Friday, May 30, 2014

From India To Esher or Kaftans and Curry -May 1968

The Beatles and their gals have a chuckle at Mike Love's expense, join them, won't you?

On a recent trip to Houston, I was in a record store (natch) and the clerk while ringing up a couple of customers was engaging in what can best be described as an aging hipster soliloquy about how he was constructing the perfect single album version of the Beatles' White Album and how the process started with eliminating all of Paul McCartney's songs. Now normally I am always up for a little White Album banter, but this guy was so smug and assured in dismissing all of Paul's songs out of hand that my friend Chris and I, though both looking askance, decided to keep our mouths shut, it wasn't worth the bother- as I alluded to it wasn't so much a discussion as an old blowhard holding forth. Clearly though the guy's idea is a non-starter, just imagine the White Album losing "Helter Skelter" "Blackbird" "Back in the USSR" and "Why Don't We Do It In The Road".  The whole genius of the album is the way it pulls in so many different directions and yet is sequenced so deftly that it still hangs together as a wonderfully complex, but balanced, self contained universe.

Later the whole incident had me further contemplating the White Album, it's mystique and how much I love it (not a rare occurance) and more specifically about the acoustic demos for the album that John, Paul and George recorded at George's home Kinfauns in Esher after returning from India in 1968- where the majority of the songs that ended up on the White Album were composed. Which, patient readers, is where this here mix comes in! What I've assembled for your perusal are those 1968 Esher demos put in roughly similar running order to the album (not all the albums' songs were written at this time and some that didn't make the final cut have been inserted, including John's beautiful "Child of Nature" which he later rewrote as "Jealous Guy") with two informal recordings made while in Rishikesh, India serving as bookends.

I'm really pleased with how this mix, From India to Esher or if you prefer Kaftans and Curry, plays effectively as an alternate universe low-fi acoustic version of the White Album. I do believe you'll find it perfect for your summer meditations! Why you can almost smell the curry, feel that soft linen and cheesecloth and see the colored kaftans. I hope you like it!!!

Three other records that offer perfect accompaniment to this mix and that also grew out of time spent in India with the Beatles are the Beach Boys' Friends and 20/20 records and Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man. You might also consider two late 1968 releases, The Kink's Village Green album and Neil Young's eponymous debut, for their complimentary pastoral feel. And, of course, as always playing the yin to the Beatles' yang there's the Stones' December 1968 release which also sports a stark white cover, Beggar's Banquet- a record which finds the Stones likewise flirting with their earthy roots, including a bit of folk/blues with some psychedelic residue still audible round the edges (for instance Brian Jones' mellotron touches on "Jigsaw Puzzle" and "Stray Cat Blues"). Lastly to complete the 1968 Indian/Psych hybrid feel you can cue up George Harrison's 1968 soundtrack to the film Wonderwall.

After the track-listing, are some favorite snaps of the Beatles in India, along with Donovan, Mike Love and Prudence.

1. Introduction
2. Spiritual Regeneration (India)
3. Back in the USSR
4. Dear Prudence
5. Ob La Di Ob La Da
6. Bungalow Bill
7. Mah Guitar Gently Weeps
8. I'm So Tired
9. Blackbird
10. Piggies
11. Rocky Raccoon
12. Julia
13. Yer Blues
14. Mother Nature's Son
15. Me And My Monkey
16. Sexy Sadie
17. Not Guilty
18. Helter Skelter
19. Revolution
20. Circles
21. Honey Pie
22. Cry Baby Cry
23. What's The New Mary Jane
24. Sour Milk Sea
25. Child of Nature
26. Junk
27. Rishikesh No. 9 (India)


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Batista Swing

David Johansen is one of my favorite front men, hell he might even be one of the all time greats, who the fuck knows. He certainly rocks a mean cowbell, makes me laugh and commands attention, aka owning the stage. Anyway this post is inspired by the Dolls in S.F. at the Matrix, in particular Johansen's humorous introduction to "Private World" (fast forward the second video to 8:59 for this) "this song is a bit of the old Cuban touch, do you remember kids, I don't know if this was before your time, but when I was a kid I always used to read the paper, I was very astute as a child, and if you can remember there was a man named Batista. And Batista used to run a country called Cuba, before those horrible communist took over, they used to gamble and swing, now all they do is build hospitals and work on the farm." And they then proceed to go into a smoking hot version of "Private World" which unfortunately is cut off till the next video, see third video below.

Anywho the whole thing is available in six parts on ye olde youtube, and I'm given you three of them here, primarily so you can peep the aforementioned intro and song. Also of note is Rodney Bingenheimer introducing the Dolls in the first video.

"Private World" and more are available on the Bob Gruen's Dolls DVD which when I bought it was called All Dolled Up. It's recommended for all you good people who still have the good sense and heart to buy physical product. By the way the video quality is much superior on the DVD.

Monday, May 19, 2014

But Not For Me

I remember first seeing The Prisoner in the 1980's in reruns on one of the local UHF channels, might have been the same channel that also showed the Monkees, Channel 26? The show obviously still had quite an impact on kids in the 80's. There was lots of 60's TV in syndication in the 1980's. Part of the whole 60's/80's connection. Be seeing you.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

You Don't Fuck Around With The Infinite-Mean Streets 1973

Harvey Keitel as Charlie praying in St. Patrick's Cathedral
Here, painstakingly assembled for your listening pleasure, is the full soundtrack to Mean Streets- one of the greatest American films ever made and the best movie about growing up Catholic in America, a country made for Protestants.  Come to think of it, it's also the movie that best captures the energy and spirit of Rock n' Roll and all its crazy contradictions and bittersweet epiphanies. Nothing existed like this film in mainstream cinema in 1973, but over the years so many of its stylistic moves and innovations have been incorporated, usually to less startling effect, into mainstream cinema that a viewer coming to it without context may not realize just how fresh and groundbreaking the film was upon release.  It literally crackles with unbridled energy- hence the rock n' roll. Enjoy!  It's got so much heart it hurts. Track listing and a few favorite scenes below.


1. Be My Baby- The Ronettes
2. Tell Me- The Rolling Stones
3. I Looked Away- Derek and the Dominoes
4. Jumping Jack Flash- The Rolling Stones
5. Deserie- The Charts
6. Munasterio E Santa-Chiara- Giuseppe Di Stefano
7. I Met Him On A Sunday- The Shirelles
8. Florence- The Paragons
9. Those Oldies But Goodies- Little Caesar & The Romans
10. Please Mr. Postman- The Marvelettes
11. Mala Remmena- Jimmy Roselli
12. Maruzzella- Renato Carosone
13. Addio, Sogni Di Gloria- Giuseppe Di Stefano
14. You- The Aquatones
15. The Shoop Shoop Song- Betty Everett
16. I Love You So- The Chantels
17. Ship of Love- The Nutmegs
18. Rubber Biscuit- The Chips
19. Pledging My Love- Johnny Ace
20. Ritmo Sabroso- Ray Baretta
21. Scapricciatiello- Renato Carosone
22. Mickey's Monkey- Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
23. Steppin' Out- John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers

Thursday, May 1, 2014