Saturday, November 17, 2007


* Still Stuck in Your Throat by Fishbone. I've been on a real Fishbone kick for the past couple of weeks. It started when I found a used copy of their 2002 album The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx at Natural Sound. I'd nearly forgotten about this group and I was surprised at how vital they still sounded. I saw them play the 1990 Lollapalooza in Denver and loved how they could sound like George Clinton one moment, Pantera the next, and then Frank Zappa -- all mixed in with a hopped-up ska sound. I also was impressed, back then in '93, at how they weren't aftraid to lay on the showmanship -- a quality you didn't much find with some of the other acts like Dinosaur Jr., Alice in Chains and Rage Against the Machine.

So in recent days I was lucky to get a couple of Fishbone albums from (the classic Truth and Soul and the relatively new Live at the Temple Bar and More. I also ripped the Fishbone CDs I already had onto my computer -- and then I stumble across this album, released just last year, on eMusic. Nearly six and a half hours of Fishbone is going through the shuffle mode of my mind. I want to say Fishbone is a major overlooked band of the '90s -- but they're still going strong and still seriously underrated -- in this century as well.

*100 Days, 100 Nights by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. I reviewed this one recently in Tune-up, along with the new Bettye LaVette CD and the new 3-disc Wattstax collection. You can find the whole piece HERE

In fact, I liked 100 Days so much, I downloaded Sharon & Dap-Kings' 2005 album, Naturally. And if anything, I'm liking it even more. There's a duet with Lee Fields ("Stranded in Your Love") in which Lee & Sharon become a modern Butterbeans and Susie. And there's a totally revamped "This Land is Your Land." It doesn't sound like Woody, but I bet he'd love it.

Basically, I can't get enough soul music. I'm happy there's a cool "soul revival" going on and especially happy that the focus is on the music, not some bogus nostalgic cuteness. The world needs more soul.

*The Big Eyeball in The Sky by Colonel Claypool's Bucket of Bernie Brains. This is a good-time collaboration between Les Claypool and drummer Brain of Primus , funk keyboard great Bernie Worrell and the guitar goon known as Buckethead. So while basically it's a supercharged version of Primus with Col. Claypool in command, Bernie and Buckethead put their own peculiar stamps on the music. There's lots of tasty jams and nary a dull moment. Even the 10-minute epic "Elephant Ghost" slinks along quite nicely. It sounds like the funkiest circus you've ever seen.

*Live at Joe's Place by Hound Dog Taylor. Hound Dog was the closest the blues ever came to punk rock. Well, maybe T-Model Ford, but Hound Dog was out there a ways.

This live record (a 1972 bar gig) is nice, raw and raucous. A few standards here -- "Dust My Broom," "The Sky is Crying," "Kansas City" and a good nine-minute "Freddy's Blues."

And there's one of those strange and unintentionally funny eMusic typos -- "Give Me Back My Wig" somehow becomes "Glue Back My Wig." I like that title better.

* Emotions by The Pretty Things. Talk about being a latecomer -- I didn't really really get into this 40-plus-year-old British Invasion band until Balboa Island, thier latest, released just this year.

Emotions is from that golden year of 1967, when the group plunged into psychedelia. Unfortunately in many cases they went overboard with the horns, strings, harpsichords, harps and other Sgt. Peppery affects. Still some bitchen stuff though. Love the fuzz tone on and whatever stringed instrument (I don't think it's a sitar -- sounds almost like a banjo) on "One Long Glance." I'm also loving the acoustic pyschedelic blues of "Tripping."

*The Live Ones 6 Tracks by The Standells. Eddie Munster was right. The Standells were cool guys. Only few have surpassed their level of bitchenicity. If you don't like 'em, flake off! Get yourself a crewcut, baby! This is a way too short live show by the Dirty Water boys at Michigan State University in 1966. Good clear sound quality. My only regret is that there are only six tracks.

*Mutiny/The Bad Seed by The Birthday Party. Although I've been a Nick Cave fan for years, I basically missed out on his earlier band back in the '80s. (I wasn't invited to the Birthday Party!) I really did miss out! This band has all the spooky, threatening power of the Bad Seeds, abrasive but very listenable. Lots of critics -- including me, I think -- compared Cave's current band Grinderman to The Birthday Party. For good reason.

This collection is two BP EPs starting out with Cave shouting, "Hands up! Who wants to die" in the hard crunching "Sonny's Burning." It doesn't let up from there. "Deep in the Woods is especially frightening. "Deep in the woods a funeral is swingin' ..." Yikes!

*Nuclear War by Sun Ra Akestra. I already had an MP3 of the title track and I needed seven tracks to make my monthly 90, so this worked out perfectly.

The story behind the album, as told in the Allmusic Guide is hilarious in itself:

"Originally Ra was so sure the funky dance track was a hit, he immediately took it to Columbia Records, where they immediately rejected it. Why he thought a song with the repeating chant "Nuclear War, they're talking about Nuclear War/It's a motherf***er, don't you know/if they push that button, your ass gotta go/and whatcha gonna do without your ass" would be a hit is another puzzle in the Sun Ra myth.
Beyond the title song, many tracks here -- "Celestial Love," "Blue Intensity," "The Nameless One Number Two" -- have a cool, bluesy, sleazy yet otherworldly quality with Ra's magial roller-rink organ out front. Call it crime jazz from Neptune.

UPDATED UPDATE: Soon after I posted this I discovered that Bloodshot Records is offering its Free Label Sampler 2007: Yr Welcome, World compilation for free. So I added that too. It's got a few tunes I already have on CD by the likes of Graham Parker, The Detroit Cobras and The Gore Gore Dirls, some new material by Bloodshot stalwarts like Jon Rauhouse and Deano Waco's Dollar Store, and some acts I'm not familar with like The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir and Ha Ha Tonka.

Speaking of which, the roots-rocking Ha Ha Tonka also is offering a free five-song live in-studio set called The Hear Ya Sessions on eMusic. I think these guys would have a lot to talk about with Hundred Year Flood. It's a little bit country, a little bit psychedelic. And, like I said, it's free!

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