Jody Rosen has written a long and worthwhile story about masters archives, jumping off from a fire that burned about 120,000 masters of the Universal Music Group in 2006. He does a great job explaining why the masters of albums by Elton John and Nirvana and Muddy Waters and John Coltrane, among many others, are valuable even when you can stream their music online. But then he gets grittier, and talks about Don Bennett, whose masters burned in the UMG fire, and whose career is almost impossible to survey. He was a vocalist in the Chocolate Watchband, which I’d heard of, but he also had a solo career, which has almost completely disappeared. The point? Lots of music that is disregarded at first turns out to be valuable later. So, here is the Chocolate Watchband. And a plea for Rosen to digitize the album he bought and get it out there!
I seem to have posted only once about Dr. John here, back in 2014, when Mac Rebennack played piano at Louis Armstrong’s old house in Corona, Queens, NYC. But Tom wrote a piece about him, which he reposted today, because Dr. John has died at 77. Too young for sure. There were many Dr. Johns over the years. The original was a Mac construction that he wasn’t even supposed to perform, but when he did it stuck. It led to hits, like Right Place Wrong Time, and the theme to the Curious George movie, but the shtick didn’t always serve the elegant and weird music Mac was making at the beginning, like Danse Fambeaux, and made throughout his career. Voodoo? Sure. But also lovely music that avoided the anthropological labels the Dr. John persona brought with him..
Lawr posted this when it first came out, if I remember correctly. It’s a terrific song, and I was reminded about it by Jade Bird, who is also English, hammers an acoustic guitar, is awfully young looking, sings with passion and is called by two four-letter names with the initials JB. Weird, right? Enjoy.
This is pretty good. (A sampling of her other songs is promising, too.)
I first admired Tony Glover’s writing in Rolling Stone in the early 1970s. He wrote a great story about a man who claimed to be the world’s oldest man, a story I think of often. In his obituary in today’s New York Times Glover’s writing is mentioned, and he’s quoted saying of Jimi Hendrix: Hendrix plays Delta blues for sure — only the Delta may have been on Mars. Glover reviewed the first New York Dolls album for Rolling Stone, too, which certainly turned me on to that great band. It’s a review that ranks the Dolls with the Allman Brothers as great real bands of the time, which is very true and not at all obvious, which is what we look to writers to do. One of my favorite obscure records, one of those that not many know, is Ashes in My Whiskey, the record Glover and Dave Ray made in 1990.
Driving today, this came on KRFC, Radio Fort Collins. Thank you. I thought this was odd, because I was in a grocery store a few days ago and Canned Heat’s Going Up the Country came on. But Going up the Country is classic rock, a hit song in rock’s best days. So, synchronicity? Not really. But when I was making dinner (creamy fish chowder) I put on Canned Heat’s greatest hits, and there are some good tunes there. Amphetamine Annie isn’t one of those, exactly but maybe we’ll touch base on some of them in the coming days. I like this song for the way the band shouts, Speed kills! An earlier version of this post said Bob Hite doesn’t sing on Amphetamine Annie, when in fact he does. I got that wrong because I always thought Hite sang Going Up the Country, but that was in fact Larry Taylor.
So, yesterday, I was driving and listening to KRFC and the DJ started saying it was time for his $1.99 album of day, which turns out to be an elpee he found recently in a yard sale or flea market. Today’s $1.99 album of the day was the first Pandoras’ elpee, which seemed to fit in well with recent posts. I’d not heard of the Pandoras before. They were/are an LA band in the 80s. Their elpee, Stop Pretending, is a very good garage rock album. The band’s story is a mess of contention, comings and goings, and lots of live playing. What I like is just how good all this music sounds, respecting the past (liberally), but also getting the emotional part right, too.
It took a while, but I found a fine Colorado radio station out of Fort Collins called KRFC. The frequency is 88.9. But of course in this modern age, and I’m in Boulder, the radio signal is kind of weak (though they’re running a fund raiser to go to 50K watts) so I get a lot of static, unless I load the website. Anyway, KRFC is fantastic, one of those radio stations that gives the programming to the DJs and stays out of the way. I keep hearing live shows at noon of local talent. Some good, some not, always worth listening to. I think that’s the bar. Are you worth listening to?
I don’t really know how I found this. I think it was a story about girl rock bands from the 60s, though when I found a short biography of the band it was quickly clear that these were blokes in this band. These were Englishy blokes who got together in 1968 and quickly had a following of bikers who discouraged club owners from booking the band. After too much drinking and too many drugs they broke up, then reformed with a new bass player and recorded their songs, which were then pressed in a very limited run for band members and their families. They seem to have had a bad attitude, they reportedly played the same song over and over again at one gig until the owner threw them off the stage, and once again broke up, this time for good. All this biography is from a page at AllMusic.com. At some point a compilation of Wicked Lady’s song was released by Kissing Spell Records, which is when the band went from anonymous bangers to psychedelic revival candidates. One of their newly found fans created this excellent home made video on YouTube in 2012. You can find their tunes on Google Music and Spotify. In the end, it looks like Wicked Lady is kind of immortal. Seems that the music is now licensed to YouTube by a Spanish record company called Guerssen.