Category: Grade: C

Green River – Dry As a Bone / Rehab Doll

ARTIST: Green River 

TITLE: Dry As a Bone / Rehab Doll

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation



OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Swallow My Pride is probably the most well known one..

LINEUP: Mark Arm, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Bruce Fairweather, Alex Vincent

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A collection of the 1986-88 recordings by the seminal grunge band that shows a band always on the verge of imploding.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: They were doomed to be short lived. Shoehorning indie ride-or-dies with hard rock / metalheads set on a major label recording contract could only go on so long. Green River stuck around from 1984 through the end of 1987, finishing their last recordings after they technically split up. This collection takes their last two releases as a combo and adds in outtakes


Dry As a Bone was recorded in 1986, but not released for another year, and it is the more cohesive of the two records. Mark Arm’s more in charge and the songs seem more Mudhoney-like. By Rehab Doll, the guitarists and bassists won out in terms of song construction and style, and the safer aspects of their tastes dilute the end product. Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Bruce Fairweather then went on to form Mother Love Bone, and the former two later schemed up Pearl Jam.

While this is a good document for the evolution of Seattle, it’s not anything special not vital. The parts were greater than the sum.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They released an EP before this one that’s a bit edgier since Steve Turner (future Mudhoney) was in the group. Edgier, not better.


 GRADE: C+: For historical use only, really.

Pink Floyd – The Final Cut

ARTIST: Pink Floyd

TITLE: The Final Cut (A Requiem for a Post War Dream by Roger Waters)



SINGLES: Not Now John (#7 US Mainstream, #30 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubtful unless you just play Pink Floyd on repeat.

LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters. Michael Kamen and Andy Bown played most of the keyboards. Others were here and there.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Falkland Island War inspires Waters to re-visit his father’s death and war in general.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is the Roger Waters Experience, for the most part. Taking some leftover songs from The Wall (yes, there were leftovers), enhancing the story, and then turning to the current (then) state of the world, Waters leads a stripped down Pink Floyd (really Gilmour with Mason on the record here and there) into the depths of melancholy.

This was highly anticipated, and for most people, it was a deeply depressing disappointment. Yes, there are some interesting musical ideas, but Waters arrangements and production re-treads most of the old Pink Floyd tricks of echo and sound effects.

It’s just…too much.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Gilmour really didn’t like the themes of this record and really didn’t want the leftover songs to be used. But he really didn’t have a lot of ideas, he admitted later.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, in a sense. “When the Tigers Broke Free” (#39 UK) was a single that was part of The Wall movie soundtrack, and it was added into the record as track four in the 2000’s.

GRADE C: I really can’t take this unrelenting bleakness. EXILED all but “Not Now John”

The Greenhornes – Gun for You

ARTIST: The Greenhornes 220px-Gun_For_You

TITLE: The Greenhornes





LINEUP: Craig Fox, Patrick Keefer, Jack Lawrence, Brian Olive, Jared McKinney

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Cincy-area garage band’s debut is a homage to the 60’s garage era, but it’s a flat celebration.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Greenhorne’s first record sounded like they were the cousins of the Detroit area garage revival. The sound is dominated by Jared McKinney’s organ and Craig Fox’s garage-era front-man swagger. Yet it seems more like a copy than a truly inspired original.

They definitely know the sound and the motif. But what’s missing is some spark. The production doesn’t do them any favors, either. It sounds flat, and it’s possible they were rushed in recording and mixing.

They’d sort it all out soon enough, but this is one to pass up unless you need to complete your collection.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: One cover is “Wake Me, Shake Me” by the Blues Project


GRADE C: It’s just a flat record (and not the shape). They’d do better work soon enough. EXILED

Dig – Dig

ARTIST: Dig            R-1192267-1409153999-9440.jpeg




SINGLES: Fuck You, Believe (#19 Modern, #34 Mainstream), I’ll Stay High, Unlucky Friend


LINEUP: Scott Hackwith, Johnny Cornwell, Jon Morris, Phil Friedmann, Anthony Smedlie

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: “Corporate” Alt-Rock record that tried to emulate everything that suits thought was trendy in the alternative rock circles. Only a couple tracks work.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Hey kids, let’s make an alternative rock album!

That seems the mode that Dig was in when this album was released. Loud-soft dynamics, sad white boy lyrics, angst galore, guitar riffs everywhere, and somehow a sound that was both polished and rough. Well, sorta rough. But not too rough – gotta get on the radio you know.

There are some good tracks here. “Believe” was an MTV favorite and holds up as a good time capsule for the commercial side of alt-rock. “Tight Brain” has some energy and drive, and didn’t really sound like they were just trying to cash in. Scott Hackwith’s vocals were effective on a couple of tracks, but otherwise he’s trying to split the difference between Scott Weiland and Kurt Cobain.

The end result is an alt-rock product that didn’t fool many people.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Hackwith was connected, He was a producer (still is) that had worked with Iggy Pop, TSOL, and the Ramones


 GRADE C: It’s stuff like this that smothered the alt-rock scene.

Dokken – The Best of Dokken

ARTIST: Dokken 220px-BestOfDokken

TITLE: Best of Dokken

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Breaking the Chains (#32 Mainstream), Into the Fire (#21 Mainstream), Alone Again (#64 US, #20 Mainstream), Just Got Lucky (#27 Mainstream), The Hunter (#25 Mainstream), In My Dreams (#77 US, #24 Mainstream), Dream Warriors (#22 Mainstream), Burning Like a Flame (#72 US, #20 Mainstream #78 UK), Walk Away (#48 Mainstream)


LINEUP: Don Dokken, George Lynch, Mick Brown, Jeff Pilson. Juan Croucier was in the band early on before he bolted for Ratt.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pop metal band had one deadly weapon in George Lynch, and screwed it up with inane lyrics and songwriting.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Oh, Dokken. You listen to them, and some things rouse you, and then, there are things that make you cringe. Now, pop / glam metal wasn’t the genre where wordsmiths went, but Don Dokken was not one to eschew clichés when presented with lyric writing issues. “Burning Like a Flame”? Please.

This collecton covers their first era, before their inevitable reunions and long time cash grabs. MTV made the band as it showcased their perfect locks and good looks, but as for the music, Lynch aside, it was damn generic, at best.

Dokken does have some decent riffs in their songs, but most of their tracks are mid-tempo sing alongs or love songs that appeal to 8th graders.

 NOTES & MINUTIAE: Their first record was released in Europe in 1981, then released in the US after some doctoring in 1983.


 GRADE C: I gave it a whirl, but I didn’t like them then and I really don’t like them now.

Rare Earth – The Very Best of Rare Earth

ARTIST: Rare Earth  very best of rare earth

TITLE: The Very Best of Rare Earth

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Top 40: Get Ready (#4), (I Know) I’m Losing You (#7), Born to Wander (#17), I Just Want to Celebrate (#7), Hey Big Brother (#19), Warm Ride (#39)


LINEUP: Gil Bridges, Eddie Guzman, Peter Hoorelbeke, Ray Monette, Kenny James, John Persh. Then Mark Olson and Mike Urso joined, and then it became a chore to keep track of who’s who.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The first hit-making white band on Motown released some catchy tracks (mostly written by others) but really went crazy on the LONG album versions like they were Iron Butterfly or something.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Rare Earth was not the first white Motown artist, but they were the first to have a hit. They were a Detroit band that was signed after a failed album on Verve (which also had a version of “Get Ready”).

“Get Ready”, a hit for the Temptations and written by Smokey Robinson, was their first Motown single and became a bigger hit for them. The album version was over 21 minutes long! (Holy padding out the record, Batman) And it was just a lot of noodling and jamming for no reason except the tape was rolling. That was a shame, because they had a chance to be tight and funky, but they rambled on and on…

“I Just Want to Celebrate” is their best known track, and it wasn’t an overly long version on the album (just in concert, because why not…)earth tones

That was the story for their early career. Cover a Motown song, and jam forever (so it seems), and profit (?). When they decided to record their own material in 1972, they still jammed for way too long. Oh, but when they did their own stuff, the hits dried up (until 1978 and they got one scraped in at #39). There’s a reason for that.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Drummer Peter Hoorelbeke (Pete Rivera back in the day) was the lead singer for the most part. 20th century rare earth

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: You can get collections with the LONG versions. Be my guest.

GRADE C. At their best, they were tight and funky with catchy tunes. That happened so rarely, as it were.

The Gin Blossoms – Congratulations, I’m Sorry

ARTIST: The Gin Blossoms Gin_Blossoms_-_Congratulations...I'm_Sorry

TITLE: Congratulations, I’m Sorry



SINGLES: Follow You Down (#9 US, #6 Mainstream, #8 Modern, #30 UK), Day Job (#29 Mainstream,, #31 Modern), As Long As It Matters (#75 US), Not Only Numb

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not on the normal version. See below.

LINEUP: Robin Wilson, Scott Johnson, Jesse Valenzuela, Bill Leen, Phillip Rhoads.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Followup to their surprise breakout sees them mining the same territory, but without their best songwriter the tracks didn’t have the same impact.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Gin Blossoms second major label album did change up their sound on a few tracks, but mostly mined the same slight power-jangle pop sound. The issue was the songwriting – without the late Doug Hopkins the rest of the band had to pick up the songwriting slack, and except for a couple of tracks (“Day Job”) they seemed like lesser takes on their first album.

“Follow You Down” was really the only track that stands out amongst the rest of the tracks and it was the song that sounded like it really could have been on the first album. Really, much of the album sounded like that. They were really gunning for a second big smash, but by 1996, people seemed to be over the simple sounds of the band.

A major reason for the disappointment could have been a decision by their record company. A&M decided that their single for the 1995 Empire Records movie, “’Til I Hear It From You” (#11 US, #4 Mainstream, #5 Modern, #39 UK) should be left off of the new album even though the soundtrack was also released by A&M. That cut some sales and interest in the album, and forced the band to fill the void.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The title comes from the phone calls the band got for their success, and the loss of Doug Hopkins.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, they finally tacked on the 1995 single. It really could have made the album just a bit better.

 GRADE C+: It really was the same kind of album as before, but with fewer memorable tracks.

The Moody Blues – On the Threshold of a Dream

ARTIST: The Moody Blues 220px-Thresholdofadream

TITLE: On the Threshold of a Dream



SINGLES: Never Comes the Day (#91)


LINEUP: Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, Graeme Edge

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Hoo boy. A muddled album that seems to have a theme, but doesn’t except for the most part the Moody Blues are thirsty.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There’s some real good 60’s hippie hokum in the poems and lyrics here (“In the Beginning” is a ‘poem’ of sorts that has awful sound effects and puerile scare mongering), and that’s not the worst of it. Ray Thomas’ songs seem to be flown in from another concept album, and Mike Pinder’s “Have You Heard” and its nonsense is broken up by “The Voyage” which is an excuse for him to use his mellotron and other effects.

But most of the tracks in the middle, are, frankly, about the Moody Blues wanting to bed down some hippie chicks from London. “To Share Our Love”, “So Deep Within You”, and “Never Comes the Day” are almost embarrassing in their brazen codes for “get naked with me”, using most of the clichés of the business.

Lyrics aside (and they were supposed to be a deep group, too), the tunes themselves are memorable, with nice hooks and arrangements, and they even make the ‘love’ songs tolerable. The label also messed up and didn’t release the best pop song (and least embarrassing love song) “Lovely to See You” as a single.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The electronic sounds at the beginning also were in the run-out groove of the second side, so you couldn’t escape them.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, alternate takes and BBC sessions.

 GRADE C+: I really like some parts of this record, but some of this is just too embarrassing.

Blue Cheer – New! Improved!

ARTIST: Blue Cheer 220px-Blue_cheer_new_improved

TITLE: New! Improved!



SINGLES: West Coast Child of Sunshine

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover a Dylan song

LINEUP: Dickie Peterson, Paul Whaley. Bruce Stephens and Ralph Burns Kellogg are on side one. Randy Holden is on side two.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A move away from proto-metal after lineup shifts does nothing for the band, and many fans jump ship after this.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Dropping the needle on side one, track one, and you get “When It All Gets Old”, a song written by now full-time member Ralph Burns Kellogg. It’s not heavy, not at all. The second track, the single, has some of the old feel, but the record shows the band to have devolved into a semi-folky hippie band, complete with a bad Dylan cover.

Then, there’s side two. The way the band was supposed to sound. Randy Holden (famous for being an unknown guitarist of the 60’s and 70’s – seriously) led the band through two out-of-this-world psychedelic rock tracks in “Peace of Mind” and “Fruit and Icebergs” (go-to songs for mixes for those in the know – especially the latter). Blue Cheer as a power trio with guitars at the fore – that’s the band we know and love.

But that’s all we got from Holden, and Peterson and Whaley had to scramble to finish the record after Holden left. So that’s why the first half is the way it is, and why Blue Cheer moved away from their best selves.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Holden joined after Leigh Stephens left due to deafness or in protest of Peterson’s drug use. Holden left suddenly when he found he had no money as the money went to Peterson’s habit. Oh, this isn’t streaming, but the good Holden tracks are on a Blue Cheer comp that’s still around.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A couple of extra tracks.

 GRADE C-: An A for Side Two, with Holden. You can tell what I think about the other side, and Blue Cheer going forward.

Modern English – Mesh and Lace

ARTIST: Modern English 220px-Mesh_&_Lace_cover

TITLE: Mesh and Lace



SINGLES: None on the album, but they’re bonus tracks.


LINEUP: Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Michael Conroy, Richard Brown, Stephen Walker

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Post-punk band is Joy Division-lite, all mood and atmosphere with only a few compelling tracks.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Forming in 1979, signed by 4AD in 1980, and releasing this in 1981, Modern English were fast-tracked into the post-punk world and the Joy Division sector of that world. Their debut album contains none of their singles (I never understand this), and only a few album cuts rise to the occasion.

Atmosphere and mood are the keywords here. Everything is moody and stark and while some melodies and other parts escape, most of the time they’re hidden in the mood, whether it’s a slow or fast tempo. Also, the intros to the songs are long and tedious at times. You know, setting the mood for art and all.

If you missed this, don’t worry. Nothing here reminds me of their MTV hit. If you’re into the moody pre-goth post-punk era, indulge at your whim.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They used to be The Lepers, but changed that quickly. Also, the title cut was a B-side that didn’t make the album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with singles and B-sides. Weirdly, one of the singles (“Gathering Dust” (#36 UK Indie)) starts the deluxe CD. The other singles added were “Swans on Glass” (#46 UK Indie) and “Smiles and Laughter” (#16 UK Indie).

GRADE C+: All depends on your love for moody gothy post-punk. The bonus cuts make the package much more palatable.