Wednesday, November 13, 2019

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Music To Eat" (1971)

"Music To Eat" - Hampton Grease Band (1971)

The Hampton Grease Band's only album...“Music To Eat”...has reached a bit of cult status of sorts.  At one time, this album ranked as being the sorriest selling Columbia album ever...second only to a nobody yoga album.  That in and of itself is an oddly cool rep to possess.  This 88-minute double album is filled with quirky avant-garde rock.  There are plenty of silly and strange moments and at times the album has a bit of the Beefheart or Zappa vibe going-on.  But mixed in with all the weird cornucopia are some really good jamming sessions and psych dipping.  Much of it crank-worthy.  Yes, there is some eye-rolling weirdness, for sure, but overall my listening experience teeters to the side of ”just ride it.”  I don't love this album, but I like it enough to make room for it on my shelf.  “Music To Eat” was a hard one for me to find, probably because those that stumble on it, hold on to it.  There are enough interesting changes throughout these two squares...if you don't like what's happening, just wait a few minutes and get hit with a different stick.

"Music To Eat" (back)

"Music To Eat" (gatefold inside)

Columbia label

Columbia company sleeve

"Halifax" (first 10 min.) - Hampton Grease Band / "Music To Eat" (1971)

TRACKS:
A1  "Halifax" 19:36
B1  "Maria" 5:27
B2  "Six" 19:31
C1  "Evans"
       a. "Egyptian Beaver" 5:18
       b. "Evans" 12:30
C2  "Lawton" 7:48
D1  "Hey Old Lady and Bert's Song" 3:19
D2  "Hendon"
       a. "Spray Paint" 1:15
       b. "Major Bones" 2:05
       c. "Sewell Park" 5:18
       d. "Improvisation" 11:35

PERSONNEL:
Bruce Hampton (Col. Hampton B. Coles, Ret.) - vocals, trumpet
Glenn Phillips - guitar, saxophone
Jerry Fields (Bubba Phreon) - trombone, drums, percussion, vocals
Mike Holbrook - bass
Harold Kelling - guitar, vocals, composer, cover design

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Sunday, November 10, 2019

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."One Nation Underground" (1967)

"One Nation Underground" - Pearls Before Swine (1967)

“One Nation Underground” is filled with odd folk-psych melodies and a floaty moodiness that gives the listener a mind-loosening experience.  It's hard to explain but Tom Rapp is good at it.  Pearls Before Swine's debut is not completely covered in psych dust, but the album sounds clever and sometimes strange.  The opening track "Another Time" is a subtle example of Rapp on target.  There are a couple of heavier songs in the folk-psych mode.  "I Shall Not Care" is probably my favorite.  And the biting Vietnam jab, "Uncle John" is one of the better anti-war tracks I've heard.  The oddest track is the Dylanesque "Playmate" which is good but feels a little outta place.  I'm not sure what was the point.  I've since come to enjoy the Dylan take quite a bit.  Overall, "One Nation Underground" is a nice piece of folk psych that holds up pretty well.  Btw...Tom Rapp tries slipping in a bit of F-U-C-K in Morse code a few times on "(Oh Dear) Miss Morse."  The song was quickly pulled from the radio stations when complaints were made.  The idea was silly but kind of cool.

"One Nation Underground" (back)

ESP label

"I Shall Not Care" - Pearls Before Swine / "One Nation Underground" (1967)

TRACKS:
A1  "Another Time" 3:07
A2  "Playmate" 2:24
A3  "Ballad To An Amber Lady" 5:20
A4  "(Oh Dear) Miss Morse" 2:04
A5  "Drop Out!" 4:10
B1  "Morning Song" 4:11
B2  "Regions of May" 3:30
B3  "Uncle John" 3:00
B4  "I Shall Not Care" 5:26
B5  "The Surrealist Waltz" 3:28

PERSONNEL:
Tom Rapp - vocals, guitar
Wayne Harley - autoharp, banjo, mandolin, vibraphone, audio oscillator, harmony
Lane Lederer - bass, guitar, English horn, Swinehorn, Sarangi, celeste, finger cymbals, vocals (on "Surrealist Waltz")
Roger Crissinger - organ, harpsichord, clavioline
Warren Smith - drums, percussion

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Hillbilly Elegy" (2016)

"Hillbilly Elegy" - J.D. Vance (2016)
257 pages

NO SPOILERS:
From his early years surviving in a dysfunctional family home surrounded by dysfunctional neighbors, author J.D. Vance gives a compelling story about his own personal and painful journey growing up in the deep Appalachian areas running through Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio.  Poverty and abuse was just the way it was.  Love was often shown with violence.  Violence and loyalty went hand-in-hand.  His mother was an addict bringing in one boyfriend after another into their home.  Sometimes hanging around for a few months.  Other times, only a few days.  His teenage years were a juggle of bad grades and bullies.  The Marine Corps was soon knocking. (A common escape for young men in a hopeless town.)  Finally, Vance made it into college.  And Ivy League school at that.

Stories like this one are not that unusual.  They happen.  But it's always a BIG surprise when they do.  It's like the rural Appalachian areas are trapped under an oppressive dome that's filled with nothing but take-a-way dream-snatchers.  And nothing is ever a quick fix.  A government program here.  A scholastic incentive there.  I'm generalizing, of course, but most times the help must first come from within.  And then from within the home.  "Hillbilly Elegy" is a great memoir filled with hard soap and plenty of love.  I'm glad I finally picked this one up.  A surprisingly wonderful read.

"Hillbilly Highway" - Steve Earle / "Guitar Town" (1986)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Monday, November 4, 2019

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

(a short jaunt)


"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" - "The Rolling Stones / "The Rolling Stones No. 2" (UK 1965)

This is the fantastic unedited UK album version.  On the US release, “The Rolling Stones Now!”...the song tapped out at a measly 3-min clip and it's not nearly as hot.  I used to ignore early Stones albums, dismissing them as merely albums with a hit single and filler.  But man, was I wrong.  The more I listen to that early British r&b Stones swag...the more I want to hear.  Give Keith Richards' “Life” biography a page-spin sometime.  It will really open your eyes.  This isn't throw away stuff.  This is the Stones loving what they do.

"Girl From The North Country" - Joni Mitchell & Johnny Cash / "Best Of The Johnny Cash TV Show: 1969-1971" (2007)

A young and gentle Joni Mitchell and the big man Johnny Cash.  The juxtaposition of these two artists knock this song right out of the park.  Joni's voice, for sure, is golden, but it's John's hard, yet vulnerable, vocals that sells it all for me.  One of the best covers from a very small few I like.

"Back-Door Angels" - Jethro Tull / "War Child" (1974)

"In and out of the back-door, ran one front-door angel.
Her hair was a golden-brown.
She smiled and I think she winked...her...."

Probably my favorite deep track from this album.  It has the great and under-appreciated Martin Barre throwing down cool guitar burns.  Choice Ian Anderson lyrics with just the right flute attention that I like.  “Warchild” was a little bit under the high-bar from what came before it...meaning I just didn't enjoy it right away.  But the album is a grower with several gems to be discovered.  I find this album in bins everywhere and for very little jingle.  Certainly worth revisiting. 

"WILMA,  I'M HOME!"

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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