Sunday, November 29, 2020

Breaking Blues

I was originally planning to do the 80th b'day of flugelhorn flogger Chuck Mangione today, but I didn't feel the 1973 show I had was up to snuff soundwise. Then energies shifted elsewhere.

For it's also the 87th birthday -- seniority, you know -- of another legendary figure, and one who nearly six decades ago helped get the ball rolling on a very fertile period in the music of our age.

That he is still alive at his advanced age, and still carrying the torch for the music, makes it all the sweeter.

They called it the British Blues Boom back then, and it unleashed a great deal of the music everyone worships for the last 50 years from Eric Clapton to Fleetwood Mac and back again.

Why this happened this way has been the subject of dozens of books and films.

They're still wondering, why? How did The Blues -- the indigenous, articulated suffering song of an oppressed minority in a faraway land -- cross the pond and get adopted, recapitulated and repurposed by white, well-off kids in the UK?

The answers to those questions are probably more detailed than a single post here could cover.
Our 87th birthday guy sure helped ask the questions, anyway. The list of luminaries that have passed through his band is so extensive, it reads like a Hall Of Fame in and of itself.

So yeah, yesterday I dug out my John Mayall folder and went diggin'.

Originally I had intended just to share a single set from the Fillmore East from 50 years ago.

However, as soon as I went down the rabbit hole, things got a little crazy. But it's a good folder, you know?

I think it was the late, great Daniel Johnston who said that he leaned towards the excessive... but that's just how it is when you're a manic depressive. So here's four hours of the best live Bluesbreakers -- featuring three of his best bands -- that be.

John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers
NYC 70 + Gothenburg 72

Fillmore East
New York City, NY USA

01 "Casablanca" intro/band introductions
02 Train I Ride
03 Can't Be Wrong for Long
04 The Laws Must Change
05 Be with You Tonight
06 Jumping At Shadows
07 Move, Baby, Move jam

Total time: 57:34

John Mayall – vocals, keyboards, harmonica & guitar
Jon Mark – guitar
Alex Dmochowski  – bass
Johnny Almond – tenor saxophone & flute
Duster Bennett – harmonica, guitar & drums

48k soundboard master reel from the collection of David Gans, transferred by Charlie Miller and edited/mastered by SIRMick
converted to CD Audio 16/44 by EN, November 2020
Fillmore East
New York City, NY USA

early set
01 You Must Be Crazy
02 Deep Blue Sea
03 My Pretty Girl
04 Someday Baby (You'll Be Sorry) 
05 Possessive Emotions
06 Nature's Disappearing
07 encore break
08 We Get Along (Nobody Treats Me Like You Do)

late set
01 introduction by John Mayall
02 Deep Blue Sea
03 Going Out Walking
04 Took the Car
05 Off the Road
06 Why (Do You Treat Me So Mean)?
07 Possessive Emotions
08 encore break
09 My Pretty Girl

Total time: 1:55:27

John Mayall - vocals, keyboards, harmonica & guitar
Harvey Mandel - guitar
Larry Taylor - bass

48k soundboard master reel from the collection of David Gans, transferred by Charlie Miller and edited/mastered by SIRMick
converted to CD Audio 16/44 -- with the first 90 seconds of the early set repaired/restored from existing bits -- by EN, November 2020
589 MB FLAC here
Gothenburg, Sweden
01 Driving Dangerously   
02 Mess Around
03 Good Time Boogie/That’s Alright for You
04 Times Are Getting Tougher 
05 I Wish I Could Understand/Baby, What Do You Have to Lose 
06 Dry Throat 

Total time: 1:08:28

John Mayall - vocals, harmonica, keyboards & guitar
Freddie Robinson - guitar & vocals
Blue Mitchell - trumpet & flugelhorn
Clifford Solomon - tenor saxophone
Victor Gaskin - bass
Keef Hartley - drums

master cassette of an indeterminate FM broadcast from Swedish radio
transferred and remastered by 38f
track markers modified and FM announcer removed by EN, November 2020
460 MB FLAC here

I repaired the beginning of the October 1970 Fillmore show from existing materials, and I'd dare say I did a real tasty job on it too. Tell me how you liked it.

This will do it for me for November, and now it's time to figure out December and wrap up this insane, mega-challenging year.

Don't miss out on this exquisitely unissued triple play of our birthday Blues Maestro, though! It's gonna give you all the room to move!--J.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Post Punksgiving: Sixty Second Sight

We'll slip this in to start the weekend festivittles off on the correct leftover leg.

This crackling 41 minutes of Punk Jazz mayhem was delivered 38 years ago today and has lost fully none of its punch.

The leader of this group -- which likely would have broken through to greater success had he not died in 1985 in a car wreck -- passed away 35 years ago next month.

Their bass player picked up the pieces and went on to form a seminal band of his own, and thankfully he is still a force in music.

They are typically thought of as one of the screamingest Punk bands of the 1980s, but IMO they were too competent on their instruments and too stylistically diverse to just be mere punks for Punk's sake.

What's funny to me about them is how they bend time, managing to cram so much material into their barely-a-minute-long tunes.

It again goes back to their guitar player and leader, and his uncanny ability to sound like Wayne Kramer and James "Blood" Ulmer in the same song.

They also funked hard, and with intention.

Yes, these Minutemen marched into many's the battle, and came out victorious.

This set, taped at KPFK-FM's old midnight live concert series in the early Eighties, is as highly representative of their aesthetic ethos as any you're gonna come across. And the radio folk did a stellar job of capturing it on the fly as well.

Studio Z
Los Angeles, California USA

01 opening jam
02 The Process
03 Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
04 Sell Or Be Sold
05 Mutiny In Jonestown
06 Life As a Rehearsal
07 Beacon Sighted Through Fog
08 The Tin Roof
09 The Only Minority
10 Faith
11 Black Sheep
12 Cut
13 Joy
14 More Joy
15 Pure Joy
16 Joy Jam (with Spot)
17 Fake Contest
18 Sickles and Hammers
19 Polarity
20 Split Red
21 The Maze
22 Plight
23 One Chapter In the Book
24 encore applause
25 The Anchor
26 Paranoid Chant
27 KPFK-FM outro by DJ Andrea 'Enthal

Total time: 41:37

Dennes Dale "D." Boon - guitar & vocals
George Hurley - drums
Mike Watt - bass & vocals
Spot - clarinet

master cassette of the original KPFK-FM broadcast

I will return Sunday to finish this month off with something maybe a little bit more traditionally in line with this page. So look out for some vile Jazz snobbery, coming soon.

Don't sleep on this blistering show though.... it only takes a minute, y'all!--J.

                                                                 4.1.1958 - 12.22.1985

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Punksgiving: Slits It!

We're back with some holiday fare, and a welcome and necessary antidote to my Sausage Fest of a page.

A few days ago I warned you all about this wild THTP archive series, with all these Punk, Postpunk and New Wave shows that have never seen the light of day until now.

This installment of Punksgiving comes straight from that, and oh my word is it a motherfucker.

Everybody thinks of The Runaways as the first all-female group of this period, but they had competition on the other side of the pond.

A little bit like The Clash -- they became famous by opening for them in the mid 1970s UK Punk explosion -- they started out barely able to play and then got good enough to sort of graduate from Gob University into other styles like Reggae and Dub. All whilst retaining their visceral edge and commitment.

They just don't make music or bands like this anymore; these ladies would not get past the reception desk these days.

No matter, because there was once an era where this sort of thing wasn't just welcome, it was encouraged.

I dunno about you, but I'm ready for those sort of times to revolve back again, any time they're ready.

What's perhaps the most awesome part of this tale is that The Slits -- a band as stylistically fresh and diverse as any of the classic Punk era, but who got "the shaft" in terms of wider recognition due to their non-possession of male genitalia -- still get out and play, where these Quarantine Times will allow.

They had an official vinyl bootleg from this tour, that was taped a few days before at The Stone in SF, but it's never been reissued since 1980. And honestly this tape, captured 40 years to this very day at another legendary Bay Area punk palace, sounds about 40 million times better, recorded as it was by the Superman of that scene, engineer Terry Hammer.

The story has it that he offered them these recordings to form the basis of their live record, but they turned him down and put out the crappier-sounding one to retain their Punk, D.I.Y. cred.
The Slits
Rat's Palace
San Francisco, CA

01 New Town
02 Walkabout
03 Man Next Door
04 Life On Earth
05 I Heard It Through the Grapevine
06 Face Place
07 Fade Away
08 Typical Girls
09 Animal Spaces
10 In the Beginning There Was Rhythm
11 Or What It Is
12 I Heard It Through the Grapevine/Instant Hit

Total time: 1:12:56

Ari Up (Ariane Forster) - vocals & percussion
Viv Albertine - guitar & vocals
Tessa Pollitt - bass & vocals
Bruce Smith – drums & percussion
Steve Beresford - keyboards, melodica, trumpet, trombone, electronics & percussion

master reels of a multichannel matrix of soundboard and audience mics, engineered and recorded by Terry Hammer; 
#123 in the THTP series
Tracks 11 & 12 recorded at The Keystone, Berkeley CA 11.23.1980 with the same gear by Terry Hammer; from #122 in the THTP series
converted to CD Audio 16/44 from DAT 16/48, duplicate applause at end of Track 03 removed, 
track markers adjusted and bonus tracks added by EN, November 2020

This tape illustrates, with attitude to spare, what made these women the force to be reckoned with that they so manifestly were.

I took the liberty of adding a couple of bonus cuts, recorded two days previous at The Keystone in Berkeley and also captured by Terry Hammer, because why not? That way, you get the full 73-minute assault.

I may be back in a minute with more, but I'm not sure yet... but don't let that deter you from slicing open this package of Slits and letting this turkey spice up your Punksgiving revelry!--J.

Friday, November 20, 2020

From Here to Fraternity

We'll end the consecutive trifecta, and begin the weekend, with a tale of brotherly love and collaboration spanning decades.

These two siblings have been at it for a long, long time, both together and apart.

All told, they've led, co-led and sessioned on too many LPs to count.

I found their music from being a huge Fusion fan, with their propensity to turn up in that context early and often.

The younger plays piano and keys, the elder clarinet.

Joachim and Rolf Kühn have been recording and gigging since the 1960s, and it gives me great pleasure to report that they still are.

I've been meaning to cover them for the whole seven years I've been at this, and today provides a sweet 47th anniversary show to do just that.
Rolf & Joachim Kühn Septet
NDR Jazzworkshop No. 95
Studio 10, Grosser Sendesaal des NDR Funkhauses
Hamburg, Germany 

01 Do Dat Dudek
02 Palle's Tune
03 Paris '73
04 German Country
05 Things Are What They Used to Be
06 Spider's Dance

Total time: 1:29:12
disc break goes after Track 03

Rolf Kühn - clarinet
Joachim Kühn - keyboards & synthesizer
Randy Brecker - trumpet
Toto Blanke - guitar
Palle Danielsson - bass
Edward Vesala - drums
Kasper Winding - percussion

spectral analysis seems to indicate a pre-broadcast source, but there's a line at 20k so it must be a superb off-air reel
Track 05 comes from a recent partial WDR digital FM rebroadcast

This constitutes the complete 90 minute set, composited from two different, awesome-quality broadcasts.

I shall return next week to baste you turkeys with a trifecta for Punksgiving, starting next Wednesday, but don't miss out on the brothers Kühn here.... there's an hour-an-a-half of funky fraternization on tap!--J.