Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kaleidoscope>Fairfield Parlour

"Kaleidoscope is an English psychedelic rock band from London that originally were active between 1967 and 1970.[1] The band's songs combined the elements of psychedelia with lyrics.[2][3] The band were also known at various times as The Sidekicks, The Key, I Luv Wight and Fairfield Parlour."

Some of you may be familiar with "Flight From Ashiya," a 1967 single by Kaleidoscope that didn't do particularly well at the time, but became a "nugget" as time went on.  All of Kaleidoscope is great fun in small doses, but as Fairfield Parlour, they seemed to drop some of the phasing and sound effects and all the bells and whistles associated with 60's psychedelia, in favor of a slightly more majestic sound. I'm on the fence about what I prefer, but "From Home To Home," Fairfield Parlour's 1970 release, has been on heavy rotation for the last few days. It can occasionally sound a bit twee, but this record is more like what I had always hoped I would hear on a Moody Blues record, but rarely did.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Good Radio, Bad Radio

As I drove to and from Massapequa yesterday, I heard the following on NYC's classic rock radio:

Journey- Don't Stop Believing
The Beatles- While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Billy Joel-Big Shot
Journey- Separate Ways
Rolling Stones- Miss You
Billy Joel- Pressure
Led Zeppelin-All My Love
The Beatles-Come Together
Kansas-Carry On My Wayward Son

If I hadn't shut the radio off, I know I would have heard more of the same.

I am not here to trash any of these artists, though I do wonder why classic rock radio rarely plays any early Beatles or Stones. It always seems to be "The White Album," "Abbey Road," "Some Girls" and "Tattoo You." Do "I Feel Fine" and "The Last Time" not rock?

Two weeks ago I was having coffee on a balcony in the French Quarter. It was early, around 8AM. I had WWOZ playing, New Orleans best radio station. Over the course of an hour, I heard music by Dr. John, Bix Beiderbecke, Suzanne Vega, The Beatles, The Meters, Abdullah Ibrahim, the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Ray Davies and the band I am featuring with two songs, the Tied & Tickled Trio.

It was all so refreshing, and this German band kind of blew me away. was on the radio.

The track up top is the opener on their record, "Observing Systems." The track below, is what was played on WWOZ. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekend Mix/ "Danger Is My Beer".

I moved to New York City in August 1988. I'd spent the last couple years playing in a band and mostly listening to '50's music. Doo Wop, SUN, Rockabilly, C&W, R&B, so I hadn't beem following much in the way of anything new.
I got a job and met a fellow artist who introduced me WFMU, and a weed dealer I'm still working with.
After the move from North Carolina I was broke.  I spent a lot of time listening to the radio with the boombox on "pause", waiting for something interesting to record. I got half of "Love Buzz" by Nirvana, heard Daniel Johnston for the first time, The Flaming Lips, and a lot of music I still can't indentify.
I didn't know what to think of "The Man With The Fold Back Ears", except I couldn't stop listening or laughing. It was impossible to determine it's origin. I was reminded of Leonard Nimoy's '60's novelty, "Bilbo Baggins", except it lacked any kind of innocence. One of the oddest things I'd ever heard, in fact.

Years later, after the invention of the internet, I started my blog, "Now That's What I Call Bullshit".
I posted about it on October 28, 2009.

I 'm not sure where I acquired the song, or why I didn't get the whole album.

Recently I ran a search, and it's really hard to find. On Amazon, sealed copies of "Car Radio Jerome" (1986) and "From The One that Cut You"(1983) are going for $289.63.

It wasn't easy, but I managed to acquire both of them from an Italian blog.

Imagine that the original Mothers Of Invention hired Wayne Newton to sing big band arrangements with lyrics by Captain Beefheart.

This is right up there with "Ruben And The Jets".

It's some of the most delightfully twisted music I know. Darkly funny, Southern Gothic abounds.
The recording quality varies somewhat, and I'm not sure what kind of facilties were available or how much rehearsal was involved.

These twelve selections, taken from the aforementioned, are the most coherent and musically focused of the lot. If they'd played in Hollywood or New York, I'm sure they would have made a bigger splash.

The songs are solid and Reverend Fred's a fine singer. His Elvis impersonation on "Upper Lip Of A Nostril Man" rivals Andy Kaufman's.


"Reverend Fred Lane is the stage name of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama born singer, songwriter, and visual artist T.R. Reed (Tim Reed), who released two relatively obscure yet critically appreciated albums in the 1970s on Say Day Bew Records, later re-released in the 1980s on the Shimmy Disc label. These albums explored various traditional genres of American music such as jazz, country, and big-band swing, but infused with improvisational experimentations and Dadaist free-associative lyrics.

Lane was involved in the conceptual music scene at the University of Alabama in the city of Tuscaloosa in the mid-seventies. He was a member of the Raudelunas Marching Vegetable Band collective, influenced by the ’pataphysical theories of Alfred Jarry. Subsequent "bands" included the Blue Denim Deals Without the Arms," The Raudelunas Arm Band and The Marching Booly Band. He played flute and alto flute for the improvisation company "Transcendprovisation" and appears on the 1976 Transmuseq LP release, "Trans."

His stage persona displayed a devilish grin, goggle glasses, a well-oiled goatee, and various band-aids applied to his cheeks and scalp. He wore a black Tuxedo coat over boxer shorts. He authored comic books and chapbooks including "Liquid Basketballs" and "Naked women Overthrow the Government Quarterly."

He released two albums in the early 1980s. From the One That Cut You, credited to Fred Lane & Ron Pate's Debonairs, was inspired by a somewhat illiterate threat note found in a 1952 Dodge Panel truck. Ron Pate's Debonairs was a big band that included noted Alabama-based free improvisers Davey Williams and LaDonna Smith, both performing under aliases. ("Ron 'Pate," also a fictional name, refers to the word "'Pataphysics," which was coined by playwright Alfred Jarry.) Car Radio Jerome, credited to Fred Lane & the Hittite Hot-Shots, navigated his band through various hard-boiled fedora film noir scenarios, and was especially noted for the memorable parody of a children's nursery song, "The French Toast Man".

Reed left the music industry in the late 1980s to devote his career to mobile sculptures."

Apparently a documentary is in the works.

In dark times a good laugh can be hard to beat.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell, 1964-2017

Did not see this one coming. 52 years old. A remarkable talent and a powerhouse voice. Soulful and warm, yet could move mountains effortlessly.

There is plenty of music to choose from, but Temple Of The Dog remains a favorite. Chris Cornell shines throughout.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dion- Kickin' Child

Scott Kempner's sleeve notes on the just released "Kickin Child" LP by Dion, are spectacular. I will respect his words by not trying to rewrite anything. I will say this. Norton Records and all those at Legacy, did a bang up job with this package, the lost 1965 recordings from one of the true legends of rock and roll, Dion Dimucci.

If these recordings hadn't suffered the fate of their surroundings and were released as hoped, we would probably be talking about this record the way we talk about other records from the era. Many bands were still coming into their own in 1965. The Byrds, The Kinks, The Who and even the Stones, still hadn't released any masterworks. Aside from "Rubber Soul" and Dylan's double whammy of "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Bringing It All Back Home," Dion's "Kickin' Child" plays better than the handful of classics that come to mind from 1965, like "Mr. Tambourine Man," "My Generation," "December's Children" and "The Kinks Kontroversy."

Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this superb reissue.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Songs Of The Week, 2017: 5/6-5/12

Dear Delilah- Grapefruit
This Boy (Alternate)
I Can't Own Her- XTC
I Witnessed A Crime- Johnny Cash & Billy Gibbons
Hello Stranger- Samantha Fish
Stranger In My Own Home Town- Elvis Presley
Junk- Jeff Lynne


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Van Duren: A Lost Masterpiece?

I've known about Van Duren for years, maybe since the late 80's, but that is still ten years after "Are You Serious" was released. His name would pop up occasionally when discussing power pop, and at some point, I think I carried an import CD at my shop. But I have no recollection of ever hearing the record and up until a few weeks ago, I couldn't tell you what it sounded like.

I found a sealed vinyl copy in one of my boxes at storage and while it was tempting to slap a $50 tag on it and put it on display at my next record show, temptation got the best of me and I ripped it open. I have no regrets.

Maybe you've been listening to Van Duren since it came out in 1977. Or maybe, like me, you had never heard a note. Either way, this record, along with the new Todd Rundgren record, has occupied most of my time for the last week or so. "Are You Serious" is no novelty, like so many power pop records tend to be. Van Duren comes from that small group of Memphis power pop musicians that gave us The Scruffs and of course, Big Star. (Jody Stephens co-wrote one track here.) And though each song will make you think of Big Star or Emitt Rhodes or Eric Carmen or Paul McCartney or Badfinger, this is one wholly original piece of work. This record is killing me.