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Monday, August 22, 2016

There To Stare

                                                    Listen or download HERE

Monday, August 15, 2016

Learn Schmearn

 Okay, nothing about my stupid vinyl fetish (Hey, that makes it sound way more interesting than combing the Goodwill for a copy of Kinda Kinks dunnit?) EXCEPT to say I found a very clean copy of Keef's Talk Is Cheap for $2.50. I LOVE this record. LOVE IT!! When I first heard "Take It So Hard" I came very close indeed to shitting my damn pants! HUGE influence on the Liquor Cabinet and yeah, he does the JB rip-off, and the Al Green rip-off, and the Elvis rip-off---But they ABSOLUTELY work for me on every level and I won't listen to any nay-saying or party-pooping on the subject .NYET! Nip it in the bud! End O' discussion!

 Next up? I show you, the semi-loyal blog reader, how I'm looking out for your interests even when they conflict with my own!!

 I was rather nonplussed when my freebie file host Mediafire dropped their nifty media player feature where when you clicked on my link you could preview the tune. Once they dropped it y'all where forced to download the file of my little audio rat-droppings to listen to the damn thing and that just ain't rat---err, right. Right? Anyway, after trying a couple of embedded players that just didn't jibe with the ol' blogamadoodle's html nonsense, I've found a site where I can load my crap and you can listen to the damn thing without having to download it. Now mind ye. you can still download it but you don't have to. Isn't that just the most FANTASTIC thing you ever heard in your life??!! UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE!! SEND ME MONEY AND JEWELRY!!!!!!!

Ahem---go HERE to give 'er a try---

Monday, August 8, 2016

Lots O' My Wax And One O' My Trax

 Yes Virginia, I have a cheap vinyl problem---I just can't stop looking for and buying the stuff! If I see a thrift shop I just have look to to see what they've got. Here's a few recent finds: The Kinks-Soap Opera---I worship the Davies bros. & company and will shell out at least a buck for anything they've produced. That said, no one went further down the concept record wormhole to their artistic detriment than brother Ray. I suppose I like this better than Preservation Act II  but needless to say there are no "Waterloo Sunset"s on this thing. Piano Music of Erik Satie Vol. I-Aldo Ciccolina---I like this a lot. Look up Satie if you get a chance, he's a very interesting, eccentric character and his music reflects it. The Crusaders-Scratch---Smooth, mostly instrumental funky jazz. Not particularly in my wheelhouse but I sort of enjoyed their version of "Elenore Rigby". Smooth jazzy guitarist Larry Carlton guests and fits right in.  Johnnie Taylor-Best Of---I was familiar with "Who's Making Love" and his later disco hit "Disco Lady" but was otherwise unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor. This is a solid collection of his work on the Stax label and I will doubtlessly spin this many times. Feargal Sharkey-Wish --- I have dug The Undertones since I first heard "Teenage Kicks" when it was current, and when I recently discovered their "Positive Touch" album I thought it was a fantastic record, sort of their "Rubber Soul". So when I found this record by their lead singer Feargal Sharkey I snapped it up to see what Feargal could manage without the 'Tones. It should be noted that Feargal is an interesting singer with a hyper vibrato thing going on that one either appreciates or simply can't abide. Unfortunately, even for those of us that dig Feargal's skills Wish has very little to recommend it. Cloying 80's production and banal songs leave very little fo the Shark to work with. David Bromberg-Wanted Dead or Alive---Speaking of polarizing singers, luthier, super picker, and onetime Dylan sideman David Bromberg has one of those voices that  some folks find irritating. Luckily I'm cool with it so it doesn't get the way of my enjoying his instrumental prowess (especially on acoustic instruments) and his witty songwriting. I owned this in high school and particularly loved "The New Lee Highway Blues" and am happy to report that I still do. Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Keith Godchaux appear  but don't really effect the proceedings one way or the other. Leo Kottke- Dreams and All That Stuff--- For my money Leo is one of the most distinctive players to ever pick up an acoustic guitar and his 12 string work is just exceptional in every way. I can't imagine he ever made a record I couldn't appreciate on some level and that certainly holds true for this fine little collection. Bonus: the surrealistic, Pink Floydian cover art is fab. Harvey Mandel-Righteous---Call me crazy but this is the kind of record I love stumbling upon. I know Harv from his audition tune on the Stones Black and Blue and his stint with John Mayall but this record is far more eclectic than I would have imagined. The least interesting song here is in the 60's Blues Rock vein, which is what I thought the majority of the record would be devoted to, but I was pleasantly surprised to find an odd, mostly instrumental record with jazzy and psychedelic touches that put his guitar work in an appealing light. Nice.

 And, of course, I never let someone stumble into the mysterious basement without foisting some of my own original clap trap on them---so HERE ya' go---

Monday, August 1, 2016

My Brains Are Running Out Of My Nose

  I know this dates my flabby ass, but getting back into vinyl has really changed the way I feel about music. Over the years I had grown increasingly crabby about the whole thing quite honestly, and had become insufferably snobby about what I would deem worthy of my precious "ear time".  Sadly this is a natural and somewhat necessary progression for a serious "music person" to make---since there are far more records than anyone could possibly listen to in a lifetime one has to develop certain criteria to weed some of them out. The problem is (at least for me) your criteria tends to get narrower and narrower. I found myself hating almost everything. And of course there's the "cool" factor. I hated some stuff just because the band had bad haircuts or had violated some other fashion crime. Now don't get me wrong---the critic's darling stuff has endured for a reason and I will never dig the Guess Who more than the Who. But I can still be entertained by Burton Cummings and Randy Bachmann and I don't have to despise and mock them just because they aren't anywhere near as talented and interesting as Pete Townsend. Hell, during my punk/new wave infatuation I dismissed whole genres like disco and metal and would never even consider adding anything from those "commercial" styles to my collection (even though stuff I loved like Ian Dury and the Damned drew heavily from those sources). Another problem is the whole idea that music needs to constantly move forward and "break new ground". Now on the face of it, that's a very reasonable and healthy expectation to have. My first attempts to absorb and comprehend Trout Mask Replica and White Light/White Heat were exciting experiences that made major adjustments to my "criteria". Unfortunately I found that expecting those kind of discoveries to present themselves on a regular basis was just not realistic and could lead to a crankiness and general dissatisfaction. My problem was adopting the mindset that once I "got" Eric Dolphy I had to be bored with Louis Armstrong, y'know?

  Now I understand that some of you never had this problem and you were able to appreciate XTC or the Swans or whatever without having to sell your Boston records---but some of you know of what I speak, right?

 So where the hell am i going with this? I'm not really sure but I wanted to relate a couple of incidents that helped me realize I had gotten off track somewhere. The first was an article I ran across about the owner of a prominent indie label of the 80's-90's (Homstead maybe?) and the interviewer was asking about his current musical proclivities. He went on to sort of dismiss all these great bands he had worked with as fine in their day but nothing he could listen to now. When asked about what he did find worth listening to he started raving about some deal that was something along the lines of a collaboration between a teen-aged Korean girl with brain damage and a paroled murderer that did the basic tracks using power tools and auto parts. This gave me pause. The other thing that sort of got me to thinking was a musician I worked with---a very good musician---who basically hated all music. Anyone you mentioned aside from a few of his Holy Grails was total shit. It made me wonder, "Geez, is this where I'm heading?"

 Well, the answer for me was cheap vinyl (actually it's probably cheaper to go the CD route---I just prefer the vinyl approach because that's what I grew up with and I can sit through an LP side of almost anything---almost.) because I will give anything a shot and I've sort of trained myself to try and see what the artist is trying to put across rather than putting the burden on them to knock my socks off. You may argue that I'm just lowering my standards and abdicating my responsibilities to further develop a discriminating sense of taste and I suppose you would be right. All I can say is just 'cause you love the Stooges don't mean you can't get a kick out of a Robert Palmer record---

 Now that was a waste of your time but it leads me (finally!) to this weeks cheap vinyl find.
As I've said in past posts, I'm a late-comer to jazz and tend to prefer the bebop-and-later stuff. The exception for me  is Louis Armstrong who is my door into the early New Orleans stuff. I found this Earl Humphrey and his Footwarmers disc in absolute mint condition in a thrift shop for my favorite price---one yankee dollar---and to say I enjoy it is an understatement. Practically every song on this record has a title that ends in "blues" but the joy and enthusiasm that these musicians exude is anything but depressing. Say what you will about the human race but the warmth and humanity of stuff like this
would give even the most diabolical evil genuis second thoughts about destroying the world. Maybe.

 After that longwinded post I bet you thought you were gonna' get out of here without exposure to one of my tedious original songs didn't ya? No such luck, Buck---Drunk Girls Don't Cry (For A Reason)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Assorted Bologna

  Took a short trip over to the junk shops in nearby Statham, Ga. and almost made it without spending a nickel on my cheap vinyl jones, but---at the last stop I found a copy of LuLu's New Routes LP. LuLu will always be known for her emotionally charged teen anthem"To Sir With Love" but in 1970 this little Scottish fireball made a record in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The reason I decided to pick it up is because I spied the track "Dirty Old Man" which I recalled from one of the Duane Allman Anthology LPs I had as a teenybopper---When I checked out the credits, sure enough--- the players include Duane Allman, Eddie Hinton, Jimmy Johnson, Cornell Dupree, Barry Beckett, David Hood, & Roger Hawkins. The heavy hitters continue with the production team of Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, and Arif Mardin. Wow! Another point of interest is the first two tracks were written by various Bee Gees, either collectively or individually---this due to the fact that she was married to Maurice Gibb at the time. Sooooo, "Very interesting Jackal Boy," you're saying, "but is it any good?" Well, after an initial spin, I have to say I dug it just fine. Lulu has plenty of spunk and vocal chops, the players are top notch---the material could be stronger I guess but there's nothing too schmaltzy here---definitely worth a listen. I plan to spin it a few more times for sure.

  Also, I've been working on a bunch of my own junk deep within the depths of the mysterious basement---got about 30 tunes in various stages of completion. I have vague plans to record some of these in simplified fashion with a real band and maybe even do a Bandcamp thing if it turns out okay, BUT---don't hold your breath. However, in the meantime I'll post some of the finished ones here for your listening pleasure/annoyance---Oh yeah, big thanks to bro-in-law William Tonks who adds some much-needed six-string musicality to the otherwise often clunky proceedings---

 First one up: Take You Down A Notch

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Roll Out The Barrel

At a recent Merle Haggard Tribute Show that I marginally participated in here in Athens (about the only way that I'll drag my ass on stage these days---do one song and then proceed to the free drinks? I can do that!), one of the highlights was local treasure Don Chambers (google him and listen to some of his music---I think he's amazing.) doing an enthralling version of the Hag's stellar "Bottle Let Me Down". It got me to thinking---Does anybody write drinking songs anymore? Now for all I know these modern country guys and gals may be carrying on the tradition, but if they are I suspect they're more likely to reference Bud Light than Jim Beam. So, just in case, I thought I'd take a stab at one--- HERE

And, as a bonus, I thought I would post a fascinating radio interview I did with German public radio back when I was over there a million years ago---HERE 

Friday, July 1, 2016

You Couldn't Hit It Sideways

Well, I just don't feel like posting any of my original crap so instead I'll share one of my recent cheap vinyl acquisitions, OK?

 I haven't the technology to rip vinyl so you'll have to take my word for it when I tell you the BMMs are the Velvet Underground of the Caribbean. There are at least 2 or 3 tunes on here that, if you stripped away the steel drums and added Lou whispering about Jesus and/or drugs, would fit right in on the Velvets 3rd record. The guitars are just a little out of tune and it sounds like it was recorded in a tool shed, but if you run across this baby for a dollar (what I paid) snap it up, you won't regret it. Oh, I didn't even mention the super-groovy reggae version of "Hey Jude"---