Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday Ten Trivia: Sly & The Family Stone


This week’s ten is in honor of the re-emergence of the reclusive Sly Stone. David Kamp interviews he of the (formerly) luxuriant Afro and riveted leather jumpsuit in this month’s Vanity Fair - Sly Stone’s Higher Power

What was the band named before becoming Sly & The Family Stone?

What Bay Area band’s #15 hit did Sly produce?

Which S&FS single effectively invented 1970s funk?

What was the band’s first Top Ten hit?

What was the band’s first release to hit #1 on both the pop and R&B charts?

What was their last release to do the same?

Where did Sly marry Kathy Silva in 1974?

Who served as MC at the wedding festivities?

Who did Sly once cut as opening act from the bill because the audience better received him?

What did Sly do to cause a riot at a free concert in Chicago?

Sly & The Family Stone OFFICIAL WEBSITE
and extensive WIKIPEDIA ENTRY


Monday, July 30, 2007

Manic Monday

What's new this week, the end of July already!

18 Greatest - John Lee Hooker
18 Greatest - B.B. King - must be a series by the label Direct Source

18 Greatest - Glen Campbell
Best Of Freddy Fender - Freddy Fender
Best of Merle Haggard - Merle Haggard
Best Of George Jones - George Jones
Best Of Jim Reeves - Jim Reeves
Best Of B.J. Thomas - B.J. Thomas - These are also from Direct Source

Tribe - Luka Bloom

Idlewild South - The Allman Brothers Band - reissue of a great recording
18 Greatest - Chuck Berry
Swears - Casual Lean
Made In Europe - Deep Purple - remaster
Under The Influence of Buck - The Derailers
Blue Velocity - The Chris Duarte Group
Nervous Nights And Satellites - The Hooters
Dirty Laundry - Ian Hunter
Untitled - Korn
18 Greatest - Jerry Lee Lewis
18 Greatest - Little Richard
Live On The Sunset Strip - The Raspberries
Country Mouse City House - Josh Rouse - Wow, check those rhymes!

Josh Rouse - Hollywood Bass Player
Have a listen!

One Girl Revolution - Saving Jane
Al Stewart - a whole bunch of reissues
Sincerely/Twilley Don't Mind - Dwight Twilley - Power pop classics!
Strange Pleasure/Out There - Jimmy Vaughan - Stevie Ray's big bro has reissues

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trolling the Underground : August 13, 1967, Windsor, England

In all of my prior Trolling the Underground posts, I've picked some of the finest sounding samples from my collection, with many more to go. The quality of the sound is not always the most important factor, however. I've been known to make compromises on sound quality for a number of reasons. It could be a special show where a guest artist played or a rare song was performed. It could be the only available recording of a show that I attended. Or it could be something thats very existence is a surprise.

Normally, a band needs to gain some popularity before anyone really feels like recording them. I mean, who wants to spend time and tape on a bunch of nobodies? That circumstance can be mitigated, however, if the band in question is debuting at a music festival like the 7th National Jazz & Blues Festival (Aug 11 - 13, 1967) where a lot of bands that people DO want to record will be playing. It also helps if the members of this band have been making the rounds as members of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

Mayall had recently fired his drummer, Mick Fleetwood, for drunkenness. Mayall's guitarist, Peter Green, had an affinity for Fleetwood and wanted to be a frontman, so they decided to form their own band. They got Jeremy Spencer to help on guitar, and began wooing Mayall bass player John McVie to join as well, going to the length of including him in the new band's name, Fleetwood Mac. McVie hesitated, though, since he liked the pay he was getting with Mayall. The band recruited another bassist named Bob Brunning, with the understanding that Brunning would go if McVie decided to join up, which of course he eventually did. It was Brunning, however, that played the debut Fleetwood Mac show with Green, Fleetwood, and Spencer on Aug. 13, 1967. Below is a photo of Green and Fleetwood on that very night.

Listening to this show, you'd think the only thing missing from this lineup is Elmore James himself. The bands sound was extremely James-ish, almost a direct copy of his style. The first song I'll feature this time around, titled I Need You, Come on Home to Me, is in fact Elmore's classic It Hurts Me Too with completely different lyrics. The short set that they played had other examples of this, and in fact ended with a rendition of Shake Your Moneymaker that is very true to Elmore's.

The second song, however, is very different. It's an instrumental written by Green called Fleetwood Mac and has much more of a surf sound to it, believe it or not, In fact, I may even play it for a guy I know who's in a local surf band, since it sounds like something that's right up their alley. The links below have the songs.

I Need You, Come On Home to Me

Fleetwood Mac

While I was researching this post and finding pictures, I noticed who else was playing this festival. Pink Floyd, who'd had to cancel because of Syd Barrett's decline (which foreshadowed Green's descent into schizophrenia and departure from Fleetwood Mac in 1970 ), was replaced by The Nice. Cream, The Small Faces, Donovan, Ten Years After, and many others were in attendence, as well as one of my favorite 60s bands, the Jeff Beck Group. As I surfed, I found a site that mentioned that Beck's appearance was on a bootleg recording called Beck to the Future. It was in my hands about 10 seconds later, as I had downloaded that one long ago. It seems I have two sets from the same night of that festival that I had never connected before! Of course, those of you who know me know that I can't slight El Becko, so we'll explore this as well.

This was the original JBG, with Beck on guitar, Rod Stewart singing (such as it is), Ron Wood on bass, and Mick Waller on drums. His spirit must have been in the air, because they also covered Elmore James that night, doing Talk to Me Baby and doing much more than the new kids up above to make it their own. I also felt that the next song should be shared, a sweet blues piece called I Think I'll be Leaving This Morning, because I really like the guitar work on it. When you listen to this song, I think you can understand why one Rolling Stone reviewer called Led Zeppelin's first album "Rehashed Jeff Beck Group." Links below.

Talk To Me Baby

I Think I'll Be Leaving This Morning

If this strikes your fancy, you may want to read this previous post about Jeff Beck with a couple more modern songs. There's pics of the JBG there as well, so for this post I'll leave you with a photo of Peter Green. He's past his mental problems and working again with the Peter Green Splinter Group - something that the modern blues fan may want to check out!

Enjoy the tunes, and let me know what you think!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Majesty of Rock Quiz

To make up for my slack* in missing this week's Tuesday Ten Trivia, I'm re-posting this Michaelopedia masterpiece from last year. Enjoy !

1. Which of the following power-chord anthems influenced Beethoven in composing his power-chord anthem, The Fifth Symphony?

A. Smoke on the Water
B. Iron Man
C. Cat Scratch Fever
D. Frankenstein

2. In which of the following songs does Bob Seger reminisce?

A. Down on Main Street
B. Old Time Rock-N-Roll
C. Like A Rock
D. Against The Wind
E. Night Moves
F. All Of The Above

3. Topic: Bob Seger is to reminiscing what Jerry Seinfeld is to observational humor. Discuss.

4. If Steve Miller went from Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A., and Lowell George went from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah, and both were traveling at 85 miles per hour and both were semi-sober, who would arrive first in northern California where the girls are warm? Show Your Work (5 points).

5. Which of the following is an actual person?

A. Molly Hatchet
B. Steely Dan
C. Pink Floyd
D. Tipper Gore
E. None of the Above

6. Which of the following bands' music wins the Pabst Blue Ribbon Award for sounding most like a beer commercial?

A. Huey Lewis and the News
B. Lover Boy
C. ZZ Top
D. Bon Jovi

7. Match the musician or band to the individual or band of whom they are basically a cut-rate version (one point each):

A. ___ Southside Johnny-----------1. The Rolling Stones
B. ___ Marilyn Manson-------------2. Allman Bros. Band
C. ___ Aerosmith--------------------3. Bruce Springsteen
D. ___ Meat Loaf--------------------4. Jimi Hendrix
E. ___ Lynyrd Skynyrd-------------5. Meat Loaf
F. ___ Robin Trower----------------6. Alice Cooper

8. Which of the following is the worst rock-n-roll song about rock-n-roll?

A. Old Time Rock-N-Roll
B. Rock-N-Roll Hoochie Koo
C. I Love Rock-N-Roll
D. We Built This City
E. All of the Above

9. Physics Theory Question: Could Rod Stewart sell out any further? If “yes” present an equation determining how many light years it would take an average person to get there (4 points).

Break Time!
Here’s a fun game to play while we pause to catch our breath. Use the following band names in varying combinations to create your own laugh-filled variation on Abbott and Costello’s hilarious skit “Who’s on First?”

A. The Who B. The Guess Who C. Was Not Was D. Ah-Ha

10. Which of the following bands started out making decent AOR rock and then devolved into recording cheesy power ballads?

A. Heart
B. Foreigner
C. Chicago
D. REO Speedwagon
E. All of The Above

11. Match the band or individual with the song that should be considered justification for their punishment by death (one point each):

A. ___ Meatloaf-------------1. Amanda
B. ___ Boston---------------2. Anything from catalog
C. ___ Jimmy Buffet-------3. I Would Do Anything For Love
D. ___ .38 Special----------4. Cheeseburger in Paradise
E. ___ Loverboy-------------5. Rockin' Into the Night

12. If the Anti-Christ were to have three heads, which combination of the following bands would it be comprised of?

A. Journey, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon
B. Quiet Riot, Jefferson Starship, Night Ranger
C. .38 Special, Lover Boy, Def Leopard
D. Ratt, Twisted Sister, White Snake

13. Which dude has the funkiest hair?

A. Keith Richards
B. Slash
C. George Clinton
D. Mike Score (dude from Flock of Seagulls)

14. Which band has the best one-armed drummer?

A. Def Leppard

15. Who Do You Love?

A. Bo Diddley
B. George Thorogood
C. The Doors
D. Ronnie Hawkins

16. Which of the following is actually a law firm and not a band?

A. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
B. Medeski, Martin and Wood
C. Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe
D. Bachman Turner Overdrive
E. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

17. True or False: Gram Parsons is the king of lysergically inclined, Nudie-suited, anti-Nashville mavericks of the late 1960s and early ’70s.

BONUS QUESTION: Beck and Jeff Beck are sitting on a fence. If Beck falls off, who is left? (1/3 point)

1. There's no telling (Whatever also accepted)
2. F
3. True
4. Lowell George is dead. Steve Miller's career is, too.
5. E (the Tipper Gore had ya goin' there, eh?)
6. A close one, but we gotta give it to B. Loverboy
7. A-3, B-6, C-1, D-5, E-2, F-4
8. E
9. Yes - .33 1/3 light years
10. E
11. A-2, B-1, C-4, D-5, E-2
12. D, for pure apocalyptic scare value
13. CC, cuz funky begets funky (and I love ya, dred!)
14. Yup
15. A (always the original)
16. E (the Weehauken office)
17. Oh so True
BONUS: The god of all guitar masters. Eat shit, Clapton.

26-33 1/3: You are a true Majesty of Rock. Pick up your air guitar, hair dryer, spandex, and sequined opera cape on the way out.

17-25: Work on your chops in opening bands for a while. You’re not quite ready to headline yet.

8-16: Dude, I’ll bet you think Van Halen wrote All Day and All Night, don’t you?

0-7: American Idol is on tonight (Check local listings or ask mom).

The bulk of this quiz was compiled through the genius of one Michael Hillman, esq. (with a tip o' the hat to O' Tim and The Rock Snob's Dictionary).

Copyright 2006 Michaelopedia Press. All rights reserved.

*Yes, re-posting is slack of an equivalent nature, but you won't care about that when your LYAO at this, right?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Manic Monday

Zion Crossroads - Corey Harris
Another Saturday Morning - Ellis Hooks
20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection Live - The Allman Brothers
Handful - Betty
One For All - Peter Criss
It's Not The Eat, It's The Humidity - The Eat - included because the title cracks me up
Absolute Garbage [Deluxe Edition] - Garbage
Pigeons Couldn't Sleep - Peter Himmelman
Four On The Floor - Juliette And The Licks - Juliette Lewis is at it again.
20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection Live - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Masters Of War - Mountain
Essential - Carl Perkins
Early Years - Roy Orbison
Day Late And A Dollar Short - The Queers
Red Hot & Live! - Brian Setzer & The Nashvillians
Freed Man - Sebadoh
Slayer - a bunch of reissues
Con - Tegan And Sara
Beautiful Door - Billy Bob Thornton - And Billy Bob is at it again, too.
Emerald City - John Vanderslice
Is Is - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Simpsons Movie - featuring a song titled, Thank You Boob Lady

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Fall at the Islington Academy

You don't have to like The Fall but you certainly have to respect them. They've been plowing their very singular furrow since punk music's 'Year Zero' (1976) and have released at least one album of original material in nearly every subsequent year. Their progression as a band can be summarised by John Peel's oft-quoted quip about them - "The Fall - always different, always the same".

It should be said at this point that when you say "they" or "them" in regards to The Fall, you're actually talking about Mark E Smith. Since the bands inception, there have been (count 'em) 58 line-up changes, with Smith as the only constant member. So it's not overstating things to say that Mark E. Smith is The Fall and The Fall is Mark E. Smith - plus whoever he happens to be getting along with at the time. Interestingly, this currently includes his wife Eleni on keyboards... although at least one of his ex-wives used to be in the band too. Not surprisingly, Smith has a reputation as being 'difficult'.

As for the music, to say it divides opinion is something of an understatement, and it's suitably hard to describe. On the whole, I'd call it an experimental post-punk guitar-driven melange of sounds, with Smith's unique vocal style (part drunken drawl, part impassioned sermon) being the truly defining characteristic of their sound, as he delivers lyrics which mix "elements of social realism, surrealism, and absurdism, dwelling on subjects as far removed as unemployment and football violence to time travel and ghosts, all with the same wit, astute humour and precarious balance between brutalism and intellect."

Not that we could really hear what he was saying at the gig though. I'm not sure if this was mainly due to the slightly muddy sound, or more down to Smith not really caring whether we could make out his words or not. A bloke we met warned us that, to the untrained eye and ear, a Fall gig can resemble being ranted at for over an hour by a drunken uncle - and I reckon that description wasn't far off the mark. Occasionally some abstract couplet would break through the fuzz ("Baghdad! State cog! Analyst!") but we were generally none the wiser.

Despite this, I decided that Smith - as he skulks around the front of the stage gurning at people, then goes back and concentratedly twiddles with his bandmate's amps (sometimes without them knowing), then pops offstage completely for a few minutes each time (undoubtedly for a quick ciggie - rock'n'roll eh?) - has real stage presence, even charisma... although it's quite hard to work out how or why. Maybe it's just a classic case of the whole being more than the sum of its parts? Or maybe I just get a thrill out of watching genuine nutters? Could be...

Whatever it was, by the encore I was having a reasonable time - and even started singing along to the chorus of the excellent 'Senior Twilight Stock Replacer'. As for the three blokes I went with, one of them agreed with me and thought it was both an interesting and amusing experience, one of them hated it to bits, and the other bloke, the one who's most familiar with The Fall, thought the whole thing was genius. I guess that's them in a nutshell.

We attended the second of four nights that the band played at the Islington Academy, and the wider reaction on the forums, from the really devoted fans, seems to be that the first night was terrible, but the other three got progressively better, and that The Fall have still got 'it'... whatever 'it' may be. Not everyone agrees though, as shown by this Guardian article which appeared mid-week - and which basically called on Smith to retire the band. As ever, there's no pleasing everyone.

The situation is neatly summed up by someone on the forum responding to a commenter who said that they didn't enjoy the gig very much. "Enjoy? You're not supposed to enjoy The Fall!".

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday Ten Trivia - Talking Heads


This week’s Ten showcases Talking Heads, arguably the most influential of any artsy post-punk American band.

Where did David Byrne and Chris Frantz meet?

Who did Talking Heads tour Europe with before the release of their first album?

What did XTC's Andy Partridge say of the band after seeing them on that tour?

What band performed Talking Heads’ entire Remain In Light album at their 10-31-96 concert in Atlanta?

Who produced Remain In Light?

Which B-52s album did David Byrne produce?

What Georgia folk artist was commissioned to paint the cover of 1985’s Little Creatures?

What former member of La Belle served as a Talking Heads vocalist?

Who choreographed the video for Once In A Lifetime?

TRUE or FALSE? The footage for Stop Making Sense was culled from several different shows.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sure, Rolling Stone Sucks, But....

Check out this discussion of soundalike songs. I can agree with some of them, but others are quite a stretch. At the end of the article is a link to an entire site devoted to the quest of finding soundalike songs.

Reminds me of "Spot The Similarity," a feature on a weekly show called "Psychedelic Sunday With Russell Carey" I used to listen to in Columbus, OH in the 80's. (Yes, I ripped off that title for my weekly blog post/podcast.)

I used to keep track of soundalikes, but I've been lazy of late. I can't even think of one at the moment.

Got any you can think of?

The Rules.

It can seem like a little bit of anarchy, the way I get most of my music, and I guess in a way it is. After all, just about anything is available somewhere, although I have little control over the specifics. It's free, and shared far and wide. I'm not dealing with stores or any hassles as far as acquiring music, as long as I keep my internet on and my computer working, I'm set. What's more, the fact that it's legal doesn't suck the fun out of it.

Keeping it legal, though, is what leads to the rules. They're pretty easy to deal with, although when a site gets to a certain size, like Dime - a- Dozen, it requires a lot of cooperation from the governed.

The main rule for keeping trouble at bay is to not step on the artist's copyright - that is, never torrent anything that is available commercially. Some sites don't watch for this at all, and they're generally the ones who get their plugs pulled by a team of lawyers. Others, like Dime, are ALL over that one, and with good reason. They've been closed before because someone did some dipshit, and learned how to avoid it. If something was ever released, anywhere, at any time for any duration, it is not allowed. That means that if a legitimate (not bootleg) label put out a limited release of 500 copies on prerecorded reel-to-reel in Budapest back in 1968, and the music has never seen the light of day since, it is still off limits. Period. If the official version is missing songs, you can post only the missing songs. If it is a studio recorded "alternate" version, it's still off limits (although demos are fair game, unless they are released later). They used to have a policy that you couldn't even have a 10 second sample of the record being played on the P.A. system before and after the show, but they eventually lightened up about that.

The other unbreakable rule is the Not Allowed Bands (NAB) list. This is the list of artists that have either contacted the sites or published a policy on their website or anywhere else to the effect that they do NOT approve of electronic trading. Of course, this means nothing as far as more traditional methods of trading go, but it stops the downloads right in their tracks. If you want to lose your uploading rights in a hurry, just go ahead and post someone who's on the NAB list.

Sometimes an artist understands the aims and the value of the trading community, but wants to protect their market as well, so they'll just put certain limits on. Little Feat is a great example, with links to bit torrent sites on their website, but they are on the NAB list in terms of soundboard recordings after January 1, 2004, audience video, and shows listed in their non-tradable shows list (which are shows they have made available for purchase). Anything else is fair game, and even though audience video isn't allowed, they have allowed some pro-shot video to spread.

Sometimes it only means one person in a band. Levon Helm's ban doesn't include The Band, but it goes the other way around, too - no Buffalo Springfield anymore because of Ritchie Furay. There are a lot of variations, and the list changes all the time - all it takes is an e-mail. I've seen things come off the list, as well, when fans work with the artist to make it happen, but that's not as frequent.

All in all, these are pretty easy rules to live with, since it's love for the music and respect for the artists that make it that drives us to do this, even more than disdain for the record industry does. Really, there is SO much incredible stuff available without stepping on someone's toes, that there's no reason to do it. I sure wish that Hot Tuna and the Allman Brothers weren't on that list, though.

I've had to reconsider the rules since making the recent change to Trolling the Underground. When I was just posting a song or two to listen to, I wasn't so concerned that anyone would care. Now that I am actually sending out the shows electronically, though, I feel a bigger urge to follow the same rules that keep my favorite sites safe. Unfortunately, that means that there's a few things that I can no longer share over bit torrent, but I think the things I can share will please a few of you.

This week, Trolling the Underground is back at its' original home. I'm featuring some of the fine old blues that Jeff was talking about last week, and of course it has a download. Go get you some!

Give it away now

Like millions of others, I (broke the habit of a lifetime and) bought The Mail on Sunday yesterday... for the one-and-only reason that contained within its plastic wrapper was the new CD by the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince... a.k.a. Prince.

I've never been a massive Prince fan, but I must admit he wrote some pretty damn good songs back in the 80s - 'Sign o' the Times', 'I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man', 'The Cross', 'Alphabet Street' and 'When Doves Cry' to name just a few.

Since those halcyon days however, Prince's career has gone a bit tits-up. Personally, I'd say that the turning point was around the time that he did the soundtrack for one of those shitty Batman movies. But nonetheless, I've still got enough respect for his back catalogue to be interested in what he's getting up to nowadays.

Particularly as it's free anyway... Well, not free exactly, because I wouldn't normally buy the Mail on Sunday, so it effectively cost me £1.40.

And yes, as expected, the whole newspaper-giveaway thing has caused a bit of a kerfuffle. There was 'fury' reported among music retailers - I would guess that this isn't so much because of the loss of profits from this particular album (Prince not being a huge seller these days), but more because of the precedent it sets for others who may want to follow suit. Hey, this is the modern way, I reckon. Adapt or die. Downloads and file-sharing should be teaching retailers that little lesson.

Back to the actual music... My verdict is that it's OK...ish.

Although bookended by a couple of worthy songs about the ecological disaster facing the world, the lyrical preoccupation of most of Planet Earth is - not surprisingly - women. And this is fine by me. The fairer sex have been a reliable muse for Prince over the years; plus, I reckon that listening to too many songs about our imminent destruction would start to bum me out after a while.

Prince's voice remains as distinctive as ever, and there are also couple of tracks showcasing some pretty tasty guitar licks too (presumably his)... but ultimately the music - as it shifts from slow jam to uptempo funky workout and back again - is rather undistinguished and (most damningly of all) easy-listening.

I must confess that when I was trying to think of adjectives with which to describe this CD, the word "inoffensive" kept popping into my head...

And, for the creator of Sign o' the Times, this is more than a little sad.

Manic Monday

Take your pick tomorrow!

Popa Chubby - Electric Ladyland (volumes 1 & 2)
John Lee Hooker - Don't Look Back; Jealous - rereleases with bonus tracks
Susan Tedeschi - Best Of Susan Tedeschi: Episode Two - If you haven't heard her yet, check this one out. She cranks out rockin' blues slide-guitar like a man, and has that sexy rasp when she sings (like Janis, but much easier on the ears.) Her hubby, Derek Trucks, makes an appearance here and there, too, which doesn't hurt.
Susan Tedeschi - Cant Leave You Alone
Raul Malo - After Hours - Included because I love this guy's voice and adore The Mavericks, even though it's contemporary country music.
David Allen Coe - Live At Billy Bob's Texas - with bonus tracks. This guy kicks country ass.

Eliza Gilkyson - Your Town Tonight
Judy Collins - Judy Collins Sings Lennon And McCartney - zzzZZZzzzZZZ - *When you need to include your own name in the album title and it's not a "greatest hits," that screams "DIVA!" I guess she's earned it, but still. Nothankyou. I think this is the one for Judy completists only.
Arlo Guthrie - Best Of Arlo Guthrie - See, for this release the name in title is fine. But do I need to hear Alice's Restaurant and The Motorcycle Song again and again?

Jazz: lots of cool stuff coming out, but it's a really long list. Many reissues by Donald Byrd, Thelonious Monk, and Bob Mintzer, plus quite a few "Best Of" cds from various people. Check it out here.

Reggae: The big news here is that for the first time in many months, there is no release by a member of the Marley family, nor any reissues/compilations of Bob's work. WTF?

Laurie Anderson - Science (25th anniversary edition) - WHAT? 25 years? SHEESH.
The Beau Brummels - Beau Brummels and Beau Brummels 66 - reissues - You could really be a Beau Brummel, baby, if you'd just give it half a chance!
Big Brother & The Holding Company - Hold Me - Some recent live thing with a vocalist named Sophia Ramos.
Jude Cole - Jude Cole - reissue - I can't really explain why I like this guy's blue-eyed soul. I don't think he has blue eyes, but he's so cute! (and I loved Like Lovers Do from this album.) That's it! He's cute! (I know, I'm destroying any cred I had by admitting this.)
Dennis DeYoung - One Hundred Years From Now - Uh huh. One hundred years from now, you'll still be shitty, Dennis.
Minnie Driver - Seastories - I hear this is good.
The Easybeats - Friends; Volume 3 - reissues
Editors - End Has A Start
Grant Lee Buffalo -
a couple of reissues
Great White - Back To The Rhythm - Nooooooooo! Grab your hairspray, girls!
Robyn Hitchcock - Jewels For Sophia - I love this guy. This is on my "check it out" list. It's a reissue, but I've never heard this one.
Tom Jones - Tom Jones Sings The Beatles* - *See Judy Collins comment above.
Danny Kirwan - Second Chapter [Limited Edition] - Ex Fleetwood Mac member flies solo. Another "check it out" for me. I loved Mac when he was in the band.
Molly Hatchet - reissue (two albums in one) - OH BOY!
MxPx - Secret Weapon
Nazareth - Complete Singles Collection - They had multiple singles? I had no idea. And this is a 3-cd set of 50 songs. Perhaps the singles were British releases.
The Quakes - Quiff Rock
Seals & Crofts - Greatest Hits
Teddy Thompson - Up Front And Down Low - R
ichard's kid impresses me with his songwriting. I'll give it a listen online.
Dwight Twilley - reissues in a double-album set. This guy is one of the unsung heroes of 70's power pop! Am I flying my power pop flag high today, or what?
Suzanne Vega - Beauty and Crime - YEAH!
Wishbone Ash - Tracks 3 -
a compilation
The Zombies - Into the Afterlife - compilation

Those are the highlights this week! Now, go spend, spend, spend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Souwf London in da house

It's not something that's talked about much, but my current 'hood of South London has been a veritable hotbed of house music over these past few years. And two of our finest specimens - Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada* - have released albums in the last year. So I thought I'd run the rule over both of them to see if they've still got 'it'.

Basement Jaxx - Crazy Itch Radio

Expectations were high for the Brixton's duo's first long-player since 2003's Kish Kash, but I found Crazy Itch Radio a big disappointment. It starts with the overly poppy Hush Boy (which is a bit like Oh My Gosh only not as good) partially recovers with Take Me Back To Your House (I love the banjo!), but then limps and splutters (and only occasionally dazzles) all the way to the end. It's not a complete write-off - On The Train has a certain bluesey charm, Smoke Bubbles isn't a bad paean to the decidedly mixed blessings of 'the holy herb', and Lights Go Down is 5 minutes of beautiful chill-out beats with a great string-based melody. The rest is very hyper, but very average. There's too much bland R'n'B for a start. And ultimately, the unoriginal gimmick of giving the album continuity by making it sound like a radio show is no substitute for the lack of great Basement Jaxx dance songs in the vein of Where's Your Head At?, Bingo Bango, Good Luck, and Jump'n'Shout. I'm still going to a Basement Jaxx gig later this month - because I'm fairly confident that a lot of this will sound better live. Plus, another thing about dance music is that some of these songs could scrub up better on the remixes, when other DJs get their hands on them.


Groove Armada - Soundboy Rock

Like the Jaxx, Groove Armada like to mix it up. But they strike a more consistently good note on this album - a note which is somewhere between the blissed-out 'Balearic' beats best characterised by the classic At the River, and the more guitar-heavy sound they practiced on much of the Lovebox album. This one veers between hip-hop, house, and dub - and with generally successful results. I particularly liked the kinetic rhythms of Get Down, the reverberating beat of Lightsonic (which got inside my head for a good while and wouldn't leave, even when I asked it nicely), as well as the deep dub of the title track. On the downside, the single Song for Mutya seems a bit lightweight compared to the Armada's best 7"s of the past (like Superstylin', Easy, and Chicago), and there are also couple of ballads that could have been left for the B sides. Not their best album then, but certainly not bad.


*The Armada are not actually from South London originally, so I hear... but they've been around so much that they might as well be!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday Ten Trivia - The Allman Brothers Band


This week’s Ten concentrates on the kings of southern rock (by far) who also brought a tinge of psychedelia to their act:

Duane Allman played on whose 1971 debut album (produced by Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner)?

Where and when did the Allman Brothers Band record its first live album (venue and year)?

Name one of the two inspirations for the album title Eat A Peach.

Both Duane Allman and Berry Oakley died in motorcycle accidents within a year of each other. What else is coincidental about their deaths?

Chuck Leavell, Lamar Williams and Jai Johnny Johanson went on to form what band?

Duane Allman was the primary session guitarist at what studio?

TRUE or FALSE: When Gregg Allman’s personal manager was busted for drugs, Gregg testified on his behalf.

What occupation did Gregg Allman plan to pursue prior to the formation of the Allman Brothers Band?

What Muscle Shoals soulman began calling Duane Allman “Sky Man”?

Who is Elijah Blue?

Monday, July 9, 2007


I've been spending a lot of time lately with the American roots of rock & roll music: blues and country (aka hillbilly or mountain music). I'm not talking about what passes for most blues or country today. I'm talking about the blues and country that began in the American South in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These two styles share so many commonalities, yet back then they were worlds apart simply because of skin color.

They were both the music of the downtrodden and lower-class. They sang of heartbreak and bad luck, and praised Jesus. They dreamed of having more than they'd ever have, and arriving in Heaven an equal with everyone else.

As a guitarist, I've been drawn to both of these styles equally. And because of the wonders of modern technology, I've been able to recently bolster my collection of both musical styles considerably.

There are two collections I recently picked up that deserve much praise, and many, many listens.

The first, Goin' Mad Blues, is a 200-song compilation of the real roots of American blues music. It's got the Bigs: Big Bill Broonzy, Big Joe Turner and Big Joe Williams. The Blinds: Blind Boy Fuller, Blind John Davis and Blind Willie McTell. The John Lees: John Lee Hooker and John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson. Leadbelly, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, "Hot Lips" Page, Lightnin' Hopkins, the one and only Robert Johnson, and many, many others. Without this music, there would be no Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin or Beatles or Who or any rock & roll. This is where it all began.

The next collection is Friends of Old Time Music: The Folk Arrival 1961 - 1965. This three-disc box set of 55 live performances (53 previously unreleased) comes from 14 concerts in New York City in the early '60s. It's a wonderful cross-section of traditional American bluegrass and folk music, with performances by legends like Fred McDowell, Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, Doc Watson and Maybelle Carter (of the Carter family), as well as lesser-known artists Annie Bird, Joseph Spence, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, Ed Young and Emma Ramsay, and Jesse Fuller.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Manic Monday

New this week:

Live: A Night At Tipitina's - Mem Shannon
Chill - John "Juke" Logan

Live From Austin, Texas - Buck Owens

Chinese Boxes - Kim Richey - You can preview songs here.
a bunch of releases in the Country Biography series (including Glen Campbell and Jim Reeves)

Live From Austin, Texas - Kinky Friedman

Diamonds In The Asphalt - Truckstop Honeymoon

America - a bunch of reissues
New Maps Of Hell - Bad Religion
Thin Lizzy Blues - Eric Bell
Bruce Cockburn - reissues
Three Easy Pieces - Buffalo Tom
Time On Earth - Crowded House
Family Tree - Nick Drake
Situation - Lily Frost
Noble Creatures - The Gourds
Compass Rose Bouquet - Great Lakes Myth Society
Feel - Jesse Harris
Best of The Sugar Hill Years - Reckless Kelly
Lez Zeppelin - Lez Zeppelin - Yes, it's a Zep tribute band, all female.
Runnin' Blue - Boz Scaggs
Zeitgeist - The Smashing Pumpkins
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - Spoon
Spoon - The Underdog
Just Roll Tape: April 26th, 1968 - Stephen Stills
Saturday Night Fever - The Bee Gees - remastered
Else - They Might Be Giants
Tantrum - The Vacancies
Duet For Guitars #2 - M. Ward - remastered

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Trolling the Underground: Dallas, Tx June 26, 2007

I've never been a Police fan. From the beginning, their music absolutely failed to reach me. I can only think of two songs that I ever liked a little, in fact. Not being a big reggae fan, either, their kinda-reggae-in-the-backbeat-but-not-
really type of sound just didn't do it for me.

Another thing that bugged me was the name "Sting." Honestly, it just struck me as silly at best, pretentious at worst. And it was the precursor to hordes of silly-ass names like "Bono" and "Slash". Am I to think that Mr. and Mrs. Edge named their son "The?"

Oddly enough, my vast collection of unofficial recordings doesn't always reflect my tastes. For one thing, I may be experimenting by downloading something I've never heard of, and that I end up not liking. Far more often, however, it's because I'm getting something for someone else. I don't like the Eagles, but I downloaded it for someone I knew would appreciate it. Ditto Soundgarden. I've even got some Cramps shows that I snagged for my neighbor, which aren't as bad as I expected, and might even grow on me. I usually end up keeping the shows, if not in CD form, then in a lossless comressed backup, in case it ever comes in handy for a trade or something. It costs relatively little to keep a few billion extra zeros and ones sitting around.

So it was that when I browsed and perused my favorite site, and saw the Police tour pop up now and again, I thought of a recent post by DangerDoll.

Now, that lady's a Police fan. She made a seven hour round trip to see the Dallas show at the American Airlines Center (which I'm certain had a much better name at some time), and you only do that if you like a band. Of course, I'm no stranger to this - I've gone from Elgin, Il. to Hamilton, Ontario to see the Grateful Dead, and from Albuquerque to Phoenix to see Peter Gabriel. The music you love is worth it, if you love it enough.

So to connect a good- sounding audience recording of the show (judging from the sample posted at the site) with the person who drove seven hours round trip to see it was as easy as making a few clicks to download it. Really, this shit is easier than calling Geico.

Now here's the really great news. It used to be that to get it to her, I would have to decompress it, burn it to CDs, print the info sheet, package it all up, get an address to send it to, and deal with getting to a Postal Service which, here in Albuquerque, seems to keep banker's hours. A lot of effort expended to get the music to one person.

No more. There is a much easier way now, that has always been at my fingertips, but is just recently learned. I can now send the recording of this entire show to as many people as would like to have it directly from my computer to yours. No burning, packaging, postage or hassle to deal with, and this method actually takes up less of my time because it's simpler and more direct. Since I don't need to mail anything, it should put to rest any myths that I'm collecting personal info. There will be a little setup for y'all to do, but only the first time. Once you've gotten yourself started, every future download is simplicity itself. And yes, this is legal.

Now, this is a strange TtU entry because usually I'm talking about the band's performance, or how it's different from the records, or whatnot, but TtU has also always been about the act of collecting itself, and the Prime Directive of sharing. As far as the band goes, I've already said it - I don't have much use for them. DangerDoll's review of the show is behind the link above, and here is another review I found laying about. I also found some photos of this show taken by someone who was right up front.

It wouldnt be a TtU, however, without a posted song, even though I'm making the entire show available. Think of it as a sample. It's one of the two songs of theirs that I've liked for at least a minute, and it's called Synchronicity II. What do you think?

Now, if you would like a copy of the entire show, just follow these simple instructions.

  1. Download and install this program. Easy, free, and safe. This you will only have to do the first time.
  2. Download this file. http://www.mediafire.com/?7twpmgdjyxy
  3. Click on the file you just downloaded (you may have been given the option during the download of opening the file using utorrent - that's just as good, so go for it). The program you just downloaded and installed should pop up. If it doesn't let me know, I'll help.
  4. Decide where you want the concert files to go to. The whole thing, in this case, is 784 MB. Once you choose a place on your HD for the files and okay it, the transfer will begin automatically, and the program will give you status information.
You may notice that you are connected to people other than myself. This is to expected, and encouraged. This is called a swarm, and the more people are in it, the faster everyone gets the music. That's why I'll ask that you not disconnect as soon as you finish, please. Stay on for a little while and help pass the data on. Remember the Prime Directive.

Once you have the files, you will see that they are in a strange file type called flac. This is called lossless compression - music files are typically large, so compressing them makes for a faster download. Lossless compression means that no wavelengths are lost in the process - the uncompressed music is identical to the original music. Some of you may have media players that will play flac files, but you can't burn them to CD without decompressing them. For those who wish to burn them or can't play flac files, decompressing is child's play. Just download this free program (the appropriate one for your OS, o'course). Drag and drop the flacs to the decoder, decide at the bottom where you want the decoded files to go, and click on "decode". Then you can burn.

I hope everyone enjoys this! Let me know what you think of the process and the show. I have downloaded over 1000 G of music, video, books, and comics using bit torrent and never had a problem caused by any of it. It has, in fact, truly thrown my musical horizons to a far more distant place. If people dig it, I'll be happy to share other shows, and since this is so simple from my viewpoint, I can easily entertain requests. I can even fulfill some of them, I'm sure.

While digging up info for this, I found that an audience video recording is out there, too. You can see part of it here. I'm not that impressed, but someone who was there might want to see it.

Assume the Position!!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Steve Allen Show with Frank Zappa

In his Tuesday Trivia posting the other day, O'Tim linked to a page chock full of rock trivia. If you haven't looked at it, you should. There is something of interest to every music fan on that long, long page. A lot of things caught my eye because they were new to me - I didn't know that Carly Simon's dad was the Simon & Schuster guy, for instance. One thing caught me because it wasn't new, and I knew I could share it.

In the early 1960s, Frank Zappa appeared on Steve Allen’s TV show, performing a "bicycle concerto", plucking the spokes and blowing through the handlebars.

This I knew because I acquired that 16 minute clip over a year ago. The exact date that I have is March 14, 1963 and a clean-shaven young Zappa was the first guest on the show. Not having formed the Mothers of Invention yet, he showed a remarkable musical aptitude in his interview and a ready willingness to issue orders to Steve's band. He also demonstrated his famous sense of humor in performing a duet on bicycle with Steve. Quite simply put, you have to see this.

The quality is likely as good as it will ever be - a lot of these old shows were never kept because the television industry was a bit short-sighted in realizing it's re-run potential in the early days. The version here from YouTube is identical to what I downloaded in content and quality.

It really is amazing what's floating around out there.

1963 Frank Zappa on Steve Allen Show

Add to My Profile | More Videos

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tuesday Ten Trivia


The Carpenters were once booked for three nights as the opening act for Steppenwolf, getting fired after the first night.

Cher ended her marriage to Gregg Allman in 1979 after he had passed out in a Mexican restaurant, face first on a plate of chicken quesadillas.

The Who’s rock anthem My Generation took six weeks to break into the Top Ten on the U.S. record charts.

At a 1972 concert, Chuck Berry kicked Keith Richards off stage for playing too loud.

At the end of the Beatles’ song A Day in the Life an ultrasonic whistle was recorded by Paul McCartney for his Shetland sheepdog.

The first record to reach number one in 34 different countries was The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The music for the Procol Harum hit Whiter Shade Of Pale was written by Johann Sebastian Bach.

In many U.S. states there is a law against dancing to The Star Spangled Banner.

Ritchie Valens 1958 million-seller La Bamba is a traditional song picked up by the people of Mexico after they heard homesick African slaves singing about their village.

Al Kooper came up with the name for his new band from Winston Churchill’s quote, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

Cheaters need not Google. The answers are located somewhere on this page:


Monday, July 2, 2007

Manic Monday

A regular feature, pointing you to what's new at the indie record shops, online music purveyors, and big-box stores tomorrow. I'll even include what's coming out beyond rock music, but I will admit to being totally clueless about some genres, so I won't touch them (latin, world,classical, electronica, rap, most jazz, modern R & B)


Beware Of The Dog; Natural Boogie- Hound Dog Taylor - reissues

Frostbite - Albert Collins - reissue

Pure Cotton - James Cotton - reissue

Still Making History - Ana Popovic


The Rutles - The Rutles - reissue - YES, finally a Rhino reissue with bonus tracks.


Honky Tonk Masquerade; Joe Ely - Joe Ely - reissues

Tried And True - Hanna-McEuen - Sons of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band guys release another.

Very Best Of Merle Haggard - Merle Haggard


Hot Lunch - The Asylum Street Spankers - Don't you love their name? It's sort of acoustic blues, really.

Live At The BBC - Sandy Denny - What a voice.

Original Sandy Denny - Sandy Denny - reissued with bonus tracks.



Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix

Live Free Or Die Hard


The Pirate Queen

Talk To Me

R & B

Brecker Bros. - The Brecker Brothers - reissue

A load of Supremes reissues

Umbrella - Rhianna


1977 - Iggy Pop

20 Greatest Hits - Climax Blues Band

Argus - Wishbone Ash -reissue

At The End Of Time: Churchscapes - Live In England & Estonia, 2006 - Robert Fripp

Beggin' - Frankie Valli

a bunch of Ozzy Japanese imports

Bright - Californias

Bonny Bunch Of Roses; Gottle O'Geer - Fairport Convention - reissues

Captain Sexy Bull - The Damned - a compilation

Choice Cuts: The Capricorn Years - Widespread Panic

Circus Diablo - Circus Diablo

Cryin' Heart Blues - Rick Danko

Dixie Chicken; Feats Don't Fail Me Now; Sailin' Shoes; The Last Record Album - Little Feat - reissues

Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse; Gorilla; Tadpoles- The Bonzo Dog Band - reissues with bonus tracks

Early Elvis - Elvis Presley

End Has a Start - Editors - with bonus tracks

Secret Weapon - MXPX

Stolen Apples - Paul Kelly

Super Tarata! - Gogol Bordello

The Lost Tracks of Danzig - Danzig - for the headbanger in you

Three Easy Pieces - Buffalo Tom - This one's the pick of the day for me!

Era Vulgaris - Queens Of The Stone Age

Flurescent Adolescent - The Arctic Monkeys

From Yesterday - 30 Seconds To Mars

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - Spoon

Hang Me Up To Dry - Cold War Kids

Illegal, Immoral and Fattening/Moving Targets - Flo & Eddie - reissues

In Your Face - Duke Squad

In The Beginning - Genesis - reissue of pre- Phil Collins era Genesis' debut.

Kingdom Of Fear - Shitdisco

Libertad - Velvet Revolver - not my thing, but somebody has to like them.

Live at the Grande Ballroom, 1968 - MC5

New Maps Of Hell - Bad Religion

Nocturnal - David Mead

Official Bootleg USA '06 - Jeff Beck

Red Hot Chili Peppers with a bunch of Japanese imports

Take Over The Breaks Over - Fall Out Boy - for your teen daughters

Tarantula - The Smashing Pumpkins

Tell Me Where It Hurts - Garbage - a single

The Detroit-Memphis Experiment - Mitch Ryder - first release on CD!

Time On Earth - Crowded House

Too-Rye-Ay - Dexys Midnight Runners - reissue featuring one of my favorite pop singles, Come On Eileen.

Twilight Of The Innocents - Ash

Uncle Dysfunktional - Happy Mondays

Well Thought Out Twinkles - Silversun Pickups

White Moth - Xavier Rudd

Better People.mp3
A bunch of Wishbone Ash reissues

Year of The Cock - Big Cock - But what about the feet; are they big, too?