Saturday, June 27, 2015

"Rodney Goes to (Girl)School"/ROTR 1982

Not a bad representative of what you would actually hear. Note Rodney's omnipresent Germs badge. I plan on posting as many of these as I can track down in the barn. I have posted the one English Disco top ten I found in the barn here. Some of these were clearly local hits like the Inflatable Boy Clams and Mr. Epp, and I remember having a discussion in the late 80's with friends outside of LA who couldn't believe they were "hits" in the loosest sense - probably even had a discussion with Arm about that fact at some point on one of his tours. That No Crisis might even have made it into the main KROQ playlist at odd hours. I hadn't listened to it in over 30 years and kinda remembered the piano being more prominent. Outside of the obvious ones (first Bangs 45, Red Kross, Sin 34, CH3, Agent Orange), that Tuff Muffin spoken word got played a lot and you can tell that it was the LA rockabilly moment as well (Stray Cats, Stingrays,and Rockin' Rebels etc.) Out of all of these, the track that has probably gotten the most play in my house the past couple of decades is Fowley's genius "Invasion of the Polaroid People."

Monday, June 22, 2015

American Primitive Spiritualist Video: John Fahey at The Euphoria Tavern, Portland 1976/The Real Bicentennial Style

I am a big fan (and minor scholar of sorts) of spiritualist photography. The quality and color of this footage matches perfectly - like an old double exposed ghost on the split screen. Apparently there are plans to release the whole tape. Who knew when old videotape degrades it turns brown . . .

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Velvet Underground: Music and Mystique Unveiled" in June 1970/When Mel Brooks met Mel Lyman by Proxy [repost June 2011]

I swear when the Velvets decided to reform and tour Europe in 1990, it was pretty tempting to sell everything I had at the time and go follow them around.  Friends can attest to that aborted plan.  It didn’t happen and I thus still own the June 1970 issue of Circus below.  I have derided Circus in the past, but occasionally, there were some astute pieces.  The cover story on the Airplane was set to go to press almost at the exact time Spencer Dryden was being ejected/retired from the group.  Luckily, the editors found that photo of Joey Covington to slap on the cover as Dryden is still mentioned in the pages as drummer.  That said, Covington’s contribution “Thunk” from the underrated “Bark” is one of the better Nashville Skyline/doo wop/funk hybrids out there and a reet track to boot. Unfortunately, when Dryden left so too did all of his early Zappa-inspired creations ("no man is an island!"). As I have said previously on these pages re early JA up through "Bark": file next to Royal Trux.  And why the fuck is the Howling Hex not hitting these shores this year?  A future post on the greatness of even the concept of  a Victory Chimp audiobook when I hear it.

But I digress. When Clinton Heylin published his Velvets reader All Yesterday's Parties, he did include the great piece below on the Velvets just on the cusp of releasing “Loaded.”  In the end, Chris would have been a better choice to edit the thing and methinks Heylin knows that in his bones.  But as I have said before, it is far better to SEE and read the primary source.  It must have been weird in that spring of 1970 to now have all these folks claiming they were always fans of the Velvets.  Nothing could be further from the truth but just look at the critical consensus gaining speed when you read them all together in All Yesterday's Parties. Where were all these hacks when Cale was around? At least Gleason reprinted his SF Chronicle VU swipe in his Airplane book.  And why is Richman so prissy as to not have his Velvets juvenilia reprinted in Heylin’s book – I may need to scan it myself and post.  I have been listening again to the essential “Fully Loaded Edition” from a few years back and the outtakes are fantastic to hear in better fidelity than the late 1970's boots.   The whole thing just warms you up like that Plastic People of the Universe live tape of all Velvets covers from 1971 (or '72 or is it as late as '73?) which reeks of broken pint bottles sloshing around the floor - the atmosphere is that good and thick as to rival the Live at Max's lp .  This Circus article hit the newsstand and drugstore racks in June 1970, Brigid Polk records the band at Max’s on August 23, 1970 and Lou is out of the band within weeks.  Go figure.







So the back cover of the June 1970 Circus is an ad for the soundtrack to Zabriske Point.  You would get the impression after reading How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life that Fahey would at least get a mention in the ad.  This is all the excuse I need to post the Mel Lyman "cult stars" of the film Mark Frechette & Daria Halprin schmoozing and doing the creepy crawl with the irrepressible Dick Cavett – and Mel Brooks and Rex Reed (most action post the 7 minute mark).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Major Label Guitar Soli

According to Jorma, "Embryonic Journey" dates from 1962 as part of a guitar workshop in Santa Clara. Yet, clearly Jorma and Fahey would have crossed paths in the Bay Area pre-1965 (by which point Fahey was there) and Jorma would have seen him and Basho playing? Similar influences bring us back around to close to the same place but not quite. Still like Jorma's Quah lp (great cover art on that one out of the Liquorball/Blackjack Records variety) and his electric guitar work on those first 5-6 JA albums is as underrated as Neil Michael Haggerty. Anyway, my first introduction to the American Primitive method though I just didn't know it at the time. The second version of the major label variety is none other than the great Leslie West who managed to sneak in this piece amongst all the O Rex approved heaviness on 1970's Climbing. Readers, lets hear of more major label examples in the comments.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This Could Be the Night/"He had good mike technique, good delivery"

Man, one of the best singles of the sixties goes unreleased and just keeps sounding better. A song that links the No Neck Blues Band (via Jerry Yester) to Fred Neil (via Cyrus Faryar) to Phil Spector, Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson, the Sidewinders (Andy Paley) and the Monkees. Not to mention Henry Diltz and Rodney Bingenheimer. Just waiting for the choicest set of covers lps you never heard via Home Brewed Nuggets to tackle this gem of our radio teendom.

The Modern Folk Quartet had opened shows for both Woody Allen and John Coltrane before their link with Phil Spector and rebrand as the folk rock MFQ. Spector hoped they could be his Byrds. Underused in my opinion as the theme to the follow-up to The T.A.M.I. Show, The Big TNT Show, Nilsson wrote the song as a Brian Wilson tribute who then brought the song to Spector who shelved it for "River Deep, Mountain High." According to Mark Ribowsky’s He’s A Rebel (E.P. Dutton, New York, 1989), one night in 1966, Spector jumped on stage with the MFQ at the Trip with a twelve string guitar while they were doing their set and did a set of fifties covers backed by the MFQ. According to Kim Fowley who was there: “Amazing, man, and the pity was that there was a lot of kids in there who didn’t know what the fuck was happening . . . I think about it now and it’s like, how’s that for a memory? And he was good too. I’d never heard his voice. He had good mike technique, good delivery. He sounded like he would’ve been a good lead singer.”

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Over Easy

I am pretty sure that Charlotte Caffey first tipped me off to the excellence of Mimi Pond's illustrated memoir of 1970's California, Over Easy (Drawn and Quarterly, 2014), which includes her stint at art school and subsequent work at an Oakland cafe. Over Easy straddles the post-hippie era into fully fledged new wave-dom. A nice way to spend several hours transported back in late 70's Northern California. File it alongside Michael Ritchie's unsung film Smile from 1975 which captures another slice of California life. What did startle me though (in a good way) was the actual cameo of Ted Falconi from Flipper. Great stuff and apparently there is a part two on the way.