Archive for January, 2009

Click Horning “Click”

Click Horning Click

This album is officially out of print though I bought a cdr copy off Click Horning’s website.  I think Click burned the music on this cdr directly from an original vinyl copy of Click, which was originally released on ABC records in 1968.  Prior to this he had released a worthwhile single or two, none which I have ever seen or heard before.  There had been rumors of a cd reissue which would include the album and singles/oddities, possibly by Sunbeam Records, though nothing has resurfaced since writing this review.  The album was recorded in New York City although Click is a native of New England and somewhat of a local legend in his hometown.  He currently lives in New Hampshire and plays every Saturday afternoon at Peter Christian’s Tavern in New London (try to check him out one night).

So what of the album?

In a day when all kinds of mediocre folk and acid-folk albums are being reissued by the dozen, Click holds up remarkably well for it’s quality songs, mysterious aura and unique originality.  Click’s lyrics are strange, eccentric and soul searching, just listen to Many Times Jimbo, perhaps the lp’s highlight and most well-remembered song.  This track is an acoustic number with lots of sitar and deep mystical lyrics:  “moonlight serenaders solemnly they sing” and “the ghosts of memories they haunt you.”  This is a remarkable song that’s very pastoral and exudes a strong sense of self-awareness: it’s one of the all-time great acid folk classics.  This track is followed by My Precious, a beautiful spacey ballad with flute and piano.  On this track Click’s voice closely resembles that of Nick Drake.  Most of the other tracks are less psychedelic but well performed and always interesting.  Crazy Hannah would be another one of the lp’s highlights.  This is a driving, playful number with fiddle, drums, piano and bizarre lyrics: “Crazy Hannah, yes, I knew her, so thin and frail, you could read a book right through her.”  Another track, Find It For Yourself, sounds remarkably like Beck (from the 90s) while For Judith, To Paris and See That My Children Got Warm Clothes are striking if unconventional folk-rock ballads.

If you’re into esoteric late 60s folk-rock this is a great unknown album.  Click Horning is a true original, it’s a shame none of his material has been made available for a wider audience.

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“Crazy Hannah”

😀 CDR Copy | clickhorning.com ]

Classic Gear: Guitar Amps

Young aspiring musicians won’t narrow their eyes on some guitar amp and dream of one day becoming a rock star. That inspiration will strike first from the gleaming make of some classic guitar or keyboard, not the big ugly box they’re leaning on. But without a proper tribute to the beastly speaker boxes that made the sound of rock come alive, our classic gear series simply cannot continue.

The first thing you should know about these amps is they run on vacuum tubes. Tube Amps produce a warmer sound than Solid-State amplifiiers. In my opinion this is almost as significant as the difference between analog and digital. You can tell if it’s a tube amp by looking in the back for those big light bulb-like tubes, or if it takes a little while to warm-up after you click the ‘on’ switch. There are merits to Solid-State technology of course, but early in the 60s you had no other choice but a tube, lending to its revered and classic status.


Vox AC30

Vox AC30

Visually gorgeous and beautiful in its sound, the AC30 must top any list of classic guitar amps. The AC30 was strongly associated with the British Invasion; the Vox company was started in Kent, England and quickly found itself providing amps to the main bloodline of 6os rock n’roll. Much of the Vox’s characteristic sound is attribitued to its revolutionary Celestion loudspeakers, but the real kicker on this amp is the “Top Boost” channel, which adds a bright distortion in the style of a Kinks guitar sound. Everybody used a Vox in those days: The Beatles, The Kinks, The Stones, The Yardbirds, Queen, it’s still highly regarded today and was used by modern legends like Paul Weller and Kurt Cobain.

According to this history of the AC30, the Shadows had a mutally beneficial relationship with this amp during its roll-out in 1959/60. Here’s a cut from Britain’s most influential rock instrumental album:

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The Shadows “Theme From A Filleted Place”



Fender Twin Reverb

Fender Twin Reverb Another legendary guitar amp, the Twin Reverb was often paired with a Rhodes keyboard as well. Better known in their silverface models, the blackface is pictured at right as these were produced first between 1963 and 1967. Other classic models from Fender include the Deluxe Reverb or the Princeton Reverb, but the Twin remains its most iconic, resting at the apex of perfect guitar amp design.

One of the great things about the Twin Reverb was the built-in spring reverb unit. If you were to kick the amp or pick it up and drop it or shake it, you get this awesome storm effect from the spring clanging around. Bands would often do this during the melt down of a live show; it’s a classic easter egg effect. You can hear Roy Nichol’s Tele & Twin combination on Merle Haggard’s Okie From Muskogee live album (source).

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Spring Reverb Demo on Farfisa Compact by Brendan

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Merle Haggard “Okie From Muskogee (Live)”

 

Marshall Plexi

Marshall Plexi

Sometimes a combo amp like those above had the right sound, but couldn’t visually communicate the ferocious roar contained within. Enter the Marshall Stack. A Marshall head amplifier resting atop a speaker cabinet (or two) has an image that immediately communicates “loud.” Legend has it that the Marshall stack was invented when Pete Townshend asked Jim Marshall to build him a “weapon” to overpower rowdy audiences. Marshalls from the mid to late 60s had plexiglass faceplate covers, which earned them the “Plexi” nickname. The Marshall stack is the preferred rig of guitar gods like Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend and the classic solution for the guitarist who wants it as big and loud as possible. As Spinal Tap fans know, Nigel Tufnel had his Marshall’s volume knob modded to go “up to 11.

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The Who “The Ox”

Honorable Mentions
Fender Bassman
Orange AD-50
Mesa/Boogie Mark IV Combo
Ampeg B-15
Dumble Overdrive Special

The Beatles with their AC30s “She Loves You”

uReview: The Kinks in the 60s

Well that about does it for my reviews of 60s Kinks albums. But I’m curious to know what our readers have to say of their 60s output, and which are your favorite albums?

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So, what did you pick, and why?

The Kinks “The Kink Kontroversy”

Kontroversy

As already discussed, Kontroversy was not the Kinks’ first great record (though it’s widely believed to be), but it was their best so far by a significant leap.

Milk Cow Blues is much more than a blues: the changes play along with the format but the dynamics turn it into a proper komposition, unleashing its serious grit towards the end. I’m not much of a dancing man, but a well timed Gotta Get The First Plane Home,  a short and sweet riffy rave-up, might send me into a frenzy. Not unlike some of the Beatles’ early material, these tracks will sound like “oldies” to new listeners, but the Kinks’ advantage is its relentless, raw  sound. These guitars could slit throats; I especially love the combination of angry acoustic with piano and the high-cut distorted electric. The songs will eventually worm their way into your head, a few bonafide klassics should take no time at all: Till The End Of The Day (probably the best from the Really Got Me, All Day formula), I’m On An Island, Where Have All The Good Times Gone, and the bittersweet It’s Too Late.  

Bonus includes two versions of Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, a beloved cut and harbinger of the Kinks hometown focus that would show up more and more. Looking back on the Kinks discography, this is the transitional record that would open the door to the masterpieces that would follow, but I put Kontroversy right up there with the best.

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“I’m On An Island”

😀 CD Reissue | 2001 | Sanctuary | amazon ]
:) Orig Vinyl | 1965 | Pye | ebay ]

(Kollecting all the Kinks albums not your thing? Check out the new box set: Picture Book)

The Kinks “Kinda Kinks”

Kinda Kinks

This is the first Kinks album where I love every song. When you really fall for a band, their formative material starts to gain new ground as you listen closer; you can hear the bedrock for the more developed music that would come. While the “Kinks” debut, which is loaded with cover versions, doesn’t really do it for me, “Kinda Kinks” flat out kicks.

The punchy fill opening up Look For Me Baby (just listen to this song!!) kicks off an understated but growingly catchy Kinks klassic. As stripped down and simple as these early numbers are, they retain a sort of modest perfection. Ray Davies would add brilliant turnarounds, prechoruses, and bridges to string his multi-part compositions together in later works, but the simplified structures herein support the raw Kinks sound and energy present on each track (making even Dancing In The Street worth the ride).

Nothin’ In The World Can Stop Me Worryin’ Bout That Girl has become an important gem for the Kinks, overlooked by many until Wes Anderson’s Rushmore popularized the track, as well as the Kinks, to a new generation. The liner notes to the Rushmore soundtrack suggest that the filmmakers considered scoring the entire film with Kinks tracks, which would have been fantastic (though the soundtrack as is would have been dearly missed).  So Long is a similarly acoustic wistful track (see Podcast 9) with that mellow side stick rhythm.

The guitar sounds on Kinda sincerely thrills me: a clangy, tinny, rambunctious mess, perfectly executed. Dave Davies was on top of his game. Come On Now, Shouldn’t Be Sad, Got My Feet On The Ground are smokers. Something Better Beginning is another well received ballad, one of the tracks reviewers will cherry pick from this underrated album. It’s not a mind blower, but it’s a dam dependable slab of good solid music, benefiting from the developing skills of one of Britain’s most celebrated groups.

Maybe you’ll agree with critical reviews out there that the Kinks weren’t making “cohesive” albums yet, but one great track after another the whole record through is cohesive enough for me.  The 2004 CD reissue of Kinda comes highly recommended, includes 11 excellent bonus cuts with many of the tunes available on Kinks-Size and Kinkdom, and restores the original UK track lineup. Unfortunately, you’ll only find one track from Kinda Kinks (Come On Now) on the newly released Picture Book box set.

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“Look For Me Baby”

😀 CD Reissue | 2004 | Sanctuary | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1965 | Pye | search ebay ]

The Kinks “Kinks-Size” & “Kinkdom”

Kinks Size & Kinkdom

So much is made about the Kinks’ “Golden Age” from the years 1967-1972. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of loving these records all day and night, but when the Kinksdust settles, you find that the years 1964-1966 were an especially powerful Kinkstime too. The newly released Picture Book box set only does a cursory job of representing this material.

“Kinks-Size” and “Kinkdom” were not official album releases, but like the Great Lost Album they were American label releases containing excellent material and superior track line-ups.

Kinks-Size was released in March of 1965 by Reprise in order to capitalize on the big albumless hits, Tired of Waiting For You and All Day And All Of The Night. Louie Louie, I Gotta Go Now, Things Are Getting Better, and I’ve Got That Feeling came from the British EP “Kinksize Session” (clearly an inspiration for this album’s title), while I’m A Lover Not A Fighter and I Gotta Move were originally on the All Day EP. I’m A Lover and Revenge were shelved cuts from the “Kinks” debut. Come On Now was a track from their upcoming 2nd official album “Kinda Kinks.”

Kinkdom was released in November of 1965, three months after Kinda Kinks. This release comprised tracks from the British EP “Kwyet Kinks” (A Well Respected Man, Such A Shame, Wait Till The Summer Comes Along, Don’t You Fret) as well as some of the best unreleased (in the US) British singles (Never Met A Girl Like You Before, See My Friends, Who’ll Be The Next In Line, It’s Alright). Naggin’ Woman was an unreleased cut from the UK edition of “Kinda Kinks,” and Louie Louie is repeated from “Kinks-Size,” an inexplicable move by Reprise.

These albums best represent the scorching sound of the early Kinks, appropriately ravaged by Shel Talmy’s untrained production style with songwriting strong enough to bolster the genius of Ray Davies. Don’t waste your money on incomplete box sets. Nothing the Kinks recorded should be considered extraneous.

Kinks-Size

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“I’ve Got That Feeling”

Kinkdom

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“Wait Till The Summer Comes Along”

:) Orig Vinyl | Kinks-Size | 1965 | Reprise | ebay search ]
:) Orig Vinyl | Kinkdom | 1965 | Reprise | ebay search ]

PODCAST 9 City Scenes

TRS Podcast Logo

Running Time: 39:38 | File Size 54.5 MB
Download: .zip | .mp3
To subscribe to this podcast: http://therisingstorm.net/podcast.xml [?]

PLAYLIST

Intro: Mickey Newbury “T. Total Tommy”
“The Byrds arguing in the studio”
Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds – 1965 & 1971

Anymore Than I Do – The Attack – 1967 single

Round The Morning – Maxfield Parrish – It’s A Cinch To Give Legs To Hardboiled Eggs – 1969

City Scenes – Bob Lind – 1971

Blue Horizon – Emitt Rhodes – Farwell To Paradise – 1973

So Long – The Kinks -1965

Cold Turkey – Big Boy Pete – 1968

Samples from Electronic Ringtones (vol. 1) & Ringtones for Business – Rcptones – 2009
(shameless self promotion)

Yeahhh b/w Piano (I Said A Prayer – This Isn’t Love) – Brian Wilson & Dennis Wilson – 1981

Come Sit By My Side – Steve Young – 1972

City Sidewalks – Maffit/Davies – 1968

The Big Put On –Billy Edd Wheeler – 1969

She’s Gone – The Dovers – 1965 single

Roll On Baby – Ronnie Lane – 1974

Closer: Delaney & Bonnie – 1970

uReview: Grateful Dead “Grateful Dead”

The Grateful Dead's best album?

12345678910 (84 votes, average: 7.04 out of 10)
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I thought I would spice up this uReview section with a rating system. You can rate the album up or down out of 10 now. I added the rating system to past reviews as well, so just click this uReview tag (also located at the top of every post) to rate the rest of them.

While we’re working on the next podcast, let’s hear what you have to say about the GD debut.

😀 CD Reissue | Rhino | 2003 | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1967 | Warner Bros | ebay ]
😉 MP3 Album | download @mazon ]
😎 Spotify link | listen ]

Read the rest of this entry »

Randy Newman “12 Songs”

12 Songs

Randy has a voice that works for any audience. I think his varied and rather awesome body of works helps prove this: ex 1. ex 2. ex 3. I hate to bring it up again (does every record I listen to have Clarence White on it?) but gaddang I love the original Old Kentucky Home with many renewed thanks to cw (I’ve always been more familiar with the BB version).

Mama told me not to come. Rabbit Rabbit. Happy new year!

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“Lucinda”

:) Original Vinyl | 1970 | Reprise | search ebay ]
😉 MP3 Album | download at amazon ]