Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Fleshtones - "Forever Fleshtones" (Danceteria Records, 1994)

The Fleshtones often counted by many as a garage band. Musically speaking, this designation seems to be at least limitating. This NYC legendary party outfit, always were and always be a genius mixture of all cool things hapenned in rock & roll the last 50 years! I guess that's why they call their-selves 'Super Rock', right? Of course had (and still have) fuzz in their sound and of course they use a Farfisa organ, but... They always chose to cover R&B or Soul obscurities instead of 60s punk classics like all the other "80s garage bands" did. And of course their own material was equal in terms of quality and in comparison with the covers. 
Many of the Fleshtones fanatics have one thing in common with the so-called 'rock journalists'. They all agree to the fact that "Roman Gods" and "Hexbreaker!" were the best outputs the 'tones offered to the world in their long time career (almost 3 decades and counting!). Well, I'm one of the possible exceptions. Sure i adore both aforementioned albums, but what it's closer to my heart is "Forever Fleshtones" A.K.A. "Beautiful Light". As you already able to see for yourself, we Europeans got the Danceteria edition as "Forever Fleshtones". I did a quick google search for "Beautiful Light" and came to conclusion that the only differences the two albums had were the covers (the one's front sleeve the others back) plus a sepia coloration on the US edition ("Beautiful Light"). This masterpiece had as producer the R.E.M. axeman, Peter Buck and recorded in Athens Georgia with outstanding results! To tell you the truth, this thing alone made look R.E.M. with more sympathy. Anyway, that's a deeply soulful recording. Rootsy as usual but with a hoodoo voodoo vibe all over it. "Take a walk with the Fleshtones" it's the best ever Kinks rip off and "Whistling Past the Grave" picks not so secretly eyebeams on an another 60s British band, the Yardbirds, while "Beatiful Light" seems to have a southern soul warmness.  "Pickin' Pickin'" and "Push on Through" are the Soul stompers of the record and future participatings on comps like 2050's "Land of 1000 Dances Vol.56". The album's closing number, it's a psychedelic (yes psychedelic! - in the unique Fleshtones way, though) masterpiece ("Mushroom Cloud") and has an organ that sounding if it's sampled by a Human Expression or a Seeds old 45 single. All these and more can be found inside this record's heart. If there's one disc by the Fleshtones that needs to be immediately back in stock, that's "Forever Fleshtones" (or "Beautiful Light").

Take a walk with the Fleshtones!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reverend Charlie Jackson - "God's Got It/Fix It Jesus" (Booker 07) & "Wrapped Up and Tangled Up in Jesus/Morning Train" (Booker 434 - Sometime in the early 70s)

OK, I’m no religious person at all.
I’m not sure if God exists or not and in general my whole attitude on this ancient debate it’s a bit anarchic or at least skeptic.
Anyway, I always liked the gospels. I never got deep into this genre, so I’m a little bit scared to touch my hands into and tell something on subjects that surely don’t know well. As it always happens with Jim Marshall (or The Hound for those in the ploy) when he put on on something, I’m takin’ lessons and holding notes. As far now for gospels, I finally found a place to start my journey cravenly and slowly. Jim's post on gospel and guitar evangelists still remains my favorite and you know what I mean when I use the word “favorite” on a Hound’s piece, right? You should check it swiftly (here)!
So, I got a question. Could it ever be a gospel song (or album) in a state of devilry ablaze? 
Fuck YES! If we are talking 'bout the case of Reverend Charlie Jackson, well - something’s “wrong” going on here obviously. This is the “punk rock” of the gospels. He had a filthy strong voice, just like if Bunker Hill was a preacher (hmmm, as a matter of fact I think I read somewhere that Bunker Hill did sang the gospels actually) and he played the guitar just like Skip James or Willie Dixon. No shit! The man created mayhem with these two weapons and definitely no spiritual music! At first, Booker label got him on and released through it 6 or 7 singles. For some reason unknown to me at this moment and in a pure D.I.Y. manner, got formed his own label - named what else, Jackson, and continued to cut sides there. Most of 'em given to the pilgrims of his church and I'm quite sure all these now are collector's items. Don't bother try find them. Crypt and Casequarter gathered most of 'em if not all (don't know yet - sorry for the misunderstandings here, this piece written without my LP copy on my hands) and released 'em on LP and CD in correspondence.
I ripped this two Booker singles from a CD-R that's written and send it to me from an unknown friend in Germany (thanks a million!) and as you might guess, instantly i did two things. First to order an LP copy and 2nd, to write this piece. Hear for your self and judge, but personally i don't believe that exists a "gospel" record or artist more fuzzed out and primitive than this or better these! 
God's Got It!
PS1: For more Reverend Charlie Jackson and a different "Wrapped Up in Jesus" version, later recuted on his own Jackson label, go to excellent Kogar's Jungle Juice blog and read/hear this.
PS2: The Black Crowes on their last album, covered "God's Got It" with decency. Extra kudos for this, even though i already dug them. 
PS3: Did they ever heard some of these records if not all, The White Stripes or the Black Keys? I hope not, cause if they did, they already know that never gonna get a sound like this, not even in a hundred years!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Eddie Bo - "In The Pocket With Eddie Bo" (Vampisoul, 2008)

In my mind there's no underrated R&B artist ever, than Eddie Bo (along with Eddie Taylor - my two Eddies). Eddie was sadly in the package of the least known greats. A funkster and a soulman, a rock n' roller and boogaloo-er, there's really no piece of black music that didn't touch his talented hands on. And what was created by these, were at least perfect examples of what New Orleans' music parade had to offer. Everybody knows Little Richard's "Slippin' & Slidin'' I'm sure. Does everyone know that was actually an Eddie Bo's tune (a local hit on Apollo under the title of "I'm Wise")? From 1955 to his recently departure, he had recorded and changed more than 40 record labels. From Ace and Apollo to Chess, Backbeat or Instant, Eddie created quite simply; sounds cool enough to move your body and touch your soul. He had worked also with great musicians of the era or the region such as Johnny Adams, Bobby Williams or Art Neville, but still remained a man behind the curtain and the headlights. Eddie was a unique mixture of voodoo rhythms and this compilation is as far as I'm able to know, the best way to start and to finish an important but yet criminally overlooked journey in New Orleans music tradition. If you wanna go deep down and dirty, well, here's your pill!
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In the Pocket with... 

PS:  Check here Soul Generation's brilliant feature on Eddie Bo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Solomon Burke - "Proud Mary/What Am I Living For" (Bell, 1969)

That was it. One by one nip out of this world. The last two years, Bo Diddley, Eddie Bo, King Coleman and today Solomon Burke (among sadly, many others) died and as much as a cliché this might sound, let us live with unoriginal and boring white or black cuties/hotties that pretend they “play” R&B... King Solomon’s gone for good. Get it? King Solomon’s gone…
Do I really need to say something for this MAN? C’mon I’m not in the mood and OK, if you don’t know, sorry but I don’t have the stomach this very moment to tell you who this man is. I’m not saying was, cause men like Solomon of course never die. How did the MC5 put it? A TRUE TESTIMONIAL!  Yeh, Solon Burke was that. Pick on whatever recording he made, to start or finish your journey on he's magical SOUL world. From the Atlantic label, to Bell and lately Fat Possum, King Solomon delivered the goods. All I have to say is that I’m terribly sad… And all I have to offer, is this 1969 Bell two-sider. Of course it's the same "Proud Mary" as this by Creedence Clearwater Revival or Ike & Tina. I'm not going to claim that this is thee best version of them all, even though i believe it's at least CCR's equal, but for sure got one thing...SOUL! "Cry To Me" King Solomon.
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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Various Artists - "All Night Soul Stomp! Dancefloor Boogaloo Romp!" (Stomp, 19??)

If you make a quick google search on the words "Boogaloo" or "Shing-a-ling", words indissoluble linked with black music and especially R&B and rock & roll, you'll be founding out that the origins or maybe, the real reasons these created was about Latin music! Yes Latin! Personally speaking always, i have a thing with boogaloo. If it comes for these soul stompers, i'll go nuts! I'll go crazy for this "between eras" output of black bad asses, that had their one leg strongly stamped on the frantic R&B territory and the other in the soul dance-floor burners! You might call it "Soul & Roll" as well.
I'm for sure a huge Soul adoring individual, but i must give the credit for getting me into this ass moving dynamites, to the Slow Slushy Boys from France. What a fuckin' great band! If you haven't already checked them, please do it immediately! Then came the absolutley FANTASTIC compilations like "Shakin' Fit", "Pow City", "Hootchie Cootchie", the "Buttshakers" volumes or the "Downtown Soulville" and that was it, i was a proud carrier of the virus! And this one, it's another one that kicks some serious asses. It's not an 'out of print' platter or CD (i guess) but it's not also an easy item to catch, even via the net. Sad, but don't worry. What in the hell "White Trash Soul" would be this place if it hadn't got it in order to infect you too with this germ, huh? A killer no filler collection of RARE as hell 45s by artists mostly known to collectors or the fans of this 'genre'. Hats off to this Belgian company (if it's not really an excellent boot) for gathering so much hotties in a single disc (well, i guess again that the LP version was a double vinyl, but anyway). King Coleman, Phil Flowers, Chet 'Poison' Ivey, Russ Lewis, the International Kansas City Playboys, the Emperors (of "Karate" fame!) even King Little Richard, made a swirl in here! Believe me people, all these artists were at least equal or for better, created equal dance floor mayhem just as Sam & Dave did! If you're planning a party this weekend, put this on, dance like a monkey and have on drink on me!
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Boogaloo Romp! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book of the YEAR! Max Décharné - "A Rocket In My Pocket: The Hipster's Guide to Rockabilly Music" (Serpent's Tail, 2010)

For people not in the hoax, Max Décharné is a multi-talented person, mostly known as a musician. He began as the drummer of the Brit swampabillys, the Gallon Drunk but he played also a key role in the Dean Martin version of the Cramps, the Earls of Suave. Not much after this he created the Flaming Stars, a rare in taste rock & roll band. An original rock & roll street preacher full on (or of) culture. His impecable taste on movies, books and of course music, ranking him as the best of a kind that sadly fades, the last 20 years (at least for me)! 
When he finally tried his luck on writing a book he just topped! Hipster, with a deep knowledge of language, slang, records and facts of what generally called now "Rock & Roll" culture. 
Max Décharné was the last man interviewed by legendary John Peel. Both were mutual admirers. 
"Rocket in My Pocket", is what the title exactly says. "The Hipsters guide to Rockabilly music". I bought it yesterday and i'm SO hooked on this, that i stopped reading it only for going to work or sleep (late). An a few days ago release (in other words FRESH!) that certainly won't let you disappointed! As every other book by Max did. Forasmuch Billy Miller or Miriam Linna don't write a book, Max will be the one and only in the square that really deserves your time and money! Buy "Rocket in My Pocket" NOW!

Max Décharné's Bibliography:

  • Beat Your Relatives To A Bloody Pulp & Other Stories, Malice Aforethought Press, 1989
  • The Prisoner Of Brenda & Other Stories, Malice Aforethought Press, 1991
  • I Was A Teenage Warehouse & Other Stories, Thirst Editions, 1997
  • Straight From the Fridge, Dad: A Dictionary of Hipster Slang, No Exit Press, 2000
  • Hardboiled Hollywood – The Origins of the Great Crime Films, No Exit Press, 2003
  • King's Road: The Rise And Fall of the Hippest Street in the World, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005
  • A Rocket In My Pocket: The Hipster's Guide to Rockabilly Music, Serpent's Tail, 2010

PS: As an accompaniment to this, the great ACE Records, told Max to compile a CD full of rockabilly blasts well chosen and with just one thing in mind, to get WILD! If you don't already own the lot, if not all of these toons, well here's your chance! Take a look here!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Fabulous Thunderbirds - "Girls Go Wild" (Chrysalis, 1979)

I can't see really why people go nuts for Stevie Ray Vaughan. I mean OK, may he was an A grade guitarist, but it never worked for me. Too fanfare and all things i hate generally on the "white blues" bands of the last 30 years, gathered under his wings. More pretentious and poseur than anyone could handle. When i was a little kid, got busted from the hype of SRV and got two albums. Even then, it was difficult to like his Hendrix like mannerisms and by the time heard him destroy (the bad way & with the help of Dick Dale for crisshake!)  "Pipeline", got a marker and once and for all deleted him from my mind's database!
I always  though dug his brother, Jimmy. And yes people, this one is the right one! He really got a huge admiration and respect for Rhythm & Blues, he really played them simple and powerfully and most of all, created a band that at the time (lemme think, why not even today?) were a sunbeam on the hodgepodge! Yes, the Fabulous Thunderbirds got all right elements for picking on a band that played the blues even if their skin were Caucasian. A manic fusion of Rock & Roll, R&B and Blues, with a wailin' harmonica and a tough enough rhythm section. Kim Wilson is another reason to pick on them. Cool as fuck and stormy, lead a band that in a way or another, kick started the whole 80s 'blues revival' thing. Don't know if we should blame T-Birds for this, but one thing's for sure, this debut has enough fire to warm up a city in the winter! If you haven't done it already, well give it a play. They sure blast your speakers off!
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Girls Go WILD!!!