Never A Dull Moment By David Hepworth

Cheap Thrills (Big Brother and the Holding Com...
Cheap Thrills (Big Brother and the Holding Company album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have debated in my mind which year was best for rock music. I am torn between the years 1967-1971. These were formative musical years as a child of the sixties maturing into the 1970s.

Starting with 1967, the year of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. Then 1968 brought us Van Morrison‘s classic Astral Weeks and Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin.

1969 was pivotal for my life as I graduated high school that year. The Woodstock Music and Arts Fair changed the world. Rock albums from Led Zeppelin and Santana pushed multi-dimensional sound.

Then 1970 ushered in the era of the singer/songwriter with Sweet Baby James by James Taylor. Contrast that soft music genre with the electric jazz fusion of Miles Davis‘s Bitches Brew.

Nantucket SleighrideThe capstone of the music period from 1967-1971 was 1971.  This year rose prominently in the music of our heart. I loved the dichotomy of Alice Cooper’s Love It To Death versus Nantucket Sleighride by Mountain.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to a book by David Hepworth, an ardent music fan and well-regarded critic, I have validation. The book David has written, Never A Dull Moment, 1971 The Year That Rock Exploded substantiates 1971’s contribution to rock history with concrete authority.

If you are a fan of rock history and its sociological impact on the rhythm of our existence you must read this book.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium

I like to know what Sean Lennon is doing with his art.

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Sean Lennon’s latest collaboration is with Primus bassist and lead singer Les Claypool. They’re calling themselves The Claypool Lennon Delirium.

Their new album is a collection of trippy, psychedelic space jams called The Monolith Of Phobos (a reference to a large rock discovered on Phobos, a moon orbiting Mars).

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Track Listing:
1. The Monolith Of Phobos
2. Cricket and the Genie – Movement I, The Delirium
3. Cricket and the Genie – Movement II, Oratorio Di Cricket
4. Mr. Wright
5. Boomerang Baby
6. Breath of a Salesman
7. Captain Lariat
8. Ohmerica
9. Oxycontin Girl
10. Bubbles Burst
11. There’s No Underwear In Space

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Bubbles Burst,” offers a more personal reflection from Lennon about his memories of Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee, Bubbles. Lennon and Jackson were friends and, as a child in the mid-1980s, Lennon would hang out with Bubbles at Jackson’s Neverland ranch.

ALLIGATOR RECORDS 45TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION

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LINER NOTES

On May 25 and June 2, 1971, the rawest, roughest-edged, most joyful blues band in Chicago recorded their first album. With the help of two fledgling producers, Bruce Iglauer and his friend Wesley Race, they cut multiple takes of twenty-five songs in two evenings, recorded live and mixed as they were being recorded. The album, issued in August of that year, was simply named after the band: Hound Dog Taylor And The HouseRockers, the first release from a brand new label called Alligator Records.

Alligator was a leap of faith, an underfinanced one-man operation run out of an efficiency apartment. It was launched with an album by a band virtually unknown outside the local bars where they played. The album captured the band’s glorious racket and the vibrant, rocking spirit of the South and West Side Chicago blues clubs—simple neighborhood taverns in the city’s black community where mostly Southern-born, working class people bonded together and sloughed off the frustrations of their day-to-day hard lives by listening and dancing to the honest, rhythmic, joyful and cathartic music they had grown up with—the blues. Two of the three members of the band—Hound Dog, a fifty-five-year-old former sharecropper and factory worker, and Brewer Phillips, a part-time construction worker, had come to Chicago from Mississippi looking for decent jobs. The third member, drummer Ted Harvey, a loading dock worker, came from the Windy City. They had no reputation, no booking agent or manager, and they were not creating music that sounded much like anything getting played on any form of commercial radio. Yet their unbridled energy, unfettered joy and raw soulfulness of their music somehow communicated to people all over the world, making them blues legends and making their debut recording a classic that continues to be discovered by legions of new fans.

Forty-five years later, Alligator Records, now with a catalog of almost three hundred albums, continues to be bound by the same philosophy that led to that first recording—that direct, unvarnished, straight-from-the-soul blues and blues-rooted music, the music we call “Genuine Houserockin’ Music,” speaks to some primal, necessary place in people’s consciousness. We believe that our music, if delivered by charismatic, soul-stirring artists, and if publicized, promoted and marketed with unwavering energy, will find a worldwide audience, stand the test of time, and keep the label moving forward for years to come.

The first years of Alligator were dedicated to recording artists from Chicago’s deep well of blues talent. Besides Hound Dog Taylor, the label released albums by Big Walter Horton, the then-unknown Son Seals, Fenton Robinson, Koko Taylor and Lonnie Brooks. In an effort to expose the wealth of Windy City artists, in 1978 and 1980 we released the six-LP (now four-CD) Living Chicago Blues set (and followed it with a single-album collection called The New Bluebloods in 1985 to introduce some of the newly-arisen Chicago talent).

Starting in 1978, Alligator began recording blues musicians from across the country. Established blues stars like Albert Collins, James Cotton, Gatemouth Brown, blues-rock guitar heroes like Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan and Lonnie Mack, and ‘next generation’ artists like Kenny Neal, Tinsley Ellis and Little Charlie & The Nightcats all joined the Alligator family.

As the blues grew further from its Deep South roots, and the African-American audience turned to other forms of music, the large pool of musicians who had grown up in the blues tradition began to dry up. At the same time, a new generation of musicians, inspired by the blues but not part of the historic flow of blues, began to reshape the traditional elements to speak to contemporary audiences. Artists like JJ Grey, Anders Osborne, Jarekus Singleton, Selwyn Birchwood, and the newest Alligator family members, Toronzo Cannon and Moreland & Arbuckle, are defining blues and roots music for future decades.

The previous Alligator Anniversary Collections have been aimed at showing the complete span of the music we’ve recorded. For this collection, we have chosen to shine the spotlight somewhat more on the current artist roster and on those artists who are showing some of the directions Alligator will be heading in the future.

Over the last five years, since the release of Alligator Records 40th Anniversary Collection, we’ve lost too many members of the extended Alligator family, not only artists on the roster and those who had previously recorded for us, but also those who made memorable guest appearances on our releases. We will always miss Michael “Iron Man” Burks, Otis Clay, Michael Coleman, Popsy Dixon of the Holmes Brothers,  Lacy Gibson, Wendell Holmes, Long John Hunter, Smokin’ Joe Kubek, Magic Slim, Sista Monica Parker, Pinetop Perkins, Ann Rabson, Pete Special of Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows and Johnny Winter. We also pay special homage to The King Of The Blues, B.B. King, who graced us with a guest appearance on Alligator. This collection is dedicated to all of them. 

Bruce Iglauer

 

John Cage Meets Sun Ra – The Complete Concert

If you were going to envision the ultimate avant-garde meeting-of-the-minds jam session, who would you pick? Even the most hopeful fan of strange and innovative music couldn’t have seen this one coming: on one afternoon in 1986, at Coney Island’s dilapidated freak show, space-age avant-jazz genius Sun Ra met avant-garde “serious music” composer John Cage in an unforgettable performance.

You couldn’t imagine two figures more opposite. Cage was known for his unusual approach to composition, using objects such as radios and television sets, as well as pure silence, as instruments, often encouraging his musicians to do other things at their whim on stage. Sun Ra, on the other hand, was a jazz arranger known for his “space-age” approach to jazz, adding free-jazz and surrealist elements into a musical form that Cage often disdained — improvisational music. And yet, for one afternoon, they pooled their talents — Ra playing keyboards, leading his small group and reading his unusual poetry; Cage “performing” vocal readings and passages of vocal sound — plus his trademark silence — designed to baffle and disorient. The combination is breathtaking, both organic and mechanical, free-form and totally composed.

For the very first time, Modern Harmonic presents the full and unexpurgated concert from 1986, stretched out across two LPs. In addition to never-before-heard songs and musical passages, this album at last presents the long-rumored co-performance between the two musical giants, all lovingly packaged in new artwork that captures the stark brilliance of the music. Take yourself back to 1986 and a once-in-a-lifetime performance that you can finally hear as it was intended. Double LP on clear vinyl!!

Also available on compact disc!

Ralph J. Gleason’s Legacy Honored

Looking back on where my music influences are derived from, I reflect upon the insightful music journalism of Ralph J. Gleason. His writings were lucid and authoritative nurturing the broader base of my music foundation. He created an increased dimensionality to grow my literary and sonic self with exponentiation. I marvelled at how engaging his interpretations were of both jazz/rock artists and their music. I discovered Ralph J. Gleason within the pages of Rolling Stone Magazine. He produced a spontaneity that has never been equalled in my music reading lifetime.

gleason-203x300Ralph J. Gleason was the Rembrandt who portrayed the San Francisco music scene with a rich set of oil paints that added texture and substance to the panorama. I admired his brushstrokes as he painted what was transpiring at The Fillmore West and elsewhere in the city. He transported me to a place I wanted to be an essential part of, where music melded with counter-culture.

I deeply appreciated his extensive knowledge of jazz. When I minored in music at the University of New Haven from 1972-1974 it was his liner notes for the Miles Davis, Bitches Brew album among his other writings that raised my level of jazz consciousness.

I am honored to share with my readers that today, May 24th, 2016 we are blessed with two major anthologies of Ralph J. Gleason’s written works (see below). I will be reviewing both of these books in the next few weeks. I will report back to you what I garner from favorite articles and topics anew.

I smiled broadly when  Steve Wasserman, Executive Editor at Large for Yale University Press told me on the phone, “what a labor of love it was to put together Ralph J. Gleason’s cannon of work…for a new generation to discover and interpret”. It is a result of the long term friendship between Steve and Toby Gleason this book is realized.

I anticipate the innate pride of Ralph J. Gleason’s son, Toby Gleason the accomplished editor and curator of his father’s music(plus more) treasure chest (1950-1975).

Music in the Air, The Selected Writings of Ralph J. Gleason by Ralph J. Gleason, Toby Gleason, Jann Wenner and Paul Scanlon

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This book is a collection of the writings that appeared in his newspaper columns for The San Francisco Chronicle, the alternative magazine Ramparts and some from his “Perspectives” column in Rolling Stone (which he co-founded and contributed to until his death in 1975).

 

 

Conversations In Jazz: The Ralph J. Gleason Interviews by Ralph J. Gleason, Toby Gleason and Ted Gioia

During his nearly forty years as a music journalist, Ralph J. Gleason recorded many in-depth interviews with some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. These informal sessions, conducted mostly in Gleason’s Berkeley, California, home, have never been transcribed and published in full until now.e2798d8e052085dfc34efddb2e8f6ee8

This remarkable volume, a must-read for any jazz fan, serious musician, or musicologist, reveals fascinating, little-known details about these gifted artists, their lives, their personas, and, of course, their music. Bill Evans discusses his battle with severe depression, while John Coltrane talks about McCoy Tyner‘s integral role in shaping the sound of the Coltrane quartet, praising the pianist enthusiastically. Included also are interviews with Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Jon Hendricks, and the immortal Duke Ellington, plus seven more of the most notable names in twentieth-century jazz.

Third Man Books Announces Definitive Book About The Stooges As Told By Iggy Pop

Jack White’s publishing company, Third Man Books will release a much-anticipated book, TOTAL CHAOS: The Story of The Stooges / As Told By Iggy Pop sometime this winter.

It was a rare privilege to sit with Iggy as he downloaded the story of The Stooges. He’s an incredible storyteller with a fantastic memory and a great sense of humor, and he held nothing back. The Stooges were pioneers in sound, look, and live presentation, and along the way invented a genre-punk rock-and influenced countless others that followed. There was no precedent in rock music for what they did. They’re definitely the only group in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who started out playing an amplified Waring blender, a vacuum cleaner, spring water bottles and a 200 gallon oil drum.Jeff Gold, Author of 101 Essential Rock Records

The author team Jeff Gold, Johan Kugelberg and editor/contributor Jon Savage are among the most respected music authors and historians working today. Total Chaos will also feature contributions from Jack White, Joan Jett, Johnny Marr and Third Man’s Ben Blackwell. Now that’s what I call curation!

I can’t wait to get my hands on this essential rock book! Where is the pre-order link, Third Man Books?😉

Richie Havens Sanctuary Candle

I know once a hippie, always a hippie😉

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It has been three years since Richie Havens graced this planet. I thought my readers would love to see a beautiful New York City Earth project his spirit supports.

Stormy Forest

Richie Sanctuary Candle

$ 15.00

Glass, unscented
Candle height: 8″
Burn time: approx 90 hours
Labels made with eco-friendly materials
Made in USA

Stormy Forest will donate $5.00 from the sale of each candle to the New York Restoration Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating greener and more sustainable urban spaces in the five boroughs of New York (including Richie’s beloved hometown of Brooklyn).

(Candles ship to US addresses only)