Thursday, June 30, 2011

THE PERFECT SUMMER SONG


I've actually heard "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" on AM radio. It was right when it came out, and more progressive AM stations were still trying to figure out if new wave (and poppier punk), was do-able. A short lived L.A. radio station (the call letters escape me) played it, not in regular rotation, but I did hear it once, and that particular listen is what made me smile today. Just the thought of it. Given that the only reason I went to L.A. back then was to see a show somewhere, I was probably on my way up, with a stops at Tommy's (or Powerburger), Turner's Liquor (as seen on the cover of Sweet's Desolation Blvd), Licorice Pizza and Tower Records ahead of me. After all that, the Whiskey, or the Masque. It's no wonder I have warm fuzzy associations with that song. Never mind the fact that it is the perfect summer song. In my book, nothing else comes close. Not the Beach Boys, Dick Dale, surf music, bossa nova, or reggae. Nope, I'm not having any of it.



So I went digging. There's some oddities, and a few you've probably heard a thousand times. One thing that gets me is how well the early Ramones' stuff is suited for radio, particularly top 40 (does it still exist?). "Sheena...", "Rockaway Beach," and "Do You Wanna Dance" are perfect radio songs. Surprisingly, the Phil Spector produced "Do You Remember Rock n' Roll Radio" falls short. The man who owed his career to mastering the hit single formula was not a good fit. Whatever the early Ramones' magic was, be it their simplicity or their production, it really worked. The first three LPs, The Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, had everything working. Along with the fore mentioned songs, there's a few later covers down there, including Creedence's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?," the Trogg's "I Can't Control Myself," and (one I think is unreleased) a cover of the Stone's "Street Fighting Man." Among the rest of the stuff is a 1975 demo, and near the bottom, a couple covers of "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," one by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, and the other by Josie Cotton.


If you don't know this LP like the back of your hand, come back when you do.

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Listen:
The Ramones - Sheena Is A Punk Rocker mp3 at 41 Media
The Ramones - Rockaway Beach mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu
The Ramones - Do You Wanna Dance mp3 at Killed By Death
The Ramones - Do You Remember Rock n' Roll Radio mp3 at Midwestern Housewives
The Ramones - Judy Is A Punk mp3 at Plain or Pan
The Ramones - Judy Is A Punk (1975 demo) mp3 at Plain or Pan
Joey Ramone & Ronnie Spector - Bye Bye Baby mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu
The Ramones - Have You Ever Seen the Rain mp3 at Le Blog de Grande Chose
The Ramones - I Can't Control Myself mp3 at EMBL (?)
The Ramones - Street Fighting Man mp3 at Luvhouse
Covers:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sheena Is A Punk Rocker mp3 at MFR
Josie Cotton & Brats on the Beat Singers - Sheena Is A Punk Rocker mp3 at Indie Rock Heaven

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WE WAS ROBBED



Another smooth vocal stylist from the early days of reggae, Delroy Wilson was like a lot of his contemporaries. He got his start in his teens, in the rock steady era, and was already up and running when reggae hit. He had several hits on Studio One, and went on to record at other studios and on other labels, including his own for a short while. Sadly, he died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1995. While there are singers his age that had enjoyed enduring success, he was not to be one of them. In the '83 live video below, some of his moves are pretty smooth, but his gestures and vocal inflections seem a little overreaching, like the the work of a performer who is either buzzed, or struggling to hang on. That's just my impression (and it could be biased, based on his cause of death). Anyway you look at it, it's a sad thing he didn't have the longevity of his peers, because it wasn't for lack of early promise.



But, boy did he have some good stuff. Most of the songs below are early stuff, all top notch, really, I highly recommend you listen to all of them; but do check out that first one, "Adis Ababa." I mean it. Wah-wah and fuzz? Are you kidding me? In a reggae song? Hell yeah! Sounds weird on paper, I know, but this sucker is my favorite song this week, if not since Nora Dean.

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Listen:
Delroy Wilson - Adis Ababa (1973) mp3 at Podcast Battle
Delroy Wilson - Easy Snappin' mp3 at Reggae Top Site (Studio One!)
Delroy Wilson - I Don't Know Why mp3 at Monsefar (Studio One with scratches!!)
Delroy Wilson - This Old Heart of Mine mp3 at Polaroidallaradio
Delroy Wilson - Got To Get Away mp3 at Daniel Johnson Writes
Delroy Wilson - Your Number One mp3 at Daniel Johnson Writes
Delroy Wilson - Have Some Mercy mp3 at Art Decade
Delroy Wilson - This Life Makes Me Wonder mp3 at Stereogum
Delroy Wilson - Conquer Me (via Box.net) mp3 at For the Sake of the Song
Video:
Delroy Wilson w/Prince Jammy, Bunny Lee - In A Dancing Mood (studio footage) at YouTube
Delroy Wilson - Live, 1983 at YouTube
Visit:
Delroy Wilson - Profile at AllMusic (Surprisingly detailed)
Delroy Wilson at Wikipedia
Delroy Wilson at Roots Archive
Related:
Other Reggae posts

Monday, June 27, 2011

THE REAL KID KUTI


It's mighty tempting to veer off from a mention of Seun Anikkulapo Kuti and end up in the Fela Kuti abyss. Fela Kuti, as you probably know, is like the man when it comes to afrobeat, the Chuck Berry or James Brown level icon of the genre. His output, both in quality and quantity, is an unbelievable gift left in the form of many, many, extended, funky and exotic jams. I will spare you further digression, and just direct you to the Fela links below for that detour.

Seun Kuti is his youngest son. When big daddy Kuti died in '97 (AIDS), Seun took over, fronting his father's band, Egypt 80, at the age of 14. His latest album, From Africa With Fury: Rise, came with additional geek twists, other than just his bloodline. Some of the tracks are produced by Brian Eno, bringing Eno more or less full circle, from his 80s David Byrne collaborations and Talking Heads productions, back to his fascination with African rhythmic textures. Now he's dipping in the real thing, and you know he's gotta be stoked. Another twist is that the cover of the album is by Lemi Ghariokwu, who did many of Fela's album covers. Where Fela's were more like drawings with paint, the cover of Seun Kuti's latest album was done as a static cover, and in the latest medium mini-craze, as an animated gif cover. (Why exactly they're needed is beyond me.) You can see it here.


Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80, Live in Dakar 2005 (Pretty amazing, huh?)

Much like his father's music, Semi Kuti's stuff, along with that of his brother Femi Kuti, is predominantly long jams, heavy on horns, percussion, choruses, and funky grooves. One thing can't hurt: many of the members of the current Egypt 80 had also played with Fela. There I go again. "Fela, Fela, Fela,.." (Jan Brady wouldn't last a minute around here.) Anyway, here's an assortment.

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Listen:
Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 - Rise mp3 at Soul Bounce
Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 - You Can Run mp3 (via Soundcloud) at Afrobeat Blog Note: At Soundcloud, click on tiny "Download" (with downward arrow), just above the streaming bar.
Video:
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Live, 2008 Nobel Peace Prize concert at YouTube
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - You Better Run (on Later Live...Jools Holland) at YouTube
Visit:
Interview with Seun Anikulapo at Afrobeat Blog
Sena Kuti at Wikipedia
Album art related:
Lemi Ghariokwu - Animated album cover for Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 at Album Art Exchange
Lemi Ghariokwu - Video interview and gallery images at Art's Own Kind
Lemi Gharioku - Profile at Kongoi Productions
Previous Fela post:
Hey There Fela - Six Fela Kuti cuts and a vintage video (All links still work!)
More Fela:
Fela Kuti - Army Arrangment video at YouTube
Fela Kuti - Six cuts (via Mediafire) at Passion of the Weiss

Sunday, June 26, 2011

BARBARA'S BUM BREAK


You almost definitely know this song, the instrumental version, "Soulful Strut," at least. It was a hit for Young-Holt Unlimited in '69, and was ubiquitous bumper music in the late sixties and well into the seventies (hell, even today). But it was originally recorded as the backing track for Barbara Acklin's "Am I the Same Girl?." Then the suits at Brunswick Records stepped in. Tapping into their infinite wisdom, they decided to strip it of vocals, add piano, and release it as an instrumental single. By the time Acklin's vocal version was finally released a few months later, the damage was done. Everybody already had the instrumental version. Which might explain why you may not have heard of Acklin. Fucking suits do it again.

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Listen:
Barbara Acklin - Am I the Same Girl? mp3 at Mixtape Riot
Young-Holt Unlimited - Soulful Strut mp3 at XOC Music
Swing Out Sister - Am I the Same Girl? mp3 at 4Shared
Young Holt Unlimited/Swing Out Sister - Soulful Strut/Am I the Same Girl? (back to back) mp3 at Tuxedo Junction
Unrelated to the suits' infinite wisdom:
Barbara Acklin - Love Makes A Women mp3 at The Soul Girl
Young-Holt Unlimited - Young & Holtful mp3 at Sneak Move
Young-Holt Unlimited - Baby Your Light Is Out mp3 at The Soul Girl

Saturday, June 25, 2011

UK LADY TUNAGE


Last night I ran into Ludella Black's cover of the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face," a complete reworking with a galloping beat and enough fuzz to throw things thoroughly off kilter. The juxtaposition almost makes you forget where the song came from. It was produced by Liam Watson, at Toe Rag, the UK analog heaven; the same studio that has hosted Billy Childish, the Datsuns, the Kills and the White Stripes, among others. So, that got me thinking about Thee Headcoatees, another band loosely affiliated with Toe Rag, which included Black and Holly Golightly, who is probably the best known ex-Headcoatee. Golightly's solo stuff slays me. Between the two of them, it's as good an excuse as any to plop down some UK lady stuff.


Thee Headcoatees, Wild Man ('93). Good song, plus good screams (particularly at :58), less the squeals (a forgivable annoyance) equals entirely watchable.

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Listen:
Ludella Black - I've Just Seen a Face mp3 at Krucoff
Holly Golightly - There Is An End mp3 at Rollo & Grady
Holly Golightly - Your Love Is Mine mp3 at Fat Berri's
Holly Golightly - Black Heart mp3 at Rollo & Grady
Thee Headcoatees - Ca Plane Pour Moi mp3 at L'Homme Scalp
Thee Headcoatees - My Boyfriends Learning Karate mp3 at api.ning
Visit:
Toe Rag Studios
Thee Headcoatees at Wkipedia

Friday, June 24, 2011

STAY GOLDEN PONY BOY


I love that photo above. They're kids, really, ranging in age from about 16 to 21. It was taken over thirty years ago, and looks as if it was on the set of The Outsiders. The photo is actually of two early California punk bands, the Middle Class and the Zeros; I'm guessing while on tour, or before a show. Oh, the shit these guys would see in ensuing years.

Both bands are active again. The last Zeros show was in January (I think), and the Middle Class are playing tonight, in just a few hours (after reuniting for the recent Frontier Records' 30th anniversary show). They're in what is sadly a class unto itself: first wave punk rock survivors. Just looking at that top photo and knowing that these two bands are still playing, and not just milking it, makes this old geezer stop and reflect. (Sniff, sniff.)

I think I've posted all this stuff before, but that photo up top (kiped from the Middle Class Facebook page) just got me going. Though none of the guys were full on innocents back then, they were relatively fresh from the garage (literally). And now, here we are thirty plus years later. Fuckin' A.

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Listen:
The Middle Class - Out of Vogue mp3* at 7 Inch Punk
The Middle Class - You Belong mp3* at 7 Inch Punk
The Middle Class - Situations mp3* at 7 Inch Punk
The Middle Class - Insurgence mp3* at 7 Inch Punk
*Direct linking disabled, go there to get them.
The Zeros - Wild Weekend mp3 at Che Underground
The Zeros - Wimp mp3 at Linux Enthusiats Group (?)
The Zeros - Don't Push Me Around mp3 at Fredeeky
The Zeros - Beat Your Heart Out mp3 at Che Underground
The Zeros - Main Street Brat mp3 at Che Underground
Video:
The Middle Class - Situations/Above Suspicion (live, recent) at YouTube
The Middle Class - Out of Vogue (live, recent) at YouTube
The Zeros - Don't Push Me Around/Wimp (TV show, 1977) at YouTube
The Zeros - 30th anniversary DVD trailer at YouTube
Visit:
The Zeros - Lengthy bio at Che Underground
The Middle Class - Recent interview at L.A.Record (6/20/2011)
The Middle Class on Facebook
The Zeros on Facebook (fan page?)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

KING OF THE MELODICA


There's reggae, and there's dub, and then there's Augustus Pablo, a vibe all his one. He could be the best known melodica player ever, and his King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown album is definitely one of the most significant reggae albums of all time. Think of it as reggae's Dark Side of the Moon. Though they differ in genre, they hold the same stature as absolute icons. What I like? Speaking strictly from an aesthetic perspective (because I love graphic design, both good and cheap ass), I love the fact that an classic, of any genre, was originally released with a so-horrid-it's-good LP cover. Your everyday Joe would take one look at it (below) and just move on to the next bin. Yet, a reggae fiend salivates when they see that cover. That's how good it is. (You ought to just buy it.) I think whoever reissues it next (because it's been reissued with different covers several times), ought to have a cover contest. Release it on vinyl with the package it deserves, the whole sheebang.



Here's a cross section of his career, including the "King Tubbys..." title track, and (right in the middle of all that below), the King Tubbys LP. There's a ton of other stuff too (10+ LPs). Oh yeah, he was born Horace Swaby, June 21, 1954, and died May 18, 1999. (Lengthy bio linked below.)

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Augustus Pablo - King Tubbys Meets the Rockers Uptown mp3 at Nintendo Planet Video
Augustus Pablo - Straight to Ethiopia mp3 at Mixtape Riot
Augustus Pablo - Chapter 2 mp3 at Siblingshot On the Bleachers
Augustus Pablo - Tubby's Dub Song mp3 at Siblingshot On the Bleachers
Augustus Pablo - Ragga mp3 at File Den
Augustus Pablo - Java mp3 at Rraurl.com.br
Augustus Pablo - Slave Masters' Execution mp3 at Pfftp
Augustus Pablo - Cassava Piece mp3 at Pampelmoose
Augustus Pablo - 1-2-3 Version mp3 at B3ta Cr3ation
Augustus Pablo - East of the River Nile mp3 at Zachi Team Tree Tops
Augustus Pablo - Dread Eye mp3 at Reggae Top Site
Augustus Pablo - Black Gunn mp3 at Reggae Top Site
Augustus Pablo - Please Sunrise mp3 at Reggae Top Site
Augustus Pablo w/Lee Perry & the Wailers - Satisfy My Soul Dub mp3 at 99.media.v4 This one takes a while to download, but it's worth it.
Full LPs:
Augustus Pablo - King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown at Satta Massagana (via Easy Share)
Augustus Pablo Meets Lee Perry at Black Ark at You and Me On a Jamboree (via Z-Share)
Augustus Pablo - 5 more LPs at You and Me On a Jamboree
Augustus Pablo - 3 more LPs and a 4 LP box set at Satta Massagana
Video:
Augustus Pablo - Rockers Rock (live) at YouTube
Augustus Pablo - Rare acoustic footage at YouTube with vocals by Hugh Mundell and Augustus Pablo on guitar and melodica.
Augustus Pablo - Frozen Dub (live) at YouTube
Augustus Pablo - Java (live) at YouTube
Read:
El Rockers - Augustus Pablo fan site (Excellent)
Augustus Pablo at Wikipedia
Augustus Pablo - King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown at Wikipedia
Augustus Pablo - Bio at Reggae Vibes
Related:
Earlier reggae posts here

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

GOON CHORDS



To kick off the summer, here's a mix of surf instrumentals, oddballs and a couple of semi-related songs with vocals. First off, you have to begin with the man, Dick Dale, because he's the first to come to mind, and he's practically the template. From there, it gets a little mixed. There's a few second tier bands (the Lively Ones, Aki Aleong), a couple spaghetti western covers (Banzai Surf and the Ventures), session players (Al Casey, Sandy Nelson), a Martin Denny cover (the Astronauts' "Quiet Village"), an English band (the Shadows), a Japanese guitar player playing Beethoven (Takeshi Teruchi), contemporary bands (Los Sttraightjackets, Banzi Surf, Django Twango, the Surf Coasters), an unusual cover of "Pipeline" (the Incredible Bongo Band), a vocal number by the Sunrays (who were managed by Murray Wilson, after his sons were done with him), a Brian Wilson produced girl group (Spring, featuring his wife Marilyn and her sister), and the last song (in this house, unremarkable), by the 101'er's, Joe Strummer's pre-Clash band, (surf only in title, and vocals). Wax'em up.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Dick Dale - The Victor mp3 at Django Twango
The Lively Ones - Surf Rider mp3 at The California Girls
Aki Aleong & the Nobels - Panic mp3 at Probe Is Turning-On the People
The Astronauts - Baja mp3 at Django Twango
Sandy Nelson - Casbah mp3 at Django Twango
The Shadows - Perifida mp3 at Django Twango
Los Straightjackets - Tailspin mp3 at Django Twango
Django Tango - Goldfinger mp3 at Django Twango
The Surf Coasters - Miserlou mp3 at Django Twango
Banzai Surf - For A Few Dollars More mp3 at Django Twango
The Ventures - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly mp3 at Django Twango
The Astronauts - Quiet Village mp3 at Goof Spot
The Chantays - Pipeline mp3 at Rocky-52.net
Incredible Bongo Band - Pipeline mp3 at Paradise Soul
Takeshi Terauchi - Theme from Beethoven's Fifth mp3 at Beware of the Blog
The Sunrays - I Live For the Sun mp3 at Pretty Goes With Pretty
Spring - Down Home mp3 at Obscure Sound
The 101'ers - Surf City mp3 at Math.Uni.Edu

Monday, June 20, 2011

KIDS THOSE DAYS



Last night, shortly before shutting things down, I came across this video, of Larry Collins testing a new guitar, the twin neck Fireball 500, made by custom car deity George Barris, and modeled after Barris' customized '66 Barracuda of the same name. (Check out part two of the video in which Collins is playing for Barris, while Barris is leaning against another of his creations, the Batmobile.) Right then it hit me. I had yet to post anything about the Collins Kids!



I remember clearly the first time I heard the Collins Kids. As I made one of my ritual stops at a friend's record store, he was nearly frothing. A rockabilly compilation had just come in, with a mindblowingly good band, who were just kids. I was used to these "you gotta hear this" things from him. The proprietor of said record store, Dan McLain (who later would be better known as Country Dick Montana, of the Beat Farmers) had already turned me on to several bands and singers (not the least of which was Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps). So I knew the drill. But still, I was amazed.


The Collins Kids Story (in 10 minutes)

The first time I actually saw footage of the Collins Kids was at a small barbecue at the home of a couple I knew. After a few beers and burgers, it was time for the main event. The video tape came out. (This was well before DVDs.) It would be another slack jawed moment. Even being familiar with some of the Collins Kids' music, nothing could have prepared me for the sight of a kid in his early teens playing technically incredible stuff, with a big ass smile on his face. As if that weren't enough, the little fugger was moving like he had ants in his pants. It kinda gave me the creeps, because it was so unthinkable. It still does a little. "So good, it's scary." Check out some videos below and give yourself the creeps.


The Collins Kids with Deke Dickerson (photo: Night-Thing/Creative Commons)

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
The Collins Kids - Hoy Hoy mp3 at Rock-52.net
The Collins Kids - Beetle Bug Bop mp3 at Rocky-52.net
The Collins Kids - Hush Money mp3 at Rocky-52.net
Video:
The Collins Kids - Hoy Hoy at YouTube
The Collins Kids - High School Confidential at YouTube
The Collins Kids - Rock Boppin' Baby at YouTube
The Collins Kids - Rockin' In the Congo at YouTube
The Collins Kids - Night Train to Memphis ('64) at YouTube Skip to :41 to avoid the malarkey.
The Collins Kids - Like A Rolling Stone (Shindig '65) at YouTube Rare clip, where they clearly forgot who brung 'em.
Lorrie Collins and Ricky Nelson - Just Because at YouTube
Larry Collins and Joe Maphis - Hurricane at YouTube
Larry Collins and Deke Dickerson - Hurricane (semi-recent) at YouTube
Visit:
The Collins Kids - Interview at L.A. Record (2008)
The Collins Kids at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame
The Collins Kids at Wikipedia

Saturday, June 18, 2011

BEST SONG I'VE HEARD ALL WEEK


"Recorded by actual Neanderthals in their cave studio..." With a line like that, do you really think I'm going to read any further? Absolutely not. I found myself clicking at light speed, as some sort of reflex, and the song that it took me to, "Makin' Love," was just as advertised. In other words, my type of meat. Garage Hangover, the host of the best thing I've heard all week, goes into much detail describing it; but if you know your references, let me put it this way: It's as a sloppy mess, somewhere along the lines of the Groupies "Down In the Bottom" (with it's use of rudimentary guitar and snotty vocals), with a cardboard drum kit attempting a Bo Diddley beat, and some garbling that wouldn't sound out of place on a Hasil Adkins record. To the few of you who get all hot and bothered by that sort of thing, you're wasting time reading any further. go to their site to get it. Really, I only know a handful of people that will get as worked up about this song as I am, but if even one of them happens to follow the link below, it will outweigh any disappointment by the rest of you who, well, don't get it.



I haven't read all of the interview yet, but I did give a listen to the B side, "You Mean Everything," which isn't nearly as crusty. Regardless, with the combination of the A side, the name of the band (really, is there a better name?), and the magnificently low budget sleeve (above), I got all I need. Don't need no damn context. I just wish there was more of the same. (I now know I'm not alone. As I type this, a copy of this extremely rare 45 is on Ebay and, with a day of bidding left, it's at $1802.) (UPDATE 6/21/11, auction is closed. The record sold for $6550.00.)

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
The Sloths - Makin' Love, and You Mean Everything mp3s, and the story of the Sloths at Garage Hangover (They don't like direct linking to mp3s, but you should go there to get it. This sucker is worth the trip.)
Garage Hangover home page

Friday, June 17, 2011

JUST STOP WITH THE STRINGS


John Holt is confounding. Seriously, I don't know where to start. He began his singing career in 1957 at the age of twelve, entering talent contests. By the time he was 16, he'd won 28 contests and was picked up by producer Leslie Kong. A couple years later, he joined the Paragons, who are best known for singing the Holt-penned original version of "The Tide Is High." Yes, that "The Tide Is High," the one that was a hit for Blondie. Better known to reggae fiends is the 1971 DJ version, by U Roy. It was Holt, in fact, who introduced U Roy to Duke Reid. Reid ended recording all of U Roy's early hits, including another Paragons song, "Wear You to the Ball."


Studio footage from 2009 (music starts at 1:08)

Back to Holt. He's had some mighty weird twists. When the UK label Trojan brought him to England, they schmaltzed him up real good. His output got sappier and sappier. His music became bathed in strings, culminating in the unthinkable, "Holt Does Disco" (an actual album title). Need I continue? Then, in 1983, there was a dramatic change, he became a rastafarian. Not just dreads, but the whole thing. His music got rootsier, with a load of songs about rasta and weed. Now you'd think that's where he would just sort of drift off into elder-rasta singer lore. But you know what? He's still got his WTF moments. One of the things that I can't seem to wrap my head around is the fact that, as late as 2001, he was still occasionally fronting a symphony orchestra. I'm not saying that something in the rasta faith should preclude one from doing that, but, come on. (Dude, you already survived, and came back from, the depths of schmaltz hell. Why risk it again?)



If all of that isn't even of moderate interest to you, let me ask you this: Can you name any reggae artist who sang through the ska, rock steady, reggae, and roots eras, (wait...), and covered a Slade song? (You can hear a snippet of his version of Slade's "My Oh My" here.) Without going into too much more detail (because frankly there's too much more detail to cover), I'd just advise avoiding anything of his that looks too glossy. Now, on to the goods...

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
The Paragons - The Tide Is High mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu
The Paragons - Wear You to the Ball mp3 at DJNoDJ
The Paragons - Happy Go Lucky Girl mp3 at Brobots!
John Holt - A Love I Can Feel (Studio One!) mp3 at Slang Editorial
John Holt, King Tubby & Augustus Pablo - Ali Baba Riddim Dub mp3 at Fredeeky
John Holt - My Sweet Lord mp3 at Slang Editorial
John Holt - Hey Jude mp3 at Ska.Sk
John Holt - Mr. Bojangles (live, with orchestra) mp3 at Premium Wanadoo
John Holt - Police In Helicopter mp3 at Le Blog de la Grande Chose
John Holt & Big Youth - Leggo Beast mp3 at 4Shared
LPs:
John Holt - Four LPs at Satta Massagana, including the dyn-o-mite I Can't Get You Off My Mind collection of Studio One material, and the questionable Holt Goes Disco.
Related:
Earlier reggae posts here
Read:

John Holt - Excellent bio at LastFM
John Holt at Wikipedia

Thursday, June 16, 2011

GET YOURSELF A CREW CUT BABY


I listened to the Standells' "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" on the drive home tonight, and it felt gooood. If you're of a certain age you know the song, and you know the LP cover too. That cover photo is an absolute classic. Shot from above, your eyes are drawn to the pointy boots (it's been copied with regularity over the years). The song is every bit as good, and belongs on every snotty kid's playlist, no matter what age you are. "Good guys, bad guys, which is which? The white collar worker or the digger in the ditch?" Pure poetry in these parts. And the spoken fills rank with the best: "If you don't dig this long hair, get yourself a crew cut, baby!" That's quite enough gushing for one song. Your turn.


The Standells - Riot On Sunset Strip (movie opening sequence)

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
The Standells - Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White mp3 (via Box.net) at The Beat
The Standells - Barracuda mp3 at Beware of the Blog
The Standells - Riot On Sunset Strip mp3 at Indie Rock Cafe
The Standells - Medication mp3 at Beware of the Blog
The Standells - Rari mp3 at The Calico Wall
Video:
The Standells - Try It at YouTube
The Standells -Dirty Water/Why Pick On Me at YouTube
Read:
The Standells at Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FROM THE "BEFORE THEY SUCKED" FILE


Let me preface this by saying that Steven Tyler was not always a dwid. Here's another one where you might have to take an old fart's word for it. But it's true. I don't know what happened, but somewhere along the line, he morphed into the annoying caricature that he is today. But at one time, specifically after the New York Dolls were out of the picture, Aerosmith seemed to be in line as rightful heirs to the "American Stones" label. Granted, it was a long time ago. But they had the elements: a mouthy singer, an adequate lead guitarist with a shaggy hairdo, vices, good choices in covers, and a decent amount of swagger...you get the picture. Then the bottom began to fall out. A little after third LP "Toys in the Attic" came out, "Dream On" from their first album, became an FM radio hit. (Long story, but the late blooming had to do with the 1973 album version being extended by a minute in length and then released as a 45 with a big push in 1976.) If you liked their more rockin' stuff, this only served to remind you that, alas, an American version of the Stones would not be forthcoming. Not with a power ballad, one that had slipped by the first time it was released. (The Rolling Stones had the ballad formula down. One thing they did not do was a ballad that kept building, but never went anywhere.)


Were the Stones this self indulgent back then?

To the more cynical listeners, despite the amount of listening vested, the truth was out. They were already walking a fine line to begin with, now it was known. Aerosmith were full of themselves from the beginning. For those non-coddlers, it wasn't a matter of if they should ignore them, but at what point. Fans of varying degrees had different drop-off points. For some, it was right then, when "Dream On" became a hit. After all, it was then that Aerosmith knew what crowd they were playing for. Like the J.Geils Band of roughly the same vintage, the funk (and by that I mean raunch, not musical funk) began to dissipate.

If you're not of that opinion, I'll agree to disagree. But, really, I was largely describing my own opinion of the, I'll say it, has beens. I myself hung on until their fourth LP, "Rocks," largely based on "Back In The Saddle," a song I still love, and the impression left by a 1975 concert attendance (front row center, Aerosmith opening for ZZ Top).

Here's two versions of "Big Ten Inch," Bull Moose Jackson's and Aerosmith's, with just a few other odds and ends. If it wasn't for the need to exorcise my Aerosmith annoyance, this might have been a different post. Bull Moose will have to wait....

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Aerosmith - Big Ten Inch mp3 at Monkey River Town
Bull Moose Jackson - Big Ten Inch mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Aerosmith - Back In the Saddle mp3 at 40 Cal Games
Video:
Aerosmith - Big Ten Inch (Live '77) at YouTube
Steven Tyler - Ham it up big boy (twenty seconds of rock n' roll poetic justice) at YouTube
Aerosmith on Wayne's World at YouTube with Tom Hanks as the roadie
Bull Moose Jackson profile by the Cleveland Blues Society at YouTube
WTF is this?:
Wyndio - Dream On mp3 at Oh My Songs
Semi-related:
Other "Before The Sucked" posts

Monday, June 13, 2011

VELVET BEACH UNDERGROUND


Because you're reading this, it is reasonable to assume that you are a record or music nerd. (No shame in that.) As such, there might be times when you go to play something, deliberately picking something that you know won't prevent you from being in the mood for something entirely different a little later. An example: while it might be easy planning an Eno to Motorhead progression during the course of the day, going from Motorhead to Eno would prove almost impossible. If you were to complete that quixotic feat, by the time you did, the momentum would be so great that you'd be asleep after two minutes of Taking Tiger Mountain. So, what I'm getting at here is that if you have ever found yourself in the mood for some mid-career Beach Boys or, by going down another trajectory, some Velvet Underground, and needed something that would feed both veins, I got just the thing. I'm not saying that Joy Zipper sound like a mix of the two (which they do at times), as much as that they share the microscopic common vibe of the two. Never mind. "Goes well with..."

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Joy Zipper - Out of the Sun mp3 at Better Propaganda
Joy Zipper - Everyday mp3 at Alpha Female Bravo Fawx
Joy Zipper - The Power of Alan Watts mp3 at Alpha Female Bravo Fawx
Joy Zipper - Check Out My New Jesus mp3 at One Sweet Song
Joy Zipper - Transformation Fantasy mp3 at Alpha Female Bravo Fawx
Video:
Joy Zipper - Out of the Sun at YouTube
Joy Zipper - Live, London 2008 at YouTube
Visit:

Joy Zipper at Wikipedia
Joy Zipper at Bar None Records
Joy Zipper at MySpace

Sunday, June 12, 2011

CONTEXT KILLS


This all started with a friend posting a video of Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue," a song that I thought I hated. But the friend who posted it is one of those long time friends whose musical tastes are informed, the type that hears things that you might miss. The song in question had long left my radar, because I had dismissed it from the git-go. I'd been listening to reggae for several years when "Electric Avenue" came out, and I thought that Grant was trying to pass it off as reggae (he with the way-too-neat dreads). Because my friend posted it, I gave it another listen. And, you know what? Taken it out of any genre context, it's a great song.


The Equals, 1967 UK TV

Grant, as many of you may know, was also the singer of the Equals, whose "Police On My Back" was covered by the Clash. One of the oft-mentioned topics about the Equals was their multinational make up. Two were British, two Jamaican, and Grant was from Guyana. Their output, at least what I've heard of it, was stylistically varied. The common notion is that their varied backgrounds are reason why their sound didn't fit into one neat category. Whatever. Just get all that context stuff out of here for a minute. You're going to ruin it. (Thank you M.F.)

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
The Equals - Police On My Back ('67) mp3 at Funky 16 Corners
The Clash -Police On My Back ('80) mp3 at Naf-anya1.narod.ru (?)
The Equals - Baby Come Back ('66) mp3 at David Fulmer.com
The Equals - Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boy ('70) mp3 at Young Manhattanite
Eddy Grant - Electric Avenue ('82)mp3 at One Sweet Song
Video:
The Equals - Hold Me Closer (The Beat Club, '67) at YouTube
The Equals - Baby Come Back (Top of the Pops, '68) at YouTube
The Clash - Police On My Back (live) at YouTube
Eddy Grant - Living On the Front Line ('79) mp3 at YouTube
Eddy Grant - Electric Avenue ('82) at YouTube
Eddy Grant - I'm the One (Just Remember) ('10?) mp3 at YouTube

Thursday, June 9, 2011

70'S ROCK ESSENTIALS #37


The fruit of serendipitous online meandering, I humbly bring you a mainstay of 70's guitar rock, level 2, the first Montrose LP. For the uninitiated, Montrose was led by guitarist Ronnie Montrose, fresh from the Edgar Winter Group (to be replaced by Rick Derringer). The lead singer in the first version of Montrose, was a pre-self-caricature Sammy Hagar (try, for a second, to forget it's him.) Now, this is not the best 70's guitar rock LP, but it's far, far from the worst. What endears it most, to level two-ers anyways, is that it is consistent. Montrose had their own sound, based heavily on Montrose's guitar and Hagar's just plain corny vocals. (I guarantee you, they had a well dog-earred copy of the rock lyric cliche handbook.) But you know what? The same elements are there, on every song. That's what makes it work. Just as Andrew W.K. weakened you until you succumbed to his Party, Party, Party; Montrose wears through with Rock, Rock, Rock. Never mind the three songs with "rock" in their title, listen to "One Thing On My Mind" for some true proto-Andrew W.K. rock/party posturing. This is good stuff, friends. I suggest you start your Friday night with the whole thing, beginning to end, as loud as the neighbors will tolerate.


Montrose during the shirt shortage of '74, on the back cover of the first LP

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Montrose - Bad Motor Scooter mp3 at Kevin's Media
Montrose - Good Rockin' Tonight mp3 at Kevin's Media
Montrose - I Don't Want It mp3 at Kevin's Media
Montrose - Make iIt Last mp3 at Kevin's Media
Montrose - One Thing On My Mind mp3 at Kevin's Media
Montrose - Rock Candy mp3 at Kevin's Media
Montrose - Rock The Nation mp3 at Kevin's Media
Montrose - Space Station #5 mp3 at Kevin's Media
Kevin's Media Main Montrose page at Kevin's Media
Kevin's Media home page
Kevin's Media music index
Semi-related:
Andrew W.T.F. - Post about Andrew W.K. (6/10/2010)