Tuesday, May 31, 2011

black snake dîamond röle

Thirty years ago Robyn Rowan Hitchcock released his first solo album with a little help from the recently disbanded Soft Boys. Kimberley Rew, Matthew Seligman, and Morris Windsor joined him for some of the sessions as well as Vince Ely of the Psychedelic Furs, Knox and Pat Collier of the Vibrators, Rob Appleton, Howie Gilbert, Gary Barnacle, and Thomas Dolby. The resultant sound goes back and forth between a new pop sensibility and the more aggressive rock of his former band. 'Black Snake Dîamond Röle' got its title from a Soft Boys song, though it had different working titles such as 'The Perfumed Corpse' and 'Zinc Pear'.

'The Man Who Invented Himself' opens the album with a pop flourish. It was originally released with saxophone by Gary Barnicle; but they do not appear in this version. Hitchcock says, "I think it's about Dylan actually".

"He came bursting out of nowhere
Like a spear into the sky
And he cast his light on everything
It was like he'd never die"

The thundering 'Brenda's Iron Sledge' features Psychedelic Furs drummer Vince Ely. It is about Margaret Thatcher "and the ruling class generally. The idea is that it's a huge great cast-iron sled going down a slushy hill in the middle of winter with some really nasty trees poking out, and there's no shock abosrbers: there's just a mass of people at the bottom. And it's a, sort of, pyramid, and at the top sit Brenda and her cronies, y'know, munching legs of chicken and dill pickles out of hampers, and sort of cracking the whip. And the ruling class is protected from what is happening by this wedge of people underneath them. And if they really wanna do something with a riot they should do them in Knightsbridge and South Kensington and Hampstead, you know? As long as they can keep things at a distance, then that's how it works."

"The ones on top are comfortable (Yeah)
They're sitting on a human chain, a human chain
They're sitting on a human chain
Their limbs, compressed in icy slush,
Are freezing in a raw meat groove"

'Do Policemen Sing?' is menacing and mirthful. 'I Watch The Cars' harkens back to the sound of the Soft Boys. It was recorded on the day John Lennon was killed.

"Oh do policemen sing?
Yes when they're in the mood
And when their truncheons swing
That's when they're in the mood"

The trippy swirl of 'The Lizard' evokes the Doors.

"You know the lizard's won
But you can't work out how it's done
The lizard is your friend
And will be 'til the very end of time"

The magnificent 'Acid Bird' cements Hitchcock as the "godfather of modern psychedelia".

"Fun in the sun, luck in the bloodstream
Shallow bodies writhing on the grass
Fun in the sun, hair in the slipstream
Tadpoles shooting through a hollowed glass"

'Out Of The Picture' describes a fear of women and a sense that men disappear within the feminine mystique.

"Don't you ever wonder 'bout the nowhere girl
Don't you feel sad or feel strange
There is no escaping from the nowhere girl
She's never really truly out of range"

The atmospheric ballad 'Love' features Thomas Dolby as the ocean.

"The sun is shining on the ground
I see that nothing makes a sound
I move, invisible as air
And choose the time to disappear"

His pen and ink comic 'The Enchanted Sewer' was included in the liner notes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

love hangover

Thirty five years ago the Queen Of Motown had too much of a good thing with this smoldering groove, reluctantly took it to the top of the charts, and transformed herself into a disco diva. Pamela Sawyer and Marilyn McLeod wrote 'Love Hangover' as a disco song and management at Motown thought Miss Ross would be perfect for it. She finally agreed and became more comfortable when the song was transformed from being a ballad to an uptempo number. A strobe light was installed in the recording studio to help create a disco vibe. Ross loosened up and laughed and danced her way through this sexy rendition. It was not the leadoff single from her second eponymous album; and the 5th Dimension recorded their own version of the song when they heard it on the album. Motown rushed out the single for Diana's version and they were released on the same day. It became her fourth solo number one and completely overshadowed the 5th Dimension's version, which peaked at number eighty. The song also hit the top of the R&B chart and received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance.

If there's a cure for this,
I don't want it, don't want it
If there's a cure for this,
I don't want it, don't want it
Think about it all the time
Thinkin' only makes me smile
And say hey
I don't wanna shake it
Love the love you're makin'

If there's a cure for this,
I don't want it, don't want it
If there's a remedy,
I'll run from it, from it
Think about it all the time,
Never let it out of my mind
'Cause I love you

I've got the sweetest hangover
I don't want to get over
Sweetest hangover, yeah
I don't want to get over

(Sweet love)

I don't want a cure for this
I don't want a cure for this, huh
I don't want a cure for this
I don't want a cure
I don't want a cure for this

I've got the sweetest hangover
Sweetest hangover, yeah-heh
I don't want to get over, ah ah
I don't want to get
I don't want to get over

(Instrumental Interlude)

I don't need no cure
I don't need no cure
I don't need no cure
Sweet love hangover
Sweet, sweet love
Sweet, sweet love hangover

(Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love)
(Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love)
(Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love)

Ooh-ooh-ooh yeah (...love)

Ooh-ooh-ooh yeah
Don't want it, don't need it
Don't want it, don't need it
Don't call the doctor
Don't call my mama
Don't call my preacher
No, I don't need it
I don't need it

(Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love)

'Cause if there's a cure for this,
I don't want it, don't want it

(I love you, darling, sweetie)
(I love you, darling, sweetie)

Sweet love, I love you
Sweet love, mean love
Mad love, sweet love hangover
I don't want no cure
Sweet love hangover
Love, love, love hangover
I don't want no cure
I don't want no cure
I don't want no cure (...sweetie)
Sweet love hangover (...sweetie)
Ooh yeah

(I love you, darling, sweetie)
(I love you, darling, sweetie)

If there's a cure for this,
I don't need it, no no no no
I don't want it, it's sweet
If there's a cure for this,
I don't want it, huh
I don't want it, no no, I don't want it
If there's a cure for this, I don't need it

(Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love)
(Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

brown sugar

Forty years ago the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World hit the top of the charts with their sweet and scandalous first single on Rolling Stones Records. They had recorded the song in December of 1969; but it wasn't released until May of 1971 due to legal problems with manager Allen Klein. They debuted the song live at the concert in Altamonte. Mick wrote the song inspired by both Marsha Hunt, the mother of his first child, and Claudia Lennear, one of the Ikettes. He decribes the song as a raw mishmash of nasty subjects, mixing drugs, slavery, sado-mascochism, and oral sex.

"I wrote that song in Australia in the middle of a field. They were really odd circumstances. I was doing this movie, “Ned Kelly,” and my hand had got really damaged in this action sequence. So stupid. I was trying to rehabilitate my hand and had this new kind of electric guitar, and I was playing in the middle of the outback and wrote this tune. But why it works? I mean, it’s a good groove and all that. I mean, the groove is slightly similar to Freddy Cannon, this rather obscure ‘50s rock performer – Tallahassee Lassie or something. Do you remember this? “She’s down in F-L-A.” Anyway, the groove of that – boom-boom-boom-boom-boom – is “going to a go-go” or whatever, but that’s the groove."

Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in a market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he's doing alright
Hear him with the women just around midnight

Brown sugar
How come you taste so good?
Brown sugar
Just like a young girl should

Drums beating, cold English blood runs hot
Lady of the house wonderin' where it's gonna stop
House boy knows that he's doing alright
You shoulda heard him just around midnight

Brown sugar
How come you taste so good, now?
Brown sugar
Just like a young girl should, now

Get along, brown sugar
How come you taste so good, baby?
Got me feelin' now, brown sugar
Just like a black girl should

I bet your mama was a tent show queen
Had all the boyfriends at sweet sixteen
I'm no schoolboy but I know what I like
You shoulda heard me just around midnight

Brown sugar
How come you taste so good, baby?
Brown sugar
Just like a young girl should, yeah

I said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!
How come you, how come you taste so good?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!
Just like a, just like a black girl should
Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!"

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Sonic Youth blazed a trail from beyond the noise of their avant-underground to the brutal beauty of their backwards love. 'Evol' was their first album with Steve Shelley and his drumming stabilizes the chaos and brings structure and savagery to their jagged dissonant no wave. The band also made the move from Homestead Records to SST with this album. Mike Watt was invited to play during the sessions as well, which brought him out of his depression from the recent death of D. Boon.


'Tom Violence' is an electrifying and intimate portrayal of domestic abuse.

"There's a thing in my memory
Holding on for dear life
With a feeling of secrets
Beating up under my flesh"

The eerie and mesmerizing 'Shadow Of A Doubt' was inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock's 'Strangers On A Train'.

"You take me and I'll take you
You kill him and I'll kill her
Swear it wasn't meant to be
Swear I didn't mean it"

'Starpower' was released with an edited single version; but who needs that when you can have the full length album version.

"Spinning dreams with angel wings
torn blue jeans a foolish grin
burning down in the night
so cool so right "

'Green Light' is the soundtrack to a night of passion.

"Her light is the night
I'm not blind, I believe in you"

'Secret Girls' echoes Mrs. Dedalus from James Joyce's 'Ulysses'.

"The advertisement's saying, that pleasure's ever lasting
Must be dead and gone to heaven
Come and touch me here
So I know, that I'm, not there"

'Expressway To Yr. Skull' is alternately titled as 'Madonna, Sean, and Me' and 'The Crucifixion of Sean Penn' on the album sleeve. The time on the song is listed on the vinyl label as "∞" because the last strains of the song are locked in an endless groove. The CD fades the song out after seven minutes and nineteen seconds.

"We're gonna find the meaning of feeling good
And we're gonna stay there
As long as we think we should
Mystery train
Three way plane"

full album:

All songs written and composed by Sonic Youth (Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo, Steve Shelley), except as noted. 

lyrics and vocals

Side A
1. "Tom Violence"   Moore Moore 3:05
2. "Shadow of a Doubt"   Gordon Gordon 3:32
3. "Starpower"   Moore Gordon 4:48
4. "In the Kingdom #19"   Ranaldo Ranaldo 3:24
5. "Green Light"   Moore Moore 3:46
Side B
6. "Death to Our Friends"   3:16
7. "Secret Girls"   Gordon Gordon 2:54
8. "Marilyn Moore"   Lydia Lunch, Moore Moore 4:04

9. "Expressway to Yr. Skull"   Moore Moore 7:19

Friday, May 27, 2011

the royal scam

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker closed ranks, quit touring, and released the most cynical and guitar-heavy of their albums. After four albums (
Can't Buy a Thrill  in 1972,  
Countdown to Ecstasy in 1973,  Pretzel Logic in 1974,  and  Katy Lied in 1975), Donald Fagen and Walter Becker enlisted the help of session guitarists like Larry Carlton, Elliott Randall, Dean Parks and founding member Denny Dias. The effect is to create a slick and complex version of their funked-up reggae jazz grooves.  'The Royal Scam'  went gold and hit number fifteen in the US and eleven in the UK. 


'Kid Charlemagne' was inspired by counter-culture guru Owsley.

"Careful what you carry
'Cause the man is wise
You are still an outlaw in their eyes"

Steely Dan - Kid Charlemagne (Live) by DamonMaxwell

'Don't Take Me Alive' describes a hostage situation.

"I'm a bookkeeper's son
I don't want to shoot no one
Well I crossed my old man back in Oregon"

'Sign In Stranger' evokes Philip K. Dick's 'Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said'

"Do you have a dark spot on your past
Leave it to my man he'll fix it fast"

'The Royal Scam' details the deception of the American Dream from the perspective of immigrants from Puerto Rico.

"And they wandered in
From the city of St. John
Without a dime"

'The Royal Scam' 
full album:

1. Kid Charlemagne 00:00
2. The Caves of Altamira 04:38
3. Don't Take Me Alive 08:12
4. Sign in Stranger 12:29
5. The Fez 16:53
6. Green Earrings 20:54
7. Haitian Divorce 24:59
8. Everything You Did 30:51
9. The Royal Scam 34:47

Thursday, May 26, 2011

miles davis

Miles Dewey Davis III

(May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991)

Controversial and influential icon of jazz and rock whose unique and haunting work on the trumpet played a key part in bebop, cool jazz, modal, and fusion.

He learned music from his mother during his youth in St. Louis. When his father sent him to the Juilliard School of Music in New York, Davis sought out saxophonist Charlie Parker.  He dropped out of school and began playing professionally in clubs and recording studios, leading his own group within a year.  


'Now's The Time' was one of the songs recorded during the first of the legendary Savoy Sessions 1945 with a nineteen year old Davis playing trumpet with Charlie Parker on alto sax, Curley Russell on bass, Max Roach on drums and "Hen Gates" (Dizzy Gillespie) playing piano.

'Boplicity' came from his groundbreaking 'Birth of the Cool' compilation that marked his turn from the hard edge of bop to a more introspective sound. It was recorded in 1949 and 1950; but not released until 1957. The song was credited to Cleo Henry and Gil Evans. Henry was a pseudonym based on his Davis' mother's maiden name that he never used again.

'Doxy' was composed by Sonny Rollins. It first appeared on Davis' 'Bags' Groove', performed with Davis on trumpet, Rollins on tenor saxophone, Horace Silver on piano, Percy Heath on bass, and Kenny Clarke on drums.

''Round Midnight' was the centerpiece of Davis' debut on Columbia Records 'Round About Midnight' recorded in 1955. The song was composed by Thelonious Monk and features a saxophone solo from John Coltrane.

'Milestones' was originally called 'Miles' when the album 'Milestones' came out in 1958. It was his first foray into modal jazz. It features Miles on trumpet, Cannonball Adderley on alto saxophone, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on double bass, Philly Joe Jones on drums,
and a fabulous solo from John Coltrane on tenor saxophone.

The impressionistic modal jazz of 'So What' opens his seminal 1959 'Kind of Blue' album.

The title track to his 1963 'Seven Steps To Heaven' was co-written with pianist Victor Feldman, who Davis replaced with Herbie Hancock for the album. It includes George Coleman on tenor saxophone, Ron Carter on double bass, and Tony Williams on drums.

'Footprints' appeared on his 1967 album 'Miles Smiles'. It was composed by saxophonist Wayne Shorter.

'Spanish Key' is from his 1970 jazz fusion double album 'Bitches Brew' featuring what Miles called "the best damn rock and roll band in the world."

'Black Satin' is from his 1973 album 'On The Corner' which saw Davis experimenting with funk and electronic music.

The title track to his 1986 album 'Tutu' was written by bassist Marcus Miller, and dedicated to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.