Saturday, December 20, 2008

RIP Dennis Yost

While better late than never, I must pay tribute to one of the under looked guys in pop music.
Dennis Yost was responsible for some of the best MOR sounds of the mid- late sixties. "Stormy" "Spooky" "Traces of Love" and my favorite "Pollyanna" were all over pop radio and now oldies radio. Looking back after all these years, I wonder what kind of an effect these songs had on couples split apart by the war. His stuff was on the radio from 1967-1969 and I can only imagine what kind of memories they must produce with wives STILL waiting for their men to come home. While not the most gifted of musicians, he surrounded himself with great players. Robert Nix, Dean Daughtry and James Cobb went on to form the Atlanta Rhythm Section (see earlier post) and his producer Buddy Buie did the same for ARS. He performed with various members as Dennis Yost and the Classics IV for the almost forty years. Following an outdoor concert on September 24, 2005 at Chenay Bay Resort, St. Croix, Virgin Islands at "Kat-Fest", Brian Correll and Don Martin headed for home, while the rest of the group stayed on the island for about a week. Martin had some business affairs to attend to and Correll returned to the recording studio to work on some songs that the group had been putting together for a new album to promote a 2006 tour, which would have marked the 40th anniversary of the group. However, plans for 2006 were soon abandoned after Yost became seriously ill. On July 11, 2006, while recovering at home in a suburb of Cincinnati, Yost fell down a flight of stairs and suffered serious brain trauma. Although Yost subsequently underwent a significant amount of rehabilitation, he was never again able to perform. Since Yost's unique voice was integral to the Classics IV sound, his injury effectively placed the group on hiatus. To assist Yost and his wife with their medical bills, a benefit concert was held on March 25, 2007, at Rhino's Live in Cincinnati, Ohio, the benefit was originally thought up by Yost's close friend Jon "Bowser" Bauman. Many musical entertainers and some surprise guests from the 1950s through the 1970s performed some of their biggest chart-topping hits in tribute to Yost, backed by local favorites, BlueStone Ivory and Classics IV guitarist Brian Correll. An interesting note to the benefit concert is that it did not benefit Yost or his wife financially. Without question the benefit was a huge boost for Yost allowing him to see and visit with so many old friends, but the expenses far exceeded the money raised leaving the whole event in the red.
Yost died of respiratory failure, on December 7, 2008, at the age of 65.

Here is a video tribute, starting with MY favorite "Pollyanna" where they sound more like the Four Seasons than the Classics IV. I was eleven when "Pollyanna" came out, and yes there was this girl... The "Traces" video was on a local Cleveland TV show. The guy looks and sounds an awful lot like Dick Clark.

Enjoy the recesses of your mind where a lot of good songs are still stored in our own personal Ipods.

Here is the Atlanta Rhythm Section version with Ronnie Hammond

Over Rated Part 3

On his blog, my buddy Brian has a section on musicians he thinks are overrated. You can get to his site by clicking the link on my roster of friend's websites. Since this is such a subjective subject, I thought I'd steal his idea and post mine.

Exhibit C

Aerosmith A.D. (after drugs)
While I would put Aerosmith's first four albums against anyones (Aerosmith, Get Your Wings, Toys in the Attic and Rocks), I wouldn't walk across the street to see them now. Permanent Vacation was OK ("Hangman's Jury" was the best song on that album). "The Other Side" and "F.I.N.E" from Pump were OK, but once they started making a statement... "Janie's Got A Gun", "Livin on the Edge", etc. they were done to me. Anytime any band has recorded a Diane Warren song (see Heart), they are toast.
"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" was nothing more than a full scale sell out and made me wretch whenever I heard it. While I have heard "Honkin on Bobo" is interesting, I couldn't tell you because they were finished in my mind and still are. I'll put it bluntly, they made better music when they were fucked up. Over rated.

Hidden gem

While driving back from B/N last night, I took some oldie but goodie CDs with me, one being John Cougar Mellencamp's "Nothing Matters and What if it Did". My heart stopped when this song came on. It hit me like a bullet from another time and dimension. I had forgotten the power it once held over me and I was transported back to 1981 when I went throught this exact situation with a woman. I still think of her.

The truth shall set you free.

You were NEVER better than this song, John.

Sorry about the weirdness in the video, it was the only "youtube" video of the song.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Over Rated Part Two

Sorry, Brian, this one's gonna hurt...

Exhibit B


Never got these guys at all. In fact, they were all I was against when it came to rock and roll bands. Can you play, write and sing? With these guys, my answer to each one was a resounding no. A friend of mine had their debut release in 1974 and brought it to my house. He lept and I wept. My first response was...what are they hiding? Sure, their shows are a hoot and I am pretty comfortable in my knowledge that they were in on the joke the whole time. A self marketer's dream but, to me, as I think of myself as a rock purist (my love for Journey notwithstanding), they represnted the side of rock and roll I didn't care for. The farewell tour lasted three years and came back to St. Louis twice. They do get points however for being nice guys. My interview with Paul and Gene at KSHE in 1994 was one of the best I have ever done. Personable and funny, but that don't mean nothin' when it comes to your place in rock and roll history. I think they will be much better known for the spectacle rather than the music. Over rated.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Upcoming Milestone

Just goes to show what passes for entertainment in this starved culture. This blog is approaching one hundred thousand hits. Not bad for being less than four years old. I think you all are absolutely insane, but, thanks for picking my journal of crap. At least it's my crap. I'd invite you all to a bar, but I don't know where we would hold the ceremony. I'll have a glass of white wine and ponder my navel.

Damn! He missed.

I think the whole country has wanted to do this for years, too bad he missed.

Over Rated

My buddy Brian is doing a feature on his blog about the most overrated bands in rock and roll. Since copying is the most sincerest form of flattery (or something like that), we'll get into Randy's most over rated...

Exhibit A

The Grateful Dead.

Now mind you, I like a lot of their stuff, it's the endless noodling and the God like fascination their followers have with the band that does it for me. Jeez, stay in time and in tune will ya? They had a couple of decent releases ("Workingman's Dead" being one). I remember buying their live album (Europe 72) when I was 16 and taking it back to get my money refunded the next day. I just didn't get it. I still don't. Nice enough stuff but hardly cult like legions of unwashed material. Hey, it's a subjective blog and I appreciate good music like the next person, but having lived through it, I still don't get it. "Noodle music" as my dad described it. "Do they play, or do they just noodle all day?" Over rated.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Louis CK

I found this on He found it somewhere else, ain't the internet grand?

I not only had a rotary dial, when we were on the farm, we had a party line that featured old Mrs. Harris on our line and she would sometimes answer our calls. Urgh, if kids only knew..

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