Much like Super Session (the studio version of this record), this album suffers a little from happenstance: Mike Bloomfield had a habit of wearing himself out and he’s not present on all tracks (much like on Super Session where he was replaced for half of it by Stephen Stills). But he’s present on most (and Carlos Santana is one of his replacements). Read More
When I was younger, I was utterly fascinated by Kooper’s career: how he went from a successful songwriter to a less successful session guitarist to one of the best rock keyboardists of his era (or, perhaps, ever) and the major creative force behind some interesting ventures in the late 60s. But, for whatever reason, it took me ages to get around to his solo stuff. Read More
Konitz presents a series of duets, plus some brief solo playing a one full band track, that explore a wide variety of jazz styles available in 1968. Konitz is excellent throughout and the guests are all great (even though not all of them are as famous). It works really well as a survey of jazz right at the dawn of fusion – the possibilities of what could be accomplished in the music before electrification (and with only a touch of editing) but with very few instruments. Really great stuff. 9/10 Read More
Let’s put aside the ridiculous title for a minute. This is one of those ’60s efforts to try to bring free jazz into more conservative musical traditions. At least in conception, it reminds me a little bit of the [i]Symphony for Improvisers[/i]. There was definitely a group of musicians in the ’60s who wanted to use the language of the past to claim greater authority for their free jazz experiments. This one is pretty successful, the solos are about as out there for 1968 as you could imagine and even the band playing is pretty nuts at times. But the Read More
1968, Books, Medial Thriller, Mystery, Novels, Techno-Thriller, and Thriller.
This is a real page turner and it’s easy to see why it’s the book that properly launched Crichton’s career: it’s full of detailed information about contemporary medicine but Crichton uses that detail to drive the plot, not to overwhelm the reader in minutiae (as some “techno thriller” writers do). Though this type of thriller has become a cilche now, I bet that it was rather refreshing at the time. Crichton’s protagonist is a bit like the Dashiell Hammett version of a doctor. Yes, that’s implausible, but Crichton makes it work well enough. The biggest issue with the novel is Read More
1968, 2015, Documentary, Gore Vidal, Media, Movies, News, and William F Buckley Jr.
When I was younger, I used to long for the days when US news shows were just the news, and when talk shows had actual intellectuals on, on occasion, to debate. I remember once seeing a clip many years ago where Gore Vidal (whom I have a love/hate relationship with) and Norman Mailer (who I don’t know beyond one novel) had a debate…on Dick Cavett. The tone of the debate, and the substance (despite a few insults), was so different than now. But this fantastic film shows the downside of what I idealized. I had never seen the famous Buckley-Vidal Read More
1968, Acid Rock, Blues Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Heavy Psych, Music, Psychedelic Blues Rock, and Psychedelic Rock.
For years and years I have been telling everyone who would listen that Jeff Beck’s Truth is the first heavy metal album of All Time. If people mentioned Blue Cheer, I dismissed them outright (despite only ever hearing their cover of “Summertime Blues” once or twice) or assumed that The Jeff Beck Group beat them to it. Well, the latter is obviously not true. RYM calls this “Heavy Psych.” I’ve honestly never heard that term until I looked up Blue Cheer. It’s hard to really decide if this quite qualifies as metal, since metal has changed so much, but also Read More
1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, Acid Rock, Blues Rock, Box Set, Funk Rock, Hard Rock, Music, Psychedelic Rock, and Psychedelic Soul.
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
1968, 1969, 2015, Canada, Montreal, Movies, Racism, and Sir Geoge Williams University.
This is an important film for Canadians, about a subject that should have been turned into a documentary years ago, no doubt. And it is a necessary part of our history. However, I’m not sure this film is the film the events at Sir George Williams University in 1968 and 1969 deserve. Read More
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
1968, 1969, 1970, 1997, Blues Rock, Compilation, Funk Rock, Music, Psychedelic Rock, and Rarities.
So this is sort of the companion piece to First Rays of the New Rising Sun, the album that tried to replicate what would have been Hendrix’s last album. But whereas First Rays was a coherent piece, this is more an abritrary collection of rarities. Like most of Hendrix’s demos and alternates that have been released, everything is very professional. And it’s of interest to any Hendrix fan (though it’s hard to hear what’s different about this version of “All Along the Watchtower”). But it’s not any kind of definitive rarities collection or anything like that. It’s fine. 6/10 Read More
This is the “highlights” disc taken from the Box Set documenting 3 Experience shows at the Winterland in October of 1968.It begins with a performance of “Fire” that is highlighted by a series of crazy drum fills by Mitchell that substitute as a drum solo.“Foxey Lady” follows, with its introductory feedback drawn out twice as long. Otherwise it’s not anything special, some hilarious dialogue before nad in it. Just like any show (it seems) Hendrix’s amps keep breaking.Perhaps the hilghlight of the entire disc is their take on Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” Hendrix was always a great interpretive artists, Read More
This is an Experiene concert from the 1968 Miami Pop Festival (obviously) containing remarkably little music from either Axis or Ladyland (which they had already begun recording). Actually I don’t think there’s a single song. It’s a strong set and it shows off the Experience as a great live band, which is something we don’t always think of them as (or at least I don’t).The opening version of “Hey Joe” is considerably looser than any I’ve heard before, opening with more than a minute of feedback and definitely showing signs that the band is getting tired of playing this song.The Read More
This is apparently the “final” official rarities collection we will get from the Hendrix vaults. These are the last previously unreleased studio tracks. It only took 40 years.This collection shows off the direction Hendrix was contemplating post-Electric Ladyland, the funkier, rootsier one displayed on First Rays of the New Rising Sun, his unfinished final album. But these performances are looser than that record, and they have fewer overdubs. It’s fairly obvious that most of them are just (complete) early demos. But the music is fantastic – Hendrix is on fire, even if he’s playing more lead (and more conventional rhythm) Read More
This is a compelling study of what happens to the apolitical people when political conflicts (i.e. wars) interrupt their lives. The couple at the heart of it are believable and their sense of confusion is palpable. And I get that we the audience are supposed to share that sense of confusion. But I feel like setting this during an actual war – rather than a made up one – would have made the whole film more convincing. The problems mostly circle around why exactly this house in the middle of nowhere is the centre for so much action. We have Read More
I guess Elgar gets his rep because he was perhaps the first really notable British composer in some time (or up until that point, I don’t know). But I think that reputation is inflated – at least based on my earliest listens to his music – by the general Anglophilia that is a consequence of Britain once ruling much of the world, and of growing up in an English-speaking society. Because frankly, when I put this stuff beside Debussy or Mahler or other great composers’ works of the first decade or so of the 20th century I find this to Read More
This is probably best known as Miles’ last wholly acoustic album, before he began to embrace fusion and abandon bop. But that makes it sound like it is somehow more conservative than it actually is. Sure, it’s not free jazz, but this is still pretty out there. In fact, I detect at least a bit of an influence of free on the music (though it is very subtle) in addition to more obvious hard bop and modal strands. It’s a pretty sedate thing for something that is sort of stuck between two worlds. But that’s not a bad thing. It Read More
This is my first encounter with Townes; fittingly it is his debut. The songs themselves are pretty strong – and one is hilarious if a little xenophobic – but not enough for me to induct him into the canon. Alas, I have only ever heard these. Maybe some others would impress more. The problem isn’t the songs. The problem is the production / arrangements. This album is so over-produced. It is Bryter Layter over-produced (yes, not a great analogy, since it was recorded after this), except there they were trying to turn Nick Drake into a pop star, and here Read More
This stuff is mindblowing. Almost as out there as Zappa and the Mothers (at their very weirdest) or the Velvets (at their very artiest) and not quite as crazy – and far more artsy – as Beefheart was about to get. It’s too band the sound isn’t exactly great, as apparently these guys were very, very noisy in concert, which doesn’t exactly come across here. The songs aren’t exactly great – Zappa was certainly the better composer – and the band could really use a real rock singer (I get that having a singer like her was part of the Read More
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
It’s funny that Clark quit the Byrds to pursue the music the Byrds themselves ended up pursuing. Though it has been ages since I listened to SOTR, I think I like this a little more. It’s a little more consistent in its mission, methinks. On the other hand, the Byrds album was first (albeit not by much) and obviously more important because people actually listened to it. Still an important landmark in the country rock merger. 9/10 Read More
1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1974, Canadian, Culture, Documentary, and Movies.
Though not every film is absolutely stand out, this is mostly 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. “Les Raquetteurs” aka “The Snowshoers” (1958): 7/10 “La lutte” aka “Wrestling” (1961): 8/10 “Quebec, USA ou L’invasion pacifique” aka Read More
1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, Compilation, Funk, Music, R and B, and Soul.
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 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 one. Read More