Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Willie Nelson took a huge risk and had his greatest success with this collection of pop standards.  After years of massive acclaim with his outlaw country concept albums like 'The Red Headed Stranger'Nelson defied expectations by reinterpreting some of his favorite songs from his childhood:  "Honestly I did most of my own songs until I started running out and then I did the 'Stardust' album ... I was living in L.A., in an apartment, right underneath the apartment of Booker T. Jones. He was married to Rita Coolidge’s sister at the time -- Priscilla. He and I hung out together a lot, and the more I got to know him, the more I realized that this was the time to do the Stardust album. I’d wanted to do all those songs for a long time, but I just didn’t find the right producer and arranger. I knew that in order to do songs like that, I would need to have someone in there, who knew everything there was to know about writing and arranging. Booker T. was the guy that I felt could do it. Sure enough, he was the guy...When you have a producer, you’ve really got to trust him. You’ve got to say, 'Okay, take it.'You’ve got to believe in the guy before you can do this. So, I believed in Don Was, I believe in Chet Atkins, and I believe in Daniel Lanois. Spirit, I produced that myself. But, Stardust was Booker."

The sessions featured Willie Nelson on vocals and guitar; Bobbie Nelson on piano; Paul English and Rex Ludwick on drums; Jody Payne on guitar; Bee Spears on bass; Chris Ethridge on bass; Mickey Raphael on harmonica; 
and Booker T. Jones on organ and piano. 

Nelson admits:    "It's more of a challenge to do those pop classics and standards because I grew up singing Your Cheating Heart and the Hank Williams songs is second nature to me, but to do 'Stardust' and 'Moonlight' and 'Vermont' and songs like that, you really have to be on your game a little bit ... I have gone through cycles where the commercial stations play some of our stuff and then I go through cycles where they don’t. It was a long time before I really got anything going on the radio stations, early hit 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain', that was one of the first things that sort of crossed over and got a lot of play country, and even the pop rock and roll stations played it and it was pure country. Then along with the 'Stardust' album and that is completely opposite from country and yet it was on the country charts for ten years. It just goes to prove to me that a good song is always a good song."

'Stardust' reached number thirty on the US album chart, twenty-eight in Canada, five in Australia, and number one in New Zealand and on the US and Canadian country album charts.  The album spent ten years on the US country album chart.  Nelson won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for 'Georgia on My Mind'.  'Stardust' has sold more than eighteen million copies worldwide.  



full album:

Side one
1. "Stardust" Hoagy Carmichael Mitchell Parish  3:53
2. "Georgia on My Mind" Carmichael Stuart Gorrell  4:20
3. "Blue Skies" Irving Berlin 3:34
4. "All of Me" Seymour Simons Gerald Marks   3:54
5. "Unchained Melody" Alex North Hy Zaret   3:50
Side two
1. "September Song" Kurt Weill Maxwell Anderson   4:35
2. "On the Sunny Side of the Street" Jimmy McHugh Dorothy Fields   2:36
3. "Moonlight in Vermont" Karl Suessdorf John Blackburn    3:25
4. "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" Duke Ellington Bob Russell   2:33
5. "Someone to Watch Over Me" George Gershwin Ira Gershwin    4:03

Monday, April 29, 2013


The Replacements expanded on their sloppy punk hardcore with this jokey hodgepodge of corny country, artsy angst rock, ski ska, and bluesy balderdash.  The group had created a buzz with their irreverent albums and loud, drunken live shows.  Tommy Stinson remembers:    “A lot of people came out of curiosity and responded to what they’d heard. There definitely was a certain element of curiosity in watching four guys making fools of themselves!”

The sessions for 'Hootenanny' took place at Blackberry Way Studios, and at Stark/Mudge Mobile Unit warehouse in Roseville, Minnesota; which the liner notes describe as "a warehouse in some godawful suburb north of Mpls."  The band played practical jokes on engineer and Twin/Tone owner Paul Stark, switching instruments, improvising songs, and goofing around with Beatles tunes.  Bob Stinson played lead guitar (and bass on "Hootenanny"); Tommy Stinson played bass guitar (and second guitar on "Hootenanny"); Paul Westerberg handled vocals and guitar (and drums on "Hootenanny" and all instruments on "Within Your Reach"); and Chris Mars beat the drums (plus lead guitar on "Hootenanny").  When they were ready to get serious, they were told the album was done.  

Bob Stinson considered the title track “just a raucous mess.  It sounds more like Paul just went in the bathroom came up with some chords and came out, and we played em’.”  Producer Peter Jesperson remembers:  “We’re just kidding, and he [Stark] ended up thinking that was a real track, and so then Westerberg just went, ‘First song, side one.  We just left it on and it was really not even supposed to be a thing at that time.” 

'Hootenanny' never charted but went on to sell almost seventy thousand copies.   Westerberg considers:   "It's the first record that really defines our-- everybody stands up, we're going to sit down. Everybody goes left, we're going to go right. There's an obstinacy to us. But also it was back to the influences that were more than just straight punk rock. Punk rock was the key that opened the door, but we played our little white blues and stuff. We liked all kinds of stuff... 'Hootenanny' was very hurry up and get it done ...  The bands who played punk rock didn’t see us as a punk band, but we embodied punk more than they did. Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets helped us to understand punk. When people started to realize that the Rolling Stones were a punk band, they started to see us as a punk band.”



full album:

All tracks written by Paul Westerberg, except where noted.

Side one
1. "Hootenanny" B. Stinson, C. Mars, P. Westerberg, T. Stinson 1:52
2. "Run It" C. Mars, P. Westerberg 1:11
3. "Color Me Impressed" 2:25
4. "Willpower" 4:22
5. "Take Me Down to the Hospital" 3:47
6. "Mr. Whirly" "mostly stolen" 1:53
Side two
1. "Within Your Reach" 4:24
2. "Buck Hill" C. Mars, P. Westerberg, T. Stinson 2:09
3. "Lovelines" B. Stinson, C. Mars, P. Westerberg, T. Stinson, "C.P. Readers" 2:01
4. "You Lose" B. Stinson, C. Mars, P. Westerberg, T. Stinson 1:41
5. "Hayday" 2:06
6. "Treatment Bound" 3:16

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Portishead returned after ten years with the unsettling clatter and mysteriously mermerizing melancholy madness of their tertiary treatise.  'Third' was produced by the band with Geoff Barrow on drums; Beth Gibbons on vocals; and Adrian Utley on guitars and synths.  The trio was spent with the whirlwind that followed their eponymous second album and a live document from that tour, 'Roseland NYC Live'.  

Barrow recalls:  "After we got back and mixed the live album we didn't really get together for six years ... It wasn't that we weren't speaking. But Beth got ill and moved back to Devon for a while. I got divorced, and we all worked on a few solo projects ... We manage ourselves and we have complete control. We're in the lucky position where we're consulted on everything and if we don't want to do something we don't have to do it...We really wanted to sound like ourselves but not sound like ourselves. It was always going to be difficult.
Once we had 'We Carry On'-- that was a good moment. And we already had 'Magic Doors', which was more related to things that we've done in the past...After the second album, all the doors were closed. It felt like we'd hit this Lara Croft moment where basically none of the keys work and every door is fucking locked! And you think, but there must be a key! I've got find this fucking key. And that's almost the reason that we stopped. It seemed like, fucking hell, where do we go?...Over the years it just seemed like there were cracks in the door, whether that came from hearing new music that you really liked or just like talking or whatever was in your life. And now it feels like it's all open...[It wasn't] crate digging in the traditional, hip-hop sense, but absolutely searching for inspiration in old music, new music, wherever it might be. My mate's got a record shop down near where I live, and I'd go in there and pick some stuff up. And there'd be a chord, and we'd bring it up. We had a couple of tunes like that...It definitely doesn't have the pop element [of] 'Dummy', but there's a lot of people out there that want interesting music. And if we can be one of those bands that they can rely on to deliver that then that's fantastic."  

Utley considers:   "We burnt ourselves out in '98.  It's the reason we weren't interested in doing Portishead because we just absolutely went too much ... We were absolutely thrashed as well from touring and going through the experience of the second record and doing the New York thing. It was just bang bang bang. All the creativity just drained...And you don't want to do it then. You don't want to face up to that challenge...Referencing and grabbing stuff is difficult. If I listen to something too much I can't get away from it, I can't do anything. I don't want to steal it! Like Neil Young's 'Dead Man' soundtrack-- I don't want to listen to it because I'll just nick it because it's so fucking brilliant. It's better to feel the haze of it through listening to it once...and work things out, or be inspired and talk and move on. It's an initial spark...I always loved 'Magic Doors'. We came up with it one afternoon, and everything seemed to change, in the kind of miniscule way that we change. And we become slightly hopeful that there might be a crack that we could push our finger through and say, 'Let's have a look in here' ... Every single thing was absolutely agonized over.  For everything you hear, there were at least 10 things that we spent fucking hours making that we didn’t use — a real voyage of discovery. Sometimes it was enjoyable, but mostly it’s kind of frustrating and difficult. The process of creativity is not always what you think. You are surrounded by the most beautiful equipment, but it doesn’t mean anything if you haven’t got an idea that is worth recording. You could record through the worst preamp with the worst microphone in the world, but [whether you have] a good idea is the most important thing. If you don’t have an idea, it’s better to go to a house in the country with a porta-studio and any old guitar just to purify your mind. Having amazing equipment doesn’t give you the solution to creativity; it’s merely a tool for recording it.”

The illusive Gibbons has revealed:    "I still don't like doing interviews. I hardly do any...I hope this will be the last one for a long while...I am a very sensitive person, very impulsive and emotional...I thought I had a clear picture of death, but now I know it's a mystery and it will always be a mystery, although it is something we all have in common: everybody knows that life ends with death...I try to imagine how we would live if we didn't know we were going to die. Would we live our lives differently? Less careful, maybe? Less scared? These are beautiful things to think about and build a song around...The music comes first. When Geoff has made something the inspiration comes automatically. His music is very expressive. But still is is a very difficult process: I have to add something to his music, not push it away. It has to be equal, and I find that very difficult."

'Third' hit number thirty in Mexico; twenty-eight in Japan; eighteen in Sweden; sixteen in Spain; nine in Australia, Finland, and New Zealand; eight in Italy; seven the US; six in Germany and the Netherlands; five in Portugal; four in Austria; three in Belgium and France; and number two in Denmark, Greece, Switzerland, and the UK.   


"Silence"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 4:58

"Hunter"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 3:57

"Nylon Smile"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 3:16

NYLON SMILE from stephane Cocke on Vimeo.

"The Rip"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 4:29

"Plastic"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 3:27

"We Carry On"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 6:27


"Deep Water"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 1:31

"Machine Gun" (Barrow/Gibbons) – 4:43

Portishead - Machine Gun from Mintonfilm on Vimeo.


"Small"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 6:45

"Magic Doors" (Barrow/Gibbons/John Baggot) – 3:32

"Threads"  (Barrow/Gibbons/Utley) – 5:45


'Third'  full album:

Third from Portishead on Myspace.

All songs written and composed by Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley except where noted. 

1. "Silence"   4:58
2. "Hunter"   3:57
3. "Nylon Smile"   3:16
4. "The Rip"   4:29
5. "Plastic"   3:27
6. "We Carry On"   6:27
7. "Deep Water"   1:31
8. "Machine Gun" (Barrow / Gibbons) 4:43
9. "Small"   6:45
10. "Magic Doors" (Barrow / Gibbons / John Baggot) 3:32
11. "Threads"   5:45

Saturday, April 27, 2013

dance to the music

Sly and the Family Stone broke barriers and broke into the mainstream with their unique melting pot of funk, rock, pop, and psychedelic soul on this influential irresistible incitement.  When their debut 'A Whole New Thing' failed to chart, CBS Records executive Clive Davis convinced Sly (Sylvester Stewart) to find a more commercial sound.  'Dance to the Music' features Sly Stone on vocals, organ, guitar, piano, harmonica, production, and more; Freddie Stone on vocals and guitar; Larry Graham on vocals and bass guitar; Rose Stone on vocals, piano, and keyboards; Cynthia Robinson on trumpet and vocal ad-libs; Jerry Martini on saxophone; Greg Errico on drums; and backing vocals by Little Sister:  Vet Stone, Mary McCreary, and Elva Mouton.   

'Dance to the Music' boogied up to number one hundred and forty-two on the US album chart and number eleven on the R&B album chart.  It made Sly and the Family Stone the first major group to have an integrated multi-gender lineup.  Their psychedelic soul sound revolutionized the industry and was soon copied by numerous other acts.  


"Dance To The Music" 
strutted up to number nine on the US R&B chart, eight on the US pop chart, and number seven in the UK.  

[Cynthia:] Get up and dance to the music!
Get on up and dance to the funky music!
[All:] Dance to the Music, Dance to the Music
[Freddie:] Hey Greg!
[Greg:] What?
[Freddie:] All we need is a drummer,
for people who only need a beat
I'm gonna add a little guitar
and make it easy to move your feet
[Larry:] I'm gonna add some bottom,
so that the dancers just won't hide
[Sly:] You might like to hear my organ
playing "Ride Sally Ride"
You might like to hear the horns blowin',
Cynthia on the throne, yeah!
Cynthia & Jerry got a message they're sayin':
[Cynthia:] All the squares, go home!
[All:] Dance to the Music, Dance to the Music



"I'll Never Fall in Love Again" 

'Dance to the Music'
full album:

All songs written by Sylvester Stewart, and produced and arranged by Sly Stone for Stone Flower Productions.

Side one
1."Dance to the Music" – 3:00
2."Higher" – 2:49
3."I Ain't Got Nobody (For Real)" – 4:26
4.Dance to the Medley – 12:12

1."Music Is Alive"
2."Dance In"
3."Music Lover"

Side two
1."Ride the Rhythm" – 2:48
2."Color Me True" – 3:10
3."Are You Ready" – 2:50
4."Don't Burn Baby" – 3:14
5."I'll Never Fall in Love Again" – 3:25

Friday, April 26, 2013

bubble and scrape

Sebadoh went into a studio for the first time to record the lo-fi patchwork quilt of their final album with the original trio.  After home recording their celebrated underground landmark 'Sebadoh III', the group toured with Firehose and signed to Sub Pop Records. The compilation 'Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock' was assembled from two EP's and the trio went into an actual studio.  'Bubble and Scrape' was recorded at Slaughterhouse Recording Studio in Westhampton, MA with Lou Barlow on guitar, bass, and vocals; Eric Gaffney on bass, guitar, drums, harp, keyboards, tape, and vocals; Jason Loewenstein on guitar, bass, drums, and vocals; with Seana Carmody on vocals; and engineering by Bob Weston, Brian Fellows, and Paul McNamara. 

Barlow reveals:  "I really liked 'Sebadoh III'. That was a really cool record. It was schitzo-tense and really represents the introduction of re-writing members of the band. And we did 'Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock' and 'Bubble and Scrape', and those records have such a good vibe to them. They were kind of self-produced and we did those before we recorded with other people and let other people determine how we sounded. We were actually at the boards with our friend Bob Weston mixing stuff and cranking EQ’s and doing all the crazy things that we could think of. Those records have a wild sound to me... It was really just about making music. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s, going to a studio was a sure way to kill your music. Rock records in the 80’s and 90’s were horrendous sounding to me. I just did what I did to keep it interesting for myself and do things that I thought sounded good. Generally I wanted to keep it kind of crunchy and to my ears natural sounding. I mean we also literally recorded things on Walkmans to record records. But to me that wasn’t a radical statement or anything. I grew up in Massachusetts and there was a wealth of college radio and I was exposed to a bunch of independent spirited music early on, from the time I was 11 or 12. You go left of the dial, and even in Western Mass, I swear there were 10 different stations at any given time that were playing totally independent music like punk rock, hardcore, college rock… all that stuff was out there and I was hearing it. Rough Trade had a domestic thing back then too and they were just flooding stores with Young Marble Giants records. I heard all of that stuff. I just think that my music was a response to all of that." 

Gaffney considers:   "I think we recorded more of Lou’s songs. [Laughs.] He wrote more songs. Everybody knows that about Lou, that he writes a lot of songs. Whether you like the songs is another story, but it’s just something he does. Sebadoh was a band I started as a vehicle for my own songwriting, and then within a year we had all started to sing and play. It’s a pretty special group; we can switch instruments onstage, have two distinctly different lineups, all play guitar, all sing, but also have our roles. There is a real art to what we do, because it’s not as easy as it might appear."

Lowenstein recounts:   "A few years ago I went to Main Street Records (in Northampton, MA), saw the tape with the naked woman on it and bought it just for the 'breast value', I think. This is the original tape of 'The Freed Man'. After six months I met Eric. Kinda weaseled my way in to the situation until Lou was offically out of Dinosaur and Eric came up with the idea to put together a band. And I said I'll do anything - I can play a little bit of every instrument so whatever you need I'll do it ... It was like, bring what you want to rehearsal and we'll play it. For me it was kind of scary because Lou and Eric were way ahead of me in terms of songcraft and confidence, and they were older." 

'Bubble and Scrape' only charted at number sixty three in the UK.  It marked the end of the original threesome, as Gaffney left the group soon after it was completed:    "I didn’t really feel like touring, or even doing the next record. I kind of wanted to record solo. Toward the end I wasn’t all that happy with the music anymore—maybe I was kind of tired, a little jaded. I pretty much was also relegated to drumming at the end. When we were a support act, especially in ’92, for Pavement or Sonic Youth or The Wedding Present or whoever we were opening for, we’d play shorter sets—so I’d just play drums, because there’s just not enough time for everybody to do their thing."


"Soul and Fire" (Barlow) - 3:46

"2 Years 2 Days" (Barlow) - 3:07

"Happily Divided" (Loewenstein) - 2:20

"Sister" (Loewenstein) - 2:43

"Cliché" (Barlow) - 2:27

"Sacred Attention" (Barlow) - 2:47

"Elixir Is Zog" (Gaffney) - 2:06

"Emma Get Wild" (Gaffney) - 1:21

"Sixteen" (Loewenstein) - 1:29

"Homemade" (Barlow) - 5:02

"Forced Love" (Barlow) - 3:19

"Bouquet for a Siren" (Gaffney) - 2:56

"Flood" (Loewenstein) - 1:34

'Bubble and Scrape' 
full album:




00:00 Soul and Fire
3:46 Two Years Two Days
6:53 Telecosmic Alchemy
9:01 Fantastic Disaster
12:44 Happily Divided
15:07 Sister
17:50 Cliche
20:18 Sacred Attention
23:07 Elixir is Zog
25:13 Emma Get Wild 
26:35 Sixteen
28:07 Homemade
33:10 Forced Love
36:30 No Way Out 
38:48 Bouquet for a Siren 
41:45 Think (Let Tomorrow Bee) 

45:00 Flood