Author Archives: keepsmealive

Thrift Store Religion

This one needs a disclaimer:

I give all deference to anyone’s beliefs. I do. I really do. This post is just pointing out something I’ve noticed, recently. And now you’re wondering what the hell I’m gonna say. Well, read on!


There’s a piped-in radio at our work. We have no say in what gets played. It’s been Christmas music lately, of course. Not my favourite, but it’s only temporary.

Thankfully, it’s not non-stop Christmas music, they’ve been playing regular pop music mixed in. And with those mixed in songs, I’ve been noticing that there has also been an increase in overtly religious songs in the playlist. Related to Christmas? Probably. Or maybe it’s just random chance. But I noticed.

Here are 5 songs I heard in heavy rotation last week, mixed in with Jingle Bell Rock and Blue Christmas:

Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky

Yes, the original. And if ever there was an overt religious song, it’s this one. You’ve heard it. You know.

Beach Boys – God Made The Radio

I generally appreciate the Beach Boys and what they were, but I’ve always found this song insipid and obnoxious, one of the worst in their catalogue. And every time it plays, all I can think is that God did not make the radio. A long list of human inventors discovered electromagnetic waves and subsequently built machines to use them. I don’t care how good your harmonies are, science made the radio.

Dishwalla – Counting Blue Cars

“Tell me all your thoughts on God, ‘cos I’d really like to meet her.” The story of a child asking a zillion questions, as “children often do.” Fun to purport that God is a woman (and why not, although Christianity seems certain it’s a man, who sent HIS Son, etc), and curiosity is great in anyone, but this one plays like pure calculation. like, ‘hey man, if we mention God in our song, and make it a woman, but package it as something relatable like a kid being curious, we might get radio play!’

Joan Osbourne – One Of Us

An OK tune the first couple of times I heard it, but every play after that (and it’s been countless times, in groceries stores, dentists’ offices, shopping malls, etc), has been annoying. And look, if God was “a slob like one of us,” “just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home,” well, first of all… where is that bus going, straight up? Don’t people believe heaven is in the sky? Shouldn’t it be a plane, not a bus? And if God is here on the earth amongst us, dealing with commuter traffic, who’s running things upstairs? It all hurts my head.

George Harrison – My Sweet Lord

Yup, he’s here too, and George was my favourite Beatle. I know a lot of his music was about spirituality in one way or another, but this has had a lot of play at work too and so here it is on the list because you know what it says too.


In Sum:

I’m just pointing out that I noticed an increase in the number of songs containing religious overtones and references on my workplace music system. It’s unusual for this many to be played daily. Again, it’s probably the proximity to a Christian holiday that’s brought this on. I also have not heard a single Hannukah song.

What’s probably worse is that my co-workers hum along and don’t pay any attention to the words. The tunes are catchy enough to grab their ear and attention, and the songs are played at just that volume that they can be heard but they don’t demand your full attention, and so the content doesn’t phase them. If they’re Christians, these tunes are great, but it’s pretty subliminal if they’re not. Of course, they also hum along to that horrid I can’t feel my face song, too, so it’s equal opportunity.

Fortunately, I am off all of this coming week. And with all the work holidays for Christmas and other days off when the production team (that’s me) isn’t in the building, I only work two days between now and January 2. By then, the Christmas music should be gone, and we can go (hopefully) back to our regular pap pop.


Wave Grannies

Coming soon to a town near me…

BLOG DYLAN: A Community Bob Dylan Extravaganza

Huge thanks to Danica for the inspiration and for coordinating this project, and to Bruce for the art work. I’m super-excited to participate in this one day blogosphere Bob Dylan extravaganza, wonderfully-titled BLOG DYLAN. 

THIS LINK is both the introductory post to the collaborative effort, and the place you can find links for everyone’s Blog Dylan posts!


For my entry, I was tempted to write about many points of interest along the way in this man’s incredible (storied) career. But ultimately, I chose to go back to the very beginning. 1962. The debut album, simply titled Bob Dylan.

Recording 17 tracks in three short afternoon sessions in November of 1961, the final result of the first-ever Dylan album gives us 11 folk standards and traditionals, as well as 2 originals. 13 tracks in an economical 36:54.

Now, you can read all about it right here. I recommend that you do. That link has all the info on the whole history of this record, and on the four tracks that didn’t make the record, and how things were done, etc etc.

Instead of re-typing all of that and making it sound like I know more than I do, I am (instead) going to tell you about what I hear in the songs…

The first notes of recorded Bob Dylan are on Jesse Fuller’s You’re No Good, a quick-strum shouter that can’t help but make you smile. Dylan’s rapid-fire harmonica work is also damn sweet on this one. Next up is one of the two Dylan originals, Talkin’ New York. This ode to the city that never sleeps keeps the tempo up, but it’s pure Dylan as we know him now. Funny how we take so much of him for granted now, but back in ’62 this must’ve hit like a truck. “People going down to the ground, buildings going up to the sky.” Hell yes.

The next two are traditionals arranged by Dylan. In My Time Of Dyin drips blues, oh I loved it. I think he really nailed the howl in the vocals too. Definitely a highlight track, only three songs in! And Man Of Constant Sorrow somehow comes out sounding like it’s a Dylan original. Amazing how he does that…

Then it’s Bukka White’s Fixin’ To Die, which Dylan seems to turn into a race. Man, he’s really pounding this one out, like he’s barrelling head-long into death instead of trying to slow it up. Wow. I checked out the White original, and it’s got a good pace to it, but not this fast. Another traditional (arranged by Dylan) is Pretty Peggy-O, another Dylan sing/talker with that quick strum and harmonica work. And rounding off side A of the LP is Curtis Jones’ Highway 51, a raunchy fast blues with that great soulful shout again. He really goes for broke on the vocals, here.

Flipping over to side B, we get three more traditional tunes. Gospel Plow (arranged by Dylan) lets us know we’re in for another round of rapid-fire strumming and harmonica work. Love the growl in the vocals, even with his young voice when he goes from the shout to the growl it’s very powerful. Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (arranged by Eric von Schmidt) is a sweetly picked blues that we all know well. What a tune, and this version is a killer. House Of The Rising Sun (aaranged by Dave van Ronk), the tune we all learn to play early on in our guitar learning, is turned into mournful blues as (I think) it should be. This could be a definitive version for me. Gorgeous.

John Laird’s Freight Train Blues (arranged by Dylan) is aptly-titled, as once again we’re off down the tracks, chugging with speed while Dylan emulates a train whistle with his voice (and what a held note, there on the second round, ye gods!), and the harmonica glues the verses together and the whole thing crashes to a close and it takes a moment for you to decelerate from the momentum. The penultimate track is the second Dylan original, Song To Woody, a picked blues masterpiece. Since Dylan had Guthrie in his blood from the get-go, this track is pretty bold for him, too, placing his idols and influences right in front of him as if to say ‘here they are, now let’s go.’ It’s a nod to those influences, and a signal of what’s to come. Glory. And the album draws to a close with Blind Lemon Jefferson’s See That My Grave Is Kept Clean. Holy hell, what a track. It’s like a punch to the gut, buried down here at the bottom of the album. Just… wow.

In Sum:

This album is incredible, honestly. It makes you sit up and listen. This is not a passive experience – you’re drawn in and made part of the immersive, engaging proceedings. It’s a fun exercise to try to wrap your head around how this release started off a lifetime (and varied) career of one of the most iconic singer/songwriters ever. As for the tracks, I loved the freight-train breakneck folk and traditional stuff, but for me the real hits here are the bluesier numbers. This is protest Dylan, this is country Dylan, and it’s blues Dylan. And it’s one helluva record.



I mentioned (ages ago) this when I bought it, but my copy has this different cover. It’s probably a remaster of a re-release of a re-release of a re-release, but I don’t care. It sounds good to me!



Unearth – III: In The Eyes Of Fire

I had only vague knowledge of this band, but once I gave it a spin I knew it for what it was – a brutal thrashing in your stereo! My goodness.

Every track pummels you breathless with aggression and melodic metal. Lots of screamo vocals, which I don’t always go for, but the tunefulness here makes up for any time they get too much. If I were to be unfair and compare them to other bands, I definitely hear Sevendust and many of their ilk, but there’s death metal in here too to give it more edge. When the dude sings cleaner I hear (oddly) Zack De La Rocha. Interesting.

Monster riffs, lithe and roiling guitar lines as well mixed in with the heavy chugging, and a bottom end built to destroy. No questioning the musicianship here.

This is a 2CD set, with CD1 the album proper, and CD2 containing two other live tracks (from an earlier album called The Oncoming Storm). The live stuff proves this band not only destroys in your stereo, they’ll do it to you in person if you go see them in concert, as well.

Whew! This was a punishing listen, but I really do appreciate what they do, and I can give it thumbs up to anyone into this kind of metal assault.

Funkadelic – Free Your Mind… And Your Ass Will Follow

Stone cold classic funk rock album here, my goodness.

The inimitable Funkadelic shakes your foundations, moves your ass, and seeks to expand your mind. I loved this now – I can’t imagine what it did to people when it dropped, in 1970.

It’s a groove, pure and gorgeous. Sure it’s weird, and there’s quite a bit of Hendrix in those guitar tones, but it’s unabashed and it’s true. Whatever energy you bring to this record at the opening (title) track, it will show you it knows the way, and spit you back out at Eulogy And Light a groovy jammin’ soul sister or brother.

Man, I so needed this right now. Thank you, Funkadelic!

John Mayer – Room For Squares

You may recall that I recently watched a documentary about Mayer on the Tubes Of You, said I was gonna get into his albums. I have two here (this one, and Heavier Things), so I thought I’d take a listen.

I bopped along absent-mindedly to most of it. Of course I knew the hits (Your Body Is A Wonderland, Why Georgia) because our piped-in work music plays them relentlessly. Well the deep cuts fit the same form, so it’s a cohesive record. There’s no doubting that the man can play guitar, as any live footage I’ve seen will attest, but this record doesn’t really show off those skills in a wankery way… it’s a band effort overall and that’s cool too.

As for his lyrics, I can’t tell if the man is telling it like it is (as he seemed to in the documentary) or if he’s got his head so far up his own ass and this is all just masturbatory. I cut him a break given that this is his first album, early days, so maybe his song-writing will get stronger as he goes along. The music was good, great in spots, even, though it does seem to be playing it fairly safe in a jazzy pop rock way. Future dentist office waiting room music, you know? But I thought the lyrics might’ve been a wee bit too much minutiae not enough meat. Says I, who probably could not do better, but still.

Of course, I found lots of love for Mayer online, but I also found detractors. Such is the way, I suppose, with artists who’ve exploded into fame as he has. You can imagine what the fans say, but one bit I found I reproduce here just for shits and giggles:

“Singer-songwriter John Mayer fills his debut, Room for Squares, with pep talks to and advertisements for himself. Even when questioning his young life, Mayer’s doubts come off glib; not one second of “Why Georgia” convinces that “the stirring in my soul” keeps the artiste awake at night. Between his Dave Matthews-wannabe vocals and the accomplished but bland lite rock of his band, he could be just as easily offering tunes for hire to a coming-of-age network series as making a stand for himself and his worldview. The premise of “City Love”–that Mayer couldn’t find his way around Manhattan until finding a girlfriend to root him to the place–is nice but not edifying. “My Stupid Mouth” is similarly fuzzy; letting us in on just what he said to alienate a dinner partner would’ve gone a long way toward fleshing out the song’s pat self-deprecation. Ultimately, Mayer comes off less like a commiserating friend than a blabbermouth who’s forever forgetting there’s someone else in the room. And instead of whining about a discarded lunch box (“83”), dude, learn to brown-bag it the way the rest of us did. –Rickey Wright”

Haha. So, in sum? It’s a decent record. I played it with the good headphones on, and it was alright. Not sure how much I’ll play it, going forward, but hey. And I’m gonna try the second record too, see if there’s growth.


PS: I also learned that this album was named in reference to Hank Mobley’s 1963 Blue Note album No Room For Squares. I don’t quite make the connection between the two, but there ya go.

Ozzy Osbourne – The Ultimate Sin

This is Ozzy’s fourth solo record, last to feature Jake E. Lee on guitar, first album for Randy Castillo on drums, and the only record to feature Phil Soussan on bass. I learned all this on the interwubs.

So of course I cranked this sucker, because OZZY. Every song has that Ozzy swagger and sound that you just can’t deny.

Some detractors say the songs over the course of the album are too same-y, and some say the production on this copy is a bit sketchy, but I didn’t have a problem with it. Mind you, my ear isn’t audiophile quality, but to me the sound is just fine, and the tunes are varied enough. You get the singles (the title track and Shot In The Dark, the latter is almost flirting with 80s pop/rock fighter jet movie soundtrack territory), plenty of solid rockers (mid to faster tempos), and even an epic like Killer Of Giants, which is one of my favourite tracks here.

I had good fun rocking this one!


Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: Healing The Divide – A Concert For Peace And Reconciliation

Welcome to the last day of this brilliant Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival. Hope you’ve had as much as we did with this one! Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts from all the writers involved in the series. And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


This is a fascinating CD. I cribbed this from Amazon, which oughta tell you everything you need to know about it:

In September 2003, actor Richard Gere introduced a brief address by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, an evolved soul if ever there was one. The two men hosted a benefit concert at New York’s Avery Fischer Hall to raise funds for Healing the Divide, a humanitarian organization founded by Gere and dedicated to fostering understanding between East and West. The Gyuto Tantric Choir’s deep, overtone-laced throat singing opens the festivities. Appropriately enough, Tom Waits, hoarse and rumbly-tumbly as ever, is up next, appearing with the eternally questing and utterly fearless Kronos Quartet, as is Gambian kora (a West African harp-lute) virtuoso Foday Musa Suso. The latter also sits in with minimalist composer Philip Glass and his ensemble–an unexpectedly thrilling juxtaposition. The beautiful and brilliant young Indian mistress of the sitar, Anoushka Shankar (daughter of Ravi), shoots sparks while N. Carlos Nakai’s Native American wooden flute is heard in an ineffably spacious and moving peace chant with Tibetan musician/composer Nawang Khechog. Each of the artists involved and the record label are donating all their proceeds from the sale of this commemorative CD to the Tibetan Health Initiative, a program providing health insurance and medical care for refugee Buddhist monks and nuns. But aside from offering a painless opportunity for accruing positive karma, these awe-inspiring live tracks would be a bargain at double the price. –Christina Roden

As for my own take on it, after all that, I’ll tell you that I could not help but be pulled deep into this disc. It’s so different from what I usually play, and utterly intriguing and fully immersive, that as it unfolded it quickly became one of the best discs I’ve heard in a long time! This is how we expand our horizons and learn new things… And of course, anything with Tom Waits (with Kronos Quartet, no less!) is worth every penny. Buy this with confidence.


Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: American Roots Songbook: The Blues – From Yesterday’s Masters To Today’s Cutting Edge

Welcome back to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


















This one’s super-easy for me – I loved it!

Me and the blues go way back. I was listening to old blues in high school and haven’t ever quit. Of course, I had no real perspective on it, back when I got started in it, but I was learning. And what happened in the listening was it got deep into my blood and never left.

This comp is amazing. Discogs struggled to nail down how they wanted to label it, check it out:

“Genre: Jazz, Rock, Funk / Soul, Blues, Folk, World, & Country

Style: Piedmont Blues, Blues Rock, Chicago Blues, Rockabilly, Jump Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Piano Blues, Delta Blues, Boogie Woogie, Soul, Folk, Swing”

Whew! Whatever label, the playing is stellar, the tracks are killer, and this comp is one I will play often, any time of day and any day of the week.

Track Listing:

01 Rev. Gary Davis – Cross And Evil Woman Blues
02 Michael Bloomfield – Memphis Radio Blues
03 Duke Robillard – Sayin’ Don’t Make It So
04 Debbie Davies – I Just Want To Make Love To You
05 Anders Osborne – Boxes, Bills And Pain
06 Pinetop Perkins – Hoochie Coochie Man
07 Sue Foley – Every Road I Take
08 Curtis Salgado – Cookie Dough
09 Otis Taylor – Stone Pony
10 Stefan Grossman – Love, Devils And The Blues

Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: The Birth Of Surf

Welcome back to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


















There are tons of surf music compilations out there, but most of them leave me wanting more because I can always think of songs they should have added. Also, many comps like this (especially the real budget ones) have varying sound quality from track to track, which definitely downgrades the experience.

Then I stumbled across this UK comp and was blown away. Compiled by Pipeline Magazine, the 26 tracks here represent a fantastic overview of early surf music. Not a bad one in the bunch! It really captures how surf music burgeoned out of 50s rock and because its own thing in the early 60s. Love that Danelectro twang… Also, the sound quality is excellent across the, er, board.

And yes, I had more than one Pulp Fiction flashback as I listened to this haha.

Apparently, there are a vol.2 and vol.3 out there too. I wants them!

Check it out!

Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival – Vintage Sex Songs

Welcome back to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


This entire compilation pleased me to no end. 40 tracks of jump blues, swing and ragtime – all about sex, often couched in double entendre (though sometimes not!). What a great listen, seriously.

This is a euro comp from a label called Primo, who remastered everything and sent this out into the world for our amusement and edification in 2008.

If you ever happen across a copy of this set, don’t even hesitate. It’s pure glorious. So much fun!



1-1 The Swallows – It Ain’t The Meat (It’s The Motion)
1-2 Bullmoose Jackson – I Want A Bow-Legged Woman
1-3 Crown Prince Waterford – Move Your Hand Baby
1-4 Frankie “Half-Pint” Jaxon – It Must Be Jelly (‘Cos Jam Don’t Shake Like That)
1-5 Wynonie Harris – She Kept On Sittin’ On It All The Time
1-6 Julia Lee – King Sized Papa
1-7 Sister Rosetta Tharpe – I Want A Tall Skinny Papa
1-8 Mabel Scott – Just Give Me A Man
1-9 Connie Allen – Rocket 69
1-10 Cleo Gibson – I’ve Got Ford Engine Movements In My Hips
1-11 Margaret Carter – I Want Plenty Of Grease In My Frying Pan
1-12 Sippie Wallace – A Man For Every Day Of The Week
1-13 Fats Noel – Ride Daddy Ride
1-14 Jimmy Preston – Hucklebuck Baby
1-15 Papa Charlie Jackson – You Put It In, I’ll Take It Out
1-16 Al Miller – I Found Your Keyhole
1-17 Jimmie Gordon – Bed Springs Blues
1-18 Roosevelt Sykes – My Baby’s Playground
1-19 Memphis Minnie – Keep On Eatin’
1-20 Bessie Smith – I Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl


2-1 Lillie Mae Kirkman – He’s Just My Size
2-2 Barrelhouse Annie – If It Don’t Fit, Don’t Force It
2-3 Sippie Wallace – I’m A Mighty Tight Woman
2-4 Johnny Temple – Sit Right On It
2-5 The Treniers – Poon Tang
2-6 Lowell Fulson – Let Me Ride In Your Little Automobile
2-7 Lightnin’ Hopkins – Let Me Play With Your Poodle
2-8 Charlie Pickett – Let Me Squeeze Your Lemon
2-9 Bo Carter – My Pencil Won’t Write No More
2-10 The Mississippi Sheiks – Driving That Thing
2-11 Lonnie Johnson – The Best Jockey In Town
2-12 John Lee Hooker – My Daddy Was A Jockey
2-13 Blind Boy Fuller – Sweet Honey Hole
2-14 Jazz Gillum – Sarah Jane
2-15 Wynonie Harris – I Want My Fanny Brown
2-16 Victoria Spivey – Good Cabbage
2-17 Lil Johnson – Sam The Hot Dog Man
2-18 Bo Carter – Banana In Your Fruit Basket
2-19 Floyd Dixon – Baby Let’s Go Down To The Woods
2-20 Lucille Bogan – Shave ‘Em Dry

Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: Atlantic Jazz – Be Bop

Welcome back to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


Do I even need to say anything about this? I hope not, for a couple of reasons. First, I hope the names and songs you see in the track listing (below) are enough to make you say ‘holy shit, that’s an amazing mix!’ Because it really, really is. Second, writing about jazz is hard, for me anyway. I don’t have words when I listen to this stuff. It’s all visceral, elemental. It just goes into my blood and I know… but I couldn’t tell you how or why or all the reasons for its brilliance. It just is.

So. Seven tracks of be bop. This disc was amazing. Trust me!


Track Listing (Shamelessly copied from Discogs, tidied up by me):

1 Dizzy Gillespie – Our Love Is Here To Stay

Baritone Saxophone – Bill Graham
Bass – Percy Heath
Drums – Al Jones
Producer – Ahmet Ertegun, Herb Abramson
Trumpet – Dizzy Gillespie
Vibraphone – Milt Jackson
Written-By – George & Ira Gershwin

2 Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey – Evidence

Bass – Spanky DeBrest
Drums – Art Blakey
Engineer – Earl Brown
Piano – Thelonious Monk
Producer – Nesuhi Ertegun
Tenor Saxophone – Johnny Griffin
Trumpet – Bill Hardman
Written-By – Thelonious Monk

3 John Coltrane, Milt Jackson – Bebop

Bass – Paul Chambers
Drums – Connie Kay
Engineer – Tom Dowd
Piano – Hank Jones
Producer – Nesuhi Ertegun
Tenor Saxophone – John Coltrane
Vibraphone – Milt Jackson
Written-By – Dizzy Gillespie

4 Sonny Stitt – Ko-Ko

Alto Saxophone – Sonny Stitt
Bass – Richard Davis
Drums – Connie Kay
Electric Guitar – Jim Hall
Engineer – Tom Dowd
Piano – John Lewis
Producer – Ahmet Ertegun, Arif Mardin, John Lewis
Written-By – Charlie Parker

5 Philly Joe Jones – Salt Peanuts

Bass – Paul Chambers
Cornet – Michael Downs
Drums – Philly Joe Jones
Engineer – Phil Iehle, Tom Dowd
Piano – Walter Davis
Producer – Nesuhi Ertegun
Tenor Saxophone – Bill Barron
Written-By – Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Clarke

6 Max Roach – Almost Like Me

Bass – Art Davis
Drums – Max Roach
Engineer – Tom Dowd
Piano – Hasaan Ibn Ali
Producer – Arif Mardin
Written-By – Hasaan Ibn Ali

7 The Giants Of Jazz – Allen’s Alley

Alto Saxophone – Sonny Stitt
Bass – Al McKibbon
Drums – Art Blakey
Piano – Thelonious Monk
Producer – George Wein
Trombone – Kai Winding
Trumpet – Dizzy Gillespie
Written-By – Denzil Best

Oh baby!

Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: Milestones – 20 Rock Operas

Welcome back to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


This 1990 budget compilation is a brilliant listen. It’s the kind of set you can throw on, do other things, and let the time pass as the songs take you away.

The list of artists is impressive, and the songs are all worthy of inclusion: check out the track list photie (below). I couldn’t find what criteria the makers of this comp used when defining ‘rock opera,’ (I mean, some were obvious, not so with others to me, anyway) but no matter. I let the tunes do the talking and all was well.

Check it out:

Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: The Earthquake Album

Welcome back to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!

















Here’s another oddity (to me). Y’all probably know all about this one, already.

Compiled by the British music industry for Rock Aid Armenia to aid those affected by the 1988 Armenian earthquake disaster, it was the first UK charity album to go gold. There were (apparently) a series of singles and compilations in the project.

I can see why. This edition I have here is a cool, if slightly weird, mix of amazing bands all in one place.

The first track merits further information for your edification… Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water ’90”:

The project is most remembered for a re-recording of Deep Purple’s famous hit song, “Smoke on the Water”, with different vocalists singing each verse. The single made it to the UK Top 40 Singles Chart. The track was recorded by an elite group of contemporary progressive rock, hard rock and heavy metal musicians who gathered at the historic Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London. Recording began on July 8, 1989 and was completed over 5 different sessions.

The rock musicians involved in the recording of the song included Bryan Adams, Ritchie Blackmore, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Downes, Keith Emerson, Ian Gillan, David Gilmour, Tony Iommi, Alex Lifeson, Brian May, Paul Rodgers, Chris Squire and Roger Taylor. John Paul Jones and Jon Lord were credited as “helping” behind the scenes with the track. The track’s producers were Gary Langan and Geoff Downes. Talent co-ordination for the record was overseen by Jon Dee, with David Gilmour being the first to join up after a call from Dee. Ian Gillan’s manager Phil Banfield also helped out with talent recruitment. “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath was used as a B-Side for the releases.

In 1990, the song was released again with an alternate mix, one example of which was released by Dino Music, which unlike the rest, had “Black Night” also by Deep Purple as a B-side and had Tony Iommi’s name incorrectly spelt on the front of it. (Wiki)

It was even a making-of video:

The recording sessions for the re-recording of “Smoke on the Water” were filmed and released in the same year on video as Rock Aid Armenia: The Making of Smoke on the Water, along with interviews and a video clip for the single. Film producer Paul Lovell produced and edited the final extended version of the documentary which was released on Laser Disc and VHS in Japan in 1991. (Wiki)

But the rest of the disc is cool too. Overall the mix is pretty damn consistent. Sabbath and Maiden are the heaviest here, but even they fit in alright, all of the tunes are on about the same wavelength. I say right on, good for everyone that this got made, and if it went gold that means (hopefully) that a lot of relief money got sent to those who needed it most. Mixes like this can sometimes be a weird listen, but this one contains a lot of great bands and does a pretty good job all the way through.

Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: The Royal Concert

Welcome back to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


I had to do a wee bit of detective work for this one, as the packaging on this set was shite for information.

Nowhere in the minimal booklet is it indicated where or when this concert was held. I found A&M Records listing 1987 (this Telstar version followed in 1989), and the bigger clue was the Prince’s Trust which, as you know, is Prince Charles’ long-standing charity in the UK to help young people.

Being like Sherlock as I am, I followed the information I had: Prince’s Trust and 1987, as well as the artist list on the back cover. The interwubs told me that the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Trust (1976) saw an all-star rock concert held at Wembley Stadium in 1986… An Eric Clapton fan site (which tracks every show Clapton has done) informed me it was held June 20, 1986…

So. shows more of the same artists as are on this CD set than does the 1987 listing they have, but the 1986 listing only gives artist names, not the actual set played that night. I have no idea if this is the whole concert, though it is a 2CD set so… probably? Also, on this set the songs are split up – e.g. Elton John plays three songs, but one is on CD1 and the other two are on CD2. I would guess he played them all back to back that night, since he was already on stage? Etc.

Ah well, I am reasonably certain that I have the right gig tracked down. As you can see by the set list (below) it was a pretty stellar cast of players all night long. It really dates itself with Midge Ure, Level 42, Paul Young and Howard Jones. I had no idea who Labi Siffre* or Mark King & Mike Lindup (Level 42, but I never knew the players’ names) are until I saw the names here. But I was pleased to see Big Country (I like that band lots!) and Joan Armatrading is a cool addition. And how cool is it to have Ben E. King there to sing Stand By Me? Exactly.

The big names you know well, of course, and the versions of popular songs are all pretty damn good. I enjoyed the covers, including Phil Collins and Paul Young’s Motown romp and Righteous Brothers tune besides, and Bryan Adams and Dave Edmunds doing Dion is cool, although I wish Adams had taken a turn singing verses. Early on, I cracked up when Phil Collins, before starting In The Air Tonight, said “Now I know what you’re saying… You’re all saying that he’s going to play that bloody song again. Well, I am.” Haha get ‘em, Phil!

The quality’s decent enough, and the versions are good, so I call this one a win. Even though it took me a while to figure out what and when this even was.


*Turns out I really should have known who Labi Siffre is. But look at me! I am learning new things!

Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: Songs And Artists That Inspired Fahrenheit 9/11

Welcome back to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


Here’s a good one for a recharge of your righteous indignation battery. As the title says, it’s songs and artists that inspired Fahrenheit 9/11, the 2004 documentary by Michael Moore.

There was a soundtrack released for the film as well, with a different track listing entirely

Lots of great anti-war stuff here, like we’ve been zapped back to the ideologies of the 60s (fair point: Dylan has three tracks here, one by him and two covers of his songs). I dug a lot of the songs, live or studio, right up until the Jeff Buckley cover of Hallelujah. I have already stated, in these pages, that I am not a fan of this cover (or any cover) of that song. It’s only Leonard’s original version for me, everyone else misses the point of it completely. Mix-wise, I also question its inclusion here – I don’t think it fits the mix at all, better to end on the Nanci Griffith track. Ah well.

In the liner notes, it says “Ultimately this record speaks to the responsibility we all have as citizens to act upon our beliefs. This is our country, our world. We can help shape its future or we can have others do it for us.” Let’s break that down, as I get what they mean but the wording is interesting:

“Ultimately this record speaks to the responsibility we all have as citizens to act upon our beliefs.” You are acting on your beliefs and so are they. Thinking your way is the only way is what you gets you into all of these messes.

“This is our country, our world.” Excuse me, your world? Really? Ah hubris.

“We can help shape its future or we can have others do it for us.” This I agree with, except I’d have better worded it as “We can help shape its future by working towards peaceful resolution of conflict, pulling troops out of foreign countries (especially when the real reason is oil), and generally stopping being the manipulative power-hungry global bully. Then, perhaps, others wouldn’t feel so compelled to strike back.

Man, I try to leave politics out of this blog, and yet, look at me go. I just get so tired of all the conflict and drama and war. Resources, finance and greed. Perhaps we’re beyond repair, perhaps this will go on and on and my kids will be hearing the same damn thing in the news long after I’m gone. But discs like this remind us it doesn’t have to be that way. We can be peaceful. It isn’t likely, but we could and it’s worth holding on to the potential.

Anyway, most of the rest of the disc is a worthwhile listen. Have a look at the track list!

Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival: The Official 1991 (20th Anniversary) Juno Awards Collection

Welcome to the Various Artists/Various Blogs Festival! The festival runs December 1st-10th, across many blogs in the Community… Check out THIS PAGE at Bruce’s site for all the posts as we go along! And most importantly: our huge thanks to Bruce for getting the ball rolling on this, and for all his hard work in making it all happen!


I start off my contributions with a bit of a weird set. You see…

Discogs doesn’t list this, neither does Amazon. Google doesn’t even find it.

There is no barcode or label information anywhere on the packaging. But it still looks like an official release, manufactured by Cinram in Canada. So while I don’t know what this is, precisely (besides the obvious, that it is a compilation of Juno Award artists from 1991, natch!), I can surmise that perhaps it was handed out at the Juno event that year, as on the very back inside page of the included booklet it says NOT FOR SALE. Who knows. I can’t find anything about it, not even an image online!

It’s quite a mix (as you can see by the shite photie of the track listings). Lots of favourites here, several Canuck evergreens, a bit of a time capsule for the songs included (check out the Hip, Rush, Colin James, Maestro Fresh Wes! oh my). There are several classical pieces included here, which made me happy indeed. And there are several folks here about whom I knew nothing prior to buying this set (Susan Hammond, Mike Murley, Simply Majestic and B. Cool, Jayson & Friends). I am a bit miffed that I now have Celine Dion and Rita MacNeil in my collection (not my cuppa), but what the hell. Saving the whole thing, though, is the grand master, Leonard Cohen. Lovely!

As you can imagine, it’s a bit of an uneven listen, but not any weirder than putting my entire iTunes collection on shuffle… if you could somehow filter only Canadian artists in 1991…

Check out the shite photies (below), for which I apologize. My iPhone’s camera has stuff in front of the lens on the inside where I cannot get at it without dismantling the phone. I may soon have an updated (for me) iPhone, though, so perhaps by the new year I’ll have things clearer for you! I did try to get a picture of the front cover (above), the back cover with the track listing (below), and the sponsor page where it says NOT FOR SALE (bottom left corner of that last shite photie, below).

Also included in the booklet: four pages of all the artists nominated that year, with printed checkmarks beside the winners’ names… which tells me it was done well after the show? If so… how long after…?; two pages with the track list and all accompanying label/album information for each track; and two pages of all the (then current) contact details for management of every artist on the compilation… which makes me think this was handed out to the judges, or insider people in the crowd who might want to arrange tours or recordings with the acts… That last page indicates the set was presented by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS)… I wonder how many copies were even made…

I just don’t know how this set came about, so I don’t know if I have a rarity here, or not. But it’s a cool enough 2CD mix, and I’m happy it’s here!

Cult – Born Into This

During a recent workout, I threw on this album and I learned something that should have been apparent to me all along – the hypnotically driving beats and big riff mayhem of this excellent rock band make for perfect exercise accompaniment.

Knowing none of the songs (from 2007) before hearing this, I felt like I was breaking new ground as my rickety frame attempted to support the minimal weights I was manouvering and dubiously calling it exercise.

You’ll know this album already for yourselves, but on this play-through I thought this was a strong batch of songs. It rocks like hell, really, and sounds like the Cult I knew way back when. Tracks like Dirty Little Rockstar and I Assassin (among several others) pleased me greatly. One track, Holy Mountain, is a departure – a slower, simpler, more melodic showcase for Astbury’s vocals. Wild.

This one I have here is the 2CD Savage Edition, the second disc of which has a few bonus tracks that I also liked… though I’ll admit that by then I was resting my weary carcass after punishing it enough during the workout, so I heard the bonus disc as I yelled for a medic. I liked Stand Alone here, and the demo versions of the album tracks were a nice addition.

This album did the job well, I liked it!

Rushcue Mission

Fresh coat of paint in the bathroom, time for some new decorations…

I’d rescued these two old copies because I couldn’t stand to see them pitched. The LPs themselves are hacked beyond playable, but the cover art was worth the time, so they have a new home now.

My son named him Hedwig, says Hedwig watches him pee.

By the look on his face, the duck likes what he sees.

Oscar Peterson – The More I See You

Just leaving this here to say I absolutely adore this album. It swings, it has the blues, and it’s so impeccably done that it oughta be in every collection, post-haste.

Released in 1995, it was the first album made since his stroke in 1993. I read somewhere that he never fully recovered use of his left hand, but in listening to this record with the good headphones on, there’s no sign at all of anything amiss.

First, the players:

Oscar Peterson – piano
Clark Terry – flugelhorn
Benny Carter – alto saxophone
Ray Brown – double bass
Lorne Lofsky – guitar
Lewis Nash – drums

And the tracks?

In A Mellow Tone
Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You
On The Trail
When My Dream Boat Comes Home
Rons Blues
For All We Know
Blues For Lisa
Squatty Roo
The More I See You

Any questions? Haha I thought not! Love love love love LOVE.

Queen – Made In Heaven

This album was released in 1995, four years after Freddie Mercury’s death. Mercury recorded as many vocals as he could, and told the band to finish the album after he was gone, and that’s what they did here. Imagine working on that, after he passed… Man. Accordingly, I got the sense that a lot of the songs were a form of farewell from Freddie, and homage from the band. Bittersweet, spiritual, human, and uplifting. Makes sense, and it works perfectly.

Now, I’m no Queen expert but I’m a fan, and to me this sounds like a Queen album. The songs are strong, soaring, beautiful. Lots of different approaches here, from (somewhat) cheesy keyboard forays to full-on rockers, though mostly ballad territory. Queen had a sound that was unlike any other, instantly recognizeable as Queen, and that sound is here, for sure. The songs carry extra weight, of course, but even if Freddie had lived to see this released, this would still be a solid Queen record. I’d never heard this album before this, and while it was hard to write about, I quite liked it, honestly.

I was going to go through this track by track but found that, for one of the first times ever in writing for this blog, I simultaneously couldn’t and didn’t want to do it that way. No aspersions on the record, you just have to hear it for yourself, I think, because in all likelihood it’ll mean something slightly different to every listener. Cop out? In most cases yes, but for this one I don’t really think so. It just felt right to leave it up to you. Go get your copy! There are song-by-song blurbs HERE.

One cool thing: There’s a brief intro track called It’s A Beautiful Day, then the album proper. Following A Beautiful Day reprise at track 11, there’s a track 12 of Freddie saying YEAH!, and then at track 13 there’s a 22 minute track that iTunes lists as ‘Reprise.’ It’s beautiful, very ambient, spacious, experimental, a lot of chording. Just let it play and drift away…*

It’s actually a bit of a wrench to listen to Made In Heaven, but it’s definitely well-worth the time you spend with it. RIP Freddie.



* Running at 22 minutes and 32 seconds, Track 13 was an experiment by Richards with an Ensoniq ASR-10 sampler. He took the opening chords of “It’s a Beautiful Day” and made them loop, and then added Mercury’s voice through strange echoes. May and Taylor also added some ideas to the track. This track was previously only available on the CD edition of the album and the aforementioned promo cassettes.

Standard cassettes of the album end with the shortened “It’s a Beautiful Day (Reprise)”, fading out after Track 12 (“Yeah”), where this untitled track would continue on. Track 13 can be purchased also as part of the full album or as a separate piece from Queen’s official online store.

The LP (vinyl) edition of the album has only the first few seconds, which run into the run-off of the groove on the record, which actually means that if a listener has a record player which does not have an automatic stop activated at this point, it will play indefinitely, consisting only of the few seconds looped over constantly.

Track 13 created a good deal of surprise and confusion among fans, given its ambient musical nature and its sheer length, neither of which have much precedent in Queen’s catalogue (the longest of Queen’s prior songs, “The Prophet’s Song” from A Night at the Opera, running a mere 8:20). The album’s last listed track (all formats) is track 11: “It’s a Beautiful Day (Reprise)”. After, Freddie Mercury is heard loudly saying “Yeah”, which at four seconds long comprises the entire Track 12. Fans took to calling this track by that monosyllabic name. The ambient music underneath this track continues into Track 13, which ebbs and flows for another 22:32, and ends with Mercury calling out “Fab!”

Two schools of thought emerged amongst fans: one was that these were to be considered not only separate tracks, but separate “songs”; the second was that tracks 11, 12 and 13 were all one song (“It’s a Beautiful Day [Reprise]”) and that the splitting of it was a deliberate tongue-in-cheek gesture by the band. Initially, the band were content to maintain the air of mystery around Track 13. Over time, May has discussed it and shed a bit more light on it, such as the aforementioned creation by David Richards and the subsequent involvement by himself and Taylor.

In 2015, upon the re-issuing of Queen’s discography on vinyl, Made In Heaven was re-issued as a double disc set with track 13 taking up the entirety of side D. The track was given the name “13” and is listed on the artwork. (Wiki)

Rusted Root – When I Woke

When I Woke* one day not long ago, I realized I’d had songs from this album in my head for days. Checking the Man Cave, I no longer had my copy from long ago. Who knows what happened to it. So I found one online for $0.70 and it arrived here in a little while.

Amazingly, I still knew every track and every note of the album. Helps that I played the hell out of it all those years ago… The opening Drum Trip would make a wonderful concert stage entrance track, while Ecstacy keeps the world music drum swirl and energy alive and well. I’ll go all hipster on you and say I loved Send Me On My Way long before it got shoved into an Ice Age movie… Cruel Sun is one of my favourite tracks on the album, absolutely gorgeous from top to bottom…

And so on throughout the whole album. Not one track here even approaches mediocre. This kind of album with a big hit on it can have the deep cuts get lost to history, but in this case every single track is a keeper. The percussion throughout is absolutely killer, driven by a world beat feel that takes in South American and African rhythms, the vocals intertwine beautifully, instrumental stabs mesh and sweep and draw the ear…

Looking them up on Wiki, I was pleased to see that they are still going, with their most recent album dropping in 2012. This sure shot hit album from 1994 was a high point, but given their talents and ear for tunes, I would easily wager that there have been other high points along the way, and I want to check into other records of theirs too.

Hearing this record again made me very happy.

* see what I did there? So clever…

Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter (Deluxe Edition)

After waiting all weekend after release date to receive my Amazon pre-order of this deluxe edition, I’ve been listening to it regularly and my review is pure and simple:


Seriously, everything about this set is absolutely perfect. The sound quality (including the instrument mixes), the track selection (of course it oughta include Hallowed Be Thy Name but I know there are reasons it couldn’t)… hell, even the balance between the band and crowd noise is spot-on. Of course, they completely nail every track – there was no question of that! The packaging itself is beautiful too, made to be companion to the deluxe of the Book Of Souls album proper. Solid slip-cover, hardcover book, all delicious. This one has lots of live pics and details and it’d be easy to spend time poring over everything (I know because I have).

Best of all, for me, is that this captures a memory, as a document of the show we saw in Toronto, April 3, 2016. They played pretty much the same tracks all along, so except for two tracks difference, this set is identical to what we got when we went. There are no Toronto 2016 tracks on here, though there is one from the gig a couple of days previous in Montreal (Children Of The Damned, April 1, 2016). No matter, I am very grateful to have this here, so I can revisit this excellent tour’s set whenever I like!

No need for me to go track by track. They fuckin’ nail it. This is a stellar live album!!

Up the irons!  \m/  \m/


Track Listing (w. Cities and Dates):


1. If Eternity Should Fail – Sydney, Australia; 6 May 2016
2. Speed of Light – Cape Town, South Africa; 18 May 2016
3. Wrathchild – Dublin, Ireland; 6 May 2017
4. Children of the Damned – Montreal, Canada; 1 April 2016
5. Death or Glory – Wrocław, Poland; 3 July 2016
6. The Red and the Black – Tokyo, Japan; 21 April 2016
7. The Trooper – San Salvador, El Salvador; 6 March 2016
8. Powerslave – Trieste, Italy; 26 July 2016


1. The Great Unknown – Newcastle, UK; 14 May 2017
2. The Book of Souls – Castle Donington, UK; 12 June 2016
3. Fear of the Dark – Fortaleza, Brazil; 24 March 2016
4. Iron Maiden – Buenos Aires, Argentina; 15 March 2016
5. The Number of the Beast – Wacken, Germany; 4 August 2016
6. Blood Brothers – Donington, UK; 12 June 2016
7. Wasted Years – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 17 March 2016

Transmaniacon – The Darkening Plain

1537 is at it again.*

There I was, innocently reading along on his blog (a post about this very release), when he mentioned in the comments that a copy was available here in Canada, on Discogs, for ten bucks. Later, somehow, I’d placed an order and this LP was on its way to my house. Funny how that happens…

I highly suggest you go read 1537’s review on this release, as he nailed everything I could have hoped to have said (and a lot more I’m not equipped enough to have thought of), and he writes knowledgeably about the how and why of the project.  Seriously, go now.

So. What a good thing this platter got here. Seriously, this is an amazing freak-out of sludgy metal rock, unapologetically lean and strong. There’s more than a little Sabbath and Purple in all this, and a bunch of doom too… but most importantly for them, I think Transmaniacon are their own beast. An unrestrained, full-on beast. This is less homage than straight-up scouring of your senses and brain. It roils, it buzzes like a chainsaw, it menaces your aunties. YES. Hell, the opening track is 24 minutes…

One word review: EPIC.

And yes, as you’ll have noticed in the pic above, it’s on awesome-looking red/black spatter vinyl (180g, natch), with gatefold and printed insert… and there’s only 300 of them in the world. Oooo, the precious!


He got me into the Shrine, Red Fang, and now these guys, too… T’is a pleasing trend developing here, folks…

The Maiden Has Landed

After waiting all weekend, my Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter deluxe edition is here.

And it is GLORIOUS.

Red Fang – Red Fang

I ordered this debut Red Fang record because 1537 said to (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). No blame here, though, ‘cos the solid onslaught of rock mayhem contained herein is blowing my frickin’ mind. It’s all great, and I really, really notice the bass in the mix on this outing, holy mackerel.

Seriously, nothing else to say except “tiiiiime to kiss your ass goodbye!!”



Lessons Learned

It went like this:

Back when the Bruce Dickinson book (What Does This Button Do?) and the Iron Maiden live album (Book Of Souls: Live Chapter) were announced, I excitedly put them both on pre-order from Amazon. The book was due out October 31, and the album November 17. By adding both to the pre-order I got free shipping. Actually, just the CD set was enough for free shipping, at their prices. More on that in a minute.

Unfortunately, Amazon was going to hold onto my book from October 31 until November 17 in order to ship both together to give me the free shipping. I even called them to see if they’d ship the book seperately – they would, for shipping fees… Well, no way was I gonna pay shipping, nor was I gonna wait three weeks for the book and CD to ship together. So I cancelled the book portion of the order and got a copy (even before Amazon’s date!) at my local shite mall book shoppe. In my small town. C’mon, Amazon.

On Friday (Nov 17) I got notice that my Book Of Souls live album had shipped. It did not arrive Friday. It did not arrive Saturday (today, as I post this). Which means I could just have gone to Sunrise at our shite mall on Friday and bought the damn live album myself (probably cheaper) because now I gotta wait until Monday for it (at least, it had better bloody well arrive on Monday or I’m gonna yell). Plus, Amazon charged me over $40 for the deluxe set, and I see secondary sellers have it at $27 plus minimal shipping.

Lessons Learned:

I didn’t need to pre-order either item.

I should have seen the free shipping issue coming.

If I’d waited, I could have had the CDs cheaper.


John Mayer

Of course I chose a pic where he’s playing my favourite guitar.

Watching guitar-geek videos online, I found these guys in England who are huge John Mayer fans. Their enthusiasm actually made me wonder about my in-passing impression of him as a discount, safe-pop Dave Matthews.

I found a 2014 documentary (below) on the tubes of you, thought I’d see what the fuss was about. I gave myself ten minutes just to check it out… and ended up staying for the duration.

There seems to be something genuine in him, something clear-eyed and fearless enough to follow his heart towards what he wants to do, even if it means he breaks away from what worked before. It’s a constant mission to use music to define and express who he is at the time. Creating an autobiography in albums, perhaps.

He went through early (huge) fame, a very public blow-up and retreat, two years of throat surgeries and recoveries, endless collaborations and playing with his heroes and he’s still standing, still making records, still refining and searching.

As he says, “change isn’t a dirty word.” I appreciate the clarity. And there’s no question that the man can play guitar. Think I’ll try an album, see what’s up.

Big Sugar – Hit And Run

I’m a fan of Big Sugar from way back. Probably their first two records are my favourites (which makes me sound like a snob… ah well) but all of them are great!

This disc is a hits set spanning everything up to 2003. If you’ve been following the career of this band at all, most of the songs you’ve heard on the radio or in your friend’s car are all here. What a feast of great jazzy bluesy rawkin’ tunes and guitar mayhem. It covers all the band’s sounds and styles (they have changed a bit, over the years) but it all still works together fantastically.

Apparently this was a 2CD set, Hit being the first disc, which I have here, and Run being a live concert disc (which I did not receive in this copy)… Still, I can’t complain, it was $1.50.

I loved this set, it was awesome. I think this comment on Amazon for this CD summed it up best: “Love it. But don’t play while driving. Got stopped for speeding.”

Track Listings:


1 Sleep in Late
2 Ride Like Hell
3 I’m a Ram
4 Dear Mr. Fantasy
5 Diggin’ a Hole
6 If I Had My Way
7 Opem Up Baby
8 The Scene
9 Better Get Used to It
10 Turn the Lights On
11 Red Rover
12 Nicotina (She’s All That)
13 All Hell for a Basement
14 I Want You Now*
15 Trouble in the City*
16 Three Minute Song*

* Unreleased songs.


1 Goodbye Train / Hammer in My Hand
2 Skull Ring / Joe Louis / Nashville Grass
3 I’m a Ram / Rambo
4 Groundhog Day / Armagideon Time
5 Where I Stand / In My Time of Dying

Def Leppard!

Major scores today, lots of Def Leppard 45s!

Check out the MAJESTY!








Wasted / Hello America
Love Bites / Billy’s Got A Gun (Live)
Rocket / Release Me
Action / Miss You In A Heartbeat (Phil’s Demo)









Let’s Get Rocked / Only After Dark
Make Love Like A Man / Miss You In A Heartbeat
Have You Ever Loved Someone So Bad / From The Inside
Let It Go / Switch 625
















Heaven Is / She’s Too Tough
* Side B: Special Edition Autographed Etched Disc









Ride Into The Sun, Getcha Rocks Off / The Overture
* Bludgeon Riffola Records (yellow label) MSB 001

Getcha Rocks Off, Ride Into The Sun / The Overture
* Vertigo 6059 240


Cool beans!

Rancid – Let’s Go!

Man, this was a throwback and I loved every second of it. This album came immediately before …And Out Come The Wolves (which I love unreservedly), but I didn’t get it until after. Go figure. Anyway, the energetic and dirty, sloppy but not sloppy at all punk-ska-Clash hybrid that Rancid does so well is on full display here.

The singles from this album were Nihilism and Salvation*, but honestly any of the 23 tracks here could have been singles. Billie Joe Armstrong gets a writing credit on one track (Radio), and Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion) produced and co-engineered it. It was intended to be a double album but got condensed to one CD.

Let’s GO!


* Salvation also appeared in Guitar Hero II for XBox 360, for the video game fans out there.

Classic Rock Gold

I picked up this 2CD set for cheap and it does the job. It has all the songs you’ve heard a zillion times and (mostly) don’t mind hearing a zillion and one. I’ve been playing it in the car for the kids, and they really seem to like it.

I will admit, for myself, that I wasn’t as familiar with Head East’s Never Been Any Reason, nor was it necessarily the best track here, but so be it. Also, if I were in charge of the mix, I wouldn’t have wedged Evil Ways between the energy of Born To Be Wild and American Woman to start CD1. Ah well. The whole mix pretty much sounds like a day’s playlist for any of your animal-themed classic rock radio stations. And it’s got Lunatic Fringe, which we were just reading about over on 2loud2oldmusic blog.

One total oversiiiiiight about this mix is the omission of Mountain’s Mississippi Queen. I mean, seriously. That song owns.

Track Listing:

Disc One:

1 Steppenwolf – “Born to Be Wild” (3:30) (Bonfire) (1968)
2 Santana – “Evil Ways” (3:57) (Henry/Zack) (1970)
3 Guess Who – “American Woman” (5:07) (Bachman/Cummings/Kale/Peterson) (1970)
4 Free – “All Right Now” (5:30) (Rodgers/Fraser) (1973)
5 Jethro Tull – “Locomotive Breath” (4:33) (Anderson) (1972)
6 James Gang – “Walk Away” (3:34) (Walsh) (1972)
7 Rod Stewart – “Maggie May” (5:46) (Stewart) (1971)
8 Ten Years After – “I’d Love to Change the World” (3:44) (Lee) (1971)
9 Hollies – “Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)” (3:17) (Clarke/Cook/Greenaway) (1972)
10 Edgar Winter Group – “Frankenstein” (4:45) (Winter) (1973)
11 Elton John – “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” (4:55) (John/Taupin) (1973)
12 Grand Funk Railroad – “We’re An American Band” (3:26) (Brewer) (1974)
13 Joe Walsh – “Rocky Mountain Way” (5:16) (Walsh/Grace/Passarelli/Vitale) (1973)
14 Doobie Brothers – “China Grove” (3:16) (Johnston) (1974)
15 Golden Earring – “Radar Love” (6:25) (Hay/Kooymans) (1974)
16 Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Sweet Home Alabama” (4:41) (Van Zant/King/Rossington) (1974)
17 Bachman–Turner Overdrive – “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” (3:53) (Bachman) (1974)

Disc Two:

1 Bad Company – “Bad Company” (4:48) (Rodgers/Kirke) (1973)
2 Nazareth – “Hair of the Dog” (4:09) (1975)
3 Head East – “Never Been Any Reason” (5:11) (1975)
4 Foghat – “Slow Ride” [Single version] (3:56) (Peverett) (1976)
5 Peter Frampton – “Show Me the Way” [Live] (4:39) (Frampton) (1976)
6 Blue Öyster Cult – “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” (5:09) (Roeser) (1976)
7 Foreigner – “Cold as Ice” [Single version] (3:20) (Gramm/Jones) (1977)
8 Ted Nugent – “Cat Scratch Fever” (3:39) (Nugent) (1978)
9 Cars – “Just What I Needed” (3:45) (Ocasek) (1979)
10 Eddie Money – “Two Tickets to Paradise” (3:49) (Money) (1978)
11 Cheap Trick – “I Want You to Want Me” [Live] (3:42) (Nielsen) (1979)
12 .38 Special – “Hold On Loosely” (4:40) (Barnes/Carlisi/Peterik) (1981)
13 Red Rider – “Lunatic Fringe” (4:22) (Cochrane) (1981)
14 Billy Idol – “White Wedding” (4:13) (Idol) (1982)
15 Scorpions – “Rock You Like a Hurricane” (4:12) (Schenker/Meine/Rarebell) (1984)
16 Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again” (4:35) (Coverdale/Marsden) (1987)

Book Of Souls: Live Chapter

UPDATE 2017-11-18: The Youtube video to which I linked has been removed.

Some of you will already have seen the following full video (thanks to Deke and HMO for sending links!), but I am placing this Youtube video here as a public service in advance of Friday (November 17th)’s release date of Iron Maiden’s Book Of Souls: Live Chapter set. I’ve got mine on pre-order. Have you?

This release and video is particularly exciting because we caught this tour the first time it came through Toronto, back in April of 2016. Seeing this set again as a professional video is awesome, just as being there in person was electrifying! Truly a great gig, well-staged and played to perfection. Maiden delivered in full.

The setlist for this release is slightly different from what we saw, with Tears Of A Clown and Hallowed Be Thy Name in the 2016-04 Toronto set, whereas this more current setlist removes those two in favour of Wrathchild and The Great Unknown.

Me, I hope this sees release as a DVD and Blu-ray to go with the audio release!

Here are the tracks:

0:00:17 Intro
0:02:03 If Eternity Should Fail – Sydney, Australia
0:09:47 Speed of Light – Cape Town, South Africa
0:14:58 Wrathchild – Dublin, Ireland
0:18:01 Children of the Damned – Montreal, Canada
0:22:52 Death or Glory – Wroclaw, Poland
0:28:07 The Red and the Black – Tokyo, Japan
0:41:23 The Trooper – San Salvador, El Salvador
0:45:30 Powerslave – Trieste, Italy
0:52:59 The Great Unknown – Newcastle, UK
1:00:03 The Book of Souls – Donington, UK
1:10:34 Fear of the Dark – Fortaleza, Brazil
1:18:07 Iron Maiden – Buenos Aires, Argentina
1:24:13 Number of the Beast – Wacken, Germany
1:29:26 Blood Brothers – Donington, UK
1:36:38 Wasted Years – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Discogs lists this 1994 effort by Rob Wasserman as “Soul-Jazz, Acoustic, Jazz-Rock, Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvization.” Hard to disagree with any of those.

I might add Pop and World music to the melange, as well, for some tracks.

I hadn’t known Wasserman died in 2016, but he had quite a career and CV.

A who’s-who of guest artists performs with the bass virtuoso on these tracks, check it out:

1. Brian Wilson, Carnie Wilson
2. Marc Ribot, Elvis Costello
3. Branford Marsalis, Bruce Hornsby
4. Wasserman (Bass Trilogy Part 1)
5. Jerry Garcia, Edie Brickell
6. Al Duncan, Willie Dixon
7. Bob Weir, Neil Young
8. Wasserman (Bass Trilogy Part 2)
9. Les Claypool, Chris Whitely
10. Wasserman (Bass Trilogy Part 3)
11. Joan Jeanrenaud, Matt Haimovitz
12. Joan Jeanrenaud, Matt Haimovitz
13. Jerry Garcia, Edie Brickell

And how does it sound? Pretty damn great. It’s varied enough to be interesting, veering from jazzy little numbers to fuzzed out rock and weirdo freak outs. None of it should work as a whole, yet it still all sounds like it ought to be together in this mix. Bass Trilogy Part 2 is even his solo rip through (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Yup.

Now I wanna find Solo and Duets!

Cool find!

We Remember



My lovely wife came home from work with this beautiful artifact tonight. She said “I brought something for you…” She knew I needed this. We all do. My lovely wife rocks.

Herein lies an almost-100 page tribute issue, and it looks gorgeous.

Hie thee to yon local newsstand, fellow Canucks (and anyone else fortunate enough, this week, to have MacLean’s on their newsstands), and grab thy copy forthwith!


I took a wee break from all of my hairy reprobate listening to Red Fang \m/ \m/ to check out this Jurassic 5 EP called Improvise that showed up in the mail. I’d forgotten it was ordered. Thank you, past self!

Improvise is a clean version of the J5 version. Concrete Schoolyard (Clean Kazoo)  ain’t too different from the original. Concrete And Clay  (Clean) is a sweet groove and an amazing J5 track – can’t help but think it sounds like something Young MC would love. Improvise (Instrumental) is a neat addition too.

Super-sweet and groovy. Always love me some J5.

Crows In Swine

I’m deep in the fuzzy rockin’ mayhem of Red Fang, folks. The second album I got the other day, Whales And Leeches, kicks all kinds of ass!

They also make the greatest videos. Beer drinking zombies… and a drummer in a “WHO FARTED?” t-shirt? Oh man.

Get you some:


How about some animated vikings… and the band saves the day!



I had occasion to pop into our local downtown record shop. He had a few boxes of someone’s rock/metal collection (on CD, sorry 1537). I helped him out by scooping up two Red Fang albums: Murder The Mountains (2011) and Whales And Leeches (2013).

You may recall I had tix years ago (2011) to see Red Fang/Dillinger Escape Plan/Mastodon in Toronto. When we arrived at the venue, Red Fang had already played, and I probably brushed shoulders with all of them (or, at least, their roadies) as they loaded out their gear while we made our way in. Instead, we began that night with Dillinger (which was a whole other thing)… Sorry Red Fang guys!… Anyway, never did get to see them, a regret of mine for sure. So maybe my buying these two albums makes up for it? Sure.

So far I’ve rocked Murder The Mountains (which was the new album when we missed the gig). I love it in all of its pure hairy groovin’ glory!

Here’s a track called Wires. It’s awesome, and the video is fun too…

Wish You Were Here

Last night I sat and drifted with Pink Floyd’s track Wish You Were Here on repeat… an incredible tune from a classic album. Sometimes the timing of hearing a song just hits you right.

Cool info HERE.

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
Did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
And how we found
The same old fears
Wish you were here


Shed Your Skin

Yesterday I found myself with a song stuck in my head, just the melody, but I couldn’t immediately place what it was…

Then I sussed out that it was Shed Your Skin by the Indigo Girls, from their (excellent) Shaming Of The Sun album.

But not just the album version… it was the Tom Morello remix I’d heard on an old CMJ New Music magazine CD (1998-07).



One hundred and fifteen
You are seventeen
Itchy trigger
You growing longer
You growing stronger
So shed your skin, baby
Now shed this

Come on over now
Come on over baby
You tell me it’s holy holy
I don’t know what that is, come on over now
Let’s call it the fullness of time
I don’t know what that is, come on over now

Hey holy, console me
Some power, controls me
Remorse it, I force
It can’t free it, so be it

I’m speaking in tongues
Handling you
I got religion now look at it
The days grow longer
As we grow stronger
So shed your skin baby let it rip

Come on over now
Come on over baby
You tell me it’s holy holy
I don’t know what that is, come on over now
Let’s call it the fullness of time
I don’t know what that is, come on over now

Hey holy, console me
Some power, controls me
Remorse it, I force
Don’t free it, just be it
Just be it, just be it

I’ve been lookin’ to find you
But it’s a little too late too soon
And I looking out and far
Spirits are your doom
In you
In you

I got the hangman
I got Milagro
I got the celebration too
The flesh is strong
My spirit’s stronger
So shed your skin
Baby let it through

Come on over now
Come on over baby
You tell me it’s holy holy
I don’t know what that is, come on over now
You wanna call it the fullness of time
I don’t know what that is, come on over now

Hey holy, console me
Some power, controls me
Remorse it, I force
It can’t free it, so be it

Hey holy, console me
Some power, controls me
Come on over baby


Black Veil Brides

As y’all probably know, I work in a thrift shop. I’m the books and music guy. It’s a sweet gig (and also a metric shit-ton of work, on a daily basis).

One of the ladies who rates the clothing came across a small ladies’ t-shirt (same as pictured, at left) with BLACK VEIL BRIDES on it. It was signed by some of the members of the band. But she didn’t know who they were. She’d asked others and gotten a description of sorts.

Still curious, she asked me as well, helpfully saying others had described it as emu. I said “emu?” I asked if she meant ‘emo.’ Sweetly, she said “that’s the one!”

Black Veil Brides. Music for emus.

Bruce Dickinson – What Does This Button Do?

I had this one on Amazon preorder along with the upcoming Maiden live album. The book was due for release October 31, the album November 17. To get free shipping, I’d have to wait until the album dropped to get the book too. Haha no way was I waiting two extra weeks! So I cancelled the book and hit up my local Coles in our shite mall. They had one copy, and several days before October 31, too. Score!

I’ve always thought Bruce should write a book, though I figured it would be a self help motivation-style book [if this idea gets back to Bruce, I want my cut!]. Maybe later – this autobiography is cool too. Tons of stories in here, as expected, though I do have the feeling he skimmed a wee bit over a lot of stuff that might’ve benefitted from more detail… then again, if he went in-depth into everything, this would have been at least a three-volume set…

Anyway, this is a fun read about a guy who seems fairly irrepressible. It’s written with wit, intelligence, and a pretty clear-eyed view of the world. It reads like he’s telling you all these stories over a pint (of Trooper, natch) in the pub. Others who know more about the band’s history (and the interpersonal stuff that’s gone down along the way) will read this and write up far more involved and intricate reviews than I ever could. For me, it was a fascinating history of one of metal’s most famous front men.

Completely recommended.

Wilco – A.M. And Being There (Reissues)

Quick post to register my excitement for the December 1st releases of deluxe early Wilco sets!

Check ’em out…


A.M. (1995) = Original debut album remastered, plus 8 unreleased bonus tracks. (CD, 2LP and digital)

BEING THERE (1996) = Original remastered double album, plus a disc of unreleased songs, demos and alternate takes, plus two discs of live performances! (5CD, 4LP, and digital)

Holy mackerel it’s a good time to be a fan of early Wilco. I am especially excited for Being There. I LOVE that album oh man.

Get you some!


Myles Goodwyn – Just Between You And Me

Here’s one member’s version of his history with April Wine, from humble beginnings to today. He seemed to want to be fair about some pretty rough periods when noses were out of joint, though I gather (after the fact) that some folks think he’s a jerk. It wouldn’t be the first rock bio written by a divisive character, certainly. Either way, he wrote this book, so if it contains wrong information, someone should write another one to correct him.

As a general history and for the stories behind the songs, it’s a decent read. Not the greatest rock bio I’ve ever read, not the worst either.

Amherst Drive – Amherst Drive (single)

Months ago, Derek Kortepeter sent me this two song single from his new project, Amherst Drive. I said I’d write it up in these pages, no problem. I threw it in the iPod, played it, loved it… and then didn’t write it up… Then I took that break for a couple of months… all the while neglecting my promise to Derek to do this… All apologies, Derek!

And it’s a damn cool single, too.

Breakdown drives hard enough, with pounding drums, wailing and crunchy guitars, throbbing bass… all of it tight and lean. The vocals, though, roil over the top in an almost Cure-Joy Division-like way… such a juxtaposition is at first jarring, but as you listen along it totally makes its own kind of sense. There’s a duality here, it’s plaintive and it rocks.

Better Way is more of a ballad, glistening and jangly. In the best lo-fi 90s alt-rock tradition, this one endears because it isn’t perfect. It doesn’t need to be – it’s all heart. Your ear is drawn in, and by the time the echoey guitar solo rolls around you’re already long hooked.

I can tell this is a project born of passion, vision, and clarity. Well done, Derek!

And you can get your Amherst Drive by following this link!


Mastodon – Cold Dark Place

Mastodon continues to add to their palette. This new 4-song EP is bluesy, moody and groovy, with gorgeous arrangements and stellar playing (of course). The tracks build, change, then change again…

Three of these tracks are from the Once More Around The Sun sessions, and one from The Emperor Of Sand.

Hell yes.  \m/  \m/

RIP Fats Domino

Antoine ‘Fats’ Domino, Jr. was a true New Orleans legend, and one of the fathers of rock ‘n roll.

He died at his home, of natural causes, at the age of 89.

RIP, Fats. Thank you for the music.

Baby Driver

I’m on sick day #2, here. It’d be awesome being home from work if I didn’t feel like a plague repository. Anyway.

Yesterday, sitting like a sick lump, I watched Baby Driver. It’s ultimately a fairly predictable, dumb little heist movie with a decent cast and occasional bursts of heart, but that’s not the real draw here. Whomever did the music deserves a full damn raise. It’s some of the best uses of music in film since Forrest Gump, in terms of matching to scenes. They even time action sequences to the beats of the songs. Incredible.

And on that note (pun intended), the soundtrack itself is mighty damn fine:


But especially, the film will forever hold a place in my heart for its opening scene, the bank heist timed to the brilliant Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Bellbottoms (dammit I LOVE that song, that whole album… YEAH!).


Jurassic 5 – Freedom

Here’s a great one to get us started.

I’ve been jamming Jurassic 5’s Power In Numbers a lot, lately. It’s a hot record, well worth everyone’s time. They have solid conscious hip hop-style messages, and the music’s super-sweet, a real classic feel. All the MCs are excellent, though my ear always waits for Chali 2na to come back on. His bass rumblings are infectious.

I remember they performed this song, Freedom, on the Henry Rollins Show.

Bonus points: Watch the spinning record banner at the top of this page as you listen to the track. Hypnotic.

Check it:

“[Chorus: Jurassic 5]

Hold on to this feelin’, Freedom (Freedom!)
Hold on to this feelin’, Freedom (Freedom!)

[Verse 1: Chali 2na, Akil, Marc 7]

[Chali 2na]
Yo, seldom travelled by the multitude
The Devil’s gavel has a couple fooled
My culture’s screwed cause this word is misconstrued
Small countries exempt from food cause leader have different views
(You choose)

What mean the world to me is bein’ free
Live and let live and just let it be (Let it be)
Love peace and harmony, one universal family
One God, one aim and one destiny

[Marc 7]
(Oh Yeah?)
Imagine life without a choice at all
Given no hope without a voice at all
These be the problems that we face
I’m talkin’ poverty and race
But no matter what the case we gotta

[Chorus: Jurassic 5]
Hold on to this feelin’, Freedom (Freedom!)
Hold on to this feelin’, Freedom (Freedom!)

[Verse 2: Soup, Chali 2na, Akil]

Yo, I’m the first candidate to hate
Had to beat on the drum to communicate
For what was to come to those who were hung
They would decapitate the tongue if you would mention the word (Freedom)

[Chali 2na]
Got people screamin’ free Mumia Jamal
But two out of three of ya’ll will probably be at the mall
I’m heated wit ya’ll, the defeated will fall
Uncomplete an unsolved when the word freedom’s involved

Yo, my forefathers hung in trees to be free (Rest in peace)
Got rid of slavery but still kept the penitentiary
And now freedom got a shotgun and shells wit cha name
Release the hot ones and let freedom reign

I’m the former vote prisoner
Hollywood visitor
Dance for cats segregated on wax
My color got me handi-cap Amos and Andy
For the freedom they just won’t hand me

[Chorus: Jurassic 5]
Hold on to this feelin’, Freedom (Freedom!)
Hold on to this feelin’, Freedom (Freedom!)

[Outro: Marc 7]

(Hold On)
Cause there’s not a lot of time (To)
Your heart, body, soul and your mind (This)
They’re so true and they been hurtin’ so long (Feelin’)
Thats the reason why we named this song (Freedom)

(Hold On)
Cause there’s not a lot of time (To)
Your heart, body, soul and your mind (This)
They’re so true and they been hurtin’ so long (Feelin’)
Thats the reason why we named this song (Freedom)”


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