Monday, August 30, 2010

Various Artists - White Lace And Strange-Heavy Psych And Power Fuzz From The USA '68-'72
"By the end of the sixties psychedelia was pretty much a spent force. Bands were looking for something simpler and more earthy. Crosby, Stills & Nash had gone all acoustic and harmonious, The Band had achieved a return to classic Americana, and James Taylor was showing the world you could be laid back and hip at the same time. However, not everyone wanted to ditch their fuzzboxes just yet. Inspired by such outfits as Cream, Blue Cheer, Hendrix and the nascent Led Zeppelin, what we have here is a collection of American bands moving sideways out of psych into something less cosmic and far heavier. This amalgam of blooze rock and heavy riffing is loud and nasty but it pre-dates metal. It’s full of attitude, but it certainly isn’t punk. It’s pretty tripped out, but it’s not really psychedelia. It’s got elements of all three, but it’s something quite unique. It’s the sound of guitar, bass and drums (and the occasional Hammond organ) just as it was meant to be, cranked up and in your face. No frills, just power chords and stomping riffs from a time before it all got bogged down by Spandex, pyrotechnic stageshows and satin tour jackets. This is old school, heavy, uncompromising guitar rock. Stamp on that Big Muff and solo till your brain drops out." (Liner notes, Nick Saloman)

1. Third Power - Persecution
2. Thunder & Roses - White Lace & Strange
3. The Hook - Dimples
4. The Power Of Zeus - It Couldn't Be Me
5. Banchee - John Doe
6. Brother Fox & The Tar Baby - Steel Dog Man
7. The Lemonade Charade - Hideaway of Your Love
8. Genesis - Angeline
9. Blue Mountain Eagle - Loveless Lives
10. Mount Rushmore - Someone Else's Games
11. The Illinois Speed Press - Get in the Wind
12. The Fields - Bide My Time
13. Road - Spaceship Earth
14. Eden's Children - Knocked Out
15. T.I.M.E. - I Think You'd Cry
16. Underbeat - Darkness
17. The Yellow Payges - I'm a Man
18. Lincoln Street Exit - Time Has Come, Gonna Die
19. The Uniques - My Babe
20. The Fort Mudge Memorial Dump - The Seventh Is Death

Oops forgot to mention, 8 Days In April is starting it's 6th year today!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bobby Beausoleil & The Freedom Orchestra - Lucifer Rising (Early 70's)
Bobby Beausoleil was active in the underground music scenes in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1960's. He somehow became an associate of the Manson Family and murdered a drug dealer in 1969. Unfortunately for him, a couple of the Manson girls were with him and because of the Manson connection he was sentenced to the maximum and is still in prison today. All the music on these two discs credited to the Freedom Orchestra was created by men who were imprisoned at the State Prison in Tracy, California during the 1970's. The music is real dreamlike at times, and who knows how to dream better than a prisoner. I have scanned the entire booklet and the lengthy liner notes are a fascinating read. Or you can just google his name and get a butt-load of information on Beausoleil's involvement with Manson and film maker Kenneth Anger.

Anyway, the music;

The soundtrack on disc one walks the often dark and shadowy realms between orchestral music, experimental electronic music, and exploratory psychedelic rock. Imagine Walter Carlos jamming with the late 60’s Pink Floyd and a small rag tag orchestra and you might have an idea of what it sounds like. This is evocative, brilliant stuff that doesn’t need a film to go with it to be enjoyed. What it does need is a willingness to lay back, close your eyes and float into a lost past that had its roots in the Summer of Love, when everything was about freedom, and ended in a place where freedom was at a premium. This lost past was a time when experimenting was part of the very fabric of youthful life, and music was one thread in that vast fabric. Beausoleil’s soundtrack, with its washes of primitive electronics, raucous percussion, whooping horns, bluesy guitar, and hypnotizing organ seems both earthy and cosmic at the same time. There’s not much more that I can say about it, because no description would really accurately capture the nature of the music. This needs to be heard.

Disc two kicks off with two vintage tracks of Beausoleil’s original band, The Orkustra. The first of these recordings, Punjab’s Barber, sounds somewhat as if Sun Ra had decided to play rock music instead of jazz, still with lots of horns and a classical influence, belied only by the electric guitar snaking through the mix. The second of these, Flash Gordon, is more of an electric romp, with a touch of hoedown twang to the avant-classical rock sound. From there, we move onto The Magic Powerhouse of OZ, with their original recordings for the Lucifer Rising soundtrack from 1967. This is different music altogether from the soundtrack Beausoleil would eventually produce. This is much rougher, and doesn’t display the electronic experimentation that would form the backbone of the eventual soundtrack. Still, it’s a fascinating listen; a great, big, loud stew of rock and experimental jazz. Chaotic, almost orchestral style drumming propels 60’s electric guitar jamming while horns and a flute punch their way through the mix. Again, the avant-jazz, Sun Ra influence can be heard as the band stretches out, exploring the possibilities. This is a true and unique time capsule; a glimpse into the wild experimentation that was going on in the Summer of Love; a glorious and somewhat dark celebration of sound, freed from the constraints of rock, classical, and jazz, yet incorporating all three.

The early Freedom Orchestra sessions show considerable advancement in an early approach to the final soundtrack. The electronics are here now, and Beausoliel has taken a more dynamic and planned out approach to the sound, as it careens back and forth between minimalist electronic soundscapes to full out rock jams. The roots of the final soundtrack can be heard in this more primitive, rougher version. Still, it’s intriguing to think that inmates in a prison performed this. Beausoleil either lucked out in finding a group of prison inmates who all happened to be into taking such an way-out approach to music, or his vision truly inspired them. Either way, it makes for a fascinating trip into something almost impossible to imagine. (Jeff Fitzgerald,

Disc One
1. Lucifer Rising, Pt. 1 (4:10)
2. Lucifer Rising, Pt. 2 (5:57)
3. Lucifer Rising, Pt. 3 (5:43)
4. Lucifer Rising, Pt. 4 (1:45)
5. Lucifer Rising, Pt. 5 (15:44)
6. Lucifer Rising, Pt. 6 (10:16)

Disc Two
1. The Orkustra - Punjab's Barber [excerpt] (3:02)
2. The Orkustra - Flash Gordon [excerpt] (3:08)
3. The Magick Powerhouse Of OZ - Lucifer Rising (24:21)
4. The Freedom Orchestra - Lucifer Rising Sessions (28:01)

Freedom Orchestra:

Bobby Beausoleil / Electric Guitar, Bass
Richard Sutton / Electric Keyboard, Fender-Rhodes Piano
Steve Grogan / Electric Guitar
Chuck Gordon /Bass
Randall Chalton /Drums
Andy Thurston /Drums
Tim Wills /Fender-Rhodes Piano
Herbie Rascone /Trumpet
Robert Gadbury / "Sparks"

Well gotta go, see you later!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Black Sabbath - In Concert Paris 12-19-70
Not much to say about Black Sabbath I suppose. This is an excellent quality mono soundboard recording of the band doing an inspired performance of songs from their first two albums. If you haven't listened to any old Black Sabbath lately (like me), this is a real treat. I mean, these guys started a style of rock music that has had many imitators and is still going strong today, 40 years later. Motherfuck! It still hasn't got better than their second album, Paranoid!! Thanks to the original releaser from so long ago.

1. Paranoid
2. Hand Of Doom
3. Iron Man
4. Black Sabbath
5. N.I.B.
6. Behind The Wall Of Sleep
7. War Pigs
8. Fairies Wear Boots

Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals
Tony Iommi - Guitars
Bill Ward - Drums
Geezer Butler - Bass


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Alcatraz - Vampire State Building (1971)
"Talking about obscure and underrated releases, this Alcatraz album runs ahead of the pack. This album sounds as shabby and loose as a Kraut album should sound, but it is spiced with jazz, hard rocking psychedelics and some avant-garde. Or if you like, a mix of early Can, Colosseum and Soft Machine.

"Simple Headphone Mind" is a beautiful jazzy track, somewhat similar to Miles Davis' "In A Silent Way". "Your Chance of a Lifetime" is more psychedelic. Spacey guitars and rough echoing vocals complement the jazzy rhythmic standard. At the end of the track they rock out in true anarchistic kraut fashion, seemingly sloppy and unfocussed but still engaging due to its freely rocking vibe.

More heavy psychedelic blues kicks off "Where The Wild Things Are", at least till it settles for a swinging jazz groove with saxophone and guitar solos. A loose free-jazz vibe is maintained throughout. Too bad it fades out after only 3 minutes.

No such premature fade on the 13 minute "Vampire State Building". Memorable riffs and inspired soloing keep this one going effortlessly. Even the drum solo is fun. The song goes in all directions, jazzy, avant-garde, pastoral, spacey and even a part with very compelling vocals, not unlike Colosseum. "Piss Off" is full of aggressive and weird psychedelic effects. "Change Will Come" is more traditionally jazz rock.

The album art and goofy title may not have been their best idea, but the boys in the band sure know how to make a tasty, jazzy, psychedelic krautrock album. It may not be the most recognized album in the scene but they sure made a very unique album that is inspiring and enjoyable all the way."

1. Simple Headphone Mind (10:00)
2. Your Chance Of A Lifetime (5:06)
3. Where The Wild Things Are (3:03)
4. Vampire State Building (13:10)
5. Piss Off (3:18)
6. Change Will Come (6:08)

Rüdiger Berghan - Piano, Vocals
Klaus Holst - Guitar
Klaus Nagurski - Flute, Tenor Saxophone
Ronald Wilson - Bass
Jan Rieck - Drums, Percussion

OK see ya

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, and The Mothers Of Invention - Bongo Fury (1975)
This mostly live Zappa album, featuring the added talents of avant-garde/psychedelic jazz/beat poet guru Captain Beefheart, is indescribably excellent. Zappa's band lay a lush bluesy backdrop to his and the Captain's abstract lyricism, and the performances as a whole are absolutely awesome. "Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy" will knock you off your feet, while one of my faves "Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" will have you in fits of laughter and amazement over the ingenious rhyming and intonation of the Captain. This joint effort is a mammoth merging of Zappa's raging musical hormones with Beefheart's outerworldly illogic, culminating in the perfect encore - "Muffin Man", which has to be heard to believed. The endless riff and the blistering solo has got to be one of Zappa's finest moments on record. This is the last recorded appearance of "The Mothers Of Invention".

1. Debra Kadabra [Live]
2. Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy [Live]
3. Sam with the Showing Scalp Flat Top [Live]
4. Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead [Live]
5. 200 Years Old
6. Cucamonga
7. Advance Romance [Live]
8. Man with the Woman Head [Live]
9. Muffin Man [Live]

Frank Zappa – vocals, guitar
Denny Walley – vocals, slide guitar
Tom Fowler – bass, dancer
Terry Bozzio – drums
Chester Thompson – drums
Captain Beefheart – vocals, harmonica, madness
George Duke – keyboards, vocals
Napoleon Murphy Brock – saxophone, vocals
Bruce Fowler – trombone, dancer

See ya!