Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports, I’m A Mineralist

This post is about this odd project by Pink Floyd’s drummer, Nick Mason, who was looking to do his first solo project in 1979. After kicking some ideas around, undecided which way to go, the great jazz composer Carla Bley sent him a cassette of some “punk songs” she’d written. He decided to record them because he liked them and they were ready to go. He said, ”  So I thought it would be much better to do that than to struggle desperately to find things that work together. The music is not punk rock (not close) and it’s not Pink Floyd (though closer). It is instead an odd melding of jazz and progressive rock that maybe tips its cap to Zappa, a little. But I’m not sure about all that. What I am sure is that they got it right, at least for me. This is a captivating synthesis of art rock and jazz that feels ornate and grand and yet not grandiose or bombastic. Maybe some of that is the lovely vocals by Robert Wyatt, who was once the vocalist for the Soft Boys. I’m A Mineralist is a good example of what’s going on here. Lyrical and then funky, by turns, maybe serious but then funny and not self-important. If you like it a little the album is worth checking out.
The most atypical cut on the album is the first, which is the only one Wyatt does not sing on. Curiously, I just discovered that one of the voices on this fun cut is that of my old friend Vincent Chancey, who back then was playing French horn in Sun Ra’s Arkestra. I don’t recognize which one is his.

Do You Like Boobs A Lot Meets the Pink Faeries

I’ve been listening to the Holy Modal Rounders, a band that is known for first using the word psychedelic in a song (!) and then became a big part of the Fugs for a while. So, the Rounders, East Village folkies with political and bluegrass roots, with a yen for spiritual awakening on many levels, and an antic sense of humor. A droll one, too. Also a love for songwriting and old timey music and new timey takes on old timey ways. Which doesn’t describe Boobs A Lot, a novelty song they wrote for the Fugs. The Fugs version is fun, a call and response thing. The Rounders version came out on their fifth album, Good Taste is Timeless, in 1971. As a college boy in Southern California in the mid 70s I discovered it as a staple on the Dr. Demento radio show on Sunday nights. What I remembered of the song was its delightful glee, but what I heard tonight was some pretty cool rocking, growing a solid Bo Diddley riff in a pretty clever way. A novelty song, sure, but a fun listen to for the music, too. At the end of the day, a rock song with novelty lyrics.
So, to make this a shaggy dog story, when the Rounders album finished (I was making dinner), I for some reason thought about the Pink Faeries, a band I learned about five years ago. They were British psychedelic rockers from the early 70s, they grew out of a band called the Deviants that I haven’t looked up, but they then made some records that are uniformly excellent. Not because they’re polished, but because whether they’re covering Chuck Berry tunes or offering their originals, they have an inexhaustible drive (two drummers) and weaving guitars (two lead guitars) and the chops to make propulsive memorable rock. This is rock that managed in its time to bridge the Allman Brothers and the punk scene that was soon to come. Check out my previous posts for Pink Fairies (that was my spelling then) for some choice cuts, but today let’s admire Uncle Harry’s Last Freakout, from 1971 as well, which is a heavy metal tune that morphs into an exemplary jam band tune without apology. Before heavy metal and jam bands were a thing. And back again on this live track from the John Peel show.
For me a big question is how much had Pink Fairies heard the Allman Brothers at this point. The Allmans were first. Part of this song leans heavily toward Morning Dew and Elizabeth Reed. And the double drummers compound the point. None of which is a bad thing, no matter who came first.

Follow Fashion Monkeys Rool

Steve Moyer named Rock Remnants. Our talks were beer besotted nights, but our confluence was Rock Remnants. The band Steve was in, Follow Fashion Monkeys, were huge in their local Lehigh Valley environment, and are gradually emerging as the history of Lehigh Valley hardcore emerges.

So, let’s start here. Tribute to Steve.

The Left Banke, Walk Away Renee

Singer Steve Martin Caro has passed. Read an obit.
I spent a couple of days in Miami back in the 70s with a friend, visiting a woman who said this song was written about her. I had my first Cuban sandwich that week, too. I’ve always wondered why it wasn’t the Lefte Banke? EDIT: This Wikipedia entry suggests my friend’s friend wasn’t being truthful. Or was mistaken.

Link: Contemporary Music Archive

There is this place in Soho, in New York City, that has more than three million vinyl records for reference by researchers and movie studios and whatever. Really.

They’re being priced out because it’s valuable space and old records aren’t returning the $ per square foot that’s possible. So, the Times wrote about this. Good, interesting story. But here’s the deal. Why is this massive collection housed in NYC, where rents are big. That’s legacy thinking. My advice, send the albums to Pennsylvania somewhere, or the Catskills, and have a smaller public facing NYC exhibition space to draw folks in.

Everything worthwhile doesn’t have to be huge. It just needs enough support to sustain. And since Mr. George built a little bit of his fortune on records, here’s a great one (though not rock):