Posts Tagged ‘Classic Album’

Chewing is the solo project of Local Natives’ Nik Ewing. He has announced a new album where he covers Dennis Wilson’s 1977 classic “Pacific Ocean Blue” in its entirety as part of Turntable Kitchen’s Sounds Delicious Series. He has shared two tracks from it: “River Song” (which features the rest of Local Natives) bandmates and “Moonshine” (which features Cults). The album was released December 21st.


Ewing had this to say about the album in a press release: “With zero hyperbole, driving across LA can take half an hour or four days. One of the more manageable times I drove across the city, it took me 37:15, the length of Pacific Ocean Blue by Dennis Wilson. Like many important first album listening experiences, the entire environment surrounding that listen burnt into my memory. It was like that sad, dark album was made specifically for that specific sad, dark drive across LA. A haunted, outcast Beach Boy who still sung simple Beach Boy lyrics like ‘I’m sorry, I miss you’ but whose weathered voice is painfully more honest without the hollow late ’70s shine from his band (who seemingly didn’t miss him that much).


The first single from Chewing’s full album tribute to Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue featuring Local Natives.

“I really love when artists give their own radical take on a song (Jukebox by Cat Power is criminally underrated IMO). Luckily this album isn’t as ‘sacred’ as if I covered Pet Sounds in its entirety, which allowed me a lot more liberty. I wanted to re-imagine this album in a much darker and ambient context: to flow like a lost mixtape, to sound cohesive with all the voices (and trumpet, hi Nico!) weaving in and out throughout (and obviously I couldn’t NOT have my band contribute beautiful, lush harmonies to a Beach Boy cover album).”


The 12th release in the SOUNDS DELICIOUS limited edition vinyl subscription series. Chewing featuring Local Natives, Cults, POP ETC, Evan Voytas, and Nico Segal reimagine and pay tribute to Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue by covering it in its entirety.

A truly Joni Mitchell classic..the fifth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter . a must for any lover of her music. I bought this one when it came out and it still stirs my soul. The entire album is fabulous. This song is terrific put is on while drivin’ & let the sun, wind, and sweet smell of the air color your face and make it flush with sweet thoughts of a beautiful life. Some of the songs were inspired by Mitchell’s 1970-1971 relationship with James Taylor. Despite his difficulties, Mitchell evidently felt that she had found the person with whom she could pair-bond in Taylor. By March 1971, his fame exploded, causing friction. She was reportedly devastated when he broke off the relationship

Coming between the Classic album Blue and Court and Spark, “For The Roses” is Joni Mitchell at the top of her game. Needless to say, these dozen originals are perceptive, poetic and frequently personal; there’s likely a touch of Joni’s romantic travails in “Woman Of Heart And Mind” and her experiences in the music industry

Perhaps best known for the hit single “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio”, which Mitchell wrote sarcastically out of a record company request for a radio-friendly song. The single was indeed a hit, becoming the singer-songwriter’s first top 40 hit . The Asylum album is just as adventurous musically, with several arrangements reflecting Mitchell’s growing interest in jazz and stellar instrumental support from the likes of Graham Nash, Tom Scott and guitarist James Burton. Selected by the Library of Congress for its National Recording Registry, For The Roses was issued 45 years ago this month, and still sounds as sweet.

The Songs:

  • “Banquet” describes a metaphorical table from which “some get the gravy / Some get the gristle… and some get nothing / Though there’s plenty to spare”.
  • In the sprightly “Barangrill”, Mitchell uses the hunt for an elusive roadside eatery as a metaphor for the quest to “find herself”, enjoying the journey, but with increasing impatience about reaching her destination.
  • “Lesson in Survival” is the first of the love songs, about the longing for greater privacy, a sense of isolation, the frustration of incompatibility, and a love for nature.
  • “Let the Wind Carry Me” contrasts thoughts of a more stable, conventional life, based partly on Mitchell’s own adolescence, with the need to live with minimal constraints upon one’s freedom.
  • The title song is a self-portrait exploring the frustration and sadness of being a celebrity, dealing with the challenges of fame and fortune.
  • The second side opens with “See You Sometime”, which deals with fleeting feelings, including jealousy and romantic competition.
  • “Electricity” extols the simplicity and serenity of the quiet country life against the way in which people in modern society think of themselves unconsciously as machines, and is thought to be motivated by a particular relationship triangle she was experiencing at the time.
  • “Woman of Heart and Mind” is a portrait of a flawed lover and the complexities of being emotionally involved.

reDiscover ‘Alone Together’

Over the years there have been many records that have been given the tag, “lost classic” or “forgotten masterpiece”, and perhaps many of them are. But I like to think that this Dave Mason album released in June 1970 in America is one such Classic.
Dave had left Traffic and gone to the West Coast where he had met producer Tommy LiPuma who signed him to his, Blue Thumb Records – a label whose smattering of releases since 1968 included Captain Beefheart’s Strictly Personal, Aynsley Dunbar’s Retaliation and W.C. Fields’s, Anyone Who Hates Dogs and Children Can’t Be All Bad.

Dave Mason’s reputation was such that he attracted some of the best musicians around including some from Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishman band. There’s Leon Russell, drummer, Jim Keltner, guitarist, Don Preston and singers Claudia Linnear and Rita Coolidge. Drummer, Jim Gordon and bass player Carl Radle, were also in the Cocker band and they, soon after recording “Alone Together”, become the Derek and the Dominos’ rhythm section; Larry Knechtel who played the piano on Bridge Over Troubled Waters also plays bass on Mason’s album. You get the picture, it really was the best musicians that could be assembled in 1970.

Recording was at Sunset Sound and Elektra Recording Studio with Bruce and Doug Botnick handling the engineering and Tommy LiPuma and Dave himself acting as producers; Al Schmitt did the mixing. We namecheck them because it’s the ‘sound’ of this record that is one of its strengths. It really did ‘play’ better than so many records at the time.


Aside from the brilliant musicianship what shines though on this record is Dave Mason’s song writing, there is not a dud among the eight tracks. The album opens with ‘Only you Know and I Know’, which could so easily have been a track from Mad Dogs – it has all the trademarks. ‘Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving’ is the musical polar opposite from the groove of the opener. It is a delicate ballad that features Dave’s plaintive vocals; so often over-shadowed in Traffic by Stevie Winwood.

Waitin’ On You’ is back in the groove with some funky electric piano from Leon Russell. Side one of the original record closes with the stately, towering, ‘Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave’ that is one of the real stand out tracks; it features Mason’s brilliant wah-wah guitar – the best since Eric Clapton’s ‘Tales of Brave Ulysses’, Leon Russell’s piano is just as superb.

‘Sad and Deep as You’ opens the second side and is another reflective song from Dave and it again shows that he’s no slouch in the vocal department. ‘World In Changes’ is a great song, acoustic layered guitars build under Dave’s vocal and the track brings out the best in the musicians – so tight and together. Russell’s organ underpins the whole track and he’s allowed a great solo towards the end of the song.

The penultimate track, ‘Just A Song’ is redolent of The Band and the beginnings of Americana, with its banjo motif and the gospel infused backing vocals from Bonnie Bramlett, Claudia, Rita and co. The album’s closer is arguably its best track, ‘Look at You Look at Me,’ a song Mason cowrote with Traffic’s drummer, Jim Capaldi, who also plays on it with his trademark tight sound. This is one of those songs that you can play to people and they will instantly ‘get it’. It’s quintessential 1970s rock…and that’s no bad thing.
When the album came out Billboard said, “Mason with help from friends Jim Capaldi and Leon Russell proves his mastery of the rock idiom once and for all. The lyric content and music content of every song catches the senses of the listener and creates excitement.” That sorta nails it, but this is an album that will take repeated listenings, trust us, we’ve been playing regularly for 45 years. It also reminds us that 8 songs does make an album, less can so often be more. Alone Together is perfection. As a little footnote, when the original LP came out it was a masterful piece of packaging, designed and photographed by Barry Feinstein and Tom Wilkes. Housed in a triple gatefold sleeve, a die cut triple fold-out picture jacket, with Dave’s head and top hat popping up when you opened the record. A number were pressed with marbled vinyl. It was impossible to see the grooves and it made it appear that the needle was floating above the record

All songs written and composed by Dave Mason, except where indicated.

1. “Only You Know and I Know” 0:00
2. “Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving” 4:05
3. “Waitin’ on You” 7:09
4. “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave” 10:11
5. “World in Changes” 16:11
6. “Sad and Deep as You” 20:46
7. “Just a Song” 24:19
8. “Look at You Look at Me” (Dave Mason, Jim Capaldi) 27:20
Credits and personnel Dave Mason – guitar, vocals Bonnie Bramlett – vocals Leon Russell – keyboards Carl Radle – bass Chris Ethridge – bass Larry Knechtel – bass Jim Capaldi – drums Jim Gordon – drums Jim Keltner – drums Michael DeTemple – guitar Don Preston – keyboards John Simon – keyboards John Barbata – drums Rita Coolidge – vocals Mike Coolidge – vocals Claudia Lennear – vocals Lou Cooper – vocals Bob Norwood – vocals Jack Storti – vocals

Production Dave Mason, Tommy LiPuma – producer Bruce Botnick, Douglas Botnick – recording engineer Al Schmitt – mixing Barry Feinstein, Tom Wilkes – photography/design

reDiscover Captain Beefheart’s ‘Safe As Milk’

Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band “accessible” earliest outing, Safe As Milk, is shot through with unexpected detours; a collision of influences, from Delta blues to popular candy bars; and a torrent of esoteric lyrics that more than earn themselves song titles the likes of ‘Zig Zag Wanderer’ (“You can dance/You can prance/Freeze these old timbers/Drop some beams,” indeed).

Despite having released a couple of singles for A&M in 1966, the label found Beefheart’s subsequent demos too perplexing to release as an album, so the good Captain took them to Bob Krasnow, vice president of Kama Sutra Records. Krasnow agreed to issue Beefheart and The Magic Band’s debut on his nascent Buddah subsidiary, in September 1967. Recruiting fledgling guitarist Ry Cooder on an array of guitars and percussion instruments was another masterstroke decision, as Cooder ensured that Safe As Milk kept one foot in the authentic Americana camp, while allowing Beefheart to digress on his flights of fancy.

Perhaps both the album’s authentic blues influences and Beefheart’s early attempts at deconstructing them hit perfection on the likes of opener ‘Sure ’Nuff ‘N’ Yes, I Do’ and the epochal ‘Electricity’. The former cops a lick from blues classic ‘Rollin’ And Tumblin’’, with Beefheart introducing himself: “I was born in the desert, came up in New Orleans,” the first of many myth-making proclamations from the man born Don Van Vliet. The latter, however, is where the Beefheart legend really begins. With a tortured Theramin line, a maelstrom of slide guitars and Beefheart’s own vocals approximating the very sound of electricity itself (it’s said that his voice was so powerful that it destroyed the microphone during the recording sessions), the song fairly approximates the sound of Tesla coils mating.

Not that Safe As Milk leaps from one overwhelming barrage to another. ‘I’m Glad’ is a comparatively straightforward doo-wop outing, while ‘Abba Zaba’, named after Beefheart’s favourite peanut butter-infused sweet, hides a relatively delicate arrangement underneath layers of inscrutable lyrics.

Even in the anything-goes atmosphere of 1967, a year that saw The Beatles release Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Doors issue their self-titled debut, the Rolling Stones accept Their Satanic Majesties Request, Hendrix ask Are You Experienced? and The Velvet Underground emerge with their nihilistic debut, Safe As Milk was considered too weird to stick. Naturally, it went nowhere in the charts. It did, however, establish Beefheart as a compelling songwriter whose disregard for conventional song structures would pay dividends on albums to come.

This is the Buddah Records’ remastered reissue of The Magic Band’s 1967 debut album, “Safe as Milk”. The reissue was released in 1999, containing the original 12 tracks, as well as 7 bonus tracks that were originally intended for the unreleased “Brown Wrapper” follow-up album. The bonus tracks were recorded about 2 months after the original release of Safe as Milk, as well as from the same sessions used to record the songs for the 1971 album “Mirror Man”.

While more conventional and accessible than Beefheart’s later work, “Safe As Milk” is still an incredible album that introduced the bluesy, idiosyncratic, and experimental groundwork that would be expanded upon in The Magic Band’s later work such as Trout Mask Replica. The non-replicable sound of the band can most easily be heard in Electricity, through the Captain’s raw, sour vocals, the constantly-changing tempo, and Samuel Hoffman’s fitting use of the theremin.

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This letter was sent out to promote the Abba Zaba 45 in the US in late August 1967, and takes the opportunity to give the album an extra push too. I guess Cecil was Cecil Holmes, Marty was Marty Thau, Bob was Bob Krasnow, and Neil was Neil Bogart.

Just this year, Sundazed Music released a mono reissue of the album in both CD and LP format – it’s a restoration of the original mono mix owned by the original album producer Richard Perry, featuring an incredibly improved production quality (primarily making Beefheart’s vocals mono as opposed to being far-left or far-right as noticeable in the video).

1: Sure ‘Nuff ‘n Yes I Do – 0:00
2: Zig Zag Wanderer – 2:15
3: Call On Me – 4:55
4: Dropout Boogie – 7:32
5: I’m Glad – 10:04
6: Electricity – 13:35
7: Yellow Brick Road – 16:42
8: Abba Zaba – 19:11
9: Plastic Factory – 21:55
10: Where There’s Woman – 25:04
11: Grown So Ugly – 27:13
12: Autumn’s Child – 29:40
13: Safe as Milk (Take 5)* – 33:42
14: On Tomorrow* – 37:56
15: Big Black Baby Shoes* – 44:53
16: Flower Pot* – 49:43
17: Dirty Blue Gene* – 53:39
18: Trust Us (Take 9)* – 56:23
19: Korn Ring Finger* – 1:03:45