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How much can one fan of OKOM (Our Kind Of Music) accomplish in just a couple of years? Plenty, if it's Rockzilla, aka photographer Michael Johnson. From 2003 to 2005, rockzilla.net was a chronicle of the alt.country scene from a uniquely Texan perspective. But all good things must end, and Rockzilla has retired from the online 'zine scene.

This mirror site was copied from the rockzilla.net site with the express permission of Rockzilla hisself. If you don't believe me, go to the KHYI-Fans email list and ask him! Buddy will back me up, too.



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 Quick Notes! is compiled by the Rockzillaworld staff.

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The Paper Hearts The Paper Hearts Clunk Records

The Paper Hearts are a good band with some real potential. Their debut record is essentially an EP with only five songs, but it's a good deal more than a demo-CD and better than most debut records I've heard.

The record opens with "Eyes Dry," a smart country-rock ballad that I find myself reaching for again, and again like the right girl's hand.

I hear undertones of Toad The Wet Sprocket on "Crasymaker," which, it almost goes without saying, is cool. The influence of the Jayhawks is evident here, too, especially on "Eyes Dry," and "Is One Girl Worth The World?"

Is one girl worth the world?
With a smile that shines as brightly as the sun,
I don't think I'll ever be done with her,
But is one girl worth the world?

Hell yeah, dude. Isn't that what rock music is all about? But, that title is only a rhetorical question and they clearly know the answer. It's a nice tribute to crazy love and a good poem.

This band is tight, and their songs have an easy, catchy charm about them. The Paper Hearts' long suits are guitars and rhythm, and the only place this record falls short is in length. There is also plenty of lyrical depth in these songs; there just aren't enough of them to quench the palate. I could use another song like "Eyes Dry."

Your eyes are shining, like the flames in my heart.
Your lips are on fire, but that's nothing new.
And that's the last time I'll ever kiss you
And that's the last time I'll ever let you rip my heart in two

You got a piece of my soul, but it's too late.
I never wanna see you again.

I'll take a whole record full of that, please.

The Paper Hearts are bringing out a brand new release, called Plans for the Past, and I'll race you to http://www.thepaperhearts.com for it. -SLW


 
 

Various Artists, Happy Birthday, Buck. Texas Round-Up Records

Talk about a can't miss concept. A tribute to Buck Owens. Not liking Buck Owens is probably more likely to get you the death penalty in Texas than killing your wife, you banker and an Enron exec in one fit of furious frustration.

Eleven years ago, Austin vets Caspar Rawls (LeRoi Brothers, Toni Price) and drummer Tom Lewis (Jim Lauderdale, Wagoneers) began an Austin tradition of celebrating Buck's birthday (August 12th) with a huge impromptu package show at the Continental Club. What began as a simple homage has continued for over a decade now, and requests to participate have grown to a point where it now takes two days to celebrate Buck's one special day.

Happy Birthday, Buck is a collection of studio takes that combines Buck's most famous tracks like "Under Your Spell," "Buckaroo," "Think of Me," "Palm of Your Hand," and "Before You Go" with obscurities like "Made in Japan," "We Split the Blanket," and "Mental Cruelty." Owens was a master at hilarious novelties, and one of the true highlights of this 22-track album is Cornell Hurd's version of "Big Game Hunter." Toni Price's rockabilly treatment of Owens' "Hot Dog" is the epitome of a loose Texas roots rocker, while Jim Lauderdale's "Sweet Rosie Jones" shows why a Grammy sits on his shelf. In fact, the range of treatments, from straight up country take s like David Ball's "Made in Japan," Rick Trevino's "How Long Will My Baby Be Gone" and The Derailers' spot-on rendition of "Under Your Spell" to Rosie Flores' edgy take on "Down to the River" to the Geezinslaw Brothers teary "We Split The Blanket," Buck's material proves adaptable across a range of Texas interpretations. --WMS


 
 

Bonnie Bishop, Bonnie Bishop. Self Released

Lloyd Maines plays steel guitar. Acoustic and electric guitar are credited to John Enman. I might have double-checked that one; shouldn't it be John Inmon? But why bother? What really matters is it sounds like it could be. Bishop and producer-keyboardist Riley Osborne found some top-notch Austin musicians to play on this four-song EP. No complaints there. Ain't anything wrong with Bishop's singing either. This combination might have been pretty good with different song selection.

Bishop's cover of Austin singer Leeann Atherton's "Only Glory" and "Goin' Back to Texas" (a Bishop co-write) aren't exactly sappy, clichéd, country ballads, but they're trying real hard to be. The remaining songs, both written by Bishop, are a bit better. "Men Are Like Buses" is enjoyable country-pop to cheer heartbroken women, however it may leave the remainder of listeners wanting.

The disc closer, "Send Me a Cowboy," is easily the best of the bunch. The musicians get their best chance to stretch out. Lots of steel guitar from Maines. The rhythm section of drummer Eddie Cantu and Chris Maresh on bass maintain a rock steady beat that keeps the energy level high. This will have the women singing along ("send me a doctor or a hillbilly rocker / I don't care what he does / just so long as he's good enough to be my man") and the guys hoping they pass muster. www.bonniebishopmusic.com - AK


 
 

Reggae Rocks, Here Comes The Sun: A Reggae Tribute to The Beatles. Madacy Entertainment Group

Here Comes The Sun is a supposed tribute album of twelve reggae/ska/rap bands covering as many classic Beatles tunes.

This whole idea is so fundamentally stupid that it takes my breath away. I first thought this project could only have been spawned by the addled minds of those two notoriously musically impaired money-grubbers, Yoko Ono and Cedella Marley. But no, this comes from "Henry K," the same producer who apparently peddles a whole series of these things.

I'm a Stones man, so I don't really care how many Beatles songs are desecrated. But, hundreds of millions do and this should piss off every one of them.

How does this suck? Let me count the ways.

One, reggae does not rock. It isn't meant to. Two, rap is no substitute for ska. Ska is clever and cool. Rap sucks. Three, there isn't enough soul and rhythm in the entire Beatles catalog to provide the raw material for one decent reggae tune. The Beatles were melody makers.

One song proves my third point and overturns this whole rickety boat. Wayne Arnold does "Norwegian Wood," in a pre-reggae, Rock Steady style that works beautifully. It's a smooth, melodic and interesting interpretation of the original.

The rest is mainly uninspired, formulaic pabulum; just some steel drums, call-and-response choruses, some idiotic rap and someone dropping phony Patois into the breaks.
"Yeah, Mon. Hey, hey. Ima get high with a little help from my friends." Ridiculous.

This Club Med, frat-party, Reggae Lite nonsense isn't a tribute at all. It's an insult. All style, no substance. - SLW


 
 

The American Cowboy (A Fast Livin' Slow Dyin' Breed) NLT Records

Here's a compilation record to warm the hearts of Western fans everywhere, though some of its efforts should probably only warm the somewhat reddened ears of the cowboys and cowgirls performing the tracks. The record, a combination of tribute to the late Lane Frost and fundraiser for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, comes out of the chute nicely but manages to hit the dirt rather spectacularly a time or two as well. Released by NLT Records and available in Western wear stores and online, the effort might not put bushels of shekels in the pot for cowboys in need, but it's a nice thought nonetheless. And hey, who knew Larry Mahan could sing? His efforts on the title track written by Red Tuck say the Hall of Fame bullrider and six-time PRCA All-Around Cowboy might've actually missed his calling. World class calf roper and the PRCA's first-ever African-American All-Around Cowboy Fred Whitfield, on the other hand, lets "Calf Ropin' Son of a Gun" tell the world he's right where he was supposed to be when he's a good piece away from the mic. His nasal Gary P. Nunn territory vocal won't win many contests. Sherry Cervi puts her heart into Chris Wall's "Rodeo Wind," dedicating it to her late husband Mike Cervi Jr., lost at the age of 30 in a plane crash in Wyoming. The subject matter fits and rodeo fans who appreciate the Cervi legacy and history in the sport will find it a touching tribute. Those not familiar with the above may wish to skip this track in favor of Wall's original or Jerry Jeff's perhaps more familiar version on the Live From Gruene Hall album.

Saddle bronc champ and Hall of Famer Monty Henson showcases a suitably worn and serviceable baritone on "Nuevo Laredo," and benefits considerably from Stu Basore's work on the steel. Donnie Gay on the other hand, perhaps as proof that experience is essential when sidestepping cow patties, goes for a spoken word tribute to the guys in the funny clothes with "God Bless the Rodeo Clown." Mahan makes a second appearance on a duet with Ronnie Twist on Cheryl Durham Owens' "He Didn't Hear the Thunder." It's a touching tribute to Lane Frost and memory of his last ride borne along by a sad weeping fiddle and avoiding sap by virtue of heartfelt interpretation.

Dan Mortensen closes things out with the traditional spoken word "Cowboys Prayer" and puts a nice bookend on a warm compilation. Rodeo fans enjoy, it's a thrill to hear some of your heroes singing about the life they live and love.

The record is available online in three places:
www.americancowboycd.com
www.rodeoridercd.com
www.nlt-records.com

--DP

 
     

 
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