Archive for June, 2008

PODCAST 5 Frozen Laughter

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Running Time: 61 Minutes | File Size: 55.8 MB
Download: .zip | .mp3
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PLAYLIST
Clip from Tim Buckley “Starsailor”  [1970]
Clip from The Rising Storm “Frozen Laughter” [1966]
The Byrds “So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star” [1971]
from Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971

Bo Diddley “I’m Looking For A Woman”[1956]

Louie and the Lovers “Sittin’ By The River” [1970]

Mouse and the Traps “Sometimes You Just Can’t Win” [1968]

Dillard & Clark “Through The Morning, Through The Night” [1969]

Jim Ford “Love On My Brain” [1969]

Tony Schwartz “Music In Speech” [1954]

Johnny Jenkins “Sick and Tired” [1970]

Ronnie Lane “Ain’t No Lady” [1974]

EYE OF THE STORM
Clip from: Radio Show – Theater Five “The Eye of the Storm” [1965]
Arrogance “It’s Sad But You Can’t Really Hear Me At All” [1976]
Daughters of Albion ” Still Care About You” [1968]

The Keggs “To Find Out” [1967]

Brian Eno “Blank Frank” [1973]

SPONSOR
The Tokens “Commercial” [1971]

Space Opera “Country Max” [1973]

The Velvet Underground “Train Round The Bend” [1970]

The Pretty Things “Midnight To Six Man” [1965]

Joe Tex “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)” [1966]

CLASSIC CLOSER
More from that live Byrds release

Euphoria “A Gift From Euphoria”

A Gift From Euphoria

A Gift From Euphoria is a well-funded album loaded with symphonic arrangements, excellent studio musicianship, psychedelic audio collage, and sound effects. It’s probably near to the apex of experimental rock from this era, and of the melding and juxtaposition of different styles of music.

The first two tracks on the record demonstrate the pace. Lisa an expansive and string laden orchestral number gives way to a legit bluegrass-country tune with banjo and pedal steel. Wait a little longer and you’ll get some fuzz guitar brain melters. Euphoria is all over the place on this album, which was recorded in Hollywood, London, and Bradley’s Barn. Some of the best session men in town put this one together, and it shows. Nary an unprofessional sound is on this record and some of the arrangements are stunning. They could use this album to replace the orchestra at the Boston Pops.

This is the only album released by the short lived Euphoria. The liner notes imply that the members disappeared, but parts of the liners are as out there as the sounds. Get this one for a supreme example of country and rock gone suicidally psychedelic, sounding remarkably fresh today.

For more from the Euphoria guys, be sure to check out the Bernie Schwartz record, The Wheel.

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“Did You Get The Letter”

😀 CD Reissue | 2003 | Revola | buy from amazon |
:) Original Vinyl | 1969 | Capitol | search ebay ]
reposted from June 6, 2007

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy”

Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy

It’s kind of a shame the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is best known for an album that isn’t really theirs. Will The Circle Be Unbroken is a landmark bluegrass recording organized by the NGDB, but the main draw are performances by legends like Maybelle Carter and Earl Scruggs and the songs are mostly traditional. To get to the heart of what the real Dirt Band were all about, you have to look past the ‘tribute’ album, delving into the solid string of albums leading up to it (and beyond), especially this excellent 1970 outing released just before Circle.

Uncle Charlie is a bold mix of classic rock, country rock, audio pastiche, and traditional bluegrass – maybe one of the best country rock records this side of the Fantastic Expedition. The songs fiddle their way into your consciousness at the same non-immediate pace it takes with Dillard & Clark. But for those familiar with classic rocknroll and Americana, these finely curated tunes should get to you pretty quick. Only a few songs were actually written by members of the Dirt Band, with great contributions from Michael Nesmith, Kenny Loggins, Randy Newman, and Jerry Jeff Walker, who contributed a major gift with Mr. Bojangles (NGDB recorded a definitive version on this record). You can hear the idea forming for Circle in the banter from the band before and after ‘live’ cuts, and the recordings of old Uncle Charlie and his singing dog. A song with hit potential, Prodigal’s Return is the equal of any classic rock radio staple, but fresher and better, completely untouched by the machine of overplayed hits.

Sweeter numbers really shine on this disc, like the bare bones treatment to Randy Newman’s Livin’ Without You and Nezzy’s laid-back and easy Propinquity, though I can’t quite get a handle on House At Pooh Corner: did they sing about Christopher Robin and Owl for kids? And why do I like it so much? There’s also such a hard rocking version of Buddy Holly’s Rave On that it resembles the feel of a Roxy Music song. Let me not undermine the strength of the original songs on the album, however as Cure, Traveling Mood, and the various other snippets bring Uncle Charlie full circle, so to speak.

The early Dirt Band albums never caught on, probably because of their jug band sound – though they were one of the few bands with the skills to pull off a successful jug band rock. Their live album, Alive, is great as is the debut, Ricochet (a true lost 60s classic), and Rare Junk. But the triumvirate of Uncle Charlie, Circle, and Stars and Stripes Forever are considered their high water mark. Nitty Gritty’s the real deal.

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“Prodigal’s Return”

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“Livin’ Without You”

😀 CD Reissue | 2003 | Capitol | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1970 | Liberty | search ebay ]
😉 MP3 Download | buy from amazon ]

The Rascals “Once Upon A Dream”

Once Upon A Dream

After releasing three classic garage blue-eyed soul records, the Rascals felt a need to expand their sound, become a bit more ornate, and take in the influence of psychedelia. In early 1968 they released Once Upon A Dream, a vague concept lp inspired by recent albums Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s. The concept is a bit unclear to me but I believe each track is supposed to represent a different dream. The group’s vocal arrangements were some of their most ambitious to date and where the previous three albums had been excellent collections of album tracks and singles, Once Upon A Dream hangs together quite well as an album – a finished product if you will.

Once Upon A Dream opens up with a fairly well known track, Easy Rollin’. Easy Rollin’ is one of the mini classics on this album and stands out from previous Rascal outings in that it’s more roots influenced with edgy acoustic guitars, harmonica, and B-3. The production on this song is remarkable: one can hear birds chirping in the background and the band itself seems to have more space and breathing room. Other tracks like the dreamy Silly Girl and zany Rainy Day are psychedelic pop songs that have strings and horns in the mix. These sweet, confectionery treats give way to harder edged psych rockers Please Love Me and It’s Wonderful. Please Love Me harks back to the band’s mid 60s garage soul period but has wonderful flute and swirling fuzz guitar effects. Other great songs are the soul-blues of Singin’ The Blues Too Long which has a clear Ray Charles influence, and the great, overlooked blue-eyed soul classic, My World. My World is notable for including female backup singers as well as the Rascals’ own excellent vocal arrangement.

The Rascals would release other good albums after Once Upon A Dream but few pop records from the time are as instantly memorable and sophisticated as this. At the time, the album’s production and sound were considered a triumph. This is a true classic and should be part of any serious rock n roll collection. There are a few cd reissues of Once Upon A Dream currently available while the original Atlantic lp is fairly easy to find.

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“My World”

😀 CD Reissue | 2007 | Collector’s Choice | buy from amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | Atlantic | search ebay ]

LP Giveaway Contest: Dennis Wilson “Pacific Ocean Blue”

Pacific Ocean Blue

After 30 years the first Beach Boys solo album, Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue , is getting the reissue it deserves. This is a truly special album, able to touch your soul. Today it is finally available either on Sony Legacy’s Enhanced Double CD or Sundazed’s new Hi-Definition 3-LP vinyl set.

From Sundazed: “Sundazed’s vinyl edition of this lost masterpiece comes in a lavishly illustrated, triple-gatefold sleeve with the three LPs pressed in high-definition “Pacific Ocean Plue” vinyl. The first LP presents a gorgeous, newly-mastered version of the original album, and the other two LPs contain the absolute cream of Dennis Wilson’s unreleased solo work, including enthralling material from his long-rumored Bambu project.” Read more on Bambu @ aquariumdrunkard.

We’re so thrilled about the release that we’re giving away a free copy of the vinyl Sundazed LP. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment naming one of the albums we’ve used in our header image up above. Please only name 1 album per person. The contest ends when all the albums have been named (or guesses run out of steam) and the winner will be selected at random and emailed (so enter a valid email address). Sorry! Contest ended.

Honestly, I’ll be surprised if all 23 albums are identified because some are a little tough. We have reviewed a bunch on this site, but not all of them. Have fun and Good Luck!

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“River Song”

😀 CD Reissue | 2008 | Sony Legacy | buy from amazon ]
:) Vinyl Reissue | 2008 | Sundazed | buy from sundazed ]

Double Zappa |FZ| 1974-75

Zappa 1974-1975

After creating his two most commercially successful albums, FZ released a couple of beasts that many progressive fans call his apex and would become the Elements of Style for nearly every jam band in the 90s. I’m more of an early Mothers fan but there’s no denying this is some of his best.

Roxy & Elsewhere (1974)
In the midst of an old Zappa-crazed summer, this one really blew me away. I had never imagined a live band could perform like this, and I still don’t think I’ve ever heard a performance like Roxy ever since. The band was tighter than ever while playing the most complex passages Zappa had yet penned. Pygmy Twylyte and Echidna’s Arf are intricately orchestrated pieces that must have been exhilarating in a live setting. Napoleon Murphy Brock’s vocals balanced the show with a relaxed quality on Village Of The Sun and Son Of Orange County, a mellowed out retake for Frank to stretch his guitar over. The 15+ minute Be-Bop Tango gives a taste of the fun to be had at a Zappa show and a welcome Freak Out! number, Trouble Every Day, offers what may be the heaviest drum fill I’ve ever heard.

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“Echidna’s Arf (Of You)”

One Size Fits All (1975)
Same band as on Roxy & Elsewhere hits the studio.  The prog-rock numbers benefit from some studio attention and Ruth Underwood’s tuned percussion feats continue to amaze, but there are some new Zappa classics to fall back on, namely Po-Jama People, San Ber’dino, and Sofa (a recurring FZ theme introduced here in song and illustration). At once, the album will satisfy pop and prog fans alike as things never veer too far in one direction. One Size Fits All is a jewel from Zappa’s prime and never could enough be said of his guitar work on Inca Roads.

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“Inca Roads”

Sync: Stan Brakhage + The Soft Machine

| Video

Stan Brakhage – Water For Maya

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=BVNWq3gOBl4[/youtube]

start youtube.
play mp3 soon thereafter.

mp3: The Soft Machine – Out Of Tunes

Michael Hurley, The Unholy Modal Rounders, Jeffrey Fredericks & The Clamtones “Have Moicy!”

Have Moicy!

This is a special record. If you can’t figure that from the amount of online chatter, user reviews and critical reviews declaring Have Moicy to be one of the best records of all time, or at least proclaiming some kind of undying allegiance (Moicy made the New York Times’ top 20 LPs of 1976), you’ll get it falling in love after just a couple spins. Count me in on the converted! Sometimes I fall so deep for a record that listening to the music isn’t enough, I wish I could touch or hold the sound itself. If it were possible, Have Moicy would get a hug.

A collaborative and joyous meeting of out-there minds, the founders of freak-folk hadn’t lost a touch of steam by 1976. Michael Hurley, known by fans as Snocko (see his official homepage), was a Folkways recording artist while Peter Stampfel was one half of the Holy Modal Rounders, Steve Weber absent from these sessions. This would be Jeffrey Fredericks and the Clamtones’ first official recording but all were essentially part of the Rounders family, and best of all, Have Moicy! is merely a gateway into the fine solo recordings of all the artists involved.

Stampfel’s numbers drive with clawhammer banjo, washboard and ratchety percussion, an unconcerned fiddle and mandolin leads. Half the songs are electrified with pre-Meat Puppets unaffected treble licks in interlocking rhythms. The players never fill too much space, giving each instrument enough breathing room to act as genuine ear candy. The band somehow converges to create a clean renegade folk constantly teetering on the edge of chaos. Some undefinable bit of magic holds it all together. The tunes have unserious and silly lyrics but are never overtly comical or embarrassing, just fun, unpretentious, and honest folk music.

It’s impossible to pick two standout tracks from such a solid lineup. If you like what you hear, don’t delay in grabbing the 1992 reissue or the mp3 download, you won’t be disappointed. Every tune is positively great, and for the initiated, few other records will bring as much cheer.

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“What Made My Hamburger Disappear”

😀 CD Reissue | 1992 | Rounder | buy from rounder | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1976 | Rounder | search ebay ]
😉 MP3 Album | download from amazon ]

Swampwater “Swamp Water”

Swamp Water

Their last album and another really good country-rock outing. This self-titled effort was released off RCA in 1971 and came packaged in a strange jacket. Swampwater’s lineup had remained the same since their self-titled 1970 debut.

In comparison to that debut, there were a few more rock n roll tracks like the album opener Ooh-Wee California, the raw Dakota, and Ol’Papa Joe. These songs were good though, with well constructed guitar solos and strong bluegrass and cajun flavors. There were a few covers too but all were standouts like the excellent heartfelt version of One Note Man, a track with nice jangly Byrdsian guitar solos and pretty fiddle, which gave the song real atmosphere. Guilbeau also resurrected Gentle Ways of Lovin’ Me, a track he had recorded on numerous occasions with many different bands. Swampwater turned in one of the best versions of this song which is highlighted by barrelhouse banjo and a delicate, sincere arrangement. Another great track, Headed For The Country, compared favorably with the country-rock era Byrds, and had beautiful, sad folk-like harmonies and fine guitar playing.

All in all the album was strong, lacking any weak moments and showcased a great band that should have been at least as well known as Poco or Commander Cody. Swamp Water is fairly easy to find on ebay, I bought a copy for around 15 dollars but it still amazes me that this lp has never made it onto cd.

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“One Note Man”

:) Original Vinyl | 1971 | RCA | search ebay ]

The Turtles “Present the Battle of the Bands”

Battle of the Bands

One of their very best, the Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands was released in 1968 off the White Whale label. The concept is pretty clear for once, with the Turtles presenting a different band on each track (greasers, a country band, surf rock group, indian tribe, psychedelicists, and so forth). This makes for an eclectic listening experience for sure but somehow the band makes the album gel together quite well.

Battle of the Bands is the kind of record that would have been too eccentric for top 40 fans but not underground enough for diehard freaks. Perhaps this is why Battle of the Bands never found the audience it deserved. It’s a confusing, jarring album at first listen but eventually the band and their songs worm their way into your head like some strange, fatal disease. Elenore and You Showed Me (written by Gene Clark and Jim McGuinn) were big top 10 hits but very worthy in their own right, coloured by a sarcastic sense of humor and gorgeous harmonies. If anything, these tracks prove the Turtles had a genuine gift of melody and a knack for creating 60s commercial pop gold. Other tracks like the semi fuzz guitar instrumental Buzzsaw, the Beach Boys parody Surfer Dan, and the wild, banjo-fuelled Chicken Little Was Right are over the top quirky rockers that are muscially entertaining and overlooked highlights. Food reminds us of the Beach Boys’ Vegetables, a wacky, tuneful psychedelic track with a few primitive snyth stabs and lyrics that recite a brownie recipe. The album closes with an undisputed sunshine folk-pop classic, Earth Anthem, which stands out for its pretty horn arrangement, heavenly harmonies, and sparse accoustic guitars. Earth Anthem, also notable for its ecology theme, was supposedly recorded at 3:00 A.M. by candlelight, to capture the exact mood the Turtles wanted.

Battle of the Bands was a signpost to Flo & Eddie, and is an album where the band let loose creatively and showcased their unique brand of humor. It had all the ingredients that made the Turtles so great: lush melodies, flawless harmonies and fun, pop friendly sounds. The Turtles are one of rock’s most severely underrated groups and anyone doubting this should really consider outstanding early tracks like Grim Reaper of Love, She’ll Come Back, Wanderin’ Kind, Outside Chance, and She’s My Girl – all lost classics. Most of their catalog was reissued by Sundazed back in the early 90’s but has remained out of print for years. Original vinyl lp’s of Battle of the Bands are easy to score but a cd copy will cost you $50+.

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“Earth Anthem”

😉 MP3 Album | download at amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1968 | White Whale | search ebay ]