June 2009

Title: Seventeen

Artist: Winger

Album: Winger

Year Released: 1988

What It Is: Lolita, kind of, told in a hard rock (I can’t for the life of me call it metal, not with how the rest of the album is) style by dudes with perfect hair and teeth.

Riffage / Hookage: The saving grace for this song is the guitar riff. Sorry Mr, Winger, er…Kip, your vocals and bass playing ain’t the reason I paid the money for this. It was that riff.

Cowbell?: The drum sound is very 80’s hollow semi-electronic (I bet it was – the sound is just like that) and there’s no room for cowbell.

Words Of Wisdom: “And just when I thought she was comin’ to my door
She whispered sweet and brought me to the floor,
She said I’m only seventeen, but I’ll show you love like you’ve never seen
She’s only seventeen, daddy says she’s too young,
but she’s old enough for me”

Not with my daughter, you don’t! Mostly because you’re lame and play wussy ‘metal’ that is calculated for the hearts and minds of those that are wanna-bes. (Well, except this song and “Madalaine” – those are OK.) Especially for what you all did to “Purple Haze”. Instead of statutory rape, how about desecration of a national landmark?

Mixology Report: Sure, within reason. Like for people who appreciate some good 80’s camp. And those without daughters.

Top Five Genius Results: “Round & Round” – Ratt
“Turn Up The Radio” – Autograph
“Shake Me” – Cinderella
“Up All Night” – Slaughter
“Still Of The Night” – Whitesnake

Yes, I have all of those songs in my collection. Am I proud? Um…yeah sure why not.

For The Good Of The Order: Kip would have issues with this babe in these states: Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. He may have issues in Utah, depending on if he was 28 or younger when he wrote this song.

Oh, why not…the vid…


I post this because Sky Saxon died yesterday. Though obscured by Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, Sky was a unique talent and inspirational, in his own way.

Title: Mr. Farmer

Artist: The Seeds

Album: A Web Of Sound

Year Released: 1966

What It Is: Classic garage-psychedelic rock from the kings of the LA scene, in 1966 at least. The Seeds never really obscured their inspiration, and their modus operandi was the same: loping bass, fuzzed out guitar, simple repetitive organ riffs, and lyrics about drugs, sex, and other stuff important to the ‘heads’ at the time.

Riffage / Hookage: Daryl Hooper’s organ is the driving force musically.

Cowbell?: Heck, they could barely play their instruments as it was.

Words Of Wisdom: “See the farmer on the other side of town
He’s always working hard ’til the sun goes down
He’s up every morning right on five, a wanting green seeds just to come alive,
But he don’t wear a no farm clothes, he’s always using a rake and hoe,
But his seeds are starting to grow, like a big stalk up through the sky

He used to live in an apartment in a big old city
With thick and priestly windows built right in it
But he decided to move to a little tiny town
He wanted to be a farmer all year round
And on a country road where you can’t see a thing
He’s got five acres filled little green things, he said
He’s working so hard all night and day

Mr. Farmer let me watch your crops
Mr. Farmer let me water your crops
Mr. Farmer let me harvest your crops
I want to have a dream come true
I said a farmer, farmer, farmer
I want to be just like you

See the farmer a walking down town, always draws a crowd when he’s around
He’s always wearing seedy clothes, he’s shows them off whereever he goes
You can spot him anywhere, got a bright pink thumb but he don’t care,
I said, he looks like something from a very bad dream

Mr. Farmer let me watch your crops
Mr. Farmer let me water your crops
Mr. Farmer let me harvest your crops
Mr. Farmer let me save your crops”

I had to post the whole thing, because Sky Saxon would want it that way. Gee, what do you think Mr. Farmer is growing there? Is this the prequel to Weeds?

Mixology Report: Of course, just to trip some people out, man.

Top Five Genius Results: “Terrapin” – Syd Barrett
“Get Me To The World On Time” – The Electric Prunes
“Daily Nightly” – The Monkees
“Strange Roads” – The Action
“Love & Beauty” – The Moody Blues

For The Good Of The Order: The Seeds were big time in LA, but nationally didn’t do much. They weren’t ‘safe’ or ‘wholesome’, so the radio in more conservative areas stayed away from their records. They did carry on and were in a couple of movies and carried on for a few years. Sky Saxon had an interesting life post-Seeds. For a while, he was in Hawaii with two common-law wives.

Here are The Seeds on the local tee-vee. Note Casey Kasem as the host. I bet he LOVED them!

Title: Victim Of Illusion

Artist: Michael Schenker Group (MSG! MSG! MSG! Kung Pao! (Sorry…))

Album: Michael Schenker Group

Year Released: 1980

What It Is: Rockin’! Schenker was a prima-donna guitarist (burned some bridges through the Scorpions and UFO) who had a chance to be a huge guitar hero if he could have controlled his megalomania and stuck to writing tight hard-rockin’ songs like this. But you know…he didn’t.

Riffage / Hookage: Hell yeah! Schenker knew his way around a riff! It was his self-indulgent solos that got in his way. (Not on this song, but he was prone to wheedly-wheedly-wheeing all over songs.)

Cowbell?: No, just solid, practical drumming from either Simon Phillips or Cozy Powell. I am not surprised by either gents appearance here. Have drumkit, will rock!

Words Of Wisdom: “Gone is the free expression, but look into my eyes,
The silent world is laughing, the mirror never lies,
The mirror never lies! “

Mixology Report: For you rockers out there, dig it!

Top Five Genius Results:“Pack It Up (And Go) – UFO
Feel Me Touch Me (Do Anything You Want) – Fastway
Turning Circles – Judas Priest
We Will Be Strong – Thin Lizzy
Hiroshima Mon Amour – Alcatrazz! (Graham Bonnet served some time in a later MSG lineup with a horrific half bald mullet.)

For The Good Of The Order: Schenker was the original choice to join Aerosmith after Joe Perry left, but it didn’t pan out. (I think if he did join, the entire band would have died from an overdose.) He then was asked to join Ozzy’s band after Randy Rhoads died, but again, nothing. And I just read he guested with Ratt on an MTV Unplugged episode. Now wait a minute. RATT? UNPLUGGED? WITH MICHAEL SCHENKER? The mind, she just capsized..

Here’s a live clip with Cozy Powell on drums, circa 1981.

Title: Sample & Hold

Artist: Neil Young

Album: Trans

Year Released: 1983

What It Is: The ‘single’ or ‘radio’ track from Neil’s computer / vocoder experiment. Slagged big-time when it was released, it actually is quite a rockin’ track and has some neat imagery about dating androids in the future.

Riffage / Hookage: The vocoder is the ‘hook’ and Neil lets loose some classic ugly proto-grunge guitars.

Cowbell?: Computers computers everywhere.

Words Of Wisdom: “Sample and Hold
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
Weight: 110
Disposition: Even
Mood Code: Rotary Adjustable”

Oh, if only my spouse and kidlets had rotary adjustable mood codes…

Mixology Report: Now, this one may be a tough because I don’t think it works and plays well with others, unless in a very specific environment. Otherwise it could overwhelm. You know, like zebra mussels or kudzu.

Top Five Genius Results:“E-Music” – Neu
“Flying On The Ground Is Wrong” – Buffalo Springfield
“When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky” – Bob Dylan
“Hiroshima Mon Amour” – Ultravox
“The Light Pours Out On Me” – Magazine

I think this song bamboozled Genius.

For The Good Of The Order: Actually, Trans is a pretty solid record. It was Neil just being odd with the vocoders. The songs are pretty top notch, though, especially when it was revealed that the computer-ish songs were designed as a way to perhaps communicate with his son. It certainly is a better record than most of his 2000’s output, and better than most all of his Geffen output, and heck better than a few of his earlier releases too. (Hawks & Doves – I’m looking at you.)

Here’s a clip (non-imbeddible, dang) of Neil doing his thing live with some friends…like Nils Lofgren, Bruce Palmer, etc.

Title: Now Be Thankful

Artist: Fairport Convention

Album: Single only – can be found on several Fairport compilations.

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: A fine representative piece of Fairport Convention, albiet one without either Sandy Denny or Judy Dyble. It was Richard Thompson’s last work with Fairport before moving on to a solo act. This was written by Thompson and Dave Swarbrick, who takes lead with a strong English tenor (I am guessing).

Riffage / Hookage: No, this is pleasant, placid, powerful English folk. No need for riffs. It DOES have a good hook though.

Cowbell?: No. Spare yet effective percussion.

Words Of Wisdom: “When the stone is grown too cold to kneel
In crystal waters I’ll be bound
Cold as stone, weary to the sounds upon the wheel

Now be thankful for good things below
Now be thankful to your maker
For the rose, the red rose blooms for all to know

When the fire is grown too fierce to breathe
In burning embers I’ll be bound
Fierce as fire, weary to the sounds upon the wheel

Now be thankful for good things below
Now be thankful to your maker
For the rose, the red rose blooms for all to know”

It’s good enough to put the whole thing on there.
Mixology Report: Yes…very good closing song.

Top Five Genius Results: “Cruel Sister” – Pentangle
“Blackleg Miner” – Richard Thompson (of course)
“The Bells Of Rhymney” – Pete Seeger
“If I Were A Carpenter” – Tim Hardin

For The Good Of The Order: The B-side of the single was “Sir B. McKenzie’s Daughter’s Lament for the 77th Mounted Lancers Retreat from the Straits of Loch Knombe, In the Year of Our Lord 1727, On the Occasion of the Announcement of Her Marriage to the Laird of Kinleakie”. You can get that as a bonus track on “Full House”.

How about this…the 1970 lineup live!

Title: Whisky Train

Artist: Procol Harum

Album: Home

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: About as far away from “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” as you can get. It showcases Robin Trower (one of the best relatively unknown guitarists in rock history – he made a lot of excellent solo records in the mid 70’s)

Riffage / Hookage: Oh, man. What A riff! You don’t need to be ‘heavy’ to have great riffs. This is a great demonstration of Procol Harum’s blues based tunes, as they moved farther away from the straight progressive rock (just as it was really going to take off).

Cowbell?: Is there cowbell? Is there cowbell? Just listen, man! My man Moose thinks this is the most cowbelliest song ever – though I hold out for “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me & My Monkey”. He claims foul on that because the bell may or may not be a cowbell. Ah, well. This song definitely supplies your RDA for cowbell!

Words Of Wisdom:“I’m gonna find a girl to make me choose
Between lovin’ her and drinking booze
I’m gonna lose these drinking blues

Obviously they don’t listen to country music, because women are the reason men drink, at least according to Nashville.

Mixology Report: Surprisingly, yes, unless someone doesn’t want to rock out!

Top Five Genius Results: “One Of The Boys” – Mott The Hoople
“Too Young To Know” – UFO
“Action” – Sweet
“Rocka Rolla” – Judas Priest
“California Man” – Cheap Trick (studio)

For The Good Of The Order: As I said, you need to check out Robin Trower’s solo albums, especially “Bridge Of Sighs” and “Twice Removed From Yesterday”.

Here’s a basic audio clip, but you get the jist of the cowbelly goodness!

Title: Windfall

Artist: Son Volt

Album: Trace

Year Released: 1995

What It Is: Remember Uncle Tupelo? Remember when they broke up and Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy formed their own bands, each selecting a few of the Tupelo extended family to play with them? Well, this was the ‘first shot’ by Farrar, the lead off track from the brilliant Trace where folks, like me, thought Farrar was the star incumbent, whilst Wilco (Tweedy’s band, of course) was a pleasant diversion. Wow, how things change. Anyway, this is a fantastic song and is actually one of my wife’s faves!

Riffage / Hookage: No riffage in this plaintive ballad, but the chorus hook is pretty darn irresistible.

Cowbell?: Cowbell would ruin the vibe.

Words Of Wisdom: Switching it over to AM
Searching for a truer sound
Can’t recall the call letters
Steel guitar and settle down
Catching an all-night station
Somewhere in Louisiana
It sounds like 1963
But for now it sounds like heaven

Mixology Report: It’s a great tune for a mix. I used to put this on tapes and then CDs for my wife quite a bit! Back before the kidlets and the Sesame Street CDs, of course.

Top Five Genius Results: Damn Shame – Jay Farrar
16 Days – Whiskeytown
No Depression – Uncle Tupelo
Box Full Of Letters – Wilco
Waiting For The Sun – Jayhwaks

No surprises there.

For The Good Of The Order: Farrar has split and reformed Son Volt, and while his records have their moments, they tend to wallow in melancholy, and his voice gets weary after a while. He needed someone like Tweedy to take the edge off once in a while, whilst Tweedy has enough tricks in his sleeve to be self sufficient.

Here’s the reformed Son Volt at Bonnarroo in 2006.

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