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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

From Bowie to Kantner

They're coming in waves.  First Bowie, now Paul Kantner.  Good thing I hate the Eagles.

Paul Kantner was a founding member of Jefferson Airplane (that's right kids, no 'The).  In fact, he was one of the few present from beginning to end.  Grace Slick wasn't the original singer.  She joined in time for the second album.  Marty Balin left after Volunteers.  Drummers came and went. Jack and Jorma hung on until the end.  When they left, the band morphed into Jefferson Starship.

Kantner hung on in that configuration for quite a while.  When he left that group, the band dropped the 'Jefferson' moniker and carried on as just plain Starship.  Kantner had to initiate legal proceedings to get this removed.

Paul was the sci-fi folkie geek of the band.  His contributions to the band for the most part stuck to that theme.

His first solo album, released in 1970, was the first to carry the Jefferson Starship moniker.  It was really so much a band as it was a grouping of San Francisco's finest.   Members of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and CSNY made up the band.

The cover is an unauthorized piece of Russian art credited to CCCP.  Kantner said he didn't feel bad about it as the Russians bootlegged several of his recordings for distribution in the USSR.

The inside gatefold was printed on metallic stock and featured a drawing of Kantner with very leafy hair.

The back features what is reported to be Jerry Garcia in a box being carried by a boob balloon with wings.

Not to mention a custom inner sleeve featuring a trippy 'time switch' from the City of LA  (these are actually near every traffic signal in the city).

Original pressings also came with a booklet with spatterings of color.  These were replaced soon thereafter with a monochrome version and later deleted entirely.

This is the last Airplane related product to be released on RCA.   They would soon launch their vanity label through RCA called Grunt Records.

Friday, January 29, 2016

BOWIE Displays DEVO Style

In 1979, Bowie released this one off single in the UK.

David Bowie - Alabama Song/Space Oddity (RCA 1980)

Bowie's RCA contract was coming to an end.  My hunch is that he owed one more single and released this to satisfy the obligation.

Sort of an odd choice at the time.  The A Side was Brecht/Weill song from Three Penny Opera.  It's familiar to most rock and roll fans as Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) as covered by The Doors on their debut album.

The B-Side was a remake of his signature song - Space Oddity.  Not too different from the original version, but it does have a sparser sound with echo-ey drums on the 3's.

And that's not all.  What appears to be a standard picture sleeve from the outside actually folds out into a mini poster

And here we see the full effect of Bowie adopting DEVO fashion.  Jumpsuit, logo, belt, etc.    Bowie was no stranger to DEVO.   Iggy Pop and Bowie were introduced to the band early on via a demo tape.  They became fans and lobbied for their signing at Warner Brothers.  Bowie was set to produce their first album, but bowed out because of timing and other commitments.  Eno took over and we were given their classic debut.

Here's the 'normal' single that's underneath the wraparound sleeve.

We're all DEVO!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BOWIE - The Man Who Sold the World. Say 'No' to the Dress

The Man Who Sold the World was released by Bowie in 1970.  It marked one of his first of many 'transitions' which saw him go from hippie/curly headed/folkie to dress clad/heavy metal guy.

When it was first released in the UK, the cover looked like this:


As 'Mericans, we don't take kindly to guys wearing dresses.  At the time, we still weren't entirely accepting of men with hair over their ears in some parts of the country.

So in order to not offend the masses, the initial release on Mercury in the US featured a cartoon of a cowboy carrying a rifle in front of a mental hospital.  Much more comforting for us.

The building in the background is the Cane Hill Mental Hospital in London.  The same place where Bowie's brother Terry - the subject of All the Madmen - was housed.

Oh by Jingo!

No pictures of Bowie on the cover.  That would prove to be too shocking.

And still odd at the time to see Bowie on anything but RCA.

After the success of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, RCA got on the reissue bandwagon.  Both this album and Space Oddity (which was originally released on Mercury in the US as Man of Words, Man of Music) were reissued.   This time on RCA with contemporary glitter/clam photos from 1972.

Below is how most 'Mericans know The Man Who Sold the World.

Although the liner notes say this is his second album, it's actually his third.  Looks like they're not counting his 1967 debut on Deram.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

BOWIE - Let's Dance with a New Record Company

Another year. Another Bowie reinvention.

Bowie had just signed to EMI after a long stint with RCA that saw him through many artistic changes.

In 1983 Let's Dance (EMI America, 1983) came on the scene.

Looks like I got this one at Lovell's in Uptown Whittier, CA.

The album was produced by disco funkmaster Nile Rodgers.   The sound is upbeat and danceable.  The band features a young Texas bluesman, Stevie Ray Vaughn, who brought a cutting edge guitar sound to offset the funk.

This record was to become Bowie's top selling album.

Artistically, Bowie didn't know what to do with the success.  He tried to duplicate this record with the dismal Tonight the following year.  An artistic slump followed. Bowie himself referred to the following years as his 'Phil Collins period.'    In my humble opinion, he didn't emerge from it until Black Tie White Noise in 1993.

Bowie toured this album extensively .  As was my habit at the time, I saved a concert ad from the tour,   I went on April 15th and sat in section 7. Row 10, Seat 14.

The ad did not lie.  There were no more shows added to the engagement.   Bowie returned to the area a few months later to play Anaheim Stadium.   

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BOWIE - 'Heroes' and the Berlin Trilogy

In attempt to clean up in 1976, David Bowie and Iggy Pop moved to Berlin to escape the cokey scene in Los Angeles.

The two lived together in an apartment overlooking the Berlin Wall.  It was a short bike ride to the studio.  Here Bowie, away from the watchful eye of his record label, reinvented himself once again.

The first record to come out of this arrangement was Low in 1977.

Next up came 'Heroes' in 1978.

Looks like I got this one at Licorice Pizza.

The musicians consist of his basic backing band from the Thin White Duke tour - with the extra added bonus of Eno and Robert Fripp (from King Crimson).   Much like Low, the record is split into a loud and quiet side.  This time out however, the quiet side is much louder than on the previous record.  The title track would become one of Bowie's many signature tunes.

The 'Berlin Trilogy' was completed with the release of Lodger in 1979.

As was my habit at the time, here's a timely newspaper clipping for a gig at The Forum in Inglewood, CA.   I went the first night and sat in section 30, Row 9, seat 9.   $9.75.  Highway robbery! Recordings from this tour would later make up the live album Stage.

Friday, January 15, 2016

BOWIE - David Live and the Diamond Dogs Tour

I'm going Bowie-centric for a while.

First up, I give you David Live (RCA 1974)

The double-live album that functions as a transition rather than a way of re-selling the hits to those who already have them.

At the time, Bowie was still associated with glam and glitter.   The current release was Diamond Dogs which didn't stray too far in feel from his work with The Spiders From Mars.

The tour that followed sounded closer to the record he would be releasing next - Young Americans.  The subsequent live album offered up many of the same musicians.  The old hits were rendered with a Philly soul overlay.

I used to be in the habit of saving relevant items inside the album.  When going through this one, I discovered that I saved the free program from a show at the Universal Amphitheater in North Hollywood, CA.  I went September 4th and sat in Section 11 Row B.

Here's and attempt to photograph the whole thing.  Don't miss Seals and Crofts or Three Dog Night!

  Oh yeah, my wife had a Diamond Dog Tag

Monday, January 11, 2016


There's nothing more I can say.  Just offering up the teardrop from Aladdin Sane.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Leon Russell Rarity

Leon Russell's first solo album was released on his own Shelter Records in 1970.  Russell, a longtime session player in Hollywood, musically returned to his Oklahoma roots with a white gospel tinged sound for his debut.  The sound was influential to many bands in the early seventies.  The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, George Harrison and Derek & The Dominoes clearly drew inspiration from the sound Russell pioneered.   

At the time of this release, Shelter was distributed by Blue Thumb Records.  Sometime around 1971. Distribution of Shelter product went to Capitol Records.   This title was immediately reissued on Capital at the time of the switch, but they left something out.

One short track, Old Masters, didn't make the cut.  The track was Dylan's Masters of War sung to the tune of The Star Spangled Banner.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Television on Ork

Several of the bands that came out of New York's CBGB scene managed to make it big.  Blondie, Talking Heads Patti Smith and The Ramones moved on to long and successful careers.  Television, IMHO, was one of the best of these bands.  Their long term success was not to be.  They were signed to Elektra during the first wave of signings from that scene  They released two great albums, Marquee Moon and Adventure before breaking up.   

Before they got signed, they released this indie single on Ork records (named for their manager, Terry Ork).   

Televison - Little Johnny Jewel (Part One) b/w Little Johnny Jewel (Part 2)

Above all, Television was a guitar band.   Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd traded solos and licks.   Their drum/bass combo kept things steady while the guitars swooped and soared.   Their best tracks were the ones that had extended jams (not very punk, but it seemed to work within the confines of the genre).  Little Johnny Jewel is one of these.

After the breakup, Tom Verlaine released a series of decent solo albums.  His biggest break was having one of the tunes from his first solo album covered by David Bowie.  To Kingdom Come was included on Bowie's Scary Monsters album.  It pays to have fans in high places.

The rest of the band vanished into obscurity only to emerge for the one-off reunion in the 90's.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Holidays are Over. How About a Nice Normal Cup of Coffee

This record is from when coffee was simple.

Morton Gould and His Orchestra  - Coffee Time (RCA 1958)

So simple, in fact, that they're enjoying it on a card table with folding chairs.  The most frightening thing for me on this cover is the cup of coffee perched on the edge of the turntable.  The blonde guy isn't even paying attention to what he's doing with the record.  Pretty soon they won't be smiling as a hot cup of joe gets into the electronics.

I'm not a fan of Starbucks or any other 'designer coffee' establishment.   I long for a simpler time when there was freedom from choice.

Before the rise of the 'gourmet' coffee establishments, the only choice one needed to make was cream or sugar.   When ordering coffee at the airport or a donut shop, we had the additional burden of deciding between large or small.

No veni, vidi, vinci to confuse me.   I once wanted a large coffee, but wanted to know how many ounces they were.  I asked how big their large coffees were.  The 'barista' (or as I like call them 'coffee jerks') replied that their large was vici or something like that.  Big help.  I drink coffee black, so I'm never asked 'what kind of milk?"   I think I would reply "cow."

And please!   How long can it possibly take to make a cup of coffee.  At the airport, only wanting a coffee and a muffin, I'm confronted with a long line out the door at Starbucks.  Much more convenient to just get a danish and a normal coffee at a neighboring food stand.