AC/DC DIED TODAY (R.I.P)

Malcolm Young died today. I am really gutted by this news since I believe he is/was/ever shall be the best rhythm guitarist ever. I mean, it’s not even close. As far as rhythm is concerned, Mustaine is good, Hetfield is good, Young is God.

He had been suffering from dementia. Some reports say it started as early as the Black Ice days. I witnessed first hand what it is like for a grown man to lose his dignity with dementia. I remember my grandpa crying to me at our house during Christmas because the doctor had just taken his license. Then he began to get violent and was placed in a home. It was awful to visit him there with all the other dementia patients wandering the halls. I was a full grown man and I was a bit nervous around those folk since they were not in their right mind. I was there when my grandpa took his last breath, and I hope Malcolm’s family was able to do the same.

Malcolm was eventually replaced in AC/DC by his nephew Stevie Young, but for me, after he left, that was almost it. I enjoyed Rock Or Bust, but the band was on thin (black) ice. Then they brought in Axl Rose. Nope. I’m out guys. This is not AC/DC. Malcolm is AC/DC. The band officially died today though. R.I.P Malcolm. R.I.P AC/DC.

Over the next few days I will post some more AC/DC stuff, some Malcolm tributes. He deserves at least that.

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I Remember You

Today we honour the men and women who gave their lives keeping our country free. I want to pay respect to these fine soldiers, but also to those that made it home, whether in one piece, or physically and/or mentally broken. I salute you.

Not exactly a Remembrance day video, but a song about remembering

If you see a soldier today, regardless of your feeling of war, please thank them for your freedom.

Pentti ‘Whitey’ Glan (R.I.P) Top 5

Whitey Glan died of cancer yesterday in a Barrie, Ontario hospital. Who? That may be the question many of you ask. Whitey was mostly a session drummer, born in Finland and then moved to Canada. In his early days he could be found hanging around Yonge St. in Toronto playing the local bars. His first band was originally called Rogues but changed their name to Mandala.

5 Mandala – Love itis. This Top 10 hit in 1968 that was again made popular by J Geils Band in the 70’s.

4 Bush – I Can Hear You Calling. Not the 90’s British rock band, but the original Bush (Canada).

3 Bette Midler – The Rose. Whitey played the drums in Bette’s band in this 1979 movie.

2 Alice Cooper – Welcome To My Nightmare. Whitey played  drums on this Alice Cooper solo album and on the later live album The Alice Cooper Show.

1 Lou Reed – Rock N Roll Animal & Lou Reed Live. Whitey played drums on both of these albums recorded live in new York in 1973.

R.I.P. Whitey

 

45th Anniversary Album Review: Lou Reed – Transformer (1972, 2012 RCA vinyl edition)

After Lou Reed left The Velvet Undergound, he worked for a short time at father’s tax accounting firm as a typist, then set out on a solo career. His first album, a self-titled number was highly anticipated, but did not sell well. While touring in 1972, Lou worked with David Bowie and Mick Ronson. These rock legends agreed to not only perform on this album, but to co-produce it as well.

For his 2nd album, Transformer, here is the cast of characters: Klaus Voorman, Herbie Flowers, John Halzey, Barry Desouza, Ritchie Dharma, Ronnie Ross, Mick Ronson, David Bowie and Lou Reed. It was bound to be great with all of those wonderful musicians.

Vicious – The buzz saw sounding guitar work, booming bass and Lou’s monotone delivery make this song unique and awesome at the same time. With lines such as “When I watch you come Baby, I just want to run far away You’re not the kind of person around I Want to stay” and “Vicious Hey, why don’t you swallow razor blades You must think that I’m some kind of gay blade But baby, you’re so vicious” it’s not for the faint of heart in 2017. I can’t imagine the flak it took in 1972.

Andy’s Chest – This song was originally wrote for The Velvet Underground but never appeared on an album by that band until 1985’s VU. It was inspired by the 1967 shooting of Andy Warhol. Amazing guitar work from Mick Ronson and background vocals from David Bowie. No more needs to be said.

Perfect Day – A flowing and orchestral song. It never saw the fame it so greatly deserved until it was featured on the 1996 film Trainspotting. For me, Lou’s crackling, almost pubescent vocals, the strings and piano work are the stars here.

Hangin’ ‘Round – Amazing guitar work by both Lou and Mick contrast with the use of a recorder. It has an almost early 70’s Rolling Stones sound to it, and you can’t help but rock along to it. I love this song.

Walk On The Wild Side – Another song I am sure that caused a ton of flak. 1972 was not as open minded to songs featuring references to transsexuality, drugs, male prostitution, and oral sex. Andy Warhol is again featured here with mention of 5 of the key players from The Factory studio including Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, Joe Dallesandro, Jackie Curtis and Joe Campbell (Sugar Plum Fairy). How it became a staple on rock radio is a testament to just how good this song is. For me, Lou’s vocal delivery and the bass work are amazing but the sax work is out of this world.

Make Up – A fun little song about men “coming out of the closets” and putting makeup on. It has a fun beat punctuated with a tuba played in a sort of circus/carnival sort of way.

Satellite of Love – Another song composed when Lou was still in The Velvet Underground. It was originally a demo for Lou’s first album but didn’t make the cut. I have no idea why. It’s a great song. Although Lou had Mick Ronson on guitar and Bowie on background vocals. That must have been what put it over the top.

Wagon Wheel – This song sounds like Stuck In The Middle With You (Stealers Wheel),  Get It On (T Rex) and Whiskey In The Jar (Thin Lizzy version) all got mixed up in an amazing jambalaya of musical awesomeness. What came first, the chicken or the awesome song.

New York Telephone Conversation – A fun little ragtime number about the gossip surrounding New York at the time.

I`m So Free – The hand clapping, background vocals and drumming are ace here, but the guitar work is absolutely stunning.

Goodnight Ladies – Another tuba song that could be played at the end of any circus act. The tuba and sax are the stars for me. Two tuba songs on a rock record. Just one more thing on a long list of firsts that this album had.

10/10

 

 

 

Roy “Doc” Halladay (R.I.P) Top 3

 

Sad news this afternoon that the former Cy Young award winning pitcher Roy Hallady has died in a plane crash. As a Toronto Blue Jays fan I loved watching “Doc” pitch. The man was truly one of the best pitchers in baseball, and possibly the best I ever saw pitch live.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/590/jeff-blair-show/pat-hentgen-on-the-career-of-roy-halladay/

3 When my wife, daughter and I travelled to Boston for a weeks vacation I purposely planned this entire week long trip during a time when the Blue Jays would be there. The fact that Halladay would be pitching the day we would be at the game was icing on the cake. Fenway Park is almost a Holy Grail of baseball stadiums. It’s tiny when compared to todays ball parks, but the atmosphere is great. We got there about an hour before game time and were told the tickets were sold out. We stood in line behind a long line of fans hoping to score some left over season tickets that might get released. Shortly before game time we got lucky. The lady knew we were visiting fans and we got tickets that had been reserved for Blue Jay players family. We sat right behind home plate. Score. I had to go back and forth between the beer stand and my seat since I did not know you need id in Fenway, even if you’re 40. Anyway, long story short, Halladay was awesome as usual, and the Jays won.

2 Perfect Game vs, Marlins – 11 strikeouts, no walks. No hits or runs over 9 innings. A perfect game. Only the 20th in history. What could be better?

Well maybe….

1 The second no-hitter in post season history – 8 strike outs. 1 walk in his first post-season game ever.

I’ll miss you Roy. R.I.P.

 

 

 

 

 

Album Review: Joni Mitchell – Hejira (1976)

I wanted to do a celebration for Joni Mitchell’s birthday so I figured an album review should suffice.

The cast of characters on this album is incredible. First off, Joni had a vision for her bassist. She wanted one that would stand out, and play with a free flowing spirit. She was told to travel to Florida and look up Jaco Pastorius. This was an amazing move. This is the first album of Joni’s that Jaco would play on. He introduced the listeners to his freestyle form of fretless bass, and I can only imagine many were amazed at the first note they heard.

As well as Jaco, the list of characters involved is a who’s who of amazing musicianship. Neil Young, Larry Carlton, Max Bennett, Chuck Domanico, John Guerin, Bobbye Hall, Victor Feldman, Abe Most, and Chuck Findley. With this list, the album has to be great doesn’t it.

Coyote – As I mentioned before, the first note Jaco plays turned the music world on it’s head. The average Joni Mitchell (or for that matter pop and folk) fan had never heard bass licks like what was laid down on this song. A nice song that hit home for Joni during the time of her romantic breakup. Did I mention the bass is completely awesome?

Amelia – Jaco is no where to be found on this one. If it would have been me I would have wanted him on all of this album, but for whatever reason he only plays on 4 songs. A tribute song for Amelia Earhardt. Sort of a tip of the hat to a female in a man’s world doing what she longs to do, even if it kills her.

Furry Sings The Blues – This song is about when Joni met the delta blues singer Furry Lewis. He despised the song and demanded he be paid royalties. It seems he mostly disliked her using his name without permission. I personally don’t think anyone could truly  despise this wonderful song. Max Bennett from the Wrecking Crew fame does a pretty admirable job playing bass on this one, and Neil Young does an amazing job on harmonica.

A Strange Boy – This song is about a young man Joni had a brief affair with on a cross country trip. He lived at home with his parents, and he intrigued Joni enough to write a song about him. The subtle guitar notes that Joni and Larry Carlton are the stars for me here.

Hejira – Welcome back Jaco. We missed you.

Song For Sharon – An 8 minute and 40 second apparently written while Joni was high on cocaine. I would never have even thought that was possible, since it is so cohesive and striking. Not fleeting but straight on with conviction. More lyrics regarding relationship breakup, and fleeting love. The namesake of the song was Joni’s childhood friend that also hoped to be a singer, but chose marriage instead. A young Joni sometimes wanted to trade places with Sharon. Luckily she did not.

Black Crow – Jaco is welcomed back with a funky groove. The song is about how far away Joni is away from her Canadian home. Larry Carlton does his best to compete with Jaco with an electric guitar. He does a fine job, but he had a tough hill to climb.

Blue Motel Room – Speaking of blue, the song has kind of a Blue Bayou feel to it. A slow, southern groover written at the DeSotoo Beach Motel in Savannah, Georgia. Joni changes pace and shifts from rhythm guitar to lead for this one.

Refuge Of The Roads – The last song on the album once again features Jaco. I may have mentioned his bass playing before. Another song about past loves and driving until the road ends. “I fell in with some drifters cast upon a beach town Winn Dixie coldcuts and highway hand me downs” and “In a highway service station over the month of June was a photograph of the earth taken coming back from the moon and you couldn`t see a city on that marbled bowling ball or a forest or a highway or me here least of all…”

Happy Birthday Joni.

9.5/10