Flying


This is a mix I did a while ago that I thought should see the light of day.
So it's not really the first mix of 2017, that's still to come.
Here's very chilled two hours of wonderful psychy, proggy, folky loveliness.
Some tunes have appeared on previous mixes, but most haven't.
Let Daevid, Syd, Lou, Mr Wyatt, los Beatles, the Zombies, Pink Floyd 
ISB andmoreagain take you on a very pleasant trip.

Here's your ticket



1. Gong Synth Intro
2. Beatles - Flying
3. Byrds - Dolphin's Smile
4. Pink Floyd - See Saw
5. Matching Mole - Instant Pussy
6. Incredible String Band - Koeeoaddi There
7. Tim Buckley - Hallucinations
8. Joe Byrd & the Field Hippies - Moonsong Pelog
9. Spirit - Green Gorilla
10. Gong - Prostitute Poem
11. Syd Barrett - Dominoes
12. Fairport Convention - I Don't Know Where I Stand
13. McDonald & Giles - Is She Waiting
14. Left Banke - Dark Is The Bark
15. The Monkees - Porpoise Song
16. Caravan - A Hunting We Shall Go
17. Alain Goraguer - Heshominisation
18. Kevin Ayers - Lullaby
19. Jackson C Frank - Gold & Silver
20. Trees - Sally Free and Easy
21. Pink Floyd - Heart Beat Pig Meat
22. Strawberry Alarm Clock - Shallow Impressions
23. Beach Boys - Our Prayer
24. Pretty Things - Parachute
25. Shelagh McDonald - Dowie Dens of Yarrow
26. Beatles - The Inner Light
27. Kevin Ayers - Song For Insane Times
28. Vashti Bunyan - Winter is Blue
29. Incredible String Band - You Know What You Could Be
30. Nick Drake - One of These Things First
31. Mu - The Clouds Went That Way
32. Spirit - Why Can't I Be Free
33. Robert Wyatt - Solar Flares
34. John & Beverley Martin - Would You Believe
35. Dino Valente - Everything Is Gonna Be OK
36. Love - Andmoreagain
37. Kak - Lemonade Kid
38. Faust - Chere Chambre
39. Velvet Underground - Jesus
40. Colin Blundstone - Misty Roses
41. Music Machine - Discrepency
42. Gary Higgins - Unable To Fly
43. Kevin Ayers - Girl on a Swing
44. The Zombies - Beechwood Park
45. Moby Grape - It's a Beautiful Day Today

Teenage Kicks




With this mix, what I'm doing is an encapsulation of the sonic landscape of my world 1972 - 1975, compiling tracks that were played, owned and enjoyed regularly at my childhood home of 42 Eastern Ave Revesby.
There has been tons of amazing stuff that I have discovered from that period since then, but for the purpose of this mix I shan't cheat. 

The cool thing about being a teenager in the early 70's, in my neck of the woods anyhow, was that it was a perfect time to be a teenager in the 20th century. Well at #42 with three fairly hip older siblings, a loving and fancy free mother and a mostly invisible dad, we were free to be free a heck of a lot of the time. With the boom in the teenager market there was crazy cool stuff everywhere: movies, mini bikes, skate boards and rock mags, jeans, boardies and Golden Breed T's. Life was pretty nice. The beach was a constant. Music was essential.
You might say that stuff was already around, but my gen had more time to enjoy them.
Another thing about my world at that time was that there was an expansiveness in what people dug listening too. We didn't seem to have the same need, as in the US, to no longer listen to music a year or two older, we listened to a really wide range of musics, so it wasn't uncommon to have Relics, A Hard Days Night, Ziggy Stardust, a few Reggae and 60's pop singles and Close to the Edge sitting in the 'recently listened to' pile. There was very little discrimination between styles, you could easily listen to prog, glam, rock and country blues in one sitting. 
My big brother took me to his mate's five years older parties, where the Stones, Faces, Free, Cream, Hendrix and Zeppelin reigned. My own friends loved Bowie and Reed, Roxy and Mott, which were regarded as teenage music, but just about anything went if it rocked, or sent the right tingles. We'd go to the Horden, see Jethro Tull, Tangerine Dream and Uriah Heap. Go to the Liverpool Speedway to see the Doobie Brothers with the Aztecs, or Hush and Timepiece at the school dance. All of it was interconnected.
There, in my brother and my room, amongst the Barbarella, felt "glow in the dark", Pink Floyd and Easy Rider Posters, the wardrobes covered in beatnick, hot rod and Mad Magazine stickers and decals, were 2 turntables and an 8 track, which flashed its many coloured lights in the dark. This was our special world, excepting when the folks went away, then, the 3-in-1 in the loungeroom would be cranked up. Out would come the 7"s, fave LPs like Pet Sounds, Hunky Dory or even the Clockwork Orange soundtrack would fill the sweetly scented air. 

That said, this mix doesn't cover the whole gamut of sounds experience at #42, that mix would go for about six hours. All of the tracks are from significant albums released around this time period, with an emphasis on some of tunes that had a big effect on me at the time. 

The artists:
Led Zeppelin. One thing I loved about them was their sort of middle eastern/Celtic folk melody ideas fused with mellotron laced psyche. John Paul Jones' brilliant arrangements knitted this very unique combo of musician's work into something quite extraordinary. I've always loved lll and Houses of the Holy best, especially the more folky tunes.
Yes, one of my favorite bands of the time, have, since the late 70's, been tarnished with the brush of Prog excess, but, for me, then as now, I find their work, especially during the Wakeman period, to be sparklingly illuminated magic music, that also rocks like a mofo. 
The track I've chosen, though really long, is a fab example of them at their best, shifting from gorgeous folk through to fierce driving rock. No flummery or fanciness here. Chris Squire's bass and Bill Brufords drumming have hardly anything to do with the finger pointing and criticism one usually hears about this remarkable band.
Alice Cooper's School's Out was the first LP I ever bought, when I was twelve. I listened to that album endlessly. It's combination of Detroit Punk spirit, great songs, Alice's and the band's super cool presence and its spine tingling production made it one of my favorite albums. I could look at it's school desk cover for hours, an interesting juxtaposition to the fact it was my first year in High School, which was a thing I could not relate to, till the day I left, four years later. There was a big party after school finished in '75 for kids in my form and I'll always remember School's Out being played loud, big smiles and hugs. If only the previous four years had been that good. 
The Beatles and their subsequent solo albums were a major ingredient in my youth. From their first singles, going to the screening of 'A Hard Day's Night' and Help, through to Sgt. Pepper and on to Let it Be, the Beatles were our fave band. I've chosen a track from Let it Be as it was a 70's thing and I chose this track cos I've always loved it. It's not their best track but it's one that reminds me of the early '70s. I love the title, its absurdity. How do you dig a pony? I've also include a track from Imagine and All Thing Must Pass as well. Two major albums that were as present as air and water at the time. Both tracks (sadly/humorously) are predominantly about Paul McCartney. That's not why I chose them though, more their resonance, the way they transport me, as well as Phil Spector's production and their tingle value.
Marc Bolan and T. Rex were a thing a teenager could get. It was an education, not taught at school. It was about cool and about sex. You could do your slow Sharpie dance to it. You could lay back, staring at the cover, dreaming all those warm dreams of youth. The way Bolan sang and played was filled with all of the sparkly bits I hoped to one day acquire.
One of the more dangerous things I did in my youth was to pinch a cassette copy of Electric Warrior from a Hi Fi shop in Bankstown in '72. It was just sitting there. I had to have it. This may have enhanced the illicit nature of the music. Every one else could have Pilot and Marmalade, I had T.Rex! 
Lou Reed entered my life in '73, via big bro, quickly becoming one of my top faves. I'd buy the in between LPs he didn't have. This quickly led to discovering the Velvet Underground, a band I rate in the top 5 of all time. A major influence that I am still discovering more of.
The Lou track I've chosen, taken from Rock n Roll Animal, is definitely not the best thing he ever did, but the effect of Intro/Sweet Jane had an almost drug like effect on me every time the stylus hit the record (or the 8track clicking and shuffling into play). The dual guitars, the whistles and squeals of delight as Lou hits the stage, the grit of his voice, his New York swagger, electrifying me, shivers down my backbone.
Jethro Tull were and odd thing for a kid to be listening to, stories old snotty men and rabbits. I suppose with Monty Python and the Goons I already had some appreciation of absurdity, also there were a lot of old snotty men around. Their use of UK traditional folk marked their difference, combining it with raw blues, strange time changes, killer playing and ridiculous outfits. I loved them. The album Benefit was my first of theirs, less thematic than other later albums, it captured and intense and defiant spirit. The track here 'Son' was a fave. Its conjuring of imagery, the young boy, his yearning quashed, adults portrayed as the bastards they often are, denying the most rudimentary of natural needs. Great inspiration for a lad who saw this reality daily, to kick against the pricks.
Bowie, David Bowie, good lord, what an enormously huge effect he had on me and just about every one around me. Taking Japanese theatre, mime, theatre of the absurd, Rock and Roll, sexual androgyny, Brecht and Soul. He tunneled them all, creating personal visions, esoteric creations. A wonder, a mystery. You could be highly attracted to him, but not sexually. It was the alien other, the id. His songs from Space Oddity to Scary Monsters were as potently real and important as they were distant and unknowable. Rockin' good fun, yet disturbing. I've picked two tunes, 'Panic in Detroit' from Aladdin Sane, an album on high rotation at #42. This was a song, complete with the Bo Diddley groove, that shook your very foundations. Mick Ronson's guitar and arrangements, terrifying. In the background the voice of Linda Lewis, who I would discover decades later, making the most wonderful noises, tingle tingle. The other is from Man Who Sold the World, entitled 'All the Madmen'. This album was my private joy. Not a record that was commonly known, there were no hits and it's a very dark album, with a spirit returned to on Diamond Dogs years later. I loved having albums that, as far as I knew, no one else had (in my mind), listening to tracks, like this that took you to very strange places. The way it goes from the narrative, concluding with the little girl saying "can I keep him?" into Mick's slide, tearing across the speakers, back into Bowie's ode to madness. A theme he was to return to over and over.
Roxy Music appeared in my life one night when, whilst watching Night Moves on telly, strangely enough, with my dad in the room, Roxy Music came on and did 'Do the Strand'. Krikey! it sent me into a state of sheer exhilaration. It was way too poofy for dad, staring in disbelief. There was Brian Ferry, a totally new type of front man and, good lord, Brian Eno, resplendent in boas and sparkle, playing god knows what strange things, squelching and squidjing. The whole band was amazing to look at and that incredible song pushed me into a world of musical pleasure, with Roxy as a major fave and Eno and Phil Manzanera as key identifiers for record buying for decades to come. If they're on it it's gotta be good.
Mott the Hoople were another fave of the time, the Bowie connection I guess. Their sound was kinda similar but then again different to bands like Roxy, their 50's Rock n Roll influences, mixed with strange theatrical twist and turns. Ian Hunter's voice was really something, all close and taunting, manic laughter, rough yet beautifully soulful. I loved their shit.
Pink Floyd appeared in my life one day in '73 when my brother brought home an 8Track bootleg of Dark Side of the Moon. He took me out to his car, we settled in and he pressed the play button. Kapow! A Floyd fan was born. Pink Floyd and their oeuvre became a staple, colouring our surfing journeys down the coast, sunsets, daydreams and late nights. It was beautiful. The track I chose, from Obscured by the Clouds was always a fave, Dave Gilmour's guitar soaring like no other guitarist before of since, with its sub bass distorting the speakers, its sentiment, steeped in old age and death, heavy  shit in retrospect...I don't know, you can't think in adult terms when thinking about the young mind, I never really tried to figure out lyrics, I guess I just thought they were talking about stuff that was the stuff cool people figure out, so it's cool... and in actual fact, it was.
Frank Zappa entered my life in '73, when I asked my brother for a list of records to buy with my birthday money. He suggested Yessongs, Dark Side of the Moon and out of left field, Hot Rats. I went to Anthem, inside Town Hall Station and laid my money down. Accidentally I bought Waka/Jawaka, as it had Hot and Rats written on the tap handles on the cover. I took them home and cranked em up. Never having been exposed to any form of music like this crazy disc, I was most thrown. I persevered though and lo and behold I grew to love it. I then got the real Hot Rats, as well as Mothers Live at Fillmore East and as the '70's progressed, many more discs of his fab gear. This track is still a knock out, after all these years and the album still one of my Frank faves.
The Rolling Stones were always there, like the Beatles. I suppose for most of my youth the Beatles were the winner of that tired old battle, but as the 70's progressed, with Sticky Fingers, Goats Head Soup and Exile on Main St entering the picture, the Stones became more and more a part of our soundtrack. I always loved the ballads, even Angie, something about them was real, they touched deep. Yet the Stones were untouchable, ultra cool. Like all the older cats I admired, I thought they were something I'd be one day. Thank christ I didn't, another sad junky wanting to be Keef. This track, with it's gorgeous arrangement and de riguer Spector/Visconti style strings still sends lovely shivers.

 Enjoy your Teenage Blitz Mix


1. Led Zeppelin - Friends - Atlantic
2. Yes - Roundabout - Atlantic
3. Alice Cooper - Alma Mater - WB
4. John Lennon - How Do You Sleep - Apple
5. T.Rex - Ballrooms of Mars - EMI
6. Lou Reed - Intro/Sweet Jane - RCA
7. Jethro Tull - Son - Chrysalis
8. George Harrison - Wha Wha - Apple
9. David Bowie - Panic In Detroit - RCA
10. Roxy Music - Do The Strand - Virgin
11. Mott The Hoople - Marionette - CBS
12. Pink Floyd - Free Four - Harvest
13. Led Zeppelin - Over the Hill and Far Away - Atlantic
14. David Bowie - All The Madmen - RCA
15. Alice Cooper - Halo of Flies - WB
16. Frank Zappa - Peaches En Regalia - Reprise/Bizzare
17. The Rolling Stones - Moonlight Mile - Rolling Stones Records
18. T. Rex - Mambo Sun - EMI
19. The Beatles - Dig A Pony - Apple  

Let Me Slide


Wild, Wild, Screamin' Rock and Roll! 

That's what the kids of today are listening too.
Music that would make any sane young person go mad and it tear up

This mix is a warning, an alarm bell, about what can happen to an innocent teenager exposed to this new driving primitive BEAT!

Kids on the street in greasy leathers, hangin' on corners, stirring up trouble

Juvenile Delinquents !

Enter at you peril, into the world of wild and dangerous, savage, American teen beat, 
wailin' Rhythm and Blues, savage instrumentals and hell bent Rockabilly
Crazy youth, screaming the heebie jeebies!

Surfers, Hot Rodders, Rockers, Bikers, Freaks and trouble makers, they're all here

Let it slide they say, Let it Slide!

the LinK


1. Mickey Hawks and the Night Raiders - Cottonpickin' - Dee - Jay Jamboree
2. Little Richard - Keep A Knockin' - Specialty
3. The Swanks - Ghost Train - Charm / White Label
4. Bob Calloway and the Spiro Hep Cats - Tick Tock -  White Label
5. The Crossfires - Out of Control - Rhino
6. The Rangers - Justine - Challenge / Ace
7. Jerry Lee Lewis - Wild One (Real Wild Child) - Sun
8. Jimmy Patton - Let Me Slide - Sage and Sand / Rollin' Rock
9. Rick West - Cop Car - White Label
10. Ron Thompson and the Brougham's - Switchblade - Soma / White Label
11. The Citations - Headache - White Label
12. The Sonics - Psycho - Beat Rocket
13. Don and Dewey - Bim Bam - Specialty
14. Bo Diddley - Mumblin' Guitar - Chess
15. Reggie Perkins and his Rockin' Maniacs - Saturday Night Party - Gem
16. Tommy Louis - Wail Baby Wail - Wilderness
17. Larry Williams - Slow Down - Specialty
18. Davie Allen and the Arrows - Another Cycle in Detroit - Sundazed
19. The Wailers - Out of Our Tree - Norton
20. Big Danny Oliver - Saphire - Trend
21. Larry Terry - Hep Cat - Testa
22. Jay Haggart and the Jubileers Band - Tom Cat - Daja / White Label
23. Mack Self - Vibrate - Sun
24. Terry Daly - You Don't Bug Me No More - RMA







Soft Life



Here's a mix I've had bubbling under for some time. Held back by the unavailability of some of the key tracks, which have now been re-released, in particular the Strawberry Alarm Clock, Left Banke and the Daisy Chain via Sundazed Records, plus the sounds of Inner Dialogue, Joe Byrd and other delights I have joyfully stumbled across.

The genesis of this mix was about 12 years ago when my mate Lyndon Pike gave me an eclectic mix CD of 60's / 70's gear, containing tracks and artists, almost all of which I then proceeded to track down or add to my long list of must haves.
Some of the tracks on the comp, like Dark is the Bark by Left Banke introduced me to the dreamier / darker side of Sunshine pop. I've included several tracks from that mix. Thanks L.

Sunshine Pop, that odd AOR title that has stumped most pop rock enthusiasts. Associated with a clean cut, all American, cravat wearing type. Most likely nice Christian people.
The sound of Burt Bacharach was my reference point, Butch Cassidy and all that, along with the themes to 'Love American Style' and many other "doo doo da doo" styled swingers from movies and television. I knew and loved that sound, it reminded me of being 10.

Around 2004 I was working for Didgeridoo Records as a buyer when I received a package of samples from the label Siesta from Spain. The albums that really stuck out were the reissues of Free Design and Margo Guryan. I was mad for them and wanted to tell the world about them. At that stage the world wasn't ready and we hardly moved any copies, but then Light In The Attic released the Free Design catalogue, beautifully produced chunky vinyl and gatefold sleeves. Sundazed later followed with Margo. It would be a push to say that either act has seen great sales from this, underground kudos maybe, but at least the albums have got out there, not lost somewhere in a vault.

Checking through the Sundazed new releases a few weeks ago I was blown away by seeing the Strawberry Alarm Clock's albums being reissued by Sundazed, including their last album 'World in a Seashell', a title I've been trying to get for an eternity. Disliked and dismissed by the band's members, Seashell boasts the track 'Barefoot in Baltimore' sounding more like Stereolab or Jim O'Rourke in their more swingin' forms. The album is a stone Sunshine Pop classic.

I've focused on the more dreamy and dark side side of this genre, though usually these genres only exist in hindsight. In reality the bulk of these tunes and the artist producing them exist in a world of their own. One could not put the Beach Boys, Judee Sill and the Everly Brothers in the same dressing room let alone genre. There must have been something in the water in those days because the sonic connection is there.

Apart from the folks mentioned we have have a super groovy line up of the Association, the Monkees, Nilsson, Sagitarrius, the Cowsills, the Moon and the Mamas and the Papas all soaked with that mysterious sunshine sound. I've slipped in Serge Gainsbourg, from the Cannabis soundtrack, plus an interesting question from the sunshine sage Rod McKuen "do they still make turtles?"

Enjoy Soft Life

1.   Inner Dialogue - Yesterday the Dog Ate the Turtle
2.   The Association - Birthday Morning - Warner Brothers
3.   The Strawberry Alarm Clock - Barefoot In Baltimore - Uni / Sundazed
4.   The San Sebastian Strings, w/- Rod McKuen - Body Surfing With the Jet Set - Warner Brothers
5.   Harry Nilsson - Without Her - RCA
6.   Joe and Bing - Summer Sound - Rev-Ola
7.   Mamas and the Papas - People Like Us - ABC Dunhill
8.   Tony Mottola w/- Free Design - Kites Are Fun - Project 3
9.   Everly Brothers - Illinois - Edsel
10. Daisy Chain - Run Spot Run
11. The Monkees - Porpoise Song - Colgems
12. Tomorrow Your Heart - Honey Ltd - LHI / LITA
13. Serge Gainsbourg - I Want To Feel Crazy - Phillips
14. The Moon - Give Me More - Rev-Ola
15. The Cowsills - Father - MGM
16. Left Banke - Dark Is The Bark - Sundazed / Smash
17. The Beach Boys - Surfs Up - Capitol
18. Judee Sill - The Kiss - 4 Men With Beards
19. Free Design - Dorian Benediction - LITA
20. Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies - Moonsong Pelog - CBS
21. Linda Perhacs - Chimacum Rain - Sundazed / Kapp
22. Bergen White - The Bird Song - Rev-ola
23. Rod McKuen - Happy Times - High Fidelity Records
24. The Beach Boys - Water - Capitol
25. Strawberry Alarm Clock - Sea Shell - Sundazed
26. Sagitarius - Blue Marble - Sundazed
27. The Gates of Eden - No One Was There (Requiem) - WEA

Goodnight Lou, Goodnight


When I was 14, my brother Mark, who was 18 introduced me to Lou Reed. Not just a hit singles worth but everything he could get his hands on. 
Caravan park at midnight, 1973, mushroom candle and incense burning, buddah burning, my mind burning as Lou Reed, Lou Reed spins around. The baby bird, the wave. Transformer. Fuck! Lou sneering through valves of white light, Mick Ronson at the helm, perfect pop for now people. We stared at the banana refusing to peel. Lou, Sterling, Maureen, John and Nico. Lou's words, his otherness. Our Lou collection grew, with me tending to buy the inbetween albums : Berlin, Velvet Underground S/T and later Sally Can't Dance and VU Live in 69. We were, to our knowledge, the biggest fans in our neck of the woods, well Revesby anyway. And we loved it. Cruising the coast with Lou on the 8 track and several packets of Ardaths. Feeling cool. I had a black Sloppy Joe printed with a close up of the photo above. We were there for the Sally Can't Dance / Rock and Roll Animal period show at the Horden Pav, Lou peroxide gold, me in sequined black cape... and I really don't care any more about all the Jim Jims in this town... Lou's slappin the mic stand. Rock and Roll heaven!
Well that shit was real because Lou was real. He wasn't some pop star wanna be, he was like old school. He was a 40's 50's cat, a stone post war outsider. His forays to the Big Apple in the 50's took him places noone should go, experimenting with life in all it's far out and freaky ways. He was already happening way before he was happening. His own underground University radio show, causing aural havoc, his early recordings and work at Pickwick Records leading to his meeting the great John Cale. The two of them fused their interests in the avant garde, free jazz, Mowtown and stomping party music, Bob Dylan and probably some Celtic flavors from John and some Jewish colours from Lou.
This was the beginning of something amazing, one of the 2 or 3 best ever debut albums.
Somehow people though Andy Warhol had a lot to do with that record, probably because his name is on the cover. Yes he did do the cover, but the best thing he did was nothing. He told the engineer to let them do what ever they wanted to do and he encouraged Lou to be naughty that's all, but that was enough to take them over the edge, enabling them to create a masterpiece that might have been subdued under normal circumstances.
So the groundwork was laid. Everyone who encountered the Velvets knew there was something else going on with these guys. Most of the public didn't want to know about these scary people and their dirty words. The few that did were loyal and traveled from show to show, like Robert Quinne, whose recently released bootleg recordings are both revealing and thrilling. 
The band continued on year after year, making astonishing albums, playing great shows, but continuing to ride along in a relatively low key style than their merit deserved. The old story.
Lou split in 1970, the game was up, there's only so much food you can buy on a cultish income.
One thing lead to another and with a bit of help from David Bowie, Lou kicked off his solo career.
That was 42 years ago!
42 years of making music, thrilling fans, upsetting journalists, giving himself totally to his art, for us!
Lou Reed didn't make music to stay in the charts, he made it as he had no choice, as with most of the great artists, mostly wallflowers, uncomfortable in public, but in private an electric mind that will not give up.
So I'd like to say, thank you Lou, for all you've done, all you've given, all the gigs, the albums and very much more. 
As Captain Beefheart said on being asked did he miss music (meaning performing) he replied "No, because that is a hell of a thing to ask somebody to do...to give blood like that"
Thanks Lou

SOUL STIRRERS




This mix is an attempt to connect the dots between the many musical influences which created what we know as Soul Music.

The birth of Soul music, like most other forms of music, was slowly created over decades, until it became a set genre. But even then, its boundaries were unlimited, depending on the artist, their influences, landscape and social environment, as well as the producers, studios, record companies and the endless other factors which shaped the the sounds that developed.

To many people the musics and cultural development of the African American has been catalogued into a very simple minded categories. The concept of the black man, or black woman, or black music, for starters, is a strange one. I have never met a black person, a white one, a yellow one, nor a red one. Yet in the 21st century we still refer to African Americans as Black people playing black music. Looking back on the films of the early 20th century you see the same bias we have yet to overcome. The black man in his tight fitting cliches of Funky, Soulful or Jazzy. Entertaining us with their zany antics, that are not aligned to the "white" man and his enlightened development. Yet, when you take a good look at any artist within the "black" music spectrum's story, you'll find an endless supply of contradictory evidence.

The list of influences, not related to the cliches of their popular history are staggering. 
Read any interview, or biography of African American musical artists and you'll find Hank Williams, Hank Snow, George and Ira Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, the Carter Family, Bobby Darin, Mario Lanza and a host of other unlikely sources of inspiration. Tales of sitting around listening to the Grand 'ol Opry on the radio. Look at the source material for the bulk of the jazz repertoire up to the early '60's and you've got Rodgers and Hammerstein, the Gershwins,  Cole Porter and the like. I find it pretty hard to imagine these works were thrust upon the artists, as show tunes as well a classical music were highly popular nation wide. 
In many of these same interviews, bios and autos you find repetitious tales of the artist / the individual not able to partake in the reverie of their favorite musics. Young geniuses bound by the straight jacket of their supposed race. Herded into the narrow pockets of allowed forms, satisfying their biased need for the African American peoples to stay in their place.

To me Soul music is a beautiful collision between Gospel, Country, Blues, Jazz, Euro canto and one of the key ingredients, Pop. When Sam Cooke was promoted to a feature vocalist in the Soul Stirrers he drove the young women crazy with his beautiful  be boppin vocal style, flying around the notes, singing sweet as a bird. Sam shifted away from the regular vocal stylings of his contemporaries, fusing pop ideas into the mix, creating a potent new sound, becoming the first "Pop stars" in the Gospel scene. He was drawn out of the gospel music world and into the pop world. This was the 50's, soul music didn't exist, so you've got Sam and his co-producers and writers are mixing up with Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, soppy ballads standards, blues and show tunes. Yet despite all this mish mash of ideas the potency of his voice shone through, lighting the way for others to follow.

When Etta James, James Brown and others sat down with their arrangers and producers to create what they most likely would of thought as being a ballad, this was the birth of Soul Music.
When Miles Davis turned his back on the audience, that was the birth of Soul Music. Why? Because he, like Mingus and Ellington before him, said nup, I'm not living that cliche, I'm a man with a strong mind and a need to live free and grow. They had the need to break down the walls of what an African American could or couldn't do. This was the life blood of Soul, freedom. But trying to find freedom wasn't that easy, for anyone.

The other thing to remember is that in some situations, amongst musicians for example, from all backgrounds, lived and worked happily side by side. Sam and Judd Phillips, Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, Jim Dickinson, Chips Moman, Johnny Otis, the Bihari Bros, the Chess Bros, Armet Ertgun, Jerry Wexler, Phil Spector, Carol King, Doc Pomus, Gil Evans, Phil Ramone and so on and on.
There was so much cross pollination going on. You had Greeks, Jews, lots of Italians, Arabs, Turks, Russians and all sorts of whiteys from every part of the world interweaving ideas, colours and inspiration.
One of the artists featured here is Dan Penn, the Memphis based songwriter and producer, who along with Chips Moman, Spooner Oldham shaped some of the most glorious music to come from the south. I've included his demo of 'It Tears Me Up' his great voice rich from soil of his upbringing. His composition 'Dark End of the Street' one of the finest moments in Soul Music is performed here by James Carr, another major soul inspiration. 
Another classic example of joyful integration is the creation of Stax Records, an Anglo American owned company, who's roster of great African American artists is that of legend. The great Otis Redding, one of its key artists is represented here with 'Cigarettes and Coffee'.
The Stax house band featured Steve Cropper, guitar god. Purveyor of some of the hottest soul licks ever put to disc, along with fellow whitey Donald 'Duck' Dunn. Add the sensational drumming of Al Jackson Jr and Booker T Jones keys and they were Booker T and the MGs, one of the greatest instrumental groups ever. They were also, along with the Bar Kays, the session players behind some of the finest tunes on the Stax / Altantic roster. The guys found a way to get there thing together, making beautiful music, in one of most militantly racist towns of its day, Memphis Tennessee. This legendary town boasted Sun Records, Meteor Records, Goldwax, Duke and Ardent, major players in the development of the Memphis soul sound, with a congregation of multi-racial musical souls, pitted together to make beautiful music, against all odds.

So not only was there fierce competition to be the best and strive for new ideas in the African American musical environments leading up to the early 60's, there was a strong influence for change within the other aforementioned peoples.
So Soul music, to me, is all these things. Yes it was the music that sprang from the Civil Rights Movement, a new musical form for a downtrodden people, but it was also a springboard for new forms of expression.
In the liner notes for the Richard Berry comp 'Have Louie Will Travel' Berry talks about wanting to go beyond Doo Wop and street corner music. He had new ideas and ways of fusing musics that the label just didn't want to hear about. He pushed hard to get his vision out. The sound in his head, vocally at least, was a part of the procession marching towards the new Soul style.

I've included artists such as Nina Simone, who I feel encouraged singers to go to new heights, a deep soulful expression, which you couldn't copy, impossible, but she was a major inspiration. The great Nat 'King' Cole, also a formidable presence in America from the 30's to the 60's. Breaking a well enforced rule by having his own television show. Allowing an African American artist/person to be represented as a strong individual, holding great talent and style, one that can host his own show just like any other galoot. Nat 'King' Cole may have had a heapin' helpin' of smaltz poured over some of his later and more successful songs, but what everyone was listening to was the voice, the way he could go beyond blues or jazz into new colours of sound.
Then there's Harry Belafonte, the Calypso singing, Hollywood acting star and activist, who somehow shaped an outstanding career against all odds, but more relevantly a voice that could be transcendent, once again shifting the focus away from the cliche, being a strong individual artist.

I've included some great key vocalists of the Doo Wop / vocal group genre, some of the great singers of the 50's who also shaped the upcoming style. Diverting their approach from the R and B and Gospel growl, individually creating their own take. You've got Jackie Wilson, a true giant, Clyde McPhatter, again, General Norman Johnson of the Showmen, an extremely individual singer who went on to lead the Chairmen Of The Board in the 60's. You've got the Clovers, the Moonglows, Harvey Fuqua's legendary ensemble which at one stage featured a young Marvin Gaye, plus the Impressions, lead by the great Curtis Mayfield. The Impressions created their own very unusual, yet potent style of music which was highly influential. You'll find many references in music bios of other artists that speak of the influence of the Impressions vocal ideas, as well as guitarists sighting Curtis Mayfield's playing as a huge influence.

James Brown, Godfather of Soul, is represented here in a delicious slice of over the top strings, enveloping a ballad of gorgeous depth, with James and the Flames introducing the world to a new kind of pop music, a whole new thing. But James will be the first to admit that his style didn't come out of a vacuum. James adored both Little Willie John and the Five Royales, label mates of JB on King Records in Cincinnati, with much of the early Flames sound based on the Royales. Then there's Little Willie John, cheezus, could the guy sing? Five foot and a bit, but it always sounds like the microphone diaphragms are just about to pop. And as you'll see here, a strong sign of what was to come.

Some other artists of great import are included here, singers like Bobby 'Blue' Bland, who's enormous talent was too much to be held by the Blues, or any style. He was an innovator, an individual. He was able to cross-over into the pop charts with his infectious delivery.
Johnny Ace, another son of Memphis Tennessee, created a distinctive new style in Rhythm and Blues, with a soul edge. His life was cut short in '54 at the tender age of 25. His almost mythological legend resonates to this day. 
Etta James, who kicks of this comp, is one of the great legends of soul music history. Hers is a voice that both captures the depth of her deep pain and sorrow, as well as it being a transcending force of great beauty. The hard knocks she received from day one and the dark road she traveled would have destroyed most people, but Etta continued on making fantastic music through the 60's and 70's, always on the cutting edge of new styles.
Percy Mayfield, another potent force in the shaping of soul, like Charles Brown and Ray Charles, shifting away from their idiom, creating new forms.

The name of this comp is Soul Stirrers, the best I could come up with, being 'kind of' what I wanted to say. I also feel Sam Cooke and his position as a major breakthrough artist makes him the center of this mix.  Once again, nobody could sing like him, but the influence he had on thousands of singers to follow has been enormous. He paid dearly for both his departure from the sanctified Gospel Music tradition, burning many bridges with family and friends, as well the price of fame. At the time of his death in '64 Sam was producing and writing for young artists as well as being strongly involved in the Civil Rights Movement. According to Wikapedia "fatally shot by the manager of the Hacienda Motel in LA at the age of 33. At the time, the courts ruled that Cooke was drunk and distressed, and that the manager had killed Cooke in what was later ruled a justifiable homicide. Since that time, the circumstances of his death have been widely questioned." If you read Hit Men by Fredric Dannen you see that at the time corruption in the music industry was so rife that there is possibilities of something a little more underhanded than the stated account. But even the original justification, if that was fair justification for murder, that he was black and distressed? 
Sam Cooke left behind an anthem of hope, born of great despair, with 'A Change is Gonna Come', just as with Billie Holiday before him with 'Strange Fruit'.

So here we have it 'Soul Stirrers' featuring some key protagonists who led the way towards a glorious musical revolution. As we entered into the '60's artists such as Solomon Burke, Barbara Lewis, Wilson Pickett, O.V. Wright, Ben E King, Lou Rawls, Bobby Womack, M
artha Reeves, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Al Green  and a host of others shaped the art form, creating wonderful new variations into the future.

                      The Link


1. Etta James - Anything to Say You're Mine - Chess
2. Johnny Ace - Saving My Love For You - Duke
3. Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come - RCA
4. Otis Redding - Cigarettes and Coffee - Stax / Volt
5. James Carr - Dark End Of The Street - Goldwax
6. Clovers, the - Blue Velvet - Atlantic
7. Showmen, the - 39-21-40 Shape - Charley / Minit
8. Five Royales, the - This is Dedicated to the one I Love - King
9. Impressions, the - Minstrel and Queen - ABC / Kent 
10. Harry Belafonte - All My Trials - RCA
11. Soul Stirrers, the - Touch the Hem of His Garment - Specialty
12. Richard Berry - Somewhere There's a Rainbow - Flip
13. James Brown - Prisoner of Love - King
14. Dominos, the - The Bells - King
15. Nina Simone - I Put a Spell on You - Phillips
16 Little Willie John - You Hurt Me - King
17. Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa - Capitol
18. Moonglows, the - Sincerely - Chess
19. Percy Mayfield - Send Me Someone To Love - Specialty
20. Bobby Bland -  Cry Cry Cry - Duke
21. Dan Penn - It tears me up - ACE
22. Eddie Bo - It Must Be Love - Ric
23. Barbara Lewis - Hello Stranger - Atlantic
24. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - What's So Good About Goodbye - Tamla Motown
25. O.V. Wright - I'll Take Care Of You  - Backbeat
26. Rev. Lonnie Harris - What Mother Can Do -

 

Borderline


Borderline. A place, a way of being.

This mix has at its centre, a tribute to the mighty Doug Sahm. A true legend. Doug was Texan through and through, but not in that John Wayne way, more Paul Newman in 'Hud'. An outsider, an outlaw to straight society, with a lot of friends in the same boat, a massive musical talent and a man of controlled excess.
Doug, or Sir Douglas, as he was known through his super hot band the Sir Douglas Quintet, had his first success with the fab single, 'She's About a mover' in '64
Doug teamed up with Huey P. Meaux, the 'Crazy Cajun', producer of some renown, to produce his personal fusion of Western Swing, Cajun, Tex Mex and, and this is the BIG and, The Beatles and their rabid ilk, descending on America and their airwaves like a hoard of locusts, turning on America, turning on a very turned on guy (he'd been in showbiz since he was like 6 - you know what I mean?) to new ideas in sound. The SDQ released two great albums of excessively loose, driving Tex Mex, Blues fueled 60's pop, with buddy Augie Myers pumping the Vox organ in wild Tex Mex stylee, mixed with the Zombies and the Animals.
Doug Sahm continued on with the SDQ for a gang of amazing albums on Smash, with the single and album 'Mendocino', being probably the biggest sellers. He continued unabashedly to create excessively honest and cool music. Moving to the San Franciscan Summer of Love at its zenith, funneling all those good times and merry madness as well as the mad times and badness, splitting back to Texas when the dream had ended. Back in Texas he continued in his almost reporter like way about the most intimate details of his life, about the walls he's going to build. to "keep the Pole eeese Men out" , about smoking pot, life on the rock highway and about his intimate extramarital affairs with teenage chicks. Doug played himself in the film Cisco Pike, worth checking out. Doug was a cat that embodied that tear away spirit that embraced every nuance of the cultures surrounding him, with no racial boundaries in his personal and musical life, just wanting to rip it up and enjoy life to the fullest.

With Doug Sahm as the centrepiece of this mix, I went outwards, collecting various people he was interconnected with, such as the great Flaco Jiminez  and then outwards to connected elements of his music, Western Swing, Cajun and rockin' Country. The musics of Texas, Mexico, New Mexico and Louisiana - Borderlines.

I've included a good many selections of Louisiana sounds in this mix. Louisiana has a long long wild and sordid history, which in short, it has been Indigenous, Spanish, then French and then American. So you had Spanish people and their African slaves, French people and their slaves and then American people, and their slaves, all co mingling culture within culture. And then you had the French emigrants who'd been living in Canada for a heap of time, till they got kicked out. The long and the short they weren't welcome down south either and they split to wherever they could find land which for some was based around the endless swamps of that fine damp land. These people are known generally as Cajun, originally French Arcadian, speaking an old French dialect, one they were forbidden to speak for decades. Their culture continues in its' dreamy pagan waltz, forever outsiders, living amongst the other runaways, the indigenous, the ex-slave the ex-runaway slave and the Alligator.
I've included some monster tracks from this sphere with 'The King of the Accordian' Lawrence Walker, the stompin' Link Davis and the fiddlin' fiend Harry Choates.

There is also the African American equivalent of music form found in Louisiana called Zydeco which creates its cultural gumbo of German, French, Polish, Spanish and the other for mentioned outsider societies and their sounds. So what cha get is a Bluesy, Polka like waltzy, rockin thing, that when you get practitioners like Clifton Chenier working the pearly keys.....oochymama it's hot!

Other sounds from that state include N.O. artists Fats Domino, Ernie K Doe, Cookie and the Cupcakes and Larry Williams. A tiny inclusion from one of the most influential cities on the planet.
New Orleans is home to the Congo Square. An infamous grounds in the centre of the French Quarter, where the local peoples of colour were allowed (?) to celebrate there own culturally rich heritage, their music, dancing, and stories, for a day, a day a year. 
The expanse of great music that has been made in that wondrous city, dating back to before the birth of Jazz is mind blowing. Jumping forward to the mid 40's the studios of Cosimo Matassa began pumping out a mind blowing array of ace R and B and Rock and Roll sides for labels such as Specialty and Imperial. Then there's Joe Ruffino's Ric and Ron labels, Joe Banashak's Minit Records, where a young Allen Toussaint developed his chops to record the next wave of N'awlin's massive musical history.

There's also a whole world of crazy sounds emanating out of sheds and backrooms around the backwoods of Louisianna , such as J.D. Miller's, from which I've included Joe Carl, Tony Perreau and Clifton Chenier, as well as Eddie Shuler's magnificent Goldband label.

Jerry Lee Lewis, the Ferriday Fireball one of the wildest and most notably borderline characters on the mix is featured hear tearing 'Me and Bobby McGee' to shreds, wailing his backwoods Louisiana howl, thrashing and extending the 88's till they're left smoldering. Decades spent pounding those keys, sneaking into the local tents and halls, Diggin' Roy Hall and his Jumpin Cats, jumping up to play when he gets a chance, dancing with the devil in honky tonks. By the time he made 'Great Balls of Fire" he was already a veteran. That was a long time ago. I saw him perform in N.O.  in '92 at a white boot scootin' honky tonk bar / barn called 'Mudbugs'. God darn he was good! He had managed to maintain an existence of extreme living, yet when called upon to deliver he could sing and play with such potent force that it was like the musical equivalent a turbo engine in your face.

Some other characters don't fit the topography but do share the outsider tag, notably Charlie Feathers, a man of great fire and talent, who is noted to have created the rock-a-billy hiccup, an early member of the Sun fraternity. Charlie was the centre point of my hillbilly bop and rockabilly single hunting days. If asked "what like?" I'd say "like Charlie Feathers". Just ask the Cramps - Borderline.

Getting back to Texas, the ultimate borderline state, bordering Mexico. The border there being one of the most fiercely guarded borders in the world. Mexicans, many of whose ancestors had lived for generations in the then unnamed North American continent are not welcome to cross the border. Though ironically the bulk of the services industry in the US is powered by illegal immigrants, without whom the economy would collapse (a bit like the abolition of slavery). Texas, like New Mexico has had a long and mixed relationship with their bordering friends, as well as their resident aliens. But amongst all this mess there is an intermingling of cultural musics, food, art and personality. One of the finest cases of a mixed smorgasbord of ethnic musical cultures is Western Swing, a term created as Texan Swing became a smash on the west coast with the advent of the Western movie. A great many early westerns featured roles or cameos from Western Swing stars, such as Bob Wills, Spade Cooley or Roy Rodgers, formerly of the hot swing combo the Farr Brothers. Western Swing combined the sounds of Ellington, Basie and Henderson with Django Rheinhart and Stephan Grappelli's Hot Club of France. Infused that with Blues, Country Blues, Polkas, German waltzes, Cowboy ballads (that's a book in itself), Hawaiian guitar and old time carnie hokum. Bob Wills, with his Texas Playboys, was a leading light, though the competition was fierce. These guys were the best, the hottest the fastest. Their cutting sessions would leave you breathless. If you lay down the bucks for just about any damn record from a band of that period and you can be guaranteed a smoking ride, whether its Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies "Is my razor just for shavin'? Yes sir" or the Night Owls, featured here performing a Tex Mex classic, or the Texas Wanderers and the Lightcrust Doughboys, just slam the money down, you won't be taking many chances.

So here's to the Spanish people who had formerly traveled and settled in the great northern lands, mostly to create monasteries. Who were destroyed by the American dream (death march) The many indigenous civilisations that were also decimated. The African: abducted, enslaved, brutalised and humiliated, their every culture outlawed, excessively. To the so called White Trash left outside of society.
Here's to the all the outcasts, those forever living on the borderline.


1. Sir Douglas Quintet - Nuevo Laredo - Smash
2. Link Davis - Slippin' and Slidin' Sometimes - ACE
3. Flaco Jiminez - Tu Nuevo Carinito - Arhoolie
4. Clifton Chenier - Night and Day My Love - Flyright
5. Doug Sahm - Just Because - Renner
6. Willie Egans - Chitlins - Mambo / Krazy Kat
7. Sunny and the Sunglows - When I Think of You - Krazy Kat
8. Cookie and the Cupcakes - Mathilda - Judd Records / ACE
9. Fats Domino - Hey La Bas Boogie - ACE
10. Jerry Lee Lewis - Me and Bobby McGee - Mercury
11. Tony Perreau - Kissin' Kin - Flyright
12. Sir Douglas Quintet - Michoacan - Smash
13. Charley Feathers - Let's Live a Little - Redita
14. Maddox Brothers and Rose - Water Baby Boogie - Arhoolie
15. Dorse Lewis (the Scared Coalminer) - Mexican Rock - Cozy / White Label
16. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys - Rose of San Antone - Kaleidoscope Records / Tiffany Transcriptions
17. Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies - Yes Suh - Western
18. The Nite Owls - El Rancho Grande - Old Timey
19. Roy Hogsed and the Rainbow Riders - Cocaine Blues - White Label
20. Harry Choates - Jolie Blon - Gold Star / Arhoolie
21. Lawrence Walker - Lena Mae - La Louisianne Records
22. Clifton Chenier - Hey Ma Ma - Flyright
23. Joe Carl - Rockin' Fever - Flyright
24. Ernie K Doe - Free, Single and Disengaged - ACE
25. Larry Williams - Oh Babe - Specialty
26. Big Sambo and the House Wreckers - At the Party - Candy
27. Johnny Dove and the Magnolia Playboys - Looking For Money - White Label
28. Doug Sahm and Band - Poison Love - Atlantic