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: https://www.gofundme.com/doug-bonesteel-house-fire-fund

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-








Monday, November 21, 2016

Week In Review: Mud Games 2, Crabby's Turkey Shoot

Basically, a very short week of music. And lots of football to contend with.  Ratings should continue to squeak past 2,000 views.

2016 is shaping up to be a grim year for musicians leaving this world and Sharon Jones was a big loss.  She was one of the late comers to traditional R&B blues of the modern era.   To be honest, her music never moved me enough to review any of them but what I hear what pleasant enough to be considered one day.  A nice piece on her from the L A Times (including the usual ads and other bullshit that bogs down your computer, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-sharon-jones-gabriel-roth-last-days-20161119-story.html



As we wind down on the 2016 football season, things are still clear as mud but there are shapes beginning to form.  Iowa went to Illinois and shut them out 28-0, the first shutout for Iowa since 2009 and first against Illinois since 1985.  Close game till the fourth quarter till TD runs by Akim Wadley and LeShaun Daniels' 50 yard run put the game away.  Iowa defense for the second straight game is beginning to dominate games (they have to, even with the big runs by Daniels and Wadley, the offense is still asleep with the switch).  Next up is Nebraska on Black Friday, to which they'll be fighting for that Heroes trophy.  Hawks still can get a 8-4 record if they defeat the Mighty Corn, with banged up senior Tommy Armstrong Jr sitting out the last game.   Other surprises was Kansas beating Texas for the first time since 1938 to which Charlie Strong, Texas coach might be 10 million dollars richer when Texas decides to part company with him after the next game.  I didn't think Texas was a top 10 team when the polls came out in September and they proved that but losing to Kansas was a no no.  You have to feel for Charlie especially after his emotional post game interview.   For a good heart he should be undefeated but in Texas 5-6 and having 6 turnovers against Kansas is not acceptable.  Over in Ames, Iowa State scored 66 points on Texas Tech and blew their high powered offense out of Jack Trice stadium, T Tech only had 10 points all day. Credit the Cyclone defense for holding in check the NCAA's number 1 rated offense.  Iowa State has come a long way since the 42-3 drubbing at the hands of Iowa earlier in the season. It's too late for them to make any bowls but they will plenty of momentum for next season.  As for Arizona State, they lived up to their billing as NCAA's worst defense as Washington bombed them out of Seattle with a 44-16 pounding.  ASU has now lost 5 games in a row.  Their last game will see if they can keep the Governor's cup for another year against winless Arizona.  What started out as a promising year has revealed that ASU was in rebuilding mode and each game they got worse.  A win and ASU will break even and maybe get into a post Christmas bowl, not as if they deserved it anyway.  A loss and ASU can call this season a waste.



BTW, Michigan and Ohio State is on a collusion course for this weekend.  Michigan kids have a special announcement for Bucky Buckeye.  Photo comes courtesy of Buckeye Empire.  Hmmm


(Minnesota/Detroit Thanksgiving 1969)

The NFL this year has not been much on my mind, and even less since we got rid of TV. But I still remain fond of the days of the 60s and 70s when they played 14 games.  Before luxury stadiums and field turf, most teams played in old rundown baseball stadiums.  Last year I paid tribute to the likes of the old Cleveland Stadium, who rainy games would turn the field into a muddy mess and while most games were meaningless (the 7-0 1974 Slopfest victory over San Francisco), if anybody played in these games, their bright white jerseys would be covered by topsoil mud.  On our second attempt to glorify the Mud Games, I have pulled out a couple odds and ends games that remain the middle finger to luxury stadiums and field turf.  Picking out plastic pellets off yourself playing field turf is not the same as sliding twenty yards on poorly kept sod at Briggs/Tiger Stadium in Detroit when they played Thanksgiving Day, usually in shitty weather.  Salute to the grand old ball park.

Two For Two: Lions Shutout  Thanksgiving Mud Games


(in glorious black and white-the 1968 Detroit Mudbath, probably in the first quarter-Dick Lebeau looking mighty clean the above shot, he's number 44, Norman Snead 16 hands off to an unknown RB)


(Alex Karras 71 ready to make a big splash in the mud, looks like all pro Bob Brown is leaning on Mike Lucci as the unknown Philly RB drowns in a sea of mud)

Philadelphia 12  Detroit 0 (1968)
Minnesota 27  Detroit 0 (1969)



The Lions are a Thanksgiving tradition, playing on Thursday for a long time.  The 1961 Packers 19-7 win was played on a muddy field and rain.  The Lions came back the next year to derail the Packers in the Turkey Day Massacre which Lions Defense line kept introducing themselves to Bart Starr time and time again.   But mostly in the 1960s  it usually was a victory for the other team or tie ball games.  But the 1968 Mud Bowl, is infamous for a winless Eagles team, who could have gotten O J Simpson if they kept losing but instead upset the Lions 12-0 on 4 Sam Baker Field goals.  A steady cold 36 hour rainfall turned Tiger Stadium into a swamp.  Wayne Walker swore if you stay put for a second, you would sink knee deep in the muck. Punts and passes would hit the mud and stayed there.  There has been complaints that the Eagles were using dry balls for the field goals, whereas the Lions were using mud caked balls for any sort of playing.  Although the Eagles won, they lost out on the OJ sweepstakes and ended up getting Leroy Keyes.  Detroit would stumble to a 4-8-2 record.


(Jim Marshall leading the charge to get Bill Munson: Minnesota Vs Detroit 1969)

One year later, the infamous Minnesota Purple People Eaters defense came a calling on a gale force wind and a blizzard/monsoon to boot.  This would have been John Madden's perfect idea of a mud game. And of course who could forget Jim Marshall, covered in mud with snowflakes falling all around waiting for the next play.  On this game Minnesota had plenty of fun turning Bill Munson and Greg Landry's jersey into different layers of Tiger Stadium mud.  If the 1968 game was knee deep in mud, the 1969 was full blown quagmire as both teams fought the elements to which the snow was falling so heavily you couldn't see the players, as in late in the fourth quarter, Jim Marshall picking off a Landry pass and then tossing it Alan Page as Landry tried to tackle Marshall.  For a mud game it was a bitch to play in but it's quite fun to look at from the TV set.  That would be the end of the back to back Lions being shut out on Thanksgiving.  Next season, Detroit upset the Oakland Raiders and ended the amazing streak of 5 games being won on the arm and toe of George Blanda 28-14.  For the first time in a few years, it didn't rain or snow and the field was playable.




Wrong Jersey Mud Bowl:  Detroit 24 Minnesota 20 10/11/64  (Minnesota)



This was the game that Norm Van Blocklin decided to do away with the purple pants.  Originally Minnesota showed up wearing white jerseys, a strange idea considering Minnesota usually played with purple home jerseys, why Norm did that we'll never know, but Detroit had their white away jerseys. So basically, Minnesota had to change jerseys during the game.  And ended up looking like over ripe grapes in the process. And the rains came soon after. In the end it turned out to be a rare Detroit victory over Minnesota.  And if memory serves me well, the only time Minnesota ever wore those purple pants at the Met (now Mall Of America).  Back in the days of multi purpose stadiums in September/October the infield would not be covered up, some stadiums would eventually sod them after baseball season but once the rains hits, everything turns to mud.  With both Detroit and Minnesota getting spanking new stadiums and field turf, the days of mud and grime are over.  In other words real football played back then.


(Photo:Getty Images-Martin Mills)

A triple dose of Mud games  Minnesota Vs Atlanta

Atlanta 10 Minnesota 3 (1969 Atlanta)
Minnesota 37  Atlanta 7 (1970 Atlanta)
Minnesota 24  Atlanta 7 (1971 Minnesota)

The last game of the season for both teams fell upon in rainy Atlanta for the 1969 game to which Claude Humphrey's fumble return for a TD was the only TD in that game, by that time Minnesota did sow up a playoff spot anyway.  They were not happy about being upset, so for the next rematch they blew out the Falcons in another sloppy game with 398 total yards.  In 1971 Atlanta went to the Mall Of America (Metropolitan Stadium) and got smacked again 24-7.  Surprisingly I haven't found any pictures of these games but the highlights that I saw on old NFL shows did indicated that all three games were very muddy.  I'm sure there's photos out there on the net but at this stage of the blog, you'll have to take my word on it.

Oh, the American Music Awards was on Sunday. Heard there was a lot of crotch grabbing by the females and rappers, but was there any sort of music going on there?  I think Green Day  pissed off Trump supporters with a song of theirs but outside of that I could cared less.



Well, it's Thanksgiving Week and usually that's the time that I post the Turds of the year in the annual Crabby's Turkey Shoot segment.  With each passing year, our list of crappy albums gets less and less, not because of lack of crappy music, hell there's plenty of that to go around.  But rather a more diligent and frugal way of buying better albums and avoiding the Five Finger Death Punch, or Korn or Kane Brown and FGL.  So basically it's a short list, and basically the biggest turkey remains crappy digipaks that open from within.  For jewel cases it's easier but lousy digital package remains as bad as texting and driving.  Let's see, I wouldn't say the Goo Goo Dolls-Boxes (WB) was a total waste of time but they have altered their sound to like trying to go for the Mumford And Sons sound and it just doesn't work for them.  With that, I decided that their best years are done, either they retire or become an oldies act.   Black Stone Cherry's Kentucky was supposed to be their freedom from Roadrunner but their new album shows them becoming more and more faceless modern metal.  Barry Gibb-Into The Now (Sony Music) starts out fine and then falls apart before your very ears on the second side.  Frank Zappa For President (Zappa UME) shows the Zappa Family Trust scraping the bottom of the barrel of selected synclavier solos and a remixed Brown Shoes Don't Make It; it was priced as a EP but even for 5.98 it was a wasted listen.    The Jayhawks-Paging Mr. Probst (30 Tigers) was a disappointment, even before he passed on, Bruce Stanley mentioned how boring the whole thing sounded.  Probably the worst produced album Peter Buck ever made too.  And then finally Steven Tyler's country move We're All Somebody From Somewhere (Dot) is no different than the last Aerosmith album Music From Another Dimension, but this time out Big Machine/Dot decided to go for the country market rather than rock.  Not a disaster but too many songs and a lack of direction doomed this from the start.  Surprisingly, it hasn't turned up in the dollar bins at your local thrift store.  Yet.

Gobble Gobble Gobble....happy Thanksgiving. 

Record Reviews:

Mike Eldred Trio-Baptist Town  (Great Western 2016)

Upon five or six years ago, Mike and trio gave us the best album of 2010 and  the one thing I noticed is how Mike digs into the real core of not only the blues but rather music that makes the blues.  I suspect it's a concept album about this town located deep in the Mississippi which Eldred came across while searching for Robert Johnson's grave.  While there's plenty of guest stars that show up (Robert Cray, John Meyer, David Hilgado), it's Eldred and his band of former Blasters (John Bazz, Jerry Angel) that translates the blues into a history lesson.  There's a connection between Robert Johnson and down home delta blues and gospel, the spirit of Sun Records (which the whole album was recorded at Sun Studios) but even Led Zeppelin and The Beatles completes this sort of modernizing the past with the present.  While the acoustic moments tend to pass on by, the electric side of record stand out with all the grit all the way down to Angel's drumming on Hoodoo Man or Sugar Shake.  There might be quibbles with the almost hour time of the whole album or perhaps a six minute reworking of Can't Buy Me Love which The Beatles are turned into a Led Zeppelin type of workout including feedback at the end.  Still Baptist Town gets points for being a brutally honest album about a place that still remains one and the same since Robert Johnson passed on, where love and hate, rich and poor, black and white still have not changed over the years in that place outside of Greenwood Mississippi, and I think Mike Eldred really did his research well and it shows in his songs.
Grade A-

The Floating Opera (Wounded Bird 1971)

Originally on Embryo and produced by Herbie Mann, This Ann Arbor outfit managed to make hippy dippy rock and roll with a side of Vanilla Fudge irony.  The Fudge irony comes across on first song Song Of The Suicides but The Opera go jam rock on The Vision, complete with crazy over the top drummer.  Carol Lees is not the lead singer but she does sing on Fever Day, which is a somewhat a relief from the dated playing and un PC like vanities in Buckwheat Girl.  But I tend to like dated hippy dippy playing a lot more in this day and age over the autotuned processed beats that is forced upon us and while Herbie Mann is more a jazz player, he simply lets the band do the talking as producer.  Side 2 shows a bit more restraint (just slightly) but still the songs do rock out (Angelfood Cake Song).  Half Priced Books managed to have a few obscure Wounded Bird reissues in their stores and this was the best of the bunch outside of Fire Town's first album (which I do have and recommend it).  The Harem Sacrum reissues are subpar hair metal.
Grade B+

Best Of The Kentucky Headhunters (Mercury 1994)

I think the better overview was CMJ's Flying Under The Radar which stole great moments from their post Mercury years.  That said, The Headhunters were more Southern rock than actual country and their jumping on the country bandwagon probably had the same effect as the new gatecrashers Sam Hunt and Kane Brown but they are more pop than Headhunters rock.  Their overall best Mercury album wasn't Pickin On Nashville but rather Electric Barnyard which (again) was harder Southern rock.  But if you're in a junk store and see a bunch of Headhunter albums and want just one, The Best Of does honor you with Dumas Walker and Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine.  In fact they did pick great songs from other people, Waylon (Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line), Don Gibson (Oh Lomesome Me) and even Norman Greenbaum (Spirit In The Sky) to which served as a wake up call to Ricky Lee Phelps and he eventually became a minister of the gospel, but not before he and his brother Doug would leave to do their own thing (Brother Phelps) and made two very good albums which were more country than rock.  Replaced by Mark Orr and Anthony Kenney, they got to be more blues based than country and Rave On! and the Johnny Johnson collaboration That'll Work proved that and whatever country fanbase they had, they lost.  But not me as I continue to stick with them through their sole BNA release and the return of Doug Phelps after Orr retired.  Mercury Nashville decided to give the Phelps Brothers more country loving,  9 songs to the 4 submitted by the Orr/Kenney led group concluding with hard rock version of You Got To Hide Your Love Away.  But all along, I always looked at them more as rock than country.   King of the Pork Chop look Fred Young powerhouse drumming is the reason why they rocked hard.
Grade B+

Miranda Lambert-The Weight Of These Wings (RCA 2016)

The most anticipated album of the fall and when anybody decides to put together a double album it better hold the attention or I lose interest quickly.  Lambert has always made great to good albums, Platinum suffered from too much of all things, worse of all a Carrie Underwood duet that sounded unfinished.  This time out Carrie finally has the better of the albums released. Since calling it quits with Blake Shelton, it would be interesting how she would address the situation and she has....by putting out another mess of an album spread out to two discs.  The better of the two is the one named The Nerve, starts out with a moody Running Just In Case and spins its tires before Miranda gets back into the country with You Wouldn't Know Me.  Usually Miranda is good for a decent hit single but Vice disappoints me, and so did the buyers, it didn't get past number 13 on the charts and second attempt hit We Should Be Friends has enough vibe to maybe appease the bro country crowd.   The Heart, the second disc might be her most personal to date but the songs run sluggish, and Bad Boy goes for a more metallic approach and falls on its face.  Final song I've Got Wheels is where Miranda exercises those demons of the past and rolling on to the next destination and is worth the price of The Heart alone.   Certainly The Weight Of The Wings is Miranda coming clean and they're delivered with honesty, I'll give her that.  But the production and recording is a bloated mess, too muddy and muffled.  As if the Weight Of These Wings are dragging you down and make you feel what Miranda is going through.  I hope she can return to the days of the Crazy Ex Girlfriend. She was more fun then.

Grade B-  

Counterpoint: https://countryperspective.com/2016/11/21/album-review-miranda-lamberts-the-weight-of-these-wings/

Robert Christgau:
Miranda Lambert: The Weight of These Wings (Epic) Although singles are country's lifeblood, this Nashville chartbuster has been popular music's most consistent album artist for nearly a decade—four solo plus two by the triple-threat Pistol Annies. But on this double-CD, one subtitled "Nerve" and the other "Heart," she overreaches, sells herself short, or both—particularly, surprise surprise, on the "Heart" disc. Maybe she wants to prove something to her ex Blake Shelton, who I doubt is smart enough to justify the effort. Or maybe she just wants to convince herself she's worthy of a schmaltzfest like "Tin Man": "If you ever felt one breakin'/You wouldn't want a heart." Needless to say, I greatly prefer the album's sole solo composition, her current hit "We Can Be Friends"—rude couplets like "If you use alcohol as a sedative/And 'bless your heart' as a negative" are why I'll love her forever. But it would be sexist to insist she be all feisty all the time, and a co-write with Pistol Annie Ashley Monroe called "Use My Heart" is the love song that proves it—by pondering whether Lambert lacks the "nerve" for love. Here's hoping she learns how to put the two together. She deserves it and we need it.  B PLUS

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown (Polydor/Track 1969)

Perhaps the most zany bunch of horse hockey in the hippy dippy era, I can see why this album got a one star rating in Rolling Stone Review Book.  I look at Brown in the same way I look at Screaming Jay Hawkins or Wild Man Fischer,  Hawkins is more believable when it comes pulling off the melodramatics of  I Put A Spell On You, which would have made a better followup to Fire, the definite one hit wonder single of all time perhaps.  And Screaming Jay had soul too.  But Brown is more related to Wild Man Fischer, he's simply too weird and misses as much as the Wild Man, whose An Evening With Wild Man Fischer you can finally hear for yourself after it was freed from the clutches of the Zappa Family Trust.   Since I staked my time and money on Crazy World, I'll refrain from Wild Man Fischer.  Co conspirator Vincent Crane's noodling organ work is all over the place with Brown's frantic screaming and half sung lyrics, but even with the hit single Fire, Crane really doesn't have much to say about the wild side of things.  I'll give him this, he did Alice Cooper in shock value, going around with a fire helmet upon his head when he played live.  He might have inspired Ian Gillan for those hectic screams too.  Although not credited, Carl Palmer is the drummer on this album and might be the best player too.  The Cd reissued five mono cuts before the stereo album and the mono difference of no horns on Fire and the stereo version with horns is telling.   It also tells you go find the single on a One Hit Wonders Compilation CD too.  Unless you like over the top bad attempts of whatever Brown is trying to accomplish.
Grade C-

 

RIP Ralph Branca http://m.mlb.com/news/article/209499804/ralph-branca-dies/

Marie Dixon, first lady of the blues: http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/marie-dixon-79-fought-for-rights-to-spouse-willie-dixons-songs/


 

(photo: Getty Images Neil Liefer, Cleveland Vs San Francisco 12/15/62)

Updated:  If you long for the days of real football played in real mud, a you Tuber by the name of Comrade Dobler has managed to upload plenty of old Browns games from the 60s and 70s) and one of them is the mud games of the Browns when they played back to back mud games vs Buffalo and the 7-0 victory over the 49ers in knee deep mud, as well as the 1973 16-16 tie with San Diego.  Knowing the NFL and how they operate, they don't like having such games up on You Tube and will claim rights to these games so you will have to look at them before they disappear. Also a 1975 mud bowl victory over New Orleans can be seen as well, as a 1974 mud game at San Diego.  You'll have to look the links up.  They will expire eventually but kudos to Dobler for making me relive the good ole days of mud in your eye.  Neil Liefer got it all down in dirty living color.  Tribute to his memory too.

Dobler really went out of his way to download most of the Browns mud games, all the way to the 6-2 Dallas victory in 1970 to which  Gary Collins fumbled basically ended their season that year. Bill Nelsen's 3 interceptions didn't help either. Dallas would win the NFC East Title.

All time best Cleveland Mud Games. At Cleveland of course. (After the Green Bay Mud Bowl 1966)

Dallas 6  Cleveland 2 (1970)
Cleveland 7  San Francisco 0 (1974)
Buffalo 15  Cleveland 10 (1974)
Cleveland 16 San Diego 16 (1973)
Cleveland 26 Pittsburgh 24 (1972)
Cleveland 45 New York Giants 10 (1968)
Cleveland 27 Buffalo 10 (1972)
Cleveland 20 Green Bay 7 (1969)
Cleveland 17 New Orleans 16 (1975)
Baltimore 20 Cleveland 3 (1971 Playoffs) 










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.


(photo: Syracuse.com)

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. http://www.spin.com/2016/11/sharon-jones-has-died/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=facebook

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. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-me-mose-allison-20161115-story.html

Holly Dunn, best known for her mid 80s hit Daddy's Hands passed away from ovarian cancer Tuesday, she was 59. http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/daddys-hands-singer-holly-dunn-has-lost-her-battle-with-cancer?a=ta&var=RIPHolly-TCM&utm_campaign=ripholly&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_term=original-tcm-ta&utm_content=holly+dunn

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: http://www.notreble.com/buzz/2016/11/11/in-memoriam-victor-bailey/

 

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: Madison.com)



(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. http://www.45cat.com/record/4510316

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

https://www.mixcloud.com/LuckyStarRadio/townedger-radio-24/



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
39-Queen
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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Week In Review: Leonard Cohen RIP, 2016 Farce, King Crimson

A few weeks ago Leonard Cohen released his latest and would be his last album You Want It Darker.  It seems to me that like Bowie's BlackStar, that Cohen looked upon this to be his last farewell in the music world.  While Leonard's early 60s albums gave him much praised and covered many times by other singers and bands, I tend to look at 1988 I'm Your Man to begin his best era, although he recorded off and on, the only misstep he had was the Dear Heather album.  He'll be forever known for Hallelujah, to which John Cale recorded the definite version that made its way to the first Shrek movie.  Cohen died Thursday at age 82. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/leonard-cohen-dead-at-82-w449792

http://www.nme.com/news/music/leonard-cohen-dead-fans-tribute-montreal-home-1846302?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

Robert Vaughn, (Man from UNCLUE, The A Team) passed away from Leukemia. He was 83. 

Arizona State, is like Iowa, started out on fire but flamed out.  Utah dropped them to 5-5 with a 49-26 bombardment.  Next loss, at Washington next Saturday.

The end times are upon us once again. 2000 all over again?    Basically once again a wasted vote:  GOP controls the house and senate, back to 5 dollar gas again, World War 3, the new Depression.  Happy days are not here again, but then again everybody is sick of Hillary and the failed reality star is now your POTUS.  Not mine, I didn't vote for him.   Republicans everywhere, let's take it back 50 years folks and go after those Indians trying to get in the way of Big Oil and their pipeline.  Never mind the fact that you can't drink oil.   Of course, this state is a Red State, we can't get rid of Chuck and Pat Grassley who won, and Chuck will probably die in office, but people will continue to vote for his spirit. Same with doofus Steve King.  Even the corrupted Ron Johnson in Wisconsin beat Russ Feingold.  I give up, I voted, and it meant nothing.

So what now?  The question remains if the GOP controlled everything turns on the Failed Reality Star and impeaches him out of office and then you're stuck with Mike Pence.  Here in the great Red state of Iowa, we still have Grandpa Grassley, working hard to obstruct but I do admit he does work at some point of time and likewise Rod Blum over the worthless Joni Wonderbread Bags Ernst. Retirement age will probably go up to 75 way things are going.  Wellmark will continue to raise rates 50 to 75 every year and you can count our failed reality star to get us into more wars.  Or perhaps the scenario will be the failed reality star turn tail on the GOP and actually work for the interest of the American people.  Yeah right. Already the folks at Anonymous are gearing up a war of words with the failed reality star.  Maybe the revolution has began.  But the system is rigged anyway. Business as usual.

But I don't exactly see this as a upset by the failed reality star, there was a sense of dread in the air but the voters have spoken.   If anything came of this Joe Arapio has been relieved of his duty as Sheriff of Arizona, but the usual shit goes on.  Even junkhead Mario Rubio returned to congress as well.  As the failed reality star said, tell a lie long enough and people will believe it.  Who knows, perhaps this new POTUS will stand up to GOP interests to blaze a new trail and to rid of Wall Street interests or Koch Brothers influence.   Still in the end, I voted and still reserve the right to tear into this GOP controlled euphoria.  If gas prices go back up over 3 dollars a gallon we'll call them out as hypocrites or anything else that impedes our way of life.   But I will be in my own right skeptical, and the F.R.S. POTUS and the GOP controlled congress will be called out if it doesn't benefit us. So make American great again or get voted out by the vote or otherwise.



And love one another too.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your (not mine) POTUS, the failed reality star. I didn't vote for him. 

Valid points: http://www.stonekettle.com/2016/11/bug-hunt.html

The Book Of Revelation. For these changing times. 

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/revelation-kjv.html



Some eye candy to get off the election day horsehockey. I'll guess that she'll do nicely. This month's dream date and nothing more.



Record Reviews:

King Crimson-Live In Toronto (DGM  2016)

Almost one year ago Robert Fripp took Crimson up to Toronto for a series of dates, one to which he was so put off by cellphone mania taking pictures that they didn't do any encores.  Whatever the case may be the November 20, 2015 show was recorded and released on CD very quietly.  Certainly all hell breaks loose on Lark's Tongue In Aspic Part 1 and if that that doesn't jolt you out of the sea, then you can try Pictures Of The City and the varied jazz to metal sound.  And maybe Jakko M. Jaksyzk (who also fronted the K.C. Tribute band 21st Century Schizoid Band) is the best vocalist suited for Crimson.  He certainly adds more oomph to In The Court Of The Crimson King than Greg Lake did or Easy Money and John Wetton.  The three drummers, Pat Monstello (Mr Mister), Bill Rieflin (Ministry, REM but played with Fripp in 2006) and Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) the main drummer, writing arrangements and all three drummers passing around the beat.  It helps to have long time Crimson bass player Tony Levin maintaining the aggressiveness that makes songs like Level Five and Red sound like the forthcoming book of Revelations coming alive before your very ears.  And Mel Collins who adds angry sax and lovely woodwinds where needed.  What really strikes me is the loud aggressive prog rock metal that comes in and out of Live In Toronto, climaxing into the show closer Starless, which sounds a bit more polished the the 1974 USA version, but 21st Century Schizoid Man which Fripp did do as a encore, 11 minutes of aggressive doom complete with Harrison doing a drum solo and might be the best version of this played live ever.  While Live In Toronto is not the complete show, (A three cd set called Radical Action To Unseat The Hold Of The Monkey Mind and is probably a better deal if you're into King Crimson), it does hold enough attention for me to give it four stars. Or a solid A minus.

Loggins And Messina-"So Fine"  (Columbia 1975)

End of the line and they knew it, so they went for a more oldies covers album which didn't sell very well.  The results vary, they do a very good version of Hello Mary Lou or Wake Up Little Susie. Splish Splash deteriorates into Sha Na Na parody and Elvis and Hank Sr aren't losing sleep over My Baby Left Me or Hey Good Looking.  But they do have genuine love of the oldies and they make like a good oldies cover band on So Fine or Honky Tonk Part 2.  Not groundbreaking but not an embarrassment either.
Grade B-

Soft Boys 1976-1981 (Two Crabs/Rykodisc 1995)

Given the weirdness that is Robyn Hitchcock, he always had the right kind of players to play his type of music vision. And basically his fans thrive on this sort of alt rock visionary, more accessible than Captain Beefheart, but with a record collection that boasts even of the Hoosier Hot Shots; what else to explain I Like Bananas or doo wop on the Monotones Book Of Love.   Disc 1 focuses on the odd ball covers and forgotten singles and sometimes the whole thing slows to a crawl on the cover of Stephanie Says, though Robyn goes with the John Cale version of Heartbreak Hotel and then channels Elvis on That's When Your Heartaches Begin.  Disc 2 shows the creative growth of the Soft Boys with sections taken off A Can Of Bees and Underwater Moonlight, with the latter cut a early version that is more rough around the edges.   With Kimberly Rew, The Soft Boys were decidedly more rocking and he could add mad guitar where needed (Mystery Train, Kingdom Of Love V2).  But it is Hitchcock's show and band and while he's not for everybody, this odds and sods overview does give an decent overall view of a band that was probably too quirky for new wave and too far out in space for rock and roll.  Still Robyn is only too happy to open up the vaults for just about everything he committed to tape (and that includes the Rhino reissues of his original albums, later moved over to Yep Roc with some adds and deletions).  Since the Soft Boys never had any hits, this long deleted Rykodisc set makes a very interesting mix box set.  For the less adventurous, there's always A Can Of Bees or Underwater Moonlight.
Grade B+  

Leon Russell-Life's Journey (UM-2012)

 I love Leon Russell, most folks do.  He's had a long and storied career, being one of the main arrangers for some of the acts on Phillips/Liberty, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, Brian Hyland, and then became part of the Mad Dogs And Englishmen for Joe Cocker before forming his own label Shelter and putting together three very good albums and two turds.  And then the disaster with Mary McCreary and even more turds for Paradise/Warner Brothers.   I still think his 1992 effort Anything Is Possible for Virgin had its moments with Bruce Hornsby but Elton John hooking up with him on The Union somehow freed Russell and he helped Elton by putting a fine performance despite over the top gospel singers that sunk that album.  Thankfully the soul sisters took the day off and staying on Universal, Russell has put together his best album since Anything Is Possible with Life's Journey. Produced by Tommy LiPuma, and recorded by Al Schmitt, two of the finest jazz folks this also features the like of Budda Abe Lanoial Jr. (Paul McCarthney), Willie Weeks (famed session player) this record focuses in on what makes Leon Russell who he is.  Giving props to R and B he covers Fever (Little Willie John) and you know when Leon gets into it when he does that banshee scream he's famous for.  He can rock out when the time calls for it on Big Lips and pays homage to Ray Charles with not one but two of Ray's better known stuff (That Lucky Old Sun and Georgia On My Mind).  He can also do dixieland with the album closer Down In Dixieland, or go into blues with Come On In My Kitchen. Or big band jazz with I Got It Bad And That's Not Good.  The downside is that Russell tends to nod us off on the slower numbers, while good, three in a row tends to lose the momentum that the first five songs started out with.  However the Paul Anka cover is the nadir but that's nitpicking.  Leon tends to think that this album might be his last chapter and at age 72 he might be in the final stages of a long and industrious career with many highs and some lows, which you can probably tell by the cover picture of a thoughtful Leon, all long hair and scraggy beard and on the other side him reading the Bible.  He has been at peace with himself and always humble toward everybody.  I recall him playing in 1989 with Edgar Winter after a long hot day watching Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult, Atlanta Rhythm Section and a couple others, and remember seeing him dark sunglasses and cowboy hat making to the stage and he put on a pretty good show anyway.  But in the lateness of life, it's good to see him back in the spotlight, with Elton John providing support and making his second good record in a row, we just about gave up on him when those Paradise albums came out.  His voice may not be as powerful as it once was (usually folks 70 or over have that problem) but the man can still play the hell out of the grand piano.  Think Of Me he sings?  You Bet


4 years later.....


The death of Leon Russell Saturday hasn't diminished the fact that  Life's Journey is still a good album although my opinion of it has differed a bit since then.  I don't think Leon Russell was a rocker but rather more interested in covering the lush pop standard This Masquerade Is Over.  His albums over the years do suffer a bit and the Shelter CD of The Best Of Leon Russell is the best overview. He started laying a lot of turds beginning with Stop All That Jazz and it continued when Warner Brothers threw a ton of money his way to start a new label Paradise, and those albums featuring ex wife Mary McCready remained awful.  Bruce Hornsby did managed to coax Anything Can Happen in 1992 from Leon to which Virgin had no idea to promote and being sold off to EMI didn't help either.  The orgasmic soul sister that sunk The Reunion is not on Life's Journey and if she is, she's held in check.   I still enjoy his frantic remake of Fever and a couple others on Life's Journey, which turned out to be Leon's last album and it's a nice to exit stage right. I certainly wasn't expecting the early Shelter years albums for five star albums but I did expect more than what he did for Paradise in the late 70s.  With Tommy LiPuma producing it was a nod to go for  a lush pop sound than rock n roll.   I think Life's Journey is more of a solid three star album or a B grade but since he put his heart and soul into his final effort, I'll keep it with the original B plus grade.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Week In Review: Or Life Goes On As You Can See

I really haven't been much in a creative mood here.  There has been a couple things that happen, the CMAs and most notably The Chicago Cubs winning the world series.  But I have lost interest in what has been going on in the music world.  I still continue to mine the used bins and buying a few things of note from stores up in Dubuque last weekend but the weather has been simply devine and even on the last day of Daylight Savings Time we're in the 70s and the grass is still growing and the Morning Glories are still hanging around, though the ones on the fence got eliminated from the two days of 30 degree nights in early October.  Otherwise it would be a full lot of those clinging weeds.  Seeing how fairly big the flowers have been I don't think we'll have  the final frost for at least another 10 days.

I still think Daylight Savings Time should continue.  It's not going to be fun watching the sun set at 5 PM during these dark months.  But that's the way life is I suppose. Can't always get what you want.   Life goes on.  So does death.  It comes to everybody.  This week's losses were Kay Starr (94 from Alzheimer's), one of the 1950s favorite pop stars (Rock And Roll Waltz) and Eddie Harsch from the Black Crowes and Rich Robinson's side projects (59, short illness).   Dick Clark Productions has been sold to a China company the Dallan Wanda Group.  But we all know the rock and roll revolution died many years ago, even before Dick Clark passed away.  China has all the money and offered one billion dollars. Sold to the highest bidder.  No changes are planned but if the expectations fall short, heads will roll.




(Photo:NBC)

Three days later, Cubs are still celebrating the end of their 108 years of Championship drought with that 8-7 victory over Cleveland.  Miss America 2009 lost a bet with her husband and called their new son Wrigley Oliver Irk.  The Chicago River turned Cubby Blue.  I continue to post Cubs pictures and my best friend stews in silence, after all his beloved Cardinals were in a transitional phase and fell short of the playoffs this season.  I know St Louis been there a few more times but still, a world series win means forever.  Even if my other FB friend Brian would love to rub it in my best friend's face, I don't relish in that.   First World Series I've known with both teams fighting it down to the last out and the best by far.



And with that, the monitor has been put back to 0.



The Native Americans are not happy with Cleveland using that mascot and were on the side of the Cubs.  While mainstream media was more concern about Chief Wahoo and goofy white folks dressed up as him during the World Series, the real Indians were trying to save their land from yet another leaky pipeline company, putting another leaky pipeline of oil through aqua filers and sacred Indian land and across rivers.  Already we have read reports of pipelines breaking or leaking or spilling oil and gas into drinking water and rivers.  And the greedy Corporation behind the pipeline paying security groups to mace and shoot rubber bullets at protesters.  Not exactly making America great again.  Still, MLB will want to try to convince Cleveland to finally retire that logo, I doubt if they'll change the Indians name.   In the long run, somebody had to end their years of not winning the last game of the year and I am happy to see that the Cubs finally did that.  My life is now complete.



I have survived a whole month of no TV in the house, since our cable company went full digital.  Not a big loss whatsoever, I haven't even noticed since I'm always on the computer and internet.  The radio station covered the Cubs game and the bars had them on.  Sometimes I do miss Judge Judy or the goofy Maury or Steve Wilkos show but in reality they haven't changed all that much.  And will continue on despite it all.   I do miss TCM though and football to fall asleep on the couch with.



By now  Hastings Entertainment is now history.  The last store closed on Halloween with little fanfare and about 100 copies of Chris Gaines Greatest Hits for a quarter nobody wants anyway.  If you go to their Go Hastings site, you find a Sorry We're Closed Sign.  It's over.  No more of venturing out to the small Arizona towns and putting up residence at a Hastings store for a day at Bullhead City or Kingman or Lake Havasu City.  I know if I lived in those towns, Hastings would be a second home.  Lucky for me Half Priced Books is still in town and I still take up residence there as well.  But for small town music and books store Hastings was the only place in town for used books and music.  And I still think this is as big as the closing of Wherehouse Music or Tower Records, you can't replace a Hastings store.  I enjoyed going to the Ames store before they shut down in 2010 and of course the Arizona trips that managed to wow me with some hard to find stuff.  Here, Half Priced Books has been here for 11 years and I continue to find off the wall bargains as well.   FYE is still around but in the malls and the last time I visit one (Quincy 2014) it was a shell of itself and I haven't had the stomach to go to Des Moines to check theirs out.   Before the year is out, I'll go through my archives and pick out the best known of the Hastings finds. The one that comes to mind the best is Wet Willie 2, found for 2.99 a decade ago.

The Cedar Rapids Music Scene is still going strong but I am taking time off from the sunday jams to focus on winterizing the home and attending to my own band needs.  If and when Julie And The Mad Dogs gets going again I'll give them some loving and any other bands of note.  Shock Treatment the Ramones tribute band is in Davenport on Black Friday and if the snows haven't hit yet I'll try to go.  But the bands that I known play the same bar band favorites for many years.  Nothing wrong with that, but my bands never played it to the record and sometimes being creative beyond the record gives off ill feelings.  The reason why I walked away many years ago and probably will walk away if I haven't already.  As long as I have a real job, I don't forsee making an impact on the music scene outside of a jam or two.

Life goes on.  People get married, people get divorced, people join bands, people leave bands, overpopulation but people keep making more babies and so forth and people die.  But I still hang around, raving about the Cubs winning it all, ranting about Iowa or Arizona State falling short of expectations, put up cheesecake photos of a dream date I'll never get and continue to listen to off the wall music.  Or posting a batch of found 45s.  And reviewing albums.  It's amazing in the 15 years of blogging I haven't quit.  Maybe it's a force of habit.  It's not a money making venture, it's a invest of 2 or 3 hours posting music news and other assorted things that interest me.  Or maybe going out on a date or night on the town, although the last one I did meet up with didn't turn out all that great.  But there's always music, and there's always sports and always some off the wall story that is worth a shout, and of course the forgotten bands or ICONs.  Once the snow and cold comes I'll get right down and post them accordingly but for now, it's a nice day and for a November afternoon the grass needs mowed.  It's the latest I'd mowed all year.    I'll be back to post more reviews and other assorted bullshit for your entertainment.

I have no use for Donald Trump but somebody thought it would be neat to burn him in effigy on Guy Fawkes Day in the UK. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-britain-bonfire-idUSKBN1300U9

Oh and BTW, Iowa got blown out by Penn State 41-14.  A team effort, both offense and defense sucked.

And The Cubs managed to find themselves on Saturday Night Live.  Despite Dexter Fowler claims of moving on, he managed to appear on this show.  I'd love to see him back next season.



Record Reviews:

Alejandro Escovedo-Burn Something Beautiful (Fantasy 2016)

While All Music is raving about this being his best, I have mixed feelings.  Side 1 works pretty well especially Suit Of Lights and Johnny Volume, Alejandro remains true to his glam rock roots on the latter song.  Side 2 gets trickier, with more on the slower songs Luna De Niel and Farewell To The Good Times the best of that side. Everything ends with a thud on Thought I'd Let You Know which might be one of his worst songs ever.   The second straight album Peter Buck has produced that fell out of my favor.  Tony Visconti and Chuck Prophet were better suited for Alejandro.
Grade B

Billy Vera-The Atlantic Years (Collectibles 2004)

He was one of the white blue eyed soul guys in the late 60s and his two albums for Atlantic proved to be spotty.  In fact Storybook Children benefits from Judy Clay, who at that time, the duo of Vera and Clay was the first interracial soul singers which guaranteed some backlash from the narrow minded.  A mixed Sonny And Cher so to speak.  Storybook Children is not a five star album, but the interplay between Judy and Billy was very honest and sometimes fun (Soul Man and Do Right Man, Do Right Woman).  Billy needed Judy on the second album, the boring With Pen In Hand, to which most of the 11 songs are either slow to mid tempo without much variation. His I've Been Loving You Too Long does pale next to either Otis or Jerry but he does sound honest.  The B side Are You Coming To My Party? I had as a 45 and couldn't complete listening to it, the record was too scratchy but even in CD form, the song is too slow to keep my attention.  You Keep Me Hanging On is NOT the Vanilla Fudge/Supremes version but rather a tepid soul song.   And everybody recorded With Pen In Hand, the Bobby Goldsboro song that is.  B side was Good Morning Blues, easily the best song that Billy recorded on this album that didn't include Judy Clay.  Vera would end up having a surprise hit in the mid 80s (At This Moment) that hit number 1 and Rhino issued a best of, afterward Shout Factory reissued that one.  All albums I have heard are uneven at best.  Vera does a much better job of writing liner notes to reissue albums of the 1990s of soul artists, most notably The Specialty Story and a few others.  He knows his music history very well but musicwise, he's a journeyman and passable at best.
Grade B-  (Storybook Children B+, With Pen In Hand C+)

Cheap Trick-All Shook Up (Epic 1980)

Didn't like it much when it first came out and still don't care much for it even found as a dollar CD.  The band was running on empty when George Martin took a stab at them, but even his ideas didn't translate very well.  Doesn't help when Robin Zander is screaming all over the place and never gets anything going till I Love You Honey (but I hate your friends) and Go For The Throat.  The CD is helped with bonus tracks Everything Works If You Let It (easily the best song on this comp) and the EP of Found All The Parts which includes a decent Day Tripper and Take Me I'm Yours.  Outside of all the turds Cheap Trick laid in the 1980s this is their best effort of that era.  And it's still a turd.
Grade C

Elvis-Almost In Love (Pickwick 1969)

The Camden albums are an exercise of a poor mix tape committed to vinyl and for grab bag 2.98 specials some of them were worth hearing, (Cmon Everybody). Despite the crappy title track Almost In Love is actually decent, which is not to say it's perfect. RCA Camden albums were there for a quick buck for completists out there.  The cherry pickings off the movie albums has some very good ones in Clean Up Your Own Backyard and A Little Less Conversation, which would a second life as remix which did pop up at number 50 in 2002, number 69 as a single in 1969 (har har).   I guess there's a bit of camp in Stay Away and Charro, but I like them both and US Male too and Edge Of Reality which does reveal the direction Elvis would take in the 70s, more musicians, more soul singers etc.   I bought this for a quarter a month ago,  it might be the best of the Camden/Pickwick cheapo comps that RCA issued back then.
Grade B+

Faith (Brown Bag 1973)

Known as the Faith Band, that had a minor hit with Dancing Shoes (later covered by Nigel Olsson) they recorded an album for Terry Knight's Brown Bag label and had issues with him that prohibited them from recording for three years.  Despite the heavy metal looking cover, The Faith Band really was more keyboard MOR rock than anything else.  Side 1 is the better, it's harder rocking (Sometimes, Sometimes, Freedom) and Answer To The Master gives a nod to Steely Dan.  Side 2 really goes more soft rock  with We're All Headed The Same Way going on for 6 plus minutes and a acoustic guitar coda tacked on.  Seems to me they either ran out of songs or lost patience with Knight.  John Casadila would work with John Mellencamp in the late 80s and early 90s before passing from cancer in 1992 thereabouts.  I've heard their Mercury albums were more mellower.
Grade B

(Photo: Dusty Grooves)


Albums from my youth: Jethro Tull-M.U. The Best Of Jethro Tull (Chrysalis 1977)

Jethro Tull was one of those bands that was designated for the after hours on FM radio, although my friend Jeff Kewley's older brother had the first three, The Mick Abrahams led This Was and then Stand Up and Benefit.  For some reason Ian Anderson decided on not including anything from This Was and I'm sure he had his reasons.  It was more blues based than the folk prog rock and yes I consider Tull to be somewhat Prog rockish.  I'm mean who would do not one but two 40 minute concept albums like Thick As A Brick (which I think still holds up) and A Passion Play (not so much).  Before the CD, Best ofs did offer the best songs from bands that 45 buyers would not buy albums from.  The Doobie Brothers Best Of The Doobies was one of those must have best ofs, the other was M.U and it starts out fine with Teacher (to which the CD added the Andy Johns mix, rather than the album which Robin Black recorded, on this LP it does sound like Black's version although Johns is credited), one of my favorite Tull songs ever.  And then we have Aqualung, an FM staple now overplayed on classic rock.  While the consensus is debating about the edits of Thick As A Brick and Passion Play, I think the edits used are the perfect introduction to those 40 minute epics.  Come to think of it, most of songs off this album did get some radio play, from Bungle In The Jungle to an edited Locomotive Breath, Living In The Past and to a lesser extent Skating Away.  I wouldn't say it's perfect, the dubious song is the unreleased cut Rainbow Blues, it's not bad but pales next to Fat Man or Nothing Is Easy, to which Clive Bunker does provide some nifty drumming; he would leave after Aqualung in favor of Barrymore Barlow, a more progressive drummer.  Mick Abrahams would get shafted again for the second installment of greatest hits Repeat-The Best Of Tull Volume 2 which is not as essential.   As time as moved on, there have been other best of Jethro Tull albums that rendered M.U. outdated, the 2 cd Anniversary Collection just about covers all the bases of the best Tull, from Beggar's Farm to This Is Not Love from the 1990 Catfish Rising album.  The Very Best Of Jethro Tull is not, it's halfassed and leaves off key tracks and previous efforts (Original Masters, 20 Years Of Tull) are not cost effective unless you're a hoarder.  For myself I rather much listen to MU on vinyl more than CD, it was one of my go to albums when I was in high school.  It still remains a perfect introduction to classic Tull era, even though Abrahams gets shortchanged, you're better off searching for This Was.  But for FM rock radio of the 70s.  M.U. gets it mostly right.
Grade A-