Honey Steel’s Gold

 

The day before my 33rd birthday, I smoked 14 packs of cigarettes. Then, the next morning, I got up and ran 3 miles non stop. It was the farthest I’d run in over 15 years . . .  It took some real planning to kick that vice. You can’t kill off your best friend and constant companion without a solid game plan and I knew if I was really going to quit, I had to do something extreme, and mark it on a major date. It was a real change in directions, a turning point in my life. I don’t know for sure how many packs I really did smoke that day. I know I went through a whole carton and then went out that evening, to buy more. It was one long sick day. I threw up several times that night, and had trouble breathing, while I continued to chain smoke one after another right up until midnight. I’ve never touched another cigarette since.

A year later Ed Kuepper released Honey Steel’s Gold. King of Vice kicks off the record with a 9 minute masterpiece of swirling, marching guitar, piano, and drums that brilliantly capture the sense of fortitude and solitude I experienced that night. It is followed up by the beautifully perverse remake of the Hart/Rodgers classic Everything I’ve Got Belongs to you a tribute to the dark side and negative spaces that occupy even the strongest of relationships between a man and a woman.

This entire album is packed, and like Bob Mould’s Work Book or Morrissey’s Viva Hate, it marks a critical turning point for me, a life changing milestone. Enjoy.

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Another Live

 

You like show tunes?

“Could be, who knows there’s something new, any day, I will know, right away, soon as it shows…”

Todd does a beautiful rendition of the Bernstein/Sondheim classic Something’s Coming from West Side Story, a popular musical from his parent’s generation, and then kicks into the rebellious Heavy Metal Kids in this 1975 live Utopian extension of his ‘Wizard a True Star’ persona. This is a very prolific time in Rundgren’s musical writing career. He turned out album after album, both solo and with the multi-changing line up of the perfect band. Utopia Another Live has a great song list going from hard rockers to softer introspective tunes, yet it never loses its cadence and rhythm. I wish it were a double LP, because just when you start to hit your stride, Todd brings it home with his 70’s standard (his best/my favorite) concert closing anthem, Just One Victory.

This one is for you Bill. Happy birthday bro.

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Quadrophenia

 

Camping on the shore-line with family and friends.

Today’s Runner looks, sounds, smells even tastes like the Oregon Coast.

Come sleep on the beach
Keep within my reach
I just want to die with you near
I’m feeling so high with you here.

Nothing is planned, by the sea and the sand

 

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R.E.O./T.W.O.

 

Saw these guys last night for like the ten thousandth time. Let me just say that even though the kids won’t be going GaGa over these ladies, it will be a long time before some of today’s popular musicians put together a catalog as long and fat as this band.

Today’s Runner hales back to 1971 when a young Kevin Cronin fronts the original line-up of Doughty, Gratzer, Philbin, and lead guitarist Gary Richrath. I mean, come on,  these guys played at my high school back then! R.E.O./T.W.O. is packed with post-sixties rockers and anti-establishment songs, and although it’s no Déjà Vu, it still holds up and sounds pretty darn good. I know, it’s easy to poke fun at old timers like REO, especially when they put out records like The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog, and a Chicken, or a Christmas album called a Not so Silent Night, but there is a reason why these relics have stuck around for so long. Sometimes you reach way back, say–40 years, and you’ll find a few gems like this one. Enjoy.

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No Depression

 

Today’s Runner is a set of super charged guitar, fiddle and banjo from the front porch of southern Illinois Uncle Tupelo. Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy weave high volume yarns around the mundane existence in rural Midwestern Americana.

“There’s darkness in this life, but the brighter side we also may view.”

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