Sunday, May 29, 2022

Captain Beyond These Things

All hands on deck, we've run afloat
I heard the captain cry
"Explore the ship, replace the cook"
"Let no one leave alive!"
Across the straits, around the horn
How far can sailors fly?
A twisted path, our tortured course
And no one left alive
We sailed for parts unknown to man
Where ships come home to die
No lofty peak, nor fortress bold
Could match our captain's eye
Upon the seventh seasick day
We made our port of call
A sand so white, and sea so blue
No mortal place at all
We fired the guns, and burned the mast
And rowed from ship to shore
The captain cried, we sailors wept
Our tears were tears of joy
Now many moons and many Junes
Have passed since we made land
A salty dog, the seaman's log
Your witness, my own hand

Procol Harum
Hofstra University Playhouse
Hempstead, New York

01 WLIR-FM introduction
02 Bringing Home the Bacon 
03 Simple Sister
04 Something Magic
05 Strangers In Space
06 Grand Hotel
07 Conquistador
08 Pandora's Box
09 The Unquiet Zone
10 A Salty Dog
11 The Mark of the Claw
12 A Whiter Shade of Pale
13 WLIR-FM credits

Total time: 1:12:50

Gary Brooker - piano & vocals
Mick Grabham - guitar
Dee Murray - bass
Pete Solley - piano, synthesizer & organ
B.J. Wilson - drums

master cassette of a WLIR-FM broadcast
pitch corrected by kingrue, January 2017
repaired, denoised, remastered and retracked by EN, May 2022
465 MB FLAC/May 2022 archive link

I'll be back next weekend to begin June with something that'll convince you I've gone crazy... a special project you might never expect from me, so don't stop believin'.
This small slice of 1977 right here, however, is for Gary Brooker, who'd have been 77 today had he not passed a few months back. Who was a songwriter for the ages who, as the guiding light behind the timelessly elegant band Procol Harum -- almost-Latin for "beyond these things" --  created music that will surely long outlast the merely material.--J.

5.29.1945 - 2.19.2022

Friday, May 27, 2022

Spellbound for Glory: Siouxsie Sioux 65

We interrupt the pathetic sausagefest that is my page with a birthday tribute to one of the true icons.

I met her once, you know. In a backstage area before a concert. True to her reputation, she was exceedingly contemptuous of everyone.

Paradoxically, this only made me like her more.

The concert was incredible, too. This was in 1988, I think.

Now we blink and the Punk priestess and godmother of Goth is turning 65 today.

One of the original British Punks -- didn't the Banshees open the first Sex Pistols performance? -- to actually have more to say than three chords and a gob of spit, she -- as much as any other figure -- defined the transition to Post Punk.

I guess it boils down to her one-of-a-kind voice, and that no one before or since has sounded anything like her, unless they're a one-dimensional imitator.

Anyway Siouxsie Sioux -- born Susan Ballion this day in 1957 -- has been doing it for 45 years at a very lofty level, and we are here to celebrate her milestone b'day.

And let's do precisely that with her legendary appearance on the German show Rockpalast, in the company of shredtastic guitarist John McGeoch and supporting 1981's pinnacle Juju album.

Siouxsie & The Banshees
Köln, Germany

01 WDR introduction
02 Israel
03 Halloween
04 Regal Zone
05 Spellbound
06 Arabian Knights
07 Switch
08 Pulled to Bits
09 Head Cut
10 Tenant
11 Night Shift
12 Sin In My Heart
13 But Not Them
14 Voodoo Dolly
15 Hong Kong Garden
16 Eve White/Eve Black
17 Happy House
18 Skin

Total time: 1:14:25

Siouxsie Sioux - vocals, percussion & guitar
John McGeoch - guitar
Steve Severin - bass
Budgie - drums & percussion

192/48K audio extracted from a 1997 WDR-TV rebroadcast
remastered, repaired, tracked & converted to 16/44 CD Audio by EN, May 2022

I'll be back in 48 hours with something for a recently-departed Maestro.

Don't sleep on Siouxsie tho.... she will keep you Spellbound.--J.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Name of This Post Is David Byrne 70

It's time for the Saturday night special rejoinder to that pistol of an Ian Dury concert, this time celebrating an indisputable icon of the music and art of our lifetimes.

We were discussing on social media the other day, who is the most Avant Garde rockstar? The figure who sold the most records with the most out-there possible output?

Lots of names were bandied about. British eccentrics like Peter "dressed as a flower" Gabriel and his pal Kate Bush were mentioned. Creativity-hungry freaks like Zappa and his high school buddy Captain Van Vliet too. And of course game changing, chameleonic wizards like David Bowie are in the conversation.

There are as many answers to the question as maybe there are people, but the basic concept is "who among these put the most challenging, unusual and far-reaching ideas in front of the most masses of people for the longest period of time?"

Today's 70th birthday boy, we concluded, is the winner of that particular sweepstakes.

Since 1977 he's been at the uninterrupted forefront of such things, and you can trace a consistent arc from his first appearance in the culture 45 years ago, as part of the crop of world-changing artists to come from the Downtown NYC/CBGBs scene, to his current smash-hit Broadway musical.

There have been globe-shifting stops along the way. Such as My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, a record that will astonish people centuries from now and which possibly did more to usher in the modern era of music than any other you could name of the last 50 years.

He's had his own, genre-boundary-pushing label for several decades now. And of course we can state the obvious: the band he masterminded -- and which people still revere as almost no other -- is probably the most out-there, unapologetically weird Rock group ever to rule the charts in a several-sizes-too-big suit.

So yeah: add it all up with Talking Heads and his own adventures, and you come out with the pinnacle level of sophistication Americans, in particular, can handle in their pop music.

To mark the occasion of his milestone birthday today, I have snazzed up a woefully undercirculated show from when he first went out on his own for his first proper solo tour.

This one happened 30 years ago in the historic Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, and as an added attraction features The Meters' bassist George Porter, Jr. holding down the bottom.

David Byrne
Saenger Theatre
New Orleans, Louisiana USA

01 Well
02 Buck Naked
03 Nothing But Flowers
04 Sax & Violins
05 Tiny Town
06 Girls On My Mind
07 Mr. Jones
08 Loco de Amor
09 Something Ain’t Right
10 Life During Wartime
11 Women vs. Men
12 Somebody
13 Hanging Upside Down
14 Take Me to the River
15 Monkey Man 
16 Lie to Me
17 Now I'm Your Mom
18 She's Mad
19 Blind
20 Burning Down the House
21 Make Believe Mambo
22 Sympathy for the Devil
23 And She Was
24 Psycho Killer

Total time: 1:57:11
disc break goes after Track 14

David Byrne - guitar, vocals & percussion
George Porter, Jr. - bass & vocals
Jonathan Best - keyboards & vocals
Ángel Fernández - trumpet & vocals
Ite Jerez - trumpet
Steve Sacks - saxophone
Lewis Kahn - violin
Oscar Salas - drums
Bobby Allende - percussion
Héctor Rosado - percussion

master DAT from the desk
remastered, repaired & retracked with encore applause trimmed by EN, May 2022
769 MB FLAC/May 2022 archive link

This show came to me in a pretty sorry state, with the low end almost non-existent, but I used some Sound Forge magic and brought it to a state much more befitting its ferocious intensity.

All in all, an appropriate tribute in line with the caliber of the artist we're talking about, born under punches once in a life during wartime 70 years ago this day and still sending pushed envelopes via his own uniquely special delivery.--J.

this must be the place

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Long Live Block: Ian Dury 80

We're gonna do two Heads in three days, both celebrating milestone birthdays.

We'll begin with a Blockhead long passed, but impossible to forget.

It's a cliché to say it for the millionth time, but to say this guy was a unique talent would fall far short of an adequate description.

He survived a whole lotta hardship and struggle to get to where he did, there's no denying.

A polio survivor, it seems obvious the likes of someone like him would never be allowed past security at the record company these days.

In the late 1970s, he had a string of half-spoken, half-sung tracks that were massive global hits, and remain a part of the cultural firmament to this day.

As identifiable-by-one-syllable as he still is because of those tunes, he was really most powerful as a live performer.

Since he'd have been 80 today, I've cobbled together one of his most legendary performances, from the best available materials, from 1980.

This is from Christmas Eve that year, at the landmark Dominion Theatre in London.

It's an appropriate place for it, as Ian Dury is undeniably one of the most recognizably British artists the world shall ever see.

Anyway I worked really hard on this, to make it all one thing and an accurate representation of the gig.

All in all, I think it's a worthy memento of a legendary one-off and legit Cockney rebel.

Ian Dury & The Blockheads
Dominion Theatre
London, UK

01 Annie Nightingale BBC introduction
02 The Upminster Kid
03 Clevor Trever
04 Sink My Boats
05 I'm Partial to Your Abracadabra
06 Sueperman's Big Sister
07 Yes and No (Paula)
08 Uncoolahol
09 Billericay Dickie
10 Delusions of Grandeur
11 Dance of the Crackpots
12 I Made Mary Cry
13 What a Waste
14 Hey Hey, Take Me Away
15 Manic Depression (Jimi)
16 Oh Mr. Peanut
17 instrumental medley incl. Wake Up and Make Love to Me/Inbetweenies/Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll/Reasons to be Cheerful pt.3
18 Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick
19 Sweet Gene Vincent
20 Blockheads
21 band introductions
22 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Total time: 1:19:57

Ian Dury - vocals
Don Cherry - trumpet & vocals
Wilko Johnson - guitar & vocals
John Turnbull - guitar & vocals
Davey Payne - saxophones, flute, harmonica & vocals
Mick Gallagher - keyboards & synthesizers
Norman Watt-Roy - bass & vocals
Charlie Charles - drums
Nicky "Topper" Headon - percussion

composite of the complete performance, assembled from BBC Rock Hour #215 pre-FM LPs and a 2010 BBC-TV mono video rebroadcast
last song substituted from Lucianatten, Stockholm SE 12.13.1980 FM master cassette
reconstructed -- with TV portion remastered -- by EN, May 2022
495 MB FLAC/May 2022 archive link

That's right, you read that bit correctly... he's got Don Cherry in the band, blowing up on pocket trumpet throughout most of the tunes with a constant, brassy commentary.

I managed to get the full show all crammed onto a single CD, too. Barely.

Maybe someday this barn burner will get an official release, but don't hold your breath, astronauts.

I'll be back in 48 with another kind of Head for your happy hamper, but today is a day to celebrate the life and legacy of Ian Dury, who gave the world quite a few reasons to be cheerful in his time on Earth.--J.

5.12.1942 - 3.27.2000