* Hentch-Forth.Five featuring Jack White by The Hentchmen. Back in 998 Detroit's Hentchmen, led by Farfisa fiend John Hentch (aka John Szymanski, aka Johnny Volare), had a bass player named Jack White who went on to become singer and guitarist for The White Stripes. Detroit’s Italy Records has remastered the album, originally released on vinyl only, and rereleased it on the same day The White Stripes’ new album, Icky Thump, was released. My favorite tracks here are “Some Other Guy,” in which White and Hentch harmonize like the early Beatles and “Psycho Daisies,” an obscure Yardbirds tune.
Hey, does this all sound familiar? I just reviewed this in Terrell's Tune-up a couple of weeks ago.
*April March Sings Along With The Makers . I'd never heard of Ms. March until Grindhouse. She sings the song "Chick Habit" during the closing credits. I'd assumed, despite the name, she was Japanese. She's not. Lots of people think she's French because she recorded an album of French pop tunes -- or at least tunes that sounded like French pop. But no, April's all American and this is nothing but good old garage punk fare with echos of "Psychotic Reaction." She sounds kind of like the gal in Daisy Chainsaw (remember "Love Your Money"?)
* Naughty Bawdy & Blue by Maria Muldaur. It was predetermined nearly 40 years ago that I would get this album -- first time I heard Maria, then with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, coo the words, "red rooster say cock-a-doddly-doo/ Richland woman say, `any dude'll do' ... "
She re-recorded "Richland Woman Blues" for an album of that title about five years ago -- and sounded, if anything more sexy than she did when she was a young woman.
Maria continues along that line in this collection of old classic-era blues songs from the likes of Bessie Smith, Mamie Smith and Victoria Spivey. She loves this stuff and that love is infectuous.
However lovers of naughty and bawdy music beware. The title of this album is an oversell. The bawdiness doesn't go much beyond double entendres like the ones in Hunter's "Handyman." There's no Lucille Bogan songs here or anything like the raunchy tunes found on collections like Please Warm My Weiner.
But for those of us with strong dirty imaginations, this album is just fine. Like a modern Sophie Tucker, Maria Muldaur is the last of the red-hot mammas.
*Live at Montreux 2004 by George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic . Thirty years beyond P-Funk's golden era, Clinton and his aging band of funky pranksters are just as tight and proficient as the old days. Actually this is a great companion to Live: Meadowbrook, Rochester, Michigan 12th September 1971, which I downloaded several months ago.
There's not a whole lot of surprises here -- Bop Gun" and "Atomic Dog" are as funk-filled as ever -- except the appearance of Clinton's granddaughter (!) Sativa, who offers some truly "naughty, bawdy and blue raps" on "Something Stank" and "Hard as Steel," and "Whole Lotta Shakin'," which actually is a medley of '50s rock tunes showing Clinton's love for that era.
My main complaint about this album is that there's no liner notes (a major drawback of downloading in general) and the credits found on the eMusic page (as well as the Allmusic entry) are threadbare. I want to know which of the original P-Funsters are playing here.
* Texas, 1986: Live at the Continental Club by Sonic Youth. Anyone who has ever been to Austin's Continental Club knows it's a pretty small place. This had to be LOUD AS HELL! (No, the picture here isn't the Continental. I took this at the 1995 Lollapalooza in Denver.)
This was back when most of America -- myself included -- was unaware of Sonic Youth, a couple of years before Daydream Nation woke up to them. In fact this was right about the time of their album EVOL. They're grating and noisy, a little scary and driven. And of course "Expressway to Yr Skull" is pure majesty. What would we have done without them?
* Bad Blood In The City: The Piety Street Sessions by James Blood Ulmer. Singer/guitarist Ulmer is a jazz man who has played with the likes of Ornette Coleman and Art Blakey. But in recent years his art has taken him deeper and deeper into the blues. I loved his 2005 album Birthright, but this new one is even more exciting. It was recorded in New Orleans' Piety Street Studios with a full band.
There are several covers of songs by Son House, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Junior Kimbrough, as well as originals, including songs inspired by Hurricane Katrina.
Ulmer's main strength is that he captures the mysteriousness of the blues. Even when the band is rocking, you can imagine Ulmer in a graveyard, sitting on a tombstone playing his guitar and shouting melodies that double as secret incantations and dark warnings.
*Paint The White House Black by The Dick Nixons. There's political commentary and then there's political commentary!
I first heard The Dick Nixons about 10 years ago on the Star Power compilation, a tongue-in-cheek celebration of those '70s K-Tell compilations advertised on late night T.V. This band covered the wimp-rock classic "One Tin Soldier," purposely confusing the legends of Tricky Dick and Billy Jack.
There's lots more Nixon songs on this CD, released in the early '90s when their hero was still alive. But what convinced me to download this wasn't the hilarious cargo-cult-like glorification of the disgraced 37th President. It was even the fact that the album was produced by Memphis wizard Jim Dickinson.
It's because there's a punk apocalypse cover of one of the greatest hits of New Mexico Music Commissioner Tony Orlando: "Knock Three Times." I'm waiting for the band to re-form as The Tony Orlandos.
*In C by Bang on a Can & Terry Riley. Back in my Dr. Strange days, Terry Riley's Rainbow in Curved Air provided the soundtrack to a memorable excursion into the Eternal Vishanti.
Riley, of course is considered a father of minimlism. This collaboration with Bang on a Can on one of his his influential compositions could be considered minimalism to the max. You've got a violin, mandolin, woodwinds, glockenspiel, cello, marimba and who knows what else, all playing off the note of C -- more more than 45 minutes.
It's mediatative without a trace of New Age mush, almost robotic in its pulsating rhythms, yet with undeniable soul.
*"Diamond in Your Mind" by Tom Waits with the Kronos Quartet. This is a single released from an upcoming album called Healing the Divide, a benefit for an organization that provides healtcare and insurance for impoverished Tibetan monks. This is an inspiration little song that Waits wrote for Solomon Burke a few years ago. Unlike some Kronos collaborations, the Quartet doesn't overwhelm Waits. In fact, you barely know they're there.
*2007 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler Here are 17 free tracks, (including "Kill Yr Idols" from the Sonic Youth album above.)