Vanda & Young

3-31-11

Vanda & Young

Much to my surprise, I recently found a book about the Australian musical legends Harry Vanda and George Young – the men behind The Easybeats, Flash & The Pan, the original producers of AC/DC etc.  The book is “Vanda & Young – Inside Australia’s Hit Factory” by John Tait.

Flash & The Pan:

CD BURNING UP THE NIGHT                   EPIC NL                      472051.2

1992 12 TRKS

CD EARLY MORNING WAKE UP CALL    ALBERT AUS             465231.2

1984 10 TRKS

LP EARLY MORNING WAKE UP CALL    EPIC US                      BFE 39618

1984 10 TRKS

CD FLASH AND THE PAN (1978) (1st)    RENAISSANCE US   RMED-147

1979 15 TRKS (5 x bonus tracks) (’08 issue)

LP FLASH AND THE PAN (1978) (1st)    ALBERT AUS             APLP 035

1978 10 TRKS

LP FLASH AND THE PAN (1978) (1st)    EPIC US                      JE 36018

1979 10 TRKS promo

CD FLASH HITS                                            CHA CHA DE             CD 001.2

1985? 12 TRK Collection

LP HEADLINES                                            ENSIGN DE                67.506

1982 10 TRKS

LP INTERVIEW promo                                EPIC CAN                   CDN 19

1979 4 TRKS Harry Vanda interview, promo-only

LP LIGHTS IN THE NIGHT                         EPIC US                      JE 36432

1980 8 TRKS

LP NIGHTS IN FRANCE                             EPIC NL                      EPC 460224.1

1987 8 TRKS

LP PAN ORAMA                                            ENSIGN DE                813129.1 ME

1982 10 TRK Collection

No, this isn’t everything, but it’s what I have been able to locate.  I only have a few 45’s on The Easybeats and I do not own any AC/DC records (I did see them live once, when I was an usher at the Long Beach Arena).

I’ll be reading this book this week, and I’ll report any unusual info!

Sailor

3-30-11

Sailor

Time for a “Glass Of Champagne”!

  1. Sailor (Epic US LP, 1974)
  2. Trouble (Epic UK LP, 1975)
  3. The Third Step (Epic UK LP, 1976)
  4. Check Point (Epic UK LP, 1977)
  5. Hideaway (Epic UK LP, 1978)

Sailor! “Glass Of Champagne” is their biggest hit, and from their 2nd album, “Trouble”.  I found a Japanese CD of “Trouble” a few years back, and it greatly facilitated my interest in Sailor.  I have read them referred to as faux-Roxy Music, but I don’t think that’s quite correct – Sailor are a lot snappier than R.M. ever mustered after their 2nd album!

Whenever something British / English 70’s is relatively clever or reasonably well-produced, I find a comparison to 10cc to be inevitable.  Very interesting to me that someone from Denmark – Mr. Georg Kajanus – could attract the attention of the UK record buying public from ’74 – ’78 without really being considered ‘glam rock’.  Clever it was, and by ’78 I suspect the law of diminishing averages was taking effect, and Epic UK would have it no more.

Sailor are also one of those band that seems to have had greater success in Europe, particularly Germany – than in their ‘mostly native’ England.  In the 70’s & 80’s, the Germans did go for the clever UK stuff.  And Kajanus being fluent in English, but not quite “British” must’ve appealed to the Germans.

So, I’m definitely not the expert – but I did manage to find all five of their original contiguous albums!  I have read about an ’81 album unfortunately called “Dressed For Drowning” on the ill-fated Caribou label – but I know little else about it, other than it’s entry into “Rock Record” – which recorded it’s release in the UK.

I guess a version of the band exists in 2011.  Mr. Kajanus is elsewhere, as of a while ago. I wish them all success with whatever they try.  I don’t think they ever came to the US to play live; I certainly don’t remember them walking down the pike.

What can I say? They don’t make ‘em like this anymore!

Grimms, Scaffold etc.

3-29-11

Grimms, Scaffold etc.

I’ve been a fan of Grimms, Scaffold etc. for quite a while now.  Long enough to have original LP’s for most titles, and old enough to have found nearly all of their albums on CD.

LP                GORMAN, JOHN GO MAN GORMAN

DJM UK       DJF 20491

1977 23 TRKS member of Grimms

LP                GRIMMS GRIMMS (1973)                                                                           ISLAND UK                   HELP 11

1973 19 TRKS Neil Innes, McGough, Gorman etc.

CD                GRIMMS GRIMMS (1973) / ROCKIN’ DUCK                                           EDSEL UK                     EDCD 370

1993 31 TRKS (’73 rec.) 2-on-1

LP                GRIMMS ROCKIN’ DUCK                                                                           ISLAND UK                   ILPS 9248

1973 16 TRKS Neil Innes, McGough, Gorman etc.

LP                GRIMMS SLEEPERS

DJM UK       DJLPS 470

1976 14 TRKS Neil Innes, McGough, Gorman etc.

CD                GRIMMS SLEEPERS (Kami)

HUX UK      HULXEY 3

1976 14 TRKS kami sleeve; Neil Innes etc.

7″                 McGEAR, MICHAEL LEAVE IT (EDIT) (mono) / (stereo) promo                              WARNER US               WBS 8037

1974 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

CD                McGEAR, MICHAEL McGEAR                                                                                        RYKODISC US            RCD 10192

1974 11 TRKS (1 x bonus track)

LP                McGEAR, MICHAEL McGEAR                                                                                        WARNER US               BS 2825

1974 10 TRKS

LP                McGEAR, MICHAEL WOMAN                                                                                         ISLAND UK                   ILPS 9191

1972 12 TRKS

CD                McGOUGH & McGEAR McGOUGH & McGEAR

EMI UK        CZ 159

1968 13 TRKS

LP                McGOUGH, ROGER SUMMER WITH MONIKA                                                            ISLAND UK                   ILPS 9551

1978 19 TRKS spoken word

LP                McGOUGH, ROGER / BRIAN PATTEN BRITISH POETS OF OUR TIME                                                ARGO UK                      ZPL 1190

1975 9 TRKS spoken word

LP                PATTEN, BRIAN READING HIS POETRY                                                             CAEDMON US             TC 1300

1969 32 TRKS

LP                PATTEN, BRIAN SLY CORMORANT, THE                                                            ARGO UK                      ZSW 607

1977 18 TRKS with Cleo Laine

LP                PATTEN, BRIAN VANISHING TRICK (POEMS AND SONGS)                           TANGENT UK              TGS 116

1976 24 TRKS with Neil Innes

LP                SCAFFOLD FRESH LIVER                                                                              ISLAND UK                   ILPS 9234

1973 16 TRKS

CD                SCAFFOLD FRESH LIVER (SHM-CD Kami)                                                UNIVERSAL JPN         UICY-94110

1973 16 TRKS (’09 issue) (kami sleeve) (SHM-CD)

7″                 SCAFFOLD HOW D’YOU DO / PAPER UNDERPANTS                             BRONZE UK                BRO 39

1977 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

LP                SCAFFOLD L. THE P.                                                                                       PARLOPHONE NZ                      PCSM 7077

1969 16 TRKS Lily The Pink

7″                 SCAFFOLD LILY THE PINK / BUTTONS OF YOUR MIND                         PARLOPHONE UK     R 5734

1968 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                 SCAFFOLD LIVERPOOL LOU                                                                        WARNER UK               K 16400

1974 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                 SCAFFOLD LIVERPOOL LOU promo                                                           WARNER US               WBS 8001

1974 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

LP                SCAFFOLD SCAFFOLD (LIVE at the QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL)           PARLOPHONE UK     PCS 7051

1968 11 TRKS Live

LP                SCAFFOLD SINGLES A’s & B’s

SEE FOR MILES UK                                                        CM 114

1982 22 TRK Collection

LP                SCAFFOLD SOLD OUT                                                                                    WARNER UK               K 56097

1975 12 TRKS with Paul McCartney

CD                SCAFFOLD SOLD OUT (Kami)                                                                      MUSKRAT JPN                     RATCD-4228

1975 12 TRKS with Paul McCartney (kami sleeve)(’04 issue)

CD                SCAFFOLD THANK U VERY MUCH – VERY BEST OF

EMI UK        538474.2

2002 26 TRKS (60’s recordings)

7″                 SCAFFOLD THANK U VERY MUCH / IDE B THE FIRST                            PARLOPHONE UK     R 5643

1967 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                 SCAFFOLD WOULDN’T IT BE FUNNY… / MR. NOSELIGHTER (PS)     BRONZE UK                BRO 33

1976 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

Roughly the spoken word and comedy people from Liverpool, Scaffold came first, followed by Grimms.  Yes, there are more here than I’ve listed.  Neil Innes often helped out with the music.

I always wondered about the later 70’s singles by Scaffold on the Bronze label – do I have them all?  Why wasn’t there a Bronze LP from Scaffold?

Mike McGear ( = Mike McCartney ), brother to Sir Paul – still alive, walks the Earth.  Not so sure about the rest of them, virtually unknown in the US – their deaths may never get reported here.

Stephen Duffy

3-28-11

Stephen Duffy

One can be confused by Lilac Time releases or not; I have always found Stephen Duffy to be an immaculate solo artiste.  So he missed his chance in Duran Duran – he made a tremendous album with “The Ups and Downs” (Ten / Virgin DIXCD 5, 1985), even having his very own ‘hit singles’ with “Kiss Me” and “Icing On The Cake”.  There was a sign that he was ‘near perfect’ – he wouldn’t come to the U.S. and promote his records – well, not all of them got released here, did they?

CD UPS AND DOWNS, THE                               TEN UK                      DIXCD 5

1985 10 TRKS original issue

CD BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU                            VIVID SOUND JPN   VSCD-536

1986 10 TRKS with Sandii

LP DESIGNER BEATNIK (as Dr. Calculus)    TEN UK                      DIX 45

1986 11 TRKS instrumentals

CD MUSIC IN COLORS                                       PARLOPHONE UK   CDPCS 7361

1993 16 TRKS original issue

CD DUFFY                                                              INDOLENT UK          74321-28031.2

1995 11 TRKS original issue

CD I LOVE MY FRIENDS                                     TWA AUS                    TWAD 451

1998 13 TRKS original issue

Yes, it’s correct to also take into consideration that he has authored / performed even more titles under the nom-de-plume Lilac Time, but I have always thought that he provided an extra special sheen, as it were, to his ‘solo works’.

It took astute reader Jim Donato to remind me that Booker T co-produced four great tracks on his debut album – yes, that Booker T!   Quality, from the word “Go!”…

I loved the single from “Because We Love You” – “Something Special”, a duet with Japanese singer Sandii – what a great song!  However, I definitely missed the Dr. Calculus album, somehow.  In 2011, it still isn’t on CD.

But I definitely noticed “Music In Colours” – Mr. Duffy finally making his way to Parlophone / EMI – the then-home of Duran Duran.  “Natalie” was a top single, and overall, this was a very strong album.  And probably rather expensive, as it was his only EMI album – and the fact that Lilac Time was signed to Universal, Creation etc.

“Duffy” (1995) is perhaps his strongest album of all.  I can’t name a better Britpop single than “London Girls” – and he was at least a decade older than most of the Brit-wave entrants!  Lots of great singles here, great performances – and none of the pastoral (or naïve electronica) of the Lilac Time.

Alas, the last Stephen Duffy solo album is also a very good one.  Why he abandoned his “solo career” is a mystery to me.  I guess it’s more comfortable to hide behind “The Lilac Time”, now signed to Cooking Vinyl…or have they moved on to full-time indie label now?  All of the Stephen Duffy solo albums are worthy of your attention!  You need to hear “Duffy” – what an amazing album!

Wayne County & The Electric Chairs

3-25-11 Wayne County & The Electric Chairs

http://www.jaynecounty.com/

Yep, Jayne used to be Wayne.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayne_County

Wikipedia can tell you much more than I actually know about Wayne / Jayne.

7″ BLATANTLY OFFENSIVE (EP) (PS)                SAFARI UK  WC 2

1978 4 TRK EP; with pic sleeve, gold vinyl

CD ROCK ‘N ROLL CLEOPATRA (Collection)     RPM UK       RPM 119

1993 20 TRK Collection (70’s recordings) incl. “If You Don’t Want To F*ck Me, Baby – Then Baby, F*ck Off!”

That’s right – my entire Wayne County collection consists of two pieces.  The wonderful “Blatantly Offensive” EP came to my collection in 1978, at right about the time that I was busy dismissing ‘punk rock’ as being humorless.  For those not in the know, this EP hosts the wonderful “If You Don’t Want To F*ck Me Baby, Then Baby, F*ck Off!” – in 1978, it was not yet commonplace for anybody to say “F*ck” on a phonograph record.

Wayne County & The Electric Chairs did not try and hide the fact that their record was likely to cause offense – if anything, they wanted to draw attention to it!  And what of Safari Records?  Owned by the managers of Deep Purple, apparently.  Not going to buy this 45 because it says “F*ck” on it?  They issued the EP in gold colored vinyl, as well.  So, colored vinyl freaks had to have a copy, too!

But step back a bit – it was a bit unusual, unorthodox for an American to go to England to try and “make it” in 1978, wasn’t it?  Blondie might’ve been one thing, but…the Electric Chairs were not what you’d call a “commercial” band, were they?  In 1978, “new wave” hadn’t ‘made it’ yet.  No guaranteed paycheck, just for your skinny tie.

In 2011, these discs walk down the pike via our friends in Japan, as “HQ” discs – the indie label version of the much-vaunted SHM-CD (discs made of a different, stronger material – so likely to last 75 years, instead of CD’s 50+ years).  What do they sound like to people in 2011?

Certainly the band could play.  And all three albums are professional recordings – they sound good, tight!  “If You Don’t Want To F*ck Me Baby, Then Baby, F*ck Off!” could likely be used in some kind of advertising in 2011, eh?  The F-Word no longer attracts so much attention.

It’s very cool that Jayne / Wayne is still alive, and is presumably still rocking and rolling and acting obscene (to paraphrase Frank Zappa).

Beyond The Fringe

3-24-11

Beyond The Fringe

I noticed that this is scheduled to be released shortly in England, likely for the 50th Anniversary…

Peter Cook / Alan Bennett / Dudley Moore / Jonathan Miller
Beyond the Fringe Live at the Cambridge Arts Theatre April 24th 1961

EMI UK 972772 2 CD SET

CD 1

1. Steppes In The Right Direction  2. At Home With The Atom (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)

3. Love They Neighbour (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED) 4. Man Bites God 5. Royal Box

6. The Heat-Death Of The Universe  7. Under Canvas (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)

8. Lied (Deutscher Chansons)  9. A Man Of Principles (Let’s Face It) 10.  Bollard

11.  TVPM  12.  Urn Burial (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)  13.  And The Same To You

14.  Words…And Things  15.  Aftermyth Of War

CD 2

1. Civil War  2. Real Class  3. Gimov (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)  4. The Suspense Is Killing Me

5. Frank Speaking  6. One Leg Too Few  7. Alright Sir, It Doesn’t Whistle (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)

8. The Screw Unturned (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)  9. Bloody Rhondda Mine  10.  Black Equals White

11.  Shuffle At The Top (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)  12.  Sitting On The Bench  13.  Bread Alone

14.  Dancing About In The Nude (PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED)  15.  Take A Pew

16.  So That’s The Way You Like It  17.  The End Of The World

It was always rumored that there existed high quality audio recording of several of the complete shows…and I guess we should expect to see a load of 50th Anniversary stuff for all the events of “The Beat Boom” – “Telstar” 50th Anniversary etc.  You just know they are going to do The Beatles once again, as all of their 50th Anniversaries roll around.

Booker T. & The MG’s

3-23-11

Booker T. & The MG’s

Everybody knows “Green Onions”; “Hip Hug-Her” has been on my radar for 40+ years.  There ain’t no singin’.

CD GREEN ONIONS                                                   ATLANTIC US          82255.2

1962 12 TRKS

CD SOUL DRESSING                                                 ATLANTIC US          82337.2

1965 12 TRKS

CD AND NOW!                                                              RHINO US                R2 70297

1966 12 TRKS

CD IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT                                ATLANTIC US          82338.2

1966 12 TRKS Xmas album

CD HIP HUG-HER                                                        RHINO US                R2 71013

1967 11 TRKS

CD DOIN’ OUR THING                                                RHINO US                R2 71014

1968 11 TRKS

LP BEST OF                                                                  ATLANTIC US          SD 8202

1968 12 TRK Collection

7″ HANG ‘EM HIGH / OVER EASY                            STAX US                   STA-0013

1970? 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″ SOUL LIMBO / HEADS OR TAILS                       STAX US                   STA-0001

1970? 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

CD McLEMORE AVENUE                                            MOBILE FIDELITY   MFCD 835

1971 4 TRKS 1st CD issue

CD MELTING POT                                                        STAX US                   SCD 8521.2

1972 8 TRKS (’90 issue)

LP NIGHT AFTER NIGHT (Steve Cropper solo)    MCA JPN                   VIM-6293

1982 9 TRKS insert

CD BEST OF                                                                  STAX US                   FCD-60-004

1986 17 TRK Collection

MD THAT’S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE                      COLUMBIA US         CM 53307

1994 12 TRKS

Despite being an R&B act, they made what is probably my favorite version of The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album, “McLemore Avenue”.  That’s right – they cover darn near all of “Abbey Road” in the Booker T. style.

Booker T. is still alive.  Steve Cropper is still alive.

I recently DJ’d a 60’s night, and I gave “Hip Hug-Her” a spin – and people danced.  That’s right.

A few nights ago, I listened to the whole 1967 “Hip Hug-Her” album, and was blown away at how clean it sounded.  Yes, I’ve only mostly got CD’s on these boys in 2011.

 

Level 42 – Mark King

3-22-11

Level 42 / Mark King

My files indicate that I once wrote about Level 42, but never published it – so I’ll write a new entry!

CD LEVEL 42                                                               POLYDOR DE      821935.2

1981 8 TRKS debut album

LP LEVEL 42                                                               POLYDOR DE      2383 612

1981 8 TRKS debut album

12″ WEAVE YOUR SPELL                                         POLYDOR US      PDD 525

1981 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

12″ STARCHILD                                                          POLYDOR US      PDD 520

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD PURSUIT OF ACCIDENTS, THE                       POLYDOR UK      9843573

1982 13 TRKS (5 x bonus tracks) (’07 issue)

LP PURSUIT OF ACCIDENTS, THE                       POLYDOR US      PD-1-6359

1982 8 TRKS

12″ ARE YOU HEARING (WHAT I HEAR)?             POLYDOR UK      POSPX 396

1982 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″ WEAVE YOUR SPELL                                         POLYDOR UK      POSPX 500

1982 3 TRKS with pic sleeve; with live tracks

CD EARLY TAPES – JULY/AUG. ’80                         POLYDOR DE      831081.2

1982 8 TRKS (’80 recordings)

LP EARLY TAPES – JULY/AUG. ’80                         POLYDOR DE      2383 637

1982 8 TRKS (’80 recordings)

12″ MICRO-KID                                                            A&M US                 SP-12091

1983 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″ MICRO-KID (Edit)                                                 A&M US                 AM-2631

1983 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

12″ MICRO-KID                                                            POLYDOR UK      POSPX 643

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″ SUN GOES DOWN, THE (LIVING IT UP)         POLYDOR UK      POSPX 622

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD STANDING IN THE LIGHT                                  POLYDOR DE      813865.2

1983 9 TRKS

LP STANDING IN THE LIGHT                                  POLYDOR DE      813865.1

1983 9 TRKS

12″ HOT WATER                                                          POLYDOR UK      POSPX 697

1984 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″ HOT WATER                                                          POLYDOR US      885155.1

1984 3 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

CD INFLUENCES (Mark King solo)                         POLYDOR UK      823088.2

1984 5 TRKS (’87 issue) Level 42 bassist

LP TRUE COLOURS                                                 POLYDOR DE      823542.1

1984 8 TRKS

CD TRUE COLOURS                                                 POLYDOR DE      823542.2

1984 9 TRKS (1 x bonus track)

CD PHYSICAL PRESENCE, A                                  POLYDOR JPN    POCP-2151

1985 10 TRKS Live (’91 issue)

LPx2 PHYSICAL PRESENCE, A                                  POLYDOR DE      825677.1

1985 13 TRKS Live

7″ SOMETHING ABOUT YOU / COUP D’ETAT     POLYDOR US      883362.7

1985 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

CDx2 WORLD MACHINE (Deluxe Edition)                 POLYDOR UK      9843543

1985 21 TRKS (11 x bonus tracks) (’07 issue)

LP WORLD MACHINE                                               POLYDOR US      827487.1

1985 9 TRKS

DVD LIVE AT WEMBLEY                                               UNIVERSAL EU   982701.9

1986 (’05 issue)

CD5 LESSONS IN LOVE promo                                 POLYDOR UK      2897 416

1986 2 TRK CD Single CD5

12″ LESSONS IN LOVE                                              POLYDOR UK      POSPX 790

1986 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″ TO BE WITH YOU AGAIN                                    POLYDOR NL      885694.1

1987 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″ RUNNING IN THE FAMILY (12″ x 2)                  POLYDOR UK      POSXX 842

1987 5 TRKS with pic sleeve, 12″ x 2

LP RUNNING IN THE FAMILY                                  POLYDOR DE      831593.1

1987 8 TRKS

CD RUNNING IN THE FAMILY                                  POLYDOR US      831593.2

1987 9 TRKS (1 x bonus track)

CD STARING AT THE SUN                                       POLYDOR JPN    P32P-20192

1988 10 TRKS (1 x bonus track)

12″ TAKE A LOOK pic disc                                         POLYDOR UK      PZY 24

1988 3 TRKS pic-disc, no pic sleeve (871035.1)

12″ HEAVEN IN MY HANDS                                       POLYDOR US      887777.1

1988 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

LP STARING AT THE SUN                                       POLYDOR US      837247.1

1988 9 TRKS

CD LEVEL BEST (Collection)                                   POLYDOR JPN    P25P-20300

1989 18 TRK Collection

12″ TRACIE                                                                   POLYDOR UK      PZ 34

1989 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD REMIXES, THE                                                      POLYDOR UK      513085.2

1992 11 TRKS Remixes

CD FOREVER NOW                                                   RCA JPN               BVCP-711

1994 13 TRKS

CD ONE MAN (Mark King solo)                                PYRAMID US        R2 75728

1999 10 TRKS

CD MILLENNIUM COLLECTION                              POLYDOR CAN   76107.2

2003 12 TRK Collection

DVD CLASSIC – UNIVERSAL MASTERS                   POLYDOR EU      982606.9

2005 10 TRKS 42 min

I didn’t pay all that much attention to Level 42 in the 80’s – I was otherwise occupied – but I did always note that they worked with Wally Badarou, a keyboard player that I greatly admired, who had worked with Grace Jones.  I saw their videos on MTV and MuchMusic.  I remember being told about Mark King’s solo album, “Influences” – that it was truly a “bass players album” – it is.  And it’s wonderful!  It’s the point where funk meets jazz – in England.  Britfunk!

Last summer, Level 42 inexplicably toured the U.S. and played live near Los Angeles, a show that Joe & I went and saw.  Not the exact same band as in the 80’s, but still very much in the status of ongoing concern – celebrating their 30th year!  Good show!  Go see ‘em if the opportunity ever presents itself.

Above is the level 42 collection that I have put together in roughly the last decade.  It’s all about 12” singles with this band.  I have been most amused to find 2 x NTSC AC:0 DVD’s as well.

So, how’d they sign to A&M Records in the US for one single single?  They’d already had Polydor US releases, and they had Polydor US releases afterwards…

Roy Nathanson

3-21-11 Roy Nathanson

Every now and again, I just stumble across a vast quantity of music – and I am totally surprised.

Last year, I was up in the S.F. Bay Area and rifling through the $3 (and under) CD bins of the oddball Rasputin’s chain of stores – in search of…$3 CD enlightenment.  After looking through many thousands of CD’s, I saw a name I recognized:  Roy Nathanson.

Get your mental rolodex flipping.  What context do I know this name?  He’s a member of the Lounge Lizards!  I quickly scan the CD cover – and see a 2nd L.L. name:  Curtis Fowlkes!  This must be the place.  Into my stack it went.  So, there are Lounge Lizards solo CD’s that aren’t by John or Evan Lurie?

Long story short:  the album I found was “Sotto Voce”, from 2006.  Interesting ‘loose jazz’ behind some oddball spoken word stuff – “outside”, but pleasant.  I was even more surprised when the sound of this disc appealed to my GF!  Oh, wait – there’s an Elvis Costello connection (he’s quoted on a sticker on the cover, endorsing Nathanson).

OK – I’m not in New York – so I missed this one alltogether.  Rest assured I am the first person to buy tickets for any Los Angeles area Lounge Lizards gig.

Wait a minute…in February, I went to the Claremont swap meet – and I visited Rhino Claremont afterwards – and what do I find?  Yet another Roy Nathanson CD, this time I found “Subway Moon” (from 2009) – in the cheap CD bin.  Only this one isn’t self-released, it’s from a German company.

OK, let’s Google this guy.  He’s got a Wikipedia entry?  He’s still alive!  Yeah!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Nathanson

So, looks like I have to find 5 more Roy Nathanson albums, and 8 titles by the Jazz Passengers.  I’ve never seen any of this stuff, and didn’t know it existed!  So, there’s European jazz albums by this guy and Elvis Costello and Deborah Harry are their guest vocalists?  What music press am I not reading?  How did I know nothing of this?

I know, I vacationed in Toronto instead of midtown Manhattan.  I haven’t been to Europe since 1992.  I no longer read “Rock & Folk”, the venerable French music magazine – surely they would’ve picked up on this stuff.  I guess I could look for more of this guy’s stuff in the jazz section @ the 3 x Amoeba Music stores, “Misc. N”?  Nobody’s going to confuse Jazz Passengers with Jazz Messengers, are they?  Or is that the point?

It’s so cool to not already know everything.  I love being surprised.  I just never thought there was so much more Lounge Lizards-related info that I didn’t have under control.

Roxy Music – “Siren” (1975)

3-17-11

Roxy Music – “Siren” (1975)

Last Saturday, I asked readers to tell me what the last album they had listened to was.  David Zimelis said:

Roxy Music

LP SIREN      ATCO US        SD 36-127        1975 9 TRKS

CD SIREN      VIRGIN JPN   VJCP-68825     1975 9 TRKS (’07 issue) Kami sleeve, HDCD

Specifically on LP, he said.  The fifth Roxy Music album, and considering that they began in 1972, that’s more than one album per year!  For myself, I have made do with the US Atco LP and the ’07 issue on Virgin Japan in a little paper album cover CD, an “HDCD” (High Definition Compact Disc), no less.

For my ears, it was the law of diminishing averages with Roxy Music – I liked the first one best, and each one successively less.  With “Siren”, they finally found US success with “Love Is The Drug”, though I think I prefer Grace Jones’ version.  Jerry Hall slinks on the cover; the original version of the band is still fairly intact – minus Brian Eno, of course – and adding musicians Edwin “Eddie” Jobson (from Curved Air) and John Gustafson (notably from Quatermass).  Phil Manzanera has 2 x co-writes on this album, Andy Mackay fares the same with 2, Eddie Jobson has merely 1 x co-write credit.  Engineered by Steve Nye, who would later record and produce the seminal Roxy Music-copyist band Japan; produced by Chris Thomas (who also produced some nice John Cale music).

“Love Is The Drug” was unleashed as a single in England in October 1975, followed by “Both Ends Burning” in December 1975.  It was the final album of all-new material that Roxy Music delivered to Island Records, England, too.  They signed to Polydor UK for their next studio album, “Manifesto” (1979) – to which I paid absolutely no attention at all until many years later.

In 1975, I was so enchanted with European music, with no time for Roxy Music, particularly as they now seemed so…”commercial”.  My high school snobbery served me well, I greatly preferred Phil Manzanera’s debut solo album “Diamond Head” (1975), with both Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno participating.

When I get the chance, I’ll give “Siren” a spin and see how it sounds to me now.  I bet I’ll really be able to hear the ’75 vintage equipment, and the quietness of the studio: Air Studios, London (then-owned by Sir George Martin).  Real drums, real saxes, real guitars, real bass, some synths – and some Bryan Ferry.

In 2011, I have time for most any real studio recordings by Roxy Music, as long as it’s Ferry, Manzanera, Mackay and Thompson.  I guess there isn’t a Bryan Ferry solo album for ’75; in ’76 he released “Let’s Stick Together”, which was a pretty good album.