Friday, October 27, 2006


An historical band from Wales that, though it never reached a big success, is still on the road and can count on a cult-following, as proved by this very rich and detailed official website.
Since their debut in 1969 with the album Revelation, on whose cover they apperaed naked, several years before the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Man have been considered as a crossover between progressive rock and west coast psychedelia. Their friendship with John Cipollina, the legendary axeman of Quicksilver Messenger Service, is testified by the 1975 live album Maximum Darkness. Concerts are the ideal context for Man's music, a band that, through many changes in its line-up, is always been a sort of "open space" for musical improvisation.
In the beginning they received more attention in other European countries like Germany or France, so it's no surprise that they appeared two times at the Beat Club.
2.30 Definetely is a compelling rock-blues, an instrumental tune that never appeared on any official album. Would The Christians... is a long track taken from their third self-titled album, another great instrumental piece. It has an evocative atmosphere with reminiscenses of Pink Floyd, and a strange noisy electronic coda. Both these perfomances are included on a bootleg called Yesterdays Papers. Check their website for more informations about these records, and much more.

Man - 2.30 Definitely (1969)
Man - Would The Christians Wait Five Minutes? The Lions Are Having A Draw (1971)




Friday, October 20, 2006

Round To The Stars

Another post about my favourite German band, this time we explore another side of their sound. In 1972 Amon Düül II released a couple of albums on which they had been able to use their experimentations to compose shorter and more accessible songs, with brilliant results, right before they became a too commercial band, very different from the old freaks' commune.
The first video is a promo clip for the single version of All The Years Round, a song included on Carnival In Babylon, that, thanks to John Peel, had been played several times on British radio. It is a wonderful psych-folk song, on which Renate Knaup's shrill falsetto vocals play a main role, with the typical Amon Düül II's gothic atmosphere. The clip is very beautiful and evocative too, it reminds of the imaginative artwork they used for their albums' covers.
I found this video in mpeg format with a size of more than 200 Mb; to reduce it I've converted it into a wmv file of just 60 Mb, with almost the same quality. You can preview it with Real Player here, I think it was also included as a bonus on some CD re-release, but I'm not sure.
Surrounded By The Stars is the opening track of Wolf City, another fascinating ballad, that here is played live in 1975, with one of the best performance I ever heard by Renate.
This last clip is one of many old German rock videos that the TV channel WDR had the good idea to get back from the archives recently.

Amon Düül II - All The Years Round (1972)
Amon Düül II - Surrounded By The Stars (1975)


See You


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I think that the best way to introduce in a few lines Larry "Wild Man" Fischer is to copy the sleeve notes of the Derailroaded DVD, hoping also to encourage you to try and see this brilliant documentary about the cult-artist:
"de-rail-road-ed (di ral’rod ed) 1. pt.; a neologism; one man’s psycholinguistic and schizo-musical metaphor for derailed, to have caused a train, mind or life to go off the tracks. 2. proper noun; an 86 minute documentary feature.
In this shocking and sensitive musical journey through the thunderstorms of the mind of paranoid-schizophrenic Larry “Wild Man” Fischer, we follow his discordant encounters in the music business. Institutionalized at 16 after attacking his mother with a knife, Fischer wandered the mean streets of L.A. singing his unique brand of songs for 10¢ each to passersby. He was discovered by Frank Zappa, with whom he cut his first record album, including the enduring dada rock classic ‘Merry Go Round’. A precursor to punk, Fischer became an underground club and concert favourite, earning him the title of "godfather of outsider music." Over the course of his 40 year career, Fischer has performed constantly, is the first artist ever recorded on Rhino Records, was featured on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, had a top hit in the UK Pop Charts with ‘Go To Rhino Records’, which featured in John Peel’s Festive Fifty 1976, was the subject of his own comic book, was a mainstay on The Dr Demento Show , and even sang a duet with the late Rosemary Clooney.
Extensive archival footage from Fischer’s early days, including his TV and club performances, trace his life from neglected child to tortured genius. We visit him at home, follow him on the streets, and speak with those who over the years witnessed – and survived – his erratic behavior: his family, his doctor, and industry professionals including Frank and Gail Zappa, Weird Al Yankovic, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Solomon Burke, Dr. Demento, and Barnes and Barnes. You will be moved, amazed, repelled, and ultimately come to know what it is like to be profoundly DERAILROADED."
Fischer recorded four LP's plus a live album with Smegma. The double album An Evening With Wild Man Fischer, produced by Zappa in '68, has never been re-released. All the music he recorded for Rhino Records, most of it perfectly produced by Barbes & Barnes, had been gathered on the Fischer King box set, that is no longer available too. It looks like all you can buy is Wildmania, the number 1 album in Rhino's catalogue.
The movie, that hopefully will arouse some interest around Fischer's music, is very dramatic. Like Crumb, the documentary about the famous underground cartoonist and his family, it proves how some of the most sincere and intense artistical expressions can come from a diseased mind. Larry is a manic depressive paranoid-schizophrenic, and this brought a lot of suffering in his life.
One of the most interesting extras featured on the DVD is an amazing animation by the great illustrator Pat Moriarity, based on the song The Bouillabasse, that exposes effectively Larry's obsessions.
Check out this post on PCL LinkDump for more infos about Wild Man Fischer, and also to download two of his albums!

Wild Man Fischer - The Bouillabaisse (animation by Pat Moriarity)




Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Incredible String Band In 1968

For this precious clip we all must thank Milan Zivancevic, a good friend from Serbia that sometimes posts comments here using the nick "123". He's been so kind to burn and send me a copy of a DVD with many rare videos by The Incredible String Band, including also parts of their performance at the Woodstock festival.
In 1968 the so-called hippy/underground (counter)culture was at the peak of its creativity, and so were Robin Williamson and Mike Heron, whose band has been one of the most creative and imaginative of that era. These two amazing songwriters and musicians were guests at the Julie Felix TV show in that year, to perform a couple of fascinating tunes. The Half Remarkable Question, written by Robin, is a quiet and meditative song; as Robin sings and plays the guitar, Mike shows his skill in playing the sitar. The song is from the double album Wee Tam And The Big Huge, whose two records are also available separately, as they had been originally published in the USA.
Painting Box, composed by Mike, is one of my favourite songs by them, taken from The 5.000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion, also considered by myself, and many others, as one their best albums. Julie Felix herself joins the duo on acoustic guitar and backing vocals, making this version truly delightful, a special gem for every fans.
For some reasons, ripping this clip has been quite difficult, please excuse me if in the last minute the audio is a little bit out of synch, I hope you'll enjoy it just the same. I'm waiting for your comments.

Incredible String Band - The Half Remarkable Question/Painting Box (1968)


See you next time


Friday, October 06, 2006

Parco Lambro 1976

I've been asked several times to upload some Italian clips. Sincerely I'm not a big fan of the musical scene of my country, also it's not very easy to find some old videos.
The movie Nudi Verso La Follia, directed by Angelo Rastelli in 2004, documents a memorable event: the sixth Re Nudo Pop Festival of June 1976 - Re Nudo was an underground magazine - that was held in a park near Milan called Parco Lambro. The Re Nudo Pop Festivals were also called "feste del proletariato giovanile", proletarian youth's parties. The Italian underground movement mixed the hippy counter-culture with the political revolutionary ideals of the radical left. The sixth edition of the festival was the most popular, several thousands of people from all over the country reached the Parco Lambro, but unfortunately it was also the last one. In the late seventies the contradictions, the heavy drugs and the violent degeneration of the political and social tensions brought to the death of the movement.
A lot of good artists took part to this four day event, but I think that the more interesting sequences of the movie are the ones that show what happened among the audience. Anyway, this is a musical blog, so here are a couple of musical clips.
Eugenio Finardi is a talented rock songwriter who released some very good albums in those years, with the important contribution of some great musicians from his same label, the historical Cramps Records, like Alberto Camerini or members of Area. His style was quite tough and angry, his most famous song has the eloquent title La Musica Ribelle - the rebel music - but this is a fine catchy ballad dedicated to the radio; some interesting indipendent radio channels were born here in that period, this was composed originally as a music spot for Radio Popolare. The song sounds almost as a country-rock, it was included on his second album Sugo, maybe his best one.
The group Area, that performed at the end of the festival, did a very peculiar experiment with the audience. They unrolled two naked electrical wires from Patrizio Fariselli's synthesizer to the people. As the instrument played a random sequence of sounds they invited the people to touch the wires and touch one another, to increase the resistance and make the tonality of the sounds higher. This weird instrumental track was called Il Caos, and it was the introduction to another version of L'Internazionale, the socialist international workers' hymn. Unfortunately we don't hear Demetrio Stratos' voice. A very good article in English about this amazing band can be read on this blog.
In the nineties Re Nudo re-appeared as a sort of new-age magazine. The times they are a-changin'.

Eugenio Finardi - La Radio (1976)
Area - Il Caos/L' Internazionale (1976)




Sunday, October 01, 2006

Surrender To Jonathan

Listening to a Jonathan Richman's record is always a secure remedy against bad temper, not only because of his talent in composing infectious melodies (does anybody remember an eight minutes live version of Ice Cream Man?), but you can also clearly feel how much he enjoys living and communicating through his music. This is why seeing Jonathan in concert is an even more exciting and funny experience, as proved also by a DVD called Take Me To The Plaza, that shows a performance at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, in December 2002. Accompanied only by himself on acoustic guitar and Tommy Larkins on a basic drums kit (Tommy is the same guy that appears with Jonathan on the movie There's Something About Mary), he offers an hour of great entertainment. Many of the songs are taken from the 2001 CD Her Mistery Not Of High Heels And Eye Shadow, that I've sincerely never heard, so I choosed a couple of older classic tunes. Pablo Picasso is from his earlier pre-punk period with the Modern Lovers, the song had been covered also by the Modern Lovers' producer John Cale, while I Was Dancing At The Lesbian Bar comes from the album I, Jonathan.
Mentioning the title of another of his records, all you have to do is Surrender To Jonathan.

Jonathan Richman - Pablo Picasso/I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar (2002)


A presto