Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ronald Shannon Jackson: Decode Yourself (1985)

Island Records LP

RSJ came to my attention as drummer for Last Exit. Turns out he, like Sharrock, had been around for many years and had an even more impressive resume than Sonny - playing with Ayler and "schooled" under Ornette Coleman, the father of "Harmolodic" jazz, a branch of melody/group improv that was in part the basis for much of the free jazz movement. Jackson was in Coleman's first electric group to explore his ideas. In the '80s, Jackson, living in NYC, put together The Decoding Society which incubated a group of youngsters that included Melvin Gibbs (later played with Defunkt and The Rollins Band) and, more famously, Vernon Reid, guitar god from Living Colour. It was only natural that Jackson would continue in the vein of the work he did with Coleman.

Much of the music he put out during this time was revered although this album is generally considered a low point. If Entertainment Weekly ever did an article on all his records, this would probably get a D-. What he was trying to do, however, was interesting and that was update Bebop and Free Jazz with a more techno, whatever-fusion sensibility (whereas Last Exit just thrashed the shit out of it). Hence, some of the experiments are either too much rock/techie ("Software Shuffle") or feature instrumentation that was even dated in '86 (Sonar drums went out with, like, Foreigner). Accordingly, the album starts out with a short but sweet cover of Dizzy Gillespie's "Bebop" as if announcing this is what has come before and now here's what's gonna come after (a lot of New York "loft" jazz at that time seem to be trying to make an Ultimate Statement about Jazz in the Here and Now). The cut immediately following, "Decoding" makes that point despite the hippy-dippy lyrics ("read all your dreams/key into the scene) that the Decoding Society Chorus sings are a bit lame but you can't deny the Jackson-Gibbs-Johnson (that's Rev Bruce Johnson on second bass) rolling beat, the horn/synth counter-melody and Vernon Reid's smoking guitar solo smack dab in the middle.

Bill Laswell is blamed for this record by some - for not letting Jackson's inner Harmolodics self shine with his more snaky and unrestrained melodies (which you hear in "Decoding" but seem restrained in the rest of the album). I'm usually not one to argue that the producer makes all that much difference (outside of MTV scrum-pop and disco) - I mean the ideal producer provides a second ear and should keep the engineer from interfering with the process - but given that a lot of the other Decoding Society output is pretty boss (especially live), I'm not gonna argue too much with the conclusion that Laswell had something to do with the failure of this record.
Jackson from '94 Live in Warsaw (reissued in 2000)

Band line-up:
Eric Person - Soprano/Alto Sax
Robin Eubanks - Trombone
Akbar Ali - Violin
Vernon Reid - Guitars, Guitar Synth and Banjo
Dnaje Allen Gumbs - Synth
Melvin Gibbs - Electric Bass
Rev. Bruce Johnson - Electric Bass
Ronald Shannon Jackson - Drums


  • The liner notes that appear on the Knitting Factory website (which rereleased much of RSJ's output earlier this decade) describe the origins of the group and explains why often NYC New Jazz is also referred to as Loft Music:
“The Decoding Society came together as a group during the winter months of 1979,” Jackson explains. “I met Melvin Gibbs through Bern Nix. Melvin brought his high school ‘like-minds’ running buddy Vernon Reid into the group. Vernon brought his friend Zane Massey. All three attended Boys High school in Brooklyn. Vernon also brought in the Rev. Bruce Johnson on fretless bass. Dr. Verna Gillis, ethnomusicologist at Long Island University, gave me the key to her loft club Soundscape. She needed someone living near Soundscape to allow for deliveries at any time. This gave me the all important rehearsal space I needed for playing drums and rehearsing the band.”
  • A great, albeit academic, web article on Jackson and his recordings by Jeff Eldridge of UCLA that appeared in the Echo journal. Way better than anything Entertainment Weekly could do. Here's what they say about the Island albums and Decode Yourself:
The Island period (starting with Man Dance and Barbecue Dog) represented the height of the group's visibility and popularity. Funk and blues gestures had become more overt than ever, contributing to a pastiche not found in the earlier work. Tempo and feel shifted rapidly from section to section. Hints of tonality, often in funk-based solo sections, could now be heard in contrast to polytonal and atonal sections. Unison sections at very fast tempos and Reid's fiery guitar work both exhibited the flashiness reminiscent of Seventies fusion, yet the signature rhythms, quirky melodies, and arranging/orchestration style assured the listener that this sound was still unmistakably Jackson's. Despite the return of the violin, the addition of the trombone, some interesting stylistic forays into country, bebop, and space funk, and the promise of a Bill Laswell production, the third Island release, Decode Yourself, is marred by a thin sound, gimmicky electronic drum and synthesizer timbres, and (surprisingly) a plodding, four-square rhythmic monotony.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Husker Du: Candy Apple Grey

Warner Brothers LP, 1986

An album in which the un-suckiness curve seems to asymptotically start at infinity with "Crystal" and then go down to approach zero with the final songs. It's really a cock-tease of an album because "Crystal" is so fucking good I'm willing to say it might be Mould's best recorded song in their ouvre. And here's also an album in which Hart's good songs beat Moulds 2-1 (even though he has more songs than Hart, huh?). And that's not a lower denominator fraction - I really mean two songs to his one song: "Don't Want To Know If You're Lonely" and perhaps one of Hart's finest songs: "Sorry Somehow."

The second side is like the worst parts of side 1, song by song. Here Hart does a piano-based drippy ballad (and lemme tell you I ain't anti-ballad, I mean "Beth" is my favorite Kiss song even if Peter Kriss looked right silly singing around a campfire with all the make-up on). And speaking of ballads, I haven't even mentioned Bob "I Wanna Be on College Radio" Mould's Billy Braggish falsetto-laced "Too Far Down" on the previous side.

Side two and assorted songs on side one sound almost like a bunch of bad college rock bands trying to imitate Husker Du and then being covered by Husker Du. "Hardly Getting Over It" is a nicely arranged song what with the sonorous piano counterpoint and that non-Spot great sounding drums but the lyrics are incredibly inane and, well, collegian. Hart's "Dead Set On Destruction," is made topical by that large lady Rita (he likens a bad relationship to flying a plane into a hurricane) and it sports a song idea that Foo Fighters later honed to pop perfection (over and over again) and planeloads of dollars but it's way off the mark and seems to be flying through a puddle, not a hurricane. I only mention "Eiffel Tower High" (neat title) or the shudder-producing "No Promises Have I Made" and the closer, Mould's softening of the "Divide and Conquer" with the tedious "All This I've Done For You", a song about as exciting as watching Wheaties cereal go damp.

But... what a way to open an album.... "Crystal"... I'm still shaking after hearing it after so long. It's like that empty-chested feeling you get before a heart attack (no, I don't know, I'm guessing) or when you're in teenage puppy love. "100,000 niiiiights!" Great, great, great.

On the serious, sort of time continuum, groove - note that in the time from the awesome Flip Your Wig - which preceded this album - Grant Hart has gone from being the goofy guy in love (albeit attracted to dangerous girls) to the bitter break-up dude "dead set on destruction". His girlfriend is even suing him. Historians have noted that it was after this album he began his slide into heroin addiction and band acrimony that would later lead to their break-up and the overdone Warehouse double LP. Mould's progression from Flip Your Wig and the previous records is also interesting. He seems to have moved on from politics and being kinda angry with the world to being angry with himself and in the throes of an "identity management" crisis ("I Don't Know For Sure" and even "Crystal" with its evocation of that old literary staple Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf and its broken mirror). I've wondered if "Eiffel Tower High", however lousy of a song I think it is, was about his ambivalence about girls (as reflected by the girl's ambivalence about him).

So whaddya say, we split it in half. Worst Du album, best recorded song by Mould and possibly Hart. Anybody wanna defend the other songs?

Songs to Sample This Record:
Our Friday rocker is "Crystal" by Bob Mould - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS SONG and BUYING THIS ALBUM JUST FOR THIS SONG... and here's Hart's "Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely", some of his best lyrics and best anguished singing, I think - and with organ.

This was such a cool publicity shot taken around the time they were doing publicity for this disc that I had to steal it from the smart little Du site Third Avenue... which is also known as the Husker Du Database... there's plenty more memorabilia and fan stuff there. Hours of insomniac exploration await.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Polyvinyl Record Co. Summer/Fall 2005 sampler

So can someone tell me why Polyvinyl went to the trouble and expense to once again confirm to the world that Picastro is the only worthwhile band signed to this label and even then they're a bit uneven - the cut they include on the CD ("I Can't Fall Asleep" which you can stream over here) is much better than the current MP3 they have for download ("Sharks")? As an insomniac, I am adopting it as my late night computer solitare playin' theme song. At any rate, if I find a good price on this newish Picastro CD, I'll probably bite, sharks or no.

I have two of these sampler suckers already and apparently they're being stuffed into any inSound orders so I imagine I'll have a full set of drink coasters by the end of this month. At least I could give the American Analog Set Tylenol sampler out to friends and not be too embarassed.

As for trendy MP3 bloggers faves Aloha, it's kinda okay pop - I haven't deleted yet - and as for Of Montreal (another perrenial flower among the indie proto-yuppie scene) have they really progressed much from when they were a Shins cover band? I mean it's okay. Decibully sounded way better at MacRock than they do now. I dunno if it was the drive through the mountains of Virginia where everything kinda sounds good or just some distance. I've tried to "get" xbxrx -- I mean I like noise, I like guitars, I like post-HC and all that shit -- but for the life of me, I don't get it.

Has anyone found any good free record samplers lately?

Props to Polyvinyl Record Company for at least putting it out there, y'know man...

(I'm thinking about doing more contemporary record reviews like above and they won't always include MP3s. What do you all think? I think as long as I keep them short and to the point -- unlike my vinyl musings -- it oughta work. huh?)

ADDENDUM: Maybe I should modify my first sentence to include Joan of Arc (and all its permutations) as a worthwhile Polyvinyl band but in my defense they're not on this sampler...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Godfathers: "Sun Arise" 12" Single

Corporate Image, 1986

Enroute to their Epic contract, a minor 80's hit ("Birth, School, Work, Death"), an avid following, a run of several decent straight-ahead rock albums, and break-up (with rumors of reunions on and off) came this 12" which collects three of the songs from their 1st and independent release Hit by Hit. First appearing as The Sid Presley Experience in suits and ties (a motif they would adopt for many of their shows) and inspired by the entire continuum of rock (as the name suggests) from the 50's to punk, they had legal issues with continuing to use the name so switched to the less descriptive Godfathers. Often compared with early rockers Dr. Feelgood, I hear, at least in their early stuff, more of a mix of American garage-band Nuggets (they ended up on Rhino's new Children of Nuggets comp) and mod-era UK rock (think early Who - whom the band trashed in interviews as "sellouts").

The b-side song "I'm Not satisfied" is more mod than garage while "I Want Everything," while somewhat slick, is more US garage than Quadrophenia. Later they evolved into an even more conventional rock outfit (albeit with two guitars) favoring straight-ahead anthems, a liberal-working class political bent but still with an awareness of rock, both contemporary and past. After the 1991 Unreal World, they went into Greatest Hits mode but released a wan although above par pub rock album in 1995.

The real surprise is the title cut here -- a cool cover of Aussie eccentric Rolf Harris's tribute to Aboriginal music (written in the 60's, I believe) and later covered by Alice Cooper, here reworked as a tribute to Desmond Tutu who is quoted near the end of the song and on the back of the record -- the quotes apparently were made on the same day the song was recorded.

Band Members:
Peter Coyne - vocals
Chris Coyne - bass, vocal
Kris Dollinmore - guitar, vocal
Mike Gibson - guitar, vocal
George Mazur - drums, vocal, percussion

The band last played in the early 2000s and members Peter Coyne and guitarist Kris Dollimore were last heard playing backup for Rat Scabies (2003) as members of The Germans before he quit music and went to go search for the Holy Grail. Second guitarist Mike Gibson is doing acoustic stuff with his City Farm.

"Sun Arise"



Update: late link: Rhino's Children of Nuggets

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Dead Kennedys: Frankenchrist

Alternative Tentacles Records, 1985 (LP).

I think that phrase "jumping the shark" is way over-used. It's also not true. I mean. Happy Days actually jumped the shark (ugh, I just did it) when Fonzie got rid of his Eisenhower jacket and donned the leather in like the third episode. Yes, early on, Fonzie was animal friendly and dressed like the working class dude that he really was. Orrrrr... maybe it went bad when Richie Cunningham's older brother, the clod jock, just disappeared. Hey, speaking of Happy Days, did anyone ever notice Tom Bosley's digital watch? I've seen it even in close-ups in several eps. Fucking Tom Bosley. What a big fat turd. You just imagine him arguing with the director that he would never take off his digital watch! I can see him now with his purple-tinted shades, gold chains and chest hair showing shirt (and that fucking digital watch) splayed out on some pool lounger somewhere laughing about it and collecting royalities. Oh, he's dead?

I don't know what this has to do with this record. Well, maybe I do but I ain't telling. More like I don't know what to do with this record. I mean I do have the original "pre-censored" version but I still can't for the life of me figger out what the title (Frankenchrist) and the poster of a wall of penises has to do with the rather lackluster and mostly uninspired songs here. And yeah, the little Shriner guys in the little cars are funny but why make fun of the Shriners. They're our grandfathers or neighbors after all, they raise money for blind kids and they never hurt me. I guess it's just emblematic of this whole muddy concept and unrelated collection of mostly plodding and often pedantic songs.

But's not a total tossout: "A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch" sounds like a different band than the rest of the album - tighter, more unified somehow - it's psyche-garage-band sinister, I DIG, it's a horror tale of a rapacious US turning on the smaller and poorer would be a welcome addition to any Halloween mix-CD. And while I can't remember liking it at the time, I think East Bay Ray's Devo-grungey "At My Job" is worth reconsideration if only for your I Hate My Job Cuz I'm Stupid and Lazy Mix CD-R.

But the rest of this record is best buried & forgotten. Just now re-reading the chapter-long lyrics in the frantic flay of a song called "Stars and Stripes of Corruption" - supposedly Jello's magnus opus (hee) - did Jello really take a piss on the Capitol Building? Wow, security must have been lax back then and I don't remember ever seeing homeless people sleeping on the grounds of the Washington monument. And I cringe thinking I used to like "MTV-Get Off The Air" with its easy and who-cares-now? target and so faux-cheesy it's cheesy opening. I mean, after all, I kinda like Adam Curry more than I like Jello Biafra.

Band lineup:
Jello Biafra - Vocals
D.H. Peligro - Drums and Vocals
Klaus Flouride - Bass and Vocals
East Bay Ray - Guitar, Synth, 12-string Electric Bellzouki
Tim Jones - keyboard on "A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch"

"A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch"
"At My Job"

  • This page has a buncha H.R. Giger paintings and if you go down 3/4 of the way there's the Frankenchrist poster (actually called "Penis Landscape"). I always thought the controversy over the album was more about Jello and his radical lyrics and interviews than it was the poster. The "obscenity" was just a convenient albeit silly excuse to prosecute a band that was becoming too popular.
  • The faux Dead Kennedys web-page. They're ending a tour - soon to be playing the lawn chair nostalgia circuit no doubt... here's the sordid details of the precedent-setting lawsuit they launched against Jello.
  • Alternative Tentacles webpage says the Frankenchrist is OUT OF PRINT. But you don't want that - instead, last year Biafra got together with The Melvins and recorded a few songs that suggest Biafra can still be a good frontman if he wants to. It was so good, they went back and did another one called Sieg Howdy that was released last week to little fanfare. It includes an updated version of "California Uber Alles" and a cover of "Halo of Flies" - anyone heard it yet or know if there's any MP3s to sample? ATR doesn't have any up, alas but it looks interesting.
  • Oh, and Jello will be speechifying and hosting Operation Ceasefire right down the block from me in a coupla days. It's like anti-war, anti-globalization, anti-toe fungus with lots of big puppets and broken home teenagers with black hankies on their faces. I'm sure if I open my window I'll hear Jello's loud annoying mouth. It's great livin' in DC!
  • The Jumptheshark page for Happy Days

Final Jerry Springer Thoughts:
Well, folks if you are looking for a new and different way to express what happens when a band over-reaches and forgets about making good music and writing intersting songs, maybe we should stop using Jumping The Shark. After all, what does Fonzie really have to do with music? It was Potsie that sang after all and Ralph Malph played drums and Richie played guitar. From now on, we'll just say "hoofah - that band just frankenchristed!" Please play safe out there and always look both ways before crossing the street.

And I'm getting near the end of my first box o'vinyl. Whew. There's still some more to go but I apologize for the quality of it. Even though I pledged to go through it randomly, I did kinda reject some of the random picks and now that's showing up near the end. There are a few records I couldn't even bring myself to record one or two songs - they were so bad. I'll be unwrapping Box #2 shortly and having a cleaning party some upcoming weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2005

FRIDAY SONG: "Get On The Bus"

Someone acksed in the comments section of a recent post what songs RC Mob did on that great little cassette compilation, When Cows Ruled The Earth I bloggered a few months back... yeah, blast from the recent past.

Answer to question: "Get On Off The Bus" and "Rock Dog"

Here's the former, scuze the hiss (and you may need to turn it up even higher as my digitization talents weren't that good back then) - it later turned up on Omerta - it makes a great Friday song and what better way to go out on the town but (off) the bus, maaaan - download it and crank it:

"Get OnOff The Bus" - Royal Crescent Mob

Buy Omerta used

Updated 9/17/05 to embarassingly correct song title... duh...

Dead Silence: Stress

Unclean Records, 1985.

Dead Silence were (are?) a Boulder-based rad-lib peace punk band of the type that permeated the 80's punk scene to an almost overwhelming degree at one point. At its best rad-lib punk (or conservative skinhead punk for that matter) combines innovative lyrics (or at least stirring sloganeering) with engaging rock und roll, well played - and rehearsed. Examples of this are early Dead Kennedys, MC5 and Skrewdriver (the other extreme). At its worst, it's merely some budding politicians who have picked up instruments, transcribed the latest cause into "lyrics" as the easiest means for self-affirmation and since there was an anti-critical stance in the mid'80s punk underground a lot bands got away with this. The Big Boys said "start a band" but some people shoulda thought twice. It's..y'know, pick up yer guitar and practice sometime why doncha instead of reading MRR or PETA pamphlets.

Dead Silence falls somewheres in between those extremes. Most of the songs aren't worth but a listen or two but they make a little money with "Patriot's Fight", a mid-tempo, 6/8 rhythm'ed coarse-throated rant about what? being drafted to go fight in Nicaragua? which thankfully didn't happen but I guess that was the politics of the time. Reminds me of UK hardcore of the time - Exploited and such.

The other cut is their Crass-wanna-be song, "Mad Scientist's Ball" which starts with a tape from one of those awfully boring and excrutiating PETA tapes people used to play before shows - but it's decent generic hardcore and I digit the perhaps unintentionally minimalist (because they didn't know enough to do anything else?) baseline and guitar break that's incidentally supporting the political lyrics.

They aren't the most original group of their time nor do they have a way of "innertaining while eddicating" like early Dead Kennedys (and Sex Pistols, UK Subs, etc.) but it's some way 'kay hardcore from Unclean Records - home of NOTA and early Rhythm Pigs (and their Boulder contemperarities Anti-Scrunti Faction)

The album's cover features the grim after-affects of a hanging and the title song, "Stress" addresses the suicide of a "roommate" (presumably depicted on the cover). If only the band were willing to explore
this theme further or with perhaps a bit more zeal and intelligence. Instead this title song is just another "anti-" song and anti-suicide? who can't get behind that one (Hemlock Society and Hunter Thompson excluded)?

Um, that's Bear (bass and milk container), Vulture (vocals and duh pose), Ted Silence (of course the drummer, couldn't you tell?) and Steve (aka "Steeeeevvvvee on guitar").

"Patriot's Fight"
"Mad Scientist's Ball"


Monday, September 12, 2005

Songs For Taking a Walk (Even if Only In Your Mind)

Did you ever hear something first thing on a Monday morning that you thought was going to make your week and then just as you leave someone comes by or calls you up and points out something that was subtle and negative about this supposedly good news and you leave work with an instant headache? It could be worse, though, I guess - it's just bullshit at work after all and there's no reason to stress about it even if I do anyway.

Maybe this calamity in the Gulf Coast will make us more charitable and less materialistic as a people. I'm hoping, at least. There are some great songs here, sequenced for effect. Enjoy.

(screen shot of Rock Hudson in Seconds)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Jon Langford w/ Sally Timms & Ship and Pilot at Kennedy Center

Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers, etc.) appeared on the free Millenium Stage last night in, as he described it, "the world's biggest room." He plays mostly country-western with a few diversions into rootsy rock and roll and folk. If you like Johnny Cash and Nick Cave's murder ballads, well then you might like this. My only complaint is that the amplied drums sounded lousy in this room (when played loud) because of the fast echoing. The bass also had similar problems when it was turned up. But there's not much they can do about that except play softly and just let the microphones do their job.

He mostly performed songs from his CD set The Executioner's Last Songs but there was a version of the "Mekons Rock and Roll" (the original version is available on iTunes). He did a song he wrote about fellow Welshman Tom Jones coming across the Atlantic to become the King of Wales ("Tom Jones Levitation") and then later covered Jones's "Delilah" (also on iTunes) which he described as the Welsh National Anthem. The highlight for me was a cover of Lonesome Bob's "The Plans That We Made", a great murder and love ballad.

The backing band is called Ship and Pilot (it's different from the Pine Valley Cosmonauts who are credited on the Executioner's Last Songs benefit compilation). In the picture above (click to enlarge), that's Tony Maimone (left) (Pere Ubu) on bass bango(?), ex-local and no stranger to making noise Jean Cook (Beauty Pill) on violin (right) and the Dan Massey on drums. Barry Mills (who is unseen in the picture behind Jean) controlled the video in the back from a keyboard like device. You can stream the entire thing from the Kennedy Center's archives. And oh yeah, he had some good in-between song banter about "Mad King George", his thoughts on Nashville and country music and how he lost his luggage and bought a new pair of black jeans in town. He's in Arlington, VA tomorrow night where he'll play the entire Executioner's Last Songs w/the full multi-media presentation.

Here's a Langford song from the Esopus #4 Imaginary Friends compilation (still on sale) which I embarassingly wrote about several weeks ago.

"W" - Jon Langford

via Bloodshot Records:
"Bad News" - w/Alejandro Escovedo, Dave Alvin and Jon Langford

And here's a link to brothers-in-arms Songs:Illinois recent post on The Waco Brothers

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Spoilt Victorian Child Starts Next Phase in World Takeover

Simon from SVC was an early encourager of Vinyl Mine so he'll always be right up there in my list of great people in music blog land. Well, he's really taken SVC to places I would never have the energy or brains or wherewithal to do - he added on other reviewers, brought in a forum, snazzed up his blog code and now he's announced a record label. I think that's great and a natural evolution similar to when some fanzines like Touch and Go, Bomp! and Slash went into the record biz. Nothing like the fans to push out stuff with good taste (although I admit Slash went places I didn't neccesarily agree with).

Here's a recent email he sent to me so I thought I would pass it on verbatim. I haven't listened to the tunes herein because I'm kinda on a short vacation this (extended) weekend and my bandwidth is limited and Simon's kinda electronicish at times but he likes The Fall and The Butthole Surfers (80's version) so he can't be all that bad. I promise I'll take a listen to them later on and recommend any good tracks but for now you're on your own.

Hi, Simon from the Spoilt Victorian Child blog thing here.

Firstly I’d like to apologise for the mass mailout

I hate them myself, but it would take me a month to write to all of you…

So I understand if this goes straight in the bin.

And secondly…

Last week I started something that I’m quite excited about… SVC Records.

At the moment It’s just a download based net label, with two releases… but there will be a few more this month and I’m eventually going to try and get vinyl and CD releases sorted… just lack of cash stopping me at the moment.

Anyway, here’s a few tracks for you to download from the first two albums.

First up we have a few from Mike Seed…. Folky Pop.

Mike’s page can be found at

And secondly we have some from The Palace Lido…. Electroish.

The Palace Lido’s page can be found at

Well I hope you find something you like there, It goes without saying that I’d love it if you could write something, feel free to link to the tracks if you fancy, and if you require any more info and the like just drop me a line.

All the best



Thursday, September 01, 2005

Fats Domino Reported Missing

My old man just came up from his basement and told me. Rolling Stone has the story so far and here's a Google News search for updates. His website has a buncha MP3s if you want to think good thoughts about him and listen to his music. Let's hope this true legend of rock and roll and early pioneer is found safe and sound.

"Whisky Heaven" (I'm hosting this to alleviate pressure on his website but it was downloaded off his website - there are several more there)

Jason has more at One Louder...

UPDATE: And now R. L. Burnside is reported dead in Memphis - unrelated to the hurricane, of course, but still a terrible blow to the music world. Squeeze My Lemon has a report. Arggh!

UPDATE to the above UPDATE (Sept 2): Dante has links to other music blogs discussing Burnside's legacy and loss. Also, slightly off subject, Squeeze My Lemon has a post on Katrina and links to others doing more heavy lifting.

UPDATE: Apparently Fats was rescued but 'missing'. But, The Stranger's Slog reports he was seen in the Superdome:
Stranger photographer Victoria Renard (and former NOLA resident) reports that Fats Domino has turned up at the Superdome.

Kingface redux

Several months ago we appreciated the contribution to the music world of the band known as Kingface and Mike Lupica from WFMU left some comments.

WFMU's Beware The Blog has a massive rememberance post by Mike today (apparently by popular request) with lotsa those new-fangled MP3s from a live off-the-board show in 1988 at the old 930 club.

Free & legal w/permission of the band. Yay! Now about that reunion tour...

I'm Seeing Things I Should Never See

I would never deign to tell my readers what to do but I'll just say that my charity of choice is Second Harvest - I've donated money for all my little nieces and nephews that are going to be christened this weekend and made a contribution in my own name... Second Harvest does food and water -- if you don't have money but have some non-perishable food to donate, this website has a database of local food banks which you can call and see if they are putting together donations for the Gulf Coast region. Even if you donate food for local purposes, it takes the burden off the national response.

I wanted to write a whole bunch about this album this week and all the great covers and music therein... but right now I'm just in shock at the Creator's malevolence.

Listening to this record while I watch the muted news channel, it seems, at times, all so appropriate, odd as that may seem. This album about losing your mind, reverting to your primitive nature (even if much of it is a bit too cute at times -- "Jungle Hop", "The Natives Are Restless") hits home right now. The Cramps aren't from New Orleans or Biloxi or Gulfport but with all their songs about voodoo and horror, they should be honorary citizens.

Covers "Primitive" and "Rockin' Bones" are my favorites for sentimental purposes (and the fact that Lux seems to come out from behind his personna in "Primitive") but its Lux and Ivy's original: "Beautiful Gardens" that best fits my mindset and Der Zeitgeist at this point... maybe there aren't vampire lesbians out to get me but I woke up last night after a nightmare about rising waters (and no, I didn't have to pee either).

Just listen to the lyrics and the maybe not-so-pretend anguish - did you ever think being a Cramp is always fun?:

"I'm seeing things I should never see... what in the world has come over me... I've lost touch with reality, reality, reality... floating away from reality... the angry sea..."

this comes from the 1981 LP Psychedelic Jungle


"Beautiful Gardens" - The Cramps

Buy CD reissue (packaged with Gravest Hits)

Kid Congo, Lux, Ivy and Nick Knox

Other music bloggers helping out - give 'em a click:
If there are more, please put 'em in the comments section as I am going to be out of touch for most of the day.