12/27/14

Forgotten Songs dk Top 10 LPs of 2014

Nobody cares but here's a list of my fave 10 LPs (or long EPs) of the year. Since I do not write anymore in music mags, I only have this blog to publish it. In the further days, I'll try to compile one song from each LP and create one of my famous (???) do-it-myself cover sleeves with it. I got plenty of images I would love to use and do not find the occasion. It will be. I'll ask Rough Mix his and this will twice the pleasure (and the number of free dl songs). As a global comment, I would like to say this year sounded a shitload to my ears and that most of the music in the Top 50 of the music media (see here for aggregate and separate lists) illustrates it perfectly. I actually made the effort to listen to most of it and my conclusion is that it is worst than the worst elevator muzak, when it is not awful rip offs of old school styles that second-hand bands of the concerned periods would have been ashamed to play. But given the large musical ignorance of rock-press journalists, no chance they could detect this. I must be a terrible old twat (not a real idea what a twat is but that sounds good for an insult). The only album they all put high in their list and that is high in mine is Sleaford Mods (not a musical masterpiece but a real blast in today's indigency), the incongruity is on their side not mine. And it would be great that the duo does not accept to become a fave of these grotesque fake makers. For the rest of my list, it's true the diversity is rather surprising but that's the way I am since I was 14 (loving Master of Reality, Harvest, Grand Hotel, The Slider, Masterpiece, Hero and Heroine, Gather Me similarly) and I won't change now.

1. Thou - Heathen





Often classified in the highest ranges of sludge lists, this band, and particularly this album, does not have to be constrained in a genre. It's pure musical discrimination to put The War On Drugs (I would personally call them better "the war on music") at the top of a list when it's a sub-genre in its own way (and really sub). Thou is to my eyes one of the most essential band of the last decade, and that they do not get the success they deserve unfortunately tells a lot about our times. This album is a masterpiece. The closest rock has been to classic music in terms of grandeur and timeless quality. Louisiana was and still is one of the greatest land for music. Seeing Dr John played at Sète (France) and having listened to this album the whole year I can say that if I'm sure of something I'm sure of that.



2. Macy Gray - The Way

A clear sign that eclectism is the word to design this list is the fact that Macy Gray's new album features after Thou's one. What's true too is that eclectism is one of the greatest quality of Macy Gray work. And in particular in her two last personal albums (2010 Sell Out and this one, others being covers album I find weak and useless). I was quite afraid that she would try (according to the title of her greatest success) to start imitating today's standards of charts music but she didn't and indeed, Prince and T. Rex seem the main influences on this wonderful way. I must say that I'm totally mad of her voice. With Billy Holiday and Melanie, she's the voice that gives me the highest level of thrills and shakes my limbic system the hardest. Moreover, in this one, the quality of the lyrics, their honesty, are a bonus. Some songs as the eponymous one or "Queen of the Big Hurt" could rivalize with anything she has done before and put most of the female singer-songwriters of the above lists in a garbage bin of insignifiance. Last, the video of Henry Rollins insulting Macy Gray about her voice make him a pathetic dumb that would not make the difference between an arsehole and a hole in the ground (copyright Randy Newman). He should remember that what he says about her was what everybody said of his hero Ozzy Osbourne in the golden era of Black Sabbath.



3. David Crosby - Croz

The unexpected one. First because nobody expected really anything from him (maybe even himself) but also because it took me quite a time in my life to find the way to the particular genius of David Crosby. Younger I had only ears for Young. Then Stills caught my attention but I had to wait until the nineties to be touched by the tortuous constructions of Crosby's melodies. Sure that listening to Steely Dan and Prefab Sprout helped me to finally appreciate this approach. And now, I'm the first to place Crosby in the major song creators of the sixties. This album, recorded with his son is really a fantastic journey in a soft and powerful musical world. This may sound a little bit too mellow for many (including me) but once you get in it, you seem to float in  a parallel world and few records achieve this. Compared to SN and Y, Crosby shows a relevance today that his acolytes lack.



4. Lunchbox - Loves You

Why this band is not bigger, why their clever and even gorgeous pop that make the Beach Boys, Television Personalities, Herman's Hermits or Polyphonic Spree melt together in a magical harmony is not in the others top lists of the year instead of the pale imitators of glorious past-makers, don't ask me I don't know. After their fantastic previous album under the name of Birds of California, they're back under their original name for an album that sounds like a collection of singles A-sides.  Tim Brown is an incredibly underrated composer. Sorry to seem a little bit bitter but what the hell rock critics have as ear equipment to miss such gems? Has been one of the rare records to help me in my dark passages this year. I rode my bike throughout autumn with it in my earphones.



5. Sleaford Mods - Divide and Exit

Maybe more for what they represent (the so-expected come-back of real life in rock music, a flavour of working class culture in the evanescent bourgeoise trend of rock for the 2 last decades) than for their own musical merits (musically it's sometimes really poor although I agree that simplicity here allows the listener to concentrate on the words and the way Jason Williamson tells them). As a fan of Third World War and the Fall (era pre-2000), I can only be happy to have the pleasure to see one band perpetuates this tradition. There are some gems in this collection. And all in all, it's maybe the record that will leaves the deepest trace this year. The only record of my list featuring in other lists.



6. Moonknight - Death Card

I like Black Metal but I must say I don't like many bands so maybe after all I don't like that much Black Metal. After Xasthur and An Autumn for Crippled Children, here's my third coup de coeur in 10 years. Under this "patronyme" is a guy called James Brown III aka Roach aka Horus, so, like Xasthur it's apparently a one man band. It doesn't sound like it is. What's great is the liquid impression you feel when you listen to this record (actually a 5 track-EP). It's like a river of noise, not far from what Nadja proposed 5 or 6 years ago. Other reminiscences are the first Gorefest releases but it is black metal and not death although the title may suggest the contrary.



7. Buzzcocks - The Way

I contributed to this album through The Pledge (and still waits for any solid version of the album, not fair but surely a problem of transmission) and I truly didn't expect it would be that good. If I regret that the long epics they now play on stage do not appear in this LP, there's something refreshing to see old punks (I'm their age actually) like Shelley and Diggle still able to propose 10 songs with melodies that don't suffer the comparison with ancient stuff. Don't forget however that Buzzcocks have released several albums since they reform and none of them was even weak. This one is not great but there are enough gems (such as "Virtually Real" or "It's Not You") to put it in their bests. Hope I will contribute to many others.



8. King Buzzo - This Machine Kills Artists

As a long-time Melvins fan, I was not sure that this solo acoustic album would produce an interesting album, Buzz being versatile and often results are deceiving (see for example the last Melvins album that I was not able to listen until the end). But here, with this Jimmy Page inspired acoustic playing (he says he was inspired by Pete Townshend but the truth is that he sounds as Page on the B-side of the LZIII), he reachs his goal. Live, it was impressive, on record it's great but maybe 17 songs were too much and he should have selected 12 and maybe develop some of them instead of this song necklace. But 2014 will stay for many as the year Buzz released his solo acoustic album and this deserves to be noticed.




9. Heaven's Gateway Drugs - A Propos


Another album whose absence in the multitudes of 2014 lists is totally unexplainable since it's psyche-pop at its best. Everything too many French weirdies try to achieve without any success. Although this record has everything to make me runaway (the cover sleeve, the look, the retro-style) I must admit it's a fantastic album that maybe should be ranged higher than at the 9th position. If you like the Kinks era Preservation Society, the Who era Sell Out, the Pretty Things era SF Sorrow, Pink Floyd era Syd Barrett, or, more recently  Polyphonic Spree or Julian Cope, you will love this record. Each song is a winner and seems an instant classic. If rock critics could take their ears out of their assholes and listen to something that worth it, they would put this band at the top of their aggregated lists.



10. Indian - From All Purity

The only reason this huge band is not higher with their 2014 offer is because I didn't listen much to it this year for unknown reasons actually. I discovered them with their first LP (The Unquiet Sky in 2005) and this was instantly one of my album of the year. Afterwards I was less impressed by their 3 following ones but this one is massive as hell as fuck as shit as whatyouwantocallit. Sometimes it's like the ghosts of the great Khanate were back. You won't find heavier this year. And more inspired. A record for our twisted times sure it is and unfortunately will remain.



Bonus - Albums released in 2013 but who made my year

1. Birds of California - One And Only

BoC are actually Tim Brown and Donna McKean, the duo from Lunchbox, here the previous year, for a transitory experience under the name of BoC. The album is pure genius. Less surf-pop and more psyche-pop, but actually a masterpiece I listened to so often that it's difficult to consider it was not my abum of 2014. If you're in alt. pop you can't miss such a gem.




2. Kal Marks - Life is Murder


The names of the album and of the band would be enough to raise my enthusiasm but strikingly it's the music they play that is the main reason of my euphoria. Released in September 2013, I only discovered it last September and since then it became a trusty companion. Here what I wrote on Bandcamp about it: "It's emotional music as its best. Long time an album didn't offer me so strong chills in my spine. Everything talks to me in this band. Could have been a cult album if it has been issued during the 90's noise movement. It will be one of the cult albums of this century". I won't be able to say better today. 


3. His Name Is Codeine - The Only Truth Is Music

A wonderful but late discovery. A crossover between the best seventies folk (Spriguns, Trees, String Driven Thing, Fuschia) and the best shoegazing (MBV of course but also some more). Constantly tense and intense, it's been too a sonor companion this year the reason why it's here. Don't know if it were in others lists last year but I doubt.



4. White Medal - Guthmers Hahl

Not sure I appreciate the underlying ideology and syncretic philosophy but sure that I love this incredible mixture of noise George Proctor does. Imagine Roy Wood becoming Black Metal and you'll have an idea of what you will hear on this monstruous album that was revealed to me some days ago by a 2014 best of list although it was released in the summer of 2013. he drums seem to be played by some greek god, some mythological giant (maybe Polypheme). It's like taking a bath in lava and staying in it by a strange masochistic pleasure. If it had been released this year sure it would be in my top 10.



5. Pile - Dripping

"Don't be foolish dk, this LP was released 2 years ago now!", "Yes but I only discovered it this year and actually it was MY album of the year. Fuck years, fuck calendars, fuck age, I want to live in the present, don't want to see years go by, getting old and die like a worm".

12/22/14

Joe Cocker - Live in LA (1976)

Today I heard Joe Cocker died. He was my "first concert". In 1972, the reason why, as a tribute, I post this live LP (rather forgotten and not as good as the Mad Dog and Englishmen one, but with some magical moments anyway). It was also the occasion my mum became a fan. She was coming to get me at the end of the concert since I was only a kid. Entrance was free when the concert was near its end. And she was instantly caught by his incredible voice and energy. She's still alive and was crying tonight on the phone when she heard this life-long companion was dead. She's 81 today. Strange he died for her birthday. Tomorrow I'm going to see her and we'll listen to some Joe Cocker songs together. A bit of our life is going. Before our life will soon go too. Strange too that Bobby Keyes, who played sax with Joe Cocker during this fantastic period, died 20 days ago. Hope Leon Russell will stay with us. Meanwhile, let's pay a tribute to this great artist. And hope he will not rest in peace, but as dynamic and electric he was on stage in his youth. He'll be forever associated with one of the greatest music area across history. Catch it here. PS. There were 2 cover sleeves for this album (released 4 years after the tour, a way to capitalize on the singer). Both were ugly. I quickly did one. Not perfect. Maybe not really relevant to the visual style of the seventies, but more respectful than the awful ones that Cube (specialist in ugly cover sleeves) did.





12/21/14

Man - Live at the Whiskey a GoGo (1974)

I don't listen much to Man these days, but a re-up request makes me put this live set from 1974 back on the blog. I improved the cover sleeves a little bit (with this special photoshop filter creating a sort of vinyl cover sleeve texture to my fake sleeves), specially the back one. Hope to help such bands not to fall in oblivions, they deserve to be kept alive throughout time. If you like the Traffic live set climax, you'll like Man. More below about this particular show. Catch it here. There are other concert captures that I posted and that will need to be re-up if God gives me some more time.

Less than one year after the Roundhouse concert posted here, it's a totally different Man that we find in the USA for promoting their new Rhinos Winos and Lunatics album. Only Terry Williams on drums and Micky Jones (2 genius in their own domain) are still there, and back is Deke Leonard, fired 2 years before, with 2 members of his own band. Musically, this is also quite different, more rockier, less spacey. I told before that the previous Man incarnation was my fave and I won't change my mind but it's still a great band. This live testimony is not one of their best but is an interesting addition for Man's amateurs for 3 reasons. First, the drums are mixed in front (too much actually) but it's a way to verify what a thrilling drummer is Terry Williams. The second is that it's the only chance to hear Man with a sax in it since Jim Horn, well-known session man, plays with them. He's quite mixed in the back unfortunately. Last, there are some small moments where everything is really working well and takes you off the ground as we all like it so much. This set was added on the reissue of the Rhinos Winos and Lunatics LP by Esoteric Recordings. Don't be fooled by the small number of tracks, the whole is 60 min long.

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12/20/14

Sandy & The Strawbs - All Our Own Work (1967)


Reading the Dave Cousins autobiography, I feel the need to listen to Strawbs and too, to re-up here some of the stuff I posted during the years of this blog existence (surely, as every blog, limited in time but while it lives, let it go). Here is the first album of Strawbs material officially released, although it was rather confidentially, the album being mainly issued in Denmark. It sounds more of a Sandy Denny singing Dave Cousins songs album than a true Strawbs-as-a-band album, but it is a great album, even if Sandy Denny's voice has never been a personal taste. Finally a good thing she went for Fairport Convention soon after. I used the cover that was the one to be used for the album and not the further ones. Catch it here. I'll post more material from the early Strawbs later on cos' they are more and more prohibitive to get.

In 1967, Dave Cousins meets a young folk singer called Sandy DAjouter une imageenny and invites her to join his band. She accepts and some months later they are in Copenhagen, Denmark, to record a whole LP that they'll call All Our Own Work. Musically, it's not typical Strawbs and reminds me of the Mama's & Papa's meeting the Kinks with a strong US folk flavor. It's clear that the band is a vehicle for Sandy Denny's voice since she sings almost all the songs, but Dave Cousins composed most of them. He also sang 2 and it's apparent as early as that year that he is a great songer-composer. Sandy Denny will not stay long with them and next year they'll record their first LP without her. But we'll talk about it later on here again. Here I post the original album in its recent remastered version that you can find on a CD featuring 12 other tracks (out-takes and demos). But I always prefer to post original LPs as they were when released, than with all these bonus tracks. If you become Strawbs fans, you might decide to buy the LP. Meanwhile, enjoy this first LP with its original cover sleeve (at least the front side) and not the quite ugly one made for its 1973 reissue. Below a stream of the Kinks-like "How Everyone But Sam Was A Hypocrite" and a video hommage to Sandy Denny on one of the best song of the album: "Who Knows Where The Time Goes By", one of her only song on the LP and that she would sing again with Fairport Convention.




How Everyone But Sam Was A Hypocrite. Half a bitter for the vicar He's here to save your soul He's looking fat and jovial Though he's nearly on the dole Anne Riley cooks his dinner She keeps him washed and fed She doesn't need much prompting To jump into his bed. And they all think they're so grand Yes, they all think they're so grand Yes, they all think they're so grand But they're not Oh no they're not. Dr. Watson drinks large whiskies He's nearly always high He supplements his income Aborting on the sly Mrs. Thompson is an angel In the W.V.S. Her meals on wheels are very cheap And she cooks the books for less. Sammy Cohen is the bookie Sitting over there Drinking three star brandy He doesn't seem to care No-one wants to know him They say he's been inside They say his dear old mother Committed suicide. Dr. Watson charged Anne Riley A fifty guinea fee For Mr. Thompson's peace of mind As far as I can see Mrs. Thompson envies Annie Cooking for the preacher And everyone thinks Sam Is a quite disgusting creature But if the truth was known It would shake all their foundations It seems the preacher lives On Sam's anonymous donations.

12/14/14

Melanie - At Central Park (1974)

You may think I already said that a million times before about other Melanie live sets but honestly this is my favorite. Never she has been so intense, intimate, moving, thrilling, concentrate, subtile in her voice. Don't know why to play at Central Park on this 15th of June 1974 gave her so much qualities, maybe the fact that it was open air and in her city. Each song is here in one of its best version (listen to "Do You Believe", someone can't help to applause in the middle of the song) and the setlist has nothing to do with the too often "greatest hits" she delivered (and still does) in her shows. Many covers (most of them were in Madrugada, the LP she released the same year) but all in the same mood, reflective, melancholic, deep and personal. The "Wild Horses" cover is particularly extraordinary. The way Melanie takes the Stones songs (the previous one was "Ruby Tuesday" and not only make them her own but also gave them a new depth is unique, except of course Billie Holiday and Nina Simone). This has, to my knowledge, never been released on any vinyl, CD or MP3 files. I found these songs on youtube, posted by Ian Walker. I only converted the MP4 files in MP3 and did a fake cover (with a Central Park concert picture shot in the period and on the back side a picture of Melanie at the relevant concert but I'm not certain) to wrap these 10 gems. A way to have them with you on any support. Don't know why nobody has ever released this on record? Maybe it was too early after the (much less good) Carnegie Hall double live LP released the previous year. And it's even better than the Paris Theatre concert released in only 100 vinyl pieces but that you can find here (I have to re-up it). Played after the Madrugada LP, her second commercial fail, Melanie seemed to still have the crowd affection but her star was fading. A shame when listening to this fantastic set. Catch it here. Still more diamonds from this beloved singer to be found later on FS. All the youtube versions are below.


12/13/14

Dave Cousins - Plays Strawbs Demos (1972 - 77)

If I re-up this compilation of Strawbs demos by Dave Cousins, it's not because anyone asked me to, but because I'm reading Exorcizing Ghosts, the Dave Cousins autobiography and for the first time of my life, I feel in complete empathy with the man behind the words. Most of these books are informative and evocative but rarely provide a sense of proximity with the author. This does. So, among the numerous Strawbs posts on FS (since it is as usual visitors may know), I decided to re-up this one cos' it's the one in which we actually feel the tightest proximity with Dave Cousins. Strange I posted it pratically 2 years ago (Dec 15th). A wonderful piece of music and a testimony of what sounded prog Strawbs songs before their band treatment. Catch it here.

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 and 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.


12/12/14

Vic Chesnutt - Live at the Lido - Berlin (2007)



Nobody asked me for this re-up but I do it anyway cos' tonight it's the only music I can listen to (specially the At The Cut album) and it's a shame that this Berlin live set is no more available on FS. Don't forget these artists who put into words and music the tragedy of human condition. Catch it here.

I must say that I have been quite late to find how I appreciated Vic Chesnutt, a sort of contempory Kevin Coyne with something of the doomest Neil Young in him and Peter Hammill's too. His last (in all senses of the term since he died soon after) album in 2009 was a true coup-de-coeur. And now I feel a little dumb to revisit his career. But this is how things are. Here is a concert that he played in Berlin on the 28 November of 2007 and you won't hear something more moving, intense and touching than this. And moreover with a rather excellent sound. The version of "Coward" played here is simply one of the most moving song you'll hear in your entier life, even if, like me you're an Alex Harvey, Peter Hammill, Kevin Coyne, Mark Perry and Jacques Brel fan. There is also a version of the Melanie-revised Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" (mispelled on the self-made back cover, excuse me, it's too often these days) in an absolutely stunning version. Very happy that he introduces it saying it's a Melanie song. However most of the songs are from the North Star Deserter album. The format is in wma since when I put it in mp3 it becomes monstruously big. PS. I've also forgotten to add the last song, "Over" on the back cover sleeve. It's time to let this blog a little on the halt.



"Marathon", extracted from this concert


Some days before, in Vienna, the exceptional "Coward"



12/11/14

Kim Fowley - Sunset Boulevard (1978)



Some of you ask for a pooled re-up of all the material I previously posted about one artist/band, but my choice is to re-up stuff one by one (with some new things inbetweens) and make of each re-up a day post. So, sorry, but it'll take some time to have all Alain Kan, Melanie or Kim Fowley songs available again. Here is an excellent and underrated Kim Fowley LP released in 1978. All details are in the text I wrote for the initial post. Catch here this re-up on M that, hitherto, never failed and never caused me or visitors any problem.

Recorded between 1976 and 1978 in Hamburg (the 3 first songs of side 1), London (the 3 first songs of side 2) and LA-West Hollywood (the rest), this album has always been one of my KF fave although I admit that the Hamburg songs are rather weak and dated. But all in all, there's enough to make it a wonderful sonor companion to "International Heroes". Styles are incredibly varied, from a sort of late 70's soul-disco (the Hamburg songs) to the Dylanesque style of "In My Garage", via the splendid rough rock of Earl Mankey's "Negative", the Motownesque "North American Man", the glorious "Teenage Death Girl" (could have been a Runaway track) and of course talk-over experimental pieces such as "Sunset Boulevard". There's also a reworked version "Control" that seems to be directly out of the 'I'm Bad" LP. And you can find a delicately musically backed tale half-sung half-talked "Black Camels of Lavender Hill". One of his best success in this rather risky style. Tom Waits comes to mind when listening to this piece. And the album closes with one of his most extraordinary track, the fast-as-an-evil-car "Blow Up". Released by Illegal Record, it's a shame (and a guilty one) that it had never been reissued in CD version. Here is an official vinyl rip off that can be bought on some commercial sites. Rather better than the ones you can find on the net on various blogs, and better than the one I could have done (I'm not the king of vinyl rip-off I must say). Hope some day, a correct reedition will be out. Meanwhile, you got this if you don't own the vinyl LP. It's, for any KF amateur, an unavoidable link in the long chain of records created by the master of space glam and cosmos madness. I would like to add that all the real KF fans feel clearly than under his provocative fake megalomania and chaotic lyrical world there's a true melancholic and modest way of seeing the world (and himself). Trying to do everyday a larger than life day is the manifestation of how he considers boring usual life. Sorry for the weak resolution of the cover sleeves, my large format scan is out for months and I got no money to buy a new one. If you buy the vinyl, you'll have the lyrics in, and KF's words to explain each song. Below a picture of Kim Fowley with the same girl than on the cover sleeve, actually his then wife Cindy X Fowley, and below with Diane Diamond, who co-wrote 3 songs on the album ("In My Garage", "Love Is A Game" and "Blow Up").








12/8/14

Barry Ryan - The Hunt (1969)



A re-up as requested by a newly charmed-by-the-underrated-genius-of-the-Ryan-bros visitor (at least that's what I understood). All the details about this second LP are written below (I always keep the text I had written in the initial post). I'll re-up all the Barry Ryan albums (except the first one, Barry Ryan sings Paul Ryan, easily affordable) but I'll do some work on the sound quality for those I used vinyl sources to create the MP3 version. Actually, only the first and the second (this one) were issued on CD (a total scandal) and even in digital version, so we have to use vinyl sources with a somewhat loss of quality according to the rip technic (and mine is not top prime). Meanwhile, catch this prey here.

This is the second album by Barry Ryan. It's not far from being a masterpiece but unfortunately the cover sleeve was totally awful (see below) as will be the further ones. Too bad. There are so much gems here (notably "Sea of Tranquillity" that you can hear on streaming below) you will be stunned to discover that it's not considered as a great one as the previous one has been recently. You may say that this post is not as essential as the previous ones since this LP can be found on the Rev-Ola reissue of the first album. But strangely, the tracklist on this CD is quite different than the one I have on my vinyl LP. Two songs, included on the CD as bonus tracks were actually on the album whereas 2 other ones ("Swallow Fly Away" and "No Love Without Her Love" were not). So, the LP is here on its original form. I'll post the 2 excluded tracks later in their actual format. I also changed the title since "The Hunt" was actually the hit of the album and should have been chosen to increase the commercial potential of the LP. So I gave it a "Diana and Actaeon" representation by the great Titian for sleeve. I hope some of you have found in Paul and Barry Ryan oeuvre a source of sonor joy (I doubt this is English but tonight I'm tired).





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12/7/14

Shawn Phillips - Transcendence (1978)



A re-up of this splendid and underrated album. Catch it here. The new Shawn Phillips site is here. Lyrics from the album there.

Somewhere between Donovan and Marvin Gaye but with something/anything of Zappa meets Todd Rundgren, was (and is still) Shawn Phillips. This LP, that can be considered as his dawn one, is for me his masterpiece. Terrible that such a gem was so overlooked and forgotten. It contains some of the most moving of his songs and more largely, of the rock history. He might have been suddenly under a divine influence since his previous efforts were at best uneven. But here, he touches something essential in music, helped by the superb orchestral arrangements of Michael Kamen (with a Barry Ryan flavor sometimes). Among the whole setlist, "American Child", "Implications", "Lament" and "Motes of Dust" are fave of mine and are not far each time I listen to them (at least once a year) to draw tears from my old and tired eyes. So, it seems unavoidable for me to post this LP here since it really belongs to the long list of forgotten ones. I hope to help it to be back in everyone's memory. In streaming, 2 totally opposed climaxes. But both wonderful.



American Child. I was born in Fort Worth, Texas with a silver spoon / The war was rollin,' and the deaths were tollin' and Crosby crooned / The year was '43, I started learnin' how to be and I was on my way / Partisans in Italy were fighting Mussolini's team and making hay / Then another two years of people shedding tears and it had all begun / This bludgeon of insanity, power into vanity, to make the sun / I started comprehending the beginning of the ending of the human race / Now all I want to do is stop the follow-through I want to save my face / 'Cause I'm an American child on a nuclear pile / I been pampered, I been hampered, now I'm slandered, yeah! / Children of the twenty-first haven't got sense enough to raise their minds / Too busy gettin' crazy, or learnin' to be lazy, or tryin' to find / A way of bein' funny so to make a lot of money off another man's spine / Capitalist prigs and communist pigs, well you are all so fine / Always hypocritical, I think you're hypothetical, I will not climb / Cannot get in here, can't get out of there and there is no more time / And like the man said it's a pity he is dead, that all the world's a stage / So if you want to keep it for the next performance, you had better rage / Now I got a feelin' that what we're really needin' is a lot of love / And the little man to say he can, regardless of the master plan or velvet glove / Stand up his integrity, and fight the things that he can see are oh so wrong / There is a good solution, and it's not a revolution, and it won't take long / Let loose that want to fight go slobber through the night with their neutron bombs / There is more creation in the face of devastation, there are just more slums / And if you want utopia, you cannot have myopia, it must be clear / And a little isolation, so to prop a falling nation, from its only fear.

Implications. She brought me love like no one else has ever / Brought me through these many years / She made me sound and took me 'round in ever upward swirling chandeliers / At the pain of an ending is like a cauldron seething in fire / For no one else could ever take me higher The roses sent were never meant as offerings of peace for all the tears / Nor solace for the years alone / I cannot bring myself to voice my fears / Oh, but life you are sacred, you are the only the we bear / You are adamant implication that we care / The winds of life have brought me strife, I must face up to what / I think is real, and if she wants to go to him I will not hold her back from what she feels / Ah the love gives me courage, it stops the pain and heals me inside / My very soul is a thing I cannot hide / The windows in her eyes are dark / The stars are never there as they appeared and gone is all the joy for me / She's found another man and I am here / Ah the pain of an ending is like a cauldron seething fire / For no one else could ever take me higher / In the sky to the blue of God's eye where the winds begin to blow / And the earth is brown and green and gold / With the universe above and I must not lose my love / No I must not lose my love again.

12/6/14

Free - Live at Sunderland (1970)

After the recent re-up of the Croydon show, here's the Sunderland one. both providing the material for the official Free Live album. Don't remember where I found the songs from this show since only 6 were released on the Island Remasters 12 in 2002. Anyway, this is great stuff for sure. Free always in my heart until death will free me from life. Catch this Live LP here.

In January 1970, 4 months before they became superstars with "All Right Now", Free was a band with a strong following, but considered a serious and respectable heavy blues à-la-Cream band, not a pop one. All that will contribute to their considerable success is here, ready to explode, so idiosyncrasic, so palatable, so unique. This concert was apparently splitted in 2 sets, with "All Right Now", not released in single as I said above, played twice, in 2 very different versions. It was a sign that the song was to become something since the audience requested it again. But there are so many gems here (and songs that would disappear from their live setlists soon after, although they were prime cuts for the stage) that it would be totally absurd to reduce Free to this song, not played at its best in this concert. This concert would provide 2 years later 2 tracks of their posthumous Live album (before the reformation): the 1st version of "All Right Now" (on the vinyl you could hear the end of a T. Rex song ("Ride A White Swan") but no more on CD, too sad) although the second is much more energy-fueled and the audience goes crazy, and "The Hunter" in a devastating version. The other songs would be taken from a later concert that I'll post here also in its more complete version, but not too soon, you need time to appreciate each one. However, Paul Kossoff is here in great form and take some incredible solo (listen to the one in "Songs Of Yesterday" for example, and the amazing one on "Moonshine", that he co-wrote, the greatest economist in notes who ever played guitar). What's fabulous in this band, it's that they are strong enough to propose such a doom blues track like "Moonshine" that is surely the cradle of depressing rock. It's crazy the Island bosses didn't put it on the Live album, it would have became a classic to place near "Since I've Been Loving You". And the emotion is otherwise more striking that in Led Zeppelin. PS. Sorry, I did a mistake. "Trouble on Double Time" follows "Moonshine". But too late to change. Change the order yourself if you want to respect the order of the setlist. PPS. The sound is excellent.


Moonshine.
Sitting in a graveyard Waiting for the dawn Leaning on my tombstone Till the night is gone Oh how the moon Hangs in black sky Wish i could find out The reason why I sit here alone And cry My woman was so lovely Together we were one No sunshine in my weary eyes Now that she has gone Oh how the moon Hangs in black sky Wish I could find out The reason why I sit here alone And cry Palm trees whisper to me From your spreading height Tell me all the loney stories Of the world at night Oh how the moon Hangs in black sky Wish I could find out The reason why I sit here alone And cry