Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What the....F***

Today in Music History:

2001 George Harrison dies at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer.
The beginning of a messSee in my last post I mentioned how moderate the weather was here and how it never snows and itrains a lot. Booyah, man did we get a whole buttload of snow. Shoulda kept me yapper shut. It started snowing Sunday morning. In this pic here it shows the beginning of our snow event from homercat's balcony, around noonish I think. Then around twoish, a transformer across the street exploded and there were live wires in the street. They were hissing and humming and we wuz without the electrics. It finally came back on around 8 that night and we were luckier than most. Some people here on the Island are still without power. When the event was over our fair city lay under a blanket of about 16 inches of snow. Monday morning this was one dead city. The one snowplow we have here was working it's butt off. Since snow is a rarity here, the natives totally freak out when the white stuff makes an appearance.

a different angle of homercat's streetOne things for certain, these folks don't have a friggin clue how to drive it. Lawdy lawdy, what a mess.It can be kind of fun to watch folks who are not used to it try to finagle their way around. To top off everything it got seven below zero and everything was rock solid this morning. I know that don't sound too bad to some of you prairie folk who routinely get those thirty below temps, but we're spoiled out here. Here it is in the pm and the snow is falling again. Music lovers this is highly unusual for these parts. It has reminded homercat just how much he detests these cold and snowy conditions.
bus go slippity slidy
As a result of all this all I can think about is snow. Let's see if we can conjure up some snow themed music. I wanted to steer clear of any Christmassy stuff, and that was hard to do. It seems that if snow is mentioned it turns into a Christmas song. So I threw in cold and winter for good measure.

Snowball in Hell by They Might Be Giants
Buy It

Sometimes it Snows in April by Prince
Buy It

Let it Snow
by Billy Idol
Buy It

Snowman by the Barenaked Ladies
Buy It

Snowblind by Ace Frehley
Buy It

Song for a Winter's Night by Gordon Lightfoot
Buy It

Too Cold At Home by Mark Chestnutt

Maybe some of you could suggest some snow songs that don't have anything to do with Christmas, because I'm drawing a blank. Hope your weather is better than out here.

Funny Toon

Friday, November 24, 2006

In Which Homercat Reflects

Today in Music History:

In 1983, Irish group The Undertones split up. Lead singer Feargal Sharkey went on to have a No.1 UK single as a solo artist with 'A Good Heart'.
Homercat decided that today he would just write stuff and try to tie in some music somehow. My friend over at the Hits keep on a comin' recently wrote about an article that listed the top 10 worst songs of all time and he offered up a list of 5 of what he considered to be the worst. I happened to agree with 4 of them, I'll throw up my list of 5 and see how many agree with me.
1. In My Place-Coldplay reason: it sucks
2. Clocks-Coldplay reason: it sucks
3. Speed of Sound-Coldplay reason: Sucks more
4. Talk-Coldplay reason: Sucking Bad
5. Fix You-Coldplay reason: Sucks so bad, my ears bleed

As a matter of fact worst band ever sounds good.

This version of this song sucks pretty bad too.
Shock the Monkey by Don Ho

In the last two years the homeless in this city has exploded. Being that we live in a temperate climate makes it easy to live outdoors I guess. While I am sympathetic to their plight to a certain degree, I'm just about fed up. I think Mr. Beer from Dope City has been handing out free tickets for the ferry so they can clean up their city before the big Olympics. You owe me a beer dude. You cannot walk downtown anymore. Every ten feet is someone begging for money. Downtown Victoria has a very distinct piss odor. We've heard about this on the news, but they are sugar coating it by saying that it's because bar patrons are leaving the pubs with the express purpose of pissing everywhere. They report it this way because tourism is huge here and they don't want reports of homeless people overrunning the city and pissing and shitting everywhere to get back to the tourists. I work at a place downtown once a week doing maintenance and It never fails I have to clean up dirty needles, shit, piss and all other sorts of crap. They are getting aggressive now that there's so many of them.
A couple of weeks ago the city put in some urinals in a couple of places so the "bar patrons" would have a place to piss and they were excited that the first weekend 300 people used them. They don't even hide anymore while they're shooting up and although I used to shop downtown occasionally, I don't anymore. I wonder what the tourists think? It's a problem Our fair city can't sugarcoat or pretend doesn't exist anymore. Between the homeless and the parking nazis, downtown is el sucko.

Back Home by Willie Nile
Buy It

Hometown Band by Valdy
Buy It

My mind and senses have been assaulted and barraged since November 1st by Christmas this and that and I am sick to death of it. I heard on the radio today that since today is the day after Thanksgiving in the States, there's like big sales and stuff and people run out and act like idiots for a day, seeing how much they can rack up on their credit cards in one day. I already knew this and during this spot on the news they were saying how one woman rented a U Haul to haul all her loot around in. Yes folks, a candidate for Moron of the Year. People waiting in line for hours for a store to open. More morons. Green Day's American Idiot has been overplayed since it came out so I have to go the other way here. This song actually is very complimentary to Canucks.
Canadian Idiot by Weird Al

And finally My good friend Mr Beer had this to say about my last post.
For me Roxy Roller is on a par with the Undertone's Teenage Kicks so far as perfect rock songs go.
I couldn't agree more with that statement, yet I have a song to add that joins that list. I was reminded of it when homercat's better half was telling me a story about seeing two names in an obituary as surviving some dude who had passed away. It struck her as she was sure I had played her a song with similar words. The names were Rael and Rhiann, I thought holy cow Rael Rean. I told her the song and she said yeah it's a great song and so it is.
Rael Rean by 999
Buy It

Well enough is enough, now go enjoy the weekend and don't pee on the street when you leave the bar.

Funny Toon

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Retro Canadiana

Today in Music History:

In 1987, Billy Idol knocked Tiffany from the No.1 single position on the US singles chart with his version of Tommy James ' Mony Mony'. Tiffany had been at No.1 with another Tommy James song ' I Think We're Alone Now.'

Remember that guy Nick Gilder who had that one hit wonder, Hot Child in the City? Before recording that majestic piece of pop goodness he was in a band Canadian glam-like outfit called Sweeney Todd. Soon after releasing their debut album Sweeney Todd quickly ruled the Great White North. Clark Perry took over the lead role and the band recorded a different rendering of "Roxy Roller". Almost immediately Chrysalis Records wooed Gilder and guitarist Jim McCulloch to Los Angeles and the duo bolted, leaving Sweeney Todd without a creative anything. They eventually recruited this young 16 yr old upstart by the name of Bryan Adams to take over lead vocal duties. Perhaps you've heard of him. I think Sweeney Todd released only two albums and Adams fell out of favor with Sweeney Todd after exhaustive touring in support of their second album, and split to return to high school. A year later, in 1978, Adams happened upon his soon-to-be songwriting partner, Prism's Jim Vallance, in a music store.

Sweeney Todd's biggest hit, Roxy Roller, has several different versions. The first with Nick Gilder. Clark Perry took over the lead role right after Gilder and the band recorded a different rendering of "Roxy Roller" before Perry was replaced by Bryan Adams. The story goes that Adams went to see a band called 'Sweeney Todd', the lead singer at that time (Perry)wasn't meant to be that good and word has it that Bryan told him so during the gig. The singer said that if he could do any better he should come up and try. Adams did just that and remained the bands lead singer. Adams sang on yet another "Roxy Roller" and accepted a Juno award on behalf of the original Gilder version. In addition Gilder released a 4th version on his first solo album. Confused yet? Sweeney Todd's second album If Wishes Were Horses features the earliest Bryan Adams' songs, as well as holdovers from Gilder and McCulloch (including the excellent "Tantalize"). "Song for a Star" details Adams' attempts at mimicking the Bolan-like-brainiac Gilder.

Is or was Roxy Roller a good enough pop tune to have been recorded 4 different times? A decent enough song I suppose but the listener would have to judge for himself. I believe this is the first original version.

Roxy Roller by Sweeney Todd
Buy It

Funny Toon

Monday, November 20, 2006

Oh Jeez, um, no title

Today in Music History:

In 1955 Elvis Presley's contract with Sun Records, including all previously released and recorded material, is sold to the New York-based RCA label for $35,000.
I have been negligent, but I have a reason. As an independent operator without a buttload of advertising on my site, It is my pockets that hosting all these mp3 files comes out of. Except for my good friends, some unlisted, most listed in my sidebar, almost no one else will even leave a thank you for what they find here. Yet my bandwidth usage continues to increase and for all you folks who come in and grab without thanking the poster, it costs money. I am not a rich man and when the provider says bandwidth usage is almost exceeded, it means that I will have a bigger bill. Thus you sometimes see other party options such as rapidshare or megaupload being employed here.

I could go the way of other music blogs and saturate my site with so much advertising that the music would be difficult to find. if the page would ever load. One of my favorite music blogs went that way and as a result I no longer read his blog and deleted it from my sidebar. I was never in this for money or exposure. Just my personal pleasure of exposing cool music to other people.

But reality forces a poor man to look for other user friendly(free) options for hosting his music files. So I have been experimenting with a site that looks promising, yet I feel is not friendly enough for my readers. Although I see some huge potential for something.

So I'm throwing up some stuff here not oft heard, without no rhyme or reason and asking all to be patient while I sort out my hosting options.

Jesus Brother Bob by The Arrogant Worms
Buy It

Life is Shit
by The Dead Milkmen
Buy It

Bully Bully by Off Broadway
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Today in Music History:

In 1969, Janis Joplin was arrested during a gig in Tampa, Florida, after badmouthing a policeman and using vulgar and indecent language. Joplin was pissed off after police moved into the hall forcing fans to move back to their seats. As the singer left the stage she confronted a detective calling him 'a son of a bitch' and told him she would kick his face in.
When I went to work this morning, it was pouring down rain and the man on the radio also said there was a wind warning in effect and because of an earthquake in Japan we were under a tsunami watch. I thought what the hell is this, Armageddon? Which got me thinking about the best end of the world song ever written.

Prism TodayArmageddon is arguably the biggest hit by Canadian retro rockers, Prism. Researching the history of this band I relied heavily on the bio page from the Prism website, as there aren't too many pages to go to about these guys. So don't go thinking I'm some amazing writer or blogger.

Guitarist Lindsay Mitchell conceived the tune Armageddon in August 1978 in Memphis, when Prism played a concert to the combined backdrop of the sometimes violent Memphis police strike and all the hoopla surrounding the first anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.

Prism is another one of those bands whose lineup has constantly changed over the years. Hailing from Vancouver, the original lineup went like this
* Ron Tabak - Lead vocals
* Lindsay Mitchell - Lead guitar, vocals
* Tom Lavin - Rhythm guitar, vocals (later formed the Powder Blues Band)
* John Hall - Keyboards
* Ab Bryant - Bass (later joined Chilliwack and the Headpins)
* Rodney Higgs - Drums, keyboards (Real name: Jim Vallance, later went on to form one of the most successful Canadian songwriting duos in history with Bryan Adams)
* Bruce Fairbairn - Horns (later went on to be one the industry's premier producers)
* Tom Keenlyside - Horns (later went on to the Powder Blues Band)

In July 1975, Prism went into the studio for their first recording session. In what can be considered the first Prism song, Open Soul Surgery would long stand as a concert favorite showcasing the hard-nosed rock attitude of Ron Tabak and Lindsay Mitchell. It was on the strength of their first recorded song that Prism landed a record contract with the now defunct GRT records.

As they headed to the studio to record their second album, Prism recruited Al Harlow from his own band. Harlow brought a new facet to the powerful rock quintet as they entered the studio in early 1978 to record their second album, See Forever Eyes. The new album would set the stage for a series of releases that would take Prism through a series of harsh high and lows. Despite a continued struggle in the direction of the band, See Forever Eyes was an instant success going platinum nearly overnight. The new album bubbled with 10 tracks full of commercial potential and produced 3 powerful singles. The band had begun to makes its mark as a powerhouse on stage but was straying too far into the lightweight pop field.

The Prism lineup from 1978-1980

* Ron Tabak - Lead vocals
* Lindsay Mitchell - Lead guitar, vocals
* Al Harlow - Rhythm guitar, vocals, bass
* John Hall - Keyboards
* Rocket Norton - Drums

1979 finally saw Prism take hold of itself and launch the album highlight of their careers. Armageddon. However, the Armageddon tour would have a long, difficult haul to keep the momentum that Prism had built the previous year while opening in major U.S. markets for Meatloaf. In it's first month prior to its U.S. release, Armageddon sold 150,000 copies in Canada making it one of the best selling Canadian albums in 1979. The first two albums had now sold a combined total of over half a million copies in the U.S. and the market was ready for them. However, gas shortages, rising energy costs, and truck stop violence would make the tour difficult at best.

Armageddon brought the band double-platinum awards for sales in excess of 500,000 copies. At the time, the album set sales records and there is accounting of sales somewhere around 700,000 copies. But as the sales of the album were peaking, GRT went into receivership and the true sales numbers will never be known. Judging by the fact that the album is still in demand and actively sold in music stores, it is entirely likely that sales have exceeded 1 million copies.

One highlight to the new album was songwriting contributions by a 19-year-old Vancouver whiz-kid songwriter named Bryan Adams, who had just recently signed a new management contract with Bruce Allen Talent.

Following hot on the footsteps of a monster success with Armageddon, the band once again returned to the studio to record their fourth album, Young and Restless. 1980 also saw Prism win 2 Juno Awards for Group of the Year, and Bruce Fairbairn's Producer of the Year for Armageddon. Rumours had begun to circulate that all was not well in the band. Prism had begun to take its toll on its members. The relentless touring schedule, and internal songwriting battles began to fracture the group. A falling out between Ron Tabak and Bruce Allen late in 1980 led to Tabak's departure from the band and became a flashpoint for all of the band's tensions.

In June 1981, Prism, with new lead vocalist Henry Small, went into Sunset Sound in Los Angeles to record the band's sixth album, Small Change. At the time, it seemed to signal the end of Prism. Small Change was a well-rounded album with some good songs but it just wasn't Prism.

The members of Prism decided that they had enough and disbanded in 1982. However, Henry Small, Prism's management and label then recorded Beat Street, essentially a solo album. Prism's original fan base had abandoned the band by this time, and the project itself soon disbanded.

In early 1984, the 5 original members of Prism began to collect themselves and put the pieces back together again. The members had begun to discuss the possibility of reforming the band, and Ron Tabak had beaten some personal demons that had nearly destroyed his career.

But disaster struck on Christmas Eve, 1984. Ron Tabak was cycling across Vancouver to visit his friend and fellow bandmember Al Harlow. The two had planned to spend Christmas together. Harlow last saw Tabak on the afternoon of the 24th when he picked up some of his belongings in his car. Tabak decided he would cycle to Harlow's Kitsilano apartment as part of his "fitness program". Tabak was struck on the head as he was brushed by a passing vehicle at about 8pm. He had also been injured in a mugging the week earlier and already had stitches on the back of his head. He was brought to hospital by ambulance but was told there was nothing wrong with him. Tabak became abusive and was arrested by police who happened to be there at the time. Early Christmas Day, Tabak's mother was advised by telephone that he had been found unconscious in the police cells and had been returned to Burnaby Hospital and then transferred to Vancouver General.

Vancouver General told Mrs. Tabak her son's condition was grave: A scan examination had shown a blood clot on the right side of his brain, and a neurosurgeon was preparing to operate. He did not regain consciousness and died December 26, 1984.

With the death of their lead vocalist, Prism remained silent until May, 1988 when Al Harlow, Lindsay Mitchell, and Rocket Norton entered the studio with local artists Darcy Deutsch and Andy Lorimer to record a new single, Good to be Back. The new track, written by Harlow, Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams, outlines the 13 year history of the band including a small tribute to the late Ron Tabak. However, the strength of the new single was not enough to land a new record deal. But the band drove on and finally recorded a new album, Jericho, in 1992.

Prism is still rocking on stage playing outdoor concerts, festivals and clubs. The glory days of 80's Stadium Rock may be gone but Prism continues to deliver on stage wherever they play. As a matter of fact, homercat will be seeing these guys in the near future. I'll have more about this in subsequent posts. Prism's current roster includes:

* Al Harlow - Bass, Guitar, Lead Vocals
* Gary Grace - Drums
* Steve-O - Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
* Tim Hewitt - Bass

Armageddon by Prism
Buy It
Nightmare by Prism?(Henry Small)
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Final Flogging

Today in Music History:

In 1967 Jann Wenner publishes the first issue of 'Rolling Stone' in San Francisco.
I hate to flog a dead crazy horse one more time, but after seeing a video today, I'm going to feature The Osmonds one more time. I promise to not mention them for at least three of four months after this post.

The Osmonds' breakthrough US hit, "One Bad Apple", featuring lead vocals by Merrill and Donny, was released in early 1971. Some say it bore an uncanny similarity to the 'bubblegum soul' sound of their contemporaries, The Jackson 5. The song spent five weeks at No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1971, and even hit #6 on the R&B chart. The Osmond Brothers' similarities to The Jackson 5 have been a source of both criticism and humour throughout the years. Critics charge that the Osmonds were subconsciously mimicking the Jacksons' sound for a white audience, while the group's fans contend that their best work is equal to, or at least more ambitious than, the J5's hits. Both groups started performing in the early 60's. In spite of their squeaky clean Mormon image, the Osmonds had a soulful, sometimes raucous sound which was a precursor of the power pop of later years.

Imagine this, in 1971 The Osmonds released 5 albums. The following year, 1972, five more albums were released. Admittedly a couple of those albums were Donny Osmond solo albums, but all the brothers performed on those. Which was a thorn in a couple of the brothers sides. Two years, Ten albums. Compare that output to todays standard of an album every two or three years. By their fifth album they were writing, playing all instruments instead of the occasional session musicians, even producing their own albums in their home studio. While some of the early albums were a bit on the bubblegum side, by the time they released the Phase III album towards the end of 1971, they were rocking pretty hard with their own material.

So you have all heard my out of print rants so I won't rehash my rant but rather than have someone fork out a couple hundred dollars to get one of these gems from some greedy collector, here's another Osmond offering from the homercat. This was their fourth album released in 1971, called Homemade. I believe that they had bullt their recording studio by now, thus the title, but I could very well be wrong. There's some good music here folks. Another vinyl rip. Excellent sound.

192 kbps

1 The Honey Bee Song 2:20
2 Carrie 2:48
3 Double Lovin' 2:30
4 Chilly Winds 2:54
5 Sho Would Be Nice 3:30
6 The Promised Land 2:45
7 If You're Gonna Leave Me 3:27
8 We Never Said Forever 2:48
9 She Makes Me Warm 2:24
10 Shuckin' and Jivin' 2:10

Homemade by The Osmonds (rs)
For the first time in over 30 years this album is now available on CD for the first time ever.

This was all brought on by Weird Al Yankovic's recent video for his new song White and Nerdy. Throughout the years Donny Osmond has maintained a sense of humour about his teen idol days. In a 2005 Sprint PCS advertisement, a still youthful-looking Donny himself jokes that Sprint allows him to save whenever he calls family members including Jimmy, Marie, and Tito Jackson. Weird Al's new video has Donny poking fun at himself again as he is extremely white and dancing very nerdy behind and with Al. The video is a comic masterpiece and while I hate to put those youtubey video things on my site because I am annoyed by them, I feel I have to put this one up as it is too damn good to miss. Look for Donny to make his first appearance about halfway through.

White and Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A New Dawn over America

Today in Music History:

In 1975, David Bowie made his US TV debut performing 'Fame', on the Cher CBS-TV show.
As you all may know by now, yesterday signalled a day of change for America. For some of us a new hope for the future has opened up, for others sadness reigns as the two majority parties no longer exist as one. Of course I speak of the impending divorce of Britney Spears and hot new rap artist KFed. What hope can any of us expect to have if true love such as that can only last for two years. I had a terrific post about Rock n Roll frontmen all lined up, but homercat has been devastated. KFed gave hope to lazy, no account men everywhere that all your dreams could come true by marrying a rich, young female, ensuring a life of slothful, leechiness for the rest of your life. Who could have foreseen that this blessed union would end so suddenly and without no warning whatsoever. Homercat must take a day to recuperate. Meanwhile, Britney in all seriousness, for you to realize finally that you married the sorriest excuse for a homo sapien, well you must be feeling Lucky.

Some of you may well be shocked that such a tune exists on the homercat's playlist, well it was a moment of weakness.

Funny Toon

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rainy Days and Fridays

Today in Music History:

In 1997, Metallica came to a out of court agreement with a fan who claimed he lost his sense of smell after being dropped on his head by fans at one of their shows four years earlier.
Fall has officially arrived on the rock. The rain has started and us folks on the Island have 4 to 5 months of rain to look forward to as winter comes and goes. As compensation for enduring tyhe wet rainy season, we don't have to endure chilling temperatures or any of that dreaded white stuff (snow, not blow). Nice gloomy gray days which isn't exactly conducive to the creative juices. When this weather starts homercat immediately thinks of The Carpenters as the song Rainy Days and Mondays starts playing in my brain. I immediately begin to feel better and meander over to the CD shelf and pluck a Carpenters disc and begin listening to some light, airy melodies.

The Carpenters stood in direct contrast with the excessive, gaudy pop/rock of the '70s; Karen Carpenter's calm, pretty voice was the most distinctive element of their music, mixing perfectly with the precise, lush arrangements provided by her brother Richard. The duo's sound drew more from pre-rock pop than rock & roll, but that didn't prevent the Carpenters from appealing to a variety of audiences, particularly Top 40, easy listening, and adult contemporary. Even appealing to a hard rocker like homercat. Listening to them today, the Carpenters music sounds better than it did thirty years ago and for some reason my spirits seem to lift even as Karen sings some of those sadder ones.

Sometimes I think it should be a law that everyone own at least one album by The Carpenters. I don't think any of us realized how good they were until these many years later. Whatever the case, sample a couple irresistible tunes as we march on towards the weekend festivities (work).
The Carpenters
Rainy Days and Mondays
Close to You
All You Get From Love is a Love Song (rs)
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Yearly Bitch Session

Today in Music History:

In 1975 Patti Smith's landmark debut album, Horses, is released. Beat poetry and garage rock meet in this early blueprint for rock and New Wave.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Bullshit announced on Monday their latest batch of nominees for 2007; Patti Smith, R.E.M., Van Halen, Chic, the Dave Clark Five, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the Ronettes, the Stooges and Joe Tex. Only five will make it and once again I am bamboozled. I would say that although the above artists may well deserve a spot(Most notably Smith), the list of groundbreaking artists who should have been inducted well before any of the above is massive. Once again here's a short list of artists who I guess aren't rock and roll enough. Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, The Doobie Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, Heart, Jethro Tull, KISS, The MC5, The Monkees, Rush, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Three Dog Night, Link Wray, Warren Zevon, and War. Just a few examples of glaring omissions. If you look at the list of folks who have been iducted since the initial ceremony, a few of the inductees leaves one scratching their head.

For REM to get a nod before any of the artists mentioned above is a load of crap. No offense to any REM fans, I own a few of their albums myself. But right is right. One can search the archives to reread my yearly rants from previous years. Personally i think a boycott should be in effect until Cooper, Link Wray and Rush are inducted. Nominating Patti Smith is a step in the right direction and like I repeat every year, maybe some of these artists will get their due next year.

High School by The MC5
Buy It

Please Me by Grand Funk
Buy It

White Lightning and Wine by Heart
Buy It

One by Three Dog Night
Buy It

Funny Toon