Friday, September 29, 2006

Oldies But Goodies

A fantastic old scratchy Melodisc LP from Brick Lane market I found many years ago. It has the most wrong sleeve ever as all the song titles are mixed up and the label on the disc itself is Side One on BOTH sides! So I had to listen to the lyrics to get the titles but some of the instrumentals might be wrong? Anyway all the songs are from the 60's when Ska was at it's height in Jamaica and one can clearly hear the influence of New Orleans and American rythym and blues and jazz here.

"Ska Music originated in Jamaica as a result of Jamaican musicians adopting and personalising many different forms of American music. By the early 1950's Jamaican bands were taking inspiration from American artists and forming bands like Eric Deans Orchestra featuring the talents of trombonist Don Drummond and guitarist Ernest Ranglin. By the end of the 1950's, jazz, r&b, and mento (a style of calypso) influences were merged into a new style called Shuffle. Shuffle gained popularity through the works of such greats as Neville Esson, Owen Grey, The Overtakers, and The Matador Allstars.
In 1962, a time when Jamaica was copying the musical style of America, Cecil Bustamente Campbell, later known as Prince Buster, knew that something new was needed. He had his guitarist Jah Jerry emphasize the offbeat instead of the downbeat. To the present day, the offbeat is essential to Jamaican music styles. Ska Music was born.

Despite the primitive mono recording facilities, it was the determination of the ska enthusiasts which enabled ska to become the first truly commercial Jamaican Music. In fact, the ska was later named the national dance and music of Jamaica.

In the 1970's the Rude Boy ideals were revitalized and expressed in the fusion of reggae and punk by bands such as The Clash (Rudie Can't Fail). In the mid to late 1970's, bands such as The Coventry Automatics chose to use ska instead of reggae because, according to Jerry Dammers, it was easier. The Coventry Automatics later became The Automatics then The Specials AKA The Automatics, then The Special AKA, then The Specials."

The Folks Bothers - Oh Carolina

Buster Allstars - Down Beat Burial

Winston & Errol - Fay Is Gone

Jamaica Greatest - It's Burke's Law

The Prince - Feel Up

The Flames - Helena Darling

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

The Real Bahamas

An LP on the Nonesuch label from 1965. Field recordings made by Peter K. Siegel and Jody Stecher. Some fine spirituals and folk oriented gospel by the Pindar Family, Same Greene, Frederick McQueen etc. I have chosen tracks featuring Joseph Spence, the renowned Bahamian guitarist who I first heard when Ry Cooder played some of his favourite records on a radio show back in the 70's.

Here's what Wikipedia says about him-

"Joseph Spence (born August, 1910 in Andros, Bahamas - died March 18, 1984 in Nassau, Bahamas) was a Bahamanian guitarist, singer and blues musician. He is well known for his vocalizations and humming while performing on guitar. Several modern folk, blues and jazz musicians, including Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, Woody Mann and John Renbourn were influenced by and have recorded variations of his arrangements of gospel and Bahamanian pop tunes. The earliest recordings of Joseph Spence were field recordings by folk musicologists such as Sam Charters. Nearly all of the recorded songs are in a Drop D tuning, where the sixth string is tuned to a low D rather than E, so that the guitar sounds, from sixth to first D A D G B E. The power of his playing derives from moving bass lines and interior voices and a driving beat that he emphasizes with foot tapping. To this mix he adds blues coloration and calypso rhythms to achieve a unique and easily identifiable sound. He has been called the folk guitarist's Thelonious Monk."

Pindar Family & Joseph Spence - We Will Understand It Better By & By

Joseph Spence - Don't Take Everybody To Be Your Friend

Joseph & Louise Spence - Won't That Be A Happy Time

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Max Bacon

"Max was the larger-than-life drummer with the Ambrose Orchestra for many years, who also had a unique Jewish-style humour. Prior to joining Ambrose in late 1927, he had been with Leon van Straten's band in 1926 and also was briefly with Fred Elizalde's band (which seems to be made up of Ambrose musicians) and Al Starita's Kit-Cat band (probably a temporary substitute for Eric Little). He was a regular member of Ronnie Munro's band which recorded for Parlophone and Imperial from 1926 to 1929, and also with Arthur Lally's band at Decca in the early 1930s. His stint with Ambrose lasted until 1940 and his wry comments may be heard on a number of comedy titles, including the famous number "Cohen the Crooner (The Crosby of Mile-End)" which is extant on film. On leaving Ambrose, Max went into variety, and also acting, taking small parts in films and television shows."

These two tracks were sent on a cassette from a chap who dubbed them from old 78's using the "oil" method, whatever that means. He said it made for smooth running of the needle through the grooves of scratchy old wax discs. This style of crazy jewish humour reminds me of Stanley Unwin and his nonsense language.

Max Bacon - William T-Hell

Max Bacon - Little Red Hooding Ride

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Vote for old posts!

A Flickr DJ

Here's a chance to vote for your favourite posts again or any you may have missed in the past. Just leave the name of the post or the artist in the comments. Cheers!

Warren Smith

Part of one side of an LP on the Harvest label that came out in 1978. A concert at the Rainbow Theatre in London U.K. on April 30th 1977. Four Rock'n Roll legends including Charlie Feathers, Buddy Knox and Jack Scott. Here are the 4 tracks by Warren Smith-

1. Ubangi Stomp
2. Rock 'n' Roll Ruby
3. Blue Suede Shoes
4. I'm Movin' On

The sleevenotes by Geoff Barker say-

" Warren Smith is rightly introduced on the record as "The guy we've waited twenty years to see". Born in Mississippi in 1933, he was one of the many young rockabilly singers recorded by Sam Philips In Memphis, Tennessee for his legendary Sun record label. While the labels stars ( Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash) were making it in a big way, there were a host of others laying down some equally innovative recordings. Warren Smith's first single issude in March 1956, was a Johnny Cash song - Rock 'N' Roll Ruby. This sold well around the Memphis area, and the follow-up Ubangi Stomp became a rockabilly standard, first coming to the attention of Britsih audiences via Jerry Lee Lewis's first album."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lonnie Donegan

Another EP by Donegan that I found at the weekend for 25 pence. Recordings form the Festival Hall Jazz Concert of 1954 and in the studio at around the same time with Chris Barber (Bass), Beryl Bryden (Washboard) and Pat Halcox (Piano).

"He formed his own group, the Tony Donegan Jazz Band, in 1952. They were successful enough that the National Jazz Federation asked the band to play a show at Festival Hall with American ragtime pianist Ralph Sutton and blues/jazz legend Lonnie Johnson. The Federation had brought to the two over to England in defiance of a Musicians' Union ban on all foreign performers and needed a non-union band like Donegan's to play support for the two guests. The master of ceremonies at the show made a mistake in his announcement, introducing the American guitarist as "Tony Johnson" and the British banjo man as "Lonnie Donegan." The name stuck.

Donegan and his band eventually hooked back up with his old friend Chris Barber, who'd kept his band going throughout the previous two years, and eventually Barber and Donegan linked up with fellow jazzman Ken Colyer, into a kind of supergroup led by Colyer. The Ken Colyer Jazzmen, as they were called, specialized in Dixieland jazz, and built a formidible reputation, their shows popular in every club they played. It was during these shows, between sets by the full band, that Donegan would come on stage with two other players and perform his own version of American blues, country, and folk standards, punched up with his own rhythms and accents, on acoustic guitar or banjo, backed by upright bass and drums. The name "skiffle" was hung on this music as a way of referring to it on the group's posters. The word, according to Donegan, was suggested by Ken Colyer's brother Bill, who remembered an outfit called the Dan Burley Skiffle Group, based in Chicago in the 1930's. It seemed to fit, and it caught on; the Ken Colyer Jazzmen became almost as popular for Donegan's between-set skiffle songs as they were for their Dixieland music. "

Here's a previous post about Lonnie Donegan - SWAPATORIUM: Lonnie Donegan Showcase

Lonnie Donegan - Diggin' My Potatoes

Lonnie Donegan - John Henry

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Burl Ives

Another found today in the same box as the Zillertaler Trio. Burl Ive's childrens songs were regularly played on the BBC's "Childrens Favourites" radio show of the 50's and 60's especially songs like There was An Old Lady and Blue Tail Fly etc.
This MFP LP was released in the 70's I would imagine. No date on the sleeve.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about him-

"Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (14 June 1909 – 14 April 1995) was an acclaimed American folk music singer, author and actor.
Born near Hunt City in Jasper County, Illinois, Ives is probably best remembered for his music. He dropped out of college to travel about as an itinerant singer during the early 1930s, earning his way by doing odd jobs and playing his banjo. He was jailed in Mona, Utah, for singing “Foggy Foggy Dew”, which the authorities decided was a bawdy song.
Ives from 1927 to 1929 attended Eastern Illinois State Teachers College in Charleston (now Eastern Illinois University), where he played football. During college he was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He dropped out of college because of poor grades and in 1930 landed on WBOW radio in Terre Haute, Indiana.
In 1940 Ives began his own radio show, titled The Wayfaring Stranger after one of his popular ballads. The show was very popular, and in 1946 Ives was cast as a singing cowboy in the film Smoky. His first book, The Wayfaring Stranger, was published in 1948.
Other movie credits include East of Eden (1955); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958); The Big Country (1958), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor; and Our Man in Havana (1959), based on the Graham Greene novel.
In the 1940s Ives popularized several traditional folk songs, such as “Lavender Blue” (his first hit, a folk song from the 17th century), “Foggy Foggy Dew” (an English/Irish folk song), “Blue Tail Fly” (an old Civil War tune) and “Big Rock Candy Mountain” (an old hobo ditty)."

Read more about Burl Ives HERE.

Burl Ives - Whistling Rabbit

Burl Ives - Riddle Song

Burl Ives - The Man On The Flying Trapeze

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Zillertaler Trio

An EP of uncertain date found at car boot sale today just before the thunderstorm. I presume it's a German record as the label is printed in Germany. I was hoping for some yodelling and sure enough there is some. I have no idea what they are singing about but assume its about milk-maids and the joys of the mountains, leather shorts and the healthy outdoor life.
Perhaps a kind German person can enlighten us?

Zillertaler Trio - Im Zillertal Drinnen

Zillertaler Trio - Zwisch'n Zwoa Berg Im Tal

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Fezcast 2

Big Al Davies spins a few of his favourite tracks but keeps a low profile this time. Tunes from Sandie Shaw, Ivor Cutler, Ukelele Orchestra Of Great Britain, Loudon Wainwright III, Rolf Harris, Paul Giovanni and Magnet and Claude Vasori - not particularly in that order.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Chicken Rock

No excuses for featuring this track again. One of my favourite "chicken songs". I saw this LP on Brick Lane market many years ago and imagined it was all songs about chickens! Sadly this was the only one but later I was able to make up my own cassette tape comp. of Chicken Songs to annoy my friends with. The title track is my Fat "Daddy" Holmes.

Here are some other rockabilly tunes from the same LP.

The Beaumarks - Rockin' Blues

The Champs - Roots

Scottie Stuart - Little Rocker

Carl Bonafede & The Gem Tones - Story That's True

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Tom Lehrer

One of three Tom Lehrer I have found cheaply but this is the cheapest as it was absolutley free - sent in the post by a kind lady who didn't have a record player and so thought I might like it! It's full of great songs- all very short and very funny.

Here's what Wikipedia says about him-

"As an undergraduate student at Harvard University, he began to write comic songs to entertain his friends, including "Fight Fiercely, Harvard" (1945). Those songs later became (in a joking reference to a leading scientific journal) The Physical Revue. Influenced mainly by musical theater, his style consisted of parodying the then-current forms of popular song. For example, his appreciation of list songs led him to set the names of the chemical elements to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Major General's Song".
Inspired by the success of his performances of his songs, he paid for some studio time to record an album, Songs by Tom Lehrer, which he sold by mail order. Self-published and unpromoted, the album, which included the macabre ("I Hold Your Hand In Mine"), the mildly risqué ("Be Prepared"), and the mathematical ("Lobachevsky"), became a success via word of mouth. With a cult hit, he embarked on a series of concert tours and released a second album, which came in two versions: the songs were the same but More Songs by Tom Lehrer was studio-recorded, while An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer was recorded live in concert.
By the early 1960s Lehrer had retired from touring (which he intensely disliked) and was employed as the resident songwriter for the US edition of That Was The Week That Was (TW3), a satirical TV show. An increased proportion of his output became overtly political, or at least topical, on subjects such as pollution ("Pollution"), Vatican II ("The Vatican Rag"), race relations ("National Brotherhood Week"), American militarism ("Send the Marines") and nuclear proliferation ("Who's Next?" and "We Will All Go Together When We Go"). He also wrote a song which satirized the alleged amorality of Wernher von Braun. A selection of these songs was released in the album That Was The Year That Was."

Find out more about Tom Lehrer HERE.

Tom Lehrer - The Old Dope Peddler

Tom Lehrer - Be Prepared

Tom Lehrer - The Wild West

Tom Lehrer - I Wanna Go Back To Dixie

Tom Lehrer - Fight Fiercely, Harvard

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Will Fyffe

This LP on the World Record label is a compilation of songs by the scottish comedian Will Fyffe which I always get mixed up with Sir Harry Lauder. Mostly from the late 20's and early 30's.

"He started his career in childhood touring with his father's dramatic company and made his debut as Little Willie in East Lynne.
At 15 he played Polonius in Shakespeares Hamlet. He then moved to the Music Halls doing sketches featuring Scottish characters many of which were recorded on to 78 rpm records. He appeared at the London Pavilion in 1921 and also appeared in a number of films during the 1930's.

He was presented with the C.B.E. for entertaining the troops during World War 2. He is best known for his recording of "I Belong To Glasgow" but made many other fine recordings demonstrating that he had an excellent singing voice and in my opinion was a superior entertainer to the better known Sir Harry Lauder."

Will Fyffe - I'm 94 Today

Will Fyffe - He's Been On The Bottle Since A Baby

Will Fyffe - The Railway Man

These SEndSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Fiddler's Dram

Another LP from the bootsale on Sunday. Their one and only hit "A Day Trip To Bangor" has surfaced on a couple of folk/novelty compilations and I was keen to see what else they had done. Mostly ordinairy folk rock from the 70's that reminds me of Steeleye Span and The Yetties etc.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about them-

"Fiddler's Dram were a British folk band of the late 1970s. They were mainly known for their hit single Day Trip to Bangor (1979), although the sound of this record was not representative of the acoustic songs and tunes they had been performing for several years at folk clubs and festivals.
The members of Fiddler's Dram were:
Cathy Lesurf - vocals, bodhran
Alan Prosser - guitar, fiddle, bowed psaltery, bones
Chris Taylor - bouzouki, harmonica, appalachian dulcimer, mandola, tenor banjo
Ian Telfer - fiddle, bowed psaltery

They met at the University of Kent at Canterbury and were residents at Duke's Folk Club in Whitstable. With other club members including John Jones and Ian Kearey, they formed the Oyster Ceilidh Band c.1976, with Cathy Lesurf singing and later assuming the role of caller at dances.
Bassoon-player Will Ward had joined the Oyster Ceilidh Band by 1978, and became the fifth member of Fiddler's Dram on their eponymous second LP, recorded hurriedly to follow up on their unexpected success in the singles chart. The band were unable to achieve subsequent success however - in the words of Ian Telfer Day Trip To Bangor was "the kind of success you don't easily recover from. Fiddler's Dram did one more tour then gratefully took the money (and the gold discs) and ran".
Day Trip To Bangor was actually inspired after a day trip to Rhyl (a seaside resort 35 miles east of Bangor, North Wales), but because Bangor had an extra syllable and slipped off the tongue easier it was used ahead of Rhyl. This caused an outcry from Councillors and businesses in Rhyl who complained that the publicity would have boosted the resort's tourist ecomony.
The Oyster Ceilidh Band continued as both a dance and concert band however, changing their name c.1982 to Oysterband. Cathy Lesurf subsequently left the Oysters for a spell with the Albion Band."

Fiddler's Dram - Mama's Ill

Fiddler's Dram - Johnny John

Fiddler's Dram - Fedora

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wavy Gravy

Evil Alien Diary
A short segment of a cassette some kind person sent me a few years back called "Wavy Gravy". Not sure if this was an official release or not. Can't find any record of it. probably a limited edition on obscure record label. Seems to be lots of garage bands mixed with old shlock film trailers.

Tracks are-

1. Bo Diddley - The Juveniles
2. Hambone Hunter - Ho Ho laughing Monster
3. The Motions - Bacon Fat
4. Igor & The Maniacs - Bumble Bee '65
5. Moses Longpeice - The Big Green

You can find it HERE.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

George Formby

George Formby's Crazy Record Parts 1 & 2

Delighted to find a boxed set of George Formby LP's on the World Record label yesterday at a boot sale for a pound! Four records in the set with songs from his stage shows and all his hits like "Leaning On A Lamppost", "Mr. Wu's A Window Cleaner" and many others. Also more obscure songs which I've uploaded here.

"Musical comedian George Formby was among Britain's most popular stars during the first half of the 20th century, with a legacy encompassing over 200 records and more than 20 hit films. Born George Hoy Booth on May 26, 1904 in Lancashire, England, he was the son of George Formby, Sr., himself a popular Edwardian music hall comedian. The younger Formby first worked as an apprentice jockey, but his father's sudden death in 1921 prompted him to pursue his own career as a performer; he initially worked under his given name, but later adopted his father's nom-de-stage following his marriage to dancer Beryl Ingham, who soon took over the reins of her husband's career. Initially, Formby attempted to approximate his father's act, but with little success; the chance acquisition of a banjo ukelele proved the key to establishing his own stage persona, and in light of audiences' enthusiastic reactions to his idosyncratic, self-taught playing style, the instrument was never again far from his side.

With his toothy grin and goofy personality, Formby was dubbed "the beloved imbecile" by pundits; after earning a loyal following among music hall denizens, he scored a major pop hit with 1932's "Chinese Blues," which when renamed "Chinese Laundry Blues" became his signature song for the duration of his career. Two years later Formby made his first film, Boots! Boots!; the picture was a smash, and he swiftly contracted to make 11 more films for Ealing Studios. Over the course of movies like 1935's No Limit, 1937's Feather Your Nest and 1938's It's in the Air, he became Britain's biggest star, earning an estimated £100,000 a year; his films also continued to provide him with a wealth of saucy hit records, including "The Window Cleaner," "Fanlight Fanny," "Riding in the T.T. Races" and the Noel Gay-penned "Leaning on a Lamp Post," perhaps his most popular song."

Discover more about George Formby HERE.

George Formby - I'm The Ukelele Man

George Formby - Have You Ever Heard This One?

George Formby - Wunga Bunga Boo

George Formby - I Can Tell It By My Horoscope

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Screaming Lord Sutch

Dracula's Daughter by Screaming Lord Sutch and The Savages.

"Although he was never a major pop player in the 60s - he was always more famous for being famous - Screaming Lord Sutch's band The Savages included Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore. Sutch plundered his act wholesale from Screaming Jay Hawkins and added a dash of Hammer horror; Blackmore often recalled the indignity of being a serious muso, standing in a West london pub dressed only in a loincloth, trying to keep his mind on playing as Sutch emerged from a coffin and advanced on him with a blood-dripping dagger drawn.

He also teamed up with Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Blackmore and others on the 1969 album 'Screaming Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends', which was a pretty dire record, though his early 60s horrorshow rock pre-dated Alice Cooper, The Damned, Marilyn Manson and any number of goth bands by years. But it is as a 'political buffoon' that he will be best remembered."

Discover more about Screaming Lord Sutch HERE.

Fezcast from Big Al Davies

Llanbradach's finest singer/songwriter plays a few records at home. A mini-podcast full of novelty and wonder.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Letta Mbulu

Letta Mbulu
A unusual choice for the Tamla Motown label back in 1970 when the idea of "World Music" and WOMAD etc. would have to wait another fifteen years to become popular. I prefer the township songs here on a record produced by Hugh Masekela ( who also plays trumpet) - the soul tracks seem rather dull by comparison.

This is what Douglas Payne has to say about her-

"Letta Mbulu (pronounced "let-ah" "em-boo-loo") was born and raised in Soweto, South Africa.

Still in her teens, Letta began touring outside of Africa with the musical "King Kong," which ran for a year in England following a highly successful two-year run in South Africa. When the tour ended, she returned to South Africa but soon the policies of Apartheid were to force her to leave her native land for the U.S.A
She arrived in the United States in 1965 and quickly befriended such fellow South African exiles in New York City as Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa - all alumni of the "King King" musical. Performances at New York's famed Village Gate club began to attract attention to her talents, particularly from jazz legend Cannonball Adderley, who invited her to tour with him (which she did throughout the remainder of the decade).

Letta Mbulu also displayed an early gift for writing joyful, memorable songs. These were showcased by no less an authority than Miriam Makeba on the singer's albums THE MAGNIFICENT MIRIAM MAKEBA ("Akana Nkomo"), ALL ABOUT MIRIAM ("U Shaka," "Jol'inkomo") and MAKEBA ("U-Mngoma," "Magwala Ndini").

Letta first made herself heard on records as part of Letta and the Safaris, a group featuring husband Caiphus Semenya and the South African husband and wife team of Jonas and Mamsie Gwangwa. A single, "Walkin' Around" was issued in 1966 by Columbia Records (home at the time to Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkle), but lack of publicity failed to garner much attention to the clever little R&B swinger.

Letta and Caiphus soon relocated to the West Coast, joining Hugh Masekela, who became a fixture of the California concert and recording scene. While there, producer David Axelrod fell under Letta's spell and had her signed to Capitol Records - home at the time to both the Beatles and the Beach Boys and where Axelrod himself was scoring big hits for Lou Rawls and Cannonball Adderley."

Letta Mbulu - Macongo

Letta Mbulu - Qonqoza (Knock)

Letta Mbulu - Use Mncane (Little One)

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Oh! What A Carry On

A record on the MFP label from the late 70's featuring songs not in the films but by some of the artists who took part in them over the years.

1. Be My Girl - Jim Dale
2. You Need Feet - Bernard Bresslaw
3. On Mother Kelly's Doorstep - Barbara Windsor
4. It's Alright With Me - Frankie Howard

"Possibly more than any other, the Carry On series of films typify the very essence of British comedy. They are, without doubt, the most enduring and endearing offspring of British cinema. From their debut in 1958 through to the present day, the mention of the words "Carry On" bring to mind images of saucy humour, larger than life characters and riotous slapstick. There are very few people in their home country, if not elsewhere, who haven't seen at least one of the 31 Carry On films, let alone the subsequent stage shows and television series.

The humour of the Carry Ons, while far from unique, is presented with such flair that when one thinks of the typical British comedy, the words "Carry On" immediately spring to mind. While remaining at all times highly suggestive, it never veered towards the obscene. The jokes and situations, while full of sexual innuendo and deliberately raised eyebrows, retain an innocence not found anywhere else. Great emphasis was placed on the double entendre and the dirty laugh, but overt sexuality and coarse language were always shunned."

Discover more about the Carry On films HERE.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Captain Beefheart

Not strictly a boot sale find but a very old and scratchy record I played to death back in 1970 when this first appeared on Frank Zappa's STRAIGHT label. Not quite up to the quirkiness and inspired daftness of Trout Mask Replica which was released two years previously and the Captain's finest hour ( and a bit ).

Biography by Jason Ankeny
"Born Don Vliet, Captain Beefheart was one of modern music's true innovators. The owner of a remarkable four-and-one-half octave vocal range, he employed idiosyncratic rhythms, absurdist lyrics and an unholy alliance of free jazz, Delta blues, latter-day classical music and rock & roll to create a singular body of work virtually unrivalled in its daring and fluid creativity. While he never came even remotely close to mainstream success, Beefheart's impact was incalculable, and his fingerprints were all over punk, new wave and post-rock.

Don Vliet was born January 15, 1941 in Glendale, California (he changed his name to Van Vliet in the early '60s). At the age of four, his artwork brought him to the attention of Portuguese sculptor Augustinio Rodriguez, and Vliet was declared a child prodigy. In 1954, he was offered a scholarship to study in Europe; his parents declined the proposal, however, and the family instead moved to the Mojave Desert, where the teen was befriended by a young Frank Zappa. In time Vliet taught himself saxophone and harmonica, and joined a pair of local R&B groups, the Omens and the Blackouts.

After a semester at college, he and Zappa moved to Cucamonga, California, where they planned to shoot a film, Captain Beefheart Meets the Grunt People. As the project remained in limbo, Zappa finally moved to Los Angeles, where he founded the Mothers of Invention; Van Vliet later returned to the Mojave area, adopted the Beefheart name and formed the first lineup of his backing group the Magic Band with guitarists Alex St. Clair and Doug Moon, bassist Jerry Handley and drummer Paul Blakely in 1964.

In their original incarnation, the Magic Band were a blues-rock outfit who became staples of the teen-dance circuit; they quickly signed to A&M Records, where the success of the single "Diddy Wah Diddy" earned them the opportunity to record a full-length album. Comprised of Van Vliet compositions like "Frying Pan," "Electricity" and "Zig Zag Wanderer," label president Jerry Moss rejected the completed record as "too negative," and a crushed Beefheart went into seclusion. After replacing Moon and Blakely with guitarist Antennae Jimmy Semens (born Jeff Cotton) and drummer John "Drumbo" French, the group (fleshed out by guitarist Ry Cooder) recut the songs in 1967 as Safe as Milk.

After producer Bob Krasnow radically remixed 1968's hallucinatory Strictly Personal without Beefheart's approval, he again retired. At the same time, however, Zappa formed his own , Straight Records, and he soon approached Van Vliet with the promise of complete creative control; a deal was struck and after writing 28 songs in a nine-hour frenzy, Beefheart formed the definitive lineup of the Magic Band -- made up of Semens, Drumbo, guitarist Zoot Horn Rollo (born Bill Harkleroad), bassist Rockette Morton (Mark Boston) and bass clarinetist the Mascara Snake (Victor Fleming) -- to record the seminal 1969 double album Trout Mask Replica."

Tracks are-

1. Lick My Decals Off Baby
2. Doctor dark
3. I love You, You Big Dummy
4. Peon
5. Bellerin' Plain

Discover more about Capatin Beefheart HERE.

Far East Fantasy

Or to give it's full title "Far East Fantasy In Latin Dance Rhythm" found yesterday at a boot sale for 50 pence. On the 49th State label and made in Hawaii by the All Star Ortchestra, whoever they might be. The sleeve notes don't really tell us but here is a small segment -

" These best loved melodies from Japan, China, Okinawa, Korea, the Philippines and Malaya, are set in the Latin tempo and rhythm that makes them a blend of the East and Latin America. At long last the waves of the Pacific Ocean have done their work of intermingling the music of various peoples.

Recorded in full fidelity sound, these songs will soon be haunting your memory, as snatches keep coming to mind unconsciously. Listen or dance to these beautiful melodies of the Far East."

All Star Orchestra - Shina No Yoru (rhumba) - Japan

All Star Orchestra - Holi Chin Sai Lai (cha cha cha) - China

All Star Orchestra - Ginza Kan Kan Musume (rock 'n' roll mambo) - Japan

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Skatalites

Actually not a second hand record atall but one I bought in a sale from a shop in Soho in London back in the 80's during the ska boom when the Specials and Madness were just getting some big hits. This is a jamaican import and a very bad pressing and probably why it was cheap but some great instrumentals on here obviously influenced greatly by New Orleans jazz and R&B.

"The Skatalites is a Jamaican music group that played a major role in popularising ska, the first truly Jamaican music created by fusing boogie-woogie blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, mento, calypso, and African rhythms. They recorded many of their best known songs, including "Guns of navarone", in the period between 1964 and 1965, as well as played on records by Prince Buster and many other Jamaican artists.
The members of the group were Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Lloyd Knibb, Lester Sterling, Don Drummond, Jah Jerry Haynes, Jackie Mittoo, Johnny Moore, Jackie Opel, and Doreen Shaffer. Trombonist Drummond's composition, "Man In The Street", entered the Top 10 in the United Kingdom. He was not only the Skatalites' busiest composer, but was the most prolific in all of Ska, with at least 200 tunes to his name by 1965.
On January 1, 1965, Drummond was jailed for the murder of his girlfriend, Anita 'Marguerita' Mahfood, and in August that year, the Skatalites played their last show. The break-up resulted in the formation of two supergroups, "Rolando Alphonso and the Soul Vendors" and "Tommy McCook and the Supersonics". Drummond died in the Bellevue Asylum on May 6, 1969 at age 37."

Tracks are -

. Four Corners
2. Scrap Iron
3. Feeling Good
4. Royal Flush
5. Ball of Fire
6. Christine Keiler

Discover more about the Skatalites HERE

Friday, September 08, 2006

Julia Lee and Her Boyfriends

A 10" Lp on Capital found on Brick Lane flea market some years ago without it's sleeve sadly but plays very well.

"A popular entertainer who recorded frequently for Capitol during 1944-1950, Julia Lee's double-entendre songs and rocking piano made her a major attraction in Kansas City. She played piano and sang in her brother George E. Lee's Orchestra during 1920-1934, recording with him in 1927 and 1929 (including "If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight") and cutting two titles of her own in 1929 ("He's Tall, He's Dark and He's Handsome" and "Won't You Come Over to My House"). Lee worked regularly as a single in Kansas City after her brother's band broke up."

Side one featured here with songs like "King Size Papa" and "Snatch and Grab It" to name but two.

Music Hall To Variety

This is a great LP of old Music Hall songs from the early part of the last century. I have managed to collect all three volumes from various flea markets and bootsales over the years. The first is my favourite and contains some priceless novelty songs of the period.

"Surviving recordings make it clear that few music hall stars had good voices. Like their vaudeville counterparts in the U.S., their primary qualifications were energy and personality. The best music hall performers had both in abundance. Marie Lloyd (seen at left) was one of the most beloved music hall stars. Her stage humor ranged from the wholesome to the risqué. If her trademark parasol failed to open, she would quip, "I haven't had it up for ages." One of her songs was "She Sits Among Her Cabbages and Peas" – a title that sounds less innocent than it looks. Lloyd always adapted her act to the audience at hand, winning almost universal affection. Playwright and poet T. S. Eliot explained her appeal this way –

No other comedian succeeded so well in giving expression to the life of the music hall audience, raising it to a kind of art. It was, I think, this capacity for expressing the soul of the people that made Marie Lloyd unique.
- Selected Essays by T. S. Eliot, Faber and Faber, London, 1941

After World War I, food service disappeared from the music halls, and traditional theatre seating replaced the old benches and tables. But there was still plenty of beer! Performers faced more concentrated scrutiny, which only strengthened the popularity of favorites like comic singers Florrie Forde, George Robey and Harry Champion. Most performers preferred songs with simple repetitive refrains that were easy for audiences to remember and sing along with. "

Find out more about the music hall HERE.

Billy Williams - When Father Papered The Parlour

Harry Champion - A Little Bit Of Cucumber

Ella Shields - Burlington Bertie

G.H.Elliott - Down Home In Tennessee

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Spike Milligan & Jeremy Taylor

A record on the Music For Pleasure label released in 1974 but I think the recording at Cambridge University was probably made in the late sixties. Here's almost one side until a pice of fluff gets in the way!


"Milligan was born in India to a father who was an Irish captain in the British army. Milligan lived in India until he was 15, an experience that later came in quite handy when he and Goons co-star Peter Sellers began the tradition of dueling Bengali accents. That Milligan more than held his own in the company of Sellers is an obvious tribute to the former man's comic gifts. The third main Goon was Sir Harry Secombe, a great musical and comic talent who is sometimes mistakenly called the group's straight man; but make no mistake about it, there was nothing straight at all about The Goon Show. When his family moved back to England, Milligan's proclivity for entertaining came to the surface, beginning with an interest in jazz that he never lost, eventually even contributing liner notes to a Stan Getz album. Milligan spent much of his youth playing trumpet in various jazz bands. He joined the British Army at the outbreak of the Second World War, serving in the Royal Artillery through the North African and Italian campaigns, where he wound up hospitalized for shell shock. Following the war, he joined the Goons at a time when the British nation was collectively wondering whether it would ever be able to laugh again. The show became a huge success, but created enormous pressures for Milligan, who was writing the lion's, or the loon's share of the scripts as well as doing the enormous weekly work of editing in sound effects."


"Jeremy set South Africa alight in the sixties with his "Ag Pleez Deddy" and was then banished from South Africa for ridiculing apartheid. After two years on the West End stage in WAIT A MINIM, a South African musical revue, he became a leading entertainer on the British folk circuit with songs like "Jobsworth", " Red Velvet Steering Wheel Cover Driver " and "Prawns in the Game".
His " Piece of Ground" was recorded in the USA by Miriam Makeba. With John Wells he wrote songs for the West End musical satire MRS WILSON'S DIARY, was for two years Spike Milligan's stage partner in FOR ONE WEEK ONLY, wrote a Latin lyric ("O Caritas") for Cat Stevens, made frequent concert appearances with Donald Swann and Sidney Carter and performed his own one-man show at Soho's Boulevard Theatre. TV series included Granada's AT LAST ITS FRIDAY with Richard Stilgoe, Diana Quick and Keith Dewhurst, PSSSST! which included Julie Covington, Jean Hart and Kenny Lynch, and SONGS FROM THE TWO BREWERS in which he hosted stars from the folk world including The Dubliners, Ralph McTell and Pentangle. In 1980 he had his own series on BBC2 with Telephone Bill and the Smooth Operators. A change of government in 1979 led to his re-admittance to South Africa and from 1980 to 1994 he chronicled his life in Broederstroom, a farming area of the Transvaal, in a series of tales which were gradually woven into his one-man stage shows."

You can find the original photo of the sleeve HERE.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Highlife Music

Another Highlife record on the melodisc label from the 60's. Bands from Ghana and Nigeria include West African Rhythm Brothers, Nat Atkins and His Crazy Bees and Flash Domincii and the Fabulous Supersonics.
The copious sleeve notes tell us about each of the bands involved-

"Iwa Ika Ti Beda Je starts off well with all instruments in unison. Vocal then comes in immediately and nicely too. Here Flash sings and pleads to people to ponder anew and start doing good as people all round the globe are full of wickedness....
Ki Dide was meant to be made a hit when it was issued as a single. People enjoyed listening, rather than daning to it, for the morals behind it. Funny, some people has not the voice to match their stature. A good example is 'Dele Bank-Olemoh the occasional associate singer with Flash. With so titantic a stature, he emits from his throat a voice so thin nobody will believe it is his voice...."

"Sumongole by Nat Atkins, another beautiful and fast number, with Wily on clarinet. ..."

"The sudden death of Chief J.K. Randle came as a great shock to every Nigerian when it was announced. Not less than a day after his arrival from the successful Empire Games in 1957 in which he lead the successful Nigerian athletic team as Chef-de-mission, and where the athletes did incredbly well, he was taken ill, and died not long afterwards..."

Flash Domincii - Iwa Ika Ti Beda Je

Flash Domincii - Ki Dide

Nat Atkins - Sumungole

Nigerian Union Rhythm Bnad - The Memorial of Chief J.K.Randle

West African Rhythm Brothers - Iwa D'Arekere

Nat Atkins - Togorotigiri

Flash Domincii - Iwin Nla Pade Wa

These SendSpace files are available for seven days or until exhausted.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lonnie Donegan

Lonnie singing "I'm A Gamblin' Man" from his second LP on Pye.

You can find some songs from his first LP over at-

SWAPATORIUM: Lonnie Donegan Showcase

Saturday, September 02, 2006


An LP compiled by Morgan Fisher in 1980 which featured 51 tracks, all no more than one minute in length. Here's the first 16-

1. ollie halsall & john halsey / bum love
2. the residents / we're a happy family + bali ha'i
3. roger mcgough / the wreck of the hesperus
4. morgan fisher / green and pleasant
5. john otway / mine tonight
6. pete challis & phil diplock / my way
7. robert wyatt / rangers in the nightst
8. stinky winkles / opus
9. mary longford / body language
10. andy 'thunderclap' newman / andy the dentist
11. david bedford / wagner's ring in one minute
12. fred frith / the entire works of henry cow
13. maggie nicols / look beneath the surface
14. joseph racaille / week-end
15. the work vwith wings pressed back
16. neil innes & son / cum on feel the noize

Morgan Fisher was overwhelmed by the number of ideas he thought up for albums that he could now record and release. Realising that it was impossible to do everything he conceived, he decided to see how many of these ideas could be included on one album. Rather than recording the music himself, he invited 50 musicians who he admired to send in tracks of up to one minute in length. They responded with unanimous enthusiasm, and as well as receiving tapes through the mail from all over the world, Morgan also packed up his Revox tape recorder and went to several musicians homes to record them there. Original artwork for the sleeve was provided by Ralph Steadman.

To look at this record sleeve and others in my collection go HERE

Tabou Combo

A record found at a flea market some years ago. Tabou Combo come from Haiti and this record was recorded in 1974. The two tracks featured here are the title track "8th Sacrement" and " Pace Domine".

"Formed in the Port-Au-Prince suburb of Petion-Ville by the Chancy brothers, Albert on bass and Adolphe on guitar, this young band won the Radio Haiti mini-jazz competition in 1968. They relocated to Brooklyn in 1971, and their song "New York City," which spoke of the difficulty of life in exile, reached #1 on the Paris pop charts in August 1975. They competed with Ska-Shah for top band honors in the 70s and 80s and fought "musical duels" similar to the Weber Sicot/Jean-Baptiste Nemours battles of the 50s and 60s.

An irresistible live band, Tabou Combo takes Haitian compas to the widest of audiences. From their regular appearances in the '80s at the famous Zenith Theatre in Paris, to an audience of 20,000 in New York's Central Park, to the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, in football stadiums throughout the Caribbean, and on the turntables of the top DJs, this band makes people dance. Influenced by funk and soul in their adopted home, Tabou took on the likeness of the Commodores on the covers of their late-'70s releases. They even made a demo tape with hopes of a Motown contract. Their desire to reach the Black US market remains unsatisfied, but they should be proud that popular musicians such as Kassav' from the Antilles/Paris and Wilfrido Vargas from the Dominican Republic have absorbed their music."

Visit the band's official website HERE.

Dark City Sisters

Dark City Sisters
A record I found some years ago in a remaindered record shop in East London.

"The Dark City Sisters were a group of session singers who came together to record an album and in the process popularized an innovative new style of singing. Rather than
singing a common four-part harmony, the Sisters used five parts, which created a richer tone. Sometimes known as "vocal jive," this technique was subsumed under the umbrella term "mbaqanga," meaning, literally, dumpling, and figuratively, a homegrown style. ~ Leon Jackson, All Music Guide"

It puzzles me though that there are only three ladies featured on the front cover of this sleeve? No other information found on the interweb sadly though see they have a couple of compilations available on CD on Sterns and World Curcuit records.

Discover more about the Dark City Sisters HERE

Friday, September 01, 2006

Theo Blaise

Originally from the Belgian Congo, Theo Blaise now lives and records in Paris, at least he did when this record " Gemile" was recorded back in 1983 on the TDK label. The track is "Radio Bala Bala".