Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Lets Active: Viceroy Park, Charlotte January 23rd 1982 (Wee Three)

So from the last LA show, to a really early one...

Here's a little cracker. It's an ace soundboard from all the way from 1982. This show finds our hero in the three piece 'all girl' line-up, supporting some local band called R.E.M. Whatever happened to them?

This recording crops up on the net from time to time as 'Wee Three'. There's also the original mixes of 'Afoot' tacked on the end for good measure. Lovely stuff. It's great to see lots of love for Mitch on the almost restores my faith in human nature.

Game Theory: First Avenue, Minneapolis, 19th October 1986

Blimey. This is 25 years old.
Here's the latest Game Theory live recording - all the way from Prince's very own First Avenue in Minneapolis. As you've got this far, you know what to expect...12 tracks of wonderment including the rare as hens teeth 'If and when it falls apart'. It's a lovely (if a little quiet) soundboard, which I'm assuming is from the archive of (Photo) Robert Toren. As most of the pictures and recordings I'm posting here which involve Scott M are his work, I believe a 'thank you' is very much in order...

Thank you, Robert.

I'm also delighted to learn that Scott is playing a gig to celebrate the release the release of the expanded edition of his superb book 'Music: What happened?' Unfortunately for me it's at The Starry Plough in Berkeley CA on Dec 4th.  Rest assured dear reader, that if any of my internal organs were still in good condition, they would be sold on Ebay for the airfare. Sigh... I demand a full review moments after the gig is over, ya hear?

...on the plus side, I am going to see Grant Hart in Nottingham on that date, so I couldn't go anyway, so there.

Enjoy the live GT - there's still a few more shows to come - and a few Loud family gigs too.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Lets Active: Pterodactyl Club, Raleigh, NC, February 14th 1990

Time for some more live's a great show from the latterday LA lineup. My favourite version, in case you're interested. It's a great audience recording (or a third/forth gen soundboard) - give the treble a tweak and it sounds fantastic. A great setlist and an equally great ensemble performance. The choice of songs is pretty heavy on the 'Big Plans/Every Dog' era stuff and so rocks a little harder than previous. Throw a few tasty Who/Hendrix/Beatles covers into the mix and you've got yourself an essential download.

(Lets Active, Live in 1989)

You need this. Really. You need this.

Lets Active Pterodactyl Club Raleigh NC 14 02 90

01 In little ways
02 Fell
03 Sweepstake winner
04 Get Free
05 Horizon
06 Still dark out
07 Too bad
08 Every dog has his day
09 Ms So and So
10 Bad machinery
11 Reflecting pool
12 Prey
13 All roads lead to Hell
14 Spanish castle magic
15 Ornamental
16 Badger
17 Orpheus in Hades Lounge
18 Rain
19 I cant reach you
20 Every word means no

Game Theory: Ziggys, Winston Salem 10 12 1985

Here's another superb live recording of everyone's favourite Californian polymath, Scott Miller fronting the 1985 version of Game Theory. This is notable for a number of reasons, featuring as it does a version of 'Gloria' - in honour of the (then) recent weather front which hit the States just before the gig. You also get  'Linus and Lucy', 'Make any vows' and a romp through Roxy Music's 'Remake remodel'. You've gotta have it. Quality is ...pretty decent. It's a soundboard recording, but I don't think it's first gen - maybe third or forth generation, but very listenable. What am I saying - it's goshdarn essential!

More to come Millerfans...

Great Outdoors: Making Allowances For The Jargon

Coming from Birmingham, you learn to take the knocks. We’re always going to be in the shadow of London, Manchester, Liverpool…you know…’famous’ places. And Brummies have ‘that accent’…the one that TV producers and Advertising executives always use when they want to imply that a character is an idiot. If you want to befriend a native of Birmingham instantly, simply do a cartoon version of ‘that accent’. We love that. Hearing someone casually belittle millions of people with a mouthful of tangled vowels and catch phrases learned from ultra lowbrow TV programmes is a source of pure joy to us Midlanders. We have more miles of canal in Birmingham than there are in Venice don’t you know?…that’s where we hide the bodies of the people who try and do ‘that accent’.

This snobbery even creeps into Music. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve been told something along the lines of: ‘Your band’s great…it’s a shame you’re from Birmingham’. Why? I’ve seen dozens of great bands come and go, making barely a ripple in the shark infested waters of the Music Business, primarily because of an accident of geography. Bah humbug. We did have a (kind of) renaissance in the 80s with ‘The Stourbridge Sound’. (Stourbridge is about 12 miles from Birmingham - a small but crucial distance). We gifted the world with The Wonder Stuff, Pop Will Eat Itself and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. You’re welcome. Recently we’ve given you Jamelia (now, less a performer and more a talking head on game shows..) and The Editors. Annoyingly, that's the tip of the tip of the iceberg. High profile we ain’t. But we should be.

If it sounds like I’m bitter and cynical it’s because I am. Indulge me, please.

'Making Allowances For The Jargon' LP
One band that fell down the cracks that was particularly close to my heart was The Great Outdoors. Just as I was getting into alternative music (particularly the ‘Paisley Underground’) along they came. And they were from Birmingham, which meant I could see them live anytime I fancied. That plan was somewhat scuppered by their ‘revolving door’ policy to band members…in fact, one local wag insisted that the band’s full name was ‘The Great Outdoors Seek Bass Player’. Ha bloody ha. Only frontman/songwriter Martin Silvers lasted the course, helming the band through a short lived golden era (national ‘Radio One’ airplay thanks to Janice Long and …ulp…Mike Read), a split and a brief reformation. This album – ‘Making Allowances For The Jargon’ was as close as they got to The Big Time, which, in reality, wasn’t very close. It’s a solid debut album with a very big tip of the hat to IRS era REM and a nice Byrdsy jangle throughout. 

('World At My Shoes')

Two singles were pulled from the album: the first being a bit of an undiscovered classic – ‘World At My Shoes’ got the airplay and a bunch of positive reviews, but the band couldn’t quite capitalize on it. This may have been to do with the fluctuating lineup. In fact one of the members listed on the sleeve of the album doesn’t actually play on it. He did look damn cool. Hell, they all did. ‘…Jargon’ has long been deleted, but a retrospective featuring demos and some unreleased stuff -‘Not Quite Cinderella’- emerged in 1994 and is still available through Amazon -just hit the link. A third album – ‘Water Cakes’ was recorded in 1997, but never officially released.

'Bird In The Hand' 45
There’s some great stuff on the record – occasionally the playing is a little stiff, but the tunes carry the performances through. For one, shining moment, it looked as if we had a contender here, but it wasn’t to be. At least one track on here, the aforementioned ‘World…’ is definitely worthy of reappraisal. This rip is from my vinyl copies of the album and singles – the album stuff is decent sound quality, but the singles…well anyone familiar with UK Indie pressings from the 80’s will know what I mean when I say they have a certain ‘crunchy’ quality… It shouldn’t deter from your listening pleasure.

I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity, gentle reader. Give it a whirl – it’ll cost you nada and it may enhance the quality of your life.

(Trainspotters may also like to know that it’s a Pat Collier production).

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Bert Jansch

Without Bert Jansch...
No Jimmy Page
No Paul Simon
No Johnny Marr

A towering talent and an innovator.

He'll be missed

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Bill Nelson: Live At Leeds (and Be Bop Deluxe, London October 02 1976)

So, yesterday I pointed the faithful Rushbomobile north, scooped up two trusty travelling companions (including the lovely Song of Songs) and headed to Leeds for this years (not quite) Nelsonica. The drive was made pleasurable by the sparkling conversation, the soundtrack of ‘The Love That Whirls’ and the freakishly warm, sunny October weather. Let’s have a round of applause for global warming! (I’M JOKING! I’M JOKING!) Not even some shenanigans on the M6 could dampen our spirits.

This year, breaking from tradition, the event was a slightly pared down affair. It was for one day only with an early start and an early finish, meaning people didn’t have to fork out for an overnight stay. A nice touch, Mr N. The event had the charmingly Nelsonic title of ‘The Art School Ascended On Vapours Of Roses’. I can only assume that Bill went to a very ‘select’ Art school as mine ascended on vapours of dodgy roll-ups and unwashed graphic design students…Anyhoo, after a pleasant perusal of the memorabilia on display (and resisting the overwhelming urges to nick the gorgeous pre 'Axe Victim' posters and run off), we shuffled into the viewing room. And very nice it was too…all the Be Bop OGWT appearances, some rarely seen promo vids and then…The Red Noise OGWT appearances!!! Oh my days, how happy was I? It was magical to see Bill in the loverlee (and incredibly hot!) grey jacket which I had so lovingly fingered (easy now…!) in the exhibition moments earlier. Why isn’t that stuff on YouTube? Why? A quick listen to Bills new CD (sounds lush BTW) and we were ready for the first of two performances.

Performance one was Mr N accompanied by his trusty Revox (or 21st century equivalent) and Theo Travis on sax and flutes for a number or two. We’ve all seen these kind of things haven’t we? Pants aren’t they? Well, not this one. Bill manages to bring some freshness to the format and his amazing musicianship helps too. Decent visuals as well. As ever, he rolled out his massive collection of ‘Guitar pornography’…grown men gasped with amazement as a never ending parade of highly desirable musical instruments were flaunted and played for our amusement.

(Thanks to andygeorge from the Bill Nelson Forum for the pic)
A quick comfort break, and then – part two. Bill was joined by Theo Travis and Dave Sturt for some semi-improvised performances under the name ‘Orchestra Futura’. Can three people be an orchestra? Are there any EC guidelines on this? Unsurprisingly it was excellent, showcasing the strengths of all concerned, although Mr Sturts Basswork could have been slightly higher in the mix, but I am biased.

And then it was over. Nothing left to do but pick up my purchase (a rather lovely piece of Bill Nelson original art – one of my travelling companions received a hefty dig in the ribs for suggesting that it was ‘a nice investment for when ‘e pegs it’. Judging by Saturday night, the bugger will outlive us all…) and head out back to the Hotel via a rather nice Algerian meal. Now that’s what I call a top Saturday night.

Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

Nelson fans may wish to get themselves a second job to pay for an avalanche of goodies heading their way. Out tomorrow (Oct 3rd) is ‘Futurist Manifesto’ – a five CD Be Bop retrospective bristling with remasters and rarities. It’s available for the comedy price of £15.99 here - Coming in November is another hefty release – this time it’s eight (count ‘em) CDs of lovely Nelsony goodness called (deep breath) ‘The Practice of Everyday Life’  That one comes in at a sensible £45.99 from here 

And he’s got two new CDs out soon as well – ‘Signals from Realms Of Light’ and ‘Model Village’. Nurse! The screens!

This seems an appropriate juncture to post the next instalment in the ongoing ‘Be Bop Deluxe Archive’ thing that’s been happening at BPFE -It’s a splendid radio broadcast (from something called K-Hour) and is pretty decent quality too. 17 tracks and not a duffer amongst ‘em. And it was recorded exactly 35 years ago today. How timely.

Oh, yeah – rumours abound of a BN tour next year…

Game Theory: Berkeley Square, Berkeley CA, Oct 2 1986

Here's the second of my handful of GT live shows. This one is a rather lovely show from Berkley Square in late '86. It's a decent soundboard recording with a killer track listing. 'Kung Fu Fighting' anyone?

This was snatched from Dimeadozen a million years ago and sadly I haven't got the info on who first recorded or upped it, but my heartfelt thanks go to them.

Oh yeah, feel free to crack upen YOUR archives if you've got any interesting GT/LF stuff....