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 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, 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 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 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.