Monday, February 24, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Marvel 1602" (2006)

"Marvel 1602"
Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert (Illustrator), Richard Isanove (Digital Painter)
Marvel (2006)
(first published in 2003)
248 pages

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

NO SPOILERS:
There is a lot to like about this story.  A hiccup in our time universe causes many familiar Marvel characters to find themselves in the 1600s.  Time of the Elizabethan society.  Time of King James's Inquisitions.  And a time when Marvel superheroes are smack in the middle of a rip-in-time that will destroy the entire universe if not corrected.  Neil Gaiman's story is clever and tricky in the telling, yet Gaiman sets a tone that allows readers to relax and trust he'll get us through this adventure fairly.  Nothing ever feels forced or rushed.  And it's especially fun seeing how the time-flip has made subtle changes to each character.  Making things seem a wee-bit askew.  It all makes for cool and unexpected surprises.


The writing is Neil Gaiman gold as one might expect.  And Andy Kubert's drawings are a joy.  I read "Marvel 1602" in the chilly February evenings in my den with one lit bulb and a few candles, flipping pages and enjoying the silence.  Oh, and of course I had a full pot of Chock Full o' Nuts to keep my coffee cup warm.  An enjoyable read to tease your head.

"The Duke of Beaufoot" - Spirogyra / "St. Radigunds" (1971)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Saturday, February 22, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Blades Of Grass Are Not For Smoking" (1967)

"The Blades Of Grass Are Not For Smoking" - The Blades Of Grass (1967)

Occasionally, a person needs to be reminded just how wonderful sunshine pop can be.  Especially when it's dusted in psych and shaded in baroque colors.  And this is the really good stuff.  Nothing cheap.  The Blades Of Grass harmonies are great and there is an overall cleverness going on that belies the band members ages.  All just high school guys from New Jersey...honing their craft while tossing books in their lockers.  Session musicians were brought in, for sure, but they bring out the band's natural moxie without losing them in the shuffle.  In other words, great flavoring for the stew.

For sunshine stuff, this album is solid front to back with a maturity that is arguably better than some of the more recognizable albums from this era.  “Happy” was their big ("cough, cough") hit, but it’s the other songs on this sunshine square that make it worth your time.  This record still flies under-the-radar and can be had fairly low-dollar.  If you have any interest at all in good sunshine pop...The Blades Of Grass offer low-risk/high reward on this...their only album.  On a side-note:  There is a fantastic Beatle cover to be found here.  I'm a hard person to please when it comes to Beatle covers.  Just don't care for most of them.  But the band put a unique spin on the song without it...vanishing in the haze.  I mean if you're going to cover a Beatle tune...do something with it or why bother, right?  Anyway, The Blades Of Grass were some risk-takers.  And good for them.

"The Blades Of Grass Are Not For Smoking" (back)

Jubilee label

"Or Is It The Rain" - The Blades of Grass / "The Blades Of Grass Are Not For Smoking" (1967)

TRACKS:
A1  "Happy" 2:20
A2  "Just Ah"  2:28
A3  "Help"  2:41
A4  "The Way You'll Never Be" 2:49
A5  "You Won't Find That Girl" 2:15
A6  "Leap Into the Arms of Love" 2:39
B1  "Just Another Face" 2:36
B2  "Or Is It the Rain" 2:26
B3  "Walk Away Renee" 2:31
B4  "That's What a Boy Likes" 2:46
B5  "Tomorrow Is My Turn" 2:25
B6  "Satin Slipper" 2:00

PERSONNEL:
Bruce Ames - rhythm guitar, vocals
David Gordon - drums, organ
Frank DiChiara - bass, vocals
Marc Black - lead guitar, vocals

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Thursday, February 20, 2020

I Went...SI--SI--SIRIUS...All The Way Home (again) #30

(a short jaunt)


"Ships Don't Disappear in the Night (Do They?)" - 10cc / "10cc" (1973)

"Better be nice to Vincent Price"   This is a little like McCartney's "Helen Wheels" dipped in Adam Ant sauce.  And the 10cc boys beat Mac by a full month.  Often what 10cc serves-up is so firmly tongue-in-cheek and clever, you almost forget the witchery they conjure up in the studio.  I admit sometimes they clever themselves right over my head, but I don't care.  Their songs are always recorded at a high bar, it just doesn't matter.  This was from 10cc's debut album

"All Along The Watchtower" - Brewer & Shipley / "Weeds" (1969)

No studio wizardry going on here.  Still, it's deceptive in its simplicity.  Just when you let your guard down...you realize the duo has struck your ears in a familiar, yet curiously wonderful and different way.  Brewer and Shipley's sophomore album.

"Whiskey Man" - Molly Hatchet / "Flirtin' With Disaster" (1979)

Opening track.  I have a fondness for 70s southern blue-collar rock.  No clever time-changes or lyrics to ponder.  Just jamming guitars wailing away while Danny Joe Brown fronts his ass off.  Not as good as the title track, but it still keeps my windshields from fogging up in February.  Molly's second album.

"WILMA,  I'M HOME!"

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Kingdom Come" - Sir Lord Baltimore (1970)

"Kingdom Come" - Sir Lord Baltimore (1970)

Get this album any way you can.  This is a box of fire-sticks!  And it's so much fun to spin.  Sir Lord Baltimore out of Brooklyn, NY and their nearly forgotten “Kingdom Come” album is about as close to the original crack in the Heavy Metal egg as very few bands can ever claim.  I can only imagine the number of bands influenced by this powder keg.  It might seem...almost tame for metalheads today, but this was 1970 and the early stuff.  Very few bands were making the earth and heads shake in quite the way SLB was laying it down.  And, my goodness, the frontman vocals for Sir Lord Baltimore are just killer.  Tag that along with all the clever riffing and power chording and blistering drumming.  And you've got yourself a band.  Even the psych-folk track that shows up midway is a welcome treat.  It's all a bit of a stoner's square and I really enjoyed it. 

Sir Lord Baltimore was a bit of a pony-up for me. (Cheap-o me.)  But I had this album on my want list for quite a long time and just never could seem to find one in the wild.  I got my original copy online for $25 shipped.  A number I was comfortable with.  You see this album listed in the $30-$50 range on eBay all the time, but the dealer was asking $35 (obo) and I threw a number at him and he accepted.  “Kingdom Come” was not a bad offering in the least for 1970.  Not bad at all.  The band released one more album that I have yet to come across, but I hope to bookend ”Kingdom Come” with it someday.  I found this RnR fact pretty interesting.  Producer Mike Appel co-wrote all the songs on this album.  So what, you might ask yourself.   Well, Mike Appel later became Bruce Springsteen's manager!  ”Now give me some candy!”

"Kingdom Come" (back)

"Kingdom Come" (inside gatefold)

Mercury label

"Helium Head (I Got A Love)" - Sir Lord Baltimore / "Kingdom Come" (1970)

TRACKS:
A1  "Master Heartache"  4:35
A2  "Hard Rain Fallin'"  2:55
A3  "Lady Of Fire"  2:50
A4  "Lake Isle Of Innersfree"  4:03
A5  "Pumped Up"  4:03
B1  "Kingdom Come"  6:40
B2  "I Got A Woman"  3:00
B3  "Hell Hound"  3:17
B4  "Helium Head (I Got A Love)"  4:00
B5  "Ain't Got Hung On You"  2:20

PERSONNEL:
John Garner - vocals, drums
Louis Dambra - guitar
Gary Justin - bass

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Sunday, February 16, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Jack: Secret Histories" (2008)

"Jack: Secret Histories" - F. Paul Wilson (2008)
Softcover, 302 pages

NO SPOILERS:
This is a fun, quick read that provides some back story for the wonderful grown-up “Repairman Jack” series created by the same imaginative author...F. Paul Wilson.  Here, a young Jack along with his two best friends discover a strange object in the New Jersey woods that beg explanation.  Of course, curiosity leads to other more dangerous things as one might expect.  “...Secret Histories” has a very Hardy Boys flavor, but with a more creepy, unearthly tone.  And even the author enjoys poking fun at himself acknowledging the Hardy influence.  "Repairman Jack" fans will especially gobble this up, but it's not necessary to be on board that train to find pleasure on this journey.  It all adds up to an enjoyable adventure that stands alone but still waves a flag for dangers yet to come.

"Neon Repairman" - Freedy Johnston / "Neon Repairman" (2015)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Interview -- Terry Isaiah Johnson (Arranger, Singer, Songwriter, and Guitarist for The Flamingos)




"When I was 14 years old, I became a songwriter."
~ Terry Isaiah Johnson ~




“I Only Have Eyes For You” is like having a Vulcan mind-meld performed on your heart...courtesy of Terry Isaiah Johnson...arranger, singer, songwriter, and guitarist for The Flamingos.  In 1959, (think about that a moment) Terry took a rather ordinary song from the 30s and turned it into an out-of-body experience.  The song is heady, romantic and a wee bit cosmic.  Yeah, a little bit!  It's a slow dance daring couples not to fall in love.  “I Only Have Eyes For You” was welcomed into the Grammy Award Hall of Fame.  And Rolling Stone slipped the song into the comfortable #157 spot of the 500 greatest songs of all time.  Terry Isaiah Johnson has been involved in the music world, both solo and with The Flamingos, for over 60 years.  And recently, Terry released a brand-spanking-new version of this classic gem with a fresh and soulful arrangement as only he can do.  The song is available almost everywhere. (Check It Out)  Terry Isaiah Johnson and “I Only Have Eyes For You” (both new and original versions) are a Valentine wrapped with a bow.  Go get you some.

Terry Isaiah Johnson Interview -- February 2020
Terry Isaiah Johnson

Casey Chambers:  One of the most romantic songs to ever steam up the car windows is your signature song, "I Only Have Eyes For You"...which you initially recorded in 1959 with The Flamingos.  Your arrangement gave everything a dreamy, other-worldly turn.  You rescued a rather ordinary song from the 1930s and turned it into something magical and unforgettable.  Tell me a little bit about that song.

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Well, I was the musical director and arranger, as well as singer and guitarist with The Flamingos.  And the president of End Records had given me 33 songs that I had to put my spin on.  "I Only Have Eyes For You" was one of them.  I did 32 of them right away, but that song...I just couldn't feel it.  The song was from an old movie and Dick Powell had sung it and it sounded very old fashioned to me.  Anyway, I had fallen asleep with the guitar on my chest and I came up with a new...concept for the song in my dream.  When I woke up, I called the other guys and they came down to my room...at four o'clock in the morning. (laughs)  And I showed it to them and they said, 'It's terrible. You're crazy. You woke me up for this?' (laughs)

I took the song into the studio the next day.  The president was out of town promoting our songs and others.  And when he came back, he said, 'Terry, what the hell is this?  This doesn't sound like '50s music.'  He was pissed at me.  And I said, 'Well, I believe...I believe it has great potential.'   He said, 'Well, I can't do anything about it now.'   So I just put it on the album, "Flamingo Serenade."  It was like...1958.  I recorded it and nobody liked it at first.  But the song wound up, y'know, fooling everybody. (laughs)  When the DJ's heard the album, they really picked up on, "I Only Have Eyes For You."  They fell in love with it.   And that's what really started my successful career with The Flamingos.  And it was my biggest song ever.

"I Only Have Eyes For You" - The Flamingos / "American Bandstand" (1959)

Casey Chambers:   Oh, it's a blue whale.  Not only was the recording inducted into the Grammy Award Hall of Fame...but "I Only Have Eyes For You" was #157 on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.  Sweeter still, you were inducted with The Flamingos into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. (2001)  A big bow and congrats again.

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Thank you. That was a real thrill.  And the people I was with!  Aerosmith was inducted.  Michael Jackson was inducted.  Paul Simon.  Queen.  So many great superstars and just to be rubbing elbows with all of them and being inducted at the same time as them was such a rush.  It was all so exciting.  Frankie Valli...he was the one who inducted us into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.  After he heard me do the song, he came over to me and said, 'Listen, hey man, you got to keep this music alive.  Did you see what you just did to the audience?  Why don't you put yourself together a group like what I just heard?  It'd be very, very successful for you.'   Because I didn't have a group at that time.  I was recording and producing.  So that inspired me to re-form The Flamingos because they were my harmonies and ideas.  Like I said...it was exciting. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  And that song continues to keep on giving.  It shows up in movies and television all the time.  I heard it for the first time, not on the radio, but while watching the coming-of-age film, "My Girl" at the theater.  I was just a kid myself and yet even then, the song left a mark.  And then 10 years later, the song made an appearance while I was watching "The Sopranos." ("Everybody Hurts" S4:E6 - 2002)  Is that a coffee-spitter for you when that happens?

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  It's very cool.  And I smile.  I applaud myself. (laughs)  It's very exciting when that happens.  And the money that I receive from it. (laughs)  Because every time it's in a movie or on TV or on the radio, I get paid.  So it's always a great feeling.

Casey Chambers:  "Money...............it's a hit!" (laughs)  You wrote your first charting single for The Flamingos..."Lovers Never Say Goodbye" in 1959.  That was an important song for you on many levels.

"Lovers Never Say Goodbye" - The Flamingos / 45 Single (1959)

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  That's right.  That was my first charting song.  When I was 14 years old, I became a songwriter.  I had my own group in Baltimore called The Whispers.  That was my group at the time.  We went to Philadelphia to Gotham Records and recorded "Are You Sorry?" (1955)  Everyone who heard it loved it.  But the music business, I don't know, it must not have been the right time.  But when I got with The Flamingos, I played it for them and they fell in love with it and they wanted something like that.  So, "Lovers Never Say Goodbye" was like a follow-up.  And it was easy for me to make up another story and change it around.  I thank God for my talent to be able to do that.  But yes, that song, "Lovers Never Say Goodbye"...crossed The Flamingos over into the pop market. They never reached the pop market before.  It had always been R&B.  Once we got into the pop market, doors opened that were closed to them before.

Casey Chambers:  What was it like being in a rock and roll band back in the '50s?

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  It was rough.  It was rough for black artists.  Because of the prejudices.  People didn't want you in their towns.  Different bathrooms.  Different hotels.  Different restaurants that you had to go to.  It was pretty rough.  The only thing I can say good about the 50s when I was traveling was making the money and pleasing the audiences.  Doors were closed to black entertainers.  Like Sammy Davis Jr.  Even he had to go through the kitchen in Las Vegas at the big hotels and he was the star there.  You know what I mean?  It was pretty rough, but that's the way it was in the world.  And I'm so thankful that the world is more open now.

Casey Chambers:  Were you guys kickin' it by bus in those days?

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Sometimes.  With a big tour.  Like with Sam Cooke. Roy Hamilton. Jackie Wilson. James Brown.  When there were maybe 10 or 15 different acts, we had two or three tour buses taking us around.  After the tour was over, when we would do our own shows...like going to Miami Beach...we all had our own cars.  So, you know, that's the way it happened.

Casey Chambers:   You guys appeared in a couple of classic Alan Freed movies.  Classic and historic rock-n-roll films.  He really liked The Flamingos, didn't he?

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Alan Freed.  He loved us. We were his pets.  Not only did he love our music and harmonies...that special way it was structured, but we had dance routines.  Everything we did, it was smooth.  Not as erratic as say...The Temptations.  But we had a very classy thing about us.  And on our fast songs, like "Jump Children" which if you look on YouTube, you'll see the real talent of The Flamingos with the dancing abilities.  Doing the splits.  One guy slapped through the legs of another.  And then coming up together and doing the basketball with one guy in the middle pushing them up and down with his hands.  I mean...really unique.  Alan Freed loved that.  He would always have us closing or next to closing because of our dance routines and the smoothness of our harmonies.

"Jump Children" - The Flamingos / from the movie "Go, Johnny, Go!" (1959)

Casey Chambers:  Very, very cool!  Energy to spare.

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Yeah, I was young. (laughs) I was young.

Casey Chambers:  Toss me over a couple of Mean Bean Java Monsters and I'll try to catch up with ya! (laughs)  Ritchie Valens was in that movie, too.  He performed "Ooh, My Head."  Was that the last time your paths crossed?

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Ritchie was...he was a very beautiful person.  As a matter of fact, we all played at the same place in Iowa.  That same night they all had a plane.  Their manager was able to pull some strings and get them a plane in.  The rest of us all had to drive or get on the bus. It was heartbreaking.  The Bopper.  All three of them, man.  It was just horrible.  We had just got finished playing together.  They said, 'We'll meet you there.'  I said, 'Okay.  Meet you there.'  And they never made it.   It still feels like...oh, man...providence, ya know.  Destiny in other words.

Casey Chambers:   Performing on "American Bandstand" was almost considered a rite of passage and you guys appeared quite a few times, didn't you?

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Many times.  And after the shows, Dick (Clark) would always have us join him for dinner and maybe go up to his suite.  He'd have some champagne and things like that.  Yeah, there were certain people that he wanted around him.  And I was really fortunate to be one of them.  Chuck BerryJackie WilsonChubby Checker.  He loved Chubby because of "The Twist."  Chubby had a real big fad going on at that time.

Casey Chambers:  When I think of R&B or doo-wop from the 50s, I always imagine singers getting together on street corners keeping their hands warm over a fire barrel and harmonizing.  Was that really a thing?  Was there a lot of that going on when you were first starting out?

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Yeah, there sure was.  Matter of fact, that's how it was with my group.  We sang on the street corners or go to each other's houses when we could.  A lot of that.  But the word doo-wop.  Doo-wop... I don't know where that word came from.  I even thought sometimes it came from when we sang, 'Doo-wop sho-bop.'  That word was invented much later.  Alan Freed, he would call it rock and roll.  You know what I mean?  So yeah, doo-wop.  I don't know.  Little Anthony refuses to work under that title.  He refused to be on a doo-wop show.  He refused because his music was like our music.  It wasn't (singing)  'Do, do, do, do, Dodo.  Do do do do Dodo.'   I'm not knocking it because it was great music, but I would say our stuff had more of a pop feel.

"I Only Have Eyes For You" - Terry Johnson and The Flamingos (2013)

Casey Chambers:   Do you recall the first record you ever bought at a record store?

Terry Isaiah Johnson:   Yes.  Yes.  It was "Proud Of You" by Sonny Til and the Orioles.  He lived down the street from where I lived in Baltimore.  He was a big to-do...ya know what I mean?  And I looked up to him.  And I loved his style of music.  And then I got into The Swallows.  Listened to their music, too.

Casey Chambers:  This all comes back full-circle because you recently recorded a beautifully updated version of, "I Only Have Eyes For You" and you've done it again.  I downloaded my copy from Amazon and it sounds fantastic.  A real Valentine treat.  (Check it out!)

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Yes.  That's what I was shooting for.  A sexy and fresh new arrangement for a new generation of lovers.  It's a fresh take that's still familiar, yet nothing at all like The Flamingos version.  And I really believe we've captured it.  I've been getting so much positive feedback from younger listeners.

Casey Chambers:  The song is yours completely and it's a great take.  This has been a lot of fun for me.  What an honor speaking with you today.

Terry Isaiah Johnson:  Thank you so much, Casey.  Thank you.

"I Only Have Eyes For You" - Terry Isaiah Johnson

Terry Isaiah Johnson Official Website

Terry Johnson Facebook

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Thursday, February 6, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."John Phillips (John, The Wolf King of L.A.)" (1970)

"John, The Wolf King of L.A." - John Phillips (1970)

The Wolf King album doesn't scream out lost gem or where have you been all my life.  Not like some rumors floating around suggest.  But the thing is, this is still an easy album to warm up to.  Lyrics are good.  Melodies are comfortable.  And the musicianship, thanks to the killer Wrecking Crew, handle the one with the weakest vocals from The Mamas and the Papas with kid gloves.

It's all a bit country rock and hippie folk and lacks for nothing but maybe a little more bite.  In fact, the album would've probably faired much better had lawsuits not been hovering around the studio.  Instead, the record peeps pretty much looked at the album and said, " set it and forget it.”  And so it was.  However, this gentle, almost bittersweet John Phillips debut does have the honest ring of a forgotten Laurel Canyon troubadour that somehow lost his way.  And that could be enough to make fresh ears pause.  Nothing deep or close to transcendent, but a lot to like.  Rescued from the Hutchinson Swap.

"John, The Wolf King of L.A." (back)

Dunhill-ABC / Warlock label

"John, The Wolf King of L.A." (sleeve front)

"John, The Wolf King of L.A." (sleeve back)

"Drum" - John Phillips / "John, The Wolf King of L.A." (1970)

TRACKS:
A1  "April Anne"  3:22
A2  "Topanga Canyon"  3:53
A3  "Malibu People"  3:41
A4  "Someone's Sleeping"  2:46
A5  "Drum"  3:36
B1  "Captain"  3:25
B2  "Let It Bleed, Genevieve"  2:53
B3  "Down the Beach"  2:52
B4  "Mississippi"  3:36
B5  "Holland Tunnel"  3:41

PERSONNEL:
John Phillips - vocals, guitar, harmonica
David Cohen - guitar
Dr. Eric Hord - guitar
Larry Knechtel - keyboards
Joe Osborn - bass
Buddy Emmons - pedal steel
James Burton - guitar, dobro
Red Rhodes - steel guitar
Gordon Terry - fiddle, violin
Hal Blaine - drums
Darlene Love - b-vocals
Fanita James - b-vocals
Jean King - b-vocals

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Toe Fat" (1970)

"Toe Fat" - Toe Fat (1970)

A lot of music on Toe Fat's self-titled album has the feel of a forgotten classic rock album.  And I hate it when others play the comparing game...but forgive me, I can't help myself.  On my first spin, I could hear a bit of early Bad Company with a harder rock vibe going on.  Some of it anyway.  And that's not a bad thing.  I hope I haven't ruined it for you.  I thought this British album was going to be more psych, but no.  This is mostly straight-up hard rock.  The good kind.  Several songs from this debut could easily find a home on any legit classic rock radio staish.  And even though nothing on here is what one would call groundbreaking, for 1970...Toe Fat offers up some pretty solid rock.  Toe Fat was a British band that included future members of both Uriah Heep (Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake) and Jethro Tull (John Glascock) so the playing level is definitely tight and taut.

Not an essential, but there are definitely moments of summer wrecking ball pleasure.  My corner-cut copy was rescued at Spektrum Muzik a few months back.  The original UK copies had a naked couple beaching-it on the front cover.  The US copies replaced the nudies with a little...lamb???  How about a beach umbrella or a hotdog stand?  It is what it freakin' is.

"Toe Fat" (back)

Rare Earth label

"But I'm Wrong" - Toe Fat / "Toe Fat" (1970)

TRACKS:
A1  "That's My Love for You"  4:02
A2  "Bad Side of the Moon"  3:25
A3  "Nobody"  6:05
A4  "The Wherefors And The Whys"  3:44
A5  "But I'm Wrong"  4:00
B1  "Just Like Me"  4:12
B2  "Just Like All the Rest"  2:32
B3  "I Can't Believe"  4:00
B4  "Working Nights"  2:33
B5  "You Tried to Take It All"  4:25

PERSONNEL:
Cliff Bennett - vocals, piano 
Ken Hensley - guitar, organ, piano, vocals
John Konas - bass, vocals
Lee Kerslake - drums, vocals
Mox Gowland - flute, harmonica

Good stuff.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Safe As Milk" (1967)

"Safe As Milk" - Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band (1967)

“Safe As Milk” is 'Safer Than Trout' and yet still feels like a balancing act where only the listener is in danger of falling.  It's unpredictable.  At times strange.  But always the music is played with precise intent.  This is bluesy grit psych dust with your eyes blindfolded and your hands in a bowl of chilled grapes.   And it's very entertaining.

There is really nothing new I can add to this Beefheart epistle other than this lame-ass wordplay I've attempted above.  And for me, cherry-picking songs from this album is futile because favorites change as often as the weather in Kansas.  Still, it's fun to try.  So, on this day anyway, I'm going to suggest...the garagey"Zig Zag Wanderer" with its swimming bass runs.  And I never tire spinning the fuzzed-out "Dropout Boogie."  The dirty-blues opener "Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do" with Beefheart dropping the word  "...tooooo" like he's squeezing lemons with his face is killer GOLD!  And finally, I am absolutely charmed by the psychedelia gem "Autumn's Child”...that closes out this essential album.  "Safe As Milk"  is an album to seek out.  My copy is a clean VG++ 1970 reissue with a round promo sticker on a textured front cover.  (Nothing on the label)  “Safe As Milk” is where it all starts.  Go get you some.

"Safe As Milk" (back)

Buddah Records label

"Safe As Milk" (sleeve front)

"Safe As Milk" (sleeve back)

"Zig Zag Wanderer" - Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band / "Safe As Milk" (1967)

TRACKS:
A1 "Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do"  2:15
A2 "Zig Zag Wanderer"  2:40
A3 "Call On Me"  2:37
A4 "Dropout Boogie"  2:32
A5 "I'm Glad"  3:31
A6 "Electricity"  2:44
B1 "Yellow Brick Road"  2:28
B2 "Abba Zaba"  2:44
B3 "Plastic Factory"  3:08
B4 "Where There's A Woman"  2:09
B5 "Grown So Ugly"  2:27
B6 "Autumn's Child"  4:02

PERSONNEL:
Don Van Vliet - vocals, harmonica, marimba, arrangements
Alex St. Clair Snouffer - guitar, b-vocals, bass, percussion
Ry Cooder - guitar, bass, slide guitar, percussion, arrangements
Jerry Handley - bass (except 8, 10), b-vocals
John French - drums, b-vocals, percussion
ADDITIONAL:
Samuel Hoffman - theremin (A6, B6)
Milt Holland - log drum, tambourine, percussion
Taj Mahal - tambourine, percussion
Russ Titelman - guitar

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Finders Keepers" (2015)

"Finders Keepers" - Stephen King (2015)
Hardcover, 434 pages

NO SPOILERS:
I liked the second part of this "Mr. Mercedes" trilogy a little better than the first.  But unfortunately, it's not the 'juicy' Stephen King stuff.  If you're a King fan like myself...you're allowed to quibble.  “Finders Keepers" is just a good, not great, SK offering that gets a little higher bump simply for a few pretty dang clever and exciting scenes.  Even when the maestro spins just an average yarn, he still spins it like nobody's business.

As I said, "Finders Keepers" is the second doorstop in the “Mr. Mercedes" trilogy.  However, the story can be approached as a stand-alone without the reader being lost in back story.  Here we find a psychopathic book-lover from the 1970s upset that his favorite author has retired to the point of being a recluse.  When he hears rumors that the author has been stockpiling his unpublished writings in a safe with no plans on sharing them...our wacko-psycho plans a home invasion.  Thirty years later, a troubled schoolboy discovers a buried suitcase.

There are a few wonderfully written new characters to meet. The psychopathic booklover, Morris, and the school kid, Peter are totally engaging.  And, of course, a character or three from the earlier “Mr. Mercedes” story.  They are who they are and won't interfere with your enjoyment of this suspense thriller.  The book ties loosely to "Mr. Mercedes" and those who have read it will dig the subtle reminders.  But to be fair, “Finders Keepers" does not suffer from one having not read the first.  It's a Stephen King.  You know you'll be entertained.

"Open Book" - Cake / "Fashion Nugget" (1996)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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