Thursday, March 23, 2017

Week In Review: What New Music, Chuck Berris, Sib Hashian

With me getting busy at work, I haven't had much time of posting things.  Which really doesn't matter since the December 5, the same blogs getting read over and over again (Christmas 2016 still putting in double digits views and Blogger hasn't posted the 10th most viewed blog of all time.  For the first time since December 1, readers dropped under a 100 views: 81 on St Patrick's Day.  We're still have 100 plus readers so say the ratings but I believe it's more of a alternative fact. Divide two from the actual readership and that's probably the right numbers.

In the meantime new music is coming out, but I'm not hearing it.  The total albums reviewed the whole year so far: five.  Somewhere along the way Nicki Minaj has passed Aretha Franklin with the most Billboard hot 100 hits entries ever with 76 "songs" passing Franklin's 73.  Nicki placed 3 new singles on the chart last week, and none of the 76 songs I have ever heard.  To which Minaj gave folks her Twerk of support.   But it shows my age, or indifference.  The only place I could ever hear her auto tuned robotic voice might have been at the downtown Taco Bell as they play Urban R and B (Rap).  But then again, like TV, I don't pay attention to the radio, it's the same 300 songs on Classic Rock, New Country sucks and the less said about top forty radio the better.  Record World congratulates Ms. Minaj on her ability to make the top 100, but in the end I still prefer the original Alvin Chipmunk and Ross Bagdasian for being trailblazers of auto tuned sounds.

For the first time in about 2 years, I couldn't find a thing to buy at Moondog Music.  Sometimes that's the way things go.  Did find a few 45s at the Goodwill Maquoketa store and a couple Goodwill Dubuque CDs but this time out, it was a bust.

Speaking of busts, The Iowa Hawkeyes are done from the NITs.  With a whopping 25 turnovers and going 8 out of 19 in free throw shooting at home, TCU outlasted them 92-90 in Overtime concluding a season of high peaks and low valleys and the Hawks finally succumbing from their dismal free throw shooting abilities.   Jordan Bohannan  kept Iowa in the game with a couple of three point bombs but in the end, playing no defense and being generous in turnovers and a developing career in bricklaying  has put the 2016-1017 season in the history books.   The Hawks lose Peter Jok and his 91 percent free throw shooting from the line but everybody else should return.   Hopefully some of them will learn to shoot free throws too.

Something about Carver Hawkeye Arena that seems to help the other team rather than the Hawkeyes, the Iowa Girls made the sweet 16 before Washington State beat them in Iowa City 74-66.  Ally Disterdorf finishes her career at all time leader in scoring with 2.102 points. While Iowa scored the first 12 points and a 20-13 lead, they went on a 7 minute scoreless streak that doomed them. Strangely Washington has a losing record in the WNIT, they're now 16-19 and going to the final four in the WNIT.  The Hawkeye girls should have not even lost to this team, even more so at home.  On the positive side of things in the state, the local Junior College girls Kirkwood won the Division 2 Junior College title with a 61-46 win over Johnson Country (Kansas) Simone Goods scored 19 pounts and got 17 rebounds and was named MVP of the Tournaments.

Again Steve Alford made the sweet sixteen in the NCAAs only to be shown the door once again  Kentucky beat them 85-76.  While Indiana would love to welcome him back, Alford swears he's happy at UCLA and will stay there.  Not sure if Bruin Nation will like that, oh and Rent A Player Lonzo Ball has declared for the NBA draft, much to the happiness of his dad.   He should be a top three player taken.  UCLA will reload on replacements.

Passings: Chuck Barris, best known for giving us The Gong Show and The Newlywed Game passed away from a long illness on Tuesday, he was 87.

While Tom Scholtz brings his Boston band back in town again another of his former bandmates has passed away.  Sib Hashian the burly Afro haired style power drummer died from a heart attack playing on stage on a rock and roll fantasy cruise ship Wednesday Night, he was 67.  Sid was brought on board to beef up some of the demos that led to Boston's first album and stayed on board for live shows since Scholtz tended to do most of the songs himself with little input from the classic Boston lineup.  But while Tom continue to use other members to do later albums, Sib would play drums for Barry Gourdeau's 1980 S/T album to which Barry managed to capture the Boston sound along with the late Brad Delp who ten years ago left the world. But throughout the rest of Sib's life he would help Barry and Brad on various projects.  In fact Sib was with Barry and Mike Antunes on that cruise jam.

As we get older, what remaining bands of the classic rock era are gearing up for "farewell" tours and Fleetwood Mac is one of them.  While Stevie Nicks lamented about the Mac never making another album again that didn't stop Christine McVie and Lindsay Buckingham to come up with new songs for a forthcoming album called Buckingham/McVie with John McVie and Mick Fleetwood providing rhythm. It may or may not be issued on Reprise.  In the meantime the late Chuck Berry's new album is due in stores (or online buying) tomorrow. Simply called Chuck it was his final album of new songs since the disappointing Rock It! in 1979   Although Keith Richards might have grieve over the passing of the rock and roll riff king, the way I been hearing reports, Chuck didn't care much for the guy, I could be wrong.  They butted heads constantly in the making of the 1986 Hail Hail Rock And Roll and Berry punched him in the face when Richards touched Chuck's guitar.  For myself, I celebrated Chuck's passing by playing both volumes of the Rarities albums that MCA put out in 1985, remastered by Steve Hoffman and Hoffman did a great job cleaning the tapes up. Plus listening to Fresh Berries, the first Chuck Berry album I ever bought (1.99 at Arlan's many moons ago), still a fun album although Berry by then was repeating himself.  In fact he used the same riffs for Merrily We Rock and Roll and Every Day We Rock And Roll, and another bunch of same riffs to My Mustang Ford and Ain't That Just Like A Woman.  Berry was getting quite lazy by Fresh Berries but the record still is a fun listen. A lot more fun before the mediocre Mercury era came around, come to think of it, Fresh Berries was the truly last fun Chuck Berry album ever. By then he was resting on his reputation and there's plenty of stories of his legacy around.  Both good and bad.

Singles Going Steady Medley-Maquoketa 45's

It's been a lackluster bunch of finds for CDs, nothing found in Coralville nor Dubuque and the only things of note were some quarter finds of 7 inch vinyl.    Reviewed in real time.

1)  Ruby Baby-"Larry Dexter"  Hit Records No. 52  1963

Continuing our look at the cheaper versions of the hit singles from the folks at Spur/Hit Records.  For the most part some of the better Nashville session players did play on these 39 cent bargains. We really don't know who Larry Dexter is but he does a credible version of Dion's number and I gotta admire the folks at Hit Records to keeping the arrangements as close to the Dion performance including the ad libs.  Certainly, the enthusiasm by the Nashville session players have made searching out these early Hit Records versions worth hearing, although by the late 60s, indifference to the modern music of the Beatles and such were beginning to creep up.  Dexter would make one more single Blue On Blue on the more pop slanted Giant Records (no relation to the 1990s label) but even the internet cannot crack the secrecy of who Larry Dexter was.  That goes for Rett Hardin on B Side of the cover of Bobby Darin's You're The Reason I'm Living, which is more up Nashville's alley it's fun to guess who was doing what, but the piano player sounds a lot like Hargis Pig Robbins, who played on many many Nashville sessions.

2)  Promise Me Anything Blues-Dora (Dorothy)  Hall (Reinbeau 6060)  1966?

Another of those artists who you see records in the thrift bins and have no idea who they are.  It took a while to find anything on her, nothing showed up as Dorothy Hall but as Dora Hall, she recorded a lot for Reinbeau Records in the 60s.  To which the term Vanity star comes, there's a website that dedicates some time discussing about Dora Hall and it's worth a read:
Hall was a passable cabaret singer of the 1920s and married the guy that gave us the cozy solo  cup Leo Hulseman who did his damnest to make her singing career take off when she was in her 60s.  The other side of this single All He Would Say Is Uhm Uhm might have been the A side.  Despite the effort of her approving hubby, none of her singles charted but she has fans out there that care for this easy listening sort of vanity music.  Look hard enough and you'll find a dedicated fan with a site preserving the efforts of Dora Hall.

3)  Today-The New Christy Minstrels  (Columbia 4-43000)  #17  1964

The folk music scene was winding down due to the Beatles and Dave Clark Five invading from across the ocean but the New Christy Minstrels managed to show a respectable number 17 with this bland number to which I wonder why I bought this in the first place.  B side is the mysterious Miss Katy Cruel.  Although this record has been played, it plays like new, give or take a few dust pops in the groove.

4)   If I'm A Fool For Loving You-Jimmy Clanton (Phillips 40208)  1964  #1 WFBC Greenville SC

A regional hit in some places but Jimmy's Phillips years didn't have any that popped on the Billboard Top 100.  A teen idol stuck in trying to grow up, He gets hooked with Jerry Kennedy and the Merry Melodie Singers and goes for a country sound, this was written by Stan Kesler (who produced Sam The Sham Wooly Bully), and the guess work is that the usual Nashville Session players at that time backed him up  (Hargis Robbins, Roy Drusky Jr.  (perhaps) and  Buddy Harman).  Arranged by Ray Stevens of all people but he did arrange for Ronnie Dove as well too.  The other side A Million Drums was co written by the team of Jeff Barry and Arnie Rensick and have an Maharishi type of horns with Harman's trademark drumming style.  This song may have been geared toward rock top 40. In reality in terms of teen idol singers, Clanton was somewhat in the middle/bottom of the list.  He didn't have the type of voice that stood out  like Johnny Tillison or Brian Hyland but he wasn't the worst of them all.  He was a step above say Eddie Hodges or Fabian.

5)  Half Heaven-Half Heartbreak-Gene Pitney (Musicor 1026)  #12 1962

Great.  This record has a nice scratch through the first minute of the bland pop ballad.  Gene Pitney has always been a schizophrenic singer songwriter, coming up with some nice pop nuggets (It Hurts To Be In Love) and then some awful balladry (Mecca).  I tend to look at this song in the latter. B side Tower Tall isn't much better.

6)  Rosie Why Do You Wear My Ring?-Kenny Dino (Kenneth Diono)  (Musicor 1015)  1962

From the guy that gave us Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night tries to follow up with the same results and falls short on the charts.  I have to admit those ba baba ba bop chick singers do have a nice catchy hook to them. Credit Lois Green, Leslie Smith and Alan Eicher for that.  B side What Did I Do is teen idol pop

Record Review

Lambert, Ross And Hendricks-The Hottest New Group In Jazz (Columbia 1996)

Or the complete LBH since Columbia issued all three of their albums plus a bunch of outtakes on a 2 CD set.  This sort of scat jazz is not for everybody and Annie Ross can really belt out those high notes, Halloween Spooks is the type of shrieks that bring to mind Yoko Ono or Bjork.   Dave Lambert's 1966 car accident silenced the trio once and for all but Bobby Hendricks and Annie Ross have their fans and in short inspired the likes of Janis Siegal and The Manhattan Transfer.  In the the course of their three albums they do have moments (Everybody's Boppin which includes a insane scat duet between Lambert and Hendricks and adding words to John Coltrane's Mr PC which might be their best known me) but to these ears, the way out singing and scatting gets too close to the Hi Lo's, who have their own fans as well.  So does Slim Whitman for that matter.
Grade B-

The Rolling Stones-Beggar's Banquet (London 1968)

For the first time ever in my life I finally found a copy of a Cd and managed to take a listen to it.  The newer 2002 remaster version really brings the sound out in front thanks to Jon Astley  who has a uneven track record in mastering things (He blotches the hell out of Ram Jam's Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Ram) but here you practically have Brian Jones in your car playing the slide to No Expectations and of course those jungle congas on the overblown Sympathy For The Devil stand out too.  In essence I think the album does get overrated, Jigsaw Puzzle  seems to go on forever, Dear Doctor is ho hum and then Sympathy itself tends to be a channel changer although fifty years later I am tolerating it more often if I don't hear it more than once a month.  On the other side Street Fighting Man is one of their all time best, Prodigal Son is more evil than Sympathy  and Salt Of The Earth jams pretty damn hard to close things out on a high note.  Do I love this album? Not really, but I do like it enough to warrant it the first step of albums that defined the Stones up to Exile On Main Street and yes it was the end of the Brian Jones era and the start of the Mick Taylor era to which they challenged the Who, Beatles and The Kinks in making five stars albums.  If you think about it, the era of 1968 to 1973 continues to be the best of all time for albums.  And you had to be there to enjoy it all.  Five decades later, albums like Beggar's Banquet hold up better than anything modern rock has to offer, and perhaps the Stones being influenced by the blues and soul did figure into they coming into their own and making their own style and sound.  Like Sgt Pepper, Banquet remains a album I can recommend for the influence of rock music but for me to listen to it on my own time, that's another subject matter, Let It Bleed is the better of the first two Stones album after Satanic Majesties Request, but make no mistake, Beggar's Banquet is good classic album, but not enough for me to call it an all time classic.  Therefore.
Grade A-

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Chuck Berry Story From Bobby Corona

My Chuck Berry story… I booked Chuck for two shows at Keystone Palo Alto and it was a big deal because he had not been in Northern California in years. This date followed booking a number of these types of acts, that had not appeared in NorCal for years usually because of tax implications, like James Brown, the Four Tops, the Temps, st cetera. The William Morris agency represented him and my buddy Ronnie Kaye was the agent. Chuck was a notorious no show for performances, but I was willing to book him if I had a minimal deposit and paid the balance at the show. I received the rider if the contract, and it was for a back line of equipment and three musicians that I was to hire. As the date approached, my production manager let me know that he had not heard from a tour or road manager and had no idea on what the specific requests were going to be other than what was on the rider. He had no idea what time Chuck would be arriving for rehearsal, sound check, and light check. A couple days before the date, I got really concerned and called the agency and ask Ronnie what the deal was. The next thing I know, Chuck is on the phone to me personally. I ask him what he needs for the date to be successful, and he says "only cash"... I start laughing until he interrupts me and says, "no brother… What I'm saying is, cash before I go on, handed to me!" I said well OK, but what about rehearsal time and he said, "rehearsal? I don't need no rehearsal." I said what about the three guys he's never played with before and he said, "Son, everybody knows my songs… They grew up on them and everybody knows how to play them". Anyways, the day shows up, we have two shows that are both sold out and he hasn't shown up or called. About an hour before the show, I'm starting to get frantic, as I have sold 1600 seats that night and have no Chuck Berry. My sister runs in the promoters office and says that she happen to pick up the information line to tell people that the show was sold out and that Chuck Berry was on the phone. I pick up and try to be as cool as possible with something like, "where the hell are you, you go on in 90 minutes". He says how far is the club from the airport and I say about 30 minutes and he said "well you better get somebody up here to pick me up if you want me to get on stage". Believe it or not, the only person I had handy to pick him up with my mother! She actually drove a Cadillac Eldorado, which truck loved, up to SFO and picked him up at his gate and brought him to the club. She had a ball and he loved her! When he arrived, it was literally 10 minutes before the show and I handed him five minutes before the first show $5000 in cash for the 8 o'clock and at 10:45 another $5000 cash for the 11 o'clock show. Before both shows, he carefully counted every single hundred to make sure that it is exactly correct and then has me walk him to the stage from the promoters office. He swings his guitar over his shoulder and in front of him, slung over his shoulder, plugs it in from the wing of the stage, shakes my hand, winks at me, and says "watch how it's done son", runs out into the middle of stage center facing the drummer, and yells "every man for himself", and starts ripping into Johnny B. Goode. The band immediately jumps in and finds its way, the audience goes crazy, I start smiling and realizing everything is going to be OK, and you know what? He was right… Everybody knew every one of his songs :-) "Every man for himself…":) I will never forget that as long as I live. RIP Chuck ..

(Courtesy from Laurie at KPIG Radio) 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week In Review: Townedger Radio 28, Passings

So far 2017 is worse than last year, go figure.  Blogspot continues to tout the same five postings from December, ignoring the latter day stuff and this computer is a even bigger joke.  We replaced the Blue Frowny FU face with now the OH SNAP something happened message while on Facebook.  I now call this piece of shit Lenovo made in China shit, TRUMP.   And in the meantime, our washer's motor burned up so I'm now hand washing my clothes.  And we ended up getting 6 inches of snow Sunday night too. Mother Nature's way of saying it's still winter here.

With daylight savings time here upon us, we get another of daylight at the expense of losing an hour of sleep and while I like the idea of more daylight, I have found myself more groggy and more annoyed than usual.  A common side effect. The do nothing GOP would like to take away DST (along with your healthcare and minimum wage increases) and have white folk make more babies, another comical comment from the racist from the west side of the state Steve King.  And yet while GOP controls everything, they still blame the Democrats for problems to which the GOP has no solution. But to give more tax cuts to the 1 percent. Enough is enough.

Passings this week: Joey Alves, rhythm guitar extraordinaire for Y and T passed away from ulcers Sunday, he was 63.  Joni Sledge was found dead in her Phoenix home on Saturday, you know her from We Are Family Sister Sledge fame, she was 60.  And Paul Ryan and the FRS still live on. On March 6, it was reported that Valerie Carter who had a minor hit with OOH Child and made a couple of albums for Columbia in the 1970s passed away from a heart attack, she was 64.  Lyle Ritz, bass player for The Wrecking Crew  and  “Father of the Jazz Ukulele.”  died after a lon illness. He was 87.

Tommy LiPuma, famed producer who formed Blue Thumb Records back in the 1960s and worked on Leon Russell's last album Life's Journey, passed away Tuesday from a short illness.  He was 80.

James Cotton, famed harmonica player who played in Muddy Waters and Johnny Winters band as well his own passed away from Phenomena on Thursday, he was 81.

Meanwhile we continue to monitor the Steve Alford chokejob in March, whereas his UCLA Bruins got pounded by Arizona 86-75 Friday Night in the Pac 12 Tournament to which Bruin nation is rolling their eyes and hoping he leaves for Indiana soon after Tom Crean gets released.  UCLA is 29-4 this season and had a great roster of players including the coach's son.  Alford has always had this albatross around his neck of having great seasons only to stumble and fall in the NCAA's.  Granted he had some sort of magic for Iowa back in the early years of the Big Ten Tournaments, winning the first one and then runner up the next year.  In 2006 while trying to fend off the Iowa hateful, Iowa won the 2006 Big Ten Tournament (the last time they ever made the final game) and then got upset by Northeast Louisiana in the first round, so much for the 26 win season, to which people remember the NE LA upset rather than the magical year.  Seeing the pitchforks coming closer, he bolted for New Mexico to where he would continue the great season and lackluster playoffs games, only making Sweet 16 once and getting upset along the way before UCLA came a calling and threw a bunch of money his way.  Last season UCLA disappointed many and pissed off Bruin Nation (they really do have very low tolerance for subpar seasons, John Wooden spoiled them), but the AD held on to him and UCLA won 29 games so far, but Bruin Nation will remember the Arizona win more than they will of the regular season and anything short of making the Elite 8 or Final 4 is unacceptable.  So Rumorland has Alford being interested of the Indiana head coach position since Tom Crean is on the hot seat and it has gotten microwave hotter  with a lackluster record and a second round loss to Wisconsin, their best game of the year was the game they shot 71 percent in the second half to win over Iowa in the Hawkeyes' annual one and done appearance in the tourneys.

As expected Iowa didn't make the NCAA Tourney but they are seeded number 1 in the NIT. Which means they will have home field as long as they win games till they hit New York.  First up will be South Dakota, a team in the same league as with Nebraska Omaha which did beat the Hawks earlier in the year.  South Dakota also has former Hawkeye Trey Dickerson at point guard.  But it's a new season, where you either win or call it a season.  It's a good feeling to be a number 1 seed in the NIT regardless.  Here's hoping they'll make a run toward the Big Apple.

The SXSW event happens this week in Austin, which means total chaos will be down there.  Up and coming prog rockers King Buffalo played Fubar at St Louis Saturday Night and robbers broke into their van and stole 750 dollars and some personal belongings.  The band managed to have their musical equipment and gear still in tact (a rarity) but as they say another 10 minutes and King Buffalo may have come to a empty van.  St Louis has been getting a might bad rap for bands getting their stuff stolen in the middle of the night and of course King Buffalo is becoming one of many bands finding out the hard way that all around protection to watch your stuff is the way to go.  They have set up a Go Fund Me page to try to get some sort of money back used for the SXSW showcase and pending European Tour.

Bob Dorr is hanging up The Blue Band after 35 years and countless band members coming and going. But Bob will continue to keep the band going till Jan 12-13, 2018 when The Blue Band concludes at The Riverside Casino.  Bob will continue to do his shows on KUNI, namely BackTracks and Beatles Medley and a few others.  And will make the usual showing up at Parlor City on Tuesday Night Blues Jam.  He's not done yet.

Seems like whoever I follow on Blogspot is like the kiss of death. Josh Schott has decided to shut down his Country Perspective site in favor of new opportunities I.E. something that actually pays.  I wish him well. But we move on.

Tad has finally found me in Facebook land (lucky for him) but he continues to take over reviewing strange bad albums of the past, most particularly the infamous Cromagnon Cave Rock CD that I pawned off on him and continue to hear about it (hahahahahaha!)  He calls it the Environments sounds for the Zombie Apocalypse and yes it's beyond belief. Especially when you get children chant Freedom for about five minutes on a segment "song piece"  I wrote about the album a few years ago and it's in the archives.   I'm surprised he took a listen to ELP Works Volume 1, the bloated and pompous 2 album set of wanking off and I hope I scared him away of Love Beach forever, it still sucks Tad.  However, if you're interested, Works Volume 2 is a much better listen and actually has songs of note, I managed to find a cutout of that CD when Shout Factory deleted the catalog when ELP moved over to Razor and Tie and now BMG to become the most reissued band ever.  I think we disagree on Gaucho, I liked it more than he did although it's no Aja or even Katy Lied for that matter. As for Hatfield And The North, it's a fragmented album and a shame some of the songs didn't get more developed. The Beach Boys Friends is a hodgepodge of Trans-mediation bullshit, title track was probably the best of the bunch. Bought the CD simply of 20/20 being the other album and well that album should had led off the CD.  Friends is only 25 minutes long but it feels twice as long. The LA album might have been their worst but Friends might be their worst Capitol album of all time.  UK's Danger Money sucked from the word go when I first heard it, Terry Bozzio replaces Bill Bruford, Alan Holdsworth moves on to other things and John Wetton auditions for what would be Asia a few years later.  But Danger Money is better than Love Beach.  Tad also throws his thoughts on Barclay James Harvest, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and other bands of note in his latest blog.

Singles Going Steady Medley: Uncharted and unloved

It's So Easy!-The Crickets (Brunswick 9-55094)  1958

I find it hard to believe this didn't chart on the Billboards.  One of the more garage sounding songs of the 1950s Buddy Holly did invent garage rock on the Brunswick singles.  My copy is a reference copy, scratchy as hell and seen better days.

You're Making A Mistake-The Platters (Mercury 71320)  #50 1958

My thought that My Old Flame was the A Side and I was more familiar with that song rather than Mistake was made top fifty but never heard that song.  As I get older and more nostalgic about the good ole days (if there were any of those even back then) I find my collection being peppered by a lot of Bobby Darin and Platters singles.  The distinctive vocals of Tony Williams was a great selling point and perhaps the most I D'ed singer of The Platters and Mistake does pale next to classics like The Great Pretender and Only You.  But I don't think buyers cared much of the whistling dude on the break.  Rarely gets heard on the radio or for that matter, appears on any Platters best of (unless Bear Family issues a best of).

The Greatest Builder-Bobby Darin (Decca 9-30031)  1956

I suppose to make a Singles Going Steady thingy is to include Bobby Darin on it eh?  Actually, I think I have found most of all what I'm looking for although I  yet to have any of his Capitol singles in my collection.  Before jumping on Atlantic, Bobby spent a couple years on Decca with hardly much success (Silly Willy, the single before this hinted toward teen pop with Splish Splash, which Decca would reissue after the success of the bathtub song) but The Greatest Builder  is a semi gospel number complete with syrupy strings and chorus done by Jack Pleis, Decca's version of a Dick Jacobs, It shows Darin could make something out of a bland gospel number, or at least he believed in the song enough to make it a gallant try.  B side Ring Them Bells (written by the odious Mort Garson) is more of the same blandness.  Found this 45 many years ago with the original Decca sleeve for a quarter at Goodwill and it still plays in mint condition. I wonder why.

Pop, Let Me Have The Car-Carl Perkins (Columbia 4-41207)  1958

While Johnny Cash got better famous on Columbia when he continued his country sound, Perkins hard rockabilly somehow never took off, but I do think Perkins had some real hard rock and roll on these sides, especially this song and B side Levi Jacket, to which only The Beatles were listening long and hard enough, but even they picked his Sun Sides.   Like It's So Easy!, Let Me Have The Car only bubbled under, a shame really cause it's my favorite Carl Perkins song of all time.  I'm Surprised Dave Edmunds didn't cover this song.  I can't recall where I bought the forty five, it may have been the Salvation Army up town Marion many years ago and sat in my dad's collection. While it looks beat up, it plays and sounds a lot better than the trashed copy of It's So Easy!

Town Crier-Tommy Roe (ABC Paramount 45-10379)   1963

Sheila got him in Buddy Holly territory, but by Town Crier, producer Felton Jarvis had him covering pop stuff, somewhat like label mate Brian Hyland and while Town Crier got some sort of regional top 30 loving, the Billboard charts kept it under the top 100.  B side Rainbow is another mismatch song that originally done by Roy Hamilton (Don't Let Go).  Next single the The Folk Singer (written by Vic Maile who later became one of the best producers of all time with his work with The Pirates, Inmates, Godfathers and Dr. Feelgood) staggered to number 84 on the charts before Everybody made it to number 3 later in the year.  Steve Barri would guide Roe to the top of the charts with songs like Dizzy, Jack And Jill and Jam Up And Jelly Tight (co written with Freddy Weller).

Record Reviews:

Various Artists: The Real Kansas City Of The 20's, 30's, 40's (Columbia 1996)

Twenty years ago there was so so movie called Kansas City that was supposed to be about the jazz music scene and the shady folks that ran the speakeasys down there but I don't think I ever saw the movie but had enough interest to put out an album of authentic Kansas City inspired Jazz.  Of course the heavy hitters are on this (Bennie Moten, Count Basie who gets four songs here, Jesse Stone (later revamped Atlantic R and B with Shake Rattle And Roll, sung by Big Joe Turner who has two songs included under the leadership of Pete Johnson, including Cherry Red and Baby Look At You Now, later known as Roll Em Pete).  The term is more Swing Band than absolute jazz, although the blues would come in later from Jay McSwann and Ernie Fields (who later revamped In The Mood to a rock and roll beat thanks to Earl Palmer).  The girls stand out, Julia Lee, Mary Lou Williams and even Billie Holiday contribute some fine songs  like Little Joe From Chicago, and Long Gone Blues.  Two decades later, not much interest is out there anymore for Kansas City Jazz but The Real Kansas City Jazz of those three decades were real and swinging jazz.
Grade B+

Atlantic Jazz Legends Volume 1 (Rhino/Atlantic 1993)

Atlantic was instrumental in the development of jazz of the 1950s and later 60s, but in a attempt to lure buyers to seek out the originals, Rhino Records put out the first volume of a series of jazz standards and greatest hits so to speak. While there was never a proper volume 2, Volume 1 collects some outstanding tracks from Ray Charles (Sweet Sixteen Bars), John Coltrane with McCoy Tyler taking a good five minutes of his own soloing on My Favorite Things, the lesser known Yusef Lateef with a funk jazz of Nubian Lady, Rahsaan Roland Kirk's Inflated Tear and the economical and to the point: Mose Alison's Your Mind's On Vacation. And the FM classic Compared To What by Les McCann and Eddie Harris. Ornotte Coleman's Ramblin is one of his more straight ahead jazz numbers, he's usually out there doing some sort of free jazz freakouts.  The MJQ's Golden Striker might be their best number and I can't complain with Herbie Mann's Comin Home Baby.  For those who might not like jazz and only want to hear a sample of the better Atlantic numbers from such artists, it's worth seeking out.
Grade A-

Atlantic Jazz Keyboards (Rhino/Atlantic 1994)

If Jazz Legends Volume 1 is essential, Jazz Keyboards is more of a luxury.  Jimmy Yancey, was a great boogie woogie piano player of the the 30s and 40s but by How Long Blues, he was at the end of his career and it's one of the better songs to start out.  Errol Garner's The Way You Look Tonight is more uptempo than usual for him and Evidence from Theolonious Monk and Art Blakey has been done better before from Monk but still worthwhile to hear Art Blakey to add his off the wall drum taps.  Some of the piano pieces borderline on New Age boredom and the Chick Corea  avant garde free jazz freakout of Straight Up And Down is better suited for a Free Jazz comp, this sticks out too much like a sore thumb.  Other highlights include John Lewis, Little Girl Blue, Mitchell Ruff' Trio's Catbird Seat, Les McCann's Doin That Thing and Junior Mance's Sweet Georgia Brown and of course The Genius After Hours by Ray Charles.   Joel Dorn who compiled this, adds four of his own productions to this collection. Which tends to shift this collection to a more dispensable but an entertaining compilation.
Grade B

The Monkees-Forever (Rhino 2016)

Fearing the end of the Monkees since the guys are now in their 70s, Rhino decided to quick rush out a best of after Good Times was completed and in reality Good Times was their best album in years. She Makes Me Laugh was picked from that album and they could have gone with You Set The Summer too.  This time out, Listen To The Band was taken off in favor of You Just Might Be The One from Mike Nesmith and again the argument could have been both songs could have fit on this best of as well.  Basically the Davy Jones ballads are limited to Daydream Believer.  It picks most of the best known songs from the Monkees from Last Train To Clarksville, I'm A Believer up to their 1985 comeback bubblegum hit That Was Then, This Is Now to which at that time Arista, who had their masters issued a couple albums, and when Rhino signed them up, issued the rest.  Pool It! still sucks but Heart And Soul does rock fairly well.  Look, I'm a fan as much as the next person and even think that Changes is a worthy addition to your record collection, but any compilation that can tack on Words and Goin Down, is bonus points.  Even if the whacked out saxophone at the end does get tiring.
Grade B+

Vince Gill-Down To My Last Bad Habit (MCA 2016)

I don't know.  Gill is one of the nice guys of music but his albums never seem to move me past playing them twice and then donating them away.  Goodwill had his latest in the 2 buck bin so I decided to listen to it on my trip back from Dubuque which I left empty handed at Moondog Music. I can't say this is country but more toward Blues pop rock starting with  Reasons For The Tears I Cry, which rips off a Keith Richard chord (or maybe Chuck Berry, of course it's Chuck, he started the whole thing).  It has a rock slant with Steve Jordan and Willie Weeks being the rhythm section, and of course Vince writes all of the songs with help from Al Anderson and Ashley Monroe on others.  I like Vince when he rocks out, not much so when he goes all balladry and this record is full of dull ballads, including the turd with Chris Botti. The only true country song is the one dedicated to George Jones.  And the bonus cuts (from the deluxe edition) help a lot, the blues slanted Rock In My Shoe and Lonesome Dove In The Moonlight (the obligatory Sheryl Crow duet, which she does a good job in backing vocal).  If you get the original album without the bonus cuts you're missing out but with the bonus cuts, Gill has simply too many slow tempo songs to recommend it wholeheartedly.
Grade B-

Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young-Roosevelt Raceway Westbury New York 1974 (Aircuts 2015)

A radio broadcast from the Cocaine Tour to which David Crosby and Steven Stills were half bombed on drugs and Graham Nash and Neil Young trying to piece it all together.  In fact, Young's songs are the best of the bunch with a good cover of Walk On, but whoever's is screeching the backing vocals on Helpless needs to lay off the coke.  Doesn't help when Stills switches the first verse of Love The One Your With to the last and you wish David Crosby would shut up on Almost Cut My Hair.  Nash saves the album from total chaos with a better version of Our House than on Four Way Street. The sudden silent pauses between songs gives this a bootleg feeling ala Live At Leeds from The Who but the lesser known songs from CSNY are simply boring.   Haven't heard the Live 1974 box set from Reprise and don't plan to. Too many drugs and stoned vocals and playing, no wonder Neil Young needed to leave and CSN would wait another couple years to put another album out.
Grade: C

Albums From My Youth-The Looking Glass (Epic 1972)

Eliot Lurie might have gotten the big hit with Brandy but it was Pieter Sweval's songs that made this record work, starting out with the driving Jenny Lynn and the slow building up to the end boogie of Catherine Street that Pieter wrote.  The fact that Brandy was more of a throwaway and the big success of said song the guys didn't figure it would end up being the main song. Lurie's songwriting was more pop but he tried a more country sound with Golden Rainbow and perhaps a better pop followup with Don't It Make You Feel Good. Sweval was more rock and roll with Dealing With The Devil and moody album closer One By One was goes on a bit too long. The original album was 8 songs but Collectibles issued it with six bonus cuts from the very disappointing second album Subway Serenade which despite Jimmy Loves Mary Anne, their number 33 chart showing the rest of the songs was lackluster and Lurie departed for a solo career to which he eventually scored movies and TV shows.  Meanwhile new members came into the band (Joe X Dube, replaced Jeff Grob) and eventually they became the Fallen Angels before reinventing themselves as Starz. Still for an unassuming album like The Looking Glass, you'd hardly would know them to be the gang that would end up putting out Cherry Baby as Starz on Capitol four years later.
Grade B+

Townedger Radio 28  Broadcast on Lucky Star Radio 3/16/17  Playlist

Leroy Sent Me-Joe Brown
Bad Motor Scooter-Montrose
Tallahassee Lassie-Freddy Cannon
Guaranteed-The Godz
Tell Him No-Travis & Bob
No Love Have I-Webb Pierce
Listen To Love-The Townedgers
For What It's Worth-Buffalo Springfield
Lightning's Girl-Nancy Sinatra
Summertime Blues-The Who
Dreams That I'll Never See-Molly Hatchet
So Fine-The Fiestas
Heart Healer-Mel Tillis
Barbed Wire Fence-The Townedgers
I Do-The Marvellows
Everybody's Talking-Fred Neil
First Cut Is The Deepest-Keith Hampshire
Powderfinger-The Beat Farmers
Stone City-The Townedgers

Friday, March 10, 2017

Singles Going Steady 37-45 Cent 45's

This weekend is the grand reopening of the Salvation Army Collector's Corner and I managed to find a box of somewhat playable 45s.  Most looked to be in VG shape despite no sleeves.  The drawback: not much rock and roll.  There were plenty of Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Patti Page, Percy Faith and so forth.  There were some I had to put back, Brenda Lee's Kansas City and These Days from Georgie Fame and The MG's Neckbones had questionable scratches and dammit, Hank Crawford's Blueberry Hill was marred by lipstick on the playing surface.  After picking up the better ones I came up with 35 of them and needed to throw a few back into the box.  I really didn't need a copy of Slim Whitman's Wind  (written by Bob Nolan of Cool Water fame)  but maybe I should bought it, if the Martians was coming.

So once again, the rules are simple.  Most of the 45 found appealed to me in some strange way and I haven't heard much of these.  It's kinda like Tad's Strange Music to which he does a live blog of what he is playing with comment.  He's not as extreme as I am when it comes to hoarding music, especially from  45s.  If they do suck, they will be donated back to a loving thrift store in a couple months. If they don't they'll be collecting dust here at my record shop called Record Hoarder.   If I love them, I'll cram them into one of my 7 record boxes and play them from time to time.  Streaming might be more tidy and less taken up space but I like physical product.   Most of these didn't chart and if they did, they didn't chart too high.

So here we go.  Let's begin the beguine as they say.

1)  I  Got The Bug-Kenny Owen (Poplar 45-106)  1958

Amazing, this is a rockabilly number that does rock hard.  It's finds like these that make record collecting fun, you never know what you will find if you keep an open mind.  Owen sounding a bit like Carl Perkins on this track. B side High School Sweater sounds more like Conway Twitty but it's a disposable ballad.

2)  Up On The Mountain-The Magnificents (Vee-Jay  VJ-183)  1956

A little uptempo doo wop number from a band influenced by The Cadillacs and The Chords just to name a couple, plus their labelmates The Eldorados' Crazy Little Mama   B Side Why Did She Go, is a slower number like Earth Angel or The Platters. I'm sure if Frank Zappa would have heard this song he would have covered it under the Ruben And The Jets banner.  Connie W. who owned this 45 probably didn't play it as much as Mountain, it doesn't sound as scratched up.

3)  Oceans Of Love-Jorgen Ingmann And His Guitar (Atco 45-6502)  1961

Another oddball artist who covered pop songs as guitar speak (Apache), Oceans Of Love really goes for a surf sound, somewhat like Dick Dale, with a production somewhat like Joe Meek.  I would love to find a nice copy of Desert March, one of original 45s I grew up listening to but that record has seen better days.  Ingmann like Bent Fabric and Acker Bilk was part of the ATCO easy listening recording artists series to which all had one big hit (Alley Cat for Mr. Fabric and Stranger On The Shore for Mr. Acker Bulk).  Perhaps Milord was the A Side, I don't know, I heard other versions done by Bobby Darin, Lawrence Welk and Billy Strange.  The sound of the times, although nobody would be caught dead trying to play Milord in this day and age.

4)  Never Can Say Goodbye-The Sandpipers (A&M  1372)  1971

A bossa nova version of the Jackson Five song?!  What in the hell you say?!  The Sandpipers must have been A&M records version of The Lettermen, or Harper's Bizarre but I could have swore I may have heard this on the muzak station WMT FM at one time.  Produced by Bob Alclvar and Bones Howe, who had better success with The Fifth Dimension's songs at that time. So mellow it puts you to sleep.

5)   It's My Time-Frank Ifield (Hickory  45-P- 1550)  1969

For a time Frank was challenging Slim Whitman in the yodeling department before going straight country when he signed up with Hickory Records and had some middling success on the country charts. By 1969 he kinda gave up trying to be Slim Whitman Jr and was the better for it.  Written by John Loudermilk, the better version is done by George Hamilton IV and of course our very own Townedgers but this is a nice country romp.   B Side I Love You Because, he sounds a lot like David Houston.  Probably would have made a better A side than It's My Time.

6)  Wishin Well-Hank Jones And Dean Kay (RCA 47-8022)  1962

I'm guessing teen idol pop here.  A couple of dudes from California hook up with Neely Plumb and got Jimmie Haskell to arrange this song.   Never heard it before. Harmless teen idol pop and Ho hum too.  B side Ain't Got A Nickel a teen ballad blues sort of thingy. Somewhat forgettable too.

7)   Experiment In Terror-Bob Bain (Radiant 1509)  1962

Another unknown entity in this collection, Bain might have been an arranger of sorts; this is one of two singles he issued on the Radiant label, but then you can't go wrong with a Henry Mancini type of what I call Pulp Fiction music, or is it Bachelor Pad music, of oddball jazz.  B side Soft Guitar is Bachelor Pad jazz music. man!  I dig!

8)   The Man From Marseilles-Tony Osborne (Roulette R-4189)  1959

Another British arranger making muzak type instrumentals that usually played before the top of the hour newcast. At that time EMI was unknown in the US with most of that stuff coming from Capitol but sometimes Capitol didn't see fit to issue some of the crappy songs.  Such as this one.  B side The Windows Of Paris is more muzak and even more crappier.

9)  Invitation-Chris Connor (Atlantic 45-2073)  1960

Atlantic Records might have been the best R and B and jazz label of the 50s and 60s but that didn't stop them from signing up pop artists such as Connor and she has a bit of Sarah Vaughn in her pop/jazz style.  Richard Weis, better known for his work on That's All with Bobby Darin adds a dark melancholy to this song.  Her next two singles, Atlantic would issued under their Atlantic Jazz banner.  Patti LaBelle had better luck with I Sold My Heart To The Junkman, the B side.

10)  Calypso Blues-Nat King Cole (Capitol F1627)  1951

The odd find of the day is this one sided DJ promo copy (Lost April was the other side on the stock copy) to which I have not heard Nat's version but the version I'm more familiar with was the final cut on the Tribute To Nat King Cole album from Marvin Gaye.   It may have been the inspiration for Chuck Berry when he did Havana Moon, after all Chuck Berry did admit that Louis Jordan and Nat King Cole did influenced his music.

11)  That's My Desire-Chris Connor (Atlantic 45-2053)  1960

Working with Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, this time she gets Stan Applebaum as arranger instead of Richard Reis and the horns clash with Chris' vocals on Desire, a mess of a song.  B side the Leiber/Stoller I Only Want Some is slightly  better, somewhat in the style of Peggy Lee, but not exactly something I'd listen to.  Usually Leiber/Stoller does good things when producing somebody but this time out this didn't work at all..

12)   You Better Believe It Baby-Ivory Joe Hunter (Capitol 4648)  1961

Forever known for Since I Met You Baby, Hunter has recorded for many labels and never did have the success that he did with Since I Met You Baby and I Almost Lost My Mind but this song in the style of the former with a bit of Blues In The Night thrown in for good measure, is a fine country blues song, although a bit too polished to be remembered.  Not that you would, radio doesn't play it. At least he was spared of Stan Applebaum this time out.  Ivory Joe Hunter may have been the first black country artist judging by the b side May The Best Man Win sounds.  Strange to hear a tympani drum hook on this song.

13)   I'm Learning,  Child-Frank Ifield (Hickory P-1525)  1968

The Yodel is back on this uptempo country number, although the reverb twangy guitar overpowers the song.  B side Maudie was co written by Don Gant and Mickey Newbury, at that time Hickory artists had access to the Acuff-Rose catalog and some of the best songwriters were part of the Acuff Rose staff.  Ifield goes for a Roy Orbinson type of high notes, but the song is a snoozer. Speaking of Roy Orbinson, Joe Melson wrote I'm Learning, Child with his wife Suzie.

14)  Walking Down The Road-Jimmy Newman (MGM K-12830)  1959

Had a minor hit on Dot in 1957 but by 1960 he went country and chose this John Loudermilk written song.  B Side Angels Crying, had the DJ writing down loud in middle.  He calls it OK. I think "meh".

15)  Soft Rain-Guy Mitchell (Columbia 4-44231)  1961

Guy's final Columbia single and he once again borrows another song from Ray Price with disappointing results.  B Side Big Big Change is just as forgettable. A big disappointment from a usually reliable artist.  Mort Garson responsible for the overblown and dated arrangements.

16)  Let It Shine, Let It Shine-Guy Mitchell (Columbia 4-41215)  1958

At times Guy got some good songs from Mitch Miller in the late 50s, this time working with Jimmy Carroll, this is a throwback to the days of sing along with Mitch complete call and response from the backing singers.  Also pretty silly as well, although not as silly as The Lord Made A Peanut.  B Side Butterfly Doll is a terrible Japanese type of a song.

17)  Sea Of Love-Dock Of The Bay-Nino Tempo & April Stevens (Bell B-823) 1969

They had the hits for ATCO but once the hits dried up they went elsewhere, this was the second of two singles recorded for Bell and perhaps this medley should have been better promoted. Nino Tempo has always been a good arranger of songs and combining Sea Of Love with Dock Of The Bay works.  B side is a uptempo version of Twilight Time.

18)   Starlight, Star-bright-Van McCoy (Columbia 4-43495)  1966

Before he was the Disco Kid and guy behind The Hustle, McCoy was MOR arranger, producer such as the case with this Johnny Mathis soundalike song. B side This Is The Way We Fall In Love sounds like Come On Christmas from the Grinch TV show. I doubt if Johnny Mathis would touch this song.

19)  What Makes You Do Me Like You Do-Lori Kaye (Columbia 4-43295)  1965

Debbie Lori Kaye was 12 years old when she signed on to Columbia to record a few singles.  And Columbia had her billed as the next new Miss Dynamite.  She was from Canada and made the bulk of her recordings for Columbia with various producers, then retired at age 18 and made a semi comeback at age 23 with God Bless The Child on Polydor Canada.  B side Picking Up My Hat made number 1 on the country charts in 1965 but again nobody hears it.  There's bits and pieces about her in internet land but you really have to search long and hard enough to find anything about Debbie Lori Kaye.  Sources say she lives in Seattle.

20)  Compared To What-Della Reese (Avco Embassy AVE-4515)  1969

And if you read this far, you have come to the final purchase of the 45s found and commented.  This is Della taking on the Les McCann/Eddie Harris song written by Gene McDaniels (Tower Of Strength) and done in a funk style from the Hugo/Legni Production team (Sam Cooke, Isley Brothers).  Interesting to see her take on a Aretha Franklin preaching/shouting type of singing on the cover of Games People Play.  Perhaps Compared To What got some chart action on the R and B and soul charts but it didn't make the pop chart.  Still Della can preach it quite well on the Games People Play song.  I think it's the perfect song to end this latest edition of Singles Going Steady Part 1 and 2. Remember kiddies, hoarding records can be fun if you find the right ones to get.  You won't get that from streaming.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Week In Review: Springville Girls Back To Back Titles, Modern Sounds Remakes

It's March and basketball championship fever is in the air again.  A bittersweet sort of one though. First the good, The Springville Girls have now won back to back championships by defeating Turkey Valley 45-36 in a rematch from last year.   Leading all the way the girls' defense pretty much kept the other team at bay, although T.V. did get within five with a minute remaining in the game. It was the Springville defense that was stellar through the playoffs, holding Burlington Notre Dame to 16 points the whole game and stymied Kingsley-Pierson 28 points below their average.  Come back next year folks to see if Springville goes for the 3 peat.  All of the starters return including Mikayla Nachazel and Rylee Menster who led the Orioles girls with 15 points.  The girls will celebrate by getting back to the gym the next day (Photo: The Gazette)

For top rated Marion it was a different story, losing out to North Scott in overtime 52-40. North Scott wins their first overall title, and overcoming Marion's lead of 33-27 to eventually outplayed the Indians from there on out.

The New Bo district has been my favorite place to park the car and go do a bit of walking down that area.  It used to be a scary place after the Iowa Steel Works closed up shop and left abandoned.  Three decades ago that place and the old Wilson/Sinclair packing plant were the places to work, I used to do daycare work at St. Wincelaus around that time, but like Wilson and the Iowa Steel/Trade Works is now a distant memory.  The Flood of 2008 managed to recreate the area into now something more preppy and family friendly with the building of the New Bo Market, and the New Bo shops that have now popped up.  As with standard rules, the click bait has an expiration date but the Gazette has put together a nice story about the property around New Bo having a much more higher value.  Which probably means to the renter higher rent too but even I'm amazed of the come back of New Bo, almost 9 years after the great flood changed things.

The Iowa Men's BB team finished strong with a 90-79 victory over Penn State Sunday to finish 18-13 for the season with the Tournaments coming up, they will be seated 7th.  They have won their last three games after stumbling against Illinois at home, but taking out Maryland and Wisconsin on those team's floor the Hawkeyes are playing their best ball.  They're still on the bubble on NCAA consideration but they are in a lot better shape than two weeks ago. Peter Jok scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half, Nicolas Baer added 20 points of his own.  Jok, playing his last game as senior has stepped up his game and can be considered to be  a good pick for the NBA   While the Hawkeyes get ready for the B1G Tournaments in DC, The Iowa Women, going through a disappointing year was defeated by Northwestern 78-73 in round 2 in the Tourneys, poking a hole for their NCAA chances. They may have to settle on the NITs, if they get picked.

Once again the Iowa Men's team fell apart in the first round of the B1G Ten Tournament, getting blown out by Indiana 95-73.  The Hoosier caught fire and made 12 out of 19 3 point baskets as well. Hard to beat somebody when they are shooting 75 percent from 3 point land.  So once again it's one and done  (Iowa hasn't advanced past the second round since 2013) and maybe they are better off in the NITs.  After having a nice three game winning streak, the Hawks have return to a fucked up offense that couldn't beat Nebraska Omaha earlier in the season.  Pretty bad when Rutgers wins more games in the tourney than the Iowa did.   I'm also thinking the Cubs will be back in the world series again before Iowa wins a Big Ten Tournament game.

Passings: Robert Osbourne, host of TCM movies.  He was 84. Died from a long illness.  Osbourne would provide opening and closing commentary on movies shown on Turner Classic Movies, which remains the best channel to watch movies.  Commercial free.

(Photo:Beth Van Zant-Muscatine Journal)

The storms of March 6th came tearing across this part of the state with 2 EF2 Tornadoes touching down in the area of Bennett, Eldridge and NW Davenport  around 10 PM. But a more stronger EF 2 Tornado tore through The Muscatine area, injuring 3 people and tearing a roof off a church and destroying the church organ in the process.  Also, twisters were reported around  Bernard and Zwingle in Dubuque county, another tornado tore the roof off a school in Seymour and Knoxville reported two tornadoes as well.  Up here, it was a wind event, with some straight line winds knocking over sheds.  Springtime in Iowa.  For the rest of the week, weather should be windy and below normal.  Weekend highs only in the mid to upper 30s.

Click Bait: A profile of The Dawn Sean Ryan.  His band The Dawn is the premier jam band in the state.

For the second time in as many weeks, I went to Davenport to pick up a new guitar and find some more hoarding albums to take home. The Salvation Army Collector's Corner, the place where I find the cheaper and more varied of the singles, is having a great reopening since they decided to paint the place.  I really didn't think I would find much since I was there 2 weeks ago...

OOH, Looky Here, More Singles Going Steady Medley!

Let's Cry Together-Patti Page (Mercury 72044)  1962

Her final singles for Mercury had her going country and they didn't placed on the charts.  I'm guessing the other side Every Time I Hear Your Name was the A side and Shelby Singleton has her going more toward a  Lesley Gore sound.  Let's Cry Together was co written by Singleton and Jerry Kennedy.

I Wonder-Brenda Lee (Decca 31510)  #25
My World Is Falling Down  #24

Double sided hit from Little Miss Dynamite and a better song than Losing You reviewed a month ago. Co written by Cecil Gant it's more in line with I'm Sorry, complete with a piano hook that makes a the song a minor classic, later covered by Humble Pie of all bands. My World Is Falling Down, Bill Anderson shares writing credit.

Bye Bye Love-Webb Pierce (Decca 30321)  #73  1957

Both Webb and The Everly Brothers recorded this song and both charted, the Everlys won out with the overall showing.  Pierce was gradually moving away from the Hank Sr sound to a honky tonk rockabilly style that managed to give him some pop success on the charts.   For a record that has seen better years it plays very good despite it all.

You Played On A Player-Garland Green (UNI 55213)  1969

The other side Angel Baby has a  big old creator scratch but You Played On A Player is kinda of a nice Northern soul sound.  Angel Baby more uptempo but feels more like a throwaway.   Green's next single Jealous Kind Of Fella made it to number 20, but I never heard it on the radio even back then. I think Angel Baby may have been the plug side but since it didn't chart and since Played On A Player is in better shape, I go with the latter for a pick hit.

I've Been Everywhere-Hank Snow (RCA 47-8072)  #68  1962

One of only two singles that Snow ever got on the pop charts.  In the early 1960s, Chet Atkins put together what was called The Nashville Sound and people complained about how polished everything was.  Which made the recordings sounding much better, compare the hard honky tonk of Webb Pierce's Bye Bye Love to I've Been Everywhere and weep.  I'm sure the Anita Kerr singers didn't help either but I liked her arrangements on most of the RCA artists she backed up.  Snow had the big hits in the 50s but by the 60s' he was winding down, but I've Been Everywhere is one of his best songs.  I think it's still better than the Johnny Cash version.

You Don't Know Me-Ray Charles (ABC Paramount 45-10345)  #2 1962
Take These Chains From My Heart (ABC Paramount 45-10435) #8 1963

Growing up, Ray Charles on ABC Paramount was the singles that I grew up with, beginning with the long trashed That Lucky Old Sun and many others; Concord Bicycle was kinda enough to issues all of his ABC singles into a big ole glorious box set that I probably played twice.  But being a bargain hunter, finding any of Ray's ABC Paramount singles in great shape is a chore upon itself but I did managed to find two of them during my Salvation Army visit. Both figured in Ray's playing country and western music his own way, complete with syrupy strings on Chains and a bluesy Gerald Wilson arrangement on Careless Love and Ray's double duet on No Letter Today.  While people worried that Charles' country period would have ruin his career, it didn't.  In fact Charles may have responsible for saving ABC Records.  Note the catalog numbers of the forty fives.

Song Sung Blue-Neil Diamond (UNI 55326)  #1  1972

His second and final Number 1 single.  Probably too MOR for me to play all that much but I do like the song. Like Lean On Me, whoever had these songs got them 2 for a dollar at Target around 1972 thereabouts. B side Gitchy Goomy is another Neil Diamond nonsense song he was famous for putting out as B sides at that time.  He was smoking something off the wall for sure.

Beep Beep-The Playmates (Roulette R-4115) #4  1958

I guess they were bubblegum teen idol pop back in the day and my mom had a couple of their other singles in her collection (Jo-All and What Is Love?) but not this novelty write up rewording of Hot Rod Lincoln.  Out of all of their hits, Beep Beep is heard the most times. But like the Paul Ankas, Georgia Gibbs, etc of the world The Playmates are forgotten.

He's So Fine-The Chiffons  (Laurie 3152)  #1 1963

How to make a perfect song in under two minutes: come up with a memorable hook and sing along lyrics and have a good time of it.  Perfect example: this song.  The number 5 followup One Fine Day is more of the same, but then later hits wouldn't be as memorable till the 1966 number 10 single A Sweet Talking Guy.  The Kitchen Cinq did a subpar version of She's So Fine to which I'm probably the only person that knows such a record exists.  I have that forty five as well.  Hoarders are us.

Witch Doctor-David Seville (Liberty 55132) #1  1958

For the first time ever, we have no fewer than 3 number 1 hit singles on this Singles Going Steady blog and that might be as ironic as it gets.  Ross Bagdasarian (no relation to the Kadashians thank God) was a good piano player and arranger (Rosemary Clooney's Come-On A My House) and was an actor of sorts (best known for the Alfred Hitchcock movie Rear Window, although he appears on The Greatest Show On Earth and Stalag 17) but he was more of a musician than actor. Upon buying a tape recorder, Seville (let's use that instead of the Bagdasarian banner,easier to type) found that he could manipulate voices at different speeds and octaves, and Witch Doctor was the first song for Seville to try out this new found process of voice manipulation.  While critics maintained that Sheb Wooley and Ray Stevens did this better (Purple People Eater for Sheb, Bridget The Midget for Stevens) the more rougher style of Seville was more original and better.  Eventually, the success of this single would feature more off the wall recordings before Seville went for a 3 part harmony of The Chipmunk Song and his new found creation The Chipmunks which would spawn off pale imitations of the real thing (Dancer, Prancer and Nervous, Shirley And Squirrely, or if you think about it, The Nutty Squirrels which worked better due to a more jazzy arrangements and better musicians).  Ross's passing from a heart attack in 1972 ceased the Chipmunks till his son took over in 1979 and since then has kept The Chipmunks alive with albums and later movies.  But in air fairness, Witch Doctor is the first song that would pave the way toward The Chipmunks, and still remains a goofy but much loved novelty classic.


12 Top Hits (Battle Of Bonnie And Clyde Etc)-Various Artists (Modern Sound 1968)

From the folks that gave you Hit Records, they were continuing to put out albums and singles up till the end of the decade till either they quit selling or ASCAP or BMI were bitching about not getting paid, but parent label Spar Records had offshoot labels of remakes of hits.  So here we are, trying to reason why it's worth hearing 50 years after the fact.  First of all, Spar was out of Nashville and had access to some of the finest musicians in town (Boots Randolph, Bill Justis, Bergen White) and while they had did their best to faithfully recreate the sound of the hit singles, it doesn't work very well, who ever is doing the Davy Jones vocal on Valerie just don't fit, and Simon Says is embarrassing be it 1910 Fruitgum Company or cover bands.  That's Charlie McCoy on harp on Jackson and original songwriter on Honey and Little Green Apples is Bobby Russell. Not that you would want to hear Honey be it Bobby Goldsboro or Bobby Russell but it is a unique take.  So so versions of Bonnie And Clyde  and Poor Side Of Town and whoever did Jackson ( did pay attention to how Nancy and Lee did it.  But if the highlights are Honey and Little Green Apples what to make the rest of the song on this?
Grade C+

Various-Parade Of Hits 1963  (Modern Sound 1964)

I'm always having fun trying to piece who sang what on these covers, could it be the late great Skeeter Davis ghost singing on her hit single The End Of The World under the name Kathy Taylor? (none are credited), and there's a ahead of it's time fuzz bass on Sugar Shack (or maybe it's a scratchy record), whoever's playing guitar on Memphis is giving Lonnie Mack a run for it's money. Certainly side 1 is a good listen.  Side 2, you get a credible remake of Reverend Mr. Black (by Bobby Russell)  before the silly shit comes next ( Henry Frolic's On Top Of Spaghetti, surprised nobody suggested Beans In My Ears).  It rebounds with "Sammy Fox" tackles Major Lance's The Monkey Time, (Curtis Henry did a version of Um Um UM Um Um which isn't too bad) I Kadez then polishes up Louie Louie and things conclude with Music City Five's Sukiyiki.  The sound on this album is a bit more warmer than the 12 Top Hits reviewed earlier and if you can stomach On Top Of Spaghetti you might find it entertaining.  As the nameless artists, I went with was posted on the Hit Records singles listings.  You're free to assume who did what.
Grade B

12 Top Hits (Cried Like A Baby etc.)  (Modern Sound 1968)

When you get the liner notes written upside down you get the feeling that by this time Spur Records didn't care much outside of writing these albums off as tax losses. More guessing.  Kathy Shannon does another Dionne Warwick cover of Do You Know The Way To San Jose, The Chords take on Lady Madonna, which sounds more soulful than it should, The Jalopy Five take on Young Girl and Cried Like A Baby, and it sounds like two different bands.  I suppose I'm wasting too much time trying to sort who did what.  While the recording and production on Parade  Hits Of 1963 was fairly good, this time out, the recording sounds like a 1.98 tossoff.  And Young Girl sucks, be it Gary Puckett or Jalopy Five.  So does The Unicorn.  BTW, Archie Bell And The Dwells are not the band doing this parody of Tighten Up.  There's a bit of sour fart notes on A Taste Of Honey and the rest is throwaway background noise, Hang On Sloopy not bad but doesn't differ much from the original an d bar bands.    After three albums of hearing cover versions of hits long ago and forgotten, I think I had my share of them.   A product of the times, the 1.98 alternative to the originals if you care.   But of the course the original versions were better.
Grade C

Ryan Adams-Prisoner (Pax-Am 2017)

In following the antics of Ryan for the past two decades I have come to conclude he tends to be a bit overrated.  At his best (Whiskeytown-Faithless Street, Cold Roses) he tends to have compatible musicians keeping him in check, at his worst (Love Is Hell, Rock And Roll) he tends to overstay his welcome after the first song. The Lost Highway years he threw any and everything at his listeners and even his record label told him to cut that out.  Since being on Blue Note, Adams is heard less often but here he is back after a couple years from his last album, making the grand statement Do You Still Love Me, which really kick things off very well. And then the next 11 songs, Adams plays the same song with different lyrics.  I took a pass on his Taylor Swift tribute album but I tend to think he's better at writing breakup albums.  Prisoner is not as soul shattering as per say The Townedgers' Pawnshops For Olivia, We Disappear is a more sunnier outlook than Beyond The Sun, but in the end it's over and nothing ever gonna to change that.  In the end, Prisoner continues the critics love for Adams, but to these ears there's a unfinished feel to the album.  But I'm sure he'll return very soon for a followup.
Grade B

Toad The Wet Sprocket-PS (A Toad Retrospective)  (Columbia 1999)

For all intent, Toad is better served on a best of; I have had a hard time listening to their studio albums.  For every good song they would have 10 subpar or worse. I remember Hold Her Down being played on the radio a couple times (in this day and age it's basically banned) and Crazy Times I got confused with Crowded House (don't ask), They tended to borrow too much from REM and after Hold Her Down, this comp ends with 2 unreleased turds that tend to bog this collection down. In terms of 90s alternative rock Toad wasn't the best of them,but they weren't the worst either, somewhat less interesting than say, Sister Hazel but better than Dog's Eye View or Let Love In era Goo Goo Dolls.
Grade B

Black Uhuru-Strongg (Mesa 1994)

There are two classic periods of B.U, one the classic Island years with Michael Rose and Puma Jones helping Duckie Simpson and the second and lesser known, the original lineup of Don Carlos and Garth Dennis rejoining in the 1990s to which this 1994 album would be the last to feature Carlos and Dennis.  As with most reggae albums of the 1990s, this relies too much on electronic drums and keyboards but it is a very inspired album, especially when Sly Dunbar pops up on Yes I and final track I Pray.  The title track (yes it's called Strongg) is fine as well.  Mystical Truth, is the best of the albums done during the Carlos/Simpson/Dennis era but Strongg is a good album too.
Grade B+

John Mayall-Tough (Eagle 2009)

For a guy not in the both, the blues hall of fame or rock and roll hall of fame, Mayall has gotten the short end of the stick and for almost 60 years of playing blues rock boogie, he's managed to get some of the finest musicians ever to play on his albums,  Even late in his career, he's gotten a fine group in Rocky Athas on lead guitar and Jay Davenport playing drums and Tough continues Mayall's fine albums of this century.  Gotta love his sense of humor on That Good Ole Rockin Blues to which he shares his displeasure of rap.  He can boogie with the best of them (Nothing To Do With Love) and slow it down as well (Slow Train To Nowhere). He may have been 75 when he recorded Tough, but he backs that up with some kick ass music.
Grade B+

Edgar Winter-The Definitive Collection (Real Gone 2016)

Out of all the classic rockers of the 1970s, Edgar might be the least essential of them all.   I tend to think his best of is They Only Come Out At Night, the album that Winter concedes it was a commercial stab after Clive Davis let him do his own thing on the first couple albums.  Hanging Around was left off in favor of Alta Mira (not exactly a fair exchange) and the remix of Free Ride will forever remain on a 45 unless somebody puts it out on a lost 45s collection series (Maybe Eric Records since they're good at digging up stuff like that). Jerry LaCroix might have been Winter's favorite singer but Dan Hartman offered more in songs like Free Ride and River's Rising.  Older brother Johnny pops in on a rocking Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo, but after the so so success of River's Rising, Edgar decided on going back to a more jagged R and B sound and eventually disco (Stickin' It Out).  Great liner notes by Bill Kopp.  Outside of that, you're on your own, The Rhino best is less extreme and has Hangin Around, so does They Only Come Out At Night
Grade C

Friday, March 3, 2017

A New Month Of Reviews

It's March and I'm sure my ratings will be back to under 100 views.  Blogger still only has 9 all time most view and there's gotta be a tenth best blog now wouldn't you think?  Yesterday I only had 123 views all day so we're getting back to normal.  I do think the Blogger tracker is broke. Take away the same 5 blogs appearing, and I'm sure we're in the double digits of viewership.  Ratings are nice but if Blogger only has 9 of the 10 all time views, something is not quite right. May as well call it Alternative ratings.

While Mr. 45 and the GOP continue to throw the US down the toilet, Tornadoes carved a path through Illinois, and Ottawa for that matter killing 3 people.  The weather here did feel like a humid spring day, with Iowa City getting hail but the tornadoes would cross the river instead. Since we are now into March, expect more weather like this as spring approaches.

Five months into no TV and the one thing you haven't seen much is sports, but that will probably change.  Spring Training is in full swing and Iowa Hawkeyes Men's basketball have once again caught fire, blowing out Maryland on Saturday and then dropping Wisconsin after a Jordan Bohannon 3 bomb to propel Iowa for a 59-57 victory.  It's been a very strange Big Ten season to which Purdue will win the title but also noted was Northwestern winning 21 games this season and a sure shot for the NCAA tournaments.  Although Peter Jok has led the Big Ten in scoring this year, the young Hawkeyes have managed to win some big games the past week, and while they are still on the bubble for the NCAA's they actually are winning at the end of the season.  Wisconsin  on the other hand have lost three straight games and five of their last six after being ranked 7th in the top 25.  It's a jumbled mess in the Big 10 and it might strengthen itself out during the B1G tournaments but it does make fine watching.

(Photo: S.J.U)

The new IT girl for Record World is Sarah Jean Underwood who seems to like making light of passing the ole gas.  Everybody does it.  EVERYBODY!

Arnold is leaving the Apprentice and hopefully that show is done.  Perhaps the next host should be Mark Cuban with a Donald dig as shown.  Think I'm beginning to like Mark even more. Rumors have it Oprah might be running for POTUS in 2020.  With all the alternative facts going on, it's hard to tell what's true and what's not.  

Record Reviews:

The Band's Greatest Hits (Capitol 2002)

Missing Don't Do It takes this grade down a notch but I think overall it does a fair job of rounding up the best known of Robbie Robertson's songs. I always will think Music From Big Pink is overrated but the followup, their best and the rest well you can research them for later.  Even if The S/T album is their best album, The Weight is the best song they ever did which came to be on Big Pink. The original Best Of The Band LP was choppy, it left off Ain't Got No Home in favor of Twilight.  The omission of Don't Do It does hurt but the lesser known songs (Acadian Driftwood, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Time To Kill) helps a bit. Still have reservations about It Make No Difference, but there isn't any other best ofs that do have Up On Cripple Creek, Stage Fright, Chest Fever, Ain't Got No Home and The Shape I'm In on it.  Life is a carnival indeed.
Grade B+

War-The World Is A Ghetto (Avenue 1973)

They made great singles, albums not much so.  I enjoy Cisco Kid and the title track but they are not Santana on the 13 minute  City, Country, City which flops along and the 8 and half minute snooze Four Cornered Room.  Thankfully United Artists would come to the rescue and put out War's Greatest Hits.
Grade C

Best Of Dennis Yost And The Classics IV (Taragon 2002)

Everything you can dream on of having all the Classics IV you can tolerate is on here, to which they begin as Four Seasons clones on the two Capitol singles that Joe South produced for them.  For minor songs they are recorded first rated. But of course the ball didn't get rolling till a certain riff gave Spooky that top ten single sound they needed and they would repeated time and time again (Failed followup Soul Train and higher charting Stormy). Eventually Dennis Yost would go a more MOR sound, away from rock (Everyday With You Girl, Traces, Midnight) and once United Artists decided to kill Imperial and then Liberty and move Classics IV to their label, the hits were gone.  EMI did put together the song list of this album but Taragon would reissue it, complete with discography and chart position.  You will need coke glasses to read them though.
Grade B

Drive By Truckers-Gangstabilly (New West 1996)

Hard to believe this is their first album, recorded over 20 years ago and in two days. This is Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley joining forces with long gone DBT players on a set of songs celebrating red neck trailer life, complete with a needle jumping on a scratchy record.  Like most DBT albums it takes a while getting going, but there's a sense of the new southern rock on such classics like Steve McQueen, 18 Wheels Of Love, Why Henry Drinks and Buttholeville, which screams out Crazy Horse.  Even back then Hood have a flair for writing such taboo subjects like Wife Beater and Late For Church.  Who knew that this record would the first of a long line of winners from a band that has now been doing this for over two decades?
Grade A-

White Boy Blues (Castle 1997)

Unless you like hearing Jimmy Page or Eric Clapton play Elmore James or Robert Johnson 12 bar blues over and over, this is mostly a cash in, that has been reissued time and time again under the Pickwick or Springboard or any other minor budget label.  John Mayall provides the only vocals on this album, the best is I'm Your Witchdoctor.  As for the All Stars, no names are provided but the guess is that Nicky Hopkins might be doing  the piano playing on the rolling Chuckles.  In other words, like being at the local jam on amateur night.
Grade C