Friday, June 27, 2008

Canada Day Eh!

Bar B Ques, Beer and fireworks. Most people on this continent are gearing up for holiday festivities, what with Canada Day on July 1 and the Fourth of July for the Yanks down south. Most folks are probably going to be too busy knockin back a few cold brewski's, trying hard to blow up some fingers, rather than blog surfing. This here post is in honour of the great white north. Oh Canada and so forth. Thus homercat is going to be on a mini vacation which is gearing up right about now. Before I depart for Canada Day celebrations I put together a little compilation that will be perfect for everyones Canada Day needs. Most importantly all the artists are Canadian and secondly these are great tunes that are sure to perk up any festivities one may be enjoying. Even if you're not a canuck, this is a great collection that showcases how diverse Canadian music can be. I'll be back sometime next week. If anyone has a question about an album that any of these classic songs come from, where to buy or locate an album or any other question about the artists featured here, leave your question in the comments and I'll answer the best I can. Some of the songs here are lifted from albums that are out of print. So anyways everyone have your holidays be safe and save some beer for the homercat, eh.

1. April Wine - Oowatanite (3:47)
2. Doug & The Slugs - Chinatown Calculation (3:43)
3. Big Sugar - Nicotina (She's All That) (4:04)
4. Great Big Sea - Goin' Up (Live) (4:54)
5. Headpins - Don't It Make You Feel (4:08)
6. The Arrogant Worms - Proud to Be Canadian (4:02)
7. Prism - Armageddon (7:45)
8. Lighthouse - One Fine Morning (5:14)
9. Toronto - Silver Screen (4:06)
10. The Tragically Hip - Little Bones (4:44)
11. Blood Sweat and Tears - And When I Die (4:05)
12. Bob and Doug McKenzie - Take Off (4:43)
13. Streetheart - Snow White (4:01)
14. Stompin' Tom Connors - The Hockey Song (2:12)
15. Great Big Sea - Jolly Roving Tar (10:26)
16. Joe Canada - The Rant (Molson Canadian 'I AM' Commercial) (0:57)
17. Molson Canadian - I Am Anthem (1:30)
18. Gordon Lightfoot - Canadian Railroad Trilogy (7:04)
19. Hawksley Workman - Striptease (3:32)
20. Joni Mitchell - A Case Of You (4:22)
21. Danko Jones - Bounce (3:05)
22. Arrogant Worms - We Are the Beaver (4:03)
23. Barenaked Ladies - Grade 9 (2:55)
24. Jenny Gear - Tower Of Song (3:15)
25. Five Iron Frenzy - Oh, Canada (3:14)
26. Maclean and Maclean - I've Seen Pubic Hair (3:27)
27. Tom Cochrane - No Regrets (4:41)
28. Colin James - Five Long Years (4:35)
29. Bachman-Turner Overdrive - Let It Ride (4:29)
30. Blue Rodeo - I Love The Way You Come To Me (3:57)
31. The Guess Who - Follow Your Daughter Home (3:39)
32. Spirit of the West - Home for a Rest (4:35)
33. The Rankins - Mull River Shuffle (5:54)
34. National Anthem - Oh Canada (1:32)

Tracks 1-17
Tracks 18-34

Bonus tunes
Innocence by Harlequin
Rock and Roll Song by Valdy

Buy the albums here

Funny Toon
Patriotic Canadian

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Off to See the Lizard

Today in Music History:

In 1992, Donny Osmond started a year long run in the musical 'Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat', in Toronto, Canada.
Off to See the LizardWith the first day of summer having just passed it is only fitting to visit a classic and oft overlooked Buffett album to get us all in summer mode. Jimmy Buffett's Off to See the Lizard was released in June 1989 and was his twentieth album. It was released in conjunction with his first literary effort, Tales From Margaritaville. The book contains expanded versions of several of the songs included on the album. As per norm the critics didn't have much good to say, yet many die hard parrotheads, myself included, will tell you this is one of their favorite Buffett albums. Honestly, Jimmy never set out to reinvent the wheel whenever he released an album. He just packed each album with great Buffett songs and this one is no exception. Just a great bunch of tunes full of that summer, flip flop wearing flavor. Following the release of this album, Buffett paused his normal output of one album every year or two and did not release another album until 1994's Fruitcakes. The title track and Take Another Road are both very fun, and one of my favorite Buffett ballads of all time, Changing Channels, make this album a standout in my book. Lizard is just plain fun. This album is all original work that goes back to the basics of island-hopping fun. Another overlooked Buffett gem.

Take Another Road
Carnival World
Buy It

Funny Toon

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Charmed Life

Charmed Life is the fourth studio album released by Billy Idol in 1990 through Chrysalis Records. "Cradle of Love" was featured on the soundtrack of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. The song is famous for its video, which won the 1990 MTV Video Music Award for "Best video from a film". Compared to his previous three albums Charmed Life shows a much more mature Idol as the songs are a lot deeper, less punk, and more hard rock. Billy took a much more edgy, hard rock path with this album. Every song is memorable with great melodies, excellent lyrics, more originality, more raw, and less overproduced pop. Definitely a most underappreciated and overlooked album. Probably because it was ahead of it's time. Prodigal Blues is one of the best songs Idol has ever written.

The Loveless
Prodigal Blues
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not Fragile

Not Fragile is the third album by Canadian rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, released in 1974. Bachman Turner Overdrive's Not Fragile is an anchor and essential album in any classic rock collection. In fact it is on my list of top 100 albums of all time. I first heard this abum in 1974 on an 8-track player. Yes I know that dates me, but I was just a wee tot. Now, keep in mind, these guys ain't gonna dazzle you with their songwritin' ability. This is jus' yer basic meat-n-taters hard rock focusing on themes of being in a rock band; on the road, or women. Take for example, the opening title track, "Not Fragile". An uptempo unpretentious rocker written and sung by bassist Fred Turner that just plain kicks you in the face with a brick it's so heavy. Starts off with a heavy bass riff followed by the rhythm guitar layin' down the same riff (A feature of this band). But it is a killer riff. Then there's Sledgehammer, listening to Sledgehammer with the headphones cranked still gives me chills when Fred Turner kicks in with the chorus after Randy Bachman's mellower verses. The line in the title track says it all: "You ask do we play heavy music...well, WE DO! NOT FRAGILE, straight at you." Some people write reviews giving the history of the bands as I do sometimes. But for me it all comes down to one simple fact. This album kicks ass hard period and is one of the heaviest and at the same time, melodic, that I own. This is the way rock & roll was meant to be. At a time when idiots are going apeshit over the new Coldplay album (They are really really really bad), Not Fragile makes Coldplay sound like gay kindergarteners. Don't waste your money on Coldplay. Even at a mere 9 tunes this album is worth 5 times the purchase price. This album is a masterpiece. Nuff said.

Not Fragile
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Generation X Debut

Today in Music History:

In 1977, Johnny Rotten and Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols were stabbed and beaten in a car park outside a London pub.
Generation X Debut AlbumAlong with the Sex Pistols and the Clash, Generation X was an integral part of the British punk explosion of the 70's. Originally formed as Chelsea along with the singer Gene October, they soon broke away from October and changed their name to Generation X (named after a 1960s paperback novel, by Jane Deverson, which belonged to Idol's mother). Idol switched from guitar to vocal duties, and Bob "Derwood" Andrews joined as lead guitarist. Towe was later replaced on drums by Mark Laff, to complete the "official" line-up, before the band signed to Chrysalis Records and released their first single, "Your Generation" in September, 1977. Their debut album was released in 1978 and is every bit as important as the Pistols and the Clash's debuts. A string of tremendous singles ("Your Generation," "Wild Youth," "Ready Steady Go") that crossbred punk insolence with kitschy '60s pop culture to produce catchy, roaring anthems for disaffected youth, Generation X's debut album bore out their promise — not a bum track in the bunch and easily makes my list of top 100 albums of all time.

Ready Steady Go
Kiss Me Deadly
Buy It

Funny Toon

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Runaways Debut

It's a common misconception that The Runaways were a manufactured band, controlled by manager Kim Fowley -- in fact, The Runaways were formed in late 1975 by drummer Sandy West and rhythm guitarist Joan Jett. Both had introduced themselves (on separate occasions) to producer Kim Fowley stating their ideas to form an all-girl band. Fowley, who was always looking for the next big thing, gave West Jett's phone number. The two met on their own to discuss the possibilities. After rehearsing together, the pair contacted Fowley to let him hear the results. Fowley then helped the girls find the other members.

On their first tour in 1976 they had opening acts such as Cheap Trick, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Van Halen. Not too shabby. Sadly, The Runaways have never received their due. They were ahead of their time, and paved the way for female artists and female bands like X-Ray Spex, Bikini Kill and most recently, The Donnas. They are named as influences by countless male and female artists from Courtney Love to Megadeth. Though they may never be inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame, their place in music history as the first all-girl punk rock band is secured.

Cherry Bomb
Rock & Roll
Buy It

Funny Toon

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Slugcology 101

Doug and the Slugs were a Vancouver (Canada) rock band that was formed in 1977 by the singer and songwriter Doug Bennett. Initially the Slugs' novelty, humour, and theatrics, and Bennett's unlikely 'pop star' image, made them a media success in Vancouver. Their first single, 'Too Bad,' was a modest national hit in 1980 and was followed by such popular titles as 'Who Knows How to Make Love Stay' and 'Making It Work' in 1983, and 'Tomcat Prowl' in 1988.

In their day, The Slugs were true touring warriors, often taking their live show to small towns that normally wouldn't see many nationally successful rock bands. The band even made it 800 miles shy of the North Pole when they entertained troops at a remote army base.

Although he did some solo work and had plenty of other projects on the go, Bennett kept giving the people what they wanted: The Slugs. Doug led the Slugs (through a variety of line-ups) for 27 years before passing away at the age of 53 in October of 2004. Signature Doug & The Slugs hits like "Too Bad" and "Making It Work" have become part of the Canadian cultural fabric and I dare anyone to not sing along with those songs, it can't be done.

Once again we encounter the ridiculous nature of the record industry as the Slugs discography is out of print. Slugcology 101 is a definitive overview of their best work which initially came out in 1996. Of course it is now out of print and extremely hard to find. One of those must have albums. Doug Bennett was a true Canadian star and knew how to give Canadians a good time. He will be missed.

Making it Work
Too Bad
out of print

Funny Toon

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Robin Zander

It's easy to take Robin Zander for granted. There's so much irony and humor in Cheap Trick's superb catalog that sometimes you forget what a great singer this guy really is. Unlike many lead singers of successful bands, Cheap Trick's Robin Zander waited until after the commercial fortunes of his band had dissipated before offering a solo project. This 1993 solo album really showcases the vocal abilities of a gifted front man once touted as the man with a 1'000 voices. Zander doesn't deviate much from his work with Cheap Trick. It's a balanced mix of taut, power pop, heartfelt ballads, and tasty covers. There's no reinvention of the wheel here, just fifty minutes of well-crafted rock delivered by one of the most-gifted vocalists and frontmen in rock history. Unfortunately this album is out of print so if you can manage to find it, I would suggest you scoop it up.

Walkin' Shoes
Tell it to the World

Funny Toon

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Boyz Make Big Noize

Today in Music History:

In 1977, Joe Strummer and Nicky Headon from The Clash were each fined £5 ($8.50) by a London court for spray-painting “The Clash” on a wall.

Released in 1987 You Boyz Make Big Noize would be the last studio album by the original lineup by the British glam/hardrock group Slade. The album title was inspired by a phrase uttered by Betty, the tea-lady at Wessex recording studio where they were recording. The critics hated it which I don't get at all because there's some great rockin' stuff here. In fact, this album and Rogues Gallery are my two favorite Slade albums. Some hardcore Sladests would say just the opposite, that those two albums were their weakest. I would have to vehemently argue that. Screw the critics and the Slade purists. As a matter of fact Slade always seems to get the short end of the stick, who knows why these British rockers are nuked by the mainstream, metalheads, critics, and America. All the singles pulled from this album were of a high standard, and contained some very catchy hooks and riffs. This album kicks ass. Don't get it if you don't like loud guitars. If anything it might have a more commercial sound and has typical eighties production values, if you want to pick at it. For my collection this is an essential must have album. In short this album needs more love, so what do you say folks, give it a try.

Sing Shout (Knock Yourself Out)
You Boyz Make Big Noize
Buy It

Funny Toon

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kimono My House

Kimono My House is the third album by Sparks. The album title is generally assumed to be a pun on the Rosemary Clooney hit Come on-a My House. Perhaps coincidentally, "Kimono My House" is the title of Episode 19 of the 60s TV comedy That Girl. It was released in May 1974. Kimono My House is an absolute masterpiece and one of, if not the, very best "dance-pop" album ever recorded. It was dubbed the band's "glam-pop magnum opus", and the epithet is fully deserved.

The Mael brothers are fond of inventing cute little "what if..." kind of stories and putting them to music - you have a deceased boy blaming his girl for backing off after they'd both decided to commit suicide ('Here In Heaven'), a guy who's glad it's not Christmas because Christmas is the only day when he can't get away from his wife ('Thank God It's Not Christmas'), another guy who's mad at his girl for telling that she'd meet him on the equator but not having arrived in due time ('Equator'), and another guy who's having problems with explaining his feelings to a gal because he wasn't taught languages properly in school ('Hasta Manana Monsieur').

When it comes to Sparks music there are two camps. Those that get it and those that don't. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. For example myself, el homercat , I get it and I think Russell and Ron Mael are musical geniuses. Every single Sparks album is a musical gem. Some more so than others and I have been a lifelong fan since hearing my first Sparks song some many many years ago. The brothers are still going strong having just released their newest album, not to mention the upcoming concerts in England where they will play every album in it's entirety over a slew of dates.

The other camp, the ones that don't get it absolutely hate Sparks. For example, Mrs. homercat cannot stand them. Now she is no musical slouch being a singer in a band for many years, so she appreciates all kind of music. She is even now learning the joys of metal. Try as I might though, she will not have any of that Sparks. So there you go. What is a cat to do?

Bottom line, this is an essential album for any serious music collector.

This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us
Hasta MaƱana Monsieur
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Point of Entry

Point of Entry
Point of Entry is probably the most forgotten Halford-era Judas Priest album. Released in 1981, Priest went on a wild tangent with this album, just one year removed from 'British Steel', an instant metal classic. The band pursued a more radio friendly direction on this album and the more blatant commercial direction alienated some longtime metal head listeners. Much of 'Point Of Entry' cannot be classified as metal, more along hard rock lines. Yet I really like this album, probably more than Screaming for Vengeance. Yes I heard those gasps. While far from their best, there's some interesting work to be found here. 'Heading Out To The Highway' and 'Hot Rockin' are the two 'classic' tracks off the album, but 'Desert Plains', 'Solar Angels', 'On The Run' and 'Don't Go' easily make the grade. Priest still performs a couple tracks off this album when they tour.

I think what I like about this album is that it came between British Steel and Screaming for Vengeance. Living After Midnight and You've Got Another Thing Coming received so much airplay that it came to the point where I almost couldn't stand to hear those songs anymore. Same with the albums, me and my buds played those albums so much that even today it wears thin on me. So Point of Entry is like a breath of fresh air. Definitely an underrated masterpiece in the Priest catalogue. In my opinion it easily ranks among their top 5 releases, and shows how versatile Judas Priest can be and that they're more than just a heavy metal band.

Don't Go
Solar Angels
Buy It

Funny Toon

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Today in Music History:

In 1970, The Kinks Ray Davies was forced to make a 6,000 round trip from New York to London to record one word in a song. Davies had to change the word 'Coca- Cola' to 'Cherry Cola' on the bands forthcoming single 'Lola' due to an advertising ban.

JerusalemThe world of rock 'n' roll needs rabble-rousers, especially these days. In the year following September 11, 2001, we were subjected to a small handful of memorable songs inspired by the tragedy, a lovely televised tribute to the victims and heroes, a massively-hyped concept album that fell short of expectations, and most embarrassingly, tons and tons of poorly written, jingoistic songs that pander to the mass audience. Back in 1989, Neil Young's brilliant "Rockin' in the Free World" served as his own State of the World Address; Jerusalem is Steve Earle's, which came out in 2002. Some folks might be led to believe that Earle's album is entirely devoted to the New York terrorist attacks, but in reality, that's only a small portion of the subject matter. Earle talks about the world he sees when he looks out his window: that horrifying day in the fall of 2001, disillusioned young people, man's inhumanity to man in the prison system, Mexican illegal immigrants, and the Middle East. This album featured "John Walker's Blues", which was about the captured American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh. The song provoked widespread outrage; many accused Earle of sympathizing with terrorists since the song was written from Lindh's perspective. Earle responded that he was simply empathizing with Lindh and in no way set out to glorify terrorism. The controversy raised Earle's profile in the media, but did not seem to damage his record sales.

Steve Earle has always been a guy who is never afraid to shoot his mouth off, and with Jerusalem, his timing was perfect, as his own razor-sharp words slice through the shallow slop of almost all 9-11-inspired music that has come out to date. As cantankerous as he can be, though, Earle is refreshingly optimistic while still retaining a sense of dignity, and the feeling of hope that ends the album is kind of surprising.

Ashes to Ashes
I Remember You
buy it

Funny Toon

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Face to Face

As you can see I was serious about getting back to posting on a regular basis. Although I fear that my Today in Music History blurb that always preceded each post will be done away with. We'll see.

The Angels/Angel City/The Angels From Angel City(titles can be found under all 3 names) were one of the great "hidden gems" of the late 70's and early 80's rock scene. The Angels hail from Australia and were a hard driving pub rock band. In 1975, on the recommendation of Bon Scott and Malcolm Young from AC/DC, the band was offered a recording deal with the Alberts label. In 1978 they released their classic Face to Face album in their homeland of Australia. The band eventually signed an international contract with CBS Records and in March of 1980 they released Face to Face internationally. The international release was a compilation of tracks from the Australian Face to Face and No Exit albums, on the Epic label. The band billed itself as Angel City to avoid legal problems with the Casablanca Records' act Angel. In 1989 the band changed it's international name again to The Angels From Angel City. Back down under they were always billed as The Angels.

Face to Face is five star rock n roll folks. A must have album if you're serious about your music. This is the North American cover of the album, notice they are billed as Angel City. This is one of my all time favorite rock albums. The Angels should have been as huge as AC/DC. One of the great mysteries of our time is not whatever happened to Amelia Earhart, but why the heck The Angels never clicked in America. The songs are straightforward, in your face guitar rock. After listening to any Angels album, you could honestly picture them playing at and peeling the paint off your local bar.

Take A Long Line
Marseilles (zshare)
Buy It

Funny Toon