Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Raindogs

A Boston based band lead by Mark Cutler but the rhythm section came from The Red Rockers, The Raindogs took their name from a Tom Waits album.  Secret weapon was fiddler Johnny Cunningham who bought a Galactic feel to Cutler's Tom Petty/Rolling Stones/Del Fregos type of music.  They may have been ahead of their time for their type of alt rock preceded The Counting Crows by about three years.

Their albums for Atco went straight to the bargain bins soon after their release but they always had the best producers available: Peter Henderson (Supertramp, Rush) produced their first Lost Souls and Don Gehman (Mellencamp, later Hootie And The Blowfish) for Border Drive In Theater which became one of my favorite albums of 1991 due to the title alone.  Some Fun actually got played on the FM station for a time and Iggy Pop gave the bizarre introduction of Dance Of The Freaks.  But as fate would have it, Atco Records folded up shop and never did give the proper promotion for both of The Raindogs albums.  They would break up, and Mark Cutler would go on to a solo career.  Cunningham died in 2003.

Lost Souls (Atco 1989) B+
Border Drive In Theater (Atco 1991) B+

Friday, December 28, 2012

Raised On Led Zeppelin

As a schooler growing up in Marion, the epitome of being cool is if you knew somebody that had Led Zeppelin in their music collection, or in my case one of my friend's older brother that had the first two (but oddly not the third).  In my generation we missed out on the Beatles but when Zeppelin was around they were our ultimate band.  And for 11 years the band that everybody liked.

The Zep started out from The Yardbirds to which members of that band would eventually bailed out, leaving Jimmy Page and Chris Dreja,  Dreja would soon leave (although he is credited for the band photo on the first album). Page was a established session player who joined the Yardbirds around 1967 before Jeff Beck would leave for his own solo career.  Little Games (EMI) was produced by Micky Most and it was actually the most pop sounding of all Yardbirds album with the exception of a fiery Think About It which kinda gave a direction of sound that Page would succeed with Led Zeppelin.  A live album Yardbirds With Jimmy Page (Epic 1971)  came out with fake crowd sounds but a version of I'm Confused stands out.  Keith Relf and Jim McCartney would leave.  John Paul Jones, was also a highly sought after session player as he played on many tracks featuring the likes of Herman Hermits became a replacement.   The other two main players, Robert Plant and John Bonham came from the lesser known Band Of Joy,  Plant has a hard to find 45 on Columbia You Better Run/Everybody Gonna Say under the band name Listen  (Columbia 4-43967) which is a Rascals cover.  Bonham would play mad drums on Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man in 1968.

Fulfilling contracts as The New Yardbirds, they renamed themselves after a Keith Moon quirk but their first album wasn't anything you heard on the radio.  More heavy blues rock then heavy metal (the term wasn't coined yet) Led Zeppelin raided the Willie Dixon songbook and took Dazed And Confused away from Jake Holmes.  The urgency of Good Times Bad Times (a failed single hard to figure) and Communication Breakdown showed that Led Zeppelin could keep things at two and half minutes but everything is there that would make them the rock gods that they would become.  You want a organ solo, there's the beginning of Your Time Is Gonna Come, you want a messy drum solo, it's on How Many More Times (basically a rewrite of How Many More Years, a Howlin Wolf comp), if you want a cool guitar piece Black Mountain Side is there too.  Glyn Johns adds a very heavy mix to the songs, but Jimmy Page's guitar antics and bow effects on Dazed And Confused makes this a still great album.

Led Zeppelin 2 was more of the same, more rock, more blues including the 5 and half minute Whole Lotta Love and stealing more Chess blues goodies, (hey if you're going to lift songs from the past go with the real sources and they did, Wolf's Killing Floor becomes The Lemon Song and Rice Miller's Bring It On Home, Miller being Sonny Boy Williamson Number 2).  And even mellow numbers like Ramble On and Thank You had a bit hard rock thrown in for good measure but for me the sloppy guitar solo on the metallic Heartbreaker remains worth the price of admission.

I never could understood why my best friend's older brother never did buy Led Zeppelin 3 but perhaps he was put off by the almost acoustic second side of the album to which when I was younger didn't quite get but as I got older, I come to find that's one of my favorite sides.  Oh it rocks, Immigrant Song, Celebration Day and the forgotten Out On The Tides are standouts but side 2, cover of Leadbelly's Gallows Pole, plus Tangerine and That's The Way a song that sounded more Fairport Convention than hard rock and the then odd weirdness that is Hats Off To Roy Harper makes 3 my all time favorite LZ album.

But then there's Led Zeppelin 4 or the ZOSO album.  For all it's overplayedness on the radio, when I put it on the turntable here at home it sounds as fresh and original as the first time I heard this.  Black Dog, the straight ahead Rock and Roll, Sandy Denny put to great use on Battle Of Evermore and of course it all winds down to the epic Stairway To Heaven.  Side 2 kinda lets a bit, Four Sticks remains the weakest of the bunch, Going To California gets better with age but the hard blues of Memphis Minnie's When The Levee Breaks is classic Zep.

A Led Zeppelin album was the big event no matter what day or year it was. Houses Of The Holy was beginning to show the excess and bombast and the start of the albums that while great to some, didn't catch much on me.  The Song Remains The Same when I first heard it on the radio blew my mind and the first time of hearing D'yer Maker about the same although that song sounds a bit dated now.  Over The Hills And Far Away was a top thirty hit here but I never been much of a fan of the Rain Song.  The albums does end on a high note with the brooding and mysterious No Quarter and rock stopping The Ocean.

Psychical Graffiti is probably my 2nd favorite Zeppelin album with Custard Pie, The Rover and a 11 minute in your face of In My Time Of Dying to which the guys tackle an obscure Josh White number to which Ron Nevison put together a definite mix to which Bonham's drums stand way out in front.  Kashmir shows the Western flavor that would pop up on later Zep and Robert Plant's efforts, but for me the rocking Trampled Underfoot, Sick Again were better.  Even throwaways like Boogie With Stu, Black Country Woman kick major butt and of course the ballads like Ten Years Gone were excellent.  For a record that's all over the map, it still remains definitive.

Presence on the other hand was whipped out in 18 days and might be the least album in their catalog, Tea For One and For Your Life are hard to get through but I love Candy Store Rock and Hots On From Nowhere.  Not bad.

The Song Remains The Same in its original context is Led Zeppelin in it's warts and all glory, bombastic pompous and self indulgent, that's the 27 minute Dazed And Confused and the bloated Moby Dick.  In 2007, 6 new tracks makes this a lot more easier to take which The Ocean, Since I Been Loving You, Over The Hills And Far Away, Heartbreaker and Misty Mountain Hop makes this worth getting, even though How The West Is Won and The BBC Sessions are much better but then that was a much younger Led Zeppelin more hungry and ambitious, the Madison Square Garden show that was Song Remains The Same shows a more content Zeppelin that follows it's own bloated way.  Basically you had to be there.

In Through The Out Door is the album to which John Paul Jones gets his own spotlight since this album is the least metallic of all Zeppelin albums with In The Evening anything close to hard rock.  More keyboard driven such as songs like Fool In The Rain or All My Love shows but there's a wicked sense of humor on the country fried Hot Dog as well.  It all ends on the seductive I'm Gonna Crawl.  But then John Bonham died and the band ceased to exist.  Coda wraps things up with three rockers that didn't make In Through The Out Door and some odds and ends and a John Bonham drum piece with some Page electronics thrown in for good measure but nobody bothered to add Hey Hey What Can I Do.  That would have to wait for the 4 cd box set that came out in 1991.

To usher in the new CD era Jimmy Page cherry picked his favorites for Led Zeppelin Box Set 1 (The second would appear a year later) and added some unreleased stuff in the process.  Then Early Days and Later Days came out and then Mothership, if you have the studio you really don't need these.  Jimmy Page would play on a couple Robert Plant songs for Now and Zen and Plant returned the favor for one song on Page's 1988 Outrider album.  Then they got back together again for the listenable No Quarter and the not so much Walking Into Clarksdale, Steve Albini's mix didn't do them any favors.  John Paul Jones joined them for the ill fated 1985 Live Aid show and a Atlantic Records showcase a few years later but Led Zeppelin's finest and perhaps final moment of the Post John Bonham era was getting son Jason to sit in and do the 2007 O2 tribute to Arment Ertugan which became Celebration Day.  With Plant singing in a lower voice and Page and Jones tuning down, Celebration Day might be the most metal album that Zeppelin ever did.  Plant's vocal more subdued than the MSG show, it shows the surviving members enjoying and shining in the moment one last time.  You have to admire Robert Plant not succumbing to big bucks to rehash the favorites all over again although one should never say never if everybody is still alive.  But if it's their last moment together, they went out in style.

Long live Led Zeppelin!

PS It's basically pointless to give out grades to these albums, they're all essential, including the updated Song Remains The Same S/T with the bonus tracks adding continuity and filling in the gaps that the original album omitted.  I'm sure most of you out there have these albums in your collection in one form or another.  From the opening notes of Good Times Bad Times, to the end of Rock And Roll on Celebration Day, Led Zeppelin was truly THE BAND THAT ROCKED from the word GO! 


Led Zeppelin (Atlantic 1968) A
Led Zeppelin 2 (Atlantic 1969) A
Led Zeppelin 3 (Atlantic 1970) A
Led Zeppelin 4 (Atlantic 1971) A
Houses Of The Holy (Atlantic 1973) A-
Physical Graffiti (Swan Song 1975) A
Presence (Swan Song 1976) B+
The Song Remains The Same (Swan Song 1977) B-
In Through The Out Door (Swan Song 1979) B+
Coda (Swan Song 1982) A-
BBC Sessions (Atlantic 1990) B+
How The West Was Won (Atlantic 2002) A-
Celebration Day (Rhino/Swan Song 2007) A-

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Cherry Sisters

Before alternative music or plays, there was Marion's very own Cherry Sisters who terrorized the opera houses of the local state in the late 1890s.  A couple interesting artifacts are found here.

The Cherry Sisters may have also figured in free speech to which they sued and lost to newspapers that didn't like their performances.   case in point:

They were ahead of their time, long before Yoko Ono was even born and Nicki No Talent Minaj not even a twinkle in the eye of her grandparents. 

A one of a kind that was the Cherry Sisters.

further reading:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Scott Halpin-Subsitute Who Drummer

Who are you? The guy who played with the Who, that's

By Mike Leonard, Hoosier Times columnist
Sunday, February 19, 2006 6:52 AM CST
BLOOMINGTON - Google the name Scott Halpin, and you can
understand some of the reasons why the Bloomington
resident remains cautious and a bit indifferent about
recounting his extraordinary little contribution to
rock 'n' roll history.

"They always get something wrong," he said of the many
accounts of the night when, at age 19, he replaced
drummer Keith Moon in legendary band, The Who. "I've
read where I played anywhere from five minutes to an
hour. I came out of the front row to join the band on
stage. That kind of thing," Halpin said last week.

"One story said I was a graduate of Monterey High
School, and I'd sort of slipped away into obscurity,
and the last anyone knew, I was a businessman."

Actually, Halpin has lived in Bloomington for roughly
a decade, makes his living as an artist and
illustrator, and occasionally gets out to play bass,
now his preferred instrument, and sometimes, drums.

He was just a kid from Muscatine, Iowa, who'd moved to
California when he hooked up with a friend to see The
Who at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on Nov. 20,
1973. He was a major Who fan at the time.

"I was living in Monterey, and I figure from the time
it took to drive into San Francisco and the time I
spent standing in line, I spent 13 hours. I really did
want to get down front," he recalled.

The show

Halpin had never heard of the opening band, Lynyrd
Skynyrd, and doesn't remember much about their set
other than a vague recollection of the endless riffing
on "Free Bird."

"It was back in the days of general admission, and you
really had to suck it up and just hold your spot (in
the audience)," Halpin recalled. "Once The Who came
on, the crush of people was so intense, I could only
handle about three songs. After that, we kind of
escaped over to the side of the stage, where there
were these big ramps, and we had a good view of the

The Who's notoriously wild drummer, Moon, passed out
more than midway through the performance, was taken
off-stage and after a brief intermission, returned to
his drum kit. Accounts of the source of Moon's
infirmity vary, but Halpin guesses that the
speculation centering on the quasi-psychedelic drug,
PCP, probably is accurate.

"You could sense it was going to happen again," Halpin
said. Sure enough, Moon collapsed again, and Halpin's
friend, Mike Danese, dragged him to the side of the
stage and pleaded with security guards to tell the
band's management that Halpin could step in.

"The security guard was probably thinking he's a
complete nut, but all of a sudden, (promoter) Bill
Graham pops up, and he sees it as a security thing.
He's sort of nose-to-nose with Mike, and Mike says,
'He can do this. He's a drummer. He knows the
material.' And Bill Graham looks at me and says, 'Can
you do it?' and I said yeah."

On stage

At that point, The Who's guitarist, Pete Townshend,
almost rhetorically asks the Cow Palace crowd if
there's a drummer in the house. Unbeknownst to him,
Halpin is already in place, sitting on Moon's stool
and getting instructions on how the drum kit is set up
by a technician.

"Then, (singer) Roger Daltry announces my name and we
go into it. Pete told me he'd give me cues, and they
had me start with (the blues standard) 'Smokestack
Lightning,' which I don't ever remember being part of
their thing," Halpin said.

He admitted he really doesn't even remember what else
he played because he was so focused on keeping time
and picking up signals from Townshend. A Web site on
Who history indicates that Halpin would have played on
the songs, "Smokestack Lightning," "Spoonful" and
"Naked Eye." An account in the San Francisco Chronicle
from 1996 says a bootleg tape shows that Halpin played
on the first two previously listed songs and the grand
finale, "My Generation."

Who members Townshend, Daltry and John Entwistle
thanked the skinny kid from the audience for stepping
to the plate but didn't hang around long after the

"They were very angry with Keith and sort of fighting
among themselves," Halpin said. "It was the opening
date on their 'Quadrophenia' tour, and they were
saying, 'Why couldn't he wait until after the show (if
he wanted to get high)?"

Daltry, who'd begun drinking Jack Daniels from the
bottle at that point, told the substitute they'd pay
him $1,000 for his efforts, and a roadie gave him a
tour jacket on the spot. "Then everyone split," Halpin
said. "My friend and I both had long drives ahead of
us, so we loaded up on all the free food that was put
out for the band, and we both headed for home."

In the meantime, someone stole the tour jacket that
Halpin had just received as a gift.

Halpin received favorable mention in the next day's
Chronicle review. He received a nice letter from the
band but no money - not that it mattered.

The legacy

The Who returned to San Francisco a couple of years
later, and Halpin did get to go backstage and meet
Moon, who was gracious but in his typical whirlwind

"He was doing this hilarious monologue and taking off
his stage clothes and putting on his street clothes in
front of everyone," Halpin said with a laugh. "He said
'Nice to meet you' to me, and then he was off."

The story of Halpin's brief stint playing with The Who
often comes up when people collect stories of rock 'n'
roll lore or Who retrospectives. Rolling Stone
magazine would later name Halpin the "Pick-up Player
of the Year." A few years ago, the cable network VH-1
flew him to New York City for an interview that is
included in a program called "The Forty Freakiest
Concert Moments in Rock History." Last week, Halpin
sat down in the WFIU-FM studios in Bloomington to tape
a segment for NPR's "Morning Edition."

"It's just one of those stories that won't go away,
but you know, it's not a story that even a lot of
people I know have heard," he said. "I mean, how do
you tell this story? Are you bragging if you do? It's
kind of weird, how it all went down. And to be honest,
it all gets kind of foggy because it all happened so
fast. I didn't have time to take it all in. All I was
thinking about was not screwing up." 
Scott Halpin Died in 2008 at age 54. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Funny thing about supergroups, they tend to be over-hyped and in some ways Asia reminds me of Bad Company, supergroup from other bands that made a few albums together, then members fall out and a different lineup would ensured or sometimes the original members return.

Asia came from various prog rock bands, John Wetton played in King Crimson, UK and Uriah Heep, Steve Howe from Yes, Geoff Downs from The Buggles and Yes and Carl Palmer from ELP and I guess you would call their first album Prog Pop although that deep sound came from the late Mike Stone adding plenty of overdubs here and there to create something more than just four guys.  Their first album remains their best although Heat Of The Moment and Only Time Will Tell have been ran into the ground on the classic rock radio.  How dare me to rate this an A album but it's a album I can listen start to finish with wonderful tracks like Wildest Dreams, Sole Survivor and Here Comes The Feeling again.  This record got plenty of play on my stereo.  You may be excused from here on out to read the rest of the story.

Alpha was a let down. Don't Cry and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes were overplayed on radio as well but crowd pleasers like Open Your Eyes and The Heat Goes On plus the ultra beautiful Never In A Million Years make the record not so much a bust, but side 2 really really drags.  And then confusion came calling, Wetton left, Greg Lake replaced him, but on Astra Wetton returns and Steve Howe leaves replaced by Mandy Meyer whoever he was.  The record tanked, but to me it was a better effort than Alpha  although there's much more darker songs on this outing but standouts include Go, Voice Of America, Love Now Till Eternity and the angry Too Late.  Some songs didn't make much sense Countdown To Zero (with a corny ending) and After The War showcase a war paranoia.  But nothing was heard much from Asia after that and Geffen pieced together a collection of greatest hits and outtakes for Then And Now to which they had a minor hit with Days Like These and even had David Cassidy cowrite a song.

Wetton leaves again and Geoff Downes finds an able replacement that is willing to stay onboard in John Payne which begins Asia Part 2, the Downes/Payne years and Aqua is bizarre and boring most of the time. Although Steve Howe and Carl Palmer are listed, outside of Who Will Stop The Rain, there's not much I can recommend on this although there's a couple songs that Greg Lake did write.  The Payne era I haven't paid much attention to although Aria had a few more moments but still sounded like a hair metal band.  Basically after that it was the Payne/Downes show up till Wetton, Howe and Palmer reunited with Downes, and left Payne in the dust (although Payne was allowed to use Asia featuring John Payne).  Phoenix the first new Asia original since Astra was more stripped down, by then Mike Stone was dead so they produced it themselves. It might be their most progressive rock album ever although I really haven't played it much. Omega came out in 2009 produced by Mike Paxman (Status Quo) and it returned them more to the earlier hit sound of the 80s although no new hits were taken off it, radio ignored it since they're considered a dinosaur act.  In 2012 they recorded XXX which is a return to sound of the first album and reviews of this were pretty good but again radio wanted nothing to do with it.  Really a shame, since Omega and XXX are good in their own way.

Asia also benefits from having more greatest hits and anthologies than actual albums and basically this is where buyer beware comes to play.  Anthologia  The 20th Anniversary collection has ALL of the Geffen albums into a nifty two CD set, which means you get the first three albums plus B sides Ride Easy and Daylight which would have made their respective albums that much better.  Heat Of The Moment-Very Best Of Asia I would have recommended but Sole Survivor and Here Comes The Feeling Again are edited version and a bad butcher job at that but has Ride Easy and Daylight and is preferable over Then And Now or the 20th Century Masters Collection.  And then there's the 2 cd Gold collection and the Definitive Edition to boot.  Inside Out US, issued Anthology which deals with Payne era.  There are countless Live Asia albums that only the hardcore fan will pay attention but I'll give two of them that I do have, Asia Live In Moscow and Live In Nottingham, which features Pat Thrall playing guitar, The Moscow side is interesting of John Wetton doing a couple of King Crimson numbers, and Downes playing Video Killed the Radio Star.  The Nottingham Live show has Prayin 4 A Miracle which is rarely played.

They're not a critic's favorite, prog rock fans think less of them but they have managed to carve out a career on the strength of Heat Of The Moment or Only Time Will Tell.  But I grew up listening to them and managed to seek their albums from time to time.  And their first album is one of the 80s albums that defined that era like it or not.  John Payne may be a dedicated musician to the cause but the original Asia had better players and Wetton is a better singer.  And he had the hits too.

Asia (Geffen 1982) A-
Alpha (Geffen 1983) C+
Astra (Geffen 1985) B+
Then And Now (Geffen 1989) B
Live In Moscow (Rhino 1990) C+
Live In Nottingham (Renaissance 1990) B- 
Aqua (Great Pyramid/Rhino 1992) C-
Aura (Mayhem 1994) C
Heat Of The Moment-Very Best Of Asia (Geffen 2000) B+
Anthologia (Geffen 2002) A- (Later repackaged as Gold)
Phoenix (Frontiers 2007) C+
Omega (Frontiers 2009) B
XXX (Frontiers 2012) B+

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Music Review:Shemekia Copeland 33 1/3

This year I have reviewed a lot of new blues albums since I have been getting them on the cheap.  Which means since nobody buys them, Half Priced Books throws them in the Clarence bins.on certain days.

Sad about today's blues, is that you don't hear it on the radio, it's a dying art that only the hardcore still care about and there's plenty of them out there.  Dani Wilde, Omar And The Howlers, Samantha Fish have been part of the rotation here in Crabb land, Royal Southern Brotherhood as well, Ole Brown too.  I have never reviewed as many Ruf artists has I have this year and most have that SRV sound just enough to pass as blues folk.  As well as the old fart rock and rollers of today, Little Caesar, Aerosmith, Van Morrison, basically going on the hope that the old faithful fans will continue to buy their albums although it's getting mighty late and shelves are getting full to capacity here.  As much as  I would like to continue to seek out new music and forgotten dollar specials, time is getting too short to continue this madness.  A banishment from Best Buy and Half Priced Books in order?  Hard habits are hard to break.

I find myself getting more agreeable with women in music since I have listen to more of female performers this year more than I have the last decade or two.  The latest Heart is fantastic to the point that I had to seek out Red Velvet Car for reference. Sam Fish I continue to rave about although she rarely leaves Kansas City to play elsewhere.  Today's latest discovery find was Shemekia Copeland's 33 1/3 (Telarc Blues/Concord).  Copeland is no stranger here, she has played blues festivals around the area and did play Brucemore in their Bluesmore Summertime Series.  Daughter to late great Johnnie Copeland, Shemekia is cut from the same cloth that gave us Etta James or closer to her style Koko Taylor although on the new album she's gotten more Bonnie Raitt than usual.  Again with Oliver Wood producing like he did on her earlier 2009 effort, he guides her through 11 nitty gritty blues and soul numbers and bringing out the ultra sassy in her with stuff like I Sing The Blues or Mississippi Mud.  The title of the album makes it clear she is a fan of vinyl records as well being it her actual age, she was born in 1979 which makes her 33 and when I found the cd a third of a way through her 33rd year. Irony eh?

Legendary bluesman Buddy Guy adds mad lead guitar to Ain't Gonna Be Your Tattoo and covers a wide variety of songwriters, J J Cale on A Woman, Sam Cooke on Ain't That Good News and a interesting cover of Bob Dylan's I'll Be Your Baby Tonight to which Shemekia adds a bit of a romantic sweetie.  But then will turn around and kick your ass on One More Time too, a blueswoman with a heart but do her wrong watch out.  It makes good blues music but once upon a time they used to call that Rhythm & Blues. 

33 1/3 is an album that cries out for the old AOR stations of yesterday, KFMH or the old KKRQ or for that matter the old old KRNA when they did play blues but that was before your time anyway.  You won't hear it on the radio unless either NPR or KCCK when they plays blues on the weekend.  But maybe this might have been a promo copy for KCCK that I found, who knows?  For later day blues Copeland excels as both a blues or soul singer and the record does rock hard even for the blues.  I'm sure Koko Taylor is nodding with approval just like her dad Johnny is from the great beyond.  Good soul blues, the way that I used to remember it years ago too.

Grade B+

Friday, October 26, 2012

Green Day

The grunge movement that ended with Kurt Cobain blowing his brains out, leaving rock radio trying to find some other band to carry on the so call anti establishment movement (if there was anything to rebel against) in 1994 started a punk revival of sorts.  Not that punk went away, it was always around in some capacity that during that year two bands of note came out of the California wasteland, one was The Offspring whose left field smash called Smash  became a modern rock staple to this day you can't escape the pop hits of Come Out And Play (Keep Them Separated) or Self Esteem and eventually would become more fun pop than real punk.

The other band that broke it big was Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day, coming off Lookout Records, which was home to Operation Ivy to which Tim Armstrong (no relation) would form the Clash/ska influenced Rancid.  Green Day was more rock influenced than actual punk, in fact their roots can be traced to The Who when The Who were actually punks then became grand rock and rollers with their concept albums Tommy  and Quadaphenoia to which Green Day would make their own grand statements with American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown.  Nevertheless, their first album 1039/Smoothed Out Sloppy Hours was them trying to learn at they go.  I don't play it very much myself.

They came into their own with Kerplunk! to which the Tre Cool became the drummer and GD found the spark that would ignite their albums from here on out.  The sound is very thin but the performance is dead on rock and roll and songs such as Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? Android and 2,000 Light Years Away would become the starting point for later chart toppers like Welcome To Paradise or Longview, Words I Might Have Ate, acoustic Ramones.   Had Cobain lived on Dookie wouldn't be the landslide seller it became but perhaps the world was tired of grunge and wanted a more lighter and punker sound.

And so the love affair with Green Day started with Dookie which combines three chord punk and roll but with a more smoother production.  Critics weren't amused, punk fans accused them of being sellouts when they went major label and BJ's fake Brit accent annoyed the purist but to me it was the music that mattered and Tre Cool being the Keith Moon of punk generation smashing cymbals left and right on Burnout and the moody Having A Blast.  Armstrong singing the angst of teens living in mom and dad's basement on Basket Case echoed many a frustrated teen or not enjoying playing with themselves on Longview, their own Pictures Of Lily I gather.  Dookie the album was a blast but it was a short enjoyable blast barely a half hour at the very least.  And it got the be the album of 1994 in my book.

Even better to these ears was Insomniac which bombed but Green Day kept it short and sweet, turning the guitars and angst up to ten.  Sure they ripped off the Who here and rewrote She's Got Everything by the Kinks into Walking Contradiction but the music pulled it through big time with Geek Stink Breath,  the unsafe at any speed Bab's Uvula Who and the slow burn of Brain Stew which deteriorates into the thrash Jaded or the chaos of Panic Song, Insomniac  is their perfect statement.  Three chords and basically rock and roll to which they would not revisit till their latest Uno!

The problem with punk rock is that is one dimensional and after a while playing the same chords and singing the same song over gets even tiring for punks and they were getting to be in their mid twenties at that time so they added some horns and a violin on Nimrod, which to me is their weakest album in this era.  First of all too many songs (18 of them) and Billie Joe beginning to sound very crusty and grouchy even for being 25.  In fact he wrote a song about being a Grouch.  Hitchin A Ride featuring the violin work of Petra Haden, King For A Day had the horn section honking away and Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) a acoustic rant that ended up being the theme song from the prom crowd or perhaps the graduation song for the class of 1997.   With that Green Day took a sabbath and came back in 2000 with the more adult thinking Warning but that ended up being their poorest selling album even though it was a marked improvement over Nimrod.  Fearing the end of a great punk rock band Reprise rushed out International Superhits which basically is the perfect snapshot of rock radio of the 1990s and perhaps the best overall view of the best or what some may call the worst of that era.  Shenanigans soon followed and has the b sides to respective songs.  Worth a listen if you're a fan, pass if your not.

Then Green Day decided that they were going to write concept albums and they did, striking gold and a big comeback with American Idiot which may or may not had to do with Bush Jr.  They tried not one but two version of A Quick One (meaning adding short songs to one another to form a suite of sorts) and it works great on Jesus Of Suburbia, but not so much on Homecoming but Green Day got two major big hits on Wake Me Up When September Ends and Boulevard Of Broken Dreams.  American Idiot was so great that they had to have a Broadway version of this album to which I politely declined to get.  21st Century Breakdown was yet another concept album but by this time the pompousness finally got Billie Joe and company and that turned out to be their least interesting album to me, even though 21 Guns was another big hit.  I think at that point that I gave up on them and not even picking up their live albums that came out, although I'm sure Awesome As Fuck had some great moments they don't differ all that much from the studio albums except with more F bombs.

To which at this point Green Day finally decided tor return to their punk roots with Uno!, a three album trilogy that two more would follow (Dos in November, Tre! in Jan 2013) and despite Cumulus KRNA sticking Oh Love down our throats three days per day, the rest of the album is a welcome return to the three chords glory of Kerplunk/Dookie/Insomniac but then again having three albums back to back to back might be risking permanent damage to their reputation, especially after Billie Joe's meltdown in Las Vegas over seeing a wide screen telling the band they had one more minute to play on the infamous I Heart Radio show and Armstrong's F bomb tirade and one finger salute which is rock and roll rebellion but not into sales.  But at as he approaches 40 years, the new punks really don't take heed to the old fart punks, just as Pete Townsend found that out in 1977 and Johnny Rotten did 20 years later.  Rock and roll and punk is a young man's game as Billie Joe is finding out the hard way, but he's still going to go down fighting regardless.

Looking back at the 90s and all that mattered to me, Green Day ended up being my choice of the band of the decade, simply of the fact I thought they rocked harder than the grunge bands and whatever passed for album rock and then the second decade came back from the dead by throwing The Who's attitude into the mix.  So far Uno! sales have not done very well and perhaps may have cast a rethink on the forthcoming Dos! and Tre! albums from consumers but unlike them I'll be waiting in line.

Because I think they still matter to me.


1039 Smoothed Out Sloppy Seconds (Lookout/Reprise 1990) B-
Kerplunk!  (Lookout/Reprise 1991) A-
Dookie (Reprise 1994) A
Insomniac (Reprise 1995) A+
Nimrod (Reprise 1997) B-
Warning (Reprise 2000) A-
International Superhits (Reprise 2001) A
Shenanigans (Reprise 2002) B+
American Idiot (Reprise 2004) B+
21st Century Breakdown (Reprise 2009) C+
!Uno! (Reprise 2012) A-
!Dos! (Reprise 2012) B+
!Tre!  (Reprise 2012) B+
Revolution Radio (Reprise 2016) B

Friday, October 19, 2012


They came from Illinois and made four albums for Epic but their lead singer used to be in REO Speedwagon.  Terry Luttrell was the barrelhouse screamer on that self titled album and then left soon after.  In the meantime hooking with some like minded individuals that had a deep love of Yes and progressive rock at that time, a bit of a Kansas to go with as well.

The first album was recorded in the great rock and roll mecca that is known as Pekin Illinois and the self titled album remains the only in print on the Epic label. The three others were reissued via Renaissance. Critics didn't get them and wrote them off as Yes clones and Luttrell does sound like a more mild mannered Jon Anderson as the first album gave them a FM hit with Lady Of The Lake.

The next two albums Starcastle worked with Roy Thomas Baker on the fine sounding Fountains Of Light with another FM hit with Fountains which adds elements of Queen and Styx to the mix.  This is probably their most prog rock soundish.  Citadel shortens the songs a bit there's more of a pop sound, although it still sounds prog rock but I like this record the best, especially on Can't Think Twice, Evening Wind and Could This Be Love.  While Epic was winning to cut them some slack and let them chase that prog rock dream, the next and final effort Real To Reel had them working with Jeffrey Lesser who is best known for producing Head East and Real To Reel sounds more like an Head East album rather than Starcastle.  Some of the songs feel like demos or half attempts for the radio and while it's a interesting listen it's not a prog rock album.  The last two songs The Stars Are Out Tonight and When The Sun Shines At Midnight (which makes them sound like Lake, the German band) are the closest thing to the sound of the previous albums.  However the band doesn't mention that album on their website.  And of course the album cover of Real To Reel is horrendous.

Still, Starcastle may have not enjoyed the big sales of Kansas or as remembered as well as Yes, they made great albums in the prog rock tradition.   One of the bands that I didn't get into till later in my years.  Worth looking for if you can find their albums.


Starcastle (Epic 1976) 
Fountains Of Light (Epic 1977)
Citadel (Epic 1978)
Real To Real (Epic 1979)

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Tribute

Twenty two years ago, I was sitting at Dancer's the infamous night club and tittie bar and chatting up with Melissa who at that time was considered a good friend and I had hopes of taking her out for supper but to make a long story short it didn't work out for me but she had a long sad look on her face and she came up to me and said "Have you heard the news?  Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash in Alpine Valley".  And it turn out to be a very sad day for me, in fact this hit home much harder than Elvis Presley in 1977.

To me, Stevie Ray was the last of the true guitar heroes.  He was the shining light in the muck that was called hair spray metal or subpar pop.  Nobody could do Hendrix as well and sometimes better than SRV.  His version of Voodoo Chile was a constant play on my stereo.  And when he fell into a life and death struggle with drugs till he got over that and was enjoying a new and exciting second chance till that fateful Aug 1990 helicopter crash that took him away from us.

I have my own tribute to SRV, I still have the back cover of his longbox CD The Sky Is Crying with him on it on my cluttered stereo, looking out into the world and it has been a mainstay on my shelf since getting it from Relics in 1991.  Live Alive was one of the earliest albums I got on CD, (my good friend Dennis Lancaster made it his first ever cd buy) and even he was high he can still play guitar like no other.  But in the early years he was one of Austin Texas' best kept secrets till he managed to play Montreaux in 1982 and played a wild set but got booed off the stage by the stuck up pricks in the audience.  However David Bowie was there and offered him to play guitar on what would be the Let's Dance album and Jackson Browne offered studio time for SRV to do his own album which would be Texas Flood.

Certainly Stevie Ray had owed a lot to Albert King and Jimi Hendrix but he also highly influenced by Lonnie Mack who he managed to co produced Mack's Strike Like Lightning and may have put in a good word at Epic for Road Houses And Dance Halls.  Vaughan may have also played on James Brown Living In America although the Gravity album that Volcano reissued mentions nothing of this.  Vaughan was influenced by his brother Jimmie to which they would record the one and only Family Style in 1990 to which my favorite song was Long Way From Home to which the guitar riff is the price of admission to hear.

While Texas Flood got things straight and to the point, Couldn't Stand The Weather is more varied and even adds element of jazz and slow blues to the mix, Soul To Soul a bit more nodding to rhythm and the blues and adding Reese Wyanis to keyboards.  Live Alive, what can you say, despite some muddy sound SRV gave us the FM classic Willie The Wimp.  Everything leads to In Step, which in 1989 introduced the world to the new SRV sound which was a much more polished sound (thanks to Jim Gaines) and hits by the score with The House Is Rockin, Cross Fire and Tight Rope but also paying homage to Howlin Wolf (Let Me Love You Baby) and barrelhouse rock and blues (Scratch n Sniff).  Then hooking with Jimmie with Family Style, a album which was good in some places and questionable in others (I never gotten into much into the voice over that almost bogs down Brothers) but still was a sign of things to come.  And then Alpine came and then....

There's no shortage of repackages out there, The Greatest Hits packages are good and have the hits or highlights. The Sky Is Crying gives us some outtakes and paying more homage to Lonnie, Jimi and Jimmie and Albert but gives the bittersweet Life By The Drop as SRV's final statement which stings.  There's also some post SRV live albums, the Montreaux Concert is the best of them and includes two shows, the infamous and famous 1982 show and the triumphed 1985 return to which SRV is treated to a hero's welcome.  Live at Carnegie Hall is a 1984 performance which features brother Jimmie and Dr John on keyboards.  In The Beginning is a 1980 showcase and shows SRV and Double Trouble in its humble beginnings.  Blues At Sunrise is straight ahead slow blues.

Like Hendrix, SRV didn't record many studio albums, he only recorded four proper ones.  And he's never made a bad album, nothing short of a B plus. For my generation, SRV was the last true real guitar hero for me.  Even though he may have taken a cue from Lonnie Mack or Jimi Hendrix, he found a way to make it his own style.  He could switch from playing lead guitar to rhythm without missing a beat.  And still be humble enough to talk to you after a show in the process.  There'll never be another Stevie Ray Vaughan.

At least that's what I Think.


In The Beginning (1980 reissued by Epic in 1992) B+
Live At Montreaux 1982 & 1985  (Epic) A-
Texas Flood (Epic 1983) A
Couldn't Stand The Weather (Epic 1984) A-
Soul To Soul (Epic 1985) B+
Live Alive (Epic 1986) A-
In Step (Epic 1989) A-
The Vaughan Brothers-Family Style (CBS Associated 1990) B+
The Sky Is Crying (Epic 1991) A- 
Live At Carnegie Hall (Epic 1984, reissued 1995) A-

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Two Sides Of Lynyrd Skynyrd

Once upon a time in the South there was a little rocking Southern band by the name of Lynyrd Skynyrd that came from the swamps to record classic albums for MCA before a plane crash took the vision and thoughts of Ronnie Van Zant to the Great Beyond.  To which survivors started their own band and did the unthinkable: reunite with a brother singer and became a cliche upon itself.

There's no bar band that ever escaped some yayhoo screaming PLAY FREE BIRD or SWEET HOME ALABAMA at some hole in the wall bar out in the middle of nowhere.  Free Bird was the lesser seller of Sweet Home, it hardly got any airplay unless it was FM radio but since the beginning of the CCC owned classic rock stations either song is being played at some spot in the world as we speak.  Once an anthem, it's as overplayed as they come.  And while both are great songs, they pretty much fall under something I could listen to once a year and then that's that.

Nevertheless, Skynyrd the Original cannot be topped due to the wry and sly song writing ability from Ronnie Van Zant  and with a triple guitar lineup of Ed King, the late great Allen Collins and sole remaining original band member Gary Rossington  they took southern rock and boogie to a whole new level.  The first album is just about perfect with each song in its rightful spot.  The insane beginning of I Ain't The One, the yearning Tuesday's Gone, the bar band staple Gimme Three Steps and Simple Man, every song on side one was many a band learning it for the bar faithful.  Although side 2 slips a bit, Things Goin On and Mississippi Kid rarely get played on the radio and Poison Whiskey a Van Zant PSA about the dangers of rotgut these songs have a charm on their own.  Which leads into Free Bird, which turns out to be the song most associated with Ronnie, a song about defiance and having a come and gone way to which they would jam out the last 5 minutes with a fury of lead guitars from all three guitarist.  Long time ago, it came out on Al Kooper's Sounds Of The South label, which was distributed by MCA but the first album sold well enough for Second Helping, more fun stuff and songs that were as good as the first.  To where Sweet Home Alabama picks up where Free Bird left off, a Southern gentleman's FU to Neil Young's Southern Man.  To which these two songs, forever playing somewhere would be the basis of the After Ronnie Lynyrd Skynyrd would rewrite time and time ago.  I think Second Helping is a bit better than the first album, there's no wasted songs anywhere to I Need You, the funny Don't Ask Me Any Questions,  the boogie Swamp Music and The Ballad Of Curtis Loew  which marvels on how well Ronnie Van Zant could look back in the past and create memories and turn it into a original song and not the cliche.  And of course Working for MCA which still may be the best song about working for a major label for all the good or bad.  Ronnie seemed to have no patience for those pencil pushers or the city slickers stealing his money.   And then another anti drug song The Needle And Spoon and the album classic Call Me The Breeze.  You heard them all before on the radio but it still sounds good when you put the record on.

While critics have not been kind to Nuthin Fancy or Gimme Back My Bullets, they were probably recorded at the time all the band would be fucked up to perform, new drummer Artimus Pyle gave them a more harder rocking beat.  And these two albums were the most played at my place.  Nuthin Fancy featured the last album Al Kooper produced and it was the best recorded.  Saturday Night Special was the main hit but Ronnie is fed up and ready to shoot his Cheatin Woman,  wants to ride the rails on Railroad Song and still remains I'm A Country Boy.  Second side gives a hard rocking romp On The Hunt, wonders If I'm Losing due to fairweather friends, and adds a pre war blues romp on Made In The Shade before concluding with Whiskey Rock N Roller.

Gimme Back My Bullets showcases The Honkettes, the female singers that would from that day forward would be a part of Skynyrd.  Tom Dowd produced this and the mix was terrible but it still had great songs (the remastered cleaned up the sound much better). The title track and the power driving Double Trouble to which Ronnie proclaims if he fell into a rose bush he still coming out smelling like SH---. I found myself playing Every Mother's Son a lot during high school and Trust still rings true like it did today.  And they find themselves raiding J J Cale again with I Got The Same Old Blues Again.  For the first time, some of the songs on side 2 sounded weak, like they needed a break but still Searching and All I Can Do Is Write About It, the latter sees Van Zant getting a bit cynical as he sees the creeping concrete coming closer to take away childhood memories.  It may have been seen slight back then but Ronnie was way ahead of his time even on the throwaways.  The two slight songs are Roll Gypsy Roll and Cry For The Bad Man

But the band's drug and booze habits were weighing things down so they decided to get clean and sober but before then gave the world One More From The Road, a album that has the hits and what they were famous for, right down the 10 minute ending of Free Bird.  It still remains an album to get if you wanted to hear how damn great they  were.  By then Steve Gaines joined up and he may have been the best guitar player and plus he could sing too.

Street Survivors to me is like what In Step from Stevie Ray Vaughn was.  They got cleaned up, they went and made their best album and then the plane crash that ended the best version of that band (in SRV's case it was a helicopter).  An early recording of One More Time from a early session is on it but the rest are sure fire hard rocking classics, from What's Your Name to That Smell to Steve Gaines playing swing guitar on I Know A Little and then dueting with Ronnie on You Got That Right.  Even I Never Dreamed may have been slight it still fits in well and then a cool cover of Merle Haggard's Honky Tonk Night Time Man.  Steve Gaines takes over on vocals on Ain't No Good Life.  If later albums were an indication, Gaines would play a big role but then a 1977 plane crash took both him and Ronnie and Skynyrd would be silenced for 10 years afterwards.

Since then MCA has repackaged their albums and added bonus cuts and B sides.  Skynyrd's First and Last album was a early session featuring Ricky Medlocke on drums for a collection of rough and wild southern rock (Preacher's Daughter, Wino, Down South Jukin').  MCA would reissue it with even more tracks and some that would feature later on other albums including a wobbly take on Free Bird.  Legend, the 1990 scrapes the bottom of the barrel with outtakes from Street Survivors  and the Sweet Home Alabama b side, the 7 and half minute Take Your Time.  There are tons and tons of greatest hits out there and basically it's for those who only want the hits although their albums were so much more.  The Free Bird Movie Soundtrack is a rougher live performance which isn't too bad.

And then rising from the ashes, the survivors returned to do a live album Southern By The Grace Of God and the Skynyrd returned with Johnny Van Zant doing the vocals.  Not a bad album by any means a version of Free Bird is sung by the crowd.  Which begins the second phase of Skynyrd which continues to this day.  Johnny Van Zant may be a better singer than Ronnie says the critics, but Ronnie trumps both him and Donnie and the songwriting department.  The 1991 comeback album for Atlantic was basically flat I thought but The Last Rebel was much better but by then a revolving door of personnel begain.  Ed King and Randall Hall would be replaced down the road by Ricky Medlocke who left and formed the harder rocking Blackfoot with late great Jackson Spiers on drums, and Hughie Thomassen of The Outlaws but instead of adding their own songs and vocals, chose to pretty much to be guitar playing sidemen on later albums.  After making 2 albums for Atlantic, they did a an acoustic one off for Capricorn (Endangered Species) and then over CMC International (Later Sanctuary) for Twenty best known for Travelin' Man a song that Ronnie comes back from the grave to sing it with Johnny and Donnie Van Zant.  Kid Rock appears on Vicious Cycle.

While most original members have died (Bob Burns, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkerson, Allen Collins, Ronnie, Steve & Cassie Gaines)  or left (Artimus Pyle) The Lynyrd Skynyrd that is still around is not like the band of long ago and far away.  Moving to Roadrunner Records in 2010 they begin to update their sound to something like Nickleback (Bob Marlette who produced their recent two albums may have something to do with that).  Although Gods & Guns and the latest Last Of A Dying Breed are good in their own way, they have more to do with the new rock sound that Nickleback is known for   I certainly don't think Ronnie would ever stoop down to do anything in protools, the original Skynyrd sound was rough and tumble, the way Southern rock and roll is meant to be.  Marlette's production seems to smooth up the edges a bit too much for me although Last Of A Dying Breed works a lot better than Gods & Guns did.  In some ways it might be their best of the Johnnie Van Zant led band.  No, it doesn't hold a candle to early albums but take it for what's worth, it's got enough of the new modern rock but still a nod toward the country and southern rock.  As long as Gary Rossington and Johnnie Van Zant with Rickey Medlocke remain together, I won't count them out.  Neither should you.

The Albums:
Pronounced Lynyrd Skynyrd (MCA 1973) A-
Second Helping (MCA 1974) A+
Nuthin Fancy (MCA 1975) A
Gimme Back My Bullets (MCA 1976) A
One More From The Road (MCA 1976) A-
Street Survivors (MCA 1977) A+
Skynyrd's First and Last (MCA 1978) B+
Gold And Platinum (MCA 1979) A-
Best Of The Rest (MCA 1982) A-
Legend (MCA 1988) B-
Skynyrd's Innyrds (MCA 1990) B+  (There's many best ofs out there, this was the only one I reviewed)
Skynyrd's First: The Complete Muscle Shoals Sessions (MCA 1998) B
Free Bird The Movie (Cabin Fever/MCA 1996) B

The new Skynyrd

Southern By The Grace Of God Tour (MCA 1987) B
1991 (Atlantic 1991) C+
The Last Rebel (Atlantic 1993) B-
Endangered Pieces (Capricorn 1994) B
Twenty (CMC 1997)  B
Edge Of Forever (CMC 1999) C+
Vicious Cycle (Sanctuary 2003) NR
Gods & Guns (Roadrunner 2009) C
Last Of A Dyin Breed (Roadrunner 2012) B

Side Projects:
Rossington Collins Band/Allen Collins Band

Anyplace Anytime Anyhow (MCA 1980) B
This Is The Way (MCA 1982) B+
Here, There And Back (MCA 1983) B+
Returned To Scene Of The Crime (Atlantic 1986) C
Love Your Man (MCA 1988) C
Solo Flytes (MCA 1999)  B (collection of Rollington/Collins, Allen Collins, APB, Steve Gaines tracks)

Steve Gaines:
One In The Sun (MCA 1987) B+

Artimus Pyle
APB (MCA 1983) C
Artimus Venomus (Deadline 2007) C+

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jason And The Scorchers

Somewhere along the line last month of all the happenings going on, little did the major music mags ever mentioned of the passing of Perry Baggs, the longtime drummer holding the backbeat to one of the earliest cowpunk bands of the 1980s Jason And The Scorchers who died at age 50 from diabetes I think and a frail body that simply wore out over the years of hard rocking.  But Baggs also was instrumental into playing gospel at the local church and was in the process of recording a gospel album before his death.  Anyway here's a blog that celebrates more about Baggs than I can give.

Jason And The Scorchers were way ahead of the times and like their more country counterpart Rank And File gave the world the start of what was called cowpunk.  Sounding more like an amped up Hank Williams, they roar out of Nashville with a 1982 independent album called Reckless Country Soul, which the world has never heard of.  Who are they to desecrate Hank Williams by speeding the songs up to wreckless abandon?  Word and interest got around and they managed to score a contract with EMI America to issue another EP, Frevor to which they had a alternative hit with a cover of Absolute Sweet Marie.  I didn't jump on board till I heard White Lies, their single off Lost And Found to which they worked with Terry Manning, combining originals with some lost country honky tonk hits of long ago and far away, Lost Highway and I Really Don't Want To Know.  Lost And Found actually made my list of the top ten albums of 1983 and it sold well enough for a second album Still Standing to which Tom Werman produced.  While some claimed that Werman may have smooth out all the rough edges, I found this album to have aged quite well, whereas Lost And Found may have been done in by the booming drums mix of Terry Manning.  Still Standing also focused more on the original songs, the only cover was the Rolling Stones 19th Nervous Breakdown.  The record didn't sell very well and they left for A & M for the underrated Thunder And Fire (Produced by Barry Beckett), Jason was co writing with some of Nashville's best songwriters at that time (Tim Krekel, Steve Earle, Dan Schlitz). In some ways Thunder & Fire remains their best in terms of songs flowing from one to another.  When I first heard the album I didn't think much of it but I recall playing When The Angels Cry a lot in the late 80s and early 90s.  It's the only album that Andy York compliments Warren Hodges on guitar, York would eventually move on to John Mellencamps band and Hearts And Minds

Thunder And Fire also flopped and Jason decided to call it a day and disband the Scorchers.  He made a 1992 album One Foot In The Honky Tonk for Liberty  but in 1995 they decided to give it a go again.  This time signing with a more sympathetic label in Mammoth and recording A Blazing Grace with Jeff Johnson back in tow.  Atlantic picked them up for Clear Impetuous Morning and then returned them back to Mammoth for the live Midnight Roads And Stages Seen.  But Mammoth folded and Jason return to a solo career and the band splintered apart.

In the time since then, The Scorchers have reunited from time to time but by the time they got around to do Halcyon Times, Perry Baggs was too sick to continue.  Still the fire and gasoline that is Jason and Warren Hodges  delivered one of their best albums ever, even with the new guys in tow (Al Collins and Pontus). It was one of that those albums that you had to get from the band themselves for that time they decided the hell with majors and do it themselves.

Being a big fan of theirs I am very biased in terms of what to look for or what to get.  You're better off with Both Sides Of The Line, a EMI comp that puts Fervor and Lost And Found Together but that is out of print as well as Essential Jason And The Scorchers Volume 1: Are You Ready For The Country which adds the title track to the EP and LP mentioned above as well as a couple old live cuts.  Still Standing was issued by Capitol and adds three bonus cuts to the original EMI album (also issued on CD years ago but also out of print).  Reckless Country Soul was reissued as a full album by Praxis/Mammoth in 1996 and is the best indicator of the early years on just how punky and great they were back then although the sound quality isn't that great.  The Mammoth albums also have a fine quality of their own although this was a more mature Scorchers but still intense when they want to be.

In short, nothing before or after was quite like Jason & The Scorchers who made rock and roll fun, and made converts of those who wanted to hear something different than the new wave keyboard dominated crap of the 1980s.  They didn't sell many records but God almighty they rocked harder than any band of the 80's.

RIP Perry Baggs

Dedicated to the memory of Jack Emerson who left us too soon (Manager of the band). 


Reckless Country Soul 1982 (later reissued with more bonus tracks 1996) Mammoth A-
Fervor EP (EMI America 1982) A-
Lost And Found (EMI America 1983) A-
Still Standing (EMI America 1986) B+
Thunder And Fire (A&M 1989) B+
A Blazing Grace (Mammoth 1995) B+
Clear Impetuous Morning (Mammoth/Atlantic 1996) A-
Midnight Roads And Stages Seen (Mammoth/Hollywood 1998) B
Halycon Times (Courageous Chicken 2010) A

Are You Ready For The Country (EMI 1993) A-
Both Sides Of The Line (EMI 1995) A-
Still Standing (Bonus tracks) (Capitol 2002) A-

Jason: Too Long In The Honky Tonk (Liberty 1992) B

Crabb Corner Retrospective

From 2003 to 2006 I wrote a bunch of blogs for the now defunct MSN Groups Network.  From the previous four parts I have selected the best of the bunch before they all faded into neverland.

The course of the The Four Part of Crabb Corner was written in that order when it appeared on a different site.  Basically they are there for perserving what's left of a hobby that continues to be 10 years onward.

More to come as I try to preserve things before that other website goes into oblivion too.

Best Of Crabb Corner Part 4

Bumfuk Egypt is the to the left of Tim butt two hahaha. (from Subscription Blues 10/17/03)
More venom and bile to spew, at our wonderful clear channel owned MIX 96.   Monday, when i felt well enough to get out there, I went to the Dollar Store only to hear the dyke queen Melissa Ethridge's crappy song, and then good ole Uncle Krackup's Drift Away, a song that has been on the number one most overplayed piece of crap for the last seven months.  Don't Radio and Records even make a attempt to change their top ten at all anymore?   This is the reason why people dont wanna listen to radio anymore, same ole crap every hour on the hour.  Oh did i say the Dollar Store had MIX 96 on?  Sorry got my radio stations mixed up, it was KDAT, another soft rock station with the same playlist as SHIX 96.   Of course, at work on MIX 96 they were playing the same damn Melissa Dyke Ethridge song  and then Uncle Krackup (im not making this up).  Same songs, different radio stations.  And you wonder why I wanna blow up the radio transmitter.  Oh yea, Sheryl Crow, another reason (please shoot me). (Subscription Blues 10/18/03)
this story centers on the eventual closing of Long Wong's, a Tempe based area dive bar, to which you can get greasy buffalo wings, and watery spegetti for two bucks a plate.  When I lived in that area in the late 80s, Long Wongs was the place to eat very cheap, and that place was the basis for the Tempe sound at that time, The Gin Blossoms, Dead Hot Workshop and the Refreshments would later go on to major labels later on, but for them, they were just as unknown once you left the Tempe scene.  But in the twenty years since I was a resident of that town, old buildings down in the downtown Tempe have been torn down and made way for newer, more posh looking and higher rents.  Only the Jack In The Box next door have remained, and I suspect that they too will be forced to locate in the future.
True story number two.  Elvis Del Monte, was a charater in himself.  When the Gin Blossoms preformed at Chuy's that july 1992 day,  he got up to do his Elvis impersonation of Little Sister, which he did forget the words, but he more than made it up with his karate kicks.  And I too, thought that he was part of the band too, but when they played the Cedar Rapids Freedom festival one year later, he was not there.
Julie Hurm-Tessitore.  This woman I remember sat next to me at Chuy's, and gave me the story of the Gin Blossoms since i havent heard of them at that time; I went to Chuy's on the ideal that the Sand Rubies, another Tucson band was gonna be there.  Somehow, at Chuy's I managed to find a sofa right in front of the stage and she came up later, she was also friends with a band called Echohouse who opened for the Gin boys.  Anyway, she passed away from cancer early this year, and they will have a benefit for her with the reunion of Beats The Hell Out Of Me, a metal band from Phoenix.   Even though I only met her that nite in July, I do remember her.
But getting back to Long Wongs, its a dive no doubt, its small, cramped and very smelly, in fact I was there only to go to the bathroom when i was there last august.  Even for five minites of being there, the memories still remain.  Kinda reminds me of my days at the OK lounge in Marion IA, the last known performance of Paraphernalia.  The OK was torn town to make way for the Nancy Miller Public Library, which smells a lot better than the OK did. (The Closing of Long Wongs 11/6/03)
Another rant to amuse you with.  Went to FYE yesterday, and found three used CDs.  Again, I wish these dammed stores would quit putting out scratchy CDs and charging them 8 bucks for them, and also, quit writing on the disc.  Nothing boils da crabb more than hot water is buying a cd with somebody writing their freaking name on it.  If your not gonna keep your CD, DONT WRITE ON IT!  (Punk Soup 11/09/03)
On the subject of Don Gibson,  he died monday he was 75.  Don Gibson to me wrote some of the best songs of the 50s and 60s, and some of the darkest songs to boot.  Who could argue with Oh Lomesome Me,  Blue Blue Day, Sweet Dreams and I Cant Stop Loving You.  My personal fave is Oh Such A Stranger, a song so dark and despair it makes Ian Curtis look tame.  BMG cant keep a decent Don Gibson best of in print, but try to find RCA Country Legends (Buddha), or All Time Greatest Hits (RCA-deleted), or I Wrote A Song (RCA-long long deleted but availble via Bear Family) for a good idea of what he can do.  (Don Gibson RIP From Bottom Of The Barrel 11/21/03)  Note: Arthur Conley died on that week as well.
I don't wanna work, I want to bang on the drum all day (the link still works!)
Dave Dudley has taken his Big Rig and have head to the Great Beyond. (End Of Year thoughts 12/29/03)
Outside of what i liked, 2003 was another disappointing year.  We lost our last true record store in town, lost the best damn Mexican restrauant in the state, and the last true classic country radio station in favor of yet another faceless Top 40 hip hop station.  And of course, we lost June and Johnny, Warren Z, Ty longley, Don Gibson, and distant cousin Elliott Smith.  On the plus side Rhino did reissue Rank And File, Wounded Bird gave Root Boy Slim back to the masses, and we got some decent blues complations as well.   And the Townedgers finally did get off their cans and put out a new album.  But in the long run, Britney This, Fred Durst That and Micheal jacksons problems all outdistanced the good, Time/Life music barfed up the same ole 70s complations once again and the RIAA terrolized the computer users of the world.   Universial promised us some cheaper cds, but all that was was the usual dangling the carrot in front of the horse.   You want cheap cds, its still the pawnshops, so look there. 
I dont expect any of you to go out and buy everything a artists puts out, but if a artist or band had a classic I think you should know about I would tell you about it.  If I influenced you to buy a Blue Rodeo or a Bottle Rockets or the Romantics then I did my job, If I warned you bout a crappy cd and you avoided it ditto.   But in the end it dont matter, it all comes down to what sounds good to you.  Thats the magic of music,  a song that may sound sappy, but will make you remember the good times in your life, and no smart assed comment will change that.  Good music is timeless, regardless.  (Acknowledgements 12/23/03)
Final thought for that year came from End Of The Year Thoughts and hard to believe five years later it still remains true.  Visionary I'm not, but I know a cockroach that you keep killing and it keeps coming back.
Britney Spears will never amount to much more than a Pop Tart and a 4th rate one at that.
Da Crabb's Corner I predict will last longer than Britney Spears' wedding. (He's Back 1/5/04)
It already has, bro!  Hoop ( A reply to above note He's Back 1/5/04)

The Best Of Crabb Corner Part 3

What I'm doing here is saving some of the highlights of blogs that are in the Crabb Corner.  It's a very long and tedious work but I am finding some classic moments in the history of blog.  Hope they bring back memories for you too.   RS 2008

Mama's don't let your daughters grow up to be CD collectors,  otherwise chances are you will have to wait a while to be grandma.  (Summer's Halfway Gone 7/19/03)

With all the jails getting crowded, it dont make sense to put downloaders in jail.  But then again, ain't the reason why CD sales are down is that there is too much Crappy CDs out there already?  (The Downloading Problem 7/19/03)

As you may have heard,  C.R had a tornado in the city limits for the first time since 1965.  The National Weather Service have said, that this was a F2 Tornado that had its beginnings in the Vinton area as a weak F1.  KGAN reports The Covington tornado was about 300 yards wide and on the ground for about a quarter mile. The Peace Avenue twister cut a 200-yard-wide swath for a quarter mile.  However, further reports link Covington/Peace Ave CR tornado, and the Vinton are one and the same.
The Tornado or Funnel cloud that was sighted over Springville and then to Martelle, was probaly a very weak F1, but nobody has confirmed that. (Tornado In The Area 7/22/03)
Today, it pains me to say that Cedar Rapids is losing the last reminding record store in town, the only one that sold vinyl.  After July 29,  Relics records will be a thing of the past.  And believe me, there won't be another record store in this town ever again. (Bye Bye Relic Records 7/26/03)
 I was surely remiss in not including Freddie and the Dreamers in my list of sixties bands, but was "I'm Telling You Now" and "You Were Made For Me" much different than Gerry and the Pacemakers "How Do you Do It" or even some of the Beatles songs of the era.  As to the silly way they looked and acted was it any worse that Kiss a decade later.  Harvey in a response to a blog  Bands Not Cost-Effective 7/17/03)  RS Note: Freddie And The Dreamers were a pretty good Manchester UK Band in the 60s but at that time Crabb didn't care much for Fred Garrity and company.  But after buying Best Of Freddie And The Dreamers (EMI 1993) in Phoenix this year, Crabb missed the boat on that one.  They were a fun band. RIP Fred.
You have a point, Statman. I think Freddie & The Dreamers knew they were
riding on the coattails of the Beatles into their 15 minutes of fame, and
their music reflected the fun and innocence of the time. I don't think they
were ever meant to be taken seriously, and they are pretty much remembered
as a novelty act. 'How Do You Do It' was actually offered to the Beatles to
record, but they turned it down. So Gerry & The Pacemakers took it to the
bank instead. (Starman commenting on Harvey's blog on Freddie 7/19/03)

Surprised that Hastings or Reprise didnt stick a 18.99 price tag on the Neil Young Remasters.  Wally world was selling Neil's stuff for 9.86, to which i did buy Hawks and Doves.  It's mainly Country on one side, Folk on the other.   And I suppose that On The Beach has actually sounded better 29 years later.   But I still remain partial to Re Act Or, in terms of rocking out, sure Rust Never Sleeps or Ragged Glory is better, and sure Neil pretty much mailed it in, and sure I still perfer T Bone over the overblown Shots,  But Neil and Co. still do a rocking Southern Pacific.
On The Beach  A-
Hawks and Doves  B+
Re Act Or B+
(The Neil Young albums finally reissued 8/22/03)
Is it just me or am I tired of seeing Rafeal Palmero touting Viagra on every baseball game?   All the viagra in the world aint gonna help the Texas Rangers go UP in the standings.  (Or was it steroids instead?  From a blog 8/22/03)
I thought that Ozzy singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame was even funnier (Starman replying to a blog 8/22/03)
Among other things, anybody heard of the 70s band Linn County? They were probaly one of the earliest Iowa bands to get on a major label, they recorded two albums for Mercury, and more obscure album for Phillps.  Myself, I never heard any of their albums, but Steven Miller, no relation to Steve (fly like a eagle) Miller, leader and keyboardist has passed away at age 60 due to bad liver.  There was talk of putting Linn County's albums on CD, but nothing has ever materized on it.  Stephen Miller would go on to play for Elvin Bishop and Grinderswitch, another band who made albums i have yet to hear.  Miller did return to reform Linn County for a one off reunion in the late 90s.  (Stephen Miller RIP 8/25/03)
I drove over 1000 miles on a rental car from Phoenix to Prescott, to Kingman via Route 66, then to Oatman and then to Needles, and back across to Bullhead City and back to Kingman, then to Flagstaff via Route 66 again, then to Phoenix.

Best bargains were found at Hastings, found JR Walker's Shotgun/Road Runner 2 on 1 cd for 5.99.   The Kingman Hastings had Wet Willie 2 for 3.99, and the Flagstaff Hastings had The Dictators Go Girl Crazy for 4.99.
Kingman has grown twice since my last visit in 1996, I dont recall they had a Hastings back then, but Kingman is still a very dusty and dirty town, I thought bout making a retirement there, but probaly not.  Who knows in 20 years from today, it will be a bigger city.
I only ate at Fuddruckers one time there, and I'm beginning to think that Tramps is right, they are getting to be overpriced.  Still like their big burgers, but their fries suck, and after i eat there, i end up going to the can. Best place for a cheap pizza buffet, Eatza Pizza  (all you can eat for 4.50 day and nite), and it dont come back to haunt you later.
Arizona Route 66, from Toprock to Seligman is one of the most picturesque drives, and is one of the last long strech of Route 66 still around.  Definly worth the hour and half drive off the Interstate. (Arizona trip 2003)
RIP Warren Zevon  (blog 9/8/03)
It had to happen, but four months after June Carter Cash passed away, Johnny Cash has joined her.  Its kinda hard to listen to Where You There (when they crucified My Lord) or Peace In The Valley without a few tears now.  Certainly, JC made some of the most enduring country singles of the 50's and 60s, only to have Columbia boot him in the 80s and spent six years at Mercury as a secondary artist, and then they let him go.  Fortuly, Rick Rubin took him at American Recordings, stripped the sound down to his guitar and vocals, and turned him on to a new generation of kids.  For his last video he made Nine Inch Nail's Hurt his very own.  Only Willie Nelson did more for music at age 70.  Johnny's loss is irreplacible. (notes on Johnny Cash's passing 9/15/03)
Steve Van Zandt's Underground Garage website to which his undying love of garage rock is a labor of love.  Knocked me out for the inclusion of a obsure video of the 13th Floor Elevator's Your gonna miss me.  You must see this to believe this.  (end of summer 9/20/03)  RS Note at this time Robert Palmer died as well.
 I can't really understand Chuck D's claim that hip-hop is a natural
progression from the blues, either. There are some similarites, such as
subject matter that deals with various social problems, but that's where it
ends for me. Blues has a real finesse, and most of it is never in your face
or obnoxious; a quality woefully missing from the hip hop paradigm. The
link between a musical form that exudes pure emotion and cuts right to the
soul, and the yelling, crotch-grabbing idiocy of rap, is a weak one
indeed---at least to these ears anyway.  Starman commenting on Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues (from the RS Crabb Presents the Blues blog 9/27/03)

Congrats to Da Cubs for doing something they havent done in 95 years, win a divisional series.  One down, two to go. GO CUBBIES. (Reality Blues 10/6/03)
Finally to conclude this part.  My Trip to Ames and the closing of Mi Casa

The last yearly run to Ames has taken place.  Highway 30 from Cedar Rapids to Tama/Toledo is a hour drive with no towns along the way, most of it is a two lane ride, nice if you don't have a 10 ton diesel on your tail, while the car in front of you drives ten miles under the speed limit.  The treat is after Marshalltown, take a right and go down half a mile and turn left and your on your way to Ames on the old Lincoln Highway.  With the fall leaves turning colour here and the sun shining it almost has a surreal look and feel, something like being back in the early years when you can take a leisurely drive and not have to worry bout betting ran over by some diesel truck driver.  

State Center is located almost center of state, where everybody waves at you, even when your a stranger.  The train goes through the downtown area, with some of the old signs of long closed up shops still hanging.  Small town at its best.
Next stop Colo, they are rebuilding and remodeling the old gas station and hotel on the main drag of Lincoln Highway.
And its on to Nevada, a town that I used to lived in when I was seven years old.  We lived on the outskirts of town, but cant tell you where its at.   The Ben Franklin there is still in business, back then it was the place to buy records.  Mother found a copy of Jimi Hendrix's Hey Joe (with picture sleeve RIP sob) for 30 cents.  Amazingly Mom always had a good ear for music too.  Anyway, Nevada this year had their homecoming dance canceled with the local rowdies broke out the prinicpal's windows to his car.  Every homecoming the kids do TP the high school everyday that week, but too much rowdyism and no homecoming dance.  However, that did not stop some parents from renting out the VFW to have a alternative dance.  Ah, good ole Nevada.
And the trip ends at Ames.  Where the local Mister Money pawnshop had only two cds for da crabb, and Hastings had the rest.  However, the copy of T REX electric Warrior that i got, was very scratchy.  Hope it plays.
In Ames, they have a noise ordinace, so when the local Union Pacific train rolls by, they have these sublimated train horns blaring from speakers.  When I was there earlier, I did noticed that the horn sounded much different than it was at the Nature center, turns out it was all speakers and not the actual train.   Gawd the things that amuse me.
And I suspect that the Union pacific will not stop at Mount Vernon anymore now that Mi Casa has closed shop, breaking this mexican food lover's heart.  I guess the memory of the big burly engineer stopping the train to get a quik take out order will probaly be what i remember most of Mi Casa.   Another memory is Gwen always complaining that i didn't order any desert.   Told her did that one time and I almost didnt make it home without pooing my pants. 
But Mount Vernon to Ames is two hours and ten minites, and Taco Time aint no Mi Casa, but it will do for now when i am there.  After all, the nearest Taco Time is two time zones away.  Why did I go to Ames?  I donno, the bargain hunting bug bit me on the ass and pointed that direction.  For the next trip, it will probaly be Mad city again before the snows hit.  The bargains maybe caught up for now and da crabb will not buy anymore for a while, but even you know that there will be a next time.  (10/8/03)

I'm  singing the No More Mi Casa blues.  My favorite mexican restrauant in Mount Vernon has now closed, so I cant take you to the best Mex in the area.  Havent been there in two weeks, and when i get there, theres a For Rent sign hanging.  Guess its back to Moreno's (which also would close three years later.  You can't seem to keep a good Mexican place in business very long.....

The Best Of Crabb Corner Part 2

Geez, dont anybody remember Louis Jordan? (A Dozen before there was rock and roll 6/9/03)
And then next weekend is the Linn Country Fair, for the first time they having free admission and free parking.  The headlines are Quiet Riot, with local flunkies Large Midgets opening. You may wanna arrive later on so you don't have to stomach their butchering of I'm Too Sexy and Pena Calida.  The closing of the fair has Loverboy, and the free country concert is John Micheal Montgomery. (All The Fun At The Fair 6/7/03)
Rain, in DC?  Can you imagine that? Brooksie responding to a blog 6/7/03
Gawd, I hate going to IA city anymore, no good record stores and downtown is not shopper friendly with less parking spots to park at. (R.S 6/12/03)
If you watch the corporate label shuffle as much as i do, you tend to see that even they don't have their stuff together.  Looks like MCA name banner is bout to be retired in favor of Geffen records, but in all theory, its still all Universal to me.  For years, Geffen was one of the more profitable labels back in the late 80s as it own, before MCA bought them out to be yet another satellite label for Universal.  Since MCA has such a bad rap, the Vivendi/Universal bigwigs think retiring that name would generate more business under a different label, they call it restructuring.  I call it a fast shuffle myself.  But MCA Nashville will still be known as MCA since country acts fare better on MCA Nashville. Good thing we don't work at a major label, we be outta job. (All The Fun At The Fair 6/12/03)
Mary Bono has her eyes on the RIAA presidency after Hilary (not related to Clinton) Rosen, takes her million bucks and goes into retirement. And they say Prostitution don't pay. (More Is Less 6/14/03)
You shouldn't be surprised to learn that brother Neil young has once again delayed his four album reissue of On the Beach, Hawks and Doves, American Stars and bars, and Re act or, what the hell is his problem?  Does he thinks that these releases suck or not good enuff or whats the deal?  Hell with it, i just record Re act or off the record to my own disc then.  By the way, these four reissues have been delayed now by twelve years.  Could be worse, you could wait for the Dave Clark five reissues.  (Neil Young Reissues delayed again 6/14/03) RS Note: The NY albums actually did get issued later in the year.
It begin with a stuck stationary front on top of us for two whole weeks while a Bermuda high, so strong out in the eastern hemisphere that this damn front didn't move, which meant our friend the gulf of Mexico gave us so much ample moisture that it rained every damn day, and we not talking light rain, it was heavy and it accumulated into the rivers, creeks and lakes, making them raging rivers in their own way.  It was definitely the worst weather event that I've ever been associated with, my folks got their basement flooded big-time twice in that cursed year.  I fared better by living in a part of Cedar Rapids that was in higher ground, but roads by the Cedar River were underwater for all summer, it wasn't till august that it was safe to drive by the river.   It was much worse for those who lived by the Mississippi River, the river was five miles outta its banks during the worst of the flooding, and of course you have seen the pictures
It didn't occur to me, till when i was driving to st Louis in September and seen condemmed houses on highway 61, seeing the mud line on the house showing how high the water got, and some cases, it wasn't unusual to see them six to eight feet high. It took the Mississippi a good five months to return to its banks.  Even when i was by the arch, the Mississippi was still over its banks there, flooding the street by the river still.  No matter where ya drive, if you were close to the river, the smell of moldy muddy waters was in the air.
But what i remember most during that cursed month of june, was it poured, thundered and the rain was extreme.  It was so bad, that getting to Iowa city in july, there was only one road to get there, it was Highway 1.   You couldn't take Interstate 380, and hiway 965, the Iowa River was over the bridge there, and even though the interstate bridge wasnt close, the water was close on the bridge.  And the traffic at the four way at highway 1/US 30 was from mount vernon to almost the cedar river bridge.  Just simply a miserable time for anybody who was in the midwest.  (The Floods of 93 6/22/03)  RS sidenote: Compared to the 2008 flood, the 2003 was a walk in the park, 15 years ago the flood wasn't around the old place i used to live at, this year's flood went all the way to the Public Works Building on 6th St.  Not something we want to ever go through again.
Two years ago at this point, I was in Seattle with Isabella, buying out cd stores and having great moments together watching the moon rise above Puget Sound on a 11:45 PM sunset, one of the more beautiful settings ever saw.  Hopefully, next year I will be able to once again watch the sunset into the ocean while the moon rises.  But that was two years ago, two months later the whole world changed before our eyes, sometimes things dont work out, and although there are times to which I miss the Spokane Snake Lady; whereever she may be, I hope she's safe and hopefully she has found what she was looking for. (Halfway Through The Year-Crabb Remembers Seattle 6/28/03)
I remember chat days, and they were some great days (or nights, i should say). Sometimes it was so chaotic on Friday or Saturday nights, that you couldn't keep up with the flow of the conversation, but once most of the people had left, that's when the good chat started coming down, and come down it did! Although classicrock and oldies  rooms were truly nice and, as you said, we met some great people there, by far the best people are here in da Roost! If i had been looking for a chat room home and found this one, i would have stopped my search right here! (Hoop in a reply 6/28/03)
Did a bargain hunt yesterday in Davenport/Moline area.  Not much to really report, the I-74 bridge to Moline is still one lane both ways,  first time, i took the long way over via I-80. Bigger mistake, took forty five minutes to get to the pawnshop.  All that effort for a Isley brother's Heat is on and Split Enz best of.  The other pawnshop in Davenport has slim pickings over there too, picked up John Illsey's Glass (the other guy in dire straits and a boring album too), and Chance the Gardner (a uncle tupelo soundalike band but with more lousy vocalists).   Problem is, the pawnshops are not taking any more CD's, which leads to the lousy selections.  Half the wonder is where People are taken their unwanted stuff, sure aint the CD warehouse, probaly the local landfill?
Had lunch at a Chinese buffet (not surprised are you?).  Then bit into a dried out chilly pepper. OMG  Hottest damn thing I ever ate.  I see why they make those things into pepper spray, took me a good fifteen minutes to get my breath back.  For some quality entertainment, we saw some kids get arrested for taking some beanbag chairs at the store next door.  Ah, life in the big city, can't beat quality entertainment watching some 12 year old trying to outrun a store clerk on their tail. (Davenport bargain hunts 7/1/03)
An intelligent carrot....the mind boggles. (Blog 7/12/03)
Finally to end this chapter, JT's Trip To Arizona 66
Last October I attempted a day trip out of Las Vegas to drive the Kingman, Oatman, Needles section of the old Route 66. I say attempted because little did I know that my trip would be ill fated and my planned route impassable. I did make it to Kingman and Needles via alternate route, but not Oatman.
I set out from Las Vegas across Hoover Dam into Arizona. The scenery was awesome as I climbed up and out of the curvy road section winding from the Dam. As I crested a hill suddenly a long strait Highway 93 and Arizona seemed to just spread out before me. The sky was overcast, and I encountered a few sprinkles along the way. I didn't see any significant rainfall though.
A couple hours out of Vegas including a stop at the Dam for a few quick photos I found myself in Kingman, Arizona. I stopped in at the Powerhouse Visitor Center and walked across the street for photos of an old Santa Fe steam engine sitting predominantly there in a square. I also had a most excellent bacon cheeseburger and vanilla shake at Mr D'z Route 66 Diner.
Tummy and gas tank full I was looking forward to climbing up the Black Mountains to Oatman on the old Route 66. I ended up never getting that far. I had driven maybe twenty miles or so out of Kingman when I noticed a pickup up ahead pulled off on the soft shoulder of the road. I then noticed the reason that the pickup had pulled off was that a creek (which normally would have been a dry creek bed) was raging over the road in flood stage. The road was completely impassable at this point. There had been enough rain up in the mountains earlier that had all flowed down and caused the flood.
Cars on both sides of the creek were coming to unexpected complete stops. It didn't look the creek was going to be subsiding any time soon so at this point I had two options. Either back to Kingman and Vegas the way I had just come, or backtrack to I-40 and go to Needles that way and then back up to Vegas that way.
I chose the via Needles route and set off in that direction. After getting off I-40 and getting a few miles up Highway 95 towards Vegas I came to my second completely unexpected stop of the day. I waited an hour here in a string of cars before and behind me while an accident scene further up the road was cleared and somebody was air ambulance d out. Finally traffic started moving again and a couple more hours up 95 I was back in Vegas.
I plan to be out that way again in October this year. I may attempt this drive again and I'll certainly be keeping my eye on those low water crossings. (7/13/03, JT's Arizona Trip)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Archives: The Best Of Crabb Corner Part 1

I'm thinking Crabb's Corner will be a twice a month, with stories and news you will find handy.  Even though I may not respond all the time, I am always checking to see who's popped in to write something.  Anyway, this is as close to a syndicated column that i will ever get, not that the village voice will ever print Crabb's Corner, or Goldmine or even the Penny Saver, and so far judging from your kind reviews, this hasnt been a waste.  Feel free to start a conversation, or you can read the daily happenings of RS CRABB,  either way  Im glad your here.  This will either be a regular occurance, or this might be the last thing i write (haha-just kidding).  Either way gang, this might take a while so pull up a chair.................... (What Is Crabb's Corner  1/16/03)
Probaly another reason why i am still by myself, is that I dont pick out the best romantic music.  Sure, we all swear by Avalon by Roxy Music for that perfect mood music, but then after that all bets are off, although one nite I did play Freedy Johnston's This Perfect World and it went over pretty good.  One romantic excursion found Bob Marley's Legend on the boombox.  I found, that Bob Marley is perfect for those imtimate moments which are very few and far between. (Valentine's Day And Other Assorted Stuff 2/13/03)
From 7th wave  if i copied and paste it right.  Probaly one of the better rock and roll/oldies webpages that i seen so far.  For those who remembered it, try   This was the show that i grew up listening to back in the high school years when it was on AM KAAY from little rock. Unfortly its only on from seven to midnite sunday nites, and for dial ups, you get a lotta buffering, but you can check out the playlist each and every week.  I do.  (RS note: Both links still work).
If hip hop boycotts buy Pepsi, I will buy more Pepsi Products. (News And other views 2/18)
What I remember most bout Seattle, is when I do look at the pictures that was taken on that trip was how blue the skies get when its nice and clear.  I dont think I ever seen such bluest skies anyplace that i have traveled.  I aslo regretted that I didnt spent much time at Experience Music Project Building next to the Space Needle. The EMP is a day long affair with all what happens up there.  But since my last visit, I have forgotten many of the places that I ate at, Taco Time and the Olive Garden was easy to remember, but the mexican places  names sound so similar, I tend to forget the name, although I did recall going to El Rancho, after I got off the plane.  There was also a Mexican Restraunt on Wheels across the street from the former Midway Drive In, which may have been better than our beloved Taco Time.  I did speak with the guy who owned this Food-on-wheels, and he started out in Arizona and migrated to the NW, and he says that he does make a good livin from it.
Next to nights in the desert, when the moon shines down on Downtown Seattle, are one of the most breathtaking views, I have had the pleasure of knowing.  It's probaly more romantic when your watching the sunset on the harbor or by the ocean.  When I do go to a big city, I tend to remember the positives rather than the negatives.  I would love to come back up there again, to continue to discover what Seattle does offer. (Bargains In Seattle 2001 2/19/03)
I remember from previous discussions in da chatroom and elsewhere, bout gas prices might pop around three bucks a gallon, and I poopooed that notion, well seems like reality is settling again, as I see the prices jump another ten cents in another week.  Out in the remotes in california, it seems that gas is now over two bucks a gallon, some as high as two fifty a gallon (somewhere out in the Calfornia/Nevada border I fathom).  Good thing I got some before going home.  We R at dollar sixty two, and dreams of dollar gallon gas are now fading as a arizona summer.  Needless to say if prices keep getting higher, the leisurely trip to Davenport, Waterloo, and Mad City will certainly be few and far between.  Can you say EBAY? (The Latest & The Lamest 2/2703)
Bo Diddley, sez  Bo dont do no rap, rap has no meaning and it wont last as long as he will.  That's why i love Bo Diddley,  Bo Knows Music and Bo Knows Rap is Crap. (The March 10th Playlist 3/10/03) RS 2008 thought, that was the week that Hank Ballad passed away.
I dont think any of my previous GF's knew how much of a music fanantic I was when they couldnt get me outta the music stores, and that included the more recent one.  But then my fate was sealed when Mom would drop me off in the Woolworth's music section and she come back half hour later and I was still there, sorting through the forty fives there.   She may have created a music monster there. (Crabb Writings 3/2/03)
 I typed up my list, puter locked, lost it.  My attention span has timed out. Trampus (April 17th Playlist 4/17/03)

Guess Sheryl Crow loves this area, she be playing in the Mark In Moline in June as well,  tickets are 35 to 75 bucks. WTF is this?  Why would anybody want to pay 75 bucks for a seat, do we get free beer and brats with this?  Or at least a De Caf Pepsi in the process?  For that price, I do expect a Lap dance and a kiss on the cheek if Im gonna to pay seventy five bucks to see Rock's biggest Hyprocrite screeching her soft rock bulloney.  But then again, if i want to hear that, i can watch two cats fight it out at 3 AM in the morning.   Then again, I rather now hear Sheryl do her own butcher version of Come, the worst moment on the new Fleetwood Mac album.  Then again, Sheryl will have to go on without my presence cuz on that nite i have to get my toenails removed, so sorry.   Maybe next time, when you lower your overpriced ass down by bout forty bucks. 
Seastarr responds.
Hello dear sweet crabby,
I know you're "crabby" about the cost of the tickets to see certain mediocre groups or has-beens and I can't agree with you more, the prices are outrageous!!   However, (and you knew you would hear from me on this one, didn't you??  I have to justify why I do spend money in that direction: 
1.  You can't take it with you.
2.  My kid's don't deserve the money right now, so why not spend it.
3.  It's something that me and my husband have in common and LOVE to do together.
4.  The pre party and ambiance (is that a word?) are a "high" all by themselves.
5.  I don't wear much jewelry, nor do I have an expensive wardrobe, so why not 75 bucks on a concert?  (Or shall I really scare ya and tell ya that Fleetwood Mac was over 100??  X 2 people? )
6.  We are not world travelers, just concert Junkies and may I say, I guess I can wear another crown...."Concert Queen".
I love your comments, Crabby, I just had to give you mine, Seastarr (from Eating Crow 5/18/03)
RS 2008: Yup I knew Sis would respond in her own way ;-)
Half Priced books and cd's (Madison, Des Moines, Phoenix,Seattle), problem with this place is that the cds are not with the case, so you have to go up to the cashier to get them, and usually they are scratched, since they stole them in plastic bags, and when they take them out, the cashier is careless, leaving surface scratches from not being handled carefully.  They do have a bargin bin, again hit and miss, and the CD's are in the case. They R probaly thinking that nobody wants them so they dont have to worry bout getting ripped off. (Favorite Hangouts 5/21/03)  RS Note: Half Priced Books was not in the CR area at this time but they would open up a store in Marion in 2005.
Finally, this will be the last posting for this subject matter.  Robert Oettinger, the owner of Oettinger's Music, a haven for old classic and cheap instruments has passed away this week.  Since he figured in the development of the music by providing some cymbals and drums in the formative years of da crabb's music.  He had worked in stints with Hiltbrunner's Music (RIP), and West Music, before starting his own instrument store in 1975.  Along with Old Man Keeney (RIP), to which i brought my old lamented Zickos Drumset, Mr Oettinger was instrumental for the beginnings of Paraphernalia, and later Route 66/Townedgers.
He will be missed. (Memorial Day Top Ten and other thoughts 5/22/03)
Final word on this part by Trampus
When I read da Crabb's writings about his travels and bargain hunting I feel like I know Charles Kuralt, who used to do the sunday show about america, always coming up with the true feel for an area. 
     I know Seattle well and da Crabb went right for its main themes like second nature.  The sky, the sunsets, the off ramps, the downtown market area, the university district, the general flavor in exquisite detail but as if you were hearing it in a casual conversation. 
     I think you have found your calling Crabby or at least a great extension to your passion for bargain hunting.  I'm impressed.
                                                     Your friend,  Trampus