Archive for the ‘The Velvet Underground’ Category

Kevin Ayers

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Listen: Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes / Kevin Ayers

Although never quite as excited when older songs would re-grace a 7″ based on reissue packages, this was an exception. Not as common these days, but in the 70′s, several bands found a stronger footing a bit down the career road. At the time, the periods between original and repackage felt like generations, but in hindsight they were only a few short years.

In the case of Kevin Ayers & The Whole World, the band’s third single, ‘Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes’ / ‘Star’ was originally released as Harvest 5042 in early ’71. Fast forward five years and ‘Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes’, a featured track on ODD DITTIES, a hitless greatest hits type compilation loosely celebrating his return to the Harvest label after a few singles and albums for Island, graces the market to promote the project.

By now the label copy was only crediting Kevin Ayers, and his credibility high via associations with John Cale and Nico. Thread in The Velvet Underground and all the punks immediately respect you. Boom. Plan.

Thing was, the appreciation was more than justified. He and his band made four nearly flawless albums for Harvest initially. And so his return to the label and promise of greatness to come was plenty of reason to tell the world of brand new ears all about his catalog highlights. I couldn’t get my hands on this 7″ fast enough.

Listen: Fake Mexican Tourist Blues / Kevin Ayers

In those days, you often knew only of a UK single’s existence and one would anxiously await the post to turn up with that special ordered copy, or a local import shop may stock a few. They usually catered to albums as opposed to 7′s though. And no one but me was buying a Kevin Ayers single, hence the special order process necessity.

Well I was thrilled when this one arrived. The real charge being being the B side ‘Fake Mexican Tourist Blues’. Known amongst his rabid followers, like me, as a must hear unreleased track from his WHATEVERSHEBRINGSWESING album sessions, you could say the five year wait was worth it. Lyrically hysterical, almost faux reggae. Expect the unexpected from Kevin Ayers every time and you won’t be let down.

Into the double sider hall of fame this one went forever.

The Velvet Underground & Nico

Friday, May 13th, 2011

All Tomorrow's Parties / The Velvet Underground & Nico

Listen: All Tomorrow’s Parties / The Velvet Underground & Nico VelvetAllTomorrows.mp3

Not an easy 7″ to find, thanks Dick Storms for giving it to me years ago as a gift. Dick started The Record Archive, turning it into one of the best record shops of it’s day. From the humble beginnings of two standups (boxes) at a local flea market it grew to a sprawling vinyl hub, including deep catalog, collectables, knowledgeable staff, guest dj’s – even a back room complete with stage/sound/lights. Loads of local bands played, and national acts did those in-store signing things there too. Talk about taste – Dick had it down, not only in music but furniture, art, design and personality. A Rochester legend.

I wasn’t aware at the time that this single was actually a different take from the album version. I’d always assumed it was simply an edit. How could this not have been a hit one asks. Nico could sing any song and make it Nico. Andy Warhol was a decent A&R guy it turns out.

Inez & Charlie Foxx

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Listen: Come By Here / Inez & Charlie Foxx InezComeByHere.mp3

Starting the New Year off with a classic has to be good luck. There are about six desert island essentials by Inez & Charlie Foxx on my list – and ‘Come By Here’ is one. Now live, they were hard to beat. Crawling the sweaty chitlin circuit, crowds would urge Inez to even greater vocal heights while Charlie and the band drove a relentless groove. Their well oiled touring machine made for consistent studio performances. With it’s rich blend of blues and gospel, ‘Come By Here’ is one of the two songs they performed on Cleveland’s UPBEAT show in May ’67 (the other was ‘(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’ – see my post from 6/6/08 to listen). UPBEAT is a TV cult classic, and it would be huge if someone could free up all those episodes. Word is they still exist. There was a pretty weak website for the program at one time, but it focused on the bigger names (like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones) when in fact, many obscure acts were on as well (Love / The Seeds / The Hullaballoos / Terry Knight & The Pack / The Velvet Underground). A weekly hour long show, syndicated in many markets, it predated Shindig but then survived concurrently – and in short, any act passing through the Cleveland area got herded in to mime a couple of numbers. On this particular episode, Charlie, wearing a black shirt with matching carnation pink chino suit and tie, sang and danced on a small circular podium behind Inez. In her pink dress and heels, she sang a live vocal over the prerecorded bed, picking on a pink stratocaster and strutting not unlike The Duchess. Have mercy indeed.

Please God let this footage resurface.