Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Guest Spots: Prince Far I

For the who-what-where-when-why on the man called Prince Far I, look no further than his tune with Singers & Players, "Autobiography". He describes his youth and education in St. Jago de la Vega (Spanish Town), his musical beginnings with the sound system called Sir Mike the Musical Dragon, and his recording debut as Sir Cry Cry. 

Prince Far I started his own label, Cry Tuff, and formed a partnership with a UK label called Hitrun, where a young Adrian Sherwood was working. Hitrun released the first Cry Tuff Dub Encounter in 1978, and 1979's Dub To Africa (both credited to Prince Far I & The Arabs).  The Arabs were The Roots Radics, and the albums were produced by Prince Far I himself (with the exception of Sherwood's production on Dub Encounter Chapter III).

"The Voice Of Thunder" can be heard on On-U Sound releases by African Head Charge, Singers & Players, Dub Syndicate, and 2 Badcard. Sadly, the musical collaborations between Prince Far I and Adrian Sherwood ended when the man born Michael Williams in Spanish Town was killed in his Kingston home in 1983 at the age of 39.  It is said that the gunmen waited to attack until after he watered his garden. Where will the wicked run to on that last day?

Pictured: Prince Far I reading the Sherwood family Bible (from a photo by Kishi Yamamoto).

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

First Annual Report

Started this blog a year ago. The most popular topic (in terms of page views) is America's sweetheart, Pearl Harbour

The blog has also featured the songs we learned from the impeccable Tav Falco;

The homemade records of Stinky Le Pew (America's other sweetheart);

The singles released by Subterranean Records (and other San Francisco treats);

Guest appearances by Hollie Cook and Iggy Pop on other artists' records;

The guitarists Gareth Sager and Gareth Liddiard (whose band Tropical Fuck Storm has released a new single);

The late and lamented composer Hardy Fox

plus and also Hypnolovewheel, The C*nts, and a whole lot of white crap about The Fall (whose fearsome leader would have turned 62 yesterday).  

My sincere thanks to everyone who has visited, commented, and added a link from your blog to mine. Special shout out to my three followers, who have bravely chosen to ignore the words of Pearl Harbour: Don't follow me, I'm lost too. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Stinky Sound Effects Volume 3!

The master of thematic mixes, Stinky returns with another volume of his Sound Effects Records. Once again, the selections range across decades and encompass New Wave, old school hip hop, rockabilly, and another slice of MSR madness.

There's a little bit of everyone from Alice Cooper to Ry Cooder! Jayne Mansfield and the Big Bopper rub shoulders with Otis Redding, Tommy James, and Sir Paul McCartney. 

Don't sit there on the dock of the bay, don't ask me no questions, and don't leave me hanging on the telephone! Get a babysitter and pick up your dirt track date in your red Corvette -- I've got a case of party-itis, and Stinky's got the cure!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Returning And Burning With Hypnolovewheel

Hypnolovewheel was among my favorite American bands of the 80's and 90's (along with MX-80 Sound, Redd Kross, Christmas, The Method Actors and The Embarrassment). Each of these groups made music that was brainy, noisy, eccentric and fun. 

In ye olde Trouser Press Record GuideByron Coley wrote of Hypnolovewheel: "When they come up with something that's potentially too catchy, Dave Ramirez and Steve Hunking bury it under a small load of six-string noise." The band was also capable of a wistful beauty in songs like "Pleasant Valley" and "Black Hole Of Love".

Hypnolovewheel released five albums between 1988 and 1993. There are also five singles and EP's, including a double 7" called Sybil which devoted one side to each member of the quartet. The Swinging Singles Club blog recently wrote about how ugly those 7" sleeves were. I can't say the LP's were prettier.
playing Bird Box in Long Island

Good news, my fellow Hypnolovewheel fans: these talented gents are still making music! Singer/bassist Dan Cuddy and drummer Peter Walsh formed a group called The Special Pillow!! Their first LP was released in 1994, and they came back with a folky fresh fifth album in 2018!!! 

Dave Ramirez and Stephen Hunking released two singles in 2018 as Grand Union!!!! The cuddly Stephen Hunking and hunky Dan Cuddy made two recent albums as the XL Kings!!!!! And all of these albums and singles are available on Bandkampf!!!!!!

Hypnolovewheel reunited on several occasions to open for Yo La Tengo, as YLT are friends and fans of HPNLVWHL. I found one of those shows on Sugarmegs and tagged the songs. The set includes "Candyman", a strong contender for my Fall-Like compilation. Hope you enjoy these winsome loads of six-string noise and wistful beauty.
Hunking, Cuddy, Ramirez, and Walsh
(or is Walsh on the left and Hunking on the right?)

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Happy Memories Can Leave A Bitter Taste

Send me an angel (or a vampire)
Curse the self-copulation of these lousy blog compilations! Just one more, I promise, and then I'll write about something other than The Fall. Last year I shared a collection of tribute songs and two sets of Fall covers. Today I've got more of both.

Praise be to Montysmusic, a prolific contributor to the Twilight Zone and an exceptional internet sleuth.  For it was he who found several of the tracks contained herein, which had long eluded me. 

I'm still looking for these three songs:

The Steak Place by Nothing Painted Blue (from the Gold Kiss Gala comp on Dark Beloved Cloud; 

I'm Frank by Pop And The Clingwrap Killers (from a digital EP of cover songs called Misandry Drop Dead); and

Old Friends by Wild Pumpkins At Midnight (a song about going to see The Fall, from the Sending A Vampire EP).

I strongly recommend purchasing 13 Fall Songs, the new CD by Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts. Despite the disclaimer ("Live + Lo-Fi + Lacking Rehearsal!"), it's impressively well done, and the songs are chosen from all phases of The Fall's career. My copy came autographed by Mr. Lewis, with a cute little drawing on the package. Clearly a labor of love for Lewis, a longstanding fan of The Fall.

I also highly recommend that you buy the digital tribute Look, Know by The Hannah Barberas, as the price of your purchase will be donated to a cancer support organization.

The long-rumored reissue of The Fall's album Bend Sinister has been announced by Beggars Banquet for release in March.  It's a deluxe two disc affair, remastered and with bonus tracks from singles, the obligatory Peel Session, and five previously unreleased alternate takes. I get my wish for new Fall songs after all!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Guest Spots: Mark E. Smith

You think it's the pipes, but who turns on the lights?
I wanted a new Fall album. It's a pointless thing to wish for: Mark E. Smith died a year ago today. Reissues and live Fall albums continue to appear. The Fall's discography is so extensive that only a sad and greedy bastard such as I could want more.

I just wanted to hear Mark's voice again, so I compiled a mix of his guest appearances. Some of these were collected on A World Bewitched (2001), but Smith continued to collaborate with a range of artists over the next decade and a half, including Mouse On Mars, Gorillaz, Einar Örn, and the Greek collective DNA.

One of the earliest singles that MES appeared on was "(I'm) In Deep" by Coldcut (1989), which was transformed into "Telephone Thing" on The Fall's album Extricate. Another song that took Smith's voice to the dance floor was "Plug Myself In" by D.O.S.E. (1996), an alias for Simon Spencer.  

Mark fired Spencer and his production partner Kier Stewart during the sessions for The Fall's album Levitate. The song "4 1/2 Inch" was a deconstruction of Spencer and Stewart's work, and they retaliated with the unauthorized release of the Inch EP in 1999.

Another interesting collaboration led to the song "Blow Up Muscles" from Sex Drugs And HIV, an album recorded over the course of 15 years with the involvement of more than 200 musicians. Mark E. Smith and Steve Hanley were joined on "Blow Up Muscles" by Roddy Radiation (The Specials) and Mike Spenser (The Cannibals) on guitar, with John Otway on theremin! Cor, baby!
Mark and Ginger (love the Albertos tee!)

In 2013, Ginger Wildheart invited MES to the studio where Mutation was recording the album Error 500which also featured Shane Embury (Napalm Death), Jon Poole (Cardiacs), and Merzbow (!)

Ed Blaney continued to have a good  relationship with Smith after leaving The Fall, unlike many of "The Fallen". Smith & Blaney made several records, including a World Cup single. An appearance on Blaney's album Urban Nature (2016) was the last of Mark E. Smith's guest spots.

Jeffrey Lewis released a live CD this month called 13 Fall Songs, and a group called the Hannah Barbaras has covered "Look, Know" as a pay what y'wanner cancer fundraiser thingy. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Guest Spots: Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop has a recording career that spans half a century. In addition to his albums with The Stooges and as a solo artist, he has made numerous appearances on tribute albums, soundtracks, and other artists' records.

Iggy has collaborated with Fatboy Slim, Bill Laswell, Ministry, Slash, Buckethead, Was Not Was, Medeski Martin & Wood, Peaches, NRBQ's Terry Adams, Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, among others. Iggy has covered songs by Black Flag, Betty Davis, Nick Cave, Yoko Ono, the Who, the Monochrome Set, Eddie Cochran and Duke Ellington. 

He has participated on tributes to Cole Porter, Junior Kimbrough, Don Covay, Jeffrey Lee Pierce, and the Black Keys; and benefits for The West Memphis Three and The David Lynch FoundationIggy has also appeared on Christmas records by William Shatner, Kylie Minogue, and Michel Legrand (not to mention the holiday chestnut, "Jesus Loves The Stooges").

He has contributed original songs to numerous movies (everything from a Bond film to Robert Altman's Short Cuts, Johnny Depp's disastrous The Brave, Arizona Dream, and the theme to last year's Goldas well as TV shows (including Peaky Blinders, True Blood, and Vinyl). Iggy has lent his distinctive baritone to animation (Persepolis and Lil' Bush), video games, and spoken word (from Poe and Walt Whitman to William S. Burroughs). 

In the last two decades, Iggy has become quel francophone, recording classic chansons and composing songs inspired by Michel Houellebecq. He has sung with Anaïs DemoustierDemi MondaineFrançoise Hardy, Lulu Gainsbourg, and Emmanuelle Seigner

Iggy has also appeared on records with Misia from Portugal, Songhoy Blues from Mali, the late Israeli singer Ofra HazaLes Rita MitsoukoOs Mutantes member Sergio DiasJapanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei, Sweden's Teddybears, and German artists Millenia Nova, Tarwater, and WestBam.  

I posted an earlier version of these mixes on another blog in 2016, but Iggy has been a prolific collaborator since then; most recently with Underworld, Josh Homme, and the jazz trio of Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow, and Bobby Previte.