Album Review: I Mother Earth – Dig (1993)

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The 2016 IME reunion tour with former front man Edwin has many people in Canada DIGging out their early IME cd’s. I never really put mine away, but I honestly did not think Edwin would ever be back in the band. Brian Byrne has been with the band since 1997, and the band released some singles to the radio in the last few years. Edwin had his solo stuff going on, was in Crash Karma, and even held down a job as a bartender. I know Brian Byrne applied for the lead singer job in Stone Temple Pilots, so perhaps that was a sign. Shortly after it was announced that Edwin was back, and a cross Canada tour was planned.

As for Dig, heavyweight producer Mike Clink was involved and this would help ensure that things were done right, but in a kind of raw sort of way. Franz Masini was fired during the recording of this album, so Jag had to perform both the guitar and bass duties(although listed in the credits, Bruce Gordon joined the band after the album was made). Luis Conte and Armondo Borg brought a Cuban flavour to the percussion work, and Mike Finnigan brought his Hammond B3 along to give it that 70’s feel. The drum duties are expertly handled by Jag’s brother Christian, and the aforementioned Edwin looks after the vocals.

The Mothers – The listing on the inside cover states this is an instrumental, however, this is not correct. It starts off nice enough with an acoustic flavour, but gets heavier as the song progresses.

Levitate – Begins with the words ” Feel heavy”. Sounds like a good start to me.

Rain Will Fall – Amazing guitar work, drumming and vocals round this one out. Edwin’s vocal go from low growl to high pitched wail, and everything in between.

So Gently We Go – A slower pace to this song. The guitar sound picks up and Edwin has to sing over it. It is mellow and heavier at the same time.

Not Quite Sonic – Guitar and pounding drums start this one off. “The sights, they’re embryonic(I hope not)…The sounds, they’re quadrophonic.” I can’t confirm this as I do not have a quadrophonic stereo system, but it sounds cool anyway. The background vocals have kind of a Stone Temple Pilots feel, and the music at times feels psychedelic. So it is modern for 1993, and a throwback at the same time.

Production – This song is very unique. The bass is very Flea like, with some RHCP funkiness. This morphs over throughout the entire song. Jag roots the song in a rock vein with his wicked guitar, then spoken word and trippy keyboards almost veer it off in a psychedelic direction. So it is a funky, heavy, slightly psychedelic tune. Ok.

Lost My America – A sort of sad song about being lost and alone. To me the best part of the song is the chorus. The guitars get louder and more wah influenced, and Edwin almost yells over them. It almost has an Extreme flavour to it.

No One – Wicked guitar begin this song off. Again the guitar work sounds a bit like Nuno Bettencourt to me, which is not a bad thing. The drum work is unique in that it has a conga beat to it at times. “No one leaves this Caravan.” I hope he is not referring to the brand of minivan.

Undone – A quiet guitar strum and Edwin whispers the start of this song. It is kind of haunting. Giving off the same vibe as some of the Johnny Cash American Recordings that would follow this song years later.

Basketball – More wicked funky bass, conga playing, and guitar wails. Then the sound level doubles and the pace goes into the stratosphere. I would have loved to see the recording of this. My guess they did not perform this song live as it is so fast and precise. It has kind of a harder edged, heavier Santana feel to it.

And The Experience – A droning and experimental song. Then the chorus kicks in and Edwin is possibly at his best. Jag gives us some neat guitar/bass riffs and the pace picks up to an almost Chilis level. The sort of spoken lyrics and the acoustic mixed with a trippy finish are a nice mixture.

The Universe In You – Quiet rhythmic beginning with clear vocals. Then the song pounds you like the best Faith No More song.

Bonus Songs. I also own the 10″ USA promo that came from this recording. On my copy are 3 songs from Dig – The Mothers, Basketball and No One. According to Discogs there is also a 10″ that has 6 songs. 2 that were not included on Dig – Love From Revolution and Subterranean Wonderland. These are only of interest to you if you enjoy rare finds and blue transparent vinyl.

 

I wish IME had released these added songs. As it was Dig was really good. Who knows? Perhaps a double vinyl re-release. Hmmmm.

9.5/10

For other excellent reviews of this album check out Mike and Aaron

 

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Goodbye Mr. Hockey

I just got a text from a fellow hockey fan that read “Holy shit! Gordie Howe died.” I had to take a moment to take this in. As a youngster growing up in Canada, hockey was everything. My mom got me a book one day called  Hockey….Here’s Howe. It was written in 1963, and it has been decades since I read that book. I’m not sure if I even have it. I can say that even though I love hockey, I only have ever had books by arguably the 3 best to ever play the game. Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe. In the book Gordie wrote about being a 15 year old kid from Saskatchewan that was in awe in the New York Rangers dressing room. He was invited to camp, and he thought it would be best to keep his mouth shut.

He quickly became the best player of his generation, and the term “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” (a goal, an assist, and a fight in the same game) still lives on to this day. He was also known as being the best and the toughest player at the same time. His elbow was especially feared. Often 2 players would go in the corner, and only Gordie would emerge.

He retired in 1971 for the first time, but 2 years later was lured to the newly formed WHA to play with his sons. He played professional hockey until the incredible age of 52. When he retired he had the record for games played, goals scored, won 4 Stanley Cups, 6 scoring titles, league MVP 6 times, and was named to the All Star team 21 times.

He was so good his name “Mr. Hockey” is a registered trademark. He was well loved in Detroit and in Canada, so in 2020 the Gordie Howe International Bridge will open between Detroit Michigan and Windsor Ontario.

To me, it’s kind of fitting that Ali’s funeral is happening on the same day that Gordie Howe died. Arguably the best ever at their respective sports. So long Gordie. I hope there is hockey on the other side.

Gord Downie: My Favourite Moments

10 – Tuesday May 24, 2016 6:12 AM. The exact moment I found out about Gord’s cancer. I will never, ever forget that moment. That says something about how Gord has touched my life. I shed some tears and then moved on, focused on the million or so positive thoughts in my head of Gord and the rest of The Hip.

9 – Gord On Stage. No front man I have ever known has danced, rambled, gone off into a spastic, Joe Cocker like trance in the way Gord Downie does. Every live show is a blessing, a poetry reading, a weird and wild ride. Here’s hoping I get tickets to see them one more time.

8 – SNL. I used to love that show. I would stay up all hours to watch the show. Often the musical guests sucked, but sometimes they brought it. One band definitely brought it. They showed the U.S. networks that we can kick ass up here in Canada. The Hip brought their A Game, and Dan Akroyd could not have been prouder to introduce his fellow Kingston brethren.

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7 – Fifty Mission Cap. My wedding had a hockey theme to it, eh. Our dj asked for a list of my songs and I wanted hockey songs, but off the top of my head, the only one I could think of was Fifty Mission Cap. The line “The last goal he ever scored. Won the Leafs the Cup.” I wonder if I will ever see that in my lifetime.

6 – Canadiana – No band before or since has brought as much Canadiana. Newfoundland, Millhaven Maximum, Sault Saint Marie, Regent Theatre, Niagara Falls, Bobcaygeon, Rideau Canal, Hundredth Meridian, Attawapiskat and many more are mentioned. Proud to call Canada home. They stayed here because we love them. We always will.

5 – Dan Snyder – Many people would not know the name. I grew up in Elmira, Ontario, Canada. Dan was told at every level to quit, as he was too small. He rose through the ranks and made the NHL against the odds. He was killed in a high speed crash in a Ferrari driven by a teammate. At the trial, Mr. and Mrs. Snyder forgave the driver and asked the judge not to put him in jail. The Hip recorded Heaven Is A Better Place Today in honour of Snyder, and Gord Downie has attended the Dan Snyder Memorial Golf Tournament in Elmira. Thank You Gord, and I miss you Dan.

4 – Front Row – In April 2009, The Hip announced a fan club sale of tickets to Danforth Music Hall for the princely sum of $20. I was on the computer at the designated time and lo and behold I had front row. FRONT ROW TO THE HIP!!!!! Ok. What is this? After I click to purchase why does this lead me to a US ticketmaster site. WTF. I want my front row tickets. Turns out I didn’t get my tickets. I got this instead. The Hip Apology   At least I got a letter from The Hip.

3 – Bush Party – I first heard The Hip at a bush party in Elmira. Someone was from Kingston and they brought a Hip cassette. WTF is this. I need to hear more of this awesome music. I have never looked back. My dream party would be a bush party with Kawasaki and The Hip performing.

2 – My Hip Week. In the first week of October 2012, I was off to Toronto for some boring ass training sessions. I had the radio on during my morning commute and the dj mentioned something about The Hip doing a surprise show in a tiny bar in Kensington Market. I bailed on the training and got to the venue and lined up. Me and 100 or so of my closest friends got to see The Hip put on a mini concert. After the show I got to meet Rob Baker. Later that week my wife and I got to see The Hip perform the last ever concert at Ivor Wynn Stadium. One of the best weeks of music ever.

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1 – Barrie. My girlfriend ( now wife) got my invite to come up and see me in Barrie and we would go to The Hip concert. She would bring a friend and my buddy and I talked about going to the show. Apparently he thought I was buying the tickets and I thought he was. The tickets sold out and I had to tell the girls that drove 2 hours to see the band that we had no tickets. We went to a party instead and had a great time. I knew my girlfriend was a keeper and since then we have seen The Hip many times. We still laugh about that this day. It is so awesome how people can bond over The Hip.

FYC has become my motto for 2016. It stands for FUCK YOU CANCER. In the case of Gord Downie. FYCATFPOSHYRIO. FUCK YOU CANCER AND THE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT HORSE YOU RODE IN ON.

Lastly. I love you Ry Cooder. But I hope you stay away from Kingston, Ontario for a very, very long time.

This was a group post. Please click the links for others by Scotty G (Guest Post) at Mike Ladano, Aaron from KMA, Geoff at 1001 albums, James at KMA, Deke from Stick It In Your Ear, and Sarca from Caught Me Gaming.

 

40 Years Ago Today: The Runaways-The Runaways (1976)

Produced and directed by Kim Fowley (RIP). Fowley had been trying to put an all girl band together for over a year. One night in 1975 he met Joan Jett. 2 weeks later Sandy West. He quickly recruited Lita Ford, Cherie Currie and Jackie Fox and The Runaways were born.

The band is unique in that the 2 guitarists went on to achieve solo fame. Joan Jett and Lita Ford both hit it big in the 80’s, and are still performing today.

Cherie Currie took over lead vocals with no formal training. She has a really cool voice, plus she would often perform onstage in her underwear. She went on to a solo career and tried her hand at acting. She is still in the music industry.

Sandy West(RIP) was an amazing drummer. One of the most underrated female drummers of all time. When the band broke up in 1979, she had to work odd jobs and resort to criminal activity to make ends meet. She died of cancer in 2005.

Although Jackie Fox is listed on the cover, she never played on this album because Kim Fowley refused to let her play. Nigel Harrison(Blondie) secretly performed all of the bass work. A year after this album came out, Jackie became discouraged with all of the fighting in the band, so she called her good friend Randy Rhoads. He encouraged her to come home from the Japan tour. She quit the band, and has been out of the music industry for many years.

Cherry Bomb – Such an awesome song. When I first heard this song back in the day I had to find this album.

You Drive Me Wild – Sounds like an early Aerosmith song, mixed with a bit of the Beatles, and sung by a wicked woman with pipes.

Is It Day or Night? – Has a really cool ending in which the music stops completely 2 times before the real ending.

Thunder – This sounds like the female version of KISS. No small wonder since Fowley had co-wrote 2 songs on Destroyer the same year. Close your eyes when you listen to this song and pictures women in platform boots and KISS makeup spitting blood and fire. You know you want it.

Rock And Roll – A cool version of the Velvet Underground song, with more cowbell.

Lovers – Cool drumming and bass hold the bottom end down, and the guitar work fills in nicely.

American Nights – Cherie sounds a little like Carole Pope in this one, and the song has a feel good sound to it. Her keyboard work leaves lot to be desired, but the song is saved by the cowbell, Joan Jett’s screams and the guitar work

 

Blackmail – Joan Jett sings this one and does a great job. A foreshadowing of the next year when Joan takes over vocal duties.

Secrets – Cool guitar work that reminds me a bit of an Alice Cooper song and some neat background vocals move this song along. More weird keyboards here. Cherie should have stuck to singing.

Dead End Justice – The first half of this song is great. Has a bit of a punk rock feel to it, with some cool guitar riffs. Then the girls scream, and the song morphs into something weird with army drumming and voice-overs . It is almost like they had another song that was half finished, so they tacked onto the end of this song. It should have been left off. However, the guitar solo near the end is pretty cool.

A really good debut album that still sounds good today.

9.25/10