Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm Back

I am back.

I will resume the Top 100 Album countdown later this week, right now I am typing a post for Family Vacation 2006 Part Two: “Trip to the Land of No-road signs” that unfortunately did not include a visit to Sarah (didn’t have the time with our driving schedule – yes, we drove to Washington DC from Chicago – and her escape to BlogHer) but included some always-exceptional landmarks, some beautiful scenery, and some more-than-I-needed moronic driving.

Plus I'll tell you why I am the worst best friend in the entire history of friendship...

Stay tuned…

Here’s a picture to whet your appetite…

Editor's Note: No pictures right now. Why you ask? Because Blogger bites it!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Top 100: 90 - 81

And the hits just keep on coming...

90 – Too High to Die by Meat Puppets I know, I know, I know. Serious fans of theirs say this was their weakest album… I disagree. It’s full of some solid rock-out songs, some melodious melodies (wow, I don’t think you can do that to the English language) and some much-needed angst-anthems. Favorite Song: “Evil Love”

89 – Make Believe by Weezer. Not a huge Weezer fan, but I got this album for one of my nephews and then downloaded it onto my iPod. The first time I listened to it I found myself liking it… a lot (except for the overplayed ‘Beverly Hills’) Even if you think their earlier stuff was just this side of pop bubblegum, I strongly suggest you give this one a try. Favorite Song: “This is Such a Pity”

88 – Lola versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round by The Kinks. A powerful album with some beautifully poetic songs that came amid a five-year, six-album burst that helped set them apart from other groups of the day. Favorite Song: “Lola”

87 – Standards by Ray Charles. One word can sum this album up; wow. Ray does his take on some of the classic songs of the past, and nails it. Favorite Song: “Georgia on my Mind”

86 – Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 2 by Billy Joel. This is one of those strange greatest hits albums in the way that it's more like a regular album like The Beatles Blue and Red albums, which, while technically were GH compilations, had a life all their own. Same thing with this one. And as I said earlier (I think), if it has one or two new songs on it, the GH’s label is not totally relevant. Favorite song(s): Disc 1- “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” Disc 2- “Goodnight Saigon”

85 – Mugzy’s Move by Royal Crown Revue. You can take your Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and your Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, I’ll take Royal Crown Revue. Again, like a lot of others on this list, my brother introduced me to them. They never enjoyed the success of the other two bands which is a shame as they were definitely the more original of the three. Some of the songs on this album were on their Indie Label debut but were given the “real” producing treatment here. If you like swing music with a rock n roll attitude, and have enjoyed CPD and BBVD, then give RCR a try. Favorite Song: “Zip Gun Bop”

84 – Flood by They Might Be Giants. Years and years before they sold out with “Malcolm in the Middle” and The Disney Channel they released this incredible album. While most everyone knows “Istanbul” and “Birdhouse in Your Mind”, I suggest you listen to the other catchy sing-along songs on the album in order to get a real feel for this band. Favorite Song: “Lucky Ball and Chain”

83 – Achtung Baby by U2. Others will say The Joshua Tree was their best, others would say Zooropa. I don’t care about their best, I care about my favorite U2 album… and this is it. Long before Bono forgot that he’s a singer and NOT a worldhealer, the band made this album and it rocks. Hint: If you like the song ‘One” from this album, listen to Mary J. Blige’s version; it blows the U2 version off the map. Favorite Song: “Mysterious Ways”

82 – Abraxas by Santana. I'm sure almost everyone knows two of the songs from this album; arguable Santana's most famous "classic" songs: "Oye Como Va" and "Black Magic Woman", but what they may not know is that they were both on the same album, and the entire thing is a masterpiece. I had this CD in college but it was stolen one night during a party, so I had to buy a new one a few years ago. Still a classic. Favorite song: “Se a Cabo” (To Cabo)

81 – August and Everything After by Counting Crows. Another album from my college days (like most of them on here are). Ignore Mr. Jones as you’ve probably heard I a gazillion times on the radio and click over to one of the other tracks and you’ll find an exceptional album with some truly memorable lyrics. Favorite Song: “Rain King”

It continues...

I will be out of town for the next five days (Washington DC and then West Virginia) so you'll all have to wait until next Monday for the net installment of Kemp's Top 100 Albums.

I know it will be hard, but be strong... I'll be back before you know it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Top 100: 101 - 91

It’s time.

After days and days of analyzing, postulating, calculating and hypothesizing…

Which was then followed by more re-analyzing, re-postulating, re-calculating and re-hypothesizing…

Which was then followed by even more re-analyzing, re-postulating, re-calculating and re-hypothesizing… I have done it.

Kemp’s Top 100 Albums.

You may all murmur amongst yourselves in anticipation of this grandiose event.

Let me throw out a few ground rules.

On rare occasions I accepted Greatest Hits compilations (it’s my list, so, conceivably, I could do what I wanted…)

I allowed soundtracks. If I didn’t allow soundtracks, that would have negated a few albums that I love and listen to A LOT.

I had to own the album or have the entire album on my iPod.

There are no rules. This was meant to be a fun exercise… as such, some of my favorite albums may not be others people’s idea of a favorite, or even good, album… and that’s my prerogative (No, you won’t be seeing any Bobby “Fisticuffs are my life” Brown on my list… nor his wife, Whitney “What happened to me and my career” Houston.

What you will see is Pearl Jam, The Beatles, The Kinks, Johnny Cash, Elvis and Poi Dog Pondering.

I started out with over 500 albums on my list and have now pared it down to 101 (always the overachiever am I…)

So without further ado…

The countdown begins with numbers 101 - 91… right now! [Whack!!… crash! Tingle… tingle… tingle….]

Damn it, that’s the last time I buy a gong off e-bay… ok, let’s try this again with my gas-powered fanfare machine…

The countdown starts… right now…[sputter, sputter,sputter…]

Right now…[sputter...wheeze...sputter...]

Son of a bi—

Right now! [Whoosh! Dum de de dum… dum dum dum dem de de dum… Gong!!]

101 – He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. Come on now… Who can ignore this camp classic? The rap is child-like, the rhythms routine and the lyrics overflow with XX, but it's still catchy in a pop-bubblegum kind of way. Favorite Song: “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand”

100 – Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears. One of those 80’s album that everyone owned. From the sappy “Head over Heels” to the world-domination anthem (if it were a group of 'Up with People') “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, this album was, and still is for me, one that instantly beams me back to the 1980’s. Favorite Song: “Shout”

99 – No Need to Argue by The Cranberries. This was the album from this Irish band. More emotionally raw and stronger than their first album (which missed being on this list by a smidge) it made some fans of their first album (like my friends Carrie and Angela) come to have feelings of derision for the group. I didn’t fall into that trap and found it to be 100-times better. Favorite Song: “Zombie”

98 - Ten by Pearl Jam. Now, I’m not a huge grunge fan, but the first time I heard this album way back when, I instantly fell in love with it. Eddie and the boys have never sounded better. While at times they band had an ego-problem, they still dished out some mighty-fine tunes. Favorite song: “Even Flow”

97 – Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. Wonder is a phenomenal talent, and that talent is embodied with this album, which, as the title suggests, deal with things that are close and personal to Wonder and his life. Favorite Song: “Isn’t She Lovely”

96 - Blue Train by John Coltrane. As C-boy said, I could probably do a separate list with Jazz and Blues. One of John C’s best, he piques the interest of everyone who listens to this album. Odds are, you’ll see more of Mr. Coltrane before this list is done. Favorite song: “Blue Train”

95 – Les Misérables by Original Broadway Cast. Yes… it's a Broadway musical. No, I'm not gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), I just really, really like this show and the album. The music and singing are superb and emotional and tell the story, originally written by Victor Hugo, so well. Favorite Song: “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”

94 - 3 years, 5 months & 2 days in the life of… by Arrested Development. The band was short-lived, but their tuneful blending of funk, rap and “southerness”, made this a great album that, unfortunately, the band couldn’t top. Favorite Song: “People Everyday”

93 – Citizen Steely Dan by Steely Dan. Yes, technically a Box Set, but not in the strict sense of the term. This set has every, single album that the band released before 1980 with each selection crossing every musical genres and forcing every listener to reflect. Favorite song: “East St. Louis Toodle-Do”

92 – Oranges and Lemons by XTC. A fantastic album with some very loud Beatle-ism’s. The band and this album never got as big as they should have, being drowned out by the band and album above them at #100. It’s a shame, as XTC was probably the better of the two bands. Favorite Song: “Mayor of Simpleton”

91 – Birth of the Cool by Miles Davis. Come on… do I really need to explain this one? The quintessential blues album has Miles in excellent and perfect form. Hint; you may see Mr. Davis on this list again. Favorite Song: “Budo”

We're off...

Friday, July 21, 2006

The anticipation is building...

In anticipation of throwing myself over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings (like e v e r y o n e else has) and naming my Top 100 Albums list, I thought I would regale you all with my bottom...


My bottom as in my bottom albums list… sheesh, must is always be sex with you people?

These are albums that didn’t even get included in the original 520 base point I started with, and not by coincidence, aren’t even on my iPod.

Though I am curious as to why we still have these craptacular discs in our CD rack… maybe I wanted to save them for The Peanut Butter and The Jelly so they can see how odd Daddy and Mommy used to be.

  • Debbie… sorry, DeborahGibson: “Electric Youth.” When I was 14 she was hot as hell and I wanted her. Now… well, now I’m married, but after seeing her spread from Playboy, she is still be on my “celebrity-do” list… her music… not so much. Though I have tto say she’s still better than Tiffany. According to her website, she’s released a duet with Jordan Knight, he of NKOTB (who I can happily say is a group that I have NO albums by). There are so many smart ass comments whirling about my head right now, I can’t pick just one…
  • Garth Brooks: “In Pieces” “No Fences” “The Chase” – I liked him at first. Then his ego got bigger than his talent… then he released that annoying and self-satisfying ‘Chris Gaines’ piece of crap and I lost all respect for him as a singer/musician. Now he’s thrown himself into a pact with the Devil, and by devil I mean Wal-Mart. What a dumb ass.
  • Celine Dion: “Celine Dion” – why did I buy this album? Oh, right, my girlfriend at the time liked her, and I liked the girlfriend, so I tortured myself and bought this piece of musical claptrap. She is to music, what Six Habits of Highly Effective People is to books; a complete and total disaster. I wouldn’t think it possible, but she both sucks and blows.
  • Color Me Badd: “CMB” – Again… what the HELL was I thinking?? It’s entirely possible I bought this in college after a night of heavy drinking… at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it… And just so you know, according to Amazon, they have a ‘Greatest Hits’ album. Oddly enough, most of the songs on the hits album are on CMB… so one has to ask oneself; what’s the point?
  • Damn Yankees: “Damn Yankees” – Nothing worse than a pop-bubblegum rock “supergroup” that thinks they’re heavy metal. This one was a lapse in judegement. I liked the album at one time I think. But it was high school and I’ve pretty much suppressed those four years…
  • Mariah Carey: “Mariah Carey” – Again, what the HELL was I thinking. This was released the summer of 1990 after I just finished my junior year in high school (suppression!). So, it’s entirely possible I bought this album because of my girlfriend at the time. A girlfriend who turned out to be, like Mariah, crazy as a fuc**** loon…
  • EMF: “Schubert Dip” – Yeah… I think I bought this one for one song; “Unbelievable” and that’s it. I probably listened to that song a few dozen times and nothing else (who knows why) then… poof! The song vanished from my conscience and the album stayed in the rack. This CD was in our ‘spare rack’ where we put any double albums that HoMu and I each had when we got married. What made me remember this song and album? The music is being used to shill Kraft Cheese Crumbles with the phrase; '”They're CRUMBelieveable” Sad… just sad…
  • “Titantic” Soundtrack. This one just makes me ashamed… I think a friend bought it and somehow it got ensnared into my collection. However it came into my possession… I’m sorry... I’m truly, truly sorry…

That’s it, that’s the bottom of my list. I will start posting my Top 100 tomorrow or Monday.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Kemp, why haven't you posted your Top 100 Albums list yet?"

Well, I think this explains it all...

Plus... it's hard. It's been hard to pare my list of albums down from over 525 (I know, it's pathetic) to 100. So, having the analytical mind that I have, I've made it into a process. I won't bore you with the details, but I can assure you the start of the list is forthcoming... today... or tomorrow... or Saturday...

But it is coming...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Everyone else is doing it…

Since e v e r y o n e, and I do mean everyone, who has a blog is doing their TOP 100 albums, I thought I would do the same.


Why the hell not.

So get ready blogosphere… for Kemp’s Top 100 Albums…

Not today though…


You’re on the edge of your seat, aren’t ya? Oozing with anticipation and sweat.

Then again, maybe not.

Whatever your feelings are towards it, stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Random Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon

Monday, July 10, 2006

Birthday #33

Honey Mustard threw me a surprise birthday party Saturday night… a sweet gesture as I have never had a surprise party thrown for me before.

Family, friends, pizza, alcohol and presents... good times.

The party was complete with pictures of me from the past.

I will NOT (and I can not stress that enough - will NOT) be posting any of the aforementioned pictures here.

Having said that, and unbeknownst to me at the time, my wife gave Scott some of the pictures with the understanding that he was to post them on his blog.

Rest assured if that happens… in the words of Owen Lars; “There’ll be hell to pay.”

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too--yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time

I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party.

I would like you to dance--Birthday
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance-Birthday
I would like you to dance--Birthday

You say it's your birthday
Well it's my birthday too--yeah
You say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Others born on July 8: Kevin Bacon, Sofia Bush (who?), Toby Keith (eewwwww), Angelica Huston, Wolfgang Puck, Raffi (shudder), Marty Feldman, Nelson Rockefeller, John Rockefeller and the inventor of the dirigible: Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin

Thursday, July 06, 2006

What's next?

The fourth of July has come and gone.

The next holiday is my birthday. Granted, it’s not a nationally recognized day – YET – but it is approaching nonetheless.

So you all know, I have tried many, many times to rewrite the Disney posts I lost, but have been unsuccessful as of yet.

Why you ask?

Because I can’t remember all the little things that happened; and let’s be honest, the funniest stuff from vacations always comes from the ‘little things’.

Anyhow, I’ve decided to forgo those posts in hopes that if I stop trying to write about them, I’ll have an epiphany and remember everything…

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Anyhow, I felt I had to inform all of you about the news we received this past weekend.

A cousin of mine is mayor of a “smallish” town here in Illinois (near the St. Louis area) and every July they have a festival and parade to honor the town’s founding and name a grand marshal, or two, to be the parade’s un-official spokesperson.

Who are the grand marshals going to be this year?

The Peanut Butter and The Jelly.

That’s right… MY PB & J are going to be the grand marshals of a parade. Ok, I know that it’s not the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade or the Tournament of Roses parade, but it’s still a parade that draws hundreds of people every year.

And they’re keeping up a family tradition; when I was 7 my brother and I rode in a float (with Fredbird) in St. Louis’ St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Now it’s The PB and The J’s turn.

Truth to be told; I’m giddy (no wait, men don’t get giddy… let’s say that I’m ecstatic) about them being in a parade where they’ll be able to throw candy (unless they eat it all themselves) and be the center of attention, which, being four, they "don't" enjoy at all (sarcasm alert)

They have two choices of how to be transported in the parade; they can either ride in my Dad’s C6 corvette, or my cousin will have someone construct them a float to ride on (personally, my vote is for one of his "mayoral minions" to build a float, but that must be the socialist in me)

The event is less than 2 weeks away, and I will have pictures posted.

Stay tuned…