Dance Macabre

Dance Macabre

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Some Jazzmen

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";


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


Thursday, 7 April 2016

Merle Haggard And Other Country Singers

Merle Haggard ~ 79 ~ was one of the stars of the 1960's California based American Outlaw Country movement which included Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, David Allen Coe and Jessi Colter.

MERLE HAGGARD ~ "SING ME BACK HOME";


His family had migrated from Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl and Haggard had mant brushed with the law including a spell in San Quentin Prison where he saw Johnny Cash perform and was inspired to become a musician himself. Released in 1960 he began recording in 1962 and would go on to score 37 number one hits from 1966 to 1987 including classics like "Okie from Muskogee", "The Fightin' Side of Me", "Carolyn", "Momma Tried", "If We Make It Through December", "Sing Me Back Home" and "Pancho & Lefty" (with Willie Nelson) which chronicled the white working class. He also produced an aclaimed tribute album to Bob Wills and was supposed to produce Gram Parson's first solo album but backed out. Parsons would record a version of "Sing Me Back Home". Haggard won Grammy Awards in 1984, 1998, and 1999. MERLE HAGGARD ~ "MAMMA TRIED";


MERLE HAGGARD ~ "OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE";


Guy Clark ~ 74 ~ Grammy winning Country singer/songwriter, songs covered by Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, and Rodney Crowell, Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Brad Paisley, John Denver, Alan Jackson, Rodney Crowell, The Highwaymen, and Kenny Chesney, recoded with Emmylou Harris

GUY CLARK ~ "COUNTRY MORNING MUSIC";


GUY CLARK ~ "BLUEBIRD WINE";


SONNY JAMES ~ 87 ~ American country singer-songwriter with numerous hits from the 1950's to the 1980's with ballads like "Young Love" and covers of songs like "Running Bear", "Only The Lonely", "Lovesick Blues" and "Abilene", later a producer for Marie Osmond.

SONNY JAMES ~ "YOUNG LOVE";


SONNY JAMES ~ "RUNNING BEAR"


James King ~ 58 ~ Virginia Bluegrass singer/songwriter known as The Bluegrass Storyteller

JAMES KING ~ "LEAVING";


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Some Figures From The 1950's & 60's

GEORGE MARTIN (90);
Known as "The Fifth Beatle" Martin was record producer for them on all their recordings. Martin had been known for recording comedy acts including Peter Cook & Dudley Moore but he had also been recording Skiffle bands like The Vipers and was actively looking for a R&R combo when he was assigned to the Beatles by EMI with whom he would work for the rest of their careers. Martin is credited with introducing them to more sophisticated recording techniques and arrangements. He would also work with a number of other bands like Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas, Shane Fenton & The Fentones, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Cila Black and the young Gary Glitter in his pre-glam years. Martin would later work with America, Ultravox, Jeff Beck, Cheap Trick, UFO, Elton John, Neil Sedaka and Celine Dion.

THE BEATLES ~ "PENNY LANE";


BILLY J KRAMER & THE DAKOTAS ~ "FROM A WINDOW";


GERRY & THE PACEMAKERS ~ "I LIKE IT":


PAUL KANTER (74) & SIGNE TROLY ANDERSON (74);
Kanter was a singer/guitarist/songwriter and founding member of Jefferson Airplane, the iconic band of the San Francisco Psychedelic scene of the 1967 Summer Of Love. The Airplane were not the first Psychedelic band, The Charlatans and the Greatful Dead claimed that honour, but the Airplane were the first band of the scene to score serious international hits with the still classic "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love" off the album "Surrealistic Pillow".
Paul Kanter was one of the founding members although at first the band's leader was singer Marty Balin. One their first album, 1966's "Takes Off" the Airplane were a typical folk-rock band of the time, not as inventive or distinctive as The Byrds but solid enough. They also lacked a charismatic frontman. Balin and female singer Signe Troly Anderson had good looks and a strong tenors and but lacked the larger-than-life persona of a great frontman. That problem would soon be found when rival band The Great Society broke up and freeing up their singer (and former model) Grace Slick to replace Signe Anderson who had gotten pregnant and decided to retire from band life for motherhood. Slick would also bring two songs from her previous band, the afore mentioned "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love", along with a soaring ice queen voice and stunning looks.

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE ~ "WHITE RABBIT";


Kanter may not have appeared essential to the early airplane's sound. Balin had started the band and Kanter's rhythm guitar lacked the flash of Jorma Kauconen's leads or Jack Cassidy's rumbling bass. But Kanter contributed to the songwriting and after a few years Balin became dissatisfied with the band's direction and started to absent himself, eventually stalking out entirely leaving Kanter in charge. The Airplane became more focused on Kanter's favored themes of politics and science fiction. This led to later hit songs like "Volunteers", "Mexico" and "Have You Seen The Saucers".

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE ~ "WHITE RABBIT" & "SOMEBODY TO LOVE";


By the 1970's the band had changed their name to Jefferson Starship and they continued to score hits through the decade. Eventually Kaukonen and Cassidy left followed by Slick but Kanter continued to slog away for a time as the last original mamber before he too packed it in and went off to a low key solo career. A version of the band would carry on into the eighties, even luring back Grace Slick for a time and managed to score a couple of surprise hits in the late eighties with a bland ballad "Sara" and the much despised "We Built This City On Rock & Roll", a song on most people's lists of the worst top ten hits (and videos) of all time.

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE ~ "THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS LIFE";


DAN HICKS ~ 74;
The Charlatans were the fist San Fransico Psyche bands to get attention with their combination of Folk-Rock, Garage and Psyche along with their Victorian/Cowboy/Art Nouveau/Thrift Shop image in both their clothes and poster art. They didn't really score any major hits but they were a popular live act in California and Nevada from 1964 to 1966. Dan Hicks was not an original member but he joined in 1967 as a drummer then moving to guitar, vocals and songwriting. He left in 1968 with to form his own folk group Dan Hicks & Hot Licks which me would maintain on and off until recently.

THE CHARLATANS ~ "32/20 Blues";


Keith Emerson ~ 71 ~ Keyboardist with British 1960's & 70's Prog-Rock bands The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer

THE NICE ~ "HANG ON TO A DREAM";


THE NICE ~ "AMERICA";


Andy Thunderclap Newman ~ 73 ~ British singer of one-hit-wonder "Something In The Air" (1969) written & produced by Pete Townsend, guitarist Jimmy McCullagh later played in Wings

THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN ~ "SOMETHING IN THE AIR";


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'";


Tommy Brown ~ 84 ~ American 1950's R&B singer with The Griffin Brothers

THE GRIFFIN BROS & TOMMY BROWN ~ "WEAPIN' & MOANIN";


Lee Andrews ~ 79 ~ American doo-wop singer w/Lee Andrews & the Hearts ("Teardrops", "Long Lonely Nights" and "Try the Impossible")

LEE ANDREWS & THE HEARTS ~ "LONG LONELY NIGHTS";


Carlo Mastrangelo ~ 77 ~ American Doo-Wop singer w/Dion & The Belmonts

DION & THE BELMONTS ~ "A TEENAGER IN LOVE";


DION & THE BELMONTS ~ "I WONDER WHY";


Jack Hammer ~ 90 ~ American 1950's R&R performer and songwriter ("Great Balls Of Fire", "Fujiyama Mama" (for Wanda Jackson), "Rock & Roll Cal" (for Louis Jordan) as well as solo. Joined the Platters in the 60's.

JERRY LEE LEWIS ~ "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE";


WANDA JACKSON ~ "FUJIYAMA MAMA";


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

TORONTO JAZZ;


Dorothy Schwartz ~ 89 ~ American singer w/ 1950's Pop vocal group The Chordettes ("Mr Sandman" & "Lollipop")

THE CHORDETTES ~ "LOLLIPOP" & "MR SANDMAN"


Gogi Grant, 91, American pop singer ("The Wayward Wind")

GOGI GRANT ~ "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING TO BE LOVED";


L. C. Ulmer ~ 87 ~ American Delta blues singer/guitarist from the 1950's onward but did not actually record until 2011

L.C. ULMER ~ "CC RIDER";

Some Punk & Post Punk Figures


John Stabb ~ 54 ~ Singer w/1980's Washington DC Hardcore band Government Issue, one of the early bands on Discord Records, Later with Emma Peel, Brace and Stabb as well a spoken word artist.

GOVT ISSUE ~ "TIME TO ESCAPE";


GOVT ISSUE;


John Berry ~ 52 ~ Guitarist with the Beastie Boys in their original Hardcore days

THE BEASTIE BOYS ~ "EGG RAID ON MOJO";


Vi Subversa ~ 80 ~ British musician with Anarchist Punk band Poison Girls from 1976 to the 1990's. Aligned with label-mates Crass, Subversa was notable for standing out in the youth culture of punk by being a chubby middle-aged housewife.

POISON GIRLS ~ "STATE CONTROL";


POISON GIRLS ~ "ANOTHER HERO";


Marlane Marder ~ Guitarist with Swiss 1980's All-Girl Punk bands LiliPUT later known as Kleenex

LILIPUT ~ "BOATSONG";


LILIPUT ~ "TURK/SPLIT";


Andrew Loomis ~ Drummer with 1980's & 1990's garage punks Dead Moon

DEAD MOON ~ "DOA";


Ross Shapiro ~ Singer/Guitarist with 1990's Athens, Georgia indie band The Glands

THE GLANDS ~ "WHEN I LAUGH";


Jody Taylor ~ 43 ~ Vocalist with Vancouver 1990's Hardcore bands Strain and Kersey

STRAIN;


Heiko Schrepel ~ 39 ~ Bassist w/California Punk bands The US Bombs, Screw 32, One Man Army, The Revolts

THE US BOMBS ~ "WE ARE THE PROBLEM";


THE US BOMBS;


Micheal Montano ~ 46 ~ Bassist w/San Francisco Hardcore/Crust band Filth

FILTH;


FILTH ~ "SCARRED FOR LIFE";


Nick Menza ~ Drummer with Megadeth and later with Orphaned to Hatred, Deltanaut and OHM

MEGADETH ~ "SWEATING BULLETS";

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

White Line Fever

In the week of Feb.13 & 14 there were a series completely unrelated car crashes leading to the deaths of members of two bands.

Saturday Feb.13 British indie band Viola Beach were on tour in Sweden when their van skidded off a bridge killing all four members of the band Kris Leonard (guitar and vocals), River Reeves (guitar), Tomas Lowe (bass), and Jack Dakin (drums)plus their manager Craig Tarry.

VIOLA BEACH ~ "GET TO DANCING";


That same day American hardrock band Counterflux were on their way to a gig in Dayton Ohio when they were in a two car wreck killing three of five members of the band, Kyle Canter, Earl Miller II, Devin Bachmann and a friend. Their driver had earlier been charged with DUI and alcohol is believed to have been involved, however in this case it was the other driver (also killed) who was at fault.

COUNTERFLUX ~ "ASSASSIN";


The next day Toronto Metal band Cauldron crashed their van while on tour in Texas fortunately all member survived although guitarist Ian Chains suffered serious back injuries and their van was totaled forcing them to cancel the rest of their tour.