Friday, June 29, 2007

Classic Pick:-->Kula Shaker - K (1996)

"Acintya Bheda Bheda Tattva
At The Moment That You Wake From Sleeping
And You Know Its All A Dream,
Well The Truth May Come In Strange Disguises
Never Knowing What It Means."
Kula Shaker
The outcome from making blind CD purchases are often met with mixed results usually leaving the buyer in a state of apathy (and soon heading for CD Tradepost for some quick tit-for-tat) rather than musical euphoria.

However, when one does take a rock-n-roll risk on a band entirely foreign to their ears and is greeted with a congeries of songs nothing short of awesome, it becomes a rock moment not soon forgotten.

This was my way of introduction to the overlooked and fantastic 1996 offering “K” by the rock band Kula Shaker, which I picked up simply because I enjoyed looking at the CD cover. And, to this day, is still an album I return to when in need of shaking the accumulated cobwebs of everyday life.

Founded by Crispian Mills (lead vocals and guitar), Kula Shaker (named after a ninth-century Indian emperor) is a four member English band who bring the psychedelic music into the present with a fresh and rocking sound.

Imagine late 60's George Harrison jammin' with Mitch Mitchell and Jimi Hendrix when Radiohead walk in to hang out...just to give you a point of reference.

Add thirteen well-written songs and you have an idea of just what Kula Shaker bring to the table.

With the exceptional party track "Hey Dude" opening the album and followed by another jamming number “Knight On The Town”... Kula Shaker instantly convinces the listener they know exactly what they're doing.

Indian influences are heard throughout “Govinda” (as well as other songs) without giving up the rock rhythm and is surprisingly pleasing to the ear. This catchy song easily reminds me of "another" word (trust me) and is a blast to sing.

One can hear Beatle influences on the feedback laden “Magic Theatre” (an homage to the song “Because” perhaps.)

The sitar prevails beautifully on the short instrumental “Sleeping Jiva” that leads into another gorgeous Indian tinged rock jam, “Tattva”...and is essential listening for everyone. “303” has Mills working his guitar out and should make you reach for the volume knob.

Hints of Hendrix will quickly come to mind as Mills, along with the rest of the Kula Shaker band warm-up to a pinnacle jam session on the must-rip track “Grateful When You’re Dead, Jerry Was There”.

Kula Shaker brings this party to a close on the melancholic “Start All Over” and the haunting 6 plus minutes of “Hollow Man” that completes this lost work of art.

The creative mastermind Crispian Mills also carries a tidbit of novelty that is kudos. His famous mother...Hayley Mills... played the twins in the original Disney movie…“The Parent Trap“. How cool is that?
Lil' Hayley Mills
"K" offered by Kula Shaker has become a lost gem waiting to be rediscovered...And will be a welcome entrée for your rock-n-roll buffet.


Kula Shaker:-->"Tattva"
(K) (1996) (Must Own)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ramblings:-->The Master David Bowie...& Global Warming

"Pushing thru the market square, so many mothers crying.
News had just come over, we had five years left to sigh in.
News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying.
Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying."
David Bowie

My favorite song by the chameleon David Bowie is "5 Years". I still get chills hearing the drums walking in...and then being startled by the piano/guitar.

From the first moment there is a sound of importance. Urgency. Urgency and maybe desperation.

And of course the end of the song...those same drums walking...fading away. Perfect.

A song about our Earth dying and only 5 years left to experience life.

Leading off Bowie's acclaimed album...the 1972..."The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust"... track one/side one.
"5 Years" Track One/Side One
The prophecy of the song did not materialize. However...sooner...or later...this song..."5 Years" going to be right on.

And...if Global Warming is to be believed...our Earth will be dying much sooner than...well...whatever. It's a debate I can't win.

Anyway..."5 Years" A. And below is a 1972 performance of a baby-faced Bowie doing his ..."new" song. Absolutely wonderful footage. Take time to watch this.
Don't forget to turn it up.


David Bowie:-->"5 Years" (The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust) (1972) (Must Own)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Book Buzz:-->"Pillars Of The Earth" by Ken Follett (1989)

"So the world keeps on turning.
Through the years that lie ahead.
From it's pages we're learning.
From it's wisdom we are led.
It's gonna be something good.
And you should understand
So it was...and so it is
Since time began."
Robin Trower

This is the only Ken Follett novel I've ever it might be a little presumptuous of me to make the following claim.

But "Pillars Of The Earth" is so good...Follett has probably created his ..."Sgt Pepper'...of the book world...with this offering.

Known for his spy-genre/thriller books...Follett throws us a 'looey" with this 976 page historical novel revolving around a master stone mason striving to get his chance to put his skills to work building a grand cathedral during 12th century England.
Awesome 12th century cathedral
The premise of this novel may seem dry...but Follett creates so many vivid characters whose lives are filled with hardships...friendships...betrayals ...and loyalties...that the reader will easily find themselves wrapped up in their struggles.

The suspense and action that Ken Follett creates is wonderfully our hero is confronted by hypocrisies and corruption under the King of England's well as within the Church.

It is up to our young master mason to out-smart the "Powers-That-Be" if ever he is to achieve his life-long dream. Good stuff!


Robin Trower:-->"I'm Out To Get You" (Caravan To Midnight) (1978) (Own This CD)

Friday, June 22, 2007

DVD Pick:-->"The Pit and the Pendulum" (1961)

"Now wakes the hour.
Now sleeps the swan.
Behold the dream.
The dream is gone.
Green fields are calling
It's falling, in a golden door."
Pink Floyd
There's something magical, almost mystical happening when you bring Edgar Allan Poe and Vincent Price together. They seem to connect on a whole other level as if they are transcending their ideas through waves of space. Price is just

Add Director Roger Corman...(who has adapted a slew of Edgar Allan Poe stories) the mix...and "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1961) becomes quite a thrilling dessert. And though the rest of the cardboard cast doesn't seem to be able to dip into the proverbial Poe pie...they do add an unintentional macabre flavor to the frosting.

Set in the 16th century, the film revolves around Nicholas Medina (Vincent Price) who has just lost his wife and shockingly discovers she may have been buried alive.
Vincent Price losing it.
Her brother Francis (John Kerr) visits the castle in hopes of uncovering the mysterious circumstances to her death. The one note performance he brings to the table is laughably bad...But realizing this going in, one can have a little fun watching his dry interpretations.

During the next hour, enjoy watching the master, Vincent Price, drift deeper and deeper into the insanity world newly referred to as..."Phil Spector Land".

And, although this picture starts out slowly...Stay with it. Once learning who the major players are, relax and enjoy the fun.

Listen for the hilarious 20 second beer fart...(and Price's expression) as a hidden passageway opens to the noise of an unusual sound effect.


Pink Floyd:-->"A Pillow Of Winds" (Meddle) (1971) (Own This CD)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Classic Pick:-->Keith Richards - Talk Is Cheap (1988)

"It's no longer funny.
It's bigger than money.
You don't move me anymore."
Keith Richards

Occasionally, a member of a rock band will release an album of their own material. This isn’t too unusual. But when everyone in the same band decides to put out a solo record without breaking up the original group…then it becomes a little more uncommon.

Members of The Who might of performed this feat. Certainly the band mates of KISS did. But surprisingly, not The Beatles, The Byrds, Led Zeppelin, ad nauseam.. It happens...just doesn’t happen very often.

When it does occur, I feel fairly certain music moguls are simply trying to massage egos and hopefully keep everyone happy until the band can go into the studio to record their next platinum album.

Enter The Rolling Stones. Believe it or not, everyone in the band has recorded their own solo album. Some more than others. Mick Jagger. Keith Richards. Ron Wood. Bill Wyman(no longer a member, of course). Charlie Watts.

I haven’t heard the CDs from Wyman or Watts, but I have listened to every solo record by the other mates and although not as strong as their collaborative work, they are far from a waste of time. However, one recording does stand out above all the rest. The brilliant freeway friendly “Talk Is Cheap” by Keith Richards.
Richards w/Gibson
“Talk Is Cheap”, released in 1988, was Keith’s first solo album and came out two years after the latest Stones offering at the time. (Dirty Work). This period was the closest the Stones ever came to breaking up as Jagger and Richards were at creative odds. Richards used this time to go into the studio and put together a group of songs that sounds funkier and fresher than anything by the Stones in years.

Opening up with “Big Enough”, Keith declares his independence, letting Jagger and anyone else know that he could make it on his own. “Stretched to the limit honey, Locked in the hole. Hung out to dry. Still on a roll. Ready, willing, able, and big enough“.

The musicians selected were all primo and christened the name X-Pensive Winos by Keith during their time in the studio. One can tell from listening to this album that the band were giving their all for the man.

I can not emphasize how pleasingly funky this album is. With drums sounding like gunshots and Keith adding his churning guitar in his “less is more” style, it is impossible to sit still. In fact, the record is made for a full-throttled road trip.

“Take It So Hard” and “Whip It Up” are riff driven and could have easily fit on a Stones record. “Struggle” rocks harder than anything Jagger put out on his own and though his vocals are not as strong as Mick’s, Keith makes up for it in balls.

There are two slow tempo numbers which are most excellent. The tender “Make No Mistake” with added vocals from blues queen Sarah Dash and gentle trumpets that sound straight out of Muscle Shoals makes this a treat. Even better is the acoustical driven “Locked Away” with a hook that will hang around long after the song.

The best track is “You Don’t Move Me”, a kiss-it-if-you-please number directed to his partner Mick. A number so good and yet impossible to expect the Stones to add to their repertoire. “What makes you so greedy/Makes you so seedy/ Why do you think you have no friends? You drove them all around the bend”. And though Keith will never be confused with Dylan in the lyrics department…that’s not what he’s about.
RS magazine 1971
The hard-living Keith Richards has been labeled “the walking dead man” since he was in his 20’s. Now in his 60’s, it looks like Keith is having the last laugh having survived most of his musical peers. When the Rolling Stones performed at Wichita Cessna Stadium last could find me sitting in section “B” in the nosebleed seats. And though I was watching the celebrated showmanship of Jagger, to be sure…It was Keith that held my fascination.


Keith Richards:-->"You Don't Move Me" (Talk Is Cheap) (1988) (Must Own)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Book Buzz:-->"Gone South" by Robert McCammon (1993)

"I dig a hole 'cause I got no soul
Into the night.
I hear a phone then began to moan
Into the night.
I couldn't lose when I was on top,
I couldn't lose b
ut now it's all stopped."
In "Gone South", author Robert McCammon offers up 400 pages of a terrific "chase" novel. Filled with kick-A original characters and plot twists that will catch the reader off-guard.

Two side characters that quickly come to mind from this adventure are the "straight out of left field" bounty hunters...One, with an extra arm and an added head appendage extending from the chest. The other is a struggling Elvis impersonator. However, they are not in this story for a laugh...McCammon keeps these two on the real.

"Gone South" revolves around an ex vet, Dan Lambert, who goes to the bank in hopes of convincing the loan officer to forgo repossession of his work truck.

An unexpected turn of events at the bank causes this ex-vet to have to go on the run...deep into the Louisiana swamp...while being hunted by the police...the bounty hunters...and others.

This isn't McCammon's best novel...(the legendary "Swan Song" would fit that bill)...however this is a page-turner with many delicious characters and one close call after another.
Good Stuff.


Sweet:-->"Into The Night" (Desolation Boulevard) (1975)
(Own This CD)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

DVD Pick:-->“Thunder Road” (1958)

"He's gettin' old and it's showin'.
When I asked him how it's goin'
He said "I've seen better I guess.
I've been rained on, I've been frozen,
but this here's the life I've chosen...
If it just wasn't for the loneliness."
Steve Earle
“Thunder Road” (although directed by Arthur Ripley) was written and produced by the rebel, Robert Mitchum. He also had the starring role and even wrote the theme song for the film. (The song charted...but I have never heard the entire version). This was Mitchum's puppy, to be sure!.

Supposedly based on actual events, Robert Mitchum offers us a glimpse into a small part of what Appalachian Americana was like for a hard-working, law-breaking, moon shining family.

A moon shining family who believes it is their do on their land...what they please. And Mitchum is obviously sympathetic with the moon shiners...showing them as good normal people.
Luke Doolin (Robert Mitchum)
Luke Doolin (Robert Mitchum) is the runner who must transport the 'shine to buyers over dark narrow blacktop roads...having to look out for the Feds who are watching at all times. But also the city mobsters who dislike competition and is trying to put the squeeze on Doolin’s business.

The souped-up 50's cars are extremely choice...with "moon tanks" in the trunks. Break away bumpers. Built in valves to spill oil on the roads as drivers are being chased. And a switch to dump the "cargo" if escape is impossible. Add engines that purr like a kitten and run like a cheetah and you've got yourself a pretty good movie.

Not a great film, for sure...however, for an independent, low-budget b/w looks good and is easy to see how it found such a cult niche. In fact, Mitchum may have created a new genre that “Luke and Duke Hazzard” and “The Bandit” should give thanks for. With cool Mitchum (and his half-opened eyes) stealing every scene and several very nicely shot chase scenes and wrecks...One can hardly go wrong.

Among the other actors...Mitchum had his oldest son, James Mitchum play his younger brother who does a fair job and looks just like his father. (A role that was first offered to Elvis. Col. Tom Parker nixed it). But wouldn't have that been interesting to watch those two on screen together!

Also, Bruce Springsteen acknowledges lifting Mitchum’s “Thunder Road” title for his own song. Nice compliment.

Grab yourself some popcorn. Good stuff.

Must See Moments:
Watch the younger Mitchum take a wallop at the supper table while saying “his” version of Grace. (It might have been harder than expected!)
When younger brother shows up at Robert Mitchum’s hideout...count the seconds...(minutes) that young bro goes with out blinking.


Steve Earle:-->"Back To The Wall" (Copperhead Road) (1988)
(Own This CD)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Interview:--> John Prine

"Many years later we found ourselves in Canada
trying to save our marriage and perhaps catch a few fish...
Whatever came first.
That night she fell asleep in my arms
humming the tune to "Louie Louie".
Aah baby, we gotta go now."
~ John Prine ~
When I began this blog, I made sure to start out by reviewing the terrific "Fair & Square" by my favorite musical artist...John Prine.

My family owning every CD recorded by the legend...I can honestly say I've been listening to John Prine music since I was given my first rattle. (I'm 23 now). His music has been so much a part of my growing up...that he has long become my pretend big-brother. An honorary member of my family.

On Feb. 2, 2007, two-time Grammy Award winner, John Prine, agreed to sit down with me for a short interview after his performance at the Orpheum in Wichita, KS. The following is an excerpt.

Casey C. - Mr. Prine, In 1976, you appeared on Saturday Night Live
John Prine: Yeah…that was mainly due to John Belushi…He was a friend of mine from Chicago. When Steve Goodman and I used to play at the club we started at Earl of Old Town on Well Street in Chicago.
Earl of Old Town
It was right across the street from Second City and we used to go over there during our breaks and catch Belushi and Akroyd and them at Second City. And Bill Murray was there…and Saturday Night Live started…I think it was the beginning of the second season…Every time some big musical act got booked and somebody got sick or they had to cancel…Belushi would always put my name in the hat and say ‘ya gotta get John Prine’.
So finally, I was down in Aruba and the Beach Boys cancelled…and they called me and I came up from the Caribbean to do it. And it was directly because of John Belushi. He was always, like, shouting my name out to the producer and telling him they ought to get me on the show. So it was because of him. He was a good guy.

Casey C. - How did you choose the songs you performed on SNL?
John Prine: I had just written “The Bottomless Lake” but the producer didn’t want me to do it and I insisted on it. He wanted me to do 2 songs from my first album and I said I’ll do one. I‘ll do “Hello In There“ and that‘s it.

Casey C. - What are the differences between performing on SNL and on Austin City Limits?
John Prine: Oh…Austin City is a lot…um…warmer show, ya know. Like the audiences are usually people who would come to see you in concert in Austin…ya know…Where SNL is kinda…people just get tickets for any SNL so they can be part of the audience.

Casey C. - How did Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen’s involvement come about on your first Grammy winning record, “The Missing Years”?
John Prine: Well, the guy who produced it was Howie Epstein…who was Tom’s bass player at the time with The Heartbreakers. And I knew Springsteen from his first record. I knew him back…you know… I’d run into him every once in a while over the years. Uh…he’d come to see me back in the late eighties at a little…uh…I was playing at a little place…uh…Mount Poughkeepsie or something like that.
He drove up from Jersey with his girlfriend and I came to his show…so…we caught up with each other. I was making “The Missing Years”, a year after that…so I called him up and asked him if he’d sing on a song. He’s a real good guy, anyway. He’s always been the same guy…since day one.

Casey C. - Of all the songs you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
John Prine: Oh…yea…I wrote a song called "Far From Me"…on the first album. That’s always been a personal favorite of mine.

Casey C.
- My favorite album of yours is “Sweet Revenge”. On the cover you’re sprawled out in that car…
John Prine: That was the first thing I bought me. I got some record company money so I went and bought myself a ‘59 Porsche convertible. I had just bought’en it and wanted my picture taken in it…so I went down to Lake Michigan…and took my picture. Kind of hairy, isn’t it? (chuckling).

Casey C. - Well, Thank you very much for your time.
John Prine: Sure, Casey. Thank you. And good luck to you again. (chuckling). I hope to see you own “Rolling Stone” lock, stock, and barrel some day or something.

John Prine was heading to Kansas City to do another show the next night, but he never rushed our conversation to get to it. Very, very easy-going...just like a big-brother ought to be.

"Lake Marie"  -  John Prine

Casey Chambers

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Ramblings:-->Seatbelt Laws & Truckstop Honeymoon

"And you say you don't see it when a grown man starts to cry,
You turn your face away and you walk on by."
Steve Forbert
Finally, a state has gotten it right (New Hampshire) by stepping up and defeating the ridiculous and extremely over-stepping "Mandatory Seatbelt Law'. It is the only state to do so.

Here, in Kansas, politicians and media are hard at work trying to convince everyone that the "Mandatory Seatbelt Law" is a much-needed benefit to our society. And how could anyone be against this law. It's for out own protection! (sarcasm).

Heaven forbid, we American citizens be allowed to think for ourselves.
Bush/No seatbelt
So concerned for our safety, our government (for our own good) will assess a fine of $80 to be levied on anyone breaking this law. After's all about human safety (not the money) and a sane person can not be against that! (sarcasm).

Oh yea...and while they pull you over for failing to buckle-up...our men-in-blue can search your vehicle. How convenient says the "Church Lady". Do you think there will be any motivation trying to catch offenders! (sarcasm).

This is just another brick taken from our personal freedom wall.

Bottom line: Be wary of government officials who try to wrap up and disguise a bill with "let's protect our citizens" BS.

Indie Introduction:

Truckstop Honeymoon

Truckstop Honeymoon
is good. Real good!

This husband/wife duo (Katie Euliss & Mike West) hailing from Lawrence, Ks via New Orleans, create a country & hillbilly sound smothered with a touch of Blues that is as easy to warm up to as morning biscuits with gravy.

Their songwriting is natural and unforced and delivered with a rare confidence that easily will bring a smile to the listener. Truckstop can spin a humorous tale one minute and then quickly put their hearts on both their sleeves the next.

What sets them apart is how they push the envelope without losing site of their roots. And they want us, the listener, to relax and trust that they will bring us back worse for

Truckstop Honeymoon offers a few mp3s for everyone to sample and CDs to purchase.
Go here and click on CD

For those unfamiliar with this brand of music...I strongly recommend adding them to your musical crayon box. This is good stuff.

Truckstop Honeymoon:-->"Johnny & June" (Delivery Boy)

Steve Forbert:-->"On The Streets Of This Town" (Streets Of This Town) (1988)
(Must Own)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Book Buzz:-->"Timeline" by Michael Crichton (1999)

"If you don't stay with me, darlin',
If you don't stay with me, baby,
I'll be right there in your mirror
when you get old...
And we all get old."
Ron Wood
There has been a fascination with time travel that I've held for as long as I can remember. String theories. Quantum physics. Dimension cracks. Worm holes.

Coffee shop convos about what the time travel rules would entail have been nauseum into many early hours of my mornings with friends and strangers, alike. The possibilities have made for many good...and not so good stories. I've sampled both.

The subject of time travel is given a different spin with Michael Crichton's 1999 adventure..."Timeline".

For those virgins who have not tasted a Crichton style prepared to have facts thrown your direction. This author loves to do his homework...And then toss well thought out possiblities at the reader. His enthusiasm is infectious.

"Timeline" revolves around a scientist who has been volunteering as a time traveler back to France...ala 1300s...and is unable/unwilling to come back

The billion dollar corporation responsible recruits a group of young historians well-versed with the culture of France to find him.

The first half sets the groundwork on time travel and the second half turns into a swashbuckling adventure. Although the characters are fairly cardboard...the story still thrills. 512 pages.
Good Stuff.


Ron Wood:-->"We All Get Old" (Gimme Some Neck) (1979)
(Own This CD)