What's All This Then

Why should I care what this guy has to say?

The correct answer is that you shouldn’t. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Develop your own. I try to be sane and rational, but that may change with the level of caffeine intake. I’m just telling my stories in the hopes they may amuse and/or inform others. And... I Confess... I'm showing off my bitchen collection a bit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

RIP Series - Danny Kirwin

The mainstream press will probably ignore this one.

Danny Kirwin, an early member of Fleetwood Mac left us earlier this month.

Who, you ask?

We'll need to go back and trace the history of Fleetwood Mac.  Let's start with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.  Peter Green was the stellar guitarist that replaced Eric Clapton in that band.   The rhythm section consisted of Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie (Mac) on bass.  All three left Mayall to form Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac along with second guitarist (and Buddy Holly fanboy) Jeremy Spencer.  After two blues records, the band recruited Danny Kirwin.

This five piece line up produced the classic

Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On (Reprise 1969)

This contains the early FM classic track Oh Well.

When the band was on tour promoting the record, Peter Green went to a party in Germany, dropped acid and never returned.

This left a four piece to do their next album (and my favorite of theirs)

Fleetwood Mac - Kiln House (Reprise 1970)

The heavy blues influence is now gone.  Jeremy Spencer is free to do three Buddy Hollyesque tracks (This is the Rock, Mission Bell and Buddy's Song). This is the record that Danny Kirwin gets to shine with Station Man and Tell Me All The Things You Do.

After the release of this record, Jeremy Spencer left the band to Join a cult in the middle of a tour.   Christine McVie joined followed by Bob Welch.  Danny Kirwin got fired.   It was all downhill from there when Stevie Nicks joined and permanently diluted the brand.   (Tell us what you really think Duke).  Their sound became watered down under the influence of cocaine and catty relationships.  The industry is still reeling from the amount of money they put up Fleetwood Mac's nose during this period.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

RIP Series - Nick Knox

Nick Knox, drummer for The Cramps died a few days ago.  Doesn't even warrant a mention in the mainstream press

Throughout their career, they produced several stunning pictures sleeves to their 45's.  I'll intersperse some from my collections amongst the comments.

The Cramps were one of my favorite bands to emerge from the US punk scene.   Nick Knox provided the perfect beat to go along with the sparse instrumentation of the band.

The Cramps had a sound like no other.    They took their rock and roll back to the roots - rockabilly.  Lyricly as well - getting back to raw sex and teenage rage.  Throw in some sleaze, monster movies, 50's bump & grind  and drugs - you get The Cramps.  Although they were lumped in with the punk bands at the time, they single handedly invented the 'psychobilly' genre.

Led by longtime married couple Lux Interior (vocal), and Poison Ivy Rorschach (guitars), The Cramps had a good long run until Lux's untimely death in 2009. 

Nick Knox kept a steady beat through most of their early work.  At this time, the band had no bass player.  Bass drum filled most of those gaps.

I remember him having a rubber spider attached to string on his bass drum.  Every time it struck, the spider flung forward.

Also have vivid memories of Lux slithering out from below the drum riser - about a six inch gap - like some sort of serpent. 

The Cramps were the best thing to emerge from Sacramento (California's state capital) ever.   Although they festered in Akron, OH and New York, they ended up being an LA band around 1980.

I saw them often in classy venues (Universal Amphitheater, Irving Plaza, Whisky A Go Go) and dives (The Other Masque, BACES Hall)

When stars aligned at a William Castle screening coupled with a friend of a friend, I met Lux and Ivy.  They signed my program.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sex Pistols Singles

One aspect of the punk upsurgence in the mid 70's was the return to punchy short songs.  Musically, punk was a reaction against the bloat in current rock music.  Epic suites by prog bands and endless guitar solos by flannel bands we frowned upon by the punks.  The movement marked a return to the short loud blast of rock and roll that makes you go 'whee!'

There is no better way of showcasing the short blast of rock and roll than the 45!

The Sex Pistols released four of them prior to their first and only album.

#1 Anarchy in the UK b/w I Wanna Be Me (Glitterbest 1977)

The notorious debut 45.   Released and withdrawn by EMI.  Released and withdrawn by A&M.   The only on that continued to be available was this import from France on Malcolm McLaren's label.

#2 God Save the Queen b/w Did You No Wrong (Virgin 1977)

Now comfortably signed to Virgin, the Sex Pistols release a commemorative single for the Queen's jubilee.   Around this time there was some sort of late night news show on CBS that had a segment on how disgusting the new music in the UK was.  It looked exciting as hell.  This single was sought out shortly thereafter.   There are three (count 'em three) guitar breaks in this song that is shorter than three minutes.   What a stunner.  Banned by the BBC for some reason

#3 Pretty Vacant/No Fun (Virgin 1977)

Another one.  The B-Side is a cover of a Stooges Song.  It clocks in at 6 minutes.  An epic by punk standards.

#4 Holidays in the Sun b/w Satellite  (Virgin 1977)

The final single.  The cover is somewhat of a rarity as the travel company who produced the original ad took exception for some reason.   Shortly after initial release it came in a plain white sleeve.

Bonus  - Pretty Vacant b/w Sub-Mission

When the debut (and only) album was released towards the end of 1977 there were 11 tracks.  When Warner Brothers finally got it together to release it a few weeks later, there was an additional track.  Since the faithful bought the record from the import bins, there was not a huge desire to shell out for a whole new album.  Enter the US single.  The additional track  - Sub-Misson - was placed on the B-Side for the US release of Pretty Vacant.

These singles were recently re released in a box set on Record Store Day.  For the record, these pictured above from my collection are all originals.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

KRLA Son of 21 Solid Rocks Strikes Again

KRLA - Son of 21 Solid Rocks Strikes Again Vol. 3 (Take 6 1968)

A great cover that I originally mistook for a Mort Drucker.

Back in 1968, a song that was a year old was considered an oldie.  Things moved quite fast then.  Take 6 records pressed up these compilations and sold them to local radio stations.  Often with the same cover - just the radio stations changed.  

Still  - not a bad compilation of tunes from 1967 - 1968.   Pressing sucks, but what the hell.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

LA Woman

Late in their career, The Doors were at a bit of a crossroads.  They were coming off a slump from The Soft Parade.  After filling in the gaps with the lackluster live album Absolutely Live, they returned to their roots with Morrison Hotel, a pretty solid release.  

Jim Morrison had been convicted of indecent exposure stemming from an incident in Miami that may or may not have happened.  Nevertheless, a court appearance was looming.   Bookings dried up and many radio stations wouldn't play their records.

In 1971 they went deeper into the blues with LA Woman.   Augmented by a bass player and a second guitarist, the result is raw and immediate.  Recording took place in a makeshift studio in their rehearsal space.  There they wouldn't have to pay valuable studio time waiting for Jim Morrison to show up, even though he lived a few steps away.   Longtime producer Paul Rothschild bailed on the session leaving the production duties to fall on Bruce Botnick and The Doors.

The Doors - LA Woman (Elektra 1971)

The original packaging came with a see through panel - subsequently replaced by an opaque yellow one.

The inner sleeve shows your basic crucifixion on a telephone pole.   This sleeve was missing from later pressings.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Capitol Records Souvenir

Evidently this 45 was given out to visitors of the building.   Not sure if they offered tours at the time

The building is probably THE most iconic record company headquarters on earth.  A stack of records rises above a state of the art recording studio.  It's topped off with a needle.  The airplane warning red light flashes H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D in Morse code.

The legendary big room could house an entire orchestra.  Frank Sinatra was the first artist to use it.  He continued recording there long after he left the label.

The Beatles, even though they were on Capitol, never recorded there.  The Beach Boys tended to use Gold Star down the street.   The Band tried it, but found the sound too slick and recorded their second LP in Sammy Davis Jr's pool house just up the hill.

The studio is not open to the public and they don't offer tours.  I was fortunate enough to have a walk through when my wife was recording some voiceovers at the facility.   I was shown the big room, but was more interested in where Gene Vincent recorded.   He was in a tiny room down the hall no bigger than a small suburban bedroom.

The building is soon to be dwarfed by two high rise condo buildings.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Some Great Albums rejected by the US Record Company - John Cale

John Cale - Helen of Troy (Island 1975)

This is the third in a trilogy of LP's John Cale made for Island Records.   I became acquainted with the first two (Fear and Slow Dazzle) when Island dumped most of their catalog in the cutout bins prior to going with Polydor.   This third LP (I assume) got lost in the shuffle.  I didn't even know it existed until I saw it in an import bin at some long forgotten store near UCLA.    So, of course I snapped it up.

What a stunner!

It was recorded with Richard Thompson's rhythm section along with guitarist Chris Spedding.  Augmenting the lineup we get Eno and Phil Collins (back when he was a great drummer - before he became 'Phil Collins'). 

Songs are some of Cale's best.   From the beautiful ballad I Keep a Close Watch to the trippy frenzy of the title track. 

The first pressing includes Leaving It Up to You, which was replaced with a different song on later pressings.  Some folks objected to the line 'We could all feel safe like Sharon Tate.'   Whatever.  It remained in Cale's live sets for years.   Oh - and they didn't bother to change the label on the second pressing.   It still lists the title.  The only way to tell is look at the record itself.  Does track 3 on side 2 look loud or soft.  If loud, you have the original.

Two covers round out the package. Jonathan Richman's Pablo Picasso (Cale produced the original Modern Lovers recording) and Jimmy Reed's Baby, What You Want Me To Do.