Friday, January 25, 2008


Got yet another bootleg bundle to tell you rabid readers about, and I got it from this on-line record dealer called Saturn Records. They're a pretty good bunch to deal with, so I recommend that you hit their site to see exactly what kinda wares tickle your own personal fancy. And what's best about dealing with these guys is that I didn't have to dish out that much moolah to get this trio of clandestine digitalis, and you can bet that I'm glad I did (part with the fresh fish, that is) because there's a lotta good high energy music from the oft-loathed past comin' outta the vaults and collections of many a tight-fisted tapemonger right now getting slapped onto silver, and if you're one of those guys who really longs to hear way more'n what yer fave artist has to offer you legal-wise then it's always beneficial to seek out a dealer like Saturn who dabbles in these items and makes 'em all the more available to us peons out there! And like I said many a year back, we're now really heading into a Golden Age of bootlegs where, thanks to the proliferation of computers, shared files and a little sneakiness just about anyone can become a bootlegger, and a pretty hightailin' one at that. Ah yes, bootlegs have come a long way from those insert-sleeved items stuck inna back of headshops nationwide, eh?

One caveat for all you emptors out there...these "fan recordings" that I have purchased have turned out not to be the originals but CD-R copies of long-gone titles which I know might bug a few of you purists out there who hate these rather inexpensive knockoffs being sold at 1000% profit. And yeah, it shoulda bugged me as well especially considering I didn't have any prior warning that these weren't the real McCoys (just like when Midnight was sellin' a buncha bootleg copies back in the nineties and lettin' on as if they were the actual kahunas---good thing they hauled that fraud Martignon off for sellin' the things, the jerk!) but since I'm so grateful to be getting these items into my grubby paws and even grubbier ears it's not like I'm doin' any complainin'! But in the future, please be sure to inquire before dishing your hard-begged moolah out for something your six-year-old nephew could do for the price of a mere Three Musketeers bar because there really is no excuse for paying such high prices for such second-generation wares!

Can-MOTHER SKY (knockoff of an Asteroid label boot of Japanese origin); FUTURE DAYS AND PAST NIGHTS (originally released on Keep An Eye Out Sounds)

Although I never dreamed that I'd ever utter these words from my lips (or from a typewriter keyboard) I must now admit it...Can are one of my favorite rock & roll groups of ALL TIME!!! And yeah, for a guy who thirty years back thought of 'em only as just anudder one of those import-bin aggregates that had neat-o album covers you could say that I've certainly come a long way (in an equally long amount of time) in expressing my deep gratitude for this long-suffering band. Yes, to me Can are pretty much everything from a smart group with "progressive" overtones to a multi-faceted act that dabbled in everything from electronica to heavy metal (in the purest CREEM/fanzine sense), and if I do tell you that these guys were even TRUE early-seventies-styled PUNK ROCKERS (again, in the purest CREEM/fanzine trad) please don't treat me too harshly. But I certainly do believe it!

The Asteroid label which released the MOTHER SKY CD also released a Can offering called UNOPENED way back in the nineties. That one, with a CHECKMATE-styled swirling psychedelic cover, featured a bunch of Malcolm Mooney-era outtakes most of which were unheard by anybody's let alone my ears and I am forever grateful (to my own sense of spendthriftitude) for picking that 'un up when it was readily available during the last great rush of bootlegs pre-crackdown in the mid-nineties. At the time I nixed on the other Asteroid Can offering MOTHER SKY (which, not surprisingly, also has a swirling psychosockic cover!) for who knows what reason, but thanks to Saturn I do get a second chance and I guess for that I should be grateful. Y'see, this 'un's a keen document of a live '71 gig showing the group fronted by none other'n the equally-infamous Damo Suzuki and boy is it a kazoomer of a gig that no real Can maniac, or even camp follower, should be mitoudt.

Recorded live in Berlin during June of '71, MOTHER SKY captures the TAGO MAGO period of Can perfectly, and even with the typically skewered audience recording (electric piano and guitar out in front with drums and bass buried) this gives one a great idea of just what the Cansters were able to cook up for unsuspecting Krauts back inna day when Germany was starting to develop its own rockism tongue. Suzuki screeches it out like a nutcase just ready to be committed to the local boobyhatch...if you liked those vocal "histronics" that he was ranting and raving kinda like Andy Kaufman doing that bizarroid Third World nightclub act that got my mother all unnerved you'll love this. The rest of the group ain't no slouch either, with Michael Karoli's guitar kareening all over the place like you knew it would while Irmin Schmidt's electric piano is pure abstract expression sorta like it was on TAGO MAGO's side three dive into total incomprehensibility. (And I'm sure that bassist Holger Czukay and drummer Jaki Liebezeit are in fine form as well, even if they do get crunched outta the thing!) And dig that version of the title track which many consider Can's ultimate moment, their "Sister Ray" which outdoes that 'un because there's a bass guitar in the mix! (Well, that's what Hot Scott Fischer said, and who am I to argue with the spokesman for a generation?) Kinda reminds me of what Iggy circa. '68 mighta been able to do fronting the Velvet Underground circa. '66 if it were recorded by Thomas Edison circa. '76...that's 1876 to you...

You might prefer the FUTURE DAYS AND PAST NIGHTS disque more, this 'un being recorded during Can's last great phase in the mid-seventies just before they became yet another rock casualty case like so many others in their European rock strata. The credits say that Suzuki's doing the vocals on this 17th of May '75 UK gig but I thought he was long-gone from the fold by this time. But I could be wrong. Still, some of the vocalese on this mostly-instrumental set do seem kinda Damo-esque...perhaps guitarist Karoli, Can's new designated warbler, was doing the imitations? Haven't played my copy of SOON OVER BABALUMA in ages so I can't tell ya if that's him or not. Still, it sure makes for a good excuse to dig that 'un out!

Unlike a buncha you more primitive-induced creatures out there I can settle back with this edition of Can and purge myself of the everyday doldrums with relative ease. Irmin Schmidt was one of the few rock keyboardists who could tackle the whole array of synthesizers and other rock gimmicks and not come out looking like a studious Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman brainiac, in fact using those various boxes o' wires in ways that pretty much were au contraire to the whole idea of what progressive rock was supposed to be about. So the electronics are, shall I say tasteful and nothing that seems especially geared towards all those pimple-encrusted boxboys who used to toke to WMMS while their fave Yes tracks spun! No Dungeons and Dragons fantasies to Can's hardnosed blare that's for sure, this is still a trip that could become one Suicide Sally for your average FM-rock target audience on the lookout for something a little more...Tolkein?

And while doing research for this particular writeup I discover that there are way more Can boots out there just waiting to be heard, not only one with Canaxis 5 outtakes alledgely featuring Malcolm Mooney (!) but loads of early-seventies live disques with that potential for total abandon, and there's even a downloadable multi-disc set that features the complete take of "Dai Doko E" and other recent finds including the gig featuring Tim Hardin as lead vocalist! Of course I have about as much luck downloading these free bootleg disques as I do getting a refund outta my Income Tax, but if you're the kinda guy who has the tenchowhiz to download and print up disques and you happen to come across the Can set which I think is available via one of the kraut-oriented blogs listed onna left, howzbout making me a copy for my own personal enjoyment! 's the least you can do for all the hard blogging I've done for ya, so why dontcha be grateful for once in your miserable existence???
Tony Williams Lifetime-VILLAGE GATE NY '69

No label on this 'un so it might just be one of those homemade platters I told you about cranked out by some enterprising fellow. Anyway there's been a surge in rare stuff comin' out as of late, and for a guy who quit the tape-trading game a good twenny years back I'm just surprised at how much hot rare booty has been popping up on tape trading lists ever since I gave up on the hobby due to financial constraints. A few good New York items have surfaced including some late-'77 Contortions gigs with 2/3rds of 3/3 in the ranks, and now if only someone would dig up some of the true obscurities from the likes of Master Radio Canaries, Junior Birdmen, Third Sun and especially Sorcerers (hey Major, are those disques ready yet???) will I be the complete human being. And thankfully this gem has finally made its way to the public...Lifetime live in New York city '69, a gig that I guess was so hot that Ubgun was telling me that supposedly Charlie Watts invited a few of his fellow Rolling Stonesters to go see this very show with him which must prove if anything that when it came to swiping ideas these guys knew no bounds!

Hot gig even if the quality is a bit shady, with a good hunk of EMERGENCY's total abandon transplanted to the stages of En Why See with a pre-suck McLaughlin still strung out not only on the white stuff but some of the better "new" guitar almost but not quite up-there with Sharrock, while Young's just beginning to traipse upon the avant garde organ style that would come to fruition with Love Cry Want a few years later. And yeh, it's not hard to see why Williams was considered one of the hotcha new drummers on the jazz scene and one with strong commercial possibilities at that. Too bad McLaughlin hadda go the guru route and sold more than his long locks in the process, while Williams hadda become one of the biggest names in jazz sacrificing a lotta this early power in the process (after all, why else would he even conceive of covering McCartney's "Blackbird"?). At least Young had the good sense to knock off early before he could be tempted with wealth in exchange for his jazzed up soul. But please, I don't wanna know if sometime before he died he too went the boogie up your ass route like way too many jazz guys. Really, I don't think my heart could take knowing this!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised Charlie Watts made it to see Tony Williams at the Village Gate - Watts was always the jazzbo of the Stones. If you've ever read
Stanley Booth's "The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones", Watts berated the media for covering Brian Jones' death in full detail while ignoring Paul Chambers' death, as Watts said that Chambers contributed far more to music than Jones did. I suppose there was some animosity between Charlie and Brian that caused him to say that, though....