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+