"First and Last" - Jerry David DeCicca (with Will Oldham)

Take a listen to one of my favorite songs from this year, the downright perfect closer on Jerry David DeCicca’s highly recommended solo debut, Understanding Land. The video is pretty much perfect, too. You may know the name from his work with Black Swans or his production work with guys like Jerry Jeff Walker and Ed Askew. But even if you’ve never heard of the dude, you’re going to like this record. It’s a dusky, understated country-folk gem, with an all-star cast of supporting musicians, including two legendary Oldhams (Spooner and Will) and the Breeders’ Kelley Deal. Understanding Land will definitely appeal to fans of Bill Callahan’s recent work, but DeCicca has his own thing going here — I think what I like most about it (aside from the gorgeous, intimate sound) is that it feels positive and life-affirming without sinking into anything remotely cornball. A lovely mix of mellowness, melancholy and beauty. Check it out, you won’t regret it. 

JONATHAN RICHMAN: IN LOVE WITH THE MODERN WORLD
You should head over to Vice now to read original Modern Lovers’ bassist Ernie Brooks’ remembrance (as told to Legs McNeil) of the band’s rise and fall. Lots of good details and anecdotes! I really feel like there should be a comprehensive Modern Lovers box set that pulls together all the various sessions and live material. I’d buy it. Until then, you can check out some rarities here and a totally excellent live recording here. Radio on!  

JONATHAN RICHMAN: IN LOVE WITH THE MODERN WORLD

You should head over to Vice now to read original Modern Lovers’ bassist Ernie Brooks’ remembrance (as told to Legs McNeil) of the band’s rise and fall. Lots of good details and anecdotes! I really feel like there should be a comprehensive Modern Lovers box set that pulls together all the various sessions and live material. I’d buy it. Until then, you can check out some rarities here and a totally excellent live recording here. Radio on!  

Range and Basin: Sonoran Roots, R&B, And Hard Rock 1966-1978
Really enjoyed these deep Arizona sounds over the weekend! 
"Another set of songs from the Grand Canyon State, or spiritually rooted there, a follow up to our Old Gold: Sonoran Country, Garage Blues, Pop, Soul and Avant-Garde from Arizona 1951-1971 [http://bit.ly/1oijoF0] mix from last year. Sunbaked soul, psych, country, garage, and folk, some culled from the archives of historian John “Johnny D” Dixon [http://bit.ly/SdXTs6].”
Thanks to Jason Patrick Woodbury for compiling, Aquarium Drunkard for hosting and Darryl Norsen for the groovy cover art. 

Range and Basin: Sonoran Roots, R&B, And Hard Rock 1966-1978

Really enjoyed these deep Arizona sounds over the weekend! 

"Another set of songs from the Grand Canyon State, or spiritually rooted there, a follow up to our Old Gold: Sonoran Country, Garage Blues, Pop, Soul and Avant-Garde from Arizona 1951-1971 [http://bit.ly/1oijoF0] mix from last year. Sunbaked soul, psych, country, garage, and folk, some culled from the archives of historian John “Johnny D” Dixon [http://bit.ly/SdXTs6].”

Thanks to Jason Patrick Woodbury for compiling, Aquarium Drunkard for hosting and Darryl Norsen for the groovy cover art. 

Neil Young - Royal Festival Hall, London, England, February 27, 1971
On The Way Home / Tell Me Why / Old Man / Journey Through The Past / Cowgirl In The Sand / The Bridge / The Loner / Don’t Let It Bring You Down / See The Sky About To Rain / Out On The Weekend / I Am A Child / Ohio / Love In Mind / Only Love Can Break Your Heart / Heart Of Gold / A Man Needs A Maid / Harvest / The Needle And The Damage Done / Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing / Dance Dance Dance / Expecting To Fly

Neil Young - Royal Festival Hall, London, England, February 27, 1971

On The Way Home / Tell Me Why / Old Man / Journey Through The Past / Cowgirl In The Sand / The Bridge / The Loner / Don’t Let It Bring You Down / See The Sky About To Rain / Out On The Weekend / I Am A Child / Ohio / Love In Mind / Only Love Can Break Your Heart / Heart Of Gold / A Man Needs A Maid / Harvest / The Needle And The Damage Done / Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing / Dance Dance Dance / Expecting To Fly

John Coltrane Quintet - Falkonercentret, Copenhagen, Denmark, November 20, 1961
Lineup: John Coltrane - Tenor/Soprano SaxEric Dolphy - Alto Sax, fluteMcCoy Tyner - PianoReggie Workman - BassElvin Jones - Drums
For your weekend: Definitely go read the Paris Review's excellent profile of Coltrane biographer Dr. Cuthbert Ormond Simpkins. And definitely take a listen to this wonderful 1961 show from John Coltrane in Copenhagen. It’s a radio broadcast, and the recording quality is pretty solid, despite not serving Tyner or Jones particularly well. The real pleasures come from ‘Trane and Dolphy, who both sound inspired and invigorated by one another. Check out the absolutely swoon-worthy reading of “Naima” for proof of these two players’ chemistry. The opening “Delilah” is a rarity — it doesn’t seem to appear on any of the other recordings from this tour. It’s a treat. Another rarity is simply hearing Coltrane address the audience after a false start on “My Favorite Things.” Dude was not exactly a chatty cathy on stage, to say the least. But the ensuing, almost half-hour long “Favorite Things” is fantastic — despite its length, it’s actually a somewhat gentle reading of the song, at least compared to what would come in later years, with Dolphy’s playful flute solo as a highlight.

John Coltrane Quintet - Falkonercentret, Copenhagen, Denmark, November 20, 1961

Lineup: 
John Coltrane - Tenor/Soprano Sax
Eric Dolphy - Alto Sax, flute
McCoy Tyner - Piano
Reggie Workman - Bass
Elvin Jones - Drums

For your weekend: Definitely go read the Paris Review's excellent profile of Coltrane biographer Dr. Cuthbert Ormond Simpkins. And definitely take a listen to this wonderful 1961 show from John Coltrane in Copenhagen. It’s a radio broadcast, and the recording quality is pretty solid, despite not serving Tyner or Jones particularly well. The real pleasures come from ‘Trane and Dolphy, who both sound inspired and invigorated by one another. Check out the absolutely swoon-worthy reading of “Naima” for proof of these two players’ chemistry. The opening “Delilah” is a rarity — it doesn’t seem to appear on any of the other recordings from this tour. It’s a treat. Another rarity is simply hearing Coltrane address the audience after a false start on “My Favorite Things.” Dude was not exactly a chatty cathy on stage, to say the least. But the ensuing, almost half-hour long “Favorite Things” is fantastic — despite its length, it’s actually a somewhat gentle reading of the song, at least compared to what would come in later years, with Dolphy’s playful flute solo as a highlight.

On The Korner
The Keystone Korner, located in San Francisco’s North Beach, hosted a who’s who of the jazz world in the 1970s and early 1980s. Not to be confused with the Keystone in Berkeley (though they were related somehow I think). The mighty Pharoah Sanders recorded an excellent live album here, 1982’s Heart Is A Melody. But he had been playing the club for at least a decade at that point. Here’s an hour’s worth of Sanders plus band blowing the house down in the summer of 1971. Not entirely sure what the lineup was at this point, but I’m fairly certain it’s Cecil McBee on bass. If you’ve got the details, let me know! But whoever is blazing with Pharoah here, the music is a cosmic trip. Feel the spirit!
Download

On The Korner

The Keystone Korner, located in San Francisco’s North Beach, hosted a who’s who of the jazz world in the 1970s and early 1980s. Not to be confused with the Keystone in Berkeley (though they were related somehow I think). The mighty Pharoah Sanders recorded an excellent live album here, 1982’s Heart Is A Melody. But he had been playing the club for at least a decade at that point. Here’s an hour’s worth of Sanders plus band blowing the house down in the summer of 1971. Not entirely sure what the lineup was at this point, but I’m fairly certain it’s Cecil McBee on bass. If you’ve got the details, let me know! But whoever is blazing with Pharoah here, the music is a cosmic trip. Feel the spirit!

Download

DEAD NOTES #8
Killer stuff from Darryl Norsen. 
"The Airplane’s guitarist Jorma Kaukonen had affixed an ad hoc recording setup at the lip of the stage resulting in one of the crudest live tapes from 1968 that is equal parts mind fuck (the sound dips in and out as he moves the setup around the stage creating an ‘altered’ listening experience) and ear splitting, as you can hear every instrumental nook and cranny of a ferocious ‘Alligator’ that begins with a fan’s cosmic wail." 

DEAD NOTES #8

Killer stuff from Darryl Norsen. 

"The Airplane’s guitarist Jorma Kaukonen had affixed an ad hoc recording setup at the lip of the stage resulting in one of the crudest live tapes from 1968 that is equal parts mind fuck (the sound dips in and out as he moves the setup around the stage creating an ‘altered’ listening experience) and ear splitting, as you can hear every instrumental nook and cranny of a ferocious ‘Alligator’ that begins with a fan’s cosmic wail." 

Every Day Is Like Sunday
Good news! There’s a new Robyn Hitchcock album, The Man Upstairs, coming out in August. It’s a mix of covers and originals — check out “The Ghost In You” — and it’s produced by the legendary Joe Boyd. To get excited, here’s a re-up of a covers session from 1993-ish, featuring a handful of Boyd-related artists like Richard Thompson, the Incredible String Band and Syd Barrett. And others! Here’s what I wrote way back when: 
Robyn Hitchcock covering Queen Elvis himself? Yes, on this demo session packed with covers of Dylan, The Beatles, Roxy Music, Incredible String Band and others, Robyn plays a rather nice version of Morrissey’s “Every Day Is Like Sunday.” Not sure of the exact year this was recorded, but it’s sometimes called the “A&M Session,” so I’m going to say it’s some time in the early 90s. Highlights include the aforementioned Mozzer tune, a haunting “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power),” Syd’s deathless “Dominoes,” and Richard & Linda Thompson’s “Calvary Cross.” Impressively, Hitchcock makes each and every one of them sound like he wrote it himself. No mean feat!
Download

Every Day Is Like Sunday

Good news! There’s a new Robyn Hitchcock album, The Man Upstairs, coming out in August. It’s a mix of covers and originals — check out “The Ghost In You” — and it’s produced by the legendary Joe Boyd. To get excited, here’s a re-up of a covers session from 1993-ish, featuring a handful of Boyd-related artists like Richard Thompson, the Incredible String Band and Syd Barrett. And others! Here’s what I wrote way back when: 

Robyn Hitchcock covering Queen Elvis himself? Yes, on this demo session packed with covers of Dylan, The Beatles, Roxy Music, Incredible String Band and others, Robyn plays a rather nice version of Morrissey’s “Every Day Is Like Sunday.” Not sure of the exact year this was recorded, but it’s sometimes called the “A&M Session,” so I’m going to say it’s some time in the early 90s. Highlights include the aforementioned Mozzer tune, a haunting “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power),” Syd’s deathless “Dominoes,” and Richard & Linda Thompson’s “Calvary Cross.” Impressively, Hitchcock makes each and every one of them sound like he wrote it himself. No mean feat!

Download

SUMMER OF DEAD 2014: Call For Submissions
Dead Freaks! And the rest of you, too! As you may recall, I’ve done a Summer of Dead series for the past two years, where I listen to a lot of Grateful Dead, spanning the years 1965-1995. This year, I thought I’d try to shake things up and have some guest writers write a little bit about a favorite (or least favorite or whatever) show. The only rule is that there are no rules, man. Pick any year, write 5,000 words or 50. I’ve already got a few non-Deadheads lined up to contribute, so don’t be shy if you’re not deeply versed in this stuff. It’ll be totally fun, I promise. Just shoot me an email at tywilc@gmail.com if you’re interested! 

SUMMER OF DEAD 2014: Call For Submissions

Dead Freaks! And the rest of you, too! As you may recall, I’ve done a Summer of Dead series for the past two years, where I listen to a lot of Grateful Dead, spanning the years 1965-1995. This year, I thought I’d try to shake things up and have some guest writers write a little bit about a favorite (or least favorite or whatever) show. The only rule is that there are no rules, man. Pick any year, write 5,000 words or 50. I’ve already got a few non-Deadheads lined up to contribute, so don’t be shy if you’re not deeply versed in this stuff. It’ll be totally fun, I promise. Just shoot me an email at tywilc@gmail.com if you’re interested! 

"Moscow Nights" - The Feelies, The Paradise, Boston, Massachusetts, 1988 (or 1989)

The Feelies are playing a few shows on (where else?) the east coast this weekend. If you’re anywhere near Cambridge, MA, Pawtucket, RI or Pleasantville, NY, you know where you should be. That last show is particularly cool — it’s coupled with a screening of Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, which the Feelies appeared in so memorably all those years ago. Here’s something cool for the rest of us: a rare clip of the band playing at Boston’s Paradise club in the late 80s. It’s paired up nicely with audio from a contemporaneous Maxwell’s show. Not exactly “synched” but a cool viewing experience nonetheless. Thanks to Janice for putting it together! 

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, BOSTON, 1967 (COLOR)
Head over to the Boo Hooray blog to check out 30+ minutes of the VU at the Boston Tea Party in the spring ‘67. I posted a snippet of this last year, but now, you can dig the whole thing. Don’t get tooooo excited — the sound is terrible, and the band disappears from sight throughout a lot of it. But it is all we’ve got — the Exploding Plastic Inevitable in all its exploding plastic inevitability! You can pick out various tunes being played — “Guess I’m Falling In Love,” “Heroin,” “Run Run Run,” “Venus In Furs,” “Sister Ray”… This is not a dream-come-true find — but it might just capture the overall feeling of an EPI show. Like, this film is a good representation of how confused, disoriented and overwhelmed you’d probably feel if you were there in the audience. So maybe it is a dream come true. It’s just a really weird dream. 

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND, BOSTON, 1967 (COLOR)

Head over to the Boo Hooray blog to check out 30+ minutes of the VU at the Boston Tea Party in the spring ‘67. I posted a snippet of this last year, but now, you can dig the whole thing. Don’t get tooooo excited — the sound is terrible, and the band disappears from sight throughout a lot of it. But it is all we’ve got — the Exploding Plastic Inevitable in all its exploding plastic inevitability! You can pick out various tunes being played — “Guess I’m Falling In Love,” “Heroin,” “Run Run Run,” “Venus In Furs,” “Sister Ray”… This is not a dream-come-true find — but it might just capture the overall feeling of an EPI show. Like, this film is a good representation of how confused, disoriented and overwhelmed you’d probably feel if you were there in the audience. So maybe it is a dream come true. It’s just a really weird dream.