Madhouse – “Six 1/2” (1987)

November 30, 2008 at 11:18 am (Funk, Prince)

Prince & Eric Leeds released 2 funky jazz albums under the name of Madhouse back in 1987. This was a B-side to one of the singles released off the debut album 8. Very good stuff. Extremely hard to find these days.

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Andre Cymone – “Kelly’s Eyes” (1982)

November 30, 2008 at 11:04 am (Funk)

Another of former Prince bandmember Andre Cymone’s new wave-flavored funk/pop songs. This came from his debut album Livin’ in the New Wave. He made 3 albums before marrying Jody Watley and writing & producing many hits for her in the late 80s.     

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Matt Taibbi – “John McCain: Requiem for a Maverick” (2008)

November 30, 2008 at 9:43 am (Life & Politics)

Recent article written for Nov. 27th issue of Rolling Stone (#1066). 
I have nothing against John McCain personally but if I never hear the term “maverick” again (especially as used in conjunction with him), it will be too soon. Whatever “maverick” -style virtues he once had are now long gone. Once he started this election campaign, he basically sold out all of his ideals and principles with a “win-at-any-cost” mentality. Sarah Palin seems to be exactly the type of Republican he has claimed to not be like all these years. She was an absolutely disastrous choice for him and if the Republican party thinks she is the “future” for them, God help them. They need to re-think their whole party philosophy. I really believe they have completely lost their way over the last few decades…       

 

John McCain ran one of the most incompetent, schizo campaigns in history — and for that we owe him big-time  

 

Election night at the Biltmore in Arizona is a hilariously dismal scene, like a funeral for a family member nobody liked, who died owing everyone money. The rats here are already bailing off the ship with lightning speed, like L.A. Dodgers fans leaving a playoff game to catch the latest episode of Entourage. The exodus, in fact, begins about eight seconds into John McCain’s concession speech, which incidentally starts off on the classiest of notes: with the remaining crowd cursing the name of the new president.

“A little while ago, I had the honor of calling Sen. Barack Obama,” McCain begins.

Boooooo!” bellows the crowd. Outside the hotel, a wine-drunk young woman in a fluffy white ball gown probably last worn at a Liberty University frat mixer angrily flings a would-be celebratory pompom she has been clutching into my face. “I can’t listen to this shit!” she yells, scooting away.

I peel the plastic pompom bits off my face and stick them in my bag, where they are soon joined by a McCain-Palin “Victory 2008” Election Night T-shirt — bought for gloating purposes at a rapidly plummeting discount. Republican-souvenir prices haven’t been this low since Watergate.

By the time McCain finishes his short, commendably gracious speech a few minutes later, almost all the Republican revelers have begun to flee the premises. The few who stick around are trying to suck the last value out of the meals and cocktails they so willingly overpaid for earlier in the night, when there was still a chance they’d end up with something to celebrate. At the hotel exit, a pair of Arizona State students are grumbling about the food.

“We paid, like, 10 bucks for a burger,” says 18-year-old Emily Zizzo.

“We were outraged,” agrees her 20-year-old friend Dori Jaffess.

I ask them why they think McCain lost. Dori says a big reason is that “a lot of big movie stars came out for Obama.” I ask her which ones.

“Um, Puff Daddy?” she says. “Although I don’t know if Puff Daddy came out for Obama.”

“There’s Oprah,” adds Emily.

“Yeah, Oprah,” says Dori.

A few yards away, a pair of thirtysomething women in an advanced wine slog have gotten into a screaming match with a Hispanic cameraman. One of them, 33-year-old Kristen McEntire, is already spinning out a conspiracy theory to explain McCain’s defeat, suggesting that the media called the election in some key states before the polls closed, tricking hordes of would-be McCain voters into staying home. Obama, she assures me, is a “novelty” who will “go away within the next couple of years.”

“Um,” I say. “Go away?”

“I just don’t think America’s ready for a black president,” she explains. “And I don’t mean that in a racial way whatsoever.”

 

It sounds strange to say, but this election season may have done to the word “Republican” what 1972 did for the word “liberal”: turned it into a poisonous sobriquet that no politician with bipartisan aspirations will ever again welcome. The Republicans didn’t just break the party — they left it smashed into space dust. They weren’t just beaten; the very idea of Republican conservatism was massively rejected in virtually every state where large chunks of the population do not believe in the literal existence of a horned devil, and even in some that do.

They lost in every way imaginable, on every political front. The symbol of their anti-gay crusade, Colorado congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, was beheaded. The party that had made so much hay running against Mexicans saw noted anti-immigration crusader Bill Sali of Idaho ousted along with several other members of the Immigration Reform Caucus. The GOP’s grasp on the so-called “moral values” issue likewise went up in roaring flames, with Rep. Vito Fossella of Staten Island the poster child — his morals were once so perfect that he refused to be seen with his gay sister, and now he’s a national joke, bounced after being caught drunk driving and having unprotected, babymaking sex with a married Air Force officer.

The ironic thing is that the destruction of the Republican Party was a two-part process. Their president, George W. Bush, did most of the work by making virtually every mistake possible in his two terms, reducing the mightiest economy on Earth to the status of a beggar-debtor nation like Pakistan or Zambia. This was fucking up on a scale known only to a select few groups in history, your Romanovs, your Habsburgs, maybe the Han Dynasty, which pissed away a golden age of Chinese history by letting eunuchs take over the state. But John McCain and Sarah Palin made their own unique contribution to the disaster by running perhaps the most incompetent presidential campaign in modern times. They compounded a millionfold Bush’s legacy of incompetence by soiling both possible Republican ideological strategies going forward: They killed off Bush-style neoconservatism as well as the more traditional fiscal conservatism McCain himself was once known for by trying to fuse both approaches into one gorgeously incoherent ticket. It was like trying to follow the recipes for Texas 10-alarm chili and a three-layer Black Forest chocolate cake in the same pan at the same time. The result — well, just take a bite!

I witness the whole pathetic mess summed up a week before the election, on a baseball field in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The campaign has scheduled an outdoor rally, with a joint appearance by McCain and Palin, at this crucial moment in the race. But now there is driving snow and sleet, trees downed on roads all around, and the campaign — with no alternate indoor plan — is forced to cancel the event at the last minute. I watch as locals keep pulling up to the field, looking for the candidate, a lonely, rain-soaked “Country First” banner whipping back and forth above the stage. The whole scene captures the essence of the McCain run perfectly: Instead of a plan, they had an endless succession of dumb ideas scrapped at the 11th hour in favor of even dumber ones.

It was like that all election season. McCain kicked off his campaign with a stump speech that emphasized his inspirational personal story and experience. Then he picked someone even less experienced than Obama as his running mate and switched to a strategy of attacking his opponent’s relationships with people like Bill Ayers. When that petered out, he switched to a new line of attack, trotting out the socialism business and claiming Obama was running for the office of “redistributionist-in-chief.” The McCain camp tried running against the press, they tried running against Washington, they tried running against the Bush administration, they even tried running against the “liberal feminist agenda” — the latter just a few weeks after Sarah Palin called herself a feminist.

 

John McCain and Sarah Palin, after all, represented two completely different approaches to Republican conservatism. McCain comes from the school of politicking that goes after as many votes as possible by waving a flag and saying as little as possible, which is to say he was basically a third-way Democrat with a Goldwater fetish. His basic plan heading into the general election seemed strikingly similar to that of the dipshit vice president character from the uninspiring but weirdly prescient Chris Rock movie Head of State, who ran on a platform of “I’ve been vice president for the last eight years, I’m a war hero and I’m Sharon Stone’s cousin.”

McCain’s shtick wasn’t exactly that, but it was close. He was a war hero who married an heiress to a beer distributorship and had been in the Senate since the Mesozoic Era. His greatest strength as a politician had up until this year been his ability to “reach across the aisle,” a quality that in the modern Republican Party was normally about as popular as open bisexuality. His presence atop the ticket this year was evidence of profound anxiety within the party about its chances in the general election. After eight disastrous years of Bush, they thought they had lost the middle — so they picked a middling guy to get it back.

Which made sense, right up until the moment when they stuck him with Pinochet in heels for a running mate. Sarah Palin would have been a brilliant choice as a presidential nominee — and she will be, in 2012, when she leads the inevitable Republican counter-revolution against Obama’s presidency. She’s a classic divide-and-conquer politician, an unapologetic Witch Hunter and True Believer with a gift for whipping up the mob against the infidel. In a way that even George W. Bush never was, she is Karl Rove’s wet dream, the Osama bin Laden of soccer moms, crusading against germs, communism, atheism and other such unclean elements strictly banned by American law.

Palin is exactly the kind of all-or-nothing fundamentalist to whom the career of John McCain had long existed as a kind of sneering counterargument. Up until this year, McCain had firmly rejected the emotional imperatives implicit in Bush-Rove-Gingrich conservatism, in which the relentless demonizing of liberals and liberalism was even more important than policy. While other Republicans were crusading against gay marriage in 2004, McCain bashed a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment, calling it “antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans.” While the president and other Republicans wrapped their arms around the Falwells of the world, McCain blasted those preachers as “agents of intolerance.” He talked of seeing the hand of God when he hiked in the Grand Canyon, but insisted loudly that he believed in evolution. He even, for Christ’s sake, supported a ban on commercial whaling. If there’s anything that a decent Republican knows without being told, it’s that whales are a liberal constituency.

But McCain didn’t care. Back then, his political survival didn’t depend on keeping voters artificially geeked up on fear and hatred for Mexicans or biology teachers or other such subversives. He was, after all, a war hero, and Sharon Stone’s cousin.

In short, McCain entered this election season being the worst thing that anyone can be, in the eyes of the Rove-school Republicans: Different. Independent. His own man. He exited the campaign on his knees, all his dignity gone, having handed the White House to the hated liberals after spending the last months of the race with numb-nuts Sarah Palin on his arm and Karl Rove’s cock in his mouth. Even if you wanted to vote for him, you didn’t know who you were voting for. The old McCain? The new McCain? Neither? Both?

On Election Night, even those at McCain’s farewell party seem to sense that their candidate had taken a seriously wrong turn. “It might have been better if he hadn’t tried to appease the hardcore conservatives so much,” sighs Tawnya Pfitzer, a 36-year-old Arizona doctor. “I think he should have concentrated on what made him who he is.”

Maybe. But it probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

 

One of the great clichés of campaign journalism is the notion that American elections have long since ceased to be about issues and ideas. Instead, pompous cliché-spreaders like myself have argued, our TV-age political contests have devolved into grotesque marathons of mawkish entertainment programming, intellectually on par with a season of Survivor, in which the command of the most powerful military force in human history is handed to that unscrupulous nitwit who over the course of 18 months succeeds in getting himself photographed the most times and in the most swing states bowling a strike or wearing a duck-hunting costume.

We’ve dumbed this process up so much over the years, in fact, that it had lately become hard to imagine an American presidential election being anything but an embarrassment to the very word “democracy.” By 2004, that once-cherished ideal of political freedom and self-governance that millions of young men and women gave their lives to protect as recently as WWII had been reduced to the level of absurdist comedy. You had a millionaire Yalie in an army jacket taking on a millionaire Yalie in a cowboy hat, fighting tooth and nail for the right to be named the man “middle America most wants to have a beer with” by a gang of Ivy League journalists — a group of people whose closest previous exposure to “middle America” was typically either an episode of Cops or a Von Dutch trucker hat they’d bought for $23 at Urban Outfitters.

In short, it was an utterly degrading bourgeois/ruling-class media deception that “ordinary Americans,” if they had any brains at all, ought to have been disgusted by to the point of rebellion. But ordinary Americans, alas, would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of eternity mesmerized by the endless and endlessly condescending I’d Like to Have a Beer With You sideshow, leaving the boring policy stuff to the people who actually pay for the campaigns. Things could have just kept getting dumber and dumber, and no one would have been surprised. There was certainly no trend that suggested our presidential elections were bound to return to being great, sweepingly important contests of ideas. But that’s what happened.

Like millions of Americans, I watched Barack Obama’s victory on Election Night in a state of amazement. The only thing that gave me pause was the question of what kind of country this remarkable figure was now inheriting. Some of the luster of Obama’s triumph would come off if the American presidency were no longer the Most Powerful Office in the World but simply the top job in a hopelessly broken nation suffering an irreversible decline.

Of all the problems facing this country by the end of the Bush years, the biggest is the absence of a unifying national idea. Since the end of the Cold War, America has been grasping left and right for an identity. We tried being a “world policeman” in Somalia, which didn’t work so well. We tried retaining our Cold War outlook by simply replacing communists with terrorists. We created two bubble economies that blew up in our faces, and headed into 2008 a struggling capitalist state with a massive trade deficit and an overtaxed military that suddenly had to ask itself: For the supposed world leader in the community of nations, what exactly is it that we’re still good at? Who are we, and what do we represent to the peoples of the Earth here and now — not in 1775 Concord, or 1945 Paris, or 1969, from the surface of the moon?

When Obama took the stage in Grant Park as president-elect, that question was answered. We pulled off an amazing thing here, delivering on our society’s most ancient promises, in front of a world that still largely thought of us as the home of Bull Connor’s fire hose. This dumbed-down, degraded election process of ours has, in spite of itself and to my own extreme astonishment, brilliantly re-energized the American experiment and restored legitimacy to our status as the world’s living symbol of individual freedom. We feel like ourselves again, and the floundering economy and our two stagnating wars now seem like mere logistical problems that will be overcome sooner or later, instead of horrifying symptoms of inevitable empire-decline.

For this to happen, absolutely everything had to break right. And for that we will someday owe sincere thanks to John McCain, and Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush. They not only screwed it up, they screwed it up just right.

Matt Taibbi

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Vanity 6 – “Wet Dream” (1982)

November 29, 2008 at 11:31 pm (Music, Prince)

Prince wrote, recorded & produced this song for Vanity 6’s one & only (self-titled) album. The big hit of course, was “Nasty Girl” but this was another good song from the album.
The beautiful Vanity later moved on from the Prince camp and was replaced by the equally stunning Apollonia.  

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Apollonia 6 – “Sex Shooter” (1984)

November 29, 2008 at 11:28 pm (Music, Prince)

Heard in the movie Purple Rain and written & produced by Prince, this was Apollonia 6’s only hit. And of course, the beautiful Apollonia was Prince’s love interest in the movie.
Since Vanity demanded more money & then subsequently left the project, Apollonia was brought in to replace her and Apollonia 6 rose from the ashes of Vanity 6. It was all just a vehicle for Prince’s writing, performing and producing anyhow. Prince then turned to Sheila E for his next female protege.

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Frank Zappa – “The Incredible History of the Mothers” (1968)

November 29, 2008 at 10:10 pm (Frank Zappa, Reviews & Articles)

Frank Zappa wrote this article himself for Hit Parader magazine (issue #48, June 1968)…

 

Although the Mothers have been in existence for about three years, the project was carefully planned about four and a half years ago. I had been looking for the right people for a long time. I was in advertising before I got into…ha… show business. I’d done a little motivational research. One of the laws of economics is that if there is a demand, somebody ought to supply that demand and they’ll get rich. I composed a composite, gap-filling product that fills most of the gaps between so called serious music and the so-called popular music. Next, I needed my own group to present this music to the public. The group that was to become the Mothers was working in the Broadside, a little bar in Pomona, California.
Jim Black, the drummer, had just come to California from Kansas. He got together with Roy Estrada, the bass player. They’de been working terrible jobs in Orange County, which is a bad place to live unless you belong to the John Birch Society. They got a band together with Ray Hunt on guitar, Dave Coronado on sax and Ray Collins as lead vocalist. They called themselves the Soul Giants and they were doing straight commercial rhythm and blues “Gloria,” “Louie, Louie,” you got it. Then Ray Hunt decided he didn’t like Ray Collins and started playing the wrong changes behind him when he was singing. A fight ensued, Ray Hunt decided to quit, the band needed a guitar player, so they called me up. I started working with them at the Broadside, I thought they sounded pretty good. I said, “Okay, you guys, I’ve got this plan. We’re going to get rich. You probably won’t beleive this now, but if you just bear with me we’ll go out and do it.” Davie Coronado said, “No. I don’t want to do it. We’d never be able to get any work if we played that kind of music. I’ve got a job in a bowling alley in La Puene, and I think I’m gonna split.” So he did. I think he’s got a band now called Davie Coronado and his Sagebrush Ramblers or something like that.
There were four original Mothers – Ray Collins, Jim Black, Roy Estrada and myself. We starved for about ten months because we were playing a type of music that was grossly unpopular in that area. They couldn’t identify with it. So we got into the habit of insulting the audience. We made a big reputation that way. Nobody came to hear us play, they came in to see how much abuse they could take. They were very masochistic. They loved it. We managed to get jobs on that basis but it didn’t last very long because we’d eventually wind up abusing the owner of the club. Then we decided we were going to the big city – Los Angeles – which was about thirty miles away. We had added a girl to the group, Alice Stuart. She played guitar very well and sang well. 1 had an idea for combining certain modal influences into our basically country blues sound. We were playing a lot of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf-type stuff. Alice played good finger-style guitar, but she-couldn’t play “Louie, Louie,” so I fired her. Then we got Henry Vestine who is one of the most outstanding blues guitarists on any coast. He’s really a monster. He was part of the group for quite some time. But our music kept getting progressively stranger and he couldn’t identify with what we were doing and he wanted his freedom, so we said, ‘Goodbye, Henry’ and he split. He’s in Canned Heat now.
Then Ray, the lead vocalist, quit and there were three Mothers. We hired Jim Guercio, who now manages Chad & Jeremy and produces records for the Buckinghams. He was part of our group for a while. Also, somewhere along the line, we had hired Steve Mann, who is also one of the top blues guitarists on the West Coast. He wanted to play in the group but he couldn’t make the changes and we got rid of him. Then we hired Elliot Ingber and Ray came back in the band and there were five Mothers. We cut our first album with those five- Rag, Roy, Jim, Elliot and myself. Tom Wilson, who was producing records for MGM at the time, came to the Whiskey A-Go-Go while we were a five-piece group, while Henry Vestine was still with us. He heard us sing “The Watts Riot Song (Trouble Every Day).” He stayed for five minutes, said “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” slapped me on the back, shook my hand and said, “Wonderful. We’re gonna make a record of you. Goodbye.” I didn’t see him again for four months. He thought we were a rhythm and blues band. He probably went back to New York and said, “I signed me another rhythm and blues band from the Coast. They got this song about the riot. It’s a protest song. They’ll do a couple of singles and maybe they’ll die out”.
He came back to town just before we were going to do our first recording session. We had a little chat in his room and that was when he first discovered that that wasn’t all that we played. Things started changing. We decided not to make a single, we’d make an album instead. He wouldn’t give me an idea of what the budget would be for the album, but the average rock and roll album costs about $5,000. The start-to-finish cost of FREAK OUT was somewhere around $21,000. The first tune we cut was “Any Way The Wind Blows.” Unfortunately, it’s a bad mix, but the track is really good. Then we did “Who Are The Brain Police?” When Wilson heard those he was so impressed he got on the phone and called New York, and as a result I got a more or less unlimited budget to do this monstrosity. The next day I had whipped up the arrangements for a twenty-two piece orchestra. It wasn’t just a straight orchestra accompanying the singers. It was the Mothers five-piece band plus seventeen pieces. We all worked together. The editing took a long time, which ran the cost up.
Meanwhile, Wilson was sticking his neck out. He laid his job on the line by producing the album. MGM felt that they had spent too much money on the album and they were about to let it die, but it started selling all over the place. Like, they’d sell forty copies in some little town the size of a pumpkin in Wyoming. We sold five thousand albums all over the country with no extra-hype or anything. Finally the company started pushing the album and sales went even higher. We went to Hawaii right after the album was completed and we worked over there. Then we came back and worked with Andy Warhol at the Trip. It was the show that closed the Trip, as they say. Then we went to San Francisco and played around there and finally…uh…Elliot had to be fired and there were five. Just before we fired Elliot we had a six-piece band because we had hired Billy Mundi and we had two drummers. Then we hired Don Preston, who plays keyboard instruments – electric piano, electric clavichord, etc. We also hired Bunk Gardner who plays several various horns, and Jim Fielder on bass. I had known Don Preston and Bunk Gardner several years before I met the other guys. We used to play experimental music a long time ago. We got together in garages and went through some very abstract charts and just entertained ourselves. Anyway, we finally had a very workable ensemble. The second album was recorded with those eight guys. We just added a trumpet, string quartet and contrabass clarinet on one song.
The instrumentation of the ideal Mothers rock and roll band is two piccolos, two flutes, two bass flutes, two oboes, English horn, three bassoons, a contrabassoon, four clarinets (with the fourth player doubling on alto clarinet), bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass saxophones, four trumpets, four French horns, three trombones, one bass trombone, one tuba, one contrabass tuba, two harps, two keyboard men playing piano, electric piano, electric harpsichord, electric clavichord, Hammond organ, celeste, and piano bass, ten first violins, ten second violins, eight violas, six cellos, four string bass, four percussionists playing twelve timpani, chimes, gongs, field drums, bass drums, snare drums, woodblocks lion’s roar, vibes, xylophone and marimba three electric guitars, one electric 12-string guitar, electric bass and electric bass guitar and two drummers at sets, plus vocalists who play tambourines. And I won’t be happy until I have it. I think people are entitled to hear that kind of music live. Kids would go to concerts if they could hear music that knocked them out. If the concert halls would change to a more modern programming, they would find the place crawling with kids. Something like this won’t happen overnight and I know it. But I’ve studied my audiences carefully enough to see that we’re making some headway in that direction. Many people sit and listen to us because they pretend they can’t dance to our music. That’s total bull. I’m nearly an epileptic and I can make it. Those people don’t sit because they enjoy the music. They’re just waiting to find out if they like the music. It doesn’t sound like what they’ve been used to hearing. They want to get their ears accustomed to it. It’s not “psychedelic.” I asked a nightclub owner what psychedelic music was. “It’s loud out-of-tune crazy music,” he told me, “You can’t understand it.” Our music is fairly logical.
Our spontaneous outbursts are planned. They have to be. If you take an 8-piece band and not direct them, you’ll have “psychedelic” music. We rehearse an average of twelve hours on each song. We learn them in sections. There’s the front part, then interlude A, interlude B, and so forth, and the band has to remember certain cues for each section. Each set that we do is conceived of as one continuous piece of music, like an opera. Even the dialogue between numbers is part of it. Some of our sets run an hour and a half, when we get carried away. That’s about opera length. A better description of what we’re doing might be a theatrical presentation with music. This summer I’d like to present a show on Broadway. It’s a musical, science fiction horror story based on the Lenny Bruce trials. He was a friend of mine, and of our manager. Lenny was a saint. What the Big Machine of America did to Lenny Bruce was pretty disgusting. It ranks with civil rights as one of the big pimples on the face of American culture. But nobody will ever really find out about it, I guess.

Frank Zappa

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Sandy Pearlman – “Workshop of the Telescopes”

November 29, 2008 at 11:32 am (Poetry & Literature)

By silverfish imperetrix, whose incorrupted eye
Sees through the charms of doctors and their wives
By salamander, drake, and the power that was undine
Rise to claim Saturn, ring and sky
By those who see with their eyes close
They know me by my black telescope

Your green tree mantle from which these things derive
A lens of quartz and refract spoke that crystal lens
Whose crystal rope once bound me to those
Doctors and wives

When my vision was oh, so cloudy
And I saw things through two eyes
I am a sailor on the raging depths
And I know a thing or two
Back to the corner mates and over the side
Yes I know a thing or two

Before my great conversion when the ridge was closed
Before my visit to the workshop of telescopes.

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Moby Grape – Moby Grape (1967)

November 29, 2008 at 7:18 am (David Fricke, Reviews & Articles)

David Fricke has been a lifelong champion of this underrated band – especially this album. This review comes from Rolling Stone, Jan. 12, 1999, looking back on this now-classic album…

 

They had the looks, the songs, the guitars (three of ’em) and the singing (five drop-dead, blues-angel voices) – everything they needed to be America’s Beatles and Rolling Stones combined. Everything except the luck. Six months after releasing their first LP, Moby Grape, in June 1967, bassist Bob Mosley, drummer Don Stevenson, and guitarists Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis and Skip Spence were a mess and a half, struggling to make music amid legal crises, Columbia’s misguided hype (issuing five singles at once) and Spence’s descent into drug-fueled psychosis. It would be a classic rock-biz tale of fucking up, except for two things: (a) The Grape never gave up (they still gig with the electricity of yore) and (b) Moby Grape. Cut in three weeks for $11,000, Moby Grape is one of rock’s truly perfect debut albums and a pivotal document of Sixties rock in radiant mid-mutation. Funky country, folk rock, acid punk, frat-band R&B: They’re all here, whipped into a thirteen-song fireball of wide-screen vocals and meticulous guitar sizzle.

Made by a band with deep experience (Miller toured with Bobby Fuller; Spence was an early member of Jefferson Airplane), Moby Grape is high in drama, broad in dynamics: the lusty, Beatle-ized gallop of “Hey Grandma”; the hyper-Byrds blast of “Fall on You”; the genteel melancholy of “8:05”; the eccentric tension of the tempo and key changes on “Indifference.” Mosley was a powerhouse singer who could do Otis Redding and Brian Wilson in a single measure; Lewis’ finger-picking guitar was a rich backdrop for Miller’s roadhouse-honed leads. Spence was the Grape’s visionary imp, a man of great melodic gift and playful, if prophetic, madness. “Omaha” is just two and a half minutes long, but the Grape turned Spence’s song into a thing of power and beauty, full of medieval-choir luster and high-gear guitars.

“Omaha” is also Moby Grape in microcosm, the glory of a mighty band a tad early but untouchable peak. Moby Grape never became stars, but with Moby Grape, their legend is secure. 

 

 

David Fricke 

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John Lennon – “Life Begins at 40” (Demo – 1980)

November 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm (John Lennon, Music, The Beatles)

Straight from The Dakota Country & Western Club…

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Mudcrutch – “Scare Easy” (Video – 2008)

November 27, 2008 at 10:42 am (Music)

The great first single from the resurrected Mudcrutch. This was one of the better singles released over this past year.

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