Double Wide

Artist: Uncle Kracker
Listenability Scale: 75%
Released by: Lava/Atlantic Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

So you liked Uncle Kracker because he does the song “Follow Me,” which if you listen to the lyrics you find out that it’s a song about cheating on your husband/fiancé with a loser whose only quality is able to turn you on. It’s a lovely little song, so then you bought the CD, popped it into your CD player, and one of the first things you hear is Kid Rock giving advice to Uncle Kracker, namely “make sure you pinch it at the top before you roll it down.” Okay, that’s a little stunner, so you keep listening and get treated to some swearing (guess you should have paid a little more attention to the “Parental Advisory” label), and find out that pretty much, Uncle Kracker is a rapper who mixes melodies into the songs, like on “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” Don’t get me wrong, I like this CD, and give it a 75% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale, but it always cracks me up a little bit when a singer or band put one or two radio-friendly tunes on a CD (Sugar Ray did that at the beginning of their boom days too), but when you pop that CD into the player, things are totally different.

That’s it for this quick review! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

It’s All About to Change

Artist: Travis Tritt
Listenability Scale: 90%
Released by: Warner Bros. Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

My tormented secretary doesn’t listen to country music much anymore. She said pretty much every song had something depressing about it, or at least sounded depressing. As I was listening to “It’s All About to Change,” I started to tell her, “Hey, this is an upbeat song,” referring to “Bible Belt,” and then I remembered it was pretty much the story of a preacher who cheats on his wife. As I looked through the song list, I pretty much had to agree with her, but still, I’ve always enjoyed this CD. “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares” is one of those classic lyrics, and even though “Bible Belt” is a sad story, it’s still a fun song to sing along with.

I’m not a fan of “Homesick,” but pretty much love the rest of the CD, so for that it’s a 90% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale, even if most of the songs are really kinda depressing.

That’s it for this quick review! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Coming Up for Air

Artist: Michael Stanley
Listenability Scale: 100%
Released by: It’s About Music
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

I grew up near Cleveland and at the time there was one group that ruled the airwaves. That group was the Michael Stanley Band. They could sell-out multiple dates at Blossom Music Center (one of the best outdoor venues I’ve ever been to), always seemed to have a lock on the radio airwaves, and basically just rocked. But, as huge as they were on the Northcoast, they could never break into the big-time in the national arena. They did some opening dates for a bunch of national acts, had a couple of top 40 hits, but just never could get over that hill. It was really too bad because the rest of the world doesn’t know what they were missing. Well, eventually the members of the band went their separate ways but Michael Stanley stayed active in the Cleveland area, did some local TV, local radio, and did some concerts as Michael Stanley and Friends. He even collaborated with some folks and made a new band called Ghost Poets, leaving some of his rock & roll roots behind for a little more mellow sound. Old MSB music was re-issued on CD’s, I snatched up most of them, but in my years I have always missed out on one thing and that is seeing Michael Stanley, with or without Band, live. From what I’ve been told it’s one hell of a show, but I’ve just never been able to make it. Well, enough of that ranting and raving, Michael Stanley has a new CD out, at least it was new to me, and he still re-affirms my belief that the rest of the world is missing one of the better musical talents of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Back in my place I tore the plastic off of the CD case, and popped it in my CD player. Looking at the credits I saw some familiar names in the likes of Bob Pelander, Tommy Dobeck, Danny Powers, and Jennifer Lee. I also cam to find that this CD was put out a while ago and I didn’t know it. Sometimes the best little surprises take time. So, I pop open a cold beverage, plop down at my computer, and do a little web-surfin’ while I listen. A few more listens and this is what I think.

Track # – Song Title – (Length)
1. After Hollywood (4:30)
Nice opener. I’m startin’ to dig the CD.

2. Coming Up for Air (6:35)
Reminds me of his work with Ghost Poets. It’s moody, a little jazzy. Not a rocker, but I like the voice distortion in the middle.

3. Poison Pen (4:52)
Another moody/jazzy song. Cool story.

4. Talking in Tongues (5:41)
Some of the lyrics go: "God’s between your thighs," "Talking in Tongues," and "He couldn’t find an inch of her he hadn’t memorized." Talk about "getting in the mood" music!

5. Sendaway Underwear (4:57)
A little more of a rocker and a unique twist on those slinky lingerie catalogs. If the sex life in your marriage has hit the pits, follow the advice of this song!

6. Everybody (5:22)
A song about society. Another up-tempo song, and I love the line "buy a dog you want a friend."

7. Wherever You Go (5:42)
A slower song, but one of my favorites on the CD.

8. Yesterday’s Eyes (5:11)
Another slower song, another message of things lost, but a cool song none-the-less.

9. Complicated (4:49)
Keeping with the slower tempo songs, Michael’s voice sounds great.

10. Just Between Friends (3:31)
The tempo is back up, and everyone needs them – friends that it.

11. Horizontal Mambo (4:33)
Mr. Stanley, where is your mind? First we’ve got thighs and tongues on "Talking in Tongues," and now, well, if you can’t figure out this song from the title you need, well, maybe you’re a little too young. Tempo is kept up, it’s a rocker reminiscent of some classic MSB, but I was sad to hear Janie is now into girls.

12. Sha-La-La-La (4:27)
My mind, in keeping with the theme of the last song, I hear a line like "you’ve always been a dancer and you always will" and I see ladies on fire-poles. Whether my theory is wrong or right (I tried to read into the lyrics, but they end up a little vague), it is a quirky little tune with a cool beat.

13. Terms of Surrender (4:12)
A nice love song. Another of my favorites.

In the end, and maybe my attitude is a little skewed because I’ve always been a big Michael Stanley Band/Ghost Poets/Michael as a solo dude fan, but Coming Up for Air ends up on one of my higher rotation CD’s. For me there isn’t one bad song on the CD, and that rates it a 100% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. If you liked Ghost Poets, you’ll probably like this CD, if you liked the Michael Stanley Band, you’ve probably grown up a little and will probably like this CD, and for those of you who have no clue who I’m talking about, hell, you might just like this CD too.

Michael Stanley, after all of these years, still has it. He has seemed to slow things down a little, and I guess he’s changed with the times, but he still has a great voice and puts forth some of the best lyrics out there. It’s kinda funny how nothing pulls back an image like a familiar voice, and Michael’s was one I heard singing many times while I was growing up. I’ve got some new music for some newer images, now if only I had an image of him in concert!

Well, that’s it for this one, I’m The Dude on the Right. L8R!!!

American Road

Artist: Michael Stanley
Listenability Scale: 92%
Released by: Line Level Music
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

There is something to be said about musical consistency, and although not as pop-driven as he once was when he was with Band, Michael Stanley just consistently puts out music that brings me instantly back to growing up on the north coast, in a steel and auto town called Lorain, Ohio, and still loving that Midwestern rock that I still know all of the words to.
The latest offering from Michael Stanley is titled "American Road," and if you’ve ever heard anything by Michael Stanley, or the Michael Stanley Band, there will be familiarity with the sound, but he still does his best to keep things fresh. The CD opens with "Nothing and Everything to Prove," a guitar-driven rocker that quickly reminds you of the sound of Michael Stanley. The title track "American Road" takes us on the trail out west, and there’s lots of reminiscing in "The Times We Had." But Michael stretches things a little, grooving it up some with the eternal questions "What Would Frank Do," an ode to Frank Sinatra and what he would do when closing time comes around, and even gets some bluesy stuff going with "Backing Up Sally G," one of the funnest songs on the CD. I’m still trying to figure out the lyrics a tad, because one would think with the song title, and his singing about being a in a band at a bar, that Sally G. were the lead singer of this band, but with lyrics like "And then Sally hits the stage, all I can do is stare, she’s got legs that go forever, and a world-class derrière," "And now she’s down to nothing, and I just forgot my name," and finally "And I swear my friend for just one night, I’d die a happy man, ‘cause the girl can pick up dollar bills, and never use her hands…". With that I’m now assuming Sally G. is a stripper, but I have yet to be in a Gentlemen’s Club with a band, but I suppose they might be out there somewhere.

Probably the most commercial sounding song, maybe able to get some airplay on adult contemporary radio or satellite, or maybe used as a montage type of song for a movie soundtrack, would be "Wake ‘Em Up." The sort of funny thing I found about the song, though, is that in keeping with old time rock and roll roots, it’s probably got an intro that’s a few bars too long, but then again, that’s old school rock and roll.

Some decent up-tempo songs, some blues and groovin’, and quite a few medium to slow "reflecting on life type" of songs round out "American Road." There’s also a decent cover of "Be My Baby," the Spector/Barry/Greenwhich song probably made most famous by The Ronettes, and really, the only song I can take or leave would be "Vicodin & Prayer," but that’s just me. He’s backed up nicely on the CD with lots of his friends and Jennifer Lee does a great job at handling most of the back-up vocal duties.

Sure, I will admit a little bias in reviewing this review as Michael Stanley both with Band and without, has always been one of my favorite artists, so my liking 12 out of 13 songs gives "American Road" a 92% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. If you’ve ever liked an old Michael Stanley type song, you’ll probably enjoy this CD, and if you’re looking for just some good ol’ Midwest type of rock, it’s pretty much here.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

The River

Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Listenability Scale: 100%
Released by: Columbia Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

I was so pleasantly surprised when this CD set came in the CD project rotation. Why? Well, like I’ve said many a time in these reviews, sometimes having the computer jukebox isn’t a great thing because you can go for years without hearing that one song that you love. And this song has many.

From the classic sing-a-long “Sherry Darling” to the epic story “The River”, most Springsteen fans will agree that this collection is a must have. You get every nuance of Springsteen, from his frolicking songs like a “Ramrod” to his relationship works like an “I Wanna Marry You.” You get the upbeat “Out in the Street” to the brooding “Wreck on the Highway.” I could go on and on about this double CD set, but if you ever want to hear something that spans all of Bruce’s musical stylings, this one pretty much sums it up. It’s simply a 100% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale for “The River.”

New Beginning

Artist: Sisters With Voices
Listenability Scale: 50%
Released by: CMC International Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

In the rhythm and blues world, Sisters With Voices, aka SWV, were big. Very talented on the singing side, soulful on the lyric side, but my only complaint is that every song on this CD pretty much sounded the same. I will admit that R&B isn’t my forte, so I’m sorry if I can’t appreciate the different nuances in the music, but nothing stood out on this CD for me, I guess mostly because none of the songs strayed from the standard “I’m getting down with my woman and need some romantic background music” motif. R&B fans might like it, I didn’t, so I’ll split my opinion down the middle and give “New Beginning” a 50% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale.

That’s it for this quick review! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

7 Deadly Zens

Artist: Tommy Shaw
Listenability Scale: 75%
Released by: CMC International Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Yes, that’s Tommy Shaw, the dude from Styx, and if you’re a Styx fan, you couldn’t do wrong getting this CD. “Ocean,” the opening track, is a strong rocker, but he does show a more sensitive side on a song like “A Place to Call My Own.” I was pleasantly surprised playing this CD, as it’s one of those I hadn’t paid attention to before. It’s got some solid rocking songs, some slower songs, and some guests like Ted Nugent, Jack Blades, and Kevin Cronin. It’s got more of a Damn Yankees feel rather than a Styx feel, but if you’re a fan of either this one’s not bad.

For me, it’s about a 75% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. This one is on my list of CD’s to add to my computer jukebox, at least most of the tracks.

That’s it for this quick review! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Face the Promise

Artist: Bob Seger
Listenability Scale: 83%
Released by: Capitol Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

It was over ten years ago when I attended my first Bob Seger concert. At that time he was supporting his "It’s a Mystery" album, and for the concert I was happy to see that Bob, at age 51, was back from "finding himself" for that album and tour. Back in 1996, for that album and tour, he took about four or five years to find himself, record, and tour again. Little did I know that it would take him another ten years to do the same? But he came out with a new CD recently called "Face the Promise," and I won’t say I want him to take another ten years to find himself, but it is still good to see the he hasn’t strayed away from his Midwest sounding rock and roll roots. And that means guitars, hard driving rock and roll, and sometimes some country twang in there for good measure.

In the terms of hard driving, guitar drivin’ music, "Wreck This Heart" opening the CD will bring you right back into that mode, reminiscent to me of both Bruce Springsteen and the Michael Stanley Band, both influential for me in my young roots growing up outside of Cleveland, Ohio in the late seventies and eighties. Things slow down a bit for "Wait For Me," the first single, which actually reminded me of some of the songs off of Warren Zevon’s "The Wind," but then "Face the Promise" kicks back into that railroad driving style of rock. "No Matter Who You Are" continues pounding out messages Seger has been singing about for years, and as wrong as it might sound for a Bob Seger CD, the strings in "No More" are perfect for the tone of the song.

As the CD progresses on, there’s the drowning, country tinged "Won’t Stop," Patty Loveless has a great duet with Seger on "The Answer’s in the Question," and even though "The Long Goodbye" isn’t a great "dancin’ with your honey song," it’s still got that rock and roll tone yet being a ballad.

Yes, I missed one main song, but I thought I would leave it for last, because this song really doesn’t have a chance to tear up any rock charts, and for the most part, I can’t see any of the songs on the CD tearing up those charts because today’s rock and roll stations aren’t the rock and roll I remember anymore, and those playing Bob Seger tunes don’t usually seem interested in heavily promoting new songs (sadly, because they are as good a lot of times as the classic songs they are playing). The song, though, with the most potential for Mr. Seger is the kick-ass, Vince Gill penned "Real Mean Bottle," for which Bob enlists the help of Kid Rock for a duet. Drop it on the country airwaves in heavy rotation because I have a decent feeling a lot of country music fans are, or can be, fans of Bob Seger, and this song fits right up that alley.

As I’ve written a lot of times, and probably will every time I right one, CD reviews are not my thing, because you either like the music or you don’t, and I can’t convince you otherwise. If you like the sound of rock and roll, sometimes mixed with some country, "Face the Promise" will probably fit right in your alley. There are 12 songs on this CD of which I know 10 will end up on my iPod, so that gives "Face the Promise" an 83% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. And even at 61, I hope Bob Seger tours again because there is nothing like seeing "Turn the Page" live, and I could only hope Mr. Rock makes the trip to Chicago to do "Real Mean Bottle" as a guest of Mr. Seger, and if a publicist sees this, I would love to be able to be there to take the photos.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

A Go Go

Artist: John Scofield
Listenability Scale: 65%
Released by: The Verve Music Group
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

John Scofield is a jazz guitarist and for this CD you pretty much get lots of songs that are musicians just jammin’ away mostly highlighting the variations John puts out, but also spotlighting the keyboard jammin’ talents of John Medeski. If you’ve read some of my previous reviews, you know I appreciate jazz talents but don’t spend the time to analyze the nuances and specifics of a jazz records, and because of that, pretty much I lump this CD into the “if you are a fan of jazz guitar, you might want to give this a listen” group. For me, lots of things sounded the same from song to song, but the keyboard transitions did mix it up. This one’s a nice background music CD for me, but I’m not going out of my way to play it. I’ll give it a 65% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale.

That’s it for this quick review! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

They’re All Gonna Laugh at You

Artist: Adam Sandler
Listenability Scale: 115%
Released by: Warner Bros. Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

It was around Thanksgiving, and the radio stations were playing “The Thanksgiving Song” from Adam Sandler’s “They’re All Gonna Laugh at You.” Alright, so the holiday is over, so I guess the timeliness of this review is over, but actually, the song I really liked hearing was “Lunchlady Land.” We’ll get to that soon enough.

As I’m listening I am really beginning to realize that Adam Sandler is one sick individual. Cool. Just looking at the 22 tracks on the CD and I think you can come up with that opinion for yourself. Let’s see, there’s tracks like “The Longest Pee,” “The Beating of a High School Janitor/Bus Driver/Science Teacher/Spanish Teacher,” “I’m So Wasted,” and “Teenage Love On The Phone.” All little comedy bits, sometimes pushing the limits on decency, Adam and all-star comical cast (the list ranges from Rob Schneider to David Spade to Tim Meadows to Conan O’Brien) recreate scenes hopefully not straight out of anyone’s home or school. But as sick as some of the skits get, they can sometimes be testimonials to the challenges and translations of one form of language to another, especially in listening to any of the Buffoon skits. Then of course, I hope your head is screwed on straight or you might be doing tailspins by the end of “Buddy” (I haven’t heard that much stereo separation since Queen or Pink Floyd).

But as much as Adam Sandler is about skits, he is as much about music and it can be funny, sick, happy, or sad, and Adam has a way of putting it all together. Let’s first take a look at “Food Innuendo Guy.” Here’s a nice rocker to the images drawn by melons, cucumbers, celery sticks, and different places they can end up. If you can’t figure this out, well, you either fit in the “parental advisory-explicit lyrics” category or have been sheltered all of your natural born life and since now that you have found the internet you are discovering an entirely new world. Listening on we get to “The Thanksgiving Song,” a tribute to the holiday in all of its forms. Adam keeps with rhyming through the entire song by eating turkey in a brown show, with Betty Grable, and Jimmy Walker saying “Dynomite.” It’s a simple little ditty with catchy little lines and is starting to become a holiday favorite.

And then there is “At A Medium Pace.” Here’s a gentle love song to woo any lady. Oh yea, put this one on as you’re making your moves on the couch and she is sure to be yours. Let’s just say that I think the use of the shampoo bottle may be just a tad much for your lady, but hey, you never know, she might just get into that. Let’s just say this keeps along with that “parental advisory” label.

Cruising to track 18 and I get to one of my favorite Adam Sandler songs, “Lunchlady Land.” Stirring images of every scary lady most of us have had the unfortunate chance to meet while standing in line for food at the cafeteria. Now, I know there are some nice Lunchladies out there, but I do think many of us have hit one of these ladies, perfectly described, by Adam Sandler, much less the food menu as so described. The song/story describes the rebellion by the lunch-time food against the lady, but how Sloppy Joe saves the day. The song is cute, and will have you singing “Sloppy Joe, slop, sloppy joe” all day long.

Finally, in the music category, there’s “My Little Chicken.” Let’s just say that I think there are pictures showing the love described here floating around the newsgroups somewhere.

All in all, Adam Sandler probably didn’t make too many fans of parents or lunchladies on this CD. But so what, some things need to be said and Mr. Sandler tries to find a way, any way, to say it.

Hmmmm? How to rate this CD. Song wise I hit the 80% mark on the listenability scale, and comic wise I hit a 53% for the skits (on a CD I think songs work a little better than skits – save those for the live shows). All in all, averaging it out, it’s a 60% on the listenability scale.

That’s it for this one, I’m The Dude on the Right! L8R!!!