Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year..

Thanks for a pretty darn good year. Look for a new post next week!

Friday, December 17, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 211: REPOST!! - A Classic Cartoon Christmas

Due to time and all that here is re post of the 97th FDF I wrote back in 2007??!! It was one of the more popular ones actually.

By: March

Album - A Classic Cartoon Christmas
Artist - Various
Key Players - Various
Produced By - Rich Cronin, Lee Dannay, Juli Davidson and Ted Green. Complication producer - Ed Mitchell

Release Date - August 13, 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Its the holiday season.

Overview - Growing up for many of us we were relegated to perhaps a black and white tv, rabbit ears and three or four channels. Kids these days have no idea that if you missed any one of these holiday specials you were out of luck. When VCRs became the norm you could get your fill at any time. The stand out moments from these honestly pretty horrible specials was the music. Nick at Night records has released 2 volumes of music culled from these various specials. The sad part is that Vol 1 (showcased here) and Vol 2 are now out of print.

FDF Comments (aka the songs). Here is a track listing. The Holiday Special it comes from listed first, the the song, then the artists that performed them.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas: "Welcome Christmas" (no artist listed) - Sort of a dud to open up a compilation, considering "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" comes up later. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" - Burl Ives - More than once you hear me say, the version all others are judged by. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: "We're A Couple Of Misfits" - Billie Richards And Paul Soles - Hebie wants to be a dentist.....Frosty The Snowman: "Frosty The Snowman" - Jimmy Durante - the classic "skat" version.. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town: "Put One Foot In Front Of The Other" - Mickey Rooney/Keenan Wynn - one of the best holiday songs. A Charlie Brown Christmas: "Christmas Time Is Here" - The Vince Guaraldi Trio and A Charlie Brown Christmas: "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing" - The Vince Guaraldi Trio - The label has sort of cashed in on this release the last few years, re-releasing expanded versions as well as remastered editions, two of the real stand outs are here. A Muppet Family Christmas: Medley: "Jingle Bells/Jingle Bell Rock" - The Muppets - The Muppets have their place, but much like the Chipmunks hearing this maybe once a year is all anyone needs.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas: "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" Santa Claus Is Coming To Town: "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" - Fred Astaire. Really the version all others are compared to. A Charlie Brown Christmas: "O Tannenbaum" - The Vince Guaraldi Trio. They spaced it out a little on the cd, but see past comments. The Little Drummer Boy: "The Little Drummer Boy" - The Vienna Boys Choir. Does anything really need to be said? Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: "A Holly Jolly Christmas"- Burl Ives And Chorus- once again, the version all others are compared to. A Muppet Family Christmas: "We Need A Little Christmas" - The Muppets - a fair enough closer for the compilation, but I ask, why doesn't Emmet Otters Jug Bad Christmas get ANY love.

FDF Overall Take - Like many, I feel Christmas music is hit and miss. The good stuff is good, the bad stuff (Paul McCartneys Wonderful Christmas Time) is downright horrible. Thank goodness we only get inundated from a few days before Thanksgiving (late November in the US) to about noon time Christmas day.

Links -
As noted this CD and Vol 2 are out of print. If you so desire and got 20+ bucks for the first volume laying around hit up here

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been removed.

We're a Couple of Misfits (Preformed by Billie Richards and Paul Soles and taken from Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer)
Put One Foot In Front of the Other (Preformed by Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn taken from Santa Claus is Coming to Town)
Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (Preformed by Fred Astaire and taken from Santa Claus is Comin' to Town)

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, December 10, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 210: The Jackson 5 - Ultimate Christmas Collection

By: March

Album - Ultimate Christmas Collection
Artist - Jackson 5
Key Players - Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson

Produced By - Various (Hal Davis, Mel Larson, Jerry Marcellino)

Release Date - October 13, 2009

What caused me to blow off the dust? - It is Christmas...yeah didn't come out until after Thanksgiving at least.

Overview - This is a collection made up of the original Jackson 5 Christmas Album that was released in 1970. and a second single that came from the Motown Christmas album that was released in 1973. The original was the third album the group released in 1970 and after that, they'd settle down some on recording and touring. The final few tracks are spoken holiday greetings and remixes of some of the other tracks.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - I will pass over the greetings and re-mixes and stick with the songs.

-"Have yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - A standard laid back cover of the tune. Full of lush strings and cool harmonies. Jermaine has the lead vocal duties on this track and does a fine job. It keeps its somber pace and the rest of the group does some nice harmonies. It doesn't really break the mold of any version you may have heard in the past.

- "Santa Claus is Comin' To Town" - Still a staple to todays holiday play lists. Right from the start it is a very up tempo and Motown infused version. Michael has the lead on this and his very high vocal range balances strong with his older brothers. Jermaine has a nice bass line that is up in the mix and the band once more offers great harmonies.

- "The Christmas Song" - All the members sing at the start before. The version once more is a cut and dry version, not nearly as spirited as "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" but once more the bands vocals are the keys with the harmonies and orchestrated backing track.

-"Up on the House Top" - The hidden gem of a jam Christmas tune. Its funky with the horns and ride cymbal before the band comes in. Michael has the lead vocals and he sings with his brothers doing some strong backing vocals. Michael sings about each of the guys "wish list" items. It is a terrific, and different holiday song that should get tossed on the stale play lists. The band has a nice break down with some spoken sections before the band comes right back in. A rear jam..I can't say it enough.

- "Frosty the Snowman" - Michael has the lead vocals on the first portion, but the full band sings the bulk of the verses. A pretty standard/cut and dry version of the track. The band works deep baritone vocals to some nice higher harmonies. The band makes it their own a little later in the track which is a nice touch.

- "The Little Drummer Boy" - A pretty true to form version of the song, but it is sped up some. There seems to be more orchestral fills with hints of oboe thrown in for example. Michael is once again the lead vocalist and his brothers offer some strong backing support as normal.

- "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" - Of course it has the standard feel but the band once again makes it more their own. The full band sings the verses and Jermaine has some strong bass work the rest of the band follows suit. A pretty basic, yet still their own take on the holiday classic.

- "Christmas Won't Be the Same This Year" - The track starts off with the band members all talking about "girl trouble". Once the song starts it takes a funky bounce and is not a holiday song you've experienced. By the verse it slows down in tempo, but then quickly hits back. It has a fun vibe with its slap drums and wah wah guitar effects. It is also a very short track, over before you realize it.

-"Give Love On Christmas Day" - Another more mellow track. Michael and his brothers are hushed following a laid back drum back beat. I personally am not overly familiar with any other version of this song. Perhaps that is the reason I neither love nor dislike the track.

"Someday at Christmas" - The track teases "White Christmas" at the start before it begins. The Motown feel is once again very strong on this and again the Michael lead track is one of the strong tracks on the collection. Offering that feel and sound you'd want from a Jackson 5 collection.

- "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - One of the most beloved holiday "novelty" songs gets the Jackson 5 treatment. The brothers join Michael in their "shock" of seeing what was cooking with Mom and Santa. Michael hits notes we haven't heard up to this point and the band breaks it down later in the track with some percussive section that sounds a little on the Latin side before going back to the tune.

-"Little Christmas Tree" - This track was taken from a later collection of holiday songs. You can hear an older, perhaps a little more weary band. Still the song has the Jackson 5 sound and feel, but some of the real magic is gone with the guys grown up.

FDF Overall Take - For a collection it is pretty strong. Filled with 8-10 second holiday greetings from each member is a little silly and the re-mixes are just "okay" but the first part of the record is strong enough to warrant your "holiday dollars" and why Christmas radio stations don't look at some other tunes is beyond me.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been removed...gotta act fast round these parts!

Someday At Christmas
Up On the House Top

Tracks taken from the "Ultimate Christmas Collection" that you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.

Friday, December 03, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 209: Seaweed - Spanaway

By: March

Album - Spanaway
Artist - Seaweed
Key Players - Clint Werner - guitar. Aaron Stauffer - vocals. Bob Bulgrien - drums. Wade Neal - guitars and vocals. John Atkins - bass
Produced By - Adam Kasper and Seaweed

Release Date - August 22, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This was a band that I was made aware of via a CMJ New Music sampler. Over the last few years I've been slowly tracking down the full lengths from bands on those cds that struck a chord with me. I actually have 2 copies of this for some reason...both have a price sticker of 1.99 on them. Musta been a heck of a deal!

Overview - This is the fourth studio album and first on a major label for Tacoma Washington band Seaweed. The band had released independent records prior to this, including one on the seminal "Sub Pop" label before going to the majors. Signed towards the tail end of the grunge movement the band was put in a rough place, selling a style that was starting to fade from the public conscious. They'd disband, but reform a few years later.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album kicks off with a bang on "Free Drug Zone". Everyone is playing, there is no intro it just opens up. The vocals are raspy to fit with the music. Stauffer and Neal work in tandem on the verses and leading to the chorus. Bulgrien keeps the tempo in check, with a hard hitting, but simple back beat. The guitars are big, full of heavy chords that done over power the rest of the music. The bass could be up in the mix some, but when you are dealing with two guitars and drums it can fall by the way side. As we mention that everyone settles some and Atkins gets to run the bass down towards the guitar solo and final run at the chorus. A single guitar comes in with drums at the start of "Crush Us All". Bulgrien keeps a marching tempo before the full band hammers down. We hit full rock mode and the band takes off. Stauffer doesn't have this fancy voice but it fits the style of the music for sure. The guitars are cutting with the drums at times and we get some big cymbal crashes to put the accent on the tune. This is a pretty straight up rocker of a song. The single from the record comes in "Start With". This is one of those "pay off" songs. The guitars bass and drums at the intro are a little slow and sort of plodding. Then a single guitar goes with the same series of notes before the vocals start. The bass does a few notes here and there as the guitars begin to swell. The payoff? The chorus! When they shout "Start With!" the band fully comes in. You hear the punk/grunge sound the band was known for. The chorus is infectious, you'll sing until you are hoarse. The song has a good tempo change, reverting back to the feel of the intro before it swirls back around for another, sung at torrid pace, verse. It keeps the same formula, but it works. Great tune. "Common Mistake" keeps with the pop/punk sound. Atkins bass gets more a push on this track. The guitar line chugs along but the bass pushes the track. Easily the "fastest" song on the record up to this point. The guitar/bass and drums are working as one, a strong push on this track. The big guitars return, or continue on "Magic Mountainman". The guitars work in unison before Bulgrien hits down and Stauffer comes in. There is still a big sound, but its a little more laid back. There are really no flashy guitar solos, instead the band continues to work on an overall "big" sounds which is nice. Atkins works some bass harmonics on "Saturday Nitrous" as Stauffer jumps in. The song is a little slower at first, before it opens up. Werner strikes his guitar with a vengeance whole Neal and Bulgrien continue to be a tour de force, keeping a heavy and torrid pace. The band has a big, loud and chaotic run to close out the song. The bass and drums chug again at the start of "Undeniable Hate". The second guitar buzzes over, but the bass, guitar and drums from the first part hold things down. The band in in full rock mode per the norm. Again, steering clear of any flashy solos, the band just hammers as a collective unit. "Defender" begins with solo drum work and the bass comes up for a moment before the vocals kick off. Many of the songs really do feel and sound the same as the record passes. It is not a bad thing mind you, but there are moments when you will long for something a little unexpected. "Assistant (to the manager)" and " Punchy (the clown)" continue the same rock style. Punchy has more distorted vocals and seems less focused than Assistant resorting to heavy effects on the vocals, its also done in about a minute. The punk style guitar comes up strong again on "Not Saying Anything". You get to hear the good tandem of bass and guitar, with the bass having a good punch to it. Even though vocals have been in tandem for much of the record, it stands out on this track. The two gruff styles blend for a strong push and the track seems to gel based off the vocal delivery. The pace of "Last Humans" is right up there with the fastest on the records. The guitars are strong and once more the bass gets that cool punchy, yet "ring" to it. This is really the final song as "Peppy's Bingo" is a sort of an instrumental, guitar tone 50 second track that just winds you down.

Where are they now? - After two major label albums the band called it quits in 2000 to only reform in 2007. Not a lot has happened but on 2011 the band is slated to release a new record "Small Engine Repair". From what I have been able to find Bulgrien has left the band.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take - If you are looking for some great straight up rocking pop/punk with grunge tossed in there this is a band for you. The track "Start With" sets the tone. If you like that, you'll like the sound of the band. If not, well I missed out with you on this one.

The band on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been removed.

Magic Mountainman
Not Saying Anything
Start With

The album is out of print, but it is not too hard to find used. You can try here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.