Monday, February 25, 2013

back from the dead??

An admission.

In July of 2009, I got an email purporting to be from Google, with a cease and desist order. This related to an old blog post, featuring some very OLD music.

When I started this MP3 blog (and that term seems very quaint and antiquated now!), I was under no illusions that what we were doing was anything other than... well, illegal. Copyright Infringement. That sort of thing.

But I sold the idea to the other members of Johnny Domino as a way for us to stay in contact with each other and maybe promote the "work" we were doing.

Anyway,  I always told myself (and my now-wife), that if I ever got a C&D order I would pull the plug.

So when it came through, I - quite frankly - freaked out and deleted all of the posts.

WHAT I SHOULD HAVE DONE:

All the files (images and mp3s) were stored on the Johnny Domino website server, so I should have just disabled hotlinking from the blog. That way, all the writing we worked on (and all the lovely comments we received) would be safe forever.

Durr.

However...

Before I pulled the posts, I created a PDF of the whole site. And I have most of the comments as Blogger automatic-notification emails.

So - for no real reason AT ALL - I've decided to put them all online again, linking wherever possible to the songs we talked about on Spotify. I'll even add a comments digest for posts.

This will take time! And who knows? Eventually we might add some new stuff (somehow!).

But for the moment, I'm just enjoying looking back at a time when (really) pretty much all we cared about was music, before we all got married and (some of us) had kids - hilariously, this is pretty much as wild as our wild young days got.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

romantic rally

I don't want to get all "late-night-radio" on yr collective asses, but these go out to anyone who's having a crappy Valentine's day. They'll do you more good than any of these "break-up-favourites" compilations that seem to be doing the rounds at the moment!

Marvin Gaye started his career at Motown singing ballads and standards. He wanted to be a pop/jazz vocalist in the Nat King Cole/Frank Sinatra mould but at the same time as his standards were unsuccessful, his more commercial fare took off and he became a reluctant R&B star.

But he never totally abandoned his original dream and in 1967 he commissioned Bobby Scott to write arrangements for the seven songs that would become "Vulnerable". However, no-one was happy with the results so these takes were never issued. Marvin said that he hadn't lived enough to make the songs sound right.

However, he never forgot about the standards and would go back to them at different times in his life. In late 1978/early 1979, Marvin was still reeling from his acrimonious divorce from Anna Gordy (documented on the much-misunderstood "Here, My Dear" - more on this in a future post!). He was facing bankruptcy and his second marriage to Janis Hunter was already in trouble. Marvin returned to the ballads because "the pain in my heart corresponded to the pain in the lyrics".

Marvin Gaye - Why Did I Choose You?




Through his early 70s albums, Marvin learned how to multitrack his vocals and blend his different voices and this really adds to these tunes, making them more than just "soppy ballads"; the vocals throughout "Vulnerable" are real works of art!

Marvin Gaye - The Shadow Of Your Smile



Marvin claimed Motown wouldn't release it, but the truth seems to be that Berry Gordy never heard it at the time - Marvin was afraid that it wouldn't sell. I think it stands alongside other great torch-song albums like "In The Wee Small Hours" and "Lady In Satin".

Visit - Marvin Gaye on Wikipedia
Buy - Vulnerable

Saturday, February 11, 2006

random rally

No big link between these songs, other than the fact that I re-heard them all recently and the urge to share was too great! I hope you enjoy the random mini-mixtape below and, as always, follow the links to find out more and support these artists by buying their stuff!

Soundgarden - 'Sub Pop Rock City'
from "Sub Pop 200" - buy it.




Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings - 'Green Pastures (live)'
from "Down On The Mountain OST" - buy it.




Lisa Germano - 'Small Heads'
from "excerpts from a Love Circus" - buy it.



The High Llamas - 'Theatreland'
from "Hawaii" - buy it
.



Visit - unofficial Soundgarden homepage
Visit - Emmylou Harris
Visit - Gillian Welch
Visit - Lisa Germano
Visit - High Llamas

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I was Lord Kitcheners Valet

Andy Partridge of XTC sums it all up very nicely in the book 'Song Stories' by Neville Farmer... 'I loved British psychedelic music from 1967/68....For England it was garden parties and Edward Lear and school uniforms on boating lakes which turned to jelly.' So inspired were XTC by this period of music that they formed their own spoof band, 'Dukes of Stratosphear'....the joke backfired when the Dukes albums outsold the contemporary XTC ones.

Dukes of Stratosphear- Vanishing Girl


Vanishing Girl is probably the least 'far out' of all the Dukes songs but it has the harmonies and poppiness of The Hollies who dutifully 'went psychedelic' in 1967. Ultimately it was a bit of a gesture which sent Graham Nash packing for California for more like minded company and left The Hollies on the northern club circuit. 'King Midas in Reverse is a classic though.

The Hollies- King Midas in Reverse


The Move and Tomorrow really sum up the fuzzed up, manic glory of British psychedelia. 'I Can Hear the Grass Grow' has recently been covered by The Fall who really capture its dynamism.

The Move- I Can Hear the Grass Grow

Tomorrow played the same underground circuit as Pink Floyd but never broke big. Guitarist Steve Howe went on to join other space cadets in Yes.

Tomorrow- My White Bicycle


I love the daftness of all of these tunes but most of all I dig their lack of cynicism....more Laughing Gnomes if you please...more tea Vicar?

I've already linked 'Dukes of Stratosphear' elsewhere but here it is again.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

electric ladyland

One of my favourite and most-played albums of last year was Common's "Be", a really great album from the man Kanye West calls "the hip hop Marvin Gaye".

While I've been enjoying "Be" (and if you don't have it, you really should), I was bothered by the DVD accompanying the release, where various people seemed to disregard his previous album, "Electric Circus". The main complaints were that Common had taken to dressing like a freak (the crotched trousers, in particular, came in for some stick) and had been led by his then-squeeze Erykah Badu to neglect the hip hop faithful and become a "backpacker". Common, to his credit, wasn't having any of it, saying that "Electric Circus" was still true to him, it was just another side of his personality and was as far out as he could go. And that is pretty Far Out.

Common - Aquarius


It's been a while since we've used the term "psychedelic masterpiece" on The Rally, and "Electric Circus" definitely fits the bill. It sounds like no other hip hop album, often using the same production team as used on D'Angelo's "Voodoo", which I wrote about a while back. The collaborators on the album are pretty wild, too, ranging from the expected (The Neptunes) to the surprising (Prince) to the out-and-out "what-the...?" (Stereolab on the track "New Wave").

Common feat. Erykah Badu - Jim Was A Rock Star


The two tracks I've chosen here are coincidentally the ones with the most pronounced Erykah Badu involvement, but the whole album is so diverse it's been hard to narrow it down. "Jimi Was A Rock Star" is I think the closest any current artist has got to channeling the spirit of Funkadelic. Play it really LOUD, and try to imagine Fiddy having this much imagination or talent - as opposed to "this much talent".

Visit - Common
Buy - Electric Circus
Buy - Be

Thursday, January 26, 2006

miles smiles

I'm rather pleased to have been asked to take part in the A-Z of Music over on The Art of Noise. They've been going for a few weeks so my first effort is for the letter 'I' - after a bit of head scratching, I settled for Miles Davis' 1969 album, "In A Silent Way".

This was one of the first of Miles' attempts to perform jazz using rock sounds, leading to classics like "Bitches Brew", "A Tribute To Jack Johnson", etc. It was also one of the first times he really used editing to create pieces of music from long abstract studio jam sessions. One of my favourite examples is the way they treated the title track, written by Joe Zawinul.

Miles Davis - In A Silent Way (rehearsal)


This take is pretty much the composer's arrangement, which Miles thought was too complex with too many chords. So he gave guitarist John McLaughlin one of his legendary, cryptic statements - "play it like you don't know how to play guitar" - which resulted in this beautiful piece of music.

Miles Davis - In A Silent Way


This is the piece as it was played in the studio. Miles Davis and producer Teo Macero then edited it and wrapped it 'round "It's About That Time" to make up the second of the two long tracks that make up the album "In A Silent Way".

I think the first take is...okay, but a bit too self-consciously jazzy. But the second version really got to the soul of the piece by cutting back anything unnecesary.

Both of these are taken from "The Complete 'In A Silent Way' Sessions" box set. I love a nice box set, me.

And yes, I do think it's pretty funny that, further down from my inaugural A-Z piece, someone wrote about 'indulgence' which held up Jazz as a prime example... One man's "indulgence" is another man's "expression"!

Buy - The Complete 'In A Silent Way' Sessions, or...
Buy - In A Silent Way
Visit - Miles Davis
Visit - The Art of Noise A-Z of Music: I