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)

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

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
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

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'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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Sunday, January 26, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Out Of The Frying Pan" - Wynder K. Frog (1968)

"Out Of The Frying Pan" - Wynder K Frog (1968)

Nothing to overthink here.  Just a whole lot of tasty and familiar 60s Hammond organ tapping and wailing all around your ears.  A little jazzy.  A little funky.  A little psychy.  And a whole lot of groovy.  The album is a smile-maker and blah-taker.  Wynder K. Frog (aka Mick Weaver) makes a joyful and funky instrumental album to spin in the background or crank it be damned.  I enjoyed the album both ways.  Mostly familiar covers but with a couple of originals that hold their own quite well.  "Out Of The Frying Pan” is a perfect snapshot of the times.  Imagine Goldie Hawn bikini-dancing with "make love, not war" slogans on her body and you'll get the idea.  Most of the album hits that spot.  Wynder K. Frog gets added help from members of The Grease Band and a few horns from the Bluesbreakers.  This is another fun album that can be had for pennies and I enjoyed the love beads out of it. (wink-wink)

"Out Of The Frying Pan" (back)

United Artists Records label

"Gasoline Alley" - Wynder K Frog / "Out Of The Frying Pan" (1968)

A1  "Jumpin' Jack Flash"  4:03
A2  "Gasoline Alley"  3:02
A3  "Willie and the Hand Jive"  2:21
A4  "Harpsichord Shuffle"  3:55
A5  "Baby I Love You"  2:44
B1  "Green Door"  2:25
B2  "Bad Eye"  2:35
B3  "Alexander's Ragtime Band"  3:34
B4  "Tequila"  1:55
B5  "The House That Jack Built"  2:30
B6  "Hymn To Freedom"  4:16
B7  "Hi-Heel Sneakers"  3:34

Mick Weaver - Hammond organ
Alan Spenner - bass
Bruce Rowland - drums
Neil Hubbard - guitar
Dick Heckstall-Smith - tenor saxophone
Chris Mercer - tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone
Henry Lowther - trumpet
Anthony Reebop Kwaku Baah - percussion

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Friday, January 24, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Landing On Water" (1986)

"Landing On Water" - Neil Young (1986)

Oh yeah.  I'd heard all the negative buzz.  The album is extremely synth-driven and not at all what fans expected.  Neil Young's "Landing On Water" can be found in bargain bins everywhere for about an Abe so...might as well dance.  I wanted to have my own taste.   And guess what?  It’s not terrible!  In fact, once you accept the techno turn Young made, a few of the songs are quite good.  "LOW" is a far cry from "Harvest"  Or "Harvest Moon" for that matter.  But the lyrics are pure Neil and the tasty guitar burns can still be found.  “Hippie Dream” is just a killer Neil Young gem.  It's dark and throws a wicked dart at the time-passages of CSN.  Great fiery guitar that's way too short.  Many believe the song was directed specifically at David Crosby.  It's a great song, if not a bit mean-spirited.  Guitar sounds mean, as well.

The head rocker "Drifter" is another favorite that closes the album on a high note.  And easy to imagine Crazy Horse giving this one a go...had they been around.  The synthy "Violent Side" quickly turns into a surprising guitar rocker.  Again tasty, but too short.  Which brings me to the opening track, “Weight Of The World.”  The unexpected synth experience that hit listeners in the face right out the gate must have left fans feeling cold and ripped-off.  But the very techno-pop opener is as good as whatever else was happening in 1986.  Blame it on expectations maybe.  But for whatever reason, certain albums require an extra spin or two before a fair and final assessment can be made.  The AMG gives this album 2-stars out of 5.  I'd bump it up a 1/2 notch simply for not being boring.  "Landing On Water" is an average, not terrible at all, Neil Young album, that entertains with no quarter.  And that must account for something.

"Landing On Water" (back)

Geffen Records label

"Landing On Water" (sleeve front)

"Landing On Water" (sleeve back)

"Hippie Dream" - Neil Young / "Landing On Water" (1986)

A1  "Weight of the World" 3:40
A2  "Violent Side" 4:22
A3  "Hippie Dream" 4:11
A4  "Bad News Beat" 3:18
A5  "Touch the Night" 4:30
B1  "People on the Street" 4:33
B2  "Hard Luck Stories" 4:06
B3  "I Got a Problem" 3:16
B4  "Pressure" 2:46
B5  "Drifter" 5:05

Neil Young - vocals, lead guitar, synthesizer, harmonica, producer
Danny Kortchmar - guitar, synthesizer, vocals, producer
Steve Jordan - drums, synthesizer, vocals
San Francisco Boys Chorus – vocals (A2, A5)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Friday, January 17, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 8: The Blackhawk and The Return Of The Scarlet Ghost" (2010)

"Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 8: The Blackhawk and The Return Of The Scarlet Ghost"

(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.)

"Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol. 8: The Blackhawk and The Return Of The Scarlet Ghost"
Matt Wagner, Steven T. Seagle, Guy Davis (Illustrator)
Vertigo (2010)
224 pages

All of these graphic Sandman Mystery Theatre novels have a gritty pulp vibration that drops you smack into the 1940s.  Our Sandman hero is a rather ordinary, nondescript fellow.  He's educated, but not annoyingly so.  He's brave, but not fearless.  He's kind, but not drippy.  And he's pudgy with no plans on hitting the gym.  Sandman is more-or-less your average Joe, but with a head for mysteries and a strong desire to right wrongs.  Not with muscles and speed.  The Sandman relies on the element of surprise and his steampunk-ish sleep-inducing gas gun to get to the bottom of some well-written mysteries.

The stories are also violent and bloody.  There is also a fascinating storyline throughout the entire series involving Sandman's strong and independent love interest, Dian.  The two are a puzzle unto themselves and I especially enjoy her brass.  One of the more believable characters you'll ever come across.  The artist's intentional vintage coloring gives everything an almost surreal dusting.   And it compliments the story perfectly.  This is my 3rd graphic novel from the series and I've enjoyed every one of them.

"Building A Mstery" - Sarah McLachlan / "Surfacing " (1997)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Thursday, January 16, 2020

I Went...SI--SI--SIRIUS...All The Way Home (again) #29

(a short jaunt)

"Texan Love Song" - Elton John / "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player" (1973)

I have the gatefold album with the full-color multipage booklet inside.  It's a great one to own for the packaging alone.  You'll find “Daniel” and “Crocodile Rock” here.  “TLS”...I don't remember.  It's buried on side two (I looked) and probably for good reason.  It's atypical of what we've come to expect.  EJ throws down some mean country swang and belts out enough cowboy sarcasm to drip off your saddle.  Hey, but the song's pretty good.  Does Elton really scream “goddammit” on this record? Twice?  Thrice?  Whatever.  But he sounds a bit like Peyton hollering for Brad Paisley to get off his finger when he does.  This was Elton's 6th album before his blow-up “Goodbye Yellow...”

"The Voice" - The Alan Parsons Project / "I Robot" (1977)

Sure, the vocoder “voice” sounds b-movie sci-fi.  Especially today.  But it's that spooky repeating bass line that allows you to forgive the dated...” He's gonna get you.” refrain.  It's all about creating atmosphere.  Cold, creepy and paranoiac.  Late-night driving loves this song.   And I'll take all of it they got.  That goes for the album as well.  The Alan Parsons Project's sophomore album.

"Lonely Children" - Foreigner / "Double Vision" (1978)

I always thought ”Lonely Children” sounded unfinished.  Like Foreigner was rushed in the studio.  Pressed for studio time, or something.  It's okay, but..." it coulda' been a contender."  All I know for sure is that this song leads right into the album's best “deep track”...”Spellbinder.”  This was the bands 2nd album.


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Monday, January 13, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Psych-Out" Soundtrack (1968)

"Psych-Out" - (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1968)

"Psych-Out" was one of many psychsploitation, drugsploitation soundtracks that seemed to flood the market in the late 60s/early 70s.  A few of them were pretty good.. others not so much.  They were all quick cash-ins.  And to that end, "Psych-Out" is one of the better offerings.  The big hitters on the album are Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Seeds.  One of the songs being the 8-plus minute killer gem, "The Worlds On Fire" by SAC.  However, it's The Storybook that brings five floaty psych-pop spankings only available on this album that make the hunt worth it.  There is also a blatant copy-cat song  "Ashbury Wednesday" by a fictitious band, Boenzee Cryque that sounds way too much like "Purple Haze."  It's fun, though.  (see if you recognize the frontman in the clip below)

For a short period, it seemed every movie studio was trying to get on the lysergic train with a 12-inch tag along.  It's fascinating to hear how closely (or not) the shirt and ties captured the flipped-out psychedelic experience.  Anyway, it's a nice snapshot of the period and falls right into my wheelhouse of collecting.

"Psych-Out" (back)

Sidewalk Records label

"Ashbury Wednesday" - Boenzee Cryque / Clip from "Psych-Out" (1968)

A1  “The Pretty Song From Psych-Out”  -  The Storybook  3:16
A2  “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow”  -  Strawberry Alarm Clock  3:05
A3  “Two Fingers Pointing On You”  -  The Seeds  3:12
A4  “Ashbury Wednesday”  -  Boenzee Cryque  2:54
A5  “The World’s On Fire”  -  Strawberry Alarm Clock  3:31 (edited)
B1  “Psych-Out Sanctorum”  -  The Storybook  3:25
B2  “Beads Of Innocence”  -  The Storybook  3:10
B3  “The Love Children”  -  The Storybook  2:24
B4  “Psych-Out”  -  The Storybook  2:17
B5  “The World’s On Fire" -  Strawberry Alarm Clock  8:22 (long version)

Strawberry Alarm Clock
The Seeds
Boenzee Cryque
The Storybook

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "The Garden Of Last Days" (2008)

"The Garden Of Last Days" - Andre Dubus III (2008)
Hardcover, 535 pages

The story reads fast.  But this is not a fast-paced story.  It's a few days before 9/11 at a prominent boobie-bar in sunny Florida.  It is there we're introduced to three strangers whose paths briefly cross.  A single-mom, strip club dancer.  A construction worker recently separated from his wife with a restraining order hanging over his head.  And a young jihad terrorist with life-changing plans.

The story is told from multiple POVs and although none of these people are especially likable, the author does a great job of letting us into their heads.  Of helping us understand the choices they are making.  Andre Dubus III knows how to bang out entertaining sentences, for sure, however when the last page're left feeling a bit cheated.  Like when you're binging on a tv series and the show gets abruptly canceled.  Huh?  What?  Still, I don't regret picking this book up. I might forget the story, but the characters in this novel are going to hang around awhile.

"Thorn Tree In The Garden" - Derek & The Dominos / "Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs" (1970)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Sunday, January 5, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Some Tough City" - Tony Carey (1984)

"Some Tough City" - Tony Carey (1984)

Tony Carey held more than his own while with Rainbow.  Check out "Tarot Woman" from their killer album, "Rising" (1976) for a refresher.   And his Planet P Project albums have always been an under-appreciated prog dip.  And this, Carey's third solo album, is another satisfying offering.  This time a bit of AOR pop-rock.  Each song filled with street characters who seem to always pull the short straw.  Those people living lives defined by a whole lot of “just abouts & almosts.”  Carey observes and reports with a songwriter's heart.  Think Mellencamp with a keyboard.

This isn't a five star must own, by any means, but it is a pretty good album and that's from someone who usually doesn’t trip easily on the 80s stuff.  I had already fallen in love with Tony Carey's classic radio songs...”A Fine Fine Day” and “First Day of Summer” both on this album.  Both absolute pop-rock gems.  But the title track is another fine catch, as is the rocking...“Eddie Goes Underground."  "Tinseltown” also burns.  I'm just cherry-picking now but I could easily toss in a few more.  The album can be found for change and though this isn't the kind of album I usually gravitate toward...there is a lot of pleasure to be found here

"Some Tough City" (back)

MCA Records label

"Some Tough City" (front sleeve)

"Some Tough City" (back sleeve)

"A Fine Fine Day" - Tony Carey / "Some Tough City" (1984)

A1  "A Fine Fine Day" 4:24
A2  "A Lonely Life" 4:17
A3  "Eddie Goes Underground" 4:14
A4  "The First Day of Summer" 3:45
A5  "Reach Out" 3:11
B1  "Tinseltown" 4:51
B2  "Hungry" 4:30
B3  "I Can Stop the Rain" 3:22
B4  "Some Tough City" 4:38
B5  "She Can Bring Me Love" 4:46

Tony Carey - vocals, b-vocals, keyboards, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion, Vocoder
Drums – Fritz Matzka
Johan Daansen, Reinhard Besser, Robbie Musenbichler - guitar [solos]

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Thursday, January 2, 2020

I Went...SI--SI--SIRIUS...All The Way Home (again) #28

(a short jaunt)

"Straight Brother" - Asylum Choir / "Asylum II" (1971)

"Daddy dropped the ball in the bowling hall
'cause he bet on a loser and took a fall for mother."
I'm not familiar with this album, but this song here is a tasty little lost gem.  Leon Russell kicks it off, but dang if Marc Benno doesn't have a great little break-in voice in the middle.  I have their first album.  The one with the infamous "toilet paper" on the cover.  And it's quite good.  However, the two had long split up before this, their second album ever got flushed.

"Colours" - Donovan / "Live & In The Studio" (2009)

For whatever reason, Donovan could never quite drop the mic here in the States.  Regarded more as a singles artist rather than an album artist unfairly so.  But as we all know, the rock-n-roll gods don't play favorites.  Whadyagonnado?  Still, this groovy troubadour need make no apologies.  His catalog is filled with plenty of cool and beautiful tunes worthy of a second look.  Here's one of'em.

"Tongue In Cheek" - Sugarloaf / "Spaceship Earth" (1971)

Sugarloaf is throwin' down some wicked jam on this number.  And it's a great one to crank while hauling your buttocks down the highway.  What a cool snapshot of that era.  Hailing from the speedbumps of Denver, Colorado, this was Sugarloaf's 2nd album.


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers