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. http://www.nme.com/news/music/stagehand-blamed-metallicas-mic-fail-grammys-1975318?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social
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: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/12/514877528/grammy-awards-2017-the-full-list-of-winners
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 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/12/arts/music/al-jarreau-singer-who-spanned-jazz-pop-and-rb-worlds-dies-at-76.html?_r=0
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.
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) http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/02/17/515775669/the-best-or-worst-band-of-all-time-is-back?utm_source=tumblr.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nprmusic&utm_term=music&utm_content=20170217
(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. http://www.trailerradio.com/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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