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Monday, October 10, 2016

Vinyl, Vinyl, and MORE Vinyl---

My cheap vinyl roll continues! Here's some of my latest haul--all a buck apiece, and all near mint: (be forewarned I have only given a cursory listen to the ones I have listened to at all)

Thirty Years Of Bluegrass--This is a two-record compilation on a sketchy cut-rate label but the sound is pretty decent and the song/artist selection is interesting. As much "old timey" music as Bluegrass, this has some great stuff on it. "Rank Stranger" by the Stanley Bros. was worth the buck all by itself.

Stonewall Jackson-The Great Old Songs-- Stonewall is a solid purveyor of traditional C&W and this is a collection of story songs that he calls 'country folk songs'. Some may think this stuff is too cornball but, like Nick Cave, I beg to differ. I admit that I've been sort of disinterested in the rootsy, twangy stuff recently but in the last couple of months I've been diggin' it again and, being a bit of a contrarian, the fact that Country and "bar band" Rock 'n Roll are the most unhip musics going right now only convinces me that they are invaluable.

Buck Owens-Tall Dark Stranger--I definitely put Buck on the Mount Rushmore of C&W and this record is as solid as you would expect. What strikes me about this one is what I detect to be a Beatles(!) influence on some of the arrangements.

The Best Of Hank Thompson--Hank has a penchant for songs with a goofier lyrical bent like "Humpty Dumpty Heart" and "Rub A Dub Dub".

Jerry Reed-Georgia Sunshine--Known to the general populace for his TV and film appearances as well as novelty hits like "Amos Moses" and "When You're Hot You're Hot", Reed is a first class picker who could hold his own with guys like Chet Atkins. This record is an interesting blend of all his talents including his songwriting---he wrote six of the ten tunes here including the aforementioned "Amos Moses".

The other three Country discs I found but have not yet spun are Skeeter Davis-Foggy Mountain Top, Johnny Paycheck-She's All I've Got, and Roy Acuff-Waiting For My Call To Glory.

Lulu-To Sir With Love--Moving on to my non-C&W acquisitions we have this one from 60's songbird Lulu. I mentioned a while back that I had picked up her Muscle Shoals record and now I find this one featuring her all-time classic 60's hit as well as some other very groovy stuff, all produced by then-ubiquitous pop meister Mickie Most. You may find his production dated but I find it rather charming.

Sam Cooke--This eponymous collection on the Camden/RCA label doesn't contain any of his big hits--- which is fine with me since I have them elsewhere. What it does contain are examples of his seemingly effortless ability to wrap his vocal chords around a tune and make you believe and feel every word.

Aerosmith-Rocks--First big concert I ever attended was about 1974 at Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Indiana and if I recall the line-up was Foghat headlining, REO Speedwagon in the middle, and opening the show was a little-known (at the time) group of Stones wannabes from Boston. They were easily the best band on the bill and I was beyond impressed when Steven Tyler came out into the audience during REO's set. My buddy Paul Remblinger even chatted with him a bit and I remember he was drinking a Heineken which I had never heard of at that point. As for Rocks, if you like Aerosmith you'll like this record. Plenty of their brand of sleazy Cock Rock with just enough variety to keep it interesting.

Georgia Satellites--Haven't listened to the rest but it's got "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" on it which is a fab little bar-band corker in my opinion---

Lastly I picked up some 90's hardcore and post-punk. Manchurian Candidates-Between Reality and Shadow and Strychnine-Dead Rats & Oakland Dogs are enjoyable slabs of screeching guitars, pounding drums and screaming, mostly unintelligible vocals while F-Minus is similar with the added twist of   male and female lead vocalists. Dirt Bike Annie-Show Us Your Demons is more polished and melodic Pop-Punk also with male and female vocals. Most interesting of this lot in my opinion is Milemarker-future isms which is harder to get a handle on---sort of a mixture of dissonant guitars and electronics and garbled vocals, sort of in a Fall-like vein. Quite interesting, looking forward to spinning it again.

And of course, some more doggerel from yours truly. On this first one I managed to approximate horrible tape hiss in a digital format---not on purpose mind you. (sigh)---go HERE for "The Change". The other one is called "Blue For Days and can be found HERE

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Persimmon Jam Tastes Like Chicken Spit

Here's a neat little compilation record I bought entirely for the cover---I thought the vinyl may be a little sketchy but it actually sounds pretty decent.Of course I knew I would dig the Dylan, Cash, and Flatt & Scruggs cuts but the rest is worth a listen as well---even the Pete Seeger track didn't put me off too badly although I'm in no hurry to hear it again. While I respect Mr. Seeger, his skills represent all that I loathe about the "Great Folk Scare" as Martin Mull calls it.

---And here is your ration of ear wax melter for today my children---firstly a piano-laden pop ditty entitled "Tell Me Your Name" HERE and another inscrutable instro-mental dubbed "Hippo Surrounded By Flies" HERE 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Get You Away

                                                        Download/Listen HERE

And, for nor reason at all, here's an action pic (circa mid-60's) of Rich Guasco's stunningly beautiful "Pure Hell" Ford Bantam roadster, seen here employing a supercharged, fuel injected small block Chevrolet mounted ridiculously high off the ground to improve weight transfer.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Kosmic Vinyl

Back toward the end of my 15 minutes of fame when I was looking to record a follow-up to Mood Elevator I ended up recording Buzz Me In with a fellow known as Kosmo Vinyl producing. I'm sure it was my boy Clay Harper that hooked me up with Kosmo since Clay had recorded a series of 7 inchers with him, one of which I did the artwork for. Any of you that have read the comments section for this blog may recognize the name---Unlike most of the people I met during that period, I have managed to keep in contact with him and am honored he takes the time to post here occasionally.

I won't bother going in to any more detail about Kosmo myself  but suffice to say he's an intriguing personality with an interesting resume and a seemingly endless supply of fascinating anecdotes and stories. HERE is the Wikipedia thumbnail sketch of his life for the uninitiated--- 

   I will tell you that I had the pleasure of hosting Mr.Vinyl for approximately 30 hours this past week--- What would bring the fabulous Mr. Kosmo Vinyl to lil' ol' Athens, GA you ask?

  Despite having a computer and an email account, Kosmo is still big on sending old school postcards (y'know, through the U.S. mail)---and not just any postcards. You see Kosmo is an artist that makes his own postcards. His primary interest is collage and if you visit his blog HERE you can see the fabulous pieces he's been doing related to English football. Anyway, at some point a while back he suggested we have a sort of back-and-forth conversation using this medium, he with his collages and me with my pen and ink cartoony stuff. This we did (and continue to do) and then Kosmo had another idea---

Which brings us back to why Kosmo was in town. We were meeting with the folks at the Lyndon House which is a very nice gallery and arts center here in Athens and the reason for the meeting was to make plans and discuss our upcoming show entitled "To and Fro" . You see Kosmo suggested we take some of the better efforts from our postcard exchange and see if some gallery might consider letting us have a show. To our surprise and delight the people at the Lydon House liked the idea and gave us the green light. Cool huh?

  Anyone that is considering checking it out has almost a year to think about it since one has to set these things up wwaaayyyy in advance---however we do have dates. The work will be up and available for viewing on June 3rd, 2017. There will be a 'reception' for our show and the other exhibits (it's a fairly large gallery and has several shows going on simultaneously) on June 15th. Finally, on June 17th there will be a 'Q and A' session featuring Kosmo that should be very cool indeed.  

Plan ahead!

And of course I've put up another tune to listen/download/ignore HERE, this time a cover of a Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis song (via Bobsy Palmer natch)--- 

Friday, September 2, 2016

That's Everything


ADDENDUM: For those of you that have stumbled into the mysterious basement on previous occasions you know that I'm big on visiting the thrift shops in search of cheap vinyl to play on my hilarious stereo "system" (which consists of an ancient console augmented by a $20 turntable and a pair of $5 thrift shop speakers--- sound GREAT to me though!). It was a slow week on that front aside from one new acquisition (The Exciting Stonewall Jackson which is a damn solid slab of vintage C&W in the Hank Williams vein) so I just posted the obligatory tune and ran out to run some errands figuring on working some thrift shop stops into the agenda.

  Well, to my delight, today was one of those days when I was not met by the usual Mantovani and John Denver discs when I arrived at the Salvation Army--- Here's what I picked up: REM-Fables of The Reconstruction, Murmur, & Chronic Town---Hunters and Collectors-Fate---Pink Floyd-Wish You Were Here---Rain Parade-Crashing Dream & Third Rail Power Trip---English Beat-Just Can't Stop It---Genesis-Trick of the Tail---Pouges- If I Should Fall From Grace With God---Prefab Sprout-Two Wheels Good---The Dream Academy---Aztec Camera-Love---The Wild Flowers-Dust---Richard & Linda Thompson-First Light---Dire Straits-Making Movies---Depeche Mode-Black Celebration---Ultravox-Lament---Squeeze-Sweets From A Stranger---Lloyd Cole-Rattlesnakes & Easy Pieces---Kate Bush-The Kick Inside---Heaven 17-How Men Are---Spooky Tooth-Spooky Two---Zephyr---Mozart-Greatest Hits (2 record set)

  Now to be honest I'm always more interested in the 60's-70's era and as you can see this is heavy on the 80's stuff HOWEVER---these records, aside from the Spooky Tooth and Zephyr, are in absolute MINT condition and---here's the best part---ALL this shit ran me a grand total of six dollars. SIX DOLLARS!!! Needless to say I will be hittin' the bourbon and doing some serious vinyl spinnin' over the holiday weekend! Hope y'all enjoy yours as well---

ADDENDUM ADDENDUM: Haven't made much progress on reviewing the contents of my haul yet---played the Zephyr record and got a kick out of it. Basically a big, blustery blues-rocky affair, singer Candy Givens is completely over the top, sort of a screechier, less subtle Janis Joplin (if that's even possible) but the star is guitarist Tommy Bolin who went on to join later, inferior line-ups of Deep Purple and the James Gang. Also spun the Spooky Tooth which is decent keyboard-based 60's stuff---didn't make much of an impression with just one spin, but I imagine I'll give it another listen---ditto for the Pouges---I imagine they were much better live, kind of hard to capture their trip on record.   The one  that did make an impression is the first Rain Parade record ( whose proper title is  Emergency Third Rail Power Trip)  which is sort of Byrds/Burrito Bros. with major dollops of Velvets and, I dunno', Strawberry Alarm Clock or something---quite good. On Amazon folks are listing prices in the $100 range for a nice example of this which makes me smile since I paid about 18 cents for my mint-condition copy---

Friday, August 26, 2016

Smorgas Bored

  While born in Mississippi and having spent the majority of my life in the South, I am at heart a Midwesterner.There is something comfortably haunting about the rural Midwest with it's expansive cornfields, broad skies, and sparse population. For no reason at all here are a few pics from Southern Illinois:

I've been listening to lots of cheap vinyl encompassing everything from The Fall to New Orleans Jazz, but very little Country and Western. Then the other day I spun Willie Nelson's superb What Can You Do To Me Now?  album ( which is really just a hodge podge of some of his '68-'72 output, but my God, some of the songs..."Wake Me Up When It's Over", "My Own Peculiar Way", "Permanently Lonely", "I Gotta' Get Drunk"...just fantastic IMO.) and now I can't stop writing 3rd rate Classic Country-wannabe songs including one called "Nail Me To Your Wall". Listen and/or download HERE.

And, just to be obnoxious I also uploaded an annoying instrumental I've decided to call "Nipple Sausage"---Endure that HERE.

Monday, August 22, 2016

There To Stare

                                                    Listen or download HERE