I knew The Birthday Party!

4-28-11

I Knew The Birthday Party!

I think I first heard The Birthday Party when they were still called The Boys Next Door.  If memory serves, I heard the “Hee Haw” 12” EP being played in a small record store in London, England – probably fall ‘79.  I wrote to whatever address that could be found in Australia – only to be told, “They’re in England now”.

I wrote to the address I had been given in England – thanking them for their wonderful music, and asking what “The Hair Shirt” was about etc.  Well, ‘they’ wrote back!  Likely, it was Nick Cave doing the writing, though I eventually started receiving letters from Mick Harvey (at least signed by him).  We wrote to each other for a few years, back and forth – them inviting me to gigs I could never attend, and me regaling them with my adventures in New Zealand.

The cold winds blew – and eventually, they were scheduled to come to Los Angeles, and play at The Roxy theatre.  I showed up, got Nick’s attention (if that was at all possible) while he was on stage, and met them after the show (which was overpoweringly forceful).  They were in L.A. for a few days – we made plans to ‘hang out’.  I believe they were staying at a small hotel on the Sunset Strip that is no longer there.

The following night, I took everybody (except Rowland S. Howard) out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd., then to a party in Silver Lake at the home of a member of Devo.  Later on, I remember talking to Nick at length about how he recorded his vocals, how much he liked Berlin…all of them – Tracy Pew, Mick Harvey, Nick Cave and Rowland S. Howard – they all signed my records.  I noticed later that they even signed my records for the person who was no longer in the band (my Phil Calvert signatures were likely courtesy Mick Harvey?)

I never quite got in line with Nick Cave’s solo career.  I ran into him at LAX towards the end of the 80’s – and he remembered me.  “Hi, Nick!”  “Er, Hi….Ron….”  But his legend continued to grow in stature.  I remember impressing some new wave folks with my many Nick Cave / Birthday Party handwritten lyrics, autographs etc.

Years and years later – I don’t remember who it was, but I casually mentioned that I ‘knew’ Nick Cave – and the person I mentioned it to was completely shocked.  “You know Nick Cave?”  Yes, I do.  I bet Old Nick would still remember me – though perhaps not in the mighty crowd of his present-day long-term admirers.

But once upon a time, I was just about the only person on Earth who was writing to a struggling Australian band called The Birthday Party as they waited around London to play their next gig….or record their next album.  Mick Harvey would definitely remember me.

R.I.P., Tracy Pew and Rowland S. Howard – they were both nice guys to me.  I think the site of Tracy Pew on stage wearing his cowboy hat was just about the funniest thing I had ever seen on a stage on L.A. at that time.

Photo of Nick Cave on stage at The Roxy in L.A. by Ron Kane

Three Dog Night

4-27-11

Three Dog Night

As I wrote about Three Dog Night briefly in the Time Machine this week, I recall writing about them in May, 2008.  I’ve read on the wonderful Both Sides Now “Stereo Bulletin Board” that some of the Three Dog Night singles were vastly re-mixed / re-made, for important AM radio exposure, so I’ve kept my eyes open for Dunhill US original 45’s – I found a lovely promo of my favorite, “Out In The Country”.

An aspect of Three Dog Night that often gets unnoticed is that someone in their organization really knew how to pick the cover versions!  Very hip stuff!  I do not recall reading in either of the Three Dog Night books that I read if anybody in particular suggested the material to them or what.

Their debut album has groovy songs from Randy Newman, Tim Hardin, Neil Young, Harry Nilsson, Danny Whitten (of Crazy Horse) etc. – and songs by Traffic, The Band, even The Beatles…”Suitable For Framing” (their 2nd album) has songs from Elton John, Laura Nyro, and Turtles hitmakers Bonner & Gordon – and another Traffic song – but – for the first time – some original from within the band – Danny Hutton and drummer Floyd Sneed both have originals on this album!  “It Ain’t Easy” was their 3rd album, and probably the one I am most familiar with – Elton John, Randy Newman (2 songs), the British band Free, Ray Davies (of The Kinks – with the song David Bowie would cover on “Ziggy Stardust”), the aforementioned “Out In The Country” being written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols!  The famous single from the 3rd TDN LP is, of course, “Mama Told Me Not To Come” – did you ever hear the version of that song by Eric Burdon & The Animals?

Looking at all of the songwriters mentioned above, I suppose an overly active publisher could’ve put all of these folks together, but…more likely it was a well-connected young-ish person pickin’ the hits.  But as rock music went off into it’s many genres of the 70’s, Three Dog Night kind of got lost in the shuffle – I certainly never got another TDN LP after “It Ain’t Easy”.

70’s moved forward – so did the 80’s, 90’s, ‘00’s – and in 2011, I find myself with somewhat of a soft spot for the better material of Three Dog Night – certainly no argument with any of the songwriters!  And they were a decent band; it was probably a value-for-money live show, too.

But is Three Dog Night in line to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?  Probably not.  They wrote very little of “70’s Rock Music” story – but they certainly had quite a few hit singles.

Is writing your own material important to being taken seriously?  Do actors have to write all of their parts – or do they recite the lines of professional screenwriters?  Why can’t performers / musicians just be performers / musicians – without the stigma of having to write their own ‘successful’ material?

Yes

4-26-11

Yes

CD                DRAMA                                                                                            ATLANTIC JPN       WPCR-13524

1980 16 TRKS (10 x bonus tracks) (’09 issue) SHM-CD kami sleeve

LP                DRAMA                                                                                            ATLANTIC US         SD 16019

1980 6 TRKS original issue

  7″                 INTO THE LENS (I AM A CAMERA)                                            ATLANTIC UK         K 11622

1980 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                 INTO THE LENS (I AM A CAMERA)                                            ATLANTIC US         3767

1980 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

 

CD                90125                                                                                              ATCO US                 90125.2

1983 9 TRKS ancient ‘paint face’ disc

CD                90125                                                                                              ATCO JPN               WPCR-13527

1983 15 TRKS (6 x bonus tracks) (’09 issue) SHM-CD kami sleeve

LP                90125                                                                                              ATCO US                 90125.1

1983 9 TRKS original issue

  7″                 OWNER OF A LONELY HEART / OUR SONG                         ATCO US                 7-99817

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″               OWNER OF A LONELY HEART                                                  ATCO UK                 B9817T

1983 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

  7″                 LEAVE IT                                                                                         ATCO US                 7-99787

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″               LEAVE IT                                                                                         ATCO UK                 B9787T

1984 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

 

DVD             9012LIVE                                                                                        IMAGE US                2558

1985 (’06 issue)

CD                9012LIVE – THE SOLOS                                                              ATCO JPN               AMCY-375

1985 7 TRKS Live (’92 issue)

LP                9012LIVE – THE SOLOS                                                              ATCO US                 90474.1

1985 7 TRKS Live

 

CD                BIG GENERATOR                                                                         ATCO JPN               WPCR-13529

1987 13 TRKS (5 x bonus tracks) (’09 issue) SHM-CD kami sleeve

LP                BIG GENERATOR                                                                         ATCO US                 90522.1

1987 8 TRKS original issue

  12″               LOVE WILL FIND A WAY                                                              ATCO US                 PR 2088

1987 2 TRKS with pic sleeve, promo

  12″               RHYTHM OF LOVE                                                                        ATCO US                 0-96722

1987 4 TRKS with pic sleeve

 

CDx5           IN A WORD                                                                                     RHINO US               R2 78186

2002 55 TRKS 5CD boxed set  – 6 previously unreleased tracks!

The 2009 Japanese re-masters are really the way to go on the newer issues of ’79 – ’87 Yes titles.  Rhino US didn’t even bother to re-master “Big Generator”!  I found the boxed set recently as a “cut-out” – great sound, some otherwise unavailable tracks.  The Trevor Horn era of Yes is really quite entertaining – something any self-respecting Buggles fan should check out and own.

Not quite sure how the post-’87 incarnations of Yes were determined, but I found all of it to be pretty much…let’s just say that I am not / was not the “target audience” for it.

Time Machine 1971 #2 (Strange Days)

4-25-11

Time Machine 1971 #2 (Strange Days)

I will be writing a lot about 1971 this year, as it’s the 40th anniversary of 1971.  “Strange Days” magazine in Japan also writes a “Time Machine” column, and that’s what today’s list is based upon.  Strange Days is varying it’s lists a bit – last year, it only seemed to bother with UK original releases, and this year – it seems to include some US issues!

The April 2011 issue of “Strange Days” lists March 1971 album releases as:  Barclay James Harvest – “Once Again” (Harvest UK LP SHVL 768), Flying Circus “Prepared In Peace” (Harvest UK LP SHSP 4010), Soft Machine – “4” (CBS UK LP S 64280), Miles Davis – “Tribute To Jack Johnson” (Columbia US LP KC 30455), John Cale & Terry Riley – “Church Of Anthrax” (Columbia US LP C30131), David Crosby – “If I Could Only Remember My Name” (Atlantic US LP SD 7203), Crazy Horse – “Crazy Horse” (Reprise US LP RS 6438), Cactus – “One Way Or Another” (Atco US LP SD 33-356), and Three Dog Night – “Golden Biscuits” (Dunhill US LP DSX 50098).

Never was much of a fan of Barclay James Harvest – the only aspects of them that ever really interested me was that a) they were on Harvest UK and b) they worked with Robert John Godfrey who eventually formed The Enid.  Never heard (or saw) the Flying Circus album – anybody out there know anything about ‘em?  Soft Machine #4 is where I started to lose interest – “Third” had been part jazz, part trock – but #4 seemed to be a totally jazz oriented album.  I knew who Miles Davis was, but…this album did not cross my path for another 20 years.  John Cale & Terry Riley – not right away, but I did eventually become a big fan of both John Cale and Terry Riley.  I remember when this album came out – did he beat Lou reed to the punchbowl of who got to release the first Velvet Underground solo album?  No, that was Nico!  I had liked Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – but this David Crosby solo album did not interest me now or then.  No real idea quite why – I was not a big Byrds fan, I guess.

In 2011, I like the debut Crazy Horse album a lot Jack Nitzsche!  But at the time, if I didn’t hear a cut on a Warner / Reprise sampler – no way I ever heard this one on FM radio!  I had Cactus on a British Atlantic sampler LP, “the New Age Of Atlantic”, so I heard them – Vanilla Fudge related?  Never owned a Cactus album, folks.  For 35+ years, the only Three Dog Night LP I owned was an German import pressing of “Golden Biscuits” (pictured) – though now I own the first three albums, and generally like ‘em all – especially “It Ain’t Easy” (Have you heard “Out In The Country” recently?).  They were so popular, it was hard to remain interested in them.  I love the contrasting books about TDN – one that’s nothing but drugs (Jimmy Greenspoon) and one that doesn’t mention drugs (the guitar player, whatever his name is / was)…

So, not a release schedule that I am crazy about.  I didn’t really buy any of them when they were first released.  I’ve probably owned the John Cale & Terry Riley LP the longest.

F.Y.I.

As will become obvious, I will now only be posting written material 4-days-per-week, after doing 5-days-per-week since the end of July, 2002.  How about those “Time Machine” episodes from 1971?  I like ’em a lot!  (I just wish I had ’em for every Monday)

– Ron

Ultimate Collection Re-Cap

4-21-11

Ultimate Collection Re-Cap

It’s time to return to the idea of my having an “Ron Kane Ultimate Collection”.  If I was ever going to start selling stuff – the stuff in my Ultimate Collection would be the titles I would start with.

UC001            Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention – We’re Only In It For The Money (1968) – though you can substitute the 3CD set “Lumpy Money”, currently available from www.zappa.com

UC002            John Cage & David Tudor – Indeterminacy (1959) – boy, I sure hope Folkways Records keeps this 2CD set in print forever!  http://www.folkways.si.edu/

UC003            Split Enz – Mental Notes (1975) – not to be confused with the US Split Enz title “Mental Notes” – which is actually known in Australasia as “Second Thoughts”.  Warner Australia has done a lovely re-mastered version.  http://www.redeye.com.au/about.asp#top

UC004            Gruppo Sportivo – The Buddy Odor Stop (1979) – offered as ½ of a CD together with “10 Mistakes” – last time I looked, it was available on Pseudonym Records in Holland.  http://seedyroad.com/grupposportivo/

UC005            Hajime Tachibana – H (1982) – not 100% sure that this is currently available – even in Japan!  Check www.amazon.co.jp

UC006            Procol Harum – Broken Barricades (1971) – definitely released in Europe now on the Salvo label.  I’ve seen this for sale in Los Angeles.

UC007            John Entwistle – Smash Your Head Against The Wall (1971) – definitely available from Sanctuary Records in England.  I’ve seen this for sale in Los Angeles.

These are all records that I can recommend without too much fuss – I hope all of these remain in print!

Very soon I will be ready to start adding titles to this list – but not just yet.  There are thousands of records to consider – and the one I was thinking of adding next – Thomas Diethelm & Santino Famulari – Valleys In My Head – is most likely out-of-print at this time.  So, it may end up being that one or…I might try to choose something else that I know is in print / available.

I will return on Monday with a new Time Machine 1971 list from Strange Days magazine in Japan!

Polar Bear

4-20-11

    Polar Bear

A few weeks ago, we were watching a DVD-R that was sent to me from England of “Later with Jools Holland”, the BBC TV show.  The show we were watching was from April, 2010.  It was your typical ‘new artists only’ show – well, not typical in the US anymore – but typical for Jools Holland.  New bands, new artists – and usually one old geezer that Jools will knowingly talk to, but that nobody else in the room can seem to understand why they’re there.

The Jools Holland show has been on TV in England for many years, and I’ve watched it on videotape and I now watch it on DVD-R.  Well, in it’s current incarnation, there’s a 30 minute ‘teaser show’ shown during the week, then a full 60 minute show shown later on.  It was during the ‘proper show’ that Polar Bear were allowed to play the title track from their 2010 album, “Peepers” – I was floored.

They are British jazz – but looks / sounds to me that it’s a rock band playing this music.  They are lead by two sax players and their bassist uses a double bass – and there are electronics and drums.  ( Think: Tortoise / Lounge Lizards / Don Rendell )  Polar Bear are part of some loose jazz collective in England – F-IRE – but I know little about that, other than to say I’ve read about ‘em online.

Amoeba Hollywood only had their remix album on CD, so I ‘went looking’ – and found their two newest full length albums (on CD) at Wayside Music, whose email I get every Monday morning.

The story so far:

Dim Lit (Babel / Rub UK CD, 2004?)

Held On The Tips Of Fingers (Babel / Rub UK CD, 2005)

Polar Bear (Tin Angel UK CD, 2008)

Peepers (Leaf UK CD, 2010)

Common Ground (with Jyager) (Leak UK CD, 2010 – remixes)

I must find those first two albums on CD!  Wayside has “Polar Bear” for a good price, and “Peppers” was actually in stock there (not as inexpensive as “Polar Bear”, but still an OK price now a new UK CD)

http://www.waysidemusic.com/search.aspx?keyword=polar+bear

And just like me, Polar Bear are on WordPress!

http://www.polarbearmusic.com/wordpress/

Egg

4-19-11

Egg

Seeing an Egg LP in yesterday’s Time Machine…made me think of how much I enjoy this band, with so few actual releases!

CD CIVIL SURFACE, THE   VIRGIN JPN       VJD-5026

1974 7 TRKS 3rd

LP CIVIL SURFACE, THE   CAROLINE UK  C 1510

1974 7 TRKS UK original issue

CD EGG (1970)                     DERAM UK         844168.2

1970 10 TRKS 1st (2 x bonus tracks)

CD POLITE FORCE              DERAM JPN       POCD-1844

1970 7 TRKS 2nd

The first two Egg LP’s were somewhat readily available in the 99 cent bins of the day,  I sold my copies thereof to Japan in the 80’s for some ridiculous amount and never looked back.  Actually, I sold all three to Japan for the serious money.  And I do own Japanese CD’s of all three proper Egg albums.

But “Civil Surface” really stuck with me.  I greatly missed having the LP of it, and I did re-buy an original UK copy for about 1/10 of what I sold my copy of it for.

Dave Stewart went on to be in both Hatfield & The North and National Health.  Modern day readers may recognize him as ½ of Stewart and Gaskin.  And, yes, Barbara Gaskin sings on “Civil Surface”.

Canterbury inspired progressive rock?  British jazz rock?  British classical music?  What exactly is “Civil Surface”?  It took years for it to grow on me, but it did – gloriously so.  It is easily my favorite of the three Egg albums.  The wind quartets bring to mind Henry Cow, a bit.  Some of the real electric stuff is highly reminiscent of Soft Machine (at their very finest).

Father Time is a well-connected old geezer, and Burning Shed have some Egg titles available – of which I know little / nothing:

http://www.burningshed.com/store/eggarchive/

No, this isn’t the sweetness of the Stewart & Gaskin CD;s – it’s real Canterbury stuff – not quite jazz or rock, but…jazzrock?  Superlative keyboards, inventive arrangements, totally understated vocals.  Heavenly!

Time Machine 1971

4-18-11 Time Machine

Phonolog Reports – New Releases

Week of April 19, 1971

Caught my eye:

JOHN MAYALL – Back To The Roots (Polydor 25-3002 2 x LP) (LP/CD)

THE DOORS – L.A. Woman (Elektra EKS-75011) (LP/CD)

EGG – The Polite Force (Deram DES-18056) (CD)

LEON RUSSELL – Leon Russell & The Shelter People (Shelter SW-8903) (LP/CD)

Got The Doors right away – with the window pane cover – I loved this album to death!; it didn’t take long to find an inexpensive promo of the 2nd Egg album (I also had the first Egg album!); Mayall’s “Back To The Roots” was an inexpensive double album with a very large booklet; Leon Russell was very famous – having worked with Joe Cocker, this was his 2nd ‘solo’ album (also released in England on A&M Records!).

Also of interest:

EDGAR WINTER’S WHITE TRASH (Epic E-30512)

HAMPTON GREASE BAND – Music To Eat (Columbia G-30555 2 x LP) (CD)

BILL BLACK COMBO – More Bill Black Magic (Hi SHL-32061) (LP)

CHASE (Epic E-30472) “Get It On In The Morning”

A CHILD’S GARDEN OF GRASS (Elektra EKS-75012) (LP/CD)

2nd album by Johnny Winter’s brother?; I realized years later that the Hampton Grease Band featured ace guitarist Glenn Phillips (this double LP was cheap!); I collect the Bill Black Combo; You heard the Chase single on the radio a lot; I heard something from “A Child’s Garden of Grass” on the FM radio – I liked comedy albums a lot back then.

Notable singles:

HAMILTON, JOE FRANKLIN & REYNOLDS – Don’t Pull Your Love Out On Me / Funk-In-Wagnal (Dunhill 4276)

RONNIE SPECTOR – Try Some, Buy Some / Tandoori Chicken (Apple 1832)

JOHNNY WINTER – Jumpin’ Jack Flash / Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Columbia 4-45368)

YVONNE ELLIMAN – I Don’t Know How To Love Him / Overture (Decca 32785)

Ronnie Spector for the Apple label collectors; Yvonne Elliman had the 2nd single from the original UK version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in the US (first single was “Superstar” sung by Murray Head); 2 cover versions for this Johnny Winter single – is it ‘live’?; to this very day, you can hear “Don’t Pull Your Love Out On Me” on ‘Oldies’  radio – even if you don’t want to!

Time Machine 1971 returns on 5/9/11!