Archive for the ‘The Wailers’ Category

The Fugs

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Listen: Frenzy / The Fugs

Thanks Howie Gabriel, my pal who found this, The Fugs first 7″ from ’66, when sorting out his newly sold house for a move. Only friends pass on gems like these. There’s good karma coming your way, Howie.

Although Fugs fans know the track, there’s something forever magical about a familiar song issued on the saint-like 7″ single. Specific to the 60′s, those pressings meant a mono mix, always sounding different, often sounding better. During that period, utmost care was invested into getting the mono version correct, just in case the song needed to squeeze through a handheld transistor radio while clamped to any teenager’s ear.

Funny how in the matter of a few decades, our consumer society went from a palm sized device, to a most cumbersome boom box calamity, and eventually right back to the streamlined handheld, wondering what the fuck were we ever thinking.

My favorite Fugs album, hands down, is IT CRAWLED INTO MY HAND, HONEST from ’68. I admit to being partial towards their Reprise years. Amongst other things, the sleeves were superb, plus the music drastically well recorded without losing too much grime.

‘Frenzy’ frames The Fugs perfectly alongside the garage band royalty from ’66, although seldom revered as such. The Sonics, The Music Machine, The 13th Floor Elevators, The Wailers, the list goes on. Why aren’t The Fugs ever mentioned with their counterparts?

Leon Russell

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Listen: Roll Away The Stone / Leon Russell LeonRussellStone.mp3

Despite Denny Cordell cutting his teeth during the 60′s as producer of The Moody Blues, The Move, Beverley and Joe Cocker & The Grease Band, he seemed to take a nasty turn in the period that immediately followed. He set up shop in Los Angeles, forming Shelter Records. Other than issuing a few reggae singles in the States for Chris Blackwell (The Maytals, The Wailers), Denny pretty much shifted gears musically. To this Anglophile, he betrayed his own greatness, suddenly producing and/or releasing super Americana stuff like Phoebe Snow, JJ Cale, Mudcrutch…..and Leon Russell.

I despised everything about Leon Russell. I hated his country boogie blues singalongs, his clothes, his grey hair – every last thing about him. Mind you, I was hard core pro England. The Kinks were the ultimate, Glam was preferred, I was not a believer.

Isn’t it crazy how one’s tastes can change, or in my case, grow. Man, was I wrong about Denny and Shelter. Fast forward a decade, and I’m jonesing for every last act on that roster, catching up on filling in the record collection with the Shelter singles.

Leon Russell’s history ran way deeper than I originally knew, back to Phil Spector’s Philles days where he led his house band, and he performed in the TAMI show and was a regular on SHINDIG and….and….and. Check the writer’s credits on some of those Phil Spector B sides: Leon Russell. Seemingly overnight, I needed everything attached to his long, long discography of contributions.

Well there aren’t many things I like more than a UK A&M A label. All the busy conflicting fonts, the bright yellow label, the red ‘A’ and the onslaught of release date/time/publisher info (Reminder: click on any of the records pictured to enlarge). It became a quest to get all Denny Cordell / Shelter via UK A&M 7′s. Took years but now pretty much complete. One of the first to be issued back on the old 700 series: ‘Roll Away The Stone’.

Do you think Mott The Hoople ever listened to Leon Russell?

Carl Malcolm

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

carlosfattyusa, Carl Malcolm, UK Records, Jonathan KIng

Listen: Fatty Bum Bum / Carl Malcolm CarlMalcolmFatty.mp3

carlosmalcolmwire, Carl Malcolm, UK Records, Jonathan King

Listen: Miss Wire Waist / Carl Malcolm CarlMalcolmMissWireWaist.mp3

Despite the one hit wonder tag, his #8 UK singles placing from ’75 is a perfect pop-reggae classic. Produced by Clive Chin, not only famous for his work with Augustus Pablo, Black Uhuru and The Wailers, but is self credited as having made the very first dub album. Pretty nice.

This pop hit, further categorized as ‘maybe not so credible’ due mostly to becoming popular, but also because it’s release on Jonathan King’s rather fantastic UK Records imprint meant it was considered mainstream and polished. Like that’s bad – even if the song is great? Jonathan King had impeccable talents for spotting hits as well as recording them. Well I loved this song – from the first listen.

And in a perfect marketing ploy (get all the girls big and small), Carl Malcolm and UK Records released ‘Miss Wire Waist’ as the hopeful, and deserving followup single. It really should’ve been a hit and brought Carl to a higher career plateau. It wasn’t meant to be – well not as recording artist. Year later, you can find him drumming solidly for the Melodians.