Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Week In Review:Pretenders, Mud Games 3

What a difference a week makes.  Last weekend Iowa put 55 points on Ohio State.  This week they couldn't muster 55 yards total offense in a 38-14 blowout loss to Wisconsin in Madison.  If it wasn't for two pick six interceptions by Josh Jackson, Iowa would been shut out.  Wisconsin simply owned the Hawks, manhandled the Hawks and for Nate Stanley's return to Mad City, he simply fell apart.  Of course, the offense line went back to Ole blockers, the WR's and TE's got their glass hands back and it was ugly.  Funny how last week they worked so hard to get back to the good graces of Colin Cowherd, Then Wisconsin comes in and proves that Iowa is still that Fake ID college team.  But at least they beat Ohio State.  To which Ohio State came back a blazing and blew Michigan State out of Columbus 48-3.  Good thing Iowa didn't play them this week, it would have been 96-0.  Ohio State decided to run the ball and they ran it down the Spartans' throat.  Next up for the Buckeyes, Illinois and then back home to face Michigan.  Ohio State still is favored to get into the Championship game and probably will play Wisconsin.  We'll then see if Wisconsin is the real deal or if Ohio State simply had a bad game against Iowa.

What do Iowa State and Arizona State have in common?  They are both fading and are pretenders.  Iowa State offense came back but the defense was AWOL and Oklahoma State outlasted them 49-42 and won on a interception that Iowa State was a touchdown. Sad way to end the game.  Arizona State is now at 500 once again, UCLA won 44-37, spotting a 14-0 ASU lead and chipped away and then battered the ASU Plastic Fork defense, thus proving that the victory over Washington was a fluke.  And probably their bowl game.   Oregon State and Arizona close out the season. A victory over OSU might get them a second tier bowl game but 2 more losses and Todd Graham might be joining Butch Davis, recently jettisoned from Tennessee, in the unemployment line.

And now Sarah Jane Underwood wants you to check out her ass.  EEYAW!

(The 1974 San Francisco/Cleveland Mud Bath-Neil Liefer photo)

I don't care about the NFL anymore and since giving up TV I have not paid attention to the games. The Chargers moved to Los Angeles and still suck.  In the age of field turf and modified grass stadiums, there's hardly anymore games played in the mud like they used to.   However, I decided some hard to find Mud games in the archives and therefore decide to pay tribute to games played on real turf and real mud.

(NFL Archives-Mack Lee Hill slogging through the muck )

1)  Double Dose Of Charger Mud In Your Eye  1964

San Diego 20  Houston 17  10/25/64 (Houston)
San Diego 28  Kansas City 14   11/15/64  (Kansas City)

(George Blanda)

You have to search the You Tube for the old year in review for the AFL and NFL teams but they are still out there.  On the way to the 1964 AFL Title, San Diego had to go into Houston  to play the Oilers and a hurricane monsoon that almost drowned the players in the second half.  But the legendary George Blanda drove the Oilers down the  Gulf of Jepperson Stadium and was in line for a winning FG, till it sailed a bit wide left and a pissed off George jumping up and down the puddles to complain that the referees blew the call.  A few weeks later, The Chargers went up to Kansas City, a place that they haven't won very much up there but managed to score 4 touchdowns in the second quarter in a steady rain and Lance Alworth had two TDs and 168 yards receiving in a soggy 28-14 victory.  After that, San Diego lost three of their last four games, including a 49-6 scalping at home, but still managed to get in the AFL Championship, to which they lost 20-7 to the Buffalo Bills, which is could be consider a mud bowl but not as epic as these two games.  The game forever known as Mike Stratton planting Keith Lincoln six feet into the moon after trying to get a pass over his head.  Lincoln would not be the same again.

(Steven Savioa: Photo)

2)  The Last Mud Game In New England 2006

New York Jets 17 New England 14 (Foxboro) 11/12/06

It's been a known fact that any grass stadium on the East Coast will be subject to the elements of Noreasters and heavy rains and this game was no exception.  Tom Brady was introduced to the Jets defense time after time.  It didn't help things that the FIFA soccer league used Gillette Stadium for soccer games which contributed to the field becoming tough to play.  After the game, The Patriots would rip up the grass and put in field turf, which has now been replaced three times in a decade, most recently the start of the 2017 NFL season. Tom Brady has mentioned he would like to return to a grass field.  But nowadays it's field turf all the way.  Even the grass stadiums don't have much mud anymore, the Dallas/Washington game of two weeks ago proved that.

(Tom Silverstein- Photo)

3)   A Bad Trick Or Treat Game  1994

Green Bay 33 Chicago 6  10/31/94

In 1994 the NFL decided to do a throwback to the old days of old uniforms which worked wonders for teams like San Diego, both the New York Jets and Giants to which both teams would return to their old jerseys.  Some teams were better off leaving them in the past, Chicago and Green Bay had some hideous uniforms and of course those ugly Denver Broncos uniforms from 1960 including the vertical stripes.  On this game Brett Favre and Edgar Bennett had more trouble battling the elements of hard rain and 40 mile an hour winds than the Chicago Defense, Bennett ran for over 100 yards and Favre scored on a 36 yard TD run.  As for the Bears offense, let's just say they got blown away by the elements on that Halloween night. http://www.chicagotribune.com/csac-bt-941031bearspackersgamer-story.html

(Jim Kanicki-Getty Images)

4)  New York Giants  Sinking in the mire 1968-1969

Cleveland 45  New York 10 (12/1/68)
Cleveland 28  New York 17  (11/23/69)

Of course we can always count on Cleveland and Municipal Stadium to give us a double dose of Mudpie action.  But once upon a time, Cleveland had a pretty good football team that played in a stadium by the lake with a field that went uphill.   Of course you could count upon seeing plenty of muddy games in November and December and usually the New York Giants were there on the muddiest of games, (the most mud still remains the 6-2 baseball score Dallas hung on the Brownie) but in 1968 Cleveland hounded Fran Tarkenton all over the field to the point that Fran was replaced by Dick Wood.  The Browns pretty much had things go all their way even before the rains came off the lake and turned the field into muck.  The Browns rubbed the mud in the face of the Giants to the last second TD from Frank Ryan to Tommy McDonald, who managed to do a mud angel in the end zone and jumped on a few Browns in the process.  The 1969 game was a bit more closer although Leroy Kelly scored 3 TDs in the first half, Tarkenton did get the Giants back in the game with 2 TD passes. But Bill Nelsen would throw a 24 yard TD pass to Gary Collins and that was the game.

(Neil Leifer again with the photo credit, 1965 game, Couldn't find any pictures of the 69 game)

5)  Mud Bowl 2  1969

Cleveland 20  Green Bay 7  12/7/69

Two weeks after outlasting New York, Cleveland finally beat the Green Bay Packers after a decade of coming up short and of course they had plenty of help from a gale off the lake and a steady rain.  Bill Nelsen hit Paul Warfield on a amazing TD catch to which Bob Jeter popped him in the face, to which Warfield took exception and was ready to kick Packer ass.  Ernie Kellerman's 40 yard Pick Six sealed the fate of the Packers, although Don Horn did throw a TD pass to Dave Hampton to make the score more closer than it actually was.

6)  Oakland 21  Miami 14  1970 Playoffs

The most famous picture of that game was Big Bad Ben Davidson embracing Bob Griese as he was delivering yet another mud pack to the quarterback.  Heavy rains turned the Oakland field into a quagmire. Willie Brown scored on a 50 yard Pick Six, and Darrell Lamonica threw a 82 yard strike to Rod Sherman to seal the game.  http://www.raiders.com/news/article-1/Greatest-Moments-1970-AFC-Divisional-Playoff/4390c51f-6980-4ab6-a7cc-2aed915d508f

Blaine Nye covered in Cleveland Mud (Photo: SI)
7)  Baseball in the mud  1970

Dallas 6 Cleveland 2 12/12/70

Would you believe Bill Nelsen threw for 239 yards in perhaps the most muddiest game in Cleveland Browns history.  A game of epic mud flattery, everybody who got on the field would have 10 pounds of mud on their jerseys and even both kickers Mike Clark and Don Cockcroft looked like mudders. The Browns had a chance to win this game, but a costly penalty on Gary Collins nullified one TD and on a final drive, Collins fumbled and the Cowboys recovered in the end zone.  In terms of pure mud utopia, this gives a run for the money with the 1965 Green Bay Championship game and the December 15, 1962 13-10 Browns victory at the Rumble in the mud at Kezar Stadium with the 49ers, to which Cleveland would be king of the mud in 1974.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4lDkR8RhnI

8)  Packer Mud Bowl 2 1997

Green Bay 35 San Francisco 14 1/4/97

History has shown that both Green Bay and San Francisco had their share of mud battles, the most notable one was the 13-0 1960 Mud bath that earned the Packers a date with Philadelphia that season. Kezar Stadium gave no favors to the home team and basically hampered their running and passing attack, while Paul Horning and Jim Taylor had no problems running through the muck  Twenty years after the 1965 Packer victory over Cleveland in Lambeau Mud, San Francisco came a calling and Desmond Howard burned them with a 71 yard punt return.  Steve Young got hurt and so Elvis Grabec came in and found himself covered in Lambeau real estate.  Edgar Bennett scored two touchdowns as well.  After that, they replaced the muddy sod with new grass and Carolina got beat 30-13.  Packers went on to beat New England in the super bowl.  However the Super Mud game was GB/SF.

(John Brodie finding his way through the Kezar Mud in the 13-0 Packer shut out in 1960 Ray Nisckie looks on as a Packer LB tries to tackle Brodie)

(Cleveland Vs San Francisco  to which they won 13-10 in 1962  Neil Leifer: Photo Credit)

(Fred Waters: Photo Credit)

And we always seem to find pictures of the St Louis Mud Bath at Old Sportsman Park in 1964 to which both St Louis and New York slogged through a 10-10 tie.  Jackie Smith does the zig zag walk in front of a New York defender taking a splash.

Passings:  Chuck Mosely, original lead singer of Faith No More.  Died of a drug overdose.  He was 57.

Janis Hansen, singer for Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 (The Look Of Love) died from leukemia on Oct 4.  She was 74.

Next week, we'll try to return to a more musical theme.  I think we got this years Crabby's and the Turkey's of the year next week.  Probably won't be a novel but at least it will get us out of the mud of this blog.   So here's mud in your eye from Jim Bakken in that St Louis/New York Mess of a tie in 1964.

An Muddy Album From The Past: REM-Monster (Concord 1994)

I had an extensive argument with somebody over the value of Monster while comparing it to Automatic For The People, an album that has recently gotten the 25th Anniversary treatment with a blue ray and four other CDs of note.  I tend to think that Automatic was a nice album with some cool songs (Man On The Moon, Drive, Ignoreland although a lot of critics didn't care for that final number).    Monster, was the muddy followup and dammed if I didn't pick a more perfect album about Mud Bowls than this.  I still contend that side 1 still works fairly good, What's The Frequency Kenneth, Crush With Eyeliner, the latter featuring Peter Buck using such a nasty delay that I stole that for a song I did with the Townedgers in 2002.  Star 69 is a nice uptempo modern alternative rock (not punk rock, personal note to Everybody's Dummy).  However there's a complaint to this album is that time has not treated side 2 very well, I still can't get into Tongue, the worst cop of a U2 sound I ever heard (or is that Rolling Stones?)  Let Me In, is a failed salute to Sonic Youth but that misstep is replaced by Circus Envy and ends on a good note with You.  Let's face it, the naysayers will not warm up to Monster, it's the loudness of the recording, or the songs weren't good enough.  But even for a dollar find, I'll still put on Monster when I wanna hear REM go grunge.  But then again I enjoy REM uptempo and rocking, even if the distortion delay gets a bit out of hand.
Grade A-

Final note:  The new Stone Temple Pilots lead singer is Jeffery Adam Gutt, a one time X Factor contestant and has plenty of him doing covers of other people songs on You Tube, Hallelujah for one. His vocals on Plush if its any indication will put STP back into the sound of Core, which despite it's big sales was their least interesting album for me.   We wish Jeffery and STP the best of luck.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Week In Review: Iowa Double Nickles Ohio State, CMA Awards

If you live in Iowa the big story of the week was Iowa going double nickles and destroying Ohio State 55-24 on Saturday before a packed crowd and national television audience. And shocking the hell out of everybody including myself.  We didn't think Iowa could beat the damned Buckeyes much less blow them out of Iowa City.  Amari Hooker, gave the Hawks a quick lead with a pick six and although Ohio State equaled the score and started to flex their muscles, a strange thing happened that would turn the game into Iowa's favor. A 17 all tie and a 3 and 8th, future NFL potential star Nick Boza gave Nate Stanley a head thump and was flagged for targeting and was excused for the rest of the game by the refs.   Next play Stanley throws to Noah Fant for a touchdown and the avalanche started.   J D Barrett started thinking that Josh Jackson was part of the Buckeyes.  Jackson stole three passes from Barrett including a out of this world one handed grab.  And then:  the offense showed up, or rather the offense line finally decided to block people out.  It may have been those big blackout jersey's the Hawkeyes were wearing, but after Bosa's exit, Iowa simply manhandled the Buckeyes. Akem Wadley had 122 yards rushing, Nate Stanley threw for five touchdown passes and Ohio State never did recover except for a dumbass fake punt to which that Iowa punter might be sitting for the rest of the season (or at least the next game) that the next play Ohio State scored.  However Iowa got that TD back late in the game after a 4th interception by Barrett and Iowa was long gone by then.

This victory was very significant.  Nobody ever scored 55 points on a Urban Meyer coached team and Iowa double nickleded Meyer.  Iowa beat a quality team.  Iowa beat Ohio State.  Iowa knocked Ohio State out of the bowl championships and ended Barrett's chances for a Heisman.  But it also made a believer out of Colin Cowherd for a brief moment.  Colin scoffed at the Hawks undefeated season of 2015, called them the Fake ID of college football and pissing off the Hawkeye  fans in the process but in the end all Iowa had to do was beat Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship and Stanford in the Rose bowl, to which the Hawkeyes did not that season.  The 2015 season had plenty of cupcakes and under-performing Big Ten Teams at that time.  Iowa was winning ball games but they were not beating the big teams when given a chance to play on the big stage.  During the game he gave great credit to Nate Stanley and gave his approval by saying Iowa Turned 21 that Saturday and now will be looking for another team to call the Fake ID of college football, with an eye on another big ten team of course (Wisconsin) but rather perhaps another team that more of a fake than the Badgers, Washington comes to mind, maybe Miami.  But for now, since Colin is buying a round of beer for all of us hawkeyes at the Deadwood, I'll take a Schlitz over a Pabst if you don't mind.   Next up, Wisconsin at Madison next Sunday.  The Hawks have to retain the Heartland Trophy and despite what Coherd thinks, Wisconsin is super tough in Madison.  But the Hawkeyes have played their best football in November and with them blowing out the always tough Buckeyes this might inspire them to continue to play their best when it comes down to crunch time.  Beating the Columbus Buckeyes did make them bowl eligible once again.  Side note: The Hawks did defeat Madison in 2015.

The other team I root for, Arizona State won their 600th game on Pat Tillman Tribute Day and outlasted Colorado 41-30, scoring 24 points in the final quarter before a crowd of ghosts. Demario Richard ran for 189 yards, 141 of it in the final quarter including a 80 yard run. ASU had 583 total yards in the game and overpowered Colorado.  Colorado didn't help their causes, WR developed glass hands at the wrong time including two dropped passes in the end zone. UCLA in LA is next on the Sun Devil list.

And Iowa State went to West Virginia and lost 20-16.  The Cyclones had no offense in the first half and WV lead 20-0.  Clones did make a game out of it but it was too little too late. And the offense has quietly gotten back to being nonexistent.  They must improve on that when Oklahoma State comes calling next week.

In the NFL we have C J Beathard, now playing QB for the 49ers.  Last season C J was part of the Iowa squad and was good enough to be drafted by San Francisco to back up Bryan Hoyer.  While there are good feelings about C J being a starter, San Francisco has been bloody awful this season, they have not won a game this season (0-9) and C J has no running backs, no receivers and certainly no offense line whatsoever.  Hoyer was moved out of town, Jimmy Groppaino was traded from New England to be the QB eventually (Hoyer has resigned with New England, so it's was a minor trade of sorts).  But while Groppiano has been on the sidelines, taking notes, C J is out on the field getting killed, getting sacked 5 times and hit him for another 11 times by The Arizona Cardinals.  It's tough to go back to pass and seeing Cardinals greeting you time after time but finally after a late hit the 49ers, who couldn't block or catch for their lives finally had enough and decided to protect their QB with a rumble all their own.  C J did score a touchdown and the admiration of the Cardinals and their coach but it did wounded up in a 20-10 loss.  They might have better luck against the New York Giants next week but CJ will be without his Iowa counterpart George Kittle.

Passings: Roy Halliday, pitcher for Philadelphia and Toronto and won Cy Youngs in both leagues died in a plane crash on Tuesday.  He was 40.

(Glan's Facebook Page Photo)

Penitti "Whitey" Glan, drummer for Mandela and later was part of Lou Reed's Rock And Roll Machine Band died from cancer.  He was 71

Paul Buckmaster, worked with David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Elton John on arrangements passed away on Wednesday.  He was 71.  I thought his work on Madman Across The Water defined his greater moments, He also gave credibility to Train as well.  http://ultimateclassicrock.com/paul-buckmaster-dead/

Joe Fortunato, (number 31) fabled Chicago Bears linebacker who helped them to a NFL Championship title in 1963 passed away from a short illness on Monday.  He was 87.

It's been one year since the infamous 11/9 elections to which every Republican known to man and a failed reality star became president and already the voters have decided to do something about it.  Too bad they couldn't do it last year and 2014 when I knew if America ignored to vote and stayed home this was going to happen and in our case  Chuck Grassley, Congressman For Life got voted once again and we're still stuck with Joni Do Nothing Ernst Wonderbags. Gas prices have gone up 30 cents again for no real reason and we're at 2.59 a gallon.  But Virginia voters had enough of Fool 45's antics and voted mostly Democrat, including a transgender woman.  The era of Chris Christie is now over in New Jersey as they elected a Democratic Governor.  Here in CR, Monica Vernon won 30 percent of the vote but since it was under 50 percent she'll face a Republican candidate in yet another election in December, to which we'll probably see more anti ads for another month.  The two party system isn't all that great, we slide from the left to the right and back to the left.  But if there's any indication on what's on the horizon, people are getting fed up by the do nothing NRA bought out Repubicants and maybe we the people will get off our asses and actually vote the Koch suckers out. But we're still stuck with Joni till 2020, unless she chokes on a sandwiches or gets struck down by lightning.  Sooner the better.

The CMA Awards of 2017 continue to the be the clusterfuck as the clash of the new rap rock like artists meshed with what's left of the traditional country, if there's any.  Glen Campbell won his first CMA award (posthumously) with a duet with Willie Nelson on Funny How Time Slips Away from Glen's final album Adios. Last time Glen won a CMA was in 1968. And the Osborne Brothers won Video Event Of The Year with It Ain't My Fault.

In terms of theory the CMA 2017 Awards is trying to get away from the Bro Country crapola and good for them although the times have been a changin and not for the good.  Garth Brooks reclaimed Entertainer Of The Year over Luke Bryan. Chris Stapleton won two awards including album of the year and Male Vocalist and fallen angel Taylor Swift got single of the year with Better Man to which Little Big Town sang that song.  Brothers Osborne got Duo Of The Year, Jon Pardi Newcomer of the year and my favorite category Best Instrumentalist: Mac McAnally. He's been taking that award on a regular basis and congrats to him.  While Miranda Lambert didn't have much love where she was nominated at, she still managed to take home Female Country Singer Of The Year, to which she owns Carrie Underwood in that department despite a so so album she put out last year.

But on a good note; Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett didn't win a single CMA award. ;)

This week's album reviews:

Walter Becker-11 Tracks Of Whack (Giant 1994)

The reason why Donald Fagen sang on the Steely Dan albums was that Donald had more of a vocal you could relate to, Becker is very eccentric and off the wall for anybody outside of rabid Steely Dan fans to ever care about.  The best way to describe this is Gaucho Gone Gonzo. Very off the wall. Some things do stand out, Junkie Girl including F bomb madness, the repeated tag line of Waterloo and the faux paus reggae of This Moody Bastard.  Becker's weird sense of humor comes into play.  This album does sound like whack.
Grade B-

The Darkness-Pinewood Smile (Cooking Vinyl 2017)

To these ears, The Darkness is the last of the true bands dedicated to the classic rock of the 1970s, AC/DC crossed with Queen and Justin Hawkins' over the top vocals has made these guys my favorite band of the century that uses classic rock as a reference.   The Queen influence is now becoming well known now that the guys have gotten Roger Taylor's son Rufus to play drums and he adds a bit more harder rock to the songs, not that Emily Dolan Davies was no slouch.  While their last album they stretch themselves out to 14 songs, this time they keep it to 10 songs and 35 minutes. Still funny as hell, especially on Solid Gold which might be based on a true story about a Sony A and R dude clueless as hell and All The Pretty Girls which pretty much explains itself. And then they end things by doing a speed metal tag ending to Stampede Of Love.    It's a shame modern rock doesn't give these guys much love.  They're a hell lot more funnier and rocking than Five Finger Death Punch.
Grade B+

Martin Carthy (Fontana 1965)

British folk songs are hard to take if you're not used to hearing them and as much as I tried to get into Richard Dwyer-Bennett's Irish folk songs, I couldn't get past the fourth song before giving up and donating it for a good cause.   Carthy (who did hook up with Steeleye Span and Albion Country Band) recorded this traditional British Folk album with help from Dave Swarbrick (Fairport Convention) and inspired the likes of Richard Thompson and Bob Dylan in the process.  I suppose in 1965 this record would be a bigger deal but 50 years onward it echoes of a distant past.  I tend to fall asleep  if I pay too much attention but I do dig The Two Magicians and The Queen Of Hearts.
Grade B

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Archives: The Viola School Ghost Haunt That Didn't Take Place

VIOLA — With Halloween just around the corner, two Linn County women are teaming up to host a haunt-filled fundraiser as part of an effort to fix up the abandoned school building in Viola, an unincorporated community in eastern Linn County.
Heidi Liegl, who purchased the 94-year-old school building in 2015, is partnering with Sarah Hyatt, a paranormal investigator with the International Paranormal Society, to offer nighttime tours of the building from 9 to 10 p.m. Saturday and again on Oct. 29.
Participants must be age 18 or older and sign a waiver. They are invited to bring any paranormal investigation equipment they want, but Hyatt plans to conduct her own investigation with her equipment during the event.
Tickets cost $30 each.
Regardless of whether you choose to believe the old school — built in 1922 and closed in 1998 — is haunted or not, the building itself is certainly creepy.
Nearly all of the windows are shattered.
The names of former students remain visible on strips of masking tape above hooks on the third floor.
Mounds of dirt that blew in over the years combines with broken wood, trash and crumbling plaster and drywall to cover many areas of the building.
A few old shoes are scattered about.
The word “boo” has been spray painted on a window near the cornerstone.
The old stage in the gymnasium has been covered by a wall, but the large red curtains remain in place.
An empty school chair sits alone in the middle of one room.
The concrete floor in the boiler room is cracked into many pieces and a lone desk sits in the corner.
The old vinyl blinds whistle and rattle when the wind blows through.
Yet, in the midst of the destruction, a colorful mural in the foyer remains unharmed by the elements.
“There are a lot of different emotions that are left here,” said Hyatt, who conducted an initial paranormal investigation in late August, at which time she believes two “entities” named Steve and Eddie made contact through a contraption called a ghost box, which Hyatt explains is a modified radio that scans multiple stations each second.
“ ... Almost everyone in the community has been here at one point,” Hyatt said. Also, who didn’t want to run around your school and joke around when the teacher isn’t looking? That’s why they come back.”
Aside from the ghost hunting, Hyatt said she and Liegl have been contacted by community members who would like to see the building restored.
“A lot of people are really eager to share their memories about what the building used to look like, where the classrooms were. And they’re really excited that there’s someone like Heidi to fix it up,” Hyatt said.
Liegl said she paid $10,000 for the school and the four acres it sits on and envisions the building becoming some type of community center. She met Hyatt at the Marion Psychic and Paranormal Expo in August and the idea for offering tours as a fundraiser soon followed.
Liegl said she plans to use money raised from the upcoming tours to remove the rest of the debris in the building. She hopes to continue to raise funds for a new roof, which is estimated to cost $10,000. The existing roof has gaping holes, which is adding to the problems inside the building.
Located about 30 minutes northeast of Cedar Rapids and near the small community of Springville — population 1,000 — the Viola school building has had various owners since it was closed.
The Anamosa School District first sold the building to a private owner, but plans to turn the old school into apartments fell through. The Stone City Art Foundation was the previous owner and officials had expressed interest in creating an artists’ colony.
Hyatt, whose equipment also includes electronic voice phenomena recorders and K-II readers that measure electromagnetic fields, said the goal of the tours isn’t to make believers out of paranormal skeptics. Still, she encourages those who attend to come with an open mind.
“There’s proof of it if you’re open enough to taking it in,” she said.
(original source) 

Thursday, November 2, 2017


It's amazing how all the comments I've been getting is spam from Blogger.

It makes you just want to shut off all comments.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017 Pictures Of Co Workers

Winner of the Halloween Contest.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Week In Review: Floyd Stays Home, Cyclone Power

Winter is fast coming. We had our first hard freeze last night and the growing season is now over.  We don't have to worry about mowing the yard till April.

Baseball is no longer a concern, but the Cubs are moving coaches left and right. Chili Davis and Jim Hickey are now in tow.  Davis is the new hitting coach, hopefully he can find a way to get the Cubs bats going when the temp drops before 50 degrees in April and October. Jim Hickey replaces Chris Bosio is now Detroit's pitching coach.  Dave Martinez is the new Washington Nats manager, replacing Dusty Baker. I do think Martinez has potential to be one of the best managers if given the chance, however he chose a team who's owners are not very patient guys.  As one person pointed out, D.M got a three year contract, however in Dusty Baker's case he was there for two seasons, got them to the playoffs only to get shown the door and after the Cubs won this season, ownership cleaned house.  If you're going to established a winning team on and off the field, changing managers every two seasons will eventually get you thrown into the scrap heap with or without a Steve Strasuburg or Bryce Harper.  I could be wrong but if Washington don't make it to the World Series before 2020, Martinez will be shown the door.  Unless he put in a buy out clause that will bankrupt the Learners as owners.  The decision of Martinez being manager is not quite finalized but Martinez will have three years plus a option for a fourth season subject to Learners' approval, but D.M. will have better security than Dusty Baker or Davey Johnson ever had, and they were winning managers.  If Martinez decides to be manager, rumors are that former Red Sox manager John Farrell might be Joe Maddon's bench coach.

So much for turning things around. Arizona State had won two games and beat Washington at home and Utah on the road and got to host USC, who got lambasted by Norte Dame last week.  So basically it seemed that ASU could win this game at home right?  Nope.  USC managed to run away to a 31-10 half time lead, it would have been 31-3 had the referees give the Plastic Forks a last second TD before the half but by all means the game was over and done.  It's pretty bad when your punter has more punting yards than the total yards of your offense. But basically USC was simply too much. 48-17 the final score and it brings into reality that ASU isn't that good anyway. And since it was Halloween, the fans had parties to go to, it looked like a ghost town after halftime.

(Photo NY Daily News)

Before we go into the Iowa Hawkeyes side of things, let's give a big shout out to Iowa State, to which it looks like after three weeks that they have turned things around and starting to win the big games unlike Arizona State.  4th ranked TCU found out the hard way that Iowa State means business and came up short to a 14-7 Cyclone win. To which Kyle Kempf threw two TD passes in the first half and then Iowa State Defense bend but didn't break, leading to a Marcel Spears intercepting a Kenny Hill pass with a minute fourteen left in the game.

(Sorry Kenny, it's not your day. Photo: S.I)

In fact the Iowa State Defense didn't give up a TD (that came on a 94 yard kickoff return) but Kenny Hill had his worst game of the season, throwing two INTs and a fumble.   Needless to say it's a good thing Iowa wasn't playing the Cyclones right now, for Iowa State is the best team in the state.   And TCU is no longer undefeated. However ISU can't take things for granted, they go play West Virginia there and WV got outpointed by Oklahoma State 50-39 at home.  As they say, ISU controls their own destiny.  Just keep winning.

(Floyd stays in Iowa for another year)

It wasn't pretty but Iowa did beat Minnesota 17-10 to keep Floyd of Rosedale home for another season. Iowa won the toss and streaked down the field to score the first points and then lollygagged for the rest of the game.  Critical Minnesota mistakes (a missed pass on forth down, and a tipped pass for a INT sealed their fate) were made and the other Iowa TD, was a Nate Stanley pass to Noah Fint for 47 yards was the other TD score.  Good things happen when you don't drop the ball.  Minnesota did score late in the 3rd quarter to get back into the game, however Iowa's defense managed to do something they don't usually do, stop the QB with 2 minutes left in the game, Anthony Nelson sacking Demitry Croft on forth down.  The bacon stays home. for the 3rd straight year and five of the last six seasons.

(Solon Legion hall photo from D.O.A Duo)

Happy Halloween. Y'all.  The bars were packed on Halloween weekend as Hostage played to a capacity crowd at Rumors and Four Day Creep and Inch 75 packed CRL.  Even Dreams Of Arcadia enjoyed a very good crowd at The Solon Legion Hall, with special guest star, your's truly in the spirit of Halloween, with my trademark dollar fifty shirt, pumpkin spice colored pants and for 7.99 a pair of Made In China goofy eyeball sunglasses which drove the girls wild for some reason.  Got to dance with a few of them that night, however they all went elsewhere after the first break.  It turned out to be my return to the stage after a three week layoff due to cold and flu and us getting busy at work.

Ivy Doomkitty in Halloween fashion. (Photo from her FB site)

Maxey Greene continues to be one of the more beautiful models out there, Happy Halloween picture from her.

(Photo: Panoramio-The Haunted Matsell's Bridge)

Record Reviews:

Weezer-Pacific Daydream (Crush Recordings 2017)

Last album they got a bit more heavier than usual so it's a return more to a updated sunshine mall pop sound that doesn't sound out of line with Maroon Five and even (Gasp!) Sugar Ray.  Mexican Fender really is the only true rocking cut that would been better on the white album.   While it would be fun to make fun of Weezer of going the route that Train did on Save Me San Francisco, Daydream works better since Rivers Cormo has a sense of humor.  Oh he loves the Beach Boys enough to name check them on The Beach Boys Song. and Feels Like Summer does echo Sugar Ray.  It's strange for me to even review Weezer albums (I've done five so far in their career, Pinkerton gave me the incentive to cut them some slack as well as the Green album) and in some ways I really shouldn't, but since 2017 has been a subpar year of new music, I resigned to the fact that Weezer is one of the better bands making so so music in this day and age.  It ends on a good note with Any Friend Of Diane's, and like Weezer albums end around 35 minutes give or take a second or two.  In the end Pacific Daydream, despite a sleepy middle of the CD, is certainly a more honest effort than anything Maroon 5 or Train has thought up lately.
Grade B

Spike Jones In Stereo (Warner Brothers 1959)

I grew up watching old horror movies on a Friday Night called Creature Feature, which most were old B movies or Vincent Price Gothic horror films directed by Roger Corman (they have dated badly 60 years after the fact but I still enjoy watching them) and of course the original 13 Ghosts directed by William Castle.  But anyway, Spike Jones was past his prime and managed to cohort a concept album about Halloween and using the brand new Stereo side of things, echo, reverb, strange organ sounds (to which were made of good use in the 1938 broadcast of War Of The Worlds with Orson Wells).  Fact of the matter was that Spike Jones didn't care for rock and roll, it was basically putting him and his big band novelty songs out to pasture.  But unlike Stan Freberg, Jones at least didn't have a hatred of rock to lambast it. The only thing that rocks is Ken Stevens' Monster Movie Ball which is somewhat similar to The Purple People Eater, but a surprise that Jones didn't tap, fellow labelmate Tab Hunter for this song.  Anyway, the main voices was Paul Frees, next to Mel Blanc, one of the best known voice over for cartoons, (Boris Bentonoff from Rocky And Bullwinkle comes to mind) and Louie Jean Norman who did Vampira to Free's Dracula. Mostly corny stuff, but this record showcase the vocal talents of Frees, playing many characters, reprising My Old Flame from the RCA years with him doing a more manic Peter Lorre Intimation.  Thurl Ravenscoft, the voice of Tony The Tiger and of course best known for You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch adds a bit of fun to I Was A Teenage Brain Surgeon.  The record remains good natured although in these days and times, it has dated quite badly and today's youth isn't going to give this a listen anytime soon.  Collector's Choice issued this on CD in 2003 and I found a cut out of it when Best Buy had a fire sale and was dumping out of print albums that they couldn't sell and shrinking their CD section faster than the Incredible Shrinking Man.   For Spike Jones, he went into a banjo type of dixieland jazz for Liberty after this and he was planning a follow up to In Stereo when he passed in 1965 due to too many cigarettes.   I still have the mono album Spike Jones In Hi Fi, which is not as exciting recording wise than In Stereo.  It's still not an album that I would recommend highly but if you love B movies like Plan Nine From Other Space or A Comedy Of Terrors, Spike Jones In Stereo is a B movie masterpiece on record.  And fun to hear around Halloween.
Grade B-

The Best Of The Chordettes (Barnaby 1990)

For their dated 50s vocal style to which by 1960 they were passed over for rock and roll, The Chordettes music was really hit and miss and no thanks to Archie Beyer.  When you think about it, Lollipop or Mr Sandman were cheesy pop gold but gawd when they went banal, they were got into embarrassing schmaltz like True Love Goes On And On and Lay Down Your Arms, one of those WW2 songs of bring the boys back home.  I suppose they're innocent love songs to which on Lay Down Your Arms, they boys were really going to get real lucky (which became the basis of the baby boom).  Archie Beyer was clueless about setting the girls up with rock and roll songs, A girl's Work Is Never Done is Charlie Brown from the female perspective and No Wheels, the answer to Car Trouble (King Curtis plays the sax solo). In the age of the 45, the songs sound much better on a scratchy 45, put them on CD and the magic isn't quite there.   However the two keepers are not the ones you would expect of their major hits, One was Teen Age Goodnight, which ended a few proms and dances in 1956, the other, Just Between You And Me, their ultimate feel good teen song. Which is one of my favorite all time 45s by the way.
Grade B-

Zephyr (Probe/ABC 1969)

Best known as Tommy Bolin's first band, this band musically was fairly good and competent.  But Candie Givens might be the most overbearing singer ever, male or female.  She comes across as Janis Joplin gone psycho or Robert Plant being electrocuted.  Bill Halverson may have been covering his ears on trying to record this band, Givens makes Dee Clark sound like a crooner on Raindrops.  And it really doesn't get any better.  You have to give ABC Records for going out on a limb and putting this on their progressive rock label Probe and Bolin shows why he was a up and coming guitar player.  But as for Candie Givens, she's rock's first true screecher.  Janis couldn't top whatever she was doing.
Grade D+

Zephyr-Going Back To Colorado (Warner Brothers 1971)

The major thing here is that Candie Givens is much more restrained on this followup their "eponymous" first album although she'll let out a banshee scream from time to time.  Perhaps Eddie Kramer had something to do with this, but this is more of a band effort with David Givens and John Faris adding their lead vocal on a couple more. Strangely Tommy Bolin still doesn't sing but his fingerprints are all over this album, be it on guitar and vibes. The title track did get some FM airplay and may have been a failed single and The Radio Song and others do benefit from backing singers as well.   If they keep things around 3 minutes they hold my interest but when they dink around with avant garde noise making or stumble on the five minute song See My People Come Together my mind wonders. While Candie closes things on At This Very Moment, a interesting off the wall number that invokes memories of Melanie than Janis, the extended coda envisions of the first album and not a good way.  But they're learning as they go and they would make their best album the next time they got together. By going more toward a country rock jazz vein and Jock Bartley in tow. By then Tommy Bolin moved over to the James Gang.
Grade B-

Monday, October 23, 2017

Week In Review: Cubs Hangover, Hawkeyes Meltdown, George Young

Before we get to the other news, George Young, part of the Harry Vanda/George Young production team, passed away from a short illness Sunday.  He was 70.  George was part of The Easybeats, the first true Australian rock and roll band along with Vanda, seen the band through their final single for Rare Earth Records, St. Louis, then went into production, producing the likes of AC/DC, to which had Vanda/Young didn't produce them, there would be no AC DC.  They also produced The Angels (Angel City), John Paul Young (Love Is In The Air) and then Vanda/Young would form the oddball New Wave band Flash And The Pan, which scored a minor hit with Hey St. Peter in 1979.

Daisy Berkowitz aka Scott Putseky, passed away from cancer, he was 49.  He played guitar on the first Marilyn Manson album, then moved over to other bands (Jack Off Jill, Godhead)

Martin Eric Ain (Martin Stricker), bass player for Celtic Frost died Saturday from a heart attack, he was 50.

Robert Guillaume, fine actor who played Benson in SOAP and later Benson passed away from prostate cancer at age 89. Robert was also a gifted singer, appearing on a album  by Cannonball Adderley and was the first black to headline the Phantom Of The Opera.  He won a grammy in 1995 for the spoken read along album The Lion King.  https://www.riverfronttimes.com/artsblog/2017/10/24/robert-guillaume-st-louis-native-who-earned-fame-as-benson-has-died

Fats Domino:  One of the originals rock and rollers beginning with 1949's  The Fat Man and then ending with Lady Madonna in 1968 for Reprise Records passed away Tuesday from natural causes. He was 89.  Fats' golden years were with Imperial in the 50s and early 60s with Blueberry Hill being the highest charted one of them all (number 2).  While rockers tried to update their sound, Fats rather played the songs in his own distinctive way, the piano triplets and the mid tempo beat. After his Imperial years, he moved over to ABC Paramount and sad to say his singles didn't do much on the charts, the record label had him record in Nashville with Bill Justis instead of Dave Barthomolew and while the songs were okay, they sounded a bit too Nashville polish than New Orleans R and B.  He made a decent live album for Mercury and a couple of singles before concluding his recording career with Reprise Records with the lively Fats Is Back album (Produced by Richard Perry, to which this album would serve as the template of the Ringo Starr albums, get all star session people to play and help along. Paul McCartney wrote Lady Madonna as a Fats tribute for The Beatles to which Fats would record note for note and it was his last charted single which took the last spot on the top 100 for a couple weeks.  Fats Is Back is in reality Domino's last studio album, the followup Fats, was basically a few singles that Fats recorded for Broadmoor before Reprise signed him.  A shame that Reprise didn't bother to add the failed singles of Have You Seen My Baby and Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey since Fats was only 29 minutes long on LP.  After that Fats was contented just to do a few shows in New Orleans and some music festivals, (stories abound that Fats had to work the Vegas scene to pay off some outstanding gambling debts) and stayed in New Orleans, even up to the 2005 Katrina Hurricane mess that destroyed his home in the 9th ward and rumors that he may have died in the hurricane.  For a rock and roller, Fats was different, he didn't do drugs, nor ran around with the wrong crowd, (He was married to his wife for 50 plus years till she passed away in 2008 thereabouts) and didn't get arrested.  He lived a modest but reclusive life till his passing from natural causes.  He may not looked like it but he was more rock and roll than you are.

It's over for the Chicago Cubs who lost to Los Angeles and it's goodbye to Chris Bosio who was relived of pitching coach duties. The Cubs were 30th in unintended walks, which it seemed quite obvious that probably did Bosio right in.  He did helped Jake Arrieta turn things around and Kyle Hendricks but this season, Bosio didn't have much of a bullpen to help and their shitty pitching was big hinder upon itself.   Arrieta is moving on as well, he shaved off his beard and put his Chicago home up for sale in search of getting a big contract from somebody willing to pay him big bucks.  The Cubs did go 49-25 after the all star break but simply ran out of gas.  Basically the off season starts today and the Cubs need to pick up some quality pitching, as well as bull pen help.  Getting a lead off hitter would also help things.  Dexter Fowler was surely missed although his Cardinals year found him struggling as well.   Meanwhile, Los Angeles plays Houston, who knocked the New York Yankees out of the playoffs after falling down 3-2 when Houston couldn't beat them in New York. They just waited till they got home and took care of business.   The guess is that Los Angeles should win this in 6 games.

Arizona State has turn things around in two weeks, they went up to Utah  and dropped the Utes 30-10.  Suddenly,, The Sun Devils find themselves to be one of the hottest teams and to use the term loosely, can control their own destiny by winning their last five games, the big one this weekend as they host USC, which Notre Dame blowing the Trojans out of South Bend 49-14.

And what to make of the Los Angeles Chargers?  They shut out Denver 21-0, first time in 25 seasons that Denver didn't score anything. Phillip Rivers won his 100th game as a Charger QB, quite a feat upon itself, given my discontentment of his career being Charger QB. Travis Benjamin scored on a 42 yard TD pass from Rivers as well as returning a punt 65 yards for the first TD was MVP.  It was also the first game that the Chargers won in LA since 1960.  Hopefully more to come.

On the stink side of things, welcome Iowa Hawkeyes who stuck up the field and lost in OT to a Northwestern team that seems to find a way to beat the Hawkeyes, even though they have been giving up 25 points per average when they play other teams. Akeem Wadley probably should have considered going to the NFL draft had he found out his offense line can't block (he did managed 90 yards on 23 carries) and the Iowa WR's can't catch the fucking ball.  But then again, Iowa's Ole' blockers didn't do much to Nate Stanley, yelling Look Out when Northwestern DTs are whizzing by them.  Brian Frerenz, the son of the coach, is the new offense coach, but he seem to keep the Greg Davis playbook of getting 4 yards when it's 3rd and five.  Hilary happens on a fourth and short and Iowa OL guy gets a false start and the Hawkeyes have to settle for a long and game tying FG.  And then in OT, win the toss and proceeded to give the ball, and the wind to Northwestern to which NW got a touchdown despite a third and long to which Iowa defense falls asleep and NW gets a first and goal to which they score a TD.  And then Iowa fucked around a 3 yard run, and then a pass thrown out of bounds and Wadley getting six yards before on a 4th and 1, the TE drops the ball, thus ending the game and a 17-10 NW win.  I don't hold much hope for Iowa to keep Floyd of Rosedale for another year as Minnesota comes calling, the offense line is a joke and the receivers have glass hands.  Good thing Iowa isn't playing Iowa State, who beat Texas Tech and now is ranked 25th in the Coaches poll, first time in 12 seasons that has happens.  That may not last long, they host number 4 TCU in Ames.

I found this somewhat humorous, but a EF1 tornado touched down at a Oklahoma Casino and tore the roof off during a show by Mike Love's Beach Boys, thankfully nobody got hurt but I wonder if this was sent from the ghosts of Carl and Dennis Wilson playing a prank on the dour Mike Love?

For the past two years I've been taking part of jams in Cedar Rapids and through this time have worked up a good friendship with the majority of guitar players, bass players, drummers and such. I thought I would compile a list of the more unique rock and rollers out there.  There are plenty of great musicians out there and it's hard to pick the best of them all. So what I did was try to compile the best of the best musicians in certain categories.  Don't take it too seriously but this is what I think are the best of the best.  Opinions will vary.

Best Vocalist Male:  Joe Hutchcroft (Fossiltones) Runner up: Chad Johnson (Past Masters)
Best Vocalist Female:  Karie Skogman (Lipstick Slick), Runner up; Belinda James (Egads!)
Best Rock Guitarist: Rick Clay (Four Day Creep), Runner up:  Buddy Archbremmer (Lipstick Slick)
Best Blues Guitarist: Rich Toomsen (Wooden Nickel Lottery), Runner up: Dennis McMurrin
Best Alternative Guitarist: Brook Hoover (Surf Zombies), Runner Up. Stu Fondle (Rumours)
Best Country Guitarist: Doug Spinler (5 of Hearts), Runner Up: Dan Hartman (Kick It)
Best Bass Player: Ken Webb (Hostage), Runner Up: Barth Walter (Saloonatics)
Best Blues Bass Player: Dan Johnson Runner Up: Jeremiah Murphy (Dr Z. Exp)
Best Keyboard Player: Kip Wieland (Crankshaft), Runner Up: Greg Mein (Crazy Delicious)
Best Hard Rock Drummer: Troy Mitchell (Four Day Creep), Runner Up; Tiffany Z. (50 Shades Rock
Best Metal Drummer: Mike Serbousek (Cocked n Loaded) Runner Up: Terry McDowell (Flex)
Best Horn Player: Mitch Smith (Crankshaft), Runner up: David Boston
Most eccentric: Ed Butler, Runner up; Rodney Smith
Best original songwriter: Tommy Bruner, Runner up: Rodney Smith

I'm this is a flawed lineup but these fine folks are the ones that stick out in my mind the most in terms of looking for people to start up a band.  For hard rock Rick Clay makes playing lead guitar so damn easy and Buddy has made Lipstick Slick sound that much better, they also have the finest rock singer in Karie Skogman too.  For charisma, Chad Johnson plays the role of singer very well in the Past Masters, but Joe Hutchcroft has always been the most perfect type of lead singer. A born natural so to speak.   There's no shortage of great guitar players, Ryan Phelan can play blues, jazz and jam band all at the same time, Tommy Bruner's can do a nice Clapton/Keith Richard and Brook Hoover is all over the place with his surf guitar, but over all the best overall guitar player remains Rich Toomsen, if he lived in Memphis or Nashville he would be as well known as Stevie Ray Vaughan.

For female singers, Cedar Rapids has some of the finest around.  Julie Gordon balances between alt rock and hard rock, Cathy Hart a sweet country singer, Amanda Britcher one of the more harder screamers of rock and Dawn Sedeleck can do modern rock with the best of them.  Karie Skogman remains the queen of rockers in town and one of the hardest working folks in town, Lipstick Slick is always playing somewhere on the weekend.  I make no secret of Belinda James's vocal ability, looks can be deceiving, she might have to use a walker to get around but once she sings, you can hear the blues coming from her soul.  She owns Stormy Monday.

For drummers, substance and style do matter.  For hard rock Troy Mitchell has always had the drive and power to play hard rock as does Mike Serbousek.  Tiffany Z, may be living in La Crosse now but she still comes in the area to play with 50 Shades Of Rock and remains one of the five best drummers in the area.  Terry McDowell remains high in demand and plays in many many bands here, nobody can do grunge rock like he can.

There's not many keyboard players out there that I know of, Tom Giblin is a blues hall of famer but nobody out there can play them like Kip Wieland, one of the more off the wall dudes I have ever met.  I still believe that Ken Webb remains the most fun and exciting of all bass players that I known and he's always having fun on stage,  Barth Walter is not as well known but once you hear him play you'd want him in your band too.  Dan Johnson is legendary and a big supporter of the blues and rock and can play and teach at the same time.

For the most eccentric player out there.  I know for a fact that I am perhaps the most eccentric with my song list that goes from The Doors to O Brother Where Are Thou and Tom Waits.  Brook Hoover is also very eccentric for his knowledge of forgotten surf songs and pop hits of the 60s. However since I cannot in good faith put myself at number 1, Ed Butler has shown to the most eccentric with a song list that goes from Prince to Cyndi Lauper to Tom Waits and Bob Wills.  He's the Captain Beefheart to my Howling Wolf.  His song selection will make people scratch their heads at the Rock jams but put him in a folk acoustic setting and it all sinks in.  It's fun to be from the odd side of the fence with songs nobody knows much about. Anybody who can play Matty Groves does get pushed to the top of the line.  And he owns Wicked Game too.

Record Reviews:

Robert Plant-Carry Fire (Nonesuch/Warner Bros 2017)

You gotta smile and admire that Plant has blazed his own musical trail from the days of Zeppelin. His new album continues the journey that Lullaby and the CEASELESS ROAR (the title) started but is a bit more melodic and not so far out there.  It's also quite boring when the songs don't strike a chord.  There's a charm to the remake of Bluebirds Over The Mountain and it starts out fine with The May Queen, but it's really not rock and roll to me.  The title track is hard to stay awake to.  I think I liked Lullaby...better but I don't play that often either.   Give this three stars and move on to the next album.  Taken down a point due to yet another oblong CD digipak that's hard to store (just like the new Ride album, bring back the GD jewel case)
Grade B

Black Stone Cherry-Black To Blues EP (Mascot 2017)

BSC seems to be the only band that I have kept any sort of interest in since their inception 10 years ago and this time out, while passing time decided to modernize the blues into 2017 rock and roll.  At times they find their spot with Palace Of The King and Built For Comfort does rock, till a sleepy passage toward the end of the song derails the song.   A nice version Born Under A Bad Sign, at least they don't mess around the song like they did with Comfort and Champagne and Reefer.  Instead of real gritty delta blues, you get more of a Soundgarden sound had that band decided to cover Willie Dixon or Muddy.   For a stop gap 20 minute EP, it's good in spots but it make you seek out the original songs which are still out there if you look hard enough for them.
Grade B-

4Boxorocks (2006)

On the local circuit comes this little artifact featuring recently inducted hall of famer Dan Johnson, future Iowa rock and roll hall of famer Tommy Bruner and of course Tom Giblin and Eric Douglas rounding out the band.  It's interesting to hear the rock and roll of Bruner crossing with the blues and jazz that Johnson tends to favor and Gibby and Eric has played with the blues legends in town (Billy Lee and Bryce Janey, Bob Dorr and The Blue Band, Craig Erickson)  Johnson has played That's Where My Money Goes, and You're No Good at Parlor City from time to time (I know I played drums to both songs if memory serves me right...but don't quote me on that) and Tommy has covered Can't Find My Way Home and Beast Of Burden (I do know I played on both of those songs at various jams) and the connection between Tommy and DJ is their love of The Beatles to which they do a fast version of Back In The USSR and two versions of We Can Work It Out.  Knowing Tommy, he's done quite well with his last two albums which suit him better rather than Papa Bear's Blues and he sings in a higher voice, he almost matches Steve Winwood on Can't Find My Way Home.  Overall, it's a enjoyable effort and gives you an insight of what you may hear when you should come across these guys on a Parlor City Blues Jam Tuesday Night.
Grade B+

UFO-Making Contact (Chrysalis Reissue 1983)

The fourth and final album with Paul Chapman finds UFO in a rough spell, Pete Way left the band and Gary Lyons, original producer intent was disinterested (Way formed Fastway with Eddie Clarke from Motorhead and Jerry Shirley only to leave when Chrysalis mentioned Pete was still under contract with them).  So Chapman and Neil Carter split bass playing duties and the band carried on.  For an album that showcased the band falling apart, it holds up quite well although the ballads and the goofy Spinal Tap like When It's Time To Rock makes this record a bit second tier, this would be UFO's last good album till Walk On Water 12 years later on.   Blinded By A Lie is a fine failed single and The Way The Wild Winds Blows , has some of Phil Mogg's cool lyrics and Push It's Love is probably the most hardest rocking song of the Chapman era.   Yeah, it's hard rock and yeah it is mostly stadium rock but still Making Contact came out better than it should.  To which afterwards UFO tried to promote the album but the whole tour was a disaster and UFO would split apart for a couple years before Phil Mogg put together the band with new  hired help and Paul Raymond in tow. Bonus track is B side Everybody Knows, and a couple of subpar live run throughs of When It's Time To Rock and Blinded By A Lie, you can just about hear the disintegration of the band imploding on the Birmingham March 1983 dates and these were the highlights of that tour.  Earns a winning grade due to overcoming Pete Way's departure and soldering on despite the odds.
Grade B+

The Left Banke-There's Gonna Be A Storm (Mercury 1992)

They will forever be known as making three of the best singles of the 1960s' Walk Away Renee, Pretty Ballerina and Desiree but when I take a listen through their albums with Smash and collective singles, I find them to overdo the Beatles Sgt Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour era and the the last five sections on this overview bore me to death.  Can't say if they sound like Badfinger on a off night, the title track an exercise in trying to stay awake.  Michael Brown could come up with some nifty sides, especially on their first album, but after Desiree, it just doesn't have it for me.  Many years ago, I bought this CD and this made the same impression on me the first  play and I ended up selling it and getting my money back plus a couple times over.  There's Gonna Be A Storm combines both albums plus a couple of singles including And Suddenly, to which the Cherry People managed to score a hit. Sundazed managed to split the albums back into their original format, The first album remains a pretty good debut, but Too the followup,  Micheal Brown left the band but left behind Desiree.  Without Brown around, The Left Banke got to be a bland pop band.  And still convinces me that they might have been a bit overrated.
Grade C+

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Week In Review: Gord Downie, Sports Related, The Madison Singles Part 4

A wasted weekend.  I ended up being sick all weekend and had to cancel my music shows at The Rubies Bar Benefit and the Whittier Acoustic Showcase.  And had to deal with hitting a curb and breaking a belt on my tire of the new car, then having the brake line break on the other car the next day and then catching the flu.  And not much happening on the music scene either.   Unless you're excited about yet another new best of from Bryan Adams, Green Day and what not.

Gord Downie, lead singer for The Tragically Hip, passed away on Wednesday from brain cancer. He was 53.  While the Tragically Hip never made it big here in the states, they were much loved in Canada. Last year when Downie revealed he had this life ending cancer, the Hip went out on a sold out last tour, with the final show done on Aug 20, 2016. http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/gord-downie-obit-1.4359906

On the football side of things in town, Marion has done a 360 turnaround from two years ago when they couldn't win a game to controlling their own destiny with a win this friday. Their 16-14 upset of West Delaware at home proved to be these Indians are not to be taken lightly. It's off to Brady Street Stadium to play Davenport Assumption to which they won't have to worry about getting muddy like they did at home.  Field turf does wonders.  But the road to the playoffs hit a dead end as Assumption won 49-21 leaving West Delaware to get into the playoffs.  Marion controlled their own destiny and fell off a cliff.

The other shock is Arizona State has a defense finally.  After 11 straight  games of giving up 30 plus points and having the worst defense in NCAA last season, analysts and fans debated on how many points the Sun Devil defense would give up.  In the final tally, ASU shocked Washington 13-7 down in Tempe.  A strange game all the way, the Washington kicker missing two FG's which would figure greatly in the outcome, ASU played stellar defense and the offense converted on a very important 4th and 3 with a pass from Manny Wilkins to CJ French-Love that went between two Huskies defenders. Washington has been complaining about their late night time slot (it started at 9:45 Mountain Time) so that the East Coast people can't see these games and would wanted the game started at 1.  Which is laughable since Tempe would be around 100 degrees at game time, most games start at 7:30 or 8:30, nobody likes playing in hot weather.  Problem number 2, is that Washington isn't all that great, although I'm certain Colin Cowpie Cohwerd would like them better than anything Iowa puts out on the field. While UW did beat Cal 38-7 last week at home, Cal then dismantled number 8 Washington State 37-3 at Berkeley, which means the Pac 12 isn't as great as people think.  In the meantime, Chris Pedersen, who left Wisconsin for Oregon State, resigned a week ago and Nebraska has hired the AD from Washington State, therefore Mike Riley who left OSU for Nebraska will be looking for a new job after this season, even more now when Ohio State turned the Cornhuskers into popcorn and blew them out of Lincoln 56-14.  Nebraska has been a former shell of itself, far from the days that they rule the Big 12 before joining the big boys of the Big 10.   Iowa State continues to enjoy a winning streak, blowing out a hapless Kansas team 45-0.  Maybe like ASU, Iowa State has turned a corner after upsetting Oklahoma who then kicked Texas to the curb  29-24.   And last but not least, in NFL, the LA Chargers have won two in a row, defeating the Oakland Raider 17-16 on a last second winning FG by Nick Novak, who would have come in handy had the LA Chargers had him on the squad earlier in the season. They could be 4-1 had they had Nick Novak instead of dud  Koo Koo Cha Koo when he blew a chance to beat the Dolphins but his kick sailed wide right.

And then there's the Cubs.  They came back to defeat the Washington Nats, only to now to go out to LA and now down two games to nil.  They just have not been hitting, and the relief pitching has been a confounded joke once again.  Cubs had a paultry 2-0 lead Saturday before Jose Quintana ran out of gas and Hector Rondon came in and gave up another home run as LA won 5-2.  Sunday Albert Almora hit a HR, but LA came right back to score and then won on (you guessed it) a game winning home run 4-1.   Certainly blame can be placed on subpar relief pitching but it doesn't help when your lineup doesn't hit.  Javy Baez swings at everything that's not a strike and Kris Bryant puts the K in the swing and strikeouts,  Dodgers relief pitchers are pitching a no hitter on Cubs bats, they have not even had a hit on relievers in 9 innings and while they did get two runs on Clayton Kershaw, the Cubs shaky starters would give the runs right back.   There's a win or else mentality as they go back to Wrigley Field the next couple games and The Cubs must win game three.  Joe Maddon has managed to come back and win the games in elimination games, that happened at last year's world series with Cleveland and they came back against Washington. No telling what might happen but if Cubs can't get any hits off Dodgers relievers or get any decent bullpen work it will be a lost cause.  LA  defeated the Cubs in 5 games.  Dodgers simply dominated from the get go, and while the Cubs did come back to win game 4, LA blew them out 11-1 on game five.  It's hard to repeat as World Series champion but simply put Los Angeles was a solid team all the way through, 7 of their 9 hitters hit 300 or better, whereas the only Cubs that could hit battled 250 with 7 of 9 batters under 200. And you're not going to win with that, nor Hector Rondon giving up grand slams left and right.  At least The Cubs did battled, a little bit before the obvious happened.

It had to happen.  40 years after the fact and it still beat the reissue of The Brains first album (which will be hold in the dungeon of Universal Music forgotten classic albums) Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life will see it's debut on CD from Real Gone Music.  In honor of that album being a frequent find in every thrift store dollar bins, Real Gone should issued it under a 1.98 price tag but it will sell for 14.98, till the next big sale they have next year.  Then it will be sold for a 1.98.

With that out of the way, it's been another slow music news week again, so I conclude things with the rest of the Madison Singles that I found the week prior.  I guess you can call these the bottom of the barrel scraps although some have some appeal to these ears.

1)     The Credit Card Song-Dick Feller (United Artists UA XW535-X)  #105 pop 1974

Dick had a hit with Making The Best Out Of A Bad Situation for Asylum then found himself on United Artists with a fairly good album Dick Feller Wrote and this country top ten single. In fact this song did top Best Out Of A Bad Situation by one position, that song made number 11 this made number 10.  Country music in the 1970s was just as good as rock and roll at times. The Credit Card Song would be the last top ten for Feller, his version of Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days Are Stone) was sung by John Denver in 1977, a hit for Denver.

2)     Forbidden Angel-Mel Street (GRT  GRT-102)  1974  #16 country

Depression can take out the best of singers.  I've seen that time and time before, Del Shannon, Kurt Cobain come to mind.  And it Mel Street lost to the demons of depression in 1979 but he was one of the underrated honky tonk singers of the 1970s, but he was never on the best of labels, Metromedia was one of them, GRT was basically a label that specialized in making 8 track tapes but Street was their most known recording artist.  When 8 Tracks went out of favor so did GRT and Street moved over to Polydor, then Mercury but Forbidden Angel is one of those come back when you get older little girl songs that are not so P.C. today.  Compared to Florida Georgia Line, Forbidden Angel is pure gold.

3)     Out Of Hand-Gary Stewart (RCA  PB-10061)  1974   #4 country

Stewart was one of more loved Americana type of honky tonkers that made some emotionally charged songs as well, Out Of Hand was my favorite of his songs.  I think his vocals were a lot like Narvel Felts but not as wild though but Gary could sing a nice cheating and drinking song.  Again the depression factor sets in, after losing his wife of 43 years, Stewart see no reason to keep living and like Street, shot himself in 2003.  Believe me, I know how he feels when life gets to be no fun.

4)     Gettin Any Feed For Your Chickens-Del Reeves (United Artists UA-50035) 1966 #37 Country

His best known hits were for United Artists in the late 1960s although this tongue in cheek song about getting any did fare as well as Girl On A Billboard.  He later discovered Billy Ray Cyrus.

5)     The Lord Knows I'm Drinking-Cal Smith (Decca  33040)  #1972  #1 country #64 Pop 1973
6)      Bleep You-Cal Smith (MCA-40137)  #1973  #62  country

Cal Smith was a journeyman country singer that managed to grab a hold of one of Whispering Bill Anderson's songs in The Lord Knows I'm Drinking, a hard honky tonker with backing from the Nashville Edition. Earlier in the year, he covered The Free Movement I've Found Someone Of My Own and it made number 4 on the country charts. Surprisingly, The Lord Knows I'm Drinking managed to hit the pop and rock charts in local cities, moving up to number 64, not bad for a straight honky tonk song so to speak. A answer record, Bleep You would be the followup, basically Bobby Braddock rewriting Bill Anderson's song in his own way and while the song brings a chuckle when I hear it, buyers weren't amused.  However, Smith would strike country gold with the number 1 song Country Bumpkin.

7)     Gypsy Woman-Notables  (Mossburg MB-2031)  #1997?

An off the wall find, The Notables are a ska band that is better known for Godfather Ska.  Further research has them from Seattle Washington of all places but most of that is speculation.  B Side is Falling From The Edge from The Stingers ATX, more ska punk so to speak.  Gypsy Woman is a reggae version of the Impressions' number.

8)     Cotton Candy-Al Hirt  (RCA 47-8346)  #15  1964

Follow up to the number 4 Java, with less satisfying results.   Produced By Chet Atkins

9)     Suavecito-Malo (Warner Brothers WB 7559)   #18 1972

Best known for Carlos Santana's brother Jorge being a part of this band, this song proved to be their only top 20 hit, or top 100 hit for that matter.  Richard Bean is the lead vocalist on this song.  Later on, some of the vocal parts were lifted for Sugar Ray's hit single Every Morning.

10)   Near You-Gayle McCormick (Decca 33030)  1972

McCormick, best known for being in the band Smith, managed have a nice solo debut on Dunhill with Lambert/Potter producing her and getting a couple hits from her, It's A Crying Shame one of them.  However, moving to Decca didn't do her any favors.  Her new producers mostly forced her into some kind of bland MOR light pop.  She did cover this Boz Scaggs song, but alas, this is not one of Boz's better songs.  McCormick would later move over to Fantasy for one more album before retiring altogether.   The less said about Near You, the better.

11)  Follow Me-Mary Travers (Warner Bros. 7481)  #56  1971

An okay cover of the John Denver number, B Side I Guess He Rather Be In Colorado is better.  Alas, this record was played on a record player with a bad needle.  Very scratchy.

12)  Partners-Jim Reeves (RCA 47-7557)  1959  #5  Country

Wouldn't you know it, I would overlook this one.  As I was finally compiling and putting these 45s together, I kept staring at this while writing the other songs down.  So basically, growing up we had all these 45s from all sorts of artists and bands  but for Jim Reeves, my dad had about 5 albums of Gentleman Jim Reeves. But unlike the Porter Wagoners, The Don Gibsons, Jim Reeves was too mellow and too polished for me to really take notice.  But he's some good songs out there, Partners is more uptempo than we give Jim credit for, but it stills a story of two men, finding gold, and on in a blizzard, one kills the other to stay alive.  But comes to find out that the howling winds and snows and a empty cupboard, the killer would receive a more cruel fate although not as graphic as say, The Buoys's Timothy?   B Side I'm Beginning To Forget You made number 17 on the country charts as well.  Even after Reeves' passing in 1964, that RCA continue to mine the vaults for more music.  His last chart placement was in 1984 with The Image Of Me which made it to number 70.

The oddball find of the Trip

Love Is A Drag-Emma Swift/Robyn Hitchcock (Little Ghost Records 2016)


Even in this era, there's possibilities  of finding new music on 45 although the majority of it comes from bloated overpricing of specialty recordings and let's face it, the major labels are not going back to old time DJ promos and mass production 45s.  But if I can find something of note, I'll pick it up.  For sure, this oddball find was one of the 7 records I got for a quarter.  Emma is from Australia and is considered a Americana country type of artist.  You know all about Robyn Hitchock former Soft Boy and new wave rocker who actually been getting more mellower of late, moving from Seattle now to Nashville and actually moving into a path that has been taken by Nick Lowe.  For better or worse I don't know and it's too early to tell if he'll end up being as bland like the former Jesus Of Cool.   Love Is  A Drag reminds me of Mazzy Star more so than what Hitchcock has been doing.   Sounds okay I guess.  B Side Life Is Change is a snoozer.

So, there we have it.  All of the Madison Singles that was found.  All 43 of them.   It kind of falls apart at the tail end but I think I did pretty well considering what was found and how decent of shape they were in.

Album from the attics of my life-Tom Petty-Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) MCA-1987

In reality, Let Me Up is the final album of the first decade of T.P. and while he may have not cared much for the end result, Petty would never sound this rejuvenated or rocking again.  Once Jeff Lynne came into Petty's life, every album beginning with Full Moon Fever would get more and more laid back and suffered from that polish production technique all the way to Ryan Ultkle's sound on the final recordings.  Say what you want about Stan Lynch, he may have been the least liked Heartbreaker but his drumming always put Tom Petty in rock and roll mode. Steve Ferrone was more the polished and professional but Lynch was pure rocker.  Jammin Me might be one of the best rock and roll throwaway singles ever made, with the tedious Take back lyrics courtesy of Bob Dylan, probably making a list and not checking it twice.    If Petty blew it on The Boys Of Summer, a Mike Campbell comp that Don Henley took to classic rock status much to the chagrin of us all, he gets redeemed on Runaway Train.   If Petty also thought the record was all filler and no killer, he's wrong on the recycled numbers.  Ain't Love Strange is a rewrite of Change Of Heart and Think About Me, was even used by my band as inspiration for Highway Of Love.  Most of the songs here did come from jams which makes songs like The Damage You Done and My Life/Your World fun to listen to. Side 2 does tend to drag a bit (All Mixed Up), but I could relate to the sadness of It'll All Work Out.  After the bombastic Southern Accents, Let Me Up, would be Petty's final return to a stripped down sound.  Strange to say that while making Greatest Hits, not one song from LMU made the final cut. Which is a shame.  While I continue to support Petty's cause and buy his albums, any one after L.M.U. never caught my attention to which Lynne can be blamed to which this record gets bumped to an A minus on nostalgic values and an honest to God rock and roll sound.  He became a legend with Full Moon Fever and solidified it on the overlong Wildflowers, but Let Me Up I had Enough to me was his final time, he had my attention all the way through a record.