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Ohio is the East Coast

November 2, 2012

Some may not agree. Some think we are in the midwest. Ask someone in St. Louis if Ohio is midwest. They will tell you, Ohio is east.

We are definitely not south. In manner or bearing. Except Cincinnati. Which is Kentucky.

Because we are east, my fellow Ohioans, we need to step up and offer what we can to the east coast in the wake of Sandy. It has wiped out our coast.

Yes, I know that in northeast Ohio we were also hit pretty hard by the backlash of the storm. (again, we are east) There are still about 100K people without power here. We were hit hard. But it was different. Our boundaries were not reshaped by the storm. But New Jersey’s boundaries were. There is no more shoreline as we knew it. How many of us visited the Jersey shore either by choice or brought by parents to visit relatives (because we are east.) I was. My cousins in New Jersey are fine, but they will be without power for who knows how long. My cousins in New York, although an hour by car from the city, are waiting as well. People are coming to their area for gasoline, and it’s not there. There’s no gasoline in eastern Pennsylvania as well.

There is still devastation in New Orleans from Katrina five years out. I do not believe that will be the case after Sandy. It’s not less of a storm. It may be more. But I believe that the people of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut will not just push things aside and say well, that’s that. (And I’m sure people in New Orleans will take exemption to that sentence, but I’m not sorry.) There will be no dead areas. That doesn’t happen here on the east coast. The east coast will not wait. It will rebuild with our help and they will rebuild now.

So, with that said. Please, remember your roots, Ohio. You are east. Take care of your family. Below are some vetted resources to help. It’s up to you.

The Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/ to find a blood drive in your area or to donate in general to a group that is always there when disaster hits home. There direct links to the Hurricane Sandy Response Telethon on their website. Or to easily donate $10, text Red Cross to 90999.

The New Jersey Food bank: http://www.njfoodbank.org/blog/news/5367/hurricane-sandy-relief

Make a donation or volunteer time if you are in the area: http://nycservice.org/

The Jersey Shore Animal Shelter: http://www.jerseyshoreanimalcenter.org/

The United Way: https://donate.unitedwaynyc.org/page/contribute/uwsandyrecovery

FEMA http://www.fema.gov/sandy

No matter what. We DO take care of our own. Your family is counting on you.

Hey look! A giveaway!

February 9, 2011

So this comment came to my blog from a PR person at Epic Records. They have this artist named Hugo, and would I listen. And would I like to see him at the Beachland on February 9. Oh and would I like to give some tickets away to a lucky reader?

I listened and read his bio: Hugo

And I liked. I like Old Tyme Religion for its bluesy feel with a nice dollop of guitar fuzz on top.

And I liked  Bread And Butter. A little twangly guitar before it breaks into loud, full, and well, nothing like butter.  An ode to a shuffle blues with an injected flash of good old rock and roll.

And an interesting take on Jay-Z’s 99 Problems. Buy it here: itunes- 99 Problems

Well, I liked all of the songs. So yeah, it’s short notice, but hey, Wednesday only comes around once a week. So if you’d like to go to a show tonight at The Beachland Ballroom and see what Hugo is all about, I’ve got a pair of tickets to give away.

I’ll pick someone at random from the comments, and from my twitter feed. If you don’t win, consider going anyway. It’s a low-dough show, and any night at The Beachland is a good time.

Revealing Influences

January 21, 2011
tags: ,

I try. But as I try, it becomes more and more apparent that I am old. Or if not old, I have old taste in music.

I read everyone’s “best” lists of the year in music. Unless they included folks like Tom Petty or The Black Keys, I hadn’t heard it.

In fact, I was what turns out to be VERY blissfully unaware of what Vampire Weekend sounded like until that damned car commercial over the holidays.

So it’s all “indie” this and that. What does that even mean anymore? Posting yourself on YouTube and hope it goes somewhere? Like the other group on the equally annoying and cloying car commercial? Self-produced because a label won’t “discover” you? (There may be a reason for that.  Sorry kids.)

But I keep trying. And all I hear are the other influences. Some good, some bad. And a lot of it just bores me. I see a name like Vampire Weekend and think ok, they’re a punk or goth or garage band. Nope. THEY SOUND HAPPY. Grizzly Bear? Should be heavy right? Nope. Sleigh Bells sound like the Raveonettes, and I can take only so much compression. Beach House is just plain boring.

Took a listen to Grinderman and at least that sounds like it should. And gee, I kinda like it in a flaky background sort of way. Oh wait. It’s Nick Cave. See? Old.

So I keep trying. I keep listening to the music people post as their favorites on Twitter and in their blogs. I listen to SiriusXM-U until I have to change it because it’s driving me out of my mind (Joanna Newsom).

I’m a rock and roll girl. Ya gotta at least try. Not just some warbling over a tinkly piano rambling nowhere. So I go back to Underground Garage. It’s safe for me in the garage.

I’ll put this right… here.

And I’m trying not to be so cranky and curmudgeonly about it. So in that vein, I’m embarking on a new project I probably won’t make time for. And I’m going to drag my pal Kasey into it as well. (She sort of knows about it) I keep hearing songs I actually like in the garage. BUT I hear exactly where they came from. I hear the influences. I know Kasey will too. So I have a list, I’m actually going to buy each song. (Shocker, I know.) And Kasey and I will throw down a couple words each on the influences we hear and why. Not necessarily do we like the song, but where did it come from? What was the influence?

Hopefully she’s in on this. Otherwise it’s just me. Being curmudgeonly.

Hey! You kids! GET OFF MY LAWN!

The Remains Should Have Been Your Favorite Band

July 29, 2010

Spoonfed Records' 1978 re-issue of "Why Do I Cry"

But they’re not. Because you haven’t heard of them have you? I’ll admit, I only heard of them a scant 10 years or so ago. But by 1966, they we big enough to tour with The Beatles.

The Remains

My sister and I were making party mix cds and she brought over a compilation she had of 60s rock. And there it was. “Why Do I Cry.” I played it over and over. Like I was 15 again and had to hear and feel everything in it.

A few years later, I wandered into My Mind’s Eye records. I’ve mentioned the store many times before, but this was the first time I had been there. I was waiting on a pizza from Angelo’s (anyone who’s been to Lakewood knows Angelo’s) and noticed the store next door. I ducked in to waste time, not knowing it would be a treasure trove of great garage rock records. I was poking through the stacks, not really looking for anything, and the owner, Charles, asked if there was anything in particular I was looking for?

Feeling oh-so smart, I said, “Yeah, do you have anything by The Remains?”

He looked at me like I had shown him the golden ticket. Yes!, he said. He walked to the back of the store and pulled out a brand new re-issue by Sundazed records. (note: the version in that link is a newer version that I don’t have, but now want)I had to have it. I took the pizza and my new record home and the Mr. and I listened to it. It’s brilliant. The perfect mid-sixties record. Fuzzy and grunge-y and also poppy at the same time. Every time I listen I can’t believe they didn’t do more. I can’t believe they weren’t HUGE. This is the only real ’60s release. They have since reformed and released Movin’ On. There’s also a 2008 documentary called America’s Lost Band that doesn’t seem to be on DVD as of yet, but I’ll buy it when it is released. Not only for the story, but because it’s narrated by another favorite of mine, Boston-area rock legend, Peter Wolf.

As far as I can tell The Remains only released two singles. I’ve found them as re-issues for the jukebox to chew on.  The Spoonfed re-issue pictured above is from 1978, and pressed in fabulous transparent blue vinyl. The other is a red vinyl re-issue of “Diddy Wah Diddy” by Sundazed Records.

So, because they should have been your favorite band… The Remains’ ” Why Do I Cry” stays in the jukebox.

The Buy Local Challenge

July 2, 2010

The concept is simple. Take a week and the $100 you’re going to spend anyway, and spend it locally. No chain stores or restaurants. I Buy NEO Buy Local Challenge It runs from July 3 thru July 10. I started today at my favorite bakery.

Mazzone and Son's Bakery W. 35th and Clark near Fulton

It’s my favorite because the bread is the best, it’s a true neighborhood bakery, and my dad used to take me there when I was a kid after we would check in on my great-grandmother. Bought 2 hunks of bakery pizza, a half pound of assorted cookies and a loaf of freshly baked, unsliced Italian bread. $18 While I was there, they were taking a huge bread order out the door, headed to the Sunset Bar and Grille, Whiskey Island Marina. So when you order that sandwich this weekend at the Sunset, know that the bread came from a LOCAL bakery.

It’s a neighborhood place. The counter woman recognized me. She told me a story about the owner, who’s 91 and still working every night.  It seems he was outside the bakery late (or early) and escorting a woman into his car. A policeman saw them and pulled into the lot and wanted to know if this was a hooker he was picking up. He’s 91. The bakery has been there since the dawn of time. She’s an employee of the bakery. He’s driven her home for 17 years. The cop musta been new to the job. The employee was furious.

So how else will I buy NEO? On Saturday, I may go to the The West Side Market: Clevelands Oldest and Most Trusted Market and buy some deliciousness.  Always at least $25. I’m heading to Lakewood in the evening to hang with the sister. Gonna scout some records at My Mind’s Eye records and then enjoy her newly landscaped back yard. That will be at least $20 at the record store. Might head to The Winchester Tavern and Music Hall to see a show. $25 with drinks.

I’ll grab a growler from Fat Head’s Saloon (Yes I know it’s part of Pittsburgh, BUT the beer is all NEO) for Sunday. $15.

It’s back to work after that,  but I’ll be scouting the sweet corn at Sweet’s Farm. The hotline says they start selling on July 10.

Pretty easy to spend $100 locally. Go ahead, try it!

The Definition of Gorgeous

May 6, 2010

The Genius of Ray Charles. Remastered by Rhino Records. Released July 21, 2009

I own Bose bookshelf speakers that I bought used from a friend. They must be at least 20 years old. My husband tries to kill them on a regular basis by playing either the Stones’ Exile as loud as it will go, or Skynyrd’s One More From The Road. Same volume.

A 14 year old JVC receiver.

A 12 year old Technics turntable. No pre-amp (blasphemy, I know).

When I bought this album from  My Minds Eye Records earlier this year I didn’t know what I was in for. I knew it would be great. But I didn’t know it would make my system sound like it wasn’t even there.

It sounds like the music is coming from heaven. You want to applaud at the end of each song. And in between the songs? Nothing. Not a pop, no hiss, NOTHING.

This album is LUSH. The definition of GORGEOUS sound.

It will not do it justice to include a sample in this post.

Buy it.

Now.

Rhino | The Genius Of Ray Charles.

The folks at Rhino absolutely know what they are doing when it comes to these re-issues. The vinyl is full and clean, a very heavy 180g. The album cover has been beautifully reproduced and varnished to a high gloss finish. It’s nearly as heavy as the record. So if you can, support your local store, and buy it there. Otherwise please visit the Rhino website and order it direct. And poke around while you’re there. There’s a lot more you’ll want for your collection at their website.

Oh yeah, the music… It’s 1959. It’s the “pop music” of the day. What would now be called standards or American Songbook. So this is not early, down and dirty, blues-y Ray Charles, this is the crossover. Songs like “Am I Blue” and “Just For a Thrill” with full orchestration and a chorus of what can only be imagined while listening, as tall, thin, white women in evening dress and gloves. All wrapped up nicely by producer Quincy Jones.

So because it is one of the greatest albums of all time, and because it it so beautifully restored. Please buy it. And enjoy. You system will never have sounded better.

A Three Dog Night

April 16, 2010

Never Been to Spain. 1972 Dunhill 4299

Three Dog Night put out a LOT of singles. 22 singles from 1968 until they fell apart in 1976. They were hugely popular, and they didn’t write ANY of their songs. Their hit songs were written by the some of the cream of the crop in the rock era; Elton John, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Paul Williams and Hoyt Axton. I have nine of their 45s. One that is still elusive is “Mama Told Me not to Come.” I’ll get it.

One of the songs that stays in the jukebox is “Never Been to Spain.” Although I like the song, it’s the Mr.’s pick. He loves it. So I reminded him of this little blog project and asked him… Why?

NeverBeenToSpain

When he’s put on the spot he’s a man of few words. I asked him what it is about it he likes so much. Is it a childhood thing? Long ago memory? (as you know I have lots of those) His answers:

“It rips good” Me: Whaddaya mean it rips good? It’s not a crazy rocker.

“It sounds like it was recorded live and over-modulated” Me: O.K.

“It’s slow… but fast and good. It just appeals to me”  Me: You know it was written by Hoyt Axton. He also wrote “The Pusher.”

“That guy’s a genius. ‘The Pusher’ is killer.”

I agree. Hoyt Axton was a genius. I knew he wrote this and “The Pusher” but I didn’t know about “Joy To The World,” “Snowblind Friend” “The No-No Song” and “Greenback Dollar.”  If you are not familiar with his music, you might remember him as the dad in Gremlins. Hoyt Axton

So because Hoyt Axton was a genius, on par with Randy Newman (mama told me not to come) and Harry Nilsson (One) it stays in the jukebox.

That Train Keeps a Rollin’

March 31, 2010

I’m not a fan of country music. Especially “new” country that’s trying to be rock but just comes out a twangy mess.

But I do like bad boys. And I love Johnny Cash.

At Folsom Prison. Released May 1968My first memories of Johnny Cash were early. His album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison seemed to always be in rotation on visits to my Aunt and Uncle’s “cottage” on Findlay Lake, NY. That was a crazy place for the adults and us kids. Those are stories for another day.

My story is years later. 1990 I was living in Lakewood, OH on the first floor of a triplex. It was a nice house, that eventually became something of an Animal House. Also stories for another day.

1615 Ridgewood

Fourth of July, 1990. It’s hot. Some people are over. we’re attempting a cookout and drinking beer. We’re bored. Did I mention it was hot?

There’s air conditioning at the Corner Pub. And more beer. And a jukebox.

The Corner Pub on Madison at Ridgewood

So the six or so of us head down the street to the pub. Several barflies at the bar. It’s dark and cool and full of smoke already. We commandeer a table, order some beers and Billy and I head to the jukebox. And there it is.

Folsom Prison Blues.

Well we have to hear that. We play some songs. And go back for more. Let’s play it again. So we did. And a round of kamikaze shots ensued. And we played it again. Now a guy has moved from the bar to our table seeing as we are having so much fun on our own smoking and drinking and singing Johnny Cash.

And he says, “I’ll buy you another shot if you’ll play Folsom Prison again.” Well of course! In fact if you buy a round I’ll just keep playing it. And he did. And I played it again and again and again. And now the bartender is getting a little surly. But we’re just having a grand old time smoking and drinking and singing and then I see it. On the wall. A framed handbill advertising 10-Cent Beer Night. If you are not from Cleveland or even if you are, I found a pretty good article about it here: Remembering 10-Cent Beer Night.

I call this to the attention of the group and we proceed to take it down and slowly move it toward the door. And we almost made it. That made the bartender more than surly. In fact she was downright rude as she ordered us out. Heh heh. A few months later I was back at the Corner Pub and it had been screwed to the wall.

So when we got the juke running I went looking for places that still sold 45s. This was part of my first order with Continental Records. Continental Records Company Ltd.

Columbia Records 13-33153, 1968- New old stock at Continental Records

So because of that kamikaze-addled Fourth of July, and because that train keeps a rollin’ it stays in the jukebox.

I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone

March 11, 2010

The proliferation of merchandise attached to a band or a TV show is not new. My first experience with it was with The Monkees. There was tons of promo merchandise out there that played on The Monkees’ popularity. I had a talking hand puppet.

Pull the string and they talk! And sing the Monkees theme!

It eventually broke and they didn’t talk to me any more. But I still played with it. There were also records embedded on the back of cereal boxes. Way better than any lame prize inside.

Because of these things, I was a Monkees junkie by age 4.

And they were all but over by then.The show only lasted a couple of years, but as a very little kid I loved it. It’s been in and out of syndication and shown on TV many times. Whenever I find it, I watch. It was just silly fun with great pop songs. No, my favorite was not Davy. It was Mike. Then Mickey.

Some have dismissed them as a bubblegum pop band, but they were more than that. Even though they were a pre-fab group fitted together to take advantage of the fab four frenzy, they did have talent. They did play instruments, they sang and acted goofy and made it all look like great fun.

But their best songs were written by others you say. I say that happens everyday. And especially in the mid-sixties.

The Brill Building was the home of Aldon Music. The “don” in Aldon is Don Kirshner. Aldon Music and the Brill Building was home to the best songwriters in America at the time. Carole King & Jerry Goffin, Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry, Neil Sedaka, Leiber & Stoller and Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart. It was a pop hit-making factory.

Don Kirshner was brought in to handle the music for the Monkees TV show. Boyce & Hart were already on board as a song writing team. And they wrote hit after hit for The Monkees. Including my favorite. “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.”

A great screamin' rocker. Steppin' Stone by The Monkees

This is the B side of “Daydream Believer.” 1966, Colgems 66-1002. I don’t remember where I got this, but I bought it for the B side.

Amazingly, I can’t find a you tube video to post for this record. Nearly every other Monkees song is there, even my other favorite, “Mary, Mary.” But there are tons of covers, including The Sex Pistols and Johnny Thunders. And I found out that The Monkees weren’t the first to release this song. It was Paul Revere and The Raiders. YouTube – Paul Revere & the Raiders-(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.

So, because even The Sex Pistols think this song rocks. It stays in the jukebox. YouTube – Sex Pistols – (I’m not your) Stepping Stone.

The Power of Suggestion or Sleep Listening

March 5, 2010

Summer of ’78 I was 13. Go ahead do the math… The house I grew up in had no air conditioning. Still doesn’t. My bedroom was upstairs and had attic spaces on either side. It was unbearably hot in summer and freezing in winter.

But we’re talking about summer. And trying to sleep. I rigged fans at the windows to bring cool air in and blow out the hot air. I would lay in the dark and try to think cooling thoughts. It was miserable up there in the summer.

My fancy flip clock radio had a feature that would play the radio for a up to an hour and shut itself off.

The same clock radio I had

I would turn it down low and try to escape in music so I could fall asleep. There were certain big songs that summer, “Ebony Eyes” by Bob Welch, “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty and “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh. They were all played nearly every night, and were good to fall asleep to (In other words, I didn’t care much about them). But one song always woke me back up. “Driver’s Seat” by Sniff ‘n’ the Tears. I’m still mesmerized by that song.

When we got the juke working I started scouting around for places to buy 45s. I bought a lot of 45s from Continental Records.

Original Canadian release

This is one of them. Sniff ‘n’ The Tears’ Driver’s Seat/Slide Away on Atlantic #3604. I’ve never played the flip side. Driver’s Seat.mp3

The great thing about Continental Records is the records are all NEW old stock. He has a ton of titles so pack a lunch before you start looking. They are located in Canada so the shipping is a little high, and wait time for delivery is a little long, but I will repeat, NEW OLD STOCK. And some Canada-only releases. This is a Canadian release.

So “Driver’s Seat” stays in the jukebox. And it will always be summer.