Vanilla Fudge (1967)

Categories: 1967 and Music.

This is an excellent covers album featuring mostly (but not entirely) fairly radical interpretations of two Beatles songs, a Zombies song, an Impressions song, a Supremes song, a Cher song (made famous by Nancy Sinatra) and a song by artists I’ve never heard of. You must admire these guys for the breadth of these covers, showing an interest in music that is wide-ranging. Read More

Mellow Yellow (1967) by Donovan

Categories: 1967 and Music.

This feels like a transitional effort for Donovan. On the one hand there’s still some songs that feel like they could have been on Sunshine Superman (though they feel like outtakes to me) on the other and there are some more subdued singer-songwriter things that feel nearly completely at odds with his sort of “Swinging London onlooker” persona he seemed to cultivate. Read More

King of the Blues Guitar (1969) by Alberta King

Categories: 1967, 1969, and Music.

This si a reissue of Born Under a Bad Sign (released only two years before), with the addition of a few more tracks (at least the version I am listening to, which has 17 tracks compared to the 11 listed for the original LP). Born Under a Bad Sign was itself a compilation, this time of singles King had recorded when he moved to Stax. One of the reasons the record is so well regarded is because so many blues albums back then apparently lacked strong material. Born Under a Bad Sign is considered to be the first “modern” blues Read More

After Bathing at Baxter’s (1967) by Jefferson Airplane

Categories: 1967 and Music.

It’s been ages since I’ve listened to the other Airplane records from the era but, from memory, this is their most overtly psychedelic and experimental record, with a “freak out” and some jams (and more than a little Hendrix worship). It’s the weakest of their classic records in my mind, and they don’t quite find a balance between wanting to write accessible, political songs and wanting to expand my musical consciousness. That being said, everyone was doing stuff like this, and this has dated better than some of the other albums from the era. 7/10 Read More

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000)

Categories: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 2000, and Music.

This is an exhaustive collection of Experience alternate takes, outtakes, alternate mixes and live performances. For the Hendrix completist, it’s probably more essential than any of the other studio rarities collections that have come out, just because it shows off more facets of his playing and his experimentation – unlike those studio rarities collections, which are mostly demos, or those live sets which show him in an altogether different light – than any other set. This is as complete a picture you’ll get of the Experience (and Hendrix himself) outside of the original studio albums plus Band of Gypsies. But Read More

Indian War Whoop (1967) by The Holy Modal Rounders

Categories: 1967 and Music.

I have not heard the first two albums, but, by all accounts, this one is the zaniest to date. And zany it is, as the band gets as out there as any “popular music” band in the States at the time, rivaled only by the Mothers. (Of course, there is a little more going on in the Mothers’ music.) I have to admire the sheer bravado; not only making extremely noisy, and extremely goofy, recordings – including recordings of traditional folk songs that are unrecognizable, but pairing it with some bizarre narrative (one the one side). It’s like a more Read More

Valleys of Neptune (2010) by Jimi Hendrix

Categories: 2010 and Music.

This is yet another collection of Hendrix demos and alternate takes. As usual everything sounds great (though in one case the sound quality is weak compared to the other tracks) and professional. The tracks are from all over the place, as usual, and it’s a record that’s for Hendrix fans rather than for casual listeners. There are a few new songs, but many have other takes other places. One notable thing is that this version of “Sunshine of Your Love” contains a hilarious bass solo from Redding, much like some live versions of this song. So if you want to Read More

Far East Suite (1967, 2003) by Duke Ellington

Categories: 1967 and Music.

This is a great piece: it’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s remarkably varied and it does sort of feel like a grand statement. But I can’t help but feel like it’s a statement made 3/4s of a decade too late. Though Ellington’s ability to make himself relevant again and to build upon people who built upon him – there is a definite Mingus influence here – is remarkable, there is also the fact that jazz musicians had been flirting with far more radical “eastern” influences for some time. I am thinking specifically of Trane but also the severely under-appreciated Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Read More

At Last the 1948 Show (1967)

Categories: 1967 and TV.

This show hasn’t held up that well, so it is mainly of historical interest for anyone seeing the birth of a pretty ridiculous generation in English comedy (Python etc). There are some skits that are simply amazing however, there’s probably only 3-5 in the entire 5 episode run. The rest of them are mostly either ideas that just don’t work that well (Python would do better) or of the kind of stuff that the Goodies later did (and if you like the Goodies, you’d probably like this). It’s definitely worth viewing if you are a fan of any of the Read More

Billion Dollar Brain (1967, Ken Russell)

Categories: 1967 and Movies.

This is a strange one. I have only seen one other Harry Palmer movie and it definitely didn’t prepare me for this, though I guess the title should have. The film – and, presumably, the novel – suffers from the kind of nonsense ’60s spy tech-nonsense that dates so many James Bond movies. Harry Palmer is usually the anti-Bond, but here his plot is caught up in super computers and a bizarre climactic set-piece that has to be seen to be believed. This is my first Ken Russell, and I would be tempted to trace the oddness of this film Read More

My Favourite Music Scene

Categories: Music.

Throughout the years, New York has been a hot bed of the avant garde, the new, and the different. And London has also been a real centre of forward thinking music (though with London – even more so than NY – many of the bands that were doing the forward thinking originated in other communities before moving to London). But for me, the one scene that consistently excites me – when I go back to it, when I encounter new bands from it, and when I think about the overall creativity of a given time and place – actually was Read More

The Mirror Man Sessions (1971, 1999) by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (1999 Buddha)

Categories: 1967, 1999, and Music.

Aka It Comes to You in a Plain Brown Wrapper, the first try. Note: I have not heard the original, 1971 version of this album. I don’t really know that it matters whether Van Vliet decided he hated the post-production effects after the fact because the album did so poorly or whether he always hated them. They probably shouldn’t have been done regardless. But since I haven’t heard them, I can’t really say. The music that they did record, before the effects were applied, and before they were forced to re-record it, is pretty incredible. It is a clear departure Read More

Michel Brault: Oeuvres 1958-1974

Categories: 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1974, and Movies.

Though not every film is absolutely stand out, this collection is mostly filled with great stuff and very well worth watching, especially for Canadians. We can see that the Canadian film tradition was a little richer than more recent NFB material might have led us to believe. Here we have engaging, sometimes provocative, examinations of both minor and serious issues within our culture. Brault’s work should be far more well known outside of Quebec than it currently is. It should be watched in schools. Here are the films included in the collection. Titles in quotes are shorts and italicized titles Read More

The 50th Anniversary Collection by James Brown (Polydor 2003)

Categories: 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, and Music.

James Brown’s importance can not be understated. He is on The List of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century (along with Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Miles Davis, Dylan, Duke Ellington, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and maybe a few others). This compilation of his hit singles gives a very good idea of his progression and how he turned gritty soul and R and B into funk and thus got sampled more than any other band leader ever. The one downside is that this compilation of his hit singles is missing one of his biggest hits. Hard to understand that Read More