Friday, February 29, 2008

Side Show

This is an album I owned as a boy, I believe it was the first group I ever bought a record by without my older brother's prior recommendation. Since it was my own "discovery", I earnestly tried to enjoy the album, but I must admit, it isn't the kind of music most kids would like, and I soon traded the album away. I found the record again on Ebay a few years ago, I snagged it to bring back forgotten memories, and now I appreciate the music much better. The album came out on Atlantic records I believe around 1969, and I'm guessing didn't do very well. The album pictured a group on the front, but didn't say anywhere who the members were and what they did. I determined from the individual song credits that the band consists partly of: Paul Giovanni, Gregg Kreutz and Ken Zeserson. Paul Giovanni appears to be the lead vocalists, and he went on to create the score for the original "Wicker Man" film with a group called Magnet. The vocals on that soundtrack are remarkably similar to those on this album, leading me to the conclusion he was the lead vocalist with Side Show. Giovanni went on to become a writer, and has since passed away. Gregg Kreutz (Bass) went on to become a Master painter and playwright he has a website here. Ken Zeserson is still a musician and has played with The Purple Valley and Radio London. The music on this album is hard to categorize, it reminds me of mellow progressive rock and also the folk/rock songs of the late 1960s. I think what I like best is the tasteful arrangements and the instrumental touches which were recorded very clearly. The album was produced and conducted by Arif Mardin, so there are a few nice string arrangements occasionally. The overall feeling of the album is mellow and restrained which may have been a factor in the group not becoming famous, but it does make this a worthwhile album nonetheless. If you love the soundtrack to "Wicker Man" you will enjoy this album since it has a similar maturity and the same lead vocalist. If you know any more about this group, or if you also owned this LP let me know, I have never met anyone else who had even heard of them.

Side Show LP

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bruce Haack-Moog Medicine Man

If you are not aware of Bruce Haack read up on him a bit at Wikipedia. He was a very talented and inventive composer and his album Electric Lucifer is for my tastes the highpoint of his career. The LP is now available on CD so I am only going to offer one song to help promote and showcase the album. All downloads I found taken from the vinyl release have a skip on track 4 making it less than enjoyable. The new CD release was taken from the original source tapes recently found in the Columbia record's vaults. It is stunning audio quality and I recommend it highly.

Program Me

Thursday, February 21, 2008

SMILE 1966-2004 HybridVersion

In spring of 1966 after riding high on the artistic triumph of Pet Sounds and the commercial triumph of Good Vibrations, Brian Wilson set out to make a Beach Boys album that would surpass The Beatles' Revolver album in sonic artistry. The album ended up not getting completed for over 3 decades due to a wide array of problems that overtook it's author Brian Wilson. Finally in 2004 he released a completely reworked version with all new musicians, and none of the other original Beach Boys assistance. Also it was made with a different style of production than the original Smile recordings had and sounds quite different for that reason as well. I became obsessed with the unfinished album when I purchased Smiley Smile on CD about 6 years ago, I wanted to have every original recording from the 1966 sessions that I could find. I possibly even started praying that Wilson would find the motivation to finally complete his unfinished masterpiece, but I'd always hope he would use as much of the original recordings as was possible. I suspect that for legal reasons he chose to redo the whole project with his new musicians and vocalists. So I of course bought the new Smile album as quick as it was released and really like it a lot, but still miss the Beach Boys versions of songs like Heroes and Villains, Good Vibrations, Cabinessence and Surf''s Up. What I did was marry the completed 1966 Beach Boy recordings with the 2004 recordings so that they still flow seamlessly wherever the 2004 album did. I also adjusted the eq and reverb somewhat to make the 2004 recordings sound a bit more like the 1966 recordings. I made a whole new version of Heroes and Villains that is longer than any currently available versions, and I gave a choice of 2 true stereo versions of Good Vibrations. So here is a link to a sampler of what both eras of recordings sound like, and it just happens to be a complete Smile album in it's own right. I highly recommend that you purchase the Capitol reissue of Smiley Smile, the Beach Boy's box set called Good Vibrations and Brian Wilson's album Smile. I don't expect to offer this link for very long so get it while it's here. The VBR LAME mp3s may not play seamlessly unless transferred to wave or flac files first.

Track Listing:

Section One
1. Our Prayer (Beach Boys)
2. Gee (Brian Wilson)
3. Heroes And Villains (Beach Boys & Brian Wilson)
4. Roll Plymouth Rock (Brian Wilson)
5. Barnyard (Brian Wilson)
6. Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine (Brian Wilson)
7. Cabin Essence (Beach Boys)

Section Two
8. Wonderful (Beach Boys & Brian Wilson)
9. Song For Children (Brian Wilson)
10. Child Is Father Of The Man (Brian Wilson)
11. Surf's Up (Beach Boys)

Section Three
12. I'm In Great Shape (Beach Boys & Brian Wilson)
13. Vega-Tables (Beach Boys & Paul McCartney)
14. On A Holiday (Brian Wilson)
15. Wind Chimes (Brian Wilson)
16. Mrs. O'Leary's Cow (Brian Wilson)
17. Fire (Brian Wilson)
18. In Blue Hawaii (Brian Wilson)
19. Good Vibrations [45 Single Stereo Mix (Beach Boys)]

Bonus Tracks
20. Good Vibrations [2004 Album Version (Brian Wilson)]
21. Heroes And Villains [45 Single Stereo Mix (Beach Boys)]

SMILE Revisited

Monday, February 4, 2008

Wall Of Voodoo - There's Nothing On This Side / Mexican Radio (Dub)

In the early 1980s Wall Of Voodoo released their hit single "Mexican Radio" on 12" vinyl. The B-side of the album contained 2 very interesting tracks that captured my imagination for many years. Track 1 is called "There's Nothing On This Side" and Track 2 is "Mexican Radio (Dub)". TNOTS is a track that incorporates strange synthesized noises, a simple electronic rhythm and snippets of conversation mostly taken from Telephone recordings. I had a friend play the track for me several years ago, and I never stopped thinking about how different it was. I believe that track paved the way for me embracing Industrial music a few years later. The second song is a simple remix of "Mexican Radio" that is just experimental enough to go really well with track 1. Since the A side is easy to find and still in print, I did not include that, but Side 2 is somewhat hard to find so I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do. I just realized that the A-side is a different edit than what appears on their "Call Of The West" LP so a link is listed in the comments for that version.

get it here