Ard’is Nobody’s Business

Yesterday I was listening to a CD “Love Addict” I picked up in Sweden sometime in the beginning of the 90’s. An album I have revisited quite often when beer bottles or wine are emptied on long summer day and nights like right now.

Never really did check out the artist “Ardis”, doing a pop/rock/reggae kinda thing with a strong accent, I assumed it was an African popstar.

This turns out to be wrong, Ardis originated from Dominica Island in the Caribbeans born in 1971, relocating to Sweden age 13, made two successful albums in Sweeden early 90’s and then disappeared from music.

The album also contains a version of one of the earliest blues standards, originally known as “Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness if I Do” first recorded in 1922 by Anna Meyers with the Original Memphis Five. It was soon to be recorded by a number of other artist.

Bessie Smith (1894–1937) known as the “The Empress of the Blues”, was the blues star of the 1920’s and the highest-paid black entertainer of her time, her voice so beautiful and strong that it sounds good today, even from those old recordings. Her version was “cut” in 1923.

In 1949 jump blues singer James Witherspoon revisited the tune and changed its name to “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, he transformed the song into a more modern blues version, the foundation for most later versions like this one by Otis Spann

Now back to Ardis, Except “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” she wrote all the tracks on “Love Addict” and those creative skills are also very evident on her version of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, she turns the blues standart upside down to make it completely her own:

Advertisements

Mrs Tippett – Leaving It All Behind

Was reading some stuff about the brilliant Keith Tippett this morning, widely known for his wonderful piano solo on King Crimsons Cat Food and contributions to Crimson albums “In the Wake of Poseidon”, “Lizard” and “Islands”. In this process I stumbled into his wife, and she will be my focus in this post.

Season Of The Witch – from debut album Open (1967)

In Australia the album was released as “Jools”, Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity

Love the above performance, strong voice, great grove and lots of time, absolute no stress in 1968. If anyone should be in doubt it is a cover from Donovan’s 1966 album Sunshine Superman

Julie Driscoll  was born in London 1947, her first band was Steampacket featuring the later so famous Rod Stewart and also guitarist Vic Briggs (later The Animals) and keyboardist Brian Auger.

The group disbanded, Auger and Briggs formed Brian Auger & The Trinity, the group released some singles before Julie Driscoll joined for the first album in 1967. The band released the 2nd album “Definitely What!” in 1968 without Julie Driscoll, but she appeared on single releases. A cover of Dylans This Wheel’s On Fire made a top 5 UK singles hit.

Light My Fire – from Streetnoise (1969) The Doors cover (self-titled debut 1967)

Julie Driscoll appeared on their last original studio album Streetnoise released in 1969, an ambitious double album, covering a wide range of influences with some cover songs but also compositions by Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger. Haven’t had time to digest all of this but seems to be their most important contribution to music, I love it after just a single listen.

Czechoslovakia – from Streetnoise (1969) written by Julie Driscoll

Julie met Keith Tippett after she saw a gig of his at the 100 club at Oxford Street and the “Keith Tippett Group” became the backup band on her first solo album. Although titled “1969” it was released in 71. Without being a huge step in the more experimental direction she would later follow “1969” is a bit more Jazzy than her previous work and her vocals very beautiful, sometimes reminding me of my favorite Joni Mitchell moments, definitely an album worth checking out stands the test of time brilliantly.

Leaving It All Behind from “1969” written by Julie Driscoll

From this point onwards Julie uses the name Julie Tippetts on recordings, and became involved with more experimental music and improvised Jazz, working with Keith in his Centipede project, as well as preforming and recording with a variety of musicians.

Julie and Keith took part in the Rock adaption of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and The Wolf, with a cast of prominent names, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Brian Eno, Alvin Lee, Gary Moore, Cozy Powell, Manfred Mann ect.

In 1975 she released her 2nd solo album, Sunset Glow again with “Keith Tippett Group” as backup, the album now much more experimental, can hardly recognize anything from the 60’s pop singer. This is fully blown top class Jazz Rock with a female singer, quality vocals you won’t find too often.

Ocean And Sky (And Questions Why?) – from Sunset Glow (1975)

Written By Julie Tippetts

I will leave Julie at least for now, before this gets too long, but I’m definitely not finished listening to her voice, this was a great journey into unknown territories for me and I’m sure I might find more great music digging further into Mrs Tippett world.

Sunset Glow from Sunset Glow 1975

Written By Julie Tippetts

Looking at you kid

In my series of early 70’s masterpieces we are usually swimming in prog rock waters, but this one is a quite different story. Some would claim it to be prog, as they would with any album they like from the 70’s, but to be honest the only thing very “prog” was the producer, former Crimson lyricist Peter Sinfield.

Roxy Music’s debut came out in 1972, a revolution to anyone following Rock Music at this point in history.

If you have to box this music it was Art/Glam Rock ala David Bowie, but then again more unfamiliar and strange than what Bowie had done at this point. Early pre-new wave ? …….forget it, fair to say Roxy was mostly just Roxy.

On top of that was the image of the 1950s-style pin-up cover, quite crazy compared to what you would expect from a rock band at the time, and then the outfits sending signals in almost any thinkable direction. Ferry in glamour suit’s sending thoughts in direction of Las Vegas, Eno with his strange omnisexual look and Andy Mackay the 1950s rock and roller, won’t see much of his “type” again until Saturday Night Fever.

But that makes Rock Music so special on this early record is something that could easily break down so many other albums, a complete lack of direction. It seems like they took numerous ideas, like a painter just blindly throwing paint on a canvas and some miracle happened to unify the pieces into something bigger.

Off course this would not be possible if the band was not composed of so many brilliant individuals, Bryan Ferry song writing and vocal is just great, Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay and Brian Eno a dream cast to back him up, making a wonderful debut album and with it, music history.

Let’s finish with Bryan Ferry’s tribute to Humphrey Bogart:

Here’s looking at you kid – Hard to forget

Here’s looking at you kid – At least not yet

Your memory stays, it lingers ever – Will fade away never

Howe’s Revolution

Stephen James Howe was born in London 1947, professionally known as Steve Howe he started to play guitar at age 12, in 1964 age 17 he recorded his first single with The Syndicats: Chuck Berry’s Maybellene, the B-side was a tune co-written by  Howe.

Howe left The Syndicats to join what was soon to become Tomorrow, one of the early psychedelic UK bands. On the self-titled debut album, Howe co-wrote the track “Revolution” (released before the Beatles track of the same name)

 

The album also contained the original edition of “My White Bicycle”, later to become a hit with Scottish hard rock band Nazareth in 1975.

 

The late release of the album, about a year from spring 1967 to spring 1968 saw a decline in the interest towards psychedelic rock and the album never became a success. The band split up and Howe joined Bodast.

1976 Harvest edition: “featuring Keith West and Steve Howe”

Howe was quite unfortunate again, Bodast recorded a full album for the record label Tetragrammaton but due to the financial situation of the label it was not released and the company declared bankruptcy in 1971. The album was later released as “Bodast Featuring Steve Howe ‎– The Bodast Tapes” by Cherry Red Records in 1981, at that point mostly of historical and collectable interest.

Now it was time for Howe’s luck to change, as he would join Yes for their 3rd album, “The Yes Album”
(Sometimes it is hard to imagine how a band can come up with such inspiring stuff like that album title)

Original guitarist Peter Banks left the group in May 1970, later indicating that he was fired. Anyway seem to me that it is hard to deny that the recruitment of Howe was very important in the development of “the Yes sound” building up to the world fame soon to come.

The Yes Album was released February 1971 and received positive reactions from critics –  it reached no 4 in UK and no 40 in the US doing a lot better than the previous two albums.

The full band on this album was:

Jon Anderson: Vocals, Percussion
Chris Squire: Bass Guitar, Vocals
Steve Howe: Guitars, Portuguese Guitar, Vocal
Tony Kaye – Keys
Bill Bruford – Drums

Additional musicians
Colin Goldring: recorders on “Your Move”

Dream of countless doors

There isn’t really such a thing as American Surrealism, not in the way of the European movement with manifestoes, ideals and even political agendas. The American avantgarde of the 1930s and 1940s took inspiration from surrealism’s technique but freely used it and combined it with other styles, without going much into the original intensions of the European movement.

Recommended listening while reading this post:

 

Birthday is a self-portrait, the background based on Dorothea Tanning’s New York apartment. In Tanning’s own words: “a dream of countless doors”

Dorothea Tanning – Birthday –  1942

Oil on canvas: 40 1/4 x 25 1/2 in.

Dorothea Tanning meet famous German painter Max Ernst late in 1942, after he had escaped Gestapo and relocated to America, they married in 1946.

They would have 34 years together, at first in Sedona, rual Arizona. Their presence helped begin what would become an artists colony. From mid-1950’s they lived and worked in France.

Max Ernst died on April 1 1976. Dorothea returned to the United States in the late 1970s, still painting.

Dorothea Tanning – Maternity – 1946-47
Oil on canvas – 56 x 48 in.

 

The mid 50’s saw Dorothea Tanning leave her Surrealism, moving in a direction descriped as prismatic. Form this point she would paint in different styles over the years, also making sculpture and in her later life books and poems.

Dorothea Tanning: Woman Artist, Nude, Standing

1985-87 – Oil on canvas – 63 3/4 x 51 3/16 in

Her words on the subject:

Women artists.  There is no such thing—or person. It’s just as much a contradiction in terms as “man artist” or “elephant artist.”  You may be a woman and you may be an artist; but the one is a given and the other is you.

About the music: Edgard Varèse: Arcana (1925–1927).

Just as with American Surrealism, there are no Surrealist Music that could be compared to the other Surrealistic artforms literature, film and painting, but there are composers using some surrealist techniques and ideas.

Edgard Varèse’s Arcana was inspired, as Varése wrote in 1925 to his wife, by a dream sequence.

 

Dorothea Tanning: Valse bleue – 1954 – Oil on canvas
 
51 3/16 x 38 3/16 in

Guapo – Elixirs from R.I.O

Guapo is a British experimental rock band formed by drummer Dave Smith and guitarist/vocalist Matt Thompson, joined by Guy Siddle also known as “Pid” they released their first CD “Towers Open Fire” in 1997. The album is sophisticated hardcore/punk, quite interesting, but not really symptomatic of the Guapo that I’m writing about today.

The first major step away from their Hardcore/Noise rock came with the album “Great Sage, Equal Of Heaven” (2000) taking the band into avant-garde rock territory. At this point “Pid” was no longer in the band but the album features free music improviser and saxophonist Caroline Kraabel.

On “Perfect Blue” Caroline Kraabel’s partner John Edwards plays Double Bass.

Another major development was the addition of multi-instrumentalist Daniel O’Sullivan, later know to have joined Norwegian experimental band Ulver in 2011.

Daniel O’Sullivan joined Guapo ‎for Five Suns released in 2004, adding Guitar, Organ,  Electric Piano (Fender Rhodes), Mellotron, Harmonium, Electronics. There was no woodwind instruments on this album.

What we got now is basically a power trio creating music that point in the direction of a mid-70’s instrumental prog rock. The inspiration is clearly King Crimson and the better 1970’s Jazz Rock albums, but that said Guapo finds their own unique style to make the journey interesting and not just a celebration of past times.

Most of the album is the title track, one long epic (the first 46 minute) split into 5 parts.

The trio made another album Black Oni (2005) but after that founding member Matt Thompson left. Guapo continued as a duo.

They released the next album Elixirs in 2008, besides some vocal the only guest was German Actor, Violinist and Viola player Sara Hubrich. Playing on the first track “Jeweled Turtle”

The direction of this album is less aggressive, we now got a slower atmospheric sound, leaving an overall dreamy, mystic and spiritual impression, although the album also explores harder styles and even a bit of Zappa’ish sounding passages.

When the “Rock in Opposition” festivals reappeared in 2008 and 2009 headlined by avant-garde names like Magma, Faust, Kōenji Hyakkei, Present and Univers Zero, Guapo was invited and have also played on several later editions of the French avant-garde festival.

Guapo continued with shifting lineup all the way up to present day, releasing albums in 2013 and 2015, sadly I do not know those albums and can’t comment on them, the band was playing on the The 10th Rock in Opposition festival September 2017.

Nationals & War on Drugs

NorthSide is a festival held in Denmarks 2nd largest city Aarhus. This time starting today.

Some of the headlining names are Björk, Queens of the Stone Age, Beck ,A Perfect Circle and Liam Gallagher, I’m not going, but a friend is, so I am sort of curious.
I will take a look at some of the other bands visiting NorthSide  this weekend.

The Nationals and The War on Drugs, both winning awards at this year’s Grammy’s respectively: Best Alternative Music Album (Sleep Well Beast) and Best Rock Album (A Deeper Understanding)

The National is a band from Cincinnati, Ohio, formed in 1999, their commercial breakthrough came in 2010 with their fifth album “High Violet”, debuting as 3rd on Billboard 200.

The band generally use many additional musicians on their albums, on “High Violet” even more than usual with 26, including Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire) and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), that is a trend they have kept since, on the last album even a 22 members “Paris orchestral sessions ensemble”

Sleep Well Beast was released Sep. 2017

 

The War on Drugs is band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formed in 2005 by Kurt Vile (electric guitar) and Adam Granduciel (vocals, guitars, keyboards and more). Kurt Vile left the band in 2008 and there has been a lot on members coming and going, besides Granduciel only permanent member has been David Hartley (bass)

With some attention created from their 2nd album “Slave Ambient” (2011), the 3rd album “Lost in the Dream” (2014) attracted a worldwide recognition, and with the latest album “A Deeper Understanding” they also broke Billboard 200 top 10 and sold well in Australia, UK and most of northern Europe.

The War on Drugs plays an on paper strange mix of Dylan, Springsteen and Psychedelica, but it works !

A Deeper Understanding was released Aug. 2017

 

June part II

40 years ago – June 1978

Box office high score trucker movie Convoy starring Kris Kristofferson & Ali MacGraw was released.

That was obviously hugely overshadowed by the release of Romantic musical-comedy Grease released the same month, with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The soundtrack as you may well know did rather well too.

Dead Kennedys perform for the first time, Mabuhay Gardens, San Francisco

One of my all-time favorite albums was released this month and that is Peter Gabriel’s self-titled 2nd album known as Scratch.

Besides some of Gabriels strongest and most emotional songwriting the albums features a killer cast of musicians: Fripp, Levin, Jerry Marotta, Sid McGinnis, Tim Cappello and others.

The album was produced by Robert Fripp, and part of his trilogy.

 

50 years ago – June 1968

U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot

Roman Polanski’s psychological horror movie Rosemary’s Baby is released

Anti Việt Cộng and pro Saigon Vietnam war film The Green Berets staring John Wayne was released, the film stirred up some controversy and poor reviews but did fine at the box office.

Pink Floyd released their 2nd studio album “A Saucerful of Secrets”

Otis Redding died Dec. 1967 in an airplane crash, a posthumous studio album somewhat dramatically named  “The Immortal Otis Redding” was released in June 1968, recorded by Redding shortly before his dead.

“Hard to Handle” have been covered by a number of artists since.

American rock band The Black Crowes had a hit with the song as a single from their 1990 debut “Shake Your Money Maker”

 

60 years ago – June 1958

American restaurant chain Pizza Hut is founded.

Imre Nagy, Prime Minister of Hungary and leader of the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956 brutally brought down by the Soviet invasion, was executed based on charges of treason. In 1989, Imre Nagy was rehabilitated and his remains reburied on the 31st anniversary of his execution.

Nina Simone released her debut album “Little Girl Blue”

 

 

 

June part I

10 years ago – June 2008

Expo 2008 officially opened with a concert by Bob Dylan, a performance by Philip Glass closed the Expo.

Katy Perry got her breakthrough with “One of the Boys”

Amos Lee released the brilliant “Last Days at the Lodge”

Australia born soul blues and roots rock singer/songwriter Kara Grainger, released her first solo album “Grand and Green River”.

After playing in some local bands, Australian label Craving Records released her solo EP Secret Soul in 2006. In 2008 she relocated to Los Angeles to release “Grand and Green River”.

 

20 years ago – June 1998

Maureen Paula O’Sullivan dies, famous for playing Jane alongside Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan.

Lounès Matoub Algerian singer, poet, thinker and mandole player was assassinated, sparkling violent riots by Algerian Berber population in the Kabylie region (Tell Atlas mountains).

Canadian post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor release their debut album F♯ A♯ ∞(pronounced “F-sharp, A-sharp, Infinity”) in an extended compact disk version, the album was previously only released on a much shorter vinyl version (1997)

Danny Boyle, famous director of Shallow Grave, Trainspotting ect., working on his post-apocalyptic film 28 Days Later, stated:

“I always try to have a soundtrack in my mind. Like when we did Trainspotting, it was Underworld. For me, the soundtrack to 28 Days Later was Godspeed. The whole film was cut with Godspeed in my head.”

F♯ A♯ ∞ with the help of Danny Boyle got a lot of new attentions towards “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”

 

30 years ago – June 1988

Founding guitarist of “Red Hot Chili Peppers” Israeli-American Hillel Slovak dies due to a heroin overdose 25 years old.

Jimmy Page (led Zeppelin) released the only solo album in his own name: Outrider.

After being a choreographer for notable act like George Michael, ZZ Top, Duran Duran and Janet Jackson. American singer, songwriter, dancer, choreographer and actress Paula Abdul released her debut album “Forever Your Girl” with tremendous success, at the time most successful debut album ever, scoring four Billboard number-one singles.

Takemitsu: Ma (間) in Music

Tōru Takemitsu was born in Tokyo 1930, being drafted into military service in 1944 as a teenager.

Post war Takemitsu started taking interest in Western classical music, at this point in life he rejected Japanese traditional music as it reminded him of Japanese nationalism and war.

Ma used in painting

At 16 Takemitsu started to compose. In the 1951s he was a founding member of Jikken Kōbō (実験工房) literally experimental workshop, a group of artists, musicians, choreographers and poets who were inspired by European and American avant-garde, during the 1950’s he was composing in a very modern western style.

ピアニストのためのコロナ – Corona for Pianist(s) 

for 1 or more pianos – 1962

In 1958 Igor Stravinsky during his visit to Japan, heard one of his compositions and invited him to lunch, this was a breakthrough and he soon got his first overseas commission, he wrote “Dorian Horizon”. Premièred by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Aaron Copland.

In his own words: “my mild protest against inorganic serialism.”….”no melodic thinking, only harmonic pitches. There is no thinking of rhythm, only pulse. It is a first sketch in my search for a new kind of polyphony.”

地平線のドーリア – Dorian Horizon – for 17 strings – 1966

During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Takemitsu took interest in John Cage’s music and philosophies, Cage’s interest in Zen woke his own interests in the qualities of Japanese traditional music, from this point he started studying traditional music and compose with hints of traditional Japan.

ノヴェンバー・ステップス – November Steps – 1967

for biwa, shakuhachi and orchestra

Ma (間) is a Japanese word, literally meaning (the) space (between ), the kanji is a combination of “door” and “sun” which can be interpreted as the space allowing the sunshine in. The use of Ma is very evident in Tōru Takemitsu compositions as periods of silence to strengthen the music.

そして、それが風であることを知った                                                          

And Then I Knew ‘Twas Wind  – for flute, viola and harp – 1992

Tōru Takemitsu died in 1996 as one of, if not the most influential Japanese composers of the century.

Leaving behind more than 400 works, amongst them 26 Orchestral works, 58 pieces of Chamber music, 35 works for the stage and 108 film scores, most famous the music for Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran”.

ブライス – Bryce – for flute, 2 harps and 2 percussion players – 1976

 

 

Digging Deeper into Music

%d bloggers like this: