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."

1 comment:

TAD said...

Hey Crabby, forgot to mention earlier, the "Bowling Green Massacre" sign is hilarious.