While the little whitey called the Beatles were singing"Love Me Do" or "She Loves You" (and the further year "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", what a joke) for young virgins wetting their underwear for the first time, John Lee Hooker sang the real thing for women who knew what it was to have a male sex in them, how to shake their butt to make it grow or how to shake it with hands if needed. This extraordinary hot version of "Shake It Baby" with Willie Dixon, T-Bone Walker and Jump Jackson smells the spontaneity but was a big hit in the European charts. Who say best? I never a more sexual incitation in all music history. The 3 other songs are from the same concert, actually a travelling festival with bluesmen freshly rediscovered by little white students in USA and by those of working class in UK (they will be the bluesboom). Not so hot but nice too. Enjoy it here.
Another really great Sludge album by a recently disbanded band (after 5 years of existence and this only LP, released last year). What a shame. Would you mind to go on and do other records like this please instead of splitting? We, little desperate human rubbish trying to live in this dustbin called world, need you more than ever. If you don't dislike a bit of High On Fire and a touch of stoner in your Black Sabbathic sludge, you'll adopt this sunless citadel and class it in one of the best LP of the last year. Riffs are killers but more than that, they propose an amazing patchwork of styles (even stoner-folk à la Acrimony on "Tree of Woe" or true gothic in the incredible "Brink of the Maelstrom", in streaming below) that few could manage to keep consistent. And when they are sludge, they are (listen to the monstruous "Draconian March" or the superb final of "The Goatbridge"). They will be missed. Enjoy their souvenir here.
Six months after their spring UK tour, they begin Autumn with a radio session in Sweden. But meanwhile, the band has still changed. First, of guitarist, Wellbelove being changed for Rick Adams, then of album since they recorded and released the rather weak Black Diamond, and last of style, not that they now played prog or punk (the latter that will eject them from the club circuit some weeks later after a last UK tour in November and December) but they were a more mainstream band than they used to be the previous years. So, this session is a little disapointing compared to the previous live testimonies. Strangely, Mick Cook, the drummer, ceased to display his strange style and was there much more conventional. The 2 new songs do not reach the level of quality than McPhee had achieved for the last 4 years and it was clear than these were his swan songs. Nothing will be heard from him during the 7 further years. Sorry for the sound quality of this document (released on the double CD Hoggin' the Stage, the reason the cover sleeve was made just for this post) but I didn't find better one. Enjoy (at least for documentary) this set here.
Instreaming "Live Right", a song from Black Diamond played for the first time live during this session
Pale Roses is the neo-folk side-project of the singer-lyricist of Modern Funeral Art (see here). His new album is just out and if you like the late Simon Finn (there) or Dave Cousins' Strawbs (no link to put for Strawbs since I've been asked to remove them all or the blog was closed), you must not miss this gem. Based primary on stories of 1st world war (I've been obsessed by this me too 20 years ago, but now I must say I don't care much), there's a melancholic and ghostly climax that takes you by the hand like death will do one day. I chose 2 songs but I could have chosen others. Just that I thought that these 2 would have made a superb single if we lived as we used to live, in times where talent is given its place whereas rubbish only is given the one. Enjoy it here and then go to buy this great LP there.
In 1973, Man is on an ascending curve. The Be Good To Yourself album has been a minor but real success, they are considered a great stage band and they are recording a new album with the future producer of the punk movement Vic Maile. They decide the album will be double, featuring a concert given at the Roundhouse in London on 24th June. They will drop the new songs from the album and will only leave 3 of them, not the best actually. Two years ago, a revised version of the album was released in a box set with the complete set and this is the one I post here. The band is in the same formation than for the concert recorded one year before and posted here. The last time since Mick Jones will disbanded a band that he felt was more and more the Phil Ryan one. So he will reunit with Deke Leonard the next year (always with the fantastic Terry Williams on drums, that you can appreciate the drumming genius all along the concert). But this is another story. Here we are 37 years ago (and some months), listening to Man, who invited a Welsh male choir to back them on "C'Mon" for a really good version. But "Bananas" (in streaming, with its famous lyrics "I like to eat bananas cos' they got no bones / I like to take marijuana cos' it gets me stoned") was also a great one. So let's go back into the past and enjoy the whole set here (or there) for part 1 and there (or here) for part 2.
Two years later (I mean 2 yrs after the Solid tour you can find here), it was again a totally changed band that the audience saw on stage. Actually, Tony McPhee had disbanded Groundhogs (he thought for ever) in 1975 and wanted to tour under his name such as had done Rory Gallagher after Taste. But it seemed it was too late and to tour he had to use again the name of the band. The main change was that Groundhogs was for the first time (and the last) a 4-member band, with a second guitar (the young and talented Dave Wellbelove, great name). And honestly, it's maybe the best live incarnation of the band you got here (yes, I know I also wrote that for the previous one, but let's say they're both are). Still less bluesy and more and more noisy, the music played here will surprise many who may imagine the band to be late bluesboomers. You'll be less surprised why Jack Endino has always been a fan of Tony McPhee). Another main change is the drumming. Mick Cook has often strange choices of drumming (not far from Terry Williams from Man) and this totally transforms the old Groundhogs repertoire, making them having a new youth. But actually, this live LP (released in 2004) could have been called Crosscut Saw Live since the band plays 5 songs from this album they had just recorded some weeks before and which is another underrated masterpiece. As insane as Solid was, but somewhat less muddy in its production and composition, lyrics are some of the best of Tony McPhee and all deal about bitter sentimental separation and are often quite hard. There are some Tony McPhee's peaks here (in the studio and the live LPs) such as "Eleventh Hour" (one highlight of all his career and one of the most moving song ever) and the extremely noisy and derelicted "Fulfilment" (listen to the grande finale and tell me that it's not thrilling). I put them both in streaming. Enjoy this fabulous piece of living music here. And buy it then to get the booklets (with notes from Tony McPhee and the good sound, although I take care of ripping it in 320 kb).
First the thrilling "Eleventh Hour" with its incredible anxious climax
Then the oppressing and incredibly symphonoisic "Fulfilment"
Mary Bell was one of the youngest (10 yrs old) killer in history (it was in the sixties) and the Nederland sludge band that took her name for calling themselves created one of the most killer sludge metal in history. Released 3 years ago, not much has been received from them but this Melvino-Sunno))Sleep massive sound hammer is something to taste once in a lifetime. It's not far to be one of the heaviest thing ever produced in rock music. After the 24 min of the last track ("Delirium") I'm not sure you'll still remember what's your name. Don't have a gun near you, you may be in such a state you could feel OK to kill yourself by tonight. Sorry for the bad quality of the cover, I did not find a better one but the music doesn't need any nice wrapping. It's extreme as you can't imagine. I hope they'll do something else one day or another. Meanwhile enjoy it here. Their myspace's there.
This should have been the single issued some months after the Back To The Future album but it was not released for a reason I ignore. Shame cos' it was again a splendid song by Mick Jones (his style is quite obvious here) and this may have helped the band to improve his success which was quite good with the charting of their double LP. The 2 songs of this aborted single were issued only 2 years ago in the Back To The Future CD box. Here they are in their supposed initial situation. Taste them here, they're great.
Here we find the Groundhogs 2 years after the previous concert posted here. They became bleaker than ever and their Solid album explores the darkest sides of human brain associated with a really oppressive music. The blues is back again but makes a strange bridge between Hendrix and Gang of Four. On stage, in the tour to promote the LP, the band is much more compact and focussed on songs than they were and McPhee's solos are much noiser and less virtuoso than before. Here they play 4 songs from Solid and it's maybe my fave live recording of the band (but some done in 1976 are also great). These tracks were released on a 2-set album issued in 1994 and compiling a 1972 concert (with the old formation) and this one, reunited because recorded for BBC Radio One. But the 15 min version of "Soldier" was not included and could only be found on the remastered CD version of Thanks Christ For The Bomb. Here, I gathered all the available tracks from this concert. If you know other ones I would have missed, thanks to tell in comments, I'd tried to add them. Meanwhile, enjoy here this really great testimony of the band, playing in 1974 a style that would have surely been more popular in 1977 or in the onset of grunge.
Here's the next session John Lee Hooker did for Vee Jay, I mean the next after this one here. We are 6 months later, in January 1959. And once again, he came in the studio to record 2 rather commercial songs ("Maudie" and "Tennessee Blues") with the rock 'n roll flavor of the moment, backed by a 2nd guitar and drums. But then, when the "job"'s done, he stays and plays his style, more lonely with each song, even leaving his electric guitar for the accoustic one on "Hobo Blues", and covering no less than 4 blues styles in 4 songs (the reason I chose the cover sleeve). And it's really magical. This session will actually be released the same year, first on three 2-song 78 rpm and then compiled with songs recorded for Vee Jay over the previous 2 years on an album called I'm John Lee Hooker. The irony is that with the old rural blues style that he played on "Hobo Blues"(and in which Vee Jay was not interested), he would reach success among white University students the same year, with sessions recorded for the label Riverside and which provided the famous Country Blues and That's My Story album. I long thought that this neo-rural blues revival was not sincere and only a way to win some more money for him (and many Hooker's experts wrote that) but actually, hearing that he would end some of his 1958 and 59 sessions with these kind of songs when he came in to record some bandwagonned songs make me think it's maybe wrong. The fact is this fake EP makes us participate during some rare minutes to the more intimate part of the singer, alone in the studio, singing for none than him, and seeming to ask that he's left to play his blues alone. Enjoy it here. PS. If I knew the bastard in charge of the recording who faded the end of each song, I would punch him to death.
Below, John Lee takes his accoustic guitar and offers a great version of "Hobo Blues". And some said he didn't know to play guitar.
This tour was planned at the onset of winter 1972 to support the release of Hogwash, the 6th album of the band. But it was a changed band that the audience watched. First Ken Pustelnik, the original drummer, had been fired since he was really no more manageable due to a strong drug addiction, and then Tony McPhee had integrated more synth than ever in the band sound. A success, in musical terms, since he was able to conserve the rough edge of his style, but creating a great mix between blues and prog. Honestly, nobody reached such a level in quality when adding progressive in their initial style (except Strawbs maybe). So, this concert, recorded by the BBC, was quite different from the others you can find from the band in the 2 previous years. Less hard blues, more.... actually more Groundhogs. I chose to create a new cover sleeve since the official is totally inane (I used it to write the titles, that's all). My image choice is about the obession of McPhee at the time against hunters. And with a hog, it perfectly fits the thing. The title is justified by the fact that they play here 5 from the 8 Hogwash tracks. Enjoy it here. More Groundhogs to come soon, I'm in the mood for it (sad, angry and hunted).
It's dark as none could imagine. It's atmospheric black metal at its best. It's the music we need when all's wrong. It's the new project of John Gossard, the man behind the guitar of Weakling and Asunder. And it's Xasthur meets Khanate somewhere but you'll find hundred other nd better references I'm sure. No matter, it's idiosyncrasic and not plagiarism. Even nostalgics of 80's dark wave will find their (un)happiness in it. Actually it's not far from the Schnittke's Requiem in a sense. It's not a CD nor a vinyl (maybe a rehearsal but why make it public therefore?) so the cover sleeve is unformatted this way but it's nice. Enjoy this drowning in horror here. And then, try to have a RIP-sleep.
The year Golden Earring released the Switch album, Alfred Schnittke finished his sublime Requiem, one of the doomest piece of music of the century. Here is a great version by the Swedish Radio Choir conducted by Tonu Kaljuste. Not all the available versions are that good but this one is truly thrilling. The quiet intro and outro do not prepare the listener to the terrorizing atmosphere of the piece, closer to Mussorgsky or Carl Orff than to Faure or Mozart. Any doom fan should have listened to that once in lifetime. Maybe an occasion to explore so-called classical music and find other way to vibrate to music sharing death themas with doom. This recording was issued on an album with Miserere from Henryk Gorecki on Caprice. I chose to invent a fake LP with only the Requiem on it but I encourage you to buy the album. Enjoy this masterpiece here.
Difficult to select a piece of the whole for the streaming so I chose the introït ("Requiem Aeternam", also the outro) that makes me shivering like if I laid naked in the winter snow so it's it I chose.
From 1955 to 1964, John Lee Hooker was mainly under contract with Vee Jay, although he recorded some sessions for other labels in the meantime. This partnership will bring him some success but his production will be uneven, Vee Jay often trying to make of him a follower of fashion, leading to some industrial disaster in the sixties. The relationship began with a little difficulty, as with this session, recorded on the 10th of June 1958 at Chicago, in which, for the first time, he recorded enough songs in a one session to make an LP, beginning with 2 intended hits ("I Love You Honey" (a cover and a quite bad result) and "You've Taken My Woman" (a not better original, miming more than being rock 'n roll)). After that, John Lee did what he did best, play his raw and rough blues with a backing band that seemed to understand his idiosyncrasic conception of beat. These songs will be spread on various compilations years later (on House Rent Boogie and Travellin' for example). So here's is the album (I gave it the name of "Lou Della" cos' it's an occasion to honor women) that could have been at the end of 1958. The first album Vee Jay will release will be I'm John Lee Hooker in 1959, but only after John Lee Hooker will record a rural blues one for Riverside, due to a sudden interest by young white students for the roots of blues. Whether John Lee will played this old style for a white audience with pleasure or for money is a question never answered. The fact is that his true music at the time was what he recorded in this session, and appreciated mainly by a black audience. In the further ones for Vee Jay, it is not impossible that there was some kind of pressure for recording more commercial songs. Meanwhile, enjoy it here. And I'm quite proud of the cover sleeve I chose.
Below one of the many superb and forgotten Hooker's masterpieces: "Nightmare"
I will not hide this personal opinion: "Kill Me (Ce Soir)" is my fave Golden Earring song and, more than that, one of the most incredibly mind-shaking song ever written. The first time I heard it on a French radio, in January or February 1975 (terrible bad year for rock), I instantly felt caught and drowned by the oppressing atmosphere and the drama of the track. It's always a mystery when everything seems to be at best in a song when so many are failing here and there with weak parts, arrangements or instrument choices. The song contents some French lyrics with the invention of a non-existing word: "assassination" (pronounced "à la Française") when the right word is "assassinat", but finally it's OK with the "tion" at the end and it was not even a problem for me. The song was not the hit it deserved to be (but was in Nederland of course) and announced the great "Switch" album. A fifth member was added to the band in the person of Robert Jan Stips, future Nits, on keyboards and it was a very good idea and it brought a new sound richness. In brief, if you always skip my Golden Earring posts because it's not you cuppa blood, try to try for once in your life. The B-side consisted in "Lucky Number", a more than Stonian song (era Sticky Fingers) not featuring on the album and only available on the As & Bs Singles compilation. It's a nice rocker and worth to feature in a Golden Earring MP3graphy. Sorry for the sleeve, I don't have the single. Moreover, I put the long version of "Kill Me" and not the edit one (as in the TV clip below), it's criminal to fade this song before the 4th min as they did on the 7". Enjoy this double winner here.
Below "Lucky Number"
On the 29th May 1969 in Los Angeles, the Hooker(s) (John Lee & Earl) are together for a session that will be split on 2 albums, 9 songs featuring in an album called If You Miss 'Im... I Got 'Im released on the same year on Bluesway (and reissued on CD by BGO in 1998 but be careful, the MCA LP called Lonesome Mood and released in 1983 is the same album omitting one song "I Don't Care When You Go"), and 3 (2 being alternate takes) placed at the end of the Urban Blues CD reissue of the album in 1993. Son here's is the (almost) complete session, almost since one song ("Walking The Floor Over You") has, to my knowledge, never been released. Moreover, I've respected the order of the recording session, even if it may seem not the best for listening the album. Actually, John Lee Hooker has never really recorded albums but sessions, and it's maybe more interesting to imagine listening to the session live than to a "simili" album. As you'll see (actually hear), the session is consisting of slow blues on one hand and of boogies on the other hand, and the album can be considered as a pre-Hooker & Heat one. Awfully, Earl Hooker, as Alan Wilson, would die shortly after their session with John Lee Hooker, the first in April 1970, the second in September. This gives to these sessions a doom flavor that they were not supposed to have when recorded. If this session can be considered as a John Lee and not an Earl's one, it's mainly cos' on some songs the guitar is taken by Paul Asbell and not Earl (on the killer version of "Boom Boom" called "Bang Bang Bang Bang" or "Have Mercy On My Soul"). Far from the previous post from John Lee Hooker, this is the man in the end of sixties, as relevant as in the fifties. They were not so many to succeed in that. Enjoy it here.
It was a real challenge to follow the mondial success of "Radar Love", and in April 1974 "Instant Poetry", their 7th single for this formation, was an attempt to do it. It failed although it reached n°3 in their native land. But more importantly, it showed the way on which the band was walking, and it was quite exciting. Even if the chorus is not a total success, the general tone is a mix between Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper, and it surely works. A preparation for what will be the peak of creativity of the band. The B-side was a deception since it consisted in a recycled song from the album Together released 2 years earlier. I really hate that to have old anachronical songs on flipside of singles. It's important to specify that "Instant Poetry" is on none of the official albums of the band, but only in various singles compilations. A reason to enjoy it here.
A nice clip filmed in front of garbage with garbage sound.
Another great band from France, less doomy or sludgy than what I use to listen, more Omega Massif-esque with reminiscences of Godflesh. The important is that they sure know how to drive their mammoth sonor beast and never sound self-indulgent. I encourage you to buy this EP with its complete artwork and real sound here. Meanwhile, enjoy this huge piece of meaty there.
Below, a clip for one of the tracks. Except if similarly named, it seems that it was done by Carcinos from the great Huata. It's not my favorite among the 4 tracks but it's excellent too.