Friday, October 29, 2010
Usually when I dust off an old vinyl STONES boot, it's a bad audience recording from the bleachers but this one's surprisingly good and it's low in CD circulation too so turn it up and LET IT ROCK...
The sound quality is that of an average 70's vinyl bootleg and the Stones sound LOUD. Mick Taylor's guitar cuts through like a razor. In celebration of the newly released "Ladies And Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones" DVD, here are four sides of rock & roll as good as it comes.
WINTER TOUR 1973
BENEFIT FOR NICARAGUA EARTHQUAKE
FORUM, INGLEWOOD, CA JANUARY 18, 1973
IT'S ALL OVER NOW
YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT
STRAY CAT BLUES
LIVE WITH ME
ALL DOWN THE LINE
RIP THIS JOINT
JUMPING JACK FLASH
STREET FIGHTING MAN
Did you check out that set list? "Route 66" in 1973 with Mick Taylor??? "It's All Over Now"??? Are you kidding me?
Cornered Bernstein returns by popular demand with another vintage vinyl selection--
LEONARD BERNSTEIN-WHAT IS JAZZ?
Columbia LP 1954
This is a STRANGE LP released in the mid 1950s and featuring the voice of the great Leonard Bernstein discussing and trying to explain ‘jazz’ as an art form and the effects it has on music. He explains jazz instrumentation, the blues, how we clap on beat and ‘jam sessions’ with such an authoritative prestige that shows the listener that even squares can have a ball.
This Columbia album’s so old that Miles Davis (his version of “Sweet Sue” closes out the album) is credited on the back cover as appearing courtesy of Prestige Records! This step back in musical time is wordy and a little dated but definitely worth a listen.http://www.megaupload.com/?d=RB8OWWHS
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
1974 Kama Sutra Records
The first thing you notice is the back cover credits that reads “Produced by Jack Douglas” and “Executive Producer: Bob Ezrin.” Wow! It HAS to be GREAT! Well, by Sha Na Na standards, it’s pretty darn good and uses both classic 1950’s rock & roll oldies and also compositions by the band members to prove it. Bowzer’s voice is instantly recognizable and Denny Greene’s original ballad “Dreams Come True” is an album highlight, as is "Maybe I'm Old Fashioned" which Greene also sings and was released as a single in 1974.
This album is definitely PRODUCED. Many of the songs are sweetened up with lavish string orchestrations (by Wade Marcus) and the arrangements are more concise and less raw rock and roll. However, the band’s original songs are among their best like the title track “Hot Sox” (sung by Bowzer and written by long time member Scott “Tony Santini” Powell) and “Stroll All Night.” The classic “Too Chubby To Boogie” is written and sung here by drummer Jocko although when it was used on the TV show a few years later, Lennie Baker was given the song to sing for obvious reasons. Oh yeah, Johnny turns in a top performance with “Easier Said Than Done,” which was originally done by The Essex.
This is guitarist Vinnie Taylor’s last album before his tragic death and just before the group would enjoy tremendous success thanks to their TV program. Don’t forget to check inside the cover for a special bonus, a super CHEAP cutout sheet with “trading cards” of the boys.
SHA NA NOW
1975 Kama Sutra Records
Dirty Dan makes his entrance and the best known lineup of Sha Na Na begins. But that doesn’t mean this album won’t confuse the hell out of you if you’re a fan of the TV show and 50’s music. Not since “The Night Is Still Young” in 1972 has the focus been taken off of “oldies” in favor of originals and a contemporary pop sound. Tony Camillo produced the album (with Jimmy Ienner credited as Executive Producer) and future Ramones engineer Ed Stasium was at the board.
Most of the lead vocals on the album are by Johnny Contardo including a surprise Raspberries’ cover (“Don’t Want To Say Goodbye”) and a couple of turds like “The Only Light On My Horizon” and “Basement Party.” There’s also a disco instrumental (“Sha-Bumpin’”) and ANOTHER version of “(Just Like) Romeo And Juliet,” a song that had just appeared on their last album. The opening track "Shot Down In Denver" is good but sounds like it could be Bobby Sherman or another 70's pop singer.
There are a few oldies like Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” and Del Shannon’s “Runaway” but again the production is unfriendly to rockers and greasers alike. Maybe if you bought this album new in 1975 it might hold some good memories or a familiar melody. But for me, it’s the least interesting of the classic era Sha Na Na platters. Kind of like this band’s own “Strangers In The Wind” or “Unmasked.”
Thursday, October 21, 2010
A&M White Label Promo U.S. 1975
He was a Face, both small and large. His talents are often overlooked, not to mention his influence on fashion and coolness in swinging London in the 1960s. He later split the band when it was starting to become Rod’s band and lived on a farm and in Townshend’s driveway in order to finance his own touring unit. Some time around this time he released his second album called “Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance” which is a very musical collection of folk songs and rockers alike sung by that familiar voice and ‘plonked’ by that musical magician, Ronnie Lane.
This is the rare U.S. version of the LP with “The Poacher” as the opening track (in the UK it was the string heavy “Little Piece Of Nothing”) which would’ve been great slowed down and sung by Rod with the Faces. “Stone” WAS done by the Faces and sung by Ronnie Lane on their debut album, but it’s done here with a uptempo arrangement and in a higher key.
The UK Island Records version also swapped “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” (which was a 1975 single in the UK) with “Single Saddle” (nowhere to be found on the U.S. version) at the end of the album.
Though the album spotlights Ronnie’s strengths, the eclectic batch of tunes demand attention to truly realize how deep Ronnie goes. There’s not a whole lot of rock & roll here (although he turns in a few well done but lowdown covers with Fats Domino’s “Blue Monday” and Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell”) but “Anniversary” is beautiful, classic Ronnie Lane and “Give Me A Penny” is another highlight.
Ronnie Lane was a giant in music.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
There WAS a time before DVRs and VCRs when if something came on TV, you weren’t sure if you’d ever see it again. And if you wanted to see it, you had to stay up late or get up early. There was no second chance. Many of us dragged out our little cassette recorders to capture the AUDIO of the Rolling Stones on Saturday Night Live or a favorite music act on Dinah Shore or some other variety program. Not only could you buy albums featuring FULL movie soundtracks (including dialogue) from classic films by The Marx Brothers and Laurel & Hardy, but there were also hit albums for 1970s TV shows like “All In The Family” and comedy albums were all the rage (George Carlin, Cheech & Chong, Richard Pryor).
In 1976, Arista Records released this LP featuring “The Not Ready For Prime Time Players” entitled simply “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” that edited together best bits from the hit late night TV show with Don Pardo’s newly added studio announcements to try and emulate a real episode.
By the time I bought this album circa 1978, you could find it in the cut-out bins for $2.99 or less. I loved the hell out of it. Listening back many years later, I can still recite bits easily by heart and with perfect timing.
From classic skits like “Bedtime Story” (Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner) to “Dueling Brandos,” (with John Belushi & Peter Boyle) to a lengthy “Weekend Update” with Chevy Chase (who also gets a musical tribute from ‘Chevy’s Girls’), who also appears on a shocking “Word Association” skit with Richard Pryor. It’s television comedy at its finest and with only the audio available, it’s up to your mind to supply the visuals.
Special Guests-PETER BOYLE, BUCK HENRY, RICHARD PRYOR, PAUL SIMON, LILY TOMLIN
Here's a rare photo of John Belushi and Bill Murray on the Blues Brothers set. I met Bill Murray while working at Tower Records and was fortunate to spend some time helping him shop for music. He was super nice and HILARIOUS. He was looking for "house music" for a party and when I told him I wasn't too familiar with the genre he looked me in the eye and said, "You gotta get out more, pal." Just a few weeks ago I ran into Garrett Morris shopping at Ralph's here in Hollywood. When I approached him and asked if he was Garrett Morris, his reply was, "You're not a cop are you?"
Nat King Cole was a living legend when he recorded this album in 1960. He was looking for something different this time around, restless to make an album that wasn’t just a group of songs. Songwriters Dotty Wayne and Ray Rasch approached Nat with the idea that would become the “Wild Is Love” album (Nat had previously recorded one of their songs on an earlier album).
Along with arranger Nelson Riddle and producer Lee Gillette, the team came up with a seamless string of songs that are connected like a musical with the concept being about the ever elusive meaning of “love.” Original U.S. LP pressings came in a deluxe gatefold cover with a lavish book inside (not unlike Capitol’s later “Magical Mystery Tour” booklet) with lots of pictures of young white couples.
There were no gaps or “bands” on the album, all of the songs were put together and meant to listen to as “Act One” and “Act Two” so that’s how I’m presenting my transfer too. I have a few different copies of this album including my first one which was bought on a trip to the UK for 1 pound at a used vinyl shop. No gatefold but shiny cover and mono too. Then, back in the U.S. I found an original Capitol LP and I was impressed by the deluxe packaging. If you want to add this LP to your collection, find an original U.S. for maximum enjoyment.
Once again, Nat King Cole’s voice is warm and commanding, effortlessly weaving from melody to melody and ‘acting out’ the spoken parts with ease and experience.
WILD IS LOVE
HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OF GIRLS
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL EVENING
TELL HER IN THE MORNING
ARE YOU DISENCHANTED?
BEGGAR FOR THE BLUES
WORLD OF NO RETURN
IN LOVE AGAIN
STAY WITH IT
WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT (HER NAME IS MARY)
HE WHO HESITATES
WILD IS LOVE (FINALE)
"Histoire de Melody Nelson" is a powerful piece of work by Serge Gainsbourg with arranger and orchestra conductor Jean-Claude Vannier released in 1971. Jane Birkin is the voice of Melody Nelson (age 15) and Serge is the character who accidentally crashes his Rolls into Melody's bicycle and thus begins their 'Lolita-esque' romance until Melody's life is cut short in a tragic plane crash. After the LP's release, a short film featuring all of the songs was made called "Melody." It is included on the 2 DVD compilation that's currently available as an import (and is a must for any Gainsbourg fan).
The music is picturesque on its own with the basis of the band being funky bass and drums with a ripping guitarist. Add a string section and Serge narrates and sings. The opening is triumphant ("Melody") and Vannier's "Ballade De Melody Nelson" has Jane Birkin melodically singing her character's name and that will be stuck in your head for days. The band jams on the nearly instrumental "En Melody" and there's even a choir added on "Cargo Culte" finishing up a quick musical journey that's both ahead of its time and uncategorizable. The sounds are haunting and groovy, translating well even if you can't speak French. CLASSIC Gainsbourg.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Musiqe De SERGE GAINSBOURG
Arrangements & Orchestre: J. C. Vannier
If anybody's got "Cannabis" (on DVD that is), which stars Serge Gainsbourg and his wife at the time, Jane Birkin, I'd love to see it so send me a copy! As per usual, you never know what to expect with ol' Serge. And true to the title, this album will have you under the influence and occasionally looking over at your turntable, trying to remember what it was you just put on. Rock riffs, funky grooves and even harpsichord make this one cool spin.
I'm a huge fan of Nat King Cole's VOICE and that what it's really all about. A madman on the piano keys, Nat started his career playing jazz instrumentals until it was discovered how great his singing voice was. I'm always trying to listen to different Nat LPs, however there are a few that I keep revisiting including this one, "My Fair Lady," from 1963. I have no previous knowledge of Lerner & Loewe's musical, but there is something about these songs with Nat's voice and the way he approaches them that I find irresistible.
"The Rain In Spain," "I Could Have Danced All Night," and "Get Me To The Church On Time" are rich in melody and are fun to sing along with and of course "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" is a classic tune. But there's also "Hymn To Him," "With A Little Bit Of Luck," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," and "I'm An Ordinary Man" which showcase that rich baritone and also require Nat to "act" a little bit to get across the humor in the lyrics. "Show Me" is a beautiful ballad with it's melody eased over by the great NKC. Recorded in just four days at Capitol studios in Hollywood, this album is a gem and you should dig it NOW.
Monday, October 18, 2010
THE TURTLES PRESENT THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS White Whale
Released in late 1968, this gem is produced by the man who masterminded The Monkees “Headquarters” album. Imagine what he can do with a real band!! No offense, Monkees. But I did just see the “Happy Together” tour and Flo & Eddie never fail to get a crowd going and I can’t say the same for Micky D. who plays a lot of acoustic and too many Davy Jones songs. Where’s “Goin’ Down”? Flo & Eddie could do it.
This album is purposely musically varied with the concept being each of the songs are supposed to be performed by a different style band. There’s a little surf music, some bluegrass country, hard rock and some very passable Brit-psychedelic pop. “The Last Thing I Remember” sounds like it could be The Move with Jeff Lynne and he hadn’t even joined that band yet!
Recorded at Gold Star in Hollywood, Howard, Mark, Al, Jim and Johnny (his final album with the Turtles) show their versatile talents with a great version of McGuinn/Clark’s “You Showed Me,” a true bluegrass version of “Chicken Little Was Right” (the alternate recording is on the b-side of the “She’s My Girl” 45) and Nilsson’s upbeat “The Battle Of The Bands.” The group even manage to get one of the biggest hits of their career with “Elenore.”. I really think it’s groovy.
Original White Whale LP:
Here's a 2nd pressing of this White Whale album that's cleaner than Paul's grandfather:
Sunday, October 17, 2010
There it was, pictured on the back cover of all my early Beatles albums that were released on Capitol Records. “The Beatles Song Book-Romantic Instrumentals by the Hollyridge Strings” was listed right along side “Meet The Beatles,” “Something New,” and “The Beatles Story” on the back covers of the Capitol albums. By the time I was collecting Beatles albums though, these Hollyridge albums were long out-of-print.
Now I always thought that the producer and arranger of these albums was Stu Phillips, the country music pianist who had his own Nashville TV show that my parents watched and was kind of 'square' and boring instrumental easy listening. But it turns out that the Stu Phillips involved here is a completely different musician from Hollywood known for his movie and TV work (he did incidental music for the Monkees, Six Million Dollar Man and many more). It turns out he’s waaaaaay cooler than the Stu Phillips from Nashville!!
Here’s the first volume of “The Beatles Song Book” in stereo and it’s a super clean LP copy. Pretty groovy sounds and not too schmaltzy, I thought you might enjoy the Hollyridge Strings performing “Instrumental Versions of big Beatles Hits.”
Friday, October 15, 2010
Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka was released in 1971 on Rolling Stones Records. Jones and recording engineer George Chkiantz went to Morocco to record the Master Musicians Of Joujouka in 1968 using a portable Uher tape recorder. Jones edited and mixed the 90 minutes of recordings for a single LP including vocal chants, flute and drum music and the full village orchestra's drum and horn music played to accompany the "frenzied dance of Bou Jeloud, a Moroccan Pan." He finished the LP in 1969 just prior to his death.
Reissued on CD in the 90's with separated tracks and different artwork, here is the original LP version featuring two different sides of music as originally intended by Brian. It's a pretty intense album, both rhythmically and instrumentally, especially when augmented by Brian's pscyhedelic mix. VIVA BRIAN JONES!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Sure, it’s a more "contemporary" sound but it's a superb production by Don Costa, who also arranges three of the songs. Gordon Jenkins returns to work for the Chairman by conducting the orchestra and supplying some worthy arrangements also.
A classy gatefold cover shows pictures of a content Frank in the studio and a bonus large color photo was an extra free gift found in the sleeve. It was a very tan year.
OK, so you already have “Songs For Swinging Lovers,” “Where Are You?,” and “September Of My Years.” But don’t overlook this gem for your LP rack, whether you fork over a couple of bucks for a clean one at Amoeba or check your thrift store and lay that dollar down. It might not be his best moment but it sure isn't embarrassing and it surely lacks any has-been moments. Sometimes success brings bad reviews so don't believe anyone without listening for yourself. THE VOICE is strong and experienced and this album is a monster. It ages like the man himself did-classy and believable.
I had the pleasure of just opening a sealed copy of this LP and I recorded the very first play of this almost 40 year old piece of untouched vinyl!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
No. 1 1927-1940
No. 2 1929-1932
I always loved these two amazing vinyl compilations originally released on the Origin Jazz Library record label. Here’s your chance to hear “That’s No Way To Get Along” by Robert Wilkins (also known as “Prodigal Son” and covered by the Rolling Stones on “Beggars Banquet”) along with classic Delta blues rarities by Charlie Patton (sic), Skip James and Son House all from original 78s. And whoever put these comps together was cool enough to give us both sides of each of the rare discs!
I made this transfer from LP to CD when I was still working at Aron’s Records many years ago where I originally bought these LPs thanks to a new ‘underground’ pressing on fresh, clean vinyl.
The Mississippi Blues No. 1 1927-1940
BUKKA WHITE-The Panama Limited
BUKKA WHITE-Special Streamline
WILLIE BROWN-Future Blues
WILLIE BROWN-M & O Blues
KID BAILEY-Mississippi Bottom Blues
KID BAILEY-Rowdy Blues
ROBERT WILKINS-That's No Way to Get Along
ROBERT WILKINS-I Do Blues
MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT-Got the Blues Can't be Satisfied
MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT-Louis Collins
WILLIAM HARRIS-Bullfrog Blues
WILLIAM HARRIS-Hot Time Blues
SKIP JAMES-If You Haven't Any Hay, Get on Down the Road
SKIP JAMES-Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues
SON HOUSE-Preachin' the Blues Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
The Mississippi Blues No. 2 1929-1932
SON HOUSE-Dry Spell Blues Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
LOUISE JOHNSON-All Night Long Blues
LOUISE JOHNSON-Long Ways From Home
CHARLIE PATTON-Rattlesnake Blues
CHARLIE PATTON-Screamin’ And Hollerin’ The Blues
JAYDEE SHORT-Lonesome Swamp Rattlesnake
JAYDEE SHORT-Telephone Arguin’ Blues
BLIND JOE REYNOLDS-Third Street Woman Blues
BLIND JOE REYNOLDS-Nehi Blues
ROBERT WILKINS-I’ll Go With Her Blues
ROBERT WILKINS-Get Away Blues
“HI” HENRY BROWN-Titanic Blues
“HI” HENRY BROWN-Preacher Blues
GARFIELD AKERS-Dough Roller Blues
JOE CALICOTT-Fare Thee Well Blues
A rare photo of ROBERT WILKINS
Monday, October 11, 2010
Yeah, I said it. Move over Clapton, Greenie and Page. Make room for the man who filled Brian Jones' shoes and shined 'em up pretty good too. Is it a coincidence that all of the best Stones albums have Mick Taylor on them (well, for the most part)? Anyway, I just felt like celebrating the GREAT Mick Taylor because his guitar work is undeniably STELLAR and so influential to any blues rock lover.
JOHN MAYALL "Crusade" London 1967
Check out "Crusade" by John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers which was released in September 1967 and features an 18 year old Mick Taylor. The guitar work on this album is astonishing and Mick's licks are a preview of what's to truly flourish with the Stones. As a matter of fact, it was Mayall who suggested Taylor to Mick Jagger, who was looking for a Brian Jones replacement. Mayall loved Mick Taylor but wanted his next project to be less electric with more stripped down instrumentation.
MICK TAYLOR Columbia Records 1979
This was Mick's first solo album on the Columbia label released almost five years after he left the Rolling Stones. It didn't make a whole lot of noise when it appeared on the racks next to The Clash, Pretenders and The Cars and it's a bit polished and mellow. But WHO KNEW that the guy wasn't the worst singer ever? Rumor has it that "Leather Jacket" is about Mick Jagger and there definitely is some classic Mick Taylor blues guitar moments on the album too.
ROCK ON MICK TAYLOR! WE LOVE YOU! We do..............
STEPPENWOLF-For Ladies Only 1971 Dunhill Records
Produced by Richard Podolor, here's another rockin' platter from THE WOLF released in 1971. The album has a strange political 'feminism' concept (with credit given to drummer Jerry Edmonton) but the playing is as solid as heavy metal thunder and the music has all of the band's classic bite. Highlights for me include "Tenderness" (written by Mars Bonfire who was also Jerry Edmonton's brother) and also "I'm Asking" and "Ride With Me" which both recall "Born To Be Wild." Like the "Steppenwolf 7" album, some of the lead vocals are done by bassist George Biondo who is a wailing tenor. I prefer John Kay's lead vocals but Biondo is good, even though he gives the group a more generic sound. There are NO HITS and Steppenwolf broke up for a few years after this album was released.
STEPPENWOLF-Steppenwolf 1968 Dunhill Records
The classic debut album released at the beginning of 1968 (the summer of love was officially over) and produced by the legendary Gabriel Mekler. This is an ABC Dunhill re-issue LP but it sounds pretty good. Of course it has "Born To Be Wild," "Sookie Sookie" and "The Pusher" (written by Hoyt Axton) but it also includes "Desperation" (covered by Humble Pie on their debut album) and some other good heavy blues and uptempo rockers too.
MAKE TONIGHT A STEPPENWOLF NIGHT!!
This is the apartment, garage and house on Fountain Avenue where Gabriel Mekler and John Kay lived and the band rehearsed during the making of the first Steppenwolf album.
Friday, October 1, 2010
DARLING, YOU KNOW I WOULDN'T LIE
Decca Records 1969
This is Conway's sixth country album for the Decca Records label and the title track was a #2 country hit. There are also nice versions of George Jones ("Window Up Above") and Merle Haggard ("Hungry Eyes") classics.
I CAN'T SEE ME WITHOUT YOU
Decca Records 1972
Produced by Owen Bradley, this is one of my favorite Conway albums. I don't know if it's the "dark" cover artwork or the genius title track but this album is intriguing and never fails to impress. Highlights include "Looking Through My Glass," the Elvis-ish original "This Road That I Walk" and Lambert/Potter's "It's A Crying Shame" which should've been a hit for the Grass Roots.
SHE NEEDS SOMEONE TO HOLD HER (WHEN SHE CRIES)
MCA Records 1973
Another winner with production by Owen Bradley and even a guest vocal spot by daughter Kathy Twitty on "Don't Cry Daddy" which Elvis also recorded. Solid tunes and a great rendition of the country classic "Darlin'."
CONWAY TWITTY'S HONKY TONK ANGEL
MCA Records 1974
Conway Twitty was unstoppable in 1974 as a superstar country hitmaker and this #1 album proves that his voice was THE BEST. Check out "Pop A Top" and "Before Your Time."
MORE CONWAY LPS TO COME!!