Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cleopatra’s Psych Box Explores Classic & Modern Psychedelic Rock

Cleopatra Records' Psych Box

It doesn’t surprise the Reverend that the good folks at Cleopatra Records would release a project like the five-CD Psych Box, nosiree! Over the past year, the label has made it their mission to dig up and release undiscovered gems by psych-rock legends like Iron Butterfly and Quicksilver Messenger Service as well as discs by fellow travelers like Curved Air, Captain Beyond, and Hawkwind.

Psych Box is packaged in a 7” x 7” box with individual CD wallets and a full color booklet, the set tracing the history of psychedelic rock from its roots in the 1960s through the present day. The set includes choice music from bands like the aforementioned Iron Butterfly and Hawkwind, the Syn (which featured future Yes guitarist Peter Banks), the Legendary Pink Dots, the Warlocks, the Black Angels, and many more.

Cleopatra Records' Psych Box
The enclosed booklet includes band bios and suggested listening for whatever sort of musical acid trip you’d like to book in the future. The set includes a bonus 7” record featuring a spoken word track by Dr. Timothy Leary with a B-side from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. Just check out the track list below and we think you’ll agree that you’re getting a lot of bang for around $40 for the Psych Box!

Psych Box track list:

Disc One
1. The Brian Jonestown Massacre – “Going to Hell”
2. The Black Angels – “Soul Kitchen”
3. The Legendary Pink Dots – “Damien”
4. A Place To Bury Strangers – “Sunbeam”
5. The Warlocks – “You Destroy”
6. Hawkwind – “Opa-Loka”
7. Absolutely Free – “Vision’s”
8. The Movements – “Great Deceiver”
9. Chrome – “Meet You In The Subway”
10. Nikola Tesla & Thee Coils – “Sweet Rays”
11. Rotten Mangos – “Tent Rentals”
12. The Thunderbeats – “Something Inside Me”
13. The Third Sound – “For a While”
14. Sula Bassana – “Lost In Space”
15. Brainticket – “Black Sand”

Disc Two
1. Wild Style Lion – “Love Was In Me” (featuring Kim Gordon)
2. The May Company – “Wrap Around Porch”
3. The See See – “Big Bad Storm”
4. The Syn – “14 Hour Technicolour Dream”
5. Sons of Hippies – “Mirrorball”
6. The Deviants – “Jamie's Song”
7. Cambrian Explosion – “The Sun”
8. Surprise Party – “Cut Me”
9. Siena Root – “In My Kitchen”
10. The Spyrals – “Sunflower Microphone”
11. Studio 69 – “Il Est Juste La”
12. The Litter – “Action Woman”
13. Las Brujas – “Sweaty Windows”
14. Jovontaes – “Forever”
15. Spindrift – “Red Reflection”
16. Dum Dum Girls – “Letter to Hermione”

Disc Three
1. Nico – “All Tomorrow’s Parties”
2. Bonfire Beach – “Black Tinted Moonlight”
3. The Fresh & Onlys – “In The Light”
4. The Altered Hours – “Smoke Your Eyes”
5. Femme Accident – “Everything Goes Wrong”
6. The Ones – “Lady Greengrass”
7. Tales of Murder and Dust – “Laid Bare”
8. Dead Meadow – “The Crystal Ship”
9. The Sonic Dawn – “Japanese Hills”
10. MC5 – “Gold”
11. Tashaki Miyaki – “Take It Or Leave It”
12. Holy Wave – “Do You Feel It”
13. The Tulips – “Winter Winds”
14. Fade In Mona Lisa – “Green Carnations”
15. Electric Moon – “Spaceman”

Disc Four
1. Magic Wands – “Jupiter”
2. Nektar – “It’s All In The Mind”
3. The Chocolate Watchband – “No Way Out”
4. Brujas Del Sol – “Occultation”
5. Calliope – “Iron Hand”
6. Energy 2000 – “Zodiacal Light”
7. The Floormen – “The Place Where The Flat Things Are”
8. The Striped Bananas – “Dark Peace”
9. Indian Jewelry – “Kashmir”
10. Wight Lhite – “Close To Odd”
11. Surly Gates – “Under Your Tongue”
12. Aqua Nebula Oscillator – “Innocent Tu Seras Incandescent”
13. Pink Velvet – “Allez prenons un autre verre”
14. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – “Devil's Grip”
15. Black Delta Movement – “MacBeth”
16. Aura Blaze – “A Glass of Tears Half Empty”

Disc Five
1. Iron Butterfly – “Possession” (original 7” version)
2. The Fuzztones – “Hallucination Generation”
3. Allah-Las – “Stoned”
4. Love, Hippies & Gangsters – “This Is What We Want”
5. onYou – “National Strings Attached”
6. Secret Colours – “Get To The Sun”
7. The Vacant Lots – “Julia”
8. Black Moon Circle – “The Machine On The Hill”
9. Ttotals – “Life Thus Far Out”
10. Nik Turner – “Time Crypt”
11. Shuggie Otis – “Ice Cream Party” (instrumental)
12. Kim Fowley – “The Trip”
13. Landskap – “South Of No North”
14. The Lucid Experiment – “She’s My Melody”
15. The Raveonettes – “The End”

Buy the box set from Various Artists - Psych Box

CD Preview: The Daevid Allen Weird Quartet’s Elevenses

The Daevid Allen Weird Quartet’s Elevenses
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Daevid Allen sadly passed away in March 2015 at 77 years old, but he’d led a full and inspirational life. One of the most innovative musicians to leave his mark on the world of progressive rock, Allen was a founding member of 1960s-era trailblazers the Soft Machine, although he had to drop out of the band before they recorded their first album.

Allen also helped form the legendary prog-rock outfit Gong in 1968, recording half a dozen albums with the band – including their influential Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy of albums – before launching a solo career that carried on, one way or another, until his death. There were also plenty of Gong reunions through the years, as well as offshoots of the band that Allen took part in.

On February 12th, 2016, Purple Pyramid Records will release Elevenses, the final album from Allen and his band, the Daevid Allen Weird Quartet, which included multi-instrumentalist Don Falcone of Spirits Burning, bassist Michael Clare of Daevid Allen’s University of Errors, and drummers Trey Sabatelli of the Tubes and Paul Sears of the Muffins. Elevenses is the second album by the band, following 2005’s DJDDAY, which was released under the name “Weird Biscuit Teatime.”

For his swansong, Allen created his typical musical mix of prog, art-rock, psychedelic rock, and experimental music; still, Elevenses serves up a few surprises, including a blues song and an Irish-styled folk song. Anything Allen recorded is always worth a listen, so check out Elevenses and if you like what you hear, dig into Gong’s early ‘70s catalog or any of Daevid Allen’s many solo efforts. 

Daevid Allen Weird Quartet's Elevenses track list:

1. Transloop This Message
2. Imagicknation
3. The Latest Curfew Craze
4. Kick That Habit Man
5. Secretary of Lore
6. Alchemy
7. The Cold Stuffings of November
8. Grasshopping
9. God's New Deal
10. Dim Sum In Alphabetical Order
11. Killer Honey
12. Under The YumYum Tree Cafe
13. Banana Construction

Buy the CD from Daevid Allen Weird Quartet's Elevenses

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Archive Review: Dan Baird's Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired (1992)

Dan Baird's Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired
Songwriter and frontman Dan Baird “fired” himself from the Georgia Satellites after their wonderfully complex and darkly emotional third album and struck out on his own. That he should hit the often-traveled trail of the journeyman should certainly come as no surprise. The Satellites were always just a group of inspired journeymen at heart, as loose as a pick-up band in a one night jam session, as tight and cohesive a unit as any well-practiced bar band could be.

Baird’s solo debut draws upon the same influences and inspiration as did his band’s best work – the Stones, Chuck Berry, the Faces; all musical pioneers who defied the expectations of their time and defined an art form. As such, Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired is no-frills, straight-ahead, gut-level, guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll.

A vastly underrated songwriter in a Woody Guthrie/Hank Williams “keep it simple but convey a lot of thought” vein, Baird has always had a flair for penning both lyrical and musical hooks, and he provides both here in quantity. Tunes like “The One I Am,” “Julie and Lucky,” “Seriously Gone,” and the grammatically-correct “I Love You Period” are meat-and-potatoes tunes for fans who like their rock unpretentious and undiluted. From Baird, no less is expected.

Fossils: MC5's Back In The USA (1970)

The MC5's Back In The USA
[click to embiggen]
Detroit’s favorite sonic terrorists, the infamous MC5, were an oddity even in the late 1960s. The band’s first album, 1969’s Kick Out The Jams, was recorded live at Russ Gibbs’ legendary Grande Ballroom venue, capturing the dynamic band onstage and raging against the machine. As such, Back In The USA, the band’s sophomore effort, was actually their studio debut. Even in those days, a band usually had a couple of studio records under their belt before shooting for a live disc.

But MC5 were no ordinary band, and their deep repertoire of original material and inspired covers of deep blues, soul, and jazz sides allowed them to introduce themselves with a high-octane live collection that would hit #30 on the charts on the strength of its incendiary title track. Back In The USA was a different kind of beast, however – produced by rock critic Jon Landau (who would later become Bruce Springsteen’s manager), the album masterfully blended punkish intensity with a raucous, melodic power-pop sound that would yield some of the band’s best original songs in “Teenage Lust,” “High School,” and “Shakin’ Street,” songs that would in turn influence bands like the Dictators, the Flamin’ Groovies, and the New York Dolls, among others.

Atlantic’s ad campaign for Back In The USA was simple – a black and white photo of the band, clad in leather jackets with a collective sneer on their faces, looking like a gang of ruffians (an image later appropriated to good use by the Ramones). Beneath the dominant band photo is a list of the album’s songs, and a shot of the cover. Although Back In The USA found nowhere near the success of its predecessor, rising only as high as #137 on the charts, its influence would cross the decades. It has since become considered a high water mark for the legendary band, and you can hear strains of MC5 in the music of the White Stripes, the Clash, the Dead Kennedys, Radio Birdman, and other bands across the spectrum of the rock, punk, and metal genres.

Friday, January 29, 2016

An Evening with Wild Man Fischer coming to CD!

An Evening With Wild Man Fischer
Today’s your lucky day, Bunkie, ‘cause Gonzo Multimedia is reissuing the notorious underground classic LP An Evening with Wild Man Fischer on CD for the very first time on January 29th, 2016. Produced by Frank Zappa, the album has taken on an almost mythological status since its original release in 1968, with vinyl copies selling in the neighborhood of a C-note (if you can find one). Long out of print, An Evening with Wild Man Fischer has never received legit CD release until now…

Larry Fischer was a tragic figure; diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Fischer roamed the streets of Los Angeles singing his songs for a dime for anybody willing to listen. Discovered by Frank Zappa, who released Fischer’s debut album on his Warner Brothers-distributed Bizarre Records imprint, An Evening with Wild Man Fischer featured musical accompaniment by Zappa and members of the Mothers of Invention behind Fischer’s fractured vocals, Zappa reproducing Fischer’s street performances in the studio. Released as an ambitious two-LP set, the album offered up 36 songs – some no more than short, sharp stream-of-consciousness rants while others were insightful, revealing autobiographical poems set to minimalist instrumental backing.

After the release of An Evening with Wild Man Fischer, the singer and Zappa had a falling out over royalties (Zappa held the rights to the album). After Zappa’s death, his widow Gail refused to release the album on CD because she felt that it displayed Frank in a poor light. Fischer later hooked up with Rhino Records, and released three albums for the label – 1977’s Wildmania, 1981’s Pronounced Normal, and 1983’s Nothing Scary – and he would become a minor underground culture celebrity. He was featured in 2004 comic book The Legend of Wild Man Fischer by artist/writer Dennis Eichhorn, and the same year Fischer performed on ABC TV’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! In 2005, a documentary film on Fischer, Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Wild Man Fischer, debuted at the SxSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

Fischer passed away in June 2011 at the age of 66 from heart problems. With the recent death of Gail Zappa, who administered the Zappa estate, the road was obviously paved for the long overdue reissue of Fischer’s most notorious recording. An Evening with Wild Man Fischer is a brilliant, disturbing portrait of outsider music, Fischer an artist with big dreams and talent on par with better-known cult artists like Wesley Willis or Daniel Johnston. 

An Evening with Wild Man Fischer track list:

Disc One

“The Basic Fischer”
1. Merry-Go-Round
2. New Kind of Songs for Sale
3. I’m Not Shy Anymore
4. Are You from Clovis
5. The Madness of Ecstacy Larry’s Songs (unaccompanied)
6. Which Way Did the Freaks Go
7. I’m Working for the Federal Bureau Of Narcotics
8. The Leaves Are Falling
9. 85 Times
10. Cops and Robbers
11. Monkeys Versus Donkeys
12. Start Life over Again
13. The Mope
14. Life Brand New
15. Who Did It Johnny
16. Think of Me When Your Clothes Are Off
17. Taggy Lee
18. Rhonda
19. I Looked Around You
20. Jennifer Jones

Disc Two

“Some Historical Notes”
1. The Taster
2. Story of the Taster
3. The Rocket Rock
4. Explanation and Dialog
5. Dream Girl
6. Dream Girl Explanation
7. Serrano Beach
8. Success Will Not Make Me Happy
9. Wild Man on the Strip Again

“In Conclusion”
10. Why Am I Normal
11. Wild Man Fischer Story
12. Balling Isn’t Everything
13. Ugly Beautiful Girl
14. Larry and His Guitar
15. Circle
16. Larry Under Pressure

Buy the CD from Wild Man Fischer's An Evening With Wild Man Fischer

Archive Review: Webb Wilder's It Came From Nashville (2006)

Webb Wilder's It Came From Nashville
Brothers and sisters, I want to share the good word about Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks and their magnificent debut It Came From Nashville! This will make the third time since 1987 that the Reverend has reviewed this particular album. Not surprisingly, in a corporate music world dominated by airheaded, lip-syncing Barbie dolls and angry male fashion models with out-of-tune guitars, It Came From Nashville holds up remarkably well. In fact, much like fine wine, this version – the album's third incarnation (vinyl, CD w/bonus tracks, CD w/more bonus tracks) – has only gotten better with age.

For you poor souls who have never experienced the greatness of the man known to legions as "WW," this is where it all began, a humble introduction to a Wilder world. Roaring into the Music City like a drunken tornado sometime during the mid-80s, WW quickly assembled a top-notch musical hit squad, a finely-tuned machine of rock 'n' roll salvation helmed by the man behind the throne, Bobby Field. Although a vinyl recording is a poor substitute for the magnificence that is WW in person, It Came From Nashville did a pretty doggoned good job of capturing the spirit – the zeitgeist, if you will – of the man from Mississippi. Wilder, Fields and crew masterfully mixed roots-rock, country, and blues with elements of psychdelica, swamp rock and surf music. Imagine Hank Williams, Robert Johnson and Screamin' Jay Hawkins sharing a beer at the crossroads in a midnight jam session and you'd come close to the sound of It Came From Nashville.

Friends, Webb Wilder and the Beatnecks hit Nashville like a double-shot of whiskey with a six-pack chaser. Along with Jason & the Nashville Scorchers, WW and his posse allowed a bunch of cornpone punk rockers to break loose and embrace the reckless country soul of their ancestors. After eighteen years, the songs on It Came From Nashville still rock like a house afire! From "How Long Can She Last," Field's ode to youthful indiscretion, to the original album-closing instrumental rave-up "Ruff Rider," these songs are muscular, electric and 100% high-octane rock 'n' roll. An inspired cover of Steve Earle's "Devil's Right Hand" showcases both Wilder's sense of humor and his deep, friendly baritone in this tragic tale. "One Taste Of The Bait" speaks of the dangers of love while "Is This All There Is?" is a kiss-off to failed romance on par with Dylan's "Positively 4th Street."

The original CD reissue bonus tracks are included here, a motley bunch of spirited covers that illustrate Wilder's range and tastes. From a raucous rendition of Johnny Cash's "Rock 'n Roll Ruby" to a swinging reading of Steve Forbert's "Samson And Delilah's Beauty Shop," these are all keepers. Fields' instrumental "Cactus Planet" provides a rollicking good time while "Dance For Daddy" is a down-and-dirty, leering rocker with scrappy guitarwork. The six new live tracks included here were culled from a vintage 1986 Nashville performance at the world-famous Exit/Inn and include rarities like the rockabilly-flavored "Hole In My Pocket" and an early version of fan favorite "Rocket To Nowhere."

If It Came From Nashville introduced the world to its rock 'n' roll savior, the album also marked Bobby Field's emergence as a songwriter of some skill and knowledge. These songs have held up so well over time because they are rooted in the deep tradition of rock, blues and country that was forged by pioneers like Elvis, Hank and Chuck. Unfortunately, the world has turned so much that these men have mostly been lost in the haze of pre-fab pop stars and soft drink advertising. Even a prophet like WW is without honor in his own country, although a loyal cult of followers continues to keep the flame burning. Rescued from the abyss of obscurity, It Came From Nashville is an important document of a time when giants roamed this planet and men were unashamed to follow the Webb Wilder Credo:

"Word hard…rock hard…eat hard…sleep hard…grow big…wear glasses if you need 'em."


# # #

Review republished from the Reverend's The Other Side of Nashville book

Related content: Webb Wilder - Mississippi Mōderne CD review

Fossils: Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy (1973)

Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy
[click to embiggen]
Sitting on top of the world in 1973, Jimmy Page and his fellow gang members in Led Zeppelin felt little need to follow the rules of polite society. When the label pressured them to come up with a name for their untitled fourth album, Page provided them with a set of cryptic runes. The album sold millions of flapjacks in spite of its anonymity, as fans figured it out anyway. Zep’s fifth album, Houses of the Holy, was its first in four years to not receive a numbered title.

The album was not without its own controversy, however – the imaginative cover art, created by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis, features a number of apparently naked children crawling across the stones of some ancient, arcane temple. Some retailers, especially in the Southern U.S. states, refused to stock the album because of its cover (relax, people – the kids were wearing body suits). Like its predecessor, neither the album’s title nor the band name adorned the cover of Houses of the Holy, although a paper wrapper with the info was strategically-strapped around the cover to block out the horribly naked (and oddly colored) children.

Also like Led Zeppelin’s fourth effort, fans promptly figured out the ruse, and Houses of the Holy would eventually move better than ten million copies worldwide, topping the charts in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. The print advertising for Houses of the Holy eschewed the album’s brilliant cover artwork in favor of cool Victorian-era styled B&W pen-and-ink art that showed a bound man’s head being squeezed in a viselike contraption between two railway cars. A simple tagline beneath the album’s title read “does things to people…” For Zep’s legion of rabid, cash-toting fans, nothing else needed to be said…

Friday, January 22, 2016

Cleopatra Releases Super Deluxe UFO live box set!

UFO's Live Sightings box set

Formed in 1969 by singer Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton, bassist Pete Way, and drummer Andy Parker, British rockers UFO began life as a psychedelic-drenched space-rock band that staked out musical turf that wasn’t far away, stylistically, from what Gong or Hawkwind were doing at the time. By the time of the band’s third album – 1974’s Phenomenon – Bolton had been replaced by guitarist Michael Schenker and UFO had veered away from exploring their inner consciousness and towards a hard rock sound that would become the band’s calling card. Subsequent albums like 1975’s Force It, 1976’s No Heavy Petting, and 1977’s Lights Out would influence a generation of rockers to follow, including many bands that would create the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

On February 5th, 2016 the good folks at Cleopatra Records will release UFO’s Live Sightings, a four-CD box set that features classic live performances from the band’s successful early ‘80s concert run through the states. Guitarist Paul Chapman had replaced Schenker by the time of 1980’s No Place To Run album, and this line-up of the band delivered a handful of charting albums like 1981’s The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent and 1982’s Mechanix. The first disc of the box set features a Chicago 1980 concert with performances of songs like “No Place To Run,” “Doctor Doctor” and “Rock Bottom” among its dozen tracks. Disc two offers up a Chicago 1981 show that includes performances of “The Wild, the Willing and the Innocent” and “Too Hot To Handle” while disc three delivers a St. Louis 1982 set with performances of songs like “We Belong To The Night,” “Only You Can Rock Me,” and “Lights Out.”

The fourth disc of Live Sightings features a Cleveland 1982 set with performances of songs like “Doing It All For You” and “Live Rain.” Altogether, the four concert discs feature 46 songs, and each disc is packaged in its own mini-jacket with printed inner sleeve. Live Sightings also includes a 12”x12” sixteen-page booklet with color photos and extensive liner notes as well as duplicate printings of vintage tour programs. If that wasn’t enough for your $60 (pre-order price on Amazon as of today), Live Sightings also includes Early Flight, a special bonus vinyl LP documenting a 1972 performance featuring the only known recordings of guitarist Larry Wallis (Pink Fairies, Motörhead) on songs like “Galactic Love,” “Back In The U.S.A.,” and “Mean Woman Blues.” A very collectible set for long-time UFO fans, Live Sightings provides a lot of bang for your buck!

Buy the CD box set from UFO's Live Sightings

Greg Lake’s Solo Albums Reissued

Greg Lake's Greg Lake & Manoeuvres
As both an essential early member of progressive rock legends King Crimson and as a founding member of chart-toppers Emerson, Lake and Palmer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Lake has certainly left his mark on rock ‘n’ roll. One aspect of Lake’s career that is too-frequently overlooked is his short tenure as a solo artist. During an ELP break-up in the early 1980s, the guitarist formed the Greg Lake Band and recorded a pair of critically-acclaimed LPs – a self-titled 1981 set and 1983’s Manoeuvres.

On February 5th, 2016 Cherry Red Records in the U.K. will reissue both of Lake’s long out-of-print solo albums as a single two-disc set, including four bonus tracks that have never appeared on any CD reissue of either album (only on separate rarities discs). Re-mastered and approved by Lake himself, the set includes a booklet with extensive liner notes. Lake handled vocals and guitars on the self-titled 1981 set, backed by guitarist Steve Lukather, bassist David Hungate, and drummer Jeff Porcaro of Toto as well as guests like King Crimson drummer Michael Giles and E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons. 

For Manoeuvres, Lake was backed by a band that included bassist Tristian Margetts from the band Spontaneous Combustion, keyboardist Tommy Eyre of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band, and drummer Ted McKenna of Tear Gas and Rory Gallagher’s band. Irish blues-rock guitar Gary Moore lent his talents to both albums. Whereas Greg Lake, the album, inched its way up to #62 on the Billboard albums chart, Manoeuvres failed to break the Top 200, although not for lack of good material.

Both albums are fascinating collections that display a wider range of Lake’s talents than any of recordings with his notable bands, and solo efforts like “Nuclear Attack” (written by Moore) or “Manoeuvres” (co-written by Lake with Moore) have held up well through the years. The new set allows long-time fans to upgrade their collection and provides an opportunity for new listeners to discover the underrated talents of Greg Lake.

Buy the CD from Greg Lake's Greg Lake & Manouevres