Friday, April 19, 2019

Interview -- Roger Earl (Foghat)


"Hold me, roll me,
 slow ridin' woman 
you're so fine."
~ Foghat ~



Roger Earl is the drummer and founding member of the English hard rock and roll band...Foghat.  No smoke and mirrors, this band.  No sleight of hands.  No misdirection.  No frilly surprises.  Foghat is what it is.  They give you what you need.  Every day.  All day long.  Roger Earl has been immersed in the holy waters of Muddy.  Baptized in the raucous fires of Jerry Lee.  Which might explain why Foghat has always been known for being one of the harder working bands.  Roger Earl is well aware that the joy is in the jamming.  And so he does.  The band tours like a junkie.  Always has.  And since 1972, Foghat has been road-mapping the world.  Roger is, indeed, a 'fool for the city.'   Go get you some.


Roger Earl Interview -- April 2019
Roger Earl

Casey Chambers:  Let's jump right into it.  One of my favorite songs from Foghat and one with just a killer intro is your version of..."I Just Want To Make Love To You." How did Foghat's version come about on that first album?

Roger Earl:  Well, I first heard it when it was recorded by Muddy Waters.  Muddy did it first.  It was a slow blues.  It was written by Willie Dixon.  I was probably about 14 or 15 years old.  Something like that.  I used to go see The Stones when I was about 16.  They used to do a fast version of it.  And I first started doing it when we were in Savoy Brown...like in the late '60s...myself and "Lonesome" Dave (Peverett) and our bass player at the time, Tony Stevens. We would jam it at sound checks when we were in Savoy Brown.   So when we first got our record deal as Foghat in 1971 with Bearsville Records through Albert Grossman...that was the first time we actually got the arrangement down for it.  And we really played it.  The other part of the story is I got to meet Muddy Waters in 1977 when Foghat did a tribute to the blues at the Palladium in New York City.

Casey Chambers:  Oh, now that's cool.

Roger Earl:  Yeah, it was. It was great. And later I also got to meet Willie Dixon who wrote the song. "I Just Want To Make Love To You" was a hit off of the first Foghat album.  So Willie Dixon obviously got a bunch of money for that 'cause we sold over a million or two copies.  And then it was also the single off of our "Foghat Live" album in 1977.  We were touring our live album and playing three nights at the amphitheater in Chicago when we met him.  And what I surmise, (laughs)...since he was getting all this money from this band called Foghat...he was probably saying, 'Who the fuck are these guys?' (laughs)  So he sends his daughter down the first night to see what we got under our fingernails.  And I guess we got a decent report, (laughs) 'cause then I want to say his son, Butch, who later became his road manager, came down with his sister.  And then on the third night, Willie came down.

"Lonesome" Dave introduced him on stage that night and said, 'Without people like Willie Dixon, there would be no rock and roll.'   Which is actually true.  So yeah, I've been real fortunate.  I got to actually meet a number of my musical heroes and actually play with them too.  After the show, we were invited over to his house, but we couldn't go then 'cause we were on the road.  But about six months later, we came back to Chicago and went to Willie's house on the south side and had dinner.  We stayed at his house 'til three or four o'clock in the morning playing music and listening to his stories.  Willie was a really cool man.  A great man.   And there we were...meeting one of our musical heroes.

"I Just Want To Make Love To You" - Foghat / "Foghat" (1972)

Casey Chambers:  You mentioned you were signed to Bearsville records.  Albert Grossman's label.  How did you guys hook up with Albert?

Roger Earl:  We had just left Savoy Brown and we were looking for a label.  We made about six or seven songs of demos ourselves.  Every record company in the country and in the world had turned us down.  We were still based out of London, England and our manager at the time, Tony Outeda... who I'd been friends with for two or three years...knew Albert Grossman.  Tony had already played him a couple of our demos.  And Albert Grossman was coming over to London with The Band and Todd Rundgren.  What we did...we rented a club in North London in Islington one afternoon and Albert came down to listen to us.  There was nobody in there.  It was just Albert and us and our road manager and our management at the time.

We played five or six songs for him and Albert was visibly taken aback because we were probably a bit too loud.  He was only sitting about 10 feet in front of us. (laughs)  And after we finished playing he said, (doing impression), 'Well uh, is there somewhere we can get some tea and biscuits?'  I said, 'Yeah, there's a hotel just across the road.'   So we went across the road and had tea and biscuits and after the tea and biscuits had arrived, Albert said, 'Well uh, let's do it.'  And about four weeks later, I received a check for $10,000. And we started recording at Rockfield Studios in Wales. That's the brief version of it. The rest is going to wait for the book.

Casey Chambers:  Tea and biscuits...and rock and roll.  "Computer.  Tea,  Earl Grey.  Hot...and play some Foghat." (laughs)  Exciting times.

Roger Earl:  It was. (laughs)  It was really cool.  And afterward, I moved to the States in 1973 and I got to meet Albert a number of times.  He lived up in Bearsville. Ya know, Woodstock area. And yeah, he was the only person who could see that we had some talent.  As I said before, everybody else turned us down.  So, thank you, Albert.  Special man.  Really cool guy.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah. That's a great story.  Let's jump ahead to your classic album, "Fool For The City." (1975)  It contains Foghat's signature song, "Slow Ride."  A great summertime jam.  What do you recall about recording that little baby-maker?

Roger Earl:  Well, Tony Stevens, our original bass player, had left the band. Or we'd asked him to leave.  He wanted to take a couple of years off the road and then come back into a light Led Zeppelin or whatever the fuck that meant.  Whereas, the rest of us wanted to play.  Foghat's always had a reputation for being a road band.  I mean, I love playing.  It's all about the music. So, Tony Stevens left the band.  I was living up in Woodstock and Nick Jameson was the chief engineer at Bearsville Records at the time.  And Nick and I had become really good friends.  Actually, Nick had overdubbed some keyboards for us on our very first album and worked with us a little bit on our second album.  We'd go out and jam together.  Play badminton and hang out at various clubs in Woodstock and Bearsville.

Anyway, we didn't have a bass player.  I said, 'Nick, you want to play bass in the band?'  And he said that the first instrument he started playing was bass.  So we rented a bass guitar.  We drove down to Long Island where Rod Price, our lead and slide guitar player, and I...we owned a house together down here.  We had the basement soundproofed and the first song we started working on was, "Slow Ride."  It was just jamming on a riff.  And in fact, the whole arrangement was written in our basement.  And then once we sort of got the basic arrangement to the song, "Lonesome" Dave said, (doing impression) 'Uh, I've got some words that might fit that.'  And that's how it started.

"Slow Ride" - Foghat / "Fool For The City" (1975)

Casey Chambers:  And it's an eight-minute jam, too!  Did you guys know right away that "Slow Ride" was going to be the first single pulled from the album?

Roger Earl:  Yeah, myself and Nick Jameson.  We recorded it at a studio up in Sharon, Vermont.  It was a studio up in the middle of nowhere.  Actually, it was the first time that Foghat had taken some time off the road since the first record to actually record.  The other records were all recorded at different studios in a week or two.  We took two or three months off to actually record that record.  And it was interesting.  We rented a house up there and we had the studio pretty much all the time.  And while we were recording "Slow Ride"...where it comes to the breakdown where the bass and drums play...the power went out! (laughs)  So we had to stop.  I don't know if somebody ran into a power pole or maybe a moose had chewed through the wires. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  That's insane!  Instead of some 'stupid with a flare gun,' you had a wild moose with a hunger pang. (laughs)

Roger Earl:  Yeah. (laughs)  Anyway, the power came back on a week or two later and we went back in and I just played along with the song at the bass and drum break.  And the ending was actually the second part of the song.  Then we started the mixing of the album.  Nick Jameson was our producer and engineer on this one.  I was the only one in the band who stayed up there with him.  Basically, I would get him cups of tea and biscuits and cheese and stuff.  Or I would say things like, 'Can you turn the drums up?' (laughs)

When we finished mixing the album...we had a station wagon and put the rest of the gear that had been left there inside.  This was back in like... '75 when you could get station wagons and could actually put stuff in it.  We drove back to Bearsville where Nick and I both lived at the time and took it to Paul Fishkin, who was the head of Bearsville Records and played it for him.  He didn't think "Slow Ride" was a single.  And he was obviously upset about the fact that it was eight minutes long.  He said, 'No, that won't do.'  And basically, Nick and I said, 'Fuck you, this is the next single.'  It was one of the few times the band actually got involved in that.  Most of the time, it was the record company that decided on the single.  The band, we never really had a problem with producers.  The band always pretty much did whatever songs we liked or wrote or composed.  We were basically in charge.

The producer was basically a fifth member of the band and really just helped out with arrangements and stuff.  I learned a lot from Nick Jameson.  Probably more than any other producers and musicians.  Dave Edmunds, who produced our first album was also just incredible.  Without Dave Edmunds, I don't think we would have had the success we did with our first album if he hadn't had his hand in it.  That's another story.  So yeah, "Slow Ride" was the single.  And a couple of radio stations wouldn't play it.  They would either edit it themselves or just cut it off whenever they figured.  I think Nick eventually did an edit for it.  But the song is an eight-minute song.  They don't have to be two and a half or under three minutes anymore.  I don't think so, anyway.  I never did.  That was all kind of bullshit really.

"Slow Ride" -  "Dexter" / ("Father Knows Best" S:1 E:9 - 2006)

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, it really is.  I can't tell you how many times I hear a song on the radio only to find out later they cut the song up.  I hate that.  "Slow Ride" is such a jam.  And it was cool hearing that song hit us in the face on an episode of "Dexter."  I love it when great songs are used in good shows.

Roger Earl:  Yeah, I get checks very regularly from that.  And of course, a number of our fans will write into us if they hear it somewhere.  Yeah, "Slow Ride" has been very good to me.  So has "I Just Want To Make Love To You."  And "Fool For The City" has been in a bunch of movies too. So yeah, and actually these last couple of years have been the best couple of years we've had in 20 or 30 years.  So, I guess if you stick around long enough, people start to pay attention.  And it doesn't always show up unexpectedly.  Sometimes the movie producers or whoever's involved in doing the score for a movie will get in touch with us or Dave's family.  His estate.  Sometimes they'll ask us to do different things or sometimes if we could just remix it.  Like...take the vocals out because they just want the music.  But yeah, the fact that after so many years, I mean...it's been 40 years or something.  The songs are still valid.  They still want to play them in movies and soundtracks.  So I guess maybe we got it right in the first place.  But there again, it's only rock n' roll.  Aah, the Stones.  What a great band.  What a great band. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:   I gotta ask you about the classic "Fool For The City" album cover.  What's the story behind that?  It's such a great cover.

"Fool For The City" - Foghat (1975)

Roger Earl:  One mustn't take oneself too seriously.  You can get serious about making the music...but taking one's self too seriously....ehhh...I'll leave that up to others.  I believe it was Nick's idea.   I think we'd been drinking a bunch of wine one night.  I guess we'd been up...I don't think I slept any that night.  And I have a penchant for fishing.  I used to carry a fishing rod any time I was going to be in a place more than a day or two.  I live on the water out on Long Island.  Anyway, we went into Manhattan early one Sunday morning and we lifted up the manhole cover.   It was in St. Mark's Place down in the Village.  And a couple of New York's finest came rolling by in their cruiser and they put their windows down and they said, 'Hey, you got a license?  You got a fishing license?'  (laughs)  And they come out of their cruiser and say, 'What the fuck are you guys doing?'  (laughs)  We explained that we were taking pictures for an album cover and they were real cool.  They hung around for a little while. They took some pictures of them carting me away in handcuffs.  New York cops are great.  A couple of my stepsons are cops.  They worry about people that are doing nasty shit to each other.  People lifting up manhole covers...that happens all the time.  People live down there. (laughs)

"Fool For The City" - Foghat / Live

Casey Chambers:  What are a few of your favorite albums?  What are a few albums that are special to you?

Roger Earl:  I'm kind of stuck where I was when I was growing up.  I think it's still true today.  I think it's the people that remind you of a time when, you know, music meant something to you.  When I was growing up, I was listening to early rock and roll obviously.  Muddy Waters.  John Lee HookerJerry Lee Lewis was probably one of my first introductions to real music. Early Elvis Presley from Sun was probably some of the best music that was ever recorded.  And of course, Little Richard's band.  Little Richard's band was fantastic.  That was probably one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever.  Had a great drummer.  Earl Palmer was the drummer with Little Richard.  Probably one of the greatest rock and roll drummers that ever lived.

I'm a big fan of Buddy Guy.  I've met Buddy a number of times.  I have a Muddy Waters CD in my car.  "Muddy Waters At Newport" from 1960, I think.  And it's probably one of the greatest live records ever made.  That's what I still listen to.  And probably Chuck Berry's early work with Chess Records had a huge influence on the way I actually started learning to play.  I still listen to that stuff.  I don't think I got it right at the time, but you know, that's what inspired me.  Basically, you know, I was off listening to early rock and roll.

"Muddy Waters At Newport 1960"

Casey Chambers:  I'll have to track that Muddy album down.  What was one of the first rock concerts you took in?

Roger Earl:  The first one I went to...  Well, my father was a piano player.  His day job was working at Aston Martins.  He was a panel fitter.  Very close to where we lived near the London airport.  And he used to come home for lunch and would often bring one of the cars that he would have to road test and make sure they weren't rattling or whatever.  And one day he brought a record home.  I think it was, "Great Balls Of Fire."  It might have been "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On."   Dad said, 'Have a listen to this boy, son.  He can really play the piano.'  And about six months later, Jerry Lee Lewis came to do his second tour in England.  I was probably 14, maybe.  Anyway, dad took me to see him and I was never the same after that.  He was fantastic.  I saw Jerry Lee about two years ago. He played in Manhattan at B.B. King's which is now sadly shut down.  But yeah, Jerry Lee Lewis was one of my biggest influences as far as starting me on this track.  In fact, my mother said that after seeing him...' he addled my brain and I was never the same.'  (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Y'know, I've heard Jerry Lee sing that line a thousand times, but I never realized how really cool the phrase, 'addled my brain' was until hearing you say it just now. (laughs)  Your folks sound like they were pretty dang cool.  A lot of parents were uncomfortable with their kids listening to rock and roll.

Foghat 

Roger Earl:  Well, there was always music in our house prior to that.  I mean, mom and dad were big fans of Les Paul and Mary Ford.  There was always music in our house ever since I was a kid.  My parents came from the East End of London and I remember I would go over and visit my grandmother there.  And I was like four or five, six years old.  She had a record player.  You know the ones with the little dog on it.  RCA.  There was always music.  In fact, my grandmother really liked The Ink Spots.  But she didn't know they were black. (laughs)  It was interesting.  Yeah, the whole family was involved with music playing.  My older brother Colin was the piano player in a band called Mungo Jerry.  They had a big hit over here..."In The Summertime."  They probably had 10 Top 20 singles in Europe.  In fact, the lead singer in Mungo Jerry...Ray Dorset...was the lead singer in the first band I was in.  I joined his band when I was 16.

Casey Chambers:  How cool!  The world really is small.

Roger Earl:  Yeah, music was always around.  In fact, I remember I was riding my bike out in Colorado one time...I had a couple of days off...and I was riding my bike and doing some fishing.  And there was a record store that had this sign above the door.  It said, 'Without music, life would be a mistake.'   And I kind of adhere to that.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, I'm right there with ya.   Roger, this has been a pleasure talking with you this morning.  Thanks so much for hanging out.  I really appreciate it.

Roger Earl:  My pleasure, Casey.  It's been a pleasure talking with you.

"Drivin' Wheel" - Foghat / Live 2007

FOGHAT OFFICIAL TOUR DATES

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Horse Head Has An Idea:.."Columbo" - "Death Hits The Jackpot" (1991)

HERE'S AN IDEA!


I don't remember ever seeing this Columbo episode, but it's a pretty good one despite having to throw a pet chimp in the cast.  Guest star-bad guy Rip Torn is obviously enjoying himself...hamming up scenes without restraint.  The groundwork for the crime and coverup are neatly in place before the wonderfully annoying Columbo (Peter Falk) shows his mug a cool 30 minutes in.  The story mixes more humor than usual with this mystery, but it pays off with a great ending.  I thought I knew what was going to trip him up, and I was pretty dang close, but Columbo's thumbscrew was on a different level.  Psycho Betsy Palmer (FRIDAY THE 13TH) even makes an appearance.  I was hoping the writers would let her have a summer cabin flashback but that was just a good opportunity missed.  Time to play the lottery.

"Columbo" / "Death Hits The Jackpot" (1991)

Good stuff.

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "The Bone Collector" by Jeffery Deaver (1997)

"The Bone Collector"...Jeffery Deaver (1997)
421 pages

NO SPOILERS:
It's hard to beat a good cat and mouse story and Jeffery Deaver has delivered a pretty unique and tasty page-turner.  Lincoln Rhymes, a retired crime scene savant, now a quadriplegic, is asked to lead a serial killer investigation.  Unable to easily leave his apartment, he assigns Amelia Sachs...a reluctant young officer...to be his eyes, ears, nose, and legs to every crime scene.  And it's the dynamics between these two characters that really sell the story.

The variety of tricks and techniques used to analyze crime scenes are extremely fascinating, but it would just be another textbook story without Rhymes and Sachs.  You've got to love well-written characters.  There is also a real-time feel that adds urgency to solving the crimes.  There is also an under-story about the subject of assisted suicide that works without being a distraction.  The movie is streaming on Netflix as I type...but I think I'm gonna hang on to my reader's imagination a little while longer before popping the corn.

"Boney Moronie" - Johnny Winter / "Saints & Sinners" (1974)


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Thursday, April 11, 2019

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Mad Love" (1980)

"Mad Love" - Linda Ronstadt (1980)


For whatever reason, Linda Ronstadt albums can be found everywhere and for mucho cheapo.  Which is great because Linda never made a bad album.  It's true!  So when you come across one...you have to pick it up.  There's no risk.  And “Mad Love” just happens to be my favorite.  Each song is sprinkled with the very lightest of new wave dust.  Even with the 80s dusting, the album still sounds fresh and powerful.  “How Do I Make You”..."Party Girl"..."Hurt So Bad"...."Girls Talk"...the title track.  The album is packed.  No filler.  Whether thumping her chest, (I'll wait while you think about that) or duct-taping a broken heart...Linda Ronstadt is all over it.  My copy is a promo I found in a $2 box.  Which is just a bonus 'cause I was buying the record anyway.   Hype sticker.  Promo sticker.  Back cover has lyrics which is always cool.  And a fantastic album cover.  There are plenty of places one might fall in love with Linda.  I've staked this spot out for myself.

"Mad Love" (back)


Asylum Records (promo)


"How Do I Make You" - Linda Ronstadt / "Mad Love" (1980)


TRACKS:
A1  "Mad Love" 3:40
A2  "Party Girl" 3:22
A3  "How Do I Make You" 2:25
A4  "I Can't Let Go" 2:44
A5  "Hurt So Bad" 3:17
B1  "Look Out for My Love" 3:29
B2  "Cost of Love" 2:38
B3  "Justine" 4:00
B4  "Girls Talk" 3:27
B5  "Talking in the Dark" 2:12

PERSONNEL:
Linda Ronstadt - vocals
Dan Dugmore - guitars
Waddy Wachtel - guitar, b-vocals
Mark Goldenberg - guitars, b-vocals
Bob Glaub - bass
Russell Kunkel - drums
Bill Payne - keyboards
Danny Kortchmar - guitars
Mike Auldridge - dobro
Peter Bernstein - acoustic guitars
Peter Asher, Steve Forman - percussion
Michael Boddicker - synthesizer
Rosemary Butler, Kenny Edwards, Andrew Gold, Nicolette Larson - b-vocals

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Sunday, April 7, 2019

I Went...SIRIUS...All The Way Home (again)

(a short jaunt)


"Franklin's Tower" - Grateful Dead / "Blues for Allah" (1975)

Roll away the dew, my friends.  This song is smothered in all kinds of catchy, groovy vibes.
What does this song mean?  Beats me.  It means whatever you want it to mean.  I'm not a Deadhead yet...but I'm starting to drink their kool-aid.  Take this mantra...and use it for good.


"The Friends Of Mr. Cairo" - Jon and Vangelis / "The Friends Of Mr. Cairo" (1981)

I heard this once on the radio a long time ago and then I never heard it again.  The DJ never identified the song when it finished and I couldn't recall any specific lyrics to Google it up.  That's hell!  But I do remember being wonderfully tranced listening to it.  I'd long since forgotten about the song...except for the occasional outta-the-blue moments when a jangle snippet would bounce around in my head for no apparent reason.  This past week and a decade later, I finally heard the song for a second time and learned who was responsible.  Twelve minutes of Yes vocalist Jon Anderson accompanied by Aphrodite's Child keyboardist Vangelis.  Almost 10 years between listens.  It was a great ride home.


"Lather" - Jefferson Airplane / "Crown of Creation" (1968)

One of my favorite Grace Slick songs.  "Lather" sounds very trippy and floaty...and just a wee bit spooky.  The song is about someone who's turned 30, but his mind has never quite caught up.  Alice Cooper would later explore this subject on a much deeper level, but this is a good start.  "Crown of Creation" might well be my most played JA album I own and definitely worth picking up.
(FWIW...The song was written about JA drummer Spencer Dryden.)

"WILMA,  I'M HOME!"

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."From A Naked Window" (1970)

"From A Naked Window" - Jeremy Storch (1970)


“From A Naked Window” (1970) is a die-cut, Unipak gatefold album.  The inside includes the lyrics penned by Jeremy Storch with a photo of the artist.  The record is one of those little treasures that just get lost in the rack sometimes and that's a shame because piano singer/songwriter, Jeremy Storch delivers a debut album that's filled with angst quite like nothing else.  The album is labeled as psych...and I guess it is...a wee bit.  But it isn't “in-your-face" psych.  This record spins on your turntable and throws off a quirkiness similar to the ending vibe of a microdot journey you've taken.  Light-psych, for sure.  The music is beautifully arranged, and wonderfully odd which all contributes to a more gentler trippiness rather than jarring.

Jeremy Storch sounds like someone who might have flown up to the top of a windmill at some time...and never completely came back down.  The vocals are fragile, and at times, almost child-like.  The songs are haunting and fascinating with strange lyrics that flutter above beautiful arrangements that never once sound cheap.

And yes, there are a couple of tracks that brush against the fuzz button, but it's mostly just Jeremy Storch and his creative piano play that pulls everything together.  ”From A Naked Window"... isn't without flaws.  It's definitely not a 4 or 5-star grail.  But it is very good and is worth picking up when you can find it.  The album is flying under the radar and can be picked up pretty cheap.  Listening to Jeremy Storch is a lot like watching a highwire act at a circus...thinking at any moment he might fall, but crossing your fingers he won't.
FWIW...Jeremy Storch made this album after the garage rock band...The Vagrants broke up. The Vagrants also included Leslie West who went on to form Mountain.  And DJ Shadow heavily sampled Jeremy Storch on his hip-hop classic, "Endtroducing" album. (1996)

"From A Naked Window" (back)


"From A Naked Window" (inside gatefold)


RCA Victor Label


"Dream City" - Jeremy Storch / “From A Naked Window” (1970)


TRACKS:
A1  "Dream City" 3:32
A2  "Playground" 4:25
A3  "Man In the Sky" 3:48
A4  "Message In the Wind" 4:05
A5  "Lynn and Sue Are a Country" 3:45
B1  "In the Right Road" 3:50
B2  "Lady In the Sand" 4:38
B3  "If You Are Going Home" 5:18
B4  "I Feel a New Shadow" 3:08
B5  "Delia" 5:20

PERSONNEL:
Jeremy Storch - vocals, piano, songwriter
Session players

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Friday, March 29, 2019

Horse Head Has An Idea:..“Thriller" (1960-1962)

HERE'S AN IDEA!

“Thriller" was a strange, often creepy, TV show that ran for two seasons in the early '60s.  It was hosted by the iconic monster guy...Boris Karloff...who would show his mug at the beginning of each episode and occasionally have a part in one of the stories.  "Thriller," I'm sure, was the kind of show you'd watch as a kid and talk about at school the next day.

This particular episode..."The Incredible Doktor Markesan"...takes place in an old, spooky mansion (of course) and looks fantastic. I didn't recognize the actress (Carolyn Kearney), but the actor is Dick York who played Darrin on "Bewitched" and if you can get that image out of your head for a little while, he does a pretty good job in this.

In this story, he takes his wife to visit his weird, estranged uncle, because the couple is practically broke and they need a place to stay for a week or two just to get back on their feet.  After a little parlay, the uncle agrees...BUT then tacks on one strange condition:  The couple must never leave their room at night.  Red flags should be going off everywhere, but York only has $12 in his pocket so...what the heck!

Creepster-extraordinaire, Stephen King called the show "the best horror series ever put on television."  And if this show was any inspiration at all for some of the blisters that would later appear on Little Stephen's manic typing fingers...I'm all in.

"The Incredible Doktor Markesan" (S2:E22) / "Thriller" (1960-1962 TV series)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Young Person's Guide to King Crimson" (1976)

"The Young Person's Guide to King Crimson" - King Crimson (1976)


This is a double-album compilation...of all things...and it's not bad for a first go-round.  Robert Fripp cherrypicked every song...pulling from the band's first 7 albums and also chose where each song would appear on the record.  Fripp also included a couple of interesting and lesser-known tracks for the comp, as well, which is very cool.

The first surprise is the alternate version of "I Talk To The Wind" with Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention) taking lead vocals.  Nice, but doesn't outshine the more familiar Greg Lake version.  The other bonus is the B-side track "Groon" that was only released as the flip to their single, “Cat Food.” (1970)  Both were pretty rare listens at the time.

The gatefold artwork is excellent, both front and back.  Weird, cool and fun to display.  The album also comes with a 20-page booklet filled with band history and photos and critic reviews that Fripp collected throughout the early years as well as band member contributions.  It's supposed to be really nice.  But don't take my word for it.  My copy was missing the booklet.  To be honest, I didn't even know the album came with goodies.  "Hate when that happens!"   King Crimson has released better compilations since this 1976 offering, but this one was their first and it's still a good one to dip your toe in.  It would be another five years before the band would release their next studio album, "Discipline" (1981) kicking off another fruitful chapter in the Crimson canon.

"The Young Person's Guide to King Crimson" (back)


"The Young Person's Guide to King Crimson" (inside gatefold)


Island Records (orange/blue palm tree)


 "Epitaph" - King Crimson / "In The Court of the Crimson King" (1969)



TRACKS:
A1  "Epitaph" 8:52
A2  "Cadence & Cascade" 3:36
A3  "Ladies of the Road" 5:27
A4  "I Talk to the Wind" 3:15  (vocals Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention), not Greg Lake.
B1  "Red" 6:18
B2  "Starless" 12:17
C1  "The Night Watch" 4:38
C2  "Book of Saturday" 2:52
C3  "Peace - A Theme" 1:14
C4  "Cat Food" 2:43
C5  "Groon" 3:30  (B-side of "Cat Food")
C6  "Coda From Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part I" 2:09
D1  "Moonchild" 2:24
D2  "Trio" 5:36
D3  "In the Court of the Crimson King" 9:21


PERSONNEL:
Robert Fripp - guitars, mellotron, devices (all)
Bill Bruford -  drums, percussion
Boz Burrell - bass, vocals
Mel Collins - saxes, flute
Michael Giles - drums, percussion, b-vocals
Greg Lake - bass, vocals
Ian McDonald - woodwinds, reeds, keyboards, mellotron, vocals
John Wetton - bass, vocals
Peter Giles - bass
Gordon Haskell - vocals
Robin Miller - oboe
Jamie Muir - percussion, voice
Keith Tippett - piano
Ian Wallace - drums
David Cross - violin, viola, voice
Peter Sinfield - words (1, 2 & 15)
Judy Dyble - vocals (4)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Saturday, March 23, 2019

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch"

"The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch"

(I stumbled upon a good-sized box filled with a variety of graphic novels at an estate sale. No official count as I've just been pulling from the box when I find time to read one.  Afterward, I post the book and go from there.)

"The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch"
by Neil Gaiman,  Dave McKean (Illustrator)
1995 by Vertigo
96 pages

NO SPOILERS:
Mr. Punch, of course, is the main puppet from the vintage "Punch and Judy" show.  Punch was abusive, violent and famous for taking a stick and beating the crap out of everyone.  Kids loved watching him, I suppose, but maybe not as much as one would believe.  Neil Gaiman tells the story through the eyes of a young boy's encounter with a puppet show and the memories that almost rise to the surface but never quite leave the safety of darker shadows.

The macabre artwork provided by Dave McKean in this graphic is not usually my go-to style of choice, but here it totally and absolutely works. Very David Lynch-ian. (I just made that up.)

"...Mr. Punch" (inside)

Taken together, the story is disturbing, in much the same way a stranger's presence can sometimes affect a familiar room when you're a small child.  Gaiman's prose is really good and I enjoyed reading the novel aloud for my ears to enjoy, as well. (I was alone, I think.)  The only caveat, however, is there's no real closure to speak of.  No pay-off.  No Crackerjack prize.  So I was left scratching my head and mumbling 'the macabre bastahd!' under my breath.  Whadyagonnado?  It's Vertigo.

"Punch and Judy" - Marillion / "Fugazi" (1984)
(performing TOTP 9/2/84)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I Went...SIRIUS...All The Way Home (again)

(a short jaunt)


"Lucky Town" - Bruce Springsteen / "Lucky Town" (1992)  
Here performing at Stockholm 1993-05-28

There's a reason you find so many of this particular CD in the used bins.  It's Bruce with a new band behind him...not the E. Street.  Most fans didn't take a shine to that idea.  Plus the songs just aren't very memorable.  But man, do I love the title track.  Of all the songs from the album, this one sounds the most like "The Boss" we all love.  On the wet streets getting his hands dirty.  It kicks ass.  I remember seeing him on SNL performing this song with his new guitar man dipping and weaving all over the place sounding terrific and honoring the privilege.  And I appreciated the effort.


"Bad Bad Boy" - Nazareth / "Razamanaz" (1973)

The song is what it is.  It's hilarious.  And it rawks!  Dan McCafferty's vocals will make your throat hurt. Kind of a faceless band, but they know how to jam.  Fun album.


"I’m Actin' Different" - Joe Walsh / "Ordinary Average Guy" (1991)

I remember this song coming on the radio.  And then the song finishing.  But I can't remember a dang thing about it.  I don't remember nothing.  It wasn't unpleasant.  It just didn't..."do it"...for me.

"WILMA,  I'M HOME!"

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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