Sunday, March 31, 2019

Frith Greaves Blegvad - ZU 12/19/78

ZU was a project of UK scenemaker Giorgio Gomelsky, who relocated to New York after helping launch the careers of the Rolling Stones and Yardbirds from his Crawdaddy Club as well as producing early sessions for John McLaughlin, Graham Bond, Alexis Koerner and Soft Machine. He was soon forcing the likes of Magma, Henry Cow and Plastic People Of The Universe on unsuspecting Americans as well as encouraging young Bill Laswell to form the band that became Material after backing Daevid Allen as ZU Band and New York Gong. The present concert took place some two months after Gomelsky's ZU Manifestival - the first progressive rock summit in the United States. Frith played several Manhattan solo shows around this time, including one at Artists Space in Soho where he harmonized with sirens passing in the street below. There was also a misguided booking at the Mudd Club, where devoted fans were refused admittance for showing up in jeans, stocking caps, long hair and pimples. I was once halfway through the door of this chic nitespot behind two downtown celebrity pals when a great arm came down like a railroad crossing gate. Quality control figured there was no way the two sharp suits had come with Travis Bickle. According to the wondrous Blegvad discography that appeared on the defunct idiot dog website, there should be a nine minute reading between Silence and Big Guns Theme, where there is an audible edit. At any rate, it's great to hear the tapers gasping in wonder as they experience their imported heroes in the flesh for the first time.

Fred Frith, John Greaves, Peter Blegvad
w/ Bill Laswell, Fred Maher, Lisa Herman, Eugene Chadbourne, Michael Beinhorn, Dr. Dan
ZU Loft, New York City, December 19, 1978

01 Milk
02 Mostly Twins And Trios
03 For Bearings
04 The Rose Sob
05 Silence
06 Big Guns Theme
07 Alcohol
08 Strayed
09 Actual Frenzy
10 22 Proverbs
11 Riding Tigers
12 A Little Something
13 improv
14 improv
15 improv
16 improv

Photograph from Peter Blegvad / Andy Partridge Orpheus booklet.


Recent English Experimental Music - Audio Arts Magazine Volume 3 Number 2

As murky and distorted as any early Hendrix bootleg.

Recent English Experimental Music
Audio Arts Magazine Volume 3 Number 2 

01 Howard Skempton - Waltz
02 Christopher Hobbs - Aran
03 Christopher Hobbs - Three Piano Duets
04 Gavin Bryars - Ponukelian Melody
05 John White - Piano Duet 10
06 John White - Piano Duet 11
07 John White - Piano Duet 12
08 John White - Piano Duet 13
09 John White - Photo-Finish Machine
10 Michael Parsons - Piano Piece 5
11 James Lampard - The Caterpillar
12 Michael Nyman - The Otherwise Very Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz

deteriorating cassette FLAC

L'Orchestre National Jazz du Dahomey - Impressions Sonores du Benin 1968

A joint effort with Benin music enthusiast Oro, whose original post of NJD 002 was my introduction to these almost forgotten heroes. 002 is reposted here along with 001 & 003, my own recent finds, as natural bookends. Explore Oro for more National-Jazz and countless other African treasures.

L'Orchestre National Jazz du Dahomey
Impressions Sonore du Benin eps circa 1968

NJD 001
01 Gbèto Koclozin Dohoun
02 Homé Su Bu Dè Ko
03 Étoile Sportive de Porto-Novo

NJD 002
01 Ave N'Dé Gninan
02 Jerk-Houélié
03 Ablanon
04 Ade Wè Dji Vi Ton

NJD 003
01 To Hô Gnon
02 A Vespa Ya
03 De L'Argent


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Microtonal Youth

In the late 70s my rugged good looks and corruptible charm got me hired by the two confirmed bachelors who ran and worked the machines of Europadisk out of three rooms in Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan. With equipment imported by another confirmed bachelor who had been a member of the Vienna Boys Choir before his family fled the Nazis in 1939, Europadisk brought German technology and precision 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 in this case Ornette Coleman. The guilty party turned out to be a New Jersey one-stop that would make a concert recording of your school's orchestra in your auditorium and deliver you a finished fundraising LP pressed and packaged. 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 middle 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, perhaps 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 an upcoming album. 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
02 The Slaves - Shut Up
03 The Skins - It's Too Late
04 The Rhythm Checkers - Theme Of The Rhythm Checkers
05 The Red Devils - Little By Little
06 Gesine Darieux & The Chosen Few - Crazy, Crazy
07 The Slaves - Get Out Of My Way
08 The Ragged Men - Love Is A Fight
09 The Candidates - Bad Bad Baby
10 The Slaves - You're The Only One
11 The Loosers - Understand
12 The Pralins - Jumpin' Run
13 The Wildcats - All Right
14 The Bats - Got A Girl
15 The Shaggys - I'm Shy
16 The Party Brothers - Every Night
17 The Retreads - You You You
18 The Robots - Soldier Beat
19 Time Out - Babe
20 The Shaggys - I Need You So
21 The Shaggys - Only An Hour
22 The Venture 5 - Yes Pretty Baby
23 The Slaves - Panic
24 The Slaves - Slaves Time
25 The Party Brothers - Our Love Is Gone
26 The Pontiacs - You Know Me
27 The Venture 5 - What's Your Name?
28 The Robots - It's Hard To Say
29 The Skins - What To Do
30 The Roadrunners - Little Ruby
31 The Rhythm Checkers - On Your Way Down The Drain
32 The Loosers - Sensitive

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)