RICHARD, CHARLES & JILES: The Original Albums

The ‘triple’ Rock ‘n’ Roll tragedy that was eventually labelled “The Day The Music Died” encompasses the passing of a trio of pioneering greats who have been the subject of many “how much greater they could have been…” conversations around the world since that fateful day of February 3rd, 1959. The three men were brought together, not only by sharing the same concert stage, but by their shared love of creating, writing and playing the upbeat and sometimes frenzied rhythms which can be found in the mix of both Rockabilly and Rock and Roll music. To lose one of them would have been heartbreaking enough, but to lose the three of them together was totally devastating for the music business as a whole. They had already become musical Legends in their own lifetimes and because of the magnitude of their influences on new and up and coming musicians at the time, the shocking event that transpired somewhere over the dark skies of Clear Lake, Iowa en route toward Moorhead, Minnesota on that cold February morning, would forever inscribe their musical legacies into the history books for all future generations to discover. These history books also take the form of all the audio output available for these three forever young men which considerably lays proof to the fact that the music didn’t actually die on that fateful day afterall!

However, through the annals of promotional and marketing history for the ‘upgraded’ legacies – repackaged and reissued in various forms – it’s very easy for several aspects of their musical contributions to become somewhat ‘muddled’ over the years, especially when one takes into consideration the amount of product available on vinyl, cassette, CD and now digital downloads. Amidst all these compilations that have been released posthumously throughout the decades it’s very easy to lose track of the original long-playing albums and overlook the context in which some of these songs first appeared. Originally released back in the late 1950’s we now salute these classic original albums with this retrospective reflection to remind ourselves in awe about the material that appeared therein and consequently whetted our appetites for further discoveries of the legendary talents…

Jiles PerryJ. P.Richardson, Jr. aka “THE BIG BOPPER”

The guitarist and singer-songwriter responsible for George Jones’ first No.1 hit “White Lightnin'” along with Johnny Preston’s “Running Bear” and Hank Snow’s “Beggar To A King”. ‘The Big Bopper’ initially began his career as a radio disc-jockey and was later a pioneer for the rock music video. His unique and popular “Chantilly Lace” became a big rock n’ roll hit in the US during the summer of 1958 and subsequently in the UK later that year. The follow-up single “The Big Bopper’s Wedding” became his second US hit.  An Extended Play (EP) record consisting of the four songs that made up his first two singles was released in the UK in 1959. The musician’s acclaimed debut album entitled “Chantilly Lace Starring The Big Bopper” was released on the Mercury Records Label in ’58 and became a Top 10 hit Stateside. In the early ’70’s it was issued on the Contour Label in the UK and featured a different cover along with a slightly different track listing.

Chantilly Lace starring The Big Bopper

Side 1:
Chantilly Lace / Pink Petticoats / The Clock / Walking Through My Dreams / Someone Watching Over You.

Side 2:
Big Bopper’s Wedding / Little Red Riding Hood / Preacher and The Bear / It’s The Truth Ruth / White Lightnin’.

Richard Steven Valenzuela aka RITCHIE VALENS

The Mexican-American singer-songwriter and self-taught guitarist was also a pioneer for the Chicano Rock genre. His first single, “Come On, Let’s Go” was released during the summer of 1958 and became a hit in the US. His follow-up single was a Double A-sided hit which coupled the beautiful ballad, “Donna” with his riveting rock n’ roll adaptation of “La Bamba”. This was to become his biggest hit record and the final single issued before his death. A unique aspect of Valens’ live stage show was his spontaneous experimentation when performing such songs. His three original albums were all released posthumously on the Del-Fi Records Label between March 1959 and December 1960. 



Side 1:
That’s My Little Suzie / In a Turkish Town / Come On, Let’s Go / Donna/ Boney-Moronie / Ooh, My Head.

Side 2:
La Bamba / Bluebirds Over The Mountain / Hi-Tone / Framed / We Belong Together / Dooby-Dooby-Wah.



Side 1:
Stay Beside Me / Cry, Cry, Cry / Big Baby Blues / The Paddi-Wack Song / My Darling Is Gone / Hurry Up.

Side 2:
Little Girl / Now You’re Gone / Fast Freight / Ritchie’s Blues / Rockin’ All Night. 



Side 1:
Introduction by Bob Keane / Come On, Let’s Go / Donna / Summertime Blues / From Beyond / La Bamba.

Side 2:
Introduction by Bob Keane / Rhythm Song / Guitar Instrumental / Malaguena  / Rock Little Darling / Let’s Rock and Roll. 

Charles Hardin Holley aka BUDDY HOLLY

The singer-songwriter and guitarist with his trademark spectacles is regarded as one of the most iconic and influential figures in the history of Rock n’ Roll music. Throughout 1955 he was an opening act for such greats as Elvis Presley and Bill Haley & His Comets during which time his music began to develop beyond its country & western roots crossing over into both Rockabilly and Rock n’ Roll. With the song “That’ll be the Day” he scored his first No.1 hit under his band’s name ‘The Crickets’ (Niki Sullivan, Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin). Upon its release in May, 1957, Buddy was under contract to Decca Records’ two subsidiary labels therefore subsequent record releases under the moniker of ‘The Crickets’ continued on the Brunswick Label and releases credited to his own name were issued by the Coral Label. Furthermore, it was the Decca Label itself that continued to release the recordings Buddy had made specifically with them in 1956 – one of these included as its ‘B’ side an earlier version of “That’ll be the Day”.  A string of hits followed by Buddy Holly & The Crickets especially in the UK which proved to be very successful and reinforced Buddy’s status as a prolific writer and performer of songs which instantly became classics. His three original albums were issued between November 1957 and April 1958 – one from each of the aforementioned labels. 



Side 1:
Oh, Boy! / Not Fade Away / You’ve Got Love / Maybe Baby / It’s Too Late / Tell Me How.

Side 2:
That’ll be the Day / I’m Looking for Someone to Love / An Empty Cup (And a Broken Date) / Send Me Some Lovin’ / Last Night / Rock Me My Baby. 



Side 1:
I’m Gonna Love You Too / Peggy Sue / Look At Me / Listen To Me / Valley of Tears / Ready Teddy.

Side 2:
Everyday / Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues / Words of Love / (You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care / Rave On / Little Baby. 



Side 1:
You Are My One Desire / Blue Days, Black Nights / Modern Don Juan / Rock Around With Ollie Vee / Ting A Ling / Girl On My Mind.

Side 2:
That’ll Be The Day / Love Me / I’m Changing All Those Changes / Don’t Come Back Knockin’ / Midnight Shift. 


The written content and style in this not-for-profit article is owned by Cosmic Dwellings/Tony G. Marshall. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2016 Tony G. Marshall/Cosmic Dwellings.
Posted in Album, Artist, Blues, CD, Country, Folk, Guitar, Live, mp3, Music, musician, Pop, Recording, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly, Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ELTON JOHN: Midsummer Fantastical!

10 Things You Need to Know About Captain Fantastic And
The Brown Dirt Cowboy

By the

Before there was Google there was Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy.

To explain… For many an Elton fan in 1975, listening to the ten songs and poring through the detailed packaging of his ninth studio LP (and 12th album overall) was like being lovingly thrust into information overload regarding the history of Elton and Bernie Taupin’s formative years as a songwriting partnership in the late 1960s – a topic virtually unknown by the general public at the time. Each passing lyric line and every graphic image became another in a surplus of clues as to the pair’s experiences and expectations while they toiled at their craft before Elton’s first album, Empty Sky, was released in 1969.

For certain, if you were an Elton fan, this album took you down a rabbit hole and gave you the answers to questions you didn’t even know you had. And it gave them, more than 15 years before the World Wide Web was established, “from the end of the world to your town.”

In honour of the 40th anniversary of the album’s release, here are our 10 Things You Need to Know About…

1) Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was released on vinyl LP, cassette and 8-track in the United States on May 19, 1975 (May 23rd in the UK) at a list price of $6.98. This meant most customers could expect to part with $5.99 at the cash register…or less if they were at a large-volume store like Sam Goody or Tower Records in Los Angeles.

2) On the week ending June 7, Captain Fantastic
entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums billboardchart at #1. This is something no other album (by any artist) had done before and was a testament to the incredible popularity Elton enjoyed, especially in the United States. It had in fact shipped gold, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certification for 500,000 units sold, based on retailer pre-orders alone.

The album stayed at #1 on Billboard for six weeks and then remained in the Top 5 before returning to the peak position once more in September. It remained in the Top 200 for over nine months. Eventually it would be certified triple platinum (for over 3 million sold) by the RIAA in 1993. In the UK it peaked at #2, staying on the album charts for 24 weeks, and is certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry.

3) The album’s autobiographical lyrics were written by Bernie between May and July 1974. Elton wrote the music in three different locations: England, the Caribou Ranch recording studio in Colorado and aboard the SS France ocean liner during a six-day voyage that Elton and most of his band took beginning on July 19 in Southampton, England. Later that fall British Vogue published “’My Day’ by Elton John,” which offered a rare glimpse into the journey to New York City:

“July 22, 1974…At 12:00 I go to the music room to write some new songs. I have only booked it for two hours and to my embarrassment have to eject the ship’s classical pianist. She, however, makes her way to another room directly above and commences battle. I decide to write an up-tempo number as most of the songs so far are slowsy. By 1 pm Meal Ticket is complete – very pleased with it. Play it to the band and they nod their approval.”

4) The album was recorded and mixed in running order at Caribou Ranch in August 1974 during a rare break in Elton and the band’s hectic tour schedule. Producer Gus Dudgeon later said that laying down the album in sequence was, “Probably the only time that’s ever been done. Good fun doing it that way – it helped us to judge the next track by the track we’d just worked on and it gave it a sort of natural momentum.” This summer session also was the first time that Elton used a new piece of technology on his piano. Dudgeon: “[The piano sound on] Bitter Fingers was a combination of an [Eventide] Harmonizer (we used that for the first time on that album – it was a new device that had just been brought in) and putting the piano through a Lesley cabinet…what you normally would feed a B-3 organ through.”

5) For the first time since 1971’s Friends, only one single was issued from an Elton album: Someone Saved My Life Tonight. This was because of the immense success of his past two non-album 45s, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Philadelphia Freedom. Both were recorded during the Captain Fantastic sessions and each reached #1 in America.

Rolling Stone reviewer Jon Landau pointed out in his review of the album on July 17 that, “As long as Elton John can bring forth one performance per album on the order of “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” the chance remains that he will become something more than the great entertainer he already is and go on to make a lasting contribution to rock.” At 6 minutes and 45 seconds, Someone Saved… remains Elton’s longest single to date. With the non-album track House Of Cards as its b-side and sporting a custom label based on the album art, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart at #51 on July 5. It peaked at #4 in early September, just a week before Elton’s next single, Island Girl (from his pending Rock Of The Westies album) was released.

6) Although listed as two different tracks on the album, We All Fall In Love Sometimes and Curtains were recorded together. “The two songs were recorded as one complete piece all the way through,” Dudgeon explained in 1993. “But it was done in two takes. I remember that Neil Sedaka walked into the control room just as we began the second take. The band actually had just started the song as he walked in. And I thought, ‘Now, this is going to be interesting, to see what his reaction is.’ Because it’s nearly 11 minutes long. So it got to about nine minutes, and he came over to me and whispered, ‘My God, are they doing this all in one go or are they dubbing on?’ And I said [whispering], ‘No, it’s all in one go.’ He went, ‘Jesus, they’ve been going on for hours!’

thisRecordx2757) The album cover art by Alan Aldridge features images of Elton, Bernie and the band (animated elements of the artwork were used in a 30-second television commercial celebrating the release of the album). The front panel shows Elton breaking out of a dangerously dreary cityscape astride his piano while the back of the cover shows Bernie writing in a somewhat protected pastoral bubble. Keen-eyed fans can also identify Elton’s first music publisher Dick James and Bernie’s then-wife Maxine in the intricate illustration. Even more subtle is a visual reference to the This Record Company, one of Elton’s early record labels, which constructed their unofficial slogan, “Turning shit into hits…” out of anagrams of the word “this.”

8) The elaborate album packaging also included a pair of booklets, one called “Lyrics” and the other “Scraps,” that contained a plethora of items from Elton and Bernie’s personal collections as well as the lyric to a song not included on the album called Dogs In The Kitchen. Bernie was very involved in the booklets’ concepts and the collection of memorabilia, even going so far as to provide the cardboard suitcase which he had used on his journeys between staying with Elton near London and his home in Lincolnshire, for use in the “Scraps”center spread photo.

9) Captain Fantastic was a landmark Elton album for everyone involved in its creation. As Gus Dudgeon put it, “Unquestionably, musically, the band were absolutely at their peak and they’d never played that well across a whole album. The songs were great anyway, but the performances are so ‘on the money.’” And guitarist Davey Johnstone explains, in an exclusive interview with*, “It was really cool. I knew there was something special. This was going to be an autobiographical album, it was going to be the story of what happened, and we weren’t concerned at all about ‘commerciality.’ It was a really fun album to make.”

10) In a 2013 interview with Cameron Crowe for Rolling Stone, Elton said, “Every lyric on Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy was about Bernie and me, about our experiences of being able to make songs and make it big. … In a way, years later, I ended up being Captain Fantastic and he ended up the Brown Dirt Cowboy: Here, I’m living my fabulous lifestyle, collecting paintings, and Bernie is interested in horses and bull riding and shit like that. We became those characters. Who was to know?”


Red Vinyl

Source: 10 Things You Need to Know About Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy

One fan’s account of attending Elton’s “Midsummer Music” Extravaganza at Wembley Stadium, London in June, 1975 at the following link:

2016-03-23 (6)

Check out the Captain Fantastic Collectables at this link: 





Elton-John-Midsummer-Music“MidSummer Music,” they called it, and as you can see from the poster, it was some event. 40 years ago today, on June 21, 1975, Elton John headlined a huge, all-day concert at Wembley Stadium for a sellout crowd of 72,000 — and one of the most memorable open-air events of the decade turned into a triumph for the Beach Boys.

In a wonderful TV commercial that ran ahead of the day, here’s Elton explaining all about it — and apparently playing football with Joe Walsh and Chaka Khan…

Introduced by BBC Radio 1 DJ Johnnie Walker, the proceedings were opened as early as 11.30am on that Saturday morning by British rock outfit Stackridge. They had recently become the first group signed to Elton’s new Rocket label, for whom their fourth album ‘Extravaganza’ had been released five months earlier, in January.


Next up, bringing some funky soul to the proceedings, were American R&B favourites Rufus, fronted by the aforementioned Chaka, who were touring their third album ‘Rufusized,’ featuring the US hit ‘Once You Get Started.’ Walsh was still a solo artist at the time, but was soon to join the Eagles, who followed him onto the Wembley stage. The appearance set up their first UK singles chart entry soon afterwards with ‘One Of These Nights,’ and Walsh joined them for a cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Carol.’

In the first half of his set, Elton played hits like ‘Rocket Man,’ ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ and ‘Bennie and the Jets,’ but then chose to perform the whole of his new album ‘Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy,’ which had been released on May 19 and was spending a third week at No. 2 as he played the show.

But many of his fans were unfamiliar with the songs, and he was widely perceived to have been upstaged, in the nicest possible way, by the second-on-the-bill Beach Boys, who came to London on a wave of nostalgic popularity in the US and seized the chance to bring it with them across the Atlantic.

21 Jun 1975, London, England, UK --- Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys stands on stage at Wembley Stadium during a concert with Elton John and the Eagles. --- Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

21 Jun 1975, London, England, UK — Carl Wilson of The Beach Boys stands on stage at Wembley Stadium during a concert with Elton John and the Eagles. — Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

With their double disc compilation ‘Endless Summer’ having topped the American chart the previous autumn and a second retrospective, ‘Spirit Of America,’ just going gold, the Beach Boys were well and truly back in style, if largely for their 1960s catalogue. It didn’t even matter that they hadn’t appeared on the UK album chart for more than two years.

In a hit-packed set that started with ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and ended with ‘Fun Fun Fun’ some 22 songs later, the California vibes rang out from Wembley Stadium, and the Beach Boys enjoyed one of the high points of their international career.

Explore our dedicated Beach Boys, Elton John and Joe Walsh Artist Pages

Posted in Album, Album, Artist, Blues, Concert, Festival, Funk, Live, mp3, Music, Musician, Pop, Recording, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll, Singer, Songwriter, Soul | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

JIMI HENDRIX: An Ectoplasm of Sound — R.A.H.

‘An ectoplasm of sound’: Jimi Hendrix’s Royal Albert Hall history

Posted on Wednesday 24 February 2016 by Lydia Smith – From The Archive Music

Guitar hero Jimi Hendrix has a special association with the Royal Albert Hall, with the venue being the site of some of his most notable British gigs, including The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s final UK concert.

Within months of arriving in Britain in September 1966, The Jimi Hendrix Experience (featuring bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell) were already making waves on the UK music scene. Jimi’s virtuosic guitar had propelled their debut Are You Experienced? to No. 2 in the charts, and the country was quickly becoming addicted to the band’s psychedelic, rainbow blues sound.


With all eyes on the band’s theatrical performances The Jimi Hendrix Experience were invited to play the iconic Hall just one year later on 14 November 1967, alongside The Move, Pink Floyd, The Amen Corner and The Nice.


The audience enthusiastically surrendered to Hendrix’s rock ‘n’ roll attack, and papers heralded the band as the hottest thing on the British music scene:

‘Hail Jimi Hendrix, the personality, the contortionist, the wise-cracker, the exhibitionist. Hail Noel Redding, and Mitch Mitchell, his traumatic Experience. How they were needed to close the package which opened up at London’s Albert Hall… The bill seemed as if it would never get off the ground. Thank goodness for Hendrix the untamed and the unchained swinging down from the trees through Knightbridge and Kensington to set the masses on fire in an ectoplasma of sound…. Most of all it was Hendrix the showman, the king-size personality.’
New Musical Express, 1967


Two years later, a more musically mature The Jimi Hendrix Experience returned. The band’s two gigs, on 18 and 24 February 1969, would be their first and final headline performances at the Hall.

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE Royal Albert Hall… by superfro

The Jimi Hendrix Experience sold out the Hall easily, supported by Mason, Capaldi, Wood and Frog and The Soft Machine on 18 February, and by Van Der Graaf Generator and Fat Mattress on 24 February.

Tensions had been growing between band members and management for several months, but these were put aside for these two concerts, which would be remembered as some of the band’s best and most successful late performances.


Throwing out their usual set list, Hendrix and the band instead included several of his blues songs including Hear My Train a Comin’, Red House and Bleeding Heart.


Hendrix’s music roused the crowd, inciting a near riot when he threatened to leave the stage at the end of his set:

‘The crowd then went absolutely berserk and shouted for more for about 4-5 minutes. Some people started to leave as it didn’t look as though they were coming back, but they did and then they went absolutely… ­ well, there is no word for it! People were dancing in the aisles, Jimi went mad with the atmosphere and they did Purple Haze and Wild Thing. He played with his teeth and then on the floor…. [the stage] was beseiged [sic] by fans, police, bouncers, floor managers and practically the entire audience!’
Jane Simmons, ‘The Official Jimi Hendrix Fan Club Of Great Britain’ newsletter, April/May 1969


Hendrix didn’t often give encores, but he did for the eager Hall audience, bringing out Traffic’s Dave Mason and Chris Wood and percussionist Rocki Dzidzornu to perform Room Full of Mirrors.


These shows would be the final European performances by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and immortalise Jimi’s legacy as rock history’s greatest instrumentalist.

18 & 24 February 1969
Lover Man
Stone Free
Hear My Train a Comin’
I Don’t Live Today
Red House
Foxy Lady
Sunshine of Your Love, Cream,
Bleeding Heart, Elmore James,
Little Wing
Voodoo Child, Slight Return
Room Full of Mirrors (Jimi Hendrix song)
Purple Haze
Wild Thing, The Wild Ones
The Star-Spangled Banner, John Stafford Smith


Today, Jimi Hendrix’s performances at the Hall have been memorialised in our Loading Bay street art project LOAD – a graphical journey through the most memorable moments in the Hall’s existence.

Plus, see if you can spot Hendrix in the Hall’s Sir Peter Blake’s mural masterpiece entitled Appearing at the Royal Albert Hall – a fascinating ‘who’s who’ history of the past century-and-a-half of culture, seen through the prism of the Hall’s legendary stage.


Source: ‘An ectoplasm of sound’: Jimi Hendrix’s Royal Albert Hall history — Royal Albert Hall

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PRINCE and 3rdEyeGirl | Music | The Guardian

3RDEYEGIRL on Prince, ping pong and women in music who ‘treat their bodies like meat’ The purple one’s all-female band on his legendary work ethic, life at Paisley Park and why you should always look like a star…

3rdEyeGirl-emleft-to-righ-0143rdEyeGirl (left to right): Donna Grantis, Ida Nielsen and Hannah Ford Welton. Photograph: PR

You can tell 3rdEyeGirl are official Prince proteges from a mile away. They line up on a leather sofa in a purple-walled room, dressed in studded leather, knee-high boots and feathers. It’s hard not to be reminded of previous female purple collaborators – Apollonia 6, Sheila E, Wendy & Lisa. Beyond the striking image, however, this all-female rock band are part of Prince’s latest mission to deliver “real music played by real musicians” – drummer Hannah Ford Welton (all-American, talkative), guitarist Donna Grantis (Canadian, thoughtful) and bassist and former New Power Generation member Ida Nielsen (witty, Danish), can thwack, shred and slap bass with the best of them.

Twelve-hour jams at Prince’s Paisley Park complex in Minneapolis have honed them, turning them into a must-see live act. Their recent tour with Prince at the start of this year – for which they announced cheap-entry shows at the last minute up and down the UK – saw this paper hail them, and not just their boss, as “one of the greatest funk-rock bands ever”.

All of which has culminated in a debut album, Plectrumelectrum, to be released alongside a Prince solo album, Art Official Age, on 29 September (2014). So what have they learned from nearly two years working with one of music’s most mysterious masterminds?

Be prepared for anything

Ida Nielsen: “The way it all started [in December 2012], we didn’t know we were going to be a band; we didn’t even have a name. We just went to Paisley Park and were jamming with Prince and he was teaching us all these new songs. And then all of a sudden we’re doing the Jimmy Fallon show and he’s introducing us as 3rdEyeGirl. And we’re like: ‘Oh, OK, that’s our name, then.’”

Hannah Ford Welton: “Every day is spontaneous like that for us – we all had to get used to it. But it’s especially hard to live in the moment today – everything is planned and scheduled, so when you step out of that and you create your own space where everything is up in the air, it keeps things fresh and interesting. Tomorrow we could be on the other side of the world.”

Prince 3rdEyeGirlPrince & 3rdEyeGirl perform in Manchester, 21 February. Photograph: PR

Forget about working nine to five

Donna Grantis: “Prince has an unbelievable work ethic that rubs off on all of us, but time exists in a different way at Paisley Park. Every day there are things to accomplish but it’s not related to the hour. It’s just: before the next resting period, we need to get this done. On one song, Another Love, there’s a giant guitar solo at the end, which we were rehearsing at four in the morning. Prince asked when I’d like to record it and I said: ‘You know what, I’ll do it tomorrow morning. I’ll think about it, work out some concepts …’ And he replied: ‘Let’s record it now.’ I had to go for it. It turned out to be a part where he and I are soloing and playing off each other and it’s really special.”

You need to work quickly

Nielsen: “We did this album old school, live, all in the same room, so if someone made a mistake everything had to be redone. That’s how it used to be in the old days: one, two, three, go! Play good! We thought we were learning new material to play live. But all of a sudden, he said: ‘Let’s make a sequence.’”

Grantis: “I was totally shocked. This was one take, play it perfectly all the way through, figure out the sounds on the spot. We had to play our parts so quickly that our musical instinct took over – the first sound or feel we thought might fit is what you’ll hear on the record. With the song Wow, we didn’t even play it all the way through before we recorded it.”

Trust your instincts

Welton: “Prince has really encouraged us to take the reins and be courageous with our playing. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you’re trying for something, know how to recover and keep going. Either it can be fixed or it can’t and we have to redo it, but it’s OK to take chances. What’s cool is that Prince teaches us the grooves but he’s very much open to our interpretation of the parts, as long as we stay true to the feel. He’s not a stickler, like: ‘This is what I gave you, this is what you play.’ He’s really laidback – at least, he is with us. That’s what makes our sound and shows so special because you hear all of our different personalities shine through the music.”

You must be prepared to correct each other

Welton: “We all take this very seriously, so we’re all constantly challenging each other and keeping each other accountable. And sometimes that calls for what Prince says is ‘policing each other’ in rehearsals and finding weak spots in the song and drilling them. We all have to go in together and rub all the kinks out of the music so that when you come to a show it comes off flawless.”

Play as if the world is watching

Welton: “One thing Prince has said a few times is that with every performance, go in with the mindset that it’s being recorded, as much as we encourage people to put their phones away and bootlegging is highly discouraged – he calls bootlegs “unfinished recordings” because the sound quality is not nearly the same. He says to dress like you’re being videotaped, perform as if you’re in the studio, and nail it. Because at some point someone will be recording and they’ll probably put it online and you have to look at and hear yourself and you want to be proud of it.”

Remember to put the fans first

Welton: “I’ve never been in a band up until this point where I’ve seen thousands of people lining up outside a venue and down the street for a mile – and I can’t think of an artist out right now, other than us, that I would do that for. The genuine love and loyalty from the fans was really eye-opening, that they are willing to train it for hours to stand outside for hours before even getting in. People don’t do that any more. Some people got frustrated about the process of the Hit and Run tour in that tickets weren’t for presale but at the same time, we did that for the fans – we wanted them to be able to pay £10 rather than £900.”

It’s best to be humble

Welton: “When we’re learning new material, or he’s showing us a band that we haven’t heard of, or introducing us to new ways of playing, it’s a teacher-student vibe. He’s so willing to share his knowledge, about the industry, music and performance. But at the same time he is extremely humble and when we are all together, even in those teacher-student moments, we’re a collective. We sit around and chat and if someone has an idea, we’ll bring it up casually – while we’re playing ping pong – and talk about it. It’s very open. He’s all about all of us as a unit, playing and performing and jamming as a family. There’s never really a moment where he acts or carries himself as ‘greater than’.”

You have to stay classy

Welton: “We’ve been inspired by his style and him telling us how he wants people to see us. There’s a way to be portrayed as beautiful, and even sassy and sophisticated, yet still powerful. None of us will ever compromise our look and feel as if we have to go out there wearing next to nothing to be noticed. That’s what the industry has become these days and the music is suffering; people are over-compensating for their music not being very good.

“We have way too many young kids looking up to artists that are putting out music with terrible, vulgar messages and also walking around with next to nothing on. There are misogynists everywhere in the music industry. But if women are getting sick and tired of men talking about them in their music like they’re a piece of meat, they can’t then walk around treating their body like it’s a piece of meat. Cover up, carry yourself like a woman, and then hopefully the men will take the hint and start treating you with the respect you deserve. But women first have to stand up for themselves and stop degrading themselves, stop compromising. We talk about these things with Prince a lot.”

Learn to survive on no sleep

Nielsen: “The lack of sleep has been the biggest challenge but the thing is when you play, even if it’s late, you forget that you’re tired. The adrenaline kicks in and we feed off the energy of the crowd. When I joined Prince [with New Power Generation], we’d been in Paris rehearsing for a week without him and then he joined us onstage in Norway. We played the first song and when he came out, everything lifted and everyone rose to play better. I’ve never done a single show with him where I didn’t feel like he was in it 100%. He goes on stage and it doesn’t matter how many people are there, whether it’s an arena or three people, he gives everything.”

But make time for relaxing, too

Grantis: “Ping pong is how we kick back, if you can call it kicking back – sometimes the ping pong gets more intense than rehearsal. Our ping pong game, from the time that we first got to Paisley to now, has skyrocketed.”

Nielsen: “Sometimes we beat him, though.”

Welton: “We are the softest rock stars on the planet!”

Be careful what you put on the internet

Welton: “We live in a digital age and, at any point, even if it’s minimal, you’re going to use the internet and social media. I’ve definitely noticed Prince, over time, get a little more social media savvy – but in a fun way, not a dependent way. There’s a fine line between needing social media and using it to have fun.”

Nielsen: “Nowadays, as a promo tool, it’s a necessity. But everything you put on the internet is out there somewhere. So you have to think: ‘Will it be cool in 10 years to see this?’ It’s stuff you don’t really think about when you’re young and you just think: ‘Oh, that’s funny.’”

Artists should be in control of their creativity

Grantis: “Prince has definitely imparted to us the importance of the artist being in control of their creations and a huge part of that is about an artist owning their masters and their publishing. NPG Publishing was created earlier this year and he got his masters back from Warners, which was amazing. It’s absolutely important to be working with people who can help release the music but it’s great how his view is that the artist takes care of the music and the machine takes care of the business side of things. The artist holds their artistic vision so close to their hearts and it can be so easily manipulated.”

Your potential is limitless

Grantis: “He’s operating at the highest level, as one of the greatest musicians of all time, so his level of expectation is way up high, too. He wants to bring out the best in everyone and the best in us and I feel like he wants us to rise up to our potential, or even beyond that.”

Nielsen: “What we felt was the limit to our potential does not exist. It can be pushed and pushed again. I found out about myself that I’m able to learn and remember quite a lot of different songs in a very short amount of time. And I never thought I’d be able to do that because it’s not a situation you would normally be in.”

Source: 3rdEyeGirl on Prince, ping pong and women in music who ‘treat their bodies like meat’ | Music | The Guardian

Posted in Album, CD, Funk, Guitar, Live, Music, Pop, Recording, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Soul, Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GRACE SLICK presents Monterey and Woodstock | Limelight Agency

~ Grace Slick Presents Monterey Pop ~


1. Unknown (Drug Dealer)
2. Marty Balin (*JA singer)
3. Jorma Kaukonen
4. Janis Joplin
5. Ghandi
6. Jack Casady (*JA Bass)
7. Otis Redding
8. (Mama) Cass Elliot
9. Pete Townshend
10. Groupie chick
11. Grace Slick
12. Roger Daltrey
*Jeffferson Airplane
  13. Jerry Garcia
14. Alice and White Rabbit
15. David Crosby
16. Keith Moon
17. Neil Young
18. John Philips
19. Jimi Hendrix
20. Ravi Shankar
21. Wavy Gravy
22. Ben Fong Torres
23. Brian Jones
24. Spencer Dryden (*JA drums)

Over forty years ago, a turning point in rock history took place, the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. This three day concert packed with performances from some of the biggest names in music history, would be the epicenter for the “Summer of Love.”

A full two years before Woodstock, 200 thousand fans would experience an unparalleled event, during a year like no other, before or after. In 1967 our ears heard for the first time; the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding company, Jefferson Airplane and many, many more musicians that would be known as the collective sound of the time.

Of course one of those new rising stars at the festival was our very own Grace Slick. Grace in celebration of the important anniversary has used here talents as a painter to share with us an intimate view that could only come from her.

In Grace’s painting “Monterey” she is telling a story from the performers perspective, by placing the back stage scene in the foreground. She has chosen a unique perspective that only a small group that was there experienced. It was a once in a lifetime meeting of most all of the top musical contemporaries of the day. With the intense tour and recording schedules of the time, to cross paths with just a couple performers of their status was extremely rare. In many cases this was the only time that some of these legendary stars would ever meet during their lives.

After the creating of this important work, Grace took a moment to put some of her thoughts about that time to words:

“Throughout history there have been delightful little blobs of collective hope.

For a couple of years in the late sixties, no matter what was going on in the world, our generation happily assumed that with love and education we could change outdated social systems.

One huge thing that we missed, 90% of the population is genetically imbued with sub mediocre reasoning skills. No matter how much you hug them or read to them, there’s no correcting stupid.”

Monterey – a celebration of youthful naiveté.

– Grace Slick 2007

Source: Grace Slick Paints the Monterey Pop Festival

~ Woodstock Through Grace Slick’s Looking-glass ~

Grace Slick looks back 40+ years, to a concert no one will ever forget…


Can you find them all?
Jack Cassady, Jorma Kaukonen, Marty Balin, Spencer Dryden, Santana, Paul Kantner, Barack Obama, Roger Daltrey, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, White Rabbit, Jimi Hendrix, Alice, Ravi Shankar, Richie Havens, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Buddha, Country Joe McDonald, John Sebastian, Joan Baez, Alvin Lee, John Entwistle, Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Jesus, Max Yasgur.
Dear Grace Slick Fan,

Forty (+) years ago history was made on a farmers field in upstate New York. And if your over the age of 10, you probably do not need the likes of me to explain all that happened and what it all meant. I’ll leave that to the countless movies, books, news stories, documentaries, department store theme window displays, historians, and the four million people who say they were one of the four hundred thousand there.

Personally, I’d rather hear the story of the historic “3 Days Of Peace & Music” from one of the few remaining voices of a revolutionary generation who gathered together on that stage to create something amazing… Grace Slick.

The truth is, Woodstock is not one story at all. It’s the story of each individual who braved the traffic, the weather and the absence of general services, some whose names we’ll never know.

  Grace has perfectly captured this, in her recent painting Woodstock. In one grand single view on canvas, Ms. Slick has offered a sea of people who made up the epic scene. Each with their own experience of the festival. On stage we see a parade of icons (Hendrix, Joplin, Baez, and on), but in the open field she’s painted one by one an endless expanse of people, young lovers, vendors, backpackers, parents and children… each one the center of their own Woodstock tale.

It’s not often that an artist can offer through her own work a historic statement from a firsthand perspective, but in this one particular case, that is exactly what we have.

Hog Farmer
Danny Stern
Limelight Agency<

grace-woodstock-250In Grace Slicks Own words:

“At the time (1969), A concert with ½ a million people was unheard of. To be honest we were blissfully unprepared and unmercifully hammered by the weather. As the painting shows, the audience had to slog around in the mud. Young people adapt to that kind of a mess better than old farts.

Saying goodbye on the last of three days, the clump of musicians on the stage is appreciating the audience and vice versa. Everything except murder is happening in the crowd – as it would in any gathering of that size.

I have taken the liberty of inserting some individuals who could not have been there, but maybe they were in spirit – Abraham, Buddha, Mohamed, Jesus, Adam & Eve, Alice in Wonderland, The White Rabbit, My daughter and Barack Obama.

For composition and space, I have simplified the stage gear and the sound towers. If it looks like a cartoon – it was.”

Source: Woodstock Through Grace Slick’s Looking-glass

Posted in Art, Art Rock, Artist, Blues, Festival, Film, Folk, Live, Music, Painting, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll, Soul | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

QUENTIN TARANTINO’s Top 20 favorite Spaghetti Westerns | The Spaghetti Western Database

Quentin Tarantino’s Top 20 favorite Spaghetti Westerns from The Spaghetti Western Database

A Spaghetti Western Database / The Quentin Tarantino Archives Exclusive

The SWDB is the first sister site of The Quentin Tarantino Archives that was launched and it didn’t take long for the director himself to admit his admiration for this site. It has been a huge success on the internet and a beloved location for fans around the globe to exchange ideas about these classic movies and do research. Our own Top 20 has not gone unnoticed, so the director took some time out of his schedule while shooting Inglourious Basterds, to submit his own personal Top 20. Enjoy.

“It is a cold January afternoon on the Babelsberg studio lot a few minutes outside Berlin. The sun is out and it’s nice, but there’s a cold wind blowing. As we walk across the snow-covered streets I’m reminded of The Great Silence, but silence is not what I’m here for. I sit down with Quentin Tarantino so he can brief me on his personal twenty most favorite spaghetti westerns (rather unexpectedly I have to say, as his current project was all that was on my mind at that moment). This is an authoritative list he had compiled meticulously after having read the SWDB’s Essential Top 20 Films (which is calculated through a complicated formula from people’s personal top 20 lists). The cineast and filmmaker, lists and discussing favorites having been part of not just his video store past, and who’s currently shooting Inglourious Basterds, also added a few more films that didn’t make it into his top 20 but are runners up. Ladies and gentlemen, get out your own personal lists and compare, for this my friends, is Q’s list …” – Sebastian Haselbeck

Quentin Tarantino’s official list of favorite Spaghetti Westerns:

Source: Quentin Tarantino’s Top 20 favorite Spaghetti Westerns – The Spaghetti Western Database

Posted in Film, Spaghetti Western, Western | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


–  ‘Irate’ song lyrics/music Copyright © Laura Wilde/Brian Canham.
LW Somric Castro

  • guitar“Music in the Blood” – New Short Essay
  • “Sold My Soul” – Updated Album Review
  • “Sold My Soul” – Album on Spotify
  • “All Alone” Single Download link 
  • “Highway To An Angry Heart” on Wattpad
  • Updated Social Media links
  • “Crashing Out” – new song demo on Soundcloud
  • “Finding Clarity”new song on youtube
  • Gig Database promo link 

Before we commence let’s take a few seconds to witness the talent of LAURA WILDE – here she is with a jam of the guitar solo to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven”

~ Music in the Blood ~

May, 2012: Hard Rock Cafe, Hollywood Boulevard…
One could almost be correct in their observation that most performers possibly approach every gig as some kind of ‘prizefight’. As a rule, the ‘prizefighter’ is more than willing to beat down any obstacle in their way, or at least keep it under some manageable control. Sometimes, the circling audience can provide that obstacle and take on the presence of a formidable opponent: baying for the blood and guts of sheer entertainment. Sometimes, it may be an unforeseen element, or circumstance, that appears to be working against the ‘staged prizefighter’. The ‘unforeseen’ which somehow evokes a blind spot or disguise within the realm of its murky presence. In this case,  the unforeseen lay in wait patiently somewhere between the striking of a power chord on the electric guitar and the eye of the element that captured the moment…

The dice had already been rolled, the fire ignited and the spotlights now descending upon, and saturating, the falling locks of blonde. The guitar’s burning emotion was crackling upon the atmosphere, continuing its search for an unspoilt and textured landscape. Then it happened: the cold sting from the metallic object flying past her eyes; the fleeting glint caught in the lights. Then it appeared: oozing like a cherry red wine, a glistening clot of human ‘crude’. Her thoughts trying to numb the pain; all emotion reserved for the remainder of the song. The lights molesting the drama they forever sought in the liquid appendage seeping on the bridge of her nose. A spotlight or two had shone on the expressions among the ‘ordinary’ faces in the audience, trying to capture every possible concern. Tonight’s show had been given freely, no charge; the blood flowed freely too, but could have been at a potentially high cost to its owner. Eventually, the set was brought to its ‘uncomfortable’ climax followed by the equally uncomfortable sting of the mopping implement soaking up its potent palette. The instigator of this bloody inconvenience was still dangling around her neck, smiling its charm. It was truly the unforeseen enemy obstacle on this night, on this field of musical combat steeped in the dazzling lights of Hollywood nights. But, it was her professionalism which shone more than the chained necklace; a professionalism that bathed freely in the deception of its surroundings.

The healing process of a resurrection began with a Doctor’s visit for this hard-working performer of rock-oriented songs; this ‘rookie’ of the US touring circuit who was gradually cutting into the musical fabric of the place she now called home. The next stop after the Doctor’s office would be the Arkansas Music Pavilion in Fayetteville to soak up more of that ‘prize-fighting’ experience of blistered fingers and thumbs and potential bloody noses. It is hard work being a genuine musician. But, the next stop was also a ride on the continuing “Great White Buffalo” tour supporting the legendary Ted Nugent. Therefore, all this blood, sweat and tears being wrung out of every ounce of rock ‘n’ roll was not totally void of its perks… or its prizes as Laura went on to win Rock Over America “Best New Female Rock Artist 2012” and Vegas Rocks “Best New Female Artist 2013” awards!

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LauraWildeA glorious addition to your CD/mp3 collection is Laura Wilde’s “Sold My Soul” album. It’s a 21st Century take on a lot of the music which influenced her growing up years and has undoubtedly been in her family’s vinyl/cassette archives throughout those years. The ‘retro rock’ listener won’t be disappointed with Laura’s self-penned homages which blend the ingredients of Glam Rock, Glam Punk, Hard Rock and Pop mixed with a healthy dose of Metal and Soft Metal flavourings. It’s one big cool ride along a hot furnace of open road which commences with the 10-second intro of a roaring Harley-Davidson kick-starting a pulsating ‘heartbeat’ which segues into “ALL ALONE” – the first track which, incidentally, is the first song Laura ever wrote when she was a teenager and subsequently is her first single from the album. It’s a really good Punk-infused Pop song featuring crunching guitars amid a breathless recitation and an overall frantic production. “SOLD MY SOUL” – the gritty and catchy title track is a winner with its shades of Bolan’s20th Century Boy” guitar groove – it’s Glam Rock at its updated best as Laura takes us on a semi-autobiographical cross-country career-developing journey Stateside. “FREEEK!” – the throbbing baseline and ‘vox’ effects imbues the dark undertones in conjunction with another catchy electric guitar groove. The interesting spelling of the title is confirmed within the screech of its chorus. “IRATE” – guitars thrash across a dark landscape of attitude and a punk chorus that’s filled with angst and irritation.  “Irate” bellows with wordplay that’s singed with a fuming smoke and features “a guitar solo that bleeds along the highway of an angry heart!” (see “Highway To An Angry Heart” link below in this article). “BACK SEAT” – a fine commercial combination of Pop/Rock which became Laura’s follow-up single to “All Alone” and was one of the very first music videos Laura made. Throbbing base and fuzz guitar combine to great effect. “FOR YOU” – a major highlight of the album! The song is delivered with an incessant underlying angst which simply oozes from the words ‘creep’ and ‘sleaze’. Please note the ‘Explicit’ label attached to this song too. Nevertheless, it’s a brilliant delivery in performance and production as you’re able to experience the whole drama of the narrative via the song’s accompanying video (see link below in this article). A beautiful acoustic guitar pours its melancholy into the darkness of this atmospheric gem which also features another shining performance by Laura on the lead electric solo. “ANYTHING GOES” – a riveting glam rock sing-a-long with shades of Suzi Quatro equipped with Na-Na-Na-Na-Na’s thrown in for good measure. One of those songs which bestows the feeling of youth upon you. “CLASSICAL GUITAR STAR” –  a beautiful work of art. A yearning piece of musical drama unfolds for the adulation of the title character. Laura channels the young girl in this wondrous world of mystique. It’s a teenage angst that resonates for all and the beautiful musicianship culminates in a tear-inducing ending. “NOTHING BACK” – the punk undertones are delivered within a ‘machine gun’ style chorus which rocks straight in yer face! “LOVE BUYER” – more flashes of Suzi Quatro style phrasing here with a catchy chorus once again and a narrative that depicts the title character’s devious endeavour to pick up several ‘bargains’. “ANGEL” – rounds out the album with its fuzzing bass and electric solo searing through the ‘vox’ effects of combined punk and new wave pop textures. So, overall we have a brilliant debut by this young rocker still in her mid-20’s and with a great inspiring feel for classic rock which caters to all ages. “Sold My Soul” is vibrant, mostly upbeat and comes highly -recommended as a feel good listen paying homage to several sub-genres of rock and pop music. If only the album was made available in a warm vinly offering, it makes you crave for the nostalgia that inspired it. You can almost hear the flourishing touches of The Ramones and The Clash along with T.Rex, AC/DC and The Runaways! We eagerly anticipate the follow-up album* by Laura Wilde which is currently in the works…

*See Soundcloud link in ‘Social Media’ section below for new song demo entitled “Crashing Out”!

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Sold My Soul


Rock over america

~ Links to a selection of Laura’s promotional videos of songs from the “Sold My Soul” album ~

Back Seat

Laura Eyes 2

The following is a link to the song “IRATE”. It was Laura’s guitar solo in this song which inspired a quote from writer Tony G. Marshall which consequently inspired the creation of the lyrics of his own “Highway To An Angry Heart” (see below after “Irate” spotify link):

Tony G. Marshall’s

Highway To An Angry Heart promo

~ Laura on Social Media ~

Laura’s Official Website:


Also included on Laura’s website, at the following link,
is a unique database record of
all her shows :
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New song demo – “Crashing Out” on Soundcloud:

New song “Finding Clarity”: 
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Laura on Facebook:

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Laura on Twitter:

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Cosmic Dwellings do not own the copyright to the image/likeness/music/videos of Laura Wilde and Vice Grip Music Group. The written content and style in this not-for-profit article is owned by Cosmic Dwellings/Tony G. Marshall. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2012, 2016 Tony G. Marshall/Cosmic Dwellings.
Posted in Album, Blues, CD, Guitar, mp3, Music, Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VINYL: History of the 45 rpm Record

A History of the Gramophone Record

The first records were on cylinders, the earliest of which were made by the inventor of the first ‘Phonograph’, Thomas Alva Edison in 1877. Attempts had been made of ‘recording’ sound much earlier than this, but none were capable of reproducing the human voice.

By 1887, another American, Emile Berliner (a German immigrant to the U.S.) filed a patent for a recording system based on a flat disc instead of a cylinder. This was a very significant development because the new discs were much easier to mass produce than the cylinders that they replaced. This was important in making the technology available to a wide market.

By the turn of the century the industry had begun to settle on a diameter of 10 inches for the new format. The rotational speed varied somewhat from one manufacturer to another, but most turned at between 75 and 80 revolutions per minute and most ‘Gramophone’ machines were capable of some adjustment. The name ‘Gramophone’ began as a Trademark for Berliner’s new invention, but Europeans adopted it as generic while Americans continued to use the term ‘Phonograph’. One popular theory for the choice of 78 rpm is arrived at from calculations based on the rotational speed of synchronous electric motors and achievable gear ratios. This is neither technically sound nor supported by historic evidence. It is far more likely that a speed of around 78 rpm simply proved the best compromise from empirical results with the materials and technology available at the time.

Various materials were used for manufacturing the earliest discs, but shellac (a resin made from the secretions of the lac insect) was found to be the best. Shellac is a natural thermoplastic, being soft and flowing when heated, but rigid and hard wearing at room temperature. Usually a fine clay or other filler was added to the ‘mix’. However, by the 1930s the natural shellac began to be replaced by equivalent synthetic resins.

All of the earliest 78 rpm recordings were single sided, but double sided recordings were introduced firstly in Europe by the Columbia company. By 1923, double sided recordings had become the norm on both sides of the Atlantic.

The 78 rpm disc reigned supreme as the accepted recording medium for many years despite its tendency to break easily and the fact that longer works could not be listened to without breaks for disc changes (at 5 minute intervals for 12″ discs).

In 1948 the Columbia company had perfected the 12″ Long Playing Vinyl disc. Spinning at 33 rpm the new format could play up to 25 minutes per side. This new record medium also had a much lower level of surface noise than did its older shellac cousin. However, Columbia’s big rival, RCA Victor then produced the seven inch 45 rpm vinyl disc. These could hold as much sound as the 12″ 78 rpm discs they were to replace, but were much smaller and attractive.

Here is what RCA Victor’s original 45 looked like. This image was kindly supplied by Jules Woodell who manages the Record Collector’s Glossary  Note the large centre hole which needs an adaptor to make it fit a regular UK style spindle was already a feature and that coloured vinyl was not such a novelty in the 1940s!

This early demonstration copy carried a recording of a salesman extolling the virtues of the new format.

It took many years for the 78 to disappear because the new vinyl records needed new equipment on which to play them, but the two new vinyl formats then were to dominate the recorded music industry until the advent of the digital compact disc (CD). Even then, vinyl would take much longer to fall into oblivion than 78s did when vinyl recordings first appeared.

The 45rpm record’s years of greatest success began with the onset of rock and roll. The new 7 inch format was favoured by the young and in the UK sales of 45s overtook 78s early in 1958 as rock and roll established a boom in record sales. During the next few years the UK was to become a major source of popular recorded music with the advent of the British ‘beat’ groups which were exemplified in the ‘Beatles’. This was the ‘golden era’ for the 45. Although sales of popular music were to grow dramatically during the following decades, buyers gradually transferred their purchases to the 12″ ‘LP’ as their affluence grew. Indeed, by the end of the 1960s sales of the 45 had even begun to decline. During the early years of the Beatles, a record would need to sell in excess of 750,000 copies to reach the coveted number 1 chart position. Such was the decline in this part of the market that by a decade later only 150,000 copies could achieve the same result. (See ‘EMI: The First 100 Years’ by Peter Martland ISBN 0-7134-6207-8 Published by B.T.Batsford Ltd, London).

Source: History of the 45 rpm Record

Posted in 45rpm vinyl single, Album, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DAVID BOWIE: “Blackstar” review – a spellbinding break with his past | Music | The Guardian

Eyes front … the perpetually forward looking David Bowie

As he reaches his 69th birthday, David Bowie finds himself in a rarefied position, even by the standards of the rock aristocracy. He does not give interviews, make himself available to promote new releases, or explain himself in any way. He does not tour the world playing his hits. In fact, he doesn’t do anything that rock stars are supposed to do. It’s behaviour that theoretically means a one-way ticket to oblivion, with no one but diehard fans for company. But since his re-emergence from a decade-long sabbatical with 2013’s The Next Day, it’s proved a quite astonishing recipe for success. Bowie’s scant public pronouncements are treated as hugely significant. His releases are pored over in a way they haven’t been since the days when his army of devotees would turn up at Victoria station to greet him off the boat train, a state of affairs abetted by the fact that, since his return, Bowie has reverted to writing the kind of elusive, elliptical lyrics that were once his stock in trade. Dense with mysterious references, the words on The Next Day and its follow-up alike have far more in common with the impenetrable mass of signifiers that made up Station to Station’s title track than, say, the Dad-misses-you-write-soon message to his adult son of 2002’s Everyone Says Hi. His 25th studio album concludes with I Can’t Give Everything Away, which seems to offer those attempting to unravel his lyrics a wry “best of luck with that” (“Saying no but meaning yes, this is all I ever meant, that’s the message that I sent”) while loudly trumpeting his own carefully maintained mystique. “I can’t give everything, I can’t give everything away,” he sings, over and over. It’s a beautiful, elegant song borne on clouds of synthesiser and decorated with a scrawly guitar solo, but it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that its lyrical admonishments aren’t going to make much difference: the bits of Blackstar that emerged in advance of the album have already been thoroughly examined for meaning. The most compelling interpretation – bolstered by a remark made by Donny McCaslin, the New York jazz musician whose electro-acoustic trio forms the core of the backing band on Blackstar – is that the album’s opening title track is Bowie’s response to the rise of Isis. It seemed plausible: Bowie has always been fascinated both by messianic dictators – not least the relationship of their power to that of celebrity – and by the idea that the world is facing a future so terrifying that the thought of it, as he once put it, makes your brain hurt a lot. The theory was subsequently denied by Bowie’s spokesperson, which seems a shame: there’s a pleasing circularity to the idea of a muse that burst into life amid what the writer Francis Wheen called the “collective nervous breakdown” of the 1970s, apparently sparking up again amid the collective nervous breakdown of the present day.

But aside from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s supposed elevation to the pantheon of Bowie bogeymen – thence to swap tips on global domination with Big Brother,President Joe and his murderous Saviour Machine, and the cannibalistic Hungry Men off Bowie’s debut album – and the reappearance of Thomas Newton, antihero of The Man Who Fell to Earth, amid the alternately gorgeous and unsettling drift of Lazarus, Blackstar frequently sounds like a slate-cleaning break with the past.

Bowie’s back catalogue is peppered with jazz-influenced moments – from his 1965 attempt to mimic Georgie Fame, Take My Tip, to Mike Garson’s improvised piano playing on the title track of Aladdin Sane, to his duet with Art Ensemble of Chicago founder Lester Bowie on the Black Tie White Noise track Looking for Lester. But Blackstar’s enthusiastic embrace of the genre feels as if it has less in common with his previous jazz dabblings than it does his headlong plunge into contemporary soul on Young Americans: designed as a decisive, wilful shift away from the past. Just as it seems highly unlikely that anyone who heard Diamond Dogs in 1974 could have predicted that, within a year, its author would be starring on America’s premier black music show, Soul Train, so it seems fairly safe to say that no one who enjoyed the relatively straightforward rock music of The Next Day thought its follow-up would sound like this.

Lazarus, from David Bowie’s last album, Blackstar

More striking still is the synergy between Bowie and the musicians on Blackstar. You can hear it in Bowie’s whoop as McCaslin solos amid the sonic commotion of ’Tis Pity She Was a Whore. He sounds delighted at the racket they’re creating, and understandably so. Simultaneously wilfully synthetic and squirmingly alive, it has the same thrilling sense of exploratory, barely contained chaos found on “Heroes” or Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), or in the tumultuous, wildly distorted version of the Spiders from Mars that rampaged through Panic in Detroit and Cracked Actor. Better still, it doesn’t actually sound anything like those records.

And you can hear it by comparing the album version of Sue (Or in a Season of Crime) with the single released in 2014. The earlier version felt like a statement rather than a song; a series of ideas (drum’n’bass-inspired rhythm, Maria Schneider’s high-minded, uncommercial big-band jazz, a fragmentary lyric) thrown together to let the world know that Bowie wasn’t done with being avant-garde yet. It did that job pretty well, but never became a satisfying whole. On Blackstar, however, everything coalesces. The rhythm is sample-based and punchier, the agitated bass riff distorted and driving, the seasick brass and woodwind arrangement is replaced by sprays of echoing feedback, electronic noise and sax. It sounds like a band, rather than Bowie grafting himself on to someone else’s musical vision.


Over the years, rock has frequently reduced experimental jazz to a kind of dilettantish signifier: few things say “I consider myself to be a very important artist unleashing a challenging musical statement, I demand you take me seriously” quite like a burst of skronking free brass dropped in the middle of a track. But Blackstar never feels like that. Nor does it feel like it’s trying too hard, an accusation that could have been leveled at the drum’n’bass puttering of 1997’s Earthling.

Blackstar lacks the kind of killer pop single Bowie would once invariably come up with amid even his most experimental works – a Sound and Vision, a Heroes, a Golden Years – but only Girl Loves Me feels like a slog: lots of Clockwork Orange Nadsat and a smattering of polari in the incomprehensible lyrics, thuddingly propulsive drums, no tune. Instead, you’re struck by the sense of Bowie at his most commanding, twisting a genre to suit his own ends. Dollar Days might be the most straightforwardly beautiful thing here, a lambent ballad that doesn’t sound jazz influenced at all. But it’s lent a curious, slippery uncertainty at odds with the bullish lyrical pronouncements (“If I never see the English evergreens I’m running to, it’s nothing to me”) by Mark Guiliana’s drumming, the emphasis never quite landing where rock-trained ears might expect it to.

The overall effect is ambiguous and spellbinding, adjectives that apply virtually throughout Blackstar. It’s a rich, deep and strange album that feels like Bowie moving restlessly forward, his eyes fixed ahead: the position in which he’s always made his greatest music.


Source: David Bowie: Blackstar review – a spellbinding break with his past | Music | The Guardian

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“FANTASTIC PLANET” (1973) | Weird Fiction Review

Knowing the Alien: René Laloux’s “Fantastic Planet”

A father and his daughter, while strolling through a field, come across a tiny orphaned creature. The poor thing’s mother has just been killed by a callous group of children and the girl takes pity on it, asking if she can keep it as a pet. After a lecture on responsibility, her father agrees to let her bring it home with them. The girl plays games with this little stray, chases it around the house, and even cradles it while she does her homework. Their bond seems only threatened by her animal’s disinclination to wear the costumes she picks out for it, as well as her father’s increasing doubts as to the suitability of this new animal.  This is a scenario familiar from any number of “pet” narratives, but we are in the world of René Laloux’s cult classic Fantastic Planet (1973): the girl and her father are massive, blue-skinned members of the Draag species and their new pet is a baby human boy. Fantastic Planet follows this boy, Terr, through his childhood and into a rebellious adolescence. The girl, Tiva, telepathically absorbs her school lessons through a headset device, lessons in which she innocently allows Terr to participate. All the trivia a reluctant student may be expected to memorize (geography, biology, philosophy) acts as a primer in discontent for the young human. Laloux presents this information in disorientating chunks, a pleasantly realistic depiction of what it would really be like to be exposed to an alien world. Terr comes to resent his treatment as a pet, to yearn for a freedom he can only find outside this gilded cage. Humans (known to the Draag as “Om”) age far more rapidly than their giant keepers, setting the stage for strange conflicts between this boy and his owner. Not much more than a season passes for her, while Terr grows into a headstrong youth. Tiva’s father, one of the leaders of the Draag, shows more and more distrust of his daughter’s pet, and is inclined to see the Om as more a pest than anything else. Eventually, Terr sees his chance and takes it: he escapes the dubious comforts of Tiva’s care and flees into the wilderness beyond this Draag city. Beyond, he will find a rough-hewn tribe of free humans, as well as a world filled with bizarre and dangerous creatures. This community faces the possibility of genocide by way of pesticide, as many of the Draag wish to rid their planet of this nuisance species forever. The newest member of the Om society, however, may bring them their salvation in an unexpected form. The struggles of this tiny society, and the attempts the Draag make to squelch it, form the majority of this tale.Though such a brief summary may make Fantastic Planet sound like any number of dystopian/revolutionary movies, a number of factors converge to make this one unique in the history of Weird cinema. The animation, to begin with the most obvious component, is unlike anything an audience is likely to have seen before. Laloux used a cutout technique now made more familiar to American audiences by the series South Park; in Fantastic Planet, though, this process lends a dreamy cast to the story, and not simply a silly one. The sensation it gives is one of watching a bizarrely illustrated storybook coming to life. Humans, here, resemble gaunt, often haunted paper dolls, scrambling through a world too massive to take much notice of them. On this weird planet, humanity occupies a place not much higher than ants do in ours.Giant birds, insects and even plants threaten their existence. Watching tiny humans picked off, swallowed whole, or crushed by massive aliens disorients Laloux’s audience, reminding us that our own ecological niche, secure as it so often seems to be, is far more fragile than we’d like to think. In an environment abounding in surrealistic grotesques, the Om seem oddly out of place. The landscape itself resembles something like a collaboration between Jonathan Swift and Salvador Dali, somehow simultaneously stark and horrifically lush. Laloux, though, gives us a world more complex than a hellscape. The Draag, for instance, with their blue skin and wide red eyes, are ethereal beings, beautiful and not simple monstrosities. Crystal dew forms in the mornings and even temporarily encases a terrified Terr. We see animals trapping and devouring one another in surprising, often funny little vignettes. These visions, as well as others, may remind one of the works of the great Weird author Clark Ashton Smith. This “savage planet” (a more accurate translation of the film’s title) certainly would not have been out of place in his tales of the Earth in the far future. And the world beyond that occupied by the Draag? That moon to which the Om dream of escaping? Well, that proves to be even more mysterious… 
Early on, Terr witnesses strange meditative practices somehow central to Draag society, in a sequence rendered in psychedelic imagery. The out-of-body trips these meditations send the aliens on mark them as a fascinating, spiritually complex species, a fact vital not only to the climax of the movie, but also as an indicator that they are more than the genocidal monsters they might otherwise appear to be. This spiritual component is no doubt one reason Fantastic Planet attained, and retains, a place in cult film history. After the mechanisms of the plot have been resolved, after the fate of these two species has been decided, the image of the Draag and their metaphysical journeys persists. Laloux, as well as Stefan Wul (author of the novel, Oms en série, upon which the film was based), clearly have more to say than “Fight the Power,” that simplistic motto of so many dystopian narratives. As has been mentioned, Terr absorbs weird knowledge from Tiva’s learning device. The function this serves is far more than a matter of simple, useful information. This knowledge helps him awaken to consciousness, to a reality not immediately perceptible from the confines of his comfy prison house. It is gnosis, divine wisdom which enables not only salvation, but also the ability to rise psychically above his place as an alternately beloved and pesky pet. It is, as several of the ancient Gnostic sects interpreted the story of Genesis, the fruit of knowledge which spells the end to innocence and which introduces the possibility of greater spiritual growth. It would be a spoiler to say anything more direct about this facet of the plot, but suffice it to say the Om find they must bring their struggle to another level if they are to win anything more than a temporary reprieve from the cruelties of the Draag. 
Fantastic Planet
was made during a time of cultural tumult. It is hard not to read any number of themes into this film, as it seems to invite so many. A post-colonial reading would not be far off the mark, as evidenced by the mixture of paternalism and sadism the Draag show the tiny Om. The peoples of Africa, Asia and the Middle East found they needed more than weapons to combat the weight of European hegemony, and the Western powers learned (and are still learning) a great deal about themselves from their colonial adventures. Counter-cultural identification with Fantastic Planet has also been persistent in the forty years since it was made, and may be an echo of institutional conflicts within both European and American societies at the time. The Om, with their wild, natural lifestyles and their dogged resistance to an industrial civilization determined to either tame or annihilate them, sometimes resemble the 60’s counter culture which was already, in 1973, collapsing beneath its own weight. The arms race which develops between the Om and the Draag may even be a gesture toward the Cold War, though it is hard to imagine either the Soviet Union or the United States in the position of the brutalized Om. Those mystical elements, both Gnostic and vaguely Eastern, encourage interpretations more internal, as well as ideological. An understanding deeper than that necessitated by strictly physical survival has proven vital down through history, a need to fulfill psycho-spiritual yearnings without which society can become a horrible simulation of itself. The clash between the cold, yet mystical Draag and the wild, vital Om may be meant to say something about a conflict deeply embedded within our own civilization. 
However one interprets this film, this plasticity of meaning, far from being a detriment, is a strength the film possesses. Where many anti-authoritarian fantasies of its era have suffered with the passage of time, have come to seem too utopian or naïve, Fantastic Planet retains an essential weirdness which protects it from simplistic analysis. The bizarre set-pieces with which the film is filled are not easy to forget, nor are they easy to explain away as facile allegories. The film veers close to being a dream, at times, threatening to lose coherence and dissolve into mere sequences of phantasmagoria.Fantastic Planet does, however, speak some message, be it theological, political, internal, or even ecological. That it does so in such an alien tongue is only fitting in a tale about being lost in such a strange world.

Source: Knowing the Alien: René Laloux’s “Fantastic Planet” | Weird Fiction Review

Details of the Criterion Collection’s Blu-Ray/DVD release of “Fantastic Planet” at the following link:

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