Work #1

Happy birthday to drummer Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) (1948)!

I first went to work in a record store in 1976, at the age of 17.  Bellflower, CA.  I got to “inventory” the “Hit Sheets”, among other things.  “Will we sell more Stevie Wonder if we file him in rock?”  I remember being given the task of figuring out if we could add 4 bins of Country & Western (losing 2 bins each in R&B and jazz).  The hippie record store had to cater to the community, at least somewhat!

We sold a lot of Kiss, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Ted Nugent, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder – as the community was primarily ‘latin’.  There were always lots of kids around, because the store I worked for gave away free licorice!

Salesmen would sometimes come into our store; most brought empty LP sleeves – ostensibly to make displays for new records.  I was the youngest one there, but I knew it was what I wanted to do with myself!  So what if everybody else was stoned all the time?  Y’mean even the manager was stoned?

So, with everybody but myself stoned all the time…the minute the door would get locked (at 11:00pm), somebody would like up a marijuana cigarette!  The “Keyholder” could count the cash, two of us took out the trash, another to straighten up the LP’s on display, organize the order book & special orders…

Whoever had to take out the trash had to empty the ash trays!  Yuck!

The good stuff?  Lunches from Ricci’s deli, 2 days off per week!  I finally earned enough money to buy an orange Datsun B-210 (with a 8-track player in it).

I followed my manager to the next location he had been assigned: West Covina, roughly 30 miles from my home.  Each hippie record store had it’s own ‘vibe’, and West Covina wasn’t Bellflower.  I didn’t know what went on around there, like I had known what went on in Bellflower.  I did meet some nice folks, but the existing staff of the store weren’t as sharp as Bellflower.  I believe the faux-punks were all still making their minds up as to whether or not they should support punk or disco.

And disco won.  It was “Saturday Night Fever” time – and that record just flew out of our store!  It was bigger than big, and West Covina stayed disco; the staff dressed as disco people, not punks – if you wanted punks, go out to Riverside!  They had real punks, girls with dyed hair, guys with facial tattoos etc.

Peter Maxwell Davies

Peter Maxwell Davies first came to my attention as he was composing music for Ken Russell. He did the music for “The Devils”. In fact RHS 307 and 308 are in the “Ken Russell” series of LP releases. If you have seen “The Devils” you will be aware of what nature the music plays in that fine Ken Russell film. If not… Mr. Peter Maxwell Davies was born 8 September 1934 and died 14 March 2016.

LP                EIGHT SONGS FOR A MAD KING   UNICORN UK             RHS 308

1971 2 TRKS stereo LP Fires of London, The

 

LP                IMAGE, REFLECTION, SHADOW    UNICORN UK             DKP 9033

1984 5 TRKS stereo LP

 

CD               MAVIS IN LAS VEGAS                       COLLINS UK               15242

1998 5 TRKS stereo CD

 

LP                MISSA SUPER L’HOMME ARME     L’OISEAU-LYRE UK   DSLO 2

1972 4 TRKS stereo LP Vanessa Redgrave

 

LP                NEW TRUMPET, THE                        NONESUCH US         H 71275

1973? 3 TRKS stereo LP

 

LP                VESALII ICONES                                UNICORN UK             RHS 307

1970 2 TRKS stereo LP Fires of London, The

I have owned these LP’s for well over 30 years. Most were initially purchased largely due to the Ken Russell involvement, at assorted record stores all over southern California. The later LP’s were purchased due to my interest in “New Music” and the fact that I am a bit of an anglophile.

David Bowie – “Ziggy Stardust” LP / CD / SA-CD etc.

Happy birthday keyboard player George Duke (1946) and Long John Baldry (1941).

David Bowie “Ziggy Stardust”

My history with the above named LP / CD is a long & complicated one. I bought the LP when it was a new release in the summer of 1972; RCA Records had previously given away a free 45 EP, so I knew what to expect. It was my first David Bowie LP…of course, I needed to find his Deram Records label debut LP, which was not so easy in 1972/3/4 etc.

Later on, I had to get a UK RCA Records LP of “Ziggy”; actually I think my first non-US copy was a German RCA LP. It cost $4.99 at the time, money I should’ve probably spent on Arthur Brown (or Tony Newley). Many years later, I had to have a CD of it, on RCA Records. Then a re-mastered CD on Virgin; or more accurately, Toshiba Japan (kami sleeve). The movie for the concert came and went, I think I got a DVD of it.

Then I needed the 5.1 SA-CD of it – not an easy item to obtain in 2009. And somewhere in there, I got a Rykodisc CD of it – ostensibly for the bonus tracks.

And no word yet on if I’m done buying this 1972 chestnut! What can they do next? Another 5.1 mix on a DVD-A or Blu-ray (or BSCD2)? Or – more likely – another LP of it, with a nice fold-out cover, like the German LP I found. Probably, Virgin Japan could favor us with a new LP version. After all, it’s 45th anniversary is marching to the front as I type! 50th anniversary right behind that!

Help! I am buying a record / CD again that…that…I don’t really want to keep buying! The 5.1 SA-CD will suffice for now, if I am allowed to keep the Rykodisc version – for the bonus tracks. I can lick my lips, and say I’m glad to own those two, together with a US RCA LP of it (which has a nice innersleeve).

So, at least for David Bowie, this is an LP / CD I don’t NEED to keep buying. Unless they want to say that the DVD I got some time ago isn’t somehow definitive and “Ziggy” will be issued as a CD + DVD for one of it’s anniversaries etc.

Feature Films

On 7/24, Happy birthday to Francois Cahen (1944), a great French jazz keyboard player; also Tony Joe White (“Polk Salad Annie”) (1943) and Andy Mackay (of Roxy Music) (1946).

I do not usually talk about feature films, but today I will.

I really like the Criterion DVD / Blu-ray company – they make usually really nice versions of feature films. They tend to all look GREAT, and sound GREAT!

On DVD, I have “Armageddon”, “The Bad Sleep Well” (Kurosawa), “Bad Timing”, “Charade”, “Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas”, “Fishing With John” (John Lurie), “Gimme Shelter” (Rolling Stones), “Knife In The Water” (Polanski), “The Last Wave”, “Life Aquatic”, “Life of Brian” (Monty Python), “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, “Monterey Pop”, “The Rock”, “This Sporting Life”, “Time Bandits” (Gilliam), “Tokyo Drifter”, “Traffic” and “Z” (Costa-Gavras). My favorites here are “Bad Timing” (with Art Garfunkel), which I first saw in a theatre in Auckland, New Zealand, and “The Last Wave”, which made me very curious about Australia.

 

On Blu-ray, I have the magnificent John Cassavetes boxed set: with “Shadows”, “Faces”, “A Woman Under The Influence”, “The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie” and “Opening Night”; “Cul-De-Sac” (Polanski), “Diabolique”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Island of Lost Souls”, “Medium Cool”, “Quadrophenia”, “The Red Shoes” and “Repulsion” (Polanski). Gosh, “Faces” by John Cassavetes remains a favorite, as does “A Hard Day’s Night”, the wonderful Beatles’ film. The “Faces” DVD & Blu-ray have an alternate beginning to the film, effectively making it even longer than it already is! Seymour Cassel!

 

The 2 x movies I really enjoy on DVD don’t have “proper” soundtrack LP’s, but the 2 x Blu-ray films I mention both do – “Faces” has an OST LP on Columbia Records and “A Hard Day’s Night” used to be on Parlophone / Capitol, but is on Universal these days.

 

If you haven’t seen “Faces”, get up from your computer, go rent the DVD of it somewhere, watch & believe. One of the few independently-produced films to ever get an Oscar nomination (for script, I believe). Depending on who you are, you probably have at least a DVD of “A Hard Day’s Night”, a film capable of making one as interested in England as they are about The Beatles.

 

“Bad Timing” with Art Garfunkel really caught me off guard. I first saw it in a Queen Street Auckland movie theatre, with someone who was disappointed it didn’t have more of a pornographic aspect. It’s set in Vienna, and Art isn’t a very nice guy.

 

“The Last Wave” totally redeemed Richard Chamberlain, as far as I am concerned. Neat spooky special effects, too. How much is really real?

Thanks, Mr. Dana Madore for suggesting this topic.

Dave Hill (of Slade)

Happy birthday to Leon Russell (1941, born Hank Wilson), also Marvin Gaye (1939).

 

On 4/3 Happy birthday to UK guitarist Richard Thompson (1949)!

 

On 4/4 Happy birthday to Muddy Waters (1915); Dave Hill (of Slade) (1952)!

 

I rather enjoy Leon Russell, actually. “Carney” is a really good album. I’ve seen him live a few times, always puts on a good show. DVD evidence can be found in the ”Bangla Desh” feature film. Interested onlookers can opt for the Joe Cocker “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” DVD.

 

Not being a ‘northern dancer’, Marvin Gaye is almost all but lost on me. I enjoy “It Takes Two” by Marvin Gaye with Tammi Terrell. And I have it on a 5.1 SA-CD!

 

I should probably like Richard Thompson more than I do. “Henry The Human Fly” is still a favorite, many years after the fact. Fairport Convention with Richard Thompson really ‘rocks’, too.

 

Muddy Waters did write a few of ‘em, eh?

 

And dear old Dave Hill, the guitarist of Slade. He doesn’t still have his head shaved, does he? As he approaches 65 years of age, I imagine now that Noddy Holder has “retired”, Dave Hill is as close to Slade as mere mortals can get. Anybody remember The Grimleys? Neville Holder had a great part in that UK TV show.

You Are What You Eat

Original Soundtrack

Happy birthday Paul Kanter of Jefferson Airplane (1942)

My older sister was who turned me onto the soundtrack LP of “You Are What You Eat”.  I doubt she ever saw the film – indeed, it took many years before I was able to see the film – I think she won it from a radio station.  But if it was from a radio station, that means there were promo copies of this LP to be had.  And maybe they promo’d it with a 45, too?

CD                YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT                 SONY JPN          MHCP 980

1968 15 TRKS kami / paper sleeve (’06 issue) DSD Mastering

 

LP                YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT                 CBS NL               S 70045

1968 15 TRKS John Simon & Peter Yarrow, Dutch pressing

LP                YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT                 CBS UK              70045

1968 15 TRKS John Simon & Peter Yarrow, British pressing

LP                YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT                 COLUMBIA US  OS 3240

1968 15 TRKS John Simon & Peter Yarrow, original edition US pressing

So, when the Japanese made a paper sleeve CD of this album in 2006, with DSD mastering – it pretty much answered my prayers.  I do not expect them to go any deeper – no SA-CD or 5.1 version in the pipeline, one guesses.

Still, until recently – there hadn’t been any proof that there was anything else that existed that would help promote this LP.  It’s a very groovy LP; either you know or you don’t know: it’s a collage of sounds of 1968 and pop songs and onomatopoeia of the day…a lovely psychedelic artifact…and it has Peter Yarrow’s psychedelic involvement!

To the rescue, John Simon, a man most people know as the producer of The Band.  He worked on ”You Are What You Eat” and wrote and sang a particularly neat song, “My Name Is Jack” for it.  There’s a promo 45 of that!  Columbia Records 4-44729 B / W “The Wabe”!  (TrainspottersManfred Mann covered “My Name Is Jack”!)

My Name Is Jack

So, after 40+ years…uh, since 1968 – yes, there’s a “You Are What You Eat” 45.  So, sit back, put on your DSD mastered 2006 CD from Japan and take that thrill ride once again.

The Monkees

Monkees

Randy Newman born, 1943.

When I started this music blog in 2002, I wrote dismissively about The Monkees.  Perhaps I wasn’t the right age for the TV show?  Or there was the “crush” of discovering at a young age that they didn’t play on their records?

I like them much better now, but they are still not one of my favorite bands.  I do like their singles.  For ages, all I owned was the O.S.T. for their film, “Head” – now that’s got some snappy song on it!  Will a 20 track “Greatest Hits” CD take care of my 2013 needs?  Sorry, no use for the extended packaging of the latter day albums by Rhino Handmade.

 

CD          GREATEST HITS                                                    RHINO US   R2 72190     1995 20 TRK Collection (60’s recordings)

 

DVD       HEAD (DVD)                                                           RHINO          R2 4460 1968 96m The Monkees (’94 issue )

 

CD          HEAD (O.S.T.)                                                         RHINO US   R2 71795     1968 20 TRKS

LP           HEAD (O.S.T.) promo                                             ARISTA JPN               25RS-125 1968 14 TRKS (’81 issue, test pressing)

 

7″            I’M A BELIEVER / (I’M NOT YOUR) STEPPING STONE         RCA UK RCA 1560            1966 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″            I’M A BELIEVER / (I’M NOT YOUR) STEPPING STONE (PS)                COLGEMS US    66-1002                1966 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

 

CD          MONKEES, THE (1966) (Debut album) re           RHINO US   R2 71790     1966 15 TRKS (’94 issue) (3 x bonus tracks)

 

LPx2      MONKEES, THE (Collection)                                ARISTA DE DARTY 12    1981 30 TRK Collection

 

DVD       OUR FAVORITE EPISODES (DVD)                    RHINO          R2 4464 1997 110m 4 episodes (’66 – ’68)

 

7″            PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY / WORDS (PS) COLGEMS US           66-1007    1966 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

Rolling Stones – Crossfire Hurricane

6-5-13                         Rolling Stones – “Crossfire Hurricane”

Crossfire Hurricane

www.crossfire-hurricane.com

I recently got this new Rolling Stones documentary film as a Blu-ray disc; I actually paid for it, from a retailer – on sale, as a new release.  Yes, it’s re-told through hazy rose colored glasses as worn by Mick, Keith, Charlie & Mr. Wood on the eve of their 50th anniversary, as a band.  Not that Brian Jones and Bill Wyman aren’t represented – they definitely are.  It’s a decent length (147m), and the bonus features are actually worth watching – UK & Euro TV appearances from 1964 and 1965.  Didn’t get an opportunity to watch this film on a 5.1 set-up, but I bet it sounds great.

The editing is very 2013 / modern, lots of quick cuts, “mistakes” intentionally left in, very funny visuals and audio – pretty much everything one might think of / suspect was going on.  They’re not shy about discussing Keith’s assorted proclivities.  One actually gets to see Andrew Loog Oldham and Brian Jones in action!

It’s very fun to see the present day band performing; I missed the current tour, but did see some of the hullabaloo on the streets of Los Angeles (news vans, reporters parked outside of the tiny club that they did their warm-up show) – especially compared with the snotty young men, who dominate this documentary.

Universal 100th Anniversary boxed set

4-11-13          Universal 100th Anniversary boxed set

Universal 100th Anniversary Box

On 4/11/64 the Millie Small 45 “My Boy Lollipop” charts at No. 2 in England.  On 4/11/70 the Norman Greenbaum 45 “Spirit In The Sky” charts at No. 1 in England.  Also on 4/11/70 the Pipkins 45 “Gimme Dat Ding” charts at No. 6 in England.  And on April 12th: Happy birthday, Herbie Hancock! (Born 1940).

UNIVERSAL 100TH ANNIVERSARY BOXED SET:

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

DRACULA

BUCK PRIVATES

PILLOW TALK

SPARTACUS

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

BIRDS, THE

AMERICAN GRAFFITI

STING, THE

JAWS

ANIMAL HOUSE

E.T.

SCARFACE

BREAKFAST CLUB, THE

BACK TO THE FUTURE

OUT OF AFRICA

FIELD OF DREAMS

DO THE RIGHT THING

JURASSIC PARK

APOLLO 13

FAST AND THE FURIOUS, THE

BOURNE IDENTITY, THE

MAMMA MIA!

DESPICABLE ME

It’s safe to say that not a lot of these films are actually right up my alley, but it does rather feel like I jump started my Blu-ray collection!  I have a few of these as DVD’s – purchased mostly because they turned up on 5.1 lists of “Good Audio” in feature films.

Supposedly, all of these are new transfers / new mastering, for Blu-ray.  So, shouldn’t have to ever try and better these, eh?

Universal 100th Anniversary leaflet

The Last Waltz

3-26-13          “The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz

On 3/26/66 the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich 45 “Hold Tight” charts at No. 4 in England.  Also on 3/26/66 the Bob Lind 45 “Elusive Butterfly” charts at No. 5 in England.  Noel Coward croaks, 1973.

I recently got a Blu-ray copy of “The Last Waltz” film, which is about the farewell concerts of The Band at Winterland in San Francisco, CA.

All throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, I had little or no interest in The Band.  I couldn’t have cared less.  Somebody else’s concern – not mine.

I started investigating the infamous Bob Dylan “Basement Tapes” in the mid-00’s – and found myself wanting to hear more music from The Band.  As “Music From Big Pink” was produced by John Simon, that was a fairly painless pill to swallow.  I love other albums produced by John from right around the time of “Big Pink” – the debut LP by Leonard Cohen, Simon’s work on the soundtrack to “You Are What You Eat” etc.

So, took about 5 years for me to hear all of the studio albums by The Band.  I liked most of them just fine.  Their previous live album, “Rock of Ages” is re-mastered as a Capitol 2CD set with a ton of new (extra) material added.  I have MFSL SA-CD’s of some of their studio titles.

I guess I’d always shy’d away from them because of the strong ‘hippie ethic’ that I couldn’t identify with?  I’d avoided “The Last Waltz” like the plague!  1977/8 just didn’t seem like the time to celebrate “hippie music” just yet.

So, I’m watching “The Last Waltz” on Blu-ray.  I liked Martin Scorsese’s Dylan documentary “No Direction Home”.  With his cinema eye, “The Last Waltz” plays very well – it doesn’t just seem like a tired old 70’s live show on film to me.  The interviews are amusing – the members of The Band seem to walk a careful line of spaced-out goofiness and sagely intelligence, particularly where the music is concerned.

It really helps to see who plays what on stage.  The Band are another one of those bands where the members sometimes swap instruments!  So my information collected on The Band seems to make a bit more sense now.

I guess three of the members of The Band have shuffled off, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Levon Helm.  I believe I have a book written by Levon Helm, about The Band.  I guess Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson are still pressing on regardless.  Good for them.

“The Last Waltz” is not a film for everyone.  It’s about the most polished up I’ve ever seen that generation of people on film, but some will still find it disingenuous.  It’s actually quite enjoyable to view.