Three discs from the Maraca collection: Chapter Two

Welcome back to the ongoing journey through my dusty CD collection. For any younger readers, a compact disc is a piece of plastic that contains up to 20 songs and, get this, you need a special player to listen to it.

Truth be told, I haven’t inserted a disc into my Toshiba combination CD/DVD/video cassette machine for months and months. I mostly listen to satellite and commercial radio. Stern is on as I type this.

Today’s collection is rather eclectic. Even though I hosted a show devoted to ’50s and ’60s rock and roll, the band I’ve seen most often in concert is Iron Maiden. My first show, back in ’81, was Motorhead, with Anvil opening.


A Tribute to the King, by various artists (2002)

I purchased this one at Rasputin Records in San Francisco. Four levels of CDs, vinyl and movies and a full-time elevator operator to take you up or down. Very cool store.

Capitol Records released this collection after the success of Elvis: 30 #1 Hits. I have that album as well.

During my radio reign as Johnny Maraca, host of the Rock and Roll Riot, I was always felt that as great song was a great song no matter who performed it. It’s a tribute to songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that it’s hard to screw up Jailhouse Rock.

And, on A Tribute to the King, Jailhouse Rock is covered by one of the greatest song stylists ever…he says so and I agree…Jerry Lee Lewis. The Killer can make anything sound great.

Other choices on the disc: Hound Dog by John Lennon, Suspicous Minds by Fine Young Cannibals, and Willie Nelson duetting with Leon Russell on Heartbreak Hotel.

The Better Life by 3 Doors Down (2000)

Mock me if you will. Okay, not that much. Cut it out.

Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B- and said it was “power rock by the numbers.”

Rolling Stone said 3 Doors Down played “slick, heroic Neo-grunge for the Clear Channel era, where all regions melted into one long Nickelback impression.”

Many of us had forgotten about those Mississippi rockers until they played Trump’s inauguration. They were famous again. Or infamous, and held up as proof that the new president couldn’t attract A or even C level talent.


The Better Life sold 6 million copies. I loved the lead single, Kryptonite and kinda liked the follow up, Loser. The rest of album was so-so, and I had paid full price at Music World for it. Subsequent 3 Doors Down releases failed to excite me. Here Without You received plenty of airplay but…pretty bland.

Naked Songs by Rickie Lee Jones (1995)

Remember Johnny the metal maniac from a few paragraphs above? In 1984, I worked as an intern at the Canadian music trade publication, The Record. Editor David Farrell asked for a list of my Top 10 albums of the year, to be included among the submissions of countless industry folks.

My list had LPs by Iron Maiden, the Scorpions, Rainbow and Van Halen and was topped by…

Magazine, by Rickie Lee Jones.  So, nine rock albums and at number one, a disc by an artist who combines pop, jazz, R&B and other genres.

Naked Songs was subtitled, Live and Acoustic. I doubt I’ve played it more than a few times because I’ve never been a fan of unplugged records. I might have enjoyed Eric Clapton’s acoustic take on Layla had it been a brand-new song or a deep cut.

Compared to the Derek & the Domino’s rockin’ version with Duane Allman’s classic riffs?

Uh uh.

Well, that’s it for this chapter. See you next time when I dust off three more CDs from the racks.



About johnnymaraca

sole proprietor of Maraca Media, former radio host (Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot), copywriter and producer and a print journalism grad.
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