Category Archives: Album of the Day

Album of the Day: Reverend Horton Heat – Smoke ‘Em If You’ve Got ‘Em (1990, Sub Pop)


ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FREAKS ALBUM OF THE DAY FOR MAY 30, 2017: Reverend Horton Heat – Some ‘Em If You’ve Got ‘Em (1990, Sub Pop)

“Bullet” – 3:06
“I’m Mad” – 3:16
“Bad Reputation” – 2:25
“It’s a Dark Day” – 5:04
“Big Dwarf Rodeo” – 3:02
“Psychobilly Freakout” – 2:39
“Put It to Me Straight” – 2:34
“Marijuana” – 4:49
“Baby, You Know Who” – 2:39
“Eat Steak” – 2:33
“‘D’ for Dangerous” – 4:05
“Love Whip” – 3:43

Jim “Reverend Horton” Heath – vocals, guitar
Jimbo Wallace – upright bass
Patrick “Taz” Bentley – drums
Tim Alexander (of Asleep at the Wheel) – piano (on “Love Whip”)
Hook Herrerra (Hook and the Hitch-Hikers) – harmonica (on “Love Whip”)
The Psychic Plowboy Horn Section (a.k.a., The Hooterville Horns) – horns (on “Love Whip”)

Album of the Day: Turban Renewal – A Tribute to Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs (1994, Norton Records)




Track Listing:

1 –Hasil Adkins Wooly Bully
2 –The Lyres* Ring Dang Doo
3 –The Untamed Youth* Monkey See Monkey Do
4 –The Brood (3) Love Me Like Before
5 –Homer Henderson I Wish It Were Me
6 –The Devil Dogs Don’t Try It
7 –John Felice Lil’ Riding Hood
8 –Jackie And The Cedrics* Pharaoh A Go Go
9 –The Fleshtones Medicine Man
10 –Original Ben Vaughn Combo, The* Grasshopper
11 –The Ranch Hounds* Green’ich Grendel
12 –The Naughty Ones Sweet Talk
13 –Handsome Dick Manitoba Ju Ju Hand
14 –Nine Pound Hammer Oh That’s Good, No That’s Bad
15 –Little Richard Elizondo Combo Juimonos (Let’s Went)
16 –The Hentchmen Like You Used To
17 –The Senders Let’s Talk It Over
18 –The A-Bones (I’m In With) The Out Crowd
19 –Great Gaylord* And The Friggs Deputy Dog
20 –The Swingin’ Neckbreakers Struttin’
21 –Roy Loney And The Young Fresh Fellows* I Couldn’t Spell !!*@!
22 –Teengenerate Sorry ‘Bout That
23 –Los Chiflados Del Ritmo The Hair On My Chinny Chin Chin
24 –Flat Duo Jets The Phantom
25 –The Vacant Lot How Do You Catch A Girl
26 –Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell Y Los A-Bones* Wooly Bully Espanol

AllMusic Review by Don Snowden [3/5]

The flood of artist tribute albums is pretty loathsome — too much piggybacking on someone else’s creative coattails just to get heard — but Turban Renewal shapes us more like it, from the name to a dedication to Mattie and Hattie. Take one obscure but deserving artist, assemble the right bunch of in-with-the-out-crowd suspects cum fans, and let ‘em loose on the songbook. It may have prompted Rhino to get its Pharaohization best-of compilation out on CD a couple of years later — but Turban Renewal shows even more clearly how distinctive Sam the Sham himself really is.

See, he may be eternally linked with ’60s garage punk now, but Sam came out of the rhythm & blues, and even those monolithic riff tunes had a lightness and swing to the rhythm, because the players were coming up with black music (and Tex-Mex R&B, in Sam’s case) as a big part of their listening diet. That light feel is missing in action here — it’s almost all rock thud, bash and crash down below in the rhythm section — and nobody comes close to matching Sam’s vocal charisma or charm, either.

There are plenty of worthy performances here — it’s just that the tracks mostly capture one element of Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs’ essence, and the rest escape them. There are solid efforts in the faithful vein (Homer Henderson, Handsome Dick Manitoba, Untamed Youth, and the ever-reliable Fleshtones, although their take on “Medicine Man” captures the exuberance with more of a ? and the Mysterians feel). Others plug into R&B from a guitar-heavy, neo-New York Dolls angle with varying degrees of success: the Devil Dogs, John Felice, Swingin’ Neckbreakers; Ranch Hounds, with their storming take on “Greenwich Grendel,” and the Naughty Ones’ solid R&B groove with harmonica and sax.

Ben Vaughn’s accordion-driven “Grasshopper” gets the charm, Ray Loney’s “I Couldn’t Spell !!*@!” catches the slyness, and the two power pop outings are surprisingly good (The Brood and the Vacant Lot’s backing harmonies and drum drive on “How Do You Catch a Girl”). Plenty of crash and burns, too, from the merely unmemorable — Chiflados del Ritmo, Flat Duo Jets — to badly misconceived — Great Gaylord’s unfunny “Deputy Dog,” Nine Pound Hammer’s totally wrong Ramones-blast through “Oh, That’s Good,” or Hasil Adkins doing a one-rockabilly-wildman-band thrash on “Wooly Bully”.

Can’t say anything on Turban Renewal really cuts the originals, but it’s stronger overall than it sounds at first listen, and probably gave a lot of these bands a cool cover version for their live sets. Tell you the best thing about it, though — it’ll send you scurrying off to track down that Rhino Sam the Sham compilation. And, damn, that sucker will sure sound good.

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Album of the Day: John Mayall with Eric Clapton, Blues Breakers (1966, Decca)




Track Listing:

All Your Love 3:38
Hideaway 3:17
Little Girl 2:36
Another Man 1:47
Double Crossing Time 3:04
What’d I Say 4:28
Key To Love 2:08
Parchman Farm 2:22
Have You Heard 5:56
Ramblin’ On My Mind 3:08
Steppin’ Out 2:30
It Ain’t Right 2:45

AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder [5/5]

Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton was Eric Clapton’s first fully realized album as a blues guitarist — more than that, it was a seminal blues album of the 1960s, perhaps the best British blues album ever cut, and the best LP ever recorded by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Standing midway between Clapton’s stint with the Yardbirds and the formation of Cream, this album featured the new guitar hero on a series of stripped-down blues standards, Mayall pieces, and one Mayall/Clapton composition, all of which had him stretching out in the idiom for the first time in the studio. This album was the culmination of a very successful year of playing with John Mayall, a fully realized blues creation, featuring sounds very close to the group’s stage performances, and with no compromises. Credit has to go to producer Mike Vernon for the purity and simplicity of the record; most British producers of that era wouldn’t have been able to get it recorded this way, much less released. One can hear the very direct influence of Buddy Guy and a handful of other American bluesmen in the playing. And lest anyone forget the rest of the quartet: future pop/rock superstar John McVie and drummer Hughie Flint provide a rock-hard rhythm section, and Mayall’s organ playing, vocalizing, and second guitar are all of a piece with Clapton’s work. His guitar naturally dominates most of this record, and he can also be heard taking his first lead vocal, but McVie and Flint are just as intense and give the tracks an extra level of steel-strung tension and power, none of which have diminished across several decades.

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Album of the Day: Johnny “Guitar” Watson, The Best of the Modern Years (2005, Metro Blue)




Track Listing:

1 Hot Little Mama
2 I Love To Love You
3 Don’t Touch Me
4 Too Tired Johnny
5 Those Lonely, Lonely Nights
6 Someone Cares For Me
7 Oh Baby
8 Give A Little
9 Three Hours Past Midnight
10 Ruben
11 Love Me, Baby
12 She Moves Me
13 Love Bandit (aka Gangster of Love)
14 Lonely Girl
15 Ain’t Gonna Hush
16 Hot Little Mama No. 2 – (Take 1, take 1)
17 I Love to Love You – (Take 1, take 1)
18 Three Hours Past Midnight – (take, take 2)

AllMusic Review by Sean Westergaard [4.5]

Although Johnny “Guitar” Watson had already recorded some sides for Federal (including the astonishing instrumental “Space Guitar”), the majority of those tunes featured the piano-playing Young John Watson. It was when he began recording for the Bihari Brothers’ RPM subsidiary of Modern Records that he “became” Johnny “Guitar” Watson and his amazing legacy really began. The songs are solid West Coast blues, but they’re brought to the next level by Watson’s impassioned vocals and his incredible biting, staccato guitar solos. Watson’s tenure at RPM was short-lived (as were most of his label relationships) and all these tracks were recorded in 1955, but they were wildly influential on a number of great guitarists and still hold their power 50 years down the road. This material has been released umpteen times over the years, but the remastering of this compilation has more clarity and warmth than the others. Johnny “Guitar” Watson recorded some great material for a variety of labels, but the real meat of his blues legacy is on these RPM sides. Fans of tough ’50s blues and great blues guitar owe it to themselves to check this stuff out. Recommended.

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Album of the Day: The Jam, All Mod Cons (Deluxe Edition) (1978/2006)



THE JAM, ALL MOD CONS (1978/2006)

Track Listing:

Original Album
CD-1 All Mod Cons 1:20
CD-2 To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have A Nice Time) 2:30
CD-3 Mr. Clean 3:29
CD-4 David Watts 2:56
CD-5 English Rose 2:50
CD-6 In The Crowd 5:41
CD-7 Billy Hunt 3:01
CD-8 It’s Too Bad 2:37
CD-9 Fly 3:21
CD-10 The Place I Love 2:52
CD-11 ‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street 2:39
CD-12 Down In The Tube Station At Midnight 4:49
Bonus Tracks…
CD-13 News Of The World (Single) 3:28
CD-14 Aunties And Uncles (Impulsive Youths) (B-Side) 2:33
CD-15 Innocent Man (B-Side) 4:18
CD-16 Down In The Tube Station At Midnight (Single Version) 4:05
CD-17 So Sad About Us (B-Side) 2:38
CD-18 The Night (B-Side) 1:47
CD-19 So Sad About Us (Demo) 2:42
CD-20 Worlds Apart (Demo) 1:55
CD-21 It’s Too Bad (Demo) 2:27
CD-22 To Be Someone (Demo) 2:25
CD-23 David Watts (Demo) 2:45
CD-24 Billy Hunt (Alternate Version) 3:00
CD-25 Mr Clean (Demo) Previously Unreleased
Remix 3:27
CD-26 Fly (Demo) Previously Unreleased
Remix 3:19

DVD-1 The Making Of All Mod Cons
Film Director – Don Letts
DVD-2 English Rose (Acoustic Version)

AllMusic Review by Chris Woodstra [5/5]

The Jam regrouped and refocused for All Mod Cons, an album that marked a great leap in songwriting maturity and sense of purpose. For the first time, Paul Weller built, rather than fell back, upon his influences, carving a distinct voice all his own; he employed a story-style narrative with invented characters and vivid British imagery à la Ray Davies to make incisive social commentary — all in a musically irresistible package. The youthful perspective and impassioned delivery on All Mod Cons first earned Weller the “voice of a generation” tag, and it certainly captures a moment in time, but really, the feelings and sentiments expressed on the album just as easily speak to any future generation of young people. Terms like “classic” are often bandied about, but in the case of All Mod Cons, it is certainly deserved.

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Album of the Day: Eric Burdon & the Animals, Winds of Change (1967, MGM)




Track Listing:

Winds Of Change 4:00
Poem By The Sea 2:15
Paint It Black 6:20
The Black Plague 6:05
Yes I Am Experienced 3:40
San Franciscan Nights 3:24
Man – Woman 5:25
Hotel Hell 4:20
Good Times 2:50
Anything 3:20
It’s All Meat 2:50

AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder [2.5/5]

Winds of Change opened the psychedelic era in the history of Eric Burdon & the Animals — although Burdon’s drug experiences had taken a great leap forward months earlier with his first acid trip, and he and the group had generated some startlingly fresh-sounding singles in the intervening time, it was Winds of Change that plunged the group headfirst into the new music. The record was more or less divided into two distinctly different sides, the first more conceptual and ambitious psychedelic mood pieces and the second comprised of more conventionally structured songs, although even these were hard, mostly bluesy and blues-based rock, their jumping-off point closer to Jimi Hendrix than Sonny Boy Williamson. The band’s new era opened with waves washing over the title track, which included sitar and electric violin, while Burdon’s voice, awash in reverb, calmly recited a lyric that dropped a lot of major names from blues, jazz, and rock. “Poem by the Sea” was a recitation by Burdon, amid a swirl of echo-drenched instruments, and it led into one of the group’s handful of memorable covers from this period, “Paint It Black” — driven by John Weider’s electric violin and Vic Briggs’ guitar, and featuring an extended vocal improvisation by Burdon, their approach to the song was good enough to make it part of the group’s set at the Monterey International Pop Festival that June, and also to get a spot in the documentary movie that followed. “The Black Plague” opens with a Gregorian chant structure that recalls “Still I’m Sad” by the Yardbirds, and was another vehicle for Burdon’s surreal spoken contributions. There were also, as with most of the group’s work from this period, a few easily accessible tracks that could make good singles, in this instance “Good Times” and “San Franciscan Nights,” a Top Ten record in various countries around the world in the last quarter of 1967, although, as Alan Clayson points out in his notes, the latter song was overlooked in England for nearly 12 months after its release elsewhere, and then appeared as the B-side to the relatively straightforward, brooding, moody rocker “Anywhere.” Burdon was so inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s music that he wrote one of the psychedelic era’s rare “answer” songs, “Yes I Am Experienced,” as an homage to the guitarist; the latter’s influence could also be heard in “It’s All Meat,” the LP’s closing track, and a song that calls to mind an aspect of this band that a lot of scholars in earlier years overlooked — the fact that Briggs, Weider, et al. had the skills to make music in that style that was convincing and that worked on record, on their terms.

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Album of the Day: Motorhead, No Remorse (1984, Bronze Records)





No Remorse was a compilation album of Motorhead’s first seven years that was put out in 1984. In 1984, I was 15 and had been listening to all kinds of punk and metal, but nothing prepared me for this. I vividly recall hearing them for the first time in a friend’s attic bedroom via a cassette of this album (which came in a leather case) and feeling like I’d never heard anyone sing like this guy in my life. The funny thing is that, 30+ years later I’ve STILL never heard anyone sing like that. Hell of a fucking bass player too. And No Remorse has to rank as one of the greatest ‘greatest hit’ albums ever assembled. – TC

Track Listing:

Ace Of Spades 2:46
Motörhead 3:55
Jailbait 3:31
Stay Clean 2:38
Too Late, Too Late 3:24
Killed By Death 4:39
Bomber 3:21
Iron Fist 2:48
Shine 3:08
Dancing On Your Grave 4:27
Metropolis 2:33
Snaggletooth 3:49
Overkill 3:16
Please Don’t Touch 2:48
Stone Dead Forever 4:54
Like A Nightmare 4:10
Emergency 3:03
Steal Your Face 4:21
Louie Louie 2:44
No Class 2:37
Iron Horse 3:55
We Are The Road Crew 3:10
Leaving Here 2:44
Locomotive 3:21

AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier [5/5]

There have been dozens and dozens of Motörhead compilations released over the decades, but the first one remains definitive, even if it’s not perfect. Released in 1984 as a gap-filler — for Motörhead were regrouping in the wake of the bandmember shuffling that followed the odd Another Perfect Day album — No Remorse compiled two-dozen songs across two discs (latter-day editions adding a good serving of bonus tracks, too). Many of the band’s best songs to date are here, like “Ace of Spades,” “Stay Clean,” “Overkill,” “Bomber,” and “Iron Fist.” There are also four new recordings that were cut exclusively for No Remorse: “Killed by Death,” “Snaggletooth,” “Steal Your Face,” and “Locomotive.” These four songs were cut by the newly instated four-piece lineup that would go on to record Orgasmatron (1986): guitarists Michael Burston and Phil Campbell, drummer Peter Gill, and of course, bassist/vocalist Lemmy. These new recordings make No Remorse more than a standard greatest-hits package, as do the number of stray recordings compiled here as well. For starters, No Remorse rounds up “Please Don’t Touch” and “Emergency,” which were released on a 1981 split EP with Girlschool, St. Valentines Day Massacre. It also rounds up an early single (“Louie, Louie”) as well as a pair of B-sides (“Too Late, Too Late” and “Like a Nightmare”) and a tossed-about live cover “Leaving Here.” The inclusion of these stray recordings likewise makes No Remorse more than a standard greatest-hits package. Rather, it’s a collection that caters to newbies as well as completists. And furthermore, it plays well, as the new songs and stray material are sequenced toward the end of each LP side, so the collection ebbs and flows between the familiar and unfamiliar, between the great and good. Granted, a straightforward best-of collection may be more suitable to newcomers looking for a one-stop compilation. For instance, No Remorse doesn’t account for the wealth of music Motörhead would release post-1984, and too, it misses a lot of great songs that could have taken the place of the odds and ends rounded up here. So a straight-ahead, single-disc chronological survey would be a nice alternative, especially one that accounts for late-’80s highlights like “Deaf Forever,” “Orgasmatron,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and “Eat the Rich.” But there’s something to be said for tradition, and No Remorse is to Motörhead what We Sold Our Soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll is to Black Sabbath — an age-old collection that every metalhead seemed to own at some point, the one that seemed to define the band for generations on end. No Remorse is one of those classic albums, no doubt.

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Album of the Day: The MC5, Babes In Arms (2000, RIOR)



Track Listing:

1 Shaking Street 2:32
2 American Ruse 2:27
3 Skunk (Sonically Speaking) 4:10
4 Tuttie Fruttie 1:34
5 Poison 3:25
6 Gotta Keep Moving 3:28
7 Tonite 2:49
8 Kick Out The Jams 3:02
9 Sister Ann 6:46
10 Future Now 3:04
11 Gold  3:02
12 I Can Only Give You Everything 2:39
13 One Of The Guys 2:15
14 I Just Don’t Know 2:37
15 Looking At You 2:46

AllMusic Review by Mark Deming [3/5]

Wayne Kramer assembled this collection of 15 rare MC5 tracks, and while trying to cover the career of a band who helped give birth to punk rock AND made it onto Spiro Agnew’s enemies list might seem like a near-impossible task in less than an hour, Babes in Arms does a pretty respectable job of capturing what the MC5 were all about in one convenient package. Most of the cuts on Babes in Arms are alternate versions of songs from the band’s three studio albums, but while the most of the tracks appear in variant mixes or longer edits, the differences are minimal enough that they can pass for the originals in a pinch (one crucial exception: a great acoustic version of Fred “Sonic” Smith’s “Shakin’ Street”), making Babes in Arms a solid “Best of the MC5″ collection. Even more importantly, the set also includes several excellent and hard to find early single sides, including the amusing garage-protest nugget “One of the Guys” and a primal, in-the-red rave-up on “Looking at You” that leaves the version on Back in the U.S.A. in the dust. The one previously unreleased song, “Gold,” is an unfocused jam that doesn’t really go anywhere, and the sound quality of the source materials isn’t all that hot (especially on the CD version), but otherwise Babes in Arms is a howling, furious blast of what made the MC5 one of the finest (and most dangerous) American rock bands of the 1960s. Crank it up loud — the guys would want it that way.

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Album of the Day: ? & the Mysterians, 96 Tears (1966, Cameo)




Track Listing:

A1 I Need Somebody 2:13
A2 Stormy Monday 2:20
A3 You’re Telling Me Lies 2:31
A4 Ten O’Clock 2:03
A5 Set Aside 3:03
A6 Up Side 2:50
B1 8 Teen 2:45
B2 Don’t Tease Me 1:37
B3 Don’t Break This Heart Of Mine 1:57
B4 Why Me 1:26
B5 Midnight Hour 2:36
B6 96 Tears 2:56

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Album of the Day: The Chocolate Watchband, The Inner Mystique (1968, Tower)

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Track Listing:

Voyage Of The Trieste 3:39
In The Past 3:08
Inner Mystique 5:34
I’m Not Like Everybody Else 3:43
Medication 2:04
Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go 2:16
Baby Blue 3:14
I Ain’t No Miracle Worker 2:51

AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder [4/5]

Inner Mystique seems to be the Chocolate Watchband album that fans and casual listeners know best, even though it was the one of their three records that was most disconnected from any active incarnation of the group. Slapped together in late 1967, in the wake of the virtual collapse of their lineup and rushed out in February of 1968, its original first side contained not a single note played or sung by the Watchband itself. Instead, engineer Richie Podolor assembled a group of studio musicians, playing a pair of languid psychedelic instrumentals — “Voyage of the Trieste” and “Inner Mystique” — in which the sitar flourishes and flute arabesques hung like jeweled ornaments, sandwiched around a new recording by singer Don Bennett (who’d already supplied some vocals without the group’s knowledge or approval on their first album) of “In the Past,” the latter a song originally written and recorded by the Florida-based psychedelic-punk band We the People. The second side was comprised of a hodgepodge of superb finished Watchband sides — most notably “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” and “I Ain’t No Miracle Worker,” mixing punk bravado and angst, which have long been the album’s selling points — and outtakes such as “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go” and “Medication,” with Bennett’s vocals replacing David Aguilar’s, and one remixed and partly redubbed version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” As with the group’s first album, however, Inner Mystique is sort of “guilty with an explanation” — yes, it’s a mess in terms of continuity, with two different singers and three different vocal/instrumental combinations present, but the three full Watchband tracks are killer recordings that can hold their heads up with the best rock records of 1967; what’s more, even the Bennett-sung/studio band played “In the Past” is worthwhile, Watchband or not, as a piece of shimmering psychedelia with a great beat and arrangement; and even “Voyage of the Trieste” and “Inner Mystique,” as pieces of psychedelic background music, were good enough that one of them ended up on Rhino’s Best of the Chocolate Watchband collection. And that’s not bad for a 28-minute album with only eight cuts on it, pieced together with only the barest (if any) participation by the band.

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