Critical Mass Chicago 04.27.07

OOO Wee, What do we have here? Looks like another installment of CCM Chicago. Below is an action shot, featuring the "art Bike" of the HiGuy on the left and various other riders. Note the vintage Raleigh a bit right of center.

Heading west along Wacker Drive with the river to the left, I was determined to follow the tunes on the trailer directly in front of me. A pretty impressive soundsystem, I may add, consisting of a car amp, and ipod and some vintage speaker cabinet that looked as if it could have been from an old jukebox. Loud and blaring JB (and possibly TooShort). Nice.

Here is a shot of a tall bike rider using a paddy wagon as an armrest. This shot helps to sum up the sights and sounds of this Mass. Pretty laid back, good turnout and from my perspective, few if any problems.


MAKE IT FUNKY 1/6 (sub jp)

Here you go for your viewing pleasure is the first installment of a 6 installment video called Make It Funky.

To get the context, it may be helpful to brush up on your Japanese.

Some great clips of JB et al.


NIMBY jet powered wheelchair

This is a bit old, hang on the wait is rather long until the payoff, but check the G Force here!


Earth Day 2007 Vinyl Finds

Well, I did something environmentally friendly yesterday for Earth Day, I rescued some old vinyl from the landfill. Recycle, Reuse, Repeat.

I made the venture to the Great White North on the warmest day of 2007, as it was 85 degrees and very sunny. Vestax portable in tow, the quest was funk, soul and garage 45s. The garage ones are hard to find. But I always manage to score a couple.

While I don't feel like sharing my source for these 45s, I will share a list and the prices paid. Despite the location, I feel that at least the first set of discs mentioned below were found "in the wild." While the conditions were great and the prices were low, it took a couple of hours digging through boxes of un sleeved 45s to turn them up.

Archie Bell and The Drells Tighten Up If you have ever heard a funk comp, you have heard this disc , solid. Part II is on the flip.
Jimmy Castor Bunch The Bertha Butt Boogie, He even name checks his other "hit" on this one- Troglodyte...
Jimmy and Booby Purity Wish You Didn't Have to Go, This seems an attempt to hit the gold that is their previous side I'll Be Your Puppet. The bass on this disc will not let you down.
Wilson Pickett Funky Broadway Dot ever think it is only about Midnight Hour with Mr. Pickett, this track is a solid winner.
Booker T & The MGs Green Onions
Michael & The Messengers Midnight Hour Solid garage R&B disc by these Chicago(?) lads, on USA records, home of both The Cherry Slush and Don't Wanna Cry by The Buckinghams.

All of the above records cost a total of US$1.25. The conditions range from VG to NM. Some solid cranking options.

Here are some more sides that I scored:

Bob Seger System The Last Song. I liked the flip Ivory better. Seger liked to drive the R&B. Not so much garage, and definitely not Like a Rock.
George Semper Rhythm Committee Its Your Thing This one is credited to the Isley Brothers. The other side sucks but this one is a sold funky number that also features a nice organ break.
Booker T & The MGs Time is Tight. Mint copy with the cool Stax snapping fingers sleeve. You can't go wrong with any of their stuff can you?
Bob Seger System Heavy Music (PT I & II) This is a driver, another reason to totally hate Mr. Silver Bullet. Found listed under "Non Chart Northern Soul." Um, wrong.

The above discs were US$8.00. I feel as I am finally starting to get my legs under me. I have bought only one CD in 2007. Finding awesome 45s feeds the audio jones and the CD Reference System prefers 45s. The low end doesn't even compare.

I heard some bottom feeders saying that it "was starting to dry up." And that they may need to head to Chicago to find more vinyl. Good luck with that. Even scratchy 45s are US$5 here.


heimatliche klaenge

Here is an incredible series that came across the virtual transom recently. Older readers may recognize the above image as being a scan of a cassette tape cover...

In fact this series (heimatliche klaenge) ran to six (!) volumes back in the late 80s when the series appeared. Thanks to the communication channel of the internet, now most of this cassette series is available for MP3 download.

Many of these songs were familar to me from comps (that were probably somewhat influenced by HK) such as Trans World Punk, Prae Kruat, Hide & Seek, et al.

I can't hear Chicago by the Phantom Brothers enough, though. They rock. Read about them in the latest Ugly Things.

Of course the monks are also in the house on v. 1 playing their uber beat opii Cuckoo and I Can't Get Over You.

Many other bands explore high energy rythm and beat. The Boots, and The Countdowns being noteable on side a of this "cassette release." The Countdowns do a song called Sex Maniac, and hearing their pronunciation of Sex maniac is worth a listen.

A great intro to Deutsche Beat, or a great continuing journey. Check the tracklist and leave a comment.

Download here.



Dig Casey Kasem doing the intro to this Music Machine clip of the Eagle Never Hunts the Fly.

Great fuzz break and psych visual effects!

Totally boss with the morning Cheerios.


The Stooges Congress Theatre Chicago 4.15.07


Jim Osterberg, (Igster) really defeats any preconceived notions about age. He is crazy, animated onstage, and he is at least 20 years older than me and he runs about and stagedives like someone in their early 20s.

I am still breathless after seeing the Stooges. Ron, Rock Action and "Minuteman" Mike Watt put on one of the best shows that I have ever seen. This is no nostalgia act.

I have to type a few words about the opener and featuring the knob twister for the latest Stooges CD, which I have yet to hear. Opening for the Stooges is like opening for James Brown. Not good. It seemed like M. Weston, on bass felt as much. M. Trainor on the small drum kit was hitting them quite hard and seemed like he wanted to perform for the hometown Shellac fans. As a whole there just wasn't enough oomph there for me. The handpuppet and questions from the audience went over like an inebriated Letterman.

Back to business, Iggy and the Stooges came out and started everything out with Loose. I was jumping up and down to the point that the rustic Thai food that I had feasted on an hour prior to the show was becoming a bit unruly in my stomach. To say that I was able to see Loose performed live by the originals (sans the late Dave Alexander, RIP) in a most convincing manner was unbelievable. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to see this!

Material was centered on the first LP, Funhouse and the new LP. I guess Raw Power is a sore point with Ron Asheton, I am just guessing here. For me Funhouse is the best followed by the self-titled LP, so leaving Raw Power out of the setlist was not a big deal.

TV Eye, was also performed after the lights went up and Iggy declared, "I can see you."

One of the more bizarre events of the evening was when at least 50 audience members jumped up onstage for Real Cool Time. I was standing next to a diminutive guard who could only shake his head at the spectacle.

The Congress Theater is an old joint from the 20s I am guessing. I don't think that I have been there since the 80s. Most alarming upon entry was the fact that they are using Portapotties as the toilets in this joint. All I could think of is that a regular payoff to city inspectors must occur to allow a venue without sufficient plumbing to stay open and sell beer to music fans. Quite odd even in a city that seems to embrace and celebrate the odd and crooked. It truly was a cool place to see The Stooges. The crowd seemed to support this as there were faces that I have not seen at a show in many years.


Music Machine Ultimate Turn On

Take your pick-- black or white or mono or stereo. Much like this quite essential 2 CD collection that came out on Big Beat last year. Their LP is featured in both flavors (mono vs stereo) on disc one of this set.

I have their 45s and an 80s or early 90s reissue of their LP Turn On, so I waited a while to track this one down.

I will say that Talk Talk, one of my top ten songs of all time does smack of fuzz and distortion in a glorious bath of noise on this digital version. A clean 45 would have the edge, but I digress as usual.

The guitar break is quite killer on their reading of The Beatles Tax Man. Nice crunch from the guitar behind the vocals. This mix does sound nice.

The Machine turns back into the noise with Masculine Intuition, that features tasty Vox organ and a tough bass pulse punctuated by distortion in the trebley register on the guitar. One of my fave codas with the bass drum isolated and pounding to the end.

They pull it back for The People in Me. Still a strong organ driven workout, just not as tough as Masculine.

Not a fan of their take on Hey Joe, methinks The Stillroven kill that song. Except that backgound fuzz wash towards the end of the track just nails it in my book.

The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly is a neccessary exploration into the deep and darkness. Great off time weirdness, screeching guitars, and general mayhem ensues. The vocal sounds especially tough over all of the Vox guitars and related distortion equipment. Check!

Disc two contains a ton of other stuff- demos, rehearsals, etc. I might dig into that a bit in the future.

I have never been a big fan of the selection of cover material for this LP, probably one of the reasons, that when I need a MM fix, I go digging in the crates. But the one two punch of Talk Talk and Trouble, on side one of Turn On, are hard to beat with any record, period. This is essential listening for anyone who even thinks they might like "garage" music.


Ads on Bikes in China

This is an odd pic that I just had to share. Cyclists in China get a monthly fee to run ads on their bikes. Nice ugly rolling billboards!

Read more here.


Lavell Hardy Don't Lose Your Groove

The mid bass and vocal proceed the great horn intro on this track. Then the mood comes down a bit. There is a solo warbley bass, with a soloed vocal over it. JBesque yelps also populate the track after this point. The tempo and the feel picks up...

Then there is a nice build into the break. The drums clatter for a few measures, then the horns come in after the mid bass. Much too short-- the song just ends. Hardy's vocal is just killing it, too. Repeat.

Women of the World, on the flip, is a song about you guessed it, women. Mr. Hardy doesn't appear to have a good track record. The vocal contains more lyrical content and the track appears to be more of a song as opposed to a band workout, like the other side of this disc. The horns are loud but a lot more buried in the mix. The bass appears to be in front of the vocs and the horns.

Jack Taylor produced and wrote both of the sides of this 45. Maybe he had bad luck with the females...

Found this record at the bottom of a pile of dusty wax. I paid a few bucks for it. I dig it, but I think I need to invest in a record cleaner. I think this disc could sound a bit better. I would like crank this one with the screen doors open.