Sunday, 26 September 2010

We Did It 'Til We Were Unconcho

Well, I was born to have adventure
So I just followed up the steps
Right past her fuming incense stencher
To where she hung her castanets
She said she was a magic mama
And she could throw a mean tarot
And carried on without a comma
That she was someone I should know

'Camarillo Brillo'-Frank Zappa(DiscReet, 1973)

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Michael Head: Daydream Keeper

Where is Michael Head's head at? Heard he's been cancelling a lot of shows of late, hope he isn't meandering back down that misty lane. Getting a bit old for that sort of fooling around. Might just be a bit under the weather, but the narco wanderlust is in the blood, the lineage of scouse mystics with a love to get lost in a haze and live in oblivian. Cut crystal melodies like Somethin' Like You from 'The Magical World Of The Strands' just fall out of his bonce like daydreams.

'Somethin' Like You'-Michael Head & The Strands(Megaphone, 1998)

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Border Lord

When one of the last record shops around here closed a couple of months ago, well, it was a shame in a way, but i dealt with the loss of Pied Piper as bravely as i could and bought a sizeable shed load of vinyl for well under their value, an act that always fills me full of something i think they call joy.
At 50p a pop, whats to lose?, and one track on one of the LP's i got, 'Border Lord', by Kris Kristofferson, has been a constant rotater since. The LP as a whole isn't that hot, seems sorta knocked up, which was apparently the case, recorded quick, maybe way too quick, on the road as Kristofferson was going stellar.
Something about the burnt edges of Border Lord and its frazzled chug rings with a pleasent beardy truth about where the guy is at that moment, all kinda numb & footloose. Hell, enough o' my yackin', take it Kristoff....

'Border Lord'-Kris Kristofferson(Monument, 1972)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Last night ride for Elvis

Being Elvis was a heavy load eh? The windows of his Graceland room were blacked out in the early 60's. Elvis lived at night. The pink shirt of Beale Street had faded, all the dreams were sold. The darkness inside flooded out further year by year. Sweaty speed freak vampire dropping in on Nixon to ask to be his culture spy, the drug war Captain Marvel, shovelling medication like M&M's, flying the Lisa Marie to Denver for a sandwich. Downers on downers, falling asleep in his soup. They keep him alive, they breath through him, live out of his pockets, drink his green blood like wine. All the good girls had gone. Momma was long gone. What had it all been for? Why him? Where does love go? Sat at the piano in the early hours, placing the hands on those old gospel chords. It sounds almost the same, but it sure don't feel. Its a hard life for heroes.

Above: Last photo 12.28am August 16 1977, entering Graceland.

August 18th, 1977: A silver Cadillac followed by the white Cadillac hearse with Elvis' body and seventeen white Cadillac limousines, on its way from Graceland past bystanders the two and a half miles to Forest Hill Cemetery Midtown.

Through tear-filled eyes I watch as you ride by,
A chauffeur, a chauffeur at the wheel dressed up so fine
Well I'll never, I'll never love another
Oh my heart, all my dreams, yeah they're with you

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Pump me a few Mrs. Henry please

Through the bottom of a bottle i can see you coming, if the sun's last fingers are waving bye, you coming back around to let me taste the smell of your flower. So i'll crack another screw top, lift the lid and place the needle down sloooow.

Well, I've already had two beers
I'm ready for the broom
Please, Missus Henry, won't you
Take me to my room ?
I'm a good old boy
But I've been sniffin' too many eggs
Talkin' to too many people
Drinkin' too many kegs

Please, Missus Henry, Missus Henry,
Please, Missus Henry, please
I'm down on my knees
And I ain't got a dime.

Well, I'm groanin' in a hallway
Pretty soon I'll be mad
Please, Missus Henry, won't you
Take me to your dad ?
I can drink like a fish
I can crawl like a snake
I can bite like a turkey
I can slam like a drake

Please, Missus Henry, Missus Henry,
Please, Missus Henry, please
I'm down on my knees
And I ain't got a dime.

Now, don't crowd me, lady
Or I'll fill up your shoe
I'm a sweet bourbon daddy
And tonight I am blue
I'm a thousand years old
And I'm a generous bomb
I'm T-boned and punctured
But I'm known to be calm

Please, Missus Henry, Missus Henry,
Please, Missus Henry, please
I'm down on my knees
And I ain't got a dime.

Now, I'm startin' to drain
My stool's gonna squeak
If I walk too much farther
My crane's gonna leak
Look, Missus Henry
There's only so much I can do
Why don't you look my way
And pump me a few ?
Please, Missus Henry, Missus Henry,
Please, Missus Henry, please
I'm down on my knees
And I ain't got a dime

Please Mrs. Henry'- Bob Dylan & The Band (Columbia, 1975)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Summer Without Sun

The bank holiday funfair has planted itself 20 yards from my window. The smell of candyfloss and grilling beef is cranking up as i type. The bottles of strongbow will be drained, the durex will be split, but the sun won't shine. For shame. Is there anything that sums up the spirit of British holiday entertainment more than the celebrity portraits on the side of terrifyingly unsafe looking fairground....rides?!? I'm not sure what is in there...

So i have chosen the smashing compliation "Joe Meek's Freakbeat: 30 Freakbeat, Mod and R&B Nuggets" off the shelf and plumbed straight for The Charles Kingsley Creation's oddball whirligig pop treat about being miserable in summer. According to the sleevenotes, brothers Charles & Kingsley Ward recorded this with Joe Meek three floors up on Holloway Road at the end of 1965 after leaving Dave Edmunds' Love Sculpture. It bombed on the charts, but the boys were inspired enough by Sir Meek to return to their native Monmouthshire to open Rockfield Studios, but i didn't need to know that, its just a great pop song. There is also a little press review clipping of the disc, which is both extensive & inciteful:

"Rather pleasant. Tinkling sort of beat ballad, with unusual instrumental sounds. Nice song".

Earned their paycheck back in the 60's those scribes.

'Summer Without Sun'- The Charles Kingsley Creation (Columbia, 1965)

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Heart Bleeder #2: Curtis

Curtis Mayfield is an absolute titan of song. If we lived in more future thinking times he'd have been sainted by now. I can't think of anyone who consistantly made so many outstanding records. For the lost & swoonsome he had a bucketful, and i'm going for this one off one of his best LP's with The Impressions 'The Young Mods Forgotten Story'.

"Nothing left for me but bitterness, frustration, lost relation, for my deceiving heart...."

And the harmonies tumble down like September leaves. Lordy me, what a sad song.

'My Deceiving Heart'- The Impressions (Capitol 5610, 1966)

Friday, 2 April 2010

Ale & Spoils: Compliments of the town jeweller

Bank holiday drone. Nowhere to go. I may pop out for a little record shopping & a light ale.
A bag full of newly discovered discs, maybe a fanzine, a paper, and a long cool one. Magical, makes me feel like a cat in a sunbeam. I wish i was in a bar on Tibb St. in Manchester right now, or Mort Subite in Brussels....

...where one time i had the joy of reading the back of this record by Madvillain whilst supping the bars speciality jar titled 'Instant Death'. Not that instant, a had three. Steely Dan was coming from a speaker above the street & skirts floated by.
Come home summer, i'm waiting for you, and its my round.

'Curls'- Madvillain, from 'Madvillainy' (Stones Throw, 2004)

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Heartbleeder #1: Brian

I'll tell you something. You can hurt people really easy without even trying. In fact, the less you try, the harder you can hurt them.

Sad songs say so much. Fuck of Elton John.
The sadness of Brian Wilson of bottomless, he's got one heavy soul. This song is personal, created in a cloud of hash above a pool of tears. He put it out on his own to meagre success whilst the band was touring europe singing his old surfing songs. Then it closed Pet Sounds. He played it to his wife Marilyn and they both cried. She could see him on the train waving goodbye.

'Caroline, No'- Brian Wilson(Capitol 5610, 1966)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Cold turkey & a stick of tea...

'Cold Turkey'- Big Boy Pete(Camp 602005, 1966)

Pete Miller hailed from Norwich, a backwater city also famous for Alan Partridge & Justin Fashanu, and being still unaccessable by motorway in 2010. He had been making records with the likes of Joe Meek & touring with early 60's package tour stalwarts Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers for nearly ten years before he made this brainbusting bubble of psychedelic pop groovery and vanished to San Francisco forevermore.

Above: Jaywalkers fans sit unimpressed in Northampton's ABC Theatre, trying to get their tickets worth after Peter Jay & crew had finished & the other band, 'The Beatles', came on and ruined the night.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Alex Chilton

Like he'd give a shit what anyone thought, no matter if most would say he was as good as anyone. Must say though, truly fucking awesome work Mr. Chilton, thanks.

'Hey! Little Child'-Alex Chilton(Aura AUS 117, 1980)

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The (New) Call Of The Freaks

Nick Cave once ranted, mid-interview, on MTV, about how such TV channels were killing the magic that made him fall in love with the whole road in the first place. All he had was a record, maybe some names on the back of a 12" sleeve, at best an odd photo of the band. At the time i thought what a grumpy old goat, but he had a bloody good point.

The mystique is all gone. You can get hint of it with someone like Jandek, but its rare as gold hen's teeth. Even the cool new underground stuff you hear on obscure blogs usually have a myspace link. Its necessary now of course, but all too real. Robert Johnson didn't come from the crossroads with a good internet service provider.

Its a fine thing to banish any elitism, but imagination is a lost magik. The full horror of who pre-packed pop-stars like Ke$ha really are is laid bare and repeated like water torture on cable TV interviews every 20 minutes.

When Elvis Presley was first aired in Great Britain, with just an odd name & a backing band of two, it may as well have been a martian invasian. With all the international press they could possibly get, i wouldn't recognise one of Vampire Weekend if they came to fix my server, so diluted & uninteresting things have become.

So for just that reason, and with these needs in mind, i do enjoy listening to older & older stuff.

I mean, what the hell is going on in this platter by Luis Russell & His Orchestra?
If you want, you can get some photos of Luis online, or a basic biography, but you will never know enough to kill the magic here.

This is an incantation. A whole exotic new world in its three minute existence, a graveyard dance, bosomy gingham silhouette on a full Chicago moon, spats grazed on the sidewalks on a hangover monday, green sick in a trash can, and then its gone, and thats it, no questionable opinions in a Rolling Stone interview to get in the way. Its anything i want it to be & mean.

Its Halloween every day in the mind of Luis. Who knows what depraved orgies were incited when his band played this in strange velveteen ballrooms.

'The (New) Call Of The Freaks'-Luis Russell & His Orchestra(Okeh, 1929)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Real Thing-Russell Morris (1969)

Originally a bit-too-close facsmile of Status Quo's 'Pictures Of Matchstick Men' written by Johnny Young, it was transformed Midas-like by eccentric producer Ian "Molly" Meldrum, the kind of chap who went into a studio and asked the guitarist to "play cold stars on a black night sky" and could get a record company to hand over $2000, the amount it cost to make a whole LP back then, to get the results.
Meldrum stretched the play-time to an unfeasable 6.20 minutes with a delightfully self-indulgent 3-minute Walrus of an ending with some Lennon-ish Goon voice declaring somesuch about 'usability of the product' (in fact Organist Brian Cadd reading the back of the box of the master tape reel) mixed with a recording of the Hitler Youth singing "Die Jugend Marschiert" (Youth on the March) across splats of phased drums & electric string swirls.

On completion, 'The Real Thing' was the most expensive record production ever made in Australia. When the record execs flew into Melbourne to hear a studio playback of the completed golden egg, a ragingly drunk Meldrum panicked, stole the master tape and ran into a neighbouring golf course in the night with a bottle of bourbon to consider his next move. He knew there was no way they would get it. He was right. They thought it the biggest load of wasteful crap they had ever heard, and only distributed enough copies locally in the hopes of breaking even.

The times being what they were, the company couldn't bury it so easily. Morris himself drove copies up to Sydney, visited DJ's, and handed the platter over, asking them to play it. You could do crazy things like play what you liked on the radio in that time, so they did, and it became number one for 4 weeks in Australia in 1969, and became a decent international hit. Boss man knows best.

'TheReal Thing'-Russell Morris(Decca, 1969)

Above: The hateful record execs hand over the platimun disc to Russel Morris at the tail end of 1969.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Lynn Taitt-Sooooooooul Fooood

Just enough winter sunshine through the streaky windows to warrant a stinging tear from my sick eye & the first spin for 2010 of this rocksteady evergreen good-timer from recently gone on legend Lynn Taitt.

"...mix em it?....Sooooouul Food!"

'Soul Food'-Lynn Taitt & The Jets(Pama Records, 1968)

Friday, 26 February 2010

Drinking my wine & digging my earth

The BBC have commisioned 8 pitiful series of Two Pints Of Lager & A Packet of Crisps in the last ten years.

Today it looks like a cert that 6Music & the Asian Network are hitting the bricks to "shrink overall services and focus more on quality over quantity." This sort of logic really makes me feel like drinking alone in the rain with visions of rusty blades.

My initial reaction was "Come on villagers, light your torches, we have to trudge down so foggy London Town and raise the devil out of BBC director general Mark Thompson with big sticks.". But i fear the villagers would amount to a dozen part time librarians in cagoules.
I'll sign the petition anyway, you never know, someone might even look at it.

Here's a song i learn't from someone on 6music, Maconie's Freakzone? Marc Riley? Don Letts? Not sure, could have been any of em...

'How Much Are They?'-Holger Czukay Jah Wobble & Jaki Liebezeit

Oh, hang on, Snog Marry Avoid is on in a bit...

Monday, 22 February 2010

"You can't learn nothin' whilst you're sleeping Joe..."

I bought a reissue of Dale Hawkins 'L.A., Memphis, & Tyler, Texas' on 19th January 2009 at 14.38 from The Rough Trade shop on Talbot Road, Portobello, London.

It was memorable. Not memorable enough to remember the date & time of purchase, thats on the receipt still in the case, but its one of those rare records that i got on first listen all the way through and kept coming back to to listen to as a full LP again & again.

Didn't know much beyond Susie Q until i read some attractive reviews for the reissue, and still don't to be honest, don't need to, this was enough.

Dale past last week, and i've been listening again. Every song on that LP can stand as his own epitaph, but i've gone for his advice to any old Joe Schmo down on himself. Maybe originally written as i soother to himself, but now seems like a decent farewell.

Class act.

Joe'-Dale Hawkins(from LA, Memphis & Tyler,1969)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Back From Seeing The Wizard

A slight sojourn there. A little falling out with BT can go a long way. Then i got a call from Alan Moore who asked me to write a 6-page 50 year history of Rock N Roll in Northampton for his new underground reader 'Dodgem Logic'. This task was not without some elbow grease, enough to nearly ended me. Not quite. No, actually very enjoyable. The second issue is out now, and is full o' sweet treats.

Yowzah yowzah yowzah! BUY BUY BUY!


Then there was a party to launch the thing which looked like this:

At which the boss actually unveiled some tunes he's been knocking up with "close personal friends of mine" The Retro Spankees & Downtown Joe Brown, here's a clip off youtube of the Greenbaum booming 'Johnny Fortunate':

Then i ate some turkey and got drunk for a month.

Then i sobered up whilst dj-ing for 5 strippers (they call it burlesque, but that seems to be just a case of frills) at this:

Then i wrote this blog & played this song for you:

So there we go. Hope you're swell.