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Mill Valley Film Festival Shows Riveting Music Docs

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, September 17, 2017 07:13pm | Post a Comment

Mill Valley Film Festival

Amoeba Music is proud to co-present two music documentaries showing at the 40th Annual Mill Valley On The Sly, Sly and the Family StoneFilm Festival, which runs October 5-15. The Mill Valley Film Festival aims to bring inspirational feature and documentary films from around the world to captivate and motivate members of the San Francisco Bay Area community.

Catch these two riveting music docs, both a must for serious music connoisseurs:

On The Sly: In Search of the Family Stone
Friday, Oct. 13 at 6:00pm at CinéArts Sequoia
Saturday, Oct. 14 at 9pm at Century Larkspur
Part amateur sleuthing adventure, part chronicle of a legendary artist, On the Sly documents one man’s quest to discover what happened to the reclusive Sly Stone. Interviews with former bandmates, label execs, and music historians detail the story of Sly and the Family Stone and its once-charismatic, now-mysterious leader. Producer Patrick Sheehan in attendance.
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2fguP1Q

Third Mind Blues
Thursday, Oct. 12 at 5:30pm at CinéArts Sequoia
Friday, Oct. 13 at 9pm at Lark Theater
The story of the final creative partnership in the career of The Doors’ keyboardist Ray Manzarek was a wonderful study in contrasts with blues guitarist and Bay Area musician Roy Rogers. Third Mind Blues is the special behind-the-scenes look at their playful, philosophical collaboration that invoked the SF Beat poets and decades of music history. Director Willian Tyler Smith in attendance.
Tickets: http://bit.ly/2xiTTza

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Brightwell's Top 10: 1968

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 15, 2015 10:54am | Post a Comment
In 1857, Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented his invention for recording sound, the phonautograph. Twenty years later, in 1877, someone first realized that his phonautograms could also play back recorded music. It was the same year, coincidentally, that Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and thus the age of recorded music began. In 2015, former Amoebite Matthew Messbarger posted an NME "Best of 1990" on my Facebook timeline and I decided to began reviewing the best songs of each year, from 1877 to the present, in random order.


May 1968 riots (source unknown)

The closest I came to experiencing 1968 was watching The Wonder Years, the first season of which was set in that year. From what I can tell it was a tumultuous year not just in the fictional Arnold household but throughout much of the world. There was the War in Vietnam, Black Power, Richard Nixon became president, the Prague Spring, Mai 1968, 68er-Bewegung, the Rote Armee Fraktion, the 日本赤軍, the Zodiac Killer, the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and the attempted assassination of Andy Warhol. In music both Red Foley and Frankie Lymon died prematurely; Hair debuted on BroadwayThe Beatles created Apple Records; and a whole lot of good music was released. 


10. Donovan - "Hurdy Gurdy Man"



Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" has a descending melody and tells that tale of a meaningful encounter with a stranger -- rather like The Small Faces' "Green Circles," released the previous year. Turn up the heavy psych, add a dash of tanpura and lines like "histories of ages past" though, and you have a winning and sufficiently different formula.

9. Jeannie C. Riley - "Harper Valley P.T.A."



"Harper Valley P.T.A." was written by Tom T. Hall and first offered to fellow Kentuckyian Skeeter Davis, who shockingly passed on it. That it sounded more than a little like Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe," a hit the previous year, didn't seem to work against it and Jeannie C. Riley, had a big hit.

8. Glen Campbell - "Wichita Lineman"


My favorite Jimmy Webb composition is this song which has the magisterial tone of the best songs by Lee Hazlewood or Scott Walker. For younger readers, ask your grandparents what linemen and telephones were. 

7. Jimi Hendrix "All Along The Watchtower"


Bob Dylan
's constipated-man-shouting-into-a-bucket singing style has always, for me, been an insurmountable stumbling block to enjoying him. Luckily, more musically inclined musicians like The Byrds or, in this case, Jimi Hendrix, were capable of polishing them into something precious. I especially love the fantasy rock lyrics of this one which are are pure proto-prog pretension and apparently inspired by the Book of Isaiah.
6. Dionne Warwick - "I'll Never Fall in Love Again"


Composed by Missourian Burt Bacharach with his most celebrated lyricist, Hal David for the musical Promises, Promises, the soundtrack of which I discovered amongst my mom's records as a kid (although the plot of the musical for me remains a mystery). Whatever the context, the song is Brill Building Pop at itsmost perfect, wonderfully sung by future psychic hotline hostess Dionne Warwick when she was still a paragon of class and fashionability. 

5. The Doors - "Hello, I Love You"


Baseless arguments made by humorless haters require that the boors making them conveniently ignore the fact that in 1968 no American band was as handy with the two minute pop ditty as The Doors. "Hello I Love You" dates back to 1965, when they first recorded it as a harmonica-driven garage rocker. In 1968 it was re-recorded as a Seeds-ish, fuzzed out garage rocker. For all the criticism of Morrison's admirable lyrical ambitions, here was a number one hit written about a very serious subject, being interested in a pretty woman strolling through Venice

4. Leonard Cohen -- "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye"


Leonard Cohen
's "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" was the B-side to the similarly-wired "Suzanne" and maybe my preference for the former stems mostly from the fact that it's slightly less overplayed... and over-covered. When it has been covered its been by the likes of Ian McCulloch and Michael Monroe -- two more points in its favor.

3. Pink Floyd -- "Remember a Day"


One of the last instances where The Pink Floyd were able to approach the brilliance they'd known under the guidance of English rock's greatest genius, Syd Barrett. Tellingly, it wasn't written by either Roger Waters nor David Gilmour but organist Richard Wright. Also, it was relegated to the B-side of Waters's enjoyable but frankly inferior "Let There Be More Light." 

2. The Zombies - "Time of the Season"


The Zombies' Odessey and Oracle is a brilliant album whose classics like "Brief Candles" and "Beechwood Park" should've been massive singles. Instead their label made strange choices for singles with "Friends of Mine" and "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" which, as with "Time of the Season," were all flops. "Time of the Season" would become a massive hit when re-released, though, after which The Guess Who recorded their derivative (and best) song, "Undun," and the psychedelic jazz-rock classic would go on to be used to convince consumers to purchase Tampax, Fidelity Investments, Sprite, Nissan Tiidas, and Toyota RAV4s.

1. The Small Faces - "Mad John"


In 1968 The Small Faces released "Lazy Sunday," "Mad John," and "The Universal" as singles. "Lazy Sunday" would probably win in a landslide over the other two (does anyone really love "The Universal"?) but "Mad John" gets my vote as the best single of 1968. It's not an obvious single, taken from from the band's psychedelic Finnegans Wake-esque quasi-concept album, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake and bookended with Stanley Unwin's strange recounting what happened when a large fly brought Happiness Stan to a hermit so that he might learn the cause of the moon's waning. Whenever I attempt to prepare myself for the possibility of one day becoming homeless it pops into my mind. It was only released as a single in the US, on Halloween.

Other great songs of 1968: Brigitte Bardot et Serge Gainsbourg - "Bonnie And Clyde," Deep Purple's cover of "Hush," Hugh Masekela's "Grazing In The Grass," Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life," Classics IV's "Spooky," Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride," The Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke," The Turtles' "Elenore," Iron Butterly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," and Tommy Roe's "Dizzy." Let me know what songs would you add to the list.

*****

Follow me at ericbrightwell.com

One Album Wonders: The Zodiac

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 17, 2015 11:07am | Post a Comment


Zodiac
 were a studio group who released one album, Cosmic Sounds - Celestial Counterpoint with Words and Music, in May 1967. The members of Zodiac were respected session musicians Bud Shank, Carol Kaye, Cyrus Faryar, Emil RichardsHal Blaine, and Paul Beaver. Each song is devoted to the signs of Chaldean astronomical zodiac. The music was written by Canadian synthesizer pioneer Mort Garson
The spoken word narration was penned by Jacques Wilson and are narrated by Faryar in a voice reminiscent of Jim Morrison's who as part of The Doors, had recorded their debut in 1966 and released it in January 1967 to great acclaim.

The success of The Doors was a primary inspiration for the project. Elektra head Jac Holzman came up with the concept and hired Alex Hassilev, a member of The Limeliters, to produce. Hassilev brought Mort Garson to the project -- the two had just formed a production company together.

*****

Morton S. "Mort" Garson was born 20 July 1924 in Sain John, Canada and was a Cancer. He moved to New York City where he studied music at the Juilliard School of Music. He worked as an arranger and pianist. After serving in World War II he worked as a session musician. While working on Cosmic Sounds Garson met Robert Moog and as a result featured his Moog synthesizer heavily in the arrangements, played by Paul Beaver. Garson died of renal failure in San Francisco in 2008.

Clifford Everett “Bud” Shank, Jr. was a jazz flutist, saxophonist, and a Gemini. He was born 27 May 1926 in Dayton, Ohio and attended the University of North Carolina between 1944-1946 then moved to California where he studied with Shorty Rogers and played in the bands of Charlie Barnet and Stan Kenton. In the 1960s he primarily worked as a studio musician in Los Angeles. In the 1970s he formed The LA Four. He died on 2 April 2009 in Tucson, Arizona.

Carol Kaye was born Carol Smith on 24 March 1935 in Everett, Washington. She is a bass guitarist and Aries. In the 1950s she played in nightclubs before being paired with Sam Cooke in 1957. As a member of the celebrated Wrecking Crew she was one of the most widely recorded session bassists and has over 10,000 credits. She retired from recording in the 1970s due to arthritis.

Cyrus Faryar was born 26 February 1936 in Tehran and is a Pisces. He was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and after college operated the Greensleeves coffee house, a haven for beatniks. He moved to Southern California in the 1950s. After Dave Guard quit The Kingston Trio, the two briefly played together in The Whiskeyhill Singers. That group quickly disbanded and returned to Hawaii Faryar co-founded the Modern Folk Quartet in 1962. He released two solo records in the 1970s but worked primarily as a session musician and producer.

Emil Richards (né Emilio Joseph Radocchia) was born 2 September 1932 in Hartford, Connecticut and is a Virgo. He began playing xylophone when he was six and later graduated from the Julius Hartt School of Music. He played in various ensembles in New England and New York before settling in Los Angeles in 1959 where we was in demand as a session player.

Hal Blaine (né Harold Simon Belsky) was born 5 February 1929 in Holyoke, Massachusetts and is an Aquarius. He played drums with several bands before finding steady work as a session musician for Capitol Records as a member of the Wrecking Crew. Though mostly uncredited he recorded the drums on more than 40 number one hits.

Paul Beaver was born in Ohio in 1926. He was a session musician especially associated with the Moog synthesizer which he played on releases by The Byrds and The Monkees. In 1966 he co-founded the electronic pop group Beaver & Krause. In the 1970s, with Ruth White, Beaver co-founded the The Electronic Music Association in the 1970s. Beaver died in 1975. 

*****



The music, as one might expect, is groovy in the extreme. So too is the album art, by Abe Gurvin. The album contains instructions for the the listener, “Must be played in the dark.” The music seems likely to have inspired The Moody Blues’s Days of Future Passed, Louise Huebner's Seduction Through Witchcraft, and the rock musical, Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. I wonder if the Zodiac Killer owned a copy! 

Garson and Hassilev had planned to do a series of concept albums and they began working on The Sea with Rod McKuen but McKuen left the project and recorded his own version with Anita Kerr and The San Sebastian Strings for Warner Bros. Hassilev produced The Dusk 'Till Dawn Orchestra's Sea Drift, with Garson conducting. Garson and Wilson re-teamed in 1968 for The Wozard Of Iz album, produced by Bernie Krause and released on A&M and a series of twelve follow-up albums; one for each astrological sign. Cosmic Sounds is long out of print on vinyl but was reissued on aluminum compact disc by the Water label in 2002.

*****

Follow me at ericbrightwell.com


Weekly Wednesday Steal Aug. 13: The Doors' 'R-Evolution'

Posted by Billy Gil, August 11, 2014 12:23pm | Post a Comment

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Steal will be The Doors music DVD R-Evolution for only $10 (regularly $34.98).

The music film combines early appearances by the band along with what are basically music videos, as the band evolved creatively and had more input as to how they were portrayed on TV. This version also comes in a limited edition digibook, for you collectors out there.

The Weekly Wednesday steal is happening every Wednesday, in which we sell some prized piece on discount for only $10 while supplies last. We’ve so far sold records by Boards of Canada and tUnE-yArDs for only $10. Keep coming back every Wednesday to Amoeba.com to see what we have going on. As always, there’s FREE SHIPPING on Amoeba.com for music and movies in the U.S.

Watch a performance of "Touch Me" below, which is included on the DVD:

 

'Turn Up the Radio' Features L.A. Rock on Film at The Egyptian

Posted by Billy Gil, August 8, 2014 03:30pm | Post a Comment
James Brown performs in The T.A.M.I. Show

 

Amoeba is sponsoring The American Cinematheque’s film series Turn Up the Radio, which covers the intersection of music and media, rock and pop in Los Angeles during the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, from 1956 to 1972. The shows run Aug. 13-17, and you can get tickets here. General admission tickets are $11.

The films in the series cast a light on L.A. as a cultural zeitgeist during a time of great upheaval in pop culture, in concordance with one of the programmers Harvey Kubernik’s new book, Turn Up the Radio!, covering such iconic artists as The Doors, The Seeds and Frank Zappa. Kubernik will be signing his book in the lobby of the Egyptian at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday. The series is co-sponsored by Santa Monica Press.

Wednesday Aug. 13 sees The Doors: Live at the Bowl ’68, covering the band’s triumphant Hollywood Bowl show on July 5, 1968, just as their classic album Waiting for the Sun was released, playing such classics as “Light My Fire,” “Hello, I Love You” and “The End.” The film is directed by Doors organist Ray Manzarek and has been restored and remixed by the band’s longtime engineer, Bruce Botnick. The show starts at 7:30 with a slide show by rock photographer Henry Diltz, followed by the film at 8. Watch a remastered clip of the band performing "Light My Fire" at the Bowl in '68 here.

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