Archive for the ‘The White Stripes’ Category

The Graham Bond Organization

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Listen: St. James Infirmary / The Graham Bond Organization
St. James Infirmary / The Graham Bond Organization

Around ’65/’66, The Graham Bond Organization were a most evil sounding jazz/blues mixture, not only as a band, but compared to any other group during the period. Their two albums, including the Jack Bruce / Ginger Baker / Dick Heckstall-Smith lineup, were released by Columbia UK but remained unissued in the US. In fact the only American release ever from this line-up and The Graham Bond Organization in general was this lone 7″ on Ascot, both sides from that Columbia UK period. The much covered ‘St. James Infirmary’, a single only A side in the UK from early ’66, likewise took on the A side position in the US.

This American folk song of anonymous origin dates back to early 1900 and has taken on many interpretations, one of which claims the song to be written about St. James Hospital in London, which was used to treat leprosy.

Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Big Mama Thornton, Billie Holiday, Bobby Hackett, Stan Kenton, Lou Rawls, Bobby Blue Bland, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Doc Watson, Janis Joplin and The White Stripes are amongst those who have recorded the track. Yet it’s this one that competes neck in neck with the Cops ‘N Robbers version as my personal favorite.

The soon-to-be direction John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Dick Heckstall-Smith would assume on BAREWIRES can be heard here.

Listen: Wade In The Water / The Graham Bond Organization
Wade In The Water / The Graham Bond Organization

‘Wade In The Water’, the band’s first A side single for Columbia UK was also included on their debut album, THE SOUND OF ’65. Here in the US, it was coupled, to complete this lone US single, as B side. I’m guessing Ascot Records had released it, with an option for an album, should they get any traction.

At the time, the label was having great success via Manfred Mann, during their initial RnB influenced period with Paul Jones as lead vocalist. They were also a Columbia UK act, and Ascot was releasing other singles from that label’s catalog, including those by Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men, The Force Five and Madeline Bell.

The smooth mod rendition of ‘Wade In The Water’ from The Ramsey Lewis Trio stole all the airplay that same year, but this jazz leaning, late night version clearly counter balanced a then ubiquitous song that seemed insatiable to just about everyone in some form or another.

X

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Listen: The New World / X
The

I saw one of the greatest bands in the solar system tonight at Irving Plaza in New York, and one their greatest shows ever.

X

Seen them many times, worked with them at Elektra, was a fan prior. But let me tell you, there is no other punk band in the universe from the era that a) still exists in the original lineup and b) can even begin to compete. They have scared off all the competition. Deservedly so.

X are presently touring, performing the LOS ANGELES album in it’s entirety, plus a ton of greatest hits. Yes, be relieved, they have survived the hump from has beens to legends. And thank God they did. We lost The Cramps, The Ramones and The Gun Club. The White Stripes and L7 threw in the towel. Only Suicide can stand proudly next to them.

If X come to your neck, don’t fuck up your remaining years on earth and miss this one.

Thankfully, tonight they played ‘The New World’. Funny listening to the recorded version now. It’s so much faster and, dare I say, pop or slick. Still, in it’s day, who was speaking out about injustice and corrupt politics. Maybe there were others. I only remember X.

Elektra UK had half a brain then. Unlike the US side, they released ‘The New World’ as a commercial 7″ (in the US it was serviced as a promo only 12″). Half a brain? Yeah, in the era of picture sleeves, how could the company not house this in one? The UK never took to X. Their loss.

A very rare 7″, but as it probably plays out, not as rare as finding a person that wants one.

Yes, we vinyl collectors are dying off. Someday this 7″ will be in the Smithsonian. Neither of us will be around, but my bet is, it’s a Mona Lisa.

Duane Eddy

Monday, November 30th, 2009

DuaneEddyRebelUKA, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Jamie, American London, Reprise, RCA

Listen: Rebel-Rouser / Duane Eddy & His Twangy Guitar DuaneEddyRebel.mp3

Did you know that Duane Eddy combined single-note melodies by bending the low strings and adding echo, a vibrato bar (Bigsby), and tremolo – thereby producing a signature sound unlike anything that had been heard prior – the sound that would be featured on an unprecedented string of thirty four chart singles, fifteen of which made the Top 40 and sales of over 100 million worldwide? Me neither. I read it on Wikipedia.

He was not alone in the creation. Then disc jockey Lee Hazelwood became his partner in 1954, taking on role of producer and co-writer. ‘Rebel-Rouser’ is one of those songs that probably every last human being has heard, but didn’t know it. Well I hope so at least. Peaking at #6, it was also his biggest chart success.

DuaneEddyStalkin, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Jamie, American London, Reprise, RCA

Listen: Stalkin’ / Duane Eddy & His Twangy Guitar DuaneEddyStalkin.mp3

It’s B side, ‘Stalkin” is a whole other story. Now this is more the dark side sound that helped invent one of the most potent threads in music, a line followed by The Gun Club, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, The White Stripes and most importantly, The Cramps. And of those bands alone, there were endless unsuccessful imitators.

It just oozes of girls in tight sparkly capri pants and spiked heels, slowly grooving their hips to the the record as it spun in the jukebox at a local malt shop.

DuaneEddySurfinPS, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Jamie, American London, Reprise, RCA

Listen: Your Baby’s Gone Surfiin’ / Duane Eddy DuaneEddySurfin.mp3

Everyone jumped on the surf craze in the early 60′s. For Duane Eddy, it actually was a perfect fit. He kind of invented the sound, a seamless musical transition from rockabilly to the white kid, carefree, silver spoon lifestyles of surfers. Despite ‘Your Baby’s Gone Surfin” hardly denting the Billboard Hot 100 (#93), I remember it vividly. Even bought the single, or had someone buy it for me more likely. Little did I know, his band, The Rebels, had become Phil Spector’s regular studio outfit. Makes perfect sense then that The Blossoms, also vocal backup regulars on Spector sessions, provided all the singing here. Yes, that’s Darlene Love you’re hearing, just as you might be suspecting.

DuaneEddyShuckin, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Jamie, American London, Reprise, RCA

Listen: Shuckin’ / Duane Eddy DuaneEddyShuckin.mp3

B side ‘Shuckin”, you gotta love the song titles, sounds like a routine jam with the sole purpose of churning out a flip to ‘Your Baby’s Gone Surfin”. Even so, the natural groove makes it a keeper. How many of these would they knock out in a day? I’m scared to reckon. Somewhere there are tape vaults….

DuaneEddyGuitarWasMadeUSB, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Reprise

Listen: This Guitar Was Made For Twangin’ / Duane Eddy DuaneEddyRepriseUSB.mp3

Once the Nancy Sinatra success train was powering full steam ahead, on her Dad’s Reprise label, with Lee Hazelwood ably handling all production and songwriting, my guess is he suggested Duane Eddy be added to the roster. A seemingly under thought covers album of then current day hits, THE BIGGEST TWANG OF THEM ALL, allowed for one original ‘This Guitar Was Made For Twangin”. Despite a basic instrumental re-write of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’, he retains full writer credit, well at least as far as the label copy reads. I have to believe behind the curtain, there was a handshake share with Lee Hazelwood, writer of ‘Boots’ – or maybe not. He was the producer, it didn’t sell, and who cares anyways. Luckily the track was issued as a single.

The Incredible String Band

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

incrediblethismoment, The Incredible String Band, Elektra

Listen: This Moment / The Incredible String Band IncredibleMoment.mp3

incredibleblackjack, The Incredible String Band, Elektra, The Gun Club, Steeleye Span, The White Stripes

Listen: Black Jack Davy / The Incredible String Band IncredibleBlackJack.mp3

Acquired taste. Okay, I agree. During the late 70′s folk boom and the accompanying blind acceptance of, I didn’t know what to make of some of these acts. I don’t think anybody did. The Incredible String Band were English so I put the time in to find some positives. I mean everyone needed a few essential folk genre bits for the collection. And they did have some happening album covers. Seems they released several in very short order – so many that I never ended up buying one out of confusion. Then I LOOKED UP came out and started to get a few plays on the local college station, Syracuse University’s WAER. I took the plunge and bought. My two, by far, favorite tracks (‘This Moment’ and ‘Black Jack Davy’) were A and B sides in the UK. How handy.

Shortly thereafter, the SU Concert Committee booked them into a weird part chapel/part venue joint on campus. It was usually reserved for jazz events, don’t remember the name, but I did see The Soft Machine there. Most likely, they could be considdered jazz if you stretched it – and I’m glad they did – wow, great show.

Anyways, The Incredible String Band were spectacular. Featured the expanded (Mike and Robin plus girlfriends Rose and Licorice) lineup from I LOOKED UP and the about to be released U. In hindsight, the girlfriends were a bit of a Spinal Tap move sans tambourines. Still, we loved it.

Whoever Black Jack Davy was, many a song has been written about his folklore reputation. This version is not to be confused with other excellent ones of the same title by The Gun Club, Steeleye Span and The White Stripes.

And the above ‘This Moment’ (3:19), to my knowledge, is a 7″ vinyl only version. Every LP and CD contains the full 6:09 minute take.