Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Golden Age of TV

Tom Verlaine - Rotation

I am breaking my unofficial rule of waiting until their next birthday, because some losses are unquantifiable.

As you may know by now, Saturday morning a truly legendary figure passed away, and a lotta folks are truly grieving.

2023 so far is really trying to give 2016 a run for its money, isn't it? It's not even February yet and no less than five huge music people have gone on.

There have already been myriad, deserved tributes in the wake of yesterday's announcement, and there'll be many deserved more, so I am adding mine here.

Marrying the rawness and unpretension of Punk with the extended improvisations of Coltrane in full flight, this guy altered the DNA of the landscape of music with one foot in Patti Smith and one in Eight Miles High.

In some ways he did it all a tremendous service, by delivering the electric guitar out of the hands of the Rolls Royce driving Claptonian class and back into more legitimately proletarian paws, jettisoning a lot of the tired Blues cliché set in the process.

As part of one of the most influential bands of our era, he upped the ante at a time when it was unclear whether anything new could be said with that instrument.

So now, after a career -- first with Television and then on his own -- that can only be described as monumental, Tom Verlaine has left the building.

His wild excursions of six-stringed Satori leave a mark no guitar player that remains will be able to avoid, however.

There isn't much more to add, except that any human being that touches an electric guitar from the first Television record forward -- that's the last 45 years and counting -- is gonna drive on roads this guy paved.

Case in point: this 63+ minutes of fire, captured from Spanish TV in the mid 1980s.

Tom Verlaine
La Edad de Oro
TVE Studios
Madrid, Spain

01 Glory
02 Miss Emily
03 Red Leaves
04 Rotation
05 Souvenir from a Dream
06 Penetration
07 Dissolve/Reveal
08 Kingdom Come
09 Swim
10 Clear It Away
11 Marquee Moon

Total time: 1:03:28

Tom Verlaine - guitar & vocals
Jimmy Ripp - guitar & vocals
Fred Smith - bass
Jay Dee Daugherty - drums

256/48k audio from a DVD of a master Betamax videocassette of the original broadcast
extracted, converted to 16/44 CD audio, tracked, repaired and slightly remastered by EN, January 2023
301 MB FLAC/direct link

I pulled the audio from one of those (yes they are epic) DVDs that circulate of so many of the La Edad de Oro shows, that homeboy in Spain made from his Betamax tapes of them from back in the day.

Now it can get about in decent audio form, having previously only been around as a video thing.

That's (really this time) it for January, but I could not resist staying up all night with the TV on, delivering a memorial to this departed, Adventurous icon of the music of our age.--J.

12.13.1949 - 1.28.2023

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Solar Battery: Ra Kalam Bob Moses 75

Ra Kalam Bob Moses - SB 4.6

I know I said January was over, but that was before I figured out this guy was milestoning a birthday today.

He is so central to the union of Jazz and Rock, beginning at the very start of that merger in the 1960s, that I just could not resist covering him, especially after I found something so rare and uncirculated it just begged the question.

It all hinges on his initial association with another milestone birthday boy from earlier this week, who turned 80 just a few days ago: vibes titan Gary Burton, whom I've covered a million times.

When they got together and GB's records began to dip a toe into what a real synthesis between the two forms could be, Bob Moses was essential to what they came up with.

When he grabbed Larry Coryell from Gary Burton's group and the two began The Free Spirits, that's where a lotta folks feel Jazz-Rock -- the molecular merging that accentuates the best of both, rather than the somewhat tepid, uncertain forays that had preceded them -- as its own, whole new genre was born.

It wasn't long before he began to record as a leader, and he's really never stopped in the intervening 55 years.

He has also drummed for the likes of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius, among dozens others.

Born this day in 1948, he is 75 today and I just could not not slam this up here in his honor, formative force of percussive mastery that he is.

How could I not, when I found this unbelievable set -- which I whittled down to a single CD of highlights this afternoon -- floating around on Soulseek last night?

Ra Kalam Bob Moses
Sonic Beds Sampler

01 SB 3.7
02 SB 2.1
03 SB 4.2
04 SB 2.3
05 SB 3.6
06 SB 2.7
07 SB 4.1
08 SB 2.9
09 SB 1.7
10 SB 1.8
11 SB 1.9
12 SB 1.4
13 SB 4.6
14 SB 3.19
15 SB 4.3

Total time: 1:18:16

Ra Kalam Bob Moses - drums, flutes, percussion, bass and voice

selection culled by EN from a four-volume "Sonic Beds" CDR collection, intended as "untitled sonic beds to relax to and/or freely improvise along with"
constructed by Ra Kalam Bob Moses & given to the recipient as payment for a recording session several years ago
location & dates unknown, but likely recorded in RKBM's home studio in the 2000s and 2010s
371 MB FLAC/direct link

None of this (the whole thing totals 4+ hours) bundle of batterie bliss circulates on the internet apart from the two people that had it on Soulseek... I think RKBM intended these as backgrounds with which to play along, or just to chill and listen to.

It was all untitled, so I used the volume and track numbers as surrogate titles for the tunes.

Regardless, it seemed appropriate to toss in an extra post for the year's premiere month, and what better subject around which to center it than native New Yorker Ra Kalam Bob Moses, who is a hit -- usually a hit that produces a unique percussion sound of some sort -- any day of the decade? Long may he bash!--J.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Gift Rapture: Anita Baker 65

Anita Baker - Feel the Need

We'll top off January with the week's second milestone birthday for someone named Anita. Anita rejoinder? I got you.

Today's birthday person comes to us from out of the quiet storm, with some thunder for your satin sheets.

She began at the end of the 1970s in a band, but it was when pried loose from the group structure that she absolutely exploded into almost her own genre.

The voice that launched 1000 urban contemporary radio stations, it was when Anita Baker's second record dropped that she really went through the roof.

At one time, in 1986, you couldn't swing a radio without it tuning to one of her songs.

In her heyday, she practically redefined the idea of the soul ballad, giving rise to a million Mary J. Bliges in the process.

She retired for a while a couple of years ago, but now she's back after wresting the rights to her stuff from the evil suits.

She was born in Ohio in 1958, so we're gonna celebrate her 65th trip 'round the sun with a deep show from her initial pinnacle period, captured from the BBC onto cassette 38 years ago and refurbished by me to represent essentially the complete concert.

Anita Baker
Hammersmith Odeon
London, UK

01 Baby, Why You Treat Me So Bad?
02 Feel the Need
03 Mystery
04 You Bring Me Joy 
05 You're the Best Thing Yet 
06 Watch Your Step 
07 Angel 
08 Same Ole Love 
09 Sometimes 
10 Caught Up In the Rapture 
11 Been So Long 
12 Sweet Love

Total time: 1:12:42

Anita Baker - vocals
Bobby Lyle - keyboards
Donald Griffin - guitar
Garry Glenn - synthesizers & percussion
Gerald Albright - saxophones
Gerald Lyles - bass
James Bradley, Jr - drums
Natalie Jackson, Tanya Boyd & Saundra Simmons - vocals

off-air FM master cassette, recorded from the BBC
slightly repaired, denoised and declipped by EN, January 2023
474 MB FLAC/direct link

So there's your January, man. I'll return at the appropriate moments to make the febrile February fever fantabulate, or something.

But before I go, we again wish many more sun revolutions to the lovely Miss Anita Baker, because she brings us Joy!--J.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Royal Oakland: Anita Pointer 75


Pointer Sisters - Slow Hand

The last week of the year's first month is here, and Anita witness.

So we shall bust out with not one, but two irreplaceable ladies with that first name to close out January.

Let's begin in that other city by the Bay, that thanks to people like today's birthday girl isn't just all in the SF shadow all the time anymore.

She passed away last month, just shy of the milestone b'day she'd have reached today, but not before leading one of the most beloved groups ever to some of their most indelible tracks.

Most of their really big hits, she's the primary vocalist.

Including the first one, a cover of the Lee Dorsey song "Yes We Can Can" that put The Pointer Sisters on the map.

That was 50 years ago, and the intervening decades have seen them become one of the biggest vocal groups ever to rock the mic.

As big a reason for that success as any of them has to be Anita Pointer, born this day in 1948.

She may have left us last New Year's Eve, but the music she left us will last well beyond the lifetimes of anyone currently breathing.

For those looking for evidence, I will suggest the 50 minutes that follows as Exhibit A.

The Pointer Sisters
The Metro
Boston, Massachussetts USA

01 WW1 promo
02 WW1 intro
03 WW1 promo: Jeffrey Osborne
04 You're My Happiness
05 Slow Hand
06 WW1 break
07 He's So Shy
08 band introductions
09 Fire
10 Automatic
11 WW1 break
12 Heartbeat
13 Get Your Lady Back
14 WW1 promo: Patti LaBelle
15 WW1 break
16 I'm So Excited
17 Jump
18 WW1 outro

Total time: 49:33

Ruth Pointer - vocals 
Anita Pointer - vocals 
June Pointer - vocals
Joe Mumford - guitar 
Mike White - drums
Eric McKain - percussion 
Marc Ritter - piano & synthesizers 
Greg Whelchel - synthesizers & keyboards 
Don Boyette - bass guitar & bass synthesizer

sourced from the Westwood One "Startrak Profiles Pop Concert" pre-FM vinyl * the WW1 announcer is Phil Hendrie * first aired 6.17.1985
slightly retracked -- with volume increased +1.75 dB throughout -- by EN, January 2023
320 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll be right on back on Thursday with another Anita -- with yet another milestone birthday, and this one's even still alive! -- for your Soul Songstress section.

But before that happens, it's a 75th birthday celebration, in memoriam for Miss Anita. Look at you, you know you're so excited!--J.

1.23.1948 - 12.31.2022