Archive for August, 2010

Impact (Part One)

If you’re on Facebook, you may have come across a recent meme there which states simply:

15 albums that have had a big impact on me.
Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you’ve heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

Myself, Alex and Urbangraffito ended up posting our fifteen minutes of fame albums “that have had a big impact on us”, and thought it might make for interesting blog fodder. As first in a series, here’s my list – in no particular order, and annotated for good measure.

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Richie Hayward – In Memorium

Little Feat co-founder Richie Hayward has died after a long battle with liver disease earlier this month on August 12, 2010. He was 64.
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Gil Scott-Heron – Me and the Devil (2010)

I recall the first time I ever encountered the work of Gil Scott-Heron, I was in my mid teens and I had just borrowed a load of records, among them his 1971 release, Pieces of a Man from the public library on a whim (I had never heard of him before). I did that a lot back then – borrow whole batches of vinyl records during the summer vacation and listen to albums all week long. When I got home and slipped Pieces of a Man onto the turntable for the first time, Gil Scott-Heron blew my mind, especially with spoken word and vocal jazz tracks like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” and “Lady Day & John Coltrane” (all video clips below) to name just a few.
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Heavy Metal Britannia

Any metalheads in the audience? Oh there you are. Check out this wonderful BBC4 documentary on the rise (and fall?) of British Heavy Metal music, which aired on March 5th, 2010. Part One:

Continued: 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Now pardon me as I’m off to run to the hills in a slightly paranoid fashion, you sweet child in time you.

Polygon Head Plays The Black Page #1

So, you’re interested in learning to play The Black Page #1 on guitar? Check out this video from Polygon Head, angrily shake your fist at the guitar gods, and go back to your Neil Young Harvest songbook (that’s what I did):

Hat tip: Joe Williamson

Some Nostalgia For The Old Folks…

As a long time fan of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the names of particular musicians have threaded through much of the music I have listened to and collected throughout the years. Names such as Andy Cahan, Lawrence ‘Stash’ Wagner, and Tom Leavey. Together and separately, through compositions and through associations (sometimes as members and as contributors) they formed links with such bands as Frank Zappa & The Mothers, Lowell George & The Factory, Little Feat, and Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, and Geronimo Black.
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Who IS The REAL Frank Zappa, Anyway?

Sometimes I am quite delighted to discover a fan-made Frank Zappa video like the one posted above. It reinforces my belief that the future of FZ’s public image is in the right hands: creative, open-minded, technology embracing hands. This is how I always envisioned Zappa’s legacy being spread.
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Captain Beefheart Symposium

Captain Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas will conduct a Beefheart Symposium at The Magic Room, Brighton, MA, on Friday Sept. 10th:

Gary Lucas, who has been called “a modern guitar miracle” (Rolling Stone), “The Thinking Man’s Guitar Hero” (The New Yorker) and “One of the 100 Greatest Living Guitarists” will give a lecture and musical demonstration devoted to his mentor and childhood hero Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart.

Gary will show rare video footage of the man and the band, delve into his complex artistic oeuvre as both a composer — by performing some of his fiendishly difficult solo guitar compositions live — and as a painter by showing slides of his formidable paintings and drawings.

Funny little note at the end: “No one under 18 years old will be admitted.”

Defending Zappa?

In my youth, I felt like I had an easier time introducing my friends to Zappa. I used to simply play “Bobby Brown Goes Down,” because when you’re 14 or 15 years old, it’s the funniest thing you could possibly hear. It had swear words in it, he was making fun of the jocks we all collectively hated, and it was catchy as Hell! Similar cases could be made for other tunes like “Stick It Out,” “Catholic Girls,” and “Jewish Princess.”
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KUR’s 2nd Annual Virtual Zappanale Mix

Welcome to KUR’s 2nd Annual Virtual Zappanale Mix for August 2010. For those of us who cannot make it to this year’s festival in Bad Doberan, I have compiled an eclectic mix of some of my favorite FZ covers by well known alumni – and some other not so well known. On this virtual stage, time and space does not matter as acts appear fresh from 1969, while others are temporarily brought back from the hereafter for just one more kick at the can, so to speak, all together in one mix. Of course, I’d love to be there in Bad Doberan, and perhaps I will go there one day, myself. Until then, enjoy the music of the maestro. And the spirit of the Mothers…

Click here to listen to the mixtape.

Note: my sincerest appreciation and thanks to Andrew Greenaway and MagicFingers for their assistance in the compiling of this mixtape.