Friday, April 28, 2006

Something's Happening Here

Today in Music History:

In 1948 Wynonie Harris hits #1 on the R&B chart with the King release of "Good Rockin' Tonight."
homercat's hippie phaseThis will be a juggernaut post so I suggest you start streaming Neil Young's new album by clicking here, while you read. Music at any given time is a reflection on what is happening in the world around us at the time it was written and recorded. Some of the greatest songs ever recorded are the direct result of the times and protest music is no exception. Think back to the Vietnam war era and the multitude of classic songs that are purely protest. In this day and age I've heard and read how some people think it's inappropriate that musicians and or celebrities use their status as a forum for politics. The ones that always scream the loudest are the conservatives. How can one forget the strife and unrest of the late 60's and early 70's and the extremely excellent music that came out of that unrest. The music wasn't strictly fluff, it meant something to the artists and to the people that embraced it. They wanted change from the corrupt government and the terrible pointless war that raged in some faraway dinky little country. Personally I can't think of a better way to voice your concerns and angst than through music and what better way to cut through the apathy of youth than through the medium they love. One night a few months back, my old lady turns to me and says, "what happened to the days when people used to care. When the world was turning upside down over Vietnam and the Nixon admin., there were protests, music protested etc. Where are these people now? Doesn't anybody care?" Yes Virginia someone cares, and that is Canadian born legend Neil Young. There has been a lot of hype over his new album Living With War and as of today you can stream the whole album. Before you read on click here to stream the album while you read. I just finished listening to the whole album and am currently on my second run through it and it is nothing short of absolutely amazing. When the closing strains of the final track, America the Beautiful, were coming to an end I had chills running down my spine and a lump in my throat. It is that damn good. It's a justified, scathing look at the current administration and it's damaging policies. Way to protest Neil.

Neil has always had that effect on me. When I saw the movie Philadelphia I thought it was an OK movie but when the movie ended and Neil's singing Philadelphia and the home movies of the dead guy were running, I just lost it. When Neil sang Imagine during the 9/11 tribute I couldn't hold back my tears. When Neil performed at the Canada for Asia benefit months just a few short months after suffering his brain thingy, once again I felt the tears welling up. Needless to say I will purchase the new disc when it comes out in May.

Which ultimately brings me to what this whole post is about today. I am compiling a CD of the Top 20 Protest Songs of all time. Kids have nothing to protest today, lest their cell phone is taken away. They think that everything is going their way and are apathetic and only care about the next big fad. There was a time when your ass was gonna get drafted and then more than likely killed or maimed in some far off little country. People were upset about this. There was a time when civil rights was a cause. Nowdays if a parent tries to get their kid to clean their room, they cry foul and threaten to call social services screaming child abuse. With yet another war looming on the horizon in Iran it might be time to start caring again. Cell phones and ring tones aren't the most important things in life. Maybe when the draft is reinstated, things will change. This list will be a tall order because there are so many good ones. Also I don't want to immediately include the ones that are springing into your mind right this second. Everyone knows that Blowing in the Wind is probably the best one, but I'll probably leave it off this CD. The songs don't have to necessarily be protesting war. They could be protesting anything. Hopefully I've thrown in one or two that you haven't heard before. I know y'all are getting tired of reading because I'm getting tired of thinking and typing, so let's get on with it. These are in no particular order and please feel free to protest my choices.

For the title of this post I used a line from this song, which happens to be one of my favorites. Written by Stephen Stills, with a young Neil in the mix, getting started on his road to legendom. We better stop, hey, what's that sound Everybody look what's going down
For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield
Buy It

In 1986, Dweezil Zappa released his first album Havin a Bad Day, produced by Daddy Frank. Dweezil was an ardent Eddie Van Halen fan and some of the guitar work on this album emulates that style. I enjoyed the hell out of this album. Good luck finding it now, you can search online for prices upwards of seventy dollars for this out of print gem. Here's a tune off the album with sis Moon Unit providing vocals. Awesome tune. Very catchy and protesty. I double dog dare you to not like it.You won't believe it but it's true We're still making weapons To protect us from you-know-who
Let's Talk About It by Dweezil Zappa
Buy It

In 1971 Grand Funk released their last album as a trio called E Pluribus Funk. I wonder what war they're talking about? From fighting in a war, that causes big men to get rich. There's money in them war machines, now ain't this a bitch?
People, Let's Stop the War by Grand Funk Railroad
Buy it

Almost everything the Clash did was political in some way. No more so than the Sandinista triple juggernaut. Another song with explicit references to American external policies. The killing clowns, the blood money men Are shooting those Washington bullets again
Washington Bullets by The Clash
Buy It

The best fuck you to the government establishment song EVER. Appropriate for today's political climate still. A lot of Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes reflected the climate of the day.
Yeh, some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
And when you ask them, how much should we give,
oh, they only answer, more, more, more, yoh,

Fortunate Son by CCR
Buy It

With their last album The Rolling Stones proved that they can still rock n roll. Make as many geriatric jokes as you like, Mick and the boys are still relevant and they hit the nail on the head with Sweet Neo Con.
It's liberty for all
'Cause democracy's our style
Unless you are against us
Then it's prison without trial

Sweet Neo Con by The Rolling Stones
Buy It

Steve Earle has long displayed a strong political streak and his leftist views took center stage on his 2002 album Jerusalem. Written and recorded in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Jersusalem dealt openly with Earle's divided feelings about America's "war on terror". Say what you will about him, but Steve Earle has never been afraid of getting people mad at him if he thought it was the right thing to do, so here's a song about the growing gulf between the rich and the poor.
Yeah, I know, that sucks – that your HMO
Ain't doin' what you thought it would do
But everybody's gotta die sometime and we can't save everybody
It's the best that we can do

Amerika v. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do) by Steve Earle
Buy it

Even The Ramones could write a meaningful protest song. Even though Johnny was ultra consevative and a staunch republican supporter, "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" was one of their finest moments. Based on Ronald Reagan’s ill-advised visit to a cemetery of SS graves.
Bonzo goes to bitburg then goes out for a cup of tea
As I watched it on TV somehow it really bothered me
Drank in all the bars in town to understand the foreign policy
Pick up the pieces

My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) by The Ramones
Buy it

I've covered Alice Cooper's child abuse protest(Dead Babies) and here's one that sounds like it's protesting something, although I'm not sure what. war, craziness or something. A rarely heard gem though.
From his army confessions of his military days
You still carry the shrapnel, you're shell-shocked and dazed
Dear Johnny, have you lost your way
Or like denim and leather are you faded and frayed
Jackknife Johnny by Alice Cooper
Buy it

Okay people I'm starting to run out of steam here. I'm getting tired and I've been at this all day. I need a song in here that protests the proliferation of nuclear weapons. A catchy little pop tune from the 80's with a serious message. English version.
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The President is on the line
As Ninety nine red balloons go by

99 Red Balloons by Nena (yes I know it's tagged wrong)
Buy it

Although Johnny Cash's signature tune, "Man in Black," isn't technically a protest song, it's still one of the greatest protest songs ever written, a song written and sung in pure anger and defiance. Instead of just moaning about the troubles of the world, he decided to bear responsibility for them by making a symbolic gesture, one he stuck to until the end of his life: I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back/ 'Til things are brighter, I'm the man in black.
Man In Black by Johnny Cash
Buy it

I'll name a couple here that every human in existence probably owns so I won't post them. I don't want anyone to think I left a glaring omission off of my CD. Rockin' in the Free World by Neil Young. Ohio by Crosby Stills Nash and Young. The Times They are a Changin' by Bob Dylan. Let's Impeach the President by Neil Young.

Finally, if you're a kid and can't think of anything to protest, then there is always authority in general, especially parents. What better and more fun song is there that tells parents that we aren't gonna take it than.

We're Not Gonna Take it by Twisted Sister
Buy it

Well there it is my list of some of the best protest songs of all time. I assume everyone agrees with me or are there a few that disagree and would like to protest. Seriously I would like a couple reader suggestions to add to my CD. Thanks for putting up with this long and boring entry of mine. Have a good weekend everyone, and if something pisses you off. Protest It.

Funny Toon

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sid n Susie

Today in Music History:

In 1982, While standing next to his car, Rod Stewart was mugged by a gunman along Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard.
When we were/are young and dreamed of being rock n roll stars, what do we do when we finally get our first guitar, bass or drums. We learn a few chords and immediately start trying to learn some of our favorite songs of that time. We have certain artists or groups that influence us and we yearn to play their stuff. Even legends such as The Stones or The Beatles started out by covering stuff by the people that influenced them. It is a rare person who picks up a guitar for the first time and starts writing their own material. We are inspired by the music we love, to pick up a musical instrument and learn how to play. So I am never surprised when successful artists will choose to do a whole album of material that is not their own. Artists such as the Ramones, Rush, David Bowie, Metallica, John Lennon, Joan Jett, Dwight Yoakum, Def leppard is getting set to release one and oh well, I could go on and on, have all recorded an album of cover songs. This annoys some people, they want new stuff or they think that the original is perfect and how dare anyone cover it. Cover albums are routinely treated as secondhand and second-rate artistic goods. Which I think is unfair, personally I love it. I like to hear someone's take on someone elses stuff.
Matthew Sweet and Susanna HoffsWhich brings us tothe subject for today. I routinely cover the "old stuff" here on rockin' and I recently got a good listen to the new duet album celebrating 60’s pop music by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs called Under The Covers Vol. 1. Billing themselves as Sid n Susie they recorded the album at Matthew's home studio in the Hollywood Hills. The two were acquainted with each other from their work in the Austin Powers movies as the band Ming Tea in the films. Director Jay Roach happens to be the hubby of Susanna. The two have chosen well known and obscure tracks from the 60's. The last track, Run to Me, is technically from 71, but it fits perfectly here. The first time through was a pleasant listen and as I queued up the disc again I really got into the whole sixties feel of the album, actually giving me a semi groovy feeling. At 47 Hoffs sounds and looks as stunning as she did in the eighties. I have to give them kudos for tackling songs like The Kids are Alright and Monday Monday. No easy feat for anyone but the original artists. Cinnamon Girl is dead on and doesn't deviate much from the original. The lesser known gems on the albums tended to be my favorites, as you all well know, homercat is all about reviving the oldies for a new generation. Maybe I'm just a sucker for sixties nostalgia, but these are great songs with melody and harmonies to spare, not to mention hooks to die for, and Hoffs and Sweet cover them with real care and affection, their respect for their material and love of the material eminates from every track. If I had to say anything negative it would be that the Bob Dylan cover seems out of place on this album for some reason. Yes it's a sixties cut, but it seems to interrupt the flow of the rest of the music. Maybe that was intended. My favorite was Different Drum, sorry Linda but Susie nailed it. Their version of The Kids are Alright really pulled me in too and that's a toughie to pull off. Sunday Morning sounds as if the song was written for Susanna to sing it, she really makes it her own and egad, I prefer this version over the Velvet Undergrounds(I know I will get lynched for that comment).
Track Listing
1. I See The Rain (The Marmalade)
2. And Your Bird Can Sing (The Beatles)
3. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan)
4. Who Knows Where The Time Goes? (Fairport Convention)
5. Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young And Crazy Horse)
6. Alone Again Or (Love)
7. Warmth Of The Sun (The Beach Boys)
8. Different Drum (The Stone Poneys)
9. The Kids Are Alright (The Who)
10. Sunday Morning (The Velvet Underground)
11. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Neil Young And Crazy Horse)
12. Care Of Cell #44 (The Zombies)
13. Monday Monday (The Mamas And The Papas)
14. She May Call You Up Tonight (The Left Banke)
15. Run To Me (The Bee Gees)

A ’60s pop primer of sorts, Under The Covers Vol. 1’s 15 songs span a wide range of genres – from rock to folk to pop – but all have that unmistakable ’60s vibe. Homercat gives it 3 1/2 tail wags(four tail wags if you take out the Dylan track) and I read somewhere that the two are primed to do a volume of 70's covers. Homercat will buy it without even seing a track listing.
For your groovy enjoyment, sample this, then buy.

I See the Rain by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs

Buy It

Funny Toon
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My Mama Said

Today in Music History:

In 1977, Elvis Presley made the last recordings of his life during a concert at the Saginaw, Michigan Civic Centre. Three songs from the show appeared on the posthumously released Presley album, 'Moody Blue'.
I don't know if anyone noticed but I added something new to the sidebar that's sure to further irritate dial up users and my apologies but I got the idea from jabartlett. Whenever I head to his site I always look at his last fm now playing list first to see what he's been listening to in his recently played tracks. I find this immensely interesting. You can click on the box to see charts that will tell you which artists I've been listening to the most, which tracks I've played the most etc. The list pretty much updates in real time, so if I got my player going it's constantly sending the info out. Just letting you know about my new toy. I am going to tweak some things around in an effort to speed up loading times for my dial up friends, so be patient guys. So I had to add one.

Corb LundIt's few and far between when when ma turns me on to new music. Or let's say never until today. Turns out I had downloaded a track a while back from one of the blogs I frequent and hadn't had the time to listen to it yet. Mom calls and somewhere in the conversation she's telling us about this wonderful boy and how she loves his music. Maybe one reason she loves it as it turns out is that she went to nursing school with this dudes Mom, and they're nursing buds. I haven't even mentioned the band yet, but it's Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans. The coolest thing about all this is I went to find some shit about ole Corb, and he happened to appear in my favorite movie I have seen this year. Slither. The band is playing"(Gonna) Shine Up My Boots" in the film at a party celebrating the opening day of deer hunting season. Didn't realize who that was up on the big screen. This film kicks ass as a step forward in the B movie genre. Much alien slime, slugs, guts, gore, humour and zombies abound. It was awesome! I'm not sure if Ma knows about the zombie movie but he's a nice Canadian boy and she likes his music. I have to share the one track I have and all apologies to the original poster,(I think it was craig) I don't remember who you are, but I thanks ya. If you haven't seen Slither then you have missed a great movie.

All I Wanna do is Play Cards by Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans
Buy it

Funny Toon

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Hoser Heaven

Today in Music History:

In 1982, Joe Strummer disappeared for three weeks, which resulted in The Clash canceling a tour. He was found living rough in Paris.
Okay folks run out and get a two four, slip on those toques and get ready for the second hockey season that starts today. I'm sure Mr. Beer N. Hockey is ready or did his team make it this year. Yes sir playoffs start today. It's time for Calgary to quit fuckin around and start kicking some ass. Go Flames. After all the more playoff games the Flames win, the more Flames Girls we'll get to see. Yep, what is more Canadian than hockey. Maybe Beer and beavers eh? That's a pic of me and my hoser brother. Well actually I'm making a CD devoted to songs about hockey or songs that mention hockey. I must admit that as I was perusing my collection, I couldn't find many songs that fit the bill. The homercat is really gonna need some help filling out his hockey playoffs CD. Most of what I have found is by Canadian artists, so if you're not from Canada you might not get into this post. To all my fellow hosers, I say yes I will be posting that one song. You know the guy with the board. Let's get on with it. The Tragically Hip ranks with Mounties, hockey and toques as something quintissentially Canadian. No wonder the rest of the world doesn't get them. In tone and content the Hip's music is a paean to the Great White North. Most of their music deals with distinctly northern subjects such as Fifty Mission Cap, about former Toronto Maple Leaf Bill Barilko. The Hip Hail from Kingston, Ont, birthplace of Don Cherry and frontman Gord Downie is ardent hockey fan, a die hard Bruins fan. So I ramble on about The Hip because my first two hockey songs come from the Hip.

Fifty Mission Cap by The Tragically Hip
Fireworks by The Tragically Hip
Buy It

Now these others I won't go into the much depth about so in no particular order.
The Zamboni Song by The Gear Daddies

I've done a post about Warren Zevon here if you missed it and would like to learn more, but I miss the guy, lots.
Hit Somebody(The Hockey Song) by Warren Zevon
Buy it

Stompin Tom is another one of those purely Canadian icons. I actually laughed(don't hit me) the first time I saw him perform, but one things for certain, everytime he sings this one it gets the crowd fired up.
The Hockey Song by Stompin Tom Connors
Buy it

These guys put out an album of nothing but hockey songs. This is the only one I have though.
The Goalie is Drunk by The Zambonis
Buy it

What is hockey without the Hockey night in Canada theme song. Wish I had a better version of this.
Hockey Night in Canada theme music

As you can see my list is very short and I need about 12 more songs to fill my CD. One other song I had at one time was Me Like Hockey by The Arrogant Worms, but I can't seem to locate that one. Suggestions welcome. I feel like I should have been able to find more, but I'm a little wartorn this week. Y'all have a great weekend eh! Now go watch hockey.

Funny Toon
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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wine Sampling in April

Today in Music History:

In 1970, The New York Times reported that Catholic and Protestant youth groups had adopted the Yellow Submarine as a religious symbol.
April WineIf any of you have been following the cat for more than a year then you will know this is the second time I've hit this band, but it is April and I had some wine this past weekend and the first time around I didn't really do this band justice. Especially since April Wine has just entered their 36th year together and are preparing to release a new album this spring. I enjoyed very much their last studio album which was released in 2001, although I think it was only available as an import in the states. So I think this time I'll do the boys a gooder.
April Wine formed in late 1969 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but soon relocated to Montreal. "Fast Train," their first hit, appeared in 1971 and the next year brought the band's first Canadian number one single, "You Could Have Been a Lady." Following the Gold success of the second album and that single it was clear that April Wine had the chance to become one of Canada's most significant rock bands. When they released their fourth album Stand Back they became the superstar Canadian band, with double platinum success. They now had songs like Tonight Is A Wonderful Time To Fall In Love, Cum Hear The Band, Slowpoke, Don't Push Me Around, and Oowatanite. Yet they had barely cracked the charts in the States.

In 1977 April Wine was selected to pose as the headliner for a charity event at the El Mocambo Club in Toronto with a group called The Cockroaches as the opening act. That was all secrecy type stuff as was revealed on the day of the show as The Cockroaches actually turned out to be The Rolling Stones who recorded their Love You Live album that night. April Wine also recorded a live album called Live at the El Mocambo.

I first came in contact with April Wine from their albums Live at the El Macambo and 1978's First Glance. It was about this time that they begin to draw attention from fans in the states. As with the case of Grand Funk, April wine was a band that the critics just loved to hate. That didn't matter, because over the next few years they became a force to be reckoned with. Major artists such as Rush, Journey and Styx requested that April Wine open their shows in the United States. American audiences were finally being exposed to this "new" band called April Wine. Canada's best kept secret was finally out in the open. Then in 1979 they released Harder...Faster which is the album that really sold me. The shit on there blew me away. The album featured the hardest rock that April Wine had ever recorded. This album included such powerful songs as I Like To Rock, which American radio embraced, and Say Hello which went to the top of the charts in Canada. The popularity of these songs helped keep the album on Billboard's 200 Album charts for over 40 weeks! Harder...Faster helped the group collect more Gold and Platinum awards on both sides of the border. Their biggest US hit came in 1981 with the song Just Between You and Me from the The Nature Of The Beast album. But that was just cheezy schmaltz. Everything prior to that album was pure rock n roll. I figure that they thought they had to have a snarky ballad to win over American audiences. And they did. I had the pleasure of seeing April Wine perform in a small bar here a couple years ago and I was wickedly surprised. Instead of a bunch of old farts who were just going thru the motions, they sounded excellent and their old stuff sounded better than ever and the new stuff they showcased had me searching for their new album Back to the Mansion the next day. In fact they fucking rocked the roof off that place.

I always thought it was cool that as an American, I had "discovered" April Wine before they got big in the states. People would ask me who's that you're listening to, and I would say "oh that's April Wine a cool Canadian band," and then pretty soon they were listening to them. April Wine's lineup remains largely unchanged with the original members from the seventies, Myles Goodwyn, Brian Greenway, Jerry Mercer and Jim Clench. Keep rockin' guys and I'll keep buyin'. Just like fine wine, they keep getting better.

It's time to reacquaint ourselves with this band and look thru the years at some classic stuff that maybe a lot of folks haven't heard.
Weeping Widow by April Wine
Buy It

Oowatanite by April Wine
Buy It

Good From Far (Far From Good) by April Wine
Buy It

Holiday by April Wine
Buy It

Funny Toon
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

You Need This to Make a Sammich

Today in Music History:

In 1968 the first major rock musical, 'Hair', opens in New York, bringing hippies (and nudity) to Broadway.
breadSemi-vacation is over so it's time to get back to the tunes. One of the most popular pop groups of the early '70s was a group called Bread. They had a string of well-crafted, melodic soft rock singles, all of which were written by keyboardist/vocalist David Gates. In 1968 Gates met guitarist/vocalist James Griffin when Griffin had hired Gates to produce an album for him. Soon after the pair joined forces and hired guitarist/vocalist Robb Royer. Bread released their first album in 1968 and didn't really make a dent in the musical community. With the release of their second album, the soft rock hits started to flow. Make it with you became a number 1 hit and Bread started touring with the addition of full time drummer Mike Botts. So the hits started coming down the pike but in 1973 the group disbanded because of turmoil between Gates and Griffin. Gates was writing all the hits yet when they formed the two agreed they would alternate singles. Petty, petty. So what happens, a lawsuit in there somewhere over the name Bread, dismal solo careers and by the '90s, Gates was running a California ranch and Griffin had relocated to Nashville doing something.

I remember hearing Bread all the time on the radio as a kid. Yet it wasn't until I was much older that I truly appreciated the work of this group. When I was listening to Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath. Alice Cooper and others of various "more serious" rock genres it could be embarrassing to admit you thought Bread was cool. Of course when you get older none of that crap matters anymore. Cool is cool and Bread is the shit. Not exactly hard rockers, yet their melodies can stick in your mind when one's feeling contemplative.

The Guitar Man by Bread

Make It With You by Bread
Buy It

As a bonus here's a cover of Guitar Man by John McCrea and the boys(Cake), another food item band.

Guitar Man by Cake
Buy It

Funny Toon
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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I want to Believe

Today in Music History:

In 1977 Suzi Quatro is cast on ABC-TV's 'Happy Days' as rocker Leather Tuscadero.
UFOWell this is the second time I've written this post. After spending three hours writing it, Blogger ate my post and royally pissed me off. I couldn't resist using that title for today's post.

Vocalist Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton, bassist Pete Way, and drummer Andy Parker formed the British space metal outfit UFO in 1969. Originally known as Hocus Pocus, the group took the name UFO in honor of a London club. The group went largely unnoticed until 1974 when former Scorpion guitar monger Michael Schenker joined the band. 1974 through 1979 were the golden years for UFO. Culmiinating in 1979 when they released Strangers in the Night, possibly the best live album ever recorded. In fact it is said that no sooner than the master tapes had reached the studio, Schenker had quit the band and refused to cooperate with any re dubs for the live album. If this is true, then this album is truly the Rosetta Stone of live hard rock lead guitar. Arguably the best lead guitarist of this rock genre, Schenker doesn't miss out when the tempo slows either. Listen to his lead break during "let It Roll" when he applies the brakes and displays great reverence for the slower material. This album was recorde while UFO was on tour with Blue Oyster Cult and quite simply, this is the best live rock performance you will ever listen to. A band at it's peak performance and extremely tight and in perfect synch. Every band member stands out in his own right, with a special emphasis on Schenker's guitar work, propelling his reputation as the mad axeman of his era.

Unfortunately UFO never recovered from losing Schenker and sank into obscurity. Although the group has largely been forgotten in North America, their mark has been left on bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Def Leppard, and Smashing Pumpkins. Schenker himself bopped around to different bands and rejoined UFO several times. Reading up on this band you need an abacus and a day pass for the merry go round as I counted 32 personnel changes from the beginning in 1969 to 2006. That probably hasn't helped matters. Most rock purists agree that Strangers has been the best live album ever recorded and if you haven't heard any cuts than I can help out. Then do yourself a favor and go get a copy of this underappreciated album. No self respecting rocker would be without a copy.

Too Hot To Handle by UFO

Let It Roll by UFO
Buy it

Funny Toon
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Monday, April 10, 2006

Was(Not Was)

Today in Music History:

In 1970, During a concert in Boston, Doors singer Jim Morrison asked the audience if "anyone wants to see my genitals", the management switched of the power.
The cat is back. Detroit-natives David Weiss and Don Fagenson were founders of one of the coolest bands of the late 80's and early 90's with their unique blend of rock, funk, jazz and blues. Perhaps you are more familiar with their stage names so to speak. David and Don Was. Don Was also produced a few mega hit records also, by such artists as Bonnie Raitt and the B-52's. When they first formed Was (not Was), these guys assembled a crack team of musicians, including frontman Sweet Pea Atkinson, a former Detroit auto worker whose rich vocal qualities recall Otis Redding or Sam Cooke. Also bringing soul to the ensemble was former O'Jays singer Sir Harry Bowens. The rock edge came from ex-MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, while the jazz tinge came from trumpeter Marcus Belgrave who performed for decades with the bands of Charles Mingus and Ray Charles. Parliament/Funkadelic's flamboyant percussionist Larry Fratangelo brought the funk, and the group was rounded out by saxman David McMurray, guitarist Randy Jacobs, and pianist Luis Resto. David played the flute and wrote the intelligent and sometimes twisted lyrics. Don played bass and wrote the music. If you think you haven't heard anything from these guys think again. Their third album What Up Dog? included the oft heard Walk the Dinosaur. Guest vocalists abound on their albums, including such as Ozzy Osbourne, Doug Feiger(The Knack), Mitch Ryder, Marshall Crenshaw, Mel Torme, Leonard Cohen, Iggy Pop, and Downtown Julie Brown just to name a few. What Up Dog? is considered by many to be worthy of a spot in ,say, a top 100 albums of all time list. Listen to the lyrics to a few of their songs and it can blow your mind sometimes. Such as one that I feature here. Maria Novarro has a jazzy funk filled beat yet the lyrics deal with a disturbing case of domestic abuse. The second is a damn good cover that rivals the original by The Temptations. Sadly, In 1993, Was (Not Was) officially parted ways, although they recently reunited for some live shows. In pop music there is such a thing as being too fucking smart for your own good, and Don and David Was certainly fit that bill. Enjoy and rediscover Was (Not Was).

Maria Novarro by Was (Not Was)

Papa Was a Rollin' Stone by Was (Not Was)
Buy it

Funny Toon
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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Chill Out

Today in Music History:

In 1980, R.E.M. played their first ever gig when they appeared at St Mary's Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.
Only band that mattersLondon calling from the faraway towns, now war is declared and battle come down.

"London calling to the underworld, come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls.

I've repeatedly said here that while parents of the world were scared shitless of the Sex Pistols, they should have been more frightened of The Clash. Maybe parents aren't but taxi drivers in the UK are scared shitless. When Harraj Mann asked his taxi driver if he could play his tunes through the taxi's stereo system he probably never dreamed of being classified as a terrorist. After the cabbie heard such songs as London Calling and the Immigrant Song by Zeppelin and probably noticing his passenger was of Indian descent, it sounds as if he was pissing himself to call the cops. So after dude gets off the cab at the airport he makes call and the terrorist police detain him for three hours asking him questions. Harraj was remarkably poised for such an egregious act stating "He didn't like Led Zeppelin or The Clash but I don't think there was any need to tell the police,". There's a bit more to the story and you can google it, or surf the blogosphere, but I want to say this. Yes we should be a bit cautious and all these days, but people, puhleeeze!! I have long stated that London Calling is the best record album ever made. I have the words to all the songs memorized. Am I a terrorist? Will I be yanked off a plane for my tastes in music. Lord knows I've used enough flagged words in my posts to have big brother keepin' an eye on my leftist views. Paranoia is steadily creeping through the world and democratic nations are tightening the noose on their populations all for their protection and people seem to like this. Personally I don't feel protected, I feel violated. Knowing that some government agency is snooping around my blog or tapping my phone just because I said the words bomb, or terrorist kinda pisses me off. Benjamin Franklin said it best:
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
I think all this paranoia about the war on terror has gone a bit far. Harraj himself sums it up quite nicely. "I mean obviously the political climate these days is like walking on egg shells, but I mean there's caution and then there's taking it to the point where it's absurd and ludicrous."

Yes there's music here somewhere, don't fret. The cat has had mucho stuffo to do this week and doesn't know how much he'll be around, but an effort shall be made. Now a good song about paranoia by The Kinks.

Destroyer by The Kinks

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