Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Captain Beefheart, 1941-2010

Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, was an uncompromising artist and musical pioneer, whose influence on contemporary music and musicians has been enormous. The list includes: Tom Waits, Deerhoof, Pavement, Marc Ribot, Nels Cline, Gang of Four, Beck, Jack White, John Zorn and The Minutemen, to name a few. In a recent LA Times obituary, Tom Waits succinctly (and poetically) expressed his lament of Van Vliet's death (due to complications from MS):

"He was like the scout on a wagon train," Waits wrote in an e-mail Friday. "He was the one who goes ahead and shows the way. He was a demanding bandleader, a transcendental composer (with emphasis on the dental), up there with Ornette [Coleman], Sun Ra and Miles [Davis]. He drew in the air with a burnt stick. He described the indescribable. He's an underground stream and a big yellow blimp.

"I will miss talking to him on the phone. We would describe what we saw out of our windows. He was a rememberer. He was the only one who thought to bring matches. He's the alpha and the omega. The high water mark. He's gone and he won't be back."

He will be missed, though his music still stands as a force.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

B.W.'s PLAYLIST/ KHSU, 90.5/ SAT., 18 DEC. 2010

Recently unearthed, The Psychedelic Aliens was a great funk band from Ghana, beginning from 1968. Their only known surviving recordings (only three '45 singles plus B-sides) have been put together by Academy Records, entitled Psycho African Beat. Six killer cuts of a hybrid of African and US soul/funk. Amazing.
New Mule Skinner Blues/ THE MADDOX BROTHERS & ROSE (’48, ’10 collection, Oxford American Southern Music No. 12)
Hard Times Come and Go/ POKEY LaFARGE & THE
SOUTH CITY (’10, Riverboat Soul)

My Heart Skips a Beat/ THE SECRET SISTERS (’10, self titled)*

Willow Weep For Me/ PETE MOLINARI (’10, A Train Bound For Glory)

Mermaid Parade/ PHOSPHORESCENT (’10, Here’s to Taking It Easy)

Livin’ Too Close to the
Rio Grande/ FREEDY JOHNSTON (’10, Rain on the City)

You Won’t Let Me Down Again/ ISOBEL CAMPBELL & MARK LANEGAN (’10, Hawk)
Live With the Seasons/ TEENAGE FANCLUB (’10, Shadows)*

We End Up Together/ THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS (’10, Together)

Resolution/ STEVE WYNN & THE MIRACLE 3 (’10, Northern Aggression)*

Hammering Castle Bird Man/ MIKE WATT + THE MISSINGMEN (’10, Hyphenated-Man)*

Got Nuffin / SPOON (’10, Transerfence)

Everything At Once/ SUPERCHUNK (’10, Majesty Shredding)

Hot Head/ CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND (’80, Doc at the Radar Station)
Sea Seizure (No. 19)/ MARY HALVORSON QUINTET (’10, Saturn Sings)*

Better Than a Machine (for Vic Chesnutt)/ BILL FRISELL (’10, Beautiful Dreamers)

Pius Ogola/ AKUMU ODHIAMBO (’10, Frank Fairfield's Pawnshop Presents Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts)

Gbomei Adesai/ THE PSYCHEDELIC ALIENS (‘60’s, ’10 collection, Psycho African Beat)*

King Queen/ THE NELS CLINE SINGERS (’10, Initiate)

Ma/ TOM ZE (’75, ’90, The Best of Tom Ze)

Ice Cream For Crow/ CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND (’82, Ice Cream For Crow)

Clap Hands (live, ’87)/ TOM WAITS (’88, Big Time)

A Mushroom Cloud/ SAMMY SALVO (’61, ’10 collection, Oxford American Southern Music No. 12)

Tunnel of Love/ WANDA JACKSON (’61)

Suffering Season/ WOODS (’10, At
Echo Lake)

Save Yourself/ SHARON VAN ETTEN (’10, epic)*

Better Things to Do/ SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS (’10, I Learned the Hard Way)

*new or recent release