Saturday, May 31, 2008

Book Buzz:-->"Dirty White Boys" by Stephen Hunter (1994)

"The machine gun two step,
the .38 caliber rag.
The blackjack fox-trot are my favorite bag.
Razor wits and late night hits
are my claim to fame.
I'm the deadly dancer...
Legs Diamond is my name."

Legs Diamond


NO SPOILERS:

"Dirty White Boys" by Stephen Hunter is a fiercely violent and often extremely graphic crime thriller revolving around one of the more interesting psychotic criminals to date.

Meet Lamar. A prison-wise and street-wise convict who...along with a couple of other jailbirds...leads an escape from an Oklahoma prison.

On their bloody trek through the state...they encounter a seasoned State Trooper...Bud Pewtie...who makes it a point to attempt to bring these rancid rascals in...thus causing paths to cross at sometimes inopportune times. Nice!

Author Stephen Hunter is dead-on creating realistic and verbally nasty interactions between Lamar and whomever he encounters. And without being obviously gratuitous.

Also, giving Lamar no moral compass makes this character all the more frightening. We know guys like this walk the streets and we hope to never bump in to them.

"Dirty White Boys" is 480 pages of well-developed characters. Tough. Rough. Where sometimes the bad guys show more virtue than the good guys.

I look forward to reading other books from Stephen Hunter.

Good stuff!


MoSkeet

With a stronger push...Legs Diamond might have become a household name. Their 1977 self-titled debut was primo. Not a weak track to be found.

If you can imagine Deep Purple & Boston in your Reese's Cup...then you have an idea of what a well-produced and rockin' CD this is.

Timing is everything, some say...and with New Wave taking the states by overwhelming storm around this same period...Legs Diamond must of looked like a RnR dinosaur. Too bad.

This is good stuff! (available as import only at this time). Visit your favorite CD trade shop.

Casey

Legs Diamond:-->"Deadly Dancer" (Legs Diamond) (1977)
(Must Own)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

DVD Pick:-->"Touch Of Evil" (1958)

"She was coming flirty.
She looked about thirty.
I would have run away,
but I was on my own.

She told me later she's a machine operator.
She said she liked the way I held the microphone.
I said, my! my!
Like a spider to a fly."
Rolling Stones


NO SPOILERS:
Orson Welle's newly restored..."Touch Of Evil" (1958)...is one of the last of a dying breed of film noir...and quite good. A black-n-white snapshot of the seedy streets on a border town.

Before I sell this movie as some good late-night fodder for the buffs...let me briefly mention a few clinks in the armor I found annoying...if not unintentionally amusing.

1. Lead actor Charlton Heston is completely miscast as a Mexican detective. I couldn't help but expect Charlie to scream..."Let my people go!

2. Mexican mob-boss Grandi (Akim Tamiroff) is just about the lamest "Goodfella" you'll ever see. A definite Sopranos reject.

3. Suzie (Janet Leigh) generates absolutely no sympathy as she gets...(almost)...what she deserves.

4. After an ungodly number of remarks from Charlton Heston prefacing every comment to his new bride with..."Suzie this & Suzie that"...I soon began thinking what a terrific drinking game we all could enjoy...by counting the numerous blubberings of...'that' name!
A "Touch of Suzie"...perhaps! (Janet Leigh)

But don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this film noirish flick...

The good stuff!
Orson Welles commands the screen as the wonderfully sloven and disheveled police Captain Hank Quinlan. You can almost smell his funk whenever he appears on the screen. Great performance.
The 'FUNK' of Orson Welles
Welles wrote the script and, of course, directed this seedy pic himself. And there are several obvious Orsonish camera shots that will engage the viewer.

"Touch Of Evil" revolves around a border town where the American and Mexican government struggle for investigation control of an unexplained explosion.

Must See Moments:
The opening 3-minutes is a critically-acclaimed one take from Welles.

Watch for a young Dennis Weaver as the perverted motel nightman. (See also)

Catch the uncredited rock-n-roll rebel who bops his skull like a plastic bobblehead in every scene.

Play the drinking game...'SUZIE'. Throw back a long tasty swig whenever her name is spoken. (Better have plenty on-hand).

Good stuff!

Casey

In 1965, The Rolling Stones were generating some dirty funky delicious nastiness that...for those uninitiated...will find a revelation.

"Out Of Our Heads" is beaucoup good...and should sit equally with...'Beggars & Bleed' from the sixties period. And easily vibrates speakers everywhere with some tasty Jagger/Richards rock'n'roll.
You will hear "...Satisfaction" with regularity from this disc (ad naseum)...but Classic Rock Radio tends to ignore the Stone's other tracks...opting for the proverbial radio hit. Not cool! Too much good stuff is ignored.

Thankfully, here in Kansas we have JT All Request.

Finally, one can easily see why 'bikers and greasers' (among others & no offense) gravitated to this brand of Rock. This music will get your hands dirty!
Good stuff!

Rolling Stones:-->"The Spider And The Fly" (Out Of Our Heads) (1965)
(Must Own)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Track 4:-->"Alexis" - James Gang - Bang - (1973)

"Alexis you always used to talk about
leavin' your home town.
Headin' on South...
maybe down to New Orleans.
And you wanted me to help you out.
But you were just a young girl...
and I was just a hobo that had my doubts."
James Gang


Straight up...this is not the James Gang you think you know. Joe Walsh is gone. Tommy Bolin has arrived. And it is an altogether different band. A different "sounding" band. But that's not a bad thing.

With Bolin's arrival on "Bang" (hand picked by Walsh)...came a much needed creativity and energy boost. And the rest of the band mates seemed to have recharged themselves as well.

"Bang" rings the speakers with several rockers...all with interesting riffs with a few Bolin burners. (Although Bolin seems more subdued than he would on his solo efforts.) Still, TB works his strings with entertaining magic and leaves listeners wanting more.

Track 4 has Bolin and the Gang delivering a gentle ballad..."Alexis"...and is one of his best. Creating a jazzical groove and sounding first class...Bolin builds to a nice splintering of guitar wood.

"Bang" should be making classic radio rotation everywhere...with 9 strong songs that deserved much better than its initial sharting.

Maybe the departure of Walsh had fans jumping ship...or the annoying album cover. (After all, it was going to be called "Gang Bang") Those fans who weathered the storm were treated with a classic rock album that stands the test of time.
No weak tracks.

Good stuff!

Casey

James Gang:-->"Alexis" (Bang) (1973) (Must Own)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Book Buzz:-->"The Frontiersmen" by Allan W. Eckert (1967)


"Pipeline/
Walk Don't Run/
Secret Agent Man Medley"
Junior Brown



NO SPOILERS:
Wow! From beginning to end..."The Frontiersmen"...simply and unequivocally blew my freakin' mind. I can't wait to turn my friends on to this gem.

Historical novelist Allan W. Eckert has weaved a spell-bounding tale of our expansion west into the areas around Ohio, Virginias and Kentucky during the time of the late 18th century.

We learn about the skills of the frontiersmen...both in protecting settlers new to the areas, as well as safely exploring deeper into the wilderness. And, Eckert, also introduces the many various tribes of native Americans living in those areas and fairly presents their struggles with respect as well.

A solid page turner, we quickly learn that neither side had a monopoly on brutality. The various ways of inflicting pain are nothing short of jaw-dropping. Humans are amazing in their ability to create suffering on each other.

"The Frontiersmen" (721 pages) has been elevated to one of my all-time favorites and would be the perfect book for introducing anyone to the joys of reading. Good stuff!

MoSkeet

Look up the word...cool...and one of the pictures you'll find there is Junior Brown.

With his double guit-steel guitar over his shoulder and a distinct country nasal voice that puts all the pretty boy country wanna-be singers in their places, Junior Brown delivers just the right attitude. JB simply kicks the proverbial butt.

"Semi-Crazy" (1996) is the perfect musical flashlight for anyone left in the dark. This underrated country rebel out of Arizona keeps it real on this lost gem. A great CD to add to your musical crayon box. Good stuff!


Casey

Junior Brown:-->"Surf Medley" (Semi-Crazy) (1996) (Must Own)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Track 4:-->"Sub-Rosa Subway" - Klaatu - "Klaatu" - (1976)

"New York City and the morning sun...
were awoken by the strangest sound.
Reportedly as far as Washington...
the tremors shook the earth
as Alfie blew underground."
Klaatu



The band Klaatu...thanks to their self-titled album...became famous (or infamous)...for being the "rumored" collaboration of..The Beatles...incognito.

From what I gathered talking to a few rock fans who were on-board with The Beatles from the time of "Sgt. Pepper"...some conspiracy theorists concluded that Klaatu...was really The Beatles. So as...to allow the "Mates from Liverpool" a chance to record together again...without the pressure of living up to their previous work!?!

And...from a few songs on this album...I can see how a Beatles connection might be made. This...and the aching hope all Beatles fans had that...John. Paul. George. Ringo... might truly try to pull a fast one and get back together for...one...last...time.

Fun to believe, yes...but sadly untrue.
Klaatu
When the proverbial cat was let out of the bag...it was revealed Klaatu was simply a three member band from Canada who recorded a popish, lovingly quirky, and slightly Beatlesque album. And "moptop" fans everywhere turned their backs on Klaatu faster than Obama giving the cold shoulder to Rev. Wright.

However..."Klaatu" (1976)...when one forgets all the "rumor baggage" surrounding it...stands up as a pretty darn good record. Beatles be damned!

Track 4 is the McCartneyish sounding..."Sub-Rosa Subway". A good tune with just the kind of mystery voices and noises and occasional trumpets that certainly helped move the conspiracy rumor along. Add some great bass work and harmony and you have a satisfying song
.
But, for a few songs that might remind listeners of another well-known band (cough, cough) ...Klaatu offers up their own brand of popcorn.

Mostly...Klaatu is a CD filled with quirky, catchy melodies and, at the very least, will entertain even the most jaded listener. A neat addition to your music collection.
Good Stuff!

Casey

Klaatu:-->"Sub-Rosa Subway" (Klaatu) (1976) (Must Own)