The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper (1969)

Categories: 1968, 1969, and Music.

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

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

Mauricio Kagel (2003) by Alexandre Tharaud

Categories: 1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1984, 2003, and Music.

This collection is a little confusing in part because of the confusing nature of Rrrrrrr…, which can apparently be performed independently. The disc appears to be a compilation of his piano-based music. Calling “piano music” would be a misnomer, as there are lots of other instruments on a number of the pieces. The pieces from Rrrrrrr… are all over the place in terms of style, starting with ragtime and running the gamut of styles, through pretty traditional to really avant garde stuff (a prepared piano, a “raga”). I like how Kagel turns music on its here but here I have Read More

Amon Duul II: Phallus Dei (1969)

Categories: 1969 and Music.

What initially feels like a series of nearly formless psychedelic jams with everyone doing their own thing soon reveals itself to be one of the fundamental early documents of Krautrock (the earliest?) and a huge, huge influence on later musicians, particularly post punk bands (The Fall, for example) and indie rock bands (Stereolab). What’s perhaps even more shocking is that the music that was left off the record is just as path-breaking, perhaps even more so (though obviously nobody got to hear it, unless they did those tracks live). Basically, they take the concept of a “freak out” and add 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

TIFF 2015: Ninth Floor (2015, Mina Shum) (9/15)

Categories: 1968, 1969, 2015, and Movies.

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

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

South Saturn Delta (1997) by Jimi Hendrix

Categories: 1997 and Music.

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

People, Hell and Angels (2013) by Jimi Hendrix

Categories: 2013 and Music.

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

Swiss Movement (1969) by Les McCann, Eddie Harris

Categories: 1969 and Music.

The myth-making goes to hilarious extremes in the liner notes – with the writer denying the band had ever played together before this date before then detailing how they played together before the date – but that’s something that’s quite common to jazz (and to music in general) and this band still sounds fantastic for a band that hadn’t rehearsed much (and which was tackling a song they just learned that day). McCann’s band brings the soul jazz and Harris (and Bailey, to a less extent) bring the modern sensibility. This is a strong record because the marriage of two Read More

Symphony No. 14 (2013) by Dmitry Shostakovitch, performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Vasily Petrenko, with Gal James and Alexander Vinogradov

Categories: 2013 and Music.

I have taken some time getting to know Shostakovitch and, on the whole, I have found him a little underwhelming, I guess because of his allegiance to the past. And I know I am coming at his symphonies backwards, by listening to the second last one first, but… This is awesome. I am impressed by his amalgam of some pretty traditional melodic ideas with some (relatively!) radical approaches to tonality, scoring and, particularly, the form of the symphony itself. (I do not know if he was this radical in his earlier symphonies.) And, without the proper context, I must say Read More

Gladsaxe Teen Club, March 17, 1969 – aired on Danish TV (1969 TV program) by Led Zeppelin

Categories: 1969 and Music.

This first ever TV appearance is pretty solid. The whole thing is pretty straigh ahead given, I would assume, they had to keep it short as this was a TV special. The audience is hilariously uninvolved. There are much better later shows, but it’s fun to see the band at a really early stage of their career (this occurred prior to the release of the debut). The orgasm bit is funny. 7/10 Read More

The Dancing Avocado (1969 Bootleg) by Led Zeppelin

Categories: 1969 and Music.

This is an entertaining early show that mostly works in my mind, save maybe the obligatory drum solo. 5 songs in an hour, which is ridiculous but (mostly) works. They are firing on all cylinders, even during Jones’ equipment trouble, when they just ad lib a jam thing (taking the track, which they never did in studio, to nearly 20 minutes). “Killing Floor” makes you wonder why they didn’t credit “The Lemon Song” to its composers when they are recorded it for the second album later in the year. But as someone else said, details details. Everything is well done Read More

Don’t Mess with Texas (1969?, 1991 Bootleg) by Led Zeppelin

Categories: 1969 and Music.

This is a pretty strong but very early show featuring excellent versions of material from the debut, including a medley, and a couple covers as well (though obviously some of the “originals” are also covers…). Speaking of the medley, the (very brief) version of “Susie Q” is particularly bizarre (in a good way). Everyone is one their game and the show is generally quite good. It’s a festival slot apparently, so it’s not like they play forever, but that brevity actually serves them well, as there is no insanely long and unnecessary Bonham solo, for example. 8/10 Read More

Aoxomoxoa (1969) by the Grateful Dead

Categories: 1969 and Music.

This is the first Dead studio album to come after the ridiculous mindfuck that was Anthem of the Sun. This is much more representative of the Dead as a band (and, with hindsight, we can say especially as a band in the studio) but it’s far less interesting as a record. That’s not to say it’s bad, not at all. It’s just not crazy and life changing. In retrospect we can view it as a transition from the psychedelia and avant rock of their early records to the country and roots of the next year. But for the most part Read More

Live/Dead (1969) by the Grateful Dead

Categories: 1969 and Music.

Before this album was released, I suspect much of the world didn’t realize what the Dead actually sounded like. After all, they had only been around for a couple of years and their studio albums to this point didn’t exactly give you an idea of what they were like on stage (which, as we know, was where they shone). I don’t think it’s hyperbole to rank this among the greatest live rock albums ever made: no official live rock album had ever sounded like this before – nothing contained such long performances, nothing contained so much improvisation (and of such 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

Through the Morning, Through the Night (1969 A&M) by Dillard & Clark

Categories: 1969 and Music.

It’s like the band just fell off a cliff. The songs are weaker (many more are covers). They seem far more concerned with revivalism than being pioneers: much of the music is old-timey in the same way that Kaleidoscope attempted, only Kaleidoscope were way better musicians and they interspersed their old-timey ditties with other music that was actually good. But I am being a bit too harsh. There are a few good songs. And there’s a great if too safe cover of “Don’t Let Me Down”, one of my favourite Lennon songs. But really, this barely sounds like the same 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

Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (1969, Paul Mazursky)

Categories: 1969 and Movies.

I gotta give it points, because it made me uncomfortable in places. And that’s good. And the structure was neat. It seemed to spiral out a bit. Like at the beginning it was about Bob and Carol, and then it started to expand into the rest of the world. But not quite in the way I was imagining it would. And it was a little cyclical. Like the end scene references the first scene. And a middle scene with a shrink references the first scene. I like that stuff. And the opening music was neat in how it started out Read More