Today is Eddie Hazel’s birthday. Now watch one of the greatest live performances to which you shall ever bear witness.

Seriously, THIS is as good as it gets. Thirteen minutes of vintage Funkadelic, running through a medley of I Got A Thing, What Is Soul, I Just Want To Testify, I Was Made To Love Her, Friday Night August 14th, Music For My Mother which degenerates into a full blown Psychedelic Gospel and includes nods to The Right Time and It’s Your Thing, while George in the throws of the holy ghost and some seriously heavy blotter writhes on the ground, whistling and speaking in tongues. Yep, it’s that kinda show. I dunno how a band can be this loose and tight at the same time.




Happy birthday to Neil Young!

Unfortunately I don’t have time to do a proper Neil Young tribute today, so I’m leaving you with my favorite Neil album, Zuma, which was released forty years ago this week.

I listen to Neil Young more often than probably any other solo (all respect to Crazy Horse, natch) Rock artist, and among his discography, Zuma is the album to which I most frequently return. I saw you in my nightmares, but I’ll see you in my dreams…

Listen to three tracks from Larry Wallis’ unreleased 1978 LP recorded for Stiff Records

How has this never seen the light of day? Absolutely blazing tracks, proving that Wallis classic solo single, Police Car, was no fluke. With a pedigree that includes stints in Pink Fairies, UFO, Shagrat (with a post Tyrannosaurus Rex, Steve Took) and as the original guitarist for Motorhead, Wallis’ name is legend among aficionados of vicious Psychedelic Punk guitar spew. On these recordings Wallis is joined by former Man member, Deke Leonard, and drummer for Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Pete Thomas. Based on these three tracks, this album belongs in the Top Ten of great unreleased records. Again, why is this still languishing in the vaults?!

Check out a Goldmine article on the album…
an amazing, hilarious and informative 1987 interview with Wallis from Forced Exposure…
and another one from Perfect Sound Forever…

Song of The Day: Pat Martino – Baiyina

The titular lead off cut from Martino’s 1968 Prestige Records release, subtitled: A Psychedelic Excursion Through The Magical Mysteries of The Koran. Mind melting, eastern modal psych, on par with the best of Gabor Szabo (my recent posting of whom, undoubtedly returned me to this perennial favorite). While Martino has a large and varied catalog, Baiyana is the one that has always most appealed to my sensibility, hitting that psychedelic drone zone groove that always gets me. In fact, I’ll go so far as to compare this to some of the more melodic passages on my total godhead album, Pharoah Sanders, Tauhid. Third eye, Jazz Raga stunner.

  • Pat Martino – guitar
  • Gregory Herbert – alto sax, flute
  • Khalil Balakrishna – tambura
  • Bobby Rose – guitar
  • Richard Davis – bass
  • Charlie Persip – drums
  • Reggie Ferguson – tabla

Album of The Day: Gabor Szabo – Spellbinder (1966)

An absolutely fantastic melange of international influences, using the past as a framework for developing a new Jazz language. Accompanied by the sympathetic rhythm section of master musicians Ron Carter and Chico Hamilton, and Latin percussionists, Willie Bobo and Victor Pantoja, Szabo deftly combines a world of inspiration into a modal groove with early psychedelic touches, a style for which he became known over further albums. The album features Gypsy Queen, which Carlos Santana would cover on his chart topping album Abraxas, and a striking arrangement of the Sonny Bono penned Cher hit, Bang Bang, with a rare vocal from Szabo. When I thrifted a CD copy of this, it didn’t leave my car stereo for about a month.

It’s John Martyn’s birthday

A legendary guitarist whose unique approach to the instrument won him the accolades of musicians like Nick Drake, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour and Paul Weller. Martyn has the distinction of being the first white artist to be signed to Island Records, “discovered” by founder Chris Blackwell.

Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Sonny Sharrock!

“I’ve been trying to find a way for the terror and the beauty to live together in one song. I know it’s possible.” -Warren Harding “Sonny” Sharrock

Wishing to be a sax player, but unable due to asthma, Sonny Sharrock turned a handicap to his advantage, attacking his guitar with both the soul and ferocity of his horn playing inspirations, and creating a new language for six strings. His incendiary playing attracted the attention of numerous Jazz notables, who would go on to employ his services, including Pharoah Sanders, Miles Davis, Herbie Mann, Don Cherry, Byard Lancaster, Marzette Watts, to name a few. His first two solo records, Black Woman and Monkey Pockie Boo, are recognized as the pinnacle of Free Jazz guitar experimentation and have gone on to influence untold numbers of musicians.

As other proponents of the New Jazz, died or disappeared, Sharrock tore through the 80’s with a vengeance, with the full frontal attack of Last Exit, featuring the like minded Peter Brotzmann, Bill Laswell and Ronald Shannon Jackson, the equally aggressive Machine Gun, as well as performing with Material, and releasing multiple solo albums, the culmination of which, 1991’s, Ask The Ages, featuring Pharoah Sanders, Elvin Jones and Charnett Moffett, is widely regarded as his most fully realized work. It was also at this time that Sonny received arguably the most exposure of his life, even if largely unrecognized, scoring the music for Space Ghost Coast To Coast and its house band, The Original Way Outs, which he continued until his death in 1994.

For fans of Sharrock, this footage is an absolute must. Accompanied by his wife Linda (who, for many, can be a dealbreaker, which I can understand), and, I believe (thanks to a youtube comment correcting a previous assumption), Beb Guerin and Don Moye, this is the only film of a Sharrock led band, prior to the eighties, and speaks volumes for his technique and talent.

A freely downloadable set of Sharrock in 1974, from the WKCR archives

Sonny’s tenure with Herbie Mann exposed his talents to a commercial Jazz crowd, most of whom would have run frightened from Sonny’s solo material. Mann referred to Sharrock as “his Coltrane”.

Pharoah Sanders masterpiece, Tauhid, is my favorite Sharrock related record. It’s been acknowledged that his playing on it, was inspiration for both The Stooges and MC5, making it a pivotal record in Proto-Punk history.

A few from the solo albums of 1969’s, Black Woman, and 1970’s, Monkey Pockie Boo.

And here’s a handful of collaborations

Though uncredited at the time, Sonny has finally gotten the recognition for his work alongside fellow guitar innovator, John McLaughlin, on Miles’, Jack Johnson Sessions

The Brute Force LP acknowledges Sharrock’s contributions to three songs, but there is no mistaking his trademark playing is all over this album. Nice to hear Sonny in a more traditional Funk setting.

Another classic Sonny quote: “I go out on stage, and my intention is to make the first four rows bleed from their ears.”. Believe that!

Here’s a pair of interviews with the man, including one with NPR’s, Terri Gross!

And a more specific timeline of Sonny’s career.

And Sonny on improvisation.

“Sometimes I see players that think, and you can tell they’re thinking of the next phrase to play or the next thing to do, the next little cute trick, and that’s sad, man, you know. That’s not makin’ music; that’s puttin’ together puzzles, you know. Music should flow from you and it should be a force; it should be feeling, all feeling, man.”

Happy birthday, Pat Metheny

Best known for his numerous Jazz Fusion recordings, guitarist Pat Metheny broke from the genre with 1994’s dissonant and clangorous, Zero Tolerance For Silence. The album was entirely solo Metheny, just layers of overdubbed guitars, with few discernible attempts at melody and structure. Needless to say, the resultant outcry among Metheny’s fan base was akin to Lou Reed’s when he released his experimental Metal Machine Music 2LP, some combination of disgust, confusion, and horror. To this day, fans still want Metheny to disown the record. Granted, the album does sound more like a No Wave or Keiji Haino record than one from a man whose name was synonymous with Fusion, thereby guaranteeing extreme reactions. The flipside of that coin was that, all of a sudden, Metheny gained relevance in circles which had largely ignored his more palatable material. Thurston Moore, himself no stranger to criticism for his unconventional guitar technique, had this to say about ZTFS, ““…THE most radical recording of this decade…a new milestone in electric guitar music…searing, soaring, twisted shards of action guitar/thought process. An incendiary work by an unpredictable master, a challenge to the challengers…” . High praise, indeed.