Thursday, 13 February 2020

A Collection of Oddities - Volume 3


Time for more peculiar tunes in the latest volume of Oddities. Whereas the previous 2 volumes only went up to the 1980s, this one features acts from the 1960s to (almost) the present day. Some of the tracks will astound you, some will have you pleading for it to stop, and some have you scratching your head...

For this post I've decided to add info normally included in the text file only, if you feel it's better listed this way let me know, though the information here is much more detailed than usual. Thanks to Manerg who suggested a few songs for inclusion on this volume, plus plenty more for the future. I hope you all, erm, enjoy!

Note: The Jack Hargreaves track, "Tench", was originally just one track with no music. I decided to split it into 6 parts and added appropriate backing music to enhance the enchanting tales of Mr. Hargreaves.

01. Lady June - Touch-Downer (1:58) From the album "Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy", 1974 
June Campbell Cramer (3 June 1931 – 7 June 1999), better known as Lady June, was an English painter, poet and musician. She was associated with the Canterbury scene and recorded two albums. Richie Unterberger at AllMusic described her as a "Bohemian artist", and an obituary in The Independent called her "a great British eccentric and cosmic prankster".
In the late 1960s June moved into a flat in Vale Court in Maida Vale, London, which she opened up to many musicians to lodge in or just "hang out". She hosted many parties there, including a birthday party in June 1973, during which ex-Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt broke his back when he fell from a fourth-floor window.
"Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy" was an album of her poetry set to music by Kevin Ayers, one of her tenants, and Brian Eno, who lived nearby. Richie Unterberger at AllMusic called the album "an eccentric piece of work" with songs that are "odd, whimsical, rather surrealistic spoken poems, delivered in a quirkily aristocratic manner".

02. Duffo - Give Me Back My Brain (3:22) From the album "Duffo", 1979
Geoff "Jeff" Stephen Duff, or Duffo, (born 1956) is an Australian singer/cabaret performer, who in his career has used various personae, wardrobe, and satire as features of his performance. Duff's shows 'Ziggy' and 'Bowie Unzipped' are portrayals of the music of David Bowie, who he met while Bowie was a Sydney resident. Duff relocated to London in 1978 as "the waif-like androgynous oddball Duffo". At this time his single, "Give Me Back Me Brain" reached No. 60 on the UK mainstream charts in 1979.
His 1999 compilation, "Martian Girls Are Easy" is a 40-track, double CD anthology covering Duff's solo career from 1978, described by music historian, Ian McFarlane as showing "the satirical, new wave origins of 'Give Me Back Me Brain', through the soulful classical arrangement of Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side', dipping into funk on the way and then back to his glam roots".

03. Gershon Kingsley's First Moog Quartet - Shank (2:48) From the album "Popcorn", 1972
Gershon Kingsley (born Götz Gustav Ksinski; October 28, 1922 – December 10, 2019) was a contemporary German-American composer, a pioneer of electronic music and the Moog synthesizer, a partner in the electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley, founder of the First Moog Quartet, and writer of rock-inspired compositions for Jewish religious ceremonies. Kingsley is most famous for his 1969 influential electronic instrumental composition "Popcorn".
His career as a pop musician took off with the release of The In Sound from Way Out! album in 1966, which he recorded with Jean-Jacques Perrey. The Perrey and Kingsley duo went on to record "Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music from Way Out", released the next year, and subsequently went their separate ways.
The First Moog Quartet was formed by Gershon Kingsley in 1970, as the result of a request by famous impresario Sol Hurok to hear the Moog synthesizer's capabilities demonstrated live. Other group members included Howard Salat, Stan Free, Eric W. Knight, and Ken Bichel.

04. Jack Hargreaves - Tench Part 1 (1:37) From the album "Know Your Fish", 1972
Jack Hargreaves OBE (31 December 1911 – 15 March 1994) was an English television presenter and writer. His enduring interest was to comment without nostalgia or sentimentality on accelerating distortions in relations between the city and the countryside. He is remembered for appearing on How, a children's programme, which he also conceived, about how things worked or ought to work. It ran from 1966 on Southern Television and networked on ITV until the demise of Southern in 1981.
Hargreaves loved angling. Bemused at the way it had, from "sociological, technical, financial and Malthusian" causes become tribalised by class and species, he wrote Fishing for a Year (1951), arguing "for regression" – the pursuit of different fish, in separate places and varied methods throughout the licensed seasons. "What do they know of fishing" he wrote "who know only one fish and one way to fish for him?" Yet his language was seldom so polemic and never adversarial.

05. Kenneth Higney - No Heavy Trucking (2:18) From the album "Attic Demonstration", 1976
Kenneth Higney, born 1951, is an American rock musician whose first album, "Attic Demonstration", became a cult favourite amongst outsider music record collectors. It was recorded in 1976 as a means of selling his songwriting services to other musicians, but was released as a commercial prospect.
"Attic Demonstration" featured Higney on vocals and electric and acoustic guitars, with an ad hoc band consisting of Higney’s personal friends Gordon Gaines (guitars, drums), John Duva (bass guitar), and Mark Volpe (guitar, percussion). It had a limited release of 500 copies in September 1976, and earned a favourable review in Trouser Press magazine, but was not a commercial success. Nonetheless it became a cult item amongst record collectors over subsequent years.

06. Pedro Santos - Dentro da Selva (2:15) From the album "Krishnanda", 1968
Pedro dos Santos (2 October 1919 - 23 February 1993) was a Brazilian percussionist virtuoso, composer and inventor of instruments that apparently included oddities such as the ‘Tamba’ (electrified bamboo drum) and the mouth berimbau whistle.
"Krishnanda", his only solo recording, was produced by Hélcio Milito, the drummer of Tamba Trio, and arranged by conductor Joppa Lins, and originally released in 1968.
Musically, the album touches folk, samba, afro-brazilian and psychedelia plus added effects, with a lyrical depth and diversity to match; themes including morality, perception, existence and ego. Despite the genius of the record and the influence that it had on musicians at the time of release, it disappeared into obscurity.

07. Tobie Columbus - Come In My Mouth (3:49) From the album "Let My People Come: A Sexual Musical", 1974
I have no information about Tobie, so here's details about the musical:
Let My People Come is an explicit musical written by Earl Wilson, Jr. about love, sex and relationships, which ran from January 8, 1974 to July 5, 1976 in New York City, at The Village Gate in Greenwich Village. Subtitled "A Sexual Musical", the show began previews on Broadway on July 7, 1976 at the Morosco Theatre and closed on October 2, 1976 after 108 performances without officially opening. Its music and lyrics were by Earl Wilson, Jr. The show featured such songs as "I'm Gay", "Come in My Mouth", "Give It to Me", and "The Cunnilingus Champion of Company C".

08. Jack Hargreaves - Tench Part 2 (1:26) From the album "Know Your Fish", 1972

09. Leonard Nimoy - Amphibious Assault (2:44) From the album "The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy", 1968
Leonard Simon Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015) was an American actor, film director, photographer, author, singer, and songwriter. He was known for playing Spock in the Star Trek franchise, a character he portrayed in television and film for almost fifty years, from a pilot episode shot in late 1964 to his final film performance in 2013.
"Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy" is Leonard Nimoy's second album released shortly after "Music from Outer Space". It was released in early 1968 by Dot Records. The album is a continuation of the "Spock and Space" sound on which Nimoy embarked on his debut album. Side one showcases the side fans know as Mr. Spock but in a softer light, along with his struggle between being human and Vulcan. Side two represents Nimoy's interests in a variety of songs: novelty, pop, country and love songs.

10. Ernest Hood - Night Games (3:30) From the album "Neighborhoods", 1975
Ernest Hood, born June 2, 1923 in Charlotte, North Carolina, released "Neighborhoods" some two decades after the musician’s first forays into field recordings. These very recordings, and those captured over intervening years, define the universal sound and aural images of childhood, a theme memorialized by Hood’s privately-pressed opus of 1975.
Sprawling through a haze of zither, synthesizer melodies, and foraged pedestrian sound, "Neighborhoods" is both a score and documentary composed and directed by Hood to offer, in his words, joy in reminiscence. "Neighborhoods" is an unusual hybrid - not quite an “ambient” record nor a collection of pure field recordings. The identifiable sounds (screen doors opening and closing, passing motorists, crickets chirping, children playing) feel both universal and highly specific, like a bulletin of Hood’s private geography from the middle of the last century.

11. Terry Durham - Sleep Train (2:34) From the album "Crystal Telephone", 1969
Terry Durham was an internationally known abstract and figurative artist and poet who had exhibitions throughout the world. Terry was born on 24 September 1936 in East Ardsley, West Yorkshire, where he spent his formative years and died on 6 December 2013 in the town of Alora, Andalucia, Spain.
Music and poetry were important to Terry's creative nature and in 1969 recorded his only solo album "Crystal Telephone", with musical arrangements by John Coleman and featuring the saxophonist Evan Parker. The album has been described as "a wonderfully different album", "Yorkshire's answer to Serge Gainsbourg" and "a beautiful piece of poetry and music - a very unique balsam for the soul".

12. Jack Hargreaves - Tench Part 3 (0:48) From the album "Know Your Fish", 1972

13. Sandra Kerr & John Faulkner - The Ear Song (1:19) From the album "Bagpuss: The Songs & Music", 1999 [recorded 1973]
Sandra Kerr (born 14 February 1942, Plaistow, Essex) & John Faulkner (born in London, 194?) have long and distinguished careers in folk music, having been mentored by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in the Critics Group through the 1960s and 1970s. They are best known for the music and songs of the much loved Bagpuss Children's TV show.
Their songs were a patchwork of traditional pieces, half-remembered tunes and pure improvisation. It's testament to Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner's musicianship that the recordings work so well, not only within the context of the television episodes, but as an album in its own right. Of the recording, Oliver Postgate (in his exquisite autobiography 'Seeing Things') says: "Between them Sandra and John could play every sort of instrument from a mountain dulcimer to an Irish fiddle. They knew and could sing every tune in the world and didn't bother with written music, except as a last resort. They were exactly suited to Gabriel the Toad and Madeleine the Rag Doll and in those roles were happy to play whatever music and sing whatever songs would be needed."

14. Yma Sumac - Magenta Mountain (3:00) From the album "Miracles", 1972
Yma Sumac (September 10, 1922 – November 1, 2008), was a Peruvian coloratura soprano. In the 1950s, she was one of the most famous exponents of exotica music. Sumac became an international success based on her extreme vocal range. She had six-and-a-half octaves according to some reports, but other reports (and recordings) document four-and-a-half at the peak of her singing career.
In 1972 Sumac released a rock album, "Miracles", re-uniting her with Les Baxter, the producer of her first album, "The Voice of Xtabay" (released in 1950). There are no lyrics on the album, just Sumac's vocal flights which ride over rock & roll textures. Although the rock here sounds like it is straight out of the Berklee College of Music, jazz influenced organ courtesy of Richard Person, Chuck Cowan's guitar, the bass of Roger Cowan, and Skippy Switzer's drums all shine here.

15. David Bowie - Please Mr. Gravedigger (2:36) From the album "David Bowie", 1967
David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s.
Bowie's self-titled debut album in 1967 bears little overt resemblance to the type of music that he was later known for, such as the folk rock influenced "Space Oddity" or the glam rock of "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars". NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray have said, "a listener strictly accustomed to David Bowie in his assorted '70s guises would probably find this debut album either shocking or else simply quaint", while biographer David Buckley describes its status in the Bowie discography as "the vinyl equivalent of the madwoman in the attic".
"Please Mr. Gravedigger," the last song on the David Bowie LP and the last recorded in the main sessions, is a graveyard soliloquy by a child murderer, accompanied by a series of sound effects—thunderclaps, raindrops, tolling bells, shovel scrapes, footsteps, cawks. And sneezes. Bowie gets pretty Method with his character here, so that once he sneezes he has to sing the rest of the track in a snotted-up voice. After another juicy sneeze, Bowie sounds as though he’s shoved cotton into his nostrils.

16. Corey Feldman - Systematic Gateway (2:50) From the album "Former Child Actor", 2002
Corey Scott Feldman (born July 16, 1971) is an American actor, voice actor, and singer. He became well known during the 1980s, with roles as a youth in films such as Gremlins (1984), The Goonies (1985) and Stand by Me (1986).
"Former Child Actor" is Corey Feldman's second album, released in 2012. One reviewer on stated: "No words can possibly describe the sonic experience that is Corey Feldman. Transcendent. There. That's one word. The lyrical content of this magnificent record is only matched by Dylan, Lennon, and Cobain. And the instrumentation? My god it is only rivaled by Beethoven himself." I don't think he was being very serious...
Another reviewer said "The best metaphor to describe Mr. Feldman's work is cheese, this is the worst thing that has ever been committed to any recorded media. Please somebody rip my ears off so that I don't have to suffer anymore......."
Personally, I tend to agree with the latter...

17. Mystery Artist - Mystery Track (2:37) A-side single, 1974
This "mystery artist" (25 December 1919 – 14 April 1985) was a British stage, film, television actress and presenter. She played the lead role in a long-running British soap opera from 1964 to 1981. She also released 2 solo singles, the first of which is presented here. Released in 1974 on Jonathan King’s UK record label, this song has been described as "diabolical, a spoken word atrocity in which she waxes lyrically about a baby girl born eight-weeks premature. It’s brilliantly bad." Another mentally scarred person had this to say: "I have this 45, and I can truly say is is amongst the most cringeworthy singles in my collection of nearly 8000. A truly dreadful record."

18. Jack Hargreaves - Tench Part 4 (1:35) From the album "Know Your Fish", 1972

19. Exuma - Damn Fool (4:18) From the album "Exuma II", 1970
Macfarlane Gregory Anthony Mackey (18 February 1942 – 15 January 1997), known professionally as Tony McKay and Exuma, was a Bahamian musician, artist, playwright and author best known for his almost unclassifiable music, a strong mixture of carnival, junkanoo, calypso, reggae, African music and folk music.
His lyrics were deeply immersed in the West African and Jamaican tradition of Obeah, a system of spiritual and healing practices developed among enslaved West Africans in the West Indies, practiced by many on the islands of The Bahamas.
In a 1970 interview, McKay, as Exuma said the "'electrical part' of his being 'came from beyond Mars; down to Earth on a lightning bolt'". He described his music as "all music that has ever been written and all music not yet written. It's feeling, emotion, the sound of man, the sound of day creatures, night creatures and electrical forces".

20. Kim Fowley - I Was a Communist for the F.B.I. (1:51) From the album "The Day the Earth Stood Still", 1970
Kim Vincent Fowley (July 21, 1939 – January 15, 2015) was an American record producer, singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his role behind a string of novelty and cult pop rock singles in the 1960s, and for managing the Runaways in the 1970s. He has been described as "one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock & roll," as well as "a shadowy cult figure well outside the margins of the mainstream."
"The Day The Earth Stood Still" was recorded in 1970, while Fowley was living in Helsinki, producing and songwriting for some local bands. For this album, a Swedish-only release for the MNW label, Fowley, "the expat", delivers his own warped State of the Nation on songs like "The Frail Ocean" and "I Was A Communist For The FBI". As usual, the lucid ravings of a madman.

21. Dr. J. R. Pierce - Variation in Timbre & Attack (1:36) From the album "Music from Mathematics", 1961
John Robinson Pierce (March 27, 1910 – April 2, 2002), was an American engineer and author. He worked extensively in the fields of radio communication, microwave technology, computer music, psychoacoustics, and science fiction.
"Music from Mathematics" assembled melodies programmed by Bell Labs technicians for the then-new IBM 7090, the company's first commercial solid-state computer. These eerie, remote songs (many authored by the pioneering visual/acoustical researcher Dr. Max Mathews) are in effect the 7090's magnetic impressions of mathematical equations imprinted on punch cards. Converted via digital-to-sound transducer into something resembling melodies, the end result is a crazy-quilt of otherworldly beeps, bleeps, and blips that anticipates the sterile soundscapes of IDM by more than a generation. This is music without emotion or humanity -- a bold step forward, no doubt, but also a disquieting concept to this day.

22. Terry Jacks - Put the Bone In (1:49) From the anthology "Starfish on the Beach", 2015 [recorded 1973]
Terrence Ross Jacks (born March 29, 1944) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and environmentalist, best known for his 1974 hit song "Seasons in the Sun". The song was originally intended for the Beach Boys, with Jacks serving as producer for the recording. However, after the group decided not to release it, Jacks decided to record it himself in late 1973 on his own record label, Goldfish Records, which became the largest-selling international single by a Canadian artist at that time, eventually selling 14 million copies worldwide.
The B-side of the single was a song titled "Put the Bone In," which described a woman in a butcher shop, apparently begging the butcher to "put the bone in" for her because "her doggy had been hit by a car." Other memorable lyrics are: "The meat from the pork is sweet. Give the bone from the pork meat to me. Put the bone in she begged in as she paced around the floor. Put the bone in she yelled out once more."
One person described this song as "one of the worst songs I've ever heard." I can only agree.

23. Gary Wilson - Chromium Bitch (3:26) From the album "You Think You Really Know Me", 1977
Gary Wilson (born October 1953) is an American experimental musician/performance artist best known for his 1977 album "You Think You Really Know Me", after which he promptly retired from recording and performing concerts. He slowly gained a strong cult following during the 1980s and 1990s, and in the early 2000s became active again.
The album, a syncretic collision of romance, new-wave-cocktail-jazz, heartbreak, disco-porn-soundtrack-music and experimental tape manipulation did not gain substantial attention upon its initial 1977 release. Though re-released again in 1979, to little fanfare, the album eventually gained a cult following. In the late 1990s, Beck namechecked Wilson in one of his most popular songs, "Where It's At." Feeding Tube Records described the album as "the sound of a 23 year old oddball from upstate New York, wrestling with his demons and actually winning. There’s nothing quite like it. And it offers a story of hope to every weirdo who hears it."

24. Jack Hargreaves - Tench Part 5 (1:15) From the album "Know Your Fish", 1972

25. Susan Christie - King Kong (2:35) From the anthology "Columbia Singles", 2018 [recorded mid '60s]
Susan Christie is an American singer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is best known for a minor hit folk song “I Love Onions” (1966) and for her critically acclaimed solo psychedelic-folk album "Paint a Lady" recorded in 1970 but not released until 2006. She recorded a number of novelty singles for Columbia Records in the mid '60s, all apart from "I Love Onions" failed to chart.
The track featured here, as far as I know was never released but probably recorded the same period as her Colombia singles. Following the failure to complete "Paint a Lady", a mixture of country, folk, and psychedelic songs, Christie abandoned her dreams of recording as an independent artist, working instead as a jingle singer and focusing on personal and family life. "I had decided against being a normal singer because jingle work was easier to fit around the children. I sang about bladder control, detergents, Diet Pepsi and Maxwell House coffee," she said during a 2008 interview.

26. Richard Harris - Interim (3:06) From the album "The Yard Went On Forever...", 1968
Richard John Harris (1 October 1930 – 25 October 2002) was an Irish actor and singer. He appeared on stage and in many films, appearing as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and King Arthur in the 1967 film Camelot, as well as the 1981 revival of the stage musical.
Harris recorded several albums of music, one of which, "A Tramp Shining", included the seven-minute hit song "MacArthur Park". This song was written by Jimmy Webb, and it reached number 2 on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart.  It also topped several music sales charts in Europe during the summer of 1968.
"The Yard Went On Forever" is the second album by Richard Harris, released in 1968, was written, arranged, and produced by Jimmy Webb. A review of the album in Billboard said "Webb's material is treated with class and finesse" by Harris. In his review on Allmusic, Bruce Eder praised the project, writing that "the lyrics are dazzling in their cascading imagery, the music is richer and more vividly conceived and recorded, and the entire album works magnificently."

27. Crispin Glover - Getting Out of Bed (2:36) From the album "The Big Problem ≠ the Solution. The Solution = Let It Be.", 1989
Crispin Hellion Glover (born April 20, 1964) is an American actor and director, best known for portraying eccentric characters on screen, such as George McFly in Back to the Future (1985), Layne in River's Edge (1986), Bobby McBurney in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), the Thin Man in Charlie's Angels (2000) and its sequel (2003), Willard Stiles in Willard (2003), Grendel in Beowulf (2007), Phil Wedmaier in Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) and The Knave of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (2010).
In 1989, during a hiatus from films, Glover released an album titled "The Big Problem ≠ the Solution. The Solution = Let It Be." Bradley Torreano of Allmusic described the album as "sounding like a cross between King Missile and circus music, The Big Problem is one crazy slab of sound. Glover's voice (which has a thin, endearing tremble) serves as the narrator to the world of nonsense he's documented on this album. Occasionally he takes the listener by surprise with a melody."

28. Marks and Lebzelter - Baked Beans (3:36) From the album "Rock and Other Four Letter Words", 1968
New York-based duo J Marks (1930-2001) & Shipen Lebzelter (1942-1986) released their one and only LP in 1968 on Columbia Masterworks. It revolves around a stockpile of cut-up quotes taken from Marks' interviews with rock stars of the time for his eponymous book (essentially a book of photos by Linda Eastman, soon to be McCartney).
The likes of Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Brian Wilson, Grace Slick etc. all feature, spliced with progressive rock, wigged-out electronics, tape loops and even gospel songs about baked beans in a unique conflagration of sound poetry, Stockhausen-esque compositional strategy and free-ranging, experimental '60s psychedelia.
Lebzelter would go on to found The Trees Community and release a legendary Christian folk album in 1975, while Marks subsequently changed his name to Jamake Highwater and devote his life to writing about and preserving Native American art and culture.

29. The Space Lady - Across the Universe (3:31) From the album "On the Street of Dreams", 2018
Susan Dietrich Schneider, known as The Space Lady, born 1948 in Pueblo, Colorado and raised in Las Animas, Colorado, US, is a singer and musician in the genres space music, synth pop, and psychedelic pop. She is also a paradigm of the genre known as outsider music.
Press release for this album: Transmitting messages of peace and harmony, The Space Lady began her odyssey on the streets of Boston in the late 70s, then San Francisco ten years later, playing versions of contemporary pop music with an accordion and dressed flamboyantly. Following the theft and destruction of her accordion , The Space Lady invested in a then-new Casio keyboard, complete with a phase shifter and headset mic, birthing an otherworldly new dimension to popular song that has captured the imaginations of the underground and its leading exponents ever since. After having toured successfully all around the world with her greatest 90s hits record she felt it was time to record new songs... and so did she!"

30. Jack Hargreaves - Tench Part 6 (1:09) From the album "Know Your Fish", 1972

31. Gillan - Egg Timer (5:43) From the album "For Gillan Fans Only", 1980
Ian Gillan (born 19 August 1945) is an English singer and songwriter. He is the lead singer and lyricist for the rock band Deep Purple. Gillan was a rock band formed in 1978, one of the few hard rock bands to make a significant impact and commercial success in the United Kingdom during the early 1980s, with 1 gold and 4 silver albums.
Glory Road was their third album, released in 1980. A limited edition of the album contained the free LP "For Gillan Fans Only", a collection of offcuts and outtakes. The track "Egg Timer" is a spoof of the "Vice Versa" single by Samson, who featured Bruce Dickinson before he joined Iron Maiden. On this track the band quite successfully replicate the sound of many piss-poor 70s pub/club bands. The guitar solo has to be heard to be believed, and the climax to the song will have you in raptures. Or disgusted.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Songs from Beneath the Spaghetti Tree Vol. 53

After the previous volume which was dedicated to the 60s & 70s, back to normal for this one. A wide selection of (mostly) obscure music spanning every decade from the 60s to the present day, though this volume leans heavily towards psychedelia. Not much of a surprise there I guess!
Thanks again to Sarah who's online photos I will be using for artwork on the current batch of Spaghetti Tree volumes. Also thanks to Manerg who's bandcamp wishlist I found quite influential in some of the artists featured on this volume. Info on each track provided in download file.

  1. The Boo Radleys - I Will Always Ask You Where You've Been Even Though I Know the Answer (3:04)
  2. The Dandelion Set - Pristina Strawberry Girl (2:23)
  3. Richard in Your Mind - All I Can Do (3:30)
  4. The Future Eve featuring Robert Wyatt - 04.08 (2:49)
  5. The Galaxy Electric - Calm Down (3:38)
  6. Edu Passeto & Gui Tavares - Herói de Jornal (2:20)
  7. Gravenhurst - The Velvet Cell (5:00)
  8. Robyn Hitchcock & Andy Partridge - Turn Me On, Deadman (3:34)
  9. Pilot - Auntie Iris (1:48)
10. Testbild! - Vita Staden (4:53)
11. Forever Pavot - Ça Lance (3:16)
12. The Paupers - Black Thank You Package (3:08)
13. Syd Barrett - Golden Hair (Take 5) (2:13)
14. Here and Now - Seventies Youth (4:57)
15. Choo Choo Train - Happy Bicycle (2:55)
16. Fred Lane & His Hittite Hotshots - The Man With the Foldback Ears (2:48)
17. Roy Wood - Wake Up (3:20)
18. Humphreys & Keen - You Too (3:48)
19. Svitlana Nianio - Episode 6 (3:09)
20. Los Destellos - Boogaloo del Perro (3:28)
21. Frown Pow'r - Keep the Bores at Bay (2:39)
22. Maud Octallinn - La Souplesse (2:41)
23. The New Lines - A Solitary Congress (3:50)
24. Super Furry Animals - Venus & Serena (3:24)

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Come My Way: The Best of St. Thomas

St. Thomas was the name used by Norwegian folk/ musician Thomas Hansen. He died tragically young in 2007 at the age of 31. He'd taken a combination of drugs, some prescribed, some not, and it seems probable he arrived at his death through an unlucky and unintended combination of the two.  His mental problems had been well-known for several years, something of which he had openly expressed both from stage and in interviews. In his lifetime he released 6 studio albums and one live album. A posthumous album, titled "A Mouse in a Crowded House", consisting of demos recorded shortly before his death, was released in 2016.

The first time I heard St. Thomas was on one of the compilation CDs released by Uncut magazine, back in 2002. The track featured, "Oh I Have Left the Ground", was quite similar to the early/mid '70s recordings of Neil Young, a period of Young I find the most compelling, so I purchased the album it came from soon after. I was also luckily able to see him perform live on stage a couple of times in 2002/2003. 

For this compilation I've picked songs from all studio albums released when he was alive, plus a couple of EPs, and a track he contributed to a Lee Hazlewood tribute album. I decided not to include anything from the posthumous release, to me it's quite obvious most of these songs were nowhere near the finished article and should never have been released. Also missing are any tracks from the "Live in Europe" album, the first draft of this comp did include 3 tracks but I felt they sat uncomfortably with the studio recordings so I removed.

Lastly, thanks to the lovely Sarah who offered some advice/a song suggestion during the making of this compilation. More information about St. Thomas can be found here & here. Info about origin of each track included in download file. Enjoy!

  1. Mysterious Walks (2:39)
  2. Dance to the Disco (4:01)
  3. Twisted Cowboy (3:01)
  4. Oh I Have Left the Ground (3:27)
  5. Ride (3:24)
  6. Be Cool Be Nice (3:23)
  7. Into Your Deep (3:39)
  8. An Artist With a Brilliant Disguise (3:55)
  9. The Mexican Father (3:05)
10. The Railroad (2:53)
11. The Charity Ego (3:23)
12. She Married a Cowboy (3:26)
13. The Present (2:37)
14. People in the Forest (2:45)
15. Sheer Wonder (3:29)
16. Like You Know (3:14)
17. Sugarmilk Coffee (1:56)
18. Strangers Out of Blue (4:06)
19. Falling Down (3:21)
20. The Play (2:42)
21. What Have I Done (2:56)
22. Thinking (2:40)
23. A Long Long Time (3:11)
24. Like the Byrds (3:36)
25. Come My Way (2:58)

Monday, 20 January 2020

What the Folk is Going On? (updated)

Thanks to a comment from Nihil Yung/Andy, it came to my attention that one of my earliest compilations, posted here, was in mp3 format only, so here's the "rejigged" version in FLAC and mp3. I've also tweaked the cover somewhat, but I've left the original cover in the download files so you can choose which one you prefer. 

  1. Fresh Maggots - Rosemary Hill (3:34)
  2. Comus - Diana (4:34)
  3. Robin Scott - The Sound of Rain (4:26)
  4. Mellow Candle - The Poet and the Witch (2:51)
  5. Subway - All the Good Things (3:54)
  6. The Pentangle - Sally Go Round the Roses (3:35)
  7. Karen Dalton - Something on Your Mind (3:22)
  8. Ora - Seashore (2:50)
  9. Fuchsia - The Nothing Song (8:24)
10. Wizz Jones - Dazzling Stranger (3:03)
11. Spirogyra - The Future Won't Be Long (4:18)
12. Judy Henske & Jerry Yester - Raider (5:12)
13. Alan Hull - United States of Mind (3:05)
14. Gordon Jackson - Song for Freedom (4:49)
15. Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes - Jusqu'a Ce Que la Force de T'aimer Me Manque (2:58)

16. Montreal - What About the Wind? (2:26)
17. Fraser & DeBolt - David's Tune (3:24)
18. Jade - Mayfly (3:33)
19. Oriental Sunshine - Across Your Life (3:28)
20. Ithaca - Journey (4:59)

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Mashing Mole: The Best of Richard Davies

How to describe the genius that is Richard Davies...? I'll try to keep it brief!
I've been a fan of his work ever since picking up the 12" single by his first band The Moles, "Tendrils and Paracetamol" back in 1991. To say I was stunned with the inventiveness of this 4 track EP would be an understatement. Keen to hear more, soon after they released on CD the album "Untune the Sky", which was originally released on vinyl as a mini-album. The CD included the 4 tracks from that EP, but tracks available on the vinyl and CD versions differed somewhat, which was frustrating. Thankfully the CD reissue of the album in 1999 included tracks from both releases of the album plus the "Tendrils" EP and 3 tracks from a self-titled EP released in 1992.

After recording a Peel session (which apparently Peel didn't like!) in 1992, everything went a bit pear shaped and apart from Davies the rest of the band relocated back to Australia. Davies kept the band name to release in 1994 the rather interesting (and completely different sounding) "Instinct" album. The same year also saw him collaborate with Eric Matthews under the name of Cardinal, releasing their outstanding self-titled album which received much critical acclaim. Cardinal then split, it seemed Davies didn't have much luck regarding longevity of any band he was involved in. After this he released 3 excellent solo albums between 1996 and 2000, and then silence... 

Silence for several years and I thought that was it, we'd never hear from him again. But, in the year 2009 he teamed up with Robert Pollard to record the album "Jar of Jam Ton of Bricks" under the name of Cosmos, though the majority of the album Pollard sang lead vocals. This was a short-lived affair, but thankfully we didn't have to wait too long as Davies got back together with Eric Matthews in 2012 to record a second Cardinal album, "Hymns". While this album wasn't celebrated as much as their debut, it's still full of fine songs of which many would have sat comfortably on that first album. Again this collaboration was a short-lived affair, and we had more silence from Davies until in 2016 he 'reformed' The Moles to record the album "Tonight's Music". This was met with indifference by many who wanted to hear The Moles of old, but even though the album is a bit of a mess as a whole (plus way too long), there is an excellent album hiding in there! 2 years later saw another Moles album, "Code Word", which was rather more consistent than the previous release, I'd go as far as saying it's amongst his best work.

I didn't mean to go on so much about Davies but he's had quite a varied and complicated musical career over the years! For the purpose of this anthology I decided to include 2 tracks from each of the albums mentioned above, apart from Cosmos which I see more as a Pollard album, plus a rare solo single (track 19). It was really tough debating which songs to include, but I felt I had to start and end the mix with 2 tracks from the "Tendrils" EP, my first introduction to his work. 

Hopefully you'll enjoy his songs as much as I have the past (almost) 30 years. I recommend every album he has recorded, but for beginners I believe you should seek out the fine collection of early Moles recordings titled "Flashbacks and Dream Sequences", released in 2014.

Finally, a big thanks yet again to Manerg who provided the rather excellent title for this mix, plus his help with the cover artwork.

  1. The Moles - This Is a Happy Garden (4:56)
  2. Richard Davies - Cantina (4:18)
  3. The Moles - Already in Black (2:11)
  4. Cardinal - If You Believe in Christmas Trees (3:56)
  5. Richard Davies - Why Not Bomb the Movies? (2:51)
  6. The Moles - Beauty Queen of Watts (2:24)
  7. The Moles - What If? (4:15)
  8. The Moles - Surf's Up (4:02)
  9. Richard Davies - Coldest Day (3:36)
10. Cardinal - Carbolic Smoke Ball (3:27)
11. Richard Davies - Main Street Electrical Parade (3:21)
12. The Moles - Raymond, Did You See the Red Queen? (3:31)
13. The Moles - Going Down (2:26)
14. Richard Davies - Chips Rafferty (3:17)
15. Cardinal - Silver Machines (3:53)
16. The Moles - Bury Me Happy (3:02)
17. The Moles - Damien Lovelock (1:06)
18. Richard Davies - Stars (3:10)
19. Richard Davies - Cooper Rediscovered Radials (3:30)
20. Cardinal - Kal (4:52)
21. The Moles - Richard Davies 6.0 (4:05)
22. The Moles - Tendrils and Paracetamol (6:41)

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Songs from Beneath the Spaghetti Tree Vol. 52

For those not so keen on "modern" music, this volume is dedicated to songs from the 1960s/70s. As usual for these Spaghetti Tree mixes it's quite an eclectic collection, something for everybody I hope... Info about each track (album/year of release) is included in the download file.

  1. The Duke of Burlington - Viva Tirado (Part One) (4:22)
  2. Burnier & Cartier - Parte Capital (3:01)
  3. Homegas - Die for a Dime (1:49)
  4. Woodoo - Kylan Vanhin & Kylan Vanhimman Kuolema (4:13)
  5. Del Shannon - I Think I Love You (4:19)
  6. Franco Battiato - Aria di Rivoluzione (5:00)
  7. Ilous & Decuyper - Eleonor Rigby (4:38)
  8. The Hubbels - City Woman (2:30)
  9. Herbie Hancock - Bring Down the Birds (1:43)
10. The Yardbirds - Turn into Earth (alternate version) (3:08)
11. Propinquity - Miles Before Sleeping (2:32)
12. Edgar Broughton Band - John Wayne (3:10)
13. Bobbi Humphrey - Harlem River Drive (7:40)
14. Ivor Cutler - Everybody Got (2:07)
15. Stackridge - To the Sun and Moon (2:50)
16. Atlas - Töröld le a Könnyeidet! (3:08)
17. Julie Tippetts - What Is Living (2:24)
18. Carrie Nations - In the Long Run (2:48)
19. Le Orme - Figure di Cartone (3:48)
20. Pete Dello and Friends - Harry the Earwig (2:20)
21. David Stoughton - The Summer Had No Breeze (5:08)
22. Bruno Nicolai - Invasamento (2:12)
23. David - Take My Hand (3:44)

  Download FLAC
  Download mp3