Friday, January 25, 2008

Where Are They Now?--Drivin N Cryin

Drivin N Cryin was basically a college band in the mid-'80s South that surfaced nationally for a brief stint in the early '90s, beginning with their 1990 release Fly Me Courageous. MTV gave the videos for the title track and "Build A Fire" (especially "Build A Fire") quite a lot of air time. The follow-up album Smoke (1993) was a mild success, and then they largely faded out of the national spotlight.

So, how to describe Drivin N Cryin? Maybe southern-fried pop with a heavy metal influence... Or, rather a hybrid form of southern rock with heavy metal influence, but a pop sensibility... whatever it was, I liked it.

Their rise to some prominence definitely followed the same post-hair-metal era (ushered in by Guns N' Roses, when Axl let his hair down) opening that the Black Crowes ('Best New American Band' of 1990 according to Rolling Stone's readers poll) rushed through. In fact, the introductory guitar hook of the album-opener "Around The Block Again" sounds ripped right out of the Black Crowes playbook. (Of course, the Black Crowes playbook is more or less lifted directly from the Rolling Stones, as percolated through a combination Lynyrd Skynyrd/Aerosmith filter). In any event, the second track "Chain Reaction" and particularly the album-closing "Rush Hour" both have riffs that would've been quite comfortable on a Megadeth album! The mid-section of the album includes a couple songs ("For You", "Let's Go Dancing" and to some extent "The Innocent") that emphasize the lighter edge ("cryin' side") of their music. Throughout the entire album, however, the melodies are never lost--even in the heaviest of their "drivin' side" moments.

And, let me just say here that lead singer/guitarist Kevin Kinney has one hell of a cool voice. Love it!

Kinney also wrote the band's lyrics, which have been described as Dylan-influenced. Of course, most of the lyrics of any note in the last 45 years have been Dylan-influenced to some degree or another. I don't think I'm 100% convinced I would jump to the "Dylanesque" tag, on this album at least. But, there are some lyrical moments I enjoy: "Lost in the middle, but I kept my shuffle/Stuck in the Blues, but I just kept jokin'/In the city where all schemes are tested/So many names, so many numbers/So much to do, but I never felt so lonely" ("Lost In The Shuffle") and "I stopped a freight train with a grain of sand/Can't you hear it crashing?/I split a mountain in two with a flake of snow/Still they won't believe me" ("Let's Go Dancing") are two examples.

Rediscover this's a pretty cool ride.

Around The Block Again
Chain Reaction
Fly Me Courageous
Look What You've Done To Your Brother
For You
Let's Go Dancing
The Innocent
Lost In The Shuffle
Build A Fire
Rush Hour


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Life's The Same, Except For My Shoes

Today, we take a brief look at the eponymous debut of The Cars. I totally and completely love this album. There, I said it. And I meant it. The Cars were a breath of fresh air to this child of the late-'70s/early-'80s, especially given my sheltered Midwestern upbringing in which I completely missed the whole punk movement. Hell, I didn't really "discover" punk until high school in the mid-'80s, and didn't really get it until I went away to college in 1988. So, for this classic-rock-is-in-my-DNA boy, The Cars were as off the beaten path as I got at the time. And, by Heartbeat City, they'd lost me for good--too damned pop.

But, man, this debut album is killer!

All songs written by Ric Ocasek except where noted.

Side One
"Good Times Roll"
My Best Friend's Girl"
Just What I Needed"
"I'm in Touch With Your World"
"Don't Cha Stop"
Side Two

"You're All I've Got Tonight"
"Bye Bye Love"
Moving in Stereo" (Greg Hawkes, Ocasek)
"All Mixed Up"

Quick review: If you absolutely NEED to trim anything, drop "I'm in Touch With Your World" and "Don't Cha Stop". I'm not recommending that per se. But, if I had to, I could live without them. The rest are stone-cold-classics...e-fucking-ssential! The hard-edged rock of "Bye Bye Love" leading directly into the spacey "Moving in Stereo"* followed directly by the the desperate longing of "All Mixed Up" is such a wonderful way to end an album it almost defies description.

[ * Yes, the song that plays in Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Phoebe Cates reveals her greatest assets, via "Brad" and his innermost poolside bathroom fantasies. ]

"Good Times Roll", "My Best Friend's Girl", "Just What I Needed", and "You're All I've Got Tonight", are those really all on one album?! And, it's not even a greatest hits album?!! Amazing, isn't it? Actually, only the first three of those were released as singles. I was surprised to learn that "You're All I've Got Tonight" was not. As many times as I've heard that on the radio, I would've thought it was the biggest hit of all of them.

The long ago marginalized (in my mind, at least) Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums lists it as #282...if anyone still cares.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Sarah Connor?

''Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles''

Is this going to be worth watching? Last night was OK, I guess, picking up where T2 left off. But, maybe I just really want this to be good, for no other reason than T2 was the coolest movie in history at the time it came out.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Lyrical Quotation of the Week, Vol. 1

"Well, they say that Sidney Poitier was a blind man
And they say that LBJ was a Soviet Jew
When I get down to Florida, child
There ain't no kind of sexual healing that I would-not-could-not-or-should-not do..."

Quoted from memory, based on listening on Tuesday to a b**tleg of a 1985 live performance...estimated accuracy > 95%, though.

50 cool points for commenters naming the artist and/or song title (100 cool points for getting both!!!)...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Well, that was just weird.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 07, 2008

Adventures in Capitalism, Vol. 1

Sure, he's not generating wealth at Oprah levels. But, he does alright for a relatively goofy looking guy with a porn moustache and a giant, bald head, not to mention an accent that sounds more like a small town tow truck driver than clinical psychologist (or whatever the hell he's supposed to be).
Dr. Phil, we at Haahnster's Hallucinations (which is really just me) salute you. Keep churning out those self-help books, and I'm bound to buy one sooner or later.


Classic Rock Radio

I've been spending such a large % of my available music-listening time on b**tlegs and other 'unofficial' recordings (side note: my available music-listening time is much less than I'd like, mainly confined to the car), that I've lost touch with a lot of old favorites. Lately, when I switch CDs in my car stereo, I will catch a sliver of a tune on the local classic rock radio station to which my FM dial is tuned. Usually, it's some crapola by the Eagles, and I can't get the next CD in fast enough (yes, I've heard of multi-disc changers, or even car-compatible media players...let's not go there at the moment). But, recently, there have been a few gems that have stopped me from inserting the disc, and resulted in some actual listening enjoyment. In no particular order:

"Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who -- Quite possibly THE quintessential early-'70s classic rock song. Damn! This one (and its LP home, Who's next) I might need to spend some time with in the near future. Better yet, I've got my Who DVD set (Christmas present) that I need to report out on soon...Anyway, it makes me wonder how many people there are now who only know this band from CSI theme songs...

"Come Together" by The Beatles -- I caught the last two thirds of this one over the weekend, and enjoyed it MUCH more than I would've anticipated. Not much else to say here..."Got to be good lookin'/'Cause he's so hard to see"...brought a smile to my face like I was hearing it for the first time. Nice.

"For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield -- As big a Neil Young fanatic as I am, I should probably spend more time on the Springfield years, although this was a Stills tune anyway. Something about the classicly simple drum beat juxtaposed with the stinging guitar runs, all backing the vaguely revolutionary-sounding lyrics (though inspired by an incident on the Sunset Strip that had ZERO to do with a Viet Nam War protest) make this a dawn-of-the-late-'60s classic. "Paranoia strikes deep..." indeed!

"We Will Rock You" by Queen -- I think I could listen to this song 10 times a day without tiring of it (STOMP, STOMP, CLAP...STOMP, STOMP, CLAP...). Unfortunately, it is ALWAYS followed on the radio by "We Are the Champions", which is a fine song, but one I could easily go another 10 years without hearing again.

"Mama Let Him Play" by Doucette -- Do they play this song outside the Midwest? I hadn't heard it in years before this weekend, in any event. Really catchy tune. "Mama let that boy/Play some rock and roll/Jazz is much too crazy/He can play it when he's old/He's too young for the blues/He's still inside his first pair of shoes....he's just a baby!" OK, admittedly, it doesn't read like great poetry by any means. Still a cool rock song, though. Love that sounds-like-it-was-recorded-under-water guitar solo!!!

OK, that's it for now. Enjoy your day!


Friday, January 04, 2008

Obama & Huckabee Win In Iowa?!?!!

Someone please explain some things to me...

I heard that Democrats turned out in about double the number of Republicans (like 230,000 vs. 120,000 or something like that). Yet, the chart I saw showed Obama "winning" with 940 to 744 for Edwards and 737 for Clinton. Exactly how the f-ck do they count votes in Iowa? I'm coming up with less than 2,500 there. Must be a shitload of 'undecideds'!!!

Question: Does anyone really believe Huckabee will be the Republican nominee? If not, does that imply that Obama's win is just as meaningless?

On to New Hampshire, another completely-unrepresentative-of-the-country-at-large state!!!

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 03, 2008

OOPS! Belated Holiday Wishes

This is for those who did not receive our Christmas card in the mail (which is everyone, since the one-hour photo didn't inform me they were out of envelopes until I picked up the cards, which was totally last-minute anyway, and I just gave up on sending them out at all. Shame, too, it's such a good picture of the kids.)

Labels: , ,

Kenny vs. Spenny

Have you seen this shit? I've only recently discovered this show on Comedy Central. Yes, it's asinine, juvenile, even embarrassing to watch. But, I've laughed harder at the two episodes of this show that I've seen (loudest fart contest, and staying blindfolded for 3 days contest) than I've laughed at anything else in YEARS!!!

Labels: , ,