Wednesday, April 27, 2011


“I’m Like James Brown only white and taller
All I wanna do is stomp and holler.”—Hayes Carll, “Stomp And Holler”

Back in 2008 we went to see Corb Lund in concert and the opening act was someone I hadn't heard of at the time. His name is Hayes Carll and he blew us away. When his set was done there was a line up from hell at the merchandise booth(I was in it) and every single person ahead of me bought his disc, as did I. His music is a perfect combination of old school rock 'n roll and bluegrass with a country twist with some of the cleverest lyrics you've ever heard. Hayes put out his first album, Flowers and Liquor, back in 2002 and many publications that year named him the best folk act and best new artist of 2002. Carll's songs combine ragged tunes with autobiographical lyrics, including themes about lazy solitude, strumming his guitar, and drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Hayes just came out with a new album which we just purchased on vinyl. How excited were we when we saw it was pressed on a special edition clear vinyl. The album is fantastic and I can't stop listening to it. Cruising around online I see his first album  is already out of print with prices ranging from 60 to 120 dollars for his debut. Saw one used copy going for 112 dollars. Hayes is easily the best new artist of the new millennium, I have his Little Rock album listed on my top 100 albums of all time. So I urge you to listen to these tidbits and then run out and get his new album, KMAG YOYO (and other American Stories). You won't be disappointed. The acronym stands for Kiss my ass guys, you're on your own. In 2008 Carll had proven his talent for story telling with “She Left Me for Jesus”. On the song KMAG YOYO he does it again with a first-person fable of a soldier’s journey from an Abilene Dairy Queen to outer space (hence the album’s acronym) told in a rapid-fire salute to Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”: “Bowie on the system and a bottle on my knee, Armstrong ain’t got nothing on me.”  This is great stuff.

Stomp and Holler
Another Like You
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Young Man's Blues

The Rock City Angels are probably one of the best nearly unheard bands of the 80's. Now I wonder which history of the band I should talk about because one version is straightforward and the other version tells quite the different story filled with conspiracy theories capped by the total screwing they got by one Geffen records. The straightforward version can be found easily enough over at Wikipedia. Let's talk about how they got screwed over eh.

Originally formed in South Florida, the band was plagued with a revolving door of musicians and were ready to call it quits and while playing their farewell gig, Ann Boleyn of New Renaissance Records offered the act a recording contract. They relocated to LA and around this time Johnny Depp joined the band as guitarist. Geffen records took notice of the band and bought their contract from New Renaissance Records. Here's where the story starts getting weird.

While with New Renaissance the band played the Sunset Strip and started to steal away the Guns and Roses fans. They had recorded an album and shipped singles to radio stations when Ann Boleyn received a phone call telling her to stay clear of the band, and someone later attempted to run her vehicle off the road. It was apparent that Geffen wanted to sign the band, and did shortly before the release date of the Renaissance debut to the tune of 6.2 million dollars (unheard of for an independent act). As soon as the band signed to Geffen all evidence of the debut album was destroyed, leading many to speculate that the label only signed the Rock City Angels to avoid competition with Guns N'Roses.

Geffen sent the band to Memphis, Tennessee to work on new material, but wanted the group to lose the glam makeup and change their style. Unwilling to leave California, Depp left the band and soon got his job on 21 Jump Street. Eventually Young Man's Blues would be the first release from the band in 1988(the original Renaissance debut wasn't released till years later), with Mike Barnes (guitar), Doug Banx (guitar, later of Mr. Nasty) and Jackie D. Jukes (drums). The band toured in support of the album with such acts as J. Page, J. Jett, and the Georgia Satellites, and recorded a wealth of material for a second album (which was finally released in 2008, I think). At one point they recorded with Thin Lizzy guitarist B. Robertson. The band’s second album never saw the light of day as Geffen decided to drop the band. Many theories abound as to why they were dropped including drug use, a desire to keep Johnny Depp in acting, as well as fear of lawsuits concerning wrongly credited songs. Journalists in publications such as The Cutting Edge, Hit Parader, and RIP have theorized that the Rock City Angels were signed by Geffen to thwart potential competition with Guns 'N Roses. I have also heard that since Geffen signed both bands at the same, he couldn't decide who he was going to promote and who he was going to sweep under the rug so he flipped a coin and Guns n Roses won. Not long after this the band was history and we are left to wonder what is the real story. Were the Rock City Angels signed by Geffen to prevent them from stealing some of Guns N'Roses' audience? Was the group shipped to Tennessee to force Depp to give up his rock'n'roll dream and concentrate on acting? Or as others suggest, was the band simply sent away to try and get them clean and sober? Depending on who tells the story, the Rock City Angels were either the victims of record company politics, or of their own debauchery.

I have no idea if the history I written about is anywhere near the truth as there are so many theories floating around out there and I've just tried to piece it together. Whatever the case I'm glad my vinyl guy turned me onto this album cause I really enjoyed this puppy. My copy is a promotional copy that is in great shape. People curious about Depp's abilities will find one song co written by Depp on this album.

Beyond Babylon
Hard to Hold
Deep Inside My Heart
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Freeways was the sixth studio album by Bachman–Turner Overdrive rleased in 1977. This album marked a couple of firsts for this band. It was the first BTO studio album to become a commercial failure, featuring the first BTO single that did not chart ("My Wheels Won't Turn"). It did reach the charts but it became the last BTO album by any formation of the band to reach the chart. I sometimes refer to this one as the mellow album or the Randy Bachman solo album. It was the last album Bachman appeared on and the last album to be made with the classic and successful "Not Fragile" line up. As you can see Randy did most of the writing and most of the vocals which really pissed off Fred Turner. He was reportedly so unhappy with this album that he wouldn't allow a straight-on picture of himself to be used on the cover, saying he felt like a "side man." Now that's all the bad news, the good news is that this is a very enjoyable record from start to finish. Keep in mind that the bone crushing riffs that BTO was famous for don't make an appearance here. Yet I would easily take a couple of tracks from this album and place them on a greatest hits compilation. Most people outside BTO's core fan base probably wont listen to this, there were no familiar radio staples like Hey You, Let It Ride, or Takin' Care Of Business but for fans of 70's worker rock, this is a great album. It's just the kinda album that one needs to listen through in one sitting and let the goodness of the music sneak up on you.

Just For You
Easy Groove
Buy It

Funny Toon

Friday, April 08, 2011

California Sun

Every once in a while homercat likes to put up something fun and he tries to do it on a Friday. Well homercat went and did it again.  He located a couple more K-Tels at the local Value Village.  Just in time for another K-Tel Friday.    Today we have California Sun and according to the wayback machine it was released in 1976.  The title says it all, 20 Greatest Hits, 20 Greatest Stars.  Yer crazy edits are in 1st gear here, for example the first cut Beach Baby, was originally over 5 minutes long and here it clocks in at 3:28.  California Sun is just what I needed because homercat is really wanting a warm,dry, day.  This cold and rain is starting to get to me.  So I hope a few of you will have a brighter K-Tel weekend now. 

320 kbps

Artist- Title
First Class- Beach Baby
Jan & Dean- The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena)
Hondells- Little Honda
Turtles- Happy Together
Joe Jones- California Sun
Mamas & The Papas- Monday, Monday
Gary (US) Bonds- School is Out
Surfaris- Wipe Out
Rip Chords- Hey, Little Cobra
Johnny Rivers- Help Me, Rhonda
Mamas & The Papas- California Dreamin'
Jan & Dean- Surf City
Lovin' Spoonful- Summer in the City
Turtles- It Ain't Me Babe
Gary Puckett & the Union Gap- Lady Willpower
Frankie Ford- Sea Cruise
Gary Lewis & the Playboys- Count Me In
Freddy Cannon- Palisades Park
Chantays- Pipeline
Bobby Freeman- C'mon and Swim

Copy and Paste this link into your browser to download

Funny Toon

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Big Black Sky

Canadian rockers Prism have sold millions of albums, and the songs say it all - Spaceship Superstar, Armageddon, Take Me Away, Young & Restless, Flying, Take Me to the Kaptin, Night to Remember and others - all Canadian rock standards. Back in 2006 on New Year's Eve I had the pleasure of seeing Helix, Headpins, and Harlequin with Prism closing out the show and ringing in the New Year with their rock anthem Armageddon. Admittedly the band hasn't been quite the same since the death of Ron Tabak back in 1984 but they still soldier on and the live show does kick ass still. Al Harlow does all the lead vocals now and does a pretty good job even though Mrs homercat thought he looked a bit creepy. Back in 2008 Prism actually released a new album called Big Black Sky and I'm just putting it up here today because a lot of folks may not have even realized that they are still recording. The album is quite satisfying if one listens to it without expecting the vocal prowess of Ron Tabak. Back when Prism was a commercial force Al penned a lot of the great songs. Long time Prism fans might be inclined to say that this isn't Prism, it's the Al Harlow band. One would have to judge for yourself.  Love the album cover, probably their best one.

Big Black Sky
Buy It

Funny Toon

Friday, April 01, 2011

Silk Degrees

Good news people! With the amount of vinyl rips that I occasionally provide here, one might think that I'm just an old fart living in the dinosaur ages but you'd be wrong. Vinyl record sales are back in high rotation. In 2010 Vinyl Records sales increased to become the fastest growing music format in USA and Canada. Take that digital. Also these numbers do not include all of the 100% DIY/Independent releases. Or sales from most Mom & Pop stores and bands who sell off-stage at concerts. Barcodeless-off-the-grid stuff. So the numbers are even higher than being reported. Now if you think it's just a bunch of us old hippies trying to relive our glory years you'd be wrong again. Younger people are the fastest growing market for vinyl. There are a number of factors at work here. Digital download limitations in recent months has led some customers toward searching out for higher sound quality, as well as the more authentic experience of physically putting on a record and holding and looking at the sleeve. After reading several articles I've come up with at least 10 reasons for the renewed interest in the glorious vinyl sound.
1: Generally most of us audiophiles believe vinyl has better sound, a more soul reaching sound. Even after ripping it to digital.
2: Cover art and liner notes are way more cool than needing a magnifying glass to read cd liners!
3: Us boomers want to reattach to the era that they got into vinyl.
4: Lots and lots of cheap used vinyl out there and tens of millions of titles with many that will never see the light of day with CD even after 30 years of CD .
5: A physical and almost organic attachment to the black disc.
6: More and more new vinyl being pressed and sold.
7: Lots of good used turntables out there many very affordable.
8: More and more new turntables being made and sold.
9: It's A tweakers paradise unlike all other playback formats.
10: Many younger music listeners are getting caught up in it and the retro part of it, in one interview a young kid said he liked the way it felt when he held the album.
There you have it folks, straight from the mouth of babes.  Mp3's are a great portable medium and I'm down with that but you just can't beat the sound quality that comes from a hard copy such as vinyl.

In honor of this news I'm posting up a couple tunes from a classic piece of vinyl from the 70's. Silk Degrees is the seventh album by Boz Scaggs, released in 1976. The album reached #2 on the U.S. pop albums chart. The album is a mix of straight pop rock tracks, smooth soul compositions and appealing ballads. Two tracks from this album, Lido Shuffle and Lowdown, are two of the best songs released in the seventies. Lido Shuffle is one of my all time favorite songs. Has anybody out there ever heard the cd of this album? I can tell you it is quite horrible. A friend had ripped a copy for me way back and I thought the sound was awful. I was glad when I finally found a vinyl copy of this classic. Listening to the two different formats and it was immediately obvious which sounded better. Interesting note is that Boz recorded this album with session musicians who would later go on to form Toto.

Lido Shuffle
Buy It

Funny Toon