Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Not The Best Of 2009: DISAPPOINTMENTS #2 and #3
THEM CROOKED VULTURES
There was an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray's mother shows Ray's wife how to make "sauce." She gives her the family recipe, which Ray's wife follows to a tee, yet the outcome is hardly edible. What happened? Ray's mother sabotages Ray's wife by putting a "basil" label over the jar of "dill." The family wants to like Ray's wife's sauce, but it just doesn't taste right. They know where to go for the real thing.
John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl are the family recipe. Josh Homme is the dill. It's a rhythm section made in hard rock heaven completely sabotaged by Homme's lack of personality and inability to write something of any depth. Lack of experience? Maybe. At least we've learned that Josh Homme has some really good friends.
I wanted to LOVE this record. I did like Nirvana, though I loved the Foo Fighters more. Dave Grohl has proven himself as a singer, songwriter and drummer. As for Jonesy, little needs to be said about his contribution to rock and roll music, as a bass player and a producer and arranger. ("She's A Rainbow" anyone?) What you get on Them Crooked Vultures is just half-assed minutes upon half-assed minutes of a band really wanting to be something, but getting stuck in the Josh Homme trench of boredom. There must be a song somewhere. I just can't find it.
I'd like to point out before all of you do that there is no proof at all that the problems here are all Josh Homme's fault. I just like it better that way.
I don't hate the record, (no really) I'm just disappointed. I DO really hate the track "Elephants," which tries to fit 10 years of Led Zep riffage into one 6 minute nerve-shredder. For your listening pleasure, here is the one track I don't mind, "Scumbag Blues," a not so subtle rewrite of "Strange Brew." As a bonus, listen to my single favorite Zeppelin moment EVER! Check out "Celebration Day" from the Maple Leaf Gardens, 9/4/71, and really pay attention from the 3 minute mark on to hear this band, this monster of a rhythm section specifically, (John Paul Jones & John Bonham for all of you living under a rock), kick some serious metal ass.
"Celebration Day, 9/4/71"
JOHN FOGERTY- THE BLUE RIDGE RANGERS RIDES AGAIN
I want to keep my John Fogerty negativity to a minimum. I like the guy way too much. He's done more than his share for the rock and roll world. Put him in coach, he's ready to play. As my friend once exclaimed, "If he's playing 'Traveling Band,' I'm going." (Shame she wasn't referring to Fogerty, but I digress.) Maybe that's why the grammatically clumsy "Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again" is such a disappointment. Good songs, good players, even good performances. The real question is...why? There's nothing here that's better or even remotely different than any of the original versions. It's like buying the original cast recording of "Beatlemania" instead of "Rubber Soul." Every version, including the songs with special guests Bruce Springsteen & Don Henley play it so safe, you wonder if you actually listened to anything at all. Dullsville, even if Fogerty was bold enough to show that liking John Denver and Rick Nelson is nothing to be ashamed of.
For your listening pleasure, here is nothing from "The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again," but a killer track from Fogerty's 1985 Showtime special with his All-Star dream band that included Booker T. Jones, Duck Dunn, Albert Lee, Prairie Prince, Arnold McCuller, Bobby King and Terry Evans.
"Mary Don't You Weep"