Saturday, August 29, 2009

Comboland Mailbag - The Othermothers

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Before I get in to the subject matter of the post a reminder....

Arrogance is at the Cat's Cradle on September 19th!! This is their 40th anniversary year. If you missed the March show DO NOT miss this one. Along with Don Dixon, Robert Kirkland, Marty Stout, Scott Davison and Robert Kirkland the show will feature the original lineup again with Jim Glasgow and Mike Greer, and include percussionist Ogie Shaw who was a member when the first album was released. You will be hearing more about this show in the next few weeks. Make plans now to go. Don't let it slip up on you. More details as they are finalized can be found here, at the Arrogance website, their MySpace and Facebook pages, and from the Arrogance Street Team.

I got the coolest package in the mail the other day. A couple of months ago I got a Facebook message from Othermothers drummer Tommy Cowett informing me of the re-release of the rocking EP "No Place Like Home". The new CD has 4 additional songs which will please fans of the Othermothers. The new CD is titled "Back For More", which is a perfect title as they are out playing gigs again. Tommy offered to send me a copy which I gladly accepted. I received it along with a DVD a friend of theirs put together, and all of the band members signed the CD. Neat touch!

I remember first hearing about this record through my friends Robert Kirkland and Steve Haigler, the producer and engineer for the EP. I may have still been working at Reflection Studios at the time but my memory is fuzzy. I DO remember Steve telling me how hot this band was, and how great the recordings sounded. I had a cassette copy of the EP and listened to it a bunch!! This was one of the many bands from the early to mid 80's that should have made it through. Hey... they made it further than most with the EP getting released on Making Waves Records in the UK, benefiting from the "Comboland" project undertaken by Godfrey Cheshire. This is a high energy record, with that "punk" edge and hyper-tempo beat, but with great hooks and melodies. Plus the band has the musicianship to pull it all off.

The Othermothers started playing shows again this year and if you have been fortunate enough to see them play you can attest to the fact that they still got it! There are a few YouTube videos to prove it too. If you haven't seen them you do have a couple of chance coming up. They will be playing at The Tate Street Festival in Greensboro on September 26th, the at the Blind Tiger on October 9th. I don't see a link to buy the CD on the MySpace page but I'll bet they are selling them at the shows. I'll also bet you could buy one from them by emailing the band through the Othermothers MySpace page. It is worth seeking out! When you DO get it it won't just sit in your collection. You'll want to listen to it!!!

I honor of the new release I am putting a couple of tunes from "Back For More" in the "Heavy" rotation in the Comboland Radio playlist, which is usually where I put new music.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Letter To Terry Anderson of The OAK Team...

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Dear Terry,

What are you trying to do to me man?!? I mean I look at the WhassupTA blog nearly every day. (I especially loved the pictures from your recent "procedure"!) I check the schedule of gigs over at Doublenaught Records on a regular basis. I try to check the 2 Myspace pages you occupy. Now I find out that there is an OAK Team gig.... TONIGHT!!! Man you are killing me!

You know my wife is a monster fan. Now she is calling me on the telephone and yelling in my ear asking questions like "What are you durin wit all of yo damn free time? "Boy.... u 'posed to keep up wit thangs like the OAK Team's schedule!"

Man... I saw the Yayhoos dates listed. Somehow I missed the OAK Team gig. And I am now in the doghouse. And when I next see my wife I will be receiving an Ass-Kickin' like you have never seen.

I went to bed last night a 10:30p, and got up for the day job at 4:30a. If we do make the three and a half hour drive to Raleighwood tonight I'll be the one with a sore ass and toothpicks in my eyelids.

Your Friend,


The Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team will ROCK the Berkley Cafe tonight (8/28) as they open for The Bottle Rockets. Don't miss it. If you do you deserve to get a swift kick in the....

Also... OAK Team fans can hear an interview on US 98.3's Homegrown Hour Sunday week (Non-Hick Translation.. that's not this Sunday but Next Sunday, September 6th). Host Mike Elliot is an OAK Team fan himself so the show show be great! You can listen online at the US 98.3 website.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thinking Of Memphis

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Memphis is one of my favorite cities. I didn't discover the magic of the place itself until later in life, but have been a fan of the music that has come out of that place since I was a kid. Going there now one can only wonder what it must have been like to have been there when music history was being made. Country, Soul, R&B, Rock And Roll, Blues, Jazz, Gospel, all have a place in the music history of "The River City". Certainly great music could be heard but Memphis has had it's share of heartbreak and tension as well.

I think of Memphis this week because of two people.

First is Jim Dickinson who died last week. Musician, producer, he really could do it all. I'll point you to a couple of articles from folks who are better writers than I to tell his story. From the PowerPop blog and Steve Simels, and from the Commercial Appeal in Memphis. What a life this guy had! And what an influence on the world of music too.

Second is Al Bell. This former disk jockey would later work at, then own, Stax Records. Now I do love me some Motown but Stax is tops for me when it comes Soul and R&B. I also get infuriated when I see a list of Motown artists that includes Sam and Dave and Otis Redding. So when a radio industry site I frequent noted that yesterday, 8/18, was the anniversary of the dissolving through forced bankruptcy of Stax I had to follow the link to a New York Times article about Al Bell. It is the story of how a great record company came to a sudden end, and about a great man who has continued to persevere. For anyone that thinks making music is all fun and games... read this. You'll be amazed.

Now... don't forget to listen to Comboland Radio for at least 2 hours a day, and tell all of your friends about it too!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Go See One Of These Bands Friday 8/21

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What is it about August 21st? It this coming Friday, and it is a day that Comboland Music will be played live and loud!

Ok... I know that other bands will be playing that night so email me and I'll add it to the post. BUT... three of my faves will all be playing that night and you can't go wrong with any of them.

The Othermothers came out of "retirement" a few months ago and have been playing a few gigs since. The will be at the Somewhere Else Tavern in Greensboro along with Patrice Pike, Tiffany Shea Band, Dreamkiller, and Your Friend. Still waiting for the CD release they have coming out. If you go to this show the Othermothers won't disappoint. Just check out this video and see for yourself.

Mitch Easter is playing some gigs before the 21st, at Southpaw in Brooklyn, NY on the 18th, Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ on the 20th, then to The Garage in Winston-Salem on the 21st.

And the Spongetones are at the Double Door in Charlotte, along with the Cruise-O-Matics.

Go see one of those shows!!!! And tell everyone there about Comboland Radio!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Greer LP on CD!!! And Other News And Additions

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I am entering the busiest week of an already busy summer with the day job. Still I have a bit of time on a Sunday morning for a couple of quick tweaks and additions to Comboland Radio.

With the Arrogance show coming up September 19th at the Cat's Cradle it is an odd bit of coincidence that I found the Greer album "Two Worlds"... ON CD! Michael Slawter posted a song from the LP on his "NC Music History" blog and there were a few comments but none mentioning the availability of this album on CD. So I can only assume that few know of this. Mike Greer was an original member of Arrogance, along with Don Dixon, Robert Kirkland, and Jim Glasgow. All perform on this album with Bobby Locke and David Niblock and future Arrogance member Marty Stout appearing as well. The CD version was released in 2008 on the UK label, Erebus Records". Their description of the CD is:

"Obscure artifact out of a local scene that produced cult music for a 15-year period; this is a powerful trip in a song-oriented 1970s British rock/hardrock style, with psych moves on the two long epics. Plenty of raw guitar, some piano and synth, heartfelt vocals, all wrapped in a consistent package that displays talent and self-confidence. May be too much of a '70s mainstream sound for some, and indeed it would have deserved to come out on a major label. Should appeal to fans of Felt on Nasco." --Acid Archives. As with all Erebus Records titles, this was remastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. It is presented here for the first time on CD."

Uh... some would dispute that "15 year period"! But the rest is an enthusiastic recommendation of a great lost LP. I found the CD while doing a search on eBay for missing pieces of Comboland music. I can't remember what prompted me to enter "Greer" into the search box. And there is nothing else related to Arrogance or Dixon, two regular searches, in the product description. I have found none for sale from US sellers, only from the UK. The quality of the CD is excellent! The only downside is the back cover artwork which is from the back cover of the LP as if it were shrunk down to CD size. The type was small to begin with but now is nearly impossible to read, especially with 52 year old eyes that were never that good to begin with! Still... that is the only downside to this release. Everything else is right on.

According to the new liner notes for the CD two of the tracks, "Night Of Dreams" and "Send Me Back" were originally recorded in 1971 and intended to be on the first Arrogance album. All of the tracks were produced by Don Dixon, who also did the cover photography, and sister Susan Dixon the illustration. Reflection Sound Studios owner Wayne Jernigan was the engineer.

I would be interested and any other information on this CD release... like how it came about... hopefully Mike is getting a percentage of the sales. If so I would get it from Erebus instead of used on eBay. Price with shipping would be about the same anyway. For you Arrogance/Dixon completest this is a must have item.

I am going to put a couple of cut from this into heavy rotation for a few weeks so be sure to listen to Comboland Radio for an hour or two everyday!

Also going in this week cuts from Mark Kano's band Athenaeum, from the first self titled CD (green cover) released in '95 and their second CD "Radiance" from '98. Tunes from Mark's new solo release are already playing on Comboland Radio.

Finally Don Dixon is not retiring even though many of us thought so after reading an earlier blog on his Myspace page. He recently played with the Cosmopolitans at their reunion, and will be with Arrogance on September 19th, The Jump Rabbits in Charlotte on October 24th. He is also hitting the road with wife Marti Jones for some gigs in October! It will be great to hear Marti again... and one of the gigs is in Norfolk, VA which is where us OBX'ers go for culture and better shopping. MUCH closer than Raleigh! Check Dixon's pages for a gig near you. And don't forget to check out his book!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Recent Additions and Must See Shows!!!

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Don't miss this show tonight!! If you are close by The Cat's Cradle you really should go see "The Cosmopolitans" as they play together for the first time in 27 years. N&O writer David Menconi has an article about the reunion that is worth checking out. But go check out that show if at all possible. It will be stellar indeed.

And... Don Dixon and Mitch Easter will be on stage too!!! So the Cosmopolitans and two of North Caolina's... and the World's... finest musicians/songwriters/producers on stage at The Cradle!!! Make it if you can! I wish I could... but summer is my busy season with the day job and there are some personal obligations that will keep me at home this weekend. Anytime you can see Dixon or Mitch on stage you really should make the effort. That goes for the Cosmopolitans too!!!

With a beach based business summer is it!! Add to that the sad fact that I have the smallest staff in our station cluster's history this leaves me little time and less energy to devote to Comboland Radio or to go see shows. However a little of both have occurred.

I did get to see Southern Culture On The Skids a few weeks ago. They come to the Outer Banks at least once a year and always draw a crowd. They usually do 2 shows which is somewhat unusual for bands out here. They pack the Port 'O Call both nights every time. They put on a great show too... which is why the place is packed. The performance seems so effortless partially because they get a LOT of practice playing their tunes. That also seem to have a ton of fun on stage. They played most all of the songs we wanted to hear and played a few new tunes from an upcoming CD planned for release in October. Man I can't wait for THAT! I couldn't tell you the names of the new tunes they played as I was enjoying all aspects of not being the DD but I can tell you they were good! Check their website and go see SCOTS when you can.

As far as song additions I switched up the "current" tunes from the latest Spongetones CD, Hammer No More The Fingers and Embarrassing Fruits. I added more tunes from one of my new faves Stratocruiser, specifically from their "Revolution" CD which is not available via download but worth getting. I also added tunes from all three albums from Ed James.

Finally.... In one of my last blogs I mentioned "Bullwinkel Gandhi" and that I had added songs from their 1994 CD "Kung Pow". Founding member Ronald Tucker is quite the prolific songwriter and band starter-upper!! Angelo at "Power Pop Criminals" labels him as a genius and I can't really argue with that! Ronald has a great way for you to catch with all of the different musical projects he has undertaken from 1983 to today. He has a CD called "Catch Up". It has 80 songs, photos, artwork, video and more. Now its NOT a CD you can slap into your conventional CD player... unless it will play MP3s and some will. It is a data CD but is is loaded with some great music! The price is on $16.99 plus shipping. I bought it recently and will be adding many of the tunes to Comboland Radio. At 16.99 you can't go wrong! As Ronald points out on his web site that is less than 22 cents a song!!!

It may be awhile before I can sit down and write a blog but I frequently make a few changes and additions to the playlist at Comboland Radio so keep listening, and tell your friends they need to listen for at least an hour a day!