Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Guilty Crown: Randy Newman 75

Yes, baby
I been drinkin'
And I shouldn't come by, I know
But I found myself in trouble, darlin'
And I had nowhere else to go
Got some whiskey 
from the barman
Got some cocaine 
from a friend
I just had to keep on movin'
Til I was back in your arms again
I'm guilty
baby I'm guilty
And I'll be guilty
all the rest 
of my life
How come I never do 
what I'm supposed to do?
How come nothin' that I try to do 
ever turns out right?
You know
you know how it is with me baby
You know I just can't stand myself
It takes a whole lot of medicine
For me to pretend that I'm somebody else
Randy Newman
Universal Amphitheatre
Universal City
Los Angeles, California

01 tuning
02 Naked Man
03 Little Criminals
04 band introductions
05 Birmingham
06 Jolly Coppers On Parade
07 Short People
08 Political Science
09 Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear
10 Sail Away
11 Sigmund Freud's Impersonation of Albert Einstein In America
12 God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)
13 Linda
14 I Think It's Going to Rain Today
15 Rider In the Rain
16 You Can Leave Your Hat On
17 Louisiana 1927
18 A Wedding In Cherokee County
19 Kingfish
20 Baltimore
21 Rednecks
22 Lonely At the Top
23 Guilty
24 Mama Told Me Not to Come

Total time: 1:11:30

Randy Newman – vocals & piano
Fred Tackett - guitar
Willie Weeks - bass
Bill Payne - synthesizers
Michael McDonald – Fender Rhodes & vocals
Andy Newmark - drums
Bobby LaKind – congas & percussion
Ted Templeman - percussion & vocals

sounds like a 1st or 2nd gen cassette off-air capture of a mono FM or TV broadcast;
repaired, remastered and denoised by EN, November 2018
Randy Newman, born this day in 1943, is 75, so I dug out this -- perhaps the only bootleg of him performing with a full band -- and tried to improve on its admittedly flawed sonics. The spectral indicates an FM broadcast of unknown capture, but judging from the days I spent in the headphones with it, I'd guess it's a gen or two from a master cassette of some indeterminate origin.
It gets tempting on these FMs, where there's nothing above 15k anyway, to break out the demonic Noise Reduction, but I avoid that like The Plague so none was used here. Honestly it's not so much hissy but buzzy, with amplifier noises drifting about and maybe a microhint of tape flutter on the piano. 
The performance is so tremendous -- and the between-song patter from The Maestro so hilarious -- that none of this really matters, but it is what it is until the coveted pre-FM of whatever broadcast this comes from surfaces.
Heck, it could even be from some lost TV thing, who knows? This is all we have, so I made some (IMO) necessary modifications trying to get it sounding less dull, and to get it to leap from the speakers a little more without taking the noise profile into the upper ionosphere.
Anyway it'll never be perfect until that mythical pre-broadcast source surfaces, but I hope what I've done here -- this is probably my favorite circulating show of Randy's and I wanted it to sound at least measurably closer to its best -- is satisfying and made this set sound a bit more upfront and center as we celebrate the man's big day here.
Enjoy, and that goes for all you rednecks and short people too!--J.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Jamaican History: Uhuru '82

No one likes Mondays, but I promise you'll like this Monday anniversIrie post.
This is another set from the infamous Jamaica World Music Festival of 1982, considered by some to be the best fest ever blessed.
I've posted several of these, but this one might be the deepest.
We're just glad these got captured in the sparkling way they all did, that there might be a lasting document of such a seminal, legendary festival.
Our fare for today features one of the great Reggae bands, on their home turf and closing the second night of the JWMF like a boss.
It also features Reggae's most celebrated rhythm section, going fresh out of their minds for a full 80 minutes of dubtastic mayhem.
If I had to say what I love most about Black Uhuru, it'd be the way Michael Rose sings with the weary wisdom of the ancients, or the way Puma Jones puts otherwordly, equally-as-ancient-sounding harmonies on top of his remonstrations.
Puma's vocals on this stuff sound like they are cast down from the Upper Room or something; it's like an ancient, righteous plea for Justice denied in every syllable.
Another genius aspect of this badass set are the live Dub effects, prevalent throughout. I have no idea who mixed this live but they killed.
Overall it plays like a live greatest hits thing of these cats, in the near-perfect quality we wish all bootlegs could feature.
Black Uhuru
Jamaica World Music Festival
Bob Marley Performing Arts Center
Montego Bay, Jamaica

01 Shine Eye Gal
02 Plastic Smile
03 I Love King Selassie
04 Chill Out
05 Darkness
06 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
07 Abortion
08 General Penitentiary
09 Happiness
10 World Is Africa
11 Sensemilla
12 Sponji Reggae
13 Mondays

Total time: 1:19:55

Derrick "Duckie" Simpson - vocals & percussion
Sandra "Puma" Jones - vocals & percussion
Michael Rose - vocals
Sly Dunbar - drums 
Robbie Shakespeare - bass 
Christopher "Sky Juice" Burth - percussion 
Darryl Thompson - guitar 
Billy Johnson - guitar 
Franklyn "Bubbler" Waul - keyboards 

master soundboard cassette, recorded by Frank Streeter and transferred and mastered by Charlie Miller;
small sections of Track 05 repaired and subtly reconstructed as necessary by EN, Nov. 2018
I worked on one song, which had some issues, to make it whole again. The "Darkness" track faded in very suddenly off the tape flip, so it was subtly lengthened a bar to be more realistically musical, if you will. 
There was also a section midway through the song where the transfer was bad or some sort of dropouts/digiskips happened and disoriented the music, so I reconstructed those few bars using what was there to be seamless and musically correct instead of jarring and confusing. 
The thing is still fitting a single CD and besides, I felt this monster show and incredible, sonically sparkling capture merited the fix, which takes the whole 80 minutes of Irie into the realm of blissful perfection, or darn near close.
I'll be back with one last milestone blast for November on Wednesday, because you've got a friend in me.
Today, however, is your day to groove on this ridonkulously tasty Black Uhuru set; now that's it's more optimized it's probably one of my all-time favorite shows by anyone. Ras Tafari!--J.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Beaucoup d’État

Here comes the second of two consecutive posts, this time to mark the 19th anniversary of a great show by a great and undersung band.
I was introduced to them in the 2000s, when I lived in a house with a friend who swore by their music.
Something like a cross between The Velvet Underground's Pale Blue Eyes and Halleluwah by Can -- with occasional, vaguely obscured Marxist polemics for lyrics -- their sound was defined by two female vocalists weaving their memorable style of harmony around each other.
They made a whole slew of essential albums in the 1990s and were gaining steam commercially when horrible tragedy struck.
One of their singers was killed when she was run down by a motorist whilst riding her bicycle in late 2002.
They continued for a few records without her, but the void was too great and they ended up fading from view into other projects.
Today we recall them with an absolute burner of a performance from their heyday, when Mary Hansen was still alive and they were firing on all cylinders.
The Fillmore
San Francisco, CA

01 Miss Modular
02 Infinity Girl
03 Escape Pod
04 The Free Design
05 Op Hop Detonation
06 Metronomic Underground
07 Des Etoiles Electroniques
08 Blips, Drips and Strips
09 Strobo Acceleration
10 Analogue Rock
11 Blue Milk
12 The Seeming and the Meaning
13 crowd
14 banter
15 Come and Play In the Milky Night
16 Low Fi
17 John Cage Bubblegum

Total time- 1:23:32
disc break goes after Track 08

Tim Gane - guitar, keyboards
Lætitia Sadier - vocals, keyboards, percussion, horns
Andy Ramsay  - drums
Mary Hansen- vocals, guitar, percussion
Morgane Lhote - keyboards
Simon Johns - bass

DAT master recorded straight from the mixing desk by Teddy Ballgame
This one was taped right across the pond from here in San Francisco, and is easily the deepest and funkiest Stereolab show I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.
And!! It was recorded 19 years ago tonight!! When the dates line up for kickass bands, I must comply.
I will be back in a couple of days, but you should definitely check this monster Stereolab set while you are waiting for my next move!--J.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Eternal Bass & Abundance

It's the big holiday and time for some appropriate T-giving.
Today we interrupt the preposterously testosterized sausage fest that is this page with a necessary tribute to a lovely lady of the low end.
One half of maybe the greatest husband-and-wife rhythm section in music history, she was born this day in 1950.
Not too many people can say they were part of not one but two of our epoch's most beloved groups, but here's one.
You know you're doing it right when even your side projects generate tracks that people will play in 10,000 years.
Whether it's as part of Talking Heads or Tom Tom Club, today's birthday girl has got the subsonic sui generis in spades.
Now that I think of it, it must be odd to have your birthday fall on Thanksgiving sometimes, and the JFK assassination every time... I think of all those Christmas kids who grew up feeling aced out of birthday gifts, and my 9/11/1938-born dad.
No matter though, for Tina Weymouth is a year-'round gift that's been giving for over 40 years at the top of the bottom.
I asked her magnificent husband, whom I follow on Facebook, if it would be ok to tribute her today with this legendary T-Heads concert that no one can believe has never seen an official issue, and he said it was cool, so here we go!
Talking Heads 
Berklee Performing Arts Center
Boston, MA

01 intro
02 Artists Only
03 Stay Hungry
04 Cities
05 Paper
06 Mind
07 Heaven
08 The Book I Read
09 Electric Guitar
10 Air
11 Warning Sign
12 Building On Fire
13 Memories Can't Wait
14 Psycho Killer 
15 Life During Wartime
16 Take Me to the River
17  outro

Total time: 1:10:40

David Byrne - guitar, vocals & percussion
Jerry Harrison - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Tina Weymouth - bass & percussion
Chris Frantz - drums & percussion

the complete master WBCN-FM pre-FM reel
This ultra-fab set typically circulates with one track removed, as it was issued on the cataclysmic live TH LP The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads. I left it in so no one would have to lose their Mind.
I will be back tomorrow with some more rare bullion for your personal Fort Knox, but for now you turkeys must give the most copious thanks for a true Lama of the low end! Bon Appetit!--J.