The Pimply Minions Rebellion…

March 18th, 2015

the sing-a-long version.

Local singer Liv Gains only got one thing wrong: the last bit of her name.

The police officer asked Liv Gains for her name.

“First name? Liv,” she said. “Last name? Free and Die hard.”

She should have went with “Free or Die.” Because Live Free or Die, the New Hampshire State motto, is a bald statement of freedom. And having some pimply minion of beaurocracy hand-cuff you for stating as much is a freedom issue. But then, so is inventing the rules, and declaring a spot were taxi’s sometimes drop people off a “taxi stand or public transit stop.”

Making matters worse, as always, is the official response, which notes, “giving a false name is an arrestable offence.” But why isn’t giving out false offences an arrestable offence? Or at least a fireable one?

Gains seems to get this is about more than just being asked to move along, and God bless her for that. She’s having a busk-in at the same spot today. Depending on schedule, I may make it down there and drop a $20 in her case.

And good too for Giant Tiger and councillor Frank Monteiro, both of whom didn’t reflexively take the cops side on this one.


Brian Gardiner pimply minions of bureaucracy

Tom Cochrane Take It Home

February 18th, 2015

Tom Cochrane has been making noise that Take It Home, his 13th studio album, might be his last. At 61-years old, apparently Cochrane thinks it may be time to hang them up.

That would be too bad.

Take it Home is Cochrane’s 6th album since he dropped the Red Rider billing, and it’s a solid album. Cochrane is a songwriter first, and his writing doesn’t let him down. While there may be no Life is a Highway or Big League in the collection, Sunday Afternoon Hang and Country Girls Never Get Old are close enough for 2015.

Take it Home is, in reality, a basic Tom Cochrane album. There’s no shocks here, no breakout songs. Just well crafted songs in the rock vein, with hints of folk and country sprinkled throughout. It’s what Cochrane has always done. If you’ve liked Tom Cochrane’s previous work, then you’ll find Take It Home is a decent album.

Track list

  1. Can’t Stay Here
  2. Sunday Afternoon Hang
  3. Diamonds
  4. Country Girls Never Get Old
  5. When the Lights Start to Fade
  6. Pink Time
  7. First Time Around
  8. The Ones That I’ve Known
  9. Another Year
  10. A Prayer for Hope
  11. Back in the Game


Brian Gardiner Album release, Record Release, Review , , , , , ,

Google Doodle

February 15th, 2015

There’s a little Canadian content on today’s Google Doodle. Honouring the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag, clicking on the doodle brings you to a search page for National Flag of Canada Day.

Here’s a screenshot of the doodle:

screen-shot-2015-02-15-at-80925-am


Brian Gardiner Uncategorized , , , ,

Strange Way to Live - Carl Dixon

February 11th, 2015

Former Coney Hatch guitarist/singer/songwriter Carl Dixon says of his autobiography, Strange Way to Live: A Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll Resurrection, in the Authors Note:

If you find it’s not up to your standards, I strongly urge you to just put it aside. Don’t waste time or thought or energy in condemning the writer. He has told his story as well as he could.

That’s alright, I suppose, but one wonders what’s the point of being a critic if not to9781459728530condemn the writers?

Fortunately, I quite enjoyed Strange Way to Live. It was fun reading a rock’n'roll-ography and I personally knew many of the small towns the performer trod as an up and comer. Dixon traipsed North Bay to Barry to Orangeville, all places within my realm: no Epson Downs or M1 to Newcastle here.

Dixon’s story is one of devotion to his craft, high success and struggling to keep his career going. After Coney Hatch he worked as a professional songwriter, did a stint in the past their prime Guess Who and another with April Wine. He tells his story with some humbleness and a sense of self-examination, without downplaying his accomplishments with over-modesty.

Strange Way to Live: A Story of Rock ‘n’ Roll Resurrection is a good, quick read, enjoyable even if you’re not specifically a Coney Hatch fan.


Brian Gardiner Book Review , , , ,

New Harper Lee

February 8th, 2015

If you are an author an hoping your next time is Pulitzer material, put that manuscript back in the drawer and hold off a year: 2015 now has a favourite. To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee has announced the release of her second book, fifty-five years after her first.

Go Set a Watchman was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird. The novel features the main character from Mockingbird, Scout, twenty years later and living in New York. According to Lee:

My editor, who was taken by the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood, persuaded me to write a novel from the point of view of the young Scout.

A copy of the thought lost manuscript recently was discovered. So the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, in which adult Scout returns to Maycomb Alabama from New York, was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, and now, released fifty-five years later.

Like I say, put away those Pulitzer ambitions for a year, at least until we’ve had a chance to read Go Set a Watchman, which is due for release July 14th.


Brian Gardiner Books , ,

Extreme II: Pornograffitti (A Funked Up Fairy Tale)

January 20th, 2015

When the rock world got together in 1992 to celebrate the life of Queen singer Freddy Mercury, Extreme were, in my humble opinion of the time, the highlight of the show. Not, I hasten to add, because I loved Extreme and wanted to see them, but because they blew everybody else off the stage. “That guy,” I said to people at the time, referring to singer Gary Cherone’s onstage attire, “will single handedly bring spats back into style.” Extreme were riding high at the time, two-years after their breakthrough album, Extreme II: Pornograffitti (A Funked Up Fairy Tale), and it wasn’t absurd to imagine Extreme breaking through to the next level, into the pantheon of huge rock acts.

xtreme2cover

Alas, it was not to be and by 1996 Extreme had split and singer Cherone was fronting an ill-advised version of Van Halen, having replaced Sammy Hagar in that particular piece of disfunction.

Twenty-five years after the release of Extreme II, Universal Music has given the album the remastering treatment, giving us a chance to re-examine the Funked Up Fairy Tale. On closer inspection, and the lens of time, it turns out Extreme II: Pornograffitti (A Funked Up Fairy Tale) is a better album than I remembered it.

I don’t remember, for example, it fading in with a little piano interlude over a rainfall backdrop, starting off with a hint of The Who’s Love Reign O’er Me before Decadence Dance kicks things seriously into gear at about 1:30. I don’t remember either the almost jazzy When I First Kissed You, Cherone crooning more than belting it out. As well Song for Love, both very melodic and slightly anthemic, didn’t immediately come to mind upon hearing it. The thing is, they’re not just forgotten songs, they’re all excellent, giving the album some different sounds, different flavours throughout. Even Cherone’s hippity-hop routine in When I’m President works well and sounds good.

Then there’s the stuff you do remember: “He turned me on to how funky rock ‘n’ roll can be,” guitarist and songwriter Nuno Buttencourt says of guitar legend Pat Travers. Travers adds a vocal to Get The Funk Out, an appropriate homage, as Get the Funk Out is one of the funkiest hard rock songs you’ll ever hear. Hole Hearted is a Bettencourt gem, my longtime favourite off this album and it holds up spectacularly.

Then there’s More Than Words. You’ll remember it, a lovely romantic ballad that was everywhere for a year or two. Turns out though, while it’s still lovely, it’s hardly romantic. A closer inspection and you realize, not simply a lovey dovey song:

Saying I Love You
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you not to say,
but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel

Shut Up and Show Me wouldn’t be an inappropriate title, although it might have sold a few less records. No, More Than Words isn’t a romantic ballad, it’s an extraordinary vocal song, once again different than the rest of the album, just in this case, the best song on the album. Possibly the best song of 1990.

As always with these remasters, there is a Deluxe Edition that features bonus material. In this case, it’s an extra disk, that features some interesting snippets. A couple of b-sides, a radio edit of More Than Words. But beyond that, some alternate mixes of More Than Words prove beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s a pretty vocal song that works very nicely regardless of accompaniment - even with nothing but a conga drum - and are worth a listen. And Get the Funk Out (What The Funk? Mix) is a straighter up rock version of the song that gives you a hint of what the song may have been, and shows how versatile Extreme’s rhythm section was.

I can honestly say, I’ve been enjoying both the original album and the bonus material these past few weeks. Extreme II: Pornograffitti (A Funked Up Fairy Tale) is well worth revisiting.


Disc One

  1. Decadence Dance
  2. Li’l Jack Horny
  3. When I’m President
  4. Get the Funk Out
  5. More Than Words
  6. Money (In God We Trust)
  7. It (’s A Monster)
  8. Pornograffitti
  9. When I First Kissed You
  10. Suzi (Wants Her All Day What?)
  11. He-Man Woman Hater
  12. Song For Love
  13. Hole Hearted

Disc Two

  1. More Than Words (Remix)
  2. Nice Place to Visit (Single B-Side)
  3. More Than Words (Edit)
  4. Decadence Dance (Edit)
  5. Money (In God We Trust) (Edit)
  6. More Than Words (Non Percussion Version)
  7. Get the Funk Out (What The Funk? Mix)
  8. More Than Words (A Cappella With Congas)
  9. Get The Funk Out (12″ Remix)
  10. Sex N’ Love (Single B-Side)

Brian Gardiner Record Release, Review , , , , , , , ,

Courage, Hollywood Style

January 12th, 2015

The Golden Globes are on last night, and while I have no interest in murdering a perfectly good Sunday night in this particular fashion, millions do watch. This year, the Globes were hosted, as seems they always are, by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. As usual, they took pokes and jabs at some of the bigger stories making the rounds, and as usual they are treated as if what they do is brave.

“… the two also veered into potentially more dangerous waters when they took aim at comedian Bill Cosby,” writes The National Post’s Chris Knight. Yes, that’s right, on the same day millions marched in France to show defiance to Muslim terrorists, stale old Bill Cosby jokes are what Hollywood considers “dangerous.” Hell, Bill Cosby rape jokes are so de rigueur, Bill Cosby made one last week. But Poehler and Fey veer into “dangerous waters,” when they make one.

On the same week as Charlie Hebdo you know what would be dangerous, a Muhammad joke. But that’s the point. In the land of make believe, even the courage is fake.


Brian Gardiner Uncategorized , , ,

Who is this Kanye West Anyway?

January 9th, 2015

Kanye West, aka Mr Kim Kardashian and former Beatle Paul McCartney recorded a song together, the newly released single Only One. Shockingly, to some anyway, some of West’s fans don’t have a clue who this McCartney kid is. They took to Twitter to express their ignorance. One, for instance, read, “… Kanye is going to give this man (McCartney) a career w/ this new song!!” Yet another offered, “Kanye has a great ear for talent. This Paul McCartney guy gonna be huge.” Even better than those two, is this one: “who tf is paul mccartney???!??! this is why i love kanye for shining light on unknown artists.” Haha, silly kids, think Paul McCartney is an unknown artist, tee-hee. Good fun &tc., but who really expects kids to know 72-year old musicians? Who really expects hip-hop fans to be all that familiar with a guy who played rock music 40-50-years ago?

Generation narcissism, that’s who. The baby boomers assume because they love Paul McCartney, everybody must know who he is. Suddenly twitter was alive with mocking, these poor kids the target of supposedly mature adults. The tone of the comments were, how stupid do you have to be not to know Paul McCartney? The generation who taught these kids grammar, are shocked they aren’t up on their 1967-pop culture.

And yes, I’m old enough to be surprised that somebody wouldn’t know who Paul McCartney is, but why should I be surprised? I wouldn’t have known who Al Jolson was in 1976. Frank Sinatra was an old guy who was sometimes on TV, Dean Martin’s friend. What should be surprising is when you see some kid in a Beatles or Led Zeppelin t-shirt, not that some kids have no idea who those artists are.

But surprised too many of these people are. That says far more about them than it does the kids.


Brian Gardiner Uncategorized ,

Should Media Outlets Show Cartoons that Depict the Muslim Prophet Muhammad?

January 8th, 2015

Seriously, that’s the question the Sun put to it’s readers? as if they don’t know the answer already. Of course they bloody should. But at least it’s better than last time, when they offered a self-serving piece of cowardice on their front page in lieu of journalism. screen-shot-2015-01-08-at-40549-pmIf they had stepped up then, along with the Star, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, The New York Times, and &tc. ad infinitum, instead of hiding behind such an obvious falsehood, instead of leaving the Western Standard and Charlie Hedbo to go it alone, then perhaps the cartoonist and editorial staff of Charlie Hedbo would be alive today.

And back when us mere hacks and amateurs where drawing Muhammad for Everybody Draw Muhammad Day, on the premise that they can’t kill us all, where was Andy Donato? Doodling his own hand like he gave us today? Freely practicing his speech about joining the fight, while leaving the rest of us to, you know, actually fight.

The sooner these media outlets are dead and gone, the better. They really are useless when it matters.

At least, however, The Sun has Ezra on the payroll.

Related: Somedays I think to myself, what does Kathy Shaidle really think? Today would not be one of those days.


Brian Gardiner Media doesn't matter

Glyn Johns Sound Man

December 10th, 2014

You have a music fan on your Christmas list, 60’s and 70’s rock mostly, and you’re looking for a book. Perhaps another crappy Brian Jones biography is what he needs. Or not. In reality, the only book you want to get your music lover this Christmas is Glyn Johns’ great autobiography, Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Faces . . .. I myself have purchased copies for two music fans on my list.

Johns’ started out as an Engineer in the very early days of rock and roll, engineering the earliest Stones and Who singles in London’s IBC studio, “which was without a doubt the finest independent recording studio in Europe at that time.” He got his first job at IBC out of school, strictly because his sister knew someone who worked there and he loved music. He started as a man Friday, setting up microphones, running cable and brewing tea. His first engineering job came as a result of a weekend session in 1964 by Georgie Fame, “Rhythm and Blues at the Flamingo,” and nobody else wanting to do it. It’s success, and his age, meant that he was well placed for the rock and roll revolution that was just about to sweep London.

Sound Man isn’t a great book, though, just because Johns’ is the Forrest Gump of the British Invasion: he first heard Jimmy Page at a boys club talent show when they were both about 12, saw Jeff Beck in the Tridents, his pre-Yardbirds band, and lived with original Rolling Stone Ian Stewart (in fact, he and Stewart’s rented house was a gathering point for the very early Stones). Sound Man is also a book that sticks to the music. There is no chapter, no story in Sound Man that is not directly related to Johns’ career in music. There’s no grandpa Gus took me across the river for fish and chips stories here. Childhood stories are either of the church choir, a budding singing career or summers on a uncles farm, the uncle of whom was a guitar player and American folk music fan.

Similarly, Johns, who claims to have never done any drugs, never smoked a joint, keeps the stories of the musicians he worked with to musical ones. If he has various tales of debauchery, he keeps them to himself. But what a list of musicians he did work with:

The Kinks (All Day and All of the Night/I Gotta Move, and You Really Got Me/It’s All Right)
The Rolling Stones ( from 1965’s December’s Children (And Everybody’s) to 1975’s Black and Blue)
The Pretty Things
Davy Jones
The Small Faces and The Faces
Led Zeppelin (the first album)
Manfred Mann
Marianne Faithfull
Spooky Tooth
Procol Harum
The Steve Miller Band
The Beatles
Joe Cocker
Humble Pie
The Eagles
The Who

That’s the partial list.

When I had to choose a Christmas present for music fans on my list, I chose Sound Man by Glyn Johns. It’s the best music book I’ve read in a long time.


Brian Gardiner Uncategorized , , , , , ,

The Ethics of Infanticide

December 10th, 2014

inferno_illustrations_doreBeing an atheist, I don’t believe in concepts such as heaven and hell. But if I’m wrong and these places do exist, I trust Satan has a special place for people who use the phrase “postnatal abortion.”


Brian Gardiner Uncategorized

Mark Steyn’s Abomination of Modernity

December 6th, 2014

Here’s a question. Why has Mark Steyn never recorded Baby, It’s Cold Outside?* In two Christmas themed albums with Jessica Martin, Steyn has covered everything from Sweet Gingerbread Man, to It’s a Marshmallow World, from Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas to Santa Clause is Coming to Town and Jingle Bells. Now with his latest CD, Goldfinger, Steyn adds Can’t Take My Eyes off You, the Very Thought of You and, implausibly, a slow jazz standard of Cat Scratch Fever (he think’s he’s got it some more, yea).

71gj5aokgl_sx355_And can it be a coincidence that this CD shows up in my mailbox the same day they announce the latest Bond movie, Spectre?** His rendition of Goldfinger leads to an obvious choice to do the theme song for Spectre, and it’s not to let Madonna ruin another Bond intro. No, never mind the Mark Steyn for Senate petition that was floating around a year or so back, it’s time for a Mark Steyn for the Bond theme song movement.***

But still, Goldfinger, the seven-song CD, comes in at around 30-minutes so it seems like you could shoehorn one more in. And Jessica Martin, his favourite female foil, makes an appearance anyway, so why not drop Baby, It’s Cold Outside on to the CD? It is, after all, according to Steyn himself, the root of all Jihad. This from Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech And The Twilight Of The West, one of Steyn’s must own books:

What was so awful about Sayyid Qutb’s experience in America that led him to regard modernity as an abomination? Well, he went to a dance in Greeley, Colorado:

The room convulsed with the feverish music from the gramophone. Dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips…

In 1949, Greeley, Colorado was dry. The dance was a church social. The feverish music was Frank Loesser’s charm song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”… It’s a useful reminder how much we could give up and still be found decadent and disgusting by the Islamists. A world without “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” will be very cold indeed.

Wow, just think how bad the war on terror would be going if Sayyid Qutb had heard Cat Scratch Fever Mark Steyn style. So the jihadists would hate Baby, It’s Cold Outside and Steyn could add his name to what is probably the only list in the world to include Rod Stewart, Buddy the Elf and Hot Lips Page.

Fortunately we have Goldfinger to enjoy, which has plenty of it’s own abomination’s of modernity.

************************************************
Update: Dec 15

Hello to readers of Mark Steyn, who has linked here for the second time. Glad to have you stop by. A couple of notes that Steyn himself has raised.

* Last week, Mr. Steyn noted he had answered that question in his song of the week: “I gave a kind of an answer a week ago, but evidently Mr Gardiner is not satisfied.” Actually, it was not a matter of satisfied or no, it was a matter of I hadn’t read that particular article yet.

** Originally I referred to the title of the movie as Smersh. Steyn is, of course, correct, the movie is “Spectre”, not Smersh. At the time of writing the post, I was reading Ian Fleming’s From Russia With Love, in which SMERSH is heavily involved in a plot to kill James Bond. Apparently I had SMERSH on the mind. It is now corrected in the text, but noted here.

*** Let the record state, I agree with Mark Steyn (and Don Black) “that Shirley Bassey should sing them all”. However, far too often it is not Shirley Bassey, but Madonna or Duran Duran who does the theme, and a poor job they make of it too. I am merely submitting Steyn to get the gig in lieu of Ms. Bassey should she be unavailable.

************************************************

Track List

  1. Cat Scratch Fever
  2. On a Slow Boat to China
  3. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
  4. De Quoi A-T-Elle L’Air Ce Soir
  5. Roses of Picardy
  6. Goldfinger
  7. The Very Thought Of You

Brian Gardiner Mark Steyn , , , , ,

Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome

December 4th, 2014

Yes has always been a bit of a favourite band of mine. Not a front line, must see, must have every record band like Led Zeppelin or The Who or the Stones. Oh sure, they changed the lineup too often to be one of the greats. New keyboard players and singers especially dotted the Yes-scape, although there was that abomination 80’s lineup that featured no Steve Howe.yes_like-it-is-cover

I approached the new live Yes CD, Like It Is - YES At The Bristol Hippodrome, due out December 9th, with some trepidation. Seeing as it featured only three classic line up members, drummer Alan White, bassist Chris Squire and the aforementioned Steve Howe. The lineup is filled out with 80’s era keyboardist Geoff Downes and new singer Jon Davison who sounds scarily like original Yes singer Jon Anderson.

Working a setlist of classic Yes, Like It Is is a great collection of songs played to perfection. The energy is high, no 40-year band going through the motions here. Starting with a surprisingly rockin’ version of Going for the One, the set runs through such greats as Yours is no Disgrace, Steve Howe’s The Clap, Starship Trooper and I’ve Seen All Good People, before finishing up on Perpetual Change.

It’s not perfect, not by a long shot. Released in CD/DVD combo and digital formats, Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome is badly missing a vinyl release, an almost fatal flaw. If one can’t put the LP under the Christmas tree, then what’s the point of going to the trouble of cutting down a tree and propping it up in your living room? But besides format complaints, Like It Is - YES At The Bristol Hippodrome is one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve come across this Christmas release season.


Tracklist

  1. Going for the One
  2. Turn of the Century
  3. Parallels
  4. Wonderous Stories
  5. Awaken
  6. Yours is no Disgrace
  7. Clap
  8. Starship Trooper
  9. I’ve Seen All Good People
  10. A Venture
  11. Perpetual Change

Brian Gardiner Album release, Record Release, Review , , ,

American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered

December 1st, 2014

How big was Bing Crosby? In the 40’s and 50’s he was the number one radio, movie and recording star. Fifty-million people turned into his radio show every week. He performed duets or performed with, among many, many others, Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and David Bowie.

His style of singing is not so popular these days, to our loss. But he changed the way people sang. With the invention of the microphone, you no longer needed to belt, and Bing caressed the microphone, singing in a folksy, homespun style. He influenced everybody who came after him.

During World War II, he came home from touring Europe interested in tape recording. In 1947, he invested in Ampex recorders. He wanted to pre-record his radio shows. However, NBC balked, and he refused to work. The ensuing court case found his contract to be essentially “indentured servitude.” Crosby took his magnetic tape device to ABC and changed how radio was done. Later, he gave one of his Ampex recorders to his pal Les Paul, who would develop multi-tracking using it.

Crosby was so big, to answer the question, that he fundamentally changed everything he touched: movies, radio and recording.

All this and more is covered in exquisite detail in PBS’ American Master Series show, Bing Crosby - Rediscovered. The show covers Crosby’s career in about as much detail as you can cover such a diverse, lengthy career in 90 minutes. It features clips ranging from Bing in Mac Sennet movies to Johnny Carson.

Narrated by Stanley Tucci, and featuring interviews with all surviving members of Crosby’s immediate family, wife Kathryn, daughter Mary and sons Harry and Nathaniel, Crosby’s estate granted American Masters access to his archives, including never-before-seen home movies, Dictabelt recordings, photos and more.

American Masters: Bing Crosby - Rediscovered airs on PBS beginning tomorrow, and can also be ordered on DVD. American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered - The Soundtrack features songs heard in the documentary, including 16 previously unreleased recordings.


Brian Gardiner Uncategorized , ,

Art by James Dylan

November 25th, 2014

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience singer James Dylan is, by day, an artist. Last year at this time, James offered a pencil drawing of Robert Plant. This year, he turned his hand to John Bonham

These pencil drawing look incredibly like photographs, and lend credence to the idea that James is as good an artist, if not better, than singer. No small praise that.

Cost of the pictures is $95 for a 9 x 13 print signed by Dylan or $65 for a 6.5 x 10 signed print (plus shipping) and can be ordered from JamesDylanOfficial.com. There appears to be Robert Plant prints still available too.

Last year the original pencil drawing was also made available for $2,000 (plus S & H). No word on whether the original is available this time.

via Ramble On Radio, the only Led Zeppelin Podcast.


Brian Gardiner The Mighty Zep , , , ,