Tuesday, May 25, 2010

1112 - Mojo 132. David Ackles - David Ackles (1968)




















Track Listing

1. The Road To Cairo
2. When Love Is Gone
3. Sonny Come Home
4. Blue Ribbons
5. What A Happy Day
6. Down River
7. Laissez-Faire
8. Lotus Man
9. His Name Is Andrew
10. Be My Friend

Review

Many moons ago I reviewed Ackles' third album, American Gothic, which was, frankly one of the greatest discoveries of this whole list. Now with the Mojo list I come to Ackles' self-titled d├ębut and it did not disappoint in the list.

As an album it is markedly more minimalist than American Gothic, mainly voice guitar and organ, it doesn't have the grandiose arrangement of his later work. I would not say that it makes it better, but it makes it different and quite interesting. What it also shows is that Ackles really doesn't need that much to make strong, affecting songs.

Pretty much every track here is amazing, and while Ackles follows a more pop structure here than in his later career, he still manages to develop his tracks to amazingly epic levels. Criticised at the time for not having "enough melody" it sounds surprisingly modern exactly because of its epic minimalism... which seems like a paradox but really isn't, not for Ackles.

Track Highlights

1. His Name is Andrew
2. Blue Ribbons
3. Laissez-Faire
4. Be My Friend

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Ackles' debut, described by music historian Richie Unterberger as Ackles' "most rock-oriented record", garnered faint praise from Rolling Stone critic Arthur Schmidt, who complained of thin melodies but who nevertheless described Ackles as "one of the best singers I've ever heard". The album's general mood is dark, unveiling what Piero Scaruffi described as Ackles' "eclectic and depressed talent".

His name is Andrew, sorry for the crackling vinyl but it was all I could find:


Monday, May 24, 2010

1111 - Mojo Special 23. Chuck Berry - The Great 28 Hits (1985)






















Track Listing

1. Maybellene
2. Thirty Days
3. You Can't Catch Me
4. Too Much Monkey Business
5. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
6. Roll Over Beethoven
7. Havana Moon
8. School Days
9. Rock 'n' Roll Music
10. Oh Baby Doll
11. Reelin' And Rockin'
12. Sweet Little Sixteen
13. Johnny B Goode
14. Around And Around
15. Carol
16. Beautiful Delilah
17. Memphis Tennessee
18. Sweet Little Rock And Roller
19. Little Queenie
20. Almost Grown
21. Back In The USA
22. Let It Rock
23. Bye Bye Johnny
24. I'm Talking About You
25. Ome On
26. Nadine
27. No Particular Place To Go
28. I Want To Be Your Driver

Review

When you talk about influential early rock and rollers this collection is all the evidence you need to claim Chuck Berry as the most influential of them all. Elvis completely pales in comparison, you can hear echoes of The Beatles, Beach Boys or even T-Rex here that you can't get in any other of his contemporaries.

This is a pretty amazing collection of hits from the mid-50s to the mid-60s, while none of them were number ones, they are doubtlessly some of the best rock of their time. John Lennon said that if you were to rename Rock 'n' Roll to any other name that name should be Chuck Berry, and he wasn't far off.

Chuck Berry is also an interesting author in the way that there is a clear universe to his music, populated with characters like Maybellene or Johnny B. Goode, who re-appear in track after track. And, most importantly, it rocks!

Track Highlights

1. Johnny B. Goode
2. Little Queenie
3. Memphis Tennessee
4. You Can't Catch Me

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In 2003, the album was ranked number 21 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, the second highest ranking compilation on the list, after Elvis Presley's The Sun Sessions.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

1110 - Mojo 131. Nilsson - Aerial Ballet (1968)






















Track Listing

1. Daddy's Song
2. Good Old Desk
3. Don't Leave Me
4. Mr. Richland's Favorite Song
5. Little Cowboy
6. Together
7. Everybody's Talkin'
8. I Said Goodbye to Me
9. Little Cowboy
10. Mr. Tinker
11. One
12. Wailing of the Willow
13. Bath

Review

I have previously reviewed a later album by Nilsson (Nilsson Schmilsson, 1971), back in March 2007. And I deeply disliked that album, tracks like Without You or Coconut Song did not make it any favours. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to have liked this album as much as I did.

There are some pretty phenomenal songs here, and not just the cover of Fred Neil's Everybody's Talking, which really made Nilsson's name. Tracks like One have become almost as well known in more recent times, and deservedly so. If I previously doubted Nilsson's writing chops based on Nilsson Schmilsson, this album makes me rethink it.

So this is an album which is not lost in eclecticism like his later work, although it goes through some different styles. In fact this is a pretty tight album, well produced and arranged without ever going over the top and really making justice to some pretty great lyrics.

Track Highlights

1. One
2. Together
3. Everybody's Talking
4. Mr. Tinker

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:




Thursday, May 20, 2010

1109 - Mojo 130. Blue Cheer - Outsideinside (1968)


























Track Listing

1. Feathers from Your Tree
2. Sun Cycle
3. Just a Little Bit
4. Gypsy Ball
5. Come and Get It
6. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
7. Hunter
8. Magnolia Caboose Babyfinger
9. Babylon

Review

Blue Cheer move into heavier metal with this, their second album. The move a bit further from the Blues-Rock idiom into a proper Heavy Metal sound. OF course we are talking here more of a proto-metal scene. Blue Cheer are not Black Sabbath, however.

Cheer's music is much sunnier and hence more akin to Zeppelin in feel, however the agressiveness with which the music is played points to later acts like Sabbath or the chronologically closer MC5. This is a simple compensation for not being the most proficient players in the world.

This album is better than their first effort, however, and the playing sounds much tighter as does the vision behind the music, perfectly encapsulated in the double-speed version of the Stones' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.


Track Highlights

1. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
2. Sun Cycle
3. Babylon
4. Hunter


Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

They had to record some songs at Pier 57 as the studio kicked them out for being too loud. When they were recording songs at Pier 57, they were so loud that people on boats complained they could hear the sound at 9 miles (14km) away. Because they recorded songs both outside and inside, they named their 2nd album "Outsideinside"

Sun Cycle:

Mojo 129. The Band - Music from Big Pink (1968)



Monday, May 17, 2010

1108 - Mojo 128. The Millennium - Begin (1968)




















Track Listing


1. Prelude
2. To Claudia on Thursday
3. I Just Want to Be Your Friend
4. 5 A.M.
5. I'm With You
6. Island
7. Sing to Me
8. It's You
9. Some Sunny Day
10. It Won't Always Be the Same
11. Know It All
12. Karmic Dream Sequence, No. 1
13. There Is Nothing More to Say
14. Anthem (Begin)
15. Just About the Same
16. Blight

Review

A really good album here, this is a bit of a hodgepodge of styles while still being generally within the sunshine pop idiom. That being said it is prefiguring the sound of later Fleetwood Mac, of the Rumours or even Tusk era, while retaining many late 60s elements to the music.

Using the new 16-track technology to great effect the album sounds never less than full, but fortunately never muddled. It sounds pretty amazing actually and has stood the test of time remarkably well.

It owes quite a bit to the Beach Boys and Jefferson Airplane among others but it sounds particularly distinct for its time, it sounds new both for 1968 and now. Has happened with most albums which did that, it never hit it big, but now there's blogs like this to give it its just deserts.

Track Listing

1. Island
2. Anthem (Begin)
3. Just About the Same
4. Prelude

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Begin has gained notoriety throughout the years as being the most expensive album that Columbia Records had released by that time, though critics generally agree that the money was well spent. It is now generally considered to be a classic of sunshine pop.

Island:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

1107 - Mojo Special 22. Johnny Green - Raintree County OST (1957)





















Track Listing

1. Overture
2. Lion/The Song of Raintree County (Main Title)(Vocal by Nat King Cole)
3. Nell and Johnny
4. There's Another Tree
5. The Swamp
6. Nell and Gar/Freehaven/Prelude Segue/Meet Flash and Susanna
7. Johnny's Crown/Look at the Birdie/First Meeting
8. First Meeting (film ending)/Nell's Huff/Pursuit of Happiness/July Swim/Tell Me About the Raintree/Nell Insert/Your Exact Location
9. Going Home/Train From the South/I Had to Come Back/Fare Thee Well/River Wedding Night
10. Burned Mansion/Susanna's Obsession/Lament for Henrietta
11. Cousin Bob's Plantation
12. I Lied/Country Road/Johnny's Book/Best Friend
13. You Hate Me/What Did I Do Wrong?/Where Is Susanna?/Where Is That Doll?/It's Happened
14. Be a Pig's Eye/It's a Boy/Back in Freehaven
15. Dearest Thing/It's the House/What About the Fire?/I Don't Know/They Can't Follow Me
16. Judby/She Was Going Home
17. First Act Finale (Roadshow)

Disc 2

1. Entr'Acte
2. Brand New Pants
3. Battle Montage/War Commentary
4. Fairweather/I Don't Believe It/Night Ambush/Flash Dies
5. Johnny's Escape/War's End/I'd Like to Try/Lincoln's Funeral Train
6. I Still Love Him/You're Not Sick/Surprise for Daddy/Ask Daddy/Search
7. Susanna's Death/Jeemie's Raintree/The Song of Raintree County (End Title)
(Vocal by Nat King Cole)
8. The Song of Raintree County (Main Title)(chorus version)
9. Freehaven (film version)
10. Freehaven (alternate)
11. First Meeting Part 1 (alternate)
12. First Meeting (song version)(Vocal by Carlos Noble)
13. Pursuit of Happiness/July Swim/Tell Me About the Raintree (alt. ending)
14. Going Home (alternate)
15. Polka at the Party (Bronislau Kaper)
16. Why No One to Love -- Party (Stephen Foster)
17. Why No One to Love (Stephen Foster)
18. Cousin's Bob Plantation (alternate)
19. Best Friend (alternate)
20. Best Friend (film version)
21. First Act Finale (Day Date)
22. Jeemie's Raintree/The Song of Raintree County (End Title) (chorus version)
23. The Song of Raintree County (instrumental)
24. The Song of Raintree County (Vocal by Bill Lee)
25. Jeemie's Raintree/The Song of Raintree County (End Title) (film version with chorus)

Review

A really long soundtrack... also a very good one. Unfortunately, like most soundtracks it gets quite repetitive, particularly taking into account the fact that it spreads through 2 CDs each counting over 70 minutes of music. With the same themes recurring over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over... you catch my drift.

So there are plenty of highlights here, particularly the theme song sung by Nat King Cole, which is always a delight. The main theme is quite an effective one and the music can be quite stirring and sweeping and everything a soundtrack for a costume epic with Ms. Taylor and Mr. Hudson should be.

Now I need to apologize to you, dear reader. I have been lately hanging out with musicians and other undesirables (met some journalists yesterday,) which means I've been arriving home too late to properly update this thing. I need to get back to a daily routine, maybe I'll start doing this in the morning (or early afternoon) in order to keep YOU (and me) in fresh albums each and everyday.

Track Highlights

1. Lion/The Song of Raintree County
2. Jeemie's Raintree/The Song of Raintree County (End Title) (chorus version)
3. The Song of Raintree County (instrumental)
4. Battle Montage/War Commentary

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Elizabeth Taylor was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film was also nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (William A. Horning, Urie McCleary, Edwin B. Willis, Hugh Hunt), Best Costume Design and Best Music, Scoring. The film was shot in a 65 millimeter widescreen process called MGM Camera 65, which was also used for MGM's 1959 version of Ben Hur.

Raintree County Song:


Saturday, May 08, 2010

1106 - Mojo 127. J.K. & Co. - Suddenly One summer (1968)





















Track Listing

1. Break of Dawn
2. Fly
3. Little Children
4. Christine
5. Speed
6. Crystal Ball
7. Nobody
8. O.D.
9. Land of Sensations and Delights
10. Time
11. Magical Fingers of Minerva
12. Dead

Review

In 1968 a 15 year old makes a track which could easily be mistaken for Radiohead... really? Yes, really. Although most of the album is pretty good psych, one track, Fly, puts this album above and beyond just good. Fly by itself makes this album an essential one to have.

The album itself is a conceptual "life of X" type thing, not particularly original by now, but the music often comes completely from left-field, there's a lot here which is common to the late 60s psychedelia but plenty which just sounds completely new.

That the album was a failure it isn't surprising, having released the 30 second instrumental first track as the single cannot have helped, and most of the album is too different from what was around to really be a commercial prospect, but now it is essential listening. Get it.

Track Highlights

1. Fly
2. Dead
3. Little Children
4. Christine

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From
Aquarium Drunkard:

Recorded in 1968, leader Jay Kaye was only 15 at the time, and for someone so inexperienced in the studio, the lyrics, vocals and musicianship are remarkably advanced. Traveling from his home of Las Vegas to Vancouver, Kaye worked with some of the areas top session players (including members of the popular local outfit, Mother Truckers Yellow Duck). Inspired by the Beatles recent psychedelic landmarks, and LSD itself, the album is lush with orchestral flair with a spiritual slant. Robert Buckley, himself a teenager, assisted Kaye with many of the albums arrangements and psychedelic effects. It was Buckley who created the decaying, backward effects that punctuate the masterful “Fly” – a track which sounds well of its time, familiar in feel to prime-era Radiohead.

Fly:

Mojo 126. Dr. John, The Night Tripper - Gris-Gris (1968)

See Review

Saturday, May 01, 2010

1105 - Mojo 125. The Beach Boys - Friends (1968)





















Track Listing

1. Meant For You
2. Friends
3. Wake The World
4. Be Here In The Mornin'
5. When A Man Needs A Woman
6. Passing By
7. Anna Lee, The Healer
8. Little Bird
9. Be Still
10. Busy Doin' Nothin'
11. Diamond Head
12. Transcendental Meditation

Review

Although a great album, it is The Beach Boys after all, this comes as something of a disappointment. I was hoping it would be a discovery on the scale of a Surf's Up, but it really isn't. It's just very good.

It is a notch below the truly great Beach Boys album's we've had on this blog and even Smile. But even the worse of the Beach Boys is great (at least in this phase, the less said about Kokomo the better).

The overall feel of the album is one of happiness and slightly childish enjoyment, there is very little edge or real emotion to it, it is eminently pop, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but keeps it from being mind-blowing.

Track Highlights

1. Passing By
2. Friends
3. Transcendental Meditation
4. When a Man Needs a Woman

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

As work on the album began in February 1968, Mike Love, a recent convert to transcendental meditation (TM), departed on a two week trip to India (alongside The Beatles and Donovan) to study TM further with his new master, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In his absence, the remaining Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Al Jardine and, now an official member, Bruce Johnston recorded the bulk of Friends along with selected members of The Wrecking Crew.

Passing By:

Mojo 124. Small Faces - Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (1968)

See Review

Mojo 123. Os Mutantes - Os Mutantes (1968)

See Review