Music To Traverse The Ceiling By


Different than the original, yet the same, too

Different than the original, yet the same, too

I had to post something to get that bad taste out of my mouth, and rehabilitate Brian Eno’s legacy instead of dwelling on an unfortunate, if lucrative, association.

I love this version of “1/1” by Bang On A Can.
I think Eno’s original has benefited by being played by live musicians.
The fact that they were able to score Music For Airports is remarkable.
I usually play this version these days because I like the way the instruments and the room sound.

I admit the first time I heard Music For Airports I was underwhelmed. It was new, and sounded like Fripp And Eno without the electric guitar, which I needed as an anchor. I think because of the piano I gravitated to “1/1” soonest. In the three decades since it has found a comfortable spot in my psyche. Airport ambience would benefit greatly by it’s presence.

A few years ago I picked up the version by The Bang On A Can All-Stars.

Here’s a brief excerpt from their 1998 liner notes:

“What Eno didn’t imagine was that his piece would be realized with live musicians. In his analog studio, methodically stringing out bits of tape and looping them over themselves, he hadn’t anticipated that a new generation of musicians would take his music out of the studio and perform it on live instruments in a public forum. Over at Bang On A Can we have always searched for the redefinition of music, exploring the boundaries outside what is expected……..All of the music on this disc has been created by living people in real time. Each of the four movements was recorded in a whole take on analog tape.”

Bang On A Can All-Stars: Maya Beiser, Robert Black, Lisa Moore, Steven Schick, Mark Stewart, and Evan Ziporyn

Back of original album

Back of original album

These are the liner notes from the initial American release of Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports / Ambient 1”, PVC 7908 (AMB 001)


The concept of music designed specifically as a background feature in the environment was pioneered by Muzak Inc. in the fifties, and has since come to be known generically by the term Muzak. The connotations that this term carries are those particularly associated with the kind of material that Muzak Inc. produces – familiar tunes arranged and orchestrated in a lightweight and derivative manner. Understandably, this has led most discerning listeners (and most composers) to dismiss entirely the concept of environmental music as an idea worthy of attention.

Over the past three years, I have become interested in the use of music as ambience, and have come to believe that it is possible to produce material that can be used thus without being in any way compromised. To create a distinction between my own experiments in this area and the products of the various purveyors of canned music, I have begun using the term Ambient Music.

An ambience is defined as an atmosphere, or a surrounding influence: a tint. My intention is to produce original pieces ostensibly (but not exclusively) for particular times and situations with a view to building up a small but versatile catalogue of environmental music suited to a wide variety of moods and atmospheres.

Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncracies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty (and thus all genuine interest) from the music, Ambient Music retains these qualities. And whereas their intention is to `brighten’ the environment by adding stimulus to it (thus supposedly alleviating the tedium of routine tasks and levelling out the natural ups and downs of the body rhythms) Ambient Music is intended to induce calm and a space to think.

Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.

September 1978

I spent a great deal of time staring at the diagrams on the back cover. This was a tremendous influence on my understanding of music. At the time I had no idea composers like John Cage routinely drew pictures instead of scoring music.

For fun I include Fripp and Eno’s “Evening Star”, their most concise and fiery collaboration, from their 1975 album Evening Star.

Evening Star

Vegetable Man


Same photo session as the back of "Barrett" 1970

Same photo session as the back of "Barrett" 1970

So much has already been written about Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd that I don’t think I can really add any new insight.
Like everyone else in 1973 I was enthralled by Dark Side Of The Moon. It was some of the first music after the Beatles broke up that seemed to carry on their tradition of innovation and solid studio craftsmanship.

In many ways I liked the follow-up, Wish You Were Here, even better. It was my favorite album to play at low volume and fall asleep to in my San Diego State dorm room during the 1976-77 school year. I used to spend a ridiculous amount of time in record stores wishing I had more money. I collected a handful of Pink Floyd albums. A lot of them were pretty bad. The best part of UmmaGumma was the picture on the cover of all their gear. (I thought their movie filmed in Pompeii was a frightening bore). I liked Relics, mostly because I was charmed by “Bike”, even though it bore no resemblance to Dark Side Of The Moon. I became aware that there was an apparently brilliant former member by the name of Syd Barrett. I found out that Wish You Were Here was apparently about him. I bought the double album containing Barrett, and The Madcap Laughs both of his studio albums, re-released on Harvest in 1974, due to the enormous popularity of his former band.

The first time I played it I was put-off by the crudeness of the music. The lyric I heard as “Ice cream Baby, I seen you looking good the other evening” stuck in my craw. The music sounded like it was made by a crazy person, which was disturbing.
For some reason I taped the whole thing before I warped the records over a hot plate and returned them to The Wherehouse(record chain). I don’t remember what I exchanged it for, but I’m sure it was something worse, that at the time, seemed better.
I’d play the tape for friends as a curiosity, introducing it as “This guy founded Pink Floyd, went crazy, made this music and disappeared”. Each time I’d let it play a little longer, and pretty soon I was hooked. Some of it was, and is, pretty painful listening, hearing the struggle to get those songs on tape. Still there was something so compelling that Syd has, to this day, never left my playlist.

From the "Madcap Laughs" session 1969

From the "Madcap Laughs" session 1969

What I’ve collected here are some of the more obscure gems. “Vegetable Man”, and “Scream Thy Last Scream”, are some of the last attempts at coming up with a hit single, in the wake of “See Emily Play” that Syd wrote before being booted out of the band. For some reason they are not included in the newish 3 cd re-release of Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, the first album by Pink Floyd, and the only one featuring Syd as a leader. The story I’ve heard about “Vegetable Man” is that Syd was picked up and taken to the studio, where there was enormous pressure on him to come up with another hit. The lyrics are a catalog of what he was wearing at the time. It was rejected by the label, as was “Scream”. “Lucy Leave” and “King Bee” are acetates recorded as demos in 1965, and why they only appeared recently I chalk up to the information age we are living in. I have the files, but I’m not sure of their origin. These days the difference between unreleased and released is a pretty porous border. “Two of a Kind” was recorded for the John Peel Show, and “Bob Dylan Blues” is from a recent compilation, originally from a cassette owned by David Gilmour.

Here’s the connection I’ll make that I haven’t seen before:
While on their disastrous, and abbreviated US tour, Syd got a haircut from Vidal Sassoon in New York which he hated. This is the haircut that “looks so bad” in “Vegetable Man”.
Here can be seen said haircut in a promotional video made for “Jug Band Blues”,
Syd’s last contribution to a Pink Floyd album.

Syd, "Wish You Were Here Sessions" July, 1975

Syd, "Wish You Were Here Sessions" July, 1975

Barrett had one noted reunion with the members of Pink Floyd, which occurred in 1975 during the recording sessions for Wish You Were Here. He attended the Abbey Road session unannounced, and watched the band record “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” — a song that happened to be about Barrett. By that time, he had become quite overweight, had shaved off all of his hair (including his eyebrows), and his ex-bandmates did not at first recognize him. Eventually, they realized who he was and Roger Waters was so distressed that he was brought to tears. Barrett’s behavior at the session was erratic, and he spent part of the session trying to brush his teeth by keeping the brush still and jumping up and down. Roger finally managed to ask him what he thought of the song, and he simply said “sounds a bit old” and walked out of the studio. This would be the last time any member of Pink Floyd would ever see him. There is a reflection on the entire day in Nick Mason’s book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd. A reference to this reunion also appears in the film The Wall, where the character Pink, played by Bob Geldof, shaves off all of his body hair after having a mental breakdown, just as Barrett had.

Vegetable Man
Scream Thy Last Scream
Lucy Leave
King Bee
Two Of A Kind
Bob Dylan Blues

The Curse Of The Mekons


The Mekons

The Mekons

The curse is of course an unwillingness to compromise and the lack of success that goes with it. I have no idea how popular they are at this point. I’m sure they still play Maxwell’s, in Hoboken, where back in the day they probably shared bills with the likes of REM, the B-52’s, or other bands that went on to find fame and fortune. Except for a brief experience with A&M, who soon dropped like them like the proverbial hot potato, they have spent their entire career on Indie labels making their music difficult to find. When I went to record stores or cd shops, I’d make a quick check to see how deep their catalog went by looking for artists most didn’t bother to carry. After searching for Kevin Ayers, and Roy Harper, I’d check for anything by the Mekons.

The Mekons are a British rock band. Formed in the late 1970s, they are one of the longest-running and most prolific of the first-wave British punk rock bands.

The band was formed in 1977 by a group of University of Leeds art students that included Jon Langford, Kevin Lycett and Tom Greenhalgh – the Gang of Four and Delta 5 formed from the same group of students. They took the band’s name from the Mekon, an evil, super-intelligent Venusian featured in the British 1950s-1960s comic Dan Dare (printed in the Eagle). The band’s first single was “Never Been in a Riot”, a satirical take on the Clash’s White Riot. For several years the loose-knit band played noisy, bare-bones post-punk, releasing singles on a variety of labels. The Mekons’ first album, The Quality of Mercy is Not Strnen, was recorded using the Gang of Four’s instruments, and due to an error by the Virgin Records art department, featured pictures of the Gang of Four on the back cover. After 1982’s The Mekons Story, a compilation of old recordings, the band ceased activity for a while, with Langford forming The Three Johns.
By the mid-1980s (revitalised by the 1984 miners’ strike) the Mekons had returned as an active group. The band was now augmented by vocalist Sally Timms, violinist Susie Honeyman, ex-Damned member Lu Edmonds, accordionist/vocalist Rico Bell (a.k.a. Eric Bellis), and former The Rumour drummer Steve Goulding, and Dick Taylor, original guitarist of The Pretty Things.

They began to experiment with musical styles derived from traditional English folk (tentatively explored on the English Dancing Master EP prior to the hiatus), and American country music. Fear and Whiskey (1985), The Edge of the World (1986) and Honky Tonkin’ (1987) exemplified the band’s new sound, which built on the innovations of Gram Parsons and blended punk ethos and left wing politics with the minimalist country of Hank Williams. Subsequent albums, such as The Mekons Rock’n’Roll, continued to experiment with diverse instrumentation (notably the fiddle and slide guitar).

The Mekons Rock and Roll was the band’s first major label release. Issued by A&M Records in 1989, Rock and Roll was not a commercial success, but it was met with critical acclaim.

Just as the Mekons began to grow in critical stature, their relationship with A&M Records became tense, and the Mekons were soon dropped by the label, unable to fulfill their commercial expectations. However, they continued to record at a prolific rate, releasing such notable albums as 1991’s The Curse of the Mekons, 2000’s Journey to the End of the Night, and 2002’s OOOH!. In April 2009 the Mekons returned to the studio to complete a new collection of songs, although it was unclear how these would be released as their label Touch and Go had gone bust.

Jon Langford has been busy as an artist and as founder of several solo and band projects, including the Waco Brothers (a punk-meets-Johnny Cash-like ensemble) and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts (exploring the music of Bob Wills, Johnny Cash and others). Besides his solo albums he has released CDs with Richard Buckner and Kevin Coyne.

The band has toured and recorded with a mostly unaltered lineup (Langford, Greenhalgh, Timms, Goulding, Bell, Edmonds, and bassist Sarah Corina) throughout the 1990s and early 21st century, and has a highly devoted following.

The Mekons today-ish

The Mekons today-ish

The Curse
Memphis, Egypt
I Love Apple
Chemical Wedding
I Can’t Find My Money
Hole In The Ground



All Killer No Filler

All Killer No Filler

The Days of Wine and Roses by the Dream Syndicate was, and is, one of my favorite albums.  Influenced by Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, but distilling all the elements into a mix that outshines the source. “Then She Remembers” is a song both the Velvets and the Stooges wish they wrote. Unfortunately this original lineup’s instability proved to be their undoing. Nothing else in their catalog comes close to the cohesiveness of  this  first release.
I had the good fortune to see them at Club 88 or some other West LA dive shortly before the departure of Kendra Smith.
Near the beginning of the first set Karl Precoda got mad at his guitar, or Steve Wynn, it was hard to tell, and walked offstage in a huff. The rest of the band followed. After a minute or two, Wynn came back alone, and played a solo set accompanying himself on electric guitar. It was cool, I guess. I stayed for the second set to see what would happen.
The whole band came out and just tore it up. Whatever pent up frustration there was backstage was let loose in a blistering, and unforgettable, set.

Steve Wynn, hogging the covers

Steve Wynn, hogging the covers

While attending the University of California, Davis, Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith played together (with future True West members Russ Tolman and Gavin Blair) in The Suspects. Moving back home to Los Angeles, Wynn recorded a single called “15 Minutes” (as in 15 minutes of fame) as his intended farewell to music. Instead, while rehearsing in a band called Goat Deity, Wynn met Karl Precoda, who had answered an ad for a bass player, and the two joined to form a new group, with Precoda switching to guitar. Smith came to play bass, and brought in drummer Dennis Duck, who had played in the locally successful Pasadena-based Human Hands.

Duck suggested the name “The Dream Syndicate” in reference to Tony Conrad’s early 1960s New York experimental ensemble (better known as the Theater of Eternal Music), whose members included John Cale, co founder of the Velvet Underground.

On February 23, 1982, The Dream Syndicate performed its first show at Club Lingerie in Hollywood. A four-song EP was recorded in the basement of Wynn’s house and released on his own Down There label, and the band quickly achieved local notoriety for its often aggressively long, feedback-soaked improvisations. Obvious sources were The Velvet Underground (the Dream Syndicate could be called early VU revivalists) and Television, but echoes of the Quicksilver Messenger Service and Creedence Clearwater Revival could also be discerned. “It was an overnight thing,” Wynn recalled of their success. “There was no dues paying. It was very weird, and it screwed us up in some ways.

The band was signed to Slash Records, whose subsidiary Ruby Records released its debut and by far best-known album, The Days of Wine and Roses, in 1982. The next year saw the UK (Rough Trade Records) release of the album’s anthemic lead track, “Tell Me When It’s Over,” as the A-side of an EP which also included a live cover of Neil Young’s “Mr. Soul.”

Tell Me When It’s Over
Then She Remembers
Until Lately

The Man With The Foldback Ears



I heard this song in the same set as “Bim Bam Baby”, on WFMU, late one night in in early 1989. Posting that song caused the memory of “The Man With The Foldback Ears” to surface. At the time I always had a cassette in the machine so I could snag anything interesting.  The next day I brought the tape to work and made everyone listen.  No one knew what to make of it, the delivery was matter of fact, the content utterly surreal. One co-worker stopped being friendly to me. Later I caught her looking at me like I was a critter. There was no Google back then so finding out more information was out of the question.

I thought about going down to the basement and trying to dig up the cassette, but knew the search would be futile, I was just down there and none of the WFMU cassettes are labeled with anything but the date.

Out of curiosity, a few minutes ago I typed in “The Man With The Foldback Ears”, hit Enter, and within a minute had the song.
Then within another minute had the background, some of which can be found below.  Next I had the pictures.

Sounds like it looks

Sounds like it looks

Bible Belt Surrealist

In 1988, a mysterious album appeared in record stores. At first glance, Car Radio Jerome was full of silly nonsense with songs like “Upper Lip Of A Nostril Man,” “The Man With The Foldback Ears,” and “Hittite Hot Shot.” Listening to it though, one discovered darker undertones in songs like “White Woman,” which became downright ominous in “Car Radio Jerome.” By the time the album wrapped up, the “French Toast Man” was selling kids tasty goodies so rank that rats dragged it out of garbage pails and keeled over dead. In the last cut, a clinically depressed relative of Elvis croons his weepy ballad of woe “Pneumatic Eyes”—and blows himself up. The records ends with a hand grenade going off. Whether one loved, loathed or feared it, everyone had more or less the same question: What kind of human being had perpetrated Car Radio Jerome? It was attributed to Fred Lane and the Hittite Hot Shots. But who were they? No one had ever heard of the group. They never toured, never made videos, never once appeared on Johnny Carson.

In fact, the Reverend Fred Lane did make public appearances, though not many and none outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He first appeared at the Raudelunas Pataphysical Revue in 1975, a show mounted by Raudelunas, a group of artists in Tuscaloosa. The origins of their name is as obscure as those of Lane. According to Ron ‘Pate, the leader of the band the Debonairs which accompanied Lane at the Revue, “it was an Armenian family name meaning ‘moonlight’ or ‘worship of the moon as a deity.’ ”

Fred Lane was called upon to emcee the Pataphysical Revue, which was a stage show held on the opening night of an exhibit of Raudelunas art at the University of Alabama. He took the stage in a form that would soon be familiar to a few friends and aficionados, if not the country at large: a snap-brim fedora, sunglasses, cutaway tux, boxer shorts, pink socks, and wing-tip brogues, all accented by a few Band-Aids on his face. Lane, backed by Ron ‘Pate and the Debonairs, opened the show with a swinging cover of “My Kind of Town (Chicago Is).” After performances by the Blue Denim Deals Without the Sleeves, the Nubis Oxis Quarum doing the music of ancient Rome, the Captains of Industry all-appliance orchestra, and the world premier of Anne LeBaron’s “Concerto for Active Frogs,” Lane sang “Volare” to close the show.

A recording of the show, entitled Raudelunas Pataphysical Revue, was released on the local Say Day Bew label. Despite an original pressing of only 500 copies, the disc had a remarkably wide impact. It was picked up eventually by Recommended Records in England; their catalog read “Nothing I’ve ever heard is remotely like this.” As a result Raudelunas Pataphysical Revue sold more in Europe than the United States. Ironically, most orders were from American customers. In 1998, The Wire, an English music magazine, named the Pataphysical Revue one of the “100 records that set the world on fire.” The record has never been completely out-of-print—some 20 copies were still available in the summer of 1999—and tentative plans are afoot for a CD re-release.

Fred Lane wrote another play around the same time, I Talk To My Haircut. It was never staged but the songs Lane wrote were released along with those from the earlier show in 1983 on a Day Bew album, From The One That Cut You. The story of I Talk To My Haircut— what folks remembered of it more than 20 years later—took place in a hotel and involved the bellhop in the title song. That song and “Rubber Room” are two of the most remarkable big band arrangements on vinyl. The first features a brilliant Dick Foote solo, described by ‘Pate as “the sound of a tenor sax being strangled.” “Rubber Room,” a Lane masterpiece, opens with the Reverend crooning over a lounge piano, before he starts to swing: “I’m sick of my job/I’m sick of my wife/I’m sick of your face/I’m sick of this life/Gonna go to the store/Buy me some hardware, my dear.” Lane sings of his plans for the hardware while ‘Pate and the Debonairs vamp like an asylum orchestra. For a moment one hears people laughing, glasses tinkling, like there’s a party going on. Lane doesn’t notice it; he’s too busy singing off the contents of his shopping bag, or his mind, who knows which. The Debs slide down a few ragged glissandi and Lane wraps up it up: “I’m a happy, sappy son-of-a-gun/Living in a rubber room!” The Debonairs bray out one final blast.

Lane’s last record, Car Radio Jerome, was recorded in December of 1985, using the core of the Debonairs, including Cyd Charisse, Don “Pretty Boy” Smith, and Dick Foote, performing as the Hittite Hot Shots. There was no show, no art exhibition behind the album. “We were just trying to get a record company to sign us up,” Lane said. It must have worked. Shimmy Disc released it in 1988 and followed it up with the re-release of From The One That Cut You the next year. Car Radio Jerome was a catalog of styles: big band, country, kid songs, free jazz, spaghetti western, and a little musique concréte.

In the summer of 1999, Lane had laid his own basic tracks for a new album to be called Ice Pick To The Moon. He had finished about 12 songs for the record, including a gospel number entitled “I’m Gonna Go To Hell When I Die,” and he writes new pieces regularly. Asked what his message would be to the youth of America, Lane thought for a moment. “I guess it’s like the French Toast Man said,” he answered, “evacuate your bowels, eat a hot lunch, and don’t be late for school.”

—Gerald E. Brennan (article shortened for space consideration-Ed)

The Man With The Foldback Ears



Yes onstage '78 tour? Looks to be post Bruford.

Yes onstage early '70's. Looks to be post Bruford.

This is a fantastic piece of music. I’ve managed to avoid the original, by Simon & Garfunkel, so far. The song itself is a little dated, no one has to look for America anymore. It’s the same strip malls full of chain restaurants and stores everywhere.

I have the compilation, “New Age Of Atlantic”, on which this originally appeared .  It’s another Malibu house fire survivor. This particular file is a bonus track on the latest edition of “Fragile”.
I lifted the following from Sakalli music blogspot, and it is obviously the same source as wiki, it’s word for word in places, except there it’s stated this came from a session between “Fragile” and “Close to the Edge”. The liner notes on the cd do nothing to clear this up. I’m going with the version included here. Nothing like a little controversy. Keep the comments flowing.

Tony Kaye was replaced by the classically-trained Rick Wakeman, who had just left Strawbs, and proved to be the last piece in the puzzle of the ultimately best line-up of the band. As a soloist, Wakeman proved to be a good foil for Steve Howe. He also brought two vital additions to the group’s instrumentation: the Mellotron (which Kaye had been unwilling to employ) and the Minimoog synthesizer. Surrounded by banks of keyboards, Wakeman’s flowing blond hair and sequened cape provided a strong visual focus on stage.

The first recording by this lineup (Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire and Wakeman) was a dynamic ten-minute interpretation of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America”, which originally appeared on a compilation album (“New Age Of Atlantic” 1972). The mellotron work (end of track) was actually played by Bruford. It was both the end of one era (their last non-original track) and the beginning of another, showcasing all the elements of the new Yes sound in place.


The Amazing Kelley Stoltz


Kelley Stoltz and his Miss Sweden 1985 trophy

Kelley Stoltz and his Miss Sweden 1985 trophy

I saw Kelley Stoltz open for someone easily forgotten at Maxwell’s, in Hoboken, shortly after the release of “Below The Branches”, in 2006. I cornered him and he gracefully accepted the profusion of compliments I hurled in his direction. I told him his music at first listen is somehow familiar in all the right ways, like it’s always been there, yet is completely original.

Onstage he was charming and made being prodigiously talented look easy. He had a band, but on record plays all the instruments himself.

Prepare yourself for a “I can’t believe I’ve never heard this before” moment.
Here’s your new favorite artist.

I’ve included songs from several of his releases. “Wave Goodbye” and “Ever Thought Of Coming Back” are from “Below The Branches”. “Perpetual Night” and “Jewel Of The Evening” are from “Antique Glow”. “Mother Nature” and “Talk To The Girl” are from his latest, “Circular Sounds”. Buy some of his stuff, he deserves recognition, and stardom, if that’s what he wants.

On Stage (right)

On Stage (right)

Kelley Stoltz is an American singer, songwriter and musician. He currently resides in San Francisco, CA. His music has been compared to that of Brian Wilson, The Velvet Underground, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen. (!)-Ed
Kelley Stoltz was born in 1971 and grew up in Michigan. He moved to New York in his early twenties. While living in New York in the mid 1990s, Stoltz served as an intern with Jeff Buckley’s management company where he worked as a “fan-mail” sorter. In the late 1990s he relocated to San Francisco and began his own musical career.

Stoltz recorded his first album The Past Was Faster in 1999, released on Telegraph Records. Stoltz self-released his second album Antique Glow in 2001. The original release was 200 vinyl LPs in hand-painted sleeves. Later the album gained wider distribution when it was released by Jack Pine Social Club in the US, TKTK in the UK and Raoul Records in Australia. His next project was recorded in the last week of 2001: a track by track cover of Echo & the Bunnymen’s Crocodiles album recorded on his 8-track tape recorder.

In late 2003, Stoltz toured Australia for the first time and recorded a 4 track direct to disc EP at Corduroy Records. In 2004, Mojo magazine gave Antique Glow a four (out of five) star review and featured an article on Stoltz in their “Mojo Rising” column.

In 2005, Stoltz signed to Sub Pop and released “The Sun Comes Through” EP. He also toured Europe in April and Australia for a second time in Dec 2005-January 2006. His first full length release for SubPop, entitled “Below the Branches”, was released in February 2006.

In tandem with the release of “Below the Branches” was an industry first: “Below the Branches” was the first record in history to make an on-package claim about renewable energy use with the Green-e logo. Stoltz tracked his electricity use and with the help of the Green-e program, offset the all the electricity used to record his record with green tags from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. In Kelley’s words: “Using renewable energy to offset the electricity I needed to power my guitar amps and my recording machines was a simple and effective way for me to do something about my impact on the environment. Green-e certifies that I am buying 100 percent renewable energy. Hopefully, people will see their logo; check into what they do, and make renewable energy a part of their lives, too.”

Stoltz and his band were the opening support band for The Raconteurs, on their July and August 2006 tour. Stoltz also performed at the 2006 Lollapalooza in Chicago.

His song “Birdies Singing” from “Below the Branches” has been used by Volvo for the Volvo C30 commercial in Sweden in 2007; it has also been used for the Regions Financial ad campaign of 2007 in the U.S. Stoltz’s song, “Memory Collector” is featured in a Marriott Hotels ad, and several of his songs were used in the hit FX series, “Damages.”

In early 2006, Stoltz produced God’s Boat, the debut album from The Passionistas – which was released on June 5, 2007.

On February 5, 2008 Stoltz’s album Circular Sounds was released by Sub Pop.

Latest album

Latest album

Wave Goodbye

Perpetual Night

Ever Thought of Coming Back

Jewel Of The Evening

Mother Nature

Speak To The Girl

Religious Experience with Syd Barrett


Any good record store should have it.

Any good record store should have it.

Kevin on back of cd

Kevin on back of cd

Syd, about the time of this session

Syd, about the time of this session

When there were record stores I used Kevin Ayers as my main yardstick. I’d walk in, make a bee-line to the A’s, and see if they had a Kevin Ayers section. And if they did, what did they have? I could instantly tell a lot about the depth of their catalog. Next I’d check for Roy Harper. A lot has to do with always being on the lookout for a couple gaps in my collection. A decent stock would have “Joy Of A Toy” as an import.

This was mixed from the original 8 track tapes in 2003 for inclusion on the superb reissue of Kevin Ayer’s 1969 “Joy Of A Toy”. The unissued masters had long vanished. It’s existence known but essentially unheard. I believe this is the only session Syd Barrett played on outside of Pink Floyd and his solo recordings.
Syd was outside Pink Floyd at the time of this session.
From the cd liner:

An Avid enthusiast of Syd Barrett, the wayward ex-Pink Floyd genius. Ayer’s felt Syd’s contribution could enhance his latest composition. On the way to Abbey Road studios, Kevin called into Barrett’s flat and requested his presence on the session. And so it was on November 9th 1969 Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett worked on the first version of “Religious Experience”. Present ealier in the day were Richard Coughlan and Richard Sinclair from Canterbury band Caravan.
After some consideration it was felt that Syd Barrett’s psychedelic guitar contribution was too uncommercial, the track overlong and the decision was made to re-record “Religious Experience”.

They didn’t exactly do that. Instead the rhythm tracks were bounced to another 8 track (pretty much everything but Syd). Kevin did a new vocal, paraphrased some of Syd’s guitar, added The Ladybirds on vocals, etc.
Kevin knew Syd as his former band, The Soft Machine shared a bill with Pink Floyd , and probably a dozen other bands, at an marathon outdoor festival on Ibiza in the summer of 1967.

Kevin Ayers has had a long and interesting career.  He is an original, and creative artist. As usual, I tend to go for the earlier stuff. I’m unfamiliar with anything recorded after 1978.
Except his latest, “The Unfairground” (2008), is easily one of his best. Affectionately backed by an amalgam of indie superstars I never heard of, it sounds like it could be a followup to “Joy Of A Toy”, all his wit and charm is intact.
Kevin Ayers is currently living in the south of France, according to his MySpace page.

I just checked out the post and need to include the finished version.  Released on a 7″ single as “Singing A Song In The Morning” with “Eleanor’s Cake”(Which Ate Her) from “Joy Of A Toy” on April 19, 1970.  They always say Syd had been excised from the final, but that guy on electric guitar sure plays like him.  If it’s Kevin, he nailed it.

Religious Experience
Singing A Song In The Morning