Monday, September 4, 2017

KEVIN AYERS: Wilde Flower by John Payne (LA Weekly 1998)

L.A. Weekly

Wilde Flower

Kevin Ayers is a rather cultivated, somewhat self-effacing British man somewhere in his 50s. He is by occupation . . . call him a singer-songwriter. Which is to say, he does do that if pushed, but he'd much prefer to snorkel in the Mediterranean, sip a glass of sangria, read a good book. And who wouldn't, as you might say. The difference is: Ayers does it.
Back in the late '60s he was a founding member of the Soft Machine, the fertile and humorous pop/jazz/odd-ditty group whose ranks included the now-esteemed Robert Wyatt on drums and pithy organ stylist Mike Ratledge, as well as fuzz-bass maestro Hugh Hopper and, in the band's early stages, Daevid Allen, the Australian who has been called the world's first hippie and who went on to form the cultish pothead-pixie space-jazz-rock band Gong.
Ayers grew up in Malaysia, "the last of the colonial kids," as he puts it. Dad was a district officer there, sort of like a mayor. Kevin felt a kinship with the place and the populace, still does. "Being brought up with people who're very open and very sort of warm," he says, "and then coming back to the West, where people weren't either one or the other, it was quite a shock."
After returning to England, Ayers spent a few years in boarding schools, which he found a hideous experience. He declines to detail this period, but does, with a palpable shudder, indicate his conviction that the English are - very generally speaking - a deeply constipated people. This being the '60s, he sought an alternative.
The Georgian mansion belonging to Robert Wyatt's mother was a gathering place for Canterbury bohemians who dug avant-garde jazz, Dadaist art and poetry. Here the two began jamming, banging pots and pans together, and this was the origin of their first band, Wilde Flowers. Ayers had been teaching himself basic chords on the guitar, just enough to write songs, prototypes of which - "Love Makes Sweet Music" and "Feelin', Reelin', Squealin'" - wound up as minor hits for their next band, the Soft Machine.
Ayers' bent was primarily literary rather than musical, though he developed an interest in jazz from his Canterbury chums. "We were basically all middle-class kids," says Ayers, "postwar, asking questions intellectually and musically. And, basically, we found that that's what we should try and do as a living, 'cause no one wanted to have a proper job."
Ironically, the Soft Machine, which had begun as a loopy mishmash of heartfelt pop, edgy jazz noodling and surreal pop-culture collages, ended up as a super-competent, faceless jazz-rock band, all of the original members except Ratledge eventually being replaced by heavy-duty "players." The band's arrival in London in early 1967 had coincided with the flowering of psychedelia and all things alternative, and they got a residency at the UFO Club in Tottenham Court Road. Pink Floyd were the club's resident stars, yet word about the Softs spread. Today, they loom large in the annals of European progressive, psychedelic and jazz music - hugely influential.
But Ayers was unhappy. The Softs had toured America, opening for Jimi Hendrix, and the brutish routine permanently turned him off the music industry. "That was my first real brush with show business and the music industry, and I didn't like it at all. I still don't. I liked Jimi Hendrix and the other musicians, I just didn't like the record executives. I saw Hendrix getting ripped off like mad, and I just didn't like it. It didn't go with the artistry of the people involved." Ayers thus excused himself from the Soft Machine, to write songs, and to further lark about down in Majorca and Ibiza and little port towns in Spain.
He did have to earn a living, though, and he did have songs. So he embarked upon a solo career, and it was apparent that his songs were bright, observant and different somehow. He attracted several of the more adventurous British musicians to his recording sessions, including future Tubular Bells man Mike Oldfield, new music composer David Bedford, and the uncompromising sax player/ busker Lol Coxhill.
This comprised the core unit for Ayers' first solo album, Joy of a Toy, a whimsical collection of songs marked by strong melodies, colorful improvisation and moody lyricism. Ayers named his band The Whole World, a group of disparate styles and backgrounds that wove an enchanted, shrewd chaos around Ayers' songs. Shooting at the Moon, released in October 1970, combines the melodic and lyrical stretches of its predecessor with an electric ambience, along with pretty, lush vignettes such as "May I?" and several hair-raising Oldfield guitar solos.
A series of solo Ayers albums throughout the '70s - Whatevershebringswesing, Bananamour, The Confessions of Dr. Dream and June 1st, 1974 (his collaboration with Brian Eno, John Cale and Nico) - chart a wildly uneven course of pop songs characterized by daring orchestration and structure, and lyrics of both keen wit and intense introspection; he'd veer from a nine-minute, eerie epic like "The Confessions of Dr. Dream," a duet with Nico) to wrapping his mellow baritone around lilting, sunny tunes like "Caribbean Moon" and the Dietrich signature, "Falling in Love Again." Taken altogether, it was a somewhat schizo approach, guaranteeing Ayers a reputation as a musical chameleon. Was he art-rock or the new Elton John?
Ayers cared not for such distinctions. He repeatedly chucked it all to split for the Continent to loaf in the sun and ponder his place in music. The problem was, he never had any sort of niche. "They never had a clue how to market me," he says, laughing. "I was just always an oddball. They found me interesting, like some eccentric oddity, but they just didn't know how to sell it. My stuff was so diverse - there was nothing really to grasp hold of and say, well look, it's this, that or the other. So I was a difficult number to shift."
Kevin Ayers comes from a time when the song was important, but not so important that it couldn't be played with - no need to be so rigid about things, you know. Sleep and dreams are a continuing theme in his work, something he got from an early fascination with the Russian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff.
"I think that's where the fantasy is," he says. "That's the area you don't really have any control over - the dreams. And sleep to me means just going through life being a robot, basically. That's what Gurdjieff meant about us being automated rather than having conscious choice, even though you think you do - that's what he called sleep. But dreams are a very rich area. You don't have to sleep to dream, you know. You can have a daytime dream, you can have a constant dream, if you like."
That fairly describes Ayers' relationship with life and music and "the music business" and all the rest. While he's continued to gig successfully with bands and as a solo act throughout Europe and the U.K., he's recently bought a house in the south of France, and he'll soon be heading off down there to do whatever he feels like doing; daydreaming, for example.
"I just feel at home there," he says. "I don't feel at home in Northern Europe. There's more of a Western uptightness, and I just don't feel at ease. Once I get down to the Mediterranean, I start relaxing."
And will he be forming a band, or . . .
"No, I think I've just about had it with this business, actually. I don't really enjoy it anymore, and I'm not writing any new songs at the moment. There's just repeating old stuff, which I don't find particularly satisfying. I was never really cut out for show business. I don't like it at all. I never have done."
Kevin, what would it take to turn things around, to be "Kevin Ayers" again?
"Love is the only thing that inspires anybody to create anything."
So, in theory, if he fell in love, he'd feel like writing songs again.
"Yes, I would, I'm sure I would. Once you know how to write a song, it's pretty easy. All you need is the input - you have to have input before you have output, and I haven't had any input for years now." He laughs. "There's no point in trying to manufacture songs that don't communicate anything other than the fact that they're manufactured. Some people do that and get away with it and make money, but that's not something I can do."
Does he have any plans?
Yes, plans.
"I never make plans. I don't think I've had a plan in my entire life." He laughs. "Except how to get to the airport."
Kevin Ayers performed at the Gig, Friday, May 29, 1998 with a band made up of L.A. musicians Ken Rosser, Vinny Golia, Richard Derrick, Brad Dutz, Chris Wabich, Paul Roessler; and singers John Talley-Jones, Kevin Keller, Michelle Biernat and Lauran Gangl.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ROCKPILE - Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe - "Born Fighters" - 1979 (in 4 parts)

Rockpile was a British rock and roll group of the late 1970s and early 1980s, noted for their strong rockabilly and power pop influences, and as a foundational influence on new wave. The band consisted of Dave Edmunds (vocals, guitar), Nick Lowe (vocals, bass guitar), Billy Bremner (vocals, guitar) and Terry Williams (drums). Rockpile recorded four albums, though only one (Seconds of Pleasure) was released under the Rockpile banner. Two other albums (Tracks on Wax 4 and Repeat When Necessary) were released as Dave Edmunds solo albums, and one more (Labour of Lust) was released as a Nick Lowe solo album. Scattered Rockpile tracks can also be found on a few other Lowe and Edmunds solo albums. Additionally, Rockpile served as backing group on tracks recorded by Mickey Jupp in 1978 and Carlene Carter in 1980. When Robinson and Jake Riviera co-founded Stiff Records, Lowe was the first artist signed to the label, and he and Edmunds recorded new material for release under Lowe's name. Stiff promoted its ties to Edmunds. However, the relationship between Edmunds and Riviera was always rocky, and in 1976 Edmunds signed a solo contract with Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records, rejecting Riviera and Stiff. With help from Lowe and Terry Williams, Edmunds recorded a new solo album, Get It. Lowe and Edmunds then formed a new version of Rockpile, with Williams returning on drums and Billy Bremner joining as rhythm guitar and third vocalist. Rockpile appeared as a backing band on one track of Lowe's debut solo album, released in March 1978 with different track listings and titles in the UK and the US. The UK version (Jesus of Cool) featured Rockpile on the live recording of "Heart of the City", while the US album (Pure Pop for Now People) featured the Rockpile studio track "They Called It Rock", credited as being written by Nick Lowe/Dave Edmunds/Rockpile. Meanwhile, Edmunds' 1978 solo album (Tracks on Wax 4) was the first album to be completely a Rockpile album, but with Edmunds on all lead vocals. The album included the same live version of "Heart of the City," except with Edmunds' lead vocal overdubbed in place of Lowe's. Rockpile toured behind both the Lowe and Edmunds releases in 1978. The band also backed Mickey Jupp on side one of his Stiff album Juppanese, produced by Lowe. In 1979, Rockpile simultaneously recorded Edmunds' Repeat When Necessary and Lowe's Labour of Lust. Rockpile (under solo artists' names) enjoyed hits in 1979 on both sides of the Atlantic with Edmunds' "Girls Talk" (a top 20 hit in both the UK and Canada) and Lowe's "Cruel to Be Kind" (top 20 in the UK, Canada and the US). Rockpile also played in the 29 December 1979 Concerts for the People of Kampuchea with Elvis Costello & The Attractions and Wings, where they were joined onstage by Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant (co-owner of Swan Song). Two of the band's songs were included in the concert album. In 1980, Edmunds submitted the solo album "Twangin...", which was mostly a collection of outtakes from his prior solo albums, to complete his Swan Song contract, freeing Rockpile to record a true band record for Jake Riviera's new label F-Beat Records. Released in the fall of 1980, Seconds of Pleasure featured lead vocal turns by Edmunds, Lowe and Bremner, and spawned the minor hit "Teacher Teacher", sung by Lowe. Twangin... was issued six months after Seconds of Pleasure, and featured Rockpile on nine of its eleven tracks.

(from youtube upload notes)

(via Mas Palermo)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Fading Cajun Culture

This documentary covers over 300 years of history concerning the migration and development of modern day Cajuns. Our story starts in Poitou, France where persecution caused a group of French settlers to travel across the ocean to Nova Scotia, Canada. Here they established a new life for themselves and became known as the Acadians. Many years later as a result of English rule over the region, the Acadians were once again persecuted and forced to leave their homes and travel to many destinations. Several ended up in South Louisiana. Still known as Acadians, they thrived for many years in Louisiana until WWII. As a result of leaving the region to fight in the war, many for the first time met people outside of the Acadian community. The war galvanized the Acadians with Americanism. Now identified as Americans many returned home and slowly left the farms they were raised on to marry individuals outside of the Acadian culture. This led to the current race known as Cajuns. Although Cajuns are located throughout the world now, many still associate South Louisiana with the Cajun culture where the bulk continue to reside. This documentary in no way represents all of the events that helped shape the current Cajun culture. It is rather a synopsis of events that occurred which were part of the evolution of a culture which would become known as Cajun. I am sincerely appreciative to the three teams of multimedia students that contributed to this project. I would also like to thank the academic professionals, historians, trappers, and musicians that graciously contributed to this volume of work. Finally, I would like to thank the Target Corporation which provided the equipment to film and produce the film. My sincere hope is that you gain an appreciation of the Cajun people and that you come to understand the many aspects of the culture that are slowly fading such as; speaking French and living off the land as trappers, fisherman and farmers. --Ray Breaux

(via Olaf Jens)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Octopus" by Syd Barrett

Trip to heave and ho, up down, to and fro', you have no word
Trip, trip to a dream dragon, hide your wings in a ghost tower
Sails cackling at every plate we break

Cracked by scattered needles the little minute gong coughs and clears his throat
Madam you see before you stand, hey ho, never be still
The old original favorite grand, grasshoppers green Herbarian band
And the tune they play is "In Us Confide"
So trip to heave and ho, up down, to and fro', you have no word
Please leave us here, close our eyes to the octopus ride!

Isn't it good to be lost in the wood
Isn't it bad so quiet there, in the wood
Meant even less to me than I thought
With a honey plough of yellow prickly seeds
Clover honey pots and mystic shining feed

Well, the madcap laughed at the man on the border, hey ho, huff the Talbot
"Cheat" he cried shouting kangaroo, it's true in their tree they cried
Please leave us here, close our eyes to the octopus ride!

Please leave us here, close our eyes to the octopus ride!

The madcap laughed at the man on the border, hey ho, huff the Talbot
The winds they blew and the leaves did wag
They'll never put me in their bag, the seas will reach and always seep
So high you go, so low you creep, the wind it blows in tropical heat
The drones they throng on mossy seats, the squeaking door will always squeak
Two up, two down we'll never meet, so merrily trip forgo my side
Please leave us here, close our eyes to the octopus ride!

(via Gary Lucas)

Friday, February 3, 2017

George Jones' First Recording Session For Starday Records


George Jones*****(If You Were Mine)

This rare gem from George was recorded at his first session for Starday Records, dated January 6, 1954. Along with this track, three more songs were recorded: "No Money In This Deal" , "You're In My Heart" , and a song called "For Sale Or Lease", which remained unissued until Time-Life issued a CD, "Early Hits: The Starday Years", back in 2011.

George Jones*****(You're In My Heart )

George jones*****(No Money In This Deal)

His first record, the self-penned "No Money in This Deal", appeared in February 1954 on Starday Records and began the singer's association with producer and mentor H.W. "Pappy" Dailey and the song was actually cut in Starday Records' co-founder Jack Starnes' living room, from whose two names were combined to create the label.

George Jones ***** For Sale Or For Lease (original recording)

All tracks uploaded by badboy4948
Thanks to Joe Nick Patoski

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Incredibly Strange Film Show - The Legend of El Santo

Incredibly Strange Film Show - The Legend of El Santo
(Thanks to Ted Cogswell)

El Santo, Parte 1: La leyenda detrás de la máscara. Grupo Reforma

El Santo, parte 2: del ring a la pantalla grande. Grupo Reforma