Home / The Tuesday Morning Purchase: June 19, 2007: Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, Kenny Burrell, The White Stripes

The Tuesday Morning Purchase: June 19, 2007: Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, Kenny Burrell, The White Stripes

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With a few oddball exceptions, this week is definitely a jazzy-bluesy sort of week. Come to think of it, there are some records here that have elements of blues & jazz while being freaky at the same time. Feed your ears kiddies.

Porn Sword Tobacco – New Exclusive Olympic Heights (City Centre Offices)/Elec

OK, I'll admit right here that I picked this up because of the title. When you're faced with the giant collection of CDs in the electronica section, racy cover photos and bizarre titles don't hurt. I usually skip the cover pic entries because they're almost never worth it. On the other hand, this band name just resonates with me. As it turns out, Porn Sword Tobacco is full of ambient noise blippery. Sometimes, the music radar just works.

Sugar Ray & the Bluetones – My Life, My Friends, My Music (Severn)/Blues

This is a must-buy for any fan of the blues harp. Sugar Ray Norcia has a long and storied career, working with The Bluetones, Roomful of Blues, Ronnie Earl, and a pile of other blues greats. This album was recorded with the Bluetones and special guests such as Monster Mike Welch, Greg Piccolo, and Duke Robillard. Turn this up very loud.

Kenny Burrell – 75th Birthday Bash Live! (Blue Note)/Jazz

At 75, jazz guitar legend Kenny Burrell still has it with that bluesy vibe. I've been lucky enough to have been enjoying a pre-release version for a while now and let me say, this one's got some inspired play.

Ron Carter – Dear Miles (Blue Note)/Jazz

I haven't picked up anything new by Mr. Carter in years. It would seem that a tribute to the man and ex-boss might do the trick.

The White Stripes – Icky Thump (Warner Bros.)/Rock

Is Jack White some sort of rock & blues revolutionary? Only if you've never listened to 1960's garage rock. On the other hand, the guy's clearly got a great set of ears on him. I look forward to every release because you never know what's gonna happen (well…actually, somebody will bitch about Meg's lack of drum skills. Yeah, they have a point. Ah, who cares?!)

The Polyphonic Spree – The Fragile Army (TVT)/Rock

I can't remember which record of theirs I listened to first but it kind of freaked me out. With equal parts modern ambiance and psychedelic haze, this band can bring on flashbacks from even the most innocent of listeners.

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About Mark Saleski

  • “Sugar Ray & the Bluetones”

    At first, I thought “what the hell is Mark McGrath doing?”

    Before the flame war starts, Meg haters miss the point. The White Stripes wouldn’t work if she played like Neil Peart or Carl Palmer because Jack wouldn’t be able to find his way back to the tune.

    If you get a chance to see The Spree, do it. It’s a wild time. Is this where I am supposed to link to my concert review?

  • I’m the somebody who has to bitch about Meg’s lack of drumming skills. I really want to like the Stripes long-term, but ultimately what wears me down is Meg. She ruins them for me. I’ve bought each album, listened for a bit and Jack’s guitar has kept me fixated for a while, but after a time, Meg’s lopsided sense of time-keeping (or complete lack of sense of time-keeping) finally pops through and I simply can’t listen. This dude does not abide bad drummers, unfortunately. I wish I could. But Meg is really bad, and not even in a fun way like the Shaggs’ drummer.

  • I don’t think Meg is bad so much as she is really simple. Live, she also really bashes away at those things.


  • Oh wait, Tom — you’re the Neil Peart guy aren’t you?


  • I am a “Neil Peart guy”, but I appreciate any drummer when they play well (one of my favorites being Pete Thomas – certainly no speed demon.) A great drummer to me is not just one who plays fast but one who plays tastefully, and this is just not the case here – Meg plays only what she can, and that is not much. Meg is just painfully bad to me. There are just some things I can’t handle, and she is one of them. I mean, the drumming in the Black Keys (another two-piece band) is extremely simplistic and nothing special, but it’s just right and supports the guitarist perfectly. I find Meg sloppy, not just simple.

  • “it’s just right and supports the guitarist perfectly.”

    That’s what Meg does too, but I don’t expect you to change your mind.

  • I can’t agree because she lacks the skills to a degree where she can choose to underplay if it supports the song. She simply HAS to underplay because that’s all she can do.

  • Mark Saleski

    you also have to remember that this is the way Jack wants it. i’ve read several interviews with them where that idea is presented.

  • Yeah, but he also used to say that Meg was his sister, so I don’t take too much of what Jack says seriously.

  • Mark Saleski

    i heard that hey says that Neil Peart is overrated.


  • Peart was overrated but he got better with age.

    Am I on the right Saleski article?


  • Saleski! Now you? Argh!

  • Tom, I’m going to help you out and give you a trump card in your “Meg sucks” argument:

    Icky Thump review

    If Pitchfork thinks that Meg is getting the job done, then that’s probably all the ammo you need to prove that she isn’t ;&)

  • c’mon man! i’m jokin’!

    hmmm…they did say that she made the best of her limitations. i guess that’s what amounts to praise over there.

  • Yeah, “squeezing the most from her limited repertoire and unsteady tempo” is not exactly stunning praise, even coming from the otherwise untrustworthy Pitchfork.

    All I want to hear is Jack White kick complete ass, and he can’t do that with the lame backing of Meg. Sorry. Not in my world he can’t. He’s held back by her. I don’t mean he needs a Peart behind him, but I want him doing White Stripes type stuff with the backing of a solid drummer that can really bring it (and not Raconteurs-type stuff – as good as that sounded on paper, as I’m a Brendan Benson fan, too, that really fell pretty flat aside from a couple tracks.) All I think when I listen to the Stripes is “Man, what could be if Meg weren’t in the equation . . .”

  • The absence of flash is not synonymous with the presence of suckitude. Meg doesn’t suck because she has no flash. Meg sucks and she has no flash. I love understated drumming. I hate the headache I get from the treble explosion of perpetual cymbal crashes. Alex Van Halen sucks and has flash, if by flash you mean that same annoying addiction to big cymbal crashes.

    Jack doesn’t need Peart, but an upgrade over Meg would make these great songs even better.

  • Ah, Tom, but I didn’t say Pitchfork heaped praise on Meg White, just pointed out that they thought she got the job done. Big distinction, because you are contending that she doesn’t even do that.

    Hey, I’m just tryin’ to help ya’ out, brah ;&)

  • Eh, I don’t think they’re really saying all that much about Meg at all – and none of it is all that positive.

    Who would have thought that a bad drummer would stir up so much discussion?

  • “Who would have thought that a bad drummer would stir up so much discussion?”

    Really. Your time is better spent writing a review on Blackfield II. I’m still digging the hell out of it. You really should spread the gospel on this some more.

  • I know, man, I know. I’ve got a mental stack of things I need to review – the new Rush is at the top as I’m really shirking my duties as a Rush fan and I have a LOT to say about this one, but Blackfield is right up there, too. Time is what I lack at the moment.

    Oh, and the thing that I think is most funny about this Meg brou-haha is that I’ll probably wind up buying the damn CD and loving it despite her.

  • I bought it. I love it. Despite her.

    You’ll be in company, Tom. I won’t qualify the company, but you’ll have some.

    BTW… Amazon Prime is the balls.

  • I was just ribbing ya, Tom, but I’m glad to learn you will be covering that Blackfield, anyway. I’ve been tempted to do so myself, but I believe you can do it much better justice than me. Looking forward to that one.

    And Mark, if you buy CD’s based on titles, you must have a lot of Mushroom records in your collection. Even so, the music is generally good.