Archive for March, 2011

Play Ball! 2011 Edition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2011 by 30daysout

NOTE: Tomorrow is apparently Major League Baseball’s official Opening Day, although they have some games today.The logo clearly says April 2011, although elsewhere on the MLB site it says March 31. Jeez. Just celebrate both days!

Today is opening day and, aside from the winter holidays of Christmas and Thanksgiving, the time of year when you hear the most cliches. You know, spring and new hopes and new expectations, life begins anew, blah blah.

Instead of that, why don’t we share some of our favorite baseball quotes:

“Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.”  ~Ted Williams

“Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.” ~Yogi Berra

“Strikeouts are boring – besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls. More democratic.” ~From the movie Bull Durham

“You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.”  ~Leo Durocher in the New York Times, May 1965

And our all-time favorite: “I’ll tell you one f**kin’ thing, I hope we get f**kin’ hotter than sh*t, just to stuff it up them 3,000 f**kin’ people that show up every f**kin’ day, because if they’re the real Chicago f**kin’ fans, they can kiss my f**kin’ ass right downtown and PRINT IT.” ~Lee Elia, News Conference Tirade 1983

Well, there is not much else to say.  Except: play ball!

MP3: “Get The F**kin’ Job Done” by Lee Elia (NSFW)

MP3: “Who’s On First?” by Abbott & Costello

MP3: “Willie, Mickey & “The Duke (Talkin’ Baseball)” by Terry Cashman

MP3: “Go, Cubs Go!” by Steve Goodman

MP3: “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (alternate version) by Chuck Berry

MP3: “Go Go Astros” by Mack Hayes

MP3: “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphys

MP3: “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

MP3: “New York Mets” by Duke of Iron

MP3: “All Future and No Past” by the Baseball Project

The Unofficial Official Lee Elia Tirade Page

The Official Site of Major League Baseball

The Baseball Almanac

YouTube: Ozzy Osbourne sings “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at Wrigley Field

YouTube: George Carlin, Baseball vs. football

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2011 by 30daysout

We seem to have lost the story arc of my big sister. Well, she got this job, and she had a boyfriend who worked at the radio station. For a while she was digging soul and funk but after she ditched the boyfriend she dabbled mainly in straight-ahead rock and roll. Good for me, because I like that too.

Anyhow, diggin’ around in her record collection the other day, I found one that really interested me. It’s Take A Ride, a 1966 LP by the venerable Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. You know these boys: from Detroit, they where white rockers heavily influenced by soul singers as well as the most dynamic black entertainers of the day. The Wheels dealt in high-energy, muscular R&B-flavored rock. Produced by Bob Crewe (Four Seasons), the Wheels cranked out hits like “Jenny Take A Ride” (1965) and “Devil With a Blue Dress” (1966). These songs both incorporated classic R&B songs to form a sort of medley: “Jenny” used “C. C. Rider” and “Devil” incorporated Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

Anyhoo, Mitch and the Wheels were coming off the success of “Jenny” when they cut Take A Ride. Now, the Wheels were a crack band – lead guitarist Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist Joseph Kubert, bass player Earl Elliot (replaced in 1966 by Jim McCallister and monster drummer John “Johnny Bee” Badanjek. These guys played with an energy and fierce abandon that really made these songs jump: in fact, when “Jenny Take A Ride” was a hit it also hit No. 1 on the R&B charts, the first time a rock group accomplished that feat. Legend has it that the Rolling Stones were recording in the same studio the day that “Jenny” was cut, and they convinced Crewe that should be an A-side rather than the flip.

In addition to the hit, Take A Ride includes some sweaty white-boy versions of stuff like “Shake A Tail Feather” (James & Bobby Purify), “Bring It On Home To Me” (Sam Cooke), “Come See About Me” (Supremes) and not one, but three, covers of James Brown tunes. “I Hope” is an original, done beautifully ala The Drifters, complete with sweet soul/mariachi horns and some respectable harmonizing. “Baby Jane (Mo-Mo Jane)” is another original, and Ryder’s vocal vaguely recalls Bob Dylan here. Both “I Hope” and “Baby Jane” were relegated to B-sides, so they had a little more exposure outside the LP.

Among the rest of the covers, “Turn On Your Lovelight” is a standout, as is “Just A Little Bit” – which was also covered by the likes of Elvis and Van Morrison, but not as well as by Mitch Ryder. Of the three JB covers, probably “I Got You (I Feel Good)” is perhaps the most ill-advised, but Ryder acquits himself well on “Please Please Please” and “I’ll Go Crazy.”

Of course, you’ve most likely heard some Mitch Ryder’s tunes by other artists. Bruce Springsteen famously cobbled together the four tunes comprising the “Jenny” and “Blue Dress” singles – the version you hear on the No Nukes album (1979) and is still performed by Springsteen regularly. The Boss fanboys have retitled it “The Detroit Medley,” which at first glance seems odd, considering “Good Golly” and probably “C.C. Rider” are New Orleans songs.

But’s all to pay tribute to Ryder, who not only influenced Springsteen and Detroit rockers like Bob Seger, the MC5 and Ted Nugent but most likely another Michigan kid who formed his own band in the 1960s and changed his name to Iggy Pop. You can also hear Ryder’s influence in the version of “Shake A Tail Feather” performed by Ray Charles and the Blues Brothers in The Blues Brothers movie from 1980.

Ryder has performed regularly since the 1960s, mostly solo but occasionally with one or two members of his original Detroit Wheels. McCarty and Badanjek formed a band in the 1970s, the Rockets, that had some success (I saw ’em open for KISS in 1978) and they still play today as well. The last time the Rockets played was in 2010 and apparently they’re working on a new album.

And before you ask: are the incredibly great and influential Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Of course not.

MP3: “Shake A Tail Feather”

MP3: “I Hope”

MP3: “Jenny Take A Ride”

MP3: “Turn On Your Lovelight”

The official Mitch Ryder homepage

Je n’ai rien appris, Part 2 – More foreign language fun

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2011 by 30daysout

The Beach Boys in Japan, 1966.

More versions of English/American hits done in other languages by the original artists. Now, there are TONS of hit songs that were remade for European and Japanese music fans – the Beatles’ remakes alone could fill a large warehouse – but we thought we’d focus here on the versions cut by the people who made the hits. I would give anything to see how long it took Johnny Cash to lay down German versions of his songs.

Full disclosure: “Santo Domingo” by Wanda Jackson, was actually originally recorded only in German in 1965. She cut a handful of German-language songs that were eventually collected on an album, Made In Germany.

MP3: “Le Temps des Fleurs” (Those Were The Days) by Mary Hopkin (French)

MP3: “Lowdown” (live, sung in Japanese) by Chicago

MP3: “Santo Domingo” by Wanda Jackson (German)

MP3: “My Cherie Amor” (Italian version) by Stevie Wonder

MP3: “Wer kennt den Weg” (I Walk The Line) by Johnny Cash (German)

MP3: “Sie Liebt Dich” (She Loves You) by the Beatles (German)

MP3: “L’amore Verrà” (You Can’t Hurry Love) by the Supremes (Italian)

MP3: “Call Me” (Spanish version) by Blondie

MP3: “96 Tears” (en Español) by ? and the Mysterians

MP3: “Waterloo” (French version) by ABBA

MP3: “Wie Schön Das Ist” (How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You) by Marvin Gaye (German)

MP3: “Green Circles” (Italian version) by the Small Faces

MP3: “Downtown” (German version) by Petula Clark

MP3: “Gira Gira” (Reach Out I’ll Be There) by the Four Tops (Italian)

Je n’ai rien appris – English hits in other languages

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by 30daysout

Here we have a bunch of American and British hit singles, with the original artists, re-cut in foreign languages. Why did the world’s biggest artists feel the need to re-record their hit songs with vocals in different languages? To sell more records, of course.

Don’t worry – people like Johnny Cash didn’t know German, or the Police didn’t speak Japanese. They got their song lyrics translated and sang them phonetically. God knows what kind of job they did – if you speak French or German or Japanese, let us know.

MP3: “Fuego d’Amor” (Ring Of Fire)  by Johnny Cash (Spanish)

MP3: “Ring Ring” (German version) by ABBA

MP3: “Oui Tu Es Mon Ami” (Sweet City Woman) by the Stampeders (French)

MP3: “Jennifer Juniper” (Italian version) by Donovan

MP3: “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da” (Japanese version) by the Police

MP3: “Ganz Allien” (In My Room) by the Beach Boys (German)

MP3: “Regardez Par Des Fenetres” (Look Through Any Window) by the Hollies (French)

MP3: “Si No Estas Tu” (Without You) by Harry Nilsson (Spanish)

MP3: “Warten Und Hoffen” (Wishin’ and Hopin’) by Dusty Springfield (German)

MP3: “Con Le Mie Lacrime” (As Tears Go By) by the Rolling Stones (Italian)

MP3: “Francene” (Spanish version) by ZZ Top

MP3: “Geh Raus” (Get Back) by the Beatles (German)

Please come to Houston! Pretty please???

Posted in Uncategorized on March 26, 2011 by 30daysout

Now this isn’t a sports blog – and I suppose you know that.  But today we’re gonna talk a little about the NCAA Final Four basketball series, which will unfold here in Houston, Texas, next week. It’s the big college basketball tournament that will ultimately decide who’s No. 1 in the country.

Kings of Leon, playing Saturday at, like, 3 p.m. or so?

However our focus is (as always) the music part of the program, which has been officially dubbed “The Big Dance.” A lot of sportswriter types also call the tournament itself “The Big Dance,” as well as “March Madness,” and yes, it’s a little confusing. But Houston’s “Big Dance” is going to be a three-day concert series open to the public in order to celebrate the basketball tournament.

The tournament itself is going to be in Reliant Stadium, a football palace in the south part of Houston, while the concert series is going to be in downtown Houston’s Discovery Green park – about seven miles north of the stadium. So far, just a little over a week before the concerts, they’ve only announced a few of the performers – Kings of Leon, Kenny Chesney and Sublime (with Rome). According to tour news site Pollstar, rapper Kid Cudi should join the Friday night lineup with Sublime, and country singer Pat Green should be teamed up with Chesney on Saturday.

UPDATE: Although Kid Cudi was listed in Pollstar at having been signed to play Friday, indie rockers the Hold Steady and Los Skarnales will play with Sublime with Rome Friday night. Openers for Saturday afternoon’s show include Vallejo, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Panic! At The Disco and Kings of Leon take the stage around 3 p.m. Schedule here.

Kings of Leon, on Saturday afternoon, is a pretty decent choice and should draw a fair-sized crowd. Chesney also has a huge fan base – he usually has a show at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo but it looks like they were saving him for this. But Sublime with Rome?

If you want to see how lame “punk rock” in the 1990s was, just go no further than Sublime. In fact, the real Sublime doesn’t exist – lead singer/guitarist Bradley Nowell died in 1996. Sublime with Rome is the new band, with a new lead singer, after Nowell’s family challenged the use of the Sublime name by the surviving members. Can you imagine Nirvana without Kurt Cobain, the Police without Sting, or Double Trouble without Stevie Ray Vaughan?

Continue reading

Video Du Jour, Part 2: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 25, 2011 by 30daysout

OK, so the last video we posted (see below) was obnoxious and had a lot of rude language. Yes, we agree. But you notice we haven’t taken it down. So here is one the whole family can enjoy: “Tijuana Taxi” from 1965, by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. Ahh.

Thanks to the unbelievably awesome website

Video Du Jour: Steel Panther

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 25, 2011 by 30daysout

Here’s a sneak peek at our buddies Satchel and Stix from Steel Panther in the studio, crafting their first (and probably last) sensitive piano ballad. That Elton John dude must really be an a**hole! And for God’s sake, this is totally NOT SAFE FOR WORK!

Steel Panther official website

Final thoughts on SXSW: Sorry!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2011 by 30daysout

We forgot to mention Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., shown here during their day party on Thursday.

As Ricky Ricardo used to say to his hapless wife Lucy, “you have some ‘splainin’ to do.” Indeed we do, and we admit some apologies are also in order. First up, we want to apologize to you, dear reader, for leaving South by Southwest (SXSW) two days early. Without going into too many details, let’s just say we had to make the call to throw in the towel quite reluctantly. Even though we were in the SXSW slipstream for barely 24 hours, it was still a fruitful visit.

We didn't see Wild Flag, but we caught OMD in Lance's bike shop!

So, let’s get started. We want to apologize to the band Wild Flag, which we had every intention to see during SXSW. The new quartet’s members have been in a number of bands, most notably Sleater-Kinney and we loved guitarist Carrie Brownstein’s new TV show “Portlandia.” So why didn’t we see ’em? I couldn’t find Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, the actual bicycle shop owned by Lance Armstrong. Wild Flag played a show for KEXP-FM in Seattle and we missed it because I’m a terrible navigator. However, I found the place in time to see ’80s synth-rockers Orchestral Maneuovres in the Dark the next day, and I’m glad I did.

Video of a Wild Flag set at SXSW provided by the kind folks at NPR

Also apologies are due to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., whom we saw at the Paste magazine day party on Thursday. It’s hard to describe the band’s music, despite the numbing stupidity of its name (which is brilliant, by the way) but let’s just say this Detroit three-piece puts out the least wimpy pop-rock we have heard since, well, never. I heard ’em playing in this place on Sixth Street and walked all the way across the street and actually had to flash my ID to enter and hear this phenomenal music up close. Josh Epstein, singing and flailing on his bass guitar while Daniel Zott kept the beat, cranked out some exceptionally tuneful rock that has me looking online for something more to download. You can start with this one, it’s legal.

MP3: “Nothing But Our Love” by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

Continue reading

Video Du Jour: Wanda Jackson

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 22, 2011 by 30daysout

We had a blast seeing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Wanda Jackson at South by San Jose in Austin last weekend. Her latest album, The Party Isn’t Over, is produced by ex-White Stripes rocker Jack White and features this version of Bob Dylan’s “Thunder On The Mountain.”

Wanda, 73 years old, is the first woman to record a rock and roll song, she had a ton of hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s and was Elvis Presley’s squeeze for a while.  Last week she told the audience, “I still have the ring he gave me … I wear it on a chain around my neck.”

Wanda Jackson official website

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: The Archies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2011 by 30daysout

Digging around in my sister’s bedroom, specifically her record collection, I found some of her singles and one of her very first albums. They’re all by the Archies, which was a fictional rock group from the comic books. Well, it started with the Archie comics – the music is actually an offshoot of the animated “The Archie Show.”

Archie was actually created in the 1940s as a typical American teenager. Red-headed and freckled, Archie Andrews was inspired by the Andy Hardy movies starring Mickey Rooney. Archie was originally a pretty hep cat, with two swingin’ gal pals (Betty and Veronica) and a best friend (Jughead). The four lived in Riverdale and did typical teenager things throughout the 1940s and the 1950s.

Jump to 1968, and there’s a hit cartoon TV show featuring the Beatles and their music (dating back to ’65) and a live action TV series, The Monkees, also with cool pop music. Don Kirschner, who produced the music for the Monkees, was asked to create another pop group, this time to serve as the voices for the animated TV series based on the Archie universe. Archie and his pals were hipped up to 1960s standards and the plot of the animated “Archie Show” involved the four friends forming a rock group.

The TV show only lasted one season, from 1968-69, but it spawned a number of hit singles including the No. 1 smash “Sugar Sugar.” Most of the tunes were sung by Ron Dante and played by top L.A. studio pros including guitarist Hugh McCracken (played with Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and more) and drummer Gary Chester (Aretha Franklin, Isley Brothers). The songs initially came from Brill Building giant Jeff Barry (who co-wrote “Sugar Sugar” with Andy Kim) but later many of the tunes were written or co-written by Neil Goldberg.

Even though the original TV show was long gone into rerun land, the Archies were still a hit-making pop group as the 1970s dawned and there was another TV show, “Archie’s Funhouse.” Sunshine is the Archies’ hippy dippy album with the trademark hooky pop music that was a guilty pleasure then as it is now. This was the Archies’ fourth album and it supposedly marked a more “mature” approach for the virtual group. Some of the tunes from this album were featured on the TV show.

Continue reading