Thursday, July 24, 2014

recommended gigs

Thursday July 24 - the Psyatics with Peter Murphy at LV Country Saloon
Thursday July 24 - the Plurares at the Double Down with SlutHammer

Friday July 25 - Jason Charles Miller with Brandon Madejek, Fishing Season and London Mace

Saturday July 26 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Rock Cafe
Saturday July 26 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Monday July 28 - the Pine Hill Haints with the All Togethers, Swank Bastards, Bombon, My First Rodeo and the Unwieldies at the Hard Hat Lounge

Tuesday July 29 - Beau Hodges Band at Brooklyn Bowl with Dusty Sunshine and Kalsey Kulyk

Wednesday July 30 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down
Wednesday July 30 - Fuzz Solow, Easter Teeth, Illicitor and Firewater Folklore at House of Wonk

Saturday August 2 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with garage legends the Sloths

Thursday August 7 - the Boss Martians, Nu Waves and Surf Coasters at the Double Down

Friday August 8 - the Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Saturday August 9 - The Unweildies at the Dillinger

Thursday August 14 - the Sonics at the Hard Rock on Las Vegas

Friday August 15 - Deep Purple at Fremont Street Experience 3rd St Stage 9:00pm

Sunday August 17 - the Loud Pipes and Zig Zags at the Dive Bar

Saturday August 23 - the Phenomenauts and Time Crashers at the Dive Bar

Friday August 29 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Hat Lounge

Friday Sept 5 - Double Down Radio's 6th Anniversary Bash with Sheep On a Cliff, the Bitters, Fuzz Solow and the Pluralses

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Negro Religious Songs and Services - The Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture

This 15 song CD consists of religious songs that John & Alan Lomax recorded throughout the Southern states of the US between 1934 and 1942. They are performed with minimal accompaniment - if any - and the booklet gives as much details as possible after this many years. Many of the tunes are quite short - some under and some just barely a minute - but all are sung with considerable emotion and power. Of course, at this time, gospel, blues, and folk overlapped but most of the songs here have a blues-y feel.

Highlights include the haunting "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down", sung acapella by Bozie Sturdivant, "Down on Me" (later updated by Janis Joplin and Big Brother on Cheap Thrills), sung by Dock Reed (also acapella), as well as his duet with Vera Hall on "Certainly, Lord", and the fantastic spoken/shouted/sung sermon "The Man of Calvary" by Sin-Killer Griffin! He and his congregation also do a call-and-answer choral singing in "Wasn't That a Mighty Storm", then there is a five-part harmony piece by various inmates from Cummins State Farm on "Holy Babe" and several numbers sung with harmonica by Turner Junior Johnson.

I love this raw and earthy music, whether religious or secular, and this is another fine collection.

The Rolling Stones - Singles Collections * The London Years

The title pretty well says it all for this one - this 3-CD box set contains all of the Stones' singles - A'n'B-Sides - from their debut (covering Chuck Berry's "Come On") through "Sympathy For the Devil", which was apparently released as a single well after the album since this is the last track on this (supposedly) chronological collection and the "Brown Sugar"/"Wild Horses" 45 is several cut prior. Most fans will have most, if not all, of these cuts, but it's a good compilation, with a few surprises.

While they were still struggling, their more famous pals, the Beatles, wrote a number for them and "I Wanna Be Your Man" is blistering compared to the Fab Four's take on it, with Wyman's drivin' bass and Jones' fantastic, stingin' slide work. Another early r'n'b work-out, "Stoned", is mostly instrumental but has Mick claiming that he is "stoned...out of my mind" backed by Ian Stewart's rollickin' piano and some excellent lead work. Not surprising that this one didn't hit the charts! Of course, all the big hits are here - plenty of early r'n'b ravers, some acoustic sides, some pure blues and, as time went on, some psych numbers from Their Satanic Majesties Request. I dig that stuff a lot, but it is a kind of a knock-out when the next release after these psych songs was the damn-near-perfect rock'n'roll of "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Talk about a return to form!

The final CD has cuts from their three best records - Let it Bleed, Beggars Banquet and Sticky Fingers - as well as Mick's "Memo From Turner", cut with Ry Cooder for the Performance soundtrack, and a couple more obscure ones, "I Don't Know Why" and the swingin' "Jiving Sister Fanny".

Don't know if I'd call this essential, seeing as all of the albums through Exile on Main Street are all essential, but this is a cool comp and it's nice to have all of these in one place. Good stuff!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live

After the success of Muddy Waters' Johnny Winters-produced comeback album Hard Again, Winters went
on the road with the man and this document is the result of their travels. The original vinyl album was edited a bit, but here on this 2-CD set we (supposedly, at least) get the full versions of the songs along with a number of extras.

Because of Johnny's participation, a number of rock'n'rollers probably heard this giant for the first time doing his own material that had been covered by innumerable younger, white bands. Of course, the monumental "Mannish Boy" is included (with Winter singing a verse), followed by the salacious "Nineteen Years Old", where Waters' plays slide and elongates the ending with some of his classic grunts, groans and laughter. Sonny Boy Williamson's "Nine Below Zero" is solid, with some cool Pinetop Perkins keys, and Muddy is back on slide on "Streamline Woman", which is nice, as he sounds like he's having a blast and he (mostly) put aside his guitar for a number of years before this "comeback" (not that he ever went away).

Funnily enough, he has a harmonica-driven tune called "Howling Wolf" (considering his rivalry with that man) and then his groovy take on the terrific "Baby, Please Don't Go" before Disc One closes with the extended "Deep Down in Florida", where each member of his terrific band gets a chance to show off.

Disc 2 opens loosely with Pinetop plucking out a blues and introducing Muddy and then Muddy introducing the band as they slip into a medley of "After Hours/Stormy Monday Blues" (with more than a nod to T-Bone Walker in the guitar solo). A strong "Trouble No More" follows and then a crowd favorite, "Champagne and Reefer". Pinetop leads off "Corrina, Corrina", not one of my faves, but cool, though "Hootchie Kootchie Man" is always a stormer. Waters takes to the slide again for the sexy and swagggering "She Moves Me", but their "Kansas City", while nice, with some good solos, is fairly inconsequential, even with Pinetop sharing the lead vocals. Showing that Muddy wasn't afraid to share the spotlight (he probably appreciated the break), he lets his piano player do "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie", as well - a vehicle used by many others throughout the years and which lets everyone take a lead, including the legendary drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith.

"Mad Love" is more of Muddy's sensuous blues - he was quite the ladies' man - and "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" is a cool rocker and another method for introducing his group and then turning over the lead vocals to Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson before ending the proceedings with a rapid-fire "Got My Mojo Working", sounding not unlike the legendary Newport Jazz Festival version.

There is a superb, full color booklet included, with copious liner notes by Muddy's long time guitarist Bob Margolin - so, full band is Jerry Portnoy on harp, Luther Johnson, Bob Margolin and, on disc one, Johnny Winter on guitars, Calvin Jones on bass, Pinetop on piano and Willie Smith on drums - quite a line-up! His early work is still my fave, but this was a great return to form and would've been a gas to witness.

Friday, July 18, 2014

recommended gigs

Friday July 18 - the Psyatics at the Double Down
Friday July 18 - the Loud Pipes at the Triple B with Planes Mistaken for Stars, All Eyes West, Illicitor, Mercy Music and Fredward

Saturday July 19 - the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down

Wednesday July 23 - Crazy Chief at the Griffin

Friday July 25 - Jason Charles Miller with Brandon Madejek, Fishing Season and London Mace

Saturday July 26 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Rock Cafe
Saturday July 26 - the All Togethers at the Pioneer Saloon

Monday July 28 - the Pine Hill Haints with the All Togethers, Swank Bastards, Bombon, My First Rodeo and the Unwieldies at the Hard Hat Lounge

Tuesday July 29 - Beau Hodges Band at Brooklyn Bowl with Dusty Sunshine and Kalsey Kulyk

Wednesday July 30 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday August 2 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with garage legends the Sloths

Thursday August 7 - the Boss Martians, Nu Waves and Surf Coasters at the Double Down

Friday August 8 - the Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Saturday August 9 - The Unweildies at the Dillinger

Thursday August 14 - the Sonics at the Hard Rock on Las Vegas

Friday August 15 - Deep Purple at Fremont Street Experience 3rd St Stage 9:00pm

Sunday August 17 - the Loud Pipes and Zig Zags at the Dive Bar

Saturday August 23 - the Phenomenauts and Time Crashers at the Dive Bar

Friday August 29 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Hat Lounge

Friday Sept 5 - Double Down Radio's 6th Anniversary Bash with Sheep On a Cliff, the Bitters, Fuzz Solow and the Pluralses

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

son of a bitch...


Johnny Winter, Virtuosic Blues Guitarist, Dies at 70
 ---
He didn't seem well at all when I saw him a couple years ago, but goddam, another one gone...
He was a true great - very sad to see him go...

Friday, July 11, 2014

goddammit - RIP Tommy

Report: R.I.P. Tommy Ramone (1952-2014), the last living original member of the Ramones 
---
They literally changed the world and all died far too young.
I was lucky enough to see them several times with Tommy - still my favorite line-up.
A truly sad day...


BTW - FUCK CANCER!!!!

The Crumbs - "The Crumbs"

The Crumbs were (or maybe still are - I see online there was a 2010 release) a 90's punk rock band from Florida who released a few sporadic records, including this slab for Lookout! Their 70's styled punk rock is highly reminiscent of bands like the Saints (the singer especially reminds me of Chris Bailey), with hints of the Ramones and the Dead Boys (there's a shout-out to Cheetah at one point, unless my ears deceive me, and since I just realized the song is called "dead boys too", I would wager I am correct).

Straight-ahead punk rock with strong playing, cool, short'n'to-the-point tunes, and plenty of snotty attitude. These cats were tons'o'fun and a well-done change of pace from a lot of the stagnant scene at the time.

Nothing original, but who really wants that?! Good disc!


Jeff Dahl - I was a Teenage Glam Fag (Volume 1)

Jeff Dahl has had a long and illustrious career in punk rock - from working with the Angry Samoans and Vox
Pop in the late 70's/early 80's to his own Jeff Dahl Band (where he played with luminaries such as Cheetah Chrome and Bruce Duff) to his solo outings - and he has consistently released high quality punk rock'n'roll. While living in Cake Creek, AZ., he built his own studio and was able to record as he pleased with Jenni Sex on bass and Anna Conda on drums (both who turned out to be Jeff himself). This is one of the projects he did, where he cut his own versions of 70's glam rock songs that he grew up with and loved. Apparently, there is a Volume 2, but I do not have it and seeing as this volume was a limited edition of 500, I'm probably out of luck (unless Jeff still has some - Jeff?!).

As he explains in his liner notes, none of these were meant to be note-for-note copies, these are his interpretations, done from memory and given the Dahl-treatment - stripped down punk rock with his own harmonies, some cool licks and some damn interesting changes added here'n'there. Some are very well known - "Caught in a Dream" (Alice Cooper - the band), "I Need Somebody" (Stooges), "Personality Crisis" (Dolls), "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie), "One of the Boys" (Mott) - and some a bit more obscure - "Chez Maxine" (Hollywood Brats), "Living in the 70"s" (Skyhooks), "Glycerine Queen" (Suzi Quatro), "Candy's Going Bad" (Golden Earring), "Aggravation Non-Stop" (David Werner) and "Long Legged Lisa" (Silverhead). All are great though and while I knew most of these (I'm not that far off from Jeff's age so we have many of the same influences), there were a few that were fun discoveries.

While the packaging is pretty sparse, Dahl's liner notes are cool and informative and shows where he's coming from and proves his love for rock'n'roll (as if he needed to do that!). All of his work is worthwhile but definitely pick this one up if you can find it anywhere!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Firestarter

After the dissolution of Japan's fantastically fun Teengenerate (named after a Dictators song - how could they possibly be bad?), Fink, Fifi and Sammy combined forces with drummer Jimbo to create the power-pop (with the emphasis on power) Firestarter. There is tons of punk energy here - they even cover Eddie & the Hot Rods terrific "Do Anything You Wanna Do" - mixed with truly well written tunes, some fine singing and creative, melodic guitar lines. They kept the explosiveness of Teengenerate, but gave it some finesse, a little more structure and more tunefulness.

This debut album shows that they did their homework before going into the studio, as every song is strong and the playing is tight but rockin' and there is little more that you could ask for from a power-pop/punk album!

There are lots of later, similarly named bands, so don't be fulled by imitators! Don't know if this has been released on CD yet, but worth searching out! (PS - I have to admit that I was friends with these guys and they even wrote a song about me - that appeared on a single, not on this album - called "Rich's Eyes", so you determine if you think I'm prejudiced!)

recommended gigs

Thursday July 10 - The Lucky Cheats w/Rev. Horton Heat at Triple B

Friday July 11 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down with Water Landing, 3D6, Pete Stein and Karate in the Garage
Friday July 11 - Whiskey Breath at the Dillinger
Friday July 11 - the All Togethers at the Goldmine Tavern

Saturday July 12 - Fuzz Solow with Black Water Soul, Whiskey Southern Band, Low Volt and Steady Extras at the Dive Bar
Saturday July 12 - the Astaires at the Hard Rock Cafe with Jessica Hernandez

Tuesday July 15 - The All Togethers, Vegascendents, the Kountry Kitten Burlesque Show - at the Dive Bar

Wednesday July 16 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Griffin

Thursday July 17 - Bogtrotters Union at Velveteen Rabbit

Friday July 18 - the Psyatics at the Double Down
Friday July 18 - the Loud Pipes at the Triple B with Planes Mistaken for Stars, All Eyes West, Illicitor, Mercy Music and Fredward

Saturday July 19 - the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down

Wednesday July 23 - Crazy Chief at the Griffin

Saturday July 26 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Rock Cafe

Monday July 28 - the Pine Hill Haints with the All Togethers, Swank Bastards, Bombon, My First Rodeo and the Unwieldies at the Hard Hat Lounge

Tuesday July 29 - Beau Hodges Band at Brooklyn Bowl with Dusty Sunshine and Kalsey Kulyk

Wednesday July 30 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday August 2 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with garage legends the Sloths

Thursday August 7 - the Boss Martians, Nu Waves and Surf Coasters at the Double Down

Friday August 8 - the Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Saturday August 9 - The Unweildies at the Dillinger

Thursday August 14 - the Sonics at the Hard Rock on Las Vegas

Friday August 15 - Deep Purple at Fremont Street Experience 3rd St Stage 9:00pm

Sunday August 17 - the Loud Pipes and Zig Zags at the Dive Bar

Friday August 29 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Hat Lounge

Friday Sept 5 - Double Down Radio's 6th Anniversary Bash with Sheep On a Cliff, the Bitters, Fuzz Solow and the Pluralses

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I’m Your Man – The Life of Leonard Cohen – Sylvie Simmons

When I was a young child first learning guitar, a brother and sister of mine were very much into the folk scene of the time. Among the usual Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, etc., one of the artists that they turned me on to was Leonard Cohen. His music was essentially Cohen and his acoustic guitar, but besides writing incredible melodies, his lyrics were full of poetry, humor, love, lust, darkness, suicide, longing and much more. His third album, Songs of Love and Hate, was so grim and depressing that he lost some fans (I remember my sister saying it was "obscene" - not due to language but due to the graphic depictions of depression and lost love), but it was my favorite for the same reasons. I actually stopped following him not long after that album and was essentially unaware of the level of his later fame, though I always returned to the first three albums when looking for powerful acoustic songs.

Simmons' biography is extremely well-researched and created with the blessing - although maybe not full participation - of her subject who cherishes his privacy. But, she was able to find many, many friends, confidants, lovers, musicians, family and more to tell the tale of his extraordinary life.

From his childhood in a well-to-do Jewish family in Canada through his rise to (some) fame as a poet (he had at least one documentary based on him before he moved to music) to his travels to his decades of work as a music and the acclaim that finally came his way, Sylvie takes us along and gives us many insights. 

For a shy boy, Leonard grew into quite the ladies' man - especially once he became a bit well-know. Many women came through his life – the legendary Suzanne and Marianne, Judy Collins, Nico, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, actress Rebecca De Mornay – daughter of Wally George! - among many others – many of which he collaborated with and produced some of his best known works.

There were plenty of anecdotes that I never knew: Charlie Daniels was a session musician for Songs from a Room – and very astute about Cohen’s music and what was needed – and he even toured with the man and also played on Songs of Love & Hate. Leonard enjoyed drugs quite a bit in his youth and took "hundreds" of acid trips, especially on 1st European tour.Between playing a festival in France & the Isle of Wright, he played in a mental institution - long before the Cramps had the idea! - and continued to do so, believing that the mentally disturbed understood his work better than most. He didn't want to do the third album, the afore-mentioned Songs of Love & Hate – my favorite. In 73 he flew to Te Aviv to fight in the Yom Kippur War, partially in solidarity with his Jewish brethren and partially to get away from his life with Suzanne, their child and the demands of the record company - things that most men would love to have. He ended up being an entertainer rather than a soldier and glorified the war - rather at odds with most musicians who were pacifists at the time.

Simmons does a fine job covering his career - his recordings and tours and I learned much about his later work with keys and synthesizers and cheap Casio keyboards that became his most famous, including a collaboration with Phil Spector. 

As had happened to many others, he had a manager that he trusted implicitly and she ended up draining literally millions of dollars from him, causing him to be basically penniless in his 70’s, which caused him to decide to tour again – a tour that ended up lasting years (with breaks) and making him a millionaire yet again. Funnily enough, he was extremely hesitant about touring at all, thinking that no one remembered him, and yet he broke all kinds of records. Interesting how even someone of his stature can be insecure.

When she leaves him in 2012, he was 80 years old, working on a new album and looking forward to touring again. Here's hoping that he will continue for many more years - as did his 100+ year old Buddhist teacher!

Simmons' book is a treat for fans of his words and his music and just a plain interesting accounting of a life filled with much variety and an incredible amount of ups and downs. Very much recommended.