Monday, January 23, 2006
"The Spot Ten Nineteen is discussed"
Spot 1019's first album, now on CD, turns twenty years old in 2006. Superficially a classic power trio with a writhing lead singer, Spot inverted every convention it found in the course of its smart, determined and unique career. Their web pages don't seem to have been updated since before Colin Powell's resignation, but at the time of the last update they announced a new CD, "In Her Satanic Majesty's Secret Service Entrance." They deserved a great deal more attention than they got as youngsters, but you can still adopt a new favorite band, one that's sadder and wiser, more bitterly funny than ever. A band more like you.
CMJ wrote this about the first album. Something in the tone tells all you need to know about the shot the machine was willing to give them, man. Around 1990 Spot's lead singer Joe Sloan told an interviewer that in a world where people claim Rod Stewart has a meat and potatoes rock voice, his would probably qualify as macaroni and cheese.
Find your checkbook, go on line to their BUY STUFF page, get their mailing address and send them some money. They'll send you some scorching grinding grooves with a brilliant madman's freely associated rhymes and sideways smartassery. The new album makes four from which to choose. The two songs posted below are from the debut album, depicted above with the lovely spray-painted macaroni on ramen panels artwork.
Spot 1019 - Taste the Feel
Spot 1019 - Copacetic
Posted by Steven Strauss at 1:50 PM
Friday, January 20, 2006
On the subject of musical evolution I can heartily recommend Richard Hadlock's illuminating book, "Jazz Masters Of The Twenties." (As of this writing there are thirty one used copies in paperback at Amazon dot com, from $3.49.) His chapter "The Chicagoans" describes in detail some congruent and overlapping spheres of musical influence in the world of Bix and Hoagy and George Wettling and Dave Tough. The book provides a perspective on creating music wholly unrelated to the usual "Sonny Rollins returned from exile with a mission burning within..." claptrap.
Like any language, music can only be understood to the extent that listener and player share points of reference. Music is created in community, and its sounds are made of the music its players remember. You'd be surprised how much jazz writing forgets that.
Posted by Steven Strauss at 12:21 PM
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Yes, Connie - singer Connie Doolan
Just so you don't assume from my windy entries here at the web log that I'm always full of hot air, here's a confession. Connie Doolan asked me to submit a little bit of text for the liner notes of the new album by Connie Doolan Quartet, of which I am the bass playing member. In five weeks I started three different little submissions, but I couldn't bear to send any of them for approval.
I'm certainly proud of the recordings; the musicianship of my colleagues is exceptionally good, and it definitely brings forth my best effort. I don't usually have a better time playing music in other company, and I couldn't ask to be stuck backstage with nicer, more interesting people. The good time I have contributing to a musical whole has never been better. They let me play 'ukulele on one song, and they asked me to write a string section for another. Why I couldn't write anything worth reading about one of the very best records I've ever been part of, I may never know.
Here's an all-acoustic excerpt from an early, abandoned take of one of the songs we recorded for our "debut" CD. I was tickled that Connie took my suggestion that "Sunday Blues," the Julie London classic, would look great on her. I'll post something from the CD when it finally appears in the spring.
Connie Doolan Quartet - Sunday Blues - Take 3 (conclusion)
Posted by Steven Strauss at 11:18 AM
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I realize it's esoteric, but here is my favorite 'ukulele oriented web page EVER! We in the 'ukulele community have not been begging for a web news portal that satirizes every embarassing aspect of the 'ukulele community. That has not stopped Alligator Boogie from giving Jon Stewart a little niche market competition. I'll show you a screen cap and you'll get the idea.
Posted by Steven Strauss at 10:45 AM
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Kishore Kumar sang beautifully, in a language I don't understand. That's probably all to the good. But I love to hear him sing, particularly this sinuous melody. Lounge music could sound like this if it wanted to.
Kishore Kumar - Kuchh To Log Kahenge
kuchh to log kahenge, logaane kaa kaam hain kahanaa
chhodo, bekaar kee baato mein , kahee beet naa jaaye rainaa
kuchh reet jagat kee ayesee hai
har yek subah kee shaam huyee
too kaun hai, teraa naam hain kyaa
seetaa bhee yahaa badanaam huyee
fir kyo sansaar kee baaton se
bheeg gaye tere nainaa
hum ko jo taane dete hai
hum khoye hain in rang raliyon me
hum ne un ko bhee chhup chhup ke
aate dekhaa in galiyon me
ye sach hain zoothhee baat nahee
tum bolo ye sach hain naa
Searching for more to learn about this song, I found an intriguing web log, well-written, easy for a reasonably bright novice to start getting a sense of Hindi culture. The blogger, a successful author of popular books from Mumbai, just used the song title as shorthand for something I don't comprehend, writing nothing about the song itself. Go to that page by clicking here, but after that, I hope you'll explore the whole site. You can learn a lot by accident on the 'net, don't you think?
Posted by Steven Strauss at 11:38 PM
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Sophia Loren said that despite his wit, charm and tenacity, Peter Sellers did not get lucky. His first wife divorced him all the same in 1961. Perhaps his unrequited longing for the Italian screen star inspired this delightful depiction of wedded bliss, "Bangers and Mash." To make a record this enjoyable I should be so unlucky. (Oh, and George Martin produced it, if I'm not mistaken.)
Bangers And Mash - Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren
Posted by Steven Strauss at 12:03 AM
Monday, January 02, 2006
On their way to stardom: Genuine Diamelles
The Genuine Diamelles, San Francisco's psychedelic glee club of the nineties, never put out a recording during their brief and dazzling existence. They opened for Bowie, delighting the headliner and his arena audience alike; they blew thousands of minds at the Hotel Utah, fifty at a time. They were like Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner, saying to us when the end was near, "if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes."
As the memory of the Diamelles began to fade, the members were engaged in new pursuits: Smelley (see entry for December 14) and Scott on to their new devotion, a "countrypolitan" outfit they called Red Meat, Deb staying close to home after about a decade singing and drumming, and junglebook holing up with his recording decks and a new dossier as DJ Junglebook.
Not too long ago some folks close to the group assembled a two CD retrospective, culling the studio demos and live recordings of this unique quartet of singers. As the set is once again out of print, I felt an urge to share a few impressive performances that really stand the test of time.
The first is a studio demo of four voices on microphones. The second is a live track of four voices with guitar. The third track is a solo performance by band member Scott Young, playing two brass instruments at once. You are liable to shake your head slowly and gape with wonder at one or more of these tracks.
Kashmir - Genuine Diamelles
Sesame Street - Genuine Diamelles
Yesterday - Genuine Diamelles
Web log Of DJ Junglebook
Web site of Red Meat band
Cool old A Capella thread w/ Genuine Diamelles info
Posted by Steven Strauss at 5:21 PM