Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Shulgin's Weans

Long before any mountains got moved, or 'Eberneezer Goode' turned up on the scene, The Shamen were a psychedelic rock band; but as time progressed they gently morphed into an experimental electronic outfit; finally finding a niche in commercial territory as a very successful dance act.

This mini-LP from 1989 captures the band during two of their transitional periods.

The bulk of Phorward, six tracks originally released on 10" vinyl, followed in the wake of the album In Gorbachev We Trust, a release that reflected the band's artistic change and genre switch.
Phorward is a lot less commercial than Gorbachev - using commercial as an indicator to the closeness of a 'Pop' sound - and seems to reflect the band in a bit of a quandary; not knowing quite where to take their music; not yet deciding as to whether they should take a more experimental approach (which Phorward does) or adopt a more commercial sound, catch the zeitgeist and give the mainstream what they want: bouncy electronica with a bangin' chorus!

Hence: "Move any mountain" and "Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode; he's Ebeneezer Goode".

The other two tracks, 'Happy Days' and 'Knature of a Girl', that came with the original release - literally; pressed as a 7" white label (actually it's pale pink), no explanation, no information - are now identifiable as the S and N Sessions (something to do with Scottish drinking habits...), and capture the band before they lay their guitars down.
It's a great sound, and in some ways a pity they didn't take it further; but time was the master, and we could all do with a bit of money in the bank, right...

(The other thing I really liked about The Shamen was their great sense of wordplay (not always as hackneyed as "Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode", although that did cause quite a stir at the time) and the way they played around with spelling conventions; just like the mighty Slade dun.)

The Shamen - Phorward (1989)

You, Me and Everything (Else)
Splash 3
Negation State
ssd 89
Happy Days
Knature of a Girl

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
Go phast phorward here

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Phony American Accents

Wow! Pub rock's everywhere at the moment; making more of an impact on the zeitgeist than it did back in the seventies!

What with the release of the Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, and Julian Temple's latest piece of 'Essex noir' Oil City Confidential, a film that tells the tale of Dr. Feelgood (let's hope that gets a swift DVD release!), pub rock feels exciting again.
And that's very apt.
Because it was exciting.

Eddie and the Hot Rods were there from the beginning; and this e.p. captures them at their most energetic and frantic best.

Recorded during their lengthy residency at the Marquee Club in 1976, what is evident now on listening is the way the band were moving towards that classic punk rock sound.
They may have been performing covers of American standards, but they brought their own take and British sensibility to their performance, as well as sounding a little like the New York Dolls!

It was a transitional time; fractured; tribal; influences were everywhere.
Eventually a centre was found, and all the elements gravitated to a single point: the creation of the first postmodern popular music genre: punk rock.

This is a wonderful example of foetal punk: still gestating; premature and innocent.

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
Get rodded here

Saturday, 16 January 2010

The Great Pub in the Sky

Sad to hear Mick Green, guitarist and Pirates' captain, is no longer with us.

So a good chance to celebrate his music.

As one of the instigators of what came to be known as 'Pub-rock' (The Pirates featured on the now-legendary Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival (1977) compilation album), The Pirates' tight, choppy, full-tilt blues and boogie influenced many a band following in their wake.

And without Mick Green there would have been no Wilko Johnson - an admirer who also went on to influence a multitude.

Back in the early-eighties, Dingwalls was celebrating a birthday or something, and The Pirates, very nearly the club's house band, were headlining.
They played a blinding set, and had a Strat playing Lemmy [!] join them for the encore.
Made for one of the best nights I ever had in Camden Town.

So for that, and the rest: Cheers Mick.
And, Long Live The Pirates!

The Pirates - Out Of Their Skulls (1977)


Please Don't Touch
I Can Tell
Peter Gunn
Lonesome Train
Shakin' All Over
Milk Cow Blues


Drinkin' Wine Spo'De'O'D
Do the Dog
Gibson Martin Fender
Don't Munchen It
That's the Way You Are
You Don't Own Me

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
Encouraging piracy here

Dig Pub rock? Check out boogie woody's wicked post for lots of Pub rock related stuff, go there for more Pirates' material, the esential Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival album, and more.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Live Sounds of Freedom

Crucial live collection from the last of the Island reggae masters.
Captured in full flight, the classic Uhuru line-up perform some wonderful vocal harmonies supported by the monster rhythm section of Sly and Robbie.

The hits are there ('Shine Eye Gal', 'General Penitentiary' and 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner'), along with great album tracks, highlighted by an up-beat, bubbly version of 'Sinsemilla', and an excellent return to the early track 'I Love King Selassie', benefiting enormously from the addition of Puma's voice, off-setting perfectly Simpson and Rose's symbiotic harmonies.
Black Uhuru - Tear It Up (1982)

Shine Eye Gal
Plastic Smile
General Penitentiary
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
I Love King Selassie
Leaving For Zion

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
For best effect remove pauses when burning.
Unify yourself here

Country Joe & The Fish link fixed

Follow the link to the original post and link from there as normal.

The Life and Times of Country Joe and The Fish

Saturday, 9 January 2010


Richard Penniman, one of the true subversive heroes of the Twentieth Century, and the writer and performer of some of the most far-out songs ever to enter the mainstream.

By the time the sixties came around, Little Richard had tasted success, controversy and a return to the church.
Like so many American artists who emerged from the 1950s, Little Richard seemed to be troubled by a morality problem associated with performing rock n roll music.
The propaganda was strong; rock n roll was the devil's music, and those who championed it were demons, diabolists: sinners!

After a brief absence, and a chance for Penniman to redeem his soul, the original Upsetter returned to the road; he couldn't stay away, and by the mid-sixties he was back, embracing the rock n roll lifestyle in a gloriously big way, apparently deciding, in a truly Satanic manner: if you can't be good then you may as well be wicked.
He also added blues, soul and funk to his ever increasingly flamboyant and outrageous stage shows.

This album comes out of that period, and features a very eclectic Little Richard: soulful and deep; wild and frantic.

It also includes a Penniman composition that has always been one of my favourite Mothers of Invention tracks, and what has to be one of the greatest covers of all time: 'Directly From My Heart', from Weasels Ripped My Flesh, deliciously belted out by Don 'Sugarcane' Harris, supported by his own tasty violin licks and Zappa's thuggish guitar accompaniment.

Just goes to prove that nothing comes from nothing: everything comes from something.
The Wild and Frantic Little Richard (1966)

Baby What Do You Want Me To Do?
Do the Jerk
Directly From My Heart
I'm Back
Holy Mackeral
Good Golly Miss Molly
Send Me Some Lovin'
Groovy Little Suzy
Baby Don't You Want a Man Like Me?
Miss Ann
Do You Feel It
Slippin' and Slidin'

Vinyl rip @320kbs
Some crackles and pops, mainly on outs
Get Wild and Frantic here

I'm sure this must have been a popular play in the Zappa household; not only does it feature the original of 'Directly' but it also includes Little Richard's cover of B.B. King's 'Baby Don't You Want a Man Like Me?' A track that must surely have been the inspiration for Zappa's mid-seventies composition 'Honey Don't You Want a Man Like Me?'

In case you want to hear the Mothers' even-better than the original version of Little Richard's blues classic; I've put the two versions back to back for your pleasure and comparison here

Friday, 1 January 2010


White Rabbits.

If like me you have a penchant for the music of The Beatles but find wading through the content on the Web intimidating or maddening, try this.

Some interesting alternative takes, out-takes and demos, mainly determined by whatever substances were the flavour of the moment.

Happy New Year to all!