Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Logründr No. XVII in E Major"

Instrumental Music by Louis Hardin
(Musical Heritage Society, 1978)

Moondog (née Louis Hardin) was a blind, homeless, Viking-garbed musician and composer who lived on the streets of Manhattan in the mid twentieth century. Probably not what you'd expect of the composer of this beautiful piece for pipe organ. He recorded and released scads of records from the late 1940s until his death in the late 1990s.

The parent of today's piece is an album of instrumental classical compositions, though Moondog also dabbled in jazz, madrigal, big band music, and stuff that's much harder to genrefy other than to call it Moondogesque. I first heard of him when I bought a 7" EP of all Moondog covers by the band Love Child in the late 1980s. I picked up a CD compiling his two major label albums for Columbia Records not long after, and was hooked.

NOTA BENE: I tagged this West Germany, in addition to USA, as Moondog moved there in 1974, a few years before this was recorded.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Who Are You?"

Love are known primarily for two rather disparate things: their incendiary, 1966, garage punk hit Seven and Seven Is† and their lush, 1967, psychedelic pop, masterpiece Forever Changes.

Forever Changes was far from the end of their career, however, even though the four albums that followed it are generally given short shrift. The first three of those, Four Sail, Out Here, and False Start, have all been reissued on CD and LP multiple times over the years. The 1974 reunion‡ album Reel-to-Real, however, has never been reissued in any format, to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps that's because it's an even more eclectic mishmash of styles than their earlier albums, or mayhaps 'cause it was released by RSO Records, best known for things about which I'm not especially wild, like disco-era Bee Gees and Eric Clapton.

Reel-to-Real is not a great album, but it is a good one. For some reason, it features a new recording of Singing Cowboy, originally on Four Sail, and a couple of songs, Busted Feet and Everybody's Gotta Live, that appeared earlier on leader Arthur Lee's solo album, 1972's Vindicator.

Today's song is straight-up funk, a definite anomoly in the Love Gun cannon. I think it's pretty darn great. I almost went with Busted Feet, as it's a taught, hard rocker that sounds more like Thin Lizzy or early Aerosmith. The version on Reel-to-Real is shorter, faster and more metallic than the one on Vindicator; I'll post it, if y'all're in'erested.

†b-side title: "No. Fourteen"

‡Love split in the early 70s, and Arthur released Vindicator before putting together a new, revamped Love. A further album, Black Beauty, was recorded between Vindicator and Reel-to-Real, but it got shelved and never released. It's been announced for release by High Noon Records sometime this year, but the date keeps getting pushed back, sadly.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tom Jones
"Little by Little"

Tom Jones
On Stage
7" EP
(Decca Records, 1965)

Today's number is a song from Tom's third 7" for Decca Records, a nifty lil' four-song live EP released wayyyyy back in the mid-60's. This track has since appeared on the killer triple-CD set Velvet + Steel = Gold, but in stereo and with no crowd noise (same for the first track from the EP, "Bama Lama Bama Loo"). Now, I'm not sure if that's 'cause it was really a studio recording to which that they added fake applause (à la the 13th Floor Elevators Live album), or if they simply mixed out the audience when preparing the stereo version. Regardless, this is how it sounded when pressed on shiny black vinyl in 1965.

Gotta love liner notes from back then!

The name's the same; but there any similarity ends between Tom Jones, the dynamic Pontypridd 'Tiger' and Henry Fielding's swashbuckling hero.

Tom began singing in the traditional Welsh manner – in the chapel choir. In his mid-teens he learned to play the drums and sat in with local groups. When did he first feel the call of the spotlight? "The moment I realised how heavy a hod was!" declares Tom, who worked for a time on a building site. Tom was spotted by his manager Gordon Mills, former member of the Viscounts, when he deputised at short notice for Mandy Rice Davies on a cabaret date. His first disc was Chills and Fever. It's Not Unusual, Tom's second record and number one hit, was penned for him by Gordon Mills.

Tom is now backed by the Squires. He has been known to deliver marathon two-and-a-half hour acts, leaving his audience in a state of fan frenzy seldom witnessed in this country. Although R and B influenced, Tom Jones is far from being just a shouter; he really sings. The bluesy element in his voice adds depth to his unique style, and makes him one of the most original singers to appear on the British musical scene for many years. Just listen to these four tracks and you're bound to agree.

Anyone know what on Earth a "hod" is?

Where are you going to profile some Duran Duran? ;)

Here, this is as close as you're gonna get.


That's Milo O'Shea and his eyebrows as the mad genius Durand Durand.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Carl Stone
"Wave Heat"

Carl Stone
L.A. Mantra II
2 x cassette compilation
(Trance Port Tapes, 1984)

So a good deal of the USA has been suffering through a heat wave as of late, and where we live is no exception. In celebration of this, our HVAC unit decided it was time to give up the ghost sometime early Saturday morning. Oh, the AC worked fine, but the fan that actually blows the cool (or warm, in winter) air through the ducts and into the house crapped out. I.e., it stopped moving.

According to the thermostat, the temperature has hovered around 89°F (32°C) inside our house for the past several days! At night, it would cool to a positively frigid 88°F. It's amazing the difference a single degree can make, really. That difference is, of course, NONE.


Sitting in the sweltering heat outside on the porch, where it was cooler than inside, the song "Heat Wave," popularized by Martha and the Vandellas the year I was borned, started coursing through my weary brain. Just the chorus, though. Over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over . . . You get the point.

At some point, I remembered Carl Stone's sliced'n'diced version of "Heat Wave" from the L.A. Mantra II cassette compilation, released the year I hit the big two one. Now that we have a completely new HVAC unit, and finally have inside conditions cool enough for me to sit at the tape deck and computer, I present it to you, my loyal listeners, as a gift.