Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Jane Dickson in Times Square

Dickson’s animated Spectacolor ad for a Times Square billboard, 1980

Sleaze, hustlers and strippers: Jane Dickson's lost Times Square
Living and working in the grimy heart of 70s New York, Dickson’s photographs and paintings gave a close-up view of the nocturnal activities that made the place so notorious – and alluring

Sean O'Hagan
The Guardian
Tue 13 Nov 2018

In 1978, Jane Dickson answered a job advert in the New York Times that read: “Artist wanted, willing to learn computers.” Soon afterwards, she was hired to work on the first digital light Spectacolor billboard on Times Square.
Jane Dickson

“I sat in an office on the third floor of a building just behind the giant screen,” she recalls. “I mainly worked night shifts at the weekend, programming the digitally animated visuals and, for the first few years, I ran the countdown for New Year’s Eve. That was my introduction to Times Square after dark. It really couldn’t have been more exciting or surreal.
View on Eighth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets

Primarily known as a painter, Dickson initially gained recognition as a member of Colab, a loosely affiliated bunch of late-70s downtown New York artists who included Jenny Holzer, Kiki Smith and the underground film-maker Charlie Ahearn, Dickson’s husband. The sketches she made from behind the giant screen were the basis for several darkly evocative sets of later paintings that capture the neon-lit atmosphere of Times Square in the 70s.

Fred (1983)

Dickson also created a huge archive of everyday images from 1978 to 1984 that are an impressionistic record of a vibrant cultural moment just before the old, seedy Times Square disappeared for ever. In a new book, Jane Dickson in Times Square, her paintings are shown for the first time alongside photographs she also took back then. “I am just beginning to see them as an art project in themselves,” she says. “Maybe part of their charm is that they were not artful.”
View from Dickson’s apartment on 43rd Street, looking south on to the corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue

Unsurprisingly, they possess a painterly quality, the dazzle of neon and blur of people on the move lending a kind of hallucinatory haze to the thriving nocturnal streets. “Baudelaire said an artist must be of their time and, to do that, they should walk the streets,” says Dickson. “Often I was having palpitations. Any city at night is dangerous for a woman, but Times Square and the streets around it had this almost seductive glow. They were glitteringly attractive in a visual way. I tend to make paintings of the things that I am afraid of. That’s why they are so vivid.”
Terminal Bar 2 (2017)

Dickson’s photographs chronicle a harsher but hipper New York than today, when artists were outsiders rather than careerists and sleaze was peddled openly to tourists at strip clubs and porn stores such as Peepland and XXXtasy. The edgy, nocturnal energy of those midtown streets also fascinated Diane Arbus, who photographed its denizens a decade before, and Lou Reed, whose songs hymned the city’s pimps, hustlers, drug dealers and transvestites. In the early 70s, the novelist Kathy Acker hung out at Tad’s Steaks between performing in a live sex show with her boyfriend at a Times Square venue called Fun City.

Liquors, 1984

“I had friends who worked in strip clubs to pay the rent or to go through college,” says Dickson. “The art scene was a bit more gritty back then, and everyone lived a wilder life. I got to know girls who really didn’t like you to take photos unless they were being paid. Almost everyone who worked in and around Times Square was a hustler of one kind or another.”
Dickson’s photograph of David Wojnarowicz, one of her artist friends

Born in Chicago, Dickson arrived in New York in 1977 and became part of a scene that included artists, film-makers, photographers and punk musicians. Her book includes portraits of many of her friends and fellow artists, including Nan Goldin (whose street portrait of Dickson is on the cover), film-maker Vivienne Dick, hip-hop and graffiti pioneer Fab 5 Freddy Braithwaite, artist David Wojnarowicz and photographer Peter Hujar. The writer Chris Kraus, also part of the scene, has written the introduction. “Back then, Times Square was a kind of mecca for the hip and the curious because it was a crazy place, so full of dark energy.” says Dickson. “I photographed them all as friends, but, even back then, it was also clear to me that I was living in an extraordinarily creative period with a very gifted group of people.”
The view from Jane’s apartment on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues

In January 1981, Dickson and her husband moved into a loft overlooking Times Square because the downtown neighbourhood they had been living in had become “too rough, too dangerous after dark”. The neighbourhood in question was Tribeca, now one of the most sought-after parts of Manhattan, populated with celebrities like Taylor Swift and Robert De Niro - “I saw him recently on a corner waiting for a limo,” says Dickson.
View of Hi-Hat and Terminal Bar, Eighth Avenue and 41st Street

Through the window of her apartment, Dickson also began to photograph the daily street hustle from above. Using colour slide film, she captured an illuminated shadowland of strip joints, peep shows, all-night cinemas, sex shops and liquor stores. Sometimes, she pointed the camera at the windows that overlooked her apartment, using the photographs for a later series of paintings, entitled Witness. 
Sit Down Eighth Avenue II (1990)

“I was interested in the surveillance aspect. In the strip joints, I’d sometimes photographed furtive men who really did not want to be photographed. From my window, I could see the Times Square Motor Hotel, which was single room occupancy and housed a transient clientele who were involved in various hustles. It was risky. On two occasions someone shot through the window of our loft.”
View of Times Square subway lunch counter near Broadway and 42nd Street

For all that, she recalls that younger, wilder period of her life as “an electric time”, a description borne out by her vibrant, impressionistic photographs, made without a thought for their artistic worth. “I wanted to capture things that were passing quickly,” she says. “Things that were glittery, exciting, but a little bit out of control. I thought of myself very much as an artist of the everyday. Now my everyday is history. It’s kind of depressing.”

Jane Dickson in Times Square is published by Anthology Editions.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Seth Lakeman meets Izzy Young, the folklorist of Greenwich Village

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The Folklorist

One of the UK's most acclaimed folk singers, Seth Lakeman, travels to New York to meet the man regarded as the world's leading expert on folk music, 85-year-old Izzy Young, who opened his first Folklore Center in New York's Greenwich Village in 1957.

The store in MacDougal St became a focal point for the American folk music scene of the time. Bob Dylan writes in his memoirs about spending time at the Center, which he referred to as "The citadel of Americana Folk Music - like an ancient chapel". Dylan met Dave Van Ronk in the store, and Izzy Young produced Dylan's first concert at Carnegie Chapter Hall in 1961. Dylan wrote a song about the store and Young called "Talking Folklore Center".

After developing an interest in Swedish folk music at a festival, Young closed his New York store and in 1973 he moved to Stockholm where he opened the Folklore Centrum, where he still works seven days a week.

Making a rare return to New York, 40 years since he first left, Izzy joins Seth on the steps of 110 MacDougal St in Greenwich Village - the site of his original Folklore Center – to reminisce about the evocative days in the late 50s and early 60s when, as Bob Dylan recalls, "Folk music glittered like a mound of gold".

Wandering up MacDougal Street to Washington Square Park, Izzy describes the events of April 1961, when `Folkies' staged what would later be referred to as `the first protest action of the 60s'. When city officials tried to ban folk musicians from performing in the square, Izzy was the main organiser of a protest that resulted in clashes with local police. The protestors eventually won their legal battle with the city and music has been permitted in the square ever since.

Producer: Des Shaw
A Ten Alps production for BBC Radio 4

Catch it now or over the next 28 days at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0381fzj

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Pete Shelley RIP

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Pete Shelley obituary
Lead singer of the 70s punk band Buzzcocks whose subtle, witty songs still sound fresh and inventive

Adam Sweeting
The Guardian
Fri 7 Dec 2018

Pete Shelley and his band Buzzcocks became indelibly linked to the UK’s punk movement when they played their first gig supporting the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in July 1976, but they never conformed to any of punk’s cliches about rage, anarchy and rebellion. Shelley, who has died of a heart attack aged 63, proved to be a songwriter of wit and subtlety, able to probe the angst and confusion of adolescent love and lust with shrewd insight.

He was innovative musically as well as lyrically, taking inspiration from David Bowie, Brian Eno, Roxy Music and the Velvet Underground, as well as from German bands such as Neu and Can. While the music of many of the punk bands remains firmly of its time, Buzzcocks’ best songs still sound fresh and inventive, mixing dense guitar patterns with infectious melodies. Their influence can be heard on bands from Primal Scream and the Jesus and Mary Chain to REM and Nirvana. Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet said: “Pete was one of Britain’s best pure pop writers, up there with Ray Davies.”

Buzzcocks achieved success with their first recording, the Spiral Scratch EP, which was released on their own label, New Hormones, in January 1977 (the band having supported the Sex Pistols on their Anarchy tour in late 1976). It was one of the first independent releases of the punk era, and to the band’s surprise sold its first thousand copies in four days. “We made quite a bit of money from Spiral Scratch,” Shelley recalled. “It ended up selling about 16,000 copies and we were able to buy some new equipment.”

They then signed to United Artists. Their first single, Orgasm Addict, was released in November 1977 but the BBC declined to play it because of its subject matter and it did not make the charts. The follow-up, What Do I Get, released in February 1978, reached 37, and their debut album, Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978) climbed to 15. Their second album, Love Bites, which came out later that year, contained what remains their best-known hit, the zingingly propulsive Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve), which made No 12. Shelley borrowed the title from a line in the musical Guys and Dolls. The 1979 album A Different Kind of Tension reached 26 in the UK.

Continued singles success came with Promises (20), Everybody’s Happy Nowadays (29) and Harmony in My Head (32). However, growing tensions in the band coupled with friction with EMI, which had purchased United Artists, prompted Shelley to break up Buzzcocks in 1981.

He was born Peter McNeish in Leigh, Lancashire. His father, John, was a fitter at Astley Green colliery, and his mother, Margaret, a former mill worker. Peter began writing songs while still at Leigh grammar school, and while studying for an HND in electronics at Bolton Institute of Technology he bought a Tandberg four-track reel-to-reel tape recorder and began making recordings of his own songs. (“I think of my career in music more as a songwriting career than anything else,” he said in 1983.) He formed a group called Jets of Air, the name inspired by a college lecture on Newtonian physics, and while “we played only about six gigs in three years”, Shelley built up a stockpile of songs.

He then dabbled in a project called Sky, where he experimented with electronic music and recorded the album Sky Yen, released later, in 1980, on his own label, Groovy Records. He subsequently tried making “heavier, more rhythmic” music with Smash, which he described as “a non-existent group”, but which supplied more raw material for Buzzcocks.

The band came about when Shelley spotted an advertisement on a college noticeboard from Howard Devoto (real name Howard Trafford), wanting to form a band in the vein of the Stooges and the Velvet Underground. “That was much in line with the Smash idea, so I phoned him up straight away,” said Shelley. Buzzcocks originally planned to make their debut at the first Sex Pistols concert at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976, but the bass player and drummer pulled out.

For their eventual appearance the following month, Shelley and Devoto were joined by the drummer John Maher and the bassist Steve Diggle. When Devoto quit after the release of Spiral Scratch and went on to form Magazine, Shelley became lead vocalist, Diggle switched to guitar and the original bass player, Garth Smith, rejoined temporarily, later replaced by Steve Garvey.

In 1981 Shelley launched his solo career with the single Homosapien, from the album of the same name, produced by the Buzzcocks producer Martin Rushent (who was about to help make Human League’s electropop epic Dare). Shelley had returned to his earlier fondness for electronica, and found himself in controversial waters when the BBC banned Homosapien for its “explicit reference to gay sex”. In 2002 Shelley commented that his sexuality “tends to change as much as the weather”. The track reached 14 on the US dance chart.

In 1983 his second solo album, XL1, brought him a minor hit single with Telephone Operator. In 1987 he contributed the song Do Anything to the soundtrack of the John Hughes movie Some Kind of Wonderful.

In 1989 Buzzcocks reformed and toured the US, and released Trade Test Transmissions (1993), the first of a series of albums, the most recent of which was The Way (2014). In 2002, Shelley reunited with Devoto to record the album Buzzkunst. “Devoto is not the life and soul of the party or a born raconteur, but he sees things as funny and I think that’s how we hit it off with each other,” Shelley observed drily. “I always had this idea that me and Devoto were like Gilbert and George. As long as you approach it from that angle you can do anything you want, and you just call it art.”

In 2005, following the death of the DJ John Peel, Shelley recorded a tribute version of Ever Fallen In Love with a multi-platinum lineup of stars including Elton John, Robert Plant, David Gilmour and Roger Daltrey.

In 2012 he moved to Tallinn, Estonia, with his second wife, Greta. She survives him, as do his younger brother, Gary, and a son from his first marriage.

• Pete Shelley (Peter Campbell McNeish), musician, singer and songwriter, born 17 April 1955; died 6 December 2018

Monday, 10 December 2018

Jazz on the Tyne

In 1955 at the age of ten, Bryan Ferry developed a passion for jazz music. Listening to his radio in Washington, County Durham, he was transported from rural North East England to 1920s New Orleans and Cotton Club, New York. British Trad Jazz was booming, with Humphrey Lyttelton, Chris Barber and Ken Collier offering a gateway to the 'yellow cocktail' music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker.

Now Bryan has returned to his earliest musical love with 'The Jazz Age', a record that remakes and remodels some of his biggest Roxy Music hits in the style of instrumental 20s jazz standards.

Bryan takes us back to his first concert at Newcastle City Hall to see the Chris Barber band and reveals how a performance of St Louis Blues caught his imagination. Trombonist Chris Barber describes how he brought music from the Deep South to rapturous British audiences.

Newcastle music historian Chris Phipps traces the mythical connection between the Mississippi and the Tyne, while Bryan shares his memories of a vibrant, modernist city where he studied fine art. The city still shows traces of its jazz heritage, including J G Windows, the record shop where Bryan bought his 78s including the Charlie Parker Quintet's EP whose solos he learnt by heart.

It wasn't just the jazz age of the 20s that inspired Bryan, but its literature too. He recently contributed to the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby, the film of one of his favourite novels.

With live recordings from his recent UK tour with The Bryan Ferry Jazz Orchestra, Bryan reflects on Roxy Music's early years and explains how his grounding in jazz helped him lead one of the most influential British bands of all time.

Producer: Paul Smith
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Listen for the next 27 days: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03kpy59

Still doesn't explain why he sings the way he does, though...

Saturday, 8 December 2018

The Beach Boys: Wake the World and I Can Hear Music - 1968 copyright extension releases

Wake The World: The Beach Boys Mine 1968 Vaults for Two New Copyright Extension Titles!

Sam Stone
The Second Disc
7 December 2018

It’s become something of an annual tradition, The Beach Boys’ copyright extension releases that offer a welcome musical reprieve from the wintery chill outside. Since 2013, The Beach Boys have released rarities from the vault in order to secure the recordings’ copyright. As a result, fans have been treated to live rarities from their earliest years, stripped-down sessions, and most recently, outtakes from their Smiley Smile and Wild Honey albums. Now, the time has come again for two more installments! Arriving on December 7, the digital collections Wake the World: The Friends Sessions and I Can Hear Music: The 20/20 Sessions highlight the making of some of the band’s most intricate and beautiful material. The collections are available on digital and streaming services.

The Beach Boys worked on two albums in 1968, Friends and 20/20. Friends employed a decidedly lo-fi musical aesthetic, having been primarily recorded in Brian Wilson’s home studio. Though far from a best-seller, the collection, partially inspired by their fascination with Transcendental Meditation, includes many fan favorites, like the gentle title waltz “Friends,” “Little Bird,” and “Wake The World.” 20/20, on the other hand, featured the Brian Wilson/Mike Love hit “Do It Again,” which had been started during the Friends sessions, along with a cover of The Ronettes’ “I Can Hear Music,” the beautiful instrumental “The Nearest Faraway Place,” the rollicking rocker “All I Want To Do,” and the haunting “Never Learn Not to Love,” Dennis Wilson’s reworking of Charles Manson’s “Cease to Exist.” 20/20 also included new versions of “Our Prayer” and “Cabinessence,” which had previously been worked on for the abandoned SMiLE album.

With rare demos, early takes, alternate mixes, unreleased songs, newly mixed backing track and a capella versions, and even runs through Bacharach and David’s “My Little Red Book” and “Walk on By,” these two digital-only sets give fans a glimpse into the studio as The Beach Boys rehearsed and recorded these tracks, which remain some of their most intricate and beautiful work. All 72 combined tracks have been newly edited, mixed and mastered by the band’s longtime associate Mark Linett, who also produced the compilation with Alan Boyd.

Check out the full track listings for both releases below and get ready to feast your ears on some fantastic Beach Boys rarities!

Wake The World: The Friends Sessions (Amazon U.S./ Amazon U.K.)
I Can Hear Music: The 20/20 Sessions (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

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Track listing and credits for the Friends release:

1. Meant For You (alternate version with session intro) (2:17) (B. Wilson-M. Love) Lead vocal: Mike & Brian Recorded April 1, 1968
2. Friends (backing track) (2:38) (B. Wilson-C. Wilson-D.Wilson-Jardine) Recorded March 13, 1968
3. Friends (a Cappella) (2:20) (B. Wilson-C. Wilson-D.Wilson-Jardine) Lead vocal: Carl (with Brian) Recorded March, 1968
4. Wake The World (alternate version) (2:12) (B. Wilson-Jardine) Lead vocal: Group Recorded March 28 & 30, April 1, 1968
5. Be Here In The Morning (backing track) (2:20) (B. Wilson-C. Wilson-D. Wilson-Love-Jardine) Recorded March 29, 1968
6. When A Man Needs A Woman (early take basic track) (0:50) (B. Wilson-D. Wilson-Jardine-Korthof-Parks) Recorded March 18, 1968
7. When A Man Needs A Woman (alternate version) (2:08) (B. Wilson-D. Wilson-Jardine-Korthof-Parks) Lead vocal: Brian Basic track recorded March 18, 1968; vocals recorded March, 1968
8. Passing By (alternate version) (1:44) (B. Wilson) Lead vocal: Brian Recorded March 22, 1968
9. Anna Lee The Healer (session excerpt) (1:22) (B. Wilson-Love) Recorded April 2, 1968
10. Anna Lee The Healer (a Cappella) (1:54) (B. Wilson-Love) Lead Vocal: Group Recorded April 2, 1968
11. Little Bird (backing track) (2:00) (D.Wilson-Kalinich) Recorded February 29, 1968
12. Little Bird (a Cappella) (2:04) (D.Wilson-Kalinich) Lead vocal: Dennis & Carl Vocals recorded February 29 - March, 1968
13. Be Still (alternate take with session excerpt) (2:09) (D.Wilson-Kalinich) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded April 3,1968
14. Even Steven (early version of “Busy Doin’ Nothin’) (2:52) (B. Wilson) Lead vocal: Brian Recorded March 26, 1968
15. Diamond Head (alternate version with session excerpt) (4:33) (Vescovo-Ritz-Ackley-B. Wilson) Recorded April 12, 1968
16. New Song (Transcendental Meditation) (backing track with partial vocals) (1:51) (B. Wilson)* Recorded March, 1968
17. Transcendental Meditation (backing track with session excerpt) (2:22) (B. Wilson-Love-Jardine) Recorded April 4, 1968
18. Transcendental Meditation (a Cappella) (1:52) (B. Wilson-Love-Jardine) All vocals: Brian Recorded April 4, 1968
19. My Little Red Book (2:45) (Bacharach-David) Lead vocal: Brian Recorded April, 1968
20. Away (track) (0:57) (D. Wilson-Hinsche) Recorded circa January 1968
21. I’m Confessin’ (demo) (2:17) (B. Wilson) Recorded February or March, 1968
22. I’m Confessin’ / You’re As Cool As Can Be 1 (track) (1:38) (B. Wilson) Recorded February or March, 1968
23. You’re As Cool As Can Be 2 (track) (1:14) (B. Wilson) Recorded February or March, 1968
24. Be Here In The Morning Darling (track) (3:29) (B. Wilson) Recorded March 6, 1968
25. Our New Home (track) (2:02) (B. Wilson) Recorded March 20, 1968
26. New Song (track) (1:26) (B. Wilson) Recorded March, 1968
27. Be Still (alternate track) (1:03) (D. Wilson-Kalinich) Recorded March, 1968
28. Rock and Roll Woman (track) (2:19) (Stills) Recorded March, 1968
29. Time To Get Alone (alternate version demo) (2:04) (B. Wilson) Recorded March, 1968
30. Untitled 1/25/68 (track) (1:07) (D. Wilson) Recorded January 25, 1968
31. Passing By (demo with new lyrics c1971) (2:34) (B. Wilson-Shapiro-Almer) Lead vocal: Brian (with Stan Shapiro & Tandyn Almer) Demo recorded circa 1971
32. Child Is Father Of The Man (original 1966 track mix) (3:36) (B. Wilson) Recorded, mixed & edited late 1966

Track listing and credits for the 20/20 release

1. Do It Again (alternate stereo mix) (2:46) (Brian Wilson-Mike Love) Lead vocal: Mike (with Carl) Recorded May 26, June 6 & 12, 1968
2. Do It Again (a Cappella) (2:30) (Brian Wilson-Mike Love) Lead Vocal: Mike (with Carl) Recorded May 26, June 6 & 12, 1968
3. I Can Hear Music (demo) (1:00) (Barry-Greenwich-Spector) Lead vocal: Carl Recorded circa September, 1968
4. I Can Hear Music (track and backing vocals) (2:42) (Barry-Greenwich-Spector) Lead vocal: Carl Recorded October 1, 1968 (track), October, 1968 (vocals)
5. Bluebirds Over The Mountain (alternate mix) (2:56) (Hickey) Lead vocal: Mike Recorded September 29, 1967, October 15, 16, 28 & 29, 1968
6. Be With Me (demo) (2:45) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded August 29, 1968
7. Be With Me (2018 track mix) (3:17) (D. Wilson) Recorded October 2 & 16, 1968
8. All I Want To Do (Dennis Wilson lead vocal take 2) (2:13) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded November 9, 14, 16, 20 & 21, 1968
9. The Nearest Faraway Place (alternate take) (2:13) (Johnston) Recorded June 20, 1968
10. Cotton Fields (track and backing vocals) (2:25) (Ledbetter) Recorded November 18 & 19, 1968
11. I Went To Sleep (a Cappella 2018 mix) (1:35) (B. Wilson-C. Wilson) Lead vocal: Group Recorded June 1968
12. Time To Get Alone (a Cappella) (3:36) (B. Wilson)Lead vocal: Carl (with Brian and Al) Recorded October 2 & 4, 1968
13. Never Learn Not To Love (track and backing vocals) (2:25) (D. Wilson) Recorded September 11, 16, 17 & 18 1968
14. Never Learn Not To Love (a Cappella) (2:23) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded September 17 & 18, 1968
15. Walk On By (2018 mix) (1:55) (Bacharach-David) Lead vocal: Brian Recorded May 29, 1968
16. Rendezvous (Do It Again early version) (2018 mix) (2:36) (Brian Wilson-Mike Love) Lead vocal: Mike (with Brian) Recorded May 26, 1968
17. We’re Together Again (a Cappella) (2:01) (B. Wilson-R. Wilson) Lead vocal: Brian (with Dennis & Carl) Recorded May 22 - 29, 1968
18. I Can Hear Music (alternate lead vocal) (2:11) (Barry-Greenwich-Spector) Lead vocal: Carl Recorded October 1, 1968
19. All I Wanna Do (early version track) (2:24) (Brian Wilson-Mike Love) Recorded May 24 & June 8, 1968
20. Sail Plane Song (2018 mix) (2:19) (B. Wilson-C. Wilson) Lead vocal: Brian recorded June 8, 1968
21. Old Man River (a Capella 2018 mix) (1:18) (Kern-Hammerstein) Lead vocal: Group Recorded June 5, 1968
22. Medley: Old Folks At Home/Old Man River (alternate version) (2:57) (Foster/Kern-Hammerstein) Lead vocal: Group Recorded June 10, 1968
23. Medley: Old Folks At Home/Old Man River (alternate version track) (2:59) (Foster/Kern-Hammerstein) Recorded June 10, 1968
24. Walkin’ (2:48) (B. Wilson-Jardine) Lead vocal: Brian Track recorded June 18 & 19, 1968; vocal recorded circa October, 1969
25. Been Way Too Long (sections) (7:56) (B. Wilson) Lead vocal: Brian (and the group) Recorded Fall 1967, July 24, 25, 26 & 30, 1968
26. Well You Know I Knew (1:42) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded June 3, 1968
27. Love Affair (demo) (2:00) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded August 29, 1968
28. Peaches (demo) (2:26) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded August 29, 1968
29. The Gong (session highlights) (5:29) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded November 16, 1968
30. A Time To Live In Dreams (2018 mix) (1:54) (D. Wilson-Kalinich) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded November 1, 1968
31. All I Want To Do (early version) (1:12) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded October 16, 1968
32. All I Want To Do (Dennis Wilson lead vocal take 1) (2:10) (D. Wilson) Lead vocal: Dennis Recorded November 9, 14, 16, 20 & 21, 1968
33. Bluebirds Over The Mountain (basic track) (1:48) (Hickey) Recorded September 29, 1967
34. Bluebirds Over The Mountain (mono single mix) (2:51) (Hickey) Lead vocal: Mike Recorded September 29, 1967, October 15, 16, 28 & 29, 1968
35. Mona Kana (demo) (1:16) (D. Wilson-Kalinich) Recorded July 25, 1968
36. Mona Kana (2018 mix) (3:03) (D. Wilson-Kalinich) Recorded November 15, 1968
37. We’re Together Again (remake track with backing vocals) (1:58) (B. Wilson-R. Wilson) Recorded September 3, 6 & 9, 1968
38. Time To Get Alone (remake track) (2:46) (B. Wilson) Recorded November 21, 1968
39. Oh Yeah (0:54) unknown Lead vocal: unknown Recorded October 14, 1968
40. Is It True What They Say About Dixie (Audree Wilson) (1:47) (Caesar-Lerner-Gerald) Lead vocal: Audree Wilson Recorded 1968 Produced by Brian Wilson

THE BEACH BOYS 1968: Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine & Bruce Johnston

Compilation and New Mixes Produced by Mark Linett & Alan Boyd
Edited, Mixed and Mastered by Mark Linett at Your Place Or Mine 
Executive Producers: Matt D’Amico & Peter Fletcher
Art Direction: Susan Lavoie
Original Recordings Produced by The Beach Boys
Engineers: Stephen Desper & Jim Lockert
Brother Records, Inc: Jerry Schilling, President
Session Research: Craig Slowinski

Special Thanks: Howie Edelson; Elliot Kendall; Ross Schwartz; Mark Kaplan; Pacific Title Archives; Al Gomes, Connie Watrous & The Rhode Island BB Posse; Stanley Shapiro; Billy Hinsche; Stephen Kalinich; Brad Rosenberger; Lee Dempsey; Andrew G. Doe; Margaret Gwynne; Betty Collignon Wright; Lori Lightfoot; Steve Latshaw; Panayiotis Bogdanos; Les Chan; Monty & Bailey Linett, David Beard & Endless Summer Quarterly

And live material still to come...

Friday, 7 December 2018

Wednesday night's set lists at The Habit, York

Ron Elderly: -
Just My Imagination
Always On My Mind
I'll See You In My Dreams

Da Elderly: -
I'm So Tired
Rocky Raccoon
Here Comes The Sun

The Elderly Brothers: -
Sitting In The Park
When A Man Loves A Woman
Country Roads
I Saw Her Standing There

On a very wet day, it was a rather quiet night in The Habit. There were just enough players to get through the evening with 3-song sets. A new (to me) player entertained us with some ribald comic songs: Jake Thackray's Bantam Cock, Richard Digance's Sod's Law and an uncredited I'm A Crap Shag!! Nearly a month of listening to the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Beatles' White Album, I indulged myself with a couple of tracks from LP 1 side 2. The after-show jam was most enjoyable as usual.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Bobby Kennedy for President

Image result for bobby kennedy for president netflix poster

Bobby Kennedy for President’: Making a Four-Hour Series on a Celebrity Politician Who Actually Respected Government
Director Dawn Porter talks about the surprising final chapter of her Netflix series and the biggest difference between 2018 and the politics of a half-century ago.

Steve Greene
28 April 2018

Fitting an entire life into four hours is a tall task for any documentary filmmaker. Doing so for a member of the Kennedy family is even more impossible. Focusing on Robert F. Kennedy, middle brother, reluctant politician, and eventual national candidate meant that director Dawn Porter had a very specific guiding idea for the new Netflix documentary series “Bobby Kennedy for President.”

Using a wealth of archival footage showing Kennedy’s public and private life, Porter wanted to keep a consistent force that bound all of these selected stories from a life that simply had too many to include all of them.

“We very quickly realized there’s so much there that you can’t tell everything. There’s just thousands of Bobby Kennedy stories,” Porter told IndieWire. “So the motivating question I wanted to explore was, ‘How does this show us how Bobby Kennedy evolved? What does this particular story tell us about his priorities, what he was passionate about? And then how does it show growth and change?’ Each story had to serve the purpose of explaining Bobby Kennedy’s growth and evolution as a person and a politician.”

Along with the bevy of stories about the politician came a wide variety of opinions. In Porter’s eyes (and in the eyes of the series itself), the idea that Kennedy changed so much over the course of his political and public life meant that no one person had the perfect idea of who he was.

“The people who describe him as a bare-knuckled, aggressive power seeker, I think they’re wrong. I think that he was aggressive, he was smart, he was confident. He was going to do what needed to be done. And people who see him as saintly figure, they’re also wrong. But I do think he’s certainly more saint than sinner,” Porter said. “What you see, particularly at the end of his all-too-short life, was a person who was very comfortable in his moral convictions and was determined to, as much as possible, have the policies to support and reflect those priorities. I think that’s important. He doggedly worked to bring others around to understand where his opinions came from.”

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about Kennedy without discussing the family that fostered and helped sustain his political career, just as he had done for his brother during the 1960 presidential campaign. Robert Kennedy himself had a large household of his own, to say nothing of the extended Hyannis Port family that features prominently in a few of the home videos on display in “Bobby Kennedy for President.” By design, Porter didn’t interview any of the members of the Kennedy family for her film, but for her that helped her figure out what she wanted “Bobby Kennedy for President” to be.

Dolores Huerta and Dawn Porter

“While he is a public figure to us, he is a father and husband to them. Rory Kennedy made the beautiful film ‘Ethel’ and that was more of the family. It’s a large family, a diverse family. They all have different opinions. Maybe this isn’t something that we needed them for, for better or worse,” Porter said. “Certainly I would have loved to speak to particularly some of the older children and to Ethel Kennedy just about, you know, the history and her experiences. So I leave that to someone else. I think that it’s a rich story that will continue and there’s many possibilities for expanding it. And I hope this whets people’s appetites for more understanding of that era and that time.”

“Bobby Kennedy for President” features few historians in the traditional sense. When assembling the tight group of Kennedy colleagues and confidants to help illuminate the private life behind his public actions, Porter wanted to interview people who could offer direct, unmediated glimpses into their personal relationships with Kennedy. With a figure about whom so many facts are already part of an established record, Porter wanted to find the emotional anchors like Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Neil Gallagher, and former ambassador William vanden Heuvel who could speak to the range of ideals and criticisms that Kennedy inspired in those he met.

“This was a person to them. He wasn’t a statue. He wasn’t a person you read about in a book. I think that it gave a layer to the interviews that I was looking for,” Porter said. “I wanted it to be a smaller group. When you know somebody’s relationship with the main subject, you can understand whatever biases they have. You give the audience a little bit more power to understand that this is where these people are coming from.”

When asked whether Robert Kennedy had any modern analogues, Porter cited some of the spirit that guided President Obama’s second term, particularly the decisions to commute and pardon long-overdue sentences and advances in voter rights. But part of the allure of making this series for Porter was to spend time profiling a figure who to her exemplified a commitment to service that’s largely gone.

“I think it’s been a lot time since we’ve had a politician like Bobby Kennedy who you really unequivocally knew what he stood for. He had a particular position and power and I think he used it wisely,” Porter said. “One of my favorite pieces is when is the students are grilling him about, ‘Why do you want to be a senator?’ And he says, ‘I’d like to serve.’ That was important to his family and that’s how he grew up raising his children. I think that’s admirable.”

Monday, 3 December 2018

Larry Carlton: working with Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell

Image result for larry carlton joni mitchell
Larry Carlton’s sessions with Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell

29 August 2018

As a music aficionado I have a fascination with album credits. It used to be my primary method of making connections between artists, albums and songs I love. When I hear a great piano accompaniment or a drum track, I immediately browse through the liner notes and credits to find out who the musician might be. In the days when record stores enabled impromptu meetings of like-minded music lovers, a favorite topic was the sharing of this knowledge with others and finding more clues from album covers to lead me to the next album. Many albums omitted those credits, especially when the musicians where hired studio professionals. A few exceptions to this in the 1970s are albums by two of my favorite artists, who were unique in providing detailed listings of all musicians who played on their records: Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell. And one name kept coming up on both of their album sleeve notes, as I scrutinized the fine print to find out who was the guitar player who played all these magnificent licks and solos. This is my tribute to Larry Carlton’s amazing work on their 1970s albums.

Carlton first played with Steely Dan on the 1975 album Katy Lied. The band became a studio entity at this point, hiring the best session musicians in LA and New York. He played only on one tune, Daddy Don’t Live in that New York City No More. A good performance, but nothing like what he would contribute to the band’s next album, The Royal Scam. No less than four session guitar players were invited to the recording of that album, and Carlton plays on many of the songs.

Don’t Take Me Alive, a song whose lyrics always reminded me of the Al Pacino movie Dog Day Afternoon, released the previous year, is one of Carlton’ finest moments on the album. Two of his best musical assets, the melodic solos and the guitar tone, are on display here. If you were wondering about the long chord that starts the song, Carlton remembers: “There was no chord in front of the beginning of the song, nothing. Just ‘wham’. I don’t know what else we tried, but Donald was the one who finally just said, ‘Why don’t we just put a big chord in front of it?’ It was that simple. I went out into the room where my amp was and stood in front of it and tweaked until there was the right tone and then I did four or five or six of those chords to where everything rang. They adjusted the limiter and everything so it really sat like they wanted it to. But Donald was right.”

Carlton’s finest moment on the album and what many consider his best solo in the band’s catalog, is on the opener, Kid Charlemagne. The song about the rise and fall of a drug dealer, likely inspired by Owsley Stanley III, the underground chemist who single handedly freaked out the city of San Francisco in the 1960s, was a great opener for the band’s darkest album. Carlton is all over this song, with a 50 seconds solo that starts at 2:18, full of twists and turns. He does not let up in the outro either, with more tasteful licks as the song fades out. Donald Fagen: “He’s a real virtuoso. In my opinion he can get around his instrument better than any studio guitarist. He’s also quite a good blues player. He did the solos on ‘Kid Charlemagne.’ The middle solo he did in two takes and we used parts of both. The last solo was straight improvisation.” On an album full of excellent guitar work by other musicians such as Denny Dias, Dean Parks and Elliott Randall, Larry Carlton’s role on this album stands out as the most critical. Walter Becker: “If that is the definitive Steely Dan guitar album, then Larry Carlton is the reason why. He contributed quite a bit to the tunes. There would be lot of volatile people with volatile music styles in the room and, in a lot of cases, it seemed to me that Larry, more than anybody else, was holding things together rhythmically and in other ways.” Carlton recalled the sessions for Kid Charlemagne: “Once we found a tone that we all agreed on, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker would say, ‘Yes, that’s cool,’ then really it was just a case of, ‘You want to try one?’ And they would hit the red button and it’d maybe be, ‘How you doing?’ and I’d say, ‘Yes, let’s try it again.’ Then all of a sudden some magic starts happening. Very patient, there were no suggestions of licks or anything like that. I did two hours’ worth of solos that we didn’t keep. Then I played the first half of the intro, which they loved, so they kept that. I punched in for the second half, so it was done in two parts and the solo that fades out in the end was done in one pass.” All in a day’s work.

A few words on Larry Carlton’s celebrated guitar tone are in order. We start with the amp. Remembering that session, he also recalled: “I can’t remember why but I decided to take my little Tweed Deluxe with my 335 and that became my lead sound with Steely Dan.” Making the list of Guitar Player magazine’s top 50 guitar tones of all time, he shaded some light about his technique: “I have the claw thing happening down there on the strings when I play. It lets me know where I’m at, but I’d have better technique if I held my hand free of the strings. I pick hard. In fact, I overplay the instrument. I’ve been squeezing a pick since I was six, and the pressure has curved by index finger. At this point, my hands have molded themselves to fit the guitar.” About that Tweed Deluxe: “That’s the amp that I used for the Steely Dan sessions and I don’t even remember why and how I’d brought the Tweed in, because I didn’t use it on any other sessions, only the Royal Scam, Aja, and Donald’s Nightfly album.”