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The Rolling Stones at their worst is still better than most bands at their best (but not always)
07.30.2015
04:30 pm
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A still from Kenneth Anger’s “Invocation of My Demon Brother

When reviewing the newest Blu-ray release from the Rolling Stone’s “From the Vault” concert series, one must take careful pains to point out that even when one is recommending it to the consumer, so should there be an extreme caveat issued: Hyde Park Live 1969 is not exactly the Stones at their in concert zenith. Not by a longshot. Never the tightest group live at the best of times, here the Stones sound like a ramshackle bar band covering their own songs.

Still, if you are a Stones freak—and even if this does happen to be a substandard performance, because that’s what it basically is—you have to have this one. It’s not like this show’s charms, or lack thereof, have ever been a secret, everyone knows that it was a bad performance, but this is also the highest quality that you’re ever going to see this show in, and I for one am glad to have that in the collection. It’s the definitive release of the Rolling Stones live in Hyde Park, 1969 (or as likely as we’re ever likely to get, this being the Granada TV “Stones in the Park” special and not the entire concert, which is annoying) and it seems like it was “kind of” mixed for 5.1, although the audio is somewhat of a moot point considering the ragged musicianship. It was $13. Hell, I’ve paid $20 for a shitty VHS bootleg of this show, so I’m happy to replace it.

But if it sounds like I’m damning Hyde Park Live 1969 with faint praise, well, I sort of am, and it does sorta suck, but at the same time, I’m glad to own it because it’s a somewhat essential historical document of the Rolling Stones, this being their inaugural outing with new guitarist Mick Taylor. The band had not played live onstage for a long time, they’d hardly had any time to rehearse with Taylor and they are… rusty, to put it kindly. In spots they rise to the occasion—like the extended “Sympathy for the Devil” with all the African drummers—but some of it just sounds like a bluesy catterwaul. (My wife asked “What the fuck is this? This is horrible.” When I told her it was the Stones, she scrunched up her face and said “It sounds like they’re a high school punk band.”)

Here’s a clip of “Satisfaction” from Hyde Park Live 1969 that’s actually not half bad:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.30.2015
04:30 pm
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‘Satisfaction’ shootout: DEVO VS the Residents VS the Rolling Stones (spoiler: the Stones don’t win)
02.26.2015
10:19 am
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The news release heralding Superior Viaduct’s reissue of the Residents’ deeply messed-up “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” b/w “Loser = Weed” single contains a quotation that rang oddly familiar to me:

The Residents’ 1976 version of The Stones’ Satisfaction is nearly everything the better known version by Devo from a year later is not: Loose, belligerant, violent, truly fucked up. A real stick in the eye of everything conventionally tasteful in 1976 America. Delightfully painful to listen to thanks to Philip “Snakefinger” Lithman’s completely unhinged lead guitar and mystery Resident member’s menacing vocal, this is a timeless piece of yellow plastic.

That blurb is from Brad Laner, a member of not one but two of my favorite bands and a former Dangerous Minds contributor, and in fact, it was a DM post about five years ago—a post I happen to agree with. The Residents’ “Satisfaction” IS pretty admirably unhinged, genuinely frightening, and a righteous fuck-you to a rock canon classic that, in some circles, remains beyond sacrosanct. Contemporary with their second album, the unfuckwithable Third Reich ‘n’ Roll, which, like the single, is an unsparing deconstruction of classic radio hits, many of which were still fairly new songs at the time. “Satisfaction” isn’t on the album—the Rolling Stones are represented there by a half-reverent, half-funereal take on “Sympathy for the Devil” in the album’s coda. While it did appear on the 1988 CD reissue as an extra, along with “Loser=Weed” and a couple of Beatles travesties, the wax itself is a rare collectible, fetching in the neighborhood of $35. Superior Viaduct’s colored vinyl repress, at $9, still feels a tad spendy for a 7”, but that’s way more manageable than procuring an original. It can also be had as part of a five-record bundle with reissues by Flipper, X, the Dils and the Germs, at $40 for the whole set. (I totally want the Flipper one, too, but that’s another post.)
 

The Residents, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction)”
 

 
Of course, DEVO’s version of the song is the one that most aggressively vies with the Rolling Stones’ original for definitive status, and how could it not? Obviously, the original is indisputably classic in every sense of the word, and after five decades, it’s still one of the most widely covered ‘60s songs this side of “Stepping Stone.” But who can really believe that song from Mick Jagger? By the song’s mid-1965 single release, he was already a gazillionaire rockstar heartthrob who probably had illegitimate children in all 48 contiguous US states, so did anyone seriously believe there was anything unsatisfying about that man’s life? For all its musical timelessness—good LORD, that riff!—the Stones’ version edges out Britney Spears’ cover for plausibility (neither singer was particularly “on a losing streak” at the time their version was released), but that’s about it. None of that does all that much to dull its effectiveness as an anthem, but I buy a song about sexual frustration and contempt for commercialism much more readily in the anxiety-ridden version by the brainy midwestern dorks in DEVO. Unlike the Residents, DEVO aren’t shooting for a takedown or a deconstruction; their version feels more like a successful effort to finally put the song in a proper context. Alan Myers’ freakishly asymmetric drum beat and Gerald Casale’s rubber-band bass line are every bit as capable of inducing existential dread in a socially insecure geek as Keith Richards’ ingenious three-note intro riff is of inducing “fuck yeahs” in a classicist, and doesn’t that speak more closely to the intent of the lyrics—not a single word of which DEVO changed?

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Ron Kretsch
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02.26.2015
10:19 am
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Meet Mike Cooper, the mysterious folk blues legend who turned down The Rolling Stones
06.06.2014
11:01 am
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I won’t pretend to have ever heard of Mike Cooper prior to yesterday, but I am very glad I have. Cooper is an obscure folk-blues artist who, legend has it, was offered the job in The Rolling Stones that Brian Jones eventually filled. (Cooper was running a blues club in Reading where a young Mick and Keith hung out I guess is the short version of that story.) The guitarist and songwriter released three experimental folk LPs on Dawn/Pye Records in the early 1970s but then essentially dropped out of the music business making an itinerant hippie living in Spain and Germany painting and busking before eventually returning to musical work in the 80s and settling in Rome.

It is this trio of fabled 70s albums—Trout Steel (1970), Places I Know (1971), and The Machine Gun Co. with Mike Cooper (1972) that the heroic North Carolina-based Paradise of Bachelors label are rebirthing into the world after two years of working on prying the tapes from the vaults. Based on the evidence of what I’ve heard so far, it seems to have been worth the effort.

When I clicked the link over to their Soundcloud page, I noticed that the tags they’d added for Cooper read #beefheart, #albertayler, #gratefuldead, #beefheart, timbuckly# and #pharoahsanders. Not like there would be many people searching for him there by name at this point, of course, but I wouldn’t quibble with any of those tags, either. Add in the facts that the title for Trout Steel was inspired by Richard Brautigan and “The Machine Gun Co.” bandname is a nod to German free jazz saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and I think you’ll get the idea… sort of. I’ve only heard these three tracks so far and the range on the three albums is supposed to be quite wide. His sound is unique: Blues, folk and free jazz improvisation… all at once.
 

 
“I’ve Got Mine,” is a stunning 11-minute-long improvised acoustic epic that Cooper described to American Songwriter:

“I’m actually in Spain at the moment up the coast some way from where that song was written in the early 70s. I was very much into the works of the mystic sufi poets such as Rumi at that time and the lyric uses a lot of the same symbolism that they used. It was also the first song that we decided to let the musicians have a totally free field to improvise over the pulse – plus we experimented with some delay echo effects influenced by the (at the time) very early dub music.”

 

 
“The Singing Tree” was premiered recently on the WSJ’s website. The way the number is described there just makes you want to hit play, doesn’t it?

The song starts as a fairly standard early-’70s folk-rock tune that burbles along on a blend of organ and acoustic guitar as Cooper sings pastoral lyrics in a soulful tenor. Midway through the song, little squiggles of sound appear in the background, softly at first, like an auditory hallucination, and become more prominent squawks and honks as the song rolls on. Cooper says he wrote the tune while on vacation in Almuñécar on the southern coast of Spain, inspired by the scenery outside his lodging and “The Conference of Birds” by the Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar.

“Outside our window was a solitary Norfolk pine,” Cooper told Speakeasy. “Every evening at sunset, thousands of birds would gather in this solitary tree and make an incredible racket.”

Gorgeous tune. Whimsical and lovely. Reminds me a bit of Licorice Root Orchestra. It’s a pity it took so long for Mike Cooper’s music to be heard.

Here’s one more, “Country Water.” It kinda sounds like one of his old buddy Keef’s numbers, but Cooper can sing a whole lot better…
 

 

 
Thank you Jessica Linker!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.06.2014
11:01 am
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The Rolling Stones debut ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ in an almost *scary* British TV appearance, 1968
02.24.2014
12:32 pm
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There’s always a first time for everything and this is the very first time that The Rolling Stones unveiled their then brand new “Sympathy for the Devil,” on London Weekend Television’s Frost on Saturday program, hosted by the late David Frost, in 1968

Although this is but a live vocal sung to a backing tape, the Stones manage to set a distinctly evil tone to the proceedings. Put yourself in mind of the average person watching British television on a Saturday night in 1968. This must have seemed downright frightening!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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02.24.2014
12:32 pm
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‘Hot Dogs on the Rocks’: Grody Rolling Stones recipe from 1967
12.02.2013
11:55 am
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Nope! Nope! Nope!

According to the print at the top, “Mick Jagger invented the potatoes and franks; Charlie Watts added the beans.”

Damn you, Charlie!

This appetizing recipe is from the book Singers & Swingers in the Kitchen: The Scene-Makers Cook Book. Dozens of Nutty, Turned -on, Easy-to-prepare Recipes from the Grooviest Gourmets Happening (1967).

10 frankfurters
5 potatoes, or enough instant mashed potatoes to serve five
1 large can baked beans

Prepare instant mashed potatoes, or boil and mash the potatoes. (Use milk and butter, making regular, every-day mashed potatoes.) Cook the frankfurters according to the package directions and heat the baked beans.

On each plate, serve a mound of creamy mashed potatoes ringed by heated canned baked beans. Over all the top of this, slice up the frankfurters in good-sized chunks.

Here’s what the finished recipe looks like (ack!) via Dinner is Served:


 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:

David Lynch’s quinoa recipe video is as Lynchian as it gets!
 
h/t Kottke

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.02.2013
11:55 am
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Waste hours of your valuable time with the Bill Wyman Metal Detector
09.05.2013
01:53 pm
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Bill Wyman Metal Detector
 
If you want to combine the joys of booty-shaking blues-influenced rock and roll from England with the quixotic pastime of trying to find buried treasure on your local public beach, well, look no further! Because have we got the product for you: the Bill Wyman Signature Metal Detector. It runs for a mere £120 (about US$185). None of the enticing linked pages (“Detecting with Bill,” “About Metal Detecting,” etc.) seem to be active, but never fear, the order page is still up, and really, that’s the only thing that matters, innit?

In Goldmine magazine, the legendary bass player had this to say on the subject:

“Metal-detecting is not just for anoraks or eccentrics; it’s probably the best and the most enjoyable way of learning about our history,” says Wyman. “On any garden, country field, footpath, woodlands, beach or moor land you can find a huge variety of historical objects, all easily located with this high quality metal detector.”

 
Bill Wyman, detecting metal
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Waking Up To A New Decade With The Rolling Stones

Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.05.2013
01:53 pm
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Amazing Rolling Stones jam session, 1972
09.23.2011
06:45 pm
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Fly on the wall footage of the world’s greatest rock and rock band rehearsing in Montreux on May 21st, 1972, prior to their world tour of that year.
 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.23.2011
06:45 pm
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