The Freelance Mentalists.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
  Can't Stop Shakin' Pt. 2: 2017 Pazz & Jop Ballot & Comments
also see
Albums (10 points each):
  1. Allen Ginsberg: The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience (Omnivore)
  2. Jane Ira Bloom: Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson (Outline)
  3. Algiers: The Underside of Power (Matador)
  4. Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda: The Ecstatic Music Of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop)

  5. Harriet Tubman: Araminta (Sunnyside)
  6. JLin: Black Origami (Planet Mu)
  7. Jaimie Branch: Fly Or Die (International Anthem)
  8. Les Amazones d'Afrique: Republique Amazone (Real World)
  9. Ornette Coleman: Ornette At 12/Crisis (Real Gone)
   10. Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber: All You Zombies Dig
      The Luminosity (Avantgroidd)


  1. Willie Nelson/Tony Joe White/Leon Russell/Jamey Johnson: "God's Problem Child" (Legacy)
  2. Whitney Rose: "Can't Stop Shakin'" (Six Shooter)
  3. Arto Lindsay: "Grain By Grain" (Northern Spy)
  4. A. Savage: "What Do I Do" (Dull Tools)
  5. Chuck Berry: "She Still Loves You" (Duotone)
  6. Caroline Spence: "Southern Accident" (Tone Tree)
  7. Lee Ann Womack: "Hollywood" (ATO)
  8. Amanda Anne Platt/Honeycutters: "Eden" (Organic/Crossroads)
  9. Amanda Anne Platt/Honeycutters: "Learning How To Love Him"(Organic/Crossroads)
  10. Rodney Crowell: "Life Without Susanna" (New West)

Comments ( for comments on most singles please scroll on down to CSS Pt. 1: Nashville Scene Ballot & etc.):

After last year's convergence of Bowie, A Tribe, The Rough Guide To Ethiopian Jazz, PJ Harvey, and quite a few other non-standard users of jazz and other hungry sounds, is it any wondah that I've a taste for more----mind you,

given how '16 turned out: tapped out and overloaded in several non-musical disrespects, I also wanted away from the word-churn

----not totally away, there are words generated and/or maintained, reframed by several of my choices----and the politics have to be implicit or close enough to it that I don't take the bait too long--or do I---am I just too hip baby with the immaculate installation, too righteously received, signed sealed delivered peecee geezer express from the Sicksteees?

Nevertheless, please excuse my context: whatever the mixed motivations behind it might or might not be, these are, album by album and designated Single by Single (choice cuts, whether ever released  from their albums or EPs of origin or not), very fine units. And once again, I've been lucky enough to find a year's-worth of gratifications that no other sources can quite provide, not in my ears anyway.

Baaahing at and from what no more can be seen from the darkening green, then venturing through rounds in the smokey city, letting the good and bad times constantly roll back and forth through each other, Blake and Ginsberg's magisterial and magical realness trespass is sometimes given pause and detour by evidence of a woman in there somewhere, as the wordmazes make way, even more---something to do with Ginsberg's choice of poems to include: no valentines, but some things that shake the

darkness deeper, where Beatrice is unseen, also unsought, it seems. Eventually he meets Arthur Russell, who joins Bob Dylan etc. for nocturnes but hold on now when they meet, it's in a San Francisco park including a Buddhist troupe that AR is living with: here they keep rolling up and down though a thunderclap of drone.

From Rolling Jazz 2017:

Totally smitten by Jane Ira Bloom's *Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson*, thanks to the description in Phil Freeman's *Stereogum* column---and as he indicates, if *he* likes a soprano sax-led album, you better know it's something special. Either that, or it's such an unlikely pick for him, that sopranophiles aren't going to like what he likes. The whole combo is strong, but I hear Bobby Previte as co-leader here, and he's not even loud, just part of the life-force pulsing through the tireless play of Dickinson's mind on and in the world (though if there were no Dickinson connection spelled out or interpolated--- the latter via Deborah Rush's piquant, overheard [tho' could be mixed a little louder w no harm] intro lines on Disc 2----would still be shades of autumn sunshine indoors and out.

Gotta catch up on her catalog. Was already thinking that before I knew about this, when Night Lights recently re-ran their "Jazz Women Artists of the 80s", incl. a track from youngblood Bloom's  Mighty Lights, with Haden, Blackwell and Hersch.

Algiers' debut is a ghost train express in a soul mine (or "post-gospel", as some say); The Underside of Power takes it to a scary-sublime roller coaster. Both are bad trip good trip bad trip good and continuing. And the second one's also got a good strong (incl. considerate, sanely foreboding) song for Mom.

Alice Coltrane sounds bluesy to me, the voice of experience. Cosmic and transcendent (state of being as a work in progress for most if not all mortals) should mean you've been around, so that's part of her appeal. She's got layers and finds more and builds from them. From some previously cassette-only releases; more round-ups, please; meanwhile I need to catch up on what's been around in plain-enough sight---in and out, re the jazz connection, just so that's life-cosmic whatever the stylistic persuasion.

Update to the following: We can now stream all of this!
First, (this was) the bad news: Harriet Tubman, the massively succinct jazz-rock power trio (incl. traces of blues, metal, hip-hop, dub--no fusion in the f-word sense, but Miles too, even without the recurrence of Wadada Leo Smith's trumpet on their latest set), does not allow the posting of said set, Araminta, in its entirety, so I can't for instance link "Nina Simone" (eternal vigilance as sonic knives hover all around, as in her dreams [just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you]. Also they could be part of her armory; she could get pretty militant on concert tapes (for a gateway to the stormy weather of Simone's life and times, incl.controversies over same, see also

Nor can I link "President Obama's Speech At The Selma Bridge," which will calmly proceed to rattle your windows and shake all your doors (also blow them out, where possible), as Greil Marcus might put it.

However, they do allow a few others, also hot:

In the same vein, here they are with Jackson MS daughter Cassandra Wilson, for "Strange Fruit" (def.seems like a one-off, and not all the words come through, but you know them, the slippery jolt comes through, incl. non-standard use of banjo)

Backstory glimpse of HT herself, via Drunk History (spoiler: not too drunk to follow a script, it's hipster wrestling):

Also, I've been reverberating headphonically to the sounds of Jlinn, who started out in Chicago's footwork scene, then went to college in Gary and developed more of her own thing---currently mostly built from female vox & drums, my fave elements, but also grist for the mill----as are all emotions, in a drive-by, hang-fly (Hey,Steve Coleman!) ricochet way; she doesn't want to stick around too long with that sensitive stuff, lest you cry (also, always leave 'em wanting more) on Black Origami

Must admit I got into the previous more quickly, like immediately (afterbeing schooled by BlackO)

(Maybe also because its sonic vocab is a bit more inclusive/supportive for beginners, and I need help).

Jaimie Branch's trumpet is bold but never too brassy (or tasteful), her bassist is upright and possesses an arco capable of suggesting dub and other tronics while not bothering with any gear or processing beyond basic mic, mixing board and whatever digits and/or tape might suffice, oh yeah and the drums! The kind of drums so many combos rely on to fix messes, keep you awake, but no need for any of that, but they're great anyway, not waiting for the heroic chores!

Les Amazones d'Afrique are a true supergroup, which means these individualistic divas can combo for a cause: themselves, even more than before:  Republique Amazone is future now, fried ice cream is still a reality, and dry ice from it makes a space in the articulate pulsations of skidmarks on the heart: the kind of emotional emotional emotional distance I need right now, not from but in the jungles of wordmills and clocks.
Simmer down now---orig comments to friends:

One of my faves of any kind of music this year is the album by  
female supergroup Amazones d'Afrique, whose lack of
English lyrics enhances the emotional and formal impact,
slightly distanced for perspective, also enhanced
(more than "empowered", as xgau puts it) by the sharp,
flexible modernity of what he mentions as (hell yeah)
“a rock-informed groove overseen by French-Irish
Mbongwana Star producer Liam Farrell.”

From another conversation:
As related by WSJ's Jim Fusilli, the Somali Democratic Republic
not only subsidized but considered that they "owned" the arts,
which may be why they felt entitled to bomb the shit out of
the majorly happenin' radio station in the restive former
British protectorate of Somaliland----
yet many tapes were buried and later spirited away,
well-preserved and remastered here, with just a nice  
time-travelling crispiness around the edges.
Start with somewhat Arabic-associated, maybe
microtonal female vocals undulating between celestial
fuzak keys and diesel powered proto-reggae grooves
-----well the recurring (but not omnipresent)
ragga-ska-reggoid-reggae association is something of
a parallel to like Malian bluesoid and "actual"
(from the outside world) blues; both countries did have radio
(and  tapes) after all; what goes around comes around, and
also there's a couple of back-to-back tracks with a sleepless
"This Is A Man's World"-type feel and vibe, but not
Brownian vocals, with other shades of r&b, yet
nobody here seems to be trying to sound like anyone
but his or herself. Most of these tracks are long, and
I could have used another instrumental or two, but it's all pop
---long so "art-pop"? But not arty sounding, for the most part,
and the compiler cunningly guides me this way and that, and
didn't think I could listen to all this in one session, but lo---
thinking of buying the CD for sake of compiler's commentary,
intriguingly excerpted here and there, also not to go into overage
via compulsive streaming:
sweet-as-broken-dates-lost-somali- tapes-from-the-horn-of-africa

John Wojtowicz commented:
Ethiopians can almost pass as Desi, and their accents in English are similar.  But what I want to know is, why does the Kenyan national anthem sound East Asian?

From Frank Kogan’s reply:
“...just discovered an Ethiopian radio station in Aurora CO.
When I first heard it I was sure it was East Asian.*
The station, KETO FM, 93.0, seems to play anything
from easy listening plink plink to what I’m speculating is
consciously avant garde ululation. Unfortunately,
no playlist seems to exist online.
Here’s the stream:
*If I hadn’t known otherwise, I also would have sworn
that Aamina Camaari’s “Rag Waa Nacab Iyo Nasteexo,”
the track from “Sweet As Broken Dates” that I just streamed on YouTube,
was also East Asian."
Luc Sante specified:
“The thing that sounds most East Asian is the very high-pitched
female vocal sound, although it's not quite as glass-shattering
as those in Chinese pop of the '60s, say.
What it most reminds me, if indirectly, is the taarab stuff
from Zanzibar (that classic John Storm Roberts comp
Songs the Swahili Sing, for example), with its mix
of African rhythm and Arabic and Indian movie-music filigrees
---the synth here is especially reminiscent of that.”

Right, could be East Asian too, and what I called
"Arabic-associated" is prob in part the recurring
Muslim connection across continents,
I mean I guess, also those ancient trade routes etc.
Will check the stream, thanks (reminds me  that KMUW's
Global Village is a mighty thing online, 5 nights a week, and scroll
to the bottom of this page for archived shows,
playlists via the facebook link there I think, since I never
go to facebook.
Kenya, Zanzibar two more areas I need to check
(speaking of Ethiopia, last year's Rough Guide To Ethiopian Jazz is pretty amazing flow. of distinctive turns)..
Banning Eyre presents this comp and backstory pretty well here,
also provides his own link to HipDeep audio doc
on said roil,

(note to self: also check that one on 30 years of bounce)

Never heard Ornette At 12 before this joint (CD-only) reissue, and OC so far seems a bit long-winded, occasionally, but Crisis was the first Coleman that I can remember grabbing and holding me all the way through on first listen---maybe because it was live, in that moment, in that weird year, and via the acoustics of that venue---NYU? Uh, OK! With Dad's grinding yet unfettered violin, Denardo's drums clattering like a music stand falling over, but always in the right place).

Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber: All You Zombies Dig

The Luminosity---precarious, hopeful ballads are accosted by punks staking a claim to "My Black Uncertainty" and singing "Are You Insaaaane?" (not a rhetorical question, not always) to self and other, all and sundry, everyone, everyone while balancing on and unbalancing guitars and a lot to gain and lose and learn and burn at stake and yes it's still a family affair.

So for instance what's with put-downs of gentrification if you're from the projects or just can't take upward mobility or even running place for granted anymore, no matter where you're from. Or is that just bullshit rationalization, also(that one gets pushback in the same song). Anyway, science friction etc(zombies can be strength in numbers btw, or that's a suggestion here):

(incl. elements of jazz and hip hop/use of tape effects (in fact the whole thing might be tape, sound quality/ambience/timbre etc not quite the bandcamp usual, in my experience.)

Speaking of which, I finally got around to Chuck Prophet's 2017 Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins. He's checking in, noting that '16 was a bad year for rock 'n' roll deathwise, right from the beginning, but him and the boys carried on; later, only actually kinda slow and blue one has them finding an offnight situation, the moneyman's iffy, the doorman's insistent, "the bartender's out in the middle of the street with his pants around his neck....but we got up played and sang and tried to make it rain." Sounds moderately satisfied, although Prophet's not saying he follows the Lord's Example in "Jesus Was A Social Drinker, " but he can appreciate it, so "C'mon, wash me in the water, and I'll wash you."
Mostly it's stomp and jangle, a little bit of Radio Shack "vintage" synth, most noticable, though still blending in, on the deadication to Alan Vega, doin' it with one foot on the altar, one foot on the grave (lively, though maybe a little too long).
Also like the one where he recalls how him and his lost brother used to dress up like astronauts to trick-or-treat--this right before he explains again that all the sweet things he means to tell you are "Coming Out In Code."
He's been watching the news, he knows about the guy who's a jangle-stomping "Killing Machine," having walked into a store and bought a gun, no prob, and there's store girl, takin' a smoke break---also the real life case of "Alex Nieto," shot dead by cops: they thought the taser, which he wore for his job and pointed at them during a confused argument, was a gun. Should they have handled it quite like that uh-well-ah
Fave so far is the one where he dreams about being Connie Britton, brushing her hair everyday, and driving her pink Caddy "up above the clouds, 'til the Trumpets sound, and then I might come down." Bunch of others too, I don't like 'em all, but they're all here:

Now in the home stretch of David Murray and Aki Takase's 2017 Cherry Sakura, getting into it more than expected, given the absence of any other players, but good range of moods and material---also, Murray applies his bass clarinet to the exuberant suavity of "Let's Cool One", back to tenor for the elegant elegy "Nobuko", some out incidents too. Incisive homage in part to Rollins, Coltrane, Tyner, Ibrahim on Long March To Freedom, the finale---and now Spotify is hustling me right into "Goldfisch" by Tama (Jan Roder / Oliver Steidle / Aki Takase): excellent fun.
ERR Guitar, by Elliott Sharp with Mary Halvorson and Marc Ribot. No other instruments, and none missed, for a while longer than expected, because these three are compatible, establishing an extended sonic vocabulary, incl. occasional Spanish chords, zig-zag repartee, pedals I think, Sharrockian slide, modulation in mid-run or as run (no electronic thingies of course, just peg-twisting), a whole lotta pluckin/, pickin', chirpin goin' on (coulda used more chords, Spanish or whatever), kinda thin but not too, unlike ny attention level at times, but they kept bringing me back, though I couldn't say where, since these 12 might as well have been one track---almost, but extended finale "Kernel Panic" does finally bring some (some) distortion and heat
Given the limits of first listens, this 65-minute set is pretty agreeable, on the whole---and immediately upstaged by Nels Cline's "So Hard It Hurts/Touching", conceptually and expressively. Oh, Spotify!
New Kamasi very nice: an EP to follow The Epic is confident contrast, kind of evening breezy but no slacking, and a touch of the epic on extended finale-- and once again, the set is more about overall effect than providing backdrops for heroic solos. Though the solos are not shy.
But all weekend, you got the sense that the good stuff was happening onstage — not much of the music's live-wire energy was penetrating the audience or getting passed around. In a way, this festival was running in a different, almost opposing, direction from its inspiration.
Hope some copious recordings show up.
"I think the criticism centers around using the name of a festival (1964) whose aim (among others) was to begin to organize musicians to fight for better working conditions, and a situation that would benefit them all, for a festival (2017) that threw some prominent, long-established names on a bill and charged $95 admission.
I have no doubt that some of the performances were wonderful, and a different name/association might have been appropriate. This gives the appearance of piggybacking off a previous festival's influence and notoriety while ignoring what made that festival influential."
Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat),
"makes sense put that way. I can't imagine that pulling a festival off successfully is easy in any way. Maybe there will be something to build off of for the future."
cosmic brain dildo (Sparkle Motion),
Another Chilton-related Omnivore expansion, Carmaig De Forest's I Shall Be Re-Released, which starts with I Shall Be Released, produced and played on by Mr. A.C., some of whose peers still find it startling: Will Rigby, who played with De Forest at CBGB, is quoted in the booklet to the effect that it's a whole other side--"the punkiest"---to Chilton's picking and undocumented anywhere else; lstening again, early adopter Scott McCaughey now raves, "Chilton's production and playing is almost shockingly prescient and wholly brilliant---spiky and wild, yet way more disciplined than he allowed himself to be on his own records."
Well, I hope that's not entirely true of the Chilton recs I haven't heard yet (several others are tight enough), but this certainly works as punky 80s folk-rock: comparisons were and are made to to early Modern Lovers and especially Violent Femmes---Gordan Gano also played that CBGB show w De Forest, who opened for the VFs several times, him and his solitary ukelele. Which is another thing that reminds of Loudon Wainwright III, with his spare, limber, plugged-in LPs and exuberant one-man shows, starting a decade earlier (back when Chilton was covering Wainwright's "Motel Blues" at Big Star gigd).
Also like early Wainwright (and young Jawnwathon Richman, though he's a heavier vocal presence than these other guys), De F.'s got a lot of compressed lyrics, confrontational dream-scenes from complicated relationships (comebacks he wishes he'd thought of at the time and/or will have the nerve for next round: exciting fantasies!), flying by like boomerangs. Plus some still-entertaining topical work-outs, like "Hey Judas" and "Crack's No Worse Than The Fascist Threat."
It's a lot to take in, but right away I hear why and how Chilton responded so well.It's no masterpiece, but pretty refreshing so far, putting sparky spin on (not too-)familiar elements.

Chilton also juices the familiars on his own expanded Omnivore, A Man Called Destruction---tempted to say "of course," because the unexpected reliability of this set, incl. alt. takes and prev. unissued titles, breeds a little bit of complacency in the robust litter, alongside interest and excitement---I was already starting to think, re the chunky originals ending the original album, that things were getting a little generic, though its prob the more agreeable, reasonable side of the subgenre which solo entertainer AC staked a claim to: that droll, rolling, r&r&b&b Memphis-NOLA thing, with a tad of country (bonus ["I Don't Know Why] But I Do" reverie not at all bothered by electric horse thermometer bass and equally business-like drums) and Southern 50s-mid-60s AM radio fodder (Brian Wilson contribution to Jan and Dean "New Girl In School" and the diligently, consistently worked-out, silly come-on "What's Your Sign, Girl?", falsetto now reformed to an agreeable twang), all work at least OK, in there with Italian rockabilly and a rockin' dirge and jitterbug jazzabilly and slow dunk unstoppable Jimmy Reed shuffles and heavy power pop---Chilton's sharp-edged, witty, sometimes slightly migrainey, dust devil guitar leads the session, with his voice adding even more genial clarity and definition to the "dry," sufficiently vivid sonics---but like I said, was already getting a bit complacently discontented re "generic"/ his kind of subgeneric (which also reminded me of the way NRBQ pulls these ingredients together when they're on it, not to mention some thoughts of Beatles) even before I got to the part of Bob Merlis's notes in which he goes from very detailed and relevant clarity of backstory to opining that Chilton's chunky originals herein are of the rootsy AC vein that "had emerged as his greatest form of self-expression---as opposed to the pristine pop of Big Star, which some fans were still hoping he would produce." It was not pristine, never generic, too-basically, reliably-to-easily-reproducible power pop---well, occasionally too sealed-over in the self-regard, as in words to "Ballad of El Goodo,"---yes, too "pristine" in that sense---but never without some sonic distinction----and here the AC lyrics that are least wet-leafy, most likely to spin the spark and vice-versa, are the ones that have a glint of Big Star:"You're Lookin' Good's "I dig your mind/I dig your clothes," and "I'm ravin' I'm your slave/You're my/French fries, " from "You're My Favorite." And yes I'm quibblin' I'm dribblin' all sorts of generous quality, for these are almost all as good as french and even freedom fries, if not quite as in-the-spirit-of- Big Star free-fryin' as I'd like. (Speaking of keeping thinking, was also flagging *several* tracks, all along, as additions to midsize folder of BS faves x solo titbits, from Feudalist Tarts etc.)

"In the spirit of Big Star" really means also in the spirit and tradition
of nudging the older elements a little further, a little more seemingly
off-handed, for lagniappe.

PS: I've always wished he re-deployed the raspy, unpretentious
Box Tops footsoldier voice for some albums or tracks,
though if he had, might have just seemed like another
nudge-nudge Henry the Hipster metabit in solo
career context. Nevertheless,
I enjoy most of this vivacious album. And he's got me using a
juicy word there I don't never use, so thank you friend.

Come to think of it, the kind of rolling Memphis and New Orleans chestnuts he favored could sound kinda droll and detached to start with, like barroom gossips taking us, for a token consideration, on a tour of funky situations. And/or just a notion that worked out, like "Workin' In A Coal Mine," with its composer, Allan Toussaint, readily pointing out that there aren't coal mines anywhere near NO or in all of Louisiana, he was pretty sure.
But maybe mainly, for Chilton anyway, considering the bits of bio I've read, pop can provide a festive. reliable filter for chaos---and of course, even more often, just certain probabilities kicking in, incl. boredom, gen. negativity. Merlis notes that while the album title seems to reference the auteur's fearsome rep, it may well (also?) come from a self-named piano player of a previous generation, in the great Memphis street parade of musical characters, so carry on Mr. C.

Speaking of you are there, was just now struck by an exemplary
acoustic trio subset, almost midway through Big Star's Live At
Lafayette's Music Room: rough and ready recording catches vivid,
kinetic detail of "Thirteen," "The India Song," "Try Again,"
(Dobro? Bajo sexto?), and "Watch The Sunrise," which I
think Edd Hurt pointed out on I Love Music's main
Big Star thread as being inspired by and/or lifted from Gimmer
This acoustically electrified sequence def. sustains and builds
momentum of the whole, staying in exploratory, retrospective
and introspective character while bearing down, committed to
the now like trio RThompson (even though press material claims
they weren't even sure at that point about making a second album,
with Bell gone; maybe shows like this showed them they could).
Also the electrically electrified, yet ballad-y as hell, in a good way,
performance of "Ballad of El Goodo," which I've never been el fondo
of, but they got me here.
omg I love that song Is there someone singing?
Oh yeah you know it! Also good picking and chording
in the undercurrents of St 100/6.

A plugged “Hot Burrito #2”, hooked by sour resolution,
worries intractable tractor pulls of desire and fatalism up and down
the back staircase, parking lot, and main drag, like “In A Car”
and several other BS originals, long after the set opens with
poptopia of “When My Baby’s Beside Me” (“I don’t have to think”)
and the ark arcs of “My Life Is Right.” not to mention hairline visions
at lost loveliest / whine as wine “Thirteen.”
Chilton later described his Big Star self as “a maudlin young man.”
Not cool, why try to go back to that? Except on the circuit:
Big Star 2.0's tight tributes swapping spotlights with Box Tops, and solo sets at best like the one described above (endings are overrated).
Another Analog Africa comp, Synthesize the Soul: Astro​-​Atlantic Hypnotica from the Cape Verde Islands 1973​-​1988, sounds like they all like samba soul, ska, disco, Earth Wind & Fire, krautrock, Billy Preston's keyboards, and it's good at least for tracks 7-18, still about an hour's worth.   
But what really knocked my socks off: Bitori Legend of Funana (The Forbidden Music of the Cape Verde Islands----Bitori's voice  is more consistently engaging, commanding even, than the hopeful ones on the comp, his grooves are more consistenly compulsive, urgent, a bit anxious, before Portuguese colonial cops show up. And no upholstery here, just voice, accordion, bass and drums in the flashmob, and his right and left hand back and forth from syncopation to counterpoint? Seems like,. Reminds me that Pauline Oliveros or one of her fans said accordion the original synth
But first of all, came here to exclaim over last night's rerun of Piano Jazz, with Mose Allison in 1988, at 62 and the top of his game---zingy ruminations of course, but as usual what really gets me going is the playing; a couple of times he even comes off something like the Professor Longhair of bop, like on a 4/4 "Tennessee Waltz" (McPartland's right in there too on that 'un)---stream the whole thing here:

Meanwhile over on Night Lights, last night's fabulous new Dorothy Ashby show hasn't been posted yet, but here's the recent one on Nica and others:
Night Lights' aforementioned Dorothy Ashby saga is now posted: On the earliest sides, the flute is most effective with long sustained notes around the harp, but more occasional tootling can get in the way (and sounds like the suits have her kinda mixed down on some of the early fluteless segments, like she's basically backing the male flautist), but lots of upfront Ashby too, especially with just bass and drums, that's all she needs--later things get more cosmic, but never too filigree, and the voice is worth the wait.
Night Lights radio schools me again: personifying the swing-to-bop persuasion and keeping it young and lean into the late 20th Century, guitarist Mary Osborne was mentored by Charlie Christian, def assimilated him and Django, but developed her own spare, lyrical intensity---the unaccompanied "Sophisticated Lady" here makes me think of Art Pepper--NL catches her situations with Coleman Hawkins, Clark Terry, Tyree Glenn, Mary Lou Williams, but her basic thing is more like the King Cole Trio turned around, when there's a piano at all (bass is electric on last track here), but she doesn't need much--here's the posted show and set list:
Postwar Jazz: An Arbitrary Roadmap---motorvated by Gary Giddens' '02 two-part article of the same title (still on, somebody compiled a listening companion, which now seems most readily available as a series of videos (though a few have been removed)---quite a range of highs and deeps, no lows that I've found so far:

Finally listened to the Trouble No More sampler on Spotify last night---17 tracks, 76 minutes---and maybe it's an unfortunate choice of tracks, compared to the actual (2-disc standard, 8-disc/1 DVD etc. box) releases)--but, despite a few engaging cuts ("I can manipulate people as well as anybody!" Sounds even happier when he combines this with "I ain't gonna go to hell for anybody!" Not even victory over family is worth that!), I found much of this increasingly oppressive, especially on headphones. Like locking myself in the basement with something dead and rotting, someone else's reeking, blood-soaked dreams of vengence on shadows of will, bulletproof suits with flys open, tantalizing, do-wrong women---many of whom seem like shadows, projections of his own insatiable, paranoid drive, maybe xpost cocaine dreams and then some.
Yes, the performers, including him, are putting out (especially whoever's playing that rattlesnake tambourine: sleep no more) and this presentation is true to the more spiky, bombastic style of gospel, but so far, most of the time, just doesn't seem worth it. What I get for going once more into the charms of Spotify (b-but it's never been like this---at least the commercials brought fleeting relief)
"Everytime I say 'You' I mean 'I'," he once said in an interview, and he seemed to live that self-awareness in some writing, some performances, as I mentioned above--but he seems to have forgotten it here, and this phase went on for years---wonder how he came out of it, as the songs gradually got better (maybe he just decided to keep some shit to himself, but that seems like a major achievement, after hearing this).
Reminds me: wonder if he ever heard this, before doing all that? Originally released in 1969, so maybe---see for yourself which songs, several I wouldn't have thought of for this, but I like it (also might have been an influence on New Morning, a little bit*, though not sure when that was recorded):
*Also maybe the black gospel-associated harmonists x white country-associated steel guitar [before most of us listeners knew about the black church communities documented much later in Sacred Steel) on the chorus of "George Jackson" ( a rare if not unprecented musical move at the time, and taken as standing for solidarity): Not great, but very much to the point, and unabashedly related then to some events still controversial in some respects (incl. Jackson's whole life, as well as death, and the Marin County Courthouse shoot-out afterwards)
(Also "Property of Jesus" etc. got covered later.)
In case that won't play, here's a key line: "Sometimes I think this whole world/Is one big prison yard/Some of us are prisoners/The rest of us are guards."

Book Break: Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography is amazing; I had no idea their catalog was so deep & wide, incl. co-writes with other office wizards---and they did some production, like Stealer's Wheel, and a Peggy Lee concept album, Leiber having read a Thomas Mann story and written "Is That All There Is?"*, a seemingly flukey hit given the go-go 60s, as relatable then as any other era, re sensory overload-withdrawal-habituation etc---also ran the Red Bird label, which gave us some Girl Group classics, but sold it to partner George Goldner, who "had the musical taste of a 14-year-old girl"---true gold in that tyme!---sold it to him for a dollar, to get away from his/their goodfella partners, whom he had brought aboard because of his gambling debts, still accruing---but it was okay, they mainly just wanted to keep writing.
(Oh yeah, and they did *not* write "Hound Dog" the way Elvis did it---involvement with Elvis and the Colonel was quite a recurring trip over the years.)
*And according to an archived conversation with the New York Times, “Is That All There Is?” is Donald Trump’s favorite or anyway theme song. Says it makes him think about the things that were going on Peggy Lee’s life back then---who knew he was capable of such thoughts? Also says he doesn’t want to think about his own way of life: “I might not like what I see.”
Also I picked up Don Felder's hefty Between Heaven and Hell in the library, and read the whole thing right there that afternoon, which never happens. Gist: his father comes off as a self-made, self-righteous, self-torturing workaholic and skinflint, and Don follows suit during his Eagles years, with infinitely more bucks and perks than blue collar Dad ever had, of course. Furthermore, Dr. Phil, he somewhat recreates his own defiant-dependent teen relationship with Dad, now played by Henley and Frey.
When he finally gets his ass fired, after having papers served in the studio, he actually calls back, all crying---"Try to seek some higher ground in this, Fingers," Frey counsels, and the ex-Mrs. Felder fervently seconds.

So he does, with this book of excellent anecdotes (also careful references to ongoing litigation), from early years in Florida---girlfriend accuses him of stepping out with blondes, who turn out to be pre-facial hair, though tressed-for-success Gregg and Duane)[;"Tommy" Petty is his guitar student; Stephen Stills is "the funniest kid I ever met," passing through town while running away from military school, back to his parents (though every kid I knew back then who was sent to military school, was sent for a

reason); Bernie Leadon is his local connection to the budding West Coast folk-country rock scene.

Also lots of good stuff about "The Gods," as everybody who worked with and for the Eagles called Henley and Frey; supposedly many of these--even the Gods themselves, individually---called Felder up to trade the latest atrocity stories.

But I also get, in terms of more perhaps unintended reveals, that the Gods were trying to keep their associates' and their own assholes-with-money tendencies somewhat in line, at least for the sake of making even more money (by keeping up the musical standards, for instance). Nevertheless, Felder and I are somewhat respectful of, for instance, Joe Walsh's working out his frustrations on whole floors of hotels (and he lasted longer than any non-God in the line-up, I think, so maybe the mayhem helped).

don: think of it as the old guild system, where i am the master and you are the apprentice.

Col. Bruce Hampton, AKA Hampton B. Coles RIP, 5-01-2017: died after collapsing on stage, during his 70th birthday party jam.  Can't help thinking about an interview where he and some other musos were talking about going to see Widespread Panic's Mikey Houser, who was dying---and comforted them. Hampton was amazed: "God, if it was me, I'd be going bananas." The Col. was a philosophical guy, which helped make him such a resourceful artist and entertainer, incl. the comedy, but part of that, the basis of it, seemed like, was being totally upfront about such feelings. "Basically Frightened" is one of his catchiest tunes.
The only time I saw him perform live was at an engagement party---everybody looked like the cast of Friends, in Montgomery's version of a Spanish Mission inn---bassist and drummer came out first, set up this shuddering heartbeat that went on all evening, and he came out and played thin, incisive, sustained guitar notes, avant-garage maybe: pared down and later for the poo. Voice not so much holding as slowly moving certain notes, and never louder or more quiet than necessary.
Here's an excerpt from a profile-preview I wrote for Charlotte Creative Loafing in 2005 (mention of Coe is 'cause they were playing the same night, at different places), followed by a core quote:
...Col. Bruce Hampton, another dedicated road warrior and Southern rock veteran, who carved an itchy maverick niche for himself at the dawn of the 70s with his Atlanta-based, Zappaesque Hampton Grease Band. Col. Bruce deals with connection and separation by successfully combining -- but never binding -- wild strands of jazz, blues, bluegrass, garage punk and psychedelia, in a way so many jambands fail at miserably. This fusion is greatly helped by the fact that Hampton's a living crossroads for improbably talented musicians. A particularly good example is the first, self-titled and very live set by his 90s group Aquarium Rescue Unit, featuring several once-and-future members of the Allman Brothers Band -- keyboardist Chuck Leavell, guitarist Jimmy Herring, bassist Oteil Burbridge -- plus other finds like drummer Jeff Sipe and percussionist Count Mbutu. ARU's psych-jazz-rock even featured a mandolin player, Matt Mundy, whose fast-talking strings made their way through the heavier sounds.
Hampton's current band, the Codetalkers, is built around the post-bluegrass cadence of another mandolinist, Bobby Lee Rodgers, who also penned most of the songs on the Codetalkers' debut, Deluxe Edition. Rodgers' rippling rhythms and slightly nasal vocal clarity could make him seem merely mellow, without Hampton's infectious, restless guitar, and the solid-but-swinging rhythm section of drummer Tyler Greenwell and bassist Swan. Together, they illuminate the funny, scary, matter-of-fact travelin' blues of "UFO," "Saturn," and a cover of bluesman Skip James' just-as-cosmic "I'm So Glad." Hampton wails on the James classic and his own cell tune "Isle Of Langerhan" (it's a real place, look it up!). Furthermore, the Colonel spews the ebullient nonsense of "Rice Clients" like confetti, reaffirming his status as notable Zappa and Beefheart acolyte.
Col. Bruce has also been known to announce, "Nowhere is now here." Fittingly, this Friday night, he and Coe -- these two inveterate rollin' stones who travel lighter than everything except the speed of sound -- exit the highway void to meet metaphysically (only) in Charlotte. Bring your wayward hearts and heads out for some of the best travelin' music around.
Oh yeah, and when Tedeschi-Trucks Band played Beale Street Caravan not long after (smoking show, soon posted on BSC site, though dunno if it's still there since relaunch, might have to try or summat ), Derek quoted the Col. re never playing the same set twice, "If it ain't broke, break it."

So that's about----hold on now, this just in:
"The Apple Stretching" and "Nipple To The Bottle" were two sides of the same (7") Grace Jones single!

I haven't heard that, but meanwhile digging this 12" version of "Apple": no gratuitous syn-drum injections etc., and though the vivid detail of Melvin Van Peebles' lyrics goes against the grain of her terse voice, that itself is against the grain anyway, and the rattling density is appropriate to the ever-lurking possibility of urban sensory overload, just like the occasional distortion of this posted copy goes w hectic city etc

Now I want her take on "Desolation Row."

But while waiting for that, "Nipple To The Bottle" seems basically a more monotonous song, despite some good live work-outs and right-thinking extended mixes (not that I've heard nearly all of either). So right now fave is this studio edit — it's a little short, but always leave 'em wanting more (ace visuals too, taking some turns I didn't expect---O Canada!)

For Further Study/Additional Credit:
(these are from press releases so who knows so far)

Amos and Sara
The Private World of Amos
Originally released in 1981 as a cassette on the It's War Boys label
- this is a precious, thrilling reminder of UK post-punk DIY at
its most inspired! According to one of the performers, its themes are
"moral negotiation, mistrust, social class, distress, comedy, wild
adventure, chemical derangement, as well as anarchic joy, and love.”

Function Underground: The Black And Brown
American Rock Sound 1969-1974
This anthology – which has its origins in the
Dante Carfagna bootleg Chains and Black Exhaust release -
focuses on the Black & Latino American rock bands that
spread their wings after Jimi Hendrix came to prominence,
in unlikely locales such as Dayton, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Indiana and
Phoenix, Arizona. Most of the music here is
being reissued for the first time.
Comes with an illustrated cover by French illustrator
Sanghon Kim and a booklet detailing the history of
Black and Latino contributions to American rock music by
leading music historians and collectors. This collects private
pressings from the late 60s / early 70s. There was a bootleg of
many of these selections, but that was in 2002.
It features 1984, Purple Snow, Jimi Macon, Ebony Rhythm Band,
The Revolution, Black Maffia etc.

Tewolde Redda
Eritrea's Guitar Pioneer

Drawn from his six monumental singles for the
Philips, Amha and Yared labels between 1970-73, r
evolutionizing traditional Eritrean music via
the innovations of amplified kirar, electric guitar and horns.
Thick, deep declarations and considerations of love over a
mixture of sombre and joyous tunes
(with the hand-clapped beat often shifting into double-time near the end)

A Few More Notes:
NPR's First Listen streamed all three discs of Numero's
Savage Young Du, 69 tracks from 1979-82, preceded by
Michaelangelo Matos' brimming, bracing backstory.
Takes a while for them to get it together in any noteworthy,
non-dated way, though do really like "Statues,"

"Industrial Grocery Store", and several others are pretty good on Disc 1.
Disc 2 sounds quite a bit better right from the start---
I'd prob follow playlisted "Statues" with "Wheels", which is like a
battered Gary Numan vehicle, tho doubt he could scream like this---
shortfastones in the middle eventually blur (but vocal bits, esp. chants,
jostle and jump out for a second), strong finish, especially "Don't Try It",
"Private Hell" (I'd put that right after "Statues" and "Wheels"), "Diane"
and "Sex Dolls'. These are all longer than the blurry muddy ones.
Disc 3 coughs up another crusted mittful for the playlist,
especially when the guitar and drums are in effective contrast,
bass fits both, on "Gravity" and this first version of "Target",
for inst (the remakes or retakes, incl this one of "Wheels",
a highlight of prev disc, not so hot). Also dig the warped groove
of "Travel In Opposite Car", vocal interjections of "Blah Blah Blah."
Several others--- though pretty sure all the young keepers
(incl. ones that might grow on me) could fit one CD, no prob,
considering how many of these 69 are 1-2 minutes long---
some others might sound better in a different context.
Overall, at this point:
The attitude seems predictable---get in line, punkos---
these whiffs of vitality never are.


02.2004 / 03.2004 / 04.2004 / 05.2004 / 06.2004 / 07.2004 / 08.2004 / 09.2004 / 10.2004 / 11.2004 / 12.2004 / 01.2005 / 02.2005 / 03.2005 / 04.2005 / 06.2005 / 07.2005 / 09.2005 / 10.2005 / 11.2005 / 12.2005 / 01.2006 / 02.2006 / 03.2006 / 04.2006 / 05.2006 / 06.2006 / 07.2006 / 09.2006 / 10.2006 / 12.2006 / 01.2007 / 02.2007 / 03.2007 / 09.2007 / 12.2007 / 02.2008 / 03.2008 / 04.2008 / 06.2008 / 08.2008 / 09.2008 / 06.2009 / 07.2009 / 06.2010 / 11.2010 / 12.2010 / 01.2011 / 05.2011 / 01.2012 / 02.2012 / 03.2012 / 09.2012 / 10.2012 / 11.2012 / 01.2013 / 11.2013 / 01.2014 / 02.2014 / 08.2014 / 01.2015 / 01.2016 / 05.2016 / 06.2016 / 01.2017 / 04.2017 / 07.2017 / 08.2017 / 11.2017 / 03.2018 / 07.2019 / 09.2019 / 01.2020 / 02.2020 / 10.2020 / 01.2021 / 05.2021 / 08.2021 / 01.2022 / 02.2022 / 03.2022 / 04.2022 / 05.2022 / 06.2022 / 02.2023 / 08.2023 /

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