Thursday, April 30, 2020

Traffic Jam At the Barleycorn Exchange

It's the end of April -- sure lived up to T.S. Eliot's label of "the cruelest month," didn't it? -- and I'm here with one more before Mayday.
Today we have kind of an obvious one, with a 50th anniversary performance from one of the great groups of the rapidly-waning Classic Rawk era.
I may cover the leader of this band in a couple of weeks for his b'day, but in case I don't I will thrust this one cloudward.
Neither the leader or his cohorts ought need much introduction, except to say they were one of the first big groups to break up and then reconvene later on to enjoy even bigger success.
When they did come back together in 1970 -- after splitting in 1968 -- they produced several acknowledged and timeless masterworks of the idiom.
The first of these all-time LPs is where we'll land today, as they debut it three months before its release in front of a delirious hometown audience that sounds like they know they are witnessing history.
I have selected one among the many versions of this one that circulate, with the one I feel is the best sounding of the bunch.
For whatever reason, this was broadcast on the BBC when it happened, and then in subsequent years it was picked up by the Westwood One network.
Thing is, the BBC broadcast was in mono, and the WW1 in stereo.... except the stereo one was crossmixed to have applause over the beginning of all the tunes.
What we have here is the mono portions mashed up seamlessly to the stereo bits, so the announcements -- by BBC legendario John Peel -- are mono and the music is in glorious stereo.
This was created by a fan from the pre-broadcast materials for each version, and unless this surfaces someday in a better form this may be the best we get.
BBC "In Concert"
Paris Theatre
London, UK

01 Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring? 
02 Every Mother's Son
03 No Time to Live
04 Medicated Goo
05 John Barleycorn
06 Pearly Queen
07 Stranger to Himself
08 Empty Pages
09 Glad
10 Freedom Rider 

Total time: 1:00:51

Steve Winwood - keyboards, guitar & vocals
Chris Wood - saxophones, flute, organ & percussion
Jim Capaldi - drums, percussion & vocals
John Peel - MC

merge of the mono BBC transcription discs with the stereo Westwood One CDs
John Peel announcements are mono, the music is stereo
declipped and track markers slightly shifted by EN, April 2020
I will be back in a few days to kick off May... there may or may not even be a radiofilm if I can forget about how much my hip hurts right now.
I know it's quarantine and all, but this is one kind of Traffic you can get stuck in for hours and risk no untoward contagions, so enjoy and Happy Mayday!--J.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Synths of the Father: Giorgio Moroder 80

I took a week off to break for a minute, but I'm back to start to close out April, beginning with this little screed in honor of a pioneering legend thankfully still with us.
He is turning 80 today, and is responsible in many ways for the foundations of what we now call Electronic Dance Music.
Born in 1940, beginning in the mid-1970s our hero really began to push the envelope into territories that no one had yet investigated.
Responsible as any single figure for the integration of the arpeggiating sequencer into dance music, he codified a series of concepts that are now taken for granted as the basis of EDM.
Once he hooked up with disco diva Donna Summer around 1976, things really began to get stratospherically sweaty out in the clubs.
Their first big hit together completely changed the game -- 16 minutes of orgasmic moaning over one of the funkiest grooves in human history -- and their second did nothing short of altering the very DNA of music itself.
Those two tracks -- Love to Love You, Baby and I Feel Love -- essentially form the alpha/omega moment of disco, which eventually evolved into what we know today as modern dance music.
Since that explosion, Giorgio Moroder has collaborated with a zillion seminal artists, made a zillion iconic tracks and scored some of your favorite movies.
In 1979, he paved the roads we travel upon when he recorded the very first LP made direct-to-digital.
In a supreme twist of elegant irony, this record has never been reissued in the digital era, because the tapes are thought lost.
It's been re-released several times, sourced from battered and scratchpoppy vinyl, and the consensus is that every reissue of it has been a disgraceful play for quick cash.
Not to fear, though... I think I've got something that will fill the void, and do this recording the justice it has deserved for over 40 years.
As usual, the fans do it best, and in this case the iteration one fan in particular constructed in 2011 really hits the mark in terms of a Deluxe Edition of this most formative and historic album.
Sourced from pristine Japanese vinyl, he filled it in with all the relevant bonus tracks and added another, longer jam from the same time, to which I have appended three more long ones to make a supreme Ultimate Edition of it.
Giorgio Moroder
Ultimate Edition+

01 Baby Blue
02 What a Night
03 If You Weren't Afraid
04 I Wanna Rock You
05 In My Wildest Dreams
06 E=MC²
07 Baby Blue (1985 remix)
08 Baby Blue (single remix)
09 What a Night (promo short version)
10 If You Weren't Afraid (single version)
11 I Wanna Rock You (single version)
12 Valley of the Dolls
13 Battlestar Galactica medley
14 Evolution
15 Chase (extended)

Total time: 1:46:12
disc break goes after Track 11

Tracks 01-06 taken from the 1979 Japanese "E=MC²" Casablanca LP
Track 07 taken from the 1996 "Giorgio Moroder & Co. Greatest Hits" Dig It International CD
Track 08 taken from 1979 German "Baby Blue" 7" single on Oasis
Tracks 09-11 reworked to match the original 1979 single versions on Casablanca and Oasis
Track 12 taken from the 1985 "From Here to Eternity And Back" Casablanca LP; originally on the "Foxes" OST, 1980
Tracks 13 taken from 2010 "Movie Themes Go Disco!" Boutique CD; originally on the "Music from 'Battlestar Galactica' and Other Original Compositions" LP, 1979
Track 14 taken from the 2001 "E=MC²" Repertoire CD; originally on the "Music from 'Battlestar Galactica' and Other Original Compositions" LP, 1979 
Track 15 taken from the 1978 Canadian 12" single on Casablanca

2011 ultimate fan edition of the 1979 Casablanca LP 
the music has mostly never been issued in the digital era from the master tapes, which are thought to be lost
expanded by EN, April 2020
I shall return in a few days to end April by directing some heavy traffic, unless civilization ends before then, which is a distinct possibility these days as we know.
Today, however, is dedicated to the Maestro Mr. Moroder and his handy vocoder, as well as all the other gear he introduced into the mainstream that we take for granted today as the foundation of the million flavors of EDM. Long may he groovenoodle!--J.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Knowing Lee

Once again we are gathered for Sunday services, today in honor of another COVID casualty.
We'll call this one Reason #12,778,909,216 the current US administration should be flown to The Hague, tried for Crimes Against Humanity, and hanged before a cheering, relieved world. There, I said it.
Today's fallen sound warrior was kind of the last of the pre-Bebop Jazz cats, and also one of the prime inventors of the Cool school.
He fashioned his singular style during the rise of the Bop idiom, almost as a living counterweight to the frenetic, 1000-notes-per-bar stuff that was just bursting upon the scene.
As the 1940s became the 1950s he found his principal collaborators in Warne Marsh and Lennie Tristano, and together they built an alternative Jazz universe to the prevalent strains of the times.
People harp on his alleged rivalry with Charlie Parker, but from what I've read the two were close friends.
I just was looking at all the sessions in which he participated from the 1940s until recently. There are hundreds and hundreds.
Perhaps the most famous session he was on was the aptly-titled Birth of the Cool in 1949, the Miles Davis LP that kicked off the Cool revolution and one which is still considered a seminal touchstone in the whole vast panoply of the music.
His career was as long and as prolific as any player you could name, and he was still doing it until he was felled by the dreaded virus at age 92 just a few days ago.
There isn't much else to say except that his longevity and endless creativity put Lee Konitz squarely in the overall conversation for the top spot in the Alto Saxophone Hall of Fame, and at the very least somewhere in the top 10 all time.
To mark the unfortunate occasion of his passing, we'll send out this tremendous duo set with his pal Paul Motian on drums, taped just a month after the 9/11/2001 attacks and not that far from Ground Zero.
  Lee Konitz & Paul Motian 
  Duets On the Hudson 
  Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse
  New York City, NY USA

01 announcements
02 1st improvisation
03 2nd improvisation

Total time: 52:04

Lee Konitz - alto saxophone
Paul Motian - drums

soundboard DAT master
declipped, slighlty edited for dead air, and converted to 16/44 CD Audio by EN, April 2020
I'll be back soon with even more for you, but please do enjoy this fully-improvised excursion from two of the masters of such things, given in respect to the monument of music left by the incredible Lee Konitz.--J.
10.13.1927 - 4.15.2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

Ecce Homosapien: Pete Shelley 65

I am kicking off the weekend with someone I've meant to cover for years, but because of the difficulties constructing this little motion picture I had put it off until now.
Our hero du jour passed away at the too young age of 63 a couple of years ago, but woulda been 65 today.
His storied career divides into two distinct personalities, one firmly in a band kind of concept and the other as a solo artist in a completely different, yet equally as hitmakingly influential, vein than the other.
He first burst upon the world as the leader of one of the most revered and lasting Punk bands, alongside the Sex Pistols and The Damned in 1976 London.
One of the few Punk groups to have consistent chart and radio play, they broke up for the first time as the Eighties began.
He went solo just as MTV exploded, and the striking videos he created helped him have even bigger success, principally with one of the most hilarious -- and oft-banned -- songs ever to brazenly celebrate one's lack of heterosexuality.
He was one of the first Rock types to come out as bisexual, and I have looked up to him since I can remember.
After spending the 1980s pioneering the use of dub in pop music and heralding the advent of house and EDM as the thriving forms they are today, he reunited The Buzzcocks and toured the world to triumphal packed houses.
They got back together a few more times, and our birthday boy contributed to a bunch of benefit projects both with them and on his own.
He left us at the end of 2018, inspiring a whole slew of tributes from a whole boatload of musical luminaries.
I've loved the music of Pete Shelley since I first heard Orgasm Addict by The Buzzcocks on the radio -- there's a song that would never get airplay today, but which in 1979 was perfectly OK! -- and his Eighties stuff is among my favorite electronic music ever made.
Which is why I spent the last several days playing the selector, compiling the man's seminal, tribal and in most cases unreissued and rarer-than-shit 12-inches and other hard-to-find singles into a neat playlist that encapsulates what his '80s stuff is all about.
Pete Shelley
Aural Stimulator
Steady Going Singles, 1981-89
2023 expanded edition

01 Designer Lamps (12" single)
02 Homosapien (alternadub)
03 One One One (12" single)
04 Give It to Me (extended)
05 Qu'est-Ce Que C'est Que Ça (NsNs flexidub insert mix)
06 I Surrender (dub)
07 It's Hard Enough Knowing (UK 'Homosapien' LP)
08 On Your Own (New York dub mix)
09 Keats' Song (UK 'Homosapien' LP)
10 I Don't Know What It Is (dub)
11 Telephone Operator/I Just Wanna Touch/If You Ask Me/No One Like You (dub)
12 Blue Eyes (extended)
13 In Love with Somebody Else (US 'Homosapien' LP)
14 Witness the Change (extended)
15 Many a Time (dub)
16 Pusher Man (UK 'Homosapien' LP)
17 Your Love (extended)
18 Please Forgive Me... But I Cannot Endure It Any Longer (extended)
19 Homosapien II (Icon mix)
20 Nelson's Riddle (extended)
21 Never Again (extended)
22 Waiting for Love (extended)
23 Maxine (B-side)
24 Love In Vain (US 'Homosapien' LP)
25 Yesterday's Not Here (Special Dance Mix)

Total time: 2:32:45
disc break can go after Track 13

continuous playlist constructed out of Pete Shelley's rarest 1980s 12", 7" & CD singles, many of which, in terms of the vinyl, have never been reissued in the digital era
vinyl denoised where necessary by EN, April 2020 + December 2023
expanded, with 10 tracks added and 5 upgraded to digital sources, in December 2023
This tape is truly something else... I was reading online about how popular these sides were to trip out to with psychedelics back in the day 30-40 years ago, and lemme tell you that is no surprise whatsoever. 
Honestly I was borderline hallucinating just from the titanic beats and primordial wails in some of the more abstract pieces, which beg so hard for legitimate reissue I lay awake nights lamenting.
I shall return sometime over the weekend with the latest, tragic COVID casualty, but Pete Shelley was born this day in 1955 so I made you all a 99-minute playlist present.
I hope all you alleged homosapiens take off your masks -- aw, heck, take it all off! -- and dance around your isolation area in his honor this weekend. Witness the change!--J.
4.17.1955 - 12.6.2018