Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017 Pictures Of Co Workers

Winner of the Halloween Contest.



















Monday, October 30, 2017

Week In Review: Floyd Stays Home, Cyclone Power

Winter is fast coming. We had our first hard freeze last night and the growing season is now over.  We don't have to worry about mowing the yard till April.

Baseball is no longer a concern, but the Cubs are moving coaches left and right. Chili Davis and Jim Hickey are now in tow.  Davis is the new hitting coach, hopefully he can find a way to get the Cubs bats going when the temp drops before 50 degrees in April and October. Jim Hickey replaces Chris Bosio is now Detroit's pitching coach.  Dave Martinez is the new Washington Nats manager, replacing Dusty Baker. I do think Martinez has potential to be one of the best managers if given the chance, however he chose a team who's owners are not very patient guys.  As one person pointed out, D.M got a three year contract, however in Dusty Baker's case he was there for two seasons, got them to the playoffs only to get shown the door and after the Cubs won this season, ownership cleaned house.  If you're going to established a winning team on and off the field, changing managers every two seasons will eventually get you thrown into the scrap heap with or without a Steve Strasuburg or Bryce Harper.  I could be wrong but if Washington don't make it to the World Series before 2020, Martinez will be shown the door.  Unless he put in a buy out clause that will bankrupt the Learners as owners.  The decision of Martinez being manager is not quite finalized but Martinez will have three years plus a option for a fourth season subject to Learners' approval, but D.M. will have better security than Dusty Baker or Davey Johnson ever had, and they were winning managers.  If Martinez decides to be manager, rumors are that former Red Sox manager John Farrell might be Joe Maddon's bench coach.

So much for turning things around. Arizona State had won two games and beat Washington at home and Utah on the road and got to host USC, who got lambasted by Norte Dame last week.  So basically it seemed that ASU could win this game at home right?  Nope.  USC managed to run away to a 31-10 half time lead, it would have been 31-3 had the referees give the Plastic Forks a last second TD before the half but by all means the game was over and done.  It's pretty bad when your punter has more punting yards than the total yards of your offense. But basically USC was simply too much. 48-17 the final score and it brings into reality that ASU isn't that good anyway. And since it was Halloween, the fans had parties to go to, it looked like a ghost town after halftime.


(Photo NY Daily News)

Before we go into the Iowa Hawkeyes side of things, let's give a big shout out to Iowa State, to which it looks like after three weeks that they have turned things around and starting to win the big games unlike Arizona State.  4th ranked TCU found out the hard way that Iowa State means business and came up short to a 14-7 Cyclone win. To which Kyle Kempf threw two TD passes in the first half and then Iowa State Defense bend but didn't break, leading to a Marcel Spears intercepting a Kenny Hill pass with a minute fourteen left in the game.


(Sorry Kenny, it's not your day. Photo: S.I)

In fact the Iowa State Defense didn't give up a TD (that came on a 94 yard kickoff return) but Kenny Hill had his worst game of the season, throwing two INTs and a fumble.   Needless to say it's a good thing Iowa wasn't playing the Cyclones right now, for Iowa State is the best team in the state.   And TCU is no longer undefeated. However ISU can't take things for granted, they go play West Virginia there and WV got outpointed by Oklahoma State 50-39 at home.  As they say, ISU controls their own destiny.  Just keep winning.


(Floyd stays in Iowa for another year)

It wasn't pretty but Iowa did beat Minnesota 17-10 to keep Floyd of Rosedale home for another season. Iowa won the toss and streaked down the field to score the first points and then lollygagged for the rest of the game.  Critical Minnesota mistakes (a missed pass on forth down, and a tipped pass for a INT sealed their fate) were made and the other Iowa TD, was a Nate Stanley pass to Noah Fint for 47 yards was the other TD score.  Good things happen when you don't drop the ball.  Minnesota did score late in the 3rd quarter to get back into the game, however Iowa's defense managed to do something they don't usually do, stop the QB with 2 minutes left in the game, Anthony Nelson sacking Demitry Croft on forth down.  The bacon stays home. for the 3rd straight year and five of the last six seasons.


(Solon Legion hall photo from D.O.A Duo)

Happy Halloween. Y'all.  The bars were packed on Halloween weekend as Hostage played to a capacity crowd at Rumors and Four Day Creep and Inch 75 packed CRL.  Even Dreams Of Arcadia enjoyed a very good crowd at The Solon Legion Hall, with special guest star, your's truly in the spirit of Halloween, with my trademark dollar fifty shirt, pumpkin spice colored pants and for 7.99 a pair of Made In China goofy eyeball sunglasses which drove the girls wild for some reason.  Got to dance with a few of them that night, however they all went elsewhere after the first break.  It turned out to be my return to the stage after a three week layoff due to cold and flu and us getting busy at work.



Ivy Doomkitty in Halloween fashion. (Photo from her FB site)



Maxey Greene continues to be one of the more beautiful models out there, Happy Halloween picture from her.


(Photo: Panoramio-The Haunted Matsell's Bridge)

Record Reviews:

Weezer-Pacific Daydream (Crush Recordings 2017)

Last album they got a bit more heavier than usual so it's a return more to a updated sunshine mall pop sound that doesn't sound out of line with Maroon Five and even (Gasp!) Sugar Ray.  Mexican Fender really is the only true rocking cut that would been better on the white album.   While it would be fun to make fun of Weezer of going the route that Train did on Save Me San Francisco, Daydream works better since Rivers Cormo has a sense of humor.  Oh he loves the Beach Boys enough to name check them on The Beach Boys Song. and Feels Like Summer does echo Sugar Ray.  It's strange for me to even review Weezer albums (I've done five so far in their career, Pinkerton gave me the incentive to cut them some slack as well as the Green album) and in some ways I really shouldn't, but since 2017 has been a subpar year of new music, I resigned to the fact that Weezer is one of the better bands making so so music in this day and age.  It ends on a good note with Any Friend Of Diane's, and like Weezer albums end around 35 minutes give or take a second or two.  In the end Pacific Daydream, despite a sleepy middle of the CD, is certainly a more honest effort than anything Maroon 5 or Train has thought up lately.
Grade B

Spike Jones In Stereo (Warner Brothers 1959)

I grew up watching old horror movies on a Friday Night called Creature Feature, which most were old B movies or Vincent Price Gothic horror films directed by Roger Corman (they have dated badly 60 years after the fact but I still enjoy watching them) and of course the original 13 Ghosts directed by William Castle.  But anyway, Spike Jones was past his prime and managed to cohort a concept album about Halloween and using the brand new Stereo side of things, echo, reverb, strange organ sounds (to which were made of good use in the 1938 broadcast of War Of The Worlds with Orson Wells).  Fact of the matter was that Spike Jones didn't care for rock and roll, it was basically putting him and his big band novelty songs out to pasture.  But unlike Stan Freberg, Jones at least didn't have a hatred of rock to lambast it. The only thing that rocks is Ken Stevens' Monster Movie Ball which is somewhat similar to The Purple People Eater, but a surprise that Jones didn't tap, fellow labelmate Tab Hunter for this song.  Anyway, the main voices was Paul Frees, next to Mel Blanc, one of the best known voice over for cartoons, (Boris Bentonoff from Rocky And Bullwinkle comes to mind) and Louie Jean Norman who did Vampira to Free's Dracula. Mostly corny stuff, but this record showcase the vocal talents of Frees, playing many characters, reprising My Old Flame from the RCA years with him doing a more manic Peter Lorre Intimation.  Thurl Ravenscoft, the voice of Tony The Tiger and of course best known for You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch adds a bit of fun to I Was A Teenage Brain Surgeon.  The record remains good natured although in these days and times, it has dated quite badly and today's youth isn't going to give this a listen anytime soon.  Collector's Choice issued this on CD in 2003 and I found a cut out of it when Best Buy had a fire sale and was dumping out of print albums that they couldn't sell and shrinking their CD section faster than the Incredible Shrinking Man.   For Spike Jones, he went into a banjo type of dixieland jazz for Liberty after this and he was planning a follow up to In Stereo when he passed in 1965 due to too many cigarettes.   I still have the mono album Spike Jones In Hi Fi, which is not as exciting recording wise than In Stereo.  It's still not an album that I would recommend highly but if you love B movies like Plan Nine From Other Space or A Comedy Of Terrors, Spike Jones In Stereo is a B movie masterpiece on record.  And fun to hear around Halloween.
Grade B-

The Best Of The Chordettes (Barnaby 1990)

For their dated 50s vocal style to which by 1960 they were passed over for rock and roll, The Chordettes music was really hit and miss and no thanks to Archie Beyer.  When you think about it, Lollipop or Mr Sandman were cheesy pop gold but gawd when they went banal, they were got into embarrassing schmaltz like True Love Goes On And On and Lay Down Your Arms, one of those WW2 songs of bring the boys back home.  I suppose they're innocent love songs to which on Lay Down Your Arms, they boys were really going to get real lucky (which became the basis of the baby boom).  Archie Beyer was clueless about setting the girls up with rock and roll songs, A girl's Work Is Never Done is Charlie Brown from the female perspective and No Wheels, the answer to Car Trouble (King Curtis plays the sax solo). In the age of the 45, the songs sound much better on a scratchy 45, put them on CD and the magic isn't quite there.   However the two keepers are not the ones you would expect of their major hits, One was Teen Age Goodnight, which ended a few proms and dances in 1956, the other, Just Between You And Me, their ultimate feel good teen song. Which is one of my favorite all time 45s by the way.
Grade B-

Zephyr (Probe/ABC 1969)

Best known as Tommy Bolin's first band, this band musically was fairly good and competent.  But Candie Givens might be the most overbearing singer ever, male or female.  She comes across as Janis Joplin gone psycho or Robert Plant being electrocuted.  Bill Halverson may have been covering his ears on trying to record this band, Givens makes Dee Clark sound like a crooner on Raindrops.  And it really doesn't get any better.  You have to give ABC Records for going out on a limb and putting this on their progressive rock label Probe and Bolin shows why he was a up and coming guitar player.  But as for Candie Givens, she's rock's first true screecher.  Janis couldn't top whatever she was doing.
Grade D+

Zephyr-Going Back To Colorado (Warner Brothers 1971)

The major thing here is that Candie Givens is much more restrained on this followup their "eponymous" first album although she'll let out a banshee scream from time to time.  Perhaps Eddie Kramer had something to do with this, but this is more of a band effort with David Givens and John Faris adding their lead vocal on a couple more. Strangely Tommy Bolin still doesn't sing but his fingerprints are all over this album, be it on guitar and vibes. The title track did get some FM airplay and may have been a failed single and The Radio Song and others do benefit from backing singers as well.   If they keep things around 3 minutes they hold my interest but when they dink around with avant garde noise making or stumble on the five minute song See My People Come Together my mind wonders. While Candie closes things on At This Very Moment, a interesting off the wall number that invokes memories of Melanie than Janis, the extended coda envisions of the first album and not a good way.  But they're learning as they go and they would make their best album the next time they got together. By going more toward a country rock jazz vein and Jock Bartley in tow. By then Tommy Bolin moved over to the James Gang.
Grade B-



Monday, October 23, 2017

Week In Review: Cubs Hangover, Hawkeyes Meltdown, George Young

Before we get to the other news, George Young, part of the Harry Vanda/George Young production team, passed away from a short illness Sunday.  He was 70.  George was part of The Easybeats, the first true Australian rock and roll band along with Vanda, seen the band through their final single for Rare Earth Records, St. Louis, then went into production, producing the likes of AC/DC, to which had Vanda/Young didn't produce them, there would be no AC DC.  They also produced The Angels (Angel City), John Paul Young (Love Is In The Air) and then Vanda/Young would form the oddball New Wave band Flash And The Pan, which scored a minor hit with Hey St. Peter in 1979.

Daisy Berkowitz aka Scott Putseky, passed away from cancer, he was 49.  He played guitar on the first Marilyn Manson album, then moved over to other bands (Jack Off Jill, Godhead)

Martin Eric Ain (Martin Stricker), bass player for Celtic Frost died Saturday from a heart attack, he was 50.

Robert Guillaume, fine actor who played Benson in SOAP and later Benson passed away from prostate cancer at age 89. Robert was also a gifted singer, appearing on a album  by Cannonball Adderley and was the first black to headline the Phantom Of The Opera.  He won a grammy in 1995 for the spoken read along album The Lion King.  https://www.riverfronttimes.com/artsblog/2017/10/24/robert-guillaume-st-louis-native-who-earned-fame-as-benson-has-died

Fats Domino:  One of the originals rock and rollers beginning with 1949's  The Fat Man and then ending with Lady Madonna in 1968 for Reprise Records passed away Tuesday from natural causes. He was 89.  Fats' golden years were with Imperial in the 50s and early 60s with Blueberry Hill being the highest charted one of them all (number 2).  While rockers tried to update their sound, Fats rather played the songs in his own distinctive way, the piano triplets and the mid tempo beat. After his Imperial years, he moved over to ABC Paramount and sad to say his singles didn't do much on the charts, the record label had him record in Nashville with Bill Justis instead of Dave Barthomolew and while the songs were okay, they sounded a bit too Nashville polish than New Orleans R and B.  He made a decent live album for Mercury and a couple of singles before concluding his recording career with Reprise Records with the lively Fats Is Back album (Produced by Richard Perry, to which this album would serve as the template of the Ringo Starr albums, get all star session people to play and help along. Paul McCartney wrote Lady Madonna as a Fats tribute for The Beatles to which Fats would record note for note and it was his last charted single which took the last spot on the top 100 for a couple weeks.  Fats Is Back is in reality Domino's last studio album, the followup Fats, was basically a few singles that Fats recorded for Broadmoor before Reprise signed him.  A shame that Reprise didn't bother to add the failed singles of Have You Seen My Baby and Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey since Fats was only 29 minutes long on LP.  After that Fats was contented just to do a few shows in New Orleans and some music festivals, (stories abound that Fats had to work the Vegas scene to pay off some outstanding gambling debts) and stayed in New Orleans, even up to the 2005 Katrina Hurricane mess that destroyed his home in the 9th ward and rumors that he may have died in the hurricane.  For a rock and roller, Fats was different, he didn't do drugs, nor ran around with the wrong crowd, (He was married to his wife for 50 plus years till she passed away in 2008 thereabouts) and didn't get arrested.  He lived a modest but reclusive life till his passing from natural causes.  He may not looked like it but he was more rock and roll than you are.

It's over for the Chicago Cubs who lost to Los Angeles and it's goodbye to Chris Bosio who was relived of pitching coach duties. The Cubs were 30th in unintended walks, which it seemed quite obvious that probably did Bosio right in.  He did helped Jake Arrieta turn things around and Kyle Hendricks but this season, Bosio didn't have much of a bullpen to help and their shitty pitching was big hinder upon itself.   Arrieta is moving on as well, he shaved off his beard and put his Chicago home up for sale in search of getting a big contract from somebody willing to pay him big bucks.  The Cubs did go 49-25 after the all star break but simply ran out of gas.  Basically the off season starts today and the Cubs need to pick up some quality pitching, as well as bull pen help.  Getting a lead off hitter would also help things.  Dexter Fowler was surely missed although his Cardinals year found him struggling as well.   Meanwhile, Los Angeles plays Houston, who knocked the New York Yankees out of the playoffs after falling down 3-2 when Houston couldn't beat them in New York. They just waited till they got home and took care of business.   The guess is that Los Angeles should win this in 6 games.

Arizona State has turn things around in two weeks, they went up to Utah  and dropped the Utes 30-10.  Suddenly,, The Sun Devils find themselves to be one of the hottest teams and to use the term loosely, can control their own destiny by winning their last five games, the big one this weekend as they host USC, which Notre Dame blowing the Trojans out of South Bend 49-14.

And what to make of the Los Angeles Chargers?  They shut out Denver 21-0, first time in 25 seasons that Denver didn't score anything. Phillip Rivers won his 100th game as a Charger QB, quite a feat upon itself, given my discontentment of his career being Charger QB. Travis Benjamin scored on a 42 yard TD pass from Rivers as well as returning a punt 65 yards for the first TD was MVP.  It was also the first game that the Chargers won in LA since 1960.  Hopefully more to come.

On the stink side of things, welcome Iowa Hawkeyes who stuck up the field and lost in OT to a Northwestern team that seems to find a way to beat the Hawkeyes, even though they have been giving up 25 points per average when they play other teams. Akeem Wadley probably should have considered going to the NFL draft had he found out his offense line can't block (he did managed 90 yards on 23 carries) and the Iowa WR's can't catch the fucking ball.  But then again, Iowa's Ole' blockers didn't do much to Nate Stanley, yelling Look Out when Northwestern DTs are whizzing by them.  Brian Frerenz, the son of the coach, is the new offense coach, but he seem to keep the Greg Davis playbook of getting 4 yards when it's 3rd and five.  Hilary happens on a fourth and short and Iowa OL guy gets a false start and the Hawkeyes have to settle for a long and game tying FG.  And then in OT, win the toss and proceeded to give the ball, and the wind to Northwestern to which NW got a touchdown despite a third and long to which Iowa defense falls asleep and NW gets a first and goal to which they score a TD.  And then Iowa fucked around a 3 yard run, and then a pass thrown out of bounds and Wadley getting six yards before on a 4th and 1, the TE drops the ball, thus ending the game and a 17-10 NW win.  I don't hold much hope for Iowa to keep Floyd of Rosedale for another year as Minnesota comes calling, the offense line is a joke and the receivers have glass hands.  Good thing Iowa isn't playing Iowa State, who beat Texas Tech and now is ranked 25th in the Coaches poll, first time in 12 seasons that has happens.  That may not last long, they host number 4 TCU in Ames.

I found this somewhat humorous, but a EF1 tornado touched down at a Oklahoma Casino and tore the roof off during a show by Mike Love's Beach Boys, thankfully nobody got hurt but I wonder if this was sent from the ghosts of Carl and Dennis Wilson playing a prank on the dour Mike Love?

For the past two years I've been taking part of jams in Cedar Rapids and through this time have worked up a good friendship with the majority of guitar players, bass players, drummers and such. I thought I would compile a list of the more unique rock and rollers out there.  There are plenty of great musicians out there and it's hard to pick the best of them all. So what I did was try to compile the best of the best musicians in certain categories.  Don't take it too seriously but this is what I think are the best of the best.  Opinions will vary.

Best Vocalist Male:  Joe Hutchcroft (Fossiltones) Runner up: Chad Johnson (Past Masters)
Best Vocalist Female:  Karie Skogman (Lipstick Slick), Runner up; Belinda James (Egads!)
Best Rock Guitarist: Rick Clay (Four Day Creep), Runner up:  Buddy Archbremmer (Lipstick Slick)
Best Blues Guitarist: Rich Toomsen (Wooden Nickel Lottery), Runner up: Dennis McMurrin
Best Alternative Guitarist: Brook Hoover (Surf Zombies), Runner Up. Stu Fondle (Rumours)
Best Country Guitarist: Doug Spinler (5 of Hearts), Runner Up: Dan Hartman (Kick It)
Best Bass Player: Ken Webb (Hostage), Runner Up: Barth Walter (Saloonatics)
Best Blues Bass Player: Dan Johnson Runner Up: Jeremiah Murphy (Dr Z. Exp)
Best Keyboard Player: Kip Wieland (Crankshaft), Runner Up: Greg Mein (Crazy Delicious)
Best Hard Rock Drummer: Troy Mitchell (Four Day Creep), Runner Up; Tiffany Z. (50 Shades Rock
Best Metal Drummer: Mike Serbousek (Cocked n Loaded) Runner Up: Terry McDowell (Flex)
Best Horn Player: Mitch Smith (Crankshaft), Runner up: David Boston
Most eccentric: Ed Butler, Runner up; Rodney Smith
Best original songwriter: Tommy Bruner, Runner up: Rodney Smith

I'm this is a flawed lineup but these fine folks are the ones that stick out in my mind the most in terms of looking for people to start up a band.  For hard rock Rick Clay makes playing lead guitar so damn easy and Buddy has made Lipstick Slick sound that much better, they also have the finest rock singer in Karie Skogman too.  For charisma, Chad Johnson plays the role of singer very well in the Past Masters, but Joe Hutchcroft has always been the most perfect type of lead singer. A born natural so to speak.   There's no shortage of great guitar players, Ryan Phelan can play blues, jazz and jam band all at the same time, Tommy Bruner's can do a nice Clapton/Keith Richard and Brook Hoover is all over the place with his surf guitar, but over all the best overall guitar player remains Rich Toomsen, if he lived in Memphis or Nashville he would be as well known as Stevie Ray Vaughan.

For female singers, Cedar Rapids has some of the finest around.  Julie Gordon balances between alt rock and hard rock, Cathy Hart a sweet country singer, Amanda Britcher one of the more harder screamers of rock and Dawn Sedeleck can do modern rock with the best of them.  Karie Skogman remains the queen of rockers in town and one of the hardest working folks in town, Lipstick Slick is always playing somewhere on the weekend.  I make no secret of Belinda James's vocal ability, looks can be deceiving, she might have to use a walker to get around but once she sings, you can hear the blues coming from her soul.  She owns Stormy Monday.

For drummers, substance and style do matter.  For hard rock Troy Mitchell has always had the drive and power to play hard rock as does Mike Serbousek.  Tiffany Z, may be living in La Crosse now but she still comes in the area to play with 50 Shades Of Rock and remains one of the five best drummers in the area.  Terry McDowell remains high in demand and plays in many many bands here, nobody can do grunge rock like he can.

There's not many keyboard players out there that I know of, Tom Giblin is a blues hall of famer but nobody out there can play them like Kip Wieland, one of the more off the wall dudes I have ever met.  I still believe that Ken Webb remains the most fun and exciting of all bass players that I known and he's always having fun on stage,  Barth Walter is not as well known but once you hear him play you'd want him in your band too.  Dan Johnson is legendary and a big supporter of the blues and rock and can play and teach at the same time.

For the most eccentric player out there.  I know for a fact that I am perhaps the most eccentric with my song list that goes from The Doors to O Brother Where Are Thou and Tom Waits.  Brook Hoover is also very eccentric for his knowledge of forgotten surf songs and pop hits of the 60s. However since I cannot in good faith put myself at number 1, Ed Butler has shown to the most eccentric with a song list that goes from Prince to Cyndi Lauper to Tom Waits and Bob Wills.  He's the Captain Beefheart to my Howling Wolf.  His song selection will make people scratch their heads at the Rock jams but put him in a folk acoustic setting and it all sinks in.  It's fun to be from the odd side of the fence with songs nobody knows much about. Anybody who can play Matty Groves does get pushed to the top of the line.  And he owns Wicked Game too.


Record Reviews:

Robert Plant-Carry Fire (Nonesuch/Warner Bros 2017)

You gotta smile and admire that Plant has blazed his own musical trail from the days of Zeppelin. His new album continues the journey that Lullaby and the CEASELESS ROAR (the title) started but is a bit more melodic and not so far out there.  It's also quite boring when the songs don't strike a chord.  There's a charm to the remake of Bluebirds Over The Mountain and it starts out fine with The May Queen, but it's really not rock and roll to me.  The title track is hard to stay awake to.  I think I liked Lullaby...better but I don't play that often either.   Give this three stars and move on to the next album.  Taken down a point due to yet another oblong CD digipak that's hard to store (just like the new Ride album, bring back the GD jewel case)
Grade B

Black Stone Cherry-Black To Blues EP (Mascot 2017)

BSC seems to be the only band that I have kept any sort of interest in since their inception 10 years ago and this time out, while passing time decided to modernize the blues into 2017 rock and roll.  At times they find their spot with Palace Of The King and Built For Comfort does rock, till a sleepy passage toward the end of the song derails the song.   A nice version Born Under A Bad Sign, at least they don't mess around the song like they did with Comfort and Champagne and Reefer.  Instead of real gritty delta blues, you get more of a Soundgarden sound had that band decided to cover Willie Dixon or Muddy.   For a stop gap 20 minute EP, it's good in spots but it make you seek out the original songs which are still out there if you look hard enough for them.
Grade B-

4Boxorocks (2006)

On the local circuit comes this little artifact featuring recently inducted hall of famer Dan Johnson, future Iowa rock and roll hall of famer Tommy Bruner and of course Tom Giblin and Eric Douglas rounding out the band.  It's interesting to hear the rock and roll of Bruner crossing with the blues and jazz that Johnson tends to favor and Gibby and Eric has played with the blues legends in town (Billy Lee and Bryce Janey, Bob Dorr and The Blue Band, Craig Erickson)  Johnson has played That's Where My Money Goes, and You're No Good at Parlor City from time to time (I know I played drums to both songs if memory serves me right...but don't quote me on that) and Tommy has covered Can't Find My Way Home and Beast Of Burden (I do know I played on both of those songs at various jams) and the connection between Tommy and DJ is their love of The Beatles to which they do a fast version of Back In The USSR and two versions of We Can Work It Out.  Knowing Tommy, he's done quite well with his last two albums which suit him better rather than Papa Bear's Blues and he sings in a higher voice, he almost matches Steve Winwood on Can't Find My Way Home.  Overall, it's a enjoyable effort and gives you an insight of what you may hear when you should come across these guys on a Parlor City Blues Jam Tuesday Night.
Grade B+

UFO-Making Contact (Chrysalis Reissue 1983)

The fourth and final album with Paul Chapman finds UFO in a rough spell, Pete Way left the band and Gary Lyons, original producer intent was disinterested (Way formed Fastway with Eddie Clarke from Motorhead and Jerry Shirley only to leave when Chrysalis mentioned Pete was still under contract with them).  So Chapman and Neil Carter split bass playing duties and the band carried on.  For an album that showcased the band falling apart, it holds up quite well although the ballads and the goofy Spinal Tap like When It's Time To Rock makes this record a bit second tier, this would be UFO's last good album till Walk On Water 12 years later on.   Blinded By A Lie is a fine failed single and The Way The Wild Winds Blows , has some of Phil Mogg's cool lyrics and Push It's Love is probably the most hardest rocking song of the Chapman era.   Yeah, it's hard rock and yeah it is mostly stadium rock but still Making Contact came out better than it should.  To which afterwards UFO tried to promote the album but the whole tour was a disaster and UFO would split apart for a couple years before Phil Mogg put together the band with new  hired help and Paul Raymond in tow. Bonus track is B side Everybody Knows, and a couple of subpar live run throughs of When It's Time To Rock and Blinded By A Lie, you can just about hear the disintegration of the band imploding on the Birmingham March 1983 dates and these were the highlights of that tour.  Earns a winning grade due to overcoming Pete Way's departure and soldering on despite the odds.
Grade B+

The Left Banke-There's Gonna Be A Storm (Mercury 1992)

They will forever be known as making three of the best singles of the 1960s' Walk Away Renee, Pretty Ballerina and Desiree but when I take a listen through their albums with Smash and collective singles, I find them to overdo the Beatles Sgt Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour era and the the last five sections on this overview bore me to death.  Can't say if they sound like Badfinger on a off night, the title track an exercise in trying to stay awake.  Michael Brown could come up with some nifty sides, especially on their first album, but after Desiree, it just doesn't have it for me.  Many years ago, I bought this CD and this made the same impression on me the first  play and I ended up selling it and getting my money back plus a couple times over.  There's Gonna Be A Storm combines both albums plus a couple of singles including And Suddenly, to which the Cherry People managed to score a hit. Sundazed managed to split the albums back into their original format, The first album remains a pretty good debut, but Too the followup,  Micheal Brown left the band but left behind Desiree.  Without Brown around, The Left Banke got to be a bland pop band.  And still convinces me that they might have been a bit overrated.
Grade C+

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Week In Review: Gord Downie, Sports Related, The Madison Singles Part 4

A wasted weekend.  I ended up being sick all weekend and had to cancel my music shows at The Rubies Bar Benefit and the Whittier Acoustic Showcase.  And had to deal with hitting a curb and breaking a belt on my tire of the new car, then having the brake line break on the other car the next day and then catching the flu.  And not much happening on the music scene either.   Unless you're excited about yet another new best of from Bryan Adams, Green Day and what not.

Gord Downie, lead singer for The Tragically Hip, passed away on Wednesday from brain cancer. He was 53.  While the Tragically Hip never made it big here in the states, they were much loved in Canada. Last year when Downie revealed he had this life ending cancer, the Hip went out on a sold out last tour, with the final show done on Aug 20, 2016. http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/gord-downie-obit-1.4359906




On the football side of things in town, Marion has done a 360 turnaround from two years ago when they couldn't win a game to controlling their own destiny with a win this friday. Their 16-14 upset of West Delaware at home proved to be these Indians are not to be taken lightly. It's off to Brady Street Stadium to play Davenport Assumption to which they won't have to worry about getting muddy like they did at home.  Field turf does wonders.  But the road to the playoffs hit a dead end as Assumption won 49-21 leaving West Delaware to get into the playoffs.  Marion controlled their own destiny and fell off a cliff.



The other shock is Arizona State has a defense finally.  After 11 straight  games of giving up 30 plus points and having the worst defense in NCAA last season, analysts and fans debated on how many points the Sun Devil defense would give up.  In the final tally, ASU shocked Washington 13-7 down in Tempe.  A strange game all the way, the Washington kicker missing two FG's which would figure greatly in the outcome, ASU played stellar defense and the offense converted on a very important 4th and 3 with a pass from Manny Wilkins to CJ French-Love that went between two Huskies defenders. Washington has been complaining about their late night time slot (it started at 9:45 Mountain Time) so that the East Coast people can't see these games and would wanted the game started at 1.  Which is laughable since Tempe would be around 100 degrees at game time, most games start at 7:30 or 8:30, nobody likes playing in hot weather.  Problem number 2, is that Washington isn't all that great, although I'm certain Colin Cowpie Cohwerd would like them better than anything Iowa puts out on the field. While UW did beat Cal 38-7 last week at home, Cal then dismantled number 8 Washington State 37-3 at Berkeley, which means the Pac 12 isn't as great as people think.  In the meantime, Chris Pedersen, who left Wisconsin for Oregon State, resigned a week ago and Nebraska has hired the AD from Washington State, therefore Mike Riley who left OSU for Nebraska will be looking for a new job after this season, even more now when Ohio State turned the Cornhuskers into popcorn and blew them out of Lincoln 56-14.  Nebraska has been a former shell of itself, far from the days that they rule the Big 12 before joining the big boys of the Big 10.   Iowa State continues to enjoy a winning streak, blowing out a hapless Kansas team 45-0.  Maybe like ASU, Iowa State has turned a corner after upsetting Oklahoma who then kicked Texas to the curb  29-24.   And last but not least, in NFL, the LA Chargers have won two in a row, defeating the Oakland Raider 17-16 on a last second winning FG by Nick Novak, who would have come in handy had the LA Chargers had him on the squad earlier in the season. They could be 4-1 had they had Nick Novak instead of dud  Koo Koo Cha Koo when he blew a chance to beat the Dolphins but his kick sailed wide right.

And then there's the Cubs.  They came back to defeat the Washington Nats, only to now to go out to LA and now down two games to nil.  They just have not been hitting, and the relief pitching has been a confounded joke once again.  Cubs had a paultry 2-0 lead Saturday before Jose Quintana ran out of gas and Hector Rondon came in and gave up another home run as LA won 5-2.  Sunday Albert Almora hit a HR, but LA came right back to score and then won on (you guessed it) a game winning home run 4-1.   Certainly blame can be placed on subpar relief pitching but it doesn't help when your lineup doesn't hit.  Javy Baez swings at everything that's not a strike and Kris Bryant puts the K in the swing and strikeouts,  Dodgers relief pitchers are pitching a no hitter on Cubs bats, they have not even had a hit on relievers in 9 innings and while they did get two runs on Clayton Kershaw, the Cubs shaky starters would give the runs right back.   There's a win or else mentality as they go back to Wrigley Field the next couple games and The Cubs must win game three.  Joe Maddon has managed to come back and win the games in elimination games, that happened at last year's world series with Cleveland and they came back against Washington. No telling what might happen but if Cubs can't get any hits off Dodgers relievers or get any decent bullpen work it will be a lost cause.  LA  defeated the Cubs in 5 games.  Dodgers simply dominated from the get go, and while the Cubs did come back to win game 4, LA blew them out 11-1 on game five.  It's hard to repeat as World Series champion but simply put Los Angeles was a solid team all the way through, 7 of their 9 hitters hit 300 or better, whereas the only Cubs that could hit battled 250 with 7 of 9 batters under 200. And you're not going to win with that, nor Hector Rondon giving up grand slams left and right.  At least The Cubs did battled, a little bit before the obvious happened.

It had to happen.  40 years after the fact and it still beat the reissue of The Brains first album (which will be hold in the dungeon of Universal Music forgotten classic albums) Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life will see it's debut on CD from Real Gone Music.  In honor of that album being a frequent find in every thrift store dollar bins, Real Gone should issued it under a 1.98 price tag but it will sell for 14.98, till the next big sale they have next year.  Then it will be sold for a 1.98.

With that out of the way, it's been another slow music news week again, so I conclude things with the rest of the Madison Singles that I found the week prior.  I guess you can call these the bottom of the barrel scraps although some have some appeal to these ears.


1)     The Credit Card Song-Dick Feller (United Artists UA XW535-X)  #105 pop 1974

Dick had a hit with Making The Best Out Of A Bad Situation for Asylum then found himself on United Artists with a fairly good album Dick Feller Wrote and this country top ten single. In fact this song did top Best Out Of A Bad Situation by one position, that song made number 11 this made number 10.  Country music in the 1970s was just as good as rock and roll at times. The Credit Card Song would be the last top ten for Feller, his version of Some Days Are Diamonds (Some Days Are Stone) was sung by John Denver in 1977, a hit for Denver.

2)     Forbidden Angel-Mel Street (GRT  GRT-102)  1974  #16 country

Depression can take out the best of singers.  I've seen that time and time before, Del Shannon, Kurt Cobain come to mind.  And it Mel Street lost to the demons of depression in 1979 but he was one of the underrated honky tonk singers of the 1970s, but he was never on the best of labels, Metromedia was one of them, GRT was basically a label that specialized in making 8 track tapes but Street was their most known recording artist.  When 8 Tracks went out of favor so did GRT and Street moved over to Polydor, then Mercury but Forbidden Angel is one of those come back when you get older little girl songs that are not so P.C. today.  Compared to Florida Georgia Line, Forbidden Angel is pure gold.

3)     Out Of Hand-Gary Stewart (RCA  PB-10061)  1974   #4 country

Stewart was one of more loved Americana type of honky tonkers that made some emotionally charged songs as well, Out Of Hand was my favorite of his songs.  I think his vocals were a lot like Narvel Felts but not as wild though but Gary could sing a nice cheating and drinking song.  Again the depression factor sets in, after losing his wife of 43 years, Stewart see no reason to keep living and like Street, shot himself in 2003.  Believe me, I know how he feels when life gets to be no fun.

4)     Gettin Any Feed For Your Chickens-Del Reeves (United Artists UA-50035) 1966 #37 Country

His best known hits were for United Artists in the late 1960s although this tongue in cheek song about getting any did fare as well as Girl On A Billboard.  He later discovered Billy Ray Cyrus.

5)     The Lord Knows I'm Drinking-Cal Smith (Decca  33040)  #1972  #1 country #64 Pop 1973
6)      Bleep You-Cal Smith (MCA-40137)  #1973  #62  country

Cal Smith was a journeyman country singer that managed to grab a hold of one of Whispering Bill Anderson's songs in The Lord Knows I'm Drinking, a hard honky tonker with backing from the Nashville Edition. Earlier in the year, he covered The Free Movement I've Found Someone Of My Own and it made number 4 on the country charts. Surprisingly, The Lord Knows I'm Drinking managed to hit the pop and rock charts in local cities, moving up to number 64, not bad for a straight honky tonk song so to speak. A answer record, Bleep You would be the followup, basically Bobby Braddock rewriting Bill Anderson's song in his own way and while the song brings a chuckle when I hear it, buyers weren't amused.  However, Smith would strike country gold with the number 1 song Country Bumpkin.

7)     Gypsy Woman-Notables  (Mossburg MB-2031)  #1997?

An off the wall find, The Notables are a ska band that is better known for Godfather Ska.  Further research has them from Seattle Washington of all places but most of that is speculation.  B Side is Falling From The Edge from The Stingers ATX, more ska punk so to speak.  Gypsy Woman is a reggae version of the Impressions' number.

8)     Cotton Candy-Al Hirt  (RCA 47-8346)  #15  1964

Follow up to the number 4 Java, with less satisfying results.   Produced By Chet Atkins

9)     Suavecito-Malo (Warner Brothers WB 7559)   #18 1972

Best known for Carlos Santana's brother Jorge being a part of this band, this song proved to be their only top 20 hit, or top 100 hit for that matter.  Richard Bean is the lead vocalist on this song.  Later on, some of the vocal parts were lifted for Sugar Ray's hit single Every Morning.

10)   Near You-Gayle McCormick (Decca 33030)  1972

McCormick, best known for being in the band Smith, managed have a nice solo debut on Dunhill with Lambert/Potter producing her and getting a couple hits from her, It's A Crying Shame one of them.  However, moving to Decca didn't do her any favors.  Her new producers mostly forced her into some kind of bland MOR light pop.  She did cover this Boz Scaggs song, but alas, this is not one of Boz's better songs.  McCormick would later move over to Fantasy for one more album before retiring altogether.   The less said about Near You, the better.

11)  Follow Me-Mary Travers (Warner Bros. 7481)  #56  1971

An okay cover of the John Denver number, B Side I Guess He Rather Be In Colorado is better.  Alas, this record was played on a record player with a bad needle.  Very scratchy.

12)  Partners-Jim Reeves (RCA 47-7557)  1959  #5  Country

Wouldn't you know it, I would overlook this one.  As I was finally compiling and putting these 45s together, I kept staring at this while writing the other songs down.  So basically, growing up we had all these 45s from all sorts of artists and bands  but for Jim Reeves, my dad had about 5 albums of Gentleman Jim Reeves. But unlike the Porter Wagoners, The Don Gibsons, Jim Reeves was too mellow and too polished for me to really take notice.  But he's some good songs out there, Partners is more uptempo than we give Jim credit for, but it stills a story of two men, finding gold, and on in a blizzard, one kills the other to stay alive.  But comes to find out that the howling winds and snows and a empty cupboard, the killer would receive a more cruel fate although not as graphic as say, The Buoys's Timothy?   B Side I'm Beginning To Forget You made number 17 on the country charts as well.  Even after Reeves' passing in 1964, that RCA continue to mine the vaults for more music.  His last chart placement was in 1984 with The Image Of Me which made it to number 70.



The oddball find of the Trip

Love Is A Drag-Emma Swift/Robyn Hitchcock (Little Ghost Records 2016)

http://nodepression.com/interview/emma-swift-her-new-record-robyn-hitchcock-0

Even in this era, there's possibilities  of finding new music on 45 although the majority of it comes from bloated overpricing of specialty recordings and let's face it, the major labels are not going back to old time DJ promos and mass production 45s.  But if I can find something of note, I'll pick it up.  For sure, this oddball find was one of the 7 records I got for a quarter.  Emma is from Australia and is considered a Americana country type of artist.  You know all about Robyn Hitchock former Soft Boy and new wave rocker who actually been getting more mellower of late, moving from Seattle now to Nashville and actually moving into a path that has been taken by Nick Lowe.  For better or worse I don't know and it's too early to tell if he'll end up being as bland like the former Jesus Of Cool.   Love Is  A Drag reminds me of Mazzy Star more so than what Hitchcock has been doing.   Sounds okay I guess.  B Side Life Is Change is a snoozer.

So, there we have it.  All of the Madison Singles that was found.  All 43 of them.   It kind of falls apart at the tail end but I think I did pretty well considering what was found and how decent of shape they were in.

Album from the attics of my life-Tom Petty-Let Me Up (I've Had Enough) MCA-1987

In reality, Let Me Up is the final album of the first decade of T.P. and while he may have not cared much for the end result, Petty would never sound this rejuvenated or rocking again.  Once Jeff Lynne came into Petty's life, every album beginning with Full Moon Fever would get more and more laid back and suffered from that polish production technique all the way to Ryan Ultkle's sound on the final recordings.  Say what you want about Stan Lynch, he may have been the least liked Heartbreaker but his drumming always put Tom Petty in rock and roll mode. Steve Ferrone was more the polished and professional but Lynch was pure rocker.  Jammin Me might be one of the best rock and roll throwaway singles ever made, with the tedious Take back lyrics courtesy of Bob Dylan, probably making a list and not checking it twice.    If Petty blew it on The Boys Of Summer, a Mike Campbell comp that Don Henley took to classic rock status much to the chagrin of us all, he gets redeemed on Runaway Train.   If Petty also thought the record was all filler and no killer, he's wrong on the recycled numbers.  Ain't Love Strange is a rewrite of Change Of Heart and Think About Me, was even used by my band as inspiration for Highway Of Love.  Most of the songs here did come from jams which makes songs like The Damage You Done and My Life/Your World fun to listen to. Side 2 does tend to drag a bit (All Mixed Up), but I could relate to the sadness of It'll All Work Out.  After the bombastic Southern Accents, Let Me Up, would be Petty's final return to a stripped down sound.  Strange to say that while making Greatest Hits, not one song from LMU made the final cut. Which is a shame.  While I continue to support Petty's cause and buy his albums, any one after L.M.U. never caught my attention to which Lynne can be blamed to which this record gets bumped to an A minus on nostalgic values and an honest to God rock and roll sound.  He became a legend with Full Moon Fever and solidified it on the overlong Wildflowers, but Let Me Up I had Enough to me was his final time, he had my attention all the way through a record.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Madison Singles Part 3-More Variety More Fun!

This week, somebody at work decided that I should have this cold flu crap going around so I had to cancel my only two music shows and stayed home and sulked all day.  It didn't help that it had to rain all day either.   So the only way to keep my spirit up was to continue our little journey of 45s found in Madison last weekend. Perhaps the most strongest of finds since Davenport 2014.  Or maybe not.  The story continues.


1)     Why-Frankie Avalon (Chancellor C-1045)  #1  1959

Being the completest that I am, I had the picture sleeve 45 but not the record till I found a fairly used copy at Mad City Music X, (Yes guys, you get to share the blame here)  but it's one of those innocent and sweet love songs that the girls would love, and the guys would play just to get a little.  B side Swinging On A Star, is one of those imitated Mack The Knife big band sounds that the teen idols would attempt to do.  It's pretty silly and cheese bally but it's only a 1:45 song.  Why would be Frankie's last number one record. 

2)     Hello Young Lovers-Paul Anka (ABC Paramount 45-10132)  #23 1960

Another Mack The Knife ripoff but I think this has a better arrangement than Swinging On A Star from Mr. Avalon.  Paul also seemed to be more at ease with this Vegas type of music than the others If you're not into this sort of finger popping you can move on to the next record.  Anka has seemed to take over some of the Singles Going Steady blogs with the music found, like Bobby Darin has done. In the end Bobby wins out in terms of quality songs. But I'll defend Paul Anka right up to.....you're having my baby. To which I'll then lift up my leg and let out a prolonged fart. 

3)     Kind Of A Drag-The Buckinghams (USA 860)  #1  1966

The horn sound didn't start with Chicago or for that matter Blood Sweat And Tears but rather The Buckinghams, which came from Chicago like the CTA band and were mostly a singles act, but their debut for USA Record went straight up the top of the charts.  Eventually Columbia was impressed enough to lure the guys away to the major label for a couple years before the band broke up. B side You Make Me Feel So Good, is less interesting.

4)    Theme From The Sundowners-Flex Slatkin  (Liberty F-55282)  #70  1960

And we are back into theme from the happening motion pictures at the time.Passable theme music not unlike Ray Conniff or Mitch Miller but proceed at your own risk. One of the five for a quarter records found at the Pick and Save St Vincent De Paul.  This record has a sticker from an old Woolworth's store advertising buy 6 for a dollar.  I wouldn't think the label means 6 for a hundred dollars.  I know, a bad attempt of being funny. and being stuck with a flu cold my sense of humor is nil. And I'm starting to hack and cough now.  It's gonna get worse before it gets better.

5)    Don't Throw Your Love Away-The Searchers (Kapp K-593)   #16 1964

If nothing else, the British Invasion did put more of a rock and roll variety on AM radio in 1964, the kids were getting tired of haphazard ballads and fingerpopping teen idols and anything Beatles would guarantee a top ten placement.  For the other Brit bands, they would have their share but most couldn't budge the Fab Four off the top ten, but that didn't mean they weren't trying.  The Searchers have been one of most underrated of Brit Bands at that time and they gave us a nice ear catching melody of sorts of Don't Throw Your Love Away complete with a middle eastern guitar hook. Kapp Records was basically a label for squares but they did snag record rights to The Searchers via Pye UK, they may not have charted as high as The Beatles or this song but they were quite good. I do think their best period was the late 70s, when Sire picked them up and The Searchers made their finest albums for that label.  Which of course didn't sell but collectors know about them and always on the lookout looking for them.

6)    Sandy-Ronnie And The Daytonas (Mala 513)  #27  1965

Little GTO gang of session players under the banner of Ronnie and The Dayatonas, Sandy is their answer to Surfer Girl. A nice tribute from the style of Brian Wilson.  Side note: the record that was pressed on might be the all time worst ever for vinyl plastic, in the inverted circle in the middle. Even without a record sleeve, this 45 actually plays pretty clean. Somebody must have taken fairly good care of it despite it being sleeveless.  Side note 2: the Wilken as co writer might be Maryjohn Wilken of Waterloo fame, a Nashville songwriter, which leads to....


7)   Waterloo-Stonewall Jackson (Columbia 4-41393)  #4 1959

Wilken co wrote this one with John Loudermilk.  It made number 1 on the country charts and number 4 on the pop chart.  There were about five other copies of this 45 over at St Vincent De Paul and this one was in the best condition of them all.  B side Smoke Among The Tracks, would later be covered by Dwight Yoakam, who knows a good country song or two.

8)   What The World Needs Now Is Love-Burt Bacharach  (A&M 1004)  1968

One of the more prolific songwriters ever, with Hal David, his songs make Dionne Warwick a standout vocalist but on his own not so much.  I think this is considered to be a find, although the A side was The Bell That Couldn't Jangle, was a Christmas single. To which I'm sure the Fifth Dimension probably did. Or Dionne Warwick may have. Bobby Vinton and the Belmonts did cover. Either way, neither side charted.

9)   Medicine Man (Part 1)-Buchanan Brothers  (Event 3303)  #22 1969

This song is the only song that I ever played that my mom told me to play something else.  But then again playing it 6 times in a row might have something to do with that too.  They weren't brother but rather Cashman, Pistelli and West under an alias. I did managed to get their album on CD a few years ago and outside of Medicine Man and Son Of A Loving Man, the rest of the album was quite awful.  This song has a the grooviest bass guitar solo introduction and of course the best one note keyboard played too. I wouldn't say it was bubblegum, this song is too strong to be lumped in with Ohio Express and The Archies. It still cuts a mean groove 48 years onward. Side 2 is part 2, with the longest fade in, in record history, it's almost half of the so called 2:01 timing on the B side.

10)   Stars And Stripes Forever-John Twomey  (Casablanca NB 821)   1974

The strangest 45 of the batch comes from this 25 cent orphan that spent at least a good two years at Half Priced Books in the discount bin before a sympathetic record hoarder came along and took it home.  I thought it was a disco number since it was on the Casablanca label but rather this invokes memories of the Gong Show. Twomey's memorable performance comes from the Johnny Carson Tonight's Show.  Twomey's performance is called a manualist, a fancier word than making fart noises with his hands.  But you got to admit. he was damn good at this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSmD9hrbrF0


Friday, October 13, 2017

The Madison Singles Part 2-The Golden Age Of Rock And Roll (And Country Too)

1)     Let's Think About Living-Bob Luman (Warner Bros 5172)  #7 1960

Luman was more of a rockabilly star but he became more known in country rather than the pop charts. In fact this song was his only chart showing on the top 100.  He's backed by the Anita Kerr Singers among the Nashville Sessionmen of choice.  Luman's song is a bit of side poking fun goof, lamenting about the loss of Marty Robbins down at El Paso and the Everly Brothers' Cathy's Clown, as at that time both were on the upstart Warner Brothers label, a label that was not exactly bringing ground breaking acts to that label.  The Everly's at that time Warner paid big bucks to get on their label and while the early years gave the label some hits, but once Beatlemania came around The Everly's couldn't get arrested at number 1 anymore.  B Side You've Got Everything, sounds more akin to Buddy Holly and more rocking than Think About Living.   Luman would record for Warner Brothers will 1963, then moved over to Hickory for a few years and then on to Epic, which his last best known number would be 1973's Lonely Women Make Good Lovers.


2)     Is A Blue Bird Blue-Conway Twitty (MGM K-12911)  #35  1960

Conway was a rockabilly rocker in his years at MGM, with that aw shucks vocals and that lazy grown that recalled Elvis.  Despite the number 35 chart showing, I never heard this song before. While the Elvis comparisons may have nice, the problem might have been that Conway was a bit too rockabilly for the rock crowd to get into.  Flip side She's Mine (#98) is more rock and roll.  The guess work is that the song writer for Is A Blue Bird Blue is Dan Penn, who would go on to be one of the best songwriters of the soul years.


3)     Night Train To Memphis-Grandpa Jones (Monument 45-811)  1963

My Carolina Sunshine Girl might have been the A side but I loved this crazy bluegrass raveup Night Train To Memphis even more.  He'll be forever known as the comedian on Hee Haw but he was a damn good bluegrass banjo player, going back to Old Rattler, on King Records in 1951, but Jones would stay at Monument for over a decade.  Strangely, we have yet to see a decent Grandpa Jones best of on CD or record.  The comedian thing may have tarnished his reputation but the old Grandpa can come up with some wild music when the time is right.  Hallelujah anyway!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kbo7YW2KeY


4)     Give Myself A Party-Don Gibson (RCA Victor  47-7330)  #46 1958

One of my favorite artists of that time was Don Gibson, who could write some of the more darker songs this side of country but he did score some hits  I'm more familiar with the version that appears on I Wrote A Song, but this 1958 version is a bit more rough around the edges.  I don't think Don ever made a bad single during the RCA hey day of the late 50s and early 60s.   B side Look Who's Blue made it to number 58, and is more rockabilly than country.

5)     Blue Moon-Elvis Presley  (RCA 47-6640)  #55  1956

6)     Love Me Tender-Elvis Presley (RCA 47-6643)  #1 1956

The pick of the better condition of the Elvis 45s that I've seen at St Vincent De Paul.  It used to be a big deal finding anything Elvis and in decent condition, nowadays not so much.  He's been gone now for over 40 years but I still find his music to be as good as it ever was, although Love Me Tender is not one of my favorite songs, the B Side Anyway You Want Me (#20) was more my style then the sappy Love Me Tender.  There were about 12 other Presley forty fives but most of them were in poor shape.  Perhaps some of them could have played very well, Perhaps I should have picked up Wear My Ring Around Your Neck.  Blue Moon, is from the Sun Sessions and one of more mysterious songs that Presley made.  The scratchy sounds makes the record all that more worthwhile to listen to.  However this song only stumbled to number 55 in 1956.  B side Just Because is a return to the rockabilly rock that Elvis started out to do.  Bill Black and Scotty Moore really did shape the sound a lot better than given credit for.

7)     Blue Moon-The Marcels (Colpix  CP-186)  #1 1961

If Elvis Presley's version was a dark melancholy midnight stroll, The Marcels' version was more fun and uptempo doo wop.  And probably was the inspiration for Sha Na Na.  Like Warner Brothers, Col Pix was Columbia Pictures going into the music biz but with less results rather than the WB and eventually Columbia Pictures decided it wasn't cost effective and closed things up  Blue Moon was doo wop fun, everybody got a kick out of the opening bass lines.   B side  Goodbye To Love is a doo wop ballad.

8)     Ya Got Trouble-Stan Freberg (Capitol F-3892)  1958

Ah the Music Man, Meredith Wilson's story about trouble in River City.  I remember my ex girlfriend wanting a copy of The Music Man and ended up getting the Warner Brothers album but Capitol had their very own.   Stan Freberg was a parodist who like to make fun of the flavor of the day, he could be good pulling off a Jack Webb but when he tried to parody rock and roll he fell on his ass.  It really wasn't very funny.   I do remember hearing this song on a ole puppet show  (it wasn't Dr. Max but a rival show on KCRG in the late 60s) to which I remember the pool cue sketch in this version.   It was a long song, almost 4 minutes in length, not exactly Mac Arthur Park or Let It Be but back in the late 50s songs were 2 and half minutes average wise.  B side Gary Indiana continues the Music Man nonsense.

9)     Margo (The Month Of May)  The Browns (RCA 47-7755)  1960

Jim Ed Brown and his sisters made some pleasant country rock for RCA in the late 50s and early 60s, and they got a hit with The Three Bells, hitting number 1 in 1959.  The ensuring album Town And Country had that and Scarlet Ribbons for her hair but by the time this song came out, the rock and pop crowd moved on to other things and this song didn't chart.  In fact it wasn't on the first Greatest Hits that Collector's Choice issued, nor the Real Gone version.  However import albums from Jasmine and Acrobat does have this song with b side Lonely Little Robin.  Not exactly a memorable song for either Margo or Lonely Little Robin but it does fit the smooth vocal style of The Browns

10)    Linda Lu-Ray Sharpe (Jamie 1128)  #46  1959

An early Lee Hazlewood production (along with Lester Sill), this turned out to be Ray's only chart appearance.  It didn't get much airplay here, I heard it sometime in 1987 when KXIC was the oldies station and they played off the wall songs such as this.  I think Dave at Mad City Music X needed to clear space up in his museum 45s and banished this to the quarter dumpster file.  It's still in pretty good shape I think.  Those quarter 45s do sound better the less you pay for them.


To Be Continued

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Madison Singles Part 1-Mom's Record Collection

While looking through the archives, I made a comment that the last Madison bargain hunt was the best hunts since the lucky Davenport finds of 3 years ago, hard to believe time has passed that quickly.

Since then I really begin to piece together the record collection that I grew up with, back when my mom had these forty fives in her collection and being brats that me and my brother was didn't take care of the lesser 45s and wore the grooves off the ones we did like.

Looking back upon 50 years of record collecting, I've seen the early days of rock and roll, was too young for Beatlemania and Woodstock but managed to be there at the time punk rock and disco came out, new wave and the Twin Cities outbreak of Husker Du/Replacements and the demise of music as we know it and now too old for Burning Man or whatever New Musical Express touts. There'll still be good music out there but none of it will turn my head around as the early years of Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers and Paul Anka.   The record collection discovered going to Grandma Ambrose's house and opening my mind up with lots of rock, lots of pop, some R and B and plenty of instrumental muzak pap as well.  And yes, it did open my mind up to more music that my rock and roll friends wouldn't touch.  But over time, those records either got too scratchy or broken and I spent many a time searching for them

If I thought last June's Mad City hunts were the second best since Davenport 2014, last weekend topped that, simply of the fact that the old 45s of the past I found were in fairly good shape and not too scratched up.  The wide scope of finding records that was part of my mom's collection was beyond belief and while the August 2014 finds still remain the best overall, The October Mad City 45s are a very close second.  Memories of my childhood reign in these dusty grooves from the past and if nothing else, brings us full circle.  If this is truly is the last or final bargain hunt as always threatened, then it has been a blast.  While Mad City Music X had the choicest and more rocking of the songs, The Williamson St Vincent De Paul had some fine country singles too.  But the cherry on top was the other St Vincent De Paul on Park St, with the buy them by the pound, to which I found 8 45s for a quarter!

The fun of going to thrift stores and used stores is the never knowing of what I'm going to find till I come across it. Since picking up a turntable a decade and half ago, my 45 collection has grown by leaps and bounds but the nostalgic feeling of finding a record I once had and buying it is euphoric.  Kinda like a rush so to speak.  Now I'm not so sure if rediscovering everything my mom used to have is cost effective, sometimes it's a quarter wasted. But if it's the right record, it will jog a memory of a forgotten song now playing on the record player.

My mother had a very rough childhood and the only thing that kept her going it seems was a trip to Kresge's and pick up a few singles along the way home from school with her sister.  You can make fun of Frankie Avalon or Paul Anka  but somehow they shaped the way I listen to music.  Certainly there was room for them as well as Chuck Berry or Elvis or The Marcels. The 10 songs picked out, all are not rock, some are instrumental, some are pop and the rest just plain out of the ordinary. But then again my mom always did have an off the wall ear for music, it's a shame she quit buying records and left that up to me.  But basically my music collection is an extension of her collection.  For better or worse, this is where my music education started.


1).    Way Down Yonder In New Orleans-Freddy Cannon (Swan 4043)  #3 1959
2).    What In The World Come Over You-Jack Scott (Top Rank 2028)  #5 1960
3).    Diana-Paul Anka (ABC-Paramount 45-9831)  #1  1957
4).    Sea Of Love-Phil Phillips (Mercury 71465)  #2 1959
5)     Just Between You And Me-The Chordettes (Cadence 1330)  #8 1958
6)     Three Little Pigs-Lloyd Price (ABC Paramount 45-10032)  1959
7)     The Enchanted Sea-The Islanders (Mayflower M-16)  #15 1959
8)      Ride!-Dee See Sharp (Cameo 230) #5 1962
9)      I'm Walkin'-Ricky Nelson (Verve V-10047)  #4 1957
10)    Forever-The Little Dippers (University 210)  #9 1960

Dee Dee Sharp song Ride! originally came from a cheap best of that came out on Wyconte which Cameo Parkway used for loss leader albums, or the 1.98 special as we call them. The album featured other hits from the likes of Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, The Orlons and the Dovells.  My mom was a big Ricky Nelson fan, she had a few Imperial singles, but there was an unmarked 45 with the label fallen off, but it may have been this song.    The Little Dippers, might be the least of all the songs on this blog, I'm guessing it's some of the finer Nashiville Session players (Buddy Harman, Boots Randolph, Floyd Creamer, and Anita Kerr Singers) and it was produced by Buddy Killen, who later produced Joe Tex and a few others.  Randolph blows his sax on Two By Four, the B side. In those days Nashville sessionmen did play on a lot of records and moonlight on occasion (see Spar Records, Tom And Jerry) under alias. The Islanders were a different group, probably a more garage pop band and may wanted to be The Ventures but didn't have quite enough backing to make it more worthwhile.  The Enchanted Sea is full of seaside sound effects and I get a smile hearing this all over again.  As well as the B side Pollyanna, nothing more than a medium groove with a chant of Pollyanna for words.  In this day and age, it's a fading footnote before the Beatles and heavy rock but sometimes innocent rock and roll still makes a fine listen.

The Chordettes have made the Singles Going Steady a few times but it is Just Between You And me, with the carefree call and response singers that this song was a long time looking for.  Pervious copies that I have seen were too scratchy to buy.  It looks worse for wear but it actually plays pretty good.  As for Anka, he may have been a teen idol, and either Mom or her sister were big fans, they had about 4 other Anka forty fives, but of course Diana is his best known outside of the one of the worst all time singles of the 70s You're Having My Baby.  The nearest source of Anka's music and persona would be Bobby Darin, but while Anka stayed more to a pop Vegas and MOR sound, Darin discovered his folk roots which made Darin the better of the two stars.  Another found forty five of Anka's Hello Young Lovers showed him going for that big band sound of Mack The Knife fame, more about that in the next installment of the Madison Singles next time we meet.

Another teen idol would be Freddy Cannon, which Tallahassee Lassie was the first song that really grabbed my attention. Single number 2 was his Way Down Yonder In NO a very jumpy and rocking number even if Frank Slay's arrangements were a bit more jazzier than rocking.   The hope is to find a version of Kookie Hat and I can complete that piece of rock history in my collection.  Jack Scott took a bit more getting used to, his songs were more melancholy and darker than Anka or Cannon, but it turns out that What In The World's Come Over You has sounded better over time.  

On the other side of the R and B fence, we have Phil Phillips' one hit of Sea Of Love which sounds a bit more New Orleans but more stripped down.  Lloyd Price had a hit with I'm Gonna Get Married but B side Three Little Pigs was more fun to hear.  Price's ABC years were his better known and best. Sometimes B sides were the better, or least to these ears.

With that, this concludes the first installment of the Madison 45 finds.  The next blog deals with songs from that era of 1957-1964 with more country thrown in.  Most of those records I'm sure Mom would have bought them had she heard them but if she had the kind of record buying that I do have, I may be born to a different mom.   But in typical R S Crabb form, look for a more wider ride of music styles on the next blog.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week In Review-Madison Bargain Hunts

With the Badgers playing in Nebraska (to which they won), it seemed to be the right time to check out Madison one more time before the snow hits. Plus donating some CDs and 45s and some clothes seemed to be the answer too.  Only problem was I came back with more 45s than what I donated.

The last time I was up there, I bought a lot of museum priced 45s.  This time out, all came from the quarter dumpster part of Mad City Music Exchange and a lot of the older fortyfives, my mom used to have.  It's nice to finally hear The Enchanted Sea by The Islanders without the razor slashes on our old record of that song.  As always the St Vincent De Paul store on Williamson Street has been great to find old 45s and this week was no exception.  However the other St Vincent De Paul on Park St. is unique in its own way; they charge you by the pound rather than individual 45s and I ended up getting about 8 of them for grand total of 25 cents!  One of them was a Robyn Hitchcock/Emma Swift 45 that I have never seen before. And if I didn't pick it up, I would have never seen another one like it again.  I'm not sure if Let's Think About Living by Bob Luman was high on the list of stuff to get but to find What's In The World Come Over You (Jack Scott), Three Little Pigs (Lloyd Price), I'm Walking (Ricky Nelson) and Way Down Yonder In New Orleans (Freddy Cannon) really did harken back to my childhood years of playing them at Grandma's House.  You may poo poo the needless of Paul Anka but Diana does bring a smile to my face when I hear it. I could almost (but not quite) forgive him for You're Having My Baby.

Mad City Music Exchange had plenty of the quarter ones too. Linda Lu (Ray Sharpe), Sea Of Love (Phil Phillips), Forever (The Little Dippers), Medicine Man (Buchanan Brothers) were the ones that I found there.  The St Vincent De Paul on Williamson had a bunch of ole Elvis and Beatles 45s but they were in pretty bad shape but I did pick up Blue Moon and Love Me Tender, why I don't know.  Half Priced Books on the West Side of Madison I found Blue Moon (Marcels) and Ride! (Dee Dee Sharp), the latter one of my all time favorite Cameo/Parkway singles.  Just Between You And Me was yet another Chordettes single that I didn't have but recalled it was one of my mom's original 45s from long ago.  And of course a few other oddball stuff, Burt Bachrach's What The World Needs Now, Bleep You from Cal Smith and more forgotten stuff from Gayle McCormick and Mary Travers. If nothing else, I did find a serviceable copy of Why (Frankie Avalon), that now goes with the picture sleeve that was found in a record storage box a few years ago. I don't remain hopeful that I can sell that for big bucks on Ebay anytime soon though.

For used CD's, this time out was much better than last time although once again Strictly Discs had nothing I needed and Pre Played had nothing to buy either.  Since the passing of the owner of Resale Records, that store is now history and B Sides Records was strangely closed on Saturday. Amazingly, I found a Richard Thompson Cd 1000 Years Of Poplar Music and The Grateful Dead's Reckoning for two dollars, I could have picked up Pink Floyd's Animals for that amount but since I had a copy at home that didn't make much sense.  There were new releases from Chris Hillman and Chris Rea that I bought at Mad City Music X but I forgot to look for The Golliwogs's Complete Fantasy Recordings or it slipped my mind.  The west side Goodwill had the better buys if you're looking for The Beatles' Love, Leonard Cohen's Dear Heather, The John Lennon Collecton (2 of them).  The East Side Goodwill and Half Priced Books, I came up empty but don't feel bad.  I found enough on the West Side to keep me occupied for the whole month.

And then Barnes And Noble, (east side) had a bunch of Wounded Bird CDs at 3.99. Jo Jo Gunne!, King's X! Earl Scruggs! but since I had Jo Jo Gunne's albums on Collector's Choice, I didn't see the need to buy the other one just to have the So Where's The Show on CD. It was their weakest album for Asylum and King's X Ear Candy is my favorite album but since I had that on CD, it's up for grabs.  I ended up buying  King Curtis and The Staples Singles CD along with a few obscure acts that looked good. It was surprising to see this many Wounded Bird albums all in one place but given the 3.99 price, it meant that all of the albums are now fallen out of print. Including all of the Mighty Lemon Drops, to which Wounded Bird had bonus tracks for those who still care.  As I bought out the majority of the Wounded Bird catalog, I wonder if the west side B and N had any of their own.  Turns out that they didn't.   It was a fluke.

Weather wise, it sucked.  We had no rain all fall and only when I decided to plan the trip then it begin to rain.  The annoying kind, that would soak you if you were not careful but I did managed to do a five mile bike ride in between monsoons.  And getting a motel room during football season even for away games I still paid 140 dollars for one night at the Red Roof only to have 40 channels of nothing but managed to catch one game of the Cubs/Nationals (they won game one 3-0). For food, it was chain galore, Pizza Hut for lunch, Perkins for pancakes for supper and on the way home Steve at work requested Rocky Rococos' pizza to which I finally broke down and bought one.  A medium two topping is expensive 18 dollars but it was Chicago style and I could ate four squares of it.  They were huge.  I remembered Iowa City had one but I didn't like their pizzas but if I don't order the sausage ones I'll be okay. I still think the sauce is a bit harsh but overall, it's improved for me over time although I don't forsee myself being  an  regular customer. I probably should have bought a frozen Pizza Uno and presented it to him, it would have been 8 dollars cheaper.

I didn't plan the trip very well, I only took one pair of pants and then much to my chagrin, the fucking button popped off and I had to go to the thrift store to pick up a pair of pants and changed in the car. The stop lights sucked as they did last time and I had issues with slowpokes walking across the road like lost cattle (Moo!) and the usual merge mania cocksuckers getting in the lane and making me take the next exit and double back to get back home but I guess that's now standard procedure. Last time I was there, it was world naked bike ride day and I'm certain that will be the next time I get back into town but this time out I kept my clothes on and rode through the chilly winds and rain and didn't get any sort of leg cramps. Just don't over do it and we'll be fine.


(photo: Steve Apps, Wisconsin State Journal)

As reported earlier, I did an afternoon bike ride between raindrops and by the time I got to State Street in the afternoon, we got hit with a monsoon rain after completing my little bike ride. Turns out that there was a tornado that slammed into the east side of Washington Street up the road that did some damage to houses and homes.  This tornado was so quick there was no warnings about it.  But then again I wasn't around a TV set at that time. It was over and done in five minutes. http://www.weather.gov/mkx/tor100717


(photo: MLB)

It took them a full five games and nine innings to outlast the Washington Nationals but The Chicago Cubs prevailed 9-8 in a exciting game five that the home team Nats were generous of giving the Cubs two runs on a dropped third strike and catcher's interference.  Washington made a game of it till the 8th inning when Wade Davis picked off the Washington catcher who didn't make it back to first. Davis managed to have a three up and down ninth striking out Bryce Harper and advance to the Championship series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  On the AL side, the Chief Wahoo curse struck again as New York beat Cleveland to advance to play Houston, who eliminated the Boston Red Sox and John Ferrill was relived of manager duties the next day.  But for the Cubs, they can celebrate tonight, despite another shaky bullpen to which Wade Davis had to work 2 and a 1/3rd innings to pick up a much deserved save.

On the football side of things, Iowa had no trouble with Illinois 45-16, although once again, the Iowa Defense in the first half looked sluggish and only had a 17-13 lead at the half before a Brandon Snyder 89 yard pick six return got the hawks up and running, and it became a runaway when Iowa had 3 more TDs in the fourth quarter. Iowa gets the next weekend off, Illinois will play Rutgers.

The shock of the Big 12 was Iowa State coming from behind to defeat Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners 38-31 at Norman of all places. Future NFL WR Allen Lazard caught a amazing TD catch to put the Cyclones in the lead once and for all. Kyle Kempf, replacing Jason Park at QB threw for 343 yards and three TDs and even former QB Joel Lanning came in at QB to run a few plays and return back to defense to play linebacker, the first 2 way player for the Cyclone since 1971. A tacky moment was a Iowa State player planting the ISU Flag on the Oklahoma 50 yard line, the same ploy that Baker did when they beat Ohio State earlier in the year.  Losing to Iowa State had hurt the OU chances for a national title and Baker Mayfield's chances for a Heisman.  For Matt Campbell, the Iowa State win might have finally turned the team into the up and up after coming up short the past couple seasons.  It's too early to tell if this will wake up the cyclones to a bowl game this season but their win did shake up college football this weekend.

The Toilet Bowl was played in the Meadowlands in New Jersey between the winless LA Chargers and NY Giants and the Chargers won 27-22 and the Giants lost Odell Beckham Jr for the rest of the season with a broken ankle.

10  artists and bands not in the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame. http://www.culturesonar.com/fans-top-ten-rock-roll-hall-fame-snubs/

Passings; Connie Hawkins, one of the best all time basketball player players, who played for the Phoenix Suns died from colon cancer.  He was 75.  He was one of the best Iowa basketball players in 1961 till he was singled out in a point shaving scam that cost him a few years on the NBA circuit.  History has shown he had nothing to do with that but the NBA blackballed him for a few years till they lifted the ban and Phoenix drafted him in the first round.  The point shaving scam had him expelled from Iowa and he could not find another college that would take him in. A grave injustice. However his work in the ABA and Harlem Globetrotters were great enough to get him in the basketball hall of fame.  He did wonders for the Phoenix Suns in 1969, pushing the Los Angles Lakers to seven games but his knee problems would limit his greatness.  He was traded to the Lakers in 1973 and he would finish his career with the Atlanta Hawks in 75-76.

Delilah, the adviser to the broken hearted and loved ones who want to hear a sappy love song, is still alive but she lost her son Zachariah to suicide on Sunday. He was battling depression.

Things have changed since my last visit to Arizona, This FYE store was a big hangout for me when I used to live there and it was my first destination when I got off the airplane.  Across the street was a Fuddruckers' I used to eat at.  Both are now long gone, The Longmore FYE used to be known as Wherehouse Music before FYE bought them out and eventually closed each and every one down.  This place closed in 2016.


(Photo: Shawn Byrne via KD Miner)

Despite of saying that they weren't, Sears Holdings announced that the Kingman K Mart would be closing and that store is now in the history books at well.  There's really not that much on that side of town on Andy Devine, there's a Bashas  and a few other stores, but in my time of going through Kingman on Route 66 I'd stop in at K mart to pick up some things.  Sears also announced that they are closing all of the Sears stores in Canada.  K Mart used to be a big deal but once Sears bought them out, they started closing them all down.   However the Sears CEO will give himself a raise while jettisoning jobs and putting K Mart alongside the Arlans and Woolworth's and Hastings stores in the places that are now gone.  If nothing else, the Taco Bell is still open for business though.


On a different note, Kingman's new Goodwill will open this Friday at the former  Beall's Outlet Store location in the strip mall on Stockton Hill Drive.  There might be some bargains to find for those who venture there.  Not me, it's too big of a road trip (almost 3 days from here).




Record Reviews:

Chris Rea-Road Songs For Lovers (BMG 2017)

He's been around forever but I think this is his first US release since Espresso Logic, 25 years ago.  Basically a Chris Rea album has the usual pattern of great guitar song leading things off, then a fairly good 2nd song and then the record goes uneven.  Once again Road Songs For Lovers follows the Rea Template of making an album.  He's good with the more rocking and blues numbers (Money, Rock My Soul) and it does lead off with Happy On The Road, a uptempo rocker that isn't as long as previous offernings. He gets boring with those ballads he loves to pepper his albums with and the whole thing ends with three ballads, the yearning Angel Of Love, the after hours lounge jazz of Breaking Point and concludes with the snoozer Beautiful.  In his 40 year music career, Rea has proven to be a cult artist that has a big following on the other side of the pond. His best albums remain Auberge and The Road To Hell (The Geffen album with bonus track Let's Dance works for me) and if you want to discover more Rea, Whatever Happen to Bennie Sanatini, with his first hit Fool If You Think It's Over and Dancing With Strangers, which appeared on Motown in 1986.  Road Songs For Lovers falls short of expectations here, too many ballads and it's two minutes short of an hour.  But for a late comeback of sorts, it's Rea doing what he does best, with that smokey baritone vocal of his and neat slide guitar work.  Sometimes what he does best may not be the best of what he has to offer. Especially if it takes work to stay awake to listen to the ballads that put me to sleep.
Grade B

Chris Hillman-Biding My Time (Rounder 2017)

If nothing else, Chris' comeback album is the last album that Tom Petty produced.  This record got done before Petty checked out of this world.  And like of who Petty produces, he usually gets the best out of forgotten artists, Del Shannon was one, Chris the other.  Like Rea's album this record has 12 songs but unlike Rea's album Biding My Time is much shorter and more to the point.  It also benefits from Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and the Heartbreakers helping out too. Hillman enlists John Jorgenson from the Desert Rose Band to help out too. I like the revisits of She Don't Care About Time, Walk Right Back, New Ole John Robertson and even Bells Of Rhymyney.  Restless with McGuinn's telling 12 string Rickenbocker makes me do wish that Chris could do one more album with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn but at least with Tom Petty (and Herb Pedersen) Hillman has not sounded this good since the days of The Flying Burrito Brothers.  His version of Petty's Wildflowers might even be better than Tom's version.  Little did we know, Wildflowers would end this album on a high note and for that matter would be the final song that Petty would be associated with.
Grade B+

The Searchers-Another Night-The Complete Sire Sessions (Omnivore 2017)

While disco was ruining radio at that time, across the pond was the revival of real rock and roll, led by Rockpile (Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe's band that made albums under their own names but came together to make one 1980 album of worthiness) and pub rockers Eddie And The Hot Rods, Dr. Feelgood and The Pirates making classic albums of their own that only audiophiles or bargain hunters would know about.  The Searchers were always under the radar even in their hit making years for Kapp and only audiophiles and record collectors know more about their albums than the dancing fools of disco or soft rockers of note.  In 1979, they came roaring out of the gate with a new S/T album and a harder power pop sound than their hit making years.  Their first album starts out with Hearts In Her Eyes, a cover of The Records (actual band) and of course the smooth Switch Board Susan to which your's truly has performed live of late. They even cover Tom Petty on a song that isn't well known (Lost In Your Eyes) but shows their willingness to try new songs from up and coming artists. The second side of that album is slightly less but still has catchy songs like It's Too Late and No Dancing.   Their second album Love's Melodies was a bit of a slump but still had wonderful songs like Silver, September Gurls (Big Star anybody?) and Almost Saturday Night, the John Fogerty classic song from his forgotten Asylum S/T album to which Dave Edmunds would get a minor hit in 1981. For some reason neither albums got The Searchers on the map and Sire moved on to other things, namely The Pretenders and some upstart named Madonna. Wounded Bird issued both Searchers albums in barebones format, (you need a microscope to read the notes) before Omnivore picked up the rights to reissue both albums, with a few surprises, not sure if the new remixes are worth it but four new songs not on the Wounded Bird nor Raven reissues might be worth a listen.  It's good to see this back in print.  Another Night shows that for a veteran band The Searchers could be as enjoyable as Rockpile or The Records or Big Star.  And at the same time they could make a classic album too.
Grade A-

Green Day-God's Favorite Band (Reprise 2017)

Logically speaking it had to happened. The first best of covered the years prior to American Idiot, so it had to happened to get a new update.  This album gives us 2000 Light Years Away from Kerplunk! and of course the highlights from American Idiot and the lesser satisfying 20th Century Breakdown  The surprise is Miranda Lambert on Ordinary World (was Sheryl Crow too busy on that day not to sing?) and a new song Back In The USA. There are some major omissions on this album Insommiac only has Brain Stew and Geek Stink Breath and Walking Contradiction is left off.  The problem with overview best ofs, is that nowadays they tend to cram almost everything from the catalog and Green Day has managed to make about 16 albums, give or take a comp or two.  Problem number 2, the later albums are not as interesting, as Green Day transformed from punk rockers to the new Who, Billy Joe Armstrong got a bit too serious and if he ran low of lyrical thought, resorted to F bombs.  And Oh Love and Bang Bang weren't exactly good songs either.  International Superhits remains the better buy, get that and American Idiot and you'll be set for life.  At this point, I'm too old to care anymore.
But for a flawed overview, it might provide a argument that Green Day was God's Favorite Band (although U2 would contest to that, or the Stones, or The Who)
Grade B+

Kindred-Next Of Kin (Warner Brothers 1972)

At the Barnes And Noble fire sale, they had a bunch of Wounded Bird Cds for sale at 4 dollars and I managed to get about 7 of them.  Wounded Bird does everything on the cheap, the facsimile of the liner notes and photos are so scattershot and small you can't read who does what and forget about the lyric sheet (see 54-40's reissue) with 20/20 vision.  That said, they did open up the door for the lesser known.  I basically bought Kindred because Bobby Cochran plays on this album and sings, he would later move on to Steppenwolf 1974-1976, the last time that band made decent albums.  Best way to describe this album is hippie rock led by Gloria Giano's whiskey soaked vocals and Marty Rodgers' male vocals on the more hippie numbers.  Certainly Gloria's songs are the better one, Movin On is powerhouse rock.  Marty's One More River is more MOR lite rock,  Given the situation, it's a surprise to even see this on CD, a curio for the audiophile to check out to see what the fuss was about. In some ways they were a lot related to Smith, the Gayle McCormick led band at that time but Kindred didn't have Steve Barri underminding their efforts.   But Bobby Cochran was the secret weapon, he also had the best song on this album, Ain't No Doubt. Next Of Kin was the product of the times, the last cry of hippie peace and love rock.  At 28 minutes it doesn't stay on the scene very long either.
Grade B+

Thirty Days Out  (Reprise 1971)

And then there's Thirty Days Out. Another minor band that got enough requests for reissue that Wounded Bird threw it out and it's more country rock than the hippie rock of Kindred. The influence is Poco although local bandmates Wilderness Road had the same sound, but was much better due to a sense of humor and better playing.  This CD had a nice album cover which made me buy the thing.  Starts out promising with Everybody's Looking For Someone, which might have been a single but nobody bought it.  Strange to note nowadays most bands opt for The Eagles sound rather than back then trying to be the next Poco.  Even on good days Poco could be inconsistent.  Even on a good day Thirty Days Out tends to put people to sleep.  Their first and only album that I know of.  Once is enough.
Grade C

Jay Boy Adams (Atlantic 1977)

He got ZZ Top's management to get him on a major label, he got David Lindley to help out on a couple songs and he comes across a cross between Dan Fogelburg and John Denver although I'm sure Bob Dylan played a role in this.  Or Jerry Jeff Walker come to think of it.  Most of the songs are a story upon themselves (the one that I remember most is the sad In Rain In Spring) and this album you have to play a few more times to get the feel of these songs.  I like the opening Nine Hard Years and The Tale Of Jack Diamond best.  Adams would follow up with another album Fork In A Road and then Atlantic put him out to pasture and he went over to Capricorn Records for an album that never got released when Capricorn went bankrupt and went back to his day job. On occasion he'll play a gig or two and make an album (2014's Let It Go is actually quite good).  His Atlantic debut is a bit uneven but he is a good storyteller singer.
Grade B

Mandala-Soul Crusade (Atlantic 1968)

Best known for Dominac Troiano and lead screamer Roy Kenner, this band made horn driven R and B rock and roll, more like a poor man's Blood Sweat And Tears.  Whitney Glen, the drummer would later play on Lou Reed Rock And Roll Animal, Troiano and Kenner would move on to The James Gang, with mixed results.  Their best known song was Love-itis, a minor hit but got the interest of the J. Geils Band who recorded it for their Hot Line album in the mid 70s.  Side 1 has  World Of Love which is their hardest rocking song, but the rest is forgettable white boy soul music. Side 2 is total garbage.
Grade C-

Music From My Youth: The Cars-Candy O (Elektra 1979)

Given corporate radio's love of the same certain hits, I kinda gotten tired of hearing the first two albums, even though Let's Go is still irresistible from time to time.  But then again corporate radio tended to favor Ben Orr's vocals rather than Ric Osacek, Ric was a bit more darker and quirkier.  That might also figured into Ric's albums not doing so well after the demise of the Cars.  Still, their first three albums remain the best of the bunch, Panorama over Shake It Up for me but once they hit it big with You Might Think and Heartbeat City, they lost me, and when they did reformed a few years ago, Ben Orr was already dead.   With Orr, Ocasek found a perfect vocalist to get their songs on the radio. The debate remains which was the best of the Cars to get.  While the first was a worthy debut, I didn't care much for All Mixed Up (and still don't).  Candy O didn't have the ready made hits like Best Friend's Girlfriend or Just What I Needed or Let The Good Times Roll, but to me it was slightly better than the debut.  Failed hit single It's All I Can Do, was much more catchy than Since You're Gone from Shake It Up and Double Life was mystery new wave good, despite the throwaway Ocasek goof leading into the title track. Side 2 had weaker songs but Dangerous Type was a better song to end the album than All Mixed Up.  Your ears might differ with me on that.   Side note: I brought this album along with Blue Oyster Cult's Mirrors at the old Target Store on 1st Avenue.  Over the years I got both on CD but I tend to bring out Candy O to listen to more than Mirrors, which I tend to forget I still have on the shelf.
Grade B+