Friday, April 28, 2006
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Johnny B. Goode
Chuck Berry wrote the classic song, Johnny B. Goode that has been covered by everyone from the Beach Boys to the Sex Pistols and surprisingly enough Peter Tosh. Although it turns out Peter didn't want to do it initially when it was first presented to him, he eventually changed some lyrics a little to make Johnny come from Mandeville, Jamaica and recorded it after the band came up with what is basically a whole new re-write of the music. I think Peter's reggae version kicks ass.
The original and Peter's take on it is here.
Buy it here or here.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Ennio Morricone - Maestro
Ennio Morricone is probably the most well known film composer of the last 40 years. If he isn't he should be. Morricone has scored over 500 films (according to imdb) in every genre imaginable while incorporating classical, pop, rock, jazz, folk, electronic music, avant-garde elements and sound effects into one of the most prolific, eclectic and unique catalogs of work by any musician in the world. He also writes classical music as well.
His most famous work is, of course, the spaghetti western soundtracks he did in the 1960's, especially the famous Man With No Name trilogy directed by Sergio Leone and starring the former mayor of Carmel. No doubt his most well known single piece of music is The Good, The Bad & The Ugly main title theme featuring twangy guitar, whistling, thundering drums, percussion and a chorus of vocalists wailing away like howling coyotes. Hugo Montenegro had a big hit with a cover version of the song in the 60's. The westerns however, are just a small, but crucial part of his work.
Along with many other people I think he is brilliant as well as the best and most original film composer ever. He is still going strong heading towards 80 and even worked on Morrisey's newest album Ringleader Of The Tormentors. He doesn't appear to be a musical snob or else he just does things for the dough. But I highly doubt it. I don't think he does anything or works with anyone he doesn't want to.
Here are a couple of tunes that show the range he has. The first is probably my favorite track of his that is a slow building and powerful orchestral piece from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly called The Ecstasy Of Gold (play it loud) which works perfectly in the film. Here is the strange and quirky pop/rock tune called Magic & Ecstasy from the Exorcist 2 soundtrack. Maybe Linda Blair did the Pony to this one?
You can buy them here or here.
Or you can look for the Anthology A Fistful Of Film Music put out by Rhino Records which is now out of print. But it is really good and covers quite a bit of his music in two cd's.
Monday, April 24, 2006
George Bush - I'm The Decider (I Am The Egghead)
Not for Bush fans.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Neil Young's Living With War Blog
The whole album will be streamed for free on his website neilyoung.com starting on April 28.
I hope Neil does a tour. Maybe a Rolling Thunder/hootenany rock n roll type tour with many different musicians playing some or all of the different dates. I am sure Neil could get a few people to go along with it.
One can dream.
It looks like CSNY are going on tour this summer.
The dream dies hard.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Neil Young Interviewed On Showbiz Tonight About Living With War
Neil Young is interviewed about his new soon to be released record Living With War. It was done right outside Reprise Records in Burbank after playing it for the label staff. The interviewer asks very typical and "orthodox" questions of Neil and he answers them intelligently with real thought and feeling.
A funny part is when she asks him if he is doing this just to sell records and his answer is classic if you know his career at all.
Here is a great live (9:22 long) version of Keep On Rockin' In The Free World off the Weld record by Neil Young & Crazy Horse.
It kicks ass.
Play it loud.
Buy it here.
I was tipped to this by visiting This Modern World.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Preview Of Neil Young's New Album
Read about it here.
The right wing is going to go batguano nuts over this record.
The truth hurts.
Monday, April 17, 2006
T Bone Burnett - The Criminal Under My Own Hat
T Bone Burnett is so well known now as a producer of groups such as Los Lobos, Marshall Crenshaw, The BoDeans, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison and the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack that many people probably don't know that he has made some excellent albums on his own. It goes without saying that his solo records, at least the two I have, are very well arranged and produced.
The Criminal Under My Own Hat is my favorite of his and it is filled with so many great songs that it was hard for me to pick just two for posting. The record is a very nice balance of folk and rock influences supporting his witty lyrical obsessions about lust, greed and pride so prelevant in our species. It just as easily could have been made last week rather than in 1992. I guess we don't change much do we?
Here is the dark acoustic folk tune, with a great walking bass line, called It's Not Too Late that was co-written by Elvis Costello and Bob Neuwirth (co-producer) and the pop/rocker I Can Explain Everything featuring some nice biting guitar from Marc Ribot that "skewers" both politicians and preachers.
I have a suggestion in answer to the question
How can we make the world easier to bear
We could go on a mission to get all politicians
And preachers off of the air
Cause when you're talking to that many people at one time
You're bound to be lying to someone at some time
So let's band together and cause a collision
And throw all these liars off television
I can explain everything
How can anyone spend six million dollars every four years
to get a job that makes sixty thousand per?
How can a man stand straight-faced with tears in his eyes
And plead for millions when his motives are a blur?
The genius of France can be seen at a glance
And it's not in their fabled fashion scene
It's not that they're mean or their wine or cuisine
I refer of course to the guillotine
(The French knew how to lynch)
Next month he has another record coming out called The True False Identity and judging the song titles I would say he is slightly disturbed by the current state of world affairs. How could you not be?
Buy it here.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Neil Young's New Album Called Living With War
"Demme, who filmed the award-winning documentary Neil Young: Heart of Gold, writes in an e-mail, “Neil just finished writing and recording – with no warning – a new album called Living With War. It all happened in three days.” How rock ‘n ‘roll is that?
Demme continues, “It is a brilliant electric assault, accompanied by a 100-voice choir, on Bush and the war in Iraq…Truly mind blowing. Will be in stores soon.”
Details are pretty scarce, but the featured track, titled “Impeach the President,” features a rap with Bush’s voice set to the choir chanting “flip/flop” and the like."
Uncle Neil doesn't appear to like Bush.
What's to like?
Thursday, April 13, 2006
The Chills - The Male Monster From The Id
Martin Phillips of The Chills wrote some great songs on his two early 90's major label records. Those are the only records of his I know so I can't say anything about any of his other material. Unfortunately they never sold, The Male Monster From The Id (despite it's non-hit sounding title) should have been a hit single from the Soft Bomb album, but artistry most times has nothing to do with "success" or selling records as it is more commonly known. But we all know that don't we?
The tune is a perfect jangly guitar pop song with absolutely wonderful lyrics and a stick in your head hummable melody. Hard to imagine many people could write a song on this subject and get you singing along to a chorus like this:
Gotta stay on guard always
Wanna keep my caveman hidden
Everyone has some off days
When we make bad descisions
Each man I've seen has some
Animal behaviour in him
Some can conceal better
The male monster from the id...
Buy it here.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Brian Jonestown Massacre - Give It Back!
I really like the Brian Jonestown Massacre, no matter how much they wear their 60's influences on their sleeve, as it is part of their charm. They are the ultimate garage band and the first time I saw them live they put on one hell of a good show which turned me into a fan. Being from the bay area their name evokes images from my youth seen on tv involving a nutty cult in the jungle of Guyana and large quantities of cyanide laced punch. It is a good play on words.
I really like the first tune called Super-Sonic that is an Indian/Middle Eastern influnced wall of processed guitars rocker, if that makes any sense. While The Devil May Care (Mom & Dad Don't) has an Ennio Morricone spaghetti western hungover after the big party ragged appeal to it. Or something like that.
I haven't seen the documentary Dig! yet but a friend is going to lend the dvd to me in the next couple of weeks. I just never got around to seeing it in the theatre but I will crank it up here at home to "recreate" that theater sound. My sound system at home probably sounds better than many of the smaller art house places it was shown in anyway.
Buy it here.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Beatles - Hey Bulldog
I have always really liked Hey Bulldog by the Beatles but since it is only available on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack I tend to forget about it. For some reason it just popped into my mind after the post below about NSA surveillance.
Maybe lyrics like these have something to do with it:
Standing in the rain
Doing it again
Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles
What makes you think you're something special when you smile?
No one understands
In your sweaty hands
Some kind of innocence is measured out in years
You don't know what it's like to listen to your fears
It could just be that I like the crunchy guitar riff with piano doubling it or the attitude behind Lennon's vocal or just the fun goofing off at the end of the song.
Buy it here.
Golly Gee, Beaver, Do You Think It's True?
Statement: Mark Klein, April 6, 2006
My background: For 22 and 1/2 years I worked as an AT&T technician, first in New York and then in California.
What I observed first-hand:
In 2002, when I was working in an AT&T office in San Francisco, the site manager told me to expect a visit from a National Security Agency agent, who was to interview a management-level technician for a special job. The agent came, and by chance I met him and directed him to the appropriate people.
In January 2003, I, along with others, toured the AT&T central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco -- actually three floors of an SBC building. There I saw a new room being built adjacent to the 4ESS switch room where the public's phone calls are routed. I learned that the person whom the NSA interviewed for the secret job was the person working to install equipment in this room. The regular technician work force was not allowed in the room.
In October 2003, the company transferred me to the San Francisco building to oversee the Worldnet Internet room, which included large routers, racks of modems for customers' dial-in services, and other equipment. I was responsible for troubleshooting problems on the fiber optic circuits and installing new circuits.
While doing my job, I learned that fiber optic cables from the secret room were tapping into the Worldnet circuits by splitting off a portion of the light signal. I saw this in a design document available to me, entitled "Study Group 3, LGX/Splitter Wiring, San Francisco" dated Dec. 10, 2002. I also saw design documents dated Jan. 13, 2004 and Jan. 24, 2003, which instructed technicians on connecting some of the already in-service circuits to the "splitter" cabinet, which diverts some of the light signal to the secret room. The circuits listed were the Peering Links, which connect Worldnet with other networks and hence the whole country, as well as the rest of the world.
One of the documents listed the equipment installed in the secret room, and this list included a Narus STA 6400, which is a "Semantic Traffic Analyzer". The Narus STA technology is known to be used particularly by government intelligence agencies because of its ability to sift through large amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets. The company's advertising boasts that its technology "captures comprehensive customer usage data ... and transforms it into actionable information.... (It) provides complete visibility for all internet applications." My job required me to connect new circuits to the "splitter" cabinet and get them up and running. While working on a particularly difficult one with a technician back East, I learned that other such "splitter" cabinets were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.What is the significance and why is it important to bring these facts to light?
Based on my understanding of the connections and equipment at issue, it appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the internet -- whether that be peoples' e-mail, web surfing or any other data.
Given the public debate about the constitutionality of the Bush administration's spying on U.S. citizens without obtaining a FISA warrant, I think it is critical that this information be brought out into the open, and that the American people be told the truth about the extent of the administration's warrantless surveillance practices, particularly as it relates to the internet.
Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA's spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA's charter or with FISA. And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals' phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of internet communications of countless citizens.
Here is the story titled: Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room .
Just for some background information, I am on SBC DSL and I live in the SF bay area, it goes without saying that many of the sites I have visited, emails I have sent and posts I have made would fall into the category of "subversive", to put it mildly, to the Bush/Neo-con administration currently destroying the country.
There is no doubt that there are millions of people in this country that would be considered "subversive" as well.
It's all being done for YOUR security.
Don't ever forget!
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill Is Now A Commercial Jingle
I don't count dead people who aren't around to have a say in this so Nick Drake gets a pass.
We know Tom Waits and John Densmore of The Doors refuse to sell their songs as a jingle and Neil Young with his song and video for This Notes For You has made his feelings well known on the subject.
I just did a search online and came up with this from an article last October in the L.A. times
"In 1991, another revival was stirred by Oliver Stone's movie "The Doors." Since that film's release, 14 million Doors albums have been sold in the United States alone.Those album sales combine with the money generated by radio airplay, merchandising and the other royalty streams to put steady deposits into the bank accounts of the surviving members and the Morrison estate."
I had read in the 90's that the band was selling a million records a year in the U.S. so this sounds about right. They aren't the only ones selling this much back catalog either, bands like the Eagles and Led Zeppelin have sold that many copies of their catalog a year also. At one point in the late 90's I also read that Guns N' Roses Appetite For Destruction was selling 500,000 copies a year in the U.S. as well.
Imagine having one album you did a decade before going gold every year? It really is amazing. I guess Pink Floyd could probably relate to it with how much Dark Side Of The Moon has sold over the years.
Millions of dollars is being dangled in front of these groups and some can't seem to say no to the amount of money offered. Many have grabbed it but it will be interesting to see which ones cave in and which do not.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Ron - Morning On Vallecitos & The Dark
My cousin, Ron, has been a bassist and guitarist for many, many years and one of the big thrills of his life was meeting one of his musical heroes a few years ago....one Mr. Geddy Lee of Rush. You might have even heard of them before. They are sort of well known I understand. Ron is the tall one standing next to Geddy wearing a bootleg Rush fandom t-shirt and then there is some guy smiling next to guitarist Alex Lifeson. I asked him once what his bass playing style was and he said it was a combination of the influences of John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney and Geddy Lee.
Here are a couple of tunes by Ron that are interesting. The first is a basic demo of an acoustic song called Morning On Vallecitos which has a bit of a George Harrison All Things Must pass era influence to it. Then there is the more heavy and very well produced number called The Dark which might remind some people of A Perfect Circle a little. Although I think he made this track right around the time the first record came out. Neither one has vocals on it.
Both Geddy and Alex were very nice and down to earth.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
The Dukes Of Stratosphear - 25 O'Clock
I am in need of a good laugh and something not so serious. I see no better way than to listen to some songs from the "old classic" EP by The Dukes Of Stratosphear called 25 O'Clock. XTC has never been so close at hand here on planet Earth unless you listen to this music or drop some acid.
Listen to The Red Curtain's Only A Northern Song inspired tune What In The World??... and learn about male/female relations in the not so distant future of the 2030's. Or listen to Sir John Johns I Am The Walrus inspired song called the Mole From The Ministry and you will be exposed to the many arcane secrets of lawns, gardens and dare I say it, moles (spys?), as well.
These guys sure had a Beatles fixation eh?
Buy the remastered anthology which contains the full length album Psonic Psunspot as well here.