Monday, March 31, 2014

TO FALSE STARTS

If ever there was a band that put out one great LP and subsequently took a shit, it was the Modern Lovers. Their first LP is great, from beginning to end. It's hard to believe that it was intended as demos. Recorded in 1971 and 1972, the sessions for all but one of the songs were funded by two labels that hoping to sign them, with one of the sessions produced by John Cale. After taking roughly a year to make a decision about which label to sign with, they decided on Warners, and went back in the studio with Cale for a proper recording session. This is right about the moment they took a shit. Sometime during the course of that year between sessions, Jonathan Richman went kinda goofy, as in not crazy, but literally goofy. He didn't want the band to sound as they did, and was leaning towards lighter weight stuff, songs like "Abominable Snowman in the Market", "Hey There Little Insect", and "Here Come the Martian Martians". The rest of the band, the label, and Cale had a collective "WTF?" moment. Things for the original Modern Lovers were over, and everyone went their own way. Richman got his mellow cake, and the other members would end up in the Talking Heads (Jerry Harrison, keyboards), DMZ and the Cars (David Robinson, drums), the Neccessaries (Ernie Brooks, bass) and the Real Kids (intermittent part time member John Felice, guitar).



You can read a lot more about the the history of the Modern Lovers at Rock In Boston (excellent), and Wikipedia and such. The one tidbit I found interesting was that at the time of the aborted recording sessions, Richman was friends with Gram Parsons. They shared the same manager, Matthew Kaufman, and were his only two clients. Good enough friends that they were playing miniature golf together the day before Parsons died. They had reportedly also discussed working together. Had that happened, would Parsons had cleaned up? Shunned Keith Richards? Would he have lived? Would he have gone the direction of Richman, and put out his own childrens records for adults? A whole chapter of the lexicon of cool would have to be rewritten. The horror.

If you're already familiar with the first LP and dig it, you need to check the live thing at Aquarium Drinkard, two sets from 1971 and '72. It may not surface again.

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Listen:
Modern Lovers - She Cracked mp3 at The Rising Storm
Modern Lovers - Pablo Picasso mp3 at DJNoDJ
Modern Lovers - Roadrunner mp3 at BlahblahblahScience
Modern Lovers - I Wanna Sleep In Your Arms mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu Bonus cut on reissue
Very early live:
The Modern Lovers - Live at Stonhenge Club at Aquarium Drinkard Two sets in one zip. 1970-71 Ipswich, MA.
Visit:
The Modern Lovers - Extensive profile at Rock In Boston
The Modern Lovers - Album entry at Wikipedia

Sunday, March 30, 2014

LOOK OVER THERE

For the past several weeks, Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban has had weekly Vocal Group 45 of the Week posts, and if you haven't checked them out yet, you ought to. They're all less recognizable groups, some of them with more emphasis on R&B than others. But they all have that low budget flair, if you know what I mean. Stealthly kick ass. Thirteen have been posted so far, which is a good start to a vocal group mix And there's a new one every week. I'm all over that.

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Listen:
The Creators with the Alamos - Booga Bear mp3 at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban
The Interiors - Voodoo Doll mp3 at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban
More Vocal Group 45s of the Week(s) at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban

Saturday, March 29, 2014

ICH BIN EIN WEIRDO

I'm not going to sit here and tell you I know anything about Can. I don't. And I'll be damned if I'm going to read up on them just to reword stuff that's already out there. That said, I ran into a fifteen minute live clip of them, and in the same playlist there was a documentary about them. I figured I'd bookmark them for the day I decide to see what all the fuss was about, when and if that day ever comes. You never know. Krautrock, or whatever you want to call it, has never really been my thing. But I do appreciate bands that like to fuck with things, and that they certainly did. That much I know.

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Listen:
Can - Vitamin C mp3 at Plain or Pan
Can - Oh Yeah mp3 at The Decibel Tolls
Video:
Can - Spoon at YouTube Fifteen minute version, live
Can - The Documentary at YouTube
Visit:
Can at Wikipedia

Friday, March 28, 2014

SUCK ON THIS HIPSTER

I heard Hank Thompson's "Six Pack to Go" today, early. Before I'd even had a second cup of coffee, in a store that was piping in old school country and western music. It was weird hearing it that early. It's always been a going out or going home sort of song. But, man, what a way to start the day. I had to post it, and good ol' dependable Junk Shop Juke Box had it.

It made me want to post Dave Dudley's "Two Six Packs Away" for the umpteenth time. (That's Dudley above.) Yes, it's another six pack song, but it also gave me an excuse to slap some "Six Days on the Road" on you. And how about that  badass photo above? (By Jim McGuire, the full size can be seen here). Check him out. That right there is the real deal. Dudley at age 48, regular guy, bad habit, cool windbreaker, and irony-free PBR patch in tow.

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Listen:
Hank Thompson - Six Pack to Go mp3 (via DivShare) at Junk Shop Juke Box
Once you get to DivShare, click on the green "Download" button, and scratch your head for fifteen seconds while the timer counts down. When the button reappears, you're good to go.
Dave Dudley - Two Six Packs Away mp3 at Rocky 52
Dave Dudley - Six Days on the Road mp3 at J.Yuenger

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A NIGHT AT THE PANTHER

Of all the records that I ever dragged to a DJ gig, there is but one that has the distinction of having the title deliberately scratched out, a practice common among DJs who want to hide the source of their sacred jams. Back then there wasn't a preponderance of DJs doing that, at least locally, with the nuts I knew. But then, this was before the DJ craze, which begat DJ Everybodyandtheirmother. We were just knuckleheads with archaic skills, but good records; records of all types. It was not unusual to hear the Slits back to back with Harry Belafonte, or George Jones followed by Motorhead, or U Roy. It was fun, cheap, and rowdy. And usually drunk. And not just me. 

I had scratched out the title of the record for a couple reasons, but neither were because the song was particularly rare. It wasn't all. In part, I did it as a sort of homage to the Jamaican sound systems of the early sixties, where the scratching out of titles was commonplace. I picked this particular record because it would baffle anyone who insisted they hear the record I had scrawled "secret weapon" on it. I only brought it with me a few times, but it always happened. This was before DJs became so precious that you couldn't browse through their crates. The more I insisted that I had to save it for later, the more the browser would insist that I play it. They were expecting the heaviest thing I might have. Instead they got the least heavy. But you know what? It is a damn good song, it's catchy, and it features a trumpet of all instruments. If you're of a certain age, even if your family didn't have a record player, if you heard any music at all, you likely heard this one. Which is another draw for me. I have very few memories from that early in my life, but this sucker is ingrained.



The song is "Java" by Al Hirt. Because I scratched out the title, I never knew the writer of the song. It never occurred to me to look into it, because it was Al Hirt. I mean, how square can it get? (Although, I doubt any of us could make Ann Margaret swoon as she does in the photo above, if that is indeed swooning). Earlier tonight, I saw it in post of songs written by Allen Toussaint, at Boogaloo Time. (Slap thyself.) Check the post, there's seven songs in all, if you include the passable "Southern Lights" by Glen Campbell. But there's the Yardbirds, Benny Spellman, Lee Dorsey and the stoney groove that is "Get Out of My Life Woman" by Grassella Oliphant. You really need to hear that one.

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Listen:
Al Hirt - Java mp3 at Boogaloo Time
Grassella Oliphant - Get Out My Life Woman mp3
at Boogaloo Time
Five more Toussaint songs
at Boogaloo Time
Bonus:
Al Hirt - Green Hornet Theme mp3 at  Todd Kolbuck

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WAIT FOR THE VOCALS TO COME IN

I could listen to this one all night. After a long repetitive intro, roughly thirty seconds, when the horns come in you're off, and then you realize that the intro isn't quite over yet. The horns drop out and then there's a few measures of a little bass and drum workout. When the horns come back in, you realize that the whole thing is one long repetitive jam. Both a song length intro and a Fela-type extended jam stuffed into two and a half minutes. There's something strangely addicting about it. I might just make a mix with this song about thirty times in a row. 

Here's two different rips of the same record. The Funky 19 Corners one is cleaner The one at The Devils Music is scratchy, with pops and other surface noise, you know, that jukebox wear. High bit rate noise. Yowza.

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Listen:
The Chevelles - The Gallop mp3 at Funky 16 Coners Go there to get it.
NOTE: Once you get to DivShare, click on the green "Download" button, and scratch your head for fifteen seconds while the timer counts down. When the button reappears, you're good to go.

Monday, March 24, 2014

WILD MAN

When the Ventures played in Japan in 1962, they probably never imagined what they would leave in their wake. Japanese kids went apeshit, ditching their formerly hip acoustic guitars in droves. Overnight there were all sorts of Ventures-like bands crawling out of the woodwork. And some of them were good, really good, particularly if you like your imitation Ventures a little over the top. Take a listen to a few of the Takeshi Terauchi cuts below. Clearly he can pick. After you hear a couple, you'll start to notice a bunch of other things. Things like the organ, which there is quite a bit of, really just an enjoyable diversion. There really isn't anything that can distract you from the fact that this guy loves his whammy bar. He also likes throwing an excited word in every now an then, often times a single "Yoo!!". I happen to like the beginning of "Caravan", an exchange that goes something like this: "Let's Go!" "Yeah, yeah, yeah!", "Heeyyyy" "Ya!!" Sparse as they are, I don't think you could possibly find more fitting lyrics.



To label Terauchi a Ventures imitator is selling him short. Sure, he's got some of that in there, but he's got Dick Dale and Chet Atkins in there too, whether he ever heard them or not. Phil Baugh or Jimmy Bryant? Hell, I'll throw in a Joe Maphis as long as I'm dredging my memory for hot shit pickers. He made not have ever heard any of them, but that'll give you an idea of what he sounds like. He's nuts. 



Beware of the Blog has posted quite a bit of his stuff over the past few years, but today I noticed one at Radio Diffusion International that I don't remember seeing, from the record awesomely titled Ultra Punch Deluxe. There's a few other Japanese eleki bands over there too. Though nowhere near as potent as Terauchi, they will give you an idea of why he stuck out like a sore thumb. Just plain nuts.

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Listen:
Takeshi Terauchi - Kanjinncyou mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Takeshi Terauchi - Genruko Hanami Odori mp3
at Beware of the Blog
Takeshi Teraushi - Sabre Dance mp3
at Beware of the Blog
Takeshi Terauchi - Caravan mp3
at Beware of the Blog

Takeshi Terauchi and the Bunnys - Flying Guitar mp3 at Radio Diffusion Intl
The Sharp Five - Golden Guitar mp3 at Radio Diffusion Intl
The Spacemen - Swim Swim Swim mp3 at Radio Diffusion Intl
The Spacemen - Che Che Che mp3 at Radio Diffusion Intl
Full LPs:
Takeshi Terauchi and the Bunnys - Let's Go Classics LP
(classical covers, 11 mp3s, right click song titles) at Beware of the Blog
Takeshi Terauchi and the Bunnys - This is Terauchi Bushi LP
(12 mp3s, right click song titles) at Beware of the Blog
Video:
Yuzo Kayama and Takeshi Terauchi with  the Launchers - Black Sand Beach at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban From the 1965 film, Eleki No Wakadaisho. Dig the drummer, it's that goofy Masanari Nihei from the Science Patrol in Ultraman!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

She was born in South Africa, she plays the Hammond organ, she looks like a square, and her cover of "Money" kicks royal ass.

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Listen:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

IS THAT ARAMIS?

The hippies that live in the complex behind mine are having a field day. I've been subjected to their awful sing-a-long beat on the drum renditions of what they think folk music is for the past several hours. Might be that Dev-whatever. (This guy. Is that not a hippie version of Fred Durst?) So that's the current breed of bonehead I have to contend with. While all their unshaven blissed out crap is going on, I'm undergoing treatment with an aural antidote. Imagining I am far, far away, in a dank club, wingtips on, pack of Pall Malls and a Hamms (from the land of sky blue water motherfucker), not even paying attention to all the jiggling up on the stage. I'm here because off-key hippies, particularly those who can't keep a beat, would never dare cross the threshold. (Just remember, from the land of sky blue water motherfucker.)

Sounds pretty mean spirited, huh? I exaggerate. Barking aside, these instrumentals, commonly referred to as one type of "shaker" or another, really are the antithesis of what I've been hearing.

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Listen:

Friday, March 21, 2014

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

Prelude to a wasted night? Or the return home after last call, with a bag of Roberto's? Post-sunburn barbeque on a warm summer evening, or driving slow down the avenue under the glare of periodic street lights? "Sweetback's Theme" works. A soundtrack to anything. Cleaning, making a mess, driving, dancing, getting chummy. It works for every soundtrack worthy scenario. It's a jam and a half.

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Listen:
Melvin Van Peebles - Sweetback's Theme mp3 at Oz Good It's actually a pre-fame Earth, Wind and Fire, and composed by Van Peebles

Thursday, March 20, 2014

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, AND BEEFHEART

Back in the eighties, I was gallivanting around Europe and one stop was in Oostende, Belgium, a small coastal town that was basically just a place to stop for a night before making the de rigueur trek to Amsterdam (weed and the Melkveg, yes, and on this trip, Nico and Gregory Corso at the Paradiso). After dumping my backpack in the room, I went to the hostel lounge to have some coffee. The TV in the lounge was showing some entertainment show and it was the first time I saw the Julio Inglesias and Willie Nelson duet, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before". Inglesias was wearing a tux, Nelson was in blue jeans, a Texas T-shirt, and his trademark braids and headband. There were two hostelers sitting near me and one of them muttered "and Americans wonder why the rest of the world thinks they're weird". That got me ten kinds of worked up, but I kept my trap shut. I didn't want my Willie defense to be mistaken for some sort of blanket patriotism. It was one of those "fuckin' idiots (mumble)" moments.

That was the flashback I had when I saw this clip of  Captain Beefheart from a German TV show. Set the wayback machine to 1972, you're in Germany, and you see this clip. Holy hell, what would you make of it? It's nuts. Imagine seeing it without being desensitized by the whole NY no wave thing, still several years away, or in the case of the latter half of the performance, the jerky blues dismantlers like Jon Spencer and his ilk. This is the missing link between Howlin' Wolf and the Contortions. Dude's channeling something.


Don't bother trying to counter with some Can video, or early Krafwerk. We know Germany had it's own oddballs. Oh god, do we know it. But Beefheart is closer to something, somehow more organic. He sounds like the inside of your body. At least he does in the Melkveg.

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Listen:
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Who Do You Think You're Fooling mp3 (via DivShare) at On the Flip-Side
Note: Once you get to DivShare, click on the green Download" button, and scratch your head for fifteen seconds. When the button reappears, you're good to go.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SLACK CUTTING SPECIAL

You know Little Richard, you know his rockin' sides and, if you've been hanging around here for any length of time, you know he's royalty in these parts. Absolutely, the shit. Because he recorded so much essential early rock 'n' roll, there is a tendency to overlook his later stuff. I'm guilty of that. Whenever I see anything that isn't on Specialty, I don't exactly recoil, but I don't go running either. I just don't cut him enough slack. The guy raised his bar, his rock 'n' roll bar, so high, that it's hard to listen to his other stuff objectively, particularly if you tilt toward wild stuff. 

But, damn, today I heard him doing a Don Covay song, "I Don't Know What You Got, But It's Got Me", that, if it was done by anybody else, would be seen as the great, great record that it is. I'm sure Covay's version kicks ass. But I gotta tell you, this Little Richard version, the raw production of it, and the spare instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums sax, and a little organ) and the pace just kinda sucks you in. Being Little Richard, he does of course insert some tomfoolery, in this case an extended melodramatic monologue, in which, in just over a minute, he manages to name-drop himself in the third person about a half dozen times. The guy just can't help himself. Even with that, if this song was by anybody else, the soul mob would be doing backflips. That the guitarist on it is a pre-fame Jimi Hendrix (1965) is icing on the cake. His work on this is just tasty enough, and remarkably restrained, particularly knowing what he was capable of.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Little Richard - I Don't Know What You Got, But It's Got Me mp3 (via DivShare) at On The Flip-Side
NOTE: Once you get to DivShare, click on the green "Download" button, and scratch your head for fifteen seconds while the timer counts down. When the button reappears, you're good to go. (From On The Flip-Sides post, click on the streaming thing where it says "share", a "download" button will appear. Click on that and it'll take you to the DivShare page.)
More Little Richard- If you need a rock 'n' roll chaser, scroll down to the older posts. A lot of the links are still good.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

NICEST HAIR: FOUR WAY TIE

What you have here is a band of Texas psych dudes deciding to cut costs on the band photo by going to a Sears photo studio. Just going on a hunch, my thinking is that they had to save the dough for their killer outfits. You gotta hand it to them, this promo photo worked. It made me want to hear them, though not necessarily for the intended reason. Regardless, it prompted one of those "I gotta hear what these guys sound like" click reflexes. I have to say, I was surprised. The host, Brobots, says it "may be the greatest, most perfectly realized rock and roll song of them all. I guess." While I beg to differ, it does sound pretty tough for this well groomed of a group, however fleeting that moment may have been. I'd like to thing that when they actually hit a stage, it was ramshackle, they smelled of sweat and smokes, and hadn't seen shampoo for a week.

Duly hard sounding through the intro, a little proto-stoner rock thing going on, until the vocals come in. Aw, crap. They're all "la, la, la" in contrast to the backing tracks. That's what bugs my about a lot of music that falls under the ever-widening (because it sells to hipsters) umbrella of "psych". I mean, look at the name of the song, "Hot Smoke and Sassafrass". Listen to the hippy dippy lyrics. Guys, just, just,..don't get heavy on us, bros. Get HEAVY on us! Sheesh! (Wait, what's this?! Where did this VO5 come from?!)

You probably want to know more about this band. Check out Brobots for that, and dig around over there. There's a lot of good stuff in the old posts. This one was posted in 2009.

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Listen: 

Monday, March 17, 2014

HEY ISAK, YOUR DAD'S COOL TOO

Well here we go, this'll go to show what a small world it is. A week or so ago, there was a comment left on the post about Moondog, from a guy in Norway who wanted to let me know that his twelve year-old son was looking over his shoulder while he was checking that post out, and ended up giving a presentation about Moondog to his English class. Oh, to be a fly on the classroom wall during that, right? I'm not lying when I say that it made my week just thinking about it.

Yesterday, the same guy, whom I now know as Espen Egeland, left a comment on an old Gravedigger V post, mentioning that his band had opened for them a while back. Gravedigger V is a garage band I'm very familiar with, having seen them on a regular basis back in the eighties, when they were part of the San Diego garage scene that also spawned the Tell-Tale Hearts. So, I thought, what the hell, let's dig a little deeper. I go to his band's Facebook page and before I even check out what they sound like I see a post about a recent issue of Ugly Things, a magazine put out by Mike Stax, a guy who I've known for roughly...let's just say decades. So, things are all in place for me to check out his band. Guess what? They rip.



I love it when this sort of stuff happens. Because this twelve year-old from Norway, whom I now know as Isak, took the initiative to do a report on Moondog, his classmates were turned onto Moondog, and I was serendipitously turned me on to his dad's band.

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Watch:
The Better Men Than You - Action Woman at YouTube
The Better Men Than You - My Brother, The Man at YouTube
Visit:
The Better Men Than You at Facebook

Sunday, March 16, 2014

MARK E. SMITH DOES WANDA

Do you have fancy cable? I don't. So I don't have the Smithsonian Channel. I thought I'd check their site to see if they have streaming stuff, and guess what? Not only do they have some of their shows online, but the first one that I saw right on the homepage was an hour documentary on Wanda Jackson. That, along with of a few of her songs would have just about wrapped things up, but guess what (again)? I ran into a boss cover of "Funnel of Love" by the Fall. Boo-hoo purists, I dig it.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~ 
Listen:
Wanda Jackson - Fujiyama Mama mp3 at Log-Line
Wanda Jackson - Let's Have A Party mp3
at Fonsl's Velt
Wanda Jackson - Whirlpool mp3
at Beware of the Blog
Wanda Jackson - Savin' My Love mp3
at Bousculadet
Wanda Jackson - Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On mp3
at Rocky-52.net
Wanda Jackson - Yakety Yak mp3
at Rocky-52.net

Wanda Jackson - This Gun Don't Care mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Wanda Jackson - Shakin' All Over mp3 at Dr. Mooney's 115th Dream
Wanda Jackson - Five more songs at Mustard Relics Including a later version of "Funnel of Love" with Lux and Ivy
Cover:
The Fall - Funnel of Love mp3 at Randomville
Watch:
The Sweet Lady With the Nasty Voice at The Smithsonian Channel Hour long documentary
Visit:
Wanda Jackson at Rockabilly Hall of Fame
Wanda Jackson at Wikipedia

Saturday, March 15, 2014

OH, WHAT THE HELL

You know, you make mixes of random music, right? Maybe you at least occasionally set your listening gizmo on shuffle? Hopefully you get what I mean when I say that even music of different genres can be lumped together in a mix that creates a certain feel. Maybe not. Regardless, I heard a song at Diddy Wah that just slayed me and sent me digging. "Arabian Blues" by Jimmy Beck and his Orchestra isn't blues really at all. It's as exotic as the name sounds, but not entirely in an Arabian sort of way (as if I know what Arabian blues would sound like). It's hard to describe, but the sax in it is what kills me. I'm sure it has something to do with the scale it's playing, or some other musician mumbo jumbo, but I dig it and I don't really care why. Mix meat it was, and off I was, trying to find suitable music to sandwich it between.



"Arabian Blues" reminded me of Mulatu Astatke, aka the big shot of Ethio-jazz, for whatever the reason, again, maybe just the feel. So a couple of his songs were thrown in for good measure. Then there was Brazil's Os Incrivels' "Nao Resta Nem Ilusao" which, when I first heard it about a year ago, also reminded me of Astatke. That was a good start. Alas, the next selections may have to wait. A Haitian mix posted by Sofrito isn't downloadable, but completely awesome nonetheless, and that type of stuff would totally fit. Good enough that I'm taking a gamble and ordering Haiti Direct, a recent compilation from Strut that, if it isn't the same music that's in the Sofrito mix, is different enough (judging by the samples at Strut) to grab my attention. Stop the presses: I'm buying something.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Jimmy Beck and his Orchestra - Arabian Blues mp3 at Diddy Wah
Mulatu Astatke - Yekermo Sew mp3 at Oh Color Me In
Mulatu Astatke - Yegelle Tezeta mp3 at Antinomian
Os Incriveis – Nao Resta Nem Ilusao at Melting Pot
Haiti Direct Selection - 44 minute mix (streaming) at Sofrito

Friday, March 14, 2014

WHO KNEW?

Jerry Reed isn't a name that you'd normally associate with rockabilly. Plenty of country artists had rockabilly phases early in their career, and he did do "Amos Moses," a great swamp rock song with some fine chicken pickin'. But he followed that up with roles in crappy movie after crappy movie, including co-starring roles in not one, but three, count 'em three, Smokey and the Bandit movies. Yee gawd. That may be the reason it never occurred to me to look at his early career. But rock he did, at least on one record.  

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Jerry Reed - When I Found You mp3 at ATumblr (?)
Jerry Reed - Amos Moses mp3
at The Walrus

Thursday, March 13, 2014

WORKAHOLIC

Just a quick one here. I heard Willie Dixon's "29 Ways" on a Chess Records blues compilation today (bought used, as a stray from a broken up boxed set, thank you very much) and, to be honest, Chess was so deep in classic Chicago blues that I'm not going to even step near that rabbit hole. But Dixon was special, you name 'em, he worked with 'em: Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Otis Rush, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Joe Louis Walker, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Koko Taylor, Little Milton, Lowell Fulson, Memphis Slim, Washboard Sam, Jimmy Rogers, and many, many more. He was a singer, songwriter, arragnger, producer, and session player who was one of the most prolific blues musicians of his era. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to name a more prolific blues man in any era. I had to share "29 Days" because I dig the drums and the pace of it, and just for good measure, there's "Insane Asylum", a duet with Koko Taylor, because, despite hearing it a thousand times, I still get goosebumps when Taylor comes it.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Willie Dixon - 29 Ways mp3 at Drew's Blues
Wille Dixon and Koko Taylor - Insane Asylum mp3 at Beware of the Blog
A few covers:
Howlin' Wolf - Wang Dang Doodle mp3 at Burning Hand
Koko Taylor - Wang Dang Doodle mp3 at Clumsy & Shy
Etta James - I Just Want to Make Love to You mp3 at 8106
Muddy Waters - You Shook Me mp3 at Harmony Talk

Visit:
Willie Dixon at Wikipedia
Big high resolution version of above photo

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WHAT IS "SOUL FINGER"?

You've heard it a thousand times but, man, does it get ever get old? From the horns introducing the mighty crack of the drums, "Soul Finger" is a just a full on two and a half minute party. I love how the drummer is just pounding the living shit out of his kit. Released the same year, 1967, "Knucklehead" is entirely different. It starts out sounding like the intro of Stevie Wonder's "Uptight", and then out of nowhere this blues harp comes in. It's already getting fucked up. Pretty soon you're just chooglin' through guitar parts, drum breaks and assorted instrumental weirdness. If it seems odd hearing those two compared to the later decidedly funky stuff it's because four of the original Bar Kays died in the same plane crash that killed Otis Redding, in December 1967 (including kit basher of the day Carl Cunningham). After that, it was essentially a new group. That version of the band was completely different, wah-wah happy, but still righteously funky, backing a number of artists on Stax, including Isaac Hayes on his Hot Buttered Soul.


If you dig the Bar Kays, or just cool band photos in general, check the giant high resolution version of the above photo here.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
The Bar Kays - Soul Finger mp3 at LZ Center 1967
The Bar Kays - Knucklehead mp3 at Junk Shop Juke Box 1967
The Bar Kays - Son of Shaft mp3 at Beware of the Blog 1972
Isaac Hayes - Walk On By mp3 at Louder Softer 1969
Visit:
The Bar Kays at Wikipedia

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TOTALLY VISCERAL

You know how it is (or was). If you scour thrift stores, garage sales, 99 cent bins, and record swaps long enough, you develop an obsession with certain labels. Particularly labels with a high keeper quotient. You get a glimpse of a yellow gold label with rays emanating from the center? "Sun!" Snapping finger on a yellow background?, "Stax!", light blue with a stack of records? "Early Stax!" Blue with silver? "Chess!" And so on. Obviously, it's not nearly as fruitful these days, digging through picked over stacks, with everybody and their mothers selling them on the secondary market. No one keeps anything, The prices are driven up to the point that no average Joe can afford a decent collection. It's that flipper disease, just like house flippers. Who cares if it kills the little guy's chance to buy a home (or a record), it's everyman for themselves.



Anyway, back to these 45 labels. Despite the fact that I rarely see the physical vintage product, outside of the few that I have, I still have that same reaction. One of the biggees for me is seeing the unmistakeable yellow, black and white logo with the classic hand lettered "Specialty" across the top. That's one of the handful of labels that's never let me down. So when I saw it splashed across On The Record's recent post, it had me going on a Specialty binge.


Here's some top shelf Specialty sides. You may also want to check out the all-Specialty mix from Diddy Wah, (streaming or download). To the cooler than ice twelve year old Norwegian kid who just presented their Power Point take on Moondog to the English class today (read the first comment below this post), you are cooler than ice, as I said. Being so, you may one day wish to read this lengthy piece on Specialty Records. By all means, stay away from that death metal stuff.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Don & Dewey - Justine mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Don & Dewey - Farmer John mp3 at Rock Town Hall
Larry Williams - Slow Down mp3
at Mercury Paradise

Larry Williams - She Said Yeah mp3 at Beware of the Blog 
Larry Williams - Dizzy Miss Lizzie mp3 at Joe Troiano's Blog 
Little Richard - Keep A Knockin' mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Little Richard - Rip It Up (Rehearsal Take 14) mp3 at Electric Adolescence
Lloyd Price - Lawdy Miss Clawdy mp3 at Jordan Hatch
Ben Hughes - Sack mp3 (via DivShare) at On the Record
The mix:
Specialty Records Radio Show Special at Diddy Wah Streaming and download. About SoundCloud: If the embedded streaming widget has a visible downward pointing arrow on the right side of the bar (in this case it does) downloading is enabled. Click on the arrow.
Read:
Art Rupe's Specialty Records at History of Rock
Specialty Records at Wikipedia

Monday, March 10, 2014

FLAMIN' GROOVIES (SLIGHT RETURN)

Did you know the Flamin' Groovies got back together? What's that? C'mon, you should know the Flamin' Groovies. They're not like some super obscure hipster-cited cult band. They're a damn rock 'n' roll band, one of very few that made it through the late sixties San Francisco unscathed by tie-dye and other such hippie nonsense. They started in '65, releasing their first record, a 10", themselves, and just kept plugging away for the next fifteen years in relative obscurity. (Some of you older slugs may remember how plentiful Teenage Head and Flamingo were in the cut-out bins.) Some people will tell you that they were the American version of the Stones. If having a reverence for early rock 'n' roll and the chops to carry the torch, without watering it down or succumbing to popular taste, particularly when it was detrimental to your own success, means you're the American Stones, they might be right. In fact, the Groovies may have actually been more true to their cool than the Stones. To wit, there was no disco leaning drivel like "Miss You". There was "Shake Some Action". If recording a power pop classic is as far as they ventured from their earlier raunch, hell, I'll take it.



There's a documentary currently in the works about their history and the reunion. (See the trailer here.) Whether or not the reunited Groovies perform well enough to garner their long overdue fifteen minutes, I'm just happy they're back together. Shit, it's nice just to see Cyril Jordan talking, still believing.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Flamin' Groovies - Teenage Head mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Flamin' Groovies - Whiskey Woman mp3 at DJNoDJ
The Flamin' Groovies - Have You Seen My Baby mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu
The Flamin Groovies - Shake Some Action mp3 (non-LP version) at Beware of the Blog 
The New one:
The Flamin' Groovies - End of the World (streaming) at SoundCloud. Personally, I'd dial down whatever it is that gives that "Don't Fear The Reaper" sound. What is that? A flanger?
Visit:
The Incredible Flamin' Groovies at KickStarter Trailer and bio.
The Flamin' Groovies at Wikipedia

Saturday, March 8, 2014

LESS THE DINING

Thank the Electric Flag's butchering of Stick McGhee's "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee". It's from a clip of bonus Monterey Pop Festival footage that didn't make it into the film. ( The whole thing is here. Click on "show more" to see the band and song listings.) To be fair, I'm sure if you were there at Monterey, it might have been a hoot, particularly because there's a good chance most of the people didn't know McGhee's version, never mind the fact that hardly anyone in 1967 was really all the into hearing old rhythm and blues. Plus a good percentage of them were likely stoned out of their hippy skulls. Regardless, it just made me want to here Stick McGhee's version. Beware of the Blog has the earlier, pre-Atlantic version. It's all scratchy, perfectly beat, with brother Brownie McGhee on guitar.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Stick McGhee and His Buddies - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee mp3 at Beware of the Blog A pre-Atlanic version, 1947
Stick McGhee - Drank Up All the Wine Last Night mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Video:
The Electric Flag - Wine at YouTube Monterey Pop Festival 1967
Monterey Pop Festival - Bonus footage at YouTube Over two hours of performances that weren't in the original version. Click on "show more" to see the band and song listings
Visit:
Sticks McGhee at Wikipedia
Sticks McGhee Bio by a fan Better than Wiki

Friday, March 7, 2014

ARE WE EARLY? OR LATE?

Well this certainly adds to the late sixties psychedelic soul clusterfuck. Fuji, whose real name was Ellington Jordan, was the guy who wrote "I'd Rather Go Blind", a hit for Etta James (right after being released from jail, so the story goes). He was pals with the Temptations' Eddie Kendricks, who introduced him to a band called Black Merda. Together, Fuji and Black Merda recorded an album that wasn't heavily promoted, and went nowhere. Everyone who writes about it online seems to revere like it's some sort of psychedelic soul godhead. I've only heard a portion of it, and a handful of Black Merda's things without Fugi, so I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's overrated, or that a lack of promotion didn't sink it. But, I'll tell you what, it made me want to lose myself in some psychedelic soul stuff from the A-listers. The Temptations cuts below were produced by Norman Whitfield, with guitar by Dennis Coffey. That's a killer combination right there. Hard to beat. Chess/Cadet, the label that released the Fugi LP, were probably throwing up there hands. "Aw fuck. We can't compete with that."

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Fugi - Mary, Don’t You Take Me On No Bad Trip mp3 at Brobots
Black Merda - Ashamed mp3 at ATumblr (?)
Black Merda - Long Burn the Fire mp3 at Hard Raw Deep Funk
The Tempations - Ball of Confusion mp3 at LZ Center
The Temptations - Papa Was a Rolling Stone mp3 at Radio George
Dennis Coffey - Scorpio mp3 at EricMGrant.EJFlavors 
Full LPs:
Black Merda - Three full albums (via Diveshare) at Hard Raw Deep Funk
The Temptations - Cloud Nine (streaming) at YouTube Put this one on, turn it up, and go about your business for 35 minutes. It's perfect for that.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SSSSSS!!!

The Mystery Suggester posted this on Facebook about a week ago, and I've listened to it about eighty times since. And it'll probably be another eighty listens before anything close to a normal attention span returns. I keep going back to it. Listen to it. If the intro doesn't grab your you know what, if the horns don't do it, or the "sssss" enunciation, or the building of the song in its entirety; if none of that moves you, just go on and git. Get on out of here. At least for the next eighty spins or so.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Al Wilson - The Snake mp3 at Margauxville
Al Wilson - Show and Tell mp3 at Margauxville For Lady Spinsta