Saturday, July 5, 2008

Is it any wonder?

Just for shits and hoots, here's a little salute to a few one-hit wonder/lost classic favorites of mine from throughout the years...

"Get It On"Chase (1971)  One of the funniest albums reviews of all-time came from Rolling Stone regarding the band Chase.  It read simply, "Flee!"  Funny as it was, I totally disagree with it, because this was a cool song in my book!  And it didn't take long for this one to catch on with college marching bands in the early '70s, as I often heard "Get It On" being played during football game halftimesback in the day when they actually showed the halftime shows on TV.  Even though it wasn't on our playlist at KKJO in St. Joseph, I used to sneak "Get It On" in now and then during my graveyard shift gig on the radio, and those horns surely woke up a few St. Joseph-ians.  If I'd cranked my studio speakers up all the way, I might've shattered every window in the station, too!  Sadly, trumpeter Bill Chase and his entire touring band were killed en route to a concert at the Jackson County Fair in Minnesota in 1974 when their plane crashed just short of the runway.  Here's a video (if you want to call it that) of the song to give you a little taste of it. You can also find it on Rhino's Have A Nice Day-Super Hits of The '70s, Volume 5.

"Sausolito Summernight"DIESEL (1981)  Diesel was a band out of the Netherlands, and this one got a lot of airplay on old KY-102 during the autumn of my senior year in high school.  It's sort of a sequel to Lobo's "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo" (ten years later) all about trekking around in a piece-of-shit car.  Here's a video that has nothing to do with the song, other than the driving in a car part.

"Hallelujah"SWEATHOG (1971)  Back to that magical year 1971 for this one, and a bnad which had nothing to do with Horshack and Barbarino.  I really like this song, in spite of its pseudo-religious overtones.  It was your basic early '70s garage-band Rock, and had a nice attitude anyway.  I couldn't find a video for this one so you're on your own unless you can snag it on Have A Nice Day-Super Hits of The '70s, Volume 7.

"Also Spratch Zarathustra"DEODATO (1973)  Is this not the coolest version of the 2001-A Space Odyssey theme, or what?  It begins and ends very morbidly, sounding as if recorded in a graveyard, then sounding a bit like the "Barney Miller" theme in places, this little jazz-fusion thang grooves throughout.  I loved how Deodato managed to make his guitar sound like yowling cats, too.  Here's yet another video that has nothing to do with the song in question, and you can find this one on Have A Nice Day-Super Hits of The '70s, Volume 10.

"Last Song"EDWARD BEAR (1972)  Not to be confused with the Elton John song of the same name, this mopey little ditty was high on the charts in late '72/early '73 when I was in third grade.  Edward Bear wasn't a man, but rather the name of a group from Canada, and they never sniffed the Top 40 again after this one.  Here's a video that's kinda-sorta about the song.  Also available on Have A Nice Day-Super Hits of The '70s, Volume 10.

"Timothy"THE BUOYS (1971)  Oh boythe ramifications of this one!  Not since Cannibal & The Headhunters in 1965 had cannibalism been involved in a Top 40 record.  Written by Rupert Holmes (of "Pina Colada Song" and "Him" fame), I was blissfully unaware that the title character was eaten by the other two guys when I listened to this song at age 7 on WHB here in K.C.  I merely thought that Tim got lost and was never found.  Could this be where the band Fine Young Cannibals derived their name?  Available on Have A Nice Day-Super Hits of The '70s, Volume 6, "Timothy" is dissected furthermore in this little video presentation.

"Hocus Pocus"FOCUS (1973)  The summer of '73 produced two really cool Hard Rock instrumentals, Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" and this one from Holland's Focus.  If you can get past the Benny Hill-esque yodeling from their manic organ player, these guys sounded very Deep Purple-ish at times.  Here's a little taste of the song played live (although played way too fast).

"Painted Ladies"IAN THOMAS (1973)  You'd be hard-pressed to find a better dead ringer for Neil Young than this dude.  Turns out that Ian Thomas is the brother of SCTV's Dave Thomas ("Good day, eh?").  Released at the tail-end of '73, this was a minor hit (#34 in Billboard), but a pretty cool song, all the same.  Available on Have A Nice Day-Super Hits of The '70s, Volume 17, here's a rather un-scintillating video of the actual record spinning 'round and 'round...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Changes in latitudes, changes in longitudes

After months and months of plotting and planning for my big trip to New York City in August, I’ve decided to re-route my trip just a skosh, and now I’ll be heading to the Golden State, California, instead.  As badly as I want to see Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium before they are reduced to rubble, it dawned on me last week that it would probably be a tad foolhardy on my part to try and take on Gotham City alone without a co-pilot and/or a police escort.  As I got closer to August, visions of Midnight Cowboy danced in my head (great movie, btw), and I realized that visiting New York would be much more enjoyable (and infinitely safer) in the company of others, especially someone who knows their way around up there, so I’ve decided to shelve that trip indefinitely rather than chance being literally splattered all over Manhattan.  I prefer to be in control of how I get around during a trip (i.e., rental car), and unfortunately, one is at the mercy of the subways and the buses to get around in the New Yawk, and I’m just not ready to deal with all that hassle, even though it’s actually cheaper than renting a car.

I’ve never been to California, and it’s been a longtime dream of mine anyway, plus I think I’m getting more bang for my buck than I would’ve in New York anyhow.  This is basically an extended version of the Bay Area trip I had planned to take last September that fell through, and it will now also include L.A., San Diego and most points in between.  And I won’t even have to go to L.A. via Omaha like Charlie Daniels—I managed to swing non-stop flights to and from LAX for under $300 round-trip via Southwest Airlines.  The baseball schedule shakes out nicely to include games at all five California Major League ballparks—Petco Park, Dodger Stadium, AT&T Park in Frisco, Oakland Mausoleum and Anaheim Stadium.  I’m also going to endeavor to check out some of the interesting eateries profiled on Food Network’s "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives".  As it turns out I’ll even be driving early Sunday morning, through Bakersfield, so I’ll be sure to do like Mick Jagger and be "listenin’ to gospel music on that colored radio station."  Maybe I’ll find that girl with the "Far Away Eyes" too.  The journey begins August 14th and ends on the 22nd and I’m really pumped to find my place in the sun, so to speak…

A little tip for those of you planning vacations that involve flying:  Avoid renting cars at the airport if you possibly can.  Take a cab to a nearby local rental car office and you’ll save a shitload of money.  I have a week and one day lined up for this trip, and if I’d rented from Enterprise at the airport, it would’ve cost me $531.  But I did a little checking, and Enterprise has an office three miles from LAX in Culver City that’ll give me the same deal for $193—well worth the $15-20 cab ride!  Hell, I’d even walk the three miles toting my bags to save 300 some-odd bucks…

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated this week what has been obvious for ages—rookie salaries are "ridiculous", and is now lobbying for some sort of cap on first-year player salaries.  True, all NFL players are overpaid, but I’ve been screaming about this for years—I’ve never understood how someone who’s never played a down in the league can rate these eleventy-millon dollar contracts right out of college when some 10-year veterans barely make the league minimum.  Don’t you have to start at the bottom of the pay scale and earn your way up?  That’s how it works at my job…

I heard on the radio yesterday about a survey that was taken about which industry has the lowest rate of customer satisfaction and poorest customer service reputation, and cable television was ranked at rock bottom.  Imagine that!  An industry that offers an inferior product at over-inflated prices?  Nawww, couldn’t be…

Hell, I’ve had to have Compost—er uh—Comcast come out to my house twice in the last four months because the same half-a-dozen channels on my digital tier either pixellate or don’t come in at all, and naturally they’re the stations I watch the most (Fox Sports Channel, TNT, both ESPN’s, etc.), and it’s still not working properly.  I woke up about 5:00 in the morning yesterday and couldn’t sleep, so I turned on the tube trying to find something to watch, and seven or eight of my channels were completely dark, and another half-dozen were stuck in freeze-frame!  I’m paying $75 a month for this?!?  Monkey muffins!

Naturally, one of the few channels that was still viewable yesterday morning when I couldn’t sleep was the venerable BET, and there was the late Rev. Jerry Falwell still begging viewers for money for God with the MasterCard and Visa logos superimposed on the screen.  Is it just me, or does it seem to be a tad tacky to have a deceased person asking live persons to send money to them?  I believe it was Bono of U2 who said, "The god I worship isn’t short of cash, Mister!"

Speaking of fat cats who don’t need money, I heard on the radio this morning that some executive from Chevron appeared on "Larry King Live" last night and basically blamed American consumers for gas prices being so high.  Well, excuse me for needing to get to work and back every day—what an ass I am!

By the way, I think it’s high-time CNN renamed "Larry King Live" "Celebrity Pity Party".  Every other night there’s somebody who’s fallen from grace pleading their case to Larry and the public, like Ed McMahon or the Osmonds or Dr. Phil or Tammy Faye.  Oh wait, that last one’s dead—I forgot!

…to hear that Angelina Jolie is "doing fine" in the hospital, thanks to our daily news media updates on her pregnancy.  My gosh, I just couldn’t carry on if something happened to her!  Seriously, why does this semi-attractive and overrated actress rate such over-the-top media coverage over every little thing she does?  That goes for her equally-overrated boyfriend Brad Pitt, too.  Come on, America—get a life, already!

Have y’all seen this new ABC show "Wipeout"?  It’s an out-and-out ripoff of Spike TV’s "MXC", and it ain’t nearly as funny.  Can’t these TV executive schmucks come up with ANYTHING original anymore?!?  I bet Guy LaDouche could!  It's like the networks are totally out of fresh ideas for TV series.  I can just hear hear it now:  "Next week on a very special 'Celebrity Body Cavity Search'..."

I guess it was inevitable, but workers have begun demolishing Tiger Stadium in Detroit this week.  The place has been closed since 1999, and there have been numerous efforts to preserve the park (or at least a portion of it) or convert it for some other use, including one led by former Tigers play-by-play announcer Ernie Harwell that is still on-going.  I’m all for saving old stadiums, but I think it’s better if they tear TS down at this point, rather than just letting it sit and rot like it has—it’s like watching a sick old relative dying a slow painful death.  I visited Tiger Stadium on a frigid Michigan May evening in 1991 for a Tigers game and was impressed with what immaculate condition the place was in for its age at the time.  If the powers-that-be had acted sooner, they might’ve been able to renovate the place instead of building the new Comerica Park a mile up the road.  I attended a game at Comerica in 2006, and while it’s a nice ballpark with all the bells and whistles, it’s about as soulless as a Zamfir record.  I’ll take the old parks with all the quirks and ambience and soul (and even the foul smells!) over most of these slick new places.  Time marches on, I guess…