Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Os Mutantes
"Glória ao rei dos confins do além"

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Glória ao rei dos confins do além - De volta ao planeta dos Mutantes

Os Mutantes
A arte de Os Mutantes

(Universal Music/Mercury, 2006)

Back in the late 16th Century, in the early days of this blog, listener VirginiaM requested something rare by Os Mutantes. Most of their original catalog of six studio albums and one live (from 1968 through 1976) has been available, off-and-on, on CD and LP since the beginning of this century. In addition to those seven, two unreleased albums from that period have surfaced, plus a live and a studio album since they reunited in 2006.

Like many bands that began in the 1960s and continued into the next decade (and beyond), Os Mutantes went through some interesting changes, which included three fairly distinct phases. They began life as a psychedelic, Tropicália combo, morphed into a psychedelic, rock/hard rock band, then shifted into a progressive rock group.

  • Phase I: 1968 to 1970
    • Os Mutantes
    • Mutantes
    • A divina comedia ou ando meio desligado
    • Tecnicolor [recorded in 1970 but not released until 2005]
  • Phase II: 1971 to 1973
    • Jardim elétrico
    • Mutantes e seus cometas no país do baurets
    • A e o Z [recorded in 1973 but not released until 1992]
  • Phase III: 1974 to 1978
    • Tudo foi feito pelo sol
    • Ao vivo
  • Intelligent, Murderous Ants: 2006 to present
    • Live - Barbican Theatre, London, 2006
    • Haih... or amortecedor

So, anyhow, finding a rarity that I could actually, you know, afford would not be an easy task. Luckily, not long before VirginiaM's request, I just happened to have purchased an Os Mutantes collection, A arte de Os Mutantes, with a tiny handful of non-LP tracks, and today's jukebox selection is one of them.

The info (in Portugese, dang it) in the booklet seems to indicate this tune is from 1968. A bit of on-line research leads me to believe it was from a 7" EP released between their first album, 1968's Os Mutantes, and their second, 1969's Mutantes.

No doubt, the more observant of my listeners have noticed that they ditched the Os from their name between their first and second albums. No biggie; it's just Portugese for The. Since I've not been able to find a picture of a record cover for the aforementioned EP, or even a label (as in the paper stuck to the center of the vinyl disc), I've decided to leave the Os in place for this song. If that is incorrect, my deepest apologies, and, as always, please, no lawsuits.

Interestingly, to me at least, the Os has returned twice. The first time, on the cover of their double-decade-delayed album A e o Z and again for their 2009 studio comeback (and quite good) album Haih... or amortecedor.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Jimmy Wray & The Shreveport Boys
"Little Bo Peep"

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Jimmy Wray & The Shreveport Boys
Rockin` in Louisiana
vol. 2

compilation LP
(White Label Records, 19??)

Time for a little hometown pride, y'all.

I was born in Shreveport, LA and spent the first 181 months of my life there, i.e. fifteen years plus a month. While I lived there, I was not aware of any local music at all. Sure, I went to see bands, but only big, out-of-towners. The closest I came to seeing a local band was seeing Hot Sauce open for Styx on January 1, 1977. Hot Sauce were from Dallas, TX, a three or four hour drive away. About all I remember is the guitarist wore a silver leather jacket and had a very long, coiled red guitar cord. That and they were terrible, and I wanted them to go away.

Oh, and I also saw Bliss, from Tulsa, OK. I was told years later that Bliss opened for the Sex Pistols in Tulsa, and I've just confirmed that they did, about six months before I saw them. Wow! The main things I remember about them were the singer had HUGE, frizzed out hair and they played a metal version of The William Tell Overture. When I saw them, they opened for REO Speedwagon and Rainbow. My friend Marshall and I were there to see the latter, and left after the former's first, crappy song.

Anyhow, local music from Shreveport? Sure, we had the Louisiana Hayride, a hugely influential country music showcase and radio show, but that was about it, to the best of my knowledge. Aside from that, the only group I know of from my hometown is avant garde lunatics The Residents, whom I featured here several months ago.

So, now that that's out of the way . . .

When I saw this Dutch LP, the title immediately grabbed my attention. I flipped it over, and noticed the artist for three tracks on side two was Jimmy Wray & the Shreveport Boys. Luckily, the store where I saw it is very cool about playing things for customers, and it sounded pretty good. The remaining tracks on that side are just credited to Jimmy Wray, by the way.

Who is Jimmy Wray, aside from the handsome young man in the pictures? Let's ask the liner notes, shall we?

The second side of the LP contains only unreleased material by the mysterious JIMMY WRAY. Nothing is remembered of him in the studio except that he worked hard and the reasons for not issuing any of his material is long forgotten. Why though is left for you to decide. As his recordings demonstrate he was yet another cat who tried his heart out without any resultant recordings being issued, that we know of anyway.

Perhaps it might have something to do with him singing about scoring cocaine (in a different song) a decade or so before Lou Reed was singing about waiting for his dope dealer? Regardless, the above is the entirety of what the compilers of the LP chose to share with us. Most of the material on his side of the record is original, but this song is my favorite, and it pops into my head all the time, and it's a cover. I've tried researching it to find out more about it, but to no avail. It's credited to Mills/Eskew. Knock yourself out!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Merrill Womach
"Sweet, Sweet Spirit"

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When I saw this album in the used bin at Tower Records in Atlanta, I thought the text was in Cyrillic. After pulling it out for a closer look, I discovered it was actually a gospel album from the mid/late 1970s by a guy from Spokane, WA, resting place of my nine-year-old appendix.

According to the liner notes:

Widely known for his unique vocal achievements in sound, Merrill is the first one to produce multiple stereophonic recordings. Through a series of delicately performed recordings of his own voice singing the various parts, he has produced duets, trios, quartets and even a 42-voice precision male chorus. Accompanying Merrill in many of his concerts are taped symphony orchestration backgrounds which are the result of years of research and development.

In addition to being a master of recording technique, Womach was also the victim of a fiery plane crash on Thanksgiving Day, 1961, just over seven months after my parents got married. This is the cause of his horrific facial scarring. Yes, it's not a horror movie makeup job; the poor guy actually looked like that.

As would be expected, nearly the entire album is graced with the sort of instrumental backing one might expect on a Caucasian gospel album of the period: dreadful. This particular track, however, is completely a cappella, albeit severely multi-tracked. I actually quite like it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Loud . . . Louder . . . Loudest!

Please, forgive the lack of recent posts! Life has been busy.

I made it out of the house this past Saturday night to go to a concert (my first in a little over five months), and filmed the first few minutes with my princess phone. I've seen Jucifer probably at least twenty-five times, and this show was one of their best, if not the best, I've seen.

The above clip was followed by around 80 minutes of non-stop, heavier-than-heavy P O U N D. It was amazing.

As they played, it occurred to me that the perfect way for the set to end would be for the entire stage, and everything on it, to explode. Of course, that is not something one can do more than once. And my husband probably would not have appreciated it if I returned home in a body bag rather than in my car.

That wall of speakers? It's Amber Valentine's guitar rig, not a PA system! Yes, that wall of sonic death is all for just her guitar.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Corpses as Bedmates
"Willow Tree"

Corpses as Bedmates
Babaa & Scheibel = 69
(Cow-Op Industries, 1984)

We got this cassette at my college radio station. The band and release name caught my eye, and my ears and brain were immediately transfixed by this bizarre, disturbing, demented, little nursery rhyme of a song. I played it on my show many a time over the years.

Corpses as Bedmates were the augmented duo of Susanne Lewis and Karen Sheridan. The augmentor was Bob Drake, who contributed drums and percussion, in addition to engineering and mixing this recording. By the time of the third and final Corpses as Bedmates album, Venus Handcuffs, Karen was gone and the group was simply Susanne and Bob. In addition, it was pressed on hard, black wax (i.e., vinyl) rather than cassette. Unlike the first two Corpses as Bedmates releases, Venus Handcuffs has since been reissued on CD, but with completely different artwork and the group name changed to Venus Handcuffs. No, I do not know why, and I keep it filed with the C's in my collection, rather than the V's. The second Corpses as Bedmates release, btw, was entitled Halo.

In addition to Corpses as Bedmates, Susanne and Robert were both involved with the Geoffrey Landers LP that I featured here a while back. Bob is also part of the progressive/avant garde group Thinking Plague, for whom Susanne sang for a bit. Susanne and Bob also released a few albums under the name Hail, and Susanne made a couple of albums under the rather odd name of Kissyfur. Most recently, though still a number of years ago, she released a great, eponymous solo album.

I don't know who is responsible for the drawing and poem, but it is from the innermost panel of the cassette cover.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


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(self-released?, 1992)

Leo Records is a pretty cool jazz label. If I find something on Leo in a bargain bin, chances are highly likely that I will snap it up post-haste. Coincidentally, or maybe not, my two favorite jazz pianists outside of Cecil Taylor (they're much too big to fit inside) are Sakis Papadimitriou, whom I've featured before, and Satoko Fujii. Both I first heard as a result of finding CDs on Leo's sublabel Leo Lab in bargain bins.

The Satoko Fujii Orchestra CD South Wind turned up in the local store I've mentioned before where Japanese CDs used to appear on a regular basis. OK, sure, Leo Records is a UK label, but Ms. Fujii is Japanese. So there! There are actually four Satoko Fujii Orchestras. South Wind is by what later became known as the Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York. She also has orchestras based in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kobe (ordered here by number of releases).

Ms. Fujii, along with her trumpeter husband Natsuki Tamura, have collectively released a huge number of excellent CDs starting with 1996's Something about Water, a collaboration between Satoko and legendary pianist Paul Bley. As of today, there are 27 CDs on their own label, Libra Records, plus scads of other CDs on scads of other labels; every time I manage to catch up with them, they'll release another four or so at once.

This is all a bit beside the point, however. Four years before Something about Water was released, there was an album by a group named 飛不動. The compositions are all by Natsuki, and he and Satoko are joined by 金井敬一 on bass and 見世秀麿 on drums. I managed to score a copy from Downtown Music Gallery in Manhattan a few years ago. They still have it listed, and I think it's pretty great. Today's jukebox selection is the first track.

NOTA BENE: 飛不動 is a flying deity in Japanese legend. I just found that out now, while writing this.


  • 飛不動 = Tobifudo
  • かげ = Kage = Shadow
  • 金井敬一 = Keiichi Kanai
  • 見世秀麿 = Hidemaro Mise

Monday, March 5, 2012

"The Poor Man's Grace"

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Bad Alchemy Nr 12
compilation cassette
(Bad Alchemy, 1989)

Bad Alchemy is both a record label and a long-running music magazine. The first twenty-seven issues of the magazine each came with a compilation cassette featuring artists covered in the current issue. I think the first issue I bought was Nr 3, as there is a Half Japanese song on it, and I will buy anything featuring them; they being, of course, the greatest band in the history of music. That is beside the point, however.

The cassette accompanying Nr 12 devoted a good deal of its air time to artists from Sweden, many with releases on the Bauta Records label. One of them was UR KAOS (yes, spelt in all caps because they are YELLING at you). Both pieces were cool and dark, and exclusive to the cassette, so I snagged their eponymous debut album (the one with a wolf, or is it a fox?, in a fur coat on the cover) from Wayside Music not long after hearing them. Its contents are much like the piece featured today on the jukebox: short, almost fragmentary, songs with a very dark, foreboding edge. Good times!

Their next album, A Terrible Beauty Is Born, was just as dark, if not darker. The cover certainly upped the creepiness ante, with its depiction of multiple corpses dangling from a desolate gallows. Again, it was full of short, almost fragmentary, songs with a very dark, foreboding edge. I love copy'n'paste.

Nearly a decade later, they released their third album, Av sprucket ut är valt ett inuti. The mood is a bit lighter, but the songs are still mostly short, almost fragmentary. I've been told by Swedes that the title cannot be translated properly into English (too idiomatic or something). Google Translate, however, says it means By Cracking the Selected One Inside. Yahoo Babel Fish, on the other hand, can't handle Swedish, or any other Scandinavian/Nordic language! Oooh, they make me so mad! Poor Douglas Adams is probably spinning in his grave.

NOTA BENE: That's UR KAOS on the cover of the magazine. It is the only picture I have ever seen of them (not counting one of them wearing masks), and it was taken by Anton H. Leclercq, according to the credits in the back of the mag.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


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(Magaibutsu Limited, 1997)

One of the many million projects of drummer, vocalist, composer, insane genius Yoshida Tatsuya, 大山脈X were seemingly a one-off kinda thing, though they did make one compilation appearance in addition to this CDR. This release is one long piece of music, broken down into ten sections, each named for a specific mountain or mountain range. You see, 大山脈X means something like Massive Mountain X. The compilation track I mentioned above, by the way, is entitled Vesuvius, which is a mountain but also a volcano.

The line-up for this one is definitely on the slightly unique side. In addition to Yoshida on drums, voice, and keyboards (he can do all three simultaneously, and I've seen him do it live), there are two bass players (Jin Harada and Yokai Takahashi), a violinist (Yuji Katsui), and another vocalist (Mihashi Mikako).

『組曲大山脈』 was one of four CDRs that Yoshida released on Magaibutsu Limited, his own label. The others were a disc of improvisations by his drums and bass duo Ruins, and two solo discs.

The aforementioned compilation consists of nineteen tracks by twelve groups either featuring or lead by Yoshida, plus one solo piece.


  • 大山脈X = Daisanmyaku X = Massive Mountain X
  • 組曲大山脈 = Massive Mountains Suite
  • バルカン山脈 = Balkan Mountains

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lynch Mob

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Lynch Mob
(Sacred Groove Records, 1998)

Let's get one thing straight right from the start: hair metal was a scourge upon the world or music.

Now, sure, there were exceptions, though they were exceptions for a reason. The only one I can think of, though, is Skid Row, and I don't consider them a hair metal band, but, rather, a band with long, pretty hair who also happened to rock pretty darn ferociously when the mood hit them (see below video).

Dokken was not an exception; they were awful (see other video below). I still have fond memories of flinging one of their LPs out the window of a moving car and watching it shatter as it hit the pavement when I was an angry young man.

When we got Wicked Sensation, the first album by guitarist George Lynch's (not very) cleverly named new band Lynch Mob at my college radio station, I popped it into the office CD player for a laugh. Just as had happened when we got the second Skid Row album, Slave to the Grind, I was shocked! I mean, it was good! WTH?

After that first Lynch Mob album, vocalist Oni Logan was let go. They got a new guy (who sounded similar enough that I didn't even realize they had a new singer) and popped out a second, also good, album, Lynch Mob. (Collectors' Note: The Japanese version has two extra songs.) George then apparently rejoined Dokken, then was out again (a practice that seems to continue to this day).

In 1998, Oni came back on board for this lil' three song EP with the most atrocious cover of just about any record in my collection. I saw them when they toured to promote it, and they kicked ass. Well, I could've done without George's mid-set, four-and-a-half hour guitar solo, but that was the only part that stunk. This song, in particular, was really crushing. Sadly, the studio version doesn't quitecapture how powerful it was live, but what can you do?

After the reunion with Oni fell apart, George formed a whole new Lynch Mob and released the rap-metal album Smoke This. The less said about it, the better. There's a new-ish album out with Oni back on vox, but I only found out about it while doing this write-up, so I can't tell you (yet) if it's worthy or not.