Monday, August 05, 2013

August Top 40 2013 - tons of reviews to post A.S.A.P.

#1  BULA QUO!!!!

Status Quo  Bula Bula

    Our #1 single this month is "Bula Quo!" from the double disc by Status Quo!  Amazing stuff.
Listen on YouTube:

for people who loved "Pictures of Matchstick Men" this isn't a return to psychedelic land, it is more like a wonderful sequel to the Beach Boys KokoMo in another dimension!

Pictures of Matchstick Men


#2 Stacie Rose

Stars, Stripes and Milestones
Stacie Rose

A song like “Adore” comes along once in a great while, chock full of a variety of hooks, compelling guitar riff and uplifting chorus.  One can read so many things into the lyric, which is what great pop songs are made of.  It’s an extraordinary gem among nine other solid compositions from a seasoned professional who takes her music to another level.   Rose has always delivered the goods, but this new disc shows an authority along with the progression.  “Picture Perfect” could fit onto the debut of the songstress, 2002’s This Is Mine or even 2005’s Shadow & Splendor, but in this setting it works more effectively.
Evoking the stylings of Francoise Hardy (the yeh yeh girl from Paris), early Nico (on Immediate records), the London releases from Marianne Faithful - that wonderful 60s pop/rock fused with folk that emerged in the psychedelic era and beyond – all engaged and choreographed in modern fashion for this polished “fan-funded” release.  “Mine” (from 2002’s This is Mine) got airtime on AMC (American Movie Classics) and “Run Out” on 2008’s Shotgun Daisy featured Shawn Mullins with Stacie Rose, gave the material a wider platform; eleven and five years (respectively) later the carefree air of “Something To Sing About” shows an artist’s pure love of creating melodies and words that have an appeal that crosses genres expanding on her earlier success in a unique and inspiring way.   “Earth spins like a top” the singer opens the CD with as new revolutions happen from Egypt to the Far East, the first track, “Speak Your Mind,”  exploring topics from Global Warming to everyday conversation.
The cover art to Stars, Stripes and Milestones is a bit of a jolt, not indicative of the thought-provoking ideas told in an easy-going fashion inside the package. You can’t tell a book by its cover, and in this day and age of downloads it may not be as much of a distraction as it would have been in the days of vinyl and cassette.  “Missing Peace” is a great double entendre with a Nick Lowe flow to it that lends itself to airplay quite naturally.   Lines like “a ghost ripped out my heart” showing up from left field is a cleverness found in (and indicative of) many of the musical essays included on the ten tracks.   Rose keeps the listener aware with imagery that shifts along with the chord changes.    “Lucky” is a new take on the old adage, count your blessings while “Forever on the Mend” is pensive and reflective.  Stars, Stripes and Milestones is a classy combination of awareness, the imparting of knowledge and entertainment, a very pleasurable experience with Rose abandoning previous restrictions and breaking new ground. An artist at the peak of her powers creating a mix that is strikingly original.



While veteran guitarist Ricky Byrd (Susan, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts) puts his story out to the world on Lifer, and with Iggy Pop noting his Lust for Life, the venerable vocalist from Paul Revere & The Raiders issues his colorful very Nuggets-influenced Life Out Loud - a splashy, loud rock & roll excursion into the world you find on Little Steven's radio program on Sunday nights.  This is a record for Lindsay's hardcore fan base of 60s aficionados and he gives them everything they want and more.  From the jangly Chesterfield Kings-styled "Baby Come Back" with its inverted Kinks riff to more splashy chord changes on "Easy Street," nothing here goes over 4:10 (the song "New Thing," track 11, which is like the Psychedelic Furs meets subdued Marilyn Manson - think: "The Dope Show"). (I Love) "Everything About You" rolls off of Mark's lips in sleek fashion while "Rainy Day Children" provides a shimmering ballad perfect for summer radio.  "Ghost of a Girl" crosses glitter with rockabilly while  "Like Nothing You've Ever Seen" takes Jim Morrison's "20th Century Fox" lyrical riff ("Got the world locked up inside a plastic box" vs. "I can give you everything that you need") over an "I'm Not Your Steppingstone" riff.  These are little sonic bites of Sky Saxon imaginings, "Let's Fly Away" is the Seeds song that the Seeds never got to write and play.  "I Can't Slow Down" is more stripped down new and revived form of rockabilly while "Don't Stop" is another blast of B-side magic.  "Merry Go Round," along with "Rainy Day Children" perhaps the tracks that work best for me, not just because they are ballads, but because that great Mark Lindsay vocal sound we love and appreciate really breaks through on them the best.  A very fun record by a master of fun.
4)Dead Boots

"I Believe In Love" by Dead Boots (formerly TAB) has a definite 60's British rock slant  a Yardsbird-ish"Train Kept A Rollin'" kind of period piece, primal guitars with a Keith Relf matter-of-fact vocal that could have fit nicely on the Small Faces classic Ogden's Nutflake Gone (actually, Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, I just think Ogden's Nutflake Gone has a better ring to it!). 

Bassist Adrian Perry's lead voice on "Saturdays" is reminiscent of the early Amboy Dukes when that group's guitarist,Ted Nugent, was probably younger than Adrian and brother/guitarist Tony Perry, drummer/vocalist Ben Tileston and guitarist/vocalist Lou Jannetty.   There's a terrific video of the song on YouTube  if you'd like to see the fun element the band brings to its music.   "I See You Coming" is, again, experimental a la the aforementioned Small Faces from the Ogdens' era.  This isn't an ensemble intent on being part of the current crop of here-then-gone disposable sounds; this is authentic stuff.  Adrian Perry's earlier solo work - like former Boston singer Brad Delp - indulged heavily in Beatles' influences. Those influences are still there, so submerged in the harder-edged pop of "I Believe In Love" and "Saturdays."

Available on iTunes


Ricky Byrd   LIFER


Great idea for a lead-off single.   Tumultuous. Love the creative stereo mixes on these.  

The Answer
Interesting opening, sparkling pop and innovative production.
Very nice.

All I want
Percussive opening, very cool.

The Dope Show - Marilyn Manson
first album

The debut album by the Amboy Dukes should be high on collectors' lists. Fusing the psychedelia of the early Blues Magoos with Hendrix riffs and British pop, the band which launched the legend of Ted Nugent has surprises galore in these lost grooves. More experimental than Ambrose Slade's Ballzy -- could you conceive of the Cat Scratch Fever guy performing on Peter Townshend's "It's Not True" and Joe Williams' classic "Baby Please Don't Go"? The latter tune was the flip side of the group Them's single "Gloria," but Ted Nugent and the boys totally twist it to their point-of-view, even tossing a complete Jimi Hendrix nick into the mix. The Amboy Dukes issued this as the single backed with their sitar-laden and heady "Psalms of Aftermath." "Baby Please Don't Go" is extraordinary, but isn't the hit single that "Journey to the Center of the Mind" would be from their follow-up LP titled after that radio-friendly gem. Producer Bob Shad's work with Vic Damone, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan wasn't what prepared him for the psychedelic hard rock of "Colors," a song with some of the experimentation Nugent would take further on the Survival of the Fittest, Live and Marriage on the Rocks/Rock Bottom albums further down the road. Those latter-day Dukes projects took themselves too seriously and got a bit too out there. The fun that is the Amboy Dukes take on the Ashford/Simpson/Armstead standard "Let's Go Get Stoned"; it's the kind of thing that could have stripped away the pretension of the post-Mainstream discs   Read more here:
Survival of the Fittest LIVE - Ted Nugent and Amboy Dukes

After three albums on Mainstream Records and a Top 20 smash with "Journey to the Center of the Mind," Ted Nugent brought his new aggregation to Polydor(the late Lillian Roxon claimed there were 35 personnel changes prior to their first and only hit). This second album on that label (and before they would jump to Warner and eventually Epic), was recorded live at The Eastowne Theater in Detroit, MI, July 31 and August 1, 1970. A prime candidate for re-release with bonus tracks, the full hit is not here; the single disc contains six tracks, including the 21-minute-and-20-second epic "Prodigal Man," written by Nugent and sung by keyboardist Andy Solomon. Solomon handles the majority of the vocals on this album, with drummer K.J. Knight vocalizing on the bluesy "Mr.Jones Hanging Party" and songwriter/guitarist/focal point Nugent doing the chores on "Papa's Will." Solomon provides nice sax on "Mr. Jones' Hanging Party," showing the considerable talent he brought to the table. What's this live disc like? The riff to "Journey to the Center of the Mind" opens the album inside the instrumental collaboration written by the group, "Survival of the Fittest," and it is a big tease. Unlike the bad mutations of the Electric Prunes, H.P. Lovecraft, and the most blatant example, the Velvet Underground's pseudo-record, Squeeze, this is the leader of an original group as he goes through musical changes. "Rattle My Snake" is certainly more in the Pat Travers vein than the psychedelic intrigue of the original (on record anyway) Amboy Dukes, and though this recording is live and has that live excitement, it feels more like a new album, with none of the tracks appearing on previous discs. "Papa's Will" is Ted Nugent stretching out a riff that -- if it were brought up in the mix -- could inspire Black Sabbath.  Read more here

RIP Richie Havens


Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts

Review by   [-]

Producer Denny Diante had hit with Maxine Nightingale the year before this effort, and the thought of bringing back the gal who sang "Angel of the Morning" was certainly a noble idea. The self-titled album,Merrilee Rush, opens with "Save Me," sounding very much like the melody of Air Supply's 1980 hit "Lost in Love," making one wonder which was written first. Tom Snow's "You" was a hit for Rita Coolidge in 1978, so Diante and Rush had the right concept, and though the performance and sound is pretty good,Coolidge's production and spirit were deserving of the Top 25 status this song eventually garnered. Rushsounds as mature on this outing as Marianne Faithfull does in the passage of time between "As Tears Go By" and her comeback, Broken English. Rush's voice is a bit tattered but charming on "Easy, Soft and Slow," one of the album's finest and most majestic moments. The star looks pretty on this album cover, perhaps a bit more seductive than she appears on her Turnabouts debut nine years prior. It's too bad she didn't cover Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon's "Bette Davis Eyes" instead of releasing a carbon copy of her 1968 Top Ten hit "Angel of the Morning." Weiss had written for the original Rush album on Bell nine years earlier, as had Mark Lindsay, Joe South, and John Phillips. There were also multiple Chip Taylorsongs on her debut, and maybe a cover of Taylor's composition for Janis Joplin, "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," would have been what the doctor ordered for this. Instead they seek redemption and almost get it by opting for a beautiful Christine McVie ballad from the sublime Bare Trees album by Fleetwood Mac. "Spare Me a Little of Your Love" should have been a hit for McVie prior to 1975's "Over My Head," and though the choice of material is fine, the hard rock guitar strips away the elegance of the original version. The gospel voices give this a Southern rock feel, not conducive to the chart success enjoyed by Helen Reddy and the aforementioned Rita Coolidge, and too drawn out to reach the market that embraced Linda Ronstadt's version of "Heatwave," although this tries to go in that direction   Read more here:






Tom Dickie reinvented his formula after the failure of Susan on RCA. He brought half of Boston's underground band Fox Pass on board -- guitarist Mike Roy and singer/songwriter/poet Jon Macey(formerly Jon Hall, who changed his name to Macey to avoid confusion with John Hall, leader of the group Orleans). "Downtown Talk" kicks off the Competition LP and remains the best song by this pop band. Resplendent with drug references, "Downtown Talk" has a hard-hitting riff and catchy melody. The title track's calypso feel is a nice diversion from the rest of the LP. "Waiting, Waiting" has a boss riff and is perhaps the album's best performance  Read more here:


With a crisper sound than its predecessor, the Competition LP, Ed Sprigg's production of The Eleventh Hour helps the revamped Tom Dickie & the Desires, but not enough. Singer/songwriters Tom Dickie and Jon Macey as well as guitarist Mike Roy are all playing synthesizers, replacing Gary Corbettfrom the first album. Mickey Currey has departed, and Chuck Sabo handles the drums and percussion on this disc. With the band having a chance to jell since Competition, the songs are more concise, perhaps even a little more determined, yet they are hampered by the big '80s sound, which was not what these pop fellows were about. "Victimless Crime" is probably the best-known song from this collection, presenting the baseless philosophy that drug abuse creates harm only to the addict and no one else suffers effects from it. 

Read more here:

Susan was the hard rock band that got the gigs at the Rat in Boston in the '70s. Their thunderous sound was created in no small part by John Kalishes, who could have passed as Leslie West's little brother.Kalishes would join the late Ben Orr to create a Led Zeppelin-meets-the Cars group toward the end of the '90s. It is that powerful sound that is missing from Falling in Love Again. The original Susan was documented on the Live at the Rat album and those two tracks give a hint of their significance. By the time they landed a management contract with Tommy MottolaRicky Byrd had replaced Kalishes and despite Byrd's enormous talent -- he would eventually join Joan Jett & the Blackhearts -- the change came too quickly. This album sounds like a band in transition rather than a strong debut. Byrd shines on "A Little Time," one of two strong tracks on side one, but the band's performance on another Byrdcomposition, "I Was Wrong," is downright embarrassing for a group once so mighty. "Marlene," which features Marlene Dietrich, and "Falling in Love Again" have that "Be My Baby" drum sound and comes closest to what Susan was all about.
Read More Hear
Hear the original "Right Away" by Paul Frank's Head over Heels

LIVE AT THE RAT featuring SUSAN performing "Right Away"

In 2001 the legendary building that housed Boston's infamous Rat was demolished, but this recording (catalog #528, same as the address for the establishment on Commonwealth Avenue in the heart of Boston) remains as evidence of what transpired in that "cellar full of noise." Inspired by Hilly Kristal's Live at CBGB's, this is truly the companion double LP to that disc on Atlantic, though the Boston compilation came close but failed to obtain major-label release. Recorded September 27, 28, and 29th, 1976, at the dawn of the "new wave," important and historic live recordings of some of the scenemakers live on within these grooves. Far from a definitive document -- you won't find early Jon Butcher, Charlie Farren, Fools, or Nervous Eaters here, despite the fact that the Eaters ruled at The Rat -- but you will find classic Willie Alexander after his stint with the Velvet Underground and before his MCA deal (which came when Blue Oyster Cult wife/rock critic Debbie Frost, played Alexander's single on The Rat jukebox for producer Craig Leon).


The biggest disappointment on the album, though, is its best selection -- the underrated and immaculate song "No Good to Cry" by Al Anderson of N.R.B.Q. when he was recording with the Wildweeds. Susan Jacks just doesn't have that blue-eyed soul that put the original "No Good to Cry" over the top. The production is not as intense, and what could have brought this group to another level becomes a Holiday Inn band reworking a masterpiece. The manic piano that made the minor hit so legendary is lost here, the dynamics nonexistent. It almost feels like Terry Jacks put more into his originals, surrounding them with decent versions of songs by Sonny Curtis, Joe Fahrni, and the aforementioned titles. There's no denying the Poppy Family knew how to pick potential hits, but they dropped the ball on the five-yard line on Poppy Seeds.

May Top 40 Mare Winningham, Planet of the Apes, Andy Mendelson

  Happy Birthday Mare! Years ago Mare Winningham and her husband saw me at the Paradise Theater in Boston, a club I booked for many years....