Week 25 - Fri 18 Jun
Welcome one again to the sound systems' update that is the Seven Day Soundtrack, week ending Friday 18th June 2021. Returning volumes of sound this week, it's over to.....
"With all good wishes to RPMers for a happy summer solstice and good summer vibes."
Elvis Presley Blues by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings -
"Hi everyone hope you are all well . Here’s my 3 ......"
"Hi Everyone, hope you're all keeping fit and well.
As often happens, the weekly selections from my fellow RPMers prompts me to seek out things in my own collection that I haven't played for a while.... last week it was Porcupine Tree (thanks Tim) and Teenage Fanclub (thanks Nina). But, on the other side of the coin, I've also played the following albums which, as far as I recall, have not previously been chosen by RPM members..."
Waitin' For The Wind by Spooky Tooth - "This is the opening track from their imaginatively titled second album, 'Spooky Two'. I first became aware of Spooky Tooth via the Island Records 'samplers' (Nice Enough To Eat and Bumpers) which also served as an introduction to such acts as Mott The Hoople and Nick Drake."
I Had A Dream by Audience - "The first time I saw Audience was in 1971 at St.Andrews Hall, Norwich on a triple-bill with Renaissance and Gordon Giltrap. Fantastic night! This track is from their third LP 'The House On The Hill'."
Azzaman by Imarhan - "I may have played this before.... This is the opening track from Temet, Imarhan's wonderful LP from a couple of years ago."
"As I’ve watched a bit of tennis lately and the next Grand Slam at Wimbledon is soon, my choices reflect on that. Take care everybody. Keep the music going. "
Can't Break it to My Heart by Tracy Lawrence - "........with the Strawberries and Cream dance."
"....and there has to be a Bonus Track!"
The Wombling Song by The Wombles -
"Hoping to brighten up a horrible batch of weather this weekend with this random 3 - So, we can't burn those flippin' masks just yet and the footy has been getting in the way of the music for me, but just made the deadline again. Best wishes as ever to all you RPMers."
Go Now by Bessie Banks - "The original of a song that became a big hit when covered by The Moody Blues later in the year that this version was released. The Moodys didn't bother to mess it about too much. This version was produced by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller."
He Thinks He'll Keep Her by Mary Chapin Carpenter - "This is a popular song with Mary's famous contemporaries who always seem happy to roll up and back her when she sings it at awards etc (could it be that they've all got reason to empathise)? I've been lucky enough to catch all of these gals performing live with the exception of Kathy Mattea. Men don't really take their brides for granted do they????"
The Answer To Everything" Del Shannon - "And speaking of marriage.....This song was the 'B' side to a record that I played to death when it came out in the early 60's "So Long Baby". I probably played this side more than the 'A' whenever my then girlfriend popped round for a kiss and cuddle - we had boundaries back then which seemed to keep us in line and were probably the main reason why so many of us ended up getting married. Del (real name Charles Westover - the name he used on a studio LP when he got to the 'greatest hits' point in his career) often came up with good 'B' sides which made his releases very good value when it was hard for a teenager to earn the 6 shillings or so that were needed to buy a 45 back then."
"Further to Tony's query last week, I too saw the Robbie Robertson documentary "Once Were Brothers" about The Band and found the testimony of Mr. Robertson and his wife compelling and moving, especially with regard to how drugs and alcohol destroyed the chemistry within the group and especially the close brotherly relationship between Robbie and Levon Helm.
I know some consider Robbie's perspective to be self-serving, but I think that Mr. Robertson gets the same sort of flak that Paul McCartney used to get when being compared to John Lennon by folks who unconditionally hero-worshipped Lennon, the supposedly unreconstructed rocker. Their crime seems to have been overt ambition and intellectual curiosity- apparently this somehow rendered them inauthentic. (My little sister- OK my 54 year-old sister- is a Lennon worshipper who refuses to read Craig Brown's "One, Two, Three, Four," which is not so much a Beatles biography, more an entertaining study of the phenomenon of "Beatlemania," because I told her that McCartney comes across as a decent human being whereas Lennon seems to have been insecure, needy, and "a bit of a shit," especially in respect of his treatment of Cynthia).
On to this week's selections, which have been inspired by a viewing of the 2019 movie "Harriet," about Harriet Tubman. She was an extraordinary woman who escaped from slavery and then went back down South repeatedly as an agent of the "Underground Railroad," guiding 70 more slaves to freedom. She then led an action by Federal troops during the Civil War that resulted in 750 more slaves being freed. She lived to a ripe old age and died in 1913 surrounded by family and friends. I would not have known that the star of the film was English had I not Googled her after watching.
Best wishes and continuing good health to all, "
Sinnerman by Nina Simone - "I've read histories of popular music in which gallons of ink have been used to espouse the genius of Ray Charles (sometimes whole chapters) but in which Miss Simone barely gets a mention if any at all. Are we twigging something here?"
Stand Up by Cynthia Erivo - "The aforementioned star of "Harriet." Clearly a multi-talented woman... and yes that is Janelle Monae in a substantial role."
"On with the dance..............
(referencing last week's comments) Whoops! yes the Warlocks, my mistake, a slip of the synapses, I really should check facts… To paraphrase our beloved PM "but where would the fun be in that!?!" Though in my case it really wasn't deliberate. Clearly that is somebody else's role! (Cheers Alan! My apologies.)
That political 'dig' reminds me….. 5 years since the terrible death of Jo Cox. Though hardly an innocent time, 5 years ago her murder was an incident that I couldn't imagine happening on British streets. Now I feel that the climate is such that it is all too likely to happen again. Spare a thought for Jo, a politician who, by hard work and dedication, was truly trying to make the world a better place.Earlier this week I was chatting about the RPM ‘punk divide’ and trying to explain my perspective, which, when it comes down to it, is…‘Punk didn’t have to be awful - they wanted it that way!!’
By coincidence a friend sent me a link to a blog, which nudged me in the direction of more, feminist, punk music.
Here despite the contravertable oxymoron, is some, really rather good, ‘punk’ which I listened to this week…
Please be upstanding for the ladies...."
"And just the one Bonus Track, please, to prove that punk, glam, nouvelle vague, or whatever, none of the above mattered a great deal in the bigger evolutionary picture…"
Boxhill or Bust by Dumpy's Rusty Nuts -
"Sorry again Alan! But luckily "it's only Rock & Roll", but I have an even better quote that I shall finish with, a quote from Leo Bloom (The Producers):
'And what a day! In the same day I have taken the Siegfried oath, I've danced with a cop, a sailor and an extremely friendly Cherokee Indian'."
"3 purchased this week."
"Loved the tracks last week, with some great videos too! The Bo Diddley track was also seen recently in an excellent Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith's longtime lead guitarist) documentary about the guitar's place in 'rock music'. Bo's three girls are probably second only to the Ronettes in, ahem, 'sassiness'!! And then there were 'proggers' Gentle Giant making a guest appearance in the Madvillian video (did you spot that one John?). Dinosaur Jnr, the Shangri Las (swoon); and the Reverend Peyton which had me digging out my first choice for this week.
Memo to John " I could only concur with the 'Frippish' nature of the guitar style in the sense that it pushes atonal boundaries... either by accident or design!".... 'Atonal Boundaries'???? Errr, I only played the bluddy drums mate! ... I just thought it sounded like Bob Fripp😉!!! Still, I'm gonna include a drum track this week to show that, unlike the old 'musicians' adage, drums are an instrument. Stay safe everyone.............. "
Marijuana by Reverend Horton Heat (from 'Smoke 'em if you got 'em' limited edition10" coloured vinyl LP,** released 1st November 1990. Sub Pop label.) - "Fronted by the more prosaically named Jim Heath, his Dallas based band were formed in 1984 and played primarily in venues around that city's Deep Ellum arts venues. Heath had been carrying out sound engineer duties for bands such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, New Bohemians, Husker Du, Flaming Lips and even REM's Michael Stipe before singing ''Folsom Prison Blues' with a scratch band at a 'Peppers gig which led to Heath forming the initial bands line up. Sharing the same 'schlock horror' influences as The Cramps, the Rev's outfit are seen as a major influence on the 'new wave' of psychobilly/rockabilly' bands which sprang up in the early nineties. Tattoo magazine 'Prick' dubbed him 'the godfather of modern rockabilly' in one of their reviews and, by 1990, Seattle's Sub Pop label picked up the band and installed them in that city's Reciprocal Recording Studios to lay down this slab of primal rock. Initially the band recorded in the 'acknowledged' method i.e.each musician behind screens with instruments being recorded separately before being mixed, but Heath was dissatisfied with the results and the album was rerecorded 'live' in the studio to two track. Despite this, the album only received lukewarm reviews and it was left to their burgeoning live reputation to bolster their reputation. The band then suffered a series of line up and managerial changes before their third album ('Liquor in the front') entered Billboards 'Heatseeker' charts. Since then the band have featured regularly in that chart, as well as figuring in the lower reaches of the 'official' version but their progress has slowed somewhat in the last few years with further line up ructions and changes of label. I'm still hopeful, however, of catching the band at some time (we missed them by a couple of weeks around four years ago when they appeared at Pineda de Mars 'Psychobilly Festival a couple of weeks after we returned home)."
** The coloured vinyl 10" is currently attracting around £55-70 on Discogs.
Civilization by Sandy Nelson (Initial release on 'Compelling Percussion' 1962. Re-released as 'And then there were drums' 1966. Both on London label label) - "One of a select group of 'instrumental' musicians who steered clear of the 'one hit wonder' tag. Sandy formed his first band (The Renegades) with future Three Dog Night producer Richard Podolor on guitar, Nik Venet on bass (later to sign the Beach Boys to Capitol and produce their earliest recordings) and soon to be Beach Boy Bruce Johnstone on guitar and vocals. Their lone Original Sound label waxing ('Geronimo') charted in the MidWest states and featured in the surf n' drag movie 'Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow' in 1959. Nelson attended high school with Kim Fowley, Jan Berry and Dean Torrence, befriended Phil Spector, and was soon featuring as drummer on the early Spector hits "To Know Him Is To Love Him" by the Teddy Bears, "Alley-Oop" by The Hollywood Argyles, and "A Thousand Stars", the Kathy Young and the Innocents 1960 US charter. Nelson's debut solo chart hit was 'Teen Beat' in 1959, the first of several US and UK entries, and they were accompanied by an impressive series of albums which not only hit the Cashbox charts in their initial Mono pressings, they also re-entered when the Stereo versions were released a few weeks later! His career was briefly interrupted in 1963 when, following a serious motorcycle accident, he had the lower portion of his right leg amputated, but his recording and live performances continued through to the early seventies. 'Civilization' (perhaps a 'patience tester' for many RPM'ers?) could be viewed as an early pointer towards the 'ambient' or 'exotica' music which blossomed in the seventies and eighties featuring, as it does, an extended intro of 'found' and insect sounds before the guitars enter (played by Richie Allen/Podolor) and Sandy takes over for his customary drum solo. The insects return for the final coda before a gong rounds the whole track off nicely. Sandy was still recording as recently as 2008 with an all star band of young San Francisco punkers, the Sin City Termites, and has also released several 'experimental' keyboard based albums."
The Chill by Bill Riley (Millenium Mix)' (from 'Music Box- A new era in Drum and Bass' triple compilation album, released April 15th 1996. Full Cycle label.) - "Bit of a curiosity here.......... Bill Riley recorded quite a few discs under several aliases (Idris, Mr Riley, Secret Weapon and Machine Code) for Full Cycle and other labels in the nineties before disappearing from the scene entirely. He may well have been part of the Bristol 'jungleists' who emerged through the Roni Size/Reprazent stable at that time but the interweb searches seem to suggest he just got tired/bored of producing and may now be employed as a delivery driver! Similarly with Zak Hooper. There's some really lovely jazz guitar on this track but an internet search only throws up a 'Ukulele for beginners' course in Brighton which tells us " Zac (Hooper) has been playing the ukulele and guitar for 30 years. He has a degree in jazz guitar and is an experienced teacher." and, from the 'Reverbnation' website: "Hey. I am Zak Hooper. I sing and play guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, mandolin, banjo, and, recently, ukulele. I am an independent artist as well as guitarist and backup vox for the band Amity." If either or both these searches are correct then that's two very talented people lost to the music business!"
Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel - "Makes me think of the Summer Solstice......."
"Hope everyone is ok. My elderly neighbours are deaf and have a penchant for listening to Classic FM at mega decibels. Nothing wrong with classical music, but darker choices graced the decks next door to them this week.. *bad language alert.* Till next week, take care everyone & happy Summer Solstice."
Add It Up by Violent Femmes - "Absolutely incredible live performance (in my humble opinion. )"
"Not a widely diverse musical week but have enjoyed getting deeper into 2 of these recordings and being reminded how good a 3rd one still is....."
Hobo Blues performed by R L Burnside - "Piers' choice last week of Robert Belfour performing Black Mattie was a nice parallel to Delta Kream, the new Black Keys LP which takes songs that influenced them from the hill country blues tradition as the album's theme. So, there's a fair scattering of R L Burnside songs, who as far as I can discover, seems to have written Black Mattie, originally calling it Poor Black Mattie. The Black Keys include their version upon Delta Kream, naming it Coal Black Mattie. Robert Belfour knew Burnside who apparently also mentored and tutored Robert with his guitar playing. The other band who are hugely influenced by Burnside are The North Mississippi All Stars, their version of Poor Black Mattie appearing on their Shake Hands With Shorty album as Po Black Maddie......I played it for the Any Colour You Like theme way back in August 2016. All these little meandering pathways to follow! My favourite R L Burnside album is Acoustic Stories, which I've been listening to this week. He seems to have cemented his reputation through playing electric guitar but this song, as is the whole album, (I think) played on a National Dobro type acoustic guitar with some harmonica support from John Neremberg and is just killer from beginning to end. Hobo Blues, although not a Burnside original, is a great example of the hill country blues style of basically vamping on one chord with some cool runs thrown in. Zen like blues, in fact."
Poor Boy A Long Way From Home performed by The Black Keys - "Here's the Black Keys making a rather fine job of an R L Burnside number; found on their Delta Kream LP."
Go Faster by the Black Crows - "Travelling to York in son Ewan's car, I was reminded how good the the Black Crows 1999 album By Your Side was.........so here's the LP's lead off track."
........'Til Next Time..........Happy Mid Summer Solstice.