Friday, November 30, 2007

James Brown: Brother Rapp

recorded "live" at L'Olympia, Paris, Monday March 8, 1971

with the JB's:
Bobby Byrd - MC, vocals, organ
Jabo Starks - drums
Tiger Martin - drums
Bootsy Collins - bass
Phelps Collins - guitar
Cheese Martin - guitar
Fred Wesley - trombone
St. Clair Pinckney - saxophone
Hasaan Jamison - trumpet
Chicken Gunnells - trumpet
David Matthews - arranger/bandleader

available on: this

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Beyond The Wizards Sleeve: Spring

Face A:
Don't Cry Girl
The Fifth Note

These are re-edits, with additional instrumentation by Beyond The Wizards Sleeve. If anyone knows the names of the original artists, do get in touch. Also get in touch if you have any advice on toning down the sssibilants on vinyl transfers.

BTWS on MySpace

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mighty Baby: Egyptian Tomb

This jam appears on the CD in the new ish of MOJO. I think it's time for me to take the plunge and buy the album. Visit our friends at The Rising Storm for a full review.

Visit The Met for some actual Egyptian tombs, many of which still palpably resonate with the spirits of the tyrants encased within.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jimi Hendrix: Machine Gun

from Band Of Gypsys

This is one of those cuts you turn to in times of need, and it always does what you need it to do. Happy birthday Jimi and fare thee well.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hervé Roy: Spring Leitmotiv

I have this on this. I've not been able to determine the name/year of the original Telemusic LP it appeared on. Anyone?

Hervé's MySpace page

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cymande: Dove

Simply an immortal classic that's been hitting the spot for me lately. Taken from this CD.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blonde On Blonde: Whole Lotta Love
The Wonder Band: Whole Lotta Love

written by Page/Plant/Jones/Bonham/Dixon

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

KC: Give It Up

Great pennywhistle-and-horns part. I'm always expecting to hear this in the preview of the latest romantic comedy. Perhaps, someday, I will.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Jan Akkerman: Pavane

Recorded at the Soundpush Studios - Blaricum - Holland

Friday, November 16, 2007

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five:
The Message b/w The Message (instr.) [1982]

The Message [1972]

These musical homonyms have fallen into heavy rotation for me lately. I've often wondered exactly which musical geniuses were responsible for the backing track on Flash's "Message", which features about 15 different brilliant percussion and synth overdubs. I still haven't fully sussed it (although I have concluded that the percussion overdubs were done by a human), but for what it's worth here are the complete credits:

(E. Fletcher-M. Glover-S. Robinson-J. Chase)

Produced by SYLVIA INC. Jiggs Chase & E. Fletcher

Bass - Doug Wimbish
Guitar - Skip McDonald
Prophet - Reggie Griffin, Jiggs, Sylvia
Keyboards - Gary Henry, Dwain Mitchell
Drums - Keith LeBlanc
Percussions - Ed Fletcher

Also, I just looked up "sacroiliac" in the dictionary. It's a real word.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Beatles: The Sheik Of Araby [1962]
Art Tatum: The Sheik Of Araby [1937]

This chestnut was written in 1921, with lyrics by Harry B. Smith and Francis Wheeler and music by Ted Snyder. (Ted Snyder is the man who gave Irving Berlin his start in show business, hiring Irving as a song plugger in 1909. Now that's old school.) The song was popularized by Eddie Cantor, who performed it in the 1922 Schubert stage show Make It Snappy. It was a hit before your mother was born.

The Beatles version was recorded on New Year's Day, 1962, as part of their audition for Decca records. Recorded at the Decca studios at 165 Broadhurst Gardens, London. With Pete Best on drums. Taken from this CD. George Harrison said the Beatles's version was inspired by Joe Brown, although as far as I can tell Joe's version didn't surface on record until this live version from 1963, which, as it happens, is rather different from the Beatles arrangement.

Art T's version was recorded on November 29, 1937 in New York City, and released on Decca records. (Unlike the Beatles, Art apparently passed his audition.) Taken from this CD. For more stride piano stylings, dig this Fats Waller version.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mel & Tim: Starting All Over Again [1972]
Shirley Brown: Woman to Woman [1974]

In 1972, Barbara was the 58th most popular name for baby girls. In 1974, it had dropped to 77. In our own time, Barbara seems to have fallen out favor, charting in at 561st, snugly between Jaida and Janet. However, when the Barbaras from these two songs were born, let's say in 1949 and 1951, you were looking at the 4th and 5th most popular name. Digression - the only Barbara I know personally is Italian.

I love the narrative introductions to these songs, and in the Shirley Brown song, love the idea of the philandering free loader as desirable mate.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Okay. The posts here lately on Art Decade have gotten mysteriously long-winded and verbose, stretching out from the ether like tendrils assailing and very possibly criminally assaulting. Where is Emmett ? Where is Mike ? Big B and Sheridan Dupre IX ?

Come to mention it, Sheridan Dupre III ?

I don't know for sure, can be the only answer - save for the fact that over the last week or so i was fortunate enough to land my ass the opportunity to launch a few silos or RPGs of questionable provenance in your direction. You are, my friends, a captive audience - and for that i am unequivocally grateful. Most of you are undoubtably homegrown Americans ; some of you, like myself, are no doubt of a subtley different persuasion.

So fucking what. That is the beauty of the world-wide-web.

Unlike the WWF nothing is fixed. Nothing is tortuously obvious. And for that, dear acquaintances, i am assuredly over the moon.

Thanks to Art Decade for giving me the time and the place, and to Emmett, especially, for giving me the props. See ya around and hope you enjoyed it in part.

Recorded: Record Plant Studios, L.A. 1975 (Polydor/MCA)
and 1979 (RCA Records PB5160), respectively.


posted by ib

Monday, November 12, 2007


Myrah 45: ib design

I know, i know. As Big B commented several months back with regards to his Big Star post, if you are already familiar with a group you probably know everything there is to know about them.

Well, next to Alex Chilton, Mike Brown (nē Lookofsky) was probably one of the most talented sixteen year olds you're ever likely to hear comitted to vinyl. Add Steve Martin Caro's perfectly pitched vocals to the mix and you have an undisputed recipe for absolutely soul-stirring ethereal pop genius.

"Walk Away Renée" was a huge international hit for the Four Tops, but doesn't come close to the original release on Smash Records. A sterling expression of unrequited love, you can satisfy your curiosity as to how the Left Banke came together and fell apart as a result of a tortured combination of ego, narcotics, and abysmal management here.* Possibly the best Fan Site you will come across on the web, there is a treasure trove of unreleased and hard to find material online to be downloaded and digested too. The follow up single "Pretty Ballerina" was, unexpectedly, even better. We are talking Major League shit here. A perfect balance of Beatles baroque and Velvet Underground leftfieldism.

The undisputed princes, if not kings, of Greenwich Village.

Brown, à la Brian Wilson, and the rest of the group inevitably clashed and he departed before a second album could be delivered, but the Left Banke's final 45 release on Smash in 1969 saw the Left Banke briefly reconcile their differences to produce a double a-side comparable to anything previously released. I've never been able to source a picture sleeve or label image for this release, so the image posted above is something cobbled together in Photoshop designed to fill a blank on my MP3 Player.

As for the Cleveland connection, Steve Martin left some solo demos with a fellow Left Banke member for safe-keeping at some point in the 80s, while he travelled from New York City for Ohio on unspecified business. These demos eventually wound up here.**

That tenuous NY/Ohio connection alone is reason enough to post this *** for your entertainment also. Rocket from the Tombs.



*** download: PERE UBU: FINAL SOLUTION (hearthan HR102, 1976)

Recorded October 21, 1969 (Mercury Studios, N.Y.) (Smash 2243 )

posted by ib

Friday, November 09, 2007


The 80s was a disquieting period for me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, i couldn't get behind the way the music industry had become so homogenised and bloated with its own self-importance. Too many good people had died in the 1970s for me want to jump in and flagellate myself into a stupor in the spotlight of an economically driven fit of hysteria.

I hated the self-congratulatory stench of delusion. I hated the graphics. I hated the cheap looking suits and shady haircuts. I hated the flippancy of the music foisted on me in every bar and nightclub. And, above all else, by the end of the decade i wanted to grab Brett Easton Ellis by the scruff of his Armani Wall Street jacket and jam a copy of "American Psycho" right up his smugly winking arse.

It wasn't all bad of course. America had thrown up Dinosaur Jr and, even better, Thin White Rope - led by bona fide paleontologist and criminally underrated Guy Kaiser (i believe he's a university lecturer these days; no issues with that) - and as the 90s grew close here in the U.K. the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays were a waxing moon of defiant antipathy. Nevermind Seattle.

In hindsight, obviously, things take on a generally rosier glow. The tendency is to keep a lid on your misgivings and watch your belly grow exponentially as you slowly sink into the cushioned sofa of middle-age. But wait, fuck it, it was always like this: that's why you blithely stamped your heels together and turned your back on Kansas in the first place.

Bo Diddley. It's still there in your gut, twitching like a tumor.

I'm still on the shore with the tide sucking on my shoes. Still kissing the wind with a watering eye. And, no matter where i choose to rewind the tape, there are always songs that make me want to kick up the sand.

Even stillborn in the 80s.

Make mine a double.


posted by ib

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Robert George Meek: born, April 5, 1929, Newent, Gloucestershire ; died February 3, 1967, London

Over in the States you had Phil Spector, but at the same time here in pre-Beatles Britain there was Joe Meek, and what he lacked in business acumen he more than made up for with sheer homespun innovation, and an eccentricity which really got up the nose of the Soviet-style Politbureau which was the U.K. record industry.

Obsessed with the space-race, and determined to have his "Telstar" beamed across the world via sattelite in a global first, what lay at the nuclear core of his production technique was a Heath Robinsonesque collection of unravelling string and knicker elastic, with Meek miking up the bathroom in his (quite literal) studio-flat to create the tub-thumping drum sound which became his trademark. His secret weapon version of the Spector Wall-of-Sound in an imaginary cold war of his own making.

Hounded, like his peer Brian Epstein, for his sexual proclivities, the increasingly paranoid and out of control Meek shot himself dead in 1967 after a squabble with his boyfriend over money when it became clear he could no longer bankroll his obsessive bid for continued chart-topping domination. Or make his boyfriend a rolled gold superstar.

I recently watched an Arena documentary on Joe Meek in which his two brothers expressed their painfully sad recollections on why Joe was seduced and ultimately broken by the stellar lights of otherwordly ambition. Neither sibling was capable of bringing him back down to earth. Asked directly what was their favourite Meek production, one brother smiled fondly and turned to camera:

"The Cryin' Shames. Do you know that one ? That was a nice one. Lovely song."

Or words to that effect.

I can't argue with that. Turn up the reverb and dampen the lights.

Word of caution, though - lest you feel too sorry for Joe, ponder the even sadder fate of his landlady and erstwhile shoulder-to-cry-on, whom he coolly murdered seconds before turning the gun on himself. Classic case of wrong place, wrong time. Just as is the case with Phil Spector, guns and record producers don't make for a good mix.


posted by ib

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


1977. And what have we here ?

Syd Barrett aficionado, and sometime runner for Led Zeppelin's "Swan Song" in London's Soho - one Daniel Treacy - sprints off with the cash and conveniently becomes unemployed on proceeds significant enough to ferociously dig himself underground and subsidise the recording and pressing of their first monumental 45.

Punk attitude or what ? The rest of the band even gets the creative opportunity to hand-color the xerox copied sleeves (a wink and a nudge to Mayo Thompson ?) and thus cement their GLC credentials.

Dan Treacy is subsequently fired from a Pink Floyd support spot by David Gilmour, for announcing Syd's address (accurately) over the house P.A. and is subsequently diagnosed himself as suffering from the depersonalizing Bi-Polar Disorder, or something of the ilk, much to nobody's surprise.

Improbably uncelebrated in every locality outwith Holland, where " I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives " was an unequivocal hit in 1982, the Television Personalities patently didn't give a toss that Simon Cowell would leap out his grisly rabbit suit long enough to secure a network production and unfortunately go full-term with several bastard spawnings of the X-Factor. Hello "Donnie Darko", anyone ?

"Where's Bill Grundy Now" ? Well, i haven't seen him.

For those in the know, fuck the Glasgow Housing Association.

Note: There are three sleeves: one features several writings all over, one features 4 small pictures including a TV set, and one features a picture of Santa Claus holding a kid.

14th Floor / Oxford St. W1 7" (OVERGROUND 003) 1978


posted by ib

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Glasgow, Gorbals, 1970: picture by Harold Chapman

Scratch away at the surface of the Scottish indie scene at virtually any given point over the last thirty years or so, and you will sooner or later discover a deviant abiding passion for west coast U.S. acts from the Beach Boys to the Monkees, from the Electric Prunes to the Byrds - all perpetually at odds with the dictates of contemporary pop fashion.

Delve a little deeper, and get both hands in on the open heart surgery, and of course you will sooner or later grasp the arterial route 66 that runs through the Glaswegian Psyche and stops off transiently from Texas to Memphis and snacks out on a diet of Tabasco soaked underdogs from Roky Erickson to Johnny Cash.

Not for nothing was the flag of the confederacy fashioned on a St. Andrew's saltire, but that alone opens up an entirely different can of worms.

No other group i can think of wears their passion for Big Star and Alex Chilton more brazenly than Bellshill's Teenage Fanclub, formed in a north-eastern suburb of Scotland's premier industrial city.

Released on Paperhouse Records in 1990 and distributed on the (then) tiny U.S. imprint, Matador in the States, Teenage Fanclub maxxed out their influences on the Geffen released "Bandwagonesque" (Creation Records in the U.K.) a year later, but it's this Norman Blake penned track, i believe, that first staked out the idolatory territory immediately recognisable to every Alex Chilton fan born near the Clyde with the fantasy of walking out into downtown Memphis on the sultry late August breath of a Saturday night.

Everything flows, indeed it does.

Recorded between July and December 1989. Produced by Teenage Fanclub: released on Paperhouse Records (PAPER 003) 1990


posted by ib

Monday, November 05, 2007


Memphis Press-Scimitar Photo, Robert Tomb Collection

If there were an "Around the World in Eighty Days" whirlwind dash for the most coveted cover of Burt Bacharach's & Hal David's pocket weepie, the prize handkerchief would have to go to these five boys from Memphis.

Alex Chilton pulls out all the stops with a plaintive, raw vocal
that nudges ahead of Dionne Warwick's distinctly cooler performance by a country mile at least; if not an entire midwestern state. It's hard to believe that Chilton was just sixteen years old when this was recorded. Lester Bangs would later take cough syrup just to get high - one suspects Alex Chilton perhaps initially imbibed a linctus purely to soothe his prematurely worn larynx. Inevitably, "the harder stuff" lay just around the next bend.

Cue Elvis and "Mystery Train", if you follow my drift.

Better known for their smash "The Letter", the Box Tops were a teen phenomenon that would abruptly implode before the decade's close as the increasingly frustrated Chilton dissolved the group and went on to form the more self-aware Big Star with songwriting partner, Chris Bell - twisting a ride from New York City back to Memphis - and immediately upped the ante.

Add a liberal dose of self-prescribing.

When you're properly drunk and remorseful, this blue-eyed gem can't fail to make you cry. And that's a confession.

Recorded at American Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
Produced by Dan Penn and released on Bell Records in 1967:
The Letter/Neon Rainbow (Bell 6011).


posted by ib

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Friends, take note: Starting tomorrow, longtime Art Decade reader and stalwart commentator "ib" will be making a special guest appearance, regaling you all week long with sights and sounds in his own inimitable fashion. Y'all aint ready!

The Greek National Tourist Organisation:
The Land Of The Orange Tree Blossoms
Solfege Lesson

I'm not entirely sure of the raison d'être for this record. It just says "Greece" on the front and the back says "With the compliments of the National Tourist Organisation" and "NOT FOR SALE". So maybe it was made to be given away freely to promote tourism to Greece? Anyroad, check out the tough counterpoint between the verses on "Orange Tree Blossoms". Solfege, in case anyone doesn't know, is a word for the Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do system, and you can hear them singing these syllables on the intriguing toe-tapper "Solfege Lesson". Also phased rhythm guitar, chimes, and plenty of vibraslap.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Fantasy Three:
It's Your Rock (vocal) b/w It's Your Rock (instrumental)

Way back when we played a more streamlined version of this instrumental, taken from the Don Letts-curated Dread Meets B-Boys Downtown CD. Now at long last here's the vocal version and the original, unexpurgated the still-ruling Don Letts CD version, in case anybody missed it the first time.

Produced by Master O.C. Mixed by Master O.C. & Charlie Rock.
The instrumental is a sure shot edit by Aldo Marin.

To the uncredited bass player, drummer, and keyboard player: I love you guys.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Stark Reality: Shooting Stars

written by Hoagy Carmichael and Aileen Fisher

from Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop

recorded spring 1970 at Natural Sound Studio, Maynard, Massachusetts

available on CD; also check out for more goodies

When stars get loosened in their sockets,
They shoot off at night like rockets;
Though I stay and watch their trip
And search where they have seemed to slip,
I never ever find a chip to carry in my pockets.

Peter Gabriel: Close Up [1984]

Instrumental track for the film Birdy. The theme is recycled from 'Family Snapshot' from 1980's album Melt.