This is one of the 5 most wonderful and moving songs from Peter Hammill (therefore in history). About 2 of his best friends (Mike and Susie) emigrating and leaving him alone, it becomes a song about all refugees over the planet. The melody, the lyrics, the voice, the arrangements, all makes this song an immortal standard. That it was not a massive hit à-la "Whiter Shade of Pale" (and it's much better) is a mystery (and a misery) to me. Surely that in 1970, people wanted roughier stuff (it was Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin that succeded). "Refugees" was extracted from The Least We Can Do... LP but this single version is different from the LP one. Moreover, there is a remix on the reissue of the album but I think the mix lacks the rudimentary charm of the original version. So I included both in the rar file. The B-side is a non-album track and a good one (but the band has never done a bad one). It could have been a track in the LP. It is too in both versions. The remix versions are in flac so you can appreciate all the sound quality of the CD (if you like that, I personally don't). If, for any reason, you never heard "Refugees", please do me the favour to taste its flavour here. The cover sleeve, I've found it here. It was a long job to find a one that pleased me but this one surely does justice to the song.
Refugees (single version)
North was somewhere years ago and cold:Ice locked the people's hearts and made them old.South was birth to pleasant lands, but dry:I walked the waters' depths and played my mind.East was dawn, coming alive in the golden sun:the winds came, gently, several heads became one in the summertime, though august people sneered;we were at peace, and we cheered.We walked alone, sometimes hand in hand,between the thin lines marking sea and sand;smiling very peacefully,we began to notice that we could be free,and we moved together to the West.West is where all days will someday end;where the colours turn from grey to gold,and you can be with the friends.And light flakes the golden clouds above all;West is Mike and Susie,West is where I love.There we shall spend our final days of our lives;tell the same old stories: yeah well,at least we tried.Into the West, smiles on our faces, we'll go;oh, yes, and our apologies to those who'll never really know the way.We're refugees, walking away from the life that we've known and loved;nothing to do or say, nowhere to stay;now we are alone.We're refugees, carrying all we ownin brown bags, tied up with string;nothing to think, it doesn't mean a thing,but we'll be happy on our own.West is Mike and Susie;West is where I love,West is refugees' home.
Below, 2 testimonies from the band in this part of year 1970 (Nic Potter was still with thme on bass but he would leave shortly afterwards. These two videos have a great emotional power for me. I was a kid back there, but this was the kind of stuff that decided to the kind of music I would like to hear in my life.
This single is a bad souvenir for Ray Davies who dislikes it a lot. After the total failure of the Village Green Preservation Society album in the winter 1968-69, the Kinks quicky went back in studio to record a "hit", issued in March 1969. The hit will be a miss since "Plastic Man" failed to get higher than the 31th range in the charts. You may say "who care?" but in these times, there was no much hope to survive for such a band without some kind of commercial achievement in the charts. Moreover, Ray Davied was not very proud of the song, not one of his finest for sure, but honestly a good one with his characteristic sarcastic lyrics about well-thinking citizens. And the B-side is astonishing cos' on the beginning you'd believe to hear what will be the future T. Rex. The reason I put it in streaming. The riff is quite "You Really Got Me"-inspired but they were the creators of it so what the hell. These 2 songs will be forgotten a long time, only included in the Great Lost Kinks album and finally included in the latest reissue of Arthur in 1998. There are 2 versions of "Plastic Man", a mono (as on the single) and a stereo, and I put them both on the single here.
Plastic Man. A man lives at the corner of the street,And his neighbors think he’s helpful and he’s sweet,’cause he never swears and he always shakes you by the hand,But no one knows he really is a plastic man.He’s got plastic heart, plastic teeth and toes,(yeah, he’s plastic man)He’s got plastic knees and a perfect plastic nose.(yeah, he’s plastic man)He’s got plastic lips that hide his plastic teeth and gums,And plastic legs that reach up to his plastic bum.(plastic bum)Plastic man got no brain,Plastic man don’t feel no pain,Plastic people look the same,Yeah, yeah, yeah.Kick his shin or tread on his face,Pull his nose all over the place,He can’t disfigure, or disgrace,Plastic man (plastic man).He’s got plastic flowers growing up the walls,He eats plastic food with a plastic knife and fork,He likes plastic cups and saucers ’cause they never break,And he likes to lick his gravy off a plastic plate.Plastic man got no brain,Plastic man don’t feel no pain,Plastic people look the same,Yeah, yeah, yeah.Kick his shin or tread on his face,Pull his nose all over the place,He can’t disfigure, or disgrace,Plastic man (plastic man).He’s got a plastic wife who wears a plastic mac,(yeah, he’s plastic man)And his children wanna be plastic like their dad,(yeah, he’s plastic man)He’s got a phony smile that makes you think he understands,But no one ever gets the truth from plastic man (plastic man)Plastic man (plastic man).
This single is drawn (A and B-sides) from the Aerosol Grey Machine LP with Hugh Banton (on keyboards), Guy Evans (on drums) and Keith Ellis (on guitar). Actually it was intended to be a Peter Hammill solo album but it finished as a band LP. The single extracted from it has still something of the solo intention. And thinking back, even if I shock, I must say that Bowie was quite a joke compared to Hammill when the time came to compose moving and eternal melodies with wonderfull arrangements. It's not in "Afterwards" one can best measure this difference but it was the beginning of an extraordinary decade of masterpieces. To do the cover sleeve (don't think there was any), I took a piece of the intended Aerosol Grey Machine one (in UK). The complete one (see below) would have been a better choice for the LP than the official one. The B-side, "Necromancer" is excellent and shows the direction (progressive doom I'd said) that the band would take sometimes later. Meanwhile, taste it here.
Afterwards. You stare out in yellow eyes larger than my mind; in viscous pools of joy, relaxing, we glide... it's all too beautiful for my mind to bear. and, as we shimmer into sleep, something's unshared. But, seeing the flower that was there yesterday, a tear forms just behind the soft peace of your shades...The world's too lonelyfor a message to slip but between the dying rails of peace you trip. The petals that were blooming are just paper in your hand; your eyes, which were clear in the night, are opaque as you stand...It was too beautifulfor it to last... These visions shimmer and fade out of the glass.
Here's the first post from a series on the singles published by one of my fave bands all styles confounded: Van der Graaf Generator. Of course it's mainly because of my admir- ador- ation for Peter Hammill this band is so important to me but not only. And this series will show you how they could compete with the most chart-winning artists when came the time to create great songs with ultimate melodies and arrangements. This first single did not feature the classic line-up since Chris Judge Smith and Keith Ellis were still in the band. The A-side is rather familiar to Hammill's fans since it was rearranged by him 7 years later on his Nadir's Big Chance album. The 2 versions are quite different but both worth the listen. The B-side is not very satisfying, experimentally dated, and the voice of Smith is not a sapid choice to listen to. This single (without sleeve, so I did one with an Alfred Kubin drawing since this artist fits perfectly the Hammill's world in VDGG) was short-lived since Capitol asked Polydor to withdraw it because they were under contracts with them. Moreover, Peter Hammill did not add it to the reissue on Fie! records of the Aerosol Grey Machine album, so that it can be found only as bonus tracks on the German Repertoire reissue of the same album. Here it is.
The nucleus of the band at the time: Smith, Hammill, Banton
Reverend Hammill with Judge Smith
People You Were Going To. Your father has just left your mother, gone off to live with his latest lover: she sits there, just staring. So you get back to your own flat because the atmosphere in there is so bad you can't bear it. And the people you were going to America withjust left on the dawn plane without you, without you. The people in the downstairs flat are no longer there now because they left the gas tap on, they're all dead. So you've no-one left to talk to, you just lie there in melancholy, half-naked on your unmade bed. And the people you were going to Africa with just left on the Southern Star without you, without you. Yes, the haze that's been forming round your window-panesis now protracted and poisonedand you cannot feel a portionof the world outside.Can you imagine the way you'd feel if all these things had happened to you and the doctor says you're dying? That is the way that I feel now on finding that your love belongs to someone else and not I. My chance of heaven has just blown away upon a passing cloud and there is nothing that I can do without you. The people you were going tohave left, gone far away and you're lonely.
People You Were Going To
Honestly a hell of a record. Don't know whether we must call it an LP since it's less that 14 min long although with 7 tracks, but at the end you're more shaken than after most of the albums released of 60 min released this year. If, like me, you're into Daughters or even Today of the Day or Converge (but many more), you'll adopt this duo as soon as you'll hear the first track (can't call this songs you'll admit). But I would say it's still more intense and extreme and is not constrained if metal or noise format. No it's totally freeform and innovative, and violent and full of rage, hate and disgust. They're from Kentucky and I didn't know this place could inspire such a terrific music. The music we need in a wor(l)d. Take it and live it here.
A Stable Life, A Bright Future
After the 2 solo singles Mark Perry released in 1980 and posted on this blog the previous days, here is the album, without any of the songs from the 7" (a delicate attention) and with 2 very different sides. The 1st one with "classic" songs that could please any Alternative TV fan except that it was a little more adventurous than the trad punk approach, and a second one close to the Good Missionaries style, at least more easy to listen and to say all, much better. In fact this album is for me a classic and one toally underrated. If the times had not been to the slide to the mainrock return (the Clash, the Damned, 999, Jam) or the new wave (Cure and so much more), maybe it could have found its audience but you'll admit that with the cover it used (here), it was not possible. Actually, the cover sleeve I show here was the one I created with my vinyl in 1980, considering the official one a total waste. It was an illustration I found quite in line with the general atmosphere and lyrics of the LP. The backside was also created with some shots I gathered from here or there at the times.If you became a Mark Perry amateur visiting this blog, go on with the usefull addition of this great LP here.
At War (lyrics below)
One more great band from Nederland (too many to count them). This one is pure sledge, in the classic tradition of the genre (more UpsideDown Cross than EyeHateGod actually) but never dogmatic nor too referencial to the great ancients. This is really rough and crude. The bridge of the eponymous song is quite a thrill. And there is a sludge version of the greatest song of the XXth century: "Strange Fruit". Not much to add. If you come here for rare oldies, you will say "shit, his doom bullshit again", but if you like to taste my sludge "friandises", you'll have a try and I'm sure you'll adopt this bunch of aural noisers in your homehead. All titles are filled with hate and disgust, what else do you need in these chaotic times where rebellion against powermen bastards is on the rise. The music to fill your will to fight with. Swallow it here. And if you digest it well, go to buy the album there.
I repost this single since I found a CD version of it and it's a better sound than my ripp. Here what I wrote laste year "A single from 1980 more or less systematically omitted by anthologies or discographies of ATV, as is Snappy Turns, its LP counterpart, surely because they were released under the name of Mark Perry between 2 ATV incarnations, more precisely between The Good Missionaries and a fake reborn ATV with Alex Fergusson getting back with Mark Perry to please Miles Copeland from IRS, an old supporting guy that became a label boss and who told him that becoming a bit commercial was his last chance to get some chance to pursue a music career. This led to the uneven Strange Kicks album. Nothing here anticipating this commercial turn. Actually, the solo Mark Perry was not so different from ATV, except he abandoned all the rock content of the band and alternated more poppy songs (or reggae as here) and complete experimental pieces. This single has been added to the CD edition of Snappy Turns but honestly I don't think this CD is easy to find. This song is a cover of a reggae song composed and sung by Ken Boothe and that you can find on the Let's Get It On LP from 1973. When Mark Perry picks up reggae, he always turns it in something else, not the cuppa tea of Reggae lovers surely (but I'm not), taking all of the misery and leaving most of the fun. However, we find him here in quite a happy mood and this song fits in sunny sunday mornings, the way I'll hear it tomorrow morning. The B side is ATV as lots of people hate it. Something like free rock, Beefheart goes punk kind of thing. I like it since it fits my own destructuration but I can't hope everybody to adhere. Be it as it may, enjoy it if you feel to here"
The Whole World's Down On Me
When the reissue of the Kinks catalogue was released more than 10 years ago, I was surprised to find these 2 unreleased tracks from the Muswell Hillbillies sessions in the eponymous album. Not that they could be hits, but honestly they are both good songs that could have found their way in the album. Don't know why Ray Davies did not include them. Maybe their US trad. influence was too much for the times. So, I created this fake single for these 2 forgotten Kinks songs. For the cover sleeve, I digitally worked on a picture of Catwoman (see Scoptophilia blog here to see who she is) in a mountain landscape since it's a nice illustration of the "Mountain Woman" song. Of course, it's too sex to have been a cover at the time and even today but here we are free (at least for some times) to avoid all this prudishness bullshit. Get it here.
I posted previously a compilation of my fave tracks from JFG (here, you should have it, you bad visitors), my opposite since he's an Englishman in a French talking real world (he's living in Bordeaux, the south west of France) whilst I'm a Frenchman in an English writing networld. I was impatiently waiting the day he'd released an LP. It's done with his current band, the Regulars. Imagine Robyn Hitchcock fronting the Fall of the first decade mixed with some Jazz Butcher pieces in it (but there's more would say Todd Rundgren) and you have a taste of the music proposed here. This post is a fake single I selected to make you know the man. Since he really needs you to buy the LP, I don't post the whole LP. If you love what you hear, don't hesitate to buy the album in going on their myspace here. But first, take this "should exist" single there. The picture I chose for the A-side is from a certain Mislav Mihalj (deviantArt page here) and for the B-side from Anouk . J (deviantArt page there). Quite fitting the content I feel (I hope I should say).
Where's The Regular Man
11th and last single of the golden era of Golden Earring. After that, the style of the band will lean toward more mainstream and even if the 2 following years will see some good songs, nothing to compete with the previous decade. This last single is rather good but features 2 songs from the Contraband album (very good one too but not reaching the summit of the previous ones) so nothing rare or unissued. The style is more and more US-inspired with Steely Dan and some similars in their influences of the moment. "Faded Jeans" on the B-side is much better and could have been in To The Hilt. One of these songs showing how great could be this band. I hope this 11-series contributed to make that known. Maybe I'll compile all these As & Bs sides on one post later. I don't know if it's any useful since they are all here posted before. Meanwhile, catch this last one here. No video found. And no picture of the year except this flyer for a concert in 1976.
One of the most impressive record of the year so far. Not the first time I write that but honestly here something's happening. This one-man band (the composer is called Mories) from Nederlands has released other LPs and EPs before and I come a little late in discovering it only now. But never is too late (except when you die). There is nothing that the music produced here can be compared to. More Carl Orff than rock indeed, more Neurosis, Laibach or Xasthur than country music of course, but totally singular. It takes you in its arms and drowns you in a storm of dysymphonic sounds. The atmospheres are totally suffocating but strangely, you surprise yourself to hope that it'll never end. This music allows us extasis in hell. The man responsible for this mess (in all senses of the term) states that the part of him that does that "wants to kill the world but is too depressed to do something besides making mind-numbing music". It's OK for us. He's more efficient this way. All the titles are in French, which is another wink toward us. Don't leave this greatness out of your life. Catch it here and then buy it there if you're in US or there if you're in EU.
Today something I wanted to do for 40 years ! Yes, when I was a young kid beginning to feel interested by music, it was 1970 and everyone told me the dream was over, the golden era of rock was finished cos' the Beatles were splitting. Since then, I wonder what would have been the album the Beatles would have released if they didn't split. Stupid and vain exercise I admit, but compiling songs from their first solo releases (minus Ringo Starr one), I arrived to a proposed LP that could have been the last Beatles album. Of course, except for Ringo Starr on the Lennon tracks, they don't play together. But it was not impossible to imagine such a collection of solo works under the Beatles name. Several songs from the White album seem to have been recorded this way. To create this strange and absurd collection, I chose songs they had proposed to the Beatles ("Teddy Boy", "All Things Must Pass") or that I consider they could have because their style was not too much unrelevant. I avoided all the intimate love songs and the funny ones too. I also avoided the weakest ones (in the 1st Macca album, there were some very dispensable). On the fake 1st side, I incuded songs about the past, the childhood, and some songs about how things were going. On the second side, songs deal more with the Beatles ending. It was a delicate choice to decide the succession of the songs but I think the order is OK and does justice to the climax of the whole. The cover sleeve was an endless hesitation, and finally, I decided to do this relatively ugly one since all the other ideas seemed to me a pretentious attempt to visually interpret this set of songs. So I only respected the year these pictures were taken (I'm not too sure for Ringo, more probably a 1969 picture). Honestly, this would have been one of the best albums of the music history and surely the best of the Beatles. Now it's up to you to decide if this post is interesting or not. Catch it here or there.
Four months after "Sleepwalkin'" and in the wake of the To The Hilt LP, the band released the eponymous song in single (the 10th in our series). It's from the lyrics of this song that the cover sleeve of the album was conceived "One day you'll be tied and gagged / Your head upon the railroad track / The rail's hummin', there's a train a comin' / I'm sure your last thought's full of regret / Before the wheels roll across your neck". Actually, the 7" was not a hi(l)t, even in Nederlands (surely the reason why this song was not included in the The Devil Made Us Do It double CD compilation of the group's hits). Like "Sleepwalkin'", the song works better as a piece of the LP than as a single but it's a good one (there's not a bad song on the LP actually). The B-side is the great "Violins", one song demonstrating that Golden Earring could reach the same levels than Led Zeppelin at their best, with a more subtle approach. Not to be missed. Take it here. No video of the band performing "To The Hilt" so I put it in streaming.
When you wonder where is intensity, authenticity, strenght, generosity in this world, when you want to hear someone answering to that question, you can listen to, or watch, David Yow. More than 20 years this man saves my day whenever I need it. He never failed, he never let me down. This year, he collaborated with a Swiss band called Ventura and if the style is a little too Jesus Lizard inspired to be totally satisfying (the Lizard does it best), it is a strong song and this will be one of the souvenirs of this year. A song not to forget. And to enjoy here.
And nothing's better than to listen to the song watching the splendid face of the Yow man.
And below some live pleasure.
Uboa is a one man-band from Melbourne, Australia, doing a heavy-as-dereliction doom strongly influenced by Khanate but with a less unstructured vision of music (except "Boyeater / Ponydance" which is ambient drone). It's rare I become an instant fan but here is the case. This is all I wait music to be these times. Not an easy listening but existence in not an easy living so it fits well. For the name I only found this reference "Uboa comes from the 2005 adventure game Yume Nikki. In one particular area of the game, after murdering a girl named Poniko, there is a slight chance that after turning off the lights in the room, the character Uboa appears. Uboa is noted for his freakish contorted face and the heart pounding music accompanying Uboa’s appearance. Uboa holds such a nightmarish grasp on our hearts because his appearance is so sudden and unpredictable that many who did this on accident were scared out of their minds". You can see an example here. The contorted face (see here) is not without similarity with the Shout of Munch actually, only with a fake naïve smile. Here below the included text I find in the dl and written by the man behind Uboa (the group, not the concept). Since 3 of my fave philosophers are cited, I can't help to transcript it here. "UBOA - SOMETIMES LIGHT 1. Eyes do Not Belong There (7.06) 2. Seen and Not Heard (9.48) 3. Boyeater / Ponydance (18.26) 4. Event Horizon Girl (14.36) "The world could not be the product of an all-loving being, but that of a devil, who has brought creatures into existence in order to delight in the sight of the suffering." -Arthur Schopenhauer. " If I wanted to shake this tree with my hands I should not be able to do it. But the wind, which we do not see, tortures and bends it in whatever direction it pleases. It is by invisible hands we are bent and tortured worst."-Friedrich Nietzsche. "Is it possible that existence is exile and nothingness our home?"Emil Cioran. Thanks to: T.V. and Gred for trusting me not to break their equipment. The rest of you, unnamed like myself, for putting up with me in general. Thanks also to the blogs\people who helped with feedback, and Uboa gospel.Please spread this like the virus that it is. -X". This is what I try to do with this post. And now, enjoy (this expression is less and less appropriate with time, I should change) here. After that, buy it to have the real sound.
Year 1976 begins for the band with this new single (their 9th in our series), preceding their fantastic To The Hilt album. The song ("Sleepwalkin'") can appear a little weak compared to the previous series of strong ones but actually it works better in the album than on single. However, it's a good one and it was as successfull in Nederland than "Kill Me". And it's clear that the band has still evolved and found a new way to do rock. In 1975-76, they will be few to not drown in an awful ROR rock with pathetic funk features. Golden Earring will save my years (with Peter Hammill). The B-side is a rarity I ripped from my single and I think the quality is correct. Strange that so many songs from the band are still not available these days in CD format when they are so famous in Europe. Listen to the grande final of this song and tell me if it's not the mark of a great band. They are among the few to make a moog sounds rock. A last word. I did a new version of the cover since my single has got none, the one I found on the net was of poor quality (see below) and actually it was badly realized. The Titanic is a story I always found fascinating. This imagery only comes from a sentence of the lyrics that actually don't deal at all with this wreck but are a basic seduction song (Hay did better). Enjoy it here.
Below, a very interesting video from a TV show cos' the band plays (and how well) live and seems to really take pleasure to the rather complicated structure of the song.
And below, the rare "Babylon".