bbq

#838.5: Father’s Day 2020

Father’s Day 2020 was one of the strangest yet, but we celebrated my dad outdoors with steaks and social distancing.

The day started quietly with an espresso at dawn, but I couldn’t wait to get cooking.  Jen bought steaks and corn.  I love cooking and I especially love barbecuing.  Cooking for my mom and dad is one of the best hobbies I have.

The morning was spent relaxing by myself on the patio, reading Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel Secret Path, the story of Chanie Wenjack.  I spoke about this book a bit on Saturday’s live stream.  To say reading this book was an intense undertaking is to sell the experience short.  I had to stop twice to catch my breath.  This powerful, true story is made so clear, so intense and spiritual thanks to the words of Gord and the images of Jeff.  A book/album review is absolutely forthcoming.  (Even though the book comes with a download of the Gord Downie album, I still bought the CD individually as well.)

It was a hot afternoon but at least my parents have a back deck with some shade.  I lit the gas and let the flames do their work.  I incorporated some new techniques that I picked up watching YouTube videos over the winter.  I let the steaks get up to room temperature, then patted them dry and seasoned with just salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Nothing fancy and no marinate was necessary.   I overcooked mine a bit for my liking.  Everybody else likes them a bit more done than me.  I forgot how hot my dad’s barbecue can get.  But they were still juicy and flavourful, I just prefer them a little more red.

We chatted current events, the cottage, and Uncle Don Don.  My mom saved for me what was left of his CD collection (I gave my sister first dibs and she took Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats.)  Mom asked me to sort through the music, but I decided to take them home to do that here.  The CD covers have the telltale yellowing of a smoker’s home and I didn’t want to handle them and have to prepare dinner too.

There are a few CDs here that I’ll have to keep.  I’m missing several Tragically Hip.  I don’t have that Lee Aaron (her debut).  I could probably use some Johnny Winter, George Thorogood, Garbage, and Jane’s Addiction.  A few of these are duplicates; I have all the Deep Purple and Alice Cooper albums.  But those are two bands that Uncle Don influenced me to get into.  “Child In Time”, he said.  That was the song he praised.  He has two versions of “Child In Time” in this cardboard box.

Looks like I’m going to be owning Jackyl, Haywire and Collective Soul too.  Cool.  I’ll go through the box in detail in the coming days.

My dad enjoyed his Father’s Day meal, and we had a nice visit.  The first one in many months.  It wasn’t hard to stay sanitised and distant, but it was different.  Just something we have to live with for a while.  Hopefully not too much longer.  I’m starting to get tired of the same old scenery from my little patio at home.  I want to get back to the lake.  Because of various health concerns and vulnerabilities, we’ve all agreed that we can’t all be at the same cottage at the same time, so we’ll have to take turns.  I’ll have to wait a little while longer to cook my dad a nice barbecue chicken dinner (skin on, of course). It’ll happen though — eventually.

I hope all the fathers had as nice a Father’s Day as my dad did.

 

 

 

HAPPY 150th, CANADA!

This is how we did Canada Day celebrations.  Burgers, sausages, cake and all the fixin’s!

Happy Canada Day!

 

REVIEW REDUX: Ted Nugent – Shutup & Jam! (2014)

Scan_20150925 (2)TED NUGENT – Shutup & Jam! (2014 Frontiers)

I first reviewed this album earlier in the year, when fellow reviewer Deke over at Arena Rock gave it to me digitally.  However I’m a physical product kinda fella.  Now that I have a CD in my hands, I had the urge to re-review.  Follow along, won’t you?  The original review can be found here, but this one is about 50% brand-new.  The CD is sonically superior anyway.

Some rock fans have a love/hate thing with Ted Nugent.  He’s a proud hunter (“kill ’em and grill ’em”), but a conservationist.  He loves the right wing of the political spectrum and has nothing but loathing for the left, all the while taking great glee in offering his opinions.  The second amendment is sacred to him…but so is rock and roll.  It’s hard to outright hate a guy who has rocked so damn hard over the years, and non-stop at that.  You gotta give him credit for the tunes.

Upon first listen, it is clear that the years have done nothing to Ted.  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”.  What a killer song.  The message is pretty straightforward:  he got nothing to fear but fear itself.  “I get up every day, with a smile on my face, happy to be alive and I’m back in the race.”  Ted offers no apologies, but tries to keep it positive.  “Positive energy makes me smile,” he sings, but “victory makes it all worthwhile.”

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.  Early ZZ Top, at that!  Somehow, Derek and Terrible Ted found a time machine back to 1972 and captured the sound on “Everything Matters”!

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 road tested the guitar solo, wailing with the car windows down this summer.  It passed the rock test.  Sammy haters are gonna hate, but I don’t how you can hate him when he’s rocking like this with the Nuge.  Even better though is the pure fucking joy in the riff for “Never Stop Believing”.  Ted has been quite a riff merchant over the years, but “Never Stop Believing” is another triumph, as big as ever.  Strap on your air guitars, folks:  you’re gonna need ’em.  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” shamelessly, but the rest of the track is pure Ted…with twang.  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 sentiments are more inclusive.

My favourite track has turned out to be the silly titled “I Love My BBQ”.   I do love to barbecue, and I absolutely dig the shout-out to us Canucks:  “I love my Barbeque, it’s what Canadians do, pull up a chair I’ll get a beer for you,” 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.  He’s just being funny on this one.  I mean, come on:  “Tofu might just kill you babe, a tossed salad’ll make you weak.”  Nudge nudge, wink wink.  Poking the bear a bit.  “Well the animals, they got rights…right next to my mashed potatoes, baby.”  It is obviously intended as comedy, and that’s fine.

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I love my BBQ, too.

Kicking ass is Ted’s business and “Throttledown” is a full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal rock instrumental.  As always though, there is a twang to Ted’s dexterous picking.  That’s what makes this different, and better, than middle of the road rock.  Having said all that, I have no idea what “Do-Rags and a .45” is about.  It sounds like Anvil, except for that title.  Keeping the pace fast, “Screaming Eagles” doesn’t give up an inch, 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.  I come from a military family so I have no issues with Ted paying tribute to those in uniform.  Some might find it all a bit too much; that’s up to you.  Fear not, the song has just as much guitar shred as it does singing.  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 swallow.  And that’s the key.  All of these tunes are immensely catchy with lyrics you can sing without having to worry about being considered a right-wing radical by your neighbours.

A bluesy reprise of “Never Stop Believing” closes the album; a rough recording appropriate for the gritty blues 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 main reason to listen.

I have maintained that if only I heard Shut Up & Jam in the year 2014, it would have been a contender for the Top Five list that year.  It’s not hard to understand why — it’s a killer record showing Ted is still in fine form today and hasn’t let the politics get in the way of a good rock song.

4.5/5 stars

REVIEW: Ted Nugent – Shutup & Jam! (2014)

Thank you to fellow reviewer Deke, who gave me this album!  Check out his review here!

FolderTED NUGENT – Shutup & Jam! (2014 Frontiers)

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.

4/5 stars

TED LOVES HIS BBQ

 

VIDEO: The Cottage in the Woods 2

COLLAGE

If you missed the original story about the Cottage in the Woods, please check out Record Store Tales Part 308.

Another long weekend in Canada has come and gone.  This time we came with a side mission: visiting Condor Fine Books in Kincardine, Ontario.  We’ve been going there for years, and the owner is a really nice guy.  He has a crazy selection of old and interesting books, with a healthy section on UFOs and the paranormal.  That’s alright by me.

I hope you enjoy my latest video, with book finds and lots of scenery.

Part 308: The Cottage in the Woods (VIDEO BLOG)

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RECORD STORE TALES PART 308:  The Cottage in the Woods

As bad as the stress used to get, there was always one place I could return and truly recharge my batteries:  the cottage.

I’d pack a dozen or so CDs (tapes in the early days) and go on long walks with my Discman.  Eat some steaks.  Check out the water, rivers and funky bridges.  The phone never rang.  Heck in the early days there were no phones here.  No cable TV, no wi-fi.

Today, I created, edited and posted the video you’re about to see in one day, entirely at the cottage.  How unimaginable to me back then.

I tried to re-create the experience of being here visually — probably the most peaceful place in the world.  I hope this gives you a taste.  Enjoy

Gallery: Another piece of meat

Fantastic anniversary weekend…

REVIEW: Coleman Biowipes (Sausagefest XII)

SAM_2872

COLEMAN BIOWIPES
$3.99 for resealable package of 30

July 5-6 2013 was the weekend:  the annual all-rock, all dude Countdown event known as SAUSAGEFEST.   This particular installment being Sausagefest XII.  As discussed in Record Store Tales Part 30, and as seen in last year’s video, I suffer from a certain level of anxiety regarding the restroom arrangements.  As in, there aren’t any.  And I’m not as young as I once was, and the plumbing doesn’t always work as well as it used to when I was in my 20’s.

To the rescue came Biowipes, by Coleman!  Not only can you shit with a clean bottom, but also a clean conscience:  the Biowipes completely biodegrade in just 21 days.  (Less I’m sure if you ate the bacon-wrapped jalapenos that we consumed.)

The Biowipes are large enough (20 x 25 cm) and tough enough to handle whatever you need to do.  There are 30 of these moistened towelettes in each package, by my estimation and usage, probably enough to get you through 10 days in the woods.

6/5 stars

Seen below:  Some of the many reasons these wipes were necessary!

For related reading material, please go to BOOK REVIEW: What’s Your Poo Telling You? by Josh Richman and Anish Sheth M.D.