Friday, June 29, 2018

Mercy, Mercy Me (The Beckology)

It's time for the last post of the month, this one concerning the 46th anniversary of a megaclassic bootleg documenting a megamusician at his megalithic peak.
This little hour of Rock/Jazz comes from the original BBC transcription reels and if the music suits never decide to officially release it they -- whoever they are -- need to put down the crack pipe.
Today's hero began in The Yardbirds in the mid-1960s and progressed quickly into his own bag, which is something like an inverted Fusion with Jazz chops and Rock lyrics and feeling.
Since his first solo stuff in like 1968 he's been one of the most universally loved and emulated guitar slingers nameable.
Needless to mention, he's still at it and still and still revered.
So here's this bootleg, famous as it is. It's probably the best we're gonna do for now until the clowns of the music industry care enough to do it. Don't hold your breath, folks.
Jeff Beck Group
Paris Theatre
London, UK

01 Ice Cream Cakes
02 Morning Dew
03 Going Down
04 band introductions
05 Definitely Maybe
06 New Ways/Train Train
07 Ain't No Sunshine
08 Got the Feeling
09 Let Me Love You
10 Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You

Total time: 1:00:13

Jeff Beck - guitar
Cozy Powell - drums
Bobby Tench - vocals & guitar
Max Middleton - keyboards
Clive Chaman - bass

DAT of the original BBC transcription LPs 
I will get back to work in July -- yesterday I pulled about 20 possible shows to share for that month that's coming -- but Trust me, your weekend begins with Jeff Beck here.--J.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Visible Spectrum

Welcome to the penultimate post for June, which features some crispy Fusion footage of vintageness, to which all the enthusiasts of that sorta thing will surely groove and groove again.
Lookit that kit! It makes the SS Terry Bozzio seem like a Stray Cats audition, dunnit? No, Terry's kit is monumental at another level, but this guy here started the whole Drum Kit Olympus thing.
This is another one of those NRK-TV HD digital rebroadcasts I occasionally post; the Pentangle one at the end of May was one of them, and honestly I collect 'em all because they're all essential.
When this got posted on the NRK site, and then made into an FLV file shared on a torrent tracker, I about crapped my diaper. Spectrum footage???? From 1974????? You must be out of your Mahavishnu.
These are precisely the sort of things you'll see on American television at roughly the time the current (no he is not a man, even by the most basic primate definition) POTUS appoints Noam Chomsky to the newly-vacant Bernie Sanders seat on the Supreme Court.
Why that is may have something to do with the powers that be needing you and yours so unfunctionally moronic that anything with a cultural value above a Pet Rock must be excised, mocked and ignored in favor of more Romper Room for Alleged Adults.
This, that you and yours might be rendered into precisely the kind of knownothingly somnolent half-world state of consciousness necessary for your zombie ass to happily and compliantly accept the Late Stage Multinational Genocide-for-Profit Capitalism that will see your children completely and irreversibly dead by the age of 35. 
I'd go into a tirade about that, but I do my best to keep this page free of such screeds and endeavor to stick to the music, because honestly no one here gives a single molecule of fly feces about what anyone else has to say about anything.
 Anything that isn't directly related to delivering Daddy Pharoah's Godpaper into their pockets and their pockets alone, anyway. And all at the level of an eight-year-old child they insist is "credible" and "adult"... like Lord of the Flies with more facial hair, I guess.
Nope, not gonna do that. What I am gonna do is share this impeccably captured, high def half-hour of Norwegian television goodness, featuring one of the most astonishing drummers of our age leading perhaps his most famously blazing ensemble.
This one might be my personal favorite of these Norway jams, and it was taped precisely 44 years ago today. Watch out for the late John Abercrombie stroking the strings and those naughty Brecker Brothers keeping the horns suitably horny.
Billy Cobham's Spectrum
Kongsberg Jazz Festival
Kongsberg, Norway

01 The Pleasant Peasant
02 Red Baron
03 Tenth Pinn

Billy Cobham - drums
Michael Brecker - saxophones
Randy Brecker - trumpet
John Abercrombie - guitar
Glenn Ferris - trombone
Milchu Leviev - keyboards
Alex Blake - bass

Total time: 34:27

HD FLV file of an NRK-TV web rebroadcast
I'll return tomorrow with a (somewhat similar) last thing for the month, but right now Bill Cobham and his treetrunk drumsticks command you to increase your visual spectrum with this 34 minutes of scandalously Scandinavian Fusion burn!--J.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Fleetwood Maximum II: Spreading Rumours

We resume the twin Fleetwood Mac attack with the rejoinder to yesterday's extravaganza, catching up to them on the other side of their mid-1970s reinvention via a birthday shoutout to their founder and drummer.
This concert I'm posting today is likely the best sounding and most complete show from this most legendary record and tour; there's never been an official live document of this explosive period for FM, save a single tour highlights CD included in the 35th Anniversary box set edition of Rumours.
I remember the summer of 1977 well. I grew up in NYC, so the heat wave, the big blackout, the Son of Sam stuff, and the World Series dwell in my primary and permanent memory. We went on summer vacation to Cape Cod that July and the Rumours record was on every single radio station. You would literally tune across the dial and it'd be Dreams on one station, Don't Stop on another and Go Your Own Way on a third. All at the same time.
It's a damn good record that stands up really well for something so beaten to death. Cocaine, alcohol, unlimited money and a seething hatred for your spouse/bandmates' infidelities -- sometimes with other bandmates and their spouses -- made for one of the most incisive and serious albums that will ever be made about intimate relationships gone sour.
That none of them died young doing it is almost a minor miracle. That Mick Fleetwood -- born this day in 1947 -- is turning 71 today is, given the whirlwind of Seventies consumption in which he indulged, perhaps an even less likely miracle.
So yeah, they did drugs in the 1970s, news flash for you there. But what about this concert? There's two of them from this week in May 1977 that are essentially the two best sounding captures of the Rumours excursion that circulate. The Nashville one from the 21st is the superior performance and recording, IMO.
The issue with the two of them is that the track You Make Loving Fun is incomplete in both; there were these things called tapes back in the day and they had to be flipped occasionally.
So I spent yesterday creating a complete version, sort of Frankensteined from the two fragments, which involved a whole lotta digital trickery, as the song was played considerably faster at the Nashville show.
I ended up remastering both sets to ballpark match each other sonically, then decided to share the Nashville one with the two encores -- the only tunes not played at that show -- from OKC three days before tacked on as bonus tracks.
What we have here is a band waking up from the interpersonal dramas subsuming their lives to find themselves the biggest group in the world, with the added strangeness of its members being in that fishbowl while singing breakup songs across the stage to their subjects.
All this makes for some legendary performances for sure, and lemme tell you this puppy does not disappoint. This is the definitive FM concert from this halcyon period, that I've ever heard anyway. They play all the tunes that made this incarnation of this band so huge, eyeballs deep in the interpersonal strife and Herculean drug use they are singing about.
Fleetwood Mac
Municipal Auditorium
Nashville, Tennessee

01 welcome & tuning
02 Say You Love Me
03 Monday Morning
04 Dreams
05 Oh Well
06 Rhiannon
07 Oh Daddy
08 Never Going Back Again
09 Landslide
10 Over My Head
11 Gold Dust Woman

01 You Make Loving Fun
02 I'm So Afraid
03 Go Your Own Way
04 World Turning
05 Blue Letter
06 Second Hand News
07 The Chain
08 Songbird
09 The Green Manalishi*
10 Don't Stop*

Total time: 1:42:00
*encores from Oklahoma City Fairgrounds, 5.18.1977

Mick Fleetwood - drums, percussion, vocals
John McVie - bass, guitar, vocals
Christine McVie - keyboards, vocals
Stevie Nicks - vocals, percussion, guitar
Lindsey Buckingham - guitar, vocals

soundboard feed of unknown origin; sounds like a cassette master
slightly remastered and repaired by EN, June 2018
I have no idea where these shows came from... the listed lineage says soundboard, but they only get up to the 15,000 kHz commonly associated with FM broadcasts. Yet there are no DJs talking, no station IDs, nothing that would point to an off-air capture.
No matter, as this Nashville one is as crisp and complete a document of this historical tour as may ever come down the 'pike. Grab onto it and as you do, remember to celebrate Mick Fleetwood, one of the original architects of this seminal and supremely adored band, on his big day today!--J.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Fleetwood Maximum I: Then Play Onstage

We're back at it this morning with the first of two wildly divergent consecutive posts about the same band, one about a passing and the other about a birthday.
Today we memorialize the departure of one of this band's formative members, who was asked to join them at the tender age of 18 when their original leader was introduced to his playing.
For many of us, this band's finest work happened during these initial years, before they became global megastars with an almost completely different cast.
For those many, there can be no underestimating the contribution of today's honoree.
They began as so many English bands of then did, emulating American Blues with accuracy and feeling, even though none of the Brit Blues Boomers had ever been to the Mississippi Delta or Sweet Home Chicago.
What set this particular combo apart was the presence of not one, not two, but three full-on guitar monsters, each with his own skill set and coterie of strengths.
Most of the accolades went to the leader, as massive a White Blues player as has ever existed and as keen an improviser in the idiom as any of the last 50 years.
So much of their pinnacle period, though, was anchored by our hero of the day, who unfortunately passed on June 8th from pneumonia. His name was Danny Kirwan, and he had kind of a rough life.
He battled alcoholism and mental illness on and off, and got kicked out of Fleetwood Mac (by tomorrow's birthday lad) in 1972 for his excesses, falling into a homeless drinking spiral he was lucky to survive. The group would survive just fine, as we'll see tomorrow.
He went on to make solo records, but he'll always be revered -- and be a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, inducted in 1998 alongside his FM compatriots -- for his part in creating one of our era's most beloved and lasting bands.
Full disclosure: I'm not big on the Buckingham/Nicks FM incarnation. I like those tunes, but I'm a Peter Green/Danny Kirwan Fleetwood Mac person through and through. My personal favorite record of theirs is Then Play On, made in 1969 and IMO as good as any record made in the 1960s.
He really saved them, this guy. When Peter Green went full Fuck The Music Business and they were left without a frontman and songwriting force, he stepped up on those (awesome) LPs like Dragonfly and Bare Trees, bridging the gap until the drummer could round up some witchy Californians with whom to top the charts. Without Danny Kirwan, there would likely never have been any Rumours.
To commemorate his death, we've upped an hourlong FM set taped from the desk by the crew of The Grateful Dead, for whom the Mac were opening around the US at the start of 1970. This one is remastered by a fan and will give a fine, 60-minute glimpse into what made the original FM the FM for a lotta folks.
Fleetwood Mac
The Warehouse
New Orleans, Louisiana

01 introduction
02 Before the Beginning
03 It Takes Time
04 Like It This Way
05 Only You
06 Madison Blues
07 Can't Stop Loving You
08 Albatross
09 The Green Manalishi
10 World In Harmony
11 Stranger Blues

Total time: 59:09

Peter Green- guitar, vocals
Jeremy Spencer - guitar, vocals
Danny Kirwan - guitar
John McVie - bass
Mick Fleetwood - drums

unknown gen soundboard reel, recorded by the Grateful Dead's crew and remastered in 2010 by Liriodendron
I'll be back in a mere 24 hours with the pop-rock, cocaine breakup rejoinder set to this concert, but for now we are gathered here today to remember Danny Kirwan, a severely underrated player whom the world owes a debt of gratitude for helping begin one of our age's most revered groups.--J.
5.13.1950 - 6.8.2018