Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cato Salsa Experience - A Good Tip For A Good Time (2002) (mp3, 192kbps)

I'm delighted by all the great music that comes from Scandinavia. I don't know if it's the climate, the excellent fish, the progressive politics or what, but I'm starting to see a pattern developing and I like it. This band was not part of my recent (within the past two years) conscious effort to experiment with international music. On the contrary, I discovered this record very much by accident. I had just gotten my first iPod and was wholesale copying music from my brother-in-law's iTunes account. Seein as I'm currently enjoying the company of his family (although he himself is detained by work), I figured now was as good a time as ever to share the rockin' little record.

How do I describe this? Wikipedia says 'indie garage rock', but I really don't have a clue what that means. Anything that is not major-label is indie, I guess. But the garage aspect makes sense. There's a delightful cheapness to the sound of the instruments and the arrangements are simple, straightforward, and in your face. The subject of the vocals (which are sung in English) are about partying and general sexyness ('Time To Freak Out', 'High Heeled Leather Boots'), so the shit is fun. The songs are short and the organ gives a nice retro vibe. I just love the high energy.

I've read comparisons between the White Stripes and The Strokes, which were all having more success at about the same time, but I never really got to know those bands. I never really got to know this one either, and the organization now seems to be a bit dormant, but this record has never failed to bring a smile to my face.

1. Listen To Me Daddy'O
2. So, The Circus Is Back In Town
3. M.F.
4. Lucky Girl
5. I Can Give You Anything
6. Deadbeat
7. Move On
8. High Heeled Leather Boots
9. Time To Freak Out!
10. Tanquaray
11. Albert Bones Electric Meal
12. Got Soul If You Want It (bonus track)

The link is in the comments.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Joe Zawinul - Concerto Retitled (1976) (mp3, 160kbps)

Don't let the date in the title fool you - this is a compilation of acoustic jazz recorded by the master between 1965 and 1970. One reviewer commented that it appears to have been hurriedly assembled to cash in on Zawinul's rising star at the height of Weather Report's popularity. Whatever the case, I found it to be a refreshing listen that shows Zawinul's strong love of Duke Ellington. He only plays the acoustic piano, which is such a difference from Weather Report and the Syndicate and everything else that was the halmark of his later carrier. Before he started to boogie woogie on that Fender Rhodes with Cannonball Adderley, he was an intense student of classical and jazz. This compilation, though perhaps lacking a bit in the coherence of a studio album, gives another feel for a remarkable talent.

1. From Vienna With Love (4:27)
2. My One And Only Love (3:50)
3. Riverbed (5:08)
4. Concerto Retitled (5:30)
5. Del Sasser (4:45)
6. Sharon's Waltz (5:03)
7. His Last Journey (4:37)
8. In A Silent Way (4:47)

Line-up / Musicians
Bass - Miroslav Vitous , Richard Davis , Walter Booker
Bass, Piano - Sam Jones
Cello - Kermit Moore
Drums - Freddie Waits , Louis Hayes , Roy McCurdy
Flute - George Davis
Melodica - Jack DeJohnette
Percussion - Billy Hart , David Lee , Joe Chambers , Warren Smith
Piano - Joe Zawinul
Piano, Electric Piano - Herbie Hancock
Saxophone [Baritono] - Pepper Adams
Saxophone [Tenor] - Joe Henderson , William Fisher
Trumpet - Blue Mitchell , Jimmy Owens
Viola - Alfred Brown , Selwart Clarke , Theodore Israel

The link is in the comments.

Genesis - Evil Jams From The Waiting Room (1975) (mp3, 256kbps)

More Genesis improv music. This time, we've got a compilation of Waiting Room jams, also sometimes referred to as Evil Jam. In the narrative sequence of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the hero Rael is, at the beginning of the second half (lp side 3), led out of a Chamber of 32 Doors by a blind woman called Lilywhite Lilith. From that moment, the tale becomes particularly twisted. Rael has a close call with Mr. Death, enjoys sexual relations with 3 female snakes, which, in turn, causes him to be transformed into a hideous monster. The only way to change back into his old self is to have his penis removed. Now, that's fun for the whole family!

All of this insanity is ushered in by a stop in the Waiting Room. The second song on the second disc is a noise jam that, as the legend goes, was performed at Headley Grange during a storm. Just at the moment of a giant crash of thunder. All the lights went out and the band transformed from a noise jam to a triumphant melodic march. Mike Rutherford holds the rhythm on mild fuzz bass while the other four members push each other over the edge as the exercise becomes more and more feverish. The problem with this legend is that, if the lights went out, how could they still have power for the array of electronic instruments and toys?

While there may be no good answer to that quandary, the truth is that The Waiting Room is a very special piece of music. It was performed live every night on the tour to support 'The Lamb', and, unlike any Genesis music up to that time, it was different at every performance. The same enterprising fan who prepared the Headley Jams I recently posted gives us this gem and it is a gem. On the noisy parts, every item of electronic and percussive trickery is employed to bring about the most unnerving atmosphere possible. And when it's time for 'all change', we get to hear the sublime soloing of Banks and Hackett as they reach higher and higher without sacrificing the deliberate emphasis that makes every note valuable. For a band that didn't improv, they do a fine job and here are the recordings to prove it.

  1. Headley Grange 1 (7:16)
  2. Headley Grange 2 (9:14)
  3. Phoenix (3:48)
  4. Dijon (3:39)
  5. Nurenburg (4:51)
  6. Saarbrucken (4:48)
  7. Munich (5:21)
  8. Groningen (5:35)
  9. Wembley (6:20)
  10. Southampton (6:05)
  11. Liverpool (5:08)
  12. Edinburgh (4:37)
  13. Manchester (5:08)
  14. Rheims (4:29)
All songs written, performed and arranged by Banks, Collins, Gabriel, Hackett and Rutherford

The link is in the comments.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Isotope - Golden Section (1975) (mp3, 320kbps)

I've been loving this record lately. Think of what Weather Report would have sounded like if, in the normal course of their work, there was a very strong guitar presence, a presence very much along the lines of John McLaughlin in the Mahavishnu era. Now, the absence of guitar in Weather Report is a big [art of what makes it so special for that era. Everybody was playing guitar. Everybody was bringing the big solos, complete with frenetic drums and complex arrangements. Weather Report was refreshing becuase everything had a more organic feel. It's eve hard to tell, at times, when a solo ends and another begins.

So, now we go back to post-Bitches Brew England. Soft Machine has set the pace for Jazz-rock on that side of the UK, but even though Isotope features a Soft Machine alum on bass, this band is firmly in the tradition of the early American fusion. What makes Isotope so special for me is the sympatico relationship between band founder Gary Boyle on guitar and keyboardist Laurence Scott. There are no turf wars being played out on dueling solos, as we hear ad nauseum on the Mahavishnu recordings. Instead, the quick, fusion-y twists and turns are carved out of a Rhodes-enriched grooviness that clearly calls to mind Mysterious Traveler-era Weather Report. In short, there is a lot of generosity flowing between the two principal soloists. The result is a very satisfying listening experience.

This recording is a compilation of live work performed in '74 and '75. The mix of improv and arrangement is what you'd expect from a fusion band of this period, but the composition and vibe is something different. These artists may have been copying their contempoaries, but don't let that stop you from enjoying something that is, at once, very familiar, yet totally different.

  1. Illusion (4:03)
  2. Rangoon Creeper (4:43)
  3. Attila (6:03)
  4. Spanish Sun (9:48)
  5. Crunch Cake (5:22)
  6. Mr. M's Picture (6:50)
  7. Frog (5:16)
  8. Attila (6:10)
  9. Spanish Sun (6:47)
  10. Lily Kong (1:36)
  11. Edorian (3:12)
  12. Golden Section (5:38)
  13. Illusion (4:04)

Personnel: Gary Boyle: guitar; Hugh Hopper: bass; Nigel Morris: drums; Laurence Scott: keyboards; Aureo de Souza: percussion (1-6).

The link is in the comments.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Flaming Lips - Stockholm (2006) (mp3, 160kbps)

Now we go from the last post, where sound quality is somewhat sacrificed for sheer rareness and the unique content, to this absolutely pristine, broadcast quality, release quality, I-mean-sparkling quality show from the Flaming Lips. By the way, Flaming Lips - ... prog band. Sorry, there's nothing you can do about it. Prog from Oklahoma. Mmmmm... that's good flyover state prog.

The version of War Pigs at the end is fine, but the real highlights come from their own catalog. 'Do You Realize' and 'Race for the Prize' are rightfully beloved. 'Morning of the Magician', Vein of Stars' and 'The Spark That Bled' are the classic F'Lips (prog) sound. I get the impression this band could just crank this material out if there wasn't that agitated (highly caffeinated) need to keep coming up with new ideas and new sounds. And "W.A.N.D." and "Yeah Yeah Yeah" both rock mightily.

I wonder if these guys will ever get around to releasing the next record. They are coming around this summer, and I think Cousin Steven will do a good job of not letting me cheese out. In honor of that, here's this:

1. Introduction
2. Race for the Prize
3. Free Radicals
4. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt.1
5. Vein of Stars (Introduction)
6. Vein of Stars
7. Yeah Yeah Yeah Song...
8. In the Morning of the Magicians
9. The W.A.N.D.
10. The Spark That Bled
11. Do You Realize??
12. War Pigs

Band Line Up:

Wayne Coyne – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, theremin, bass.
Michael Ivins – bass, keyboards, backing vocals.
Steven Drozd – guitar, drums, percussion, keyboards, bass, backing vocals.
Kliph Scurlock - drums, percussion

The link is in the comments.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Genesis - The Jams Played Down at Headley (1974) (mp3, 256kbps)

Between August and November 1974, Genesis worked out the musical portions for what would become their magnum opus the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. They were mostly without the input of Peter Gabriel, who was detained as a result of difficulties accompanying his young wife's pregnancy. Much of the sessions took place at Headley Grange where they lived and worked and wrote together. The final product, we all know, is an amazing work of music. But the jams from which those songs arose give an amazing glimpse of what happens when Banks, Rutherford, Collins and Hackett set about throwing things against the wall to see what would stick.

While I have known that the jams exist for some time, it was not until another fan took the time to compile much of the raw material into discreet tracks that I really had the opportunity to listen to and enjoy this amazing body of work. The quality is not perfect, by any means, but geting to hear this group of musicians noodling and jamming at this period in their career (or at any period, really) is so special and so unique, that it is more than worth the effort. Remember, these are studio recordings, so there is no crowd noise or distance marring the sound. It simply sounds old and un-produced.

The compiler has given titles to the jams, but also invited the listener to come up with his/her own titles. you can hear some of the themes that eventually ended up on the record, but the magical moments are those that are entirely unique, from right off the cutting room floor, if you will.

  1. Fly Away (11:06)
  2. Uncaged (11:42)
  3. (Don't Be) Touchy (4:32)
  4. Unjangled (10:02)
  5. Space Time (3:27)
  6. Sectioned (14:23)
  7. The Gorge (4:51)
  8. Deja Vu (9:40)
  9. Portamento (1:33)
  10. Slippertime (7:25)
The link is in the comments.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

HR Bigband Featuring Mike Clark - A Funky Tribute to Headhunters (2009) (mp3, 160kbps)

Under the category of old guys who still got it, this is Mike Clark, who, at 68 years young, is still burning it up behind the kit. Not that 68 is really that old, but I just hope I'm a fraction that funk when I'm his age.

This is a loving tribute to one of the most popular Jazz albums of all time, although the set consists of more than just music from Headhunters. The recording is positively glossy and right off the radio. It's actually almost too glossy, but listen hard. The band is banging through their charts and Clark is positively dynamite on drums. The music sounds fresh in this big band context, just as it worked well for Zawinul on the Brown Street recording.

I don't know the names of any other musicians, but the guitar and keyboards and horns are prominently featured, as they should be with this set of music. Just because people play in a bigband doesn't mean they can improvise with passion and sincerity.

  1. Loft Funk
  2. People Music
  3. Spider
  4. Sun Touch
  5. Actual Proof
  6. overdub
  7. Swamp Thing > Chameleon
  8. Butterfly
  9. Sly
  10. Hang Up Your Hangups
This is about two hours of music. The link is in the comments.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Genesis - Live at London (1976) (mp3, 128kbps)

In 1976, Peter Gabriel had left Genesis at the very moment that things started to look like they were going to break in favor of that band. He had lead them to the promised land, but, apparently, couldn't go in with them. This was cause for concern. The band did not want to miss out on the opportunity. Keyboardist Tony Banks clearly sensed that they could get to the next level, and he secretly relished the thought of becoming the boss after Gabriel departed. Various singers were auditioned, but it soon became clear that the solution to this problem would have to come from within the organization - Phil Collins.

And while Collins went on to multi-platinum success, he was terribly insecure about taking over as front man. Gabriel had a mysterious rapport with the audience. He was other-worldly with his outrageous stories and mind-blowing costumes. There was no expectation that Phil would attempt that same shtick. His workingman's roots led to an entirely different front man persona.

But Phil was a perfectionsist, and he was acutely aware of his contribution to this beast thus far. One of the most remarkable aspects of Gabriel-era Genesis is the interplay between Collins and Banks during the longer instrumental passages. Although these are described by the fanboys as keyboard 'solos', they are, in fact, very composed passages that happen to feature the keyboard. But with Collins, Banks was very generous and Collins' work during those keyboard solos is some of the most fearsome drumming this side of Art Blakey.

So, how do you protect that legacy? It's no problem in the studio, thanks to the miracle of multi-track recording. But what about the tour? Genesis had just cemented its reputation as an extraordinary live act - even in America. Now they had a great album ('Trick of the Tail') and the best way to sell that sucker was to go out on the road and make some noise. Without Gabriel's outrageous costumes, all focus would be on the music and the new singer. Collins would not be able to play drums the whole time. His parts are simply too complex to sing the whole show from behind the kit. Plus, he was expected to be out front - that was still Genesis. So they would need a touring drummer. But, how do you make sure that in the heat of a live performance, with all that adrenaline flowing, when there is no margin for error, that it's going to be all the right notes played as if 'off-the-cuff'?

Simple. You hire Bill Bruford.

June 10, 1976
Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK

GASP 014

1-01. (cut) Dance On A Volcano 6:01
1-02. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 5:15
1-03. Fly On A Winshield 2:46
1-04. The Carpet Crawlers 5:27
1-05. The Cinema Show 12:28
1-06. Robbery Assault and Battery 7:22
1-07. White Mountain 7:22
1-08. Firth of Fifth 9:35
1-09. Entangled 7:45
1-10. Squonk 6:42

2-01. Supper's Ready 25:29
2-02. I Know What I Like 6:18
2-03. Los Endos 7:50
2-04. It/Watcher Of The Skies 6:17

The link is in the comments.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

S.B.B. - Welcome (1979) (mp3, vbr)

This is the SBB record I'm listening too most lately. It comes out near the end of their first, long period. After 1980, the band didn't really exist for quite a long time. Since the mid-90's, they've been in comeback/reunion mode. But it's hard to be cynical when they're so good. And the new record, Iron Curtain, actually finds this group of old men covering some new and interesting ground.

But this record is mostly about the shorter, composed efforts, getting away from the more purely improvised efforts of the early 70's. And when songs are the focus, some powerful sounds emerge. The composition style is really different, but also very confident - it reminds me of Steve Hackett. The production values are great, expecially considering the era. the sound is balanced and dramatic - I think that is due in part to this being a three person band with a very strong central figure; Skrzek played bass, all keys, vocals and lots of writing. He is one of the great unsung geniuses of prog.

1. Walkin' Around The Stormy Bay (6:30)
2. Loneliness (5:25)
3. Why No Peace (6:04)
4. Welcome Warm Nights And Days (3:02)
5. Rainbow Man (3:38)
6. How I Can Begin (7:00)
7. Last Man At The Station (9'29)

Bonus tracks (CD):
8. Rainbow Man (long version) (5:05)
9. Last Man At The Station (short version) (6:26)
10. Deszcz kroplisty, deszcz ulewny (4:02)
11. Tuż nad kanałem Ulgi (4:41)
12. 30 stopni w cieniu (5:26)
13. Przy okazji (6:39)
14. Mechaniczna skakanka (5:04)

Total time without bonuses: 41:08
Total time with bonuses: 78:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Jozef Skrzek / bass, piano, Moog, vocals
- Antymos Apostolis / guitar
- Jerzy Piotrowski / percussion

The link is in the comments.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Duke Ellington - In Sweden (1973) (mp3, 160kbps)

A fantastic set from the later era, this one is special because of the presence of Ms. Alice Babs as a guest on the later part of the set. Her vocal performances may not be well known in the States, but she brings an added dimension and vitality to this show.

  1. Rockin' In Rhythm
  2. Creole Love Call
  3. Caravan
  4. In Duplicate
  5. Take The A Train
  6. Satin Doll
  7. Serenade To Sweden
  8. Checkered Hat
  1. Spacemen
  2. Jeep's Blues
  3. There's Something About Me
  4. Somebody Cares
  5. I'm Beginning To See The Light
  6. Take The A Train
  7. Encore: St. Louis Blues
  8. Encore: Tiger Rag
The link is in the comments.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bob Dylan - In The Summertime (1981) (aac, 128kbps)

As promised here a couple months ago, I am now posting a 'must-have' bootleg from Dylan's Christian period. The year is 1981. He is on tour with a large band, including multiple guitars and keyboards and the obligatory gospel choir. He was later married to one of the singers for six years, but this post and this concert are not about the vagaries of Dylan's private life. Instead, we find Dylan just hitting 40, but still fighting, still trying to do something amazing, and still searching.

By the time of this concert, I imagine some of the shock at his religious conersion had worn off. there could have been a tendency for the artist to loose his edge, but, instead, the music is better than ever. He sounds like he's settled in with a band that he can work with and a new sound for his old music that keeps him fresh and interest. As always, its audience and critics be damned!

The quality of this recording is stellar, and even with all that crazy Jesus music, it's still a great listen for any fan. This is a big set, complete with bonus material.

Drammenhalle, Drammen, Norway July 10, 1981
Bonus: Rainbow Music Hall, Denver January 22, 1980


The Times
Gotta Serve Somebody
I Believe In You
Like A Rolling Stone
Man Gave Names To All The Animals
Girl Of The North Country
Ballad Of A Thin Man
In The Summertime
Slow Train
Let's Begin Again
Lenny Bruce
Mr Tambourine Man
Just Like A Woman
Forever Young
Jesus Is The One
Heart Of Mine
When You Gonna Wake Up?
In The Garden
Blowin' In The Wind
It Ain't Me, Babe
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
*****Bonus tracks*****
When He Returns
Man Gave Names To All The Animals
Precious Angel
Slow Train
Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
Do Right To Me, Baby
Solid Rock
Saving Grace

The link is in the comments.