9/29/12

Jean-Claude Vannier - Premier album (1975)






















This album is of real importance for me. It's maybe one of the first French LP I was able to consider of similar value than my GB-US-G or NL ones. Of course, there was the great French singers (Barbara, Brel, Brassens, Ferré), but they were no more at  the top of their talent, and more terribly, it seemed to me that there would be no singer able to climb again on the top of my personal tastes anymore. With Christophe's Les Paradis Perdus (in 1973) and Les Mots Bleus (in 1974), we had our new hero, but with Jean-Claude Vannier, Alain Kan and Jacques Higelin, 1975 seemed at least to bring us the true relief musical team. The future will unfortunately show that none of them will have the career we could hope, but back in this awful year for rock, this album was one of the soundtrack of my life. In particular "Mimi Mimi" because my then girlfriend was named Michèle, and that I used to call her Mimi. Since the song  talks about a man who requests a baby to her girlfriend, this gave birth to some long discussions between us. In 1975, Jean-Claude Vannier was an arranger that many wanted for their recording sessions (from Gainsbourg for whom he had wrote the Melody Nelson album, to Brassens, see below for the latter), but his main influence was clearly Barbara, this album being a sort of male-Barbara version. Of course, lyrics are so crucial in the charm of Jean-Claude Vannier's songs, that not understanding them removes a great part of the pleasure. If I could make a sort of comparison, I would say that Jean-Claude Vannier is to French music, what Randy Newman is to US one. His lyrics are unpredictable and often transgress usual limits, but not in this album, rather kind and in which his future depressive mood was still not present. All in all, this album is for me what the madeleine was to Marcel Proust. Note that the last song on the album "Super Nana" was a hit... by Michel Jonasz the year before, but Vannier seemed to consider he had to do his own version (he would mainly make a living in writing songs for other artists). So, enjoy this piece of French music history here. This LP has never been reissued in CD, as many of Vannier's ones, seeing what a piece of shit is record industry.





9/24/12

Television Personalities - Now That I'm A Junkie / How Does It Feel To Be Loved?" 7" (1996)





















Yes I know I become a little boring with my Dan Treacy fixation and fan-attitude (at my age it's a quite pathetic) but once again this 1996 single is a gem, a fucking depressing one, marked to the blood by the sincerity of his author (the title tells it all). If musically and melodically it was not good who would really care. But both songs are classics and it's difficult to imagine in hearing them that Dan Treacy was so low and out of himself (but was he? I was not there to attest this supposition). The sound here has something of a church one, echoes, giving the atmosphere a mystic one. Musically, there's a "Let's Spend The Night Together recorded by Phil Spector" impression on "How Does It Feel To Be Loved" whereas on "Now That I'm A Junkie" it's more "Syd Barrett has rented John Bonham to do the drumming". I seem to be joking but all this is not really fun. Sure people had better to do in 1997 than listening to this naive, childish depressive stuff, but today not much of music of this time can be listened to with the same emotion. Released by the Little Teddy label, this single was preceded by a split single, a reissue and a live one. But I prefer to post in their sequential issue, the true own studio singles and EPs of the band. Enjoy this one here.





9/18/12

Melanie - Bo Bo's Party 7" (1969)





















You know, it's not often I'm proud to be French (the last time it was in 1789, but I was not born), but with this single, the first Melanie released on the Buddah label (a division of MGM) after parting company with Columbia, it's the case. Why? Because issued as a B-side in the US (with "I'm Back In Town" on A-side), "Bo Bo's Party" was issued on the A-side in France and it became a hit, the first for Melanie, so that her first real international concert was at the Paris' Olympia. OK, it was a disaster cos'  she was planned before a French singer (Gilbert Becaud) and honestly the audience of this stomping pianist was not at all adapted to Melanie's intimate songs played alone of acoustic guitar (they even tried to make her play with the band but she refused). But the fact is we were the first (actually I was too young to be in it) to make of Melanie a front artist. And it was justice since "Bo Bo's Party" is a great song, one of Melanie's Top 20 for me. And the lyrics are far from the supposed "little folky hippie girl" everyone think she was. Strangely, the other side was not "I'm Back In Town", a song that has a true Thirties French Café Concert flavour, but Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man" cover, putting her a little bit more in the folk category. I never liked this song but if there's a version I like of it, it's this one. Delicate and modest, I can even appreciate the song. So, for my birthday (yes today I make a giant step toward the grave in changing my age year) I offer me this post, the only party I'll do tonight. Hope you'll find it a delicious birthday earcake too. Enjoy it here.







9/17/12

Mandy Morton - Sea of Storms (1980)



Second repost of this album. Because I just realized that I didn't reuploaded it on rs after my mf accound was shelved. So here it is again. It's so crucial (even if a little bit uneven) that it would be a shame you didn't find it. Previous posts below. Nothing to add;

If I repost this LP, it's not only because Mandy Morton is one of my all-time fave female singer with Billie Holiday and Melanie, nor because this album is musically wonderful and lyrically about a painful break with her loving partner, somewhere between Peter Hammill's Over and Groundhogs' Crosscut Saw. No, it's because someone informed me recently that in my rar file, the 2 last songs of the LP were missing. Since the hardware on which this LP was stored (I didn't possess it, neither in vinyl or in CD) was dead, I decided to buy the CD and to post the LP in its entirety.So here it is. If some visitor knows Mandy Morton, please tell her that she is greatly missed and she shouldn't have stopped her musical career. Enjoy this repost (on mf, rs being now an awful file server that warrants to be avoided) here. PS. I added the inner sleeve lyrics of 4 songs in the file. Below, what I wrote in the 1st post.

After the wonderful Magic Lady (that you can find here) Mandy Morton parted way with the Spriguns, and more importantly with her husband, Mike Morton, although he's on this follow up. Since we are in the beginning of this terrible period that were the 80's (with the awful production options of that sad era) the LP is somewhat deceiving from time to time (who had the bad idea to put these synthetisers on "After The Storm" or "Silas The Silent"?) but contains again some superb compositions, among the best Mandy Morton composed (such as "Ghost of Christmas Past", "Twisted Sage", "Land of the Dead" or "The Sculptor"), and the lyrics are really moving. Unfortunately, the fan site on which all the Mandy Morton lyrics were available is down for a year now. I don't know why but I regret not to have dl them when it was possible. Similarly to Magic Lady, what's striking with Mandy Morton, is this impression of quiet evidence that her voice and her melodies provide. This album has much more in common with String Driven Thing The Machine That Cried era (eg. "Twisted Sage") and Strawbs From The Witchwood era (eg. "Wake Up The Morning") than what Mandy and the Spriguns played. So sad that there will only be an album afterwards (that I failed to find on the net) and then nothing. This lady should be remembered as one of the UK folk secret treasure and more largely of popular music. She works for more than 20 years on a radio and has a cultural show (I never heard it since we can't get it from France) but, even if she's happy this way, it's a great waste for music and for our hearts that she was so good to comfort".



tilidom.com



9/13/12

Leon Russell - Live at the Fillmore East (1970)



Updated only because link was dead and some asked to reup it. Below the initial post.

This concert was recorded before the Elton John's one at the Fillmore East. John was a great fan of Leon Russell and logically invited him to open his shows. When comparing this concert to the one recorded, 3 years later, for Leon Live (here), similarities and differences are striking. Similiraties since it's the gospel-that-rocks that all Leon's admirers love to hear, but differences since the set was more sober and tighter that the quite indulgent later ones. I doubt any Dr John - Elton John or any-John-you-want won't be enthusiasts in listening to such a great performance. Nothing better to listen to when you're down and out. It makes you imagine life's worth the living. Measure the miracle. Note that this set was never released officially but that the sound is very good. It's in one part only and I don't have the patience to cut it in songs but I doubt that anyone wants to listen to songs separately. Enjoy it here. I tried to do a correct cover sleeve. I admit I used a "Best of" to create it. Below, the concert in streaming.




9/12/12

Melanie - Garden In The City / Why Didn't My Mother Tell Me 7" (1968)





















Here is the second attempt of Columbia to make Melanie one of the stars of the 1968 folk sky. A failed attempt but it's true that the songs do not help to give a great musical credit to the young Melanie. Orchestrations are rather high-sweetened and melodies more nursery than adult-center influenced. Only the B-side (even it again it's a 2 A-side single) gives a different light on her writing with lyrics in which adolescent fears and even anguish are palpable. As a gift (once again through my generous donator called Albgardis, she must be thanked again) I added a much longer version (and apparently earlier than the Columbia single one) of "Why Didn't My Mother Tell Me". Sound quality is not perfect but the version much better and the emotion much stronger. If only they put this one on the single, sure people would have perceived Melanie differently. But her time would come. Meanwhile enjoy this rather rare tryptic here. Sorry for the cover sleeve, I don't have the single so I did the same than for the previous one in order to have a larger image. Below a picture of Melanie in 1968.
























9/10/12

Xasthur - Portal of Sorrow LP (2010)


A repost. Because this is surely one of the albums I've listened to the most often over the last 2 years. And that I've listened to it last week and thought that, with time passing by, I'm quite sure I consider this is one of the best LP of this first decade (and a bit more) of XXIst century (at least, it's in my Top 10). So, since Scott Conner said there would be no more Xasthur LP, and since bands are often quick forgotten when they stop their activity, I thought it was necessary to repost it. The vocal presence of Marissa Nadler all along the LP contributes to its success. Although many Xasthur's lovers considered that Conner had lost the touch with the 2 previous albums, I on the opposite consider he was reaching a peak and that it's a shame he quitted. So, if you never tried, believe me and get it here. It's truly a music that explores the deepest of despair but makes it so beautiful we even don't regret to feel it. Below what I wrote in the initial post.

Xasthur, the one-man band of Scott Conner (so-called Malefic) has been buried by his creator and this album is its testimony. As I said for Daughters LP here, this Portal of Sorrow will be for me one of the few albums that will mark this year and without any hesitation, will stand the test of time. Much better produced than the previous one (you can dl here), easier to listen (just a bit), it is the more faraminous relevant soundtrack of our deleterious times. Nothing is less than exceptionally good here. You enter in such an album as you slip in a bath of muddy water. With a sensual disgust from which you get out with regret. It seems this album sold quite well (1500 were pressed all's gone) and Scott Conner is not sure to do a new press of it (see it here). It would be a shame. He says he will go somewhere totally different musically. But this guy is so good I'm sure we will find to enjoy in his next project. Meanwhile enjoy this last but not least gem here.





Below some tracks. Some of my favorites but there's not a weak moment on this album.









9/8/12

Television Personalities - Time Goes Slowly When You're Drowning / Meanwhile In A Luxury Dockland Home 7" (1995)






















Second recording for the German label Little Teddy, one year after the Not Like Everybody Else EP, it is not an EP but a single, and does not consist in covers but in 2 originals. Yes, I know my point of view (listen?) is not objective, but once again I think this is a great single. Here, Dan Treacy is not so much in an introspective mood (contrary to what may suggest the title of the A-side), and succeeds in recreating the Television Personalities of the 1984-86 era. On "Time Goes Slowly When You're Drowning", the music seems to float between floor and space and takes us with "her" over more than 6 min. On " Meanwhile In A Luxury Dockland Home", Dan Treacy uses for one of the first time in his life (maybe the first but don't write insulting comments, I'm not sure), the Bo Diddley riff, but in a psychedelic pop context. In other word, this boy, even in the terrible state of mind he was in this terrible years, was still one of the most creative of the nineties. Too bad I had my head (and ears) elsewhere. Now I find I was a real dumb asshole. Enjoy this (once more) gem here.





9/1/12

Television Personalities - Do You Think If You Were Beautiful You'd Be Happy? EP (1995)





















Yes, you will say I'm blinded by my love for Dan Treacy to consider this EP is again a great one, but I give a shit. Recorded at the London Toe Rag studios, as much TVP sessions during this decade, it was released by Vinyl Japan, the japanese-owned London-based label that released a lot of fine stuff in the nineties, one year after the superb Far Away And Lost In Joy EP (here). The atmosphere is bleaker and bleaker, the bitterness has never been highest in Dan's spirit, and he begins to claim his hate for those who mock him. It's true that many had lost any interest in TVP during this period of high creativity (remember, noise, doom and rap were in their formative years and each month there was a novative way to play them, and there were some new pop sensations too in GB). The lo-fi depressive songs the band played certainly wouldn't fit with the rage, heavyness and energy galore. But, which of these so-novative records can provide such an emotion than this EP today? Not much actually. Although 1995 seemed one more year toward hell for Dan Treacy, it will give him the chance to give a follow-up to Closer to God some months later. The picture on the sleeve is a portrait of painter Sexton Ming, maybe the painter Dan Treacy talks about in "He Used To Paint In Colour" but I'm not really sure. Everything on this EP here. Lyrics of all TVP songs there. Enjoy it here.