Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It's hard to keep from gushing about Horace Andy's Skylarking LP. It's one of my favorite LPs, in any genre, reggae or otherwise. Not only because it's Horace Andy, but also because it's his first LP, it's on Studio One, and it's from what many consider (myself included) the golden age of reggae. Released in 1969, it contains primarily singles released earlier in the year. Horace Andy's distinctly sweet voice, which remains much the same today, is one of the voices most perfectly complemented by the bubbling organic sound of Studio One. (If you compare the two versions of Skylarking below, you'll see what I mean.) So, I've got some good news, and bad news. The bad news is that it's almost impossible to find Skylarking, on LP or CD (I've ordered it from two online dealers that had it listed, and got the same response: out of stock and out of print.) Now, put on your damn happy face. The good news is that I found a download on the blog You and Me on a Jamboree (link below). Get it while you can.

Here's a rundown on the other stuff I managed to gather. The first three below are covers of, in order, Paul Simon, Bill Withers and Al Wilson. (The cover of Wither's "Ain't No Sunshine," I know is Studio One.) The next three are mid-career Andy; great, in a more roots way. The next two are from what reggae fiends might refer to as his current WTF period. "Airbag," a Radiohead cover, was recorded with the Easy Star All-Stars, a band responsible for three reggae cover albums (including Dark Side of the Moon, Sgt. Pepper's, and Radiohead's OK Computer), all featuring different reggae luminaries. The next one from his surprisingly extensive run of collaborations with Massive Attack. Then there's two audio only YouTube links, to two versions of the song "Skylarking," followed by the main event, the LP. Again, get it. (Download ludites: it's in zip form, but worth the effort of a few extra steps.) After that, there's 10 other LPs at another site, also in zip format. On to the videos. The first video link down there is to a series of 17 clips at DailyMotion, documenting a Sly & Robbie session at Harry J's, featuring Horace Andy. (Chorus of "what if?"s can start now.) The last one is a more recent clip, of him performing "Skylarking," if only to illustrate that his pipes are still remarkably intact.

Horace Andy with the Mellotone HiFi 1986

Horace Andy - Mother & Child Reunion mp3 at Everybody Taste
Horace Andy - Ain't No Sunshine mp3 at Fat Berri's
Horace Andy - Show and Tell mp3 at Funky 16 Corners
Horace Andy & King Tubby - Free Africa mp3 via 4Shared* at Fortal Reggae
Horace Andy & Prince Jammy - Reggae Rockers Dub mp3 via 4Shared*
Horace Andy - Mr. Wicked Man mp3 at Raslogan
Horace Andy w/Easy Star All-Stars- Airbag mp3 at Music Is My Radar
Horace Andy w/Massive Attack - Girl I Love You mp3 at Rraurl
*At 4Shared click on blue "Download Now" button.
Contrast & Compare:
Horace Andy - Skylarking, original Studio One version (audio only video) at YouTube
Horace Andy - Skylarking, later version (audio only video) at YouTube
Skylarking LP Download:
Horace Andy - Skylarking (zip via Megaupload) at You and Me On a Jamboree (Studio One 1969 debut: HIGHLY recommended)
Alternate download links can be found following the link on the above blog. Annoying pop ups abound.
Skylarking LP song samples can be heard at ReggaeRecord.com
Horace Andy - 10 later LPs (via Mediafire) at Horace Andy (download blog)
Sly & Robbie w/Horace Andy - 17 part documentary of a recording session at Harry J's
Horace Andy - Skylarking (live) at YouTube
Horace Andy at Wikipedia
Horace Andy at MySpace
Other reggae related posts here

Sunday, May 29, 2011



Gil Scott-Heron has passed away. He died on Friday, the cause of which has not been announced. It very well could have been crack-related, because he's had a well documented habit for years. As sad as it is, the fact that he never tried to deny his abuse in the past, (or made any false proclamations of successful treatment), says loads. He was a lot of things, and by his own admission did some things that were wrong. But about himself, he always seemed upfront and honest.


When I heard that he had passed, my first thought was that he was the first overtly political musician that I ever remember hearing (save Dylan, if that counts for you), a long time before punk rock and other "rebel music." My friend Bill had "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," and he'd play it in pretty regular rotation, enough for us to be quoting lines from it for several years. For a high schooler in Southern California, it was exotic, provocative, and dangerous. Which meant, of course, that we ate it up.

I had not seen the video above, "I'm New Here," from his 2010 "comeback" album, until after I heard that he had died, and it just killed me. So fucking sad.

ADDED 5/30/11: Gil Scott-Heron - Live at The Bottom Line 1977 (via MediaShare) at Aquarium Drunkard
Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised mp3 at Review Stalker
Gil Scott-Heron - Whitey is on the Moon mp3 at Lack Of
Gil Scott-Heron - H20Gate Blues mp3 at Review Stalker
Gil Scott-Heron - New York Is Killing Me mp3 at The New Low Fi
Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle mp3 at Crying All the Way to the Chip Shop
Gil Scott-Heron - Racetrack in France mp3 at Passion of the Weiss
Gil Scott-Heron - We Almost Lost Detroit mp3 at Passion of the Weiss
Gil Scott-Heron - We Almost Lost Detroit (live) at YouTube
Gil Scott-Heron - The Bottle at YouTube
The Weary Blues - Article about his comeback at New York magazine
Gil Scott-Heron at Wikipedia
Obituary at Passion of the Weiss (Highly recommended)
Obituary at NPR
Gil Scott-Heron's official "I'm New Here" site


Everybody into reggae beyond Marley knows about U Roy, Dillinger, Big Youth and all the other big names DJs. So I gotta ask, is it me or does it seem like Dennis Alcapone rarely gets mentioned? I mean, the guy is like the Rodney Dangerfield of DJs. I have to admit that as nutty as I am about that particular type of reggae, I didn't really start listing to him until years after I'd been devouring the music of the other guys. I'd thought that maybe it was a lack of dreads or street wise look that may have prejudiced me. I had no clue. It took me until today to realize why he seems to be passed over so much. I was reminded that he dropped out of music from the mid-70's through the mid-80's to start a family, plus he's been living in England since '74. That's a huge chunk of DJ-era prime time to miss out on. If you've been looking the other way, it's high time to play catch up. (Thanks to Ray Brandes for tipping me to the video below.)

Dennis Alcapone - Cassius Clay mp3 at Reggae Top Site
Dennis Alcapone - Teacher Teacher mp3 at 4Shared
Dennis Alcapone - DJ's Choice mp3 via 4Shared*
Dennis Alcapone - Train to Glory mp3 via 4Shared*
Dennis Alcapone - Run Run mp3 via 4Shared*
Dennis Alcapone - Guns Don't Argue mp3 via 4Shared*
Dennis Alcapone - Someone Dance With My Girl mp3 via 4Shared*
Dennis Alcapone - Jungle of Crime AKA Big Boy Version mp3 via 4Shared*
Dennis Alcapone - Back Bitter & Dub mp3 via 4Shared*
*At 4Shared click on blue "Download Now" button.
Interview & mix:
Dennis Alcapone - Interview and music from WRIR Part 1 mp3 (45 min.), Part 2 mp3 (48 min.), Part 3 mp3 (24 min.)
Dennis Alcapone -With the Trojan Sound System (and interview) at YouTube
Dennis Alcapone - The Origins of DJing (in 3:54) at YouTube
Dennis Alcapone interview at Reggae Dubwise
Dennis Alcapone at Wikipedia
Other reggae related posts here

Friday, May 27, 2011



It's been a long time since I was in an high school art class with Ron Silva, but I remember one moment well. I had been painting a portrait of Johnny Winter, and I passed by his desk. He was painting the early Beatles. I was a bit bewildered, because the Beatles had lost any semblance of contemporary relevance, but here was this guy, who looked a little like Paul McCartney, painting their portrait. In the ensuing years, after I met him, I learned that his grandmother sewed buttons on his collars, because he was unable to find button downs. (Keep in mind that the style of the day was Hang Ten shirts, flannel shirts, and the odd Mexican wedding shirt. No one wore button down collars.) A few years later, when I worked in a ma and pa market, he'd come in to buy Cokes, because it was one of the few places that still sold Coke in six ounce bottles, which was part of completing the picture. And a picture it was. Walking down the street with his pal, Steve Potterf, both with Brian Jones cuts, looking like they were transported from 1965 London. I had to admire his dedication. He was a fiend.

A very early Crawdaddys clip, around '78-'79

We eventually became casual friends, when he was the guitarist for the Hitmakers. In 1978, the Hitmakers split up, and Silva started the Crawdaddys. I was putting on shows with some friends at the time and one bill found them opening for the Avengers and the Last (in a club with a capacity of less than a hundred, with the admission only two or three bucks!) That was a long time ago, and Silva has been playing in bands ever since; a bunch of bands, beginning with about half a dozen different incarnations of the Crawdaddys, each with a slightly different sound; followed by the Black Diamonds, the Monarchs, the Nashville Ramblers, and others. (Note: those are not in chronological order. I lost track long ago.)

Ron Silva & the Monarchs, 2010

The Crawdaddys' 1981 line-up has recently reconvened, and are preparing for a tour of Spain. As a warm-up gig, they're playing at Rhino Records in L.A. this Sunday, May 29 (6/1/11 update: video links added below). Admission is free. If you're in the general, or not so general, vicinity, just go. I've never seen a bad show, or heard a bad record, with Silva stink on it. His track record is pretty spotless. Taken as a whole, he's got just about every shade of 60's R & B covered, from the early Stones, to Stax sounding stuff, and on top of that, Merseybeat type pop harmonies (in the Nashville Ramblers). As different as all the sounds are, they're all Silva. The guy has always been inseparable from his music. That's not to say his band mates over the years should go without praise. Silva has surrounded himself with like minded, ridiculously good, musicians. His whole crowd is a fucking A-list.

The Nashville Ramblers, 80's

This is really just a small sampling of what's online. One thing: don't pass by the Nashville Ramblers' "The Trains," considered, by many informed folks, the best song to come out of San Diego ever. (I'm not exaggerating.) It's just been released for the first time on vinyl, as a 45 on Ugly Things. There were only 1000 pressed, so sleepers be warned. Get it here.

See the Crawdaddys LIVE (free!)
Sunday May 29, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Rhino Records
10952 Santa Monica Blvd.
(One door east of Veteran Ave.)
Los Angeles, CA 90025.

ADDED 6/1/11:
Three videos from Rhino Records 5/29/11 In-Store:
The Crawdaddys - You Got What I Want
at YouTube
The Crawdaddys -You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At the Cover & You Must Believe
at YouTube
The Crawdaddys - I Can Never Tell
at YouTube

The Crawdaddys - Oh Baby Doll mp3 at Che Underground
The Crawdaddys - I'm Dissatisfied mp3 at Che Underground
The Crawdaddys - I Just Don't Understand mp3 at Che Underground
The Nashville Ramblers - The Trains mp3 at Che Underground
The Nashville Ramblers - Ain't That Her (live) at YouTube
The Nashville Ramblers - Recent (2010/11) live clip at YouTube
The Crawdaddys profile by Ray Brandes at Che Underground
The Nashvilles Ramblers profile by Ray Brandes at Che Underground

Thursday, May 26, 2011


UPDATE 5/30/11: WFMU has posted sets from the Primavera Sound Festival. Day 1 can be found here. Day 2 can be found here.

On Friday and Saturday this weekend (May 27 & 28), WFMU will be broadcasting live, streaming online, from the Primavera Sound Festival, from 3:00 ET (U.S.) to 12:00 ET (U.S.). Among the acts are Suicide, playing their first LP, at 3:00 E.T. on Friday. How cool is that, yankee office rats? If you have a desk job, and a permissive workplace, you can listen to Suicide, live, from Barcelona, Spain.

Other elder noise bros appearing include Glenn Branca (Friday, 5:00 E.T.), Half Japanese (Friday 9:00 E.T.), Pere Ubu (playing Modern Dance, Saturday, 4:00 E.T.), Einsturzende Neubauten, (Saturday, 6:50), and Swans (Saturday, 9:15 E.T.). The rest of the line-up includes a host of other entirely listenable bands, among them Ty Segall and Pissed Jeans. (The full line-up can be found here.)

If you don't think that this is a rad thing, then you haven't taken into consideration how much this world has changed since these bands were on their first go around. Maybe you're too young. Let me tell you, it's a mind fuck, a good old fashioned American mind fuck.

UPDATE 5/30/11:
WFMU has posted sets from the Primavera Sound Festival.
Day 1 can be found here.
Day 2 can be found here.


This one is for Ruthie, Dawn, Barb, Michelle and Ami, who knew what I drank, and when enough was enough. These ladies were all more than nice to me, when I needed it most. When I heard the song below, it finally dawned on me that when I was busy spilling my guts, they were all patient listeners, with their own guts to spill. It never occurred to me back then. If you partake, maybe you ought to buy your bartender a drink at the end of their shift.

Ann Clark - A Girl Who Works In a Bar mp3 at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


With the exception of Coxsone Dodd, there's probably no better known producer/label owner/studio owner in the ska, rock steady and early reggae eras than Duke Reid. He recorded just about all of the heavy hitters of the day for his Treasure Isle label, many of whom also recorded for Dodd's Studio One. The majority of the records he released were pretty straight forward in their approach, or so I thought. While this might not carry significance for anyone other than fellow reggae fiends, I must report that last night I came across a record that is hands down the strangest record I've ever heard on Treasure Isle label. There's very little reggae in it, but there's very little of anything in it; that is, anything that you can pin down. Sound confusing? It is hard to describe how unusual it is, but far easier to describe what other music has the same vibe, not that it even that makes things any clearer. Try mixing up Mulatu Astatke, the Budos Band, and Jerry Dammer's Spatial AKA Orchestra, with the bird and animal noises of Martin Denny, and the vocals of Billie Holiday. One thing is certain, this is one trippy record.

Duke Reid's sophisticated early sound system.

The song I'm salivating over is "Angie La La," sung by Nora Dean, a rather obscure reggae vocalist with a slight discography. Her other stuff is...well, just believe me. It's better not to have any familiarity with her music before hearing this one. But after that, do dig the other cuts. They're all great on their own.

The featured song:
Nora Dean - Angie La La (streaming) at YouTube
Other Nora Dean
Nora Dean - Barbwire mp3 at Beware of the Blog
Nora Dean - Greedy Boy mp3 via 4Shared*
Nora Dean - Night Food Reggae mp3 via 4Shared*
Nora Dean - Kiss Me Honey mp3 via 4Shared*
Nora Dean w/Augustus Pablo - Scorpion In His Underpants mp3 via 4Shared*
*At 4Shared click on blue "Download Now" button.
LP Download:
Rocksteady Soul: The Original Cool Sound of Duke Reid's Treasure Isle - LP compilation, download at Why Dontcha
Nora Dean - Extensive fan site
Treasure Isle partial discography
Duke Reid at Wikipedia
Earlier posts:
Just Like Uncle Freddy - Earlier post with Duke Reid material
Other reggae posts

Sunday, May 22, 2011


A friend posted a live New York Dolls video from San Francisco today, and after watching it, it was off to the races for me. I'm not all that nuts about the current version of the New York Dolls. The big reason is that there's no Johnny Thunders. You could conceivably replace the rhythm section, but not the lead guitar player, especially if it's Johnny Thunders. His presence was integral. I don't care if the new lead guitarist plays just like him. You can't replace Johnny Thunders. I'm not having any of it.

New York Dolls - Trash, at Max's Kansas City, NYC

But, oh yeeah, that old version of the Dolls was good, weren't they? They really were like an American version of the Stones, with their choice in covers, their cocky attitudes, and the de rigueur caricature-like singer/lead guitarist dynamic. They had all the ingredients. They just messed up in the mix. A little too much of this and that. They could have been huge. Instead, we got Aerosmith. That's like Herman's Hermits, compared to the Dolls' Stones. (Okay, that might be a bit harsh. Let's say Yardbirds.)

What you got down below is the shake from a little online scavenging. There are a few demos, some live stuff, some surprisingly good quality TV clips. It's just about everything worth posting that I could find online, with the exception of video (there's a lot more videos at YouTube).

New York Dolls - Private World, at the Matrix, San Francisco

New York Dolls - Looking For A Kiss (demo) mp3 at Art Decade
New York Dolls - Red Patent Leather (live) mp3 at Planet Mondo
New York Dolls - Frankenstein mp3 at Salad Days Music
New York Dolls - Personality Crisis mp3 at The Adios Lounge
New York Dolls - Jet Boy (demo) mp3 at The Music Slut
New York Dolls - Stranded in the Jungle mp3 at Blackout Musique
New York Dolls - Bad Girl mp3 at Cubick Musik
New York Dolls - Bad Girl (demo) mp3 at x818
New York Dolls - Pills mp3 at The Vague CD
New York Dolls - Trash mp3 at The Vague CD
New York Dolls - Great Big Kiss (demo) mp3 at Glam Punk
New York Dolls - Back in the U.S.A. (live) mp3 at x818
New York Dolls - Chatterbox mp3 at Lil Mike's
New York Dolls - Human Being mp3 (via 4Shared*)
New York Dolls - Vietnamese Baby mp3 (via 4Shared*)
New York Dolls - There's Gonna Be A Showdown mp3 (via 4Shared*)
New York Dolls - Pirate Love (live) mp3 (via 4Shared*)
New York Dolls - Bad Detective mp3 (via 4Shared*)
New York Dolls - Subway Train mp3 (via 4Shared*)
*At 4Shared, look for the blue "Download Now"button.

New York Dolls - Jet Boy (Old Grey Whistle Test) at YouTube
New York Dolls - Personality Crisis (The Beat Club) at YouTube
New York Dolls - Looking For a Kiss (Old Grey Whistle Test) at YouTube
New York Dolls official site
New York Dolls at Wikipedia
Rare NY Dolls photos at Diet Coke & Sympathy
Earlier posts about Johnny Thunders can be found here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


This all started inauspiciously enough. I ran into a post of M.I.A. with the Specials [sic] doing the Spectral Display song, "It Takes a Muscle." That was going to be it. After enjoying the clip, I began wondering how many of the original Specials were playing. Terry Hall wasn't there, but that could have been because M.I.A. had the vocals covered. One person who definitely wasn't there was Jerry Dammers; to me, the heart and soul of the original Specials. When they split up, Dammers formed Special AKA ("Free Nelson Mandela") and Hall went and started Fun Boy 3 ("Our Lips Are Sealed"...you know, drek). You could stop right there. Forget the other members. No Dammers, no Specials.

You can see where this is going. A quick peek at a M.I.A. video turned into Dammers Appreciation Hour. After the M.I.A. and Specials video, I decided to start at the beginning, with the Specials as they were. Then a quick jaunt by Special AKA (avoiding Fun Boy 3 all together), and then, the most anticipated part; Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra, often described as a cross between the Specials and Sun Ra. I'd read about them, but not heard them. Dammers' site has four videos, but I've been unable to find any mp3s, or even a CD to buy. So all I have to go on is the videos, which are undeniably boss.

Thirty years cannot be covered in a few links. Nonetheless, here's a bunch of stuff, documenting why exactly it is, that nothing ever gets done around here.

M.I.A. - It Takes a Muscle mp3 at 8106
MIA w/the Specials - It Takes a Muscle (live, 2010) mp3 at Sheen Beaston
The Specials - A Message To You Rudy mp3 at Town Full of Losers
The Specials - Ghost Town mp3 at BlahBlahBlahScience
Special AKA - Free Nelson Mandela mp3 at Contort
Sun Ra - Rocket #9 mp3 at L'Homme Scalp
Sun Ra - UFO mp3 at Destination Out
M.I.A. with the Specials - It Takes a Muscle (live) at YouTube
The Specials - Ghost Town at YouTube
Special AKA - Free Nelson Mandela (live, with Elvis Costello) at YouTube
The Specials - Gangsters (2009) at YouTube
Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra - Ringo Rock at YouTube
Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra - Sabayinda at YouTube
Jerry Dammer's Spatial AKA Orchestra - Where Pathways Meet at YouTube
Sun Ra - Space Is the Place (film intro) at YouTube
Sun Ra Arkestra - Live, 1981 at YouTube
Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra official site
The Specials official site
The Spatial AKA Orchestra at Wikipedia

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Dear guitar player of Remo Four,
Thanks for the idea. Think I'll expand on it.
Sincerely, Jimi Hendrix
P.S. You're not all that hot anyway.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


You probably won't believe me, but the J. Geils Band used to be cool. As in sweaty, greasy, energetic and action packed. They had two LPs under their belt in '72, when they released their epic "Live" Full House album, one of the best beginning-to-end live LPs ever (at least that I've heard, and I've heard a lot). Really, it's so good that it still holds up today. Alas, they're better known for their MTV era hits, particularly the embarrassing "Centerfold."

Full House needs to be played as a set, to get a feel of the pace of their live show back then. Every song segues into the next, with comments from Peter Wolf serving as bumpers. It really isn't possible to listen to one song to fully experience it. So, here's just a taste, a cover of the Contours' "First I Look at the Purse," along with a link to a site with the full LP. There's also the Contours' original version of the same song for comparison.

The J. Geils Band - First I Look At the Purse mp3 at 4Shared (Click on blue "Download Now" button.)
The Contours - First I Look At the Purse mp3 at 4Shared (Click on blue "Download Now" button.)
LP rip:
The J. Geils Band "Live" Full House LP download at Orexis of Death
The J. Geils Band - Floyd's Hotel/Hard Driving Man (Live 1972) at YouTube

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The first thing I thought of when I saw a video of the Liverbirds was that if they were around right now, they'd be huge. The second thing I thought was that if they were around during the mid-late eighties garage and beat resurgence, they'd be huge. The third thing I thought was that if they'd been around in the early sixties, when the Beatles and the Stones were the shit, they'd be huge...wait, they were around when the Beatles and Stones were the shit! The fourth thing I thought was, why weren't they huge?

It would be tempting to chalk their obscurity up to their gender, but it's probably more likely a case of reverse serendipity. They spent the first couple years of their existence from '63-'65, their prime, playing the club circuit in Hamburg (including the Star Club, where the Beatles honed their skills). Though they did have slight brushes. They opened for the Stones on multiple occasions, and when the Kinks had their guitars stolen just before recording "You Really Got Me," they borrowed guitars from the Liverbirds for the session. But, unlike today when every person who's ever picked up a guitar has access to effective self promotion, back then location was everything. So, their fan base was where they played, primarily Germany, Scandinavia, Denmark, and Japan.

Given their similarity to the early Stones (both in sound and material), "what if?" enthusiasts would be excused for pondering what might have been if they stayed together long enough to make their own Exile On Main Street. But, on the other hand, listen to their version of Bo Diddley's "Mona" (below). The thing has a Cramps feel to it. A little in the sound, a lot in the vibe. Highly recommended.

The Liverbirds - Talking About You mp3 at The Rising Storm
The Liverbirds - Hands Off mp3 at The Rising Storm
The Liverbirds - Roadrunner mp3 at The Hound Blog
The Liverbirds - Peanut Butter mp3 (via 4Shared)
The Liverbirds - Love Hurts mp3 at The Hound Blog
The Liverbirds - Why Do You Hang Around Me mp3 at The Hound Blog
The Liverbirds - Mona mp3 at The Hound Blog
The Liverbirds - Down Home Girl mp3 at The Hound Blog
The Liverbirds - Diddley Daddy at YouTube
The Liverbirds - Why Do You Hang Around Me? at YouTube
The Liverbirds - Feature at the Liverpool Echo
The Liverbirds profile at The Hound Blog

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Todays procrastination session began with a hunt for some elusive Lawndale mp3s. A non-surf instrumental band that was on SST (home of Black Flag among many others), they're all but ignored online. It's as if they never existed. Well, today the hunt paid off, but not how I expected. I did find one Lawndale cut, "Wing Tips," but where I found it turned into a couple hour detour. It was on Dave Markey's We Got Power Films site. Markey is something like a punk rock renaissance man. He put out a couple fanzines, played in a couple bands, made some movies (both feature length and shorts), and did some music videos. You'd think that after all that, he'd be a household name (at least in punkier households), but that's not the case.

Trailer for Lovedolls Superstar Fully Realized

The first time I heard about him was in the early '80s. He had made a film called Desperate Teenage Lovedolls, about a fictional girl punk band, the Lovedolls. Despite the primitive quality (I think it was filmed in Super 8), it had a who's who of L.A. punk rock scenesters, notably Jeff & Steve McDonald (from Redd Kross), Dez Cadena ( Black Flag), Janet Housden (Redd Kross), and Annette Zilinska (Bangs, Blood on the Saddle). Among many cameo appearances were a young Saul Hudson (who would later surface as Slash, in Guns n' Roses), and Sky Saxon (the Seeds). The whole thing is so amateurish, the script so bad, the acting so limited, that it really is a hoot; like a friend's weekend film might be.

Middle Class - Situations and Above Suspicion, filmed by Dave Markey. Reunited after 27 years, filmed in November 2010. From Markey's YouTube page.

Markey's website is a full on multi-discipline time suck. Fanzines, fliers, short films, trailers for the feature films, music videos and music. Seriously, I was on there for a long time and still have only scratched the surface. Among the music videos, there's some choice stuff: Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Mudhoney, and the Posies. The Posies video cover of the Germ's "Richie Dagger's Crime" is remarkable in a "Relax you purist cynic, this is a tribute to the Germs, nothing more. Get your head out of your ass and enjoy it for what it is" sort of way. There are blue Circle One armbands and flags everywhere, and a nod to Shawn Kerri's Circle Jerks skanking kid logo. I'm going to avoid spoiling it for you, just dig the interpretation and prepare to smile. Punk rock has never been so warm and fuzzy.

The Posies - Richie Dagger's Crime (Note: a much better quality, ad-free version is on Markey's site, on the music video page (click on the "multimedia" tab).

The music that Markey has on his site is great too. The Lawndale song that started all of this meandering, "Wingtips," is one of 23 mp3s on his site that comprise the entire soundtrack of Lovedolls Superstar (the sequel to Desperate Teenage Lovedolls). On that one alone, there's Redd Kross, Sonic Youth, the Meat Puppets, the Dead Kennedys, Kristan Hoffman, and the Lovedolls themselves, backed by Redd Kross. On top of that, there's two other compilations. This shit is exhausting. Just go there and click on everything.

Redd Kross - Lovedoll Superstar mp3 at We Got Power Films
The Lovedolls w/Redd Kross - Beer & Ludes mp3 at We Got Power Films
The Lovedolls w/Redd Kross - Rex Smith (I Want to Be A Cholo Chick) mp3 at We Got Power Films
The Lovedolls w/Redd Kross - Sunshine Day mp3 at We Got Power Films
Sonic Youth - Hallowed By Thy Name mp3 at We Got Power Films
Lawndale - Wing Tips mp3 at We Got Power Films
Directed by Dave Markey:
Mudhoney - Fuzz Gun at YouTube
Sonic Youth - Cinderella's Big Score at YouTube
Desperate Teenage Lovedolls trailer at YouTube
Get lost, really lost:
We Got Powers Films - The site of Dave Markey. Note: Most of the films and music are on the multi-media page.
Markey's YouTube channel
Additional info:
Dave Markey at Wikipedia
Dave Markey at Internet Movie Database

Saturday, May 14, 2011


What was it, '81, '82? Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's "The Message" was all over the place. It was the first rap song that was really taken seriously. Up to that point only a couple songs even came close to crossing over to a mass audience. Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks" and the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" come to mind. But "The Message" had, er, a message; social commentary if you will, about hard times in the inner city, drugs and violence. The LP that followed, containing a different version of the song, was an eye opener. In a time when just about every non-rap person on the planet thought all rap music was the same, they got downright funky, on "She's Fresh," and they got a little out there, using a vocoder for the vocals on "Scorpio." Shortly after the LP, they would split, and the follow-up single, "White Lines (Don't Do It)," though credited to Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, didn't have Flash on it at all.

Though Grandmaster Flash will probably be remembered for "The Message," he was an innovative DJ as well, one of the first to incorporate beat juggling and punch phrasing (descriptions of which can be found on his Wikipedia entry). This clip below, from "Wild Style," is most excellent, especially in an anthropological sense. It has footage of Flash manning the turntables. Keep in mind that this was when this sort of stuff was still in its embryonic state. There's also footage of Lee Quinones, arguably the most respected, and historically significant, figure in the early graffitti art movement, in action.

Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five - The Message mp3 at Earfarm
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five - She's Fresh mp3 at Dad's Records
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five - Scorpio mp3 at Dad's Records
Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel - White Lines (Don't Do It) mp3 at Rraurl
For reference:
Kurtis Blow - The Breaks mp3 at 8106
Sugarhill Gang - Rapper's Delight mp3 at JoCortez
Later Flash:
Grandmaster Flash with Snoop Dogg & Lynn Carter - Swagger mp3 at Rap Blog
Grandmaster Flash with DJ Scratch & Ludacris - Bounce Back mp3 at Rap Blog
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five - The Message at YouTube
Grandmaster Flash at Wikipedia
Lee Quinones at Wikipedia

Friday, May 13, 2011


Look at the photo above. Think those drums are a prop? Think again. That's Carleen Jean Butler, the funky beat behind Carleen & the Groovers, a South Carolina band formed in 1970. The five piece Groovers also featured her brother, Clary (who did some time playing trumpet behind Wilson Picket) on some inspired GFOS-esque vocals. The exchanges between brother and sister in "Hot Pants" (link below) are classic: "Carleen, can you knock 'em out?" she answers coyly, "Right on!", and then, after some restrained showboating, she says "Is that black enough for you?" Ohh, if only there was some video floating around. As it is, Carleen & the Groovers released only two 45s.

Carleen & the Groovers - Can We Rap mp3 at Aerial Noise
Carleen & the Groovers - The Thing mp3 at Now Again Records
Carleen & the Groovers - Right On mp3 at Now Again Records
Carleen & the Groovers - Hot Pants mp3 at Now Again Records
A little more:
Carleen & the Groovers at Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I can't remember the last time I heard anything about Ivan Julian. It might have been when Richard Hell & the Voidoids broke up, way back when. I'd managed to track drummer Mark Bell, which wasn't hard because he became Marky Ramone. (That move that still irks me, because the Voidoids were a much more challenging band.) Lead guitarist Robert Quinne went to Lou Reed's band, and did lots of other projects after that. (Sadly, he's retired, as in,...yeah.) Richard Hell has been busying himself pretty much the whole time too, with music and poetry (not to mention donating his "papers" to NYU). Second guitarist Ivan Julian? Hadn't even thought about him, to be honest, until I ran into a recent song "The Naked Flame." The dude's been playing for thirty more years, so he's a little more in your face these days. You know what this song sounds like? It sounds almost like a Richard Hell song, as Hendrix would play it. Check it out:

One quick aside: I feel compelled to share my annoyance regarding his shirt in the video. Yep, it's the ol' Voidoids shirt-altering routine. I think he wanted a Richard Hell connection to be made. Okay, we get it. But I do like the song, despite the "naked flame of your love" line (oh, brother,...eh Aut?) Now that that's out of the way, here's another video. I thought I'd go for a spin and look for some Voidoids stuff to contrast and compare (and what have you). Then I ran across the video below. Magnificent black and white footage of the very early Richard Hell and the Voidoids performing "Blank Generation" and "Love Comes In Spurts." This is some really good stuff, despite the partial songs and the audience interviews. Filmed at CBGB's around '76 or '77.

Richard Hell & the Voidoids - Blank Generation mp3 at Louder Soft (1976 Ork Records 45 version)
Richard Hell & the Voidoids - Blank Generation mp3 (via Box.net) at Creuse ta Tombe (Sire LP version)
Richard Hell & the Voidoids - Love Comes In Spurts mp3 at Snuhthing Anything Definitive Quine solo on this, especially the way it ends.
Ivan Julian - The Naked Flame mp3 at Hyperbolium
Earlier posts:
The Fraternal Order of the Messy Hair: Richard Hell with the Heartbreakers, Television and the Voidoids

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Ladies and gentlemen, horses and mules, I stand before you to direct your attention to a most awesome post on The Hound Blog, about Rosco Gordon. Gordon is a favorite around here, particularly his stuff on Sun. (The compilation of Sun stuff, released in the late 70's, was my introduction.) Listen to "Decorate the Counter" (mp3 link below), the sound is just, I don't know, dirty. The cardboard drums, the gravelly voice of Gordon, his piano playing and some of the best sounds to ever come out of a saxophone. The sax is just filthy. Take a test run below, but, really, go to the Hound for tons more music and a lengthy bio. Among other revelations is not only that Gordon recorded for both Sun and Chess (among other labels), but that he recorded an LP in the 90s for Coxsone Dodd. (?!?) It is an Epic post.

On Sun Records:
Rosco Gordon - Decorate the Counter mp3 at The Hound
Rosco Gordon - Let's Get High mp3 at The Hound
Rosco Gordon - New Orleans Wimmen mp3 at The Hound
Two versions of "Just A Little Bit"
Rosco Gordon - Just A Little Bit mp3 at The Hound
Rosco Gordon - Just A Little Bit ('68 version) mp3 at The Hound
The Epic post:
Rosco Gordon - Bio and lots of music at The Hound

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Here's a mixed bag. Everything from rocksteady by Phyllis Dillon, through some eighties stuff, up to some of the latest, notably Terry Lynn. It was Lynn's video (below) that inspired this post. The juxtaposition of her music and the street scenes of Kingston make the whole thing seem very current, and real. It made me realize what a large chunk of Jamaican music, primarily post-roots, that I've not really listened to. I remember where the urgency to keep up with current Jamaican music vanished. It was the mid-eighties when Eek-A-Mouse and Yellowman were all the rage. They didn't do much for me, so I stewed in slightly older DJ stuff (U Roy, Dillinger, Big Youth, etc.) I blinked, years passed, and now we have this:

In trying to round out this post, by adding earlier Jamaican women singers for comparison, I ran into some neat stuff, and some forgotten favorites (Sister Carol and Sophie George). As far as the non-Jamaican stuff goes, I threw in the Beasties/Santigold thing, just because it's new, and a lot more reggae than the Terry Lynn or Warrior Queen. Karolina (from Tel Aviv) is down there for the same reason, and Akane's down there just to represent another unlikely location (Japan). Like I said, it's a mixed bag, the only common thread is women singing reggae related stuff.

Phyllis Dillon - Perifida mp3 at Dinosaur Gardens
Althea & Donna - Uptown Top Ranking mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu
Rita Marley - One Draw mp3 at Passion of the Weiss
Marcia Griffiths - Feel Like Jumping mp3 at Chrome Music
Sophie George - Girlie Girlie mp3 at Matlo44 Funkpower2
Sister Carol - Murdee & Stylee mp3 (via 4Shared) at Mighty Dub Foundation (Click on "Download Now")
Sister Nancy - Bam Bam mp3 at Earmilk
Karolina & Funset (Tel Aviv)- Lion mp3 at Aurgasm
Beastie Boys & Santigold (U.S.) - Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win mp3 at Mixtape Riot
The Bug w/Warrior Queen - Poison Dart mp3 at Electrorash
Terry Lynn - System mp3 at Electrorash
Akane (Japan) - Dancehall Head mp3 at Electrorash
Sister Carol - Dread Natty Congo at YouTube
Althea & Donna - Uptown Top Ranking at YouTube
Judy Mowatt - Black Woman at YouTube
Sophie George - Girlie Girlie at YouTube
Rita Marley - Who Colt the Game? at YouTube
I Threes - Is This Love (backing vocal tracks) mp3 at Bob-Marley.es
Further digressions:
Reggae related posts
New Beastie Boys