Saturday, October 06, 2007

New Mellencamp Stirs It Up


JENA, La. - A video in which rapper-actor Mos Def asked students around the country to walk out Oct. 1 to support the "Jena Six" escaped comment by this town's mayor. But when John Mellencamp sang, "Jena, take your nooses down," he took issue.

"The town of Jena has for months been mischaracterized in the media and portrayed as the epicenter of hatred, racism and a place where justice is denied," Jena Mayor Murphy R. McMillin wrote in a statement on town letterhead faxed on Friday to The Associated Press.
He said he had previously stayed quiet, hoping that the town's courtesy to people who have visited over the past year would speak for itself. "However, the Mellencamp video is so inflammatory, so defamatory, that a line has been crossed and enough is enough."
Mellencamp could not comment immediately because he was on a plane from California to Indiana and had not heard about McMillin's comments, publicist Bob Merlis said late Friday.
A brief note from Mellencamp posted Thursday on his Web site says he is telling a story, not reporting. "The song is not written as an indictment of the people of Jena but, rather, as a condemnation of racism," it says.
Nooses hung briefly from a big oak tree outside Jena High School a year ago, after a black freshman asked whether black students could sit under it. A white student was beaten unconscious three months later, in December.
Six black students, four of them 17 years old and legally adults, were arrested. Five were initially charged with attempted murder, although that charge has been reduced to aggravated second-degree battery as four of the older youths have been arraigned. The only youth tried so far was convicted, but that conviction was overturned on appeal and the case was sent to juvenile court.
Mellencamp's song opens, "An all-white jury hides the executioner's face; See how we are, me and you?" As he sings, images of Jena, the high school and the tree are followed by video from the 1960s, including civil rights marchers, police beatings, and President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King speaking. Still images include one of a protest sign reading, "God demands segregation," a stylized drawing of people in Ku Klux Klan robes and an older image of a black man in shackles, begging.
"I do not want to diminish the impression that the hanging of the nooses has had on good people," McMillin wrote. "I do recognized that what happened is insulting and hurtful."
But, he said, "To put the incident in Jena in the same league as those who were murdered in the 1960s cheapens their sacrifice and insults their memory."
At McMillin's request, the Jena Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to create an interracial committee to study racial relations and suggest solutions to any problems.JENA, La. - A video in which rapper-actor Mos Def asked students around the country to walk out Oct. 1 to support the "Jena Six" escaped comment by this town's mayor. But when John Mellencamp sang, "Jena, take your nooses down," he took issue.

"The town of Jena has for months been mischaracterized in the media and portrayed as the epicenter of hatred, racism and a place where justice is denied," Jena Mayor Murphy R. McMillin wrote in a statement on town letterhead faxed on Friday to The Associated Press.
He said he had previously stayed quiet, hoping that the town's courtesy to people who have visited over the past year would speak for itself. "However, the Mellencamp video is so inflammatory, so defamatory, that a line has been crossed and enough is enough."
Mellencamp could not comment immediately because he was on a plane from California to Indiana and had not heard about McMillin's comments, publicist Bob Merlis said late Friday.
A brief note from Mellencamp posted Thursday on his Web site says he is telling a story, not reporting. "The song is not written as an indictment of the people of Jena but, rather, as a condemnation of racism," it says.
Nooses hung briefly from a big oak tree outside Jena High School a year ago, after a black freshman asked whether black students could sit under it. A white student was beaten unconscious three months later, in December.
Six black students, four of them 17 years old and legally adults, were arrested. Five were initially charged with attempted murder, although that charge has been reduced to aggravated second-degree battery as four of the older youths have been arraigned. The only youth tried so far was convicted, but that conviction was overturned on appeal and the case was sent to juvenile court.
Mellencamp's song opens, "An all-white jury hides the executioner's face; See how we are, me and you?" As he sings, images of Jena, the high school and the tree are followed by video from the 1960s, including civil rights marchers, police beatings, and President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King speaking. Still images include one of a protest sign reading, "God demands segregation," a stylized drawing of people in Ku Klux Klan robes and an older image of a black man in shackles, begging.
"I do not want to diminish the impression that the hanging of the nooses has had on good people," McMillin wrote. "I do recognized that what happened is insulting and hurtful."
But, he said, "To put the incident in Jena in the same league as those who were murdered in the 1960s cheapens their sacrifice and insults their memory."
At McMillin's request, the Jena Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to create an interracial committee to study racial relations and suggest solutions to any problems.



Here is the video. May be one of his best songs ever, but I have long ago lost any connection I have had with John Mellencamp. He is not a pleasant person. When he released "Our Country" as the theme song to Chevy a year ago, a little more of that bond slipped away. Then when he bitched about the song not getting any "airplay", that really set me off. John, the reason you didn't get any airplay was because by that time, it was Chevy commercial for everyone else.

Your thoughts?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Three of Randy's Top 100

What can you say about the depth of this masterpiece from Neil? I did not get familiar with this until about 1972. I heard "Heart of Gold" on the radio and somehow confused it with "Down By The River" (the first version I heard of THAT was done by Buddy Miles on a late night am radio program somewhere). Don't ask how, but I bought this one instead of "Harvest". This reminds me of sixteen, the endless cruising on a Friday night listening to "Cowgirl in the Sand" or "Cinnamon Girl" for God's sake. By purchasing this at just about the same time I got "Harvest", this was always album one in my two album Neil Young package.

Performance A First rate playing and singing

Songs A Masterpieces in "Cinnamon Girl" and "Down By The River"

Sound B+ Play it loud!

Production B Again, this was made to be played loud and it sounded great

Staying Power A- D'uh.

Continuity B No filler here.

"Heart of Gold","Old Man", "The Needle and The Damage Done". There is your triple play, thank you good night. This is the release that really turned me into a fan. Album two of Neil's best, "Out On The Weekend" was my favorite. This is sophomore year in high school nailed.

Performance B+ Neil and the band were a bit sloppy

Songs A Some of his best ever

Sound B- A warmer mix than "everybody Knows" and a bit muddy for me, but it sounds warm

Production B Sounds like it was recorded in a barn (which it was)

Staying Power A I played "Old Man" and "Heart of Gold" in Nashville

Continuity B- A couple of fillers, but I'll take his highs anyday


The first time I heard "LaGrange" I was standing in the road in front of my house talkin to my friend Gary in his souped up Vega and when it came on the eight track, I had never witnessed anything like it. That was the meanest nastiest song I had ever heard and I wanted more right then. It starts with "Jesus Just Left Chicago/Waiting For the Bus" and doesn't stop until "Have You Heard" ten songs later. Hell, "LaGrange" didn't even come on until track eight. "Beer Drinkers, Hell Raisers","Move Me On Down The Line" and the rest makes this one cook. Extra points for the spread of Mexican food on the inside of the album cover

Performance A- These guys played their asses off

Songwriting B When in Texas..

Sound D Muddy muddy the remasters did not help much

Production C This was a very bare bones operation

Staying Power A "LaGrange" has been played non stop for the past thirty five years

Continuity B- A bit of filler "Master of Sparks" but not too bad

Honorable Mention:

Apostrophe-Frank Zappa

Eliminator-ZZTop

The Post Below

Whenever you start talking "best" of anything, it had better really be the best. I know, maybe I'm old school, but I don't consider Madonna, Micheal Jackson or The Beastie Boys to be anywhere close to my definition of the term "rock and roll". However, the inclusion of the "Saturday Night Fever" Soundtrack did not bother me. I was on the radio and in the clubs when it came out, I know the influence on culture it had and even though it violates one of my qualifications for making my list, it should have probably been listed higher.
Well, as a very qualified observer of the rock and roll culture for the last 45 years or so, I thought I would put together MY collection of MY top 100 albums of all time. Using the criteria used in the other test, I will list them a few at a time, in an order that will consist of reverse alphabetical because quite honestly, I couldn't put it together any other way. Remember, this is my list and the numbers were compiled by me in my warped cranium. Enjoy the list.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Top 100 LPs of All Time?


What a great argument. What is garbage to one is priceless to another. This is a pretty solid list. One glaring discrepancy I would have is the lack of titles from The Moody Blues, the Doobie Brothers and "Security" by Peter Gabriel and "Born To Run" should have switched places.


Here is the competition and how it's judged.
In a world where record companies seem happy to sell consumers songs by the single via a low-resolution, non-surround sound download - AVRev.com wanted to point out the importance of the album concept. Inspired by the Sabermetric system used by Bill James in his baseball abstracts that attempt to make seemingly subjective elements more scientific in comparison - the AVRev.com staff compiled a set of categories to rate the Top 100 Rock Albums of all time.

We offer a link below for readers to download the same sheet to see how your favorites do. You can even post them on our forum and discuss them with other music and audio fans.The JudgesThe team of judges include: AVRev.com publisher Jerry Del Colliano Jr., AVRev.com Music Editor Charles Andrews, 5.1 music executive David Delgrosso, Xhifi's President Howard Schilling, Definitive Audio's Eric Ward, Bel Canto's President John Stronczer and record industry veteran and high-resolution enthusiast, Ted Cohen.
The Categories
Performance: (100 Points) Simply put, how well did the band or artist play on the record? Technical ability, soul and beyond.
Songs and Songwriting: (100 Points) How good are the songs on the record? Were they great originals, killer covers, reinterpretations that were better than the original? All would spike the score in this category.
Sound: (50 Points) - How good does the record sound? Did it ever get released in a high-resolution or surround sound format? If so, that would get a few extra points. Was the record a breakthrough record for recording techniques or does it just plain sound good on a CD? These are all factors in a high score for sound.
Production: (50 Points) - Great sound doesn’t always match with great production (think Wall of Sound from Phil Spector). Slick production, unique instrumentation, development of important "sounds" all factor into a high score in this category.
Staying Power: (50 Points) - To be a truly great album, the record needs to be as relevant today as it when it came out.
Concept/Continuity: (50 Points) - This is the X Factor category where albums that are great from the first note to the last get the highest grades. Think of The Police's Synchronicity and the stiff song "Mother" as an example of a great record with one bad track. Records that are great from top to bottom receive the best grades here.

Here is the link.

A Very Sweet Treat

I had an appointment in downtown Kirkwood and wrapping that up early, I went to see Tom at my favorite place to buy music, Now Hear This in downtown Kirkwood. Tom and I have been doing business for about 21 years and he has proven reliable and getting me just about anything. The new Bruce Springsteen "Magic" was on my mind and I was excited when he had a copy. He also pointed me to another new release from John Fogerty. So, (doing something I have been doing since the dawn of time) , I spent money I didn't have for music. And I bought the John Fogerty.


I tasted the new Springsteen on the way to see the "Rat Pack" in concert at the Fox (the stage show of one night in Vegas circa 1961) I played the first four songs, nothing quite hit me. That's okay, most of the time that's a good sign. Except when it comes to the new Who record.
I put the John Fogerty in on my way to work yesterday and wham, bam, thank you so much for playing our game, song one, side one knocked me out. Here's the video to his first single (which will never get played on the radio). John has found Jesus and he's pissed about the war. At least he's consistant with his thoughts and with his music. His band has Kenny Aronoff on drums and Benmont Tench from the Heartbreakers killing me with his stuff. So far, I like about 90% of it, but I will check in with another report later. First impressions...a masterpiece. One of the biggest thrills in my life was meeting John Fogerty after his show at the Fox in 1997. My brother was a huge fan of CCR. He served two tours in Viet Nam and I rememeber one thing he told me when I first got into radio. He said..."if you ever get to meet John Fogerty, just tell him how much his music meant to us punk kids ever there." Of course, there would never be a chance to meet John Fogerty, he was retired to a farm in Oregon or something. In 1997, I told John Fogerty what my brother (who had since passed) said and I swear his eyes welled up. He said it always meant a lot coming from a vet. We had our picture taken, (but it qualifies as absolutely the worst piece of shit picture I have ever taken and even though it's with him, no thanks, no one will ever see it)
and he signed my album. You'll have to look closely, but there it is. Joyous experience and so is this release. This guy makes it sound effortless.









Clint Hurdle

This is how I remember Clint Hurdle. Clint came to the Royals in 1978 allegedly having more tools than George Brett. He was quicker, faster, etc. For reasons that I don't want to get into, I know that life was pretty tough for Clint. There are certain things a man should never have to defend. Clint and I had a few in our days in KC. He worked nights and so did I. He was gone from the Royals very quickly and faded away until this year. Clint is the manager of the Colorado Rockies, who now hold a 2-0 lead over the Phillies after taking two of two in Philadelphia. Nice work. I always liked Clint and I am rooting for him. His bench coach, Jamie Quirk is another great guy back from the early eighties version of the Royals. Those teams were in the playoffs year after year. There is hope for us all. Even though Ryan Howard of the Phils is from St. Louis, I am pleased that Clint is enjoying life.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Great new website


Hey radio guys, found this one today when looking through the referrals to this blog here.

Dan Kelly is a good radio guy and I have added his blog link to your right, he now has a permanent link here. I can only imagine the profound greatness he must feel. He likes to spotlight those classic rock stations who do it right, knowing that it is about the local content and local connection to the audience. That formula has worked well for the past 35 years. So take a visit to a site that really looks good.

Seven Bridges Road

From the dr. sardonicus website: (shit, the dude knows as much about this music as i do)

He has a great blog and you can go there by going here: dr. sardonicus. His handle is also one of my favorite albums of all time

The oft-covered "Seven Bridges Road" was written and originally recorded in 1969 by Steve Young, not to be confused with the former NFL quarterbacking great. This Steve Young was a well-traveled young man. His family moved around throughout the South as he grew up. He moved away to New York City where for awhile he was part of the Greenwich Village scene that included Bob Dylan, and in the mid-60's moved to Los Angeles where he was in a band with Stephen Stills.In between those coastal jaunts, Young lived for a time in Montgomery, Alabama, where he received the inspiration for "Seven Bridges Road". From Young's recollections, the "Seven Bridges Road" was a popular Montgomery hangout, although he couldn't remember the road's actual name:I lived in Montgomery , Alabama in the early 60's and had a group of friends there that showed me the road. It led out of town and after you had crossed 7 Bridges you found yourself out in the country on a dirt road. Spanish Moss hung in the trees and there were old farms with old fences and graveyards and churches and streams. A high bank dirt road with trees. It seemed like a Disney Fantasy at times. People went there to park or get stoned or just to get away from it all. I thought my friends had made up the name "7 Bridges Road" . I found out later that it had been called by that name for over a 100 years. That people had been struck by the beauty of the road for a long time, however , this is not the official name of the road. It is a "folk name".Hank Williams Jr. has said that the "Seven Bridges Road" is the road that leads to Oakwood Annex Cemetery, where his father is buried. This doesn't seem likely, though, as Oakwood Annex is located in a residential neighborhood in north Montgomery. Another suggestion is that the reference is to Woodley Road, a road leading from Montgomery's southern outskirts into the countryside. Upon this road are seven bridges.Steve Young recorded "Seven Bridges Road" for his debut LP, Rock, Salt, and Nails, which today is considered to be a classic of the "outlaw country" genre. The song was almost instantly recognized as a classic, and it soon was covered by Joan Baez, Rita Coolidge, and Tracy Nelson. Here is a recent interview with Steve Young. Here is the song via Youtube, no video but great audio. The best of the early versions, though, was the one Fairport Convention alum Ian Matthews recorded in 1973 on his Valley Hi album, produced by ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith. Matthews and Nesmith came up with an arrangement that featured an a capella introduction, as well as a gorgeous steel guitar solo.In 1980, the Eagles sped up Matthews' version and in so doing came up with a major hit single; this is the "Seven Bridges Road" everybody knows today. The covers slowed as the Eagles' version came to be acknowledged as definitive, though artists as diverse as Firehouse, Ricochet and Dolly Parton have all released versions of "Seven Bridges Road" in recent years. To my ears, though, Ian Matthews still takes first prize. Valley Hi is a disc well worth seeking out for fans of country-rock and folk-rock.Steve Young is still writing and recording today. As is often the case, Young never became a star. He spent much of the 70's battling drug and alcohol problems, yet he overcame those difficulties and remains a vital artist. Young recorded this live version of "Seven Bridges Road" in 1991. In Young's hands, the song is a wistful, melancholy remembrance of times past, and a haunting counterpoint to the version that album rock radio has burnt into our heads over the years.

Thanks, doc. I, too think the Ian Matthews version is excellent. There is something about those five part harmonies that the Eagles pull off so well, though.
Great post.


Here's a news story about Ian Matthews and Southern Comfort done many years ago.

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