Isis Of March

Next on the shelf is an mp3 collection of Isis. I’ve blogged about Isis before so check that out. I recently watched Some Like It Hot, which includes an all-female swing band. No matter how musically inventive or competent such bands were they were always considered novelty acts not serious swing bands. Such was the case of Isis. The market wasn’t open to an all-female version of Chicago. Women in rock were usually limited to vocals,  not playing instruments, other than piano or acoustic guitar, themselves:-)

Also in this compilation are two releases by Lowell Fulsom: Drifting Blues, In A Heavy Bag. This is solid r&b. There were a couple of tracks by him on the Rojak Story compilation. I liked his old school soul sound & his voice, so downloads a couple of his solo releases. His cover of ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ takes a road the Beatles would never have taken 🙂

Here as well is Otis Blackwell’s These Are My Songs. Never heard of him? You’ve probably heard some of his songs though, which include Great Balls of Fire, Don’t Be Cruel, All Shook Up & more. His take on his songs is refreshing. I always love to hear songwriters doing their work. I also never knew that these big hits where the work of the same writer.

For some reason I added Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play: The Château d’Hérouville Sessions to this mp3 collection – a classic lp I wanted to replace with better quality sound. The original lp was two sides with no track breaks. Here it has seamless track breaks & no need to turn it over half way through. The Château d’Hérouville Sessions includes other takes of some of Passion Play songs plus earlier versions of songs such as Skating Away. The sound quality is excellent even if A Passion Play is a bit overwrought 🙂

To round out this cd I added: Arthur Brown & Vincent Crane: Faster Than The Speed of Light. Crazy World world is the best known work by these two – Crane was keyboards on that lp. Neither followed it with another big hit but they reunited in 1980 for this release. Fun & surprisingly prog-rock with an Emerson, Lake & Palmer vibe without being as self-serious. Brown’s vocals are playful & the production values & engineering is excellent. Too bad it vanished almost as soon as it was released. Worth seeking out.

Snake Skine

“Priestess and the Snake Skine” by Davina K’ltra – set in the rich fertile islands of the Caribbean the third novel of Davina K’ltra continues her fascination with things dark and lurking. 

One almost expects characters from the previous books to walk in the door at each turn of the plot. It is almost as if she had merely changed the names with the help of word search, the plots are so similar and yet one keeps reading with pleasure.

As in her previous two novels – “Snake Skine Sisters” and “Sinner in Snake Skine “- an innocent person, often of indeterminate gender, finds themselves drawn to the world and power of a vodou like cult.

In each the innocent victim is unaware till the final moment that there is no turning back now that the door has been opened. There is no one to turn to when the very people thought to be protectors turn out to be Sirens, lures. There is no safety anywhere.

Even, as in this novel, when the innocent makes an escape off the island and back to the shores of the good old USA there is no real escape. Everyone, it seems, is connected with this nefarious cult.

The major departure in “Priestess and the Snake Skine” is the gender of the innocent. In the previous two novels it has probably been female. This time it seems to be male. A young Police Academy graduate celebrates his graduation with a two week jaunt in the Caribbean Islands before he is to take up his post in Detroit. Kaleb Jones comes from a middle class black family and has proven himself to be an open minded young man. Boxing champion for his class and built to be a prime example of the best America has to offer.

We meet his family first and enjoy the last weeks of his police training. A deceptive start for K’ltra, who seems to be trying to expand the horizons of her novels by opening them to new locations. Too bad the action once it does get started is so cookie cutter.

Perhaps though it is the predictability of this fatal action that allows the reader comfort to follow it. The ritual scenes are fevered and fast, the blood flows and even when it becomes human we are ready, almost wanting to participate ourselves so we can slip into our own dangerous skine.

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August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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Horny

In the late 60’s & early 70’s there was a rush of brassy, horned up, pop bands: Blood, Sweat & Tears; Chicago – being the prime examples. Muscular sound, jazzy, male dominated, rocking big bands. There were many others who added horns to their line-ups as a result; John Mayall, Paul Butterfield. But real rock was a man’s industry.27desk01Women were vocalists only. All girl bands were novelty items, not considered real rockers. Folk was different Baez, Mitchell blazed a trail for many. Even today women rockers don’t get that respect – most often its a nod of shock that they can rock out at all. It was fine for a band to have a female vocalist: Jefferson Airplane.

A few bands broke that mould. Heart was a commercial success, but had men on board; ditto the amazing Patti Smith. Others floundered on the shores of male dominance. One was Goldy & The Gingerbreads – which leads to Isis. (side note: I didn’t use their name as a title for this blog post for obvious reasons. I resist the temptation to type as Is is though. Don’t want that terrorist attention. So not even #ing it or tagging it Isis.)27desk02Isis was an all-female version of Chicago. The first lp featured the band naked on the cover, in gold body paint. The music is solid, as good as, but not as bombastic as, any of the male fronted groups & they got decent reviews, of the sort: good for women but not as good as etc. There is some wicked guitar work on the first lp, a great Black Sabbath quote. All 3 cds have great moments.27desk03But the band was a semi-critical success but not a commercial success. Novelty wasn’t enough, nor was their unwillingness to back down & kowtow the the male dominated industry. Carol MacDonald, singer, songwriter & guitarist of the band, refused to deny her lesbianism, refused to delete songs about her love for women. By their 3rd lp they were considered too non-commercial successful to record & had lost critical regard as well – damn feminists. I guess there were no Women’s Musical Festivals at that time.

I downloaded all three lps this year & have listened to them several times. The first from 1974 is the most adventurous – they become more commercial with each succeeding one. The musicianship is excellent but they lacked the genius of say, a Laura Nyro, to give them an identity. 27desk04This is part of the sad music history of lgtbq – good, talented people denied respect & success because they wouldn’t back down from who they were. Some were destroyed, others opted out: Janis Ian. If you haven’t heard Isis it’s time you did. You won’t be disappointed.

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Confessions of a Dick Pig part 1

Sometime when I have trouble sleeping I hike over Mike’s 24 hour Gym. It’s usually not too full at 2 a.m. and I can take my time with my work out. Tonight was one of those night and as expected there were only a few only die-hards sweating away. One of them was Clive, a name I only knew by over-hearing it one day. I filed it away because Clive was, to my way of thinking, a stunning black man. At less than 5’6” he also had a body that responded perfectly to iron. He also had one of those not-so-pretty faces I loved.

I was at the tail end of my work-out,  bench pressing my maximum and enjoying the feeling of my muscles screaming for me to stop, enjoying the feeling of my sweat on my hairy chest and my balls. That feeling of health. I grimaced and shut my eyes for a last forced rep. When I opened them I was staring up directly into Clive’s basket.

“Here let me help you with that.” He smiled down at me knowing that my eyes were glued to the grey-white flash of his jockstrap up the legs of his baggy shorts. He took the bar and settled on the hooks of the bench. “You shouldn’t do that without a partner.”

“Right, “ I mumbled grabbing my towel and covering my face to keep my eyes from crawling back up to his jock. I sat up as he walked around to face me, confronting me with with his hard abs between his cut off T-shirt and shorts. They were glistening with sweat.

“Care for a coffee?” He asked. “I could give you a couple tips. You’re doing good work here but …”

“Uh … sure. I’d love to.” I cut him off.

“I got a place near here.”

“I gotta shower first.”

“There’s a shower at my place.” Our eyes met as I stood up. Toe-to-toe. “Come on. It’s just around the corner.”

On the way we made small talk. Weather. Work that sort of stuff. As we entered his apartment neither of us knew what to expect other than we were both looking for sex. The room was dim. It needed a window open to stir the air, to move the dust, to move us to each other. He followed, brushing past me as we entered as if to prevent me from finding something he’d left out by mistake.

“Pets?” I asked.

“None. Plants are demanding enough.” He opened a window which let in air but no light.

“Perfect conditions for night.”

“Yes it would seem so.” An awkward silence.

The apartment was a large bachelor with a book case making a wall between the bed and the rest of the room. A casual mix of antiques and moderns, a scattering of magazines. Without turning on the light he went to the CD player.

“I hope you’ll like this. It’s one of my favourites.”

A soft throb filled the room. A electronic babble of rippling water mixed with real voices, occasional guitars. We stood and listened a moment. I moved to the window to look at the view. He stood behind me, close. I could feel the heat of his workout, of our workouts, meeting in the thin space between us. I could feel his body barely touching then touching mine. Did I lean back? Or did he press forward. We were like magnets, drawn to each other without any means of resistance. Not even cold water could have kept us apart. We stood like that, pressing and feeling with our bodies only. The measured beats of our hearts, the slow rhythm of our breathing gradually matching, in sync. Were his eyes closed also.

“Not much of a view.” he murmured, his tongue licking along the outer part of my ear. His warm breath moving the hairs along the back of my neck.

“I don’t want to move.”

“Neither do I.”

But his hands did want to move. They slipped under my arms and onto my chest. Pulling me tighter against him. One of them moved up and under my oversized sweatshirt. Roughly stroking my hairy stomach, the other remained firmly planted between my pecs, almost daring me to relax, to let my legs go limp and completely lean on to him. My own arms hung, barely brushing against his quads.

He was breathing into my ear, rubbing his head against the back of mine as if trying to merge our thoughts. I pressed back. I groaned in expectation, anticipation. I pushed his roaming hand down into my sweatpants, onto to my damp cock. Damp with gym sweat now mixed with pre-come. I could feel his own stiffen as it pressed against my ass. I moved my gluts to slightly rub it, to encourage him.

“Not so quick,” I said as he peeled away from me. I let my hand move to cup his balls behind me. I discovered that at some point he had gotten out of his shorts. A quick glance and I saw that they were in a jumble around his calves. I was suddenly touching the hot flesh of his cock. It was his turn to groan, to growl.

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