“We’ve done four already but now we’re steady and then they went, 1, 2, 3, 4 . . .”
Houses Of The Holy, Led Zeppelin’s 5th release kicks off with the manic Song Remains The Same. A high powered rocker, fast and furious; that then down shifts into the “tender” Rain Song, which features, “John Paul Jones on piano”. Jones is the highlight on it and No Quarter, which for me are the standouts on the album. Over the Hills And Far Away is FM friendly as is Dancing Days. I seem to remember those two being played on the radio a lot.
“I’m just trying to find the bridge!”
The Crunge is homage to James Brown. D’yer Mak’er has a reggae flair.
“Has anyone seen the bridge?”
The Ocean wraps up the record in classic Zeppelin style; heavy drums, bass, guitar and extreme caterwauling.
“Where’s that confounded bridge?”
Ah . . . to be young again and in love. “That Chick Julie, She’s truly dazzling.” Modern English immediately puts me back in that frame of mind. Anyone my age who was there at the genesis of MTV will know what I’m talking about. Movies like Valley Girl and videos by this band and others set the pace for a new wave of sound that would dominate the the 80s. What a great soundtrack by the way, if you can find it, pick it up, there’s a bunch of totally bitchin’ music on it. Modern English was at the lip of that “party wave”. After The Snow was released in 1982 and on the strength of the single Melt With You helped the band charged into the new decade in rad style.
Moving forward using all my breath
Making love to you was never second best
I saw the world thrashing all around your face
Never really knowing it was always mesh and lace…
30 years later, Modern English is playing our Munchin’ Music Festival. I sure hope they can still “Crush That FLY”!
The rhythm of the rain gives an off beat on the window pane
Like an angel crying from the sky
I can see its beauty after the snow
I’m a firm believer that motion is life. I think that’s why I like to run so much. And when I can’t run, from an injury, or some other circumstance, I feel blah. It’s only natural that as we get older, we slow down. We don’t move as much or have as much energy, spending most of our time at a desk, or behind the wheel of a large automobile. Nowadays, we have so many modern conveniences that enable us, and the result? We move less. Heck, we don’t even have to get up to change the channel on the television. Anyone remember when you had to do that? “Sunday, Monday Happy Days . . .”
Today’s Runner came out in 1978, and it was one of the many soundtracks of a time in my life when there was boundless amounts of youthful energy. Everything was new. Every free moment, not in school or working, my friends and I would be playing frisbee or basketball. In the winter it was hockey, or a 20 minute Nerf football pickup game between periods out in the snow (or mud) covered field. Always on the move.
In 1979 we camped outside Rockford Speedway to see REO Speedwagon. Before the show, we stopped at the only major hotel in Rockford to hang on their giant outdoor playground. Just killing time. Walking through the halls of that hotel, to grab a quick Pepsi-Cola, four high school kids came face to face with the “Speedwagon” themselves. They were coming out of their rooms with their big hair, fancy outfits and pretty women on their arms, doing what can only be described as The Unidentified Flying Tuna Trot.
This weekend would have been my friend Tim’s 50th birthday. We lost him last year. And even though he is no longer here, I know his energy (he had great energy) still is. I see it in the pictures and the stories I hear about his kids. His oldest, Danny is high energy, and can really move. I believe that his Dad is channeling through him and that he is going to do great things some day. Tim’s spirit lives on through both him and his little brother Kyle.
You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish. High energy REO at their peak.
Those were fun times . . . Happy Days!
Like many artists at the time, Tommy Keene burst on the scene in the early 1980s, released a couple of records, and then disappeared. He toured with his band The Razz for a time behind big name artists like Devo and the Ramones in the late 70s. By the early 80’s he was being courted and eventually signed with Geffen records where he released two albums which were both over produced and under supported. By the time the second album Based on Happy Times came out Keene was dropped from Geffen. He later resurfaced in the 90’s with a new band and played as guitar for hire for such notables as Velvet Crush and Paul Westerberg.
Before his major label debut he produced a couple of EPs on the independent Dolphin label out of NC. Those keen to hear his real sound should track these records down. Today’s runner is Places That Are Gone, a fine 6 song EP that includes 5 originals and a tasty cover of Alex Chilton’s Hey! Little Child. The title cut, Places That Are Gone would later appear on the Geffen album Songs From the Film, but this version (and the entire set here) is stripped down, and far superior to the later. It’s too bad, because Keene had the chops and his later efforts could have really benefited from a little less production and a little more support from the record giant.
Places That Are Gone is short and sweet, and holds up well. Enjoy.