De La Soul Is Back

3 Feet High And Rising

This morning I was pleased to see that De La Soul had resolved the legal issues with their old label, and had regained control over their music.

3 Feet High And Rising has always been one of my favorite hip-hop LPs since I first heard it on a girlfriend’s cassette circa 1989. I have De La Soul music on CD and vinyl, so I have been listening to it all these years, but I’m glad they finally got their own music back, and are able to release it on the various streaming platforms like Apple Music.

Rachel Brodsky, Uproxx reports:

Legendary hip-hop trio De La Soul — Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo — have been locked in a battle with Tommy Boy Music for years to regain control of their masters. Now, according to Talib Kweli, it’s mission accomplished for The Plugs.

“After years of being taken advantage by the recording industry in the worst possible ways, De La Soul now owns all the rights to their masters and is in full control of the amazing music they have created,” Kweli wrote in an Instagram post over the weekend, writing that Maseo had confirmed the news. “Let’s salute Plugs 1, 2 and 3 for sticking to their guns and showing us that we can all beat the system if we come together as a community. Let’s hear it for black ownership of black art! Congratulations fellas.”

The news may not come as a huge surprise, since just two months ago, Reservoir Media acquired the Tommy Boy for close to $100 million. They also gained ownership of Tommy Boy’s catalog, which includes six De La Soul albums: 3 Feet High And Rising (1989), De La Soul Is Dead (1991), and Buhloone Mindstate (1993), Stakes Is High (1996), Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000), and AOI: Bionix (2001). A spokesperson for Reservoir also confirmed that the new label ownership would mean that De La Soul’s catalog would at last come to streaming platforms. “We have already reached out to De La Soul and will work together to the bring the catalog and the music back to the fans,” a Reservoir rep told Variety.

(click here to continue reading De La Soul Have Finally Gained Control Of Their Masters, According To Talib Kweli.)

Play De Record

Rolling Stone had some back story on one of the impedements:

De La Soul vs. The Turtles (1991)

“Transmitting Live From Mars,” by De La Soul (1989) vs. “You Showed Me,” by the Turtles (written by Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark) (1969)

The Case: The hip-hop collective De La Soul built their masterpiece 3 Feet High and Rising from a vast library of samples spanning genres, languages and decades. At a time when sampling was relatively new (and relatively lawless), not all of the snippets received the proper clearance. Among these was a 12-second segment from the Turtles’ 1969 song “You Showed Me,” used on the interlude skit “Transmitting Live From Mars.” Former Turtles Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman leveled a $2.5 million lawsuit at Prince Paul and company in 1991. “Sampling is just a longer term for theft,” Volman told the L.A. Times. “Anybody who can honesty say sampling is some sort of creativity has never done anything creative.” Ironically, the song was written by none of the Turtles, but instead by Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark of the Byrds.

The Verdict: The case was settled out of court, with Volman and Kaylan netting a sum reportedly as high as $1.7 million. De La Soul claim they never paid that much.

Why It Matters: Rap artists believed this ruling set a dangerous precedent that would bankrupt them due to licensing or legal fees and would ultimately destroy hip-hop. The case precipitated a steady decline in sampling as labels grappled with the financial and logistical headaches of ensuring all artists were properly paid and credited. Heavily sampled albums like 3 Feet High would likely be impossible to make today.

(click here to continue reading Songs on Trial: 12 Landmark Music Copyright Cases – Rolling Stone.)

Bob Dylan Q&A about The Philosophy of Modern Song and Ronnie James Dio

You might have read Bob Dylan being interviewed by Jeff Slate (paywall version). Well worth reading, if you haven’t already.

Rainbow Rising Stargazer

The Official Bob Dylan Site reposted the WSJ Q&A, which includes this answer:

When you first hear a song, it might be related to what time of day you hear it. Maybe at daybreak – at dawn with the sun in your face – it would probably stay with you longer than if you heard it at dusk. Or maybe, if you first hear it at sunset, it would probably mean something different, than if you heard it first at 2 in the afternoon. Or maybe you hear something in the dead of night, in the darkness, with night eyes. Maybe it’ll be “Eleanor Rigby,” and it puts you in touch with your ancient ancestors. You’re liable to remember that for a while. “Star Gazer,” the Ronnie James Dio song would probably mean a lot more to you if you first heard it at midnight under a full moon beneath an expanding universe, than if you first heard it in the middle of a dreary day with rain pouring down.

(click here to continue reading non-paywalled Bob Dylan Q&A about “The Philosophy of Modern Song” | The Official Bob Dylan Site.)

I lost track of Ronnie James Dio’s solo career after his first two LPs, so I don’t know if he ever played Stargazer live. But in my mind, this epic song is from the band that Dio was the singer and lyricist for, Rainbow, for a couple of records, including Rising, and is a favorite of mine as well. The band was really Ritchie Blackmore’s, he gets co-credit on Stargazer. Ronnie James Dio’s operatic voice is the star, as is usually the case.

Here’s a YouTube version

I can see why Bob Dylan is a fan, there are some religious undertones to the lyric, as well as some subtext of rock star hubris. Or maybe Bob just appreciates Dio’s powerful voice? Or maybe they hung out in New York? Who knows.

Vinyl LP Catalog Project Update -The Analog Universe Has Its Own Rules

As an update to my vinyl LP project, previously mentioned, I’m approaching the end of my first phase. As of tonight, I have added 581 LPs to my Delicious Library 3 catalog, with maybe another 75 LPs to go, or close to that number. I haven’t counted them. Not a huge collection obviously, but one that is important to me.

I’m still compelled to add new physical media to my shared space, but luckily, Covid-19 has stopped me from visiting local record stores and paying their rent by buying everything interesting. So far, only Discogs, and Ernie’s Millions Of Records have benefited from my renewed interest in vinyl.

By now, my routine is fairly well polished, and occurs in roughly this order. The analog universe has its own rules.

Vinyl LPs played Week of Nov 5 2021

1. Pull an LP off the shelf. Take it out of the plastic sleeve, if it has one. If it doesn’t1, give it one. Take a photo with my iPhone2 of the cover, back cover, and any interesting details, including the inner sleeve, or inner gatefold, or the vinyl label. If the LP doesn’t have a good inner sleeve, replace it.  

2. Look at the etched runout markings. If I have my reading glasses on, I will note those and search Discogs for the proper edition. If I can’t make them out, I will guess based on year of purchase3 or on other unique identifiers on the spine or cover. Some LPs have had hundreds of pressings, thus I will admit that I am not always successful, some of my Discogs IDs are no doubt incorrect.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

I have yet to look up an LP that was not listed at Discogs fwiw. I have only had to contribute 2 or 3 additions/corrections, a great ratio. Crowd-sourced data and the “old school” internet is good when it works!

Vinyl LPs Played Week of Nov 20

3. Look up the LP in the Delicious Library 3 interface. This is often harder than it could be, especially for older LPs. It works well when there is a barcode on the LP, a barcode that still exists, that is. About 20% of the barcode lookups fail because the LP is not in’s database. Also, the Delicious Library 3 text search bar is ludicrously small, and once you type, “vinyl”, you can only see the next couple of words. Better to copy and paste from the Discogs site, but of course I don’t always remember to do this. Besides, the Amazon 3rd Party Marketplace is hit/miss with titles. A large percentage of my library doesn’t have a barcode – I’m guessing late ’80s was when the barcode became standard on album covers.

Delicious text entry

If this process works well, the Amazon lookup populates my Delicious Library catalog with accurate info about title, artist, label, release date, current retail value, and even nice artwork. If the process works partially, I still save myself some typing, but I may have to use my own photo of cover art, correct label info, and so forth. I would estimate I’ve had to hand-type about 50 LPs so far.

Because I’m sorta nutty, I then copy track info, and other credits from Discogs into the Delicious Library entry. Not nutty, maybe a better epithet is data enthusiast. I don’t always care, but sometimes I’m curious who the guest guitarist was on the 3rd track, or who wrote this song on Side 2, yadda yadda…

4. Look at the physical disc, make sure it isn’t warped, or has big scratches visible on the vinyl. I’ve been lucky and only ten or less of these LPs have been too physically damaged to play. I’ve always tried to take good care of my LPs, but ya know, other humans live on this planet. Plus the universe tends towards entropy.

5. Put the LP into my Record Washer MKII. This is a crucial step, but I didn’t always use it early on in my process. I do now though, with a bath of distilled water and a capful of Spin-Clean Washer Fluid4. I try to switch out the bath every week, or when it begins to smell a bit “off”. While I spin the LP 3 times counter-clockwise, I cogitate; when I subsequently spin the LP 3 times clockwise, I count down in my best Casey Kasem voice, “3, 2, 1, play…”

6. I have about 7 or 8 microfiber cloths that I use in a rotation to clean the MKII solution and schmutz off the LP. I prefer to do this during the day so I can stand by my office window and use natural light to ascertain if there are finger smudges or whatever that I can remove. If I didn’t like the album art photo I took previously, I’ll try again.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80 - Army Arrangement

7. The best part! Playing the damn thing!  Drop the needle down, and dance where appropriate! Or play air guitar! or air bass! Whatever! To be truthful, not every record demands full attention from my ears. Sometimes I’ll be working on other records, preparing them with the above mentioned steps until they are ready to play. In other words, at any time, there are several LPs in each of the above steps. For instance, right now I have 8 LPs that are ready to play as soon as I queue them up, another 10 that still need to be cleaned and dried, another 20 or so that I haven’t looked up in yet, plus those other ~75 that I haven’t even started on.

Finally replaced my phono cartridge

8. Depending upon circumstances, I may research the album at Wikipedia and/or to get a feel for critical response. Depending upon the artist, there can be quite a lot of history about a particular album. Most of these albums I acquired before the public internet even existed, I might not have realized what a particular artist was all about, or why a song swerves in this particular way, or who knows what weirdness I’ll stumble upon on the internet. Factoids are a certain kind of brain candy.

Riverstone Audio VTF Gauge

What’s next? After I finish my journey through all these albums, I plan to alphabetize them. I haven’t yet decided to do a straight ABC alphabetization, or a genre/alpha sort.5  I might need a couple more shelves actually. 

Next I want to digitize the albums I don’t have already in my music library. I’m a bit leery of this step; I tried to digitize a John Lee Hooker LP and it sounded like absolute shit. Not sure if my needle was bad, the LP itself was too worn6 or other factors. I will try again though, there is too much gold on these shelves.

Vinyl LPs played Week of 12-11-21

  1. something like 20% didn’t have an outer plastic sleeve, or was corroded in some way []
  2. using the square setting []
  3. if I recall []
  4. whatever is in it, some anti-static compounds I would guess []
  5. Blues LPs, sorted by alpha, Jazz LPs, sorted by alpha, etc. []
  6. though it sounded fine on my phonograph []

The Art and The Artist

Vinyl Shelves

The Dean of Rock Critics™, Robert Christgau, writes about a subject near and dear to my heart, namely can we separate the artist from the art?

A little while back in the introduction to your resurfacing of an old piece about Biz Markie, you wrote that you were boycotting Van Morrison. I’ve felt similarly disappointed and disgusted by him of late. (Same goes for Eric Clapton.) Short of him renouncing things he’s said—which seems unlikely—is there anything that would bring you back to his music? I have so much love for so much of his work, and I’m tempted to justify continuing to listen with the belief that the man singing “Into the Mystic” or “Everyone” is not the old crank talking harmful nonsense today. But that leap can feel awfully forced on some days. Should I be making it at all? Does it make an ethical difference if I’m listening to CDs and albums I’ve already bought and not listening to streams? I.E., not putting more money in his pocket. I guess I’m just curious to know more about how you draw—and might redraw—your lines in a case like Van’s. — David Marchese, Brooklyn

Ever read Barney Hoskyns’s excellent Small Town Talk, about the Woodstock “scene”? Van’s not a major player there, but he gets what I presume is his due, which left me with no doubt that he’s long if not always been a major prick. When I read it back in 2018 this did not stop me from listening to Moondance or Into the Music or “Jackie Wilson Said.” Nor has the ignorant, reactionary, racist-to-anti-Semitic blather he and his homeboy Clapton have been spewing during the pandemic turned me off their music (though the only Clapton I actively like is half a century old) because, yes, the music has its own reality. You could even say that the guy who’s making the music is not the prick—that he inhabits or creates some other reality when he sings and plays. So my boycott is about Morrison’s current Latest Record Project, which Greil Marcus did review and thought sounded pretty good until it approached the Protocols of the Elders of Zion part. But Greil’s a big big Van fan, where I’ve merely found some value in his ceaseless recent output. So it’s easy enough for me to say fuck that shit.

(click here to continue reading Xgau Sez: September, 2021 – by Robert Christgau – And It Don’t Stop.)

Speaking for myself, mostly I can distinguish the music (or other art) as a different entity from the artist who created the art. I always think of Ezra Pound’s fascist leanings, and his poems. Jimmy Page and David Bowie both had a sexual relationship with the same teenaged girl. John Lennon beat his wife. The film Chinatown remains great, despite the ickiness of the rapist Roman Polanski. George Orwell ratted out alleged communist-sympathizers. And so on, there is a long list of people behaving badly who are artists of note.

I rationalize listening to Van Morrison’s back catalog (some of which is pretty great) by not streaming or purchasing any of his newer work. I actually have all the Van Morrison albums I need (though I think my brother borrowed a few of my Van Morrison vinyl LPs), and Eric Clapton hasn’t made good music in decades, imo. 

Rock Docu Reviews – Lowell George – Feats First

Music Library

I realized last night that I have watched hundreds of music documentaries. I place them in three broad categories, not including actual concert movies, a related but different genre, nor including fictionalized BioPics about real or nearly-real musicians. 

1. The quality ones, which are fairly rare. These documentaries often have a well known director, have licensed the actual music from the musicians involved, and if they are still alive, even interview some of them. Like Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home, for instance. Or Muscle Shoals, about the music studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, and which includes some great footage of Aretha Franklin belting out, I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You). If you haven’t watched the first 2 seasons of Mike Judge Presents: Tales From The Tour Bus, you should.

2. A second tier style that does include some of the musicians, but usually not the ones who played on the albums in question. There always seems to be a few rock journalists who once wrote for Rolling Stone Magazine, or similar, who are interviewed in front of their shelves of CDs/vinyl, and interviews with contemporaries or studio partners, usually interviewed with studio equipment in the background. Sometimes these docs have enough of a budget to license some of the music or snippets of live performance. Frequent usage of the so-called Ken Burns Effect.

3. Documentaries that focus on a single album, track by track, and inevitably have multiple interviews with a sound engineer at a mixing console who slides the mixing panel controls to isolate vocals or drums or bass or all of these. Eddie Kramer, of Jimi Hendrix fame, seems to be in half of these for some reason. Some of these don’t license music from the original artists, so they can only have snippets, or video from television broadcasts or in a few cases, muzak-inspired studio versions. Yikes. A few of these are interesting, many of the documentaries I’ve watched in this category are for hard-core fans only, everyone else would be bored to tears. Very frequent usage of the so-called Ken Burns Effect.

The better documentaries also don’t shy away from controversy, drugs and sex are not skipped over. To be honest, the juicy bits are often the most fun, which is why tell all books about Led Zeppelin or Keith Richards are fun to read, and popular.

Feats First falls into tier 2 – a solid B in my estimation. Lowell George and Little Feat made 2 great LPs, a couple more really good LPs, and maybe a few other good tracks.1

He died young, probably due to his drug habits. The Feats First doc didn’t even mention that Lowell George was a cocaine-heroin speedball aficionado. Seems like this should have been relevant to the discussion, but nope. Whatever, still an enjoyable look at a great talent. I learned a few new-to-me facts, such as that Lowell George was a Frank Zappa protégé and hung out with Zappa and the other Freaks in LA. Or that George used a Sears Craftman 11/16th socket because it was easy to replace by going to a hardware store, and that it created a fairly unique sound, especially when George tuned his guitar up a step, instead of tuning down like so many other slide guitarists. 

  1. Dixie Chicken, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, Little Feat, Sailin’ Shoes, respectively… []

No Thanks! The ’70s Punk Rebellion

If I’m Going To Have to Self-Isolate, I At Least Can Rock Out

If I’m going to have to self-isolate, at least I can rock out!

I purchased this item on May 24, 2005, per the Amazon-borg. There isn’t a song on here that I skip. I usually don’t listen to the whole thing in one sitting, as it is over five hours, but dipping in and out of the 1970s is good enough for me. 

Wikipedia entry  repeats this factoid:

Notably absent from the compilation are the Sex Pistols, whose singer John Lydon refused Rhino Entertainment permission to include any of the band’s tracks, allegedly because Rhino chose not to release the 2002 Sex Pistols boxed set in the United States

The Pistols are mentioned several times in the liner notes however. So add in your favorite Sex Pistols songs in the mix, turn up the volume, and you’ll be ok.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Allmusic:


Like all the great rock revolutions, punk was fueled by singles. Sure, there were a lot of tremendous albums, but all the artists that cut great LPs also had great 7″s — and in the case of Television and Patti Smith, they had independent singles released prior to their first albums that never appeared on their debuts. Since rock criticism tends to be album-driven, singles tend to get slightly overlooked, and since punk is a rock critic’s favorite, some revisionist historians paint the era as fueled by albums, not singles. Rhino’s excellent four-disc No Thanks! The ’70s Punk Rebellion corrects that error by focusing on the singles, winding up with a one-stop introduction and summary of the era that is as good as Loud, Fast & Out of Control, their similar set on early rock & roll. The compilers have bent the rules of punk slightly, deciding to include proto-punkers like New York Dolls, the Stooges, the Dictators, and Jonathan Richman, and then to not present the cuts in a strictly chronological order.

This benefits the album, since these artists are in the same spirit of the bands they inspired, and the sequencing plays like a great mixtape. Rhino has also evenly balanced the set between American and British punk, including both early hardcore punkers the Dead Kennedys and British pub rock renegades like Nick Lowe and Ian Dury in equal measure. Though there’s a bit of difference between “California Über Alles” and “Heart of the City,” they deserve to be paired on this set because they both were genuinely independent, exciting 45s that crackled with energy and captured the spirit of punk, albeit in different ways. And that’s what makes No Thanks! work so well — it illustrates how diverse punk and new wave were in the late ’70s, but it places a premium on adventure and excitement, which means even artier bands like Pere Ubu and Suicide come across as pure rock & roll.



(click here to continue reading No Thanks! The ’70s Punk Rebellion – Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic.)

Eric Carr, Pitchfork:

Fortunately, Rhino’s overwhelmingly comprehensive four-disc love letter to the heart and soul of punk music isn’t particularly conventional. While punk remained a mostly well-kept (and easily documented) secret prior to the Sex Pistols’ spectacular collapse, the aftermath of the punk explosion was a shambles. That the Pistols are conspicuously absent on No Thanks! might be the doing of a petulant Lydon (presumably irked that Rhino pulled a stateside release of a Sex Pistols box a few years back), but fitting nonetheless. Fine. Fuck ’em. Of all the admirable successes of No Thanks!, the finest is surely the deliberateness with which it unearths so many of the also-rans long-since buried in the Pistols’ wake. With barely a track to spare for The Clash, The Ramones, or The Fall, they’re barely an afterthought here. No Thanks! isn’t about “essential”; it’s “scope,” pure magnitude. Deadbeats and dilettantes, glammed progenitors and goth poseurs, the revered and the reviled. This isn’t just “punk,” this is everything that was boiling beneath the surface, the whole of the late-70s underground brought to light.

The Motors will never, ever be spoken of in the same regard as Richard Hell. Or The Damned. Or even Generation X (Billy Idol was the Diamond Dave of punk rock, after all). Ditto for the Glen Matlock’s Rich Kids, 999, The Vibrators, Subway Sect, and half of the other bands that grace this stage, and that’s the collection’s charm; every Englishman or Yankee to ever hold a guitar, let alone learn to play one (how else can you explain The Adverts?) gets at least an act, maybe two. The diversity contained here is staggering, but the disparity of sound is nullified by the unity of motivations; whether out of sincerity or fashionability, everyone’s got a grudge to bear. No matter what form it takes, the underlying theme is simple dissatisfaction; no one was playing because he or she was happy (except maybe Devo– who knows what they wanted?). Something, anything, needed to change, but all any of these people were empowered to do was play music. Punk was fundamentally unfocused rage, a loaded gun aimed at any institution– politics, clothing, loneliness, provinciality, music itself– too societally entrenched to get out of the way. The tactics aren’t always smart, and rarely pretty, but the execution is brilliant, and Rhino has released the ultimate document.


(click here to continue reading Various Artists: No Thanks!: The 70s Punk Rebellion Album Review | Pitchfork.)

Continue reading “No Thanks! The ’70s Punk Rebellion”

Weird Dream About Gene Chandler and Jimi Hendrix

Speaking of musicians I don’t know much about, I had a dream about Gene Chandler last night. I have an album of his, a compilation of his mid-to-late 1960s tracks called Soul Master, and a couple of miscellaneous tracks. I know he was affiliated with the great Curtis Mayfield, and was also from Chicago, but other than that, don’t know much off the top of my head.


Gene Chandler (born Eugene Drake Dixon on July 6, 1937) is an American singer, songwriter, music producer and record label executive. Nicknamed “The Duke of Earl” or simply “The Duke”, he is best known for his most successful songs “Duke of Earl” and “Groovy Situation” and his association with The Dukays, the Impressions and Curtis Mayfield.

Gene Chandler was born Eugene Drake Dixon in Chicago, Illinois, on July 6, 1937. He attended Englewood High School on Chicago’s south side. He began performing during the early 1950s with the band The Gaytones. In 1957, he joined The Dukays, with James Lowe, Shirley Jones, Earl Edwards and Ben Broyles, soon becoming their lead singer. After his draft into the U.S. Army he returned to Chicago in 1960 and rejoined the Dukays.

Gene Chandler Soul Master
Gene Chandler – Soul Master

(click here to continue reading Gene Chandler – Wikipedia.)

Anyway, I dreamt that Gene Chandler, before he was successful, was friends with Jimi Hendrix before he was successful. This could actually be true, but I don’t know for certain. Jimi Hendrix did tour as a guitarist with a lot of the R&B acts of the time. In my dream, Gene Chandler had a day job which required him to go into a studio and record 10 or 12 new bass guitar riffs for inclusion in someone else’s song, or other commercial purposes. In my dream, Jimi Hendrix sat in for a day, substituting for Gene Chandler. Chandler’s riffs were straight forward R&B shuffles, but Hendrix came up with some weird, funky, super catchy riffs. I wish I could recall what they were, I’d probably have fun playing them, if I had a bass guitar.

Dire Straits -Sultans of Swing

I don’t know much about the band called Dire Straits, nor much about its leader, Mark Knopfler, but the song, Sultans of Swing is certainly one of the best things to emerge in 1979, at least to my ears.

Here’s a version to revive your memory:

The lyrics were inspired by a performance of a jazz band playing in the corner of an almost empty pub in Deptford, South London. At the end of their performance, the lead singer announced their name, the Sultans of Swing; Knopfler found the contrast between the group’s dowdy appearance and surroundings and their grandiose name amusing.

The song is set in common time, with a tempo of 149 beats per minute. It is in the key of D minor with Knopfler’s vocal range spanning G2 to D4. It uses a chord progression of Dm–C–B♭–A for the verses, and F–C–B♭ for the choruses.The riff uses of triads, particularly second inversions. The song employs the Andalusian cadence or diatonic phrygian tetrachord. All the chords are compatible with a D natural minor scale, except for the A major triad, which suggests a D harmonic minor scale. Knopfler used similar triads on “Lady Writer”.

via Wikipedia

Mix Tape Assorted 57 – Vicious Junkie Slip in Bessemer

An item from my past…

Mix Tape Assorted 57 - Vicious Junkie Slip in Bessemer

Starting somewhere around the age of 16, I started making numbered mix tapes. I’d make a few a year, first for playing in my car, then later for playing during my Magnolia Cafe South shifts. This was before I switched to CDs, so these were composed by placing the needle on a track I liked. I wish I had all these cassettes still, with the songs on them listed as well. I bet I would recognize the playlist order if I heard one of them now, I played them so many times.

I don’t have a working cassette player at the moment, which means I only know 3 songs that are for sure on this particular mixtape: I always made the title out of various songs on the mix.

Lou Reed’s Vicious
The Clash – Junkie Slip
Yo La Tengo – Lost In Bessemer

Also, based on the Yo La Tengo, this tape was probably made in 1990-91 (when I bought New Wave Hot Dogs).

So there was probably a Bob Dylan song, a Rolling Stones song, Velvet Underground and/or Lou Reed, for sure a song from either Peter Tosh or Bob Marley, probably a couple of Chicago blues tracks, probably a couple Afro-Pop songs, like by Fela Kuti or similar. Those David Byrne Brazilian compilations, Charlie Parker, acoustic Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Jimi Hendrix, R.E.M., Syd Barrett, James Brown, Smiths, The Clash, Meat Puppets, Neil Young, Camper Van Beethoven, Elvis Costello, Joy Division, Pogues, Parliament/Funkadelic, Neville Brothers, obscure folk songs, local Austin musicians like Timbuk 3, Glass Eye, Poi Dog Pondering, The Horsies and others got some attention, i.e. not much different from my tastes today, just less depth as I didn’t know as much about music history.

Usually the last song on either side was an instrumental, so that it could flip to play the other side without being cut off mid-sentence. At home I listened to a lot of heavier stuff – punk rock, heavy bebop and so on, I didn’t put these on the mixes as often someone would complain1 and then I’d lose my control of the music flow. Maybe once in a while, I’d slip in a bit of something like the Butthole Surfers, or Public Enemy, but it was a risk.

I don’t recall if this particular one had any sound collages of snippets of several songs, but I recall creating some of those before I knew much about mixing. All done by hand with a turntable and a cassette deck, and inebriant of choice. I did sometimes check out vinyl records from the public library, and added a song or two even if I didn’t love it just to have something new.

Some mix tapes were thematic, some were just collections of songs I liked. I think I got up to #71 or #72 before I started making CD versions, and then just playlists on an iPod/iPhone. 

The Replacements - Tim


  1. staff or customers []

Buffy Sainte-Marie: Illuminations Album Review

Lindsay Zoladz, Pitchfork:

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit Buffy Sainte-Marie’s cosmic, groundbreaking 1969 album, an ecstatic invocation of pain, pleasure, and divinity.

Illuminations is a potent artifact from those early days when the synthesizer conjured audible awe and limitless possibility. (Even Giorgio Moroder’s first Moog-driven hit, “Son of My Father,” was not released until 1972.) Illuminations would have been a tough sell in 1969 regardless, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that Sainte-Marie learned another factor in its commercial failure: Because of her activism with the recently formed American Indian Movement (AIM) and her outspoken Vietnam-era pacifism, the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations had both led campaigns to blacklist her music from American radio stations and record stores. “Buffy thought that the decline of her record sales was just part of legitimate changes in American public taste,” her biographer Blair Stonechild wrote in 2012’s Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way. But years after the release of Illuminations, when an American radio DJ was interviewing Sainte-Marie, he shocked her by apologizing for abiding by a government mandate to stop spinning her tunes. She recalled, “He had a letter on White House stationery commending him for suppressing this music, which deserved to be suppressed.”

As the years went by, Illuminations developed something of a cult following; in 1998, the experimental music magazine The Wire put it on a list of “100 Records That Set the World on Fire When Nobody Was Listening.” (“If Dylan going electric in 1965 would have turned folk purists into baying hyenas,” they wrote, “Buffy Sainte-Marie going electronic would have turned them into kill-hungry wolves.”) But, like Sainte-Marie herself, the bewitching, utterly transporting Illuminations has still not gotten a fraction of its due. It is a record overripe for reevaluation—for reasons not limited to but certainly including pissing off the ghost of Richard Nixon.

In the early years of her life, Sainte-Marie experienced much to work in spite of, much to travel beyond. She was born on a Cree reservation in Saskatchewan, though she’s not sure when, or under what circumstances she ended up in an adoption agency. She knows, at least, that she was born sometime in the early 1940s, and that the traumatic practice of ripping indigenous babies from their homes would continue to be common practice in Canada for decades; the phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “Sixties Scoop.” She was adopted by a white family in Wakefield, Massachusetts and given the name Beverley Sainte-Marie.

Buffy had a creative and encouraging mother, but through the Sainte-Marie family she also came in contact with several male relatives, including her adoptive brother, who inflicted upon her years of sexual and emotional abuse.

The Buchla, which would become Sainte-Marie’s instrument, was another beast entirely.

“It wasn’t even as though there was an electric keyboard, it was too early,” she recalled. “We just called it a matrix, a bunch of possibilities you could connect in various ways to modify sound waves.” Subotnik and Don Buchla, who developed the Buchla 100 together in the mid-1960s, were less interested in futurizing recognizable instruments like the piano than they were giving people a blank slate to create new forms. “My basic thought was to be creative with this new instrument,” Subotnik said in a 2017 interview, “to show people how, without black and white keyboards, you could create a new kind of music.” Sainte-Marie—an artist who’d always seen beyond simple binaries—was enamored of this strange new machine.

(click here to continue reading Buffy Sainte-Marie: Illuminations Album Review | Pitchfork.)

I don’t know much about Buffy Sainte-Marie, but I’ve owned this LP for a while, and it is quite intriguing. Give it a spin! Piss off the rotting corpse of Richard Nixon!

Buffy Sainte Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie.PNG

Thom Jurek, Allmusic:

In the year 2000, the Wire magazine picked this spaced out gem from Native American folksinger and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie as one the “100 Albums That Set the World on Fire.” Released in 1969, and now on CD, as of 2001, it was reissued as an import on 180 gram vinyl with its original glorious artwork and package. Interestingly enough, it’s a record Sainte-Marie doesn’t even list on her discography on her website. It doesn’t matter whether she cares for it or not, of course, because Illuminations is as prophetic a record as the first album by Can or the psychedelic work of John Martin on Solid Air. For starters, all of the sounds with the exception of a lead guitar on one track and a rhythm section employed on three of the last four selections are completely synthesized from the voice and guitar of Sainte-Marie herself.

This is poetry as musical tapestry and music as mythopoetic sonic landscape; the weirdness on this disc is over-exaggerated in comparison to its poetic beauty. It’s gothic in temperament, for that time anyway, but it speaks to issues and affairs of the heart that are only now beginning to be addressed with any sort of constancy — check out the opener “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot” or the syncopated blues wail in “Suffer the Children” or the arpeggiated synthesized lyrics of “The Vampire.” When the guitars begin their wail and drone on “The Angel,” the whole record lifts off into such a heavenly space that Hans Joachim Rodelius must have heard it back in the day, because he uses those chords, in the same order and dynamic sense, so often in his own music. Some may be put off by Sainte-Marie’s dramatic delivery, but that’s their loss; this music comes from the heart — and even space has a heart, you know. One listen to the depth of love expressed on “The Angel” should level even the crustiest cynic in his chair. Combine this with the shriek, moan, and pure-lust wail of “With You, Honey” and “He’s a Keeper of the Fire” — you can hear where Tim Buckley conceived (read: stole) the entirety of Greetings From LA from, and Diamanda Galas figured out how to move across octaves so quickly. The disc closes with the gothic folk classic “Poppies,” the most tripped out, operatic, druggily beautiful medieval ballad ever psychedelically sung.

(click here to continue reading Illuminations – Buffy Sainte-Marie | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic.)

Gang of Four guitarist and cofounder Andy Gill dies at 64

Gang of Four
Gang of Four

Chicago Tribune:

Andy Gill, guitarist and cofounder of the influential British postpunk band Gang of Four, died Saturday after a brief respiratory illness, according to a statement from the band. He was 64.
“Andy’s final tour in November was the only way he was going to bow out; with a Stratocaster around his neck, screaming with feedback and deafening the front row.,” the statement reads in part.

Via songs like “Damaged Goods,” “What We All Want,” “I Found That Essence Rare” and “I Love a Man in Uniform,” Gill’s jagged, lurching, innovative guitar work, a mixture of punk noise and ’60s R&B textures, was the band’s trademark and, along with acts like Public Image Ltd. and Joy Division, defined the sound of British post-punk. Gang of Four had a wide influence on many musicians that followed — R.E.M., Nirvana and many others cited the band as an influence. Gill also worked extensively as a producer over the years, producing the debut 1984 album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers — whose fusion of funk and punk-rock showed a distinct Gang of Four influence in the band’s early days — the Jesus Lizard, Futureheads, Killing Joke and others.

Gill cofounded the band with lead singer Jon King in 1976 while both were attending art school in the Northern English city of Leeds, a fertile source of late-period punk acts (the Mekons also hailed from there). With political-leaning lyrics influenced by socialism and anti-commercialism — a stance echoed in the band’s single and album artwork — and a name from the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Gang of Four’s propulsive and confrontational music quickly drove it to underground fame, and after an independently released 1978 single (“Damaged Goods”) and an enthusiastic cosign from the influential BBC DJ John Peel, the band rather ironically signed with Britain’s largest major label, EMI.

(click here to continue reading Gang of Four guitarist and cofounder Andy Gill dies at 64 – Chicago Tribune.)

Bummer, another Generation X icon died. 

I can’t claim Gang of Four as my favorite band, or even in my top ten, but they certainly are in my top 100 rock bands.

This morning’s earworm was Brighton Rock

This morning’s earworm was Brighton Rock, by Queen the opening track on their Sheer Heart Attack album.

Guitar World celebrates the guitar solo, of course:

“Brighton Rock” (Brian May) – Queen Sheer Heart Attack, 1974

Universally venerated for his lavish guitar orchestrations and tasteful British restraint, Brian May kicked over the traces on this high energy rocker that leads off Queen’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack. One of May’s most blues-based excursions ever, the song’s extended solo section grew out of the guitarist’s experiments with an Echoplex tape delay unit. His original goal was to reproduce his multi-part guitar harmonies live on stage with Queen, back in the days before harmonizers were invented.

“I started messing around with the Echoplex, the delay that was available at the time,” May recalls. “I turned up the regeneration until it was giving me multiple repeats. I discovered you could do a lot with this—you could set up rhythms and play against them, or you could play a line and then play a harmony to it. But I decided that the delay [times] I wanted weren’t available on the Echoplex. So I modified it and made a new rail, which meant I could slide the head along and make the delay any length I wanted, because the physical distance between the two heads is what gave you the delay. Eventually, I had two home-adapted Echoplexes. And I discovered that if you put each echo through its own amp, you wouldn’t have any nasty interference between the two signals. Each amp would be like a full-blown, sustaining, overdriven guitar which didn’t have anything to do with the other one.

“So, ‘Brighton Rock’ was the first time that got onto a record. I’d already been trying it live on stage in the middle of ‘Son and Daughter’ [from Queen’s self-titled ’73 debut album], when Queen first toured with Mott the Hoople. It was rather crude at first. But I certainly had a lot of fun with it.”

(click here to continue reading 50 Greatest Guitar Solos | Guitar World.)

But for me, the loop playing in my head was this, from the bridge:

O Rock of Ages, do not crumble, love is breathing still

O Lady Moon, shine down a little people magic if you will

Listen here if you inexplicably don’t have this LP already in your music library 

(click here to continue reading Queen – Brighton Rock Lyrics | Genius Lyrics.)

And an extended live version from 1975…

This is quite a long (long enough for Freddie’s White-to-Black Costume change) and slightly exotic guitar solo (Three Blind Mice?) sandwiched between ‘Brighton Rock’ and a short burst of ‘Son & Daughter’ that seemed to sit as the centrepiece of the gig; which is of course the ‘legendary’ BBC broadcast from Christmas Eve 1975, filmed at London’s Hammersmith Odeon taken from the recently released Blu-Ray ‘A Night At The Odeon’.

Donald A. Guarisco, Allmusic:

This breathtaking combination of theatrical pomp and grinding power chords is a stellar example of what made Queen such a unique group in the world of hard rock. The lyrics portray the giddy rush of joy that young lovers feel as they present a determined young man pursuing an elusive upper-crust girl: “Oh, rock of ages do not crumble/Love is breathing still/Oh, Lady Moon shine down/A little people magic, if you will.” The music captures the euphoric feel of the lyrics with a fast-paced melody that pairs breathless, staccato verse melodies crammed with notes a la Gilbert & Sullivan with a smoother but no less rousing chorus that has a sing-along feel. On paper, “Brighton Rock” is the stuff of pure pop but Queen transforms into a hard-rocking juggernaut on their recording thanks to an arrangement that places Brian May’s guitar chops front and center: it starts with carnival sound effects that quickly give way to a wave of dazzling, percolating (but very heavy) guitar riffs that fuel an arrangement anchored by a stomping but no less intricate beat from the rhythm section. It also includes a solo break where May trots out a jaw-dropping guitar solo that weaves a series of Hendrix-style riffs into a mini-symphony of power chords. The final piece of the puzzle is the typically complex vocals that were a trademark for Queen: Freddie Mercury contributes a cheeky lead that uses different ‘voices’ for the two characters (a helium falsetto for the girl, a lusty baritone for the boy) and May and Roger Taylor join Mercury to create a symphonically-dense set of backing vocals that pump the chorus up to grandiose heights. It all added up to a multi-layered feast of sound that was balanced pop sweetness and hard rock muscle with skill and a totally personalized sense of style. “Brighton Rock” went on to become a favorite with Queen fans, many of whom consider it May’s definitive guitar performance on record. It also became a mainstay of Queen’s live show, where May utilized tape-delay units to recreate the ornate instrumental section (an epic 12-minute live version of “Brighton Rock” can be found on Live Killers).


(click here to continue reading Brighton Rock – Queen | Song Info | AllMusic.)

Neil Peart RIP

Damn it. Neil Peart has died.

Rush - Hempisheres box


Neil Peart, the pyrotechnical drummer and high-concept lyricist for the Canadian progressive-rock trio Rush, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 67.

The cause was brain cancer, according to a statement by the band’s spokesman, Elliot Mintz.

Rush was formed in 1968 but found its long-term identity — as the trio of Geddy Lee on vocals, keyboards and bass, Alex Lifeson on guitars and Mr. Peart on drums — after Mr. Peart replaced the band’s founding drummer, John Rutsey, in 1974.

Mr. Peart’s lyrics transformed the band’s songs into multi-section suites exploring science fiction, magic and philosophy, often with the individualist and libertarian sentiments that informed songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Freewill.” And Mr. Peart’s drumming was at once intricate and explosive, pinpointing odd meters and expanding the band’s power-trio dynamics; countless drummers admired his technical prowess.

(click here to continue reading Neil Peart, Drummer and Lyricist for Rush, Dies at 67 – The New York Times.)

Rolling Stone:

Peart was one of rock’s greatest drummers, with a flamboyant yet utterly precise style that paid homage to his hero, the Who’s Keith Moon, while expanding the technical and imaginative possibilities of his instrument. He joined singer-bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson in Rush in 1974, and his musicianship and literate, wildly creative lyrics  – which initially drew on Ayn Rand and science fiction, and later became more personal and emotive – helped make the trio one of the classic-rock era’s essential bands. His drum fills on songs like “Tom Sawyer” were pop hooks in their own right, each one an indelible mini-composition; his lengthy drum solos, carefully constructed and packed with drama, were highlights of every Rush concert.

(click here to continue reading Neil Peart, Rush Drummer Who Set a New Standard for Rock Virtuosity, Dead at 67.)

Rush was one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager. 2112, Hemispheres, A Farewell To Kings, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, Exit…Stage Left received heavy rotation, Signals, Grace Under Pressure, All The Worlds A Stage, Fly By Night, Power Windows, Caress of Steel also were in my teenage music library, albeit not played as frequently. I listened to Rush less as my musical tastes broadened, but they still hold a special place in my musical ears.

I suspect quite a lot of Gen X musical icons are going to pass away this decade, as I mentioned recently…I’m trying to brace myself.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to play some air drums…

2019 New To Me Music – A Partial List

Continuing a half-assed tradition, these are albums I liked that were new-to-me in 2019, and some honorable mentions. Many from used stores, not all. In no particular order, just as I am scrolling through my 2019 Albums iTunes playlist, and queuing ‘em up…

  • Bob Dylan – Travelin’ Through, The Bootleg Series, Vol 15, 1967-1969
  • Dr. John (RIP) – Desitively Bonnaroo (meh)
  • Dr. John – In The Right Place (thumbs up)
  • Dr. John – Remedies (includes the nearly 18 minute song, “Angola Anthem”)
  • Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer (thumbs up)
  • Albert Collins – Don’t Lose Your Cool(thumbs up)
  • The Long Ryders – Final Wild Songs (compilation of their 1980s albums, a couple I heard on vinyl back in the stone ages)
  • Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue (thumbs up)

All The Young Droogs - box set

  • All The Young Droogs   (box set of glam-rock singles from obscure UK bands from the mid-70s, thumbs up)
  • Billy Gibbons – The Big Bad Blues (thumbs up)
  • Otis Rush – Cold Day in Hell (replacement of a well-worn vinyl record purchased from Antone’s Records vinyl record adjunct on Guadalupe, is that even still in existence? Doubtful)
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Colorado (thumbs up)
  • Neil Young & The Stray Gators – Tuscaloosa (1973 recording, released this year)
  • Neil Young – Songs for Judy (1976 tour acoustic recording- “collects 23 highlights curated by journalist Cameron Crowe and photographer Joel Bernstein”. Enthusiastic thumbs up)
  • Bob Dylan – The Rolling Thunder Revue – 1975 recordings (another box set from Bob’s deep library of unreleased material)
  • Tangerine Dream – Zeit (Spooky)
  • Jenny Lewis – On The Line (I decided I enjoy the lyrics written by Jenny Lewis, and bought three of her solo albums)
  • Mulatu Astatqé – New York – Addis – London: The Story of Ethio Jazz 1965-1975 (Enthusiastic thumbs up, discovered via this Joe Tangari, Pitchfork review, “boogaloo, Latin jazz, and other Americo-Caribbean forms” mixed in with pentatonic Ethiopian melodies)
  • Beatles – The White Album box set (including the legendary Esher Demos)
  • Albert Collins – Frostbite (another replacement of something I wore out the vinyl version of)

Hindu love gods

  • Hindu Love GodsWarren Zevon, with R.E.M. as his backing band, performing covers of songs like Travelin’ Riverside Blues, Raspberry Beret, Vigilante Man, etc. Fun, sloppy, which is part of the fun…
  • Jenny Lewis – The Voyager (thumbs up)
  • Gene Clark – No Other (deluxe edition, including demos, replacing an older CD I still own)
  • Rachid Taha (RIP) – Je Suis Africain (2019) Guardian U.K. review by Kitty Empire
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Live at Womad 1985 (thumbs up)
  • Attarazat Addahabia & Faradjallah – Al Hadaoui (Habibi Funk)
  • Thelonious Sphere Monk – Solo Monk (thumbs up)
  • Prince – Originals (songs from the early 80s mostly, other artists recorded them, these are the demos)
  • Robert Plant – Dreamland (thumbs up)
  • Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger (thumbs up, mostly, though I agree with Ptichfork this isn’t Jack White’s best work)
  • Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 (thumbs up)
  • Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – Texas Swing (1987– Solid, sometimes the horn section is boring, lyrics cliché. Probably was a good live show, but, ya know)
  • Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – Original Peacock Records (circa 1954 era – thumbs up)
  • Dukes of Stratosphear (aka XTC) – Psurroundabout Ride (1985 Andy Partridge project, who has the tabs?)
  • Nigeria 70: No Wahala: Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-87 (12 tracks from 1973-1987, including Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Titbitis doing Iziegbe (Ecassa No.70))
  • Townes Van Zandt – Sky Blue (demos from 1973, recorded at a home studio in Atlanta not my top TVZ, still thumbs up.
  • Lambchop – This (Is What I Wanted to Tell You) (thumbs up)
  • Mdou Moctar – Ilana: The Creator (Thumbs up. Reviewed by Andy Beta, Pitchfork)
  • Neko Case – Hell-On (thumbs up)
  • The Kinks – Soundtrack from the Film, “Percy” (basically Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One, with some orchestral arrangements conducted by Stanley Myers)

A few incomplete’s: albums I haven’t yet heard enough times to form an opinion

  • Various Artists – Afro Baby: The Evolution of the Afro-Sound in Nigeria 1970-79
  • Who – The Who
  • Sudan Archives – Athena
  • Omar Souleyman – To Syria, With Love
  • Stereolab – Emperor Tomato Ketchup
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
  • R.E.M. – Monster Box
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan – In Step
  • Billy Bragg – Tooth & Nail
  • Robert Ellis – Photographs
  • The Raincoats – The Raincoats
  • Bad Religion – Suffer
  • The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality
  • Low – Double Negative
  • Julian Cope – Drunken Songs
  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
  • Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba – Miri
  • Various Artists – Éthiopiques 8: Swinging Addis 1969-1974
  • Various Artists – Éthiopiques 13: Ethiopian Groove – The Golden Seventies

And finally, don’t think I got any real duds this year, at least that I remember being irritated by, and irritated at myself for purchasing. If I remember any, I’ll add ‘em later.

Ric Ocasek’s Death and Gen-X Mortality

The Cars were one of the first bands I ever knew. As a 7th grader, I owned a cassette tape of “Shake It Up”, one of about 5 albums I played on my boom box. Rick Ocasek died recently. What does that mean for my solipsism? 

Rock stars die all the time, but The Cars lead singer passing away from cardio-vascular complications? Yikes. 

Is this going to be a year/decade where the cultural icons of Gen-Xers die? Probably, if human life doesn’t change. I mean, who were the icons of our era?