The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 71

September- always a depressing thought. I don’t mind Autumn as such but the end of summer, back to school, onset of darker evenings, the thought that the next real holiday is Christmas.

Here’s some rockabilly from Eddie Zack from 1955 to shake the blues away.

I’m Gonna Roll And Rock

Battersea

Battersea Power station in 1936. The other two chimneys were added later.

Battersea Bunches was a short film put out by The Orb in 2010. A soundtrack, C Batter C, was released in November last year. The title track is seventeen minutes of ambient and foundsounds, melancholic, some disturbing strings being plucked, fragments of pub piano, disembodied voices describing lives past. Around the ten minute mark things pick up a bit with some steam powered percussion but it’s all still very ghostly, and then it fades again for several minutes of ending, factory noises, a train, more voices and a BBC announcer. Worth sticking with. The rest of the album featured a bunch of remixes (David Harrow, Being, Thomas Fehlman amongst others), all much shorter, some very good.

Battersea Bunches (Original Soundtrack)

103rd Street Boys

Back to the Beats. William Burroughs led a colourful life, not one you’d choose for yourself maybe. Like Kerouac he was full of contradictions- loved by the counterculture for his drug use, novels and poetry he held some pretty extreme right wing views and was by some accounts capable of much nastiness. His writing, especially Junky and Naked Lunch, bled into music. Countless bands have taken names/inspiration from Naked Lunch, despite it being close to unreadable in parts. He shot his wife (accidentally, playing a William Tell game) and later said he’d never have become a writer without having done it. by the time he died he was held up as one of America’s great literary geniuses. Compared to Kerouac or Ginsberg, I can take or leave much of his stuff to be honest.

103rd Street Boys

Summer Remix Madness

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, summer is not over yet… Andrew Weatherall remixes Madness (Death Of A Rude Boy). I think this could be the best thing I’ve heard since…whenever. Very Sabres-esque,  bass heavy, dub horns, Suggs. Seriously good. Keep hitting repeat while we wait for a vinyl release. There will be a vinyl release won’t there?

Para-Olympians

On Saturday February 5th 2011 I posted Olympians by Fuck Buttons, the stand out track from their Tarot Sport album and wrote this;

Ten minutes plus of joyful, melodic, ecstatic, headspinning, roomfilling noise, drums and production courtesy of Andrew Weatherall. If the organisers of London 2012 use this for the opening ceremony it’ll be an interesting games.

Which was unusually prescient of me seeing as they did. Looking at the back cover of the Opening Ceremony Isles Of Wonder cd in the supermarket the other day I saw that Fuck Buttons have been renamed F Buttons, which amused me briefly before going off to do the big shop. This was another huge track off their 2009 lp.

Flight Of The Feathered Serpent

Good luck to everyone involved in the Paralympics (organisers, volunteers and especially athletes), starting today. Let’s hope its as successful as the games a couple of weeks ago were.




I Saw The Best Minds Of My Generation Destroyed By Madness

Jack Kerouac may have been the handsome, freewheeling, checked shirt and chino, hitch-hiking, Zen typing, King of the Beats but in the long term Allen Ginsberg was probably a more sorted fella. In the mid 50s he pioneered a new form of poetry and won an obscenity trial over his poem Howl, particularly fighting against homophobic laws and attitudes. in the 60s he adopted the hippies and they adopted him, befriending Bob Dylan and being conspicuous in the anti-Vietnam movement. On meeting London’s swinging 60s leading lights he stripped naked; John Lennon left he room aghast muttering ‘not in front of the birds’. I thought I had an mp3 of him reading America but can’t find it. It’s a great poem, starting…

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing. 
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956. 
I can’t stand my own mind. 
America when will we end the human war? 
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb 
I don’t feel good don’t bother me. 


And finishing…

America this is quite serious. 
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set. 
America is this correct? 
I’d better get right down to the job. 
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts factories

I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway. 
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

Instead this is Ginsberg reading his epic Howl.

Howl

While in New York for their residency at Bond’s Casino The Clash crossed paths with Ginsberg. Joe Strummer and Ginsberg collaborated on some lyrics, though Strummer later said Ginsberg’s contribution was only a few words.Ginsberg then provided vocals on the superb Ghetto Defendant, from Combat Rock (including some memorable lines- slamdance cosmopolis, enlighten the populace; strung out committee, walled out of the city). Today’s bonus download is the version of Ghetto Defendant from Mick Jones’ unreleased Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg bootleg (later to be pruned and polished into Combat Rock). This one is rougher and features more Ginsberg.

Ghetto Defendant (Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg version)

How Soon Was Then?

I quite like this- Johnny Marr and his Healers playing How Soon Is Now at a gig (Ray Bans promo possibly),  October 2011. Some of the guitaring is first rate, as you might expect.

And playing some Chic with Nile Rodgers a month later (lower quality fan filming job I’m afraid but the riff survives).

The Only People For Me Are The Mad Ones

I first read On The Road in the summer of 1989, aged 19. I loved it. It didn’t get me hitch-hiking across North America but I went on to read loads of other Kerouac novels, biographies, and then onwards into Burroughs, Ginsberg and the rest. Kerouac’s work is full of contradictions- some of it is almost unreadable (Dr Sax say), some of it just has to be read for the writing rather than any sense of narrative. He famously typed On The Road in a three week Benzadrine fuelled binge on a non-stop roll of paper. It had to be widely edited to make any narrative sense. For all the wanderlust and adventures and search for kicks, he spent his life with the apron strings to his mother firmly uncut. He tried to balance the booze, partying and excitement with a spiritual quest, settling for Buddhism and his own version of Zen. When fame hit him, ten years after writing the book, he soon found he couldn’t cope. Held up by the hippies as the King of the Beats he criticised, even loathed, the 60s counter culture and died an alcoholic in front of the TV in Florida. But the sense of freedom in his best writing, the lyrical nature of the verse, the attempt to ‘write jazz’, the trip to Mexico in On The Road, The Dharma Bums, parts of Desolation Angels, are all beautiful and romantic and inspiring.

Long considered unfilmable, Walter Salles, has had a go at it (starring Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen). The trailer below looks right but you just can’t tell from a trailer how good a film is going to be. It got mixed reviews at Cannes in the summer. I’m kind of looking forward to it when it gets released this December.

Kerouac recorded several albums, sometimes reading his work alone, sometimes reading it accompanied by jazz musicians.

Jack Kerouac Reading On The Road

Surf Sunday

Regular Friday night rockabilly enthusiast and reader George asked about some surf music. I’m not sure I’ve got a huge amount and some of what I have got I’ve already shoehorned into the rockabilly series (Chantays’ Pipeline cropped up in May). George also referred to Dick Dale and his epic surf instrumental Miserlou (best known to many as the theme from Pulp Fiction). So, as a starter in what may be a somewhat short series of Surf Sunday posts, here’s Dick Dale and his Deltones with another string bending surf song.

Let’s go Trippin’

First Man On The Moon

Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, died today aged 82. I feel oddly moved by this somehow. I also worked out that he was nearly 40 when he made his small step/giant step, which in a world which puts youth above all else seems significant.

Several years ago my own band recorded a humble tribute to the moonwalkers.

Moonwalker Blues