Monday, January 25, 2010

Pawnshoppe Music Reviews

Basically most came from the FYE store and 60 percent off used stuff. Not like we wanted to pay 20 bucks them anyway.

Patti Scialfa-23rd Street Lullaby (Columbia 2004) Mrs. Bruce Springsteen's second album and she's still feeling her way around the recording studio but this shows a bit of the spark that would make her next album Play It As It Lays her classic. Too many Sheryl Crowisms espeically on Love (Stand Up), and hubby only makes a cameo on three tracks. But it does amaze me that her albums are not overproduced like Bruce's last three. Good in spots but not a consistant listen. B-

Rainbow-Down To Earth (Polydor 1979) Graham Bonnet replaces Dio on this and Richie Blackmore goes for a more mainstream sound. This record gave us All Night Long and Since You've Been Gone, which was covered by Head East, The Currie Sisters and few others. Record got panned by the media but Martin Popoff gave it a 10 and called it an instant classic. Wouldn't go so far in terms of saying that but it does have its moments. Side note: Roger Glover, former Deep Purple, produced and played bass. B+

Gretchen Wilson's Greatest Hits (Columbia 2010) Funny how country radio made her an overnight sensation with Redneck Woman and then after three albums Sony Nashville kicked her to the curb. Her best was the overlooked One Of The Boys and she could cover Billie Holliday as well as Heart, perferred her God Bless The Child over Barracuda. She was also a better rocker than balladeer (All Jacked Up, Here For The Party) and sometimes the Muzik Mafia could give her some decent stuff. Of course, nothing ever came close to the hell yeah of Redneck Woman and her video of being Momma Badass striking the fear into Kid Rock and Hank Jr. And she could throw in a bitchslap to Miranda Lambert on Homewrecker but unlike Lambert, Wilson's songwriting couldn't keep up with the more feisty Lambert and sometimes John Rich comes more as a liability than asset. Still Greatest Hits presents Wilson as a great singles artist and party animal in a course of three albums. Side Note: Wilson's latest album is called I Got Your Country Right Here on her own Redneck label. Here's hoping she's does good although Sony Nashville dicked around with her the last year or so. Grade B+

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

can't review them all-old dad's records

I grew up in a music collecting family. My mom had plenty of 45s to keep me occupied and there was always some spare change to go to Woolworth's to pick up 3 for a dollar 45s. Dad was more into country and western and oddball music. Such of this month's edition of CRTA.

Freddy Fender
The Tex Mex version of Elvis, he had a regional hit with Wasted Days And Wasted Nights back in the late 60s but his arrest of drug procession did him in for 15 years. Struck it big with Before The Next Teardrop Falls for Dot Records which begain his classic period. My dad wore this song out likewise the remake of Wasted Days & Wasted Nights. Further investigation reveals that his early stuff for Chess and minor labels do process a lot of rock n roll with them and the GRT LP Since I Met You Baby despite updated music overdubbing showed Fender was more rock than country. The Best Of Freddy Fender (later on CD) is best overview of the ABC-Dot years which that Freddy and Huey P Meaux knew what to pick and cover for songs. His Sugar Coated Love crossed into the rock chart briefly in 1977. Fender moved over to Starflite/CBS in 1978, and does a fine cover of Squeeze Box. I don't think my dad played much of the followup Together We Drifted Apart and soon after that Freddy disappeared till Doug Sham tapped him to be a part of the Texas Tornados which did three good albums for Reprise, and Fender re recorded his hits for The Freddy Fender Collection. Like Doug Sham, Fender passed away and sometimes classic country will revisit Before The Next Teardrop Falls or Wasted Days & Wasted Nights although I was surprised to hear Secret Love at the Classic Closet thrift store the other day. There are some compliations out there worth nothing, a couple of spanish only albums which Fender did nicely but for myself The Best Of Freddy Fender pretty much captures childhood memories of Dad singing along to those old scratchy 45s. Memories indeed.

Mitch Miller
The guy hated rock and roll, what more can one say about not reviewing any of his albums but I will give Mitch credit for shaping that Columbia sound of lots of echo in the background and The Bridge On The River Kiwi is regularly played at Greyhound parks everywhere. But back in the 50s, Mitch and his gang would do those singalongs that my old Grandpa would sing too. Mitch Miller's Greatest Hits is a curio I guess of that past, but like Mantovani, there's a reason why you see his albums gathering mold in the basement or at the Salvation Army, their biggest fans are now dead. Even our folks had a copy of Your Request in the record collection. Mitch is still alive and in his 90s but I'm guessing he still plays some of his music.

Slim Whitman
For use only in Mars invasion, Slim was the original rage in the 50s, scoring big hits over in England and a few over here via Imperial Records. Even scored a hit with Birmingham Jail for RCA as well but his yodeling...hmmm you're either a fan or foe of it. The guy enjoyed two comebacks, one in 1980 for that TV commerical for All My Best, then signed with Cleveland Entertainment for a few years. Second comeback was in the flop movie Mars Attacks! to which the world is saved when Grandma put out her Slim Whitman tape and watching Marsians' head explode since they couldn't handle that yodel. Like Freddy Fender, my dad would sing along to the record. In the CD age, Slim hasn't fared as well. I haven't seen any of the Epic/Cleveland International stuff out on CD but Capitol Records quietly put out the budget line Vintage Collection to which contains most of the Imperial Records that put Slim on the map.

Johnny Mathis
Now Dad didn't like JM at all, in fact he used Johnny's Greatest Hits to use as target practice. Somebody in the family did, we had 4 Johnny albums. He worked better as a singles artist (Wonderful Wonderful, It's Not For Me To Say, Gina) as he worked with Mitch Miller in order to save everybody from the evils of rock and roll. Some was good (Open Fire Two Guitars), most was make out music and I never did heard any of his Mercury albums. He later returned back to Columbia to make his typical MOR make out music but I do have a soft spot for 1973's I'm Coming Home, which was produced by Thom Bell and done with the MFSB band and had a hit with Life's A Song Worth Singing. After that, I can live without.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Review Consortium

I love music. It's the only thing that matters to me.

For years I've been putting thoughts together in MSN Groups, My Space and Multiply since 2003 but before that I was a freelance writer for the free review papers that seemed to be the rage before the internet made things easier. For the past couple years I have been trying to find a better website than My Space and decided to settle on Blogspot for music reviews. Which is why I call this the Music Consortium since this will deal with music and music only. I might be a bit long winded or I may not give it enough attention but this is a work in process and spelling might be suspect and I may add run on sentences. But since I'm not getting paid for this, this is yet another music review site of music that matters to me or perhaps to you.

I have been told that my blogs have gotten better over the years and thanks for the comments to that. I know for sure that I'm not as extreme as I used to be although I have been known to throw a few f bombs in my other sites. I'm a observationist and I write like that. And I love to talk about music of the 50s through the 90s although I will comment on something new or even stuff before 1954 which is considered the beginning of the rock and roll era. I do like to read what Robert Christgau writes although he tends to favor rap and world music more than I care about. And Mark Prindle remains a great read, although he might be a bit TV-MA for the faint of heart or conservatives. I've known to chat with TAD from his website and he has extensive knowledge of music of the early 70s and prog rock.

Here in the Consortium, I will point out my favorite sites for music or where to find cheap cds, or those hard to find radio stations that go beyond the overplayed crap you hear on classic rock or modern rock or top forty and country. As I add more to this site, I'll be adding artists and bands from all decades, and add some country and jazz and blues to boot. What you will think about Tangerine Dream or the great Theolonois Monk or Foghat is up to you but they are a vast part of my listening pleasure here at the Consortium. I love Buddy Holly and Bobby Fuller but also enjoy Bobby Darin or Big Joe Turner. However there are other bands that I never gotten into (Bon Jovi, Poison, Radiohead, Motley Crue, Animal Collective) so I might include them into something I called Can't Review Them All. Sure it'd be easy to slam a Limp Bizkit or Mr. Mister but I think I will take the high road and let somebody else do the slamming for me.

Again, these are only my opinions so it shouldn't be the end of the world if I dis Train's Save Me San Francisco or Head East US 1, or think Sgt Pepper is only a B plus album. Everybody's ears are different so results will vary. And every Thursday I add something I call the Top Ten Of The Week which are songs off albums that I have played during the week, or something that I found at the pawnshop or thift store. Or it could be a scratchy 45 in my collection or heard off the radio. I do have a small following of fans that do enjoy reading the top ten so I keep them happy by putting one out every week. Maybe I'll have some new folks over here but maybe not. Don't know unless we try eh?

And so it goes. Here's hoping that the R S Crabb Music Consortium will be a entertaining read for you as well. Check back whenever ya can and as they say..."keep it rocking".

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Some Crabb Reviews.

Trouble-Simple Mind Condition (Escapi Music)

Trouble's first new album in 15 years remains true to the heavy metal music of the late 80s when they made two classic albums for Rick Rubin's Def American label (why they haven't been reissued is beyond me). Unlike thrash of Metallica or Slayer, Trouble remains more in tune of early Black Sabbath but not as dark and sometimes can be enlightning. Their cover of Ride The Sky starts with the riff like Immigrant Song from Led Zeppelin and Goin Home is the stuff that would find regular rotation on Headbangers Ball (circa 1989 mind you). Eric Wagner remains in nice vocal form. Not a dull track and if you enjoy metal like it used to be before Poison and Motley Crue came and polluted Simple Mind Condition should be on your player. Grade A-
Cuts: Goin Home, Ride The Sky, Arthur Brown's Whiskey Bar, After The Rain

Manic Street Preachers-Send Away The Tigers (Columbia)
2007 album and although it rocks pretty hard it lacks the focus of their 2009 Journal For Plague Lovers lyricwise. Without Richey James' lyrical help MSP lose their way. But it does get better with throwaways such as I'm Just A Pansy or Winterlovers. Grade B-

Genesis-Live (Atlantic)
I have a Twitter buddy that has been supplying me with Gentle Giant songs, for what reason I don't know. Genesis has always been an underground band around 1973 to which when this album was released to the world (on the famous Charimsa Label) and the bizarre word of Peter Gabriel and although not a total waste, it serves purpose to me that I still can't get into this period of Genesis although Watcher Of The Skies and The Knife are top flight. Grade C+

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to the new R S Crabb Music Site

Greetings music lovers.

After four years at My Space I have taken my act elsewhere to blogspot to give you The R S Crabb Music Consortium, another music fandom site that offers yet another alternative to the same old same old.

For seven years I've been doing something called the Crabb Top Ten on My Space and MSN Groups. I wanted a more suitable and more reliable site that has easy access to the archives past and be user friendly. I have another site on Blogspot called The Thoughts Of R Smith and that one is more of a lifestyle and diary of things going on.

I'm not sure if i want to do a weekly top ten but I do want to do a review consortium of music that i have reviewed. I think I'll settle for the decades of the 60s to the fairly new decade but will dive into the 50s and earlier if need be.

So here tis. And look forward to reviews and comments in the future.