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The next to last waltz: The Band live in Asbury Park, NJ, 1976
07.21.2014
01:45 pm

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Music

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The Band


 
When The Band were taped in concert at Asbury Park’s Casino Arena on July 20, 1976—thirty eight years ago yesterday to be exact—plans were already afoot for their final appearance that fall in San Francisco that would be filmed for Martin Scorsese’s documentary, The Last Waltz. Knowing that this show would be among their final onstage outings together as a band, The Band are in fine form here, the energy is high and, as always, the musicianship is as good as it gets.

Recently, I posted about the full “Last Waltz” concert as it was recorded via Winterlands house video feed which is fascinating on so many levels, but not the least of which is hearing The Band without all of the studio fussing and overdubs that Robbie Robertson is famous (infamous?) for. Here, as with that (truly incredible) “Alternate Last Waltz” video, what we have is The Band, a group fabled for their near-telepathic communication as musicians as they actually sounded in the raw… damned good! (And unlike in The Last Waltz, you get to see the other band members besides Robbie Robertson. At least you can see the top of Garth Hudson’s head from time to time!)

The version of “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” at 1:12:00 is a must listen—it might be my top favorite song by The Band—and the final encore of “Life Is A Carnival” that follows it is a thing of great beauty also.

Until or unless a full show from The Band taped after this one turns up, I guess you could call this one the “next to last waltz.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Be a fly on the wall when Bob Dylan and Bette Midler went into the studio together, 1975
07.21.2014
11:06 am

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Music

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Bob Dylan
Bette Midler


 
Bob Dylan and Bette Midler recorded together in October 1975 duetting on a cover of “Buckets of Rain” for her Songs for the New Depression album. Dylan apparently also wanted Midler to be a part of his Rolling Thunder Revue. Six years ago, a 27-minute long fly on the wall recording from this session started making the rounds on bootleg sites as part of Bob Dylan New York Sessions 1974-1975.

The original bootlegger says:

“It opens with some upgrades of the original Blood On The Tracks sessions from September 1974, and progresses chronologically through some early Desire sessions, winding up to the main event: almost half an hour of never-heard October 1975 session outtakes of the recording of Bette Midler’s cover of “Buckets Of Rain” with Dylan, which would show up on her Songs For The New Depression album the following January.”

At one point Midler demures saying, “I can’t sing ‘I ain’t no monkey,’” but Dylan gently coaxes her into it.  Moogy Klingman backs them on piano and at one point Dylan sings a full-throated version of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles “You Really Got A Hold On Me” with and Midler. The Divine Miss M also dishes on Paul Simon, who she says refuses to speak to her.

“This’ll show him!”

Midler cattily refers to Patti Smith as well, saying “At least I can sing in tune!” What exactly she is referring to here is not spelled out, but in an interview with Barry Miles, Smith tells the story of Midler throwing a beer in her face at a Dylan-related private event in New York around this time. Maybe she saw Patti as competition for Dylan’s affections? (Midler later revealed that she got to “first base” with Dylan in his Cadillac, so perhaps that’s what the remark and the beer incident was all about?)
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Chuck Berry and Little Richard headline the London Rock & Roll Show 1972

rockpos72.jpg
 
The London Rock and Roll Show was the first major pop concert to be held at Wembley Stadium, the sports arena later famed for LiveAid and the Freddie Mercury tribute concert.

Headlining the show that day on August 5, 1972 were the undisputed Kings of Rock ‘n’ Roll Chuck Berry and Little Richard. These gods were ably supported by Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Screaming Lord Sutch and Billy Fury. Some of the booked acts couldn’t make the concert due to visa issues, but those who did turn up delivered a blistering set of rock ‘n’ roll classics. The whole event was filmed by Peter Clifton, who later directed Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same, and given a brief cinema release. The performances are interspersed by an interview with Mick Jagger who gives his thoughts about the show—something he claims could never have happened a decade before—and watch out for a young Malcolm McLaren selling T-shirts at his Let It Rock stall.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘CSNY 1974’: Listen to exclusive live tracks from Crosby, Still, Nash and Young


Photo: Joel Bernstein

Not only am I one of those people who gets all squirmy if a concert goes on for much longer than an hour, I tend to really hate live albums. So why did I spend six straight hours yesterday listening intently to CSNY 1974, the new 40 song live box set from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young all the way through twice in back to back playings? Because it’s the best archival rock release of the year…

The coked-out megalomanical circus that saw David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and Neil Young storm across America in the first and most decadent superstar open air stadium tour of the rock era was nicknamed the “Doom Tour” by Crosby because of the feuding, the drugs and the fact that a small army of promoters and hangeroners were sucking at their hyper-megastar corporate rock teets like there was no tomorrow. There had been big rock tours in the past, but CSNY’s extra ginormous 1974 outing—dreamed up by manager Elliot Roberts and put into action by rock promoter Bill Graham—was like plotting an invasion of each new town that the show moved to. The beachheads were 50-70,000 seat football arenas, which saw stages erected and massive PA systems hooked up by a legion of roadies. Other acts on the tour included The Band, Joni Mitchell, Santana and the Beach Boys.

The “Doom Tour” grossed $11 million back when $11 million was still a hell of a lot of money, but the principals only pocketed half a mill each after expenses (and the promoters) were paid. There’s an amusing “oral history” of the trek at Rolling Stone.com. Only Young kept both feet (literally) on the ground, traveling in a bus with his son Zeke and avoiding the insanity, but suffice to say that the debauchery and rockstar egos—at least from the evidence on display here—didn’t interfere with the music, which is insanely good.
 

“Carry Me”

The musicianship on CSNY 1974  is first rate, better even than their earlier live album 4 Way Street as each member had creatively matured since the 1970 tour. In Stephen Stills we have one of the single most remarkable guitarists of the rock era. Don’t get me wrong, Neil Young is no slouch on the six-string himself, but with Stills—as opposed to with Crazy Horse—his ragged, idiosyncratic playing is obliged to conform to, fight against and to parry with Stills’ more structured and almost architectural guitar style. Musically at least, they bring out the best in each other, but it’s Stills who provides the foundation in CSNY that Young reacts to and then he in turn reacts to what Young does, and lemme tell ya, it’s breathtaking. If, like some people, you approach CSNY solely from the POV of Young’s perhaps more “aloof” contributions, these are some canonical performances by him here that I think any Neil Young freak would go absolutely nuts over. (Five of the songs in the set composed by Young—“Traces,” “Goodbye Dick,” “Love Art Blues,” “Hawaiian Sunrise” and “Pushed It Over the End” –appear on CSNY 1974 for the first time on any official release.)

For all the talk of the backstage feuds, there is simply no sign of this in the onstage camaraderie documented here, which is supportive, fraternal and joyously ecstatic. A good example of this comes with Stills’ delicate piano backing of Young on “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.” Other highlights of the set include several “solo” numbers: a simply smouldering take on Young’s “On The Beach,” a gorgeous rendition of Crosby’s confessional “Carry Me” (at that point still un-issued on record), Nash’s “Grave Concern” from his dark, nearly unknown Wild Tales solo LP and Stills’ motherfucker of a rip, spitting his way through a frantic “Word Game.”

There are various configurations of CSNY 1974 on vinyl, CDs, DVD and Blu-ray Pure Audio discs. Unless you have to have vinyl (and are a masochist who loves flipping six records over) I’d highly suggest going with the version that Rhino sent me, the Blu-ray, which has all 40 songs—there were three sets, two rock sets with an acoustic set in between—on one disc so you can just relax and take it all in for three hours. Another reason to opt for the Blu-ray set is that it sounds really, really good. Produced by Graham Nash and the group’s longtime archivist, Joel Bernstein, the set was culled from the tapes of nine shows that were recorded by Elliot Mazer, the tour’s audio engineer and others. The audio quality here is astonishingly good for 40-year-old live recordings to begin with, but it would be remarkable sounding if it was recorded yesterday. The acoustic guitars chime, the electric leads cut through you like a knife, Stills and Young’s duelling guitars complement and argue with each other. You’ve got the heavenly harmonies of Crosby and Nash mic’d so closely that you can hear their breath. The piano has presence and clarity as if it had been recorded in a studio and not at an open air sports arena in front of 50,000 screaming fans. You get the idea. At least when all of that money was flying out the door unaccounted for, they got these great recordings out of it. The mastering was done by Bernie Grundman (an audiophile mark of distinction) after it was mixed down by Nash, Bernstein and Stanley Tajima Johnston in 192-kHz/24-bit resolution. [To anyone who says that stuff doesn’t make a difference, I defy you to listen to the acoustic set on Blu-ray and tell me you’ve heard a more “intimate” sounding live recording, ever. I suspect that Nash and Bernstein presented their work to Stills and the notoriously picky audiophile Young with confidence. What else would there be for Neil Young to say other than “Hey, great job, guys!”?]
 


“Grave Concern”

To my mind CSNY 1974 is the “classic rock” release of the year so far. It’s so damned good that I can’t imagine anything coming along and topping it, either, but if that did occur, then 2014 will be a good year for rock snobs, overflowing with an embarrassment of riches like this and the Led Zeppelin remasters.

Like the majority of Amazon reviewers, Ima gonna give CSNY 1974 five stars. One woman writes that she bought it for her husband and gave it to him before they were going to go out and eat. They opted instead to stay home and listen to it all the way through. That was my reaction to it, too. I expected to like it, but I liked it so much that I spent six hours straight with it. Not listening while surfing on my iPad, but listening to it. Listening intently and digging the shit out of it. In summation: CSNY 1974 is fucking good. You want a box set to feel like a good value and Christmas day simultaneously and this one truly does.

(Did I mention that there’s a separate DVD of video performances shot at Wembley Stadium and at Landover, MD’s Capital Centre? That’s awesome, too.)

Here’s something fascinating, a black and white video recording of an impromptu CSNY set taped at Winterland in 1973. It was originally a Stephen Stills and Manassas concert, then some “very special guests” showed up. At the time Neil Young was on his Tonight’s the Night tour with the Santa Monica Flyers and Crosby & Nash were touring as a duo. It’s sloppy, sure, the four hadn’t played together in over two years at this point, but it’s history, baby! Neil Young, perhaps emphasizing his independence from the other three, doesn’t come onstage until the fifth number:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘I have come to die with you’: Nico performs ‘Genghis Khan’ on French TV, 1979
07.18.2014
09:35 am

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Music

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Nico


 
On June 27, 1979, accompanied only by her harmonium, Nico performed a stunning “Genghis Khan,” a typically atmospheric number that would later appear on her 1981 Drama of Exile album, on French television.

I have come to lie with you
I have come to die with you
On your padded shoulder
And your golden chest
In a wilderness of glass we rest
And all the flowers they are our words
And my chances follow dances Into a storm afraid
A sweet and bitter rest he gets
A sweet and bitter rest he gets
I have come to lie with you
I have come to die with you.

They don’t write ‘em like that anymore, do they?

The golf claps from the audience at the end speak volumes! There are so few professionally “in studio” performances by her. This one is a bleak gem.

Nico, real name Christa Päffgen, died on this day in 1988 at the age of 48. More or less off heroin at that point, but still struggling with it, she was living with her son Ari Boulogne in Ibiza. One very hot day she decided to take her bike into town to buy some marijuana, but had a heart attack along the way, hitting her head as she fell and causing a severe cerebral hemorrhage. A cabdriver found her but she was mistakenly diagnosed as suffering from heat exposure at the hospital and died later that evening.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Pizza-themed ‘punk’ albums are stupid, but funny
07.18.2014
09:11 am

Topics:
Amusing
Food
Music

Tags:
Pizza


 
I kinda hate myself for blogging this, but yet, here I am… fucking blogging this! I laughed at a few these, okay?! The Richard Hell and The Voidoids album cover with the Domino’s Pizza character the Noid is sorta genius. Or maybe not. Perhaps I’m just easily amused.

So why do these exist, you ask? Riot Fest is holding an online contest where folks are asked to “pizzafy” any punk album of their choice and a winner will be chosen on July 31, 2014. The winner is picked by Internet voters. 
 

 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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David Bowie in his tighty-whiteys, 1973
07.18.2014
07:49 am

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Amusing
Fashion
Music
Pop Culture

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David Bowie


 
Many of you have probably already seen these stills of David Bowie in his “tighty-whiteys” from a 1973 photoshoot. I think they should be resurrected from time-to-time here on Dangerous Minds. Never forget!

Admittedly, I still giggle like a young schoolgirl every damned time I see these.


 

 

 
h/t Britrockaholic

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘The Black Man in the Cosmos’: Sun Ra teaches at UC Berkeley, 1971
07.18.2014
06:48 am

Topics:
Music
Race
Thinkers

Tags:
Sun Ra


 
The first thing I’d do with a time machine is point it to Berkeley, California, 1971. Those are the spacetime coordinates of the Afro-American Studies course Sun Ra taught at UC Berkeley. I’ve never been able to find an image of an original syllabus, but the reading list reportedly included the King James Bible, Blavatsky, Ouspensky, Radix by Bill Looney, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, LeRoi Jones’ Black Fire, The Real History of the Rosicrucians, The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians, The Rosicrucians: Their Rites and Mysteries, OAHSPE, and In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom.

According to John F. Szwed’s scholarly biography Space Is The Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra, when students complained that some of these books were impossible to find, their professor “merely smiled knowingly”—of course the books that disclosed the secret history of the world were hard to come by. Szwed describes the class:

“Every week during the spring quarter of 1971 he met his class, Afro-American Studies 198: ‘The Black Man in the Cosmos,’ in a large room in the music department building. Although a respectable number of students signed up, after a couple of classes it was down to a handful (‘What could you expect with a course named like that,’ Sun Ra once chortled). [...] But it was a proper course—Sun Ra had after all trained to be a teacher in college—with class handouts, assignments, and a reading list which made even the most au courant sixties professors’ courses pale.

[...] In a typical lecture, Sun Ra wrote biblical quotes on the board and then ‘permutated’ them—rewrote and transformed their letters and syntax into new equations of meaning, while members of the Arkestra passed through the room, preventing anyone from taping the class. His lecture subjects included Neoplatonic doctrines; the application of ancient history and religious texts to racial problems; pollution and war; and a radical reinterpretation of the Bible in light of Egyptology.”

Apparently, the Arkestra’s agents failed to prevent the taping of Sun Ra’s May 4 lecture, a recording of which surfaced on the double-CD set The Creator Of The Universe. Though the recording starts and ends abruptly in mid-sentence, it’s actually of higher fidelity than much of the master’s officially sanctioned musical product (just listen to the tapping of the chalk on the board). The whole thing is worth listening to, but for me the climax comes around the 37-minute mark. “If you’re not mad at the world, you don’t have what it takes,” Sun Ra told his musicians, and towards the end of the lecture, the questions of a tardy student seem to touch a nerve. Prof. Ra’s improvised response is an impassioned summary of his militant, gnostic philosophy:

“I’m thinking about the future of black Egypt, which is outside of the realm of history. History has been very unkind to black people, so actually what I’m always talking about is the myth, and nothing that has ever been is part of what I’m talking about, because I’m saying that black folks need a myth-ocracy instead of a de-mocracy. Because they’re not gonna make it in anything else. They’re not gonna make it in history[. . .]

You see, that’s what’s wrong with y’all. Now here you walk in, the last man to get in here, and you gonna ask questions. But honesty is not what I’m talking about. You’re not in a place where truth can do you any good. So you gonna have to come to me privately, and we’ll talk about things that can help the black race. Truth has been abolished, so any truth you say is not permissible in here, because it never done anybody any good. Now, I’m dealing with things that can do you some good. If I come across the biggest lie in the universe, if it can help the black race, then I’m gonna use it. That’s fair warning to anybody, any nation on the face of the earth. I’m gonna use anything I find, and any weapon that I find.

Now I find that the truth is not permissible for me to use. Because I’m not righteous and holy; I’m evil. That’s because I’m black. And I’m not a striver to any righteousness. I never been righteous, I’m never going to be righteous. So now I’m evil. I’m the incarnation of evil. I’m black. I’m following their dictionary. Now I’m dealing with equations. I can’t go around and tell you I’m ‘right’ or ‘good’ when the dictionary is telling everybody in the world everything black is evil and wicked, so then I come and say, ‘Yes. So what? Yes, I’m wicked. Yes, I’m evil.’ I’m not gonna be converted. I’m not gonna strive to righteousness. I don’t wanna go to heaven, because good folks don’t never do nothing but be good, and they always failing, and they always getting killed, and they frustrating. So all I see on this planet is something evil like the white man being successful, and successful, and successful, and successful.

And I see evil killing black men every day, destroying him. Why should I be good? No, it’s better for me to come up to the white race and say, ‘Yes. We evil people should sit down to the table and talk together. You’re evil, I’m evil too. Now, them other folks that you’re dealing with are good black folks. I’m not good, and you’re not good. We understand one another.’”

This is before he gets to explaining that white people are evil and wicked because “they were made evil and wicked in imitation of the evil and wicked black man,” but you should really just listen to the whole thing.

Listen to, or download the entire thing at Sensitive Skin

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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‘Rave of Thrones’: Have a listen to Hodor’s Sound Cloud page
07.17.2014
11:39 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Game of Thrones
Kristian Nairn

hodorraves.jpg
 
Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn has announced a Rave of Thrones tour of Australia this August and September.

Nairn, who plays the gentle giant from Winterfell, has a second career as a successful DJ back in his native Northern Ireland and has perfomed with Scissor Sisters and as far afield South Africa and Australia. Now he will returning “down under” to bring the Seven Kingdoms with his skills as a DJ.

Details here.

If you want a taste of the kind of tunes Hodor will be playing have a listen to his Sound Cloud page.
 

 

 

 
H/T Popbitch

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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George Harrison’s 1966 selfies from India
07.17.2014
09:13 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
George Harrison
India


 
George Harrison’s 1966 trip to India was a major catalyst in the development of the Beatles’ sound, and pop music was forever changed by his sitar tutelage under Ravi Shankar. However, all the talk about the musical, spiritual and yoga training tend to obfuscate the real historic legacy of Harrison’s journey—selfies!!!  The quiet Beatle captured some really beautiful scenery (as well as his lovely face), using a fisheye lens to clever effect. Frankly, I’m a little surprised Instagram hasn’t pushed for a nostalgic fisheye comeback—who doesn’t like a little psychedelic bulge to their selfie?
 

 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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