Thursday, October 31, 2019

#8 The Doors (+ Misfits bonus)

1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards #8 The Doors
Pro Set showed plenty of love to The Doors, and now we're on to the 3rd (of 4) consecutive cards they got in the Legends subset. It's a pretty standard band promo photo. Nice of Ray to hunch down a bit to fit in the SuperStars logo.


The back features another posed band photo and a little write-up on how the guys got together.

Doors - "People Are Strange"

Since I've said pretty much all I've got to say about the Doors over the previous couple posts, I thought I'd take a look at other trading cards that card-collecting Doors fans might have on their radar.

As far as I can tell, there aren't other mainstream Doors cards out there (please correct me in the comments if I'm wrong), but I've found a couple Jim Morrison oddballs:

Jim Morrison 2006 Music Sales Ltd Rock Trumps (pic from TCDB)
Jim Morrison 2012 Aquarius Dean Russo Pop Culture Playing Cards #6H (pic from COMC)
If you go searching for Jim Morrison cards, there are plenty of results that pop up... but they're mostly of other people named Jim Morrison who might seem strange to Doors fans:

In hockey, Jim Morrison (James Stewart Hunter Morrison) played in over 700 NHL games in a career on the ice that stretched from 1952 to 1973.

In baseball, Jim Morrison (James Forrest Morrison) was an infielder who played in the majors from 1977-1988.
Another Jim Morrison (James H. Morrison) played in the minors 1986-1993, though he never made the bigs.

And there are plenty of other prominent Jim/James Morrisons in history who probably don't have trading cards.

I think you'd have to be a majorly obsessed Doors fan to collect cards of other guys named Jim Morrison, but it could be a fun "minicollection" to work on. The hockey Jim Morrison cards can set you back a few bucks (with many of which being vintage hockey cards from the 50s and 60s), though the baseball Jim Morrison cards are plentiful and generally inexpensive.

Other than any Jim Morrison cards in my baseball setbuilds, I've got only one other card in my collection that makes me think of the Doors...


Scored this 2015 Allen & Ginter framed mini autograph in a big trade a few years ago. Val Kilmer of course portrayed Morrison in the 1991 biopic directed by Oliver Stone.


The film received mixed reviews, but I liked it a lot. My buddy Doug owned it on VHS and would pop it in from time to time.


CUSTOM CORNER

Misfits 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were (vers. 1)
The Misfits might not have a direct link to The Doors, but I've always thought Glenn Danzig's voice reminded me of Jim Morrison. Like, if a young Jim Morrison started a punk band, it'd probably sound something like the Misfits. (Ultimately, both probably owed a debt to Elvis Presley for their vocal style.) And plus, this is my Halloween post here on the blog, and as a band in the "horror punk genre", the Misfits felt like a good fit for today.

Here's my first custom take on the "Historic Concerts (Posters)" subset design we'll see later in the set.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I was personally never much of a punk rocker, but still enjoyed a handful of punk bands. The Misfits were a band I was aware of-- that creepy logo was frequently seen on patches sewn onto jackets and backpacks of punkers in high school-- but I didn't really check them out for myself until well into my 20s.

Misfits - "Where Eagles Dare"

If you care to dig into the history of the Misfits, I'd point you to their Wikipedia entry, but I'm not the guy to ask for details. But I can tell you they originally formed in New Jersey and were active 1977–1983. Then after a period of inactivity and legal spats, the band was resurrected in 1995 without Danzig (who drifted away from punk and towards metal for his subsequent albums-- I'll have to take a closer look at his solo career in a future post). Misfits fans are generally much less enthusiastic about this later version of the band, but I suppose that's to be expected. In 2016, Danzig reconciled with the other guys and "The Original Misfits" reformed and did some touring. I think they're still doing shows together as of 2019.

Misfits 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were (vers. 2)
Since the first Misfits custom I whipped up features the early incarnation of the band, I figured I'd also do one with a more recent photo.

Misfits - Desert Island Disc
  1. Last Caress
  2. Angelfuck
  3. All Hell Breaks Loose
  4. Attitude
  5. Where Eagles Dare
  6. Come Back
  7. Children in Heat
  8. Halloween
  9. Teenagers From Mars
  10. I Turned Into a Martian
  11. Hatebreeders
  12. Violent World
  13. Astro Zombies
  14. Dig Up Her Bones
  15. Fiend Without a Face
  16. The Forbidden Zone
  17. Dust to Dust
  18. Descending Angel
  19. Fiend Club
  20. Helena

Tracks 1-13 are from the classic-lineup run, while this hypothetical compilation is rounded out by a few later (non-Danzig) tracks, 14-20. These are just my personal picks, likely to upset any diehard Misfits fan, but hey, it's my blog. lol

Misfits - "Helena"

Any of you readers into the Misfits?
In any case, hope you have a Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 25, 2019

#7 The Doors (+ The Germs and X bonus)


The Doors - 1991 MusiCards #7
We're up to lucky card #7. It's the second of 4 cards the Doors get in the Legends subset.

Looks like the picture might be from the same shadowy photoshoot as their first album cover, but hard to say.

Photographer Joel Brodsky
And possibly from the same shoot as the Best of the Doors album cover...


Same necklace.



Back focuses on Jim Morrison. Typo alert here: Robby Krieger called "Bobby".

"Break On Through (To the Other Side)" was the group's first single

Growing up for me, the Doors were respected as top tier "all-time greats" right there with the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Zeppelin, and The Who.

Today? I don't know.

I hear Jim Morrison being called an overrated hack poet and not much of a singer by the younger generation. Personally, I think that's bullshit. Jim Morrison is a rock god, period. The Doors cranked out a bunch of songs over a short period of just 5-6 years, and while not all of them were winners, there were more than enough awesome songs to be considered among the elite acts to come out of the 60s. Brilliant band with the balls to shake things up. Sadly, Jim passed away at 27 and didn't get the chance to further build his legacy.

As a kid, my mom bought the Best of The Doors double disc album from Columbia House, and I enjoyed the hell out of that. Not a bad song on either disc. Later, my bud Doug got a big cd box set of the Doors and I got to check that out and hear some deeper cuts, though ultimately I found myself sticking with the hits.

My favorite song of theirs would probably be "L.A. Woman", followed closely by "The End".

The Doors - "L.A. Woman"

I also really like the "L.A. Woman" cover Billy Idol did. I heard that version around the same time I first heard the original, maybe even before. Doors fans might take it as blasphemy, but honestly I've always considered the two versions to be different sides of the same coin.


Doors - desert island disc
1. Break On Through
2. Light My Fire
3. The Crystal Ship
4. People Are Strange
5. Strange Days
6. Love Me Two Times
7. Alabama Song
8. Five To One
9. Waiting For The Sun
10. Spanish Caravan
11. When The Music's Over
12. Hello, I Love You
13. L.A. Woman
14. Riders On The Storm
15. Touch Me
16. Love Her Madly
17. Roadhouse Blues
18. Soul Kitchen
19. The Unknown Soldier
20. The End

Nearly all of these are from the Best Of double album I grew up on. I should probably try spending more time with their catalog to see if I can find some lesser-known gems that strike a chord with me. But for now, those are the 20 songs I'm taking with me for my desert island isolation. Speak up in the comments with your Doors favs, please.



Got a couple customs for ya today. The Doors were the first band to really break out of the LA underground. Thought I'd feature a pair of other LA luminaries.

Germs - 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were
The Germs were a seminal punk band from the late 70s, though they don't get mentioned as often in conversation of classic punk forefathers like the Sex Pistols and Ramones. But they're giants of West Coast punk.

Germs - "Lexicon Devil"

Most of the Germs' studio output was collected on a CD called (MIA): The Complete Anthology (1993). I bought that as a teenager and loved it. It was raw and ugly and awesome.

I was never much of a punk. No piercings or tattoos for me. I sorta dyed my hair green in high school once, but I have dark hair so it was barely noticeable. And I had a Germs t-shirt that I wore once in a while. Becoming a punk was a romantic notion for me (saying "fuck it" and just giving the finger to the world), but at the end of the day, that just wasn't me. But I could still rock out to some punk music from time to time. And the Germs were (and still are) a favorite in that genre for me. Their frontman, Darby Crash, died at 22 in 1980, though they later did some reunion shows with the actor who played him in a biopic. I just recently got around to watching What We Do Is Secret (currently streaming on Amazon Prime, btw), and thought it was pretty good.

Other than that film, the Germs are probably best known these days as being an early band of guitarist Pat Smear, who went on to be a touring member of Nirvana (1993–1994) and then Foo Fighters (1994–1997, 2005–present). It's also worth noting that Belinda Carlisle, who we'll see on her own MusiCards further on in this blog, was kinda-sorta in the Germs for a moment in 1977.


Another LA band from around that time with a ton of street cred is X.

X - 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were
X formed in 1977 with singer Exene Cervenka, singer-bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom, and drummer D. J. Bonebrake. They put out seven studio albums from 1980 to 1993, and after a hiatus for a few years, reunited in the early 2000s, and have continued to tour since.

X -  "Los Angeles" (live)

My favorite song of theirs is "Los Angeles", though I like a bunch of their stuff. "Nausea", "The World's A Mess, It's In My Kiss" and "4th Of July" are others near the top of the list. John Doe has some great solo stuff too, with Forever Hasn't Happened Yet and A Year In The Wilderness being albums I'd recommend.


COVER TIME

Jane's Addiction - "L.A. Medley" (live 1991)

Fitting all 3 of this post's featured bands into one cover! Jane's Addiction (a favorite band of mine who I'll have to feature here in depth another time) worked up a cover medley of The Doors' "L.A. Woman", The Germs' "Lexicon Devil", and X's "Nausea" into one song called "L.A. Medley" which they performed live occasionally around 1987-1991. It was essentially their ode to the Los Angeles bands they loved that came before them.

Want some more incestuous connections for these bands I've mentioned in this post?
- The Doors' keyboard player Ray Manzarek produced (and played on) the first X album.
- X covered the Doors song "Soul Kitchen" on that album.
- X drummer D.J. Bonebrake was briefly drummer for the Germs.
- Germs drummer Don Bolles would sometimes play with the band Flower Quartet in the mid 80s, whose bassist Eric Avery later went on to form Jane's Addiction with Perry Farrell.
- Jane's Addiction opened for X a few times circa 1987.
- Perry Farrell sang on the song "Children of Night" along with Exene Cervenka of X for the Doors tribute album Stoned Immaculate: The Music of the Doors (2000).
- Perry Farrell performed live with the surviving Doors members at least once or twice in the late 90s/early 00s.
- Perry Farrell sang the Doors' "People Are Strange" in 2006 (with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols on acoustic guitar) during a radio appearance.
- The unreleased Jim Morrison spoken word piece "Woman in the Window" was put to music and released by Perry Farrell's project Satelite Party on their 2007 album. 
- Perry Farrell has guested with Pat Smear and Foo Fighters doing Jane's Addiction's "Mountain Song".
- Flea guested with Nirvana on stage (on trumpet), played bass for Jane's Addiction (1997 tour), and covered the Germs for a tribute album.
- Dave Navarro also appeared on that Germs tribute album (with his side project Ruined Eye), plus was the guitarist for Jane's Addiction, and was in the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Flea for a few years in the mid 90s.
- Flea's band the Red Hot Chili Peppers used a clip of the X song "White Girl" in their song "Good Time Boys" on their 1989 album Mother's Milk, with additional lyrics mentioning X's John Doe "whose voice is made of gold".

So yeah, lots of love being spread around among these L.A. bands.

That's all for today. The Doors cards keep coming with MusiCard #8 up next, and we'll likely work some Halloween spookiness into the post.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

#6 The Doors (+ Van Morrison bonus)

1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards #6 The Doors

Card #6 is The Doors. It's their first of 4 consecutive cards in the Legends subset, plus they've got a Historic Concerts card (#255) and a card in the UK edition, giving them a total of 6 MusiCards.

This photo is clearly from the same shoot as the Morrison Hotel album cover. The pic that graced the cover was a straight-on shot, while this one from the left was likely nixed thanks to the glare obscuring Robby and John for the most part. Per Wikipedia:
The cover photo was taken by Henry Diltz at the Morrison Hotel on South Hope Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The band weren't given permission to photograph, so did so while the clerk was called away from the desk. The band jumped right behind the windows and hit their places without shuffling as Diltz took the shot.
Check out a few other photos from this shoot (The first is closest to the one used for the album cover, though on the selected shot, they aren't smiling.):





Seems like the photographer was able to get several different shots even though supposedly they were rushing as they didn't have permission from the hotel.


The back of the card features a photo of the band in a cemetery and lists their albums. Let's examine some of the curiosities in this list:

I wasn't aware of the "Hard Rock Cafe" co-title of Morrison Hotel, but turns out, yes, technically speaking Side A of that album is entitled Hard Rock CafĂ©, while Side B is Morrison Hotel. But damned if I've ever heard that record referred to as anything other than just Morrison Hotel before this.

There's a minor typo here in that "Absolutely Alive" is actually called Absolutely Live, their first live album (recorded July 21, 1969–May 8, 1970).

I wasn't familiar with 13, but turns out that was a "greatest hits" compilation their record label put out while they were still active. It was never released on CD, so it's no surprise that it's not well remembered today.

Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine is another one I wasn't familiar with. Looks like it's just another "best of" compilation with a couple rare b-sides thrown in.

It's odd that Pro Set listed the live album and the two "hits" compilations, yet Other Voices (1971), Full Circle (1972), An American Prayer (1978)-- three original albums released by the Doors after Jim Morrison's death-- don't get mentioned. I guess they were limiting it to albums released during Jim's lifetime. Several additional live albums and "best of" compilations were released between then and when this card was made that could have easily been thrown on the list had they wanted to be more exhaustive.

The Doors - "Waiting for the Sun"

Morrison Hotel (1970), the album alluded to by this card's photo, was the penultimate record before Jim's death. The only single was "You Make Me Real"/"Roadhouse Blues" which reached #50 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. My personal favorite track from the album is "Waiting for the Sun". Funny that the song didn't appear on their earlier album that shared that name (Waiting For the Sun [1968]), but I guess it wasn't finished in time.


We've still got a few more posts on the horizon to cover the Doors, so let's put a pin in it for now and transition over to the custom for today.


I figured with the whole "Morrison Hotel" focus on this post, I'd make a card for the other best known Morrison in the history of popular music: Van Morrison. Van is a heavy hitter who doesn't have a real card in the set.

Van Morrison - 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were
Jim and Van weren't related (Van is from Belfast, Ireland), though Van's early band Them was an influence on the Doors. When Them toured the US in 1966, The Doors were the opening band for a handful of shows in LA. Said author Brian Hinton: "Jim Morrison learned quickly from his near namesake's stagecraft, his apparent recklessness, his air of subdued menace, the way he would improvise poetry to a rock beat, even his habit of crouching down by the bass drum during instrumental breaks."

Them - "Gloria"

"Brown Eyed Girl" and "Gloria" are Van Morrison's biggest songs, both staples of 60s rock. He's been making music since 1958 and is still active today. His immense catalog is richly varied, encompassed by his distinctive voice.

I forget how I heard about Astral Weeks, but at some point in my 20s I caught wind it was an under-the-radar album that was beloved by those who've heard it. (Not necessarily obscure, but never got much radio play.) Sure enough, I feel in love with it shortly after picking up the CD. I listened to it a lot, usually late at night, as it's definitely a "wee hours" type of record in my eyes.. one of those albums that would just feel wrong to listen to while the sun was out.



Van Morrison - Desert Island Disc
1. Brown Eyed Girl
2. Domino
3. Gloria
4. Moondance
5. Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)
6. Gypsy Queen
7. Everyone
8. Tupelo Honey
9. Back on Top
10. Glad Tidings
11. Dweller on the Threshold
12. Wild Night
13. Saint Dominic's Preview
14. Into the Mystic
15. Astral Weeks
16. Beside You
17. Sweet Thing
18. Cyprus Avenue
19. The Way Young Lovers Do
20. Madame George

This mix starts with some of his better-known earlier stuff, and closes with the majority of the Astral Weeks album (15-20). He's another artist where I could pick another 20 songs I like without much trouble, but I'll call it good with these picks. Did I leave off any of your favorite Van Morrison songs? Please accept my apology, and feel free to mention your favorites in the comments.


Van Morrison - "Gypsy Queen"

Since Van Morrison has a song called "Gypsy Queen", I thought it'd be fun to make him a bonus custom in a design of the card line with that name.

Van Morrison 2015 Gypsy Queen custom
That's it for today. Up next, we'll try to set the night on fire with more of The Doors.

Hey, did you win my big contest? Still some unclaimed prizes, so be sure to check the previous post.

Monday, October 14, 2019

#5 Doobie Brothers (+ Michael McDonald bonus and contest update)

Hey, we've made it to card #5.


It's the Doobie Brothers, their only card in the set. Looks like a contemporary promo photo.


Solid write-up on the back. Here's their Wikipedia entry if you wanna learn more. But yeah, they're still at it, touring extensively even here in 2019, often paired with the band Chicago. The lineup has changed a lot since their formation; Only 3 members remain who've been around since the 70s, as some original members needed to bow out over the years, often due to health reasons.

Since this card was made, they've put out 4 more studio albums: Brotherhood (1991), Sibling Rivalry (2000), World Gone Crazy (2010), Southbound (2014). As their heyday was before my time, I don't think I've ever listened to any of their records other than greatest hits collections, but I sure love some of their better-known tunes.

Doobie Brothers - "Black Water"

It's funny that they've had two #1 singles.. one is inescapable to this day ("What a Fool Believes") while the other is basically forgotten now. But not forgotten to me, as I'd say "Black Water" is easily my favorite Doobies song, followed by "Listen To The Music" and "China Grove" (the latter of which is also a favorite of Homer and Bart).

Similar to the previous post with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and sometimes Young, the Doobs are also transformed into essentially a different band (but with the same name) by an occasional member, in this case Michael McDonald. His distinctive vocal stylings helped the band score several hits in the late 70s.


I thought about making a custom for the Doobies' frequent tourmates Chicago (who don't have a MusiCard), but I'll have to circle back to them another time. Michael McDonald gets the nod today.


I'm not super happy with this custom, but there just aren't that many good photos of him in his prime online. Most of them are recent pictures with the snow-white beard/hair. The old photos of him out there are mostly black & white. So here's a boring shot that seems to be colorized from a B&W pic, but whatever.

He's had quite the career, guesting and collaborating with lots of top acts of the day over the past 45 years. (His Wikipedia link)
He also seems to have a sense of humor and not take himself too seriously.

Three Michael McDonalds Sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" (w/ Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake)



For today's mix, I'm throwing together my favorite Doobie Brothers songs with my favorite Michael McDonald songs. And just a reminder that this is a hypothetical playlist in no particular order, not a ranking.

Doobie Brothers + Michael McDonald - best of
1. What A Fool Believes
2. Takin' It To The Streets
3. Little Darling (I Need You)
4. Listen To The Music
5. Jesus Is Just Alright
6. Rockin' Down The Highway
7. Long Train Runnin'
8. China Grove
9. Another Park, Another Sunday
10. Black Water
11. Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me)
12. Sweet Maxine
13. It Keeps You Runnin'
14. I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near) - Michael McDonald
15. On My Own - Michael McDonald (duet with Patti LaBelle)
16. Sweet Freedom [4:06] - Michael McDonald
17. Sweet Freedom [Instrumental Remix] [9:32] - Michael McDonald
18. Sweet Freedom [Child Of Freedom Mix - Radio Edit] [6:47] - Michael McDonald
19. Eyes of a Child - Michael McDonald
20. Ride Like the Wind - Christopher Cross (featuring Michael McDonald on backing vocals)

Ok, I had to cheat a little to fill 20 tracks (including a joke song from the South Park soundtrack plus a song by another artist featuring a guest appearance). And yes, there's a 20-minute block of "Sweet Freedom" and yes I can listen to that song for 20 minutes and not get sick of it. It's just a perfect "80s song."

Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom

There's a hilarious webseries called Yacht Rock from the online Channel 101 that presents a partially-fictionalized version of McDonald (portrayed by actor JD Ryznar) along with his adult contemporary contemporaries of the late 70s and early 80s. I think there are 12 episodes, with each being about 5 minutes long. If you like this type of music and have a silly sense of humor, it's highly recommended. I think all the episodes are on YouTube (though be warned the picture quality is rough; probably better watching on a small screen such as your phone). Here's a link to the first episode.

Anyways, feel free to share your thoughts on the Doobie Brothers and/or Michael McDonald in the comments below.


CONTEST UPDATE

Sorry for keeping you waiting. There were 26 unique entrants.. not bad. And good news is it's just narrowly over the number I was looking for to find 2 winners. A few bonus entries were earned for "pimping", plus I'll give a bonus entry to those who's commented on each of the first 4 cards so far. I'm also giving a bonus entry to the first person to "follow" the blog (John Sharp), and the very first person to comment (Mike).

Now let's list all the entries. THIS LIST IS NOT PICKING A WINNER. rather just listing all the entries alphabetically:
Billy Kingsley
Brett Alan
Brett Alan - bonus entry for commenting on posts #1-4
Bulldog
cdorso
Dan Debling
Fuji
Fuji - bonus entry for commenting on posts #1-4
Fuji - pimp bonus entry
GCA
GCA - pimp bonus entry
gcrl
Jafronius
Jason T. Carter
Jason T. Carter - pimp bonus entry
John Sharp
John Sharp - bonus entry for 1st follower on the blog
Johnny's Trading Spot
Johnny's Trading Spot - pimp bonus entry
Jordan
karsal
kockey kazi
Larry Presnall
madding
Matt (Diamond Jesters)
Matt (Diamond Jesters) - bonus entry for commenting on posts #1-4
Matt (Diamond Jesters) - pimp bonus entry
Mike
Mike - bonus entry for 1st person to comment on the blog
Nick (dimebox)
night owl
night owl - bonus entry for commenting on posts #1-4
Rob
Rod (Padrographs)
Rod (Padrographs) - pimp bonus entry
The Turrdog
Trevor P
Trevor P - pimp bonus entry
zman40


If you're familiar with how I usually run contests over on Baseball Card Breakdown, you know that I like adding another layer of randomness and excitement, with the aim to make it very clear that no funny business has transpired. And so I'm doing that here too.
The below list is NOT picking a winner, rather it's assigning numbers to the entries.

The winning numbers will be decided with the help of NLCS Game 4, Tues. 10/15/19, Cardinals @ Nationals.
The combined number of hits for both teams = a winning number
The combined number of runs for both teams = a winning number
The combined number of errors for both teams = runner up stand-by
The combined number of hits+runs+errors for both teams = runner up stand-by


Again, #1 is not necessarily a winner. Gotta stress that because I don't want to get anybody's hopes up. And full disclosure, I randomized the list twice, as the first time I did it, several of the folks with multiple entries were bunched up (main entry and bonus entry right next to each other for like 3 or 4 people) and I wanted to spread them out more.

The winners (combined number of hits for both teams) and (combined number of runs for both teams) will have until the first pitch of the World Series to claim a prize. Post a comment here or email me to claim your prize, first come first served after the final out of the NLCS Game 4.

If the World Series starts and there's still at least one prize left unclaimed, the stand-bys (combined number of errors for both teams, assuming there even are any errors) and (combined number of hits+runs+errors for both teams) will then be able to sneak in and claim a prize, again first come/first served. And let's go ahead and say you can only win once-- so even if you're lucky enough to land a couple winning numbers, the second one will be void. Hope this isn't too confusing. I'll try to update the bottom of this post with the current situation if it feels like clarification is needed.

POST-GAME UPDATE!
The combined number of hits for both teams = 14 - hockey kazi (whoops, typoed his name as "kockey kazi" in the list. LOL)
The combined number of runs for both teams = 11 - Matt (Diamond Jesters)
Congrats to Mr. Kazi and Matt! They will have until the 2019 World Series first pitch to claim a prize. If either of them don't get around to speaking up, the stand-by winners will have a chance to steal:
The combined number of errors for both teams = 1 - Jafronius
The combined number of hits+runs+errors for both teams = 26 - Larry Presnall
Feel free to let me know your pick whenever.
Big thanks to everyone who entered! I'll try to do more contests here from time to time, so I hope you stick around even if you didn't win.

UPDATE 2: Matt and Larry win the prizes. Congrats, guys! Contest closed.

Up next: get ready to break on through to the other side, as we've got 4 consecutive cards of the Doors on tap.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

#4 Crosby, Stills & Nash (+ Neil Young bonus)


1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards #4 Crosby, Stills & Nash
The fourth card in the set is Crosby, Stills & Nash. This monochromatic shot seems to be a contemporary photo. It's their only card in the set (though related band The Byrds have a Historic Concerts card at #256).


I think Crosby, Stills & Nash were one of the first "supergroups" in rock, made up of singer-songwriters David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash. These guys are all twice-inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, both for their earlier bands (mentioned on the back of the card) and as members of CSN.

Crosby, Stills & Nash - "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"

Check their Wikipedia entry for more of the band's history, but the short version is the three heavy-hitters teamed up in 1968 and became a major force on the folk-rock scene with their self-titled debut album in 1969. It spawned two Top 40 hits ("Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" [#21] and "Marrakesh Express" [#28]). Other great songs followed on subsequent records, including "Teach Your Children", "Our House", "Just a Song Before I Go", "Long Time Gone", and "Southern Cross".

I like all these hits of theirs, with "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" probably being my favorite of the bunch. It makes you wait for it, but when that satisfying last part kicks in ("do do do-do do"), it can't help but put a big smile on your face. That's another instance of where I was familiar with a short clip as a kid thanks to it being used in a TV commercial (either for a Time-Life Music collection [Freedom Rock, perhaps?] or maybe a spot advertising a radio station). It was an epiphany when I eventually heard the full song finally years later. The ending part kicked in and I was like, "Oh hey, it's that one song from TV!"

Crosby, Stills & Nash has been on-again/off-again as an active band for over 50 years now. They've released two studio albums since this card came out: After the Storm (1994) and Looking Forward (1999). As of 2019, all 3 members of CSN are still kicking in their 70s (Who would've thought David Crosby would make it this far?!). They've performed together as recently as 2015, though some bad blood between members may make further reunions unlikely.

Neil Young was/is an occasional member of the band over the years (transforming them into Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young when he's in tow.) On November 3, 1991, CSNY reunited to play the Bill Graham memorial concert at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. But as reflected on the '91 MusiCard, Young wasn't a regular member of the group at the time.


********

Not only is Neil Young not featured on the CSN card, he doesn't have his own card in the set (nor is there a card for his bands Buffalo Springfield or Crazy Horse). So he's the obvious choice for this post's custom card creation.

Neil Young - 1991 MusiCards-That-Never-Were custom
That would have been a cool card to pull from a pack!

I like CSN fine, but I really like Neil Young. Growing up, my mom owned After the Gold Rush (1970) on vinyl, though I don't remember us listening to it very often. Then as a teenager in the mid 90s, my buddy Doug bought a used cd of the hits/rarities compilation Decade, though it was only the second disc of a 2-cd set. Back then, I was somewhat familiar with Neil Young, but mostly because his songs had been covered by some of my favorite bands at the time, such as the Pixies recording "Winterlong" and "I've Been Waiting For You" as b-sides, and Pearl Jam often performing "Rockin' in the Free World" in their live sets around that era. But I also dug that badass "This Note's For You" video that MTV or VH1 played once in a blue moon. Oh, and my mom owned the Philadelphia soundtrack cd that included Young's title track.. I liked that tune ok.

But yeah, that Decade (disc 2) was really what turned me onto Neil Young. I burned myself a copy of Doug's cd.. it was one of the first burnt cdrs in my music collection and it got a lot of play from me. I'd often listen to it while falling asleep, since it has a lot of good mellow songs-- though inevitably I'd be shaken awake when "Like a Hurricane" started blaring. LOL. I might have to go with "Cortez the Killer" as my favorite cut.

I eventually got my hands on more of his stuff, including Harvest (1972) and On the Beach (1974), later diving deeper to his discography.

Neil Young - "Downtown"



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I like a ton of Neil Young songs, and so trying to narrow down my favorites to 20 tracks is gonna be tough. Here we go...

Neil Young - "best of" playlist
1. Downtown
2. Ohio
3. Old Man
4. A Man Needs a Maid
5. Harvest Moon
6. Heart of Gold
7. This Note's For You
8. The Needle and the Damage Done
9. Tonight's the Night (Pt. 1)
10. Tired Eyes
11. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
12. Down by the River
13. Winterlong
14. Cinnamon Girl
15. Sugar Mountain
16. Like a Hurricane
17. Cortez the Killer
18. Campaigner
19. Long May You Run
20. Motion Pictures

This is sort of "disc 2 of Decade on steroids", as over half these songs are from that cd. It wouldn't be too hard for me to do another disc coming up with 20 more of his songs I like a lot, but we'll call it good with this.

How 'bout you? I'd be interested to hear what your favorite CSN/CSNY/NY songs are in the comments.

COVER TIME
Pixies - "Winterlong"

Love this cover of "Winterlong" with Kim Deal on lead vocals.

And speaking of Neil Young tunes sung by women, here's a bonus cover: Fiberoctopus-Harvest_Moon.mp3 - This is a recording of "Harvest Moon" I made back in 2010 with my friend Karie on lead vocals. My guitar work is a bit sloppy as usual, but overall I'm pretty happy with how the track turned out.

Next up are the Doobies.

And last call for the contest I'm running. If you haven't entered yet, now's the time!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

#3 Eric Clapton (+ J.J. Cale bonus)


Eric Clapton is back with another card at #3. This looks like an earlier photo than #2 from the previous post. Mid 80s? Sort of a Miami Vice vibe to that outfit.


The back blurb focuses on his early days.




Derek & The Dominos - "Layla" (live)

As I mentioned in the prior post, I like Clapton just fine, though I wouldn't say he's an all-time favorite of mine or anything. At the time this MusiCard came out, I might not have even been able to name one of his songs. I definitely knew the sound of the opening riff of "Layla" because it was used in one of those Time-Life Music commercials that ran constantly in the 80s. ("Remember those classic songs from the 70s? Now for the first time ever, all the greatest songs from that era are available in one collection! Just listen!") But honestly, I only knew those few seconds from the TV commercial. lol. I got sick of that riff. Even today, I much prefer the different, slower second half of that song.

It wasn't until '92, with "Tears In Heaven" impossible to escape, that kids my age really became familiar with Clapton. But I eventually checked out more of his earlier stuff when I got older.

Eric Clapton - "Wonderful Tonight" (Live)

A few years ago, I was the DJ at my wife's brother's wedding reception, and he and his bride requested "Wonderful Tonight" for the first dance. I had probably heard it like in movies or whatnot before that, but it wasn't until then that I was like, "oh wow, this is a really pretty song."


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Here's my personal "best of" for Eric Clapton:

1. Layla (Derek & The Dominos)
2. After Midnight
3. For Your Love (The Yardbirds)
4. I Shot The Sheriff
5. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
6. Cocaine
7. Promises
8. The Shape You're In
9. She's Waiting
10. Wonderful Tonight
11. Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream)
12. Anyone For Tennis (Cream)
13. White Room (Cream)
14. Badge (Cream)
15. Tales Of Brave Ulysses (Cream)
16. Had To Cry Today (Blind Faith)
17. Presence Of The Lord (Blind Faith)
18. Sea of Joy (Blind Faith)
19. Tears In Heaven
20. Layla (Unplugged version)

You can see I included tracks from his earlier bands too, not just solo works. Not really much thought to the order here, other than bookending it with the different versions of "Layla". I'm sure I'm missing some good ones. Like I said, I'm just a casual Clapton fan, not exactly well-versed in his catalog. Feel free to comment below letting me know of any other songs I should check out.



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So in the previous post, I mentioned Clapton's cover of "Cocaine" by J.J. Cale was one of my favorite songs of his ("After Midnight" is another great J.J. Cale song that Clapton had a hit with). The two guys made an album together called The Road To Escondido (2006). I was late to the party, but I finally "discovered" it in 2017 when my ol' pal Doug shared it with me. I don't typically listen to a lot of blues-type stuff, but this album is awesome. Turns out it also includes the final recordings of keyboardist Billy Preston, the "fifth Beatle". Wow.. I hadn't realized that till now typing up this post.

J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton - "Danger"

I need to dig into more J.J. Cale stuff, as I seem to really like most of what I hear from him. Cale was originally from OKC, but had retired to San Diego County in the 80s where he spent his days until passing in 2013 at age 74.

MusiCards-That-Never-Were J.J. Cale custom
Again, I'd definitely recommend The Road To Escondido if you're into that sort of thing. It won a Grammy, so it's not like some obscure treasure, but like I said, I only first heard it a couple years ago. My favorite tracks are "Danger", "Sporting Life Blues", "Anyway The Wind Blows", "Three Little Girls", "Who Am I Telling You?", and "Ride The River".

That's it for today. Card #4 will bring us to the smooth harmonies of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

****

IN MEMORIAM

Coincidentally on the day Clapton is featured on the blog, his former bandmate, Cream/Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker passed away. He was 80, which is a ripe old age as far as hard-living rock 'n' rollers from the 60s go, but still sad to lose him. Cream will get a post here once we get to card #251 ("Cream at the Fillmore Auditorium").

Friday, October 4, 2019

#2 Eric Clapton (+ George Harrison bonus)

Onto card #2!

1991 Pro Set SuperStars MusiCards #2 Eric Clapton
Looks like this was a contemporary photo judging by the haircut. He was still very much a relevant artist on the popular music scene at the time, and in fact his most successful hit was right around the corner, with "Tears in Heaven" becoming one of the top songs of '92.

Eric Clapton has two cards in the set-- in addition to this one, he's got another card in the Legends subset right after this at card #3-- plus there's a Cream poster in the Historic Concerts subset (#251). He doesn't have a card in the UK edition, which seems strange since he's British, after all.


As the card states, Clapton is among the top rock guitarists of all-time. If you've got the time and interest, he's got quite the Wikipedia entry coving his eventful life.

Like with the rest of the acts in the Legends subset, his heyday was before my time, so while I've got an appreciation for his music, I can't say I was ever a huge fan of his or anything.

I think my first introduction to Clapton was "Tears in Heaven" and the acoustic rendition "Layla" from his 1992 Unplugged album. I liked them fine, but grew sick of them getting played so frequently on the radio and MTV.

Eric Clapton - "Cocaine" (Live)

It wasn't till I was older that I dug into his earlier work. Kinda blew my mind that the original Derek and the Dominos' "Layla" was basically a totally different song that rocked hard, not the lullaby-ass version from Unplugged. And you got "Sunshine of Your Love" and "White Room" from his time in Cream (that I'm sure I heard as a kid, but didn't realize they featured Clapton). "Wonderful Tonight" is a pretty song. And his J. J. Cale cover of "Cocaine" might be my favorite thing he's done.


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Clapton famously played the guitar solo on George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" from the Beatles' White Album (1968). (And he infamously broke the bro code and hit on Harrison's wife at the time, Pattie Boyd, eventually marrying her years later.)

And so I figured I'd pair this Clapton MusiCard with a George Harrison custom. The Quiet Beatle doesn't have a solo card in the set (unlike John, coming up at card #15), though The Beatles have a card in the UK edition (which we'll eventually cover, assuming this blog has the longevity to get to that point). Seems crazy Pro Set wouldn't give The Beatles a Legend card in the US version of the set (Led Zeppelin has 5 cards, by comparison!), but it was probably a licensing issue and they couldn't secure stateside rights.


The custom looks pretty cool, I think. Does that photo remind anyone else of 1991 Topps Wade Boggs? And yes, I know that George has earned a "Legends" status in the set, but since we're already in the middle of that subset, I figured I'd keep the customs a base card for a change of pace rather than keep on hitting you over the head with the gold borders of the Legends design.

I love me some George Harrison. His songs helped give variety to many classic Beatles records, sort of a secret weapon of the band. There are lots of great songs from his solo career, as well. Growing up, in addition to a few Beatles records, my mom owned one George Harrison solo LP, Dark Horse (1974). We didn't play it too often, but dusted it off and slapped it on the turntable once in a blue moon. I seem to recall it was slightly warped and that affected some tracks, so that was probably a factor why we didn't listen to it more often. And honestly it didn't do much for me at the time with the exception of the title track which I absolutely loved.

George Harrison - "Dark Horse"

I wasn't super familiar with his solo work until checking it out more when I got older, but I remember being a fan of "Got My Mind Set on You" and its silly music video. I also liked what I heard from the Traveling Wilburys, the supergroup he was in.

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Now's the time where I try to narrow down my favorite George Harrison songs onto a hypothetical mixtape to play on repeat whilst stranded on a desert island. I'm trying to grapple with if I should include his Beatles tunes in the compilation or keep it fully solo tracks.

George Harrison "desert island disc" mixtape
1. Dark Horse
2. My Sweet Lord
3. What Is Life
4. Let It Down
5. All Things Must Pass
6. Blow Away
7. The Rising Sun
8. Stuck Inside A Cloud
9. Brainwashed
10. Got My Mind Set on You
11. Far East Man
12. Wake Up My Love
13. I Really Love You
14. Greece
15. Dear One
16. Hear Me Lord
17. Dream Scene
18. On The Bed
19. Any Road
20. Isn't It A Pity

As you can see, I ultimately kept it confined to his solo career. Were I to include Beatles songs, slam dunk picks would be "Here Comes The Sun", "Long, Long, Long", and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (which I probably would have went with the symphonic remix from Love over the White Album version, though I really like both). Oh, and can't forget "Taxman" (a song whose bassline I talked about on Baseball Card Breakdown back in 2017).

But back to the mixtape, it's heavy on All Things Must Pass, which I think a lot of Beatles fans consider the best post-Beatles album from the Fab Four, respectively. I put "Isn't It A Pity" last because it's such an epic song.. figured it'd make a good closer. I could have added a few more songs, but I like trying to cap these mixes at 20 tracks.

COVER TIME
Speaking of "Isn't It A Pity", the band Mercury Rev do a nice version.

Mercury Rev + Dean & Britta "Isn't it a Pity" at the Mystery Spot, Phoenicia, NY 8/15/10


That's gonna wrap up this post. I'd love to hear your thoughts and memories regarding Eric Clapton and/or George Harrison, so chime in down in the comments if you're so inclined. Thanks!

Next up is another Eric Clapton card. I'll come up with a Desert Island Disc for him, plus we'll take a closer look at J.J. Cale.

****

IN MEMORIAM


Kim Shattuck
July 17, 1963 – October 2, 2019


Sucks to hear about Kim Shattuck's recent passing. Here's a custom card I made for Dimebox Nick's dad a while back. I thought I was pretty clever using a Burger King design for a photo where she's wearing a Burger King crown. The Muffs were a really good band, as were the Pandoras. I was bummed when Kim Deal left the Pixies (one of my favorite bands), but I thought it was cool when Kim Shattuck replaced her, as she brought a new dynamic to the band. Unfortunately she got the boot by the band's management because they wanted someone who just stood there silently and played bass, but she was a punk at heart who liked doing her own thing. She'll be missed.