Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Week In Review: Greg Trooper, Country 45s, Townedger Radio 26

Greg Trooper, an excellent singer songwriter in the style of Chris Knight and Steve Earle passed away Sunday from pancreatic cancer, he was 61.  I found a CD of his in the dollar bins and thought it was a nice album.

Since ditching cable four months ago, I missed out on the propaganda news channels, the reality shows crap, the Big Pharma 5 minute drug spots which 20 seconds of it of asking your doctor to take such and such and four minutes explaining the side effects (8 hour erection, suicidal thoughts, death, etc etc) and the Weather Channel's stupid idea of winter storm names, to which the icemaking, tornado heavy rain system known as Winter Storm Jerkmeoff (Jupiter=Big Storm, no shit sherlock) to which it turned out to be a rain/ice event here.  Cause everybody loves to waste an hour and getting carpel tunnel to scrape the ice shit off your windows here and watching tree limbs snap off and power lines are fun to see.  Snap Crackle Pop y'all.  So here's hoping we can not break our leg trying to get into our car, drive on a ice rink and complete with idiots driving like NASCAR and texting and yacking on cell phones will test your driving skills even on sunny days.

Same as it ever was: Northwestern destroyed Iowa in basketball 89-54 Sunday.  NW is 15-4 this season, a surprise considering nobody has talked about them very much.  They have a better chance of going to the NCAAs this year than the streaky and erratic Hawkeyes who beat Purdue Thursday, avenging their Big Ten Opener loss. NW opened the game with a 8-0 start and never trailed.  Hawks cut it to three but then a 14-1 run and school was out for Iowa.  Next up: Maryland for the IA.

As predicted Dean Spanos has moved the Chargers back to LA, complete with a logo that rip offs the LA Dodgers logo but with a lightning bolt below.  They have a new coach in Anthony Lynn, who was assistant head coach in Buffalo last season and is a former RB for the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers.  After many years of no teams and picking the finest NFL games on TV, Los Angeles finds themselves with two mediocre teams and the Chargers return back to LA since the 1960 years to which they played in front of 80,000 ghosts in the stands.  Since Stub Hub Stadium only has 33,000 seats, it should be no problem to sell out that stadium, unless L.A. resorts back to ghosts filling the stands like the did at the Coliseum years ago.  It's all about the money and Dean Spanos loves money and loves public funding for a new stadium, to which San Diego voted no.  To which a crying Spanos said so long San Diego and hello again Los Angeles. Crocodile tears more or less.  But I donno, the NFL has lost its luster for me the past few years.  I have more fun watching old Cleveland Browns mud bowl highlights of yesteryear than the money grab that's the NFL today and glitzy uniforms and constant Jerry Jones sightings on TV.  To which were was Jerry hiding at when Green Bay got that winning FG beating the Cowboys this week at?  Jerry Jerry Jerry.....

And The Ringling Brothers Circus will be a thing of the past. After 142 years of torturing elephants and lions and amusing audiences around the world, they are shutting it down.

 Kansas - Leftoverture - If you like "Carry On Wayward Son" (I don't), you'll probably like the rest of the album because most of it's that same mix of pompous prog-lite and self-important rock. However, there are also a few playful and intricate instrumental sections that might make you think you're listening to Emerson Lake and Palmer or even a GOOD prog rock band! I really like those parts! As far as Kansas is concerned, the fewer vocals the better. (Reviewed by Mark Prindle) 

Counterpoint:  While classic rock radio keeps Carry On Wayward Sun in regular rotation, I find the rest of the songs are just as fun, Questions Of My Childhood B side to Carry On, was played more times here on my player than the hit single.  Failed followup What's On My Mind should at least get some classic rock loving.  Sure it's pompous, Cheyenne Anthem  and Magus Opus are the examples but I tend to enjoy the Gnat Attack segment that closes the album.  Kansas isn't for everybody, but they managed to balance some pop sensibility and rock hooks to make it their most accessible album so far.  Robert Christgau disagrees using as many ten dollar words as he can.  Make no mistake, Carry On Wayward Son is here to stay on Corporate rock radio.  B+

Before the storm, I needed to go to Davenport to hit the local Big Lots and fill up the shelves with breakfast bars and crackers and managed to hit the Salvation Army Closeout Place for the off and on 45 hunts that seem to obsessed me.   And let's face it, it is hit and miss, although this Salvation Army store does get somewhat of a turnaround of 45s    Goodwill in Bettendorf, somebody bought in a tubful of them but most if not all were scratched up pretty bad and Goodwill insists on putting stickers on the damn record itself.  Since I already submitted a Singles Going Steady blog for this month and since there's no rock records in this batch, I basically decided upon doing a standard blog. Usually, there are pickers out there that will find the rock 45s, buy them and then inflate the price on EBAY or elsewhere, one Goodwill store had regular 45s at 1.88! Buyer beware but usually I'm more interested in off the wall stuff, although it's more country and pop and not exactly rock and roll.   I look at this like a archaeologist digging into the dirt looking for clues of the history of this planet.  I dig in 45 crates revisiting the past that I relate more now than the new music that interests nobody and nobody remembers.  Mock Patti Page all you want but she's a lot more meaningful than Nicki No Talent and Madonna who continues to bare all.  Good for her!  But I'm not about to show her latest shaved photo as a high flying bird salute to the failed reality star now President this Friday.

And putting up the 10 singles this week gets me out of the reviews of the week.  Unless you want my assessment of the only CD I bought in Davenport this weekend, Traffic's On The Road.  Which a so so live effort and a C plus grade.  At least with Derek And The Dominoes In Concert they made their 14 minute songs rock better, than the 10 and half minute Sometimes I Feel So Uninspired, to which Steve Winwood does sound bored to death.  Plus we have Townedger Radio 26 playlist as well too. That should fulfill my commitments this week.

The Davenport Country Singles And Off The Wall Stuff

1)    Born To Be Alive-Patrick Hernandez (Columbia 3-10986)  #16 1979

The only non country song and it had to be disco???  Now this has good memories of the late DJ at Skate Country, going ALL SKATE to the disco beat of this song which may have influenced the now deceased lead singer of Dead Or Alive.  But Pat Hernandez was a one trick pony and a one hit wonder.  This song was part of the soundtrack to the movie Skatetown USA (why hasn't anybody reissued this on CD yet??? Answer: Licensing hassles ) and was perfect for skating around in a circle better than on the disco floor.  I think in this day and age I'd rather have the disco upbeats more than the computer autotuned quack tracks. Dave Mason composed a few tracks including a discofied Feeling Alright.  Columbia did afford a few dollars for Hernandez to come up with a few more remakes of Born To Be Alive on same titled album but it quickly went to the cut outs.  I managed to jump in the Skating craze in the early 80s usually boring the hell out of girls who had the misfortune of pairing up with me on couples skate.  I think they were good times.

2)    Dear Lonely Hearts-Nat King Cole (Capitol 4870)  #13  1962

His followup to the number 2 chart showing of Ramblin' Rose had Nat going into a R and B crooner type of music rather than the MOR pop and somewhere along the lines of Brook Benton, a thought that was confirmed on the B side Who's Next In Line, co written by Clyde Otis who penned a few hits for Benton.   But there's a country tinged arrangement on Dear Lonely Hearts, complete with sappy background singers to boot. This sort of arrangement would help Dean Martin on his 60s hits (Everybody Loves Somebody, etc).  Cole was on the decline due to surf music and rock and roll but once in a while he would make a top 20 showing such as Dear Lonely Hearts.  He would have two more top 20 singles before his untimely passing in 1965 (he was only 46 when he passed).

3)    A Little Bitty Tear-Burl Ives (Decca 31330)   #9  1961

A folk singer by trade as well as an actor, Burl decided to try his hand at country music and for his effort this was his highest charting single written by Hank Cochran.  It sounds like this was recorded at Bradley Barn with Owen Bradley overseeing the whole sessions. B side was Shanghied, co written by Mel Tillis and was also a b side to I Ain't Never by Webb Pierce.  Ives would have couple more top 20 singles but usually you will hear his Holly Jolly Christmas song more than you will of Little Bitty Tear.  Fun fact:  This 45 sold for 19 cents at either a Ben Franklin or Gambles store way back when.  Still has the sticker on the label.

4)    Losing You-Brenda Lee (Decca 31478)   #6  1963
        He's So Heavenly #73

Brenda Lee recorded many many singles for Decca and most of the 45s found are have played to death.  In my first batch of 45s ever known I'm Sorry and All Alone Am I were in my mom's collection.  While the number 6 position I don't think I ever heard this song at all on the radio but upon hearing this, it feels like Brenda's heart is being ripped out in front of your eyes (and ears) and is quite depressing.  One of the most ultimate teenage heartbreak songs ever recorded.  He's So Heavenly is a bit more uptempo but not as memorable.

5)    It Started Again-Wilma Lee And Stoney Cooper (Decca 31891)  1965

Wilma and Stoney were one of the finest bluegrass duos around, making some great music via Mercury and Hickory before opting for a traditional country sound and going with a cover of a Don Gibson song, which was the reason why I bought this in the first place.  Even upon stacks of donated country 45s I have never stumbled upon anything The Coopers have till I found this song.  Even in 1965 Wilma Lee might have been too country sounding for country radio.

6)    I Just Destroyed The World (I'm Living In)-Ray Price (Columbia 4-42310) #16 Country 1962

The beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with Willie Nelson, but still done in the hard honky tonk style of Heartaches By The Number.  B side Big Shoes (Written by Justin Tubb) is more of the same honky tonk song that Price was famous for.  He had not yet discovered Danny Boy.  Nevertheless I consider his 1956-1962 era to be his classic period.

7)    The Boys' Night Out-Patti Page (Mercury 72013)  #49  1962

Patti's final Mercury single and it shows somewhat of a country move.  She got paired up with Shelby Singleton and Jerry Kennedy and while this showed a respectable chart showing it does sound toss together.  B Side Three Fools would have been the better side, since it's more country flavored and Patti shows a bit more interest in this.  Side note: Three Fools was written by Charles Singleton who helped on some of Lesley Gore's songs and also by Horace Ott who would later score arrangements for the likes of The Animals, Leon Thomas Blues Band and even The Village People.  Patti Page would move on to Columbia Records and a return to MOR Pop.

8)   Good Day Sunshine-Peggy Little And Tommy Overstreet  (Dot 17350)  1970

She recorded for Dot in the 1970s with meddling success (best known song a version of Son Of A Preacher Man hit #40) and paired up with Tommy on a countrified version of the Beatles song.  It's not very good but you have to wait it out for the line that when Tommy sings she feels good and she replies yes I am.  Which puts my mind in the gutter.  Tommy had much better success with his songs through Dot up till 1978 and moved over to Elektra.  Peggy basically retired from music around 1975 and hasn't been heard from since.

9)   Sorrow On The Rocks-Porter Wagoner (RCA 47-8338)  #5  Country 1964

In terms of the honky tonk country, Porter ranks high up there with Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Webb Piece, Faron Young, Buck Owens although I do think his songs tend to be a bit more darker and moodier and not quite P.C. who else can explain about Cold Dark Waters being about suicide and The Cold Hard Facts Of Life about murdering a cheating spouse.  Certainly Porter pushed the envelope but he can find a decent barroom classic song about drinking your problems away.   In my search for forgotten 45s, Porter's singles I have tried to find, most have been chewed up (Woman Hungry which might have been one of his lesser songs, or Katy Did which is even less and Real Gone didn't see the need to include it in the 2 CD collection) but for a juke box copy this does play fairly well.  B side Life Of The Party has been included on the RCA Collection when Buddha was started up just to issue RCA artists that people forgotten about and is on the Real Gone best of too.

10)  Tears Will Be The Chaser For Your Wine-Wanda Jackson (Capitol 5789) #11 Country 1966

Like Jerry Lee Lewis, Wanda started out as a pure rock and roller before rock and roll turned their attention to somewhere else and both had better luck on the country charts.  Jerry Lee had better chart success I gather.  This number 11 honky tonk ballad is Wanda's highest charting country single. Maybe in future Singles Going Steady segments I will keep a eye on more of Wanda's country sides but she has return back to her rock and roll roots with a 2011 album with Jack White which wasn't that bad and a less glitzy followup.  May she continue to rock as she approaches 80 this year.

Townedger Radio Broadcast Number 26 Playlist (via Lucky Star Radio)

Fox On The Run-The Wapsipinicon Dreamers (The Townedgers incognito)
Fox On The Run-Tom T Hall
Fly Away Home-Ozark Mountain Daredevils
If I Was A Carpenter-Bob Seger
Spanish Harlem Incident-Bob Dylan
Oh Death-Camper Van Beethoven
Splendid Isolation-Warren Zevon
A Stranger To Himself-Fairport Convention
U Can't Touch This-M C Hammer
Diddy Wa Diddy-Captain Beefheart
Baby Wanna Dance-The Townedgers
My Babe-Little Walter
Solitary Man-Neil Diamond
I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better-The Byrds
Cryin, Waitin' Hopin'-Steve Earle and Marty Stuart
Dead Flowers-New Riders Of The Purple Sage (MCA version from 1976)
Let Your Love Flow-Bellamy Brothers
South Side Of The Sky-Swinging Steaks.  


TAD said...

Good Lord! Crabby, ya need to get outta the house more. Mark's review of LEFTOVERTURE's pretty cheap, underplaying a pretty good album, and didja know Madonna's on "Born to be Alive"? (which I've always hated). Can't believe things are so bad in Iowa (even with the ice storms) that you can't find some good rock and roll to listen to. Course I know the feeling -- tons of music in the house and nothing to listen to. Hang in there, spring'll be here soon....

R S Crabb said...

Davenport turned out to be a bust. Only CD and a bunch of country 45s plus Born To Be Alive which is a guilty pleasure to the point that I had the 7 and a half minute disco version which seems to have disappeared from here. I don't hear Madonna on that song (she might have sang background vocals, it mostly sounds like Village People type of "rainbow" guys) and the whole things sounds like Patrick thought up the song in 10 minutes. I don't think Mark Prindle is a big Kansas fan, but I thought Leftoverture has held up together a lot better than say the follow up Point Of Know Return. I tend to give him credit about Live Doors albums, most of them do suck.

The Ice Storm didn't do much here, temps got warmer and the ice melted away but I ended up having the flu of the year and have blown most of my sick time away already, I've taken 3 of the 5 days allowed. So here's hoping I don't get sick any more this year. Plenty of music is still around here but when you're half crocked on Ny Quil and allergy meds nothing does sound good. It's not all bad, I'm posed for the second highest month of views (over 5,000 so far), and the weather has been fairly warm with mostly rain than snow. While new music continues to be elusive and hard to remember, we still got plenty of archived music to listen. I just wish I could score a better bunch of rock and roll 45s over country. Even in the vinyl revival,there's no shortage of country/pop 45s. And some of the weirdest 45s I heard have been either country or straight pop (the Good Day Sunshine Peggy Little and Tommy Overstreet has be heard to be believed, it makes Born To Be Alive sound like Helter Skelter).

TAD said...

On Trump taking over -- I agree the Congress during Obama was the worst, most obstructive Congress of all time. When YOUR OWN PARTY won't support a jobs bill that could have put millions of unemployed people to work repairing the nation's roads, bridges, etc., what the hell can the President do?
I'd like to give Trump a chance, but his Cabinet appointees sure haven't impressed me. Why appoint a head of the EPA who's already taken that agency to court a dozen times in Oklahoma? Why appoint the head of Exxon/Mobil as Secretary of State? Just because he's been all over the world arranging agreements to suck other countries' oil up? And Trump's pick for Education Secretary is sure a winner -- if you're into deer in the headlights. And there are others.
I agree LOTS of things need to change, but am really NOT sure this is the way to go about it.
Interesting times, indeed. A challenging time to be aware, even if you're only lightly into politics....

R S Crabb said...

I have no faith in the FRS and his appointees only benefit the rich. They impeach him then it would be Pence. Gonna be a long four years.