Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Microtonal Youth

In the late 70s I worked briefly for Europadisk, a small Manhattan company that brought German stamper technology to record manufacture in the US. Since premium prices applied, most of the work came from audiophile and specialty labels like Artists House along with a few big stars like Neil Young from the majors. One day I heard unearthly sounds from the owner's quality control listening station that were not Ornette Coleman. The product being tested came from a New Jersey client who would make a concert recording of your school's orchestra in your auditorium and deliver you a finished fundraising LP. Why such a modest operation had chosen Europadisk was unclear. Portsmouth Sinfonia is an easy reference for these field recordings, since English intellectuals struggling to control the unfamiliar instruments in their hands sound pretty much like Garden State grade school kids doing the same. Instead of Portsmouth's classical warhorses, the local repertoire mixes pop favorites like The Syncopated Clock (ubiquitous Afternoon Movie theme in ages past) with unfamiliar* tunes, maybe band director originals, played and received with great enthusiasm. I ended up taking home around twenty of the label's one-sided lacquers that were due to be tossed and this is the stuff I saved on cassette.

01 This Is It!*
02 Whistle While You Work
03 Elephants*
04 Hall Of Horn*
05 Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey)
06 White Christmas
07 Beatle Expo '79 
08 Caravan
09 Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born)
10 The Syncopated Clock
11 Jellybean Sunday*
12 More (Theme From Mondo Cane)
13 Earth Man Discotheque*

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Dave Schramm Radio Free Song Club

Even though Nicholas Hill's Radio Free Song Club [2010-14] featured three of my favorite songwriters [Peter Blegvad, Peter Holsapple and Freedy Johnston], it was almost always Dave Schramm of NYC's unheralded Schramms that really cut to the heart. A gifted guitarist as well as songwriter, he never seemed to be holding his best stuff back for commercial release. He also led the house band. Here are his 33 contributions as well as his RFSC theme which opened every webcast. As of April 2018, a new Schramms long player was reportedly nearing completion, some fifteen years after their last. Patience patience.

00 RFSC Theme
01 The Ghost And The Grey
02 Hearts And Diamonds
03 Something Went Wrong
04 Halfway Home
05 Your Father Said
06 Lousy Song
07 Long Story Short
08 Third Time A Charm
09 Background Music
10 Slip And A Fall
11 Eleven
12 Been There Done That
13 Spent
14 Man Of Few Words
15 Two Left Feet
16 Maybe Eventually
17 The Terrible Hole
18 Under The Influence
19 Thirteen Years Were Not Enough
20 Point A To Point B
21 That Way
22 3am Slant
23 You Seem To Want To Say Goodbye
24 He Pulled The Ladder Up
25 Honest To A Fault
26 The Dark Spark
27 Penance
28 Electric Ladyland
29 Mad Mad World
30 A Leaf In A Winter Wind
31 What Appears To Be A Song About A Tree
32 I Will Dream Blessed Dreams
33 The Other Side Of What


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Prae-Kraut Kindergarten 1964-69

"THE SHAGGYS... Ah, the band that started it all! It was the irresistible charm of kindergarten bands like Rene & The 10 Less 5, Ric & The Skyliners, Magic Herbs and Wildcats that pushed us to share the results of our vinyl archaeology with the rest of the world. The Shaggys' first 45 was always top of the bill. Rumours of a second single gave us quite a hard time until we finally tracked it down. Like the Ragged Men record, it came out on Patria, formerly known as the R&B label. (R&B stands for whatever you like, but definitely not Rhythm and Blues.) "I'm Shy" features the immortal line, "You know it's hard to say, because I'm many shy". How can they say there's no German sense of humor?"   

Seventy-nine sacred minutes from the twenty-some volume Prae-Kraut and Electrick Loosers series, concentrating on the very weediest. To misquote the Rhythm Checkers, I know a dog when I find it; to paraphrase Captain Beefheart, They couldn't have done this if they knew what they were doing.

Prae-Kraut Kindergarten
German, Swiss & Austrian primitives

01 The Starfighters - I Like Trouble 2.42
02 The Slaves - Shut Up 2.15
03 The Skins - It's Too Late 2.13
04 The Rhythm Checkers - Theme Of The Rhythm Checkers 3.25
05 The Red Devils - Little By Little 2.02
06 Gesine Darieux & The Chosen Few - Crazy, Crazy 2.02
07 The Slaves - Get Out Of My Way 3.07
08 The Ragged Men - Love Is A Fight 2.52
09 The Candidates - Bad Bad Baby 1.43
10 The Slaves - You're The Only One 2.22
11 The Loosers - Understand 2.42
12 The Pralins - Jumpin' Run 2.30
13 The Wildcats - All Right 3.01
14 The Bats - Got A Girl 2.01
15 The Shaggys - I'm Shy 2.14
16 The Party Brothers - Every Night 2.38
17 The Retreads - You You You 2.01
18 The Robots - Soldier Beat 2.12
19 Time Out - Babe 2.01
20 The Shaggys - I Need You So 2.39
21 The Shaggys - Only An Hour 2.12
22 The Venture 5 - Yes Pretty Baby 2.19
23 The Slaves - Panic 2.01
24 The Slaves - Slaves Time 2.22
25 The Party Brothers - Our Love Is Gone 3.19
26 The Pontiacs - You Know Me 2.36
27 The Venture 5 - What's Your Name? 1.42
28 The Robots - It's Hard To Say 3.20
29 The Skins - What To Do 3.35
30 The Roadrunners - Little Ruby 2.27
31 The Rhythm Checkers - On Your Way Down The Drain 1.57
32 The Loosers - Sensitive 2.14

Downloads all. 
Numerous files have been upgraded over the years, with one Robot, one Party Brother and two Slaves now lossless.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Open Secret 2004

Q-Tip had a tough time carrying on the meld of hip-hop with jazz and elsewise that made A Tribe Called Quest such a big deal. Soon after his second solo effort, 2002's Kamaal The Abstract, was shelved by troubled Arista, he signed with equally troubled DreamWorks and recorded a whole other project called Open, featuring guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel with guest appearances by Common, D'Angelo and Andre 3000. But Open went unreleased as well, with DreamWorks shutting down for good one year later. Q-Tip fled to Universal Motown, who promised to release a reworked Open as Live At The Renaissance and then didn't. It wasn't until 2008 that rescued Open tracks appeared on Abstract Innovations and The Renaissance, with Kamaal The Abstract seeing light of day the following year. Many Secret Open tracks were scrounged from YouTube, so bitrates may disappoint. Pie is never free.

DreamWorks 2004 (unreleased)
01 Johnny Died
02 Black Boy
03 The Official
04 N/A (w/ Common)
05 Say Something For Me
06 Interlude
07 Not Gon' Have It
08 Unknown
09 Feelings
10 Where Do You Go?
11 Unidentified
12 That's Sexy (w/ Andre 3000)
13 Late Mornin'
14 Compute
15 I Believe (w/ D'Angelo)
16 Lisa (extended instrumental)
17 Instrumental
18 Lisa (originial)


Friday, October 5, 2018

Secret Gift Of Screws 2001

Hyperactive young finger-picker bound for glory.

Essential Oils -- are wrung --
The Attar from the Rose
Be not expressed by Suns -- alone --
It is the gift of Screws --

The General Rose -- decay --
But this -- in Lady's Drawer
Make Summer -- When the Lady lie
In Ceaseless Rosemary --

                                                - Emily Dickinson

Songs for the original Gift Of Screws were recorded throughout the nineties, but when Warner Bros. heard Buckingham's mixed and mastered CD, it was obvious how much more valuable these gems would be as Fleetwood Mac. So seven of the songs were Stevie'd for release on the mothership's Say You Will. Other songs from the Lindsey sessions turned up on various solo and group projects over the years, the title cut finally appearing as such in 2008, but here's the 2001 Warners CD supplemented by four outtakes and demos (purists can build the official seventeen track version from track listing included in first download). As said, most of these titles are available elsewhere, but they make a wondrous song cycle as originally intended. Shadow Of The West compiles twenty soundtrack contributions, live cuts, demos and guest appearances from 1979 to 2012, as well as the clean, minimal mix of I Know I'm Not Wrong that was used on original vinyl copies of Tusk. Tracks have been gathered from vinyl, CD, torrent, message board download and YouTube, so bitrates are what they are.

Lindsey Buckingham
Gift Of Screws
Warner/Reprise 2001 (unreleased)
01 Someone's Gotta Change Your Mind
02 Miranda
03 Steal Your Heart Away
04 Red Rover
05 Come
06 She Smiled Sweetly
07 Down On Rodeo
08 Murrow
09 To Try For The Sun
10 Shuffle Riff
11 My Little Demon
12 Deep Dense
13 Gift Of Screws
14 Bleed To Love Her
15 Go Insane
16 Given Thing
17 Gotta Get Away
18 Twist Of Fate
19 Wear You Down (Steve's Riff)
20 Say Goodbye
21 The Singer Not The Song

Shadow Of The West
01 I Know I'm Not Wrong (Tusk original mix)
02 Demo #2 (Tusk demo)
03 Blue Monday (Mirage jam)
04 Goodbye Angel (Mirage outtake)
05 Teen Beat (Mirage outtake)
06 Holiday Road (live on WBCN Boston 03-26-93)
07 Eyes Of The World (Mirage demo)
08 Hold Me (Mirage w/ Lindsey lead vocal)
09 Time Bomb Town (Back To The Future OST)
10 I've Been Loving You Too Long (Mirage jam)
11 I Want You Back (Mick Fleetwood's Zoo)
12 Magnet And Steel (Walter Egan)
13 The Spinning Of The World (John Stewart)
14 Walls (Tom Petty)
15 On The Wrong Side (With Honors OST)
16 Peacekeeper (non-Mac)
17 Stephanie (live in Fort Worth 08-24-12)
18 She Acts Like You (This Is 40 OST)
19 Shadow Of The West (Law And Order)
20 The Farmer's Daughter (Fleetwood Mac Live)

Secret Gift Of Screws
Shadow Of The West

Sunday, September 23, 2018

African Fiesta @ 45tours on Vita 1963-5 Docteur Nico 01.6

Version 01.6 replaces 9 mp3s with lossless.
Version 01.5 adds 22b Kingo Mwambe.
Version 01.4 adds 01b Tremendo Punto, at long last.
Version 01.3 adds 19b Liwa Na Ngai.
Version 01.2 adds 03a Eso La Vida.
Version 01.1 Enthusiast discographer Alastair Johnston has kindly provided information and files, resulting in the addition of four tracks - 08a En Guantanamo, 13b Nkembo Na Nzambe, 18b Willy Mopaya, 23a Azongi Na Bomengo. I thank him for his generosity and infinite wisdom.
According to Johnston's invaluable Docteur Nico Discography, African Fiesta came together in 1963, featuring Nicolas Kasanda on lead, his brother Dechaud on rhythm guitar and Tabu Ley Rochereau on lead vocals, with Roger Izeidi, Kwamy Munsi, Joseph 'Mujos' Mulamba, Joseph Mwena and Depuissant, adding Faugus Izeidi, Paul Mizele, Dominique Kuntima and Jeef Mingiedi in due time. Having developed his electric guitar skills in African Jazz and Rock-a-Mambo, Nico was really sailing by this time, exploring exotic tones and textures like a Congolese Jeff Beck. Cascades of single notes alternate with thick clusters, generally plucked instead of flat-picked, all purring and growling with natural tube sustain and distortion, tremolo and reverb. Check Angola Siempre for a characteristic 'Dieu de la Guitare' solo. African Fiesta managed to record over 250 sides in just two years, with 128 Vita singles released and nary a dud among the ones I've heard. This collection comes from my own vinyl and CDs along with many many downloads from across the interwebs, with Moos @ Global Groove a prime source. I've been advised that compilation tracks are not necessarily the same takes as the original 45s, but I don't often have multiple sources to compare. 25 Vita numbers will be covered in each post, however many tracks I actually have, with downloads revised if and when additions turn up. A list of missing sides is included in the rar, and any digital contributions would be very greatly appreciated.

docteur nico african fiesta @ 45 tours
the far from complete vita singles 1963-5
part 01 - vita 01-25

01 01a Rendezvous Chez Labas
02 01b Tremendo Punto
03 02a Bilomba Ya Africa
04 02b Mwasi Abandaka
05 03a Eso La Vida
06 03b Naleli Leo
07 04a Angola Siempre
08 04b Permission
09 05a Moto Abungaka
10 05b Rythmo Ya Suka
11 06a Bandimi Ngaï Tata
12 06b Tembe Nde Tembe
13 07a Camalée
14 07b Seli Kutu
15 08a En Guantanamo
16 08b Keba
17 09a Pesa Le Tout
18 09b Vivo Africa
19 10a Toyei Na Sango
20 10b Vidas
21 13a Nico Azongi
22 13b Nkembe Na Nzambe
23 14a Conseil Monetaire
24 14b Barumbu
25 15a Boni Boye
26 17a Bisengo Na Capitale
27 18b Willy Mopaya
28 19a Arsène Dionge
29 19b Liwa Na Ngai
30 20a A.M. Decantonio
31 21b Natuna Nani
32 22b Kingo Mwambe
33 23a Azongi Na Bomengo
34 25a Ngonga Ebeti
35 25b Godee

cd, vinyl, downloads @ various bitrates

African Fiesta @ 45tours on Vita 1963-5 Docteur Nico 02.2

Version 2.2 replaces 10 mp3s with lossless.
Version 02.1 adds 47b Tokeseni Te.
Here's the second act, whatever I've got from Vita singles 26-50. The usual superlatives apply. Favorites here include Eleki Ndelo, Nella Negrita and Mamu Wua Mpoy. Likers of my listenings might like my lookings as well. Thanks, all.

docteur nico african fiesta @ 45 tours
the far from complete vita singles 1963-5
part 02 - vita 26-50

01 26a Ma Kulutu
02 27a Africa Jazz Lipopo
03 27b Mobembo Eleki Tata
04 28b Matulekele
05 30a Mwasi Ya Bangando
06 30b N'Soso Pembe Na Lipopo
07 31a Madina
08 31b Nalembi
09 32a Eleki Ndelo
10 33a Nella Negrita
11 33b Nganda Ya n'Somi
12 34b Libaku Ya Nguma
13 35a Ah! Congo
14 35b Amicale Lipopo
15 36a Mamu Wua Mpoy
16 37a Mirielle Mwana
17 39a Olingaki Nde Ngai
18 39b Rythi Mboka Muzungu
19 40a Batu Ya Congo
20 40b Donde
21 41b Prosabel Boyoma
22 42b Ndima Maloba
23 44a Eso Querida
24 44b Paquita
25 46a M. Felie
26 47b Tokeseni Te
27 50a Celibataire Niongo Te
28 50b Aura Moreno

cd and vinyl and downloads @ various bitrates