Showing posts from November, 2006

Junkies on the Run

This week I have been inspired to create a mix that matches the winter landscape of the dreary Pacific Northwest. This is due partly to my moods being affected by several days of continuously dismal weather, and partly because I have been listening to the Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hourshow on XM radio. If you haven't heard this show yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. Bob has an extensive knowledge of music and he focuses on a different theme each week. Thus far, he has covered themes such as flowers, food, jail and weather in his mixes. Here is a link to a site that offers them all for free download.

My theme today is on the drug heroin. We all know that heroin has played a significant part in destroying the lives of many talented musicians such as Billie Holiday, John Coltrane,Charlie Parker, Kurt Cobain andMiles Davis. It hooks you, reels you in and then spits you back out into your own personal hell, fending for yourself in the darkened corners of your mind. Hero…

It Came From Memphis Part 4

I sincerely apologize to those dedicated visitors to my blog for not updating this over the past week. I am using Blogger Beta, and it is having issues with text and picture placement. Also, Blogger seems to be down a lot for maintenance lately. So, if the text and spacing don't seem to look right on the page, it's because Blogger isn't displaying it properly. If anyone has any ideas about switching to another free blog service that works better, I'm all ears. Well, enough about that! Let's get on to the final installment of the It Came From Memphis series.

The Box Tops

The Box Tops:The LetterandI Must Be the DevilI Must From: The Best of the Box Tops: Soul Deep [Arista, 1996] Alex Chilton first struck an emotional chord with the nation after receiving critical acclaim for the Box Top's first single "The Letter" in 1967. "The Letter", produced and written by Dan Penn, became one of the highest-selling records of 1967. However, Chilton was only…

It Came From Memphis Part 3

Moloch, a pioneering Memphis blues-rock band led by the exceptional guitar player Lee Baker, released its sole album at Ardent on National in 1970. They promoted the release of this album by playing a show with punk stalwarts Iggy Pop and Mc5 at the New York State Pavilion. However, their sound is purely 12 bar-blues with delta slide guitar, harmonica, frenzied guitar solos and tight drumming. Moloch was highly influenced by Blue Cheer, Hendrix, Rolling Stones,Led Zeppelin, The Faces and countless other blues-influenced 60's rock groups . Unfortunately, the band's sound never caught on, and they didn't receive the acclaim that was due to them. Lee Baker went on to produce and play guitar on Alex Chilton's highly underrated album Like Flies on Sherbert and Big Star's swan song Big Star 3rd.

Moloch's only record is out of print, but it is available as an import here. That being said, this is the best place to witness the stunning guitar artistry of Lee Baker, ou…

It Came From Memphis- Part 2

The Insect Trust:Special Rider Blues
From: The Insect Trust [Capitol Records, 1968]

The Insect Trust:Our Sister the Sun
From: Hoboken Saturday Night [ ATCO Records, 1970]

For this segment of the Memphis post, I will focus on the incredibly eclectic folk-blues-jazz collective known as The Insect Trust. Their name came from a local poetry journal called the Insect Trust Gazette which was derived from the William Burroughs novel Naked Lunch. The backbone of the band was formed in Memphis in 1966 as a trio called The Solips,which featured Nancy Jeffries on electric bass and vocals, Robert Palmer on alto sax and recorder and Bill Barth on guitar. The Insect Trust was born in New York in 1967 and was comprised of Robert Palmer (the popular rock critic with Rolling Stone and New York Times) on alto sax, clarinet and recorder, Nancy Jeffries on vocals (the vocalist for Peter Stampfel's Swamp Lillies before the Holy Modal Rounders became a functional unit), Luke Faust on banjo-guitar, banjo a…

It Came From Memphis

I just finished reading an amazing novel by Robert Gordon called It Came From Memphis. It is a raw, unadulterated account of how the southern white and black cultures in Memphis circa 1950's meshed to create passionate, free-spirited art that inspired legions of like-minded artistic geniuses. Consummate delta musicians such as Furry Lewis, Johnny Woods andAretha Franklinjoined forces with the maverick recording engineers of the day, such as Jim Dickinson, John Fry, Sam Phillipsand Don Nix, to produce some of the greatest musical treasures ever pressed on wax. Since reading this book, I have been inspired to research the myriad of producers, musicians, deejays and other eccentric folks who made Memphis such a special place. Here is the first entry in this series of obscure and eccentric musicians who came from Memphis.
Tav Falco & the Panther Burns:Bourgeois Blues From: Behind the Magnolia Curtain [Rough Trade, 1981] Tav Falco & the Panther Burns:Drop the Mask From: Drop Your …

It's Been a Long Time...

The Oblivians- Guitar Shop Asshole and Do the Milkshake
From: Popular Favorites [Crypt Records 1996]

Short, furious blasts of distorted, amped-up three chord lightning. Alcohol-fueled reckless abandon. This is what's missing from the Rock-n-Roll of today. Too much time is being wasted on multi-million dollar record deals and talentless hacks who parade across our televisions every night, claiming to be the next best thing. I implore you to forget about the next best thing, and instead listen to the sleazy, balls-out rockin' sounds of the Oblivians.

The Oblivians are from Memphis, Tennesee, the city which spawned Mud Boy and the Neutrons, The Mar Keys, Moloch, Furry Lewis, Johnny Woods and countless others. It's no wonder that this talented three-piece garage-rock group was spawned from such a musically diverse and free-thinking place like Memphis. The Oblivians sound is a trebly, lo-fi super-charged garage rock full of gruff vocals and lyrics about sex, drugs and well... Do…