Bob and Ron’s Record Club Radio Archive – Episode 81

Inspired by a new psychedelic lighting system in the studio, Bob and Ron waste no time getting in the groove. Episode 81 features lot of listener requests, plus special Bob and Ron selections from the depths of their collections, and every one is a joy to hear. As usual, Bob and Ron do what no other radio show can do, pushing the limits of programming … Continue reading Bob and Ron’s Record Club Radio Archive – Episode 81

Petrology 202: Mike Watt/Minutemen/fIREHOSE

Welcome to Petrology 202. We’re going to pick up where the 101 course level ended and take things in a more personal (for me) direction. Today we’ll be dealing with a musical hero I’ve actually met, Mike Watt. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to meet several of my so-called rock n’ roll heroes. You may have read this account of meeting Robert Plant … Continue reading Petrology 202: Mike Watt/Minutemen/fIREHOSE

Audio Resuscitation 2

If rock bands have a “death and taxes” equivalent, it could be “cover songs and substance abuse.” There are certainly loads of bands who have never recorded a cover song, but literally every single rock musician has at some point in their lives, learned how to play by copying their heroes, and in many cases, adopting their habits. Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. … Continue reading Audio Resuscitation 2

Petrology 101: Stevie Wonder

Music of My Mind (1972)
Music of My Mind (1972)
We’ve reached the end of the 101 course level and over the years it’s become a habit to wrap things up with a couple of inter-related personal anecdotes which speak to the material, in this case, Stevie Wonder’s groundbreaking album, Music of My Mind (1972).

At this point, you should probably stop and ask yourself, “What do I know about Stevie Wonder?” For instance, if you did not know that up until he turned 21 in 1971, he didn’t have artistic control of his music, you should probably go ahead and read this:

[From Wikipedia] (Throughout 1971), Wonder independently recorded two albums, which he used as a bargaining tool while negotiating with Motown. Although Wonder had been producing his own recordings, Motown still retained control over the content. Tensions increased as Wonder approached his twenty-first birthday; his contract had a clause which allowed Wonder to void it upon becoming a legal adult. When [Motown President Berry Gordy] approached Wonder about renegotiating his contract, Wonder refused. Eventually the label agreed to his demands for full creative control and the rights to his own songs. The 120-page contract was a precedent at Motown and gave Wonder a much higher royalty rate. Wonder returned to Motown in March 1972 with Music of My Mind. Unlike most previous albums on Motown, which usually consisted of a collection of singles, B-sides and covers, Music of My Mind was a full-length artistic statement with songs flowing together thematically.
Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
Songs in the Key of Life (1976)

OK, great. Sometime in the winter of 1976-77, Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life wound up in my parents’ record collection. At this point, my family had a membership in the Columbia Record Club, and I think Songs happened to be whatever record they sent you each month, and somebody forgot to send it back. This is a theory based only on circumstantial evidence.

The Columbia Record and Tape Club’s terms of membership stipulated that X times per year, the company informed each customer of the “Selection of the Month” album. The customer had to respond within 10 days whether or not he or she wanted to buy the record, which was offered at a discount, provided that the response was received by Columbia House “within the specified time.” Failure to respond resulted in the record being shipped at full list price. So that’s what I’m thinking happened with the Stevie record. It’s either that or my mom heard “Isn’t She Lovely” on the radio and actually ordered the record, which is entirely possible, but not at all in character. She was more of a Barbara Streisand-slash-Neil Diamond type of gal. The old man was into Willie Nelson and Hoyt Axton, so at least we can rule him out of the equation.

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Petrology 101: The Glove + Adam and the Ants

The second to last session of the 101 course level is a double-whammy special, dealing with two of the more obscure recordings in the field of fundamental petrology, Blue Sunshine by The Glove and Dirk Wears White Sox by Adam and the Ants. Let’s begin with the former. Everybody knows Robert Smith as the main dude from The Cure. In terms of household name recognition, … Continue reading Petrology 101: The Glove + Adam and the Ants

Petrology 101: King Crimson

This may be the most difficult yet rewarding lesson of the 101 course level. No matter how familiar we are with a subject, we must always be ready for surprises – the mind, like a door, must be kept slightly ajar. Oh to be young and idealistic! Your intrepid professor does not believe in surprises.

Therefore, raise your hand if I’m not making myself perfectly sparklingly clear – this will be on the final exam. It goes without saying, you must be able to identify album covers; videos are mandatory and must be watched in their entirety; if you get sleepy, put your head down on the desk; no snoring; release dates are obligatory; pay attention to notable personnel; and don’t skimp on pertinent production details.

In the Court of the Crimson King is King Crimson’s debut studio album (1969). The album reached number five on the British charts, and went gold in the United States. The album is generally regarded to be a defining and seminal moment in the progressive rock genre; avoiding blues-based cliches while embracing jazz and classical symphonic influences, In the Court… is universally considered a “classic” and must-have record of any collection. The album is also the only studio recording which features the original King Crimson line-up of Robert Fripp (guitar); Ian McDonald (flute, clarinet, saxophone, vibes, keyboards, mellotron); Greg Lake (bass, vocals); Michael Giles (drums, percussion); Peter Sinfield (lyrics, illumination).

Soon after the recording sessions were completed, it was discovered that a stereo tape recorder used to mix the album had recording heads that were misaligned. A loss of high-frequencies and undesired distortion affected some parts of the album. Kanye West sampled “21st Century Schizoid Man” in 2010 for his song, “Power.” In Lexington, Kentucky there is a street called Crimson King Court.

Initial reception of In the Court of the Crimson Kingran the gauntlet. Noted critic and curmudgeon Robert Christgau called it “ersatz shit.” Allmusic called it “a darker and edgier brand of post-psychedelic rock” as well as “definitive” and “daring” in its current review.

Track listing

Side one

  1. 21st Century Schizoid Man” (including “Mirrors”) – 7:21
  2. “I Talk to the Wind” – 6:05
  3. Epitaph” (including “March for No Reason” and “Tomorrow and Tomorrow”) – 8:47

Side two

  1. “Moonchild” (including “The Dream” and “The Illusion”) – 12:13
  2. The Court of the Crimson King” (including “The Return of the Fire Witch” and “The Dance of the Puppets”) – 9:25

NBC’s Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen covered “In the Court of the Crimson King” on his 1970 album, Doc Severinsen’s Closet. It’s fucking awesome!!!!!!

__________

In the Wake of Poseidon is the second studio album (1970). By the time this album was released, the band had already undergone their first line-up change, however they still maintained much of the style of their first album. In other words, it’s pretty much In the Court of the Crimson King II.

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Noel Bancredi’s Kudos and Brickbats: Special John Lennon Birthday Edition

“What I’d really like to hear right now is Skylarking-era XTC covering Deep Purple’s Machine Head in its entirety, or vice versa. You got anything like that?”

Kudos

To John Lennon, who would have been 72 today. There’s not much else to say about him. He’s gone. And in a couple of months on the eighth of December, we will remember him once again and listen to Plastic Ono Band one more brilliantly heartbreaking time.

Brickbats

Sir Paul McCartney has no shame. Never has, never will. He’ll never recover from “Ebony and Ivory” and “Say Say Say” but why why why does Sir Paul continue to disappoint even his most ardent supporters by doddering around like my dear old granddad during those years he was desperately clinging to his youth and trying to remain vital and relevant?

The Dream Team. From L to R: Usher, Ronald Isley, Sir Paul, Jon Bon Jovi.

Look, chap. We get it. Unparalleled musical genius and all that. You were the brains of the Beatles. You wrote “Yesterday,” which is the shittiest Beatle song of all, but for Chrissakes, man, the novelty has run its course. Are you not yet rich enough to satisfy your greed? Why can’t you just bugger off and paint watercolors in and of the Scottish countryside? Do it for us, all the people who saved up their allowances to buy The Beatles 1967-70, or flipped two-weeks worth of burgers to buy a nosebleed seat at McNichols Arena for the Wings Over America tour—and a t-shirt and the stupid program.

Kudos

To every old school rock band that (a) HASN’T reunited for a 401K tour, (b) allowed a bunch of non-original members to carry on using your name even though the founding members are dead, or (c) HASN’T released an album since 1990.

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Petrology 101: Bad Brains

This week’s study of all things rock will require a brief historical review, since Bad Brains appeared (at first) on the Washington D.C. hardcore punk scene in 1977, long before many of you were born. Consisting of H.R. (vocals), Dr. Know (guitar), Daryl Jenifer (bass), and Earl Hudson (drums), Bad Brains quickly gained attention and notoriety for being an African American punk band, and dishing … Continue reading Petrology 101: Bad Brains

Petrology 101: Red Fang

Welcome to Petrology 101, the study of all things rock with Professor Noel Bancredi. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Noel Bancredi is a pseudonym for Christian Adams. Don’t ask.] Today’s session features a band hailing from Portland, OR, which goes by the name of Red Fang. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Or seen one of their genius videos on YouTube? According to Wikipedia, Red Fang is classified as … Continue reading Petrology 101: Red Fang

Noel Bancredi’s Kudos and Brickbats

Noel Bancredi here, and I’m quite chuffed to present my inaugural contribution to Black Sunshine Media and the debut of my on-going feature, Noel Bancredi’s Kudos and Brickbats, which as the title may suggest, might as well be called Noel Bancredi’s A Pat on the Back or a Punch in the Balls – were it not flat-out rejected by the Grand Sultanate and my good chum, Geoffrey Rommel Jr.

Alas, poor Yorick! Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Kudos

Forty years old and still high as a kite.

To Black Sabbath on the 40th anniversary of the release of what is arguably their finest moment on vinyl, the incomparable Volume 4, and on a recursive loop here at BSM HQ.

Among Sabbath devotees, the album is often referred to as Snowblind (the actual original title) or The Cocaine Album, due to its obvious inferences. As bassist Geezer Butler told Guitar World in 2001: “Yeah, the cocaine had set in. We went out to L.A. and got into a totally different lifestyle. Half the budget went on the coke and the other half went to seeing how long we could stay in the studio… We rented a house in Bel-Air and the debauchery up there was just unbelievable.” In the same interview, drummer Bill Ward said: “Volume 4 is a great album, but listening to it now, I can see it as a turning point for me, where the alcohol and drugs stopped being fun.” In June 2000, Q Magazine placed Vol. 4 at number 60 in its list of The 100 Greatest British Albums Everand described the album as “the sound of drug-taking, beer-guzzling hooligans from Britain’s oft-pilloried cultural armpit let loose in L.A.”

Track list

  1. Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener
  2. Tomorrow’s Dream
  3. Changes
  4. FX (instrumental)
  5. Supernaut
  6. Snowblind
  7. Cornucopia
  8. Laguna Sunrise
  9. St. Vitus Dance
  10. Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes

Needless to say, no record collection is complete without Volume 4.

More Kudos and Brickbats