Posts Tagged ‘Patti Smith’

Bob Dylan admitted he was stunned and surprised when he was told he had won a Nobel prize because he had never stopped to consider whether his songs were literature.

Dylan, whose speech was read out by the US ambassador to Sweden at the annual awards dinner, said the prize was “something I never could have imagined or seen coming”.

He said from an early age he had read and absorbed the works of past winners and giants of literature such as Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus and Hemingway. But said it was “truly beyond words” that he was joining those names on the winners list. “If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel prize, I would have to think that I’d have about the same odds as standing on the moon,” he wrote.

The announcement that Dylan had won the literature prize caused controversy with critics arguing his lyrics were not literature. On learning he had been awarded the literature prize Dylan said he thought of Shakespeare. “When he was writing Hamlet, I’m sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: ‘Who’re the right actors for these roles? How should this be staged? Do I really want to set this in Denmark?’

“His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. ‘Is the financing in place? Are there enough good seats for my patrons? Where am I going to get a human skull?’ I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was the question: ‘Is this literature?’

“Like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavours and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. ‘Who are the best musicians for these songs? Am I recording in the right studio? Is this song in the right key?’ Some things never change, even in 400 years. Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself ‘are my songs literature?’ So, I do thank the Swedish academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question and ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.”

bob-dylan-005-e1432139227584

Formally presenting the award Horace Engdahl, a Swedish literary critic and member of the Swedish academy behind the prize, responded to international criticism of the choice of a popular lyricist as recipient. In defence of the decision, Engdahl said that when Dylan’s songs were heard first in the 1960s: “All of a sudden, much of the bookish poetry in our world felt anaemic.” The academy’s choice of Dylan, Engdahl added, speaking in Swedish, “seemed daring only beforehand and already seems obvious”.

And it was an unconventional prize-giving night in more ways than one. Dylan’s failure to attend the august gathering in Stockholm meant that Patti Smith, the American singer famous for her 1975 album Horses and the hit song Because the Night, was attending as his proxy. The occasion proved too much for the singer, 69, who faltered after a few verses.

Forgetting the lyric “I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’,” she apologised quietly but profusely to the jewel-bedecked audience and asked if she could start that section of the song again. “I am so nervous,” she explained. Smith was encouraged by applause from the gathered dignitaries and members of the Swedish royal family.

Her performance followed Engdahl’s justificatory speech, which opened with the question: “What brings about the great shifts in the world of literature? Often it is when someone seizes upon a simple, overlooked form, discounted as art in the high sense, and makes it mutate.”

In this way, Engdahl argued, the novel had once emerged from anecdote and letters, while drama had eventually derived from games and performance. “In the distant past, all poetry was sung or tunefully recited,” he said. Dylan had dedicated himself to music played for ordinary people and tried to copy it.

“But when he started to write songs, they came out differently,” Engdahl said. “He panned poetry gold, whether on purpose or by accident is irrelevant … He gave back to poetry its elevated style, lost since the romantics.”

 

When it was announced that Bob Dylan had won the prize and accepted,  In his absence, was I qualified for this task? I chose to sing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” a song I have loved since I was a teen-ager, and a favorite of my late husband.

From that moment, every spare moment was spent practicing it, making certain that I knew and could convey every line. Having my own blue-eyed son, I sang the words to myself, over and over, in the original key, with pleasure and resolve. I had it in my mind to sing the song exactly as it was written and as well as I was capable of doing. I bought a new suit, I trimmed my hair, and felt that I was ready.

On the morning of the Nobel ceremony, I awoke with some anxiety. It was pouring rain and continued to rain heavily. As I dressed, I went over the song confidently. In the hotel lobby, there was a lovely Japanese woman in formal traditional dress—an embroidered cream-colored floor-length kimono and sandals. Her hair was perfectly coiffed. She told me that she was there to honor her boss, who was receiving the Nobel Prize in Medicine, but the weather was not in her favor. You look beautiful, I told her; no amount of wind and rain could alter that. By the time I reached the concert hall, it was snowing. I had a perfect rehearsal with the orchestra. I had my own dressing room with a piano, and I was brought tea and warm soup. I was aware that people were looking forward to the performance.

I thought of my mother, who bought me my first Dylan album when I was barely sixteen. She found it in the bargain bin at the five-and-dime and bought it with her tip money. “He looked like someone you’d like,” she told me. I played the record over and over, my favorite being “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” It occurred to me then that, although I did not live in the time of Arthur Rimbaud, I existed in the time of Bob Dylan. I also thought of my husband and remembered performing the song together, picturing his hands forming the chords.

And then suddenly it was time. The orchestra was arranged on the balcony overlooking the stage, where the King, the royal family, and the laureates were seated. I sat next to the conductor. The evening’s proceedings went as planned. As I sat there, I imagined laureates of the past walking toward the King to accept their medals. Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann, Albert Camus. Then Bob Dylan was announced as the Nobel Laureate in Literature, and I felt my heart pounding. After a moving speech dedicated to him was read, I heard my name spoken and I rose. As if in a fairy tale, I stood before the Swedish King and Queen and some of the great minds of the world, armed with a song in which every line encoded the experience and resilience of the poet who penned them.

The opening chords of the song were introduced, and I heard myself singing. The first verse was passable, a bit shaky, but I was certain I would settle. But instead I was struck with a plethora of emotions, avalanching with such intensity that I was unable to negotiate them. From the corner of my eye, I could see the the huge boom stand of the television camera, and all the dignitaries upon the stage and the people beyond. Unaccustomed to such an overwhelming case of nerves, I was unable to continue. I hadn’t forgotten the words that were now a part of me. I was simply unable to draw them out.

This strange phenomenon did not diminish or pass but stayed cruelly with me. I was obliged to stop and ask pardon and then attempt again while in this state and sang with all my being, yet still stumbling. It was not lost on me that the narrative of the song begins with the words “I stumbled alongside of twelve misty mountains,” and ends with the line “And I’ll know my song well before I start singing.” As I took my seat, I felt the humiliating sting of failure, but also the strange realization that I had somehow entered and truly lived the world of the lyrics.

Later, at the Nobel banquet, I sat across from the American Ambassador—a beautiful, articulate Iranian-American. She had the task of reading a letter from Dylan before the banquet’s conclusion. She read flawlessly, and I could not help thinking that he had two strong women in his corner. One who faltered and one who did not, yet both had nothing in mind but to serve his work well.

When I arose the next morning, it was snowing. In the breakfast room, I was greeted by many of the Nobel scientists. They showed appreciation for my very public struggle. They told me I did a good job. I wish I would have done better, I said. No, no, they replied, none of us wish that. For us, your performance seemed a metaphor for our own struggles. Words of kindness continued through the day, and in the end I had to come to terms with the truer nature of my duty. Why do we commit our work? Why do we perform? It is above all for the entertainment and transformation of the people. It is all for them. The song asked for nothing. The creator of the song asked for nothing. So why should I ask for anything?

When my husband, Fred, died, my father told me that time does not heal all wounds but gives us the tools to endure them. I have found this to be true in the greatest and smallest of matters. Looking to the future, I am certain that the hard rain will not cease falling, and that we will all need to be vigilant. The year is coming to an end; on December 30th, I will perform “Horses” with my band, and my son and daughter, in the city where I was born. And all the things I have seen and experienced and remember will be within me, and the remorse I had felt so heavily will joyfully meld with all other moments. Seventy years of moments, seventy years of being human.

Unknown

Soundwalk Collective, Jesse Paris Smith, and Patti Smith have shared a new video for “Fearfully In Danger”, taken from their upcoming collaborative album “Killer Road”, an album of reinterpretations of Nico’s songs and poetry. The album is out September 2nd on Bella Union. The video features footage of the ensemble performing the song live at Volksbühne in Berlin, and was filmed and edited by Barbara Klein.

The song, originally recorded by Nico on her final album Camera Obscura, begins with field recordings, a trademark of Soundwalk Collective’s music, before fading into a droning bed of harmonium, synthesizer, and singing bowl, with a chilling arrangement of the song’s lyrics performed by Patti Smith. It is a remarkable collaboration, showcasing not only Smith’s talent for embodying the words she’s reading but Soundwalk Collective’s talent for creating immersive soundscapes. It is a worthy tribute to the music and legacy of Nico.

A shimmering ambient tone, an electronic underlay to the lulling chatter of crickets, makes way for the unmistakable voice of Patti Smith, quietly intoning, ominously, “The killer road is waiting for you / like a finger, pointing in the night.”

Smith was already a fan of Nico’s unique performance, and her half-spoken, halfsung delivery: “that was interesting and instructive for me when I was young because I had no ambition to be a singer – I was simply trying to deliver my poetry – as she did – in a unique way,” Patti Smith was able to repay the spiritual debt by paying to rescue Nico’s beloved harmonium – which underpinned so much of her work – from the pawnshop in 1978.

And that lonesome drone of Nico’s harmonium makes a late appearance in Killer Road, as part of the haunting electro-organic weave, like an aural heatwave, pulsing and sweltering. Sometimes you hear ocean waves and footsteps, or the thrum of honeybees; the panoply of sound subtly shifts as Nico’s view would have changed as she cycled that day. But then she had a heart attack, fell and hit her head, and was lying by the sound of the road, to a backdrop of crickets, before she was discovered and taken to hospital, only to pass on later that night. “That captivated me,” said Smith, “the idea of merging her language with what was perhaps the last sound she might have heard, besides her own breathing.”

Behind the music and concept of Killer Road is international trio Soundwalk Collective – Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli, and Kamran Sadeghi – who, alongside Patti Smith’s daughter, Jesse Paris, conceived an immersive exploration of the tragic death of Christa Päffgen. Better known as Nico, the Velvet Underground chanteuse, Päffgen died while riding her bike on the island of Ibiza in the summer of 1988.

The roots of Killer Road lie in a fortuitous meeting on an airplane bound for New York. One passenger was Smith; the other was Soundwalk Collective founder Crasneanscki. Soundwalk had previously been a collaborative series of idiosyncratic walking guides to cities, before evolving into musical frameworks for field recordings and sight specific sound installations and performances using a variety of texts and themes.

Killer Road was initially a live audio-visual experience, at the French Institute Alliance Francaise in New York as part of 2014’s Crossing the Line festival. Finally, we now we have the recorded version, a poignant, profound, imaginative exploration and tribute nearly 30 years after that fateful summer’s day.

Killer Road will be released September 2nd 2016 via Bella Union.

Fearfully in Danger (Live at Volksbühne, Berlin) from the album “Killer Road – A Tribute To Nico”
Killer Road is a sound exploration of the tragic death of Nico, Velvet Underground vocalist and 60s icon.

Patti Smith Avant-Garde Nico Tribute 'Killer Road'

Patti Smith performed a unique and mysterious tribute to late singer Nico two years ago with ambient backing music from her daughter, Jesse Paris Smith, and a trio called Soundwalk Collective. It featured sounds from Nico’s own harmonium and sounds that approximate what the former Velvet Underground collaborator might have heard when she collapsed while bicycling in Ibiza in 1988, an event that preceded her death in a hospital later that day. Now Smith’s morbid homage, “Killer Road” – culled from Nico’s poetry – is getting a proper release on Soundwalk Collective’s Killer Road album, due out September 2nd.

The four-and-a-half-minute–track opens with bug-like sounds that give way to chilly, sighing atmospherics. “The killer road is waiting for you,” Smith speaks, “like a finger, pointing in the night … Who’s to blame?” She whispers, “I have come to die with you,” as new sound effects and field recordings crescendo around her.

The Smiths and the Soundwalk Collective first performed the work as part of the Crossing the Line festival at the French Institute Alliance Française in 2014. Nine tracks appear on the Killer Road LP, each containing Nico’s poetry.

http://

Nico once recalled apprehension when thinking about her first impressions of Smith. “The first time I ever saw Patti was at Andy’s,” she said, according to Dancing Barefoot: The Patti Smith Story. “She was skinny, like a rat, but she was from New Jersey and so was Lou [Reed], so that was all right. She didn’t speak much; she just stood and watched the people. I don’t know if I even knew her name.”

She’d later go on to praise Smith: “She was a female Leonard Cohen when she moved from writing to singing, and I liked her because she was thin and strong.”

Smith later played an important role in Nico’s life, buying back the singer’s harmonium at “an obscure shop” in Paris, as Nico put it, after it had gone missing. “I was so happy and ashamed,” Nico recalled. “I said, ‘I’ll give you back the money when I get it,’ but she insisted the organ was a present … I cried.” Nico would play the harmonium again on her final album, 1985’s Camera Obscura.

Jen Cloher (left) and Courtney Barnett admit to feeling a little nervous about taking on <i>Horses</i>.

It’s a shame Patti Smith left Australia off the schedule when planning her Horses 40th anniversary tour, but then again, it would have meant that the pearl of this year’s Melbourne Festival program, a tribute concert performed by Jen Cloher, Courtney Barnett, Adalita Srsen and Gareth Liddiard,

So appealing was the idea of four of our finest musicians interpreting Smith’s landmark proto-punk debut, organisers had to add a second matinee show to next Sunday’s performance at Melbourne Town Hall.

It was Cloher who came up with the idea after attending a tribute to the Beatles’ White Album at Hamer Hall last year,  “It was packed to the rafters, I was like, ‘wow’, but I also thought it would be so good to do an album by a woman,” says Cloher.
“And when you think about iconic rock ‘n’ roll albums by women, there are iconic albums out there but I think Horses is considered one of the great rock ‘n’ roll albums.” .Barnett wasn’t so willing to go to that place until recently. She recalls considering covering Horses for the Summer of Classic Albums series hosted by St Kilda’s Pure Pop Records last year. After a closer look at Smith’s lyrics, she chose INXS’ Kick instead.

“I also think that’s why that album is so famous and why Patti is so famous within that world of rock ‘n’ and roll, because she does invest her entire being when she’s on stage performing, she doesn’t hold anything back.”

Nothing like a dramatically lit pipe organ to imbue a classic rock recital with portent. It felt like a cathedral we’d packed to the balconies as the first, slow piano chords began cycling and Adalita​ paced the stage to intone Patti Smith’s immortal opening line. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.”

By accident and/or osmosis, Adalita’s booming timbre struck an uncanny resonance with the hellfire stridency of Smith’s Gloria as she stalked and glowered in skirt, boots and bracing command.

Hunched by contrast in grunge flannel and jeans, Courtney Barnett howled Redondo Beach at her own distinctively defiant pitch, with the schoolyard-scrap indignation that makes her such a compelling one-off.

Gareth Liddiard​’s advantages included a guitar and premeditated chemistry with fellow Drones Dan Luscombe and Steve Hesketh, but most of all a song that fit his shredded larynx like he’d gargled it as a baby: Birdland erupted in slashing waves as he threw every sinew into living its shamanistic dream.

Speaking of commitment, Jen Cloher​ had the toughest part and maybe the most triumphant with the escalating palpitations of Land, its long lines delivered as faithful homage but with an air of exaltation that was all her own.

An all-in thrash through My Generation threw a last can of fuel on an act of slow combustion that felt like it had been simmering for 40 years.

Performed by Gareth Liddiard
Guitar – Dan Luscombe
Drums – Jen Sholakis
Bass – Ben Bourke
Keys – Stevie Hesketh

On this day February 2nd in 1977: although New York City ‘punk poet’ Patti Smith was signed to the Arista label, Sire Records secured the rights to release a rarity that predated the Arista contract; the lost classic was her 1974 recording of “Hey Joe” and the B side “Piss Factory”; the single was released on this day in a special limited edition picture sleeve; playing on the recording were current sidemen Lenny Kaye and Richard Sohl, with the added attraction of Television guitarist/vocalist Tom Verlaine

Honey, the way you play guitar makes me feel so, makes me feel so masochistic. The way you go down low deep into the neck and I would do anything, and I would do anything and Patty Hearst, you’re standing there in front of the Symbionese Liberation Army flag with your legs spread, I was wondering will you get it every night from a black revolutionary man and his women or whether you really did and now that you’re on the run what goes on in your mind, your sisters they sit by the window, you know your mama doesn’t sit and cry and your daddy, well you know what your daddy said, Patty, you know what your daddy said, Patty, he said, he said, he said, “Well, sixty days ago she was such a lovely child, now here she is with a gun in her hand.”

Hey Joe
Hey Joe, where’re you going with that gun in your hand ?
Hey Joe, I said where’re you goin’ with that gun in your hand
I’m gonna go shoot my ol’ lady,
You know I found her messing around town with another man
And you know that ain’t cool, watch me.

Hey Joe, I heard you shot your woman down,
You shot her down to the ground, you shot her.
Yes I did, yes I did, yes I did I shot her, I shot her,
I caught her messin’ round with some other man,
So I got on my truck, I gave her the gun and I shot her,
I shot her, shoot her one more time for me.

Hey Joe, where you gonna, where you gonna run to,
Where you gonna run to, Joe, where you gonna run to ?
Go get a cover.
I’m gonna go down South, I’m gonna go down South to Mexico,
I’m going down, down, down to Mexico where a man can be free
No one’s gonna put a noose around my neck,
No one is gonna give me life, no.
I’m goin’ down to Mexico, I’m going down.

You’re not going to hear ’em stand there
And look at the stars as big as holes in the arms
And the stars like a back truck electric flag
And I’m standing there under that flag with your carbine
Between my legs, you know I felt so free of death beyond me
I felt so free, the F.B.I. is looking for me baby,
But they’ll never find me, no, they can hold me down like a
And I’m still on the run and they can speculate what I’m fee
But daddy, daddy, you’ll never know just what I was feelin’,
But I’m sorry I am no little pretty little rich girl,
I am nobody’s million dollar baby, I am nobody’s Patsy anymore
I’m nobody’s million dollar baby, I’m nobody’s Patsy anymore
And I feel so free.

1974 B-side of

Ork Records: New York, New York  without the Velvets it’s clear that Ork Records, a label began by Terry Ork and guided into temporary sustainability by Charles Ball, would never have been. Numero Group drops Ork’s entire run onto 4LPs or 2CDs, opening with Television’s majestic debut “Little Johnny Jewel” and offering Richard Hell, Alex Chilton, dB’s, Lester Bangs, Cheetah Chrome, and more. The aborted Feelies 45 is an utter gem, “Fa Cé La” seeming birthed from VU’s “I Heard Her Call My Name.”

In the beginning there were three record labels putting out music from America’s burgeoning punk scenes. There was Bomp Records In Los Angeles, Titan in the midwest, and, in New York City, Ork Records. 

Ork was founded by Terry Ork (born William Terry Collins) in 1975. Described by Patti Smith Band member  Lenny Kaye as a “cherubic individual”, Ork had moved from California to New York as part of Andy Warhol entourage at the Factory , helping out on Warhol’s films, He hung around the Factory until he was escorted out of the building under a cloud of suspicion of selling black market copies of Warhol’s screenprints.2311156orkrecords

In need of a job, Ork went to work at the Cinemabilia bookstore, where he met punk pioneer Richard Hell.  Despite having no experience, soon afterwards Ork started managing Hell’s band, Television . “He didn’t come from the rock’n’roll world, but he was definitely enjoying his entrance into it,” says Kaye.

“Terry definitely had a tremendous amount of charisma,” says Jane Fire, whose band The Erasers is featured on a recently-released Ork records retrospective box set. “He had kind of a worldliness about him. He just was cultured. I mean, he could talk to you about Jean Genet and the Ramones . He was just as versed in both things.”

Before launching his record label, Ork was already a regular at CBGBs, well known on the scene – enough to feature in the 2013 film CBGB , where he was played by The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki.

“I began hanging out at CBGBs with Patti Smith on Easter of 1974,” says Kaye. “That was the first time that we saw Televsion. I met their manager Terry Ork.”

Kaye noticed that Ork wasn’t a stereotypical band manager, but was more interested in helping the band achieve their purpose more than profits. It’s an ideology he carried over into his record label, Ork records, which was eventually buttressed by his partner, Charles Ball, and two Hasidic men known as “the Hats” who helped finance the record label by, it was rumoured, dealing drugs.

Idols backstage at Max's Kansas City

“Ork records began as a way to present some of the local bands that CBGBs featured,” said Kaye. “Looking at the box set, it surprises me how deep their musical sensibilities went.” CBGBs was the crucible for a lot of mould-breaking bands the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads – but while Ork released tracks by more well-known acts like Television, Richard Hell, the Feelies and Big Star frontman Alex Chilton, the bulk of their catalogue was made up of scratchy, trebly, energy-infused bands that never quite made it to that level of fame.

The likes of Cheetah Chrome, the Erasers, Marbles, Idols and Chris Stamey and the dBs were the more obscure bands of an already underground scene. “The scene was so much bigger than Blondie and Television and the Ramones,” says Fire. “A lot of these bands, I mean, I guess we fit in that category too, were so important to the scene, but never got their due. If Terry hadn’t been around, they may have been forgotten.”

The Numero Group, known for re-releasing back catalogues and out of print albums, stumbled on the story of Ork records when one of the owners, Rob Sevier , bought a few of the 45s released on the label and decided to collect the lot. His partner Ken Shipley soon caught the fever, too, and they decided to assemble Ork’s first full retrospective. Some of the songs hadn’t even been released, thanks to Ork’s flakiness about paying the studio bills. “This was like the first punk label in the world,” said Shipley. “Their sole mission was to document an emerging scene.”

And what a scene it was. “I don’t think we ever realized how amazing it was,” says Fire. “We had this loft and there were always these big parties where Allen Ginsberg and Iggy Pop would come by and Johnny Rotten would stay at our house. But you don’t really realize what you’re in when you’re in the middle of it.”

Ork records sputtered to a halt in 1980, Ork fleeing to Europe and then Los Angeles. He spent time in prison for fraud, adopted a new pseudonym and edited a film magazine, finally dying of colon cancer in 2004. The Numero Group leapt at the chance to allow his label to reclaim its place in history. However, as excited as they were to unleash Ork’s musical vision on the world (again), Shipley and Sevier had their work cut out.

“Terry Ork is dead, and he didn’t marry, he didn’t have any children, how are we going to do this?” said Shipley. “There’s no paperwork here, there’s no contracts. This isn’t what they did.” Without any other option, Numero set out to contact every artist who had released music on Ork to find out what it would take to re-release the songs.

Feelies at CBGBs

“We felt like Richard Hell, Television and the Feelies were going to be the biggest stumbling blocks, and it was a good thing that we approached them first because the Feelies took the longest to coming around,” said Shipley. Hell told them he would participate, but only if they got every other act on board. ”We kind of gambled, and said OK, we have to get everybody,” said Shipley. “And if we have to get everybody, let’s get everybody. We started finding people who were just tertiarily involved with the scene.”

Because of the type of reissues that they do, Numero Group is used to doing a fair amount of detective work. “We use the same computer systems that they use to find deadbeat dads and credit card debtors,” says Shipley.

They hit the motherlode when they got in touch with the owners of an Ithaca, New York, record store called Angry Mom Records. “He had bought the contents of a storage space that belonged to Terry Ork’s partner Charles Ball, and in there came lots of records, but more importantly, all the paper,” said Shipley.

As the project’s scope became apparent, the partners threw themselves into it, sometimes at a risk to their own business relationship. “We fought about the sequence. We fought about the art, we fought about everything. Just because when you really love something, you want it to be perfect,” said Shipley.

It took Shipley a year to write the book that accompanies the box set. “It’s 190 pages, and it’s close to 70,000 words,” he says. The book and the musical retrospective offer a portrait of a man, Ork, while shining a new light on New York’s punk scene. “The story has never been told,” said Shipley. “All these people are only getting older, some of them are dead. If you don’t tell it right now, there’s never going to be an opportunity to tell it.

“It’s not about the Ramones and it’s not about Blondie and it’s not about Talking Heads. They already have their own legacy sealed up,” said Shipley. “This is like there’s this world that existed after dark and, it was gone like that [snaps]. And the story that’s inside of them – this is the account. It will be here forever. We set it down.”

“I really believe that they helped document a very important scene and made it real,” said Kaye.

CBGBs may be a clothing store now; the Bowery has some of the most expensive real estate in Manhattan; and the Ramones may be on T-shirts sold at Urban Outfitters, but thanks to Numero, Ork records won’t be forgotten, which is good news for those who knew and loved Terry Ork. “He deserves that,” said Fire. “At least that.”

Ork Records Box Set is out now on Numero Group.

Patti Smith’s independent debut “Piss Factory” came out in 1974; the following November, manager Terry Ork put out Television’s first single, “Little Johnny Jewel”, on his own label. They were the first flowerings of the New York renaissance.

By 1976, big labels had carved up the CBGBs underground; Television went to Elektra, Patti Smith to Arista, Talking Heads joined the Ramones on Sire, Blondie went to Private Stock and then Chrysalis. It was a feeding frenzy that drew aspiring oddballs to the Bowery in droves.

For a few months between 1976 and mid-1977, Ork – the scene’s only active independent – had their pick of the new arrivals, snaring Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Alex Chilton, a pre-dBs Chris Stamey and The Feelies among others. This lovingly assembled, 49-track collection pieces together the projects – completed, abandoned and otherwise – that Ork helped to instigate, as the hustler-cum-superfan and sometime business partner Charles Ball seized their moment.

He completed the wiring of Television by introducing Cinemabilia employee Hell and Tom Verlaine to his leechy flatmate, guitarist Richard Lloyd (“There was a great love between us,” Lloyd remembered of Ork. “For him it was romantic, for me it was platonic”). Ork managed Television until their ascent demanded a more astute approach, but he kept busy, releasing the American version of Hell’s “Blank Generation” EP, before finding one member of bowl-cutted power-poppers the Marbles working at Cinemabilia, and making 1976’s gloriously feeble “Red Lights” his third release.

Excited by some audio verité demoes recorded in Memphis by journalist-turned-producer Jon Tiven, Ball and Ork hauled Alex Chilton up to their studio of choice ¬ Trod Nossel in Connecticut – to put down the five tracks that make up 1977’s surly “Singer Not The Song” EP. Chilton’s stag-horned “Free Again” and the excitable “Take Me Home And Make Me Like It” are deliriously grubby, though his excitable whoop of “call me a slut in front of your family” on the latter seemed a little far-fetched; so poor during his couch-surfing year in New York that for a while he did not even own shoes, Alex Chilton was in no state to be introduced to anyone’s parents.

Almost as an afterthought, Ork simultaneously put out “Girl” by Tiven’s band Prix – a delicious analogue to Chris Bell’s Big Star contributions. Tiven was not destined to be Chilton’s new musical foil, though, his time as a sideman ending when the singer tried to stub a cigarette out in his face. Stamey had a much more successful dalliance with the ex-Box Top, Chilton helping piece together the North Carolina moptop’s skinny-tie thunderbolt “The Summer Sun” – the final Ork release of 1977.

With the label momentarily buoyant, a major-label distribution deal was sought, but Ork and Ball’s failure to snare one meant a raft of projects were mothballed. A Rolling Stones tribute LP vanished without trace, and tapes of The H-Bombs – featuring Stamey’s future dBs foil Peter Holsapple – and Lester Bangs were farmed out to other labels. A first release from New Jersey’s splendidly uptight Feelies also went begging, the frenetic version of “Fa Ce La” here canned at the band’s request, though the song resurfaced as their Rough Trade debut two years later.

Ork, meanwhile, enlisted new financial backers – Hassidic Jews with decidedly unorthodox heroin habits. “Little Johnny Jewel” was repressed as a 12”, but the reactivated label evidently found the CBGBs waters of 1979 much over-fished. Ork’s final releases featured uninspiring cock-rock from the Idols – featuring ex-New York Dolls Arthur Kane and Jerry Nolan – and unremarkable one-offs from the Revelons and the Student Teachers. The last Ork release – former Dead Boy Cheetah Chrome’s “Still Wanna Die” – was an Iggy Stardust glam-punk classic, much undermined by an incongruous flower-power sleeve.

“I like Terry,” Verlaine said in 1979, showing uncommon generosity as he summed up Ork. “He has no business sense, but he’s a great guy.” At the bottom of the rear sleeve of Television’s era-defining Marquee Moon is a note reading: “This album is dedicated to William Terry Ork.” Like this collection, a small credit where it was due.

EXTRAS 8/10: A pleasantly bitchy book gives all Ork acts their due, a raft of rare tracks completing the picture. Prix offcuts are essential listening for Big Star fetishists, while unreleased Ork singles by Patti Smith-worshippers the Erasers, and angry loner Kenneth Higney feature, along with both sides of Link Cromwell’s “Crazy Like A Fox” – the 1966 Brit-invasion knock-off voiced by Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, which was re-circulated by Ork. Another discovery is the first version of Richard Lloyd’s sparkly “I Thought You Wanted To Know”, later re-voiced and released by Chris Stamey on his Car label when it emerged that the object of Ork’s affections was still under contract at Elektra.

Ork Records: New York, New York Track List:

1. Television – “Little Johnny Jewel”
2. Feelies – “Fa Ce La”
3. Richard Hell – “(I Belong to the) Blank Generation”
4. The Revelons – “The Way (You Tough My Hand)”
5. Erasers – “I Won’t Give Up”
6. Alex Chilton – “All of the Time”
7. Chris Stamey and the dBs – “(I Thought) You Wanted to Know”
8. Prix – “Zero”
9. Marbles – “Red Lights”
10. Alex Chilton – “Take Me Home & Make Me Like It”
11. Prix – “Girl”
12. The Idols – “Girl That I Love”
13. Mick Farren and the New Wave – “Lost Johnny”
14. Cheetah Chrome – “Still Wanna Die”
15. The Idols – “You”
16. The Student Teachers – “Christmas Weather”
17. Erasers – “It Was So Funny (The Song That They Sung)”
18. Richard Hell – “(I Could Live With You) (In) Another World”
19. Chris Stamey – “The Summer Sun”
20. Alex Chilton – “Free Again”
21. Richard Lloyd – “(I Thought) You Wanted to Know”
22. The Student Teachers – “Channel 13”
23. Chris Stamey – “Where the Fun Is”
24. Prix – “Everytime I Close My Eyes”
25. Feelies – “Forces at Work”
26. Marbles – “Fire and Smoke”
27. The Revelons – “97 Tears”
28. Cheetah Chrome – “Take Me Home”
29. Richard Hell – “You Gotta Lose”
30. Chris Stamey and the dBs – “If and When”
31. Mick Farren and the New Wave – “Play With Fire”
32. Richard Lloyd – “Get Off My Cloud”
33. Alex Chilton – “The Singer Not the Song”
34. Richard Lloyd – “Connection”
35. Alex Chilton – “Summertime Blues”
36. Mick Farren and the New Wave – “To Know Him Is to Love Him”
37. Link Cromwell – “Crazy Like a Fox”
38. Link Cromwell – “Shock Me”
39. Kenneth Higney – “I Wanna Be the King”
40. Lester Bangs – “Let It Blurt”
41. Alex Chilton – “Bangkok”
42. Peter Holsapple – “Big Black Truck”
43. Prix – “She Might Look My Way”
44. Alex Chilton – “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”
45. Prix “Love You All Day Long”
46. Alex Chilton – “Shakin’ The World”
47. Prix – “Love You Tonight”
48. Lester Bangs – “Live”
49. Kenneth Higney – “Funky Kinky”

PATTI SMITH – ” M-Train ” Book

Posted: December 11, 2015 in MUSIC
Tags: ,

Patti Smith is many things. Punk-rock icon. Poet. National Book Award winner for her book “Just Kids.”

And in her new memoir “M Train,” Smith reveals another side: Coffee lover. “I could drink 14 cups without compromising my sleep,” she writes. In this exclusive selection from the audiobook, Smith narrates a section about the time she traveled to Mexico when she was 21, wanting to write a book called “Java Head.”

“William Burroughs told me that the best coffee in the world was grown in the mountains surrounding Veracruz,” she reads. “And I was determined to find it.”

Multiple bus trips and train rides later, she found herself in the Mexican city. She located a “real” coffee dealer in an unmarked building, where she posed as a journalist for “Coffee Trader Magazine,” and spent hours there immersing herself in the scene. “It was February 14th and I was about to give my heart to a perfect cup of coffee.”

“M Train” is out now by Penguin Random House.

M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer’s society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York’s Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud and Mishima.

Woven throughout are reflections on the writer’s craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith’s life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith. Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable artists at work today.

To celebrate 40 years since the release of Patti Smith’s seminal album HORSES Milk! Records in partnership with Melbourne Festival performed two tribute shows at the Melbourne Town Hall on Sunday the 18th of October 2015. Courtney’s and her band performed a cover of Patti Smith‘s ‘Redondo Beach.’ Now, Barnett’s own label Milk! Records have released footage from the evening, including a full performance of ‘Redondo Beach’.

The performance took place at a special tribute concert held by Barnett to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Patti Smith’s debut album ‘Horses.’ Barnett played ‘Horses’ in full and was joined by Jen Cloher, Magic Dirt’s Adalita and The Drones’ Gareth Liddiard for the one-off show. Courtney Barnett released her debut album ‘Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit’ in March. she explained how the LP reflected the last year of her life.

“The album is a general overview of essentially a year of emotions – 12 months of fucking every day day, up, down, up, down. I dunno what a normal person has, but everyday I had a midlife crisis.”

Courtney Barnett and her band play their biggest UK headline show to date at London’s Forum on November 25th with gigs in Wolverhampton, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Bristol also confirmed.
For more on Milk! Records http://www.milkrecords.com.au

Directed by Joshua Aylett @ Tourist
Camera Operators: Alex Cardy, David Rusanow, Maximillian Mein
Live Mix Tim Symonds for ABC Radio National ‘The Live Set’.
Post Mix Matthew Neighbour

Performed by Courtney Barnett
Guitar – Dan Luscombe
Drums – Jen Sholakis
Bass – Ben Bourke
Keys – Stevie Hesketh

Rising from the New York punk movement of the 70’s, Patti Smith is an influential singer and musician known for combining spoken word poetry with primal garage rock. By 1976, she had released her debut Horses and the more raw-sounding Radio Ethiopia.

Her October 3rd, 1976 concert at The Konserthuset in Stockholm, Sweden was filmed and recorded for broadcast, documenting this early stage in her career. Prior to the internet, the audio portion had been circulated among fans with the bootleg title, ‘I Never Talked To Bob Dylan,’ a slight reference to the short interview that accompanied the performance.

Patti Smith’s influence by The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed is well represented with the covers ‘Real Good Time Together’ and ‘Pale Blue Eyes’. Actually, there are quite a few cover songs here including the classics ‘Louie Louie,’ ‘Gloria,‘ and the Smith original ‘Land‘ which includes yet another rock classic, ‘Land Of 1,000 Dances.’ Patti’s version of The Rolling Stone’s ‘Time Is On My Side’ is prefaced by her own spoken-word piece.

‘Ask The Angels’ and ‘Land’ stand out as highlights of this show as well as a representation of the performances that inspired Gilda Radner’s Candy Slice character on SNL in the 70’s.

Setlist:
Real Good Time Together
Redondo Beach
Free Money
Pale Blue Eyes
Ask The Angels
Ain’t It Strange
Time Is On My Side
Radio Ethiopia
Rock And Roll Ni**er
Gloria
Land

Special thanks to All Dylan Blog site

Patti Smith Performed Horses at Electric Lady Studios

last Wednesday, August 27th marked, to the day, the 45 anniversary of NYC’s famed Electric Lady Studios which was originally built by Jimi Hendrix. To celebrate, Patti Smith, who was there the day it opened and recorded her classic “Horses” After recording her first single “Hey Joe/ Piss Factory” at Electric Lady Studios in 1974, in the facility’s Studio A, gave a private performance of “Horses” in its entirety to an celeb/industry crowd that included Michael Stipe, Alexander Skarsgard, Liv Tyler, Win Butler, Darren Aronofsky, Alison Mosshart, Dakota Johnson and more. Watching Smith and three-quarters of her original band, including guitarist Lenny Kaye and drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, blaze through Horses live wasn’t a one-off experience; Patti Smith and her band has already been touring the globe doing just that, and will be coming back to New York’s Beacon Theatre on November 10 for a similar show. (She’ll also be touring with her new book, M Train, a collection of essays about her travels.) But there was something about being surrounded by Electric Lady’s ghosts that seemed to energize the singer.

But it’s spite of all the numbers and anniversaries, nothing felt nostalgic, or even comfortable, about the performance. From the moment Smith spat out the first G of “Gloria” (not to mention the multiple times she literally spit sizable gobs on stage and into the audience), the room — big for a studio but incredibly intimate for a concert — crackled with a nervous, exhilarating ecstasy. It’s thrilling enough to hear Smith’s uncompromising sneer on record; it’s awe-inspiring to see her bellowing a full-throated “Glooooo-reee-a!” into the microphone just feet away from you (btw, her voice hasn’t diminished with age). For the first time in my life, I understood what the Old Testament describes as the terrifying glory of God  

Given the nature of the album and the event, the concert could have been a rather serious (albeit rocking) affair, but Patti Smith made sure it wasn’t. She joked about flipping over the record from side A to B after wrapping a fiery “Free Money,” and after mangling a word at the top of “Birdland” (which starts with, “His father died and left him a little farm in New England”), she told the band to start over and deadpanned, “His dad is gonna have to die again.”Before wrapping with “Elegie,” Smith explained how she wrote the delicate dirge after finding out about Jimi Hendrix‘s death — fitting, since the show was to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Electric Lady Studios opening (which Smith was present for, as detailed in Just Kids). She extended the three-minute album track into a longer tribute to lost rock warriors, respectfully reading their names — including her late husband Fred “Sonic” Smith and King of New York Lou Reed — into the microphone.

Despite ending with a list of the lost, the intimate concert from the peerless rock icon was full of more life, fire and spit than practically any other show I’ve ever seen. It will be interesting to see if that comes across on wax when Electric Lady Records issues the concert on vinyl as its first-ever release, or if it’s one of those situations where the electricity was more in the air than on the recording.

Four decades after it entered the world, Horses remains the most exciting union of rock and poetry on record — and its power to make you feel fully alive hasn’t diminished one iota.

If you were like us and not there, Patti Smith’s Horses performance will be released on vinyl and will be the first LP to come out via Electric Lady Records. Release date TBA. (She’ll also be performing Horses at the Beacon Theatre in November which is already sold out.


blackwings666

Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Books and More

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

All Things Thriller

A Celebration of Thrillers, Noire and Black Comedy by Pamela Lowe Saldana

The UK Number Ones Blog

Join me as I listen to every single #1 single!

Mike and Paul's Music Blog

Two Guys In Search of Great Music

A Unique Title For Me

Hoping to make the world more beautiful

A Sound Day

hear ye, hear ye!

Christian's Music Musings

Celebrating music craftsmanship

ECLECTIC MUSIC LOVER

Favorite song lists, reviews, featured indie artists, and music commentary.

Every record tells a story

A Blog About Music, Vinyl, More Music and (Sometimes) Music...

Make Your Own Taste

Eclectic reviews of ambient, psychedelic, post-rock, folk and progressive rock ... etc.!

Martin Crookall - Author For Sale

A transparent attempt to promote a writing career

The Music Aficionado

Quality articles about the golden age of music

J. ERIC SMITH

Slow molasses drip under a tipped-up crescent moon.

THE PRESS | Music Reviews

Click Header to Return Home

Getintothis

Liverpool Music Blog

Born To Listen

to Rock, Country, Blues & Jazz

Blabber 'n' Smoke

A Glasgow view of Americana and related music and writings.

RockCritics.com

Not made men

The Music Files

Rewind the Review

If My Records Could Talk

A stroll down memory lane through my music collection

The Fat Angel Sings

the best music of yesterday today and the tomorrow, every era every genre

Fuzzy Sun

Noiserock and heavy psychedelic music

TWELVE INCH

Embracing new and established sounds

%d bloggers like this: