Saturday, January 22, 2022

Observations: 1/22/22

In the continuing ways of life and death, death has claimed a few more people in the last time we got together.  Burke Shelley, lead vocalist of Budgie, a band that influenced many bands (Rush, Metallica) passed away after a long illness.  Ronnie Spector, who came back to give Eddie Money his biggest hit in 1986 with Take Me Home Tonight, Louie Anderson lost his battle with cancer at age 68. And the famous Meatloaf who became a victim of COVID, dead at 74.  Out of all the ones who passed away, Shelley is the one that hit me the hardest.  For me, Meatloaf's appearance on Ted Nugent's Free For All was the go to album for me, his Writing On The Wall, was a FM deep cut classic. 

Of course, Bat Out Of Hell is his classic, co written with Jim Steinman and produced by Todd Rundgren, who managed to give up any more of his royalties just to purchase some land and live out his life in sunny Hawaii.    To be honest, I wasn't a fan of that album, it was bombastic and all over the top but people loved that album.  I remember Jennie Palmer played it during home economics class in high school and it never appeal to me, or the 1993 comeback album.  If I wanted to listen to him, it would have been his 1985 RCA album Bad Attitude.  Bat Out Of Hell 1 and 2 are his legacy.

Record Store Day 15 years onward and vinyl has made the comeback of comebacks, tho last year CD sales actually increased, which makes one wonder if the CD era might be on the way.  Certainly no shortage of CDs at the local thrift stores, but 15 seasons ago, somebody decided that by having a RSD, would bring back buyers and they did make a comeback.  I have not been binge buying records like I once did.  Once in a great while, I'll find something of note, rarely rock records but folk and country.  Jim Reeves' A touch of velvet, was one record that I picked out of a bunch of donated country records when I went to the Salvation Army as well as the 10 45's that were recently documented   A Touch Of Velvet was one of the records that was in my folk's collection for years, it's slick and polished Nashville sound style conflicted with the honky tonk music of George Jones or Webb Pierce, and there's no shortage of Jim Reeves records.  The combined production of Chet Atkins and Anita Kerr tends to put this closer to pop than country, Welcome To My World and Have You Ever Been Lonely were the hits.  Perhaps it's the nostalgic side of me that would ever listen to Touch Of Velvet but in an era to which nobody can remember what is played on the radio, my logic remains going back to the era that I grew up listening to. Even if it was Jim Reeves.  The other record is The Travelers 3 Live (Elektra), Hawaii's answer to the Kingston Trio.  This is an actual promo copy, complete with a postcard from Elektra, telling the listeners to send for a free catalog of new music.  The old Elektra was one of the best independent labels ever.  The new Elektra is a corporate sham.   And if you read this far, Taylor Swift is your RSD Ambassador for 2022.

Charlie Huhn has decided after 22 years with Foghat it was time for him to retire, so he announced his retirement from the band, via email.  Which set off a confrontation of sorts from fans and the band.  Huhn's replacement is Scott Holt (Buddy Guy) who has subbed in the past.  Huhn replaced Derek St. Holmes in Ted Nugent's band and appeared on the albums Weekend Warriors, State Of Shock, Scream Dream and Intensities In Ten Cities.  And later moved on to Humble Pie and his own band.  Happy retirement Charlie.

Passings:  Sam Lay, Drummer for Howlin' Wolf, Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the electric version of Bob Dylan died from a long illness.  He was 86

Hargus "Pig" Robbins-Legendary keyboard player for the Nashville elite and played right to the very end, (the new Connie Smith album that came out last Nov.), He also played on Bob Dylan's classic albums of the mid 60s as well.  Robbins was also a rockabilly star with a minor hit Save It in the late 50s. He died from natural causes.  He was 84. 

Things Found;
Summer Of Soul (or when the revolution could not be televised) (CD) A-
An Evening With John Denver (CD)
The Blue Men Group-The Complex (CD)
Take 5-Dave Brubeck Live 82-83 (CD) B
Impressions-Best Of Rick Wakeman (CD)
Fresh Start-America Needs (LP) B+

My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You-Guy Mitchell (Columbia 4-41725) #45 1960
Three Hearts In A Tangle-Roy Drusky (Decca 31193) #2 Country 1961 #35 Pop 1961
I'd Rather Loan You Out-Roy Drusky (Decca 31297) #10 Country 1961
(welcome) New Lovers-Pat Boone (Dot 16048) #18 1960
B side: Words #94
Go Away From My Window-Gale Storm (Dot 15666) 1957
Walk Me To The Door-Ray Price (Columbia 4-42658)  #7 Country 1962
I Was Such A Fool -Connie Francis (MGM K-13096) #24 1962
B side He Thinks I Still Care #57

A collection of discarded 45's nobody bothered to pick up.  The Pat Boone song shows Mr. White Shoes going for a Brook Benton sound and it's one of his better songs.  This record was part of the big box of 45's that was noted last month.  While Gale Storm might have one or two of the big box records, I can attest that Go Away From My Window wasn't one of them.  B side Winter Warm is written by Burt Bachurach and Hal David, one of the earliest songs they ever did.  Roy Drusky is mostly forgotten on the radio and oldies circuit but Three Hearts In A Tangle did chart quite high at number 35 on the pop charts, Loan You Out is boppin honky tonk.  Walk Me To The Door is Ray Price honky tonk gold, written by Conway Twitty.   Guy Mitchell, had a habit of covering Price's material for the pop side, but each release Mitchell was slowly adding more country elements to his music. My Shoes would be his final top 40 pop release.   As for Connie Francis, her country attempt at He Thinks I Still Care is decent, and more preferable to the overblown trademark Francis' ballad wailing at I Was Such A Fool. 

Questlove's Summer Of Soul (or when the revolution could not be televised), is black music coming into fruitarian, even Sonny Shorrock's avant garde noise guitar on Herbie Mann's Hold On I'm Coming makes it clear this is serious music. Nina Simone's harrowing Backlash Blues and Are You Ready (which was written by a member of the Last Poets) is Nina has her most radical.  Sly and the Family Stone could rock it with a potent Everyday People or Sing A Simple Song.  The only tracks I did not care much was Precious Lord, Take My Hand (way too much emotional wailing by Mahalia Jackson, tho you can feel the gospel in her) or David Ruffin's My Girl (which rendered him to the nostalgic file, despite his overblown 15 second falsetto scream).  Elsewhere, The 5th Dimension's Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In, proves to the black community that they did have soul, Edwin Hawkins Singers and Staple Singers had gospel deep in their soul and Watermelon Man is Mongo Santamaria's Latin jam classic.  As much as Simone's Are You Ready ends the 80 minute CD in fine fashion, Ray Barretto's Together (Get together, before it's GD too late) steals the show.  

"I had a good life" Jimmy Johnson 1/31/2022 RIP


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Goodwill Finds and Updates


Kevin Simnacher-Window Of Opportunity 
Best Of Bellamy Brothers B+
Frank Sinatra-September Of My Years B
Frank Sinatra-In The Wee Small Hours
Toto-Mindfields C-
Toto-Fahrenheit  C
Dixie Dregs-California Screamin' B
Wildcat Spratt-Love, Rock, Energy In Motion. C

Given the grim situation of my family, I took time to Goodwill to clear my head and found a few things. September Of My Years and Wee Small Hours are Frank's best studio album it seems, I'd love to find Watertown, the 1969 Jake Holmes written and Bob Gaudio produced recording.  Both Franks and the Bellamy Brothers albums were under a dollar.  Goodwill SW had the Toto albums, plus the Dregs and the late in town rocker Kevin Sinmacher's album (they had two).  I don't think they were from his collection, but it was odd to see two of his albums.  The two Toto albums are a sharp decline, Fahrenheit couldn't decide if it wanted to be a George Michael knockoff or a muzak light rock band.  Mind Fields is 79 minutes of half wit prog rock.  That got donated right back to Goodwill.  Their worst album.

Somebody in Kevin Simnacher's family must have donated these CDs at the local Goodwill, namely the Toto and Dixie Dregs ones.  Kevin was a very innovate guitar player and he did hook up with Craig Wildcat Spratt on a couple of Harvey Headbanger CDs, with Love Rock Etc, Spratt forgos hair metal for an alternative rock sound courtesy of Brook Hoover (Meekats, Surf Zombies).  Spratt is legend for his drumming skills with Hostage and many other bands, but Love Rock Etc is a odd concept album, with 14 songs of the same chords and tempo actually.  Approval, leads off the album and it's excellent, and then after that the album falls apart.  Like his drummer, Kraig's songs, when they go over 4 minutes can be bombastic and pompous.  It is fun to write love songs, even better to write dark songs, but the meltdown of I'm Your Lover Man/I  Need Your Love is borderline Psycho.   A curious but emotional bombastic listen.

You knew that I was NOT going  away that easy right?  Like last year, I will look at what I find for music, document it and wonder why the hell I bought it in the first place.  Because it's fun.  But nowadays, I can't type and this keyboard is the ultimate pits.  But if there's something going on in the world that needs to be looked at, well here tis.  

We found out that Tom T Hall actually committed suicide last August.  The pain of life got too hard for T to deal with and the only way relive pain was a gun.  It has happen before when Bob Welch was not going go through the pain of being an invalid any more and done himself in (Wendy, his wife passed in 2016). 2022 already has been a shit show.  And we're only five days into this.

The December 15 shitstorm, provided a record 61 tornadoes in the state. Twice as many as the 30 tornadoes on August 30, 2014. 21 were EF2 tornadoes and 23 EF1.  In this age of climate change we never had a tornado outbreak in December.

Another snowstorm and last night another tight pressure gradient came to deliver 50 MPH NW winds a goddamn snow drift of four feet in front of the driveway.  I beginning to wonder if Tom T Hall had the right idea.  

Oh, they called off the 64th GrammysTM. Omicron issues. 

Con artists Aaron McCraight and Doug Hargrave has been charged with band fraud, stemming from the 2018 NewBo Evolve Disaster, to which these two took the bank fundings and defrauded the bank.  Both of them could be in jail for 30 years, to which they may be turned into GOP people and accused the media of fake news.  

Upon the reissues of 2021 was the Almost Famous music soundtrack, which bloats up to a 5 CD set (or 2 CD highlight set and of course the standalone original soundtrack.   But if you're looking at capturing a moment in time (1972), why they couldn't get Deep Purple song from the mark 2 lineup, but they did snatch the 1974 rocking Burn.  Perhaps adding Free's Wishing Well to the 2 set highlights would been much better.  Can't quibble with the most of the tracks, tho the Led Zeppelin numbers on CD 3 are better suited on Zep's albums.  Kudos for Jethro Tull's Teacher and Brondlyn Pig's Dear Jill, which would have been a surprise cut on the regular album had Cameron Crowe went for a less commercial songs that became deep cuts on FM radio.  Or Little Feat's Easy To Slip, one of their best songs in the early years.  Next to Dazed And Confused, Almost Famous damn near captures the 70s in the way that Superstars Of The 70s, Warner's attempt to capture the rock and roll spirit of that time.  I tend to favor Heavy Metal or Superstars Of The 70s Volume 2 in terms of music of that era and at that time, they didn't have to deal with greedy lawyers or bands to make decent compilations  Dazed N Confused pretty much champion the music of 1975 or 76 a bit more than the early 70s vibe of Famous.  Then again, we all made our own mix tapes of that rock and roll of five decades ago.   Certainly we have our share of decent soundtracks to movies of the songs of long ago and far away.  The Motown sound of The Big Chill, The late 60s AM radio vibe to Once Upon A Time In America, to which I still have yet to find, or the easy to get for a dollar Forrest Gump Soundtrack.  Once Upon A Time In America does owe something to the Cruisin' Years with the DJ talking and commercials of that time.   If you remember your music history, Led Zeppelin has had a song or two on soundtracks (Remember the Cotillion Homer Soundtrack?, never saw the movie but the soundtrack was killer, that included How Many More Times from Zep.   Getting back to original thought, Almost Famous Supersized I didn't see the need to invest in upgrade since the single CD did its job.   This reminds me of the original Superstars Of The 70s, album cuts, great singles but without the movie dialogue.   At one time, I wanted a copy of SOT70s album, but never could find a copy that wasn't chewed up be it record or album cover.   Still Almost Famous is a nice collection but I still believe that Superstars Of The 70s did it better. 

The Nirvana baby dude had his child porn suit against Nirvana and Universal music thrown out.  He could file again by Jan 13, but the guy just let it drop.

 Archives from the 90s-Swinging Steaks-Southside Of The Sky (Capricorn 1993)

The 90s may have been the last decade that I gave a shit about.  The labels were signing and releasing a whole lot of albums and CDs at that time.  Most bands were one record deals and gone the next.   Your local Wherehouse Music store or Zia's Records had plenty of CDs thrown in the bargain bins.  The pawnshops were actually on to selling CDs and were cheaper too.  Of course, most CDs looked like they came from the local trailer court, cracked jewel cases, and scratched up CDs were par for the course.   Also, promo copies of bands that never were more than local favorites.  How The Swinging Steaks managed to have their cd in a out of the way Kingman pawnshop is beyond me.  I do believe it was there for a while before grabbing it on the go.

The Steaks were signed to the revamped Capricorn label, via Warner Music.  The late Phil Walden also signed up Col Bruce Hampton and his various bands, The Dixie Dregs and wave of the future, Omaha's very own 311 in order to fit in the times.  Southside of the sky borrowed a few tunes off their Suicide At The Wishing Well album, got the eccentric Gary Katz to produce part of the album and they should have been as big as The Jayhawks, to their share their sound n vision, or a more polished Black Crowes, or The Band, who I think Southside Of The Sky is better than Music From Big Pink.  There were some minor radio airplay with Beg Borrow Or Steal, Circlin' and Right Through You could have passed as a Rolling Stones song.  The title track is a nod to the Georgia Satellites, tho you can make an argument for the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  Southside should have been at least made some sort of impact on the alternative rock, or even country radio.  But in a era of the stale smoke of grunge still hanging in the air, Southside became nothing but a curio for the adventurous who were sick of Seattle and that scene.  Jamie Walker and Tim Giovanniello being the main songwriters, I tend to think had more in common with Gary Louris and Mark Olson of the Jayhawks then perhaps The Robinsons, but still the music of the Steaks and Jayhawks and Satellites I enjoyed more than Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden.  Again, Southside Off The Sky should have done better but Warner Music pulled distribution and The Steaks would return back to the independent record route again, making fine music that radio seldom played.  The success of 311, managed to get Capricorn going again, Polygram picked up where Warner gave up on that label and Walden enjoyed some success before Polygram got bought out and sold to Universal.   Even in the dustbin of the pawnshop on Route 66 land, Southside Of The Sky deserves to be listened to.   In the perfect world  we'd be thinking more of the contributions of the Swinging Steaks and others such as From Good Homes, The Pistolleros (Chimeras from Tempe), Big Back Forty and Blue Mountain, bands that were not grunge but more tuneful Americana rock.  Three decades later Southside Of The Sky remains a essential listen.

I Forgot More Than You Know-Sonny James (Capitol 4307) #80 1960
The Watermelon Song-Tennessee Ernie Ford (Capitol F-3649) #87 1957
My Last Date With You-Skeeter Davis (RCA 47-7825) #26 1960
Walk On By-Leroy Van Dyke (Mercury 71834) #5 1961
If A Woman Answers-Leroy Van Dyke (Mercury 71926) #35 1962
Man Needs A Woman-Wink Martindale (Dot 16282)  1962
Take Good Care Of Her-Adam Wade (Coed-CD-546) #7 1961
Does He Mean That Much To You-Eddy Arnold (RCA 47-8102)  1962
Cool It Baby-Eddie Fontaine (Decca 9-30042) 1956

Replacement copy
Mission Bell-Donnie Brooks 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Last Bargain Hunt Of The Year

The final bargain hunt of 2021.  And I had to fight a GD snowstorm to get into town for 20 percent off things at Half Price Books.


Bobby Darin-You're The Reason I'm Living/18 Yellow Roses B
Johnny Cash-Blood, Sweat And Tears. A-


Nice Girls-Melissa Manchester (Arista AS-1045) #42 1983
Look To Your Soul-Johnny Rivers (Imperial 66286) #49 1968 (picture sleeve only) 
Summer Rain #14 1967 (Imperial 66267) 1967
Up On Cripple Creek-The Band (Capitol 2625) #25 1969
Star Love-The Playmates (Roulette R-4136) #75 1959

ZouZou Mansour of Soraia.  Wicked Cool Records Photo Credit

To be honest, most of the Half Price Book 45 collection was picked clean but there was still a few decent finds, tho 2.99 for Pacman Fever was too pricey. The lovely Missy Manchester's time with Arista was coming to an close but she got a sizable hit with Nice Girls a new wave pop hit not unlike what Sheena Huston was doing.  B Side Hey Ricky, sounds too same to Nice Girls but a bit more fun I think.  The goofy Playmates continue their pop and glop with Star Love, tho The Thing Ma A Jig was a bit more fun, but probably too much of a rip of their major hit Beep Beep.  I'd to find What Is Love but again, that's not high on the list of things to get.  The Band's Cripple Creek is a classic as well as B side The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.  Interesting to see the picture sleeve of Johnny Rivers Look Into Your Soul, and finding the number 17 Summer Rain instead.  One of those annoying wrong record in the wrong picture sleeve. Due to the bad weather, Half Price Books closed early so I didn't have to time to quiz the folks at the buy counter about a big box of 45s in the aisle, or if they were going to donate them or put them out, to which I'm sure they will.  So perhaps next year, I'll be seeing more goodies in the 45's bins.

Dennis O Dell-Helper of the Beatles died at age 98.

John Madden passed away from a sudden illness at age 85.  Best known for being part of the greatest NFL commentators with Pat Summerall, but also Raider Coach.  The 1970 miracle year of George Blanda is my fave highlight. 

Bruce Bromberg-Producer for Robert Cray's breakthrough album Strong Persuader and founder of Hightone Records died on December 26

Harry Reid-Long time Nevada congressman died Tuesday.  He was 82. 

Basically, to conclude the Bowl Season.  All teams lost.  Arizona State lost to Wisconsin in the Las Vegas Bowl. Iowa State cheezed out by Clemson and Iowa blows the lead and bad Brian Farenez play calling to lose to Kentucky.  To tilt the scales to the SEC Georgia and Alabama should have played the second game after the first but thanks to being blue bloods of College Football, they will play the last game of the season.  To which at this point,  we don't really care.  Georgia blew out Michigan, Albama blew out Cincinnati.  And life goes on. 

In the case of Spencer Petras, he's human.  In the case of Brian Farenez, he's an idiot. If you have forth in inches, if you believed in your offense line, you have gone for it.  However, Brian and his idiot dad Kirk decided to punt and let the Defense stop them, to which they didn't.  By the time the Hawks got the ball back all Petras can do was try to throw it and get yards and he threw an INT and Kentucky won out.  Father Fernenz has been the longest tenured coach in the Big Ten and one good thing he is good at is to win the cupcake games and lose the big games on TV.   At times, he could surprise, blowing out Ohio State and the odious Urban Meyer years ago, and this season he got a Penn State win before losing to Wisconsin and Purdue, only to get lucky and win the rest of the games and Wisconsin tripping and falling.  If Nebraska would have held the lead and play four quarters this would be a moot point but they managed to get into the Championship Big Ten game and stink it up.  Petras didn't do no favors throwing INTs but he doesn't play defense.    And Iowa didn't play defense on Kentucky's final drive.  The fans' ire on Petras is overwhelming and may serve as a purpose for him to use the transfer portal to another team.  He did fine last season but playing hurt didn't help.  Alex Padilla showed signs of getting the offense going but then he didn't inspire to which Petras came in to beat Nebraska.  But still the overall season for Iowa will be mixed and probably filed under disappointment.  They had the defense most of the year, the offense was another story. Too many dropped passes, inconsistent quarterbacking whoever came in and certainly Brian Ferenz, who should just stick to the offense line and not co ordinator.  He certainly didn't do the job this year.  

Another shit winter storm and this time the Winter Storm POS 4, gave us 4 and half inches of wet snow and rain and sleet.  More snow on the way for tomorrow and New Year's.  I managed to clear a path out to the driveway only to have more snow.  

At this point we finish the year of bargain hunts, to give you a clue of what I found at the local stores and thrift shops.  This will mark the 20th year of blogging, something that I didn't think would ever happened.  Social Media really didn't make us the next Christgau or Lefsetz, and both will continue after we say enough and go back to reality world.  In the 20 years of observations the ones that stand out the most are.

1)  Tower Records Closing
2)  The 2005 Sony/BMG Rootkit virus on copy protect CDs that basically killed off CD Sales.
3)  Hastings Entertainment Closing.

Tower was a hangout when I lived in Phoenix and Hastings was the place to go to find cheap music on my Arizona/Washington State bargain hunts.  The  Virgin Music Mart was another cool place to hang in Vegas and in Phoenix too.  While people flocked to the Grand Canyon, I spent it going to FYE or Virgin or Zia's Records. Fun times, great memories, of going to FYE stores no longer around.

So anyway, 2021 is over and done with.  I don't care to live another year of crap, Derechos, snowstorms, indifferent ratings (is 2009 the best year for music, judging by the ratings here they are). Even Betty White decided that she had enough and checked out of this world.  She was 99. 


2022 will be more of the same, babies will be born, people will die, and bands will break up and new bands will come along. Perhaps we'll keep inventory of what is found.  But I need a break from it all. 
The archives and singles going steady discography and other faves will be open for your pleasure. 
Till we meet again. 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Singles Going Steady 76-The Big Box Of Records That My Grandma Had

When I started doing the Singles Going Steady listings, it was a reference to myself about the music that I found, which went all the way back to the days of going to Illinois to see Grandma Ambrose and to revisit that big box of records of the 50s and 60's music.  A box of records that would would be the most influential music of my life.  Everything that was rock and roll started with this collection.  I really doubt if I can remember all of the music that came out from this box but when I got a working turntable I decided to try my luck in getting these forgotten records of the past.  Eventually, Grandma did give that box of records to us.  But the majority of them were played to death.

As far as my memory go, this will be a ongoing and final tribute to the 45s so it will be in stages.  The First set are the records that we still have or did have in the collection.  A lot of bobby sox teen idol stuff, but also a bit of rhythm and blues and rockabilly.  Some of the records remain at home with the folks, some of moved over here.

The Records That Became The Stuff Of Legends.
* is the original record from the box of records that still play
** are the replacement copies..

Under The Boardwalk-The Drifters
Honest I Do-The Innocents
Buzz Buzz Buzz-Hollywood Flames
Rockin Robin/Over And Over-Bobby Day
Cherrystone-The Addrasi Brothers
Alley Oop-The Hollywood Argyles 
The Three Bells-Dick Flood
Dream Lover-Bobby Darin
Gina-Johnny Mathis
Maria-Johnny Mathis

The Battle Of New Orleans-Johnny Horton
Walking To New Orleans-Fats Domino
Three Nights A Week-Fats Domino **
I Want To Walk You Home-Fats Domino
Be My Guest/I've Been Around-Fats Domino*
It's Late-Ricky Nelson **
It's Up To You-Ricky Nelson
I Got a Feeling/Lonesome Town-Ricky Nelson
Poor Little Fool-Ricky Nelson*
Sweeter Than You-Ricky Nelson**

I'm Sorry-Brenda Lee
All Alone Am I-Brenda Lee **
I Want To Be Wanted-Brenda Lee **
Terry Bear-Elvis Presley
A Big Hunk O Love-Elvis Presley*
Just Born To Be Your Baby-Perry Como **
Born Too Late-The Poni Tails **
Where Were You On Our Wedding Day-Lloyd Price **
Three Little Pigs-Lloyd Price **
The Happy Reindeer-Dancer, Prancer And Nervous **

Rock And Roll Music-Chuck Berry
Sweet Little Sixteen-Chuck Berry*
Always-The Little Dippers **
Guitar Boogie Shuffle-The Virtues **
What You Don't Know Won't Hurt You-Mitchell Torok**
A Boy Without A Girl-Frankie Avalon
Just Ask Your Heart-Frankie Avalon
So Fine-The Fiestas**
Walking Her Home-Big Daddy
Good Golly Miss Molly-The Valiants

Big Storm-Billy Storm **
Dark Moon-Gale Storm
Teen Angel-Mark Dining **
Maybe-The Chantels
I've Only Have Eyes For You-The Flamingos 
Mio Amore-The Flamingos
Heavenly Angel-The Flamingos
Tallahassee Lassie-Freddy Cannon (the first song I ever heard)**
Way Down Yonder In New Orleans-Freddy Cannon**
Kookie Hat-Freddie Cannon**

Among My Souvenirs-Connie Francis
My Happiness-Connie Francis
Tell Him No-Travis And Bob**
Look In My Eyes-The Chantels **
Little Cricket-The Royal Teens
Short Shorts-The Royal  Teens
Diana-Paul Anka**
It's Time To Cry-Paul Anka**
Don't Gamble With Love-Paul Anka
That's My Desire-The Lettermen**

I've Had It-The Bell Notes**
Handy Man-Jimmy Jones**
Sorry (I ran all the way home) The Impalas
At The Hop-Danny And The Juniors**
The Angels Listened In-The Crests
The Enchanted Sea-The Islanders**
Burning Bridges-Jack Scott**
What In The World Has Come Over You-Jack Scott**
How Insensitive-Tony Bennett**
To Know Him Is To Love Him/Don't Your Worry My Little Pet-The Teddy Bears**

The Little Train-Marianne Vasel/Erick Storz**
Little Darlin'-The Diamonds
Toot Toot Toosie (Goodbye)-Al Jolson
New River Train-Bobby Helms
I Understand (Just how you reel) The G Clefs**
Alimony-Frankie Ford
Lonely Winds-The Drifters
Am I The Man-Jackie Wilson
Lonely Teardrops-Jackie Wilson
A Woman, A Lover, A Friend-Jackie Wilson

Ebb Tide/Sinbad-Bobby Freeman**
You'll Never Tame Me-Bobby Rydell**
Wild One-Bobby Rydell
Popeye The Hitchhiker-Chubby Checker
My Heart Is An Open Book-Carl Dobkins Jr.**
Theme From The Kay-But I can't think of who did the song, came out on Columbia in 60.
Willie And The Hand Jive/Ring A Ling-Johnny Otis Show**
I Love How You Love Me-The Paris Sisters
Alone (why must I be)-The Shepard Sisters**
Secret Of Love-Nicky De Matteo 

Red River Rock/Buckeye-Johnny And The Hurricanes**
Make Me A Miracle/Secretly-Jimmie Rodgers**
What Is Love-The Playmates
Jo Anne-The Playmates**
A Walk In The Black Forest-Horst Janakosski**
Hello Dolly-Louis Armstrong
Don't Let Go-Roy Hamilton**
My One Sin-The Four Coins**
Tom Dooley-The Kingston Trio**
Daddy Cool-The Rays**

Kansas City-Wilbert Harrison**
Morgan-Ivo Robic**
Just Between You And Me-The Chordettes**
Let It Be Me-The Everly Brothers
Wake Up Little Susie-The Everly Brothers**
Tammy-Debbie Reynolds**
Teenager In Love-Dion
Boogie Bear-Boyd Bennett**
Sea Of Love-Paul Phillips**
It's Only Make Believe-Conway Twitty

It's All In The Game-Tommy Edwards
Life's A Holiday-Jerry Wallace
I Gotta Have You-Tommy Sands
Run To Him-Bobby Vee
Sharing You-Bobby Vee
Exodus-Ferrate And Theatcher **
Calcutta-Lawrence Welk
Whole Lotta Shakin Going On-Jerry Lee Lewis
Great Balls Of Fire-Jerry Lee Lewis
My Town My Guy And Me-Lesley Gore**

Gotta Travel On-Billy Grammer**
Lonely Boy-Paul Anka**
Lovers By Night, Strangers By Day-The Fleetwoods
Bye Bye Love-Everly Brothers
Hound Dog Man-Fabian
Black Slacks-Joe Bennett/Sparkletones **
That's Why I Was Born-Janice Harper**
For A Penny-Pat Boone
Welcome New Lovers-Pat Boone
Twixt Twelve And Twenty-Pat Boone

These are the songs and record that defined and ruined me into the habit of buying records.  This list is missing a few singles, some Doris Day or more Johnny Mathis songs that got broken over time.  At that time, I didn't recall seeing any Beatles songs or Stones, so basically the cut off date would have been 1961.  Certainly a lot of teen idol music from the likes of Paul Anka and Pat Boone but also from Ricky Nelson and The Everly' Brothers.  I don't recall Johnny Tillotson singles but we did have the Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On album.  While compiling what I knew from the box of records, I figured there were over 100 45's in there, but remembering 130, well, even I find that remarkable.  For the original records, they actually play a lot better than they looked especially Big Hunk O Love and Sweet Little Sixteen.  For taking 60 years of abuse that's a accomplishment. 

When we lived in Lincoln Illinois at that time, Mom did go to Woolworth's for the 4 for a dollar special. In 1963, this becomes a blur.  I do know Oh Such A Stranger (Don Gibson) was bought there and destroyed due to being a brat, likewise Gonna Send You Back To Walker (The Animals).  I don't quite know how Ray Charles figured into getting his music later.  I think the first single mom bought was That Lucky Old Sun and Ben E King's I Who Had Nothing and perhaps Timi Yuro's Down In The Valley was on this, but I always thought that record was in the collection and not Hurt.  I also know that Elvis' Ain't That Loving You Baby was purchased later.  Tommy Roe's Carol was bought around 1964 In the case of Timi Yuro, Exodus, was part of the box of records.  There might have been a third Connie Francis record but I wasn't interested in her music, nor Johnny Mathis for that matter.  Or Pat Boone, tho later in life I did pick up Don't You Just Know It and Good Rocking Tonight.  But in reality there are probably too many Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon sides, tho the former did have some good singles (Diana, Lonely Boy, Something Has Changed Me) but then again I may have gone overboard on finding more Paul Anka's ABC sides in the past few years.  He may have not been rock and roll but he did know how to write a decent song, tho he'll be forever dammed for You're Having My Baby, which I never owned the single.

Still the ability to remember this many songs from the past, but can't recall what I just did an hour ago, showed how serious music came to be in this life.  I'm not sure why Al Jolson was part of this collection or Tony Bennett for that matter, my guess is that Aunt Virginia may have bought those, or even Grandma Ambrose for Al Jolson, or perhaps, Archie Ambrose bought those.  I was never close to him anyway and Grandma knew buying records would keep me out of trouble.  I do miss playing Grandma some of those latter day singles,  one of them You Keep Me Hanging On by Vanilla Fudge was in that box for the longest time.

Like most folk, I gave up vinyl for CDs but in the early 2000's decided to reconnect with my youth and try to seek out if I can find replacement copies of these forty fives.  It took me 40 years to finally get Gonna Send You Back To Walker in this collection, and then after that things fell into place.  Mad City Music X was instrumental in some of the off the wall ones, Ragged Records had a few too and of course the kindness of strangers and thrift stores.  What wasn't found on 45, I did via CD or LPs, but it was so cool to have the actual 45 in hand.  Name association also played a role, being the good (Elvis, Everly's, Chuck Berry) and the tripe (guess which ones) and whatever fell in between.  It's a shame that these record stuck in a box were not taken better care of, but then again I was too young and too dumb to give a shit.  

When we moved to Waterloo in 1965, I still had a daily dose of new 45's.  Ray Charles was one artist I looked out for, Tommy James And The Shondells came later on. Somehow I talked my mom into getting a 10 record box for 2 dollars.  That became very influential as well.  If I remembered correctly. They included.

Let The Water Run Down-Ben E King
Piano Nellie-Bobby Brandt
I Know Why-The Spector's Three
The Gamble-Ray Agee
High School USA-(Baltimore-DC Version) Tommy Facenda
Tears And Kisses-Frankie Randall
He's Just A Playboy-The Drifters
After Laughter Comes Tears-Wendy Rene
Smack Dab In The Middle-Ray Charles
Grab This Thing-The Mar Kays 

Another interesting finds came later with I Don't Know What You Got But It's Got Me from Little Richard, and Little Red Rooster from Sam Cooke, I don't believe they were part of the box set. There was an original thought that What Will Tomorrow Bring was from Carla Thomas but it turned out that it was Wendy Rene that sang that song.  I didn't care much for it.  However, that song is one of more sought after Northern Soul singles.  Most of the singles came from Atlantic and its associated labels. Hell, I am surprised I can remember 9 of the 10 songs in that box.  I tended to favor oddball instrumentals, Peter Gunn from both Ray Anthony and Duane Eddy, and Vaughn Monroe's version of Mr. Moto.  Oh, and of course, The Animals, tho the next song I got would be Inside Looking Out, not Gonna Send You back To Walker but Inside Looking Out would become one of my all time fave songs along with B side You're On My Mind.   Red Hot from Sam The Sham would be another early fave. Again, I had no Beatles or Rolling Stone records at that time.  Not a lot of Motown either, tho there was a Tamla 45 of either the Marvelettes or Marvin Gaye but the song escapes me.  Probably the first Motown single would have been Back In My Arms Again by the Supremes.  I did want a copy of Lady Madonna by The Beatles but my mom was in a bad mood and told me to put the record back.  You can't always get what you want indeed.  I do know the first Beatles record I bought was Hey Jude.

Moving to Nevada (Iowa that is) Ben Franklin had 9 cent forty fives, to which the cream of the crop was Hey Joe/51st Anniversary by Jimi Hendrix with the picture sleeve that is buried way deep in a landfill outside of town.  Strange Brew by Cream was another and Ben E King had Katherine and King Curtis had On Broadway and Ramsey Lewis 123.  I found it more interesting to find R and B stuff rather than rock and roll but then again, I basically focused on name association, Ray Charles and later Steppenwolf, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix became sought after stuff in the 4 for a dollar bins at Woolworths. or Wells or Arlan's.   At that point I decided that I was going to dedicate my life in searching for cheap records and never grew out of that.  The thrill of hearing Mony Mony to the point of getting my toy rocking chair and rock to the song playing on the radio and then trying to find it.  Only to get Hanky Panky, Mirage, It's Only Love, I Think We're Alone Now and Out Of The Blue.  Which basically started the record collecting/hoarding.

Life moved on, but Grandma's big box of records remained a pleasant memory of days gone by.  And perhaps the inspiration of such comps as the American Graffiti Soundtrack, and companion volumes 2 and 3. Back in 73, the golden age of Rock and Roll was still 15 years old from 1957.  I don't remember any of the Platters singles in that box but we have a couple of Platters albums that played from time to time.  At that time, 45's were more cheaper than albums, so we had plenty of variety to listen to. 

In the case of Wendy Rene, I did blew it on that song, but copies of that song go from 50 to 100 dollars so unless somebody donates it to Goodwill, I don't believe I'll find a copy.  But never say never, thanks to the internet and Ebay, there's always a chance to invest if and when the time is right.

The quest to find ole 45's from the past continues and most often than not I come up empty, unless I go to Mad City Music X or Moondog Music to see what they have.  The turnaround is much better in a college town and Madison never disappoints.   There are times, that I will go to a Goodwill or Salvation Army or Army Vet Thrift Store and find some new music.  As long as the records are in good shape, that's all that matters.  And besides, most of the worthy records from the Box have had replacement copies replaced the original, except for a couple, tho Reelin and Rockin' was much rougher than Sweet Little Sixteen and Memphis Tennessee is unplayable.  Back In the USA is slightly better.  

With that, I can now sit back with my feet propped up, knowing that I finally had the chance to remember and compile just about every single from the box of records to which I'm sure my mom went to Kresge or Woolworth's to escape from her life of hell for a hour or two while she was growing up. She just basically passed on the buying records to me since she was now a house wife and trying to bring me up in this world.  I think I did a better job escaping to that world of records after a lousy day at school, then she did.  With this, we can finally lay to rest, the records that started it all.  Even if half the records were crappy idols, the majority of songs were the basis of the Golden Age Of Rock And Roll. 

And I guess we're all for the better of that.
Thank you Mom and Grandma Ambrose.


Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas 2021

There hasn't been much cause for celebration for Christmas this year.  If we thought 2020 was the pits, 2021 is the year that the bottom of the mine shaft gave way and plunged us deeper and darker into a world full of pain and Covid deaths.   There hasn't been much of a Christmas spirit at all this year, I showed up at Black Friday Jam and ended up getting Covid myself two days later.  And for the first fifteen days of December sleeping most of that time away.  I never lost my sense of smell or taste or couldn't breathe but has a coughing spell that lasted for days upon end.   With no ambition whatsoever, I couldn't even bring myself to listen to any music or took part of the jams in town.  Perhaps it's just as well, there was the usual bitching about playing too loud, too fast.  

For the most part, I kept busy off and one with hardly read bloggings and musings, only to find a 10 year old throwaway piece got the most views.  Guess the world still moans the passing of the great Junior Seau. One of my all time fave Chargers who met a sad demise in his life.  Or perhaps it was MCA, the former Beastie Boy.  It certainly wasn't about the Dirt Drifters, who's old site is now a betting site.  As pointless as this page once was, when I see it topping the list, it reminds me of a ole stale fart still around.  All the effort of the latest postings and Blogger still has that number one.  Archival musings that should have stayed back in the past. 

Christmas 2021, and it will be a brown Christmas, just like a brown Thanksgiving.  I don't care much for snow, and the mystic of Christmas is no longer viable.  I'm not 10 years old, awaiting to see if Santa did bring me that drumset that I saw in the Sears catalog.  Or getting a replacement three years later after destroying the first set.  I never really the value of things till after destroying them and regretting it later.  The drum with the flashing light inside the bass drum was the best and most fun of those set.

I have a sneaking and sad suspicion that this Christmas may be the last for our family.  We never quite know what will happen but the folks are getting old and the cold and flu have taken a toll on them.  In my case, a  shoulder pain that is painful to walk anymore, but Unity Point and the doctors say it's all in my mind.  I'm sure come next year at this point a significant other or good friend won't be around and Christmas won't be Christmas without them around.   It used to be that Dad would put up his famed chipmunks Christmas up for the world to see and pop the Christmas with the Chipmunks 1 and 2 on infinite replay on 8 track and annoy the neighbors.  Nowadays, the folks never bother putting a tree up anymore.  Really doesn't make sense to chop a tree drown and drown it in tinsel and other paraphernalia on the branches and then throw it out after the 27th and bring all the wood carvings of the Chipmunks to store away for another 11 months.   But since Santa retired bringing us gifts years ago, and since I never had children of my own, we don't see the need.

(Annie Lennox, just because it is her birthday) 

2021, another year of despair, my ex revealed she had liver cirroulus (sic) and she and my best friend lost their real dad to Covid a couple days ago.  I have to admit that she was a very insightful woman and knew better.  She knew going back to me would be problematic but I didn't see it at the time.  And she was right all along, even to the day she married her real high school sweetheart on the day that I decided to return to the music scene.  A win win for all.   As for my current love, we haven't done much together, not since the ill fated kayaking trip with her bestie this summer.   And I have been reminded on how much a bad time it was for all involved.  Never mind it was my first time kayaking.  And was trying to struggle along to keep up with them.  At that time, the Wapsi was damn near bone dry and I was trying to avoid the sand bars and old trees in the river.

I think this is the first year that the US is not in a war.  The Afghan crisis, namely W's albatross that went on for 20 years and nothing came of it, till Trump promised and Biden delivered on ending that waste of time and the Taliban waited and won out.  It's been a shithole of a country ever since time begin.  Even after we're gone, they'll still be waging war.   In the meantime our government doing their usual.  Trump was voted out but the Republicans continue to hole everything up.  Ever since the beginnings of this blog there would be usual bashings of the so called Conservative party, the faces change all the while.  The new villains are the in name only democrats such as Joe Manchin (bought and paid for by the coal mines of WV) and the odious Gym Jordan and the three Iowa dingbats of Ashley Hinson, Ms. Ernst and Covid Kim Reynolds, the idiot governor.    Trump remains a distraction but the biggest pile of shit is Joe (semen on his) Manchin. Who made up a bill but could not see it in his heart to pass it.  He's no better than the Taliban.

(Ashley Alexiss under your wish list-from her website)

Except for a December Derecho (first of its kind in December with 43 tornadoes confirmed in Iowa last week) the weather has been very quiet, very eerie in its way of hardly any rain or snow.  Kids are going to be disappointed that Santa won't be able to get around in a sleigh so he'll have to use a 4X4 to drop off the goodies for the kids who believed.   In the meantime there is some Christmas music to play, Buck Owens Christmas, Have Yourself A Tractor Christmas and a old Iowa Christmas comp from Oil Magazine, which was the best music mag of the 1990s, putting out the classic Gimme Some Soul For Christmas by the beloved Blue Band and three songs by the Kalambas, which is three songs too many. And Blue Yule, the Rhino Blues Christmas.  And of course, the best song that describes Christmas is this song by The Wailers from Seattle that does a better Bob Dylan version than Bob's very own Christmas In The Air romp years ago. 

With a week to go in a year to forget and 2022 threatening to do more of the same, it's hoped that next year will be better, but history has shown that it hasn't.  What Christmas spirit was shown was flown away after getting home last night and have Stupid The Dog barking to which Merry Christmas was hurled at with a few f bombs.   And give us memories of old Chelsey looking through the door for treats and a belly rub.  She's is still missed.  Stupid the Dog, not so much.  

Can't stand that dog anyway.

Christmas Playlist:

Christmas Ain't Christmas-Buck Owens
Gimme Some Soul For Christmas-The Blue Band
Little Drummer Boy-Johnny Cash
Scrooge-The Townedgers
Sleigh Ride-The Ventures
All I Want For Christmas Is You-Foghat
Blues For Christmas-John Lee Hooker
Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy-The Tractors
The Happy Reindeer-Dancer, Prancer And Nervous
Christmas Boogie-Canned Heat/Chipmunks 

Passings over the weekend;

Kevin Sinmacher-Video artist and musician. 
Janice Long-Famed British DJ Broadcaster 
Dave Brodt-Former Kernels announcer and KCRG news reporter.
J D Crowe-Bluegrass legend.
Desmond Tutu-Saint

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Best Albums Of 2021

That time again to try to compile a best of the music of 2021.  To which will be displayed and forgotten as with many other best of lists.

Last year's winner was Bush, The Kingdom, which drew laughs all over the internet and was omitted from other award winning best ofs out there.  To be honest, I only played that record once this year and perhaps overrated it.  Ghosts Of West Virginia from Steve Earle came in at number 2 and I recently put that on the musical box and even found that one to be filed in the back of the room.  I still love Steve Earle's music but I find that each and every new release is a minor pleasure but with the exception of So You Wanna Be A Cowboy,  will be gathering dust forever more.

(NME Photo Credit)

Whatever Rolling Stone or SPIN or Pitchfork touts, I avoided.  When it came to review the heartbreak album of the year, I decided on Kacey Musgraves' Star Crossed over Adele 30, tho people say that one is her best.  Time has flown by so quickly, that Taylor Swift is now 32 and in the process of re recording her albums that she did for Big Machine Music.  To be honest, I have never cared much to review Taylor's output.  The loss of twenty years blogging to nobody might be one reason as well.    For hot shots like Lorde's who's Solar Power, I thought about getting the naughty naughty album cover, but nobody has it and by the time I got the record store I could never remember her name or title.   Perhaps Solar Power is the better of Star Crossed or Adele 30.  And maybe I'll get round hearing that album.

This year, 25 albums were bought this year, but per usual, it was hard trying to find most of the CDs since I had to venture to Moondog Music or Co Op Moline to get these albums.  Target would have one or two,  Wally World ditto but I wasted miles on the car only to find nobody had the Doobie Brothers latest, to which it did come out on Island/Universal, something unheard of from a 50 year old band on a major label.  But major labels are a major hindrance anyway,  they don't promote rock and roll, unless it's a 50th anniversary of a classic title from 1971.  I really didn't see any reason to pony up for David Crosby's If I Can Only Remember My Name with boner tracks or Tattoo You 40th from the Stones.   For reissue of the year, it was easier just to give it to Omnivore for the Buck Owens albums he did for Capitol in the late 60s and early 70s, Sweet Rosie Jones or Tall Dark Stranger.  Or  Down In The Rust Bucket from Neil Young and Crazy Horse since Neil Young has been very busy issuing his archives and it's hard to keep up with what he issues.  For quality reissues, there's always The Grateful Dead, which Road Trips Volume 2, is basically Anthem Of The Sun done in concert at the Carousel in Portland Or 2/14/68

But then again the best of the past years, tend to be forgotten  even when they made the best ten. One of the still played albums was The Who's 2019 S/T didn't make the top 20 but has emerged as the album I go back to on a regular basis.   Ten years ago, we had sweet Samantha Fish come out as one of the up and coming guitar blues player around. For some reason her new album never appealed much to me even with Tech9 appearing as shock value.    But then again, the blues is more rock than the Billboard top 100.  It used to be that Billboard was the pulse of music but I haven't paid any attention of the flavor of the month.  Most pop songs sound the same anyway.  Still Sam Fish remains a must see when she comes into town and she has been very good appearing here once or twice close by.  

This year, the blues played a bigger role here for me due to correspondence with Bob Corritore and his tribute to Chess/Cobra Records Spider In My Stew,  and hanging out with the Avey/Grouws Band in November which their latest album Tell Tale Heart improves big time, by adding a bit of Fleetwood Mac to their grooves.  The future is there and we still have local artists keeping the music alive.  Nevertheless the first five albums can share the number 1 rating, not a bad song and perhaps over time, these albums were will be remembered better than the previous ones I put up in the past.  Tastes vary and sometimes they show up.  Just ask Bush on that.

The Best albums of 2021

Avey-Grouws Band-Tell Tale Heart (Navy House)

Our friends from the Quad Cities, home of The Dawn and the spirit of Ellis Kell make a sophomore album that improves on the blues and adds some rock n roll.  Jenny Grouws has one of the best blues vocals out there, Chris Avey could be Richard Thompson of the blues on Mariana and Daylight is the best Stevie Nicks song she never wrote.  Bad Bad Year and Love Raining Down, the album lead off are highlights.   While the 2020 epidemic slowed them down when The Devil May Care came out but 2022 looks to be the year you will hear more from AGB. Bryan West, drummer MVP.

Bob Corritore And Friends-Spider In My Stew (Southwest Musical Arts Foundation) 

Bob is a living legend out in Arizona and is one of the best and most knowledgeable of the blues, he's played with Muddy Waters, Chico Chism and many others and owns the Rhythm Room out in Scottsdale.  On this album, Bob really takes us back to the feel of old time Chicago blues, on this album, more of a look at Cobra Records and of course Chess and he manages to grab a who's who of blues people on Spider.  Bob Primer, Kid Ramos, Bob Margolin and many others give cool version of Don't Mess with the Messer and Wang Dang Doodle and even I Shall Be Released makes sense as album closer.  Last time a blues album moved me this much was Howlin' Wolf's Rocking Chair album.

James McMurtry-The Horses And The Hounds (New West)

It was a big event to see McMurtry come out with a brand new album, his first in over 7 years and for this, he had Ross Hograth (who helped shape his John Mellencamp produced Columbia albums) producing and even Kenny Aronoff showed up to played drums too.  McMurtry remains one of the best songwriters ever with his downhome and honest views, even on What's The Matter, even the best songwriters will have to deal with romantic grief as well. 

Black Berry Smoke-You Hear Georgia (30 Tigers)

By far the best southern rock band out there, Charlie Starr and company came back with a better record than the last one.  It's a shame that nobody else does this better than The Smoke. Rock is not dead, but the Major labels are doing their damnest to kill it.

Los Lobos-Native Sons (New West)

The gang decide to cover songs by bands that are in the LA area and they have a ball reconstructing Buffalo Springfield, Farmer John and Jackson Browne.   I have never heard a subpar Los Lobos record and most do make my ten best list of any year.  A quality name you can trust.  Los Lobos

Neil Young And Crazy Horse-Down In The Rust Bucket (Reprise/NYA)

Forget the Promise Of The Real concerts of Earth fame, Neil has always gotten the best ragged glory out of Billy Talbot/Ralph Moline/Frank Stompedero lineup and this concert during the Ragged Glory tour shows them on fire and better than the Arc/Weld album.  If there's any issue, it might be a few too many from Ragged Glory, but Fucking Up is fun to listen to and another great version of Cinnamon Girl. 

Robert Plant/Alison Krauss-Raise The Roof (Rounder)

I think this one is better than Raising Sand, tho it's a bit darker and moody.  Jay Bellodose is the secret weapon but Plant does know a few decent soul songs to cover.  

Paul Stanley's Soul Station-Now And Then  (UMe)

While Ace Frehley decided to continue to mine the classic rock songbook, Stanley went one better and rediscovered the soul classics and channeled his inner Motown, but also Philadelphia soul from the Spinners, the Marvalows, and Al Green.    The record sank without a trace a week or so after release but Paul really does love R and B as much as you and I.

Willie Nelson And Family (Legacy)

His That's Life album was so so, but what Willie does best is play the gospel and revisit some of his best known stuff, this time out with Bobbie playing piano and Paul English playing his last sessions. For 32 minutes, it's a nice family get together

Ministry-Moral Hygiene (Nuclear Blast)

I'm surprised to hear how well the record has sounded since Al Jourgensen has his issues, but the record is much darker than the Trump bashing AmeriKKK album.  Reviews have been mixed but he hasn't been this impressive since Psalm 69.

The next ones:

Julie Gordon/Dave Bonham-Live At The Artisan Sanctuary  (Zephyr Rose)
Weezer-Ok Human (Atlantic)
Weezer-Van Weezer (Atlantic)
Surf Zombies-In Stereo (Surf Zombie Music)
Steve Earle-JT (New West)
The Specials-Protest Music (Island)
Neil Young/Crazy Horse-Barn (Reprise)
Deep Purple-Returning To Crime (Ear Music)
Silk Sonic-An Evening With Silk Sonic (Atlantic/Rhino)
The Darkness-Motorheart (Cooking Vinyl)

The Gordon/Bonham were recorded demos of their live shows done in the studio and it has been known that she has always had the best vocals in town.  Six years after Kyle Oyloe,  she has settled down into a more folk rock mood.  Dave adds complimentary guitar to her vocal.  For Weezer, OK Human is better than the Van Weezer album.  The Surf Zombies is Cedar Rapids' version of caffinated Ventures and Los Straitjackets and I think this is their best album overall.  The Specials with Terry Hall leading them,  make a protest album of songs over the past 100 years, which sound more folk than ska.  Barn is a more streamlined NY/CH, sloppy and meaningful at the same time.  Deep Purple has fun covering other band's songs, they tend to play it safe more than they should but the Caught In The Act Medley is fun and Battle Of New Orleans is more fun than Shapes Of Things.    Silk Sonic, is Bruno Mars paying homage to Booty Collins and Babyface.  He's better with the funk stuff, the Baby Face tribute, passable. And The Darkness can wow and annoying you at the same time.  

The Rest:

Rick Estrin And The Nightcats-Contemprary  (Alligator 2019)
Toots And The Maytals-Got To Be Tough (Trojan 2020) 
Nina Simone-Fodder On My Wings (Verve 2020) 
Kacey Musgraves-Star Crossed (Interscope)
Todd Snider-First Agnostic Church Of Hope And Wonder-(30 Tigers)

The First three albums don't qualify for the 2021 list, but Toots and the Maytals, I didn't get the record till Collector's Choice had it up for sale.  In some ways it's a bittersweet finale since it would be Fred Hibbert's last record and Robbie Shakespeare last record as well.  Kudos to Zak Starkey for putting this together.  The Nina Simone was from last year and would have made the top ten.  The Night Cats played the CR Bluesfest and this was their latest which came out 2 years ago.  Estrin is a very sly vocalist in a Sonny Boy Williamson (2) way.  Kacey and Todd close out the years other albums, tho perhaps some day Star Crossed will be remembered better.  But the Todd Snider album was even too weird for Todd Snider himself.    I expected better from him. 

Friday, December 17, 2021

Week In Review: Tornado Outbreak, Urban Meyer, The Year In Bargain Hunting

Jacksonville's love affair with disgraced coach Urban Meyer came to and abrupt ending when the owner fired him after a 20-0 loss and more accusations about him and his unprofessional coaching methods.  They worked better at Ohio State or Utah but 13 weeks into the season it was time to kick him to the curb. When he hired Chris Doyle, disgraced former Iowa Strength Coach, it pretty much begin a season of havoc.   He won't be missed, but I'm sure he'll come back to the college level.  He couldn't cut it in the NFL.

(KTTC photo credit.  Hull Library) 

Last week, we had the Quad State Tornado ripping up 290 miles of the south.  This week, we had a Shitstorm that had twenty four tornadoes reported in the Midwest, including a EF 1 pest that whopped Rudd Iowa in Floyd County.  It took the roof off the library but somehow kept the books on the shelves, tho I'm sure the rain and wind ruined them.  Cedar Rapids had 66 mile an hour winds at the airport.  However, not much rain came from this system, which turned out to be a derecho, but was called a serial one rather than the August 2020 shitstorm which was a progressive one.  The Wednesday storm was also responsible for the CR area hitting 70 degrees in December for the first time ever, the temp high was 72 degrees, Moline had 76 degrees, before the cold front and storm bringing derecho came around 8 30 PM.  The winds howled all through the night and most of Thursday to which temps returned back to a cold and chilly 34 degrees.  So far, we have yet to see a major snowstorm, we had a brown Thanksgiving, and it will look to be a brown Christmas since there is no major snow storms on the horizon.  Which doesn't bother me at all.  Rest assured, I'll have a white birthday next month.  However if we have a brown birthday, it will be the first one ever in history that Thanksgiving, Christmas and Jan 24 will have no snow. But I betcha it will be white.

I'm finally getting over the COVID cold flu that leveled me most of this month and wasting what's left of my vacation and sick time as well, since getting exposed to this after a Black Friday Jam, that had five people test positive for the COVID virus.   Although I was never at a loss of breath or taste or smell, it just made me more tired and most of that time I went from couch to bed and back again.  I'll be in line to get the booster shot next month, hopefully it won't kill me.

Saturday, Keith Richards turned 78.  And still kicking.

Bruce Springsteen sold off his music masters to Sony Music for half a billon dollars.  He won't have to ever work again for a living.  A lot of folks have been selling their catalog to the major labels for X amount of money.  ZZ Top, sold their catalog to BMG for 50 Million.  BMG has been very busy getting rights to music from others, namely Tina Turner, Mick Fleetwood and Motley Crud.  At this point, I think it's safe to put them part of the major label group of Universal, Sony Music, and Warner Music Group. 

As we have two more weeks left in this wonderful year, this will be my 20th full year of doing this thing we call Record Review, which started out as top ten review and bash project.  To be honest, I have never thought that 2 decades of this would be a reality.  However, the people that gave me the go ahead were part of the chat room and with that chatroom now history, most have moved on to other things in life.  When R S Crabb's Top Ten Music News and Views went past its expiration date, it was renamed Record World in 2015.  And it has been an on and off thing, but came back online due to the Singles Going Steady series to which I tried to keep the spirit of the 45 alive and well.  At least 75 plus blogs were dedicated to the 45.   In a virtual world of social media, it made me share my love of music and off the wall bands.  Once in a while, I would strike gold on researching past bands and even a couple of them liked them enough to post them on their site for a month or two.    I never did envisioned myself to catch on to SPIN or Pitchfork or for that matter Bob Lefsetz, who managed to call me out when he was trying out some outdated phone or something other.  With him with was much ado about nothing.  meanwhile   Meanwhile, he continues with his newletter and of course, he'll get a few artists to come visit and comment on things (Betty Lavette wrote a charming reply in the most recent blog).  He is on one side of the spectrum, I'm in the far other side, not noticeable to anybody.   I don't visit Bob's site all that much, but once in a while I will.  He did a nice tribute to Mike Nesmith.  50 plus years later the Monkees' music are still more memorable than anything new today.  Mr. Lefsetz pays attention to the music world better than me. I am more interested to see what is found in the bargain bins or scratchy records.  And my ratings are laughable compared to him.  Most viewed the Junior Seau, Dirt Drifters blog from 10 years ago.  No wonder why people give up blogging.   Turns out the Dirt Drifter's blog ended up being a Draft Kings lite betting site it seems.  I made a few adjustments and deleted that link. I don't allow betting sites here.  Not music related. 

The year of bargain hunting was like anything the past 20 years.  There was some great finds and there were some that was so so but I managed to document most of the misadventures of this year.  Why, I really don't know but to check out what I did find.  And I still think the Davenport hunt of the old vintage 45s found at the Disabled Vets Thrift Store was the best of the year.   I went to Madison three times and came back with plenty of stuff.  But in the end, Dubuque and the Quad Cities was closer and preferable over Iowa City and Waterloo.   I did take my girlfriend up to Dubuque for her to EXP the bargain hunts but Moondog Music didn't have a decent inventory of 45s that day.  I'd do better a month later.  In the end, the obsession did boil over and it was decided that perhaps next year I'll be doing more with my girlfriend, then jump in the car and drive.  This obsession did managed to kill off one I had ten years ago.  However, my girlfriend loved me enough to buy Eddie Holland's Leaving Here for a Xmas present.   To which she got a nice Taylor Mini for a gift.  

If this year of the bargain hunting is summed up, it would be finding a lot of Elvis Presley stuff, be it, CD or 45s, even finding Do The Clam, not exactly one of his shining moments.  Likewise Ricky Nelson's country period of the late 60s and early 70s.   Analog Vault had plenty of quarter 45s that played nice.   In other words, bargain hunting was very good to me. 

Everybody is available, very few are desirable.  From the fabled former A and R at Sanctuary Records.

While Bob continues to harp about the tending stuff, I found more outdated storage media in various formats.

An Introduction To KC And The Sunshine Band B+
Earl Klugh-Heart String B
Melissa Manchester's Greatest Hits B+

Judy Collins-Hard Times For Lovers C
Charlie Rich-The Sun Years. B-


My Love-Wings (Apple 1861)  #1 1973
Spirit In The Sky-Norman Greenbaum (Reprise 885)  #3 1970
This Guy's In Love With You-Herb Alpert (A&M 929)  #1 1968
Yesterday's Girl-Flo Ann Brown (Fraternity F-904)  1963
Special Delivery-1910 Fruitgum Company (Buddah BDA-114) #38 1969
Sugar Daddy-The Jackson Five (Motown M 1194F) #10 1971

and a replacement copy of Yes Tonight Josephine by Johnny Ray (Columbia 4-40893)

The silly little love song that is My Love, you either like or don't like but I find it more tolerable than Silly Love Songs myself.  But the odd fact was that Wings were spinning their wheels on Wild Life and on Red Rose Speedway, which hasn't held up over the years.  Herb Alpert scored a number 1 hit with This Guy's In Love With You which has aged better over the years.  The 1910 Fruit Gum Company might have been the least of the bubblegum acts on Buddah but Special Delivery I remember from a cousin that had a copy of said song.  Indian Giver might have been the better song but I like Special Delivery.  The Flo Ann Brown song is a country number  The Jackson Five an underrated soul number.

Judy Collins I tend to take or leave at times.  In My Life probably was her best studio album for me, her best of all over the map and Hard Times For Lovers, she cast her lot with hotshot Gary Klein to revive her career, even to the point of a naked Judy gracing the cover of this 1979 album.  I seriously doubt that she threw a poster of her fully nakedness, but the title track was a failed pop number.   This goes way too close to Barbara Streisand territory, but hey the photos are sexy.   There hasn't been any shortage of Charlie Rich's albums in the thrift stores but any of his Sun material is harder to find.  This comes a  GRT compilation and he was  the most soulful of the Sun recording artists.   As with albums from the 1970s, most of these are done in fake stereo and not mono. 

An Introduction to KC and the Sunshine Band is all you really need, since it has most of the hits and choice cuts like Queen Of Clubs and Sound Your Funky Horn.  A shame they didn't include the full version of Get Down Tonight or That's The Way I Like It, but it does cut out the excess fat of the original Rhino best of.   And Earl Klugh continues to invade our collection with this 1978 mellow lite jazz album.  

Billy Conway-Drummer for Morphine/Treat Her Right, passed away from bowel cancer.  He was 65.

Margaret Everly, Mother to Phil and Don Everly, passed away December 6 at age 102.  She had both of them before she turned 20.  Nevertheless, Margaret continued to write to fans up till her passing.