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.

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.

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)

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.

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'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.

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!

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.

(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.

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+

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tom Petty

(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times Photo Credit)

Tom Petty passed away tonight from a heart attack he was 66.  Earlier in the day, his death was reported while he still fighting for his life but even then, the prognosis didn't look good, his brain activity was none.

Last month it was Grant Hart, this month it's Tom Petty and it's my turn to write a obituary of what Tom Petty and his music meant to me.   While the breakout album was Damn The Torpedoes, my introduction to Tom Petty was the 1978 album You're Gonna Get It, with the hit single I Need To Know. The 8 track had a couple duplicates song since it didn't venture over 30 minutes, but it sounded great coming from a 8 track, I later did buy it on album and on CD.  In 1978 You're Gonna Get It stood out in front of the disco and corporate rock with Petty's power pop and rock with a Byrds via Rolling Stones sound.  I always loved failed single Listen To Her Heart enough to cover it in my own band and solo career.

Although Petty was around in 1976 for the first album which gave the world American Girl and Breakdown, radio didn't play those songs very often.  After Damn The Torpedoes that all changed.  When Shelter-ABC Records held Petty hostage with his recording contract he declared  bankruptcy And then MCA signed Petty to the fledgling label Backstreet and scored hits with Refugee, Don't Do Me Like That and Here Comes My Girl but I enjoyed the lesser known What Are You Doing In My Life, Even The Losers, Shadow Of  A Doubt and Century City.  Still a classic album but You're Gonna Get It remains my go to Petty.

Petty was a original rock and roller who fought his label when Backstreet/MCA wanted to raise the price of his next album to 8.98 and Petty refused.  In fact he was set to call that album 8.98 but it ended up being called Hard Promises. It did some hits like The Waiting and Woman In Love and Nightwatchman but I did not warm up to it.  Long After Dark felt phoned in but had some good songs to it.  Southern Access, tries too hard but Let Me Up I Had Enough seemed a return back to simple rock and roll.

Petty did managed to work with some of the best musicians around and that eventually became the Traveling Wilburys, with Roy Orbinson, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and Bob Dylan.  With Jeff Lynne, Petty made his first solo album Full Moon Fever that spawned off his biggest hit it seems Free Fallin, a song written as a joke but it's not a classic rock staple.  Petty has said while they were mixing that song up, he and Lynne then wrote I Won't Back Down in a half hour.  Around that time, Petty got to work with Roger McGuinn on the 1989 Back From Rio album that should have done better on the charts.

And he reconnected with Del Shannon.  In 1980 Petty and the Heartbreakers backed Del up on his 1981 album Drop Down And Get Me which gave Del a top fifty chart showing with Sea Of Love.  9 years later TP along with Jeff Lynne would help out Del on Rock On! that had a minor hit with Walk Away, but the album would see the light of day in 1991, a year after Del took his life, on Petty's Gone Gator label.

After Into The Great White Open, Stan Lynch left The Heartbreakers and in reality took the swinging beats away, Steve Ferrone, the replacement had a more professional sound but to my ears Stan Lynch was the beat of the Heartbreakers.  While Tom Petty did do solo albums, Mike Campbell and Beamont Tench would play on their albums.  A move to Warner Brothers gave him a big hit with the CD Wildflowers, a album that went on a bit too long for my liking. A soundtrack to the movie She's The One was much better and then Petty gave us the scathing The Last DJ.   And Petty kept busy, when the Heartbreakers were not touring, he started back up Mudcrutch, the band he, Campbell and Tench were originally in and they made two pretty good albums. Petty became the voice of Lucky on King Of The Hill and started up Buried Treasures on Sirius Radio, Tom shared a love of music and records and obscure artists and his radio shows were must hear.  Just recently, Petty produced Chris Hillman's latest album which is also a must hear.

Petty could do it all.  He could play guitar with The Heartbreakers and he could play bass in Mudcrutch or Ben Tench's album.  And he could find time to chat with the local crowd after a show. Like most rockers we thought he could live a long time and play music.  But even he was hinting that this year might be the last time the Heartbreakers would be touring and probably time to relax. But at 10:40 CST, Petty's heart finally gave out on him.

He will be missed.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Week In Review: Chicago Cubs 2017 Division Champs, Hugh Hefner

The Chicago Cubs finally overcame their obstacles and slighted bullpen to finally close out the season by doing what they were supposed to do, they took 3 out of 4 from Milwaukee last week and then took 3 out of 4 from the St Louis Cardinals in St Louis.  A rare feat considering that they were away games and they could have swept both teams.

Addison Russell, now known as the Nacho man after going into the stands to get a foul ball only to knock over a Cardinal fan's nacho snacks  (he did give the guy a double order of nachos later) smacked a three run home run on Wednesday Night to provide a 5-1 victory and back to back division titles for the first time this century.  You have to note that it's not easy to win back to back division titles but by winning Wednesday Night they eliminated The Cards from the wild card   As one disgruntled Cardinals fan said after watching the Cubs celebrate in their stadium that this really sucks and I'm sure a couple other Cardinals themselves shared the same view.    The Cardinals were supposed to challenge the Cubs for the division and managed to sign Dexter Fowler from the Cubs to do so, The Cubs ended up going after John Jay. Jason Heyward turned his season around and did some collective damage to the Cards in the series getting key hits and scoring runs.  Last time we touched base, the series between the Brewers and Cardinals would dictate the outcome of who wins the division title and who stays home.  By taking 6 out of 8 games, both Milwaukee and St Louis will have to watch the playoffs on TV. For their reward of winning, The Cubs will play a hot Washington Nationals team.  Winning the World Series last year was the shot heard around the world.  It's going to be much more difficult to repeat this season. But the Cubs can do it, all they have to do is win the last game of the year.  It's that simple.

Still in denial, Wednesday's losing pitcher Mike Wacha, despite having the Cubs win the head to head matchup 14 games to 5 and losing 11 out of the 13 meetings this season, insisted that the Cardinals were a better team.  But then again that has been said many times before of other teams.  The problem was the Cubs had a better batch of players overall, and surely the Cardinals did show up to play but simply didn't have enough to win the games.  The Cubs have now won back to back division titles and have made the playoffs three straight seasons.  The Cardinals might be in rebuilding mode and questions remain if Mike Matheney will be around.  For 6 innings Wacha pitched lights out, then the 7th came around and the Cubs started hitting him, with Addison Russell's home run the main play.  If nothing else, St Louis can bask in the glory of eliminating Milwaukee with a come from behind victory on Saturday, coming from a 6-0 deficient to win 7-6, thus inviting the Brewers to come watch the playoffs with them on the couch.  Wacha might be betting on the next season that the better team will have the pitchers to get it done.  While the Cubs managed to get good hitters from triple A, the pitching has not come through, especially in the bull pen, that might be their weakest link for next season.  But we won't talk about next season till after this season is done. Personal to Mike Macha: unless you go 49-25 in the second half, score 423 runs after the All Star Break (including a mind blowing 17 runs in 3 games in that time frame) and win the division, then your talk is cheap.  Something to consider for 2018.

Life goes on ever after we are all gone.  The end of the world didn't happen as rumored last week but we lost a few notables.  Red Miller, the Denver Broncos coach who guided them to their first super bowl passed away from a stroke, he was 89.  Joe Tiller, the last winning coach at Purdue died from a lone illness, he was 74, his Purdue teams featured Drew Brees, who could have been the best QB for the former San Diego Chargers, but was jettisoned in favor of the half wit Phillip Rivers.  While Rivers has had a erratic career with the Chargers, he totally stunk up the place last week throwing more passes to Kansas City DBs than Charger WRs, Brees has done much better at New Orleans, even winning a Super Bowl among the way. Tiller retired after the 2008 season and Purdue hasn't had a winning year since then.

At a outdoor country concert at Maladay Bay in Vegas, 64 year old home grown terrorist Stephen Paddock went on a shooting rampage and systematically killed at least 50 people.  They were watching a concert by Jason Aldean, when Mr. Paddock came up and start shooting.  Then the pussy went back to his hotel room and shot himself.  You can't blame ISIS nor BLM on this, although ISIS took credit for it and claimed Paddock converted to Islam. Fake news, ISIS would have beheaded this sonofabitch for being too white.  Jason escaped without any injury but was shaken up by the event.  As would be anybody else.  But alas this is the worst mass shooting in US history, done by one of more cowardly cock suckers ever known to man.  A special hell should await each and every person who does this.  Paddock should never experience a decent afterlife ever again.

Marilyn Manson was playing Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This in concert when he fell and his props then fell on him injuring him and making him cancel a few dates of his tour.  He'll be fine again within two weeks.

Michigan State whopped Iowa 17-10 as the Michigan State punter was MVP, keeping Iowa deep in their own territory and Iowa's punter had a very short field to punt.  By then MSU streaked to a 14-0 lead and never looked back.  Stanford ended Arizona State's one game winning streak with a 34-24 victory. They're still looking for a defense that can hold a team under 30 points.  Doesn't look that way this season.

(E online)

The big story was Hugh Hefner, the man behind Playboy, the ultimate Playboy and the person we all idolized (all them playmates and only one of him to go around) left the Playboy mansion for the final time, he died of natural causes on "hump day" at the age of 91.   If you grew up before the internet, the ultimate joy was sneaking a peek at the latest Playboy magazine  and seeing who the playmate of the month was.  Hefner was instrumental of bringing new music to the format, his late night show Playboy After Dead did feature the likes of Deep Purple and The Grateful Dead and also he made jazz sound cool too.  Without Hugh Hefner and Playboy we still be living in the dark ages.

Monty Hall, the let's make a day host, passed away from a heart attack Saturday (9/30) he was 96 and was in poor health.  He lost his wife of 69 years earlier this summer.

(Wisconsin State Journal file photo)

Eric Tiesberg, owner of Resale Records, a record store I knew nothing about in my travels to Madison but existed on Commerical Avenue, passed away on Sunday from a heart attack. He was 61.

Leave it to John Fogerty to continue to reissue his past masters with regularity, (except his long forgotten S/T album for Asylum that did have the wonderful Almost Saturday Night on it).  His third attempt of reissues will be on the revived BMG Rights with the albums originally on Warner/Reprise, Dreamworks and Geffen will be reissued on BMG, you can guess which ones they are.  Plans are in effect for the 20th Anniversary edition of Blue Moon Swamp, which a couple bottom of the barrel scrapers to make you buy the damn thing over again.  Unless you're inclined just to scour the 2.00 Clarence bins at Half Priced Books, to which I found the Geffen version with two so so bonus tracks. And I can't tell the difference between the Warner and Geffen reissues in terms of sound.  Fogerty hasn't impressed me all that much anyway with revisits to his CCR catalog, to which the original band still have the superior versions.

On the retail side of things, it's been one year since Hastings Entertainment closed their doors and leaving the few cd buyers out in the cold or to scour the thrift stores.  It may not seem much to you dear reader, if you never had a Hastings store in your area, but to me Hastings was the ideal place next to Half Priced Books in terms of finding diamonds in the rough.  While today's Zombie world waste away hours staring at their small screens or texting to the person next to them, the old guard like myself would end up going to Hastings or FYE to look for the off the wall CDs and albums. Part of the Arizona trip fun was to return to the Kingman Hastings store or Prescott or Flagstaff or Lake Havasu City, they really did serve a purpose in this life.  But it's a whole new world and not for the better, especially when we have a fool president who is too busy wasting time on Twitter and playing golf on the weekends.   A trip to Hastings was to discover the forgotten gem or what was in the fifty cent bargain bins.  But once 2000 came around the big box stores begin to disappear, or got bought out by other stores and then disappear too (see FYE).  But I have continue to find off the wall CDs and stuff on my weekly trips to thrift stores and Half Priced Books.  Oh, there are still some good record stores in the area, Moondog, Ragged Records, Analog Vault but the only other music store with the lure of suspense and finding things remains Half Priced Books.   Hastings is a distant memory a year removed but yes I remember.  And continue to remember.

(end of an era-former FYE store on Hampton, St Louis)

Years ago there was something called Warehouse Music and Phoenix used to have at least seven or eight in town, thus making cd bargain hunts the stuff that dreams are made of.  Then in the 2000s, Corporate CSers Trans World Entertainment bought them up, renamed them FYE and then begin to close them down one by one. Coral Ridge Mall had one up till 2011, Davenport had two of them, then closed them up, the closest one was in Des Moines but that too closed up earlier this year. At the turn of the century St Louis had six of them, the best one was on Hampton Ave.  Last time I was down there was 2014.  Alas, there are no FYEs left in St Louis, the Hampton store closed earlier this spring.  Which means the only ones still open are the one in Quincy Illinois (and it's not worth driving four hours just to spend 20 minutes going through Britney Spears used crap still selling for 8.99) and one in Peoria and Bloomington too.  It could mean a trip to backwards thinking Lincoln in the near future but if I have better luck finding stuff at Stuff Etc close by, then it's best just to stay close to home.  Besides Trans World Entertainment (who owns the less than 240 FYE stores still in business) sucks.  It'll be a matter of time before they join Hastings Entertainment in the archives of music history.  Let's face it kids, it's not like what it was 20 years ago, and we thought those days of endless bargain hunts and new music would never end.  They haven't but the stores I used to go to are gone, corporate radio still plays the same shitty songs of long ago and streaming on your smart phone is not the same.  I don't believe we live in the best of times, but rather convenience. We have more radio stations and more tv channels but less and less content and the same ole same ole.  If you look at things, you really don't have a choice, you might have more to choose from but it amounts to more crap and less useful information.   The internet has opened up new and exciting things to check out, but it also opens up so many bands and so many music from all over the world we don't have time to really scope them all out.   It's a shame really, there will be great bands that will never be heard of due to too much out there.   And I can think of one band that falls into that catagory of never to be heard anywhere.  I think I play in that band.

Barhopping on a Saturday Night, I sat in on drums on Dreams I'll Never See for local favorite band Four Day Creep.  I started out the day watching Cocked N Loaded, for about an hour before moving to the Shack and seeing Crankshaft till sundown and trying to dodge mosquitoes in the process and got to meet with Kip Wieland, the eccentric keyboardist of that band.  Joe Hutchcroft sat on in a couple numbers and while people talk about Kip's off the wall behavior, Mitch Smith might be just out there in left field. Somebody stuck a 16 oz beer can down Mitch's saxophone and they couldn't get it out of the sax.  Another dumb drunk antic that probably cost a few dollars getting it unlodged. Mitch pretty much packed everything up and left while they finishing up with Born To Be Wild.  No more sax for you tonight.

Off to Crossroads Bistro for Chinese, and this place is the best place for Chinese food and ended up chatting with an old co worker Emma Aquino.  Funny of her to mention that she had a crush on me back in the working days, (she's married now) but I sat and listened before asking who she was before she said her name. Afterwards it was back to Aces And Eights to hang with Four Day Creep. It was a interesting night for sure, I had some woman come and sat alongside me most of the night and her complaining about Amanda's hair and how the band was too loud.  In the meantime some drunken fool who ran into our table trying to dance ended up punching his girlfriend in the stomach, prompting the bouncers to pounce on him and throw him out the door.  Another biker, who was with another woman was then trying to pick up the woman sitting next to me, to which she declined.  Upon on taking Troy's spot on drums for Dreams he warned me that the drummer's throne he was using was broken and will slide down when you sat on it. I sank about 2 feet downward before the song,  Terry McDowell later joined in on the fun before closing time.  We joked about starting up a go fund me page to replaced the broken drummer's stool.  With Terry, Troy and Mike there, three of the best drummers in town was in the bar that night.  Terry will take over for Mike on Smokin Guns next weekend, while Mike plays in Cocked N Loaded.  Still, I lost track of the time and didn't get out of the bar and got home till about 3 AM.  I probably still be up if I had to tear down the equipment  if I was playing.   A great time, great jams and as usual, the usual strange bullshit of drunks and freaks as well.

(Photo: Noel Anderson, Resale Records)


Ringo Starr-Give More Love (Universal 2017)

Strange how the 75 year old Starr can still put out albums about the same rate as Paul McCartney, to which they both team up on a couple songs including lead off track Back On The Road Again which might be one of the more hardest rocking songs they ever came up with.  And the usual all stars or still living rock and rollers come to help out, Joe Walsh, Steve Lukather, Richard Marx, Jeff Lynne, Peter Frampton etc. In the past Ringo relied way too much on outside help and most of the albums were bland, Mark Hudson did him no favors or for that matter Dave Stewart so Ringo steps up to the producer's chair (along with help from Dave Sugar) and he made his most stripped down album since Beaucup Full Of Blues, even though the backing vocal all star choir makes it a bit more polished.  There's no getting over the fact that Ringo will continue to sing silly love songs as with the title track but it's catchy enough to sing the chorus unlike Silly Love Songs from his former Beatles bass player.  Show Me The Way is not the Peter Frampton written song but a more mellower number. Most of Starr's original songs are not all that memorable, but having Joe Walsh or Steve Lukather and Peter Frampton around do make the rockers sound worth revisiting a few more times.  Given the missteps over the years on other albums Give More Love is remarkable on how it keeps my attention through the 52 minutes, but outside of On The Road Again, the best numbers remain the revisits of previous song including the demo of Back Off Boogaloo which even for a first take 1972 demo that's a bit rough sounding, it has a rockabilly sound unlike the 45 single.  And a version of Photograph (not with major stars but rather the band Vandaveer) that reveals itself a nice Americana ballad.  Yes a little Ringo and a little love go a long way but I have found him this good and this listenable since 1992's Time Takes Time.
Grade B+

The Sweet Inspirations-Sweets For My Sweet/Sweet Sweet Soul (Spy Reissue 2002)

In the CD era, if you looked hard enough a lot of specialty labels managed to license some of the soul and blues albums from Atlantic Records, a far cry from the label that now gives you Ms Cash Me Outside Girly and one of the lesser known but as important groups of that time was the Sweet Inspirations, a band led by Cissy Houston, later mom to the late Whitney and Myrna Smith.  David Nathan, the self proclaimed ambassador to the blues and soul compiled a few albums for SPY in the 2000s and came up with another Sweet Inspirations 2 fer that's probably harder to find   Sweets For My Sweet is the better of the two, as they were backed by the famed Muscle Shoals Swampers band (David Hood and Roger Hawkins the most soulful rhythm section this side of Duck Dunn and Al Jackson) and Sylvia Shemwell did a lot more  of the songs to balance off the vocals of Cissy and Myrna.  I think their version of But You Know I Love You is the best of them all (Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton etc) and Get A Little Order is a sassy original.  Sweet Sweet Soul, Atlantic tries for a Philadelphia soul, and send them up to work with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and ended up having another producer instead (U.Dozier), but the early development of the TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia) sound is heard here.  Sweet Sweet Soul is a stepdown from the Muscle Shoals R and B, too much on ballads and not enough on r and b workouts (Shut Up!) but it is a treat to hear the two part (gotta find) A Brand New Lover a template for later extended version songs of other groups (I Love Music, The Love I Lost etc) on how Gamble/Huff extended the groove.  Cissy Houston would quit soon after this album was made, they made better money backing Elvis Presley up when he was alive but if you want to know how Whitney got her mom's voice, listen to the final track That's The Way My Baby Is.  That would pave the way to late 80s R and B, for better or worse.
Grade B+

Elton John-Diamonds (Universal 2017)
The Who-Maximum As and Bs  (MCA  2017)

I may as well lump these box sets in since we are talking about reissuing rehashing.  And Universal has never done a better job of revising both artists best ofs every other year.  It's been documented that Universal has always shorted The Who's best ofs, leaving off key tracks and favorite numbers. And as much as I would like to spring the 50 dollars for the massive Who set, it appears that this box set is more on the UK side than US side.  If I can just get one of the CDs off this money grab it would be the third CD with the whole 6:14 of Baby Don't You Do It along with The Relay. The Who from 1971 to 1973 were better than Rolling Stones in making great singles and albums. Beginning on the next disc, Universal decides on the UK model and leaving off a lot of the later singles and John Entwhistle gets stiffed again (his singles Postcard and Trick Of The Light are left off), The Real Me isn't on this, nor is Slip Kid and quibbles continue.  For the Warner Brothers version of Emenice Front, the B side was One At A Time, a much better Entwistle song than It's Your Turn, which was a UK Best of. We do get the Atco version of Substitute and a much clearer picture of the early Who which included forgotten gems like Dr. Jekeyll and Mr. Hyde and Someone's Coming from John but also Keith Moon's Dogs Part 2, a wild two and twenty one second drum solo that still is the best Moon drum solo ever.  But you also get Shel Talmy's crappy Bald Headed Woman and Talmy's revenge on the Who,  Waltz For A Pig, which is done by the Graham Bond Band featuring Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Disc 5 is a a total fuckwaste, to which if this was the reason why the mid to late 70s singles got omitted for the inclusion of the forgettible  Wire And Glass EP then this not the essential Who overview that we been waiting for so long.  And you can remix I Can't Explain all over again for the 50th time and it still will not bring back Keith nor John.   And why my mix tape remains the better choice.

As for Elton John's Diamonds, John first box set To Be Continued was better, but that came out in 1990 and EJ did managed to have 25 years worth of music to consider.  And like The Who set, Diamonds comes up short too but at least we're not stuck with subpar and half assed EPs like Wire And Glass.  Diamonds sticks close to the overplayed radio hits but leaves off lesser known ones like Lady Samantha, Border Song, the funny Ego, the lovely Chloe, and Grow Some Funk of Your Own.  This also shows the EJ' cheesy side as well, with That What Friends Are For, the duets with Leanne Rhnes, and Paravotti  and this comp stops at This Train Don' Stop There Anymore from Songs From The West Coast, EJ's classic album from 2001, but outside of the PNAU mashup of Good Morning To The Light, the rest of this century's albums are ignored.  Which tends to make one wonder if EJ didn't give two shits about Peachtree Road or The Captain Or The Kid or his last album Wonderful Crazy Nights or even The Union, his collaboration with Leon Russell.  If Box sets serve any purpose they should focus on not only the hits but other songs that make these guys classic rock icons. Rehashing and adding nothing new or just one or two things is not going to warrant me to pony up 67.99 just to hear Waltz For  A Pig or Relay or Baby Don't You Do It, that's why I still have my vinyl around.   And if Elton and Bernie Taupin's musical relationship hasn't been any better than today \than why isn't anything after 2001's represented?  No doubt that Rocket Man and Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting and The Bitch Is Back is fun 70s rock and roll. I guess that's why they call it the blues one of the best songs of the 80s he's done and I Want Love is proof that in this century they can come up with a great song.  It is more cost effective just to seek out the greatest hits that came out in the 70s and the Volume 3 for the 80s.  It's penny foolish just to pony up bucks for "remastered sound" and a few crumbs off the table or in the vaults when most of the lesser known isn't that great.

Elton John and The Who got me through the 70s with each new album and single they issued and while Keith passed away and the Who became former shells of themselves I kept hanging on and buying the less interesting albums before drawing the lines on Tommy and Quadaphenia live remakes.  E.J. I gave up for a while and then welcomed him back when Songs From The West Coast came out and continue to support his cause right up to Wonderful Crazy Nights, an album that Elton calls the last new album he'll ever make. But for these overpriced new box sets, I have no use for. And today's music buyers won't pay attention to either, hell they won't even notice these will be out. The Hastings stores are gone, FYE is shrinking and Best Buy and Wally World won't have them.   So once it's like Steve Miller's Ultimate collection. a nice overview if you don't have the original best ofs but they really serve no value, unless you're willing to give Universal your hard earned cash just to hear the same old songs you have heard before on other comps and best ofs.  Essential, not really, pointless, yes.  A luxury you can live without.

Grade C+