Friday, May 20, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 226 - The Replacements - Don't Tell a Soul

By: March

Album – Don't Tell A Soul
Artist – The Replacements
Key Players - Chris Mars – drums and percussion. Tommy Stinson – bass. Slim Dunlap – guitar. Paul Westerberg – guitar, vocals.
Produced By – Matt Wallace and The Replacements

Release Date - February 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - There is a new documentary out about the band, which has gotten me to think about them a little more. When you come upon a Replacements fan you will realize it right away. I am a casual fan of theirs, growing to appreciate over time.

Overview - Formed in 1979 the Minneapolis, Minnesota based band "The Replacements" may never have experienced significant commercial success they'd go on to influence 100's of bands. Known for their drunk and erratic live shows the foursome blended punk rock with a hint of hardcore punk that would grow with the band to a more mature sound. After some line up changes and a more focused on being less "punky" they were met with mixed reactions. New fans took note, but old fans were not thrilled with this change. After releasing seven studio albums the band called it quits in 1991 after a 4th of July concert in Chicago. They have left an unrivaled legacy.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The album begins with 'Talent Show”. Acoustic guitars and percussion instruments lay the foundation. Westerberg begins the vocals and after a full verse the band comes in. The guitars and drums are still kept in check, not fully taking over. There are hints of backing vocals and harmonies which are nice. The guitars a bit more big and in your face as “Back to Back” begins. The riffs are short and the vocals come in and Mars works the track up. Dunlap and Westerberg dual on guitars some and the song falls in to a 4/4 rock tune. Dunlap has a decent guitar solo at the right time and the band is quick to rejoin the overall feel, but he does get a second solo in the later part of the track, and then it fades out. “We'll Inherit The Earth” has a different intro with Stinson working the bass up before the guitar rings out and the vocals start. There are acoustic guitars once more and the band up to this point wastes little time getting to the vocals. After a few lines Mars hits down and the band takes off. They have a full and clean sound, with no one member really out shining the other. The band has a good moment of “clicking” as Mars, Stinson and Dunlap all swell at once, a real powerful moment. Mars clicks off “Achin to Be” and there is twang to the guitars. Sounds a little countryish actually. The acoustic guitars ring and Stinson has a nice tight bass line and the tambourine shakes and slide guitars are a nice touch. Westerberg has a nice pain to his voice that adds to the mood. “They're Blind” starts off very mellow. Again acoustic guitars are the norm and Mars keeps the drum in a “lounge” feel. Stinson sounds great on the bass giving great fills at the right time, but the focus leans on the acoustic guitars and Westerbergs hushed and laid back delivery. As pretty as it sounds this is the older and wiser Replacements and it is easy to see how fans from the early years were left scratching their heads. We get back to the rowdy rock feel as “Anywhere's Better than Here” opens. There is a yell and the band all comes in. The tempo is up and there is purpose with instruments. The band is in and out in less than three minutes and Mars must have been angry with his drums as they got a beating on this track. The band likes the slow fade ups as well and “Asking Me Lies” follows suit. What then comes out is a bubbly pop song??! Mars and Stinson play off one another and the guitars have real bright punchy sound to them. Westerberg doesn't push himself vocally so there is little strain and the bring tempo of the song is, dare I say, fun. If you were only a casual observer of the band you'd know “I'll Be You”. If found its way on to modern rock and college radio rotation. The guitars are punchy but it the bass of Stinson that will grab you. Chugging across the bottom of the track Westerberg has some nice call and response sing along moments in the chorus. This is “alternative rock” at its finest. The shortest track on the album “I Won't” is a rock-a-billy foot stomper. Stinson starts with the bass and a harmonica joins in. The vocals are gruff and impassioned, adding to the urgency. The track is a real barn burner. Keyboards are the lead off instrument on “Rock N' Roll Ghost”. A lone acoustic guitar joins in and the vocals are again hushed. The album concludes with “Darlin' One” a big, full sounding track from the start. The backing vocals add a great deal to the tune as the big guitar solo comes and is complimented by the strumming acoustic. Mars doesn't over do it on the drums, but they are big, stadium rock like sounding. The band are all credited with writing this song and they all took part for sure in performing. A solid album closer.

Where are they Know? Tommy Stinson went on to form "Bash & Pop" after the demise of the Mats. He'd play guitar and sing on that project. He would then pick the bass back up and form "Perfect". In 1998 he joined "Guns and Roses" as their bassist. He has worked with Soul Asylum and his own solo material. Chris Mars went on to join the band "Golden Smog" but his true passion is with painting. Slim Dunlap has released two solo records since the bands demise. Paul Westerberg continues to write and perform as a solo artist. He released a record in 2009

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I saw the Replacements one time. June 21, 1991 opening for Elvis Costello at Great Woods. I had heard about the band a lot and they were touring for this very record. I recall them being very tight, fast and loud. They took an audience request for the song “Satellite” which I've never been able to find. Is that even the right name?

Paul Westerberg site
A great Paul fan blog is here.
The "Unofficial" Replacements database here.
You can check out Chris Mars' artwork here.

I'll Be You Official Video

Long audience shot with a few tunes including "Asking Me Lies" from this record.

Achin' To Be (embedding was not allowed)

You can buy the cd here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FDF Volume 3 Issue 225: The Call - Reconciled

By: March

Album - Reconciled
Artist – The Call
Key Players - Scott Musick - drums,vocals. Tom Ferrier - guitars, vocals. Jim Goodwin - keyboards, vocals. Michael Been – bass, lead vocals
Produced By – Michael Been and the Call

Release Date - 1986

What caused me to blow off the dust? - A college friend of my wife actually posted something about them on facebook a few weeks ago and it got me to thinking. Sometimes I need inspiration! Thanks Dr.PGW for the reminder.

Overview - This was the fourth full length album from Santa Cruz California based band "The Call". The band had been labeless for about 2 years before being picked up by Elektra Records. The band would find success in the college radio circuit and release a few more records. They'd never have a big chart topping hit but they'd make news when then Presidential hopeful Al Gore used the song "Let the Day Begin" in 2000.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
The album opens strong with shimmering guitar on "Everywhere I Go" and a quick back beat put down by Musick. The bass chugs along and the vocals come in. Been has a very powerful voice, which grabs the listener right away. As the chorus approaches Peter Gabriel and Jim Kerr from Simple Minds lend their support. They are not pushed any higher than the band so it is largely un noticed. Ferrier is very much at home with the jangle on his guitar and gets a quick solo with Goodwin filling the sound with keyboard fills. The vocals come back but it is just Been and the drum beat as the urgency builds to another run at the chorus. Been chugs a short for bass notes and “I Still Believe (Great Design)" begins. This song was also on the soundtrack for "The Lost Boys". The band all slowly comes in and it is a strong/tense build up. When Been starts to sing he is clear and punchy at the same time. The band is slowly building and Musick is careful to not burst out until needed and when you think it would be him it is actually Goodwin who takes off on a keyboard run. The overall vibe of the track is dark, but the tempo and mood hit you in the right spot. This was one of the two bigger songs from the record and it is easy to tell why. Been sets it up for what is to come with the powerful voice. There is a bit more of an 80's tech/keyboard feel at the start of “Blood Red (America)”. Been still leads the charge, but at first it feels a little out of place. The band is experimenting and Musicks drums seem electronic as well. Robbie Robertson from "The Band" guest on “The Morning”. We start off once more with keyboards and the guitar. Musick lays down the beat and Been begins to sing. The band sings a verse but doesn't go right to a chorus instead there is an interlude and they do a second verse. Ferrier is doing short fills while Goodwin also gets the track to gain momentum. As the chorus is sung Been seems to really push his emotion. He has a particular sound. Robertson takes off on his solo, it is not too long and he seems to really blend well with the band. They come back around an then wrap up. The track “Oklahoma” is counted off an the band sounds more in a "rock mode". Musick keeps the drum beat tight with Ferrier and Goodwin complimenting the bass from Beem. Even with three other members on backing vocals there seems to only be one with Been on this track. I could be wrong, but the harmonies are real tight and Been, once more, is really the focus point. “With or Without Reason” starts off rather dark but after a few short lines from Been the band takes off. Again, a little campy in the keyboard department but they were using the tools of the time. Jim Kerr is back on backing vocals in “Sanctuary”. Musick taps across the hi-hat with Ferrier and Goodwin adding on in parts. Kerr is a lot more pronounced on this track. Ferrier has a short solo after the first verse that doesn't distract. Kerr repeats his role a few times, but does not do much outside his one or two repeated words. “Tore the Old Place Down” is a little more down tempo for the band. Goodwin is the focus point early but Been has a nice bass fill that Music and Ferrier respond to well. Been seems less rushed vocally on the track. The album wraps up with “Even Now”. Goodwin runs down the keyboard and the bass of Been is up in the mix. Ferrier seems comfortable with his role on the guitar allowing for Goodwin to come back around. Ferrier has one of his longer guitar solos on this track, but it is still not over the top. The band rejoins and the track heads for home.

Where are they now? - The band broke up in 2000. Micheal Been died on August 19,2010 while on the road with his son's band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Micheal had been the bands sound engineer. From what else I can find, and as always PLEASE comment if you have more info. Musick gives private lessons and plays out from time to time. Ferrier shares the name with a British race car driver so I didn't find much. Goodwin has worke with soundtracks and advertising jingles. He is also involved with the web site eggchair music, a site consumers can utilize to find music for projects.

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

FDF Overall Take - The album has not aged the best, but you need to remember the time. They are a talented bunch of guys for sure and Been might be one of the most under rated vocalists ever. Just a booming voice. They have a best of collection and casual fans should start there. Chances are if you went to college in the late 80's you already know and like "The Call"

Official Page
myspace as well as Facebook

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The album is out of print but not too hard to find. You can start here.

Video for Everywhere I Go
Live version of the same song from 1986. See the power "live"
Audio Version only of I Still Believe

Friday, May 06, 2011

FDF Volume 3: Issue 224 - Deep Purple - Made in Japan

By: March

Album – Made in Japan
Artist – Deep Purple
Key Players – Richie Blackmore – lead guitar, Ian Paice – drums and percussion, Roger Glover - bass, Ian Gillan – vocals, harmonica, percussion, Jon Lord – organ, keyboards and electric piano
Produced By – Deep Purple

Release Date – April 1973

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Just in the mood for some real heavy 70's rock. This scratched that itch until I was bleeding.

Overview – Originally a double live album from UK heavy metal, progressive rock band Deep Purple recorded on their first tour of Japan in 1972. The album was recorded over three nights and various locations. The band, who were not fans of live albums, agreed to record it (for $3,000) and only planned to release it in Japan. Upon completion the bands label in the US (Warner Brothers) initially passed on it, then released it, where it went platinum (1 million sold) in less than a month.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The first two tracks were recorded in Osaka on August 16th. A slow drone and then Lord rolling up the keyboards as it sounds like the band takes the stage. Paice works the fans in to a frenzy and “Highway Star” begins. For a live album it is mixed very well. You hear the thump of the bass drum. Glover has a strong bass line that is high in the mix and Gillan is in fine form. Lord and Blackmore are not to be outdone and the two share a sequence together after the first verse with the band coming in around them. This my friends is metal. It is that simple. Heavy, clean, tight...just some booming stuff. “Child in Time” starts off quiet with Lord and Paice playing off one another with Glover putting in a few bass lines here and there. Gillan is laid back for a bit, but don't let that fool you. As soon as you think it will be a quiet song he howls over the top in loud and long operatic like screams. The band grows around him and it changes to a marching band tempo with Lord leading the charge with a great organ solo. Blackmore then gets to show off his chops on a great blues influenced solo. Glover and Paice really keep this together though. The rumble of Paice on the drums will have you turning up the volume, and taping your feet all the harder. Lord tosses in some quick bursts on keyboards as Blackmore continues to solo. The band returns to vocals and Gillan does another operatic run before the band swallows him up once more. It ends just as chaotic as you'd expect. Arguably the bands most well known song “Smoke on the Water” follows. This version was taken from August 15th (still in Osaka). Gillan introduces the song and then Blackmore teases that famous guitar intro. The audience claps along and by the time Paice does the hi-hat beat the audience is eating it up. Each member slowly joins and Gillan takes off. Upon this listen I really noticed how much Lord works out on the organ. Sure the guitar is well known, but if you really listen to what else is going on, it is really far more than you ever may have realized. It is more pronounced as the song goes on, but at the start it stands out. As big as that riff is, the band is in top form on this track. The next track is “The Mule”. This was taken from the Tokyo show on August 17th. The best line is uttered right at the start “Everything louder than everything else”. The band starts out with a tight jam before the vocals come in. The vocals are short and the bulk of this track (6+minutes) is a Paice drum solo. This is/was a big thing for 70's metal bands so we have to remember the time. Not a slag to his playing but it is a drum solo, and those have never translated well on a live record for me personally. Again, not that it is not good, but the band was true to keeping the track available “as is” so I applaud them for that. We jump back to Osaka on the 16th for “Strange Kind of Woman”. Lord once more has a heavy hand on the keyboards and the drone of the organ shakes your bones. Blackmore has a short solo but this is really a full band effort. No one player is the go to guy so its a great track for that. Glover and Blackmore play off one another for the first time it seems though. Glover does some swirling bass parts and the band breaks it down for an audience clap along. After a jam Gillan holds an operatic note for what feels like minutes. He then signals it to end and the bands wraps it up. We had back to Tokyo on the 17th for “Lazy”. The band starts a slow jam at the start and teases “Louie Louie” it feels like the band is trying to find the right step off point. They goof around with some organ and drum tandems. Once it gets rolling it is a heavy jam. If you put this on at a cookout heads would turn around and start to bob. It hits a deep and heavy groove. Clocking in over 10 minutes it is vocal free for the first 5 minutes. When Gillan comes in he is quick and focused with the band locked in. He plays the harmonica on this track and we fall back to a 12 bar blues jam. They tease this over and over and still keep a Deep Purple feel to it. The original album wrapped up with the 19:41 “Space Truckin”. This was taken from Osaka on the 16th. The audience claps along as Lord drops these HUGE deep organ tones. Paice hammers out the 4/4 time and the band all comes in. After the usual verse the band does “space” out some. Longer drum portions, with hushed bass guitar then organ fills. We make our way around the stage it seems with each player getting some time. Part of it is wanky, but at the same time you marvel at the engineering that was done. Every instrument can be heard. From the maraca shake to the floor tom and over to the guitar. When it happened I am sure it was something to witness. The final three tracks are called “encores”. “Black Night” was taken from the 17th in Tokyo and appears in full form, vs the edited version that had appeared on a b-side. Lord is the one that sets the tone and then Paice gets it really rolling as Blackmore feeds off his intro. Gillan asks if the audience is ready and they hammer down. “Speed King” is also from the same evening and Gillan says it is a song “designed to raise a little of perspiration”. The audience is wild with the announcement and the Paice drums are just thunderous. Gillan soars over the music but Blackmore, Glover and Lord are locked in and the song is just one sonic avalanche. This is some heavy stuff kids. The encore section wraps up with a cover of “Lucille”. This was from Osaka on the 16th. The band swaps some instruments around and gets ready to get rolling. After about 3 minutes they get underway and Lord rumbles the organ with Paice hammering the floor toms and bass drum. Little Richard would approve...he'd just have to because even if he yelled at them to stop, they'd never hear him.

Where are they now? - The band is still active today. Their last studio album was in 2005. Lord and Blackmore have left the band. In 2002 Lord left the band to concentrate on other music. In 2008 he released a classical album. Blackmore was a member of the band “Rainbow” for many years and since 1999 he has worked with his wife on various projects, one being “Blackmore's Night”.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have not seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take – Lets get this out of the way...they are not just a band that gave us “Smoke On the Water”. As a band with 18 studio albums there are a lot of gems for a new fan to track down. This album was really an introduction to the band for me personally. The sound on this record is just mammoth. I mean HUGE. The band is made up of very talented guys. Put “Smoke” on the side for a bit and open your mind. You'll probably really dig em.


Official Band page here.
myspace page
One of the better fan sites here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

This is an audio only You Tube for Highway Star

Also, check out Strange Kind of Woman.

A great You Tube Doc that sings the praise of the record here
As well as part 2 here.