Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Original Rumble...The Story of Link Wray....Show # 288

Link Wray was an American guitarist that was originally born in Dunn, North Carolina as Frederick Lincoln Wray. His family would later relocate to Virginia. Link served in the US Army and was a veteran of the Korean War. During the Korean War Link got tuberculoses causing him to lose one of his lungs, the doctors said that he would never sing again, but they were wrong. While this was a huge reason for Link to focus on instrumental guitar based songs, Link would sing occasionally on some of his songs. By the end of 1955, Wray had relocated to Washington, D.C.

After playing in various combinations of bands involving his brothers, the band Link Wray and His Ray Men emerged. The band consisted of Link Wray on lead guitar, Doug Wray on drums, Vernon Wray was on lead vocals, and Shorty Horton on Bass. Originally starting out playing Country and Western Swing music, Link would begin to focus on instrumental based songs. In late 1958, Link Wray wrote the instrumental song "Rumble". Originally called "Oddball", this song is notable for its enormous influence on Rock music. Being the first song to use a power chord, distortion, and feedback it was banned from radio stations because they thought that the title promoted gang violence in teens. "Rumble" is also the only instrumental song to be banned from radio airwaves.  This song influenced bands such as The Kinks, The Who, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Marc Bolan, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and more. "Rumble" was a favourite amongst live audiences often being played several times in one night due to the demand for it.

The band would sign a deal with Epic Records (previously being on Cadence). The next single that was released was the Surf and Hard Rock song "Raw Hide". A notable difference about this song was the fact that Link Wray switched guitars from his 1953 Gibson Les Paul to a Danelectro Longhorn guitar. The lipstick pick ups of the Danelectro added a blistering sound to Link Wray and His Wray Men. After several attempts by the bands label to make Link Wray into a mainstream artist involving the band with numerous different kinds of producers, Link Wray and his Wray Men were no longer on Epic Records. Instead of looking for another label, Link and Vernon Wray created their own label titled Rumble Records. The bands next release was "Jack the Ripper". The band was then picked up by Swan Records. A family chicken coop was turned into a recording studio and Link Wray spent more than a decade recording and experimenting with different kinds of musical styles. He recorded several albums including Link Wray in 1971, that incorporated elements of Folk, Blues, and Country, and Beans and Fatback in 1973.

In the 70's Link Wray was part of Robert Gordon's backing band, Gordon being a Rockabilly revivalist. He recorded two albums with Gordon, Robert Gordon w/Link Wray (1978) and Fresh Fish Special (1978). In the 1980's Link Wray got married and moved to Denmark. He recorded the odd album off and on and toured intermittently. Several of Link's songs were featured in films. He has had songs in films such as "Shadowman", "Twelve Monkey's", "Pulp Fiction", "Desperado", "The Warriors", and "Independence Day". Another important aspect of Link Wray was his Native American heritage. Being part Shawnee Indian, Link wrote several songs such "Shawnee", "Apache", and "Comanche". He also spoke of his ancestry in interviews and during live shows.

Link Wray passed away in Copenhagen on November 5th, 2005. In concert a tribute was done by Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, they both played the song "Rumble" respectively. There is currently a petition going around the internet to get Link Wray inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He for some reason has not been inducted despite his vast influence in the world of Rock music. However, tt should be noted that he is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Link Wray's music often blurred the line between Rock, Surf, Folk, Blues, and many other genres and styles. Link Wray has recorded numerous albums and singles and is known as being a highly influential, innovative musician, and the father of the power chord. Link Wray paved the way for Hard Rock and Punk Rock, the sounds of "Rumble" will forever resonate throughout the world of Rock music.

Surf Play List:

1. The Beans - Surfs Up
2. The Ventures - Surf Rider
3. The Fireballs - Bulldog 
4. The Rotations - Heavies 
5. Huevos Rancheros -Gump Worsley's Lament
6. Aqua Velvets - Guitar Noir
7. Spring Break Shark Attack! - Theme
8. Phono-Comb - Burnt Down With Feedback
9. Tiki Tones - Twister
10. Kon Tikis - 1000 Foot Wave
11. Surf Messiahs - Kilgore
12. Surf Trio -Beach Genius
13. The Torpedos - The Snake
14. Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - Zombie Compromise
15. Atomic 7 - Loving Not Gouging
16. The Wipeouters - Luna Goona Park 
17. Dean Drouilard - The Dragon
18. April March - Chick Habit 
19. The Mad 3 - Spy From Kyoto
20. The Cavliers - Le Ride Du Jugement Dernier
21. The Squiers - Mustang
22. The Surfdusters - The Reef 
23. Teisco Del Rey - Pier Pressure 
24. The Phantom Surfers - Banzai Run 
25. Dick Dale & His Del-Tones - Surf Beat
26. Link Wray - I'm Branded
27. Link Wray - Raw-Hide

If you are looking for this program you may want to check the comments section.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Give 'Em Enough Rope Demo....Show # 287

Most Clash fans know that there are numerous bootlegs out there containing demos.  On today's program I played one of the demos from the Give 'Em Enough Rope sessions.  The song in question was "Safe European Home".  This version differs in many ways to the studio version, for one the lyrics are different and secondly, it seems slower than the album version. 

Produced by Sandy Pearlman who was known for this work with Blue Oyster Cult, Give 'Em Enough Rope was originally released in November of 1978.  The albums cover which depicts a man being eaten by vultures was designed by Gene Greif.  It was based off of a postcard that was done by Adrian Atwater titled "End of the Road".  Another interesting fact about the album is that on initial US pressings of the album the song "All the Young Punks" is labelled as "That's No Way To Spend Your Youth".  During the sessions the band was said to do several takes of the songs, leaving fans to believe that there could be more Clash material out there from these sessions.  On the Clash On Broadway box set "One Emotion" was included as an outtake from these sessions.  There has been demos and alternate versions of songs available on bootleg from just about every Clash album, the biggest being the alternate version of the album Combat Rock produced and recorded by Mick Jones titled Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg

The Play List:

1. Yardbirds - I Ain't Done Wrong
2. Dino, Desi & Billy - The Rebel Kind
3. Elvis Presley - I Got A Woman
4. The Missing Links - Wild About You
5. The Count Five - They're Gonna Get You
6. Quid - Crazy Things
7. The Jury - Who Dat?
8. Teenage Head - Top Down
9. The Saints - Lost and Found
10. Over Night Lows - Static Scars
11. The Deniz Tek Group - 1968
12. The Zeros - What's Wrong With A Pop Group
13. Alternative TV - How Much Longer?
14. Rude Norton - Gilligan's Island
15. Young Canadians - I Hate Music
16. U-J3rks - Naum Gabo
17. The Shades - New Clientele
18. Hot Nasties - I Am A Confused Teenager
19. Modern Lovers - Astral Plane
20. The Scavengers - Mysterex
21. The Hitmen - I Don't Mind
22. The Clash - Safe European Home (1978 Demo)
23. The Victims - Television Addict
24. Undertones - I Told You So
25. Cheap Trick - ELO Kiddies
26. The Gun Club - Preaching The Blues

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 16. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Outdoor Miners...The Story of Wire...Show # 286

Wire formed in London, England in 1976, the group consisted of Watford Art College students. Collin Newman was on vocals/guitar, Bruce Gilbert on guitar, Graham Lewis on bass/vocals and Robert Gotobed on drums. Influenced by the emerging UK Punk scene at the time, Wire began playing live shows and gained the interest of Mike Thorne, who was a producer that had connections with EMI Records. Thorne, who was recording local Punk acts at The Roxy for a live compilation album, recorded Wire and included two of their songs on the compilation (titled Live At The Roxy). Shortly after this, Wire entered a studio to record their first full length album Pink Flag.

Produced by Mike Thorne, Pink Flag featured 21 songs. The overall sound of the album is raw with blunt sounding guitars and a certain kind of atmosphere (as all of Wire's albums feature), while combining visual elements as well as musical ones. Lyrically the album is contains intelligent and contextualized lyrics. The album was recorded almost entirely of live takes with no overdubs. The only songs that featured overdubs were parts of the song "Lowdown" and the song "Strange". Some of the songs on the album are thirty seconds long, but the overall cohesiveness of the album is great. Pink Flag features songs such as "Three Girl Rhumba", "Ex-Lion Tamer" a song about Batman, "A Field Day For The Sundays", and "Champs" a song seemingly about car racing. The 21 song album is a series of short music explosions combined the stripped down elements of Punk, Power Pop, and Pop. The songs are so catchy and short that the songs are cut to their bare essentials and then usually end. Other great tracks featured on Pink Flag are "Fragile", "12 X U", "It's So Obvious", and "A Feeling Called Love". The albums cover is credited to Graham Lewis and Bruce Gilbert. It is a photo of a pink flag on a flag pole, blowing in the wind that was seen (minus the flag) on the way to a live show. The album received critical acclaim, but in terms of sales it did not do very well.

Wire's second full length album, Chairs Missing would be released in 1978. The album featured what some people may call more of a New Wave sound. The production was different, the band experimented with their sound branching out from the sound of Punk, incorporating more Pop and dimension to their sound. Influences of Psychedelia and 70's Prog Rock are apparent in addition to the production techniques of Mike Thorne (who also played keyboards on the album). Chairs Missing features songs such as the dreary "Practice Makes Perfect", the sparse and textured "French Film Blurred", the fast paced keyboard rocker "Another The Letter" and the song "Heartbeat", which literally replicates a heart beat (musically). In addition to these tracks (and others), there are the songs "I Am The Fly", which is a song featuring strange, spring sounding guitar effects and "Outdoor Miner". While "I Am The Fly" was recorded prior to the album and a great pop song, the song "Outdoor Miner" is also an interesting piece of Pop music. Lyrically the song, which is about a serpentine miner, was written by bassist Graham Lewis and the music was written by Collin Newman. EMI Records liked the song so much that they asked Wire to extend its length (which was 1:44), which they accepted. Adding a middle section that featured Piano, Wire released "Outdoor Miner" as a single and it started climbing the UK singles charts. It would only go to #51. Overall Chairs Missing would go to #48 on the UK album charts.

Wire began touring, basically non-stop. They also made their first US appearance in the summer of 1978. Shortly after, in March Wire began a European tour with Roxy Music. Wire were at a high creative peak at this point and their live shows reflected that. Most of the shows contained new material that had not been recorded, although most of it would appear on their next album 154. Named after the number of gigs the band had played at that point, 154 showed Wire once again going into a different direction. The album was very melodic, smooth sounding and features more synthesizers and keyboards than any other previous Wire album. The album features songs such as "Two People In A Room" and "The 15th", which are short Wire songs similar to their earlier albums, but display a new sense of structure. There are also other songs, that are often moody and dramatic such as "A Touching Display" and "A Mutual Friend". The album also features yet another Pop song, like only Wire could make. The song "Map Ref. 41°N 93°W" is a song that picks up where songs such as "Outdoor Miner" left off, the song is a multi-textured and layered track. This album shows off the evolution process of the band, which if you are comparing to their other albums is highly evolved. They started out with the stripped down, bare-essential Rock/Punk with Pink Flag, brought more Pop and experimentation with Chairs Missing, and finally developed into a the album that was 154. Initial copies of 154 came with a bonus four track EP, that featured the songs "Song 1", "Get Down (Parts 1 and 2)", "Let's Panic Later" and "Small Electric Piece".

154 (1979) & Map Ref. 41°N 93°W Single (1979)

Following the release of 154, Wire began having creative differences which would eventually result in the end of the first period of the group. The band played a live show at the Electric Ballroom in 1980, which was a chaos fueled show where the band played several new songs (some of which were never recorded in the studio). The show was recorded on an 8-track recorder that was not set up properly, so the mix from the show was mixed in a distorted mix with two tracks. Released as Document and Eyewitness in 1981, this live album marked the end of Wire. After the release of this album, Wire took a five year break.

In 1985, Wire came back together as a band, this time fully integrating electronic instruments such as synthesizers, keyboards, drum machines and sequencers into their music, even more so than before. The first evidence of Wire's new sound came in 1986, in the form of an EP, titled Snakedrill EP. A full length album came in 1987, that would be titled The Ideal Copy. The album featured Wire's new approach to music via more electronic music based instruments (some have said that it resembles New Order), and it helped gain them more exposure in the US. After a US tour, another album followed in 1988 titled A Bell Is A Cup...Until It Is Struck. The album, which has been called by some as one of Wire's best albums, takes the bands electronic based music into a Pop music style with stream of consciousness lyrics.

The bands next album It's Beginning To And Back Again was released in 1989. The album was a collection of reworkings of live versions of songs from their album A Bell Is A Cup...Until It Is Struck. "Eardrum Buzz" from this album became the highest charting single Wire ever had in the US going to #2 on the US Modern Rock charts (it went to #68 in the UK). After Wire's next album Manscape, drummer Robert Gotobed would leave the group due to all the digital techniques that they began to use. For Manscape (which was released in 1990) Wire embraced more studio and computer based recording techniques. Without Gotobed on drums, Wire dropped the letter "E" from their name and became Wir. They released an album titled The First Letter in 1991 as Wir. This album which many think was ahead of its time, featured electronic soundscapes and not many vocals. The band went on a hiatus again after this.  The individual band members pursued solo careers.

In 1999, Wire began rehearsing again with Robert Gotobed (who started going by his original name Robert Grey) back on drums. In 2000, Wire played London's Royal Festival Hall in the UK, a short tour of the US followed. During this tour a large majority of the bands live set was older Wire material. Following more touring Wire decided to continue as a band. Their first recording in what can be called the third phase of Wire (the first being 1976-1980, the second being 1985-1991) was an EP called Read & Burn 01. Released in 2002, the EP was the first in a series of Wire releases, the EP demonstrated a sound similar to Pink Flag-era Wire. The second EP came the same year and was titled Read & Burn 02. The EP was just as loud and angry as the previous EP (Read & Burn 01). Send was released in 2003. It featured seven songs from the Read & Burn EP's in addition to four new tracks.

In 2006 some of Wire's earlier albums were re-issued and in 2007, Pink Flag was re-issued. These newer releases featured no bonus tracks (unlike the 1989 and 1994 versions) because the band felt that bonus tracks distorted the original artistic statements that they intended to make. A third EP, titled Read & Burn 03 was also released in 2007. The EP had a sound reminiscent of the sound created during 154-era Wire. Object 47 was released in 2008. This album marked an number of things in the bands career. First it was the first full length album that did not feature guitarist Bruce Gilbert. Second it marked the 47th release in Wire's discography (hence the title of the album). The overall sound of the album is extremely catchy. The album features songs such as "One Of Us" a melodic Post-Punk song and the stop and start song "Perspex Icon". Wire is currently working on a new album. 

More information:

Pinkflag.com (Wire's Official Website)
The Making of Pink Flag (Mike Thorne's Website)
The Making of Chairs Missing (Mike Thorne's Website)
The Making of 154 (Mike Thorne's Website)

This Week's Play List:

1. Wire - Dot Dash
2. Wire - A Field Day For The Sundays
3. Elvis Costello - Less Than Zero
4. The Rezillos - Mystery Action
5. Lost Patrol - Outta My Mind
6. The Perks - Escape
7. Blue Peter - Living In The Eighties
8. Crash 80s - Thrills
9. The Diodes - Tired of Waking Up Tired
10. Klark Kent - Don't Care
11. Subway Sect - Exit No Return
12. Shrink - Valid or Void
13. Wreckless Eric - Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.)
14. Colin Newman - & Jury
15. The Stranglers - Walk On By
16. Public Image Limited - Chant
17. Raptors - Running Away
18. Relief Maps - The Water Song
19. XX Teens - Only You
20. Devo - Girl U Want
21. The Rapture - Whoo! Alright Yeah.. Uh Huh
22. Radio 4 - (Always A) Target
23. Wire - The 15th

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 9th. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Makers of High Grade Suites....The Upholsterers Story...Show # 285

In the late 90's Jack White was in numerous short lived bands such as, Goober and the Peas, The Go, Two-Star Tabernacle in the Detroit area, he was also working as an upholsterer. He was working in an apprenticeship with a family friend Brian Muldoon in Detroit, Michigan. The two formed a short lived band and released a seven inch. Jack White played guitar, covered vocals and piano, while Muldoon covered the drums and created sounds utilizing a worm gear saw. The seven inch, which would be titled Makers of High Grade Suites, was released in the year 2000 on the Sympathy For The Record Industry label.

The songs were recorded and produced by Jim Diamond in Detroit at Ghetto Recorders (White and Muldoon also did some producing too). The seven inch contained three songs all drawing on Blues, Punk, and Garage musical stylings. There were only three songs on this release, "Apple of My Eye" (a Jack White original), "Ain't Superstitious" (a Willy Dixon cover), and "Pain (Give Me Sympathy)"(a cover of a song by a Texas 60's artist Jack Star). It was given a limited edition run (100 copies), and featured numerous inserts all pertaining to upholstery. This now highly collectable side project featuring Jack White, is said to sell on ebay for around $400-$900.

Upholsterers Myspace

This Week's Play List:

1. The Soft Pack - Parasites
2. Soft Copy - Hot Cakes
3. The Doughboys - It's Alright
4. The Others - Revenge
5. Les Mods - Let Me Tell Ya!
6. Action Makes - Buddies (Rough Mix)
7. Surfer Blood - Take It Easy
8. Stanley Blacks - Whiskey Eyes
9. The Disraelis - On Earth
10. The Mark Inside - Nothing To Admit
11. Link Wray - Dinosaur
12. Upholsterers - Ain't Superstitious
13. Flat Duo Jets - Crazy Hazy Kisses
14. Sloan - Is It Never
15. Revolvers - Shuffle
16. White Stripes - Hotel Yorba
17. MC5 - Baby Won't Ya
18. The Stooges - Little Doll
19. New York Dolls - Chatterbox
20. The Jam - Art School
21. Ramones - She's The One

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 2nd. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.