Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week In Review: TE Radio 25, Ellis Kell, Blue Band 35, LA Chargers, Rock and Roll HOF 2016

Zsa Zsa Gabor passed away, she was 99.

But the the bigger news around here was Ellis Kell losing his battle with cancer at age 62.  Kell is a Quad Cities legendary  rock and roller who with the Ellis Kell Band opened up many a headliner act in the Davenport area in the late 70s and early 80s.  Kell also started the RME experience, encouraging many people to take up playing music. Sean Leary writes a nice piece on the Q C Legend. https://www.quadcities.com/columns/seanleary/farewell-ellis-kell-you-were-true-blue-to-the-end/

Obituary: http://www.wheelanpressly.com/notices/Ellis-Kell

With the death of Arnie Erickson the Music Loft, one of the last of the original music stores in Cedar Rapids will be closing their doors at the end of 2016.  Craig Erickson continues to teach guitar and play his music around the area.  I do admit I haven't talked to Craig all that much, our paths rarely cross on the jam circuit but in the early 1980s I did buy drum stuff from them, I think they were the only place in town that sold Camber Cymbals.  Starter cymbals of course, but I bought my first 4 track recorder from Craig in 1989.  So basically Craig is responsible for The Townedgers music sound although we didn't know how to work it for about 2 years. 

On December 9th, I gotten word that Rex Glasgow left this world, he was 59.  He'll be forever known as the DJ up at Super Skate in the late 70s and early 80s best known for saying ALL SKATE after slow skate songs.  Rex was a big part of my growing up years in town and he will be missed greatly.

Longtime KRNA programmer and DJ Greg "Shark" Scharnau passed away Tuesday from a long bout with cancer he was 49.  Greg also worked for KDAT and KCRG before moving over to KRNA and hanging there for 14 years.  A career as they say in radio.

Since living without TV, you probably have noticed not much in terms of sports anymore.  I lost interest in the NFL and watching the follies that is the soon to be history San Diego Chargers, blowing their sixth game of having a lead and getting swept again by the Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders 19-16, in front of a crowd that had more Raiders fans than Chargers.  San Diego folk, tired of Alex and Dean Spanos jibber jabbing of wanting a new stadium and basically will more back to Los Angeles for the first time in 56 seasons.  L.A. can have them.  It's pathetic to see Phillip (Mr. INT) Rivers trying to rally a team only to get knocked down or throwing errant passes to which Oakland would intercept  and run the clock out.  Granted Rivers' receivers are not high caliber, but rather rookies and glass handed WRs who would drop balls and run the wrong way.  For 12 seasons I have seen Rivers fail more than win, perhaps that's bestowed on the Spanos family who can never find any sort of coaches or general managers worth a shit, and had to watch former QBs like the hated Eli Manning and odd man out Drew Brees win Super Bowls while the Chargers spin their wheels.  I enjoyed the Dan Fouts era, and rooted for Brees as he did his damnest to get the team to the playoffs but basically former worthless GM Ass Jack Smith mailed him off to New Orleans.   I wouldn't say Rivers is as worthless as first round flop Ryan Leaf but Phillip has been my least favorite Charger.  Still, Rivers's time as a Charger could be nearing at an end, it's once again rebuilding time and perhaps a change of scenery means a change in coaches.  Mike McCoy simply doesn't have it.   56 years ago the Chargers did have a very good team but they couldn't draw flies at the Colosseum.

So instead of seeing another Rivers disappointment, lets' have another archival picture of a Chargers RB Paul Lowe playing  in front of 55 people on a late autumn afternoon, in LA.   Chances are better that the newly return L A Chargers will have better crowds, but the 1960 team could probably take out the 2016 Chargers any day of the week.   I'm tired talking about this already, moving on.

Are people sick of Neil Young?  Judging by the buyer's remorse and indifference  it seems that way.  After a poor showing in the lower 200 for Earth, his new album Peace Trail didn't even chart at all.  Since the passing of David Briggs, the man that made Neil's albums classics, Young tends to throw things together, to see if things stick.  Sometimes it works (Chrome Dreams 2, Greendale) sometimes it's an inflated mess (Storyville, The Monsanto Years) and once in a while it don't work (Are You Passionate?), but Neil always had enough in him to keep me interested and pony up dollars for his next efforts.  He's made five albums in the past three years and people might be overwhelmed by his vast catalog.  Earth was an interesting concept live album and if he didn't go an almost full 30 minutes on Love And Only Love perhaps the world might have taken to that album better.  But Neil Young continues to blaze his own trail and even if his failures are out there (Arc), he demands the full listener's attention although common folk would have stalled after 5 minutes of Love And Only Love Earth Version.  You're not going to get another Harvest or Harvest Moon, nor Ragged Glory., and even with the no chart showing of Peace Trail, Neil could interest the buyers with a standalone CD release, it seems better than most of his 2010's output.  I do like Peace Trail, raggedness and all and fuzz tone harmonica and it is a decent protest album of the 2010s, Neil standing with the Indians on the the pipeline issue, it's his best album (to me) since Living With War.  Neil has partnered up with John Hanlon, who was around when Briggs was alive, but in reality, it's Neil producing the whole thing and John recording it.  David Briggs would have found a way to make it a classic album and his loss really has changed Neil's albums over the years, they vary from so so to good to sometimes very good but never really elevated to classic status.  But I'm sure Neil is back in the studio with a new set of songs done his way and 2017 you will hear from Neil Young, whether you like it or not.  I do.

And now the big news of the Jann Wanner Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductees.  A bit more rocking and rolling with the usual Wanner favorites thrown in there.  I'll put them in the order of importance for me.

Yes-For many years, many folks wanted Wanner to induct Yes into the HOF for their inventive prog rock, but it took Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman to replace Tony Banks and Tony Kaye, not that both Banks and Kaye were bad but Howe gave a little more something to The Yes Album and Wakeman on Fragile. Basically lineups came and gone, the one constant was Chris Squire, who is now dead and won't be able to enjoy the festivities.  Yes was revised a few times, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes came on board in 1980 with Drama and then Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye with Jon Anderson joined Squire and Alan White for 90125 which gave Yes a more pop sound, the inescapable Owner Of  A Lonely Heart and the prog pop of Changes.   Big Generator and Talk continued this sort of sound before the band brought back Steve Howe and they still made classic albums 1999's The Ladder, which was Bruce Fairbairn's finest hour before he passed away.  Magnification, basically the final Yes studio album was still enjoyable, and the band came full circle when Trevor Horn produced Fly From Home, to which at that point Jon Anderson was replaced by a soundalike.  They're in the twilight of their career but with Squire gone, they're an official tribute band.

Journey-The fans spoke up and voted them in, otherwise they'd be on the outside looking in.  Basically a knockoff of former Santana members Greg Rolie and Neil Schon hooking with Ross Valory and Ansley Dunbar (don't forget George Tickner) and making three albums of varying jam rock degree although Look Into The Future hinted at prog rock too.  Rolie's vocals not standing out the first three albums do have some good music in them but with Steve Perry joining up for Infinity, their sound changed overnight with massive hits like Wheel In The Sky and Lights.  Dunbar either got fired or left and Steve Smith (Ronnie Montrose) played drums and the classic lineup was then made with albums like Evolution and Departure.  Jonathan Cain (The Babys) replaced Rolie and Escape rewrote the book on arena rock and it sold a ton with their signature song Don't Stop Belevelin.  By then I begin to lose interest as it became the Steve Perry Band and later albums sounding more desperate than inspired.  Journey imploded in 1989 but reunited on the Trial By Fire album and Neil Schon continues to lead that band with a Steve Perry soundalike on vocals.  Steve Smith has rejoined them on occasion too.

ELO-Another hit making machine of the 70s overlooked for many years, Jeff Lynne owns a share of classic rock radio with hits like Don't Bring Me Down, Evil Woman, Turn To Stone and Rock and Roll Is King.  Originally an offshoot of The Move, the eccentric Roy Wood plays on the first album No Answer, this was Lynne's band all along the way, and in 1973 Lynne decided to cross Beethoven's 9th with Chuck Berry on Roll Over Beethoven.  The Best of ELO (the updated one) has all the hits but I tend to be partial to 1979's Discovery and 2001's Zoom to which Lynne put under the ELO banner rather than his own name.  Lynne has produced Dave Edmunds, Joe Walsh, Del Shannon and Tom Petty over the years as well as taking part of the Traveling Wilburys.

Pearl Jam-The band we thought that would implode first in the grunge years has been the longest lasting band from the Seattle scene and Eddie Vedder has branched out into other things and being one of the biggest Chicago Cubs fans out there, taking part of them winning the world series by recording a new song.  Their early albums, Ten, Vs, and Vitalogy are reasons why they are in the hall of fame but keeping Dave Abuzzesee and Jack Irons out of the inductions is blasphemy, Dave's power beats ARE why Pearl Jam is in the hall of fame.   Originally the guys were once part of Mother Love Bone, to which when Andrew Wood OD in 1989, 1990, the band would reform under various jams and getting Eddie Vedder.   Matt Cameron plays drums for Pearl Jam and keeps a tight beat but to me Dave Abbuzzesee was the Keith Moon to Matt's Charlie Watts.

Nile Rodgers-Since Chic wasn't getting in, Wanner decided to nominate Nile for his production and guitar playing skills.  Nile has produced the likes of Madonna but also Stevie Ray Vaughn and Ric Ocasek.

Joan Baez-Legendary folk singer who best years were with Vanguard and had a hit with The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and hung out with Bob Dylan a lot.   Later years with A and M had Diamonds And Dust as a top 20 hit  too.

Tupac Shakur-20 years ago after his killing, Tupac makes the HOF. The sixth rapper to do so.   Not rock and roll but with his gangsta style rapping, it's rock attitude.

(Photo: The Blue Band) http://www.theblueband.com/

So far, December has been a bitch with cold weather and snowstorms every weekend.  The 25 below windchill canceled a few shows and killed my Corsica's starter but Redd started up.  It made jamming quite easy, since hardly anybody showed up and on Tuesday Night I finally got to share the stage with Bob Dorr and Jeff Petersen of the legendary Blue Band up at Parlor City and managed to do six songs with Tim Giblin host and arranger.  The Blue Band has been around for 35 years now, with a New Year's Eve Gig at the Artisan Sanctuary in Czech Village.   Bob is best known for KUNI Back Tracks which is still on Saturday Afternoon and he still has a wide range of musical  knowledge, even wailing away on I'm A Man, and helping Jeff Petersen singing to Four In The Morning and Move It On Over.   Even with the wild drummer taking a break from work to play, we had a few girls dancing to Rockin My Life Away.  Special thanks to Bob for letting me play his drums. http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/BobDorrandtheBlueBand

And now the ratings game.  We are in uncharted territory, over 9,000 views so far this month. Not exactly sure why the sudden boom in interest, but with 10 days left Record World might reach an zenith, 10,000 views.  Which means the peaks and valleys will be huge, kinda like Mt Everest one month, and lower than Death Valley the next.  I have had many other things going on that kinda kept me blogging here than I used to in the past.  I still have to come up with the review of this year, and the events that happened.  I have noticed that the spam blogger comments have spiked big time, which is the drawback of more readership here.   Once in a while we'll get a real comment about music or the eye candy shots, but in the battle of Coke Vs Pepsi, I prefer root beer, or sweet tea from a place that can make good tasting tea.  And judging for the shoddy quality of tea at Kum N Go and Hardees, Florida Georgia Line makes better music.  And that's saying how bad sweet tea is around these places.  Half the time I want to go up to somebody at Kum N Go and say, geez you might be able to taste some tea among the 10 gallons of sugar used in a 32 Oz cup.  And since you requested this Tad, here's the dream date girl of the month, introducing this week's edition of Record Reviews.

Bette Midler-It's The Girls (East West/WB 2014)

Her first album in 8 years and she pays tribute to the Girls sound, be it The Chordettes, Andrew Sisters, Motown, 60s Girls Group and even TLC.  Basically done for fun, Midler loves the songs enough to play them like the record did, although she makes Waterfalls a ballad without the rapping.  Midler is enjoyable when she does the songs right, she rarely over sings, and her add libbing on Too Many Fish In The Sea and Give Him A Great Big Kiss (Muah) made me break out in a smile, and with a wink and a nod to "the girls" (guess which ones?)  Previous reviews complains of over production but I don't hear it on this, sometimes a bit too much drum boasting from JR Robinson but that's nit picking.  The country arrangement of You Can't Hurry Love may not fit the song but that's nit picking as well.  Midler is excellent at ballads, (Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow) and revisits her swing songs with conviction (It's The Girl), and still has one of the sweetest vocals in her later years. And still looks like good eye candy too.  An overlooked feel good album of the 2010s.
Grade B+

Will Bradley Featuring Ray McKinley-It's Square But It Rocks (Hep UK 2002)

In the swing era, Bradley is overlooked and forgotten which is a shame.  Bradley's band offered equal parts of Boogie Woogie to their Big Band Swing and Ray McKinley could hold his own with Gene Krupa or Chick Webb or Cozy Cole on drums.  This is the second compilation on Hep, the better known songs are on volume 1 (Down A Road Apiece anybody?), which since I have the Columbia Best Of The Big Bands CD of Bradley/McKinley I don't really need volume 1.  First part is mostly big band balladry, not bad, but it is the boogie swing that I'm more interested in and it does feature Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar in all of its 5 minute glory and the lesser interesting Scrub Me Momma with a Boogie Beat.  And they had a rocking piano player in Freddie Slack too.  Next to Louie Jordan Will Bradley does figure in early rock and roll, but they call it boogie instead.
Grade A-

Jose Feliciano-Encore! (Wounded Bird/RCA 2010)

Among the Wounded Bird cutouts at Half Price Books is Jose finest moments at RCA, but I find it tedious.  Hit single Light My Fire managed to revamp The Doors big hit and sets the pattern for later singles, starts out softly, then Jose gets caught up and goes all over the place.  Gotta love his rapid fire light my fire barrage of the final fadeout and the single version is better.  Susie Q, Jose gets creepy and it turns out to be more of a forgotten fart of a song than say Hi Heel Sneakers.  Pegao, sounds like Jose redoing Classical Gas and he keeps Wichita Lineman as a instrumental, before he goes over the edge on wrecking California Dreaming.  Joe Cocker has the better version of Hitchcock Railway, but Jose's isn't that bad.  If you're interested in the cross pop of the late 60s and decent Spanish guitar playing it's worth a listen but you can live without it.  Missing in action: Feliz Navidad, that Yule time classic song you hear every hour on the hour on the Christmas channel and probably Jose's finest moment.  But the single version of Light My Fire is required listening, it's better than Tiny Tim's Tip Toe Through The Tulips.
Grade B

Brass Transit (Self Released 1998)

Now here's something that wasn't part of the grunge or Nu Metal garbage of the 1990s.  A local ensemble of 11 guys and more horn players than Chicago had at that time.  I have no qualms about bands trying to recapture the horn sounds of Chicago or Blood Sweat And Tears and at times they have funky sound that starts the record out jumping on Try To Decide or the goofy Hey El Nino.  But as the record progresses onward, they then start mining into Lighthouse territory or even Chase, both bands of that era capable of making great singles (One Fine Morning for Lighthouse, Get It On for Chase) but then stacking their albums with subpar ballads or half assed R and B.  While I credit them for being original, perhaps they should have sneaked in a cover song from EWF or Ides Of March, they have done a wild Vehicle cover in their concerts.   Brass Transit continues to dazzle people in concerts 18 years after the fact but this record never really cooks, as they say. A slow simmer actually.

Grade C+  

Robert Christgau:

Buddy Guy: Born to Play Guitar (Silvertone) At 79, last Chicago  blues master standing nabs cameos, nails songs by his Berklee-trained drummer, survives the Muscle Shoals Horns, and claims his birthright yet again ("Come Back Muddy," "Kiss Me Quick") **

David Bromberg: The Blues, the Whole Blues, and Nothing but the Blues (Red House) In the year the Rolling Stones capitalized their franchise on the cheap by mining the blues of their youth, who'd have guessed they'd get smoked by this equally ancient folk muso? Yet it's no contest. Where the one remake Mick and the boys shine up a little is Little Johnny Taylor's near-soul 1971 "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing," Bromberg leads a livelier band through a set that kills the same the-postman-told-me shtick. Prone as a young hippie to the fallacy that blues was a music of old men on porches, now he digs into these lyrics as the sexually insecure cuckold he can evoke as Sonny Boy Williamson and Bobby Bland could not, adding a nerdy comedy routine to Bessie Smith's "You've Been a Good Ole Wagon" and showcasing the belated debut of the pathetic "How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark When You Come 'Round," which he learned long ago from a lead sheet whose composer was too embarrassed to put his name on it. In real life, meanwhile, Bromberg has long been married to musician Nancy Josephson. They own a violin store in Wilmington, Delaware, where she's made a name for herself creating vodou-influenced beaded objects in a nearby studio. Ain't love grand? And let's hear it for art, too. A MINUS

Happy Holidays!

Townedger Radio 25-The Best Of 2016 Playlist (On Lucky Star Radio 12/22/16)


You Want It Darker-Leonard Cohen
My Sweet Charade-Tommy Bruner
Can't Be Wrong-Wooden Nickel Lottery
Wonderful Crazy Night-Elton John
Young Man Blues-Mose Allison
Old Man From The Mountain-Merle Haggard
Love 99-The Townedgers
Waiting For The Thunder-Blackberry Smoke
Bad Motor Scooter-Paraphernalia Tyrus
Shake It Baby-Texas Hippie Coalition
Sugar Shake-Mike Eldred Trio
You Wouldn't Know Me-Miranda Lambert
Ramon Casiano-Drive By Truckers
Young Blood-Green Day
Frogman-Whiskey Myers
The Moon Upstairs-Mott The Hoople


1 comment:

TAD said...

Hi Crabby. Wondering where all your views are coming from. Might not be the Russians. I'm averaging 300 hits per day myself. Somebody in the US shows up every 3 or 4 hours, looks at 30 or so pages, and then leaves. And it's always the first 30 posts. So it messes up my stats on how many people are really looking. And this has been going on since August. At first it was Russians. Now it's somebody in America. Somebody with a grudge? Don't know who. But they're pretty determined.
Anyway, don't give up for the New Year. Where else am I gonna get my latest rock and roll news?
And thanx for the pin-up girl....