buddy holly

#756.5: New Ride

If rock and roll is only about three things — girls, cars, and booze & drugs — then I took care of 1/3rd of my Rock N’ Roll Duty last night.

The new vehicle is as yet unnamed, but my new Chevy Equinox has arrived just in time for an oversized Sausagefest 2019.  No sleeping in this car, Uncle Meat!

The only thing that really matters to you, of course, is what’s up with the stereo?  A lot has changed in the 10 years since I bought ol’ blue, aka “Dougie Carmore”.  USB ports in the dash were brand new back then.  That car was a huge factor in my use of flash drives for all my music needs.  Now every car has one.  Funny thing though — the salesman who sold me the car had no idea you could just plug in a flash drive to listen to tunes.  He was trying to convince me to stream music from my phone.  Not necessary, my friend!  I came prepared with a 32 gig flash drive.  I plugged it in, and the stereo sounded great.

“I didn’t actually know you could do that,” he said.  Well now you know!  Am I the only guy who listens this way?

The first album played (in part) in the new car was Buddy Holly’s Millenium Collection.  The dash doesn’t display album cover art like others do, but that’s not a big deal.  The main thing is, I can play and access my music the way I am used to and equipped for.  Needing to give the stereo more of a workout, I chose Van Halen’s Diver Down to play next.  Both albums sounded terrific.  My new car is quieter, so now I can hear the music better at lower volume.

Big thanks to Craig and Samantha at Bennett GM in Cambridge for making this my easiest car purchase yet.  No pressure from them; nothing but courtesy and great service.  In and Craig’s case, a mutual love of rock.

On the road to rock, baby!



REVIEW: The Buddy Holly Story – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1978)

THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1978 Epic)

The Buddy Holly Story was a remarkable movie, not because it was terribly accurate (it wasn’t).  Some of the best music biopics, like The Buddy Holly Story, feature the movie cast doing the singing and playing.  In a rare stroke of fortune, Gary Busey was cast as the perfect Buddy Holly.  He could sing enough like the rock and roll legend, and with some curly hair and glasses, Busey fit the bill.

The “Clear Lake Medley” is made up of Buddy’s greatest hits like “Peggy Sue”, “That’ll Be the Day”, “Oh Boy”, “Maybe Baby”, and “Not Fade Away”.  They’re amped-up, made to sound like the live concert experience.  Busey’s more manic in this setting than the old familiar studio versions.

The most interesting track, possibly, is the a-Capella “I’m Gonna Love You Too”, with just Gary Busey’s voice.  You can’t fake it in that setting.  The guy managed to sound enough like Buddy Holly through this whole soundtrack that you often drift away and forget that’s what it is.  The suspension of disbelief is complete.

All this and you’ll get a collection of some pretty amazing songs too.  You’ll know most of ’em, including “Everyday” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”.  As seen in the film, “Everyday” is a slow, ballady version.  That is certainly compensated for by the “Roller Rink Medley”, another adrenaline-pumped live set.

Truly a great soundtrack and a worthy addition for Buddy Holly fans.

4.5/5 stars


#527: Get Glasses

A double feature in cooperation with BoppinsBlog!

GETTING MORE TALE #527: Get Glasses

In 1989, two things happened to me that changed everything.

Upon entering the 12th grade, I realized I was having trouble seeing distance.  I was taking an OAC level Geography class, but I couldn’t see the text on the overheads.  A checkup at the eye doctor revealed that I needed glasses.  At roughly the same time, I got my first real job at a grocery store, and had to cut my long hair.  Within a matter of months, I had transformed from a long haired rocker to a short haired geek with huge glasses that I dubbed my “welding goggles”.

None of my favourite rock stars looked like me!

There is however a huge precedent for rock and rollers with glasses.  Most people immediately think of John Lennon, but think back to Rubber Soul.  Lennon wasn’t wearing his glasses in 1965.  He could be seen wearing prescription sunglasses, but not until 1967 was he wearing his normal glasses on a regular basis in public.  The first album cover with a bespectacled Lennon was Sgt. Peppers.

Lennon was inspired to wear his glasses by the original icon, Buddy Holly.  Buddy’s black rimmed glasses began a trend in America, and that style of frames became known as “Buddy Holly glasses”.  A young Elton John, who didn’t even need glasses yet, began wearing them just to look like Holly.

Today, there are countless more stars who wear glasses on stage, although many use custom shades.  Elvis Costello, Lisa Loeb, Robert Fripp, Ozzy Osbourne, Rivers Cuomo, Peelander Yellow, Weird Al Yankovic, and so on…the list is endless.*  But who wore them best?  Certainly not Bono, who could make even the simplest pair of glasses look pompous.  It’s tempting to say Jerry Garcia, since the glasses just make him look even more like a big teddy bear.

But there can only be one winner, and this is actually an easy choice.

The one artist that wears glasses best is Sir James Martin, ex-of Faith No More.  For the simple reason that he is the only one who wears two pairs of glasses simultaneously.  Take that, Bono!


*Keith Richards does not wear glasses.  Science has shown his eyesight lives forever. 




#345: Tyler and LeBrain episode 4 – Return of the Monster Truck


#343: Tyler and LeBrain featuring Seb episode 4 – Return of the Monster Truck

This time we take on leather vests, the 90’s, Katy Perry, best singers ever…and Uncle Meat.

Part 299: More Journals

RECORD STORE TALES Part 299: More Journals

A sequel to Part 244: Diary of a Mad Record Store Man.  I think the journal entries speak for themselves, so here they are.

Date: 2004/08/10
On this Marillion live disc, Fish just dedicated the entire Misplaced Childhood record to Phil Lynott…he must have just passed away when it was recorded.  That’s heavy, man.  My two lyrical heroes, Fish and Lynott…

Date: 2004/08/24
Crazy to think that I’ve been in this business for 10 years, and only now am I starting to listen to Buddy Holly. Sad to think what I’ve been missing all these years!  I can’t believe how great Buddy’s music was.  It’s really clicking with me, I just love Buddy Holly!

Date 2005/01/30
Some dude was just in here throwing a pencil at us because he didn’t have a receipt.  I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT.  I need to get THE FUCK out of here.





REVIEW: Buddy Holly – 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of

Happy birthday David. You were a fan, this is for you.

BUDDY_0001BUDDY HOLLY – 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Buddy Holly (1999 MCA)

Normally I rank all of these 20th Century Masters CDs as 2 stars across the board. That’s mainly because I am a believer in buying the albums, not the greatest hits.  With an artist like Buddy Holly, it’s much less about albums and more about his singles.  For Buddy I prefer compilations.  20th Century Masters are budget priced, limited to 10-12 songs, and brief running times.  In this case I think it’s worth spending money on.

This one is pretty near-perfect for a quick starter set. Every song is amazing, not a weak one in the bunch. From “Not Fade Away” to “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”, and of course the classic “Everyday”, this is a CD to listen to start-to-finish with nothing to skip.  “Words of Love” is still a masterpiece, using the then-new technique of double tracking the lead vocal.  It still sounds full, deep and perfect.

Meanwhile, “Oh, Boy!” is full of joie de vivre, Buddy leading the charge gleefully.  “Rave On” is very much in the same mold, completely memorable and toe-tapping.  “Think It Over”, by Buddy and the Crickets is an old fashioned rock and roll song with a nice big grand piano, completely fun.  The CD closes with “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”, a Paul Anka song featuring Buddy backed by orchestra and acoustic guitar.  It’s just one of the greatest songs ever written, period.

There are better and more complete compilations out there, but not at the price that this series sells for. Buy this first, check out some Buddy Holly, and once you’ve digested these songs, move onto the bigger picture. I think new music is more easily digested in small packages and this is the best way to go if you are new to Buddy Holly.

5/5 stars all the way, I still listen to this all the time.

Part 109: The Summer From Hell!

RECORD STORE TALES Part 109:  The Summer From Hell

Summer, 2004.

I had one really, really awful summer at the store.  My full-time backup had quit, and head office made the decision not to hire a replacement until the Christmas gear-up season.  Instead, they decided to spread out the part-timers to cover the hours.  They were always eager for hours, but not necessarily weekend hours!

I was required to work two Saturdays a month anyway.  That summer, I had to pull a lot more than that.  Saturdays, Sundays, the odd 12 hour shifts…I didn’t get to the cottage very much that summer.  Allegedly, one head office staffer was overheard saying to another, “It’s going to be funny watching Mike try to work all summer without a full-timer.”  Good to know they had my back. 

I was furious.  But I was also defeated.

I had one weekend booked off in July.  I couldn’t miss that weekend.  My grandma’s 80th birthday party was that weekend.  There was no way in hell that I was going to miss my grandma’s 80th birthday party.  It was a 2 hour drive away, in Kincardine Ontario.  I only have one grandma (88 this year!), but wouldn’t you know it?  Nothing ever went smooth for me….

I had a date the previous night (Friday), with this girl who was originally from Thunder Bay.  We went out and we had a nice meal followed by a night of drinks.  I woke up slightly hungover, but eager to hit the lake, and say hi to grandma.  Then, my phone rang.  Not a good sign.

My least reliable employee, Wiseman, was calling in sick.  The truth was more likely that he was calling in wasted.  Somebody had to get the hell over there and cover him.  And that someone was me.

I pulled in, unshowered, unshaven, and pissed off.  I had never been so mad at Wiseman in my life.  It was becoming a far, far too regular occurrence that he was always “sick”, and someone had to cover for him.  You can’t expect every part time employee to give up their Saturday plans and work on no notice, but a manager had to.  

To her credit, there was one head office person on duty that weekend, and she came in to take over.  I will always be grateful to that person for covering me on my grandma’s 80th birthday weekend.  If memory serves, my great aunt Marie, her sister, made it that weekend too.  I think that was the last time I ever saw her, she passed away not too long after. 

My relationship with head office people was rocky to say the least, especially after that “It’s going to be funny watching Mike try to work all summer…” crack.  But she did cover me when I needed it.  I won’t forget that, and I’ll always be grateful.

The rest of the summer was what it was, weekend after weekend of working, the same grind and drudgery.  The musical light in the tunnel that summer was the release of Marillion’s double Marbles CD.  It is my favourite Hogarth-era Marillion to this day, and when I received it that summer, it got me through.  We didn’t carry it in stock in our store, but it was in my car, and on my home player, all summer.  It brightened the mood, it kept me going, waking me up in the morning and getting me out the door.  The Summer of Hell’s bright spot was Marillion, and my grandma.

I would like to dedicate this installment of the Record Store Tales to that one head office person who stepped up and covered for me that day.  We had many knock-down-drag-out arguments over the years, and I’m sure that her side of many events differ from mine.  Regardless, if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been present for my grandma’s 80th, and for that I owe her a debt of gratitude.

Thank you.  It meant a lot to me.

Below:  the soundtrack to that summer