Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In which I quickly review Benjamin Button and Cadillac Records

No, no the music well has not run dry over here, I'm working on a few posts but in the meantime:

Benjamin Button

a pretty good Forest Gump wannabe that's well-directed and fun to watch and all. It's set in New Orleans, which is an added bonus for those of us living there, but IF THEY ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO GIVE EVERY NEW ORLEANEAN A STUPID ACCENT IN MOVIES I WOULD PREFER THE MOVIE INDUSTRY LEAVE OUR CITY ALONE ALTOGETHER (despite the needed cashflow from the insdustry). IT WAS PAINFUL AND THOUGH SOME PEOPLE HAVE A SLIGHT ACCENT HERE, THEY DO NOT SOUND LIKE GONE WITH THE WIND

I give it a 7+ up out of two thumbs.


Cadillac Records was absolutely great and you would likely think so too if you check this blog out. It doesn't force feed you the legendary status of these artists, it lets them live the legend and you judge for yourselves. All of the songs featured in the movie were sung by the actors and with the exception of Mos Def's overly silly Chuck Berry, they were all absolutely incredible, particularly the genuinely menacing Howlin' Wolf. One of the few movies that I wish were a little longer so they could stuff it to the gills with nods to Chess fans, flesh everything out and give us some lagniappe. Maybe I'm just a little bitter because after being underrecognized his whole life, Bo Diddley was missing from the movie potentially about him. Also Beyonce's musical performances got a little more attention than the equally worthy male roles, while as mysterious poster "eaw" suggested, her bionic hand was barely shown or something.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ponderosa Stomp line-up is-up

Now New Orleans' Jazz Fest is a wonderful thing, but there's only one Ponderosa Stomp. Jazz Fest muddies up the Jazz Fest thing with big wonderful Dave Matthews' Band shows and whatever, but every year Ponderosa Stomp gives you one of the most impressive, if not thee most impressive line-ups in the nation of traditional (both old and recent) Rock & Roll stars. And most importantly: This time I'll finally be in town for it. I was lucky enough to catch bands like The Staggers, Satelliters and of course the Sonics at last year's Cavestomp in New York, but now right in my old town I get to see (copied and pasted from here)

Wanda Jackson, Roddy Jackson, Alton Lott, Carl Mann, Johnny Powers, Jack Earls, Dale Hawkins, James Burton, Dan Penn And Bobby Emmons, Howard Tate, Otis Clay, The Hi Rhythm Section, The Remains, Question Mark And The Mysterians, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Bobby Patterson, Wiley And The Checkmates, The Bo-Keys, Lil Buck Senegal And The Top Cats Featuring Stanley "Buckwheat Zydeco" Dural, Dennis Coffey, Robert Parker, Jivin Gene, Ray Sharpe, Long John Hunter, Texas Johnny Brown, Little Joe Washington, James Blood Ulmer Trio, L.C. Ulmer, Little Willie Littlefield, Lil Greenwood, Jerry McCain, Kenny And The Kasuals, Classie Ballou, Deke Dickerson And The Eccofonics, Roy Loney And Cyril Jordan Of The Flamin Groovies Backed By The A-Bones, and Lazy Lester.

Now I'll be honest, there's a lot of returning artists on here from last year and not too many new ones, especially for an event that has hosted acts like Link Wray, the Fabulous Wailers and, really, just look at this line-up. However, there are some pretty exciting new ones on there, such as Roy Loney backed by the A-Bones and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy. But like I said, I haven't even seen the returning names, so there's absolutely no question that I'm excited.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sandy Nelson - Walkin' Beat

Sandy Nelson probably wouldn't show up in your average list of 20 surf/surf-era-instrumental musicians today, but he really should be quite a heavyweight. He's got an enourmous discography, most of which is great, he just approaches Rock & Roll from a drumming angle when most of Rock & Roll is very guitar-centric. Still, he certainly does operate in the realm of rock & roll... though he does deviate a little here.

Most of the stuff on here are surfy instrumentals a la Teen Beat, but on the B side things get a little more interesting. He delves into chops demonstration territory, which may turn some off but I think Soul Drums' tribal pounding is just as danceable as anything else on here. Teen Beach gets a little more showy, with a lot more snare and admittedly dragging at parts. Then there's Beat From Another World, which is probably the highlight of the album. It starts out similar to the two before it, but with some spacey electronic yelps... and then the yelps of space creatures themselves. Clearly they're just human voices slowed down to unrecognizable levels, but it's used so much the music comes to a stop just to listen to these monsters go "YORP". It's hilariously strange stuff and the album cover leaves you no clue that Sandy was going to earn a sci-fi tag for this post, but I love it and it will certainly make great 4AM college radio. Then of course, he goes back to another great surfy instrumental.

Unfortunately this isn't a wonderful copy, and I doubt it's really all that rare either, so if I ever find another copy I might revise this one. It took some cleaning just to get the album into this shape, but now I think it's pretty listenable, just with plenty of crackles and pops. There was a spot on the second track with an unavoidable skip, but thanks to a little surgery in Audacity the song should sound fine now. So here's the final product, you can click that image below for the full tracklist.

Recently I found out that Sandy Nelson hasn't called it a day. He's teamed up with another band including Los Straitjackets' phenomenal Eddie Angel for a new (digital only) album. Unfortunately I'm at my absolute worst financial state right now so I can't get myself a copy, but the stuff on that Myspace sounds excellent. Anybody heard it in full?

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Still kind of sucked

Yes, this is sometimes a sci-fi blog. In fact this is a really bloggy blog entry and is probably best ignored.

One of my first posts on here was about Hollywood's sudden urge to respin sci-fi's forgotten classics for today's audience. Death Race was surprisingly fun; not nearly as outrageous as the original but gratuitous enough for today's audience to have a blast. Yep, it was pretty good, though hopefully it inspired people to check out the first o0ne. 

The Day The Earth Stood Still was not. While I don't think either movie really needed a remake, the message from the original (NUKES ARE BAD) is still very true, just less trendy than... wait what is it they were warning us about in this one? When watching you probably infer a global warming theme, but really all they ever come out and say it "humans are really destructive"

But we can change! In our darkest hour Keanu Reeves is convinced to save humans because... they love each other. Sure, NO NUKES is a pretty easy answer to the original one, but without a real answer to humanity's problem in the new one, I'm left wondering what the aliens wanted from us. What was this movie about? Why did we remake it? What are you trying to tell America?

But I will give them this much: there was plenty of reverence for the original. Klaatu and Gort are pretty cheesy now for sci-fi names but they still used them, and Gort is extremely similar to the original in appearance and function. I was especially pleased that they kept Klaatu's solving an equation as a means to meet the the professor. It was a pretty minor role really and not necessary, but it was probably one of the nicest scenes in the movie.

Because it was boring. The first one wasn't actionfest '58 and thankfully neither was this, but when it was attempted it wasn't really great and it held none of the ominous tone that the first one had. I loved Gort's inclusion but he really didn't mean much, just kind of stuck in there while in the first he made a great parallel to the could-happen-any-second power of nuclear weapons. The first one achieved drama by situation, and this didn't deliver in that respect or with action.

Kudos for making Will Smith's kid one of the biggest shits I've ever seen in a movie. I mean, no problem with Will Smith, but usually they try to give the kids some degree of likeability. Not here.

Anyway, don't worry I've got some good rock & roll coming up. I just needed a little closure from one of my first posts. Or just reason to gloat because I was totally right about everything. And if you really cared what I thought about this movie, I'd suggest you get a hobby until I come back from seeing Cadillac Records

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bo Diddley's A Twister

This is on request from Tristis Vox and I'd like to thank him/her just for bringing it to my attention that this album hasn't been reissued. For those of you who haven't heard Bo Diddley, you have lived an impoverished life as a Rock & Roll appreciator. I say this with no condescension because I think it was almost a year ago that I first heard Bo Diddley. I don't know, maybe it was two, but I do remember that it was on his birthday, December 30th (I could have waited for this post but I couldn't help it). I walked into Domino Record Shack knowing it was Bo Diddley's birthday and decided "Let's see who this guy is". You see, this was before I learned two very important Rock & Roll maxims: Rock & Roll musicians with ridiculous names are often proportionately ridiculous (in a good way) and that ridiculous Rock & Roll album covers, despite what Bo himself would preach in one of his songs, can purely be judged by how ridiculous the covers are. I learned these rules that day by picking up Bo Diddley is a Gunslinger, which proves both rules well. He quickly rocketed up my list of favorite artists, where he now resides near or at the top.

Anyway, impoverished Bo Diddley non-listener, Allmusic and other sources would like you to think this album is a throwaway effort. Well, that's not entirely incorrect, but this would actually make a great introduction for you. Like many albums with "twist" in the title, this is a cash-in album and as a result half of the tracks on here appear on his other more canonically recognized albums. They aren't even different takes, as far as I can tell these are identical recordings... of some of his best hits like Roadrunner, Bo Diddley and Who Do You Love. But by golly, who doesn't want to hear those songs again? However, unlike the aforeposted cash-in album the other songs are originals written and played by Bo Diddley. They don't change Bo Diddley's sound to something more twist-friendly (they're all pretty twistable already), they're plain old 50's and 60's Bo Diddley, just the way we all like 'em. Sure, they can't compete with the monster hits they're sandwiched next to, but they stand tall next to them and are certainly worth a listen to a seasoned Bo fan. Essentially you have a solid Bo Diddley album mixed with a Greatest Hits.

This particular rip is a miracle. That picture at the top of this post? That's my album, and it's hiding the archival tape holding the cover together. The album doesn't look too much better. However, probably for Bo Diddley's sake, the muses have blessed us by preserving the sound quality despite its scarred visage. Oh it's not perfect, there's certainly a fuzz but thoughout the album, but not an obnoxious one. It sounds great save for two things: the very first second is a skip, so the album gets off to an awkward start. I did what I could, y'all, I couldn't fix it. But no real significan part of the song is lost. However, "Hush Your Mouth" skips around repeatedly and is unlistenable. Thankfully, the song can be found on his other albums, again the exact same recording. It's still included for continuity's sake. As with any album, if somebody can pull up a better rip I'll gladly either put it up here or link to it on here, but this is better than nothing. In fact, really not all that bad.

Anyway, that's might be the longest blurb I've written so I'm done. Here 'tis

Side A:

  1. Detour
  2. She's Alright
  3. Doin' The Jaguar
  4. Who Do You Love
  5. Shank
  6. Road Runner
  7. My Babe

Side B:

  1. The Twister
  2. Hey, Bo Diddley
  3. Hush Your Mouth
  4. Bo Diddley
  5. I'm Looking For A Woman
  6. Here 'Tis
  7. I Know

Snow in New Orleans

It's raining again by now but I have a deck covered in ice. For those of you that have never been, this has happened about 3 or 4 times in my lifetime and everybody's flippin their wig. Especially since it was in the 70s two days ago and according to meteorologists, 70's again Saturday.

oh jeez I screwed up cropping that

more (and larger sizes) at my flickr page

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Soul Finders - Sweet Soul Music

The Soul Finders' Sweet Soul Music provides many ways for me to redeem myself as a blogger. First of all: I've stated earlier that I think funk and soul has plenty of business under the umbrella of Rock & Roll, I just haven't really posted much to that effect, mostly because there are 400 incredible blogs already posting all the rare stuff. Well I haven't seen this anywhere aside from a small mention at Funky16Corners. His opinions seem pretty mixed and I might agree, but it's worth a listen.

Most (all?) tracks are covers and with some variation on music styles ranging from straight soul to organ-fueled R&B. I guess that's not many but at times it sounds like different bands playing each song, especially when it comes to the vocal tracks. Which leads me to redemption point #2: on this blog I've had a habit of scoffing off vocal tracks in favor of instrumentals. Other way around here. All four vocal tracks are excellent, sweetly sung and well-played, more energetic than the instrumentals. The instrumentals are good, sure, but I'd do just as well listening to Bill Blacks Combo or Booker T and the MGs.

From doing a little research it seems that the arranger and band members come from a reasonable pedigree, but to be honest most of what I've read is a little past my level of savvy. As funky16corners points out, this is NOT related to Eddy Bo at all. For a while I thought it was local to New Orleans but I don't know where I got that. Maybe I was just going on the arrangers name that ends in "eaux" and the fact that I found it in some tiny pocket of the west bank, nestled among much less exciting records.

The cover may not look great in that picture and the record is hardly silent but it's certainly clean enough to enjoy. You'll just be aware that it's vinyl, that's all.

So here it is

Side A:

  1. Sweet Soul Music (vocal)
  2. Respect
  3. Dead End Street
  4. Tomorrow Night (vocal)
  5. Passion Flower

Side B:

  1. The Happening
  2. Why Don't You Do Right (vocal)
  3. Soul American
  4. Raindrops
  5. Oh How I Need You Joe

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Funk/Soul Show tonight

Once again I'm covering for WTUL's Funk and Soul show at Midnight Central time tonight. To stream it online just go to www.wtulneworleans.com or tune in at 91.5 FM if you're in the area.

The playlist will be edited in after the show

edit: true to my word

Cliff Nobles - Judge Baby, I'm BACK
African Music Machine - Black Water Gold
The Mighty Imperials - Kick the Blanket
Connie Price and the Keystones - Sucker Punch
The Soul Finders - Why Don't You Do Right
Major Lance - Rhythm
Syl Johnson - Come on Sock it To Me
Robert Willis - Stoop Down

The Meters - Ease Back
Booker T and the MGs - Soul Clap '69
Ramsey Lewis - Party Time
Menahan Street Band - Birds
Mandrill - Positive Thing
Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns - Say Blow By Blow Backwards
J Blackfoot - You can't Take It With You
Apollo - Space Cannibals

The Emperors - Karate
Honey Cone - Stick Up
Sweet James - Soul Man
Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators - Soul Investigators Theme
Black Merda - Reality
Hannibal - All Nite Long
O.V. Wright - Ace of Spade
Boogaloo investigators - Moove to the Groove
King Khan and his Shrines - Pickin' Up the Trash

Blo - Blo
Bad Medicine - Tresspasser pt 2
Dr. Victor Olaiya - Omelebele
The Rwenzori's - Handsome boy (pts 1 & 2)
The Nite-Liters - Afro-Strut
(around here I kind of forget because the next DJ couldn't make it and I needed to figure out what to do. I just kind of played whatever was in front of me)
The Kustard Kings - Jungle Boogie
The Wild Magnolias - Smoke my Peace Pipe

Sun Ra - Hot Skillet Mama
Curtis Mayfield - We People Who Are Darker Than Blue
Sun - Radiation Level
Ebony Rhythm Band - Soul Heart Transplant
something or rather
Benny Spellman - Fortune Teller

Monday, December 8, 2008

Vintage Sci-Fi Illustrations

Probably going to have a music post soon but I gotta heal my computer first. In the meantime


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tone Tank - King of the Surf Guitar Rap

Last night at dinner I mentioned that I used to DJ a surf rock show and I got a response much different than "uh.. what's that?" This guy pulled out a sheet of paper and told me to go to radiobelly.com and check out Tone Tank - Surf Guitar Rap. Well I'll make this easier for you, you can just checkit out here

This isn't the first time I've heard the two genres meet. Most recently famously Black Eyed Peas confused surf fans with "Pump It" sampling Misirlou but I  prefer the oldies lovin' Fat Boys

Tone Tank doesn't really reinterpret the songs or chop up the beat. They straight rap over surf rock songs by Dick Dale, The Ventures etc.. I won't say it's all that smooth, but it's definitely a pretty fun listen if for nothing else than hearing them say "RAP" after the girls sing "Listen to the King of the Surf Guitar" or rap about kicking over your sandcastles. What What worthy material if you ask me

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ernie K-Doe at WTUL

As I've said a few times here, I DJ at Tulane's Radio station. My show right now is nothing I'd recommend tuning into, but I certainly would have tuned into Burn K-Doe Burn. Such exuberant DJ stylings are pretty much gone on that station now.

And since there might be a little draught of vinyl rips for a while (most of the out-of-print stuff I have is pretty boring or put up by somebody else) here's MY favorite Ernie K-Doe song. For those of you unacquainted with this New Orleans music personality, his biggest number is Mother In Law, though he's getting a little post-humous popularity resurgence since "Here Come The Girls" was used in a Levis commercial.

If this song "Ain't it the truth" (sometimes "Tain't") doesn't impress you just give it one more listen and be surprised when it doesn't leave your head for a month. Or maybe thats just because I mangled its meaning to be about New Orleans when I was evacuating for Gustav.