12/31/12

Best of 2012 - Songs, EPs and LPs not to be forgotten






















Here's a compilation of songs and no-songs (call them tracks) that made my year (wrapped in a self-made cover sleeve with pictures by Claudia Böhm). With various styles, less sludgy doom than previous years I must admit. Maybe I'm getting old and soft (jelly some would say). This is the reason I splitted this compilation in 2, in order to be more easy to listen to it. Of course Brian Wilson, Kim Fowley and Dr John are old glories and no more at their creative peak, but the fact is they have made each some of the songs I loved the most this year. And for a new generation you got Emily Wells and JFG, 2 of the greatest composers of the last years so far. Doom Tree is a complete hip hop coup-de-coeur (long time I did not have in this genre) and Grass Is Green my noisy coup-de-foudre, one of the greatest album I listened to this year and this song is marvellous (but I could have picked 2 or 3 others in this masterpiece). The tracks are 5 of the most devastating (for Black Skies, Rabbits and Witchstone) or powerful (for Rotting Hills and Sonance) of the year. You can find all these bands on Forgotten Songs (until July, when mf shelved my account) or Dim Damn Doom. Below, the list of my 10 fave albums of the year. Some of course have songs in the compilation but not all. Yes I know you may think I give too much credit to the young Emily Wells. But her album totally blowed me away and was the soundtrack of several important moments during my year. Her music talks to me the way the Unthanks' one talked to me last year. Grass Is Green,  Rabbits, Bezoar, Uzala, Huata, Single Mothers and Black Skies have given to this year its "lettres de noblesse", and they were not many to create something new and exciting. When I look at the other Best of lists from other blogs, I sometimes wonder if really they are in search of some evolution in music. But nevermind, maybe I'm too old, too weird, old and stupid. Hope the 13th year of the XXIst century will offer some greatness too. Enjoy it here.

































My best albums of the year (preference order, from 1 to 10)

Emily Wells - Mama



Grass Is Green - Ronson



Black Skies - On The Wings Of Time



Rabbits - Bites Rites



Dr John - Locked Down


Single Mothers - Indian Pussy


Doom Tree - No Kings


Bezoar - Wyt Deth



Uzala - Uzala


Huata - Atavist of Mann

12/28/12

Television Personalities - A Decade Of Singles & EPs (1989-99)





















This is surely the best Xmas present I could offer to my visitors. A compilation of all the singles and EPs (I only removed the covers released because they seem quite irrevelant here) released on various labels by Dan Treacy under Television Personalities name, mostly a duo with Jowe Head during this period. Of course I posted all these singles and EPs separately over this year, but I know many of you will appreciate to have them all gathered in chronological order. The individual posts will be there for hard-on fans (like me) who love to have the songs in their original release context (moreover with the cover sleeve). Talking about the cover sleeve, I must say I'm very proud of the one I did for this compilation. Based on a picture from this great and important American photographer called Lewis Hine, who did so much for the child's work to be forbidden in the USA, I can't imagine a more fitting wrapping for these songs that seem to be written by a child's mind-in-man's body with an incredible ability to express intimate suffering and lost feeling. With Morrissey (but Morrissey is totally adult and childhood seems to have deserted him), I think Dan Treacy provided one of the most moving lyrical universe in rock music. This 41 song collection shows how public and critics have been blinded during the 90's, omitting to treat  this genius how he would have deserved it, letting him progressively drown in dope and despair. So, I dedicate these last days of the year to him, who gave me so much work on this blog, but also so much emotions. Enjoy it here (part 1) and there (part 2). I don't post any streaming, all the songs can be heard on the individual posts.






12/27/12

Jack Bruce Band - How's Tricks (1977)





















Of course, nothing Jack Bruce recorded after Out of the Storm would reach the peaks of his 3 first solo LPs (minus the jazz rock one with McLaughlin) but it would be too easy to forget that he composed and played great songs too afterwards. I posted the 1978 refused album Jet Set Jewel here, its predecessor was released, with the same band, and even if there are some weak moments, there are also enough good to great songs to make it a "not to be forgotten" album. The sound is not too much polluted by the production climate of the year 1976 (the album was recorded in the autumn of 1976, one of the worst period in music history, punk was only burgeoning). Songs were mostly written by Jack Bruce for the music and Pete Brown for the lyrics, a long enduring partnership that guaranteed a sort of continuity for a musician changing styles sometimes too often. Of course, this album is not hard to find so I'm not totally authorized to post it here but these songs are forgotten, even by those who know Bruce career (not fans of course). So I think it was a good idea to offer it for memories. PS. I posted the CD version with 2 bonus tracks. The booklet is in the rar file. Don't remember where I caught this album. Not my rip (only 192 kb).








12/23/12

Str... - Live In London (2001-04)



















This live set is totally acoustic and has been recorded during the last decade, it's the only thing I can write with assurance since for the rest it's a complete mystery. Released by Carinco, a label who doesn't care to wrap his releases in ugly cover sleeves and to not provide any information to the "cochon de payant" (French expression that means "pig customer" i.e. treating the customer as a pig). See what they did with Melanie's back catalogue and tell me whether it's not what we all despise from a "label". So, I decided to post it here with a better cover sleeve (with amusing pictures ddkated to feet fetichists, from a photographer called Fraser James, see his deviantArt gallery here). What I think is that this concert was recorded between 2001 and 2004 with Brian Willoughby on guitar and before Chas Cronk rejoined the band since there's no bass sound and the setlist is more adequate with the ones they played at their acoustic sets in their beginnings (I mean the beginnings of their new acoustic career). So, I decided to credit Willoughby instead of Cronk but nothing's sure. Whatever, the setlist is a pure dream, without any weak track. If, like me, you love Baroque and Roll and Painted Sky albums, you'll find here another reason to reach paradise cos' these versions are wonderfully delicate (and melancholic), without the mandatory happy songs that they sometimes feel the need to intercede in their repertoire. So here it is, my Xmas gift. Hope we got some day more info about this live concert.






12/22/12

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Star Truckin' 75 Live at Leiden (1975)






















Thanx to Derek from Paris (same town but don't know him) who sent me recently this bootleg relatively well known by the Steve Harley aficionados, judging by what I found on the net, but that I didn't know. So here it is. It must be noted that even if the setlist consists mainly in songs from Human Menagerie and Psychomodo, this is not the original line-up who plays them (except the greater than great Stuart Elliott on drums) but the Mk II line-up, the one who would record The Best Years Of Our Lives (2 songs from it on this live recording). I never found this second line-up was the real Cockney Rebel and the way they play songs from Pyschomodo are sometimes not far from a complete slaughter. To the so singular musical approach of the previous formation, they substitute a sort of strange and unconsistent mix of style that could be a sort of british Steely Dan if they could be a little more concise and focus. Sometimes they are a sort of sad version of SAHB. On "Sebastian" and "Death Trip", things work a little better. The strongest thing here are Steve Harley's vocals. He really lives each word he sings and makes me shivers today (I'm no more a teenager and this band was supposed to be for teenagers) than at the time. Listen to his "Sebastian" dodobatabata impro to see what an English Artaud he could have been if only he had stayed this crazy (but he became very wise some years later). All in all, an interesting document of a band mutating in something else. They would reach other summits 1 year later with Love's A Prima Donna so I won't be too severe. Enjoy it here. This concert was recorded in Netherland (in Leiden) during a collective tour with Wishbone Ash, Caravan, Mahavishnu Orchestra and The Climax Blues Band (what a strange team). The sound is rather good. You know that I don't post here this sort of shitty document you can't even listen to one time without having your ears bleeding ichor. Below a document of "Sebastian" played by the same formation (actually no, I think there is another guitarist backwards) some months before (April) at the Hammersmith Odeon.


12/18/12

Mott The Hoople - Live At Fairfield Halls (1970)


This repost to announce that I reup-ed all the Live Mott The Hoople of the blogs, all had disappeared when my mf account was shelved. A visitor asked me for reup this one yesterday, so I did it for all, surely many who had missed them will be happy to get them on FS. More to come.

Another Mott The Hoople "album that could have been". Actually, failing to find in studio the intensity and excitation of their live sets, they imagined releasing a live album. This opportunity was provided by their opening shows for Free, who were recording their concerts for a future live LP. Fairfield Halls will actually provide some tracks of the official Free Live album. Unfortunately, the Mott set triggered such an excitation than part of the audience climbed on stage and produced some technical problems that were considered annoying enough to withdraw this Live album project. Not very clear where are the problems actually when you listen to this top quality recorded set. But the fact is that the songs would remain in the void until the Mott Box Set ("Ohio" being on it) and then the CD issue by Angel Air. Would this live LP changed the destiny of the band if released in December 1970? Not sure actually cause honestly, it' s often a little too much sound chaos and tracks are rather too long to maintain interest when listened to on records. And the slow ballads (specially "When My Mind's Gone", so wonderful in studio) are a little out of place in this playlist. However, this is a fascinating testimony of a dead-born album and this provides the pleasure to imagine listening to an album that only failed to exist. Enjoy it here. PS. I took the cover sleeves from the Wildlife's inner one (surely shot during this tour).





12/15/12

Dave Cousins - Plays Strawbs Demos (1972 - 77)






















Another compilation I'm very proud of. Demos by Dave Cousins playing songs he would try with Strawbs between 1972 and 1977 (actually, only the "Rip It Off Blues" made me included 1972 in the time frame since most of these demos were for the period from Hero & Heroine to Deadlines). Of course there are surely much more demos to be released in future reissues but there's enough to propose a first compilation. Cos' I don't believe that these demos are only for historical purposes. On the contrary, Dave Cousins' playing and singing are so strong, and his songs so much appropriate to an alone-acoustic format that this fake LP can be listened to as to a real solo album. And moreover, some songs (such as "Lemon Pie" and most of the Deadlines ones), are here in much better versions than once played by the band and (most importantly) (badly)produced. What's incredible is to realize that during his so-called progressive period, Dave Cousins was composing songs that could have been played 5 or 6 years earlier when Strawbs were an all trad. folk acoustic band (just listen to "So Shall Our Love Die", here in a totally sublime version). And even the Deadlines demos show that he had lost none of his previous talent and was still writing classic Strawbs songs. Of course there's "Deadly Nightshade", one of his best, here played to the bone and still better than with the band's skin. If ever the production and the instrumental choices (linked to this awful 1975-77 period) had not destroyed the songs, we could have appreciated it much more when they had been released on the official albums. So, I don't hesitate to say that this compilation is one of the best thing ever recorded during the seventies. Hope future reissues (of Deep Cuts and Burning For You) will give us some more of these acoustic demo gems. For the cover sleeve, I used a nice picture of a strawberry  tattooe, but I don't remember where I found it so I can't credit either the photographer or the skin owner. Sorry. Hope this will provide some beauty to those coming here to get something to hear. Catch this great Xmas offer here.


Kathleen Ferrier - Songs for Dead Children (1949)



I don't think I need to explain why I update this post today. One visitor left a comment that says it all. The recent killing is a sum of sufferings, from the killer (his childhood was surely a hell to do such a thing at 20) to (of course) the killed. The dramatic illustration that something's going wrong in our societies. We got a similar event in France last May, and Norway got their own massacre the previous year, so throwing the stone to US like many French and Europeans will do is misleading (although there's surely a problem with access to any sort of guns). Why some of us are drowning in such a misanthropic and destructive path, is a crucial point. I know what it's like for having taken it (without the act) in my life and for still, from time to time, feeling disgust and hate for my contempories. But I must say that never children are concerned by this inner feeling and that such a hate really questions our ability of understanding (sorry for this poor way to formulate things but as you know my English is quite uncertain). So, provinding a free link  here to what I consider the strongest songs about children death in music, is the only contribution I can make to this awful event.

If someone'd asked which songs I considered the doomest of the 20th century, I would not say "Gloomy Sunday", or "Avec le Temps", or "Black Sabbath" or even anyone by a Doom band, but the Kindertotenlieder (songs for dead children) composed by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) between 1902 and 1904 from 5 poems he chosed in the 428 ones that the poet Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) had written after the death of 2 of his children. Strangely, few years later, Mahler would lost his daughter. In the poems that Mahler had selected, children seem to be out of home and not coming back. Maybe it's a metaphor for death (a far away travel from where they'll never be back) but since it is the main fear of every parent today (children kidnapped, raped and killed while away), this makes these songs still more moving. This is the reason I chose for the sleeve a picture by Wynn Bullock (1902-75), who had begun as a tenor singer and whose picture of this child (her daughter) in the wood is quite disturbing. For the back of the sleeve I took an other disturbing and doomer than doom picture by Peter Hujar (1934-87) that he shot in the catacombs of Palerma in 1963. Kathleen Ferrier had also a doomed life since her career began late (at 30) and finished prematurely in 1953 (she had 41) from leukemia. She is considered as one of the greatest vocalist of the century and to have interpreted the best version of these lieders. I will not have the irony to write enjoy it here, but at least, cry with it here. Lyrics (in German and with the English translation) are in the rar file.



In Diesem Wetter, In Diesem Braus. In diesem Wetter, in diesem Braus, Nie hätt' ich gesendet die Kinder hinaus; Man hat sie getragen hinaus,Ich durfte nichts dazu sagen! In diesem Wetter, in diesem Saus,Nie hätt' ich gelassen die Kinder hinaus,Ich fürchtete sie erkranken; Das sind nun eitle Gedanken.In diesem Wetter, in diesem Graus, Nie hätt' ich gelassen die Kinder hinaus; Ich sorgte, sie stürben morgen, Das ist nun nicht zu besorgen. In diesem Wetter, in diesem Graus! Nie hätt' ich Gesendet die Kinder hinaus!Man hat sie hinaus getragen,ich durfte nichts dazu sagen! In diesem Wetter, in diesem Saus, in diesem Braus,Sie ruh'n als wie in der Mutter Haus,Von keinem Sturm erschrecket,Von Gottes Hand bedecket.

In this weather, in the windy storm. In this weather, in this windy storm, I would never have sent the children out.They have been carried off,I wasn't able to warn them! In this weather, in this gale, I would never have let the children out. I feared they sickened: those thoughts are now in vain. In this weather, in this storm, I would never have let the children out, I was anxious they might die the next day: now anxiety is pointless. In this weather, in this windy storm, I would never have sent the children out. They have been carried off, I wasn't able to warn them! In this weather, in this gale, in this windy storm, they rest as if in their mother's house: frightened by no storm, sheltered by the Hand of God.

tilidom.com

Kathleen Ferrier


Kathleen Ferrier and Bruno Walter


Gustav Mahler


Friedrich Rückert

12/8/12

Elvis Costello - Live Salle Victoire Montpellier (1984)






















Almost a month I didn't post anything, and I don't really come back but post a live recording made by my blogther Rough Mix in 1984. If you're Costello addicts, you'll be infinitely happy to listen to this live set in a rather better quality than the bootleg of it you can find on the net (for example here). Rough is currently transforming stuff from tapes to MP3 and I promise some unusual things later on. Meanwhile, I let the keyboard to my ole time friend. dk

This time, a rather particular recording... This Elvis Costello's show and his Attractions, which I attended myself, was recorded with a K7 device on February 1984 in Montpellier (France),and the result is more than adequate in my opinion. In this debut of year 1984 Costello began an European tour and decided to grind some new songs from a forthcoming album. Recently arrived in this provincial town which musical history is more anchored around Mediterrannean latin culture than in smoked pubs along banks of the Thames,this was one of the best concert I've seen here, an oasis in this desert music programming. Since the beginning of the 80s, Elvis Costello was digging in his musical Jazz and Pop roots ,such as in Imperial Bedroom, to improve his repertoire. Trust and Almost blue had been bitter failures for him and his faithful pal Steve Nieve .The memory of this event persisted again few months later ,when I bought in June, his new album Goodbye Cruel World. Because what surprised me was when I discovered the picture on the sleeve (see below), showing two trees on a small mound, with Costello's gang perched on it. These trees are famous here, they are called the Saint Aunes twin cypress, which can be seen along the A9 motorway, few miles before Montpellier city, as well as on the first images of the Agnes Varda's film Sans toi, ni loi. It should be noted that the concert took place at the Victory Hall and not at the Palais des Sports (which does not exist elsewhere). Enjoy it here. The setlist can be found here. Rough Mix