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4:31 p.m. - December 31, 2007
A Hard Rockin' Mix To Debut The Rockin' Page Epoch Of Smed's Corner, Volume 1
You know, if I was rational, reasonable, or something-else-able, I’d wait until 2008 to make the first post in the ‘all music’ format. But I’m not and I need a break after dissecting some gift entry processes.

I recently made some mixes for someone who has helped me out a lot here in Minneapolis, and I delivered them yesterday. So let’s examine one of them, shall we? Why not.

Warning: you need to get your rockin’ shoes on. Go find them…I’ll wait. You see, this one definitely is old school and new school rock and roll, baby. Let’s crank those 8-tracks, er, walkmen, er…iPods high now.

(PS – Do you all prefer links, or embedded video? I’ve linked all of the YouTube videos but I can embed them if you all want. Up to you!)

1. Rock Bottom – UFO. This band is rather much forgotten now, except for those of us who remember who the heck Michael Schencker was. He was originally one of the Scorpions, along with his brother Rudolf, but the more talented Michael soon found his way to UFO, filling in for Mick Bolton. UFO’s sound got harder and they became a minor metal phenomenon, thrilling whoever loved skinny Germans rocking out with Flying V’s. This song, especially, kicked some serious tail. Here is a clip( of them performing “Rock Bottom” on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. Unfortunately, this clip is a little more restrained than the record. Ah, well, lovers of shirtless Germans, unite!

2. Combination – Aerosmith. Early Aerosmith had a SOUND that was unique and recognizable. There’s a low rumbly springy tone on the guitars of Joe Perry and Brad Whitford and the bass of Tom Hamilton that really anchor the songs from this era. In doing some research, I didn’t realize that Tom Hamilton co-wrote “Sweet Emotion” and not Joe Perry. Well, then, the more you know. This is a video a fanmade for the song.

3. Theme For An Imaginary Western – Mountain. The other day, I found myself singing the melody of this song stepping out of the shower. Yeah, I know, I’m weird. At any rate, this band made it safe for non-skinny people to rock-and-roll. Look at Lesley West! A man-mountain before his time. BTW – Felix Pappalardi, the bassist, was the producer for Cream and this tune was slated for a Cream album before they split up. I can definitely hear Jack Bruce singing this one.

4. Warrior – Wishbone Ash. I had forgotten about this band until I read how much Bob Stinson of the Replacements loved them in the latest book on the Replacements by Jim Walsh. And of course, I had to go check ‘em out and by gosh, there’s a precursor to the great sound of classic Thin Lizzy, with the dueling guitars. Though their look left something to be desired. Not exactly a rough and tumble image, there, lads.

5. A New Day Yesterday – Jethro Tull. This was the lead cut from their second album, and it shows Tull exploring the blues with some heavy guitar. This is a few miles away from songs like “Living In The Past” or “Thick As A Brick” because it’s just heavy. Ian Anderson is just insane, though.

6. Iron Butterfly Theme – Iron Butterfly. Oh, I’ve said quite a bit about this in the past. I still don’t think you can really dance to it, though!

7. No No No – Deep Purple. Wow, this is rockin’ old school. I hope you youngsters are getting a lesson about rockin’ out. You don’t have to be the fastest, or loudest, you just have to be HEAVY. And having a guitarist play in a witch’s hat (or is that a pilgrim’s hat?) doesn’t hurt your heavy.

8. Heaven And Hell – Black Sabbath. As Sabbath scholars know, this is Sabbath Mk. II, with Ronnie James Dio. Now, nothing can really compare to the first few Sabbath slabs of sludge, but they were revitalized, and Diois a better songwriter than people give him credit for. But he has had trouble working and playing with others, though choosing to work with Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi could also drive one to megalomania.

9. Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation – AC/DC. Isn’t it weird to see AC/DC on shows like Top of the Pops or their equivalents? I mean, if any band was anti glitz and glamour and pop, it’s AC/DC.

10. Hot And Nasty – Black Oak Arkansas. Jim Dandy was the David Lee Roth of his time. Unfortunately, the three (count ‘em) guitarists didn’t add up to 1/5th of Eddie Van Halen, and they were rather much unfocused at times (or perhaps too focused on one thing). But in the mid-70’s, Black Oak Arkansas would rock the masses at the summer fest as 30,000 shirtless males would pound beers and smoke weed as the sun blazed down on them, ensuring they passed out before headliners Grand Funk took the stage. When they woke up, they made sure they bought a Black Oak Arkansas 8-track tape because they remembered them, not realizing that most all of their songs sounded the same. Ah, well.

11. Pan Am Highway Blues – ZZ Top. From the Tejas album, I wasn’t able to find a clip of them doing this song. Perhaps because it was on an album that was their last record before a three-year hiatus, and it wasn’t played much on the radio (if at all). But it’s a great tune, showcasing Billy Gibbons’ slide guitar and wry lyrics such as “I’ve gotten good at missing her / I practice all the time…”

12. Burning Down One Side – Robert Plant. Right out of the box, Plant’s solo career starts with a song that wouldn’t be out of place on a late-period Zep album. Yes, that’s Phil Collins on drums on this cut. Can’t you tell? (Not that he’s in the video, but still…Collins was EVERYWHERE then.)

13. Allied Forces – Triumph. Oh, man, this clip pegs this era, doesn’t it? Gotta love the early 80’s video game technology tie ins. I didn’t realize the drummer sang this one, either. My favorite joke about these guys is: “Triumph is like Rush, except they'reCanadian…hey….”

14. Easy Money – King Crimson. I’ve got a chubby for this era of King Crimson, recently, and no, I don’t need to talk to my doctor about it. They were heavy, intricate, and brilliant. Do they still have concerts in Central Park New Yorkers? I wonder if the rich neighbors said anything about the rockin’ out that was going on – or did it just add to the cacophony of the city?

15. Who’s Behind The Door – Zebra. At times, they were the poor man’s Triumph, who was…well…you get the drift. But they had moments, and a cheesy, dated video to boot!

16. Crystal Skull – Mastodon. OK, I know that Mastodon doesn’t really fit in with these other geezers, except that Mastodon was wrought from a lot of these influences, speeded up and given a modern crunch and oooomph. And they do have crunch and oomph! They also have hair, so that fits too.

OK, I now pronounce you rocked out.

 

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