Schlagwörter: Album Reviews Kommentarverlauf ein-/ausschalten | Tastaturkürzel

  • blechtram 10:41 am am November 26, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 5.0/10, Album Reviews, Art Rock, David Bowie, , of Historical Interest,   

    David Bowie: Lodger 

    Rating: 5.0/10
    Rated as
    : Album
    Album Status
    : for Fans, of Historical Interest
    Released: 1979
    Specific Genre: Art Rock
    Main Genre: Rock
    Undertones
    : Art Pop, Worldbeat, New Wave
    Label: RCA Victor

    1 Fantastic Voyage 2 African Night Flight 3 Move On 4 Yassassin 5 Red Sails 6 D.J. 7 Look Back in Anger 8 Boys Keep Swinging 9 Repetition 10 Red Money

    Can you hear it fall? Can you hear it well? Can you hear it at all?

    Thus, after all the Berlinnovation that was part neurotic pop overkill and part ambient art rock, Bowie’s back to albums where the single is the best thing about it. With „Look Back in Anger“ being by far the most captivating song on here (if only because it sounds like a left-over from Station to Station), the listener isn’t left with much else to admire. Lodger is an album filled with unwelcome leftovers of an overcharged party: So many quirky worldbeat ideas in the production, so many ways to subvert the usual verse-chorus-structure, just so much of anything: nothing here has a lively spark. This is what you get if you put the two brains inventing the sound of the 1980s in a jar.

    Surprisingly, there are two tracks that are blueprints for the sound of Blur. „Boys Keep Swinging“ is the (less exciting, but nonetheless) direct mother of Blur‘s song „M.O.R.“, and the eerie, driven „Repetition“ is like a submerdged sonic blueprint for the whole Parklife album. Bowie’s imprint on Blur is evident elsewhere anyhow, but who would’ve thought that of all his albums, this is the one Albarn had on the top shelf. Odd. This makes it an essential purchase for historically interested Blur fans like me. [Afterthought: It’s not as odd as I used to think, Bowie/Eno have now received writing credits after „legal intervention“.]

    Bowie is tired on this album and who can blame him after 1977. „Red Money“ is Bowie’s own irritatingly crummy version of the great „Sister Midnight“ he wrote and produced for Iggy Pop. It is basically the intstrumental base track with different lyrics, sounding limp and canned. „Red Sails“ is an inferior Neu! track with Bowie-vocals and less interesting guitars than any Neu! track ever had (hold your horses: I’m not saying Adrian Belew isn’t exciting, he’s one of my favourites. But he’s worse at being Michael Rother than Rother himself). Many things here, including the in a sense exciting and strange worldbeat innovations, simply sound very forced. It is squeezed, pressure-grouted Bowie, so to speak.

    Taking a look at the grand scheme of things for a second, one could say that Lodger is the ultimate transition album from the 1970s to the 1980s – in a rather backwards sense: It portrays what didn’t work as well anymore in the 1970s and foreshadows what wouldn’t be that great about the 1980s. Essential for historical reasons.

     
  • blechtram 9:15 am am November 19, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , Album Reviews, , of Zeitgeist Interest, , Skunk Anansie   

    Skunk Anansie: Stoosh 

    Rating: 3.7/10
    Rated as
    : Album
    Album Status: of Zeitgeist Interest
    Released: 1996
    Specific Genre: Alternative Rock
    Main Genre: Rock, Alternative Rock
    Undertones
    : Hard Rock, Grunge, Alternative Metal
    Label: One Little Indian

    1 Yes It’s Fucking Political 2 All I Want 3 She’s My Heroine 4 Infidelity (Only You) 5 Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good) 6 Twisted (Everyday Hurts) 7 We Love Your Apathy 8 Brazen (Weep) 9 Pickin‘ on Me 10 Milk Is My Sugar 11 Glorious Pop Song

    Naa-naa. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-Naaaa-Naaa.

    They do have sweeping choruses and angry anthemic songs like „All I Want“ and „Hedonism“ (a good, almost year-defining single of course) which are just made for big stages and a teenage crowd to chant along, they have pop instincts and they have a radio-friendly grungey hard-rock sound quite typical of the period – this is the politicized phase of grunge, after having gone through the horrors of adolescent angst, so to speak. Skin is a commanding singer with a supernova’s worth of charisma, but listen to this if you want to know what went wrong when the market dressed up anti-commercialism all fancy. Hard riffs and about two or three melodic ideas aren’t enough for nearly fifty minutes of music. About three songs stick – the rest gets washed down the drain by its own boring arrangement and lack of hooks.

    As far as the overall attitude goes, I’m all for Rage Against the Windmills, but the lyrics here do mostly tap into protest as a performance, not as a communicative, topical form. I mean, there’s a place for that, but when Skin belts out lines like „Yes it’s fucking political! / Everything’s political!“, it’s not much of a manifest – she’s right, of course, but the performance, stressing pure attitude over ideas, hasn’t really aged well. They put words like „The poorer you are, the better / that gives me more control“ into the mouth of whatever social or political entity you want to attribute this to – just make sure that entity is part of the „establishment“. Or – alas! – is it the establishment in YOURSELF!? Beware! This is self-conscious, but non-meta. If it riled up folks back then – sure, I’ll take it.

    For all the draining emotions of despair and rage here, in the very end, the band does something quite corageous by facing their actual musical forte: the fact that „Glorious Pop Song“ – no irony here – is exactly that.

     
  • blechtram 8:54 am am November 11, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 8.1/10, , Album Reviews, , Cannon's Jug Stompers, , , Decent Overview, Gus Cannon   

    Cannon’s Jug Stompers: The Complete Works 1927–1930 

    Rating: 8.1/10
    Rated as
    : Collection
    Compilation Status: Decent Overview
    Released: 1992
    Recorded: 1927–1930
    Specific Genre: Jug Band
    Main Genre: Blues, Acoustic Blues
    Label: Yazoo

    1 Minglewood Blues 2 Walk Right In 3 Going to Germany 4 Bring It With You When You Come 5 Bugle Call Rag 6 Prison Wall Blues 7 Feather Bed 8 Noah’s Blues 9 Wolf River Blues 10 Madison Street Rag 11 Viola Lee Blues 12 Cairo Rag 13 Last Chance Blues 14 Mule Get Up in the Alley 15 Pretty Mama Blues 16 Money Never Runs Out 17 Pig Ankle Strut 18 Jonestown Blues 19 The Rooster Crowing Blues 20 Hollywood Rag 21 Heart Breakin‘ Blues 22 Ripley Blues 23 Tired Chicken Blues 24 Big Railroad Blues

    Played around the little town, your head chock full of rum

    Jug band blues is an odd hybrid of folksy and urban, ragtime-y, jazzy and country blues elements. The reverbarting, murmuring sound of the jug, the rattling banjo and dominating harp make for an overall make-shift street corner atmosphere. Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers were among the most successful and – since some of their numbers became blues standards as well as pop hits for other, much later artists – endurig combos for this comparatively small and short-lived genre. It’s restricted, free-wheeling sound is removed from deep blues through the hustling, bustling city sound it had to dwell in – playful, hurried, sketchy, but always amiable and slightly mischievous. There’s little here in terms of melody or heavy emotion, but the shaggy underdog attitude makes more than up for it, at least when consumed in slight doses – this is about entertainment, presented by next-door-rascals – their lyrics often revolve around trouble with small town judges for petty crimes. As one of the quintessential outfits of this sound, the Jug Stompers are among the quintessential roots of urban blues, there is a strict need to have their material, even if you mostly find yourself listening to the odd grumbling of «Viola Lee Blues» or the tumbling, hungover «Minglewood Blues» every so often. Good stuff.

    As for this particular collection, here’s from my series of «consumer guide reviews», so to speak:

    Gus Cannon recorded 26 sides (as in 13 singles) with the Jug Stompers. While the vinyl version (Yazoo 1989) of this CD contained all 13 sides plus the solo material Cannon recorded as Banjo Joe, this CD-reissue only contains tracks by the Jug Stompers and is even missing 2 of their sides («Riley’s Wagon» and «Springdale Blues»).

    If you want to avoid tedious holes in your collection and get the real deal (that is, Cannon’s solo stuff plus the Jug Stompers catalogue), you’ll need to get Gus Cannon’s Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Volume 1 and theComplete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Volume 2 (credited to Gus Cannon & Noah Lewis) by the Document Records label: They have all of it and some more side stuff, so they are the definite CD-picks. If you then get Cannon’s revival record Walk Right In from 1963, you’re about set.

    Having said that, when this came out, it was the most complete Jug Stompers compilation on a single CD – which it remains until today. All the other single disc compilations claiming to be complete have less track than this one. If you want an overview of how to acquire the complete recordings of Cannon and his Jug Stompers, compare my list Complete Blues Discographies: What to Get.

     
  • blechtram 8:27 am am October 16, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 4.6/10, Album Reviews, , , Tok Tok Tok,   

    Tok Tok Tok: 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover 

    Rating: 4.6/10
    Rated as
    : Album
    Album Status
    : for Fans
    Released: 1999
    Specific Genre: Vocal Jazz
    Main Genre: Jazz
    Undertones
    : Soul Jazz, Pop Soul, Soul
    Label: Einstein

    1 Monkey-See and Monkey-Do 2 Alone Again 3 Day Tripper 4 I’ll Never Fall in Love Again 5 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover 6 Crime of Crimes 7 The Jack 8 Straighten Up and Fly Right 9 I Wish 10 Her Majesty 11 Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child 12 Hallelujah 13 Boogie Woogie Bossa Nova

    Love is monkey-see and monkey-do

    A stylish little combo somewhere between soul and jazz, consisting (almost) exclusively of a vocalist, a double bass and a saxophone, with an occasional human beatbox serving as percussion. Tokunbo Akinro’s vocals are smooth and convincing, the resulting minimalist sound being the concept here works surprisingly well. They do covers of jazz, jazz-pop, pop and soul standards, with a heavy focus on the 1970s. Highlights are Paul Simon’s title track and Stevie Wonder’s „I Wish“, still pretty funky even in this stripped-down arrangement. This low-key, acoustic approach makes for a quite consistent quality of the different performances, their smoothified-funk-sound really only goes awry on „Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child“, where spark and soul are tossed aside. But overall, this is pleasant and heartfelt background soul jazz by a talented band. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that all moments of these 59 and a half minutes, feeling like cover-song warm ups here and there, are all equally exciting.

     
  • blechtram 9:49 am am October 10, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 6.6/10, Album Reviews, , Free Jazz, , Live Album, Sun Ra   

    Sun Ra: Disco 3000 

    Rating: 6.6/10
    Rated as
    : Album / Live
    Album Status
    : for Fans
    Released: 1978
    Recorded: 1978
    Specific Genre: Free Jazz
    Main Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz, Jazz
    Undertones
    : Free Improvisation, Jazz Fusion
    Label: Saturn

    1 Disco 3000 2 Third Planet 3 Friendly Galaxy 4 Dance of the Cosmo-Aliens

    A straight line through a Pollock-painting

    A live album by the Sun Ra quartet, taken from a reportedly busy time in Italy 1978 – there are more complete versions out there, but this LP (with a side-long jam and three shorter freak-outs) was the initial form of its release. It is not an essential release, but that doesn’t mean it’s not thoroughly entertaining for people drenched in carefree free jazz.

    There is a brittle trumpet dominating the first part of the jam, sound volume shifts up and down (intentionally, I think, it sounds as if Sun Ra phases his keyboards in and out as an effect) and although there are some grooves and soloing, this is not the kind of free jazz that sounds as if its creators are constantly inspired and incessantly hit by ephiphanies – this is more like a bored toddler rummaging around the attic, finding a million little things to keep her entertained for a moment, only to shift attention the next second. With Sun Ra, this approach works. In true improv-manner, Sun Ra messes with the then brand-new Crumar DS-2 synthesizer which could produce programmed rhythms – he turns those beats on and off, each of them like a straight line through a Pollock-painting. They give you the illusion you can groove for a second – but then it’s gone! Sun Ra wants to chant „Space Is the Place“ (after the five-minute mark)!

    The second side is a bit more groove-oriented, with some tribal stuff and recognisable patterns – there even is something like a song, since ‚melody prop‘ of the weird and fun jungle groove that is „Dance of the Cosmo-Aliens“ is based on „Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child“. This becomes obvious about four minutes into the track. Also, check this out if you’re looking for stuff that heavily influenced Jimi Tenor.

     
  • blechtram 9:25 am am October 4, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 7.1/10, Album Reviews, Ambient, Brian Eno, Eno   

    Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports 

    Rating: 7.1/10
    Rated as
    : Album
    Album Status: Defining Classic
    Released: 1978
    Specific Genre: Ambient
    Main Genre: Ambient
    Undertones
    : Minimalism, Experimental, New Age
    Label: Polydor

    1. 1/1 2. 2/1 3. 1/2 4. 2/2

    He told you: As ignorable as it is interesting

    While no obsession drives me towards the ambient-genre – I’m casually interested, so maybe the worst kind of ambient listener – there is an appealing pull to the presentation and personality of this record. It’s not the concept, it’s not its mythological history of invention. It’s the determination and the simplicity. The music here glides on a sheet of air-cooled velvet offering the least amount of friction while still being material. Piano loops, vocal „Ohs“ sampled to structure the silence – all harmony, all assembled to give you nothing to hold on to for more than a few moments. I like this. It may well be the best of its kind, sure – but nothing more (and nothing less). And he told you: As ignorable as it is interesting. Either way, a must-have.

     
  • blechtram 10:59 am am September 25, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 6.3/10, Album Reviews, Contemporary Folk, Eric Andersen, Folk, , Singer-Songwriter   

    Eric Andersen: Blue River 

    Rating: 6.3/10
    Rated as
    : Album
    Album Status:
    for Genre-Enthusiasts
    Released: 1972
    Specific Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary Folk
    Main Genre: Folk, Singer-Songwriter
    Undertones
    : Folk Rock, Country Rock, Soft Rock
    Label: Columbia

    If love were made of clouds, I almost wish that it would rain

    A sweet and elusive singer-songwriter album, a bit on the cheesy side of acoustic folk, with a female ghost choir and glockenspiel kicking in around one minute into the record. With his fragile voice and rather feeble performance, Andersen falls into the vicinity of James Taylor. He belongs to the introspective, romantic sort of folk troubadours: gentle tunes, gentle performance, gentle lyrics, the production is spare but clever. There’s never just a guitar, there’s always a harmonium, or a glockenspiel, or flute-like keyboards, or gospel-ish piano clusters… and occasionally a fuller band-sound bordering on the soft-rock of the early 1970s Southern California-scene (though Andersen wasn’t part of that scene).

    The compositions here, while today totally familiarized by the likes of Taylor or Carole King, must have been regarded as pretty ‚serious’ folk music in their day. Today, they are tame at worst and well-written somberness at best. Andersen isn’t afraid to tackle a surprising variety of styles here (why is it surprising? The production is so homogeneous that you don’t notice any variety the first few spins). He does standard balladry, Cohen-inspired depression („Sheila“, one of the better numbers) and even hints at country rock with the bittersweet, jaunty „More Often Than Not“ and, as a bonus track, the Hank Williams-classic „Why Don’t You Love Me“.

    As a performer, Andersen lacks the intriguing bittersweet subtlety of Nick Drake or the abyssal baritone-dirge of Leonard Cohen. „More Often Than Not“ is a standout in both ways: it is a straight jaunty country song as opposed to the usual slow-tempo ballads here and one of the most immediately memorable numbers. Although the lyrics imply a sozzled roadrunner telling his story to an equally sozzled crowd, Andersen sticks to his usual contained singing style – the contrast this creates with what would be obvious crowd chant-along lines as „And here’s to all the ladies / That I’m not with tonight!“ or „And here’s to all the bottles / That I’ve drunk in my time!“ has its own charm. It’s just a sobering-up as opposed to a drunk version of that song. Of course, this song is so far from Andersen’s usual romantic staple poetry and ballad compositions, it goes unsaid this is the only song here not from his feather (as I said, on the CD there’s the Williams-cover as a bonus – it seems Andersen had a soft spot for upfront honkytonk country when not writing pained songs to Jesus, as on the ultra-cheesy „Round the Bend“).

    Anyhow, this is a decent album if you’re into über-gentle singersongwriter balladeering from the early 1970s. It’s just good enough not to be very boring. This is a must I guess if you’re the kind of person that avidly listens to Carole King, James Taylor and the likes. For me, the record is mostly about „Sheila“ (Andersen’s only moment of true pain here) and the funny „More Often Than Not“. Of the qualities I personally like in Andersen, there’s just other guys and gals in those fields that are quite a bit better.

     
  • blechtram 10:45 am am September 4, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 1.2/10, Album Reviews, , , Chicago Blues, , Howlin Wolf,   

    Howlin‘ Wolf: The Power of the Voice 

    Rating: 1.2/10
    Rated as
    : Anthology
    Compilation Status
    : Useless
    Released: 1989
    Recorded: 1951, 1952, 1970
    Specific Genre: Chicago Blues
    Main Genre: Blues, Electric Blues
    Label: Blues Encore

    1 I Ain’t Superstitious 2 Sittin‘ on the Top of the World 3 Built for Comfort 4 The Red Rooster 5 Highway 49 6 Cause of It All 7 Killing Floor 8 Brownskin Woman 9 The Sun Is Rising 10 I’m the Wolf 11 House Rockin‘ Boogie 12 Dog Me Around 13 Keep What You Got 14 My Babe Stole off 15 Crying at Daybreak 16 Passing By Blues 17 Poor Boy 18 Commit a Crime 19 Wang-Dang-Doodle 20 Do the Do 21 Worried About My Baby 22 Rockin‘ Daddy

    You better keep what you got

    Completely pointless cash-in compilation by the greatest hollerer there ever was. Although you get 22 tracks on a single disc, this isn’t worth your while: The track choice is completely random, all the tracks are either from 1970 or 1951/52; the sequencing is random (the disc starts with a bunch of 1970-recordings, tracks 1–7, the 1950s tracks follow, 8–16, then back to a row of the 1970-tracks, 17–22); the sound of this European issue is just awful (not scratchy, as these are studio recordings, but this is the most compressed, tinniest and flattest audio quality I’ve heard in my lifetime – which is all the worse, as Howlin‘ Wolf is about his roaring sound, totally betrayed here). Tracks 8–11 are from the same 1952-session in Memphis (but were published partly on different records under fishy circumstances), while 12–16 are from two Memphis-1952 sessions (September and October). In neither cases are these all of those sessions‘ tracks, so what’s the point? But worst of all: all the 1970-tracks are directly and redundantly taken from the famous London Howlin‘ Wolf Sessions-album, whose versions weren’t so hot to begin with.

    There are so many good compilations by Howlin‘ Wolf, don’t be fooled by the large number of tracks here and be sure to skip this one. To check on how to collect Wolf’s material, compare my RateYourMusic-list Complete Blues Discographies: What to get.

     
  • blechtram 10:12 am am August 16, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: 1.6/10, Album Reviews, , Bootleg, Latin Rock, Live, , , Santana   

    Santana: The World of Santana 

    Rating: 1.6/10
    Rated as
    : Bootleg / Live / Archival
    Album Status: of Archival Interest
    Released: 2001 (1994 Galaxy)
    Recorded: ? [1960s/70s]
    Specific Genre: Latin Rock
    Main Genre: Rock
    Undertones: Blues Rock
    Label: ZYX Music

    CD1: 1.1 Jingo 1.2 El Corazon Manda 1.3 La Puesta del Sol 1.4 Persuasion 1.5 As the Years Go Passing By 1.6 Acapulco Sunrise 1.7 Coconut Grave 1.8 Hot Tamales
    CD2: 2.1 With a Little Help from My Friends 2.2 Every Day I Have the Blues 2.3 Jam in E 2.4 Travelin‘ Blues 2.5 Jammin‘ Home 2.6 Jammin G. Minor

    Worthless packaging, zero information

    This ultra-cheap double-issue is identical to the equally crummy releases Greatest Hits Live Vol 1 and Greatest Hits Live Vol 3 (don’t be fooled, as opposed to the Wilburys, there actually is a Vol 2). The title of these is a complete joke, as this is indistinct live bootleg jamming of what must be late 1960s/ early 1970s recordings. Atrocious sound quality, worthless packaging, zero information, and a totally indiscriminate track selection. If you came here for the novelty of hearing Santana play the Beatles’ „With a Little Help From My Friend“, you’ll get that novelty, but not much more.

    Most of CD1 is simply their early 1970s latin rock jams, CD2 is surprisingly blues-tinged, as already indicated by the song titles. That stresses one of Santana’s more overlooked musical sources (B.B. King, for one). Either way, there are numerous bootlegs of exactly these and similar live cuts on the market, and while this isn’t bad music at all, it’s just very uninteresting and badly recorded stuff. Definitely not worth seeking out, even for fans.

     
  • blechtram 3:14 pm am July 2, 2019 Permalink | Antworten
    Tags: , Album Reviews, , Blues Rock, Box Set, Captain Beefheart, Experimental Rock, ,   

    Captain Beefheart: Grow Fins: Rarities (1965–1982) 

    Rating: 8.0/10
    Rated as
    : Archival / Box Set
    Box Set Status
    : Must for Fans
    Released: 1999
    Recorded: 1965–1982
    Specific Genre: Experimental Rock, Blues Rock
    Main Genre: Rock
    Undertones: Experimental, Psychedelic Rock, Field Recordings
    Label: Revenant

    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.

     
c
Neuen Beitrag erstellen
j
nächster Beitrag/nächster Kommentar
k
vorheriger Beitrag/vorheriger Kommentar
r
Antworten
e
Bearbeiten
o
zeige/verstecke Kommentare
t
Zum Anfang gehen
l
zum Login
h
Zeige/Verberge Hilfe
Shift + ESC
Abbrechen