folk rock http://www.culturecatch.com/taxonomy/term/580 en Leonard Cohen - The Original Hot Priest http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4129 <span>Leonard Cohen - The Original Hot Priest</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/7162" lang="" about="/user/7162" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Gary Lucas</a></span> <span>July 6, 2022 - 10:17</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/11IPQYZMXjc?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>What more is there to say then, finally, about "Hallelujah?"</p> <p>Leonard Cohen’s mystico / erotico / feel-good anthem -- a<i> Song for All Seasons -- </i>suitable for busting out for a myriad of celebratory occasions, as well as moments of weighty gravitas -- weddings, funerals, divorces, hockey matches, brises, graduations, investitures of heads of government, inking of non-alignment pacts….you know.</p> <p>An Ur-Anthem <i>carved</i> <i>out of the living rock </i>(William Faulkner, <i>Land of the Pharoahs) -- </i>a tune from a '<i>toon</i> (<i>Shrek) </i>so ubiquitous and indelible in the culture, it’s like it’s always been there <i>(</i>a chilling thought, actually). Supplanting "Land of Hope and Glory," "Happy Birthday to You," "How Much is that Doggie in the Window," and even "Louie Louie"<i> </i>as the number one<i> </i>earworm<i> </i>burrowed deep in the Universal Mind.</p> <p>Simply put, you could do worse than investigating this new doc <i>Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song</i> (a Mouthful!). Directed by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, and based on a book devoted to the song in all its glory glory by Alan Light.<i> </i> Just make sure you bring an empty bladder -- as it's kind of a <i>long slog.</i> (They could have snipped at least 20 minutes and no one would have been the wiser. A good case for the superiority of home flat-screen viewing versus the actual cinema experience, come to think of it).</p> <p>And if you are a Leonard Cohen fan -- and who isn't, I ask you? Pistols at dawn if not! -- you won’t want to miss the action unfold in real time here.</p> <p>Leonard comes across as a super nice Jewish boy throughout, thoughtful and extremely <i>hard working -- </i>a slave to his craft, a prisoner of his Muse. He actually bandies the word <i>Grace </i>around (a lot) in reverential reference to the mysterious process of songwriting. And no one, but no one, has an unkind word to say about him throughout  -- other than wolfish Walter Yetnikoff, former CEO of CBS Records. Who, when Cohen submitted his <i>Various Positions </i>album -- an album containing Leonard’s first, "Old Testament" version of "Hallelujah"<i> -- </i>a work in progress over the years boasting at least 100 plus verses (if not the 9 Billion Names of Yaweh), cruelly rejected it for US release with the gnomic, almost Talmudic, <i>Posing of the Question</i>; namely:</p> <blockquote> <p>"I know you're great, Leonard…but are you <i>any good?" </i></p> </blockquote> <p>Cohen's absolute goodness is of course a matter long since adjudicated in the minds of the 32 <i>alter kakers (</i>myself included) who flocked to the 12:30 pm screening of this new documentary yesterday at the Film Forum here in the West Village.</p> <p>Now I need to come clean here: I have a (somewhat) <i>vested interest</i> in this song "Hallelujah<i>" </i>-- as the best known version of this song to this day is the haunting rendition by my late friend and collaborator Jeff Buckley, which graces Jeff's only studio album <i>Grace. </i>An album that opens with two of our songwriting collaborations, "Mojo Pin"<i> </i>and the title track.</p> <p>Scratch a young person today (yikes!), and odds are they might not register a flicker of recognition vis a vis Jeff Buckley per se (forget about little ol' me)  -- but they very might well know "Hallelujah." In fact, they might go so far as to assert that Jeff Buckley wrote "Hallelujah<i>."</i></p> <p>Fact is, the song qua song really took off in the history of human consciousness sometime in the late '90s when various <i>Pop Idol</i> contestants here and in the UK chose to sing it on television, a couple of them mentioning Jeff Buckley's version en passant -- and I'll be damned that I didn't see a commensurate bump-up of my songwriting royalties re "Grace"<i> </i>and "Mojo Pin," for a couple of pay-periods, anyway -- as myriad Pop Idol fans went online to check out Jeff's version on iTunes, and wound up hitting the <i>Buy Album </i>button.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2022/2022-07/jeff-buckley-gary-lucas.jpeg?itok=eHbBLh-p" width="640" height="360" alt="Thumbnail" title="jeff-buckley-gary-lucas.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Which propelled Jeff's "Hallelujah" to the #1 streaming song (neck and neck with Yael Naim's <i>New Soul) -- </i>for a while, anyway <i>-- </i>a <i>rising tide that floated all boats </i>as it were (my own little kayak included).</p> <p>So <i>yes I said yes I will Yes</i>…we need <i>more</i> <i>Hallelujah</i> in the world. Bring it on, <i>Hooray for Slugwell -- </i>the cornier, the most commercial version the better! <i>It's all good.</i></p> <p>Couple observations here<i>:</i></p> <p>Ace producer / songwriter John Simon (The Band's <i>Music from Big Pink</i>, Manfred Mann's <i>My Name is Jack, </i>Big Brother and the Holding Company's <i>Cheap Thrills</i>, and best of all, Leonard Cohen's first album, <i>Songs of Leonard Cohen</i>) does not warrant either a name-check or a look-see in this documentary. John Hammond, Sr. on the other hand is awarded all the credit here for signing Cohen and producing his early work -- which is kind of unfair<i> </i>as, truth be told, it is the Simon-produced and arranged Leonard Cohen songs strategically sprinkled throughout the soundtrack of Robert Altman's 1971 masterpiece <i>McCabe and Mrs. Miller </i>that absolutely sealed the deal on Leonard Cohen -- not just for me, but also for many music fans who might have missed the Cohen boat first time round. (FYI, John Simon, along with Tom Wilson, are two stellar producers from that 60's Golden Age of Music who absolutely deserve documentaries of their own. Last I heard, singer / songwriter Marshall Crenshaw was hard at work on a Tom Wilson doc.)</p> <p>Also conspicuously absent is footage from Murray Lerner's <i>Live at the Isle of Wight 1970</i> film, arguably among the greatest of Leonard Cohen's live performances captured on celluloid (there's a lot of live footage out there, much of which I've been blessed to view courtesy of my old friend Mitch Blank, <i>The World's Only Sane Dylanologist</i>).</p> <p>Fun Fact: did you know that Leonard Cohen was one of the Canadian heroes who helped Scottish junkie / literati Alexander Trocchi lam it out over the border to avoid an imminent bust in NYC?</p> <p><a href="https://allanshowalter.com/2019/09/02/leonard-cohen-shares-opium-with-alexander-trocchi-goes-blind-lives-to-write-poem-about-it/">https://allanshowalter.com/2019/09/02/leonard-cohen-shares-opium-with-alexander-trocchi-goes-blind-lives-to-write-poem-about-it/</a></p> <p>A personal note:</p> <p>For years I resisted having to learn Jeff Buckley's arrangement of "Hallelujah"<i> on</i> general principles; i.e., I didn't write the song, and I am not a jukebox. In fact, as a Leonard Cohen fan (but hardly an obsessive one), I only first heard this particular number when I was sent a copy of Jeff's <i>Grace </i>album. Eventually, with a big tour of Australia looming for Gods and Monsters a few years ago as the house band of <i>State of Grace: A Tribute to Tim and Jeff Buckley, </i>I finally buckled down and learned the sucker. <i>And it felt good to play </i>under my fingers <i>-- </i>what a beautiful song!</p> <p><i>The minor fall and the major lift. </i></p> <p>All Summer in a Day.</p> <p><i>Bittersweet </i>-- just like life.</p> <p>"<i>Quest for the philosopher's stone. The alchemists. Drugs age you after mental excitement. Lethargy then. Why? Reaction. A lifetime in a night. Gradually changes your character." - </i>James Joyce, <i>Ulysses, "The Lotus Eaters"</i></p> <p>Leonard Cohen, after his initial breakthrough success, numerous affairs, and numerous depressions; after his gradual descent into marginal obscurity; after spending 6 years in the self-imposed exile of a Zen monastery; after learning that his longtime trusted manager had bankrupted him by embezzling more than $5 million from his bank account and selling off much of his publishing -- after all that -- which would have broken a lesser mortal -- Leonard Cohen came back strong on the world stage for a remarkable Third Act, giving his All before rapturous audiences; literally <i>skipping off the stage </i>at the end of his shows like a delighted child.</p> <p>"<i>And isn't that whatcha want, really</i>? <i>All -- or None??" </i>- Little Richard on Jimi Hendrix</p> <p><i>"Death be damned -- Life!"</i> - Don Van Vliet, <i>The Host the Ghost the Most Holy-O</i></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4129&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="EatjgYKZUusC3LqiLTsnizoMtK3ombQ38sS5RmcXQ8Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 06 Jul 2022 14:17:46 +0000 Gary Lucas 4129 at http://www.culturecatch.com The Fine Art Of The Unnecessary http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3979 <span>The Fine Art Of The Unnecessary</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>October 6, 2020 - 17:23</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B_H5XuIb5WM?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Yusuf/Cat Stevens: <em>TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN 2</em> (Cat-O-Log Records Records)</strong></p> <p>When Cat Stevens burst onto the pop scene in 1966, he was that rare thing for the time, an overnight success. His debut single "I Love My Dog" cracked the UK Top 30. The handsome, fresh faced boy from London was a ready-made star. Long before his Deram Records label-mate David Bowie sniffed success, or his Decca Records contemporary Marc Bolan wore a hint of glitter or effeminacy, Cat Stevens was what they wanted to be. A proper pop star. Born Steven Demetre Georgiou on 21st July 1948 in London to a Swiss mother, and a Greek Cypriot father, he was brought up above the family restaurant in the city's Soho district. In 1965 he began performing in coffee bars as Steve Adams, eventually opting for the name Cat Stevens on account of a girlfriend remarking that he had eyes like a cat, and that his Greek name would be too much for the public to either remember or say. </p> <p>Discovered by Mike Hurst of The Springfields, Stevens had a bold and dynamic, heavily orchestrated sound, and a slew of hits followed in the form of "I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun," "A Bad Night," and "Matthew &amp; Son." However, when his second album, the modestly titled <em>New Master</em> tanked, despite containing the astonishingly mature "The First Cut Is The Deepest," and as the later singles began to fop and flounder, he became dissatisfied with his direction, and blamed what he saw as Hurst's lush production values. He confesses to making unrealistic demands for orchestrations, and being difficult, as means to alienating Hurst, and being dropped by the label. The ploy worked. Having toured with artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix and Englebert Humperdinck, Stevens was a young artist in search of greater success, but when he was diagnosed with TB and a collapsed lung, the pressures of instant success had taken a heavy toll on the teenager, and hospitalised for six months, a period during which he almost died. He took to meditation, yoga, and introspection, and became a vegetarian. The year he spent convalescing and writing songs would provide him with a raft of material that would sail him through the 1970s, and pave the way to international acclaim and stardom.</p> <p>He hired a new agent -- Barry Krost -- who secured him a deal with A&amp;M in the US and with island Records in the UK, and one that more importantly allowed him to work on and release whatever he liked. With former Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith on production duties he began constructing what would become <em>Mona Bone Jakon </em>emphasising his new introspective stance that perfectly suited the vibe of the new decade. The album's odd title was his affectionate pet name for his penis. That mattered little. The record was a critical hit, and a modest commercial success. However, the haunting first single, the madrigal-like "Lady D'Arbanville" struck No 8 in the UK charts. An unusual song about a lost love for the American actress and model Patti D'Arbanville, but one in which her loss is dealt with as a transposed elegy to her death. A brave song, and one that resonates still with is chill of sorrow. However it was with the release of <em>Tea For The Tillerman </em>that saw Stevens literally become a stratospheric success. Within two years he would release a quartet of albums that set the benchmark for quality and confessional introspection, the final being <em>Catch Bull At Four</em>. All featured his highly distinctive artwork, iconic and illustrative, proof that his one year course at Hammersmith School of Art hadn't gone to waste.</p> <p>More albums and huge success followed, but by 1977 his career was on the skids once more, a near mirroring of his '60s dilemma. Stevens was feeling the pressure of, and dissatisfaction with,the rock and roll lifestyle he had embraced with tremendous vigour. Again he withdrew. This time auctioning off his guitars, he converted to Islam under the moniker of Yusuf Islam, and little was heard of him. He relinquished music completely. Sometimes aspects of religious conversion can mirror the symptoms of a breakdown, the extreme changes in personality and appearance, and the desire to be as far removed from one's old reality as possible. Over the years he courted controversy with comments that are on record over the fatwa issued to Sir Salman Rushdie for his novel <em>The Satanic Verses</em>, and again his rather humourless and devout persona was at odds with who he had once had been. It has been suggested that "Bilal X," the born again, former pop star character in the book is based on Stevens. His denials at being misquoted are hard to take seriously when reports and video evidence is viewed. </p> <p>The common problem with the newly devout of any faith is they've had their cake aplenty, and then resolutely condemn others for partaking in what they once so patently enjoyed. There was no reason for him to entirely abandon his former song-craft, it was not a requirement of his new faith, but was more a reflection of his inner conflict with his past. Gradually as Yusuf Islam, and then Yusuf, and finally Yusuf/Cat Stevens, he crept back into a lesser limelight. Even with Rick Rubin on production duties on <em>Tell Em I'm Gone</em> from 2014 couldn't hide that the voice wasn't what it once was. The albums have sold respectfully, and better than many who've hit the comeback trail, but the glory days were way back then, and the lost years have taken their toll. And then we arrive at thorny issue of birthdays. Are they a milestone or millstone? In truth they are both and Stevens has in his wisdom decided to entirely re-record his calling card album <em>Tea For The Tillerman</em> to mark its fiftieth year. His recordings were amongst the myriad of master tapes engulfed by the Universal Studios fire of 2008 which means have any existing demos or outtakes  have been incinerated, and the barrel was thoroughly scraped for the fortieth anniversary double cd. It is an act of rewriting his personal history. It could have been neatly re-issued in an emphera laden limited edition, and that would have been celebration enough.</p> <p>There are simple reasons why old albums don't get re-recorded, the artist is either too busy with new songs, can't be bothered, or has expired. It is also a profoundly bad and perilous idea. A strange and glaringly apparent absence is evident when this album is approached. There is no name on the cover, only the title beckons with an additional '<em>2</em>' to delineate it from the original. An implicit arrogance is at play with this conceit. At least three generations wouldn't know what <em>Tea For The Tillerman</em> was or is, such is the ephemeral nature of pop memory, or they might assume it is the name of a new band. Had Stevens not gone through such a drastic identity transfiguration this wouldn't be necessary when approaching an aspect of his past. Cat Stevens/Yusuf is printed on the cd, but call me old fashioned, surely it should be gifted the common courtesy of a full frontal acknowledgement. The artwork has been redrawn. The Tillerman has a space helmet and the world is a deeper, darker shade of blue in the background. A Proustian acknowledgement that things are not as they once were and as the music begins we are gifted the familiarity of a strange contempt in action. If it ain't broke it does not require the art of repair. The whole enterprise brings to mind the old lady who took it upon herself to restore a peeling ancient fresco in her local church, and in the process created a Christ that resembled a baboon. Stevens has regrouped some of his original players for the enterprise, another aspect in the remembrance of things that have passed.</p> <p> </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nBCJhNiKhFE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>And thus we begin. "Where Do The Children Play" is nice enough, but the flatness of delivery, a failing of his voice with age that did't need revealing is cringeworthy and painful to hear when pitch and tone is required. With "Hard Headed Woman" he has updated the lyric to represent his happiness with his wife, but again the voice sounds weary and strained, and the dynamic backing doesn't carry the proceedings. There is a Tom Waits-like jauntiness to "Wild World" with a semi-calypso fairground motif. A conversational cover version, sufficiently different to the original to be included as a new song in its own right, a rare moment of joy in an otherwise turgid exercise. "Sad Lisa" is one of the most beautiful songs he ever wrote. Melancholy and riven with empathy it is a masterpiece in its original airing. The version that emerges sounds like an old geezer warbling in the bath, and the sorrow is for the damaged beauty of the original, and not the unhappy girl portrayed there-in.</p> <p>"Miles From Nowhere" begins an almost carbon copy, but the pitch isn't there, it becomes a turgid rock wank-out, a song of utter defeat trying to claim back old ground, and faintly embarrassing to behold. "But I Might Die Tonight" has a spirited air, but becomes plodding and lack lustre in its delivery despite an inspired arrangement. Again the vocals falter and grate and the overall impression is lumbering and limpid. With "Longer Boats" things sound faintly acceptable at the outcome, but again a sense of weariness sneaks into the artificial stridency he attempts to vocally achieve and a risible jam and latent rap is laughable and doesn't work unless he wanted to make an absolute mess like a grand-dad trying to be hip, but farcically floundering. It simple saunters off at the conclusion, lost and unresolved.</p> <p>"Into White" is another of his plaintive masterpieces, and one of the few that that works in these new clothes. It sounds like a hymn to encroaching death, instead of hope, and is a hard song to ruin. "On The Road To Find Out" has a bluesy vibe and clunks along ok in way a bar room blues fashion and pretty much works, like Canned Heat on a mellow turn, and one of the tracks that stands out as it suits where his voice currently resides. "Father And Son" always had an overwrought quality, and seemed to be trying too hard -- a song riddled with self-conscious introspection and earnestness, and on this outing sounds horribly middle of the road. As things close with the achingly brief "Tea For The Tillerman" there is also is an impression of what the actual point of the lamentable process has been?</p> <p>It seems to me that this record is the folly of a rich man with too much time on his hands. A train wreck enterprise, and one best to have been dismissed as a passing thought rather than being gifted actuality. Yusuf should have left the cool Cat that he was in 1970 well alone. There is a gap between that person and the man who made this abortive travesty, and he has nose-dived into the canyon that now divides them both. Stevens/Islam has become his own tribute act, and a rather poor one. He should have used the time spent here to record new material that would suit the voice that he now possess. Take a trip back in time and love the genius implicit in the original. If a cat has nine lives on this airing the tenth one awaits. A fascinating folly and one worth exploring if you care to, but for all the wrong reasons. It doesn't reward the listener and has simply saddened this one. We can learn from the mistakes of others so let <em>Tea For The Tillerman 2</em> be proof that the past really is a foreign country, and remembering it is better than trying to recreate an aspect that was near-perfect anyway. It is a sad affair, like an old man asking his younger self "Who was I?" because, like most of us, with time flying by, he isn't altogether sure.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3979&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="pZsn-as0nVwpz3TXe3vE1XdHAoNWLE4MoUYitR2xe6U"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 06 Oct 2020 21:23:20 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3979 at http://www.culturecatch.com The Darkness of Old Shadows http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3962 <span>The Darkness of Old Shadows</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>August 3, 2020 - 10:04</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z3bBJ8wmPPU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>NANCY PRIDDY: <em>You've Come This Way Before</em> (Modern Harmonic)</strong></p> <p>Although Nancy Priddy is primarily known as an actress, (<em>Bewitched</em>, <em>The Waltons,</em> and <em>Married...With Children</em>, to name but three) in the 1960s she also pursued a career as a recording artist. Initially in The Bitter End Singers whose blend of folk-pop hasn't aged particularly well via their brace of albums and a handful of largely forgettable 45s. Curios rather than classics. She sang backing vocals on Leonard Cohen's <em>Songs Of</em>, hung out with and dated Stephen Stills, Buffalo Springfield's "Pretty Girl Why" was written about her, and she was here, there and everywhere. </p> <p>Priddy possessed d the looks to be a muse, and  also via the good luck and vibe of the era made an album of her own <em>You've Come This Way Before </em>(CD/LP) that has over the years become recognised as a respected and desired artefact of the psych-folk genre. Difficult to find and expensive if one had the luck to do so, it has finally been revived, faithfully repackaged on vinyl and released on cd, and not before time. If slightly dislocated, kooky female fare is your opiate of choice, it is a treat, and if it isn't you are in for a feast and a surprise with a charmingly executed piece of sublime baroque fare.</p> <p>Priddy stares languidly out from the cover. Beautiful, poised and direct, but in a faraway way. There but somewhere else, an impression that continues with what emerges from between the grooves. Her voice is wistful, spooky and hauntingly appealing. She resides somewhere in the milieu of Nancy Sinatra and the only recently rediscovered Lynn Castle, it is a strange confection.</p> <p>Opening with the title track, a quirky Tim Hardin jazziness colludes with the pop breeziness of the Fifth Dimension. Slightly out of sync in vibe, Priddy's voice has a girlish clipped-ness that compliments the lyrical content, even if it seems darkly out of vibe with the positivity of the time.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Our pathways are magnetic.</p> <p>Our logic is synthetic</p> <p>Our struggle is so pathetic and a bore."</p> </blockquote> <p>It is followed by "Ebony Glass" and again a bleakness of perspective is suggested in the name. It is a strange madrigal of a song, a cross between a series of spooked wishes and malevolent incantations. With its nursery rhymes conceit her voice pipes and swoops in what is a bad trip of a song. T.S. Eliot and his Wasteland laid bare.</p> <blockquote> <p>"With ebony stars and ebony jade,</p> <p>This is the way the world was made.</p> <p>And ebony sounds and ebony glass,</p> <p>Bursting into ebony gas.</p> <p>this is the way the world ends.</p> <p>this is the way the world ends</p> <p>this is the way the world ends."</p> </blockquote> <p>"Mystic Lady" has a dislocated pop sensibility as it slips from up-tempo sunshine catchiness to a kooky sense of introspection. Trippy and spooky it slips between dark contemplation to positivity. All tightly reigned in but all over the place at the same time it is an interesting exercise in precision and madness</p> <blockquote> <p>"Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross</p> <p>And see what they've lost.</p> <p>ladybug, ladybug</p> <p>don't go home....</p> <p> </p> <p>For the asking why</p> <p>And the weary eyes</p> <p>Stay my lady.</p> <p>For the wondering wheres</p> <p>And the nothing theres</p> <p>Pray my lady.</p> <p>For the falling downs</p> <p>And the never founds</p> <p>Stay my lady."</p> </blockquote> <p>There is an implicit gospel element, but only briefly, as it fades away.</p> <p>Then we enter "Christina's World," one of ethereal psych postcard images that suggests Bobbie Gentry in cahoots with "White Rabbit" era Jefferson Airplane.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Yesterday - miles away</p> <p>Suns fall down -</p> <p>Green grass turning brown</p> <p>Christina's world - was a world of 'Mustn't cry'....</p> <p>Empty rooms and yellow lace."</p> </blockquote> <p>A song whose sunlight has been edged with darkness.</p> <p>''We Could Have It All' is a neat piece of girl pop with a marching tempo undercurrent and anthem-like refrain that could have been at home in the songs from the musical <em>Hair</em>. A rare blast of positivity in a collection riven with suggestions of calamity. Things take an odd detour once more with "My Friend Frank" -- a tune that is simply odd and not at home with itself. It sounds like the cast-off from an off of off Broadway show and is the weakest cut with its mixture of jazzy freed and up-tempo cheesiness. A song about someone not having either a good trip or a neat time, it sounds like a lampoon of the sixties it has arisen from</p> <p>There's a "Taste Of Honey" beauty and sophistication to "O Little Child." A liltingly beautiful effort it again reveals a certain lyrical starkness that is carried by the elegance of the melody and the arrangement.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Yours is a season of dew on the vine -</p> <p>Mine is stained with the grapes of an old ageing wine</p> <p>O, blessed be the hours of the absence of time."</p> </blockquote> <p>"And Who Will You Be Then?" skips into life like an accusatory question. A dark little cabaret-style number with a faintly gothic vibe.</p> <blockquote> <p>"See that face in the looking glass,</p> <p>As it looks at you today.</p> <p>Watch the eyes, and just try to guess,</p> <p>All that they're dying to say."</p> </blockquote> <p>It darkens as it goes along, a little like a letter from a girl whose been locked in a cupboard for a time, but all for her own betterment and self-improvement.</p> <p>There's a sixties pop fluidity and vibrancy that ducks and dives in "On The Other Side Of The River" but it still manages to sound faintly misaligned, as if though it is spinning just lightly, but rather perfectly off of centre. The album concludes with "Epitaph" which glides a slightly classical piano craziness. Vocally delivered in a throwaway and couldn't care less manner it slides away as a rather unsatisfactory but beautiful ending like Tori Amos in free-fall.</p> <p>Too arch to have ever actually sold in huge numbers, that is precisely why it all still resonates today. A product of the time but one that was primarily out of step with what was required or expected for it to gain success. To be an album recorded by a young woman at the height of flower power it is obtusely dark and self reliant. Love is barely mentioned, if it is even considered at all. There is no suggestion of a broken heart, lost love letters or the hope for happiness in the future. This is a cold, icy affair of the art. Short, mannered and distant and one that beguiles with its world of weary and abstracted disenchantments. Nothing that it should or could have been, it is precisely all the better for being itself.</p> <p>Nancy Priddy didn't make another album for almost forty years. On the strength of this one she'd already staked her claim and made her mark. It would find its own place in time, and half a century on is now beginning to. Its title is both an answer and a perfect means of introduction.</p> <p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3962&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="0VFI7l_6IPlNIFx8Vv2xCXrpsHWF70Ok5qqeBfw_O-M"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:04:32 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3962 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: Change of Pace http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3800 <span>Song of the Week: Change of Pace</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>December 6, 2018 - 17:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/636" hreflang="en">indie rock</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/94" hreflang="en">rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q5cVWCChpPo?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Check it out! <a href="http://www.andyfrasco.com/" target="_blank">Andy Frasco</a> &amp; the U.N. have just released yet another catchy, badass tune to uplift and inspire. It's Friday and time to get on your good foot. Hailing from LA, Frasco (lead vocals, piano), Andee Avila (drums), Shawn Eckels (Guitar), Ernie Chang (Saxophone), and Chris Lorentz (Bass) know how to throw it down. From his soon-to-be released third studio album <em>Change of Pace</em> (2/22/19), check out the studio version <a href="https://soundcloud.com/andyfrasco/change-of-pace-2" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3800&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="mYW0BtVeVp99xNhYcKOBMSgpvjwtPAm158kO7J9MDH4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 06 Dec 2018 22:53:04 +0000 Dusty Wright 3800 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Ophelia" http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3778 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Ophelia&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>October 14, 2018 - 19:02</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/579" hreflang="en">Roo Panes</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/huS6ehHJpQA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Some songs are immediate. So is the case with British singer-songwriter Roo Panes new single "Ophelia" (Single Version) from his latest album (3rd long player) <em>Qui</em><em>et</em><em> Man</em> released through CRC Records in June 2018. Wonderfully arranged, Roo's heartfelt vocals underpin the timeless melodies of the song that drift through dreamlike harmonies, building into the soaring chorus finale, layered with strings, Hammond organ, mandolin and a magnificent gospel choir. In support of <em>Quiet Man</em>, Roo will be touring in the US before European show dates. Catch him in NYC on 19th Oct 2018 at Le Poisson Rouge and in Boston on the 20th of Oct 2018 at City Winery.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3778&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="_s2WkKG-g06SA-FG11oylCeofYpOpWq1QjLWbx5TgLk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 14 Oct 2018 23:02:26 +0000 Dusty Wright 3778 at http://www.culturecatch.com A Buffalo Springfield Tribute http://www.culturecatch.com/music/wild-honey-orchestra-buffalo-springfield <span>A Buffalo Springfield Tribute</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/steveholtje" lang="" about="/users/steveholtje" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Holtje</a></span> <span>February 24, 2018 - 14:11</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/shnLBgF9sug?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <div> Wild Honey Orchestra: Buffalo Springfield tribute</div> <div>Alex Theatre, Glendale CA</div> <div>February 17, 2018</div> <p>The Wild Honey Foundation started putting on themed benefit concerts a quarter century ago and was revived a few years back, now benefitting the Autism Think Tank. A collection of superb Los Angeles-based musicians with extensive résumés comes together, led by guitarist Rob Laufer (Johnny Cash, George Martin, Cheap Trick, etc.) as The Wild Honey Orchestra to back special guest stars (many, but not all, also L.A.-based) and augment existing bands, this year performing songs of Buffalo Springfield, the band that shot Stephen Stills, Neil Young, and Richie Furay (Poco, Souther-Hillman-Furay Band) -- along with bassist Bruce Palmer (later Jim Messina) and drummer Dewey Martin -- to fame in the late '60s.</p> <!--break--> <p>Thanks to my Wild Honey pal Michael Ackerman, I got to attend both the show and two rehearsals, which even after decades of listening to the Springfield gave me added appreciation for how complex some of their songs are -- it was quickly clear that the Wild Honey Orchestra is made up of serious players, yet even they had to spend time working out the fine details of these songs and the tricky time signature changes of a few, most notably "Broken Arrow" (more on that tune later). And it was genuinely an orchestra, with strings and horns on several songs to match the studio arrangements , notably those by the great Jack Nitzsche (1937-2000), recreated by Kaitlin Wolfberg (Moby, The Monkees, Emmitt Rhodes, etc. [with these folks, there is always an etc. or "and many more" in their credits).</p> <p>The show itself was an extravaganza at the wonderful old-L.A. Alex Theatre in Glendale. Even at the top of the balcony, the sound was good, and kudos to engineer Pete Magdaleno for deftly handling the complicated task of constantly adjusting to shifting lineups. It was a long evening, starting at 8 and ending at 11:30 with only two breaks, one a planned intermission and the other a quick technical clean-up. Writer Chris Morris introduced each act with well-chosen words of context regarding both songs and performers, plus longer remarks to open the show.</p> <p>Not all the guests were either stars or L.A. stalwarts. Syd Straw came from the East coast to do "Down to the Wire," dressed in a fringe jacket that was combined with her announcement that she was "fifth runner-up in the Neil Young look-alike contest." (Muffs members Ronnie Barnett [bass] and Roy McDonald [drums, also Redd Kross] backed her.) Straw sang with her usual energy on this track that hadn't made any of the Springfield's three LPs but showed up later on Young's <em>Decade</em> compilation.</p> <p>But L.A. dominated. Half of the Long Ryders (reunited and working on a new LP) were joined by Carla Olson (Textones) for a country-rock take on the Neil tune "Burned." Martha Davis (The Motels) shone on "Everybody's Wrong." Brent Rademaker (Beachwood Sparks, Gospelbeach) gave "Pay the Price" Dylanesque vocal inflections. All Day Sucker, a superb local band, dove deep into the Springfield catalog for "We'll See," a Stills-penned demo not released until the 2001 Rhino box; their tight vocal harmonies and frontman Morty Coyle's exuberance marked them as a band I'll be checking out. Also a trainspotter's delight was "Sit Down, I Think I Love You" delivered in the Van Dyke Parks arrangement the Mojo Men used to have a hit single in 1967, with Susan Cowsill and Darian Sahanaja (Wondermints, Brian Wilson's band) sharing the vocals.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bxsWsV9jx54?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Another unlikely highlight was the only Jim Messina song the Springfield recorded, "Carefree Country Day," with local favorite Steve Stanley (head honcho of the Now Sounds reissue label, and designer of the snazzy poster pictured at the top of this article) delivering a light-hearted rendition that perfectly captured the song's goofy charm.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1mL2CTeyFG8?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Micky Dolenz, introduced as "a member of the band Stephen stills failed the audition for" (The Monkees, of course), hammed up the Furay/Young tune "It's So Hard to Wait," but in such charming fashion that I forgave him. In an odd coincidence, the youngest performer on the program, local singer-songwriter Nick Guzman (www.nguzman.com), ably delivered "I Am a Child"; I'll be looking out for his future work. Cars guitarist Elliot Easton, now a California resident, powered a "Bluebird" (with Willie Aron on lead vocals) mostly modeled on the long jam version released on <em>Retrospective</em> but with a touch of banjo by Probyn Gregory ( another member ofBrian Wilson's band) to refer to the abbreviated take released on <em>Again</em>.</p> <p>The brightest star of the evening was, of course, Springfield co-founder Richie Furay, who across three appearances in the set sang eight songs. His voice remains clear and pure, his range still high. Often joining him on harmony vocals was his daughter, Jessie Furay Lynch, while his constant sidekick on guitar and banjo was the superb Scott Sellen. The highlights for me were hearing "Sad Memory" backed by the string section and a minimal rhythm section (at rehearsal, he'd turned around after the first run-through and asked, "Could I get you all to come out on the road with me?"), "Kind Woman" (which, he said, was written for his wife) with the adept pedal steel guitar of Dave Pearlman, the beautiful Young song " On the Way Home," and the Neil medley ("Flying on the Ground Is Wrong," "Do I Have to Come Right Out and Say It?" and "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing") that ended with a jam on the chords of "Clancy." He also talked about Neil asking him at their first reunion show whether "A Child's Claim to Fame" Richie had written it about Neil, which he admitted, and about living with Stills in a tiny apartment on Fountain St., working on their vocal parts and learning Stills's many songs. Stills's "Go and Say Goodbye," sung by Furay on their debut LP, received the most energetic Furay performance.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dghhzrrV6PA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>As great as Furay was, my four favorite performances were by others, and at a tribute show, that was fitting. The long shot of the evening was the unusual "In the Hour of Not Quite Rain," a third-LP song that came about because the group's managers set up a radio-station contest with the winner's lyrics to be included on the third LP. Winner Micki Callen's evocative poem was set to music by Furay and arranged for orchestra by Nitzsche; tonight it was sung by Our Truth, a duo of twin sisters Corinna and Isabelle Cott, with Nitzsche's arrangement copied. I have to believe this was the first public performance of the song (the Springfield never performed it), and almost certainly the first to feature the original's big production sound. Yet it is a very underrated and beautiful song, and I was absolutely thrilled to hear it.</p> <p>Another orchestral highlight came on Young's gorgeous "Expecting to Fly," which had originally been recorded with Nitzsche for a Young solo album that was cancelled after he rejoined the Springfield. Wild Honey Orchestra musical director Rob Laufer sang lead and played guitar, perfectly capturing Young's sound on the latter, while Claudia Lennear, featured in the back-up singer documentary <em>Twenty Feet from Stardom</em>, provided the crucial vocal harmony. While Young used to include this song in his early sets, those were just acoustic guitar and his vocal, so this was another example of a Springfield song being performed in its original arrangement for probably the first time since it was put together in the studio. The small chamber orchestra was made to sound as hefty as the orchestra on the recording through adept enhancement via the mixing board in this transcendent performance.</p> <p>Lennear took the lead on Stills's "Special Care," one of his most soulful songs; she emphasized the "would you like to shoot me down" line through repetition in what I took to be a timely political statement. Carrying through on this theme, she also included Stills's closing rap about how "some people are more equal than others." I had of course been impressed by Lennear's singing at the rehearsal, but she took it to a new level of intensity at the concert.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nFltM-4VipQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The most amazing performance, though, based on -- as they say in Olympic skating judging -- "degree of difficulty," was Young's collage piece "Broken Arrow." Chris Morris's introduction for this song included the fact that Young was inspired to give it its unusual form (partly cannibalizing his song "Down, Down, Down," a demo that can be heard on the Springfield's box set) after hearing The Beatles' "A Day in the Life." Very much a product of the studio, it starts with screams from a Beatles concert blending into the opening lines of "Mr. Soul," then goes into the first verse. A darkly psychedelic organ interlude of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," with crowd boos overdubbed, leads into the second verse. Repeated drum rolls, climaxing in an electronic echo, preface the third verse, after which a jazz quartet improvises until an amplified heartbeat ends the song. A few of these elements (crowd sounds, heartbeat) were sampled from the recording for this performance, but most of it was recreated live, with the clarinet/piano/upright bass/drums part made especially poignant by the presence of L.A. jazz legend Don Randi, who played the piano part on the recording, reprising his role. It turned out to be a bit of a challenge during rehearsal because in fact he had never played exactly what ended up on the album because that had been a cut-and-paste studio effort drawing from multiple takes and involving disconcerting meter changes that involved asymmetrical mixing of 3/4 and 4/4 time. But it was worked out to triumphant effect for the concert in a genuinely stunning performance also featuring the lead vocal of Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention).</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lOboLmkH6zw?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The evening wrapped up, predictably but rousingly, with the Springfield's lone hit, the immortal "For What It's Worth," with "all hands on deck." Easton got to play the iconic ringing guitar riff; Furay, Dolenz, and Straw sang verses, and the performance closed with a cathartic chorus sing-along.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uU0jE2weuiQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>For all the songs I've mentioned, I have not come close to discussing all the performances; almost all were good, and I see no point in complaining about the one or two disappointments amid all the gems. As far as covering the catalog of the three official Springfield LPs, all of Young's songs were performed, one of Furay's wasn't (the Dewey Martin-sung "Good Time Boy," no loss), and three by the prolific leader Stills, all from the debut album, were omitted: "Baby Don't Scold Me," which was dropped after the first edition to be replaced by "For What It's Worth," and the wonderful "Leave," both of which I'd have loved to hear but hey, it was already a 3-1/2 hour show; and "Hot Dusty Roads," no loss. All in all, a well-chosen, well-performed, and well-organized show that I will cherish in memory.</p> <p> </p> </div> <section> </section> Sat, 24 Feb 2018 19:11:42 +0000 Steve Holtje 3676 at http://www.culturecatch.com Joe Martino's Promise: A Fable Of Lost Folk http://www.culturecatch.com/music/the-children-of-rain-red-corduroy <span>Joe Martino&#039;s Promise: A Fable Of Lost Folk</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/460" lang="" about="/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>September 12, 2017 - 13:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/children-of-rain.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 477px;" /></p> <p>The Children of Rain - <em>Red Corduroy</em> (Bad Pressings)</p> <p>This is a tale with two beginnings that merge revealingly. One is more than half a century old, the other only began at the start of the year. They meld on the account of a single name, or rather the mis-accounting of it, and the fact that it seemed beguiling to this writer on a late at night, nothing better to do trawl for "quality obscure" on auction sites. You are unlikely to have heard of The Children Of Rain. They released one single on Dot Records in 1966, but someone at the label sent the wrong credits to the pressing plant. Although they were the first to get their hands on "Get Together," their rendition tanked, not because it was in any way inferior to the later version by The Youngbloods which became a counter-culture anthem for that turbulent decade of hope and change, and sold! sold! sold! Such is the mysticism and capriciousness of fate, and the fact the song was demoted to the flip-side of their sole release "Dawn To Dusk." It might have had a better run at success had their name been at all visible on the disc, rendered an afterthought after the their lead singer's Pam Meacham, which had been randomly elevated and wrongly spelt in the process. Hence the black hole on search engines. How it appeared was never how it was supposed to but it stands as a portent laden indication of future calamities. Having taken a chance on their eight song acetate I realized I may be buying an expensive relic of little actual worth, but I coughed up the $200 and hoped that my instincts might have unearthed a wonderful curio, and not a batch of best forgotten musings.</p> <p>What emerged from the dusty and crackling grooves that made their way from a record store in Illinois to a rainy, wintry Manchester was a lost link. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_Rain" target="_blank">The Children Of Rain </a>undertook these recordings in the wake of Dylan having gone electric at Newport, and their songs betray none of the cutesy qualities that spoils much folk from that era. They possess a spirited but haunting melancholia, a stunning back-bone of considered song-craft, and had they fared better at the hands of time they would now undoubtedly be revered as innovators. Their sound has an oddly English quality that eerily echoes Pentangle and Sandy Denny-era Fairport Convention. The arrangements are sparse but considered and are perfect settings for the melding of Pam Meacham's beautifully effortless voice with the tones of her brother Denis and that of Alan Ross, who she would eventually marry. The acetate is glowingly introduced by her god-father Jim Ameche, a famous radio presenter on WHN in New York, and whose skills are obvious in the manner in he delivers this brief duty. The acetate in question was one of half a dozen produced to further their career on the back of their debut release.</p> <p>Although formed at college, they were never a band that gigged consistently. They did play the famed Gaslight Club on MacDougal Street in the fall of 1966 that had hosted the likes of Jack Kerouac and many of the Beat Poets in the previous decade, and whose stage had been graced by Dave Von Ronk, Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs. Nerves always an issue with the band threatened them that night, but without scuppering their performance. What did herald the beginning of an end though arrived in the form of a fast talking little man called Joe Martino, chomping on a cigar and adorned by a cheap suit and a straw fedora. He promised them the earth but at a price, $1.600 dollars in advance to be precise, a fairly considerable sum in 1966, especially from someone who resembled Bob Hoskyns in Who Framed Roger Rabbit<em>?</em> For their investment they would record their songs, acetates of which would be delivered to all the right people in all the right places, and perform a show-case show at Regis College in Boston. When the band arrived at the venue it all had been had been cancelled due to negligible ticket sales, and the auditorium was so large all it represented was the optimism of their manager's greed. Joe's scam had been to scarper off with the takings whilst they sang. Sadly when the plug got pulled he disappeared with the remnants of their cash and their promised acetates. None of the band ever owned one till I tracked down Alan Ross recently who was somewhat bemused, and I use that term sparingly.</p> <p>Bands rarely survive such little earthquakes and The Children Of Rain ended their two year existence not long after the departing click of the heels of that cruel scenario. There was a strange additional twist in the tale of Joe Martino. Pam recalls a surprise visit from a F.B.I. man trying to locate him. A clairvoyant had pointed him her direction. Joe's misdeeds hadn't simply been embezzling a trio of budding folk singers, he was a serial cheat. She last heard that he'd been busted for trying to cash a dodgy check in Vegas. It is likely that he ended his days in a concrete suit propping up a bridge or a skyscraper, or as fish food in the Hudson. However half a century later Alan Ross is planning to release the tracks he now has of his former band. A debut, albeit delayed, but that represents the emergence of a missing jigsaw piece in the annals of folk-rock. A song like "Red Corduroy" with all its tremendous wistfulness really should be a standard in any area of music. Pam and Alan later formed Ross Legacy whose sole single on Philips is now much sought after but rare. On moving to Tennessee Alan Ross became a prolific and successful jingles writer and sports journalist. His recent solo albums reveal a talent that is still both vital and stimulating.</p> <p>Joe Martino has somehow, and belatedly so, kept his promise in a curious way from beyond his presently unknown final resting place. He at least got the discs produced before his disappearing rip-off act of failure. When the album surfaces I will give the songs their proper reflection. For now what is in preparation is a collection of literal rarity in both quality and scarcity. All based on the strength of a name that suggested a sense of reward on a late night in winter.</p> <p>Welcome home Children Of Rain, proof, if any were required, that much hinges on the choice of an evocative name. </p> </div> <section> </section> Tue, 12 Sep 2017 17:54:06 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3624 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "White Horses" http://www.culturecatch.com/music/band-of-the-week-darlingside <span>Song of the Week: &quot;White Horses&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>August 3, 2017 - 22:31</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WCLkOAQxumI?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Some acts are neglected only because the sheer crush of music that overwhelms us every single day makes it virtually impossible to hear/see/experience transcendent music. That some acts languish in obscurity remains a cruel twist of fate. Or that they're never praised by hipsters on every culture blog in our ever-expanding universe is sometimes just luck of the draw. Or rather, the lack of drawing such a lucky card. This will not happen to the extraordinarily talented <a href="http://www.darlingside.com" target="_blank">Darlingside</a>, a band that I caught live a few short years ago at Rockwood Music Hall in New York. Not sure if I would have "discovered" them had I not been there that night to see some other act. Happy accident or destiny? Regardless, this four-person indie folk band hails from Cambridge, MA. The band consists of Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, Harris Paseltiner, and David Senft. They make and perform beautiful noise. And they deserve your full attention.</p> <!--break--> <p>NPR described them as “exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop.” I find them to be more "baroque Americana" with their banjo, violin, acoustic guitar and bass interplay and, of course, their sumptuous vocals.</p> <p>Not sure if they're working on anything new, but they're currently out on tour. They'll be at the Edmonton Folk Festival in a few weeks -- Sunday, August 13th. Check their website for more dates.</p> <p>And speaking of festivals... I found a clip of them on YouTube performing Joni Mitchell's anthem <a href="https://youtu.be/lyotn-3qycM" target="_blank">"Woodstock"</a> with their friend Heather Maloney and it must be seen. After all, it's summer and Woodstock happened from August 15-18th in 1969. And we're only two short years away from the 50th anniversary. Hey, Michael Lang, I hope Darlingside gets booked for it.</p> </div> <section> </section> Fri, 04 Aug 2017 02:31:09 +0000 Dusty Wright 3611 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "7th Ray" http://www.culturecatch.com/music/song-of-the-week-miranda-lee-richards <span>Song of the Week: &quot;7th Ray&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>December 2, 2015 - 07:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/228541903&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;visual=true" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Miranda Lee Richards, one of my favorite L.A.-based singer-songwriters, was in town a few weeks ago playing songs from the inspired <em>Echoes of the Dreamtime</em>, her third studio album and first release in more than six years. "7th Ray," the first track and single from said album, is an atmospheric, mid-tempo, psychedelic-folk-rock rumination on love and life. Wearing her love like heaven, layered electric and acoustic guitars weave in and out of the nuanced mix and then suddenly a Mellotron adds yet another delectable dollop of color to keep you hitting your repeat key. She's currently on a West Coast tour with the Dandy Warhols, making stops in L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. For fans of Laura Marling and Joni Mitchell alike. </p> <!--break--></div> <section> </section> Wed, 02 Dec 2015 12:34:37 +0000 Dusty Wright 3339 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (Alternate Take) http://www.culturecatch.com/music/song-of-the-week-bob-dylan <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Subterranean Homesick Blues&quot; (Alternate Take)</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>November 18, 2015 - 10:13</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/589" hreflang="en">Bob Dylan</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2Mb3CoWwNyY?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I'm inspired. And you will be, too, after you watch this video. Not much more need be said about Sir <a href="https://bobdylan.com" target="_blank">Bob Dylan</a>. Many consider these "electric" years to be the zenith of his songwriting prowess. You should know this "rap" song already, but you may not have heard or seen this alternate version taken from his latest must-have collection <em>Bob Dylan - The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 </em>(Columbia Records). Hey, spot the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg hanging out in the background!</p> <!--break--></div> <section> </section> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 15:13:15 +0000 Dusty Wright 3332 at http://www.culturecatch.com