Archive for the ‘Reviews & Commentary’ Category

10 Sun Ra Albums to Blow Your Mind

May 22, 2014

Calling Planet Earth: Sun Ra, the Original Space Musician:
The 100th Centenary on Echoes Tonight

StarburstTonight on Echoes, we take a side trip to a different kind of space music to celebrate the Centenary of Sun Ra.

Upon hearing Sun Ra’s “Constellation” in a blindfold test Brian Eno said, “I wish I had done it myself. I’m extremely envious that somebody else did it. I’d give that five [stars] actually.”

Guitarist Syd Barrett reputedly blew his mind to The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra before launching Pink Floyd.

Guitarist Daevid Allen was inspired by Sun Ra when he formed the Daevid Allen Trio and went on to found The Soft Machine and his long-lived space band, Gong.

SUN RA was the original space musician, although when most people think of space music, he’s probably not the artist who comes to mind. A quick list of cosmic artists might include Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Gong. But probably not Sun Ra. Music from the Hearts of Space has never played him, but Sun Ra was creating cosmic fantasies since at least 1956 when he released his first album, Jazz by Sun Ra (later called Sun Song). But, Sun Ra wasn’t “chill” or “contemplative.” He didn’t float through space, he screamed. But he was also funny, funky, and free floating.

Szwed BookSun Ra was born this day, May 22, 1914, a date which wasn’t known until the mid-1990s when author John Szwed dug it up for his excellent book, Space is the Place: The Lives & Times of Sun Ra.   Tonight on Echoes, we’ll delve into the more contemplative side of Sun Ra, on his centenary. He left the planet in 1993.

Thirty Sun Ra albums have just been released on iTunes this week so there’s a great opportunity to catch up on these masterworks. Some of the albums below are in that release.

TEN SUN RA ALBUMS TO BLOW YOUR MIND

Space is the place 1 Space Is The Place
This is a middle period Sun Ra album from 1972 and it’s related to the film of the same name, but it’s not the soundtrack. The album is centered by the side-long title track, a chanting excursion with an insistent funk groove with Danny Thompson playing the baritone riff that anchors you in a series of free blowing excursions from saxophonist John Gilmore, altoist Marshall Allen and Sun Ra while singer June Tyson chants the lyrics of freedom in space.

Heliocentric-12 The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra Volume 1
This is the chamber jazz side of Sun Ra, a music that works with space of the musical kind. Using instruments like the bass marimba, Ra carves out an abstract world that’s about as serene as he gets.
Astro-Black3 Astro Black
This is probably the best example of Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism. The title track is another of Ra’s groove centered songs with heavy synthesizer washes while June Tyson unfolds Ra’s mythology

Astro Black Mythology
Astro Timeless Immortality
Astro Thought in Mystic Sound
Astro Black of Outer Space
Astro Natural of Darkest Stars
Astro Reach Beyond the Stars

It’s intoxicating music.

Solar-Myth V14 The Solar Myth Approach Volume 1
This is another one that uses a lot of space in the music, broken up by mind-fracturing improvisations. The first piece is a prototypical space work with Ra playing a trance pulse while horns drone in long sustained tones creating a mood of mystery and menace. For the flip side of sonic density, get the second volume.

End of the World5 It’s After the End of the World
If you have never seen Sun Ra live, then you really haven’t experienced him in full effect. Released in 1970, this combines two live performances from Europe and features the Arkestra at a peak of tightness and innovation.

Lanquidity6 Lanquidity
This is one of Sun Ra’s best produced albums and also his funkiest and spaciest in a more conventional sense. Among the usual Ra regulars was guest trumpeter Eddie Gale. Ra adopts a space age bachelor pad approach on tracks like “Lanquidity” and “Twin Stars of Thence” and gets downright spooky spacey on “There are Other Worlds They Have not Told your of)”

Montreux 7 Live at Montreux
This album might be overlooked, but it’s a transitional album where Sun Ra began reincorporating swing music into his repertoire. Along with tracks like “On Sound Infinity Spheres” he also plays a roaring version of “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

ra_space_soundtrack8 Soundtrack to the Film Space is the Place
This is a great place to start with Sun Ra. It’s the soundtrack to a science fiction film (what else?) he produced in the early 1970s. It features more muted versions of the title piece and “It’s After the End of the World” as well as Sun Ra themes like “We Travel the Spaceways” and “Outer Spaceways Incorporated.” This is as close as Ra gets to bite-sized.


Media Dreams9 Media Dreams
I cite this album, which I have on an original Sun Ra El Saturn Records pressing with hand-drawn artwork, for one track, the aforementioned “Constellation.” It’s one of the few times where Ra uses a drum machine, in this case a primitive one like you’d find on a home organ, but Ra amps up that groove, doubling it with baritone horns and leads it into a free-funk improvisation with a John Gilmore tenor solo that will rip your gut out.

Patch of Blue10 Impressions of a Patch of Blue by Walt Dickerson
This isn’t a Sun Ra album, proper. He’s a sideman to vibraphonist Walt Dickerson and it’s remarkable to hear him in a more restrained and supportive role, playing celeste and harpsichord against Dickerson’s melodic vibe inventions.

I’ve had a more personal relationship with Sun Ra than with most other musicians. Ra came to Philadelphia in 1968. I arrived in 1972. I saw Sun Ra dozens of times live and when I worked at WXPN I saw him in many studio performances and interviews, some of which I conducted. I produced a radio documentary on him in 1982 and in 1997 I produced another one for NPR’s Jazz Profiles, Sun Ra’s Cosmic Swing.

I’ve written liner notes for a few Sun Ra albums, including the reissue of Lanquidity on the Evidence label. In reading over those notes, I realized a lot of it was about my own personal journey with Sun Ra and probably the reason I felt compelled to do an Echoes show on Sun Ra, even though it’s not quite the sound we have on the program.

 Lanquidity Liner Notes

In the Germantown section of Philadelphia, there’s an anonymous stone rowhouse with little to distinguish it from the other rundown buildings on the block. But for 25 years, this home had an interior glow powered by a seismic engine of big band jazz, cosmic space music and intergalactic tribalism. This was the home of Sun Ra and his Arkestra.

It was an unlikely location for this “band from outer space,” but then, as Sun Ra confessed to me, “Earth is an unlikely place for me to be in the first place.”

SunRaPosterPhiladelphia is often known as a spawning ground for innovative jazz musicians, but it’s also known as a city that musicians eventually leave. John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, The Heath Brothers and countless others headed up the New Jersey Turnpike to New York as soon as they garnered any reputation at all. As far as I know, Sun Ra is the only musician to reverse that course of jazz migration, moving to Philadelphia in 1968 and remaining there until he left the planet in 1993.

Lanquidity is one result of this often overlooked chapter in the cosmic annals of Sun Ra. His Arkestra’s gestation in Chicago and pilgrimage to New York City in the glory days of the 60s avant garde are the stuff of legend, but once Ra traveled south to Philadelphia, he might as well have taken a left turn into his hallowed home of Saturn. With long stays in Europe and the west coast and constant touring, he seemed to become a musician of the world rather than a local hero.

Sun Ra arrived in Philadelphia without ceremony, taking up residence at 5626 Morton Street in the declining Germantown section of the city. He said he came because “Philadelphia was the most evil place in the country,” but likely it was because the home was rented to the Arkestra by altoist Marshall Allen’s father. It looked like all the other rowhouses in the neighborhood, except they didn’t have windows covered with tin foil and psychedelic swirls on the door. But then, in the late sixties, that kind of decor hardly warranted a second glance.

Inside the darkened living room, Sun Ra’s electronic keyboards were stacked at one end while the Arkestra piled amongst the frayed furniture and surreal paintings of aliens and Egyptian symbology. Tucked amidst this clutter was an array of cosmic and spiritual paraphernalia. Ra would pull books off the shelf and floor, usually weighty philosophical-mystical tomes like “Book of Urantia.” A garish psychedelic oil painting of Ra, done by a fan, stared from the walls while the aroma of Ra’s vegetarian “Moon Stew” wafted from the kitchen in back.   Several members of the Arkestra lived a communal existence in the house, including tenor sax giant John Gilmore and most of the reed section.

You’d think they’d create a scene with the neighbors, but aside from around-the-clock rehearsals, no one was taken aback by Ra and the multi-hued raiment of his band members. Sonny would sit on the front stoop of the house, bantering with neighbors as they walked by on a hot Philly summer afternoon. And he was listed in the Philadelphia phone book just like them, under Ra, Sun.

Across the street from the house was an empty, wooded lot. When a tree there was felled by a lightning strike, Sun Ra had James Jacson get a piece of it to create the “Thunder Drum,” a centerpiece of Ra’s performances thereafter.

If you were on the Philadelphia jazz scene from 1968 to his passing in 1993, you couldn’t miss Sun Ra’s presence. Ra played concerts on a consistently irregular basis. In the early days, you might catch the Arkestra literally falling off the stage of Geno’s Empty Foxhole, their 18 plus musicians and dancers finding scant room on a minuscule proscenium accustomed to trios. Located in the parish hall basement of St. Mary’s Church, the Empty Foxhole, gave new meaning to the term “underground.” The first two rows were ripped out bus seats, the next few were old church pews and the rest were a motley collection of folding chairs. Yet, this was the Philly stop for The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Pharoah Sanders, Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers and other luminaries of the seventies avant-garde.

Sun Ra quickly outgrew the parish hall basement of the Foxhole and moved up to the actual church itself. St. Mary’s was one of many religious venues in which Ra performed in Philadelphia and although his music may have been sanctified, these churches never had an experience like this before or after. Playing a Halloween eve show at United Calvary Methodist Church in West Philadelphia, the altar/stage was bathed in a classic 60s liquid light show from Michel Polizzi’s Quasar Lights, while the Arkestra danced through the pews in a cosmic conga line. Ra would pull unsuspecting audience members out of their seats and shout in their faces, “Will you give up your death for me?”
But Sun Ra didn’t need churches or light shows for atmosphere. He transformed every place he played into a carnival, whether it was the cramped club Grendel’s Lair on South Street, the Painted Bride Art Center in Old City or the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Michel Polizzi's Quasar Lights

Michel Polizzi’s Quasar Lights

Because of Sun Ra’s residence in Philadelphia, it became the place to pick up his obscure, self-produced El Saturn sides. At Third Street Jazz & Rock, a record store at Third and Market Streets in Center City, Ra held a hallowed spot. The entire back wall was covered with John Coltrane albums, but the wall on the left was filled with the hand-painted covers of Sun Ra’s El Saturn label. Every few weeks or so, Ra baritone saxophonist and foreman Danny Thompson, would walk into the store, an armful of Sun Ra’s latest opus or two under his arms and negotiate a C.O.D. deal with store owner Jerry Gordon. Philadelphia fans heard Ra odysseys like Media Dreams and Disco 3000 that are rarities elsewhere, and classics like Live At Montreux debuted in Philadelphia on El Saturn years before they were released on “regular” commercial labels.

Ra probably never got as much radio exposure as he did in Philadelphia at this time. He appeared frequently on Temple University’s jazz station, WRTI and until the mid-1980s, Sun Ra sides were de rigeur on Blue Genesis, the nightly jazz show on the University of Pennsylvania’s WXPN. Sonny himself was a frequent guest, expounding on the universe as college DJs sat with a mixture of fear and confusion. I know. I was one of them.

“When you interviewed Ra, the questions that you asked really didn’t matter much,” remembers Russell Woessner, a DJ on WXPN and WRTI. “He’d respond with his own answers. He told me once he was an angel and that stopped me in my tracks.”

Often, Ra would bring up his books of poetry and read them on the air, as the DJ mixed in music from his albums.

I can remember more than one occasion with sixteen Arkestra members cramming into WXPN’s minuscule studio, Ra pounding on a creaky upright piano, the horns blasting and Ra dancers cavorting in the hallway while DJ/engineers Woessner, Jules Epstein and Kimberly Haas tried to wrestle the sound onto the air. After the last note had bleated away, Danny Thompson walked in the control booth and took the tapes, some eventually surfacing as Sun Ra albums like My Favorite Things.

bumperstickerAt one point, Ra tried to convince WXPN’s program director, Jules Epstein, to marshal 144,000 musicians to perform a sacred concert related to the coming biblical Armageddon. Epstein wasn’t quite persuaded, but Ra succeeded in convincing WXPN chief engineer Tom Buchler to record him for Buchler’s own fledgling Philly Jazz label, which you now hold in your hands.

Ra occasionally broke the surface of the jazz underground in Philadelphia. He performed on Philadelphia’s public TV station, WHYY and he was documented in local filmmaker Bob Mugge’s Sun Ra: Make A Joyful Noise.   Mugge couldn’t afford to bring Sun Ra to the great pyramids, so he filmed him in the Egyptian rooms of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Mellon Jazz Festival was dedicated to Sun Ra in the year 2000, although I suspect Sonny, who always liked science fiction, would’ve preferred being honored in 2001, in keeping with Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. He certainly took Philadelphia on a trip.

Although he left the planet from his childhood home in Birmingham, Alabama, Sun Ra’s life effectively ended in Philadelphia after he suffered a series of increasingly debilitating strokes.

The house at 5626 Morton is a bit quieter now and other Arkestra members, including John Gilmore and James Jacson have also moved on to other worlds. Yet, the band continues on, now under the direction of Marshall Allen. Members of the Arkestra still live in Sun Ra’s home, and if you drive by you might still catch an echo of the music created there.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

WHERE & HOW TO LISTEN TO ECHOES

Echoes is on different stations, on different days and different times.
You can listen locally or stream-live from our many stations’ websites.
You can also stream it on-demand from Echoes On-line, our streaming subscription service.  You can sign up for a 1 week trial of unlimited streaming for $2.99 here.

Join the Echoes CD of the Month Club. and get Hans Christian’s Hidden Treasures, the May CD of the Month. You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time. You can do it all right here.
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Celtic in the Air.

March 17, 2014

A Celtic Echoes Soundscape for St. Patrick’s Day

GloamingAs I put together our Celtic Soundscape for St. Patrick’s Day, I recalled an article I wrote seven years ago called “Whither Celtic Music.”  At the time I was struck by the dearth of new Celtic music coming out.  In 2014, that still remains true.  Now, let me be clear. There is still a vital Celtic music community with lots of discs being released. However, not too much of it is in the Echoes vein. NadurIt’s quite a contrast to even 15 years ago, a few years after the Celtic Craze crescendoed with the 1996 arrival of Riverdance in America,  but when it was still so prevalent in the mass consciousness that we could produce our Celtic Pipeline April Fools piece and it was still relevant. Now, it would be like writing a disco parody. It seems like most of the Celtic musicians have either returned to more traditional roots, or gone dark. Clannad only just returned after a 15 year absence with their album Nádúr, Nightnoise disbanded and two of its principle members Mícheál Ó Domhnaill and  Johnny Cunningham, have passed.  Davy Spillane, the uilleann pipe virtuoso has fallen completely off the map, releasing his last album 10 years ago.  They are all among a long list of artists who populated our normal playlists and the special Celtic shows, but who have disappeared in one way or another. Sacred Spirit

Looking through my CD anthologies to prepare this show, it seemed like every other album was titled Celtic something.  Celtic Harpestry, Celtic Christmas, Celtic Odyssey.  But almost all of them date from the last millennium.  Even seven years ago when Hearts of Space records put out the seventh volume of their signature Celtic Twilight series, there was actually  little Celtic music on it. It’s heavily padded with gothic chants by the musically un-Celtic likes of Jocelyn Montgomery, Stellamara and Mark O’Connor.

There are great Irish artists out there, including Lúnasa, Flook and Kila, but more and more they are sounding a more traditional note and not the evocative Celtic fusion that brought the music to such prominence. Afro Celt Sound System kicked the music to a new level with possibly the last wrinkle in Celtic fusion, but they haven’t released anything in 4 years since their collection Capture: 1995-2010 (for which I wrote the liner notes.)

Journey so FarYet there might be some signs of new life in Celtic music.  Loreena McKennitt’s An Ancient Muse, her last album of original compositions, won Celtic Album of the Year in a New Age Reporter poll, but there is barely a Celtic mode, rhythm, melody or instrument on it. A great album, but the Celtic connection is tenuous. But in recent years McKennitt has returned to her Celtic roots with two albums of traditional songs, The Wind That Shakes the Barely and the live Troubadours of the Rhine. She recently released a compilation that has some of her early Celtic sounds on it.

Afro Celt Sound System’s Iarla O’Lionaird has a new project called The Gloaming taking a chamber approach to his sean nos singing and Afro Celt co-founder, Simon Emmerson works Celtic themes into his pan-global Fresh Handmade Sound Collective.  And then there are new Celts like Seti the First who are Irish but have barely a Celtic sound in their exotic music.

It’s not exactly a Celtic renaissance, but it’s not quite twilight yet.  Hear a different kind of Irish sound tonight on Celtic Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Mark-McGuire-Along-The-WayJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Mark McGuire’s Along the Way is our March CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

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Sci-Fi Echoes: 10 Great Sci-Fi CDs

March 12, 2014

 Science Fiction Music Through the Ages

FP-CvrToday on Echoes, it’s a trip into the world of science fiction.  Sci-Fi literature and movies have always had an impact on a certain breed of musicians, usually the ones who were a bit tripped out and cerebral.  You’d have trouble pinning down the first Sci-Fi music.  Was it Otto Luening’s “Fantasy in Space” for flute and magnetic tape in 1952?  You could go to the early 20th century for Gustav Holst’s The Planets, but that was more about the solar system and cosmos than science fiction.  Bebe & Louis Barron’s 1956 all electronic score for Forbidden Planet should certainly be mentioned.  But the godfather of science fiction music has to be Sun Ra, whose Intergalactic, Solar Myth Discipline and Jet Set Omniverse Arkestras told tales of space with Ra himself claiming he was born on Jupiter and not Birmingham, Alabama.  “Sun Ra and his band from outer Space will entertain you’re here” went one of his lyrics as they sung about “Rocket #9 leaving for the planet Venus.”

Sci-Fi themes bust out in the 1960s with Jefferson Starship’s Blows Against the Empire, Pink Floyd’s early work like “Interstellar Overdrive” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.”  But it was probably Hawkwind who took the Sci-Fi modality most to heart, spinning out psychedelic tales of inner and outer space travel, sometimes on their own, sometimes using lyrics from science fiction author Michael Moorcock.

SaucerProgressive Rock was a wellspring of Sci-Fi efforts from Yes’ optimistic “Starship Trooper” to King Crimson’s nightmarish “21st Century Schizoid Man.”  Gong created their Sci-Fi “Radio Gnome Invisible” trilogy and that carried into German space rock with Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and others draping their electronic journey’s in Psy-Fi imagery.  Vangelis took that sound to the screen with his score for Blade Runner although I would argue that an earlier release, Albedo 0.39, was a better album with a Sci-Fi theme. 

David Bowie created the biggest Sci-Fi hit with “Space Oddity” and the first science fiction song-cycle with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from MarsGary Numan carried that into the 1980s with Replicas with music and lyrics inspired by JG Ballard and Philip K. Dick’s dystopian nightmares.

Punk Rock wasn’t enamored of Sci-Fi imagery, although Spizzenergi had a great tune called “Where’s Captain Kirk?” But New Wave bands from  Ultravox & John Foxx to Depeche Mode embraced the more technological side of Sci-Fi.

EncounterThe 80s were awash in alien imagery from New Age to the later generation of Space music.  Steve Roach mixed mysticism and futurism on many of his albums like Traveler and On This Planet.  And Michael Stearns went full bore into space with Encounter: A Journey in the Key of Space.  Let’s not forget the label with which both these musicians were associated, Hearts of Space Records, which, especially early on, was heavily vested in the imagery of space and science fiction with albums like Kevin Braheny’s Galaxies and  Constance Demby’s Novus Magnificat: Through the Stargate.   The 90s found that imagery imbued in techno music and its stepchild, ambient music, especially with The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld and Future Sound of London’s Lifeforms, couching their psychedelic journeys in Sci-Fi metaphor.

BLUETECH_SPACEHOP_coverartIn the new millennium, science fiction music flows like a Matrix data stream from The Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots to zerO One’s electro-bop songs sampling Sci-Fi dialogue.  Bluetech has always had a bit of the Sci-Fi about him. His The Divine Invasion is inspired by Philip K. Dick’s “Valis” and his new album is Space Hop Chronicles Volume 1.

We take a trip into that Sci-Fi world tonight on Echoes.  Some of these artists will be there, some won’t and many others will be. We barely scratch the surface in two hours of space epics, monsters from the id and paranoid androids.  It’s Sci-Fi Echoes tonight.

See what a lot of listeners suggested for the show on the Echoesfans page Facebook.

 10 Great Sci-Fi Albums

1 David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from MarsZiggy
2 Tangerine Dream – Phaedra 
3 Gary Numan – Replicas
4 Pink Floyd – A Saucerful of Secrets
5 Gong – You
6 Hawkwind – Space Ritual
7 Mike Oldfield – Songs of Distant Earth
8 Bluetech – Space Hop Chronicles Vol 1
9 Bebe & Louis Barron – Forbidden Planet
10 Radiohead OK Computer

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Mark-McGuire-Along-The-WayJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Mark McGuire’s Along the Way is our March CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

Or Pick Up

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Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio. Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

Robert Ashley’s Perfect Life Ends

March 4, 2014

ROBERT ASHLEY PASSES AT 83

ashley-at-WTC2.1975Well, it may not have been so perfect, but Perfect Lives, Private Parts was the name of Robert Ashley’s multi-part meditation on life.  It was loosely called an opera, in the way that his contemporary, Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach was an opera, but less so.  Robert Ashley was ambient before Eno, composed avant-garde opera’s years before Philip Glass and did a form of rapping before rapping.  Check out Perfect Lives, Private Parts: The Bar below.  Ashley is from that post-John Cage generation that included David Behrman, Alvin Lucier and LaMonte YoungPerfectLivesBookAshley worked in the regions of the subconscious, those inner murmurings that bubble to the surface between sleep and waking.  Pieces like Automatic Writing created an ambient scrawl of his spoken word, including his uncontrolled murmurings from his Tourette’s Syndrome.  I interviewed Robert Ashley in the late 1980s for the radio series, Totally Wired.  You can hear it here: (Ignore the playlist and address spiel at the end)

Here’s a couple of Ashley’s signature tune.  My favorite remains Perfect Lives, Private Parts: The Bar with it’s psychotic boogie woogie piano from Blue Gene Tyranny and drunken ruminations making brilliant connections.  Unlike a lot of avant-garde composers, Ashley had a wry sense of humor in his work.  Robert Ashley was an American maverick’s who musicians and art cognoscenti knew, but who never rose about the avant-garde surface.  Explore his body of work and you might wonder why.  Robert Ashley had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and died on 3 March at approximately 1:30pm.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Mark-McGuire-Along-The-WayJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Mark McGuire’s Along the Way is our March CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

OR
Pick Up 
TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

LRC19-250pxJoin us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

Coldplay Spaces Out

February 25, 2014

Seems like Coldplay is really spacing out on this new song called “Midnight.” They haven’t released any info about it except the video director, Mary Wigmore. But this is definitely as ambient as pop music can get.  And singer Chris Martin seems ready to join the falsetto forces of Bon Iver, et al.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

LRC19-250pxTRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

 

“Phaedra” at 40 in Echoes Podcast

February 21, 2014

Hear an Homage to Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra in the Echoes Podcast

Tangerine Dream circa 1974

Tangerine Dream circa 1974

On February 20th, 1974, Tangerine Dream released the album that changed electronic music for the next 40 years.  It takes its name from Greek mythology and its sound from the imaginations of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christoph Franke, the three members of Tangerine Dream at the time.  Phaedra was their fifth album, coming on the heals of Atem in 1973 and Zeit in 1972.  Both of those albums were abstract improvisations of floating sound fields.  Zeit in particular was a minimalist, Ligeti-like exploration in texture and sustain with a mixture of electronics and a cello quartet.   Phaedra had some of those elements, but on the side-long title track they were linked to sequencer grooves like rubber bands being twanged in space.  It’s the sound you hear in every retro-space band, a lot of techno and dance hits like Donna Summers’I Feel Love.”

PhaedraOn the Echoes Podcast, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Phaedra with commentary from several artists influenced by this recording.  Moby, Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Alan Howarth sing Phaedra’s praises and Edgar Froese reveals the thought behind the introduction of sequencers into the band.  We’ll also hear two tracks off the album and a set of music from Tangerine Dream influenced artists.  You can trip into space on Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra in the Echoes Podcast

Five  years ago, I compiled a list of the 10 Best Tangerine Dream albums.  Phaedra is at the top of that list.  Here’s the rest.

10 Best Tangerine Dream Albums From Number Six of 20 Icons of Echoes
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On the air I said I’d pick five, but I decided to go with ten.

1-Phaedra
2-Rubycon
Phaedra and Rubycon have always been a pair for me and  that pair is half of a quartet with Ricochet and Stratosfear.   These are the signature Dream albums, the blueprint for every retro-space artist out there, the sound that influenced ambient, techno, and more.   The classic trio of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann found the secret of rubber band sequencer patterns discovered by Tonto’s Expanding Headband 2 years earlier.  The Dream   bound them in  interlocking patterns, mellotron chords and synthesizer textures.    Phaedra is transitional, retaining some of the avant-garde Ligeti-esque texturalism from Zeit on the mellotron drenched “Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare,” but the title track and Rubycon, an album length composition were definitive journeys into inner space.

3-Logos
Tangerine Dream was an exciting live band in the 70s and half of the 80s.  Listening to Logos, from 1982, you can hear why.  This was the Dream working with a precision and structure that earlier works didn’t have, but they were still creating in long-form with a fair amount of improvisation.  Johannes Schmoelling had been in the group for a while at this point and his influence is felt in gorgeous melodies and rhythms that have you ricocheting off your seat and between your headphone cups.  This was really the truly last live recording from the group.  Subsequent live albums would be more pre-programmed performances.

4-Zeit
It’s been called their most experimental CD, but I think it’s their most thoughtful, controlled and uncontrived album.  Playing with a cello quartet, it’s a journey of interwoven tones phasing through each other from acoustic to electric to something entirely new.  Ambient before ambient, but owing much to Gyorgy Ligeti pieces like “Atmospheres,” synths, gliss guitar, organ and “noise generators” unfold in undulating, slow motion patterns across what was a double LP.  This 1972 recording is a drone zone manifesto, and a beautifully enveloping work free of melody, rhythm and just about any other conventional music signpost.

5-Tangram
This is one of the last long-form Dream recordings.  Originally a two sided work, Tangram is a  multi-movement opus sometimes sabotaged by episodic writing, but still with some haunting themes amidst the pounding sequencers and more melodic invention than most prior Dream albums.

6-Stratosfear
Part of the classic quartet of albums, this was their most commercial release to date and the first album with real melodies.

7-Ricochet
The other album in the classic quartet.  Ricochet was their first live album, although it was all new materiel and sounds like a studio recording.  Another two-sided excursion that moves from the quietest solo piano spot to thundering sequencers from the heavens.

8-Goblins’ Club
Goblins’ Club recalls the 80’s sound of Tangerine Dream when they were just adding more aggressive rhythms and clearly defined melodies to their fanciful spacescapes.  But unlike so many of their post-Virgin releases, this 1996 albums doesn’t bludgeon you with canned synthesizer bombast.  There seems to be more exploratory fun and a more personal sound   as they drop in surreal free falls in the midst of their dramatic compositions.

9-Force Majeure
Something of an anomaly in that it features a drummer, Klaus Krieger, and gives the Dream a more fluid and aggressive sound, especially in the screaming side long title track.

10-Optical Race
I know that consensus opinion has it that the Private Music years sucked, and they did, except for Optical Race the first album they made for the label, owned by former Tangerine Dreamer, Peter Bauman.  With just Froese and Paul Haslinger, they create dense, rhythmically charged excursions that stand up to some of their best works and hold up better than albums like Le Parc.

Finally an album that should be on the list, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, the third solo album from Edgar Froese and a Dream album by any other measure.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

LRC19-250pxGIVE THEM THE GIFT OF TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

 

 

Tangerine Dream’s “Phaedra” at 40

February 20, 2014

PhaedraOn February 20th, 1974, Tangerine Dream released the album that changed electronic music for the next 40 years.  It takes its name from Greek mythology and its sound from the imaginations of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christoph Franke, the three members of Tangerine Dream at the time.  Phaedra was their fifth album, coming on the heals of Atem in 1973 and Zeit in 1972.  Both of those albums were abstract improvisations of floating sound fields.  Zeit in particular was a minimalist, Ligeti-like exploration in texture and sustain with a mixture of electronics and a cello quartet.   Phaedra had some of those elements, but on the side-long title track they were linked to sequencer grooves like rubber bands being twanged in space.  It’s the sound you hear in every retro-space band, a lot of techno and dance hits like Donna Summers’I Feel Love.”

Tonight on Echoes, we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Phaedra with commentary from several artists influenced by this recording.  Moby, Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Alan Howarth sing Phaedra’s praises and Edgar Froese reveals the thought behind the introduction of sequencers into the band.  We’ll also hear two tracks off the album and a set of music from Tangerine Dream influenced artists.  You can trip into space on Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra tonight on Echoes

Five  years ago, I compiled a list of the 10 Best Tangerine Dream albums.  Phaedra is at the top of that list.  Here’s the rest.

10 Best Tangerine Dream Albums From Number Six of 20 Icons of Echoes
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On the air I said I’d pick five, but I decided to go with ten.

1-Phaedra
2-Rubycon
Phaedra and Rubycon have always been a pair for me and  that pair is half of a quartet with Ricochet and Stratosfear.   These are the signature Dream albums, the blueprint for every retro-space artist out there, the sound that influenced ambient, techno, and more.   The classic trio of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann found the secret of rubber band sequencer patterns discovered by Tonto’s Expanding Headband 2 years earlier.  The Dream   bound them in  interlocking patterns, mellotron chords and synthesizer textures.    Phaedra is transitional, retaining some of the avant-garde Ligeti-esque texturalism from Zeit on the mellotron drenched “Mysterious Semblance at the Strands of Nightmare,” but the title track and Rubycon, an album length composition were definitive journeys into inner space.

3-Logos
Tangerine Dream was an exciting live band in the 70s and half of the 80s.  Listening to Logos, from 1982, you can hear why.  This was the Dream working with a precision and structure that earlier works didn’t have, but they were still creating in long-form with a fair amount of improvisation.  Johannes Schmoelling had been in the group for a while at this point and his influence is felt in gorgeous melodies and rhythms that have you ricocheting off your seat and between your headphone cups.  This was really the truly last live recording from the group.  Subsequent live albums would be more pre-programmed performances.

4-Zeit
It’s been called their most experimental CD, but I think it’s their most thoughtful, controlled and uncontrived album.  Playing with a cello quartet, it’s a journey of interwoven tones phasing through each other from acoustic to electric to something entirely new.  Ambient before ambient, but owing much to Gyorgy Ligeti pieces like “Atmospheres,” synths, gliss guitar, organ and “noise generators” unfold in undulating, slow motion patterns across what was a double LP.  This 1972 recording is a drone zone manifesto, and a beautifully enveloping work free of melody, rhythm and just about any other conventional music signpost.

5-Tangram
This is one of the last long-form Dream recordings.  Originally a two sided work, Tangram is a  multi-movement opus sometimes sabotaged by episodic writing, but still with some haunting themes amidst the pounding sequencers and more melodic invention than most prior Dream albums.

6-Stratosfear
Part of the classic quartet of albums, this was their most commercial release to date and the first album with real melodies.

7-Ricochet
The other album in the classic quartet.  Ricochet was their first live album, although it was all new materiel and sounds like a studio recording.  Another two-sided excursion that moves from the quietest solo piano spot to thundering sequencers from the heavens.

8-Goblins’ Club
Goblins’ Club recalls the 80’s sound of Tangerine Dream when they were just adding more aggressive rhythms and clearly defined melodies to their fanciful spacescapes.  But unlike so many of their post-Virgin releases, this 1996 albums doesn’t bludgeon you with canned synthesizer bombast.  There seems to be more exploratory fun and a more personal sound   as they drop in surreal free falls in the midst of their dramatic compositions.

9-Force Majeure
Something of an anomaly in that it features a drummer, Klaus Krieger, and gives the Dream a more fluid and aggressive sound, especially in the screaming side long title track.

10-Optical Race
I know that consensus opinion has it that the Private Music years sucked, and they did, except for Optical Race the first album they made for the label, owned by former Tangerine Dreamer, Peter Bauman.  With just Froese and Paul Haslinger, they create dense, rhythmically charged excursions that stand up to some of their best works and hold up better than albums like Le Parc.

Finally an album that should be on the list, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, the third solo album from Edgar Froese and a Dream album by any other measure.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

TimelinesCDcoverJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Erik Wøllo’s Timelines is our February CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

LRC19-250pxGIVE THEM THE GIFT OF TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

 

 

Where’s the Wah-Wah?: PBS Hendrix Documentary Misses the Mark

November 11, 2013

Jimi Hendrix’s solo on “’Voodoo Child,’ was like a Harley-Davidson screaming out of the sky.” –Conny Plank.

Experienced I recently posted on Facebook on the EchoesFans page about the PBS American Masters documentary, Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train a Comin’ because I found myself emotionally affected by the memories it was triggering.  Someone on Facebook wondered why I got so wistful about it and I, perhaps a little too snarkily, replied that “If you listen to the music and have the memories, you know.”  After watching the entire documentary I realized that’s actually truer than I thought.  My memory was filling in all the elements that the film left out.

The main takeaways I got from Hear My Train a Comin’ are Hendrix was a great guy, an amazing guitarist and all he wanted to do was play.  Beyond that, the American Masters documentary sheds little light on this figure who is beyond iconic.  In fact, while note inferior to the original Jimi Hendrix documentary from 1973, it is missing a few of its virtues.

AxisGatefoldThat documentary, released only three years after Hendrix’s death, had compelling interview segments with guitarists who were contemporaries of Hendrix like Eric Clapton, who was extremely touching in his reverence for Hendrix, and The Who’s Pete Townsend who had the most insightful comments on Hendrix’s arrival in London and his Monterey Pop performance.  His recollection about the discussion between him and Hendrix over who would go on last at Monterey reveals just how high Hendrix raised the bar.  But there are few of Hendrix’s guitar hero contemporaries in Hear My Train a Comin’ other Billy Gibbons of  ZZ Top and he wasn’t very illuminating. More importantly, no contemporary musicians testifying to his extraordinary influence outside of Vernon Reid and Dweezil Zappa.  Monster guitarists both,  but they couldn’t get someone with a little more weight?   So many people state that Hendrix changed music and the electric guitar, but how?

Electric-DVDHendrix’s legacy resides in the sound he got from the guitar, yet, except for several vague allusions, there’s almost no talk about how he got that sound, what it entailed, who influenced him, what his technology was.  I don’t think it’s too geeked out to want some analysis of just what Hendrix was doing to get that doomed, ominous fuzz he had on “Purple Haze,” which had never been heard before.  Hendrix didn’t invent the wah-wah pedal, but he invented the language for it and to this day, no one has played it as effectively. I would’ve loved to hear some discussion about the way Hendrix used the studio as an instrument on Axis: Bold as Love and in particular, the “C-side” of Electric Ladyland.  The BBC Classic Albums documentary:  At Last… The Beginning – The Making of Electric Ladylandgives vastly more insight into Hendrix’s music making.

Fayne Pridgeon, Hendrix’s New York City girlfriend, is reduced to repeating over and over that Hendrix was a shy and sweet guy who just wanted to play and always had his guitar with him.  But in the 1973 doc, a younger Pridgeon has joyful recollections of Hendrix’s enthusiasm for Bob Dylan, something which isn’t mentioned at all in Hear My Train a Comin’, except for Ellen McIlwaine’s memory that Hendrix adopted Dylan’s 60s hairstyle.  It’s a curious exclusion considering that Hendrix’s version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” is one of his best known recordings .

Hendrix-MovieAnd in a fashion all too typical in documentaries on the 60s, they blow right by the psychedelic “experience.”  There are vague references to drugs, but little talk about their impact on his music, which is immense.  It’s like not talking about the influence of Woody Guthrie on Bob Dylan or just ignoring the impact of New York City in Lou Reed’s music.

There are a few nice touches: Paul McCartney’s personal reflections about Hendrix playing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and getting him the gig at Monterey; the radio ads for Hendrix concerts, including the one calling him the “number one Progressive Rock act in the world.”  Linda Keith had a great handle on many aspects of Hendrix’s life and music and Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke had some contextualizing perspectives.  But many opportunities were missed so that a dozen interview subjects could say Hendrix was a great guy, an amazing guitar player and he was shy.

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train a Comin’ is an enjoyable documentary, but director Bob Smeaton missed a few too many stops along the way.  And there’s nothing as poetic as the late Conny Plank’s description above.  https://echoesblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/130521_stillcorners.jpg

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Innocents

ECHOES CD OF THE MONTH CLUB SPECIAL

Join or renew in the Echoes CD of the Month Club in November and you’ll get Bombay Dub Orchestra’s beautiful CD, Tales from the Grand Bazaar as a BONUS CD along with Moby’s Innocents album, our November CD of the Month selection.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.  You can do it all right here.
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The Middle of the Road Turns Left: Tom Jones & Petula Clark.

April 18, 2013

In the 1960s, there was the pop music I listened to:  Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, etc.

Clark-LostThen there was the pop music my parents listened to: Wayne Newton, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jim Reeves.

Tom Jones and Petula Clark stradled that line but with a decided tilt toward the latter camp.   Theirs was the sound of brassy string and horn laden pop tunes like “What’s New Pussycat,” “Delilah,” and “Downtown.”  While some of those were great songs, especially Petula Clark’s “Downtown” and “I Know A Place,” there was little in their world that seemed relevant to mine.

There’s no denying Clark’s charm.  She always seemed like a favorite young aunt rather than a pop star.  Tom Jones on the other hand, had the whole Las Vegas thing going:  tight pants, shirt unbuttoned to reveal his hirsute chest, and big, showtune productions.  But Jones also had a genuine side.  He wasn’t conventionally handsome, more rugged than pop-star pretty.  Despite woman throwing their  underpants and room keys at him on stage, he was self-deprecating, even self-mocking at times.  He had the guy-on-a-barstool demeanor of a man who grew up in a coal mining family and worked in factories and construction in his native Wales.  And like many English musicians of his generation – The Stones, Eric Burdon and Eric Clapton –  he was steeped in American blues and soul.

Tome-Jones-SPiritYou rarely heard that side of Tom Jones in his pop hits, but I remember watching the Tom Jones Show on television with my parents between 1969 and 1971,  waiting through the usual production numbers and hack Vegas acts like Anthony Newly, Racquel Welch and Don Ho, hoping to catch the odd rocker like The Moody Blues, Julie Driscoll – Brian Augur and the Trinity, and Janis Joplin who also appeared on the show.  In the midst of all that I remember being floored by Jones’ rendition of “16 Tons. ”  It was stripped-down, Jones alone on that square stage surrounded by the audience.  I heard him get to the core of this Merle Travis song from the mid 1940s,  to its futility and strength in the face of unbeatable odds.   Although the song was on his 1967, Green, Green Grass of Home album, his television performance was the only time I heard him sing it.   Yet, whenever I think of that frequently recorded tune, Jones’ rendition is the only one that comes to mind.

Now both Tom Jones and Petula Clark have returned in 2013 with new albums that aren’t exercises in nostalgia.  They don’t play to their older audiences’ memories.  Instead, Tom Jones goes to the core of his music sources and Petula Clark delves into new, more contemporary terrain.

Tom Jones Then

Tom Jones Then

Tom Jones’ “Spirit in theRoom” is stripped down, featuring  mostly guitar, piano, bass and drums.  It follows up his equally powerful Praise & Blame from a couple of years back. Reportedly recorded in live takes, Jones rolls through an inventive collection of songs, highlighted by his doomy, dystopian rendition of Leonard Cohen‘s “Tower of Song.” You can imagine him singing it in a bombed-out landscape accompanied only by acoustic guitar.   “Bad As Me” was originally recorded by Tom Waits in 2011 and harkens back to the clanging  screed of his Bone Machine album.

Tom Jones Now

Tom Jones Now

Tom Jones grabs a hold of the tune like a raging pit bull, roaring through its jaundiced world view with blues-drenched middle-eastern junkyard glee.

I would have never expected an album of this passion from Jones so late in his career.  A lot of the credit goes to producer Ethan Jones who creates the setting for Jones, much of it with his own guitar, dropping in e-bow glides and electric slides.  He helps the 72 year old Tom Jones sound like he’s just turned 27.

While Jones returned to his roots, Petula Clark takes a contemporary turn on her Lost in You CD.  It’s a gorgeous song-cycle that mixes plaintive acoustic guitars with electronic orchestrations without condescending to electro-pop cliches.

Petula Clark Then

Petula Clark Then

At 80, she’s eight years older than Tom Jones, but you could put this album right next to artists like Bat For Lashes, Christina Perri and The XX without a moment’s hesitation.   The opening track, “Cut Cover Me,” originally sung and co-composed by Sarah Naghshineh, sets the pace with atmospheric, but spare production from John Owen Williams.  That sound also works in the service of her hit, “Downtown.”  The original was an upbeat celebration of life in the city, finding joy in the face of sadness.  Here, Clark slows it down into a wistful reminiscence, centered on acoustic guitar, with gentle strings and Mellotron flutes.  It is beautiflly bittersweet, going out on an electronic heartbeat pulse.

Petula Clark’s original “Downtown.”

Petula Clark Now

Petula Clark Now

Lost in You has contemporary embellishments, but the voice is one of experience, casting back on a long life.  Clark touches on dreampop, turns Cee Lo Green‘s “Crazy” into a country tune, and trips-out on the American Songbook with a haunting version of Gershwin’s “He Loves and She Loves.”  The only false notes are her covers of John Lennon‘s “Imagine” and Elvis Presley‘s “Love Me Tender.”  Her renditions are heartfelt, but miss the mark  with a sentimentality that fails to tap the depth of each song.

I’d say welcome back to Tom Jones and Petula Clark, but I don’t think either of them has ever been to this musical place before.

~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineOlafur-Arnalds-For-Now-I-Am-Winter-250Sign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs likeFor Now I Am Winter.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line.  Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

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Paul Williams Rock Journalist, R.I.P.

April 2, 2013

Paul Williams dies at 64.  The founder of Crawdaddy Magazine and one of the first rock journalists passes early.  David Fricke wrote a beautiful remembrance at Rollingstone.com 

Fricke’s experience with Williams echoes my own, which I blogged about 4 years ago.  I’m re-blogging it here.

An Homage to Paul Williams-Godfather of Rock Criticism

There are a few things I can look back on as life-altering:  My family, Jimi Hendrix and Paul Williams.

crawdaddy-october_1967-001Most people probably don’t know about Paul. He was one of the first serious rock journalists. He founded Crawdaddy! Magazine in 1966, right around the corner from me now at Swarthmore College. At it’s best, Crawdaddy! was the New Yorker of rock journalism next to Rolling Stone‘s Weekly Reader. Here’s the opening lines to the first typewritten issue:

You are looking at the first issue of a magazine of rock ‘n’ roll criticism. Crawdaddy! will feature neither pin-ups nor news briefs; the specialty of this magazine is intelligent writing about pop music. Billboard, Cash Box, etc., serve very well as trade news magazines; but their idea of a review is: “a hard-driving rhythm number that should spiral rapidly up the charts just as (previous hit by the same group) slides.” And the teen magazines are devoted to rock ‘n’ roll, but their idea of discussion is a string of superlatives below a fold-out photograph. Crawdaddy! believes that someone in the United States might be interested in what others have to say about the music they like. -from Crawdaddy.com (Apparently, this URL is no longer valid)Outlaw Blues: A Book of Rock Music

I only got to read a few copies in its heyday, but I devoured Outlaw Blues, a collection of Paul’s writing. His interview with producer Paul Rothschild about The Doors pulled back the shroud surrounding the art of record making.  After Bathing at Baxter\'s His dissertation on The Jefferson Airplane‘s After Bathing at Baxter‘s was an acid revelation in every sense. He made me hear The Beach Boys anew, and I don’t mean Pet Sounds. It’s because of Paul Williams that I saw a way into music without being a musician, a way to be connected to the infinite sound. I don’t have Paul’s erudite mind or eloquent prose, but I have enjoyed the thrill of music more because he pointed the way.  I heard music differently, more deeply and realized that Beach Boys surf music was as heavy, maybe heavier, than Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

I corresponded with Paul briefly in the early 1990s when he was writing a music newsletter. Nothing significant, but I did get to tell him the influence he had on me. paulhomesm21 I was disheartened to read in a recent Rolling Stone that Paul had fallen ill. A bicycle accident in 1995 caused a head trauma that triggered early onset Alzheimers.  On March 27, Paul Williams left us, but his impact resounds in people like David Fricke, me and many others.  In some way, I’m sure that Paul Williams is still following his map to music ecstasy.

~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineOlafur-Arnalds-For-Now-I-Am-Winter-250Sign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs likeFor Now I Am Winter.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line.  Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

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