December 10th, 2004

i'm ready for my close up mr demille

so long Roger

Location: Cheyenne, WY

I just dropped Roger off at a motel here in town.  I was kinda like Bruce Willis at the end of The Last Boyscout; I danced a little jig down the sidewalk on the way back to the truck alone.

..and whatever happened to Taylor Negron? He was one funny fuck.  "I'll show your daughter what a hot date I am."  Classic. He was great as the snarky postman in Better Off Dead, too.

Anyway...  without going into a fullblown story because it's late and I'm tired and cranky, after leaving Redding the other night we had to actually chain-up to go through Shasta on I-5.... uggg.  California requires EIGHT CHAINS on semi-tractors.  Roger and I were soaked from the rain at the base of the mountain... it took us an hour to get them all on and secure.  Of course, this was actually my first time chaining-up.  All kinds of firsts with this trip.  All I can say... the next time chains are required, my ass is going to bed.

Finally got into Medford around 5am.  Then last night coming across Oregon was no picnic either.  A car passed me from the opposite direction on U.S. 97 near Crater Lake.  I gave a look-see in the westcoasts just to make sure my trailer was staying where it should on the treacherous roads as the car was passing me and...  I didn't see the tailights of the car that had just passed me, but I could see them reflected in the side of my trailer... like, really high at an odd angle.  Before I could get out "What the..." I saw the car's headlights in the mirror, at least ten feet off the ground and spinning end over end in a circular motion.

Of course by the time all of this occured I'd already put 1/4 mile between the accident behind me and with the road conditions and it being a two-lane highway with no shoulder, stopping just wasn't an option for me... but there was plenty of traffic heading in the same direction as that unfortuante driver that surely saw it happen as well.  About 15-20 minutes later I got a signal on my cell phone so I called 911 to report the accident, just in case.  They said there was already an officer on the scene.  I hope they're alright...  from what I could tell in my mirrors, it looked pretty nasty.

You all... every one of you, holy freaking good God you write WAY too much.

So I get to spend a day or two in the truck all by myself.  No trying to sleep while the truck is moving... no more of Roger's incessant talking regardless of whether I'm listening or not.  I think ever since the European conspiracy thoery behind 9/11 discussion, I've only engaged in any of his conversations maybe once or twice, outside of, like, talking to him about training stuff.  The rest of the time he would sit there and just talk and talk and talk.  I can't stand people like that. 

I should have a new student by the start of next week.  I'm hoping for some... variety.  Both Paul and Roger were considerably older than me.  Not that it bothers me so much, but I'd like to have a little change-up.  Someone closer to my age would be cool as well as someone younger.  I think the young guys, especially guys who haven't travelled much would be fun to have on the truck, because everywhere we go would be so new to them.  I've always gotten this vicarious pleasure from the new experiences of others...  it's fun being a part of it.

"Westcoasts" are the big, flat mirrors on a truck, as opposed to the small, convex "spots" below them or on the fenders.  "Californias" is synonymous with "westcoasts" but you don't hear that one nearly as often.  Apparently "westcoast" and "California" are synonymous with things that are big and long and if this were on the "pr0n" filter, there might be a joke in there somewhere.

For our next lesson in trucker-speak, we will discuss the difference between the "hammer lane" and the "granny lane".

The downside to Roger getting off the truck is that I'll be lucky to make it to Lexington by Sunday afternoon... just enough time to see my kids then whisk away to Missour-ah for a Monday delivery.
i'm ready for my close up mr demille

Top 100 Albums Project: 100

Over the course of this next year I plan to visit all of my favorite records, one by one in intimate fashion.  My purpose in this undertaking is two-fold.  The primary reason is to turn a critical eye toward my favorite records and  maybe figure out just what it is I love about them so much.  It is a challenge to myself to think about them, pull them apart and assemble it into a review, a love letter, or whatever it becomes.  The secondary reason is that, while doing this, maybe I can turn some of you onto something you're not familiar with.  My favorite albums run from one end of the spectrum to the other and I'm sure there will be something in there that will appeal to everyone on my f-list in some fashion or another.

That said, my favorite 100 records do have a theme running through them.  While there are records I adore from all genres, the bulk of it is decidedly rock and roll.  And a good deal of it is hard rock and roll.  I know where this comes from, actually.  The first rock and roll song I can remember hearing was The Beatles "Revolution" - the rockin' single version and not the pussified doo-wop album version.  It should also be noted that a good deal of this music was recorded in the late 80's to mid 90's.  I make no apologies for this as these were the years I "came of age" musically.  It was at a time in my life when I was DJ'ing college radio and listening to vasts amount of music on a daily basis during the independent label/college rock boom of that era.

I would also like to add that this list is a list of favorites and nothing more.  This is in no way a list of what I think are the "best" records of all time.  Music, and art in general, is subjective for the person who observes it.  I've never been able to be objective about music/art.  I only know that I like it... this little experiment is to be a study of why I like it.  I'm sure my writing on this subject will at times be sentimental, possibly with anecdotes recalling the first time I heard this or that.

Finally, I refrained from having compilations in this list with the exception of one which was too much of a favorite to ignore.  Anthologies by a particular artist, on the other hand, I considered fair game.  I also made no distinction between LP's and EP's -  it's a nit-picky distinction at best in this age of 72 minute albums. Any pre-CD  "LP" would be considered an "EP" by today's standards.

So without further ado....

Soopageek's Favorite 100 Albums

100.  Hustlers Convention - Lightnin' Rod (United Artists, 1973)

It was a full moon in the middle of June in the summer of '59
I was young and cool and shot a bad game of pool and hustled all the chumps I could find
They called me Sport 'cos I pushed the ball short
And I loved all the women to death
I partied hard, packed a mean rod
And I could knock you out with the right or left

And so begins Lightnin' Rod's tall-tale of the Hustler's Convention.  Sport and his main-man Spoon are streetwise hustlers who are befriended by Brother Hominy Grit who has an inside track on the underworld gathering for which the album is named.  The album is filled with colorful characters and chock-full of 70's era jive.  Some of the language is definitely dated but for the most part, it is the same sort of smooth-talking urban dialect you would associate with the blaxploitation flicks of the day.  By the way, if the above quote sounds a little familiar but you've never heard of Lightnin' Rod, go pull out your copy of the Red Hot Chili Peppers Freaky Styley LP and re-visit it.

The music, provided largely by Kool and the Gang, is typical, if not generic, Superfly/Shaft soul-funk.  It permeates like a soundtrack -  providing accompaniment without eclipsing the story.  It provides emphasis and mood rather than being the centerpeice.  In particular I like how "Hammond's Hall Was Big" begins with simple background noises of people talking and honking horns as Sport describes the convention hall where all the hustlers were congregating outside.  The action moves from the sidewalk to the hat-check near the front door and the faint sounds of a band can be heard in the distance.  As Sport and Spoon move inside checking out "Hamhock's Hall" the music grows louder as if you are moving along with them.  Suddenly you realize you're listening to a jump-blues band cover Buddy Miles' "Them Changes".  By the time Sport acknowledges that there is a band in the hall, the music is full-tilt into a Hammond organ solo...  tying the music back to the title of the track.

The real joy here, though,  comes from Lightnin' Rod's cool, pre-rap flow and its predictable rhythm and rhyme scheme.  Like rap, it is often profane and full of street vernacular but is often very poetic....  consider these:

I chose a 20 ounce cue that was just like new
While Stingy been rackin' 'em up
I chalked my tip, snapped the cue like a whip
Then watched the balls erupt

The break was so loud that it hushed the crowd
They all grew quiet and still
I had sunk the one and thus begun
The test of my poolroom skill

I put English on the cue then dropped the two
Then sank the three and the four
Continued my drive by bankin' the five
While Spoon kept track of the score

I dropped the six then just for kicks
Sank the seven and eight
Pocketed the nine and the ten then chalked-up again
While Stingy been ponderin' his fate

I needed one more shot to win this pot
While Slim was prayin' I'd miss
But his hell was my heaven as I sighted the eleven
And sank it on a rail-shot kiss

                                    -"The Break So Was Loud It Hushed The Crowd"

The poker table was crowded and heavily enshrouded
With the smoke of the player's cigars
They were drinkin' and smokin' and snortin' and cokin'
And being watched by two underworld czars

                                  -"Four Bitches Is What I Got"

By all accounts it is a concept album in the truest sense of the word.  Individual tracks can be enjoyed independent of each other however they are best appreciated as a whole.  If you ever come across this record in a bargain bin somewhere, I strongly recommend that you cough-up the few bucks to get it, you won't be sorry.
i'm ready for my close up mr demille

birthday wishes

Hrm, so.. after complaining about how you all write too much... here's yet another entry from me...

Late birthday wishes to laceyunderall.... you old fuck

Happy birthday today to moonpuppy...

and happy future birthday wishes to fujerica

Christ, I got a kid with a birthday next week, too...
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    Happy Birthday To You
i'm ready for my close up mr demille

like a kid in a candy store

Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but I just discovered  I've been running casual searches just to see how well I can find some out of print vinyl I may or may not be interested in purchasing....

They located two copies of Monster Magnet's "Murder/Tractor" 7" for Primo Scree records in 1990 yet they did not find Nerdy Girl's self-titled 10" on vinyl :(...

other things of interest to me:

-US and UK original releases for the Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique gatefold vinyl (not the Grand Royal re-sissue)...
-Dead Moon's Defiance record (albeit listed as in "medium condition" with a price tag of $40 :/) Edit to add duh, "M" stands for mint... that might be worth the 40 bucks!
-Mudhoney's Boiled Beef and Rotting Teeth EP, brand new on CD... but no vinyl.
-no dice on Crain's Speed LP... but a few 7" and splits they did
-Jesus Lizard's "Chrome/7 vs. 8" 7"... $11.50 brand new!
-Freakwater's "Your Goddamned Mouth/War Pigs" 7"... near mint $17.50... ordered!
- God's Acre Ten Gospel Greats LP... CD and vinyl!

plus you can create a notification agent list so that you get an e-mail if someone lists something you're looking for AND they have a wishlist ala Amazon... 

I've been meaning to assemble my favorite records on vinyl, just for the helluvit...  plus a good assortment of 7" stuff that I can go apeshit over... I am so down for this...

Allmusic needs to create a search bar for IE similar to the Yahoo and Google bars... then I would be a happy man.

Edit to add: Chrome's Half Machine Lip Moves original 1979 pressing w/ poster in mint condition... $30! and Public Enemy's Fear Of a Black Planet near-mint $25! *squeal*