Feature: The Band ‘Live At The Academy Of Music 1971’ Recordings.
Tickling My Fancy Music Selection: Deerhunter, Bosco Delrey, The Imaginary Suitcase, Letters To Fiesta, Manic Street Preachers and Klaus Marten. Plus a special playlist in celebration of Jarvis Cocker’s 50th birthday.
Before we begin, older postings from the Our Daily Bread files will now be stored in their own archive. The first five editions can be found HERE.
The Band ‘Live At The Academy Of Music 1971’ – 30th September 2013
The original source material for the much venerated Rock of Ages live album, on the cusp of 1972, the much revered The Band played a ‘legendary’ four-night showcase at The Academy Of Music in New York; backed by ‘Orleans journeyman of choice, Allen Toussaint and his horn ensemble, and joined in a climatic finish by their most famous champion, Bob Dylan. A mere smattering of those performances made that live LP until now. Under the watchful eye and deliberation of the group’s helmsman, Robbie Robertson, that original compilation is now made relatively redundant by this four-disc boxset, which includes performances from all the shows (remixed by Bob Clearmountain), a DVD of rare footage and a comprehensive documented ‘multi-page’ account, with linear notes.
As the earnest progenitors of a peregrination soundtrack, later to be expanded into a whole genre in its own right, under the audacious ‘Americana’ moniker, The Band defined a bygone pioneering spirit at a time when the American youth (especially) were pushing for both social and political change. Their songs spoke and sympathized with a certain inherent truth and hardiness from an age of steam, aligned with the country’s most destructive historical chapter, the civil war; out-of-step yet somehow wholly relevant in the face of civil rights and the Vietnam war. In a manner they would also be chief instigators of the whole ‘revival’ scene that saw The Beatles and bands like The Kinks return to more pastoral roots.
It didn’t matter, and is a totally fatuous bum-steer that four fifths of that quintet were born and raised over the boarder in Canada; an historical America will forever be immortalized by such summary tales of the old west as ‘The Weight’, ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ and ‘Across The Great Divide’ regardless of the authors nationality. Tales, which were so vivid as to be cinematic in their storytelling and nature; encompassing both tragedy and perseverance through the eyes of richly textured characters: the sort of individuals that could have easily stepped out of the novels of Steinbeck, Faulkner, Hemmingway and the photo-plated almanac chronicles of the 19th century.
It wasn’t just the landscape and their own interpretations they owned so convincingly, they could also be relied upon to adopt the mantle of the artists they covered too; from Chuck Berry to Sam Cooke. As a backing band themselves for such luminaries as Ronnie Hawkins, through to Dylan, that spiritually revered line-up of Robertson, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel lived up to their presumptuous ‘THE BAND’ moniker; incorporating the sweet gospel soul of the deep south with country, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley and bluegrass at the drop of an old proverbial hat; they were ethereal and superior in musicianship, way beyond most of their contemporaries reach.
If any indication was ever needed of the Band’s status, their final bow out performance (filmed for posterity by Scorsese), The Last Waltz, could boast a stellar cast of influential figures performing alongside in tribune. I mean just ‘read it and weep’ at this talented list of musicians that turned out on that auspicious occasion; Paul Butterfield, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Dr.John, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton…yeah you get the message.
Unlike many of these ‘comprehensive’ and ‘deluxe’ collections that now litter the music release schedules like unwanted confetti, this one is at least warranted and needed to fill in the gaps; capturing perhaps like no other performance The Band at their very peak. Let’s not forget, much of this material has remained unreleased – Rock Of Ages only featured a third of it. A pity it came too late for poor ol’ Levon Helm who passed away last year (only Robertson and Hudson remain), but it will once again restore the faith and honour those who served in one of the true titans of the American rock music scene.
That full track list:
*denotes previously unissued performance.
Disc 1 [CD]
1. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show Friday, December 31
2. The Shape I’m In Friday, December 31
3. Caledonia Mission Thursday, December 30
4. Don’t Do It Wednesday, December 29
5. Stage Fright Friday, December 31
6. I Shall Be Released Thursday, December 30
7. Up On Cripple Creek Thursday, December 30
8. This Wheel’s On Fire Wednesday, December 29
9. Strawberry Wine * Tuesday, December 28
10. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) Friday, December 31
11. Time To Kill Tuesday, December 28
12. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down Wednesday, December 29
13. Across The Great Divide Thursday, December 30
Disc 2 [CD]
1. Life Is A Carnival Thursday, December 30
2. Get Up Jake Thursday, December 30
3. Rag Mama Rag Friday, December 31
4. Unfaithful Servant Friday, December 31
5. The Weight Thursday, December 30
6. Rockin’ Chair Wednesday, December 29
7. Smoke Signal Tuesday, December 28
8. The Rumor Thursday, December 30
9. The Genetic Method Friday, December 31
10. Chest Fever Tuesday, December 28
11. (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes Wednesday, December 29
12. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever Wednesday, December 29
13. Down In The Flood (The Band with Bob Dylan) Friday, December 31
14. When I Paint My Masterpiece (The Band with Bob Dylan) Friday, December 31
15. Don’t Ya Tell Henry (The Band with Bob Dylan) Friday, December 31
16. Like A Rolling Stone (The Band with Bob Dylan) Friday, December 31
Disc 3 [CD] – New Year’s Eve At The Academy Of Music 1971 (The Soundboard Mix)
1. Up On Cripple Creek *
2. The Shape I’m In
3. The Rumor *
4. Time To Kill *
5. Rockin’ Chair *
6. This Wheel’s On Fire *
7. Get Up Jake *
8. Smoke Signal *
9. I Shall Be Released *
10. The Weight *
11. Stage Fright
Disc 4 [CD] – New Year’s Eve At The Academy Of Music 1971 (The Soundboard Mix)
1. Life Is A Carnival *
2. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
3. Caledonia Mission *
4. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
5. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down *
6. Across The Great Divide *
7. Unfaithful Servant
8. Don’t Do It *
9. The Genetic Method
10. Chest Fever *
11. Rag Mama Rag
12. (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes *
13. Down In The Flood (with Bob Dylan)
14. When I Paint My Masterpiece (with Bob Dylan)
15. Don’t Ya Tell Henry (with Bob Dylan)
16. Like A Rolling Stone (with Bob Dylan)
Disc 5 [DVD] – Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 in 5.1 Surround Sound
1. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
2. The Shape I’m In
3. Caledonia Mission
4. Don’t Do It
5. Stage Fright
6. I Shall Be Released
7. Up On Cripple Creek
8. The Wheel’s On Fire
9. Strawberry Wine *
10. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
11. Time To Kill
12. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
13. Across The Great Divide
14. Life Is A Carnival
15. Get Up Jake
16. Rag Mama Rag
17. Unfaithful Servant
18. The Weight
19. Rockin’ Chair
20. Smoke Signal
21. The Rumor
22. The Genetic Method
23. Chest Fever
24. (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes
25. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
Archival Film Clips – December 30, 1971
1. King Harvest (Has Surely Come) *
2. The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show *
Deerhunter ‘Back To The Middle’ (4AD) – Available Now
Sporadically hopping between his solo moniker Atlas Sound and centered musical hub, Deerhunter, Bradford Cox has just brought out his first album in just over two years: Monomania.
Channeling the lost spirit of a crooning 50s ‘rock and roll’ star on his last outing, Parallax (review HERE), Cox transduced the ghostly reverb and tremolo of Joe Meek and Phil Spector into a therapeutic release. Attuned to the lingering sentiment and resonance of that 2011 LP, Cox once again merges the familiar with gently disjointed psych and experimental R&B in a way that sounds strangely unique; similar in fashion to the musical collages created by Ariel Pink – nothing inherently new in the source material but the approach and relationship is fresh.
Congruous yet split into two camps; Monomania displays both signs of the more awkward, off-kilter and vapourous with the melodic, and daresay even pop sensibility which serves Cox so well. From the latter, ‘Back To The Middle’ is a glorious slice of slinky soul and no-wave aloof, accompanied on its release by the Oliver Grulex directed video, which stars the actor Durassie Kiangangu ‘dressed up to the nines’ in a quasi-Motown girl group sparkly dress and wig, gesticulating and cooing in time to the song.
Bosco Delrey ‘Authority Song’ – Available Now
Missed this one from its original airing last year, now once again doing the rounds via the True Blood Volume 4 Soundtrack (released a few months ago). Very slow to part with money or to use the Netflex and Sky affiliated facilitators, we find ourselves waiting (sometimes for what seems eons) at the ‘Valvona & Vine’ saloon for a series to come out on boxset. So we were enthralled and gushing with praise for our dear friends for buying the delectable Miss.Vine (on the recent occasion of her birthday) season five of the cult, and for us essential, HBO Louisiana-based hyper-supernatural, guilty pleasure.
Playing out the titles on episode 2 of that season is the suitably, off-kilter, estranged swamp blues cover of John Mellencamp’s ‘Authority Song’, by the esoteric ‘hillbilly’ producer Bosco Delrey. Admittedly I’d never heard of Bosco, but since by chance, introduced to his ‘bastardised’ Sun Records meets carnally exotic Marc Bolan version of country rock boogie, I’ve become a convert. Oddly infectious and almost gospel, Authority Song sounds like the Alabama 3 overdosing on the electric kool-aid; and rightly fits the vampiric miasma to a tee.
The Imaginary Suitcase ‘Full Moon Fever’ – Available Now via Bandcamp
Featured a few months back in Monolith Cocktail’s ‘polygenesis perusal’ review round up, former Ceilí Moss member and crooner of atavistic European folklore, Laurent Leemans, now reborn under the new moniker of The Imaginary Suitcase, made a raw and impassioned debut entitled, Putting Things On Top Of Other Things (read that review HERE).
Following up that forlorn affair, Leeman broodily stalks a post-rock landscape of desolation and aggrieved, if sometimes spurned, love on his first official LP Full Moon Fever.
Still haunted with that Dave Gahan timbre, Leemans travails are laid bare over languish (almost lazily out-of-step) percussion, gnarling, grime-y guitar vibrations and maudlin melodies. Steely and bleak romantic sulks include the experimental Nick Cave-esques opening account, ‘Yer Mother’, and twanged Crime And The City Solution like spiteful lament, ‘It Is He’. Whilst glimmers of a less tortured prose and sound include the higher pitched vocal (quasi-Muse meets Nina Simone) ‘Moonlight And The Water’ and the romantic tremolo swan song, ‘Every Little Thing’.
Lumbering between eras, Leemans harks back to 19th century Northumbria for the pastoral sonnet, ‘Bonny At Morn’ – joined in his atavistic verses by Cécile Gonay –and peruses the Parisian intellectual boulevards of Baudelaire on the French language, ‘A Une Passante’.
Whilst a transition is certainly in evidence, there are still traces to be found of that Ceilí Moss Celtic spirit among those ancestral laments. Though the jollier folk backing has been replaced by a heavier, deeper shade of blue.
Letters To Fiesta ‘Tears Apart’ – 28th October 2013
Driven by a moody, growling trebly bass, Theremon-invoked waves of warping synth and a tom beaten march, all signs point towards Manchester, albeit a less dystopian one than the one Joy Division inherited. Hailing from that fair city, the now much touted Letters To Fiesta; deliver drama and diaphanous touches of atmosphere to the alternative indie scene. Just two singles into a career, which has taken a while to pick up momentum, the LTF are now set to release their extended Aphorism EP.
‘Tears Apart’ indicates a morosely gilded start; the further six-tracks going on to mix elements of the Tom Tom Club, Yeasayer and Depeche Mode with the yelping, siren voice of the Kate Bush and Diva Dompe sounding, Anna-Lousia Etherington – which really gets to let loose on the 80s morphed hybrid, harried drama, ‘Stay Young’. Riffing off that blossoming opener, the rest of the EP builds organically, carrying over that initial outpouring of Gothic pop into more experimental directions; from the metallic buzz and rotating force fields of instrumental passages, ‘Tetration’ and the expansive turned ominous, ‘Elected’, to the Siouxsie Sioux And The Banshees glittered ‘Swan Girl’.
LTF don’t fail me now; I’m expecting even greater things.
Manic Street Preachers ‘Rewind The Film ft. Richard Hawley’ (Colombia) – Available Now
Released this week, the Manic’s latest album Rewind The Film (and name of featured track) is perhaps one of their most charming, soulful and spiritually uplifting opuses of the last decade or more. The ageing process has been quite kind to the trio, whose maturity oozes from every pore of this melodically inspiring and beatific songbook of social commentary and erudite romantic pop. An often sad and wry political bite still remains solid, yet this is also a paean to the valleys and earnest plight of a land time has eroded, and successive governments have filed away under ‘lost causes’.
Imagine Love if they’d been a south Wales colliery brass band, or Scott Walker had been born and bred in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, and you’re half way to capturing their sound. It’s Scott, albeit when part of the Walker Brothers, and his often called upon arranger and conductor Jack Nitzsche that springs to mind with this lovely lamented ode. Lead vocals courtesy of that tormented balladeer, Richard Hawley, hark back to another era entirely, but speak of a constant weariness and toil that is suffered by the redundant, left to wallow, pit towns. But tender moments of optimism and proud memories can’t be tarnished and forgotten, as James Dean Bradfield’s brief respite from the gloom, upscale accompaniment, testifies. Something magical is at play here.
Klaus Marten ‘Take Me With You’ – Available Now via Bandcamp
A regular feature of the Monolith Cocktail emporium, the amateurish (not necessarily a bad thing) ‘bedroom’ scene can sometimes throw up a few surprises and treats. Truth be told, in some way all musicians are being forcibly moved towards adapting to the role of hobbyist, as the demarcated lines between professional and amateur blare, and the financial rewards erode – unless you are willing to brand yourself or perform in a functions band, which many of my friends and colleagues do, as it seems people are willing to splash out silly money to hear a medley of already ‘rammed-down-our-throats’ dross from the last forty-years, yet original material is deemed to hold no currency. I guess ‘bedroom’ is really just another moniker for ‘D.I.Y’. And in this instance, our featured artisan of ‘reverb’ drenched guitar sonics, Klaus Marten, like many others in this very same category, revels in this understated method of composition and production; proud to use the most inexpensive equipment, plug-ins; left alone to experiment and pursue his own agenda.
Based in Brooklyn – an environment hardly lacking in inspiration or good music – Marten plays intently with elements of shoegaze, surf and ambience. His latest album, Take Me With You, is a concatenate collection of sketches, vignettes and descriptive soundscapes that bleed and meld together into an almost seamless soundtrack. Certain piques occur however, waking us from the often-minimal waves of guitar and effects that drift off into the surrounding ether and wilds.
Though eased in with the promise of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor opening on the title track ‘intro’, the next song, ‘Surf Giant’, lightens the mood with a blast of distorted Link Wray ‘surf’ fuckery; a primal forged tom tom rumble of silliness that carries a happy kitsch melody.
The following series of riffs and ideas resonate with suggestive reverberations of Hawaiian blues (‘You’re Welcome’), Dance Of The Lemmings era Amon Düül II (‘How We Got Here’) and No Age (‘India St’, the only track to feature anything that remotely sounds like vocals). Permeating throughout is a continuing leitmotif of raspy, vaporous machinery, backwards/forward bending guitar sustain and the constant presence of some atmospheric ‘other’, all alluding to something more grand.
Many Happy Returns Jarvis Cocker
Not that he’d ever welcome such romanticized and gushing titles as ‘national treasure’; it is true that Jarvis Cocker is one of the country’s most cherished malcontents and arguably one of our greatest living lyricists – even if his musical career is now shelved for a Radio presenters. Hitting the half-century (bow and dip bat to the gas work ends in reaching it) mark for a man, who always carried a mature head on those narrow, wily, shoulders, shouldn’t come as no surprise. Though it would be with Pulp in the 90s that Cocker emerged from relative obscurity, he was closer to the generation that spawned Mark E. Smith, than his Britpop rivals.
In celebration, nee honour, I’ve put together a little playlist of the Nick Cave, Van Dyke Parks, Jacques Brel and of course Scott Walker, all rolled into one world weary, lovelorn, Sheffield proletarian poet’s oeuvre: enjoy.