Tag Archives: 1978

The summer of the Stones

Heard the other day that it’s been 40 years this month since the Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” LP charted in America. That record always takes me right back to that summer. I wanted to write about that, to try to re-create that summer of 1978, but it’s been a challenge.

That was the first summer I lived away from home. I worked at the newspaper in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the first of my 38 summers in the news business. Though a journalist, I never kept a journal. Nor can I find all of my old newspaper clips. Among what I can find, there are none from 40 years ago this week.

In the summer of 1978, when I was 21, I lived in a place called Beaver Lodge. One of my six roommates drove an old GTO. We had a spectacular accident with Johnny’s Goat one day. I didn’t have a girlfriend that summer, just as in all the summers that preceded it.

I started running that summer, wearing an old pair of adidas flats and pounding the streets near the base of the TV tower at the end of the block. I also often walked a couple of blocks to the park and shot baskets. I set my radio at the base of the pole. There, I heard “Miss You,” the first single from “Some Girls.”

The nice inner sleeve on my copy of “Some Girls” suggests I bought it at Inner Sleeve Records in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. Probably did so during a visit home, perhaps for my birthday in June, just after it came out. Mike gave you a nice sleeve when you bought a new LP at the Sleeve.

My LP has the original die-cut cover that featured several celebrities who hadn’t approved of the use of their image.

40 years ago tonight, on Wednesday, July 19, 1978, the Rolling Stones brought the Some Girls Tour to the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston. They played eight of the 10 cuts from “Some Girls” in the middle of the show. Nine days earlier, they’d played the St. Paul Civic Center, just 90 minutes from where I lived. But back then, going to shows was not something I did.

For as much as I’ve long loved this record, I’ve always been a Beatles man, and not a Stones man. I have only three Stones records. This one and the great live “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” plus the “Hot Rocks” comp. I’ve sold some others. I vividly recall the baffled and vaguely disgusted looks I got from co-workers when I passed on seeing the Stones at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison in 1994.

Yet what was the last song on the iPod as I finished working out yesterday?

Yep, the Stones. From that record. From that summer.

“Respectable,” the Rolling Stones, from “Some Girls,” 1978.


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Filed under July 2018, Sounds

Shadoobie, sizzling, sizzling

This was one of the stops on the Great Heat Wave Road Trip earlier this month.

That day, July 5, brought plenty of sun and temperatures in the 90s. It didn’t seem all that different from 34 summers before, when I’d walk to that park, set my AM/FM radio at the base of that pole, flip it on and start shooting baskets.

In the summer of 1978, I was 21 and lived a couple of blocks away at a place we called Beaver Lodge. It was a three-bedroom cement-block house in a gritty, seen-better-days business district just off Highway 53 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

All the fuss over the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary brings me back to this place. That summer, the “Some Girls” LP came out. Starting with “Miss You,” its songs lit up the radio that sat at the base of that basket.

I picked up “Some Girls” so quickly that my copy has this early version of the original — and quickly withdrawn — die-cut cover. It featured several celebrities who hadn’t approved of the use of their image.

That’s Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball in the top row, Jayne Mansfield and Brigitte Bardot in the second row, Farrah Fawcett in the third row and Raquel Welch in the fourth row.

The songs, of course, are what I remember most. Rocking out to “Respectable.” Digging the laid-back cover of the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).”

And on that basketball court at Highland Park, getting into a groove to the background vocals of “Shattered.” They got into my head and stayed there. They’re still there.

“Shadoobie, shattered … shadoobie, shattered, shattered.”

It is by far my favorite Stones record. Any one of its 10 cuts takes me right back to that hot summer of 1978, to that basketball court at that park. Yet as I listened to it again the other night, a most unexpected cut jumped out at me. Either I didn’t appreciate it much at the time or I’d forgotten how much fun it was.

“Far Away Eyes,” the Rolling Stones, from “Some Girls,” 1978. (The buy link is to a deluxe edition released in 2011.)

In which the boys go country, taking a road trip through Bakersfield and listening to the radio. Mick Jagger’s twang is not at all convincing but I dig it nonetheless. Ron Wood’s pedal steel guitar is much more authentic.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.


Filed under July 2012, Sounds

Oh, yeah, and get off my lawn, too

It started innocently enough on Facebook earlier today.

My friend Gary shared a link to the Tap ‘N’ Run 4K, a series of short races in the Midwest in which the runners dress in costume and stop for beer along the way.

“It’s like they developed this event just for me!” Gary said.

I saw that and said “You’ve not heard of the Beer Belly Two?”

The Beer Belly has been a Green Bay tradition for the last 23 years, offering beer, root beer or water at rest stops along the two-mile course.

Until this year, that is.

“Beer Belly doesn’t let you drink during the race anymore,” Gary’s friend wrote.

Sad but true. Even though there had never been a problem in any of the previous 23 years, the authorities nixed the beer on the Beer Belly course for this morning’s race. Oooh, it violates the open container ordinance, they fretted. Oooh, there might be underage drinking, they fretted.

Which comes as no surprise from a community that also has banned skateboarding downtown.

We now call Mr. Dave Edmunds to the stand.

I’m tired of you telling me what I ought to do
Stickin’ your nose in my business, don’t concern you
It’s my own business, it’s my own business
Seems like the ones that want to tell you
They don’t ever know as much as you

“It’s My Own Business,” Dave Edmunds, from “Tracks On Wax 4,” 1978. It’s out of print but is available digitally.

It’s a cover of a little-known Chuck Berry song off his “Fresh Berrys” LP from 1966. It covers some of the same ground as “Too Much Monkey Business,” another of my fave Chuck Berry tunes from 1956.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under June 2012, Sounds, Sounds like bull to me

Bonnie and Dave and the boys

After the passing of NRBQ drummer Tom Ardolino last week, I ripped some covers of NRBQ songs, then decided against using them in that post. It was getting plenty long as it was.

Let’s give them a listen, shall we?

NRBQ’s popularity among critics, fans and their peers peaked as the ’70s started to turn toward the ’80s. During that time, NRBQ released three albums widely regarded as among their best: “At Yankee Stadium” in 1978, “Kick Me Hard” in 1979 and “Tiddly Winks” in 1980.

Bonnie Raitt noticed. Disappointed at how her 1979 LP, “The Glow” was received, she decided have a little fun with her next record. She rocked out on “Green Light,” released in 1982. Who better to have fun with than NRBQ? So she covered two of their songs.

“Me And The Boys” and “Green Lights,” Bonnie Raitt, from “Green Light,” 1982. It’s out of print but is available digitally.

Dave Edmunds noticed, too. He picked a bunch of covers for “D.E. 7th,” his first record after the breakup of Rockpile. One was an unreleased Bruce Springsteen song. There also were covers of Chuck Berry, Brian Hyland and Doug Kershaw. And an NRBQ cover, one also chosen by Bonnie Raitt.

“Me And The Boys,” Dave Edmunds, from “D.E. 7th,” 1982. The buy link is to a double-length CD that also includes the “Information” LP from 1983.

Edmunds kept some of that spirit on his next record, “Information,” in 1983. Though most remembered for Jeff Lynne’s production and songs, Edmunds still worked in covers of songs by the J. Geils Band, Moon Martin and Otis Blackwell. And one by NRBQ.

“I Want You Bad,” Dave Edmunds, from “Information,” 1983. The buy link is to the same double-length CD mentioned earlier.

See how they compare to the originals.

“Green Lights” and “I Want You Bad,” NRBQ, from “At Yankee Stadium,” 1978.

“Green Lights” written by Terry Adams and Joey Spampinato.

“I Want You Bad” written by Terry Adams and Phil Crandon.

“Me And The Boys,” NRBQ, from “Tiddly Winks,” 1980. It’s out of print. The song is available digitally. It’s part of “The Rounder Records Story,” a 4-CD, 87-song set released in 2010.

“Me And The Boys” written by Terry Adams.

At this point, I must state for the record — so to speak — that both the Bonnie Raitt record and the NRBQ records were brought to the party by the lovely Janet, who at the time was my girlfriend and who somehow decided to stick around and become my wife.

Now if I could only find our copy of “Tiddly Winks.” We used to have it, and I can’t imagine we let it go in either the Great Record Purge of 1989 or our Great Garage Sale of 2006. If so, that’s another story for another day.


Filed under January 2012, Sounds

A Mardi Gras stew

Fat Tuesday always brings a bit of a cultural stew to our corner of Wisconsin.

Just 15 miles to the northwest, in Pulaski, the Polish country bakery was at it in the wee hours of this morning, turning out thousands of paczki. That’s a deep-fried piece of dough with a sweet filling. It’s a Fat Tuesday tradition.

Also this morning, another bakery here in town was filling orders for dozens of king cakes — an O-shaped yellow-and-purple cake with, again, a sweet filling. They’re decorated with beads and coins. If you find the small plastic baby in your piece, you buy next year’s king cake.

Tonight, the party hounds are out, wearing their beads, celebrating Mardi Gras. Some of them may feel so rough in the morning that they may briefly consider giving up alcohol for Lent.

Our Mardi Gras celebration is a bit more laid back. We just turn around and grab a Professor Longhair record off the shelf.

I couldn’t begin to tell you how I came to buy three Professor Longhair records in the early ’80s. Trust me, I was not that sophisticated when I was in my 20s. I must have read something about him. I’ve always loved piano players, ever since hearing my dad’s boogie-woogie records as a kid.

So for me, Professor Longhair always has meant Mardi Gras. Especially considering I’ve never been to New Orleans. Some day, I hope. Until then …

“Mardi Gras In New Orleans,” Professor Longhair, from “New Orleans Piano,” 1972.

This cut was recorded in New Orleans in 1949 and originally issued as Atlantic 897, with the Professor credited as Roy “Baldhead” Byrd. This LP is from Atlantic’s “Blues Originals” series issued in the early ’70s. It has tunes recorded in 1949 and 1953. (The buy link is to the 1990 CD reissue, which adds alternate takes of three songs, including this one.)

“Tipitina,” “Her Mind Is Gone,” “How Long Has That Train Been Gone,” “Boogie Woogie” and “Carnival In New Orleans,” Professor Longhair, from “The Last Mardi Gras,” 1982. It appears to be out of print.

This is Side 4 of a two-record set recorded live at the Tipitina Club in New Orleans on Feb. 3 and 4, 1978 — the Friday and Saturday nights before Mardi Gras. (It runs 21:26.)

It’s just OK, not great, but it is a small way to get a sense of what it was like to hear a New Orleans legend playing for Mardi Gras revelers. All five cuts are written by the Professor.

It really was Professor Longhair’s last Mardi Gras season. He was 59 at the time. The 1979 festival was canceled because of a police strike and the Professor died on Jan. 30, 1980, before the next one started.

Dan Phillips, the proprietor of Home of the Groove, the fine New Orleans music blog, knows more about Professor Longhair and this record than I ever will, so I’ll defer to him. Dan wrote about “The Last Mardi Gras” a year ago and back in 2007. Much of what I know about New Orleans music, I learned from Dan.


Filed under March 2011, Sounds

Blues from across the border

When the lovely Janet and I combined our record collections all those years ago, we had a small number of doubles. This was one.

There was not a band with more buzz — and you probably can define “buzz” more than one way in their case — than the Blues Brothers in 1978. Their “Saturday Night Live” appearances were must-see TV during Saturday night house parties.

Then they came out with a record, just in time for Christmas 1978. We heard it at countless house parties that winter, our senior year of college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

That record summons the vivid memory of a party at a small house on First Avenue, a house facing the Chippewa River, a house across from Owen Park. I can’t remember whose house it was, but I remember the Blues Brothers’ record from that party.

As the record begins, Dan Aykroyd — as Elwood Blues, of course — delivers a 30-second rap that carried plenty of truth in 1978.

In “the late 1970s going on 1985,” there was indeed was plenty of “pre-programmed electronic disco.” We never really did get much of a chance “to hear master bluesmen practicing their craft.”

But time proved Aykroyd wrong about one thing. By 2006, the blues existed well beyond “the classical records department of your local public library.” For that, thank the Blues Brothers.

Though not all “master bluesmen,” the act’s enduring legacy is having introduced classic American R&B and blues tunes to a huge mainstream audience that otherwise may never have heard them, at a time when the blues may have needed a little help from its friends.

“Briefcase Full of Blues” hasn’t been off the shelf in a long time, and I was a little surprised at what I found when I looked at it closely.

Among all those covers are two songs done first by the Downchild Blues Band on its “Straight Up” album from 1973. They were written by Donnie Walsh, who still fronts the group now known simply as Downchild. It’s from Canada. So is Aykroyd. That explains it.

“(I Got Everything I Need) Almost” and “Shot Gun Blues,” the Blues Brothers, from “Briefcase Full of Blues,” 1978. It was recorded live at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.

John Belushi, as Jake Blues, does a good job on the vocals on both cuts. Paul Shaffer slides in between the powerful horns and pounds the keyboards on the former. Matt “Guitar” Murphy delivers the scorching guitar on the latter.

One more thing: “The Blues Brothers” movie premiered 30 years ago this week.


Filed under June 2010, Sounds

Three under the tree, Vol. 41

The below-zero wind chill is gone, and so is my energy.

So we’re gonna keep it simple. Tonight, we rock the tree.

“Rock & Roll Christmas,” George Thorogood and the Destroyers, 1983. As you can see, it once was used to rock the house at MTV. Damn! Mark Goodman gets a nice long smooch from a cutie under the mistletoe at 1:55!

(Is that really John Lee Hooker as Santa Claus as suggested on YouTube? I’m skeptical, but my friend Larry says in the comments: “I think that may in fact be Hooker as Santa” and points to the photos of Thorogood and Hooker taken by Bob Leafe at an MTV taping in 1984. “I’d love to know for sure,” Larry says. So would I. Ah, those little mysteries.)

“Sock It To Me, Santa,” Bob Seger and the Last Heard, 1966. “Deck the Halls” meets Mitch Ryder and James Brown on this rave-up by a young Seger and one of his earliest Detroit bands.

You can find the Seger and Thorogood cuts on “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas,” 1995. Also on this fine record: “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses, “Merry Christmas Baby” by Chuck Berry, “I Believe in Father Christmas” by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and some other faves of the ’70s and ’80s.

“Run Rudolph Run,” Keith Richards, 1978, released as a single with a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come” on the flip side. It was re-released in 2007 as a single with a cover of Toots and the Maytals’ “Pressure Drop” as the flip side. (This one is for Chris in Germany.)

Though recorded by Chuck Berry, he didn’t write it. You know “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” Johnny Marks wrote all of them.

You can find the Richards and Seger cuts on “Little Steven’s Underground Garage Presents Christmas A Go-Go,” released in 2008. However, the Seger cut is on the CD only and not available digitally.


Filed under December 2009, Sounds