Hey, Rich!!!

Little RichardCertain quintessential artists, I’m ashamed to admit, go overlooked from time to time. And sometimes, that “time to time” duration, which started out as an innocent week or two, grows into a decade of selfish neglect.

I’d seen and heard of Little Richard in the wee days of my youth, and his story was one of the first that drew sympathy and frustration (as far as sympathy for the record industry goes), even at an early age. He was famous, but not as famous as he should have been, if you catch what I’m throwing down.

Little Richard!!! is both an essential compilation of this master’s incredible work, as well as an album in my parents’ record collection. When I get back to Los Angeles, Little Richard will FINALLY get my enthusiastic and undivided attention.

Much Love, Dick ‘73

Clark CoverI shudder to think what unspeakable things happened to the previous owner of this album, Jeanette Cannon, and why her coveted, signed copy of Dick Clark’s 20 Years of Rock N’ Roll was simply lumped in with a string of unlistenable drivel on the bookshelf at my corner thrift store.

I hope Jeanette Cannon had an enthusiastic experience upon meeting Mr. Clark and that every time she played this double LP, she’d look upon Dick’s inscription and, like the timely music found within, would find herself carried off into a warm, blissful memory.

Jeanette CannonI had these thoughts, until my investigatory mind began to churn. You see, back in the day, owners of albums used to bring specific selections of their personal music library to social gatherings and what not, and because they’d all want to make sure they left with the music they’d brought, these planners-ahead would all write their names on the albums, as to squash any confusion upon closing time. Makes sense, right? As you can see, this copy of Dick Clark’s 20 Years of Rock N’ Roll is no different. So, Jeanette Cannon wrote her name on a sticker on the bottom right corner of the cover: Clue #1.

Clark SignedOn the back, next to a dashing picture of Dick Clark holding this very album, which is a nice, Inception-like touch, Mr. Clark writes,

To Jeanette & Freddie

Two good friends

Much Love

Dick ‘73

Jeanette & Freddie… hmm: Clue #2. So I do some quick Google search for Jeanette Cannon in Los Angeles and not much comes up. I paid it no mind, put the record in the “to listen to” pile (a rather large pile, by the way), and didn’t think about it again until this morning when scouring the collection for something to write about. This time, however, I Googled Freddie Cannon, and what I found was something of a pleasant surprise.

According to www.freddycannon.com, the man was quiet famous in the music world of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and went by a name you may have heard of, Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon. This site also confirms that Freddy’s wife’s name is… you guessed it, Jeanette Cannon. What threw me off was the variation in the spelling of Freddy, as Freddie by Mr. Clark, but a few minutes Googling reveals this to be a common alias for Mr. Boom Boom.

So, this double LP was personally presented, by Dick Clark, to Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon, and his wife Jeanette sometime in 1973. It was loved, cherished, toted around to casual dinner parties, and played with an illuminating fondness for the past… that was until about a month ago when I discovered it at a thrift shop and purchased it for $4: Mystery solved.

It’s not often I find signed Dick Clark records at my local thrift stores, but when I do, it’s comforting to know it was a personal gift to Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon and his lovely wife, Jeanette.

1973: Tres Hombres

Tres HombresI’d mistakenly written-off ZZ Top by the time I saw them at Alpine Valley in 2003. It took less than a minute into their first song for me to realize how strikingly wrong I had been about this Texas Blues-Rock band.

I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t already know about these guys. Yes, they formed in 1969. Yes, they’ve been around for over 40 years, yes they are still touring and yes, the three members have ALWAYS been Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard (listed on the back of this album as Rube Beard). What I will impart on you is the desperate suggestion of not doing what I did. Don’t write-off this band without giving them a proper listen. This is 1973, and this is American Blues-Rock at its finest.

Tres Hombres (translates to “Three Men,” courtesy of The Prudent Groove) is ZZ Top’s first Top Ten record, and the band’s third release overall. Although ZZ Top’s First Album (1971) and Rio Grande Mud (1972) offered a glimpse of the unquestionable talents of these “Three Men,” it wasn’t until Tres Hombres and its soul-crushing hit, La Grange, that the music world saw just how incredible this Texas band was.

TracksLa Grange is a nonstop, blood-boiling staple of Blues inspired Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s chock-full of hard-rocking fire with a groove so catchy, you’ll swear you’re hearing it blasting from a dead-silent room. If you ask me, ZZ Top never reached the creative watermark set by La Grange, but looking back at their extensive catalog throughout their 44-year existence, they’ve come pretty damn close a number of times.

Do yourself a favor and pay attention to those rumors spreading around about that brothel outside La Grange, Texas. Word has it they have a lot of nice girls-ah! Oh, and don’t forget a ten-spot for the door.

Just A Little Patience

PatienceThere are few things in life more difficult than writing about something you love. There is the inherent fear of not doing it enough justice, the pressure of saying enough without overdoing it, and the heartbreaking reality that once submitted, it can never come back. Such thoughts currently swim within my brain-melon as I enjoy the masterpiece that Slut Rock heroes, Guns N’ Roses, blissfully exude from their 1989 single, Patience.

Oh, to be back in 1989.

An interesting duo of songs does this 45 pair. Patience, the first track on GN’R’s 1988, and 2nd album, G N’R Lies (which I always thought was an EP), serves as this 45’s A-Side while its counterpart is Rocket Queen, the last track lifted from their penetrating debut album, Appetite for Destruction.

Coupling two random tracks from two separate albums released in two different years, Geffen Records, what I assume, capitalized on the Zeppelin-like popularity of Axel and the boys and pretty much repurposed as much as they possibly could to turn a quick buck. Kudos to you, Mr. Geffen, sir. I’m a victim of your selfish marketing ploy. I could understand, and forgive, if the two tracks on this single were alternate takes, live versions, or acoustic/rock versions of their respected rock/acoustic originals. But… no. Same ol’ music packaged with a new cover. (Oh! Navy Seals!)

Patience is one of those songs that I’ve been able to play in my head at anytime I thought it up. I’m working on a philosophy loosely based on the idea that if you listen to any song a number of times, it’ll be added to your mind’s “permanent playlist” and anytime you think up that song, you can “hear” it in its entirety within the personal stereo system in your head. I haven’t named it yet, but I’m leaning towards Mind JAMZ 2K-Infinity… just kidding.

BackRocket Queen, to me, always seemed like a last minute addition to an album already peaking into the red of perfection. It’s a solid, straight forward hard rocker… little aggression, little in-your-face provocation, but your trusty run-of-the-mill, not-terrible-but definitely skippable rock n’ roll jam. I’ve got a buddy who is a diehard GN’R fan who actually saw them during their Use Your Illusion tour back in ’91. He claims Rocket Queen is the best track off Appetite, and therefore GN’R’s best. Although I’ll disagree with him, often violently, I respect his opinion and therefore the existence of Rocket Queen.

The Patience single is definitely not a necessity, but it paints an interesting two-song landscape with its bizarre pairing. It may be blasphemous to some, but Guns N’ Roses never came close to matching the brilliant achievements of Appetite for Destruction. I will however stand by my claim that whenever you hear GN’R on the radio, you are listening to the best possible song playing on any radio station at that moment.