VA- Houston Home Cookin’

This piece of Houston history, for better or for worse cost $6.  Yikes. Hopefully, vinyl can come down in price in 2018.  Obviously I got this for the hometown connection.

This record was brought to you in 1982 by 97 Rock and Sprite.  97 Rock, (now Mix 96.5) was a rock radio station in the 80’s that brought Houston Moby and Matthews.  Sprite, as always has the great Lymon taste and is one of the few things on this album that is still with us today and will be for another ten years or so. The album alludes to a contest that picked the songs with judges from Sound Warehouse, CBS Records, Cardi’s, Pace Concerts, and the Houston Chronicle among others.  I never heard of most of these bands with the exception of Zen Archer, but then again, I was pretty young when this came out.

For a sample, I went with a band called Z Rocks and a song called “The Teacher’s A Punk”.  I thought it the song will be more anti-authority but the premise is that the teacher likes to cut wild after class is over.  Which is guess is ok since this is the 80’s and no students are involved. Not like today. Anyway, Z Rocks was a three piece band, formed in Houston in 1979 and opened for Duran Duran in 1983.

Despite not really wanting to crap on something local, I really did not like this album although it was probably more a statement about the quality of hard rock music at the time.  Anyway, meh.

Earth & Fire – The Best of Earth & Fire

Well, this is the last album from my latest trip to The City of Diamonds, Amsterdam.  Overall, I was really happy with all the records I bought.  I mean, I could have done better with the spoken word album, but other than that, really great music that I would have not been exposed to otherwise, including this effort, which I bought for 2 Euro.  You are probably thinking the same thing I was thinking when I bought this: What happened to Wind?

Well, I went this year specifically for The Light Festival.  This year was a bit subdued.  I think the poor weather knocked a few of the installations out of commission.  Also, the poor weather kept me from hitting all the exhibits.  But I did see a good chunk of the show.  And overall, it was still interesting.  A red band lit the exhibit’s path over the canals by Chinese artist Al Weiwei, which made navigation a bit easier this year.  And there were some smaller exhibitions off by the Nautical Museum.  Other than that, just another trip to the Dam.  My main complaint (other than the weather) is that it had to end.

On to this, Earth & Fire were a Dutch progressive rock band (or beat band) formed by the Koerts Twins in 1968.  The two had been performing for some time in the 60’s and eventually formed this venture.  After some initial success, and a slot opening for Golden Earing, vocalist Jerney Kaagman joined the band and their first album became a success.  They were huge in the Netherlands and in Germany but never really gained fame in the US or England.  With changing tastes, the band changed personnel in the late 70’s, disbanding in 1983 with a few reunions following thereafter.

I must say I really, really liked this album.  Plus (and this is me being selfish), it is in English.  Very good progressive rock. Great vocals as well as good music.  Very guitar driven at the beginning but the music seemed to move more towards keyboards as tit got later in the 70’s.

Oddly enough, like yesterday’s post, the band’s most successful single, “Weekend” came out right after the release of this album.   It should be noted that it sounds nothing like the songs on this album.  This album, by the way, came out in 1979.

I could have used the whole album as samples, but decided to try and show some restraint.  Therefore, I am going with “Memories”, “Wild and Exciting”, and “Seasons”.

I truly thought this album was going to be crap.  I mean real crap.  So I was really blown away when I heard this.  Most definitely a top rated record.

Bay City Rollers- ST

I was originally going to post this on Saturday despite the fact that this really is not the hard rock I have been using over the weekends.  However, I realized this is the first year of the blog that I did not have something for Robbie Burns Day.  Well, despite being Scottish, this may not exactly fill that void, but I guess it is better than nothing.

I bought this for a dollar.  Coincidentally, I received two more copies for free from my friends’collections.

The Bay City Rollers were a Scottish band from Edinburgh.  They formed in 1966 and had thee first hit in the UK in 1971.  By 1976, they had become worldwide stars, most notably with the song “Saturday Night”.

This record, released in the North America in 1975, was compiled from the bands first three UK releases with the addition of one brand new song.  It would go #1 in Canada and #20 in the US.

For a sample, I went with “Shang-a-Lang”.

Satisfactory.  Happy Burns Supper.

Grand Funk Railroad- Live Album

Here we are with more rock and roll on the weekend.  This time, there is is this double record I got for $3 from Capitol.  I got it to get more rock on the blog.

As my neighbor put it ,Grand Funk Railroad was something in their day (that day would be the 70’s). This was their fourth album and the first live disc.  Released in 1970, it came out before the massive success of “American Band”.  The band were no slouches though with a pretty impressive sales streak on prior releases.

Furthermore, this album, recorded at various gigs in Florida, features no overdubs, re-mixing, or audio engineering.  Here is full form is the bands early live show in all its glory or at least four sides worth anyway.

The album was panned by critics but a commercial success.  Critics of the 1970’s were pretty constantly off base on rock anyway.  The record went to #5 on the Billboard charts as well as # 17 on the US RnB charts, which is quite a accomplishment. It would also go Gold a week after release.

For a sample, I went with “Mark Say’s Alright”, a shout out to the guitarist/singer Mark Farner. I went with this because it was short, at least relatively to a lot of the tracks on the record.  I must also state that both records were warped horribly.

Satisfactory.

The Standells-Dirty Water

This was $4.  Got it for the garage rock sound of the 60’s.  It has been so long since I have written posts, I am having a hard time getting back into it.  Also, by the time you read this, I should be in Amsterdam on vacation.  It is my goal to get at least a week ahead of the vacation, writing wise.

Despite being most famous for the title track of this album, “Dirty Water” a song about Boston, The Standells were from California, Los Angeles area to be specific.  Lead vocalist and keyboard player, Larry Tamblyn, is the brother of West Side Story/ Twin Peaks actor, Russ Tamblyn.  The band formed in the 60’s and was influential to the early punk rock of the 70’s.  According to Wikipedia, a version of the band is active today.

This was the groups second album, recorded in 1965 and released in 1966 on the Tower Label,  The album spawned two singles, the title track and “Sometime Good Guys Don’t Wear White”.  Pretty good album.  Straight ahead garage rock from the 60’s.  Incidental, the title track would go on to become an unofficial anthem of the Boston Red Sox.

A lot of good points on this album as well as a lot of good covers of popular rock and roll tunes of the day.  There is an excellent cover of “Hey Joe” but I made a vow to myself that I would not post a version of this song due to the fact that it was stolen by Billy Roberts from his girlfriend at the time, Niela Miller and her song “Baby, Please Don’t Go to Town”.

Anyway, sample we need so sample we must.  Here is “Rari”.

Satisfactory record.  Maybe I can get more into writing these as this vacation goes on.

Melanie- Candles In The Rain

This gem of a record was only $1.  One freaking dollar.  Are you crazy people?  Anyway, looking at the cover and listening to this, I had a hard time believing this came out in 1970 (and was in great part, a product of the 60’s).  It looks and sounds like a much more modern record.

But this did come out in 1970 and was Melanie’s third album.  With the lead single “Lay It On Down (Candles In The Rain)” based on her experience performing at Woodstock (in which a bunch of spectators light up candles while see played).  I probably mentioned this on the last post I wrote on her, but you really do not hear much about Melanie’s performance at Woodstock which is probably a shame.  Anyway, this record and that single in particular, brought the artist her first Top Ten hit in the US.  “Ruby Tuesday” as well as “What Have They Done To My Song, Ma” were also hits.  The album sold well in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Overall, I think this is an excellent album and really showcases Melanie’s talent. With the exception of “Ruby Tuesday”, the rest of the songs are written by the artist.  She is also backed up vocally in places by the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

For a sample, I decided to go with “Left Over Wine” which was one of the songs I picked from the live album I posted last year or so but did not use. I think because it skipped.

Great little record.  Satisfactory.

Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group- Live

This was $2.80 and purchased to inject a bit of rock into the blog which I like to do on Saturdays.  I saw Jeff Beck live at Sam Houston Coliseum.  He was a split bill with Stevie Ray Vaughn,  The year was 1989.  I was still in high school and was 15.  Terry Bozzio played drums.  Tony Hymas was on keys.  I remember being pretty stoked about “Freeway Jam”.  That is about all I remember.

Set List to said show

Interview with Beck and Vaughn and crew

Well, there is this live album, with a similar set up with the Jan Hammer Group.  Hammer best known for his work with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the Miami Vice theme. Recorded somewhere on tout in 1976 (sources say the Astor Theater in Reading, PA on August 31) and released in 1977, this record features 7 songs which highlight Beck’s guitar skills as well as the interplay with the group.

For a sample, I went with “Full Moon Boogie”, solely because it had vocals, provided by drummer Tony Smith.  Just to round out the personnel, Fernando Saunders plays bass and Steve Kindler plays violin.

Good little album.  Satisfactory.

Peter Gabriel- ST (Car)

This album was $3.  I got it to play on a Saturday as I try to save the best albums for the weekend.  I originally had a Dean Martin album slated for today but recent events led me to this record.  I had the sample song in my head and realized I had this album in my unposted pile.

This was Peter Gabriel’s first solo album after leaving Genesis.  It was released in 1977 as a self titled album.  Gabriel’s first three albums were untitled so this one became Car, obviously.  Produced by Bob Erzin, the album also featured Tony Levin on bass as well as Steve Hunter and Robert Fripp on guitars. It contained his first single “Solsbury Hill” which was quite autobiographical in describing his departure from Genesis, in perhaps oversimplified terms.

And despite not liking to post popular songs from popular records, that is what I am doing as like Gabriel, I have been in a rut as of late.  Or perhaps another rut in a long series of ruts.  But before I feel too sorry for myself, ruts do present good opportunities to get out and try something new, like Gabriel did.  So here is “Solsbury Hill”.  

Great little album with other good songs such as “Modern Love” and “Here Comes The Flood”.  Satisfactory album.  As far as you humble narrator goes, well don’t feel too badly, I am more than positive that he will bounce back.

The Monkees- Headquarters

This was $2.  I liked the Monkees when I was young.  Still do to an extent. Why you may ask.  I may have answered that question on this site before but for the sake of this post, I will answer it again.  Because on the TV show, they always stuck together.  Mostly through the bad times.  And on the show, they were always one step away from making it.  Despite always falling just one step short, they stuck together.

This was a huge album for the band.  After fighting hard to write and perform their own music, the Monkees got their break with this album.  It is kind of funny how it played out.  Mike and Peter wanted to be musicians.  Mickey wanted to be a director.  All Davy wanted to do was make money and as shown in the made for TV movie about the band, he appeared frustrated with his bandmates’ ambitions.

But here this is, the Monkee’s third album, with music performed by the members, rather than the session musicians used on the previous two records (the main exception was Chip Douglas for provided bass among other things).  The Monkees also contributed a good chunk of song writing to this album although others such as Boyce and Hart are present as well.

It is Mike Nesmith’s influence that gives the album a country-folk-rock sound, but one particular exception is Mickey Dolenz’s “Randy Scouse Git”, which is a British slang that is quite unpleasant.

This was meant to be the Monkees’ crown achievement and they were rewarded with a #1 record spot upon its release in May of 1967.  However, as fate would have it, Sgt Peppers was released the following week, changing music as it was known at the time, knocking Headquarters to an eleven week run at the #2 spot,overshadowing the accomplishments of the made for TV band. IN a way, it was very fitting and followed the TV show’s plot lines; the band fought so hard to make this great little album, just to fall a tad short in the end to one of the most important albums of the 60’s.

Anyway, here this is.  For a sample, I was torn in several directions but ultimately went with the Nesmith penned/sung country flavored “You Just May Be The One”.

Great album.  Top rated.

Traffic- John Barleycorn Must Die

Here’s a really good one dollar record for a Saturday.  

This was the fourth album from the UK group Traffic but the first without guitarist Dave Mason.  In his departure, and after some side projects, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood, and Jim Capaldi put together this album which was released in 1970.  Critics were a bit hard on this album noting Mason’s absence, but it sold well both in the US and the UK , eventually going gold.  Most of the record is very jazz/blues oriented with the exception of the title track, which was a nod to the rising influence of bands like Fairport Convention on the UK scene. 

“John Barleycorn” (Round 164) is an English folk song dating back to the Age of James I.  The earliest copy is from the 1400’s.  There is also around 140 versions of the tune according to the back cover.  On the surface, it seems like a pretty nasty song.  Three men have decided that John Barleycorn must die.  He is mowed down and left in the sun to dry.  He is then cut down at his knees, rolled into a cart, smashed between stones ground up.  The songs concludes that many men can’t function without the death of John Barleycorn and that his blood is consumed by many from all walks of life.

Pretty gruesome until you realize that John Barleycorn is not actually a person and is instead barley and malt, the main ingredients in beer and whiskey.  The song in fact is a description of the harvest of these cereal crops and the production of alcohol.  It remains popular today and versions as shown above exist in both minor and major tones.

Anyway, I found Traffic’s version to be quite interesting.  Thus, here it is as the sample.  It should be noted that the rest of the record does not sound like this.

Good record. Satisfactory.