Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Hey have you heard the latest Lenny Tristano record, it's out of this world."

The first time I ever heard about Lennie Tristano was in 1982. I had won a copy of the original CATALOG OF COOL from a Chattanooga radio station. It said that “The most cerebral, hence coolest, jazz group was pianist Lennie Tristano's, with sax accompanists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh.” I didn’t know much about jazz (still don’t) but I figured "Cross Current" would be worth hearing. It was.

Tristano’s records were hard to find. Twenty years later I found a compilation of his 40’s sides on a European budget label. The search was worth it. Tristano did some good stuff. Tristano’s classical training shows on a few songs, there are some standards and some free jazz ten years before Ornette Coleman invented it. Jack Kerouac was a fan. Charles Mingus studied with Tristano in the early fifties and so did Joe Satriani. Ray Manzarek says Tristano’s left hand was a big influence on his playing in the Doors.

*The title quote is from JAILHOUSE ROCK. It’s the line that gets Elvis pissed off at the cocktail party.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Happy 40th Birthdays!

Michael (today) & Tom (tomorrow)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

A great big screen

Clarence 'Pro' McClam was a Chicago blues shouter in the 40's and 50's that originally went by the name Professor of The Blues. He changed his name to 'Pro' when Vee-Jay Records left the 'fessor' of the label of his first release for the company. Recorded in October 1954, this was his second and last record for Vee-Jay. It's a somewhat topical song comparing his woman to Hollywood's latest innovation.

Double feature: Big Joe Turner stayed home instead of going out to the pictures.

The late show: The Frantics Four got into the picture too.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Not for walking

"Turtles Have Short Legs" was Can's second 45 and was only released in Germany. It was not availabe again until the CANNABILISM 2 compilation was released in 1990. It's not included on as a bonus track on either of the Can re-issues from the same time period. I don't know why, the song would fit right in on EGE BAMYASI.

As a bonus, here's the edited version of "Mother Sky" from CANNABILISM 1.

Warning: Both of these songs cause earworms.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I must...

If you're re-writing a song, always pick a good one to copy.

I prefer the one that has Waylon Jennings playing 12-string guitar.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

I'm gonna run me a cemetery of my own was Poole's ability to preoject his own personal life experiences into his songs, giving them a unique sense of realism and believability that made his singing truly exciting. He did in fact "live" many of the things he sang about. A case in point: In "Coon from Tennessee" Poole sings:

I'm gonna run me a cemetery of my own
If you don't let my gal there alone
I'm gonna buy me a razor, gonna scrape the blade,
Gonna lay some son-of-a-gun in the shade...

Poole could sing with authority about fighting: he was a first rate scrapper and was in fact known to carry a razor. He grew up in family of eight brothers where fighting was always tolerated and enjoyed. Poole's sister-in-law relates how at a Christmas Day dinner in her home, Charlie and most of his brothers were gathered around the table eating when, for no apparent reason, Charlie reached across the table and "...smacked the living lard out of Henry (his youngest brother)." During the free-for-all that followed the police were called but they refused to come because they knew the reputation of the "Poole boys" all too well.

-- C. Kinney Rorrer, 1976

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Whatever Happened to Fun?

Boss 302 started up in '93 or so. They were a bunch of Denver, Colorado college students that liked rock and beer. Cars must have been in the top five too.

I don't actually know much about Boss 302. I've got a couple of 45's, there is one earlier LP, and it looks like the band toured Europe at least once. Matt Bischoff from The Fluid played bass on this album which may be why there is 57 Lesbian cover on this CD.

One of Boss 302's guitarists is currently in one of my favorite bands, the Orangu-tones.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

It means basically to suck, yeah, basically to suck.

A couple of requests came in for some Hampton Grease Band came in after the Swimming Pool Q's thing I posted a few days ago. The thing about the Hampton Grease Band is you either love them or hate them. Duane Allman and Frank Zappa loved them, Columbia Records execs and Three Dog Night fans did not. You can decide for yourself which side you're on but I think they're great.

The Hampton Grease Band was together for 7 years and released one double LP with 4 long songs and 3 shorter ones. It was the second worst selling record in Columbia Records history. I could write more but band member Glenn Phillips already wrote a history of the band that's informative and has pictures. And has pictures.

Brush with greatness: A long time ago, Col. Bruce Hampton was playing a show with the Fiji Mariners at the Tip-Top Cafe and I gave him a ride to Thai Restaurant. We talked about the houses we passed on the way.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Swinging Pool Cues

The Swimming Pool Q's were one of the very first bands I saw play live. They played a free show in the student center at UT-Chattanooga right around the time that their first LP - THE DEEP END - was released. The show was supposed to be outside but it had rained so they moved the stage inside and set it up next to the stairs. There were a handful of people there to see the band and a whole lot of mad students that couldn't get to snack machines on the second floor.

"Rat Bait" was the band's first 45. They released it on their own Chlorinated Records in 1979. Head Q Jeff Calder was a student in Florida when he decided to move to Atlanta because he was a fan of the Hampton Grease Band. That band's guitarist introduced Calder to Bob Elsey in 1977, they wrote "Rat Bait" and formed a band to go with it. The Swimming Pool Q's are still together.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Red Chair Fade Away

Bill Shepherd didn't just think the Bee Gees were great songwriters, he was also the arranger/conductor on the Bee Gees sixties records. So when he went to Robert Stigwood and said "I think their songs are not just 'trendy', but straight down the middle of the road commercial and would stand up given any treatment, in any style." Stigwood must've been distracted by Cream having another hit record because he told Shepherd to go make the record and send him the bill. Chorale records weren't very big in 1968, were they?

"Red Chair Fadeaway" is one of the stranger (and better) songs from the Bee Gees terrific 1ST LP. And the chorale version by the Bill Shepherd Singers is just as strange (not better). Anybody know what this song is about? Is it about anything? What are the sheep doing in there? "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You" is almost normal compared to "Red Chair Fadeaway".

Sunday, March 06, 2005


PERCY is not the Kinks worst album. It's better than any of the Arista records. Some of the songs on PERCY are better than most of the stuff they recorded during the RCA years. Yes, there are instrumental filler and incidental music (it was the soundtrack for a bad movie) but some of it is good. Some of it is very good. Yes "Lola" is there but it's not the version you're used to hearing on the radio. The most familiar songs on PERCY are the ones included on THE KINKS KRONIKLES. "God's Children" is one of the Kinks greatest and "Willesden Green", one of the band's worst. I don't care if they are trying to sound like Elvis, I can't stand that song.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Hey! to all you drummer spotters.

Quiet Village

Musician Martin Denny dies at age 93
By Mike Gordon

Musician Martin Denny, the father of the influential genre of pop called "exotica," died yesterday at home in Hawai'i Kai. He was 93.

Although in fragile health for some time — his doctors told him in 2003 that he had only a year to live — Denny was active and performing until shortly before his death.

Denny created a hypnotic international sound that blended exotic elements — bird calls, croaking frogs, jazz rhythms, chimes and gongs. He once described it as a fusion of Asian, South Pacific, American jazz, Latin American and classical styles.


In a 2003 interview on the eve of a tribute concert at the Hawai'i Theater, Denny mused on the renewed recognition his music was getting.

"You know, I'm happy the music's back, because I'm frankly tired of hearing the same old thing. Rap music. High-voltage rock 'n' roll," he scoffed. "What will kids today remember 20 years from now? There's hardly anything romantic or melodic. I think a whole lot of good music has been lost."

Thursday, March 03, 2005

This is just chilling.

An amazing jazz/blues arrangement that gives every instrument room to breathe.
I don't know what to listen to--the drums? This drummer is a monster. The guitar? It stings. I like the piano, ironically tinkling along like nothing's wrong. The horns give it that city sadness. But it's all in the service of a a great lyric (sung by one of America's greatest voices) about a blind man who doesn't want charity, he doesn't even want to see, he's so fixed on one lost woman. I should just shut up--this speaks for itself.

Bobby Bland, "Blind Man."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

It's somebody's birthday today

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