Week 23 - Fri 4th Jun
Welcome everyone to the all inclusive musical embrace that is the RPM Seven Day Soundtrack, weekending Friday 4th June 2021. Emanating from RPMers sound systems this time?.......well, over to.....
"It has been lovely weather lately, and I have been digging back into summers long past....
Two of my favourites, released when the world was still young, and filled with bright sunshine and floating bubbles..."
New Speedway Boogie by The Grateful Dead - "'The Dead', when still 'The Werewolves', were once the Hells Angel's band of choice. They played Dozens of H.A.Mc.C. So.Cal. Parties and Rallies. This is their take on the occurrences at Altamont festival, which, despite having being advertised as joint headliners, having foreseen the likely outcome during negotiations with the Stones Management days before the event, they eventually refused to play. They also publicly warned people not to go. Members of the band later suggested that Mick Jagger's impossibly huge ego, and his misunderstanding of the cultural differences between British and US Hells Angel biker chapters, and his refusal to take advice, was the single greatest factor in setting the scene for a preventable disaster (which totalled hundreds hurt, dozens seriously injured, and 4 deaths).
'The Dead' at their finest...."
The House At Pooneil Corner by Jefferson Airplane - "The track that the Airplane were arrested for playing on a roof in New York's Wall Street, a good few weeks before the Beatles thought of doing something similar themselves."
South Side Soul by John Wright Trio - "Strange - neither of those previous choices are particularly sunny or light! Oh well, onto a track that seems to have just been there forever... whenever the sun comes out. I'll have to listen closely for any lurking shadows. Enjoy the weather, and the new freedoms, folks......but please stay careful, the 3rd 4th and 5th waves could still be around the corner......and I really enjoy hearing everybody's choices each week. (Yes, even you Morra!)
Peace, Love and continuing Good Health to you all...."
"As some of you know, I rarely find time to go on the RPM site and listen to the fine music let alone read some of the reams of info about the reason for certain peoples choices. (....you could find time by watching less daytime TV 😉, Tim). Last week was no exception.....however, it was brought to my attention a suggestion about Punk not promoting racial harmony as much as 2Tone....? I'd just like to give my opinion that 2Tone would never have happened if it wasn't for punk. The London Punk scene 'on street level' weirdly grew from the remnants of the Soul Boys. One of the most important punk clubs 'The Vortex' was called 'Crackers' the rest of the time and catered for a very multicultural crowd playing lots of 'four to the floor' soul and, dare I say, Disco? When It opened as 'The Vortex', Punk bands played live but little or no Punk Records were available to play between bands, and so, enter Rasta Don Letts with his Reggae records as DJ.
Just like in Coventry, black and white working class kids were being educated together and becoming friends, The BM & NF were recruiting on the football terraces and so the Punk Moment became an integral part of 'Rock Against Racism'. The 2Tone bands were much more obvious and focused racial issues, but Punk had done the ground work and were much more inclusive when it came to gender, sexual and disabilities issues. Remember 'Rock N Roll Swindle' actress, Helen Of Troy? Mathew Fraser? Wayne/Jayne County? (....that's got that all sorted, then, Tim.)
So, I'm not gonna pick Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex, as it's too obvious, and I'm not prepared to use possibly the only Black lead vocalist of the Punk Movement as a piece of tokenism. Instead....The King of Reggae."
White Noise by Stiff Little Fingers - "From The forefront of the Rock Against Racism movement (...who covered Bob Marley on their 1st album & The Specials on their 2nd)
Stiff Little Fingers with White Noise.....white noise being a reference to the torture technique used by the British army on IRA suspects."
Little Bitch by The Specials - ".....and finally, a pure Punk song from The Specials, a song which can be interpreted as racist towards Ginger haired people......."
"After last weeks 'punk-fest' it's back to 'normality' this week.......... if you can call these three live psychedelic monsters 'normal' that is!! "
I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) by Electric Prunes (from 'Stockholm 67' album) - "Like other similarly, silly named bands (see my third choice below), the Prunes (as we call 'em) burned brightly... but brief, releasing this monster single in late 1966 and following it with the equally excellent 'Get me to the world on time' (a full seven minute opus on this live recording) before releasing their disappointing debut album (see my 'Psychedelia Obscura' article for a fuller story). Their second album, 'Underground', whilst still containing the occasional clunker, is a better reflection of what this band appeared to be able to generate in the live forum thanks to a more 'hands off' approach by producer Dave Hassinger which allowed the band to include more of their own songs. It's a real pity that various management shenanigans ostensibly brought about the original band's demise in late 1968. The Stockholm (and Norwich/Cromer) tour was the only time they ventured outside of the US until a fully reformed outfit hit the UK in 2002 and played just a handful of sold out gigs in the UK and Greece, This line up also recorded the excellent 'Artifact' album which the band deemed 'the album we never got to make'."
Mystic Eyes by Oxford Circle (from 'Live at The Avalon. July 1966' album) - "Formed in 1964 as a surf instrumental outfit called The Hideaways from Davis, Calif, (around 250 miles from the coast!!), the group changed direction in 1965 when the British Invasion really took hold thanks to the 'second wave' of bands such as the Yardbirds, Them and, to a lesser extent in the US, the Kinks. Opting for a name that suited their new 'identity' the band soon took the Yardbirds 'rave up' sound and stretched it to new extremes which, within a year, would have placed them at the forefront of the psychedelic scene. 1966 would see the band playing at the Avalon Ballroom in SF alongside the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother and the Holding Company. It's from one of those shows, possibly their debut performance, that this CD was recorded and from it I've selected their astounding cover of Them's debut album opening track. Those RPM'ers familiar with that album will know that the Them track 'fades in' as if we were walking into the studio as the band were in the process of laying down this primitive blues raver. Here, Oxford Circle start in top gear and then proceed over the following nine minutes to show how the Them version may have sounded if we are ever privy to the full version (assuming it actually exists). The feedback laden, high speed, eastern raga guitar work, coupled with the strobe and oil lamp light show (courtesy of The North American Isis Alchemical Company!!) must have had a stunning effect on those partaking of the free, LSD laced apples or, occasionally,the acid infused punch usually supplied in huge bowls placed around the venue. Strangely the band were never picked up by a major label, with just one single (Foolish Woman/Mind Destruction) issued on the tiny World United label. As a result, in early 1967, internal friction saw drummer Paul Whaley leave to join the (very) similar Blue Cheer and later lead vocalist and guitarist Gary Lee Yoder and bassist Dehner Patten left to form form Kak (just one collectable album released in 1969) before Yoder also joined Blue Cheer. It would be a couple of years later before bassist Jim Keylor also joined Blue Cheer, for just one album track, before going into production where, amongst others, he produced the early Dead Kennedys 'classic' single 'California über alles / The Man With the Dogs' in 1979."
Mind Flowers by Ultimate Spinach (from 'Live at the Unicorn, July 1967) - "Recorded before they were signed to, and hyped by, MGM with the dreaded 'Bosstown Sound' millstone, here's the band live, on home turf (natch) during their two month residency at Boston's (Massachusetts not Lincs!!) Unicorn club, when they were still known by their previous moniker, The Underground Cinema. All the ingredients for the recorded version are there, plus plenty of extra feedback and guitar solos. September 1967 saw impresario and record producer Alan Lorber announce to the world, courtesy of Newsweek Magazine, his intention to make Boston a "a target city for the development of new artists from one geographical location." and sign the Underground Cinema, Orpheus and the Beacon Street Union. MGM, who were looking to find a commercial rival to the 'San Francisco Sound', due to the majority of that city's major bands already being in the clutches of the US major labels, quickly signed all three bands. Formed by multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and all-round 'miserabilist' Ian Bruce-Douglas, it was clear from the outset that the band would probably be short lived, and so it transpired. Named after an LSD vision where Bruce-Douglas, after colouring his face with green felt-tip, saw himself as the 'ultimate spinach' when he viewed his reflection in the mirror (mirrors are always dangerous when tripping, just ask Alice!!), or maybe it was just an attempt to replicate some of the more imaginative names around at that time. Whatever the reason, it did backfire to some degree as the band, and it's music, were immediately viewed as pretentious. A pity really as their first two albums (the third doesn't feature B-D) contain some classic psychedelia, which was already on display on this live album recorded a full six months before their debut self-titled LP. It would be late 1968's 'Behold and see' album which would belatedly feature an equally out there version of this song but, by that time, various members had been replaced and, crucially, there was no replacement keyboard player signed to the band which led to a 'thinner' sound both on record and in the live arena. The debut album charted at No 34 on Billboard and the band toured with Big Brother and the Holding Company but a continual roundabout of new members (including soon to be Steely Danner Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter) diluted the bands profile and, following the second albums lowly 192 chart placing, in early 1969 B-D jumped ship. A contract fulfilling third album (cunningly entitled.... Ultimate Spinach lll ) was cobbled together but has, apparently, no redeeming features which pertain to the bands excellent initial output. Lovers of 'prog', or even 'goth' would do well to lend an ear to the 'Spinach' as there are definite 'future echoes' (hey, I just made up a definition!!) of both genres in the band's work."
"NB: John...... doesn't the guitar work on this one sound 'Frippish' before Fripp even started recording??? Or is it just me??
So, no punk this week........... hope you've enjoyed these three 'trips' into the paisley patterned past?
"I have dropped a plan to offer two more quotes from the estimable David Hepworth on the grounds that it might further inflame the "punk wars" referred to last week, and by way of initiating a truce, here is a quote from a different source that I suspect all RPMers can get behind.......
"Music is not a race to a finish line... it is not a popularity contest... the quality should not be determined by record sales, downloads or chart action. You can't pit one artist against another to win a prize or title." (Stan Hitchcock).
I suspect that the only two pop music "tribes" that could object to that are the people whose interest goes no further than checking the weekly charts, and lovers of Eurovision (don't get me started...).
I suggested last week that May was a good month for new releases, and the first I thought of was The Black Keys' new one, which has already been represented in the 7DS - and I agree with Tim's assessment of it as "awesome" (...one of my more erudite LP reviews, I felt, Tim). I'll go for three other May new releases instead.
Best wishes to everyone."
Afrique Victime by Mdou Moctar - "An edit of the 7-minute title track, on which he shreds like Eddie Van Halen. I have to read the lyric sheet to know what he's singing about, but this could be on the way to being one of my albums of the year. Did someone else choose a track by this artist a few months ago or am I confusing my Tuareg guitarists?"
All The Lilacs in Ohio by John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band - "From 'Leftover Feelings'. When Mr. Hiatt is good, he's very, very good, and I'm a sucker for the sound of a Dobro."
Start It Over by Riley Downing - "Another title track. He is best known as a member of The Deslondes, who are currently on hiatus, although this record seems to be largely a collaboration between Mr. Downing and another former member, John James Tourville, who co-wrote, co-produced, and played assorted instruments."
"Just yesterday I was watching a Steve Miller Band concert on Sky Arts and really enjoyed it. So I’m choosing tracks from their repertoire. The band was formed in 1966 in San Francisco. Their hits were from mid to late 70s and are are a staple of classic rock radio. Their earlier albums were psychedelic rock and Steve Miller has always been an accomplished guitarist and singer, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. He was still touring until Covid stopped that in 2019. Look after yourselves RPMers and keep the music going. "
"Hi to all RPMers, Great tunes and wonderful banter make this weekly experience essential. I'm a bit pushed for time so I'll leave any philosophical gems until another time and give you three tracks I've enjoyed this week....."
"These tracks crossed my earspace this week and I was reminded how much I liked them at the time, and still do. Thank you RPMers for supplying a weekly fix of good music and in the immortal words from Hill Street Blues Let’s be careful out there."
"Here's my 3 for this week. We've been hearing a lot about India over the past couple of weeks and It reminded me of those other Indian's i.e. the North American kind so I thought I'd pick out 3 on that theme.
A well known quote by Chief Red Cloud - Sioux
"They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one - They promised to take our land...and they took it.""
The Ballad Of Ira Hayes by Johnny Cash - "I've seen the memorial to the battle for Iwo Jima at the entrance to Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C. and it's very impressive but for me it remains a reminder of how badly the American native indians suffered at the hands of the white man epitomised by the tale of this brave man and his undignified demise."
Indian Sunset by Elton John - "There's a thread throughout the early lyrics of Bernie Taupin showing his affinity to tales of The American West. Mention of Geronimo's demise in this song is historically incorrect but wouldn't have been surprising had it been true given how badly the native Indians were treated by the white settlers"
Apache by The Shadows - "A track written by Jerry Lordan and originally recorded by good old Bert Weedon - a version that Jerry disliked intensely. The Shadows' version was very popular but just one of many instrumentals that were released around this time in pop history. Tony Meehan's drumming was very reminiscent of the movie music of the day played whenever 'Injuns' were causing mayhem."
"Still enjoying all your picks each week and with our new-found freedoms still unfolding I'm hoping we can all meet up some time to try to rekindle some of the comradeship enjoyed before this pandemic messed everything up. Nearly there (allegedly)."
"Here's my three taken from albums played this week.......and I'm not even gonna mention the 'P' world......"
Lay My Body Down by Jon Boden - "Still playing JB extensively this week.....here's a summery track from latest LP, Last Mile Home."
Landslide by AC/DC - "Sometimes, you just need to RAWCK!!!!"
Let's Work Together performed by The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers - " A rather groovin' version of the Wilbert Harrison song made famous (to me, anyway) by Canned Heat, found on the first NMJRFR opus called, of course, Vol. 1, (Vol. 2 out very soon). I'll dedicate this with a universal embrace to all lovers of genre free, fashion free, no boundaries mind-and-spirit inspiring music."
".......'Til Next Time....keep tuned in and the music turned on.."