Monday, August 6, 2018

August Review

Good morning or afternoon.

I haven't been online here all that much at Record World but when I started getting junk comments from Blogger I could tell something was going on and much to my surprise, I had over 2000 views last month and not posting anything.   I'm guessing the Russians are looking for something to read and they came to the far corner of the social media world to this site.  The most views went to the original My City Was Gone Marion blog, which continues to bring them in.  And Blogger continues to send me junk spam replies and it's a good thing I have to draw the line to that.  Which is another reason why I pop in from time to time.  To rid of spam junk and proclaim to the world I'm still alive.

So a bit of updates going on.  John Shulz passed away, he was a musician in town that people spoke highly of.  I might have met him at one time but I know those who played in his bands or had him teach them guitar speak very highly of.   John Heim or Big Mo as we called him broke his neck in a fall and has been recovering in a Omaha hospital.  We miss his bass playing at the jams.

Me and Julie are still together for 9 months now, she says we been together since Memorial Day of last year, either way we are together.  The usual growing pains of  what love brings of course, but she still remains the keeper of my heart.  I still play and sing at various jams, I did score a paying gig last month but most of the time it's for the love of music.  When I did play at my pay gig I did give half my winnings to Julie since she sang the best songs and people complimented her on that.  I love her to pieces even though she can try my patience on some things.  Which is common among most loving couples.

While things are going well for me, there are other things going on in this world that makes me think life isn't so great for some of my friends.   I haven't posted anything about the joke of the white house. Or our worthless congresspeople.  It's tough not to get caught up in the furor from both sides.  Yeah, I have seen the pictures of the Trump Rallies and the grotesque pictures of them.  I have heard complaints from the should have been voted out fucks like Orrin Hatch and our own Distinguished  Charles M Grassley and the worthless pig hag Joni Ernst that the left are obstructing  Brett Kavenaugh from being the new justice of the supreme court and I have to remind each and every one of these worthless cocksuckers about what they did to Merrick Garland a couple years ago.  They wouldn't sign off on anything our last president did.    When you dementia like Grassley or Hatch and can't remember that they obstruct Garland's conformation and then have the stay at home voters bring in Dictator Trumpus and then they sneak in Neil (ain't worth a shit) Gorsuch, do they think getting Kavenaugh in is going to be easy?  It better not be.  But since nobody bother to vote (46 percent by the way) we are now in a Republican mess that I don't know can ever be cleaned up.  In the meanwhile, the Failed Reality Star continues to tweet away in the early morning hours with his bullshit and sits back and laughs.  In the process Hatch and Grassley bitch about the Democrats obstructing the new Supreme Court Nominee but at the same time avoids talking to the people that call out their bullshit on social media.  But then again, it's been a two party system, flawed in both parties but the lesser of the evils while still owned by big Pharma and Big Oil at least does turn to hear the cries of the public once in a rare while.

(Joe and Rizzo meet the Major League's WORST  Umpire)

In the meanwhile The Chicago Cubs still are on top of the NL Central, when they look good, they look great but when they look like shit, look out.  With the wind blowing out The Padres scored 4 times in the 9th and had shit umpire Angel Hernandez give them the game on a wide outside ball that was called for strike three and a 10-6 victory.  Not that it mattered much, Jon Lester didn't pitch well and Randy Rosario, who's been running back and forth from Chicago to Des Moines suffered jet lag and gave up a home run and three more in the 9th.  Still it's awful to watch the worst umpire this side of Joe West continue to fuck up the strike zone and get into many arguments.  And yet Hernandez continues to be employed since he's blind and one eye and got cataracts in the other.  Still he wonders why MLB won't let him umpire the post season games, well, that is simple when the other managers and teams think he does a shit job in their games.  A shame that Trump can't deport him back to whereever he came from. Joe West sucks, C B Bucknor blows but none of them can't fuck up a game better than Angel Hernandez.  He would make a good Republican Supreme Court Nominee though.

The former Vinyl King, Greg has married his Filipino FB friend Gina this weekend. Greg has given up record collecting in favor of being a preacher and follower of God.  Once upon a time we used to have plenty of chats about music collection but we really don't do that any more.  We're still Facebook buddies and I wish him and Gina well in their life together.

Yes, there's still bargain hunts going on.  Davenport trips, a couple of them, one had some okay finds, next trip nothing.  I did pick up a used record case at Ragged Records, who will be opening up a new location in Rock Island next month.  Thankfully the singles that I picked, a chewed up copy of Larry Finnegan's Dear One and an Atlantic reissue of So Fine were two dollars a piece.  Originally Ragged Records had some nice museum pieces and I spent a few hundred dollars in the process, but they been picked fairly clean in the five years of existence.  We'll see if the Rock Island location will have some new stuff when they open.

In the meantime, somebody dumped off a bunch of unopened LPs and promos at two Goodwill locations in town and I had a field day, picking up 24 new albums of varying degree.  Best finds was Lee Hazelwood's Poet, Fool Or Bum on Capitol, Mary Hopkin-Those Were The Days best of on Apple, Georgio's Son Of My Father, Fanny Hill by Fanny, This Price Is Right by Alan Price, Washboard Sam with Bill Big Bloonzy and Memphis Slim, Focus Live At The Rainbow, Electric Prunes Mass In F Minor and a bunch of compilations.  Alas, the Ellie Greenwich promo of Let It Be Written, Let It Be Sung had a scratch at the end of side 2 that made it unplayable and it's a shame.  It's a great record.  Alas, California Nights by Leslie Gore wasn't so great, nor The Graeme Edge Band Paradise Ballroom either.  Which will be donated back again soon.

This Month's 45 finds.

Dear One-Larry Finnegan (Old Town 1113)  #11 1962

I have no idea why I love this song so much.  It's kinda like an answer to Runaway by Del Shannon although Del didn't have that sarcastic female voice saying I'm Sorry on the second verse.  It also rocks pretty hard too.

So Fine-The Fiestas (Old Town 1962)  #11  1959

Atlantic Oldies Reissue.  Probably the greatest doo wop uptempo song ever made.  Written by Johnny Otis.

Four 45s found at an Estate Sale

Hard Headed Woman-Elvis Presley (RCA 47-7280)  #1  1958

Elvis in the 1950s could do no wrong.  With his famed backup of Bill Black, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana, he made the best rock and roll songs at that time.  A shame that we can't back to those days of 60 years ago.

Love Me All The Way-Kim Weston (Tamla T-54076)  #88 1963

Motown stuff, especially the old time Tamla label are like to me, like a flower to a bee, it attracts me.  But this is not one of the better Motown numbers, it's a bit more slowed down to my liking.  Weston wasn't one of bigger Motown sellers, Her Take Me In Your Arms struggled to number 50 and that was her biggest hit. B side It Should Have Been Me is slightly better and produced by Norman Whitfield.

Blowin' In the Wind-Stevie Wonder (Tamla  T-54136)  #9 1966

It's funny how we grew up hearing Stevie and how his voice changed over the early years. He was still 16 years old when he covered this Dylan number.  Clarence Paul was the other singer on this song.  B side Ain't That Asking For Trouble is more like it, uptempo Motown soul.  Could have been a minor hit.

Hello I'm Johnny Credit-Johnny Credit (Johnny McCollum)  Plantation PL-78  1971

A curio find.  A Johnny Cash parody by Johnny McCollum.  Is it memorable?  Not Hardly.

Finally over the weekend, Cedar Rapids had their first Evolve Festival to which Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5 played to a crowd that could afford the 385 dollar weekend pass or 88 dollar main event only.  Plenty of my friends bands played, Four Day Creep, Pork Tornadoes, Kevin Burt, Cocked N Loaded.  A good time was had by all.   They also had the new bo art fest as well.  But since I didn't want to deal with traffic and parking issues, I stayed close to home and did the Stone City Jam instead.

And that's the latest updates and bitchings.  If ratings warrant another blog I'll be back.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Madison Bargain Hunt: Oh And The WNBR 2018

For the third straight and final year I took part in the World Naked Bike Ride held in Madison this weekend.  This time they changed the meeting place and the place to strip.  We had about the same amount of riders that we had last year, about 120 but I think we had more women participating.

The bike route was different this time out.  It was more around Park Avenue and we didn't have that many hills to compete with.  The 89 degree temps and 70 degree dew point was bad enough that we lost 10 bikers due to heat exhaustion.  I didn't plan well but did take about three bottles of Gator Aid provided by the hosts and they were luke warm by the time we got done.  However they did come in handy.  I didn't cramp up till later when I went up to State Street after the bike ride.

For the most part I started out early but ended up staying holding up the rear as they say.  More or less riding around 10 to 15 miles an hour and taking it easy.  If you need to know, I did strip down for the whole bike ride but the hot weather and humidity made me sweat to the point I was sliding off the seat of the bike.  That's why people have a towel on the seat.  Even with SPF 50 suntan on, I still got burnt to a crisp.

This was my third bike ride and there were the usual suspects there.  The bike ride was over two hours long, longer than the one last year.   Outside of the heat exhaustion from a few folks, no incidents happened.  The downtown whooped and hollered, I high fived a few folks taking pictures and made some casual talk with some bike riders but I didn't chat with many others.  Once we finished there was the group photo, to which by then I dressed myself up, I did take my t shirt off so I didn't stand out like a sore thumb.  Once the bike ride is over, there's not much left to do but wish everybody the best and ride out into the daylight, off to the next record store.  I'm sure there's pictures of this trip is up somewhere, perhaps I'll go investigate them when I get time.

If last November was the one of the best finds of forty fives, this year was a different story.  I found 8 at the St Vincent De Paul, but the pickings were slim.  A lot of good forty fives were too scratched up and Half Price Books and Mad City Music X didn't have much to make me invest in any.  The grim realization is becoming clear that I'm reaching to the end of what I can find.  I did find some cool CDs that made the trip somewhat better.

Anyway-the 45's of note

1)   I Can See For Miles-The Who
2)   Mister Can't You See-Buffy Saint-Marie
3)   Hot Rod Hearts-Robbie Dupree
4)   Old Kentucky Moon-Jim Weatherly
5)   Floy Joy-The Supremes
6)   Burning Bridges-Mike Curb Congregation
7)   Do It Again (Just A Little Bit Slower)-Jon And Robin
8)   Jimmy Olsen Blues-Spin Doctors

This probably due cause for me to finally call it a day on the search for 45s.  There were some I thought about, I Found Someone Of My Own-Free Movement, Butterfly-Charlie Grace come to mind, even Solo Flight from Cat, with the b side We're All In This Together but I don't look at those songs are essential.  Charlie Gracie's 99 Ways does step in Marty Robbins' rockabilly territory but in in the final analysis, I could live without that song.  Nobody needs any Mike Curb Congregation in their collection but I do have a fondness of Burning Bridges.  And it's hard to find anything by the Supremes that isn't chewed up but Floy Joy was their final decent single, which Smokey Robinson produced. Jimmy Olsen Blues is the most interesting song from this batch, since singles from the 1990s were regulated to jukeboxes and it is my favorite Spin Doctors song.  But the overall find was I Can See For Miles, everything else doesn't come close.

The weather was hot, and we had a major monsoon Saturday Morning which gave Madison about 2 inches of rain in two hours and caused some flash flooding, by the time the bike ride started  the creek was high and there was standing water in low lying areas but it was a normal ride.

It was road construction hell in Wisconsin, and the trip didn't start out very well.  151 became a two lane road around Ridgeway and some farmer pulled out in front of me in his tractor and caused a big traffic jam for five miles.  That put me in a real good mood.  It didn't get much better when my Cracker Barrel order was 30 minutes late while they were cooking up chicken and dumplings but they did give me a free dessert.   And then I had to deal with some bimbo hogging the computer at my hotel, which gives a great argument about finally getting a smart phone and avoid the tie ups.  Then the hotel didn't serve Sunday Breakfast.  Between that and the old lady at Hardees trying to pass off an expired coupon made me decide that perhaps I should have stayed home or support my girlfriend's band efforts.

Gas prices were around 2.74 a gallon.  Surprisingly I didn't have much issues with the Madison drivers.  The thrift store finds at Goodwill didn't impress me much.  Strictly Discs had better used stuff, even the new Essential Eric Andersen was in the used section already.   Pre Played has focused their act on vinyl to the point that I wondered if I wondered into a museum.  I just don't see the need to pay 20 dollars for used LPs, or 24.95 for the Moby Grape Omaha LP that Harmony sold for 3.98 years ago, or 39.95 for 20 Granite Creek.  The problem with the vinyl revival:  the stores have jacked the price up big time.  Still I find it annoying to pay high prices for what used to sell for 5 or 10 dollars new.  I didn't check the PrePlayed east store but I did pick up the Steven Wilson remastered Thick As A Brick and Iron Butterfly Heavy and was disappointed that Thick As A Brick remains a two part CD and not the whole 43 continuous song.  Oh well, the way it goes.

Anyway, my life is changing more since the last time we touched base.  I found myself missing Julie and wishing she could have join me on the bike ride.  It seems when you find somebody who changes you and turns your world upside down that you find you can live without the bargain hunts.  The record stores are different now, most are dying, Best Buy don't sell CDs anymore. And what is found at Shopko or Wally World are meh.  While Strictly Discs and Mad City Music X and B Sides still put out new releases, I tend to find if I need the latest, Moondog Music in Dubuque has most of them.   Last time Barnes And Noble had plenty of Wounded Bird 3.99 cutouts to check out, this time out they only had Show Of Hands (formerly Anthrax, no relation to the thrash metal pioneers) , Jay Boy Adams, Thirty Days Out and Rose Royce and I had the Jay Boy Adams and Thirty Days Out.   I toyed with getting The Who At 50 and Show Of Hands but decided against it and hearing the You Tube stuff, I made a wise decision.  I also thought it wasn't cost effective to buy the 2 cd Who Live At The Fillmore at thirty one dollars, which is why nobody buys CDs anymore.  31 dollars for 2 CDs???  Universal's greed is boundless.   From here on out, this life will revolve around Julie and where we'll go from here.

The World Naked Bike Ride 2018 Madison Style is over.  I had fun, I got sunburned and I got heat cramps and roasted nuts and I got to ride along with other naked strangers for another year.   At this point, I have run my course of biking in the nude to promote body positive and promote more bike riding and less dependence on fossil fuels.   I don't think I made any difference but for two and half hours in the biking sun, I burned myself for the cause of the good.

Whatever that means.

Madison Bike Ride Photo from Douglas Otto.

2018 write up.

We started promptly at 11:00 AM and rode for 2.25 hours. Our official count was a maximum participation of 144 riders with about 87 percent fully nude and a male/female ratio of 80/20. This once again edges out our attendance record for a new high.
We hadn't fully checked the route in advance, so there were a few unanticipated minor problems. The section of Blair that we traversed was local traffic only, all gravel and torn up. Those on bicycles had little difficulty, but our skateboarders presumably had to get over onto the sidewalks. Later, as we crossed Regent on West Washington, road construction made it necessary to go through the crosswalk instead of the street.
Our regulars and newbies once again came from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa. The farthest we know of that anyone traveled this year was from Cleveland.
The big news was the heat. It was a hot and humid day, with a high into the nineties, the least comfortable weather we have ever had. In addition to the twelve-packs of seltzer that I usually bring, I brought along seventy bottles of water, and all had been drunk by the time we started. As it turned out, there were a few who were unable to complete the route, dropping out somewhere within the last mile (our thanks to those who stopped to help them). There was also at least one who had to spend some time resting after finishing. It is our hope and belief that all were able to recover from any heat-induced malady by the end of the day.
The route was once again similar to those of previous years, with a concentration on areas where people were likely to be out and about. We got lots of positive reactions from bystanders. I was, however, a bit amused by the woman on State Street who I noticed covering her toddler's eyes.
Hoping for more comfortable weather next year, we look forward to another glorious ride in 2019.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Singles Going Steady-Moondog Music In May

The old hippie from Moondog Music has retired but he still had a cache of 45s yet to be discovered.
The focus is the music from the late 60s and early 70s.

1)   Bicycle Morning-Billy Sans (Atco 45-6945)  1973

Somewhere along the way, this song managed to fall past the eyes of the compilers that put together the Have A Nice Day Series for Rhino in the 1990s but even K Tel in the 70s overlooked this power pop gem that owes a lot to Daniel Boone's Beautiful Sunday.  Sans recorded a couple of 45s for Invictus and Abnak but neither charted.  Sans is somewhat active in the Nashville area with his band but this is the first time I actually came around.  B Side is For Ever, which sounds like something Billy Vera would cover.

2)  What Have They Done To The Rain-The Searchers (Kapp K-644)  1965  #29

One of the underrated British bands of all time, The Searchers have always put together some great singles and What Have They Done To The Rain is one of their all time best songs.  B side This Feeling's Inside is a group original akin to a uptempo Gerry And The Pacemakers song, but the Searchers were somewhat a better band.  I think I hid this 45 up there on a previous bargain hunt and forgot all about it till I came across it in a out of the way box of 45s.  Record is pretty good shape.

3)   Sally Can't Dance-Lou Reed (RCA Victor PB-10081)  1974

In Lou's record history he only had one single that made it to the top 20 (Guess which one) and anything else was bubbling over.  I always liked the single version better than the album cut.   Another single found in the far corner where The Searchers single was at.

4)  Thank You Anyway  (Mr. D.J.)-Lou Johnson (Big Top 45-3115)  1962

Another obscure R and B 45 that didn't chart on the top 100 (although it was a regional hits at mom and pop AM stations).  Basically in a style like Ray Charles when Ray was doing modern sounds in country music at that time.  But with better chart action.  B Side If I Never Get To Love You is one of an early song from Burt Bacahrah and Hal David team.  A bit more uptempo.  BTW, Burt just turned 90 this weekend.  And still going strong.

5)   Casino-Jack Eubanks (Monument 45-809)  1963

I have more fun with instruments of the 60s than anybody else around.  Bob Moore recorded Mexico for Monument around this time so the label thought why not another instrumental for another person right?  Didn't work, but it's makes nice background music.  B Side  Te Juana features the unmistakable sound of Boots Randolph on sax.  Professionally done right but it's still background music.

6)   Bend Me, Shape Me-The American Breed (Acta  45-811)  1967 #5

Fifty years on, singles that made the top ten and what I found at thrift stores have been played to death and I try not to torture my stereo needle by playing scratchy records, but even sometimes finding 45s that look new sound like shit since the previous owner didn't change his needle. Thankfully who donated these 45s to Moondog managed to take good care of these record and I managed to find finally a decent copy of Bend Me Shape Me, a great top 5 single.  B side Mindrocker bridges Paul Revere And The Raiders and Ohio Express together.  The origins of bubblegum?

7)  Freedom Blues-Little Richard (Reprise 0907)  1970  #47

Richard Penniman could play the blues just as well as rock and roll as this song suggest.  When he puts his mind to it, Little Richard could be considered the king of rock and roll (although that Reprise album of King Of Rock And Roll was a total borefest).  B side Dew Drop Inn, rocks! Sounds like Earl Palmer on drums, and Lee Allen on sax.  Told you it rocks!   Freedom Blues is also a classic song too.  Co written with Eskew Reeder aka Esquerita, who could rival Little Richard for outrageous antics.  Probably the find of the day.

8)   I Ain't Got To Love Nobody Else-The Masqueraders (Bell 733)  1968  #57

One of the longest lasting but yet unknown groups of the 1960s, This band recorded for Chips Moman and American Group Productions for a series of singles, this one originally on Wand but issued later on Bell Record that charted at number 57.  Charlie Moore is the lead singer on this single.  While they owed their sound to the Temptations, I think they're more gritter than the Temps, more in line with the Four Tops.  B Side I Got It, is another soul shouter, complete with cowbell.

9)   I'm Afraid To Go Home-Brian Hyland (ABC Paramount 45-10452)  1963  #63

Brian's last charted hit for ABC Paramount.  Out of all teen idols, Brian's output have actually still stood the test of time especially on this single produced by P.Udell, G. Geld team. B side Save Your Heart For Me would become a hit for Gary Lewis And The Playboys.   It could have been a hit for Brian as well had ABC promoted it.

10)   I Get The Blues When It Rains-The Saloonatics (Bethlehem 45-3096)  1969

The Banjo Barons meet Homer And Jethro and Johnny Bond.   Nothing is much known about this band, they made an album for Bethlehem Records, originally a jazz blues label before King/Gusto bought them out and put this country band on it.  If you use a search engine you will find six other bands that use the Saloonatics name, one even in Eastern Iowa.  None are associated with this forgotten band.  B side Sweet Georgia Brown, is even more weirder.  Go figure.

11)  Backtrack-Faron Young (Capitol 4616)  1961  #89

Faron's last top 100 pop single. Co written with Alex Zanetis who would write hits for Charley Pride and Jim Reeves later on.  B Side I Can't Find The Time is written by Willie Nelson, to which Faron was very instrumental in helping Willie's music career in the early years.  A honky honk ballad.  Note how Faron phases the word like Willie used to do back then.

12)  Ballad Of The Green Barets-Sgt. Barry Sadler (RCA 47-8739)  1966 #1

So we end this with a number 1 single.  I had the picture sleeve but not the single itself.  The ones that I did find were scratched up but this single was in fairly decent shape.  Sadler would have a number 28 single with The A Team.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Singles Going Steady-Your 45 Donations At Work

Just when I think I heard it all.  I haven't.

45s remain the ultimate outdated music storage units for cavemen like us to enjoy how life was before streaming.  When I think I reached the end of looking for music, I haven't.  It's like being in a mine shaft and falling till you hit the next round of debris, then everything falls taking you deeper in the music vaults of Crabb Music.  It really does feel like the big black hole.

So once again I go up to Half Price Books and seek out things, go to the Salvation Army and find even more and even Goodwill had a couple of 45s.  Sad to say there was a DJ 45 of The Nice America, with a crack in the record.  Making it utterly useless.

I do miss BDW Records in town come to think of it.

1)    The New Year Song-23 Skidoo  (Mercury 72874)  1968

One of two singles found the batch of cracked records when I visited Goodwill yesterday, here's another underground garage rock song from a one and done band.  Psychedelia was beginning to fade out but this song brings elements of a clarinet and a vibe that is one part New Vaudeville Band, one part When I'm 64 and another part of bubble gum, complete with a freak out ending.   The main singer songwriter is Dick Toops, who along with Joel Cory recorded a variety of songs under different alias and band names for Mercury, Fontana, Phillips, Polydor and Barnaby as The Clean Sweeps, The Daisy Chain, Elgin Watchband and Toad Hall.  Toops is best known for writing Delia's Gone, which Johnny Cash would make a hit during his comeback of the 1990s with Rick Rubin.  B side Courtesy, adds a bit of The Buckinghams pop sound.

2)  Caribbean-Mitchell Torok (Guyden 2018)  #27 1959

Originally on Abbott, this song topped the country charts in 1953 at number 1.  If you research the internet, you will find many people trying to explain that this version is the 1953 session speeded up or an alternative take.  Torok was a songwriter by trade, and the story goes that he wrote Mexican Joe for Hank Snow but Fabor Robinson gave the song to Jim Reeves and that became a big hit for Jim. Mitchell thinking that the song would be a bust and would later submit the failed demo to Hank Snow later on but Mexican Joe became a big hit for Gentleman Jim Reeves.   It seems that the melody would inspire Chuck Berry to write You Can Never Tell a few years later.  Torok would record for Decca and Guyden and would revisit Caribbean once again when he remade it for RCA Victor in 1965, Chet Atkins producing.  One of the more underrated recording artists that nobody remembers much anymore.  But I do.

3)   Feeling Of Love- Al De Lory (Capitol 2374)  1969

This is the guy that made Glen Campbell well known for the version of Gentle On My Mind.  Somewhat polished but more slanted toward MOR pop muzak at times.  Here Al tries for a hit on a song written by Mort Garson (Muzak inspired arrangements)   which probably get played on muzak stations at that time.  B side is lively instrumental take on Wichita Lineman, which might have been the better song.  I can listen to both sides but I doubt if you could.

4)  The All American Boy-Bill Parsons (Fraternity F-835)   #2  1958

Bobby Bare under an alias. Brings up memories of The Big Bopper and Boyd Bennett's Boogie Bear. B side Rubber Dolly is probably done by the real Bill Parsons.  Doesn't sound like Bobby Bare to me.

5)   California Sun-The Rivieras (Rivera R-1401)  #5 1964

One of the songs that would become a influence in my musical taste, a combination of surf and garage rock complete with Vox organ with twangy guitar.  Found a decent copy of this at Moodog Music last weekend during the snowstorm that Dubuque never got but we got a foot of the white crap.  I had two Apple 45s to which the old hippie wanted to look up on the internet and priced accordingly but I deferred the records over in exchange for California Sun.    I don't see the need to complete my Apple Record collection and break the band.  The Ramones would cover this later.  B side H B Goose Step, echoes Johnny And The Hurricanes's Down Yonder.  I'm surprised Steve Hoffman didn't include this on Beach Party, a CD that came out 30 years ago.

6)   Some Things You Never Get Used To-Diana Ross & The Supremes (Motown M-1126) #30 1968

Basically ignored on various best of The Supremes compilations I remember this song playing on KWWL AM in Waterloo and it was a rare song written and produced by the Ashford/Simpson team. By then, Barry Gordy was readying Diana Ross for a solo career,  Probably not one of the better songs that they did but looking at the archives I noticed that The Composer made it to number 27 and that song never gets much airplay anymore, if any.   B Side You Been So Wonderful To Me was produced by George Gordy and one of the writers was another Gordy, Anna who was married to Marvin Gaye at the time.  This might have been a decent A side.

7)   The Weight-Aretha Franklin  (Atlantic 2603)  #19  1969

Featuring the slide guitar work of Duane Allman before he broke big with brother Gregg in the Allman Brothers, the Queen Of Soul really delivers big time on this Band cover version.  The other side The Tracks Of My Tears, is a bit more overblown than what the Miracles would have liked.  While Franklin had the bigger hit with The Weight than The Supremes, Motown still wins on Tracks Of My Tears.  Can't win them all.

8)    Friends-The Beach Boys (Capitol 2160)  #47 1968

The spotty late 60s sound of The Beach Boys and as far as I'm concerned this title track was the best thing off that album. Of course this has Brian Wilson fingerprints all over it. Another find at Moondog Music.  And I thank the old hippie for letting me sort through a lot of scratchy forty fives.  I could use a decent clean copy of Do It Again.  B side Little Bird, even for a minute fifty, is still boring.

9)   Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep-Mac And Katie Kissdon (ABC 11306)  #20  1971

A one hit wonder written by Lally Stott, whose version made number 92 in the US (on Phillips 40695), the record label didn't think it would sell in the US and offered it to two other bands, Middle Of The Road and Mac and Katie Kissdon, a brother-sister duo who had the highest chart.  However Middle Of The Road would get the last laugh and their version made number 1 in the UK and Ireland and a few other countries, Mac And Katie's version only made number 41 in the UK.  Still the song is very bubblegum pop.  When I was growing up, it was one of those songs that didn't make much sense to me but 47 years later on, I admit it is a guilty pleasure.  I think I like Mac and Katie's version over Middle Of The Road, which sounds a bit more cheesy.  BTW, Middle Of The Road version was issued by RCA 74-0407 and didn't make the top 100.

10)   Where Evil Grows-The Poppy Family (London 148)  #45 1971

The only thing that Terry Jacks ever wrote that is worthy of hearing.  The Poppy Family was Terry and Susan Jacks and their best known hit was Which Way Are You Going Billy? which made number 5. B side I Was Wondering made it to 100 for a week.  Terry Jacks would have his big hit with Seasons In The Suna few years later.   I Was Wondering sounds just as bad as Season In The Sun.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Passings: Mike Harrison, Tom Rapp, Mars Cowlings

This week.  Mike Harrison, lead singer of Spooky Tooth passed away from cancer. He was 72

Tom Rapp, was one of those oddball singers that was once part of the ESP Disk roster of motley crew bands too weird to be on any other labels.  I later found one of his albums for Reprise which I still have but don't play too often.  He passed on Valentine's Day from cancer.  He was 70

Peter "Mars" Cowling, best known for Pat Travers' bass player, died from leukemia on Wednesday.  He was 72.  I got to see Peter play at Big Dogs in Cedar Rapids in the early 1990s when Pat was promoting a new album and he was part of the band that also featured Jerry Riggs (Riggs) on rhythm guitar.  While people say that Go For What You Know was the definitive Pat Travers live album, I like the Castle 1993 live album of Boom Boom which sounded much more heavier than Go For What You Know.   Anyway I got to shake Pat's and Peter's hand while they were coming off stage (Pat had such a death grip handshake, great guy to discuss music with), I think Jerry as well (the drummer was too full of himself) but it was a fun show.   Pat Travers gives his eulogy here.

Ok, so Mars passed away last week. It was sudden and very sad. He had been diagnosed with leukemia less than a month earlier. Went into the hospital on Thursday and he was gone by Tuesday morning. 

Man oh man, this is a tough one. I met Mars in the early Fall of 1975 in London England. I was a very young 21 year old only recently arrived in the country from Canada. I had been lucky enough to get a record deal and a manager in the short space of a couple months. Now I needed a band. My Manager at the time, David Hemmings (David deserves a lot more mention and credit than he ever gets for helping my career get started), David knew Mars personally and arranged a social meeting for us at a wine bar in Richmond, Surrey (awesome area of London then as now). So Mars shows up and right off I knew he was a different kind of dog. He was handsome and very sincere in the way he spoke. I liked that about him immediately. Mars's accent took some getting used to, he had Lincolnshire, Liverpool, and Birmingham all mixed up in it. He also had a great sense of humor and so we instantly got along. David Hemmings arranged an audition session at Manny's rehearsal studios on the Old King's Road and I was under the impression that there would be a number of bass players there to try out. So Mars is there first and we start jamming. I had Nicky "Topper" Headon playing drums for me at the time. I was having such a blast playing and jamming with Mars that I didn't notice that, like an hour had gone by. I suddenly wondered if we should try another bass player. So we took a break and I went out to see if there was another bass player waiting to try out. David Hemmings told me that he was so sure that Mars was the bass player for me that he hadn't bothered to ask anyone else to audition for the gig. I was very excited to have someone of Mars' abilities as a player but a lot more than that. He was like an older brother in a lot of ways and he helped me navigate my way round for the first couple of years. Mars also conceived and performed some of the most unique and cool bass parts for my songs. Still to this day, when I listen back to stuff we recorded, I still surprised that I hear bass parts that Mars played that I didn't notice when we recorded them.

Peter "Mars" Cowling was an artist, a sea captain, a dive master and one of the most special persons I ever had the privilege to know. Mars was a private guy and he didn't like people making a fuss over him. He told his wife, Victoria, before he passed that he did not want a huge deal made out of it, That was very typical of Mars and so I have tried to respect his wishes. However, the fact is that a lot of folks really loved and appreciated Mars and his passing has saddened us all. I've attached "Dedication" from the Putting It Straight album. That was a big album for us and I thought that Mars, Nicko, and myself played some timeless music on it and the production by Dennis MacKay is exquisite and high in fidelity. You can really hear Mars at his finest on this track. Thank you Mars! PT

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Singles Going Steady Part Toot Toot

Continuing to document what's left of the 1963 Half Price Books 45s and yes.  we are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

1)    There's A Boy Who's Crying-The University Four (Chairman 45-4406) 1963

Clinging to the past, this particular band was The Lettermen, The Crew Cuts and The Hi Los all in one.  Basically, Google came up nothing upon this unknown group but they did record two singles, if they were the same guys.  The first one was on Laurie, called the Anvil Rock, a Public Domain song arranged by Ross, who could be Jerry Ross, later of producing Spanky And Our Gang.  The guess is that was a instrumental.  There's A Boy Who's Crying is vocal and probably a different band.  The songwriting tandem of Rubin/Koppelman who later produced Bobby Darin's If I Were A Carpenter and The Lovin Spoonful.   Not exactly memorable but brings memories of a bygone era of pop vocal groups in the style of Lettermen, Four Freshmen, Hi Lo's and so forth.  The other side Buena Suerte... well I've heard it but don't think it's worth your time to seek it out. A product of its times.

Upon further listening, Anvil Rock is not the same University Four but rather a instrumental band.  And just as forgettable too.

2)   Full Moon Above-The Hawkeyes (Capitol F-3813)  1957

They were from Iowa City, Iowa  (of course) and they made two singles for Capitol, to which the songs were written by Tom Ecker.  Dixie Davenport was the lead singer. A white Doo Wop band that was influenced by The Platters so to speak, certainly on the B side I'll Be There.   The record has seen better days but it's the first I ever came across anything from the band The Hawkeyes, which shouldn't be confused with Hawks, who made two albums for Columbia in the 1980s and were more rock and roll.  Full Moon Above was more of a bossa nova number.  Upon research it's revealed that Dixie Davenport was born in Anamosa in 1936 and married Don Nacke and they were married for 58 years.  She died January 1, 2017 at the age of 80 from heart problems.

3)   My True Love-Jack Scott (Carlton 462)  1958  #3  Leroy #11

So nice of Alverda Kelley to donate her 45 to the Salvation Army for me to take home and listen to.  Jack  Scott, even in ballads, had a rough and tough tenor to go with the songs and The Chantones are a great backing band.    Scott has always had a place in my heart and on the turntable for his songs and My True  Love is a ballad you can listen to over and over.  The B side Leroy (originally known as Greaseball before Scott re recorded it as Leroy) is better.  First rate rockabilly rock and roll.   Probably the find of this batch of 45.  Too bad Alverda Kelley didn't take better care of her records, she had about 30 others, most were trashed or just plain crappy pop easy listening garbage.

4)    Garzackstahagen-The Keymen (ABC Paramount 45-9991)  1958

An instrumental band that recorded a few sides for ABC Paramount.  One of those instrumentals that was used a minute before the top of the hour broadcast on AM stations.   So so instrumental.  B side Miss You, a Billy Vaughn type of MOR fluff that your grand parents might go for.  Both songs are out there on You Tube.

5)   Speedy Gonzales-David Dante (RCA 47-7860)  1961

To which the cover version sold better than the original.  Dante issued Speedy Gonzales in March of 1961 only to see it not do anything but Pat Boone must have heard it and covered it.  It made number 6 in 1962 for Mr. White Shoes Boone. RCA then decided to release it again (47-8056) and for the second time around, did not chart.   Dante would never be heard from again.  B side K K K Katy is not associated with the KKK but rather another pleasant pop song that didn't differ much from Speedy Gonzales.

6)   Black Land Farmer-Frankie Miller (Starday 45-424)  1959

Starday Records, to me remains the best hillbilly record label. If King Gusto ever decide to issue the complete Starday singles on a 50 CD box set, I'd buy two.  Frankie Miller (no relation to the Chrysalis recording star) made this ode to farming, one of the more sought off singles and I did find a fairly decent copy despite it being out in the elements.  Sleepy LaBeef covered it for Plantation in 1971, but Miller's version is downright real hillbilly music.  The B side True Blue was in poor shape, couldn't play it.

7)    Tiger-Fabian (Chancellor  C-1037)  1959  #3

He was probably more of a plastic teen idol, like Bobby Rydell or Frankie Avalon and Rolling Stone Mag called him The Asphalt Elvis....whatever that means.  It's a cheese cake of a song but it's one of those fun songs that you can sing along with.  Rock and roll is supposed to be fun right?  A fun song and it's still rock and roll to me. (to quote a certain piano man....)

8)    Anytime (Part 1 and 2)-Mr. Bass  (Felsted 45-8694)  1963

Jimmy Ricks aka Mr. Bass has a little fun at the expense of Brook Benton on this light soul number.  Part 2, is a more jazzier take.  Fun Stuff although very slight.

9)   Car Wash-Rose Royce (MCA 40615)  #1 1976

The song that bridges funk and disco and perhaps Norman Whitfield's last shining moment.  Plenty of fond memories of roller skating to this, but now the introduction to the song can be heard at any sporting events.  Even in the grave, Norman is still making money.

10)   You Make Me Happy-Val Martinez (RCA 47-8218)  1963

Produced by Lester Sill (Lee Hazelwood, Phil Spector) and Bobby Darin's production team, this lounge ballad didn't get many buyers.  Martinez recorded a couple other sides for RCA and Groove and disappeared from sight after 1963 anyway. B Side My Souvenirs (or was it the A Side, I couldn't even finish listening).was more blander than You Make Me Happy.  It even bores me to type this out.

Meltdown-The Rest

She's Got My Name-Earther Doss Jr (ABC Paramount 45-10496)  1963
Ain't Gonna Cry No More-Gwen Stacey  (RCA 47-8306) 1964
That's Life-John Gary (RCA 47-8292) 1963
Papa I'm Sorry-Don Schroeder (Sound 7 Stage 45-2509) 1963

Gwen Stacey's single was written by David Gates (Bread) and Papa I'm Sorry was written by Earl Sinks of The Crickets fame (after Buddy Holly).  That's Life is not to be confused with Frank Sinatra and who in the heck is Earther Doss Jr? I'm curious if the B White who wrote She's Got My Name is Barry White.  Doss does have a Ben E King sound to his voice.  A very minor Popcorn classic although the next single I'll Do Anything was a much better song.  Nevertheless these four singles will be available at your nearest St Vincent De Paul in Madison soon (with a few others I can do without).  

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Singles Going Steady-From The Vaults Of KISU 1963

It seems to me that March is one of those idea months for finding 45s of the lost cause.  Granted, I'm not going to take much stock into finding rock and roll 45, unless they are jukebox copies and scratched and played to death.  So I hold my breath and try to find the alternative sort of stuff, you know forgotten Northern Soul songs that Half Price Books have for 49 cents, or selective country or even pop songs.  God knows I have seen a lot of the latter and documented them in the past.  Last year at this time, somebody dumped a bunch of pop 45s at the Salvation Army and I bought about 20 and wrote out the results.  Laughed at most of them and donated them back to the St Vincent De Paul.  It's what we call recycling baby!

Between the good and the bad and the forgettable, lies a diamond in the rough, a single from a forgotten artist that makes you rediscover the music in the grooves. Some pop music has surprised me a bit, most didn't. I have actually liked a couple of Margaret Whiting's London 45s, Wheel Of Hurt but the B Side Nothing Last Forever was much better.  Even in my bargain hunts of 45 hunting, I cannot bring myself to buy Frank Sinatra's 45s or even CDs;  Waterloo's St. Vincent De Paul actually had four CDs in pristine shape including Ring A Ding Ding, but outside of the first Greatest Hits, I wasn't interested.  But I did waste a quarter on a Mantovini's 45 Clair De Lune just to hear what the fuss was all about.  The King of Muzak he was and forever will be, even though he did influenced Brian May.

At 57 years old and with time winding down, I'm have become more obsessed with finding the obscure 45 and longing for the days of when the label sent boxes of records out to radio stations and let the DJ's dictate what to play, instead of Corporate interests and radio playing the same 57 songs over and over.  In reality the 50's through the 80s were a vast goldmine of music to be discovered through vinyl records and of course, those box set of mystery 45s that let me discovered High School USA (Washington DC Area), Piano Nellie, and Ben E King's Let The Water Run Down. Let's face it, I am not going to get wowed by bad rap, oversung R and B and modern rock that doesn't rock.  I really doubt if my girlfriend will be impressed by Tony Roma or Jack Jones, but as long the music keeps me occupied she won't care at all and still love me for the record hoarder collection that I am.

Why continue to collect and hear oldies from artists nobody cares about you ask.  Well, it's a way to remember the ones that made singles that time and radio have forgotten.  Unless you look hard for them on You Tube before that goes away, you won't hear much if at all from a Melody Condos or Donald Hines or Teri Allen. And Grandpa Jones could sing a mean hillbilly number as well.  Who's Len Snider?  Hell I don't know but he made a single called I'll Be Coming Home Tonight.  And it looks unplayed.

The selections of this Singles Going Steady came from Half Price Books but from a Ames radio station called KISU, which is the Iowa State University radio station.   And I think will be a two part SGS blog.  While sorting through the records yesterday, I forgot to pick up a couple 45s since there was a woman wanting to check out the ones that I didn't buy, I think she did buy Alley Cat from Bent Fabric and Garden Party from Rick Nelson but I had both of those 45's and didn't needed them.  What I thought I had Bobby Day's Joe Blon I had Melody Condos instead.  And sad to say that TD Boogie Woogie by The Crusaders, which would have been the find of the day, had a crack in the 45 making it unplayable.  But at least I got a decent 45 record sleeve out of the deal.

On paper (or vinyl) I have some interesting finds. Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote the big hits for the Everly Brothers, had a EP of some of his best known songs.  Joe Melson, songwriting partner to Roy Orbinson had a single for Hickory and Paul Desmond had a 45 of Take Ten, the answer record to Take Five, a song he made famous for Dave Brubeck.  Thankfully that record is not broken or cracked.   In some ways, this blog does give a peek inside of what would going on at KISU in the mid 60s although I'm sure these 45s were stuffed in a box and donated somewhere till somebody picked them up, thought they sucked and got a few cents out of them at HP Books.  I tend to have a good judgement about 90 percent of the time and I do believe these selections are the pick of the litter.  But I do know I have been known to be wrong at time and finding crappy singles and donate them back to charity after the results.   But I make sure I document the good and the bad and reserve judgement till I need to clear space.  And we all know I'll be doing that before my next trip to Madison.

1)   You Were On My Mind-Ian & Sylvia (Vanguard VRS-35025)  1964

Of course We Five did a version of this with a few years later (Chet Powers alterated the lyrics a bit but melody still remains strangley familair)  but the duo of Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker did score a Canadian hit this lively folk number.  B side Someday Soon, would be a minor hit for Judy Collins and is only 2 minutes long.  I like this version better than Judy's.

2)   High Is Better Than Low-Melodye Condos (RCA 47-8234)  1963

What I thought I had the Bobby Day single, turned out to be this one instead and by the time I raced back to Half Price Books, that record was long gone.   Condos has a Doris Day styled vocal to this dated pop song that nobody bought but it's only a minute forty five. More of positive Connie Francis style I guess, but not exactly memorable.  B side Lonely People Do Foolish Things would have worked better for Brenda Lee or Lesley Gore, or Connie Francis for that matter.

3)   Can't Run To Daddy Anymore-Teri Allen (ABC Paramount 10482)  1963

Unlike Melodye Condons, Teri Allen benefited from better production and songwriting from Paul Vance which sounds like  He's A Rebel.  Perhaps the Wrecking Crew might had a hand in playing the music.  B side Her Or Me, with the screaming MAKE UP YOUR MIND opening intro line grabs your attention.  Kinda a minor Lesley Gore vibe.Make up your mind?  I'll pass.

4)   I'll Be Coming Home Tonight-Len Snider (All Boy 45-8507)  1963

Turning our attention to the lesser known teen idols nobody heard about comes from Len Snider which adds a bit of British backback to Len's Bobby Vee vocals. Or is it Bobby Rydell?  B Side Everybody Knows is a more of teen ballad, somewhat like Dion.   But a good chance you'll never hear it, unless somebody posts it on You Tube.

5)   TD's Boogie Woogie-The Crusaders (Cameo 285) 1964

A shame this record had a crack in it, but it's a teen version of the old boogie woogie number Pinetop Perkins played back in the 1920s. No relation to the Jazz Crusaders of Put It Where You Want It fame.  B side At The Club is a jazzier number but basically background music regardless.

6)   Trouble Is My Name-Donald Himes (Hi-2068)  1963

Early soul music from the folks at Hi Records and one can detect the genius of Willie Mitchell and the Hi Rhythm Section although this would be the only single that Donald put out. One of those actual one hit wonder would have happened if the label would have promote this better but this does sound like a one take demo.  B side You Had To Pay is more straight lined blues, something that Bobby Bland would have done.  I do know Willie Mitchell has his fingers all over the production.  A Northern Soul classic before it's time.

7)   Your Goose Is Cooked-Little Rose Evans (Tahoe Records 45-2357) 1963

Did you ever by a record simply of the fact of the title make you want to check it out?  Case in point this hard charged R and B number complete with a mumbling bass vocal as the hook. A call and response between Little Rose and the chorus shouting back the title line. The other side Minutes and Hours probably was destined as the plug side.  A bit more polished the Goose Is Cooked but not as much fun although I still get a kick out of hearing Mr. Bass mumbling along.  Ray Ellis on the arrangements.

8)    Reassure Me-Eddie Bo (Cinderella 1203)  1963

From New Orleans Eddie Bo recorded for a variety of labels (Chess, Ric, Ace) and this was one of two singles that he recorded for the NOLA based Cinderella label to which London Records picked up distribution.  Best known for Check Your Bucket that Duke And The Drivers covered later.  Reassure Me owes a bit to Professor Longhair but with a soul beat and Chris Kenner too.  The guesswork is that The Meters might have been the backing band.  B side Shake Rattle And Soul is more of the same NOLA R and B.  But it doesn't really excite me that much.

9)  Hot Biscuits And Gravy-Marvin & Johnny (Felsted 45-8681)  1963

Another soul biscuits jammer, Marvin And Johnny recorded sides for Speciality (Day In And Day Out) and Modern (Ko Ko Mo) and Aladdin before doing this one off single for Felsted about the joys of hot biscuits and gravy.  Thank you guys, you just made me hungry on that one. B Side I'm Tired Of Being Alone is doo wop blues soul and the better side.

10)   My Little Lady-Grandpa Jones (Monument 820)  1963

He was more than the novelty act on Hee Haw, Jones had some very good country sides for RCA, King and Monument and he does a cool take on the Jimmie Rogers number, with a little help from Nashville's finest musicians, most notably the ones who played on the RCA recordings of other artists. You can tell by that polished and echoes sound (Floyd Cramer, Jerry Reed, Murray Harman, Anita Kerr).  Grandpa Jones needs a good overview album for his accomplishments to country music.  B side  Away Out On The Mountain continues that Nashville sound complete with Jones' Yodel.  They don't make em like that anymore.

11)   Stay Away From Her-Joe Melson (Hickory 45-1229)  1963

Melson is better known for co writing songs with Roy Orbinson but he did strike out on his own.  This was his final single on Hickory. A more bouncy and uptempo number I gather this fell under too rock for country department since it didn't take off.   B side His Girl sounds eerily like Only The Lonely if Buddy Holly would have sang it.

12)   Take Ten-Paul Desmond (RCA 47-8264)  1963

Perhaps the find of the batches of 45, was Paul's update on Take Five.   And one of the reason I continue to search of the obscure and elusive 45s that time has forgotten.  Desmond has one of the coolest sax sound in the jazz era, which would perfectly in Dave Brubeck and at times on his own,  Even his old Columbia producer George Advirian on board too. B side Embarcadero  is more of a bossa nova type of jazz that Desmond and Jim Hall trade leads.  Tastefully done.

Part 2

13)   Tommy Makes Girls Cry-Kelly Garrett (Ava C-137)  1963

More of the pleasant but forgettable Lesley Gore vibe.  Less interesting on the B side Baby It Hurts.

14)   Dreamy Moon-Boots and Idaho (RCA 47-8211)   1963

WOW, this is hillbilly music, even for RCA standards, this is much rougher than the smooth sounds they got out of Jim Reeves and the others.  This song inspired me to Google Boots Faye and it turns out she recorded two singles for Capitol with Idaho Call, her singing partner and husband.  Originally on Callfrye, RCA picked it up in 1963.  A honky tonk hillbilly waltz with an accordion for lead instrument this is the oddball single find of the day. B side Tip Toes shows off Boots' guitar playing skills. She was actually quite good.

15)   What Do They Know-Carol Montgomery (Sound 7 Stage 45-2512)  1963

More girl pop, to which Ray Stevens produced under the Ahab Productions banner. Carol was married to Bob Montgomery (Buddy Holly) and they did a few singles for Warner Brothers under Bob And Carol.  One of two singles she released on her own name with Bob writing the songs. She was also a in demand background singer (Elvis, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton).  B side Wish I Didn't Love Him is a fun little girl pop romp, which is over and done in under two minutes.

16)    A Week In The Country-Ernest Ashworth (Hickory 45-1237) 1963

While 1963 may have not been a ideal year for Rock n Roll, country was doing quite well, even for the minor artists.  Usually Hickory Records could be relied upon putting out good to great music, after all they had access to the Acuff-Rose Publishing Company but on this song Ashworth records something from Baker Knight and 4 Star Publishing.  Baker Knight wrote a few hits for Ricky Nelson at that time but Week In The Country didn't do much on the charts, although it might have skirted the bottom reaches of the top 100.  B side Heartbreak Avenue is a country weeper which sounds like Big Al Downing is playing piano or Floyd Cramer.  Whoever is playing piano has that perfect honky tonk tone.

17)   A Statue In Windows-Lorry Peters (Hickory 45-1228) 1963

Lorry made two singles for Hickory, this one was written by Boudleaux Bryant (Bye Bye Love) and is a country weeper.  B side she tackles What About Me, which is written by Don Gibson and is the better song.  Sounds a lot like Let's Think About Living.

18)   I Had To Run Away-Jimmy Elledge  (RCA 47-8241)  1963

His biggest hit was a cover of Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away but Elledge had more of pop shine than actual country, his vocals are more like Narvel Felts and Chet Atkins actually steered him more towards pop than country. There's Nothing Left For Me is a torch ballad.  The next to last RCA single Jimmy would issue, he would move over to Hickory Records for more of the same. Singles nobody bought.

19)   As Long As There's A Sunday-Justin Tubb  (Groove 58-0024)  1963

The son of Ernest Tubb, Justin made recordings for Decca and later Groove/RCA,  This song is the template of the Nashville Sound of the 1960s for RCA, Anita Kerr backing singers and Chet Atkins polished productions made it a first rate song.  Again, like most of these 1963 singles that I've been playing, none made the charts and if they did they didn't chart too high. B side When Love Goes Wrong was written by Dottie West.  Just for the record I do enjoy the RCA Nashville Sound at that time.

20)   Day Dreamin-Norm West (Hi 45-2073)  1964

Back to the early soul of the Memphis sound, West was a journeyman soul singer that made two singles for Hi Records and with Willie Mitchell producing. Minor Northern soul ballad.  B side Angel Of My Dreams, more of the same, or rather less.

21)  You Can't Stop Me From Dreaming-Betty O'Brien (ABC Paramount 45-10461)  1963

Popcorn soul as they call it. One of two singles Betty recorded for ABC.  Not exactly impressed with this song.  B side I Don't Feel A Thing is rocking R and blues. Probably would have better as a A side.

22)  I Don't Stand A Chance-Rosco Gordon (ABC-Paramount 45-10501)  1963

As we close this Singles Going Steady blog about the finds of the month, I think this is the first time I ever had most of the songs come from the same year. Which goes to show that 1963 wasn't exactly a memorable year but at least we didn't have to contend with Broken Wings or Sweet Chile O Mine, but thank your lucky stars The British Invasion turned things around. Rosco Gordon recorded for many labels, best known hit was Just A Little Bit for Vee Jay in the 1950s.  But on his final ABC single he goes more a more soulful strut with a bit of Motown thrown in to appease the kiddies. Which still didn't sell.  B side That's What You Did, Rosco duets with Barbara Gordon, who adds a bit of something extra but not enough to remember this song after you played it.

23)  She's No Lady-Lyle Lovett (Curb/MCA 53246)  1988  #17 country

Lyle has been a outside country legend  since he broke in 1986 but I find him to be acquired taste although I did like the easy swing of She's No Lady but the B side Pontiac is boring the hell out of me as I write this.

24)  If I Were A Carpenter-Johnny Cash & June Carter (Columbia 4-45064)  #36 1970

They were perfect together.  B side is Cause I Love You

Monday, March 5, 2018

Russ Solomon RIP

The guy who founded Tower Records, passed away from a heart attack watching the Oscars Sunday.  He was 92.

Even though Tower Records wasn't close by, I went to the stores when I was out in Seattle, Las Vegas and Phoenix. They might have been pricey but I can't think of any other stores that had the complete Status Quo remasters as Tower Records did.

Van McLain, was the de facto leader of Shooting Star, a Kansas City based band that made a few albums for Virgin Records in the 1980s but one of those bands that simply were forgotten in the age of classic rock.  Run For Your Life was a cult best selling album that I usually bought and sold to the folks at Relics Records.  Virgin Records at that time, did distribution deals, and Shooting Star was assigned to Epic, to which their second album was done under the infamous 5.98 emerging artists series.  Their first album was produced by Gus Dudgeron (Elton John) and Shooting Star was like a more lighter Journey or Styx.   I really wasn't that into that band, but in my last trip out to Arizona, the Goodwill Casa Grande store had about 10 copies of their first album on CD (as well as Burning) and I picked it up and played it once.  Since I still have that copy, I play it in tribute to Van who died complications from the Nile Virus.on Saturday.

After 40 years of rocking Chicago. The Loop has been sold to a Christian Broadcast Company for 21 and a half million dollars, which means the rock will stop sometime in the future.  Well Corporate Classic Rock has been in the shitter for about 20 years anyway and with Corporations not interested in breaking new acts and just focusing on the Pink Floyd/Zeppelin/Guns N Roses overplayed songs it basically had to end.  Gone are the days of Album rock stations promoting the new music but if there's a chance they'll find a way to celebrate older albums, such as Dark Side Of The Moon released 45 years ago last week.  But then again, the world needs another Christian Contemporary Station right?

Tom Waits now owns the Elektra/Asylum masters to his albums and will be reissuing them via Anti-Epitaph.  Which means they'll be in glorious digipack.

Anyway, since you're all here.  I have reviewed a few cds along the way.  Here goes.

Moonshine Sorrow-While You're Drinking (self released 2016)

Let's face it, there will always be a band that plays three chord Rolling Stone inspired songs and song about drinking and fucking and paying for it the next day.  As long as I'm alive I'll be happy to hear what they have to say.  In the grand style of the bar bands of our lifetime (The Brains lost Tom Gray, gained Dan Baird and became the Georgia Satellites, Blackberry Smoke even Uncle Tupelo) my favorites were the most simple and to the point.  The Randy Cliffs made the best bar rock album of this century and if you look hard enough in Madison you can still find a dollar copy of Trixie's Trailer Sales.  Closer to home, Waterloo for that matter, we have Moonshine Sorrow, a band that had two different personalities, one is the legendary Rush Cleveland who writes all but two songs on this EP, the best song Walking In Waterloo is about as true as it gets if you live in that hell hole (I did about five decades ago) and Wild N Crazy to which pass the bucket rhymes with Fuck it!. Cleveland has a voice that echoes Jerry Lee Lewis, which does stick out like a sore thumb in the hard country bar rock of M.S.  The other is Jason Surratt who echoes Brian Henneman from The Bottle Rockets and gives us  Feed Me, Fuck Me, Buy Me Weed, a concert favorite and my favorite track Houser South a little story about a guy who can't get laid but is ready to kick your ass if need be.  Knowing that, he's probably a regular at Spicoli's in Cedar Falls.  In some ways, While You're Drinking mirrors Trixie's Trailer Sales from The Cliffs, sloppy drums, sloppy guitar leads but a whole rock and roll attitude that is missing from most new bands that get touted on Pitchfork.  It may not be pretty but it does sound pretty to me.

The Pipettes-We Are The Pipettes (Cherrytree/Interscope 2007)

British pop girl rock that has a charm of its own at times, and with a Ramones like 16 songs at 39 minutes, most past by without much melody of forethought and the recording is loudness overblown.  The favorite is ABC 123 and XTC to boot.  A shame they didn't go more into this direction.

Bette Midler Sings The Peggy Lee Songbook (Columbia 2005)

One of those albums that Sony Music decided to copy protect the CD, but Bette has been the subject of a few thrift store finds, basically on the strength of her It's The Girls album from a few years ago.  I love Bette for her sassy and spunk on Big Spender and Fever and the Barry Manilow cameo is camp fun too.  But it's those ballads that turn this record from great to good. Mr. Wonderful ends things on a blah note, but for tribute albums she makes Peggy Lee proud.  I'll see about her Rosemary Cooney tibute album in the future.  In other words another uneven Bette album.

Jim And Jessie-Dixie Hoedown: The Complete Starday Recordings (Starday/King 2002)

A stop gap along the way for the McReynolds boys but still a important document.  Hard Hearted was the best known hit single but the secular songs have a certain amount of charm to them, the title track a hard driving instrumental. Jim and Jesse only did three recording sessions for Starday, two in 1958 and the 1959 session was all gospel material and all of it is worth hearing once.   Even for 14 songs the album barely clocks over a half hour.  Jim and Jesse had a good backing band featuring Vassar Clements on fiddle, Bobby Thompson on banjo and Don Mchan on bass and backing vocals. Once their tenure at Starday ended, they would move on to Epic Records and their glory years featuring Diesel On My Tail, to which Sony Music left off their best of.  No accounting for major label taste it seems.  This compilation, thrown out by the indifferent Highland Music company, managed to put some thought into this and provided liner notes and recording sessions.  The CD is hard to find but worth a listen

Carrie Underwood-Storyteller (19/Arista 2015)

If you have been a follower for my record review and top ten consortium, you know my love and hatred of the all time best selling American Idol.  Yes she can sing but what she does is oversing and throughout her decade of being a part of Nashville music scene she has battled Miranda Lambert head to head on country albums, for myself Miranda always wins of the fact that she doesn't oversing. On the recommendation of Robert Christgau, I decided to listen to her last album.  And just as I figured, she oversings on the majority of the songs.  But Storyteller is her best album to these battered ears but in the age of Nashville Music the songs tend to borrow way too much of the Mumford and Sons arrangements and overuse of the worthless Chris DeStefano, HOWEVER, was responsible for the two most memorable numbers of this album, the failed single Smoke Break and Clock Don't Stop.  She is getting better on the revenge numbers, Church Bells, a interesting story about a woman marrying a rich oil dude, who beats her up and she gets back by poisoning the dude.   To be honest, Storyteller is coming of age Carrie, who managed to find some decent numbers, and of course this record beats anything she released beforehand, including her best of.  I'll take Christgau's word that she's beginning to relax and not oversing but in my case she still has a long way to go before I decide on taking another chance with her again.   Nevertheless, for the first time ever in her record career, she made a better record than Miranda's 2 CD album, which still hasn't wowed me.  And probably never will.

I think we have had this talk before about Dark Side Of The Moon, my opinion will not waver.  I'll never look at The Great Gig In The Sky as anything but fast forward to the next song but some people love it.  In this day and age I can tolerate it better than Daniel Powter's Bad Day or Mr Mr. Broken Wings or A ha's Take On Me or Sweet Child O Mine or anything FGL puts out.  Another opinion on why Dark Side Of The Moon continues to sell, 45 years after the fact and still used copies aren't that easy to find.  I have never owned that on any format but perhaps a day will come when I will succumb to that and buy it for a dollar at St Vincent De Paul

Music from  my youth:  John Cale-Guts (Antilles 1976)

Originally on Island, it was a small summery of John's tenure with that label, but not a greatest hits since Cale never had any.  But a good mix tape so to speak.  Again Robert Christgau had issues with two songs, Mary Lou and Helen Of Troy but for myself I liked them a lot and still do.  As well as the title track which might be most insane thing Cale ever wrote.  Cale has been an acquired taste even on the good days. I do have the 2 CD Complete Island albums that Polygram Island issued years ago but don't play it as much (if at all) than Guts.  Life after Island, Cale became more of a cult artist that fell in terms of overrated, the only album that worked for me was the 1985 John Cale Comes Alive, which also welcomed him back to Island (via the ZE sub-label), and his take on Hallelujah, and his version remains the best, even more than Jeff Buckley's version and his 1990 album with Brian Eno, Wrong Way Up, after that, meh.  Phil Collins plays drums on Fear Is A Man's Best Friend along with the likes of Chris Spedding, and the rhythm section that backed up Linda and Richard Thompson  at that time.  Not a bad track on this album, the deadpan Pablo Picasso is more smart ass than Jonathon Richman's version, and Heartbreak Hotel, is the book of Revelation coming true before your eyes and ears.  Instead of Guts, Island should have named this  Dirty Ass Rock And Roll.  Which nails the spirit of this album.

Mud Bowl Memories:  Cleveland 24  New York 7 (12/9/56)  Yankee Stadium

A tale of one dynasty ending and another beginning, Cleveland dominated the early and mid 50s in making to the title game, but in 1956, the New York Giants with Frank Gifford, Charlie Connerly and Kyle Rote would win the division title and a blow out of the Chicago Bears and the infamous sneaker game but on this rain and snow mudfest, the Browns upset the Giants on two Tommy O'Conner touchdowns and throwing a TD pass to Fred Morrison who wore number 32 at that time.  The next year, Jim Brown would be the next and last Brown to wear number 32 but that's a different story for another time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rock And Roll And Valentine's Day

It was 20 years ago on this day that the person that I was seeing with, announced that she was seeing somebody new behind my back for two weeks prior before our breakup on V Day 1998.  We have been seeing each other for 3 and a half years, the first two years were great till we had a major fight on Independence Day of 1996 and that became the crack that would tear down our foundation of love together.   Of course, getting a new car and a new trailer didn't help and with the breakup, it was time to get our name off the lease.  I wouldn't be done with her yet, I then had to get the Corsica from a year later, to which by then, she was three payments behind and I was two steps ahead of the repo man and almost ruined my credit.   The way she was seeing, eventually moved in and got kicked out for emotionally abusing her boys.  I haven't seen her since.

Valentine's Day has been somewhat of a passe for me.  There were times I did buy gifts for the ones that I was dating at the time.  In 2000, I was seeing Olivia from the west coast and although the first couple months was fun, when she came to visit me in 1999 in 20 degree weather and snow, she decided that this wasn't going to work.  On V Day 2000, I ended up sending her a lavender pillow in the mail, she liked it fine but she wasn't sure that she wanted to continue to be with me.  At that time, my best friend was having issues with his long distance love affair but me and Olivia convinced them to stay together.  In 2001, They tied the knot and have been married ever since.  By then Olivia found somebody close to home, they got married and lived happily ever after.  Or maybe not, I haven't chatted with her in five years now.

After my breakup with my last flame in 2012, I had enough of the dating scene and basically wrote this life off of ever finding anybody to be with in life.   Funny thing about love is, it seems to happen when you're not looking and trying to convince anybody that it's not worth their time or effort to even think of being with me.  I could live my life forever chasing records and music.  Let's face it, I'm too old for children and not about to go the Tony Randall route of being a dad as a senior citizen, make a couple and then kneel over and die.   But I got tired of watching crappy cable TV and become  a couch potato, so I basically start playing guitar again and venturing out into the crowd.  It'd be safe, nobody would want a 57 year old hobbyist with a crabby vibe and cuss the Creator out everytime something goes wrong.

And then Julie came along.  She sings in local bands, hosts a acoustic jam every other week at Checkers' and probably the most unique woman I have met yet in life. An organic Vegan, with a hippie attitude and a love for animals and mother nature.  She fucking hates the GOP, Donald Trump even more. She loves everybody that she meets and while the Conservatives will give her a hard time,most will agree that she is a sweetheart once you get to know her.

Julie has had a rough go in life. She lost her guitar playing boyfriend in 2015, and got both of her knees replaced the past year.  But yet somehow, she saw something in me to maybe think that I was worth chasing.   After her boyfriend's passing, about a couple months later, I was at a jam and she came up and smiled and introduced herself and sat down to check her smart phone for messages. A innocent start but it would evolved into me going to see her band play and playing drums on a couple songs and then started doing the acoustic jams on guitar,and she started singing along to my primitive guitar playing on Gold Dust Woman.  Last December, she became my special somebody.

We didn't do too much for our first Valentine's Day together, we shared a few kisses and a few hugs. Instead of candy and flowers, I went to Earl May and picked up a Dragonfly figurine and she loved it. I also gave her some seeds for her garden to plant.  She made  meatless pasta for dinner. And we spent an hour together before I went home and her to bed.

There's no guarantees in life, love come, love goes.   The special people will always remain by your side.   Julie is one of those special folks.  I hope she will remain a part of this life for a long time.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Passings: Micky Jones Pat Torpey

Micky Jones replaced Levon Helm when Dylan went electric in 1966 and played on the infamous Live 1966 album died Thursday from a long illness.  He was 76.  Jones also drummed for Johnny Rivers during Johnny's live recordings which Johnny got hits from songs like Memphis Tennessee, The Seventh Son, Secret Agent Man and others.  Jones would eventually join Kenny Rogers and The First Edition during their hit making years.  Jones would eventually become a actor to he starred in Home Improvement in the 1990s

Torpey, played in Mr. Big and was also their drummer.  He passed away from Parkinson's.Wednesday. He was 63.

Craig McGregor, bass player for Foghat in the late 70s, passed away from cancer Friday Morning.  He was 69.  Craig played on Night Shift through Zig Zag Walk.  He then later rejoined Foghat after replacing Tony Stevens in 1998 and continued to play till cancer took his life. He will be missed

John Barlow, who wrote with Bob Weir on a few Grateful Dead songs passed away from a short illness on Sunday.  He was 70.

In Vinton a fire gutted half of the downtown area, including the Micheal And Dowd furniture store Thursday Night during yet another snowstorm in the area.  Strange how we went through most of the winter and not have to deal with snowstorms but we have had 7 straight snowstorms in as many nights and you all know my feelings for the white shit.  Christmas is over, bring the rain not the snow crap.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Notes: Dennis Edwards Best Buy

Dennis Edwards, who replaced David Ruffin in the Temptations and scored hits with I Can't Get Next To You and Cloud Nine for them died Friday.  He was a day short of 75.  His gritty vocals turned the Temptations into a more funkier group (Norman Whitfield had something to do with this as well) and look up Psychedelic Soul for the best overview of Edwards' tenure with that band.

That is if you can find a place that sell CDs.  Best Buy has announced that they will be eliminating CDs this summer and Target is slated to tell the major labels they'll pay them on consignment.  The sign of the times I suppose but not in a good way.  In 1987, Best Buy was the cheapest way to buy CDs and at one time they had six isles of CDs to choose from, but since 2002, BB has continued to shrink and demote the CD section into just about nothing.  Best Buy has been crap anyway for the past few years for CD searching, they only have the greatest hits and certain album titles.  I'm sure CDs will continue to find their way to thrift stores and the very few remaining record stores still around.  We are in the second month of 2018 and I have yet to buy any new releases anyway.  There's nothing from the major labels and new artists worth getting although I heard good reviews from Greta Von Fleet, whoever they may be.

On Tuesday Night, Robby Norton, who started up KRNA back in the early 70s and later became president of KZIA ended up going on Interstate 380 from the 33rd Ave exit and made it past the hwy 30 turnoff only to run head on into a car driven by Jenny Koenigham before the 76th Ave overpass and both were killed instantly.  When I got off work, we couldn't take the 380 home since the accident took place not too far.  But we are seeing that way too much nowadays, drivers taking the wrong way and crashing head on to drivers going the right way.  Norton was 69, Jennifer was 28.  Who knows what Norton was thinking or if he got distracted and went the wrong way or may have been drunk.  We'll know more about it as the days go by.  Norton was responsible for KRNA, to which back in 1974 was more album originated rock and roll  but not as all over the place as KFMH 99 plus.  Eventually Norton did acquire KQCR (Q103) and remained it KZIA after a radio corporation brought KRNA and KZIA but backed out on buying the latter, so Norton kept that station. KZIA is the top 40 station in town.

I still can't believe how far Norton got down 380 that far and drove about 4 miles the wrong way, not only did he lose his life but he also took the life of a woman just got done from yoga class and was on her way home.  But I have seen wrong way drivers personally, one night coming home from hwy 30 and noticing a car coming up the hill and it seemed that those car lights were closer than they should be.  It was.   Sadly, Norton won't be the last wrong way driver or Jennifer being a victim of a wrong way driver crash.   Chances are it will happen sooner than later.  The way it goes.

And keeping with my traditions, 59 years ago, we lost Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and JP Richardson in a horrific plane crash in a blizzard. Gone but never forgotten.


Phil Bo King-Phil Bo Blues (2017)

Phil Koening is from Martelle, down the road from me and we met at a open mic jam and have become friends and stage mates.  He goes by the name of Phil Bo King and he plays more blues than rock.  When Maury Baker came to town to do a seminar, he did signed off on doing a jam with a few of the better musicians in town.  Plus I borrowed Phil to help me through a couple of long blues songs. Anyway, Phil has done a few songs off his debut album.  He has a John Hammond type of vocals but very distinct and on Phil Bo Blues, he plays everything but a couple songs from a guest drummer.  Fisher Blues and One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor he plays at local jams, and choice quality stuff.  But I find myself the album gets stronger towards the end, and finishing up with Woodchuck Bill, which recalls more of a Captain Beefheart style and sound.  Which surprises the heck out of me.  A fine debut.

Nik Turner-Life In Space (Purple Pyramid 2017)

Hawkwind fans hate him after his ouster from that band after a power struggle with Dave Brock.  As much as I would like to root for Dave, I find his Hawkwind albums have gotten closer to New Age than space rock, but Turner has managed to find the right musicians to restore that spacey sound that I come to enjoy from the Hawkwind era.  Since being on Cleopatra, Turner made a decent comeback album a few years ago and the followup was a admirable but failed effort of space jazz.  So he once again gets back into the space rock with Life In Space and even if the original guys are missed Turner knows enough about the past to recreate it and not bore the hell out of us.  In typical Cleopatra style, the music does the talking and old Hawkwind members Paul Randolph and Simon House help, especially Paul on End Of The World.  You might confuse the Hawkwind haters on Secrets Of The Galaxy and As You Were by playing these songs as generators and keyboards howl and hiss and Turner's barely audible vocals ebbs in and out of the mix.  And concludes with a remake of Master Of The Universe which remains Turner's claim to fame.   For space rock. Turner still has it.

Golliwogs-Fight Fire The Complete Recordings (Craft 2017)

It took decades for a stand alone compilation of Creedence Clearwater Revival's early years known as the Golliwogs, a dumb name for sure but still in the history of rock and roll still vital in some ways.  You can hear them turn away from the Doo Wop balladry that Tom Fogerty seem to have like, into a more garage rock type sound and eventually the sound that would the trademark of CCR, namely Porterville.  The title track Fight Fire might have been weak lyrically, but there's no denying that signature riff employed by John Fogerty and it outrocks everything on this track.   Brown Eye Girl owes a lot to Them and Tell Me is them trying to sound like the Beatles. A couple years, I ended up spending a 25 dollar gift card to Half Price Books to get the Golliwogs Pre Creeedence LP that came out in 1975 but Fantasy never bothered to reissue it till Saul Zenthz sold it to Concord Music Group and they finally relented to audiophiles request to put the album out again.  The alt take of You Can't Be True is something I can live without and you get a a radio promo tacked on at the end which is worth hearing once but over all Fight Fire is a essential piece of history of CCR.  They might have been searching for that sound but they always did have a decent rhythm section.  And Doug Clifford is one of rock's most underrated drummers.

UFO-The Salentino Cuts (Cleopatra 2017)

Would you believe that Vinnie Moore has been the longest tenured guitar player in UFO, even more than Micheal Schneiker? He is to what Steve Morse is to Deep Purple, excellent guitar players that managed to fit in quite nicely from the better known guitar players.  Unlike Morse, Moore plays for UFO, a great band that made classic albums for Chrysalis in the 70s and 80s up till Walk On Water.  Problem remains that Phil Mogg is no longer the expressive vocalist that he once was and the last time I was that interested in UFO was the Jason Bonham on drums album You Are Here.  After years on SPV Steamhammer, they're on Cleopatra and that label is scattershot for aging bands.  So UFO decided to do a covers album, nothing wrong if you do it right (See Krokus).  Problem is a lot of the songs sound like they're done in one take and Mogg trying to figure out how to sing them, he really makes It's My Life and Mississippi Queen kinda hard to listen to.  It's not all bad, they did a nice version of Mad Season's River Of Deceit, Vinnie Moore manages to get the feel of Robin Trower's Too Rolling Stoned and Just Got Paid really does rock.  In any case, The Salentino Cuts is a interesting album, to which UFO becomes your local hard rock band trying to do cover songs, and going half good, and half try it again with more feeling.  That is if the lead singer can learn the sing the song accents right.

Bobby Freeman-Do You Wanna Dance (Collectibles 1991)

The only new release I bought all year and it was a reissue that Barnes N Noble had in Davenport for many years.  The title track was the hit and Bobby tried a couple time to redo that song with other lyrics and the results are not as memorable.  It disappointing that Sinbad (B side to Ebb Tide) was left off, Collectibles certainly had enough CD space to put the song on there.   Freeman seemed to follow trends, his last hit was Cmon and Do The Swim (which seems to be a different version from the Autumn Sly Stone produced session), It's a spotty best of, and Freeman was pedestrian at best for words, but if nothing else, the title track and Betty Lou's Got A New Pair Of Shoes remain classic oldies rock gold

Frank Zappa-Zappatite (Zappa 2018)

Zappa's best years were with the the original Mothers of Invention plus Hot Rats or Grand Wazoo but once his locker room porn got the best of him, neither his great guitar soloing could save the albums after that.The Rykodisc overview from 20 years ago is the better deal and can still be found.  This best of, tries to be all things Zappa, from composer, to satirist to heavy metal (Trouble Coming Every Day) but it leaves out an all important genre, Doo Wop which makes Zappatite strictly for Zappa audiophiles collectors.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Grammys 2018

I didn't watch the Grammy's TM Sunday Night.

Waste of time.

Rolling Stones won a Grammy for best traditional blues album with Blue And Lonesome and Randy Newman won one for a instrumental. (Putin).

Bruno Mars creamed Kendrick Lamar and the critics went up in arms about that.  But I don't care.  Kendrick Lamar's rap is something I don't relate.

Overall, a waste of time, but then I said that earlier.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Few Words About Dennis McMurrin From Scott Sanborn

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, if people thought you were “hip” or “cool” they might call you daddy-o. Generations later that moniker is still being used, reserved for one local musician who is now getting a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association for his cool career Created in the Corridor.
“I’ve been playing gigs since 1963,” recalled Dennis McMurrin who first picked up a guitar when he was nine years old after watching his jazz guitarist grandfather play. “He was just great. He was fantastic. So when I was real little, I’d watch him. But that was my first influence.”
Growing up in Cedar Rapids, McMurrin took guitar lessons for nearly a decade. Claiming he wasn’t that smart he dropped out of high school in 11th grade to pursue his passion for picking full-time. “It never even entered my mind that I couldn’t do it,” said McMurrin. “I mean that’s how dumb I was…and I had no doubts. Never. I never did.”
And he’s never done anything else. McMurrin’s first band with fellow Cedar Rapids native Michael Boddicker—who went on to become a Grammy-winning composer, was called the Plannets. Their very first performance took place at the old Danceland Ballroom where the downtown Cedar Rapids convention center now stands.
Over the years, McMurrin developed a super-funky, soulful style of blues that won the attention of the world-famous Tower of Power. Their horns can be heard on McMurrin’s 1986 self-titled album recorded at Salty Dog Studios in Los Angeles.
Right after that album, McMurrin formed The Demolition Band to take the songs on the road. They’ve since played countless shows throughout the corridor.
Longtime collaborator Dan Johnson, a bassist, is another career musician who first saw McMurrin perform in the late 60s. “Dennis was in a band called ‘The Travel Agency’ and this is before I even was playing. He was doing stuff on the guitar I’d really never seen. Dennis was the first guy that I’m just going, ‘what is he doing on that guitar?’”
That guitar is the same Gibson McMurrin’s been playing since age 11. “I still remember getting it,” McMurrin recalled fondly. He actually still has the bill of sale from 1964.
And while he’s never given the guitar a nickname like B.B. King’s “Lucille,” He does have his own which he said came by chance thirty years ago on the streets of Iowa City. “A carload full of guys, college kids come by and (shouting) ‘Hey, hey great show last night daddy-o!’ That stuck like crazy.”
“The nickname Daddy-O is so apropos to his personality,” said Nick Stika, a member of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association’s board of directors who nominated Daddy-O for IRRMA’s Hall of Fame. “Talking to him on the phone was a riot when I got to call him up and tell him he was being inducted. He was excited about it but in that Daddy-O kind of way; ‘Ah, yeah man, that’s cool.’ You know, just the way he presents himself.”
Added Johnson,“The old, poor beatnik musician, it just really embodies him.”
Johnson said McMurrin also embodies style, originality and improvisation—all the elements needed to preserve music as an art form. “As far as the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame goes, there’s this small percentage of guys that are in there that truly, truly deserve to be in there…and Daddy-O is one of ‘em.”
“Just the influence that he’s got with all the musicians around this area,” explained Stika about McMurrin’s qualifications for recognition. “The influence he’s had on everybody to pick up the guitar and go out there and do it.”
“We had a recent gig here at Parlor City with Ron DeWitte,” recalled McMurrin about one of his favorite shows. Terry Lawless showed up. He was on Saturday Night Live the night before, literally he was in New York City. Huge show.”
And Daddy-O says, at 64, he’ll keep doing shows because he still loves it and the phone still rings.
“People keep calling, you know? Come play, so…that’s it.”