Thursday, June 22, 2017

Notes From The Underground: The Week In Review

The big story was having The Failed Reality Star popping into our little town to clog traffic up and tell everybody that everything is great.  There was protesting out on the streets but most of it was peaceful.  In the meantime while this was going on, Ryan's Steak House and Buffet closed their doors. I kind of expected that since the last few times I ate there, the food was subpar.  But I guess I will miss the Rice and Gravy Special that I would made for myself when I couldn't find anything edible to eat.  Ryan's is the one of a few places that have closed that was located on Collins Road, Burger King closed (if anybody needs another BK, there's a new one opening on Blairs Ferry Road), Pizza Hut closed (no more pizza buffets in town here) and Village Inn.

In the meantime summer is here, and so is the Bar B Q Roundup this weekend with a few of my fellow musicians playing on stage, the likes of Wooden Nickel Lottery, Flex and JC Project to name a few.  Basically I was disappointed that Madison didn't have this kind of celebrations going on when I was there but I'm sure they will something on the weekend to bring out the masses.

For the first time all year we finally got some decent new music out there.  Great new albums from Steve Earle, Kasey Chambers has a very good 2 CD set called Dragonfly, which one cd is produced by Paul Kelly and the other by her brother Nash Chambers and while it's not as creepy classic as Bittersweet is, it remains a good listen.  Ride returns with a new album Weather Diaries, which was, as if, Carnival Of Light and Tarantula never existed.  Funny thing about shoegazer albums is that they have their charm but in this day and age that early 90s alternative sound is badly dated.  While Pitchfork lambasted Tarantula, and Creation deleted the record a week after its release, I still find that record to be a enjoyable but somewhat so so modern rock album.  In fact, Black Light Crash remains a classic cut but the rest is ho hum. Weather Diaries starts out strong, the highlights are when Ride channel the power pop excursions of Going Blank Again.  Ride is at their best if they keep it under four minutes, when they balloon songs over 6 minutes the listener nods off to sleep. I'm not sure if White Sands is a perfect song to end this comeback and while Weather Diaries will not make the masses forget Going Blank Again or Nowhere but I do think this would have been a better followup to Going Blank Again rather than Carnival Of Light.   And it did help getting Alan Moulder to mix the album too.

I also liked the new Buckingham/McVie album as well.  Despite the absence of Stevie Nicks, it's mostly the return of Fleetwood Mac (although Mick and John are missing on a couple number therefore the change of name) and at 10 songs it's much more easier to listen to than the overblown Say You Will, to which Ms. McVie was missed.  It's mostly Lindsay's show, Christine adds a couple of love songs at the end.  I'm always happy to listen to a new album of Fleetwood Mac once Christine rejoins and yes Stevie is missed, but still for later day pop and rock, it's recommended.

After 30 radio broadcasts on Lucky Star Radio. Townedger Radio signed off the air.  It was a fun ride but I ran out of CDs and patience to keep on doing it.  Perhaps some later time I'll return with a more underground sounding show but for now, real life happens.

Loretta Lynn had to cancel shows this summer, she suffered a stroke and has been trying to recover from that.  If she's well enough, she has a September 6th show but as of the moment I'll send some good vibes her way.

Albums from my youth:  Golden Earring-To The Hilt (MCA 1976)

These guys has been around for over five decades and the only songs you ever hear remain Radar Love and Twilight Zone.  The Earrings never had much label support be it Atlantic, MCA or Polydor and the idiots at MCA deleted Just Like Vince Taylor from the Moontan album. But sometimes they needed a good edit, Atlantic did managed to make their 20 minute version of Eight Miles High into a much more easier to take two and half minutes.  Which shows the rub on the Earrings, their jamming tended to be a bit more pointless and off the melody although the whole Radar Love song does have a nice jam before MCA edited that out but still remained over 5 minutes.   I bought To The Hilt on the cover art done by Hipnosis, which managed to do great cover art for the likes of UFO, Pink Floyd and many others.  Reviews were so so but I like this album a bit more than Moontan, although that album had better songs.  In fact Sleepwalking is a rewrite of Radar Love in terms of melody and it bombed as a single (edited of course). Highlights remain Why Me, which is a typical G.E. jam up to the ending, and all but the title track are over five minutes, and the 10 minute closer Violins which has a herky jerky guitar riff at the beginning before the band goes into a whole different sound at the end including, crazy violins playing in the background, a Bernard Herrman sort of arrangement.  The CD has never been in print in the US but Golden Earrings main label Red Bullet reissued this and I found this for 3 dollars at the new Mad City Music Exchange and thought it would worth it hearing it again out in the car. To the ones that are looking for a good overview, you're better off with The Continuing Story Of Radar Love, but To The Hilt remains my favorite Golden Earring album.  Even without their main hit.
Grade B+


Rolling Stones-Some Girls (Live In Texas 78)  (Eagle Music 2017)

As they have gotten older, The Stones has actually been opening up their vaults of vintage past concerts and basically it's buyer beware.  But in theory, this 1978 concert blows away the 1977 Love You Live album and perhaps Some Girls Live might have been the final great concert that The Stones ever recorded, although I'm sure that is open to debate. It does steal 7 tracks from Some Girls (but not the title track, nor Lies, nor Before They Made Me Run, the three less dubious tracks from that album) but there's a sense of urgency and The Stones playing is on fire.  In fact this might rival Get Your Ya Yas Out in terms of best overall Stones live album.  It's interesting to hear how the new songs play on, since The Stones didn't overkill Miss You or Beast Of Burden at that time.  Interesting that they decided to play Star Star rather than Satisfaction but that's all right by me.  Yeah, it would have been fun to see Keith and Ronnie trade sloppy guitar licks but with Charlie Watts holding the beat down, they can't get too sloppy.  Perhaps the reason why this album was available as bootleg only due to more than half of Some Girls made up the setlist but I think there's not a bad cut from those songs, except maybe the corniness of Far Away Eyes but it can be tolerated. This recording does give valid arguments that The Stones could be the world's greatest rock and roll band when they want to be.  And it may have been their last truly great live album before pretentiousness and the almighty dollar took over.
Grade A-

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