Monday, June 30, 2008

tad: jack pepsi ep

john deere come home.

How can you possibly go wrong with an EP glorifying unsafe alcohol consumption and Wisconsin loner sociopath, Ed Gein ?

Well, you'd better have deep pockets for a start, and not just roomy enough to stash a bottle of Jack Daniels in.

Produced and engineered by Doug Olson and Butch Vig for Sub Pop records, with impeccably entertaining illustration by Peter Bagge and design by Jane Higgins. Pepsi Cola sued both Seattle band, Tad and Sub Pop over the cover design and it was replaced with the John Deere tractor shot above. What a shame. One of the most provocative images of the 90's, I feel.

Especially given the shocking similarity between the Pepsi logo and the South Korean Coat of Arms.

Unfortunately, the copy I own is the reissue. Then again, it was a gift so who's complaining ? Great teenage loser anthems, too.

TAD: JACK PEPSI from "Jack Pepsi" EP (Sub Pop) 1991 (US)

TAD: EDDIE HOOK from "Jack Pepsi" EP (Sub Pop) 1991 (US)


the velvet underground

jackie says it cold, so jane is in her vest...

What, no Velvet Underground to date ? Let's remedy that right here and now with their first assault on radio friendly America.

Recorded April - July 1970, Atlantic Recording Studios, New York City. And released in September, 1970 - one month after Lou Reed had departed - on Atlantic Records' subsidiary, Cotillion Records. Maureen Tucker, pregnant during the recording sessions, was replaced by bass player Doug Yule and his brother, Billy on drumming duties.

Produced by Geoff Haslam, Shel Kagan and what was left of the original The Velvet Underground.

I love the giant William S. Burroughs' cockroach coming out the subway on the cover to this one. Pass me the Raid.



Sunday, June 29, 2008

brother typewriter slain

'fatal' microbes

Wonder Weeny 3

fatal microbes #1 (1978):
Honey Bane; vocals
Pete Fender; guitar
Scotty Boy Barker; bass
Gem Stone
; drums

This 45 first appeared in 1978 on one side of a Small Wonder 12" split with the Poison Girls, sharing two songs apiece. It received a fair bit of airplay on the John Peel Show at the time and as a result was re-released as an EP with a third song, "Cry Baby" in 1979 on the same label.
The highly marketable Honey Bane, of course, was subsequently picked-up by anarcho-punks, Crass, who made much of her questionable teenage 'street chick' pedigree. When that failed to light up the charts, she did a few topless shots à la Wendy O' Wiliams of the Plasmatics and hooked up with veteran wideboy of Sham 69 'fame', Jimmy Pursey.
It was all down hill from then.
Whatever the outcome, I always quite liked this song. Having read about Mr. Beer N. Hockey's friend Stan's daughter coming to grief in Dope City recently, it seems just as apposite now in our era of mobile phones and consumer envy. Ho hum.

VIOLENCE GROWS from "Violence Grows b/w Beautiful Pictures" 7" & 12" (XN TRIX/Small Wonder) 1978/79 (UK)

tito puente

puente's star on the hollywood walk of fame, february 2006

From his 99th studio album, apparently. Who's counting ?

"Tito Puente, Sr., (April 20, 1923 – May 31, 2000), born Ernesto Antonio Puente, Jr., was an influential Latin jazz and mambo musician. The son of native Puerto Ricans Ernest and Ercilia Puente, of Spanish Harlem in New York City, Puente is often credited as 'El Rey' (the King) of the timbales and 'The King of Latin Music'. He is best known for dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions that helped keep his career going for 50 years."

TITO PUENTE: ODE TO CACHAUO from "Goza Mi Timbal" CD (Concord) 1989 (US)


riz ortolani and the jin-ling crusade

Author's note: I was intending on posting more Riz here on the bleachers having recently discovered this killer album. My only previous exposure to his talent was through Latin Mondo & Exploitation classic cinema. The only problem is these two following tracks appear to be the cream of the crop ; most of what's left sounds too much to my ear like mere soundtrack filler - including the title themes.

The following post first appeared on Art Decade on May 24, on the most recent occasion Emmett was kind enough to allow me to guest. I've taken t
he liberty of republishing it here in its entirety, by way of contrast with an upcoming post, again on Riz. The original post is certainly a bit too recent to fully justify pulling it from the archives, so I hope you appreciate this premature resurrection.

This is dedicated to those who e-mailed in a request but were too Bloggerphobic to leave a comment.


surf's up! spring has sprung. summer has arrived.

I first heard this album just the other day, and like the saying goes: it blew me away. Like a welcome breeze on a muggy day when the sky is a tight sealed lid.

I was questioning my decision to hang onto old soundtracks while clearing the decks on my Hard Drive when I gave up entirely and threw in the towel. What started out as a spring-clean soon escalated into an ill-considered pogrom on my Music Library, and a sweeping away of folders with reckless abandon.

Tearing at the cellophane on a fresh pack of smuggled Jin-Ling filter tips and ignoring the hungry pleas of my barefoot offspring, I savagely keyed in a search for more Riz Ortolani and stumbled on this. Ah! The fleeting bliss of the momentary fix...

These old CDs make for excellent coasters. The vinyl has all been sold or melted down to use for barter as the fuel crisis looms. Distractedly, I allow one tearful urchin to spirit away the remaining antique 78 to lob as a makeshift frisbee down in the park. My eyes are fried and weeping through plumes of contraband smoke, yet I refuse to don the reading glasses so recently prescribed. They can tear down my building and kick me out on the street, but I will not go quietly; the sounds of old movies waft exultantly and can not be silenced.

Hallelujah! It all adds up to a declaration of war, even if i'm not entirely sure which side I'm on.

RIZ ORTOLANI: IL RICORDO DI SERENA from "Confessione di un Commissario di Polizia..." LP (RCA) 1971 (Italy)

RIZ ORTOLANI: SERENA E LOMUNO from "Confessione di un Commissario di Polizia..." LP (RCA) 1971 (Italy)


joe cuba sextet

bang! bang!

Joe Cuba was born "Gilberto Calderón" in 1931 in the city of New York.

"Cuba is considered to be the "Father of Latin Boogaloo". His parents emigrated from Puerto Rico in the late 1920s and settled in Spanish Harlem, a Hispanic ghetto located in Manhattan. Cuba was raised in an apartment building where his father had become the owner of a candy store located on the ground floor (street level floor). His father had organized a stickball (ghetto baseball) club called the Devils. Stickball was the main sport activity of the neighborhood. After Cuba broke a leg he took up playing the conga and continued to practice with the conga between school and his free time. Eventually he graduated from high school and joined a band."

Recorded at La Tierra Sound Studios, NYC. Watch out for that first fade. It ain't over yet.

JOE CUBA SEXTET: BANG! BANG! from "Push, Push" LP (Fania) 1966 (US)


grant lee buffalo

"assiniboine hunting buffalo" by paul kane, 1796 - 1872.

GRANT LEE BUFFALO: FUZZY from "Fuzzy" LP (Slash) 1993 (US)


Saturday, June 28, 2008

van morrison: the angry young them!

she's 'bout 5'4"... from her head to the ground.

One of the greatest defining rock n' roll moments outside of the U.S. was from this young Belfast group, looking over the water not east to The Rolling Stones or The Beatles, but west across the Atlantic Ocean separating one small island from an entire continent.

When George Ivan Morrison first visited the States in 1966 - supporting The Doors for a three-week-long residency at the Whisky-a-Go-Go - his namesake, Jim reflected over a drink or two that the two in fact might be blood related.

When Syd Barrett was dethroned in London, ex window cleaner Van remarked to Peter Jenner and a worried Roger Waters that the coup would pose no danger whatsoever to the Floyd's commercial viability, since all the teeny boppers who purchased their records no doubt thought Pink Floyd was the group's lead singer anyway.

This phenomenal 45 can still be found on many pub jukeboxes throughout Glasgow, partly owing to Morrison's Ulster Scots heritage. Put it on for a spin, and you automatically glance back over your shoulder half-expecting to witness an invasion of suited and booted young men wielding open razors and claw hammers.

Primal hormone therapy.

THEM: GLORIA* from "Gloria b/w Baby, Please Don't Go" 45 (Decca) 1964 (UK)


* link removed by request

grateful dead

turn, turn, turn.

Written by Jerry Garcia ; John Dawson; Robert Hunter.

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: FRIEND OF THE DEVIL from "American Beauty" LP (Warner Bros.) 1970 (US)


Friday, June 27, 2008

stop press: radiohead

astronomer extraordinaire, sir patrick moore.

Tonight is a minor cause for celebration for many Glaswegian citizens, namely Radiohead's "Gig On The Green". Even my son's mother is hosting a special party in honor of the festivities, given that her new flat's location overlooks the very park hosting this wonderful live event.

There is only one small problem, so far as I am concerned. I am not inordinately fond of this group.

Many hold them if not in awe, certainly in great esteem. For a lot of those persons, Radiohead are the new Pink Floyd. I ask myself why this is the case. If Largactyl is your cup of tea, then it is highly possible you might be predisposed to their unearthly dullness. Yes, their oeuvre is painstakingly produced and crafted. The word dishwater immediately springs to mind. I just can't find it in my heart to like them, and in the words of my Californian dwelling friend, Jon - with regards Big Star - I've tried.

So be it. I was seriously thinking of posting at least one track from this hugely popular band, but in the end I decided it would be a completely empty gesture. An upright finger is infinitely more my style.

And so, in the immortal - if not altogether hilarious - words of Monty Python's Flying Circus : "and now for something completely different".

Me, I'd rather watch the Sky At Night.



kenny larkin

something for the weekend.

Former U.S. Air Force computer repairman and one-time Detroit dj, Kenny Larkin. Find him here.

WITHOUT (HOUSE MIX) from "Art Of Dance: Exhibits (Sampler)" CD / VINYL (Distance) 1995 (France)


tony bennett

anthony dominick benedetto and the golden gate bridge.
Another Grammy Award winner ; this time for Tony Bennett in 1963, who picked up a double for "Record of the Year" and "Best Solo Male Vocal Performance" with this composition by George Cory and Douglas Cross. Arranged by Ralph Sharon and produced by Ernest Altschuler.

After a decade or two of seeing his career hit the skids - beginning in 1965 when he parted from Sharon and his wife, Patricia - Bennett came good again in the 1980s, a period which began darkly enough for him with the Internal Revenue Service attempting to seize his LA home, and a near fatal cocaine overdose. You might recall the cinematic tilting of a hat or two in 1984's "The Pope Of Greenwich Village", a timely plug which clearly helped cement his credibility with a younger audience.

Vegas and Hollywood never seemed so inviting.

TONY BENNETT: I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO from "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" LP (Columbia) 1962 (US)


teenage fanclub

school's out.

It's Friday. The weekend looms large. And here in Scotland, school's out for the summer holidays. Hooray ! So here's two from Glasgow's finest.

Listen out for the twisted Big Staresque guitar solo that closes "The Concept", with echoes too of The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love". Beautiful. This is for Art Decade's Big B, who seems to have slipped off the face of the planet recently. Where are you, dude ?

If you don't already own this album, I would seriously consider rectifying that sad situation.

TEENAGE FANCLUB: THE CONCEPT from "Bandwagonesque" LP/CD (Creation) 1992 (UK)

TEENAGE FANCLUB: STAR SIGN from "Bandwagonesque" LP/CD (Creation) 1992 (UK)


war: low rider

chewin' the phat.

William DeVaughn's 1974 smash, "Be Thankful For What You Got" is frankly unbeatable when it comes to summertime movies playing in your head. Riz Ortolani has it pegged too, but is thin on the ground. If you come from Glasgow this one from post Eric Burdon War has a significance all of its own.

WAR: LOW RIDER from "Why Can't We Be Friends ?" LP (MGM) 1975 (US)


Thursday, June 26, 2008

syd barrett: the madcap laughs

syd barrett and a girl called eskimo, 1969.

golden fish by paul klee, 1925.

While Roger Waters convinced the rest of the Pink Floyd to give up on Syd during the recording of "A Saucerful Of Secrets" at Abbey Road Studios in 1968 - again more than ably produced by Norman Smith - Floyd's manager, Peter Jenner was not so easily swayed.

Jenner immediately engaged the erratic Barrett in a series of solo recording sessions from May of the same year, but the project stalled and was eventually sidelined over the next twelve months in a bid to allow the increasingly reclusive former hit maker to regain his "focus".

"Get your shit together, Syd !" was not so much the battle cry as a gently cajoling whisper.

In April 1969, Malcolm Jones replaced Jenner on production duties, but while Syd was throwing out sufficient ideas or germs of songs to warrant the protracted studio time, the musicians contracted to work alongside him - members of the Soft Machine and Humble Pie - were at a loss as to how best to work up that raw material and present it as a cohesive whole. The pervading mood was one of frustration and that alone must surely have exacerbated the already fragile sessions.

Cast adrift from the very group he was instrumental in founding, Syd Barrett - understandably mistrustful and alienated - could scarcely have been comfortable working under such forced and counter-productive conditions. In his (then) current state of mind it must have felt akin to stepping into a ring in front of an audience of strangers with the expectation to perform like a circus seal.

Pressure ? Given the trying circumstances, it's a wonder the finished product bears up so well.

Its a good deal better than "The Final Cu(*)t", that's for sure.

Having heard Roger Waters drone on for years now about how much of a fuck-up Syd was, I'd dearly like to see him auditioning on an endless loop for the Sex Pistols. Fucking deluded architectural arsehole.

At least David Gilmour had the temerity to kick a few bricks out "The Wall".

SYD BARRETT: TERRAPIN from "The Madcap Laughs" LP (Harvest EMI) 1970 (UK)

SYD BARRETT: GOLDEN HAIR from "The Madcap Laughs" LP (Harvest EMI) 1970 (UK)


the pink floyd

columbia 45: DB8214

Well, this 45 - like yesterday's - has been played incessantly since the day it was released - but who cares, right ? There is only ten years between them, like warring siblings, but a lot of water under the bridge. Pink Floyd's "Animals" was their contribution to 1977's summer of contempt, and the ostracized Syd was by that time as bloated and confused as Roger Waters' mutinous vision.

Pink Floyd may not have been flavour of the month on the Kings Road in 1977, but you would have been hard pushed to find anybody with a safety pin through their nose who had a bad word to say about Syd Barrett.

Originally released on June 16, the flip side to this single would later be found too on August's "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn", hitting the shops as the solstice celebrations faded towards autumn with the approaching equinox. Wizard. If you hadn't bought "Emily" a month or two earlier you might possibly have been in for a rude awakening since it didn't make the album. While Syd was on the throne, the Pink Floyd were still very much a singles band. Fast forward ten years and the deal couldn't have been more different.

Thematically produced by Norman Smith, who also worked with the Pretty Things, and engineered by Peter Brown.

Afghan coats and enough Paisley Pattern prints to shake a staff at.

PINK FLOYD: SEE EMILY PLAY from "See Emily Play b/w The Scarecrow" 45 (Columbia/EMI) 1967 (UK)

PINK FLOYD: THE SCARECROW from "See Emily Play b/w The Scarecrow" 45 (Columbia/EMI) 1967 (UK)


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

sex pistols

vacational training.

Recorded at Wessex Studios, London. Produced by Chris Thomas. Engineered by Bill Price.

SEX PISTOLS: HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN from "Never Mind The Bollocks... Here's The Sex Pistols" LP (Virgin) 1977 (UK)


phil ochs

james byron dean: february 8th, 1931 - september 30th, 1955.

From the ironically titled "Greatest Hits". Produced by Van Dyke Parks. Engineered by Don Landee ; Douglas Botnick ; and Peter Pilafian.

For more coverage on earlier Phil Ochs visit The Rising Storm.

PHIL OCHS: JIM DEAN OF INDIANA from "Greatest Hits" LP (A&M) 1970 (US)


volare: hip priest in the house of love

nel blu, di pinto di blu.

Written by Domenico Modugno and Franco Migliacci in 1958, and a huge hit for Ratpacker, Dean Martin.

From Wiki:

'"Nel blu dipinto di blu" was presented by Domenico Modugno and Johnny Dorelli at the 1958 Sanremo Music Festival, winning the contest and achieving instant popularity. It was then chosen to represent Italy in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest and came third.'

ALEX CHILTON: VOLARE from "High Priest" LP (New Rose) 1987 (US)

DEAN MARTIN: VOLARE from "This Is Dean Martin" LP (Capitol) 1958 (US)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

communiqué #6: new direct links

Thanks, in no small part, to the combined persistence of the Art Decade team and Brendan over at The Rising Storm, SibLINGSHOT ON THE BLEACHERS now comes to you in a new streamlined flavour for your edification and entertainment. As a visitor here you now have two choices :

If you wish to preview any particular track while continuing to scroll through previous posts, simply click on the 'play' icon to bring up the streaming media player.

For downloading onto your Hard Drive to peruse at your convenience, just click on the highlighted link.

It really couldn't be easier, fellow siblings!

To demonstrate support for those artists featured - ie, purchase their work to keep and cherish - we suggest you follow the additional links provided to instantly transport you to an emporium stocking their product. Happy listening! And remember ; an educated ear is a switched on ear.

Browser Issues:
For best results, Firefox or Internet Explorer is suggested. Opera and Netscape are unsupported ; however, you can still open or download any file by clicking directly on the link. The 'play' icon will not be visible. If any visitor should experience further issues having taken the above into account, please leave a comment and I'll try to resolve it. Your feedback is valued.

big youth vs. robert mugabe

see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. fuck you.

Here's one sibling i'd shoot on the bleachers right now.

"Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of "do no evil". He may be covering his abdomen or crotch, or just crossing his arms."

Recorded at Dynamic Sounds, Kingston, Jamaica. Engineered by Sid Bucknor, Errol Thompson and Karl Pitterson. Produced by Augustus Clarke.

BIG YOUTH: THE KILLER from "Screaming Target" LP (Trojan) 1973 (Jamaica / UK)

BIG YOUTH: SCREAMING TARGET from "Screaming Target" LP (Trojan) 1973 (Jamaica / UK)


bobbie gentry

tuesday child biding her time, waiting for the plastic ono band.

From Bobbie's gorgeous 1967 album on Capitol Records. Self penned and produced by Kelly Gordon ; arranged by Jimmie Haskel and Shorty Rogers.

What else can you say ?

I hope Phil Spector don't show up to shake her tree.

BOBBIE GENTRY: HURRY, TUESDAY CHILD from "Ode To Billie Joe" LP (Capitol) 1967 (US)


Monday, June 23, 2008

breaking news: glasgow dolphin

I wasn't intending on putting up another post today, but this selection is prompted by the sad news that a deep marine dolphin - seriously injured and disoriented - is not expected to survive having inadvertently ventured up the River Clyde towards Glasgow's City Centre.

The best hope for its making it back out into open water, it appears, is that the distressed creature beaches itself and gives rescuers the opportunity to intervene.

For more from the BBC see here.

FRED NEIL: THE DOLPHINS from "Fred Neil" LP (Capitol) 1967 (US)


curtis mayfield

buddah curtis.

This post is inspired, in part, by Jon's previous comment expressing more than a passing admiration for this man's gigantic talent.

The soundtrack album "Superfly" was recorded at RCA Studios in Chicago, Illinois, with the notable exception of this one track which was laid down at Bell Sound Studios, New York City.

A cautionary tale, but what a sinuous vibe.

CURTIS MAYFIELD: PUSHERMAN from "Superfly" LP (Buddah/Curtom) 1972 (US)



that's right...
Having done the backline breakdance for a solid couple of months once, this shit resonates.

My stint as a roadie may have been short lived, but I don't think my back has ever fully recovered. This version kicks ass, as they say.

Take it away, Ian.

MOTÖRHEAD: WE ARE THE ROAD CREW (ALTERNATIVE VERSION) from "Ace Of Spades (Deluxe Version)" 2 x CD (Bronze/EMI) 2005 (UK)


the clash

white man in hammersmith palais.

My favourite Strumer/Jones 45 ever. Full stop. And I bought quite a few.

I bought this in Clydebank - the ship building hub of Greater Glasgow - the day it hit the shops. Clydebank was flattened by a series of Luftwaffe carpet bombing raids during the second world war. Like Dresden, it was the civillian population which suffered from the wholesale decimation. The poured concrete structures which rose out of the rubble were scarcely an improvement.

THE CLASH: WHITE MAN IN HAMMERSMITH PALAIS from "White Man In Hammersmith Palais b/w The Prisoner" 45 (CBS) 1978 (UK)

THE CLASH: THE PRISONER from "White Man In Hammersmith Palais b/w The Prisoner" 45 (CBS) 1978 (UK)


Sunday, June 22, 2008

jack kerouac

neal cassady and jack kerouac.

Merry Prankster bus driver, Neal Leon Cassady is infamous not only as Jack Kerouac's friend and muse, Dean Moriarty, but also looms large - in spirit if not word count - in Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", and Hunter S. Thompson's "Hell's Angels"

Perhaps not altogether fairly, he is celebrated as he "who did" to Kerouac's "he who merely wrote".

I have no idea exactly what year this reading dates from, but I'm guessing very early 1960s ; If any Beat Generation die-hard out there is certain of its provenance by all means leave a comment and I'll correct the dating label on the post.

JACK KEROUAC: VISIONS OF NEAL: NEAL & THE THREE STOOGES, PART ONE from "The Jack Kerouac Collection" 3 x CD (Rhino/Wea) 1990 (US)


sonic youth

photography by
lesley j. mclaren

It just occurred to me that this album's title is probably in homage to Nick Drake's "Five Leaves Left". Or maybe they just got a roadie to upload a case of Rizla onto their tour bus.

SONIC YOUTH: SUNDAY from "A Thousand Leaves Left" CD (Polydor) 1998 (US)



freeze, muthaf@kers!

I was never really much of a clubber. Unless you bring coshing teenage thugs into the equation. And that was a long time ago. When I was a mere teenager myself.

So was this one on the legendary independent label, Beggars Banquet.

It reminds me of a brief episode in my youth when I frequented an atrocious night spot on weekends with my girlfriend and associates out in the country. On misty evenings driving out there was a little like a commando sortie in the mountainous regions of a fictional Tibet. The inside of the car reeked of whiskey and spearmint chewing gum. The stereo played horrendous synthesised drum loops ad nauseam.

The music was seldom to my taste, but that was a fitting introduction to what was to follow when we finally arrived ; already hopelessly intoxicated and disheveled from cramming too many people in for the ride.

Actually, it would be more accurate if I were to say I was never really much of a dancer. I far preferred to sit and chain-smoke in a dimly lit corner and attempt to perfect the look of a young Chet Baker. No mean feat considering we share no apparent outwardly physical resemblance.

Of those friends I remember, one of them - a guy I had known since our first day together at elementary school, or primary school as we call it here - died nine or ten years ago of a heart attack. He never smoked and was a fanatical exerciser. We lost touch somewhere down the road but for a long time we were very close. I drank myself into a stupor on the day I heard the news.

This is not the first song I would necessarily associate with my memories of him, but when I hear it played I always stop and think. Shit happens.

FREEZ: SOUTHERN FREEZ from "Southern Freez" LP (Beggars Banquet) 1980 (UK)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

brothers say no to simon cowell

david bowie, young american

somebody up there likes me, 1956.

Coming from the grip of his famous cocaine period - in reverence to Picasso's Blue Period - Bowie proved that with "Young Americans" he could cater for a young black audience too with his own unique take on blue eyed soul.

Recorded in Philadelphia in late '74, and New York in 1975, the sessions featured a young Luther Vandross and - in NYC - John Lennon on backing vocals and guitar on the title track. Those sessions also produced the deeply funky " John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)" which wouldn't surface commercially for another four years as the a-side on 1979's 12" club mix. Art Decade has previously featured this 45, but here it is again. "Boogie down with David now..."

Bowie bumps a ride on America's Soul Train.

DAVID BOWIE: SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME from "Young Americans" LP (RCA Victor) 1975 (US/UK)

DAVID BOWIE: JOHN, I'M ONLY DANCING (AGAIN) from "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)" 12" 45 (RCA Victor) 1979 (US/UK)


Friday, June 20, 2008

big star: radio city

memphis calling...

Those of you out there familiar with my guest posts on Art Decade will be aware of my affection for Big Star. And those of you with a similar fondness for anything to do with Alex Chilton will know their second album, Radio City like the back of your hand.

At the time of its release the question on everybody's lips was how the ex Box Tops front man would cope with the loss of co-writer and guitarist, Chris Bell, struggling with depression and uncertainty as to his place within the group. Rumours of a budding solo career were the subject of much speculation.

The hive prognosis was suitably dire. The honey might drip, but surely would never set.

Recorded - as was #1 Record - at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Radio City proved just how much the fractured Chilton could keep it together. The sound is often fragile certainly, precariously "up there" as a tightrope walker on a unicycle, but the jangling heady vibe recalls the best of Saturday nights with only a foretaste of the looming morning come down narrowly hinted at. It's there - a cautious sense of impending dread - but it informs as much as warns.

Fuck tomorrow, let's just fuck.

Bell's spectral presence can still be felt as a folk minstrel Banquo at Macbeth's banquet, not least because Chilton and the remaining members of the band refuse to give up the ghost, and it's precisely that ambiguity which immediately warms the listener to Radio City.

"I'm In Love With A Girl" sounds unmistakably as if it's been written with Bell in mind.

ardent, memphis limited pressing.

Ultimately, it's not a chronicle of heroin addiction ; it's a stubborn refusal to let go of a good friend.

BIG STAR: LIFE IS WHITE from "Radio City" LP (Ardent/Stax) 1974 (US)

BIG STAR: I'M IN LOVE WITH A GIRL from "Radio City" LP (Ardent/Stax) 1974 (US)


bennie and the jets

bennie & the jets ?

Anonymous last week requested Elton John's "Rocket Man". The writing on SibLINGSHOT may often resemble a hospital radio dj's hokey-doky script, but I can assure you I am far too contrary to so readily oblige.

Lest you get the impression, though, that I am immune to Sir Elton's unique brand of FM slop allow me to set the record straight.

Partly in response to Emmett's posting of "Are You Ready For Love" from "The Complete Thom Bell Sessions" over on Art Decade here's a personal favourite from slightly earlier days. Recorded at the Château d'Hérouville in Pontoise, France - where he had previously recorded "Honky Chateau" and "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player" - here's a defining AOR moment from Elton John and Bernie Taupin.

Any allusion to Benzedrine is no doubt strictly intentional.

ELTON JOHN: BENNIE & THE JETS from "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" LP (DJM) 1973 (UK)


jimmy roselli

from Wiki:

"In 1991, The Wall Street Journal wrote a front page story about Jimmy and his career headlined "Fans of the other Hoboken singer say Sinatra is just Roselli's Salieri." Comparisons to Frank Sinatra are inevitable due to their similar backgrounds, Italian-Americans from Hoboken, NJ. Roselli is the crooner who was loved and loathed by the mob. They loved his songs, but were furious that they couldn't control him. Unlike Sinatra who embraced the mob, Jimmy Roselli refused their assistance (like fellow Italian American Jake La Motta, whose life story was captured on film by Martin Scorcese in "Raging Bull"). Indeed, Roselli was relegated to selling his music out of the trunk of his car parked in Little Italy in Manhattan."

The story goes that mob henchmen were dispatched on "Search & Destroy" missions throughout New Jersey and the boroughs of New York in order to prevent Neopolitan Jimmy Roselli's 45 releases from being aired on bar and club jukeboxes.

The offending vinyl was routinely removed and eliminated on the premises. Repeat malefactors had their jukebox summarily trashed with the aid of a baseball bat. Misspent quarters, I assume, were forfeit. The message was clear: only Sinatra could claim de facto profit from his Italian connections.

Apologies, siblings, for the atrocious quality of the sound. Either it was taken from a VHS copy of Mean Streets or an original from the trashcans round the back of a bar in down town Hoboken.

JIMMY ROSELLI: MALAFEMMENA from "Malafemmena" 45 (M&R) 1965 (US)


Thursday, June 19, 2008

thin lizzy: new day

dublin, 1911: photograph from the national archives of ireland.

Long before they became boys' rock cartoons, Dublin's Thin Lizzy wore their lyrical folk allegiance on their sleeve. Phil Lynott was still finding his feet as a writer on their Scott English produced debut for Deram, a subsidiary of Decca, and the quietly vulnerable mood of the album is at odds with much of the group's later bombastic success.

The debt beholden Jimi Hendrix is just as manifest here as in Lynott's live stage act, but it has noticeably less to do with posturing than the soft soulful burr of Hendrix's very human vocals. There is none of the pomp of rock n' roll excess and casualty.

The recording sessions for this first album were initiated on January 4th, 1971. Phil Lynott died of heart failure complicated by pneumonia exactly fifteen years later on January 4th, 1986. His life by then had been dogged by alcohol and narcotics dependency throughout many of the intervening years.

The "New Day" EP was recorded in June of 1971 and can be found on the CD reissue of the original Deram LP.

THIN LIZZY: DUBLIN* from "New Day" EP (Deram) 1971 (UK)

* link deleted


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

elvis presley

... a dozen towns ago.

An Eddie Rabbitt & Dick Heard composition from the "Elvis In Memphis" sessions, recorded one month after his spectacularly successful 1968 Comeback Special.

Pick up thy cane and step on the plane.

ELVIS PRESLEY: KENTUCKY RAIN (ALTERNATIVE TAKE 9) from "From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60's Masters" 5 x CD (RCA Victor) 1993 (US)


anarchy in the uk

for queen and monkey

This morning on returning from walking my kids to school, I noticed some mysterious activity had recently taken place in my bank account. The available funds just didn't add up.

Now, before I gamely begin pointing the finger at some faceless Ukranian or Ugandan with an internet hobby, let me just direct you to this piece of last year's news. I have filed my own personal letter of apoplogy from government offices regarding the "inconvenience and worries" caused by a negligent civil servant losing 25 million child benefit records in the mail ; including all "secure" database bank account details.

That's every single household in the UK with a child under sixteen.

That's a lot of potential election votes.

I'm certainly not suggesting this is undoubtably the cause of my unexplained deficit. God knows it wouldn't be the first time I've whipped myself into a panic over amnesiac financial transactions. But it is certainly both curious and ironic that the Prime Minister ultimately responsible for the village idiot actions of an entire country's civil service was formerly Chancellor Of The Exchequer.

Thanks, Gordon. For the inconvenience and worry.

THE KINKS: APEMAN (DEMO) from "Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part 1" LP/CD reissue (PYE) 1970 (UK)

SEX PISTOLS: DID YOU NO WRONG from "God Save The Queen b/w Did You No Wrong" 45 (Virgin) 1977 (UK)

mick farren

no. 10, deviant street.

More of London's more infamous No. 10. later. Mick Farren. My friend, Gus turned me on to the Deviants and a swelter of Ladbroke Grove's finest many years ago. He lived there in the early 70s.

Mick Farren's head and heart were definitely in the right place, but Deviation Street sounds remarkably dated listening to it now.

"Eight thousand copies were sold on their own Impressario label via mail order through the UK Underground press, such as Oz and International Times, before being picked up and released by Decca Records."

Thanks to Chris for the rip from the shiny Japanese remaster. It sounds so much better than the low-fi copies I've had for quite a while.




Tuesday, June 17, 2008

the fall: the palace of excess

The Palace Of Excess. William Blake: 28 Nov. 1757 - 12 Aug. 1827.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey recently reminded me where this quote comes from.
I used to be a commercial illustrator until my world went pear-shaped, and William Blake was an influence not least because of his rebellious tenacity and unassailable doggedness. Mervyn Peake was on that list too.

And Robert Crumb.

Originally a huge hit for Sister Sledge, this b-side just about sums up my life.
I need to stop already with all this free advertising.

THE FALL: LOST IN MUSIC from "Why Are People Grudgeful ?" 12" 45 (Cog Sinister/Permanent) 1993 (UK)


bob james


This is in my son's Top Ten - owing to the fact that, once again, it featured in Rockstar Games' GTA: San Andreas - so I make no apologies for featuring this one even if you've heard it a million times before.

Produced by Creed Taylor of CTI, this is popular fusion at its finest.

I think I could just about handle getting stuck in a lift with this piping in and a girl with impossibly long legs desparate for someone to hold her hand.

BOB JAMES: NAUTILUS from "One" LP (CBS) 1974 (US)


miles davis

a black rose in spanish harlem.

A radically different statement to "In A Silent Way", released in the same year, "Bitches Brew" is abrasive and full of as much sinewy workout as anything by the Stooges.

Recorded in Columbia Studio B, NYC, on 21st August 1969, this dizzying near eighteen minute strut takes out the trash and keeps on walking you down to the midnight river.

Drums by Jumma Santos (Jim Riley).

MILES DAVIS: SPANISH KEY from "Bitches Brew" 2 x LP (Columbia) 1969 (US)