ii last night an mp3 saved my wife

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Christy Moore - the time has come.mp3

If ever a fella paid his dues to the industry, tis this man. Performing pretty solidly for 40 years and recording since the late 60s, Christy Moore is a legend to many a soul. Although (like many names on this Blog) he has yet to feature in ‘The Guinness Book Of Hit Singles’ (to which he probably cares not a jot. Although ironically he has personally ‘sponsored’ the black stuff for many a decade), Ireland’s Christy has a huge legion of fans worldwide. His reputation continues to grow – ‘though his hair has long since stopped. I guess he’s a man you don’t meet every day!

Please visit the mighty fine http://www.christymoore.com/ for a fuller story of the man and his guitar. His gargantuan repertoire and convoluted journey is reflected in his biography/discography and upon his labour of love – last year’s 6 CD Box Set which spans the years.
This particular track The Time Has Come means much to many. For me personally, it helps to explain the unique and acute heart, soul and gut wrench of leaving loved ones to go to war. It means such a great deal, that I’d also use it as a funeral song!
(click here to buy from AmazonUK)

Colin Blunstone - misty roses.mp3

The Zombies principal songrwriter, Rod Argent, claims that when their first single She's Not There was a world wide smash hit in 1964, it was no surprise to him. But then, he was a naive 19 year old full of bravado, but within 3 or 4 years the band had failed to match their initial success and had split.
Singer Colin Blunstone returned to his job in the insurance industry and it wasn't until the Zombies Time Of The Season started doing well in the states a while later that he considered returning to the music industry to record a solo album.

Misty Roses comes from his first solo album One Year which is remarkable not only for his breathy Nick Drake-like voice but for the wonderful orchestration. He was helped out by his former band mates Rod Argent and Chris White who produced, as well as writing a couple of tracks.
Misty Roses was written by Tim Hardin (click here to download original _2.28Mb). Colin's version starts out all classical samba guitar, (not too disimilar from the Hardin original) before mutating into a tense dissonant arrangement for string quartet and voice which is chilling.

Blunstone and Argent have been recording and playing together again for the last few years, you can listen to a radio interview from 2004 (real audio) part1, part2 has them telling stories from the days when the Zombies were #1 in the USA.
(click here to buy One Year from AmazonUK)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Thee Michelle Gun Elephant - baby stardust.mp3

Not so long ago in another life I found myself sprawled on a hotel bed in Japan at four in the morning with only jet lag and a nearby beer machine for company. I flipped on the tube and surfed through the channels until I found something that caught my eye.

Over a caustic soundtrack, something like Jon Spencer falling down the stairs after getting fucked-up by Motorhead, a bunch of double-thin, razor-sharp punks were lounging around in what appeared to be a strip club… all plush velvet and leopardskin…smoking cigs and drinking cocktails…waiting for the girls to come on...my curiosity too, at this point, was somewhat piqued…

A succession of animals then appeared on the stage, doing exactly what animals would do in such a situation…nothing at all. They just sat there for a bit and shuffled off, as the boys in the band watched on in complete indifference, calmly finishing their smokes. All the while the increasingly frantic music whipped itself into a frenzy. And then it finished. The Marx Brother’s ‘Duck Soup’ was on next, subtitled for the Japanese. I made another trip to the beer machine.

Was it the jet lag or was it the greatest pop video I’ve ever seen? I wasn’t sure that I hadn’t just dreamed it. Needing proof, I bought the single the very next day, and here it is in all its raging splendour.
Thee Michelle Gun Elephant are well worth investigating, and rock like bastards. You could do much worse than to check out their Collection. The perfect soundtrack for smoking cigs whilst wearing nicotine patches and being dead good at pool. Or just for watching animals fail to get their kit off.
(click here to buy from Amazon UK)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Sebastien Tellier - la ritournelle.mp3

Maybe you saw him opening up for his label bosses Air on their world tour at the end of 2002. Or you may have come across his track Fantino on the Lost In Translation soundtrack. Or if you are a Phoenix fan like myself and you keep your ear to the ground for the latest cool Parisian grooves, you may have heard talk of Sebastien Tellier's recordings over the last few years...
Whatever,,, if you haven't heard La Ritournelle from his second album Politics yet then you are in for a real treat.

The understated funky beats come courtesy of Fela Kuti's main man Tony Allen, on top of which Sebastien layers up looping sustained piano chords combined with Blue Lines-era Massive Attack strings that manage to melt your heart by about bar 2!

On paper a four minute intro may sound excessive, but when you hear it, it makes total sense and it does not out stay its welcome.
And then... by the time Sebastien's intimate falsetto enters the frame singing of "making love on the grass", and declarations of everlasting love you know this is something special that you are not going to be able to dislodge from your brain too easily.
In fact, come bank holiday Monday morning it will still be resonating in the back of your mind, and i can't think of a better soundtrack as you dip your croissant into your bowl of fresh coffee, reveling in the fact that it's Monday, and you don't have to go to work. Bliss.
(click here to buy Politics from Amazon UK)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Joe Cocker - Woman To Woman.mp3

Cocker deserves a lot of credit for his gravelley, soulful, and distinctive singing - his phrasing and stage antics were lifted straight from Ray Charles, but he always managed to put his own stamp on the proceedings. Furthermore, he was closely tied in to the late-60's British rock scene, and during that period he brought together a lot of its best elements to produce a few fine records. Mad Dogs And Englishmen is probably the most famous, but this is far more concise and crafted. Despite the use of female choruses and a much more commercial approach, here Cocker is pleasantly close to Janis Joplin's late, boogie-woogie sound. The track leads off with a funky piano riff, gently introducing the Jazz orchestra, then enter his unique howling vocals generating a pulsating energy that envelops your entire body. When I hear this I get transformed into somekind of demented hyenia like creature sent into a demonic rage sounding blood curdling screams trying to relaese the beast within. You will probably recognise the main riff in this track as it sampled by Tupac on his hit single Califonia. This album also includes some first rate covers like "Feeling Alright" that puts Traffic's original (click to download _4Mb) to shame, and who can forget The Beatles cover a Little Help From My Friends. Please click here to buy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bob Lind - I Love to Sing/Sweet Harriet.wma

When looking around the internet recently for information on Bob Lind i came across this article he had written about his friend and producer Jack Nitzsche. It's a great story about how Jack took an impoverished Bob not only into the studio to produce his 1966 debut album Don't Be Concerned, but also into his own own home and family life.

From there i found my way to boblind.com which i was unaware of before.
It turns out that Bob is recording again -his last studio album was 1971's Since There Were Circles from which I Love to Sing/Sweet Harriet is taken- playing live again, and he mentions that he might even be coming to England in the near future! Let's hope so.

On his site, you can download demo's of his new album Home In Time For Twilight from the playlist page, and you can also talk to him directly on his message board. He obviously enjoys communicating with his fans, he answers everybody who posts on there!

The message board is also a great resource for anyone who wants to find more of Bob's music, because currently there are none of Bob's albums available to buy on CD. There was a Best Of CD re-issue in the early '90's which was basically the first 2 albums on 1 CD (Don't Be Concerned and Photographs Of Feelings), but this is out of print now, and goes for in excess of $50 on e-bay.
It seems ridiculous to me that these recordings are just sitting in the vaults somewhere. To my mind they should be on the shelves, with original artwork for all to enjoy. But until that day comes the best you can do is to appeal to other Lind fans on the message board to see if anyone has any "spare" copies, it worked for me!
(click here to visit BobLind.com)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

People Under The Stairs - acid raindrops.mp3

For those lucky enough to experience the joys of the English Winter, you’ll know we take our pleasures where we find them…month upon month of dreary, grey, non-weather lead us to do some strange things…and by mid-February a weary distaste of all things wintry has set in.

The symptoms can be read like some kind of spoor trailed through the house…empty sleeping bags lounge for days on the sofa, TV’s tune in to the Holiday Channel as if guided by an unseen hand, overdoses of vitamins lead to toilets filling up with what appears to be orangeade, impulse purchases of coconuts and pineapples go uneaten…the list goes on.

But then, oh day of glory, you get that whiff of SPRING in the air and everything’s suddenly more than alright. You start planning barbecues. You’re back on the lager.
Unable to contain yourself, you decide to risk a tee shirt and join the forests of pasty arms waving at each other all across the land.

And, as if by magic, for a couple of weeks at least, your soundtrack changes. Out goes the Cohen, in come the Isley’s. Or whatever your version of that would be…

For me, this premature ebullience involves Hip Hop in heavy rotation. Which leads me to People Under The Stairs

The PUTS are an L.A. based duo, Thes One and Double K, whose underground approach eschews the pre-programmed synthy beats of most commercial Hip Hop out there today. They favour the more organic sounds of loops and samples raided primarily from crates of old Jazz and Funk vinyl. This laid-back sound coupled (in this case) with lyrics about alleviating the stresses of modern life with the combined powers of music, friendship, family, new footwear, beer, a certain herbal essence, and the therapeutic act of putting words down on paper is irresistible to me.

If you’re into the likes of Jurassic Five or Dilated Peoples, there’s a good chance this’ll be up your street too.
The track in question is lifted from their 2002 album, ‘O.S.T.’ (‘Original Sound Track’), not to be confused with their next offering ‘ ..Or Stay Tuned,’ or the soundtrack to Wes Craven’s splatterfest of the same name.

Debates about the merits of the back-to-the-old-school movement will go on until we’re all rattling our dentures, but if there’s a better summery groove to float through the house like a stoned bumblebee, I’d really like to know. I challenge you to listen without smiling.
Citrus-fresh and invigorating as the morning squirt of grapefruit in your eye.
Punt winter out of your life…and don’t forget to wave those pasty arms!
(click here to buy O.S.T. from AmazonUK)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Fred Neil - other side of this life.mp3

Boy, what a voice! Fred Neil's voice had the depth of Johnny Cash, combined with the raw emotional quality of The Flying Burrito Brothers' Gram Parsons (who he once recorded with). I mean, who else could be covered by the late great Tim Buckley and still have their version stand up proud (see comments for mp3 of Tim's cover of Fred's Dolphins, live in London, 1968).

I love the fact that he also had an attitude that was so focused on the music for it's own sake rather than as a means of obtaining stardom and untold wealth, which could have all been his if only he had wanted it.
Coming from the same scene as Dino Valente (see last week), in 1960 he could be found performing in Greenwich Village, New York City at the usual haunts Cafe Wha?, Night Owl and the Bitter End.
I suppose everybody knows his song "Everbody's Talkin". The most famous version being by Harry Nilsson which was a huge success after being used on the soundtrack of Midnight Cowboy.
Other Side Of This Life is taken from the 1965 album Bleeker And MacDougal (liner notes here) which was re-issued in 1970 as "Little Bit Of Rain". You can get hold of it on CD, doubled up with Tear Down The Walls which was an album he recorded with Vince Martin in 1964.
(click here to buy Tear Down the Walls/Bleecker & Macdougal from Amazon.co.uk)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Big Audio Dynamite - Rush.mp3

Big Audio Dynamite is the primary musical outlet of Mick Jones, formerly of punk pioneers The Clash. Big Audio Dynamite was founded in 1984 with movie director Don Letts (The Punk Rock Movie, Clash videos and later the Clash documentary Westway to the World). The first B.A.D album, This Is Big Audio Dynamite released a year later, is generally recognized as the first album by a major recording artist to include digital sampling techniques. The single "E=MC2" was in heavy rotation in night clubs at the time. 1986's No. 10, Upping St. reunited Mick for one album with former Clash-mate Joe Strummer who co-produced the album and co-wrote a number of songs, but that reacquaintance soon ended.

B.A.D opened for U2 on their 1987 world tour, then followed with 1988s Tighten Up, Vol. '88 and 1989/1990s Megatop Phoenix. After a complete reworking of the lineup that left Jones as the sole remaining original member, B.A.D then released the critically acclaimed, limited edition mini-album Kool-Aid - a prelude to 1991's The Globe, which produced the band's most commercially successful single, "Rush". "Rush" certainly isn't anywhere near the level of musical genius as The Clash, but it's a welcome departure from the political heaviness and underlying punk scene of the time. I picked this track because I think it represents what random radio is about with its eclectic mix's of rythm and melody constantly twisting and turning, experimenting with new ideas and then just see what happens. Click 2 Buy.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

XTC - dear god.mp3

To my mind, one of the finest bands to emerge from the 70s Punk/New Wave scene was Swindon (England)’s finest – XTC. Although dogged by breakdowns, bodged breakthroughs and plain bad luck, XTC have never really gone away and their idiosyncratic influence is obvious on many of the big new (innovative!) guitar bands of today. They remain hugely respected in certain quarters – including my speakers.

XTC had their own clear influencers too – namely 60s Kinks and Beatles. Their sound is often quintessentially quirky and English and this may, in some respects, have affected their career sales. Ironically, this track (‘Dear God’) was not on the original pressing of the tremendous 1986 album Skylarking – but was later included thanks to unexpected pressure from sharp College DJs across America. I believe that the song has since been covered by many incl Tricky and Sarah McLachlan. Does anyone know their versions and are they as stripped down?

The lyrics to the powerfully simple yet profound ‘Dear God’ speak for themselves. Written as a letter to God asking how (on earth) can we believe in Him? (The irony being – how can you write to someone/thing in which you don’t believe in!) The opening verse is spoken by a young child and is followed by writer Andy Partridge’s heart-on-sleeve desperate plea for proof. Positive atheism in a dark, dangerous & cruel world. Perhaps some of us have been there? But then, one man’s honesty and honour is another man’s misguided blasphemy. Maybe it’s not that he doesn’t believe, but more a case of he CAN’T believe. Makes YOU think, I hope.
Find out more about XTC and their music catalogue. Much has been re-mastered in recent times and is now available widely.
(click here to buy Skylarking and others from XTC's idea records shop)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dino Valente - something new.mp3 (9.9Mb)

Richard Ashcroft (of The Verve) always reminded me of a young Dino Valente, especially when he was the "Mad Richard" who walked to London (from Wigan!) without shoes or socks to seek his fortune as a singer/songwriter. That absolute drive to tap into another dimension and be everything to everyone in an instant with the most powerful songs ever written who wasn't going to let anything stand in his way.
Dino arrived in NYC in the late 50's aged 17 and was unable to find a space on the coffeehouse stages of Greenwich Village on his first night in town, but he didn't let that stop him. He simply walked into the park and started singing. But by 2am he realized his stage debut was about to pass him by as places were beginning to close. So he walks into a coffeehouse and demands that they let him play whilst they were closing...
He didn't leave the stage until 2pm the next day.

He recorded hardly any material between then and 1968, having various problems with record labels as he demanded "total artistic freedom". Not exactly how the music industry functioned in 62-63.
When playing live he always stuck to playing small intimate venues, his performances were so passionate and animated that he could be quite intimidating. He would have to be surrounded by about 6 microphones as he would jerk his head violently from side to side, giving everything he had to get his message across. Exhilarating stuff which left audiences so impressed they would often follow him on to a further impromptu performance elsewhere after the show, where he would play all night long.

He was responsible for writing the Youngbloods big hit "Get Together" (which Jefferson Airplane also covered on their debut album), but didn't receive royalties as he had sold the rights to raise money for his legal defense in 67, which resulted in him leaving Folsom Prison after only 9 months of a one-to-ten year sentence for repeated drug offences. Part of his parole depended on his new deal with Epic to record the self-titled solo album that Something New is taken from. It was produced by Bob Johnston (most famous for overseeing much of Bob Dylan's classic '60s output) and features little more than him with his 12 string, singing love songs so direct and heartfelt that they sounds epic, giving him all the space he needed to indulge his yearning and intoxicating vocals...
(click here to buy Dino Valente from CherryRed.co.uk)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Nashville West - mental revenge.wma

Anyone who likes their 60's west coast psychedelic and/or country rock should definitely get themselves along to the mp3 blog at Alan McGee's poptones label. It has got some real gems on there, and as mp3s are NOT posted for a limited time only, i would recommend that you set aside a whole evening for an exquisite musical marathon.
today's post has been pilfered from there to whet your appetite, and features the talents of Gene Parsons (moustache, drums) and Clarence White (middle left, guitar) in seminal country rock band Nashville West.

This track is taken from the album Nashville West, first released in 1978 (Sierra Records), although it had been recorded over a decade before. Gene P had recorded one night of their residency at Nashville West (from where they took their name) in El Monte, CA in 1967.
They would play there 7 nights a week and it wasn't unusual to see various members of The Byrds or Flying Burrito Brothers in attendance, sometimes even on the stage.

Clarence White's guitar playing here is astounding. Unlike many rock bands who went country in the late 60's, he had been playing bluegrass and country guitar since the late 50's (Kentucky Colonels) and by '67 had become a master of electric country guitar playing.
By 1968 he had already appeared on 2 Byrds albums, but on their country album Sweetheart Of The Rodeo his guitar playing became a focal point and he became a full time band member, along with Gene Parsons.

Mental Revenge was a cover of a contemporary hit by self proclaimed "renegade, outlaw, legend" Waylon Jennings, who went on to be a leading light of the "outlaw" country movement of the 70s by adopting an anti-Nashville stance. Maybe he developed some of his rebel spirit during 65 when he shared his home with Johnny Cash in Nashville?...
(click here to buy Nashville West from CherryRed.co.uk)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Alex ‘Skip’ Spence - Weighted Down (Prison Song).mp3

Poor old Skipper. Recounts of this troubled soul’s life seem to veer between lauding him as some kind of musical-visionary-in-pyjamas, and rubber necked gawps at the lysergic excesses of his life. So, in keeping with tradition…

Skip first rose to prominence as the drummer for acid-rock giants Jefferson Airplane, and wrote a couple of songs with them…

CRAZY ‘SKIP’ FACTOID #1: Get this…he was actually a guitarist! Couldn’t even drum! Apparently they hired him because he just ‘looked like’ a drummer! So he learned drums in two weeks! Crazy!

… appeared on their first album, but got sacked shortly afterwards. Surprisingly, not for being a shit drummer, but for skipping rehearsals. Not too fussed, our boy takes even more acid, and with a bunch of kindred spirits founds Moby Grape, this time as guitarist and singer…

CRAZY ‘SKIP’ FACTOID #2: With the other Grapes, Mr Spence gets nicked for ‘entertaining’ a group of underage girls…rock n’ paedo-roll! Mental!

...but their record company releases all ten songs from their fantastic debut album as five singles. Totally confused by this tactic, radio stations don’t get round to playing any of them, which didn’t help matters, but neither did having a second album containing a track only playable at 78 rpm…

CRAZY ‘SKIP’ FACTOID#3: Things have truly started to slide by now, and during a massive acid binge, Skip attacks the Grape’s drummer with a fire axe. He’s confined to Bellevue Mental Hospital in New York. Paranoid Schizophrenic!

…and the band eventually split up. Skip is really suffering, and while institutionalised writes the songs that become Oar. Upon his release, we get the last

CRAZY ‘SKIP’ FACTOID#4: Where Skip is so impatient to record the songs, he rides a motorbike all the way from New York to the studio in Nashville. In his pyjamas.

And what an album it is.
Skip wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, sang all the vocals and produced it himself, which I understand was a first in 1969. A milestone in musical history, and a recording that seems to somehow have gathered strength over the years.
Flippant factoids aside, one can only wonder at the pain that Skip was going through, and the sounds he creates seem born of that. His voice seems old before it’s time: vulnerable, damaged and honest. Dismissed at the time by Rolling Stone magazine as being full of “sad, clumsy tunes that seem to laugh at themselves,” and I couldn’t agree more.
‘Oar’ reportedly became the lowest selling album in Columbia Record’s catalogue.

The recent tribute album (More Oar) by artists as diverse as Robert Plant, Tom Waits, Beck, and Robyn Hitchcock bears testimony to his influence. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Will Oldham has a well-scratched copy somewhere in his shed.
One to play at four in the morning, whilst drinking a cup of cold tea that turns out to conceal a disintegrating fag end. In the nicest possible way…
(click here to buy Oar from AmazonUK)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Size 9 - I'm Ready.mp3

Real name - Joshua Winkleman, aliases also used are Josh Wink, The Crusher, Winc, Wink, Winks and Winx if anybody knows anymore please let me know? Josh Wink makes music that pushes people out of their psychic ruts whether they're grooving on a crowded dance floor or meditating in private. Wink's innate spirit of adventure has always attracted him to the most ambitious musical challenges whether he's DJing at a massive party or crafting tracks in his home studio. He is probably most famously known for the track Higher State Of Consciousness which he released in 1995 although he had been known around the club scene for a lot longer. I'm Ready was released the same year and soon became a cult classic on the dancefloors around the country, at this particular time I was Mr Peter Popper and remember the time well in 98 when I first heard the track. I was caining it at some club somewhere that I can't quite remember and a remix of this track was played, it was mixed with Disco Babes From Outer Space by Babe Instinct, which led to one stonking tune. It begins slowly with some heavy bass then comes the smooth synth sound then the mellow vocals which all start to build up, slowly but surely keeping you excited with anticipation you just keep thinking here it comes, this is it, here we go, now........no now.........it has got to be it........ come on......then just as you think it was a big hoax wam in it comes all the pieces pick up and melt together like a celestial virgin massaging every muscle unwinding your soul into a complete feeling of euphoria we have made it. Does it get any better?? Yes is the answer but not at that moment this flash this fleeting glimpse is what the entire night is about, a true feeling of belonging. I'm going to stop now as I feel I'm starting to bable on, if anyone has a copy of the Disco Babes version please let me know. Please click here to buy your copy now.

Richard Harris - Macarthur Park.mp3 (8.47Mb)

Hello lovely readers.
In the summer of 1967, songwriter Jimmy Webb composed a 22-minute cantata that ended with a seven-minute coda called "MacArthur Park." He offered it to Bones Howe, who produced The Association, for possible inclusion on the group's fourth LP. Howe loved it, but the group didn’t want to give up about half of the album for Webb's project, so they rejected it.

Richard Harris was a superstar actor, not a singer. (There are many fine biogs about him on the net – here's a taster). His performance on this track was, therefore, essentially "acting" - as he read the lyrics with lashings of drama. (He recorded this shortly after starring in the movie Camelot). The track runs at 7:20 and, at that time, it was still very rare for radio stations to play songs longer than the bog standard 3 minutes. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles came out shortly before this, and when it became a hit - despite running @ 7:11, stations learned that audiences WOULD stick around if they liked the song.

Donna Summer recorded a disco version of MacArthur Park in 1978 which made it to No 1. Her version was originally part of a 15-minute "suite” and has none of the naked pain of Harris’s – but then it wouldn’t would it! The song has been much covered since.

Much has been said about interpretations of the lyrics to this epic. University essays about underlying metaphors and Shakespeare abound. Perhaps, you know, it's just a song about a bloke who loses his love! What do you think?

This song - more than any other, perhaps - falls into the 'love it or hate it' category. Perhaps we should just let music and lyrics take us where we want them to.
The wonderfully unique Richard Harris died in 2002 aged 72. I used to see him in a pub next to the Savoy Hotel on The Strand in London (where he held a suite and lived when in England). Always one for a Guinness and the 'craic' - it was ironic that to me he always looked like a shining tramp with his long grey locks and overcoat down to his bright red boots. 'Tramp Shining' is the name of the album from which MacArthur Park was taken in 1968! Find more about his musical catalogue here or better still buy some here

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Maria Muldaur - Midnight At The Oasis.mp3

It’s been nearly thirty years since she rode her camel to international stardom with “Midnight at the Oasis” in 1974, yet Maria Muldaur says she’s just now coming into her own as a singer. Her new album, A Woman Alone with the Blues, due out next week on Telarc, is a tribute to the late Peggy Lee. Muldaur’s other signature tune, Lieber and Stoller’s “I’m a Woman,” is a Peggy Lee hit from 1962, and she’s been an admirer since her teenage years. Midnight At The Oasis is an exotic tale of seduction so full of eastern promise I'm surprised it hasn't been used in a Turkish Delight advert, Maria's vocals are so simple yet she seems to effortlessy parade the feelings of the songwritter David Nichtern when he originally wrote it. When I was growing up I listend as my mum used to play it on the old style grammerphones, I always thought the lyrics was "midnight after your wasted" this made sense as I thought you need to be pretty wasted to lay a camel, but as I got older I realised you don't really need to be that wasted to sleep with a few camels. To buy a copy click here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Eric Burdon & War - magic mountain.mp3

In 1969 Eric Burdon had already been through two groups of Animals and one solo project backed by the Horace Ott orchestra when he came across a group in LA called The Night Shift who were playing a rhythm led mix of blues and funk. They joined forces and changed the band's name to War.
They only stayed together for a couple of years, releasing 2 albums. Magic Mountain was recorded during sessions for their debut, Eric Burdon declares WAR [1970]. It never made it onto the album, but was released as the b side of world wide hit Spill The Wine off the same album.
It was also included on Love Is All Around, a CD of out-takes and live stuff which was released in '76.

You will probably recognize those lazy sax's in the intro as it was sampled by De La Soul on 3 Feet High And Rising.
(click here to buy The Best of Eric Burdon & War from AmazonUK)

Final Fantasy VII - One Winged Angel.mp3

Your name is Cloud Strife and you are one of the best of the best, an Ex-SOLDIER member. Free of that organization you hire yourself out as a mercenary. Now, you suddenly find yourself facing the very Corporation that created you and become entangled within an enormous plot that could decide the fate of your world. Take careful note of your allies' strengths and weaknesses as you progress through this immense tale of love, laughter, anger and hate. Pay close attention to what is said to you, and choose carefully what you say to others. Every action you take will have an impact on the lives around you. I was in two minds if I should blog this today with it being a musical score from a computer game, then I thought no bollocks a computer game it may be, but fuck this is a sterlining, respendent piece of music that gloriously describes the final battle between good and evil. Everytime I hear this piece it reminds me when the game was first released I phoned in sick for work and spent an entire week with very little sleep until I had completed it. I know this sounds very sad however I felt a feeling of true accomplishment once I had kicked the bad sword weilding maniac Sephiroth ass, I had saved the world and become an unsung hero I could walk to the shops for my bottle of cider with my head held high. The dignified warrior had returned from battle ready for tea and biscuits. You can buy the soundtrack and the game here.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Meters - Chicken Strut.mp3

The meters - supafly soul dudes from new orleans influenced legends like Led Zeppelin and Doctor John they have also toured with the stones and worked as a studio band for the likes of Paul McCartney, Robert Palmer and Patti Labelle. Considered by many to be the founding fathers of funk, The Meters created a unique sound that lasted through the sixties and seventies and was reborn in the late eighties. Their trademark sound blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe. I prefer chicken strut to the much associated track Cissy Strut, (which is a fab tune in it's own right) as I feel it is has more fire in the belly. With the crazy chicken sound throughout and there smiley funk you've just got to keep on strutting. If you would like to purchase this album here is a link for your ease.

Landscape - einstein a go-go.mp3

It was 1981 the first time i heard todays (and last) Charity Shop 7. I was 10 years old and i had already developed the habit of listening to music late at night when i should have been sleeping. I remember hearing Einstein A Go-Go on my hand held radio under the covers and being totally captivated by it. The 36 second intro got my full attention, it was a collage of recordings of the band ringing the Whitehouse, The Kremlin and Ayatollah Khomeini, amongst others.
But it wasn't the intro that was left running round my brain after the fade, it was that high synth part, a catchy melody that once heard will never be forgotten. It's a tune built for builders to whistle for the rest of time.
Landscape were initially a synth pop group with jazz elements. The first album Landscape ['80] features jazz inflected instrumentals with plenty of synths and a strong brass section. I think it's safe to say that they weren't typical of the glut of synth pop bands from the early eighties, their originality may be the reason that they didn't go on to achieve further success after this hit. I mean not only is the intro pretty strange, check out the middle 8 where they suddenly launch into a new wave shouty punk section.
After the band split, singer (and founder) Richard Burgess went on to a successful career in production (incl. Spandau Ballet, Adam Ant, Visage), Pete Thomas continued playing drums with Elvis Costello and The Attractions (he played trombone and keyboards with Landscape), and bassist Andy Pask went on to write the theme tune for ITV cop show The Bill!

This track came from their second album, From the Tea-Rooms of Mars... to the Hell Holes of Uranus which was was re-issued on CD in 2002. The re-issue includes 4 extra tracks taken from later singles.
(click here to buy From the Tea-Rooms... from CherryRed.co.uk)

Monday, March 07, 2005

Reuben Wilson - got to get your own.mp3

Although recorded in the '70's as the title track for an album on Cadet (jazz subsiduary of Chess), it wasn't until the late 80's that todays Charity Shop 7 blew up and became a staple on the London Acid Jazz scene. In fact it was very popular and people often refer to Reuben as "the godfather of acid jazz". It's not hard to see why when you listen to it, from the drum roll start to the fade out (that comes all too soon) it's got all the elements there to make it a Acid Jazz classic...what with funky flutes, congas, jazzy trumpet firing off between the vocals, and an impeccable uptempo funky disco groove from the bass and drums. But it's Reuben's wah-wah organ that pushes the whole thing over the edge.

When it fades at about 3:30 you can hear some funky some right hand hammond licks, as if RW is warming up to fire off and take everyone to the next level, but alas, the 7" fades and the best you can do is to hit play again and log on to your local rare vinyl outlet to see if you can track down the album, because suprisingly it hasn't been re-issued on CD.
(click here to buy the album on vinyl from MusicStack.com)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Homer Banks - 60 minutes of your love.mp3

..........As the debate rages between dick and the devil over avant punk covers and histrionic rock bands (see last two days), I calmy turn to my pile of dusty Charity Shop 7's and pluck a rugged soul gem that i knows they are both gonna appreciate...

As with all charity shop records you are not just buying the music, you are giving a new home to something that has already been cherished by someone else , even if it only lasted for the bus ride home, followed by one play and a lifetime at the bottom of the pile.
Some youngster who once owned 60 Minutes Of Your Love somewhere along the line has had a lot more than 60 minutes of love for Sunderland AFC judging by the pencil drawings on the sleeve, probably lovingly drawn instead of doing maths homework on a warm Thursday evening in the summer of 1967.
Well if you will spend your time listening to Homer Banks pleading for your attention over rasping saxaphones accompanied by 3 beautiful sirens calling from the rocks then you are probably not going to get much maths homework done i suppose, especially when there's a big game on Saturday...

...but then again, it is more than possible that this sleeve could have been swapped with another 7" at some point on it's convoluted journey. In fact, I have a theory that this sleeve was switched sometime after 1973. It wouldn't look out of place on the massive straight-in-at-No1 smash hit Cum On Feel The Noize by kings of the time - SLADE. The footie fans amongst you (particularly those of 'a certain age') will know how the then 2nd Division Sunderland beat the mighty Leeds Utd in the FA Cup Final of that year. It was one of the great footballing upsets of all time. The world and his wife became a Sunderland fan overnight - perhaps our unknown friend was one of them?
i hope you are enjoying the sound of the needle at the start and run out groove as much as i am!
...klumphf .

(click here to buy a Best Of Homer Banks without crackles or pops from Amazon UK)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Malcom McLaren - she's looking like a hobo.mp3

today's Charity Shop 7 is the b-side of Double Dutch, the second single taken from Malcom Mclaren's debut album "Duck Rock". There's no denying that Malcom's chance meeting in NYC with a big black guy wearing a Never Mind The Bollocks T-shirt, who turned out to be Afrikka Bambaata, resulted months later in a huge change in popular culture in the UK. Not content to transform youth culture once with the Sex Pistols in '77, he did it again 6 years later with the single and the video for Buffalo Gals in 1982. (She's Looking Like A Hobo was also released on the 12"of Buffalo Gals). Wigan Pier DJ Greg Wilson has written a fantastic piece about the effects that the early Electro-Funk releases had on him and those around him, click here to read.
Produced by Trevor Horn (in between producing Dollar records and joining/producing Canadian prog rockers Yes) who took a lot of the core ideas from the Duck Rock project when he formed the Art Of Noise the following year. One technique he used when recording was to take the world music elements that Mclaren had given him, cut acetates from them and then have The World's Famous Supreme Team "scratch" them together over a solitary drum machine. Herbie Hancock later claimed that he included scratching on "Rockit" after hearing Buffalo Gals.
Of course as with any Mclaren project, he is inclined to re-invent history with all the focus on himself as the sole genius and others contributions are often forgotten, but Trevor Horn's and The World Famous Supreme Team's achievemnets here are equally as important as Mclaren's, who couldn't have realized his vision without them.
(click here to buy Duck Rock from Amazon UK)

Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride.mp3

"Nantucket Sleighride" was the term used by the whalers to explain what happened after they harpooned a whale. The first harpoon was not intended to kill the whale but only to attach it to the whale boat. Then the whale would take off... pulling the whale boat along on a "Nantucket Sleighride". The whale would tire itself out, then the leading officer in the boat would use a lance and stab the whale until dead. Felix Pappalardi wrote this song after moving to Nantucket and felt compelled to write a song describing the local lore and the perrils of whale fishing. It's a very moving tale of a fisherman who sets out to go whale hunting and never returns and is the masterpiece of the entire album. Ok Dickie Van Dyke I double dare you not to like this song as I feel it falls more in to your blinkered vision of how music is supposed to be. To buy the album click here

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Jah Division - Dub Will Tear Us Apart.mp3

I think this is by far the most interesting cover version of a Joy Division track that I have heard, although it does not have the intensity of the Grace Jones track posted by Le-Riff earlier. There has been literally hundreds of cover versions of Joy Division tracks including most notably "She's Lost Control" Grace Jones, The Distillers "No Love Lost" and Doves "Transmission". However the majority of these covers predictably are of Love Will Tear Us Apart, what makes this one different is it blends the swagger of reggae fuses it with the darkness and despair of Ian Curtis mixes in a few kraftwork like electronics adds just a few drops of laidback bassline hey presto you have an unique and intriguing cover that you can't help warming too, listen to this and I dare you not to be impressed. Click here to buy this track.

Grace Jones - she's lost control.mp3

The 7" format wasn't long enough to fit the full version of Grace Jones cover/re-invention of Joy Division's She's Lost Controlprev, on which all the "she's lost control"'s are changed to "I've lost control", she threatens to "stab you in the hand" and finally ends up screaming as she.. erm,... loses control. sheesh!..seems like Russel Harty got off lightly. The 7" fades before things get too crazy.
Todays CharityShop7 may be a joke without a punchline but, if like me you find your ear being drawn to Wally Badarou's exquisite synth burbles and squelches (not to mention Sly and Robbie holding it down on bass and drums), it is a puchline that i can live without.
The recordings that Grace Jones made at Chris Blackwell's Compass Point studios in Nassau, Bahamas [1980-86] are her best, and are the point when her music became as strong as her personality, and thats saying something! There is a 2 CD release Private Life: The Compass Point Sessions that covers the best of the three albums recorded in Nassau which includes long versions and unreleased dubs of a lot of the tracks. Essential listening.
(click here to buy Private Life from Amazon UK)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Python Lee Jackson - in a broken dream.mp3

The second Charity Shop 7 this week is one that you come across quite frequently as it was a UK hit in 1972. (I have got 2 copies- if anyone wants to pay the postage they can have the other- email).
In 1968 John Peel signed Australian band Python Lee Jackson to his Dandelion label. He booked some studio time and asked Rod Stewart to come down to the studio to record some guide vocals to "show 'em how it's done." When Peel didn't release the track because Dave Bentley (PLJ's singer and songwriter) didn't actually record a proper vocal, session producer Miki Dallon bought the tapes from Peel.
Dallon then released it on his own label Youngblood in 1970 but it didn't sell, but by '72 Rod was a star (with 4 solo albums and 3 Faces albums behind him) and this re-release managed to reach #3 in the UK charts. By all accounts Rod was not best pleased at this "guide vocal" being put out there without his consent, but then many have claimed it to be one of his finest moments.

There are 2 other tracks that Rod recorded vocals on from that 1968 session. There is a version of the Temptation's Cloud Nine that was on the b-side of the initial 1970 single (but renamed Doin' Fine), and a track called The Blues that ended up on Python Lee Jackson's album In A Broken Dream pic.
(click here to buy Best Of Youngblood Records or here for a Best Of Rod Stewart from Amazon UK)