Thursday, December 06, 2007

Primitive Sound System and Bill Dolan - D.C.'s Tavern Dec 6th 9PM-Closing

Hello Y'all,
I couldn't find an email for November so I am guessing I didn't send one. Well, I was busy building some shelves and storage so I could better organize. With that said there were a whole bunch of records to file away which means there are a whole bunch of records to write about. The reason for this wonderful overflow was the FMU Record Fair. As always and of course the "Dollar Guys" done me good! Also I snatched up two long time want list discs from a well known source for a very nice price

Looks like Three Shall Be this week as Joe is back at the tables along with my esteemed colleague Mr. Dolan. There is barely a record in my box this week that has seen the dim lights of D.C.'s more than once so this should be a fun one.

Without making this too sad I would be remiss if I did not mention a tragedy from mid November. Early Sunday morning on November 18th a small electrical fire started in my brother's studio that spread to a large foam couch. The couch sat next to shelves of some of the rarest Jazz, Latin and Country records. Luckily no one was injured but the records couldn't take the heat. The fire fused the entire Latin section into solid block of vinyl. Some of the Jazz and Country records suffered the same fate but most just warped or "melted" from the heat. Heat closed the grooves of sometimes only portions of a record and you could clearly see a silhouette of the flames and heat waves that licked the surface. Throwing each damaged record into the trash made everyone sick and almost brought me to tears. Weirdly the fire did the least damage. The sprinkler system which kept the fire from spreading beyond the couch and the record shelf standing near by devastated floors of the building and hundreds more of Michael's records. Clear plastic bags which were meant to prevent damage became torturous, water chambers for the records trapped inside. Covers melted in your hand as you tried to save them. A lot of the vinyl was saved and cleaned but without covers or inner sleeves their collector value is lost. Bill and I are planning a small benefit to help Michael get back some of his records. In the past Michael has DJ'd weddings for free and has ALWAYS been the first to step up when a DJ cancels or when someone needs equipment for an event. As we have more details and a date we will let everyone know.

- pat.
I am still compiling all these emails here - "Audio Visual Triumphs and Disasters" -

Primitive Sound System, Bill Dolan and Joe Raaen
Thursday December 6th 9PM to Closing
D.C.'s Tavern
505 8th Street
Between Jefferson and Madison
Hoboken, New Jersey
PH: 201-792-5550

The Records:

Batman and Robin - "Who The Fuck Is Superman" / "Whatever, I Hate Rock 'N' Roll" b/w "Batmobile" / "Be Scared!" ( / Be Scared! Records cat. BR-12 / BS!-04 (numbered 155/300)
OK, so I love a lot of different music. Music from almost every genre and sometimes sources that the average person would never even consider to be music. But, sometimes the simplest is truly the best. If I had to pick one record that grabbed my mind, body and soul this year it was this STOOPID FUCKING BLAST! of PUNK ROCK IDIOCY! This is pure and perfect. Raw and visceral. From the very first listen you immediately say, "I can do that.?!" But you don't, you haven't, you won't, and you probably couldn't even if you had the balls to try. Oh yeah, and you never will, so... FUCK YOU SUPERMAN! These refined lads are from Austria and sing in what sounds like a drunken version of English, is that what an Austrian accent sounds like? "LOOK ROBIN...HOLY MACARONI BATMAN...WHO THE FUCK IS SUPERMAN!" "Who..." is basically a version, of a version of a thousand other songs you may or may not have heard. The band, all two of them, is pounding as hard as they possibly can and it sounds like it could have been recorded in an abandoned building or possibly the hallway of some unsuspecting building. Next stop, free studio time, fifth floor. The next three songs BRILLIANTLY do they same thing as "Who...". Each is intro'd by the band; each containing some catchy little hook you won't be able to shake for weeks like a virus. This really isn't music you write about. You hear it, you break shit, vomit, you drink more and you do it all again. Unfortunately currently I am writing about it and doing laundry. I need to kick my own ass! BE SCARED! One more thing you pathetic citizens of Gotham... the COVER! The cover illustration is so damn perfect for all of this that you should buy it for this alone. Easily one of my top 10 favorite record sleeves of all time and definitely my favorite record of 2007. Batman Theme *NA*NA*NA*NA*NA*NA*NA*NA,*NA*NA*NA*NA*NA*NA*NA*NA FUCK YOU!

Big Joe Louis and the Soul Investigators - "Go-Go Train (Is Gonna Carry Me Away)" b/w "Rolling Down The Tracks" (Timmion Records cat. Timmion # 014)
Once again the folks at Timmion Records break the mold and show everyone else how it is done. The Soul Investigators will never loose sight of why so many people listen to what they do. They certainly don't adhere to a formula and are able to present their style in so many different unique ways without ever loosing a single fan. Here they get down in a 'lectric Blues groove that tries as it might to stay that way but rips at the seams in the final moments to expose its Funky beating heart. The train like beat sets the pace and the horns seem afraid to get to involved as the drums and Big Joe just might crush them. Joe has a very seasoned voice and the sharp high pitch of the organ compliments him perfectly. The pace is slow but somehow moves along enough to shake some shoulders, bob some heads and hopefully shake a few asses. After all it is a Go-Go Train so ALL ABOARD! The timing on "Rolling Down The Tracks" almost seems like someone messed with your turntable but as the drums gallop away you realize everything is right with these rails. This is of course the very strangely mixed instrumental of "Go-Go Train" making this a round trip.

Caribean Gay Torpedoes - "Tropical Fever" Part - 1 & 2 (Welcome to Tropical Breeze Hotel & Luxury Beach Resort cat. TB 6772)
"The Gay Torpedoes Performing Every Night at the Tropical Breeze Night Club." This harks back to a time when Gay could still be confused for happiness but then again this is no naive little disk... one letter away from a laugh right there. The band comes on like a pool side party filled with tanned bodies and suntan lotion, drinks stuffed with too much fruit and umbrellas, and an anything goes attitude. Disco with a Funk beat played endlessly for hours on end. Spoken vocals smoothly rap over the unending groove, "TROPICAL FEVER...ehhh...." Horns help to break things up and a soft organ sound does laps in the low end. There is an odd trumpet solo that sounds as if the player has his / her attentions elsewhere. Side two picks up the action right where they left off but players are given more space to solo and change things up. Here the playing almost feels loose even though the rhythm remains unchanged.

The Black Hollies - "Hush" b/w The Dansettes - "Forty Days" (Ernest Jennings Record Co. cat. EJRC 029 (red vinyl))
Sometimes knowing a song, really knowing a song in that unconscious way that allows you to sing it while doing something completely unrelated is not always the best song you would choose to do as a cover. The Black Hollies take on one of the late 60's biggest tracks, the song made most famous by the one and only Deep Purple..."HUSH." The Black Hollies definitely know their way around what makes a 60's or 70's Rock track just plain devastate. Pounding drums, ample organ and sharp guitar. Much in the way that Deep Purple took this Country Jam into the world of Soul via Rock The Black Hollies keep the asses shaking with the Organ of JB Flatt and the vocals of the lovely ladies of the Dansettes. "Hush" is one of those tracks that helped define 70's guitar rock despite its soulful swirling organ solo or maybe because of it. The Black Hollies trick out a few parts with effects but lay down a raw bass and drums sound that grounds the track perfectly in a timeless place that all great music resides.

On the flip of this beautiful red vinyl disc is an original composition penned by the aforementioned JB Flatt for his band The Dansettes. The pace is slow to medium with a moody intro of organ, drums and the extremely warm vocals by Jamie Kozyra. There is a decided Motown sound here but as if the early 60's Sound was handled by the powerful Norman Whitfield. You can thank Gabe Roth of Daptone Records fame as he recorded this beauty and it is mixed to perfection by Carl Rusk. The instrumentation is layered with piano, hand claps and the stunning backing vocals of the remaining Dansettes (Leah Fishman and Jennie Wasserman). We are even treated to a vocal break over organ reminiscent of the Shangri-Las. Toward the end the guitar leaps out in a tribute to both Motown but steals nicely from Steve Cropper as the vocals and band build in intensity before it all fades. this will get a lot of play.

The Black Hollies - "Tell Me What You Want" (The Black Hollies/Lyrics by J.A. Morey) b/w "Tired of Being Lonely" (The Black Hollies/Lyrics by J. Gonnelli) (Ernest Jennings Record Co. cat. EJRC 020 (white vinyl))
Too often bands like the Black Hollies get called Retro. That just bugs the shit out of me. I guess Kanye West is retro because Hip Hop is 30 years old as well. This is good old fashioned Rock-N-Roll. "Tell Me What You Want" has a party feel as well as an edge warning you that someone just might get hurt. Justin Morey pleads in a similar way that the vocals of Richard Hell are pleading. He's not really asking as much as he is telling. "Tell me what you want, you can get it from me." What ever the hell it may be, doesn't really matter, he let's her / him / it know he can produce. The guitar cuts through and threatens everyone one in its path as the band slows just enough to make sure not to hit any on coming traffic. Soon they are off again barreling down the street, eyes closed, pounding the pavement and eventually crashing to a stop. "Tired of Being Lonely" shifts gears a bit and snaps with a more modern feel but certainly not like anything you would hear break the Top 100... and that is a shame. The guitar has this amazing organ sound to it and the rhythm guitar rains over it as if to remind us that sometimes it is OK to be sad. Does that sound wimpy? It does but somehow it comes off as a punch in the face. I fear I may go mad repeating "DON'T YOU COME ROUND HERE TRYING TO TELL ME, JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE TIRED OF BEING LONELY" for days on end. What happened to songs with Pop hooks and balls? Apparently they are an every day occurrence where the The Black Hollies live.

Baby Charles - "No Controlling Me" b/w "Invisible" (Hip Drop Records cat. HD 101)
Baby Charles can hit harder than most Rock bands. There is something to the way they assert themselves that lifts them up above and possibly through any of the bands mining a similar territory. "No Controlling Me" is a great name for this track. The band is amazingly tight (as always) and Ms. Charles is a forceful combination of Poetry / Soul Jazz era singers like Camille Yarbrough and Sherry Scott (Earth Wind And Fire). There is no containing this band. They can push in all directions yet make it all sound as tight as classic era JB's. The drums take a particularly strong roll in making this an aggressive Funky affair as the horns punctuate each expressive moment . Miss Charles sings and yells but never causes the band to get off point instead they are following her in her very confident march forward as she clearly makes her point that there is no controlling her or the band. Don't bother, just lay back and let them work a while. "Invisible" is anything but and is the closest I have heard Baby Charles hit a somewhat JB's groove. Talk about attitude. This track is full of it. Ms. Charles sings in short but measured phrases not wasting a word, a breath or a beat. The band ticks along like a metronome and eventually kicks up a little dust during what could be considered the chorus. A few sharp strikes and blasts and they are back ticking away. The horns are velvety smooth and gently lay on top of the groove enticing us to follow them and seduce us. Let's face it with music like this we don't need much coaxing. If they are invisible they are certainly worth looking for. Completely essential.

Leslie Overdrive - "A Tad Askew" b/w "Oily" (Hammond Beat cat. HB7-01 (Ltd to 250 copies)
I love that this, the first vinyl 7" release on Hammond Beat, opens with a plunky guitar and deep bass and not the organ with its Leslie screaming. Obviously it doesn't take long for the Organ to jump in but again like the songs intro there is nothing predicable about the choices. Rather than go for the throat and squeeze the organ the sound here is more flowing and even mellow. Mellow but extremely groovy. The band (guitar, bass (unless this is the organ peddles) and drums) does a little stretching out and grooving before the guitar breaks it all up with a very sharp, very Rock solo but one that is always aware of the beat. This really winds things up and the organ has no choice but to try and match the intensity. The band breaks back and states the theme and punctuates it with quick stop/starts just to let us know this AINT no Jam Band. Nothing askew about it, this shit is dead on. "Oily" is a version of the Juggy Murray Classic (uncredited on the label, for shame Hammond Beat!). Unfortunately for Juggy Murray, "Oily" is a classic to a limited group of enthusiasts so this better be good... everyone is watching. The band chooses to mellow it out a bit and this is certainly not a bad choice. The groove is impossible to ruin so the slower tempo for the first half gives them more room to pick up the pace as the music progresses. They even try some expressive organ playing and possibly a little improvising which adds an unexpected dynamic. Despite this being a great version the "A" side is just that much better. A very good 7" and easily one that can be called a two-sider. (I hope someone gets paid for side two, I believe the family is fighting after Mr. Murray's death).

Low Fidelity Jet Set Orchestra - "Bahia Soul" b/w "Jazz Rocker" (Hammond Beat cat. HB7-02 (Ltd to 250 copies)
There is an amazing BIG sound on this tiny little slab of diversity. Organ and Brazilian percussion dance around and over a controlled beat dispelling a groove that could relax the most up-tight among us. The organ gets to go for a ride about mid way and tackles some known styles and even cliches with such class and sophistication that the time allotted seems to drop you hard just as you began to loose yourself in the moment. I want to loop this and have tall drinks in my backyard and hope the neighbors are all away. "Jazz Rocker" comes out of the pocket like a lost Sound Library gem worthy of the great John Cameron. BIG BASS, DRUMS AND ORGAN pound, move, jump and connect to form one of the liveliest Organ tracks I have heard in a while. Horns and Fuzz Guitar only make the affair that much more enjoyable and extend the controlled chaos long enough to tingle the spine and break the drums again. There is a good amount of time after the break to build on the theme and really elevate the excitement. This is one great track and it shows what a band can do when they really push themselves. This will get lots of play.

The Soul Impossibles - "Interpretation: Soul Power No 1" b/w "Souladelic" (Jazzman Records / Funk 45 cat. Funk45.036)
James Brown is easily one of the most important if not the most influential force singularly responsible for late 60's early 70's Soul and Funk. Jazzman / Funk 45 drop one giant slab of 70's Funk in this small package. The Soul Impossibles obviously were very determined to show the world that not only could they hold their own with Soul Brother number 1 but they could extend one of his grooves, throw in a triple time break (for lack of a better word) and prove that they could easily take this thing called Funk to new heights and in different directions. The horns and percussion come off a bit like an Afro-Beat band but it is obvious from the organ, guitar, bass and vocals that these guys are straight up Funk. The little vocal blurb at the end throws a bit of a monkey wrench in the works. The vocal hints at the fact that this was "just another take (or song) for these guys. Vamping in this way comes naturally to The Soul Impossibles in the same way it may have for JB himself. That is not always evident in other tracks from the same time and even ones of the same caliber. "Souladelic" is crazy fast with a frantic tambourine and guitar leading the way. Once again it shows off how in the pocket these guys could be.There is a very 60's Garage sound to the organ which only makes it that much better for me. At times though it sounds as if the organ is being choked by the out of control pace. Again the track ends in such a way to make you think this was tossed off sans rehearsal. I'd be very curious to hear more by The Soul Impossibles but if this is all that exists I am very thankful to Jazzman records for making it available. These guys truly believed that nothing is impossible.

Johnny Cameron & The Camerons - "Funky John" b/w "I Love You (Yes I do)" (Atlantic cat. 45-2734)
I am never sure how to describe the sound of the guitar that opens this cut. The best way I have found is to call it "throaty." "Funky John" has always reminded me of early Earth Wind and Fire. There is a definite party feel with shouts, hoots, laughs and the occasional "UHH!' There are horns a plenty and they speak loud and clear creating a vocal complete with a chorus and even chicken squawks. The reason I have not picked one of these up previously is the lack of Organ but this Funky monster definitely does not suffer because of it. It is a hard hitting instrumental that never lets up.

Kool And Together - "Sittin' On A Red Hot Stove" b/w "Hey Now Baby" (Pacemaker Records cat PM-1977 (Producer: Huey's Sugar Hill Studios, Houston Texas))
Easily one of my longest standing want list records and it is NOT an instrumental. Quite the opposite. This track is all about the tortured voices struggling to get their words out. There are two definite lead vocals and neither one even tries to sing in Harmony with the other. Their pleas seem to fall upon deaf ears as they repeat themselves over and over. If this is advice it couldn't be less clear what they are trying to say. More likely they are pleading their case to a young lady who may be a little cooled by their reputation. "Sittin' On A Red Hot Stove, You're Gonna Be Fine... Put'Cha' On A Red Hot Stove, You're Gonna Be Fine." and again and again. GROOVE ME BABY! No matter what it is, I love it. The music is beautifully simple and hard as hell. The perfect mood is set by Heavy HEAVY Bass, close mic'd Drums that pound you in the face, Percussion and Guitar that seems content to be in the background occasionally peppering the sound with moments of volume. There is a Bass break toward the end mimicking the intro and it will always make me say DAMN! as it slowly starts things up again The vocals jump back in and it all fades out within seconds.

Menomena - Friend or Foe (FILM Guerrero FG27)
The first I heard this was via the putrid mis-service known as MP3's. After only a few seconds of the LP I wanted to flog myself and apologize to each member of Menomena individually. The LP has a very full sound with miles of depth. Songs like "The Pelican" jump off the LP and explode with atomic bombs as well as party snappers. FUCK! I HATE MP3's! Menomena have a formula for what they do and if you believe the band they also have a computer program that controls a lot of the composition. BUT, this is a formula worth sticking with. Art Rock and emotional as well as aggressive and pissed. Sometimes influences are obvious (XTC) but for the most part Menomena are truly original. The packaging, like all the band's releases, is definitely worth mentioning. Stunning, black brush and ink (?) drawings cover every inch of the tri-fold gatefold cover drawn by the band's friend Craig Thompson. The cover is die-cut to expose the inner workings through a belly, a mouth, a thought and a brain . Through these windows we can read each song title by spinning the paper disc riveted into the cover. The angelic, (halo included) oblong, pure white creature dead center exposes the song sequence with numerical values and a blank stare. You could look at this cover for hours on every drug known to man in every possible combination and it will always be the best single illustration to represent the complexity of flavors, tones, textures, sounds, feelings and irritations contained in the grooves.

The Three Suns - "Just One More Chance" b/w "The Creep" (RCA Victor cat. 47-5553)
"The Creep" reigns pretty high on my "favorite tracks of all-time list." I have had this on 78 for many, many years and have enjoyed it when ever I can get over to my brothers and enjoy a 78 the way it was meant to be heard. Not long ago my Brother and I DJ'd a party with nothing but 78's and I believe we spun this two or three times. Maybe the very mysterious Three Suns thought this was as scary as they possibly could get. Maybe it was down right spooky when it was released BUT what intrigues me most is the very 60's organ sound pumping in the background. Heavy baritone honks step out of the shadows as guitar and squeeze box chase each other around. The organ goes from spooky almost Theremin sounds to traditional fifties Lounge style to what can only be described as 60's Soul Jazz Organ. Not in an out right Funky Soul way but more so from a tonal aspect. Despite my love of the organ it is the guitar that is the star of this Haunted House. It sits back after its initial interplay with the others but the guitar really lets loose about half way in. At the break the creepy baritone honks let us know we are back to where we started. The organ sneaks up behind before leaping out in that 50's Lounge meets 60's Soul SSSSOUND. It all wraps up wonderfully with a quick re-statement, quick guitar lick and an ending that can only be described as ghosts slipping into an attic as the door closes slowly. I true favorite for both myself and apparently Mamie Eisenhower. The Space Group - & this very researched site

Johnny Lee Wills and Boys - "Blub Twist" b/w "Your Love For Me Is Losing Light" (SIMS Records cat. 129)
WOW! This is one special little rekkid. Johnny Lee Wills is of course the brother of Bob Wills and his renamed Texas Playboys as just plain and simple Boys. This thing comes out kicking with guitar and sax blasting and the big ass band jumping in line. Apparently Johnny Lee and Boys had the honor of hosting the longest running continuous live music broadcast (25 years) in radio history. "Blub Twist" has a touch of the Pat Boone cleaning up Little Richard but it certainly is NEVER corny. My favorite moment is the trumpet solo which is rarely ever hear on a Rock Instrumental. Usually that honor is bestowed on the sax or guitar (and sometimes even both).