Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Davies

Greetings and welcome to the last post for 2017, which is an anniversary special for the holiday.
This concert comes courtesy of The Kinks, and was recorded on New Year's Eve at the old Palladium in New York City at the very end of 1980.
It's sourced from the original pre-FM vinyl, so it makes a nice companion to their One for the Road set from earlier in the tour, and it sounds just as awesome.
They play all the hits and a bunch of songs from their then-current Low Budget LP. Everyone in the audience has a great time and probably does drugs and drinks too.
There's probably someone right this minute having a gauzy, fond memory of the next day's hangover after this show.
Anyway I know I don't have to explain The Kinks, the Godfathers of Punk that they indisputably are, so let's cut the chatter and spin the platter, shall we?
The Kinks
The Palladium
New York, NY

01 intro by Perry Stone
02 Where Have All the Good Times Gone/Tired of Waiting for You
03 All Day and All of the Night
04 Superman
05 You Really Got Me
06 Low Budget
07 Catch Me Now I'm Falling
08 Lola
09 Pressure
10 David Watts
11 A Gallon of Gas
12 Celluloid Heroes
13 The Hard Way
14 Dead End Street
15 Till The End of the Day
16 Bird Dog
17 Imagination's Real
18 Nothin' More to Lose
19 I'm Not Like Everybody Else
20 C'mon Now
21 Give the People What They Want
22 Captured Live outro - Perry Stone

Total time: 1:25:06
disc break can go after Track 10 or 11

Ray Davies - guitar, keyboards & vocals
Dave Davies - guitar & vocals
Jim Rodford - bass
Ian Gibbons - keyboards
Mick Avery - drums 

pre-FM LPs of a Captured Live! syndicated radio show from RKO Radio Networks, broadcast the week of October 10, 1983
I shall return in 2018 with more treats for your tweeter and bones for your bass. For now I wish everyone reading this the happiest and healthiest possible new year, and please do enjoy this balls-out rock-n-roll performance to close out the old one!--J.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Nez We Can: Michael Nesmith 75

Let's festival the last weekend of this wretched year with posts on both days, the first of which intends to honor an unmistakable pioneer of the music of our age.
It's for you, pick up! Today's honoree is often thought of in one, somewhat limited context, but his range and direct influence are indeed felt across a much broader spectrum.
He began in the early 1960s in Texas, and was an accomplished songwriter before he turned 18. Having moved to Los Angeles to try to do it professionally, in 1965 he was handed an advertisement by a friend, signalling auditions for a "rock and roll TV show".
He didn't really want the job, and in the audition he acted like he couldn't care less about it. This impressed the producers of the thing so much, they made him its de facto star immediately.
This TV program went on to become the biggest of its day, and the contract he signed was so restrictive he immediately wanted out to do his own songs. The producers of the TV show tried to assuage his rage by allowing him a couple of songs per record, but he was unimpressed.
Things got so hilariously dystopic that he went into the studio to record instrumental arrangements of his songs, and made a record of them, just because his contract didn't stipulate anything about arranging material.
Eventually the show ended, with the other members embarking upon careers largely identified with the group, which was essentially prefabricated and without credibility. Not so our 75th birthday boy here. Not by a longshot.
When The Monkees TV show mercifully concluded in 1969, the merger of the then disparate sounds of Country and Rock were miles, if not continents, apart. 
Our hero was one of the principal architects of their coming together, into the ubiquitous Americana genre that today features 12 radio outlets in every major city.
His records of the first half of the 1970s are seminal voyages, and find him in the company of one of the greatest pedal steel players of all time, Red Rhodes. He had had a hit song during the TV period, with a huge song with which Linda Ronstadt broke out ("Different Drum"), and he built upon that success with several beloved tracks in the charts.
All of this, however, was just prologue to what surely must be considered his main career triumph, because if you had to name one figure that is the father of the modern music video, there would be two words you would have to say. And those two words are Michael Nesmith.
He may not have enjoyed The Monkees, but he did take one central principle from his time in it. Starting in the early 1970s and really picking up steam in the second part of that decade, he began to develop intricate, storytelling short films to illustrate his tunes.
As the Seventies became the Eighties and he inherited a huge fortune -- you may not believe this, but his mother invented Liquid Paper and left him tens of millions after she sold the rights -- he sold the concept he was working on, which he called simply PopClips, to Time Warner.
A year went by, and the corporation further developed The Nez's concept, settling on a 1981 launch for it. The name they chose? Music Television.
You are probably aware of the global takeover that ensued, with the MTV brand becoming one of the most important of the 1980s and beyond. Heck, I think they occasionally even still show music videos on it.
Of course, he continued to make music and tour... in fact, he is coming to SF in January and I think I am gonna be there. He claims this one is it and he's retiring, so there may not be too many more chances to catch someone this foundational in the flesh for much longer.
Anyway to celebrate his 75th, I have clouded up a sweet compilation, slavered over by his hugest fans, of his recordings and demos from before The Monkees. These show an incredibly mature and gifted songwriter -- then just barely out of his teens -- just beginning to find his voice.
Mike Nesmith

01 Wanderin'
02 Well, Well
03 Pretty Little Princess
04 Intro
05 Mike talks #1
06 Pastures of Plenty
07 Mike talks #2
08 Looks Like Rain
09 Mike talks #3
10 Wynken, Blynken & Nod (#1)
11 Mike talks #4
12 Don't Let the Deal Go Down
13 Mike talks #5
14 Wynken, Blynken & Nod (#2)
15 Mike talks #6
16 One and Twenty
17 Pick a Bale of Cotton
18 Thanks & Outro
19 Sleep My Child, Sleep
20 Looks Like Rain
21 Color of a Skin
22 Pretty Little Princess
23 All the Kings Horses
24 I've Been Searchin'
25 One and Twenty
26 Don't Call On Me
27 How Can You Kiss Me?
28 Just a Little Love
29 Curson Terrace
30 The New Recruit
31 A Journey with Michael Blessing
32 Until It's Time for You to Go
33 What Seems to Be the Trouble, Officer?
34 Don't Cry Now
35 Tapioca Tundra

Total time: 1:12:43

compilation of early tracks of Papa Nez, remastered from the best possible sources by Remasters Workshop
This tape is really something else.... some of these tunes could have beaten Different Drum to the Billboard Hot 100. Anyway he was born this day in 1942 and he's blazed quite a career trail from the silly to the serious and back again, so as you're enjoying this one please appreciate The Nez, as central a figure in the story of the sounds of our epoch as anyone in a wool knit cap you could possibly name.--J.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Let's Get Lost Tapes

Let's get the weekend rolling with an 88th birthday tribute to one of the masters.
Today's guy fought terrible troubles his whole 58 years down here with us.
Somehow, he managed to stick around long enough to leave us with some tremendously honest and beautiful music, and is still a household name to this very day.
He was born in the dust bowl of Oklahoma at the start of the Great Depression, and something about his style and sound always carried those Blues.
At one time, he was the most promising young star in all of American music, but the demon of substance abuse saddled him his whole time in the spotlight.
Sadly, he became more famous for his addictions than for his music.
Although he didn't even live to be 60, his legacy -- both as instrumentalist and vocalist -- will endure long after all of us are gone from here.
There will always be something enduringly elegant and mysteriously trenchant about the music and the troubled, short life of Chet Baker.
He was born this day in 1929, and he didn't last into the new century on the physical plane... not even close. What he left behind for us, however, is another story.
He is so dearly beloved that he's one of those cats who's got very little left unissued. But there is this delicious desk reel I've got, taped in Switzerland in the summer of 1980, of him out front of a sweet little Italian combo at a festival.
Chet Baker
Estival Jazz Lugano
Piazza Della Riforma
Lugano, Switzerland

01 Night Bird
02 Tempus Fugit
03 Leaving

Total time: 48:28

Chet Baker - trumpet
Nicola Stilo - flute
Carl Ratzer - electric guitar
Riccardo Del Fra - double bass
Tullio De Piscopo - drums

master soundboard reel, with a couple of DAT generations in between
I shall return on New Years' Eve with one last blast of gas for 2017, but for now I'd advise latching onto this rare slice of nice, courtesy of today's birthday boy. He may have left us far too soon and under less-than-optimal circumstances, but before he did he made sure we had the goods.--J.
12.23.1929 - 5.13.1988