Sunday, October 31, 2010


approximating abracadabra, santana's second album levitated at the top of the charts with its a magical and mystical mix of rock, jazz, and blues that channeled the experimentalism of the psychedelic movement (and the great invisible spirit) through latin grooves that could rise and break on your mind like waves of joy.   

the cover is the painting annunciation, by mati klarwein.  the album title comes from a line in hermann hesse's book, demian.  

  "listen how it goes: my rhythm. good to enjoy!"

if i hear 'black magic woman' without the 'gypsy queen', i feel cheated. originally recorded by fleetwood mac, santana's single version made it to number four on the u.s. charts. it was sung by greg rolie. 'gypsy queen' was written by hungarian jazz guitarist gábor szabó.


Abraxas full album:

side 1
1. "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts" (Instrumental) Mike Carabello 4:51
2. "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen"   Peter Green/Gábor Szabó 5:24
3. "Oye Como Va"   Tito Puente 4:17
4. "Incident at Neshabur" (Instrumental) Alberto Gianquinto, Carlos Santana 4:58
side 2
1. "Se a Cabo"   José Areas 2:50
2. "Mother's Daughter"   Gregg Rolie 4:25
3. "Samba Pa Ti" (Instrumental) Santana 4:45
4. "Hope You're Feeling Better"   Rolie 4:10
5. "El Nicoya"   Areas 1:30

"we stood before it and began to freeze inside from the exertion. we questioned the painting, berated it, made love to it, prayed to it: we called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it abraxas...."


The new wave of out of Liverpool with this shimmering pop absurdity. the sound was dynamic and the lyrics inscrutable. Julian Cope may have been out of his mind on dope and speed; but the world he created inspired the next wave of musical travelers.  The working title for the album was Everyone Wants To Shag The Teardrop Explodes, but was changed to Kilimanjaro.  

Reward was added to later pressings of the album.

Treason went to number three on the UK indie singles chart

Ha Ha I'm Drowning


full album:

All tracks composed by Julian Cope, Gary Dwyer and Michael Finkler; except where indicated

"Ha Ha I'm Drowning" (2.53)

"Sleeping Gas" (Cope, Dwyer, Finkler, Paul Simpson) (3.45)
"Treason" (3.05)
"Second Head" (3.10)
"Reward" (2.53)
"Poppies in the Field" (5.03)
"Went Crazy" (Cope, Finkler) (2.38)
"Brave Boys Keep Their Promises" (2.30)
"Bouncing Babies" (2.28)
"Books" (Cope, Ian McCulloch) (2.37)
"The Thief of Baghdad" (3.09)
"When I Dream" (5.10)

1. Brave Boys Keep Their Promises (0:07)
2. Ha-Ha I'm Drowning (2:26)
3. Went Crazy (6:03)

4. Chance (8:52)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

rolling thunder revue

the carnival rolled into town. in the wake of recording desire, rehearsals for a tour snowballed into jam sessions that attracted an ever-increasing entourage that eventually included joan baez, ronee blakley, t-bone burnett, ramblin' jack elliott, roberta flack, kinky friedman, allen ginsberg, david mansfield, roger mcguinn, joni mitchell, bobby neuwirth, scarlet rivera, mick ronson, sam shepard, steven soles, rob stoner, and howie wyeth.

this raggle taggle gypsy roadshow reinvigorated dylan's music by combining with eclectic old world instrumentation and electric glam-rock gusto.

"i rode straight away
for the wild unknown country where i could not go wrong"

Bob Dylan - Isis (Live 1975) by alexnesic66

Blowin' In The Wind

"how many roads most a man walk down
before you call him a man?"

Friday, October 29, 2010

the la's

today's super groovy delicious bite is a cult classic sprinkled with 60's dust.   the la's released their only album after years of working out the right sound.    there was something so pure about that chiming guitar. it harkened back to liverpool in the sixties, and yet, seemed to take it somewhere new and fresh. it seemed a natural progression. their perfectionist frontman lee mavers spent three years going through producer after producer trying to find the right sound. after the album (produced by steve lillywhite and mark wallis) was released, mavers disowned it. years later, older versions of the songs surfaced (from a cassette of sessions produced by mike hedges) that were closer to the sound that mavers had been seeking and were released as part of a two disk deluxe edition.

although it was only a minor hit on both sides of the atlantic 'there she goes' has been covered several times and remains an indie standard. it plays with the idea of love and addiction, using language that suggests both:

"pulsing thru' my vein
and i just can't contain
this feelin' that remains"

full album:

The La's: Deluxe Edition
Disc 1: Original album
1. "Son of a Gun"   1:56
2. "I Can't Sleep"   2:37
3. "Timeless Melody"   3:01
4. "Liberty Ship"   2:30
5. "There She Goes"   2:42
6. "Doledrum"   2:50
7. "Feelin'"   1:44
8. "Way Out"   2:32
9. "I.O.U."   2:08
10. "Freedom Song"   2:23
11. "Failure"   2:54
12. "Looking Glass"   7:52
Disc 1: Bonus material
13. "Son of a Gun" (Gary Crowley, GLR Session Dec '88) 1:55
14. "Doledrum" (Gary Crowley, GLR Session Dec '88) 3:00
15. "I Can't Sleep" (Gary Crowley, GLR Session Dec '88) 2:34
16. "Way Out" (Key 103, Jan '89) 2:42
17. "I Am the Key" (Key 103, Jan '89) 3:05
18. "That'll Be the Day" (BBC2 The Late Show Feb '89, Buddy Holly/Jerry Allison/Norman Petty) 2:07
Disc 2: Mike Hedges album
1. "I.O.U." (Mike Hedges version) 2:05
2. "I Can't Sleep" (Mike Hedges version) 2:43
3. "Knock Me Down" (Mike Hedges version) 2:56
4. "Way Out" (Mike Hedges version) 2:47
5. "Doledrum" (Mike Hedges version) 2:57
6. "There She Goes" (Mike Hedges version) 2:49
7. "Feelin'" (Mike Hedges version) 1:48
8. "Timeless Melody" (Mike Hedges version) 3:07
9. "Son of a Gun" (Mike Hedges version) 2:05
10. "Clean Prophet" (Mike Hedges version) 2:09
11. "Come in Come Out" (Mike Hedges version) 2:16
12. "Failure" (Mike Hedges version) 3:08
13. "Looking Glass" (Mike Hedges version) 7:28
Disc 2: Bonus material
14. "Doledrum" (John Porter mix) 2:53
15. "Way Out" (Andy MacDonald mix) 2:39
16. "There She Goes" (John Leckie mix) 2:44
17. "Man I'm Only Human" (John Leckie mix) 5:00
18. "Feelin'" (Bob Andrews mix) 1:53
19. "Clean Prophet" (Bob Andrews mix) 2:02

20. "I Can't Sleep" (Jeremy Allom mix) 2:41

Thursday, October 28, 2010

brothers in arms

dire straits found an antidote for blues with their worldwide number one smash brothers in arms. the themes of love and war mix despair with destruction; the personal with the political; and war criminals with survivors. in this shrinking 'one world' where "there's no such thing as sanity, and that's the sanest fact"; we prostitute ourselves to the man. yet, in all of this darkness, "there should be laughter after pain" and "sunshine after rain." the war-weary heart of darkness still seeks sanctification. "just when this world seems mean and cold, our love comes shining red and gold."

it was the first album to have the compact disk outsell the vinyl version. i remember that we played it all the time at record town and that the cd version had much longer versions of some of the songs than the lp.

the syrupy reggae blues of 'so far away' starts the album off with the idea of being on the other side of the world from loved ones in a "mean old town".

SO Faraway from Me- Dire Straits from Denny on Vimeo.

'money for nothing' was a huge hit on the radio and on mtv (celebrating and lampooning it at the same time). it also won a grammy for best rock performance. sting got a writing credit for his "i want my mtv" line (since it was set to the tune of 'don't stand so close to me', his publishing company insisted). it funny to think that it was groundbreaking computer animation at the time.

"that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
you play the guitar on your mtv"

'walk of life' was top ten hit about a subway musician finding redemption in his "dedication" and "devotion" to the "oldies, goldies". producer neil dorfsman wanted to leave it off of the album; but the band vetoed that decision.

'ride across the river' blurs the lines between the "soldier of fortune" and "soldier of freedom" as "right becomes wrong, the left becomes the right."

'brothers in arms' is about the falklands war between argentina and england.

'Brothers in Arms'
full album:

All songs were written by Mark Knopfler, except where indicated. 

1. "So Far Away"   5:12
2. "Money for Nothing" (Mark Knopfler, Sting) 8:26
3. "Walk of Life"   4:12
4. "Your Latest Trick"   6:33
5. "Why Worry"   8:31
6. "Ride Across the River"   6:58
7. "The Man's Too Strong"   4:40
8. "One World"   3:40
9. "Brothers in Arms"   7:00

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

black cat

twenty years ago miss janet scratched her way to the top of the charts with this heavy metal groove. it was a commentary on gang violence that kicked you in your cautionary tail.

she wrote it herself and co-produced it with jellybean johnson instead of terry lewis and jimmy jam.

they brought in guitarist dave berry to bring more of an edge to the song; and they hit it off so well that he became her guitarist on tour. jellybean played a funky solo and brought in another guitarist from the time, jesse johnson. even record company executive john mcclain played some slide guitar.

it was the sixth of a record seven top five singles from her rhythm nation 1814 album.

all the lonely nights i spend alone
never around to love me
you're always gone
cause you're hangin out
breakin' the rules
oh the man has come
looking for you
you're a rebel now
don't give a damn
always carrying on
with the gang
i'm trying to tell you boy
it's a mistake
you won't realize
til it's too late

don't understand
why you insist
on ways of living such a dangerous life
time after time you stay away
and i just know that you're telling me lies

black cat
nine lives
short days
long nights
livin on the edge
not afraid to die
heart beat
real strong
but not
for long
better watch your step
or you're gonna die

you're so together boy
but just at a glance
you'll do anything
if given a chance
scheming, plannin lies
to get what you need
so full of promises
that you never keep

don't you tell yourself
that it's okay
sick and tired of
all of your games
and you want me to stay
better change
makes no sense to me
your crazy ways

black cat
nine lives
short days
long nights
livin on the edge
not afraid to die
heart beat
real strong
but not
for long
better watch your step
or you're gonna die

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


the future of rock and roll made the leap from indie to majors with tim. their raucous, drunken noise was cleaned up by producer tommy ramone; but the vitality is not diminished. there is a tension that speaks to the new pressures of fame as paul westerberg seems to be struggling with developing more serious songwriting (to the chagrin of his bandmates). this was the last replacements album with the original lineup. due to differences over the new direction and/or his increasingly disruptive behavior, bob stinson was out of the band. with him went the goofy brilliance of the early 'placemats'.

'hold my life' "because i just might lose it."

the pop romanticism of 'kiss me on the bus' channels alex chilton.
"c'mon, let's make a scene
oh, baby, don't be so mean"

'left of the dial' is either a celebration of college radio or a bemoaning of the fact that their music is mostly confined to it.
"on and on and on and on
what side are you on?"

the official video for 'bastards of young' showed a speaker for the entire song. this live version is more exciting.
"waitin' to be forgotten ... we are the sons of no one"

'here comes a regular' is one westerberg's most confessional songs marking the shift from drunken sillyness to lonely regret.
"am i the only one who feels ashamed?"

full album:

All songs written by Paul Westerberg, except as indicated.

Side one

"Hold My Life" – 4:18
"I'll Buy" – 3:20
"Kiss Me on the Bus" – 2:48
"Dose of Thunder" (Chris Mars, Tommy Stinson, Westerberg) – 2:16
"Waitress in the Sky" – 2:02
"Swingin Party" – 3:48
Side two
"Bastards of Young" – 3:35
"Lay It Down Clown" – 2:22
"Left of the Dial" – 3:41
"Little Mascara" – 3:33
"Here Comes a Regular" – 4:46