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Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’ revealed


Detail from inside gatefold of Electric Ladyland record sleeve

Lithofayne Pridgon has led a truly extraordinary life. She was the lover and muse of some of the greatest musical icons of our time – Jimi Hendrix, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, “Fever” singer Little Willie John and Eddie Hazel, visionary guitarist of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic family tree; she was the best friend of Etta James, hung out with James Brown and Ike Turner and lived with Sly Stone in Bel Air at the height of his There’s a Riot Going On drugs-and-guns craziness. She was also signed on the spot to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun for an album that was recorded with Shuggie Otis, but never released. But it’s Hendrix with whom she is inextricably tied, becoming his lover in 1963 in his pre-fame Harlem years through till his death in 1970.

Dangerous Minds pal Chris Campion met Lithofayne Pridgon for a very rare interview and argues in the Guardian that, she was the inspiration for not only “Foxy Lady,” but a number of other of songs on Are You Experienced:

The profound influence she had on his life has been so sorely overlooked, it’s likely his love for Lithofayne inspired other songs, too. Certainly, a number of cuts on his debut album, Are You Experienced, seem to have been written with her in mind: the love he clearly felt was written in the stars, destined to last for eternity, of which he sings in “Love or Confusion”; the desperate plea for his devotion to be recognised in “Can You See Me” in which he wails, “Can you hear me cryin’ all over town?” (“If he couldn’t find me,” Lithofayne recalls, “everybody in Harlem knew he was looking for me.” She would visit her usual haunts and people would tell her, “Girl, Jimi, was by here, you better go.”) “And ‘Fire’, in which he determinedly edges every rival suitor for the subject of his affections out of the way.

 

Lithofayne and Jimi experience the food at Wells Chicken and Waffles in Harlem with Albert and Arthur Allen

The piece includes not only the revelation that she first met Hendrix at an orgy:

That day, she had gone out to run an errand for her mother and, on her way back home with the change, had stopped by one of Fat Jack’s apartments. She asked one of his men who was inside.“This little musician cat,” he told her. “I said, ‘Is he a virgin?’ He said, ‘No, but you’ll like him. He’s your type.’ He just knew what I liked.

“I liked skinny, raw-boned, over-fucked, underfed-looking guys,” she laughs. Hendrix, she says, was “my type.”

... but also that she may in fact be the great granddaughter of Henry Ford:

She was raised, for the most part, in a more well-to-do section of the city called Crosstown, by her paternal grandmother, said to be the illegitimate child of Henry Ford who kept a winter home in Georgia, several counties north. “Old man Henry Ford is supposed to have been my great granddaddy,” Lithofayne says. Although the Ford lineage was never definitely proven, her grandmother had a sizeable portfolio of land in Moultrie for reasons that couldn’t be explained — she earned money by taking in washing at a dollar a load.

 

With James Brown
 
Lithofayne Pridgon is said to be writing a memoir of her life in Harlem during the fifties and sixties. You can see her starting just before the one-minute mark in the trailer for the 1973 Jimi Hendrix documentary (look out for a pre-glam early 70s Lou Reed):
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Blood, Guts and Cocaine: Ivan Kral tells us what it was like to write, record and tour with Iggy Pop
03.23.2015
07:11 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Iggy Pop
Ivan Kral

Ivan and Iggy, 1979
Ivan and Iggy, 1979 (courtesy of Ivan Kral)

Ivan Kral sure has led an interesting life. The Prague-born songwriter and musician had his first brush with fame at the age of sixteen when a track by his band Saze broke the top ten in Czechoslovakia. But just as the song was breaking, his family relocated to New York City. In the early ‘70s, Ivan played in glam bands and, for a brief period, was part of Shaun Cassidy’s backing group. In 1974, he played guitar with an embryonic version of Blondie before joining the Patti Smith Group. As part of Smith’s unit, Ivan played guitar, bass and keyboards, appearing on all of her early records (including the seminal Horses ), and was involved in writing a number of her songs (he co-wrote “Dancing Barefoot,” one of Smith’s pivotal tunes). He’s also a documentarian, having had the foresight to capture Iggy and the Stooges on film, as well as the burgeoning punk scene happening at CBGB’s in the mid-‘70s, which became the documentary, Blank Generation.
 
The Patti Smith Group, 1975
Ivan, center, with the Patti Smith Group, 1975

The Patti Smith Group ended in 1979 when Smith began her self-imposed retirement, which left Ivan looking for a gig. He hooked up with Iggy Pop in time to play on the Ig’s 1980 album, Soldier, and subsequently became Iggy’s right-hand man, touring and writing a number of songs with the Godfather of Punk. Eight of those co-writes appeared on Party (1981), and while Ivan came up with some catchy and interesting tunes, Iggy’s lyrics often left much to be desired, and the production generally felt lifeless. If you’re in the mood for it, Party has its fair share of goofy charm, but it’s hard to imagine it appealing to fans, critics, or the general public at that time—and it ultimately didn’t. Party was a disappointment both critically and commercially, with Ivan quitting Iggy’s band before the year was out.
 
Party
 
Ivan is a rock star in his native land (there’s even a mid-‘90s documentary about him, with another in the works), and has released ten solo records in the Czech Republic; the most recent is called Always. For some time now he has resided in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is somewhat ironic, as the college town is also the birthplace of the Stooges.

The following interview was conducted via email. A big THANKS to Ivan for letting us use some photos from his personal archive.

How did you meet Iggy?:

Ivan: There was an unknown blonde guy in a yoga pose—naked in my living room. He gets up, extends a hand and says, “I’m Iggy Pop and I’m producing your next album,” for Luger, my 1973 glam band. I was thinking, “Yeah sure, he’s just another nobody with big plans.” After I saw the Stooges I realized that I was the nobody with big plans.

So, I went to The Stooges show at the Academy of Music in New York City. He owned the crowd. Fans were begging to be humiliated by him. He’d spit and they’d thank him. Never saw anything like it. I was filming with my “movie camera” (no sound) anticipating his next move so I wouldn’t waste film. Every second counted. I’ve posted a few clips on YouTube.

More from Ivan, plus a live Iggy video, after the jump

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Discussion
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The world will never run out of ‘newly uncovered’ David Bowie videos
03.20.2015
02:57 pm

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
David Bowie


 
One of the questions we used to get asked a lot in the early days of this blog is if we thought we’d ever “run out of stuff” to feature here. After nearly six years if the seemingly bottomless pit of newly uncovered David Bowie videos alone is anything to go by, the answer is a definitive “No.”

Or perhaps I should write “Non” as these two er… newly uncovered clips, via the David Bowie News website, come from France originally. French photojournalist Philippe Auliac first shot Bowie at Victoria Station in London in 1976, the infamous incident (or non-incident as the case seemed to be) where the thin white duke was supposedly doing a fascist salute standing up in a car à la der Fuhrer. Since then he’s shot Bowie several times over the decades and he was kind enough to share his stash of Bowie vids with the world, which haven’t been seen since they were originally aired on French television in the late 1970s. (Two are embedded here, there’s a third, an interview at the Plaza hotel in New York here).
 

 
For your chance to win a print of one of his classic Bowie shots signed by Philippe, (as seen in his David Bowie - Passenger book) click over to David Bowie News and answer this question: On what date was Philippe’s shot of Bowie at Victoria Station taken?

After the jump, two ‘newly uncovered’ David Bowie videos

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Before he wrote ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonalds’ and ‘Kurt Cobain,’ Wesley Willis was a street artist
03.20.2015
01:38 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Wesley Willis

Wesley Willis Rock Over London
 
If you know anything about Wesley Willis, you’re probably familiar with him as a quirky, hilarious and ultra-prolific songwriter performing as both a solo artist and with the punk-fueled Wesley Willis Fiasco. Willis, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1989, gained a cult following in the 1990’s preforming songs like “I Wupped Batman’s Ass,” ”Kurt Cobain,” and, perhaps most famously, “Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonalds” to list just a few.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Post punk icons as classic Marvel Comics superheroes
03.20.2015
07:41 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Music
Punk

Tags:
Marvel Comics
Butcher Billy


 
Butcher Billy, the Brazilian designer behind the hilarious “Post/Punk New Wave Superfriends,” which reimagined punk and post punk icons in the guise of Justice League superheroes, has given Marvel Comics their fair turn. Because you NEEDED to see Siouxsie Sioux as Scarlet Witch, Mark Mothersbaugh as Iron Man, John Lydon as Wolverine, and Ian Curtis as Spider-Man. And I needed to finally get a chance to write the phrase MORRISSEY SMASH!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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‘Tutti Frutti,’ Little Richard’s graphic ode to butt sex?
03.20.2015
07:08 am

Topics:
Music
Sex

Tags:
Little Richard


 
Never forget that “Tutti Frutti”—the song grandma danced to, the song you sang at the church picnic, the song that lent its name to a popular chain of frozen yogurt stands—began as a bawdy celebration of butt sex. Little Richard recorded bowdlerized lyrics for his 1955 hit single, and the popularity of the throwaway tune, whose main appeal seemed to reside in the original version’s goofy lyrics about lust and lube, took its author by surprise:

I’d been singing “Tutti Frutti” for years, but it never struck me as a song you’d record. I didn’t go to New Orleans to record no “Tutti Frutti.” Sure, it used to crack the crowds up when I sang it in the clubs, with those risqué lyrics: Tutti Frutti, good booty/If it don’t fit, don’t force it/You can grease it, make it easy…

But I never thought it would be a hit, even with the lyrics cleaned up.

Well, I was at home in Macon when I heard them play it on Randy’s Record Mart, Radio WLAC out of Nashville, Tennessee. The disk jockey Gene Nobles said, “This is the hottest record in the country. This guy Little Richard is taking the record market by storm.” I couldn’t believe it. My old song a hit!

Friends, imagine the kind of world we’d be living in today if Pat Boone had gotten his hands on the original version of “Tutti Frutti.”

The original dirty lyrics, or at least what can be recalled of them, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Finally: The Peanuts gang takes on AC/DC, Led Zep, Journey, Floyd, and the Who


 
Everyone’s already seen YouTube videos in which Snoopy, Pigpen, and the rest bop and gyrate to the dulcet tones of Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum.” In fact, lots of folks have repurposed that dancing footage from A Charlie Brown Christmas to make it seem like the Peanuts gang is into Pharrell or whatever.

But it took YouTube user Garren Lazar/Super G to see the possibilities in the rest of the animated Peanuts oeuvre. He has made a whopping 34 videos (!) using Peanuts characters to animate videos for songs by a variety of classic hard rock acts, as seen below. These videos are remarkably good—I especially like the use of Schroeder’s impressionistic “Pathétique” sequence, which was just waiting to be used for something like this. The Peanuts version of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”—24 minutes long, mind you—is especially mind-blowing.
 

 
I’ve embedded a few of my favorites here, but there’s plenty more on Garren Lazar’s YouTube page.
 
Led Zeppelin, “In the Light”:

 
More “classic rock” fun with the Peanuts gang after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Wild Angel,’ the 1976 album Lou Reed produced for his college roommate
03.19.2015
07:23 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Lou Reed
Nelson Slater


 
In 1976, Lou Reed produced Nelson Slater’s debut LP, Wild Angel. In the early 60s, both men had attended Syracuse, where they were bandmates and, according to at least one source, roommates. The two rockers would have gravitated toward one another, according to Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison, who recalled:

Syracuse was very, very straight. There was a one percent lunatic fringe.

The album’s back cover reproduces a note from Slater, introducing the singer to his audience. Recording artists used to do things like this.

I first knew Lou when we played together in a band at school in upstate New York. We kept in touch, and the last time I ran into him in San Francisco he decided it was time to unleash me on the world. This is what we came up with on my first album. Hope you find something nice within.

Nelson Slater
March 1976

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Wild Angel to anyone who likes Reed’s 70s work. The band consists mainly of players from Reed’s Coney Island Baby and Rock and Roll Heart albums (namely, bassist Bruce Yaw, drummer Mike Suchorsky, saxophonist Marty Fogel, and guitarist Bob Kulick), and Reed himself is all over Wild Angel, playing guitar and piano and singing backing vocals. To my ears, Slater’s voice falls somewhere between Daryl Hall’s and David Byrne’s, which sounds more pleasant than you might imagine.

 

Reed and Slater performing together
 
Victor Bockris’ Reed biography, Transformer, has only this to say about Wild Angel:

After finishing [Rock and Roll Heart], however, Lou managed to muster the energy to produce an album, called Wild Angel, for a friend of Lou’s at Syracuse, Nelson Slater. “That was one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Reed commented. “RCA released it to about three people, I think. So no one very much noticed it. I think we sold six copies.” The critics who picked up on it singled out a track called “We” as a great showcase for Reed’s production talents.

In 2011, around the time he released his second album, Steam-Age Time-Giant, Slater discussed his career in an interview with WFMU. He attributed the poor showing of his debut, at least in part, to the S&M imagery in Mick Rock’s cover photo, and said that the final mix of Wild Angel was a disappointment:

I was in San Francisco at that time, and I had an incredible demo tape that I got RCA interested in, and things were cooking, and I actually signed with the label, and I needed a producer who wouldn’t produce, you know? My ideas are maybe a little difficult for a conventional producer to really get into. So, after looking for a producer for about a year, talking to Lou [about] the frustration I was having, he said, ‘Why don’t I try.’ [...] [The album was] a great disaster. The mix wasn’t quite representative of what we actually recorded. To me, it was way too soft.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Gary Quazar: Unknown 1979 sci-fi prog-punk insanity finally demands an audience
03.19.2015
06:53 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
punk rock
Gary Quazar


 
I’m about to describe a very specific First-World-Problem that will sound completely stupid to anyone other than record collectors who have reached a certain level of accumulation -  but they will totally understand this. You know how you sometimes buy records faster than you can play them and you end up with those piles that might end up there for years before you ever get around to re-discovering shit you acquired who-knows-how-long-ago? Yes, it’s a thing that actually happens and it recently happened to me—I was going through a stack of 45s that had been waiting to be played for - who knows? - five years? One of the records I pulled out caught my eye because the cover was so weird. I couldn’t remember where or when I had actually purchased it, but I was damn sure why—this thing looked downright bizarre. It was a three song EP from 1979 by a fella named Gary Quazar, who according to the back cover was responsible for vocals, guitar, base (sic), and synthesizer. As soon as I put the thing on the turntable I was in love, and proceeded to keep flipping sides, playing it over and over all night long. “Base” may not have actually been a misspelling. There may indeed have been some baseing going on in the production of this EP. It’s completely nuts.
 

 
The music of Gary Quazar isn’t easily pigeon-holeable. It’s simultaneously punk, new wave, prog, and metal. You can hear King Crimson and Von LMO and Hawkwind and Middle Class, with vocals that sound like the unholy offspring of DEVO’s “Booji Boy” and the girl from Suburban Lawns. It’s just straight up weird and fast and incredibly out-there, and I’m willing to bet ol’ Gary didn’t really fit in with many “scenes” back in 1979. What do you call this? Sci-fi prog-core? Whatever it is, it’s fucking awesome.

So this record became sort of an instant-obsession, and I went straight to the Internet to find the scoop on Gary. That journey left more questions than answers, as Gary Quazar seems to be a bit of a mystery artist. A search for the specific record only revealed it being on some want-lists and auction results of it having sold a couple of times. Further digging into an alternate spelling of “Gary Quasar” revealed an old myspace page that has some of Gary’s other music recorded under the name “Panty Raid.” I recommend checking those tunes out, even though I don’t think they are quite as wild as the songs on the EP.
 

 
Following the “Gary Quasar” and “Panty Raid” breadcrumbs, I stumbled upon this crazy story about Gary which seems to indicate he was a bit of a, uh, wild-man.

The Gary Quazar saga continues after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Discussion
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Before he was Jimi: Jimmy Hendrix with Curtis Knight and the Squires
03.19.2015
06:10 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
Jimi Hendrix
Curtis Knight and the Squires


 
It’s pretty much impossible to fully tell the tale of Jimi Hendrix’s ascendance to the guitar-god pantheon without invoking the names of a Harlem R&B singer known professionally as Curtis Knight (née McNear) and a producer named Ed Chalpin. Knight was a veteran of R&B and Doo Wop groups like the Ink Spots and the Titans, who struck out on his own as a talented but only modestly successful bandleader. Knight happened to live in the same building as Hendrix, then still “Jimmy” Hendrix, a struggling journeyman, and after a fateful meeting in their building’s lobby, Knight brought Hendrix into his band the Squires, and introduced him to his manager, the aforesaid Ed Chalpin. It was around this time, October of 1965, that Chalpin signed Hendrix to an infamous exclusive three-year contract with a $1 advance and a promise of 1% royalties. Hendrix was already under contract with Sue Records (prophetic name, given what was to come), and maintained that he signed with Chalpin under the misapprehension that he was merely signing a session release for his work as a sideman. He remained under that belief for long enough that, when he was famously discovered by the Animals’ Chas Chandler, the Chalpin contract was the only one Chandler never bought out. That blunder haunted Hendrix’s career even beyond his death, and the legal knots surrounding those three years have only just been untangled last year.
 

 
Over the decades, Chalpin has released much Curtis Knight and the Squires material, misleadingly, under Hendrix’s name, but often in truncated form, or in crummy sounding editions meant to be passed off as “lost” Hendrix material to rake in quick bucks—one such opportunistic LP was even released in between Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, tricking some fans into believing it was the second Jimi Hendrix Experience LP! All of which is a DRAG, as the Squires’ music deserves consideration on its own merits. Though they would likely have remained almost entirely unheralded were it not for the Hendrix connection, Curtis Knight and the Squires were a good band. Their original work was right in place with much of the energetic, guitar-based R&B of the time, and thrillingly, you can plainly hear Hendrix’s signature style throughout it all.

Hear some EARLY Jimi, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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