Thursday, March 31, 2011
This is actually from a CD and not a record. Chia Pet was a band from Chicago in the late 80's early 90's. I saw these guys quite a few times as a kid because the drummer was a good skate buddy of mine. For those who have perhaps read everything I've written over the years you may have picked up on the fact that as a kid I was all about skateboarding. My friends and I had a skateboard team and we called ourselves Team SAP. If you ever wondered where the name for the blog came from, well now you have your answer. So below is a picture of Kurt Stevens who drummed in Chia Pet as well as another great Chicago band No Empathy.
I hadn't listened to this disc for quite a few years and I threw it on last week. It holds up great. The opening track is just fantastic. A song about Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie Van Halen and even a reference to Wolfgang Van Halen who was a child at the time, but is now part of Van Halen.
"Talk About It" is also a really big stand out. This song will get up and dancing for sure. And "Meat Beer And Chocolate" not only has a great title, but the song rages as well.
I've also included a scan of a Chia Pet matchbook that I've somehow managed to keep all these years. Came across it recently and decided it needed to be scanned. To tell you the truth, the matchbook is what kicked off my listening to the CD and deciding I should share the music.
A little over a year ago Chia Pet got together for a reunion. Here is a flyer for that reunion. Palatine was my hometown, by the way.
Here are some Chia Pet videos.
Jump to about the 3:30 minute spot to get "Meat Beer & Chocolate".
And this one is super funky. Wish I had a record or CD of this song. It really gets the feet a shufflin'.
Here is a bonus track from No Empathy. There wasn't a lot of love for Ben Weasel amongst the people I hung around with.
And here's the great original.
And one more No Empathy track.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Enjoy! (if you can)
01 Too Late
02 Lies On The Run
03 Let Them Talk
05 Eye Of The Storm
06 Doin' What I Feel
07 Let The Time Take Care
08 I Should Have Told You
Monday, March 28, 2011
Taking a break from the record posts today. Thought I'd share a track that I'm in love with these days. Came across this a week or so ago one morning in the car and was blown away. The song starts off slow and quiet and then a drum beat kicks in. It picks up like it is going to be a good little dance track. But then about 4 minutes in you get a big punch right to the gut. I'm not joking there. This bass kicks in that rocks you to the core. The mirrors on my car were vibrating and I felt like I had gone to some sort of bass heaven. The song lyric says it perfectly. "Rippin' my heart was so easy, so easy, launch your assault now." That is what it feels like the bass is doing. I wish I was younger and still going to dance clubs, because I would love experience this in a club. It is the kind of song I could get lost in on the dance floor. Close my eyes and just dance. So put on some headphones and feel this song. Then go find the song for your mobile device of choice because you will want this song with you.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I didn't know anything about this band before buying it and even before listening to it. In fact I thought the band name was Warhead up until I began doing research for this blog. I had to rename all my files and re-upload them once I discovered that mistake. Most of my reading came from this very informative article about More and review of this very record. I'm glad I stumbled across it because I was about to post that it was hard to find anything on this band, but as it turns out it was because I had the wrong name.
I gave the record a good solid listen this morning on my morning walk. As I walked I thought about what I might write. They sounded to me like they were part of the whole New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which I then confirmed through that blog review.
The other thing I new I had to mention was the opening of "Fire". It starts off with the lyric "I am the god of hellfire" which of course reminded me of "Fire" by Prodigy. I did some quick research on where Prodigy got their sample. It wasn't from More, but was from Arthur Brown's 1968 track "Crazy World Of Arthur Brown". So how's that for going on a random thread of thought. All I know is I want to track down "Crazy World Of Arthur Brown" now. Needless to say, "Fire" is one of the better tracks. Overall I'd say side one had the better tracks. "Road Rocket" is solid and a decent album opening. The opening riffs remind me of "Blackout" which opening the Scorpions record of the same name, but was release the year following this record. However if I had to choose between the two songs, Scorps would win. "Soldier" pretty good. 'Reminds me of Judas Priest or maybe Rainbow comes to mind as well. Some tasty guitar licks in there. I really like "Depression". Lyrically it kind of reminds me of something a punk band may sing about, but musically it is square in the land of hard rock or heavy metal. The rest of the tracks are standard fair. Listenable, but nothing you want to go back to over and over.
As for the artwork, I dig on the simplicity which is why it was also a candidate for the wall. I also like the name Warhead. It's so 80's. We were all so afraid of nuclear war or nuclear meltdowns. The nuclear war fear has subsided and I think even the meltdown fear has lessened until recent events in Japan. Even still it was a great 80's theme in metal and even punk rock.
The other reason I suspected the album would be somewhat decent was the picture on the back. To me it clearly says that these guys mean business. These guys aren't getting by on their looks, so I had to assume they had some musical chops to get them a record deal. That isn't the case for the next record I will post. I'll leave you with that tease for the next posting, which shouldn't be too far away.
01 Road Rocket
06 Way Of The World
07 We Are The Band
08 I Have No Answers
Here's a bonus track from the German release.
"Lord Of Twilight"
Sunday, March 20, 2011
About a month ago while listening to one of my favorite podcasts "Stuck In The 80's" this band came up. They came up when talking about Boy George. There was mention that the singer of the band "Spear Of Destiny" sued Boy George because Boy George claimed to have a romantic fling with him. They didn't mention the singers name, but it was Kirk Brandon who was in Culture Club briefly in the very early days before they ever recorded anything. The hosts said they didn't really know the band either, but because I had just picked up the record I actually new the band. It's funny because just a few months earlier and I would have been just in the dark as they were. Wikipedia had this to say.
In his 1995 autobiography Take It Like A Man, Boy George wrote of a romantic relationship with Brandon, prompting Brandon to begin a High Court action against George. George, taking the witness stand, faced a "malicious falsehood" charge brought against him by Brandon, who was then married with an 18 month daughter. The reason Brandon brought a "malicious falsehood" charge instead of one of "slander" was that Brandon, already declared a bankrupt, could receive legal aid for the former but not the latter. Brandon denied that the pair had once enjoyed a sexual relationship but subsequently lost the case, when witnesses for the defense, including a former girlfriend, confirmed he and George had often been seen together.
After the trial, Brandon's marriage broke down; his wife returned to her homeland of Denmark with his daughter whilst Brandon became addicted to antidepressants (see below). During the trial, George claimed that Brandon had been the love of his life and that he still loved him.[unreliable source?] In 2010, BBC Television produced Worried About The Boy, a 90 minute dramatisation of Boy George's rise to fame in the early 1980s which included his relationship with Brandon. George was portrayed by the actor Douglas Booth and Brandon was portrayed by Richard Madden.
In January 2008, Brandon sued GlaxoSmithKline UK over personal injuries as a result of taking the anti-depressant drug Seroxat. Earlier last year, Brandon was awarded the full extent of his claims.
In August 2009, Brandon had a series of heart attacks which led him to have an eight hour operation at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, East Sussex where his aortic valve was replaced with a pig's valve.Wikipedia has some other interesting things to say about Kirk Brandon. Read more here.
Allmusic also helped fill in the story of what happened to the band. Here's what they have to say.
Released on Virgin's 10 subsidiary, Outland spawned Spear of Destiny's biggest hits yet, "Stranger in Our Town," "Never Take Me Alive," "Was That You," and "The Traveller." The group also toured with U2, an outing which culminated at Wembley Stadium in June, 1987. But before the group could capitalize on their sudden success, tragedy struck. Literally on the eve of an appearance at the Reading Festival, Brandon was diagnosed with Reiter's Syndrome and ordered to bed. He spent a year flat on his back, barely able to move at a time when Spear of Destiny's commercial stock had never been higher. Outland was their biggest seller yet; their first tour of America was beckoning... and the brightest spot on the horizon was the possibility that Brandon might be able to learn to walk again.
They never really recovered after that. They've continued on with various lineups and have been releasing records until as recently as 2006.
As was mentioned above "Strangers In Our Town" was a single from the album "Outland" which was released in 1987. Haven't ever listened to the album, but based on these three tracks I think I'd like to give it a try. If I ever come across it I would pick it up.
I really like "Strangers In Our Town". It starts off pretty dark, which I'm digging on. The overall song actually isn't dark though. Reminds me of INXS from this same time. The other two tracks are okay as well. "Tonight" starts off good, but I think goes on just a little too long. "The Man That Never Was" is the weakest of the three but still not too bad.
This is "Strangers In Our Town" (Extended Version)
Here is "Strangers In Our Town" and "Was That You & Jackstraw) live circa 1987.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
So what can I say about this record. Pat is great... of course. The songs are classics. She's cute as a button on the cover as well. If Pat Suzuki is new to you, this is a good introduction, though my favorite record is still "Broadway '59". If you are interested in hearing that record, send me an e-mail.
The video below is an extra bonus I just discovered. It is Pat singing one of my favorite songs also found on "Broadway '59", "I Enjoy Being A Girl". Another cool thing for me is to actually see video of Peter Filichia. I don't really know this guy, but he spells his last name the same as mine and so I've seen his name pop up over the years on the internet. He's a reporter and so I've seen articles written by him. Anyways, it is by pure coincidence that I finally get to see what he looks like because he introduced Pat.
Here is another vintage clip of Pat.
And this is a nice montage put together with lots of great images.
01 Looking At you.m4a
02 Small World.m4a
03 Cheek To Cheek.m4a
04 He's My Guy.m4a
05 My Funny Valentine.m4a
06 You Better Go Now.m4a
07 You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me.m4a
08 I See Your Face Before Me.m4a
09 I Didn't Know About You.m4a
10 Easy Living.m4a
11 Don't Look At Me That Way!.m4a
12 Let Me Love You.m4a
Pat Suzuki - Looking At You.._.zip
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
This record was the first American release for Petula. Before hitting with the single "Downtown" in the States, Petula was already a hit in her home country. She had been performing since she was a child on both radio and TV. She began recording pop records in her teens in the 50's. The single "Downtown" was recorded in 3 languages other than English and was a hit in a whole slew of other countries when Joe Smith from Warner heard it and acquired the rights for America. The song went to number one on the billboard charts. Following the success of that song, this album was released on Warner Brothers in the US.
The album is full of well produced pop tunes mostly on the topic of love, lost love, etc. "True Love Never Runs Smooth" is a great opener. Sounds like something right out of tin pan alley. Reminds me of something out of the Bacharach/David writing room. The same room that produced "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield the same year.
"Baby It's Me" is an up beat number. Petula's voice and the song itself reminds me of something from She and Him, the Zoey Deschenel project. This video below should give you an idea of what I'm talking about. Good 60's pop.
Track 3 is "Now That You've Gone". My rip isn't very good. It is the most muffled of all the tracks. It's not too bad of a tragedy, because it's not my favorite track.
"Tell Me (That It's Love) has that good 60's almost surf guitar thing going. Reminds me a little of perhaps The Raveonettes. Okay, maybe that is a stretch. Just the opening guitar put me in a Raveonettes mindset.
"Crying Through A Sleepless Night" sounds like something from the previous decade. It sounds a little more hit parade. It even has a sort of faux exotic sound to it. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but it sounds like it is trying to make reference to a middle east vibe, while also having a cowboy Western vibe with a harmonica or something like that. It is interesting. It has a studio choir behind it which I think is what gives me the hit parade vibe. Sounds maybe a little more Doris Day, than something from the 60's.
"In Love" gets us back into the decade with this bluesy number. This is a great track, showing Pet's soulful side. This is a good candidate for a Valentine mix for sure.
"Music" - Not great, but not bad.
"Be Good To Me" - Okay. Would fit in a Lesley Gore set easily.
"This Is Goodbye" and "Let Me Tell You" also would be a good Lesley Gore track. Solid song.
"You Belong To Me" is a great song to begin with and Petula really does a bang up job with it. This song will get stuck in your head. Reminds me of "She's Got You" by Patsy Cline.
And then the record closes with the big hit "Downtown". Such a solid song. I love a song like this that start off with just some simple piano chords and they are just perfect. They set the mood and when you hear them, you instantly know the song. If you don't know it, you probably are thinking, "oh I know this. What is this?". Then after that first verse around 25 seconds in that wall of sound thing kicks in, at least I think it qualifies as wall of sound and the song lifts to a whole new level. By now you are just completely sucked in and helpless to the song. You have to listen to the end and like any really good pop tune, that won't be long. Before you know it 3 minutes is up and the bliss is over. Time to put a dime in the jukebox and cue it up again.
So that's the record. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Get it here.
01 True Love Never Runs Smooth
02 Baby It's Me
03 Now That You've Gone
04 Tell Me (That It's Love)
05 Crying Through A Sleepless Night
06 In Love
08 Be Good To Me
09 This Is Goodbye
10 Let Me Tell You
11 You Belong To Me
Probably my first exposure to the track "Downtown" was through the B52's. Check it out below.
Here is a link to a great B52's youtube clip that I can't embed. They are all so young and skinny in this clip.
And here is some more awesomeness from Athens, Georgia.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I picked this record up just a few months back in a thrift store. I have a couple Tito Puente records already in the collection so I was already pretty sure I wouldn't be disappointed. Other than a little dust, which I did my best to clean off, the record was in pretty good condition. I think it was the first record I threw on the turn table the afternoon I purchased it along with some other records. Right off the bat, from the first horn blasts I knew I had found a gem.
If you like some of those lounge compilation discs that were so popular in the late 90's, you'll love this record. This is bid band easy listening lounge music at its finest. Playing this in the house really sets a nice mood when you want to relax. I also was playing the record in the car this morning on the way to work and it made the morning, that much brighter. I'm so happy I've digitized it now and can have it with me on the go.
As a bonus I've found this clip on YouTube of Tito on The Simpsons.
Chances are that this was my first exposure to Tito. Certainly I had heard the name as a kid, but I think this was the first music I had ever heard from him. Thank you Simpsons. That is really my only personal story or experience with Tito Puente.
More info on Tito of course can be found on Wikipedia.