Saturday, November 27, 2021


Greetings and Happy Everything! This will be the only November post, but it's jampacked for sure... just make sure that you read all the way through, OK?

Today we're gonna pull one of my classic stealth moves and use the anniversary of a concert to slide you something special, on top of that 60 minutes of mayhem.

For today we mark the 45th birthday of this show to celebrate one of the greatest bands of this or any other lifetime, no lie.

Way more harmonious than Oasis and way more hilarious than the Everly Brothers, these two siblings have been at it a real long time, and form what is firmly one of the tiny handful of groups about whom you could legitimately say that they've gotten better over the course of time.
Not that the music they started making 55 years ago is not astounding, mind you. Their initial song they ever recorded is possibly the first track ever to talk about computers, in fact. Maybe only Bruce Haack preceded them, I dunno.

I've known about them and loved their music since I was 12. Or rather, I discovered them at 12, but for the first few years I thought they were a band made up for the purposes of a silly 1970s disaster movie.

I wonder how many people out there know them from Rollercoaster. They claim to have hated being associated with it and I can see why, but it probably, in the long run, has helped their career. In this year's big documentary about them, one of the celebrity fans of theirs that are interviewed (can't recall which, I'm bad at celebrities) says he too found them through that (admittedly godawful) film.

The movies are an obsessional theme with these guys, and over the decades they've been a part of a few film projects that got scratched just as they were about to happen. Which makes what went on this year for them all the more satisfyingly sweet.

First they had the biggest streaming sensation of 2021, the musical they wrote called "Annette," which blew up Amazon Prime and I think is on Mubi now. It will hit the theaters next year and if you haven't seen it you're truly missing out.

Then the aforementioned Edgar Wright doc hit the theaters and a few streaming services, and the wider world finally got to understand why The Sparks Brothers -- real names: Ron and Russell Mael -- form the nucleus of everyone's favorite band's favorite band.

That band, you must know, is called Sparks, and it's no overstatement to say that they're the sincere equal of everyone you might throw out there, from The Beatles on down through Neil Young, or Prince, or whomever.

How did they avoid wider public recognition for our whole lifetimes? Well, you'll have to watch the documentary for the full story, but in a nutshell if I had to say why I'd simply say because they're too smart and sophisticated for America to get!

Maybe that's why they had to go to England to get anywhere at first. Heck, a lot of people probably still think they're British! I know I did at age 12 anyway.

Now, about that concert. I think this comes from the soundtrack of a black-and-white, semi-pro video that's been around, but it may have also gone out over FM radio. It's a little rough around the edges soundwise, but well worth the while.

Capitol Theatre
Passaic, NJ

01 Nothing to Do
02 I Want to Be Like Everybody Else
03 Something for the Girl With Everything
04 White Women
05 Talent Is an Asset
06 I Bought the Mississippi River
07 Everybody's Stupid
08 BC
09 Equator
10 This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us
11 Amateur Hour
12 I Like Girls
13 Big Boy
14 Fill 'Er Up
15 Throw Her Away (And Get a New One)

Total time: 1:03:55

Russell Mael - vocals 
Ron Mael - keyboards
Jim McAlister - guitar & vocals
Luke Zamperini - guitar & vocals
David Swanson - bass 
Hilly Boy Michaels - drums

soundtrack of a semi-pro-shot video
sourced from the bootleg CD "Big Beat Live 1976"; this show may have also been broadcast on FM radio
Track 15 is a bonus track from the same concert, taped from the audience and included for completeness' sake
287 MB FLAC/November 2021 archive link

Now for the main course. I'm not gonna say too much, except that while I've been away one of the main things I've been working on -- really solidly for the last 4 months especially -- has been to do something some folks said couldn't be done.

If you click on this link right here, you'll be taken to a 10 1/2 hour, 8CD, totally lossless collection of (almost) every outtake and non-album track of Sparks, covering their entire career since 1967. There's crazy, vinyl-only remixes, collaborations with other artists, weird cover versions and a whole disc of demos. Some of it's never been released anywhere, but over these last 12 weeks I have put it together to make everyone's Sparksgiving a little more filling.

I hope everyone's holidays shape up to be stellar, and I hope everyone enjoys this show and the bonkers rarities compilation I've snuck in to Easter your Eggs. And what's not to enjoy? Sparks are flying high as ever, so I wanted to finish out their big year with an imaginary boxset, made real through gargantuan effort, that's been a long time coming and which tells their story in a novel and necessary way. Bon appetit, Big Boy!--J.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Alchemy Generation: Richard Lloyd 70

OK, maybe no one will see this, but this page is 8 years old today so it seemed wrong to let that day pass without saying something.

I know I have been gone from here 6 months and in the comments of that last post, I tried to explain why. The full-time job of doing this at the high level I try to do it at just got to be too much time investment.

I also got tired of being stuck at 666 posts, devilishly good as that might have been.

I've still been working on stuff -- in particular a huge project collecting, in one place, the almost 100 non-album tracks of a certain seminal band, who shall remain nameless until the end of November -- but for the last half a year I've put this page down out of sheer exhaustion with it and everything it requires to at least not suck at it.

In short, this bootleg bag is the most pissed-in pool every created by humans, and to try and be the goalkeeper poolboy that struggles in vain to clean it can get really stressful and mighty time consuming.

Anyway it's my birthday so I can do whatever the fuck I want to do, and I want to celebrate someone exactly 15 years my senior who's been on my internal playlist in one iteration or another since teen times, back in 1811 or something.

People know him from the band Television, but I always felt he was too easily overshadowed in that group by the other guitarist.

We'll hear him here way back 40-something years ago when he had just split Television and made his first (yes it's tremendous even now, decades on) album on his own.

This is a very abrasive and in-your-face performance of the majority of that record, broadcast as part of "New York City Music Week" live over the old WPIX-FM.

There's even a quick interview at the end with Blondie's Debbie Harry & Chris Stein outside the venue, discussing the NYC scene of the time.

So yeah, in case you haven't figured it out yet, Richard Lloyd -- guitar crusher of our lifetimes -- is the big 70 today, can you believe that? I feel older every second.

Richard Lloyd

01 Misty Eyes
02 In the Night
03 Alchemy
04 Number Nine
05 Woman's Way
06 Blue and Grey
07 Pretend/Should've Known Better
08 John Ogle interviews Debbie Harry & Chris Stein  

Total time: 40:04

Richard Lloyd - guitar, harmonica, piano & vocals
James Mastro - guitar
Matthew McKenzie - guitar
Fred Smith - bass
Vinny DeNunzio - drums

master off-air FM cassette of the original WPIX-FM broadcast of "NYC Music Week 1979"
channel-balanced and retracked by EN, October 2021

This is around on a bootleg all over the place, but I seriously doubt they took the effort to fix the channel balance and retrack the thing like I did. I think they skipped right to the "profit passively off music you didn't create" part.

I'm gonna try to finish the things I've been doing so I can share the fruits of my (wholly uncompensated) labors here with whoever still visits this place, coming in the near future.

OK? Thanks for reading this and happy milestone birthday to Richard Lloyd, who was smart enough to turn off the Television when it was longer fun to watch, and created his own equally-as-must-see programming in the process.--J.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Marion Made

Let's rejoinder the post of a few minutes ago with the promised 2nd half of our weekend fare.

This one was taped as part of a mid-Eighties series that can only be described as essential to the power of necessary, times infinity squared.

From 1984 through to about 1988, the radio home of Brandeis University in Massachusetts broadcast a semi-weekly program called "The Joint" featuring some of the hippest Jazzers then jazzing.

I'll have a bunch of these for y'all as their anniversaries come up, but this one is from 36 years ago today and might be the single most astonishing one.

It's 68+ minutes of beautifully-captured solo saxophone, provided by one of our epoch's most tremendous alto practitioners.

I don't know about you, but there's few things I consider less significant in this lifetime than nearly 70 minutes of vintage, unaccompanied Marion Brown.

One of the most undersung and deeply lyrical players of our era, with one note or phrase you know who's blowing without even thinking.

He gets into a bunch of standards here -- if I can figure out what the 2nd tune is before I fall over, I'll die happy -- with an emphasis on compositions of Thelonious Monk.

Marion Brown 
"The Joint" on WBRS-FM
Winer Wing
USDAN Student Center
Brandeis University 
Waltham, Massachusetts USA

01 Angel Eyes
02 unidentified title 
03 I Can't Get Started 
04 Hurry Sundown 
05 Since I Fell for You
06 Black and Tan Fantasy 
07 'Round Midnight 
08 Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are 
09 La Placita 
10 Ask Me Now

Total time: 1:08:43 

Marion Brown - alto saxophone

1st gen cassette of the original WBRS-FM broadcast

So there you are, two in two hours and both well worth the while IMO.
Marion Brown would have been 90 this September, so don't be surprised if he makes a repeat appearance.

I shall return shortly to continue the April showers of sonics, but these two master blasts oughta keep you busy for a bit!--J.

9.8.1931 - 10.18.2010 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Sound Czech

Stop! Hammer time!

I've never done this before but we're gonna wrap two around midnight here, one for the 17th and one for the 18th.

Up first is the 73rd birthday of a keyboard deity most folks know from TV, even if they have never heard his name.

Perhaps the most storied muso of our epoch to hail from the Czech Republic (when he was born, it was still Czechoslovakia), he first popped up on the world's radar as a charter member of The Mahavishnu Orchestra.

One of the first to use a Minimoog onstage, his weaving, ridiculously tasteful and funky solos helped TMO define the idiom of Fusion as much as any other group.

Unfortunately he and bandleader John McLaughlin did not get along too well, and the group imploded after an initial 18-month run scorching audiences' minds to madness.

He soon formed his own band, to which Jeff Beck was added for a sold-out tour.

He began to score for film and TV, and in 1984 he was commissioned to provide the music for a show that would obsess the whole world.

His multi-award-winning soundtrack for Miami Vice is probably one of the most recognizable of all time.

This here is the best 1970s boot of him, from a radio tape and remastered by the Pitch Professor Goody. I even restored the start of the first track from constituent parts, because that's how I roll.

Jan Hammer Group
Berliner Jazztage 1976
Berlin, Germany 

01 Topeka 
02 The Seventh Day 
03 Country and Eastern Music 
04 I Remember Me
05 Steppings Tones
06 No Lands Man (incl. drum solo)
07 Red and Orange

Total time: 50:42 

Jan Hammer - Fender Rhodes, Minimoog, keyboards, drums & vocals
Steven Kindler - violin
Fernando Saunders - bass & vocals
Tony Smith - drums

master off-air WDR-FM capture, remastered November 2020 by professor goody
beginning of Track 01 restored (with volume increased 5.75 dB) and volume increased 1.55 dB throughout remainder by EN, April 2021
343 MB FLAC/April 2021 archive link

So there's Jan Hammer, born this day in 1948 and still sizzling the ivories! See you in a few minutes with the next one.--J.