Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

28Jan/131

The Monday Morning Mix: 75 Minutes Of ’70s FM

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Hey there music lovers!  ATV is pleased to bring you a Monday Morning Mix featuring a fine blend of 70s hard rock.  14 killer tunes flowing into what is known on the street as the Stereo Dictator’s 75 Minutes of 70s Volume One. Feast your musical mind on this free prize and give your week a little kick start.

Download the entire mix here.

“I Got the Fire” - Montrose
On the heels of their landmark debut, Montrose released Paper Money, a solid follow-up featuring this burner, which sounds like an outtake from the first album. Ted Templeman’s production keeps it crisp and pounding while Ronnie tears it down appropriately.

“Never Before” – Deep Purple
Deep Purple’s Machine Head was filled with FM hits yet this song was the expected single upon release.  Poppy in a rockin way thanks to the muscle applied to the arrangement, on another album it may have stood out and become a chart-topper. An underrated tune that moves well, has memorable lyrics and is very reflective of the era.

“The Rover” – Led Zeppelin
Physical Graffiti
arguably presented Zeppelin at their best with this tune letting them do what they do best: blues-based boogie, patented layers of Page guitar, a powerful rhythm section brought way up front by Page the producer, and Plant’s hippie-fied stories about the uncertainties of life.

“Fairies Wear Boots” – Black Sabbath
Paranoid
was a ground-breaker and “Fairies” is a song that helped to create the Sabbath template.  Whether the song was written in a smoke-filled haze or following an encounter with skinheads is still up for debate. What’s not is the significance of blending blues, metal and jazz with a wailing vocalist in 1970.

“Nobody’s Fault” - Aerosmith
Back when Aerosmith was on a roll, Rocks was the hammer in their catalog. Hard and heavy, it opened eyes as to the band’s ability to throw down a firestorm of rock and roll.  “Nobody’s Fault” is perhaps the greatest example.  Intelligent, raunchy and wholly satisfying.

“Go to Hell” – Alice Cooper
As the wheels were beginning to come off the Alice Cooper machine in 1976, Alice hit the studio with Bob Ezrin to create one more masterpiece, Goes to Hell. Fortifying the band were twin guitar killers Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, notable for their excellence on Lou Reed’s Rock and Roll Animal a few years earlier. “Go to Hell” captures Alice at his sinister, story-telling best.

“D.O.A.” – Van Halen
Van Halen II
continued the myth while delivering the goods, including this loose and loud outlaw tale.  David Lee Roth is the misunderstood hero while Eddie V pulls out a primal riff and plays the hell out of it. Must-have Van Halen right here.

“Gotta Keep a Runnin” – The Godz
Don Brewer of Grand Funk produced, the band put the pedal to the metal and here it is. A true classic featuring one of the all-time great rock raps courtesy of madman Eric Moore, and a great driving song to boot. It’s too bad that the Godz peaked with their first album, but at least we have this well-worn anthem.

“Motor City Madhouse” – Ted Nugent
Keepin’ your pulse rate runnin’ high is this bit of rock frenzy from Ted Nugent, one of several songs that made his post-Amboy Dukes debut one of the greatest guitar-hero albums of the 70s.  This slice of psychosis is like a rollercoaster; you are on, you are moving at full speed, and you are not getting off for four and-a-half minutes.

“Shinin’ On” – Grand Funk
When quad was quad on LP and 8-track, the guitar intro to “Shinin’ On” was prime stereo outlet demo material, with and without headphones for full effect. Producer Todd Rundgren applied a generous helping of heavy-metal sheen to the band’s core sound and struck gold.  Shinin’ On went to #5, bolstered by the title track, an FM favorite, and a remake of Little Eva’s “The Loco-Motion,” which became a #1 single.

“Overdose” – AC/DC
The combination of AC/DC with Vanda & Young as producers gave the band an entirely different feel than what was to come later with Mutt Lange.  This is groove-based metal blues that allows you to feel a genuine connection to the music. The guitars are truly razor-sharp, Bon Scott is right on top of it, and the whole things rocks. A supergroup to-be at its roots.

“Faith Healer” – Sensational Alex Harvey Band
This hypnotic showpiece is one of the key tracks on Next, the most well-rounded album in Harvey’s eclectic catalog.  A glitterized evangelical trip, this is another pioneering moment of the headphone-era that leaves you wanting more. Seek it out and experience more of the brilliance of the SAHB.

“Panic in Detroit” – David Bowie
A raging lead guitar from the legendary Mick Ronson wails over the top of a sometimes walking, sometimes running bass line hopped up by maracas and congas while Bowie name-checks controversial figures, adding to the panic with his somewhat urgent narrative, all the while backed up by female singers. It’s a handful and it’s glorious.

“White Punks on Dope” – The Tubes
A staple of FM radio until the FCC outlawed the F-word, this is quintessential 70s.  Producer Al Kooper masterfully weaves together the conglomeration of musical ideas for this tribute to the idle hands of rich suburban kids. The whole thing is so over the top (remember Fee Waybill as “Quay Lude”?) that it makes sense while never losing a real rock edge. Think of it as “Bohemian Rhapsody” for an alternative crowd.

Join us next time for another mix you’ll just have to have courtesy of the Stereo Dictator and AAAAY TEEEEE VEEEEE!

75 Minutes of 70s Volume One
I Got the Fire – Montrose
Never Before – Deep Purple
The Rover – Led Zeppelin
Fairies Wear Boots – Black Sabbath
Nobody’s Fault – Aerosmith
Go to Hell – Alice Cooper
D.O.A. – Van Halen
Gotta Keep a Runnin – The Godz
Motor City Madhouse – Ted Nugent
Shinin On – Grand Funk
Overdose – AC/DC
Faith Healer – Sensational Alex Harvey Band
Panic in Detroit – David Bowie
White Punks on Dope – The Tubes

Download the entire mix now.

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21Dec/109

Good Listening: Cockburn Christmas Volume Two

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Only a few more shopping days left until the big day.  Are you ready?  Ready or not, be sure to take some time to savor a bit of great Christmas music courtesy of the Stereo Dictator and ATV.

Today’s offering is a present from December 20, 1992 featuring Bruce Cockburn and that irrepressible icon of holiday joy and glee (who also happens to be one of the gods of rock and roll), Lou Reed performing his seasonal gem, “Xmas in February.”

Another installment of the annual Columbia Records Radio Hour, this one is the big money bonus round of radio shows. Enjoy the talents of Rosanne Cash on “From the Ashes” as well as Rob Wasserman, who plays on all tunes including a wickedly jolly version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

It’s a holiday trip back to the 90s that is well worth the 51 minute investment. And it beats standing in line at the mall.

SETLIST

Lord of the Starfields

Lovers in a Dangerous Time

Early on One Christmas Morning

From the Ashes

Burden of the Angel Beast

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

We Three Kings

Xmas in February

All the Diamonds

Cry of a Tiny Babe

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29Mar/106

‘Cause a Cheap Fix is What I Need

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Hey gang, this post is for all of you who, like me, had your concert life torn asunder by your personal life and missed the Cowboy Junkies over the weekend.

Cowboy Junkies Group color

As unforgivable as that statement was for me to type, I immediately appeal to the greater good by providing the ATV community with a cure for the shakes; 45 minutes of vintage CJ tuneage live from Berlin, Germany on May 17, 1996.

An abbreviated and edited concert presentation in support of the then-current release Lay It Down, it contains a tremendous ten-song mix of Junkies originals alongside five covers including Hank Williams’ classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and Neil Young’s tale of death on the water, “Powderfinger.”

Cowboy Junkies Lay It Down front

Kicking off with an appropriately paranoid and dynamic version of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” it’s directly on to another in the SD’s “Great Singles That Never Were” file, the ever-cool groove of “A Common Disaster."

Keeping with the theme of self-reflection, murder and lawlessness, you’ll also be treated to early Junkies gems like “Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning,” “Murder in the Trailer Park Tonight,” and the desperation that seeps through “'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel.”


Though it’s not all here time-wise, it’s all here.  Michael Timmins’ full range of guitar emotions from swinging country to angry rock, Alan Anton’s firm yet rolling bass foundation, Peter Timmins’ deft and rock-solid drumming, and Margo Timmins’ honest and beautiful narratives.

So while this is a second-rate fix, it’s still better than nothing at all.  Summon the gumption to rise up, download and groove on.

Until the next time I want you to hear what I want you to hear…

COWBOY JUNKIES SETLIST 5-17-96

complete zipped download

State Trooper

A Common Disaster

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

First Recollection

Sun Comes Up It's Tuesday Morning

Powderfinger

Carmelita

'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel

Murder Tonight in the Trailer Park

Sweet Jane

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23Dec/0939

The 12 Boots of Christmas: Don’t Give Us None of Your Aggravation

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Hey there music lovers, we’ve reached the end of the line.  Santa has to get ready for the big show and we have to be sure to get the last boot in the 12 Boots of Christmas series prepared for placement under the tree.

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Today's North Pole nugget is a vintage seasonal performance from one of the kings of rock and roll, the one and only Elton John.

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27Nov/094

The Stereo Dictator Presents The 12 Boots of Christmas

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Happy Holidays Music Lovers!  The Stereo Dictator is back with a super special Santa-approved treat that is sure to brighten your spirits and lighten your holiday load.

Santa boots w initials

Welcome to the 12 Boots of Christmas!

Between today and the last day of 2009, I will be bringing twelve musical gifts to you via the internet.  Coveted bootlegs by big-time bands performing live in locales such as Europe, Australia, California, and Cleveland, the rock and roll capital of the universe.

What awaits you is a worldwide yuletide extravaganza of rock and roll.

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5Oct/095

It’s a Bleedin’ Board – The Tragically Hip in L.A.

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Hello again music lovers and welcome to this edition of “It’s A Bleedin’ Board!” Please join me, the Stereo Dictator, as we unlock the vaults to find yet another pearl in music history deemed essential to a finely crafted rock and roll collection.

In the words of my Deadhead buddy Barry, “It’s a Bleedin’ Board!” because it’s low-gen or first-gen, it comes from an FM source or the board mix, and it sounds great.

In the words of Rocket J. Squirrel, “And now, on with the show…”

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When it comes to Canadian exports, I am a big supporter of select items: the music of Neil Young and The Guess Who, Labatt Beer, Canadian bacon, moose and squirrels, and one of the most criminally underrated bands of national legend, The Tragically Hip.

Having been a Hip fan since 1989 with the release of Up To Here, which contained the classic, “New Orleans is Sinking,” I feel an obligation to convey to you, the unwashed and unknowing in internet land, be you American or otherwise, the power and passion that is the Tragically Hip.

The.Tragically.Hip[1]

Members of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the band holds the record for the most number one album debuts on the Canadian charts with eight. Their catalog features eleven studio projects, one live album, a live concert DVD and a box set.

Coming from a blues-rock base, the Hip stretched itself with each release, progressively embracing a fuller, more developed sound similar to what U2 has done over its career.

Our trip through my archives jumps past their first U.S. tour to what is a landmark gig in the band’s career: May 3, 1991 at the Roxy in Los Angeles.

Road_Apples[1]

On tour in support of Road Apples, the band was poised for its breakthrough after two full-length LPs, a self-titled EP from 1987 and about eight years of touring experience. The buzz about them was good and they were building a fan base across America one show at a time. An energetic and mesmerizing band live, those powers are fully evident here.

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Vocalist Gordon Downie leads the band in his inimitably manic style acting as the off-kilter story-telling captain of the ship. The band – Rob Baker and Paul Langlois on guitar, Johnny Fay on drums and Gord Sinclair on bass – is a powerhouse. They slam, bang and groove their way through ten songs in all and just get hotter as the show goes on.  Don’t miss “She Didn’t Know,” “Twist My Arm” and “On the Verge” among others.

This show is a gem among collectors because it includes two of Downie’s most revered and sought after concert stories in the vast sea of Hip bootlegs: the “Double Suicide” version of “Highway Girl” and the “Killer Whale Tank” take on “New Orleans is Sinking.”  It’s simply Gordie at his best.

If you know the latter-day Hip music and have never heard their early work, consider starting here. You may be very surprised at what a rock and roll machine they were. It’s straight ahead, it’s hard and loud and it’s a bleedin’ board!

Download
complete zip of the entire show

Highway Girl
Little Bones
She Didn’t Know
Twist My Arm
Cordelia
Trickle Down
Three Pistols
New Orleans is Sinking
On the Verge
Blow at High Dough

812200972849A[1]

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20May/092

It’s a Bleedin’ Board! Earth Day with the Excitable Boy

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Welcome to the first of a series of reviews about my favorite bootlegs. Today's feature is a short but very sweet set from Warren Zevon. And, to steal a phrase from my longtime Deadhead buddy Barry, "It's a bleedin' board!" (Translation= a mint soundboard recording)

The date is April 22, 2000. We find Warren playing a set at the lovely Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington on Earth Day as the opener for, in his words, the "great, great band Little Feat."

As was his custom in the later years when playing short solo sets, he began by playing "Werewolves of London." This version is dead-on with a few references to Jimmy Buffett, which have become a favorite running joke between my daughter and me.

This segues directly into a very spirited rendition of "Excitable Boy" which features some great piano runs before coming to a quick close.

Song three is one of my all-time favorite Zevon tunes, "Seminole Bingo," a tale about a junk-bond king who runs away to Florida, buys a double-wide trailer and blows his money on an Indian reservation. Quintessential Zevon.

Number four is another bit of genius as Warren is a magician who fights the ways of love in "I'll Need a Volunteer." The lovable loser who can't stand himself is a common theme throughout his career and it's brilliantly presented here.

Next up is one of Warren's most poignant love songs, "Don't Let Us Get Sick." Not one of my favorites musically, but the strength of the lyrics is undeniable.

At this point, the piano goes to the wayside and out comes the twelve-string. If you don't have the album Learning to Flinch or didn't see Warren live in the 90s, you may not know what a good guitarist he was. Apparently, he was a little manic at times which is what kept him from playing too much on earlier recordings.

Having often referred to himself as a folk singer, he plays what is probably his greatest folk song, "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," which he introduces by saying "I wanna play something that there's a remote chance you may have heard before." Yeah, like a million times on pop radio by one Linda Ronstadt and some other female artist (Teri Clark?) who also took it way up the country charts. This one paid the mortgage a few times over. Other than the guitar going out of tune during the intro, a very solid performance.

"Now I'm gonna play a song from my new album (crowd cheers). Some of you, many of you may find this offensive. I just wanna remind you that if anyone asks, my name is Lou Reed."

What follows is an absolutely stunning take on what could be my favorite Warren song ever, "My Shit's F*cked Up." Stellar guitar playing, funny lyrics and a song that applies to all of us. Ironically, what started as a joke became all too relevant shortly thereafter.

"Here's a song about a gentleman who's not around to celebrate Earth Day with us but, he liked his bacon."

The Excitable Boy's tribute to The King, "Porcelain Monkey," is a killer. Another great folk song, this time about a legend who couldn't keep it together. I'll never forget having to explain to my daughter what velveteen is.

Being pressed for time, we roll right into the slightly transformed "Detox Mansion," another classic from the catalog. Elizabeth Taylor, yardwork, golf, laundry and rubber rooms.
What a life. Absolutely killer guitar as Warren's effects pedal enables him to lay down a rhthym track of himself playing, lock it in, play a solo, lock it in and play another solo over the top.

The set comes to end by moving right into "Lawyers, Guns and Money," sounding very powerful as Warren bangs away on the strings and has fun with the words, going so far as to ask for "lawyers, guns and meatloaf."

What you have here is Warren playing and singing very comfortably,skillfully and genuinely enjoying himself. The crowd LOVES him all the way through and sounds as if it wanted much more than 42 minutes. A real treat in its entirety and a must have for your Zevon collection.

"It's a Bleedin' Board" will be a regular feature of mine so join me as I explore a wide variety of bands and soloists that have been captured live. Also look for future editions of "The Stereo Dictator's Guide" which provides background on great artists and albums of the past. The first one was posted a few weeks back and covered the "last of the full-grown men," Webb Wilder.

Enjoy the weather and take the Cavs in six over Orlando.

Download the complete zip of the Moore show here.

zevon10.jpg

Warren Zevon at Indre Studios
Philadelphia, PA
January 18th, 2000

photo by Mark Silver

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13May/0934

The Worst Single of All Time?

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Before I give it away, I have to ask you a question.

Have you ever heard a song by one of your favorite bands and upon listening to it for the first time, you instantly knew that you and the band had grown apart and were headed for a divorce?

Welcome to my world in the year 1984.

After championing said band to all of my friends and enjoying their tunes many times over, I about PUKED the first time I heard "Jump" by Van Halen.

van_halen_-_jump.jpg

Where in the hell did this piece of schlock come from?

Well, after some thought and some years of reflection, it's pretty apparent as to where it started for them and that's the same place that it ended for me.

As you probably know, Eddie Van Halen contributed the guitar solo to Michael Jackson's "Beat It." What you may not know it that he did it free of charge as in "No Royalties for Eddie, Thanks for Coming and See You Later."

Having watched piles of blow and fast cars and fluff chicks go right out the door based on that decision along with seeing the potential for "Arena-Rock" singles growing by the minute, Eddie jumped right on that soon-to-be runaway train and got himself a piece of the pie by writing the biggest piece of garbage Van Halen has ever produced.

As referenced in a Wikipedia entry about the song, David Lee Roth and Ted Templeman, producer extraordinaire (Montrose, Van Morrison, Little Feat, and the Doobie Brothers when they were still good), wanted to continue taking the band down the hard-rock road.

Eddie was blinded by the dollar signs in his eyes, resisted their request and insisted on releasing one of the worst singles of all time.

Let's look at what preceded this and what came later.

After their phenomenal debut album, the band was on the road so much and in an altered state of mind so often, they never again issued an album that was fully mature and complete. Van Halen II and Women and Children First both contain great rock moments ("Dead or Alive, Take Your Whiskey Home") but they have so many moments that reek of demos and ideas that were not fully realized.

Knowing this and probably getting tired of Dave's personality and the hassle of being a mega-star in demand, Eddie was ready to cash in. Thus, the release of one of the worst singles of all time.

Little did we know at that time that Eddie was setting the stage for one of the worst rock bands of all time in Van Hagar, but I digress...

"Jump" is a song that would not have been nearly as offensive were it released by a band that had not produced such greatness as "Aint Talkin 'Bout Love" or "I'm On Fire." Even "Jamie's Cryin" had substance.

But coming from the guys who gave hard-rock a major kick in the ass when it was most needed, "Jump" is inexcusable and indefensible.

There have been hundreds of one-hit wonders over the past 50 years which have produced nonsense singles so I get that not every song has to be a great one. But none of them were Van Halen in 1984 disappointing their fan base so terribly. You had to be there and I know a lot of you weren't. Many of you who were likely enjoyed the tune in grade school. Enough said.

Don't even come at me with the "Bands progress and you don't so that is your problem" take. "Jump" is a SELL-OUT in every way and it stinks.

What could have been never was because Eddie got greedy and ruined a real rock and roll band. Shame on him and shame on you for digging that song.

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28Apr/0926

The Stereo Dictator Makes the Scene

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Greetings ATV fans! It is an honor to join you all as an official member of one of the coolest websites on the net hosted by one of the coolest guys I know.

Now that the sucking up is over, let’s get down to it.

I’m Kevin Brennan aka the Stereo Dictator, a lifelong Cleveland-area resident who is old enough to have seen former mayor Ralph Perk set his hair on fire, to have seen the city enter default during the tenure of another former mayor named Kucinich, to have witnessed the transformation of the warehouse wasteland that became the Flats and then to have seen it much of it go to hell again, to have been one of 2,000 people at an Indians game on several occasions, to have experienced firsthand the agony of the Drive, the Fumble, the Shot and many more hideous sports-related meltdowns, and most important of all, to have felt great disappointment as I watched one of the greatest radio markets in the country be swallowed up by owners and consultants whose only reference to rock and roll was the unbelievably restrictive 250 songs that some dumb-ass programmers classified as a “classic-rock playlist.”

Before you think that I’m just another bitter old guy, let me tell you a bit about some of the pleasant musical memories stored inside my swelling, itching brain.

I was there as the “hottest band in the land” – KISS!! blew everyone away at the Coliseum during a snowstorm in 1976. I sat in the 10th row on the floor when Led Zeppelin played Cleveland for the last time in April 1977. When AC/DC came to the Palace with Thin Lizzy in 1978, I stood on a tabletop and sang “The Jack” at the urging of Bon Scott.

In 1979, I was one of 70,000 or so in attendance at the World Series of Rock which featured unannounced opener the Scorpions who seriously rocked, the return of Bon Scott and AC/DC who could have played all day as they won over the audience after their first song, Steve Perry of Journey tripping and falling over his microphone cord midsong, Ted Nugent swinging down from atop a 20 foot tall stack of Marshalls and subsequently playing his ass off, and the well-documented final Aerosmith performance before the first breakup which included a fight instigated by Joe Perry’s wife.

There are many, many more stories about bands, radio stations, record stores, bootlegs, albums and concerts to tell but I can’t give it all away in my first post so I hope you come back to enjoy them with me. Though I have begun with recollections that are older than many of you reading this, know that my posts won’t all be ancient history but they will feature a healthy dose of my “old-school” perspective which, when it comes to rock and roll, is not a bad thing.

Thanks again to Matt for the outlet and remember the mantra: “My stereo, my albums, my choice.”

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