I Really Want This! Sweet Relief: A Benefit For Victoria Williams – Various Artists

 

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Back in ’93 I was given an album to review that became a best friend of sorts. Surprisingly it was a compilation record (which usually just don’t stand up due to inconsistency) of songs by an artist whose music was only known previously to musicians and music geeks, but it knocked me over. One song after another caught my imagination with vivid imagery and music that could be both morose and uplifting within the same moment. It was brilliant, which is something you usually can’t say for a record recorded by “various artists.” However, what holds it together is the artist to who the album was benefiting – Victoria Williams.

“My sister got bit by a copperhead snake in the woods behind the house” is the first line that pops out the old speakers as Soul Asylum breaks into “Summer Of Drugs” and I as listener was hooked. By the time Evan Dando (of the Lemonheads) sings “Frying Pan” I’ve decided I want to play guitar.  By the conclusion I’m looking for a bullhorn so I can tell any and everyone within earshot that they have to listen and buy this record. Williams’ songs are so detailed in character that songs feel like you’ve both read an exceptional short story and listened to a new musical experience. Despite the different styles of the various artists performing the songs, the original vision of the songwriter herself remains potent and shines through any genre leaping in the album itself.

If you don’t know the story, Williams star was on the rise when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Having been bogged down with debt from increasing medical bills a virtual who’s who of 90’s alt rock and beyond joined forces to help her and others out. The Sweet Relief Charity Fund was set up to help musicians in need of expensive health care.

More than 20 years have gone by and Pearl Jam is still playing their contribution “Crazy Mary” live, and my CD still has a home within twelve inches of the stereo. So, you can see my love for this record runs deep, and I want a vinyl copy… I just didn’t think that one actually existed. That is until the other day when I just started putting album titles into the discogs search engine and… oh my, it exists. But damn… only in European used stores that would raise the price with shipping to over a hundred bucks.

So, I hope that it gets re-issued on vinyl eventually or that the ghost of Ed McMahon shows up at my door with an oversized check.

Sweet Relief can still be purchased at your better record stores on CD and has two follow up LP’s.

Sweet Relief II: Gravity Of The Situation – The Songs Of Vic Chesnutt

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And

Sweet Relief III: Pennies From Heaven

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Check them out, give ‘em a listen, and maybe you’ll want to drop a few dollars to a worthy cause.

P.S. – Here’s a video of Victoria Williams covering the great Sam Cooke

 

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Fallen Into a Black Hole? or Hole – Live Through This

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Four days after Kurt Cobain was found dead and Live Through This hit the streets, the grand bashing of Courtney Love went into overdrive. Gone was the trash of calling her some kind of “Yoko Ono” (I never understood that one. I mean really, is every woman married to a rock star supposed to be a Yoko?) and in its place were the conspiracy theories that started with crap about “who REALLY wrote the music” and finished with “who really killed…” you know what, I’m not even going to finish the sentence… the whole idea was to fucking stupid to repeat. All I will say is this – If cops can’t find a reason to arrest one of the most vilified persons on the planet, there is NO reason to arrest them. Oh, and as for writing credits – they’re in the liner notes of the album.

The only thing anyone should have been talking about was her music, and for several years, her and her compatriots in Hole put out some fantastic music. In fact, Live Through This is not only one of the greatest albums to come out of the 90’s, but is in fact one of the greatest all-time.

So why the hell can’t it be found on vinyl?

Well, actually, it can… if you like counterfeits made in Europe from a CD source.

E-Bay has dump loads being sold as “Imports” without any place listed as having made them. Discogs on the other hand have a time and place listed for this album. In 2014, an unofficial version was released by a “mystery” company in Germany, (or rumoured France) due to the fact that fans really want to get their hands on it. It can be found for around 20 dollars and those that have it seem to like it. However, I wouldn’t touch it.

What I would like is the cash to buy the original pressing or for DGC and Love to put out a cool anniversary edition.

Back in 1994, City Slang put out two editions of Live Through This on vinyl, one black and the other white. The white vinyl has an asking price of nearly $300.00 (only 3000 made) while the regular vinyl goes for just over $100.00 on discogs. This is pretty damn funny considering people are asking for as much as $60.00 + shipping for the counterfeit on E-Bay.

hole2 hole3

All this information and I remain confused. No official reissue on either CD or vinyl – WHY?

Honestly, I can’t figure out why Live Through This hasn’t had a re-release and been given the respect that it is due. With the plethora of box sets and special editions on the market for every other important band (and some not so important bands) that blazed trails during that era, where is Hole?

Great Driving Song + Amazing Driving Record = Steve Wynn & the Miracle Three – Static Transmission… I Really Want This!

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I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing. In my imagination it was behind the wheel of a blue ’69 Mustang with windows rolled down and a stereo so loud you couldn’t hear the wind. Dust is flying from behind the wheels and I’m flying at twice the speed limit as “Amphetamine” pushes the speakers to their limit. My hair whips against the front of my sunglasses and the vibrations in my throat tells me I’m singing along, “na na, na na, yeah, na na, na na, yeah.” It’s Saturday, the sun is setting, I have a place to be and I don’t care what time I get there or if I arrive at all. Life doesn’t get any better.

That is how I picture hearing Static Transmission for the first time. It starts in reflective themes and dreamy sequences of “What Comes After” and as CD progresses things pick up as guitar play and energy pick up. By song five, “Amphetamine” you’re lost and you never want to be found. Guitar buzz and stories ring out and you could be at a party of 100 or a party of 1 and it still rings of that late teens/early twenty something energy where everything emanates with the possibility of summer nights. Even as things slow down again it just brings visions of slow dances, crashing waves and fires at the beach.

This is a summer record, full of youth and life, and I want it on vinyl. I want it to spin on my turntable as I look out the window into my backyard and watch the cardinal land in the Japanese maple. It plays as a soundtrack for memories, real or imagined, and it lifts me up into a lighter mood.

BUT

We can’t have everything. It was released in 2003, and as great a record as it is, that was the only year it was released on vinyl. Discogs has copies for sale, but the prices are all in euros and very expensive to boot.

Sometimes we must be satisfied by what we have and leave some dreams in the subconscious where they belong.

For A Couple Hours They Were The World’s Greatest Band! Urge Overkill – Saturation

It’s funny the tricks that your mind creates for some screwed up database of how you remember things. As I drive on the 401 there is a man-made lake that you can see as you drive by the Niagara Escarpment, I think it is named Lake Kelso. Hundreds of times I driven by this spot in all seasons, weather, and times of day and every time I smile. The opening chords to “Sister Havana” play in my head and I picture an old Volvo with a tape deck that has wires hanging out, stretching toward a CD player that rests on a pillow on the floor. My roommate Kevin is hyped by this band and is telling me the finer details of their former indie label existence. I’m enjoying the song and nodding a lot as I look through the CD booklet. One song becomes another and by the time we hit downtown Toronto and the final notes of “Heaven 90210” ring out, I’m a fan. I know that when I get home I’ll be picking up this record and telling everyone who will listen, Saturation is a GREAT ALBUM!

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Later that night as Urge Overkill took the stage things were a little different than usual. It being 1993, most bands were dressed down in ripped jeans and whatever t-shirt was handy at the moment. These guys were in flashy suits with big gold chains that had carried the UO medallion around their necks. As the show kicked in, the maybe 400 people present were treated to a freakin’ rock spectacle of epic proportion. For the next couple hours this band was convincing this audience that they, Urge Overkill – Nash Kato, Edward (King) Roeser and Blackie Onassis  were the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band on the planet. They swaggered, they posed, and they had a great album that was being performed in glorious fashion. Walking out of Lee’s after the show I was a ‘HUGE FAN’ and absolutely convinced they would be massive.

Critics loved them, other rock stars couldn’t heap enough praise on them, and they were in every alternative magazine of the time being ‘rock stars’. But that was pretty much the height of it all. They just didn’t catch on. The next album, Exit The Dragon, didn’t capture audiences imagination the way Saturation had and they broke up.

So here it is more than twenty years later, and I want to honour that day, that time, when for a couple hours Urge Overkill was the world’s greatest band. So I want this:

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Problem is the price and the condition. A good clean copy with a mint cover is around $100 once you add shipping. Oh well, maybe Geffen will do a re-release on vinyl… that would be cool! Still I want this album in my collection. I want this beautiful piece of orange vinyl playing at 33rpm as it takes me back to memories of Lake Kelso and Lee’s Palace.

Are You Kidding Me? A Working Lego Turntable! – I Really Want This!

Anyone having read this blog knows that I love Lego and I LOVE vinyl. Well, holy rotating crap Batman!… some beautiful genius in South Korea has combined them to create this gorgeous working turntable.

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So, I’m looking at my Facebook page and this video pops up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFSXsOpm2MY

Now, having watched the youtube video, it does sound like crap, but youtube has a whole bunch of working turntables built with lego… they also sound like crap.

The one from the video uses parts from an audiotechnica with Lego, and puts the sound out through speakers that are also built from Lego. I would be curious to hear it with real speakers. In fact, I would be curious to see a turntable built with Lego and really great parts from an old turntable that could be run through a stereo. To date it seems that the ‘master builders’ have been using Lego motors instead of the ones housed in a real record player. So, it might be a great project for someone to try using the Lego for buttons, switches and housing while getting the internals to work with genuine turntable parts.  Having no electronics aptitude, it isn’t a good project for me, but someone could probably do a good job.

AND – when they do – I want one!

With a Lego instruction booklet so that I can put it together and feel like an eight year old genius who just built a turntable out of lego… first play would go to the White Stripes.

Here is the original article that got me dreaming about this.

 

 

 

That’s Right – STAN FRICKIN’ LEE my friends! – I Really Want This!

Ask either of my boys (7 &11) who the coolest person living on this planet is, and the answer might surprise you. It isn’t an athlete, movie star, or world leader… although he does go by the moniker of “King Of Cameos” in movies, but has never been the star – Yep, that’s right – Stan Frickin’ Lee – the creator of almost every character Marvel hold near and profitably dear to its corporate Disney heart.

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My kids are Marvel fans in a big way. Comics, video games, television and movies, and their favorite part of all of these are when they spot Stan doing one of his “EPIC” cameos. Each of us can debate the most hilarious or heroic moment Stan has had.

(Here, Pick Your Own)

Anyway, after my older son Rowan and I had finished our nightly comic book read, he asked about Fan-Expo Toronto. Of course, when my younger overheard, ran over to say he was going as well. All this before I had even said a word about the when and where. So now my wife and I are looking at a family day out to Fan-Expo with the hopes of getting something cool and collectable for the family. I mean, sure these guys, including Stan, sign their own headshots, but let’s face it, that wouldn’t be as cool as

THIS

amazingfantasy15ap-1

http://www.sportsposterwarehouse.com/detail_AP-COM-909__999__amazingfantasy15ap.html

SIGNED

Ok maybe this

spiderman1ap-1

http://www.sportsposterwarehouse.com/detail_AP-COM-903__999.html

SIGNED

Or this,

theavengers1ap-3

http://www.sportsposterwarehouse.com/detail_AP-COM-919__999__theavengers1ap.html

BUT…

Regardless, the whole family is wondering which wall will become the Stan Lee shrine. Funny thing is, of all the cool collectable things I would like – this one is probably not only the most realistic, but far more about the family in general.

 

I Really Want This! Captain America’s Shield

I’m on Facebook yesterday just checking out stories and pictures when up pops Chris Evans and Chris Pratt at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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Of course Evans is in full Captain America garb handing out gifts to kids and posing with – the Shield. The one of a kind vibranium/adamantium hybrid. OK, sure, as mentioned before, I’m a comic geek. So depending on what origin story you prefer for his shield it just can’t be destroyed by any ordinary means. (OK a couple of small ‘g’ gods have done the trick over the years, but it gets fixed by some other small ‘g’ divinity and all is again good in the universe.

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And I suppose that is the point. Steve Rogers isn’t just one of us. Or rather, he ‘is’ a representation of what we could aspire to be. He is empathetic, compassionate, and regardless of the consequences true to himself… even when the country he loves turns its back on him, (See how Rogers becomes Nomad and even returns the Shield to President Nixon when he sees corruption at the highest level. see Captain America & the Falcon #180, 1974 and a few other issues after.)

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Captain America does the right thing – not because he’s ordered to, not because of reward, but simply because it is the right thing to do.

So when Steve Rogers looked to be killed during the Marvel Civil War a few years ago, and Joe Quesada (Marvels Head Honcho at the time) gave the shield to Steven Colbert – I was jealous. Sure, in the comics it went to Bucky Barnes (yes the Winter Soldier), but I watched Colbert and stewed.

Anyway, now Chris Evans is visiting kids with shield in tow, being the coolest possible Captain America, and I want that shield even more than before. And no my sons Cap Frisbee just will not do.

Of course there is this little problem of money… and that little problem of being sold out… but I’ll ignore that for a moment.

You see, an official replica of the one carried in the movies is available. It is actually made from the same mold as the actual movie prop… but it isn’t cheap.

capshield

Still, in my dreams it looks great sitting a couple feet away from my Big Star neon sign and a 360/12 Rickenbacker guitar like Roger McGuinn played in the Byrds.

 

I Really Want This! Big Star Neon Sign

Anyone who collects anything has that one object that is simply unattainable. Usually it is either a cash problem… or it just isn’t available to buy. In my case, it falls into both categories. You see, I have this dream of having a bar that has a single neon sign just off to the side.

This sign

 big star sign

It isn’t just a sign. It is major history in the world of one of my favourite rock bands. It is a story hanging on my wall. It is the ultimate geeky altar to music people who are ‘in the know.’ A way to instantly tell people we worship awesome music in this home.

The sign first shows up on the cover of Big Star’s #1 Record. In fact, it is pretty much the cover.

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Then it shows up again on a tree for the cover of Big Star Live,

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and once more on the movie poster for the Big Star biography Nothing Can Hurt Me.

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It is gorgeous and glorious and the ultimate fan possession.

The cool thing was that a couple years back, some official replicas were made around the same time Omnivore was putting out a special edition of Third/Sisters Lovers for Record Store Day. It was out of my price range.

 

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But I still want it… it is one of the coolest memorabilia items in existence… but alas, I haven’t won the lottery yet. Guess a poster might have to do.

http://ardentmusic.11spot.com/merchandise/poster/big-star-neon-star-poster.html