Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here There be Pirates, Arrrr!

Today in Music History:

In 2005, Coldplay's new album was illegally put on the internet a week before its release. The leak took place on the day copies were sent to UK radio stations and the day before it went on sale in Japan. Any CDs that were sent out to journalists were labelled with a false name - The Fir Trees - to throw would-be pirates off the scent.

Arrgh MateysShiver me timbers, I nearly forgot about the upcoming Buccaneer Days in Esquimalt. Good thing I noticed this little graphic in the local paper. With only sixteen days left, it hardly gives me time to brush up on my Pirate accent.Ahh Buccaneer days. Strange goings on in Esquimalt. The Saturday morning of Buccaneer Days a firetruck goes around the neighborhood waking people up at 7:30 for the pancake breakfast. The first year I worked in Esquimalt, I was at work and I wondered what the hell was going on (for the longest time while cleaning the beer store all I could hear was a siren, and a muffled voice. As it got closer I heard some dude yelling "Wakey wakey wakey. It's time to get up. Pancake breakfast time", through a megaphone). I asked what the heck was going on and I was clued in. It's kinda like a mini fair with a pirate theme. There's a parade, carnival, and a street dance. How this got started is still a mystery to me as I don't think this region was particularly notorious for pirates. We do have one of Canada's Naval bases there.

Not Homercat,  ARRRRIt's too bad they do this in June. They should switch it to the fall so it coincides with Talk Like A Pirate Day, which is September 19. Guess we can't have it all. Gives us Victorians a chance to dress and talk like a pirate twice a year and everyone loves talking like a pirate. Tell me who hasn't ever talked like a pirate, and if you never have, shame on you. It's fun. So homercat will dust off the eye patch, polish up the hook, varnish the pegleg and practice my ARRRS and Mateys to get ready. Why would you care, you may ask. Well it gives me a perfect excuse to line up a batch of tunes about and by Pirates for me first mates to enjoy.

Jolly Roger by Adam and the Ants
Buy It

You're a Pirate by LazyTown
Buy It

A Pirate Looks at 40 by Jimmy Buffett
Buy It

The Last Saskatchewan Pirate by The Arrogant Worms

Shakin'All Over by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates
Buy It

Do the Dog by The Pirates

Funny Toon

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another Great Debut from the Past

Today in Music History:

1941, Born on this day, Robert Zimmerman, (Bob Dylan), US folk singer, songwriter. Released over 40 albums since 1964, major influence on The Beatles and The Rolling Stones during the 60's.
Molly HatchetMolly Hatchet's 1978 debut album can be ranked up there as one of the best debut albums of all time. This is one album I never tire of listening to. Although branded as Southern rock, many of the tunes on this album border on metal. From the opening chords of the first track, Molly Hatchet comes out of the chute kicking and screaming and you know you're in for a hell of a ride. Hatchet's three guitar assault never lets up and Danny Joe Brown's vocals meshes perfectly. Songs like The Creeper and The Price You Pay are so good, the guitars so nasty, that chills will run up and down your spine. On their cover of the Allman Brothers Dreams I'll Never See, they take the song and make it their own, with beautifully layered guitars. All props to the Allman brothers but Hatchet's version kills. All in all, a splendid debut album from a band that, in true Southern fashion, has had its share of ups and downs. And Danny Joe Brown proves that he is a singer to be reckoned with. No serious music collection should be missing this one.

The Price You Pay
The Creeper
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Newish Cult

Today in Music History:

In 1984, Ozzy Osbourne was arrested in Memphis, Tennessee for ‘staggering drunk’ down Beale Street.

For the last 30 plus years, Blue Oyster Cult has been following their own unique path. Their motto “On Tour Forever” still holds, as the band plays over 100 dates per year. The group has often collaborated with science fiction writers like Michael Moorcock and Eric Van Lustbader on writing songs and the band's logo is the ancient symbol of Cronos, the Titan god who ate his son the Grim Reaper.

Blue Oyster Cult has released more than 25 albums and has had their music appear in numerous films and video games. Current members include Eric Bloom (vocals), Buck Dharma (guitar), Allen Lanier (keyboards, guitar), Danny Miranda (bass) and Bobby Rondinelli (drums).

Things haven't been so rosy in terms of studio work since 1983. In 83 they released Revolution by Night which was an ok album. Then Club Ninja was released in 86 and it was horrible. Being a fan you try to look at the good, but there wasn't any on that album. Albert Bouchard had been working on a solo project called Imaginos but the record company wouldn't release it unless it was under the Cult moniker. With a little rework Imaginos was released in 1988. The album was only half-heartedly promoted by Columbia and consequently sold poorly, yet many fans consider this one of the finest BÖC albums. Notable is a remake of the hit "Astronomy" featuring Dharma on lead vocals. Shortly thereafter, Columbia records was sold to Sony Music and the new management terminated Columbia's almost 20-year relationship with Blue Öyster Cult. Imaginos is currently out-of-print, but BOC completists frequently browse Ebay for used copies, sometimes fetching $60.

Since Imaginos there have only been 2 studio albums. Heaven Forbid released in 1998 and Curse of the Hidden Mirror in 2001. With the 1998 release one got the feeling that BOC was on the verge of being back. A fine album with lots of nice tunes, yet on a couple of them it just wasn't quite right. Which brings us to Curse of the Hidden Mirror, which is their best studio album since the 1980 Cultosaurus Erectus. They got it right in a big way with this album. A true return to form for the guys, sounding almost seventies cult. Some would argue that Heaven Forbid was a much better album, but I don't see it that way. Anyways a sampling from the last three studio albums from Blue Oyster Cult.

I am the One You Warned Me of

Heaven Forbid
See You in Black
Cold Gray Light of Dawn
Buy It

Curse of the Hidden Mirror
The Old Gods Return
Dance on Stilts
Buy It

Funny Toon

Friday, May 11, 2007

Jumping Songs

Today in Music History:

In 1985, UK producer and keyboard player Paul Hardcastle was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with '19'. The title referred to the average age of American soldiers in the Vietnam war.
jumper signThe Island hosts a phenomenon that I have never seen anywhere else. I call them Jumpers. Not the kind that go splat off a high rise, these jumpers start out innocently enough as pedestrians. Maybe it's something about walking that turns them into idiots, or maybe it's the breeze from the ocean that gives them a brain meltdown. Just like a bird migration when the weather warms up, the jumpers return in full force. We have our stop lights here, with the walk and don't walk lights that have the added bonus of a bird chirp when it's time to walk. Homercat lives near a stoplight on a busy street so he gets to hear this incessant chirping day and night. Also scattered throughout the city are little crosswalk lines painted on the streets (busy streets I might add) in the oddest of places. With no ped xing signs or any kind of warning to a motorist that a ped may be xing other than some faded lines painted on the street. Now here's my beef. I don't know where these people learned this, but day or night without fail, people just walk out in the safety of their little lines and never look to see if there might be a vehicle bearing down on them. Most are hoofin' it at a brisk pace. They literally jump out into the street without ever looking both ways, causing a plethora of tires screeching , cars skidding and a prevalent smell of burning rubber.

I myself have just about taken out a ped or two, even though I'm fully aware that some dorkhead is lurking just out of sight ready to jump. Homercat is ever vigilant to slow down and let the peds have the right of way. Some of these folks just bolt out from behind a parked SUV like they're the man of steel able to stop a speeding locomotive and you damn well better stop even though you were only ten feet from their precious lines. The mindset seems to be,"I know you're only 10 feet away and going 40 mph, but I'm the pedestrian and you have to stop." Yes this is true, but for fuck's sake give us time to stop. Now in the land I come from, we are taught at an early age that you look both ways before you cross a street, even if you have a chirping walk light. Else you might end up so much scrambled spam on the street. Apparently this custom has been lost on this island. Every time I see this behavior I want to run over to the offender, grab them by the collar, start to shake the shit out of them and scream loudly, "What the hell were you thinking man, didn't your parents teach you to look both ways dumbass. Eventually your luck is going to run out and you're going to end up an asphalt sandwich." I'm not talking about those people who do it on purpose because they think they can make it. The ones I'm talking about honestly think those lines protect them and never even glance up. This city is rampant with jumpers. Even after seeing it hundreds of times it still boggles my mind. What surprises me even more is that after all the near misses I have personally witnessed, there aren't more accidents. I can only remember only 2 reports in the last two years of a ped getting hit. Go figure.

In honor of the return of the jumpers, I give you some jumping songs.

Jump Into the Fire by Robin Zander

Jump by Loverboy

Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte

Curtain Jumper by Teenage Head

Funny Toon

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Can't Take It

Today in Music History:

In 1981 Frank Zappa releases four albums in one day: 'Tinseltown Rebellion' (a double album), 'Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar,' 'Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More,' and 'Return of the Son of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar.

Next Position Please was produced by Todd Rundgren and released in 1983. It was Cheap Trick's seventh studio album and eighth release overall. Next Position Please was produced unlike any other Cheap Trick album. Todd Rundgren focused more on the pop elements of Cheap Trick's sound by toning down the heavy guitars that usually characterized the band's music and giving the songs a slicker feel.

The title and album cover are a satire of Bruce Springsteen's pose on the cover of Born to Run.

The original vinyl record had only 12 tracks, with "You Talk Too Much" and "Don't Make Our Love a Crime" appearing only on the cassette version and later on the CD. The record was originally supposed to include both tracks plus another called "Twisted Heart," but Cheap Trick's label at the time, Epic Records, forced the band to include a cover of The Motors' "Dancing the Night Away" and the outtake "You Say Jump" in their place. Rundgren refused to produce "Dancing the Night Away," so the track ended up being produced by the band with Ian Taylor. "Twisted Heart" eventually surfaced on the box set Sex, America, Cheap Trick.

"You Talk Too Much" was actually one of Cheap Trick's earlier songs, prior to their debut album's release. It was actually titled "Punch Ya" back then.

In 2006 Cheap Trick and Epic/Legacy reissued Next Position Please as a digital download, calling it Next Position Please - The Authorized Version. The title refers to the fact that the 13 tracks intended for the original album were restored and sequenced according to the band's wishes, while "You Say Jump" and "Dancing the Night Away" were put at the end as "bonus tracks" along with another outtake from the era, "Don't Hit Me With Love."

That may be all well and good, but this is still out of print as far as the cd is concerned and it shouldn't be. Duh, people not everyone has a credit card.Get it while you can because it won't be here long.

192 kbps

1. "I Can't Take It" (Zander) – 3:28
2. "Borderline" (Nielsen) – 3:34
3. "I Don't Love Here Anymore" (Nielsen) – 3:51
4. "Next Position Please" (Nielsen) – 3:51
5. "Younger Girls" (Nielsen/Zander) – 3:14
6. "Dancing the Night Away" (Garvey/McMaster) – 4:58
7. "You Talk Too Much" (Nielsen) – 1:55
8. "3-D" (Nielsen) – 3:37
9. "You Say Jump" (Nielsen) – 3:06
10. "Y.O.Y.O.Y." (Nielsen) – 4:54
11. "Won't Take No for an Answer" (Nielsen) – 3:13
12. "Heaven's Falling" (Rundgren) – 3:48
13. "Invaders of the Heart" (Nielsen) – 4:00
14. "Don't Make Our Love a Crime" (Nielsen) – 3:43

Funny Toon

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Grab a Two-Four for the 24th

Today in Music History:

In 1970 American Woman (The Guess Who) was a hit.

May of 2007 marks the 24th anniversary of the film starring every one's favorite hosers Strange Brew Bob and Doug McKenzie. The CBC is set to air a one hour special this month called The Two-Four Anniversary of "Strange Brew". That's right, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas will be reuniting as Bob & Doug McKenzie for what may be their last show from the Great White North.

Back in 1980 SCTV entered it's third season and moved to the CBC. Bob and Doug McKenzie were conceived when SCTV made the move to the CBC television network. Each episode to be broadcast on that network was two minutes longer than those syndicated to the United States. The CBC network heads asked the show's producers to add specifically and identifiably Canadian content for those two minutes. Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas thought that this was a ridiculous request, since the show had been taped in Canada, with a mostly Canadian cast and crew, for two years. The request inspired them to create a parody that would incorporate every aspect of the humorous stereotype of Canadians.

Thus "The Great White North" (originally known as "Kanadian Korner"), a panel show that played upon Canadian stereotypes, was born. Bob and Doug, two dumb beer-swilling brothers wearing heavy winter clothing and toques, would comment on various elements of Canadian life and culture, frequently employing the interjection "Eh?" and derisively calling each other a "hoser." Among the topics discussed were snow routes, the Canadian-built robot arm on the Space Shuttle, and "why there aren't enough parking spaces at take-out doughnut shops." The segments were videotaped at the end of a day's shooting, with just Thomas and Moranis and a single camera operator. The sketches were for the most part improvised on the set, and after doing several such ad-libbed bits, they would then select the best ones for use on the program. Much to their surprise the bit became highly popular, spawning two albums and a movie. At the height of their popularity, I would say that much of what younger Americans (falsely) knew about Canada came from watching Bob and Doug. Popularity eventually faded, but the act is still fondly remembered by Canadians as an affectionate parody of themselves. Beauty eh? Also it just wouldn't be Christmas in Canada without hearing Bob and Doug's version of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Welcome Back Bob and Doug.

Take Off by Bob and Doug McKenzie
Buy It

Funny Toon