When Was The Last Time You Played This Album?

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Steely Dan “Katy Lied”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day ( #150 in the Series)  is Steely Dan, Katy Lied.

Last year Steely Dan did a tour where they played one of three albums in their entirety.   They would ‘hunker down’ in town for four nights.  The first three nights they would play either The Royal Scam, Aja or Goucho.  The fourth night would be requests. Unfortunately, they didn’t play my favorite Dan album, Katy Lied.

Don’t get me wrong, I love those other three releases.  But give me Katy Lied.

I could list nearly every track as a favorite.  How can you choose from Black Friday, Bad Sneakers, Doctor Wu, Chain Lightning. Everyone’s Gone to the Movies or Any World (That I’m Welcome To)

Steely Dan has always been two men, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. They would surround themselves with some of the best hand picked musicians every time they would enter into a new project.

Katy Lied had some wonderful players.

Michael McDonald was all over this record with his distinctive backround vocal sounds. (I one heard a disc jockey say Michael McDonald’s voice sounded like trying to start a car on a freezing morning. I had to laugh along but I like it.)

Numerous guitar players were asked in.  Rick Derringer added the solo to Chain Lightning, Larry Carlton played on Daddy Don’t Live in That City No More.  Elliot Randall could be heard on Throw Back the Little Ones. Dean Parks appeared on Rose Darling.

Drums were handed by Jeff Porcaro. When you have Jeff Porcaro you need not look elsewhere.

Katy Lied, 1979,  was produced by Gary Katz.

It peaked at #13 on the Billboard Album Charts

Black Friday hit #37 on the Billboard Singles Charts.

Here’s a couple live tracks. Bad Sneakers and Black Friday.

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Dave Mason “Let it Flow”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#149 in the Series) is Dave Mason, Let it Flow.

Dave Mason has put out a big ol’ chunk of good music.  From the days he spent with Traffic through a long solo career.  His latest album, 26 letters and 12 Notes is as good as anything he’s done.  It’s too bad radio didn’t go near it.  He commented from the stage at a recent show I saw, It’s like ‘I’m Selling Encyclopedias to them.’

Let it Flow was released in 1977.  Yup, that’s 33 years ago folks!

It contained his biggest hit. ‘We Just Disagree.’  I think it’s one of the best divorce songs ever written.

Memorable moments here include So High (Rock Me Baby and Roll Me Away), Let it Go, Let it Flow, Spend Your Life With Me and Mystic Traveler,.

I was surprised to read that Let it Flow only hit #37 on the Billboard Top Album Charts. I would have bet big bucks that it would have been much higher than that.

Three singles charted. We Just Disagree peaked at 12.  I would have thought that was higher too. Let It Go, Let it Flow peaked at 45. So High hit to 89.

It was produced by big time producer Ron Nevison.  (Bad Company, UFO, Zep Physical Graffiti, Starship, Heart, Chicago.

As alluded to earlier, I had a chance to see Dave Mason recently, He was outstanding.  He played a tiny 400 seat venue.   He played everything from Feeling All Right, 40,000 Headman, Only You Know and I Know, Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave (a real highlight!) World in Changes (opening song). He encored with Dear Mr. Fantasy and All Along the Watchtower.

If you have the chance to see Mr. Mason, Go. . He’s highly recommended.  But be for warned.  You might not recognize him. He looks REALLY different. As you can see below.

Nick Heyward “North of a Miracle”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#148 in the Series) is Nick Heyward, North of a Miracle.

Do you remember Nick Heyward? If you don’t remember his name, you may remember his band before he went out on his own. Does Haircut 100 sound familiar? They had a nice hit called Love Plus One in 1982.  North of a Miracle was released in 1983.

Numerous tracks gathered some nice airplay from this disc.  Whistle Down the Wind comes to mind first.  But we also heard Atlantic Monday, Blue Hat for a Blue Day, Club Boy at Sea and The Day it Rained Forever.

Some players that added to the sound here that you might now included Pino Palladino, Morris Pert and Steve Nieve.

North of a Miracle peaked at #178 on the Billboard Album Chart in 1984.

Whistle Down the Wind hit #20 on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart in 1983.

The album was produced by Geoff Emerick He was best known for being the long time engineer at Abbey Road Studio.

Here’s a studio version of Whistle Down the Wind and then a live Atlantic Monday.

Sex Pistols “Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#147 in the Series) is the Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.

This album was a huge deal when it came out in 1976. Punk Rock is Here. CBGBs!!! Malcolm McLaren!!! Johnny Rotten!! Sid Vicious!! ….and on and on and on.

What I remember about this album at the time was that I liked the songs.  I think many of them were pretty darn catchy and poppy myself, thank you.  Sure they were played with a much harder edge. But there was quite a bit of commercial pop in those tracks.  Don’t fool yourself.  For a movement that was so ‘anti-establishment’ there sure was a sound and a plan to sell records and make a pile of cash.

But that’s OK. I really liked a ton of songs on this record.

God Save the Queen, Anarchy in the UK, Pretty Vacant are all great tracks.

For those who don’t remember, the Sex Pistols were Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Sid Vicious, Glen Matlock and Paul Cook.

Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols reached #106 on the Billboard Album Charts.

It was produced by Chris Thomas and Bill Price

Here’s Pretty Vacant performed on Letterman’s Show in 1996! It’s followed by the original studio version of God Save the Queen.

Material Issue “International Pop Overthrow”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#146 in the Series) is Material Issue, International Pop Overthrow.

One of the finest rock and roll albums to come out of the Chicago area in 1990s, Material Issue, International Pop Overthrow.

Material Issue was a three piece power pop band that wasn’t around very long.  They did put out some wonderful music while they did.

They were led by Jim Ellison. He was Material Issue.  He wrote most of the songs, sang the songs, played guitar on the songs and found a record label to release the songs, etc.

When Jim Elison died in 1996 so did Material Issue.

Ted Asani and Mike Zelenko made up the rest of the trio.

International Pop Overthrow was released in 1991.  It contained three well known songs that were the highlights of their career.  They were, Diane, Renee Remains the Same and Valerie Loves Me.

The early to mid nineties was a hot time for Chicago bands.  Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill and Liz Phair led the way.

I’d rather listen to Material Issue myself.

Here’s the video for Valerie Loves Me followed by Diane performed live on the Dennis Miller Show. Last up is Renee Remains the Same

The Church “Starfish”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#145 in the Series) is The Church, Starfish.

The Church was/is an Australian band that, although still together and touring, had their most success in the late 80s, early 90s.

That success was surrounded by the wonderful album, Starfish.

When I was thinking one day if I should feature this album, my friend Terry Witmer mentioned ‘Sure, You never heard anything like that on the radio at that time.’

That made me think, yup.  Gotta do The Church.

Starfish was The Church’s fifth full album released. They had a bunch of EPs tossed in there as well.  It held their highest charting single Under the Milky Way.

When this was released in 1988, The Church consisted of Steve Kilbey, Marty Wilson-Piper, Peter Koppes and Richard Ploog.

Besides the aforementioned Under the Milky Way, other highlights included Reptile, Blood Money, North South East West and Destination.

One thing I didn’t realize until now was that Starfish was produced by Greg Ladanyi and Waddy Wachtel.   How did I miss?

Starfish peaked at #41 on the Billboard Top Album Chart.

Under the Milky Way peaked at #26 on the Billboard Singles Chart.

Be sure to check out some of the solo album Steve Kilbey and Wilson-Piper also recorded in this era.  I loved Earthed by Kilbey and Art Attack by Wilson-Piper.

Here’s a great unplugged version of Under the Milky Way.

The Notorious Cherry Bombs “The Notorious Cherry Bombs”

Today’s Cool Album of the day (#144 in the Series) is the self titled album by, The Notorious Cherry Bombs.

OK, who knows who these guys are?   I’ll explain.

Rodney Crowell was an original member of EmmyLou Harris’ Hot Band in the 70s.  Gaining notoriety there, he decided to act on a solo career and began forming his own band.  It wasn’t known at the time, but he put together of band of players that would become some of the most well known players (with in the industry, not really house hold names except for one) in country, country rock and even rock in roll.

Vince Gill was brought in play just about every string instrument. Mandolin, guitar, electric guitar, violin, banjo, dobro and on and on.

Hank DeVito would play on everyone’s record and write a ton of hits.

Richard Bennett would play guitar in Mark Kopfler’s band for years. He still does.

Emory Gordy, Jr. and Glen Hardin filled out the lineup.

After 30 years, Rodney decided to ‘Put The Band Back Together!’  This album was the result.

It had a  couple great rock and roll tracks included Let it Roll, Let it Ride and Sweet Little Lisa.

Sweet Little Lisa has been covered by everyone including Albert Lee and Dave Edmunds.

There are a few superb ballads such as Making Memories of Us and Heart of a Jealous Man.

One song however was the one that got the airplay.  How this wasn’t a HUGE country hit I’ll never know.  It’s called It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night that Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long.  What a track.  A must hear.  Last night I watching a Lewis Black stand up DVD and even he was talking about it!

The Notorious Cherry Bombs was released in 2004.

It reached #135 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts and #23 on the Country Album Charts.

Here’s Hard to Kiss the Lips followed by Dave Edmunds performing Sweet Little Lisa.

801 “Listen Now”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#143 in the Series) is 801, Listen Now

Some times you have to pull one out that I bet no one has listened to in years!  I’m guessing that’s true for 801.

When was the last time you pulled this one off the shelf?  There even a good chance that you never even heard of this one.

801 is a band put together by Phil Manzanera, Phil is best known as lead guitarist for one of my favorite bands, Roxy Music.

Roxy would take time off now and then and like most bands, many members would work on solo projects.  This was Phil’s

It took two years to record. He started in 1975 and finished in 1977. Oddly enough, while working on putting this together, 801 released a live album in 1976 called Listen Live.

Phil recruited a ton of great players for Listen Now.  When I put this together, I was shocked to see that one of my favorite vocalists Tim Finn!  Who knew!!

Here’s a list of some of the others. Brian Eno, Rhett Davies, Mel Collins, Simon Phillips, Eddie Rayner(!!!!), Eddie Jobson, Lol Crème and Kevin Godley.

The two songs that received the most airplay were the first two tracks on the disc.

Listen Now and Flight 19.

Todd Rundgen “The Hermit of Mink Hollow”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#142 in the Series) is Todd Rundgren, The Hermit of Mink Hollow.

I can’t believe it’s been 32 years since The Hermit of Mink Hollow was released.  But when you do the math 1978 …2010 yup, 32 years.

This was one of the very first album that I can remember that the artist played EVERY instrument.  The only one I can think of that might have been earlier was Jon Anderson, Olias of Sunhillow. That was 1976 but did have a very minimum of contributors. The Hermit of Mink Hollow was exclusively Todd.

It’s even harder to believe it’s been that long when you give it a listen. It easily passes the test of time.

Stand out tracks include the opener, All The Children Sing, Can We Still Be Friends, Hurting For You, Too Far Gone, You Cried Wolf and the great Onomatopoeia.

When I was looking for information on this album I found a great story.  This is from Wikipedia:

In The 30 Rock Episode The C Word, the character Frank says that this is his favorite Todd Rundgren album.  Show runner Liz Lemon tries to tell Frank that someone’s insulted her with a word that ‘rhymes with your favorite Todd Rundgren album” expecting him to name Runt. Frank responds: “It rhymes with The Hermit of Mink Hollow?

You have to love when Todd gets a reference on network television.

Hermit of Mink Hollow peaked at # 36 on the Billboard Album Charts.

Can We Still Be Friends peaked at #29 on the Pop Singles Charts.

There is great website called Live From Daryl’s House.  It features the great Daryl Hall and various guests. Todd was a guest about a year ago.  Here’s a video of a great version of Can We Still Be Friends with the two Philly boys, Todd, Daryl and the late, T-Bone Wolk. Following that is a rare video of All The Children sing.

Rush “2112”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#141 in the Series) is Rush, 2112.

Every once in a while you have to just go with a good old fashioned rock and roll album.

Rush 2112 fills the bill.

I really liked Rush back in this era.  I was a Fly By Night fan, A Caress of Steel fan and then a 2112 fan.  The follow up live release All the Worlds a Stage is a fantastic live album that captured that era perfectly.  It was a real treat seeing Rush back in 2000 seat venues during that time.  Shortly after that, I was done with Rush.  I haven’t seen them nor considered buying anything since about 1980.  Don’t tell me about Moving Pictures.

Once again, we have an entry that one song is one full side. I never realized how many of those albums I had until we started doing this.

The title cut, 2112 is all of side one.  It is broken into seven segments

  • I: Overture

  • II: The Temples of Syrinx

  • III: Discovery

  • IV: Presentation

  • V: Oracle: The Dream

  • VI: Soliloquy

  • VII:: Grand Finally

Side two contains one of Rush’s best songs, Something for Nothing.

2112 was produced by the band, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart along with Terry Brown. Terry Brown also produced such acts such as Max Webster, Klaatu and Voivod.

2112, released in 1976 and reached #61 on the Billboard Charts.