Friday, June 27, 2008

'Weird' in all the right ways.

All Politik aside, lets get down to brass tacks...

This record rules, not that you would know it from its modest label. Besides being cut in Arizona (all that heat must have warped their little minds), I know nothing about this fuzzy beast. I'd place it around 67' or 68', but even that is a wild stab in the vitals. The flip is a real cool textured psych love nod (thought I wish they had kicked the Wah peddle into the mix a little more). Certainly no sloucher, give 'Clease" a chance!

The Weird One - Clease

Naturally - Clease

I Kidd Because I Love...

Q: What do you get when you stomp sour grapes?

A: Bitter whine.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Invictus!!! -a -um adj unconquered; undefeated; invincible.

Today the United States Supreme Court has ruled the following:

"The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."

That's right. No more arguing about syntax or comma use; no more ruminating on what the framers of the Bill of Rights "might have meant", or "seemed to insinuate". This, my friends, is a papal bull, and it says that the government has finally conceded to recognize what providence had written in the stars long ago.

I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of Circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The One That Got Away...Almost.

Enclosed is a tale of hubris...

I've seen a lot of big ticket items fall under the gavel in the years (some would say 'misspent') that I've been actively pursuing records. For some, it's undeniably a status thing (You might as well admit it), and for others it is a strange need to hold a tangible link to a past so appealing when out of context from the present. And while all of us have been guilty at one time or another of paying exorbitant amounts of money just for a twin spin and a little tickle of the psyche, I think all of us have our limits. I know I have mine. It's funny now to think just how my own limits have changed over the years. Case in point...

Back when US1 flea market (R.I.P. 1995) still flew the stars and bars, one could bounce between it and the smaller, but equally seedy Route 18 flea market (still standing) and come off the trip w/ a noteworthy haul.

One particular outing found me face to face w/ the bane of the Flea market going experience, namely that one black dude w/ the handlebar mustache, seated between the ninja weapon stand and the eastern meat-patty kiosk, who thought everything he was selling was a Maltese Pigeon. I'll never forget, he had an uncharacteristic New England cadence that reminded me of Grady from 'Sanford and Son'. It was this deep seated animosity of previous dealings, and his general rudeness, which caused me to balk at the $5 price tag of this particular Lightnin' Hopkins side which sat in a pile of otherwise useless singles (Perhaps the one valuable thing in the entire poke).

I mean, I dig the blues and all, but $5 for a side that should only cost a quarter!!! Highway fuckin robbery!!!

Needless to say, I left that platter sitting there on the table with my dignity firmly intact. Dignity, however, can be a spiteful thing, so much so that I spent the next five days (Route 18 Flea market is only open on weekends) in nervous agitation, mulling over the one that got away...almost.

Surely a weeks passing would see that little slice of lightning plucked by one of those pushy, sweaty record creeps we all hate, only to be slammed in plastic and spun nary a once, but as this post suggests, that was not the case. I returned next Saturday to that single sitting there just as red and shinny as I had left it.

Five 'over inflated' bucks later (not to mention a prodigious helping of humble pie and crow stew), and I could finally afford myself some peace, hard won thought it may have been (You'd be surprised how well a good blues record takes the sting out of the day's milieu).

"Lawd, I was in bad shape the day that girl left and called me a ape"

Best five bucks I ever spent. I only wish five bucks would go so far nowadays. Thanks Grady. You're still a dick.

Down to the River - Lightnin' Hopkins

Gone Again - Lightnin' Hopkins

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Simple Minded Harlequin

I have to admit, I'm kinda on the fence about this one.

On one hand, its has a certain charm in its willful irreverence and general whimsical tone. One the other hand, any intimacy and somber quality that might be expected from a folk / psych album is somewhat rudely disrupted by singer Elyse Weinberg, who sounds a lot like Gilda Radner doing her best weekend update

I understand that some people who marvel at ineptitude might take that as a ringing endorsement (Myself Included), but all quaintness aside, sometimes this chick is just downright unpalpable. She does have her moments though.

"Born and raised in Canada, Weinberg emerged from the same mid-'60s Toronto folk scene that launched the careers of Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell. And like some of her famous colleagues, she found herself in Los Angeles, although initially just to visit Young. Then she ended up staying a while with another acquaintance, Mama Cass Elliott of the Mamas & Papas. W

The recording of "Elyse" was, she {weinberg} says, "over the top," with "no one producing anything. It reflected the times." Indeed, a listen today reveals a certain inspired insanity that is partly accountable for such a superb, occasionally stunning LP, an attention-grabbing mixture of death-fixated medieval folk, imaginative pop arrangements and very 60's psychedelic rock. Weinberg and her session band, an L.A. group called Touch, sound as alluringly sloppy as Janis Joplin's Big Brother & the Holding Company on some tracks, then follow those up with meticulously arranged, affecting love songs. Lyrically, it's a timely record, as the gallows humor and mortality obsessions seem perfectly suited to the ugliness that pervaded American society as the Sixties drew to a close. You can practically smell the dreadful anticipation of Tate-LaBianca and Altamont in the song's less-than-rosy scenarios.

"Elyse" sold fairly well upon its release, reaching #31 on the Billboard album chart. Tetragrammaton performed its publicity duties, taking out full-page ads in Billboard and other publications. Harlan Ellison wrote about her in his column for the alternative paper the L.A. Weekly, and Newsweek featured her alongside Mitchell and Laura Nyro in a profile on the emergence of solo female songwriters, a rarity up until that point, Odetta and Joan Baez notwithstanding. She played big L.A. clubs such as the Troubadour and did her stints on the festival circuit. Weinberg even played Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show," which, considering her wild-haired appearance and intense music, must have been quite a trip for last-night TV America".

It’s hard to choose a track or two that is indicative of the album, as the record is all over the Middle-Earth map. I have attempted to approximate the Elyse experience with a trifecta of sounds, namely Psych, Country and Heavy.

Maybe this will finally satisfy my own Midieval mind about Mrs. Weinberg (I'm currently on the 'Yay' side of the 'Neigh').

If Death Don't Overtake Me - Elyse Weinberg

Iron Works for Rent She Cried - Elyse Weinberg

Mortuary Bound - Elyse Weinberg

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Any Friend of Lucifer's is a Friend, Etc, Etc...

Grabbed this off the wall at a local record saloon on the strength of their first LP (self titled 1970). While just as heavy as it's predecessor, 1975's 'Blues' has a decidedly more prog vibe going on, especially an overindulgence of piano (Think Vladimir Horowitz) and strings (a seduction plaguing many a sophomore offering). While certainly a turn-off for most (myself included), 'Friend' uses such production to good effect, especially when coupled w/ an arsenal of minor discordant changes and the occasional falsetto vocal (a good five years before fashion dictated it, I might add)

"German group Lucifer’s Friend has its roots in one German and one English band. Peter Hecht (keyboards), Dieter Horns (bass and backing vocals), Peter Hesslein (guitar and backing vocals) and Joachim Reitenbach (drums) played until early 1970 together in a band called "German Bonds". In November 1970, the four of them started recording, it was after the recording of the backing tracks that John Lawton came in. He played with his own group "Stonewall" in the Top Ten Club in Hamburg. He recorded the lead vocals and in January 1971 they released their first album. John had previously released an album in 1970 on the German Decca label called Asterix with the members of German Bonds. It is also a fact that the members of "Lucifer’s Friend" recorded two other albums under the name of "Pink Mice" on the German budget label Europa. The band played classical themes on these albums in the style of the Dutch band "Ekseption". John Lawton was on these albums but was limited to backing vocals. It is also common knowledge that Hesslein and Hecht also worked for years with "The James Last Orchestra" and that John Lawton sang with "The Les Humphries Singers" when he was not recording with Lucifer’s Friend."

Here are two distinct offerings (one decidedly more theatrical than its Heavy counterpoint) from the hatchery that would one day loose 'Uriah Heep' on the head-cans of unsuspecting burn-outs.

Disclaimer: Those of you expecting to hear Glen Danzig on the enclosed track 'Mother' will be thoroughly disappointed, if not pleasantly surprised, but if you still need your fix, by all means...

Mother - Lucifer's Friend

Hobo - Lucifer's Friend

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ain't Much More Soul to Get Round' To

Let me start by stating the obvious, this cover is terrible. Seriously. Short of that, this post might seem somewhat uncharacteristic of one who splatter dashes his works w/ the brains of base and tuneless troubadours - but there is a lot to be said for meticulous musicianship, that, and sentimentality. And so I am a RedBoy for all seasons (Shhh. Don't tell a soul).

Much like Pete Best, I can't imagine being famous for little more than the sum of missed opportunities (Fuck the Beatles anywhoo). Terry Reid, having famously turned down Led Zeppelin’s overture to pursue his own solo career, tends to fall in the same general category, though unlike Mr. Best, who assuaged his 'Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda' by signing autographs at boat shows for 20 beans a flourish, Terry Reid actually made records - pretty fuckin' good records (Take that Mr. Robert "I wrote 'When the Levy Breaks" Plant).

1977's 'Seed of Memory' is a much more subdued affair than previous outings (Bang, Bang You're Terry Reid (1968), Terry Reid (1969), River (1973) and there is a decidedly modern (for it's time) country feel to an already AM friendly assortment of acoustic-based material. And while the title track, 'Seed of Memory' has made the rounds pretty mightily, receiving a much deserved shot in the arm by way of it's inclusion in the 'Devil's Rejects' soundtrack (Apparently 'Free Bird' didn't conjure enough pathos), I think my favorite cut would have to be 'Brave Awakening'.

It brings to mind Merle Travis' 'Dark as A Dungeon' - fashioned from the bones of some lazy Sunday, a vein of regret running just underneath.

It may not be 'Cashmere', but I never did have any use for such fine things.

Brave Awakening - Terry Reid

Note: I hope you Laddies appreciate this post, as I have inadvertently scratched the holy living shit outta this LP while burning it. Oh well. What's a little sacrifice among friends?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

You Look Tense...

Here is another word-less wonder, this time from Heron, South Dakota. These kids got Mid West written all over them, even going so far as to hang this tune on the Bangar brand, a division of Garrett records and home of the illustrious Trashmen (undoubtedly an influence). As can be inferred from the title, Mr. Bee means business (They spell cats w/ a 'K' for Khrist's sake - animals!!!)

Straight outta 62', you can cut the Tension w/ a knife.

Tension - Jay Bee & the Kats

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Look At Me Man...I'm Hangin' Five!!!

I've been in an instro state of mind for a fortnight, but alas, Mr. Devil has beat me to the punch (Kudos)

It's a shame that more people don't dig Surf (and instrumental music in general). I think it might be an attention-span thing (Like, no lyrics man?!?!). Either that, or the trappings are just too hoaky for the average fashion-bug. Most people forget that practically every progressive band of particular note cut their teeth on this shit. It is the bedrock upon which all guitar masturbation and heavy-metal dickery is founded.

Like a million bands of their ilk, I can one can only ever give you a time and a place - Newton Massachusetts, 1963. Under cut that with the fact that this is the Reveliers only release, and it may seem like the typical flash in the pan scenario. Be that as it may, I challenge you to spin these two tunes without seemingly smelling the salt air, and smiling at the thought of a boundless ocean...even if that ocean is on the East coast and indeed has garbage floating in it.

Hanging Five - the Reveliers

Patch - The Reveliers