Tag Archives: Mixtape

Celestial seasonings: A total eclipse mixtape

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on August 19, 2017)

https://i0.wp.com/news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/photos/000/730/73045.adapt.945.1.jpg?resize=474%2C315

Depending on your worldview, Monday’s super-hyped solar eclipse may be interpreted as: a). A sign of the impending apocalypse, b). A sign that once in a blue moon, the moon blows in and obscures the sun, giving humanity the impression (for a few heart stopping moments) that the apocalypse has, in fact, arrived, or c). A dollar sign for event promoters, hoteliers, tow truck drivers, and people who sell cheap cardboard sunglasses.

I know. I’m a cynical bastard.

If the “Eclipse of the Century” forces people to tear themselves away from their 5 inch iPhone screen to gaze up at The Big Sky, and ponder the awesomeness and vastness of the cosmos (and most importantly, humankind’s relative insignificance in the grand scheme of things)…then I’m for it (I Googled “can you view the eclipse with a…” and right after “mirror”, “sunglasses” and “welding mask”, there it was- goddamn “iPhone”).

Do me a favor. If you’re lucky enough to make it through the horrendous traffic and wriggle through the madding crowd to snag a perfect observation point in one of the areas that will experience totality…don’t view it through a 5-inch screen…LOOK at it! Wear eye protection, of course, but experience the ACTUAL PHENOMENON! Thanks.

After all, as Carl Sagan observed:

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

BTW, here’s evolutionary perspective on why we sophisticated, technically-advanced humanoids still get the tiniest little lizard brain-fueled twitch when Big Light Go Away:

With that in mind, please enjoy this special mixtape that I have assembled to accompany the solar system’s ultimate laserium show (don’t worry-I didn’t forget the Floyd, man!).

The Rolling Stones- “2000 Light Years from Home”

Paul Weller- “Andromeda”

The Orb- “Backside of the Moon”

Kate Bush- “The Big Sky”

Soundgarden- “Black Hole Sun”

Husker Du- “Books about UFOs”

Pink Floyd- “Brain Damage/Eclipse”

Crosby, Stills, & Nash- “Dark Star”

The Ian Gillian Band- “Five Moons”

Moxy- “Moon Rider”

King Crimson- “Moonchild”

Nick Drake- “Pink Moon”

Elton John- “Rocket Man”

David Bowie- “Space Oddity”

Liz Phair- “Stars and Planets”

Yes- “Starship Trooper”

Bonnie Hayes- “Total Eclipse of the Heart”

The Church- “Under the Milky Way”

Paul McCartney & Wings- “Venus + Mars”

Gamma- “Voyager”

The Top 10 Xmas songs for cynics

By Dennis Hartley

https://i2.wp.com/cdn.instructables.com/FU7/9HFV/G33OQ7QC/FU79HFVG33OQ7QC.LARGE.jpg?w=474&ssl=1

I know. There’s one in every crowd. I guess I’m “it”. Enough with the forced smiles, the holiday “cheer”, and people fighting at the mall. Herewith is my mixtape for those who can’t wait ’til it’s over…

  1.  Blue Xmas – Bob Dorough w/ the Miles Davis Sextet

The hippest “Bah, humbug!” of all time. “Gimme gimme gimme…”

2. Green Christmas – Stan Freberg

Classic bit from an ace satirist. Yeah, he’s talking to you, Don Draper!

3. The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot – Nat King Cole

Most depressing Xmas tune ever? So much for chestnuts roasting…

4. 7 o’clock News/Silent Night – Simon & Garfunkel

Leave it to some commie lib’rul folk singers to ruin everyone’s Xmas.

5. A Christmas Song – Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson gets drunk with Santa; decries the commercialization.

6.  Even Santa Gets the Blues – Marty Stuart

Santa could probably use a shot of Wild Turkey with those cookies…

7.  Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – Elmo & Patsy

We prefer not to talk about “the Christmas incident” in our family.

8.  I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas – Yogi Yorgesson

I’ve heard this song a million times…and it still puts me in hysterics.

9. Santa Stole My Lady – Fitz and the Tantrums

That fat, cuckolding elf bastard. Make it a double, barkeep…

10.  Fuck Christmas – Eric Idle

You thought I forgot this one! Make sure the kids are out of earshot.

Cheers!

 

Start drinking now: A mixtape for election eve

By Dennis Hartley

https://i2.wp.com/passportinfoguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/passport.jpg?w=474

Well, this is it.

We find out tomorrow if we still have a future. Drinks/meds on standby? Excellent! I brought chips ‘n’ dip. And tunes. Let’s rock:

  1. Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention – “Plastic People”

2. Barry McGuire – “Eve of Destruction”

3. R.E.M. – “It’s the End of the World”

4.  King Crimson – “Epitaph” (isolated vocal track version)

5. The Youngbloods – “Darkness, Darkness”

6. Roy Orbison – “It’s Over”

7. The Doors – “The End”

8.  John Martyn – “I Don’t Want to Know”

9.  The Ramones – “I Wanna Be Sedated”

10. Styx – “Come Sail Away”

PLEASE VOTE.

An elpee’s worth of covers: A Labor Day mixtape

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on September 4, 2016)

https://i1.wp.com/photos.clevescene.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Video-Game-and-Record-Exchange-854-E.-185th-St.-216-481-7711.jpg?resize=474%2C262

It’s Labor Day…so I’m taking the day off as a film critic. And, I’m giving the original artists a day off so I can share an LP’s worth of my favorite cover songs. Enjoy!

  1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “All Along the Watchtower” – “And the wind began to HOWL!” Jimi’s soaring, immaculately produced rendition (from Electric Ladyland) came out 6 months after the original appeared on Dylan’s 1967 John Wesley Harding LP.

  1. Patti Smith– “Because the Night” – OK, Springsteen gave Patti first crack, so it could be argued that his version (recorded later) is technically the “cover”. I do feel Smith’s version is definitive (Bruce wins either way…so long as royalty checks keep rolling in).

  1. Isaac Hayes– “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” – Got 20 minutes? Hayes deconstructs Glen Campbell’s Jimmy Webb-penned hit and builds it into an epic suite that eats up side 2 of Hot Buttered Soul. This is his magnum opus…symphonic, heartbreaking, beautiful.

  1. Savoy Brown– “Can’t Get Next To You” – A bluesy take on the Temptations hit (written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Stong). The song features fine work from Dave Walker (vocals), Paul Raymond (piano) and founding member Kim Simmonds (guitar).

  1. Judas Priest– “Diamonds and Rust” – It sounds like a comedy bit: “Here’s my impression of Judas Priest covering a Joan Baez song.” But it happened, and it’s become one of Priest’s signature tunes. This is a rare stripped-down version, from a VH-1 broadcast.

  1. Julian Cope– “5 o’clock World” – The Teardrop Explodes founder reworks a memorable Top 40 hit by 1960s pop outfit The Vogues. I love how Cope cleverly (and seamlessly) incorporates quotes from Petula Clark’s “I Know a Place” for good measure!

  1. Fanny– “Hey Bulldog” – Pre-dating The Runaways, this all-female rock band kicked ass and took names. Unfortunately, they may have been too early for the party, because they never quite caught fire. This strident Beatles cover is from their 1972 LP Fanny Hill.

  1. Clive Gregson & Christine Collister- “How Men Are” – Gregson (founder of 80s power-pop band Any Trouble) teamed up with singer-songwriter Collister to cut 5 superb albums in the 80s and 90s. Collister’s vocal on this Aztec Camera cover is transcendent.

  1. Chris Spedding– “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” – Spedding is the Zelig of the U.K. music scene; an official member of 11 bands over the years, and a session guitarist who’s played with everybody since the 70s. This Kinks cover is the title cut of his 1980 album.

  1. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes– “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – Definitely not as originally envisioned by the late John Denver…but you can dance to it. This punk pop outfit (specializing in covers) is a communal side project for members of various bands.

  1. Paul Jones – “Pretty Vacant” – I realize the gimmick of doing ironic lounge covers of punk songs is now as “ho-hum” as arrhythmic white guys trying to rap, but when this winking take on a Sex Pistols song was released in 1978, it was a novel idea at the time.

  1. David Bowie– “See Emily Play” – Bowie was always ahead of the curve; even when he went retro. All-cover theme albums weren’t quite the rage yet in 1973, which is when Bowie issued Pin Ups in homage to the 60s artists who influenced him…like Pink Floyd.

  1. The Isley Brothers– “Summer Breeze” – You could always count on the Isleys to inject just as much heart and soul into covers as they did for their own original material. This take on a Seals & Crofts classic is no exception. Ernie Isley’s guitar solo is amazing.

  1. Julee Cruise– “Summer Kisses, Winter Tears” – David Lynch’s favorite chanteuse recorded this Elvis cover for the soundtrack of Wim Wender’s 1991 film Until the End of the World. This haunting rendition is quite reminiscent of the Doors’ “End of the Night”.

  1. Ronnie Montrose – “Town Without Pity” – I had the privilege of seeing this extraordinary guitarist perform in San Francisco in 1980, and 2011 in Seattle (sadly, he died in 2012). He was one of the best. This is an instrumental cover of Gene Pitney’s hit.

England swings like a pendulum do

By Dennis Hartley

https://i2.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/-m5-x4Ny4Fx4/T9yYITD5qII/AAAAAAAAECA/VdQsj80etXA/s1600/SwingingLondon.jpg?w=474

It was 50 years ago today (or thereabouts)…

(from USA Today)

This year, 400 since the death of Shakespeare and 90 since the birth of Elizabeth II, is also the 50th anniversary of Swinging London, a time and place that produced the British Invasion rock bands, Georgy Girl and Darling, Twiggy and The Shrimp and the miniskirt.

In the 1960s, London — epitome of everything hierarchical, traditional and stodgy — was the site of a revolution in music, fashion and design. Lords partied with bricklayers, rockers with gangsters. Anything seemed possible.

The scene was made famous by an April 1966 Time magazine cover story, titled “The city that swings.’’ It described a place where “ancient elegance and new opulence are all tangled up in a dazzling blur of op and pop.’’

[…]

The 50th anniversary of Swinging London is being marked at a Saatchi Gallery show of Stones memorabilia. Jimi Hendrix’ old flat (once Handel’s attic) has opened to tourists.This summer the Victoria & Albert Museum begins an exhibition, You Say You Want a Revolution?

Yeaahh, baby!

I’m a bit of an Anglophile; I particularly love the British music,  films  and TV shows of that era.  In fact, 1966 was a watershed year for British cinema: Alfie, After the Fox, The Deadly Affair,  Fahrenheit 451,  Funeral in Berlin,  Georgy Girl,  A Man For All Seasons, The Wrong Box, and of course, Antonioni’s Blow-Up. Here’s my favorite scene:

As for the most memorable UK TV show of ’66, 2 words: Emma Peel!

Image result for emma peelAnd lest we forget the fab UK music of ’66…here are my top picks:

Now if you will excuse me,  it’s time for my tea and bickie. Cheers!

Wash your troubles away: A Jazz Day mixtape

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on April 30, 2016)

https://i2.wp.com/factmag-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/bitches-05062010.jpg?w=474

Every day should be Jazz Day...and not just for the music. Here’s why:

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

Sounds like a damn fine plan to me. In honor of this day, I’d like to share 10 of my favorites:

1. Pat Metheny & Anna Maria Jopek- “So It May Secretly Begin” – This has always been my favorite Metheny instrumental; but it got even better when I recently stumbled onto this breathtaking live version with added vocals, courtesy of the angel-voiced Jopek.

2. Gil Scott-Heron- “Lady Day and John Coltrane” – Gil’s poetic tribute to two greats.

3. Digable Planets- “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)”– I caught these guys at a Seattle club in 1993; they were a unique mashup of hip-hop with traditional jazz instrumentation.

4. Gato Barbieri- “Mystica” – I missed the news about the passing of this Argentine jazz man earlier this month (sadly, we’ve lost so many musical greats in a row lately that it’s getting hard to keep up). To be honest, I’ve never been a big sax fan, yet something about Gato’s sound and expressiveness has always grabbed me (he won a Grammy for the Last Tango in Paris soundtrack). This lovely number riffs on a classic Eric Satie composition.

5. The Style Council- “The Whole Point of No Return” – Spare, beautiful, jazzy, and topped off with his most trenchant lyrics, I think this is Paul Weller’s greatest song, ever.

6. Barry Miles- “Hijack” – Memorable track from the keyboardist’s self-titled 1970 LP.

7. Takuya Kuroda- “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” – The Japan-born, NYC-based trumpet player’s hypnotic cover version of a Roy Ayers tune (with vocals by Jose James).

8. Brian Auger & Julie Tippetts– “Nothing Will Be As It Was” – I’ve been an Auger fan forever; it’s hard to believe “the godfather of acid jazz” is still gigging after 50 years. This cut is from Encore, the keyboardist’s excellent 1978 album with vocalist Tippetts.

9. The Mahavishnu Orchestra- “Open Country Joy”— What I like the most about jazz is that it’s the most amenable of musical genres. Put it next to anything else: rock, soul, hip-hop, whatever…and then just watch how quickly it absorbs, adopts, and then shapeshifts it into something else altogether. John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Rick Laird and Jerry Goodman understood this. Here’s a perfect example. As the title implies, it begins as a nice country stroll, then…it blows your fucking mind. From the whisper to the thunder.

10. George Duke & Feel – “Love”— The late keyboardist extraordinaire George Duke was a versatile player; in addition to the 40 or so albums in his own catalog, he was equally at home doing sessions with the likes of Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Third World, and most famously played with Frank Zappa for a number of years. This cut is from Duke’s 1974 album, Feel. Zappa (credited under the pseudonym “Obdwel’l X”) contributes the unmistakable lead guitar.

Hey Santa! Pass us that bottle, will ya? (A mix tape)

By Dennis Hartley

Being that it’s the holidays and all, it seems good a time as any to share my Top 10 favorite  songs of the season. Alphabetically…

  1. Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland – Grandaddy

The stockings are hung with irony in this CA indie band’s rendition.

2. Christmas in Hollis – Run DMC

To my knowledge, the first Xmas rap; a classic! The elf is disturbing.

3. A Christmas Song– Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson decries the commercialization; gets drunk with Santa.

4. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid

Oy, the mullets! Still quite moving 30 years on, and for a good cause.

5. I Am Santa Claus – Bob Rivers

Funniest Christmas parody song ever, by the “Twisted Tunes” gang.

6.  I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake

Such a beautiful song. Great live version with Ian Anderson on flute.

7.  Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth-David Bowie & Bing Crosby

Yes, this really happened. Years before Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

8. Santa Claus is Coming to Town – Alice Cooper

Not a stretch, when you consider Santa is an anagram for, you know.

9. 2000 Miles – The Pretenders

A lovely chamber pop rendition, and Chrissie’s vocals are sublime.

10. We Wish You a Merry Christmas– Jacob Miller (w/ Ray I)

An ire, ire, ire Xmas wish from the late great Inner Circle front man.

Happy Crimble and a very New Year!

13 songs the lord never taught us: A Halloween mixtape

By Dennis Hartley

https://i1.wp.com/ultimateclassicrock.com/files/2016/03/Beatles-Capitol.jpg?w=474

Something tells me there will be more than a couple Halloween parties this weekend. If you’re short a DJ ,  may I offer a few frighteningly apropos suggestions for your playlist? Alphabetically:

1. The Ballad of Dwight Frye– Alice Cooper

I’ve gotta get OUTTA here!” Alice Cooper’s highly theatrical paean to the screen actor who played a succession of loony characters, most notably  “Renfield” in Tod Browning’s 1931 version of Dracula. Just remember…”sleepin’ don’t come very easy, in a straight white vest.”

2. Bela Lugosi’s Dead- Bauhaus

This is the Goth anthem. “I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead.” We get it.

3. Black Sabbath– Black Sabbath

Album 1, side 1, cut 1: Howling wind, driving rain, the mournful peal of a bell, and the heaviest, scariest tritone power chord intro you’ve ever heard. “Please God help meee!!“Talk about a mission statement.

4. Careful With That Axe, Eugene- Pink Floyd

The Floyd’s most ominous dirge is basically an instrumental mood piece, but Roger Waters’ eerie shrieking  is the stuff of nightmares.

5. Death Walks Behind You– Atomic Rooster

Lock the door, switch the light…you’ll be so afraid tonight.” A truly unnerving track from one of my favorite 70s British prog-rock bands.  Keyboardist Vincent Crane pulls double duty on this list; he had previously played with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (below).

6. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde– The Damned

You know what they say: You’re never alone with a schizophrenic! Choice cut from the U.K. pop-punk band’s finest LP, The Black Album.

7. Fire- The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

Yes, that Arthur Brown…heir to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the forefather of Alice Cooper, and most importantly, the god of hell fire!

8. Goo Goo Muck– The Cramps

It would be sacrilege not to include the kings of Pyschobilly…

9. I Put a Spell on You– Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

This cat must have scared the living shit out of middle America, smack dab in the middle of the drab Eisenhower era. “Moohoohaha!

10. Riders on the Storm– The Doors

In my review of the documentary When You’re Strange, I wrote:

I can still remember the first time I heard “Riders on the Storm” by the Doors. I was all of 14. It haunted me then and haunts me now. Even though it wasn’t a movie, it was my introduction to film noir. Distant thunder, the cascading shimmer of a Fender Rhodes and dangerous rhythms. “There’s a killer on the road. His brain is squirming like a toad.”  Fuck oh dear, this definitely wasn’t the Archies. […] Morrison’s vocals really got under my skin. Years later, a friend explained why. If you listen carefully, there are three vocal tracks. Morrison is singing, chanting and whispering the lyrics. We smoked a bowl, cranked it up and concluded that it was a pretty neat trick.

11. Season of the Witch– Vanilla Fudge

Donovan’s original version doesn’t hold a candle to this marvelously histrionic psychedelic train wreck.  Eat your heart out, Bill Shatner!

12. Sympathy for the Devil- The Rolling Stones

“Something always happens when we play this song.” Famous last words there from Mick Jagger in the 1970 rock doc Gimme Shelter, moments before the cameras (unknowingly, at time of filming) capture the stabbing death of an audience member.  Now that’s scary.

13. 21st Century Schizoid Man– King Crimson

Cat’s foot, iron claw, neuro-surgeons scream for more…at paranoia’s poison door...”  And that’s  the most optimistic part of this song!

Honorable mention:

(backwards) Stairway to Heaven– Led Zeppelin

Rumor has it there is a painting of Jimmy Page  going all to hell. If you believe in that sort of thing (there are two paths you can go by).

Pleasant dreams!