Sad that this 7th Shocking Blue single (released in March 1971), one I consider the strongest of their career, did not reinstall them at the top of the worldwide charts. It even failed to reach the hit level of the previous one, the weak "Hello Darkness" in Germany and in Nederlands. Strangely I feel that it was a hit in France but I have not the chart positions of the Shocking Blue singles in my country. More strikingly, it was a hit in Japan, and the cover of the single had a unusual picture of the band on it that I posted below. Why I like it so much? Because it's a return to a rougher and more raucous sound. The band is tight and plays compact. The midsong solo is powerfull. It must be noted that the band was now a 5-piece unit and this gave them a better sound. And, last but not least, there's something exciting in Mariska singing "we're shocking you". It is clear that Robbie Van Leeuwen was able to maintain his high level of composition and this was a good news, confirmed by the release, 3 months later, of their 3rd LP entitled Third. Enjoy this gem here.
The Nederland version
The Japan version
The song playbacked on TV (lyrics included if you look at it on youtube)
Waterloo, the excellent B-side. Could have been a hit by itself.
I know, I know, I know, you don't come here for my shitty sludge but for the rare oldies I post. I can see that when looking at the dl rate. I know real doomsters don't need this heteroclyte blog to find music they like and a lot of blogs specialized in this genre provide musch fresher food for their ears than mine. I see more dl when I post rare sludge oldies (such as Asbestosdeath or Adolf Satan) but I can't help to post new bands I find exciting. Maybe one day I'll see that you have the curiosity to get them for a try. Today is an excellent British band named Berserkowtiz (not easy not to mispell) with an EP released 2 years ago and that they provide now freely on their myspace here. It's brutal and extreme, it smells the earth coal miners worked in when they were young ("We were raised on a diet of nought but coal, water and mud"). This gives to their music an authenticity you don't always feel in the bands alike. They say that their music has changed and we wait impatiently for their future tracks. Meanwhile, enjoy a little sonor bath in a coal and mud water here.
I can't honestly tell you that it's the true 5th album of Barry Ryan (the one following Red Man in 1971 that you can find here) since I don't have the original one in vinyl and that it has never been reissued in CD (dirty bastards of the music industry, when I read your crocodile tears about pirates who will kill the artists it makes me want to cut your head as our great Robespierre did 2 centuries ago with the king). So I tried my best during the last months to gather the most songs I could that featured on the original one. Unfortunately, on the various compilations I bought over the last 30 years here and there, often cheap ones issued in hurry to cash on nostalgia, with ugly cover sleeves (but the originals were also quite ugly and this is one of the reasons this singer was never considered seriously by the "true" music amateurs although Queen literally committed plagiarism and installed their style from these roots) I was able to find only 9 among the 12 songs. The 3 missing songs are "Rhode Island Red", "I Think You Know My Name" and "Slow Down". The last can be heard on a youtube link below but no trace of it in MP3. To reduce frustration, I added a song recorded and released this same year (1972), the wonderful "I'm Sorry Susan". And now some words about the music. This album is a radical change from the classic Paul & Barry Ryan style everyone knows (at least everyone knows "Eloïse"). Paul Ryan is not in anymore (except on older titles) and over are the great orchestral arrangements. Here we have a kind of Beatles-go-glam style (more Bowie-Roy Wood than Bolan-Roxy) with unexpected excursions in hard rock ("Storm is Brewing" and "Slow Down" sounds like Led Zeppelin shagging Black Sabbath and I'm sure we would be surprised if we knew who were the musicians on these titles). All in all, it's enjoyable and Barry could sing anything he'd be interesting to listen to. For the sleeve, I chose drawings from a fantastic chinese artist called Li Xiaoxuan but I didn't find any blog or site to link, only here to see more. I'll use some other ones later maybe but. Meanwhile, enjoy this (uncomplete) LP here.
This 6th Shocking Blue single (Mariska Veres era) can be considered as the moment everything went wrong. Not that the song is bad but it is far from their usual standards. And what should have been their chance to go back in the international charts became their swansong. The single was quite popular in Nederland and Germany but much less than the previous single. The B-side ("Pickin' Tomatoes", terrible title but nice song you can hear in streaming below) was actually better but nothing of a hit. The music was more and more pre-americana style when it would have been more relevant to be a little more british rock. I post the clip but strangely it must have been filmed quite later since Klaasje van der Wal (the bassist) was replaced by Henk Smitskamp. Honestly, you can't really call that a clip but it was this in the seventies. Meanwhile, enjoy this 6th episode here. There'll be more.
Thou is what I call a fucking great band. Call it sludge or what you want, it's only the best music on the planet for me, the only one relevant to the present state of the world and don't fucking tell me about the greatness of the past, nothing can compete compare to the highness sludge reached over the last years, and Thou is among the best you can find (even if there are more and more genuine grandeur in the genre). Last year they released a magnificent LP called Tyrant (you don't have it ? Go rotting somewhere I'm not) and after some split 7" and an EP with Black Sabbath covers, they come back with this 4-trax product released on cassette (yes, cassette) and vinyl. Mixing the best Sludge (they're from Louisiana, they know the nature of the game) with total drone (the eponymous track), a little bit of thrash and sometimes even dark metal ("Out of the Mouth of aFool"), they propose a quintessence of what dirty electricity and muddy mind can produce when translated in art. They conclude with a cover of Nirvana ("Sifting"), the second one after "Aneurysm". What's fascinating in Thou is that extreme violence and delicateness can coexist. It's a tour-de-force. This EP is dl on their site but you can find it here.
A great live cover of the Sabbath's "Into The Void" (sound's not bad except the vocals)
From a recent show (sound's not excellent). More on youtube from this set.
Two never released tracks from the great Dazzling Killmen and that you can only find on the Recuerda compilation although the B-side I chose, an unamed song, was a hidden one on the LP and it's not impossible you did know it even existed. The 2 are quite different, "My Lacerations" being DK as fast and wild as they can be (and short, less than 2 min) whereas the unamed track is rather long (more than 6 min) and more complex in structure. Both are essential must-have for any DK fan and largely for any amateur of extreme music making from internal suffering a musical equivalent. I of course did the front and back cover sleeves myself, taken on the fantastic deviantART (here), the front from an artist called rockerdish, the back from another called crazythis. Go to see their galleries. I find both images fitting perfectly with the DK's music. Enjoy here.
Issued in June 1970, this single shows that it's the US country-rock vein that the band will follow although this song will be the first not to chart in US or in UK. However it will be a hit in all Europe, greater still that "Mighty Joe". The B-side is rockier but in a country-rock acception of this term. Both are good songs. "Never Marry" is probably the Shocking Blue song I most heard during my youth, most notably in the family car for never ending travels towards some country place with some water for my parents and their friends to go fishing, eating (not forgetting drinking) and sleeping, a sunday occupation I really despised for reasons I ignore (and don't want to know either). In streaming I put the B-side, "Roll Engine Roll", the A-side can be heard on the clip below. I also post the version the band played when they briefly reformed in 1980. Enjoy it here.
An amusing picture of Mariska interviewed by a south-american journalist
Imagine. In 4 years (from 1964 to 68), this young woman has been (in chronological order), an Ikette (chorist for Ike & Tina Turner), an American girl in London getting friendly with her compatriot Jimi Hendrix, the Precious black Pearl (as PP) of the new label Immediate, backed by musicians who will become the Nice, the closest singer of the Small Faces, influencing Steve Marriott for all his life since he'll do for her what he'll later do with Humble Pie (around 1973), a successfull hit singer with songs topping the charts, and ... a has been. Like a summary of a whole career in only 4 years. And some say that present times go fast. Not so fast that they used to go in the sixties. PP Arnold is one of my fave soul singer, and, more than that, one of my fave whatever style we're talking about since during the 2 yeas with Immediate, she sang a wide variety of styles. She did 2 LP for the label, and they have been reissued almost twice, the last time in 2001 on Castle with bonus tracks. There was a life for PP after this vertigo, but not so glorious actually. After Immediate disappeared, she quite did the same although it's her who sings on the Nick Drake's "Poor Boy". Before and after this enchanted "parenthèse" she faced several dramas in her life (she had 2 children before 1966, before the age of 20, she had another one in 1974 with the bassist of CSN&Y, and she lost her daughter at the end of the seventies). She had a second career at the end of the 80's with techno bands such as The Beatmasters and KLF and since then British musicians did not forget her (in particular Paul Weller and Roger Waters) and she can live her passion for music although she should have merited to have her own solo career. But back to our today's post. You can enjoy the 9 songs from her 5 singles (the B side of the 1st and the last is the same song) here. Below, I put in streaming the only song of the whole written by her ("Though it Hurts Me Badly") and one of the most beautiful of the 30 she released during these 2 years at Immediate. Cos', as Billie Holiday, Mary Wells and Janis Joplin, PP Arnold was an overlooked composer, a machist vision who constrained women with voice to interpret when they were also fantastically gifted for writing songs. Below lots of videos from youtube. You can see her singing her single A-sides at The Beat Club, and also her collaborations with the Small Faces (look at the video of "Tin Soldier", Steve Marriott has what I'd called the "great class"). As bonus rarities, a song with Rod Stewart before he became a superstar.
With Rod Stewart
With the Small Faces
Again with the Small Faces
Even if Madness is one of my fave band since 1980, The Liberty of Norton Folgate my fave last year album, and the concert at the Paris Zenith seen last friday one of the most fabulous I ever saw in my (long) life, I'm quite upset by their stupid choice to issue a shortened version of this album as the edit one (15 songs), the complete version (22 songs) being only available on a boxed set rather expensive and consisting in 3 CDs (one live) presently rather hard to find. Honestly, I consider the album to be the best of last year only when including the 22 songs. If only limited to the edit version, it's a exceptionally good album but it doesn't reach a cult status as in its complete version. So, here I allow Madness amateurs to enjoy the whole of it in posting the 7 missing songs. You'll see that some of them were worth to be in the edit version more than some of the chosen ones. In particular "Hunchback of Torriano" and "One Fine Day" are among their best. Enjoy them here.
In streaming, the superb "One Fine Day". Oh the life that we lived The life that we had Well, it wasn't all bad We had our ups We sure had our downs But before they bring on the clowns One fine day when all of this Just one fine day yes all of this Before they're dancing on our graves Let's spend the time and money that we'll never save I will reflect on that moment I remember the time When there was no reason, no rhyme And nobody knows What tomorrow will bring
So before the big fat ladies sing One fine day when all of this Just one fine day yes all of this 'Cause, it's the life that we've lived It's the life that we had Well my friends, tell me, was it all bad? We had our ups We sure had our downs But before they bring on the clowns One fine day when all of this Just one fine day yes all of this Before they're dancing on our graves Let's spend the time and money that we'll never save One fine day when all of this Just one fine day yes all of this... Is gone
And below the 4 videos of the 4 singles driven from the album.
With this 4th single (here the French sleeve), the 1st that followed their massive worldwide hit "Venus" (released in july 1969, this one issued 4 months later), it was clear that the band had decided to leave its raw, rough and rocky sound for a more US mainstream one, but in 1969, mainstream meant Creedence Clearwater Revival or the Byrds (but there's a clear Beatles influence here, notably of "Old Brown Shoe"), and nothing wrong with that. The influence of Jefferson Airplane is still clear but more the pre-americana one than the psychedelic or blues one. Contrary to what many may think, "Mighty Joe" was still a more massive hit in Nederland, their native land, than "Venus" (n°1 during 2 weeks versus n°3). So it was in Germany but in the US, UK or in France, it went unnoticed and most may have thought that they were one-hit wonders. I suppose that Robbie van Leeuwen was quite uncertain whether he must be happy to see he could do better than "Venus" or anxious to lose the interest of the anglo-american audience. The most striking in the single is that the B-side features a beautiful but rather desperate song called "Wild Wind", in which the metaphysical questions of Robbie van Leeuwen about what's life's for breaks the usual loving affair lyrics. A must-hear I offer here in streaming when you can see the A-side on a (cheapy and freezy) clip from youtube downside. It is to note that neither of the songs were on the At Home album or the next one Scorpio's Dance. Enjoy both of them here.
Wild Wind. Tell me why the wind blows, Tell me why the grass grows, Tell me why the light burns And our world turns. Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Can I fall in love anyway, anyhow? Why does a heartache come and go? Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Do you hear that mountain call? What's that you hear, Is it a love looks Whispering in your ear? Wild wind, tell me why we were born? Wild wind, tell me why shall we die? Wild wind, tell me why we were born?
If you read here and there reviews about this Czech band, you'll see that I'm not the only one to say that among the plethoric "suiveurs" of Neurosis, Lvmen is one of the best, strongest, most original, avoiding a boring tendancy to play contemplative suites supposed to be to music what impressionism was to painting. I've been seducted some years by this approach but for the last 5 years, it bores me to death (that's the reason why I stop the records before actually dying). Not Lvmen, who take you by the bollocks (or ovaries according to your gender) and mix with it's post-rock à-la Neurosis some hardcore à-la Converge but always with something more palatable and more modest than these two combos. And Lvmen are not new in the scene. They began 12 years ago and this is their second album only (a third was released in 2008). If you are in Pelican, Isis, Ocean and all this scene, I'm sure Lvmen will enter in your top as soon as you'll listen to them and make you understand why they're far better. Give a try here.
Second 7" from the great Dazzling Killmen and a true masterpiece this one. The band (and specially Nick Sakes) succeeded in mixing the Albini style with something much more emotive and inventive too (listen to the sax and the crescendo on the A-side, it's not far from the Laughing Clowns but with an intensity that Ed Kuepper never reached). We are some on this planet to consider this band as a reference among references for rock music, not only the noise "niche" and I hope that some of you coming here for seventies rarities or Doom obscurities will have the mind open enough to give an ear to a noise band such as the Dazlling Killmen. Moreover, in the rage I am against humanity in general (most notably these pathetic shitheads that voting innocents have given power to) and people I have to work with in particular, these 2 songs seem a wink from hell that give me the strenght to go on with the perspective that they'll all die in flames. Destroy your ears with it here.
Ghost Limb, the A-side below
"Torture", the B-side, played in 1994 live.
Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, "Venus" was not the second but the third single released by Shocking Blue (I talk about the band featuring Mariska Veres of course, not the band before her), the second being this one with the fantastic "Long and Lonesome Road" on side 1 and "Fireball of Love" on back side. This is this mistake that makes me quickly post another Shocking Blue single here (I usually prefer to let at least 4 or 5 posts before posting singles or albums from the same artists). No video to show since the band made a break in Dutch charts but not enough to do a clip I suppose. It is to note that the sound of the band in 1968-69, was much more electric, rock and psychedelic that it will be after "Venus" succeeds. It's true that it's not with this style they will reach popularity but more with a Creedence meets Jefferson Airplane Europeanized version. Meanwhile, savour it here.
PS. I'll try to illustrate the posts with pictures of the band relevant to the year of the single, but I must say that it's not very easy to be sure since they did not much change their look over their 6 years career. So, the picture above seems to have been taken in 1969 but I would not bet my right hand (I write with it).
Long and Lonesome Road. On a Sunday night while driving my car In the sky a fallin' star Tellin' myself I don't go too far And trust by the sound of the rain Well I wonder, well I wonder where I am 'Cos there's a long and lonesome road That will find our world of you & me babe There's a long and lonesome road That will find our world like it used to be babe Somebody there to show me the way Yes, I'm willin' to pay And this dear old man can tell me any day Know what happens to me
Five years after Katrina, Louisiana will have to face one of the worst oil spill of history. After Haïti, here's again a place that we can call doom! Not a surprise voodoo is so pregnant there. Only such a religion can be relevant to so many disasters. One year ago, I was in New Orleans, during the NO music festival. The atmosphere was fantastic. As a French, living in a country in which people don't know to be festive without being grotesque, where arrogant face with unfriendly talk is a national sport, being in NO during these 2 days seem to be on another planet. And a planet where I would have liked to live. While walking the promenade longing the Mississipi, going from a stage to another with the same delight, my ears caught a well-known thema played by a complete brass band just on the next stage. I went there. It was Bonerama, a brass band who were playing "War Pigs" from Black Sabbath. One of the most exciting musical moment in my life. This doom hymn transformed in a joyful celebration was not a musical waste but a reincarnation that fitted perfectly the place and the moment. Without, strangely, losing its dark content cos' here only in Lousiana death and violence can dance with life and tenderness. The next day, I bought the album featuring "War Pigs" (a live one recorded in New York in 2004) on it and had the surprise to see that they also played another Sabbath song: "The Wizard". No more needed to create today a fake single with these 2 covers on it. Talking about cover, for this single I chose a (quite mediocre but fascinating) painting that is rather in harmony with the content. Hoping that the demons will protect this land against this petrol shit sent by these cupid predators of BP, danse a little voodoo danse with this doom brass hymns here.
Below, "The Wizard" with a rather good sound. You can find many videos of Bonerama playing "War Pigs" on Youtube but none has a really good sound.
You imagine I suppose, that I did not post this single because I consider "Venus" is a forgotten song. I post it simply because I decided to post all Shocking Blue singles and that this is the second (and their most popular). The importance of "Venus" in my own way to consider music was, with "Paranoid" from Black Sabbath and "All Right Now" from Free, quite fondamental but this blog is not the place to do an psychanalishitic exploration of my musical formation. More forgotten is the B-side (in most countries since in some it was "Long Lonesome Road"), "Hotsand", another great song (honestly, Robbie van Leeuwen was a fucking great composer and that he has not a decent entry in English wikipedia is quite scandalous) on which the sitar is quite pregnant but drown in a pre-grunge riff that is as relevant today it was 40 years ago. Due to the immense amount of Venus singles sold, I think this is one of the most heard songs (usually, even if you bought the 7" for the A-side, you tried to justify your investisment in listening to the other side), it is important to transmit to younger generations the excitation this double-great songs single was at the time of its release. Enjoy here.
Hot Sand. Summer day over And darkness come with mighty wings The sea gull's head is tired And when he's tired then he sings Hot sand. I'm walkin' in the hot sand Makin' love on the hot sand Together with you, yeah, yeah, yeah I'm waitin' for the hour I'm waitin' for a place to stay Some place where I can rest And not think about the empty day Hot sand. I'm walkin' in the hot sand Makin' love on the hot sand Together with you, yeah, yeah, yeah If you wonder why baby If you wonder what you hear It's useless to describe Even wonder of what's in your ear Hot sand, it's so good On the hot sand I'm strollin' in the hot sand Together with you... yeah, yeah, yeah
Below, several versions of "Venus". First, the original clip with this strange cage behind the band. See how the quatuor does not seem to take in serious the doomed passion dimension of the song. This, to my eyes, contributed to the fact they were never take seriously by the rock scene.
Below, an apparition on TV, where they of course mimic the song, but where Mariska Veres is really gorgeous.
Below, a very rare live version of the song, in which you can see that the band was not a fake one and could rock, even it they don't reach the UK and US criteria I must admit.
Below the last appearance of Mariska Veres, 11 months before she died, and where she played a good version of the song in front of a nederland audience that showed how this song was now part of their "patrimoine".
And last, a jazz version of the song that she recorded on demand with a piano jazzman. It's quite loungy but it completely recreate the song and moreover, the clip is very moving. A good way to conclude.
This is the first of the 3 7" released by Dazzling Killmen (a split single was also issued but I don't count it in). Thanx to Shinju Gumi for the cover sleeve since I don't have the single (neither I have the next one but both are on the Recuerda compilation, it's just the pleasure to put back these songs in the context of their release, if you come on this blog, you know the concept). The 2 songs on this single are not easy-listening I prefer to advise. But if you like demanding but rewarding rock (the way Coltrane's could be to jazz), it's for you. It's quite strange than on "Bottom Feeder", the B-side, we can hear John Peel saying he's into Dazzling Killmen since this is their first single and they had not released anything before it. If you have an explanation, thanx to leave it in comments below. Meanwhile have a trip to hell here.
Since 1975 and his first real solo album, Jean-Claude Vannier is with Alain Kan and Christophe in the trio of my fave French singer-songwriters . His name is more popularily linked to Serge Gainsbourg's Melody Nelson album cos he did the so fantastic arrangements and orchestration, of the cult LP, and also to L'Enfant Assassin des Mouches, an album he issued at the end of the sixties, a kind of milestone for experimental music. But for me, the more "mainstream" songs of Jean-Claude Vannier have been undefectible companions of my ups (rares) and downs (unfortunately numerous). I've bought all his solo albums, not many actually (let's say 6 before he disappeared from view), went to see him 3 times in concert (one time in a Veronique Sanson concert, when she played with a Symphonic orchestra he was in charge of the arrangements, but he was booed by the stupid audience and it made me mad), and never omit to cite him when I talked or wrote about French music. What's so particular about him is something so unique in his way to create intimacy without being exhibitionist, as he makes of his own personal wreck something universal similar to a Pessoa or a Cioran. Few have written better lyrics that him and when he's inspired, he reached some unaccessible highs. His music is something a crossover between the Kinks when they're playing caroussel songs and Procol Harum when they're the most ironic but with something purely French in his approach of songs (a kind of talking quality). His singing anticipated the way most new French singers sing for the last 20 years (like Murat or Benabar, not to cite the worst) but I would not compare since he's never anecdotic and he always has a poetic dimension that is lacking today. The most scandalous is that several of his albums (in particular the 3 first ones) have never been reissued on CD. For a beginning I chose to post his only live album, recorded in 1985 with a little string orchestra. I was there and it was magical and full of emotion. If I opted for this live testimony it's because you can hear a selection of songs he composed during the previous 10 years and you will be able at the end to state if you like this man or not. Hope you will. Trust me. Savour it here.
In streaming, I post 2 songs: "Juste une petite fille" and "La chanson de la pluie". Both are high in my hierarchy of my preferences, in particular the second one, to my eyes the most heartbreaking love song of the XXth century.