It’s a passport to this world…

I have been looking for a copy of Space Ritual Vol. 2 for years well since I missed buying it in the 80’s when I first heard it.

It has been reissued, repackaged and reimagined so many times it is hard to know what to get. Of course it is now selling for silly money if you can find it. I did however this week find a thing of beauty, renamed and repackaged again to Victim of Sonic Attack Cleopatra records have re-re-released Space Ritual Vol 2.

This time it comes in a screen printed hessian bag and with Starburst spacey vinyl.

Now everything that I hold to be true insisted I buy this joyful thing, go home and sit trancelike and experience the fun that is the Space Ritual. Once it ends there is only one thing to do and that is play it again, loudly.

Now Space Ritual is a masterpiece, bruising in its insanity. There has however always been that disclaimer in the sleeve notes explaining how Brainstorm and Time We left This Earth Today had been cut so everything would fit on the record. In my brain having heard these uncut tracks only 3 or 4 times before this had become a quest to own these perfectly mind numbing mindfucks.

So are those extra minutes worth the wait, the cost etc. Fuck yes they are, The juggernaut that is Hawkwind drills into your brain until all you hear are parping saxes and the bass throbbing in your skull. Hawkwind in full flight as they are here on this album are a terrifying prospect,  once you get it though it is alway with you and thats without the need for augmenting medicinal supplements. This is the trip that has never ended for Brock and Turner, even if they can’t be nice to each other now, they once could create anarchy.

Yes I know it’s another Hawkwind cash in for someone probably not even related to the band but man some things you just have to have.

I just discovered that for those that like that sort of thing you can get it in clear vinyl.

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I Have The Greatest Hits…

I have been something of a one trick pony these last few weeks and days. Banging on about nothing in particular, pissed off and angry.

This weekends theme to calm me down has been Greatest Hits albums.

At first I was convinced that I did not have too many of these records as I self-righteously asserted I was more interested in whole albums not just the hits. I did however to my shame/joy discover that I had far more than I thought and that frankly it is an enjoyable experience to sit down with just the hits/most known songs. It also allows you to bemoan the missing songs and deride the idiocy of the compiler, both aspects that the “fan” enjoys. For some bands or artists the compilation record is all I need, for others it has been a jumping off point to whole collections. For other bands it seems to be the only records I can find in this country.

So here it is the weekends playlist that has been sandwiched between the World Cup and life, actually it’s been a strangely satisfying and lazy weekend that I have enjoyed mightily.

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I think this may be the most perfectly created collection I own and is certainly my go to Moody’s album.

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This was the very first Traffic album I ever bought, containing songs about shoes and goo.

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No Stills no Young but still a satisfying collection and maybe all I need although I own more.

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I believe this has most of the songs they recorded and the extended version of Bluebird that Stills hates so much that this album is the only way of getting it.

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People don’t get rid of their Byrds albums it seems very often, this one has seen better days and is a great collection of the second half of their career.

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Ridiculous effort to capture 5 years of Roy, some unsavory moments and a safe collection although whoever thought abridging Me And My Woman should be taken out and left out.

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One of my more beat up covers, nice collection made funner by the Joni cover painting.

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Well it’s all I will ever need, actually maybe it’s more than I will need.

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It got late and this seemed like a good idea, one of my favorite Yes album covers.

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Sunday came around and this seemed a perfect album for a Sunday after the frenzy of the morning World Cup extravaganzas, Mexico were outrageous. Of course then fathers day kicked in and that was that.

 

 

Go back to orange county and take off your pants…

He can call Super Woman and his Super Dogs
But it sure won’t do him no good
Yeah, I found out why from a Russian spy
That he ain’t nothing but a comic book

(from Superbird (Tricky Dicky))

IMG_0354So sang Country Joe and the Fish in San Francisco in 1967 or thereabouts. The first time I heard it was in a seedy hovel of a flat off Sefton Park in 1986. Dave was on his plan to listen to every major Haight Ashbury band that summer. We had collectively devoured Quicksilver, The Dead, the Airplane and Janis, Dave was however enthralled by Country Joe and the Fish mainly as they at times could be laugh out loud funny, and deadly serious. While everyone around us was enamored of the Doors and the Velvet Underground and wearing long coats and being serious Dave was digging us into the Merry Pranksters and the search for Paisley. A big part of that summer was the strange off-kilter homemade jug band psychedelia of Country Joe.

And they appeared in the Woodstock movie which we had managed to see at the Futurist cinema one late night, I think I fell asleep for much of the movie though.

The shame of the Woodstock movie is that it distills Country Joe and The Fish to basically the Fish Cheer and Fixin’ To Die which are great songs but do not convey the psychedelic soul and rock stew they really were. Country Joe and the Fish have pretty much meandered anarchically into the backroom of musical history with a “Give me an F'” The satire of the lyrics and the funkiness of the music is lost but not forgotten.

This is not to say they were an important band, or even an unimportant band, it is however to say that when the politics got serious they new how to laugh at the hypocrites, something we could all do with now. They are perhaps best left firmly in that time to emerge every now and then when a 50 year old lyric becomes meaningful and contemporary again.

 

 

 

In a phantom world spinning out of time We’re just a sci-fi kids making dirty rhymes…

It’s been a wild few days for me, upset, frustration, righteous anger and holy wrath has been rained down on all approaching and spleen has been vented.

My brain has been at full throttle, until I am eventually running on empty. Sitting here exhausted after what seems like 24 hours of well something else.

To settle me down I played a little Trapper, their most diverse schizophrenic blitzkrieg of clashing styles. Psychedelic country stomps to indie pop passing through a little space rock and straight up rock. Wild Mountain Nation is exactly that a confusing melange of sounds, stomps, squeals and howls. It’s the sound of the woods at night if they were populated by crazed manic badgers, wolves and bears.

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Wild Mountain Nation is the album made by the freak you met on the trail. You are a little afraid of him but he has some strange sort of attraction to, he pulls you in with his stories and moonshine and you end up staying for the company. He probably then steals your shoes and leaves you to become his successor gyrating under the light of the moon holding a mason jar of hooch and smiling as you commune with the earth.

There are also sweet harmonies, melodies aplenty, jagged guitars loping drums, odd time signatures and enough slide guitar between the Hendrix riffs to make anyone happy.

 

Yeah, I’m looking for answers in so many places I open my mind I don’t get it…

Well the bellicose moron flew out of Canada today, spouting his ridiculous biased BS and headed off to have a get together with his self absorbed confederate in Singapore.

IMG_0346I have retreated this morning to the sweet melodic dangerous sounds of the Cowboy Junkies, Canada’s most enigmatic exports. Especially the Trinity Sessions album. Basking in the lazy rhythms and beautiful vocals is some sort of remedy for the grating burble from the TV this morning.

I have made a commitment to myself this week, I will look after myself and practice mindfulness to help circumvent the inevitable dysregulation caused by paying attention. Like listening to music or playing the answer is not to stop paying attention but to do so in a way that focuses on the actual content not the distractions.

I am not sure if this is going to produce a more balanced week for me but we will see.

Of course the answer is to do something, so let the activism begin.

In other news Todd Rundgren and Utopia produced the feel good concert of the year so far for me last weekend. Rocking hard the old man took the prog route and then the pop route and finished the night off with positivity and passion and guitar histrionics.

I snapped a few pictures and looking around many others were doing the same, there were however a few just watching things through the six inch screen of their phone. One man in from of us was actually live streaming the show and was more involved in his “likes” and comments from his followers than the actual event unfolding in front of him. This I thought is were we have come to, it is more important to get a reaction than to experience, it is more important to be seen to be doing than to do. Of course isn’t that what we all do here in blog world.

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Oh mama can this really be the end?

There is a joy to Dylan at times, it’s found in the messes he creates I think.

IMG_0343The live album Hard Rain sounds like a band dragged to hell and back by a deranged lunatic crazy on hard drugs and cheap red wine. It’s messy and confrontational, sometimes it sounds like the band are all playing different songs.

The first time I hated it.

The second time I loathed it.

The third time I decided never to listen to it again.

Tonight after watching the shit show that US politics has become it seemed like the panacea I needed.

Tonights it’s my favorite Dylan album, once the funk and fog of the night is over it will be another album, but for tonight as I nurse that Bushmills into the night it’s just right.

Listening to it I feel like a drunk careering through a packed bar room. Apologizing brusquely as I meander to the bar for one more drink, neglectful of any social graces that I may have had before the fifth whiskey.

I am fascinated by Dylans inflection, the crowd noise and shouts for songs that may never get played. Between tracks Dylan strums his guitar absently trying to search for the next song. The violin and guitar solos are at times fighting with each other, not in a flashy Nashville battle of skill but in a drawn out dirty bar fight. The type of fight that involves teeth on the floor, bruised knuckles and stitches in unfortunate places.

There is no harmony here when you hear two voices they are berating each other. The music bludgeons and bullies it’s way through the classics. The songs by the end are battered and bruised, yet all the more powerful because of the battle.

Everything about the album says fuck you, the songs are listed on the top right corner of the back cover out of sequence, a brusk notation saying check label for sequence.

The front cover is a weary close up of Dylans face, the eyes glazed. The back cover is a IMG_0344blurry distorted hunched rear view shot of Dylan in front of a festival audience.

So tonight on the eve of the G7 conference as the roadies prepare the prima donnas for their moment on the spotlight.  Our glorious leader thinks its inconvenient this summit was arranged immediately before his get together with the despot from North Korea. I hope that we all manage to make it to Monday. After all there is the opiate for the people of the World Cup to prepare for.

Monday I install the corner bracket in my office for the TV so we don’t miss a moment.

In the words of Bobby…

Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand
And rivers that ran through ev’ry day
I must have been mad
I never knew what I had
Until I threw it all away

And if I ever grow old and I’m lookin’ back On these wild and reckless times Where they the best days of our lives? These wild and reckless times…

I was sat here towards the end of the day and thinking. This is often my way, everyone is in their room or bed and here I am alone slouched on the couch, the dogs laying on the a/c vents keeping the house too warm as they cool down. As I said I was thinking/listening to some music. In this case it was the most recent Blitzen Trapper album, Wild and Reckless which continues the bands blend of folk, prog-rock, tricky time signatures, stadium rock choruses and catchy pop songs via some histrionic Queen like vocals.

IMG_0312So zoned out towards the end of my wakeful period I thought, “do I still have favorite bands?”

Do I?

I now own more physical music than I ever did as a teenager, according to discogs over 1,300 records, thats the large black and other various colors, this does not count the CD’s in the attic of which I have no way of knowing how many  other than there are five boxes. I also have access to a streaming service that we pay for as it seems the artist should get something out of me and my families addiction for musical sounds however little.

As the 90’s began and I prepared to leave the homeland for the USA I had 312 records total. I sold most of these as I thought I was moving on to CD’s never to look back and it seemed too much hassle to pack them for a 6000 mile journey.

Thinking a little harder I tried to decide what would make a favorite band. Is it owning the entire discography? Is it going to see them play live? Is it the collection fo aran knowledge rattling around the fevered balding head? Or is it when you find yourself humming a song you have heard many times just to calm yourself down when things get tough about 4pm and you should have left for home?

So here I am on the couch as the sweating a little as the dogs have covered all the vents realizing that as I move into my alleged middle years  I am still the fan boy music fan. Able to realistically say that is one of my favorite bands.

These days my choices are broader as I am past the strict demarkation lines of tribal loyalty. I do however realize that if by some strange chance there was a call to arms for the true Hawkwind fans in the Portland metro area I would pull on my faded levis and converse with my Sonic Attack t-shirt and head out to do battle with the forces of evil side by side with my brothers in arms. The same is true if I was called to the bar by my fellow Fairport Convention brethren to raise a glass of real ale in battle against the Coors and Bud Lite swilling country hordes.

There are now many favorites over many genres, bands I never thought I would buy a record by never mind listen to on the radio. Bands I would have mocked for their lack of originality or musicianship.

Strange thing this maturity, it seems to have simultaneously cured my blinkered allegiances and created some firm thoughts. At least I have not become conservative in my viewpoint or politics along with some of my besuited peers.