Yes, indeed. “Friends” include Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Leon Russell. A true Thanksgiving feast!
Here’s a classic bootleg via Infinite Fool — Lou’s first show in NYC since he left the VU in 1970, if I’m not mistaken. From Max’s Kansas City to Alice Tully Hall! Lou must’ve felt like he had finally made it. I really like the band here, probably more than the Rock and Roll Animal group (though that band obviously has its grotesque charms). The Tots were a tight, funky little twin-guitar group that could ably re-create Transformer's glammy textures and perform credible renditions of Lou's old VU tunes. If he had these guys backing him up on his self-titled debut, it might have been Reed's first beloved solo album. Truth be told, this is probably not the best representation of Lou and the Tots — check out the excellent, semi-official American Poet radio broadcast for that. This NYC show suffers a little bit from tuning issues, but it is very much worth your time, nonetheless. I love the slow-burn arrangement of “Waiting For The Man,” the faithful “Walk On The Wild Side” and the noble attempt at “Sister Ray” that closes things out.
Get yrself over to the All Eternal Things blog for this very fun (presumably very rare) early 70s LP. Jacob sez: “What a great party these guys must’ve been. Basement fuzzed out guitar in the red, dimmed Jim Beam soaked vocals and a solid pulsing drummer. The Weight were the house band at Rick’s Lounge in Walnut Creek, CA. I think ‘Music Is The Message’ was recorded in 1970 or sometime after, but The Weight traded lack of fidelity, for ‘67 garage destruction. They cover four Beatles songs with unique ineptness and it mostly works. Fred Neil’s ‘Another Side Of Life’ is turned into wasted hot beer southern rock. Everything is over the top on Susie Q, as revved up as possible, and by midway you forget what song your hearing, just rambling jamming, totally lost and epic.”
"Blue Sands" - Chico Hamilton, Newport Jazz Festival, 1958
RIP to the great jazz drummer Chico Hamilton, whose career stretched over the decades. Here’s his bewitching performance from Bert Stern’s classic Jazz On A Summer’s Day, featuring Eric Dolphy on flute. Hamilton at this point strikes me as deeply unique — not even sure what genre this tune falls into. Whatever you want to call it, “Blue Sands” is hauntingly beautiful.
A weird-but-worthwhile era for Neil and the Horse, via Infinite Fool. The sleeveless plaid vest era, if you will. This was basically the Landing On Water tour, and setlists included a bunch of tunes that Neil would rarely — if ever — return to. “Touch The Night”! “Violent Side”! “Hippie Dream”! “Inca Queen”! All of your favorites and many more. There are also the very interesting Crazy Horse versions of the Trans classics “Computer Age” and “Sample & Hold.” Spend some time in rock and roll prison with these guys.
We made it to the end of the Summer of Dead, brothers and sisters. Finally. Please enjoy this totally grody mid-90s gig poster. The show? It’s good! The first set has a bunch of nice stuff — Garcia really digs in to “Candyman” and I don’t even mind “El Paso.” The second set is less exciting, though it’s livened up by the mid-“Space” appearance of some throat singing Tibetan monks. So far out. Full disclosure: I skipped “Show Me The Way To Go Home.”
Is there a better way to finish up this decades-spanning journey through the Dead’s live trip than with a completely awful rendition of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”? I don’t think so. Until next summer!
Choice Cut: Perennial favorite “Bird Song” gets an excellent outing here, with some truly “out” playing in the jam section.
"Amphetamine" - Peter Laughner
Mentioned Mr. Laughner when discussing Zachary Cale’s recent Lagniappe Session. Here’s the man’s own version of the song Cale covered — probably Laughner’s best-known composition, thanks to Wilco intermingling some of its lyrics into their own “Misunderstood.” This is a different, possibly superior rendition than the one that appeared on the mid 90s Take The Guitar Player For A Ride comp, featuring lovely organ accompaniment and a touching mid-song spoken bit. “Someday I can say ‘This song is not called “Heroin,”’” Laughner announces at the start of this 11-minute journey. While the tune certainly owes some kinda debt to Lou, it also makes me think of those early Springsteen epics too. Dig it.
Via the Music For Maniacs blog (and WFMU), here’s a handy collection of Lou Reed’s pre-Velvet Underground work. If you’re not familiar, get familiar!
1. Jades - Leave Her for Me
2. Jades - So Blue (time-1002, 1958)
3. Lewis Reed - Merry Go Round (1962)
4. Lewis Reed - Your Love
5. The All Night Workers - Why Don’t You Smile Now
6. The Beachnuts - Cycle Annie (1965)
7. The Beachnuts - I’ve Got A Tiger In My Tank
8. the Hi-Lifes - Soul City (1965)
9. The Primitives - Sneaky Pete
10. The Primitives - The Ostrich
11. The Roughnecks - You’re Driving Me Insane
One thing that apparently exists, but has never emerged as far as I know is a late 1964 rehearsal tape of the Primitives (featuring Reed, John Cale, Walter DeMaria, Tony Conrad and Jimmie Sims). Historic stuff that deserves to be heard! Tony, are you out there?
In case you missed it the first time around, you can head over to Aquarium Drunkard to grab Lou Reed’s extremely wonderful and entertaining 1979 DJ set on WPIX-FM. It is seriously great, people. Here’s a little bonus track from later that year when Lou took calls on WPIX, with hilarious results. I’ve tried to speed-correct what was clearly a tape that ran too slow — not sure if I got it exactly right, but what the hell.
Don Cherry & The Organic Music Theatre - RAI Studios, Italy, 1976
Well, this is wonderful: 40 minutes worth of Don Cherry and the Organic Music Theatre in 1976, posted over on Twitter by none other than Neneh Cherry in honor of what would’ve been Don’s 77th birthday today. Joyous, spiritual vibes galore.
Just getting around to this one, but it is a doozy — Cale takes on Cale (JJ, that is), Eno, the Stooges, and Peter Laughner. The latter has me thinking — how come no enterprising reissue label has taken on Laughner’s catalog? There’s a whole bunch of unreleased material from the ill-fated Rocket From The Tombs / Pere Ubu guitarist floating around out there. I recall Smog Veil planning a big campaign, but that seems to have never happened. Maybe I’ll dig out some of my bootlegs…
Sound quality on this one leaves a lot to be desired, but hey, it’s Gram and Emmylou at Max’s Kansas City in 1973. And yeah, they totally do “Hang On Sloopy.”
2 Still Feeling Blue
3 That’s All It Took
5 California Cottonfields
6 Cry One More Time
7 A Song For You
8 If You Don’t Love Him
9 Hang On Sloopy –>
10 Baby What You Want Me To Do –>
11 Boney Maronie –>
12 Forty Days –>
13 Almost Grown
I reviewed the great Ed Askew’s new album, For The World, over at Aquarium Drunkard. It’s a beauty. Ed’s Bandcamp page is filled with stuff worth exploring, including this lovely gig with D&G fave Steve Gunn along for the ride.
So close to the end of the Summer of Dead. What a long, strange, golden road it’s been, right? These latter day shows are not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, but this one is at least pretty pleasant. There’s a great “Peggy-O,” a rollicking “Ramble On Rose,” and one of those late-period lost tracks, “Eternity,” which is interesting, if not totally amazing. The second set never quite lifts off, despite some wicked playing in the “Band” section. On to ‘95!
Choice Cut: ”Jack Straw,” gets a strong reading here. Always nice to hear that opening lick.
"Guelph" - The Necks, The Factory, Sydney, Australia, March 5, 2008
I wrote a little bit about the amazing new Necks album, Open, for Aquarium Drunkard. There is a little “album preview” to listen to as well, but seriously, the whole thing is worth your time/money. Here’s a very nice video of the trio performing a few years back — hilariously presented by something called MoshCam. I would love to see these dudes some day.