Thursday, 31 December 2009


If the quality of this bootleg was a little better, this would be one of the best captured performances of a band who at the time of this recording, Johnny Rotten, the man of the then moment, chose to be his anathema.

Rotten no doubt picked on Floyd due to their iconic status; representative of all that was pompous, pretentious and past.

Slightly ironic I always thought, as Animals (still my favourite Pink Floyd album; with 'Pigs' being one of my all time favourite songs [nice version on here, with improved guitar solo]) was just as interesting a response to the shitty-seventies as Never Mind the Bollocks - and in their themes and attitudes actually quite similar.

Although Waters preferred to spit at the audience rather than have them spit at him.

Pink Floyd - Pink Floyd Plays the Animals, Oakland Colosseum '77 (1990)

Part One

Pigs on the Wing
Pigs on the Wing 2
Shine on You Crazy Diamond (part one)
Welcome to the Machine

Part Two

Have a Cigar
Wish You Were Here
Shine on You Crazy Diamond (part two)
Us and Them
Careful With That Axe Eugene

CD rip to mp3s
Part One includes artwork

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Sentimental Tosh

It does inhabit a special place near my sentimental heart does this old vinyl boot; as it was recorded on the night of the first 'proper' gig I ever went to.

Genesis at Earls Court! The ticket was two quid; seated three rows from the back (the stage was a good bus ride away); I missed the supporting 'Legendary' Richie Havens (I had no idea who he was), but did manage to buy a plastic pint of piss from the couldn't give a toss corporate bar, and at aged thirteen, back in nineteen-seventy-seven, buying alcohol (or at least a close approximation of) over a bar was like scoring Dilaudid from old Doctor Benway himself.

The gig was massive. Even from my lack of vantage point.
This was the time when Genesis were carrying their gear around the world in five articulated lorries!
They were using lights from 747s; erecting five gigantic hexagonal mirrors above the stage to allow for lasers and lights to be bounced around; there were slide shows and moving images; and at one point ('Supper's Ready': "A flower...") humongous psychedelic flowers emerged from the floor of the stage and danced in time to the music.
A right blooming spectacle.
And I was sick on the way home...

Loved it!

As for the recording...
Well, Living Revelations is certainly one of the better vinyl bootlegs made from this period: decently pressed with a good quality of sound.

The Daddy from this period (or should that be 'Mama'... [think I've had toooo many mince-pies...]) is essentially the official release Seconds Out, but I prefer this.
It's still lush, but not over the top.
The recording sounds more spacious, especially during the opening 'One For The Vine', a track not included on Seconds Out, which was a weird omission when you hear this version, because it sounds hot; I guess it just didn't fit that more 'Greatest Hits' kind of album that Seconds Out really was.

Other tracks of interest include a good recording of 'Inside and Out' from the Spot the Pigeon e.p. and a Collins' voiced version of early Genesis favourite 'The Knife'; which he fair belts out, it must be said.

Genesis - Living Revelations (1977)

One For the Vine
Inside and Out
Firth of Fifth
Dance on a Volcano
Los Endos
Lamb Lies Down
Musical Box (Close)
The Knife

Decent vinyl rip@320kbs
Rare one this.
Those with nostalgic bent go here

Thursday, 24 December 2009

'Ave A Banana

The Christmas post is always a tricky one.

But not this year.

Unfortunately, it seems Chas n Dave are no more.
Dave's retired you see.
Leaving Chas in a bit of a quandary...

Does he carry on?
Not quite the same really, is it?

So as you're shoveling down another mince pie; imbibing yet another eggnog, do think of poor ol' Chas.
And have one on him!
In fact let's raise our glasses to the phenomenon that was Chas n Dave:
"To Chas n Dave!"
I've posted this album back to front, with the live tracks (originally Side 2) first: they really are the business as far as this album is concerned.
Recorded live at The Bridge House, Canning Town, London, with an extremely lively audience, it makes for a right ol' cockney knees' up.
Who can honestly resist singing along with 'The Sideboard Song' or having a go at the quick bits during 'Rabbit'?

The long track (Side 1 of the original), 'Stars Over 45', does tend to grate after a while, and the 'on 45' beat really gets on your tits; but they do manage some interesting takes on old London music-hall styled songs; and who else but Chas n Dave would have the balls to mash 'What A Rotten Song' with 'Give It To The Girl Next Door'?

The audacity!

I'm sure Alan Lomax would have been fascinated.

Chas n Dave - Christmas Jamboree Bag (1981)

The Sideboard Song
Some Day
Poor Old Mr. Woogie
Down Where The Swanee River Flows
Roll Over Beethoven
Stars Over 45

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Have yourself a right cockney knees' up here

I'll be putting up some posts over the holiday period that deviate from my normal fare; as I'll be dealing with more mainstream concerns.
With a twist, of course.
Watch this space...

Hey, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to All!
Shanti, roy

Friday, 18 December 2009

Hard To Swallow

Here's a little taster for some newly released PIL material.

Originally sourced from a BBC Radio 1 session for the Mark Goodier show back in the early nineties, here are four tracks from a particularly heavy incarnation of Lydon's tribe.

Promoting the album That What Is Not, the band sound tight and energized; and with two guitarists the effect is a very metal accompaniment to Lydon's bitter, confessional lyrics.

The stand out songs are essentially the best two tracks from the album.
'Cruel' which is a real blinder of a PIL track, in this setting sounding truly bombastic, and must be considered one of the best post classic PIL tunes; and 'Acid Drops', a track that cleverly samples early Pistols without double dipping.

Lydon fluffs a line during his performance of 'Acid Drops', but being the showman he is ad-libs his way out of it so well you wonder whether the slip was really a slip at all.
You just can't trust these Situationists!

PIL Session for BBC Radio 1 (1992)

Acid Drops
Love Hope
Think Tank

Excellent rip from cassette @320kbs

These tracks have now been released as part of The Plastic Box collection.
So if you like these it's probably worth getting a copy of that.
Very reasonably priced...

Taster Session here

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Holy Shit!

This has existed in various forms around the web; but just in case you've missed it, never bothered or knew not of it, here it is in all its full definitive glory, ripped from cassette @320kbs, digitally enhancing the original DAT recording, allowing you to flatten off the hiss and play it very, very loud indeed.
The only way to listen.
Not much to say about this really.
Except it is one of the best live collections of avant-noise-punk songs from one of the best bands of their genre(s).
And as far as the Surfers' oeuvre goes, this captures them at their absolute peak; their very best; their most surreal and their most creative.

Gibby's mastered his Gibbytronix; Leary's axing iconoclastic; the monster rhythm section's bombastic.

Lewd, crude, extreme, offensive, but often sublime.
Live music didn't get any better than this.

Butthole Surfers - Double Live (1989)

Part 1

To Parter
Psychedelic Jam
Gary Floyd
John E Smoke
Pittsburg to Lebanon
The One I Love
Dum Dum
No Rule

Part 2

I Saw an X-Ray of a Girl Passing Gas
Creep in the Cellar
Lou Reed
22 Going On 23

Excellent cassette rip @320kbs
To parter one here
To parter two here

Friday, 11 December 2009

Good Grief!

Originally released on 10" vinyl in 1989, Widowermaker was the third e.p. from the Texan masters of hardcore and avant-punk.

Opening spectacularly with the incredibly arranged 'Bon Song', featuring a 'Sweet Leaf' inspired repeated hacking cough and some super bong-tastic sound effects.

'1401' appears to be a song about Gibby's eyes rolling back into his head as the consequence of some kind of glass inflicted injury; resulting in a lyrical synaesthetic response... well, you've got to sing about something...

Leary is on top form on this recording, and he plays a stormer during the distinctly anthemic 'Booze Tobacco'.
A kind of Oi!, psychobilly number, with a dash of Jungle chucked in for good measure.

'Helicopter' is in a far more traditional vein as far as the Surfers' sound goes. Reminiscent of tracks from such classic albums as Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac and Locust Abortion Technician; but less chaotic, less no-wave and therefore a little easier on the ears.

Butthole Surfers - Widowermaker (1989)

Bon Song
Booze Tobacco

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Take a hit here

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Fist of Fun

Whilst in the era of the kipper tie and the chequered nylon flare, I thought I'd post this little gem from 1975.

Notorious for it's objectifying cover the music is barely discussed.
And that's a real shame, because this is a great album, and it features one of the great alchemical pairings in music; betwixt guitarist Ollie Halsall and vocalist Mike Patto.

Halsall and Patto first performed together in the reasonably successful, 60's psychedelic pop band Timebox (definitely recording the best version of 'Begging', a track normally associated with Frankie Valli's Four Seasons; although now probably more identifiable to Madcon, since their recent version).

Timebox evolved into Patto, and a distinct change of style was adopted, as jazz and lengthy solos were thrown into the mix; pioneering a sound and mood that helped to establish prog rock.
They also came up with some great album titles: Roll 'em, Smoke 'em, Put Another Line Out and Monkey's Bum among them.

After Patto came Boxer.
Halsall and Patto joining up with ex-Van Der Graff Generator [!] bassist Keith Ellis and session drummer Tony Newman.
Below the Belt was their first, and definitely best, album.

It kicks off with the raucous 'Shooting Star', Halsall performing his trade mark percussive style playing, creating hard edged chords that capture so well that British hard rock sound, ubiquitous in the mid-nineteen-seventies.

(Ollie Halsall was much admired within guitar circles, one of those guitarists' guitarists, if you know what I mean.
As a session musician he worked with all manner of artists, attaching himself to various cliques and circles, including the 'Canterbury Scene', eventually joining Kevin Ayres out in Majorca, becoming part of what was known as the 'Deià scene'.
He also worked with ex-Bonzos, Viv Stanshall and Neil Innes; eventually joining up with old Timebox band mate John Halsey to record much of the guitar on Innes' project The Rutles; known within the parallel world of The Rutles as Leppo, the Fifth Rutle.
Sadly Ollie died stupidly young [43], but many consider him to have left a real legacy, and many paid homage in their own imitation of his idiosyncartic style)

The sound may have been common, but few bands of that pre-punk period sounded as good as Boxer.
What with Halsall's excellent playing, there was also of course Mike Patto's voice.
And what a voice.

Imagine if Bon Scott had been raised by jazz-loving birds, and fed honeydew and nectar...
Well, that's what Mike Patto's voice sounds like.

Don't get me wrong, Patto could belt it out when he wanted to, and he certainly has his moments on this album; but he's got that sitting down kind of voice, one that only keyboard players seem to have.
(I don't include singing drummers in this proposition; drummers who sing are an abomination and should really be outlawed.)

Unfortunately Patto was another star who left this realm far too prematurely; ridiculously so in fact, he was thirty-six years old, for fuck's sake!

The jazz tropes are definitely there in Boxer's sound, but Below the Belt is essentially a hard-rock album; however, it is that slight infiltration of jazzyness that makes this album still sound great; not at all generic of its period.
It's certainly given me a lot of pleasure over the years; and it's still spun pretty regularly on my turntable.

As for the cover... well, what can you say; it was the seventies.
Not that that's any excuse, it is essentially blatant misogyny as marketing, and it's difficult to view it any other way.

(Interestingly, Patti Smith's Horses with it's fantastic Mapplethorpe portrait of her on the cover was released in the same year as Below the Belt; images that couldn't have been any more different, showing that representations of women in rock music were beginning to break away from the stereotype.
Does anyone else remember those Top of the Pops compilation album covers? Mad!)

The vitruvian woman, just in case you're interested, is model Stephanie Mariann.
But I haven't got her number, I'm afraid...

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
Beat yourself up here

Friday, 4 December 2009

Shut it! You Slags!

Bitchin soundtrack from one of the greatest TV shows British commercial television ever produced.

When I was a lad The Sweeney used to be the talk of the playground; everybody watched it.
In fact, at its peak in the mid-nineteen-seventies nineteen million people (that was a third of the British nation) watched it; not bad for a cop show shown on a Thursday night.

Strung together with authentic hard boiled London dialogue and the cant of the time ('You're nicked', 'Scum', 'Slag', 'Toe-rag', 'Bastard', 'Guv' and the inevitable 'Shut it!'), as well as some beautifully profound soliloquies from the sublime Jack Regan (John Thaw), my favourite being:

I sometimes hate this bastard place.
It's a bloody holiday camp for thieves and weirdos; all the rubbish.

You age prematurely trying to sort some of them out.

You try and protect the public and all they do is call you fascist.

You nail a villain, and some ponced-up, pin-striped, Hampstead barrister screws it up like an old fag packet on a point of procedure.

Then pops off for a game of squash and a glass of madeira.

He's taking home thirty grand a year, and we can just about afford ten days in Eastbourne and a second-hand car.

Ah, it's all bloody wrong my son.

All of this wonderfully sampled dialogue accompanies some right solid seventies' funk and thug.
Wah-wah guitars, sleazy organs, wicked percussion, and generally some of the best incidental music ever written for television is all to be found on this excellent collection.

Despite the programme's Britishness, the music borrowed heavily from U.S. Blaxploitation movies, which was somehow most appropriate, perfectly accompanying the gritty, hard boiled themes the series absolutely reveled in.

Some of the musical highlights include Herbie Flowers' & Barry Morgan's 'Movement 1'; the atmospheric chase themed 'Flying South'; the very black 'Funky Pusher' and the very visual 'Freak Out'.
But as a whole, the album makes for a great exciting listen.

Various Artists - Shut It! The Music of the Sweeney (2001)

Salute to Thames - Johnny Hawksworth
The Sweeney (main Theme) - Harry South
Flying South - Brian Bennett
Movement 1 - Herbie Flowers & Barry Morgan
Hogan's Thing - Simon Haseley
Bora - Simon Haseley
Funky Express - Duncan Lamont
Big Shot - Keith Mansfield
Contact - Peter Reno
Thug - Brian Bennett
The Journey - Duncan Lamont
No Man's Land - Jacques Arel & Pierre Dutor
Regan's Theme - Dennis King
Steam Heat - Barbara Moore
Funko - Irving Martin
The Apartment - Duncan Lamont
Funky Pusher - Wally Asp
Freak Out - John O'Brien-Docker
The Grey Man Moves - Gordon Grant
The Heist - Brian Bennett
The Investigator - Brian Bennett
Wheel Man - Keith Papworth
The Big Fuzz - Johnny Pearson
Sideral Rhythmic - Jacques Arel & Pierre Dutor
Pop March - Johnny Pearson
The Sweeney (Closing Theme) - Harry South

Cheers to Hackenbacker for the turn-on to this.

CD rip to mp3s
Get yourself bleedin' nicked here

Monday, 30 November 2009

Leaves on the Line

Considered by many to be the British dub outfit's greatest work, this 1995 release still makes for a great uplifting listen.

With their sound system roots, Homegrown Fantasy saw Zion Train cleverly fuse and mash dub, ska, dancehall, soul, techno, electronica and several other sub-genres, to create a colourful and diverse sound; making the album as a whole sound more like a compilation than the work of a single collective.

Very upbeat, very bouncy; and due to its eclecticism very much the party animal, whether it be in house or field.

Zion Train - Homegrown Fantasy (1995)

Dance of Life
Free the Bass
The Healing of the Nation
Universal Communication
Get Ready
For the Revolution
Why Should We Have to Fight?
Live Good IV
A Better Day
Love the Earth
One World, One Heart
One Conscience

CD rip to mp3s
Get aboard here

Friday, 20 November 2009

Driller Thriller

Debut album from my favourite live band of the late nineteen-eighties.

The name comes about due to the first pressings of the vinyl edition not having a central spindle hole, but it did include instructions, and encouragement, to enable the user to add the hole [is adding a hole a paradox?], complete with recommended drill bit size.

It still sounds great this album. And if you're used to the more dancy, electronic PFX-style Gaye Bykers, then this might take you by surprise, as this is a far more down to earth, raw and dirty affair, with the band playing flat-out, full-tilt boogie.
Every track races to the end: flange set on max, a buzzing rhythm section and Mary Mary growling along in an often Foetus-like fashion.

Highlights are 'Motorvate', 'All Hung Up', two tracks that include great refrains - Mary could do a good chorus - 'Zen Express' with its Harrison-like riff, and 'After Suck There's Blow': literal existentialism.

And boy, just dig those helicopter effects during 'World War 7 Blues'.

Gaye Bykers on Acid - Drill Your Own Hole (1987)

Call Me a Liar
All Hung Up
Zen Express
World War 7 Blues
Git Down (Shake Your Thang)
After Suck There's Blow
So Far Out
Drive In Salvation
T.V. Cabbage

Decent cassette rip @320kbs
Occasional level fluctuation; soon rights itself.
Get your ready-made here

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Culture Shock's only full length album from 1988.

It does contain more songs and less dub than appear on their shorter e.p. releases, but it does allow ex-Subhuman Dick Lucas to really show off his lyrical prowess; and boy, did Dick have a lot to say.

Despite the band's Marxist/Anarcho bent, their bass-heavy take on ska has an uplifting feel to it; and on close examination Dick's lyrics readily sway towards positivity; he may have been critical of the society of the nineteen-eighties, but he often offered solutions: radical, yes; but solutions none the less.

Occasionally his songs are more personal than political; and what can seem a typical polemic against the state actually turns out to be an angsty rumination about the state of the relationship he has with his girlfriend.

There is also frustration expressed about the elitism and segregation associated with counter cultural groups and tribes.
'He didn't come here to feel like this' from the track 'United' captures that attitude very well, and Lucas was brave enough to have provoked his own audience into thinking about the uniforms they were wearing; the rules and conventions that determined their sense of belonging;
and exclusion.

This album also includes 'Civilization Street', one of Culture Shock's greatest tunes; a track that takes me right back; I just want to get out and put on my old NATO boots and have a good old stomp about....

Culture Shock - Onwards and Upwards (1988)

Colour TV
Fast Forward
You Are Not Alone
If You Don't Like It
Civilization Street
Catching Flies
When the Fighting's Over
Open Mind Surgery
Don't Worry About It

Decent Cassette rip @320kbs
Grab yourself some cultural heritage here

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Manufactured Dissent

Despite what you may think of the society, system, machine in which you exist, it's kind of good to be part of a society, system, machine that allows those who are critical of it to express those opinions; and I'm lucky to be able to spend my time sitting here doing this and you're lucky to be where you are reading it.
It really could be a lot worse.

But of course it can always be improved upon, right?

And in the best philosophical tradition, Consolidated were always ready to provoke and challenge personal perceptions and attitudes.

They were much slagged off in their time, but I think a lot of the criticism aimed at them was similar to attacks made against those such as Andrea Dworkin, Pete Singer or Noam Chomsky: using words that prick the conscience; discussing ideas that challenge personal prejudices.

And as any two year old will tell you, the best way to get a reaction is by being extreme.

And this is by far the most extreme of all the early Consolidated politico albums.
It's also, in my opinion, their best; and certainly the album that contains the best marriage between their discourse (no other word for it really) and their music.
There's some real big beats on here; moving into industrial in places; creating an angry RevCo kind of vibe.

Samples from the band's own Q&A sessions - part of their live performance - often find a place in their music.
They make for interesting listening. Often they are critical of the band. Often they are made by those who are obviously feeling a little guilty or somewhat morally challenged.
But the band are never detached from this; there's no snobbery involved; no holier than thou attitude; which is something I always liked about the band: their inclusion; their recognition that they too are part of the problem (it's always 'we' and 'us' in their lyrics, rather than 'you', the preferred pronoun in so many counter-cultural polemics).
The band have always been the first to recognise their own failings and hypocrisy.

This self-deprecation is captured well during the Theodor Adorno like criticsm of popular culture heard in 'Music Has No meaning'. A track not only anticipating X Factor and Pop Idol culture but also recognising that music's power is totally ephemeral.
You might want to riot or change the world in the moment, but as soon you get outside the venue or the record comes to an end... well....

So apathy is really the main target of this album- whether it's due to the dumbing-down of society, drug use, the adoption of stereotypical behaviour or just plain laziness- and the title, Friendly Fascism, is a quotation from the work of Bertram Gross [!], the writer of a Chomsky styled polemic, stating that we have all been conditioned because we're too damn lazy or comfortable to want to do anything about it....

Another reason Western society is so apathetic is due to all the meat it consumes; and it's the meat industry and meat eaters who are next to suffer Consolidated's wrath; including an assault from the sexual political angle - the band being joined by Carol J Adams, the author of The Sexual Politics of Meat - and from the ecofeminist point of view: man rapes the earth like man rapes woman.

And you can dance to it!
What more could anyone want?

Consolidated - Friendly Fascism (1991)

Brutal Equation
Our Leader
Unity of Oppression
The Sexual Politics of Meat
Typical Male
Entertainment Tonight
Friendly Fascism
We Gotta Have Peace
Meat Kills
White American Male (The Truth Hurts) Part 2
Music Has No Meaning

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Agitprop yourself here

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Windy Pops

Recorded by the BBC back in 1972 for their radio show In Concert, this brief Hawkwind set is a real blinder, catching the band at their peak and experimental best.

Featuring the classic early Seventies line up, including both Del Dettmar and Dik Mik generating sonic oscillations and brain warping electronic atmospherics, this set effortlessly moves from one track to another via some far out space poetry.
'Earth Calling', 'Welcome to the Future' and the opening riff on Moorcock's words from his sci-fi horror classic The Black Corridor all make for a nerve tingling listen.

This set also includes what has to be my favourite version of 'Silver Machine'; Lemmy spits the words; just making me want to get in my car and drive; just drive; drive away into the night.
You know what I mean?

Hawkwind - Live at the Paris Theatre, 1972.
Ripped from digital broadcast @320kbs

I decided not to edit this as it works so well as a single piece.
Black Corridor
7 By 7
Earth Calling
Silver Machine
Welcome to the Future

Space out here

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Gong Show

I've been listening to a lot of Gong recently due to their excellent new release 2032; the best new release I've heard for a long time; and, from my point of view, a strong contender for album of the year.

(Very good Fortean Times article on the band; go there to check it out: includes Daevid Allen interview and some excellent recent pics.)

So I wanted to post some Gong material to celebrate their new found vitality and dynamism; and this Anthology album seems to be one of the rarer items in their massive back catalogue (much of which has now been made available due to new interest; an interest I believe that's come about through their music being discussed and shared by bloggers...).

The collection begins with some very angry people, French people, being very angry indeed.
Despite the 'riot' being recorded in 1971, this is a most fitting start to a retrospective collection of Gong's music, as they were conceived during the most troubled of times; emerging out of the 1967/68 Paris underground scene.

The earliest recordings here are in demo form; including the original demo for 'Magik Brother', one of the band's first recordings.
But the majority of this album is made up of live tracks; all of which are unavailable elsewhere, so despite many of the titles being familiar, the recordings are not; and there's some great versions of some real Gong classics.

The highlights include a wonderfully hyperbolic psychedelic version of Kevin Ayers' 'Why Are We Sleeping?' and Gilli Smith at her scariest best in a perfectly controlled hysterical delivery of 'I Am Your Pussy'.

Gong - Anthology 1969-1977

Riot 71 - France, 1971.
Pot Head Pixies - Live, France, 1972.
You Can't Kill Me - Live, UK, 1974.
Magik Brother - Demo, 1969
Why Are We Sleeping? - Live, France, 1972.
Radio Gnome - Live, France, 1972.
Dreaming It - Live, France, 1972.
Bambolay/Ya Sunne - Glastonbury Fayre, UK, 1971.
Es Que Je Suis - Demo, France, 1970.
Hypnotize You - Demo, France, 1970.
Oily Way/Outer Temple - Live, France, 1977.
You Never Blow Your Trip Forever - Live, France, 1977.
You Can't Kill Me - Live, France, 1973.
I Am Your Pussy - Live, France, 1973.
Fohat Digs Holes In Space - Live, France, 1973.
Pot Head Pixies - Live, France, 1972.
Perfect Mystery - Live, Norway, 1974.

CD rip to mp3s
Travel to Planet Gong here

Monday, 2 November 2009

High Culture

In 1978 Culture were on a roll.

Culture, essentially a three-piece vocal harmony group lead by Joseph Hill, had experienced success working with the legendary producer Joe Gibbs who had help cut their first two albums; and in 1978 were about to adopt a long and fruitful relationship with the hardest working woman in the Jamaican music business: Sonia Pottinger.

But between working with those two great producers (and some mighty musicians: Sly and Robbie, Lloyd Parks, 'Sticky' Thompson, Tommy McCook, to name but a few) Culture found themselves with time to spare; so they utilized it in the studio; cutting new tracks with a collective of unknown musicians and inexperienced production engineers.

Virgin Records, motivated by their success with punk, were hunting for authentic roots and reggae acts, and soon whisked Culture into the Treasure Isle Recording Studios; married them up with Pottinger and together recorded Culture's first album for their reggae label Front Line.

The result was Harder Than The Rest, a very safe West-friendly sound - to my ear it sounds like an attempt to jump on the Peter Tosh bandwagon - launching a very differently styled Culture; a sound that was quite far removed from their other two L.P. releases.

However, at the same time Harder Than The Rest was released, an unofficial recording became available; one that captured that time in the studio before hooking up with Virgin.

And despite the lack of big name producers or immensely skillful session musicians, Africa Stand Alone is by far the superior of the two releases.
It benefits enormously from the hands off approach, allowing for a deeply soulful and live sounding delivery of gorgeous melodic roots numbers.

There is some occasional brass, but primarily this is a very stripped down recording. Even the production is light, and the desk only really comes into play during the final track, with dub music forming the outro.

Culture never sounded so beautiful.

Culture - Africa Stand Alone (1978)

Love Shines Brighter
This Train
Dog Ago Nyam Dog
Tell Me Where You Get It
More Vacency
Iron Sharpen Iron
Garvey Rock
Innocent Blood
Behold The Land

Technically a bootleg album, this has not been released on CD.
Several of the tracks were re-recorded for Harder Than The Rest; they make interesting comparisons.
This 320 rip comes from a very fat vinyl copy released by April Records, a subsidiary of Dragon Music.
There is a little crackle on the ins and outs, but in the main sounds deep and heavenly.
Get yourself Cultured here

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Doctor in the House

I have lots of fond memories of this band.
They often performed at London all dayers and nighters back in the eighties along with Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, PWEI et al.
If they weren't performing, the Doctor (Clive) would often take up position on the decks and act as house DJ and compere.
He was very good.

Visually, the band were stunning; with their peculiar take on psychedelic kabuki, the Doctor's crazy hair dos, and the Anadin Brothers' (Wendi and Colette) synchronized dance routines: it all made for great entertainment.

This e.p. from 1987 is a good representation of their sound; moving from a Devo-like angular style to progy-new wave, all soaked in a fair dose of eighties' psychedelia.
And of course: its got a great cover!

Doctor and the Medics - Two Pieces of Cloth Carefully Stitched Together (1987)

Sound of Chains
Perfect World
Silver King
Age of Gold

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Fill your prescription here

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Soul Shall Be Required

Wicked 1969 sampler from British Soul and R&B pioneers Soul City Records.
A collection of top tunes from difficult to buy 60's American artists; specifically targeting home audiences eager to experience the "exciting, everchanging scene of Soul Music, more than just a transitory fad."

The compilation is bookended by a couple of real original greats.
Opening with the R&B classic 'It's All Over Now' - made famous by cover band extraordinaire The Rolling Stones - here produced in all its raw glory by The Valentinos, belted out masterfully by the song's co-composer Bobby Womack.

And ending with Bessie Banks' soulful delivery of 'Go Now'; anglicized mournfully and made massive by The Moody Blues - this version is so much better. Alone well worth the download.

Also included are some great dancy instrumentals.
A young Billy Preston pushes the Hammond to the max on his 'Greazee - Part 2'; The Soul City Executives go upbeat and party during 'Happy Chatter'; and The Packers' perform an excellent Booker T styled track with 'Go Head On'.
If these songs don't make you wanna get up and dance, you need to check your pulse...

As well as live sounding R&B tracks, best utilized by Thelma Jones and the great Chuck Edwards - 'Downtown Soulville' must be one of the best R&B tunes ever produced - the "now sound of Soul and R&B" is also represented; Chris Jackson singing a blinding falsetto vocal over an orchestrated wall of sound; a style that would soon come to dominate the genre.

All in all a superb collection.
Evey track's a star; and despite this sampler being forty years old, if you want to let your hair hang down and really wig out, you'd be hard pressed to beat this... It's real bad!

Various Artists - Soul From The City (1969)

It's All Over Now - The Valentinos
It's A Good Life - Sylvia
Greazee-Part 2 - Billy Preston
The Star - Shirley Lawson
Downtown Soulville - Chuck Edwards
Happy Chatter - The Soul Executives
The House That Jack Built - Thelma Jones
Go head On - The Packers
I'll Never Forget You - Chris Jackson
Go Now - Bessie Banks

Excellent vinyl rip (despite its age) @320kbs
Get as deep as you like here

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Real Live

I was ripping this for myself, and figured it was so good it had to be shared.

From London's Camden Town Roundhouse, this blistering Magazine set was broadcast as part of the BBC's Electric Proms festival.

And boy were they hot.
I don't think I've heard so much energy from a reformed band as apparent on this recording.
The songs sound alive and fresh; delivered with style and vitality; no evidence here of a band merely going through the motions.

The set list is perfect. A collection of A and B sides.
Beginning with the dynamic 'Shot By Both Sides' and ending perfectly with 'I Love You, You Big Dummy', a song they colonize so expertly, it's easy to forget that it was conceived by someone else; and that's saying something about a Beefheart cover.

Devoto is on top form too.
He does ham it up a little for the first few numbers, but as the band settles, Howard loosens up, actually sounding like he's having a good time: enjoying every minute in fact.

After such a blinding set as this, the big question is: what now?
New material? An album?

Norman Fischer-Jones (Noko) has been recruited in to fill the empty space left by the late John McGeoch; during this set he totally justified that choice; and I'm not sure that Jonny Greenwood - often mentioned as a potential collaborator with Magazine - would have made a better job.

But for me, apart from the band's startling sonic effects, it was always Barry Adamson's bass playing that made their sound. And he certainly hasn't lost his touch; playing this set with great gusto and real energy.

I enjoyed this a lot.
I can't recommend it enough.

Magazine - Live at the Roundhouse, 22/10/09

Shot By Both Sides
Rhythm of Cruelty
A Song From Under the Floorboards
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
Sweetheart Contract
Feed the Enemy
Give Me Everything
The Book
20 Years Ago
The Light Pours Out Of Me
I Love You, You Big Dummy

Ripped from captured broadcast to mp3s @320kbs
Get your subscription here

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Non Traditional Punk

Less sardonic or sarky than John Cooper Clarke; without the wit of Attila or the vitriol of the Poisons; lacking the antagonism of Crass or the spite of Mark Astronaut, Patrik Fitzgerald soon found himself occupying a more Romantic position within the world of punk poetry.

Daubed the 'New Dylan' by certain rags - the reality couldn't have been further from the truth; for Patrik's music was as British as you could get.

Bowie's influence is obvious, you can hear it throughout the vocal delivery (he even name checks him during 'Live Out My Stars'); but there was enough difference in Fitzgerald's voice to prevent him from being a mere imitator.
Besides, his subject matter was a world away from Bowie's; gravitating more towards traditional late seventies' fare: paranoia, mental illness, decay and poverty (in an introduction to one of his songs he complains that his hands are 'so cold': he's recording in his bedroom).

So no big production here, just Patrik and his guitar.
And personally I prefer the Bedroom Tapes tracks (1977, originally side B of the vinyl release) to those tracks recorded at Redwood Studios in '78; the lo-fi, demo-like, hissy home-made recordings suit the songs so well; authentically capturing Patrik in the raw: adding enormously to the poignancy and mood of the songs.

(I love his little preamble to 'George', a song about George Davis, a celebrity-type bank robber who was the focus of the 'Free George Davis' campaign; capturing Patrik debating whether Davis is innocent or not; deciding that because Sham had recorded 'George Davis is Innocent' he probably wasn't. Aah, the naïveté.)

Listening to this album now, three decades beyond punk, Patrik Fitzgerald's music stands up better than ever (compare this to artists such as Devendra Banhart or Jeffrey Lewis).

Free of the shackles of the zeitgeist in which it was made, his recordings can now be seen and understood as belonging firmly to the English balladeer tradition.

Patrik Fitzgerald - The Paranoid Ward (1978)

Side A - The Paranoid Ward

Irrelevant Battles
Cruellest Crime
The Paranoid Ward
The Bingo Crowd

Side B - The Bedroom Tapes

Life at the Top
Ragged Generation For Real
Live Out My Stars

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Share life with Patrik here

Much of Patrik's recorded music is long deleted, but if you like these early recordings it may well be worth checking out his only available product: The Very Best of Patrik Fitzgerald: Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart

Friday, 16 October 2009

Captain Marvel

Despite the rather dodgy cover (is that Don?), this live recording from Seattle, 1981, is one of the better Beefheart boots.

The recording obviously came from within the audience, but the quality isn't bad; I give it an A-.

Along with an excellent set list - reads almost like a 'Best Of', although it doesn't feature 'I Wanna Find A Woman That'll Hold My Big Toe Till I Have To Go' [his finest moment], it does feature 'Veterans' Day Poppy', 'Big Eyed Beans From Venus' and 'Hothead', the best tracks from Trout Mask Replica, Clear Spot and Doc at The Radar Station respectively - a band that was in touch with what their leader was doing - it would have been nice to have a quality boot like this from 1971, but beggars can't be choosers, and 1981 does actually capture Beefheart and his Magic Band at a very creative time; he had been reborn: Doc at the Radar Station had gone down a storm, and his audience had never been bigger - and a half decent recording, this makes for an essential addition to any Beefheart collection.

Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band - Don's 40th Birthday Party (1981)

Flavur Bud Living
My Human Gets Me Blues
Nowadays A Woman's Gotta Hit A Man
Ashtray Heart
Best Batch Yet
Safe As Milk
A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond
The One Red Rose That I Mean
Doctor Dark
Bat Chain Puller
Sugar 'n Spikes
Veterans' Day Poppy
Sheriff Of Hong Kong
Suction Prints
Big Eyed Beans From Venus

CD rip to mp3s
Artwork included

Don yourself with Beefheart here