Saturday, March 31, 2007

Introduction:-->Tom Waits

"So what becomes of all the little boys, who run away from home?
Well the world just keeps gettin' bigger, once you get out on your own".
Tom Waits
The word “cool” is often hard to define, but you easily know it when you see it. Tom Waits, the beatnik troubadour is the epitome of cool. Natural, unfeigned cool. Not the posturing and glamming that so often is passed off to the consumer as being cool.

And he is one of the most unappreciated musical legends working in the business today. Critically acclaimed and commercially ignored, Tom has been writing and performing atmospheric songs about the less than glamorous side of life for the last four decades.

In his rough 3 pack-a-day throaty voice, Tom delivers lines in a singing, sometimes talking manner, easily convincing listeners that his characters are real.

However, being a fan of Waits, I have learned that turning my friends on to his unique style of music takes a different approach than just tossing them a CD. Being an artist who trips to his own beats, T.W. is an acquired taste and needs to be introduced to new fans in doses much the same way as when we are making new friends. (Don’t give too much away and for God’s sake don’t let them see your crazy side to soon).

With this in mind, please accept my offering of carefully chosen songs from T.W.’s catalog. The songs would make a perfect CD to burn for your virgin Tom Waits friends.

Then...when the late evening arrives...they can dim the lights, enjoy a relaxing beverage, and let their musical education begin.

The 12:
“On The Nickel” - “Heartattack and Vine”.
"Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis" - “Blue Valentine”.
“Invitation To The Blues” - “Small Change”.
“Circus” - “Real Gone”.
“Martha” - “Closing Time”.
“Clap Hands” - “Rain Dogs”.
“Romeo Is Bleeding” - “Blue Valentine”.
9th and Hennepin” - “Rain Dogs”.
"Filipino Box Spring Hog" - “Mule Variations”.
“Small Change” - “Small Change”.
“What’s He Building” - “Mule Variations”.
"Tom Traubert's Blues" - “Small Change”.

After listening to these twelve offerings by the great Tom Waits...I feel assured new listeners will quickly want to add his albums to their collection.

One other interesting note for your perusing. Paste (recently named "Magazine of the Year" at the 2006 PLUG Independent Music Awards), listed the top 100 living songwriters as voted by peers. Tom Waits surprisingly came in 4th behind only Dylan, Young, and Springsteen. That’s pretty strong validation.

ATTENTION: Tom Waits...Please come to Kansas.
(1st appear. Vantage/Newman U.)


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

DVD Pick: -->They Live (1988)

"Watching eyes of celluloid tell you how to live,
Metaphoric motor replay, give, give, give!"
Black Sabbath

"They Live" one of those films you just ...GET...or it misses your radar completely.

A sci-fi thriller with some very funny moments, director John Carpenter obviously filmed this gem on a down-low budget. Which explains the somewhat cheesy special effects. But it IS these cheesy moments that really sell the film.

Handing the lead role to Roddy Piper (pro wrestler fame) was a masterstroke. Roddy delivers a surprisingly near-flawless performance playing a drifter in search of construction work.

"They Live" takes place in a metro city in the near future and Carpenter immediately shows a place filled with homeless and near homeless families living in boxes and small rooms. They are good people trying to avoid drawing attention from the heavily controlled police state.

It is here where Roddy stumbles upon a few citizens/rebels who have discovered that humans everywhere are being brainwashed and mind controlled by a bombardment of subliminal messages. They are being delivered in auditory and visual ways 24 hours a day by disguised aliens who are walking and working among us. (Not so terribly far-fetched if you ask me). Roddy provides the muscle to try and break this scheme up.

This film is filled with oddly funny scenes and wonderfully cheesy one-liners to amuse us as we learn just how wrong our government has turned. And the musical score by Carpenter is nicely done.
Watch for Roddy delivering some hilarious lines when discovering what the aliens look like. Also there is a long, long back-alley fight scene between Roddy and his buddy (Keith David) that has Carpenter paying homage to the wrestling community.


Black Sabbath-->"Spiral Architect"
off Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1976)
(Own This CD)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Classic Pick:-->Warren Zevon - Excitable Boy (1978)

"I heard Woodrow Wilson's guns.
I heard Maria crying.
Late last night I heard the news
That Veracruz was dying."
Warren Zevon

Anyone who dismisses the late Warren Zevon as merely a novelty artist, is probably only familiar with his lone hit single, “Werewolves of London.” However, those who are hip to the scene, are aware that the excessively satiric songwriter is capable of far more than just shrugged-off rockers. For the uninitiated, Zevon’s third album, “Excitable Boy” is an excellent introduction to this underrated songwriters work.

On the magical opening track, “Johnny Strikes Up the Band”, good vibes just ooze out of the speakers. But then, the ever unpredictable Zevon does a three sixty, and takes us into much darker territory with the cult favorite “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”, a haunting rocker about Roland, who is betrayed and murdered by the CIA, and his headless body’s quest to seek revenge against his killer. It's like a three minute and forty four second novel.

“He bit the usherette’s leg in the dark” from the title track and “Little old lady got mutilated late last night from “Werewolves of London” display Zevon’s notorious dark humor.

While it’s anybody’s guess as to what the song “Accidentally Like A Martyr” means, his observation “never thought I’d have to pay so dearly for what was already mine” cuts to the bone, and you’ll find yourself singing along to the refrains of “We made mad love/ Shadow love/ Random love/ and abandoned love.”

Zevon wraps it up with the killer cut, “Lawyers, Guns, and Money”, an anthem for anyone who has ever found themselves in a jam and needed help. This album is full of great songs, and why our local radio stations ignore him I will never understand.

Warren Zevon sadly died at his home in Los Angeles, California, on September 7, 2003 from mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer).

Also check out "Bag Of Songs" who has a nice offering of early live material from the "Z" Man.
(1st appear. Vantage/Newman U.)


Warren Zevon-->"Veracruz" off Excitable Boy (1978) (Own This CD)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lost Book Gem: "The Walking Drum" - Louis L'Amour (1985)

"In this place, full of empty space,
Your soft and tender love will always shine for me."
Robin Trower ~


Taking place in the 12th century, this historical fiction "The Walking Drum" (surprisingly written by "the king of western novels" ...Louis L'Amour) revolves around a young man...Kerbouchard...who travels the Muslim world and dangerous seas in search for his noble father.

This swashbuckling adventure is filled with nonstop action as our hero meets honorable men and untrustworthy characters. Beautiful women and loyal friends. A time where knowledge is power. And honor is everything.

Our skilled warrior, Kerbouchard, is also a scholar and a lover of the ladies. And is given great lines to throw out to his enemies and sweeties that will cause you to smile. Plus L’Amour weaves in plenty of historical facts from the era that fascinate without slowing down the action.

Have you heard this gem?
"In This Place"  -  Robin Trower / Bridge Of Sighs (1974)

In this place, filled with empty space
Your love holds the key, baby sympathize with me
I need you
Before I lost, your touch of life and grace
I knew that your sweet face could always comfort me
I love you

In this place, full of empty space
Your soft and tender love will always shine for me
I love you
Now I know, what it means to have you gone
I'm down on my knees baby see by me
I love you.

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lost Stream Gem: --> "Saboteur" (1942)

"Like a stranger
in my own home town...
My so called friends
stopped being friendly."
~ Elvis ~
"Saboteur" (Alfred Hitchcock 1942)...if made today would obviously be called, "Terrorist", and is as relevant now as it was back then.  And what impresses most about this black and white film is how good it looks and how much excitement it provides.

The story revolves around a young factory worker (played terrifically by Robert Cummings) who is wrongfully accused of sabotage. He immediately goes on the run trying to find the scum whose responsible.

On the way, he meets a slew of wonderfully peculiar supporting characters that Hitchcock throws into the mix that makes for a tasty cinema stew. This film is good stuff and highly recommended.
The desperate way our hero breaks out of his handcuffs .  And the odd encounter with the traveling circus people is not to be missed.

"Stranger In My Own Hometown" - From Elvis In Memphis (1969)

I'm like a stranger
Like a stranger in my own home town
I'm like a stranger
Like a stranger in my own home town
My so called friends stopped being friendly.
Oh but you can't keep a good man down
Oh no, can't get him down

I came home with good intentions

About 5 or 6 years ago
I came home with good intentions
About 5 or 6 years ago
But my home town won't accept me
Just don't feel welcome here no more
My home town won't accept me
Just don't feel welcome here no more

I came home with good intentions

About 5 or 6 years ago, yes I did
I came home with good intentions
About 5 or 6 years ago
But my home town won't accept me
Just don't feel welcome here no more

Casey Chambers
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Friday, March 16, 2007

Lost Book Gem: Amazonia - James Rollins (2003)

"You got to think of
what it's gonna take to make your dreams"
~ Aerosmith ~

This action-filled novel by James Rollins is the proverbial page-turner. This fast-paced adventure, reminiscent of an Indiana Jones thriller except with a tad more violence cooks!

And Rollins has thrown in enough scientific ideas ripped from the daily papers to make the story biting and believable.

A group of doctors and scientists return to the deep rain forests to find a lost member who appears to have stumbled upon a substance that can regenerate limbs and possibly cure cancer.  The imaginative and dangerous obstacles that lurk throughout the region make for an awesomely delicious ride. a book you'll hate to put down...simply because "thrills" from your own life have pulled you away.

"Make It"  -  Aerosmith (1973)

Good evening people, welcome to the show
Got somethin' here I want you all to know
When laughin' people bring on primal screams
You got to think of
What it's gonna take to make your dreams

Make It
Don't break it
I said Make It
Don't Brake it
Do then you feel like the world's coming down on you

You know that history repeats itself
But you just learned so by somebody else
You know you do, you gotta think up fast
You gotta figure what it's gonna take to make it last.

Better weather, pull yourself together
Don't be catchin' the blues
Better weather, pull yourself together
What have you got to lose
You're only paying your dues
Too stinkin' proud but you're gonna pay
If you're gone I'll get you anyway
Although you know what you've been going through
Your only dreams feel like a tattoo

Casey Chambers

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

DVD Pick: --> Rope (1948)

"Were you trying to deceive...telling me
all you need is love to succeed?"
Barclay James Harvest

In most Alfred Hitchcock movies, we don't know who the villain is until a good way into the film. Not this time. In Hitchcock's first color film, "Rope"(1948), we quickly meet two prep school murderers, Brandon (John Dall) and Philip (Farley Granger) who surprisingly kill their fellow student David in an effective Hitchcock sucker punch just after the opening bell.

In other words, if you want subtitles, set'em up quick. This movie revolves around two twisted individuals who believe that good and evil, right and wrong are just for the average folks.

To make what they call a work of art a "masterpiece", they arrogantly hide David's body in the same room they are having their dinner party. (You'll find out where).

Last, but not least, Rupert (Jimmy Stewart, the most recognizable actor in this film) soon escalates the tension and increases the paranoia between the two psychopaths, as the dinner party wonders when David is going to show up. This movie was loosely based on the real-life murder committed by two gay University of Chicago students.
Must see moment: There are two different occasions when the camera freezes on Stewart as he is listening to the fast paced colloquy around him. You will almost believe your disc is frozen before Stewart's eyes reveal his suspicion. This is a very strange moment. Get ready for a Hitchcock Shock, my babies. (1st appear. Vantage/Newman U.)


Barclay James Harvest-->"Titles" off Time Honoured Ghosts (1975)
(Buy This CD)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lost Album Gem: --> Rory Gallagher - Photo-Finsh (1978)

"I'm still not sure what part I play in this shadow play...this shadow play."
Rory Gallagher

A couple of years ago I tried my hand at writing a short story involving the strange appearances of what are commonly known to be "Shadow People".

The gray shadows that sometimes catch the corner of your eyes...but seldom are there when you turn your head to look.

After putting pen & paper away...I came across an article about, of all things..."Shadow People".

And while reading it, Rory Gallagher popped up on random shuffle burning the house down with his awesome song "Shadow Play" from the oft-forgot album Photo-Finish (1978)...thus completing my "shadow trifecta" for the night.

Rory Gallagher has always been a barista at blending Rock and Blues...and Photo-Finish is truly a must-own demolition rock-burn.

Songs like "Shin Kicker" and "Cloak and Dagger" or "Mississippi Sheiks"...not to mention my favorite song title..."Brute Force and Ignorance"...are just perfect for helping get your car crankin' in the cold mornings.

In fact, it's the perfect fuel for a weekend road trip. The energy and variety will keep you smiling for miles.

Radio airplay has eluded Rory in the word of mouth is the best I can do.  Have a taste below...and then go out and add some RG throwdown to your musical collection.

"Shadow Play"  -  Rory Gallagher / Photo-Finish (1978)

In the flinty light, it's midnight, and stars collide
Shadows run, in full flight, to run, seek and hide
I'm still not sure what part I play,
in this shadow play, this shadow play

In the half light, on this mad night, I hear a voice in time
Well, I look back, see a half-smile, then it's gone from sight
Won't you tell me how I can find my way?
In this shadow play, this shadow play
In this shadow play, this shadow play

Sounds come crashing, and I hear laughing
All those lights just blaze away
I feel a little strange inside
A little bit of Jekyll, a little Mr. Hyde

Sounds come crashing, can I hear laughing?
All those lights just blaze away
I feel a little strange inside
A little Dr. Jekyll, a little Mr. Hyde

Thoughts run wild, free as a child, into the night
Across the screen a thin beam, of magic light
Things they just don't look the same
In this shadow play, this shadow play
Shadow play, shadow play
I can't run away from this shadow play
Shadow play, shadow play 

Casey Chambers
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Friday, March 9, 2007

Lost Album Gem: --> "Still Alive And Well" - Johnny Winter (1973)

"...I'm standing up tall
with my back flat on the ground"
Johnny Winter ~

Watching Johnny Winter...this brutally thin cat with long wispy blonde hair walk on the stage carrying a guitar that looked much too large for him to control...would have been head-raising.

That Johnny was cross-eyed, near blind and had the skin pigment of a can of latex ceiling paint might've also gave audiences reason to pause.

Now add the fact that starting out, Johnny was playing at roadhouses buried deep in the South with crowds that would make the Apollo sound like a Catholic mass...and you have yourself a "bluesman" who's about to find out deathly quick whether he has the truck to deliver the goods.  He does.

In ‘72, JW had to check into a hospital due to a full blown day-tripping heroin habit and was rehabbed for several months.

During his confinement, John Lennon dropped well as Mick and Keith who brought Johnny a song they had written for him.  Nearly a year later in 1973, he went back into the studio to record what is commonly referred to as his "comeback" album.

The album, aptly entitled “Still Alive and Well”, was the closest he ever came to making a grit and grime rock album.  Rockin’ enough to make your car engine shake and your hands dirty just listening.

“Still Alive And Well” great stuff and must own.

Opening up with the killer track “Rock Me Baby”, Johnny leaves no doubt how exhilarated he feels getting back into the studio and you can almost see him smiling like a Cheshire cat as he wails away on his axe.

In the foot-stomping, “Can’t You Feel It”, tasty licks bleed your speakers as he sings in his trademark growl, “If I can’t make you happy I’ll jump into the river and drown”.

"Can't You Feel It"

“Silver Train”, the gift written by Mick and Keith, has a solid Stones sound and would later be released by the Stones themselves on “Goats Head Soup” later that same year.

“Ain’t Nothing To Me” is the greatest country song never heard. This should have been a hit. Perfectly recorded and would fit comfortably on any redneck jukebox.

"Ain't Nothing To Me"

On the title track, he sings “Everyone I thought was cool is six feet under ground / I'm still alive and well”.  Yes indeedy!

With Rick Derringer’s spot-on production, plus the two added bonus tracks… you have a tasty bowl of Yancy's Red Devil Chili.

Lost Gem:--> “All Tore Down”...brings the string-burn with some serious guitar skin-remover...strutting around his axe like feathers on a showgirl .

"All Tore Down"

Slow down!!
You know I'm all tore down
I'm all tore down, yeah
I'm standing up tall
With my back flat on the ground
You know I'm all tore down
I'm all tore down, yeah
Somebody tell the world to stop
Or just slow down

You know I never had nobody
Don't fool around with me
And now here come the whole world's army
Kicking me in the teeth
Good God!
You know I went out to buy me a bottle
And try to soothe the pain
Before I left the cashier
He was hassling me about the change
I went home to sip my supper
And have me a peaceful night
But there at home with her rollers on
Was my rantin' ravin' wife

That's why I'm all tore down
I'm all tore down
I'm standing up tall
With my back flat on the ground
Wooh, I'm all tore down
I'm all tore down
Somebody tell the world to stop
Or just slow down
Do it!
Good God!

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Ramblings: Captain America died & Red Skull lives

"The loudest mouth will hail the new found way,
To be king for a day."

On hearing of Captain America's death (killed by a sniper) recently, I remembered a comic I picked up several years ago featuring Captain America and Iron Man. Two superheroes for the price of one!

But what makes this special for me, is that this was the first Silver Age appearance of the evil "Red Skull"...a continuous thorn in the side of our country's Hero.

(Actually, this appearance of "Red Skull" was an imposter. The real "Red Skull" shows up in the next issue #66. But, whatever...just semantics, Man!)

Marvel Comics printed it under the name Tales of Suspense in 1965. It sold for 12 cents.

The "Red Skull" was a super-agent Nazi with an IQ off the charts and a body that was skilled in combat. He wore an ugly mask. This villain represented every enemy of America and served as pretty effective propaganda for the time.

Captain America represented everything that was red, white and blue. The Capt. was physical perfection. He could bench-press 1,100 pounds, run a mile in about a minute and outsmart any spy. And, of course...he was NOT ugly. Every young boy aspired to grow up and serve their country with equal bravery if they were a good American.

The Captain, alas, must have lost favor with the readers...thus...his demise.


XTC-->"King For A Day" off Lemons and Oranges (1989)
(Buy This CD)

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Ramblings: The Rainmaker Pt 2 and Pink Nasty

"I'm a wound-up string on a violin, the future's gonna take me where I've never been"
Angel City

The Rainmaker
play production went off without a hitch this past weekend. Everyone was hitting on all cylinders. Ain't nothing like a live (and sold-out) audience.

I played "Jim" - the younger free-spirited brother - And I was given a lot of lee-way in my stage presence. We all know guys like this. Quick to fight for what's right...and quick to get knocked on his ass. Hence the scrape across my forehead and the tinge of a black eye I sport from the play are my totem.

If you look closely at the poster from the play above...I got top billing...thanks to the magical wizardry of "alphabetical order".

An interesting tidbit of info I learned. Legend has it that Elvis did a screen test for the movie of the same name. He didn't get the role...but soon hooked up for some screen time in the movie..."Love Me Tender".

What does that make me? Nothing ... 'cept now I can be a legitimate part of the chain when playing ...'Six Degrees of Bacon". Boom-Chuck!

It looks like Pink Nasty is touring again. YES!
And at - "You Ain't No Picasso" - you'll find tour dates and comments. Finding Wichita on the list of performing dates (tba, at this time) will be a "must-see" show for all her rock-hungry fans. She'll also be spanking sounds up in Lawrence, KS at The Replay - April 25 w/the Black! So I foresee a road trip ahead. Mold The Gold, indeed!


Angel City -->"Let The Night Roll On" off Beyond Salvation (1989) (Buy This CD)

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Lost Book Gem:--> "The Tomb" by F. Paul Wilson...& Wings

"Hung on the phone-a
Hung on the phone-a
Hung on the phone again."
~ Wings ~


In The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson introduces us to his most intriguing character...Repairman Jack.

In his first appearance, we quickly learn that Jack is a hero for the common man. He has trained himself in various types of fighting tactics and is intensely streetwise.  Imagine Rambo without a chip on his shoulder.

He supports himself by offering "special" services...fixing problems the average Joe doesn't know how to go about solving.'re going to like Jack.

There's one catch though.  Some of his jobs have a tendency to brush elbows with the macabre.  And that's just fine.  The story is tightly paced, the characters mesh, and I'm in for the long haul.

In this story, Jack is asked to retrieve a necklace that was roughly taken by a foreign government figure.  The necklace, of course, is more than just a piece of jewelry.

And Jack learns through a series of strange events, that this government guy has a most unusual "agenda' which involves terminating the bloodline of several people.

With a delicious plot, "The Tomb" reads smoother than extra-whipped Jello pudding. 400 pages of fun.

Lost Gem:--> "Spirits Of Ancient Eqypt - Wings (1975)

You're my baby and I love you
You can take a pound of love
And cook it in the stew . . . . .
When you've finished doing that
I know what you'll want to do
Cos you're my baby and I love you

I'm your baby -- do you love me? 
I can drive a cadillac
Across the irish sea
But when I've finished doing that
I know where I'll want to be
Cos I'm your baby, and you love me.

Spirits of ancient egypt
Shadows of ancient rome
Spirits of ancient egypt
Hung on the telly
Hung on the telly
Hung on the telephone . . . .

You're my baby, I know you know
You could sell an elevator
To geronimo
And when you've finished doing that
I know where you'll want to go
Cos you're my baby, I know you know

Spirits of ancient egypt
Echoes of sunken spain
Spirits of ancient egypt
Hung on the phone-a
Hung on the phone-a
Hung on the phone a

Good stuff.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Classic Pick: -->Freedy Johnston - Never Home (1997)

"When the roof fell in
He lit up again."
Freedy Johnston

When I learned that Freedy Johnston was performing in Wichita several months ago, (more about that later), I was reminded of how excited I was when I discovered his music for the first time. And then thumbing through a Rolling Stone several years ago, I was surprised to learn that Freedy was named “Best Songwriter of 1994” in the magazine's annual critics' poll. (He finished ahead of Kurt Cobain that year).

And best of all...he was a New Yorker, with Kansas roots. I couldn’t help wondering why our local radio stations in Wichita were not giving him some air time? I mean, here was one of our homeboys receiving top-props from respected music critics, and he gets no play here. None!

Freedy Johnston‘s “Never Home” was released in 1997 and was my first introduction to his great music and what turned me into a lifelong fan. A lost gem and an under-promoted classic, if ever there was one. A musical storyteller, Freedy serves up a Canterbury Tale of characters in this collection of eleven songs.

Freedy Johnston & me @ the Wichita Orpheum 2006

“You get what you take anyway“ sings Freedy on the rocking opening track “On The Way Out”, as he delves into the mind of a shoplifter. We also meet an arsonist enjoying his work in “Gone To See The Fire” as he “just sits there smoking and watching the flames.“

FJ introduces us to yet more characters as he observes, “He wasn’t murdered by love or loneliness, he walked out on his own” a tale about a suicide victim on the haunting “He Wasn’t Murdered.” Go back and read that verse again. That's clever stuff.

And then we meet a sympathetic guy who’s been abducted by aliens as Freedy complains, “If I don’t talk to my self, who am I gonna tell” (“Something’s Out There”). The aching discovery of an unexpected pregnancy in the brutally honest “If It’s True” rings righteous as the young man worries “we couldn’t stay together. I’m broke and so are you.”

Freedy‘s voice is a cross between Jackson Browne and Paul McCartney (without a British accent) and is in fine form on the tender “Western Skies”, a tale about a guy afraid of flying and the gorgeous love song “You Get Me Lost”. There is not a weak track on this album. And his writing is consistently strong throughout his entire recording catalog. This is a good place to start.

Now, about Freedy Johnston performing in Wichita. Freedy has always been known for readily giving of his time for worthy causes. Last April 2006, the Wichita Orpheum held a benefit concert for musician Kirk Rundstrom (a beloved and very respected musician and songwriter who just recently lost his battle with cancer) that featured Freedy Johnston, along with other musicians familiar with Kirk's work. It was a joyous, yet bittersweet event. With special thanks to Freedy...the place was packed. The family is still welcoming all donations.

Do not let Freedy Johnston's Never Home be left out of your musical collection. It is a wonderful album. Highly recommended. (1st appear. Vantage/Newman U.)

Casey Chambers

Freedy Johnston-->"Gone To See The Fire" off Never Home (1997) (MUST OWN)