Good people of the Internet — let me direct you to the first edition of my new column over on Pitchfork. Wowee Zowee, indeed!
We’ll just keep it rolling with some more Dead/Crosby jams. This one is from the summer of ‘71, recorded at Mickey Hart’s place in Novato, with not only Crosby sitting in, but contributions from Quicksilver’s John Cipollina and … some other dude on keys? Who can say, who can remember. It is fun, loose-limbed stuff, very much a jam session, but plenty of sparks are generated. Especially good is the almost half-hour rendition of Crosby’s “Wall Song.” The sound is a little hazy, but that’s appropriate, isn’t it?
Head over to the Sweet Blahg to dig this short-lived collab between members of the Grateful Dead and David Crosby. Garcia, Lesh, Hart, and Kreutzmann were, of course, a big part of the sessions that made up Croz’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, and at the end of 1970 they played out a few times in the Bay Area (some mystery as to whether it’s Mickey or Bill on the drums here). Groovy stuff, though certainly loose! Garcia’s guitar is especially great on tracks like “Cowboy Movie” and “Triad.” At this juncture, the latter tune sounds less like a come-on to a really fabulous threesome and more like a personal invitation to join the Manson Family. Sister Lovers, Water Brothers — listen up!
The gospel compilations Mike McGonigal has been putting together for Tompkins Square over the past few years have been a consistent source of mind-blowing music. Just get them all, seriously. On this streamable weekly radio show, McGonigal will dig into his archive for more gospel gold. Praise the Lord!
Big O has a weird moment in Krautrock history up for your listening pleasure: that time when American folkie Tim Hardin sang with Can. Gott only knows why this happened, but it did! Not sure if it’s a match made in heaven, but it is not too bad either! Of course, you can’t go wrong with Can at this period, as the band improvs more than a half hour’s worth of truly cosmic jams. You can check out a little more Hardin/Can here. Also at the Big O link above, there are some recordings with another vocalist Michael Cousins, and over here, even more with a guy named Thaiga Raj Rajaratnam.
A new find? This is apparently one of the (if not the) earliest live recordings in existence of the 13th Floor Elevators, and holy shit, it is unhinged from the very first note. Over here, Patrick Lundborg says: “The band is absolutely frantic, the crowd (possibly fueled by the free LSD handed out by the group) is ecstatic and loud, and the compressed, somewhat overloaded nature of the recording becomes an advantage. Songs include ‘Roller Coaster’, ‘Monkey Island’, covers of two early Beatles numbers, and an absolutely blazing 7-minute version of ‘Gloria.’” Careful, this thing is scorching.
EDIT: Actually seems like Lundborg is referring to a different KAZZ-FM broadcast? My bad! No Beatles covers here — tracklist is: Gloria, You’re Gonna Miss Me, Tried To Hide, Roller Coaster, You Really Got Me (Kinks cover).
ONE MORE EDIT: OK, here’s the other KAZZ broadcast Lundborg was referring to, from a month later at the same club. It is also amazing.
"Paranoid Cat (part 1)" - Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band
Chris Forsyth is taking his Solar Motel Band on the road in a few weeks. I highly recommend going to see them! For purely selfish reasons, naturally. I figure if they get a good turnout on this go-round, they might make it to Colorado one of these days. Anyway, check out this rehearsal video for a taste of the glories that are in store.
The dB’s Repercussion blog has a very very nice Alex Chilton recording up for your listening pleasure. A few Big Star chestnuts, lots of covers and of course, some spirited versions of Chilton solo tunes like “No Sex” and “Rock Hard.” Totally great.
photo: Stephanie Chernikowski
If you’ve never heard it, Big O has the two-volume Second Grace bootleg up for the download. Made up of home recordings that have never been officially released, a lot of it is bottom of the barrel stuff, though the fingerpicked version of “Place To Be” and the solo demo of “Hazey Jane” are totally great. You can also take a listen to “Early Morning Monologue,” a rare recording of Nick’s speaking voice. I know!
Unbelievable! Thanks to Total Vibration and Dying For Bad Music for alerting me to this.
The uploader says: “In the 1990’s my future wife was a record store clerk in Portland, Oregon. American guitar legend John Fahey was living in a nearby town and would visit the shop. Here are two mix cassettes that he made for her during that time.”
Strange sounds abound, from international garage rock to avant-classical drone to pummeling industrial sound collages. There’s even a little bit of acoustic guitar, too. Not much, though. But it’s a fascinating window into where Fahey’s head was at during this period. The latter days of the guy’s career remain sort of mysterious to me, but these tapes seem to fill in a piece of the puzzle.
Pete Seeger on the Johnny Cash Show, March 4, 1970
RIP to folk titan Pete Seeger, a true believer in the power and potency of song. It’s hard in 2014 to remember that writing a song like “If I Had A Hammer” or “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” could be a genuinely radical (and genuinely brave) thing to do, but goddamn it’s a good thing to be reminded of. Will we ever see another like him?
"Walkin’ Down The Line" - Linda Ronstadt, Playboy After Dark, October 1969
I’m breezing through Linda Rostadt’s new-ish memoir, Simple Dreams, and while I wish it was heavier on Topanga Canyon and lighter on Pirates of Penzance, it is an entertaining read. Here’s a clip from the early days, when Linda and band appeared on the super groovy Playboy After Dark program. Everything from this show looks like it could an outtake from Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, doesn’t it?
"Karussell" (Michael Rother) - William Tyler Band, January 7, 2014, The Stone Fox, Nashville Tennessee
William Tyler and band brought the motorik to Music City earlier this month. Kraut-Country-Rock? Whatever, it is so great — I demand an album of this kind of thing!
Hey you guys! It’s been a wacky week, but don’t fret, there’s good stuff coming your way! First up, head over to Aquarium Drunkard for a fun little collection of the fragments Bob Dylan left on the proverbial cutting room floor during that amazing year, 1965. Five songs, five minutes! Then come back here to check out a ‘65 bonus track that is actually much longer. It’s the audio from Dylan’s appearance on the Les Crane Show. As far as I know, the video doesn’t exist. But it is a great listen — Crane and the other guests pretty much fawn over Bob. And who wouldn’t? It’s Bob Dylan in 1965, for heaven’s sake. The real gems are the two tunes Dylan plays, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding,” accompanied by session guitarist extraordinaire Bruce Langhorne. I think this is the only instance of these dudes performing live together, and it is fucking fantastic. Bringing It All Back Home wouldn’t be released until the following month, so for most viewers this would be their first time hearing these epochal numbers. Some minds were definitely blown.
RE-UPPED BY OVERWHELMING POPULAR DEMAND! As a follow-up to that Winter Vacation post earlier this week, here’s a career-spanning (so far?) compilation of music from one of my favorite bands, The Pathways, in case you missed it a few years back. I liked this band so much that back in the summer of 1999, I weaseled my way into its ranks as bassist. Magical, innocent days, although the complex and often painful hazing rituals involved in joining the band are something I still can’t quite bring myself to talk about. But enough about me! This is about The Pathways.
The band has gone through various lineups over the years, but it’s always been centered around the songwriting of David Yourdon and Evan Kindley, a combo that started as a sweet/sour kinda thing, but as the years went by got a bit more complicated than that. Life, you know?
On some tracks you’ll hear the influence of The Go-Betweens, Pavement, Orange Juice, The Wedding Present and others, but what initially impressed me about The Pathways was that Kindley and Yourdon had found a singular sound of their own from the very beginning. They both have an knack for unusual hooks, clever lyrics and endlessly inventive arrangements. A big part of the sound, it should be noted, was Peter Shanel’s drumming on all but one of the band’s releases — he’s always playing cool, swinging and unpredictable stuff, and it was super-fun to follow along with him when I was fumbling around on bass. And we should mention the skills of bassist Leo Goldsmith and drummer Michael Dempsey as well! Good dudes! Maybe I should’ve called this comp Good Dudes.
Over 10 years or so, The Pathways put out four albums, plus an EP, and they were all excellent. Give this overview a listen. I think you — yeah, you! — will like it.