Monday, December 31, 2018

Sibling Revelry

One last blast of sass before the clock strikes 2019, then.
This needs little introduction, except to say that it was recorded 40 years ago tonight at the closing of an iconic 1970s concert hall.
It's also one of the only pro-recorded shows of these guys that circulates.
It's strange, and in a way astounding, to remember that these guys are professional comedians playing characters and not really two brothers with the most appropriate last name in history. 
You know who they are and what happened, so no sense retelling the story.
Four decades back these two had the #1 record, the #1 film and the #1 TV show, all at once. That had never been done before, and hasn't since.
The whole last night of Winterland went out over KSAN-FM, and this was the middle part, before The Grateful Dead came on.
The Blues Brothers
Winterland Ballroom
San Francisco, CA

01 Can't Turn You Loose intro
02 Hey Bartender
03 Messin' with the Kid
04 (I Got Everything I Need) Almost
05 band introduction 1
06 Rubber Biscuit
07 Shotgun Blues
08 Groove Me
09 I Don't Know
10 band introduction 2
11 Soul Man
12 band introduction 3
13 "B" Movie Box Car Blues
14 Flip, Flop & Fly
15 Jailhouse Rock
16 Can't Turn You Loose outro

Total time: 50:15

"Joliet" Jake Blues (John Belushi) - vocals
Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) - harmonica & vocals
Steve Cropper - guitar
Matt Murphy - guitar
Donald Dunn - bass
Tom Malone - trombone, trumpet, saxophone
Lou Marini - saxophone
Tom Scott - saxophone
Alan Rubin - trumpet
Paul Shaffer - keyboards
Murphy Dunne - piano
Steve Jordan - drums
Willie Hall - drums

indeterminate capture, possibly master cassette, of the original KSAN-FM broadcast of the last night at Winterland
Obviously JB is way out of breath, of line and his mind for most of it, and if you took a quarter of what he likely had just in the hours before midnight at this event, you'd probably have successfully self-embalmed.
The mix goes a bit wacky at times -- perhaps the engineers visited dude's stash at some point -- but the all-star band keeps it flowing and the pair of Brothers -- then the most popular thing in entertainment on planet Earth -- bring down the house.
Bottom line: If the point is to have fun, this is your night and your show.
That does it from me -- 112 is the most I've done in any calendar year since I started this page -- for 2018, friends. See you soon and be safe out there this evening if you're venturing into the fray.--J.
                                                1.24.1949 - 3.5.1982

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Clave Imperator! Bo Diddley 90

For the final birthday bash tribute of the year, we honor The Originator: him that started this whole mess in the first place.
There can be arguments and debates about this one or that one and how they helped, but this guy was way in on it all, before there was such a thing as it.
He began as a street performer in 1940s Chicago, and by the time the 1950s began he was beginning to play clubs.
His first recordings followed in 1955, and before too long the hits -- and the style and beat they would come to represent -- had already irrevocably altered the musical DNA of the world.
The influence he came to have over the coming crest of the Rock-n-Roll wave is beyond quantification or estimation.
He schooled groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and a good deal of those folks' early tracks are straight up imitations of the man.
He also discovered Marvin Gaye, who'd been his driver in the late 1950s.
He opened megatours for the likes of The Grateful Dead and The Clash -- to name but two -- and he just about stole the film Trading Places too.
After an over 60 year career moving the ball of modern music, he passed away in 2008, months shy of his 80th birthday.
Which means he'd have been the major milestone 90 today.
He is firmly on the list of musos so significant that not a day goes by on Earth without people getting enjoyment from what he left us, and what the subsequent music folks who absorbed what he had to offer continue to produce under the spell of his uncountable influence.
Bo knew and he still knows. Here, allow me to demonstrate with this: a marathon show from 1996 that clocks in just under four full hours, and is perhaps the single most intimate and indispensable live document of the man in action.
Bo Diddley
Magic Bag
Ferndale, Michigan

early set
01 unidentified Blues in E 
02 unidentified shuffle in B/introduction of Bo Diddley
03 Bo talks back surgery
04 Bo Diddley
05 I'm a Man
06 "Hello There Mister" (unidentified Blues in G)
07 "Why You Dress Like That?" (jam in A)
08 Bo talks mistaken identity & Michigan roots
09 Road Runner
10 Put Your Suitcase Down
11 Bo talks his strict upbringing
12 Bo Diddley Is Crazy
13 Wind Me Up jam

late set
01 unidentified Blues in D
02 unidentified shuffle in E
03 introduction of Bo Diddley
04 "Bud Light" (jam in E)
05 Bo talks back surgery again
06 Bo Diddley
07 I'm Sorry
08 Crackin' Up
09 I'm a Man
10 jam in G
11 Road Runner
12 Bo tells a joke while he changes a string
13 I'm Gonna Get Your Girlfriend
14 Bo Diddley Is Crazy/Wind Me Up jam

Total time: 3:53:15
disc breaks can go after Track 07 in the 1st set and Track 08 in the 2nd set

Bo Diddley - guitar and vocals
Todd Glass - drums
Michael "Mo" Hollis - bass
Tino Gross - guitar

'altheany1' mono soundboard master DAT of damn near the complete show
retracked, volume boosted +2dB throughout, and very slightly tightened up for dead air with dropouts repaired by EN, Dec. 2018
This is two gargantuan sets that almost function like a Rock-n-Roll history lesson.
The stories and hilarious asides he provides -- and the fact that he has to be seated because of then-recent, career-threatening back issues, making him oh-so-very-effects-pedal happy -- make this as essential a thing as I've ever posted up here.
The music is beyond shamanic -- almost-trance-inducing, really -- with the Detroit band backing Bo locking into grooves lasting as long as 21 minutes. A good deal of the performance is entirely improvised.
I'll return tomorrow with one last briefcase full of Blues to get the New Year's shindigs properly soundtracked, but take a moment today and realize that none of the music you love would even exist if not for Bo Diddley, ham-bone this day in 1928 and still rockin' 10 years outta here.--J.
12.30.1928 - 6.2.2008

Friday, December 28, 2018

Sectional Healing: King Porter & Ziggy Snaredust

I hope you all are ready to get Funked to death on a Friday, folks.
Do you realize that when you look at this picture, you're looking at the greatest and most important drummer of our lifetimes?
And when you see this one, do you know you're looking at his central partner in crime over the last 50 years, with whom he essentially invented the rhythmic basis of the music of our age, almost out of whole cloth?
They were born one year and two days apart and the drum dude is turning a big ol' 70 today. His buddy with the bass is 71 a couple of days ago.
The grooves they invented, and the hypersyncopated mayhem they produced and still occasionally collaborate upon, are an alpha/omega influence on everyone to have even looked at a musical instrument since 1969.
I know I sound like I'm toking deadly hits from The Hyperbole Pipe this afternoon. But none of what I just said is at all any sort of exaggeration.
As part of one of our epoch's most seminal bands, they architected it all. If what they play doesn't make you get up and move your hips, you better get a toetag, cuz you dead.
If you had a dollar for every minute I've spent practicing the drums along to a Meters record, you could buy the internet and put a down payment on the galactic center.
The synergistic rhythmic momentum created when these two cats get together on a stage or in a studio sets bodies bopping at 40 paces, and cannot be extricated, in terms of imitation and influence, from the totality of all music made by humans since this dastardly duo first hit 50 years ago.
The tape I'm gonna share -- which I just spent the last 48 hours cooking to a Gumbotastic perfection in the remaster lab -- will illustrate beyond doubt what I'm talking about, in the unlikely event you don't already know.
The Meters
Showboat Lounge
Metarie, Louisiana

01 No More Okey Doke
02 My Name Up In Lights
03 Be My Lady
04 Look-A-Py-Py/Let Me Have It All
05 They All Asked for You
06 Funkify Your Life

Total time: 46:24

Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste - drums
Willie West - vocals
Leo Nocentelli - guitar & vocals
David Batiste Sr. - keyboards & vocals
George Porter Jr. - bass & vocals
Mario DeMaurier - guitar & vocals

sounds like an off-air FM master reel; taped from WNOE-FM in New Orleans
remastered and restored by EN, Dec. 2018
This is the funkiest tape I will ever post on here, and may be the funkiest tape ever recorded in known history. It makes James Brown seem like Tiny Tim.
No really. It also documents a hitherto undocumented incarnation of The Meters, when the Nevilles left to become The Neville Brothers and the grotesquely unsung Willie West sang with them before they broke up.
You can read the text file if you need to know what I did to make this perhaps the mother of all Meters boots, or at least to slot it in to the sonic space that most unleashes its devastating qualities.
I will return Sunday and Monday to finish out the year in the correct style, but today you better thank whatever gods you do or don't believe in that in all the epochs of time in which you could have been born, you had the sense to come here at the same time as our birthday dudes: the already-immortal-and-not-even-dead-yet rhythm-section deities Ziggy Modeliste and George Porter, Jr. Yeah, you right!--J.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Would I Lie to Yule?

The concept of Yule being indigenous to Scotland, I think I have just the thing for your holiday jambox.
Who else is indigenous to Scotland and also Christmas Day, hmmmm... let me mull that cider over a bit.
The truth is, I remember her in The Tourists, so let exactly how old I am sink in for a moment. That was at the tail end of the 1970s.
When next I heard her distinctive voice, it was on WLIR-FM in Garden City in about 1981 or so. They were playing this beguiling sorta darkish disco cut called Love Is a Stranger, by this offshoot of The Tourists called Eurythmics. It may have even been a Screamer of the Week, unless those didn't start until 1982, I can't recall.
Then, MTV came on and suddenly every act on WLIR was visible and selling millions. The next Eurythmics platter came out right at the start of 1983 and all Hell broke loose.
The next single broke the world, I'm afraid. The video is still a masterpiece and surely one of the most iconic ever conceived. Once you saw her and heard that voice come out, it was all over.
A decade of massive success followed for the duo, until she went solo at the turn of the 1990s.
Once AIDS surfaced, she got out on the forefront of activism around it, and since then her philanthropy and social conscience work has only multiplied.
And above all, she is still, at 64 today, one of the most beloved and recognizable vocalists of our entire lifetimes.
Yes, the idea of Yule comes from Scotland, but even better so does Annie Lennox, born Christmas Day 1954.
And what more appropriate way to celebrate these dual occasions, than with perhaps the greatest unissued Eurythmics performance?
This one comes from a three-day series of concerts staged near the Brandenburg Gate in the summer of 1987. David Bowie -- his performance of Heroes, right there at the wall, is often considered his best rendition -- was the first night and Genesis were the closing night. Eurythmics were the middle night.
Gorbachev had just come in in the USSR and the East German kids, desperate for a taste of that glasnost, battled the Stasi and cops the whole three days, right there 200 yards from the music.
The band -- by this stage expanded to a septet for live work and much more a full-on rock band than the synthesizer-driven duo they broke out as -- delivered an absolute megamonster of a set to a totally bonkers audience well aware of the mayhem going on nearby.
Platz der Republik
Berlin, Germany

01 introduction
02 Sex Crime (1984)
03 Let's Go
04 (I Love You) Like a Ball and Chain
05 The Last Time
06 Here Comes the Rain Again
07 It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back)
08 When Tomorrow Comes
09 There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)
10 Who's That Girl?
11 Conditioned Soul
12 Right By Your Side
13 Thorn In My Side
14 Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
15 Would I Lie to You? (incl. Day Tripper)
16 Missionary Man
17 Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves
18 band introductions
19 The Miracle of Love

Total time: 1:44:00
disc break goes after Track 10

Annie Lennox - vocals
Dave Stewart - guitars and vocals
Clem Burke - drums 
Chucho Merchan - bass
Jimmy Zavala - saxophone, flute and harmonica
Pat Seymour - keyboards
Joniece Jamison - vocals

sounds like a master cassette of an original SFB broadcast of the complete show
tape flips in Track 09 and Track 17 repaired and smoothed out by EN, Dec. 2018
This is as jumping a show as I've ever posted in the 5+ years I've been at this page, trust me. Annie makes several references to the situation and you can just feel the energy in the whole place, in both the musicians and the crowd, who do not have to be prompted to sing along whatsoever.
Some people feel that the fact that the wall was not there anymore just a short couple of years later proves their contention that these concerts had a lot to do with making the obsolete GDR government honchos give up the ghost and open things up to German reunity.
It could not have hurt.
So with that I wish everyone a cool Yule, and I'll return on Friday to funk you to death once again. But right now, we are here to celebrate this iconic voice and wonderful woman, on her 64th b'day. Sweet Dreams, y'all!--J.