ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FREAKS ALBUM OF THE DAY FOR SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31:
Bob Dylan, New Morning (1970, Columbia)
If Not For You 2:40
Day Of The Locusts 3:58
Time Passes Slowly 2:35
Went To See The Gypsy 2:47
If Dogs Run Free 3:37
New Morning 3:57
Sign On The Window 3:45
One More Weekend 3:08
The Man In Me 3:05
Three Angels 2:05
Father Of Night 1:28
Dylan rushed out New Morning in the wake of the commercial and critical disaster Self Portrait, and the difference between the two albums suggests that its legendary failed predecessor was intentionally flawed. New Morning expands on the laid-back country-rock of John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline by adding a more pronounced rock & roll edge. While there are only a couple of genuine classics on the record (“If Not for You,” “One More Weekend”), the overall quality is quite high, and many of the songs explore idiosyncratic routes Dylan had previously left untouched, whether it’s the jazzy experiments of “Sign on the Window” and “Winterlude,” the rambling spoken word piece “If Dogs Run Free” or the Elvis parable “Went to See the Gypsy.” Such offbeat songs make New Morning a charming, endearing record.
Jack Nitzsche and Ian Stewart added piano and organ when deemed necessary. Concerning “Get Off Of My Cloud,” Keith elaborated: “I think that was just a matter of saying, ‘Stu, this sounds a bit thin. Can you play a little piano under it? . . . Yeah, that was just one of those things you could do in those days, shadow a guitar with a piano. As long as you didn’t make it obvious, it would add some different air to a track. ’Cause that was all 4-track time. Basically, you had to get it in the room. There was no, ‘What if we overdubbed added violins?’ The only choice was to decide whether you’d got it or if you had to do another take.” Stu also played boogie-woogie piano on the unreleased “Lookin’ Tired,” a great Jagger-Richards slow blues that was originally slated for release on the Aftermath album. Keith described the track, written in Nashville during the most recent tour, as country blues. Charlie accompanied with brushes on a big bass drum, while Keith played a Nashville-style lead, and Brian played rhythm. The track has surfaced several times over the years, but only unofficially.
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FREAKS ALBUM OF THE DAY FOR FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30:
The Gun Club, Las Vegas Story (1984, Animal Records)
The Las Vegas Story 0:23
Walkin’ With The Beast 4:30
Eternally Is Here 3:02
Stranger In Our Town 5:10
My Dreams 4:01
(The Creator Was A) Master Plan 1:50
My Man’s Gone Now 3:14
Bad America 4:56
Moonlight Motel 3:08
Give Up The Sun 6:02
The tragedy of the Gun Club’s third album, The Las Vegas Story, is that it was largely ignored by both critics and fans due to the mixing and mastering disaster that marred its predecessor, Miami — an album that was full of great songs and performances but was so marred by poor sound that it sounded lifeless. Both records were issued by Chris Stein’s Animal label. The Las Vegas Story was produced by Jeff Eyrich who was just coming off T-Bone Burnett’s Proof Through the Night project and was about to enter the studio with both the Plimsouls and Thin White Rope. Its lineup features the return of original guitarist Kid Congo Powers, as well as drummer Terry Graham and new bassist Patricia Morrison (aka Pat Bag) from L.A. punk outfit the Bags. Late frontman /guitarist Jeffrey Lee Pierce was writing feverish rock & roll songs that took their inspiration from Southern blues and West Texas country music all framed by an angular, jagged post-punk energy. The screaming rawness at the heart of the band’s debut, Fire of Love, had been replaced by a dry, moaning lonesome, percussion heavy desert sound, space and echo float through the mix like a ghost through Pierce’s slide guitar playing. Bass drum and tom-toms fuel the attack with a basic, primitive nocturnal energy. Topics ranged from personal disintegration in “Walkin’ with the Beast,” and the country-blues-drenched “Eternally Is Here,” and the shambolic, two-step country confusion of “My Dreams” that quotes directly from Television’s “Marquee Moon” to the disappearance of the nation in “Bad America”‘s edgy guitar wrangle. There are a couple of covers on the set tossed right in the center of the album: “The Master Plan,” a spooky, brooding, rock read of Pharoah Sanders’ and Leon Thomas’ “The Creator Has a Master Plan,” and a slovenly, funereal version of “My Man’s Gone Now,” by George and Ira Gershwin from Porgy and Bess. The Las Vegas Story is a provocative record that reveals the Gun Club was pulled in many directions at once, and though the tension is in evidence on every track, it nonetheless holds together. After Fire of Love, The Las Vegas Story is their most satisfying album and is, perhaps, the band’s most visionary offering.
The now commonplace vocal style of so many metal bands often referred to as the “Death Growl” or what I have always termed Cookie Monster vocals can be traced back to John Entwistle’s “Boris the Spider” growling vocals, and though it probably originated even earlier with the funny shock R&B vocals by the likes of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins for instance, it is most likely that the heavy horror rock that is “Boris…” is a song that really made an impact on more modern era death metal bands. There were doubtlessly other heavy songs post “Boris…” such as Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man,” that also acted as an influence on the death growl.
There he is wrapped up in a ball Doesn’t seem to move at all Perhaps he’s dead, I’ll just make sure Pick this book up off the floor
He’s come to a sticky end Don’t think he will ever mend Never more will he crawl ’round He’s embedded in the ground
While happy to take a backseat to the others in the band, and even with his memorable songs like “Boris…”, “My Wife” and Whiskey Man” peppering Who albums, he recorded and released the first solo album by a member of The Who, 1971’s Smash Your Head Against The Wall.
The album, with a disturbing Egyptian sarcophagus-like cover—it actually superimposes John Entwistle wearing his own plastic “death mask” with that of x-rays from lung cancer patient (parodying anti-cigarette smoking ads of the time—well, I said he had a penchant for black humor!)—is Entwistle’s masterpiece.
Not only does it feel like it could have come from the vaults of The Whoas a long lost album, Entwistle’s songwriting, production and performances by the band are superb including guest percussion and backing vocals by Keith Moon, The Bonzo Dog Band’s Vivian Stanshall,and The Bonzo Dog Band/Rutles’ Neil Innes.’
Entwistle’s black humor, inner demons and funeral parlor songwriting runs throughout the album with tracks such as “My Size” (where the smashing a bully’s head against the wall of the album title comes in), a remake of his own Who song “Heaven and Hell” with more Horn, the “Eleanor Rigby” sentiments of “Ted End,” “No. 29 Eternal Youth” and Entwistle as the devil himself in “You’re Mine.” An expanded version of the album includes many demos such as the unreleased and splendidly titled “The Haunted Can Be Free”
Entwistle would continue with another sparkling solo album entitled Whistle Rymes (1972), another feather in his solo album black cap, that delves into similar themes and morbid sentiments, for instance the album opener “Ten Little Friends” has lyrics such as:
I don’t need no conversation I got everything I need I’m happy sitting up here With my ten little friends, Mr. Bones, and me
I don’t need no television Ain’t got time to watch TV I’m too busy sitting here playing With my ten little friends, Mr. Bones, and me
The album, the first to feature a bass synthesizer, showcases another great band, including guitar from a then unknown Peter Frampton as well as contributions from Keith Moon and Wings‘ Jimmy McCulloch.
Whistle Rymes contains a little mentioned or written about Entwistle song as its closer, “Nightmare (Please Wake Me Up),” which is a song that not only reinforces my entire point for this article, but I would easily say that with its long, experimental creepy sound, it probably influenced Hugh Cornwell and his band The Stranglers, and is one of my fave Entwistle songs from any of his albums.
One of Entwistle’s final projects was Music From Van-Pires, a collaborative collection of songs recorded and released by The John Entwistle Band for an animated children’s TV series in 2000. Featuring Death Growl narrative and songs with titles such as “Horror Rock,” Bogey Man,” “Darker Side of Night” and “Left For Dead,” it is not only a heavy dose of wonderfully dark and creepy John Entwistle fun—perfect for Halloween festivities—and it is certainly a fitting way for this ghost story to end.
From “Darker Side of Night”
The beast with a thousand eyes Was just a peacock in disguise But the shadows at your feet Hide the warriors in the street
The Moon shines down on lovers But there’s a darker side of night The stars caress young lovers But there’s a darker side of night
The monster under your bed Was just an old teddy bear without a head You’re not afraid on Halloween But you won’t spend the night on floor 13
A guitar effects processor called a Synthi Hi-Fli generated Keith’s sound on “Time Waits For No One.” He described the device as, “ … a white flat box that looks like a bathroom scale when you put it on the floor, and you can get a lot of different sounds out of it.” Mick Taylor used one as well. He remembered: “I only used it once. It had a fader like you have on a mixing board for fading in the octave, the octave above or the octave below. I had my guitar going through that on one of my favorite tracks, as far as my guitar playing goes, “Time Waits For No One.” I used a Fender Stratocaster on that simply because it was there and it sounded good. It’s not my usual sound, but it’s certainly one of my favorite solos. I added to the arrangement in terms of the middle section having a solo and it having a long fade and a guitar solo at the end. Apart from the original lead solo here was another solo that was overdubbed through this guitar synthesizer an octave below. I bought it somewhere in England and I brought it to Musicland Studios and I didn’t really know what I was going to use it for. I just happened to plug into it when we were recording “Time Waits For No One.”” David Cockerell designed the Synthi Hi-Fli for EMS in 1971. Electronic Music Studios Ltd. was a London company formed in 1969 as a manufacturer of synthesizers. The Hi-Fli was a spin-off of their Synthi range and was designed with the guitar in mind. It was considered as a synthesizer at the time but is more akin to a modern day multi-effects processor. The advertisement for the Hi-Fli claimed that it could produce a variety of effects including “Phasing, Pitch vibrato, ‘Waa-Waw,’ Meow, Sustain Fuzz, Sub-Octave and Ring Modulation.” Cockerell later went on to design effect pedals for Electro Harmonix, including the Electro Harmonix Micro Synth and Small Stone phaser. Fewer than 350 of the original Synthi Hi-Fli were manufactured by EMS.
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FREAKS ALBUM OF THE DAY FOR THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29:
Bobby Fuller, El Paso Rock, Vol. 2: More Early Recordings (1997, Norton Records)
1 Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
2 2,000 Lb. Bee
3 Fool Of Love
4 Linda Lu
6 Wine Wine Wine
7 (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care
8 Not Fade Away
10 It’s Love Come What May
12 Saturday Night (Alternate Take)
13 Lonely Sea / Lolita
14 Things We Said Today
15 I Can’t Live Without Your Love
16 Night Train
17 A Boy In Love
18 Peggy Sue / Pamela
19 Take My Word
21 Birthday Cake (Keep Your Hands Off Of It)
22 My Own True Love (El Paso Version)
This second installment in Norton’s telling of the early days of the Bobby Fuller story brings a treasure trove of rare tracks to the table and adds much to his recorded legacy. The centerpiece of this collection are a dozen live tracks that Fuller recorded on his trusty home tape recorder between 1962 and 1964, including a blistering version of “Miserlou” that proves Fuller was the equal of any surf guitarist recording at he time. In addition to those, we’re also treated to early versions of tunes that he would later record for the Mustang label in California, including “My Own True Love,” “Fool of Love,” “Take My Word” and “It’s Love Come What May.” A package for diehard true believers and perhaps not the place to start your Bobby Fuller collection, but a great place to end up.
As the month of March arrived, the group added yet another residency to their extensive list with their debut at Ken Coyler’s Club, Studio 51, on March 3, a gig that lasted about six months. On March 11, 1963, the first professional Stones recording took place at IBC Studios, Portland Place, London. The session was arranged by Ian’s friend Glyn Johns, who also was a professional studio engineer and producer at IBC Studios. He explained: “I started as a tea maker, an assistant tape operator, in 1959 at IBC studios. In those days, it was considered the best studio in Europe. We worked on everything: film music, American television music, jingles, a lot of big band and band singers. There wasn’t a lot of rock ’n’ roll in those days. It really started at the end of 1960. The old senior engineers didn’t understand rock ’n’ roll at all. That’s what made way for us youngsters. We just took over.” Johns,became a very important and influential studio engineer and producer over the next few decades, was among the first to take notice of the Stones’ inherent primitive quality and nonconformist attitude, and he tried to harness those within the walls of a studio. Johns remembered: “I took them in the studio for the first time. It was very exciting. It was clear that Brian Jones was the leader. I took an instant dislike to him. It was great. I’d been into Jimmy Reed for a long time, although he wasn’t known in England. I was really into American folk and R&B, so, when the Stones happened, I was amazed that an English band could get anywhere close to that, that they even knew about it.” Five tracks were recorded, produced, and engineered by Johns; mostly songs which were part of the Stones’ repertoire on stage: Bo Diddley’s “Road Runner” and “Diddley Daddy,” Muddy Waters’s “I Want To Be Loved,” and Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights Big City’’ and “Honey What’s Wrong.” The group entered the studio with their most recent arsenal of equipment, and they were quite satisfied with the outcome of the session, Brian in particular. Johns’s boss, George Clewson, tried to shop the tape to several record companies, all of which turned him down with the complaint that the material was not of a commercial nature. Sadly, the tracks were never released, but they have surfaced several times unofficially, as far back as late 1969.
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL FREAKS ALBUM OF THE DAY FOR TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28:
The Animals, Animalization (1966, MGM)
A1 Don’t Bring Me Down 3:13
A2 One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show 3:20
A3 You’re On My Mind 2:54
A4 Cheating 2:23
A5 She’ll Return It 2:47
A6 Inside Looking Out 3:47
B1 See See Rider 3:58
B2 Gin House Blues 4:37
B3 Maudi 4:03
B4 What Am I Living For 3:12
B5 Sweet Little Sixteen 3:07
B6 I Put A Spell On You 2:55
The U.S. version of the British Animalisms album removed the loose jam “Clapping,” and the superb “Squeeze Her – Tease Her” and “That’s All I Am to You” are removed in favor of the hits “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “See See Rider,” and “Inside – Looking Out” — it’s still a great record, if not as cohesive as the U.K. version, and was the last original Animals LP to attract many buyers in the U.S. The song content of both versions has been assembled on Repertoire’s 2000 release of Animalisms.
For Lou Reed, one of my very greatest influences and inspirations, leader of my favorite American band of all time, a great friend to the Del-Lords, my old neighbor, and someone with whom i had the pleasure of sharing many memorable conversations about rock’n’roll, doo-wop, boxing, baseball, Dion, his songs, my songs (this one still floors me), or just shooting the shit. When Lou asked us to open his tour in 1986 – as he was actually a fan of our band – you could have knocked me over with a feather. He was a most generous, considerate, and gracious host, too. He even came by to appear in one of our videos following the tour.
I knew all the negative stories that were out there about Lou, so it was with great nervousness that on the first night of the tour (three nights in NYC at the Ritz), i brought this LP cover along hoping to get it signed. I brought along his then-current LP MISTRIAL, as well, for some extra support, not knowing how Lou would feel about signing a record that was already almost twenty years old. But, Lou greeted me with a big hug, a thank you for agreeing to do the tour, and assured me he was as thrilled as we were (I know that last part couldn’t really be possible (could it??!), but it gave me a clue as to how this was all gonna go – and it went very well, indeed. I have said this before, and i will say it once more: I never once saw the Lou Reed of all those negative stories. I do not deny, doubt or disregard those stories, i only say that, in my own experiences with him, i never saw THAT Lou! And, he signed it, and it has been framed on my wall ever since.
On this, the second anniversary of your passing, i want you to know i still miss you, Lou, and thanx for everything i absorbed and learned from you and your art. R.I.P., Lou.
As Mick Taylor became increasingly disgruntled about his position in the group, Ron Wood became a close ally, slowly migrating into the role played by Taylor. Taylor remained with the band until the end of 1974, and Wood remained loyal to the Faces until their demise. Since Keith still lived in Switzerland, the Wick became his home away from home in London. Wood remembered his initial meeting with Keith in the early months of 1974: “I always regarded the Stones as my band long before I was in it. My involvement really started in 1974 when my ex-wife Krissy went down to Tramps one night and bumped into Keith there. He was trying to escape from some drug dealer, so she invited him back to hang out at our place in Richmond. Keith said, ‘Anything to get out of here. I’ve got to get away from these people.’ I was making my first solo album [I’ve Got My Own Album To Do], and he ended up staying four months.” Wood was joined by an impressive array of musicians for the recording, including, in addition to Keith, Mick Jagger, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and, ironically, Mick Taylor. Jagger and Richards wrote two numbers for the album, “Act Together” and “Sure The One You Need.” Keith recalled: “Ronnie laid a trap for me. I couldn’t resist playing with him. I started out just doing a couple of overdubs, and the next thing I know I’ve been there for three weeks! Towards the end it got completely insane, I’d be up for days on end. Stones sessions all afternoon and evening and then down to Ronnie’s for recording all night.”