From the very first instant I received a CD release from the independent AltRock label from Milan, Italy, I have been increasingly impressed by the exceptional quality of their releases (see Yugen & Rock In Opposition posted on Saturday, October 30th, 2010). Indeed, the AltRock label appears to be increasingly the “go to label” for prog music lovers. The following four new releases which arrived in my mailbox only add to this label’s increasing appeal. Now, “Let’s hear it for a great Italian label…” Continue reading “AltRock Extravaganza – 2011”
Napoleon Murphy Brock’s physical CD, This Is What Frank Zappa Heard, recorded live at the Red Noodle in Waikiki, Hawaii on September 9th, 1973 gives an example of what Frank Zappa heard when he was looking for a lead singer for the Roxy band. Available from CDBaby for $19.00 (US). Listen to brief samples here.
Although Manassas only released two albums in their brief history as a band – the double album, Manassas, released on April 12th, 1972, and Down The Road on April 23rd, 1973 – the impact of these two albums is really quite undeniable. There are many who consider Manassas’ debut album somewhat of a masterpiece, and even though I wouldn’t go quite that far with that assumption, myself, Manassas were a very unique ensemble to say the least. As Stephen Stills comments in the above interview, he and his assembled musicians were able to accomplish a lot musically under the banner of Manassas. Continue reading “Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #23”
Having grown up on the Bible Belt of Western Canada where the only sources of musical entertainment for the longest time were the local Country & Western and adult easy listening radio stations, it’s hard to imagine such a place nurturing such a Zappa and Mothers freak as myself. That’s right, two stations on the AM dial. The rock music format did not even reach Northern Alberta until the mid-60s, and then, it was top 40 radio, and the usual repetitious one that so many are accustomed to with that particular format. FM radio wouldn’t even appear until the mid-70s. So, local record stores followed these top 40 stations as a guide on what to order, and likewise promoters on which touring acts to bring through town. Continue reading “Zappa & The Mothers – Does Geography and Media Influence Musical Tastes”
Usually, when most think of the Irish hard rock band, Thin Lizzy, formed in Dublin in 1969, songs like “Whiskey in the Jar”, “Jailbreak” and especially “The Boys Are Back in Town” come to mind. Not surprising since these songs are still staples of hard rock and classic rock stations. Yet, as a hard rock band, peculiarly enough, it wasn’t until their fifth album, Fighting, in 1975, and the advent of their twin guitar sound that they really began to achieve lasting success as a group, followed by their breakthrough album, Jailbreak, in 1976. Continue reading “Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #22”
While many focus on Frank Zappa, the composer, so very often Zappa, the songwriter, is overlooked. Perhaps due to the nature of Zappa’s lyrics, themselves, which often take direct aim at human sexuality, and sexual mores in 20th Century American culture – satirizing its norms, its values, its purported virtues of family, of home, of church. From the release of Freak Out onward, Zappa took direct aim with his songs, and his lyrics, at the foibles he saw and witnessed about him. No one and no thing was beyond the scope of his sardonic eyebrow. Continue reading “Cheaper the Better – Lyrically Zappa”
Back on Friday, March 28th, 2008 I published the post, Live Albums — Dead or Alive? in which I listed many of my favourite live albums: Zappa In New York (1978); Super Session (1968) with Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Stephen Stills; and Warren Zevon’s Stand In The Fire (1980/2007) just to name a few. Among them, though, was also an absolute favourite live album of mine which has long stood the test of time. That artist and album being John Mayall’s 1969 live release The Turning Point. Continue reading “Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #21”
Everyone has a secret musical pleasure. One of mine has been the music of Raging Slab. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a definite soft spot for southern rock. Perhaps what I like about Raging Slab is the unique manner in which they combine such seeming contrasting musical influences (punk, progressive, roots, metal, southern rock, country) to create their own sound. Continue reading “Raging Slab @ De Melkweg, Amsterdam, 1993”