Friday, March 25, 2011

No Fun Aloud

Glenn Frey is best known as a founding member of the Eagles but when they called it quits (the first time) he did have a decent solo career mainly in the 80's. No Fun Aloud was his first solo album coming out in 1982. It was a moderate commercial success and it was mostly fairly received by critics also. The album contains the top 40 hit The One you Love. Homercat's better half swears that the sax in that song is one of the sexiest sax soloes she's ever heard. Glenn's vocals and impeccable talent for crafting laid-back love songs really make the album noteworthy. Partytown is another great little song that's great to listen to around 5 on a Friday afternoon. A curious remake of Sea cruise sounds like a fluffy little bubblegum piece that seems out of place on this album, but the rest of the tracks make for mighty fine listenin'

The One You Love
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


In 1981 Juice Newton released her third solo album, Juice. While many had never heard her until this album, she had been around for awhile. Before going solo she was in the band Juice Newton and Silver Spur which had released three albums before splitting. Juice was the multi platinum breakthrough album containing two #1 hits "Angel of the Morning" and "The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)". It also features "Queen of Hearts," the biggest-selling single of her career, peaking at #2 on both Billboard's Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. The vomit inducing "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie prevented the song from reaching #1. Maybe I was a bit harsh about Endless Love, I hear some people liked it. "Queen of Hearts" was also a popular music video during the summer of MTV's debut year. Juice Newton is probably mostly associated with country music yet this album is all pop. The old girl is still around and most recently released an album back in 2010.

Angel of the Morning
Country Comfort
Buy It

Funny Toon

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kiss my Blarney Stone

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I felt like I should do something Irish related. Even though I don't feel very rollicking what with the earthquakes, tsunami's and meltdowns going on. Here on the island they have been predicting that we are way overdue for the "big" quake and after New Zealand and Japan we are doing what we can in the way of preparedness. So I think we should all stop for a second tomorrow, take a collective deep breath and have a pint or two before all these crises drive us nuts. In the meantime I wondered what I should put up for St patty's and I decided I would post up different versions of the classic Whiskey in the Jar. Not going to go into much detail since I'm pretty drained this week. I think all of these are great but my fave version is by The King which has surfaced here before at various times but it's a corker especially since it's sung by an Irish postal worker turned Elvis impersonator by the name of James Brown.

Whiskey In the Jar by Johnny Logan
Whiskey In the Jar by Thin Lizzy
Whiskey In the Jar by The King
Whiskey In the Jar by Metallica

Funny Toon

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Osmonds As Prog Rockers?

In 1973 The Osmonds released The Plan, their most ambitious project thus far in their careers. I talked a little about this album about three years ago and having just listened to it front to back again, thought I would revisit this gem.  Coming hot off the heels of their Crazy Horses album the brothers were proving that they were not a bubblegum band.  Writing and performing their own material,  something that they had wanted to do for a long time but had been held back by their handlers at the time.  Perhaps best described as a Mormon concept album with prog rock aspirations. The album relates messages pertaining to the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But don't let that scare you away from this out of print gem. My good friend in college would never stop raving about this album. Everytime we would get together for some brews and rock n roll, at some point in the evenings festivities he would insist that The Plan be rolled out, proclaiming it to be one of the best albums of all time. Usually this disc would hit the turntable right after listening to The Wall or AC/DC. When the album started the discussions would start and Bob would start raving about how heavy this album was and how it made you think.  Good Times.

If you listen to the album and forget about the Mormon aspects, one would never make the connection. Let Me In and Are You up There are just a couple highlights of this underrated album. A bit discombobulated at times, yet coherent, my college buddy had nailed it, the tunes on this album are gems. Let Me In may be one of their best songs. A Prog rock album ahead of it's time with sophisticated themes and lyrics. Goin Home is another great little number that ends the album in fine fashion.

Out of print for over thirty years, Crazy Horses and The Plan finally made the transition to CD for the first time in 2008 as two albums on one disc which just tickled me pink.  Perusing the Amazon site I see that it is still available and hasn't gone out of print.  I ordered these and the other Osmond albums the second they became available back in 2008 and am sure glad I did.  A gander at these tracks might surprise a few people.

Traffic in My Mind
Movie Man
One Way Ticket to Anywhere
Buy It

Funny Toon

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Gold Medal

Gold Medal is the sixth album by The Donnas, released in 2004. The Donnas returned with a different drive on this album. Their earliest releases clung tightly to the Ramones' ethic of three power chords and a chunky rhythm, but Gold Medal veers into a '70s psychedelia feel, hinting at a more introspective and melodic feel. Mostly they were going for a more mature sound here. On this album they decided to drop their stage names (Donna A, Donna R., etc) and used their real names to present an image appropriate for the more mature sound that they had adopted on the new album. The basslines have never been more intricate, tambourines and handclaps come in at all the right times, and the whole album sports the most terrific production of any Donnas up to this time.  Unfortunately as of now the original lineup of the Donnas is no more.  Torry Castellano who was the tiny powerhouse drummer announced on July 9, 2010, via the band's website that due to her continued shoulder problems she would have to retire from drumming and performing with The Donnas. Here is the message she posted on the website.
Hey All,

This is a very difficult message for me to write. As many of you already know, I've been dealing with a painful shoulder injury for the last 2 years and I have had to take time off from playing the drums. I have tried numerous different therapies, including physical therapy, sometimes up to 3 times a week, trigger point shots, exercises, and rest, but none of them have gotten me to a place where I can play again. Unfortunately, unlike when I had my wrist problems, there is no specific surgery that can help with my shoulder.

As I am still in pain, my doctors have come to the conclusion that I cannot play the drums anymore because if I continue I will be in pain for the rest of my life. After much thought and many conversations with the other girls I have decided I have to retire. My retirement has brought me a lot of sadness because I love playing the drums and being a part of the Donnas' family, which of course includes all of you. I've loved all the experiences that we've had together and I really want to thank all of you for your support and the fun times. Even though I can't play anymore, I would never want the other girls to have to give up something that they love and I know that they will continue to make and play great rock 'n roll.

I've had to think about what I'm going to do now. While I have been resting my shoulder, I've been taking some classes and doing this has really helped me to have something to put my energies into. I've decided to continue with this, and I will be starting Stanford University in the fall. I know that I'll miss living near the other girls, but I'll be seeing them and the rest of you at their future Bay Area shows.

No matter what, I will always be a Donna and be a part of the Donnas' family. I know you guys will continue to support the band and I'll be there too, as the #1 Donnaholic.

Love, Torry
I've been a donnaholic for many years and I hope they continue on but fer sure they won't be the same without Torry.   I hear rumours of a new album coming in the summer of this year yet I'm not sure who is taking over the drumming duties.  I know that long time friend Amy Cesari of the band The Demonics has filled in  for Torry on some of their tours, but I've yet to hear any official news. We'll miss you Torry.

Don't Want To Know (If You Don't Want Me)
Don't Break Me Down
Buy It

Funny Toon

Thursday, March 03, 2011

We're An American Band

Music critics absolutely loathed Grand Funk Railroad and radio stations did not want their music played. Yet with constant touring, a loud take on the blues-rock power trio sound, and strong working-class appeal, Michigan's Mark Farner , Don Brewer and Mel Schacher became an early 70's powerhouse that radio finally couldn't ignore. Between 1969 and 1972 they put out 8 albums, five of them going platinum all without the benefit of radio. In 1970, they sold more albums than any other American band without the benefit of radio. In June 1971, Grand Funk became only the second group (after the Beatles ) to sell out New York's Shea Stadium. In 1973, the group shortened its name officially to "Grand Funk", and added a fourth member, keyboard player Craig Frost. The name change due to having fired their manager and legal issues, blah blah. With the Todd Rundgren produced album "We're an American Band", radio gave up trying to dis Grand Funk and the title track soared to number 1.

Then in the mid 70's disco came around and pretty much killed Grand Funk. Frank Zappa produced their last great album in 1976 and Farner left the band to pursue a solo career. What I found interesting is that in 1988 Mark Farner scored a #2 gospel hit with the song "Isn't It Amazing". The band has reunited several times for various reasons through the years. If you were between the ages of 10 and 25 in the early seventies chances are you owned a Grand Funk album, probably several. We're An American Band was Grand Funk Railroad's seventh studio album, and was released in July 1973 and was the first album to feature Craig Frost as a full-fledged band member. The original issue was on a translucent yellow disk. The label, above the side numbers, instructed listeners to play "at full volume", which I always did. I played the crap out of that piece of yellow vinyl.

Black Licorice
Ain't Got Nobody
Buy It

Funny Toon