Sonntag, 30. Juni 2013

40 Records in 40 Years (2/40 - 1975)

On the first year at grammar school I had no difficulties, so that the expenditure was low for the learning accordingly. Therefore I had much more time to spend with my mates on playing dart, billiard and cards. This was presumably one of the most lighthearted years in my life, because I had to waste no thoughts of an occupation or had to take over responsibility for others. It was also the year in I have stopped to play football in an association, because many things were more important (of course girls and lads), than to train regularly with the team.

This can maybe be a reason, why I have started to discover love songs for myself at this time. I also tried to understand the lyrics better than before - and action trick new worlds have disclosed for me. One of my favorite track in this style was performed by 10cc and still a song that stands the test of time.

In 1975 me and my mate used to hang around in a club that was frequented by a lot of American soldiers not far from were stationed. So I used to listen to a lot of American rock, soul and also ballads. One ballad that impressed me lot came from Janis Ian, an American singer/songwriter. where she she describes how it feels not to correspond as a teenager to the norm.

To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
And dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me
We all play the game and when we dare
To cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
That call and say, come dance with me
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me
At seventeen

1975 was also the year Roxy Music released 'Love is the drug' which contains a lot from soul and disco. I don't know if was it cool or not to wear an eye patch this time but years later a British one hit wonder did the same (but I don't remember his name).

Phillisound disappeared and therefor disco raised with Donna Summer, Silver Convention, Bee Gees, KC & the Sunshine Band, Earth Wind and Fire and Van McCoy.

Remarkable records that was published this year:

  • Bob Dylan - Blood on the tracks I'm no big fan of him but on this record were some of his greatest songs with partly his best lyrics
  • ACDC - High Voltage Hard rock giant rises in Australia
  • Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow One of the best guitar based records ever (also his collaboration with Rod Stewart a couple of years earlier)
  • Curtis Mayfield - There Is No Place Like America Today One of my beloved soul records ever
  • The Tubes - The Tubes Punks before punk started
  • Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here Nothing to say -  one of the best selling records
  • Man - Maximum Darkness Welsh band added with John Cippolina on guitar. Powerful rock with great improvisation.
Good year for German football. Borussia Mönchengladbach won the UEFA-cup as the first German team ever against Twente Enschede and Bayern Munich defended their title with the land masters. 'Thrila in Manila' - Muhammad Ali won against Joe Frazier by technical knock out. Arthur Ash won the Wimbledon Championship as the first black player. Motörhead was founded (thank god for). Vietnam war ends by capitulation of the south and the civil war starts in Lebanon. Fascist dictator Francisco Franko died and Spain replaced monarchy. Lynette Fromme attacks American President Gerald Ford (she was a leading member of the Charles Manson Family, who was arrestet for the Tate/La Bianca murders in 1969). First woman who became leader of the Conservative Party: Margaret Thatcher. Great movies came out: Jaws, Barry Lyndon, One flew over the cocos nest.

Now what is my favorite record from this year. It is hard to decide because there a two records that means a lot to me. The first one taught me into Reggae and Dub - the other one turned me into soul music. It was in 1975 when Burning Spear released Markus Garvey. The album is named after the Jamaican National Hero and Rastafari movement propet Markus Garvey. A dub version of it was released four month later as Garvey's Ghost. This is what roots reggae means and I play this record time by time to relax (or how the kids say nowadays: to chill).

Burning Spear - Markus Garvey
Burning Spear - Slavery Days
Burning Spear - I And I Survive (Slavery Days)

But I decided to David Bowie for his record 'Young Americans'. For the record, which showed off his 1970s "obsession" with soul music, he let go of the influences he had drawn from in the past, replacing them with sounds from "local dance halls", which, at the time, were blaring with "lush strings, sliding hi-hat whispers, and swanky R&B rhythms of Philadelphia Soul". Because of the strong influence of black music on the album, Bowie used the term 'plastic soul' (originally coined by an unknown black musician in the 1960s) to describe the sound of Young Americans. Although Bowie was an English musician bringing up touchy American issues, the album was still very successful in the US; the album itself reached the top ten in that country, with the song 'Fame' hitting the #1 spot the same year the album was released.

David Bowie - Young Americans
David Bowie - Across The Universe
David Bowie - Fame
David Bowie - Somebody Up There Likes Me
David Bowie - Can You Hear Me

Samstag, 29. Juni 2013

Why Me?

A couple of days ago a song was shuffled on my smartphone that I didn't heard for a long time. I think it might be in the early 80s when I grabbed that 12 inch from Planet P Project. I don't know more songs from them because 'Why me?' is the only one I owned (and in former times it wasn't that easy to get new music like today) but this track with hypnotic and energetic groove and the lyrics about outer space and isolation is still an ace.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Freitag, 28. Juni 2013

Dancing In The Moonlight

Back in the days of my youth we had a location for special events. It was downstairs in a cellar downtown in my hometown. We celebrated new years day and several bank holidays at our little club. What made fun to us in the late 70's were Thin Lizzy with their great live record. Sometimes we played one whole side at a row. For me Phil Lynott was great at this time and no one could touch his great presence. 'Dancing in the moonlight' might be his heritage to us.

Thin Lizzy - Dancing In The Moonlight

Donnerstag, 27. Juni 2013

Sorrow Tears And Blood

In the early 80s me and a couple of friends were looking for new sounds and music we could play in our local pub. Some of them turned into some weired jazz and funk records others into punk. In my local record store they had a great selection of world music. There I found the 1977 record from Fela Kuti. Never heard about that so called Afrobeat before but I was fascinated about the groove that was in their songs.

Fela Kuti was also a politically activist. About his career you can read a lot in Wikipedia. His musical influence for the African is immense - also to some DJ's who remixed his songs or sampled parts of them. He died in 1997 at the age of 59.

Fela Kuti - Sorrow Tears & Blood

Mittwoch, 26. Juni 2013

Watermelon Man

Back in 1982: One of the most intensive records in this year was the second record from The Gun Club. The band was formed by Jeffrey Lee Pierce, former head of the Blondie fan club in Los Angeles. Joining him was Brian Tristan, who was later renamed Kid Congo Powers during his stint with The Cramps, Don Snowden, who was at the time a music critic for the Los Angeles Times, and Brad Dunning, now a prominent designer and writer. 

The Gun Club merged the contemporary genre of punk rock with the more traditional genres of blues, rockabilly and country music. When I heard this record for the first time I couldn't believe the sound. Young crazy Americans playing traditional Rhythm' and Blues, cover some traditional tunes as well as CCR's swamp rock 'Run through the jungle'. 

In fact Debbie Harry appears as a backing singer on various tracks on the album under the pseudonym "D.H. Laurence Jr.". If I want listen to some raw, mean and true sound I pick out one of them records. Pure joy for me. I remember well to watch the Gun Club live in the early 90s. Seldom listened to a show that was that emotional (as special guest appeared an unknown band called Dinosaur jr. - which impressed me as well). The location was not too big and that time it was possible to go upstairs to the bar section to get a drink or play pool. I sat at the bar with a drink while a Japanese lady joined me. We had a small and niche conversation about useless things until Mr. Pierce arrived and talking jealous to me, what the hell I'm doing with his girlfriend. Me fool didn't checked that I was talking with his engagement and the bass player of the band.

In 1996, Pierce died from a brain hemorrhage at the age of thirty-seven. Pierce was HIV positive, while also suffering from cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis, at the time of his death.

Dienstag, 25. Juni 2013

40 Records In 40 Years (1/40 - 1974)

Back in Europe after three weeks in Sri Lanka. Never had a jetlag like this before. Maybe I got too much years on by back to bear it like a 20 something. During my vacation I've got pretty much time to think about this and that and what's going on. I also had to let pass the opportunity in rest to reflect my present life in myself. Step by step I got the idea to post some of my minds the next months. Now it is 40 years ago I fell into music (someone will call it mania also). Throughout my whole life music was a part of it. The basic idea is to recapitulate every year with my (musical) education, historical events and other what was important. I try to present for every year a long-playing record which is important to me for this year. Maybe, however, even some songs. I have acquired these records not everyone this year, however, I try to return the mood of this time.

1974 was my last year in regular school, before I went to grammar school. It was also the first year I worked during summer break to earn some money to buy my a record player. After six weeks I've got enough money to get it and also my first long-playing records. I still remember how proud I was when I hold my first record in my hand. It was the triple record from YES - Yessongs. Not that I was in to this kind of music, but I thought that I got pretty much music for less money. And so thus synthie-sounds floated by my room daily. It was also the year I went to my first concert. Some older friends took me with to Munich to watch the Faces. Since then I was infected to the harder style of music. I was so much impressed of Rod Stewart and his physical presence on stage so that I knew that this would be the kind I want to have in future times.

Songs that were in the charts these year: Lot of Philly sound like MFSOP, Carl Douglas, ABBA because of ESC, and Mud that directed me into classic R'n'R

as well as Ace who told me the way of British Rhythm and Blues, Motown and all that stuff that was on their first record (by the way maybe one of the best record cover ever) Five-a-side.

During the next years I have discovered for myself the following records from this year and love qualified:

Van Morrison - It's too late to stop now
Gram Parsons - Grievous Angel
Lou Reed - Rock and Roll Animal
Loggins & Messina - On Stage
Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness' First Finale
Minnie Riperton - Perfect Angel
Supertramp - Crime of The Century
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

There was one record that was published this year that will be in my heart forever. It's from Joni Mitchell. Miles of Aisles is a 1974 double live album by Joni Mitchell backed by the L.A. Express, recorded on the Court and Spark tour. It reached #2 on the charts and became one of her biggest-selling records. Her backing band was filled with a lot of jazz and blues musicians like Robben Ford and John Guerin. I love this record for it's smooth sound, the clear voice of Joni Mitchel and also for her lyrics. The older I get the more I recognize her wisdom she had 40 years ago.

Joni Mitchell - Circle Game
Joni Mitchell - People's Parties
Joni Mitchel - Both Sides Now
Joni Mitchell - Carey

In this year Germany also won the world championship in football, although they were not the best team at all - but the most successful one. The best team in this tournament is still the team from Netherlands with their genius Johann Cruyff. Also the Polish team impressed me much. But the main reason to win this competition was that we had the probably best striker ever: Gerd Müller.

Montag, 24. Juni 2013

One Woman

Back from vacation and had a relaxed weekend to get over the jetlag from the journey. It's good to be back home again and listen to the music I used listen to. For me it is a good start into the working week after a few weeks off. I think this is one of the best records Isaak Hayes have ever made. Especially the long version of 'Hot buttered soul'. One woman is a very smooth song about a man who can not decide between two women.

Her loving arms are there to greet me/ Ooooo tender lips are there to meet me/ That's the way I start my day/ Whoaaaa, too bad/ so sad/ it dosen't end that way.

Sonntag, 16. Juni 2013

Dirty Harry

Yesterday was the last day of my illness and therefore we took a day of spending in our house. We went downtown to the next DVD shop to grab some DVD's. You can buy there every new movie for less money - no one will coast you more than 50 cent. Of course they are all ripped by Malaysian copy pirates but it doesn't bother me at all. The quality is mostly excellent - just the special features and more subtitles are missing. I bought me Hangover 3 and other new stuff as well as the collection of the Dirty Harry series. Nowing, that the story of self justice may be not correct I stand to this movies and they are just good entertainment. 

One of my favorite scene is:
While in a local diner, Callahan sees a bank robbery in progress and, alone with his revolver, he kills two of the robbers and wounds a third, challenging the man lying near a loaded shotgun:
I know what you’re thinking: "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a 44 Magnu, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?
Anyway, by reading the credits to the movie I remembered who's done the music to this movie: Lalo Schifrin, an Argentin pianist, composer and arranger mostly known for hisTV scores. In the early 60s he was a member of Dizzy Gillespies band to go afterwards writing TV scores like Mission Impossible and others.

Searching on youtube I remembered also Mike Post and his wonderful TV scores. I grew up with tv series like The Rockford Files and Magnum, PI. Wikipedia told me, that he started his career as a musician in a garage rock band called The Outcasts in San Antonio, Texas. Might sound totally different to his following works as a musican/producer.

Samstag, 15. Juni 2013

Journey to the center of Sri Lanka

For the last three days C. and a couple of mates we were on a journy to the center of Sri Lanka. The easiest way to do this trip is to hire a driver with a fixed rate per day. We started very early on tuesday becaus we stay deep down in the south of the country and also the distance to our first destination was about 250 miles. It is shur no distance in the western hemisphere but all over in Asia it will cost you a lot of time to arrive because sometimes the road is illed with holes or you have to slow down the speed inside the villages.

Our destination was the White River in the hills near by Kitulgala. Starting our journey in the early morning time means also smelling the fragrance of freshly burned garbage along the first part of the journey. We passed the capitol moving toward the hillside the vegetation changes slowly from flat and dusty areas into a brigt hillside with mighty trees. We ride the winds up and could see deep into the valleys. Finaly we arrived our destination for taking a rafting tour on the White River. After a short introduction about the main commmands and rules we got our equipment and started the tour. And after all - it was fantastic. A great experience that many people should try, if thy have the cance to.

After changing our wet clothes and having a rice and curry break in a small cabin nearby the road we drove to our hotel to stay the night. When we started our trip we had no idea we will stay the night. But driving the road to Kandy we checked out one onthe internet. No really plans where we will arrive we are surprised what a little gem it was. Located in the mountains behind Kandy it was a small hotel with about ten rooms and a spectacular view to the mountainside ahead.A quite little place to recrate and therfor we decited to stay one night longer as planed, because the next destination was not so far away that it was a problem to come back. Ohterwise we would have to look for a place to stay near Dambula.

Next day we headed for Sigriya an area dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 meters high. The site was selected by a former king abuut 400 years AD for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure  the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.

 Walking upstairs in the hot sun is not very nice but for god's sake he spent us some heavy winds to bear this torture. Halfway to the top of the rock you get to the frescoues showing some topless ladies serving someting to someone. Some people told me that this women symbol the wifes of the king - but I'm not shure if this is real. But watching them was also amazing as wathing the mirror wall. In fact the mirror wall doesn't look like a mirror - they just call it this way because in it was harldly pollished that you might take a look of yourself on it. Reaching the top you get reward with a spectacular view on the whole landscape.

After that we visited some other temple on our way back. And this one impressed me very much, because I didn't seen it this way yet. The whole temple complex was beaten into the rock wall. Walking into the rooms filled with a lot of Buddah statues on painted rock walls was fascinatingly to me. On the way back to our hotel we stopped by a liqour shop to get us some bear in gin to recareate.

On the way back we decided to stop at a wonderful waterfall our driver recommended it to us. So he took us to the place and it was also impressive to us all. We stayed there while our resident friends climbed the rocks and took some photoes to remember. Back on the car after 20 minutes our friend started yelling because he found two leeches on his leg. Shortly after him C. begann to yell because she found one between her toes an one on her wade. Me and some others had also one and we stopped, pulled out our clothes and checked out any part of our skins for any more leeches. Not that is painful ist is mor disgusting at all. Seeing them damned animals filled with our blood. In fact that they fall our your skin when they had blood enough it will not stop bleeding at all. Finally we stopped by the next private house asking for a newspaper. We burned them and put the ashes on our bleeding wounds - and suddenly the bleeding stopped. After this incident we decided to stop rideing around the country and go back south to our house.

The next that happened, that I woke up the other day feeling pain in my back and freezing. I stand the day staining in bed until I decided to go to the local doctor. He attestet me virus infection and gave me a lot of pills that I have to take for the next days. What's interesting in Asia when you get prescription for medecine you won't get the whole package - you get exactly what you need. Only five or seven pills - and this enough. When I think about how many pills you get in Germany and a lot of them will waste in some boxes.

Some songs we heared on our journey (we had an agreement not onl listen to Singa songs!!)

Sonntag, 9. Juni 2013

Bride and Groom

Few days ago we were invited to a Sri Lankan wedding. The wedding flow is totally different to one Western people are used to. First there is no bachelor - celebrating with your friends and also no hangover possiblle. As we used to marry in the curch them people don't because there are less christians round here. The blessing of God will be given by a Hindu priest to the couple in a short ceremony. After that they start to photograph bride and groom on hundreds of pictures. Meanwhile the traditional starter was prepeared and served. For western tongues it is more a desert than a starter, because it came as cupcakes and other sweeties. After that a band starts playing or (like in our case) a DJ starts his set.

This is mostly the signal for the man to leave the table and go outside (if the celebration is in a hotel) or seperate when it's outside. Then they order their local whiskey called Arrack and some soft drinks and tonic and they start talking about nearly everything. So it goes on for some hours. Between talking, drinking and somking you can get up for some lunch and come back to the men's table.

Women, older persons and kids stay during this time on their tables, enjoying music, talking to them others or having lunch. After the men's drinking conversation is finished, everyone joins the band/DJ to dance for a while. And so slowly ends the celebration that normaly don't go longer as four/five hours. Than the wedding couple leaves and the party is over. Normally the celebration ends in late afternoon and a lot of guys want to continue the party. So hey form some groups, which then party at their respective places of residence - mostly till late night.

Todays track is the XX-cover from 'Sheler' done by Hercules And Love Affair.

Donnerstag, 6. Juni 2013

Two Silver Tears

Beeing here you're more in the mood for some relaxed music. That's why I took some Calexico tunes with me. I follow their career when they played with Giant Sand. Their Americana / Tex-Mex / indie rock is amazing for sitting around and let your minds flow. Their musical style is influenced by traditional Latin sound of mariachi, conjunto, Tejano as well as Southwesttern country and 90s post rock. Someone discribed their music as 'desert noir' and I think this will be the right description.

Have a good time at your home and may summer come to you all soon.

Mittwoch, 5. Juni 2013

Good Morning Sri Lanka

I arrived in Colombo early sunday morning after an enjoyable 11-hours lasting flight. Stayed there for one night to get some things done by the bureau of immegration (C. had to prolong her visa for a few more weeks). As ever in Sri Lanka - you think something will be done in a short time it take you hours to finish it. When we picked up some people we left the capital heading down south to Weligama, where C. rented a house while she's staying at this place. It's a real nice house with a big living room and three sleeping rooms, a full kitchen and western style bathroom.

First evening it's usual to invite some friends to warm up the house. As ever they showed up with some bottles and we sat out on the porch for hours laughing, drinking, talking and having some food all over the time. Next days we will watch out, what our business plans will make. More of this in the next days.

Sitting out on the porch writing this post and listening to Curtis Mayfield.