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.