[Music] The Catch and Release #3

The Catch and Release showcases a choice sample of recently acquired music to my collection; some of these albums that I’ve “caught” will happily be part of my collection forever. But, there are albums that I acquired on a lark, that upon a listen or two have not resounded with me, which I have chosen to release back in the wild.

The Catch

54-40 – Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret (1994) & Since When (1998)

Winner Winner! I loved Canadian band 54-40 back in the day, and had Fight For Love on cassette; even saw them in concert in 1989! But, that was a long time ago. Since then, I had their compilation, Sweeter Things, which has all their top ten hits from the 80s. I didn’t get much more than that which was a complete oversiiiiight! Thanks to a contest I won on KeepsMeAlive, I acquired Dear Dear (a fantastic album). Since then, I found two more 54-40 albums out in the wild, and both are great. Each has a hit played on the radio, and the rest is pretty darned awesome. I am back on the 54-40 bandwagon!

Duran Duran – Astronaut (2004)

Back in 2004, DD were planning a comeback with all five members of the band back at the helm; something fans had been waiting for since 1985. I had heard their new song, “Reach Up For the Sunrise” from Astronaut, and thought it sounded pretty catchy, but never got the gumption to purchase a copy.

I found Astronaut used at my local Care and Share, and I have to say – impressive! It’s a Duran record, for sure: cleanly produced, thoughtful and professional. But, most of all, listenable! A keeper!

Letters to Cleo  – Aurora Gory Alice (1993)

I picked this one up for a song at VV…Being a frequent listener of Radio Western’s College Radio CHRW 94.9 FM back in ’93, I remember Letters to Cleo getting some love on there quite a bit with their hit “Here and Now”. I am very impressed with this album – every song is awesome! And, a female lead, for the win!

Chalk Circle – Mending Wall (1987)

In case this band breezes past you, Chalk Circle is a Canadian band best known for such hits from the 80s as “April Fool,” “Me, Myself and I,” and “This Mourning.” Mending Wall was one of those albums that my 12-year-old self could never afford to buy, but wanted to; at least my sis and I could afford the 45s of some of their hits. This album has “This Mourning” and the lesser known adult contemporary hit, “N.I.M.B.Y. (Not In My Back Yard)”; the rest in between totally brings me back to 1987. Just good rough bass, some haunting guitar and a lead singer whose voice cuts through it all. I am very happy I found this one.

Melissa Etheridge – Melissa Etheridge (1988)

I took a chance on Melissa Etheridge, and I’m glad I did! Every single song on this debut album sits well. Good rockin’ tunes, and that voice! Hits from this album include “Similar Features,” “Like the Way I Do,” and the very popular “Somebody Bring Me Some Water.” Not much else to say here – no wonder she got some attention when this was released.

The Release

Toronto – Lookin’ For Trouble (1980)

I am only familiar with this Toronto band from their one hit in Canada, “Your Daddy Don’t Know” from 1982, which earned them a Juno award for best song and best songwriting. That song is catchy, and unfortunately not on this album. “Lookin’ For Trouble” was Toronto’s first release, and I can see how they were trying to get their feet wet, but it really didn’t do anything for my ears. This album has two recognizable cover songs: “You Better Run”, a Young Rascals tune done better by Pat Benatar and “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” which was better done by its creator the Rolling Stones.

Erasure – Pop! Their First 20 Hits (1992)

Erasure were well-known back in the 80s for their synth pop tunes. I don’t mean to be mean, but no way does Erasure have 20 Hits. I could have sworn they had more likeable tunes in their catalogue than just “Chains of Love,” “A Little Respect”, and “Stop!” It’s ok, I got this for $1…

Metric – Fantasies (2009)

Metric has gotten a lot of love out there – including a Juno for this album, Fantasies. This one does tick some of the new wave synth pop boxes…However, I couldn’t help but turn to the hubs whilst listening to the first track and say, “Y’know, I’ve heard this before on TV…” As I continued to listen, I recognized a lot of this album, but couldn’t quite place where.

Sure enough, the media loves Metric, using their songs in everything from commercials, to video games, to the Toronto Blue Jays, to TV shows; most namely Grey’s Anatomy, a show that has used the first song from Fantasies, “Help I’m Alive,” multiple times! I’ve spun this CD several times in an effort to get into it, and I think I’m good to let this one go. I’ll just listen to Metric’s next album on this up-coming season of Grey’s!

The Gandharvas – A Soap Bubble and Inertia (1994)

More uni stories for ya: The year was 1994. My sister got a cassette sampler from a freebie table on campus during the first week of classes. The sampler was promoting the newest affordable car for students, the Dodge Neon (remember those?) and on it was a bunch of Canadian artists. I recall I Mother Earth was on it…and so was “The First Day of Spring” by the Gandharvas, a London, Ontario band who are really only known for this one song. Pretty much, they tried their best to be Canada’s answer to Blind Melon. They are not even close to Blind Melon.

I got their album, Soap Bubble and Inertia, for free on cassette a long time ago at a summer festival in London. I remember that day vividly – it was August, it was 38 C, and probably the worst bathroom experience I have ever had with an upset stomach standing in a 30 deep lineup for an already over-full porta-potty. Man alive! Probably due to trauma, I never did listen to that Gandharvas cassette.

Recently, when I picked up Soap Bubble and Inertia for $1 at my local thrift shop, I wondered if it was worth the time. This album is terrible. Really really terrible. There really isn’t much more to say about it.

Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams (2005)

I have had this CD since June 2014, when my colleague and friend, Mary Jo Morris, was about to embark on her retirement. She was cleaning out her office and handed off two CDs to me – Dr. John’s Gumbo by Dr. John (1972) and Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams. Random, right? Where the heck had she gotten them? She said from students. She didn’t want them. They were stuffed in a drawer in my office, and I finally got around to bringing them home.

I don’t know too much about Jack Johnson, but if I were a betting woman, I’d think he had the curb on the commercial jingles market. Seriously. Music in commercials these days grate on me. Take an out of tune piano, an acoustic guitar, a ukelele, a xylophone and soft singing voices, and you have captured 95% of the music in commercials these days, and what Jack Johnson’s album In Between Dreams is about. Sorry, Mary Jo, I did not like this either. Hard pass. Dr. John is a keeper though!

More to come…Thanks for reading!


  1. That 54 40 is a real good album. Toronto were huge when I was in Highschool. They came across as Loverboy lite with weak songs. In comparison Headpins show up and Darby Mills wails like a banshee on Turn It Loud. That was the way it should have been done by Toronto…instead of light puffy rock!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. They usually had 1 great songs per album. 2.max.
        They had enough for 1 really good EP if they used all their “hits”

        Daddy Don’t Know, Even The Score, Start Telling The Truth, Girls Night Out, Enough Is Enough, What About Love.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I think part.of it was the trends of the time and record company pressure.
      I agree Darby Mills was wicked but the band was a bit of a flash in the pan and maybe did not suit the tastes of the music buyers.
      Look how Heart went from awesome rockers to sappy balladeers in the 80’s.
      Pat Benatar was turned mellow. Blondie etc.

      It sucked to see that stuff happen. I was thinking of doing a series of.posts about bands that used to rock then sucked.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I never did check out that Duran Duran album… and the less Jack Johnson albums in CD / record collections the better for music. I’ve only ever heard that album and a bunch of singles (thanks, radio), but it’s enough to know that guy makes me nauseous.

    Liked by 1 person

            1. There is a bar that opened recently in my city that has $300,000 in pinball machines and old school video games.
              He has Aerosmith, Kiss, Metallica, GNR pinball machines.
              He caters to University students and families. Parents can introduce their kids to pinball and have a beer.
              Cool little place. I bet you would like it

              Liked by 2 people

            2. That is very cool. The old machines are real intricate pieces of work. Being a “Wizard” I could could send a few hours in there for sure.
              Back in the day pinball was a bit of a forbidden fruit. My buddy’s parents were involved in a night club and they had all these more risque machines. Probably worth a mint to collectors. Cool stuff.

              Liked by 2 people

            3. I forgot to mention. The games are all free.
              They make all their money on drinks.
              That shocked me when he told me that, but he said most of the wasted time is spent on coin jams.
              He said they also host tournaments in which people pay to join.

              Liked by 2 people

            1. FM 96 and Western Radio were great for supporting local talent.
              Next to Toronto, London has had, and still somewhat has one of the best indie music scenes in Ontario.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. I tuned in to CHRW just last week! They are online, and they were playing some amazing dark wave from 1980. I wish now I wasn’t so shy back when I was at UWO. I would have pushed my way in there to volunteer to be on-air.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I listen to it now in the car when I am down there.
              Sometimes just ok.
              Often cool music I have never heard though.

              I think The Cool Sounds of Sensational Sarca has a nice ring.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. I thought of you this morning. They were doing The Good the Bad and the Ugly. Darryl had a funny story about a woman who inserted an eggplant into her…and Gayle kept on talking over him saying, “NO, NO, NO, WE ARE NOT DOING THIS.” I thought it was exactly the kind of thing you get tired of.

              Liked by 2 people

            5. Wicked comp man. I bet it will be impossible to find now though.
              I remember a bunch of those bands.
              I know Syre is still around.
              I saw them open for Jack Russel’s Great White at a free show at the Cambridge Fair (oh how the once mighty have fallen).

              Liked by 2 people

            6. Cambridge Ontario? I didn’t even know!
              Syre were one of those MEAT bands. I barely remember them. You see that Blu Bonz is on there too? Gord Prior’s old metal band.

              Liked by 1 person

            7. Darryl does find some raunchy stuff.
              I love it but I can see how some prudes (cough Gayle) would find them a bit much at 8:10 am.

              I heard Darryl’s good story and then he said “Just wait until you hear the ugly, but I missed that one.

              I noticed Jessie is just like Darryl so Gayle must have her.hands full

              Liked by 1 person

            8. I love Jessie, she is such a great kid, and she has loved metal from day one. When she worked at the post office she’d be so excited any time a vinyl shaped parcel came my way. Always wanted to know what was inside.

              Liked by 1 person

            9. Blu Bonz and Buffalo Brothers don’t jump out at me. I will check them. Maybe some.digging will jog my memory.
              As.for Syre, I know of.a.sealed lp for cheap that I.was.on the fence about. I mifhr as well for the price.

              Liked by 1 person

            10. Buffalo Brothers later on became another lineup of Helix in the late 90s.

              I have a Gord Prior solo album here. Blu Bonz were very much one of those MEAT bands.


            11. If you have not watched the video of the Station fire, do yourself a favour and do not watch it.
              I cried when I watched it. I go to a ton of concerts and I can easily have seen myself in a concert fire like that. It just takes 1 wrong spark.

              Liked by 2 people

            12. Too late. I lived through that horror on live TV. It was terrible, and I’m glad those responsible are paying for it. I’ve been in clubs like that too. It can truly happen anywhere.


            13. Best to not watch.

              I grew up in a family of firefighters and it still affected me personally.
              There is one with a countdown showing how quickly it went from having fun to people being trapped in black smoke. Mostly that ones that litterally ran out at the start made it.


  3. Well-chosen, Sarca, on both ends of the deal. Though I remember liking the Gandharvas more at the time, at least. I don’t seem to have it here but can probably get tracks on the tubes of you, see what’s what. Also: if it’s early Melissa Etheridge, you can’t go wrong. Up to and including Your Little Secret. After that I found it gets patchy. When it’s good it’s really really good, though.

    Jack Johnson is an ex- pro surfer dude who now makes records (and still surfs, lives in Hawaii). We love his records as sunny jams for the car (impossible to have road rage listening to him), and the kids love his soundtrack for the Curious George movie. I dunno, I se his CDs ditched in shoppes a lot, so you’re not alone in not wanting him around, but I have the whole discography here and play it often! Each their own, eh!

    Also: I haven’t thought of Letters To Cleo for years. Thanks for the flashback!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I just couldn’t get into Johnson. That Jann Arden though is really good! So far, Etheridge is a winner. I’ve acquired a couple more since, including Your Little Secret and they’ve been great!


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