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This Is Your Life, Jacob Moon on the LeBrain Train + musical performance of “Someday”

The LeBrain Train reunites old friends — it is what we do!  Whether it be Mike Fraser and Andy Curran, or members of the community at large, we enjoy bringing people together.  We also enjoy improvisation, both in our music and in the live show.  This time, flying by the seats of our pants, we reunited Jacob Moon with old friends from his past.  By the stories told, you can call this episode This Is Your Life, Jacob Moon.

Watch as Meat, Trevor and Jacob relive their favourite memories, musical and otherwise.  Observe as Meat forgets how to count up to eleven.  Enjoy as Jacob performs some of his favourite impressions.  Ed Grimley?  Check.  Tom Waits?  Check.  Nigel Tufnel?  Top ten!

In a LeBrain Train first, Jacob gave us the show’s first full musical performance.  Steve Earle’s “Someday”, live by Jacob Moon, is a LeBrain Train exclusive musical performance!  He also gave us a partial version of “Downtown Train” with some hilarious impressions.

We took viewer questions and a celebrity guest question from Andy Curran.  Discussion subjects included:

  • The making of “Subdivisions”
  • Musical adventures with Trev and Eric
  • “Christmas Goalie”
  • Playing a Rush song in front of Rush
  • Playing the Marillion weekend
  • Looping and technical stuff
  • Streaming live

Thank you Meat, Trevor and especially Jacob Moon for an awesome Saturday show.  Jacob, I am honoured and flattered to have you play live on my little show!  I cannot thank you enough.

 

Robert Lawson Defeats the Live Stream Technical Glitches for an Evening of Rock

Not even disconnections and bad internet can keep a good man down. Robert Lawson — author of great listener’s guides on Cheap Trick, Nazareth and The Guess Who — persevered and eventually defeated the internet demons plaguing the start of Friday’s show. Hang in there folks — it starts rough but gets better!

This free-flowing chat covers numerous topics:

  • The Guess Who and Burton Cummings
  • Nazareth and “the kids”
  • Cheap Trick encounters
  • Band management
  • Rarities
  • Aerosmith’s Done With Mirrors
  • Martin Popoff
  • Sean Kelly
  • Gene & Paul
  • 5150
  • King Kong

When it comes to Cheap Trick, Robert gets raw and tells it from the heart.  You’ll have to see for yourself but we appreciate Robert’s candor and willingness to relive some emotional moments in his rock and roll life.

Thank you Deke for introducing me to Robert, and thank you Robert for being patient and generous with your time tonight!


REMINDER – The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Meat

Saturday – Episode 72 – Jacob Moon

“Jacob is an incredible Canadian talent.” — Andy Curran

If you only know Jacob Moon from his jaw-dropping Rush cover of “Subdivisions”, then you are in for a treat.  That viral video catapulted him to Youtube fame, but he is about so much more than just covers.  With nine albums to his name (so far), Jacob has been around.  When guys like Andy Curran sing his praises, you know he’s seriously good at what he does.  He has also won the admiration of Rush, Marillion, and many more.  What’s it feel like performing a Rush song in front of Rush?  Let’s find out from Jacob himself!

Saturday June 19, 1:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

Double Show Weekend! Friday – Robert Lawson & Saturday – Jacob Moon

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Deke

Friday – Episode 71 – Robert Lawson

 

Robert Lawson is the author of some excellent listener’s guides:  Still Competition (Cheap Trick), Wheatfield Empire (The Guess Who), and Razama-Snaz! (Nazareth).  Join Deke and I as we quiz the writer on these books, the experience of writing them, and rock fandom in general.  This show is guaranteed to be a fun hang.  Make sure you catch it live — have your questions locked and loaded for Robert!

Friday June 18, 7:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

 


The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Meat

Saturday – Episode 72 – Jacob Moon

 

“Jacob is an incredible Canadian talent.” — Andy Curran

If you only know Jacob Moon from his jaw-dropping Rush cover of “Subdivisions”, then you are in for a treat.  That viral video catapulted him to Youtube fame, but he is about so much more than just covers.  With nine albums to his name (so far), Jacob has been around.  When guys like Andy Curran sing his praises, you know he’s seriously good at what he does.  He has also won the admiration of Rush, Marillion, and many more.  What’s it feel like performing a Rush song in front of Rush?  Let’s find out from Jacob himself!

Saturday June 19, 1:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

 

Sunday Screening: Jacob Moon & Adi Berk – “Red Sector A”

Our guest on next Saturday’s LeBrain Train episode is Jacob Moon, talented singer/songwriter/guitarist from Hamilton, Ontario. He has done a number of Rush covers, but never does them “by the book”. He always takes a different angle. His piano-based approach on “Red Sector A” (Adi Berk on keys) is a stark change from the high-tech original. Jacob’s remarkable voice becomes the focus.  Have a listen, and make sure you tune in next week to chat with Jacob himself!

Curran: Round Three! Spending RSD with the Coney Hatch man!

Any time we talk with Andy Curran, we can count on two things:

  1. Amazing rock and roll tales.
  2. A few scoops!

This time out, we got some exclusive information about some new forthcoming Coney Hatch releases.  Andy told us about one of the new songs to be included as a bonus on the new Coney live album, including the title and subject.  He also dropped some details about a new band he’s working with, and involving a certain guitar player from a certain Canadian trio.  Sounds interesting.

We also discussed some other releases Andy has been involved with:  the Triumph Allied Forces box set, Kim Mitchell’s The Big Fantasize, and the Rush box set featuring next week’s guest Jacob Moon.  Best of all, Andy showed us his El Mocambo bass up close and personal, with a detailed story behind it.  He also told us about a charity idea that he has, and he wants your feedback.  If you want a chance to own some Coney Hatch history, this will be of interest.

Thank you Deke and Andy for an awesome Saturday.  Happy Record Store Day!

 

Sunday Screening: Jacob Moon – “Subdivisions”

Continuing with Friday’s theme of cover tunes, one of only a few that made multiple lists was Jacob Moon’s 2008 live rooftop rendition of Rush’s “Subdivions”.  A version that would earn the praise of Rush themselves.  You already heard Moon cover “Something For Nothing” on the 2112 boxed set.  Now hear and see the track that brought him to Rush’s attention in the first place:  “Subdivisions”!

 

Operation: Concept Albums – an epic Nigel Tufnel Top Ten

Concept albums!  A marathon session with a five person panel. The best concept albums in the history of music (the earliest dating back to 1918). Genre busting lists. A rush of inspiring music, from hip to elders.

Aaron kept tabs on the titles and I’ll post them when I get a chance.  There was one album that was a clear winner, and one subject that crossed over multiple albums.  You’ll just have to watch to see for yourself.*

There was some preamble chat about the latest episode of WandaVision, and a bit on Desmond Child.  We hit the lists at 0:21:30 of the stream.

Thanks for checking it out!  Tune in next week for Top Bootlegs with Harrison Kopp, John T. Snow, Buried On Mars and maybe more.  Cheers!

* If you don’t want to see for yourself, you can try to read Aaron’s hand-written notes below!

#841: Happy Canada Day! 11 Tunes

Happy Canada Day from LeBrain HQ to you.  I know this is rough one, a weird one, and a difficult one.  I’m going to ignore the current goings-on and everything else that has to do with Canada Day, and present to you Eleven Canadian Songs You Need to Hear Right Now.  Enjoy!

1. Helix – “Billy Oxygen”

2. Arkells – “Leather Jacket”

3. July Talk – “Picturing Love”

4. The Guess Who – “Albert Flasher”

5. Blue Rodeo – “Side of the Road”

6. Harem Scarem – “Slowly Slipping Away”

7. Rush – “Vital Signs”

8. Gordon Lightfoot – “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” (re-recorded version)

9. Monster Truck – “Don’t Tell Me How to Live”

10. Kim Mitchell – “Rumour Has It”

11. Thor – “Keep the Dogs Away”

Live Stream – “Nigel Tufnel Top Ten” RUSH albums & more! – Saturday May 16

Missed the May 16 live stream? No problem. Watch LeBrain and special guest Uncle Meat below, discussing favourite Rush albums. Then LeBrain dives into Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath singles, and finally makes a surprise purchase live on the stream! We also pay tribute to Fred Willard who passed away at age 86. We’ll miss you Fred.

There has been an audio lag issue with the Facebook live streams which looks like an issue that happens when one person leaves during a split screen.  Going forward I will either have to reboot the stream at that point or use another platform.  Apologies for the audio lag.  Enjoy the show.

 

REVIEW: Max Webster – Diamonds Diamonds (1981)

MAX WEBSTER – Diamonds Diamonds (1981 Anthem)

What a title for your first “greatest hits” compilation, eh?  Diamonds Diamonds emerged the year after Max Webster broke up, with no songs from the final album Universal Juveniles, the only one without Terry Watkinson.  Even though these kinds of posthumous records are usually not very good, Diamonds Diamonds is an exception.  It’s also one of the hardest Max Webster albums to find on CD, but a generous slice of vinyl at 13 tracks and 47 minutes.

“What do I know?” asks Kim Mitchell in the opening line of “Gravity”, the debut number.  Kim knew quite a bit actually, including how to write catchy music without it being overtly commercial.  He knew how to challenge listeners while delivering the hooks they craved.  “Gravity” is one such slice of brilliance.   It’s complex pop.

“High Class in Borrowed Shoes” is a classic rocker from their second album in ’77.  As much as it kicks, the lyrics and keyboard arrangement are not typical.  The title track “Diamonds Diamonds” followed “High Class” on the original album and it does again here.  Like a lullaby, “Diamonds Diamonds” floats on the wings of the backing vocal arrangement.  Next is “Summer’s Up” from the incredible debut Max platter.  Jangling guitars and dreamy keyboards make for a summer scene by the pool side, with drinks.  “Blowing the Blues Away” has a more traditional feel, country and blues and pop rolled into one, with a side order of quirky tones.  But it’ll make you feel good.  Continuing the feel-good celebration, it’s “A Million Vacations”, one of the greatest Canadian party songs of all time.  Kim Mitchell’s guitar work is sublime and baffling at once.

Side A ends with one of Max Webster’s most significant songs, “Let Go the Line” with lead vocals by Terry Watkinson who wrote the song, music and lyrics.  In Max Webster, lyrics were usually handled by the poet Pye Dubois.  In fact he wrote all but two of the lyrics on Diamonds Diamonds.  The two he didn’t (“Blowing the Blues Away” being the other) were written by Watkinson.  “Let Go the Line” could not be improved upon if you tried.  Kim’s regal guitar line, Dave Myles bass pulse, and the thrift of Gary McCracken’s drums are all flawlessly and perfectly fit to Terry’s ballad.  If Max Webster only had one “perfect” song, it’s “Let Go the Line”.

Fearlessly opening side two with furvor, it’s “The Party”!  It’s the off-kilter musicianship on tracks like this that had fans often comparing Max Webster to Frank Zappa.  Frank liked to have fun, too.  Well Max really liked to have fun!  “We’re all here for a celebration, the madcap scene and the Max Machine!”  That says it all.

Every decent “greatest hits” album needs unreleased songs.  Diamonds Diamonds has two decent ones, good songs that might be a bit too mainstream for a Max studio album.  “Hot Spots” is the first, a rip-roaring boogie of a good time.  By comparison, Kim could have recorded it on one of his early solo albums if Max didn’t release it on this.  It is chased by the outstanding “Paradise Skies”, another summery Max hit that keeps Canadian radio stations in business.  Melody and musicianship — that should be Max’s calling card.  The second of the new unreleased tunes is “Overnight Sensation”, the most ordinary (or forgettable) of the tracks.  The bassline really hops, and there’s even some cowbell, but the song isn’t comparable to something like “The Party” or “High Class”.

Although it’s better as an album opener, “Lip Service” (from Mutiny Up My Sleeve) is a bouncer.  “Socialutions, written down in our teens.  I mailed them to Kennedy, I typed them for Tito.”  Brilliance in a pen by Pye Dubois, barely contained by the bopping bass and upbeat keys.  Then before it’s all over it goes into a brief jazzy jam!  Finally it’s “Hangover”, also traditionally an opening song.  It’s the hardest rocker of the bunch, quirky as all hell and actually a good closer too!

Diamonds Diamonds still an important record today because “Overnight Sensation” and the outstanding “Hot Spots” haven’t been reissued on anything else.  You can’t say that about any of the songs on The Best of Max Webster (1989).  This is the one to get.  If you find one on CD, you’ve got yourself a good one.

4.5/5 stars