I was sittin' and thinkin' this morning about what I wanted to write about and share here this week, when the thought bubble popped up and reminded me that there's really nothing I enjoy more than listening to British 45's from the beat era; a listening experience that I enjoy equally as much as soul 45's, classic jazz LP's, old blues records, and, well, you get the idea. It's all the kinda stuff that helps us thrive.
Here we have the greatest British one shot of all time.
Relocated from Yorkshire to London, The Accent sadly only had one chance to record, and luckily the groundbreaking and creative Mike Vernon was behind the boards which led to this creating this absolute masterpiece of mood, folky guitars and some of the heaviest psychedelic beat ever committed to wax, back in 1967. A real tragedy that this band wasn't given a chance to cut an LP or at least a few more singles as who KNOWS what else they may have come up with. However, it's kinda cool in a way that their one release is simply flawless. Too bad more people haven't heard it throughout the years. Kind of amazing that this record was released in the US at all; however, as this was the day when creativity ran free and the suits had no idea what those crazy kids were doing, musicians were able to freely explore their creativity. Too bad that hasn't been the case for a LONG time.
The Mark Four went thru a few lineup changes, but came back (shortly after this 1965 release) as The Creation. 'I'm Leaving' is a masterpiece of mood, controlled feedback and the ubiquitous blues influence that drove the British beat movement. Eddie Phillips' ground breakin guitar solo, essentially an extended feedback break, is pure genius, driven along by tribal drumming. While the Who pioneered the UK use of melodic noise, Phillips takes it to a completely other level here.
The Truth were a vocal duo (with studio musician backing, most likely Jimmy Page on guitar) made up of Frank Aiello and Steve Jameson. Here, the lads take the Young Rascals fabulous 'Sueno' and manage to increase the psychedelic ante even higher (culminating in a freak out ending that must be heard to be believed), on a song that is almost undoubtedly about the LSD experience. From 1967 (of course).
Late 1966 saw the release of the 2nd solo single from Yardbirds frontman Keith Relf. 'Shapes In My Mind' was written by yardbirds producer/ manager Simon Napier-Bell, and the lyrics can easily be interpreted as either drug inspired, relationship grief inspired or a combination of both. Keith turns in a very strong vocal performance, and the song is a wonderful example of the type of arty, avant garde pop that was changing the world in 1966-67. Sadly, the record didn't become a hit anywhere- it was just a tad bit too uncommercial and ahead of its time.
Another TV Neats track I found on YouTube, this one is written and sung by Ric Orlando (then known as Ricky Rondo) who is now a pretty well-known chef and restauranteur near Woodstock, NY. He also won on that show "Chopped" a couple times. Buy TV Neats musics on CD Baby.
This is pretty cool. Someone made a fan video for a song I wrote and sang with the band TV Neats back in 1980 or thereabouts. This has been cited as one of the earliest examples of use of an English accent by a US born Punk Rocker. TV Neats @ CDBaby
While word 'genius' gets throw around (perhaps too often) directed at musicians we love, Miles Davis undoubtedly WAS. The man's career was full of highs and lows, but from early on in his career, he led, influenced and followed his own path.
What I find especially fascinating about Miles are periods that may get overlooked by many; specifically, his works recorded between 1965-1974. While many of his peers went off into a free jazz bag, Miles grounded his music with that great universal bond- rhythm. The pre-electric albums (ESP to Neferttiti) seem to get overlooked; a pity, as these albums took Miles into the rhythmic directions that led to the groundbreaking first two recordings of the electric period that caused the jazz world to be turned upside down during 1968-69: namely, In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. These LP's are classics of the highest order. I'm almost embarassed to admit that it took about 20 years for me to fully get into Bitches Brew; I first bought it as a teenager and it just didn't strike me in the way that In A Silent Way did immediately (after re-listening two years ago, I'm completely enchanted and deep into it).
The early '70's became a highly prolific period for Miles, and the massive amount of vinyl he released (many of which are doubles) can be challenging listening, but there are plenty of rewards to be had. These two 45's were both drawn from 1972's On The Corner LP; a record which alienated MANY of those who stuck by Miles, and one which took a critical beating. However, time has been very kind to this LP, and upon its re-release on CD in the mid-90's it has rightly taken its place as not only an ass shaking piece of intense jazz funk, but also many years ahead of its time in how it was created. Miles' symapthetic and creative producer, Teo Macero, adopted an amazing practice of edits that worked as a collaboarative effort with Miles; Teo took tapes of improvisations and pieced them into tracks. Of course, this process is standard practice today, but sadly, it's often abused (record one verse and chorus to a pop song, and paste together a track) to create fake music that loses the human element. Teo and Miles used the editing process in a way that took the music into other directions.
On The Corner is especially notable for a groove that runs through the first side, all the while an overwhelming amount of freaky melodies weave in and out of the groove, courtesy of Miles. On the LP, side 1 ends with a track called 'Black Satin', although it's nearly impossible to tell where one track begins and another ends as they all weave together. For a single release, Miles mischievously named an alternate edit of the 'Black Satin' groove 'Molester'; probably inspired by a then recent accusation thrown at Miles by a woman (Miles had a very dark side that I will make no excuses for- he had a streak of treating women horribly).
Of course, it's kind of a novelty that these 45's exist, as the music is not at all commercial and didn't have much of a chance of being played on the radio anywhere. However, I wouldn't be surprised if legendary NYC club DJ Francis Grasso spun 'Vote For Miles (part 2)' as the rhtyhmic intensity could easily cause a melt down on the right kind of dancefloor.