Ron’s Top 20 (in 2012)

5-31-12          Ron’s 2012 Top 20

Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham born 1948, rapper Darryl “DMC” McDaniels    born 1964; I own music by neither, but Bonzo wins.

Little has change in what I still consider my favorite recordings.  Lately, I have been contemplating retirement from the blogosphere upon my 10th anniversary – at the end of July, 2012.  Heck, I have to have something to write on !

I have to say “In no particular order” – just 20 fantastic titles today!

Split Enz – Mental Notes (Mushroom Australia / White Cloud NZ, 1975) – an NZ band makes the final nail in the coffin of progressive rock in the English language.  And it made me go to NZ 7 x times.

Hermeto Pascoal – Slave’s Mass (Warner Brothers Brazil, 1976) – the world’s foremost multi-instrumentalist even plays a pig on this LP.  Fantastic sound, great songs.  Best live show I ever saw.

Hugh Hopper – Hoppertunity Box (Compendium England, 1977) – the bass player of The Soft Machine, with Dave Stewart (of Egg, Hatfield & The North, National Health and Gaskin & Stewart) – British jazz?  Yes, through the Soft Machine’s 1970’s filter.

Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention – We’re Only In It For The Money (Verve USA, 1968) – If I had to pick just one, it would be this album.  I understood it exactly, at exactly the right time for myself.  It changed me, and the course of my life.

Watermelon – Cool Music (Alfa Japan, 1984) – Toshio Nakanishi predicted the ‘lounge craze’ of the 90’s in 1983/4.  I love the songs on this album, particularly “Sexanova”.

Procol Harum – Procol Harum (Regal Zonophone England, 1968) – I want this LP played at my funeral; that way, you’ll know I would’ve wanted to be there!  Cut me, and this is what I bleed.  And I still don’t ‘get’ the lyrics!

The Lodge – Smell Of A Friend (Antilles England, 1988) – One of the very few records that ever woke me up at night, demanding to hear it again immediately (“The Little Match Girl”).  Peter Blegvad!

Aksak Maboul – Onze Danses Pour Combaittre Le Migraine (Kamikaze Belgium, 1977) – Marc Hollander and Vincent Kenis – two of the guys behind Crammed Records!  The moist beautiful album on this list.  My GF thought it was classical music.  It is.

Arthur Brown / Kingdom Come – Galactic Zoo Dossier (Polydor England, 1971) – For all who thought Arthur stopped at “Fire!”: this album is the bomb.  Buy immediately and understand!  We want your brains to pay for further education…

Family – Music In A Doll’s House (Reprise England, 1968) – I got this LP when I was about 12 years old.  Roger Chapman is one of the world’s great vocalists; Family is simply one of the best British bands that ever existed; and this is their best album.

Dick HeckstallSmith – A Story Ended (Bronze England, 1972) – My favorite record of 1972, not “Ziggy Stardust”!  I love all of the songs, and I got to meet Mr. Heckstall-Smith in England, before he died – he signed his book for me (“Safest Place In The World”).

Basil Kirchin – Worlds Within Worlds Parts 3 & 4 (Island England, 1974) – I prefer this LP to Parts 1 & 2, which is also amazing.  But Parts 3 & 4 are even more amazing; his masterpiece.  20th century modern classical music – but it doesn’t sound anything like that at all.  Listen and believe.

Supersister – Spiral Staircase (Polydor NL, 1974) – R.I.P. Sasha van Geest!  Before there was Gruppo Sportivo or The Nits – Robert-Jan Stips and Supersister ruled the Earth.  Alas, we can no longer ask Sasha what any of this album is “about”.  Love?

Can – Landed (EMI Germany, 1975) – I once read that this record was the alternate universe’s “Sgt. Peppers” – can’t put that thought into the mirror – As “Sgt. Peppers” is not my alternate universe’s Can “Landed”!  Half Past One! (in 5.1 on the Can DVD set).

Hajime Tachibana – H (Yen Japan, 1982) – This LP didn’t sound like anyone from The Plastics.  It is 100% it’s own thing.  I know of at least one other person who told me, “This record changed my life!”.  I met Tachibana in Tokyo, a few years ago.

John Cage / David Tudor – Indeterminacy (Folkways US, 1959) – I bought this 2LP boxed set in a Thrifty drug store for $2.- when I was a lot younger.  I listened carefully to all of Mr. Cage’s stories, and wanted to know who all of those people were.  I still wonder.  This is a spoken word album with music.

I Am Joe’s Music – self-titled debut (Mushroom Australia, 1983) – For years, I’ve been saying that if I ever started a re-issue label, I would issue this album first.  I got to meet Fane Flaws in NZ in 1987.  He explained this album to me in person.

Lio – self-titled debut (Ariola France, 1980) – I fell in love with these songs as the new decade dawned.  Later, I learned they were all written by Jay Alanski.  The production style is 100% perfect (again, Jay Alanski).  I should’ve married Lio when I had the chance!

Ivor Cutler – Dandruff (Virgin England, 1974) – It was my pleasure to live on the same planet as Ivor Cutler for roughly 32 years – actually, I was 48 when Cutler died, and he was here before me.  I just knew who he was for 32 years while he was alive.  I never got to meet him or see him perform live – though I ostensibly had the chance to do both.

Wally Badarou – Echoes (Island Visual Arts England, 1984) – Wally played keyboards for Grace Jones and Marianne Faithfull.  This is his instrumental  ’84 album that reminds me more of the 1980’s than almost any other album.

Monochrome Set – Platinum Coils

5-30-12          Monochrome Set – Platinum Coils

Indie rock guy Devendra Barnhart born 1981, the guy I saw at “Airs” in Nishi-Shinjuku Tom Morello, born 1964; I own music by neither.

There is apparently a 2012 Monochrome set available from Mr. Bid / The Monochrome Set.  I guess Bid went back to the “brand” when people quit taking notice of Scarlett’s Well releases?  And Lester Square!

What goes through my mind when I see a new release like this offered?

1)     Will the Japanese issue have a nicer package, and / or be a kami sleeve?  Will the Jpn issue have bonus track(s)?

2)     Should I mail-order it from England / Elsewhere when it might get a proper US issue?

3)     TMS haven’t had an album since 1995’s “Trinity Road” and I was on the fence about all the Scarlett’s Well albums…I think I got the first four…

4)     Will someone in California stock this CD?  Amoeba SF, perhaps?

5)     Will someone I know jump the gun and mail-order several copies and send one to me before I can buy it myself?

6)     It’s £11.00 – how much is that in dollars?  Yes, I know I could look it up on!  (Add shipping)

7)     I do kind of like the idea of buying it directly from the band (via PayPal).

8)     Probably no chance of an audiophile edition of this title, so holding of breath not allowed.

9)     I will definitely want an original of this title; not a burn; not a download.  I would even consider a vinyl version of it, if presented.

10)  I have met Mr. Bid, when he came to Los Angeles a few years back – so, this qualifies as an artist that I have met (I already have his autograph), seen play live on stage etc.

The last Scritti Politti (2006: “White Bread Black Beer”) CD of new work came out in Japan with a DVD; the last A Certain Ratio (2010: “Mind Made Up”) was completely excellent.  Not sure how many other candles I can still hold, for British bands!

So, what should I do, readers?  Empty the PayPal account and get it now, or WAIT – and see what happens?

Rupert Hine

5-29-12          Rupert Hine

Folklorist Harry Smith born 1923, Oingo Boingo Singer / Songwriter / Film Music guy Danny Elfman born 1953; Smith produced the debut Fugs’ record.

Rupert Hine made two trios of records 1981 – 1990 that are worthy of your attention:

1)     Immunity (1981)

2)     Waving Not Drowning (1982)

3)     Wildest Wish To Fly (1983)

Followed by three works from his ‘band’ Thinkman:

1)     The Formula (1986)

2)     Life Is A Full-Time Occupation (1988)

3)     Hard Hat Zone (1990)

“Immunity” is simply one of the best releases of 1981.  The single “Misplaced Love” (with Marianne Faithfull) is wonderful.  I just saw the video for it for the first time, recently.   Rumor has it that Mr. Hine intended to tour the album suspended upside down on a platform – on stage!

“Waving Not Drowning” was excellent, too – but not quire as good as “Immunity”.  The law of diminishing returns:  “Wildest Wish To Fly” is the least of the 3 x A&M UK Ruper Hine albums, but it’s still pretty good!  It’s debut single, “Living In Sin” featured Robert Palmer on co-lead vocals.

The debut Thinkman album, “The Formula” raised a few eyebrows – mostly because Mr. Hine used comedian Julian Clary as a model, in photos of the ‘band members’.  The singles “Best Adventures” and “The Formula’ are both great – and both have interesting music videos.

Both “Life Is A Full-Time Occupation’ and “Hard Hat Zone” were only released in Germany, initially.  I guess their ‘style’ appealed to the Germans?  I do not know of their release outside of Germany.

Rupert Hine released a ‘post-script’ album in 1994, “The Deep End” – as far as I know, it was CD-only and Germany-only.  And there have been no further solo albums from him ever since.

Hine also famously produced Tina Turner (“Private Dancer”) in 1984; his production work with The Fixx was very well received in the U.S.A., largely due to their exposure on MTV.  One Thing Leads To Another?  That’s right.

Also of interest is Hine’s work as a producer of somewhat ‘commercial’ UK 70’s progressive rock albums:

Jonesy – Growing (album) (1974)

Kevin AyersThe Confessions of Dr. Dream and Other Stories (album) (1974)

Quantum Jump – Quantum Jump (album) (1974)

John G. Perry – Sunset Wading (album) (1975)

Nova – Blink (album) (1976)

Dave GreensladeCactus Choir (album) (1976)

John G. Perry – Seabird (album) (1976)

Café Jacques – Round the Back (album) (1977)

Quantum Jump – Barracuda (album) (1977)

Anthony PhillipsWise After the Event (album) (1977)

Anthony Phillips – Sides (album) (1978)

Café Jacques – International (album) (1978)

CamelI Can See Your House from Here (album) (1979)

The Kevin Ayers’ album that he produced is excellent!  And I do remember liking this Jonesy album.  The “Um and Urgh” 45 for Anthony Phillips was good, too.

Time Machine 1972

5-28-12                     Time Machine

Phonolog Reports – New Releases

Week of May 29, 1972

Caught my eye:

THE ROLLING STONES – Exile On Main Street (Rolling Stones COC 2-2900) double album (LP/CD)

TOWER OF POWER – Bump City (Warner Brothers 2616) (CD)

FOGHAT (Bearsville 2077)

ARLO GUTHRIE – Hobo’s Lullabye (Reprise 2060) (LP)


Heavyweight Stones LP!  I love this T.O.P. album (with “Down To The Nightclub” and “You Got To Funkafize”), their 2nd.  Ex-Savoy Brown guys = Foghat.  Arlo Guthrie continues, after “Alice’s Restaurant”.  Barry Melton joins Mr. Levy & The Dey Brothers and makes a rock & roll LP with a neat cat face on the cover (the cat with human teeth).

Also of interest:

RANDY NEWMAN – Sail Away (Reprise 2064)

JAMES BROWN – Soul Classics Vol. 1 (Polydor 5401)

DADDY COOL – Teenage Heaven (Reprise 2088)

BOB WEIR – Ace (Warner Brothers 2627)

JOHN MAYALL – Jazz Blues Fusion (Polydor 24-5027)

Sure are a lot of Warner / Reprise titles today!  I liked the debut from Randy Newman, so I noticed this.  Only signed to Polydor a short time, and James already gets a collection.  2nd U.S. LP from Australian band Daddy Cool (which featured Ross Wilson).  Solo Dead with Weir’s “Ace”.  John Mayall still slogging it out – “The Turning Point” had been mighty, so Polydor stuck with him for quite a while.

Notable singles:

ALICE COOPER – School’s Out b/w Gutter Cat (Warner Brothers 7596)

UNDISPUTED TRUTH – Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone (Gordy 7117)

JIM CAPALDI – Oh How We Danced (Island/Capitol 1205)

Just in time for summer!  Alice Cooper has a hit, Undisputed Truth pretend they are The Temptations and solo Traffic member Jim Capaldi gives it his best – with the title track from his debut solo album as a single.

Bob Dylan

5-24-12          Bob Dylan

Singer / Songwriter Bob Dylan born 1941, singer Roseanne Cash born 1955; Lost Time Is Not Found Again.

It’s Bob Dylan’s birthday today!  He’s 71-years-old today!

I’ve been a fan ever since “Like A Rolling Stone” first hit the racks.  A 6 minute 45, too!

You can buy all of his albums, and still not have the whole story.  There are some boxed sets and latter day titles that I wish to recommend to you today.

CDx3           BIOGRAPH (3CD boxed set) (Collection)                 COLUMBIA US    C3K 65298

1985 53 TRK Collection, boxed set

LPx5            BIOGRAPH (5LP boxed set) (Collection)                  CBS NL                CBS 66509

1985 53 TRK Collection, boxed set

CDx3           BOOTLEG SERIES, Vols. 1 – 3 (3CD boxed set)     COLUMBIA US    C3K 65302

1991 58 TRK Collection ’61 – ’91 recordings

CDx2           LIVE 1966 (Bootleg Series No. 4)                              COLUMBIA US    C2K 65759

1998 15 TRKS Live, Manchester, England 5/66

CDx2           ESSENTIAL                                                                     COLUMBIA US    C2K 85168

2000 30 TRK Collection

CDx6           CHRONICLES Vol. 1 (6CD boxed set)                      S&S AUDIO US   2995

2004 6 CD Set, read by Sean Penn

CDx2           NO DIRECTION HOME (Bootleg Series No. 7)       COLUMBIA US    C2K 93937

2005 28 TRKS collection (mostly 60’s recordings)

DVD             NO DIRECTION HOME (Film)                                     PARAMOUNT      3105

2005 5.1 Surround audio

Both “Biograph” and “Bootleg Series Vols. 1 – 3” have charming and wonderful previously un-re-released stuff – lots of groovy 60’s material!  The “Live 1966” title is astonishing; an excellent recording of Bob with the Band on stage – interactions with the audience etc.  The “Essential” collection is really for someone who doesn’t want to own too many Bob Dylan CD’s – this is a 2CD set and it pretty much cover the whole enchilada, up to anno 2000.

The audio book of ”Chronicles” is read by Sean Penn, but – the stories are fascinating.

The 2CD / DVD of “No Direction Home” are great.  2CD set has loads of previously unreleased 60’s out-takes and the DVD is fantastic viewing, with 5.1 audio – no less.  I put it on once, thinking I would watch the first hour only – then watched the entire show – and I was awake until 2:00am on a work night!

Bob is still alive, folks.  Let’s give him his proper due.  Check out one of these latter day collections and see if you don’t agree.  In any event, get a 2CD set of “The Basement Tapes” and wonder aloud how the f*ck that ever got released.  It’s wonderful!

Jim Donato’s List

5-23-12          Jim Donato’s List

#1 Synth man Robert Moog born 1934, singer Rosemary Clooney born 1928; Cosmic Sounds of the Zodiac!

20 best non-LP b-sides of all time
1. Ultravox – Paths + Angles
B-side to “The Voice.” Fascinating blend of Warren Cann’s recited verses with Midge Ure singing the chorus. Killer melodic hooks are mated with typically compulsive rhythms.
2. Ultravox – I Never Wanted To Begin
“The Thin Wall” B-side. This track is jam packed with insanely compulsive rhythm programming! Once you hear this it will lodge itself in your skull for hours. The 12″ version is extended!
3. Adam & The Ants – Beat My Guest
The B-side to “Stand & Deliver.” Just our luck to have one of Adam’s best singles mated with an even better B-side! As emphasized by Marco Pirroni’s lewd guitar licks, this frolicsome ode to S & M manages to actually sound cheerful.
4. Spandau Ballet – Glow
B-side to “Musclebound.” The band invent new forms of Latinesque synth funk with this killer B-side that presaged their first big stylistic shift. Never better than in its 12″ version!
5. Simple Minds – New Warm Skin
B-side of “I Travel.” Another act that mated their best single with an evenly matched B-side! The rhythm track on this chilling song about plastic surgery is an example of Brian McGee at his finest. Mike McNeil’s keyboards mesh perfectly with the jarring stabs of Charlie Burchill, back when he avoided guitar clichés  like the plague.
6. Japan – European Son
B-side of Japanese “I Second That Emotion” single. Quite frankly, this is my favorite Japan song of all time! It is the acme of the band’s Moroder-influenced “autobahn music.” It thoroughly smokes the actual single the band recorded with Moroder.
7. China Crisis – This Occupation [ext. ver.]
B-side of Wishful Thinking” 12.” The 7″ version of this track is good, but the extended mix is mystical! This sounds nothing like the China Crisis we know and love. It sounds even better! Quite frankly, this resembles mid period Cabaret Voltaire, sigh!
8. Visage – Frequency 7
“Tar” B-side. I was over familiar with the not so interesting extended version of this track that turned up everywhere back in the day. It took years of having this single before I finally played the 7″ version and was blown away the the superiority of this mix. It’s night and day compared to the tedium of the 12″ mix. For starters, it’s an actual song with vocals, and some killer synth rock.
9. Elvis Costello  & The Attractions – Just A Memory
B-side to “New Amsterdam.” quite possibly my favorite Elvis Costello track ever, this heart-wrenching ballad was originally written for Dusty Springfield, who ultimately did record it.
10. Swing Out Sister – Fever
“Fooled By A Smile” B-side. Yet another face rave B-side by a group that sounds nothing like Cabaret Voltaire, yet manages to channel them  brilliantly on a B-side.
11. Yello – There Is No Reason
“She’s Got A Gun” B-side. This magnificent song from the soundtrack to Dieter Meier’s film “Jetz Und Alles” is an utterly riveting track by a band that typically had modest instrumental B-sides.
12. The Human League – Marianne
B-side on “Holiday ’80” EP. Killer track from the sessions of my favorite Human League album.
13. The Tourists – The Golden Lamp
B-side of “Blind Among The Flowers.” Another example of a B-side just as strong [if not moreso] of the killer A-side it was paired with. Conny Plank didn’t need synthesizes to achieve brilliance!
14. The Cramps – Wilder, Wilder, Faster, Faster
B-side of “Eyeball In My Martini.” This is one of The Cramps longest numbers at nearly five minutes… and it’s not nearly long enough! This track is done in the style of an old AM radio ad for a drive in movie packed with all of the ilurid action they could stand. Brilliant!
15. Pet Shop Boys – Bet She’s Not Your Girlfriend
B-side of “Where The Streets Have No Name.” The Pet Shop Boys have an enviable catalog of B-side material that most bands would kill for. This song is a typically strong B-side that sounds like robust A-side material to me.
16. The Cure – The Exploding Boy
17. The Cure – A Few Hours After This…
“In Between Days” B-sides. If you bought The Cure’s “In Between Days” 12″ you were gifted with the three best songs the band ever recorded! “The Exploding Boy” is driven by acoustic guitars and mighty drums in addition to a killer tenor sax riff that proves that less is more. “A Few Hours AfterThis” is a baroque feast for the senses with strings, percussion and tympani evoking Ennio Morricone at his most expansively robust!
18. Duran Duran – Secret Oktober
“The Union Of The Snake” B-side. Their third album was far from Duran Duran’s finest hour, but this exquisitely  poised B-side put everything else they recorded for those sessions very much in the shade! One of their finest hours for sure.
19. OMD – Annex
“Enola  Gay” B-side. OMD were another band with a plethora of strong B-sides, but this one has the edge for me today. This evocative tune begins with a Japanese seaside melody under which a throbbing industrial rhythm ultimately ascends to hijack the wistful song by its end to leave the listener shell-shocked by its chilling intensity.
20. Bill Nelson – The Passion
“Flaming Desire” B-side. Another B-side that plays strongly off of a rousing A-side. “The Passion” is a driving instro that sounds like Duane Eddy poured in a blender with classic Duran Duran as the solid guitar chords are abetted by sax and synthetic percussion.



Dave Albert’s List

5-22-12          Dave Albert’s List

Moonship journey man Sun Ra born 1914, Singer / Songwriter Morrissey born 1959; Prepare Yourself For The Moonship Journey.

Top 20 Movies

My criteria for this list is; If a movie is on TV tomorrow how likely am I to watch it (or would have watched it, I might not watch Casablanca again because I’ve seen it so many times.)

So, these are not the best movies, but the ones I enjoy watching.  For example, I did not include Chinatown or Lawrence of Arabia

After choosing the 20, I then tried to rank them by the best movies.

The Sting
Doctor Strangelove
Bridge over the River Kwai
The Lion in Winter
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Manchurian Candidate (old version)
The Maltese Falcon
The Thin Man
Groundhog Day
Raiders of the Lost Ark
A Fist Full of Dollars (Yojimbo – same story)
Duck Soup
Kill Bill 1 & 2
The Princess Bride
Were No Angels (old version)
The Great Race
Big Trouble in Little China
Support Your Local Sheriff

Time Machine 1972

5-21-12                     Time Machine 1972

Phonolog Reports – New Releases

Week of May 22, 1972

Caught my eye:

JUDY COLLINS – Best Of (Elektra EKS-75030)

WALTER CARLOS – A Clockworks Orange (Columbia KC-31480) (LP)

ELTON JOHN – Honky Chateau (Uni 93135) (LP/SA-CD)

AUDIENCE – Lunch (Elektra EKS-75026) (LP/CD)

Nice Best of for Judy Collins.  Always did like her “Both Sides Now”.  Not the soundtrack, but more synth music from “A Clockwork Orange” by Wendy Carlos.  Decent studio album for Elton John – it sounds great, I just listened to the SA-CD of it recently (in 5.1!).  The final Audience album (#4)

Also of interest:

SAILCAT – Motorcycle Mama (Elektra EKS-75029) (LP)

STEPPENWOLF – Rest In Peace (Dunhill DSX-50124)

ERNEST TUBB – Say Something Nice To Sarah (Decca DL 75345)

Novelty album for Sailcat (yes, the 45 was released this week too).  The final contiguous Steppenwolf album?  E.T. must’ve been signed to Decca / MCA for decades by the time this chestnut came along.  He was alive (and signed to Decca / MCA almost until he passed away!).

Notable singles:

FLASH – Small Beginnings b/w Morning Haze (Capitol 3345)

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – 10538 Overture b/w Battle of the Marston Moor (United Artists 50914)

DEEP PURPLE – Lazy b/w When A Blind Man Cries (Warner Brothers 7595)

EAGLES – Take It Easy b/w Get You In The Mood (Asylum 11005)

DAVID BROMBERG – The Hold-Up b/w Suffer To Sing The Blues (Columbia 4-45612)

STEVEN STILLS – It Doesn’t Matter (Atlantic 2876)

VIGRASS & OSBOURNE – Forever Autumn (Uni 55330)

THE HOLLIES – Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress b/w Look What We’ve Got (Epic 5-10871)

Good week for singles!  I love the first three singles.  Debut Eagles 45?  David Bromberg with George Harrison – which version?  That good non-hit Steve Stills 45.  The debut of “Forever Autumn” which Justin Hayward would cover for the Jeff Wayne  “War Of The Worlds” album in a few years.  Hit single for The Hollies, 70’s style.

Ken Heaton’s List

5-17-12          Ken Heaton’s List

Drummer Bill Bruford born 1949, bluesman Taj Mahal born 1940; Feels Good To Me.

From Ken Heaton, the leader of my band!  Sort of fitting that Ken is such a Yes fan and today is Bill Bruford’s birthday!

Ken’s Top Twenty Hit Parade

Song or Album                                                     Artist

Good Morning World                                             Kahimi Karie

Ritual                                                                     Little Dragon

Seventeen Seconds (Album)                                The Cure

Evolution                                                                Ayumi Hamasaki

Feeding  The Wise                                                Orangey

Tears Of A Clown                                                 Smoky Robinson & The Miracles

Where Did Our Love Go?                                     Diana Ross & The Supremes

Going Up The Country                                          Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

(Baby) Hold Me Tight                                             Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

Bellisima (Album)                                                  Pizzicato Five

Give Blood                                                             Pete Townsend

Modern Dance (Album)                                         Pere Ubu

Four On Six                                                           Wes Montgomery

Technodon Live (Album)                                       YMO

Heartbeat (Album)                                                 Ryuichi Sakamoto

Won’t Get Fooled Again                                        The Who

Yessongs (Album)                                                Yes

And You And I                                                        Yes