Friday, February 29, 2008

Golden Earring: Candy's Going Bad

From the classic Moontan, an album which -- perhaps unreasonably? -- was awarded 5 out of 5 stars by all thirty reviewers.

Don't miss the last 3 minutes of this, which is like an ambient dub remix of the outro to I Am The Walrus, employing a feline vocoder technology reminiscent of this.

Are you satisfied?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Parliament: Placebo Syndrome

Our celebration of minor IV tonalities continues with this cut from the Funkentelechy LP. I've always had a soft spot for this melody.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Massada: Arumbai

Huge ups to lovefingers for this one. Flawless in both conception and execution, this song is an epic paean to the dreamiest of all chord progressions: I to minor IV. Bravo!

(For more of this chord change, see here.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Thunderclap Newman:
Hollywood Dream
Something In The Air

From the album Hollywood Dream.

Something In The Air written by Speedy Keen, a singing drummer. Hollywood Dream written by J&J McCulloch. Produced by Pete Townshend.

I've been wondering about that descending arpeggio thing in Something In The Air. Who invented that? Was it Dear Prudence, Badge, or all of the above? Also, I'd never really noticed the sort of raggedy piano interlude which commences at 1:57. Weird how it almost arbitrarily splices back into the song. But I guess when a song is this much of a winner you could stick pretty much whatev in the middle and it would still work. Love the suspended chord in this, too.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dan Siegel: A Sentimental Memory

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hoagy Carmichael: Stardust

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Blues Image: Ride Captain Ride [1970]

This one goes out to classic rock stations, the soundtrack to my youth. Sure, the rotations were predictable and our tastes eventually became refined - or deviated - to the point that it seemed there was more that was un-listenable than listenable.

But there were some damn fine songs.

This takes me back to my freshman year carpool, and that long, daily drive. To authentically recreate the atmosphere,this should be listened to at a level barely audible to teens, barely tolerable to parents.

Stars On: Stars On 45 [1981]
Stars On: Stars On Long Play [1981]
Smyle: Crazy Lazy Little Miss Daisy [1974]
Beatles: Thank You Girl [1963]

On first re-listening to Stars On 45, I was struck by how good the guy singing the John parts is. That vocalist is, of course, Bas Muys of the Dutch post-glam outfit Smyle. A quick listen to the Smyle track posted above will reveal that Bas's fascination with the early Beatles sound was firmly established long before producer Jaap Eggermont hatched the idea for Stars On.

Stars On 45 hit #1 on the U.S. charts in May of '81, when those who had been 10 years old in 1964 were turning 27. For the faithful, I'm including the LP version, which gamely plows through 28 Beatles classics (or 29 IF you count an instrumental snippet of "My Sweet Lord") in 16 minutes. "Every Little Thing" is a particular highlight for this writer.

The stars on 45 keeps on turning in your mind...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gabor Szabo: Concerto de Aranjuez which Gabor has a conversation with himself regarding the 1939 classic by Joaquín Rodrigo. From the Small World LP, recorded in Stockholm, August 1972. Massive thanks to the dudes at for the rip. A luta continua.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Womack & Womack: Conscious Of My Conscience

From their album Conscience.

A massive debt of gratitude is owed to Kava Chim for this one: A brilliant song, artfully pitched down, with just the right amount of vinyl ambience, all coalescing to become that rara avis: the perfect mp3.

I'd like to discover my deepest destiny undercover.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Interior: Hot Beach

Written by Daisuke Hinata. Produced by Haruomi Hosono (who also executive-produced this).

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Waiting for the No. 23 bus in downtown Marrakech, Robert fumbles in pal Jimmy's pocket for the right change.

No, don't worry, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible (once again) with the imminent return of the much more succinct Art Decade we all know and love. The byline here is simply a reference to to 1994's re-engagement between Led Zeppelin and their audience, when MTV approached Robert Plant & Jimmy Page with the idea to contribute to the extremely successful "Unplugged" series.

Interpreting the concept to include any instrumentation of their choice, acoustic or otherwise, the reunion was a good deal more interesting than either of the pair's solo efforts, harking as it did back to the Bombay Sessions of 1972, with its intriguing fusion of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra on sitar and tabla resulting in a reworking of two Zep classics: "Four Sticks" and "Friends".

Featuring musicians from Marrakech and Egypt, "No Quarter", the CD released on the back of the MTV gig, was a deserved high-note and much anticipated return to form. Dig out the weed.

download: LED ZEPPELIN: FRIENDS (FINAL MIX: TAKE 1) from "Bombay Sessions" LP (Empress Valley) 1972 (UK)

download: JIMMY PAGE & ROBERT PLANT: FRIENDS from "No Quarter" CD (Fontana) 1994 (UK)

Thanks again to Emmett for handing me the reins this last week. The brief vacation, I suspect, was somewhat marred by my stubborn reluctance to submit to the torture device which is the Blogger Interface - so thanks too, dude, for assuming production duties.

I leave you with a little something else for the weekend. The Byrds. All the way back to 1965 with Gene Clark still on board the flight, and one from 1970's untitled LP. No apologies for including the Mel Tillis composition below, either. Originally a minor hit for Johnny Darrell.

download: THE BYRDS: IT'S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE (1st VERSION) from "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Sessions (Columbia) 1965 (US)

download: THE BYRDS: LOVER OF THE BAYOU (LIVE) from "Untitled" LP (Columbia) 1970 (US)


posted by ib

Friday, February 15, 2008


The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner: illustration by Mervyn Peake.

Continuing with the theme from a couple of days back, my original intention was to lead off with Grant Green's "i don't want nobody to give me nothing, open up the door i'll get it myself/cold sweat" from his 1972 album "Shades Of Green" on Blue Note. A direct offshoot from Big B's post on Grant Green a couple of weeks back, I confessed then that Green was new to me - envy notwithstanding, alas - and this track proves just how expertly this fantastic guitarist made the transition from the 60s into the funk vinery spreading wild like kudzu into everyone's back yard. A nod to James Brown on this one, patently, but the playing here is inspired and just the right side of understated. However, i'll leave that honour to "Smooth" over at My Jazz World for putting up the vinyl rip from yet another criminally out-of-print release and for informing my jadeless palette. Suffice to say, if you are unfamiliar with Grant Green, he's well worth checking out.

But sticking with the painterly/horticultural analogy a tad longer, here's a track from the equally green-fingered English guitarist, Peter Green, allegedly.

This popped up on the internet several years back, purporting to be an acoustic version of the Fleetwood Mac standard "Albatross" by none less than their original frontman turned recluse. This could easily be the work of some charlatan attempting to infiltrate MP3 players the world over with a TEAC homespun back bedroom jam, but i love the (at times quite clumsy) fretwork anyway. It has a painful honesty about it that should make tablature fanatics the world over quiver and blush. Please feel free to shoot me down in flames if you're clued-up to the real deal. I demand to be educated ! I tried hard at the time to some detective work on it but came out naggingly none-the-wiser.

download: PETER GREEN: ALBATROSS (acoustic) from the World-Wide-Web.

John Cooper Clarke first released an EP on the Manchester based label Rabid Records in 1977, backed by a coterie of musicians named the Curious Yellows. On dancing around my bedroom to the Sex Pistols back in the day, I inadvertently stepped onto the 45 and snapped it cleanly in two. The vinyl was unusually thick and brittle and I very carefully placed both shards back in the picture sleeve with the notion that someday in the future I might find the means to splice it back together. The technology probably exists to achieve that end, but little did I know then that the good days of vinyl were numbered and that I was in fact an unwitting accomplice in the "Built-In Obsolescence" described in "Psycle Sluts".

If you are a fan of HBO's "The Sopranos", you may recall that Clarke's "Evidently Chickentown" featured prominently in the closing credits to an episode from the final series. Credit where it's due. It was great to hear JCC in such an unexpected context. And a prompt reminder as to just how much I wanted to ferret out his old releases and dust them down. His vocal style is very much an acquired taste, but persevere and you'll come to appreciate that his acute turn of phrase cuts as sharply as his obvious idol, Robert Zimmerman.

And did you know that John Cooper Clarke, once uncharitably referred to as "the ugliest man in pop", spent a large part of the 1980s romantically engaged with former Velvet Underground muse and chanteuse, Nico?

download: JOHN COOPER CLARKE & THE INVISIBLE GIRLS: SLEEPWALK from "Snap, Crackle & Bop" LP (Epic) 1980 (EPC 84083) UK

download: JOHN COOPER CLARKE & THE INVISIBLE GIRLS: THIRTY SIX HOURS from "Snap, Crackle & Bop" LP (Epic) 1980 (EPC 84083) UK

download: JOHN COOPER CLARKE & THE INVISIBLE GIRLS: BEASLEY STREET from "Snap, Crackle & Bop" LP (Epic) 1980 (EPC 84083) UK

posted by ib

Thursday, February 14, 2008


For Modern Lovers everywhere.

I recall first hearing Jackie Leven when he was frontman for Doll By Doll on the LP "Remember" in 1978. I bought the 45 from it, "The Palace of Love", but to my eternal annoyance decided to forgo laying down the readies for the album. I'm unsure whether it's been reissued on CD, but for a long time it was sadly out of print.

Jackie Leven's lyrics seem at times to have come from the same ether crossroads as another unholy outsider, Roky Erickson, except Leven's rich barritone masks the message in a velvety comforting healing placebo which elevates his songs into a different realm entirely. There is the spectre of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff living shadowy in his words, i think, but his voice is full of a gentle love which makes him surprisingly appropriate for a Valentine's Day outpouring of tender passion coupled with formidable restraint.

From Wicki:
"Born in 1950 into a Romany (Roma) family, Jackie Leven spent his childhood and teenage years clearly marked out as an outsider in the clannish, insular world that was Fife, Scotland at that time. Although Scottish himself, neither of his parents were from the area - his father was an Irish Cockney, his mother was from a large Northumberland (Geordie) family, and adapting to existing cultural norms was a hard, if not formidable task for such incomers."

Jackie initially got involved in the music business in the late 60s, and recorded his first album, "Control", in 1971 under the nom de plume, John St. Field, which i suppose had a suitably folksy ring to it at the time. I didn't come across this release until recently, stumbling across it on another excellent blog: "Rambler's Place". The entire album has been digitally remastered and re-released on Jackie's own label, Cooking Vinyl, and - appropriately enough- the recording is especially close to his heart it seems. His music hasn't changed drastically in the past forty years or so. And that's definitely for the common good.

Lest i shoot myself in the foot and spend the rest of the day in A&E (that's ER to those of you living in the U.S.) allow me to cut my ramblings short and point you instead to the man's music directly. Think of Mr. Cohen and Van the Man fighting it out in a burlap sack. Then add a syrupy spoonful of...

Fuck it, just listen and let your toes gently curl. Saint Judas or Valentine, take your pick. I love you, Rosa.

Here's a twinset from his 1971 debut, released under the pseudonym of John St. Field. And a jewel from his 1997 celtic classic, "Fairy Tales for Hard Men". Lay down your swords, lovers...

download: JACKIE LEVEN: MANSION TENSION from "Control" LP (Cooking Vinyl) 1971 by John St. Field.

download: JACKIE LEVEN: SOFT LOWLAND TONGUE from "Control" LP (Cooking Vinyl) 1971 by John St. Field.

download: JACKIE LEVEN: SAINT JUDAS from "Fairy Tales For Hard Men" LP (Cooking Vinyl) 1997 by Jackie Leven.

And, just because it's Saint Valentine's Day, and i want to lift the mood a little (as well as contribute something to tie-in with my romantic reworking of the Modern Lovers' 1977 release featured here pictorially!) here's Jonathan Richman and his slightly lesser known "Roadrunner (Once)". The flip side, of course, was a sizeable hit here in the UK, peaking at Number 11 in the National Charts. Released in 1977 on Beserkley Records, but recorded - I think - back in 1974. And, just to set your pulse racing a little, the record which shook things up more than a little here back in 1976. Phew!

download: JONATHAN RICHMAN: ROADRUNNER (ONCE) 7" (Beserkley) 1977 [BZZ1] UK

download: THE DAMNED: NEW ROSE 7" (Stiff) 1976 [BUY 6] UK

posted by ib

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


wire, noun: a length or quantity of wire used, for example, for fencing or to carry an electric current.

Wire are responsible for producing at least three of my favourite albums between 1977 and 1979. Formed in London in late 1976, this revolutionary punk group - of a distinctly Art School variety - were quite simply incomparable to any other band on the scene. From the first difficult to conveniently file in any box, it was just as much a monkey puzzle to wrestle out their influences. I read somewhere online recently that these range from "artists as diverse as the Ramones and Brian Eno" but that's a trifle trite. While their first LP "Pink Flag" had a manic edge to it complicit with other key releases from the recently emerged ground zero, on first listen it was apparent that they were uniquely different. Something dangerous perhaps lurking in the kitchen drawer.

Oh, and did i mention they signed to Harvest EMI ? The same label synonymous with Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett ?

And while, like New York's Ramones, they managed to cram a staggering 21 tracks onto their debut slab of wax, the mood throughout ranged from the breathtakingly structured melodic (as on "mannequin") to the broodingly foreboding ("reuters" ; "strange"). All this without apparently cracking a smile or breaking sweat. Now, that's got to be value for money.

Featuring Graham Lewis (bass, vocals), Bruce Gilbert (guitar), Colin Newman (vocals, guitar) and Robert Gotobed (né Grey) (drums), ladies and gentlemen i give you wire.

download: WIRE: MANNEQUIN from "Pink Flag" LP (Harvest) November 1977 [SHSP 4076] UK
download: WIRE: OUTDOOR MINER from "Chairs Missing" LP (Harvest) October 1978 [SHSP 4093] UK
download: WIRE: I AM THE FLY 7" (Harvest) February 1978 [HAR 5151] UK
download: WIRE: 40 VERSIONS from "154" LP (Harvest) September 1979 [SHSP 4105] UK.

posted by ib

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Who put the "delta" in the Vietcong Blues ?

Alright. Fantastic Jagger/Richard compostion as we are all aware. (Note the absence of the "s" on the end of Keef's moniker here, an unnecessary addition and something of an affectation gathered like moss somewhere down the road apiece since the days of Nanker/Phelge.)

According to Wicki there are probably a hundred or so cover versions of the song, and everybody knows their favoured ritual touchstone.

The hit was included on the U.S. release of "Aftermath" (released solely in the U.K. on 45). Chris Farlowe of course covered Jagger & Richard's "Out of Time" in his own inimitable vocal style - English vaudeville meets genuinely histrionic black american soul - and also unleashed this stupendous version of P.I.B. culled from his own 1966 long player release on Immediate Records (home to the Small Faces amongst others), "The Art of Chris Farlowe".

The title of the album alone sums out just how much he was held in esteem. Or was it simply rampant ego on the run ?

This version is grandiose and so full of of overblown gesturing it would make even P.J. Proby blush. But it puts the Stones in the shade and sets the scene nicely for Northern Soul Boy, Eric Burdon.

Never one to shy from centre stage himself, Burdon scarcely hesitated before swaggering up to the mic to give us his rendition on 1967's psychedelia laden "Winds of Change", ditching Chas Chandler & the rest of his fellow Animals the year previous, before relocating to San Francisco and shrewdly rebranding himself for the Haight-Ashbury set. I love this version, but apparently Eric was unconvinced.

Clearly desperate to etch his name in stone and furnish the definitive rendition, on teaming up with War on "Black-Man's Burdon" he promptly dug it out again to polish up an epic (13 minutes plus) nugget retitled "Paint it Black Medley" in 1971. Anything with "medley" in the title immediately warrants suspicion. Ambitious, admittedly, but with the benefit of hindsight it's not so much a diamond as a millstone round the neck. This version is either staggering in its scope or plain old codswallop, depending on your taste for meat or poison. Whichever, it seems to me a fittingly exhausted and never ending epitaph to the era of Richard Milhous Nixon.

Presumably, by this stage the Glimmer Twins were content merely to keep a joint beady eye on a return on their investment, playing around with needles as they watched the royalties continue to trickle home into one of many offshore bank accounts. Not for nothing did Sir Mick attend the London School of Economics. And just where, exactly, did the fall of Saigon leave our bloodthirst for "Paint It Black" ? It took until 1980, maybe, for the bitter taste to dissipate, but you can't keep a whipped cur down. Just when it seemed least likely, along came the Mo-dettes. These untypical girls stripped the song back to its shimmering ivory bones, spitting out the tar and feathers and restringing the carcass in a bald reinterpretation of a much pirated classic.

Mr. Richard - self-appointed William Teach that he is - should be proud.


posted by ib

Monday, February 11, 2008


Roy Budd, jazz pianist and film composer: born Mitcham, Surrey, London, 1947-1993.
Ron Carter, jazz double-bassist: born Ferndale, Michigan, 1937.

Mike Hodges' gangster epic from 1971 has long been one of my favourite genre movies, not least because of its killer soundtrack by veteran British composer, Roy Budd. The score here is brittle and chilling as the Newcastle-On-Tyne seedy glamour which pervades every frame like an incipient cancer ; think Erik Satie on heroin, accompanied by an entourage of jaded session musicians on a tabla, and you're almost there.

Allegedly a child prodigy who taught himself to play by ear, by the age of twelve Budd was something of a regular on television and at sixteen quit school prematurely to turn professional. The list of his scores for television and cinema rivals Lalo Schifrin.

It was a disgrace that some Hollywood hack received the financial backing to sandwich Sly Stallone in Michael Caine's shoes and set about yet another weary retread, but it had to come sooner or later. "Goodbye, Eric!", hello Morecambe.

The same cannot be said of Ron Carter's idiosyncratic take on Miles's "So What ?". Labelmate to Eumir Deodato & Gabor Szabo (hello Emmett), this legendary CTI recording artist played with the Miles Davis Quintet in the early 1960's and contributed three compositions of his own to 1965's "E.S.P". From the 1974 album, "Spanish Blue", this track would not have been out of place in Hodges' jaundiced vision of moral decay and vengeance.

I can see Carter reflected in the optics behind the bar. Black and White, blended on ice.


posted by ib

Saturday, February 09, 2008

COMING NEXT WEEK: The triumphant return of the Bard of Glasgow... Back by popular demand... I.B.!

Friday, February 08, 2008

The last few years I've put together a mix of songs that were released in the past 12 months that I've enjoyed.

Thanks to our server host's new bandwidth generosity, here is 2007's version.

Some Songs 2007

Check in the comments for a full track list.

Note: This download is 140 MBs.

Tatsu Yamashita: Hot Shot [1979]

From his album Moonglow.

I'm thieving off DJ Cosmo's Beats in Space mix for this one. Great surging and swelling stereo rhythm guitars here, not to mention lead guitar by Kazuo Shiina.

bonus stylings: Isley Brothers: Live It Up (parts 1 & 2) [1974]

Featuring the great Ernie Isley on drums.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Ucok Aka Harahap & Bengkel Musik Remaja:
Rock Dang Dud, side B

1. Joget Asyik
2. Waspada
3. Gajah & Semut
4. Dukun
5. Rock Dang Dud

All I really know about this Indonesian LP is what the eBay seller wrote for the auction:

"One of Ucok's project outside AKA where the band was about to disbanded and leading to the later founded SAS by the remaining 3 members. This one is a hybrid of Dang Dut and Rock music just like what Rhoma Irama did. Might be a dj copy since Ebony was one of the biggest 80s-90s discotheque in Jakarta. 2 tracks were credited to Adhi Mantra from Golden Wing."

Track 3: Looks like someone's been listening to Zeppelin III.
Track 5: One of my favorites on the album.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Ucok Aka Harahap & Bengkel Musik Remaja:
Rock Dang Dud, side A

1. Penyanyi Pinggiran Kota
2. Stop
3. Sigadis Manis
4. Kemenyan
5. Minta Kawin

Track 1: Great Spanish bit at 1:15. Love the wild dogs who arrive at 4:25.
Track 3: Crazy riff on this.
Track 5: One of my favorites on the album. Is this the Indonesian answer to John Lennon's "Mother"? Craziest gong-laden breakdown at 3:39.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Freddie McGregor: Joggin'

written & produced by Freddie McGregor

Thanks to Prana Chim for "jogging" my memory of this classic. I love that they spliced in an even slower version of the track right at the very end [3:23], perhaps signifying "warm-down".

N.B.: This cut isn't on the album Big Ship (depicted above). I just like the cover of that one. I'm not sure whether Joggin' was ever on an LP; I have it on this.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Nicolette Larson: Lotta Love

from her album Nicolette

This is possibly the only track I've heard both on bumrocks and at the supermarket. From the foreboding sax break on through the genius bridge, this is arguably the aesthetic pinnacle of the soft rock era. And who knew producer Ted Templeman was a member of Harpers Bizarre?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rick Danko: New Mexicoe [1977]
Rick Danko: When I Get My Just Rewards [1988]

"just between you and me..."

I've had Danko on the brain recently.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pat Thomas and Marijata: I Need More

I was bidding on this LP on eBay the other night, and lost (tho' I was winning with 4 seconds to go... you know how it is). The record is from Ghana and I feared of never seeing it again. Thank goodness for Frank: A German DJ who packed up and moved to Africa to be a full-time vinyl archaeologist. Thanks to Frank's great website, I was able safely to obtain the mp3 posted above.

Some good vibration keeps me coming back.

Neil Young: Only Love Can Break Your Heart [1970]

I always feel like I have to post something relevant to the song chosen. Why is that? The music speaks for itself right? Or am I just getting fat & lazy?

For news on Shakey check your local N Y Times.