Mott The Hoople - Old Records Never Die

Old Records Never Die is an outstanding two-CD retrospective of Ian Hunter’s best work as the frontman and main songwriter for Mott The Hoople and his subsequent solo material. Disc One, which is all Mott The Hoople, contains pretty much everything most people would want from the band. This CD is a fantastic journey from the band’s Stonesy beginnings to their glam rock heyday, which commenced when David Bowie gave the band “All The Young Dudes” in order to jumpstart a then-sinking career. In addition to the aforementioned classic, other highlights include the stomping “Roll Away The Stone” (see lip-synched video above!), their gritty cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” and the epic “Ballad of Mott The Hoople.” The Ian Hunter disc is also excellent. Weighted heavily towards his Seventies material, it’s easy to see how influential of a songwriter Hunter is. “Once Bitten Twice Shy” was later covered by Great White in a much more over-the-top form, while the poignant “Ships” was one of Barry Manilow’s last hits. In addition, a re-recorded version of “Cleveland Rocks” was used as theme music for The Drew Carey Show! Also great are two songs I fondly remember from my FM radio-listening youth, “Just Another Night” and “When The Daylight Comes.”


Time to Taper

Decent 5K race today (well, yesterday as it's just after midnight as I write this) at the Amherst Skeleton Run in some windy and cool conditions. Fall has definitely arrived. Ran 17:19 for 7th overall and 3rd master. Top master was at 16:42. Felt ok, but a little stale, probably due to a combo of quite a few late nights at work the past few weeks and some pretty tough workouts. Definitely not as on as I was in my 16:54 race at the beginning of the month, but I felt a lot stronger than I did in the masters XC race in North Carolina. The race I've been focusing on all fall, Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 10K, is in 2 weeks (happens to fall on my 44th birthday too) so now it's time to back off on the intensity and trust that the hard work this fall will pay dividends. Peaking is always the hardest thing for me to do as I have a hard time easing up in my training.


Jesus and Mary Chain - The Power of Negative Thinking

It was a little disappointing that Rhino’s reissues of the first five Jesus and Mary Chain albums did not get the deluxe over-the-top packaging and bonus track treatment that was bestowed upon The Cure and Joy Division, but this four-CD box set with extensive liners, including in-depth interviews with founding members Jim and William Reid, more than makes up for it. Quite simply, The Power Of Negative Thinking is the motherload for Jesus and Mary Chain fans. Though a lot of this material has already been compiled on the Barbed Wire Kisses, Speed of Sound and Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll collections, everything is in one place here, and there are a lot of added bonuses, such as previously unreleased demos and alternate takes of classic material. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about The Power Of Negative Thinking is that on many of these songs the Reid brothers really let their guard down, much more so than on their carefully constructed studio masterpieces. The Jesus and Mary Chain’s influences are much more varied than one may suspect. While the main albums tend to focus a lot on the band’s Phil Spector, Beach Boys, and Velvet Underground fixations, the group was far less restrained on their B-sides, especially on their covers of various rock ‘n’ roll legends, including Leonard Cohen, The Subway Sect, The Temptations, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, The Pogues, Bo Diddley, Elvis, and Prince. Original B-side compositions were also much more spontaneous, in some cases too much so—a handful of tunes, such as some of the early Psychocandy flip sides, are downright awful! Much more par for the course is the number of amazing gems on The Power of Negative Thinking that should have made their way to the ‘proper’ releases. This is especially true with the Automatic era B-sides. While that 1989 effort is a tad too produced and commercial radio-friendly compared to the other Jesus and Mary Chain albums, after listening to tracks like the gripping “In The Black” and “Terminal Beach” or the shimmering all-too-brief “I’m Glad I Never,” one wonders what Automatic might have sounded like if the boys had been able to let loose a little more in the studio. Other great discoveries here are some Honey’s Dead era cuts, including the infectious “Something I Can’t Have,” the tense “Heat,” and a sublime acoustic rendition of “Teenage Lust.” A must purchase for the hardcore Jesus and Mary Chain fan.

Video above is "Some Candy Talking" from 1986.


Cross Country Photos

Here are a few photos from the Masters National Championship 5K in Greensboro, NC that were taken by my brother-in-law Andrew Proffer.

At the start with the other 'unattached' guys, including John Hinton (far right), who won the race

Early on in the first mile before we hit the trails...

Bringing it home

Dead at the end....


Running Update

Haven't done one of these in a while, but since running my 16:54 PR (and falling down in my cool down afterward and dislocating my shoulder!), I'm back at full strength again. I ended up missing 2 days of training with my shoulder and was on some heavy duty painkillers so I didn't feel my best going into the Masters National XC race in Greensboro on October 12. Nevertheless, I ran a pretty solid race and placed 36th in the 40-49 year old race. I didn't have my usual strong finish in the last mile, but ran as well as could for the day. It's always a good experience racing the best people in the country. This week has been great. My shoulder feels back to normal with only occasional soreness (no more painkillers) and I ran 58 miles this week with two really great hard workouts. Next week I'll be racinga 5K on October 26th and on November 9th a 10K in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The latter is a race that I have been keying on all fall.

My brother-in-law Andrew took some great photos from the Masters XC race and as soon as I get them, I'll post some up!


Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs' Tears (R.I.P. Levi)

In addition to Norman Whifield's passing, the musical world also lost Four Tops front man Levi Stubbs. This 1986 song by Billy Bragg describes the emotional impact of Stubbs' music more than my words ever could. 2008 has now seen the loss of Isaac Hayes, Norman Whitfield and Levi Stubbs. Legends all.


Norman Whitfiled (R.I.P.)

Norman Whitfield was an underrated genius who pretty much invented the concept of psychedelic soul music in the late 1960s when he took over the Temptations' songwriting duties from Smokey Robinson in 1966. Born in 1943, Whitfield was a teenage pool hustler before discovering his musical talent. Before working with the Temptations, Whitfield wrote songs for the likes of Marvin Gaye. Under Whitfield's guidance, The Temptations branched out their sound on such classics as "Cloud Nine" (see above!), "Ball of Confusion" and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone". Whitfield's psychedelic arrangements and urban social messages paved the way for Sly Stone and Isaac Hayes and of course, the '70s Blaxsploitation sound. The man will be missed.


Heavy Stereo - Mouse In A Hole

Before he was in Oasis, Gem Archer was the vocalist for Heavy Stereo who put out four great singles and one album circa 1995-96. This is one of my favorite Heavy Stereo tunes. New Oasis album is out this week BTW.


New Masters 5K PR - 16:54

Today was one of those days where everything seemed to click. The weather was ideal -- somewhere between 45 and 50 with not too much wind. I didn't see too many faces I knew at the starting line, but then my Team Run Zone teammate, Pellegrino, showed up a few minutes before the gun went off, so I knew that it would be a good race. He ended up being the top master at 16:12 -- the man is a beast! He's had a really great fall after being injured earlier this year. The overall winner was a college kid who runs for Northern Arizona who ran 15:19. He was supposed to be racing at the Cowboy Jamboree today, but he had to be in Cleveland for a funeral -- guess he had time for a race! Anyway, I ran a 4 second masters PR and finished third OA, second master with a time of 16:54.

Normally the course at Lakewood Park is a straight out and back on Lake Avenue, but they changed the course quite a bit for this race. The first half of the race wound through a lot of neighborhood side streets, so there was a lot of twisting and turning. The last half, however, was all straight and I really got rolling there. After passing the usual suspects who start too fast, I was pretty much alone by the half mile mark trying to focus on Pellegrino who was ahead of me. No one else finished that close to me, so I'm really happy that I managed to stay focused and pushed hard. I think doing those Daniels workouts the past five weeks has really toughened me up. Hopefully, I can get down to 16:45ish by the end of the year. Next week I'll be doing the masters XC race in North Carolina ,but I'll try to find another fast 5K road race or two before 2008 comes to a close.

On a dumb side note, I messed up my shoulder really bad after the race. I ran a cool down with a group of guys and one of them tripped on a big crack in the sidewalk and he fell pretty hard and I fell over him and landed hard on my right shoulder. I was able to shake it off ok, but when I got home my arm/shoulder popped out of socket in the shower, but then popped right in again after about 30 seconds. It happened again about 10 minutes later when I put on a shirt. Since then it's been getting better, but still pretty sore and stiff. I can mimic a running motion ok, so hopefully with taking today off running I can get back into it in a day or two. Not the best thing to happen a week before nationals but you've got to roll with the good and the bad or as an old friend used to say, you've got to ride the waves of life like the silver surfer.


Prefontaine Tattoo

No this isn't me, but whoever this guy is, that's one pretty cool looking Pre tattoo!


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