Saturday, February 28, 2015

the psychedelic furs

The Psychedelic Furs made it crawl and made it bleed with the sarcastic storm of their anodyne imitation of punk.  The group had formed in 1977 around the core of brothers Richard and Tim Butler.  Duncan Kilburn, Paul Wilson, and Roger Morris completed the original lineup, which started out as RKO and then became Radio before choosing The Psychedelic Furs over The Europeans.  By the time they secured a record deal, Wilson had left to be replaced by Vince Ely, and John Ashton joined as well.  

Tim Butler tells:  "I can remember when we first started they had what they thought was a psychedelic bill in the London Lyceum - you had the new psychedelic explosion. There was us, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and A Certain Ratio. The only band there that was remotely psychedelic was A Teardrop Explodes. We put the "Psychedelic" in there just to show we like some psychedelic bands, because everybody at the time had been putting down the '60s and psychedelia being a waste of time, but some great music came out of that period. We just wanted to show our allegiance and that we enjoyed some of that music. Plus, at the time if you put "psychedelic" on the announcement, you were bound to get some kind of a reaction, and we did. We never professed to be psychedelic." 

Richard Butler relates:  "Punk was very influential. Coming out of how staid it had all been – you could love music, but there was no way of getting 'there' from where you were as a young man. Then it became - steal a guitar and write a song with three chords and people were up and doing it and the walls came down. We were like, 'we can do that too, we don't want all that old shit'...There were so many punk bands doing a very similar, faux-nihilistic take on things. We wanted to be ourselves. It was an undeniably huge influence. Punk rock, absolutely, enabled us to make music and get signed by record companies. They didn't know what the hell was going on once punk rock came along."

'The Psychedelic Furs' was primarily produced by Steve Lillywhite and featured Richard Butler on vocals;  John Ashton and Roger Morris on guitar;  Duncan Kilburn on saxophones;  Tim Butler on bass guitar;  and Vince Ely on drums.   'The Psychedelic Furs' reached one hundred and forty in the US and eighteen in the UK. 


"Sister Europe"

"Imitation of Christ"

"We Love You"


'The Psychedelic Furs'
full album:

All songs written by The Psychedelic Furs, and produced by Steve Lillywhite, except where noted.

"India" – 6:21
"Sister Europe" – 5:38
"Imitation of Christ" – 5:28
"Fall" – 2:40
"Pulse" – 2:37 (produced by Howard Thompson, Ian Taylor and The Psychedelic Furs)
"We Love You" – 3:26 (produced by Howard Thompson, Ian Taylor and The Psychedelic Furs)
"Wedding Song" – 4:19
"Blacks/Radio" – 6:56
"Flowers" – 4:10 (produced by Howard Thompson, Ian Taylor and The Psychedelic Furs)
"Susan's Strange" – 3:13 (produced by Martin Hannett)
"Soap Commercial" – 2:53 (produced by Martin Hannett)
"Mack the Knife" (Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht, Marc Blitzstein) – 4:18 (produced by The Psychedelic Furs)
"Flowers" (Demo) – 5:36 (produced by The Psychedelic Furs)

Friday, February 27, 2015

furnace room lullaby

Neko Case and Her Boyfriends tenderly twisted the knife over and under to break us with tales of heartbreak, murder, and loss.  In the years since her debut album 'The Virginian' Case had played with  the Corn Sisters and the New Pornographerswhile working on the followup.  The sessions for 'Furnace Room Lullaby' featured Scott Betts on bass;   Neko Case on art direction, photography, production, tambourine, vocal harmony, and vocals;   Brian Connelly on guitar, baritone guitar, and electric guitar;  Bob Egan on lap steel guitar, national steel guitar, and pedal steel;  Dallas Good on guitar;  Travis Good on upright bass, fiddle, 8 string guitar, acoustic guitar, baritone guitar, electric guitar, tenor guitar, and mandolin;  Mike Grier on vocals;  Kelly Hogan on vocals and background vocals;  Evan Johns (and his H-Bombs) on electric guitar and steel guitar;  Kevin Kane on 12 string guitar;  Don Kerr on snare drum and guitar; Linda McRae on accordion;  Darryl Neudorf on acoustic guitar;  Carl Newman on vocals;  Ford Pier on organ and piano;  John Ramberg on baritone guitar, electric guitar, and background vocals;  Henri Sangalang on bass;  Ron Sexsmith on acoustic guitar and vocals;  and Joel Trueblood on drums and snare.  

Case says: "You're not supposed to totally know what's happening. The songs are supposed to give you clues so you can fill in the blanks. I don't know if I'm good at this or not, but I try. I started out trying to write songs that were more straightforward but it didn't really work. And I'm particularly not good at writing love songs. Maybe if something comes to be, but I can't just whip one up. Unless it's about loving dogs, then I'll sound like a kook. Maybe I do now ... It was weird how the Corn Sisters and the [New] Pornographers and my record [2000's Furnace Room Lullaby] all came out at the same time, because we'd been working on those projects three years prior. People would probably make the mistake that I'm super-prolific, but I'd just been working on them for a long time... I'm not super-slow, but I'm not super-prolific, either. Especially with the Pornographers, it's a lot easier, because I don't actually write the songs. [mock-announcer's voice] "There are a team of songwriters working around the clock in my absence!" They do all the songwriting, Dan [Bejar] and Carl [Newman], and then I come in and sing, which is a nice holiday for me. The Corn Sisters, we do a lot of old songs, a lot of covers, we do some songs we've written, some songs Carolyn has written herself. That's a very low-pressure band."

"Mood to Burn Bridges"

"Thrice All American"

"Furnace Room Lullaby"

'Furnace Room Lullaby'
full album:

1. "Set Out Running"   Neko Case 3:00
2. "Guided by Wire"   Scott Betts, Case, John Ramberg, Joel Trueblood 3:21
3. "Porchlight"   Case, Brian Connelly, Don Kerr, Ron Sexsmith 3:35
4. "Mood to Burn Bridges"   Betts, Case, Connelly, Trueblood 2:53
5. "No Need to Cry"   Betts, Case, Connelly, Trueblood 2:16
6. "Twist the Knife"   Ryan Adams, Case, Mike Daley, Ramberg 2:34
7. "Thrice All American"   Betts, Case, Connelly, Ramberg, Trueblood 3:13
8. "We've Never Met"   Case, Kerr, Sexsmith 2:52
9. "Whip the Blankets"   Betts, Case, Connelly, Trueblood 2:43
10. "South Tacoma Way"   Betts, Case, Connelly, Trueblood 4:51
11. "Bought and Sold"   Case, Ramberg 2:09
12. "Furnace Room Lullaby"   Case, Travis Good 2:53

Thursday, February 26, 2015

orange blossom special

Johnny Cash got back to basics to talk about a ramblin' with the restless railroad blues of this country and western wildwood outlaw urban folk gospel revival.    Continuing his winning streak from the past year with 'I Walk The Line' and 'Bitter Tears:  Ballads of the American Indian' , 'Orange Blossom Special' was produced by Don Law and Frank Jones;  and featured  Johnny Cash on vocals and guitar;   June Carter on vocals;  Luther Perkins, Norman Blake, and Ray Edenton on guitar;  Marshall Grant on bass;  W.S. Holland on drums;   Bill Pursell on piano;   Charlie McCoy on harmonica;   Bill McElhiney and Karl Garvin on trumpet;  Boots Randolph on saxophone;  and Pop Staples on call and response vocal on  “Orange Blossom Special”.   

'Orange Blossom Special' went to number forty-nine on the US pop album chart and number three on the US country album chart.  The album featured three compositions by Bob Dylan.  Cash would later express:  "There's no doubt about Bob Dylan's influence on my music and myself...We became friends, but I already was a fan of his.  I still am...Bob is timeless.  Invariably, before every day ends, there will be a Bob Dylan song that'll float through me."

"Orange Blossom Special" was released before the album, and peaked at number three on the US country singles chart.  Cash would recount in the album liner notes:      "I  recorded “Orange Blossom Special” in the mid 60’s and in those days everybody that recorded it claimed the arrangement because no one knew who wrote it. But Mother Maybelle Carter was at the session, and I asked her, do you know who really wrote “Orange Blossom special”? She said, Sure I Do. Ervin Rouse and his brother Gordon. And I said. Last time I heard, they were in Florida. It was the only clue I had. I called a disc jockey down there named Cracker Jim Brooker, and I asked Cracker Jim, Did you ever hear of Ervin Rouse? And he said, Aw, I know Ervin. He lives with the Seminoles out in the swamp buggies for a living. I said, You got any idea how I can talk to him?   And he said, Sure. I’ll announce it on the air Evrin call me and I’ll give you Johnny Cash’s number. It wasn’t an hour till Ervin Rouse called me from some little settlement in the swamps. I said, Ervin, I happen to be coming to Miami on tour. Would you come to my show and do “Orange Blossom Special” with me? He and Gordon came in the clothes they worked in. I brought Evrin up to play the fiddle, and he absolutely killed them. At the end of the song, they were applauding and he literally got down on his knees. He was such a sweet humble man. Gordon’s still living. I still see him every time I’m down there."

Look yonder coming, coming down that railroad tarck
Look yonder coming, coming down that railroad tarck
It's the oOrange Blossom Special. Bring my baby back

Well, I'm going down to florida, and get some sand in my shoes 
Or maybe California, and get some sand in my shoes.
I'll ride the Orange Blossom Special, and lose these New York Blues

"say man, when you going back to Florida ?"
Going back to Florida 
Don't know, don't reckon I ever will 
"ani't you worried about getting your nourishment in New York ?" 
I don't care if I do-die-dodie-do.....

Hey talk about a-rambling, she's the fastest train on the line.
Hey talk about a-rambling, she's the fastest train on the line.
It's the Orange Blossom Special, rolling down the seaboard line

"The Long Black Veil"

"It Ain't Me Babe"

'Orange Blossom Special' 
full album:  

Side one
1. "Orange Blossom Special"   Ervin T. Rouse, Gordon Rouse 3:06
2. "The Long Black Veil"   Marijohn Wilkin, Danny Dill 3:06
3. "It Ain't Me Babe"   Bob Dylan 3:03
4. "The Wall"   Harlan Howard 2:09
5. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"   Bob Dylan 2:56
6. "You Wild Colorado"   Johnny Cash 1:45
Side one
1. "Mama, You've Been on My Mind"   Bob Dylan 3:02
2. "When It's Springtime in Alaska"   Tillman Franks 2:36
3. "All of God's Children Ain't Free"   Johnny Cash 2:11
4. "Danny Boy"   Frederick Weatherly 5:08
5. "Wildwood Flower"   A.P. Carter 2:10
6. "Amen"   Jester Hairston 2:05

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

have one on me

Joanna Newsom drank to health and cruelty with delicate songs of love's godawful lawlessness at this bittersweet unhinged garden party.    The iconoclastic singer songwriter had made a dramatic leap from the relatively straightforward folkishness of her debut 'The Milk-Eyed Mender' to the dense orchestrated (conducted by Van Dyke Parks ) epics of 'Y's'; but for 'Have One On Me', she took the reins herself to create a sprawling stylistically diverse triple album in as many years.  During the recording, nodes on her vocal chords force her to go without talking or singing for two months.  The sessions featured Joanna Newsom on harp, piano, vocals, production, piano and vocal arrangements;   Alex Camphouse on horn;  Dan Cantrell on piano, hammond organ, pump organ, harpsichord, and accordion;  Patrick Cress on bass clarinet;  conductor Ryan Francesconi on string arrangements, Bulgarian tambura, kaval, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric bass, banjo, mandolin, and soprano recorder;  Sascha Groschang on cello;  Djeina Haruta on viola;  Shawn Jones on bassoon;  Shira Kammen on vielle and rebec;  Dan Koretzky on timpani;  Katie Kresek, Yeolim Nam, and Philip Payton on violin;  Judith Linsenberg on alto, tenor, and bass recorder;  Kane Mathis on kora;  Greg Moore, Thom Moore, and Lily Storm on backing vocals;  Neal Morgan on drum and percussion arrangements, drum set, percussion, timpani, and backing vocals; David Morris on viola da Gamba;  Eric Oberthaler on trumpet and cornet;  Laura Reynolds on oboe;  Andrew Roitstein on double bass; Phaedon Sinis on flute, tarhu, and kemence;  and Andrew Strain on trombone;  with mixing by Noah Georgeson (who had produced 'The Milk-Eyed Mender' ) and Jim O'Rourke; mastering by Steve Rooke and additional arrangements by Greg Moore, Thom Moore, and Lila Sklar.  

Newsom would reveal:     "I didn't have a fully contained vision going in. I didn't have a concept - and it's not a concept record - but I had a mood and I had a set of things that were inspiring me at that particular time. And I had a sense…I mean, it's almost like if you were expecting a child or something and you had some sort of instinct about whether it would be a boy or a girl and you had some sort of vision of it hovering, it was kind of like that! It took a while for me to understand what it was going to be...I write for pleasure, I write music for pleasure, and although often it's very hard for me and drives me crazy and I get a lot of angst from it and unhappiness from the struggles I have with it, it does come from an impulse of joy. And so I think sometimes you just go where that impulse leads you, and that sort of dictates a very different lyrical style from the first record, second record and third record. And I think it relates, in part, to what I'm reading, or to other types of writing I'm doing. But it's true that there was a very distilled quality to the words. There weren't very complex or compacted strings of words sort of qualifying each other and amending each other and augmenting each other. They were just stripped down lines that were just sort of plain spoken in a way. [laughs] For me, plain spoken!... on one level there was a tonal decision to choosing the title that has a relationship with the tone of the record. There is a directness to it and an earthiness to it - it's something that's said in a bar! There is a decadence to the phrase, and a thread of that runs through the whole record, from decisions surrounding the arrangements to the visuals and the lyrics. Decadence is just like intense physicality, so that phrase underscored that quality of the record. And then the title is meant to point at the title track as the sort of central thematic message of the record. I also like the fact that that track is a story. So rather than me saying, 'This is the thing I want to say about me and my life right now', I'm pointing at that song to say, 'There is all the information you need with which to approach the rest of the record'.,,It also refers to a kind of self-sacrifice that is a theme in a lot of the songs. It's a very feminine thing as well. It's the giving of yourself in those drinking terms, like pouring something from a bottle, and the level of the wine goes down and down and down with each glass that you pour and hand out. And it relates to the title track because that's sort of essentially what I saw in Lola Montez's life [Lola being the dancer who was the mistress of the King Of Bavaria, who ultimately lived and died an outcast in America, who is the subject of your title track and Newsom seems to be referring to in the album inlay photographs.] This constant wandering and diminishment of the self through the giving of the self, through performing, and just as the myth grew, the self shrunk until she just died poverty stricken and alone with pneumonia, being cared for by Jesuit priests that she hated. And having these affairs with these incredibly important powerful men, none of who took care of her. The way women were, and the way women are in that sense, is fundamental."

'Have One On Me' reached number one hundred and seventy one in France; eighty in Canada; seventy-five in Switzerland and on the US Billboard 200; fifty-four in the Netherlands and Sweden; forty-nine in Austria; forty-six in Belgium; forty in Germany;  twenty-eight in the UK; twenty-four in Ireland; sixteen in Norway and on the US Billboard top digital album chart; seven on the US Billboard top independent album chart; and number one on the US Billboard top folk albums chart.

"Have One On Me"

"Good Intentions Paving Company"

"On a Good Day"



"Soft as Chalk"

'Have One On Me'
full album:

All songs written by Joanna Newsom.

Disc 1
1. "Easy"   6:04
2. "Have One On Me"   11:02
3. "'81"   3:51
4. "Good Intentions Paving Company"   7:02
5. "No Provenance"   6:25
6. "Baby Birch"   9:30
Total length:  43:54

Disc 2
1. "On a Good Day"   1:48
2. "You and Me, Bess"   7:12
3. "In California"   8:41
4. "Jackrabbits"   4:23
5. "Go Long"   8:02
6. "Occident"   5:37
Total length:  35:37

Disk 3
1. "Soft as Chalk"   6:29
2. "Esme"   7:56
3. "Autumn"   8:01
4. "Ribbon Bows"   6:10
5. "Kingfisher"   9:11
6. "Does Not Suffice"   6:44

Total length:  44:31

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

physical graffiti

Led Zeppelin sailed across the sea of years to unfold a vagabond vandalism of brownstone boogie, progressive rock, wanton blues, and lilting acoustic grace into this masterful mélange.  

With five uncompromising albums (Led Zeppelin,  Led Zeppelin IILed Zeppelin IIILed Zeppelin IV, and Houses of the Holy) and nine tours behind them, the band began work on their next album in November of 1973 at Headley Grange in East Hampshire, England with Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio; however, these sessions soon dissolved as exhaustion had taken its toll.  

Producer and guitarist Jimmy Page would reveal:  "It took a long time for this album mainly because when we originally went in to record it, John Paul Jones wasn't well and we had to cancel the time ... everything got messed up. It took three months to sort the situation out...I love playing. If it was down to just that, it would be utopia. But it's not. It's airplanes, hotel rooms, limousines and armed guards standing outside rooms. I don't get off on that part of it at all. But it's the price I'm willing to pay to get out and play. I was very restless over the last 18 months where we laid off and worked on the album."

Recording resumed in January of 1974 at Headley Grange, and by February they had several new songs fleshed out.  Robert Plant recalled:   "We got eight tracks off... and a lot of them were really raunchy. We did some real belters with live vocals, off-the-wall stuff that turned out really nice...Some of the tracks we assembled in our own fashioned way of running through a track and realising before we knew it that we had stumbled on something completely different."

With the wealth of new material, the project began to expand.  Page relates:   "Well, as usual, we had more material than the required 40-odd minutes for one album. We had enough material for one and a half LPs, so we figured let's put out a double and use some of the material we had done previously but never released. It seemed like a good time to do that sort of thing, release tracks like "Boogie With Stu" which we normally wouldn't be able to do..."Black Country Woman" and "The Rover" were both done at the same time we did "D'yer Mak'er." "Bron-Yr-Aur" was done for the third record. "Down By The Seaside," "Night Flight," and "Boogie With Stu" were all from the sessions for the fourth album. We had an album and a half of new material, and this time we figured it was better to stretch out than to leave off. I really fancied putting out a song called "Houses of the Holy" on the album."

'Physical Graffiti' features John Bonham on drums and percussion;   John Paul Jones on bass guitar, organ, acoustic and electric piano, mellotron, guitar, mandolin, VCS3 synthesiser, Hohner clavinet, Hammond organ, and string arrangement;   Jimmy Page on electric, acoustic, lap steel and slide guitar, mandolin, and production;   and Robert Plant on lead vocals, harmonica, and acoustic guitar on "Boogie with Stu";    with Ian Stewart adding piano on "Boogie with Stu";   and   George Chkiantz, Andy Johns, and Ron Nevison on engineering;   Keith Harwood and Eddie Kramer on engineering and mixing;  Peter Corriston and Mike Doud on artwork, design, and cover design;  and executive producer Peter Grant. 

In May of 1974, the band launched their own record label, Swan Song.  Page relates:  "We'd been thinking about it for a while and we knew if we formed a label there wouldn't be the kind of fuss and bother we'd been going through over album covers and things like that. Having gone through, ourselves, what appeared to be an interference, or at least an aggravation, on the artistic side by record companies, we wanted to form a label where the artists would be able to fulfill themselves without all of that hassle."

'Physical Graffiti' became the first release on Swan Song Records.  It was the first album to go platinum on advance orders alone, going to number seventeen in Italy; thirteen in Japan;  four in Norway;  three in New Zealand;  two in Australia, Austria, France, and Spain;   and number one in the UK and the US.  'Physical Graffiti'  would win a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package.   It has sold more than eight million copies in the US alone, making it one of the best selling albums of all time.  

Page would admit:   "I may not believe in myself, but I believe in what I'm doing. I know where I'm going musically. I can see my pattern and I'm going much slower than I thought I'd be going. I can tell how far I ought to be going, I know how to get there, all I've got to do is keep playing. That might sound a bit weird because of all the John McLaughlins who sound like they're in outer space or something. Maybe it's the tortoise and the hare...I'm not a guitarist as far as a technician goes, I just pick it up and play it. Technique doesn't come into it. I deal in emotions. It's the harmonic side that's important. That's the side I expected to be much further along on than I am now. That just means to say that I've got to keep at it...There's such a wealth of arts and styles within the instrument ... flamenco, jazz, rock, blues ... you name it, it's there. In the early days my dream was to fuse all those styles. Now composing has become just as important. Hand-in-hand with that, I think it's time to travel, start gathering some real right-in-there experiences with street musicians around the world. Moroccan musicians, Indian musicians ... it could be a good time to travel around now. This year. I don't know how everyone else is gonna take that, but that's the direction I'm heading in right now. This week, I'm a gypsy. Maybe next week it'll be glitter rock."


Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream
I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed

Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace, whose sounds caress my ear
But not a word I heard could I relate, the story was quite clear
Oh, oh.

Oh, I been flying... mama, there ain't no denyin'
I've been flying, ain't no denyin', no denyin'

All I see turns to brown, as the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand, as I scan this wasted land
Trying to find, trying to find where I've been.

Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace, like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream
My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when movin' through Kashmir.

Oh, father of the four winds, fill my sails, across the sea of years
With no provision but an open face, along the straits of fear

When I'm on, when I'm on my way, yeah
When I see, when I see the way, you stay-yeah

Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, when I'm down...
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, well I'm down, so down
Ooh, my baby, oooh, my baby, let me take you there

Let me take you there. Let me take you there 

"In the Light"

Led Zeppelin-In the Light by sadlimbic


"Down by the Seaside"

"Boogie with Stu"

'Physical Graffiti' 
full album: 

All songs written and composed by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, except where noted. 

Side one
1. "Custard Pie"   January–February 1974 4:13
2. "The Rover"   May 1972 5:37
3. "In My Time of Dying" (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Page, and Plant) January–February 1974 11:04
Side two
4. "Houses of the Holy"   May 1972 4:02
5. "Trampled Under Foot" (Jones, Page, and Plant) January–February 1974 5:37
6. "Kashmir" (Bonham, Page, and Plant) January–February 1974 8:32
Side three
7. "In the Light" (Jones, Page, and Plant) January–February 1974 8:46
8. "Bron-Yr-Aur" (Page) July 1970 2:06
9. "Down by the Seaside"   February 1971 5:13
10. "Ten Years Gone"   January–February 1974 6:32
Side four
11. "Night Flight" (Jones, Page, and Plant) December 1970 – January 1971 3:36
12. "The Wanton Song"   January–February 1974 4:10
13. "Boogie with Stu" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant, Ian Stewart) December 1970 – January 1971 3:53
14. "Black Country Woman"   May 1972 4:24
15. "Sick Again"   January–February 1974 4:42

cover art