Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pink Floyd: "Zabriskie Point: The Lost Album" (1970)

I've had the misfortune of trying to sit through this movie...twice, but ten years apart (and both times, out of curiosity), and it's terrible. I'm not going to go into what it's supposed to be about, so I'll just get to it: I only watched it to see if there was any interesting scenes with Pink Floyd's music in it. The movie opens up with "Heart Beat, Pig Meat", a sliver of "Crumbling Land" gets played, and "Come In, Number 51, Your Time Is Up" gets played to the slow-motion montage of a desert mansion exploding in super slow motion. That's the only good part in the whole movie, but that's almost two hours of watching it just to see it.

The soundtrack album was always hard to find, but their three cuts were available on a budget-priced compilation CD called Rock Goes To The Movies...good enough. I'd always wondered if they'd recorded anything else for the movie, and then a deluxe edition of the soundtrack album came out with a few unreleased things on it. I couldn't bring myself to fish out the coin to pay for just a few tracks on it, so I would see if it would turn up at the library or something. No luck there.

Years go by, and someone has uploaded an entire album's worth of material they recorded onto YouTube. Not only in great quality, but some fascinating material to behold. One of them, the oddly-named "Country Song", would have fitted nicely on Atom Heart Mother or Meddle. "Oneone" sounds like a collage from Ummagumma, and the real surprise was a blues instrumental called "Alan's Blues", which is an actual blues, with some great guitar work, and some surprising blues runs on the piano.

Until an actual and official album of this material comes out, check it out on YouTube while it's on there. You will be completely blown away.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Who: "Young Vic Blues" (April 26, 1971)

I found this one down at Buzzard's, sometime in 2002. I'd found a few good Who bootleg CD's there before in the past few years, and finding yet another new one was always a treat. This one was interesting. I hadn't really heard much live stuff from the 1971 era, and I noticed that this one had some songs on it, such as the openers: "Gettin' In Tune" and "Too Much Of Anything".

It's a soundboard recording of the April 26 show at the Young Vic Theater, from when they were rehearsing songs for Pete's new concept piece, Lifehouse. They threw open the doors to the place, and let whomever wanted to come in off the streets and hear them play.

It's a great show, although this CD only has the latter half of the show. This was superseded by the Deluxe Edition of Who's Next, which was released in 2003 with the same Young Vic show, only professionally recorded. There are some songs that aren't on the bootleg, and vice-versa, so it's nice to have both of them for completeness' sake.

One interesting thing is that a couple of the songs are played at the tempo at which Pete wrote and recorded them. A number of songs into the show, Keith Moon apparently gets bored with the medium tempos, and kicks "Bargain" from a slow, mid-tempo ballad into the fast-paced rocker we all know it as. This includes the first performance of "Won't Get Fooled Again", on which Keith had again stepped up the tempo, turning into another hard-edged rocker. It's still kind of a work in progress, as he didn't quite get the drum breaks in toward the end of the organ-snyth solo. All in all, a great performance, and well worth seeking out both versions.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Warhorse: "Warhorse" (1970)

Before discovering and using the internet, looking up info on older bands was often a gamble. Even more so if they weren't as well-known as, say, Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. And double that if their stuff went unreleased over here in the States. One had to rely on liner notes inside of albums, CD's, footnotes in book entries and stuff like that. You would read about a band where one guy had left to form his own band, and they might have mentioned the band's name, but that was it, and you would be left wondering what they might have sounded like.

Such was the case with early Deep Purple, the "Mark I" lineup. I know Rod Evans and Nick Simper had left, but I really didn't know what became of them (musically) after that. Rod Evans fronted a band called Captain Beyond, featuring former members of Iron Butterfly and Johnny Winter's band, but Nick Simper was in a band called Warhorse, and...that was all that was known then!

In the pages of Goldmine, I began to see that they not only had two albums, but that they were also on CD. They were pricey imports from Germany, but I was anxious to find out what they sounded like. I ordered both of them from a place in Berkeley called Mod Lang, which specialized in imports. Two weeks later, they showed up in the mailbox.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed that not only were they a five-piece band not unlike Purple (I was hoping for a heavy power-trio or something), but they sounded a lot like them as well. In fact, most of the songs on the first albums were re-treads of songs from the first three Purple albums. Heck, they even looked like Deep Purple, with the long hair, and the mustachioed keyboardist!

But, the more I played it, the more I liked fact, I actually liked it more than Deep Purple's stuff (at least, the stuff after the Mark I lineup). The vocals left a little to be desired here and there, but the music was so good that you could overlook that. Great, crunching Hammond organ, and ultra-cool basslines from Nick throughout it.

The second album, Red Sea, had some good moments on it, but they were blatantly trying to be Deep Purple on this one, with a lot of Ian Gillan-style yowling, and guitar solos that sounded like Ritchie. Nonetheless, the first album was definitely a heavy influence on my fledgling keyboard playing and composition style, and is still a favorite to this day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Rodney Dangerfield: "The Loser" (1966) / "I Don't Get No Respect" (1969)

I found this one at House Of Records in March of 1990, not long after my 14th birthday. I was looking through the comedy albums there, fished this one out, and was amazed. Not only had I never seen or even heard of this one, it looked like it went back a ways. It was on the Who's old label, Decca, and the tagline on the front said it all: The New Comedy Sensation.

When I got it home, this was quite different than hearing No Respect or Rappin' Rodney. On this one, he was actually doing routines instead of zipping by with witty one-liners, one after the other.

One of my favorite routines on the album is about him going out to eat in a restaurant, the place gets busy, and he finds himself having to split a table. Not with a pretty girl, you see, but with a crotchety old man in his 80's, who criticizes everything that Rodney orders for himself. There's also another bit where he gets held up in an alley, but the robber tells him a story about robbing his own mother, and would never have gotten caught if he hadn't invited her over for dinner and having her discover that they were using her silverware.

A bit of the ol' downtrodden Rodney going on, but he hadn't come up with his famous tagline least I don't thin it's on this album.

A few years later, in 1969, it would be the title of his second album, on Bell. I used to see it around a lot (it was reissued in 1980 on Arista), but never got around to picking it up until I saw a cassette copy of it for cheap at Musicland.

This one finds Rodney really downtrodden-sounding. The routines and bits are slowly disappearing, going more for one-liners and quick anecdotes, but without the speed and energy that would be found on the later albums. You can just visualize him standing up on stage in some smoky, smelly dive somewhere while this was being recorded. But there are some funny bits, especially ones with his so-called friends pushing him out of the car for being too drunk, or dating a woman with a really heavy (but unidentified) accent who talks all the time. Good bits, but Rodney's new-found "loser" persona probably just didn't jibe with record-buyers at the time.

So , there we have it...some early beginnings of the man who would finally get some respect and become an instant comedy legend in Caddyshack, some ten-odd years later!