Sunday, January 13, 2019

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "John Prine: In Spite of Himself" (2015)

"John Prine: In Spite of Himself"...Eddie Huffman (2015)
212 pages

I've come to believe that the secret to true happiness lies somewhere farther away from an old pawnshop and maybe a little closer to a 4-minute spin on a tilt-a-whirl.  Anyway, finding this John Prine biography to read was right up my alley. And this one is pretty good for what it is.  The book takes the reader from John Prine's discovery in Chicago while delivering the neighborhood mail and walks us through each of his recordings from his amazing self-titled debut (1971) to "Standard Songs For Average People." (2007)  Also from his struggle with the record company to his own successful "Oh Boy" record label.  And his scary battle with cancer.  There are plenty of name-drops and funny Prine-isms and you will fall in love with John Prine if you haven't already.  But what the book is sorely lacking is some actual deep one-on-one conversations with the man.  Look I enjoyed Eddie Huffman's book offering.  But what I hunger for is a true John Prine memoir where JP really opens the gate.  I spoke with John Prine after he performed at the Wichita Orpheum back when I was in college.  It was my first interview and it was short...but I'll never forget it.  Here's John Prine.

"When I Get To Heaven" - John Prine / "The Tree Of Forgiveness" (2018)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Friday, January 11, 2019

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" (1969)

"Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" - Bob Seger System (1969)

This isn't the "Old Time Rock and Roll" Bob Seger.  Huh-uh.  Not yet, anyway.  This is the experimental Bob.  The risk-taking Seeg.  And he doesn't disappoint.  The lost gem killer "2 + 2 = ?" is on here.  Plus the classic title track.  But there's plenty of goodness to go around.  There's some psych flavor sprinkled throughout and a bit of tasty fuzz-g.  Plus there is an enjoyable ethereal presence on a song or two.  And it all works.  Bob Seger hadn't yet fallen into that comfortable sweet spot trap he would later ride to the bank.  On this, his 1969 debut album, the 'ramblin' gamblin' man' is true to his name...taking chances and letting chips fall.   And for me, the entire listen was a head-nodding surprise.  For whatever reason, this album has been a hard one for me to pick up.  But last month I stumbled on a nice clean copy...a 70s record club reissue...for a good price and I've spun it many times since.  Don't sleep on this one, you might be surprised.

"Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" (back)

Capitol label

"Gone" - Bob Seger System / "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" (1969)

A1  "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" 2:20
A2  "Tales of Lucy Blue" 2:23
A3  "Ivory" 2:25
A4  "Gone" 3:25
A5  "Down Home" 3:10
A6  "Train Man" 4:05
B1  "White Wall" 5:15
B2  "Black Eyed Girl" 6:30
B3  "2 + 2 = ?" 2:47
B4  "Doctor Fine" 1:05
B5  "Last Song (Love Needs to Be Loved)" 3:02

Bob Seger – vocals, guitar, piano, organ
Dan Honaker – bass, vocals
Pep Perrine – drums, vocals
Bob Schultz – organ on "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man"
Michael Erlewine – blues harp on "Down Home"
Glenn Frey – b-vocals/acoustic guitar on "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man"
Penny Lawyer – b-vocals

Good stuff.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Horse Head Has An Idea:..."The Sadist" (1963)


"The Sadist" (1963) one of those forgotten b/w B-movies that sort of slipped through the cracks.  It stars cheeseball Arch Hall Jr. who has a bit of that Michael J. Pollard look goin' on...but without any of the charm and talent.  Yet he has a quirkiness that draws me in.  The story is based on the infamous Charles Starkweather murder spree.  It's all very low budget, filmed in a junkyard out in the desert, but the movie takes place in 'real-time' which adds an interesting sense of urgency.  Sure, Arch Hall, Jr. is annoying as hell, and you can almost see him overthinking his lines and expressions...but it's one of those black and white cheapies that's fun to watch anyway.

"The Sadist" (1963)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Thursday, January 3, 2019

I Went...SIRIUS...All The Way Home

(a short jaunt)

"First Names" - Lee Michaels / "Space And First Takes" (1972)

This is a great late night driving song.  Long churning jams with intent just suck me right in.  The added psych trippage hitting the sweet spot is bonus.  And along with Lee Michaels is Drake Levin (Paul Revere and the Raiders) bending strings as well.  Surprised, I am!  The jam carries you along until your car becomes one with the highway.  Killer deep cut!

"Comin' Back To Me" - "Jefferson Airplane / "Surrealistic Pillow" (1967)

This might not be Marty Balin's best song...but it certainly is my favorite.  Beautifully sad. And it haunts like hell.  The song always wants to take me somewhere...and sometimes I let it.

"A Day In The Life" - Jeff Beck / "Live at Montreux Jazz" (2001)

I'm a snob when it comes to hearing Beatle covers.  It's a hard bitch for many to scratch.  But occasionally, someone gets it right.  Jeff Beck plays this Lennon classic like he's holding John's head in his lap.  Beck is taking care of him with tribute and respect. And what I had first expected to be just another throwaway song to add to the “covers” pile..became a gift to everyone who ever loved him.  Wow!


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, December 31, 2018

Horse Head Dig and Flip: Justice League Of America Archives - Volume 1

Graphic Novel Find
"Justice League Of America Archives - Volume 1"

(Last fall, I stumbled upon a good-sized box filled with a variety of graphic novels at an estate sale. No official count yet, as I'm just pulling from the box when I find time to read one.  Afterward, I'll post the book and go from there.)

"Justice League Of America Archives - Volume 1"
by Gardner F. Fox --  Mike Sekowsky (Illustrator)
1992 by DC COMICS 
256 pages 
Includes: The Brave and the Bold  #28-30 and
Justice League of America  #1–6.

This beautiful hardbound archive collection is all about nostalgia.  A time when friendship and teamwork were all that mattered.  A time of innocence. A time of confidences.

JLA is made up of seven superheroes that team up to combat a "dangerous" giant starfish (I'm serious) determined to take over the Earth.   The superheroes include Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter (who I was not familiar with at all) Wonder Woman and the two big cajones...Batman and Superman.  Also very cool is the JLA hold an election later to include Green Arrow.  Corny, but cool.

"Justice League Of America Archives Vol 1"
 (book jacket removed)

"Justice League Of America Archives Vol 1" 

Comic books from this era were generally pretty whack anyway and these are no exception.  Aliens from other worlds or crazy scientists from our own challenge the JLA in one ridiculous plot after another.  It's all silly fun and charming in its way.  As I said, this is all about the bass.  No treble.  To be honest, it's the camaraderie of our heroes that make us feel good.  And when I'd finally put the book away, I imagined an 11-year old boy...surely 70 by now...under his blanket, flashlight in hand, turning pages and saving the world.

"Old Friends-Bookends" - Simon & Garfunkel / "The Concert in Central Park" (1981)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Friday, December 28, 2018

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."37 Minutes Of Group Therapy" (1969)

"37 Minutes Of..." - Group Therapy (1969)

There isn't a whole lot out there about this 60s band that hails from New York.  Over at Discogs, they pin down Group Therapy as being psych rock...and there is a bit of trippage goin' on.  I read somewhere they sounded like a poor man's Vanilla Fudge...and they do, sort of, lean in that general direction.  But they're not as sludgy...or trippy.  A few songs do fuzz it up, but not nearly enough. It would have been nice to hear the band really light it up.

Their label gave Group Therapy a nice gatefold unipak for their sophomore effort though, and I'm a sucker for gatefold albums. The copy I found appears to have been well-taken care of as the unipak has not come unglued yet.  For those who might not be aware, a gatefold with a unipak sleeve means you have to first open your gatefold in order to access the record.  The idea was to protect the record from accidentally sliding out...and not a bad idea in theory.  Unfortunately, the unipak is notorious for separating from the gatefold and getting beat up.  Whaddyagonnado?
Look, "37 Minutes Of..." isn't anything special, by any means, but Group Therapy does offer a few songs that are fun and salvages the wax.  Sometimes just finding something unusual or seldom-seen in the wild is its own reward.
(LKF...the Beach Boys gem...“Sail On, Sailor"...was co-written by lead singer, Ray Kennedy and that's a pretty cool feather.)

"37 Minutes Of..." (back)

"37 Minutes Of..." (inside gatefold)

Philips label

"Wait" - Group Therapy / "37 Minutes Of..." (1969)

A1  "Remember What You Said" 3:05
A2  "Wait" 6:07
A3  "River Deep, Mountain High" 4:43
A4  "A Very Happy Day" 3:21
A5  "I Got to Live" 2:40

B1  "Can't Stop Lovin' You Baby" 2:59
B2  "I Must Go" 4:00
B3  "Cheer Up Baby" 2:09
B4  "Willie" 2:57
B5  "I Can't Believe It" 3:48

Ray Kennedy - vocals 
Art Del Gudico - guitar, bass, vocals 
Jerry (The Kid) Guida - organ, keyboards 
Tommy Burns - drums, vocals,  
Michael Lamont - drums, percussion

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Friday, December 21, 2018

I Went...SIRIUS...All The Way Home

(a short jaunt)

"Flip The Switch" - The Rolling Stones / "Bridges to Babylon" (1997)

This was the opening track on their 23rd studio album.  And it was also one of the first albums I bought with my own money.  Actually, it was a nicely packaged CD.  The song has Charlie and Keef driving the bus right out the gate.  In fact, the whole album sounds like everyone showered, shaved and had a healthy breakfast.  Fun lyrics.  It was the best thing they'd done in years.  "Bridges..." still sounds fresh and I played the shit out of it.

"Space Captain" - Joe Cocker / "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" (1970)

In small doses, I enjoy Joe Cocker, but his music has been a little hit and miss for me.  However, JC always seemed to bump it up a notch...I mean, really commit...when he had his good friends at his back.  And when that happens, I'm all in.  Here's a good example and one seldom heard.  Love the playful "ooohs and ahhhhs" in the middle, too

"Leave It With Me" - Blodwyn Pig / "Ahead Rings Out" (1970)

This is a jazzy-flutey instrumental with a catchy riff that moves the song right along if nothing else.  Jack Lancaster provides the jazzy pipes and guitarist (and frontman) Mick Abrahams jumps in the middle to add some licks of his own.  Abrahams was the original guitarist for Jethro Tull, leaving after their first album.  First time hearing Blodwyn Pig on the radio!  Making driving a better time.


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, December 17, 2018

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Kinks Kontraband" (1988)

"Kinks Kontraband" - The Kinks (1988)

I picked this up back in November from a private record flipper I affectionately refer to as..."The Garageman."  This is an unofficial Kinks release.  A bootleg mix of  BBC live recordings and outtakes.  Side One is definitely the stronger.  It's filled with 9 early live BBC recordings and a demo.  Yes, their two early biggies are on here, but it's the lesser known that really ices the cake.  One is the never studio recorded song by the band..."This Strange Effect."  It has a haunting, floaty vibe that dances on trippy and is just killer.  Side Two opens with a tasty garage-fuzz outtake of..."Time Will Tell."  There is also a rare live track from the Preservation period..."Slum Kids"...and is a nice rescue.  The album's last three songs are later stuff, and I like them, but I just didn't hear much difference in the outtakes.  I'll leave that to true Kinks aficionados to discuss.

If you're curious, it being bootleg and all, the vinyl recordings sound great.  This is a Canadian press on Reprieve.  (Not Reprise.)  The label has a man strapped into an electric chair with the guard's hand near the switch.  Very kool!  I don't know how many were pressed, but this is a  pretty hard one to find.

"Kinks Kontraband" (back)

Reprieve label

"This Strange Effect" (BBC Sessions) - The Kinks / "Kinks Kontraband" (1988)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Friday, December 14, 2018

I Went...SIRIUS...All The Way Home

(a short jaunt)

"Don’t Bogart That Joint" (live) - Little Feat / "Waiting for Columbus" (1978)

This song is over and done before anyone could even begin to accuse someone of hogging the doobie.  In a little over a minute, Little Feat reminds everyone how much fun they're having.  Happy driving.  Many consider "WFC" one of the best live albums ever recorded.

"Revelation" - Fleetwood Mac / "Penguin" (1973)

My appreciation of Bob Welch during his Fleetwood Mac period has grown in leaps and bounds.  Love this song.  Bob's guitar work is diamond and I've always been a sucker for the way Bob's floaty vocals add haunting mystery to some of the songs.  Plus John McVie's driving bass on this jam is just killer.  Btw...the penguin has been Fleetwood Mac's mascot since the early days when John and Christine were just lovebirds living near the London Zoo.

"The Pause of Mr. Claus" (live) - Arlo Guthrie - "Arlo" (1968)

Okay, they snuck another xmas song in on my drive home.  The song is short and cute and I like the young Arlo vocals on this. It's what any respectable folkie would sing about.

"Good Old Rock‘n’Roll" - Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys / "The Street Giveth...and the Street Taketh Away" (1969)

This is a rock and roll medley that became a top-40 hit for the Cat Mothers.  It's good for what it is, but that medley trick has been done a bazillion times in a bazillion bars ad nauseam.  I dig hearing shit like this live, but it's kinda 'meh' on the radio.  A nice cool factor though is that the album was produced by Jimi Hendrix.


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Horse Head Has An Idea: "Merry Christmas Mr. Bean"


"Merry Christmas Mr. Bean" (1992) an episode from the UK television show that ran for four seasons called, you guessed it..., "Mr. Bean."  This had been in my "watch-later" box for months, along with other holiday finds, to curl up with as the "silver bells" get closer.  I'm really glad I did.  This is a wonderful little gem.  It follows Mr. Bean from the evening before Christmas until the big day.  It's all very funny and sweet and a tad melancholy in that special Mr. Bean trademark fashion.  This should be annual watching along with The Grinch...Charlie Brown...and The Andy Griffith Xmas episode.  It will never grow old, only endearing.

"Merry Christmas Mr Bean"  (1992)

Good Stuff

Casey Chambers