Cheesy Music A Part of Me

This wildly eclectic, nearly 7 hour, mp3 compilation includes: David McCallum: Music A Part of Me; Louie Shelton: Touch Me; Neil Hefti: Batman, Lord Love A Duck; T-tauri: Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition; Armando Trovajoli: Seven Golden Men, Gente Di Roma; Rostal & Schaefer: The Beatles Concerto; Count Basie: Basie Meets Bond, Basie On The Beatles. The connecting thread being cheesy instrumental fun.

David McCallum co-starred in the TV show Man From U.N.C.L.E & thanks to his TV fame released a couple of instrumental lps one of which was Music A Part of Me (1966). He conducted the audio orchestra on covers such as We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, Taste of Honey, as well some original pieces. Easy listening lounge music. Clearly the precursor to Symphonic Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd et al.

Louie Shelton was an in demand studio guitarist who released one lp (which I had on vinyl) Touch Me (1968) A mix of covers like Whiter Shade of Pale & some original pieces, one of which Theme For A Rainy Day is sublime perfection. Sweet chorus pops up one a couple of tracks. His playing is relaxing & never lapses into jazz.

Neil Hefti has the highest music profile here thanks to his music for TV’s Batman. He wrote a load of stuff, commercial jingles & even some movie soundtracks, including the classic Lord Love A Duck. Poppy organ go-go music with some quacking. I love the sweater buying music. It makes me want to put on a pair of white go-go boots & do The Pony. 

There was an industry around remaking The Beatles, resulting in endless adaptations. I have Bach Beatles covers, Russian covers. On this cd is Rostal & Schaefer: The Beatles Concerto – another prelude to symphonic Who. One side is the ‘concerto’ the other a set of ‘impressions’ – all very tasteful but too respectful. Ferrante & Teicher for a ‘hipper’ crowd 🙂

Also looking for a hipper crowd is Count Basie with a couple of cover sets: Basie Meets Bond, Basie On The Beatles. This was/is a jazz industry – cover albums of current pop, soundtracks. Think Vitamin String Quartet. There is good playing & it is better than elevator music. 

Let’s take a quick trip to Italy with a couple of real soundtracks by Armando Trovajoli. Seven Golden Men (1965), Gente Di Roma (2003). I bought the lp of Golden Men in a remainder bin at Zellar’s or maybe it was K-Mart way back in the early 80’s & I loved it then & still dote on it now. This is a prime example of those European soundtracks brimming with wordless, female scat singers. I’ve never seen this crime-caper movie & keep wishing TCM would dig it up. Gente I downloaded just to have something else by Armando but it is merely tasteful not cheesy. He has over 300 credits as composer and/or conductor almost all soundtracks.

Finally T-Tauri’s Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (1998) – Out of the Netherlands comes this six-piece Symphonic Orchestra with a Rock’N’Roll attitude the violin, guitar, kettle drums & carillon. For many Pictures is classical cheese in any form. I have too many versions to count & this is as good as any of them. 

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Prine Prick At A Price

As a stand alone I have Lloyd Price’s Lawdy Miss Clawdy. It was one of The Essential Blue Archive series that were budget price compilations of early r’n’b artists. I knew the ‘hit’ from golden oldies but that was it. This is an excellent collection, the sound quality is excellent too. A fine voice & great New Orleans style blues, soul & worth having.

Another stand alone is Prick’s 1995 cd. I heard the song ‘Animal’ on a College Music Journal compilation CD & loved the guitar sound & the satisfying flesh ripping effect. The lp is aggressive without being pounding. Subversive songs & not a commercial success as the band didn’t care about radio or MTV appeal.

By John Prine I have lp to cd transfers of John Prine 1971 that includes ‘Hello In There’; Diamonds in the Rough 1972: includes “The Frying Pan” “Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You”; Sweet Revenge 1973; as mp3 – Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings 1995. His sound is labelled country-folk, sort of a less rock version of John Cougar Mellencamp. I loved his acerbic humorous merciless & sometimes emotionally stunning lyrics. A critics darling but never a huge public success. Maybe thanks to lyrics like ‘there’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes.’

His songs are stories as opposed to let’s dance or I love you & ‘a note in the frying pan said she ran off with the fuller brush man’ His influence is seen in Mellencamp, Springsteen & Jackson Browne. Even Bette Midler has covered his songs! Diamonds in the Rough is a good starter if you are unfamiliar with this amazing songwriter.

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The Pretenders

First there was Leslie Gore, then along came Grace & Janis, eventually Suzi Quatro – female vocalists of differing power but all who rocked – paving the way for Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. In may collection I have Debut 1979, II 1981, Get Close 1986, The Singles 1987, Packed! 1990, Last of the Independents 1994, Viva el Amor 1999, Break Up the Concrete 2008. Some started as lps, progressed to cassette & now are here as either standalone or mp3.

I remember hearing that first lp & being struck by the all-out power of her vocals, her lyrics & that tough girl image. Emotionally raw & challenging romantic fantasy while being sexually frank about her own desires this lp is a rock classic. The band is tight, propelling & match her emotions note for note. Without playing it, I can hear Brass in the Pocket.

Their sound didn’t change much over the course of the lps I have but the emotional charge did dissipate – success often tempers anger 🙂 The lyrics become a little more world-view & verge on political. Chrissie reveals some vulnerability as well. In her later solo career she explores jazz .

There were changes in members, in labels, producers yet the band remained consistently focused – there was never, say, a disco phase, or a punk moments or any attempts at hip-hop. No attempts were made to force a hit-parade sound just solid musicianship & powerhouse vocals. If you’re looking for a rock band, look no further – they may be The Pretenders but they’re the real deal.

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Postal Affair

I picked up the CD of The Postal Service on sale at HMV decades ago after reading rave reviews & I enjoyed it – sort of low-key electronics with sweet slightly laconic vocals & wry songs of romance. A bit like Cake, Hot Chip, The replaced it with in this mp3 collection with the 10th Anniversary Edition, full of bonus live & remixed bonus tracks. Give Up is their only release but it made their reputation legendary. 

I rounded out the mp3 cd with Hercules & Love Affair: self-titled, Blue Songs (with bonus live & remixed tracks). Affair is a house music dance tangent of Antony & The Johnsons. This is the fun side of the Johnsons who are noted for their slow paced & classical chamber pop.

Affair is not chamber pop unless the chamber is a neon lit bar somewhere in Soho (or where the hip people go to dance). House music is a slightly mellow version of disco – not as many bpm & warmer electronic sound. The songs are all uplifting – gender fluid & queer positive lyrics. Music that invites you to dance. Reminiscent of Book of Love, Charlatans UK.

The last addition to this is DJ Kicks: compilation featuring Hercules & Love Affair, Klubb Kidz & more. More house music & a great sampler, introduction to that sound & groups that are committed to it. The music on this cd collection doesn’t rely on power-house vocal to sell the the emotional content of the songs – you can actually hear lyrics without a forced emotional lock.

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Piaf Pink

Some voices sound real, not studio manipulated for emotional resonance. One of the realest voices is that of Édith Piaf (1915-1963). You don’t need to understand French to feel the emotion in her Ne Me Quitte Pas. In my collection I have as mp3: Absolutely (a hits collection), Live in Carnegie Hall 1957, Recital 1960 (at Olympia a comeback following a two-year illness) lp to cd transfer, Mon Legionnaire (another hits collection) a stand-alone & the La Vie en Rose Soundtrack.

She’s an acquired taste, like Yma Sumack, well worth developing. Her version of Le Marseilles gave me goose bumps. I’d love my memorial service to to start with her Je Ne Regrette Rien & as people leave, Ne Me Quitte Pas should be played. If you are unfamiliar any hits collection is a good starter.

Rounding out the mp3 collection is, naturally, Jacques Brel: Ces Gens-La, 1967, Ne Me Quitte Pas. More fine French melodrama with some unexpected production flourishes like an ondes martenot on some tracks. Tino Rossi: Vintage 2010 – a hits collection of similar vintage French, non-rock, pop. Liane Foly: Reve Orange, Lumieres – two sweet slightly jazzy adult pop albums; finally Barbra Streisand: Je M’Appelle Barbra (1966) – well-sung but not as melodramatic as Piaf or Rossi.

Piaf recorded under rather limited conditions whereas current vocals have an arsenal of studio gimmicks to amp up the emotion. But not all of them rely on that, though they may use them. Pink is one of those who doesn’t need them. I have as stand-alones: Can’t Take me Home 2000, Mizzunderstood 2001, Try This 2003, I’m Not Dead 2006 & Fun House 2008. I like the emotional rawness of her voice & the fact that, unlike Adele, she doesn’t feel the need to sing the shit out of very song. If you are unfamiliar with Pink, start with a hits collection & then hit the trapeze.

Smoking Gun

I have to confess

there seems no way around this

even though I’m not so clear on it myself

on what did happen

true I was there

I was not really paying attention

you know how the mind can wander

for a few brief seconds

I was wondering about the weather 

at a time like that

can you imagine

when there were such vital things going on

things that needed my full focus

suddenly I was preoccupied 

with the weather 

noting that it wasn’t as cold 

as it has been

that the chill yesterday was really something

I could hardly breath

and I was standing there 

with all this going around me

wishing I had a worn warmer coat yesterday 

not that the coat I have on now

isn’t warm enough

and wasn’t that cold

despite the wind factor

but I knew it was going to get worse 

the cold I mean

and well that’s why I’m not sure what went on

during those few seconds

yes I know how critical it is 

that I remember

I’ve told you everything that went on

but at as for those few moments

I can’t swear 

I can approximate 

it couldn’t have been that much different 

from what else was happening

it all happened so fast 

I didn’t have time to catch my breath 

let alone fix it in my mind

if I had known it would be so important

I would have been more attentive

one doesn’t make notes constantly

on every little event and circumstance

I didn’t even have time

to get out my cellphone

it was over before I could take picture

yes I feel bad about not being able 

to tell you more

in point of fact I’m merely a bystander

I had no obligation to be more attentive

we’re not watch guards 

of each other

if we were 

who would feel comfortable

everyone spying one each other

taking pictures of every moment

I’d never leave the house

I’m no criminal

the fact that I w as inattentive 

for a few brief moments

doesn’t make me one either

I’ve told you all I can

all I’m going to tell you

nothing can make me any clearer 

I did say I was there

I was looking

I didn’t see anything 

I didn’t look away 

I just drifted off

for those few moments

what did I miss

(2008)

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The Pentangle and other folk icons

Britain’s The Pentangle is a delightful combination of folk & jazz propelled by the amazing guitar work of John Renbourn & Burt Jansch & the equally amazing voice of Jacqui McShee. I have, over 2 mp3 cd compilations: The Pentangle (1968), Sweet Child (double lp) (1968), Basket of Light (1969), Cruel Sister (1970), Reflection (1971), Solomon’s Seal (1972) their last before breakup of original members.

It’s hard to classify The Pentangle with their mix of Celtic, traditional folk & jazz. Prog-folk as opposed to prog-rock. The music is consistently good as they slip seamlessly from folk, to jazz, to prog & even into renaissance mandrigals. I am most familiar with Sweet Child & Basket of Light. I had the lp of both & when I upgrade to mp3 I added the others. The Sweet Child was expanded with nearly another hour of live & studio material. If you are unfamiliar start with Basket of Light.

The sixties were a hotbed of folk, so also on the cds are: Judy Collins: In My Life (1966), Wildflowers (1967) (Sisters of Mercy, Both Sides Now), Who Knows Where The Time Goes (1968). Judy has a clear strong voice, her choice of material is exemplary. She was one of the first to record songs by Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen & The Incredible String Band.  Her music become less folk though with strings, orchestra, even country backing. Sometime a bit too tasteful for me.

In Canada to folk music wave included Ian & Sylvia: Early Morning Rain (1965), Four Strong Winds (1964). Local folkies in Cape Breton were quick to add some those title songs to their repertoire. Earnest guitar players mixing traditional with these modern, then, song. I recall one autoharp gal doing an endless & morning Early Morning Rain flooded by Lightfoot’s Wreck.

Nina Simone is sort of unclassifiable – female vocalist with a powerful voice, clear political point of view with a mainly jazz approach. Here I have her ‘Nuff Said! (1968) (Backlash Blues), It Is Finished (1974) (The Pusher). She is an iconic iconoclast for her unshakeable stance & her refusal to be ‘softened’ by the recording industry. Her songs are often deeply personal, African, & resonant.

I added John Martyn’s The Tumbler (1968) – his sound is a more rock version of Pentangle. A fine guitarist, vocalist & song writer. I’ve read glowing praise of him over the years & decided it was time add something by him got my collection. Finally is Alan Stivell’s Renaissance of the Celtic Harp (1972) This album revolutionized the connection between traditional folk music, modern rock music and world music. In my Cape Breton crowd this was very popular thanks to its Celtic leanings. One track Ys is a soothing piece includes the sound of waves & seagulls creating one of the first new age templates. A must for any collection.

The Blessing of Presents 

The other event on the week-end that I had the great pleasure in attending was the Blessing of Presents at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral. That Blessing combined with the Lighting of the Trees is a sure sign that the festive season has broken lose upon us full force.

The most reverend Vicar Father Frank started the sacrament with a sermon on the Exulting Power of Wrap – he explained how the wrap of the gift is often more important than the gift it self, and that no matter how lowly a gift may be, it can be elevated by the wrapping.

There’s a lesson I wish I could bring into my own life – on those days when I, yes even I, your willing reporter, feels like the proverbial bed of broken pigs, she finds it hard to even raise her head from the pillow let alone wrap herself in a joyful raiment that would disguise the inner emotionlessness and despair she feels.

The Vicar went on to say that we shouldn’t allow the wrap to keep us from the gift, and that he finds many are so enamoured of that wrap they never get to the true treasure inside. He sort of lost me there, but that didn’t diminish my pleasure at the vast array of beautiful gifts that were brought up, one at a time to receive the sacramental dash of pine needles and moose ashes.

Like the gifts brought on that first Noel, we were brought into the constant and endless circle of presents that was started on that wondrous night.

The ribbon of history reached out and twined its tinselled ends around the hearts & necks of each us, as the children’s stuttering choir of St. Sufferer’s sang several holiday favourites. “Oh Burning Tree,” “The Ribbon and the Manger,”  “The Tinsel and the Camel” – to name just a few.

After the ceremony I was privileged to take a ride through the snowy wood with Hank Grebly in the parade of midnight runners. Skiers, families in sleds and even some on elephants were seen tracking through the wooded glens around our small town. Lanterns aloft and bearing gifts for neighbours. The true savour of the season was felt.

By the time I returned home I was too exhausted to even remove my boots (thanks Hank) and slept as soundly as I have ever slept. Disjointed dreams of a clown’s childhood danced through my head till I woke in the morning. The windows were covered in reddish swirls of frost and the fresh jar of ashes on my mantle sweetened my dreams.

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Peaches in Planes

Peaches is a Canadian performance artist & musician. Her sound is fun electroclash that is hard to label – punk, raw, touch of emo & disco, never overly slick. Lyrically she is directly sexual, challenging any gender norms & fearless. I have, as stand-alone:  The Teaches of Peaches (2000), Fatherfucker (2003), Impeach My Bush (2006) & as mp3 I Feel Cream (2009) w the band Sweet Machine. 

There’s a homemade feel to many of her tracks & even as she uses studio more the sound retains that sensibility – sort of a garage-band electro – which I enjoy. Videos of her live work reveal her to be a performance artist as opposed to a static vocalist. Her voice itself is pleasant enough & she’s a good a vocalist as say Katy Perry but clearly not interested in compromising her sound for crossover appeal. Possibly an acquired taste mind you so try her out on Youtube before investing in a couple of her releases.

Next on the shelf & completely different is People In Planes, a straight ahead rock band out of Wales. These guys are in the U2 mold of rock. I have stand-clones As Far As The Eye Can See (2006), Beyond The Horizon (2008), both of which are excellent if lacking in distinctiveness. I bought the first when I read they were from Wales & was not disappointed. The second continues their sound. The band is no longer together thanks to the usual struggle for fame & internal conflicts.

Not that I’m a patriot but I have added some groups to my collection because they are Welsh & some, like Superfurry Animals, even rock out in Welsh. One way to revive an almost lost language is to take it out of quaint folk music & into rock. I even have a fine, sung in Welsh, electro dance collection by Clinigol, which is excellent.

The Wings Of St. Martinia

Last night Hank Grebly did me the great honour & pleasure of taking me to the Maple Valley Rialto Cinema – it is a shame that this fine building is now only opened on weekends for our film going pleasures. 

I can remember a time when it would be busy seven days a week, offering us the finest in Hollywood films and fresh roasted peaches or tasty caramel bark corn.

Every time I enter the Rialto I am taken back to a distant era – the mirror balls in the ceiling reflect the many spot lights around the floor. The zig-zag carpeting & lame seat coverings make me long for simpler times.

The film Hank took me to was “The Wings Of St. Martinia.” Many of you are familiar with the local tales of St. Martinia & the font at St. Sufferer’s. Those are her blood spattered wings holding the baptismal tub in the centre of the nave. Not her actual wings, but representations. Not many angels would have had five sets of wings.

Like the Rialto this film is also a relic of another time. Recently discovered in the vaults at College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers, we were first treated to a lecture by Rudgar Quartz, the Professor of Cinema Studies there, who gave the history of both the film, St, Martinia and the Rialto itself. A very educational evening, leavened by the delightful film itself.

The story is a simple one of suffering and repentance through suffering. Martinia, born out of wed-lock to the daughter of silver smith and troupe of travelling carnival workers, had to face the disgrace of her family and neighbours all through her life.

She saved her fellow orphans from the rain of comets in 1879 by waking each and every child, and leading them to safety. Sadly she wasn’t able to get back to rescue any of her teachers. She comforted the children, as they heard the screams of the staff, who had been trapped in locked rooms in the upper quarters of the orphanage.

In leading the children through the swamps to safety she also rescued Button, a Labrador retriever and her recent litter of puppies. This is why the suckling Labrador retriever has become the representation for St Martinia. When they say, she of the many teats, they are referring to Button and not to St Martinia.

A fact that I was not aware of either.

The movie follows her travails in the garment trade, being abducted by pirates and finally her mission to Mongolia where she single handedly brought the word of good to those unhappy and dirty mountain people. Her attempts to show them the joys of washing brought tears of joy to my eyes.

If you have a chance to, get in to see this delightful movie. Tell them Dolly sent you, and you may get an extra dash of moose mustard on your red hots. 

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Parker and Pals

I suppose I am a Graham Parker fan. I have as mp3s or stand-alones: Howlin’ Wind(1976), Heat Treatment (1976), Stick to Me (1977), Squeezing Out Sparks (1979), Up Escalator (1980), Mona Lisa’s Sister (1980), Steady Nerves (1985), Live! Alone in America (1989) Human Soul (1989), Live 02/91, Your Country (2004). I had some, at one time, as vinyl or cassette & replaced them with the versions I now have.

I was totally into his British r’n’b, soul rock mix. His band was hot & the horn section was excellent. He was one in a wave of British musicians along with Joe Jackson & Elvis Costello who energized the music scene with dynamic, fun work. I was instantly a fan of his British  r’n’b soul sound.

His lyrics were sexy with a film-noir sensibility  ‘Hotel Chamber Maid’ ‘Got A Lady Doctor’ if a bit sexist & very heteronormative. Clever, political & sardonic about love. I love those first couple of lps. The Up Escalator tried to give him more of a Costello sound which didn’t work. He stepped away from his horn sound to something more stripped down. In fact ‘Alive! Alone in America’ is him & his guitar. He’s still around & even more of a curmudgeon.

Also on the mp3 collection is Them: Best Of (1966-67) – Parker owes a lot to Them – solid Irish pub rock band that introduced the classic Gloria. Them influenced hundred of bands besides establishing Van Morrison. 

Out of the USA is Television: Marquee Moon (1977) (expanded) includes, Little Johnny Jewel – part of the CBGBs sound, this was a stunning, moody guitar based lp that inspired the many shoe-gazer bands that followed. Iron City Houserockers: Love’s So Tough (1979) – a fun Springsteen tough-guy rock.

Back to Britain with a fun lp by Wreckless Eric: Donovan of Trash (1991). Eric was a part of the Costello/Jackson wave but his sound was more music-hall with more humour as well. More about Eric when I get to ‘w’. Another gem are 

A friend of mine had an lp by The Housemartins that he had picked up on a visit to London & I love it. It was a year or so before it was released in NorthAmerica. I made a cassette dupe of it but eventually replaced it with mp3s of London 0 Hull4 (1986) (expanded), The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (1987); – radio friendly, sweet, solid pop with surreal lyrics & great vocals – well worth discovering them if you are unfamiliar. 

The ever changing Peter Gabriel relaunched his career with So (1986) thanks to smart production & dynamic videos that dominated MTV for the rest of the decade. Security remains my fave but this is a great set too. Finally – another band that dominated MTV for decades is Culture Club: 2005 Singles & Remixes. I remember hearing a track of theirs – White Boys – at the Rivoli before they hit big & loving it. Who knew they would ride the wave of image, queers & great music for decades. 

Proof

some people demand

this solid confirmation

a set irrefutable facts data

that prove conclusively 

there either is or isn’t

something to believe in

they want incontestable truth

of the unseeable

of the unmeasurable

when that isn’t presented

to their satisfaction 

you are delusion 

intellectually weak

they want a tidy formula

that makes sense 

of what they don’t understand

of what they see as unfair 

cruel pointless merciless

that if there is a God 

an entity

a creative impulse 

behind our being

it may be responsible for 

the flowers and the torture

but human will 

isn’t part of the equation

unless it become robotic obedience 

to what can’t be defined 

confined refined controlled

why bother 

with the whole unqualifiable mess

better to be stoic 

self-sufficient

defense

or even self-destructive blundered

aimless enslaved to creature comfort

where indifference 

is all the proof we need

and damn the consequences

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Kinks Kooper Pharaohs plus

This mp3 cd of retro fun contains Britain’s: The Kinks: Kinks (1964) – includes: You Really Got Me, Stop Your Sobbing. You Really Got Me has one of the classic guitar riffs which dominates this propulsive lps of basic muscular rock that has inspired countless bands. Tough songs of love & heterosexual triumph. Over the years the band has changed its sound, direction but always maintained powerful creative energy. This is where it all started.

The pop history of Al Kooper stretches back to the late 50’s but he really surfaced in the late 60’s thanks to his work with Bob Dylan & Blood Sweat & Tears. He released some of the first ‘super group’ lps. Here is his Kooper Sessions/Super Sessions 2 (1968): with Shuggie Otis (only 15 at the time) includes a great Bury My Body. Not quite as successful as Supersessions 1 but good.

The Left Banke (NY): There’s Gonna Be A Storm: Complete Recordings, the first 2 lps plus some singles i.e. Walk Away Renee. The sound baroque rock with strings/harpsichord. Because this was American it was never called progrock. A definite prelude to the chamber pop work of Antony & the Johnsons. Articulate love songs that aren’t cloying or condescending to women. 

Poco: (Los Angles) Crazy Eyes (1973) Richie Furay and Jim Messina after Buffalo Springfield – country rock at its finest. This is one of my favourite lps of the 70’s. I had the cassette, which finally gave way to tension & replaced its with the mp3 version. Each song is excellent. My favourite is the simmering Magnolia – you sweet thing. A must have for any collection.

Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs (Dallas): Their Second Album (1965) (Witchcraft; Love Potion #9); Anthology: Wooly Bully (1964) – was their Egyptian look cultural appropriation? The groups was mainly Latino musicians who specialized in novelty songs, like Little Red Riding Hood, with swampy/rock-a-billy sound. I loved hearing these guys on the radio & dancing to Wooly Bully. Lead singer Sam Samudio has a great Eric Burdon type voice. His solo lp ‘Hard and Heavy’ is good.

The Yardbirds (London): Roger The Engineer (1966) combines elements of blues rock and psychedelic rock on tracks like Over Under Sideways Down & my personal favourite: Hot House of Omagararshid. Jeff Beck was still with the band – Roger was their sound engineer (& no relation to The Who’s Ivor the engine driver). A rock version of Pink Floyd & this lp is a delight.

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Five Sweet Mysterians Street

Here’s the next post about a set of mp3 compilations that I put together of old music that was, for the most part, new to me. Many are garage band one-hit wonders, others are psychedelic bands whose lps that never made it to the east coast. Some are ‘oddities’ I came across. Obscure for the most part but all fun fun fun. You can find wiki info of most of them.

Street: Street (1968) – includes: What a Strange Town. This is very Jefferson Airplane. Soaring female lead singer, Anya Cohen, a touch of blues, distorted guitars, harmonies & trippy lyrics. When Airplane many labels wanted their own – this band comes close but there is only one Airplane.

Count Five: (San Jose) Psychotic Reaction – includes -My Generation. The song “Psychotic Reaction” is an acknowledged cornerstone of garage rock. I remember loving that single so much at the time with its mind boggling instrumental break. Then nothing – none of their follow ups made the charts & the lp didn’t make to my local record store. Fun energetic music that I love. 

Popol Vuh: Affenstude, released in 1970. This German band is regarded as one of the earliest space music works, featuring the then new sounds of the Moog synthesizer together with ethnic percussion. Music ahead of its time for sure. Less robotic than Kraftwerk the band produced several great lps. Space music that on later lps becomes almost spiritual. If you like synthesizer check them out.

Sweetwater: Sweetwater 1968 Los Angeles – includes My Crystal Spider. A jazz-fusion band that was supposed to open Woodstock but they got caught in traffic. With lead signer Nanci Nevins, this was another band that was a Jefferson Airplane rival. The expected trippy lyrics about peace, love & social unrest. A fine lp that won’t disappoint if you track it down.

? & The Mysterians: out of Bay City, 96 Tears (1966) (In The Midnight Hour), Action (1967) – the Latino band’s music consisted of electric organ-driven garage rock and an enigmatic image inspired by the 1957 Japanese science fiction film The Mysterians. The lps are energetic & fun & I love them

Clear Blue Sky: Out Of The Blue (1970) British blues prog-rock in the Deep Purple/Uriah Heep mode with a great Roger Dean cover art. If you like obscurity this fills the bill.

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