Friday, January 31, 2014

look sharp!

Joe Jackson cut to the chase with the edgy angry anthems of this incisive and intelligent punk pop primer.  Born David Ian Jackson, he learned violin before switching to the piano.  At the age of sixteen, he began playing in local bars and won a scholarship to study at London's Royal Academy of Music.  His first band was  Edward Bear, which later became Edwin Bear and then Arms and Legs

His demos found their way to A&M Records, which led to a solo record deal.  'Look Sharp!' was recorded at Eden Studios in London with producer David Kershenbaum.  The sessions featured Joe Jackson on vocals, piano, and harmonica; Gary Sanford on guitar; Graham Maby on bass; and David Houghton on drums.  Despite his more traditional musical training, 'Look Sharp!' sees Jackson embracing the primal sound of punk. Jackson explains:  "I’ve never had any problem with sophistication. I rather like it. But I know what you’re saying. I think my first album, for instance, is very much a product of its time, inevitably. I was only twenty-three or twenty-four or something. I was excited by what was going on around me, even though I wasn’t necessarily part of it. I was way overqualified to be a punk by the time I was even 17, in terms of my musical training and all the different kinds of music I was interested in. But it did feel like a time to strip things down and keep it sort of urgent and simple. I think we all liked that."

'Look Sharp!' went to number forty in the UK and number twenty in the US.  Its clever sardonic sneer and eclectic musical underpinings led to Jackson being grouped with Elvis Costello and Graham Parker as the triumvirate of England's angry young men.

 "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" went to number twenty-one on the US pop chart, thirteen in the UK, and number two on the US college singles chart. 

'Look Sharp!'

full album:

All songs written and arranged by Joe Jackson.

1. "One More Time" 3:15
2. "Sunday Papers" 4:22
3. "Is She Really Going Out with Him?" 3:33
4. "Happy Loving Couples" 3:08
5. "Throw It Away" 2:49
6. "Baby Stick Around" 2:36
7. "Look Sharp!" 3:23
8. "Fools in Love" 4:23
9. "(Do the) Instant Mash" 3:12
10. "Pretty Girls" 2:55
11. "Got the Time" 2:52 
bonus tracks
12. "Don't Ask Me" (original B-side to "One More Time") 2:43
13. "You Got the Fever" (original B-side to "Is She Really Going Out with Him?") 3:36

Thursday, January 30, 2014

black fire

Andrew Hill was playing with fire as he revealed a unique vision on his accessible and experimental debut for Blue Note Records.  Born and raised in south side Chicago, he tapdanced and played accordion outside local clubs and was encouraged by musicians.  At the age of thirteen, he began playing piano.  Hill would recount:  "Chicago was a very interesting place when I was growing up. There wasn’t anyone lettered or intellectual about the music, or about what someone else was doing; it was a venue big enough for everyone to flourish and do their thing. But it was category-less. It was organic, like an African modal situation, in which the performer would play in all the different voices. Jazz wasn’t an art form; before television and integration got strong, it was the spiritual element that kept the community together. The music was coming from the streets. Most people talk about Blue Note like it was a philanthropic institution! It wasn’t that. It carried the heartbeat of the popular music in the black communities. That’s why people could really play by ear in those days, because it was so accessible.”

He toured and played with jazz luminaries like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis,  Dinah Washington, and Coleman Hawkins.  He formed a  trio with bassist Malachi Favors and drummer James Slaughter  and recorded 'So In Love' for the Warwick label in 1956.  It didn't get released until 1960.  Hill moved to New York and was contracted by Alfred Lion for Blue Note Records, beginning a fruitful period for the unconventional pianist as a band leader.  

'Black Fire' was recorded at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey with Lion producing.  The session featured Andrew Hill on piano, Joe Henderson on saxophone, Richard Davis on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums.  The lineup was short lived, according to Hill:    "We were really getting ready to work, but the only wrench that was thrown in that was right after we did a few nights at Birdland and a few other places, Joe joined Horace Silver. So that was the end of that for a while... I really loved the way Roy Haynes played during that time. I still love his playing, but I was really enthralled during that period."

"Pumpkin'" – 5:24

"Subterfuge" – 8:04

"Black Fire" – 6:56

"Cantarnos" – 5:42

"Tired Trade" – 5:51

"McNeil Island" – 2:58

"Land of Nod" – 5:48

full album:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

under the pink

Tori Amos explored her inner world and experimented with new sounds for this expansive emotional exposition.  Her debut 'Little Earthquakes' established her as a powerful new voice; but the tour that followed had left her feeling drained.  Amos remembers:   "This album is a self-healing experience to me...Around Christmas 1992 my tour ended and I went to New Mexico to rest. We were there in a 150 year old hacienda, a sacred place for the pueblo, and that had its effect on all of us...I was gonna take a year off, but the songs just demanded that I tell their story, and their story was about life under the pink. That's why the album is called 'Under the Pink'. These are just some of the different lives that happen in that world. If you ripped everybody's skin off, we're all pink, the way I see it. And this is about what's going on inside of that. That's what I'm really interested in, not the outer world but the inner world. There are many other songs that live under the pink. These are just a few of them, these are just the girls who decided to come to the party ... 'Under the Pink' is a place. It's an internal place. It's the inner world, the inner life. You have to listen from your stomach. To me, it's all there. But you've got to be willing to put your moccasins on and walk down the road." 

'Under the Pink' was recorded at The Fishhouse in Taos, New Mexico and Westlake Studios in Los Angeles with Amos co-producing with  Eric Rosse.  The sessions included Michael Allen Harrison on violin; Tori Amos on piano and vocals; John Acevedo on viola; Steve Caton on guitar; Paulinho Da Costa on percussion; John Philip Shenale on strings and Hammond organ; Francine Walsh, John Wittenberg, Nancy Roth, Ezra Killinger, and Chris Reutinger on violin; Melissa "Missy" Hasin, Dane Little, and Nancy Stein-Ross  on cello; Cynthia Morrow and Jimbo Ross on viola; Carlo Nuccio on drums, George Porter, Jr. on bass, and Trent Reznor on backing vocals.  

The working title for the album was 'God With A Big G'.  Amos reflected:    "My beliefs are different from institutional religion. But I talk about the institution a lot. Organized...My grandfather always taught me that spirit was in all things. He saw things like a medicine man. So there were complete opposite beliefs growing up, and the more restrictive one won out as far as what was practiced in the home, and that was my father's side of things. My father was a lot more domineering than he is now. He's really grown a lot. My father is an incredible success story on how you can be hip at 65. He's like the hippest 65-year-old. He's really getting cool. But he wasn't (laughs). He was a dictator. He couldn't help it -- he was totally caught up in all these belief systems that were handed down to him, and I think that the work and the world that I've exposed him to over the years has really opened him up a lot. So we've grown from that. But I was exposed so much to how the church worked and their belief systems and how controlling it is so I was really seeing it from the inside. Yes, I do feel it's part of my responsibility to expose that. I think that when you know certain information that's keeping a lot of people divided in themselves, you have a choice to share or not share it but why wouldn't you want to share it so that those people can find freedom within their selves? This is the core of my work, I think, is going in there and seeing what am I really made up of. By exposing it to you, I'm just showing you a little blueprint of how I've had to dive in there, and look at the things I'm hiding, and the places where I'm lying, and the games that I'm doing. It's so easy to go, 'This person is just really manipulative,' and now I'm going, 'What is my part in this also? Maybe this person is manipulative, but what am I trying to get from them? What game am I playing?' That's when you really start gaining power, because you're taking responsibility for what you're doing at all times. I'm going, 'Okay, yeah, I want him, so yeah! Maybe I am putting this out.' And then you have to decide if you want him on those terms, or if you want him on terms that are based on honor, and truth, and compassion, and then you go well, if you want that, then maybe I need to look at the way I'm going about this... I think there's so much emphasis on pushing things away, instead of pulling them out of the closet. A lot of times I just notice that people try to hide their dirt for as long as possible. Monsters, dirt, whatever you want to call it, the stuff that you censor and that you don't really want to share with people. I think you can only do that for so long before you start losing your mind. I'm finding a lot of freedom right now in just looking at things that I really feel. We're not encouraged to do that, and I think that that's what makes people sick inside of themselves. You kind of want everybody else to think that you're okay. Well, you're okay if you have monsters! That's what people don't understand -- everybody has many many voices going on inside of themselves. Now there is one voice, though, that is more of the ringleader, more of the innermost voice that isn't trying to beat you up, or trying to make you feel like you can go slaughter 67 people and it's okay. You know, the voice in there that goes: 'Hang on a minute, Tori, we're really feeling lonely right now.' That inner inner voice is, to me, the most important because it can start being a bridge between all these other voices in your head. Everybody has them. After the shows, everybody talks to me about how they're pulled in different directions. A lot of times there doesn't have to be conflict, it's just we're not giving attention to different sides of ourselves. You see, you've got a masochist side that has to be met in some way. You need to look at why you need to be hurt, and why you get some kind of pleasure out of it. Then you need to go and give equal time to the part of you that's a sea captain, you see what I mean? The one that sail the ship, and can bring it home, and isn't needy. We have all these different sides, and they just go out of balance!"

'Under the Pink' went to number fifteen in Sweden and New Zealand, twelve in the US, eleven in Switzerland, ten in the Netherlands, six in Austria, five in Australia, and number one in the UK.  It has sold more than two million copies worldwide. 

"Cornflake Girl"

'Under the Pink' 
full album:

1. Pretty Good Year 00:00
2. God 03:23
3. Bells for Her 07:20
4. Past the Misión 12:38
5. Baker Baker 16:42
6. The Wrong Band 19:58
7. The waitress 23:01
8. Cornflake Girl 26:12
9. Icicle 31:18
10. Cloud on my tongue 37:01
11. Space Dog 41:42
12. Yes, Anastasia 46:53

b sides:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

folk singer

Muddy Waters unplugged his guitar for this raw and righteous down home acoustic blues packaged to appeal to fans of folk.  McKinley Morganfield was born in rural Mississippi and his nickname of Muddy was given by his grandmother because he liked to play in the waters of nearby Deer Creek.  Waters would reveal:    ''When I was around three years old I was beatin' on bucket tops and tin cans. Anything with a sound I would try to play it; I'd even take my stick and beat on the ground tryin' to get a new sound. And whatever I beat on, I'd be hummin' my little baby song along with it. My first instrument, which a lady give me and some kids soon broke for me, was an old squeeze-box, an accordion. The next thing I had in my hand was a jew's-harp. When I was about seven I started playing the harmonica, and when I got about thirteen I was playing it very good. I should never have give it up! But when I was seventeen I switched to the guitar and put the harp down. I sold our last horse for the first guitar I had. Made fifteen dollars for him, gave my grandmother $7.50, I kept $7.50 and paid about $2.50 for my guitar.''

He began emulating the slide guitar styles of Son House and Robert Johnson and was recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress.   Waters eventually relocated to Chicago where he started playing an electric guitar so he could be heard over the crowds in the blues clubs.  He started making recordings for  Leonard and Phil Chess' Aristocrat Records, which later became Chess Records.   His first success came with the single "I Can't Be Satisfied" and "I Feel Like Going Home".     He recorded several classics over the next few years including 'Rollin Stone',  'I Just Want to Make Love to You''Hoochie Coochie Man'and 'Mannish Boy'.  

In 1958, he took his electric blues act to England and blew audiences away.  Two years later, his performance at the Newport Jazz Festival was released as an album and brought his music to a whole new audience.  In was in the wake of this acclaim that Waters was enticed by the Chess brothers to record an acoustic album to appeal to the burgeoning folk movement.  'Folk Singer' was produced by Willie Dixon and Ralph Bass at Tel Mar Recording Studios in Chicago, Illinois with composer Muddy Waters on guitar and vocals; Buddy Guy, Sammy Lawhorn, and James Madison on guitar; Otis Spann on harmonica and piano; Francis Clay, Clifton James, and S.P. Leary on drums; Willie Dixon and Milton Rector on bass;  and J.T. Brown on clarinet and tenor saxophone.  

Waters would express:   "There's no way in the world I can feel the same blues the way I used to. When I play in Chicago, I'm playing up-to-date, not the blues I was born with. People should hear the pure blues - the blues we used to have when we had no money."

"My Home Is in the Delta"

"Long Distance" 

"My Captain" 

"Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" 

"You Gonna Need My Help" 

"Cold Weather Blues" 

"Big Leg Woman" 

"Country Boy" 

"Feel Like Going Home" 

bonus tracks: 

"The Same Thing"

"You Can't Lose What You Never Had" 

"My John the Conqueror Root" 

"Short Dress Woman" (John T. Brown) – 2:49

"Put Me in Your Lay Away" (L.J. Welch) – 2:56

Folk Singer
full album:

"My Home Is in the Delta" (Waters) – 3:58
"Long Distance" (Waters) – 3:30
"My Captain" (Willie Dixon) – 5:10
"Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" (Sonny Boy Williamson) – 3:12
"You Gonna Need My Help" (Waters) – 3:09
"Cold Weather Blues" (Waters) – 4:40
"Big Leg Woman" (John Temple) – 3:25
"Country Boy" (Waters) – 3:26
"Feel Like Going Home" (Waters) – 3:52
bonus tracks[edit]
"The Same Thing" (Dixon) – 2:57
"You Can't Lose What You Never Had" (Waters) – 2:46
"My John the Conqueror Root" (Dixon) – 2:22
"Short Dress Woman" (John T. Brown) – 2:49

"Put Me in Your Lay Away" (L.J. Welch) – 2:56

Monday, January 27, 2014

filles de kilimanjaro

Miles Davis incorporated electric instruments into his traditional acoustic jazz sound during the sessions for the exotic free flow fusion of this transitional adventure.  Continuing the move he began on 'Miles in the Sky', 'Filles de Kilimanjaro' sees Davis utilizing electric instrumentation on every track.  Teo Macero produced the sessions at Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York City.  The album was begun in June of 1968 with his second great quintet with Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Herbie Hancock on the electric Rhodes piano, Ron Carter on electric bass, and Tony Williams on drums.  For the sessions in September, Davis replaced  Hancock with Chick Corea, and Carter with Dave Holland.  During September Davis also married Betty Mabry, a model and songwriter who introduced Miles to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone and was pivotal in his move to fusion.  It is Mademoiselle Mabry that graces the album cover designed by Hiro.  All of the songs were composed by Miles Davis with arrangements by Gil Evans.

'Filles de Kilimanjaro' 
full album:

"Frelon Brun" (Brown Hornet)  – 5:39
"Tout de Suite" (Right Away)  – 14:07
"Petits Machins" (Little Stuff)  – 8:07
"Filles de Kilimanjaro" (Girls of Kilimanjaro)  – 12:03
"Mademoiselle Mabry" (Miss Mabry)  – 16:32

Sunday, January 26, 2014


New Order immersed themselves in Mediterranean music and sun during the recording of this acid house hybrid and ended up with their greatest success.  As the band was getting ready to record, Stephen Morris and manager Rob Gretton scouted out a new studio.  Morris says:    “We decided to make this record, and Peter Gabriel had just opened Real World [Studios] near Bath.  It was brand new, state of the art. Couldn’t ask for a better studio."

Bassist Peter Hook had found another studio on the Spanish island of Ibiza where there was a pool and all hours bar nearby:   "We obviously became very involved in the club scene with The Haçienda.  We had been inspired by the clubs we had been to in New York in the early 1980s and came back from there thinking we had to bring that to Manchester. Also, the rave culture of Ibiza helped us to push the acid house movement wit the Hacienda at the forefront.  I was very involved in the club, I even did the door once!  and was also known to roadie for other bands now and again when we had live shows on.  at it's peak, that era was absolutely amazing, just lots and lots of people every night discovering new music and having a great time...I had not spent much time in Spain at that time, but New Order did record 'Technique' in Ibiza; which was a very special time."

Gillian Gilbert considers how easy it was for the band to choose Ibiza:  “Before then we’d always had studios in London, and it was always in the winter and it was dark and horrible. I thought it would be quite nice going somewhere sunny.”

Bernard Sumner recalls how they spent the summer going to clubs and avoiding the studio:    “We started off trying to write an album in the summer.  But as the season progressed, it moved further and further to the back of our minds. We just went out to clubs. But Stephen didn’t like the sun, so we’d sit by the pool while he stayed in the studio and worked on drums. We’d go in and go, ‘Ooh, don’t like that, needs a bit more top on the high-hat, Steve, do ’em again.’ ... The worst thing I remember was the green shag-pile carpet – on the walls, and on the floor.  The flies were using it to nest in. It was a bit… maggoty.  The food was pretty poor there.  There’s only so many times you can eat paella. So we’d go to San Antonio and maybe get a pizza, then we would go to a club, then back to San Antonio to another club…”

The club scene on Ibiza was becoming known  for its own Balearic beat which was characterized by a danceable downtempo mix of international musical styles.  After four months in Ibiza, the band returned to Britain with very little recorded.  They buckled down at Real World in Bath and quickly recorded the rest of the album with Bernard Sumner on vocals, guitars, melodica, synthesizers and programming; Peter Hook on 4 and 6-stringed bass, electronic percussion, synthesizers and programming; Stephen Morris on drums, synthesizers and programming; and Gillian Gilbert on guitars, synthesizers and programming.  'Technique' became the biggest album of their career, going to thirty-two in the US, twenty-eight in Canada, twenty-five in Australia and Germany, twenty-three in Sweden, fifteen in Switzerland, eleven in New Zealand, and number one in the UK.  It has been certified gold in Brazil, Canada, the UK, and the US.

1. "Fine Time"     4:42

2. "All the Way"     3:22

3. "Love Less"     2:58

4. "Round & Round"     4:29

6. "Run"   New Order, John Denver 4:29
The band was sued because of the similarities with this song and Denver's 'Leaving on a Jet Plane'.

7. "Mr. Disco"     4:20

8. "Vanishing Point"     5:15

9. "Dream Attack"     5:13

bonus disc:

1. "Don't Do It"     4:34

2. "Fine Line"     4:45

3. "Round & Round"     6:52

4. "Best & Marsh"     4:32

5. "Run 2" (Extended Version) New Order, John Denver 5:26

6. "MTO" (Minus Mix)   5:27

7. "Fine Time" (Silk Mix)   6:19

8. "Vanishing Point" (Instrumental Making Out Mix)   5:12

9. "World in Motion" (Carabinieri Mix) New Order, Keith Allen 5:52


full album:

New Order - Technique (Full Album) - 1989 by SixtaAlbright

All tracks written by New Order except where indicated.

1. "Fine Time"     4:42
2. "All the Way"     3:22
3. "Love Less"     2:58
4. "Round & Round"     4:29
5. "Guilty Partner"     4:44
6. "Run"   New Order, John Denver 4:29
7. "Mr. Disco"     4:20
8. "Vanishing Point"     5:15
9. "Dream Attack"     5:13
bonus disc
1. "Don't Do It"     4:34
2. "Fine Line"     4:45
3. "Round & Round"     6:52
4. "Best & Marsh"     4:32
5. "Run 2" (extended version) New Order, John Denver 5:26
6. "MTO" (Minus Mix)   5:27
7. "Fine Time" (Silk Mix)   6:19
8. "Vanishing Point" (Instrumental Making Out Mix) 5:12
9. "World in Motion" (Carabinieri Mix) New Order, Keith Allen 5:52