Sunday, May 19, 2024

Who ARE These Clowns?

TRIGGER WARNING: Not for the coulrophobic!  Stinky and I have been trading pictures for awhile of some of the rock bands and singers who have painted their faces over the years.  Some are famous, others less so.  Some had a moment in the spotlight but may have been forgotten by all but their devoted fans.  Some constructed elaborate personas with costumes, stage names, and back stories.  Others just put on clown makeup for an album cover or music video.  We'd send each other an image of one of these strange (and sometimes creepy) album covers with the caption, "Who ARE these clowns?"

One idea for a mix (shared here today) was to feature some of these singers and groups, from far back (Leon Russell, Leo Sayer, Alex Harvey, and The Hello People), far afield (Secos & Molhados), far out (Fad Gadget, Klaus Nomi), and far-fetched (Clownvis Presley, Mac Sabbath, Yeastie Boys).

As mentioned, some of them only donned greasepaint or clown masks for an album cover (Gary Lewis, Frank Sinatra, The Armed), while others have made a career out of it (Puddles Pity Party, Slipknot, various juggalos).  Oh yeah, forgot the other trigger warning: there be juggalos.

Our other idea for a mix (coming up soon) is songs about clowns.  Like-minded music fans such as yourselves will have no trouble thinking of clown songs, but hopefully we've found a few surprises.  Stick around and see for yourselves!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Blue Note Funk: Steady Groovin'

During the nineties and early noughties (Koen sez), the famous jazz label Blue Note Records added a bit more FUNK into their records.

Their reissue programs included a Lost Grooves compilation, the Rare Grooves series, and a four disc set of Blue Break Beats, which became highly popular in some of the jazz clubs.

For new recordings, veteran guitar slinger John Scofield delivered some serious funky licks.

Newcomer Charlie Hunter did a great job as well.  Whether with a Trio or Quartet, his guitar playing was cookin’.

Soulive was a grooving jazz trio with a guitarist, drummer, and Hammond organist who maintained a tight beat throughout most of their work.

Medeski, Martin & Wood (another trio) already had a few albums under their belts before joining Blue Note, where they continued developing their sense of funky grooves.

The former Greyboy Allstars frontman Karl Denson plays a mean sax producing dance-inducing, driving grooves.

The above artists recorded several albums for Blue Note (except Denson, who had only one).  Here’s a sampler to give you some idea of their work. We hope you enjoy Steady Groovin'!

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

ROCKPILE Swept Into A Pile

Stinky has truly outdone himself here!  ROCKPILE Swept Into A Pile is five CD-length sets of Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, Terry Williams and Billy Bremner.  "Wait a second," you might say, "There was only one Rockpile album!"  Yes and no, dear friends.  

Seconds Of Pleasure is the only studio LP credited to the band Rockpile, but all the faithful know: wherever two or three are gathered together, Rockpile will be in their midst in all but name.

And lowe! Did it not come to pass that albums were issued bearing the names of Saint Nick or Saint Dave?  But were these not the works of goodly men -- musicians all -- peaceably assembled in groups of three or four?  And didst they not together make a joyful noise, and rejoice, and sing praise?

Brothers and sisters, there's no need to further belabor the point with biblical misquotes.  What we have here is truckloads of Rockpile, in number if not in name.  Volumes 1 and 2 gather Rockpile tracks as well as "solo" recordings credited to Nick, Dave, and Billy -- sometimes singing songs the others wrote, as if the names weren't already confusing!  

Volume 3 is subtitled Plays Well With Others, and among those others are Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Bruce Springsteen, Carlene Carter, Mickey Jupp, and Elvis Costello; as well as members of Rockpile sitting in with the Stray Cats, the Refreshments, Los Straightjackets and Brinsley Schwarz!

Volume 4 is Rockpile Live in concert and on the air (although there are live tracks scattered throughout these comps), and Volume 5 contains Rockpile Rarities.  Stinky has seasoned these sets with occasional interview excerpts posing questions like, "Why did albums that were done by Rockpile come out as solo albums by Dave or Nick?" and "Who wrote 'Trouble Boys'?" and "What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?"  Not sure we get an answer to that last one...

All told, there's over 130 tracks here, and more than 6 hours of listening enjoyment.  That's nearly twenty four thousand seconds of pleasure!  Let us all praise Brother Stinky for these mighty blessings!

Sunday, April 21, 2024

More More More Fun Fun Fun


Thanks to helpful readers like Berni, Crab Devil, One Buck Guy, steVe, and our own Koen, another set of songs was assembled to complement the first two

The initial goal was to compile songs to fit the theme without looking up anything online. This resulted in some significant omissions that I really should have remembered (the Beach Boys and Motley Crue, for example).

Fun, Fun, Fun includes all the great songs that readers suggested, plus some that came to me after posting the first two sets.

This time around, I allowed myself to search the internet.  I'd wonder, "Is there a song called Kill Kill Kill?" and then look it up.  Other titles seemed to summon themselves unbidden, an example of the frequency illusion. When you think about one thing, you begin to see examples of it everywhere, and you wonder if it's more than a coincidence. Reading about music nearly every day, it isn't unusual to encounter song titles that fit the theme.  One day in the comments section on Babs' blog, two titles were mentioned that fit the theme ("Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie" and "Drink Drink Drink"). 

Today's second set is called Rock, Rock, Rock.  Some song titles are present on both of these collections.  They aren't cover songs; instead, they are what Stinky calls Doppelnamers -- different songs with the same title.  There are a few cover songs here, including Therapy's version of "Gimme Gimme Gimme" (the ABBA song, not the Black Flag one).

Happy Birthday to Iggy Pop!  Other artists on today's comps that have been featured elsewhere on the blog include Willie Dixon, Mel Torme, and Barrence Whitfield & The Savages.

Friday, April 12, 2024

I Found That Purity Of Essence Rare

Koen writes: The music industry can be a weird business, plenty of stories of labels/managers who ripped off their artists and/or exploited them in other ways.

On the other hand, artists recording for different labels under different names wasn’t uncommon in the past either, e.g. John Lee Hooker had an impressive number of aliases: Birmingham Sam, Boogie John, Delta John, John Lee Cooker, Johnny Lee, Johnny Williams, Texas Slim, and The Boogie Man!

Claiming copyright of traditional songs by just changing a few words used to be standard. Some bands with the same name played live gigs on the same dates but in far-away places with different musicians!  The list could on for a long time…

In the sixties it was common that albums released in the UK would have slightly different track lists from the US versions, e.g. the first few lps of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc. Much later Japanese CD releases usually got 1 or 2 bonus tracks which increased their value a lot!

Lately some modern-day artists have been re-recording earlier albums for copyright reasons, e.g. Taylor Swift.  Recently, Strohmian shared a story on the Twilight Zone blog that gave all of the above a completely new twist!

Graham Parker’s old band, The Rumour (with Brinsley Schwarz!) released three albums.  The second one - 1979’s Frogs, Sprouts, Clogs And Krauts (wonderful title!) - even had a minor hit in Holland: 'Frozen Years'. 

But they never really broke through, and their 3rd album became their swan song.  The original UK release of Purity Of Essence came out on Stiff Records in 1980.  And now we are entering the Twilight Zone of recorded music…  
From the liner notes by Martin Belmont:

"The Rumour recorded its third album without Graham Parker (and its first without keyboard player and singer Bob Andrews) in 1980. The title 'Purity of Essence' came from the Stanley Kubrick film 'Dr Strangelove', a band favourite on the tour bus. The album was produced by Alan Winstanley at Eden Studios in West London, and released in the UK on Stiff Records

"Joe Boyd wanted to release it in the States on his Hannibal imprint, but, after being unable to reach a financial agreement with Stiff, he figured it would be cheaper to re-record the entire album. We did this at Island Studios with the considerable production skills of John Wood, and that is the version on this CD.

"The two recordings differ in a couple of ways: firstly, three songs have changed from the UK set: 'All Boys Lie' - a Clive Langer composition from his days with Deaf School; 'Rubber Band Man' - a Thom Bell song that had been a massive hit for The Detroit Spinners with their wonderful singer Phillip Wynne in 1976; and 'Depression' - written by Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford from Squeeze. These three songs were only released on the US version, and replaced 'Pyramids' 'My Little Red Book' and 'That's The Way The Ball Rolls' from the UK release. 

"The second change is that the US version has a much more energetic, confident and 'live in the studio' feel, with very few overdubs. The instrumentation is simple; mostly two guitars, bass and drums, with vocals from Brinsley, Steve and one from me. The only guest featured on the sessions is Glen Tilbrook, who added the organ part to 'Depression'."

Despite the availability of 2 versions of the same album and 2 singles, 'My Little Red Book' & 'I Don’t Want The Night To End' (a Nick Lowe cover!), sales didn’t improve, and the band decided to call it quits, sad but true.

The JOKONKY edition is (in essence) a double CD with 25 numbers total for your listening pleasure.  Tell us which version YOU prefer!

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Get In Loser, We're Going Rockabilly (Volume 2)!


Stinky follows his first "Going Rockabilly" comp with another installment.  The concept (as you may recall) is rockabilly music performed by artists not usually associated with the genre.  Some are cover songs, and others are originals (like Alan Vega's jittery "Jukebox Babe").

My favorite band The Fall is here with a Gene Vincent cover, as is Ian Dury with his ode to "Sweet Gene Vincent".  The Clash, Elvis Costello and Marky Ramone are also among the Class of '77 rockabilly fans.

You might remember Stinky's stellar tribute to guitarist Joe Moretti, who played the unforgettable guitar line on "Shakin All Over".  The Who takes on that classic of early British rock.  

Eva Cassidy is another artist who has been anthologized by Stinky in these pages.  We've also featured Chuck Berry covers, and there are a few more here to add to your collection.  

Robert Johnson (our Close Personal Friend) is back, as well as Jeff Beck, Led ZepConway TwittyNeil Young's Shocking Pinks and the Foghat side project Warren Phillips & The Rockets. Dana Gillespie (one of the artists who "got a leg up" from David Bowie) is here too.  

Also featured are Elton John and Harry Nilsson (before they became famous), covers of Buddy Holly by Jackie DeShannon and Graham Nash, plus versions of Rick Nelson's hit It's Late and Jimmy Long's That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine

PS - does that cover model sitting on the 8 ball look a lil' bit like Pearl Harbour?  Don't forget that the expanded edition of her solo album Don't Follow Me, I'm Lost Too is available now on Bandcamp (digital, CD, and purple vinyl!)

Monday, April 1, 2024

Call Me The Wolf: Howlin' Wolf 1969-1973

Koen writes: One of the greatest blues artists from the past is probably Chester ‘Howlin’ Wolf’ Burnett, who first recorded for Sam Phillips’ SUN Records and later for Leonard & Phil’s Chess Records with amazing results. His work can be easily found in the blogosphere, including two great compilations shared by Babs and Butterboy.

But these fantastic sets focus only on his early career’s songs, up to the mid-sixties.  If you look at Amazon, it isn’t any different, countless early work compilations of sometimes dubious origin and quality, a shame really. 

In fact, there has never been an official (or unofficial!) collection of his final years’ work!  Once I realized that a new JOKONKY project was born: Call Me The Wolf 1969-1973.

In this final years' time frame, Wolf released five albums, of which The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions is probably the most well-known, it even received a Deluxe treatment as a double CD with the original album plus alternate takes! Therefore I chose only one track, but it’s the classic Red Rooster, with Wolf explaining to Eric Clapton how it’s supposed to be done!

I remember vividly the first time I heard 1969’s The Howlin' Wolf Album, and was shocked, such a different take on those famous songs. Obviously I wasn’t alone, it got very bad reviews at the time and sales sucked.  Since then it has received a kind of re-appraisal and I’ve become more open-minded too ;-)

The spooky version of Moanin’ At Midnight deserves to be heard, it’s stunning! For the full-length Back Door Man I opted for a vinyl rip as that includes the spoken intro by Wolf, until now all CD versions of this album botched that up which resulted in 20+ seconds missing!

In the nineties, two Chess collections were released: a three-disc set The Chess Box and a two-disc Ain't Gonna Be Your Dog. The first one had the hits plus some unreleased work, the second focussed on alternate takes, single-only tracks, etc. Both featured a couple of (excellent!) songs from his later career which made these perfect for inclusion here!

Message To The Young is in many ways the most different album compared to his other recordings. Responsible for this were Sonny Thompson (piano, arranger, conductor, lyrics) and Cash McCall (producer, conductor). I selected 2 tracks that give a good indication of the rest of the album.

Live And Cookin' At Alice's Revisited gives us a chance to hear Wolf in a live setting with his regular band The Wolf Gang, brilliant. The Back Door Wolf is his final album and gathered good reviews, but not many people have heard it, I think.  From those last two albums I picked 3 tracks each.