Friday, May 24, 2013
A ten minute UK doc on the "skinny lad with a pasty complexion" who has, in the past six months, "transformed himself into an object that is worshipped by millions of girls". The film, narrated by a witty and disdainful narrator, features a concert performed at The Winter Gardens on May 25, 1973.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Secos e Molhados : Sangue Latino
On May 23, 1973 Secos And Molhados ( The Rants and The Raves) entered the studio Prova to record their debut album which would become such a sensation in Brazil it would sell 300,000 copies in the first two months...well on its way to to selling more than a million copies.
Those who remember my naming the Novos Baianos album Acabou Chorare as the best of 1972 probably won't be surprised how much I like this 13-song effort. You'll hear a uniquely Brazilian take on glam rock with some passing references to Crosby Stills Nash and Young.
Years before Kiss wore their black and white face paint on stage, Secos e Molhados performed "Sangue Latino" ( "Latin Blood") on Brazilian TV...in an unforgettable performance.
I swore lies
And I go alone
I assume the sins
Uh! Uh! Uh! Uh!
The northern winds
Do not move mills
And I have left
It's just a whimper
My life, my dead
My crooked roads
My Latin Blood
Uh! Uh! Uh! Uh!
My soul captive
I broke treaties
Betray the rites
I broke the spear
I launched into space
A cry, a rant
And that matters to me
It is not to be won
My life, my dead
My crooked roads
My Latin Blood
My soul captive
Also remarkable is the sopranino voice of Ney Matogrosso whose career would last far longer than the band that launched him.
The Brazilian Rolling Stone magazine ranks Secos e Molhados #5 on their list of the Top 100 Brazilian albums and Ney Matogrosso as the #3 greatest singer.
The Brazilian Top 5
1.Acabou Chorare - Novos Baianos (1972)
2. Tropicália ou Panis et Circencis - Tropicália (1968)
3. Construcão - Chico Buarque (1971)
4. Chega de Saudade - João Gilberto (1959)
5. Secos e Molhados - Secos e Molhados (1973)
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
War : The Cisco Kid
Lee Oskar, a founding member of the 70's pop-funk-jam band War, grew up in Denmark where he was given his first harmonica on his sixth birthday.
I remember the first time I breathed on it it would literally play me.
It would sound just like a symphony
I got hooked and that's where it all started
At 17, virtually pennyless, Lee moved to the US where his virtuosity on the harmonica and his easy-going nature eventually led to his friendship with Eric Burdon. Burdon had recently left The Animals and wanted to find a new band.
They drove around LA until they found a funk band in a dive bar. Together they would all form War. A strange name in the age of peace signs and flower power.
Everybody walks around saying "Peace!" and I always said "Peace? Nobody is at peace within themselves. The war within ourselves is what makes us be creative" and somebody pulled that out of my conversation and said "Hey let's call it WAR!" and that's how I remember it coming about.
From the very beginning War discovered the songs that worked best were the ones that came out of long improvisational jams. That suited Burdon just fine.
We would get on stage and we would basically improvise.
Eric might even set up a scenario "Ok guys, we're gonna go on a rocket ship and we're gonna fly to the moon and you're gonna be the captain"
In 1970, One of those jams landed at #3 on the U-S pop charts. It was called "Spill the Wine" and its chorus is one of those classics nobody knows the real words to.
You spill the wine and you take the pearl.
Pearl. --which was acid back in those days so he was talking about spill the wine.Take the pearl.
After Burdon left, the band played on. War scored more Top Ten hits. Among them, "Why Can't We Be Friends?", "Low Rider","The Cisco Kid" and "Slippin' Into Darkness". All of them emerging from jam sessions.
We were never successful when we tried to tell anybody what to play.
There would be an argument or fight or something.
The music stayed fresh even as the question the press asked Lee grew stale.He couldn't avoid being asked what was it like being the only white guy in a band of brothers.
I didn't have a hang up about stuff that I noticed a lot of people had
I remember one time somebody yelled "Hey Brother!" like that and then comes up close to look at me and asks "Are you a brother?"
So there were all these clichés between white and black and all that and I hated that frankly.I thought it was pretty arrogant or whatever.
That wasn't his only frustration.
Lee had trouble finding good harmonicas.
I would literally take every dime I had and buy every harmonica.
Hopefully I would find one out of ten that was good or something.
That was my passion: to be surrounded by my tools.
So Lee teamed up with a Japanese company to make Lee Oskar harmonicas.
How good are they?
Bluesman Junior Wells was buried with a tray of Oskar harmonicas.
Magic Dick of J Geils Band says "I just think, as a musical tool, they're a great musical tool so I can't think of a better endorsement to give them than that."
To listen to Lee play today is quite astonishing if you've never heard a harmonica played as a jazz instrument. He has, in his lifetime, expanded the possibilities of what conventional harmonicas can do.
But Lee isn't all business. He's always looking for a chance to play. Especially with other War veterans, who for legal reasons have to call themselves The Low Rider Band.
The integrity of the music and the jam band that we've always been
That's still there
That's the real deal
That's what The Low Rider Band is.
Lee can even be found jamming around Seattle these days.
That six year old who got a magical harmonica for his birthday still needs to find a way...to play.
I get grouchy if I don't eat.
I get grouchy if I don't play music.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
1.Mind Gardens from Younger Than Yesterday
David Crosby must have been inspired by The Incredible String Band for this foray into psychedelic folk. Roger McGuinn hated including the song on the poppy Younger Than Yesterday, claiming the tune had no "rhythm, meter, or rhyme." Crosby was fired during the recording of the next album.
2. "Mother" from Synchronicity
Andy Summers' Mother was a bomb dropped right into the heart of The Police's Synchronicity. Small wonder that it was the last album the blond boys did together.
3. Phenomenal Cat from Village Green Preservation Society
Were The Kinks smoking helium? "Phenomenal Cat" is kitty litter compared to the rest of Village Green Preservation Society, which has become a fan favorite for good reason.
At least it's better than Bowie's equally helium filled "Laughing Gnome"
4. Fitter, Happier from OK Computer
It's the NOT OK tune on OK Computer. Described by Thom Yorke as a checklist of slogans for the 1990s, he considers "Fitter, Happier" "the most upsetting thing I've ever written". Might have been better as liner notes.
5. Student Demonstration Time from Surf's Up
' The Beach Boys were always better at offering us breakaways from our troubled times than commenting on them. But good old Mike Love had something to say about student protests--even if it meant swiping the Leiber-Stoller song "Riot in Cell Block #9" to do it. The must skip track off Surf's Up was also released as a single as if it say "Look, we can crank up our guitars too!"
What's your choice for wretched songs that nearly ruin great albums?
Monday, May 20, 2013
In May of 1980, with the hopes of promoting his UK Top 30 solo album Solo in Soho, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy presented Smash Hits Magazine with a list of his all time Top 10 songs. As with all lists of this sort, a big shout out is due to the fabulously coiffed Brian at Like Punk Never Happened.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
I am passing on to you , as clearly and powerfully as I can, this gift which was extended to me by the sheer chance of being somewhere at the right time in history and living through it.
|Mike Allen, Joan, Barry Romo walking through the rubble of Gialam Intl Airport after it had been bombed by American B52s during their visit to Hanoi.|
On May 19, 1973 Joan Baez 's amazing anti war statement, Where Are You Now, My Son? entered the Billboard charts. The album contained both new songs and actual recordings of the war, from the massive Christmas bombing raids in Hanoi, North Vietnam in 1972. Below is Side Two. You can imagine standing next to Joan and her sister Mimi Farina during the bombing raid as they sing "Kumbaya". The LP peaked at 138.