Thursday, January 17, 2013

Led Zeppelin "In The Morning" - unreleased track

Youdopia unearths an amazing find - a Led Zeppelin proto-song that was well on its way to become In The Light. From the Alternate Graffiti disc 1 set, this unreleased track just blows me away - at first and second listen, I'd rate it above In The Light itself. What a lovely track just to listen to and what a great adjunct to the final released track on the album Physical Graffiti (one of my favorite records).

Listen here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

T. Rex - January 1971, French TV Pro-shot

Dangerous Minds, which finds the coolest things, recently updug a clip from French TV of T. Rex playing as a three piece at the Taverne De L’Olympia in Paris in January 1971.

Marc Bolan's baby, Tyrannosaurus Rex, was a two-piece band with Marc on vocals and acoustic guitar and Steve 'Peregrin' Took on bongos, vocals, squeals, howls and Pixiphone. Singing mostly about elves, seals, Celts and the general milieu of Lord-of-the-Rings British landscape, the duo played hippie haunts as the quiet  antidote to the brain-burner bands like The Who and Jimi Hendrix. This worked, though Took's hippy outlook compared with Marc's all-encompassing ambition eventually caused friction and Took was out, replaced by the high cheekbones of Mickey Finn - who stepped up to congas as well as bongos and did less vocal theatrics.

The sound was more electric, too. With Took, Marc had recorded King of the Rumbling Spires, a loud rock track, and with Finn, he produced two albums filled with elves, landscapes, Celts and strangely incongruous guitar feedback and extended solos. (They were A Beard of Stars and, once they shortened the name, the album known as T. Rex.) No drums though, and they had producer Tony Visconti filling in on bass on the few occasions anyone deemed it necessary.

But Marc had always wanted to be a rocker - in the sense of Eddie Cochran. (Not in the sense of 'opposite of Mod' - he was definitely a Mod.) In October 1970, Marc's muse came through big time and he wrote and recorded a song that combined, yes, witches, landscapes etc., but also a slice of glorious danceable pop. This was Ride A White Swan, and once in place, the pop talent was not to desert him for several years. Realizing the sound needed to be fuller to support the heavy rock of Jewel, or Elemental Child, he brought on bassist Steve Currie in December 1970 - announced in the press on the 12th, in fact. And the trio toured as Ride A White Swan hit the charts

Marc's muse revisited quickly, and Hot Love was out and charting in February 1971. A drummer was brought in for the session - Bill Legend. But on TOTP, as Hot Love went to #1 in the UK charts, Mickey Finn played congas and the band was still formally a three piece. Bill Legend did not join the band permanently until March 1971.

The clip that Dangerous Minds found is from that tiny portion of T. Rex's life when the band was touring as a three piece (with Currie, but with no Legend), with Ride A White Swan in the repertoire in its stark contrast to the earlier electric efforts still being played in the same set. It's incredible that this little sliver of rock history was pro-shot, and the film survived.

Here it is.

 “Ride A White Swan”
 “Elemental Child”
 “Summertime Blues”

(For the picture at the top I used one from the same session as Dangerous Mind's picture, just in case there's any collectors out there who would like a second one!)

Edited for typos 01/14/2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wilko Johnson, Dr Feelgood - sad news

Sad news today that Wilko Johnson is terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. His manager says that he has chosen not to take chemotherapy and to enjoy the next few months of his life.

Dr. Feelgood was one of the bands that woke me up out of my dinosaur-loving placidity. There's only so much Led Zeppelin you can like before wanting a little bit more rough trade, so to speak, and Dr. Feelgood's  Pub Rock-epitomizing run in the mid to late seventies certainly provided that. There was no mistaking singer Lee Brilleaux's Canvey Island gangster roots or Wilko Johnson's astounding machine-gun rhythm guitar and blocked speedfreak gait. And the drummer was called The Big Figure. I mean.

In a tribute today, a friend on a newsgroup pointed to an appearance of Dr. Feelgood's on a 1975 Geordie TV program, which I'd never seen before. The audience was all in its post-glam baggies and Dr. Feelgood was all larger than life and sharp and hard and proto-punk. My parents wouldn't let me watch ITV, so this Tyne Tees programme was completely news to me when I heard it today.

Wilko sings!

Amazing stuff.

And for the second chorus of the last one, Route 66, does Lee Brilleaux really sing "Saint Bernard Hinault" instead of "San Bernardino"? It makes me love them all the more, as my way of judging a real English R&B band is by how many place names they mispronounce in Route 66. It means they learned it off the record rather than from a book on how to be hipsters.  (He has several guesses at "Flagstaff" as well.  Not having flag staffs in England, I suppose Blackstuff or Blackstop seems much more likely as a place name.)

Hope everything goes well for you, Wilko, and thanks for everything.

Friday, January 04, 2013

In a Broken Dream

Boing boing published a picture of  pythons to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Snake which reminded me of this.

It still sounds good after all these years. I was surprised to find that Rod Stewart was the only currently-famous person on it. For some reason I'd convinced myself that either Jeff Beck or one of the famous bass players of the period was on it, but according to Wikipedia, it was just the band + Rod the Mod.  It was recorded by John Peel and went unreleased until 1970 though I don't remember hearing until '72, when it was re-released and became a temporary favorite.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Dead Weather in Mexico, December 2012

Happy New Year!

The Dead Weather are together again. Of course they may not be playing music together, they could be just taking in local donkey shows, we don't know. But Third Man Records posted this picture to their instagram account.

It certainly seems to show Alison, Jack, LJ and Dean (as well as Lalo) hanging out in Mexico City and wishing us a happy new year.

I am *so* ready for some classic Dead Weather right now...


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