Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week In Review: John Lee Hooker Black History Artist Of The Month

Bill Paxton, actor best known for Twister passed away from surgery that go as planned Saturday.  He was 61.

As we reach to the end of the month, it's safe to say that winter has been absent here.  Except for a system that dusted the roads with snow and a 20 degree day this weekend, we're back in the 40s again.  Forecast do suggest a more active weather pattern, but not a snow and cold event.  Our third straight winter of above temps and less snows.  And for the third straight month, the most viewed blogs were were the December ones, Amanda's Rants and the 2016 Christmas blogs 1, 2    In an attempt to dispute the Blogger ratings, I deleted the Greg Lake RIP in favor of a update instead.  It was not that worthy and whatever the reason Blogger decided this one was top 10 worthy I have no idea and promptly made the defiant deleting.  To which there's only 9 rated blogs all time.  I thought The Swinging Steaks Blog should be there, since they have a link to my blog on their site.  So I can't trust the Blogger stats, since there should be 10 all time entries and only 9 show up.  A joke upon itself, I doubt if I am actually getting over 200 views per day.  Ever so much the skeptic that I am.

Brook Hoover's last performance with Shock Treatment, The Ramones Tribute Band was last Saturday Night in the Campbell Steele Basement but I chose a wasted evening finding out that the Meixcan place in downtown Anamosa has shut their doors (on a Saturday Night?) and was closed and ended up Chinese down the road, and then off the backroads to Troy Mills to see my friends The Acousta Kitties play the Dam Bar only to find that they canceled due to Cathy Hart's going to ER for an irregular heartbeat.  She's fine now and the show will be rescheduled (I can never that fucking word scheduled, re or otherwise).  Buddy Archbremmer is now playing in Lipstick Slick with Karie Skogman and he did a fine debut at CRL the other night.

For Black History Month, I decided on John Lee Hooker, the late great blues boogie man and he has something like 3000 albums out, mostly compilations and such.  John Lee Hooker with his one note boogie chord managed to be a big part of the music scene for close to 60 years, even appearing with in The Blues Brothers movie of 1980.  Like  Lightning Hopkins, Hooker demanded a cash up front for recording and usually most of his records were recorded in a single setting.  There's plenty of his 1949 and 1950 blues sessions on various labels, Savoy put together a interesting set with an unknown drummer and Eddie Kirkland (Low Down Midnite Boogie) and DCC Classic issued John Lee Hooker's 50 Years Of Hooker, the Sensation Years which shows John Lee in remarkable form, with Kirkland helping out.  The hits were on Modern with Crawling King Snake and I'm In The Mood and Virgin/Flair issued that around 1992 thereabouts.  With Henry Stone overlooking the Miami Sessions of the early 1950s, Atco issued Don't Turn Me From Your Door, it's basically Hooker alone, Stone would work again with Hooker for the Stax Record That's Where It's At! and Sitting And Thinking in the late 60s but Hooker alone could be somewhat mundane too.

Hooker had two winning streaks.  The first was when he went to Vee Jay Records and started using a a full band.  Basically the Vee Jay albums were the overall best with Burnin, and I'm John Lee Hooker being the classic albums.  In true fashion Vee Jay would paste together tracks that didn't make it to the album on other ones (John Lee Hooker In Person, On Campus, The Folklore Of JLH).  There were a couple attempts to get the soul music buyers to purchase Hooker's albums (the interesting Big Soul Of John Lee Hooker, side 1 of On Campus).  The end results were not exactly classics, the female singers on Big Soul clashes against Hooker's boogie sensibilities, but it's still listenable. Vee Jay compromised on On Campus, with one side to the soul music but side 2 is Hooker back to doing what he likes best, the blues alone.   I also have mixed feelings on Live At Newport, to which Hooker is playing unplugged with a bass player in tow, it tends to drag rather than boogie, compare this with Muddy Waters Live At Newport and it's night and day.   No matter how many times he tried, I Cover The Waterfront always puts me to sleep. For a curio document, Live At Newport is worth hearing once.

The second winning streak came when he went to BluesWay/ABC. He made a pit stop at Impulse to come up with Serves You Right To Suffer when Bob Thiele set him up with jazz artists to work in a blues setting.  It really does work since Thiele picked Connie Kay to play drums and Kay provides a tight beat to Shake It Baby and a subtle light brush work on the title track.  Chess Records did this the same way but adding veteran blues players for the Real Folk Blues albums to which they had a hit with One Bourbon One Scotch And One Beer and I Put My Trust In You.  The Impulse sessions was a one off, the Chess Sessions his second stop there (he recorded an album for them back in the 1950s) but with BluesWay, Hooker came up with Urban Blues, a 1968 hard boogie blues romp with former players on his Vee Jay albums (Al Duncan, Eddie Taylor) and before that, a live recording with Muddy Waters Blues Band and the man himself (Life At Cafe Au Go Go) which gave us a the classic version of I'm Bad like Jesse James.  But this era was Hooker would jam with just about anybody that threw money his way or if the label threw money his way to record with other bands.  He did this with The Groundhogs (a long lost reissue for Castle/Sanctuary worth seeking out) and then with Canned Heat (with meandering results which most folks took notice-a best of Hooker And Heat reveals more of Hooker going it alone with harmonica from Bob Hite or Al Wilson).  While purists enjoy Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive more, I like the more rock influenced Endless Boogie to which Hooker pairs up with Steve Miller, Jesse Ed Davis, Carl Radle and the ill fated Jim Gordon.  But at this point Hooker was going for a more boogie sound rather than blues, why this worked better for Steve Miller and a pick up band more than Canned Heats is open for debate.  But it was beginning that from here on out Hooker would record more with guest stars on later albums, although he would record on his own for Tomato for such albums like The Cream or Alone.   Nevertheless, the ABC years would end quite quickly and Hooker would move on to minor labels.

In 1989 Hooker got a surprise successful album called The Healer, which Chameleon Records managed to reissue the John Lee Hooker Vee Jay albums.  The Healer would figure in phase 3 of Hooker's comeback.  Bonnie Raitt gave new meaning to the song I'm In The Mood and Carlos Santana would help out.  I'm In The Moon won a Grammy in 1990. Hooker would signed up with Pointblank/Virgin and he would basically round out the years revisiting his old hits with guest stars, The Best Of Friends basically picks the highlights of those albums.  John Lee would appear on Big Head Todd's version of Boom Boom around 1996 thereabouts.  His last album Face To Face would appear in 2003, two years after his passing, it was issued via Eagle Rock Records.

We're not sure when John Lee was born, had he lived today he would be celebrating his 100th year on the planet (early bios had him born in 1911 but the guess is that 1917 was his actual birth).  Even his website does not have the complete discography and let's face it, there's always be a few ones missing or omitted.  I probably have reviewed about 30 of his albums and most are a good time, the exception being If You Miss Im, I Got Im,  a  sloppy and half assed setting with Earl Hooker (a C grade in my book, being if you like to hear how Hooker fit in with the other Hooker (Earl that is), you're welcome to it.   The Vee Jay albums tend to be reissued the most.  Chameleon Records had  the first go at it, the later Collectibles and then Shout Factory all reissued those albums.  There are good best of Vee Jay albums, (I have three of them, Chameleon's overview The Hook the most recommended but since that's out of print, Concord is putting out Whiskey And Wimmen in March, it's more economical than the The Hook but if you haven't heard Hook, this is where to start).  MCA did put out a good overview (1965-1974) but it has been replaced by The 20th Century Masters Collection which chops the fat down.  The Best of 1965-1974 does have the good (Bad like Jesse James, One Bourbon) among the bad (The Waterfront, Bluebird) and I don't know, Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive goes on forever.  Buyer Beware.   The Rhino best of tries its best to compile the best songs from Hooker's recording output and is a so so sampler.  Even as uneven as it gets, both the Rhino and MCA albums are definite overviews.

My recommendations:

The Modern Recordings (Virgin 1995)  The original I'm In The Mood is here.
Don't Turn Me From Your Door (Atco 1992)  Early Hooker going at it alone
I'm John Lee Hooker, Burnin, The Forklore Of John Lee Hooker, The Best Of John Lee Hooker- The Vee Jay albums of note.
Live at Cafe Au Go Go (and Soledad Prison) MCA 1993  One with Muddy Waters and if you can overlook the one with the out of tune guitar player this shows John could play the blues, the CD also tacks on a truncated version of Live At Soledad Prison to which his son John Lee Jr's songs get left off but this probably the best example of Hooker's patented boogie rock and roll
It Serves You Right To Suffer (Impulse 1965)  Hooker was the only blues artist on this jazz label, even with paired with jazz musicians, Hooker could teach them to boogie.
Urban Blues (Bluesway/ABC 1968)  Hot and sweaty blues with a Detroit bounce.
Endless Boogie (ABC 1971)  Better than Hooker and Heat and his best boogie rock album
The Healer (Chameleon, later on Capricorn, then Shout Factory 1989) The comeback album that enabled John Lee Hooker to keep boogieing with the best and choice of his musician friends till his passing in 2001.
Best Of Friends (Virgin 1996)  The best of the jams with guest musicians.

Some other reviews:

Wicked Liz/The Bellyswirls-Hulathrong  (Self Released 2005)

Basically out of Bettendorf but have been around for 15 plus years, Liz and company delivers high quality garage rock, somewhat like Bonnie Hayes and The Wild Combo had Alanis Morrisette led The Wild Combo.  Starts out rocking with Up And Down and Pico, but on It Hurts Me, Liz channels an inner stalker, crazy lady pleading with return back to her love interest after being dumped, last time a song like this captivated me was Kasey Chambers's Stalker from the Bittersweet album.  Produced by Tom Tatman of Catamont studio fame, which is another feather in this band's cap. Yet another Iowa band making good music. Who would have thunk it?
Grade B+

The Human Beinz-Nobody But Me (Capitol 1968)

On the strengths of their two singles, the title track which is one of the all time party rock songs and to me the follow up was even better, Turn On Your Love Light which didn't chart as high, this band then pretty much stock the rest of the album with filler. For the most part Foxy Lady does polish up the Hendrix version, a nice bar band take of that song and Dance On Through is a fun listen. Outside of that, their hippy dippy music wasn't all that great and if you have to sit through farces like Black Is The Color Of My True Love, you really begin to hear how dated this band has.  The best of these would be The Shaman which benefits from a nice bass guitar riff.  It's Fun To Be Clean has to be heard to be believed.  The band benefited from being on Capitol by a nice sounding record but unfortunately it means nothing if you don't have decent music to remember you by.  Collectibles reissued the album in 1993 with no bonus tracks.  Mono mixes of the hit singles should have been included.
Grade C+

John Lee Hooker-40th Anniversary Album (Sensation/DCC 1988)

Recommended on the fact that Steve Hoffman cleaned up the sound big time, Hooker is in fine shape during the 1951-1952 sessions with Eddie Kirkland on board which helps big time.   Hoffman also includes the 1948 hit Boogie Chillen (which Modern would issued later on). Although John Lee is credited for writing the songs, he does "borrow" from the likes of Elmore James (It's Hurts Me So, complete with a one note organ riff that is fun to hear),  Little Walter (I Got The Key) and whoever thought up Let's Talk It Over.  I'm also guessing I'm In The Mood might be the original version but since Hooker recorded this song many time I might be wrong.  The House Rent Boogie is also in a working form as well, but I tend to enjoy uptempo Hooker more than I do than his slowed down stuff. Hooker would continue to redefine these songs many time over but these sessions with Bernie Besman recording are worthy.  The birth of the boogie
Grade B+

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yet Another Singles Going Steady Blog. Number 36.

Yeah I have seen the time line at Twitter and Facebook continuing to document the shortcomings of President 45 FRS and it's pointless to comment about that.  The music news continues to be deaths of musicians that I knew growing up and other news about the rock and roll bands of today bore me.  Only news of note is that Pink Floyd would be Glastonberry if David Gilmour signs off.  Nick Mason and Roger Waters are open to that.  I tend to think it's an alternative fact.

Over the weekend it was to Davenport to watch my friends in the band Past Masters play At Rhythm City Casino.  And they played great.  I have to chuckled at Chad Johnson's observation that I could have played Blue Swede Shoes when Tom Miller sang it but Bart Carfizzi played drums (even fighting back pain he did a good job) instead.  Usually at Casinos, they frown upon special guests jumping on stage, and I wasn't cleared for that. But thanks for the kind thoughts Chad.  I'm open to the idea when you guys take the stage at Rumors later on.

Taking advantage of the warm weather, Davenport seemed to be a good idea.  They had a nice used Ibanez acoustic guitar for 100 dollars at Music Go Round but I put it back, but who knows.  I might get a weak moment and return there to get that guitar.  Maybe a trade in?  However Co Op Records In Davenport didn't survive very long. I was there last year at this time to buy a David Bowie CD but they didn't have much for music.  The Vinyl Revival passed them by, but Reid and the Moline Co Op Records is still open.   Last month I didn't find much except for some 45s and one CD.  But this time out I did find some sort of music from Ragged Records, The Source Bookstore and various Goodwill and Salvation Army stores in town.   Enough to compile another Singles Going Steady Series and like the previous finds, they borderline between rock and country and the obscure and absurd.   I did find a better copy of Do It by Neil Diamond (The one in Dubuque suffered from the previous owner playing it with no needle.   The Salvation Army 45s, some have been there a long time and I thought if giving some of them a good cleaning they might play better.  In essence some did, most didn't.  But then again when you buy them in bulk (usually if you buy 8 of them, the place will give you a discount, just like the Moline Goodwill, 8 records for a quarter a piece.  Technically most of the 45s spent a long time on the shelves and the hope was that they didn't get worse for the wear by collectors and hoarders looking for a quick buck on EBAY or elsewhere.

I don't know, collecting 45s left and right is not exactly cost effective if they suck or too scratched up and if I don't like the song it gets donated right back.  Certainly scratchy 45 if they're rated G or Poor are only good for reference copies or simply art deco art, but I don't expect the rock record collectors to get all giddy for Paul Anka, a schmaltz pop artist at best but some of his ABC Paramount singles are worth hearing (to me that is), and while Diana and Lonely Boy were past good playing condition, the B side to It's Time To Cry, Something Has Changed Me (ABC Paramount single 45-10064) ranks with Lonely Boy as my favorite Paul Anka singles.  Alas, I can't play It's Time To Cry, it's too far gone and even the cleaning didn't help things but Something Has Changed Me is playable.  And Goodwill still had the De Castro Sisters doing Teach Me Tonight Cha Cha (ABC Paramount 45-9988) so I bought that one too and cleaned it up.  Originally done in 1954, The Sisters redid it in 1959 as a cha cha number and it made it up to number 76 on the Billboard charts.  They were modeled after the Andrews Sisters as the B side Things I Tell My Pillow sounds like it. That sort of mellow pop did out of style, so at that time the Cha Cha was a happening thing.  Don Costa's arrangements is a bit over the top even for a cha cha number.  It's certainly not rock and roll but why do I continue to buy such nonsense?  It might be the ABC Paramount banner, I always was mesmerized by that label. Most of the ABC Paramount roster was pop or MOR nonsense but there were a couple exceptions along the way, namely Ray Charles, Tommy Roe and Brian Hyland to name a few. I have lowered my standards to get an Edie Gorme and Jimmy Velvet but I hope to come across a decent copy of My Baby's Gone by Jack Scott or Easy Picking By The Tazman (9812), or Pretty Bad Blues from the legendary Ronnie Self  (9714)

(Photo: 45 Cat)

Now that we got that out of the way,  the selections here are once again varied and all over the map.  Again using the Bullfrog Spring reference of the charted singles,  I place the chart position and year as well.  Plus the usual snide comments of the bad songs and compliments of the good.  Perhaps I should have pawned that on Amanda, whos badmouthing of the crappy songs of 2017 has made the top five all time most read blogs, replacing my tribute to Bruce Stanley.  I'm not amused.

1)    I Think I'm Gonna  Like It-Barnaby Bye  (Atlantic 45-2984)  1973

I find this hard to believe this didn't chart nationally although I think it did on the KCRG top 30 in 1973.  Peppy Castro (ex Blues Magoos) joined forces with the Alessi Brothers and Mike Riccadella from The Illusion to make 3 albums for Atlantic.  I don't think this song was out of line of such music made from the likes of Gunhill Road or Stories. bubblegum flavored rock, it might have been the cheery vocals on the chorus but it's not one of those songs I'd listen all the way through on the radio.  This 45 was in pretty trashed condition and was cleaned up, but still plenty of surface noise on the grooves.

2)    Come Sunday Morning-The Sandpipers (A&M 1185)  #17  1969

Mellow pop number from a vocal group that wasn't much different than say The Lettermen, The Vogues or The Association.  I think it sounds better now than it did back in 1969 among the hippie dippy stuff going around.  Like most of the mellow pop groups, you can find The Sandpipers albums at the junk shop. For this single a nice discovery, fine and mellow.   The 45 was in better than thought shape when I came across it at the Goodwill Moline store.   I think it's been sitting there a while.

3)    Young And In Live-Dick And Dee Dee (Warner Brothers 5342)  #17 1963

Best known for The Mountain's High for Liberty, they moved over to Warners for spotty couple years beginning with this sappy top 20 hit.  And I really have no use for sappy teenage ballads of any era. Unless it's by Rick Nelson or Elvis.

4)    I'm Confessing (That I Love You)-Frank Ifield (Capitol 5032)  #58  1963

This guy was obsessed with Slim Whitman it seems.  That yodel of  I'm Confessing that I love Youuuuuuuuuuuuu.  If you can't find Indian Love Call by Slim on the next mars invasion, you can scare them off with this song or better yet I Remember You  (oooooooOOOOO ack ack ACK ACK). Back in the British Invasion, Vee Jay Records was issuing The Beatles singles that didn't catch on at Capitol till I Wanna Hold You Hand broke big and then EMI Capitol released what a big mistake they made. Like The Beatles, Vee Jay was issuing Ifield's singles and what they had for single they slap together with The Beatles to release albums till EMI put a stop on that and told Vee Jay no more Beatles or Ifield releases, they were to be on Capitol from here on out.  While The Beatles got bigger, Ifield and his futile attempt to recreate the Slim Whitman sound, found his Capitol singles didn't fare as well as The Fab Four.   The follow up single Please struggled to number 74 and later singles didn't chart. He later relocated to Hickory Records and turned his attention to country music with middling success.  There's a perverse charm to I'm Confessing and the B side Waltzing Matilda.  Perhaps I should have picked up that copy of I Remember You a couple years back......nah.

5)   Tra La La-Georgia Gibbs (Mercury 70998X45)  #24  1956

Miss Gibbs was better known for covering R and B songs for the white audiences and Tra La La is Tweedle Dee with different set of words.  I'm sure this was a R and B cover.  Or it could have been a cha cha cha mambo number.  Harmless fun although the rock and roll crowd won't get it.  B side Morning Noon And Night is not the Joe Turner cover but rather some pop infused cha cha cha number.  Pretty pointless to continue talking about something you remember anyway.  Another Salvation Army found that was up there a while.  Give the record a bath and it plays VG I guess.

6)   Early In The Morning-Vanity Fare (Page One 21,027)  #12  1969

A band that scored a couple of top 20 hits, this and the number 5 Hitchin A Ride continue to get played on oldies radio and even hometown favorites The Past Masters have done Hitchin A Ride.  Perhaps they can get around doing Early In The Morning.  They recorded for Larry Page's Page One Records (home also to The Troggs) but not a lot is known about Vanity Fare but Morning was co written by Mike Leander, who produced glam pervert Gary Glitter in the 1970s.  Wasn't a big fan of Early In The Morning at first but it has grown on me.  When you're stuck hearing the same old crap on the radio and new music makes no sense, I tend to look at the lesser known hit singles a lot more fondly.

7)   Welcome To The Pleasuredome-Frankie Goes To Hollywood (ZTT/Island 7-99653)  #48 1985

Single from the album of the same name, FGTH turned out to be a bust of a band, although Island did see fit to issue Relax a couple times, first time made it to number 67 and then it rebounded to number 10 in early 1985.   Don't recall hearing Welcome on radio all that much and honestly it's not that great of a song.  Guess what the B side is?  Another version of Relax.

8)   I'll Be Your Baby Tonight-Leapy Lee (Decca 32808)  1971

One hit wonder with Little Arrows but he did record a few singles for Decca and this song was taken from the Little Arrows album  but not released into 1971.  It turned out to be his final Decca recording.  Lee was part of Gordon Mills MAM roster of artists and between the Decca singles, Cadet issued one recording and MAM another but Lee never did fully capture the audience like he did with Little Arrows.  But then again I think Lee was a very underrated artist. Still it's unsure why Decca/MCA bothered to issue a two year old song in the first place.

9)   Beachcomber-Bobby Darin (Atco 45-6173)  #100 1960

Guess who is back on Singles Going Steady with another find?  This time out, Darin goes for an instrumental and plays cool piano.with Shorty Rogers adding jazzy arrangements too.   I guess it might be considered early surf music before the Beach Boys came along.  This song came between Darin's pop fixtation (Beyond The Sea, Mack The Knife) and anything rock was welcomed. In the age of collecting 45s, it does seem that Darin 45s are still easy to find and I assure you there's more Bobby Darin to come.  In fact I do have an oddball Decca 45 that will be making the next installment of singles going steady.  If and when the time is right.  Which might be in  a couple weeks the way things are going.

!0)  Lean On Me-Bill Withers (Sussex SUX-235)  #1  1972

Probably one of the more simpler songs and Bill had three of his first four singles in the top 5, this being his sole chart topper. But everybody at jams sings Ain't No Sunshine but few seldom do Lean On Me. Club Nouveau  would fatten Bill's royalty checks with a number 1 version too in 1987 but we all know the original still kicks We Be Jammin's ass years later. I tend to like the shorter single version from Bill rather than the long drawn out ending but that's a matter of opinion and tastes.  I suspect this single was one of the new arrivals at the Davenport Salvation Army Store.  It had it's own record sleeve and the record was in like new shape.  Usually that spells trouble for the record hoarder to decided to give it a good home in the process.   To which we'll leave this blog on a high note.  Otherwise I'll be putting up more nonsense like The Hillside Singers, I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing, which I liked better than the New Seekers version. But then again, I had to play it one time before throwing it back into the donation pile.   It's the real thing indeed, too bad the Fortunes didn't come up with there own version.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Clyde Stubblefield, Junie Morrison RIP

The Funky Drummer has left us Saturday, dead from kidney cancer.  He was 73.

Along with Jimbo Starks, Stubblefield was instrumental for the funky beats that made James Brown mid to late 60s recording classics.  Clyde spent most of his years up in Madison fronting a blues and soul band and hosting jam sessions but he had been in ill health.  The late Prince helped him pay off some health insurance bills last years, about 90 thousand dollars, according to Clyde.  Stubblefield is also one of the most sampled drummers out there too.  A one of a kind musician, he will be missed. 

The New York Times did a nice obituary on Clyde:

Another funk star also passed away, Junie Morrison, who played in the Ohio Players  and various George Clinton band died at age 62.

And the list of great musicians is getting shorter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Townedger Radio 27, Grammy Wrap Up, Whatever

This year's Grammys (TM Fuckface Productions) may have been the the show that finally killed any hope of me reviewing anything new ever again.  Adele won 5 awards, so did David Bowie.  But the show was a clusterfuck all it's own, although it would be a hoot to see A Tribe Called Quest pissing off the GOP and Mr. 45 with a version of President Agent Orange.  Metallica jammed with Lady Gaga, and James Hetfield wasn't too pleased with a microphone not turned on and threw his guitar in disgust after that.  Megadeth won best metal and the NRA played a Metallica song in the background.  As much as I like Bowie, the Grammys gave him Best Alternative, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance, Best Recording Package and best Engineered album.  I could care less about Chance The Rapper being newcomer of the year so let's go with the best of what I know.

Willie Nelson won best Traditional  Pop album with his Summertime album.  Wasn't country.
Miranda Lambert didn't win any awards. Maran Morris won Best Country Song Performance with My Town (it'll probably be the last you'll hear from her, followup singles didn't impress the listeners), Penatronix with Dolly Parton won the Best Country/Duo Performance with Jolene, Lori McKenna won Best Country Single with Humble And Kind, and Sturgil Simpson won Country Album Of the Year with A Sailor's Guide to Earth.  In Jazz, John Scofield took two awards home including best Jazz Instrumental Album with Country For Old Man, Ziggy Marley won best Reggae album with his S/T album, Best Roots Gospel  Album went to Joey And Rory's  Hymms, a nice gesture since the world lost Joey last year from cancer. William Bell won best Americana album with his comeback This Is Where I Live, Bobby Rush won Best Blues Traditional Album with Porcupine Meat,  Sarah Jarosz won two awards, One for Best American Roots Performance and one for Best Folk album (I don't know her but she beat out the Avett Brothers, Rhiannon Gibbons and Lori McKenna to name a couple, Patton Oswald won best Comedy for Talking For Clapping, Best Boxset went to Edith Palf 1915-2015, Best album notes went to Sissle and Blake Sing Shuffle Along (Ken Bloom and Richard Carlin), and Best Historical Album was The Cutting Edge, The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 (Collector's Edition) by Bob Dylan.   Best music film: The Beatles Eight Days A Week, The Touring Years.  The rest can be found here:

Playboy after a year of keeping things and pinup models clothed and finding out that's not what the public wants is going back to all nude modeling soon.   Give the people what they want indeed.

Valentine's Day and once again without a special one to celebrate it with.  On the good side my best friend and his wife are celebrating 16 years being together.  On the down side, back around 2000, I was with a GF and things were going great between me and her but not much so for my best friend and we did our best to convince them to stay together, even throwing suggestions when my former flame was here in late 1999.  Eventually my best friend and his GF become husband and wife on Valentines' Day, with me alone being best man and witness in a Justice Of The Peace room.  It's a bittersweet time.

The Real Time with Bill Maher may have been the most explosive one in years, with Piers Morgan, former CNN commentator and fan of President 45 butting heads with Bill Maher and comedian Jim Jefferies to which it got so heated that Jim threw a few F bombs and flipped Piers off. All in good fun but eventually Piers would wait till Valentine's Day and in the way of 45 FRS, told both Bill and Jim to Fuck off often too.  Spreading the love that is Valentines' Day.  With the UK supporting J K Rowling to Piers 55 to 8 percent, Morgan suggested who wants to win the popular vote?  (well if 45 can get in as POTUS, why not Piers for UK?)

On a related but sad note: Al Jarreau announced his retirement last week. Two days later he died. He was mostly a jazz singer but had some light soul hits such as We're In This Love Together and the TV show song Moonlighting.  An album called 1965 issued on Bainbridge but pulled when Jarreau blocked it's release might be his best but he recorded for Reprise/Warner Bros.  He was 76

There hasn't been too much complaining about the weather this winter here.  We had more snow storms in December than we did so far this year.  Not complaining but Joe Winters is, he posted this on the KCRG website a couple days ago about the 10 day forecast and no snow. Heheheheh.

The monthly ratings and still things are clear as mud.  The December blogs continue to their double digits every week (can't understand that) and the ratings winner is the My City Is Gone Marion Blog that gotten something like 90 views today.  The referring sites continue to be sleazy porn sites thinking that Record World is where to get the hard core.  Another burr in the saddle ass it seems.  They don't get my sense of humor either.  Porn is not found here, unless you like record porn and once in a while I'll throw a bit of Record Porn to sucker the folk to click on the picture.  If you want record porn, I'll be happy to give it to you.

Chess Records are always good record porn.  Such as this nice classic version of The Sun Is Shining by Elmore James.  (Chess 1756).  However, if you have the LP version of Whose Muddy Shoes, a album that has both songs by Elmore and John Brim, you'll notice that The Sun Is Shining is different than the CD version.  There's also a third alternative take of this song.  And maybe a dozen others.  This 45 photo comes from EBAY, to which I'm certain once the record gets bought or some lucky person wins it on top bid the photo will disappear.  Not if I can help it.

(Photo: SI)

Your Record World Dream Date: Christine Brinkley  with a little help from her daughters.

Click Bait: The Shaggs. A one off for the history books. Their album has been issued about three times already. Decidedly so bad it's good, (or vice versa) 

 (Photo: Shannon Brown courtesy of Trailer Radio)

Record Reviews: (from myself, maybe from Mark Prindle if he's up to it)

Trailer Radio-Country Girls Ain't Cheap (Moonshine Martini 2016)

(UPDATE)   Shannon is not related to the Shannon Brown country singer that sang Corn Fed.

Shannon Brown  could be the country music answer to Miss Julie Brown.   Shannon and her band, a couple of better known musicians  (Joel Shelton who produced, David Weiss, and Kenny Soule best known for his work in Nantucket) to make a tongue in cheek country er' Metro Twang as they call it.  The music does rock a lot on the opening number  Granny's Got The Baby (cause mama's doing time) and Jimmy Jack's Dinner (which could have been a good theme song for Ole's Ham And Egger in town).   Big Day For Steffie, takes Goodbye Earl in a different direction and has to be heard to be believed.  Certainly the Granny's Got The Baby and the title track are the two best numbers on this album, the latter a parallel to I Like Them Big And Stupid back in the days when Julie Brown wrote that, had Brown decided to take it a country route rather than dance pop.  I suppose the trailer references do get a bit tiring and could offend the FGL crowd, after all Country Girls Ain't Cheap would never be on  Big Machine or Average Joe's,  Shannon and Joel Shelton are much better writers and have more fun than the bro country crap on the radio.  For this sort of twang, it's fun and the best type of anti bro twang since Banjo And Sullivan did it 10 years before.
Grade B+

Wanda Jackson (Capitol 1958)

I tend to think she was a country girl at heart, judging from her debut album, which is full of country weepers.  This record was in a bunch of ole LP's my old bandmate Doug Bonesteel gave me which used to be his Grandma's record collection  and the record is in pretty good shape. She puts the heartbreak into Let Me Go Lover and Making Believe and don't get me wrong, they're fine if your in the mood. But it's much different when she ups the tempo and rocks the hell out of her signature rock song Party and Long Tall Sally.  Problem is, there's not enough of the hard rock and roll to recommend this.  For country, she had the voice.
Grade B

Various Artists-Under The Influence: A Jam Band Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd (Sanctuary 2002)

Really, no shortage of Skynyrd tributes out there and your local bar band probably has done most of the songs on this comp, the weirdness of Les Claypool covering Call Me The Breeze doesn't exactly work and starts the whole thing off the wrong foot. I love Warren Haynes and Gov't Mule but I don't think he's ever done a song under five minutes and he stretches out Simple Man to almost seven minutes, and Disco Biscuits turns Gimme Three Steps out, even more than Leftover Salmon did theirs many moons ago.  My faves probably would be Blues Traveler speeding up Free Bird, Moe and John Hiatt does a faithful Ballad Of Curtis Leow and the North Mississippi All Stars put more boogie to Whiskey Rock And Roller. Best song: Drive By Truckers digging deeper into the Skynyrd catalog to pull out Every Mother's Son, off the underrated Gimme Back My Bullets album.  Even back then The DBTs were on to something.
Grade B

John Lee Hooker-Whiskey And Wimmen-His Finest (VeeJay/Concord 2017)

While "Hook" had always recorded in various formats and labels, the Vee Jay years might be his finest, or better known.  1990's The Hook was the first attempt to make up a decent overview and at that time served a nice primer of what he could do. While the contemporaries tend to favor his 1989 comeback album The Healer, to which from there on out till his passing, John Lee would team up with guest artists,  I rather much enjoy some of his output for ABC Bluesway (The Live At Cafe Au Go Go with Muddy Waters, the reissue of Serves You Right To Suffer, and Urban Blues, which uses the most of the musicians that helped him during the Vee Jay era.  This new comp (due in March 2017) is a nice introduction to the music he helped create, from Dimples to Boom Boom and I'm In The Mood (the latter song a remake of his 1951 Modern recording).  Nice to see I'm Going Upstairs and Big Legs Tight Skirt make the cut, Hooker's uptempo music is boogie blues.  But if you have The Hook or the the original Vee Jay best of, you really don't need it, but if you are a young person starting out to know what made John Lee Hooker the boogie blues king, start here.
Grade B+

Mel Tillis-36 All Time Greatest Hits (Universal 2000)

Around 2000, the major labels had a bright idea of putting together eco-box sets (Multi CD comps at a budget price) and while most figured to be a so so mix tape of the greatest hits of the rock era and uneven best ofs of certain bands, some sets actually do a fairly good job getting most of the hits while keeping the filler tracks at a tolerable minimum.  Found this Mel Tillis best of for 2 dollars at Goodwill and it showcases most of the hits that Mel recorded for Kapp, Decca/MCA and MGM of the 70s.  The only omission would be the forgettable Your Body Is An Outlaw  (done for Elektra/Curb). Still Mel was a top notch honky tonk songwriter for Webb Pierce and Ray Price did cover Heart Over Mind and even The Long Ryders did a version of Mental Revenge and usually Americana artists know where to dig for the good stuff.  I'm not much of a fan of the slower stuff, but I have fond memories of Neon Rose and Midnight Me and The Blues.  And it's considered that his MGM years were his high points (Sawmill, Stomp Them Grapes, Mental Revenge), but a shift to MCA and Mel could rock it a bit with Love Revival and Heart Healer, or the Every Which Way But Loose inspired Coca Cola Cowboy and goof I Got The Hoss.  Disc 3 might be the weakest but it still has Ain't No California and the mentioned C C Cowboy, but Tillis was moving toward pop country balladry.  No liner notes to speak of, when Timeless Music issued this as a budget priced box set, they kept it to songs only.  Only other worthy best of Mel, is one that Raven Records down under put together (Hitsides! which does pick most of the better songs mentioned here except Your Body Is An Outlaw replaces Love Revival, not a fair exchange).  Needless to say 36 All Time Greatest Hits is no longer in print (some yahoo on Amazon has one he can sell you for 55 dollars) and warts and all, is the best overview of Mel Tillis in the 70s.
Grade B+

The Best Of Sandy Denny (Hannibal 1995)

For being my second favorite female singer of all time (Linda Thompson number 1) Denny's albums have been spotty, even up to her 1977 overblown Rendezvous to which a fatal fall down the stairs took away one of the sweetest and loneliness vocalists of all time.  Forever known as the guest star to The Battle Of Evermore by Led Zeppelin, Denny had more folk roots in her (Who Knows Where The Time Goes, Stranger To Himself) than rock.  In fact the only time I thought she could rock and tell the folk tale would be Tam Lin, which sounds more at home on the Fairport Convention album than hers, but she does sound confused on For Shame Of Doing Wrong, a classic song upon itself had her backing band figured out how to do the song (the usually reliable Dave Mattacks stumbled big time on the drumming here).  Around 1995, the folks at Hannibal/Cartridge, Joe Boyd in particular made it a common goal to put the Fairport and Sandy Denny albums out on CD and most did, this best of Boyd cherry picks the better known stuff.  Eventually A&M Universal would get the hint and issued No More Sad Refrains, a 2 CD set (now only available on import) which is a better overview.  For a single CD mixtape, I still find this a uneven at best, but chances are it's still cheaper to find should you come across it and want to hear the voice outside of The Battle Of Evermore.
Grade B

(Robert Christgau) 

Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker (Columbia) A few weeks before this was released, Cohen deflected rumors of his imminent passing by telling reporters that he intended to live forever; a few weeks after, he cemented his well-earned reputation as an incorrigibly courteous liar by dying. Thus he transformed how these eight songs would be heard and remembered, and accentuated how shrewdly his living will's gravity, austerity, and sparse wit dovetail with its thematic and emotional preoccupations. Feeling impossibly frail and weary, the 82-year-old Cohen parried with a thoroughgoing renunciation—of Jahweh, Jesus, Vishnu, sex, and the acrid jokes he'd been cracking for half a century. A company of musical pallbearers added touches that hint at a consoling spirituality if you give them time and don't insist on actually being cheered up. But note that the most soothing softens a final statement credited solely to the dying man, which you could call a parting gift if it wasn't topped off by an instrumental track that reprises his most enigmatic farewell song: "I wish there was a treaty we could sign/It's over now, the water and the wine/We were broken then, but now we're borderline/I wish there was a treaty/I wish there was a treaty/Between your love and mine." To those literal last words one can only add: hmmm. A MINUS


(Photo: Virginia Wilcox Photography)

Townedger Radio 27 Playlist (Lucky Star Radio 2/16/17)

They All Look Alike-Arthur Collins
The Open Road-Wooden Nickel Lottery
Down The Line-Buddy Holly/Bob Montgomery
Move It-The Twilighters
Daddy Cool-The Diamonds
I'm Going Upstairs-John Lee Hooker
Walk Right In, Walk Right Out-Jesse Powell Orchestra
Spanish Harlem Incident-The Byrds
On Highway 94-The Townedgers
The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)-Manfred Mann
Hokey Pokey-Richard And Linda Thompson
Fool For Your Glasses-The Townedgers
Who Do You Love-Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks
Bring A Little Lovin-The Easybeats
Loving By The Pound-Otis Redding
You Know What I Mean-The Turtles
Don't Let Time Run Out On You-Tiny Town
Underwater Moonlight-The Soft Boys


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Created In The Corridor-The IRRMA Hall Of Fame By Scott Sanborn

One of the chief contributors to the Corridor’s quality of life is its arts and culture community. Our theaters, museums and concert venues feature a wide variety of local talent who entertain, enlighten and inspire. A few of them are lifelong rock ‘n rollers who are now getting some special recognition for what they’ve Created in the Corridor.

“They actually can’t believe it when they see me in the office and they don’t know anything about the music side of me. They’re stunned,” says Karie Skogman, administrative assistant by day and rocker by night. Skogman leads the popular heavy metal band “Lipstick Slick.” It’s a passion for Skogman who started playing guitar when she was sweet sixteen. That’s when she heard “Aerosmith” for the first time. “My bedroom was full of Leif Garrett and Donny Osmond posters and they went down and Aerosmith went up…seriously!”

Skogman really started to rock ‘n roll after college, hitting the stage with different bands for 35 years. Now, she’s being inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association’s Hall of Fame in the Women Who Rock category. “I’m over the moon! Very excited.”

The Surf Zombies are getting the organization’s Spirit Award. Brook Hoover started recording the band’s all-original surf music a decade ago and through several collaborations produced a half-dozen albums with more on the way. “A studio album (is) in the can and a live one at CSPS in the can that we could release pretty soon,” explains Hoover. He says the Surf Zombies love touring the Midwest and have even played the legendary Surf Ballroom. “When we go for a weekend out to like, Green Bay or Illinois or Indiana, it’s just like a vacation. We just have a party on wheels. it’s super fun.”

Nick Stika knows the feeling. “Music keeps you, somehow, young,” concurs Stika, a two-time Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association inductee. Stika has played with Dogs on Skis for thirty years and now sits on IRRMA’s board of directors. “It’s much deeper than music. It’s about education, preservation of rock ‘n roll. The legacy in the state of Iowa.”

Adding to that legacy, Stika tapped Craig Erickson for hall of fame recognition. Known by many through the Music Loft and his frequent performances in several bands, Erickson is a national recording artist whose latest release features some prominent players. “Two members of Paul McCartney’s band—the drummer, the guitarist—and Tal Wilkenfeld on bass from Jeff Beck, Ringo and different people. And also Ansley Dunbar from Zappa and Starship,” says a proud Erickson who’s had the privilege of playing with many top artists throughout his lengthy career.

Erickson’s come a long way from his very first band who performed at Franklin Junior High under the name “Nobody.” “So our first cassette was called, “Nobody’s Playing, Live,” says the smiling guitarist.

Not all IRRMA Hall of Fame inductees are musicians. Steve Soboroff--known as Captain Steve Bridges on KCJJ radio in Iowa City--also launched 99-Plus KFMH in the Quad Cities. “June the 4th of 1973,” remembers Soboroff of the day KFMH initially hit the airwaves.

The first progressive rock radio station in the Midwest, KFMH lasted twenty-one years before signing off. But then a few years ago Captain Steve held a fundraiser on KCJJ to bring his old station back on the internet. “It was 2013, March the first. (We) went on the air at three o’clock and by midnight we had twenty-five grand,” says Soboroff, still surprised by the response.

Soboroff says KFMH now has between 17,000 and 23,000 daily listeners…and he’s getting IRRMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. “This is all I ever wanted to do with my life was radio and…I got to do it,” says Soboroff gratefully. “I mean; I have been ridiculously blessed.”

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Week In Review: Lady Gaga Super Bowl, Chuckles And Wonderbags

While the Super Bowl might have been the best comeback in history for New England, I didn't watch their great comeback from being down 28-3.  After beating the hell out of Terry McDowell's drums during Hard Rock Jam at Rumors, I went to Lucky's on Sixteenth for mac and cheese.  I heard some great things about this place in Czech Village and since I spent a lot of time in New Bo/Czech Village decided to try them out.  And I have to say the bartenders and servers were the most friendly and on top of things, tending to refill my root beer at every chance and the Mac And Cheese at 6.99, they still give quite a bit of servings to it, unlike the now defunct New Bo Beer Garden which somehow ran out of mac and cheese the last time I was there.  Lucky's On 16th might be my new hang out on those Sunday Nights after jamming.  I highly recommend them.

(photo: Billboard)

I did watch part of the Super Bowl up to Atlanta scoring and being ahead 28-3, to which I mentioned to the server that look for New England to come back, just a sarcastic observation to which Tom Brady engineered the greatest comeback, but I really wasn't interested in the game.  I did managed to catch Lady Gaga's Half time show, brought to you by Pepsi so that she got some sort of money back for her 15 minutes of medleys.  While I wasn't exactly in awe, I did think she put on a good show, but of course the social media Neanderthals made fun of her tummy roll.  The comments come from dudes that wouldn't get laid by any plain jane much less Lady Gaga herself. It's gotten to the point that anybody can put anybody down on social media because they can.  She poopooed the body shamers in grand fashion.  Love your body love yourself, fuck the haters.  I think she's gorgeous too.

(Photo: Darcy via

The major social headache news remains the Failed Reality Star continue to add more cesspool to the swamp by giving us Betsy DeVos and Jefferson Beauergaurd Sessions at Attorney General, and our wonderful bought and paid for Senators Joni Wonderbags Ernst and Grandpa Grassley gave bullshit excuses.  Joni: “I have no doubt that Jeff Sessions will defend our Constitution and impartially uphold the rule of law." BWAHAHAHAHAHA.  Chuckles: “There is no one more qualified than Jeff Sessions to be Attorney General.".  Career politicians don't care what you think even if you flood their phone lines of not confirming Sessions and DeVos, to which DeVos gave 35,000 dollars to Chuckles for his stamp of approval, no word on how much Wonderbags got.  Joni on DeVos:  "Over the last several weeks, I have thoroughly vetted Betsy DeVos, and have found that she shares the belief that those closest to our students – from parents to teachers to local administrators and local elected officials – know what is best for our students." (of course that 20,000 dollars donation will make you say such things about Betsy Beads).  Chuckles: Senator Grassley says "I believe Betsy DeVos will perform the job of U.S. Secretary of Education faithfully and well." (35K to my fund helps as well).   GOP politics at its mad best, all for the dollar sign and fuck the working class.  I didn't vote for either Grandpa Chuckles nor the Wonderbags bitch, I voted against them.  And they promised, like the FRS start to keep the 1 percent's best interests at hand. I'm not a big democratic supporter but I do not support the GOP at all, they do not represent me at all and it's a fucking shame the stay at home folks or the ones too delusional and blinded by The FRS, who had done exactly as he promised while campaigning.  The end result.  If you're going to take back your country, you better vote the Koch suckers out.  Staying at home ain't going to cut it.The damage is done and you can't blame Obama, hell you couldn't blame him anyway, the GOP had control back then and obstruct all the way.  Democrats need to grow a pair and stand up.  We certainly will not get any help from Chuckles and the Wonderbag lady; not now not ever. New up: Sarah Palin, ambassador to Canada.
You betcha.

What has been missing from here this year?  Snowstorms.  We only had one since the first of the year and the most we got was a dusting from yesterday's small system going through, which has managed to make temps go back to seasonal, around 25 degrees.  Weekend looks to be warming back up to 50 degrees again.  The Ground Hog lied here so far.   Another sign of spring, baseball training camps start next weekend.  BTW, in Tucson this week temps should be around 80-90 degrees, if you look closely you might see the above person at your local swimming pool.  You betcha

Passings: Richard Hatch, (Battlestar Galatia) passed away from cancer, he was 71.

David Axelrod, producer for Cannonball Adderley, Lou Rawls and best known for those Electric Prunes albums (Release Of An Oath, Mass In E Minor) died.  He was 84.

Sonny Lott, one of the finest blues players in the area will be inducted in the Iowa Blues Hall Of Fame later this year alongside Dan Johnson and Ellis Kell.  Like Ellis, Sonny will be inducted post modem.  Lott was once part of Patrick Hazel's Mother Earth Blues Band and later Divin Duck and was instrumental in keeping the music of The Townedgers alive.  Unlike Sonny, I doubt if I'll ever see the wall of any music hall of fame unless I pay admission price for that honor. 

Click bait: Ruth Polsky and the 80s alternative music scene:

The Red Baron in Czech Village is gone, it's replaced by Aces And Eights, to which the new owner promises more live music coming to that venue. From the bar itself they promise you this:  To be clear we are not just a country music band bar, we are not just a rock band bar, we are not just a karaoke bar...yes we will eventually have appetizers and pizzas and we are hoping to branch out even further and faster to more food options. We are still going to book 3 more bands and 2 more acoustic shows in February so not all invites are made yet. If you are still wanting to fill out applications please come during a slow time to Aces and Eights after Wednesday of this week (opening Wednesday) Please let Mike or Nancy Jo know what time you will be there so we will be there to give you your the application. WE DO BOOK BIRTHDAY AND OTHER PARTIES (Get ahold of Nancy Jo) Thank you everyone and we will see you all soon!

Singles Going Steady Medley: None But The Lonely Heart

You're Gonna Wreck My Life-Howlin Wolf (Chess 1744)  1959

Originally known as No Place To Go but Chester Burnett decided to redo this version. Not as desperate as the original version but a more leisurely stroll through the blues.  The above picture you see was taken from a EBAY seller and it looks like the record has seen better days.   But I figure somebody will eventually buy it, simply of the fact it's Howlin' Wolf and it's on Chess.  And one cannot have enough Chess Records in their collection.

Haunted Sax-The Nite Caps (Chess 1694)  1957

Something seen on EBAY (this photo above), and can be found on You Tube.  I'm guessing that's Bob Hayes blowing schizophrenic sax as the Chess Engineer plays around with the reverb and echo on this song.  Somewhat a bit more jazzier than the blues that Chess is famous for.  Rumor has it it's Bill Haley's Comets moonlighting as they've been known to do (The Coachmen come to mind and the few singles issued on East/West. The other side is Jelly Bean, a goofy novelty song, ya know what I mean Jelly Bean? Of course it didn't chart.  Neither did Haunted Sax.

Melody Of Love-Wayne King (RCA Collector's Issue 47-0024)  1940/1941

What better way to start this farce off, with an old time classic complete with goofy poem? Mary Carolyn Davies' Why I Love You is between the sugary strings of Wayne King and recited by Frank MacCormick.  B Side of None But The Lonely Heart with a poem by Robert J. Burdette's Alone which was why Robert never got any.  Destined to be returned back to the donation pile on my next trip to Madison.

Spooky-Classics IV  (Imperial 66259)  #2 1967

Somewhere down the line, there hasn't been much love for Dennis Yost and The Classics IV on CD.  EMI compiled a best of, but Taragon ended up putting it out.  Hell, Spooky has always been a top notch song if Dennis Yost played it or the Atlanta Rhythm Section, to which some members of that band played as the Classics IV, not to be related to The Classics of Till Then fame. Anyway, I enjoy the Classics IV version better than ARS, it sounded a bit more spooky than the southern rock jam of ARS's Spooky but neveryoumind.  B side Poor People can also be found on the Taragon best of, which if you think about it, rounds up most of the Liberty/United Artists recordings of Dennis Yost and company.

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again-The Fortunes (Capitol 3086)  #15 1971

Made number one on the KCRG Super 30 charts, regional charts did pick and choose certain songs and some always seem to do better than others.  Like The Foundations, The Fortunes managed to have a couple of sure fire singles but you never knew what they had out for albums.  And also were known for the classic Coke song It's The Real Thing.  As I grow tired of the outdated Classic Rock Radio format (same 300 songs all the time every day) and the worthless modern rock, I begin to revisit songs that made nice background noise in the days of AM radio and I have been known to turn to dial when this song came on, but hearing it on 45, it's noted that the production team of Greenway and Cook knew a hook when they heard it, and so did the buying public. Tony McCauley, who co wrote this with the two Rogers managed to produce the likes of Petula Clark and Edison Lighthouse's Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes (or something like that) but McCauley was more of a hack producer, being responsible for Pickettywitch's failed single It's Just Like A Sad Old Fashioned Movie, not one of my better 45 finds, I think I pawn that one off on the old man's collection years ago.  For The Fortunes, after their #73 followup, Freedom Comes Freedom Goes, they would not hit the charts again.  Overall, The Fortunes may have been more closer to the Vogues musicwise, they were mostly a MOR pop vocal band, and like The Vogues I admire them from afar.

I Wanna Play House With You-Eddy Arnold (RCA Victor 48-0476)  1951

One of two singles that I found at Half Price Books and at around this time Eddy was more hillbilly than the super smooth Nashville pop later in life and in reality, this is the era that he was at his best, with the original Cattle Call getting a more echo sound later in the 50s.  Original 1st pressing was on green vinyl (looks nice but the scratches you can't see very well) and this one is a 2nd pressing, your standard black vinyl, green label. The A side was hillbilly rockabilly country but the B side Something Old Something New is a ballad, to which Eddy would start doing more of as the years progressed onward.  To draw a comparison, Ray Price started out as a hard honky tonker before discovering Danny Boy and a move toward lush pop country.  Eddy was a hard hillbilly artist that became a lush pop country star.  I tend to favor his hillbilly music over his lush pop country. Just like Ray Price as well.

That's The Way Love Goes-Johnny Rodriguez (Mercury 73446) #1 Country 1973

Johnny Rodriguez had six number 1 singles between 1973 and 1975, this was his third that topped the charts in early 1974.  He was a very underrated artist, and while on Mercury, Jerry Kennedy managed to find him some great singles, although I do think his albums were uneven at best and borderlined too much on ballads. This is only a minute fifty which comes and goes at a blink of an eye.  B side I Really Don't Want To Know, is sung in Spanish about 50 percent of the time and bores the hell out of me.   That's the way Crabby goes.

Dis Satisfied-Bill Anderson/Jan Howard (Decca  32877)  #4 country 1971

Jan Howard remains one of the more underrated singers of the country music of the 60s and 70s, she wrote great songs (Love Is A Sometimes Thing) but also had her share of problems in life.  She was at the peak of her singing career around the time this duet came out.

Record Reviews:

Quiet Riot-The Randy Rhodes Years (Rhino 1993)

Quite frankly, Quiet Riot has always been the Kevin DeBrow Band, he's always had that bullhorn bellow that can either amuse or annoy you.  CBS Records couldn't figure out how to market them, which was why their albums were only available in Japan (QR 1 and QR2) and it's a shame that these albums didn't see the light of day here in the states. DeBrow had a Steve Marriott influence which the band did cover a couple of Small Faces numbers, Afterglow and Tin Soldier, the latter to which I would have love to hear.  And also to compare Slick Black Cadillac to the Metal Health version.  Rhino Records cherry picked some of the selections from these two albums plus some outtakes and a live version of Laughing Gas, complete with a 7 minute Randy Rhodes solo. While the complaint might be that Quiet Riot didn't have a Metal Health or by Gawd Cum On And Feel The Noize, with Rhodes on board, Quiet Riot tends to be more in line of say, The Godz or Raven, hard riffing rock and roll with the usual goofy lyrics associated with having a good time with rock and roll.  Afterglow is a alt acoustic version and it's quite nice, Look In Any Rainbow, DeBrow channels his inner Ronnie James Dio.and somebody in Motley Crue decided to use the riff on Killer Girls for their own Girls Girls Girls song.   Once Randy Rhodes left to join Ozzy, it changed the course for both bands, Ozzy made his best albums with Rhodes and DeBrow got lucky on the Slade cover and of course Metal Health.  Even for throwaway junk rock, The Randy Rhodes Years, showed that Quiet Riot had more to them, than say, Poison or even The Crue.  Kevin DeBrow can grate on the ears at times, but I find him quite fascinating, if and when I'm in the mood .
Grade B+

Sandy Nelson-King Of The Drums (See For Miles 1997)

Let's face it, drum solos tend to bore me, but if you can manufacture a drum solo in 2 and a half minutes and do it right you can have a hit forever. Sandy Nelson recorded for Imperial/Liberty/United Artists for 25 years and for a resume, he did rival The Ventures in total albums output, although his cover version of major hits hasn't stand up too well in life.  His two shining moments was Teen Beat (due as a one off for Original Sound) and Let There Be Drums, but taken as a whole, listening a whole bunch of the same riffs and drum solo isn't going to keep your attention  very much.   Cozy Cole made better songs since he could score and arrange them, in Sandy's case, it was one note guitar riffs or bass beats to keep things going.  I tend to find the meddling Mr John Lee Parts 1 and 2 not to be exciting even with canned applause, and out of all the cover version they decided on Ooh Poo Pah Doo?  But if you like different variations of Let There Be Drums or Teen Beat under different names then it's worth hearing once or twice.  But even as a overview, unless you're a drummer, this comp won't mean a thing.
Grade B-

John Lee Hooker-The Big Soul Of (Vee Jay 1963)

While I think John Lee's time at Vee Jay might have been his classic period, I also tend to think that Vee Jay ended up screwing things up for some of John Lee's albums.  Case in point is this weird album that Vee Jay decided to give some of John Lee's song a bit of soul music and it didn't work to Hooker's advantages.  Take San Francisco, the song done in by some bad soul sisters backing singing in the style of The Right Time from Ray Charles, or She Shot Me Down (aka Boom Boom part 2), or the odd mambo of No One Told Me, including cheesy organ.  In fact this might be John Lee's worst album up till the Earl Hooker mess up If You Got Em I Got Em a few years later.  But at 26 minutes it's still worth a listen and still holds up, even with the repeated chords of Send Me Your Pillow and Good Rocking Mama (which in essence is the John Lee Hooker boogie beat that John Lee would repeat over and over till his passing) Hooker's vocals are spirited.  Even while Onions (a rip of Green Onions) is soulfully cheesy and even on its first take feel, Hooker does his best to put the right words into that song.  It's very humorous.  Even though Hooker may have abandoned any more soul moods from here on out, The Big Soul, is a weird but wonderful experiment.
Grade B

From Mark Prindle mini reviews via facebook. 

The Soft Machine - Vol. I - This 1968 release merges jazz, soul and psych rock into well-played (though often morose) songs with hoarse vocals that are out of tune as often as in. There is some great playing here, and it definitely gets less mopey as it goes. The vocals are an acquired taste though.

Baby Ghosts - Maybe Ghosts - 2014 melodic punk rock from Salt Lake City. Punky tempos, but very melodic female vocals with male harmony. I like the woman's voice; she sounds like a '60s girl group singer. They sound like they should be midtempo songs, but the drummer keeps the energy roaring. Good guitar tones too -- they're trebly and sound like human beings playing guitars, rather than Epitaphy by-the-numbers fuzzalikes. Pretty good songs too! Not mindblowing, but not bad.

Crack the Sky - S/T - American rock from 1975. Has been called 'prog rock,' but I think that's pushing it. It's more complex than casual radio rock maybe (and full of CSN-style group harmonies), but not even as progressive as Kansas. Most of the songs stink too; I just don't like this songwriting. It almost sounds like weak singer-songwriter material adapted to a full band. They do try to write interesting lyrics though. Check out "Surf City" if you can. It's ridiculous fun!

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye - I like this album, but I have two things I want to say about it: (1) One of you people  nearly ruined Tom Petty for me by pointing out that over the course of his career, he went from a positive, spirited rock style ("American Girl," "I Won't Back Down," "Jammin' Me") to a morose, unhappy sound ("Joe," "Good Enough," nearly every song on this record). It's true! He did! There are no happy-sounding rockers on this album; everything sounds pissy. I still like the songs (I really do!), but it sure was nice when Mudcrutch 2 came out last year and showed us a happy-sounding Tom Petty again. The second thing I want to say about this album is (2) when it came out, it was hailed as 'a return to his original sound.' IT IS IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM A RETURN TO HIS ORIGINAL SOUND. It is basic rock music -- not particularly melodic, and played with negative emotions -- interspersed with some slower jazzier numbers. I can only assume it was positioned this way to let people know it wasn't another blues-rock album like "Mojo"?

Galaxie 500 - This is Our Music - 1990 final album by Boston indie rock/slowcore band. Quiet, gentle, echoey, reverby, wavery-vocally and filled with love. I feel like I should hate it, but I don't. It's nice. I used to own "On FIre," but sold it because I wasn't into it. Now maybe i would be.

Game Theory - Lolita Nation - 1987 double-album by California power pop band. It's a good mix of loud guitar power pop, very pretty college rock, experimentation and straight-up la-di-da pop songs. Unfortunately, the wimpy vocals make it sound more like wimp pop than it actually is. It's definitely a smart, diverse and enjoyable record, but you have to get past the vocals (unless you like wimps).

Arthur Brown/Vincent Crane - Faster Than the Speed of Light - Good God, this 1980 album is AWFUL! It's Andrew Lloyd Weber cornball showtune dogshit! With an orchestra and everything! Go to hell, people who write and enjoy musicals.

Hackamore Brick - One Kiss Leads to Another - 1970 Brooklyn band playing gentle, boring music with electric piano, organ, acoustic guitars and undistorted electric guitars. Wimpy and energy-sucking, like a Christian Sesame Street band trying to be the Velvet Underground. Song titles include ""Oh! Those Sweet Bananas," "I Watched You Rhumba," "Got a Gal Named Wilma" and "Peace Has Come."

Gutterball - Turnyor Hedinkov - Supergroup featuring members of the Dream Syndicate, Long Ryders, House of Freaks and the Silos. This 1995 release features rare demos and alternate versions of songs on their albums. It has a couple of good Americana/college rock-type songs, but most of it just sounds like half-empty demos and throwaway outtakes.

Haim - Days are Gone - Oh look, I turned on Soundhound, took a shit on my phone, and this album came up. This 2013 release by a trio of Californian sisters brings back the sound of late '80s radio pop -- in other words, the worst music in the history of the world. Who the hell thought it was a good idea to make new music that sounds like a 1989 prom soundtrack? Fuck these people and fuck all the critics who put it on their Best of 2013 lists. This brings back so many horrible memories from high school, when music was the most important thing in my life, yet THIS is what girls my age chose to listen to. Thank God those "days are gone." I'd rather listen to an album by COREY Haim than sit through this festering bag of r'n'b-pop shit again.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Singles Going Steady 35-Moondog Singles Part 2

I don't know if the clerk at Moondog Music felt sorry for me sitting on the floor sorting through 4 boxes of scratched up 45s and finding a few that he ended up giving me a nice deal. Instead of 98 cents, since I had more than 10, decided to charge 50 cents instead.  Which I think it was a good deal.
Alas the copy of Come Monday by Jimmy Buffett is too scratchy to be played anymore but that came from Goodwill.

Sometimes I think you have to be good and know when to go at music stores to find music of note.  This time out, I did find some quality rock and roll singles but at the same time continuing to find off the wall pop MOR garbage too.   Hearing My Melody Of Love by Wayne King, a 1940 big band weeper complete with corny poem recital courtesy of Franklyn McCormick has to be heard to be believed, and then back into the donation pile.  But I think the 45 version of this came out in 1949, the same year that RCA first issued the 45 for public consumption. and this collector's edition  (27-0024) is in very good shape.  It probably didn't played too often considering it's 68 years of age.  Somebody at You Tube found the original RCA promo touting the wave of the future, so here ya go.

So getting back to the situation at hand, these 10 records were the best of the bunch.  Had I known I was going to get a good deal I'd pick up a few more (What Have They Done To The Rain by The Searchers put back) but for the most part these were the more desirable of the bunch. Although you might question my insanity of some of them.  We can discuss this later in the comments (unless Blogger is flooding the inbox with more spam)

1)  Havah Naguila-Raymond Lefevre and Orchestra (Atlantic 2093)   1961

It's hard to picture Atlantic Records as a Muzak type of label, usually their forte was rock and rhythm and blues but it's not uncommon for them to go the Percy Faith/Ray Conniff mode such as this traditional number which we sing as Hare Krishna if not careful.  Ray Lefevre had a number 30 single for Kapp Records The Day The Rains Came back in 1958, but this was a one off single for Atlantic which didn't chart.  Lefevre would return back to Kapp for more muzak renditions of such rock and R and B hits such as Groovin, When A Man Loves A Woman and even A Whiter Shade Of Pale.  B side is a muzak version of The Fleetwoods Come Softly To Me.  And I'm sure when WMT FM was a muzak station we heard some of Raymond Lefevre's songs and didn't quite know it.

2)  Gallant Men-Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen  (Capitol 5805)  #29 1966

Illinois Republican who was a Conservative, (and the voice of the Republican Party of the 1960s)  but in this era of The FRS being POTUS and the general mindset of the GOP would be branded a liberal, he passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and 1968.  The number 29 chart showing was the first top 30 song of the oldest performer, he was 71 when it charted, but since then Moms Mabley, Gordon Sinclair and Willie Nelson have made the top 30 in their 70s.   Dirksen was  a big fan of marigolds.  He died in 1969 from a heart attack at age 73.

3)   Scalaroonie-The Touchables  (Roulette R-4284)  1960

A combination of Bird Dog and Alley Oop, plus Beep Beep.  A novelty attempt for a hit, but it was the only recording from The Touchables. B side Strawberries, combines The Chipmunks with The Kalin Twins, which is the best way I can describe this.

4)   Just Go Wild Over Rock And Roll-Bobby Dean (Chess 1673)  1957

In 1984 Chess Records became alive again when Marshall Chess sold the masters off to MCA, which begin a reissue campaign of not only the hits from the likes of Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry etc etc, there was a compilation of Chess rockabilly sides called Just Go Wild Over Rock And Roll, to which Chess Records purchased masters from off the wall rockabilly acts and small time labels, most went to Argo or Checker but Dean managed to get two singles issued on Chess itself.  And as every record collector knows out there, anything you can find on Chess Records remains one of the labels to watch for.  If you can find Cool Off Baby by Billy Barriz (Chess 1662) in great shape, you will find one of the more sought after 45s on Chess Records.  Just Go Wild is a nice 1:52 of rockabilly boogie.  B side Dime Store Pony Tail, is a bit more jazzier but the folks at Bear Family Records didn't think it was worthy of inclusion on their Chess Rockabillies comp.  Followup single Go Mr. Dillon, which celebrates Matt Dillon and Gunsmoke but with more of a Elvis influence is less interesting although you can find it on You Tube somewhere.

5)   Cherry Cherry-Neil Diamond  (Bang B-528)  #6  1966

The first top ten hit for Mr. Neil featuring Ellie Greenwich adding those extra vocals to make this song more of a classic.  But then again Cherry Cherry remains one of my top 10 all time great songs of the 1960s, which is saying something.  B Side I'll Come Running is also Neil Diamond gold, not heard all that much but it could have been a top thirty hit too had Bang decided to issue it.

6)  Queen Of The Hop-Bobby Darin (Atco 45-6127)  #9  1958

No shortage of Bobby Darin 45s as you can tell if you been following the Singles Going Steady Series.  One of the singles that Dave Edmunds would cover later on.  Bobby Darin can do just about everything and in his short time on this planet, he damn near did, going from teen idol to big band pizzazz back to folk rock and never bat an eye.  Darin started out on Decca Records with no success and then came over to Atco with Splish Splash and then Queen Of The Hop, B side Lost Love (co written with Don Kirshner) is a very moody ballad.  Kinda dark in it's own way with a bass line later used to better effect for Under The Boardwalk.  Lost Love remains a long lost b side, I don't think it's been on CD (at least not here in the states).

7)   For Sentimental Reasons-Sam Cooke (Keen 3-4002)  #17  1957

It's a big deal when I find anything from Sam Cooke that isn't You Send Me, not that You Send Me is a bad song but usually when found the record has been scratched beyond recognition.  You gotta love the way Sam plays with the words to this song, nobody could do it like Mr. Cooke.  Not a big fan of b side Desire Me but it's hold the same arrangements as You Send Me.

8)  Nobody But Me-The Human Beinz  (Capitol 5990)  #8  1967

One of the best party rock songs of the 1960s and it sounds better on a scratchy old 45.  The Beinz only made a couple of albums for Capitol, the Nobody But Me album did get reissued as a CD on Collectibles.  I thought followup single Turn On Your Love Light was just as good if not better but it only managed to staggered up to number 80.

9)   Gotta Leave Us Alone-The Outsiders (Capitol 5892)  #121 1967

They had four hit singles in 1966 but by 1967 none of their songs got past the top 100 although this song was on bubbling over and managed to be a regional top thirty hit in Cleveland.   In the 1990s Capitol issued all of the singles and put them out on the Capitol Collectors Series (later picked up by Collectibles).  Tom King passed away in 2011.  And Sonny Geraci lead singer passed away Saturday, he never did get over the brain aneurysms he suffered around 2012 and was in ill health for a long time. 

10)  Bring A Little Lovin-Los Bravos (Parrot 45-3020)  #51  1968

From Spain they came to be and this would be their final top 100 showing, although once again the song got regional hit lovin more than Billboard would give them.  The lead singer would be known as Mike Kennedy and had a 1972 hit with Louisiana.   They'll always been known for Black Is Black but you gotta love them for covering The Easybeats.  B Side Make It Last shows a bad case of oversinging if you ask me. Fun Fact: Adrian Kerriage who recorded Bring A Little Lovin also worked on the classic Dave Clark Five recordings too.  Your history lesson for today.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Week In Review: Reissues, The aging process

So far, the new year has had nothing in term of new bands and new artists to entice me into spending 40 to 50 minutes of my time listening to half assed half inspired and no last value music. If I were to do the 2017 best of, I might not find 10 CDs of note to review and comment.  Robert Christgau gave us his best of 2016 and only one CD, the Drive By Truckers album American Band was on his list and mine.  I have no use for rap or the world music that he tends to favor.  I think I'm more at home just seeing if there's any decent 45s to be found and documented.  Coming in the spring I may just clean the house of unwanted stuff.  Even I don't know how deep my collection has become in recent years and basically, let's face it a lot of these CDs and LPs won't be listened to again.  I have to figure out which ones go.

I think there's a weird way in this life that lets you know that you're time is getting less and less and that you'll be joining the folks who do leave this world.  It's not a morbid thing, death is a new beginning to whereever we may go.  Ever since turning the big 5 6, I am reminded that I'm old and that anything holding on to youth is now gone.  The fountain of youth dried up and seeing your body begin to sag, get wrinkles, old and gray and bald but at the same time, the spots you don't want having hair at continues to multiply and go in your nose and in your ears and places south.  And personal hygiene, hell, I fart more than I talk it seems, the battle of wits, between trying to keep it together while the body continues to grumble, farts, belches and my wonderful nose with a built in balloon to make thing congestive after a while.   It's a wonder that I haven't taken a shotgun and relieve me all of this mess but we have things to worry about.  Bills must get paid even after death.  And in the meantime, America elected a new tyrant who goes to the bathroom at 4 AM to tweet and ramble on about people against him.  And it's been two weeks so far.  I'm not going to go into great detail about the Mr. Failed Reality Star who is gung ho to throw this country and this world into oblivion and the spineless yesmen, aka Republicans redoing and rewriting history for their own good and purpose. The spineless Joni Wonderbags Ernst and Congressman for Life Chuckles Grassley would stall and obstruct all of last year for the Supreme Court vacant seat and now blaming the other side for their obstruction of the new Scalia wannabe, can't have it both ways Chuckles and the sniveling Kentucky idiot Bitch McConnell.  If Democrats want to get tough, they better filibuster each and every GD nominee Corporate shrill out there.  But as history has shown Democrats don't have a pair either.  Problem was The F.R.S. came as advertised, everybody knew what he was going to do and yet still either picked him or didn't vote at all.  And now he and especially the GOP are going to take your Obamacare away and pollute your drinking water with oil from leaky pipes. Well done America.   Give the FRS a chance?  He fucked that up from day one and the first of many direct orders he has given out.  If POTUS FRS signed off on single payer health care then we'll see but so far he's the worst POTUS ever after two weeks, and even Bush 43 wasn't that power hungry. But then again FRS might be a diversion, as the GOP continues to rewrite things in their favor. They were the bigger problem and voters could have done their job and throw them out but everybody got voted in. No future in this Brave New World if you keep letting Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, Steve King back in to lead you by your nose the next two years.  And we still got four more years of Wonderbags Joni.  We keep voting against them but they keep getting in.

Continuing the territorial bitchings, the viewership according to blogger has been over 200 views per day since December, fine by me, but the top five continue to be the same blogs that was written in December, which tends me to once again question the validity of who actually reads them.  There's the usual 10 to 15 Blogger spam comments awaiting deletion.  And thank God for Amanda's rant, it'll be in the top five all time blogs come next week. At least the Bruce Stanley tribute bought out actual readership, and the Swinging Steaks blog should be in the top 10 but isn't. Somehow the Greg Lake RIP blog is and that one was thrown together in ten seconds. The big drop off comes after the Tommy Allsup blog, going from 194 to 158 to 137, to which after The End Days rant at 109, the rest is less read. I tend to look at ratings more more cynicism than gratefulness.  But then again, perhaps the thought should be taking the rest of the year off and then get back to work in December and write everything.  It seems to bring everybody out to read them.

In the meantime, this Lenovo POS computer isn't even 2 years old and the damn thing is ready for the scrap heap. Constant frowny face error messages about this cesspool special needs to be restarted everytime I fart or watch you tube about 5 to 7 times per day is getting to be old and I have no patience for this  interruption, but I haven't taken a hammer to this....yet.   So it looks like I'm going have to find a more reliable computer. Lenovo lasts as long as the Gateway did, and if I have to replace a GD computer every two years I may just say fuck it and get a smart phone and hang there.  But it would be a fucking bitch to compile a blog using my thumbs on a three inch screen to.

Disc rot is a problem if you do not take care of your CDs.  For the most part I have been very lucky not to endure such problem, except for the PDO Bronze Disc problem that wouldn't play a few of those disc.  Everything ages, but if you take care and properly store your CDs you shouldn't have many problems.  I still find CDs of 30 years old and they still play like new:

Your Record World Dream Girl Pin Up Of The Month: Sara Jean Underwood. Supper's ready honey! 

Record Reviews of Some New Reissues You Might Want To Consider To Get:

Lynn Anderson-The Definite Collection (Real Gone 2017)

Renaissance tried their best with two best of sets: one that detailed her Chart years and another when she went to Columbia, and Sony Music has always kept one best of in print, but Real Gone, like they did with Porter Wagoner manages to collect the highlights of both the Chart and Columbia years.  She struck gold when she started to cover Joe South's songs (Rose Garden, Fool Me) but I am a sucker for her bluegrass take on Rocky Top, the singalong Promises Promises and taking on The Auctioneer.  But I always liked her take on Top Of The World and How Can I Unlove You.  The ballads never did much for me however and the songs on disc 2 tend to make my mind wonder.  But overall, The Definite Collection pretty much nails all the Lynn Anderson you'll ever need.
Grade B+

Gerry Rafferty-The Very Best Of-United Artistry (Varese 2017)

He got lucky with Baker Street being a big hit thanks to a saxophone hook, but then again Rafferty always made good albums for United Artists, and perhaps Varese Sarabande could have issued the other two Stealers' Wheel singles of note (The Single Version of Everyone's Agreed and Star) and you could have the essential Gerry Rafferty all in one. Amazingly EMI left off Day's Gone Down off the their best of Gerry Rafferty, which made that best of rather useless but as far as I know all of the important United Artists singles are here and in their 45 edited form.  Worth finding.
Grade A-

Chartbusters USA Special Country Edition (Ace UK 2016)

I trust Ace Records in the UK a lot more than Rhino here in the states, One thing about import labels is that they do a better research and better compiling of songs for their albums.  The Golden Age Of Country remains a stellar who's who of country artists, Chartbusters USA continues that streak of great Country Music Music before it was destroyed by the likes of Sam Hunt or Florida Gigolo Line.  Can't go wrong with The Race Is On, or Skip A Rope and the lesser known has Mr Walker It's All Over by an up and coming Billie Jo Spears, and you get hard honky tonk from the disposed rock and roller Jerry Lee Lewis What Made Milwaukee Famous and the rebel rousing Merle Haggard song Okie From Miskogee and of course the usual nods to the other kings of Country. (Understand Your Man-Johnny Cash, Tiger By The Tail-Buck).  Not as enduring as Golden Age Of Country but still worth the effort and Ace UK always has quality sound too.
Grade B+

Hard To Find 45s Volume 17 (Eric 2017)

Another label known as Eric continues their conquest for the obscure 45 and while I don't think they'll ever get as obscure as Ace or Teenage Shutdown they do make a effect to locate the lesser known. The one they tout this time around is MacArthur Park from Richard Harris, all 7:20 seconds of it (it was the longest song ever to hit the top 10), but this time out Eric dusts off You're Gonna Miss Me by the Elevators, Quinn The Eskimo by Manfred Mann, Frijid Pink's House Of The Rising Sun and You Were On My Mind by We Five, not exactly hard to find if you have Dick Bartley's compilations or even Time Life Sounds Of The 70s.  Overall, Eric Records does invoke the spirit of K Tel a lot better than K Tel ever did when K Tel returned for a short stint in the 1990s. But whoever takes care of the remastering of these sides really take the time and get a fine sound in the end.  Like K Tel, Eric Records' comps can be erratic and too corny but overall, not a bad batch of songs.
Grade B+

BTO-Street Action/Rock And Roll Nights (BGO 2017)

Without Randy Bachman, BTO simply was a boogie band and while critics point out at these albums were not needed, I tended to think both had some good moments although nothing did stand out.  As long as they had Fred Turner doing the majority of the songs I would still buy their albums.  Street Action was an album that I bought at Marion TV and Records after helping them move a TV set and they gave store credit for an album.  Street Action to me was a better album than Freeways, the last Randy Bachman album the year before, at least they kept it straight ahead rock and roll.  Jim Clench (April Wine) replaced Randy and contributed vocals to songs like You're Gonna Miss Me Some Day Fred sang on I'm In Love, Street Action and Madison Avenue   A good album but had no hits of its own.  The next year Mercury paired BTO up with Jim Vallance and hooked him up with some songs written by an up an comer named Bryan Adams, (Jamaica although another song had a different set of lyrics and renamed something else).  They had a minor hit with Heartaches and they came up with the bombastic Rock And Roll Nights.  Even with Vallance and Adams helping, Rock And Roll Nights was a bit more uneven, leading up to them covering Gene Simmons' Rock And Roll Hell and concluding with Amelia Earhart, an oddball jazz number that ended the record, and BTO's Mercury output on a strange note.   It probably makes cosmic sense to get this as a two on one CD, I got both CDs when Polygram reissued them in 1990 and probably played both of them once in twice ever since. It's commendable that they moved on without Randy Bachman but without Randy's signature guitar leads and songwriting, they seemed to be spinning their wheels most of the time.
Grade B-

Jackie DeShannon-Classic Masters (Capitol 2002)

It's debatable if she was the better of the two between her and Dusty Springfield, both could write great songs, otherwise The Searchers would not have used Needles And Pins or When You Walk In The Room, or The Byrds covering Don't Doubt Yourself Babe (which isn't on this best of).  Starting off with the overblown cover of Faded Love didn't help things much.  She's much better off trying to be Dionne Warwick rather than Brenda Lee, which What The World Needs Now did fairly good on the charts (best version remains The Sweet Inspirations BTW).  We'll always love her for Put A Little Love In Your Heart, which helped us through a trying time back then.  Not essential but if you're looking for nice alternative versions of I Can Make It With You and The Weight done Jackie's way, you might be surprised.  But you may want to fast forward through Faded Love though.
Grade B

Brantley Gilbert-The Devil Don't Sleep (2017)
Butt rocking bro country drone (review below)   D

Mark Prindle Reviews:

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye - I like this album, but I have two things I want to say about it: (1) One of you people nearly ruined Tom Petty for me by pointing out that over the course of his career, he went from a positive, spirited rock style ("American Girl," "I Won't Back Down," "Jammin' Me") to a morose, unhappy sound ("Joe," "Good Enough," nearly every song on this record). It's true! He did! There are no happy-sounding rockers on this album; everything sounds pissy. I still like the songs (I really do!), but it sure was nice when Mudcrutch 2 came out last year and showed us a happy-sounding Tom Petty again. The second thing I want to say about this album is (2) when it came out, it was hailed as 'a return to his original sound.' IT IS IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM A RETURN TO HIS ORIGINAL SOUND. It is basic rock music -- not particularly melodic, and played with negative emotions -- interspersed with some slower jazzier numbers. I can only assume it was positioned this way to let people know it wasn't another blues-rock album like "Mojo"?

Cheap Trick - Lap of Luxury - So EIGHTIES! 1988, but sounds like 1986. I like almost all of the songs, but holy cow, so EIGHTIES! "After the fire, after all the rain -- I will be THE FLAAAAAAAME!" And remember that shitty cover of "Don't Be Cruel"? It's on here and it RULES! I can't believe I like all these songs. Maybe it's just nostalgia for a simpler time, when music was terrible?

Funkadelic - Maggot Brain - I tried to get into these guys about 20 years and couldn't do it because they confused me so much. Maybe I started with the wrong album, because this one is very easy to like! It's funky and it rocks - great funk/blues guitar licks to sing along with, excellent soloing by Eddie Hazel, and the songs are hooky too! I'll definitely have to check out more of their discography.

Johnny Cash - At Madison Square Garden - 1969 show released in 2002. Has lots of classics ("Big River," "I Still Miss Someone," "Five Feet High and Rising," "The Long Black Veil," "Folsom Prison Blues," "A Boy Named Sue," "Cocaine Blues," "The Ballad of Ira Hayes," "Daddy Sang Bass") and performances by Carl Perkins, The Statler Brothers and The Carter Family. His stage patter is a lot more earnest and sedate than in his prison performances, but the music is great. I also love the bit where he mentions his critics calling him a 'hawk' for performing for the troops in Vietnam. His response: "I'm a dove with claws."