We are heading right into another very important time for me in my music life. I am sure some of you can guess where we’re going. So I’m taking a break right now. I need to mull this over carefully and decide how to handle it. Whatever the plan, however, knowing me as I do, it will probably, at least in part, go all astray as soon as I play each album. I just hope I don’t muck it up.
Tonight, I pulled out The Best of Delaney & Bonnie, which still holds the first Ram alternative title, and added a little other Ram alternative, Bette Midler for a nice workout. Yesterday was one of those movies with the ex day, but unfortunately we broke our streak of seeing really good movies by going to see The Lego Movie, because one or both of us have already seen everything out at this very moment that we care to see, and we agreed that we both really liked Despicable Me, so had no problem going to see a kids’ movie. Still we had a good time and were the only ones in the theater. I actually had to go find the projectionist when it looked like they had forgotten us.
You don’t think I would share a picture of my great grandmother on my father’s father’s side, without also sharing my great grandfather on my father’s father’s side, do you? This is him.
Just so you know, the picture has nothing to do with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. So not to bore you with the same album cover as yesterday, here’s one of my great grandmother on my father’s father’s side. I sure didn’t want to put up another picture of Max, who was nothing but a lump tonight.
But, this was fun. I’d totally forgotten most of the songs on this live set, so when side three started with “I Don’t Want To Go Home,” I was immediately lifted out of the bit of a funk I found myself in today. Then when the second song began, I recognized the sound but couldn’t place it. What was it? It was crawling from the base of my memory, I knew it, I liked it, but could I remember before the introduction was done? Then I heard the piano and I not only remembered the song, I remembered why I bought this album – for Southside Johnny’s live version of Bruce’s “The Fever.” So I played both songs again. I need the extra exercise anyway.
And you know, since the third and last song on the aerobic side is that old standard “Stagger Lee,” and it all kept me moving even through the floor exercises, which is not necessary, just a bonus (side four has a lot of Sam Cooke including “We’re Having a Party”), I hereby dub the second record of the Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes double set live album a Ram alternative. To think, I never even took it out of the cellophane.
I never saw Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in concert, but I always heard that’s where they shined. And so far, this album is a good representation of that. I don’t have any attachment to the group. They were Springsteen contemporaries and New Jersey pals, and I especially like the Springsteen songs they do like “Talk to Me,” “Hearts of Stone” and “Trapped Again,” all of which I just heard. They certainly were a peppy band and the workout was good, but not Ram-worthy. But, we’ll see what happens with the second record.
I debated writing anything about the Academy Awards, but I’m going to, so if you don’t want to follow along, I mind not a bit if you choose to leave now and come back another time. I confess that my favorite part of the Academy Awards is the roll call of the dead, and the last two years’ presentations of it had annoyed me with the interfering singing of James Taylor and Queen Latifah, both of whom I like just fine. However, I just want to see the names and faces, and maybe a small clip of those we lost in the past Oscar year. But James and Queen are not there for us roll call purists, they’re there to entertain those who are disinterested, for whatever reason. To them I say, it’s a good time for a bathroom break, and take James and Queen with you. So, I was pleasantly surprised that they changed it back and had the song after the presentation ended, when our own Bette Midler came out and sang “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Yeah, I think it’s sappy too, but it’s also kind of catchy. I thought the last photo shown would be an icon like Peter O’Toole or Shirley Temple, but I guess Philip Seymour Hoffman is more dramatic. I won’t go on too much more, or even mention John Travolta’s gaffe, because it was the most congenial Oscar show I think I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot. There were a lot of good movies this year, and while my favorite movie of 2013, Lake Bell’s In A World (highly recommended, clever, funny movie), was barely recognized by the Indie Spirit Awards, much less the Oscars, I liked all the movies I saw and the performances. I had no problem with the winners, but I would have been thrilled if American Hustle had swept the awards, and would have griped if Leonardo DiCaprio had won. I just find him irksome.
Slade rules and to Quiet Riot I say ptooey. Slade was really big in the early 1970s, then weren’t, and then a decade later Quiet Riot totally rips them off. I don’t know anything about Quiet Riot nor anything else that they’ve done other than Slade songs in Slade style, and I don’t want to, so I shan’t say another word about them. Slade however has long been on the list of ugliest rock bands (there is an actual list), which they kind of deserve. For a glam rock band they seem to have played up their unattractiveness, even though one guitarist was kind of cute. This compilation album consists of their hard rocking hits like “Cum On Feel The Noize,” “Gudbuy T’ Jane” and the above quoted “Mama Weer All Crazee Now.” It’s not exactly sophisticated music, but it got my heart pumping but good throughout the whole album. It’s not a stretching and chanting record either, but, yes indeed, it has made it onto the Ram alternative list. It is my only Slade album, so while their reign was short-lived in my rock ‘n roll realm, it did exist.
Just to let you know right off the bat, this is a Ram alternative. Not a contender for the top two or even three slots, but it will probably come out again for workout purposes and for sheer entertainment. This is one swell album. Bob Seger is a good story teller and a hard rocker. Another one that I didn’t know what to expect or how I was going to react when I put the record on the turntable. Not all the songs are winners, but it starts with “Hollywood Nights,” goes into “Still the Same,” deserving of its hit status, and then when “Old Time Rock & Roll” begins, you can see Tom Cruise sliding across the floor in his underwear. I’ll admit that the song is not my favorite and I didn’t find Tom Cruise attractive until I saw him in Knight and Day, which I watch whenever it is on, no lie. It’s not that I didn’t like Tom Cruise before, I did, in many things. I liked him in Born on the 4th of July, Vanilla Sky (I seem to be the only one that liked that movie), and even though I was such a big fan of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat, when I learned, like all other fans, that Tom Cruise would be playing the part of tall, lithe and catlike Lestat, I was outraged. That was until I saw him in A Few Good Men, and realized what a good actor he was. There was that scene in the courtroom where he’s deciding whether to go after Jack Nicholson or not, and he pauses, knowing what he has to do and the little bead of sweat going down his temple, that’s when I knew he would make a mighty fine Lestat, and I was right. And then there’s that movie he made with Jamie Foxx, Collateral, in which he is just so evil. But we won’t talk about that because apparently Jamie Foxx is dating Katie Holmes.
Well, that was quite a tangent, wasn’t it? As I was saying, “Old Time Rock & Roll” is not my favorite song, even if it is a tribute to my favorite music genre. Seger’s “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” is not only a far better song, it helped me turn 30 with ease (“sweet sixteen has turned 31”). But that’s not on this album, and neither are my other two favorite Seger songs, “Katmandu” and “Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight” (say what you will, but I just love a good slut song). What is on this album always surprises me. You’ve got to appreciate a guy who can belt out song after song, then comes out with the amazingly lovely and oh so relatable “We’ve Got Tonite.”
You know, sometimes I know some of what I’m going to write beforehand. But I started my workout with a blank page this evening, and just went with whatever came into my head. And for some strange reason, that was Tom Cruise.
I apologize that I this is the wrong album cover, but it’s what I had. It’s the same picture on both, so I thought, close enough.
This is a compilation of songs from their albums Meet the Rutles, Tragical History Tour, Sgt. Rutter’s Darts Club Band, and Let it Rot, plus songs from their movies A Hard Day’s Rut, Ouch!, and the animated Yellow Submarine Sandwich. Their 1978 television special All You Need is Cash told the story of the four young men from Liverpool and their rise to stardom. Now I haven’t heard any of this since, well, 1978, but I still recognized all the songs, at least the ones they had parodied, often more than one to one. They got the Beatle sound down without duplication, which progresses by paralleling the short but long in our memories, career of the Beatles. It was the brain-child of Monty Python’s Eric Idle and Python extra and musician Neil Innes, who wrote all the songs. The pair also played the Paul and John type characters. The executive producer was SNL’s Lorne Michaels, but I believe George Harrison had a role in it, more than just his performance in the special as a reporter, which if I remember correctly made me aware of why George never had many lines in the Beatles’ movies. But the show was very clever, complete with an all-star cast including Bill Murray as Bill Murray the K (no one will get that), and interviews with Mick Jagger and Paul Simon, whose answer to the question: Did the Rutles influence you at all? was simply: No. The album of the songs from it is just delightful. I had fun listening and working out and grinning from ear to ear.
Among the songs on Tragical History Tour (not included on this best of album): “The Fool On The Pill,” “Your Mother Should Go,” “W.C. Fields Forever,” “Denny Lane,” (no one will get that either) and “All You Need is Lunch.”
Again, no memories attached to this, just enjoyment. I’ve nothing really to say because I recognized nothing on this album, except I would know it was Leon Russell anywhere. One song sounded vaguely familiar, he did a couple of Bob Dylan songs and an interesting version of George Harrison’s “Beware of Darkness,” but no recognition of his renditions. Still, a decent workout and an album that will see the light of day again.
There you go Dave. I hope this made you happy.