Friday, April 4, 2008

Best minds of my generation grab bag

It´s grab bag time again, so it must be Friday. What songs shook my musical foundations this week? Let´s see... Almost looks like we´ve got a death theme of sorts this time, with two mini-tributes to guys who died on April 5, one to a drummer who passed away only recently and a great teenage tragedy song on top of that. "I looked at the sea and it seemed to say, I took your baby from you away... I heard a voice cryin' in the deep, come join me, baby, in my endless sleep". Dive in! Meanwhile, I´m in the kitchen. With the tombstone blues.

Let´s begin with some krautrock tonight. Kraftwerk never moved me to be honest, but I love bands like Can, Faust, Neu! and Amon Duul. There´s a full post on the German genre in the pipeline, so stay tuned. Here´s two tasters. Moonshake is as close as Can ever came to writing a bona fide popsong. It´s from their terrific Future Days album (Spoon ´73). "Let me free no more..." I learned yesterday that Klaus Dinger, revolutionary drummer for Kraftwerk and Neu!, died a few weeks back. Brian Eno once said that "there were three great beats in the 70´s. Fela Kuti's Afrobeat, James Brown's funk, and Klaus Dinger's Neu! beat." He was right of course. Negativland is from Neu!´s eponymous first album (Astralwerks ´72). Was Neu! ahead of its time? You bet.
Can - Moonshake MP3
Neu! - Negativland MP3

Here´s a small tribute to legendary beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who passed away on April 5, 1997. To refresh your minds, here´s how his most famous poem Howl starts: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night..." Oh yes. It´s lesser known that Ginsberg recorded a couple of songs with his pal Bob Dylan in ´71, to be released as Holy Soul & Jelly Roll on the Beatles´ Apple label. The album was shelved eventually, but most songs leaked out anyway, like the impressive September On Jessore Road. Ginsberg wasn´t much of a singer, but he sure played a mean harmonium.
Allen Ginsberg - September On Jessore Road MP3

Kurt Cobain died on April 5 as well, in ´94. I wish I could say exactly what I was doing when I heard the sad news, but alas: black hole. I do remember being shocked though. And I certainly recall seeing Nirvana live a few times. Something to impress my grandchildren with someday. "Grandpa shook hands with Dave Grohl once, kids..." Nirvana´s version of Lake Of Fire is from Unplugged In New York (Geffen), and you can find the Meat Puppets original on the must-have Meat Puppets II (SST records).
Nirvana - Lake Of Fire MP3
Meat Puppets - Lake Of Fire MP3

Cobain always was a big fan of the Melvins, that other band from Aberdeen, Washington. I saw their drummer Dale Crover do a soundcheck once and had a beep in my ears for days. Dale hits like Mike Tyson in his prime, no exaggeration. Boom, boom, boom. The undisputed gods of thunder are known for their slow, sludgy sound, but Black Bock (from Stag, Atlantic ´96) shows an unexpected poppy, almost psychedelic side to the band. All together now: "I cut the throat of a billygoat..." One day I´ll ask my barber for a King Buzzo haircut.
Melvins- Black Bock MP3

When you´re finished reading and downloading here, be sure to head over to the great Boogie Woogie Flu blog for an interesting piece on the dB´s, penned by none other than bandmember Will Rigby himself. Read all about Rigby meeting Chris Bell and Alex Chilton in Memphis, and listen to songs by Bell and Big Star. Some rarities there I promise. Good stuff!
The dB´s - Amplifier MP3

Let´s close tonight´s proceedings with a famous teenage tragedy by one hit wonder Jody Reynolds. Endless Sleep sold like hotcakes in ´59 and spawned a whole genre of songs about teenagers prematurely meeting their doom. I´ve got a great vinyl album with songs like these on Rhino records called Teenage Tragedies, which came with an appropriate tissue glued to the sleeve. Why was this never re-released on cd? Just use a smaller tissue, folks... In the meantime you can also find Endless Sleep on a cd with the same name on the Buffalo Bop label.
Jody Reynolds - Endless Sleep MP3

1 comment:

jonderneathica said...

Jody Reynolds also wrote "Fire of Love"! Great blog you got here.