Dance Macabre

Dance Macabre

Friday, 9 September 2016

Some More Figures From The 1950's & 60's

Prince Buster ~ 78 ~ Jamaican ska musician ("One Step Beyond", "Al Capone", "Madness")

PRINCE BUSTER ~ "AL CAPONE";
PRINCE BUSTER ~ "ONE STEP BEYOND";


PRINCE BUSTER ~ "WASH WASH";


Joe Clay ~ 78 ~ American 1950's Rockabilly singer/guitarist did "Ducktail", "Doggone It", "16 Chicks", "Get On The Right Track" (later covered by the Polecats)

JOE CLAY ~ "DUCKTAIL";


JOE CLAY ~ "16 CHICKS";


Jean Shepard ~ 82 ~ American Country singer from the 1950's to the 70's ("A Dear John Letter", "Slippin' Away", "Second Fiddle To An Old Guitar", "Beautiful Lies")

JEAN SHEPARD ~ "SECOND FIDDLE TO AN OLD GUITAR";


JEAN SHEPARD ~ "IF YOU CAN WALK AWAY";


JEAN SHEPARD ~ "BEAUTIFUL LIES";


Fred Hellerman ~ 89 ~ American folk singer w/The Weavers "Goodnight Irene", "Kisses Sweeter than Wine", "The Wreck of the John B" (aka "Sloop John B"), "Rock Island Line", "The Midnight Special", "Pay Me My Money Down", "Darling Corey" and "Wimoweh")

THE WEAVERS;


Clifford Curry ~ 79 ~ American 1960's R&B singer ("She Shot a Hole in My Soul")
CLIFFORD CURRY ~ "SHE SHOT A HOLE IN MY HEART";


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Alan Vega & Suicide And The Clean

Even in the Artsy New York Punk scene of the mid-to-late 1970's Suicide were an oddity. While every other band was guitar based, Suicide were keyboard based. As played by Martin Rev on what was originally a cheap broken-down 1960's vintage Farfisa organ and various guitar effects pedals which produced a collection of bleeps, hisses, farts, metronomic bleats and feedback that basically sounded like Giorgio Moroder playing Space Invaders in a washing machine.

SUICIDE ~ "GHOST RIDER";


What prevented this from being an obscure art project was vocalist Alan Vega. On top of this cacophony Vega sang a collection of shrieks and moans while encased in black leather and sporting a greasy pompadour and a sneering pout like Gene Vincent on acid. His song lyrics were cribbed from comic books, rockabilly, sci-fi b movies and biker flicks with titles like "Ghost Rider", "Rocket USA" or "Frankie Teardrop". Vega also played up the outlaw biker image by onstage antics like swinging a bike chain and charging into the audience to pick fights with the hecklers the band often attracted. Starting in 1970, nobody knew quite what to make of them. Vega and Rev strongly identified with early punks like The Stooges, New York Dolls and Patti Smith who they often played with, to often confused audiences.

SUICIDE ~ "CHEREE";


Their first album "Suicide" came out in 1977, during the era of the first classic era of punk to largely bewildered critics who had little to compare it to. Earlier or contemporary bands like The Silver Apples, Lothar & The Hand People, Cabaret Voltaire, Kraftwerk or Throbbing Gristle were either forgotten or obscure for even the most Bohemian hipsters. A second album produced by Ric Okasek of the Cars was slightly slicker and less noisy. There would even be an attempt in a dance club single in "Dream Baby Dream" which shockingly failed to chart.

SUICIDE ~ "DREAM BABY DREAM";


Aside from a number of albums consisting of live tracks, demos and remixes that that was the end for Suicide. However by 1980 Alan Vega had moved on to a solo career with albums of weird, minimalist rockabilly and others of moody electropop. There would be a Suicide reunion on the late 80's. Vega also focused on art and metal sculpture.

ALAN VEGA ~ "JUKE BOX BABE";


The Clean were a leaders of the Post-Pink New Wave in New Zealand. Led by guitarist David Kilgour and singer/bassist Peter Gutteridge the Clean had an angular and jangly sound similar to the Soft Boys or XTC. Their impact was lessened by their inability to tour due to Gutteridge's drug problems however and broke up in 1980. Gutteridge would go on to similar bands the Chills, Snapper, The Great Unwashed and The Puddle and solo albums. He had recently made his first trip out of New Zealand.

THE CLEAN ~ "SHE GOES SHE GOES";


THE CLEAN ~ "BEATNIK";


THE CLEAN ~ "TALLY HO!";


THE CLEAN ~ "ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN";


THE GREAT UNWASHED ~ "NECK OF THE WOODS";



Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Some Figures From The Toronto Punk & New Wave

Tony Vincent (AKA Tony Torcher) ~ Drummer with 1970's & 80's Toronto Punk Bands The Ugly, The Viletones and Screaming Sam

THE VILETONES ~ "THE LAST GUY IN TOWN";


THE VILETONES ~ "REBEL";


Jonathan Davies ~ Drummer for Toronto Post-Punk bands The Kinetic Ideals, Breeding Ground and National Velvet

THE KINETIC IDEALS ~ "THESE THINGS";


THE KINETIC IDEALS ~ "THIS FACE";


BREEDING GROUND ~ "THIS TIME TOMORROW";


NATIONAL VELVET ~ "FLESH UNDER SKIN";


NATIONAL VELVET ~ "SEX GORILLA";


Also; While clearly not from a Punk or New Wave band, Brian Rading ~ 69 ~ Canadian bassist w/ 1970's pop band Five Man Electrical Band ("Signs") and 1960's Garage band The Staccatos

THE STACCATOS ~ "BUTCHERS & BAKERS";


FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND ~ "SIGNS";


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Scotty Moore & Some Important Session Guys From The 1960's

Scotty Moore may not have been the R&R guitarist but he was the first R&R guitarist. As guitarist on the classic hits Elvis Presley recorded for Sun Records in the 1950's, Moore essentially codified the basic Rockabilly guitar sound. He later became a production manager and occasional session player for Sam Phillips but made few other recordings aside from an unsuccessful solo album and a few guest shots. He was 84.

ELVIS PRESLEY w/ SCOTTY MOORE & BILL BLACK ~ "HOUND DOG":


ELVIS PRESLEY ~ "THAT'S ALL RIGHT MAMA";


ELVIS PRESLEY ~ "TRYING TO GET TO YOU";


ERIC CLAPTON & SCOTTY MOORE ~ "MYSTERY TRAIN";


Danny Smythe ~ 67 ~ Drummer with 1960's Memphis Blue Eyed Soul band The Box Tops ("The Letter", "Soul Deep") Chips Moman ~ 79 ~ Memphis producer for Stax Records and elsewhere who worked with the Boxtops on their hits as well as with Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin ("Respect", "Do Right Woman"), Bobby Womack, Carla Thomas ("Gee Wiz"), Merrilee Rush, The Triumphs (w/ a young Al Green), Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders), Sandy Posey ("Born a Woman" and "Single Girl"), Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett, Herbie Mann, Roy Hamilton, Ronnie Milsap, Waylon Jennings ("Luchenbach Texas"), Tammy Wynette, BJ Thomas, Gary Stewart, Petula Clark and The Highwaymen, a country supergroup w/ Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

THE BOXTOPS ~ "THE LETTER";


Produced Elvis Presley's 1969 album "From Elvis in Memphis" with hits "In the Ghetto", "Suspicious Minds" and "Kentucky Rain"

ELVIS PRESLEY ~ "IN THE GHETTO";


Also produced Dusty Springfield's 1969 "Dusty in Memphis" album

Wrote "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" for Aretha Franklin, and "The Dark End of the Street", covered by James Carr, Gram Parsons, Percy Sledge, Linda Rondstadt, Ry Cooder, Diamanda Galas and the Commitments

ARETHA FRANKLIN ~ "RESPECT";


JAMES CARR ~ "DARK END OF THE STREET";
THE HIGHWAYMEN ~ "GOOD HEARTED WOMAN";


Mack Rice ~ 82 ~ American songwriter ("Mustang Sally", "Respect Yourself") and singer, complications of Alzheimer's disease

WILSON PICKETT ~ "MUSTANG SALLY";


THE STAPLE SINGERS ~ "RESPECT YOURSELF";


Wayne Jackson ~ 74 ~ American Sax player w/Stax Records R&B bands The Mar-Keys, The Memphis Horns
SLIM MOORE & THE BAR-KAYS ~ "HOW LONG";

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Some Jazzmen

Sir Charles Thompson ~ 98 ~ American Jazz pianist from the 1940's onwards w/Coleman Hawkins/Howard McGhee, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Lucky Millinder, Illinois Jacquet, Buck Clayton

COLEMAN HAWKINS w/ SIR CHARLES THOMPSON ~ "CENTERPIECE";


Don Francks ~ 84 ~ Canadian jazz vocalist w/Lenny Breau and actor ("La Femme Nikita", "Inspector Gadget", "I'm Not There")

TORONTO JAZZ;


Ernestine Anderson, 87, American Jazz, Blues and R&B pianist and vocalist from the 1940's on, sang with Johnny Otis, Lionel Hampton, Gigi Gryce, Quincy Jones later solo ERNESTINE ANDERSON ~ "MOANIN'";


Mike Pedicin ~ 98 ~ American Big Band Jazz bandleader from the 1940's on, had a hit with "Shake A Hand"

MIKE PEDICAN BAND ~ "SHAKE A HAND";


Shelly Moore ~ 84 ~ British born American Big Band Jazz singer from the 1950's & 60's w/Vic Lewis, Ramsey Lewis, Ray McKinney and Plas Johnson, recorded on Argo Records

SHELLY MOORE ~ "WHEN THE LIGHTS ARE LOW";



Gato Barbieri ~ 83 ~ Argentine Jazz Fusion saxophonist from the 1970's on

GATO BARBIERI ~ "EUROPA";


Buster Cooper ~ 87 ~ American trombonist at the Apollo Club & w/Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman & Duke Ellington

BUSTER COOPER & LIONEL HAMPTON;


BUSTER COOPER & LIONEL HAMPTON;


Hannes Bauer ~ 61 ~ German Free Jazz trumpet and trombone player w/Peter Brotzman

PETER BROTZMAN QUARTET;


PETER BROTZMAN QUARTET;


Paul Smoker ~ 75 ~ American jazz trumpeter w/Anthony Braxton

ANTHONY BRAXTON;


Fredrik Norén ~ 75 ~ Swedish jazz drummer w/Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon and many Scandinavian jazzmen from the 1960's on

FREDRICK NOREN ~ "DON'T DROP THE BOP";


Joe Temperley ~ 86 ~ Scottish Jazz saxophonist w/Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Joe Henderson, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orch and Clark Terry. Played on soundtracks for "Cotton Club", "Biloxi Blues", "Brighton Beach Memoirs", "When Harry Met Sally", and "Tune In Tomorrow"

JOE TEMPERELEY ~ "TRY A LITTLE TENDERENESS";


Bobby Hutcherson ~ 75 ~ American jazz vibe player from the 1960's on. Recorded with Blue Note, Landmark Atlantic and Verve Records, played with Joe Henderson, Lee Morgan, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Joey Defrancesco, David Sanborn

BOBBY HUTCHERSON & HAROLD LAND HERZOG;

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

THE SUPER, FANTASTIC, DYNAMITE, STORY OF K-TEL!!!

Any history of Rock & Roll will list the great record labels; Sun, Chess, Stax, Atlantic, Motown, Paramount, Black Patti, Factory. But the label with the highest visibility and biggest sales in the 1970's was a Canadian discount label with no artists of it's own run by a Winnipeg salesman with no music experience at all, Phil Kives who died last week at 87.

If you grew up in the 1970's and early-to-mid 80's it's a pretty sure bet your first album (aside from Disney stories and nursery rhymes) was from K-Tell records. Oh; You can deny it and claim your first record was something objectively cool like the Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, Gene Vincent or Hank Williams but you know you're lying.

K-Tel was as efficient as it was unavoidable, kind of like the Borg. Their jam-packed compilation albums with their tacky multi-coloured covers were jam-packed with randomly assembled top forty hits and given subtle titles like "22 Fantastic Hits!", "20 Dynamite Explosive Hits!" or "20 Super-Duper Show-Stopping Hits!". What really made them standout was the was the saturation coverage given via their trade-mark TV and radio ads with their rapid-fire announcers.



Compilation albums were nothing new of course, in the late sixties oldies collections of first era Rock & Roll, Doo-Wop, Rockabilly, Surf and Country helped kickstart the Rock & Roll revival of the 1970's. But K-Tel was different in focusing not on oldies but instead on artists and hits which had been recently on the charts and compiling them in bulk, usually twenty songs or so an album. K-Tel was also unique in mixing completely different genres of music regardless of jaw-droppingly unsuited they might be to each other. Thus it was quite possible to find Kiss, Grand Funk or Rush and a few mainstream New Wavers such as Blondie, The Cars or The Knack alongside disco hits, drippy ballads, cheesy bubblegum and and the most cloying over-wrought shmaltz from Neil Diamond, Vikki Lawrence, Cher or Barbara Streisand. Therefore it was usually possible for pretty much anybody to find something acceptable. No serious music fan would waste their time with K-Tel of course but for kids too young too have enough spending money to do any shopping, or those living too far out in the suburbs or in small towns to away from cool record stores they were like a cheap starter's kit.

Besides the high profile collections of random Rock, Pop and Disco, K-Tel also specialized in specific Country & Western collections which often had some legitimately great songs from the likes of Johnny Cash or Johnny Horton along with older, lesser known honky-tonkers like Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. K-Tel also put out some good comps focused on Surf and other instrumentals which would have been largely out of print.



Perhaps K-Tel's best loved comps, and the ones most likely to still show up in used vinyl stores, were their collections of Rock, Pop and Country novelty hits with ever-subtle titles like "Goofy Greats", "Wacky Hits" and "Kooky Kountry". Most of these songs were one-hit-wonders or non-album tracks which were long out of print. These songs were dismissed by rock journalists as trash and forgotten by radio but most of these songs are still good fun and some are actually pretty good.



K-Tel never became respected label but it was a massively successful one. And it was a Canadian one. Founder Phil Kives was a Winnipeg based businessman who specialized in cheaply made qimicky home products like the "Veg-O-Matic" or the "Pocket Fisherman". Kives sold these products by using in-your-face, low-budget TV and radio ads with blaring announcers that have since become a common plague on TV but were brash and new at the time. In 1965 Kives decided to adapt those proven marketing tactics to the music business. He wasn't the first businessman to jump into music with no prior experience. The classic blues label Paramount Records was started by a Wisconsin furniture company which made gramophones who decided they might as well make records to go with them. Phil and Leonard Chess had been bar owners while Dot Records Randy Wood owned a furniture and appliance store, King Record's Syd Nathan was a xxx and Roulette Records Morris Levy ran a number of businesses with mob connections. Where K-Tel differed was in not having and actual artists of their own, instead Kives kept his overhead low by simply using licensed previously released material and spending money on saturation ad coverage. K-Tel crammed their albums with as many tracks as they could fit on an album which did not help their sound quality but they were sold at a budget price so they were still a good bargain. Eventually K-Tel actually recorded some of their own artists including the successful "Hooked On Classics" and "Mini Pops" series.

Besides records and tapes K-Tel came up with some odd record related gimmicks which became briefly popular like automatic record filer which flipped each album in sequence. I had one and we all thought it was pretty cool, at least at until it kept breaking. Besides it actually took up more space than simply filing the albums the old fashioned way and it wouldn't take double albums, let alone gate-folds. There was also a version for 8-Tracks because why not? Less successful were the automatic record cleaners which we we fondly referred to as the "record eater".



Although K-Tel is firmly associated with the 1970's and early 80's they have actually continued on till the present day focusing on licensing their library of oldies for use in soundtracks and commercials. While T-Tel went international the company still kept offices in Winnipeg. Phil Kives died last week at age 87.


Friday, 22 April 2016

It's Time For Death To Take A Holiday

Seriously; April was like a weird horror movie;
Prince ~ 57 ~ Iconic American singer/guitarist/composer/producer. Combining influences from 1970's funk & disco, jazz-fusion and 1960's psyche-rock and pop he had a series of massively successful hits starting in the 1980's ("Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette", "1999", "Raspberry Beret" "Kiss"). He also composed for movies such as "Purple Rain" and "Under The Cherry Moon" (both of which he starred in as well) and "Batman". Most of these can not be found on Youtube as he would not allow them to be licensed.

PRINCE ~ "PURPLE RAIN";


Prince also wrote and/or produced for a diverse number of artists including Morris Day & The Time ("Jungle Love"), The Bangles ("Manic Monday"), Sinaed O'Connor ("Nothing Compares To You"), Shelia E ("Glamorous Life"), Tom Jones ("Kiss") SINEAD O'CONNOR ~ "COMPARES TO YOU";


MORRIS DAY & THE TIME ~ "JUNGLE LOVE";


THE BANGLES ~ "MANIC MONDAY";


JIMMY SCOTT ~ "NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU";


Lonnie Mack ~ 74 ~ Memphis based Blues, Rock and R&B guitarist and singer, known for his flying-V guitar, fat sound and use of the wammy bar.

LONNIE MACK ~ "WHY";


LONNIE MACK ~ "STOP";


Richard Lyons ~ 57 ~ Sound collage artist with influential American avant garde group Negativeland. Known for their use of complex sound colleges made up of densely edited found sounds from various media sources along with intentionally cheesy music and vocals. They were also known for their frequent legal problems including bans for the song "Christianity Is Stupid", lawsuits from U2's record label and DJ Casey Kasem over "U2" and a crippling lawsuit from their own record label SST.

NEGATIVELAND ~ "CHRISTIANITY IS STUPID";


NEGATIVELAND ~ "U2";


Billy Paul ~ 81 ~ 1970's R&B singer ("Me and Mrs. Jones"), part of The Philadelphia Sound

BILLY PAUL ~ "ME & MRS JONES";


Lord Tanamo ~ Pioneering Jamaican/Canadian Ska singer w/The Skatalites and solo from the 1960's on

LORD TANAMO ~ "I'M IN THE MOOD FOR SKA";


Papa Wemba ~ 66 ~ Congolese Rumba singer

PAPA WEMBA ~ "YOLELE";


Pete Zorn ~ 65 ~ American multi-insturmentalist musician (Steeleye Span, Richard Thompson, Driver, The Albion Band)

RICHARD THOMPSON ~ "I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE";


Doug Raney ~ 59 ~ American jazz guitarist from the 1970's on

DOUG RANEY;


Maxine Willan ~ Australia born Toronto Jazz pianist w/The Toronto Speakeasies and solo