Monday, November 27, 2017

Week In Review: Popcorn Huskers

The winter weather driving season has begun but you couldn't tell it by the 71 degrees we had here on Friday, which broke the record for highest temp on 11/24/31.  And it looks to be above normal for at least the next week.

The up and down season of Iowa Hawkeyes continue.  After being manhandled by Purdue last week, The Hawks came into Lincoln pissed off and blew out the reeling Nebraska Cornhuskers 56-14 before a annoyed crowd. The Hawks did look lost for the first half and even the Popcorn Huskers led 14-7 before Iowa scored the next 49 points and promptly took back the Heroes trophy back to Iowa City for another year.  It was a game of sorts before the half but after the half, Iowa went 42-0 which sealed the fate for Mike Riley to be canned the next day.  First time since 1957 The Popcorn went 4-8 and there was no way that Riley was going to come back next season, especially with a new AD in tow and the one who hired Riley long gone.   Riley simply wasn't the right choice although he was much better but slightly in Oregon State and even was the Chargers coach for a time. 

It looked like Iowa two weeks in a row. Dropped passes, the not worth a fuck punter Colten Rasteter mishandling a punt and Nebraska recovery and later touchdown.  Iowa needs a punter that knows what he's doing next season and Rasteter has been more of a help to the other team than Iowa. Otherwise this would have been a 56-7 blowout and Riley would have fired on the spot after the game.  However, Iowa's defense finally tighten up and created havoc for Tanner Lee and Akim Wadley rushed for a couple TDs and back to back 1,000 yards rushing seasons.  Noah Funt might have glass hands 50 percent of the time but when he did catch the ball, he made things happen, scoring 2 TDs, a surprising 10 TDs overall.   Wadley had 3 TDs and 159 yard rushing on a nonexistent Popcorn defense.  In fact they scored 6 rushing TDs for the game, not since Northwestern in 2001.  The last two games Iowa's O line were Ole blockers, waving bye bye to passing linemen on the way to say hi to Nate Stanley.  This time, especially in the second half, they made mincemeat out of the Corn D.  And let's give credit to the D, who been criticized much of the year. Iowa led with 19 interceptions, four of them went for pick six TDs and Josh Jackson has taken over quite well for Desmond King.   Iowa finishes the season 7-5 and will go to a second tier bowl game, and the next step is to win a bowl game, something that Iowa hasn't done since 2010 and the Insight Bowl. Winning means big bucks, and Kirk Ferenz can score 800,000 G's if he can win a game. 

As for Nebraska, they are no longer the elite team, they lost that by moving over to the BIG 10 rather than staying in the Big 12 which rivalry games against Texas and Oklahoma were the stuff of legends.  Since coming over to the big 10, they have now gone through 3 coaches and on the lookout for a new one.  The rumors say Scott Frost might be the man to take over.  The positive is that Frost was on the 1997 Nebraska team and does have a familiarly with Cornhuskers tradition and pride. The negative is that he'll be in rebuilding mode once again.  He might be the last hope for the mighty corn to return to such lofty status.  The new AD would like to see Nebraska and Iowa be the big rival game and keep playing on Black Friday, Wisconsin takes over for a couple games in 2020 and 2021. But since we have Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa State as big rivals, he will have to take a back seat to this.  Iowa has won three straight from Nebraska in the Heroes Trophy series in Lincoln and taken three out of the last four. As for the poor Nebraska fan crying about being wiped off the field by Iowa the last two seasons, he should be reminded back in the 1980s, the Mighty Corn would do the same and more often than not. He may have not been around that 1915 52-7 blowout, nor the 57-0 shutout in 1980 at Memorial Stadium. For now, we'll enjoy the 56-14 whopping and thank his lucky stars that Colten Rastster was kind enough to give him 7 points to make the outcome a bit closer than it actually was.

Joesy Jewell won the Jack Lambert Award for best linebacker and Josh Jackson took the Jack Tatum Award for big 10 honors.   Congrats and well done mates

Minnesota and Wisconsin plays for something called the Paul Bunyan Ax. For the past 14 seasons Minnesota have yet to see this axe in their trophy case.  The Ax is taking up permanent residence in Madison as Wisconsin shuts out the Gophers 31-0.  The Ax is becoming a myth just like Paul Bunyan is a story to Minnesota.  As for Wisconsin, they are one of two undefeated teams still playing, the other is Central Florida.  Alabama got derailed by Auburn. So basically it comes down to Wisconsin playing Ohio State for the Championship. Wisconsin finds themselves in the department that while they are undefeated, they had a soft football secedule (sic) that didn't find them playing Penn State nor Ohio State, to which the Colin Cowherd method of the Badgers being pretenders, they played number 24 Michigan and won.  They did beat Northwestern and they manhandled Iowa two weeks ago, but as ESPN and NCAA folks want to know is what have you done lately.  So they find themselves like Iowa was back in 2015, Iowa went undefeated but didn't play Ohio State nor Michigan that season and wound up losing to Michigan State and then blown out of the Rose Bowl by Stanford and Christian McCaffery.   So Wisconsin needs to beat Ohio State regardless, since Iowa blew out Ohio State 55-24 two weeks ago, Ohio State has been playing pissed off football.  It's not going to be easy but if Wisconsin don't win this and the bowl game, they'll be the Fake ID team of the NCAAs.

The worst officiated game goes to the Kansas State Refs who picked up three flags and lifted the Wildcats to a 20-19 victory over Iowa State on the final play.  I don't think I ever seen a game that the officials would overturn on three calls on the home team and disregarded late hits on the ISU QB, and PIs on Allan Lazard to which I have to agree with him, Pass interference.  Nothing against Bill Snyder but he had the refs on his and Kansas State side all game.  Big 12 Refs are the worst, even more than the Pac 12 if you can believe it.  The Cyclones had 9 calls against them, KSU four.  Nevertheless, Iowa State will be going to their first bowl game since 2012.  Hopefully they will get better refs than Reggie Smith, who should just stick to his regular job at Popeye's or KFC.

Even though Todd Graham has been 7-5 this season and Arizona State improved a lot from last year's disaster, he thinks he will be let go by ASU after this season.  Which is a shame, Arizona State reclaimed the Governor's Cup by outlasting Arizona 42-30 in Tempe on Saturday.

(there goes Manny)

 Demario Richard ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns and Manny Wilkins threw for three scores.  It might have been different had Shau Brown scored on a 74 yard punt return and not had that called back due to a block in the back., which would have given Arizona the lead. Despite Brandon Dawkins 50 yard TD run, ASU put it away on a Wilkins to N'Keal Henry TD Pass.   At least Graham went out a winner and won four of the six cup games with Arizona, AD Ray Anderson fired him on Sunday.  The reason was perhaps a revolving door of other coaches, to which one is has now turned Memphis State around and the other is Auburn's Offense coach who played a role in Auburn beating Alabama in the Iron Bowl.  Although last season would have been better to let Todd go, ASU overachieved and managed to beat Oregon, Utah and Washington along with Arizona to go 7-5 and make it to a bowl game.  Still Todd Graham will get a nice hefty buyout (12 million perhaps?) and get to take a year or two off if he desires.  After six season ASU starts over again and the big stink is Kevin Sumlin will be the next coach down the line, a big step down considering how awful Texas A and M has been all season.

(Chargers Photo Credit-Having fun in Dallas after Desmond King's Pick Six)

In the NFL, The Los Angeles Chargers have been making rumbles of late to get to the playoffs.  They blew out Buffalo 54-24 and then on Thanksgiving Day went to Jerry's house and beat up the Dallas Cowboys 28-6. Phillip Rivers throwing for 434 yards and 3 touchdowns, one of his best games as a Charger.  Keenan Allen 172 pass receiving yards and a TD.  However, the Iowa connection was Desmond King, grabbing a interception and running it back 90 yards for a pick six TD.  In April Desmond predicted his first interception would be a pick six TD.  The Chargers won without a kicker, Nick Novak aggravated his back during a missed FG and the LA Chargers did all right without him. Drew Kaser, the punter had to perform the extra point. He went 1 for 3.  Chargers are in Cleveland this Sunday.

Passings:  Mitch Margo, singer of The Tokens (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) and Cross Country (In The Midnight Hour) passed away in his sleep during Thanksgiving week.  He was 70.

Jon Hendricks-jazz singer that started the Vocalese trend for the likes of the Manhattan Transfer and Al Jerreau and was part of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross jazz trio died on Wednesday.  He was 96.

Jim Nabors, the beloved Gomer Pyle of Mayberry and elsewhere an entertainer with a baritone voice that sold a few albums for Columbia in the 60s and 70s, passed away in Hawaii after a long illness.  He was 87.

George Avakian, A & R and  jazz producer for Columbia Records in the 1950s and produced the likes of Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck and Jimmy Rushing to name a few. He then later went over to Warner Brothers and signed The Everly Brothers and had a hand in The Button Down Mind Of Bob Newhart being a smash hit.  He later moved to RCA and had a hand in records by Sonny Rollins and Paul Desmond.  Avakian was instrumental in introducing the long playing album and reissuing some of the early jazz albums of the 40s and 50s as well. He died of natural causes at age 98 on Wednesday.

I tend to be selective when it comes to eye candy of the month or whenever I feel like blogging. But I always enjoyed the models that are  voluptuous.  Maxey Greene is one of these beautiful models that has managed to look pretty in what she wears.  For eye candy, I think she has the prettiest eyes I've ever seen.

Davenport-The Salvation Army Junk Shop had no 45s to speak of, but however the Salvation Army store up the road had a couple of CDs of note, notably Neil Young's 1991 answer to Metal Machine Music, Arc, that goes on for 31 minutes and is more boring than exciting.  Say what you want with Lou Reed's MMM, at least there some sort of arrangement there.  Here, we hear Neil tease everybody with a chorus from Like A Hurricane and then start saying I wanna about five times and repeats this nonsense a few times more.  With avant garde albums such as Trout Mask Republa or Free Jazz, at least there's some sort of melody and content, on Arc, all it is, is nothing more than patched up endings that go on forever and Crazy Horse the band has no clue on how to lively up things.  I remember the album Weld, had good songs but the endings went on forever.  Young did this on last year's Earth album with the 32 minute Love And Only Love to which he added 18 minutes of Arc noise nonsense.  Even on the way home listening to this, it damn near put me to sleep.  This was strictly a bargain hunt since I was out and about taking pictures of a beautiful sunset and didn't have time to frequent Ragged Records or The Source Bookstore since they close at 5.  CO OP was open till 9 so I went there and found a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Best of that had Fishing In The Dark on it. Where Sam Goody used to be in North Park Mall is a used media place that had plenty of games, DVDs and a crappy selection of CDs but I found a couple of 45s for 50 cents.  The Moline Goodwill had a few 45s that I picked up.  The usual hit and miss of stuff found.  A new change of ownership at the Dynasty Buffet and the food wasn't that great and the service wasn't much better.  Plus I ended up losing 9 dollars in 15 minutes at Rhythm City Casino, a far cry from the 255 dollars that I won a year ago. If nothing else, the sunset along the Mississippi River was worth the price of admission.

Singles Going Steady Medley-Davenport Finds

I Am A Pilgrim-Tennessee Ernie Ford (Capitol F3135)  1955

This little gospel number has been recorded by the Byrds for Sweetheart Of The Rodeo years later but it shows Ernie was good at playing straight rockabilly country or straight gospel, though this arrangement wouldn't sound out of place on Ray Charles' country attempts of the early 60s. B side His Hands written by Stuart Hamblin (It's Ain't No Secret) shows more of the gospel pop Ford would do more of, to which ample copies of his albums are can be found in thrift stores all across America.  Gotta love his baritone although the song is a bit too syrupy for these ears. Thank you Billy May.

Thank You Girl-Street People (Musicor MU-1401)  #96 1970

Second single from this band featuring Rupert Holmes (Mr. Pina Colada man).  Has that bubble gum sound that we all made fun of back then. A dash of Tommy James here, a pinch of Five Americans there, but the lyrics are bubblegum silly. For some reason it makes me just want to sing the Coca Cola Song (it's the real thing).

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself-Dionne Warwick (Scepter SCE-121670 #26 1966

Dionne with Burt Bacharach and Hal David had some fine silky soul classics and this one got covered by Elvis Costello years later.  You seldom hear this on oldies station anymore. One of a 5 for a 1.88 finds at the Moline Goodwill.  Worth saving for I guess.  B Side In Between Heartaches is so so.

My Side Of Town-Dennis Robbins (Giant 7-18786)  #59 Country 1992

Dennis was once part of The Rockets but then moved into a country solo career that peaked in the early 1990s and was part of Billy Hill as well.  A bit of MOR country rock that got some jukebox airplay.  Not much on the Corporate Radio side of things though. Co produced by Richard Landis who dismembered Poco a few years ago.

Just Call Me Lonesome-Radney Foster (Arista 12448-7) #10 Country 1992

Part of Foster and Lloyd duo that broke up, Foster went into a nice country career with this top ten honky tonk rocker. Somewhat in Dwight Yoakam territory.

Bethlehem Steel-Misty Morgan and Jack Blanchard (Wayside WS-1024)  1968

Misty and Jack was a husband and wife duo that scored a hit with Tennessee Bird Walk and Humphrey The Camel but it's odd to note while country radio played this in the late 60s it didn't chart at all. Probably too dark for radio anyway but I tend to love those dark songs as you can tell.

Boogie Down-Eddie Kendricks (Tamla T 54243F)  #2 1974

Eddie had a one two punch of Keep On Truckin (#1 1973) and this number 2 followup of Motown funk goodness.  They didn't make them like that anymore, and things would tilt more toward disco. Son Of Sagittarius went number 28 but I've never heard that one, nor the number 18 Shoeshine Boy. After 1976, Kendricks never hit the pop top 30 again.  Reunited with the Temptations in 1983 and then joined forces with David Ruffin for a RCA album that was uneven.

Loving Arms-Dobie Gray (MCA 40100) #61 1973

I'm surprised that this only made up to number 61 on the national charts although KCRG had it in their Super 30 in 1973. Produced by Mentor Williams who wrote Drift Away. Later MCA singles didn't chart as well and a stint with Capricorn came up empty.

Loving All Night-Rodney Crowell (Columbia 38-74290) #10 Country 1992

Coming toward the end of his top ten country hits winning streak, this peak at number 10.  Along the lines of Marty Stuart rockabilly country rock, I'm amazed on how good these songs were actually were compared to the grunge rock going on.

Anyway The Wind Blows-Southern Pacific (Warner Brothers 7-22965) 1989 #4 Country

A minor league supergroup of sorts, Southern Pacific had former Doobie Brothers Keith Kundsen and John McFee hooking up with Tim Goodman and former Elvis bass player Jerry Schieff and keyboardist Glen Hardin, but the lineup has been unstable and Schieff and Hardin went back to session work and Goodman went solo and got nowhere, which lead to them employing David Jenkins, former Pablo Cruise vocalist and CCR bass player Stu Cook and newbie Kurt Howell, Jenkins left and McFee took over the vocals.  Anyway The Wind Blows was good enough to be included on soft rock stations in 1989 but it failed to dent the top 100. This actually got me to buy S.P. Greatest Hits and then found Zuma and County Line in the cutouts and both albums are fairly good, the first two I never bothered getting.  Southern Pacific called it a day in 1991, McFee and Kundsen returned to the reformed Doobie Brothers, to which McFee is still a part of the band, Kundsen died in 2005.  Cook returned back to Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Howell went solo and then formed Burning Daylight that made on forgettable album for Curb.  I still have fond memories of Southern Pacific.  B side Reno Bound made number 9 in 1986 and like the A side made it to the Pink Cadillac Soundtrack that featured Clint Eastwood.  I always thought that movie was a bit cheesy.

Album Review:  Rare Earth-The 70s Live (Sony Music 2015)

Randy "Bird" Burgenoff is the bass player and manager of Rare Earth, which is now led by Gil Bridges, the sole remaining link to the Motown past, Bird got there a bit later.  Of course Pete Rivera remains the voice of Rare Earth and he is usually found at oldies package shows and rock cruises in the wintertime.  Randy on the other hand has now moved to Iowa City and as been seen at various jams, namely Rumors and he's mostly on guitar rather than bass.  I have yet to hear him play any Rare Earth songs at these jams. A couple years ago Sony Music came out with live albums from these bands, who's time has gone past and per usual, Sony gives no indication of where the album was recorded at or who plays, you have to hear the introduction to the band on Get Ready, which is only 15 minutes long and not 23 at it was on the In Concert or 21 minutes on the Get Ready album.  For a cash in album, it's competent but not memorable, in fact, the drummer can't seem to keep the time on Born To Wander to which he slows the beat down to almost a crawl and outside of the Nashville Teens, I have no use for Tobacco Road, either by Rare Earth or Edgar Winter.  There are some good moments, this version of Get Ready does boogie quite well before the obligatory drum solo. Papa Was A Rolling Stone which somehow plays true to the Temptations version.   But, the organ player is annoying on Hey Big Brother, and the long drawn out endings to  I Know I'm Losing You or Born To Wander are pointless, just end the song already.  The guesswork is that this album was recorded at a casino on  a week night when there wasn't too many playing the slots.  Randy can play the bass and does a nice workout on I Know I Losing You. But I think I heard better jammers playing these songs at Rumors on a Sunday then on this album it seems.
Grade C

Neil Young-Arc (Reprise 1991)

See above mini review in the Davenport Bargain Hunts paragraph.  Pointless noodling and countless teasing the folks with Like A Hurricane.  But Crazy Horse can't improvise very well either.  Metal Music Machine was more interesting.
Grade D+

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Week In Review; AMA's Warren Moore, Gobble Gobble Gobble

Warren William "Pete" Moore one of the original founders of the Miracles died Sunday from a short illness, he was 78.  After Smokey Robinson left the Miracles, Moore came up with Love Machine, which made number 2 on the local charts.  He also wrote Ain't That Peculiar for Marvin Gaye and It's Growing for The Temptations.

Della Reese, former jazz singer and later actress to Touched By An Angel passed away from Diabetes complications.  She was 83.

Wayne Cochran, powerful singer that played in Otis Redding band way back in the 50s and hanged with James Brown, then gave rock and roll up for the power of Jesus passed away from Cancer Tuesday.  He was 78.

For the past week there were rumors abound that David Cassidy passed away.  That became a reality on Tuesday, where the former heartthrob and teen idol died of liver failure at age 67.  Cassidy will forever be known as Keith Partridge of the Partridge Family fame, to which it used to be a TV series way back in the 1970s.   The Partridge Family had a number 1 hit with I Think I Love You, to which it was David singing lead and Shirley Jones adding backing vocals. David had his own covers of such wonderful songs such as Cherish, How Can I Be Sure and a couple others.  The Partridge Family might have been slighter than The Cowsills but they did have some pleasant fodder such as Friend And A Lover but by 1973, they were history and David trying to be taken more seriously went to RCA for a couple of failed albums.  Along the way he got too much into drinking and drugs which destroyed his liver and internal organs which cause his downfall. He was popular on the oldies scene and did have an interesting album out in 1992, Didn't You Used To Be David Cassidy that came out on Scotti Brothers but nobody bought it. With the death of David, it serves a notice that everybody dies in this life and who will be next is anybody's guess.  Sure hope it ain't you or me.

And then on Thanksgiving Morning Tommy Keene passed away in his sleep. He was 59.  Tommy was world renowned for some of the best power pop albums of the past 3 decades starting with Places That Are Gone but has recorded with the likes of Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices, Matthew Sweet and the Gin Blossoms.   Plus he had a love for Lou Reed and The Who, what more could you ask for?

And then there was the American Music Awards to which Bruno Mars took home 7 of those awards including Artist Of The Year.  Keith Urban also did fine as well winning three country awards. Imagine Dragons won best rock group (???) Linkin Park best Alt rock group, Little Big Town best country group and the female country artist was Carrie Underwood, beating out Miranda Lambert in a rare occasion. Diana Ross got lifetime achievement. Basically that's all you need to know about the AMA's

Which leads into our next story. The yearly turkey awards for crappy albums.  At this point in my life, I have refrained from reviewing a lot of new records that would have included the likes of Old Dominion, Florida Georgia Line, Five Finger Death Punch, rap acts, rock radio, top forty radio etc.  But in reality their music does not relate to me and basically it's pointless to talk about pointless music from the likes of OD,  Beyonce, Kane Brown and so forth.  It'd be easy to throw Taylor Swift into this, she's the IT star and her new album is a big event.   She might go through boyfriends like I go through CDs but deep inside she's a sweet girl.

So let's go with the real Gobble Gobble Gobbles and go with Radio being the biggest turkey with their limited playlist of different music styles.  Top Forty is all autotuned EDP Hip Rap Pop crap and if there's anything rock and roll on top forty I wouldn't know it.  The new Country is not Country but autotuned 2nd grade bullshit lyrics that Farce The Music does a better job slamming into the ground.  Classic rock radio is just as like a Chinese water torture test no matter how much you love Led Zeppelin or Paranoid album Black Sabbath and the Back In Black AC DC.  It's hard to tell what song will make me leave the area, Sweet Chile O Mine or Take On Me or Broken Wings.  All of the above.

The other, the oblong packaging of CDs into overlong mini album facsimiles that are skinnier and longer than the average jewel case, which Neil Young might think it's funny to have Peace Trail and Earth stick out in your collection but I have to store them face up since they don't fit in my cd collection.  The new Ride and Robert Plant also suffers from this oblong digital packing snafu as well. Say what you want about the jewel case but at least you can store them without the hassles of the digi pack.

Of course I have my share of  bargain bin CDs that turned out to be turkeys of their own. Richard Dyer-Bennett's album might be one example, but his Irish ballads might strike a better chord with more objective ears.   Prick was one album I couldn't even finish through the first song before chucking it into the Goodwill donation bin.  Mandala 1968 album for Atlantic and issued through Wounded Bird can be included.  It's second tier soul music from Canada.  But all these album were from the two dollar bin so, it was a buyer beware and not a stone cold gobble gobble gobble.

The biggest Gobble Gobble Gobble might be the Iowa Hawkeyes Football Team.  Who played their bowl game by running Ohio State out of Iowa City and then pat themselves on the back while Northwestern, Wisconsin and Purdue had their way with them.  Stick a fork in their ass. they're done.

Singles Going Steady Medley:  Gobble Gobble Gobble  Waterloo Turkeys

They really were.

1)    Somewhere Down The Road-Donna Loren (Warner Bros 7-29326)  1984

The Dr Pepper girl of the 1960s, Loren was mostly into what I call MOR type of music.  Her best known years was with Challenge Records, but also recorded for Capitol, and a brief spell for Reprise. And then this one off in 1984 for Warner Brothers.   Too bland for me to get through.  Fun fact: She was married to Lenny Waronker for about 18 years then they divorced.  She later married Jarad Cregman of the Fantastic Baggies group and they are still together after all these years.

2)    Bumpty Bump-David Carroll (Mercury 70444)  1954

Carroll was the turn of the pop (not rock) era arranger for such rock and rollers like the Crew Cuts and he's had a few singles that did chart.  This really creeps into Lawrence Welk territory.  Champagne music as they call it.  It's all over and done with in under two minutes.  This might have been used a couple times in the Flintstones TV show.  But I'm not about to find out if that's true or not.

3)   3 Chord  Country Song-Red Stegall (Elektra E-46590)  #31 Country 1980

He wrote Here We Go Again, which was a hit for Ray Charles and had a number 11 hit with Lone Star Beer And Bob Wills Music for ABC Dot in 1975 but Red was more western than country.  I never heard this song on the radio but somebody at a jam mentioned this song.  Probably the best find out of all these songs I that found.

4)   Hands Across The Sea-Modern English (Sire/4AD 7-29339)  #91 1984

It's weird how classic rock radio has embraced I Melt With You despite it's poor number 78 showing on the charts in 1983 and the follow up Hands Across The Sea which a video is still up for viewing on You Tube, ran out of gas at number 91.  Yeah, I recall seeing this video on MTV and thought it was quite corny, like most modern rock videos of that time.   Didn't care much for the album After The Roses, they sounded like a more stuffy Depache Mode or a less inspired Mighty Lemon Drops. At that time 4AD was a British label that Sire picked up for distribution, and then Warner Communications helped along the way to the point that After The Roses was reissued with a few more tracks.  Which didn't help the album all that much.  Six years later a re recorded I Melt With You  sputtered to number 76.  And we still prefer the original version.

5)  All The Lonely Women Of The World-Bill Anderson (Decca 32930)  1972  #5 Country

I think Bill had some fine songs of the 1970s and this was a favorite of mine off the jukebox.  I think the copy spent a few too many months in the St Vincent De Paul 45 bins.  I like the B side It Was Time For Me To Move On Anyway a bit more.  It could have been a country hit.

6)  Clair De Lune (Part 1)-Mantovani  (London 40304)  1950

And this is where the road ends on our short medley of oddball finds. It is rumored that Brian May was influenced by the sounds of Mantovani and his light musical arrangements and while anybody under 50 would want to listen to a Mantovani song, he at one point bigger than the Beatles, but then again that was in the early 50s and then he was replaced by Slim Whitman as the UK favorite at that time. For a 1950 cover of a Debussy number, I'm amazed on how quiet this recording was being made.  It's made in two parts since it was almost four minutes in length and back then 45s could only be recorded up to 3 minutes.    Sounds a bit of a lullaby, somewhat like a crescendo of a gentle rolling of the tide by the sea.  His big hit was the Moulin Rouge Theme (#8 1953).  He recorded up to 1975 and he passed away in 1980 but there is no shortage of Mantovani albums out there in thrift stores across the country and CDs as well. After all, the guy invented Muzak.

Record Reviews:

Bob Seger-I Knew You When (Capitol 2017)

It didn't occur to me till I looked up and seen that his Face The Promise album came out in 2006, 11 years ago.  I really thought it was a lot sooner but time flies anymore.  The power of being on the internet and seeing the years fly away.  Nevertheless, Glenn Frey gets plenty of love, in fact I can think about three other songs that could be some sort of dedication to the late great Eagle. Outside of that, Seger hasn't rocked this hard since God knows when  (Seven maybe?) but I do noticed that a lot of the tracks featured Richie Hayward (unless it's a new person, the Richie that I knew died a few years ago after being the drummer for Little Feat)  Alto Reed, Craig Frost and Mark Chatfield, those three who were part of the Silver Bullet Band for many years are on this.  And the guesswork is that these tracks were laying in the can to be used when the time is right.   I tend to like Bob when he's rocking and rolling hard although my opinion isn't universally agreed upon.  With Fraud 45 in the White House, Seger throws a few barbs at the Orange Donald with a version of Busload Of Faith (written by Lou Reed) and Leonard Cohen's Democracy.  I like the opening Gracie and the Lou Reed cover and The Highway, and unlike Ride Out, it's not overproduced although the loud booming drums does tend to drown out the songs.  And even if Runaway Train was done years ago, it does rock pretty good and makes its presence felt.  There's a couple of misguided efforts, one of them is one of the three bonus tracks (Forward Into The Past) but Glen's Song is a nice way to end the whole album. Bob's best since Against The Wind.
Grade A-

Rod Stewart-Still The Same-Great Rock Classics Of Our Time  (J 2006)

I passed on his Great American Song Book Series, not that they were laughable.  They weren't. I was not interested in them, but I did hold judgement upon if I saw Still The Same as a reasonably priced CD, i.e. thrift store copy and there was a dollar copy during Goodwill's dollar days.  For one thing, he meant business when he picked up Kenny Aronoff on drums.  Even if John Shanks produced this (the hack behind Bon Jovi's 2000s albums) I was willing to overlook on the autotuned vocal and polished recording.  Only I'll Stand By You didn't impressed me but I found myself singing along to Everything I Own, and If Not For You, which is more Olivia Newton John than Bob Dylan.  And I always like ONJ's version better.  If nothing else, Still The Same might be just like that local band down at the dive pub playing these songs, in fact, a local band Jiffy Pop actually did It's A Heartache.  I never doubted Rod could not do rock covers, he's done that before on his classic Mercury albums, at his age, he tends to go more towards the mellower songs, the Bread, Eagles, Seger etc.  We really don't need another Day After Day but if anybody's entitled to that, Stewart is the guy that can do it. Nice touch: he dedicated this album to Long John Baldry after Baldry passed away in 2006.  Rod produced the best moments off his album It Ain't Easy.
Grade B+

Queensryche Greatest Hits (Virgin 2000)

They started out as hard core Judas Priest knockoffs and Geoff Tate's over the top vocals which could clear out a room and then started moving through prog rock, adding Pink Floyd and Rush to the mix.  At the same time Tate's was beginning to be less interested of hitting those operatic vocals. I recall in 2001, while dating a oddball woman that was a big fan of theirs how she liked the first half of this album while I enjoyed the latter half more so on.  You can't get more extreme on the vocal range as Tate did on Take Hold Of The Flame or The Lady Wore Black   Nevertheless Queensryche was the longest lasting band on EMI American (outside of Lonesome George Thorogood) and corporate downsizing had them on Virgin for this Greatest Hits overview.  Their downward spirial or in my case, moving on to a more accessible sound, they really did get better with each album, to which Operation Mindcrime or Empire were their classic moments, Silent Lucidity perhaps the best Pink Floyd knockoff coming from a band from Seattle. By then when Promised Land came out, they were a shadow of the over the top screamfest of the early albums, either Tate couldn't sing the high notes or didn't want to.  They were late to the gunge movement and getting the Alice In Chains producer to mud up Hear In The Now Frontier didn't help much, nor losing Chris DeGarmo soon afterward. To which Geoff Tate started to take over the authoritarian de facto leader of the band to which a band revolt would remove him from the band and Todd La Torre would return the sound of early Ryche' to critical acclaim on the albums on Century Media. I still think they progressed mightly on in the 1990s with Empire through Promised Land and even Hear In The Now Frontier and their only Atlantic album Q2K showed that they could rock with the best intentions and pull off prog rock moves as well.  For a Greatest Hits mix Cd, it does reveal Queensryche highlights (good and bad) and best songs.  But for the first songs before Operation Mindcrime, it's better for me to listen to them at the end of the day rather than first thing in the morning.   They rock better.
Grade A-

Amazing Journey The Story Of The Who (Geffen 2008)

A best of that I got simply of the DVD of the same name.  Anything with the original Who will always be of interest for me.  But in typical Universal fashion the major hits are there and a couple of off the wall things (Sea And Sand, Amazing Journey/Sparks, Song Is Over) But it is pointless as they come.  Won't Get Fooled Again comes from one of John Entwistle's final shows and has Zak Starkey pounding on the drums, Zak probably the best of the replacement Who drummers since he was taught by the legendary Keith Moon.  This version  would probably make Looney Moony smile.  I can tolerate Real Good Looking Boy and Eminence Front is the only song from the Kenny Jones era. Tea And Theater puts me to sleep. In this day and era, everytime we get a Who Best of, they tend to disappoint me, including that big box set Universal put out, overpriced and still missing key tracks in favor of the pointless EP The Who did 10 years ago. The Who still remains my favorite band of the classic rock era, but Amazing Journey the album, isn't so amazing.  Unless you find this used for a dollar somewhere.  In other words a subpar Mix tape masquerading as a best of.
Grade B-

Never buy a Lenovo computer. They suck.  Lost another add on to this blog due to FU frowny face.
Maybe next time.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Week In Review: Lil Peep, Malcolm Young, The Crabby 2017 Awards

I have no idea what passes for new music or rock and roll or even rap but I do take notes on who passes.  Lil Peep, (Gustav Ahr) died from a drug overdose Thursday Night.  He was 21. An up and coming rapper.  Somewhere out there his mother weeps and has to bury him. Taking about 12 Xanax will put you into the next life. Where ever that may lead. Lil Peep wanted to die, he got his wish.

Malcolm Young lost his battle with Dementia Friday.  He was 64. He proceeds older brother George into the great beyond. Malcolm will forever be known for giving us those same three chords and turning into AC DC hits and inspiring people to take up the guitar and form AC DC tribute bands.  At least he had a better life and fulfilled his dreams unlike Lil Peep.

Ben Riley-Drummer for Theolonois Monk in the 1960s and played on Sonny Rollins' The Bridge in 1962 passed away on Saturday from a long illness.  He was 84.

Mel Tillis- Country singer songwriter that wrote a big hit for Webb Pierce (I Ain't Never) and later had hits on his own for Columbia, Kapp, MGM, MCA and Elektra passed away Sunday from respiratory failure. He was 85

We'll never know what potential Lil Peep would have had in the music business, probably minimal at best, but when you hear the opening riffs of a hard rock song from AC DC, you know it's Malcolm guitar work, for jazz, Ben Riley may have been subtle, but he could find ways to entice you to the beat or just confront you with with a irregular drumming style and the opening lines of Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town or I Ain't Never coming from the pen and vocals of Mel Tillis.

Iowa may as well be dead.  They played their bowl game two weeks ago and have returned to ineptness in can't catch, can't punt, can't block, can't defend and can't score as Purdue won their first Big Ten away game in quite some time in a 24-15 ass kicking of Iowa, which the game wasn't even that close. Matt Vandenburg looked more like a green freshman off the farm and couldn't catch the ball on special teams and if he did, he would fumble the ball.  Noah Funt did his usual drop as well as four drops from other receivers.  Iowa's Ole Blockers couldn't stop Purdue at Nate Stanley got sacked six times and hurried about 60 times more. Good thing Josh Jackson plays defense, none of the DBs couldn't do that.  So overall yet another team ineptness, from coaches all the way down to players sucked worse than Mount Trashmore in the hot and humid summer.  Next up, is Nebraska and by all means the Corn huskers will be favored to win, even though they are 4-6 and Mike Riley good as gone. They would like to give him a good send off before they give him the pink slip.  As for Iowa, we're stuck with Kirk Ferenez and his dumbass offense coordinator son Bryan with more shitty play calling. Wrestling and basketball is starting up, may as well go root for them.

Up in the fog and rain at Corvallis, Arizona State ran away and hid from the lackluster Oregon State Beavers 40-24, thus earning the Sun Devils a bowl bid, although they might draw the shitty Iowa Hawkeyes in a second tier bowl game.  The 1-10 Beavers did managed to score outside ASU 24-10 in the second half, but by then ASU had a 30-0 lead and could play it safe.  ASU will play Arizona for the Governor's Cup this week.  Oregon State might be able to get Mike Riley back from Nebraska, but they will have their in state game with Oregon, who have underachieved this season.

In Texas, Iowa State beat Baylor 23-13.  Baylor used to be good a couple seasons ago.  This season, they too are 1-10 and a train wreck on the field.

I really had not much to say about the music of 2017.  Never before had I review less albums than I did and at the rate things are going, 2018 will be even less.  When you buy music as I do and scour the dollar bins and cut outs, chances are there will be albums that will be of interest to me enough to review them.  I really do not need to buy anymore albums in this life time.  I know in my collection I wouldn't have time to listen to all of them at least once. But the buyer in me will continue to look for whatever Half Priced Books has in the bargain bins, or whatever the music stores that I go to. Times have changed.  20 years ago, we had plenty of music stores to check out variety, nowadays it's thrift stores and the twice yearly trip to Madison for unknown pleasures.  Which reminds's that time again to pick my favorite places to shop for music, however the list is getting smaller and smaller each year and with the passing of Kirk of Record Collector things are up in the air.  Hopefully they'll remain open.

Best Record Store (Eastern Iowa)

Moondog Music (Dubuque)
Co Op-Records (Moline Ill)
Analog Vault (Cedar Rapids)
Record Collector (Iowa City)
Ragged Records (Davenport)
CDs-4 Change (Dubuque)
Wax Extatic (Marshalltown)
Mohair Pear (Waterloo)

Best Record Store (Madison)

Mad City Music Exchange
Strictly Disc's
Sugar Shack Records
B Sides Music
Resale Records (RIP)

All of these record stores are worth going to, but in terms of affordability and surprises  Moondog Music remains the best of the stores in the latest releases on CD, for those who still buys CDs.  The debut of Analog Vault is that this is Cedar Rapids's only record store in town that sells records, CD's not so much unless they're from local bands.  Ragged Records is the best of the bunch to get actual vinyl records, Bob Herrington does have his own label Cartouche that features local acts, The Dawn's new album was issued through Carthouche.  Technically, Ragged Records still have a fairly decent selection of 45s but the fly in the ointment is that they are not a set price, some are what I call museum pieces, records that cost more than 4 or 5 dollars if you have to get that record at all costs and I have done that a couple times.  Certainly the case is that they need to make a living as well.  However, it does gnaw at me when they're searching EBAY to priced the record at the going rate, and that Leapy Lee 45 that I bought for 4 dollars one day only to find it down the road at the Salvation Army for a quarter.  You pay a price for being dollar foolish. And they still have that Wounded Bird copy of Crazy Horse Loose for 34.99  On a plus side, you can find just about anything in the record bins.

The problem of record collecting remains the un-priced LP or 45, the museum piece that has no price and the owner of the store looking up the price on Ebay.  I love 45s as much as I did 50 years ago when Ben Franklin had them for 9 cents a piece or when Goodwill had them for a nickel or a quarter. Not anymore.  A juke box 45 of Sweet Chile O Mine should not be charged 8 dollars just because it's Guns And Roses or Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana.  Most of them records got their grooves wore off at some old dive bar out in the boonies where good ole boys are pounding on each other for the hell of it.   At least Moondog Music in Dubuque, the records are 50 cents a piece if you buy in bulk, or Mad City Music Exchange where forgotten 45's can be had for a quarter.  And Mad City Music Exchange has never disappointed me in finding 45s of late, especially at their new location on Atwood Drive, it's sad to see them leave the Williamson St. place but the new store is bigger and has more space to go crate digging be it 7 inch or 12.   Strictly Discs still has the biggest selection of vinyl in the basement, that can be a all day event if there weren't parking meters around.  Sugar Shack is more centralized on used albums although the owner will special order albums or make an effort to find them.  B Sides, remains the only record store on State Street and managed to outlive the CD Warehouse or CD's Plus or Disc Go Round, but in the long run the better finds remain at Mad City Music X or Strictly Disc.

Here on my neck of the woods, the new dog in town is Analog Vault, located in New Bo and while they don't have the selection of a Mad City Music X or Moondog Music, it's a comfort fact that they are the only record store in town.  With the future opening and return of The Chrome Horse back to New Bo, things should get better for them.  Record Collector is the sole survivor of the Iowa City Record store years of the 80s and 90s and then they lost their owner Kirk Walther to illness but the new owners will continue to keep that store going. If anything Record Collector still has the best selection of hard to find jazz CDs in the used bins.  For used CDs  it depends on when to go but I had found that Moondog Music continues to find some hard to find cd's for 5.98, and I'm not telling you which ones that I did find fairly cheap.  Usually the turnaround for used stuff Moondog seems to move the used stuff fairly well, they seem to have a new selection every other month I show up there.  CDs 4 Change has tend to overprice some CDs as well, and like Ragged, they don't have them in jewel cases.  Usually stored away and when they're taken out of their protective covers, they tend to get streak scratches on them.   In this day and age of trying to find new music on CD you have to either drive or say the hell with it and go through Amazon.  Best Buy don't have shit, Target has less and Wal Mart is Wal Mart.  In this area Moondog is the best of the bunch.   Unless you're in the Quad Cities, then it's Co-Op Moline.  (The Co Op Davenport Store didn't last a year before closing for good earlier last year).  I've never been to Mohair Pear in Cedar Falls and Wax Xstatic in Marshalltown I just found out, so it might be a trip down HWY 30 west for the first time in about 5 years.

Best Thrift Stores For Used CDs and Records

Half Priced Books (CR-Madison-Des Moines)
Stuff Etc. (CR,IC-Coralville-Davenport-Waterloo)
Sweet Living Antiques (Iowa City)
Housewerks (Iowa City)
St. Vincent De Paul (Williamson St-Madison)
Salvation Army Junk Store (Davenport)
Frugal Muse (Madison)
St. Vincent De Paul (Waterloo)
Goodwill Industries (Various Locations)
Salvation Army (CR, Marion, Moline)
Savers (Madison)
Pre Played (Madison)

As long as Half Priced Books stays in business, nobody is going to unseat them from the number 1 spot of finding CDs.  There are some museum pieces (that Toni Basil best of I found for 25 cents at the pawnshop, they're trying to sell it for 20 dollars!) but for the most part HP Books continues to find imports and cut outs of albums from the past including the Wounded Bird cutouts of bands that only serious audiophiles and music collectors know about.  If certain CDs dont sell, they get knocked into the two dollar bins but overall the past year the Madison dollar bins have become shorter and shorter but the Cedar Rapids store still has six rows of dollar finds ready to be discovered.  And probably the cheapest way to listen to the Eagles Long Road Out Of Eden (they had four copies as of last week...and of course 5 copies of Licensed To Ill).  After that, it's hit and miss if you go to Stuff Etc or Savers.  I tend to have better luck at the Cedar Rapids and Coralville Stuff Etc stores, Davenport and Waterloo' selections suck most of the time.  The Madison St Vincent De Paul on Williamson is famous for their 45's selection, most of it is pop and big bands but this year some record store donated a bunch of scratched up Elvis and Beatles 45s, to which I actually found a couple of Elvis 45s that weren't scratched up to holy hell.   Of note, the St. Vincent on Park Ave in Madison is where you buy by the pound, which I found about 7 45s for a grand total of 25 cents!  It's a very rare occasion when they do have any sort of 45's, I was simply at the right place, right time.

While I have very good luck in finding bargains in Madison and this area, the luck becomes more spotty and less when I go up to Waterloo.  They don't have much for thrift stores and when they do they simply get picked apart by the other bargain hunters out there.  For myself it makes better sense just to drive to Dubuque, for the most part I'll find a few things at Moondog or CD's 4 Change and even the Goodwill will have something of value.  Goodwill remains a hit and miss, and the new trendy Goodwill isn't exactly bargain hunting city. It is a frustrating fact of life when you're trying to find the LPs and CD section, now they have them over in a corner along with dis-guarded tapes and VHS and DVDs as well and usually you had to fight with 2 or 3 other people blocking your way.  It amazes me some of the hunters that tend to be turtle show and analyze each and every rap or country or One Direction CD.  Myself, it takes about 10 minute tops to scour, acknowledge the gospel collection nobody wants, or copies of Cracked Rear View or Monster or Garth Brooks The Hits.

It has been noted that CD donations have gone down a lot the past 10 years and pawn shops don't take much of them in anymore.  Which is why Siegel's Pawn Shop is not on this list.  Since the passing of Bruce Stanley, CDs are not cost effective, especially if most of what Siegel's used to take in looked like they been ran over a 100 times during rush hour on 380.  Even Housewerks has not had the selection that they once did but sometimes they'll have some classic albums, I managed to find Frank Zappa's Chunga's Revenge up there for four dollars.  Sweet Living Antiques remains a crate digger''s paradise.  I should stop in and visit before the snow flies.  The CD stores of a long time ago, The CD Plus stores, The Disc Go Around, the CD Warehouse are gone, not needed anymore.  So which in essence if the CD collector wants anything anymore, the thrift stores are the way to go.   Unless you're lucky to have a Half Priced Bookstore in your area.  Pre Played have really downsized their CD section, in favor of DVDs and Games.   Savers' is Wisconsin's answer to Stuff Etc and I have yet to get lucky in trying to find anything up in their stores.  As for pawnshops around the area, Pawn America when they first opened up, had the largest used CD section anywhere and I spent a couple hours looking through them, that was 7 years ago.  Today, Pawn America does not have a CD section anymore.  The Waterloo and Iowa City Pawn America do have CDs for 50 cents and it won't take a lot to look through their section but once in a while they'll have something of note.  That's where I found a 50 cent copy of Pearl Jam 10 and of  the aforementioned Best Of Toni Basil. In terms of theory, Pawnshops are basically a waste of time for CD buying anymore.

Of course Hastings would be behind Half Priced Books, but they closed their doors last year and are a distant memory.  But I remember them for fun Saturday Nights in Kingman and Lake Havasau City for all the freaks come out and lively up the place.  Plus they always have surprises in the close out bins.

Best Big Box Music Store

Barnes And Noble
Books A Million
Best Buy
Wal Mart
K Mart (if you still have any around)

The most worthless category of the Crabbys. Barnes And Noble might by following Borders in terms of non existent   Target and K Mart simply have stopped selling them except whatever comes out new but it is a waste of time.  Wally World seems to do a better job of new releases than Best Buy but both stores simply just carry the essentials and classic albums and hardly anything more. Books A Million did overtake some of the stores left behind by the Borders closures but Barnes And Noble wins out by a hair. I did note that the East Side Madison BN did have some 3.99 Wounded Bird cut out specials.  Wal Mart might be universally hated but at least they're a bit more trustworthy than Best Buy, who will convince you that streaming is the new way of life for discovering new music.  That new Post Malone album is very good they say. For myself I don't care anyway.

This weekend, was a trip to Waterloo to see what was out there.  Goodwill had everything for a dollar on sale and all places were packed.  The St Vincent De Paul in Waterloo had the best dollar finds, a couple of Beatles Remastered 2009 albums  Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be and both in like new shape despite the digipack packaging.  If anything they might be something of value the next time I need to sell CDs to Half Price Books.  The pawnshops had nothing, and Goodwill Waterloo was too busy.  But I did find three Cds at Goodwill Independence for a dollar, including a John Anderson best of, A Sonny Rollins Remaster and the Rod Stewart Sings the best rock ballads CD which might be worth hearing for a laugh.

Best Music Stores For Instruments

Uncle Ike's Music (Asbury/Dubuque)
965 Guitars (New Bo-CR)
West Music (Marion-Coralville)
Guitar Center (CR-Davenport)
Griggs Music (Davenport)

Uncle Ike's still remains the best place to seek out used drums and cymbals, now that Music Go Round is no longer around the area.  It's pointless to include pawn shops, they always seem to be hit and miss and more misses than hits although I did score a nice Fender Tele at the Maquoketa pawn shop.   For new guitars, Darwin at 965 Music remains the go to guy, he's knows his guitars.  In the old days we used to have Hiltbrunners, Keeney's Music, Carma Lou's House Of Music, 16th Avenue Music, Marion Drum Shop (in 1983 they were the only place that sold Paiste Cymbals), Star's Guitars and The Music Loft but they're now history, The Music Loft closed their doors for good early this year.  For the most part, I give West Music a slight edge over Guitar Center but nowadays music instruments are not what they used to be.   For pawn shops Money and More in Iowa City is worth going to, Siegal's of late have really overpriced some of their used stuff.  Once in a while I'll take note of something but outside of grabbing the Fender Tele, a lotta pawned stuff on guitars are simply junk.

Best Music Place For Jams (Weekly Jams that is)

Checker's Tavern (Cedar Rapids)
Long Branch (Cedar Rapids)
Rumor's Bar (Cedar Rapids)
Parlor City (Cedar Rapids/New Bo)
Stone City General Store (Stone City)
Cooters (Cedar Rapids)
Ramsey's (Marion)
Just Jules (Cedar Rapids)

For myself, Checker's is the runaway favorite with their Wednesday Night Acoustic Showcase.  The owners Pam and PJ have been very friendly and the jammers that do show up I enjoy sharing the stage with.  The Long Branch on Friday Night also has a very relaxed atmosphere and the stage is quite roomy. Rumor's Sunday Jams also bring out the best in musicians and it can be chaotic at times but the hosts do managed to keep things going.  If you play too loud at Parlor City Blues, you do get yelled at so be careful if the DB levels go past 100 DB.   I have to admit I've never been to Stone City General Store for the Sunday Jams but I plan to once the snow and cold hits.  Cooter's rivals both Rumors and Cooters for Sunday Afternoon jams but I have not been a fan of that place.  I've been there four times and four times they had three fights and than a cancellation of a band that another fight broke out.  Mike Williams swears they don't have that many fights, just the only ones I do show up at.   Ramsey's Acoustic Night is Tuesday and Just Jules is Sunday after Rumors, but I have not been to either one.  For a small town, Cedar Rapids does have plenty of places to do jams at.  Artisan Sanctuary has a open mike every other Thursday Nights, F B and Company in Waubeek has one the first Saturday of the month and Whittier has one the second Saturday every month.  It's gets pretty wild in Waubeek as I found out earlier this month.  The Whittier is much more laid back.


Best Chinese foot

Crossroads Bistro  (C.R)
China Buffet (Plattville)
Benjang Express (CR)
Great Dragon (CR)
Bamboo Garden (Anamosa)
China King (Marion)
Palace Garden (Marion)
Peking Buffet (Coralville)
Panda Express (CR/IC)

It's hard to find decent Chinese food, we used to have plenty of them 2 decades ago but most have fallen by the wayside or Panda Express is where to go.   The Crossroads Bistro by far has the best Chinese menu. Benjing off Kirkwood Blvd, the owner has maintained a very quick and tasty meal if an when I go up there.  The buffets have been hit and miss, the problem has always been if the food remained under the 100 watt lightbulb too long and would dry up.  In this case it's a matter of convenience, The Palace Garden is across from Wal Mart in Marion off the 151/13 interchange. Grat Dynasty in Davenport has had a change of ownership and reviews have been lukewarm.  The Crossroads Bistro has spoiled me with their excellent chinese menu, if I'm undecided on what to get, I take my chances on Panda Express.

Best Pizza Place:

Marco's Pizza (CR)
Leonardo's Pizza (CR)
Ruby's Pizza (CR)
Long Branch (CR)
Naso's Pizza (Marion)
Tomaso's (Marion)
Zoey's (Marion)
Cappy's (CR)
Pagalai's (Iowa City)
Happy Joe's (Anamosa, CR)
Checker's Tavern (CR)
Godfathers' (Anamosa)
Pizza Hut (Maquoketa, Independence)
Pizza Ranch (Various Locations)
Casey's (Various)
Little Caesar's (CR)

The Frog (RIP)

NOTE: The Frog won best pizza place but they have now closed their doors on Jan 20, 2018.  With that in mind, the runner up pizza place would be Marcos.

There are other pizza places that I know about but haven't been there lately (Pizza Daddy, Need Pizza, Aces And Eights) but I do know some of the best pizzas come from regular bars. The Frog on 16th Avenue (used to be Al's Red Frog) remain the best kept secret in town.  I still miss the old Marco's on 1st Avenue and their amazing buffet (the Marco's on Boyson Rd still good but is part of Family Video, where you can get half off movie rentals if you order a large pizza, or something to that effect).  The biggest bitch is that Pizza Hut has closed most of the stores that offer an afternoon pizza buffet and you have to drive to Maquoketa or Independence or Madison for that comfort buffet.  The surprise is the Long Branch Supper Club and their personal pan pizzas for 7.50 a cheap alternative if you don't want to pay 15 dollars for a Festus Special (sirloin and mushrooms) I love Ruby's Pizzeria but their hours always continues to play havoc with me.  They're closed on Sundays and I never get around to their pizza bar in the afternoon.  Naso's remains the best pizza in Marion, Zoey's tends to get all the businesses and praise but Naso's is still the more familiar place for me to go. Tony Nickels has told me of a new pizza place next to Ramsey's that has the best pizza but since they have opened up this late in the year I have to reserve judgement for the next installment of the Crabby's.  For franchise pizza, I still like a Happy Joes pizza, a Godfather's personal pan pizza and out in the boonies, Casey's does the trick.   Caesar's still gets some pizza loving, when I want it quick and not too expensive (under 7 dollars and not the 5 they advertise). If I'm desperate, I'll go with Kwik Star's 4.95 thin crust pizza, which is actually an oversized Tombstone pizza.  As for Papa John's, he can go to hell.

Best Mexican Food

La Casa De Pancho (Maquoketa)
Villa's Patio (Marion)
Si Senor (Mount Vernon)
El Ranchero (Iowa City)
Rudy's Tacos (Davenport-Moline)
Sanchos (Davenport)
Azteca 1-4 (Davenport/Moline)
Los Compades (CR)
Cancun (CR)
Las Hacienda Glorias (CR)
El Dorado (Coralville)
El Ranchero (CR)
El Bajo (CR)
Frito Kaila (Solon)
Ganzo's (Davenport)
Las Palmas (Platteville)
Salsa's (Dubuque)
Los Aztecas (DBQ)
Fiesta Cancun (DBQ)
Pancheros (Various)
Hot Harry's (CR)
Moe's SW Grill (CR)

There are no shortages of Mexican places to eat at.  The question remains which ones are great and which one's will give you Montezuma's Revenge.  Anamosa lost yet another Mexican place downtown and the remaining one La Hacenida I have to order things with cheese sauce rather than their patented "manwhich" tasting sauce on their burrito. The places that wow me the best are the ones that offer Creme De Polo to where De Pancho place in Maquoketa has.  I'm usually never in the neighborhood unless I'm getting the car's oil changed (and other things). Down the road is Obie's Bar but I have to yet to eat there. If I'm on the way to work and need to get in and out quickly, Si Senor in Mount Vernon gets me in and out in a half hour.  Iowa City has plenty of good Mexican but their El Ranchero is usually my choice.  In Davenport Ganzo's gets the slight nod.  For Franchise burritos, it's Pancheros on Kirkwood Blvd, close to work, in and out in 20 minutes most of the time.  Hot Harry's is the alt to Pancheros but they have strange closing hours that make me go to the other places. Moe's I not that high on, but perhaps I'll give them another chance.   As for Taco Bell and Taco John's, you take your chance.

Best Radio Station

What's is playing in the discman

This year I discontinued the best radio stations, since all of the stations still play the same 200 classic rock songs, the new rock and country stations suck and I can't relate to whatever KUNI plays for new music.   I'll listen to Sirius/XM radio when they offer it free during holidays and vacations but even they are stuck on the same songs played over and over.   We used to be enlightened by the radio back in the AM and FM years till Corporations bought everybody out and bean counters replaced the lovers of new music.  It's a shame we'll never return back to those wonder days of anticipating new releases from The Beatles or Led Zeppelin or Elton John.  For the new artist and bands, you're basically on your own.

Thus concludes this year's Crabbys.  We might return again next year.

Sharon Tate would be 74 years old.
Her child would be 48.
J. Sebring,  84
W. Frykowski, 81
A. Folger, 74
S. Parent, 66
Forget Charles Manson.  The fucker died of natural causes Sunday, aged 83.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Week In Review:Pretenders, Mud Games 3

What a difference a week makes.  Last weekend Iowa put 55 points on Ohio State.  This week they couldn't muster 55 yards total offense in a 38-14 blowout loss to Wisconsin in Madison.  If it wasn't for two pick six interceptions by Josh Jackson, Iowa would been shut out.  Wisconsin simply owned the Hawks, manhandled the Hawks and for Nate Stanley's return to Mad City, he simply fell apart.  Of course, the offense line went back to Ole blockers, the WR's and TE's got their glass hands back and it was ugly.  Funny how last week they worked so hard to get back to the good graces of Colin Cowherd, Then Wisconsin comes in and proves that Iowa is still that Fake ID college team.  But at least they beat Ohio State.  To which Ohio State came back a blazing and blew Michigan State out of Columbus 48-3.  Good thing Iowa didn't play them this week, it would have been 96-0.  Ohio State decided to run the ball and they ran it down the Spartans' throat.  Next up for the Buckeyes, Illinois and then back home to face Michigan.  Ohio State still is favored to get into the Championship game and probably will play Wisconsin.  We'll then see if Wisconsin is the real deal or if Ohio State simply had a bad game against Iowa.

What do Iowa State and Arizona State have in common?  They are both fading and are pretenders.  Iowa State offense came back but the defense was AWOL and Oklahoma State outlasted them 49-42 and won on a interception that Iowa State was a touchdown. Sad way to end the game.  Arizona State is now at 500 once again, UCLA won 44-37, spotting a 14-0 ASU lead and chipped away and then battered the ASU Plastic Fork defense, thus proving that the victory over Washington was a fluke.  And probably their bowl game.   Oregon State and Arizona close out the season. A victory over OSU might get them a second tier bowl game but 2 more losses and Todd Graham might be joining Butch Davis, recently jettisoned from Tennessee, in the unemployment line.

And now Sarah Jane Underwood wants you to check out her ass.  EEYAW!

(The 1974 San Francisco/Cleveland Mud Bath-Neil Liefer photo)

I don't care about the NFL anymore and since giving up TV I have not paid attention to the games. The Chargers moved to Los Angeles and still suck.  In the age of field turf and modified grass stadiums, there's hardly anymore games played in the mud like they used to.   However, I decided some hard to find Mud games in the archives and therefore decide to pay tribute to games played on real turf and real mud.

(NFL Archives-Mack Lee Hill slogging through the muck while Ed Budde adjusts his mask and an unknown Chiefs holds the Chargers' linebacker )

1)  Double Dose Of Charger Mud In Your Eye  1964

San Diego 20  Houston 17  10/25/64 (Houston)
San Diego 28  Kansas City 14   11/15/64  (Kansas City)

(George Blanda)

You have to search the You Tube for the old year in review for the AFL and NFL teams but they are still out there.  On the way to the 1964 AFL Title, San Diego had to go into Houston  to play the Oilers and a hurricane monsoon that almost drowned the players in the second half.  But the legendary George Blanda drove the Oilers down the  Gulf of Jepperson Stadium and was in line for a winning FG, till it sailed a bit wide left and a pissed off George jumping up and down the puddles to complain that the referees blew the call.  A few weeks later, The Chargers went up to Kansas City, a place that they don't won very much up there (just like this year)  but managed to score 4 touchdowns in the second quarter in a steady rain and Lance Alworth had two TDs and 168 yards receiving in a soggy 28-14 victory.  After that, San Diego lost three of their last four games, including a 49-6 Chiefs scalping at home, but still managed to get in the AFL Championship, to which they lost 20-7 to the Buffalo Bills, which is could be consider a mud bowl but not as epic as these two games.  The game forever known as Mike Stratton planting Keith Lincoln six feet into the moon after trying to get a pass over his head.  Lincoln would not be the same again.

(Steven Savioa: Photo)

2)  The Last Mud Game In New England 2006

New York Jets 17 New England 14 (Foxboro) 11/12/06

It's been a known fact that any grass stadium on the East Coast will be subject to the elements of Noreasters and heavy rains and this game was no exception.  Tom Brady was introduced to the Jets defense time after time.  It didn't help things that the FIFA soccer league used Gillette Stadium for soccer games which contributed to the field becoming tough to play.  After the game, The Patriots would rip up the grass and put in field turf, which has now been replaced three times in a decade, most recently the start of the 2017 NFL season. Tom Brady has mentioned he would like to return to a grass field.  But nowadays it's field turf all the way.  Even the grass stadiums don't have much mud anymore, the Dallas/Washington game of two weeks ago proved that.

(Tom Silverstein- Photo)

3)   A Bad Trick Or Treat Game  1994

Green Bay 33 Chicago 6  10/31/94

In 1994 the NFL decided to do a throwback to the old days of old uniforms which worked wonders for teams like San Diego, both the New York Jets and Giants to which both teams would return to their old jerseys.  Some teams were better off leaving them in the past, Chicago and Green Bay had some hideous uniforms and of course those ugly Denver Broncos uniforms from 1960 including the vertical stripes.  On this game Brett Favre and Edgar Bennett had more trouble battling the elements of hard rain and 40 mile an hour winds than the Chicago Defense, Bennett ran for over 100 yards and Favre scored on a 36 yard TD run.  As for the Bears offense, let's just say they got blown away by the elements on that Halloween night.

(Jim Kanicki-Getty Images)

4)  New York Giants  Sinking in the mire 1968-1969

Cleveland 45  New York 10 (12/1/68)
Cleveland 28  New York 17  (11/23/69)

Of course we can always count on Cleveland and Municipal Stadium to give us a double dose of Mudpie action.  But once upon a time, Cleveland had a pretty good football team that played in a stadium by the lake with a field that went uphill.   Of course you could count upon seeing plenty of muddy games in November and December and usually the New York Giants were there on the muddiest of games, (the most mud still remains the 6-2 baseball score Dallas hung on the Brownie) but in 1968 Cleveland hounded Fran Tarkenton all over the field to the point that Fran was replaced by Dick Wood.  The Browns pretty much had things go all their way even before the rains came off the lake and turned the field into muck.  The Browns rubbed the mud in the face of the Giants to the last second TD from Frank Ryan to Tommy McDonald, who managed to do a mud angel in the end zone and jumped on a few Browns in the process.  The 1969 game was a bit more closer although Leroy Kelly scored 3 TDs in the first half, Tarkenton did get the Giants back in the game with 2 TD passes. But Bill Nelsen would throw a 24 yard TD pass to Gary Collins and that was the game.

(Neil Leifer again with the photo credit, 1965 game, Couldn't find any pictures of the 69 game)

5)  Mud Bowl 2  1969

Cleveland 20  Green Bay 7  12/7/69

Two weeks after outlasting New York, Cleveland finally beat the Green Bay Packers after a decade of coming up short and of course they had plenty of help from a gale off the lake and a steady rain.  Bill Nelsen hit Paul Warfield on a amazing TD catch to which Bob Jeter popped him in the face, to which Warfield took exception and was ready to kick Packer ass.  Ernie Kellerman's 40 yard Pick Six sealed the fate of the Packers, although Don Horn did throw a TD pass to Dave Hampton to make the score more closer than it actually was.

6)  Oakland 21  Miami 14  1970 Playoffs

The most famous picture of that game was Big Bad Ben Davidson embracing Bob Griese as he was delivering yet another mud pack to the quarterback.  Heavy rains turned the Oakland field into a quagmire. Willie Brown scored on a 50 yard Pick Six, and Darrell Lamonica threw a 82 yard strike to Rod Sherman to seal the game.

Blaine Nye covered in Cleveland Mud (Photo: SI)
7)  Baseball in the mud  1970

Dallas 6 Cleveland 2 12/12/70

Would you believe Bill Nelsen threw for 239 yards in perhaps the most muddiest game in Cleveland Browns history.  A game of epic mud flattery, everybody who got on the field would have 10 pounds of mud on their jerseys and even both kickers Mike Clark and Don Cockcroft looked like mudders. The Browns had a chance to win this game, but a costly penalty on Gary Collins nullified one TD and on a final drive, Collins fumbled and the Cowboys recovered in the end zone.  In terms of pure mud utopia, this gives a run for the money with the 1965 Green Bay Championship game and the December 15, 1962 13-10 Browns victory at the Rumble in the mud at Kezar Stadium with the 49ers, to which Cleveland would be king of the mud in 1974.

8)  Packer Mud Bowl 2 1997

Green Bay 35 San Francisco 14 1/4/97

History has shown that both Green Bay and San Francisco had their share of mud battles, the most notable one was the 13-0 1960 Mud bath that earned the Packers a date with Philadelphia that season. Kezar Stadium gave no favors to the home team and basically hampered their running and passing attack, while Paul Horning and Jim Taylor had no problems running through the muck  Twenty years after the 1965 Packer victory over Cleveland in Lambeau Mud, San Francisco came a calling and Desmond Howard burned them with a 71 yard punt return.  Steve Young got hurt and so Elvis Grabec came in and found himself covered in Lambeau real estate.  Edgar Bennett scored two touchdowns as well.  After that, they replaced the muddy sod with new grass and Carolina got beat 30-13.  Packers went on to beat New England in the super bowl.  However the Super Mud game was GB/SF.

9) San Francisco Mud Misery-Kezar Stadium
Green Bay 13  San Francisco 0  1960
Cleveland  13  San Francisco 10 1962

(John Brodie finding his way through the Kezar Mud in the 13-0 Packer shut out in 1960 Ray Nisckie looks on as a Packer LB tries to tackle Brodie)

(Cleveland Vs San Francisco  to which they won 13-10 in 1962  Neil Leifer: Photo Credit)

(Fred Waters: Photo Credit)

And we always seem to find pictures of the St Louis Mud Bath at Old Sportsman Park in 1964 to which both St Louis and New York slogged through a 10-10 tie.  Jackie Smith does the zig zag walk in front of a New York defender taking a splash.

(Chicago Tribute Photo  Dick Butkus a true Mud Monster Of The Midway)

(Tribune: Photo)

10)  San Francisco Mud Misery: Wrigley Field 12/12/65

Chicago 61 San Francisco 20

Gale Sayers carved up the 49ers for 6 TDs  Rudy Bukich threw for 3 TDs as Chicago had no problems going up and down the Wrigley Field Mud on a warm December day in 1965.  54 degrees and rain and not snow.  This was Sayers finest game, even the game out of reach he managed to come back in and return a punt 85 yards.  He also scored on two long passes from Bukich, one 80 yards and one 50 yards. The Bears had 584 total yards on offense.

(Steelers; photo credit)

BONUS MUD:  Pittsburgh 36 Cleveland 33 2002 playoffs in Pittsburgh 1/5/2003

In the old days of the 1960s, you could count on a mud game when Cleveland played Pittsburgh, be it the mistake by the lake or Pitt Stadium before the Steelers moved to Three Rivers and a carpet of astro turf, but once Three Rivers was deemed obsolete 30 years onward, Pittsburgh moved back to a grass multi use field for both them and the Pitt Panthers, The Rooneys have been very generous in letting other teams use their field. When the old Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, Cleveland fans had to wait till 1999 for a new version of the Browns and these Browns have never done much in terms of winning.  In fact they only made the playoffs one time and it was held in Pittsburgh.  Just like in the old days of the 1971, 72 and 73 game of mud in your eye, this one featured plenty of mud action, this time from Heinz Field.  The Browns managed to have a 24-7 lead before the Steelers started to come back. Tommy Maddox threw three TD passes and Pitt scored in the final minute on a combination of Maddox passes to Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress.  Chris Furamata scored from the 3 and two point conversion as well. Cleveland ran out of time.  Since then Cleveland has gone south and stayed in the basement for the majority of the past 15 seasons.

And with that, the Mud Games becomes a distant part of the past.  This weekend in a driving rainstorm in Cleveland, Jacksonville beat the Browns 19-7.  Once upon a time it would have been a big mud bowl.  Back in the old days, Cleveland used to be a good team, they're still looking for their first victory this season.

Passings:  Chuck Mosely, original lead singer of Faith No More.  Died of a drug overdose.  He was 57.

Janis Hansen, singer for Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 (The Look Of Love) died from leukemia on Oct 4.  She was 74.

Next week, we'll try to return to a more musical theme.  I think we got this years Crabby's and the Turkey's of the year next week.  Probably won't be a novel but at least it will get us out of the mud of this blog.   So here's mud in your eye from Jim Bakken in that St Louis/New York Mess of a tie in 1964.

An Muddy Album From The Past: REM-Monster (Concord 1994)

I had an extensive argument with somebody over the value of Monster while comparing it to Automatic For The People, an album that has recently gotten the 25th Anniversary treatment with a blue ray and four other CDs of note.  I tend to think that Automatic was a nice album with some cool songs (Man On The Moon, Drive, Ignoreland although a lot of critics didn't care for that final number).    Monster, was the muddy followup and dammed if I didn't pick a more perfect album about Mud Bowls than this.  I still contend that side 1 still works fairly good, What's The Frequency Kenneth, Crush With Eyeliner, the latter featuring Peter Buck using such a nasty delay that I stole that for a song I did with the Townedgers in 2002.  Star 69 is a nice uptempo modern alternative rock (not punk rock, personal note to Everybody's Dummy).  However there's a complaint to this album is that time has not treated side 2 very well, I still can't get into Tongue, the worst cop of a U2 sound I ever heard (or is that Rolling Stones?)  Let Me In, is a failed salute to Sonic Youth but that misstep is replaced by Circus Envy and ends on a good note with You.  Let's face it, the naysayers will not warm up to Monster, it's the loudness of the recording, or the songs weren't good enough.  But even for a dollar find, I'll still put on Monster when I wanna hear REM go grunge.  But then again I enjoy REM uptempo and rocking, even if the distortion delay gets a bit out of hand.
Grade A-

Final note:  The new Stone Temple Pilots lead singer is Jeffery Adam Gutt, a one time X Factor contestant and has plenty of him doing covers of other people songs on You Tube, Hallelujah for one. His vocals on Plush if its any indication will put STP back into the sound of Core, which despite it's big sales was their least interesting album for me.   We wish Jeffery and STP the best of luck.