I’m gonna get up in the mornin…

Do you really need an excuse to boogie?

IMG_1111If you have to ask the question, well, go back to sleep.

If there is a truly feel good band from Woodstock it is Canned Heat. Yes they are as you could say not your usual rock star band. They look like they just strolled out of the woods stepped on stage and plugged in to play straight ahead blues, they channel all of their influences at once whether is is Elmore James or Mr. Hooker. They are not trying to be clever they just want to boogie. This is what happens when fans decide to record the music they love.

The result is that you smile a lot listening to them, yes they will drag a song out to its unnatural conclusion just because it is fun to play and they are in the groove. It’s not boring it’s the Heat jamming and doing what they do best which is boogie.

I have now used boogie four times and I’m feeling pretty good about that.

I am not sure where this album came from in the Canned Heat lexicon of boogie, trying to keep track of their discography is like trying to count grains of sand. It is however four tracks of straight up boogie, five times.

Something that is not so good to find is this strange growth I found in the coffee pot at work. This was the result of me looking for an alternative to the Keurig fever that seems to have overcome the office. This desire for singularity is resulting in everyone sitting at their desk eating lunch, making individual cups of coffee and attempting to brew tea with a tea bag in a cup, sacrilege.

After a good half hour of applied cleaning and the use of vinegar it is now suitable for brewing of a good pot of strong coffee to share with others in the office.

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and sinners ain’t the loving kind…

There is a certain type of rock that speaks to the higher sensibilities. It is intellectual and challenging, it stretches the imagination and challenges the listeners preconceptions and pushes boundaries.

Whitesnake have never made this album.

They have however made some pretty great sounding blues rock albums that in the great tradition of the blues has been far from close to any form of correctness political or otherwise. Let’s face it this is a band named after the nickname for the singers penis. So before the infamous self titled 1985 album there was a grungy blues rock outfit with two great guitarist in Moody and Marsden and Jon Lord on keyboards, then they got themselves some spandex perms and sold out. I am sure Mr. Coverdale feels pretty good about the crossroads deal he must have made to garner acceptance at the expense of integrity but I sure missed those rougher records he made before the big breakthrough.

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Her body language says I’d be better off dead…

I just realized I missed a free show by Dan Stuart (a.k.a. Marlowe Billings) in September at the Alberta St. Pub in Portland Or. This has caused no level of frustration after all a free show is one I can afford. However if you are in Liverpool on November 27th this year you can see him live at the Naked Lunch Cafe, this show however does not appear to be free.

I am kicking myself so hard it hurts.

The Marlow Billings trilogy began in 2012 with The Deliverance of Marlow Billings, IMG_1085loosely connected to his unofficial memoir of the same name. Funnily enough I just ordered the book and the record. I have had the CD for awhile, I know that is allegedly an alien format saved only for dire circumstances. This must really be one as I am currently what we call Spotifying the thing. This is truly an act of desperation as the CD’s are all boxed up in the shed and I no longer have a working CD player anywhere.

Neil Young has the Ditch and Dan Stuart has Marlowe Billings, the alter ego rock star bent on destruction. The first installment of this trilogy chronicles the demise of a love affair. As you stagger with Marlowe through his story there can only be one apparent end.

Green on Red could be a harrowing experience on record and live. Dan Stuart solo has all the intensity and violence inherent in the band distilled to 100 proof shit kicking moonshine. It’ll leave you reaching down deep to drag the last vestiges of empathy across the broken whiskey bottles of life. There have been many a confessional album over time  but not many have been this totally fucked up.

Apparently Stuart survived the break up, the asylum and life on the road. He moved south of the border to a gentler calmer life style and started to get the story of Marlowe Billings down on record. Sometimes the songs are light and airy as if the Springfield and The Byrds got together for an afternoon in the sun, other times it sounds like that sunny afternoon suddenly took a turn for the dark, the vocals suddenly become more claustrophobic and real and then you know your hearing something too real.

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The record has been ordered and this album will become one of the many I now own in two formats. Pretty soon I may end up stopping the CD buying.

 

rolled his eyes and puked his guts, there ain’t no free lunch today…

Beginning with the statement “we are the most professional band in the world” and then immediately descending into the murkiest psychedelic countrified mess achievable.

IMG_1076Yes it’s live with. no overdubs and may sound a little as if it is recorded with a pillow over the microphones at times but thats probably what they sounded like on the night. Before Uncle Tupelo became Wilco and Billy Bragg somehow won an Americana award there was Green on Red and the strangely named Paisley Underground. Or as my friend Dave used to say it’s what you get if Hank Williams joined The Damned. They may have actually founded the entire Americana genre along with The Long Ryders as an alternative to the pop country that was springing up in the 80’s.

Killers, alcoholics, addicts and road weary musicians inhabit the songs. Dan Stuarts voice sounds like it is living the stories he sings and Chuck Prophet’s guitar barely holds it together throughout the show. The rest of the band stumble along as if their lives depended on it or at least their sanity.

The album ends with a stumbling version of We Shall Overcome which in some way sounds like a statement more of desperation more than defiance.

It’s a pretty green and red vinyl too, not that that combination necessarily works together when they can bleed into each other though.

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take what you’ve gathered from coincidence…

It’s been 26 hours since I slept.

There is no real reason, nothing major or awful happening. In fact I feel pretty good about many things. We even bought a new car that has the colour of “galactic aqua” I have no idea what that means, it is a kind of blue.

As I realized how kong I have been awake without the aid of chemicals or other things I decided to start listening to Dylan, namely the Real Royal Albert Hall show from 1966. It was $15 how could I pass it up, especially since I have no way of playing the Bootleg Series Vol. 4 as I don’t really have a CD player apart from in the car and I am not sure it works anyway.

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So how is it you ask. Well it’s the same track list, I have to admit I cannot tell if the performances are dramatically different, I am sure they are I just could not tell you how.

Well it’s Dylan with most of The Band, Levon Helm was not digging being yelled at all show so stayed home leaving drumming duties up to Mickey Jones. They are under siege to a most politely upset U.K. audience, a palpable sense of disapproval although no shouts of Judas like in Manchester. I can’t help but wonder how an audience these days would display their displeasure, probably watch Netflix on their smartphones instead.

Dylan rambles his way through some classics and some soon to be classics. He mumbles incoherently at the audience in between songs and thrashes about with the band. Its raw and powerful and no wonder he had to take a break after this tour. Maybe it was the drugs, the strain or the negative energy from so any audiences not getting it. Maybe it really was the motorcycle wreck.

A thought I had was how comfortable we are now. Everything is familiar and has already been seen or heard. Musicians have to wear clothing made of meat to shock, all Dylan had to do was plug in and scream into the face of disapproval.

Time for bed, Thanksgiving beckons in the morning…

 

 

booze and ladies keep me right…

It is the eve of Thanksgiving in my adopted home. A time to be thankful for the blessings that have rained down on us in the land of lessening freedoms. A glorious holiday of family values and traditions based on a myth and propagated by the establishment. If it was not so out of vogue to say I would say this is fake news.

Actually it is a fine experience, eat a meal hang out with people you like and vow not to turn on the news.

IMG_1053To prepare for this celebration I have chosen to begin with that glorious album of American excess Grand Funk’s(no Railroad) We’re an American Band. Produced by Todd Rundgren and allegedly more professional sounding than their previous albums its a fine slice of sleazy early 70’s rock, a fair amount of objectification, glorification of all sorts of excess and some posturing guitar solos.

There’s also a dose of social commentary on Creepin’.

“Oh … hear me cryin’ ’cause the people like me
That long to be free, are not actually
Please everybody won’t you hear this song
Help a country that’s wrong, to someday be strong”

Damn it’s still relevant, it’s as if all that drinking and partying allowed these guys to see the future. Or maybe it’s safe to say shit just keeps happening.

Of course as soon as you get all serious it’s time to get down with a dose of the somewhat uncomfortable objectification of Black Licorice which has all the cliches of your favorite exploitation movie.

Side two gets all blue collar with songs about workin on the railroad, moving on to lovelorn wailing, we then follow a journey of discovering what it means to be a man in this crazy world. The album ends with our hers revisiting the plight of Native Americans. No revisionist history for these guys but a pretty straightforward look on life.

“None of the stories in the schoolbooks said it, the truth is gone and they’re tryin’ to forget it
The history books are all one-sided, the truth is gone and their trying to hide it
Who had the land ’till we came around? The Indian made his life from the ground
And what about the boy that this story’s about? Where his tee-pee once stood there now is a town”

To round the whole thing off what I first thought was a slice of meat headed rock and roll, nothing wrong with that is actually a much deeper prospect over all and still relevant, it also rocks and any band of men willing to pose nude on the inner cover deserve respect. No more pAtriotic image than a bunch of naked guys surrounded by American flags.

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