 2016)

While he gets compared to the trad hat acts (George Strait and to a lesser extent, Randy Travis) Morgan is the face of the return to so called real country, but Scott Hendricks (Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton) throws a few bro country numbers for the Thiesen's Hardware Store Crowd.  I do think he has a good voice and a good future in country music, but side 1 does up the ante on the bro country and creepy come on songs (The title track).  He did managed to turn Sam Hunt's I Met A Girl into a summer number 1 hit and strange enough the most George Strait sounding song I Know Who He Is is written by Tucker Bethard, (brother of C J, Iowa's senior QB).  A bit too much plandering to the Beer Drinkers who keep this world going, but side 2 does close out on a high note with Morgan's very own Lonesomeville which channels his inner Strait and Back Seat Driver.  The Nashville sessionmen tend to make this effort a bit generic, but the future does look bright, provided if Hendricks can deliver more on the slower tempo numbers that made George Strait a superstar.
Grade B

Cozy Cole Hits (Love Records 2001)

The aforementioned CD R that I got for 10 dollars at Ragged Records.  If we are going to pay top dollar for anything, be it CD or CD R, it better be in fine shape.  The credo of buyer beware comes into handy, in this day and age no refunds.  But I wanted to hear it and thankfully it did play.  It's a combination of two albums he did for his very own Love Records  Hits and It's A Cozy World.  Cole was one of the prime drummers of the big band era dating back to the early 30s before scoring a couple of hits with Topsy and Turvy.  While he recorded for King and Mercury Records, these selections are from either Love or Coral Records era, to which I think he had the masters all along.  Unless you're a big fan of Topsy Part 1 and 2, Turvy 1 and 2 and Topsy Turvy 1 and 2 or drum solos you might get bored.  But I find a perverse fascination with Cole's slow growling voice that introduce the songs and even raps a bit on Ol Man Mose.  He does cover Sandy Nelson's Let There Be Drums but with a much more smoother groove.  The 1964 remake of Topsy is more nosier.  Cozy's idea of rock and roll I gather.
Grade B+

Redbone-Cycles (RCA 1977)

While reviews of this are five stars and highly recommended at Amazon I tend to think otherwise. At this point Pat and Lolly Vegas exited from Epic Records to RCA just in time for the disco explosion and they couldn't figure to go disco, or funk or jazz and tended to spin their tires greatly.  While Redbone had hits with Witch Queen Of New Orleans and Come And Get Your Love, their albums never caught fire. Even their Essential Redbone album suffers from filler material.  Give Our Love Another Try is another attempt to capture the vibe of Come And Get Your Love and falls short, Cycles the title track goes for the Bee Gees and falls short and Checkin It Out does attempt to create something like the Tower Of Power would do, and falls short of course.  In fact I'm not sure why Wounded Bird would consider issuing this on CD in the first place. Perhaps it might be the presence of Jerry Goldstein as producer, or even more so WAR (who probably were the musicians behind the music although they were not credited, but they were thanked in the Thank You section.  But even the late 70s WAR was spinning their wheels as well.  And in the end, Cycles felt like everybody going through the motions.  The failure of this album would send Redbone into retirement.
Grade C

John Anderson Greatest Hits (BNA 1995)

Certainly his Warner Brothers albums were more country and better remembered but I tend to think John got a second wind during his stay at BNA Entertainment and this best of gets the majority of the better songs, meaning more uptempo numbers then the slow ballads that made Seminole Wind and Country Till I Die a chore to listen to, (the albums that is, Seminole Wind is my favorite song of his all time).  He can do Mark Klopher very well too but he damn near steals Keep Your Hands To Yourself from The Georgia Satellites.  It rocks just like the Kentucky Headhunters are country too. The Warner best of is where you find the early hits and a better version of Swingin', but the BNA years proves that Ole John had some hits left in him. (Straight Tequila Nights, I've Got It Made).
Grade B+

Lynn Allen-Retro Maniacs 1982-1988 (AOR 2014)

Lynn Allen is to Davenport/Quad Cities is what Hostage is for Cedar Rapids, long time bands that made rock and roll for three decades and still continue on.  As far I know Hostage only made one cd in 1993 thereabouts, where Lynn Allen made a few LPs and EPs.  Billy Pfeiffer, was so good at pulling off the MTV style of Loverboy and Night Ranger that he moved out to California for a spell to start a band with Ross Valory and Jeff Watson, a Journey guy and a Night Ranger guy but nothing came out of it and Billy returned back to Iowa eventually.  This CD is a combo of a 1982 EP and 1988 EP that did spawn off a regional hit with Leave Me Alone.  And the Night Ranger similarities is found on I See The Look In Your Eyes, the Loverboy soundalike of It's You.  For pop metal, not bad but those electric drums and keyboards do date the sound badly.  Which was probably why I liked their 1990s rivals Tripmaster Monkey a bit more, T.M was more garage alternative rock.  Pfieffer may have put the band to rest once again, no word about their albums being reissued but there's a DVD called One Last Night you can find at the Co Op Records Store In Moline. 
Grade B

Red Hot Chili Peppers-ICON What Hits?!  (Capitol 1992)

Reissue of the EMI album when Universal acquired EMI/Capitol.  And to this day, The Chili Peppers remain a acquired taste.  They have moments and they always had Flea popping that bass and a few drummers that have come and gone (Jack Irons, replaced by Chad Smith).  And a couple songs that do stand out (True Men Don't Kill Coyotes, Show Me Your Soul) but the problem has always been that Anthony Kedis wasn't that great of a vocalist and less of a rapper.   This album does do a good overview of the EMI years, plus Under The Bridge, that breakthrough hit that Warner Brothers was kind enough to license (it is the only Warner cut on this album) to Universal.  But RHCP do get props for bringing the funk in the early years and getting George (P funk) Clinton to produce. But they did need that hit and the cover of Higher Ground kept them going.   Not sure if they're fuck fiends as Robert Christgau proclaimed them on a flop album but they seem to be nice guys that would stumble upon a good idea or riff once in a while.
(They don't even have enough good songs to make a one-sided single. From Mark Prindle) 
Grade C+

Townedger Radio 24 Broadcast on Lucky Star Radio 11/16/16 Playlist

Abe Lincoln-The Backsliders 
Don't It Make You Wanna Dance-Rusty Weir
Mercury Blues-Steve Miller Band
Solitary Man-The Sidewinders
Into You-The Pulltops
CTA 102-The Byrds
Daddy Rollin (In Your Arms)-Dion
I Know You Rider-The Townedgers
Nervous Breakdown-Ducks Deluxe
Diddy Wa Diddy-The Remains
Say I Am (What I Am)-The Fireballs
Barefootin-Brownsville Station
Girl In The Magazine-The Brains 
It's All Behind Me Now-Swinging Steaks
Ohio-Crosby Stills, Nash And Young
Go Out And Get It-John And Beverly Martyn