Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Things I've Found on my Local's Jukebox # 9 Dion

I've posted this before on here and imagine I will do again. I put this on all the time when I'm down there, which I might be a bit too much but it's a good pub. I'd like to make it seep into the pores of the walls there. It's one of my ten favourite songs right now, has been for a while and shows no plans of shifting.

Tom Waits

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Last Song on the Album # 5 Miles Davis - Kind of Blue - Flamenco Sketches

I don't own many jazz records but I expect that even if I did Kind of Blue would make a lot of them obsolete.

Song of the Day # 102 - Magazine

"Getting involved with punk was a reaction against everything that was in the air at the time, so getting Magazine together was a reaction against punk... I just don't like movements. I'm just perverse." Howard Devoto.
This song still sounds perverse and very unusual still. It's what comes of reading Dostoevsky, Kafka and Camus as a teenager and changing your behaviour accordingly. Julie Burchill hated Magazine and Devoto which always makes me want to listen to them more. John McGeogh is wonderful here as he was in pretty much everything he ever played. The rest of the band are great too. As is Devoto. Sometimes Magazine lose me but on their best songs they're unstoppable.

Patti Smith & Lenny Kaye

'Lenny worked downstairs as a clerk in Village Oldies on Bleeker Street and I stopped by one Saturday night. The store had hubcaps on the wall and shelves of vintage 45s. Almost any song you could think of could be dug out of those dusty stacks. In future visits if there were no customers, Lenny would put on our favourite singles, and we'd dance to The Dovells, "Bristol Stomp" or do the 81 to Maureen Gray singing "Today's the Day". Patti Smith

Favourite Musicians # 5 Gram Parsons

Good looking cover! It sadly may not be on vinyl. The first song here was just played on the radio so I'm posting Gram. Impossible to do him justice in so few songs because he's one of the true greats but here are five songs from five different phases.
1. I Just Can't Take It Anymore
2. One Hundred Years from Now

3. Hot Burrito # 1
As good as a broken heartened, embittered love song gets.
4. She
5. Return of the Grievous Angel

Teenage Fanclub - Everything Flows

I agree with the writer. Teenage Fanclub are inconsistent and I'm not sure they've ever done anything quite as good as the first thing they released. This though is sublime. I've got plenty of time for Bandwagonesque, bits of Thirteen, Grand Prix and Songs From Northern Britain after which they became slightly cuddly as he suggests and not really to my taste anymore. But there's something much harder hitting about this and second single God Knows it's True which I've added under the article.

Old music: Teenage Fanclub – Everything Flows

The boys from Lanarkshire get close to the divine light on their first single from 1990
When Teenage Fanclub get it right – not something you can rely on – they can climb to within an A flat major 7th of the sublime. And they are all the more enigmatic precisely because they have been so inconsistent. Even though Everything Flows, their first single, forms part of what you might call their harder early sound, it is certainly one of those moments when the boys from Lanarkshire got close to the divine light.

When the 7in (special edition with a circular sleeve) first turned up at the Essex record shop in which I was employed as slave labour in 1990, my friends and I had been devouring British indie pop and American noise, in particular the Pixies. The raga drone of Everything Flows, offset with the melodic lead guitar of Raymond McGinley, hinted at an exciting new hybrid and Norman Blake's mumbling and artless lyrics seemed a good fit for a gang of 17-year-old shoegazers from London's hinterland. This connection was strengthened further because at the time I had exactly the same haircut and glasses as dear old Norman. None of us would have expected that after a few questionable turns in the following few years Teenage Fanclub would become the respectable – cuddly, even – dads' favourites of the past decade.

The band did achieve a kind of understated greatness again: for moments with the punchy, sunny sound of Bandwagonesque and in the power-folk of Grand Prix, but most notably with the elegiac but uplifting Songs from Northern Britain. But that rough magic is all here in Everything Flows. It promised so much and, occasionally, they delivered on that promise.


Monday, April 28, 2014

The Last Song on the Album # 4 - Grace Jones - Nightclubbing - I've Done It Again

'I was on the first ship to Peru
Charted all the courses like all sailors do
First to cross the Mason-Dixon line
Overseeing wetbacks for good Californian wine.'

Here's a last track that doesn't have a hint of death about it. Smooth. Written by Marianne Faithfull for Grace. From a record that was judged album of the year by the NME in the year it came out in 1980 when that was not an easy thing to achieve.

Song of the Day # 101 -The Charlatans

'What are you sad about,  everyday you make the sun come out,
even in the pouring rain,  I'll come to see you
and I'll save you, I'll save you.'
Not typical of the stuff I generally post on here but I have good memories of this. With all the fuss about anniversaries of Britpop in the media recently it's been a bit shocking to revisit some of those records. I made the mistake of listening to thirty seconds of The Seahorses' Law of the Land yesterday. The Charlatans were British and were releasing records but weren't really at that particular party, they don't get a single mention in John Harris's book about the scene. Perhaps they do well not to be thrown in with it all. Most of it hasn't aged well.
I very much like this, and a lot of the album it comes from, Tellin' Stories though I haven't listened to either for years. It has a hard won swagger. Quite beautiful guitar break. The band had lost keyboardist Rob Collins during the sessions for the album. It's title tips it's cap to Dylan and musically it seems much more immersed in American influences than British ones. The video shows them wandering round New York. They mooch around a corner store for a minute or so for no apparent reason. Tim Burgess moves throughout in the way only musicians from around the Manchester area seem to move. It seems to be about male friendship as much as anything else.

Great American Bands of the Eighties # 8 - The Dream Syndicate

This has everything you could want from a guitar band. Incendiary is probably the word for it. Two fine opening albums in the early eighties.

Instrumentals # 4 Martin Rev

From Alan Vega's Suicide sidekick. A band apart. This is just beautifully simple like so much that both men came out with. This sounds like Dream Baby Dream's little brother.  I suspect his solo stuff would be well worth tracking down.

Things I Found on my Local's Jukebox # 8 -Toots & the Maytals

There aren't many things better than Toots & the Maytals. Go on name some! The best laughter on record that I know of at the end of this.

The Songs Our Parents Gave Us - The Carpenters

Like the writer, The Carpenters make me think of when I was growing up and particularly my mother who liked them. Again, it was one of the few records in our house. I think she probably played them while she was ironing too. I didn't live on a grotty estate like he did though. This is the first part of a longer Guardian article. Coincidentally it's also a Monday today though not a rainy one.

The songs our parents gave us

The music we grow up with shapes our tastes in later life, according to a study by Cornell University. We asked Guardian writers to tell us about the songs that take them back to their childhood homes

'My mother would listen to the Carpenters while ironing'

Of the handful of albums my parents owned, it was The Carpenters' Singles 1969-1973 that struck me the most. I remember being particularly fascinated by Rainy Days and Mondays. With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect it was because it was the first piece of music I had ever heard that appeared to perfectly suit the circumstances in which I heard it. My mother would listen to the Carpenters in the afternoon, while doing the ironing in the front room, and I remember thinking that was what the woman in the song was probably doing too. In my head she was singing it in in an anonymous house on a cul-de-sac in an estate like ours, while doing something boring like housework, in that awful, interminable dead zone between the lunchtime kids' programmes ending and the afternoon ones beginning. I never felt that about my parents' other records: I don't know what I thought the bloke singing Brown Sugar was doing, but I was pretty certain he wasn't ironing.

Something about the song's sadness, and its pertinence must have seeped into me. I started loving the Carpenters and never stopped, even when it was deeply uncool to do so (they never were and will never be, the kind of band it's OK for a teenage boy to like), even before I could dissect why I found their music so moving. The weird combination of velvety richness and ineffable melancholy in Karen Carpenter's voice, the way it tugs at the lushness of the arrangements, the nagging sense that, in this glossily perfect, light-entertainment soundworld, something is desperately wrong. I still love them today.Alexis Petridis

A Hundred Days & a Hundred Songs!


Onto the next hundred.

  1. Andrew Oldham Orchestra
  2. Dion & the Belmonts
  3. Big Youth
  4. The Left Banke
  5. The Undisputed Truth
  6. Ted Taylor
  7. The Real Kids
  8. U-Roy
  9. The Regents
  10. The Nits
  11. The Velvet Underground
  12. Jacques Dutronc
  13. Aretha Franklin
  14. The Lovin' Spoonful
  15. The Shins
  16. Carl Orff
  17. Minutemen
  18. Peggy Lee
  19. The Chambers Brothers
  20. The Thompson Twins
  21. R.E.M
  22. Louis Armstrong
  23. Bugsy Malone Soundtrack
  24. Dennis Brown
  25. Charlie Rich
  26. Roky Erikson
  27. Richard Harris
  28. Fleetwood Mac
  29. Ricky Nelson
  30. Linda Lewis
  31. The Breeders
  32. XTC
  33. The Byrds
  34. The Isley Brothers
  35. The Swinging Blue Jeans
  36. Al Green
  37. Warren Zevon
  38. Cal Tjaeder
  39. Tim Hardin
  40. The Creation
  41. The High
  42. Melvin Van Peebles
  43. Yamasuki
  44. Nina Simone
  45. Cowboy Junkies
  46. Black Blood
  47. Ride
  48. Friend & Lover
  49. Chicory Tip
  50. The Psychedelic Furs
  51. Elvis Costello & the Attractions
  52. Os Mutantes
  53. Nico
  54. The Paragons
  55. Dmitri Shostakovich
  56. The Au Pairs
  57. The Sir Douglas Quintet
  58. Gregory Porter
  59. Pharell Williams
  60. Television
  61. Miriam Makeba
  62. Billy Fury
  63. It's a Beautiful Day
  64. Simon & Garfunkul
  65. C.W.Stoneking
  66. Derek & the Dominos
  67. Grace Jones
  68. New Order
  69. Ivan
  70. Darrell Banks
  71. Los Saicos
  72. Dr. John
  73. Dalek I Love You
  74. The Mynah Birds
  75. Bonny & Sheila
  76. The Aristocats
  77. The Flamin' Groovies
  78. Broadcast
  79. The Blue Orchids
  80. Desmond Dekker
  81. Love
  82. The Rolling Stones
  83. Guided By Voices
  84. Parquet Courts
  85. The Screaming Trees
  86. Neil Young
  87. Kate Le Bon
  88. Patti Smith
  89. The Black Lips
  90. Mighty Hannibal
  91. Nyuyorican Soul
  92. Vernon Green & the Medallions
  93. Cornershop
  94. Dorothy Ashby
  95. The City
  96. The Smiths
  97. Subway Sect
  98. Deerhunter
  99. Black Merda
  100. Scott Walker

Records !

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Last Song on the Album # 3 Parklife - Blur - This is a Low

I've got mixed feelings about Blur. Damon seems to lack empathy, which is an important quality in a musician. But they had their moments. Particularly this. The best thing they ever did. At least that I heard. Just wonderful Graham Coxon guitar solo that expresses all of the emotion of the lyric. A song about the Shipping Forecast. That most British of things. A great track and a superb way to end an album.

Song of the Day #100 - Scott Walker

Hundredth song of the day. A hundred days. Consecutive. That's an achievement of sorts. Here's a slightly related song. Less than a minute and a half long. It mentions Charles De Gaulle and ends with the sounds of a musical box.

Nik Cohn

The opening paragraphs of a New York Times article about Nik Cohn one of the first and still one of the best chroniclers of rock music. The rest of the article is here.

Nik Cohn’s Fever Dream

Amy Arbus for The New York Times
             Barely a month after his 22nd birthday, the British reporter, novelist and pop critic Nik Cohn hunkered down in a cottage in Connemara, on Ireland’s craggy western coast. It was the spring of 1968. Political storms were whipping up in Prague and Paris and America. Connemara couldn’t have been farther away from it all, and that was the idea: writing 10 hours a day, no distractions and no breaks, and, at the end of a mere seven weeks, a book.
          But the local conditions turned out to be tempestuous in their own way. With a view out a large picture window of the Atlantic Ocean, tossed into a white chop by howling gales, and with Beethoven’s A-minor string quartet playing at top volume on a phonograph, Cohn banged out chapter after chapter on a manual typewriter. What resulted, “Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom,” is a monument to speed writing. It is also the defining text of what its subtitle calls “the Golden Age of Rock.” Spun out in a series of perfectly turned, pocket-size biographies — Elvis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, the Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, the Who — “Awopbop­aloobop Alopbamboom” is the closest thing there is to a rock version of Vasari’s “Lives of the Artists.” (Like Giorgio Vasari, Cohn was a contemporary — or friend — of many of his subjects.) It is a book full of attitude, shrewd (and sometimes cruel) judgments, youthful cynicism and aching love. At the level of style, perhaps no other writer has evoked the power and rhythm of rock ’n’ roll so well: “What I was after was guts, and flash, and energy, and speed,” Cohn once wrote. The book’s rapid-fire creation in a lonely cottage in Connemara is — like so many chapters of Cohn’s five-decade career — both larger than life and under the radar, the kind of tall tale eagerly shared by the cultlike community of readers, writers, editors and pop stars who count themselves devoted Cohnheads.
Cohn’s own estimation of “Awopbop” is absolutely Cohnlike in its flair for artful hyperbole and delivering a knockout punch: “What my writing had in those days was spontaneous combustion, terrific forward thrusts of energy,” he told me not long ago when I went to visit him on Shelter Island in New York. “Even if it was rubbish — vast, loud, strong rubbish.”

Football Songs # 5 Theme from Sparta F.C

'We live on blood (Hey!)
We are Sparta F.C. (Hey!)
English Chelsea fan this is your last game (Hey!)
We're not Galatasary We're Sparta F.C. (Hey!)'

A suggestion from a friend. Thanks Rod. Indisputably The Fall.

The Last Song on the Album # 2 Patti Smith - Horses - Elegie

'Memory falls like cream in my bones.'
The last song on the first album. Also the last song ever played at CBGBs when Patti played there before it closed in 2006. As with the Astral Weeks last track it brings things to a rest. A tribute to departed friends.

Things I Found on my Local's Jukebox # 7 Lou Reed

Single taken from his first album. And I always thought he sang 'then we spoke of the rain, always back to the rain.'
'I was talkin' to Chuck in his Genghis Khan suit
and his wizard's hat
He spoke of his movie and how he was makin'
a new sound track

And then we spoke of kids on the coast
and different types of organic soap
And the way suicides don't leave notes
Then we spoke of Lorraine
always back to Lorraine

I was speakin' to Phil who was given to pills
and small racing cars
He had given them up since his last crack-up
had carried him too far

Then we spoke of the movies and verse
and the way an actress held her purse
And the way life at times can get worse
Then we spoke of Lorraine
always back to Lorraine

Ah, she's a wild child
and nobody can get at her
She's a wild child
oh, and nobody can get to her

Sleepin' out on the street
Oh, livin' all alone
without a house or a home
and then she asked you, please
hey, baby, can I have some spare change
Oh, can I break your heart?

She's a wild child, she's a wild child

I was talkin' to Betty about her auditions
how they made her ill
But life is the theater, is certainly fraught
with many spills and chills

But she'd come down after some wine
which is what happens most of the time
Then we sat and both spoke in rhymes
Till we spoke of Lorraine
ah, always back to Lorraine

I was talking to Ed who'd been reported dead
by mutual friends
He thought it was funny that I had no money
to spend on him

So we both shared a piece of sweet cheese
and sang of our lives and our dreams
And how things can come apart at the seams
And we talk of Lorraine
always back to Lorraine

She's a wild child
oh, and nobody can get at her
She's a wild child
oh, and nobody can get to her

Sleepin' out on the street
Oh, livin' all alone
without a house or a home
and then she asked you, please,
oh, baby, can I have some spare change
Now can I break your heart?"

She's a wild child, she's a wild child
Lou Reed 1971

Song of the Day # 99 Black Merda

A Detroit band of the late sixties and early seventies. Originally called Black Murder as a comment on the volume of black deaths caused by racial inner city violence in the States. The band backed Edwin Starr and The Temptations before releasing their debut album which this comes from in 1970.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Last Song on the Album # 1 Van Morrison - Astral Weeks - Slim Slow Slider

'You're out of reach.'
Writing and choosing the last track on a record is a minor art form. Many of them sound like they were specifically written to occupy that place. Most of the good ones are about closure of some sort. Death of course too. This one spells it out clearly in its lyrics. Van was 22 when he wrote this. I've sometimes thought it slightly anti-climactic given what's come before it on this extraordinary record. Then you listen to it closely and you realise it's not. More about the quite incomparable Astral Weeks later on this week after it's the first selection of the new series of Record Player.

Lou Reed, Lou Reed

From Luke Haines forthcoming album. A tribute to New York in the 70's. I'm already sold on the idea obviously given so much other content on here. Like so many others I'm forever daydreaming about that city.

American States # 10 North Dakota - Lyle Lovett

This particular series is helping me discover all kinds of music I wouldn't have found otherwise and imagine myself in all kinds of places I'll never be. I doubt I'll ever make it to North Dakota. From the best looking man in all of Rock and Roll. He married Julia Roberts you know. With talent and sensitivity like this I'm not surprised. He also did a great turn as a baker in Short Cuts.

Jack Ruby - Hit & Run

 Be warned. This is hipper than hip New York 70's street speak style journalism. But nevertheless an interesting article by Thurston Moore for The Guardian about punk and no wave and specifically the ultimate mythical band, overlooked and pretty much unknown apart from outside its immediate context in seventies New York. Their forthcoming reissue is probably worth investing in if you're interested in that stuff.

Thurston Moore on Jack Ruby: the forgotten heroes of pre-punk

The former Sonic Youth man explains why a new reissue tells a crucial part of the story of New York's 1970s rock revolution
Jack Ruby
Jack Ruby … Little-heard revolutionaries of New York. Photograph: Stephen Barth/PR

There were a few simultaneous concurrences of rock'n'roll action during the heyday of 1976-1980 NYC punk. Primarily performed at CBGB, Max’s Kansas City and other more obscurant venues, there were variant disciplines of performance.

One was the held-over street-rock vibe of bands strutting to the tired boogie of Long Island shag hair and glitter trash informed by the crud chords of Kiss, Aerosmith and New York Dolls, but hardly with the genius aplomb of those hot rockers.

Bands like the Brats and the Harlots of 42nd St may have had a genius lick or two but theirs was a fading raunch to the whip smart energy of Talking Heads and Richard Hell and the Voidoids, two outfits that were shocking in their avant-modernist words and music headiness.

Even more straight up bar-rock moves could be transcended by the unique infect of Patti Smith, the fabulous trans-gutter drag of Wayne County or the intelligent sexiness of Debbie Harry, infusing and elevating the 60s fun rock moves of Blondie. 
There were indeed even less interesting stink glam bands hitting the boards of clubland all straining at our attention as we awaited the majesty of Television, the Ramones or the Stooge-Nugget wildness of the Dead Boys. There were more lame acts than great ones surely but that seems to be always the case anytime and anywhere.

Of course we were all drawn to the limelight of Patti, Hell, Verlaine, Ramones, Blondie, T Heads, but they already seemed golden and untouchable in a city blasted in exhaustion from speed-addled hippie hangover and Vietnam-Nixon burnout. These bands certainly exemplified the personality and psycho-geo-scuzz of the city but there was another faction of music in coexistence that really was truly fucked and completely off-the boards weirdo.
One antecedent was Suicide, the terrific and terrorcentric duo of Martin Rev straight up pummeling audiences with demented over-amped keyboard electronics and vocalist Alan Vega seemingly scraped off the Union Square subway platform in a state of mental patient-on-acid hysteria assaulting the audience with what seemed like some kind of Agent Orange nervous meltdown. They were bizarre and phenomenal.

Another was the high energy sonic slut-core of transplanted Cleveland band the Dead Boys, formed from the Midwest ashes of Rocket From the Tombs with direct connection to the amazing outré tuneage of Pere Ubu, where a ferocious passion for the punk blueprint of the Stooges, MC5 and arcane sides of lost garage 60s punk snarl 7ins informed their entire approach.

Certainly inspired and informed, though more sub-underground, to these bloodcurdling bands were the No Wave bands. Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, fronted by a teenage runaway poet boy-shredder named Lydia Lunch with Bradley Field on single snare drum (and one stick), a contemporary freak pal to the Cramps (the almighty garage punk noise trio also from the crazoid streets of Cleveland), and Jim Sclavunos on bass, who would later be the drummer in service for Sonic Youth’s Confusion Is Sex LP and these days a mainstay in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

And most sensationally the Contortions, led by the sax anxiety of James Chance and featuring the stunning pan-androgynous slide guitar of Pat Place. From farthest afield their was the always polarising DNA, with Arto Lindsay as a guitarist’s revelation – or nightmare depending on how open you were to the incineration of trad rock – along with drummer Ikue Mori, a Japanese woman who would evolve into one of the great percussion/sound improvisers of the genre. And the most confounding and sensuously brutalist band Mars, where street scared lyrics, mystery jazz fingerings and art school insolence all swirled in a miasma of transient noise and beauty. Also plugging in and scowling/howling was the fabulous all-in-black Rudolph Grey, an urban nihilist who played guitar as if to penetrate to the place John Coltrane seemed to be nearing on his last sessions in duo with Rashid Ali.

Glenn Branca, a dark imperious and serious player coming from radical theatre, struck a more razor-cutting chord on the scene with his bands Theoretical Girls and the Static, and was later to focus on more ambitious compositional work with a series of high-volume guitar symphonies. As did former piano tuner for minimalist oddball Lamonte Young, Rhys Chatham. Both Glenn and Rhys, once compatriots and later arch rivals, remain active today with completely divisive and distinct sensibilities.
Alas, a few have died. Bradley Field, mostly from personal neglect. And Sumner Crane, the dark genius light of from Mars, possibly from the same malaise as Bradley. And George Scott, central to so much of this scene with his bass playing in the Contortions as well as Lydia Lunch’s post Teenage Jesus band 8-Eyed Spy and his no-surf combo the Raybeats, and later with one of John Cale’s rowdier NYC-centric line-ups. George exuded a historical glamour for having been in a band that most of us only had heard about but had never heard or seen, a mysterious deep-in-the-vault entity known as Jack Ruby.

This was a band whispered about from the most inner circle of no-wave knowledge, as they pre-dated a lot of the aesthetic weirdness and wild style of so much of that scene. Lydia had seen them (she saw everything) and they left her, while not so breathless as some things, with at least a lump in her throat. Rudolph Grey would always recount hearing Jack Ruby at Max’s and being very intrigued by the long gloves the singer wore while the guitarist, Chris Gray, played with a mix of James Williamson, Sonny Sharrock and Mick Ronson.

The legend of Jack Ruby became a sacred stone of sorts in retrospect to this scene’s history. While Byron Coley and I were working on the book No Wave. Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980 we realised it was tantamount to impossible to find info on this group. The only eyewitnesses we knew – Lydia, Rudolph and James Chance – shed a bit of light on something of what Jack Ruby may have been like but their recollections were at war with so much other chaos from 1975 onwards. Fair enough. What we suspected and later found out to be actual was that the various band members were around, to some degree, working straight jobs, nothing too out of the ordinary. George Scott had died way too young, before the 1980s could even progress into anything, from ingesting some crapola into his blood, seriously bumming everyone on the scene completely out.

I was in awe of George. Byron was pals with him. Before he died I met him and we talked about maybe playing together. He was one of the first music heroes I had some contact with where there could be some potential collaboration. I had moved to NYC late 1976 and would see these no-wavers in my East 13th Street neighborhood and I was at all the same shows, the early Dead Boys and Cramps gigs, but I never ingratiated myself into their zone, or whatever loose collective gang brain trust they had. I was on the same wavelength, though in a less desperate lifestyle, I suppose. Lydia would have chained me to the radiator in her East Village boudoir basement anyway and I’d probably be in a no wave crisis ward right now (maybe I am).

Jack Ruby were young and wild early 70s rock'n’roll intellectuals. They knew the real deal of emotional expressionistic text was in the underpinnings of the avant-garde – the NYC lineage of William Burroughs and the Velvet Underground, the poetry and radical high energy of Detroit’s John Sinclair and the MC5, and the questioning neo-noir visionaries of European art-house cinema.

They only played a few gigs, all recounted in the fabulous oral history liner notes of this
comprehensive CD on Saint Cecilia Knows (and double LP from Feeding Tube, a US record-store label as run by Ted Lee and Byron Coley, with minimal input from myself). Jon Savage is correct in placing them in a continuum where they may very well be one the last of the lost truly significant rock'n’roll groups to further the history of one of the most potent music revolutions in our lifetime.

In their oral history, also recounted in the liners, they bring to light what the downtown NYC scene around the advent of CBGB/punk rock was truly like. The image of a teenage Lydia Lunch banging on the closed grates of Bleecker Bob's record store to get the attention of these nether-culture aesthetes is the real story of 1976 underground rock. It comes from the moment, the ground zero of what alien voidoids like Hell, Smith, Byrne, Ubu, Verlaine et al delivered from an earlier 70s urbanity (no regard for country hippie CSN&Y bunk) and the promise of savage amusement is intoxicating.

It was only a matter of time after Byron and I published our no wave tome that the internet brought forth some peeps from the Jack Ruby days; and lo and behold, pictures were found and recordings were located. The sound of this band is flooring. Chris Gray presages the unorthodox and to-hell-with-rules-'n'-regulations guitar playing of every no wave and post-no wave band, almost all who never laid eyes or ears on this group. It’s insane. It’s beautiful. It’s astounding.

And then there’s the legend of Boris Policeband, an original short-term member of Jack Ruby who wore an array of police walkie-talkies around his waist and sported weirdo-punk shades and only communicated through squawks (a solo 7in was released in '77 – I suggest you locate it).
1976: I can still see those guys hanging out behind the bins of overpriced LPs at Bleecker Bobs, interacting with the daily energy of what was becoming the most important movement in rock'n'roll for our age. Who knew?
Hit and Run by Jack Ruby is released on Saint Cecilia Knows on 28 April.

Radio Ethiopia

Wise words. Patti.

Candy Darling

A lot of what I do here is ferry facts across from Wikipedia add a couple of pictures and publish. Still, it's a public service of sorts. Making Sheila Take a Bow song of the day a couple of days back made me curious about Candy Darling its cover star. Fascinating, incendiary life and the inspiration for much great music and art.
1. Walk on the Wild Side most obviously. Still doesn't seem right that Lou's not here anymore. Candy gets a verse to herself along with other notable Factory dignitaries as Holly Woodlawn, Joe Dallesandro, Jackie Curtis and Joe Campbell. Remarkably the B Side to the single of this was Perfect Day. That's the way to do it!
2. Candy Says
While we're with Lou this is just a quite beautiful song. The first song on the Velvet's great self-titled third album. Sung by John Cale's replacement Doug Yule though you might not know it. I didn't work this out until a couple of years ago. It sounds like Lou to me.
Candy says I've come to hate my body
And all that it requires in this world
Candy says I'd like to know completely
What others so discretely talk about

I'm gonna watch the blue birds fly over my shoulder
I'm gonna watch them pass me by
Maybe when I'm older
What do you think I'd see
If I could walk away from me

Candy says I hate the quiet places
That cause the smallest taste of what will be
Candy says I hate the big decisions
That cause endless revisions in my mind
Lou Reed
3. Citadel
'Candy and Taffy, hope we both are well
Please come see me in the citadel.'
From Their Satanic Majesties Request. Not sure what they were thinking agreeing to wear those hats. I'm sure Charlie wasn't happy. The songs chorus pays tribute to Candy and friend Taffy Titz. Taffy Titz!?!
4. Lola
Yes. This one too!
5. I am a Bird Now
One of the great images! Peter Hujar's 'Candy Darling on her Deathbed' was used as the cover image of Anthony & the Johnson's 2005 album.
And plenty of others. Candy Darling died of Lymphoma at the age of 29. In a letter written on her deathbed for Andy Warhol and others she wrote, "Unfortunately before my death I had no desire left for life... I am just so bored by everything. You might say bored to death. Did you know I couldn't last. I always knew it. I wish I could meet you all again." A friend of Warhol's said it was the first time he'd seen him cry on hearing the news of her death.

Song of the Day # 98 - Deerhunter

Because it says what it wants to. Finishes. Then leaves.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Football Songs # 4 World in Motion

'Arrivederci it's one on one.'
Ok I actually like this one. Wonderful lyrics. Even the rap. Possibly especially the rap. If I recall, someone somewhere also shouts 'release me Trevor' at some point which has to be a good thing.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Song of the Day # 97 - Subway Sect

'Punk was a time for defining oneself by slogans and manifestos. In terms of the latter, Subway Sect's Vic Godard boldly declared, 'We oppose all rock'n'roll' - a line copped from an earlier song of that name.. With Ambition - their second single - Subway Sect opened with yet more impressive sloganeering, Godard issuing a fabulously dismissive opening couplet 'You can take it or leave it as far as we're concerned / Because we're not concerned with you!' Musically, this was thrilling, original, modern rock'n'roll, full of existential enquiry, with biting rhythm guitars and an odd dog leg of chord changes into the chorus. But it's the irresistible hookline played on a cheap organ, reminiscent of ? & the Mysterians, that ensures Ambition still burns brightly.'
One of the original reasons for starting this was the inspiration I got from a weekly social event I discovered and started attending called The Record Player which is held at Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. I've been going there for getting on to three years. The concept itself is simple. The genial host welcomes guests, cracks gags, makes a brief intro and then the gathered ensemble sit and listen to the given weeks chosen record on vinyl from start to finish uninterrupted but accompanied by a set of slides related to what we're listening to. It's a genius concept, not entirely original, as the host Mr. Drayton would probably readily admit but quite beautiful in itself. I've had some unforgettable evenings through it. I hope for many more!
One of the early evenings was a singles night. Not a chance to pull, at least no more than normally, but focussed on the joy of the 7 inch vinyl and giving a selection of assorted punters the chance to choose and talk about a single that meant something to them. I chose this one.
I'm the cat in the hat. Wonderful evening!
I didn't win but I'd maintain that the song I chose was amongst the best of the night. At least in the top three. The paragraph above from Mojo describes it very well, I'd also nominate it as a true punk rock record in a way that quite few are in that it's truly original which was surely the point of the whole thing in the first place. Vic is still touring, having taken time off to flip burgers on the Sheen Road and then become a postman and experience married life in Mortlake. I've seen him twice live in Newcastle in the autumn of the past two years. He's been just great both times. 'The Greatest Living Englishman' as Mark Riley dubs him. The last time I got to shake the hand of the Sex Pistols drummer as he leaned at the bar before playing his set with Vic's band. All power to Vic's elbow. He's surely not done yet!

Jolene at 33 RPM

Some listen.

Football Songs # 3 - Back Home

Oh dear! The songs remain dubious and this series seems sure to be axed before long. Still, the World Cup this was for was in the Americas as is the one coming up. At that point England possibly had a better team than they've ever had including the time they won it and were robbed by the krauts at the Quarter Final stage. Chance would be a fine thing this time round!

Thinly Sliced


Candy Darling

'Candy came from out on the island,
In the backroom she was everybody's darling,
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She says, hey baby, take a walk on the wild side
Said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
And the colored girls go,'
Lou Reed 1972

And from Sheila Takes a Bow to its cover star via Walk on the Wild Side. A story of a quite remarkable life of bravery and expression. Lifted wholesale from this account from personal friend Jeremiah Newton on Candy's website.

Candy Darling, Warhol superstar, actress of both stage and screen, celebrity of the youthquaking 60s and glittering 70s, immortalized in the songs of Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones: her glamor, beauty, and humor inspire artists, musicians and writers to this day. It is hard to believe that Candy has been dead for over thirty years.
She was born a he: James Lawrence Slattery, on November 24, 1944, to Theresa Phelan, who worked as a bookkeeper at Manhattan’s glamorous Jockey Club, and Jim Slattery, an often violent alcoholic who squandered family finances at the racetrack. His very name inspired fear and hatred throughout Candy’s short life.
From the very beginning of his life, little Jimmy was mistaken for a female. His skin, so milky white and smooth, his large, liquid brown eyes framed with thick eyelashes -- there was just a way about Jimmy that could not be denied. He was judged "Most Beautiful Baby Girl" in a contest at Gertz Department Store. There was a slightly older half-brother, Warren, by his mother’s first marriage, a grandfather once billed in vaudeville as “the strongest man in Boston,” and Uncle Donald, who sent “campy” cards encouraging his nephew’s sense of comic timing.
With this cast of characters, one might imagine that Jimmy and his family had sprung from the mind of Candy’s later patron and admirer, Tennessee Williams; but instead, in the best American tradition, Candy Darling created herself, with the help of television’s Million Dollar Movie.


How TELEVISION changed a life
During the 1950s, Million Dollar Movie, with its theme music borrowed from Gone With the Wind (the perfect dirge for a dying Hollywood), entertained young Jimmy, who often played hooky from school in order to watch the same movie aired three times a day, seven days a week. Hollywood and its mystique fascinated him and transfigured the reality of a lonely boy living in a small, Cape-Cod bungalow in Massapequa Park, Long Island. The frequent airing of a Million Dollar Movie film enabled Jimmy to study carefully his favorite performers: makeup and costumes, the nuances of the actors, the contrived plots and dialogue. It wasn’t long before he became a champion mimic -- only Jimmy wasn’t doing the male leads. His forte was the women, and he could and would perform for anyone who would listen.
But while many adults were amused by little Jimmy performing Joan or Constance Bennett impersonations, his contemporaries were not, and soon the neighborhood looked on Jimmy as a bizarre local pariah.

Lana Turner's boldest fan

Local parents did not want their children playing with him and, thus ostracized, this unusual child was left to his own means of amusement, content to live in a Technicolor dream world, writing letters to his cousin Kathy Michaud in which they discussed key issues such as Kim Novak’s fan club and Lana Turner’s secret romance. Photoplay and Modern Screen were their favorite magazines, along with the publication Vice Squad.
As time went by, with his now-divorced mother working at the local telephone company during the days and his brother away in the service, Jimmy had ample time to begin experimenting with his mother’s makeup and clothing. He loved to draw luxurious colored bubble baths while playing tango and mambo music on the stereo and acting out scenes from Lana Turner's Biblical epic The Prodigal


Teen delinquent
As a teenager, Jimmy, who wrote daily in his diary, learned about the mysteries of sex from a salesman in a local children’s shoe store. When Jimmy was 17, his mother, alerted by a local snoop, confronted Jimmy with the shattering news that he had been seen dressed “like a girl” entering a local gay bar called The Hayloft. Taking his mother gently by the hand, Jimmy asked her not to say a word, but to sit at the kitchen table and wait. Minutes passed. Many years later, Terry recalled that morning when she waited, upset and full of questions, listening to the kitchen clock ticking so loudly. Finally, the door opened, and her son came out transformed into a beautiful young woman. Candy Darling was born.
“I knew then,” Theresa told me, “that I couldn’t stop Jimmy. Candy was just too beautiful and talented.”
A new name was needed, and her first would be Hope Slattery, but it was quickly cast aside for Candy, because of her love of sweets.
Most likely inspired by the background of Tallulah Bankhead, she told strangers that the name Darling came from her father, the “senator”, who lived on a plantation down South surrounded by loving “darkies” who crooned to her at night. She told Andy Warhol that “... the Darling fortune is made from a chain of dry cleaning stores and we’re just cleaning up!” The facts of her humble beginnings she kept secret from everyone save her closest friends.

Young lovely SMUGGLED

Because Candy lived nearly an hour away from Manhattan in her “country house,” she made use of the Long Island Rail Road, leaving Massapequa Park late at night so nosy neighbors couldn’t spy and make her mother’s life more miserable than it already was. Because of harsh laws at the time, Candy still dressed like a male, wearing simple, dark clothing (a habit she kept for the rest of her life), but she eventually dyed her brown hair platinum blond. While the stations zipped by, she transformed herself using makeup. Occasionally she would notice another blonde Long Island resident on the train, an up-and-coming actress by the name of Joey Heatherton, but they never spoke, both immersed in their own worlds. 



As time passed, Candy made friends through the “salon” of Seymour Levy on Bleecker Street in New York’s Greenwich Village. At night, she danced at a nearby after-hours club, The Tenth of Always, where she first saw Andy Warhol with Lou Reed. Candy's direct route to stardom would be mapped out by Jackie Curtis, “the world’s youngest playwright,” who wrote the part of Nola Noonan in the comedy Glamour, Glory and Gold for her, although the first diva to actually play the role was Melba LaRose, Jr. (1968). The play, an underground phenomenon, was written in one hour while 15-year-old Curtis, too, rode the L.I.R.R.
More assistance would come through Candy’s friend the poet/actor/Superstar Taylor Mead, who brought the man who Candy considered a mentor until the end, Andy Warhol, to see her perform in Jackie’s play. Other friends of the mid-’60s included playwright and pop-culture author Bob Heide, whose plays were performed at the now-legendary Caffe Cino, where then-unknown Harvey Keitel chewed the scenery. Clyde Meltzer, aka Taffy Terrific, aka Taffy Titz, was a performer who introduced her to the Brooklyn crowd. Soon things began moving fast, and she was swept up in the glamor of the Factory run by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey where, on any given day, one could find personalities such as Truman Capote, Judy Garland, Jim Morrison, and a host of handsome and beautiful unknowns recruited from the ranks of delivery boys, socialites, waitresses, and college students.



Candy managed to create an interesting life, and she was loved by all, though she always had great concerns wondering where the next dollar was coming from and how to repair her teeth, which were in poor shape after years of eating sweets. Although Warhol doled out small sums of money to his performers, financially life was difficult and often depressing. But she had the security of the back room of Max’s Kansas City and a wondrous assortment of loyal friends such as Sam Green, Lorraine Newman, Lauren Hutton, Julie Newmar, Sylvia Miles, Tinkerbelle, Francesca Passalacqua, Lennie Barin, Pandora, Julie Baumgold, George Abagnalo, Cyrinda Foxe, Tom Eyen, Geraldine Smith, Francesco Scavullo, Tony Mansfield, Tula Inez Hanley, and yours truly. Lou Reed composed Candy Says for her, along with a memorable section of Walk on the Wild Side. Tennessee Williams wrote a part in his acclaimed 1972 play Small Craft Warnings for her. Still, true happiness remained distant; but she held onto her dreams of stardom, new teeth, a permanent place to live, and perhaps, one day, a man to love her.

 her bright career

From the mid-’60s to the early ‘70s, Candy kept active doing Off-Off Broadway theater and two films for Warhol/Morrissey: Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), along with several independent films: Brand X and Silent Night/Bloody Night; a co-starring role as a gay-bashing victim in Some of my Best Friends Are...; a memorable scene in Klute with Jane Fonda, and Lady Liberty (AKA La Mortadella) with Sophia Loren. A quote Candy used many times was “I’ve had small parts in big pictures and big parts in small pictures.” In 1971 she went to Vienna, where she did two films for director Werner Schroeter, the first entitled The Death of Maria Malibran. Unfortunately, the second film was never released.

her secret thoughts

Candy kept a diary from the age of 14. She often confided in me that her writings were an integral part of her creative process, so during the course of the day, she committed her thoughts to inexpensive soft-covered notebooks, the type used by school children, writing about such things as recipes (she was an awful, but nevertheless hopeful, cook), drafts of letters or letters she had completed but decided for one reason or another not to send, makeup tips, addresses and telephone numbers of the famous and the unknown, lists of her favorite performers such as Joan Bennett, Kim Novak, Yvonne DeCarlo, and, of course, Lana Turner.
There are pages of speculation, words meant to be used as a rebuke or compliment, dialogue to be stored away for future use, perhaps for a play she was writing. She collected lists of one-liners and clever quips that she could trade with her friends Jackie Curtis or Holly Woodlawn. Candy’s journal reflected her thoughts of the moment on that given day. She liked to think of herself as an artist and would draw page after page of designs of dresses, eye make-up, funny faces, and cartoons.

Tragic beauty's funeral:  Hollywood salutes

Candy died of cancer at the age of 29, on March 21, 1974. Ms. Darling would never have imagined how many people would miss her. At the scene of her funeral, with hundreds of mourners present, a stretch limousine pulled up to Frank E. Campbell’s just as her flower-bedecked casket was being carried out, and a tinted window rolled down. Its passenger, Gloria Swanson, saluted the coffin with a gloved hand.
Over three decades has passed since the death of my friend, and in those years, the world has indeed changed. Candy would have been rendered distraught by the deaths of Andy Warhol, Tinkerbelle, Jackie Curtis, Tom Eyen, Charles Ludlam, Sharron Lyn Reed, Eugene Siefke, and so many others who made up the rich and varied weave of her world.
She would have been proud of the Harvey Milk School, an institution in Manhattan that educates and takes care of gay, lesbian and transgendered youth, something inconceivable in her lifetime. The onslaught of AIDS would have devastated her life as it has devastated ours.
Throughout the years I have attempted to keep my unforgettable friend alive. She died so young, and many of her dreams eluded her, but she lives on through her words, drawings, photographs, and records of her remarkable performances, of which her life was the most intriguing and exceptional of all. '
-- Jeremiah Newton