1997 was a busy year for Melanie with Antlers at the end of the year (try it here) and Low Country at the beginning (the one we talk about). It's a shame that this album was not released with a normal distribution since it had everything to find a large audience. Actually this is the more American record she did in all her career. In a sense her Dylano-Springteenian album although it's hard for me to write it (I kinda dislike Springsteen). It's quite similar to what Ian Hunter's been doing in the late years. It seems so different of her other albums that it shows that Melanie has never been your usual country-rock singer as some would seem to suppose. The album contains some real gems and even if there are some rockers, most of the LP is quiet and lyrically real sad and desillusioned on almost everything, love included ("I'm Not In Love Anymore" is one of her most depressive texts). To the 12 tracks of the initial version, I add the unreleased version of "Prematurely Grey" recorded during the same sessions and that is one of the most moving songs of the whole. Strange she did not want to include it here. I would have liked to know the reason why. Musically, she is backed with her son and fine musicians and no more trace of the awful 80's sound that ruined her songs during the eighties and the first part of the 90's. Actually, this is not the style of music I prefer but Melanie could sing almost any style, I would be able to appreciate. I used the real cover sleeve for the front but created a back one to write the song names. Included in the rar file are the lyrics of all the songs. Thx to say thx in comments if you appreciate the work. Enjoy it here.
In streaming, I posted the rockest of the whole, "On The Lam Of The Law", not far from what Barbara Keith plays with the Stone Coyotes, and the previously unreleased one, "Prematurely Grey", for its emotional power. I added an interesting video (not good visual quality but sound is OK) in which she plays "Freedom Knows My Name" 2 years before Low Country, backed with a bass-drummer duo and by her daughter for vocals.
A Lam In The Law. I'm on the lam from the law boy On the lam from the law I never pick up no certified mail You never know what it's for If anybody asks you tell them I'm not home I'm gonna take my number Off this bugged telephone You see I never did, I never knew, I never saw On the lam from the law I'm on the lam from the law boy On the lam from the law As if death wasn't enough boy They never leave you alone If anybody asks you don't know where I am I don't know how I got myself into this terrible jam You see I never did, I never knew, I never saw On the lam from the law No dirty words in my song I drive with my seat belt on Got sued and lost what a scam See you in court Get in line what a jam I'm on the lam from the law boy On the lam from the law I never pick up no certified mail You never know what it's for If anybody asks you tell them you don't know where I am I don't know how I got myself Into this terrible jam I never did, I never knew, I never saw I'm on the lam from the law I'm on the lam from the law I'm on the lam from the law
Prematurely Grey. Too quick to smile And to easy to cry The first to say hello And the last to say goodbye A sucker for adventure A fool for the truth And I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue And I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue Too late to come And the last to go The first one to believe And the last to know A sucker for religion And all that is true And I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue And I'm prematurely grey Absolutely blue
Melanie in concert around 1997
This is one of the most sickened record by one of the most sickened guy of rock 'n' roll (actually sludge but it's the only true rock 'n' roll presently). Larry Lifeless was the singer (vociferator) of UpsideDownCross (as you can see on his sweat) with a certain J Mascis on drums. It was in the beginning of the 90's and this band played one of the most putrid and infectious sludge that can be imagined. They released 2 seminal records and disbanded. About 15 years later, Larry's here again with members of another of the most pestilential band in the world: Anal Cunt. And together, they played something that can be hardly described, and for some, still more hardly listened to. But I like it, very much. I must be sick (actually I am). To understand what all this about, the simpler is to read the song titles ("Here Comes The Cum", "In The Rain With No Cocaine" ou Polio Juice"). A muddy and desolated way to see human condition. I don't share this kind of living, but I feel there's here something that makes art great. Exploring the extremes and coming back with an artistic equivalent. That's what these 4 guys do and only for that they must not be forgotten. Not to say that what they play is exactly songs, but no matter after all. It is to note that Steve Austin (Mr Today Is The Day) helped to mix the "thing". Can't say if the band name must be interpreted as a denonciation or an apology of Hitler, but more probably only as a provocation to hurt all the puritans bulldogs and their bullshit. Enjoy (if you can) this piece of... here.
Adolf Satan's dead now and Larry Lifeless reformed in 2007 the band in which he was in the eighties: Kilslug. It's more than good. They're touring since then and if you're in the US, don't miss them and check their myspace here.
During the decade separating Peep Show (in 1987) and Punk Life (in 1998), this is the only album that Alternative TV released. This is actually a Mark Perry solo album, helped by various musicians, mostly friends, some issued from the previous ATV era such as Alison Phillips on drums throughout the album. This is explained by the fact that the album was recorded over 4 years. This has long been my least fave ATV album, and I even considered it as a bad LP and rarely listened to it during the 15 following years. But last year, exploring again the ATV discography, I discovered that I like it now much more than at the time. I must have changed. All Alternative TV fans (but they're so few) will be disoriented since the music is much more lo-fi indie than the usual experimental post-punk that Mark Perry associated to the band name. There are reminiscences of Felt, Nikki Sudden, TV Personalities and all the Cherry Red Records family (not aged well the latter). Moreover, Mark Perry sings in a rather monotonous and stereotyped way, trying melodies as in the Ancient Rebels era but without the inspiration he had during this period. But however, all this dissipates when you're in the correct mood (that means rather melancholic) and when all this fits perfectly with it (as tonight for me). This is the power of our fave artists to have produced an "oeuvre" that can be relevant in the worst state of mind. And Mark Perry has always been one of the rares to do it for me. So, with all its weakness, this album (I should have asked to Mark Perry why the title and why these disturbing pictures on the sleeves) must not be forgotten and may help you if, like me, you need something like this tonight. Give a try here. The musicians playing on each song are written in the inside sleeve included in the rar. file.
No lyrics to provide. But they're not difficult to understand and not long. As a sample, I've chosen the acoustic version of "Magic" (the electric one closes the album under the title of "Magic In Full Flight" and is very good too)
The today's post took me quite a bit to create. But beforehand, some words to explain the context. In 1993 (probably after spring, since she covers "How To Help You Say Goodbye", released by Patty Loveless in April 1993 on her Only What I Feel album, the song being a massive hit, unfortunately not by Melanie, only one year later, showing how Melanie had felt the potential of this song) Melanie does an unplugged session in the wake of the popular MTV's ones (Neil Young had done his the same year, and Bob Dylan would do his 2 years later). No need to say the success would not reach the same level. But one must admit that the sleeve was quite awful (the reason why, once again, I did an alternate one) and the distribution was confidential, the album being not even released in UK or in the US (only in Germany and in Holland). The title refers probably to her meeting with Peter Schekeryk, husband and producer, that she had met in 1968/9, ie., 25 years before (silver marriage). In 1993, she was in a quite dark period with her last real proper album being Seventh Wave 10 years earlier (and her last real Melanie album Arabesque, the year before). Since then, her albums were uneven affairs, mixing various styles adapting to the ugly 80's sound, and released in a more and more underground way. Here, she goes back to her real roots and proposes a moving and intense travel into her universe, rich and complex, with ghosts of child dreams in her adult desillusions, that never killed her appetite for living and laughing. So, why was it so difficult? Because Silver Anniversary was released in 2 versions, a 2 CD German one with 26 songs and a 2 CD Dutch one with 25 songs (3 songs different between them). Moreover, some songs recorded during the same sessions (like Ballroom Streets, it is recorded with Melanie facing a small audience), were not on these 2 versions, and had to be found on various compilations (these acoustic sessions provided a lot of material for cheap compilations on which they could write Hits without paying their due to Buddha Records). So, here it is, maybe not as complete as I say, but except if I missed one song, the most complete I could do, with 28 songs (plus a bonus, the long version of "Long Long Time"). Afterwards, I decided to take time to listen closely to all songs and to compose a thematic 4 sides 2 CD album. I gave a name to each side according to the lyrics and the atmospheres of the songs. I know this is highly subjective and you might have prefered to get the album in its original version, but I doubt there was really an original one, and when listening to the 2 versions I described above, you can't help to think these songs were put in random order, losing much of the interest of the listener who is shifted from an atmosphere to another without any planned intention. So, the 1st side will be like an introduction to the whole project, the 2nd side under the influence of the sky (cyclone, rain, sun, moon, all elements symbols of peace in the Melanie"s world), the 3rd side the lighter one, with this so delicious way Melanie has to become the little girl she surely was back then, and the 4rth side, dedicated to the Hits, the singalong songs, and closing with songs that perfectly fit the end of such a musical communion. The albums does not consist only in covers of others or of her own classics. There are also new ones, and they sometimes are the best of the whole. So this album must be re-rated for what it is, a great unplugged experience, much deeper than most of the MTV ones. If you want to read the lyrics, just click here. I separated the dl in 2, one for each CD. Enjoy them here for the CD1, there for the CD2 and there again for the bonus track.
Below, the real sleeve. You can see that it was not the best to help the album to find its way to those who ignored who was Melanie. In streaming, I chose to propose her wonderful version of "Purple Haze" (from Hendrix of course) and a new track, "Taking A Bath", in which all the particular charm of Melanie is, this derision, this way to say things clearly even when it's not to her advantage, and this lighty way to talk about her problem with her body. But there is much more to love in the album.
Purple Haze. Purple haze all in my brain Lately things don't seem the same I'm acting funny And I don't know why Excuse me while I kiss the sky Kiss the sky Purple haze coming all around Don't know if I'm going up or down Am I happy or in misery Whatever it is it put a spell on me Help me, help me Purple haze all in my eyes Don't know if it's day or night You got me running You blow my mind Is it tomorrow or just the end of time Help me, help me Purple haze all in my brain Lately things don't seem the same I'm acting funny And I don't know why Excuse me while I kiss the sky Kiss the sky Excuse me while I kiss the sky
Taking A Bath. Oh I feel grotty, the scent of my body Reminds me of dish water left over night Oh salty eyes looking for light Oh this old dress has been cried in and lied in And sweated and dried in, it's hittin' the sack But now I'm alone with buttons down the back And it's odd after all that our love has gone though I should be sitting here crying for you But all I can think of is taking a bath, cleaning my blue Bathing my body and oooh, coming out new All hopes for getting this straight Left my mind very late in the morning, you left after dawn I'm touching the tap and I'm turning it on I've already wished I'd expire and I'm so tired Of cursing your sun-sign and the day you were born I'm numb to the hurt and I'm glad it feels gone And reality blazes and I'm left amazed That recovery's already started with basics And all I can think of is taking a bath, cleaning my blue Bathing my body and oooh, coming out new, oooh Taking a bath Taking a bath Taking a bath Taking a bath Cleaning my blue
Sorry for those who hoped that I left my obsession for doom and sticked to seventies shit. I fear it'll never be since life makes me think that doom, and particularly the kind of doom we'll discuss today, is the most relevant form of music to the present world. I must advice any curious listener that the today's post is for one of the most sickened doom band (and record) this planet has faced. The're Finnish and in 2005 they released this incredible EP (actually 35 min so not far from an album and with a terrific but splendid sleeve) featuring one of the most macabre and hellish music I heard. With Khanate and Moss, they're the band that impressed me the most but I maybe forgot some other ones. Everything here seems crawling in a mud done with earth and cadaver flesh (the last track is entitled "Not Waving But Drowning"). Nothing here of the kind of celestial dimension of modern sludge doom such as played by Sea of Bones or Omega Massif, even Huata. Stumm play (they still play but never released anything else that some split records, a shame) the music that people hating doom can't imagine anyone is honestly able to like. But I am. And honestly. And more than that, I listen to it. Not everynight (I would have killed myself by now if I did), but sometimes, when this is the only music that is in harmony with my interior dysharmony. And this is it. So if you wanna try, go for here. Below the streaming of "New Christ For Every Morning" and below below a testimony of a recent set by Stumm featuring one track of this EP. And here their site.
Abbe May is one of my fave 3 top alive woman singers (with Rose Kemp & Melanie Safka) and this album was one of the best surprises of last year. Actually, Abbe May plays here a stunning reincarnation of the swamp stomping blues, infested by murder and death, not far from being authorized to be called blues-doom. Imagine Buddy Guy playing the Sweet Tea album with an acoustic guitar, or T. Rex doing a real blues album. There are also traces of Sixteen Horsepower and a kind of Nick Cave flavour. If Rose Kemp decided to do a blues album, I bet it would sound something like this. It's raw and rough, all I like when women play music (the evaporated folk singers make me want to kill somebody). Hearing this 12-track collection, one may think it mainly consists in covers of old blues trads since they all sound as standards. But not at all, 9 are original compositions and only 3 covers (in particular "Goodnight Irene", that was covered by Alex Harvey on the Penthouse Tapes album in 1975). When songs are calm (actually when they are funerally calm), Abbe May sings not less than as Billie Holiday backed with a bunch of lost guys sleeping in the Bayou after having drunk to death. Striking, shivering, exceptional. When you'll know that Abbe May and her band are Australians, you'll understand how unexpected it was and how precious it is. The spirit of Voodoo is in her. After Hendrix and Dr John, the music has found his Voodoo girl. Sacrifice yourself for her here.
In streaming below, 2 songs, the opening track called "Hoodoo You Do" with its oh so catchy tune and a moving version of the Blind Willie Johnson "The Soul Of A Man" (I post the lyrics as modified by Abbe May and not the original ones). Imagine that all the album is this quality and buy it quick.
The Soul of a Man. Won't somebody tell me, answer if you can? What is the soul of a man? What is the soul of a man? I saw the doctors and the lawyers, they say a man ain't no more than his mind. I've traveled far in countries, I've traveled foreign lands, I've found nobody to tell me, what is the soul of a man.
Todd Rundgren and his big band had decided to give us an appointment in Amsterdam for the closing of a tour dedicated to the rendition of his legendary 1973 album ‘A Wizard A True Star’, initiated on September 5th last year in Akron, Ohio. Fourteen concerts altogether, 12 in the U.S. and 2 in Europe, among which the Hammersmith Apollo in London last Saturday and then Monday night, at the Paradiso, in Amsterdam. Costumed by Michelle Rundgren, Todd has built a show whose priority is the visual. Two groups of musicians perched on platforms in all white tuxedos coated, form the "big band". The (many) keyboards on which Ralph Schuckett (with Rundgren from 73 and especially since Utopia II), Greg Hawkes (Keyboardist for The Cars) and Bobby Strickland (already present in 2 Rundgren’s albums, "Nearly Human" and "Second Wind") put their fingers are on your right; Jesse Gress, Kasim Sulton and Prairie Prince are facing them and on your left. I confess that although I already watched some videos circulating since the first concert in Akron Ohio, I was amazed by the performance. We must still remember that this album was released in 1973, that Todd wrote all these tunes over several years with recording equipment of thirty seven years old, which belong to the prehistory of the recording! The show is here for Part 1 and there for Part 2, enjoy.
Rough MixA selection of some great pictures from the Paradiso show by Lion Keezer
Sometimes I don't know what to feel. Sometimes I don't know I just don't know what to feel Sometimes I don't know what to feel Everything I thought that I knew starts to look so unreal There's a ringing in my head that keeps me awake at night Sometimes I don't know what is right Today I saw a car crush my little dog under its wheel It did not even stop, it just sped off and out of sight Sometimes I just feel so afraid But I know that no one else has it made So if I just believe in myself I won't need no help from nobody else and I can make it alone And everything will be cool, I got to keep on keepin' on There's nothing else I can do Sometimes I don't know what to do Someone said the world's going to end and I think its true I thought there was some love in the world but I guess I'm wrong Sometimes I just feel so alone I don't want to admit to my friends that I feel confused I wonder what I'd do with myself if the world was gone Something makes me stay on my feet Don't you dare admit to defeat And if I tell myself it's all right I can comfort myself through the night and watch another day dawn And everything will be cool
When the Shit Hits the Fan. Earthquake in New York City, the Chrysler Building fell in my yard But when the shit hits the fan,I think I'll have to make my way back to Sunset Boulevard The IRA has just hit London, they blew up half of Scotland Yard But when the shit hits the fan, I guess I'll try to make my way back to Sunset Boulevard Cruisin' down a mountain highway, someone's cut the brakes on my car But when the shit hits the fan, I know I have to get my ass back to Sunset Boulevard
Here's a doom band name in line with my present mood. But more than this personal and anecdotical point, Barriers is a strong album mixing a lot of genres: doom of course (this is really dark and obituary), stoner (only some riffs), old death (in particulary Obituary) and of course the traditional contemplative post-rock doom à la Pelican & Neurosis. All this gives a large nightmarish rainbow from Sweden (Malmö). Horns of Anguish are actually a 2 man-band, with an occasional drummer for live shows. They mus t be added to the list of seminal new bands and it's a cold comfort but still a kind of consolation in the current musical garbage to see that some spend months of their lifes to make such a great piece of sound to happen. One track is a complete masterpiece. It's called "Ominous", and it is in streaming below. Apparently nothing new, but the long atmospheric development is really addictive and makes you fly above the mountains of shit you have to walk in while alive. Listen here to be sure you like it and then buy it please through their myspace here. They deserve it.
At the onset of 1976, after 4 years Melanie had progressively faded away from public view with uneven albums (I'll post some of them later since there are some good songs in them but they don't stand the test of time on the whole), Atlantic records bosses were enthusiastic when listening to her new songs. They offer her very confortable conditions of recording and everything seemed OK for a great comeback. It will not be the case. Many Melanie fans, and Melanie herself, did not really understand why such a failure to reinstall her in the center of the singer-composer circle, next to Joni Mitchell (not a fave of mine, but she always inspired a high level respect from almost everyone), when a Kate Bush would reach glory status a year or so after with a similar way to approach music. Maybe too much too soon. But another reason of this faillure is, to my eyes, that she did not have the Director's cut for the choice of songs finally included in the album (she had composed and recorded enough for a double LP); Surprisingly, she told me that she didn't really care at the time which songs would be selected, neither which version of the songs, cos' she recorded some in more than one. The most spectacular (and shameful) one example of this great waste of insight, is "Groundhog Day", played in a long and wonderful version with a long intrumental development that announced the Kate Bush" Hounds of Love LP, omitted in favour of the short and more mainstream one. Sure that this long version would have changed the look that the public and the press would have thrown on her (even if the press was very positive, many writing that this album was one of the best of the year). When talking to her 4 years ago, it was clear that her final choice of songs would not have been the one featuring on the vinyl format, but I don't know which songs she would have liked to see on it (maybe all, with a double LP package actually). So, I decided to make my own pict... oops Photograph myself, selecting songs among the double CD released in 2005 under the name of Double Exposure. I tried my best to make the songs coexist with the best internal consistency, with a first (fake) side consisting in tracks with the more classy atmospheres and a second side more folk orientated. The second side opens and closes with 2 versions of "Secret of the Darkness", a good idea I think. From the official Photograph, I removed some songs that I consider weak (my subjective opinion) such as "If I Needed You", "Raindance", "Friends & Co" and "Poem" and took the alternate version of "Cyclone" (devoid of some musical scories or the end of the seventies) and of "Secret of the Darkness". I also omitted "Nickel Song", a bad idea to include an old hit in an album of renewal. And of course there is the 10 min version of "Groundhog Day". From the songs not included in the official version at the time, I took the superbs "Jukebox Magazine", "Unfinished Business" and "Remember Good", an enigm why nobody at Atlantic understood that these songs were essential to put in the LP. From the official version are the excellent cover of the Boxtops's "The Letter" and the moving cabaret jazz flavored "I'm So Blue" (the song in streaming below). And of course "Save Me", for the pleasure to cry a little whilst listening to music. What else to say? If you have the album, nothing interesting for you except if, like me, you thought that the track selection could have been much better. Here's mine, do yourself one too. And try to buy Double Exposure to have the best sound quality if you like what you hear. Enjoy your ears here.
I'm So Blue. I'm so blue, what happened to me shouldn't happen to the worst of you. What can I do to prevent you from going thru what I've been going thru? Momma told me this man would leave me eventually. I couldn't see the trees from the forest or how does that saying go. I'm so blue, since you're gone, well to tell you the truth I feel I can't go on. Where love has gone, there's the emptiest feeling in all of this world. I'm a lonely girl, I'm so blue. There are no warning words that we'll listen to, nothing can do to prevent you from going thru what I've been going thru. I'm so blue...I'm so blue...I'm so blue
This is the last ATV album to this day. Unfortunately. I don't know if Mark Perry will do another one someday, but I hope so. Meanwhile he's touring again with a new ATV band and cross the fingers it will go on (and that he will lose some weight cos' it's not the Mark Perry I love to see). Because I miss his music, his voice, his intimate and dirturbing universe on record (live, he seems now to stick to the punk formula). When I talked to him the year this album was released, he told me he didn't like it. It was a step back to the punk days for him, a kind of opportunistic project not fitting with the taste of a 43 yrs old man listening to Bob Dylan and no more to punk. I think he was too severe and that the album stands proudly in his discography. I doubt he was so cynical he seemed to say he was recording it. There are some gems, and even the punk tracks are powerful and done with great energy. The fact is that he still plays some songs from this album, meaning that this album was not a one-shot. Except if the present ATV is opportunistic of course. But it's true it's rather the unreleased old songs written at the time of Alex Fergusson's ATV such as "In Control" than songs written for this album that he still plays. Enjoy it here or here.
On your knees again. Back in your room there was a surprise. Your eyes tell the story: a lonely man, in his lonely hell. On your knees once again. So hard to deal with your own desires. For the same old reasons. Wicked thoughts are clutching you. On your knees again. If you look out of the window of your mind, the universe is always changing shape. A big bright light burns into your soul, bringing you forgiveness. You've convinced yourself, there's nothing left. Your world's imploding. Voices screaming. On your knees again.
Does the salvation of Stoner will come from Italy? It seems since US, UK and Nordic Stoner are stucked in boring formulas in which the parody is more spectacular than the novelty and where excitation and spontaneity are totally absent. Not talking about the bath of testosterone in which all this mess is swimming. Nothing similar here. Something really fresh that for the first time in years made me wanted to listen to more of it, and interest becoming enthusiasm. There's actually a cosmos flavour in Cosmotron, an Hawkwindian atmosphere but actually all those who loved the first Stoner wake (Kyuss of course but also Acrimony) will quickly be adepts of this Italian sect. It's rude, raw, rough. Good to headbang again even if age coming, the risk is a sudden attack and hemiplegy. Doesn't matter. Too difficult to resist to the cosmotron. Take the trip here. It's heavy as cosmic shit.
Their myspace's here.
And a nice poster to illustrate the streaming track (the 3 are terrific so I chose "Strange Gods" cause it's the 1st one only).