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.
If I was in control of a radio station, let’s call it WBBJ(W–Buzz-Baby-Jesus), my playlist would be based on Duke Ellington’s concept of “There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind”.
They all begin with the “needle drop”. This sound inspires delicious anticipation. I salivate when I hear it. Apparently the ancient Greeks used a bit of cacophony to start a performance, as it defined the silence immediately after. This particular needle drop is “The Night Tripper” by Dr. John. A record I found on the street in Soho.
2- “Campesina” by Spiteri, from 1973. Led by Venezuelan brothers, Charlie and George, Spiteri was released in England as an answer to Santana.
It never charted anywhere, and they didn’t make any more albums. And so this one gem makes its mark in history as a collectors’ ‘must have’ and an album that could have been…. but never was. Still, never too late to enjoy it! I don’t always know where I found something, but in this case it’s here.
3- “What’s Right” by David Werner from his eponymous 1979 album. It’s brilliant, and actually made the charts. Song writer, recording artist, and record producer, he is also known for his two RCA glam rock releases “Whizz Kid” and “Imagination Quota”. All are worth checking out.
4- “Dirty Boys” is my favorite from David Bowie’s latest, “The Next Day”. (2013)
5- “Don’t Swallow The Cap” by The National. I read a great review of this album in the NYTimes. Reminds me of ’80’s Bowie. The jury’s still out, but I like this song. (2013)
6- “Now” – Dion and The Wanderers. From his late ’60’s album “Wonder Where I’m Bound”, which no one bought, this song is powerfully good. With it’s kind of California folk-rock arrangement, it doesn’t sound a thing like “Runaround Sue” or any of his other hits. One thing for sure, the man can sing. (1968)
7- “Ride Your Pony” – Lee Dorsey. I chose this over “Working In A Coal Mine”. (1966)
8- “The World Is A Ghetto” – War. I like to include a couple actual hits in the mix. The context elevates the more obscure tunes. That they hold their own is evidence that the biggest reason they didn’t chart has more to do with luck than quality. (1973)
9- “Walking The Whippet” – Andy Mackay from his 1974 album, “In Search Of Eddie Riff”. With a nod to “Telstar”, this instrumental features Phil Manzanera, and is pretty much Roxy Music without a singer.
10- “Jungle Lullabye” – CW Stoneking from his 2008 album “Jungle Blues”. This Australian singer songwriter guitar banjo player manages to evoke 1920’s music without sounding like a museum. This song is a favorite around my house. Great arrangement by the Primitive Horn Orchestra.
11- “Blue Monk” Original founding members of NRBQ, Terry Adams and Steve Ferguson from “Louisville Sluggers” (2006). Thoroughly affectionate and charming cover of Monk’s tune.
12- “The “In” Crowd” by Dobie Gray is just cool. (1964)
13- “Stop Me, Citate Me” By The Fraternity Of Man, best known for “Don’t Bogart Me” from “Easy Rider” Its original members included three musicians from Lowell George’s band The Factory – Richie Hayward later of Little Feat, Warren Klein, and Martin Kibbee. This countrified psychedelic artifact tells a familiar tale with humor without being a novelty. (1968)
14- “Melody” Formed in 1990, Custard is an indie rock band from Brisbane, Australia. Working similar territory as XTC, they wrote short snappy pop songs with elements of rock n roll and the occasional pedal steel. “Melody” will stick in your head.
15- “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)” by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel for the album “The Best Years of Our Lives”. Somehow I missed this when it came out in 1975. Infectious as hell, it reminds me of Eno at his glam-poppy best.
16- “Sad Is The Way That I Feel” Mark Eric (1969). Really obscure slab of Beach Boy homage. On a side note, Eric was also a teen actor, appearing on The Partridge Family, among other TV shows of the 60s.
17- “Shelby GT 356” The Chesterfield Kings. From their foray into surf music “Surfin’ Rampage” (1997). This Rochester NY institution has been exploring various forms of rock music since the 1980’s. They get all the details right, down to their outfits.
18- “Muswell Hillbilly” Southern Culture On The Skids take on The Kinks classic. I’ve been a Kinks fan since “You Really Got Me”, and I can be pretty hard to please, but I think they get all the important things right on this. The rest of the album “Countrypolitan Favorites” (2007) is just as good.
19- “Be My Guest” Neil Finn From “The Kitchen Sink”, a collection of rareties and demos. (2004)
20- “Car Song (Non-Album Track)” Fresh Maggots (1971). Impossibly obscure bit of early ’70’s British folk. This catchy tune is more fun than anything else on the album.
21- “Freddie’s Dead” Curtis Mayfield, 1972. Another actual hit. The single was released before the Super Fly album, and in fact before the film itself was in theaters. It peaked at #4 on the U.S. Pop Chart and #2 on the R&B chart.
22- “Played The Game Too Long” The Original Texas Playboys Under The Direction Of Leon McAuliffe(1979). I found this vinyl rip over at Willard’s.
(Take It Or Leave It)
Despite producing the original sessions, Teo Macero was not involved in putting the set together, and is adamant that they should never have been released in this form. “I hate it,” he says. “I think it’s a bunch of shit, and you can quote me on that. And I hope you do. It has destroyed Miles and made him sound like an idiot. It’s a terrible thing to do to an artist when he’s dead. Those records were gems, and you should leave them as gems.”
It’s too bad most people think of “Bitches Brew” when the subject of electric Miles comes up, because it’s one of the least interesting of the period. Along with Agartha and Dark Magus, it would be an easy to think the whole era a funked up bore. It was that way for me until I got hold of “The Complete On The Corner Sessions”. I was familiar with Bill Laswell’s “Panthalassa”, but distrusted his approach. I don’t always like his interpretations, for instance his re-imagination of Bob Marley is pretty terrible.
I’d never heard the original “On The Corner”, but it’s reputation is pretty poor as many of his Jazz fans found the long funky pieces “not jazz”, and boring. I loved the unreleased jams Teo thinks are shit. It’s what opened my ears to Miles. Next I collected “The Complete Jack Johnson”, then “The Complete In A Silent Way”, and “The Complete Bitches Brew”.
I think Teo’s pissed because it’s pulled the curtain back showing how he and Miles manipulated hours of tape to construct a product instead of letting the jams speak for themselves.
“Chillin’ With Miles Davis” is a nice companion to the official releases. It’s for those who think they don’t like electric Miles. These tracks are really important in the scheme of things. He is making ambient music, he is anticipating dub. You can tell they were exploring unknown territory. Everyone is really listening and trying to make it work. Miles purposely got musicians to play out of comfort zones. That’s why this is so special.
Miles, inspired by Jimi Hendrix, and Sly Stone, set out to make rock n roll and reach a younger audience. I’m sure he figured it would be easy, after all it was being made by young cats without training, but he found Rock is deceptively simple, and it took him awhile to get his groove on.
I wanted to make an ambient album, I’d read somewhere that Brian Eno had been influenced by “He Loved Him Madly” and used it as a rough guide for texture and pacing in his ambient works, so I started with that and “Guinnevere” (“Bitches Brew” outtake). I made a cd, and while reviewing, realized that no matter how much I love it, “He Loved Him Madly” is too damn long, so I snipped off the first ten minutes, where a natural break occurs and a drum beat is introduced. This differs from the released version in that there are no overdubs or edits (save mine). It’s the original Jam.
“The Big Green Serpent” is another “BB” outtake. it’s a fragment, marred by a slight breakdown with conversation. I cut about 40 seconds.
In order for everything to fit on a cd, I trimmed about a minute no one will miss off the end of “Guinnevere”. Everything else “as is”.
I finished it off with “Go Ahead, John part One” (Jack Johnson outtake), which isn’t all that ambient, but a terrific bluesy closer with great solos by Miles, and John McLaughlin’s stunning guitar.
I heartily disagree with Mr. Macero. It has not destroyed Miles and made him sound like an idiot. This material enhances both Miles catalog and reputation, and in no way casts the artist in a poor light.
Link in comments.
It’s also here
Special Thanks to Willard for turning me onto the music.
Call me crazy, but I like Italian Prog. I don’t know how long I’ve had this in my hard drive, or where it came from, but it rocks. And hard. This song is a kickass instrumental. The rest of the album has standard, but not odious, hard rock vocals.
It would have been a classic if made by an American, British, or even Australian band.
Il Rovescio della Medaglia were formed in Rome around the end of 1970 from the ashes of the beat band I Lombrichi. Enzo Vita, Stefano Urso e Gino Campoli founded the group, that had as lead singer first Gianni Mereu (not the guitarist of Logan Dwight), then Sandro Falbo (from Le Rivelazioni) and soon later Pino Ballarini, who had moved to Rome from Pescara where he played with Poema.
Their first great success was at Viareggio Pop festival and they soon became one of the most popular live bands in Italy during the early 70’s.
First LP La Bibbia, released in 1971, was basically a very good hard-rock album with slight prog influences, recorded live in studio and accompanied by a distinctive round medallion-shaped booklet
The second one, Io come io a year later, was in the same style, with ambitious philosophical lyrics inspired from Hegel works. A short album (less than 30 minutes) but again a really good one!
In 1973 a fifth member was added, keyboard player Franco Di Sabbatino, also from Pescara, like Pino Ballarini, and briefly with Il Paese dei Balocchi.
With their sound enriched by the keyboards, Il Rovescio released the third album, Contaminazione, with the help of argentine composer Luis Enriquez Bacalov, who had already worked with New Trolls for their Concerto Grosso and Osanna.
The album was obviously more in a symphonic direction, and was also released in an English-sung version and issued in many foreign countries, to try to launch the group abroad. The English language album appeared in Italy in 1975 only, when the band had already split up.
By this time the band was being renowned for their powerful performances, always played at the loudest possible volume and helped by a unique sound system. This is what the Contamination LP liner notes said about it (originally written in English, mistakes and all…): “Their instrumentation is among the moste interesting in Europe. The 6000 watt Mack vocal equipment is quadrophonic and is equivalent to 36 track amplifiers. The console table is really a portable recording studio with filters, compressors, etc. The guitar, the battery and the keyboards have 900 watt amplifiers. The keyboards consist of a vertical B Hammond organ, a harmonium, an eminent for the reproduction of strings, two VCS synthesizers, a 200 Harp [it was probably an ARP], and two mini moog synthesizers. The lighting equipment is also important. There are 50 spotlights which produce colors and special effects. On a special screen behind the group, slides and films are projected to produce abstract musical effects.”.
Not bad for an Italian band, and no one else in Italy had such a powerful live act!
But… in December 1973 the stealing of their big and expensive PA brought the band close to the end, with Pino Ballarini leaving for Switzerland (briefly replaced by Michele Zarrillo from Semiramis) and the others continuing as an instrumental-only band. The live album Giudizio avrai, privately released by the band in the late 80’s, contains a recording from this period, with the band’s sound dominated by the keyboards.
Last release is a single from 1975 (there’s a mention on its cover of a new album, but this was never released), then the band had various line-up changes up to 1977.
Bassist Stefano Urso founded Europe, authors in the early 80’s of an album (Bubble BLU-19609) and some singles in pop/rock style.
In early 90’s guitarist Enzo Vita reformed the band with a new line-up and released a new CD called Il ritorno, different from their past production and more AOR-inspired, as its followers Vitae (recorded earlier) and Microstorie, issued in 2011.
I just this minute found out Lou Reed and Metallica made an album. I sampled about a minute of each tune on YouTube and it’s effin terrible.
Except if “Iced Honey” had been on “The Bells”, or “Growing up In Public”, or “Mistrial”, or “Legendary Hearts”, or “Sally Can’t Dance”, or “Rock N Roll Heart”, or even “The Blue Mask”, it would have been the best song on the album.
I’m not saying it’s good, but it sounds like above average late period Lou. Someone will say “update of Velvets sound”. Not necessarily a good thing.
File Under: What Were They Thinking?
These guys are hard on their fans, that’s for sure.
I saw this comment: “This oughtta make “St Anger” sound better”.
Can you say Super Heavy?
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
Here’s a link to Youtube uploaded by DJ Soulmarcosa. You can at least see the artifact.
For more info, here’s wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Modern_Lovers
from The Modern Lovers
*I never found “Roadrunner”, but a cassette did turn up “Rockin Shoppin Center”, however the mp3 I found, and posted here, sounded slightly better than the dub I made.
Lately I’ve been collecting a lot of “out” music. Out of print, and just plain “out there”. I like to listen when I cook, I find that music organizes my mind so I can focus on what I’m doing. I made this compilation for that sole purpose, and dinner specifically, hence Out For Dinner, preferably with a nice glass of beer to help mange your thirst and sense of well being. One consideration is that while doing this I’m not wearing earbuds, which I hate, but filling the whole house with whatever I’m listening to, so I try not alienate my wife and 11 year old daughter with music is too confrontational. When I’m cooking, I tend to gravitate toward contemplative.
Anyway I have a nice selection of tunes for you.
This post is a followup to Some Bright Stars For Queens College, as it needed company on the cd it inspired.
Check out the comments.