Riding the underground, swimming in sweat…

1537 began it with his ode to Secrets by Blue Oyster Cult. Suddenly I was channeling my latent teenager, it’s just below the skin, thats what thirty one years of working with teenagers will do to you.

Suddenly everywhere I went I found the Cult, almost like it was a conspiracy.

After about 10 minutes of thinking about it I plummeted fully into the Oyster world, struggling to fight off the need to look for another album in every record bin and thrift store between Tigard and Molalla. They are everywhere I cried as I bought another album, completing the set up to 1980 yesterday afternoon as I bought Tyranny and Mutation as the liar in chief climbed on his plane to leave Helsinki, how apt I thought.

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Tonight as I finally succumbed to the heat laying lethargically on the ground a frozen towel wrapped around my overheating head I played the album as it seemed to be a good place to start as any.

The Black side begins as The Red and the Black begins it’s herky jerky rhythmic ode to the Canadian Mounted Police and we are off, O’Ding on life itself as we ride the hot rails to hell to end up with the screaming diz busters to collapse exhausted at the end of side one and the thermometer has dropped 2 degrees.

The Red side begins with a familiar tale of the wicked ways of love, some ridiculous innuendo with a Hound Dog riff via some latin quarter rhythm, then we enter horror land with churches and black horsemen and rain, then we get back to sex with balling all night and day, crying and angst everything very dramatically ends with fertile graves, coastguard crews and harvest of life and death, all very dark and dangerous.

There are guitar solos, hectic stun guitar hefty enough for heavy metal, keyboard solos and some super drumming and those silly silly lyrics that just make it so great.

Damn thats a lot for one record.

All wrapped up in a classy black, white and red cover.

So whats it all about then, sex drugs rock and roll, blood and thunder and the Mounted Police, there is nothing not to love about the Cult and their second album.

Also there is this foreboding message from the inner sleeve:

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At the time of the making of this album they were The Blue Oyster Cult.

I will learn how to add an umlaut one day as it is so metal to do so.

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Lefting and then Righting It’s not a crime you know…

Twelve months on June 19th apparently, making the effort to move. Trials and tribulations and permits and contractors and the weather have held things up, and maybe taking the cheapest bid as well.

There apparently is only two weeks to go, until the big move day, or at least until we can apply for the occupancy permit. In that time there needs to be a well dug, the septic system finished and everything else essential to modern living attached, otherwise known as getting attached to the internets.

We went out there last week and slaughtered a virgin to the septic gods, demanding that they provide receptacles for our refuse. The county permitting office was sprinkled with the fresh blood of the lamb and we made curry with the rest. The very next day a hole appeared:

IMG_0293The very next day the rain gods laughed at us and the hole filled with water:

IMG_0294Confusion as then nothing happened maybe this is our new swim pool.

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Not done yet:

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300 feet later:

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Thats the end of the line, as usual the entire septic world went quiet for a while. Until miraculously last week:

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This week the pipes arrived and excitement filled the air:

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So after several sacrificial blood lettings we allegedly have somewhere to go, it has been a magical journey from hole in the ground to several large concrete containers with UV disinfectors and 300 feet of pipe to the drain field in the woods. There are pumps and flashing lights that will give you a headache one day.

Next week the well gets drilled and maybe we can move in one day soon, Shawn the contractor and Billy the foreman assure us this will happen the 1st of August. The permitting gods will have to be appeased though so we will see what happens.

I will fulfill my dream of living in a trailer at the edge of town. Of course it is a high tech super trailer with plenty of space.

 

chaos all within my mind…

I’ve been steeping myself in the sounds of Hawkwind these past days, on some level it is the panacea to that confusion world events have caused me.

So in the order of playing this evening:

  1. Dark Matter RSD release this year of totally different versions of songs that really needs a proper post but I am not feeling like I will do it justice. If you like early Hawkwind this is a collection you need. If you want radically different versions of familiar songs then you need this. IMG_0388
  2. The eponymous first album. I have never appreciates this album, well to be honest I have never bothered to sit and listen to it before, I guess it’s of it’s time is the best description. I like it though, again it’s a record store day release and the vinyl is orange, what’s not to love about that?IMG_0432

So there you have it this evenings end of the day listening that has driven my family away to the nether regions of the house or Taco Bell.

In these dire times of upturned reality it is essential to revel in the strangeness of life and take a lesson from Syd the dog and dance in the sprinklers..

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there must be something more to know…

What could possibly be more entertaining than an album largely made up of cover versions of North American songwriters by a bunch of young people from England, there are a few original compositions. Sounds truly awful doesn’t it?

However when you are Fairport Convention and it’s the sixties and you have Ian (now Iain) Matthews and Sandy Denny singing, Richard Thompson’s youthful and tasty electric guitaring and Ashley Hutchings impeccable taste choosing the songs, along with one of the truly great rhythm guitarists in Simon Nicol and Martin Lamble’s understated drumming, you have what is really a great lost sixties album and the missing piece before the change in direction to studious deconstruction of the English folk idiom in Liege and Lief. (Now that is what I call a truly great run on sentence.)

IMG_0430The album is Heyday and is one of the most cohesive archival albums to ever appear. It has since been added to expanded and grown to multi disk CD collections. There is however a joy to the 1987 original record. With covers of songs by Johnny and June Cash, Eric Andersen, Gene Clark, the Everly Brothers, Richard Farina and the inevitable Dylan cover, it’s a romp through Joe Boyd and Ashley Hutchings combined record collections. Wisely avoiding the blues, due to the band perhaps being decidedly too polite and reserved, for the gentle countrified sounds it is a success of tasty playing and beautiful harmonies.

Fairport would go on to be a seminal band in the creation of British folk-rock. They released the album that is universally if wrongly, acclaimed as the best folk-rock album of all time in Liege and Lief, founded their own institution of a festival and saw two of the best British songwriters pass through the band. They would never sound so innocent again even though they made perhaps more important records these sessions from the BBC in the late sixties is a band of fans recording their own playlist for the van. So if you want to revel in that 60’s joy and swinging hipness get a copy relax and let Heyday wash over you.

It will also cure your orange man blues for a short time, this is guaranteed.

And they all look like such nice polite young people on the cover.

This album also largely informed my  romp through 60’s songwriters for many years.

 

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.

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.