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When Dads were cooler than their kids: The Original Hipsters
04.25.2011
06:58 pm

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History
Pop Culture

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Your dad didn’t give a fuck before you did. He smoked, drank, fucked, fought, and pissed into the wind of life. Then one night, while jacked on mescaline, he screwed your mom. It was just supposed to be one night. But, that tryst became bastardized when you were conceived from it. Your dad had to settle down. So hipsters, next time you’re out drinking on a Tuesday night or biking without a helmet, remember you’re the bastard love baby of your dad’s not giving a fuck attitude.”

 
“Dads: The Original Hipsters” is a compendium of photographs culled from the net that illustrates that hipsterism ain’t nothing new, in fact it’s ancient. Check out these shots of dads being cooler than you.

You can view more of these groovy artifacts at “Dads: The Original Hipsters” website. The captions are often much funnier than the pictures themselves.
 

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Your dad wore Chuck Taylors before you did. Those were his “Just do it” shoes. He could run faster, jump higher and ride your mom longer because of them. The only training you hipsters have done in those shoes are Natural Spirit chain smoking marathons and smug bike rides to dive bars. I wish time travel was real, just so your dad could kick your own ass for wearing the shoes that he made a legend.”

 
More old school hipsters after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Legendary soul label Malaco Records decimated by tornado
04.25.2011
05:20 pm

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Current Events
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Music

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Wolf Stephenson stands in what is left of the legendary Malaco Records.

Severe storms and a series of tornadoes has plagued the Midwest and Southern states throughout April. One of the casualties of the violent weather is the legendary blues and soul label Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi. It was crushed by a tornado on April 15.

You can read about Malaco Records, “The Last Soul Company,” and its formidable history at their website.

Malaco Records’ flamingo-pink main office was one of the few buildings in the area when it opened in 1967 on the west end of Jackson’s Northside Drive.

“We were practically out in the country,” said Wolf Stephenson, vice president and chief engineer. “I can remember all of us sitting out in the parking lot in the wee hours of the morning, eating watermelon and listening full blast to the song mixes we were working on at the time. We wanted to see how they sounded away from the speakers.”

Stephenson, 67, managed to chuckle at the memory Monday afternoon, a few seconds of escape from the grim reality brought on by Friday’s tornado that ravaged parts of Clinton and northwest Jackson, injuring seven and causing major damage to numerous homes and businesses.

The twister didn’t spare Malaco, which has produced its share of music history. It destroyed the accounting building and shipping warehouse. The main building, which housed executive offices and the legendary recording studio, was pummeled.

There were some bits of good news: Approximately 20 employees who were at work when the storm struck escaped injury. Couch and Stephenson said they plan to rebuild. And Malaco’s thousands of precious master tapes weathered the storm in a vault-type building made of concrete blocks and supported by reinforced steel.

The recording studio was dark and dank Monday. A grand piano and a Hammond B3 organ were barely visible, buried in debris. The sound of music was replaced by the flapping of a blue tarp, serving as a temporary roof. Pieces of the wood tile floor were scattered about. Amplifiers and microphones looked soulless and lonely.

Hits were born in this room. Among them: Jean Knight’s 1971 No. 1 single, Mr. Big Stuff; King Floyd’s Groove Me, which went to No. 1 on the R&B chart; and Dorothy Moore’s 1976 classic, Misty Blue. Paul Simon recorded Learn How to Fall here. It appeared on his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, which earned two Grammy nominations.”

Here’s a link to a Malaco Records video mix courtesy of The CW Austin. Click here and scroll down the page for the mix.

The Malaco Records story aired on WAPT in Jackson, Mississippi in 1999.
 

 
Thanks, Mike Webber

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The mysterious J. Bastos and his one hit wonder ‘Loop Di Love’
04.24.2011
05:36 pm

Topics:
Amusing
History
Music
One-hit wonders

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Here’s the first of a series of pieces I’ll be doing on one-hit wonders. While my intent is to be as informative as possible, I’m starting off with an artist that I can find very little information on, the mysterious J. Bastos.

“Loop di Love” was recorded in 1969 by J. Bastos (Juan Bastos) and became a big hit in Holland and Germany in 1971. It kicks off with one of the more bizarre and memorable verses in pop history and goes on to tell the story of a young man’s chance encounter with a prostitute.

I saw you walking down the street
Love di loop di love
Your hair was hanging down to knees
Love di loop di love
Your waist was waving like a ship
Love di loop di love
The way you look made me sick
Love di loop di love

The only biographical information I can find on J. Bastos is that he lived somewhere in northern Germany and the song was recorded as a joke among drunken friends and became a fluke hit. And that info is from an alleged disgruntled former employee of Bastos who claims he was hellish to work for and fell into being a popstar totally by accident. It’s odd, considering the notoriety and popularity of “Loop di Love,” that so little is known of its creator. Anyone got any info on J. Bastos?

The tune is based on a Greek fishermen’s song “Darla Dirlada.”

A double dose of J. Bastos - a promo video shot in Amsterdam and a performance on German TV.

Cock-hopping at 1:27.
 

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Richard Hell And The Voidoids’ ‘The Kid With The Replaceable Head’ cartoon
04.24.2011
01:50 am

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Animation
History
Punk

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Fun, fun, fun cartoon music video of Richard Hell And The Voidoids “The Kid With The Replaceable Head.”

The version of “...Replaceable Head” used in the cartoon is the remixed and partially re-recorded version that appears on the Destiny Street Repaired album which was released in 2008, a reconstruction of 1982’s Destiny Street. The history of the record is an interesting one. In his review of Destiny Street Repaired, Bill Meyer gives us some insight to the album’s resurrection. Here’s an excerpt from Meyer’s article:

It took Hell five years to get around to recording a follow-up to Blank Generation. The Voidoids had been defunct for over a year and the man was soul sick, junk sick, and ready to give up the rock game. But he had some songs, a label ready to give him some money, a palpable need for that cash, and guitarist Robert Quine’s phone number, so in 1982 they pulled together a band — Hell on bass, Quine and the one-named Naux on guitars, Fred Maher on drums — to make one more record. Things went as planned for a week or two, but after cutting the backing tracks Hell lost his nerve and refused to come into the studio for a week and a half. According to Quine, he and Naux spent that time overdubbing every idea they’d ever wanted to try, which depending on your perspective turned the music into either “high-pitched sludge” (per Hell in the liner notes to the Spurts career retrospective) or the aforementioned glorious mess. After Hell finally dragged his sorry ass into the studio to finish the record, it sat in bad business limbo for another year before Line Records finally put it out.

Ever since then he’s expressed his disappointment with the result, and in 2008 Hell geared up to put it right by re-recording the vocals and lead guitars over rough mixes of the rhythm tracks.”

Hell brought in Bill Frisell, Ivan Julian and Marc Ribot to contribute to Destiny Street Repaired and the result was an album shocked like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster into new life. As Meyers puts it, the album is “more full and satisfyingly full-on.”

Despite the fact that overall there are fewer guitar tracks, the guitars are actually louder on Repaired than they are on the Line LP, and any record that showcases Ribot, Julian and Frisell in a rocking mood is nothing to ignore. The weirdly striated frequency spectrum of the original mastering job, which seemed as thin as mountain air in the higher frequencies, has been replaced by something much more full and satisfyingly full-on. And as a singer, Hell Mk 2008 manages to hit more of the notes with more force than his more desperate and debilitated self a quarter century earlier without going for any misguided notion of perfection.”

Bill Meyer’s entire review of Destiny Street Repaired can be read at Dusted.

Update 4/25: Meyer gives credit to German label Line Records for being the first label to release Destiny Street, which may be true for Germany but not the USA. In fact, it was released in the States on Marty Thau’s legendary Red Star records. In France, it was released by Celluloid. All in 1982. As to the source of the money for the making of the record, my bet is on Thau. I’ve e-mailed Marty and am waiting to hear back.
(Thanks, Mona).

Update 4/25: The always gracious Marty Thau responded to my questions regarding Destiny Street and its intriguing history:

Red Star financed the original version of Destiny Street and eventually licensed it to Line Records in Germany, who didn’t pay royalties until they were caught years later. 

Not only did Red Star finance the original version of “DS” but it’s distributor, Jem Records, manufactured it for Red Star before anyone else in the world. History must not be rewritten no matter how bad the vibes might be.

Red Star’s version of “DS” was chosen as the #3 best record of the year by the NY Times in ‘82 by Robert Palmer. I believe that Richard’s new version of “DS” doesn’t improve upon the original, as much as he’d like to think it does.
Back in the day Richard was a useless drug addict who didn’t live up to his promise. He’ll admit to that.”

“The Kid With The Replaceable Head (2008)” is available as part of the Richard Hell retrospective cd and can be purchased here.

Here are both versions;
 

 
Personally, I prefer the sludgy, raw basement sound of the original recording. The re-recorded version is a little clean with a slick sheen and the poppy background vocals up in the mix work against the punk Voidoid vibe. But, either way, it’s a great song and Richard Hell is undoubtedly a legend not to be messed with…unless he doin’ the messin.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘In The Land Of Giants And Pygmies’
04.23.2011
01:24 am

Topics:
Environment
History
Movies

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Shot in 1925, Aurelio Rossis’ fascinating film diary of his trek into the Belgian Congo, In The Land Of Giants and Pygmies, has been restored from two stencil-colored 35mm prints found in a camera store in Lyon, France.

A time lost forever if not for this amazing footage.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Plot to Turn on the World: The Leary/Ginsberg Acid Conspiracy
04.21.2011
04:47 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Heroes
History
Thinkers

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Over at his essential NeuroTribes blog, Steve Silberman—who knew poet Allen Ginsberg well for twenty years, and was his teaching assistant at the Naropa Institute in Colorado—interviews author Peter Conners about his new book White Hand Society: The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg, recently published by City Lights Books.

In November of 1966, the poet Allen Ginsberg made a modest proposal to a room full of Unitarian ministers in Boston. “Everybody who hears my voice try the chemical LSD at least once,” he intoned. “Then I prophecy we will all have seen some ray of glory or vastness beyond our conditioned social selves, beyond our government, beyond America even, that will unite us into a peaceful community.”

The poet had been experimenting with drugs since the 1940s as a way of achieving what his Beat Generation friends named the “New Vision,” methodically keeping lists of the ones he tried — morphine with William Burroughs, marijuana with fellow be-bop fans in jazz clubs, and eventually the psychedelic vine called ayahuasca with a curandero in Peru.

For Ginsberg, drugs were not merely an indulgence or form of intoxication; they were tools for investigating the nature of mind, to be employed in tandem with writing, an approach he called “the old yoga of poesy.” In 1959, he volunteered to become an experimental subject at Stanford University, where two psychologists who were secretly working for the CIA to develop mind-control drugs gave him LSD; listening to recordings of Wagner and Gertrude Stein in the lab, he decided that acid was “a very safe drug,” and decided that even his suburban poet father Louis might like to try it.

By the time he addressed the Unitarian ministers in Boston, Ginsberg had become convinced that psychedelics held promise as agents of transformative mystical experience that were available to anyone, particularly when combined with music and other art forms. In place of stiff, hollow religious observances in churches and synagogues, the poet proposed “naked bacchantes” in national parks, along with sacramental orgies at rock concerts, to call forth a new, locally-grown American spirituality that could unify a generation of Adamic longhairs and earth mothers alienated by war and turned off by the pious hypocrisy of their elders.

Ginsberg’s potent ally in this campaign was a psychology professor at Harvard named Timothy Leary, who would eventually become the most prominent public advocate for mass consumption of LSD, coining a meme that became the ubiquitous rallying cry of the nascent 20th-century religious movement as it proliferated on t-shirts, black-light posters, and neon buttons from the Day-Glo Haight-Ashbury to swinging London: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.

Among those who took up the cause was the Beatles. John Lennon turned Leary’s woo-tastic mashups of The Tibetan Book of the Dead into one of the most profoundly strange, terrifying, and exhilarating tracks ever recorded: “Tomorrow Never Knows” on Revolver, which swooped in on a heart-stopping Ringo stutter-beat chased by clouds of infernal firebirds courtesy of backwards guitar and a tape loop of Paul McCartney laughing.

As the public faces of the psychedelic revolution, Ginsberg and Leary made a dynamic duo. The charming, boyish, Irish Harvard professor and the ecstatic, boldly gay, Hebraically-bearded Jersey bard became the de facto gurus of the movement they’d helped create — father figures for a generation of lysergic pilgrims who temporarily jettisoned their own fathers in their quest for renewable revelation.

By the close of the ’60s — which ominous stormclouds on the horizon in the form of violent debacles like Altamont, a Haight-Ashbury that had been taken over by speed freaks and the Mob, and Charles Manson’s crew of acid-addled zombie assassins — Ginsberg was already looking for more grounding and lasting forms of enlightenment, particularly in the form of Buddhist meditation.

The poet retained his counterculture cred until his death of liver cancer in 1997, but Leary didn’t fare as well. Subjected to obsessive persecution by government spooks like Watergate plumber G. Gordon Liddy, Leary launched a series of psychedelic communes that collapsed under the weight of their own ego-trips. Years of arrests, jail terms, spectacular escapes from prison aided by the Black Panthers, disturbing betrayals, and bizarre self-reinventions followed the brief season when the psych labs of Harvard seemed to give new birth to a new breed of American Transcendentalism that was as democratic as a test tube.

Read the interview at NeuroTribes.

Below, an early interview with Leary, before he started wearing the guru drag…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Stunning film clips of the Sunset Strip in the mid-60’s
04.21.2011
03:00 pm

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History
Movies
Music

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I don’t know the exact provenance of these positively gorgeous stock film clips of the nearly-mythical Sunset Strip area in our beloved city that have been popping up in the last day or two via the Vintage Los Angeles FB group and Youtuber dantanasgirl. What an incredible treat, though. The building on the right in the first clip that bears the words Come to the Party would shortly become the Whisky a Go Go and further down the road Largo would become The Roxy. Certainly two of the more significant and beloved locations for my musical up-bringing! My Grandparent’s house was mere blocks from here, so these images really tweak some early childhood memories as well. Oh, internet….
 

 

 
More clips after the jump…

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Take This Hammer: James Baldwin tours black San Francisco in 1963

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In the spring of 1963, San Francisco poet, documentarian, and media activist Richard Moore accompanied and filmed author James Baldwin and Youth For Service Executive Director Orville Luster on a tour through the black-majority Bayview/Hunter’s Point and Fillmore districts of San Francisco. They sought to portray the real experience of African-Americans in what was considered America’s most liberal city.

That outing would result in Take This Hammer, and the footage of it was shot at a crucial time in Baldwin’s life. After 15 years in exile in Paris, the Harlem-born writer was back in the States at the peak of his renown and with political fire in his eyes. His turbulent novels from the ‘50s—especially Go Tell It on the Mountain and Another Country—had stunned the literary world with their exposure of racism and deeply developed queer characters.

During the same spring in which Take This Hammer was shot, Baldwin published the rather incredible essay Down at the Cross, and ended up on the cover of Time. That summer, he’d end his tour of the American South at the March on Washington with a quarter-million of his fellow Americans, with many other celebrities.

Baldwin’s observations certainly set The City’s white lib establishment into fits: “There is no moral distance ... between the facts of life in San Francisco and the facts of life in Birmingham. Someone’s got to tell it like it is. And that’s where it’s at.” Unfortunately, as seen in documents like Kevin Epps’s 2001 doc Straight Outta Hunter’s Point, not much has changed in SF over the generations…
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Baldwin, Brando, Belafonte, Poitier, Mankiewicz and Heston talk Civil Rights, 1963

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Ann Steel - My Time (1979)
04.17.2011
11:15 am

Topics:
Amusing
History
Music
Television

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From a one-off collaborative 1979 LP by Italian composer Roberto Cacciapaglia and American born singer Ann Steel, this is a wacky and wonderful clip and the song itself contains much to love. I’m mainly intrigued by her yellow canteen.
 

 
bonus track: Find Your Way

 
Thanks Kurt Ralske !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Scholastic Book Club funk 7” (1970) with the voice of Schoolhouse Rock
04.14.2011
08:34 pm

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History
Music

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Here’s a couple of songs featured on the above pictured record for kids and distributed in U.S. schools in 1970 featuring the distinctive voice of many beloved Schoolhouse Rock classics, Bob Dorough and produced by noted jazzer Steve Swallow. The version of The Temptations Runaway Child, Running Wild is fairly out-there and truly does sound more than a little bit like Can, but with the Schoolhouse Rock guy singing. How can that possibly be anything but great ? Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.
 
The 44th Street Portable Flower Factory - Runaway Child, Running Wild

 
The rest of the E.P. are also covers, including this. Very straight ahead but again with that wonderful voice.
 
The 44th Street Portable Flower Factory - Blackbird

 
Thanks Andrew Prinz !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
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