[MarsNews] The 2020 Marsy Music Awards

This was to go with yesterday’s Top 10 Albums Of 2020 list, but it was making the post too long.  So, why not give my extended ramblings a post of their very own?

And the Highly Prestigious Marsy Award goes too…

Best Album Re-reissue:

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Tom Petty | Wildflowers & All The Rest

In 1994, Tom Petty had recorded enough material to make Wildflowers a two disc album, but pressure from the record label forced him to cut it down to one.  One of the projects Tom was working on before he passed in 2017 was restoring Wildflowers to that two disc version.  The project was completed by his family and Mike Campbell this year.  The results are wonderful.

There are a few different versions of this re-release, all designed to best suit your wallet.  I found the four disc version gave you the best bang for your buck.

Full Review

Best Song Laced With Cursing:

The Dirty Knobs | Fuck That Guy

Speaking of Mike Campbell, his side project The Dirty Knobs released their debut album this year.  The album is pretty good overall, but Fuck That Guy is the standout track.  I love everything about it.

Full Review

Revival of the Year

Current River | Cut The Covid

Current River was revived late last year on the blog site Thunder Bay Arena Rock.  Material that was thought to be unimportant was freed from the shackles of self-deprecation and placed into proper context by fans.  Experience the full Cut The Covid playlist here.  Here’s hoping for some new material in 2021!

 

Best Packaging of a CD

Jimi Hendrix - Live n Maui inside

The Jimi Hendrix Experience | Live In Maui

It isn’t perfect.  Leaving the manual flapping in the breeze when it is all open is a major downer.  But I love how the combo CD/DVD set folds out and is held together by a magnet.  Plus, the CDs are secured in classic plastic instead of cardboard sleeves.  

Full Review

Theme Song of the Year

TeeBone  – LeBrain Train

The LeBrain Train needed a theme song in a bad way.  The weekly 2-3hr chat about music needed a better warm up than Mike saying, “Hello” or “Welcome”.   Major props to TeeBone who went from a caricature accurately drawn on a paper plate to a full live person in a few episodes.  The theme song he wrote gets hummed around here a lot!

And Finally…

BuriedOnMars.com Collaborator of The Year

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Sarca Sim – Caught Me Gaming

Writing about Led Zeppelin with Sarca Sim this year has been the most valuable highlight for BuriedOnMars.com.  The journey to go through every Led Zeppelin studio album in tandem with the luxury blog Caught Me Gaming was as entertaining as it was educational.

Work has already begun for the return of the popular series this February.  It will be an extended look into… a Canadian rock band.  The series will include their studio albums, live albums, and video releases.  it is estimated the journey will take us well into the spring before it is completed!  Let me know in the comments if you need any more hints!

So get caught up with the Led Zeppelin before series two begins!  You’ll want to start with Sarca Sim’s Zeppelin memories right here.

[Album Review] The Jimi Hendrix Experience | Live In Maui

OK, let’s get it out of our system. 

I agree, the Jimi Hendrix releases will never stop.  

OK, now the comments will only be about the quality of this release, right?…

…Well, I guess the fact that he died 50 years ago and how his estate keeps finding ways to dip into the well of his short 4 year career is an extraordinary circumstance. 

Ok, you guys are right.  Comment away.   

For me, I’m a fan.  And I really do enjoy the effort the family is making to comprehensively release his material. 

Live in Maui began as part of Rainbow Bridge, a film that was described at the time as “Counter Culture”.  Think Hair or Woodstock… The Movie.  The architect of the film was Chuck Wein, who without any professional actors or a script involved was having trouble getting it financed.  That was until he had a loose agreement with Jimi Hendrix to provide the soundtrack.

It was Jimi’s new manager, Michael Jeffery who attached him to the film.  Jeffery got a million dollars out of Jimi’s label, Warner Bros. to complete Jimi’s Electric Lady Land recording studio, but he only used half of it.  The rest was put towards Jeffery’s ambition to break into the film business.  The film that caught his eye was Rainbow Bridge.

Since Jimi’s tunes were prominently featured in the latest indie darling Easy Rider, which cost $400,000 to make and went on to earn $60 million worldwide, finding investors to finance the rest of the film became a lot easier. 

One of Wein’s ideas for Rainbow Bridge was to have Jimi perform by a volcano in Maui.  I guess that one line in Voodoo Child (Slight Return), “I’m gonna stand right next to a mountain, chop it down with the edge of my hand” really had an effect on him.   Jimi would perform two short 40 to 50 minute sets over two days to provide the footage needed.

Unfortunately, Jimi’s untimely passing hit before he could begin work on the soundtrack, so some of Jimi’s previously unreleased (at the time) studio work was used instead.  This only aided to make Rainbow Bridge even more convoluted than it already was.  Instead of having Jimi write something appropriate for a scene, they just used whatever they could find.  If you ever wanted to see hippies doing yoga to Hey Baby (New Rising Sun), Rainbow Bridge has you covered. 

Only 17 minutes of the Maui shows made it into Rainbow Bridge, while the accompanying soundtrack mostly featured those studio cuts.  Live in Maui is the complete audio recordings of the live performances on 2 CDs, and a Blu-ray that includes a current 90 minute documentary on the event and every piece of video that was captured during both shows. 

See?  Comprehensive. 

I do really like the packaging for the set as all of the folds are all held together with a magnet.  My only problem is how the included booklet is left loose once you have it all open.  They could have at least given it a sleeve to hold it in place.

As for the content, the majority is worth owning. 

The audio recordings on the CDs are quite excellent.  These shows were recorded just two months prior to his passing, so this is the version of The Jimi Hendrix Experience that features Billy Cox on bass and they are in a fantastic groove.  Amazing considering the circumstances under which these were recorded.

The biggest issue the band had with recording on the side of a volcano was the wind.  This meant large pieces of foam were used as windsocks over all of the microphones.  

Despite the effort, the wind made none of Mitch Michell’s drum recordings useful.  Mitchell had to overdub his parts months after the fact.  Despite the praising of the job he did by several people in the doc, much of his playing doesn’t precisely match his movements that day.  It hardly matters though since he finds the groove and what he records is 100% appropriate.

And no matter the amount of professionalism that is apparent on stage, you can catch the band struggling in a few spots.  Jimi over sings at times like he does during Ezy Rider and the performances of songs like Dolly Dagger get a little low key.

But really, it was a near miracle these shows were pulled off at all.

The 90-minute documentary featured on the Blu-ray is a bit dry.  It has good info on the Maui shows, a lot of which you have just read in this review, but too often it shifts its focus on the failure of Rainbow Bridge.  As someone who is here for Jimi’s music and not interested in the boomer culture of the time, I found those parts dragged.  Overall, I think this doc would have made for a better fit on a Blu-ray for Rainbow Bridge instead.  

The Blu-ray’s real prize are the two performances themselves.  These are hardly complete as the crew either ran out of film or stopped recording both shows before they finished.  There were also times when “no cameras were rolling”, so the video cuts to this slate:

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Really weak, guys.  I know the crowd at the show was small so there probably wasn’t a ton of options for cutaway shots, but maybe some trivia on the slates would have been nice. 

When the cameras are rolling, you are in for a treat.  Watching Jimi perform like a pro while facing the wind and singing into a foam mattress is impressive.  The entire Blu-ray sports a phenomenal 5.1 DTS mix done by Eddie Kramer himself, and Jimi uses a Gibson Flying V for the 2nd show.  I think it might be the only time he has done this on film.  I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong.

I will keep buying these sets as long as the quality remains good, and Live In Maui does not disappoint me.  Despite the few gripes I have, overall this is a set that is well put together.  Worthy of my time, money, and collection.  

3.5/5

 

November 2020 Music Collection Update, Part 1

Like last month, I’m splitting up the monthly pickups into two posts.  These are all of my online purchases for November 2020.  It is turning out to be a great year with a lot of excellent new releases and collections are up for grabs this holiday season!   

These are the ones I had pre-ordered on amazon:

Ella Fitzgerald, The Lost Berlin Tapes

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Ella was best on stage and The Lost Berlin Tapes I believe captured her better than any other recording I have heard.  Even if you don’t like jazz I think you should check it out.   Full Review

Pantera, Reinventing the Steel

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Reinventing the Steel The 20th Anniversary Edition is a no-brainer must-have for any Pantera fan even if you already own and prefer the original CD.  Full Review

Jimi Hendrix, Live In Maui

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Jimi performing in front of an active volcano two months prior to his death.  This collection includes the concert on two 2CDs and a Blu-ray of the show. 

AC/DC, Power Up

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What do you do when your favourite rock band ever releases new material for the first time in six years?  You double dip with the CD and the vinyl release.  Worth it. Full Review

I grabbed a couple of CDs off of amazon on Black Friday.  $10 each. 

The Strokes, The New Abnormal

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I haven’t bought a new release from The Strokes… ever!  I have been lucky finding their previous releases out in the wild for $2, but I gave this one a spin on Spotify and it is their best in years.  A full review is incoming for this one. 

John Fogerty, Fogerty’s Factory

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The global pandemic of 2020 has had a few highlights, and John Fogerty’s YouTube channel has been one of them.  Sequestered with his kids during the lockdown(s), he recreated a bunch of classic tunes with them.  Full review is incoming. 

And finally, I ordered from the band’s website a signed copy of:

Storm Force, Age of Fear

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Thanks to all of the write ups from fellow bloggers, Mike DeLano, Deke, and The Mad Metal Man, I was finally gave Storm Force’s Age of Fear my full attention.  It is truely a fantastic piece of ’80s hard rock that shouldn’t be missed! Full Review 

So, that is all.  Stay locked in right here for Part 2, coming up!  It will feature some Weezer, Aerosmith, and Bob Dylan!  All $2 grabs  You don’t want to miss it!

October 2020 Music Collection Update, Part 1

October was an excellent month for adding new tunes to the collection!  I’ve been doing very well selling off video games and squirreling away the profits, but I allowed myself to spend some of the earnings on discs with music on them.  The month was so good, I decided to break them up into TWO parts!

Also, I need some time to listen to this stuff, hence the mid-November post.  It is what it is.

For part one, these are all albums I grabbed from eBay, amazon, and a online order from The Beat Goes On.  Some is new, some is used.  All were in the $10 -$15 range except for the box sets.  So, here we go:

I wanted to full some holes in my Anthrax collection and I did:

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Worship Music is from 2011 and For All Kings is from 2016.  Anthem is an EP collection of cover tunes that does include Rush’s Anthem among others. Chile On Hell is a live CD/DVD box set of a show they did in 2014, which has a crowd that is WAY in Anthrax.  A fun watch, for sure.

Fistful of Metal is their debut with their first vocalist, Neil Turbin.  Neil’s voice is not as melodic Belladonna’s, but he has a great rocks voice and wrote some solid lyrics.  I’m happy with all of these. 

Continuing with the thrash metal, I got Testament’s Titans of Creation which came out earlier this year in March.  

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I want to do a full review before the year is up as I’m sure it will make my best of 2020 list. 

I also grabbed the last Black Sabbath album I’ll need with Ozzy:

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The End is an EP of extra material from the last studio album, 13 that was originally only available to those who attended their final tour.  But it must have been reissued at some point because it wasn’t very expensive on eBay and it seems legit.

For some reason during one of my purge sessions I got rid of my Pantera CDs.  Well, I corrected that error this month: 

20201108_202330 When it comes to Pantera, the first three albums are my jam.  Although, I have turned the corner on Reinventing the Steel and may have a deluxe edition soon heading my way. 

I got three Alice Cooper albums:

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The early Greatest Hits collection has different mixes that what is on the album.  Plus, it is the one I had on cassette during my teens. 

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Deep Purple’s In Rock is staple in influencing heavy metal bands that followed it.  Just listen to it back to back with Iron Maiden’s first album for proof.  People seem to be mixed on The Who’s The Who By Numbers but I like it.  Squeeze Box is the tune causal fans will know but it has quite a few solid album tracks on it. 

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I have both of Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door and Presence on vinyl already, but they’re not in the best shape.  I bought them in the ’90s when they were more for wall art.  These were dirt cheap and in nice shape, so I though why not? 

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For some reason I stopped buying Sloan albums at some point.  Another correction needed to make.  Peppermint is an early EP with some tunes that ended up on their debut album but with different mixes, so you’ll need this if you want the OGs.  I don’t have too much experience yet with Never Hear The End Of It but Parallel Play is a gem of an album.  Doesn’t get the respect it has earned! 

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Jimi Hendrix Blues was an album one of my college roommates had and I always had wanted and People, Hell & Angels is a collection of rare tracks all remastered by Eddie Kramer.  And… oops, Stone Free is a $2 mission thrift pickup that slipped in here.  Well, the tribute album is mostly “meh” but there are some gems. 

And finally, 

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I already wrote about Tom Petty’s Wildflowers & All The Rest right here.   Just thought I’d mention it again to remind people of how good it is. 

So, that is all.  That would have been enough but I had a good day at my local mission thrift last month.  So, Part Deux will feature some Paul Simon, The Beatles, and a rare Beach Boys set!  All $2 grabs  You don’t want to miss it!

Top 8 Albums from 2018

Top 8?  Yeah, the last few years have been tough on me and 2018 was no exception.  I needed a lot of comfort food this year and that came from writing/listening to my favorite band, AC/DC.  It did get my mind off things but it meant spending less time with albums from 2018.

The fact that you are reading this all, really, is because of my wife, Sarah.  As I talked to her about needing to cut down on time spent creating content in 2019, her one request was a post on my favorite albums from 2018.  She is always looking to highlight the positive when things become overwhelming and negative.  What she describes as “the light in the shadows”.  So this post is dedicated to her.

So, here we go.  8 lights that found a way to shine in 2018:

corrosion

#8 Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross, No Crown

This was an immediate buy for me with Pepper Keenan back in the band on lead guitar and vocals.  Well, by immediate I mean the first moment I found a deal.  It was released in January and I believe I grabbed it sometime in March.  The album is a bit uneven but most of the tracks are a stoner-rockin’ good time.  This is where you belong, Pepper!

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#7 Saxon – Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is my first Saxon album and I was blown away by how much these geezers can rock!  Nah, forget rock.  This is MET-TAALL!  You can read my full review of the album here.

both sides of the sky cover

#6 Jimi Hendrix – Both Sides of the Sky

This is an excellent collection of half done/hidden/vaulted tracks from the greatest guitarist of all time.  A lot of what is here has been released before on compilations and bootlegs, but with mixing board in the hands of Eddie Kramer (The engineer on all of Jimi’s classic albums), you’ll be hard pressed to find a place where these tunes sound better.  You can read my full review here.

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#5 Greta Van Fleet – Anthem of the Peaceful Army

Take away all of the comparisons to Led Zeppelin and you have a great rock ‘n roll record.  Grip tightly onto all of the comparisons to Led Zeppelin and you have a great rock ‘n roll record.  Honestly, I don’t know why GVF’s strong Zeppelin vibe is seen as negative by some.  How many times have we put on a classic rock album and said “They don’t make them like this anymore”? Then, someone does it (and does it WELL) and it gets crapped on.  *shrugs*

jann arden these are the days#4 Jann Arden – These Are The Days

These Are The Days opens with the fantastic ‘Everybody’s Pulling on Me‘, and Christ on a cracker did 2018 feel that way at times.  The tune has a perfect old school Mo-Town/Doo-Wop rhythm that Jann’s voice cuts through as she delivers the melody.  The rest of the album is solid too.  Especially ‘All The Little Things‘.  It’s the kind of album that you listen to and think, I’ve heard this before. Is this a cover tune? Then you realize it is all new, but the tunes are connecting with you.

Sarah and I thought about skipping on seeing her perform live in Oshawa this past October.  Even though we needed a break, we made the effort to move some scheduling around to make it work.  I’m so glad we did!  That show was not only rockin’ but hilarious too.  Would do again.

judas priest firepower#3 Judas Priest – Firepower

The Priest is back, baby!  The best Priest album in decades.  DECADES!  I pre-ordered it when ‘Lightening Strikes‘ hit the YouTubes and I don’t do that often. Besides over-staying its welcome a wee bit, the album is otherwise solid.  I almost wish they would hang it up here and go out on a high note.   Easily my vote for the best MET-TAALL album of 2018.

sloan 12 cover#2 Sloan – 12

It kills me not to put this at number one.  KILLS ME!  It is so good.  That perfect mix of rock and pop, 12 is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.  Usually, after listening to an album a number of times I get tired of a song or two and find myself skipping to the tracks I love.  That hasn’t happened with 12 yet, and I’m not sure if it ever will.

We did see Sloan in May at The KEE to Bala and these guys put on a show!  Even though Sarah’s boyfriend, Patrick Pentland, wasn’t there due to a family illness we had a fantastic time.  Almost all of 12 was performed, and I was not complaining!  You can read my full review of 12 right here!

Sheepdogs - changing colours LP#1 The Sheepdogs – Changing Colours

As difficult as it was to put Sloan in the #2 spot, Changing Colours was easy to place at #1.  No other album got more play by me in 2018.  The addition of my BFF Jimmy Bowskill to The Sheepdogs finally had me standing up and acknowledging a band that I have ignored for a while.  No matter what my mood, Changing Colours seem appropriate to play.  It is late 60’s/70’s rock done to perfection in 2018.

The Sheepdogs also had us visiting The KEE to Bala again in August.  Man, these guys rocked it!  BFF Jimmy had the half stack of Marshalls singing sweetly all night long.  Glad to hear their drummer is doing well with battling the big C!  You can read my full review of Changing Colours right here.

So, even though I only have eight albums, I guess you could say 2018 still had a quality over quantity vibe for me.  Also like how 3 Canadian artists cracked my top 5!  It will be interesting to see how long that record holds.  Anyway, here’s hoping more time is spent with the Rock ‘n Roll in 2019!

[Album Review] Jimi Hendrix | Both Sides of the Sky

Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 almost 50 years ago, so I can see how it would sound silly that there are still “unreleased” tunes being found.  And it is true how after Jimi died his catalog was treated with a quantity over quality mindset.  Anyone with even the smallest hand in the pie cashed in with re-releases, demos, and live shows.  Reprise, MCA, Warner, Capitol Records, among many others are all guilty.  It got so bad there is even a wiki page dedicated to posthumous Hendrix albums:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimi_Hendrix_posthumous_discography

Some of these releases are so unnecessary, they have me wondering if an engineer accidentally recorded Jimi ordering a ham sandwich if a record label would try to package and sell it.

But…

This really hasn’t been the case since 1995 after Jimi’s dad formed Experience Hendrix, L.L.C.  In the 90’s they cleaned up old contracts and sued their way to tightening reigns on the catalog.  Since then, the emphasis has been quality over quantity.  So much so, Both Sides of the Sky is only the seventh collection of Jimi’s demos, singles, alternate tracks in nearly 30 years and their first since 2013.

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Both Sides of the Sky is the third in a series of compilation albums that began in 2010 with Valleys of Neptune and continued in 2013 with Hell, People and Angels.  As with the previous albums, these tracks have been remixed by Eddie Kramer, who engineered all of Hendrix’s albums while he was alive.  While it is true, you can and probably do have alternate takes of ‘Lover Man‘, ‘Hear My Train A Coming‘, ‘Power of Soul‘ and ‘Stepping Stone‘ on other compilations, Kramer’s efforts have these tunes popping off the vinyl far better than they ever have before.  His contribution is worth the price of admission alone.

Both Sides contains a few solid collaborations with other artist as well.  Stephen Stills appears on two tracks; ‘$20 Fine‘ is a groovy little number which has Stills on vocals and organ while Jimi does his guitar thang; and ‘Woodstock‘ (featuring Jimi on bass).  While this version of ‘Woodstock’ will never replace the one that would eventually become a hit for Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young it’s still fun hearing Jimi take Neil Young’s place on lead. Now we can debate who did it better for the ages.

Johnny Winter is on the slide guitar for the cover of Guitar Slim’s ‘The Things I Used to Do‘ while Jimi is on vocals and handles the final guitar solo.  Hearing these two blues legends swap licks together on this track is a real treat.  Kramer has Johnny and Jimi’s guitars separated onto the left and right tracks, which I love.

Lonnie Youngblood is on vocals and tenor sax for ‘Georgia Blues‘.  This tune features a pre-Hendrix Experience Jimi on rhythm guitar and was included on the Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues compilation.  I remember reading how Youngblood was suing the Hendrix Estate and Scorsese for not giving him a writing credit and the royalties that go with it, but I guess that didn’t go too far since he doesn’t have one here too.

Send My Love To Linda‘ has Jimi grinding on that ‘Seattle Sound’ 20 years prior to Nirvana or Pearl Jam producing a single note.  Neil Young might have had to share his “Godfather of Grunge” title if Jimi had stayed around a little longer to evolve that flat tone.

Jungle‘ and ‘Sweet Angel‘ are instrumentals that sound like the bones of an unfinished idea, but still make for an interesting listen.  The slow jam of ‘Cherokee Mist‘ which features Jimi noodling away on the sitar is the only track that I can agree is… slightly… ho hum… but hey, it is only one out of thirteen.

Besides the music, I like the packaging for the album too.  The tracks are spread out onto two 180 gram vinyl LPs, and it comes with a large glossy insert loaded with colour photos.

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A lot of words too.

 

Jimi was young when he died after a relatively short career 50 years ago, so it would appear that any worthwhile material would have been been found, catalogued, and heard already.  But when you consider how Jimi’s method for finding musical perfection was through continuous improvisation and experimentation; you can understand how it is possible for him to leave us with numerous recordings to still be sifting through to find hidden gems.

So, really the only question is the quality of the tracks on Both Sides of the Sky.  For me the answer is: they are top notch making this is an easy album to recommend.  While it is obvious how Jimi had not finished some of the tunes, and others are available on other compilations; with Eddie Kramer at the production helm they are as close to how Jimi intended you to hear them as we will ever get.  And the track selection is a bluesy-rocking swinging good time for 90% of its duration with not a single ham sandwich order.

4/5

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