Sunday, January 28, 2018

Christian Science: Embryonic Journey

I don't have a lotta time but I need to get this up here before the end of the month so I am going for it today.
Today's honoree passed in January after a distinguished career in which he helped invent what we now call World Music.
His band -- called, fittingly, Embryo -- started in the late 1960s after he split off from the legendary Amon Düül collective after playing vibes on their first record, the seminal Phallus Dei.
It continued through uncountable albums and collaborations, right up until his death on January 17th at 71. Only death itself could stop Christian Burchard from making music.
Today's memorial share is quite a delicious tape, captured from the FM in Europe in 1980. I repaired it slightly and now it's in prime condition for everyone's auditory pleasure.
Embryo + Charlie Mariano & Ramesh Shotham
"Live im Jazzclub"
Rundfunkaufnahmen des SWF
Karlsruhe, Germany
1980

01 radio intro
02 untitled improvisation 1
03 untitled improvisation 2
04 untitled improvisation 3
05 untitled improvisation 4

Total time: 57:05

Edgar Hofmann - flute, saxophones
Chris Karrer - guitar, saxophones
Werner Aldinger - trombone
Rudi Schroeder - bass
Roman Bunka - guitar, oud
Michi Wehmeyer  - keyboards
Christian Burchard - vibraphone, marimba, darbuka
Ramesh Shotham - percussion
Charlie Mariano - saxophones

sounds like an off-air master reel of an SWF FM broadcast, repaired/optimized by EN
341 MB FLAC here
The exact date of this one is unknown, but the music is so beautifully uncategorizable, with tons of percussion and the blazing reed stylings of the immortal Charlie Mariano -- a frequent collaborator of this band, which Miles Davis himself professed was the best of the German bands of the 1970s.
I shall return in February with yet more buzz for your bin, but for now please join us in paying necessary tribute, via this simmering set, to this most genre-defining and groundbreaking Maestro.--J.
5.17.1946 - 1.17.2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Horn Aplenty: Ralph Carney, 1956-2017

Occasionally on here, we have to memorialize people gone too soon. Less frequently, those people happen to have been people we have known. Today is a day for both of those things.
Last month, the world lost one of its true throwbacks and one of its most exquisite and individual artists.
He came from Northeast Ohio in the mid-1970s, and he brought instruments in which to blow. By the time he left us, he was thought to have one of the most impressive collections of unusual horns and flutes and whatnot on Earth.
I first was introduced to him on the streets of San Francisco one afternoon in around 1996, and our paths crossed, through many mutual friends, a bunch of times since. I last saw him right before he moved to Portland a couple of years ago, playing with The Cottontails.
It's well-documented how he got around, recording and touring with innumerable heavyweights like Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and The B-52's. And his exploits with his nephew Patrick, the mastermind of one of today's most beloved rock bands, whom he inspired to pursue music as a career decades previous.
It's less well-documented, but equally as significant, how much music he produced on his own and with a whole slew of groups of which he was an integral part.
Starting out with Cleveland legends Tin Huey, he never seemed to stop in the four decades since. When he passed away in mid December after a tragic fall down the stairs at home, he had just posted new music only the day before.
When I heard he was gone, I just stared into space for days. This is a prime case of too young, too soon and the void his going leaves in the world of sound can't be sugarcoated or minimized.
Above all, he was human and hilariously funny and among the most supremely and naturally gifted people I've known or that I'll ever know.
All of these thoughts and more are just a fragmentary impression of what Ralph Carney means to me on this, what would have been his 62nd birthday.
To commemorate this man who meant so much to so many, I have assembled what must be the first career overview ever attempted on him, focusing primarily on his myriad and diverse body of collaborative work.
Ralph Carney
Ralph Abets
1 solo and 23 collaborations of Ralph Carney
1977-2017

01 Ralph Carney - Lament for Charleston
02 Allen Ginsberg - Cleveland, The Flats
03 B-52's - Lava
04 Black Keys - Same Old Thing
05 Carney/Hild/Kramer - These Foolish Things
06 Chuck Prophet - Automatic Blues
07 Danny Cohen - Ranting In the Street
08 David Thomas & The Pedestrians - Happy to See You
09 Elvis Costello - It Tears Me Up
10 Frank Black - Makanujo
11 Galaxie 500 - Blue Thunder
12 Hal Willner - Hal Sings 'The Fatal Glass of Beer' While Ralph Honks
13 Jim White - Combing My Hair In a Brand New Style
14 Jonathan Richman - Behold the Lilies of the Field
15 Marc Ribot - The Wind Cries Mary
16 Oranj Symphonette - Dreamsville
17 Patrick Carney - Bojack's Theme
18 Sallie Ford - Rapid Eyes
19 St. Vincent - Digital Witness
20 Stan Ridgway - Desert of Dreams
21 The Waitresses - I Know What Boys Like
22 Tin Huey - Squirm You Worm
23 Tom Waits - Way Down In the Hole
24 William S. Burroughs - The Last Words of Dutch Schultz (This Is Insane)

Total time: 1:31:31
disc break can go after Track 12

compilation assembled and remastered by EN, December 2017-January 2018
530 MB FLAC here
There isn't much else to say... the music was always first with Ralph and it's best to let what he left behind -- as wide-ranging and impressive a body of work as any musician of our lifetimes you could name -- speak for itself.
I'm not gonna lie. I miss this guy terribly and still feel shattered by his early departure and its circumstances.
But we have the music, and the man sure made plenty... all of it exploratory, energetic and exemplary. I invite you to score my little mixtape tribute -- which itself only scratches the mere surface of his accomplishments on this plane -- and dip a toe into some of what makes Ralph Carney, born this day in 1956, a musical figure for the ages and beyond.--J.
1.23.1956 - 12.16.2017

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ghost Town Business: Anniversary Specials

Let's catch up to January with a pair of anniversary specials by... The Specials.
If you aren't familiar with The Specials, it's time you were.
One of the most, if not the most, beloved group of the Ska revival in England at the turn of the 1970s to the 1980s, their music has never been far from my playlist since I first heard them in around 1980.
Today is a weird one -- perhaps the only time this will ever happen -- in that I have both a concert from the Paradiso in Amsterdam and a DVD of one from the same period. The Holland gig was taped 38 years ago tonight, and the video one first aired on the BBC the very same day.
There's an official live record from this tour, but for whatever reason it sounds poorly recorded. This one is the one they should have issued! The DVD is sourced from a 2011 rebroadcast and looks awesome as well.
The Specials
European gigs
1979-80

1.
Paradiso
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1.21.1980

01 Dawning of a New Era
02 Do the Dog
03 It's Up to You
04 Monkey Man
05 Rat Race
06 Blank Expression
07 Rude Boys Outta Jail
08 Concrete Jungle
09 Too Hot
10 Doesn't Make It Alright
11 Stupid Marriage
12 Too Much Too Young
13 Guns of Navarone
14 Little Bitch
15 A Message to You, Rudy
16 Nite Club
17 Gangsters
18 Long Shot Kick de Bucket
19 Liquidator
20 Skinhead Moonstomp
21 Madness
22 You're Wondering Now

Total time: 1:11:52

Lynval Golding - guitar, harmonica & vocals
Horace Panter - bass
Terry Hall - vocals & percussion
Jerry Dammers - keyboards & vocals
Neville Staple - vocals & percussion
Roddy Radiation - guitar & vocals
John Bradbury - drums & percussion
Dick Cuthell - flugelhorn
Rico Rodriguez - trombone

off-air FM recording from Dutch Radio, sounds like a master reel
484 MB FLAC here

2.
"Rock Goes to College"
Colchester Institute
Colchester, UK
12.24.1979

01 intro
02 Do the Dog
03 Monkey Man
04 Rat Race
05 Blank Expression
06 Rude Boys Outta Jail
07 Doesn't Make it Alright
08 Concrete Jungle
09 Too Much Too Young
10 Guns of Navarone
11 Nite Klub
12 Gangsters
13 Longshot Kick de Bucket
14 Madness
15 You're Wondering Now

Total time: 44:28

Lynval Golding - guitar, harmonica & vocals
Horace Panter - bass
Terry Hall - vocals & percussion
Jerry Dammers - keyboards & vocals
Neville Staple - vocals & percussion
Roddy Radiation - guitar & vocals
John Bradbury - drums & percussion
Dick Cuthell - flugelhorn
Rico Rodriguez - trombone

PAL DVD of a 2011 BBC-4 rebroadcast, with an option for alternate, fan-remastered audio included, first aired 1.21.1980
2.01 GB PAL here
I zipped these up separately in case you would like to get one and not the other, but trust me both are more than worthwhile as a double anniversary Specials special.
I shall return in a couple of days with a tribute to a great person gone far too soon, but for now I invite you to fly the friendly Ska with one of the all-time best practitioners of the art form, all taped (or broadcast) on this day in 1980!--J.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Pearl Friday: Janis Joplin 75

OK, I apologize for not really posting much so far in 2018; there's a lot going on at the micro and macro. I will try -- just a little bit harder -- to catch up to things this week.
Let's start that process with another little piece of my heart, this one concerning the 75th birthday today of someone who needs not awfully much introduction.
She was of course born this very day in 1943, and her meteoric rise and precipitous fall are well-documented.
Surely as beloved and legendarily sincere a vocalist as any who did not see the age of 28, she is certainly one of the most colossal and legit Caucasian interpreters of The Blues in our rapidly shortening lifetimes.
So much of the too-soon-gone music-people stories revolve around the usual What Ifs, especially in this case as our birthday Pearl was only beginning to really find her way on her own musical terms when she so tragically passed, the victim of the requisite, Rock Star heroin demise. The overdoses always happen when they don't have any in their system and go hard on it all of a sudden, but it is what is it I guess. Tim Buckley died the same, sad and silly way.
Anyway she's still as popular as ever and in no danger of ever being forgotten about, so in a way it no longer matters in what tawdry circumstances she departed this terror plane, or what kiss-and-tell tracks other seminal songwriters may have written about her.
No, in the final analysis she wins, because somewhere some young woman -- probably getting mistreated by her classmates and developing catastrophically uninhibited patterns of overt insecurity and not sure what to do about it all -- is at this moment discovering the redemptive qualities of Blues Power through the vast and monumental imprint left by Janis Joplin, in a mercurial four-year comet career at the top of the musical mountain.
Janis Joplin & the Full Tilt Boogie Band
"Festival Express"
CNE Stadium
Toronto, Canada 
6.28.1970

01 Tell Mama
02 Half Moon
03 Move Over
04 Maybe
05 Summertime
06 Little Girl Blue
07 That's Rock 'N' Roll
08 Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)
09 Kozmic Blues
10 Piece of My Heart
11 Cry Baby
12 Get It While You Can
13 Ball And Chain

Total time: 1:17:07

Janis Joplin - vocals & percussion
Brad Campbell - bass, vocals
Clark Pierson - drums
John Till - guitar, vocals
Ken Pearson - organ
Richard Bell - piano

sounds like an unissued multitrack recording made with a mobile truck
480 MB FLAC here
There isn't a great deal left in the vaults concerning this illustrious vocalist, but there are a few gems and this one is definitely in that category. Dating from the infamously debaucherous Festival Express locomotive sojourn across Canada undertaken by a whole passel of bands that summertime of 1970, this comes from what appears to the ears to be a mobile truck-taped live record, never issued as the artist would be dead just some four short months hence.
Anyway she'd have been the milestone 75 today, so from Port Arthur, Texas to the input port on your laptop please accept this quite incendiary 77+ minutes of gutbusting Blues-n-Soul captured nearly 50 years ago... I'd bet it'll be made more than evident why Janis Joplin is held in the esteem in which she is and will forever be held.--J.
1.19.1943 - 10.4.1970

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Jan. 9 from Outer Space: Scott Walker 75

It's 2018 and I mean to start it off in the most weird and wonderful way possible, courtesy of a 75th birthday tribute to a legendary figure.
All you Plastic Palace Peoples and Boychildren, today is your lucky day, for we begin the new year with a tribute to the iconic and iconoclastic Scott Walker.
Surely the architect of one of, if not the most unusual career trajectories in the annals of modern music, if you don't know Scott then 1) I feel sorry for you and 2) his music occupies the space somewhere between Jacques Brel, Andy Williams and Nick Drake.
There's really no describing him, so let's stick to the acknowledged facts. He began in the mid-1960s as part of a group, then split off from them to make some of the most evocative and bizarre music of the era, and then he rejoined them... except their later music was more redolent of his inspired madness than their previous poppy sounds ever were.
After he quit them again, he became even more out there and made records and film scores that made his previous, ultra-challenging material seem quaint and accessible by comparison.
He's been doing it for over 50 years on entirely his own terms and has gotten better and better, which as we know is not often the norm for the aging musos of yesterday's life. His solo records of the late 1960s are still utterly revered by millions, and likely will always be because they are just that one-of-a-kind ingenious.
He made some truly strange covers albums in the early 1970s that have never -- and, if he has his way, will never -- be reissued digitally... but for me I've always found the records that artists have disowned to be among their most rewarding. I think of the Tim Maia Racional series, for example; when homeboy starts burning the master tapes, it's time to seek out those LPs immediately.
So.... what have we here, then? Why, it's those very same three deleted LPs, transferred so beautifully from pristine vinyl you'd almost never know they were not real reissues. I told you things were gonna get weird.
Scott Walker
1969-73 LPs

Scott Walker Sings Songs from His TV Series (1969)
01 Will You Still Be Mine
02 I Have Dreamed
03 When the World Was Young
04 Who (Will Take My Place)
05 If She Walked Into My Life
06 The Impossible Dream
07 The Song Is You
08 The Look of Love
09 Country Girl
10 Someone to Light Up My Life
11 Only the Young
12 Lost In the Stars
13 Joanna (bonus)
14 Lights of Cincinnati (bonus)
15 I Will Wait for You (bonus)

Total time: 48:07

The Moviegoer (1972)
01 This Way Mary (Theme from "Mary, Queen of Scots")
02 Speak Softly Love (Theme from "The Godfather")
03 Glory Road (Theme from "W.U.S.A.")
04 That Night (Theme from "The Fox")
05 The Summer Knows (Theme from "Summer of '42")
06 The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti (Theme from "Sacco e Vanzetti")
07 A Face in the Crowd (Theme from "Le Mans")
08 Joe Hill (Theme from "The Ballad of Joe Hill")
09 Loss of Love (Theme from "Sunflower")
10 All His Children (Theme from "Never Give an Inch")
11 Come Saturday Morning (Theme from "Pookie")
12 Easy Come, Easy Go (Theme from "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?")

Total time: 38:52

Any Day Now (1973)
01 Any Day Now
02 All My Love's Laughter
03 Do I Love You
04 Maria Bethania
05 Cowboy
06 When You Get Right Down To It
07 If
08 Ain't No Sunshine
09 The Me I Never Knew
10 If Ships Were Made To Sail
11 We Could Be Flying

Total time: 38:29

3 deleted LPs transferred from original vinyl at 24/96 and turned to 16/44 for you
all 3 LPs zipped together
630 MB FLAC here
Just because I am emphasizing unsolicited kindness in the new year, I have also placed cloudward another little nugget for everyone brave/stupid enough to read this shit all the way to its (yes it's merciful) conclusion. 
Back when Scott was in between record deals at the turn of the 1970s to the 1980s, The Teardrop Explodes' Julian Cope made a fantastic 12-track compilation of SW's first few solo records, with the understated, austere title of Fire Escape In the Sky: The Godlike Genius of Scott Walker.
This was issued on vinyl in 1981 and renewed interest in his stuff enough to help relaunch his solo career, but it's as of yet never made it to CD... so I reconstructed it from the reissues of his albums and remastered it a bit to get it all sounding like it hangs together sonically.
Anyway you read this nonsensical screed to this point, so go get it because it's really great... it can be located in FLAC right here.
Do enjoy these albums, completely ridiculous as they are and with thoroughly over-the-top orchestrations designed to saturate the soul and melt the mind. I shall return soonly with more cream for your coffee, in just a little while. And of course a very awesome birthday wish to Scott Walker, born this day in 1943 and still making crazy, vital music after all these years.--J.