Because it’s hot as hell and one “Jamaican Holiday” isn’t enough.
Because it’s hot as hell and one “Jamaican Holiday” isn’t enough.
The ’70’s were an exciting time in Jamaica, the island having attained full independence in 1962, there was a lot of optimism and hope mixed with some harsh reality. About two dozen musicians played on 90% of the records. There were about three rhythm sections and a handful of independent studios full of aspiring singers. Bob Marley among them. Not to mention some truly unique individuals, such as Lee “Scratch” Perry running the boards and making waves still felt today. Origins of DJ culture start here with artists like U-Roy, a local sound system DJ who began “toasting” over dub plates.
Side Two of is The Dub Sandwich.
Jamaican Holiday is the ultimate single cd collection. It has everything from sweet soul music to the deepest, darkest dub.
Give into the heat, move slowly, crack open a cold beverage (warm Red Stripe is terrible), and enjoy your Jamaican Holiday, wherever you are.
The doctor (Dr Alimantado) also recommends a nice big spliff to seal the deal.
This is soul music of the highest order.
Since all of these songs were originally released as vinyl records, and not a few of them ripped from vinyl by yours truly, this too begins with the “Needle Drop”.
Note: After going to the printer’s two errors were found:
On Side 3 L. Perry should be credited as producer of “To Be A Lover”.
On side 4 Sugar Minott’s name is misspelled.
This post began as a feature on the underrated, yet highly influential Davey Graham. I was blown away when I acquired his 1964 album Folk, Blues, & Beyond, and first heard his amazing rendition of “She Moved Through The Fair”. I’ve been into the British Folkies since way before breakfast, and I’d heard of him, but never ran across any of his records. I forget which of my favorite blogs first clued me in, but suddenly my whole understanding of the late ’60’s folk thing shifted. The raga break in Fairport Convention’s “Nottamun Town” didn’t seem so brilliantly original. That eastern flavor is Davey Graham’s contribution. He developed the DADGAD tuning in order to play oud music on his guitar while travelling through Morocco. It’s also a sitar tuning.
Anyway “She Moved Through The Fair” sounded very familiar. That’s because Jimmy Page, while a Yardbird, appropriated it, retitled it as “White Summer”, and has performed it as a showpiece and signature song without ever crediting Graham for the arrangement or the tuning making it possible.
I bought “Hammer Of The Gods” for $2 at a flea market in Woodstock last weekend, and according to it’s author, after touring Australia with the Yardbirds,
“Jimmy flew on to India, where he wanted to hear Carnatic Music. He arrived alone, in Bombay on the Arabian Sea at three in the morning with a duffel bag over his shoulder, and spent days in the streets, listening to itinerant musicians.”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds a little like a fantasy.
Two pages later when describing “Little Games”, the subsequent , final, and only Yardbirds album featuring Jimmy Page he mentions one of the highlights being,
“”White Summer,” Jimmy’s Carnatic madrigal that was his solo showpiece in concert”
I figure since he’s a plagiarist he’s probably a liar, too. I don’t know about his India story, but as long as he’s stealing a man’s music, why not some of his legend as well?
Here’s a little wikipedia on Davey Graham:
“Graham’s spontaneity made him unreliable and unpredictable, which did little to advance his fame or endear him to concert organisers and the more commercial elements of the music world. In the late 1960s he was booked for a tour of Australia but, when his plane stopped for an hour in Bombay, he changed his plans and spent the next six months wandering through India.”
Martin Carthy from the back of Folk, Blues, And Beyond
“Davy is one of the great originals on the folk scene; in fact I think he’s probably the great original. Davy’s discovery of DADGAD really was the great leap forward and his performance of “She Moved Through The Fair” in this tuning at the troubadour was mind blowing.”
Carnatic madrigal my arse.
Many of Led Zeppelin’s signature tunes are shameless rip-off’s of other artist’s ideas. All I can figure is that their manager, Peter Grant said something like, “They can go broke suing us.”
In a 1990 interview with Musician magazine, Jimmy Page quickly soured when questions veered into this territory. The Q and A exchange is quoted below.
Musician: I understand “Dazed & Confused” was originally a song by Jake Holmes. Is that true?
Page: [Sourly] I don’t know. I don’t know. [Inhaling] I don’t know about all that.
Musician: Do you remember the process of writing that song?
Page: Well, I did that with the Yardbirds originally… The Yardbirds were such a good band for a guitarist to play in that I came up with a lot of riffs and ideas out of that, and I employed quite a lot of those in the early Zeppelin stuff.
Musician: But Jake Holmes, a successful jingle writer in New York, claims on his 1967 record that he wrote the original song.
Page: Hmm. Well, I don’t know. I don’t know about that. I’d rather not get into it because I don’t know all the circumstances. What’s he got, The riff or whatever? Because Robert wrote some of the lyrics for that on the album. But he was only listening to… we extended it from the one that we were playing with the Yardbirds.
Musician: Did you bring it into the Yardbirds?
Page: No, I think we played it ’round a sort of melody line or something that Keith [Relf] had. So I don’t know. I haven’t heard Jake Holmes so I don’t know what it’s all about anyway. Usually my riffs are pretty damn original. [laughs] What can I say?
During a 1967 tour of the United States by English rock group The Yardbirds, Jake Holmes performed as the opener at the Village Theater in Greenwich Village on August 25, 1967. The Yardbirds were inspired by his performance and decided to work up their own arrangement. Their version featured long instrumental passages of bowed guitar courtesy of Jimmy Page, and dynamic instrumental flourishes. Page has stated that he obtained the idea of using a violin bow on his guitar from a violinist named David McCallum, Sr*., during his session days before joining the Yardbirds in 1966. At that time, it even had a little Eastern influence, as can be heard on some French television appearances. It quickly became a staple of The Yardbirds’ live performance during the last year of their act.
The song was never officially recorded by the band, although a live version recorded on 30 March 1968 is included on the album Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page under the alternate title “I’m Confused”. Notably, it is the only track that has no songwriter credits on the release. Another live version of the song, recorded on the French TV series “Bouton Rouge” on 9 March 1968, was included on the CD Cumular Limit in 2000 and was credited “by Jake Holmes arr. Yardbirds.”
When the Yardbirds disbanded in 1968, Page planned to record the song yet again, this time with Led Zeppelin. According to Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, the first time he heard the song was at the band’s very first rehearsal session at Gerrard Street in London in 1968: “Jimmy played us the riffs at the first rehearsal and said, ‘This is a number I want us to do’.” Led Zeppelin recorded their version in October 1968 at Olympic Studios, London, and the song was included on their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin.
The Led Zeppelin version was not credited to Holmes. Page used the title, penned a new set of lyrics, and changed enough of the melody to escape a plagiarism lawsuit from Holmes — the song’s arrangement, however, remained markedly similar to the version performed by The Yardbirds the previous year.While Holmes took no action at the time, he did later contact Page in regards to the matter. Page had not replied as of 2001. In June 2010 Holmes filed a lawsuit in United States District Court, alleging copyright infringement and naming Page as a co-defendant. The 2012 live album Celebration Day attributes the song to “Page; inspired by Jake Holmes”, although the writer’s credit with ASCAP remains unchanged.
Here is “Dazed And Confused” by Jake Holmes from his 1967 album, The Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes. The Yardbirds saw Jake perform this and Jimmy Page bought the album at Bleeker Bob’s the next day.
*I believe the origin of the violin bow can be seen in this YouTube video of The Creation playing their excellent “Making Time” in 1966. (Eddie Phillips brings the bow out at 1:40)
“Hammer Of The Gods” repeatedly states Led Zeppelin’s affinity for the California sound (“Going To California”), especially San Francisco’s Spirit. Here is a brief instrumental by Randy California, from Spirit (1967)entitled “Taurus”. It’s quite lovely and the central theme is the basis for “Stairway To Heaven”.
“Black Mountain Side” from Led Zeppelin’s debut, and credited to Jimmy Page is really Bert Jansch’s arrangement of the traditional “Black Waterside” with a new title. Bert Jansch (11/03/43-10/05/11) was also influenced by Davy Graham, and like Martin Carthy, not adverse to giving credit. Here is “Black Waterside” from his 1966 album Jack Orion.
Led Zeppelin has been sued by and settled with bluesmen for several songs, “Whole Lotta Love”, for instance. I didn’t include them as the blues are slippery, the originals they copied were themselves built on other tunes. That’s blues. I didn’t mention that “Communication Breakdown” is a re-write of Eddie Cochran’s “Nervous Breakdown” because it isn’t as obvious. Most music is built out of other tunes. But you either render it unrecognizable, thus making it yours, or you give credit where credit is due.
Here are a couple Yardbirds tracks Jimmy would rather you didn’t hear:
“Knowing That I’m losing You” later turned up as “Tangerine” with Keith Relf’s uncredited lyrics intact.
The “original” “White Summer” from Little Games (1968)
“Usually my riffs are pretty damn original. [laughs] What can I say?”
Thanks to Willard for turning me onto “Taurus”. While the post was taking shape I ran across Will Shade’s fine article:
“THE THIEVING MAGPIES:
Jimmy Page’s Dubious Recording Legacy
where I found a lot of information/inspiration.
She Moved Through The Fair
Dazed & Confused
Knowing That I’m Losing You
I became aware of his existence last superbowl season and he bugs the shit out of me. He was a talking display hawking his “recipes” and “brand” image for some cracker company. In all the wrong ways a cross between Wolfman Jack and Billy Idol. That look was maybe edgy and shit in 1977, or 1991, but now he looks like a Saturday morning cartoon character. Like if there was a “Stinky” on Scoobee Doo.
To be more specific, this fu*ktard has co-opted every post WWII element of so-called hipster cool and blender-ed them into a grotesque caricature, so repellent that it really calls into question whether any hip affectations were ever cool. The answer is probably not. It’s like a Les Paul with a flame job and dice for knobs. And little skulls for dots. In a crushed purple velvet tuck and roll faux alligator case. Something that would mostly attract those with more interest in image than substance. Or some CEO who didn’t play, but wanted a guitar like Slash, only even cooler.
I’m sorry I couldn’t let it go. I had to say something.
I didn’t “get” Frank Zappa for a long time. My friend Slow Uncle, did, and tried to interest me. I eventually bought We’re Only In It For The Money, largely for the hilarious send up of Sgt Pepper’s album cover, but I didn’t think the songs were very good. I mentioned a couple posts back being exposed to “The Mudshark” from Live at Fillmore East, June 1971, and my parents disapproval, but I wasn’t really ready for it. I liked the toilet humor and everything, but I hated jazz and the music was over my head.
When I moved into my dorm room at San Diego State in the fall of 1976, we were encouraged to paint our rooms or if we felt like it, murals outside our rooms. Sounds crazy, but this was the ’70’s. Even though I wasn’t a fan of his music I always admired his irreverence, that’s why I painted his likeness from We’re Only In It For The Money next to the door outside my room. I don’t have a picture of it, but to the right is what I copied, including Frank’s wondering, “Is This Phase One Of Lumpy Gravy?”
I was no longer living in the dorm in the Spring of 1978 when he played the amphitheatre on campus where I witnessed a phenomenal performance. After the last song the audience stood and began clapping and yelling for what seemed to be 30 minutes or more.
Eventually Frank came onstage and said, “You people are crazy. We can hear you all the way in the dressing room”, at which the band came back out and proceeded to play another hour and a half. Interesting detail: There was a guy in Frank’s band I never heard of that played guitar and did a dead-on Dylan impersonation. His name was Adrian Belew. A month or three later I went to see David Bowie at the San Diego Sports Arena and there he was again! I thought he was great until he started singing on King Crimson records.
A couple months ago, Q, drummer in Foglizard, where I am a member of the rhythm section, said he planned to spend the summer listening to Frank, and did I own anything he could borrow? I had Fillmore East June 1971, and Ahead Of Their Time. I did some research and managed to acquire 17 FZ releases for personal review.
I tend to prefer the work of the original Mothers of Invention. Maybe because they were a band he joined and took over. After he fired them in 1969, he hired ever more amazing musicians, but with a diminishing amount of soul.
In around 1991, I bought a cd copy of Cruisin With Ruben And The Jets, an album I remembered as being a fun parody/tribute to old R&B and Doo Wop. There was something terribly wrong with it, which turned out to be that Frank had rerecorded the original drum and bass parts for reasons only understood by him. I got rid of it right away. Turns out He also ruined We’re Only In It For The Money in a similar fashion. Fan’s outcry against this was so strong he eventually restored We’re Only In It For The Money, but not before referring to them as “fetishists”. He never got around to Ruben before his death, so I found an original vinyl rip of the lp. It’s a mystery why he thought those bass and drum tracks needed replacement. It’s kind of like Paul McCartney replacing John Lennon with Mark Knopfler.
If you buy the Zappa Family Trust’s Lumpy Money, you’ll be treated to the horrible remix of WOIIFTM as a “Bone us” disc.
I encourage you to read the whole Zappa/Mothers story on Wikipedia:
If you don’t have the time or inclination here is an interesting tidbit:
During his childhood Zappa was often sick, suffering from asthma, earaches and sinus problems. A doctor treated the latter by inserting a pellet of radium into each of Zappa’s nostrils; little was known at the time about the potential dangers of being subjected to even small amounts of therapeutic radiation. Nasal imagery and references appear both in his music and lyrics, as well as in the collage album covers created by his long-time visual collaborator, Cal Schenkel.
Anyway I’ve compiled a fun disc worth of music by the original Mothers. There are some songs from Mothermania, a long out of print “best of” compiled by Frank in 1968, containing substantially different mixes from the original albums. Also are some cuts from Cruisin With Ruben And The Jets, which is kind of the spiritual center of my comp which I call Motherama. All these tracks come from rips of the original vinyl releases. The rest are from Freak Out, Absolutely Free, Uncle Meat, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, and Weasels Ripped My Flesh.
I also included a passage from Playground Psychotics (1992) which has Jeff Simmons quitting the group a few days before shooting 200 Motels. He was replaced by Ringo Starr’s chauffer at the last minute. This is followed by two tunes from Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up, an out of print 1970 album by Jeff Simmons produced by Frank under the pseudonym of Lamar Bruister. “Lucille” and “Wonderful Wino” are about the only songs in Frank’s catalog that credit a co-writer. Frank plays guitar and Ian Underwood is featured. Both tunes turn up later in Frank’s discography in less interesting versions.
For your immediate listening pleasure I’ve included a rare “live” version of “Plastic People”. I read that before real music was written for it they played it over “Louie, Louie”. This must be that.
I think this stuff has aged really well. Frank’s social commentary was/is right on the money.
I am now a fan.
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Here’s something I found about Nancy Boy:
Led by the progenies of two ’60s rockers, hippy-dippy Donovan and blue-hatted Monkee Mike Nesmith, pomo new wavers Nancy Boy definitely rebelled against their musical pedigree, emphasizing fashion and style over traditional substance. Model Donovan Leitch and Jason Nesmith threw Bowie, Suede, Duran Duran, and Blur in a blender and served up their self-titled full-length debut in 1996, competing with the post-grunge, Creed-infested landscape of alternative music. With their skinny ties and eyeliner, they didn’t stand a chance.
Anyway this is one of the better mixes, so I thought I’d share it. now that’s what I call bullshit 2 was assembled during the first week of June, 2006. I listened to this the whole summer I spent down in South Jersey as a surf bum.
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Neil and me go way back. Harvest was the first non Beatles album I ever bought. He has managed to stay an artist and avoid becoming a self parody and a hack, like Lou Reed.
Here are a handful of odd gems. “Wonderin'” is the only great song by Neil and The Shocking Pinks from Everybody’s Rockin’, although it dates from much earlier. Chrome Dreams is the title of an unreleased Neil Young album. It would have come after Zuma, but instead he recorded and released American Stars And Bars in 1977. Of course it can be found and downloaded without too much trouble. “Homegrown” was remade for Ragged Glory. “Too Far Gone” features Frank Sampedro on mandolin.
The rest of the tunes come from a bootleg called Hard To Find.
“Don’t Spook The Horse” was included on The Mansion On The Hill Ep, “Pushed It Over The End” is live and might be the version left off Decade, and “Last Trip To Tulsa” is also live and might be from 1974. Or 1969.
“War Song” was a 1972 single by Neil and Graham Nash, and written in support of George McGovern’s bid to overthrow Nixon.
It has been out of print until recently. It is now available on Neil’s massive, and expensive new Archives set.
So far this blog has mostly dug up older music you might have missed. There is, as always, a lot of great new music out there. Okkervil River’s The Stand Ins is an album worth hearing from last year, and is a classic example of an indie record achieving greatness. Most of the time the difference between “indie” and “classic” boils down to production values. They sound indie because they sound cheap, and they were. When a band transcends their station and creates work that can stand up there with the big boys, it’s really an accomplishment worth applauding. Most of the time it’s that one album when the planets were aligned, everything came together, and the results surprised everybody. These are the records that never leave my playlist.
I think the Stand Ins will turn out to be one of those. Based on the fact that it survived whatever hype and still sounds good in 2009, I think it will still sound good in 2018.
Because I’m old, it reminds me most of Lola era Kinks, if I were younger, I’d mention the Smiths, and a lot younger, Arcade Fire, but I really don’t like referencing other artists as a comparison because so often it’s not helpful, or fair to the artists.
Using a broad pallette of instruments, Okkervil River have a bright, folk rocky, sound all their own. Will Sheff’s songwriting is first rate. A world class act that will be hard to follow.
Okkervil River is an indie rock band from Austin, Texas. Formed in 1998, the band takes its name from a short story by Russian author Tatyana Tolstaya. They self-released their first album, Stars Too Small to Use, which led them to the South by Southwest music festival. After recording their first album in a garage, they signed with Jagjaguwar. Okkervil River continued by releasing four more albums, including critically lauded concept album Black Sheep Boy.
After a period of touring for Black Sheep Boy, Okkervil River followed up with The Stage Names. The album sold 10,000 in its opening week in the United States. The group released a free covers album, Golden Opportunities Mixtape from their live performances.
The band has garnered positive critical reception. Especially noted are each song’s lyrics, intricate instrumentation, and thematic albums. In addition, they were recently featured on the talk show Late Night with Conan O’Brien and have performed with high profile bands such as The Decemberists, The New Pornographers, and Lou Reed.
Okkervil River released their most recent album The Stand Ins on September 9th, 2008. They are promoting the release with a series of cover songs from the album on YouTube by people they’ve met as a band.
Okkervil River’s founding members became friends in high school in Meriden, New Hampshire, and after parting ways for college moved to Austin, Texas to live together and start a band. The band consisted of singer-songwriter Will Sheff, Zach Thomas on bass and mandolin, and Seth Warren on drums. Their first gig was at Steamboat in Austin on January 11, 1999.
On April 17, 2006, Okkervil River signed with Virgin/EMI in Europe. The label re-released Black Sheep Boy and its follow-up Black Sheep Boy Appendix as a double disc on April 28, 2006. Jagjaguwar eventually followed suit, releasing the Definitive Edition with extra songs and videos.
The Stage Names, their fourth full-length studio album (produced again by Beattie), was released on August 7, 2007. The disc features the solidified line-up that toured extensively on Black Sheep Boy and the Black Sheep Boy Appendix, with Cassidy replacing Draper who joined Shearwater. The album was met with critical acclaim and debuted at number 62 on the Billboard 200 with 10,000 copies sold.
Okkervil River released their fifth album The Stand Ins on September 9th 2008. The album was conceived as a sequel to The Stage Names. The album charted at #42 with 11,000 copies sold, according to the Billboard 200. On December 12, 2007, the band freely released a nine-song mixtape entitled Golden Opportunities Mixtape via their website. These recordings, along with the upcoming appendix, are the first to feature contributions from new touring keyboardist, Justin Sherburn, who joined the band in November 2007.
At a show in Wellington, New Zealand on 5 March 2008 it was announced that guitarist Brian Cassidy would be stepping down from the band as a full-time touring member. Shortly after this on 12 March 2008, it was subsequently announced that Cassidy’s temporary replacement would be Charles Bissell of The Wrens for their spring and summer tours.  In the autumn of 2008 Lauren Gurgiolo, singer and songwriter of the Austin, Texas band The Dialtones, joined as a permanent member, playing electric guitar, mandolin and banjo.
On April 21, 2009, the “Pop Lie” single was released backed with the B-Sides “Millionaire” and “Pop Lie (One Man Band Version)”
I’ve always loved this song. “Ruby” breaks my heart every time. It’s amazing how topical popular music could be. What top ten hit today deals with shattered soldiers returning from an unpopular war in such a frankly disturbing manner?
The First Edition (later known as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition) was a country music/rock band stalwart members being Kenny Rogers (vocals & bass guitar), Mickey Jones (drums & percussion) and Terry Williams (guitar & vocals). The band formed in 1967, with noted folk musician Mike Settle (guitar and vocals) and the operatically trained Thelma Camacho completing the lineup.
The First Edition signed with Reprise Records in the summer of 1967 and first hit big in early 1968 with the pop-psychedelic single “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” (US #5). After several hits and misses the group (now billed as “Kenny Rogers and the First Edition”) once again hit the top ten in the summer of 1969 with the topical Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town (US #6, UK#2).
For the next six years, the First Edition bounced between country, pop and mild psychedelia, enjoying worldwide success.
Steppenwolf’s “Monster_Suicide_America” is 40 years old, but sounds like it was written today.
Except the reality expressed in the song is worse now, making it more like prophecy come true.
Music was an important part of the culture. What has been lost saddens me. Fortunately, the industry as we know it, is dying
a not-so-slow death, so maybe something good will come of the demise.
Meanwhile enjoy the topical tunes. This stuff used to get played on the radio.
Monster is an album by the band Steppenwolf, released in 1969 (see 1969 in music) and was their first LP with new lead guitarist, Larry Byrom instead of Michael Monarch. The album was Steppenwolf’s most political one, making references to important issues at the time, such as the Vietnam War.
The title refers to the contemporary politics and state of the U.S., as in the lyrics to the title song:
“The cities have turned into jungles,
and corruption is stranglin’ the land.
The police force is watching the people,
and the people just can’t understand.
We don’t know how to mind our own business,
’cause the whole world’s got to be just like us.
Now we are fighting a war over there.
No matter who’s the winner, we can’t pay the cost.
‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose,
it’s got our heads into the noose.
And it just sits there… watching.”
The album was the first Steppenwolf album not to feature a US top ten hit, and can thus be seen as the beginning of their slow fall from fame. Even though this album, “Live”, “Steppenwolf 7” and “For Ladies Only” are today seen as making up the latter half of their ultimate prime, their days of “Born to Be Wild”-like fame were over. Still two singles from the album cracked the top 40, and Steppenwolf would continue landing albums in the US top 20 for a while yet, a factor that became more and more important during this time.
As seen above, the title track is a call for pacifism and a more ethical society. The tone, which can be seen as very provocative towards the political decisions of the US at the time, continues with “Draft Resister”, which glorifies draft resisters as heroes.