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Saturday, October 31, 2009

EL MICHELS AFFAIR : Glaciers Of Ice (2009)

A project of sax-player Leon Michels, this group is a NYC funk combo playing mainly instrumental music. The group got the attention of hip-hop artist Raekwon, and how they are regularly used as the backing band for Raekwon and the Wu-Tang Clan.

This track, originally released in 2006, is a good example of how a live act can arrange a song that could be used as both an instrumental, as well as a hip-hop backing track. The theme of this album is songs inspired by the Wu-Tang Clan. In fact, some of the songs are actually instrumental covers of songs of the Wu-Tang's "Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" from 1993, hence the album title.
Song : "Glaciers Of Ice"
From the LP "ENTER THE 37th CHAMBER" (Fat Beats) Apr. 21, 2009
Also released as a single B-side, 2006

Leon Michels : producer, sax, organ, piano
Toby Pazner : piano, organ
Nick Movshon : bass
Thomas Brenneck : guitar
Homer Steinweiss : drums
Aaron Johnson : trombone
Michael Leonhart : trumpet

Get it here : Glaciers Of Ice

Saturday, October 24, 2009

BANG : Come With Me (1971)

Bang was a hard-rock group hailing from Philadelphia. As a power-trio, they were groomed to have a Blue Cheer/Black Sabbath sound, but with a southern-rock flavour (acoustic passages, harmonized guitar lines). But of course, poor management prevented the group from gaining any serious recognition, and the group eventually split. They have since reunited, and are recording and touring locally from time to time. This track is from their first official album (their first recording was unreleased at the time), and has the typical '70s hard rock sound: loud guitars, a solid riff, and yelling vocals.
Song : "Come With Me" by Bang
From the LP "BANG" (Capitol) Dec. 1971

Frank Ferrara : vocals, bass
Frank Glicken : guitar
Tony D'Lorio : drums

Get it here : Come With Me

Saturday, October 17, 2009

BLUE CHEER : Summertime Blues (1968)

R.I.P. Dickie Peterson (Sep. 12, 1948 - Oct. 12, 2009)
From Dickie Peterson, the bassist/vocalist and founding member of BLUE CHEER, passed away this morning (Monday, October 12) at 5 a.m. in Germany. He was 61 years old. Peterson had reportedly been battling prostate and liver cancer, and according to BLUE CHEER's message board, had developed a fatal infection following a surgical procedure to help alleviate his fight.

BLUE CHEER was an American blues-rock band that initially performed and recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and has been sporadically active since. Based in San Francisco, BLUE CHEER played in a psychedelic blues-rock style, and was also credited for pioneering heavy metal (their cover of "Summertime Blues" is sometimes cited as the first in the genre), punk rock, stoner rock, doom metal and grunge.

Throughout his life, Peterson's relationship to music has been all-consuming. He was quoted as saying, "I've been married twice, I've had numerous girlfriends, and they'll all tell you that if I'm not playing music I am an animal to live with. . . Music is a place where I get to deal with a lot of my emotion and displaced energy. I always only wanted to play music, and that's all I still want to do."Despite the fact that BLUE CHEER was considered a pioneer in many different genres, Peterson downplayed the band's influence, stating in an interview, "People keep trying to say that we're heavy metal or grunge or punk, or we're this or that. The reality is we're just a power trio and we play ultra-blues, and it's rock 'n' roll. It's really simple what we do."

From Allmusic:
Jerry Capehart and Eddie Cochran's angst-filled paen to taking time off gets one of its most robust renditions from the mega-watt ampage of Blue Cheer in what was their break-through hit. Their only hit. Phillips single #40516 went Top 15 in the spring of 1968 ten years after Eddie Cochran took his co-write Top 10. As rocking as the original might've been for the time, Blue Cheer's expansion of the sound was explosive, perhaps inspiring the world's greatest rock rhythm guitarist, Pete Townshend (a rhythm guitarist so good he got to play lead) to up the ante for The Who's Top 30 live gem a quick two years after Blue Cheer made this big noise. This song is actually the ultimate in garage rock gone metal. Pure anger and frustration, Leigh Stephens' guitar encapsulated inside Dickie Peterson's bass and Paul Whaley's drums. The three minutes and forty-seven seconds probably inspired The Amboy Dukes, The Litter and Grand Funk Railroad as well. This was the sledgehammer Blue Cheer used to tell the world it was here, the prototype of attitude fused fury.

The above says is it all. While San Francisco was celebrating peace & love, these guys seemed to have come out of nowhere to crank their amps and trounce all over the hippie movement. Wild solos, raw recording, and a lot of attitude went into their early material. They were definitely a precursor of rock music to come...

Song : "Summertime Blues" by Blue Cheer (originally recorded by Eddie Cochran, 1958)

From the LP "VINCEBUS ERUPTUM" (Philips) Jan. 1968


Dickie Peterson : bass, vocals
Paul Whaley : drums
Leigh Stephens : guitar

Get it here : Summertime Blues

Monday, October 12, 2009

FAMILY OF PERCUSSION & ARCHIE SHEPP : Here Comes The Family (1980)

Family Of Percussion was originally formed by drummer Peter Giger (who had played with German groups Dzyan, Drum Circus). After a string of percussion albums, he teamed up with legendary sax player Archie Shepp for this one-off album. This is the title track, quite funky and rare for the group in that it had vocals. By listening to the rhythm section, one can hear the array of percussive instruments they had at their disposal.
: Peter Giger :

Song : "Here Comes The Family" by Family Of Percussion & Archie Shepp (recorded Oct. 13/14, 1980)
From the LP "HERE COMES THE FAMILY" (Nagara) 1980

Archie Shepp : vocals, flute
Peter Giger : vocals, percussion
Trilok Gurtu : percussion
Doug Hammond : vocals, percussion
Tom Nicholas : percussion

Get it here : Here Comes The Family

Saturday, October 03, 2009

LIVING COLOUR : Method (2009)

Living Colour are back! This groundbreaking black rock group from the late-80s/early-90s reunite every few years to take another stab at an album, and then go on to solo projects. A new album was released a couple of weeks ago, and now they're on tour supporting it. This track showcases the dense production of the album, which fits well with the dark melody and lyrics of this song. The usual qualities of the group are here: Corey Glover's strong vocals, Vernon Reid's consistently experimental guitar, and the strong rhythm section. It's always refreshing listening to a rock band where all the musicians are highly talented.
Song : "Method" by Living Colour
From the LP "THE CHAIR IN THE DOORWAY" (Megaforce) Sep. 15, 2009

Corey Glover : vocals
Vernon Reid : guitar
Doug Wimbush : bass and ambience
Will Calhoun : drums and percussion
Get it here : Method