Dec 14: The Clash released London Calling in 1979

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
London is drowning-and I live by the river

I walked home from the local grocery store, Ringdal grocery store, exactly 38 years ago today with a plastic bag containing this double album by The Clash. It was priced as a single LP but had two vinyl records tucked inside. It was a frosty day, and when I was half way home I had to take off the plastic wrapping. To this day I can remember the smell, that wonderful smell of new vinyl on a frosty day.

The inner sleeves had “hand written” lyrics and it has to be the lyrics I’ve read most often. As a 13 year old boy from norway this was much more important in learning the english language than any class at school. Both historically and personally  The Clash, London Calling had a profound impact.

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December 11: John Lennon’s John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was released in 1970

… Lennon presents everything on the surface, and the song titles — “Mother,” “I Found Out,” “Working Class Hero,” “Isolation,” “God,” “My Mummy’s Dead” — illustrate what each song is about, and charts his loss of faith in his parents, country, friends, fans, and idols. It’s an unflinching document of bare-bones despair and pain, but for all its nihilism, it is ultimately life-affirming; it is unique not only in Lennon’s catalog, but in all of popular music. Few albums are ever as harrowing, difficult, and rewarding as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

I don’t believe in Beatles
~John Lennon (“God”)

Mother:

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December 6: Rolling Stones released Beggars Banquet in 1968

Beggars Banquet is the seventh British and ninth American studio album The Rolling Stones. It was released 6th December 1968 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. The album was a return to a more rootsy rock for the band after the psychedelic “experiment”, Their Satanic Majesties Request.

The Rolling Stones – No Expectations (live Hyde Park, 1969):

In 2003, the album was ranked number 57 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In the same year the TV network VH1 named Beggars Banquet the 67th greatest album of all time.

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Dec 4: Rolling Stones released December’s Children (And Everybody’s) in the US 1965

December’s Children (And Everybody’s) is the fifth American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in late 1965. Drawn largely from two days of sessions recorded in September to finish the British edition of Out of Our Heads and to record their new single—”Get Off of My Cloud”—December’s Children (And Everybody’s) also included tracks recorded as early as 1963.

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November 25: The Last Waltz was recorded in 1976 (full 4h20m concert)

Last-Waltz

This film should be played loud!

This is a message on a title card at the beginning of the film. The greatest concert movie ever made. This post concerns the movie, the audio releases have to wait for it’s own post.

Wikipedia:

The Last Waltz was a concert by the rock group The Band, held on American Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The Last Waltz was advertised as the end of The Band’s illustrious touring career, and the concert saw The Band joined by more than a dozen special guests, including Paul Butterfield, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Bobby Charles and Neil Young.

The event was filmed by director Martin Scorsese and made into a documentary of the same name, released in 1978. The film features concert performances, scenes shot on a studio soundstage and interviews by Scorsese with members of The Band. A triple-LP soundtrack recording, produced by Rob Fraboni, was issued in 1978. The film was released on DVD in 2002 as was a four-CD box set of the concert and related studio recordings.

Trailer:

I have several versions of the film, and I’ve seen many versions of it. I’ve seen it at the cinema, I’ve played it to death on video casette, I have two DVD releases , a blu-ray release and I’ve seen/heard quite a bit of bootlegs of the show.

This is a film that I’m really passionate about, and I have often wondered if there’s footage, filmed sequences, that is not in the official version. Whatever condition such film would be in was irrelevant, I wanted to see as much as possible of the legendary concert.

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November 16: The Louvin Brothers released Satan is Real in 1959

satan-is-real

The Louvin Brothers – Satan is Real

What is it about this album?
Why is it so important in the americana /country/gospel music canon?

Satan Is Real is a gospel album by American country music duo The Louvin Brothers.

Released November 16, 1959
Recorded August 8–10, 1958
Genre Country, Gospel
Length 31:54
Label Capitol
Producer Ken Nelson, John Johnson (Reissue)

The gospel/country duo Charlie and Ira Louvin was born and grew up in the Sand Mountain region of Alabama, they lived on a cotton farm south of the Appalachian Mountains, that’s where they developed their distinct harmony style in the deep Sacred Harp tradition of the Baptist church.

Ira Louvin died in a car wreck in 1965. Charlie Louvin died two years ago at 83 just a few months after publishing his story about The Louvin brothers.

In The recently published book, Satan is Real, the ballad of the Louvin Brothers, Charlie talks about their singing style.This is not a straight quote, but it goes something  like this:

…people who saw the Louvin Brothers perform were mystified by the experience. Ira was a full head taller than me, he played the mandolin like Bill Monroe and sang in an impossibly high, tense, quivering tenor. I(Charlie) strummed a guitar, grinned like a vaudevillian and handled the bottom register. But every so often, in the middle of a song, some hidden signal flashed and we switched places — with Ira swooping down from the heights, and me angling upward — and even the most careful listeners would lose track of which man was carrying the lead. This was more than close-harmony singing; each instance was an act of transubstantiation.

I could not find any live footage from Satan is real, but this clip of them singing, I don’t belive you’ve met my baby is a fine showcase for their intricate singing style:

“It baffled a lot of people,” Charlie Louvin explains in his fantastic memoir. “We could change in the middle of a word. Part of the reason we could do that was that we’d learned to have a good ear for other people’s voices when we sang Sacred Harp. But the other part is that we were brothers.”

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