Loud Fast Fools-Reunion Show Tonight!

April 9th, 2010

loud fast fools at the Knockout in San Francisco tonight

If you are in San Francisco, there’s a chance to see a legendary band play a reunion show. Hailing from Dallas, Texas The Fools were known to produce no less than 126 decibels in its’ live shows. Their early 80’s rebuke of fashion, spawning clean cut haircuts and plaid shirts enjoyed an aesthetic with Minute Men and Husker Du, however the bands were never to cross paths for the Fools lasted only long enough to release a self titled debut and an EP “Fast & Foolish.” They disbanded before they hit twenty one, reasons unexplained.

 

soumeya Local Legends, Rock

Hank Champion

April 8th, 2010

Hank Champion is known as “The Chronicler.” Born of Terlinguan mining stock to a tyrannical father and dead mother, Champion began writing at an early age to escape the otherwise inevitable date with the chili trade. A small skin accident kept him out of school during his junior year, and he began the mimeographed, one pageTerlinguan Times. In May of 1969, its first and only issue ran a story about a nameless, corrupt sheriff who had just the week previously beaten his drunken father into the hospital. According to legend, promoted by Champion himself, he escaped in a stolen police car and landed, after a year or so, in Orange County, CA.  There he began his writing and recording career. For the next ten years he wrote for the tiny mimeographed, one-page Orange County Times. He also began his gargantuan spoken-word recording career beginning with RCA’s spoken-word branch Speakeasy Records, then the small Cucumber Label, later Pickle. His singles include, “From Dud to Stud, From Zero to Hero,” “Broke Artist at Turn of Century,” “I Walk the Streets, Richest Man Who Ever Lived,” “History is a Lie & Time is a Whore,” and he shared publishing creds with John Fante and Charles Bukowski with the Black Sparrow collections, “I’m Trying to Sleep Here,” and “Wickets.”

hank champion (society makes me sad) Side A

soumeya Hits, Rock, Spoken Word, Uncategorized

Don Adora’e- “If You Don’t Make A Change”

April 8th, 2010

Don Adora'e Side A

Don Adora’e recorded for DMade between 1963-1967. He kept his identity a secret by wearing a mask onstage and in the recording studio. His given name was Don Adora’e, so the mask didn’t keep anyone from knowing his true identity. He ran a dry cleaners in Passaic. He became locally famous for his delightful singles. He filled the local high school dances, and the kids loved him. Although he never got out of Passaic, Don Adora’e has lived up to his fantastic moniker. He is still loved in Passaic, and is a popular singer/local TV personality, lending his pipes to local commercials for used car places and furniture stores.

soumeya Just Weird, Local Legends, Pop, Uncategorized

Prince Nedick and the Conks

April 8th, 2010

Prince Nedick was born Washington Rice and for a short period was a child preacher in his hometown of Turkey Creek near Leicester, North Carolina. He picked up his performing career as a young teenager, working as a dancer at the 81 Theater in Atlanta. Rice was gay and flamboyant; he worked the tent shows in drag, a great southern, show biz tradition in itself and an important influence on rock’n’roll – hence the term “tent show queen”. He sang the repertoire of said tradition, many of the same tunes Little Richard would clean up and take to the bank– Tutti Frutti (original lyrics– “Tutti Frutti/Good bootie/if it don’t fit/don’t force it/just grease it/make it easy”), Busy Bootin’ aka Keep A Knockin’, Don’t You Want A Man Like Me, etc.

Atlanta was hopping back in the late ’40s, and Auburn Avenue, the main drag in the black section of town had dozens of clubs – the Poinciana, the Congo, the Zanzibar, and the Peacock, as well as rhythm and blues and jazz shows at the Piedmont Theater and the VFW hall. After a few seasons learning the ropes with the folks in the 81 Club show, Rice ordained himself Prince Nedick (reasons unknown) and got his big break while appearing on a bill at the Auditorium in Atlanta that included Billy Wright, Charles Brown and Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams.

He was known for his flashy style and violent temper. At the height of his fame he went on the lam after assaulting his brother’s wife with an axe and ultimately ended up in Minglewood, a lumber camp/work camp a few miles east of the Mississippi in Dyersburg, TN. It was rumored he died planning an escape.

soumeya Uncategorized

Julius Boggs and Earnest Maynard–”El Rio Prayer for a Dying Dog”

April 7th, 2010
 

 

 

Side A--Earnest Prayer for a Dying Dog
Side A–Earnest Prayer for a Dying Dog
Julius Boggs and Earnest Maynard were cousins out of Galax, VA. An early member of the Martinsville string band the Gumtrotters, Boggs was well known for his obscure tunings and off kilter rhythms. Maynard developed a unique style of claw hammer banjo, using the outside of his fingernails to scrape the strings. He spent most of his youth working in a sheet metal business and then went off to Korea. When he returned the fingers on his right hand had been shortened due to a train wheel accident. 

In early 1954 Victor talent scout Ralph Peer (who discovered The Carter Family and Jimmie Rogers) advertised an audition in Martinsville that led Boggs and Maynard to a recording contract. They made seven records before Boggs died from heart conditions in the late fifties.

 Although Boggs & Maynard were never quite the same after the finger shortening, they never seemed to suffer too much and in fact created a new style of finger-picking this way. You can hear the particular “plunk” of the strings really well on this track about a hapless canine meeting his end.

 

 

 

 

 

soumeya Americana, experimental

The Fabulous Romantic Tony Zullo–”Cheap Extensions”

April 7th, 2010

 

Cover for "Cheap Extensions"

Cover for "Cheap Extensions"

 

Who isn’t totally fascinated by pop musicians whose personal lives catch your attention almost as much as their music?

The Fabulous Romantic Tony Zullo, also known as Mr. Magnificent, Mr. Fabulous, The Mighty Magnificent & Absolutely Unstoppable Tony Zullo, The Lovely T. Z., and in the ’80s simply as XTZ, crashed out of the Youngstown funk scene in the early ’70s with a blistering jam entitled “Open Letter to Tricky Dick.” A slew of recordings followed, as well as a wake of bad business deals, faulty contracts and failed marriages. The marriages with their subsequent (and almost immediate) divorces typically coincided with a hit single and thus provided an emerging pattern that endured for the next fifteen years.

In the mid-’80s, he faded briefly before re-appearing in 1989 with the tremendous hit “The Cadillac (That Took My Lady Away).”

Here’s the back for of the cover for “Cheap Extensions,” one of his first and funkiest singles. The bassline alone is one of the most recognized, having been used in several blacksploitation movies in the ’70s. Despite his record company putting up a fight, Zullo insisted on the leather-and-thread case for this single, which is now quite rare to find intact.

 

Side B

Side B

 

soumeya Hits, Just Weird, Pop

Noppie Clarke and the Protesters–”White House Soup Kitchen Blues”

April 5th, 2010

This 7″ sounds like it comes straight from the Woody Guthrie catalogue, but it’s actually a relatively contemporary record. Simple, earnest, thoughtful songwriting about injustice and governmental responsibility, “White House Soup Kitchen Blues” seems like it could be a Depression-era tune until you see that the B side is called “Amy Goodman” after the host of the liberal radio show Democracy Now!

 

SIDE A

SIDE A

Noppie Clarke is a fictional character created by Lydia DeShultz, a sociology professor living in London who was arrested in a protest against the Tony Blair administration shortly after the U.S. and U.K. led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

              From Belmarsh prison Deshultz wrote a political tract decrying the corporate agenda of her government and urging citizens to camp outside parliament gates and outside private arms companies like BAE, and other like companies in England and whom’s addresses were conveniently listed at the end of the pamphlet. The small pamphlet was printed up in the thousands and brought DeShultz a small measure of national recognition.

              Within prison she wrote two or three political songs: simple, sparse instrumentals on guitar with occasional whistling. The songs were released onto the internet freely and DeShultz enjoyed a second wave of public notoriety. Despite her cult success as a recording artist, DeSchultz regards herself primarily as a political activist, working against British companies like the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU)  and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), both of which “spy on, target, brutalize and imprison ‘domestic extremists’ – a clever title for protesters.”

Due to the peculiar nature of DeSchultz’s recording career, it’s unclear if we’ll be getting any more records from Noppie Clarke and the Protesters, but DeSchultz will occasionally play at protests and marches around the country.

soumeya Folk, Hits, News

Cabezas Cordades–Teen Age Thugs

March 31st, 2010

Teen Age Thugs 7"
Teen Age Thugs 7″

 

This is a tough, catchy jam called “Teenage Thugs” that has really been stuck in my head. On it you can hear a lot of early punk rock influences. Proto-pop-punk band Cabezas Cordades (Cut Off Heads) came blistering out of Tijuana in the late ’80s led by the activist rants of the lead singer Raul Velasquez who claimed a blood connection to the Zapatistas and Sandinistas, among other oppressed people around the globe. LA hardcore band Suicidal Tendencies brought them on a brief tour that garnered the Cabezas a small deal with Mexican Metropolis Records. Quickly appeared “Teen Age Thugs,” a prescient tune about the horrors of child gangsters, as well as “Gangster Funeral,” “Mule Blues,” and “Xenophobes.” There first two records came with an inserted map of the best and safest route for immigrants to cross the Sonoran Desert. Included on the B-side was a visceral spoken-word repudiation of the US and Mexican government by Velasquez.This is a tough, catchy jam called “Teenage Thugs” that has really been stuck in my head. On it you can hear a lot of early punk rock influences. Proto-pop-punk band Cabezas Cordades (Cut Off Heads) came blistering out of Tijuana in the late ’80s led by the activist rants of the lead singer Raul Velasquez who claimed a blood connection to the Zapatistas and Sandinistas, among other oppressed people around the globe. LA hardcore band Suicidal Tendencies brought them on a brief tour that garnered the Cabezas a small deal with Mexican Metropolis Records. Quickly appeared “Teen Age Thugs,” a prescient tune about the horrors of child gangsters, as well as “Gangster Funeral,” “Mule Blues,” and “Xenophobes.” There first two records came with an inserted map of the best and safest route for immigrants to cross the Sonoran Desert. Included on the B-side was a visceral spoken-word repudiation of the US and Mexican government by Velasquez.

Cabezas Cordada (Cut Off Heads) came blistering out of Tijuana in the late ’80s led by the activist rants of the lead singer Raul Velasquez who claimed a blood connection to the Zapatistas and Sandinistas, among other oppressed people around the globe. LA hardcore band Suicidal Tendencies brought them on a brief tour that garnered the Cabezas a small deal with Mexican Metropolis Records. Quickly appeared “Teen Age Thugs,” a prescient tune about the horrors of child gangsters, as well as “Gangster Funeral,” “Mule Blues,” and “Xenophobes.” There first two records came with an inserted map of the best and safest route for immigrants to cross the Sonoran Desert. Included on the B-side was a visceral spoken-word repudiation of the US and Mexican government by Velasquez.
Though Velesquez walked a righteous path, his bandmates fell into heroin use and crime. Despite their inability to contribute musically, he was unable to give up on them. As he said in an interview, “to give up on my musical brothers is to contradict everything I stand for.” His musical warnings ultimately served as a prophecy for the demise of their own creators.

soumeya Albums, Punk

Earth Girl Helen Brown–”Hit After Hit”

March 3rd, 2010

How about that new Joanna Newsom record, huh? Pretty great. But enough people are writing about her. Sonny Smith recently turned me onto this really incredible singer that I can’t stop listening to. “Earth Girl Helen Brown,” is her monkier. She had an sad, strange life, which explains the weirdo, fascinating music.

Earth Girl Helen Brown "Hit After Hit" (Side A); El Rincon Record Palace  002

Earth Girl Helen Brown "Hit After Hit" (Side A); El Rincon Record Palace 002

Helen Brown was born in Vancouver, Canada, but raised in an Athens, Georgia-based religious cult, and was blinded in one eye from a childhood baseball injury. As an adult, she dropped out of Evergreen and traveled the country for a while as a nomadic psychedelic folksinger, before forming her first band One Eyed Tramps. For years, she lived alone in a mountaintop in southern Alaska, where she befriended a Cherokee Shaman (later revealed as a fake) who encouraged her to pursue a frustrating academic career. Rampant drug use, frequent fainting on stage, and occasional self-inflicted knife wounds on stage led to more interest in her stage antics than her music. However, a few sides did emerge in the late ’90s (recording dates unknown), which feature a unique mix of country, girl group, R&B, and ghoulishness. Crude and amateurish at best, these recordings are appreciated for their sincerity and intensity of feeling.

 The record I’ve been listening to a lot lately is a 7″ (Shown above, great cover): “Hit After Hit,” on Side A and “So Long, Jerk” on Side B. The label is “El Rincon record Palace 002″ which I can’t find anything else about–maybe it was a home recording that was released after they were found in the ’90s. The recordings are barely audible but her anger and pain come through. The song titles break my heart a little bit. There’s something ironic in the title “Hit after Hit”: It’s like she is struggling with fame or acheivement–having “Hits”– but there’s this vulgarity and hardness to them that speaks of violence as well. Obviously, “So Long, Jerk” is about ending a romantic relationship, and it’s in this ’60s psych-folk style, but there’s something almost punk about it. It’s hard to think of this woman ever sitting behind a desk as an academic. There’s something truly wild in her voice.  

soumeya Albums, Folk, Hits, Just Weird

Dreama Newborn–”Brilliance Blues”/”The Dreamies”

February 22nd, 2010

Here’s a beauty of a record.

Dreama Newborn

Dreama Newborn

Dreama Newborn (1930-1991) was born in Delaney, AR. Her 1962 recording of “Brilliance Blues” is often considered the first recording to bridge the gap between the popular bubblegum girl-group sound and the village folk revival. Devastated by the suicide of her first husband, a promising young writer, “Brilliance Blues” was a tribute to her dead lover. The song had at once the rustic guitar strum and autoharp accompaniment of the folk movement layered with lively doo-wop vocal stylings from her band ‘The Dreamies’. It was a hit and created an outraged stir amongst folk fanatics. When the British invasion hit a few years later, she mysteriously retired from the music business. She spent the rest of her life in Amarillo, TX with her husband, a saffron farmer and local ferrier. She died of pleurisy in 1991.

Like Bobbie Hawkins, Dreama Newborn cut her career off short, although not quite as short as he. Her sound was so unique and frankly, it’s strange that it didn’t catch on more than it did. Newport Festival met Motown in this record, so few copies exist that it’s practically impossible to hear “Brilliance Blues,” but its influence musically can be heard everywhere. Carole King’s “Tapestry” is a good example (although very watered down) of Dreama Newborn’s influence. The song reminds me of Richard Farina…he was also a young writer and musician who died young (although his was not a suicide) a fan of using the autoharp.

As often happens, Dreama Newborn was barely out of her teens when this record came out. Her band, The Dreamies, were mainly young session musicians who went on to join various 60s psychedelic rock bands.

soumeya Hits , ,