Saturday, February 29, 2020

Revolution Surf 2020 & Show # 817

One of the first surf/instrumental based songs to have a space or sci-fi theme was the song “Telstar” by The Tornados. Not to be confused with the US band of the same name (spelled “Tornadoes”), this band was from the UK and worked together with producer Joe Meek in the early 60s. Meek wrote and produced the song for The Tornados, utilizing new, pioneering production techniques that created distinctive, and “space age” futuristic sounds. It sounded pretty strange then, but still sounds fresh today. With its use of keyboards and the Clavioline, “Telstar”, which was named after a telecommunications satellite that went into orbit on July 10th, 1962, became an immediate hit when released in August of 1962. In the UK the song was at #1 on the UK singles charts for 25 weeks and #1 in on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The Tornados were also the first British group to have a number one single in the US. Since then there has been a plethora songs and surf/instrumental bands that have named themselves based on space or sci-fi themes. Their first full-length album, Bustin’ Surfboards, was released in 1964. The album mixed 60s surf themed tracks with some vocal based tracks. It would become a cult classic, but reached new found popularity following the inclusion of the song “Bustin’ Surfboards” on the 1994 soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

In 1964, instrumental band The Ventures released their album (The) Ventures in Space. The album explored more experimentation within the band’s classic sound and was influenced by Joe Meek’s space age production style. The Ventures, who have put out so many releases often of both cover songs and originals, put out this album on Dolton Records. (The) Ventures in Space was also one of the first albums that The Ventures used Mosrite guitars on. Prior to this they used Fender, but from this album forward, The Ventures would use Mosrite guitars and would help set the standard for this brand. The model of guitar that they used was initially known as “The Ventures” model, but later became known as the Mosrite "Mark 1" guitar. As mentioned, the album showed a more experimental aesthetic as opposed to their other albums. This one also stands out as being quite different due to that fact. This pre-computer age sci-fi/space themed album combined intergalactic versions of TV theme songs such as “The Twilight Zone”, which ends the album with originals such as “He Never Came Back”, “Exploration In Terror” and “Solar Race”. The album begins with “Out Of Limits”, which was originally by The Marketts. This song when originally released by The Marketts was called “Outer Limits”, inspired by The TV show of the same name drew musical similarities to the theme song to the TV series The Twilight Zone. Despite being sued by creator Rod Serling, the song was changed to “Out of Limits” and became one of The Marketts biggest hits. It was also a popular song for The Ventures on this album. “Bat” with is low flying garage fuzz sounds, “Solar Race” with its psychedelic/cinematic aesthetics, and “Fourth Dimension” with its unnerving space surf tones all add to the make up of this album. While songs such as the eerie “Fear”, the gong dominated “Exploration in Terror”, the creepy, and the otherworldly sound “War of the Satellites”, all play out like a mix between a film soundtrack and a surf music album. (The) Ventures In Space is a pre-psychedellic experimental collection of surf songs.

Man Or Astro-man? formed in 1992. The band mixes elements of 60s surf rock with punk, new wave and some hard rock into their sound. Although primarily an instrumental group, they also have songs with vocals. The majority of their songs and albums have space and science fiction themes. In addition to the musical instrumentation, they have also used the Theremin, synthesizers and dot matrix printers in their music. Man Or Astro-Man? also use audio clips from old sci-fi movies in their music, a lot has been said to come from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. The band’s backstory states that they arrived from outer space some years ago and integrated into human society as a rock band. Man Or Astro-man? consists of Star Crunch (Brian Causey) on guitar/vocals, Birdstuff (Brian Teasley) on drums and Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard on bass/electronics. These three are the core members of the group, there have been additional members over the years. Man Or Astro-man? released their first album entitled Is It Man Or Astroman? in 1993 on Estrus Records. The band toured and released music from 1993 to 2001, releasing ten full-length albums, not counting singles and EPs. They have released music on Touch and Go Records, Estrus Records, Get Hip Recordings, through Chunklet Magazine and on Third Man Records. The band toured and released music from 1993 to 2001, releasing ten full-length albums, not counting singles and EPs. After a hiatus the band returned playing live in 2006 for the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago. They began touring intermittently starting in 2010. Most recently, Avona Nova (Samantha Paulsen) has been playing with Man Or Astro-man? on guitar. Their most recent album Defcon 5...4...3...2...1, was released in 2013. It was recorded by Steve Albini, who has also worked them on 1995’s Planet Infinity and A Spectrum of Infinite Scale in 2000.

Revolution Surf 2020 Play List:

1. Atomicos - Shoot the Moon (Surfodelic - Norwegian Blue Records - 2017)
2. The Metalunas - Blast Off! (X-Minus One - American Pop Project - 2000)
3. The Saturn 5 - Voyage Around the Moon (That Thing You Do! Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Play-Tone/Epik Soundtrack - 1996)
4. Les Robots - Big Trouble In Outer Space (The Fascinating sound of Les Robots - Spazz Records - 2019)
5. The Astronauts - Rocket To Mars (Lost In Space - Pin Up Records - 1993)
6. The Astronauts - Pinball Crazy (Lost In Space - Pin Up Records - 1993)
7. Los Straitjackets - Space Mosquito (Jet Set - Yep Roc Records - 2012)
8. Gene & The Esquires - Space Race (Space Race/Rave On Single - GNP Crescendo - 1965)
9. Joe Meek & The Blue Men - Orbit Around The Moon (Music from Planet Earth Vol 1 - Stag-O-Lee - 2013)
10. The Ventures - Moon Child ((The) Ventures In Space - Dolton Records - 1964)
11. Tornados - Telstar (Music from Planet Earth Vol 1 - Stag-O-Lee - 2013)


12. Los Freneticos - Teletransportacion (Teletransportacion - Hi-Tide Recordings - 2019)
13. The Phantom Dragsters - Galaxy Quest (Surfin' After Death - H-Records - 2016)
14. King Ghidora - Hal 9000 is Re-Activated (The Secret Origin of An Unknown Planet Destroyer - Sharawaji Records - 2018)
15. Los Kosmos - Mega Hit (Los Kosmos - 2018)
16. Megatronadores - Surfergalactico (Wanglen - 2017)
17. Mark Malibu & The Wasagas - Astro Bot (Crash Monster Beach - Sharawaji Records - 2018)

18. Urban Surf Kings - The Day the Surf Stood Still (Surf vs. Flying Saucers - USK International - 2004)
19. Urban Surf Kings - Deep Space (Surf vs. Flying Saucers - USK International - 2004)
20. Reverb Syndicate - Lunar Attack (Sputnik A-Go-Go - The Reverb Syndicate - 2007)
21. Blue Demons - Moon Dawg (The Blue Demons)
22. The Vondells - In Orbit (The Vondells (Unreleased) - 2003)
23. The Surfdusters - The Moons of Jupiter (Waves of Pleasure - Surfdust Records - 1994)
24. C&C Surf Factory - Phasors on Stun (Garage City - Six Shooter Records - 2015)
25. The Spotnicks - Telstar (Deluxe: Orange Blossom Special - Puzzle Productions - 2013)
26. Dave Miller - Telstar (Old Door Phantoms - Ears and Eyes Records - 2016)
27. Tornados - Moon Dawg (Bustin' Surfboards - Josie Records 1963/Sundazed Records - 2012)
28. The Trashwomen - The Happy Taco (The Trashwomen Vs. Deep Space - Repent Records/Pin Up Records - 1994)
29. Man or Astroman? - The Universe's Only Intergalactic Radioactive Breakfast Bar (What Remains Inside A Black Hole - Au Go Go - 1996)
30. Man or Astroman? - Defcon 3 (Defcon 5...4...3...2...1 - Communicating Vessels - 2013)
31. Man or Astroman? - Planet Collision (Live At Third Man Records - Third Man Records - 2017)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 29.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Stooges Fun House 50th Anniversary Special & Show # 816

When it was originally released in July of 1970, Fun House stood out as an album different from its predecessor and from other music at the time. It still does. Produced by Don Gallucci who played keyboards on The Kingsmen’s garage classic “Louie, Louie”, Fun House brought a new sense of groove and intensity to the music of The Stooges. As for influences, the sounds of Howlin’ Wolf and James Brown influenced part of the sound that the band was going for on this album. The band also added Saxophonist Steve MacKay to Fun House and he is found on the album’s second side as the band also pull in free Jazz influences into their dynamic, and especially during the chaotic sonic assault that ends the album “L.A. Blues”.

Fun House was named after the band’s house and rehearsal space that they lived in back in Michigan, the album’s songs developed through being played live. Although he initially deemed the band “unrecordable”, Gallucci’s intention was to capture The Stooges live in the studio to try and get down the energy they projected live on tape. The feeling was captured and resulted from having the band perform as if it were a live performance, removing all baffles and carpet from the studio and by having Iggy record his vocals with a handheld microphone, which was unconventional at the time. The music pushed forward and has been described as capturing a sense of instant mayhem.

“Down On The Street” opens Fun House. With guitar and bass slides and a simple drum hit, The Stooges drop into a deep groove as Iggy Pop grunts and howls. As the words come in such as “Down on the street where the faces shine/Floating around/I’m a real low mind” and “Deep in the night I’m lost in love/A thousand lights look at you”, The Stooges don’t so much as project their feelings of unrest and unease on listeners as they suck you into their vortex. “Loose” comes next. Originally intended to be the album’s opening track, “Loose” features a revolving basslines and distorted guitar riffs that lock in with Scott Asheton’s drumbeats. Iggy Pop sings words such as “I took a ride with the pretty music/Now I’m putting it to you straight from hell” and the provocatively dangerous “I’ll stick it deep inside/Cause I’m loose” which sets the tone amongst the music that starts to get even more erratic especially when the searing guitar solo comes in via Ron Asheton. The opening of “T.V. Eye” could be one of the best openings to a rock song. Iggy Pop screams “Lorrrdd!” very loud as a guitar riff comes in then bass and drums join in. The song itself has origins as a phrase coined by the Asheton’s younger sister when someone was staring at them. On this song you really get a feel for the blues influences that the band drew on for this album. There is intensity, groove and sheer desperation found all over this track.

“Dirt” opens with a rolling drum riff before bassist Dave Alexander’s lurking bassline walks in. Throughout this song, Iggy Pop sings lyrics such as “I been dirt/And I don't care/Cause I’m burning/Inside” and “And do you feel it?/Said do you feel it when you touch me?” dealing with dark undercurrents associated with themes of depression and a burning desire for something more that can take on multiple feelings and moods all at once. If that isn’t enough, Ron Asheton’s guitar bends and twists with tense, on edge, soulful guitar riffs. The solo in this more laid back track cuts right through everything and like all of the music on Fun House, evokes a feeling that is inescapable. “1970” has been called a sequel to “1969” from The Stooges debut album the year prior. The song attacks with guitar riffs, fuzzy, sweltering basslines and themes of boredom and excess. It is on this track that Steve MacKay’s saxophone enters the Fun House. Apparently joining just two days before the recording began, MacKay at that point had previously played with Carnal Kitchen and added free jazz styled saxophone in a style compared to Ornette Coleman to The Stooges primal dynamic.

The album’s title track comes in at track six. With a driving bassline it kicks off with moans from Iggy Pop and then dual sax and guitar lines that interconnect while an unstoppable drumbeat from Scott Asheton brings us into this jazz punk classic. As Iggy Pop begs to be let into the fun house, the song, which is over seven minutes, pushes the limits of the music as the band sinks into a real dynamic. As Pop howls overtop with his vocals with the words “Calling from the fun house with my song/We’ve been separated baby for too long” and “I came to play and I mean to play” that dive deep into a wavering tale of love, desperation, determination and chaos, as the musical intensity increases. “Fun House” continues into the album’s final track, “L.A. Blues”. More free jazz influences enter through the rhythms of this song and the title track that precedes it. John Coltrane and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew come to mind. This track is really an all out meltdown. Originally called “Freak” and clocking in at over seventeen minutes, this live in the studio take descends into free jazz and noise rock in what other reviewers have also described as apocalyptic.

Other words used to describe Fun House have been chaotic, destructive, punk blues, jazz punk, proto-punk and garage meltdown. The album would go on to influence punk and alternative music in the years and decades that followed, setting a blueprint and growing in stature. It has a depth and influence that challenged rock conventions. Being recorded live in the studio with very little overdubs added afterwards, Fun House captures a band in their own world. Fun House went against the norm at the time, stuck in between the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s, it is rooted in a sense of reality and mayhem. It has been called the greatest rock and roll album ever by some and is a true cohesive artistic piece. For an album that was virtually ignored by the mainstream following its initial release, Fun House, now 50 years later is revered and identified as a cult classic.

The Stooges Fun House 50th Anniversary Playlist (An Alternate Version of The Stooges, Fun House and Fun House Outtakes):

1. Lost In The Future (Take 1) (1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions - Rhino Handmade - 1999/Fun House (Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2005)
2. “Slide” (“Slidin’ the Blues”) (1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions - Rhino Handmade - 1999/Fun House (Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2005)
3. 1969 (Alternate Vocal) (The Stooges (Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2005)
4. I Wanna Be Your Dog (Original John Cale Mix) (The Stooges (Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2005)
5. We Will Fall (Alternate Version) (The Stooges (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2019)
6. No Fun (Full Version) (The Stooges (Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2005)
7. Real Cool Time (Alternate Mix) (The Stooges (Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2005)
8. Ann (The Stooges - Elektra - 1969)
9. Not Right (Alternate Vocal) (The Stooges (Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2005)
10. Little Doll (Original John Cale Mix) (The Stooges (Deluxe Edition) - Rhino Records/Elektra - 2005)
11. Down On The Street (Fun House - Elektra - 1970)
12. Loose (Fun House - Elektra - 1970)
13. T.V. Eye (Fun House - Elektra - 1970)
14. Dirt (Fun House - Elektra - 1970)
15. 1970 (Fun House - Elektra - 1970)
16. Fun House (Fun House - Elektra - 1970)
17. L.A. Blues (Fun House - Elektra - 1970)
18. Loose (Take 27)(1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions - Rhino Handmade - 1999)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 22.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Rockin' With Bloodshot Bill: An Interview With Music From Bloodshot Bill's Discography and Other Selections Show # 815

Bloodshot Bill plays his own brand of wild rockabilly and 50s rock influenced music. Originating from Montreal, Bloodshot sometimes plays with a backing band, but also tours and records a lot solo. In recent years he has added to his ongoing list of collaborations by putting out an EP with Deke Dickerson (The Bad Biscuit EP) and a single with Japan’s The’s (My Little Muck Muck), he even has an EP forthcoming with another backing group, The Televisionaires. He has been nominated for an Ameripolitan Award four times. 2019 seemed to bring new interest to Bloodshot's music with Come Get Your Love Right Now released on Goner Records and by having his songs featured in a few commercials. Bloodshot Bill has released music through Norton Records, Ghost Highway Recordings (out of Spain), Transistor 66, Slovenly Recordings and many others. He does things his way and plays and releases a lot of music at a prolific and staggering pace. His music captures the wild, unpredictability and mysteriousness of early rock n’ roll music.

Revolution Rock got a chance to speak with Bloodshot Bill and featured an entire episode of selections from his discography of music. Listen to the interview here and check out the radio show in the link below the playlist:

Bloodshot Bill Playlist:

1. Bloodshot Bill - Come Get Your Love (Come Get Your Love Right Now - Goner Records - 2019)
2. Bloodshot Bill - I'm in Love (I'm in Love EP - Ghost Highway Recordings - 2012)
3. Bloodshot Bill - Martian Chicken (Out of this World Sounds Of Bloodshot Bill - Luna Sounds - 2012)
4. Bloodshot Bill - Creature from the Sky (Unreleased Home Recordings Vol. 1 - 2018)
5. Bloodshot Bill - Rat Fink (Rockabily Trash - 2004)
6. Bloodshot Bill - Five and Ten (Rockabily Trash - 2004)
7. Bloodshot Bill - Wobble (Guitar Boy - Norton Records - 2016)
8. Bloodshot Bill - Love Me Twice (Guitar Boy - Norton Records - 2016)


9. The Ding-Dongs - Ding-Dong Party (The Ding-Dongs - Norton Records - 2010)
10. The Ding-Dongs - Don't Ring, Come On In (The Ding-Dongs - Norton Records - 2010)
11. Tandoori Knights - Bucketful (Curry Up! It's The Tandoori Knights - Norton Records - 2010)
12. Bloodshot Bill & The's - My Little Muck Muck (My Little Muck Muck - Pig Baby Records - 2019)
13. Bloodshot Bill - Shick Shack (Git High Tonite! - Transistor 66 - 2009)
14. Bloodshot Bill - Blue Days Black Nights (Lonesome Road - Norton Records - 2013)
15. Bloodshot Bill - Know Myself (Come Get Your Love Right Now - Goner Records - 2019)


16. Bloodshot Bill - All the Time (Thunder and Lightning - Norton Records - 2011)
17. Bloodshot Bill - Hang in There (Thunder and Lightning - Norton Records - 2011)
18. Bloodshot Bill - Shark Tank (Hang Ten with Bloodshot Bill EP - Hi-Tide Recordings - 2019)
19. Bloodshot Bill & The Hick-Ups - Slewfoot Sue (This is It! - Sleazy Records - 2018)
20. Bloodshot Bill & His Hub-Caps - Cemetery (Crazy Fever! - Killer Production - 2003)
21. Bloodshot Bill - Tell Me You Love Me (Guitar Boy - Norton Records - 2016)
22. Bloodshot Bill - Wolf Call (So Blue - Transistor 66 - 2013)
23. Bloodshot Bill - Pill Bop (All Messed Up - Hog Maw Records - 2010)
24. Bloodshot Bill - Treat Me Right (All Messed Up - Hog Maw Records - 2010)
25. Bloodshot Bill - Johnny Crap (Boogie All Nite!!! - 2001)
26. Bloodshot Bill - Baby Back (Sex, Blood & Rock n' Roll - 2001)
27. Bloodshot Bill - Angel Trucker (One for the Road - 2002)
28. Tandoori Knights - Temple of Boom (Temple of Boom - Slovenly Recordings - 2019)
29. Bloodshot Bill - Radioactive Flip-flop (Rockin' with Bloodshot Bill EP - Ghost Highway Recordings - 2011)
30. Bloodshot Bill - Midnite on Mars (Out of this World Sounds Of Bloodshot Bill - Luna Sounds - 2012)
31. Bloodshot Bill - Can't Dance Alone (Lemme Rock EP - Squoodge Records - 2010)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 15.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Journey Through The Past: Selections from Neil Young's Discography Show # 814

After releasing 1981’s underrated Re-ac-tor with Crazy Horse, Neil Young’s contract ended with Reprise Records. He had been with the label since 1968 and had released thirteen albums with them. The first album that he released on Geffen was 1982’s Trans. The album confused some listeners. It also really bothered his record label. The album was synth rock and electronic based, influenced by bands such as Kraftwerk and featured songs with vocoder vocals. The album itself Young said was about communication and reflected his attempts to communicate with his son Ben, who had been born with cerebral palsy and was unable to speak. The next album that Neil Young recorded for Geffen was a country based record called Old Ways. The label rejected the album and wanted a rock record from Neil Young. He delivered Everybody’s Rockin’.

This album was a rock album, but not the standard kind of rock album that Young had been known for at the time. It was a 50’s rock, rockabilly and doo wop inspired album. The 1983 album was a mix of rockabilly covers and originals. It is also his shortest album. Apparently two more tracks were intended for this release (“Get Gone” and “Don’t Take Your Love Away From Me”), but additional recording session were cancelled and the album was released the way we have it now. These two songs would appear in live form on Young’s compilation album Lucky Thirteen, along with other songs that didn’t make several of the albums from this time period in 1993. The album featured two singles, “Wonderin'” and “Cry Cry Cry”, both Young originals. “Wonderin’” had been performed in live shows and had been around since the 70s, but was reworked for this album. These songs also marked a first for Young, music videos were made for them. They received little airplay on MTV.

The band put together for this album was The Shocking Pinks. They went on a tour, but the result of everything from this album was mixed reviews and confusion. However, the album as Young has said that the songs had little depth and were all “surface” songs, echoing a simpler time in music. He was also going against the grain of what he was known for challenging expectations of what others thought of him. “Payola Blues” despite previous statements of lack of depth, shows a moment of depth on this album or at least some deeper context to what he was dealing with at the time with lyrics such as “Listen to me Mr. D.J./Hear what I've got to say/If a man is making music/They ought to let his record play” and “No matter what I do I’ll never hear my record on the radio”, the song provided insight into the internal workings of being an artist, expectations of artists and ideas of artistic freedom all set against a 50’s rock musical backdrop. There’s even back up choruses of “Cash-a-wala-wala” in a doo wop style hammering the message home.

Of the covers “Mystery Train”, “Rainin’ In My Heart” and Jimmy Reed’s “Bright Lights, Big City” aren’t terrible at all. In fact, they are pretty authentic covers. But, all of this coupled with Young’s desire to not do what was expected of him rubbed people the wrong way. Although this album gets a bad rap and it is not the strongest in Neil Young’s catalog, it isn’t as bad as claims of it are. Everybody’s Rockin’ was so hated by his label that Young was sued by them for making “uncommercial music” that was “unrepresentative of himself”. Young counter sued and the matter eventually was settled and Geffen did apologize publicly. Old Ways followed in 1985, however these three albums and all of the albums that were released during his Geffen years delved into experimentation and challenged preconceived conceptions of what type of musician he was. Even if he was trolling his label throughout these early 80s albums, Neil Young proved he could be himself any way that he wanted, challenging what it means to have artistic control.

Neil Young Playlist:

1. Neil Young With Crazy Horse - Sedan Delivery (Rust Never Sleeps - Reprise - 1979)
2. Neil Young With Crazy Horse - White Line (Ragged Glory - 1990)
3. Neil Young With Crazy Horse- Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (Everybody Knows This is Nowhere - Reprise - 1969)
4. Neil Young With Crazy Horse - Lookin' for Love (Zuma - Reprise - 1975)
5. Neil Young With Crazy Horse - Think of Me (Colorado - Reprise - 2019)
6. Neil Young With Crazy Horse - Sleeps with Angels (Sleeps with Angels - Reprise - 1994)
7. Neil Young - Tell Me Why (After the Gold Rush - Reprise - 1970)
8. Neil Young - L.A. (Time Fades Away - Reprise - 1973)
9. Neil Young - Vampire Blues (On the Beach - Reprise - 1974)
10. Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers - World On A String (Tonight's the Night - Reprise - 1975)
11. Neil Young - Hitchhiker (Le Noise - Reprise - 2010)
12. Neil Young - Winterlong (Decade - Reprise - 1977)
13. Neil Young With Crazy Horse - Opera Star (Re-act-or - Reprise - 1981)
14. Neil Young - Computer Cowboy (Trans - Geffen - 1982)
15. Neil Young & The Shocking Pinks - Wonderin' (Everybody's Rockin' - Geffen - 1983)
16. Neil Young - Wonderin' (The Archives Vol. 1 1963–1972 - Reprise - 2009)
17. Neil Young - Pressure (Landing on Water - Geffen - 1986)
18. Neil Young - I've Been Waiting for You (Neil Young - Reprise - 1968)
19. Neil Young - Human Highway (Comes a Time - Reprise - 1978)
20. Neil Young With The Stray Gators - Harvest (Harvest - Reprise - 1972)
21. Neil Young With The Stray Gators - Journey Through the Past (The Archives Vol. 1 1963–1972 - Reprise - 2009/Inherent Vice (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - Nonesuch Records - 2014)
22. Neil Young - Powder Finger (The Hitchhiker - Reprise - 2017)
23. Neil Young With The Stray Gators - Old King (Harvest Moon - Reprise - 1992)
24. Neil Young With Crazy Horse - Like a Hurricane (American Stars n' Bars - Reprise - 1977)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 8.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

What Is This Thing Called Swing: Louis Armstrong and Black History Month Special Show # 813

Born in New Orleans in August of 1901, Louis Armstrong was a jazz trumpeter and an influential figure in jazz music. His career spanned five decades in which Armstrong would be part of different and important eras of jazz music. In addition to his musical abilities on trumpet, Louis Armstrong was also a vocalist, composer and actor. He was one of the first African American entertainers to cross the gap in racially divided America at the time, being accepted by both white and black audiences. Armstrong generally remained neutral when it came to politics, which often resulted in criticism, however, in 1957 he did speak out during a conflict in Little Rock, Arkansas over school desegregation.

Although Armstrong made his first recordings with King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in April of 1923, the first recordings that had Armstrong’s name in the title were in 1925 with his backing band, The Hot Five. The recordings were made in Chicago with The Hot Five and The Hot Seven backing him from 1925-1928. These important early works were not only inventive, but allowed for jazz solo opportunities within the song. He would emerge as the first great jazz soloist. Also nicknamed “Satchmo”, “Satch” and “Pops”, Armstrong had a very distinct voice. His voice was usually defined by its rich, gravelly tone. The vocal style that he used also incorporated skat singing, which he was skilled at. Armstrong had a very unique ability to bend lyrics and melody in song when singing. When recording vocals to the 1926 song "Heebie Jeebies", Armstrong put down the first example of skat singing on record. It is rumoured that he dropped his music sheet during the recording session and made up nonsensical syllables on the spot. Whether this is true or not about this song, it is an example of Armstrong’s inventiveness as a musician and can really be felt when listening to the song. One of his most well known songs is perhaps “What A Wonderful World”, in which it displays Armstrong’s gravelly, honeyed vocal style. Although recorded late in his career in 1967, the song was an international success in the UK where it topped the UK Singles charts at #1. The song initially did not sell well in the US, but would eventually reach #16 on the US Billboard singles charts. It has become an enduring song, still associated with Armstrong even to this day.

Louis Armstrong appeared in a large amount of films such as Pennies From Heaven (1936), in the 1956 musical High Society where he did a duet with Bing Crosby, The Five Pennies (1959) and Paris Blues in 1961, which also starred Paul Newman. He appeared in not only movies, but on radio and television. Some of the songs that he was known for were “What A Wonderful World”, “Hello Dolly”, “Jeepers Creepers”, “St. James Infirmary”, “Potato Head Blues”, “Gut Bucket Blues” and “When You’re Smiling”. Armstrong also collaborated with legendary pianist and bandleader Earl “Fatha” Hines, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby and Duke Ellington. Louis Armstrong’s influence went beyond jazz, resulting in fans calling him one of the first great jazz soloists. He was an influence on soloists in every genre of American popular music.

Black History Month Playlist:

1. Pure Hell - No Rules (Noise Addiction - Welfare Records - 2006)
2. Death - Freakin' Out (...For The Whole World To See - Drag City - 2009)
3. Andre Williams - Agile, Mobile, Hostile (Silky - In The Red - 1998)
4. Andre Williams & The Sadies - My Sister Stole My Woman (Red Dirt - Bloodshot Records - 1999)
5. Andre Williams - Bacon Fat (Mr. Rhythm Is Movin’! (The Original 1955-1960 Fortune Recordings) - Hoodoo Records - 2011)
6. Fats Domino - Let The Four Winds Blow (Let The Four Winds Blow - Imperial - 1961)
7. 8th Day - It's Instrumental to Be Free (You've Got To Crawl (Before You Walk) / It's Instrumental To Be Free - Invictus - 1971)
8. Chairman of the Board - Skin I'm In (Skin I'm In - Invictus - 1974)
9. Eddie Kendricks - My People Hold On (People...Hold On - Tamla Records - 1972)
10. Earth, Wind & Fire - Ain't No Harm To Moan (Slave Song) (Open Our Eyes - Columbia/Legacy - 2001)
11. Gil Scott-Heron - The Liberation Song (Red Black and Green) (The First Minute of a New Day (Midnight Band) - Arista - 1975)
12. Billy Preston - The Bus (I Wrote A Simple Song - A&M - 1972)
13. Louis Armstrong - Gut Bucket Blues (The Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings - Columbia/Legacy - 2000)
14. Louis Armstrong - Heebie Jeebies (The Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings - Columbia/Legacy - 2000)
15. Louis Armstrong - Potato Head Blues (The Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings - Columbia/Legacy - 2000)
16. Louis Armstrong - St. James Infirmary (The Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings - Columbia/Legacy - 2000)
17. Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra - Ain't Misbehavin' (Ain't Misbehavin'/(What Did I Do To Be) Black And Blue - OKeh - 1929)
18. Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra - Lazy River (Lazy River/Georgia On My Mind - Parlophone - 1931)
19. Duke Ellington - Creole Love Call (Creole Love Call / Black And Tan Fantasie - Victor - 1930)
20. Bo Diddley - Craw-Dad (Walkin' And Talkin'/Crawdad - Checker - 1960)
21. Fela Kuti & Roy Ayers - 2,000 Blacks Got To Be Free (Music of Many Colors - Phonodisk - 1980)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for February 1st.