Tag Archives: 2012

Parked near the Batmobile

If social media are any indication, all the cool kids — including my friends Norb and Brian — are in Madison this weekend.

The Wizard World Comic Con Madison is going on next door to what we used to call the Dane County Coliseum, an aging hockey barn that has also has seen some fairly remarkable rock shows.

Brian rode with William Shatner in a hotel shuttle last night and saw Edward James Olmos and Lou Ferrigno at breakfast this morning. Name dropper.

But Norb saw the Batmobile today. “I think it’s just a replica,” he said.

batmobile desk

This is as close as I’m going to get to the Batmobile this weekend.

This Batmobile sits on my desk, just behind my Mac. It is, of course, one of the coolest cars from a childhood filled with cool cars.

Adam West, the guy who sat behind the wheel of the real Batmobile, was to have been at Comic Con Madison this weekend, but he canceled because of what was said to be a scheduling conflict.

I have long wanted to meet Adam West. But I’m not into autographs or selfies — I don’t need proof of such a meeting — so paying upwards of $50 extra just to shake his hand and say thanks seems pointless. It might have been enough just to see him from a distance.

There’s always hope for a random meeting. We once rode in an elevator with Sam Kinison, so anything’s possible.

But I suspect my chances of meeting Adam West are about as slim as another entry on my bucket list.

I would love to have lunch with Paul McCartney. Vegan, of course. No pictures, no autographs, just a couple of guys shooting the breeze.

Maybe Adam West could join us.

micky dolenz remember cd

“Good Morning, Good Morning” Micky Dolenz, from “Remember,” 2012. Also available digitally.

Here’s another mashup of ’60s icons, one of whom had another cool car, the Monkeemobile.

As Dolenz tells it, John Lennon invited him to listen to his song — “Hey Monkee Man. Want to hear what we’re working on?” — as it was being recorded at EMI Studios in London in February 1967. A year later, a bit of this Beatles song was heard at the beginning of the final episode of “The Monkees,” one co-written and directed by Dolenz.

“I don’t remember how it happened, but I somehow managed to get the rights to play this song,” Dolenz says in the “Remember” liner notes. “To my knowledge, it is the first time that The Beatles let one of their songs be used in such a manner.”

Here’s that episode: “The Frodis Caper,” or “Mijacogeo,” from March 25, 1968. That’s an unknown Tim Buckley at the end, doing an acoustic version of “Song To The Siren,” which hadn’t been released at the time.


Filed under February 2015, Sounds

Mr. Green is not serene

The weekend squire is back from mowing his lawn, but Mr. Green is not serene. He has a nice new Mac, but is discovering there is more assembly required than anticipated.

The turntable that plugged into the audio port on the 6-year-old Mac? There’s no audio port on the new Mac. The external hard drive that contains all the music for AM, Then FM? That’s a FireWire hard drive and there are no FireWire ports on the new Mac.

So, until such time that I can figure out which patch cords, adapters and third-party hardware will make the new Mac do all the things the old Mac did — your wise counsel is welcome — blogging will proceed in fits and starts. Which pretty much describes how that 6-year-old Mac was running. That it kept crashing while ripping vinyl was the last straw.

Vague disappointment like that is nothing new to those of us who buy records. You always hope for the best, but not every record is going to blow you away.

Last fall, I read this Los Angeles Times story about a covers record being done by Micky Dolenz, the great singer from the Monkees. In it, Dolenz said:

“The whole idea is that this album would be a kind of a scrapbook of my life, from the Monkees days, from before the Monkees and post-Monkees as well.”

That sounded promising. Covers of songs by the Beatles, Three Dog Night, Bread, Chuck Berry, the Archies and the Monkees, along with some originals. I kept an eye out for it, and it turned up in our local indie record store this spring.

So I picked it up, brought it home, popped it in the old Mac … and … you know that feeling. You sit back and listen. You want to like it. You’re trying to like it. The record is pleasant enough, but it’s just not happening.

So it was with “Remember,” that covers record from Micky Dolenz. That said, I like Micky, and some of it is worth hearing.

micky dolenz remember cd

“Randy Scouse Git,” Micky Dolenz, from “Remember,” 2012. Also available digitally.

Which is kind of interesting because the original version of “Randy Scouse Git,” Micky’s take on his 1967 trip to the UK and the last cut on that year’s “Headquarters” LP, has never been among my favorite Monkees songs. It was a bigger hit in the UK than in the States, perhaps because of its English music hall sound, which wasn’t my cup of tea. This is not that. It’s a moodier, heavier take.

As is the title track, a cover of the Harry Nilsson song. Also worth exploring.

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


Filed under June 2013, Sounds

A smaller Christmas, Day 19

As our smaller Christmas rolls along, I’ve been trying to post some things that our five or six regular readers haven’t heard here before.

Today, we have another. Arriving fresh within the hour is a cool gift from our friend Derek over at the faaaaaaabulous Derek’s Daily 45.

When not disguised as Derek, mild-mannered curator of obscure but wonderful ’60s and ’70s R&B and soul singles, he’s one of the movers and shakers behind the Bang Girl Group Revue, which is indeed super. Three female singers, including Derek’s lovely wife Angeline, are backed by a four-piece combo led by Derek on guitar. Delightful throwbacks all.

bang girl group revue soul shangri la lp

The Bang Girl Group Revue is just out with its first LP, “Soul Shangri-La,” which is chock full of throwback originals and nice covers.

My red vinyl copy from the sold-out limited pressing arrived the other day, making its way from the San Francisco Bay Area to our corner of Wisconsin. Did I mention it’s on red vinyl?

The gift that arrived from Derek today is this acoustic version of a Christmas soul classic.

bang girl group revue xmas 45

“(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home,” the Bang Girl Group Revue, 2012. Free digital download.

Because this is Derek’s gift, and not mine, only the audio is presented here.

“It’s meant for sharing,” Derek assures me.

So to grab the free download and to get the story behind this wonderful cover, please head over to Derek’s Daily 45. It’s worth the short trip.

Your Christmas music requests in the comments, please.

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


Filed under Christmas music, December 2012, Sounds

The Right Now, right here, right on

Last Saturday night, my friend Mike and I plopped ourselves into lawn chairs on the 400 Block, the downtown square in our hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. We cracked open a couple of Point beers and kicked back to listen to some tunes.

We have been friends for 40 years. Back then, we spent a fair amount of time with a radio nearby, either for Brewers baseball or simply for tunes. Not much has changed for either of us.

It was a delightful evening at WhyNotWausau, made even more so by great friends, great weather and a tremendous performance by The Right Now, a Chicago pop-soul-R&B group that’s on its way up.

Ever since my friend Heavy Soul Brutha Dave tipped me to The Right Now two years ago. I’d been hoping for a chance to see what Dave described as their “old-skool Memphis feel” and “neo-soul vibe.” Couldn’t make their Summerfest gigs in Milwaukee. Couldn’t make a couple of Madison club dates.

It was well worth the wait. Nothing written here will adequately convey the energy and the bigger-than-expected sound of The Right Now’s live show, from lead singer Stefanie Berecz to all the gents in the band. I have both of The Right Now’s albums, and it was as if my records exploded.

I can’t embed the video, but here’s a snippet of the blistering “I Can’t Speak For You” from Saturday night’s show via the band’s Facebook page. The sun went down and a dance party broke out. (Please be assured that Mike and I are not among the dancers. As Mike said, we might have brought the show to a dead halt had we gone up there.)

A most pleasant surprise after the show was having guitarist Chris Corsale come up and introduce himself as we waited in line to say hello. That never happens. I’d exchanged notes with the band on Facebook, and Chris recognized me from there. He introduced us to Stefanie, who is as genuinely nice off stage as she is scorching on stage, and to Brendan O’Connell, who plays keyboards and guitar.

Now we just gotta figure out a way to get them to play Green Bay, which does not have a cool venue like the 400 Block or a cool club that would be suitable.

Until then …

“Half As Much,” The Right Now, from “Gets Over You,” 2012. Head over to their website and grab the free download of the song.

Also please enjoy the video for “He Used To Be,” which was a Record Store Day single but is not on the LP.

If you dig this tune, I have an extra copy of the 45. Hit me up with an email if you’d like it. First come, first served.

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


Filed under July 2012, Sounds

In search of George Harrison

We don’t have HBO, so I didn’t have an opportunity to see the Martin Scorsese documentary on George Harrison when it aired last October. I’d heard good things about it, but knew I’d have to see it another day, another way.

About a month ago, a most unexpected second chance came along.

A publicist, a most rare cat who understands what goes on here at AM, Then FM — “I recall what you cover and what you do not” — offered a review copy of “George Harrison: Living In The Material World.”

So over the course of a couple of nights — the film is spread over two DVDs and runs 3 hours, 47 minutes — I sat down to watch and listen. Some thoughts:

« Having grown up in the time of the Beatles and having come of age in the time after the Beatles, this is a familiar story. There weren’t many revelations, at least for me. A younger person will see it differently. Regardless, the film is exceptionally well done, thorough and thoughtful.

« The first disc, which runs 1 hour, 34 minutes, stands alone nicely as a history of the Beatles filtered through the prism of Harrison’s experience. It ends, appropriately, with the story behind “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

« It’s interesting to be reminded of how Harrison got into movies, footing the bill to make the Monty Python troupe’s “Life of Brian” in the late ’70s. Less interesting, almost immediately, is a digression into the controversy over the film, which was seen by some as blasphemous.

« Harrison’s spiritual quest is a fascinating thread woven throughout the film. His widow Olivia, who co-produced the film, provides an astonishing account of the scene at his passing in November 2001.

« The music in the film — and there is plenty of it — brought a bittersweet realization. My knowledge of George Harrison’s music is wide but shallow.

I know all of the hits, from the Beatles to his solo years to the Traveling Wilburys. But some of the songs in this film, no doubt familiar to many of you, were new to me. I somehow have missed out. I need to go out and buy some more George Harrison records. Your recommendations are welcome.

The film’s companion CD is a start, and for that I am grateful. It features seven demos and three early takes of Harrison’s songs, all never before released. This is one, a demo prominently featured in the film for obvious reasons.

“All Things Must Pass,” George Harrison, from “George Harrison: Early Takes, Volume 1,” 2012. This was recorded in June 1970.

At 4:40, this demo version is almost a minute longer than the finished version on the LP of the same name.

Full disclosure: I received copies of the film “George Harrison: Living In The Material World” and the music CD “George Harrison: Early Takes, Volume I.” for review purposes. I promised only to watch and listen. I did not promise, nor was I asked, to say nice things.


Filed under May 2012, Sounds