Friday, August 31, 2018

Happy Vanniversary

Wait... did the Buckingham Palace Band just play "Respect" at the changing of the guard? That was like a State funeral for deserving royalty, damn it was awesome. Still, I better focus on the living... while they still are.
Speaking of which, here comes the night.... and it's a marvelous one for a moondance, isn't it?
Pardon me if I shoehorn one more August salvo in, so we can get to eight posts for month #8, all symmetrical like.
I was playing this incredible Van Morrison show last night -- the famous Bottom Line one from the Wavelength tour with Bobby Tench wailing away -- and suddenly the Google told me Van is 73 today. So I decided it was too late to stop now, and to finish August in his esteemed honor.
Then I was poking around my files and came upon this pre-FM tape from KPFA here in Berkeley -- I can see the big Campanile tower on the Cal campus you always see in the background in TV interviews, from my window here facing south -- that played like an extension of the NYC one.
One page I was reading said exactly that, that the Berkeley 1979 show back-to-back following the Bottom Line 1978 one is as good as it gets... like they are related.
Well, wouldn't you know I happen to have the 1978 set in perhaps it's ultimate, sonically superior iteration bootwise... as well as the 1979 one from the pre-broadcast reels. So here they are, to provide a sense of wonder to your weekend and give proper respect to a living legend -- this is the fourth time I've blogged this guy! -- on his big day.
Van Morrison
NYC 1978 + Berkeley 1979

The Bottom Line 
New York City, NY 

01 Moondance
02 Wavelength
03 Into the Mystic 
04 Checkin' It Out 
05 Hungry for Your Love
06 Brown Eyed Girl
07 Crazy Love
08 Kingdom Hall
09 Tupelo Honey
10 Natalia
11 Help Me
12 Wild Night
13 Joyous Sound
14 Caravan 
15 Cyprus Avenue

Total Time 1:19:48 

Van Morrison - vocals, harmonica & saxophone
Herbie Armstrong - guitar 
Peter Bardens - keyboards 
Mickey Feat - bass 
Bobby Tench - guitar 
Peter Van Hooke - drums 
Katie Kissoon : vocals & percussion
Anna Peacock - vocals & percussion

complete master FM capture, remastered by The 4-Eyed Freak

Berkeley Community Theatre
Berkeley, CA

01 Kingdom Hall
02 Bright Side of the Road
03 Here Comes the Night
04 You Make Me Feel So Free
05 Warm Love
06 Angeliou
07 Full Force Gale
08 Moondance
09 Tupelo Honey
10 I've Been Working
11 Brown Eyed Girl
12 Wild Night

Total time: 51:27

Van Morrison - vocals, guitar, saxophone
Pee Wee Ellis - saxophone
Mark Isham - trumpet
Tony Marcus - violin, keyboards
Pete Wingfield - piano
Peter Van Hooke - drums
David Hayes - bass
John Platania - guitar
Herbie Armstrong - guitar
Katie Kissoon - vocals & percussion

pre-FM reels from KPFA-FM

both shows zipped together
792 MB FLAC here
It's all just an excuse to share the best unissued music anyway, and you know the caravan is coming very shortly with the first post of a September to remember in just a few days.
Today, however, we both bury a Queen and listen to the Lion -- yes he is a King -- whilst we raise an Irish longlife toast to Van Morrison, born this day in 1945 and still voyaging into the mystic wavelength. Turn it up!--J.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Surman On the Mount

Let's start to wind down August with the 74th birthday of one of my favorite sax cats.
If you know me you know I have a serious British Jazz fetish, and today's birthday lad is a huge part of that scene for lo! these last five decades.
I was adding up his session discography, and he's led or played on somewhere around 100 records. He plays in an uninteresting, derivatively cliché manner on precisely none of them.
To celebrate his big day I've got this tremendous concert of my favorite of his many groups and projects, an early 1970s trio with Stu Martin and Barre Phillips imaginatively titled The Trio.
If I had to describe the music in this show, I'd say that it contains the entire history of Jazz -- often all at once -- in two hours of event.
The Trio
Hamburg, Germany

01 Foyer Hall/Silvercloud
02 Joachim/In Between + Caractacus
03 Tallness/Dee Tune
04 Porte de Lilas/6's and 7's/Spikenard

Total time: 1:52:40
disc break goes after Track 02

John Surman - baritone & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
Barre Phillips - bass
Stu Martin - drums

Jazzrita/Tom Phillips remaster of an unidentified FM master capture
This one was worked on and optimized by two stalwart audio remastery masters, so you know it's indistinguishable from a real release.
I'll be back soon, you know I will. I may even do another weirdo post tomorrow, not sure yet. But John Surman was born this day in 1944 and today's all about him, so enjoy this burner of a concert from 48 years ago if you wanna hear him and his mates blow the roof clean off the Jazzhaus using only their instruments.--J.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

We're Goin' to Jackson: MJ 60

We're off the wall today, with a very nice remaster of a great bootleg in honor of the 60th birthday of an ultimate icon.
Well, it would have been the 60th one, anyway. Has he really been gone nine years?
We all know the disturbing circumstances of his death and the latter part of his life. I don't think he molested any kids, having looked at the accusations and the fairly transparent motives of the accusers. But I wasn't there so I don't really know.
Probably the A1 example of how fame eats those who suffer with it alive, his music is playing in every corner of the world at all times and will be forever.
He may have suffered and been driven off the deep end by it all, but the legacy he left will make people whose lives will not overlap with his happy for ages into the future.
To commemorate the day, I worked on remastering a still-somehow-unissued show of his from the height of his solo career, before the hardest times, on his 1987 tour in support of Bad.
Michael Jackson
Yokohama Stadium
Yokohama, Japan

01 Wanna Be Startin' Something
02 Things I Do for You
03 Off the Wall
04 Human Nature
05 Heartbreak Hotel (This Place Hotel)
06 She's Out of My Life
07 Jackson 5 medley
08 Rock with You
09 Lovely One
10 Workin' Day and Night
11 Beat It
12 Billie Jean
13 Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)
14 Thriller
15 I Just Can't Stop Loving You
16 Bad

Total time: 1:29:27
disc break goes after Track 09
Tracks 01, 04, 05, & 07-16 are from 9.27.1987
Tracks 02, 03 & 06 are from 9.26.1987

Michael Jackson - vocals
Greg Phillinganes - keyboards, synthesizers, musical director
Rory Kaplan - keyboards, synthesizers
Christopher Currell - Synclavier, digital guitar, sound effects
Ricky Lawson - drums, percussion
Jennifer Batten - guitar
Jon Clark - guitar
Don Boyette - bass, synth bass
Kevin Dorsey, Darryl Phinnessee, Dorian Holley & Sheryl Crow - vocals

2009 unofficial CD of an unidentified capture (likely a master cassette) of an original FM broadcast, merged with three tracks from a (likely master) mono VHS tape;
remastered/repaired by EN, August 2018
555 MB FLAC/August 2018 archive link
This circulates a million ways, most commonly with the tracks from the 26th inserted from a video, sourced from a mono VHS tape, that also circulates of that show. I reoriented the setlist to play in the proper order of the 9/27 performance, and remastered the three inserted tracks to match the FM-broadcast-sourced majority portion from the 27th.
I also crossfaded the transitions at the insertion points to play less jarringly haphazard, and removed the dozens of digital clips present in the 2009 source CD of the FM portion.
This now represents a complete, hour-and-a-half performance from the 1987 tour, and I think it does it justice to recirculate it in a more optimized form.
I'll be back tomorrow with something as weird and jazzy as this is legendarily poppy, but for now it's MJ's day -- he was born this day in 1958 and would only have been 60 today -- so let's be starting something up in here.--J.
8.29.1958 - 6.25.2009

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme Machine

I return after a week sitting shiva for The Queen with a 50th anniversary showstopper.
This one's another tape where you ask yourself, how has this never been officially issued, after all this time?
I guess it's a little hot in places and homeboy's guitar hits the mic stand a handful of times, but does that mean it should gather dust in the unissued vaults? I think not.
I mean, this is one of the most beloved groups of all time, no? Perhaps the most beloved duo ever to harmonize, outside of Phil and Don Everly, whom they idolized and whom they cover in this stunner of a set.
This 70+ minutes of 1960s vintage agitprop was taped in the Hollywood Bowl down L.A. way precisely 50 years ago this evening.
It was recorded by famed muso Al Kooper, with a view towards the official live document these cats never came out with until their Central Park sojourn at the onset of the '80s.
I suppose the slightly rough spots in it prohibited it from being released then, but now there are no more excuses and every note these two recorded ought to see the light of day.
Yes, they hate each other. Or profoundly dislike each other. Yes, one half of them is retiring after this year. Yes, they'll likely never share a stage together again. All the more reason to empty the vaults, if you ask me.
What really lends this tape its gravitas is the timing. It comes from smack dab in the middle of the Longest, Hottest Summer the Untied Hates of Amygdala has ever witnessed.
We all know the story of 1968 and how this country has never recovered from what went down. This little tape plays like a living document of those disturbing days.
It was issued long ago on a very famous bootleg called Voices of Intelligent Dissent, after the title Paul Simon bestows on the hecklers making a ruckus between tunes.
Ah, nothing like the inviolable friendship of boyhood chums torn asunder by the demands of the music industry and their own, Baby Booming egos, I always say. This recording is even cooler because they haven't begun to really get on each other's nerves yet.
Simon & Garfunkel
Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, California 

01 Mrs. Robinson
02 Homeward Bound
03 intro
04 April Come She Will
05 Fakin' It 
06 Overs 
07 The 59th St. Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
08 intro
09 America
10 A Most Peculiar Man 
11 I Am a Rock
12 At the Zoo 
13 Scarborough Fair
14 Bye Bye Love
15 Cloudy
16 Leaves That Are Green
17 Punky's Dilemma
18 intro
19 Benedictus
20 The Dangling Conversation
21 intro
22 For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
23 A Poem On the Underground Wall
24 Anji
25 The Sound of Silence
26 Richard Cory
27 Old Friends 
28 Bookends
29 He Was My Brother

Total time: 1:10:27

Paul Simon - guitar & vocals
Art Garfunkel - vocals

soundboard capture by Al Kooper for a never-issued live record
I'll be back on the weekend with a big birthday thing for a true icon, but for now it's time to get in the thyme machine back to the height of the Swingin' Sixties to sample a sonic slice of just what the fuss was all about. Enjoy!--J.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Lady Soul Power

Well, here we are yet again, on the heels of another bright star in the firmament taking their leave from our rapidly splintering, tailspinning world.
Obviously there has been a great loss that leaves an irreparable void in the musical soundscape of everything, but as we know the only way to memorialize the giants is to play the music, so to that end I am here with the gear.
There isn't anything I can say about her that hasn't already been said or which isn't already being said in the wake of her passing, so I won't try.
You know and I know and everyone knows what she meant to it all and to be honest, no hyperbolic praise or overblown analysis of how there is music before her and music after her -- and that those are two wholly different things -- is either necessary or appropriate.
The only thing that needs to be said is Thank You. And that we -- the people of the Earth whose lives happened at just the right time where they would overlap with the possessors of an unfathomable, limitless artistry such as hers -- are so very, very lucky.
Lucky that we got to be here in this strange and confusing time, in which the musicians and artists were some of the only ones among us that were in a position to tell the utmost truths about us and the condition in which we find ourselves.
Lucky that we were shipwrecked here at a moment when transcendent personalities and true visionaries were around to throw us the lifejacket we so desperately needed.
Lucky that of all the epochs and eras that could have been home to our lifetimes, we got to be alive at the same time as people such as her.
By now you are aware that she is gone, at least from the physical plane. But humans such as she achieve something so unimaginably powerful whilst here that it is in no way exaggeration or cliché to say that they will never -- and can never -- really die.
The other day I tributed Maddy Prior, one of the founders of the English folk-rock group Steeleye Span. One of her co-founders of that magical ensemble, the great Ashley Hutchings, once said something about the singer Sandy Denny -- with whom he had spent time in the mother band of such groups, Fairport Convention -- that I feel is apropos for today's grieving process.
He said that our friends are never really dead to us until we have forgotten them, and that Sandy would never die because the things she achieved on Earth were so indelibly unforgettable that she'd always be important to the life of our world.
And so it is with our departed Queen of Soul. There will never be a time, centuries into the future, where someone somewhere is not having their life lit up and their darkness illuminated by the music of Aretha Franklin, and all she inspired in the sounds that followed her coming.
And so it is that we are so inexpressibly lucky that we were a part of the life of this world in a time when she was here to share it -- and her unquantifiably colossal talent -- with us all.
This is hard to write and it's hard to lose these people -- even though, in her case, she lived a pretty long and tremendously productive life -- to the natural cycle of birth and death, whilst the evildoers among us seem to live to be 99 every time.
But at the end of it all, they may be gone but the music endures. We can take our comfort knowing that it's possible to leave behind artifacts of pure excellence -- and to produce a response, borne of beauty and dignity, to the pain and struggle of being alive -- because we have had teachers like Aretha to illustrate the truth in such possibilities.
And for that, all I can say is Thank You.
Aretha Franklin

Berns Salonger
Stockholm, Sweden

01 (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
02 Come Back Baby
03 Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)
04 Since You've Been Gone (Sweet, Sweet Baby)
05 I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
06 Chain of Fools
07 Respect

Total time: 26:46

Aretha Franklin - vocals & piano
Carolyn Franklin - vocals
Charnessa Jones - vocals
Wyline Ivey - vocals
Jerry Weaver - guitar
Gary Illingworth - piano
George Davidson - drums
Ron Jackson - trumpet
David Squire - baritone saxophone
Donald "Buck" Waldon - tenor saxophone
Donald Townes - trumpet
Little John Wilson - trumpet
Miller Brisker - tenor saxophone
Rene Pitts - trombone
Rodderick Hicks - bass
Russell Conway - trumpet

PAL DVD, with PCM audio, from a 1st gen VHS tape of a 2000 Swedish TV rebroadcast
Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux, Switzerland
first show

01 Soul Serenade (King Curtis)
02 Respect
03 (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
04 I Say a Little Prayer
05 Call Me
06 Brand New Me
07 Share Your Love with Me
08 Don't Play That Song (You Lied)
09 Bridge Over Troubled Water
10 Dr. Feelgood
11 Spirit In the Dark

Total time: 53:42

Aretha Franklin - vocals and piano
King Curtis - saxophones
Cornell Dupree - guitar
Jerry Jemmott - bass
Truman Thomas - organ
Bernard Purdie - drums
Pancho Morales - percussion
Brenda Bryant, Margaret Branch & Pat Smith - vocals & percussion
with The Memphis Horns:
Jack Hale - trombone
Roger Hopps - trumpet
Wayne Jackson - trumpet
Andrew Love - tenor saxophone
Jimmy Mitchell - baritone saxophone

EN remaster of what could be a master or 1st gen reel -- possibly from a film? -- of an original broadcast
308 MB FLAC here
I worked on the Montreux set to liberate the lead vocals from the brassy soup that had been obscuring them, and tidied the whole thing up so it can now circulate in a manner more befitting a Queen.
I shall return in a few days with music that owes Aretha a huge debt -- doesn't it all? -- but for today I wanted to get this up and running because the moment kind of demands it. Keep her in your thoughts and on your playlists and she will never die... and I hope these two gigs will help keep that flame burning.--J.
3.25.1942 - 8.16.2018