Harry Belafonte

Happy birthday producer Gus Dudgeon (1942), blues guy Freddy King (1935) and writer Truman Capote (1924).

Harry Belafonte “At Carnegie Hall” (Analogue Productions SA-CD) 3-channel

WOW!

I have owned and known this album for over fifty years. But, there is “magic” going on here. How on Earth did engineer Bob Simpson get this good of sound?

 

I got this SA-CD on a day with 3 other SA-CD’s. “At Carnegie Hall” really grabbed my attention! It’s so clear, so “in phase”. Did Mr. Simpson live mix an 8 – 12 track mixing board to 3-track tape? Well, the sound is absolutely amazing, beautiful.

 

And we finally get the entire 2LP on CD / SA-CD! Yes, I have re-bought this LP a few times, including the CD version that RCA did before they were bought by Sony. The SA-CD says it’s Hybrid, making the CD that is included somewhat unnecessary, IMHO.

 

And can you believe this SA-CD even has 3 x bonus tracks from 1959? It does! A spoken piece, a song (“Scarlet Ribbons”) and an orchestral “Overture Medley”, which is fabulous.

 

I know that usually we discuss ‘rock music’ on my site. But the sound alone on this SA-CD is so amazing…of course, per the original 2LP issue, it says “Living Stereo” all over the cover of this SA-CD. But this SA-CD sounds way better than the tons of SA-CD’s by classical artists that I own, that also say “Living Stereo” on the cover.

 

SA-CD is a format that really delivers the goods. If you do not already have an SA-CD player, I strongly urge you to go out and buy a DVD or Blu-ray machine that is SA-CD compatible, crank it up – and believe! Really, for my money, the best audiophile thrills for the least cash. Vinyl only? Well, then – it’s like this SA-CD sounds like they re-mastered the original 2LP onto 12” singles!

 

Disc 1 is 23 tracks of superb performance & sound. Not sure if you need an SA-CD player to hear it, but, but…

Japanese Pressings

Happy birthday fusion jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty (1942), Mike Pinera (of Iron Butterfly) (1948) and guitarist Mark Farner (of Grand Funk Railroad).

I probably had my first exposure to Japanese-pressed LP’s in the mid-70’s, it might even have been Donovan “Live In Japan” (Epic / Sony 1973) or maybe even a Cosmos Factory LP (Toshiba / Express). I was, at that time, unsure about what to do with the ‘obi’ (the paper band on the cover). Just leave it on? Save it in the jacket? Throw it away?      

 

I met Tony Harrington in early 1978; he was managing Fumio Miyashita (Mr. Far East Family Band); Tony had just started his All Ears label with an LP licensed from Japan by the band Chronicle (“Like A Message From The Stars”). Through Tony H, I met Fumio Miyashita and Fumio’s drummer, Yujin Harada. Alas, there was a language gap: no, no Japanese, them, not much English. I believe both Fumio and Yujin were living in Los Angeles / Hollywood.

 

All of the above puts me at approx. 20 – 21 years of age; I hadn’t been very many places, but I knew something was going on elsewhere, wherever I wasn’t.          Through Tony H (yet again), I met a guy who imported LP’s from Japan, Doug Lexa. Doug spoke Japanese, but I doubt he read Japanese. His company was called “Eastern-Pacific”, and it was way out west – the west valley (San Fernando Valley).

 

Once Doug gave Tony H an English language catalogue of Japanese records, I went to work for Tony, selling (then expensive) Japanese pressed LP’s, via Tony’s company USS&M (United States Sales & Marketing). Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones – but pressed in Japan! We also sold a few Japanese domestic artists, like Y.M.O., P-Model and The Plastics. However the first time I ever saw / heard a Y.M.O. LP was at Kinokuniya Bookstore in San Francisco!

 

There is nothing quite like the smell of a freshly opened carton of Japanese LP’s! Was I smelling the plastic bags? Or the paper, glue of the cover? If you held them up to the light, some of the LP’s seemed to be dark brown…and transparent!

 

1979 / 1980 was a wonderful time to be alive, reading Music Life magazine and “requesting” new LP’s from Japan!

 

When the video age came upon us, we could order videocassettes or Laserdiscs from Japan – and they used the same color system as we did (NTSC)! However, they were rather expensive! At least they were NTSC! Japanese Laserdiscs played in US machines!

 

And a short time later, CD’s rolled down the pike! And you best believe that the Japanese were issuing titles unseen in the U.S.! Blue Note titles! Rock titles!

 

Phil Miller

Jimmy McCulloch (former guitarist for Thunderclap Newman, Stone The Crows and Wings) died today (1979), in London, England.          I was actually in England when this happened. My late sister Susie always fancied Jimmy McCulloch.

Phil Miller

British jazz guitarist Phil Miller is quite an interesting guy. I guess his earliest (early 70’s) work was with Delivery, with singer Carol Grimes. There’s a great 2-on-1 CD of that stuff (Cunieform Records, originally B&C Records UK).

 

He was then guitarist of Matching Mole (2 x albums, 71-72), then Hatfield & The North (2 x albums, 74 – 75), then National Health (2 x albums, both 78). These artists have released many more CD’s!

 

So, one must wait an additional decade for more music from Mr. Miller!

 

In the early days of CD, it was possible to find “Split Seconds” (1988) by Phil Miller, this is a great British jazz CD, with appearances by Dave Stewart (of Egg / Hatfield / National Health), Richard Sinclair (of Caravan), Elton Dean (of Soft Machine) and drummer Pip Pyle.

 

Cunieform takes up the story with “Cutting Both Ways” (1989), with Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean, Pip Pyle, Dave Stewart, Barbara Gaskin etc.

 

His own Crescent Discs label debuts the first In Cahoots CD, “Live 1986 – 1989”; perhaps there’s an earlier CD? I don’t know, never seen one.

 

Virgin Japan does the honors for “Digging In” (1991) – and that says it’s a Phil Miller solo album, not an In Cahoots CD. And this one is fabulous! And we wait another decade for…

 

Cunieform does the honors for In Cahoots “All That” (2003), a live album. I never knew they played the U.S.!

 

First one I ever saw and bought, “Conspiracy Theories” (2006) is on the MoonJune label. Didier Malherbe and Annie Whitehead are on board, too!

 

So, those ones I own. There is a newer Phil Miller CD, but I have yet to see a copy for sale.

G O N G

From: Steve Hillage
London, United Kingdom

OFFICIAL GONG BAND MEMBERS STATEMENT

We, the surviving members of Gong, do not support BYG/Charly Records upcoming reissue of the Radio Gnome trilogy.

None of the surviving members of the lineups that created those recordings were ever signed to BYG or Charly Records.

The truth is that immediately before the making of Flying Teapot in January 1973, the band learned that Daevid Allen’s once record company – BYG Records (also known as Promodisc) – had gone bust, it’s Paris office stripped bare, no phones working. The band was abandoned at the Manor Studios at the start of recording the album. Virgin – at the time just a chain of record stores and The Manor studios – was about to launch their record label.

Faced with an unpaid recording bill, they decided to cut their losses and release Flying Teapot as the second release on the new Virgin Records label. That’s the true story.

The booklet advertised as accompanying the Charly/BYG Release is full of untruths, lies and falsehoods claiming to represent Charly and BYG Records as some sort of poor victim of Virgin’s wickedness. The truth is that none of the musicians on those recordings has ever received a penny of royalty payments for the Charly/BYG releases, or even a statement. This is understandable because we NEVER signed to BYG or Charly Records as Gong.

Meanwhile, forty years later, we still receive statements from Virgin and, for those of us who cleared our advances, royalty payments, even though Virgin has since been sold to EMI and now is owned by Universal Records.

We know and can confirm as 100% corroborated fact that the Original Masters of these albums reside in the Virgin Records Archive, and that Charly has never at any time been given access to them, so Charly’s claim to have used the Original Masters is false.

Charly has been brazenly abusing our rights as artists for decades. None of us are rich or powerful enough to sue them. All we can do is to let you, our lovely Gong fans, know that we do not support this release. We will be supporting a new boxed set to be released by Universal in a few months with our full collaboration.

DO NOT BUY THIS RELEASE

Robert Wyatt “EP’s”

Happy birthday to Martin Moscrop of A Certain Ratio (1960), Tony Newley (1931) – he’s where Mr. Bowie copped some of his riffs! Additional birthday greetings to Ms. Linda Eastman McCartney, Paul’s ex-wife and member of Wings (1942).

 

Robert Wyatt “EP’s by Robert Wyatt” (1999 Rykodisc EU)

 

Disc 1 (“Bits)

 

I’m A Believer / Memories / Yesterday Man / Sonia / Calyx

 

Disc 2 (“Pieces”) (Enhanced CD, with video of “Shipbuilding”)

 

Shipbuilding / Memories Of You / Round Midnight / Pigs (In There) / Chairman Mao

 

Disc 3 (“Work In Progress”)

 

Yolanda / Te Recuerdo Amanda / Biko / Amber and The Amberines

 

Disc 4 (“Animals”)

 

The Animals’ Film

 

Disc 5 (“Remixes”)

 

Was A Friend / Maryan / A Sunday In Madrid / Free Will And Testament

 

I have the majority of songs elsewhere in Mr. Wyatt’s collection, but these are some interesting groupings of material. I am not a big fan of the “Enhanced” CD, due to my disc drive wanting to play the video, as opposed to merely letting me rip the CD.

 

Still, some interesting stuff here. 19 tracks of 80’s/90’s Robert Wyatt in a different ‘configuration’.

 

If you know his voice, you will find much to be amused with here. If you’re on the outside looking in…move along…

King Crimson

Happy birthday Danielle Dax (1958), jazz guy John Coltrane (1926), guitarist Roy Buchanan (1939) and R&B guy Ray Charles (1932).

 

Like many folks, I am only really enthusiastic about the initial incarnation of King Crimson, the band that seemed to change with each album.

 

Even for the debut album, “In The Court Of The Crimson King” (40th anniversary CD + DVD), you get the entire album re-mastered and 5 x bonus tracks – on just the CD! The DVD has the 5.1 surround version of the album in both MLP Lossless 5.1 Surround and DTS 5.1 Digital Surround. If one is unhappy with the new 5.1 mix (which I like very much), then you can also have the album as a 2004 stereo “master” edition, and 2009 Steve Wilson mix, the set noting “CD bonus tracks and alternate takes”…and video content from 1969, “Hyde Park” with “original audio from the actual performance”.

 

I was 11 years old when this LP came out, probably enjoyed it a ton when I was about 12 – despite the fact that I was listening to a U.S. Atlantic Records pressing, at that time.

 

“In The Wake Of Poseidon” came out when I was 12 / 13, and I bought it as a new release. This 40th anniversary set has the entire album on the CD with “Groon” (a 45 B-Side) added. They note in the liner notes that “The Devil’s Triangle” was up-mixed to 5.1 from stereo masters, and all of the previously mentioned “master edition” etc. per the previous DVD-A. 3 versions of the LP & a whole bunch of takes of “Groon” & “Cadence and Cascade”. The previous album had Robert Fripp liner notes, while this CD + DVD only seems to have Sid Smith liner notes.

 

I bought “Lizard” as a new release, upon it’s initial release in 1970; making me 12 / 13 years old. Robert Fripp & Sid Smith lines notes on this issue. The usual suspects on the DVD-A, hey! Where’d Greg Lake go? Experimental? Yes. British jazz? Check.

 

“Islands” had 2 completely differing packages between the US & UK LP’s. Thankfully, I never had to choose between the two, as I always had both – from initial release. Remixed album in stereo has double the tracks of the LP on CD. DVD-A, the usual suspects. More jazz guys. A lot for a 13 year old to swallow.

 

“Larks Tongues In Aspic” (1973) makes me roughly 15 years old, and in dire need of seeing this band play live. Which I did @ The Long Beach Auditorium. This set has 43 minutes of video on it, so rush out and buy a copy (CD + DVD), before the aftermarket kicks in.

 

“Starless and Bible Black” always bothered me a bit, as I knew the title was pinched from a British jazz LP (by Stan Tracey). As above, so below. I was 16 years old.

 

To conclude this slobbering, “Red” came along before I graduated high school. Alas, Eno fans were primarily responsible for calling this band useless, among other things. It wasn’t useless to me, it sounded powerful etc. What did I know, 16 going 17? Not much. This band was ‘put to bed’ while others watched TV. The “Red” DVD has some fairly nice video on it, too. Buy one CD + DVD quick!

Chris McGregor – Brotherhood of Breath

Happy birthday to Joan Jett (The Runaways) (1958) and also to singer David Coverdale (ex too many bands to mention) (1949). It’s also Cameron Hand’s birthday.

 

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

 

Originally from South Africa, Chris McGregor headed north in the mid-to-late 60’s to both the Antibes Jazz festival and England. His group, at that time, was called The Chris McGregor Septet.

 

The African players:

 

Chris McGregor – Piano

Louis Moholo – Drums

Dudu Pukwana – Alto saxophone (worked with Robert Wyatt)

Mongezi Feza – Trumpet (worked with Robert Wyatt)

 

The British players:

 

Danny Thompson – Double bass

John Surman – Baritone saxophone, bass clarinet

Evan Parker – Tenor saxophone

 

Their 1969 “Up To Earth” CD on Fled’ling UK is amazing. “Brotherhood of Breath” was formed in London in 1970 – adding British jazzers Nick Evans, Mark Charig (both having worked with King Crimson), Alan Skidmore, Mike Osborne…(who’s actually African, I believe) – this was the first LP any of us saw, in this country – “Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath” on Neon Records. As there were only 10 or 11 LP’s on Neon, we were all a bit taken aback when this was a ‘free jazz’ LP amidst all the ‘progressive rock’, traditionally associated with Neon Records.

 

In 1972, another Chris McGregor project walked down the pike – “Brotherhood” (RCA UK), that features the wonderful Gary Windo (on saxophone), as well as all of the Africans who were in London with Mr. McGregor.

 

These albums might’ve ruffled my feathers in 1971, but today, they sound great. It doesn’t even seem possible that great African 60’s jazz musicians went to England and recorded with a sympathetic producer (Joe Boyd), and got released on a major label (RCA Records).

Leonard Cohen

Happy birthday to keyboard player Don Preston (of The Mothers of Invention) (1932), and to Canadian singer / songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934).

 

Perhaps you don’t care or maybe you really like him, but people are never usually ‘divided’ about what they think of Mr. Leonard Cohen.

 

My sisters played me his debut LP, when it was a new release. I immediately liked the John Simon production (the strings, arrangements) and even on his debut, Cohen had me with his words. I read “The Favorite Game” shortly thereafter.

 

The next Cohen LP that made a big impression on me was “New Skin For The Old Ceremony” (1974), an LP that seemed to have 2 completely different covers! Have you heard that LP? Powerful stuff!

 

Once he had an LP that didn’t get a U.S. release, “Various Positions” (1979)…I believe he was confirmed as the unofficial “poet Lauerete” of Canada. Yes, the LP eventually came out in the U.S., but not on Columbia Records – it got ‘licensed’…

 

His 80’s output gained favor with a new generation of fans. Biographies began to appear. I found his 1957 spoken word LP on Folkways. It was difficult to find all of Cohen’s books, even then!

 

His ‘this century’ titles are many and confusing – how many live CD’s does he have?

 

How many studio albums does he have? I can think of “Ten New Songs”, “Dear Heather”, “Old Ideas” and “Popular Problems”, for modern day studio albums. And at least 3 (or 4?) x live albums?

 

I went to Toronto in 2006, and Leonard Cohen was never far from the surface. I’ve had the good fortune to see him play live a few times; the 1984 show was particularly good – Wiltern Theatre, sitting not far from Joni Mitchell.

 

I also got to begin to collect his documentary films: The CBC in Canada showed a few (“I Am A Hotel”), and the “Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen” DVD. And a film of his ’72 tour, as a DVD. I also tried 2 x newer DVD’s, “Live At The Isle of Wight 1970” and “Songs From The Road” (2010, mostly ’08 & ’09 recordings).

 

It’s nice to know that L.C. gets something from my recent purchases.

Inserts! Posters!

Happy birthday Fee Waybill (of The Tubes) (1950) and Bill Black (of the Bill Black Combo and Elvis Presley fame) (1926).

Inserts!

In 1965, Bob Dylan’s “Greatest Hits” LP came with a (Milton Glaser) poster.

 

In 1966, Frank Zappa asked for $1 to be sent in, and they would send you a “Freak Map” (2LP: “Freak Out”). It didn’t come with “Freak Out”, you had to send them money to get one; I got lucky, my older sister sent them money.

 

In 1967, The Beatles asked for and got an insert and special inner sleeve for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”; thus enhancing it’s position in the field of “Hippie Entitlement”. Much later, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” (3LP) had a fairly large poster. John Lennon “Plastic Ono Band” LP only had an inner sleeve & custom label. Ringo Starr’s 3rd album “Ringo” had a fairly large lyrics book.

 

In 1968, Country Joe & The Fish asked for and got a “Fish Game” in their 2nd album, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die”. Also in 1968, the debut album by singer / songwriter Leonard Cohen had a lyrics sheet (printed on nicer paper) with a flap.

 

By 1969, there were lots of inserts / posters being put in LP’s, such as the poster in “Let It Bleed” by The Rolling Stones. People hadn’t even forgotten their 3D ”Their Satanic Majesties Request” LP cover!

 

At the end of 1970, beginning of 1971, the U.S. band Chicago asked for and got a large poster in their 2nd album, still titled “Chicago”. Also in 1970, The Firesign Theatre “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliars” came with a large poster, of polaroids – the first poster in a comedy / spoken word LP?

 

The Guess Who “Best Of” came with a day-glo poster (1971)! Then all hell broke loose and band all over the world began requesting lyrics sheets / posters / inserts.

 

Santana “Abraxis” had a nice poster, but that got forgotten fairly quickly.

 

The most extreme? Probably the giant poster in Chicago’s “Chicago Live At Carnegie Hall” (4LP set). It’s absolutely huge!

 

Best LP packaging ever? The Tadanori Yokoo designed package for Santana “Lotus”, originally issued by CBS / Sony, Japan (a 3LP set with posters, inserts etc.).

 

Care to nominate your favorite LP insert or poster? Do so in the comments.

Stackridge

Happy birthday fusion jazz guitarist Earl Klugh (1953) and drummer Kenny Jones (ex-Small Faces, ex-The Who); finally guitarist B.B. King (1925).

 

Today, I will detail my humble collection of records by British group Stackridge. Never heard ‘em at the time; I am a new fan, just as they are finally calling it quits this year.

 

7″             ANYONE FOR TENNIS                                                      MCA UK       MKS 5103 1972

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″             DO THE STANLEY                                                            MCA UK       MUS 1182 1973

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

7″             HOLD ME TIGHT / BREAKFAST WITH WERNER VON BRAUN               ROCKET UK POKN 507         1976

2 TRKS no pic sleeve, “Rocket” sleeve

 

7″             LAST PLIMSOLL (mono / stereo)                                       SIRE US      SAA 717   1974

2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

 

LP            MAN IN THE BOWLER HAT, THE                                       MCA UK       MCG 3501 1974

10 TRKS stereo LP

 

LP            MR. MICK                                                                         ROCKET UK ROLL 3     1976

9 TRKS stereo LP

 

7″             SPIN ‘ROUND THE ROOM / POCKET BILLIARDS               ROCKET UK PIG 15      1974

2 TRKS no pic sleeve

 

LP            STACKRIDGE                                                                   MCA UK       MCG 3505 1971

9 TRKS stereo LP

 

So there are a few more I can search out, next time I feel like looking! I can always order the CD’s from Angel Air in England; haven’t had to do so yet! I love finding all of the 45’s, but there are more to get!