In Julio Cortázars Roman Rayuela (1963) macht sich der fiktive Autor Morelli in einer der im Text verstreuten poetologischen Reflexionen über ‚den Roman‘ so seine Gedanken (Kapitel 79) und veröffentlicht dabei ein Jahr vor Marshall McLuhan eine Variante der inzwischen bekannten Maxime „The medium is the message“. Die Schrift von McLuhan, der üblicherweise die Erstnennung des Dictums zugeschrieben wird, nämlich Understanding Media, erschien erst 1964. Allerhand! Morelli, bzw. Cortázar, knapp vor McLuhan! Gut, Morelli sagt eher so etwas wie „The messenger is the message“. Ich habe dann noch nachgeschaut, ob die deutsche Übersetzung von Fritz Rudolf Fries, die erst 1981 erschien, sich in irgendeiner vom spanischen Text abweichenden Form an McLuhan orientiert, das scheint aber nicht der Fall zu sein. Spanisch heisst die Stelle durchaus wörtlich: „Una narrativa que no sea pretexto para la transmisión de un ‚mensaje‘ (no hay mensaje, hay mensajeros y eso es el mensaje, así como el amor es el que ama) […]“. Natürlich, jetzt müsste man noch nachschauen, ob und inwiefern Varianten des Ausspruchs schon vorher in der Kulturgeschichte vorkamen, und ich bin mir sicher, dass man da bei so einer üblichen Kette von Joyce, Nietzsche, Fr. Schlegel, Cervantes bis zum guten Homer landen würde. Das kann gern jemand unternehmen. Aber die diesbezügliche Drängung Anfang der 1960er scheint mir hübsch, und dass McLuhan den Spruch dermassen für sich pachten konnte, scheint mir überdenkenswert, ohne dass ich damit unlautere Absichten verfolge.
Rated as: Archival / Box Set
Box Set Status: Must for Fans
Specific Genre: Experimental Rock, Blues Rock
Main Genre: Rock
Undertones: Experimental, Psychedelic Rock, Field Recordings
CD 1: Just Got Back from the City (1965–67) 1.1 Obeah Man (1966 Demo) 1.2 Just Got Back from the City (1966 Demo) 1.3 I’m Glad (1966 Demo) 1.4 Triple Combination (1966 Demo) 1.5 Here I Am I Always Am (Early 1966 Demo) 1.6 Here I Am I Always Am (Later 1966 Demo) 1.7 Somebody in My Home (1966 Live) 1.8 Tupelo (1966 Live) 1.9 Evil Is Going On (1966 Live) 1.10 Old Folks Boogie (1967 Live) 1.11 Call on Me (1965 Demo) 1.12 Sure Nuff N Yes I Do (1967 Demo) 1.13 Yellow Brick Road (1967 Demo) 1.14 Plastic Factory (1967 Demo)
CD 2: Electricity (1967–68) 2.1 Electricity (1968 Live) 2.2 Sure Nuff N Yes I Do (1968 Live) 2.3 Rollin N Tumblin (1968 Live) 2.4 Electricity (1968 Live9 2.5 Yer Gonna Need Somebody on Yer Bond (1968 Live) 2.6 Kandy Korn (1968 Live) 2.7 Korn Ring Finger (1967 Demo)
CD 3: Trout Mask House Sessions (1969) 3.1 (Untitled 1) 3.2 (Untitled 2) 3.3 Hair Pie: Bake 2 3.4 Hair Pie: Bake 2 3.5 (Untitled 5) 3.6 Hobo Chang Ba 3.7 (Untitled 7) 3.8 Hobo Chang Ba (Take 2) 3.9 Dachau Blues 3.10 Old Fart at Play 3.11 (Untitled 11) 3.12 Pachuco Cadaver 3.13 Sugar N Spikes 3.14 (Untitled 14) 3.15 Sweet Sweet Bulbs 3.16 Frownland (Take 1) 3.17 Frownland 3.18 (Untitled 18) 3.19 Ella Guru 3.20 (Untitled 20) 3.21 She’s too Much for My Mirror 3.22 (Untitled 22) 3.23 Steal Softly Through Snow 3.24 (Untitled 24) 3.25 My Human Gets Me Blues 3.26 (Untitled 26) 3.27 When Big Joan Sets Up 3.28 (Untitled 28) 3.29 (Untitled 29) 3.30 China Pig
CD 4: Trout Mask House Sessions (Storytime Portion) (1969) 4.1 Blimp Playback 4.2 Herb Alpert 4.3 Septic Tank 4.4 We’ll Overdub It 3 Times
Video 4.5 Electricity (Live Cannes 1968) 4.6 Sure Nuff N Yes I Do (Live Cannes 1968) 4.7 She’s Too Much for My Mirror (Amougies, Belgium, 1969) 4.8 My Human Gets Me Blues (Amougies, Belgium, 1969) 4.9 When Big Joan Sets Up (Detroit, MI, 1971) 4.10 Woe Is Uh Me Bop (Detroit, MI, 1971) 4.11 Bellerin Plain (Detroit, MI, 1971) 4.12 Click Clack (Paris 1972)
CD 5: Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band Grow Fins (1969–82) 5.1 My Human Gets Me Blues (Live 1969) 5.2 When Big Joan Sets Up (Live 1971) 5.3 Woe Is Uh Me Bop (Live 1971) 5.4 Bellerin Plain (Live 1971) 5.5 Black Snake Moan (Radio Phone-In 1972) 5.6 Grow Fins (Live 1972) 5.7 Black Snake Moan II (Radio 1972) 5.8 Spitball Scalped Uh Baby (Live 1972) 5.9 Harp Boogie I (Radio 1972) 5.10 One Red Rose That I Mean (Live 1972) 5.11 Harp Boogie II (Radio 1972) 5.12 Natches Burning (Radio 1972) 5.13 Harp Boogie III (Radio Phone-In 1972) 5.14 Click Clack (Live 1973) 5.15 Orange Claw Hammer (Radio 1975) 5.16 Odd Jobs (Piano Demo 1975) 5.17 Odd Jobs (Band Demo 1976) 5.18 Vampire Suite (Worktapes/Live 1980) 5.19 Melltron Improv (Live 1978) 5.20 Evening Bell (Piano Worktape 1980) 5.21 Evening Bell (Guitar Worktape 1982) 5.22 Mellotron Improv (Live 1980) 5.23 Flavor Bud Living (Live 1980)
I should dip myself into that Coca-Cola
This box set is subject to the box set-curse more than any other I’m aware of. There are musical pearls next to bits recorded from the back of the studio (minutes of mumbling, chair clicking, airplane noises from outside the window), there’s historically indispensable stuff next to, well, just stuff. Also, it manages to seem expansive and inomplete all at the same time: There is so much previously unreleased material here that it doesn’t really leave you asking for even more Trout Mask outtakes or even more radio snippets. But then, this hardly fulfills any criteria of a ‚historically comprehensive‘ box set: It’s just a huge ragbag of anything that could be interesting to the fanatic followers of Beefheart. These, though, will be delighted, because in a sense, this doesn’t plays as a box set but, more fitting, like very precise representation of Beefheart’s career: Full of bursts of energy and brilliance, full of holes and frustration – but extremely rewarding for those that listen closely.
This mostly doesn’t make for a coherent listening experience – but just mostly. The five CDs thankfully all follow an at least chronological coherence. This redeems some drawbacks in the sequencing per CD. The true problem is: To issue any of this stuff only makes sense within a larger context. There is no way they could have split the „good stuff“ from the scraps, you have to take in the whole sludged affair or just avoid it.
The first CD is a bunch of early blues rock numbers that never made it on an album (and some that did). The sound is similar to Safe as Milk, and since these are all complete demos or live cuts, you can actually listen through the whole thing with excitement. It’s a primal, terrific version in that rousing mid-1960s style between R&B, psychedelia and deep blues. For Beefheart fans, this first CD is inexpendable. The band is already in full flight, Beefheart is already all there. The sound quality is mostly murky (but the swampy approach lets you accept that), and the band’s playing is basic but they rock hard and fierce. Given that the early cuts are from 1966, this must have been one of the heavier bands at the time – raw, ramshackle. This CD also satisfies the box set-buyer in all respects: You get cuts of later album tracks („Call on Me“, „Yellow Brick Road“), which are inferior to the later album tracks, but interesting from an evolutionary perspective. You get awesomely grooving rhythm/blues/rock numbers that are every bit as good as the ones on Safe as Milk („Here I Am I Always Am“, „Obeah Man“). And finally, you get Beefheart performing numbers of his idols („Evil is Going On“, „Tupelo“, „Somebody in My Home“) – all absolutely terrific swamp blues in imposing John Lee Hooker- and Howlin’ Wolf-manner.
The second CD is in a similar vein, collecting live records from apparently European tours. Manic versions of standards like „Rollin’ n’ Tumblin’“ are here, as well as some Mirror Man-era pieces. Hard, driven, uncompromising blues rock. This is also listenable from beginning to end.
With the third CD, the promised box-set-problems start. The whole CD comprises evidently the leftovers they could find in the trashbin of the studio where Trout Mask Replica was recorded. You start of with fifteen minutes of documentary style noises which seem to stem from a recording device pickin up sounds while the band members were still preparing. Okay, you can skip this, so I don’t mind. The rest is purely instrumental versions of Trout Mask Replica. These are practice runs of the album tracks, there is no ‚evolutionary‘ aspect here. I must say that I like to listen to these compositions bare-boned, without Beefheart’s voice-beef, so to speak. You actually get a very direct approach to their immediate groove and compositional structure. And for these like me which are at least as interested in his compositional skills as the vocals, this remains an interesting listen. So, while this is far too long as a CD (i mean, this basically is all of Trout Mask Replica without the vocals plus some additional scraps and tuning-up), I still am happy with this. For some, this probably is expendable. Why listen to the relatively unedited, non-vocalised version of Trout Mask Replica? Why should I listen to the band tuning up for minutes? I understand the questions. But hey, at least you get to witness how the conversation with the kids who just moved here from Reseda ended up on the album. The most obscure quasi-gem I could find on here is the untitled 29th track – before the band goes to record „China Pig“, you can hear a jam of the blues standard „Candy Man“ for about a minute. Why is this interesting? I don’t know. I just never knew that the Captain had done at least one minute of „Candy Man“ in his life.
Then, CD 4. Just forget the musical aspect: There isn’t any. It’s Beefheart talking, some noises, Beefheart joking about Herb Alpert, and that’s it. 12 minutes of unedited documentary studio babble (incomprehensible for the most part). Don’t get upset though, in the original package, this is actually a VCD. With moving pictures. So, no reason to listen to this on your CD-player. But you do get to see video clips, comprising live versions of songs (2 from Safe as Milk, 3 from Trout Mask Replica, 2 from Lick My Decals Off, Baby and „Click Clack“ from The Spotlight Kid, taken between 1968 and 1973). These are great, the live setting showcasing how musical everybody involved with Beefheart was. You can watch these on Youtube nowadays, of course.
Finally, the 5th CD. This is the most imbalanced piece of the whole affair, I guess because they just threw anything on there from his post-Trout Mask Replica period they couldn’t fit anywhere else (with a time span of 1969–1982). So, in no particular, haphazard order, you get a lot of live recordings (nothing exceptional), Beefheart performing short pieces of blues harp and acapella blues on the radio (terrible quality, but cool stuff), some more live recordings which border on performance art or futurism „sound machines“ and were not actually meant for the CD-format, I presume („Spitball Scalped Uh Baby“), and some weird demos for more complex avant-pieces.
And buried in the middle of this looong CD, you get the most stunning record of the whole box set, which is the Captain performing „Orange Claw Hammer“ with Frank Zappa on acoustic guitar for the radio. Zappa’s simple strumming fleshes out that this song follows the actual structure of a sea shanty (which could only be guessed at with the acapella version on Trout Mask Replica), but that’s good, because now we have both: an avant-garde acapella version of a surrealistic sea shanty and a beautiful acoustic guitar version of that same sea shanty. Then the mixed bag continues, many experimental live recordings, Beefheart messing with a mellotron in Sun Ra-manner – with the result that you realise Sun Ra actually could play the instrument. Some of these are improv-sketches, frustrating Beefheart and audiences alike („Sun Ra!“ someone keeps shouting on „Mellotron Improv (Live 1980)“, causing Beefheart to yell at the crowd, violently batter the keys and ask „Who was that, Liberace?“). Some others, though, are quite interesting. I dig both the versions of „Odd Jobs“, while I admit that this is already hardcore Beefheart-ology. Nothing to convert people. The „Odd Jobs“-piano demo is strangely forlorn and beautiful – you find the most realised and best version of that lost piece on the reconstructed Bat Chain Puller album from 2012. Most of this CD, naturally, comes in just about bearable sound quality.
So. What we have here then is a box set which contains enough to make it essential for the fan – both from a historical (CD1 and CD5) and a musical (CD1 and CD5… and partly CD2 and even 3) perspective. Everyone else should stay well away from this. This is the last territory of Beefheart-land one should turn his attention to. If you’re the enthusiastic explorer in the old spirit, you’ll find plenty of adventure and condiment on this wild, wide, dangerous and tedious jungle continent.
Eines der wirklich verblüffenden Fundstücke. Wer kommt auf sowas?
Fundort: irgendeine Theaterzeitschrift des 18. Jahrhunderts
Wippsterz ist eine ältliche, vom Duden als „landschaftlich“ klassifizierte Form von Bachstelze. Im Kontext des Fundorts (habe vergessen wo genau) war es aber deutlich als Bezeichnung für einen dandyhaften Nervösling gemeint, diese Bedeutung findet sich lexikalisiert nur noch im Deutschen Wörterbuch von den Grimms:
übertragen verwendet für einen unruhigen, in steter bewegung befindlichen menschen, belege s. in den zu 2 angeführten wörterbüchern.
Gebildet wird das Wort aus „wippen“ und „Sterz“ (für Schwanz). Einige grossartige Varianten finden sich auch in Brehms Tierleben:
Haus-, Stein- oder Wasserstelze, Wege-, Wasser-, Quäk- und Wippsterz, Bebe-, Wedel- und Wippschwanz, Klosterfräulein oder Nonne, Ackermännchen etc.Brehms Illustrirtes Thierleben (1866) im DWDS
Vorschlag: Wieder geläufig einführen für nervöse Zeitgenoss*innen. „Was für ein Wippsterz“, „Sei doch nicht so ein Wippsterz“ etc. Bitte in der nächsten Chat-Nachricht verwenden.
Epperson, Bruce D.: More Important Than the Music. A History of Jazz Discography. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 2013.
Where do you look up information about jazz, blues, gospel and all that ja…ngling music, I mean besides just googling yourself to death in a pool of abundant, half-reliable information? Where do you go where the information, however correct it might be, doesn’t feel sticky? In discographies? Which ones? Epperson’s book on the topic, More Important Than the Music (2013), is fascinating. Sure, from one perspective, it gives you an abundance of facts, of nerdy information about nerds and their nerdy obsessions, it painstakingly records who published which list of jazz records at what time under what circumstances. That is the purely fact-driven aspect. On the other hand, it introduces you to a world of people whipped by their desires, bound together in love and hatred for the topic and for each other, stuck in decade-long feuds about plagiarism, money, mutual criticism and appraisal, a world full of projects only making it from the letters A to K because of over-ambition, corporate enemies or new technology. A world full of hope and despair, of half-arbitrary decisions about race, genre, cut-off dates, band formats and sound formats, driven by personal interest of the respective researcher. A world of necessary, but neither academically nor financially rewarded research, with no sustainable way to make it profitable. I don’t know if Epperson realises just how hilarious his chosen quote to end the book is, where Howard Rye says:
The single biggest factor in jazz discography is that neither Brian Rust nor Jørgen Jepsen gave a damn about the needs of those who wouldn’t buy their books!(Rye in Epperson 2013, 212).
Talk about an exclamation point to end a book about, well, lists. This is not how a tragedy ends (or a comedy, or a romance) – this is how you end a farce, a book with farcical subject matter, intentionally or not. As I said somewhere else: A discography is but a list made by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (Including myself, of course, although the only ‚discographies‘ I create consist of second-hand information and aim at cutting the corners of availability).
Below is a list of the jazz discographies that Epperson discusses more than just in passing and around which he constructs entire chapters or paragraphs. Epperson’s book is an eloquent, informative and fluid (and at times hilarious) read from a historical/narrative perspective, but it doesn’t have registers telling you which discographies or names are discussed on what pages, and which chapters and paragraphs deal with which time spans exactly etc. (actually, in the text, the chapter titles do indicate time spans, but they don’t do this where it would be most useful: in the „contents“ overview). So I assembled a list according to Epperson’s chronology with some of the crucial quotes for each discography. The list only treats general jazz (and blues) discographies, meaning there are no specialized discographies: no label discographies, no single-artist bio-discographies, no solographies (yes, those exist), no national discographies and so forth.
Since discographies tend to have shifting titles, different editors/authors, changing time spans and volatile edition histories, I somewhat lump the titles and publication years for the discographies together. The gist of each work’s identity will be researchable with this, if you want to dig into it. Or just read the book.
Schleman, Hilton: Rhythm on Record (1936)
The lack of session-level information has led many discographers to relegate Rhythm on Record to protodiscography, leaving the honors of „first discography“ to Delaunay’s Hot Discography, which appeared three months later.However, within the limited goals he set for himself, Schleman was largely successful, an discographers were still using his book some sixty-five years later.(Epperson 2013, 29)
Delaunay, Charles: Hot Discography (1936)
„Charles Delaunay is the undoubted father of discography as we know it today,“ adds Sheatsley. „It was he who first saw and utilized the importance of master numbers.“(Epperson 2013, 38)
Blackstone, Orin: Index to Jazz (1945–1950)
Therefore he stuck to an alphabetical-by-artist structure from start to finish, unlike Delaunay’s affinities of style arrangement.(Epperson 2013, 51)
Delaunay, Charles: New Hot Discography (1948)
Recognizably a Delaunay product, it retained the affinities of style approach for musicians recorded before 1930 but abandoned it for later artists, who were grouped in straight alphabetical order in a long section of their own.(Epperson 2013, 56)
One other prescient feature of New Hot Discography bears mentioning in some detail. Each issue (usually, but not always, a 78 rpm, two-sided single) was assigned a „discode“, a Delaunay-assigned serial number comprising a number, letter, and number.(Epperson 2013, 59)
Carey, David, Albert McCarthy (and Ralph Venable): The Directory of Recorded Jazz and Swing Music [The Jazz Directory] (1949–1955)
McCarthy, Albert and Dave Carey: The Directory of Recorded Jazz and Swing Music Inlcuding Gospel and Blues Records [The Jazz Directory]. (1955–1957)
The discographic format wasn’t radically different from that of the contemporaneous Blackstone or Delaunay works, but it was crisper and clearer, mostly because, once and for all, it subordinated matrix numbers to recording sessions arranged in a chronological format.(Epperson 2013, 69)
Delaunay, Charles and Kurt Mohr: Hot discographie encyclopédique (1951–1952)
The format of Hot discographie encyclopédique (HDE) was a complete break with any of Delaunay’s previous works and bore a strong resemblance to Carey and McCarthy’s series, so it instantly became known as the „French Jazz Directory„. Delaunay admitted that the times had changed and „such a work as this must be objective, not selective.“(Epperson 2013, 76)
Rust, Brian: Jazz Records, A–Z (1961)
Although this session-based layout was not radically different from that in The Jazz Directory, the refinements he did develop ended up making Jazz Records, A–Z so superior to anything that came before that it was eventually called the Rust format.(Epperson 2013, 85)
Where did you go for availability, not history? […] Even Malcolm Shaw, who edited the latest (2002) edition of Rust’s Jazz Records, A–Z, admits that „JR [Jazz Records] as it stands is probably due for a total reconsideration of the concept“.(Epperson 2013, 4)
Jepsen, Jørgen Grunnet: Jazz Records, 1942–196X (1963–1970)
Survival demanded a relatively straightforward editorial policy. „This is not a complete listing of all jazz records,“ cautioned Jepsen. „This is only an attempt to list all the records known to the editor and his collaborators.“(Epperson 2013, 89)
Godrich, John and Robert Dixon: Blues and Gospel Records, 1902–1942 (1964, 1969)
Dixon, Robert and John Godrich: Blues and Gospel Records, 1902–1943 (1982)
– and Howard Rye: Blues and Gospel Records, 1890–1943 (1997)
The decision to include all existing material without differentiating whether it was commercial or archival (and whether or not it was relevant to record collectors) proved to be the single most important metric by which Blues and Gospel Records came to be evaluated over the years.(Epperson 2013, 94)
Leadbitter, Mike and Neil Slaven: Blues Records, 1943–1966: An Encyclopedic Discography to More Than Two Decades of Recorded Blues (1968)
–: Blues Records, 1943–1970: A Selective Discography. Vol. 1, A–K. (1987)
–: Blues Records, 1943–1970: A Selective Discography. Vol. 2, L–Z. (1994).
The few who did review the 1987 revision generally considered it a significant improvement over its 1968 predecessor. Everyone agreed that its new subtitle A Selective Discography, was a far more realistic description that the first edition’s unfortunate Encyclopedic Discography label.(Epperson 2013, 101)
Bruyninckx, Walter: 50 Years of Recorded Jazz. 1917–1967. (ca. 1968–1971)
–: 60 Years of Recorded Jazz. 1917–1977 (ca. 1977–1980)
–: 70/75 Years of Recorded Jazz. (late 1980s to early 1990s)
– and Domi Truffandier: 85 Years of Recorded Jazz. (CD-ROM 2003)
„Despite his continued plagiarism,“ recalled librarian Matthew Snyder, „by the late 1980’s [sic] the general opinion on Bruyninckx appeared to be that the improved quality of his work, combined with his extensive coverage, had produced the best available jazz discography.“(Epperson 2013, 113)
Raben, Erik: Jazz Records, 1942–80: A Discography. (1989–2007, A–G. Unfinished)
Everyone agreed that its musicians index, included at the end of each volume and not as an appendix at the end of the series, was much needed and badly overdue […].(Epperson 2013, 117)
Lord, Tom: The Jazz Discography. (1992–2002)
„It is possible that Lord’s project has already taken over the market for Raben’s volumes, and that Raben’s project will die. This possibility, in combination with the frustrations of using Bruyninckx’s paperbacks and his inept marketing of 70 Years, may mean that that, in jazz discography’s own little version of a hostile corporate takeover, Lord’s project has already emerged the victor.“ [Kernfeld/Rye](Epperson 2013, 125)
Lord was a businessman, a marketer who was peddling a product – the others were either professional academics or amateur scholars undertaking research. […] „Lord is more of a collator than a researcher,“ observed Edward Berger […].(Epperson 2013, 126)
(note that this Tom Lord has no relation to the Tom Lord who made 1976’s Clarence Williams-discography)
The notable Websites and Online Articlesthat Epperson lists in his bibliography are:
Ein weiterer Moment voller Plunder aus der Kulturgeschichte. Heutiges Fundstück: Bettine von Arnim denkt an einem Brief an Karoline von Günderrode [sic] über die Beat-Generation und James Dean nach:
Da ist’s deutlich, daß der Geist auch nur Frühlingsatem schöpft und daß Jugend nicht in Zeit sich einschränkt, die vergeht, da Lebenslust nicht vergehn kann, weil, wie Natur Frühling aufatmet, wir Lebensbegeisterung aufatmen.– Es ist dumm, was ich hier sag, ist nicht uneingehüllter Geist, der den Wahn vernichtet, aber unter der armseligen Hülle des zwanzigmal wiederholten Vergleichs liegt einer zerschmetternden Antwort Keim auf das, was Du mir schon mehr als einmal gesagt hast: „Recht viel wissen, recht viel lernen, und nur die Jugend nicht überleben. – Recht früh sterben!“
(Bettine v. Arnim: Die Günderode. Leipzig: Insel 1983 . S. 413.
Abb. Deutsches Textarchiv