BOOK’S JOOK: Chicago’s “25 Or 6 To 4″ b/w “Make Me Smile”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

    Last week I posted a new edition to my dream jukebox but as I was reaching the last sentence, I began to question myself. Should the “Colour My World”/”I’m A Man” 45 by Chicago be in there, because I realized I had a slightly more powerful record, also by Chicago, in mind. I decided to leave it alone and post the article but when I did, I came up with the conclusion I may have been wrong with my initial decision.

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    As much as I like the softer, more delicate side of Chicago’s music, it was the rockers that always got to me first, and “25 Or 6 To 4″ is my all time favorite Chicago song. Say what you want about where Peter Cetera’s career went to in the 1980’s, but in 1970, he belted it out with passion and of course, his bass work was powerful and incredible. You can’t help but hear a song where I wondered “what are they talking about?” Is it about drugs? Is it about something else? Or is it some guy who is up at 3:35 in the morning, unable to finish a song and realized “maybe I should just write a song about how frustrated I am by not being able to complete this.” It made for a good story, whatever the story is. On top of that, you have the majestry of Terry Kath’s guitar work, and while the 45 single edit removes the part where he hits the wah-wah pedal for a wicked run towards the finish line, the single edit seems to shorten this song nice and promptly. The single edit does remove a verse, but my introduction to the song was through the edit and I was content until I bought my own copy of Chicago II and learned there was about 90 or more seconds extra.

    This 45 too was part of Columbia’s Hall Of Fame series, offering two hit songs on the same record so the B-side had another song from Chicago II, “Make Me Smile”. It sounded funny to me, not as full as “25 Or 6 To 4″, and I would later learn that the original safety masters were destroyed so it sounded like someone used a cassette dub of a cassette dub of a cassette dub, where the quality sounded muffled. This was a mean rocker too, with Kath handling the lead vocal duty, and I would learn that this too was a short edit of the original song. I would also later learn that the single edit of “Make Me Smile” actually spliced a part of the original and “Now More Than Ever”, which then made me learn those were part of the mini-opera known as “Ballet For A Girl In Buchanon”. These two songs were the ones that made me want to know how much more music Chicago had made, outside of the popular songs I heard on the radio. The old Chicago was far better than the then-latest Chicago but I wanted to like them all. I’m glad I did.

  • SOME STUFFS: King Buzzo streams solo album a week in advance

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    Melvins fans have been excited by the material and live performances from Buzz Osborne as a solo artist, and now the full album will be out next week Tuesday via Ipecac Records called This Machine Kills Artists. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait seven days to hear it for King Buzzo is allowing the album to stream in full a week beforehand, and you can listen to it now by heading to There are sixteen songs on this beast, so have a listen and see what Osbourne has to offer.

    BOOK’S JOOK: Chicago’s “Colour My World” b/w “I’m A Man”

  • Book’s Jook is a column dedicated to placing a record within my dream jukebox, if I were to have one. The Seeburg jukebox shown below is similar to the one I have wanted since I was a kid. To read more on why I started this column, click here.

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  • If there is a place where my love of Chicago started, this is one of the first places. I was always told that my Uncle Wayne loved “Colour My World” and that it was one of the easiest songs to play on piano. My next door neighbor had a piano so when I was able to pay a visit, I tried it out. I realized it was very easy and in my mind, I knew how to play the piano. It was about the song that made me like it, from Terry Kath’s sensitive vocals to Walter Parazaizer’s flute solo, that just set it off for me.

  • This pressing is notable because it’s part of Columbia Records’ Hall Of Fame series, which was a part of their “Oldies But Goodies” series where music fans could have the hits “back to back”, or have two older hits on the same record. There was a special section near the regular 45’s where you could specifically buy the older material, and it seemed like a bargain because you were getting two popular sons on one 45 opposed to the hit plus “a piece of junk” on the B-side. This was a mentality before I got into collecting and realized the B-side can sometimes be where the true winner is. Anyway, it was a chance to have two Chicago hits on the same record, so I was happy.
  • The B-side of this record had a solid rocker, and I believe I heard this version of “I’m A Man” before I heard The Spencer Davis Group’s original version of it. While the label listed it simply as Chicago, this was done by Chicago Transit Authority from their debut album, I knew that before I even had the full album because my neighbor had the CTA album plus CHICAGO II. “I’m A Man” was awesome not only because it’s the one Chicago/CTA song sans horn section, but because of the drum break from Daniel Seraphine. I loved how jazzy it was, even though I wasn’t aware at the time of his jazzy roots, it just sounded like something I might’ve heard on one of my uncle’s jazz albums, yet there was something else about his drumming too. As a kid who admired the drums and wanted to play the drums so bad, I’d find myself playing this song over and over and doing air drums to it, properly accurate to the 45 edit on the record. When I bought the CTA album, I realized there was three extra minutes, which means more air drum learning.

  • The record seemed perfect: delicate ballad on the A-side, mean rocker on the B. At the time, Chicago’s bit hits were “Alive Again” and “No Tell Lover” and I wondered “how come the Chicago on my record sounds better than what’s on the radio?” In time, it would lead me to buy Chicago’s entire U.S. discography, all except Chicago 21. Yet. As I’m wrapping this article up, I was positive that this was my formal introduction to Chicago but I realized that it was not. It’s a respectful introduction but I now know that my parents showed me the yellow brick road with a different Chicago record. I’ll share that title next week Monday.

  • DUST IT OFF: Prince’s “When Doves Cry”…30 years later

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    This was something I looked forward to. I knew the 30th anniversary of this was on its way this month, but Wiki, Discogs, and lists it as either May 9th or 16th, 1984, which is wrong since both dates are Wednesday. While I know Wikipedia tends to cater to the UK release date, both dates would still be wrong. Anyway, regardless of the actual release date, we are now 30 years beyond the impact of this song. It’s a bit significant for me, as it’s the last Prince song I heard as a resident of Honolulu before I moved a little over three weeks later. I had been a Prince fan since I saw the video for “I Wanna Be Your Lover” on public access, which lead to me buying the 45 at Music Box in downtown Honolulu. I knew of Paul McCartney playing all of his instruments but I had never seen a promotional film clip of anyone doing the same. I was hooked and loved the song. Sadly, due to radio genres and formats, I didn’t become aware of Prince again until “1999” and “Little Red Corvette”, and that was because MTV had played him. I want to say I heard “Controversy” back then too but I honestly don’t remember. Nonetheless, when “When Doves Cry” was released, this was just a new Prince single, sounding uniquely different from “1999” or “Little Red Corvette”. It sounded like Prince was going to change his method a bit, but we weren’t sure why. A month later, a soundtrack album arrived, and we all knew a movie was going to come out. Little did we know how big this film was going to be not only for him, but 1984 as a whole. I wasn’t able to see Purple Rain at the theater because it was Rated R, and while my mom had no issue with him, I don’t think she wanted to take me to the theater to see the movie just because. I ended up renting the VHS for Purple Rain before we even had a VCR, I was that advanced and dumb at the same time. When I hear “When Doves Cry”, I hear a bit of sadness from someone who was about to move away from home and discover new people and scenery. I found a way to relate to “how can you just leave me standing alone in a world so cold” because I was about to leave behind everything and not sure what the future would offer However, in the album version of the song, the courage came back through that guitar solo. For me, I guess the song was the start of a new way of living for me, and little did I know how much it was going to change me, discovering many things the hard way.

    SOME STUFFS: Turchi release new album this week, record release shows begin tomorrow

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    Can’t Bury Your Past is the latest album from blues rock friends Turchi, who released it yesterday on the Devil Down label. Fronted by Reed Turchi, Turchi show what it means to get back to the roots of the music, whether it means rediscovering the blues, country, or whatever you can find when walking through the woods barefoot with a guitar in your hand. It’s what it means to be a North Carolina resident, at least for Turchi, and he and the band are ready to share that feeling with you. Listen to how gritty they are with “Take Me Back Home”.

    They will be doing a number of shows in the coming weeks, check them out and show up early. Shows in June will also include fellow North Carolinians Campfires & Constellations:
    April 24… Chapel Hill, NC (Local 506)
    April 25… Durham, NC (Blue Note Grill)
    April 26… Cape Charles, VA (Kelly’s Gingernut Pub)
    April 27… Wilmington, NC (Lagerheads)
    June 21… Lafayette, LA (Artmosphere) Ҽ
    June 26… Nashville, TN (Soulshine Pizza Factory) Ҽ
    June 27 & 29… Cape Charles, VA (Kelly’s Gingernut Pub) Ҽ

    Ҽ = w/ Campfires & Constellations

    Reed Turchi will also be doing two solo performances, both at breweries:
    May 3… Waynesville, NC (Tipping Point Brewery)
    May 23… Waynesville, NC (Frog Level Brewery)

    VIDEO: Boogarins’ “Erre”

    Boogarins’ brand of trippy rock’n’roll gets visually turned into something that is very much eye candy, as the sound is ear candy for anyone who listens to this band. “Erre” is the song, As Plantas Que Curam (Other Music Recording Co.) is the title of the album, and Brazil… well, you know.

    What you will find out are tour dates, as Boogarins will be hitting the road starting tomorrow. This will definitely be a must-see concert and tour, do not pass this up. If you are going to SXSW, head to their performances.

    March 2… Goiania, Brazil (Grito Rock Festival)
    March 4… Recife, Brazil (RECBEAT Festival)
    March 7… Goiania, Brazil (Metropolis)
    March 12… Austin, TX (Casa Brasil)
    March 12… Austin, TX (Trailer Space Records) (Burger Records Day Party)
    March 12… Austin, TX (Icenhauer’s) (Sounds From Brazil)
    March 13… Austin, TX (Whip-In) (Burgermania)
    March 13… Austin, TX (Hotel Vegas) ((Levitation Austin)
    March 13… Austin, TX (Red 7) (Ground Control Touring)
    March 14… Austin, TX (Uncorked) (Seaport Music Festival / Paper Garden)
    March 15… Austin, TX (Hotel Vegas) (Burgermania III)
    March 16… San Antonio, TX (The Limelight) (Burgerama Hangover)
    March 17… Tucson, AZ (Distant Tavern)
    March 18… Tempe, AZ (Yucca Tap Room)
    March 22… Santa Ana, CA (Observatory) (Burgerama III)
    March 23… Washington, DC (DC9) *
    March 25… Brooklyn, NY (Glasslands Gallery) *
    March 26… Philadelphia, PA (The Barbary) *
    March 27… Athens, OH (The Union Bar & Grill) *
    March 28… Cleveland Heights, OH (Grog Shop) *
    March 29… Toledo, OH (Frankie’s) *
    March 30… Columbus, OH (Double Happiness) *
    April 1… Atlanta, GA (The Earl) ^
    April 2… Charlotte, NC (Snug Harbor)
    April 3… Carrboro, NC (Back Room @ Cat’s Cradle) %
    April 4… Harrisonburg, VA (MACRoCk Music Festival)
    April 5… Asheville, NC (The Mothlight)
    April 6… Winston-Salem, NC (Phuzz Phest)
    April 8… Cardiff, UK (The Moon Club) +
    April 9… Liverpool, UK (The Shipping Forecast) +
    April 10… Manchester, UK (Band On The Wall) +
    April 11… London, UK (The Shacklewell Arms)
    April 12… Norwich, UK (Epic Studios)
    April 13… Ghent, Belgium (Charlatan Democrazy)
    April 14… Brussels, Belgium (Botanique Witloof Bar)
    April 15… Liege, Belgium (Mad Museum)
    April 16… Utrecht, Netherlands (DB’s)
    April 17… Amsterdam, Netherlands )Paradiso Basement)
    April 18… Lille, France (TBA)
    April 19… Paris, France (Espace B)
    April 20… Lyon, France ((TBA)
    April 21… Modena, Italy (Osteria del 32)
    April 22… Milan, Italy (Magnolia)
    April 23… Ravenna, Italy (Moog)
    April 24… Genova, Italy (Teatro Altrove)
    April 25… ZUG, Switzerland (Le Coq d’Or)
    April 26… Zurich, Switzerland (Langstars)
    April 30… St. Louis, MO (Firebird) #
    May 1… Kansas City, MO (The Record Bar) #
    May 2… Dallas, TX (Club Dada) #
    May 3… Austin, TX (Austin Psych Fest)
    May 4… Baton Rouge, LA (Spanish Moon) $
    May 5… Pensacola, FL (Vinyl Music Hall) $
    May 6… St. Petersburg, FL (State Theatre) $
    May 7… Miami, FL (Grand Central) $
    May 8… Orlando, FL (The Social) $
    May 9… Charlotte, NC (Chop Shop) $
    May 17… Goiania, Brazil (Bananada Festival)
    May 22… Brasilia, Brazil (TBA)
    May 23… Sao Paulo, Brazil (TBA)
    May 28… Barcelona, Spain (Global Music Network Showcase)
    May 31-June 1… Barcelona, Spain ( rimavera Sound)

    * w/ Vertical Scratchers
    ^ w/ Dean & Britta
    % w/ Dean Wareham
    + w/ Lumerians
    # w/ Temples
    $ w/ Of Montreal

    SOME STUFFS: James end their six-year hiatus with new album

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    James are: Tim Booth (vocals), Jim Glennie (bass), Larry Gott (guitars), Saul Davies (guitar, violin), Mark Hunter (keyboards), David Baynton-Power (drums) and Andy Diagram (trumpet). They’ve been around since 1982, which seems like a millennium for those who believe in such things as time. After taking a break for six years, the band are ready to release a new album on June 2nd called La Petite Mort. Singles have already been selected for the album, so remember titles like “Moving On”, “Curse Curse” and “Frozen Britain”. So far, James have two festival appearances scheduled:

    July 11… Manchester, England… Castlefield Bowl (Summer In The City Festival)
    August 1… Dorset, ENgland (Camp Bestival)

    More festival spots will be announced soon and they will be doing an arena tour in the UK as well. No North American dates as of yet.

    SOME STUFFS: Howlin Rain to release first live album

    Photo by Tyler Green
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    The good folks of Howlin Rain will be doing something they’ve never done before: they’re about to release a live album. Entitled Live Rain (Silver Current), it is a 9-track album that will be released on vinyl, CD, cassette, and of course digital. Here is the official track listing:

    Side 1
    Phantom In The Valley (8:45)
    Self Made Man (11:04)

    Side 2
    Can’t Satisfy Me Now (8:45)
    Beneath Wild Wings (4:19)
    Lord Have Mercy (7:50)

    Side 3
    Hung Out In The Rain (6:07)
    Calling Lightning Pt. 2 (8:16)
    Dancers At The End Of Time (5:53)

    Side 4
    Roll On The Rusted Days (7:49)

    Right now, you can have a listen to “Self Made Man” from the album by pressing the play button below.

    While their covers of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and “Evil” are not on the album, you can get a great feel for what they are like as a live band with the video below.

    Live Rain will be released on April 29th. The UK and Europe will find the album released on the Agitated label, and they’ll get it a day earlier than us. On top of this, the band are also hard at work on a new studio album to be released later in 2014.

    REVIEW: Andre Cymone’s “The Stone”

     photo AndreCymoneTS_cover_zpsf5dbecfa.jpg If you know of Prince Rogers Nelson, you will know who Andre Cymone is. Cymone eventually had a solo career which lead to one of my favorite songs of the 80’s, “The Dance Electric”. As with a number of artists who were close with Prince, Cymone moved on and seemed to have stayed quiet for awhile, but no longer. Cymone has called California home for a few years and he is back with a new album called The Stone (Blind Tango). I will say that if you’re expecting to hear a continuation of the music he created throughout the 80’s, think again.

    Cymone is showing that he is very much a rocker, which wouldn’t be surprising considering some of his musical roots. As I’m listening to the music on The Stone, I found myself enjoying the nice mixture of rock, popl, and soul, some of the lyrics having a bit of an attitude and swagger, but also finding him having a good time with the music he writes and plays. If there’s anyone to compare this style of music to, I would say it is close to the works of Dan Reed or even the grit of Garland Jeffries. Some of it sounds like the kind of new wave that would’ve ended up becoming stronger had the mainstream not had enough with it, or at least the influence of what was to become what it is today. Lyrically, they range from the sultry (“Naked”) to deep and compassionate love (“If Not For You”), while “One Day” seems to touch on a friendship that used to be strong but no longer. The title suggests that perhaps there will be a time when a meeting between them will take place again.

    I honestly don’t see the music on The Stone taking off on pop radio or within pop circles, but I would love to be wrong on that. I can, however, see these eleven songs doing well in different circles, be it for television shows or movies, where the songs reach an audience perhaps not originally intended, but it touches those who want to feel something from strong material. Cymone enjoys balancing on a line between the savage and the sanctuary, realizing that no matter what path one takes, let’s manage to get to a final destination in one piece. As the liner notes say in the album, “let the change begin” and if this is a means of change for him, he is going in the right direction. There is confidence in Cymone’s music, and I hope people will sense this.

    (The Stone will be released on February 18th on MP3, vinyl, and compact disc. You may order it below via Amazon.)