Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Senders - "The Living End b/w No More Foolin'Me" (S.R.I. Records, 1978)

I know, writing someone's bio it's a good thing for people came last minute for the picture, but I’m not that good at it plus it bores me to death!
The good thing here is that i did an interview some months ago with Philippe Marcade of the Senders fame, telling more or less lot o' things for the band we're about to talk here. I guess it's a cool one so give it a chance if you haven't already.
The Senders may be the first and the best of all the roots rock & roll revivalists of the seventies. A tight as hell incarnation of the golden age of American R&B and rock & roll. They had a huge range of influences, from Little Richard and Chuck Berry to Howlin' Wolf and the Crazy Teens, resurrecting a music that at the time was totally forgotten. You can add them on the pub rock circuit if it ever existed such a movement for the west side of the Atlantic. If the one side of the coin were Dr. Feelgood, then the other for sure were the Senders. Not as speedy as their British comrades but in a way, an edgier approach of what was R&B, at least for them. Wild Bill is a hell of a guitarist, something of a 50s version of Johnny Thunders. Did I say Johnny Thunders? Well, Johnny wasn't just a friend that jumped in for a while, but a long time fan! Go figure, you're in a band and among your followers is Mr. Genzale himself! Not a bad credit for your CV, right?
I dig all of their stuff, the earlier naturally more, but the re-united versions were totally cool also and it’s a worthy adventure to try gather their entire recording output. What we got here is their self produced first release. And it's a BLAST if I must put it in a few words (well, one). BLOG TO COMM has a review of this with something I liked enough to adopt and use. On the above two-sider you can actually hear a "1959 version of Heartbreakers". Speaking the truth, that's exactly what you are going to hear on this. The sad similarity that the Senders shared with the Heartbreakers, was the heavy drug use and the tragic loss by some of their members. There's a new cool compilation out in the streets under the title of "Outrageous and Contagious". I didn't bought it yet cause I own the lot of the Senders discography, but I will, cause it has two cuts with JT on guitar and this alone hits me enough to make it mine. But it's a sure shot for the newbies. Check it out here.
Along with the Fleshtones, the Zantees and the Raunch Hands, NYC’s best kept secret!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Link Wray - "Link Wray" (Polydor, 1971)

Maybe Linkster got tired somewhere in the early 70s of the known rock n' roll sound helped created and tried something else. And "old" fans at the time were at least in a buzz with this. I always thought that the culprit behind this direction was God. He always was a religious person. I don't know why but he was. Don't get me wrong here, but i always "blamed" devil for Rock & Roll. You know blasts like "Rumble" or "Ace of Spades" CAN'T BE God's work... But who knows.
I learned via the great Swedish garage punkers, the Nomads, the apocalyptic, cataclysmic and in a way mystical "Fire & Brimstone" hymn. Almost instantly mumbled "i gotta find this" and in the short period of half a year finally this LP came to my ownership. It wasn't easy as it is now with the net, then. I'm not gonna tell you lies here. At first felt a strong disappointment. OK i was just 20 y.o. and all i wanted from Link was FUZZZZZZZZZZZZ. The fact that in this Wray era, musicians like Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead got involved in his works looked to me something of a blasphemy! I mean, what in the hell a stinky hippy looking for, in a studio with the punkster of them all? But that was then. This LP got a bluesy and country feeling, the way Stones adopt these genres and through their twisted view, created monolithic epics like "Beggars Banquet". "Rawhide" and "Jack the Ripper"'s spirits still here but with different guts and balls. Did you ever thought that acoustic guitars, mandolins or pianos may had the same dynamics as a pencil stabbed Fender amplifier? And believe me, they HAVE! The Swanee front sleeve wasn't there for no reason. All the blues Link felt as a kid growing up in the South are here. Listen to Willie Dixon's closing number, "Tail Dragger" and hear Link make hoodoo voodoo leaving behind Keith and Mick obviously in jealousy. That's not country rock. It's fuckin' ballsy rock n' roll disguised in melody and sorrow. I was foolin' around the net the other day and came across of the following piece on the reissue actually of this great and underrated record. Christopher's from BLOG TO COMM writings were always waaaayyyyy cool, and what's next is just a small sample of his brilliant "work"! Oh it's also definitely what i had in me mind for this long play, but i was unable to express it in a way so elegantly fluent as his! Thanks mate and sorry if i hadn't get your prove for using your words!

Self Titled 

"Ya wanna know why I actually bought a fresh copy of this Link Wray "comeback" album even though I could have listened to at least most of it if I had only bothered to search out that comp of Link's Polydor years wallowing somewhere in the collection? Well, if you're curious enough all you have to do is click here (WTS note : the last pic in this post), and if the answer doesn't strike you deader than Tim Yohannon then you just haven't been reading my obsessive/compulsive screeds regarding a certain underground groundswell of raw psychosis that I've been prattling on about these past twenty(thirty!)some years! And yes, even this far down the line I must admit that coming across hotcha references such as this 'un just goes to remind me as to what a real hotbed of under-the-gulcher punkism even the oft-loathed early-seventies were, and how in many ways the fifties originators and their music were just as important to the entire hard-edge as the up-and-comers blending all together even at that early stage in the game!

You probably would think this a Jesse Ed Davis album by the cover with Link playing up his American Indian roots to the hilt. No more pompadour and suit and tie here. I do wonder what the typical instrumental rock fan of the day'd have thought seeing this photo of Link...probably woulda believed the guy was going "hippie" with the new long locks and def. loose dress code, but if even the most hard-hearted rocker'd look beyond the updated "trappings" he'd easily enough see this album for what is it. Mainly a pretty durn good sublimely-high energy effort on par with the best garageisms of the early-seventies! It's loads better'n I remembered and if anything this platter, riff-drone and all, proves that maybe Patrick Carr was right with his comparisons twixt Wray's early-seventies act and a certain batch of En Why Icons goin' the opposite way on that train 'round the bend. And sure it ain't the Link Wray sound of the early-sixties but it ain't the James Taylor sound of the early-seventies either and if Wray had been a lot more weak-willed who knows what this longplayer might have ended up like! I shudder at the thought.

Surprisingly enough for a man who only had one lung, Wray sings on all of the tracks here sounding less ferocious than he did on those once-in-awhile vocals of yore, kinda like a real-life version of what Jagger was trying to project at the time with just enough Captain Beefheart thrown in at the right time to really make this sound deep-South voodoo (even on the way-above par Jesus numbers!). Come to think of it this album is pretty much everything the Rolling Stones were trying to ape with their rural trek to Muscle Shoals making me think they would have done better to stop at Wray's Shack instead. Really, this outdoes STICKY FINGERS on a whole load of levels and it ain't funny that people remember that 'un and sorta pass on this as merely another comeback effort.

Great backing band too...not exactly the Raymen in stature even if brother Doug is on drums but pleasant enough in its backwoods surge of electricity stylings which fits in with the swamp-punk utterances of Link and his various gear. The high-pitched background vocals are also the best heard since the Primitives, and the general rural underground feeling is only accentuated by Wray's bloozey playing on dobro which shoulda at least made this a running contender with TEENAGE HEAD for some sorta punkabilly romp of '71 award. Best thing of all is that every track's a winner perhaps because Wray does not fall into the dreaded relevancy trap of the day even when he does get heart to heart on "Ice People" (no cheap Leonard Jeffries references here!), which is more or less a commentary of isolation and alienation in the early-seventies and not a timely anti-war piece of fluff. I should know because this one still stands the test while the outright "meaningful" right-on hits of '71 were already seen as the jokes they were right around when 1973 clocked in. Trust me...I remember "One Tin Soldier" and "Things Get A Little Easier (Once You Understand)" so I know what hippie relevance pandering is!

The die-cut cover repro on this LIMITED EDITION (hurry up get one kiddoes!) is a nice touch if you go for that kinda stuff, but even if this came in a sleeve showing nothing but an up-close shot of each and every one of Dave Lang's beloved hemorrhoids LINK WRAY would be what I'd call all-important rock & roll listening, an especially welcome addition to any collection considering the rock dearth-y period it came outta. It's rare to come in contact with an album that never lets up with its hard-edged attack and the fact that it was a buncha rural middle-agers doing the retro-rural rock trip (some of 'em well pushing forty!) only adds more karmik brownie points to its inherent meaning. And best of all, this is not yet another nostalgia trip many would have thought Wray would have whipped up for some easy bucks but a downright real rock & roll CONTENDER, something we could have used a lot more of back in those wimpass times that's for sure!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Makin' Time - "Rhythm and Soul" (Countdown, 1985)

For many years I hated the term “mod revival”. It was too generic and too confusing. I mean, as ‘Mod Revivalists’ reported bands with so much different sound such as The Jam, The Style Council, Secret Affair, The Chords, The Prisoners or Makin’ Time. In a way the term was right, due to the fact that all these cats were stylistically serious mods. But the Jam for example were actually a punkier effort of the Kinks, Style Council a blue eyed soul duo with an eye lookin'to artists like Dusty Springfield (btw GODDESS!)or the Prisoners who owed their sound more to the many garage punk misfits of the other side of the Atlantic than their local heroes like the Action or the Creation… Hope you get what I’m trying to say here.I dig all of them but I was always a Stiff Records guy. And the Countdown label was funded by Stiff. With permuted attributes on this, Countdown records inherited with Stiff’s brilliant taste! Best examples two of my fave bands of the 80s, the Prisoners and Makin’ Time!Makin’ Time was the opposite of Prisoners. No filthy at all (I know this sounds like a handicap but wait a sec) but full of SOUL, both metaphorically and in reality. I read many times about them that on stage were RED HOT. I think they were red hot on studio, so this description must be poor for their gigs… If anyone of you people had the luck to catch them in their heyday, please comment.“Rhythm & Soul” was exactly what the title said. They sure were fanatics of the Northern Soul ‘scene’ and they sure assimilated those sounds the right way. No mere copyists here. They were good students also of their homeland’s great pop 60s tradition (Brian Auger must be a huge icon for them) with a little powder of psychedelia (the Arthur Lee / Love way). Add to all these the tailor made voice of Fay for these songs and her enormous organ sound (I’m no expert but I’m quite sure this gal played a Vox continental instead of a Hammond…), and you’ll have probably the more authentic rhythm & soul group of the sixties in the midst of the 80s.PS: Bass player Martin Blunt went to fame with The Charlatans. From the entire so called ‘Madchester’ scene the Charlatans were the ones that lasted more, putting out from great records to decent but without second thoughts, Makin’ Time were a better outfit.PS2: The great Ace/Big Beat label got out a FANTASTIC compilation of the band, with all of their Countdown recordings plus their second and for years disappeared long play, “No Lamps of Fat or Gristle Guaranteed”. You really need them! Check them here.

Rhythm and Soul!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Get Dorked! Volume1, Issue 1 - Buy it NOW!

Hey! Danny sent me this fine piece of paper and i tell you people it's an ass fire from start to finish!
The lost art of printing a 'zine found finally some true believers and holdovers! No shit! This pocket size black & white exploitation needs your support and believe me, these kids (Danny Dodge and Laura Svec) fuckin' deserve it! My copy says *3rd Pressing* which means automatically there's still hope in this world for rock n' roll printed matters! On the 1st issue of Get Dorked! you are able to find and dig articles on Ron Haydock, The Mummies, Chan Romero, Pebbles LP's plus a Mike McCarthy interview. Not bad for a first step, huh?
Oh! There's on the slips a 2nd issue ready, as my ruffians 'round the world just informed me and I'm pretty sure gonna be an even better publication! And LET THIS BE A WARNING:
"This zine has the very intention to make you bad. And if you're already bad? We're gonna make you worse! Life ain't no fun when ya play by the rules! I guarantee by the end of this zine, you'll be walkin to a whole new beat!"

Order your copy NOW!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Poppees - "The Bomp! Singles" (Bomp!, 1975 & 1978)

 I have bought recently a newly Bomp! issued compilation of the Poppees but i didn't have placed the small digital disc on the player for many days. What a dumb-ass! I have totally forgot how GREAT this band was! The Poppees definitely are members of the greats pantheon, up there with the Flamin' Groovies or the Big Star. In a time that someone liking early Beatles' work (the ones that actually really need your attention - i don't go much for the latter drugged fueled hippy recordings) was a crime, four New Yorkers tried their best to bring back vocal harmonies and beautiful guitar hooks.
Unfortunately all they ever did (officially), were those two Bomp! 7 inches. But these four sides were honestly some of the best musters on how pop minded rock n' roll (a.k.a. as power pop) has to be played. No wonder why Greg Shaw lost his mind hearing just once their first demo recording.
They had Craig Leon (not much later took place as the producer of the Ramones) and Cyril Jordan ( Flamin' Groovies six string arsenal throughout their existence) behind the board and Greg Shaw as a pusher but sadly nothing really happened. On the aforementioned comp. there are live recordings sawing a different direction that the Poppees tried for some time (the Heartbreakers influence is more than audible) but not much after this, they broke into two more (excellent again) bands, the Sorrows and the Boyfriends (both groups are to this day cult acts for power pop & punk fans). What we have here is their two singles on the legendary Bomp! label. Try these first and go get after their "Pop Goes the Anthology" CD.

PS: That's a piece that i found on garage punk forums. If what it says it's true, i can't wait for the proper release of it...
"A rare reel tape discovery in Los Angeles: the unreleased debut album of The Poppees. This 12-song tape includes 1 of the group's 2 singles on Bomp Records, "If She Cries." The songs are definitely performed by The Poppees and are not from their splinter period where they became the alternate group, The Boyfriends or later with the formation of The Sorrows.

The Poppees tape was found with a stack of other reel tapes, apparently from a radio station, which included rare material by: Yard Trauma; The Brood; The Boss Martians; and others.

The tape is being researched for transfer and release---30-plus years later after the original recordings. The Poppees performance is found original and sparkling; fans will find their 3-decade wait was not in vain.

Standout tracks include ”Somebody Loves You” and “You’d Never Leave.”

Andromeda International Records"

Friday, September 17, 2010

King Coleman - "Do the Mashed Potatoes" & "Loo-key Doo-key" (Dade Records,1959-60)

I had some days off and i was away (for good) from civilization for about a week. I just came in and rushed to check my emails and see what happened all these days. Well, King Coleman's gone. The funkiest man that walk on earth died a few days ago. I know, he wasn't young but for sure gonna be missed at least by me. Along with (obviously) James Brown and Rufus Thomas, was the Mr. "do the dance now". Well known to the more umbrage of the R&B fans, King Coleman left a legacy that's impossible today to be surpassed on how to do the "shimmy" or the "boogaloo". His first recording was with James Brown's band (the famous flames?) and labeled under the Nat Kendrick & the Swans, moniker. The myth says that James and the gang wrote the tune but due to recording contracts issues, the band put it on vinyl and King Co jump in to replace Mr. Dynamite. If you put more attention to the tune, you can actually hear also James Brown doing the backing vocals. Anyway, I'm sure the net got already obituaries and stories 'bout him. As i said before, i don't like obituaries at all. I don't wanna put the "It's Dance Time" compilation by Norton. I can only say that it's worth every dime you gonna spend on this. The most comprehensive if not the only one on the market. But I'll do post my favorite two King Coleman tunes. The one that started all ("Do the Mashed Potatoes") and the one that makes me feel alive ("Loo-key Doo-key"). A last goodbye to the last of the dance floor action pioneers!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Steve Hooker and Wilko Johnson - "Back in the Day" (Thousands Records, MCD 2005)

Everybody knows who Wilko Johnson is right? No? Well OK, for the few visitors of this space not knowing Wilko, think this. If Dr. Feelgood was the Stones, then Johnson is their Keef. I know it's a bit of blasphemy to say that Lee Brilleaux was their Jagger but don't know exactly how else should i start this piece. A Pretty Things type chap, that kicked started a whole generation to dig the blues. Alright, rhythm & blues and rock & roll, but in my head it's the same thing. Most people knowing him through the Feelgoods but the fans (and we 're a lot of them) worship this animal for all his other works. The Solid Senders, the Blockheads and countless one off shoots like the great single with Lew Lewis ("Bottle Up & Go!" - Thunderbolt THBE-001, 1983) or with Steve Hooker.
Who's Steve Hooker now, huh? A cool almost Johnny Thunder-esque (in his youth) bloke, with huge admiration for rock n' roll in general and especially... well everything. He played punk rock in the mid/late 70s with the Heat. A little later with the Shakers cool rock n' roll / rhythm n' blues and not much later rockabilly and soul... In the underground is a well known if not legendary figure. Chuck Berry and Johnny Thunders had him play. Not many lads in the music business did two of the three best in rock n' roll right (only Keith missed the chance)? If I'm right the colaboration with Wilko Johnson produced originally only a single for Line Records (LIMS 200010 E), back in 1988 and on the A-Side placed a great cover tune on the Rolling Stones "It's All Over Now" (bw/ "I Want to Talk To You" which sounds to these ears at least like a "So Alone" outtake!).
"Wilko has been a good buddy since the mid 70's - we shared a lot of stages and made a good little record together". Steve bumped into Johnny Thunders in Paris in the '80's, then jammed with him in London. "I'm sorry he isn't around anymore - it's not like we were best mates but I was fond of him - he wrote some great tunes. Chuck Berry was everything people say he's not - a professional, a gentleman - it was a privilege for The Shakers to tour with him. Boz Boorer is like the brother I never had - we never go for more that a few days without speaking, wherever we might be in the world. Robert Gordon is the greatest singer I ever stood on-stage with - he called me up for a couple of encores in 2002." In April this year, Robert chose Steve to be his support again for his gig at the 100 Club in London. "I respect all of these people - when you work with someone you got to give them some space, then you'll get along fine. I hope to work with another old friend - Flaco Jimenez (who played accordion with Ry Cooder) again sooner or later." - (Interview excerpt taken from
On the year 2005, Thousands Recs gathered all five songs the duo recorded, the two of the aforementioned single plus three more and here they are. The sad thing about this release is that no one gave a shit. I have killed many time and shoes to earth this up. Finally i got it and i tell you it's a shit kicker. A punky rhythm & blues short drink, well crafted and frantically played. Something like the early on Pretties if have lived and grow in late 70s  instead of the 60s. Sure shot. Lemme know your thoughts on this.

Back in the Day

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Red Devils - "King King" (Def American/This Way Up, 1992)

Don’t know yet if the Red Devils were a cult band or should be enrolled now with the ones with a legendary status. To tell you the truth I don’t know yet either, what evil force drive me to pick up their record many years ago. Cause it’s definitely a devil’s work and at the time didn’t know shit about them. It was one of these strange feelings that made me grab this little plastic thing. Maybe their name and the instant connection my brain made for my favorite football club but I’m sure I impressed also by the mic and the amp photo on the back.
Anyway, the Red Devils were one of the last (if not the last) white colored pure Chicago blues band, even though they came from L.A. A pure harmonica wailed tunnel back to the 60s and the legacy that’s left by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. You know, playing the blues it’s the same thing as to play punk rock. You don’t need really technical skills, but heart, guts and balls. Easily a dude like Joe Satriani can play these ancient licks, but believe me without the heart and the balls; the results will be at least pathetic. And that’s what we are talking about here. A band that got “it” for good. No fancy bullshit and no pale imitations here, sir.
Their one and only official release had the responsibility of Rick Rubin and his (then?) company, Def American. I think that Rick lost it over the years. He’s a master behind the board of course but money makes the world go round, so I really consider this live capture and Johnny Cash’s Def recordings as the last great offerings by him. By the way, the Red Devils backed the Man in Black in some sessions. Def American put this stuff a few years ago in a box under the title of “Unearthed”. And I tell you guys, they’re fucking haunting! Yeah, that’s the word. Haunting. But remind me talk about them later in a different post.
There’s also a mighty fine and well known bootleg (with many different sleeves) of the Devils doing Chicago classics having as vocalist some Mick Jagger. If you’re a Stone fanatic I’m sure you’ll know about already, but remind me again to talk on this later (I know, I already owe you two more Red Devils posts). This record made California looked like a big swampy land. Wail and sorrow it’s all over the place. Howlin’ Wolf’s “Mr. Highway Man”, Junior Wells “Cut that Out”, Little Walter’s “Quarter to Twelve” or Sonny Boy Williams’ “Cross Your Heart”, here breathing through a tough monster’s body. The great late Lester Butler (harmonica/vocals, 12 November 1959 - 10 May 1998) was sadly the last of the Mohawks. A force of nature destined to play the blues and blow an harmonica like no other. At least the last 20 years...but for one more time hedonism betrayed talent. So be it. This is the last truly great rhythm & blues record. I'm no blues expert, but i haven't listen to something like this since then and that's A LOT of time. So here's your chance. 
PS1: This in out of print record. That's not a reason for smart ass dicks to sell it for 60 bucks on eBay. I mean, for fucks sake this is a compact disc...
PS2: I can't measure on how much i do love the Blasters. Bill Bateman (drums) and Gene Taylor (piano) were of course Blasters' old members. And the first name of the Red Devils, was The Blue Shadows, just like the Blasters' same title song. If this detail didn't said something to you, well give up. 
King King