Monthly Archives: December 2009

P-Funk Artist Pedro Bell Benefit + Fund

 

 

Miracle for a Maggot: Funkraiser for P-Funk Graphic
Artist Pedro Bell concert on Saturday iintended to raise much-needed funds; Donation
details below

 

By Fred Mills

 

Black rock website Bold As Love is reporting that this
Saturday night, Jan. 2, at New York’s Santos Party House there will be a
fundraiser for legendary artist Pedro Bell – who, if the name doesn’t click
right off with you, surely the images displayed here will. Bell of course was the designer behind many
of those mindblowing Funkadelic and Parliament LP sleeves (not to mention the
equally brain-blasting Sun Ra cover, below). The concert is being called “Miracle
for a Maggot: Funkraiser for P-Funk Graphic Artist Pedro Bell.”

 

 

Doing Funkadelic and Jimi Hendrix classics will be keyboard
maestro Bernie Worrell (who was in Funkadelic, natch), guitarists Ronny Drayton
(Nona Hendryx, Defunkt) and Andre Lassalle (Burnt Sugar), bassist Melvin Gibbs
(Elevated Entity, SociaLybrium, Rollins Band), J.T. Lewis (SociaLybrium) on
drums and Kelsey Warren (Pillow Theory) on vocals. Proceed will go to a fund
that is being established by the Black Rock Coalition to help Bell out.

 

According to Bold As Love:

 

Bell, whose subversive and psychedelic work has
appeared on every Funkadelic album cover since “Cosmic Slop,” has been in
extremely poor health and living a life a virtual squalor in his native Chicago. Bell has seriously considered selling off his
collection in order to cover his medical and living expenses.

 

The Black Rock
Coalition hopes to raise money to help offset Bell’s costs and place the artist in a more
stable living environment for the time being. The BRC also hopes to help Bell retain his
collection while helping his family develop opportunities to best use his
in-demand works.

 

 

Santos Party House is at 96 Lafayette Street between White and
Canal Streets. Tickets are only $15 and the show starts at 8pm. Details: www.santospartyhouse.com.

 

We’re also advised that people unable to attend can still
make a donation via PayPal:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=10581525

 

 

 

 

Blurt’s 2009 In Review

 

The votes are in… the
pundits have spoken… the artists have offered their lists, too… something about
LEGOs… looking forward to 2010… oof.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

FAREWELL: Music World Passings 2009. We say farewell to Ron Asheton, Lux Interior, Vic Chesnutt and others.  

 

THE ARTISTS HAVE SPOKEN: Top Tens of 2009. Vivian Girls,
Devendra Banhart, Marshall Crenshaw and others submit their fave raves.

 

2009 IN REVIEW: The Blurt Top 50. As the title suggest, the
toppermost of the poppermost for the year just done, BLURT-style.

 

REVENGE OF THE WRITERS: Best & Worst of 2009. The staff
and contributors weigh in with their personal picks ‘n’ pans.

 

 

And in case you wanted
to see what we spotlighted last year…

 

 

BEST OF 2008 REDUX: Top 50 And More

 

THE LAST WORD More Writers’ 2008 Lists

 

Massive Bee Gees Box Due in March

 

One disc apiece
dedicated to each of the four Gibb brothers.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

On March 9 the Bee Gees will serve up “50 years of
memories” with a musical and visual scrapbook box set titled Mythology (Rhino). It will contain four
discs, each spotlighting a different Gibb brother, including one dedicated to
Andy.

 

The songs were chosen by Barry, Robin, Maurice’s widow
Yvonne (and their children Adam and Samantha), and Andy’s daughter Peta. “These
are pretty much our personal favorites,” Barry explains in the liner notes.
“This is now the Bee Gees 50th anniversary. And by the Bee Gees, I mean all
four brothers.” “I always see our songs as ‘just us brothers’ having a good
time,” adds Robin. “When I look back now, it is more about the journey, not the
arrival.” The box also features a collection of family photos, many
never-before published, along with tributes from artists such as George Martin,
Brian Wilson, Elton John, Graham Nash, and the band’s longtime manager Robert
Stigwood.

 

Spanning the Bee Gees’ five-decade career, the set’s 81 tracks touch on several
of the group’s best-known hits. But mainly, the collection digs into the Bee
Gees’ vast catalog to highlight deep tracks such as the early single “Spicks
And Specks” (1966); the title track from the 1969 concept album Odessa; the
single B-side “Country Woman” (1971); “Spirits (Having Flown)” (1979), the
title track from the 35 million-selling album; “The Longest Night” (1987) from
the multiplatinum E·S·P; “Closer Than Close” (1997) from Still Waters;
and “Man In The Middle” (2001) from the Bee Gees’ 20th and final studio album
before Maurice’s passing in 2003. It also features the debut of a pair
of previously unreleased Maurice Gibb tracks: “Angel Of Mercy” and “The
Bridge.”

 

The final disc spotlights Andy Gibb who worked with his brothers throughout his
career before his death in 1988 at the age of 30. Notably, Andy’s first 3
singles all went to #1 in the U.S.,
a feat that had never been accomplished before. The compilation opens with the
#1 smash hit “Shadow Dancing” (1978) from Andy’s second album. Nearly all of
the songs from his 1977 debut Flowing Rivers are featured, including the
back-to-back #1 singles: “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” and “(Love Is)
Thicker Than Water.” The set contains “I Can’t Help It,” his duet with Olivia Newton-John, as well as
several tracks from his final studio album After Dark (1980). It
also marks the debut of “Arrow Through The Heart,” a song Andy recorded shortly
before his death that was intended for a comeback album.

 

Track Listing

Disc 1 – Barry

  1. “Spirits (Having Flown)”
  2. “You Win Again”
  3. “Jive Talkin'”
  4. “To Love Somebody”
  5. “Tragedy”
  6. “Too Much Heaven”
  7. “First Of May”
  8. “More Than A Woman”
  9. “Love So Right”
  10. “Night Fever”
  11. “Words”
  12. “Don’t Forget To Remember”
  13. “If I Can’t Have You”
  14. “Alone”
  15. “Heartbreaker”
  16. “How Deep Is Your Love”
  17. “Love You Inside And Out”
  18. “Stayin’ Alive”
  19. “Barker Of The UFO”
  20. “Swan Song”
  21. “Spicks And Specks”

 

Disc 2
– Robin

  1. “I Am The World”
  2. “New York
    Mining Disaster 1941”
  3. “I Can’t See Nobody”
  4. “Holiday”
  5. “Massachusetts”
  6. “Sir Geoffrey Saved The World”
  7. “And The Sun Will Shine”
  8. “The Singer Sang His Song”
  9. “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You”
  10. “I Started A Joke”
  11. “Odessa”
  12. “Saved By The Bell”
  13. “My World”
  14. “Run To Me”
  15. “Love Me”
  16. “Juliet”
  17. “The Longest Night”
  18. “Fallen Angel”
  19. “Rings Around The Moon”
  20. “Embrace”
  21. “Islands In The
    Stream”

 

Disc 3
– Maurice

  1. “Man In The Middle”
  2. “Closer Than Close”
  3. “Dimensions”
  4. “House Of Shame”
  5. “Suddenly”
  6. “Railroad”
  7. “Overnight”
  8. “It’s Just The Way”
  9. “Lay It On Me”
  10. “Trafalgar”
  11. “Omega Man”
  12. “Walking On Air”
  13. “Country Woman”
  14. “Angel Of Mercy”
  15. “Above And Beyond”
  16. “Hold Her In Your Hand”
  17. “You Know It’s For You”
  18. “Wildflower”
  19. “On Time”
  20. “The Bridge”

 

Disc 4
– Andy

  1. “Shadow Dancing”
  2. “I Just Want To Be Your Everything”
  3. “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water”
  4. “An Everlasting Love”
  5. “Desire”
  6. “(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away”
  7. “Flowing Rivers”
  8. “Words And Music”
  9. “I Can’t Help It” – With Olivia Newton-John
  10. “Time Is Time”
  11. “Me (Without You)”
  12. “After Dark”
  13. “Warm Ride”
  14. “Too Many Looks In Your Eyes”
  15. “Man On Fire”
  16. “Arrow Through The Heart”
  17. “Starlight”
  18. “Dance To The Light Of The Morning”
  19. “In The End”

 

 

 

Chess Records Biopic Arrives in March

 

Jerry Zaks-directed Who
Do You Love already picking up some film festival love. Features Robert
Randolph, Keb’ Mo’ and others in key musical roles.

 

 

By Blurt Staff

 

It’s not the first time Chess Records has been portrayed on
the big screen – the label was referenced in Back to the Future, of course, and more recently it was given a
semi-fictional treatment with the Adrian Brody vehicle Cadillac Records (go here to see Blurt’s coverage of that film).

 

But Chess remains fertile storytelling turf, so following
the acclaimed premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival of Who Do You Love – the new film
from four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry
Zaks (Marvin’s Room) – Chess will get a fresh look in theaters
beginning in March/April 2010.

 

The film, which presents an intimate look into the lives of Leonard and Phil Chess, legendary
founders of Chess Records, stars
Alessandro Nivola (Coco Avant
Chanel
, Junebug), Jon
Abrahams (Meet The Parents), acclaimed musicians Robert Randolph (as Bo Diddley), Keb’ Mo’,  Raheem DeVaughn and Ryan Shaw, David Oyelowo (Last King Of Scotland), Chi McBride (“Pushing Daisies,”
“Boston Legal”), Megalyn Ann
Echikunwoke and Marika Dominczyk.

 

The film features authentic musical performances and a score
steeped in hits from the Chess Records canon including Muddy Waters’ “Stuff You Gotta Watch,” Etta James’ “At Last,” and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love.” The score is
assembled by renowned music supervisers Budd
Carr-who has provided his expertise to over 70 films including every
Oliver Stone film (JFK, The Doors, Born on the Fourth of July,
Natural Born Killers, etc.)-and Nora
Felder, who has overseen A&R efforts for Paul Simon, Sinead
O’Connor, Les Paul and Iggy Pop.

Who Do You Love tells the story of Leonard Chess, a Polish immigrant
living in Chicago,
who becomes enamored with the new blues sound emanating from the city in the
mid-1940s. Chess and his brother Phil open a club called Macomba and gamble on
producing “race records” with the help of bass player and songwriter Willie Dixon. After initial failure,
they find tremendous success with the iconic bluesman Muddy Waters, and on the strength of his popularity, started Chess
Records. Chess Records quickly grew into an influential label, launching the
careers of Waters, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Chuck Berry, among others, and introducing the Blues to American
audiences on a broader scale. Who Do You Love tracks the growth of Chess
Records, but more importantly, presents a poignant look into the strains the
label placed on Leonard Chess’ family, namely his wife Revetta and his son
Marshall.

Marshall Chess himself said, in
a statement, “Who Do You Love is a great snapshot of the era in which
the music that was to become the foundation of Rock & Roll was created. The
music, the cars, the clothes, and the many amazing characters of my childhood
are brought to life in this film, which also gives a taste of the many roads
travelled by my family to make Chess Records one of the greatest record labels
of all time.”

 

 

 

Rowland S. Howard R.I.P. 1959-2009

 

 

From Boys Next Door
and Birthday Party to Crime & the City Solution and These Immortal Souls,
the man helped sculpt a guitar sound and an attitude that was quintessentially
Australian punk.

 

 

By Fred Mills / Photos by John Raptis

 

As we near the end of a year that’s been unnaturally dotted
with deaths of much-loved and -respected rock musicians – from Ron Asheton on
Jan. 6 to Vic Chesnutt on Christmas – we learn of another sad, premature
passing. Guitarist Rowland S. Howard died early today in a Melbourne,
Australia,
hospital from liver cancer at the age of 50.

 

Howard of course formed the Boys Next Door and then the
Birthday Party with Nick
Cave, coming to
international fame, and at times notoriety, in the latter outfit until its
demise in 1983. He later wielded his dissonant/feedback-laden but potently
bluesy six-string with Crime and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls and
has long been considered one of Australia’s
great musicians. He also recorded some memorable sides with Nikki Sudden and
Lydia Lunch, no less. His most recent recording was a solo album titled,
appropriately enough, Pop Crimes.

 

According to Australia’s
The Age, Howard had been in poor
health for some time and had recently been forced to cancel several scheduled
gigs, including one yesterday at Festival Hall supporting the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Reports
The Age, “Howard’s last public
performance was at St Kilda’s Prince Bandroomin October. He struggled through
the gig, coughing and spitting up blood, but a full house of older fans and
young enthusiasts had come to pay their respects and celebrate his unique canon
of work.” (Photos on this page are from the final gig. orth adding, by way of a side note, is that Howard had cut his lip on the microphone, hence the source of the blood. But he was still in poor health at that point.)

 

 

Howard’s close friend Mick Harvey (Birthday Party/Bad Seeds) told a reporter
that Howard had hoped to beat the cancer: “Sometimes people are ready to go
because they have been sick for a long time, but Rowland really wanted to live.
Things were going well for him outside of his health and he wanted to take
advantage of that and he was very disappointed that he wasn’t well enough to do
so.”

 

Read the full account, including a heartfelt summary of Howard’s career, at The Age.

 

On a more personal note, I was a huge fan of Howard’s guitar work and
songwriting dating back to when I started collecting those early BND/BP records
– an Australian pen pal had been sending me tapes of some of the bands Down
Under, and I later began avidly doing overseas mail order in order to obtain
the real artifacts. Not long after I would author a regular column about
Australian and New Zealand
music for east coast rock mag The Bob and anytime there was a Howard-related release, I’d cover it.

 

In the late ‘80s These Immortal Souls came to Charlotte, NC,
where I was living at the time, and put on an entirely memorable show. Meeting
Howard before the concert, I was struck by how completely non-rock star he was,
seemingly humbled that someone would bother to come out to the soundcheck to
welcome him to town (and get a few records signed too). He asked me to stick
around until after the show, and  we must
have spent two hours in the dressing room and out in the parking lot drinking
and swapping music stories. A true gentleman and a bit of a musical scholar as
well – he seemed to have a story about every single Australian band or artist I
wanted to pick his brain about (including more than a few about Nick Cave!)
– he instantly became my best friend for those two hours, and I have no doubt
that he treated other fans he met on the tour with a similar level of grace.

 

He will be greatly, deeply missed.

 

Rowland S. Howard Wikipedia page is here.

 

[Australian photographer John Raptis took the shots on this page, and you can view many more from the same gig at his Visceral Industry website. He’s also penned a nice remembrance of the guitarist at the site.]

 

 

 

Report: God Help the Girl Live in London

 

 

Was
there ever a band that sounded this good? The Belle and Sebastian offshoot, featuring
Stuart Murdoch, charmed the collective pants off London’s 100 Club on November 21.

 

By Meryl Trussler

 

The 100 Club is one of those legendary London clubs in which
punk germs and jazz greats alike have germinated throughout some 67 years; so
it feels strange to queue up in the plush, wood-panelled hallway upstairs, all
the more eerily quiet without the musak its appearance would seem to
substantiate. Also, it would be a little white lie to say we were all here for God Help the Girl so much
as for the trickled percentage of Belle and Sebastian in its midst. But
whatever scraps of rock history ectoplasm we are looking for by being in this
place are soon forgotten, replaced by God Help The Girl’s explosion of what is
new, and old, and equal, and different.

 

These songs (a self-titled album and an
EP’s worth, by now, leading eventually to a musical film) have Stuart Murdoch
at their heart and thus share plenty with that selfsame B&S – the casually
literate, underdog-monologue lyrics, the Spector touchpoints and the galloping
acoustic guitar that the diminutive ginger Stuart Murdoch himself sits and
plays at the side of the stage – but they are condensed, oversaturated and
lacquered into, well, the stuff of a musical. That is: as soon as the
triumvirate female singers trot on, gorgeous and hideously talented, and launch
into ‘Act of the Apostle’ and ‘God Help the Girl’ itself, every unshaven
jumpered man in a ten-foot radius begins to dance and lip-synch with eyes
ecstatically shut. There’s high drama, high characterisation, and meowing,
girl-band call and response, even if the only prop in sight is the looming
white 100 behind them.

 

Despite StuMoch’s* swooning
instrumentation, and the best-laid plans of the players, these women – hush
soprano Alex Klobouk (pictured, below), sublimely honeyed Catherine Ireton, and
Celia Garcia, a sprite of sass – completely own the show. They sing with a mix
of giggly modesty and pure competence, gasping for air and dancing like a bold
new generation of Supremes, and it makes me so proud to be a chick. Ireton is a
china doll with a voice bursting with maturity: she barrels through the
incredible ‘Musicians, Please Take Heed’ with the kind of girl guts torn out of
everyone from Gloria Gaynor to France Gall. “Can you see the girls?” interjects
Murdoch. “Then you’ve got your money’s worth.” (Very droll, our dearest Mr
Indiepop Prodigy, but hearing them is the blessing.)

 

The set continues to feel a very special
candied treat for this 350-something strong crowd, as the band scroll through
all the album favourites like ‘I’ll Have to Dance With Cassie’, and mix in some
songs from the newer release, the Stills EP, such as the sweet serenade ‘The
Psychiatrist is In’; they even debut a special treat for the London crowd –
‘Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night of the Week’, and not the Rat Pack kind
either. They are as excited and reverent of the gig as the crowd is, with the
backing band being about 3 years absent from the stage, and the girls ever in
awe at the providence of the entire GHTG project, having been picked
competition-style to sing on the album. They are thrilled. For the final song,
‘Perfection as a Hipster’, Murdoch takes on the crooning male half of the
vocals (sung on the album by Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy) as the girls
sashay and catcall “What happened? I want
to go home / Where am I? What have I got on?”
back at him.

 

Oh, bliss and satisfaction. Boys and a
sirens’ song. Belles and a Scottishman. Was there ever a band that sounded this
good? I cannot recall.

 

 

*The
author advises against using this term in front of approximately anyone.

 

 

 

Blurt's 2009 In Review

 

The votes are in… the
pundits have spoken… the artists have offered their lists, too… something about
LEGOs… looking forward to 2010… oof.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

FAREWELL: Music World Passings 2009. We say farewell to Ron Asheton, Lux Interior, Vic Chesnutt and others.  

 

THE ARTISTS HAVE SPOKEN: Top Tens of 2009. Vivian Girls,
Devendra Banhart, Marshall Crenshaw and others submit their fave raves.

 

2009 IN REVIEW: The Blurt Top 50. As the title suggest, the
toppermost of the poppermost for the year just done, BLURT-style.

 

REVENGE OF THE WRITERS: Best & Worst of 2009. The staff
and contributors weigh in with their personal picks ‘n’ pans.

 

 

And in case you wanted
to see what we spotlighted last year…

 

 

BEST OF 2008 REDUX: Top 50 And More

 

THE LAST WORD More Writers’ 2008 Lists

 

Robyn Hitchcock w/Free “Phantom 45s”

Stuff you just can’t
get anywhere else, prawns!

 

By Fred Mills

 

When Robyn Hitchcock established his new website a couple of
months ago he promised all sorts of goodies – and  unlike U2 and other artists, he ain’t charging
ya 50 bucks a year to check ‘em out!

 

Indeed, if you skip over to still-under-partial-construction
The Museum of Robyn Hitchcock you’ll find, in addition of course to the usual
news (such as details on his upcoming record with the Venus 3, Propellor Time, due March 22), tour
dates, link to his online retail store and more, freebies he’s calling his “Phantom
45s” series.

 

Currently available: “To Be Human” b/w “Belly Full of Arms
and Legs” which can be had for download absolutely free simply by providing an
email address. The former is a sweet Hitchcock solo ditty, while the latter is
a full-band workout of “Belly Full of Arms and Legs”, which will be featured in
the film Elektra Luxx.

 

Check ‘em out below, and then go to Bob’s site to download ‘em.
You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Arthur’s Loopy Solo Tour

 

Tour Starts this week;
First Solo Full-Length Album Since 2006’s ‘Nuclear Daydream’ to be Released in
2010.

By Blurt Staff

“Jo is one of those rare writer-performers where you get the sense,
whatever your belief, that something greater is being channeled through his
music and voice…Like Patti Smith, Grant Lee Phillips, Thom Yorke, he trances,
and the voice, the meaning, becomes bigger than him, bigger than a few pop
chords or words strung together. It touches something very deep and universal.”
– Michael Stipe (for the LA Times)

Armed with an acoustic guitar, little electronic boxes and some magic,
songsmith and visual artist Joseph Arthur is set to premiere inspired one-man
looping orchestrations of his back catalog – everything from ‘Big City Secrets’
to ‘Temporary People’ and beyond – for his upcoming U.S. solo tour this winter.

Following the release of 2008’s acclaimed ‘Temporary People’ by the Lonely
Astronauts and his four-EP solo collection, Joseph seized 2009 with an ongoing
exhibition of his paintings at Toronto’s 360 Gallery, television placements of
new music in “House,” “Lie to Me,” “Hung” and “Friday Night Lights”, the
release of a coloring book comprised of his artwork, ‘Color Me Courageous,’ two
sold-out European tours (Arthur bootlegs himself and has made every show
available for purchase), writing for his poetry blog, a continuing residency at
NYC’s City Winery, bicycling and painting – all the while crafting his first
solo follow-up to ‘Nuclear Daydream’ in his Brooklyn studio.   

Tour Dates:

Dec 30 – Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s
Jan 1 – New York, NY  City Winery
Jan 12, 13 – Vancouver, BC Railway Club
Jan 15,16 – Seattle, WA Triple Door
Jan 17 – Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
Jan 19,20  – San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Shop
Jan 22,23 – Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
Jan 29 – New York, NY City Winery
 Feb 5,6 – Austin, TX  Cactus Cafe

 

 

 

2009 Americana Music Association Top 100

 

A few surprises and a
few expected entries.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

The Americana
Music Association recently announced its year end Top 100 Albums
of the Year – as expected, Buddy & Julie Miller and Steve Earle topped the
chart, but among the surprises lurking in the Top 10 listings were Slaid
Cleaves, the Tejas Brothers and Earle’s kid Justin Townes Earle.

 

It’s been a good year for Americana, and things will get
even better next year, in a sense, when the Grammys formally recognize
Americana as a bonafide musical genre rather than trying to shoehorn some of
those types of artists into other categories.

 

The Top 100 albums are based on those
records reported during the period of November 17, 2008 through November 16,
2009. (Note that a number of them also made the BLURT Top 50 for 2009.) The Top
Ten most played albums, as charted on the Americana Airplay Chart are:

 

 

1. Buddy & Julie Miller

2. Steve Earle

3. Slaid Cleaves

4. Flatlanders

5. Willie Nelson and Asleep At The Wheel

6. Gourds

7. Tejas Brothers

8. Levon Helm

9. Justin Townes Earle

10. J.J.Cale

 

 

To view the full 2009 Top 100 Albums visit the www.americanaradio.org and click the Top 100 Albums link or click HERE.