Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Pink Floyd In 1968

After the departure of their main man, Syd Barrett, The Pink Floyd almost had to face a new beginning in 1968. David Gilmour was an excellent guitarist and singer, but Syd's talent and genius as a songwriter couldn't be replaced. After they tried uselessly to record another hit single like See Emily Play, they began to change their style, emphasizing the more spacey and experimental side of their sound. So they began a new exciting phase of their career, that reached its peak in '69 with the double album Ummagumma, that also proves how they got on well together on stage on those days. On their second LP A Saucerful Of Secrets we can hear some short songs trying to imitate Syd's style (beside Syd's last song Jugband Blues), and tunes like the title-track and the ones played on these videos, that opened the new path.
Let There Be More Light is performed for a French TV program called Surprise Partie; it seems like they appeared several times on French TV in '68. It's kind of funny to see the people trying to dance at the song, but by that time rock music and dance music were still the same thing.
The second clip is a short but intense version of one of their classic tunes. A fascinating and colourful video introduced by Frank Zappa. It is part of an amazing rock documentary called All My Loving, produced by BBC, that also features acts like The Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Cream...

Pink Floyd - Let There Be More Light (1968)
Pink Floyd - Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (1968)




Monday, March 27, 2006

Sixties' Covers # 2

Two other examples of how to pay homage to such a fertile period for rock music.
The prophets of de-evolution dare to play one of the greatest rock anthems ever, and deface it in a genial way, so to make it still sound as a classic...but totally different from the original. A new perfect anthem for the plastic generation. Devo performs their schizoid version of this Jagger/Richards composition on Saturday Night Live in 1978.
Calexico are a very good band that has appeared frequently here on 'blogland' in the last days. Their way to look at the sixties is much more respectful. This cover of Alone Again Or, taken from the memorable Love's album Forever Changes, has been played recently this year at the German Rockpalast festival. They spiced this wonderful folk-pop ballad with some of their typical mexican and desertic flavours.
Two covers that are very different one from the other, but both very beautiful...I hope you'll agree with me about that...

Nota in italiano: Mi pare doverosa viste le numerose visite che questo blog ha ricevuto dal mio paese negli ultimi giorni, in seguito ad una segnalazione sul forum de Il Mucchio. Purtroppo dalle nostre parti la devolution rischia di realizzarsi davvero :(
Grazie dell'attenzione e benvenuti!

Devo - Satisfaction (1978)
Calexico - Alone Again Or (2006)


Any comments?



Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tropicália # 2

For a brief introduction to the Brazilian tropicália movement you can take a look at my previous post, where you can download videos by Gilberto Gil and Os Mutantes. In that Gil's performance with Os Mutantes in 1967, most of the audience disapproved of the musicians. These two new clips, taken from a festival broadcasted by the TV Record channel in late '68, show how things changed in a matter of one year, and many Brazilian young people accepted the new style as an expression of their will for a social renewal. Unfortunately those were the days when the militar government was turning into a very autocratic régime, using the censorship to limit the freedom of expression. We know how Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso had to pay hard, with jail and exile, for their 'provocations'. This happened just a few days after this festival. Gal Costa performs a fantastic song written by Gil and Veloso, we can see her at the beginning of her career as a star of the so-called MPB (musica popular brasileira). He had already made a record with Veloso in '67, singing in the mellow and relaxed bossa nova style, but in the following years she used her high and powerful voice for an ecletic psychedelic hard-rock, whose quality is guaranteed also by the talent of the composers (Veloso, Gil, Jorge Ben, Roberto Carlos...) and musicians, like the Brazilian guitar-hero Lanny Gordin.
Os Mutantes appeared wearing some of their typical odd costumes to present a song inspired by the Kubrick's science fiction masperpiece '2001: A Space Odissey'. The lyrics about an astronaut lost in space were written by Tom Zé, another great songwriter who emerged from the tropicália scene. The singer Rita Lee brought on the stage a theremin to produce some spacey sounds, and Gilberto Gil is also present to play the accordion. The clamour of the audience is so loud that you can hardly hear the music.
As you can imagine the quality of this clips is far from perfect, but they are precious and fascinating documents.
For further informations about tropicália check out the official site, available in both Portugues and English languages.

Gal Costa - Divino Maravilhoso (1968)
Os Mutantes - 2.001 (1968)


Eu sei que tem muitos brasileiros que visitam o meu blog cada dia. Espero que vocês gostem.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Have A Nice Flight

Listening to The Jefferson Airplane means understanding why the late sixties have been such an important period in rock music and culture, and why San Francisco has been such a special place then. A group of hippies that was born just to play as the resident band at The Matrix (the Marty Balin's local) soon became one of the inventors of psychedelic music and gave voice to the ideals of a new generation. This happened because all of the members of the Airplane were great musicians, with a strong personality and a distinct style, and they have been able to compose songs that marked an era and helped them in getting a big success and a strong impact on the media. This didn't happen much with other great bands from San Francisco, like The Grateful Dead or Quicksilver Messenger Service, because they were basically instrumental jam bands. So it's no surprise to see Ed Sullivan, on the first clip, introducing them as 'the number one rock group of the country', despite the controversial contents of their songs about free love, free drug and opposition to the Vietnam war.
The second video is from the Kralingen pop festival in Holland (documented on the movie Stamping Ground), one of the best musical events of the early seventies, that also featured brilliant perfomances by bands like The Pink Floyd, Family, Soft Machine, Santana, East Of Eden, It's A Beautiful Day...
The Airplane kept flying high until it claimed to become a Starship, and the inspiration began to fall, along with the decline of the so-called drug-culture.

Jefferson Airplane - Crown Of Creation (1968)
Jefferson Airplane - The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil (1970)


See you soon


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Robyn Plays Barrett

Robyn Hitchcock is one the most talented an lunatic songwriters of the British scene, one of the first musicians that, in the late seventies, during the punk and new wave era, took inspiration from the most eccentric pop and psychedelic music of the sixties. His first group, The Soft Boys, had been sadly ignored and Robyn received a little bit more of attention in the eightes, when he became a cult figure for fans of the new-psychedelic trend. His first record I bought, in 1985, was the excellent Fegmania, recorded with his new band: The Egyptians. I had been attracted by titles like The Man With The Lightbulb Head, My Wife And My Dead Wife, Insect Mother, Strawberry Mind...Robyn was, and still is, a truly surrealistic talent. That's why he has been often compared to Syd Barrett, and also because his voice is very similar to Syd's one. In fact he has never hidden his admiration for the old madcap, and he is one of the few who prefers Syd's solo albums to his recordings with the early Pink Floyd. In these clips he pays a deeply felt homage to a great genius, with a couple of covers, accompanied on his acoustic guitar somewhere in the British country.
The videos have been ripped from the The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story DVD.

Robyn Hitchcock - Dominoes (2001)
Robyn Hitchcock - It Is Obvious (2001)

New password:
It is the URL of this site as you can copy it from the adress bar...

If you want to see an amazing clip of Robyn's song The Man With The Lightbulb Head, look among the videos included in this page.

See you


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Songs Of Leonard Cohen

A good song, as a good book, is like an old friend on which you can always count. Many times I found comfort in Leonard Cohen's deep voice. As an italian music fan, who have always listened mostly to songs sung in English, I never paid much attention to the lyrics. Many times, when I tried to translate, I' ve felt disappointed; the magic of the music had partially vanished. There are some good exceptions, and Cohen is certainly one of these. It is worth to take a dictionary to explore his poetical universe full of symbols. His histories of love and regret became more effective when he decided to tell them with a guitar and some simple charming melodies, inspired mostly by french songwriters like Jacques Brel.
The Stranger Song is a particulary touching song to me, for some personal reasons, and I'm glad I found this video, just a few days after I received a request to post more Cohen's music, besides the first clip I ulpoaded here, in January. This live perfomance at a TV show in '67 (introduced by the american folk-singer Julie Felix) is very intense, you can see a little shiny tear falling from Cohen's eye at the end of the song.
Though the ideal context for this kind of music seems to be a closed and intimate room (as a title of one of his albums suggests), the canadian songwriter proves, on the second video, to be able to catch the attention of a very large audience, at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, with his most popular classic.
I discovered that the Suzanne's clip that you can find in the old post is part of a canadian short movie, based on five Cohen's songs...I'm hunting for the other songs to offer the whole movie in the future.

Leonard Cohen - The Stranger Song (1967)
Leonard Cohen - Suzanne (live 1970)

Password: musicforyoureyes

Comments are always very apprecieted

See you next time


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Robert Wyatt

Maybe the most sensitive and talented artist to emerge from the Canterbury scene. The earlier drummer and vocalist of Soft Machine started his solo career in 1970 with an unique and astonishing example of free music called The End Of An Ear. A few time later he defintely left Soft Machine, that was becoming a too straight fusion band, to form Matching Mole and follow an interesting direction between experimentation and melody. In June 1973 a terrible accident left him paraplegic and changed his personal and musical future. During the months of convalescence and the state of crisis that he passed through he composed the touching songs of Rock Bottom, one of the most deep and inspired album ever, published in '74. Experimentation and melody are finally perfectly amalgamated to create a portrait of the artist's soul, struggling between desperation and hope, and self-pity is avoided with a touch of bitter irony. These are my impressions, but I feel that everyone can relate to this music in a very personal way. Many old friends and good musicians give their contribution to the making of this masterpiece (including Ivor Cutler, who sadly died a few days ago).
Sea Song is the opening track, on which he also gives a good example of how he can use his thin voice as an instrument. This version was played in 2003 for a BBC documentary about Wyatt.
Soon after the release of Rock Bottom the single I'm A Believer brings a moment of relief from the album's gloomy atmospheres. The nice melody of the Monkees' song is made precious by Robert's voice and the refined arrangements. The video is from the Top Of The Pops archive, you'll recognize Pink Floyd's drummer Nick Mason, who produced Rock Bottom...and could it be that the guy with the acoustic guitar is Andy Somers/Summers, the future guitarist of The Police?
Wyatt never reached the inspiration of those days again, but still his rare productions are precious events that deserves all of our attention.

Robert Wyatt - Sea Song (2003)
Robert Wyatt - I'm A Believer (1974)

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I hope you'll enjoy these clips



Thursday, March 09, 2006


It's strange to think that this delicate musical creature had been created in '69 by two ex-members of Yardbirds, a band who always loved the raw sounds of blues. Renaissance was born when Keith Relf and Jim McCarthy joined John Hawken, on piano, the bass player Louis Cennamo and the singer Jane Relf, whose crystalline voice was one of the distinctive feature of their music. No reminiscences of the Yardbirds, but a mellow and sophisticated blend of folk and classical music, with just a few jazzy flavours. The sound fits good with the progressive era, without being too baroque. The song Island, included on their first self titled LP, is a beautiful example of their style.
During the recording of the second album Illlusion this line up dissolved and Renaissance reformed with totally new members.
This is a live performance from the Beat Club.

Renaissance - Island (1970)

Password: musicforyoureyes

See you soon.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Bonzo Dog? Doo-Dah Band?

Frank Zappa asked: does humour belongs in music? In fact I think that music fans take it all too seriously sometimes. This is a band that is often compared to Zappa & The Mothers. The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, formed in the mid-sixties by a group of british high school mates, were less sophisticated musically but had a better theatrical aptitude, in the tradition of the British cabaret. It is worth to see them and not just to hear, to really appreciate their act. Though the leader was Vivian Stanshall, who died sadly in '95, a member of the band was Neil Innes, later one of the Monty Python...just to give you an idea of the quality of their humour. Too intelligent for success? They lived just two brief moments of fame: in '67 with a cameo on the Beatles' movie Magical Mistery Tour (Sir McCartney was a fan) and in '68 with the single I'm The Urban Spaceman. Musically I think we could call them an iconclast new vaudeville band (?).
This song sounds to me as a truly funny Presley's caricature. Don't miss the guitar solo!

Added on March 9: I think I have to correct myself for having written that the Bonzos lived just two brief moments of fame. A British friend wrote me that in the UK they were very popular and loved instead, appearing regularly on a TV program for children. Here in Italy they are an almost unknown cult band.
Besides I didn't know about the existence of a band called the New Vaudeville Band, when I wrote "vaudeville" I really meant to talk about the musical style!
So, please apologize my lack of informations.

Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Canyons Of Your Mind (1968)

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Did you like this video? Let me know...


Saturday, March 04, 2006

High Flying Byrd

Maybe I'm a little late, but I'd like to give my small contribution to the tribute to Gene Clark and the early Byrds started by hans GENE blog, then followed by Sonic Pollutions and PLANET XTABAY. These are two clips featuring the Byrds covering Bob Dylan. They had the capacity to make Dylan's songs sound even greater. Mr. Tambourine Man in particular is one of my favourite song ever, with maybe the best lyrics ever written, and the Byrds made it immortal. The video is taken from their only appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show (and the video explains why...). The second clip is from the Hullabaloo Tv program. Unfortunately they are not live perfomances, if you want to see the Byrds playing live check out this post.

Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)
Byrds - The Times They Are A-Changin' (1966)

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Thursday, March 02, 2006


This is the defaced look of new-psychedelia. Chrome's music comes from a mysterious place where space-acid rock meets punk and industrial music. Helios Creed's guitars and Damon Edge's synthesizers throw out any possible kind of noises, supported by hypnotic/neurotic rhythms, to create a disturbing and futuristic sound that runs on the thin border between rock songs and chaos. These two freaks from San Francisco shared the same passion for science fiction and their music anticipated somehow the cyberpunk's atmospheres, sounding like the ideal soundtrack for some Philip K. Dick's nightmares. They came in the late '70s, when the hippies ideals had died, and showed another sort of lysergic visions.
Too weird to be punk or new wave, too rock to be an industrial or experimental band, Chrome will always be an unique entity, very innovative and creative until Creed's defection in '83. They are still a cult band, that played only a very few times on stage.
This song was first released on the compilation Subterranean Modern, where Chrome appeared with other California bands like Residents and Tuxedomoon. The clip is very simple but as disturbing as the sound: this meeting is going to be frightful, there are sinister peoples in the subway looking like the Clockwork Orange's droogs.

Chrome - I Meet You In The Subway (1980)

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Leave a comment, don't leave me alone in the subway!

I meet you here