We’ll just keep things going at 78rpm today. The best speed. This is another Canary Records bandcamp comp, taking us from Kazakhstan to Hawaii with many lovely stops in between. I’ve been slowly going through these collectiosn and I haven’t been disappointed yet. Totally terrific stuff — and a ridiculous bargain too. Ian Nagsoki says that No One Cares is “a collection of beautiful performances gathered from the early 20th century from various sources, globally, that mostly haven’t (yet) meant enough to anyone to collect on a reissue. Seven were used on the CDR-only release ‘Uncollected Records.’ The rest were used in various lectures & presentation give ca. 2010-13 and made available here for the first time. All are only lightly restored.”
Check it out— the ever-fascinating Excavated Shellac blog’s 78-sourced mix of fabulous flute performances from all over the globe. Beautiful sounds abound.
Captain Lou! Infinite Fool has a double dose of primo NRBQ for you, playing live deep in the heart of Connecticut.
We’ll say sayonara to 2013 in true Doom & Gloom fashion — with a Television bootleg. Here we’ve got the band opening up Patti Smith’s New Year’s/B-Day celebration at the close of 1976. Before you ask, I don’t have recordings of Cale or Smith’s sets! If you’ve got ‘em, hook a guy up. Verlaine, Lloyd, Ficca and Smith had just wrapped up a residency over at CBGB and are in fine, fighting form, shredding through “Friction,” “Little Johnny Jewel” and an epic “Kingdom Come.” Let’s give a standing O to Mr. Ficca, truly one of the greatest drummers of all time. Oddly, this is one of those rare Television setlists that does not feature “Marquee Moon.” But that is OK. It is a terrific 50+ minutes of Television in their prime, right before their debut album was let loose on an unsuspecting world. Here’s to new adventures in 2014!
Two excellent recordings of the Fegmania!-era Egyptians tearing it up in the mid-80s, now available for your listening pleasure over on the Archive. I especially love the ferocious “Sounds Great When You’re Dead” and the righteous rendition of “The President.” I know you’re out there!
Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band - Paris, France, November 9, 1980
A deeply killer half-hour of the good Captain and company stomping all over the City of Light. I can get with pretty much every era Mr. Van Vliet went through (even some of the more mainstream-y moves are great), but this period/band may be the most amazing of all. The Best Batch Yet!
"How can the DEVIL save souls?!" Here’s an oldie but a goodie. This little snippet of studio dialogue captures the Killer and the Sun Records head honcho in 1957, discussing the religious subtext of "Great Balls of Fire," just before recording the version we all know and love. Weird times in Memphis. In his book, Country: The Biggest Music In America, Nick Tosches describes in typically evocative fashion the cultural landscape that “Great Balls of Fire” was unleashed upon:
“‘Great Balls of Fire’ was a fine and sleazy record, the yell of a tribe sloughing its senses, examining its crotch for as if for the first time. The day the record was released, the Commies fired their second silly Sputnik, a half-ton ball circling 900 miles up, a dog panting fearfully within, stranger than any Egyptian glyph. Eisenhower lay numb and still from a stroke; Nixon, large wet cow liver of a human, ruled. Charlie Starkweather, 5-foot-2 ‘red-headed peckerwood’ (the words of his confession), thrashed and skidded through Nebraska and Wyoming murdering and murdering and murdering. How many times did Starkweather gnash and grin with sexy delight as ‘Great Balls of Fire’ crackled from his car radio?”
Stars of The Lid - Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Brooklyn, New York, December 18, 2013
Holy shit! Stars of the Lid returned this month for a pair of shows. A good reminder of the power & glory of this group. Rumors are floating around that there will be new material from these guys “sooner rather than later.” Whatever that means — but it’s been more than six years since their last release, so we’re due! Until then, here’s a new track performed in Brooklyn last week. Beautiful, of course.
I know, just what you were longing for — a wobbly, nine-minute rendition of this old Velvet chestnut by my garage band, recorded on an iPhone a couple weeks back. I like it, and you might, too — the arrangement is basically imagining if Galaxie 500 had ever tackled this tune, except that it features a lead guitarist (me) who doesn’t really know what he’s doing. Take it for what it is, just some dudes jamming in the basement on cheap amps. But the slo-mo nature of it fits with my idea of the song: I’ve been listening to it for more than two decades now and it’s never been something with which I’ve personally identified, never having scored heroin in Harlem in the mid-60s. It may as well be about ancient Greece, you know? But it’s always captivated me as a kind of dream vision — in fact there’s a bootleg where Lou intros the song as having been written “under the influence of dreams.” What did he mean? Maybe the song was a dream for Lou, too (even if he probably did make this journey at least once). I don’t really know what I’m talking about…but hey, take a listen to this! For the record that’s Chris Gregori on drums and Jesse Green on the bass and me on guitar/vocals. Until tomorrow, but that’s just some other time.
RIP Yusef Lateef
Another jazz giant passed away — the multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef, whose career stretched back to the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra in the late 1940s. Here he is with the Cannonball Adderley Sextet in 1963, duetting with pianist Joe Zawinul on “Trouble In Mind” (the Adderley bros. are off having a drink, I imagine). Also worth checking out — this half-hour audio documentary on the man, via WGBH.
"Lonesome, On’ry and Mean" - Waylon Jennings, Live at the Texas Opry, 1975
"Sometimes he’d get into me for two, three, or four thousand dollars. And I’d go to him and say ‘Waylon, I need to get a check. This is my operating money.’ One day I went to him and asked for a check and he didn’t have his checkbook, [but] there was a paper sack for to-go orders and he wrote me a check on a paper sack. Well, I thought, ‘This fool is giving me a white paper bag as a four-thousand-dollar check.’ I didn’t want to offend him because he was messed up or he appeared to be. I thought, ‘I’ll just wait until he’s in a better frame of mind.’ Well, he didn’t get into a better frame of mind anytime soon, so I went to the bank and I said, ‘You all are going to think I’m a nut….’ And I handed it to them and they cashed a paper bag. This actually happened."
Big O is putting up the complete Village Gate sessions from whence Rollins’ Our Man In Jazz LP was drawn. These shows featured the Saxophone Colossus grappling with Ornette Coleman’s sidemen — Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Bob Cranshaw on bass and Billy Higgins on drums. It’s rough-n-tumble stuff, maybe as “out” as Rollins ever got, but plenty rewarding. I especially love their strangely beautiful interpretation of Ellington’s “Solitude,” which floats around the timeworn melody for 15 transfixing minutes.
A highly recommended companion piece to my favorite reissue of the year, Basho’s masterful Visions of the Country. Here, the guitarist plays two sets worth of unspeakably beautiful music, one devoted to what he calls his “Americana” compositions, the other to his “classical” works. Whatever you want to call it, this is spiritual music at the highest level.
As the sun sets on another year, here’s a Doom & Gloom round-up of 13 fine bootleg recordings posted this year. Plenty more good stuff lurking back in the archives, too!
Richard & Linda Thompson - Theatre Royal, London, 1977
Maybe they were a little out of step with the burgeoning punk scene — no one else was playing Islamic Folk-Jazz Rock in 1977 as far as I know. But the playing here is marvelous, with keyboardist Ian Whiteman dueling with Thompson on some extended, trance-like jams. As opposed to, say, Bob Dylan’s fire ‘n’ brimstone Born Again years, Richard’s turn towards religion resulted in mostly good vibrations — these songs are joyful expressions of faith and devotion.
Levon & The Hawks :: Pop Ivy’s, Port Dover, Ontario, Canada, 1964
Pre-Band beauty. This fairly miraculous (if decidedly lo-fi) tape captures what was undoubtedly just one of hundreds of similar shows for Levon & The Hawks, as the band made its way up and down the eastern seaboard, playing every dive along the way.
"Tonight’s The Night" - Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers, Auditorium Theater, Chicago, IL, November 20, 1973
The single longest version of “Tonight’s The Night” … ever? Clocking in at just under 35 minutes, it’s the longest one I know of anyway. And it’s a motherfucker, maybe one of the most unhinged things Neil ever did.
Doug Sahm - Paul’s Mall, Boston, MA, March 29, 1973
There’s some argument to be made that Sahm was at the exact confluence of about a dozen vital American musical genres. I don’t have time to make the argument at the moment, but … think about it, man.
The Velvet Underground - Joseph Freeman Tapes Sampler, Max’s Kansas City, New York City, NY, August, 1970
Cool stuff if you’re someone like me, who wants to hear pretty much every note Sterling Morrison ever played. Even though Lou was just weeks away from walking away from the band, The Yule Brothers still sound good, with some choice rarities (a Lou-sung “Oh Sweet Nuthin’” and “Head Held High”) along with some bizarre reinterpretations (“What Goes On” and “Some Kinda Love”). There’s even an “unidentified bluesy instrumental”!!! How can I resist that?
Jack Rose - Peel Sessions
These two sessions, laid down in 2004, feature a nice sampling of the amazing things Rose was capable of on guitar, from the plaintive perfection of “Kensington Blues” to the solar drone of “Sun Dogs.”
The Soft Boys :: Dingwall’s, London, UK, December 7, 1980
The band may have drawn on the music of the 1960s, but they were far from mellow hippies — dig the ferocious “I Wanna Destroy You” here, or the jacked up “I Watch The Cars,” played at such a velocity to give any Ramones-worshiping punk pause, or “Black Snake Diamond Rock,” which out-Beefhearts the Captain himself.
The Feelies - Maxwell’s, Hoboken, NJ, September 1, 1984
One of my favorite Feelies at Maxwell’s tapes, featuring the band tearing through a fair amount of the then-unreleased Good Earth, alongside choice Crazy Rhythms tunes. There’s also the ultimate Feelies outtake, “The Obedient Atom,” and a faster than fast rendition of Eno’s “Third Uncle.”
The Go-Betweens - Mosman Hotel, Sydney, Australia, 1982
Kind of hard to believe that this spiky, high-strung group would be recording (with an expanded lineup) the creamy Tallulah and 16 Lovers Lane a few short years later. But that’s just one of the many things that makes The Go-Betweens great, right?
This Is Where I Belong: Yo La Tengo at Maxwell’s, 1986-2013
A wild and wooly collection of Yo La Tengo live recordings at their home-away-from-home, chock full of everything that makes the band great — epic jams, hushed pop songs, covers both predictable (Kinks, Feelies, etc) and unpredictable (Don McLean, Black Flag), and guest stars galore.
Television - Hempstead, New York, August 1977
Television played their final gig of 1977 in Westchester County, of all places, in front of what sounds like a small, but extremely devoted audience. Was there a Television fan club? Totally sounds like they were in full force here.
The Faces - Fillmore West, October 1970
An early gig — so early, in fact, that Bill Graham introduces them as the Small Faces. Nothing small about them here, though, they sound positively gigantic.
John Cale - Rond Point, Marseilles, France, April 12, 1975
Even though Cale’s Island Years are perhaps better known for their extreme material, this is a well-balanced set, with plenty of pleasing ballads and sparkling Paris 1919 material. But don’t worry, there’s also a fair share of extreme stuff, from the unhinged “Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend” to a scorched earth rendition of the Modern Lovers’ “Pablo Picasso.”
Thanks yet again to NYC Taper for recording last weekend’s run of Yo La Tengo shows in Brooklyn. This first one looks like a doozy. In their write-up, NYC Taper notes that the band is “arguably at the top of their powers,” and I’d agree — the show I caught this spring in Boulder was the best YLT show I’d seen in over a decade. Inspiring! Long may they run.