Category Archives: Crate Digging

[Crate Digging} Ron Wood-Gimme Some Neck

To be perfectly honest, I am not a Rolling Stones fan. I have never owned a LP or CD of theirs. It’s not like I hate them or wont listen to them when they come one the radio. It’s just more indifference. So why you may ask, did I buy a record of one of their guitarists?

Good question.

One, it was only $2 and it has guest stars galore. Two, I’m always what musicians will do when they’re left to their own devices. Three, why not it’s only two bucks.

I have Ronnie’s first solo album, I’ve Got My Own Album To Do, and I was rather unimpressed by it. So expectations for Gimme Some Neck was pretty low. I guess it’s only natural to wonder if these songs were rejected by the Stones. this album came out in between Some Girls and Emotional Rescue. “We All Get Old” is a dirty blues rock track with slide guitar that Mick would have knocked out of the park. “Buried Alive” is one of the those very dancey rock songs the Stones were cranking out. Considering how commercial the Stones were going , the poppy “Come To Realize” might have worked. However, both songs seem like B-Sides more than album cuts.

I think part of the problem on Gimme Some Neck is Ron. He is not a good singer. His voice sounds like a lazy imitation of Keith’s. Because of that the songs sound unfinished. It reminds me of being in a band and demoing a song and someone lays down vocals because the singer isn’t there. There a couple of good tracks on here. The Bob Dylan penned “Seven Days” is fantastic. It sounds like a Dylan song of the period. “F.U.C. Her” is a very cheeky rocker that in quite reminiscent of Mott the Hoople.  Ian McLagan gives a favor to his ex-Faces band mate and tickle the ivories here. then there’s “Infekshun” a very infectious boogie number.

After several spins I’m a little mixed on how I feel about Gimme Some Neck. The specter of The Rolling Stones cannot be ignored. Especially when Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Mick Jagger make guest appearances here.But I think there’s enough of Ronnie on here to separate it. Have to mention some of the other stars that appear. Dave Mason, Mick Fleetwood and well known session drummer Jim Keltner.  It’s not a bad record but I don’t know if it’s a good record. I;m more likely to pull up a specific song on Spotify than play the whole album.

I paid $2 bucks for this but I don’t know how happy I’d be if I paid $5 for it. Honestly I wouldn’t have bought it for $5.

I really really under paid

I really under paid

I paid about right

I over paid

I should have lit my money on fire

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[Create Digging] Detective-S/T

detective

Did you ever watch the show WKRP In Cincinnati? I loved it as a kid. Johnny Fever, Venus Flytrap and Loni Anderson as Jennifer Marlowe. However, I was more of a Bailey fan myself. Anyway, in one of the earlier episodes “Hoodlum Rock” was the first time I heard Detective. In the episode, the singer of the fictional band Scum Of The Earth was Michael Des Barres who sings for the real band Detective.

Detective’s debut was released in 1977 on Swan Song Records and produced by Andy Johns. When you think about it, that is a HUGE coup for a new group. Besides Michael, the band is made up of ex-Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye, ex-Steppenwolf guitarist Michael Monarch, drummer Jon Hyde, and bassist Bobby Pickett. No, not that Bobby Pickett.

Listening to the album you’ll hear that the songs run the gamut of 70’s radio. There’s “Grim Reaper” and “One More Heartache”, two great loud bombastic nods to their label bosses Led Zeppelin. “Nightingale” is a textbook power ballad that would’ve been perfect for when the local DJ says “couples skate only”. They switch it up a bit on “Ain’t None Of You Business” as showcases Jon Hyde raspy vocals, some dirty electric organs, and harkens back to some of the British bands earlier in the decade. They do make some curious choices here as well. “Deep Down” is a slow instrumental that at first spin seems out of place. The track is good but seems more like a bone thrown to Kaye and Monarch. The oddest out of them all is “Wild Hot Summer Nights”. Its a very funky number that sounds like it wandered over from a Commodores recording session.

There’s a lot to like her. Des Barres is a great singer. His voice just oozes attitude and swagger. Jon Hyde is a powerhouse drummer and any comparisons to Bonham are deserved. One complaint is maybe they didn’t have a definite focus. For me a debut album should to be a bit more defined.

I really like this album. Detective were a fantastic band that somehow slipped through the cracks. I guess the guys at Swan Song could only concentrate on Led Zeppelin and Bad Company

I bought this for $4 and it’s in decent shape. I would recommend picking this up even at $10.

Final Verdict:

I really really underpaid for this

I really underpaid for this

I paid about right

I over paid

I should have lit my money on fire

A final notation, listen to Michael Des Barres previous band Silverhead. Horrible name but some unreal 70’s glam rock.

 

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[Crate Digging] Wishbone Ash-Front Page News

ashFPN

The first time I heard the name Wishbone Ash, it was about how they used dueling guitars before Thin Lizzy. So when I finally listened to them I was a bit disappointed. While there is occasionally some dueling guitar harmonies, they do not resemble Thin Lizzy at all. They are not fast nor rockin’ like Lizzy.

It’s a bit tough to compare them to anyone. The best I can come up with is combine Atlanta Rhythm Section and Steely Dan then sprinkle in Pink Floyd’s mellow moments. They’re mellow and poppy, at times a bit proggy. At first they may sound a bit pedestrian but get it a couple more spins and you hear more and more and really start to appreciate them.

Supposedly they do have some heaviness to their catalog but not on the albums I have. There’s The Rub is the first album I got from them. This album, Front Page News, is their eighth studio album. It starts off rather sedated with the title track and “Midnight Dancer”. The two tracks are more yacht rock than anything. Song sequence is a big problem. If you reversed the Sides and started off with “Come In From The Rain” and “Right Or Wrong” then the softer stuff wouldn’t seem so predominant.

Thankfully, there are a few highlights. “Surface To Air” is a very relaxed number with some David Gilmour style leads by Andy Powell. It is immediately followed by “714” an instrumental probably made better by track placement.  The standout track is “Heartbeat”, a slow enveloping breakup song where Martin Turner’s vocals really shine.

It’s not that Front Page News is a bad album, it’s just not the top of the list of must own albums from Wishbone Ash.  I paid $2 for a copy that shows some wear and tear. If I paid $5 for it I’d still feel alright because “Heartbeat” is such a great song.

Final Verdict:

I really really under paid

I really under paid

I paid about right

I over paid

I should have lit my money on fire

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[Crate Digging]GAMMA-1

gamma

GAMMA is one of those overlooked albums that people tell me I should listen to. When guitarist Ronnie Montrose is involved it’s hard to resist. The imaginatively titled 1 ,shows him taking a more AOR slant. He was joined by a couple ex-members of Montrose in bassist Alan Fitzgerald and Alan Alcivar on keys. More prominently is his new vocalist Davey Pattison. It takes you about 2 songs to realize that Davey is a big fan of Paul Rodgers. I mean Kingdom Come/Robert Plant kind of big fan. To be fair, if you’re going to sound like someone, make it someone real good.

The album fluctuates between the best Bad Company song they never recorded to some ripping guitar playing to something an AOR guy told them was a good idea. However, as a whole it is a really good album. Oddly the “hit” song is “I’m Alive” which seems to be Ronnie’s version of Santana’s “I’m Winning”. Horribly misguided attempt at radio made worse because it’s the second track. “Thunder and Lightning” is the album opener and it’s one of those “Bad Co.” songs. Album closer “Fight To The Finish” is another one of those and might be the album highlight. Just look at the title and you know what it will sound like.

What will keep this on you turntable longer than normal, is Ronnie’s guitar playing. Side 2 opens with “Solar Heat” where he is absolutely wailing. It nicely segues into “Ready For Action”. His playing is exceptional all through the album. It’s a great mix of flash and feeling.

The copy I bought is in very nice shape and I paid $9 for it.

I really really under paid

I really under paid

Paid about right

I over paid

I should have lit my money on fire

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[Crate Digging] Max Havoc-S/T

 

There’s that saying that never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.

I’d like to offer a spin on that. Never go to a record show after you’ve watched a music documentary.

That’s how I plunked down too much money for the debut album of Max Havoc. “Who the hell is Max Havoc?” you may ask. Just like you I had never heard of them until I saw Inside L.A. Metal. It is an anthology series on the early days of the Sunset Strip before the boom era of the mid to late 80’s. It’s a fun watch, plus it has lots of great pics and footage of bands I have never heard of. One of those bands was Max Havoc. They played all the well known clubs and had an association with Bill Ward of Black Sabbath. Apparently Max Havoc was supposed to be Ward’s new band. The guys that are here are fantastic. This came out in 1983, well before the glam dominant sound that would  soon follow. This still has a 70’s influence to it. It’s kicks of with “I’m the Show” a party rocker but with a lot more power behind it. In doing research on Max Havoc I saw one reviewer say they’re a mix of Van Halen and Saxon. Given the time, that’s a pretty solid comparison. My favorite track is “Bound for Hell”. Has a little bit of swagger to it and the band shows their love for Zeppelin half way through.

I have had this record spinning non-stop for a solid week . Just a fantastic listen and am dumbfounded as to why they never made it. My guess is by the time the boom hit they were considered old hat. This was released on Triple Platinum Records and the only release by that label. It doesn’t take a genius to deduce that this was the bands label. The only negative I have about this album is the cover.

It’s awful.

Really awful.

Seriously, it’s atrocious.

Besides the disgustingly bad art, the band’s name isn’t on the cover. Who’s brilliant idea was that? Plus it makes them look like a NWOBHM band, and they’re not. These guys are rockers.

So it’s obvious I like it, the question is how much did I pay for it. Like i said at the start, I was in the susceptible headspace when purchasing it. Nonetheless, I laid down a whopping $30 for the Max Havoc LP.

I really really under paid

I really under paid

Paid about right

I over paid

I should have lit my money on fire

 

It’s in really nice condition but I admittedly paid too much. Not that I’m upset about buying it, but this is a $20 record.

 

[Crate Digging] Little Steven-Voice of America

Let’s get something straight from the start. My buying Voice Of America has nothing to do with Bruce Springsteen.

I hate Bruce Springsteen.

I loathe Bruce Springsteen.

I would not date someone if she liked Bruce Springsteen.

The main reason I bought this album is because Jean Beauvoir is on it. Every Kiss fanatic knows that name plus he was in the Plasmatics. Helluva a career if you ask me. I was a little surprised to see that Jean did not write any songs on this, especially when you hear how AOR this album is.

Both sides Track 1’s would fit perfectly in an montage during an 80’s movie , which is the proper definition of AOR. “Voice of America” is very bouncy but “Los Desparecidos” has a bit of a sinister streak to it. It is also one of the songs you could easily hear Bruce doing. Interesting side note is that this album came out a month before Born in The USA came out.

Sadly, those are the best parts. This was recorded around the time Steven was doing his Sun City stuff so it is very political. Worse, it comes across as really corny. “Solidarity” is a bad Ska song about polish labor leader Lech Walesa.

Seriously? Who wants to rock out to that?

“Justice”, “I Am A Patriot”, “Checkpoint Charlie” are more political songs that are so heavy-handed even the most rabid students at Berkeley would tell him to tone it down.

Voice Of America could have been a really good album if Steven would have toned down the politics. Some artists can do that and some can’t. He is in the later camp. Also, he really missed the boat by not utilizing Jean Beauvoir who would go on to write songs that would have fit nicely here.

I do suppose that a Bruce fan might give this a higher grade than me.

I paid $2 for this:

I really really under paid

I really under paid

Paid about right 

Over paid

Should have lit my money on fire

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[Crate Digging] Clover – Love On The Wire

I only knew about this band because of Huey Lewis. If anyone has the biography on Phil Lynott titled The Rocker, you know what a good guy Huey is. Since I’m a huge Thin Lizzy fan, Huey is aces in my book. Clover was a California country rock band that released a couple records that did nothing, so naturally they made their way to England. LOVE ON  THE WIRE was released in 1976 and it is a weird hodge podge of songs.  There are hints of their country rock roots but it’s a mess. Not to mention the gawd awful cover of “Travelin’ Man”. Odd thing is that Huey is listed as lead vocalist but he is seemingly not used in that role. Made worse because Alex Call,who you hear every song, is not very good. “Hearts Under Fire” is the one song they trade off on and is the highlight.

Most interesting aspect of this album is what came of everyone after it. LOVE ON THE WIRE is produced by a very young Robert “Mutt” Lange.  He did alright for himself.  Guitarist John Mcfee, keyboardist Sean Hopper, and bassist Ciambotti were the backing band on Elvis Costello ‘ s debut album. Then there’s Huey.  Clover opened for Thin Lizzy and they took a liking to him so much you hear his harmonica playing on the classic LIVE AND DANGEROUS. When I listened to this as a kid, I didn’t realize the “bluesy” Huey Lewis that Phil gave a shout out to, was the same guy singing “This is It” on MTV.

In closing, LOVE ON THE WIRE is definitely not a sum of its parts. When you really examine all who’s involved it’s amazing that it’s as bad as it is.

I paid $2 for this and that is the right price.

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