Wednesday, March 31, 2010

sibling whispers # ?: relix new psych mix

from a photograph by don snyder: ultraviolet / black light paintings, us co. church audiovisual temple, garnerville, new york.

The latest issue of (now) NYC based Relix magazine - originaly launched in 1974 as the definitive periodical for Grateful Dead and associated "exploratory music" from the San Francisco Bay Area - hits the newsstands this coming April with ruthlessly sustained coverage of the thriving New Psychedelic underground.

Sibling, Richard B. Simon - Scorp10n Bowl agitator and contributing Relix editor - seals the deal with a sparkling assembly of hallucinatory overload available online; a marathon two and a half hour playlist encompassing the fractured trip of Wooden Shjips to the full-on fractal chaos of Acid Mother's Temple.

A comprehensive exploration of space and time involving 24 disparate identities; cooperatives; and purposely obtuse finks.
My brotherhood.

Lend your ear here.

"Where you come from is gone.
Where you thought you were going to ?
Weren't never there."

BIG STICK: DRAG RACING from "Drag Racing b/w Hell On Earth" 45 (Recess) 1986 (US)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

a pair of live deuces

Do not contort, extort or otherwise put yourself out. Make no commotion.

The serial MO remains intact, if a little interrupted. By lassitude or intrusion.


Actually, it was a recent reader's comment which prompted me to dust off the keyboard and dig out a couple of dirty Brown covers entangled at the bottom of the laundry basket.

Soul Power Biological. Burns whiter than white.

No Yorker, James Chance featured here previously ON THE BLEACHERS regards his 1978 "Off White" recordings; mixed and engineered at Blank Tape Studios, NYC. One more pale Taurean on the cusp of a ram's horn - born plain James Siegfried in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 20th, 1953 - the James Brown fixation was self-evident from the start. 

A febrile, albino fusion of free jazz channeling. Co-opted out of the No Wave movement fronted by one-time collaborator, Lydia Lunch.

Stained sheets, indeed.

Despite all this, I was unaware of this pair of Brown and Rosen compositions covered in performance at a show in Paris on the 13th May, 1980. Thank you, Magnus. The LP was reissued on Ze Records, with alternative renditions of the same live set - recorded this time in Rotterdam, June 1980 - made available through the ROIR retrospective, "Soul Exorcism Redux" in 2007.

The initial godfather workout here - "I Feel Good" - is fairly pedestrian and of interest only as a statement of intent. A chance remark. Rosen's "King Heroin", though, delivers on a subcutaneous level informed by White / Chance / Black's own weakness for those "tiny white grains". As Magnus observes: "Standing in smack up to his knees". Or elbows. Where James Brown originally supplied a sermon built on caution and rebuttal, brother Chance returns it past the point of sale. An autographed admission prefaced by contorted alto saxophone.

A welter of contusions.

As performances go, it is claustrophobic. A stunted cousin of sorts to Television's Ork released "Little Johnny Jewel"; stripped of valve, electron gun, phosphor.

An empty glass envelope out of the box.

 James Chance: vocals, saxophone;
Al McDowell: bass;
Fred Wells, Patrick Geoffrois: guitars;
Lorenzo Wyche: trumpet;
Richard Harrisson: drums.

Recorded live Aux Bains Douches, Paris, 13/05/80.
Produced by Jacques Pasquier & James Chance.

JAMES CHANCE + THE CONTORTIONS: I GOT YOU (I FEEL GOOD) from "Live Aux Bains Douches" LP (Scopa Invisible) 1980 (US / FRANCE)
JAMES CHANCE + THE CONTORTIONS: KING HEROIN from "Live Aux Bains Douches" LP (Scopa Invisible) 1980 (US / FRANCE)

Monday, March 22, 2010

cidade de deus

Fernando Meirelles' "City of God"; an entirely different choreographed set piece from the last time Elton John's 1973 original featured here on SibLINGSHOT ON THE BLEACHERS.

Even though you might never have physically set foot in the favelas of Rio De Janeiro
, you will be acquainted with the routine savagery of a community left to police itself.

Its slow dive from more optimistic beginnings into socially engineered neglect.

With unschooled natural talent fostered in Vidigal and Cidade de Deus itself,
writers Paulo Lins and Bráulio Mantovani navigate us reluctantly deep into the festering heart of life on the hill. Its relentless cycle of nominal alliance and indiscriminate retribution.

Underpinned by Rocket's fascination for the camera, the lens leads us this way and that like truffling pigs. A city of children simultaneously bent on projecting a tenuous identity while walking in perpetual fear of exposure.

Benny's tale is just one more unravelled thread.

THE BEASTIE BOYS: BENNY AND THE JETS from "Anthology: Sounds Of Science" CD (Grand Royal) 1999 (US)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

dim star

william alexander chilton: december 28th, 1950 - March 17th, 2010.

I am frequently the last to know.

Sometimes it might be better never to find out at all.

Allegedly suffering from complications of the heart, Alex checked into a hospital in New Orleans on Wednesday. He didn't make the return trip.

I have nothing more to add.

A Keith Reid and Gary Brooker composition.
Recorded at American Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
Produced by Dan Penn.

big star captured by john fry.

THE BOX TOPS: A WHITER SHADE OF PALE from "The Letter / Neon Rainbow" LP (Bell) 1967 (US)

Friday, March 19, 2010

fight the power

public enemy (top): paint on audio cassettes by sam
i havia.

There it Is", the second contracted LP release for Polydor, on the back of a distribution package encompassing Brown's King Records and People imprint, is something of an improvement on "Hot Pants"; notable only for the title track reworking of his supercharged 1971 smash hit.

A prequel, of sorts, to the soundtrack proper, "Black Caesar", and the Larry Cohen rejected "The Payback" which would emerge the following year, "There it Is" nonetheless delivers on its premise; from full on horn to the bleak Bobbit, Matthews, Brown and Rosen composition, "King Heroin", a wholly leprous condemnation conscientiously stripped of all concession.

Where Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" inspires a positive rhythmic response at odds with its core message, "King Heroin" is unstinting in its clarity.

That same theme is reprised on "Public Enemy No. 1" - parts one and two - but ultimately fails to engage on a similar level. Dropping all pretense at restraint, Brown strives to to find the right note twice and can't quite reach it. By part two, the song is mercifully engineered to a fade before it descends into pantomime.

The foot is stamping, the brow might be awash with sweat, but the performance rests on the wrong foot.

Still. Giving up and turning his cheek was never seriously part of James Brown's reportoire. Or Flavor Flav's.

Arranged and produced by Dave Matthews and James Brown.

JAMES BROWN: KING HEROIN from "There It Is" 2 x LP (Polydor) 1972 (US)
JAMES BROWN: PUBLIC ENEMY No. 1 (PT 1) from "There It Is" 2 x LP (Polydor) 1972 (US)
JAMES BROWN: NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE from "There It Is" 2 x LP (Polydor) 1972 (US)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Some people have little or no conception.

They are too removed from the physicality
of the knife going in. The twist or not,
if one is lucky; the bottle flailing stage left,
the fragment of glass in the corner of one
eye. They have no experience of the lust
to damage; maim; injure with blade. Stone.

Such creatures,
they feed and exist in a pretty cul-de-sac built
on crutches. Stumps. At a distance.

Where were you when they hammered in
the nail ? Where were you when Lazarus rose
to sit idle and brain dead in the sun ?

Sunday painters. Dismantlers of tertiary colour
tied up in a bow.
I wish I had your lukewarm appreciation for
zip, tat. The nothingness of bilge and cackle.

As it is. I sit and bang at the keys with one finger.

I am bitter as a paper bag of limes. Lemons.
Rind and pulp, dyspeptic acid. Carapuces
and crustaceans washed out on a single white

I do not believe I appreciate the taste of you.
I don't think I'm familiar with the smell of you at all.

It takes much to penetrate my hard of hearing.
It takes plenty to buckle down and man the quiet
way in.

I believe in salt, seed, weed. The labour to spoil.

That is my working. That is my crease.
That is my reason to break into a run or rapture.

You had better be quick
to explain your myopia.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

picasso ist blau

rude faust. so far sosna good.

Written by Rudolf Sosna.

Werner "Zappi" Diermaier : drums;
Hans Joachim Irmler : organ;
Jean-Hervé Péron : bass;
Rudolf Sosna: guitar and keyboards;
Gunter Wüsthoff: saxophone, synthesizer.

Recorded at Wumme, March 1972.
Produced by Uwe Nettelbeck.
Engineered by Kurt Graupner.

FAUST: MAMIE IST BLAU from "So Far" LP (Polydor) 1972 (Germany)

stitched up

Consider this.


An episiotomy in

Scunthorpe. That's
a different matter.
unpinned fodder for

cities of god

Originally issued on Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's imprint, Kosmische Kuriere, under license to parent label, Ohr and marketed in Italy as PDU.

Kosmische Kuriere
- a vehicle, primarily, for Polol Vuh and Ash Ra Tempel - financed sixteen releases between 1973 and 1975, and a reissue of Fricke's soundtrack to Herzog's "Aguirre" in 1982.

Popol Vuh derives from the corpus text - Book of Community - originating in Guatemela: a Mayan narrative, its central themes cover the creation myth to cosmology and genealogy, prior to the Spanish conquest. Documented by the Dominican priest, Francisco Ximénez (born in 1666) some years after his arrival in the New World in 1688, all modern editions stem solely from those 18th century transcripts, "mostly written in parallel Quiché and Spanish".

There is no definitive book of counsel.

From "Beatitude", a Florian Fricke composition with guitar by Conny Veit.

Conny Veit: guitar;
Daniel Fichelscher: guitar, drums, congas;
Robert Eliscu: oboe;
Florian Fricke: piano; keyboards (Cembalo);
Klaus Wiese: tambura.
Recorded at Baumburg (Altenmarkt) & Stommeln (Cologne).
Produced by Popol Vuh and Reinhart Langowski.

POPOL VUH: TANZ DER CHASSIDIM from "Seligpreisung" LP (Kosmische Kuriere) 1973 (Germany)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

i steal with a cool hand. look

The Warner Bros. financed "I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang" - adapted from Robert Elliott Burns' autobiographical account, as serialized in pulp magazine, True Detective - provoked public disquiet and brought the failings of the US penal system into focus.

Nominated for three Acadamy Awards in 1932, while Burns continued to serve out his sentence in New Jersey state, the film's commercial and critical success fueled debate, if not fundamental reforms. As a consequence of civic pressure - fanned by press reports of similar miscarriages of justice on a seemingly grand scale - a significant increase in appeals capitalized on this climate change; a record number of 'chain gang' inmates were granted parole and early release, interstate.

That is not to suggest that pardons were forthcoming. Jurisprudence is not so easily bent on confessing to error.

i am a fugitive from a chaing gang. then and now.

While Burns himself walked in 1933, it should also be observed that Georgia warden, J. Harold Hardy - his character lambasted in the film - successfully sued the studio for "
vicious, brutal and false attacks".

Like Muni disappearing into the dark in the final reel, the words "I steal..." trailing on a leash, the prison system publicly exonerated itself and retreated from flashbulb and spotlight. Stepping back into the long shadow behind bullhorn and pump action shotgun.

The rows concealed behind razor wire and fence.

The following overblown 'confessional' was originally culled from a post carried on Record Robot. Seemingly a vanity project - recorded in San Diego, CA and owing more of a debt, perhaps, to "Cool Hand Luke" - it nonetheless shambles, chained, in the footprints of Robert Elliott Burns. And, by tenuous extention, in the brusque foreword or afterword of Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson; themselves some time contributors to Bernaar Macfadden's True Detective.

"Pulp", of course, was the title - fittingly - of Charles Bukowski's last 'novel'. Published in 1994, just ahead of his death. In it, the role of narrator's voice passes from the familiar - Henry Chinaski - to private investigator, Nicky Berlane. "Pulp" punctuates the end of an era. And similarly 'celebrates' what Bukowski defines as "bad writing".

Bukowski may or may not have been justified in digging out an axe to grind. Genre writing, so far as I am concerned, is no better or worse merely for its author's pursuit of the rent; alimony; necessities or vices. It is what it is.

Me. I think he was just poking fun. Kicking back with the dicks for laughs.

I have no clear idea whether Floyd, here, is genuine or not. I suspect the latter.

He most definitely feels he has an axe to grind.

Ignore the window dressing. The pomp and chorus of pickaxe and shovel. The library music. Acquaint your ears, instead, with the private disinterment of a man falling in and out of his cups.

And the tarnished legacy of Robert Elliott Burns.

Raise a glass to the spurious or simply ill considered.

A sequel of sorts, it appeared first on SibLINGSHOT ON THE BLEACHERS in July, 2008. Nothing much changes when all's said and done.
FLOYD McCLELLAN: I AM AN EX-CONVICT FROM A FLORIDA CHAIN GANG from "I Am An Ex-Convict From a Florida Chain Gang" LP (Sagitario) 1978 (US)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

the fugitive

paul muni: september 22 1895 - august 25 1967.

Paul Muni - fugitive from a chaing gang; jewish scarface - fell
into the world on September 22nd, 1895. Haunted by pogroms.
Hiding on the streets of Lwow, Poland. Beset by boys with sticks.

A Hollywood grail of bullets. He faded in the Summer of Love.

My great-grandfather - on my mother's side - was also from Lwow.
Before it was swallowed by Ukraine. His wife was one of the first
road fatalities in Poland. Just as the motor car made its appearance.

My own grandfather journeyed half way round the globe via the
Black Sea and the Suez Canal. Bartering with arabs. Trading dry
goods purchased here and there with rubles from the Soviet army.
He fled Lwow in a hurry. At seventeen he saw no future in it.

Presently, he stepped foot on British soil. I am unclear on the detail.
He is no longer here to corroborate or embroider on it, but it
was certainly here that he met my grandmother. He was enlisted
into the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade in Scotland. They
lent him a gun and dropped him out of an aeroplane over Arnhem.

He was not keen on that either, but he knew better than to argue.

By outrageous good fortune, he made it back to his adopted home.
His elder brother, Stanislaw, fared less well. A dapper wit, skillful
with pencil and sable brush, he perished in the extermination camps.
A younger brother, I believe, was spirited away to a Gulag in Siberia.

Of course. My grandfather remained unacquainted with the facts
until much later. Years of hopeful correspondence turning cold;
slowing to a dutiful trickle as letter after letter disappeared in the void.

He grew weary and forgetful. Outwardly, at least.

And so. When word came at last, slipping through the letterbox with
no more than a whisper, he found he was no longer on close terms
with the script marching across each page. Or the launguage of loss.

After persevering, he carefully laid down his reading glasses and
settled back in his chair. Tuning the dial without expression as a young
Paul Muni danced onto the screen and bailed out under fire.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

bleeding out. between the covers

damned damned damned. in an orange peel plastic wig.

Well. A promise is a promise.

This time last week, a bunch of reprobates gathered at the drop in clinic which is sometimes the comments section on SibLINGSHOT ON THE BLEACHERS. And got to bandying words on the subject of definitives, counterfeits, and perennially indulged placebos. Cover versions of good standing, in short.

A karaoke chorus of the weary and/or addled; inexplicably resuscitated under a ragged flag.

Snowballing - literally - out the fists of an exuberant Warden, a few choice calls promptly escalated into a free-for-all. A gaggle of voices joining the fray. Only one of them still anonymous.

And so it was, finally, Nazz Nomad who hurled down the gauntlet: his proposal that the bretheren engage in a loose cooperative, a transatlantic puddling of resources to nominate some kind of "top ten". Now. I am not even nominally drawn to numbers. I have a deep aversion to all things arithmetical. And. I refuse to participate in the disordered spectacle of a beauty pageant. Anyway. What might be 'No. 1' in my personal hit parade today, will almost certainly slip down the charts by tomorrow.

Besides. Who would wish to loiter even close to 'No. 10' ? Gordon Brown, maybe. And that just proves my point.

The faintest trace of claret and everything knee deep in the red.

Still. I did sign consent. It was only on reading the small print that it occurred to me that I'd been 'duped'. All these f@ckin' rules.

And who's to say Nazz might not just be yankin' my chain ?

That's the thing about operating on European Time. The onus, by default, requires the 'old world' proceed first into battle. Caution to the wind. Arses to the Channel. The Americans turn up on the beaches only at the last.

Sergeant Bilko to our Corporal Clegg. Pulling on Cuban cigars. Parading in bespoke uniform just as the krauts are getting pummelled on the eastern front.

Taken by the tradesman's entrance.

Actually. All this 'Dud's Army' sniping is merely a stalling device. I have no idea in the slightest where to go from here. The weight of those decent covers already provided is stifling.

I'm bleedin' out.

I thought I'd already screamed for help. It must've fallen on shellshocked ears.

THE DAMNED: HELP from "New Rose b/w Help!" 45 (Stiff) 1976 (UK)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

son of captain blood

rat patrol on remote control. fort bragg.

A choice cut from what was originally envisioned as the double LP, "Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg". Produced by Mick Jones prior to the in party squabbling which saw the raw material being passed to Glynn Johns, and whittled back to one double sided slab of vinyl, singular.

Four songs, famously, were subsequently expunged on decommission - "Cool Confusion"; "First Night Back in London"; Beautiful People"; and "Kill Time" - none of which concerns us, critically, here.

The story of Sean Leslie Flynn, is convoluted and mired in rudely propogated evidence and anecdote.

The sole legitimate heir of swashbuckler, Errol - as a consequence of his marriage to Lila Dimita - Flynn Jr. was born in Los Angeles, California in May, 1941. After consenting to have the camera locked on him vicariously aged just fifteen, in the tv show "The Errol Flynn Theatre", Flynn Jr. swiftly turned his back on Hollywood in the wake of his father's demise and exited stage left to Africa. To try his fortune, rather predictably, as safari guide and big game hunter.

He promptly decided his skills were better employed behind the lens.

Sean Flynn arrived in South Vietnam in 1966, five years shy of thirty. Casting himself in the role of free-lance photojournalist, his images were brokered and published in the leading international magazines of the day: including Paris-Match and Time-Life. Flynn Jr., heroically reported as wounded 'in action' after a parachute jump in which he injured his knee, moved on to cover the Arab / Israeli war of 1967 before returning to Vietnam to document the uniformly condemned Tet Offesive of '68.

The twenty-seven-year-old was roundly celebrated in the feld, and still unable to flee the patriachal shadow.

From Wiki:

"On April 6, 1970, while travelling by motorcycle in Cambodia, Flynn and Dana Stone (on assignment for Time magazine and CBS News respectively) were captured by communist guerrillas at a roadblock on Highway One. They were never heard from again and their remains have never been found."

I vaguely recall a Sunday Times article from the late 80s, where significant coverage was given to Flynn's Paris apartment being legally disinterred after some twenty-five years in absentia. Sean Flynn was not declared 'legally' dead until 1984, three years after being immortalized in "Combat Rock". Such are the formalities. The dust infested trove behind closed shutters bore testament to a fittingly bygone era; those photographed artefacts - a shield of zebra skin, a yellowed ivory tusk - encapsulating not just French colonialism, but the ghost of Captain Blood as icon.

Even in death, the celluloid spectre of Errol Flynn was a mere half stop away.

photographs, top, and immediately above: allan grant, may, 1961.

THE CLASH: SEAN FLYNN from "Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg" 2 x LP Master (Bootleg) 1981 (UK)

tricky fingers: bring me the dub glove of bunny lee

Bunny Lee's succinct dub take on Dillinger's "No Business" - ranked "Mind Your Own Business" on "Talkin' Blues" - from side two of the Weed Beat issue of "Ranking Dellinger: Superstar". Sans vocal, and quite possibly all the sweeter.

Featuring The Aggrovators. Recorded at Channel One. Remixed and engineered at phase two of King Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi.

Something short of three minutes of pure THC clarity.

RANKING DELLINGER: A BUSINESS DUB from "Superstar" LP (Weed Beat) 1977 (Jamaica)

Monday, March 1, 2010

spoiler alert: channel one for the road

here's to early retirement. and ukuleles.

And not a G-Man from here to the border.

"This set was voiced at King Tubby's studio in may [1977] for producer Bunny Lee. I was lucky enough to be at Tubb's on one of the nights, Bunny arrived in his rather beat up yanky [sic] car with Dillinger, Trinity and Jah Stitch, ready for an all night session. Dillinger entered looking dapper in a blue track suit with a pair of shoes tied by the laces slung around his neck. Dillinger greeted Jammy who looked up and remarked on whether or not the footwear was new. Dillinger, sharp as a ratchet blade replied, 'Yeh man, me got me new shoes and the talking blues'."

- Dave Hendley: Blues and Soul; sleeve notes, "Talkin' Blues", Bellaphon.

"Talkin' Blues" - released to a somewhat indifferent reception after the huge success of Island's "CB200" and "Cokane In My Brain" - comes in two distinct flavours. Or wraps. The superior Jamaica Sound original (pictured top), and the Belgian reissue marketed simply as "Dillinger" ; hidden within a horrendous sleeve wholly at odds with King Tubby's crucial Home Town sound.

Released too in the UK on the Magnum label as "Talkin' Blues", so far as I can gather these dubs are culled from the LP originally issued on the Jamaican Weed Beat imprint - with additional material - as Ranking Dellinger's "Superstar". With rhythms recorded at Channel One from The Aggrovators, featuring all the usual suspects. A killer mash, ultimately, with Bunny Lee and Tubby at the controls.

Lester Bullocks, certainly, was inordinately fond of his Honda CB200. It seems fitting that it graces this LP too.

Brother Jon announced his retirement this weekend after driving for a living for close to forty years. Most recently for the Golden Gate bus company in San Francisco. This is it. He calculates he has clocked up over one millions miles; something approaching a million and one quarter. That is a lot of road.

I would like to wish him well. He has been plotting a somewhat epic voyage from the west coast up to the Olympian wastes of Canada and Newfoundland, I believe, for some time now . And farther afield. Weather and hockey permitting. His bags are packed; his passport is in order. Since he refuses to travel without his prized ukuleles, I very much doubt he will be going at it on motorcycle. In any case, he has his free ride for life. The option to sit back in relative comfort and led somebody else take the wheel for a change.

Who knows. Perhaps somewhere down the road we may yet get the opportunity to meet face to face. That would be cool.

This dub is not particularly apposite. I ought to have cobbled together something more celebratory - portentous even - but my attention has wandered a little this past week, meandering into marginally paranoid cul-de-sacs. Idling in cobwebs.

Blame it on my stalker. 

Add to which, I spent the better half of an hour this afternoon laid out in a dentist's chair. Nursing a hangover while the hygienist tutted and worked in my mouth with ill concealed contempt. Scratching away deep beneath the gumline with water jet and crochet hook, and no offer of anything approaching an anaesthetic. I think she has given up on me. The hygienist. I spat blood and left.

Anyway. Jon has impeccable taste. An ear for all manner of lost dub gems. This is one of them. One for the road. Just groove on the Tubbs and Lee. Jah Love.

 Written by Lester Bullocks.
Engineered by King Tubby and Prince Jammy
at King Tubby's Home Town Hi-Fi.

Mastered by Ken Mossue.
 Produced by Bunny Lee; remixed by Dojo Claridge.
With thanks to Still Anonymous for the tip.

DILLINGER: JAH LOVE from "Talkin' Blues" LP (Jamaica Sound) 1977 (Jamaica)