RECORD STORE TALES
- RECORD STORE TALES MkII:
GETTING MORE TALE
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RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#358.5: On the Road Again
Today was another day on the highway, on the road to another hospital! We’re making progress on Jen’s epilepsy and she is currently staying at Toronto Western Hospital for a few days as they try to figure out just what’s causing these seizures. It will be the longest we’ve been apart since we’ve been married, six years ago.
You don’t come here to read mushy stuff, you come for funny stories and to read about the rock! The drive itself was uneventful. The eastbound lanes are clear, but a jackknifed tractor trailer on the westbound side left just one lane open to traffic. It was backed up as far as the eye could see, and I was grateful I was not one of the commuters stuck in it.
We had Zeppelin on the ride into Toronto. With your morning traffic jams that just happen, we listened to all of Led Zeppelin I, the deluxe edition with bonus concert CD, Live at the Olympia in Paris. As good as this set is — and it is good — it didn’t suit the mood this morning. I should have started with Queen instead. I drove home to disc one of the new Queen Forever, and the pop sound and bright melodies of Queen were better suited to lift the mood. On the way there, Plant’s anguished screams only heightened my own tension. On the way back, Freddie’s smooth crooning was just what the doctor ordered. It was a bright sunny afternoon drive home.
As is par for the course this time of year, my car came home covered in a thick gray coating of sludge and salt. I almost went through almost half a tank of windshield washer fluid today!
If she’s there a while and I have to hang around there, I will definitely be checking out some record stores. When we passed the Honest Ed’s building, I realized that we were right in the vicinity of Mike and Aaron’s Annual Taranna Record Store Excursion! It would be weird to be so close and not check out Sonic Boom.
I’m looking forward to video chatting with Jen tonight on our laptops. She’s got a few days ahead that will be a mixture of boredom, homesickness, and tedious testing. Me, I’m back to bachelor living for the week. I’m already bored.
Today’s musical lesson: Queen lifts the mood!
Thank you to fellow reviewer Deke, who gave me this album! Check out his review here!
Alright Nuge, it’s been a bumpy ride between you and I. It’s been a love/hate thing with us. Let’s see if I can stomach 2014 Ted, or if the politics are overshadowing the music. As we Canadians say, Give’r!
One thing for sure: there is no denying that Ted has lost absolutely nothing. The opening title track is faster, meaner and more fun than 99% of the flock. The great Gonzo still shreds a chaotically perfect solo as if the studio is Cobo Hall. “There just comes a time when you just gotta rock,” he sings. Sounds good to me Ted, I’m on board for that! Ted keeps it rolling with a vicious riff on the excellent “Fear Itself”, and old pal Derek St. Holmes lends lead vocals to “Everything Matters”. A whole album of Ted’s shrieking has never been easy to swallow, so I’m always glad to hear Derek’s smooth pipes. By the slippery bluesy rock, you might think it’s ZZ Top.
Speaking of old friends, Sammy Hagar (who is friends with everyone except the current members of Van Halen) shows up to sing lead on “She’s Gone”. It’s a ball crusher of a song (basically just a variation on “Going Down”), but I guarantee that the guitar solo will sound great wailing out of your car windows this summer. Even better though is the pure fucking joy in the riff for “Never Stop Believing”. I have a new favourite riff and it’s “Never Stop Believing”. The song ends on some really nice laid back picking from Ted, reminding me that he is one of the most underrated players from the classic rock era.
“I Still Believe” indicates to me that Ted really wanted to get his point across when he said he’d “Never Stop Believing”. The opening riff apes “Helter Skelter” a little bit, but the rest of the track is pure Nuge. I like that Nuge is singing fairly tame things like “I still believe in America” and “I believe in liberty” rather than “fuck the Democrats”. The next patriotic statement Ted has for us is “I Love My BBQ”. And I absolutely dig the shout-out to us Canucks. “I love my Barbeque, it’s what Canadians do” sings Ted in the first verse! A small minority may be offended but my mouth is drooling. But I really don’t think it’s Ted’s primary intention to upset you. I think he’s really just trying to be funny, like a stand up comic. Sometimes comedy involves a little bit of a poke and a prod. If Weird Al sang a song about a delicious hamburger, nobody would have a problem with it.
Kicking ass is Ted’s business and “Throttledown” is just one of those pedal-to-the-metal rock instrumentals. “Do Rags and a .45″ sounds like Anvil except for that title. “Screaming Eagles” doesn’t give up an inch either, guitars fueled and ablaze. None of these songs overstay their welcome. Shutup & Jam features five songs in the 2 minute range in a row! “Semper Fi” is the last of these five, a stomper rather than a screamer. Ted then tells us he’s going to “Trample the Weak Hurdle the Dead”. “War is not the answer,” sings Ted. “I only know evil has got to go.” It’s a great tune and it’s not hard to sing along. And that’s the key. All of these tunes are immensely catchy with lyrics I can sing without having to worry about being considered a right-wing radical by my neighbors.
A blues version of “Never Stop Believing” closes the album; a rough recording appropriate for the gritty approach. It’s a bit of a throw-away compared to the regular version, decent but not nearly as special. Ted’s playing is always the reason to listen.
I really liked Shutup & Jam. If I had heard it in 2014, it would have been a contender for the Top Five list.