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Essential Records: Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps

Posted by Amoebite, August 8, 2016 03:58pm | Post a Comment

Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps - Amoeba Music

Call it a rough patch, call it a dry spell, call it whatever, but let's just say a while ago the relationship between my guitar and me got a little stale. Now of course I loved that thing dearly but, well, you know how it is: sometimes it just seems like the two of you are stuck in the same old routine. Now the electric guitar is a tricky instrument, there are so many variations, effects, and styles, and it's so overly saturated in the mainstream consciousness that while it can be the most primal and cathartic sounding of instruments, it can also be the most horrendous, self-involved sound known to modern man. At this particular juncture, I just wasn't hearing anything new that was compelling me towards the former sentiment. In an attempt to revive our relationship I pulled out this guitar magazine I had from high school that was all about rockabilly and the late '90s neo-swing revival. In it was a picture I always found striking but was never sure why: five young men all dressed in white, wearing dark, floppy caps. I thought to myself: it's finally time I really dug into Mr. Gene "Be-Bop-A-Lula" Vincent and His Blue Caps. I learned a couple of riffs out of the magazine, all attributed to Gene's original guitarist, Cliff Gallup, then I went to the record store and picked up their second album (thinking it was their first), Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.

I put the needle on and right out of the gate the band is swaggering and in full swing. My toe's tappin', my hand's snappin' and my hair's getting greasier by the second. Gene finishes his first verse of "Red Bluejeans and a Ponytail" with the order to his band to "Rock!" and the next thing I know Cliff Gallup's guitar struts onto the scene and picks up the lead while someone lets out a banshee wail in the background. Gene comes back into the second verse, singing like he's crooning and panting at the same time, a cross between Dean Martin and that cartoon wolf from the droopy cartoons whose mouth drops to the floor at the sight of the cute redhead, and before I can finish that thought the second verse is ending and Gene calls out, "Rock again!" and Cliff's back with his plunky, shimmering, echo-y tone.

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New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with Kid Congo Powers

Posted by Amoebite, May 10, 2016 12:35pm | Post a Comment

Kid Congo Powers What's In My Bag? Amoeba Music

When Kid Congo Powers goes record shopping you can expect he'll find some real gems, especially if he's shopping 45s for DJing. The legendary guitarist and singer, who has been a member of The Cramps, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and The Gun Club, as well as heading his own band, Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds, was at Amoeba San Francisco recently and we got a chance to check out his stellar finds.

Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey BiardsBorn Brian Tristan in La Puente, California, Kid Congo was a fixture of the LA punk scene, where he met Jeffrey Lee Pierce, with whom he formed what would become The Gun Club. In 1980 he was recruited by The Cramps, when they relocated from New York to Los Angeles, and in 1988 he became a Bad Seed, joining Nick Cave's band, then based in Berlin. In 1997 Kid Congo formed The Pink Monkey Birds, which has been his main project since. The band is currently on tour now, promoting their brand new record, La AraƱa Es La Vida.

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New "What's in My Bag?" Episode with Frank Turner

Posted by Amoebite, May 2, 2016 04:23pm | Post a Comment

Frank Turner Amoeba Music What's In My Bag?

"As a music snob I should of course be morally opposed to...greatest hit compilations, but fuck it," says English punk/folk singer Frank Turner, picking up the Elvis Presley collection, Artist Of The Century. Turner, a two time Amoeba Stage performer, had just finished reading Peter Guralnick's two acclaimed Elvis biographies, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love, and was inspired to properly delve into the legend's music. Thankfully he stopped into Amoeba Hollywood to do his record shopping, and we got a chance to catch up with him and check out his picks.

Frank Turner began his musical career as a member of hardcore punk bands Kneejerk and Million Dead. Following Million Dead's dissolution in 2005, Turner struck out on his own, inspired by his love for country and acoustic music. His first solo EP, Campfire Punkrock, was released a year later. His debut full-length, Sleep Is for the Week, landed in 2007. Since then he has relentlessly toured the US and Europe with a steady stream of studio releases. Turner's most recent album, Positive Songs for Negative People, was released in the summer of 2015.

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King In The Shadows: Elvis Presley's "King Creole"

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 5, 2016 01:16pm | Post a Comment

King Creole, Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones

-- Brett Stillo

Hollywood was starting to show its age in 1958. The Old Guard, who’d turned the town into an assembly King Creoleline of fantasy and illusion in the '30s and '40s, were slowing down. Staring at them right in their faces, was the future: teenagers, Rock n' Roll, and the financial reality of the Saturday night double feature at the Drive-In.

King Creole, which was released in July of that year, straddles the line, one foot planted in old school Hollywood genre storytelling of Film Noir, the other sliding towards the juvenile market of the Rock n' Roll film. The film’s storyline is firmly planted in the former: a guy with a troubled past is just looking to get a break, but fate pulls him into a raw deal that sets him up to take a big fall. However, this particular fall guy is a sneering, hip-shaking teenager, swinging to a rockin’ beat in double-four time. And oh yes, the actor playing said fall guy happens to be one Elvis Aaron Presley.

Presley was a singer who dreamed of being an actor. He idolized Brando and Dean, and King Creole was his chance to show his dramatic potential on the screen. In King Creole, Presley plays Danny Fisher, a streetwise kid living in the French Quarter of New Orleans, trying to support his down-and-out family by working in a tough joint run by notorious gangster, Maxie Fields (played with brutish charm by a seething Walter Matthau).

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Happy 88th Birthday Fats Domino!

Posted by Amoebite, February 26, 2016 01:33pm | Post a Comment

Fats Domino

Today marks the 88th birthday of Fats Domino, one of the great living legends of American music. To mark the occasion PBS will be airing a one-hour documentary entitled Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock and Roll. Check your local schedule here.

When we speak of the birth of rock and roll, the names most often cited in popular culture are probably Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley or Carl Perkins, but Fats Domino’s contributions to rock are no less important. Fats Domino was rockin’ on 88 keys before the term "rock" became synonymous with guitars. His name belongs among other great Louisiana piano men such as Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Fats Domino’s early recordings with Dave Bartholomew and legendary drummer Earl Palmer at Cosimo Matassa’s studio are among the most influential in early rock and roll history and are worthy of all the recognition they receive. He pioneered the sound of early Rhythm and Blues by blending together the sounds of swinging Big Band jazz and Cuban rumba and mambo records.

So Happy Birthday to the great Fats Domino! May your music live on for generations to come and continue to bring joy to the many souls who hear it.

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