Friday, November 27, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "The Cabin At The End Of The World" - Paul Tremblay (2018) Book Review

"The Cabin At The End Of The World"
by Paul Tremblay
(2018)
Hardcover, 272 pages

NO SPOILERS:
This “cabin in the woods" horror tale involves an adopted girl and her two dads who spend a weekend at a cabin far removed from cell phones and FaceTime.  While the little girl plays outside, a nice stranger comes along.  This encounter quickly turns into a home invasion.  Up to this point, the story seems very familiar.  But then the uninvited guests throw their strange and frightening agenda into the family's lap and suddenly the story becomes a very different potato.  And it could have really been intense, but for all the flashbacks.  FBs of the two dads.  FBs of the adoption.  Just a lot of filler.  Better to take the cabin invasion for a real thunder ride, but Paul Tremblay never quite puts the pedal to the metal.

Also, the ending is way too ambiguous and thus, unsatisfying.  You can get away with these types of shenanigans in a short story or novella, but for a novel, it just feels lazy and rushed.  And yet for all its flaws, I didn’t hate “The Cabin At The End Of The World.”  The story has its dark moments and surprises.  And the unique idea the author delivers is different enough to keep things interesting.  Overall, the story reads fast, but it just moves way too slow.  For me, a borderline okay.

"Way of the World" - Cheap Trick / "Dream Police" (1979)

Good stuff.

Monday, November 23, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Jake Jones" - Jake Jones (1971)

 
"Jake Jones" - Jake Jones (1971)

There was never an actual Jake Jones in the band.  Jake Jones was just a name they chose to call themselves.  Nonetheless, Jake Jones had a loyal underground following in the St. Louis area.  KSHE radio was an advocate for the band playing their music often.  Their self-titled debut album is mostly melodic and jamming rural country numbers that are okay, but a few tracks on this album have a proggier, more organ-driven flavor.  And it's these types of songs I wish they would have explored more.  This isn't a great album or a must-own, but overall I quite enjoyed it.  Both the softer and the meatier.  I don't think the "Jake Jones" album is rare or anything like that...but I sure don't see it very often.

There's not a lot of information floating in the clouds about the band other than being from St. Louis and releasing two albums.  But member Phil Jost went on to become the assistant to Producer/Engineer Ken Scott who worked with Supertramp and David Bowie just to cherry-pick a few.  And Phil was also a member of Missing Persons for a short time.

Favorites include the lightly prog-seasoned “Breathe Deep” and “I'll Be Seeing You.”  The song "Trippin' Down A Country Road" has a nice feel-good vibe.  Overall, "Jake Jones" feels like an AOR album.  Well played but lost in the deck.

"Jake Jones" (back)

"Jake Jones" (sample copy sticker - back)

KAPP company sleeve

KAPP Records label (w/WJFR radio stamp)


  Cat #
KS-3648 / KS 3648
SIDE A  MATRIX
DB  KS-3648-A  T1  211
SIDE B  MATRIX
DB  KS-3648-B  T1  2

"I"ll Be Seeing You" - Jake Jones / "Jake Jones" (1971)

TRACKS:
A1  "Ill-Mo Junction" 3:34
A2  "Trippin' Down A Country Road" 4:25
A3  "Mirrored Door" 2:02
A4  "She Must Be Free" 4:19
A5  "In All My Dreams" 4:22
B1  "Breathe Deep" 4:04
B2  "Lost In My Own Back Yard" 3:30
B3  "Feathered Bed" 3:00
B4  "Catch The Wind" 3:05
B5  "I'll Be Seeing You" 4:48

PERSONNEL:
Chuck Sabatino - vocals, flute, recorder
Phil Jost - organ, piano, vocals, sax, accordion, chimes, guitar
Joey Marshall - electric & acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar
Mike Krenski - bass, vocals
James Ovid Bilderback - percussion

Good stuff.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Funk-Off (sic) 1966-1967" - Terry Knight and the Pack (1973)

"Funk Off (sic) 1966-1967" - Terry Knight and the Pack (1973)
 
Prior to Grand Funk Railroad...Don Brewer and Mark Farner were rocking the garage with Terry Knight and the Pack.  "Funk-Off (sic) 1966-1967" is a two-record gatefold compilation of most of the band's output and it's a solid spin.  Really good.  The album is filled with catchy garage rockers and folk-rockers.   Some with tasty fuzz burns and a few with some light psych dust.  The few cover songs the band tackle do no damage.  All are very well done and high bar.  Terry Knight and the Pack had only one charting single nationally..."I (Who Have Nothing)"...a song obviously meant for pop radio ears, and is also included on this comp.  Terry Knight and the Pack released two studio albums before closing up shop.  Don Brewer and Mark Farner went on to form the classic thunder-shaking Grand Funk Railroad and Terry Knight became the band's manager.

Favorites are "Numbers"...a real fuzz-burner with a curled lip.  The covers "Satisfaction" and "Mister, You're A Better Man Than I" are both meaty and beaty.  "Sleep Talking" is all attitude and atmosphere.  A bit of a gem.  "A Change On The Way"...is an excellent floaty, vibe-driven song of hope and very much of its time

"Funk-Off (sic) 1966-1967" (back)

The "Funk-Off..." compilation is not an expensive album, but it is becoming a harder biscuit to find.  I bundled this album and managed to take it home for a good price.  If you're lucky to stumble on this one...pick it up.  Good stuff.

"Funk-Off (sic) 1966-1967)" (inside gatefold)

ABKCO label

AB 4217
SIDE A  MATRIX
AB-1-4217-1E  KC563023919  STERLING LH 2  2S
SIDE B  MATRIX
AB-2-4217-1F  STERLING LH 3  1
SIDE C  MATRIX
AB-3-4217-1E  KC563023919  STERLING LH 2  2
SIDE D  MATRIX
AB-4-4217-1E  STERLING LH 2T  1 

"Sleep Talking" - Terry Knight and the Pack / "Funk-Off (sic) 1966-1967" (1973)

TRACKS:
A1  "Satisfaction" 3:59
A2  "Dimestore Debutante" 4:16
A3  "The Shut In" 3:34
A4  "I've Been Told" 2:40
A5  "Numbers" 2:26
B1  "Got Love" 3:11
B2  "Lady Jane" 2:55
B3  "Sleep Talking" 2:58
B4  "Love Goddess Of Sunset Strip" 3:32
B5  "Dirty Lady" 3:12
C1  "I (Who Have Nothing)" 3:22
C2  "Lizabeth Peach" 2:31
C3  "Forever And A Day" 2:58
C4  "He's A Bad Boy" 2:38
C5  "Mister You're A Better Man Than I" 2:52
D1  "Love Love Love" 2:52
D2  "This Precious Time" 2:48
D3  "Lovin Kind" 2:58
D4  "Come With Me" 2:37
D5  "A Change On The Way" 3:49
D6  "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" 2:38

PERSONNEL:
Terry Knight – vocals, piano, harpsichord, harmonica
Bob Caldwell – organ, bells, vocals
Curt Johnson – guitar, vocals
Herm Jackson - bass
Mark Farner – bass, guitar
Don Brewer – drums, percussion, vocals

Good stuff.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

8 Favorite Books Read In 2020


 "Every book is a new book if you haven't read it!  And so, let us begin.





"They Thirst" by Robert R. McCammon (1981)
"They Thirst" is not the scariest vampire novel you'll read from this heavily populated genre, but it does have fast legs that will carry you long into the night. (full review)









"Custer" by Larry McMurtry (2012)
A biography about Gen. George Armstrong Custer and the players and events leading up to the historic battle at Little Big Horn.  Reads quick and is perfect for readers who want to start with a light meal, rather than a full course.  McMurtry gives us a fast and fascinating read and it satisfied an itch I didn't even know I had. (full review)








"The Snowman" by Jo Nesbo (2010)
The story moves along quickly with plenty of plot twists and ducks to keep everything edgy.  And the author plays fair with the clues, which is always cool.  "The Snowman" was all good, but for a few of the Norwegian names that caused me to trip over my tonsils.  I got over it.  You will, too. (full review)








"End Of Watch" by Stephen King (2016)
This is the third and final story in the Stephen King trilogy that started with his book, "Mr. Mercedes."   There is plenty of mystery and action and page-turning suspense in all three "stand-alone" stories.  But here, SK takes us full circle back to Mr. Mercedes and gives us a satisfying conclusion that takes it to the house and leaves us with an almost perfect farewell. (full review)




"The Great Escape" by Paul Brickhill (1950)
There is no Steve McQueen motorcycling over fences like in the movie.  In this true story, only 76 prisoners actually made it through the tunnel,..and nearly all were recaptured.  And a huge number of those escapees were put to death under Hitler's order.  Author Paul Brickhill's retelling of this incredible escape may not be as flashy as the star-studded film, but then again, the truth here cuts much deeper. 




"The Hawkline Monster" - by Richard Brautigan (1974)
This gothic tale is like Lonesome Dove on crack.  The story is both naughty and bawdy.  Mysterious and dangerous.  And quirky as fark!  Chapters are no more than one or two pages in length and yet the writing never feels cheap.  "The Hawkline Monster" is one of those “under-the-radar” novels that are so much fun to discover. (full review)







"Spangle" by Gary Jennings (1987)
Gary Jennings takes us through the ins and outs and the goings-on of an up and coming circus in the late 19th century.  The strategy is keeping one step ahead and two steps afloat as they venture from one town to another.  Expect the unexpected.  At 900+ pages, "Spangle" is a commitment, for sure, but it's still one worth getting lost in. (full review)





And once again,  "Every book is a new book if you haven't read it!"  Go out and get you one.


"I'm Reading A Book"  -  Julian Smith

Good stuff.

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Monday, November 9, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Born To Be Wild" - Kim Fowley (1968) Review

"Born To Be Wild" - Kim Fowley (1968)

Kim Fowley offers up a cash-in album covering a few popular songs in a very organ-driven...soul-rock 60s flavor.  All are instrumentals and are much better than one might expect. (Word is that this album only took four hours to record.)  There's a little fuzz here and there...and occasional horns show their head and together with the organ give a pretty full and enjoyable listen.  The album tries to flirt with psych, but in vibe only.  Like when girls are dancing inside hanging cages and Joe Friday from Dragnet walks in.  The music is groovy, but nothing even close to dangerous.  In fact, this is probably Kim Fowley's most behaved record ever.

Most already know Fowley as the infamous manager of The Runaways, but he also wrote many songs for a wide range of artists from Kiss to Kris Kristofferson.  Unfortunately, he became a legend in the Rock world for as many bad reasons as good.  Google him if you want to go down a rabbit hole. 

As for "Born To Be Wild"...the album is pretty good for what it is, and better than most cash-ins that were flooding the market.  Nice to spin in the background.  Favorites (and there aren't really any stand-outs) are "I Can't Stop Dancing"..."Savage In The Sun" and "Sunshine Of Your Love."  

"Born To Be Wild" (back)

Imperial Records

LP 12413
SIDE A  MATRIX
o  LP 12413  SIDE 1 - 1B  Ⓡ
SIDE B  MATRIX
LP 12413  SIDE 2 - 1A   Ⓡ o  

"Sunshine Of Your Love" - Kim Fowley / "Born To Be Wild" (1968)

TRACKS:
A1  "Born to Be Wild" 2:45
A2  "I Can't Stop Dancing" 2:05
A3  "Shake a Lady" 2:10
A4  "Hello I Love You" 2:05
A5  "Soul Limbo" 2:45
A6  "Space Odyssey" 2:45
B1  "Wild Weekend" 2:25
B2  "Pictures of Matchstick Men" 3:00
B3  "Savage in the Sun" 2:45
B4  "Sunshine of Your Love" 2:30
B5  "Classical Gas" 2:25
B6  "Fresno, 1963" 2:30

PERSONNEL:
Kim Fowley - organ, guitar
Others - uncredited

Good stuff.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Crystal Mansion" - Crystal Mansion (1972) Review

 
"The Crystal Mansion" - Crystal Mansion (1972)

Hailing from New Jersey, Crystal Mansion released their 2nd album and the music is all over the place.  There are songs with a soft, almost country-rock sound that are just...okay.  A bit of folk-rock.  And a couple of attempts at some prog songs that just never quite take off.  Nothing bad, but nothing memorable either.  It's only when the band takes a more funkier and groovier path that Crystal Mansion gets interesting.  This is where the cooler vibes set up shop...and what one might expect from a band just signed to the rockier Motown Rare Earth label.  The album is sometimes labeled as being a bit psychedelic, but it's really not.  A little dusting at best.  But when Crystal Mansion gets their rock-funk on, the songs are quite enjoyable and worth an extra spin or two.

The band's first album was in 1968 on Capitol Records, but it went nowhere.  Although they did have a charter with their pop-rock song ..."The Thought of Loving You."  It didn't much help the album though and Capitol quickly cut them loose.  This, the band's sophomore effort..."The Crystal Mansion"...is considered the stronger album

"The Crystal Mansion" (back)

The best tracks are “Let Me Get Straight Again” and “Boogie Man”...both on side two.  Nice guitar riffs and tasty organ show up in welcome places.  In fact, side two has the better song-writing.  "The Crystal Mansion" has its moments, for sure, but it's spotty.  I don't see this album in the wild very often, but it usually runs low dollar...under $10.  You might want to grab it, but don't spend big money.  My copy has a DJ stamp on the bottom-left side of the back cover.  And a "DJ Not For Sale" printed on the Rare Earth label.  Rescued at Spektrum.

"The Crystal Mansion" (inside gatefold)

Rare Earth label - DJ Copy

R-540L DJ 
SIDE A  MATRIX
B4RS-2689-1 {stamped} HS-1959  >--WK  A1
SIDE B  MATRIX
B4RS-2690-1 {stamped} HS-1960  >--WK  I  A1  R-540L

"Boogie Man" - Crystal Mansion - "The Crystal Mansion" (1972)

TRACKS:
A1  "There Always Will Be More" 5:57
A2  "Bad City Ways" 4:15
A3  "I Love You" 2:59
A4  "Satisfied" 3:38
A5  "A Song Is Born" 3:35
B1  "Somebody Oughta' Turn Your Head Around" 3:25
B2  "Boogie Man" 5:15
B3  "Let Me Get Straight Again" 4:51
B4  "Peace for a Change" 5:10
B5  "Earth People" 3:59

PERSONNEL:
Sal Rota - organ, piano, vocals
Johnny Caswell - vocals, piano
Ronnie Gentile - guitar
Bill Crawford - bass
Rick Morley - percussion
Mario Sanchez - congas, vocals

Good stuff.

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Friday, October 30, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "End Of Watch" - Stephen King (2016) Book Review

"End Of Watch" (Bill Hodges Trilogy #3)
by Stephen King 
(2016)
Hardcover, 432 pages
 
This is the satisfying end to the Stephen King trilogy that started with his book, "Mr. Mercedes" and has now become known as the "Bill Hodges Trilogy."  The first two books were criminal suspense mysteries with solid plots and page-turning action.  I loved them both.  But "End Of Watch" is my favorite of the three.  "End Of Watch" is a nail-biter, as well, but this time SK dips the ladle into his bucket of strange tricks and dishes out some supernatural creepiness that kept me in the game right up to that final whistle.  

But it's all the well-developed characters introduced in these stories that make this trilogy so enjoyable to read.  And none better than Bill, the detective and his friends Holly and Jerome.  I can easily visualize each one of them just as clear as day.  And as SK waters their friendship, we can see their acceptance and trust for each other grow.  It's all believable.  And the parlay between the characters throughout the story all rings true.  Not one false step.   And honestly, I'm really kinda sad to have to let them go.  There is plenty of mystery and action and page-turning suspense in all three stories.  Here, SK takes us full circle back to Mr. Mercedes and gives us a satisfying conclusion that delivers it to the house and leaves us with an almost perfect farewell.

"Time" - Hootie & The Blowfish / "Cracked Rear View" (1994)

Good stuff.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Sugarloaf" - Sugarloaf (1970)

"Sugarloaf" - Sugarloaf  (1970)

I'd been keeping an eye out for Sugarloaf's debut album with their "Free Bird" signature song...“Green-Eyed Lady” for a long time.  Not an intense search, mind you, but if I ever saw a good copy, I knew I'd pick it up.  But for whatever reason, this one had been playing hide-and-seek much longer than I expected.  In other words, finding a nice copy of this album was a green-eyed bitch!  It includes their original 7-minute hit song...before later being chopped up into a variety of shortened and abused versions for radio and comps.  Plus, I was curious about the rest of the album as well.

There are only six songs on this album and three are instrumentals.  The music is very Hammond heavy courtesy of the talented Jerry Corbetta and has that early 70s rock vibe you would expect.  Most critics give the album a high 3 outta 5 and that's about right.  Sugarloaf doesn't really push anything forward, but it's pretty good for what it is.  Apparently, the band's sophomore album is the stronger, but I've yet to hear it. 

Favorites are the outstanding opening track..."Green-Eyed Lady” with its teasing fake-out and extended breaks and an overall jazzy portent vibe going on.  Great riffs and fills.  They do no wrong on this song.  The exceptional instrumental “Medley: “Bach Door Man”/ Chest Fever" is really good, too.  I especially like their transitions into The Band cover..."Chest Fever."  Never fails to please.  And after "Green-Eyed Lady," it's the proggiest Sugarloaf gets on the album.  And finally, though the band doesn't quite take the ball to the house, their instrumental cover of “Train Kept A Rollin” is still a pretty fun listen.  Side one is definitely the stronger, but the closing track "Things Gonna Change Some" is a nice wrapup.

My copy has a hype sticker promoting “Green-Eyed Lady” on the front and came home with me for less than $10.  Purchased at an A-OK Record Swap from a dealer who seems to always have at least one thing I want. 

"Sugarloaf" (back)

"Sugarloaf" (inside gatefold)

Liberty label

SIDE A  MATRIX
LST-7640-1 (2) K
SIDE B  MATRIX
LST-7640-2  K

"Green-Eyed Lady" - Sugarloaf / "Sugarloaf" (1970)

TRACKS:
A1  "Green-Eyed Lady" 6:49
A2  "The Train Kept-a-Rollin' (Stroll On)" 2:23
A3  "Medley: "Bach Doors Man" / "Chest Fever" 9:00
B1  "West of Tomorrow" 5:25
B2  "Gold and the Blues" 7:15
B3  "Things Gonna Change Some" 6:38

PERSONNEL:
Jerry Corbetta - organ, piano, clavichord, vocals
Bob Webber - guitar, vocals
Bob Raymond - bass
Myron Pollock - drums
Bob MacVittie - drums ("Green-Eyed Lady")
Veeder van Dorn - vocals (B1, B3)

Good stuff.

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Friday, October 23, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Clear Light" - Clear Light (1967)

"Clear Light" - Clear Light (1967)

Clear Light was a one-shot psych-rock band out of L.A.  There are mixtures of fuzz and organ on here with occasional jangle all in fair doses.  Nothing too out there, but lysergic moments abound.  Most of the songs are short...under 3 minutes...and the variety is pretty entertaining.  Clear Light made their own noise, but have been called a poor man's Love and a can of Doors light.  Me, I can't hear much of either.  However, Clear Light's producer, Paul Rothchild, was also working with those two bands.  This is not a must-own album, but it's not a bad spin at all.  There are no duds and certainly more to like than not.

The group also sported a couple of members that played in other well-known bands.  Bassist Doug Lubahn played on early Doors albums.  And Dallas Taylor went on to bang the drum for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  Lead singer Cliff DeYoung became an actor and has appeared in more than 80 films and TV shows.  

My favorites are "Night Sounds Loud" and the fuzzed-up "Street Singer."  And the longest track at 6+ minutes, the psyched-up version of the folk song..."Mr. Blue"...written by Tom Paxton.  The song became an underground radio favorite for the band.

My copy is an early 70s press that I found at Spektrum.  It had a $10 sticker with a note saying 'Record has slight warp...but plays fine."  When I gave it a spin, there was hardly a lift in the needle at all.  And, like they said, the record did play perfectly fine.  I appreciate it when record stores like Spektrum mention any possible issues.  That's good business!  This album has recently been reissued by Sundazed Music.

"Clear Light" (back)

Elektra (butterfly) label

SIDE A  MATRIX
EKS- [ 74011 stamped ]  A-1B
SIDE A  MATRIX
0  EK S- [ 74011 stamped ]  B-1A  1  C6

"Night Sounds Loud" - Clear Light / "Clear Light" (1967)

TRACKS:
A1  "Black Roses" 2:08
A2  "Sand" 2:37
A3  "A Child's Smile" 1:33
A4  "Street Singer" 3:15
A5  "The Ballad of Freddie & Larry" 2:00
A6  "With All In Mind" 3:00
B1  "Mr. Blue" 6:24
B2  "Think Again" 1:37
B3  "They Who Have Nothing" 2:33
B4  "How Many Days Have Passed" 2:20
B5  "Night Sounds Loud" 2:25

PERSONNEL:
Cliff De Young  -  vocals
Bob Seal  -  guitar, vocals
Douglas Lubahn  -  bass
Ralph Schuckett  -  keyboards
Dallas Taylor  -  drums
Michael Ney  -  drums

Good stuff.

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "The Hawkline Monster" - Richard Brautigan (1974)

 

"The Hawkline Monster" - by Richard Brautigan
(1974)
Paperback, 188 pages

NO SPOILERS:
Cameron and Greer, the two cowboys in this story are best of friends and a no-nonsense “have gun will travel” kind of team.  Problem-solvers for hire, so to speak.  The cowboys are called on a journey to a big mansion in the middle of nowhere to help a couple of sexy ladies rid themselves of a mysterious and dangerous "something" in the house.  To say any more would spoil the fun.

Author Richard Brautigan tells his macabre story in unique chapters of no more than one or two pages, and yet as the pages fly by, the story never feels cheap.  This gothic tale is weird.  It's both naughty and bawdy. Mysterious and dangerous.  And quirky as fark!   I loved it.  I never once felt like I was being put upon.  This is one of those “under-the-radar” novels that are so much fun to discover.  "The Hawkline Monster" is one of the strangest stories I've read all year.  And a blast to read.  Highly recommended.  

"Almost Human" - Kiss / "Love Gun" (1977)

Good stuff.