Saturday, August 23, 2008

Douglas Leedy - The Electric Zodiac (1969)

In my ongoing attempt to surprise readers, here's something quite different than anything I've posted before. While this is presented as psychedelic music among some record sellers (who will present almost anything as psychedelic) it's really early, avant-garde electronic music from a major figure in the development of computer music. His hair is on the long side, though, and he was influenced by Indian classical music, which also had a big influence on the direction psychedelic music took during this period.

At the time of the recording, Leedy was on the UCLA music faculty and he apparently designed and constructed the Electronic Music Studio there. Prior to that he had been a classmate (at UC Berkeley) and fellow traveler of Terry Riley & LaMonte Young (Pauline Oliveras was a student there too). Although, he had more classical training and less jazz experience, his music also has a modal and repetitive nature (at least on this release) that links him to those better known composers.

More information on Leedy's career is available online here and here and you can read an interview with him from 1974 here. If you want to hear more of his music there's also an orchestral piece, the Quaderno Rosiniano, performed by the San Francisco Chamber Music Society available here.

So what about this record? As the cover notes, it is "A continuum of music of the cosmos resting in a momentary position of influence composed and arranged for Moog and Buchla synthesizers and Ognob Generator by DOUGLAS LEEDY. There is no beginning there is no end no side one no side two." Personally, I'm not sure I see any relationship to the Zodiac in the music, although there may be some esoteric calculation in use relating to astrology. It is a pretty great piece of early electronic/moog music, very cyclic in nature and not overly dissonant (as some of the more early, avant-garde, electronica can sometimes be).

Because of the nature of the music I was not comfortable doing much in the way of noise reduction so you may hear more than the usual level of clicks and pops (it wasn't as clean a copy as I would have liked either). Still I hope you enjoy it (here).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Deena Webster - Hurry, Tuesday Child (1968)

I was kind of surprised to find that this record hadn't been blogged before (at least that I could find). It's bad enough that it hasn't been reissued on CD. So even though I have some of my own records to get ready for posting I thought I'd take a few minutes to put this one up for you. As suggested, it's not my recording, but was done by FolkPhile (from vinyl) some time ago. FolkPhile is a great collector and poster who has been around in file sharing circles for a long time, posting in newsgroups and sharing in other places as well. So thanks to her (?) for this one.

And what about the record? It was issued on Parlophone in 1968 and features some excellent covers of contemporary folk/pop selections (the Flower Lady, NY Mining Disaster 1941, Colours, etc.) and older, popular folk numbers (House of the Rising Sun, Geordie) accompanied by the guitar playing or by string orchestra (under the direction of Arthur Greenslade). Deena is a British folk singer in the popular style of the day (think early Marianne Faithful or Bridget St. John). Perhaps not an original approach but all well performed. Deena has a great voice and is perhaps a little unemotional at times, but that's nit-picking really. Overall an excellent and unjustly forgotten record.

There's not much information available on the Web about Deena. The only Web page devouted to her is in German and, if the number of Google hits is any indication, she also appears to be popular in Japan.

Here's a tracklist:
A Side
Hurry, Tuesday Child
Hair Of Spun Gold
New York Mining Disaster, 1941
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
The House Of The Rising Sun
B Side
Who Will Buy
The Flower Lady
Summer Day Reflection Song
Tangles Of My Mind
The Last Thing On My Mind

And you can get the music HERE (reposted).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More news and requests

UPDATE: Got the Joe Clark & Tony George but I still need a copy of my Rabbit McKay post. I hate to resort to extortion but I have a lot of new records to post & little desire to do so if no one can help by reposting this.

I wanted to let people know about another new release by an artist whose first (full-length) album was posted here. Bruce Murdoch, one of the most under-rated folk singers to come out of the 1960s, has a new CD entitled Matters of the Heart, which you can purchase from his Web site. In an interesting contrast to the new Andy Zwerling release I mentioned a couple weeks ago, Murdoch's new music is less political (in the macro sense) and more hopeful than his first album. The songs, while introspective and melancholy at times, still seem to be largely songs of love and acceptance (even in the face absence). You can also preview some tracks on the Web site. For what it's worth, my recommendation is that you get a copy now.

I also need to request a couple of the albums I posted here: Rabbit McKay's Bug Cloth and Joe Clark & Tony George's One Man Bands. My recordings for both of these were lost when my hard drive crashed and I'd like to repost them. I recently heard from Tony George's daughter and am hoping to get some further information on that obscure release. I know plenty of people downloaded both of these, so here's your chance to contribute to the blog by either leaving a repost link in the comments or emailing me one. Thanks, BTW, for the person who reposted Rosemary Haddad.

Finally, I've recorded a few new albums and will try to get at least one up per month over the rest of the year. Next up, by request, is Douglas Leedy's early computer music classic, The Electric Zodiac.

P.S., I forgot to mention that the Bobby & Laurie record I posted will soon be reissued on CD, so grab it now. I'll be taking it down & letting you know where to get the CD when it comes out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aesop's Fables - In Due Time (1969)

This one has been a long time coming, as this was promised about a year ago and this is the 2nd time I recorded it.
Aesop's Fables only released this one album on Chess Record's Cadet Concept imprint and as such it's one of only a couple of real rock records on Cadet Concept (the other I know about is the 1st Status Quo album). The music is inconsistent and varied in style. A lot of it falls into the horn rock genre popular at the time (e.g., Blood Sweat & Tears, Rare Earth), which is not my favorite style of rock music and biased me against actually posting this for a while, but there are some other tracks that go into blue-eyed soul and psychedelic territory and are more to my liking. The band is excellent especially when one or all hit a groove like the organ freak out on "In the Morning" and pretty sublime, psychedelic jamming on "And When It's Over." Lyrically I'm not as impressed. They also cover "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" and (to greater effect) Bert Sommer's "And When It's Over."
Robert Gallo who turned out a lot of tax write-off releases has his hands all over cowritting a lot of the songs, as well as arranging and producing. The band consists of
Ronny Alterville -- bass, guitar, backing vocals (1967-69)
Sonny Bottari -- vocals, percussion (1967-69)
Robert DiMonda -- flute, sax, backing vocals (1967-69)
Joe Fraticelli -- sax (1967-69)
Frank Krepala -- guitar, backing vocals (1967-69)
Louis Montaruli -- trumpet, trombone (1967-69)
John Scaduto -- vocals, drums (1967-69)
Barry Taylor -- keyboards (1967-69)
And here's a tracklist
1.) Lift Up Your Hearts (Barry Taylor - Ronny Alterville)
2.) What Is Soul (Robert Gallo)
3.) In Due Time (Robert Gallo - Segal)
4.) In the Morning (John Scaduto - Robert Gallo - Ronny Alterville
5.) Everyone's Talking (Robert Gallo - Segal)
6.) Spoons Full of Sand
1.) The Sound of Crying (Sonny Bottari - Barry Taylor - Ronny Alterville - Heins)
2.) What Is Love (Robert Gallo)
3.) Look Out (B. Bottari - Barry Taylor)
4.) I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (Jerry Ross - Kenny Gamble - Williams)
5.) And When It's Over (Bert Sommer)
You can hear the music here.
I should note that you may hear a bit of distortion, especially in the quieter moments. I don't want to go into the whole story--as I know I complain about my computer set-up too much already--but I recently installed an exterior upgrade for my Creative sound card and it has a number of useless features one of which (the 24-Bit Crystallizer) was accidently turned on during recording. Suffice it to say I won't be using it again.