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Where The Sun Never Sets

  • 3
Eternal Twilight
A Nordic Soundscape With Birds
 Friday, April 11, 2014

(A Nordic Soundscape With Birds)

1) Cantus Articus, Op. 61 'Concerto For Birds And Orchestra': I. The Bog
Leif Segerstam w/the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
2) Cantus Articus, Op. 61 'Concerto For Birds And Orchestra': II. Melancholy
Leif Segerstam w/the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
3) Albatross
Chris Coco w/Peter Green
4) Garden Of Spaces
Leif Segerstam w/the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
5) Small Hours
John Martyn
6) Cantus Articus, Op. 61 'Concerto For Birds And Orchestra': III. Swans In Migration
Leif Segerstam w/the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
7) Will
Terje Rypdal w/Miroslav Vitous & Jack DeJohnette

Where the sun never sets

Source material for 'Eternal Twilight (A Nordic Soundscape With Birds)' comes from the following:
 Einojuhani Rautavaara: Garden of Spaces, Clarinet Concerto & Cantus Articus 
Leif Segerstam w/the Helsinki Philharmonic (2005)
(One World (Deluxe)/John Martyn (2005
Next Wave/Chris Coco feat. Peter Green (2002)
Rypdal, Vitous, DeJohnette/Terje Rypdal (1977)

The Loneliest Monk: The Vogue & Black Lion Solos 1954 & 1971

  • 11
The Complete Studio Solo Piano Recordings Of
Thelonious Sphere Monk, Pt.3
Friday, April 04, 2014 

The last in the series. These volumes are centered around recordings made amidst two of Thelonious Monk's darkest of times. In early 1954, Monk's performing career was at a very low ebb. Rarely invited to perform outside of New York City and while there, prevented from playing in its principle nightclubs (due to the loss of his cabaret card), the beleaguered pianist and composer could easily count the number of public engagements he had been offered in the previous year on the fingers of his two hands. Good fortune intervened when Monk was invited by the French record label, Vogue, to come to Paris for a record a session intended exclusively for European release. The performances in Volume 5 comprise those sessions.

By 1968, Monk had been dropped by his domestic record label of the time, Columbia Records, and his mental health was rapidly deteriorating. The 'High Priest of Bop' had been at odds with most of the major record labels of the day over their insistence that he modernize his sound. One label in particular had been lobbying for the pianist to record an LP of songs by The Beatles to bring him up to date. Adding insult to injury, they even sent a musician to his home to play the songs for him as if he couldn't read the music for himself. Monk was depressed and disillusioned. For financial reasons, he was persuaded to join an 'all-star' line up for an extended European tour to be dubbed, 'The Giants of Jazz.' While abroad, he agreed to record two dates for the Black Lion label. The year was 1971. Volume 6 represents the solo material that Monk chose to perform during those sessions. It should be added that these were among the very last recordings he ever made during his lifetime. Monk retired shortly thereafter stating he had "nothing left to say." He lived silently and in relative isolation at the estate of his longtime benefactor, Pannonica de Koenigswarter in Weehawken, New Jersey where he passed away in February of 1982.

1) Well, You Needn't
2) Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
3) Off Minor
4) 'Round Midnight
5) Eronel
6) Portrait Of An Eremite (a.k.a. Reflections)
7) Manganese
8) Hackensack
9) Evidence
10) Chordially

1) Trinkle Tinkle (Take 1)
2) Trinkle Tinkle (Take 2)
3) Trinkle Tinkle (Take 3)
4) Lover Man
5) Something In Blue
6) My Melancholy Baby
7) Little Rootie Tootie
8) The Man I Love
9) Meet Me Tonight In Dreamland
10) Darn That Dream
11) Nice Work If You Can Get It
12) Blue Sphere

Source material for 'The Loneliest Monk, Vols.1-6' comes from the following:

The Complete Black Lion And Vogue Recordings
 The Complete Columbia Recordings
The Complete Riverside Recordings 


Girl On A Motor-Cycle

  • 12
Chanteuse Lotti Golden
Friday, March 28, 2014

The girl on a motor-cycle

No, this isn't about the semi-erotic 1968 French film de cinema (also known as 'Naked Under Leather') which starred the young and ever fetching, Marianne Faithfull poured into a black leather body suit, and indulging herself in various psychedelic and carnal adventures.* But it is about another equally enchanting female rock singer whose debut LP of a quarter century ago chronicled her own saucy coming of age story. Simply called, 'Motor-Cycle,' the album is an autobiographical tale set in New York's East Village, mid to late 60s, a place and time when the district was still very much a bohemian enclave - filled with painters, sculptors, transvestites, poets, drug addicts, drag queens, eccentrics and malcontents - far removed from the vibe of today's Lower East Side. The artist I'm speaking of Lotti Golden, the very girl whose story is chronicled in 'Motor-Cycle.' When the LP was released in 1969, Look Magazine had this to say about the singer/poet/songwriter, "Everything surrounding Lotti is contradictory. She is direct-distant, earthy-fragile, young-old, part nun and part witch. When she speaks, the voice pipes and wavers like a little girl's, but the accent is tough Brooklyn. She industriously writes poetry and songs, rich in metaphor and starkly descriptive of people and places, and tells you with a straight face that "nothing's worthwhile, it's all a game, everything I do is just an excuse."
*And you know how I feel about Marianne.

The girl on a stoop
Addressing the album itself, the article touted 'Motor-Cycle' as "a synthesis of funky singing and honest, hip lyrics about urban teenage trauma. The music meanwhile is a sometimes satiric melange of rock, jazz, blues and soul which captures women's liberation and motorcycle soul in one fell psychedelic swoop." On the other hand, someone else said this of Golden's opus, "Self-consciously affirmed art is no match for the shell shockingly lurid. I'm thinking of the 1969 Lotti Golden album, 'Motor-Cycle' which in the name of some kind of perverse Midnight Cowboy-era, Piaf-of-Gotham shtick, takes Laura Nyro a step or two further than really necessary, and then sends her hurtling point-blank into the Velvet Underground, exploding in one huge fireball - a musical Ground Zero if ever there was one." I'm not entirely certain if this second uncredited assessment was meant as praise in the highest order, or complete and utter disdain. It could be either. You'll have to make that call for yourself after you've heard it.

As for myself, I've come to be captivated by Golden's debut. 'Motor-Cycle' is a fascinating tour-de-force of stream-of-consciousness thought and divergent musical touchstones that defy easy stylistic categorization, yet it's been most commonly juxtaposed with another Brooklyn born chanteuse who also held an affinity for high passion and soul music, and to whom Golden had been frequently compared; the great, Laura Nyro with her own ground-breaking LPs, 'More Than A New Discovery' and 'Eli And The Thirteenth Confession,' the latter of which was released the year prior to 'Motor-Cycle.' Like Nyro, Golden was only 19 years of age when she recorded and released her first LP, and although both women appeared to be somewhat older in their fully formed music, the lyrical content that informed their recordings played itself out in teenaged emotional turmoil; the kind of impassioned drama that can only be felt by girls so young and open to love, life and living. I should point out however that despite those similarities, Golden didn't possess nearly the same degree of finesse and depth that Laura Nyro held. The parallels between the two that continue to be sighted even today are nothing more than lazy categorization at best. Both songwriters obviously shared similar musical influences, and therefore their sensibilities did hold certain commonalities, but the two women and their art were a world apart when it comes down to brass tacks. The distinctions that separate them is that Golden was the wild and sassy, streetwise and tough shelled boho to Nyro's brooding and sensitive dark Madonna. Where Nyro searched for meaning and love, Golden played for kicks. Two entirely different types of girls. Plus, you've got to remember that it was Nyro who actually designed the template that others, including Golden could only hope to emulate, and that's not personal bias on my part, it's just the stone truth. Nevertheless, 'Motor-Cycle' is a compelling work of art. As the online music magazine, TMT aptly put it (and I'm paraphrasing here), "listening to 'Motor-Cycle' is like hearing Lou Reed's, Velvet Underground as recorded by Motown." You'll only need to hear it once to understand what that means.

The girl

'Motor-Cycle' is a 'song cycle' that consists of a mere seven titles, the duration of each falling somewhere between six to eight minutes in length on average. Within that time frame, each song is then inconceivably packed with more musical twists and turns than a mountain road - rock on one verse, jazz on the next, a soul groove for what appears to be the bridge (is it?), which then maybe descends into a slow blues only to be followed by what sounds like a chorus lifted from a Broadway stage show. Everything but the kitchen sink seems to be thrown into the mix, although that might actually be buried in there somewhere too. The shifts are schizophrenic, a bit disorienting, and entirely unnecessary, yet producer, Bob Crewe somehow manages to hold it all together, miraculously steering the bus from the cliff's edge. The results, however wild, are absolutely riveting. But then, adding an additional layer of bizarreness to the proceedings is Golden's poetry; more anecdotal verse than actual lyric. Her stories are populated by a circle of friends who seemingly came right out of Andy Warhol's Factory; a motley crew of misfits and angels, demons and saints, all who seem to ingest every street pharmaceutical available to mankind, from scag to speed, coke to Seconals, and even Robitussin (which at that time still contained codeine). It's surprising that the record company didn't insist on whitewashing the drug references. What's more astonishing is that they actually published a lyric sheet. It's been reported that after Crewe first heard the songs as demos, he felt compelled to pose the obvious question, "Just who are these friends of yours, Lotti?"

The girl with a guitar
Now as much as I'd like you to believe that I'm so very cool and have been down with Golden's hipster cache since the beginning, the reality is that it's only been within the last ten years or so that I've actually come around to fully embracing 'Motor-Cycle.' If I were to have based my opinions regarding her music solely on her debut, Golden wouldn't have been an artist whose music would be likely to ever dominate my turntable. Too esoteric, too over-the-top, an acquired taste best saved for special occasions. What truly turned my ear (and my attitude towards her) was Golden's sophomore effort, the self-titled, 'Lotti Golden' released some two years later in 1971. That second LP brought with it a welcomed stylistic shift. Gone were the excessive musical cues, as well as the melodrama and intrigue that underscored her debut. If fact, 'Lotti Golden' might perhaps be considered a more 'traditional' outing - one that's more song oriented than the conceptual opus that preceded it, is likewise stripped of the quasi-psychedelic flourishes that branded it, and certainly less lurid in its lyrical content - but in no way can 'Lotti Golden' be called a 'conventional' recording. Her sophomore effort showcased an even more emotive singer with a voice that now evoked a bizarre and arresting amalgamation of Bonnie Bramlett, Betty Davis, and Buffy Saint-Marie (of all people), if you can imagine that. Golden begins the LP with a whisper, but builds to a seductive scream in the latter half when she bathes herself in blues based material that's steeped in the sweetest of southern soul. It's a powerful performance that points to this particular arena being the one where Golden truly excelled best. Additional proof came in the form of a rare 45prm that was released in 1970, the year prior. Golden's debut was recorded for Atlantic Records with plans for a 2nd LP, tentatively to be entitled, 'Blood Ring.' For reasons that remain unclear, that follow-up was scrubbed, but a remarkable single was inexplicably released that is indisputably Golden's masterwork. She asserts complete control and domination over a driving performance of Mitch Ryder's, 'Sock It To Me, Baby' with snippets of the Isley Brothers', 'It's Your Thing' thrown in for good measure, resulting in a rendition that makes the song very much her own. Golden's recitation is nothing short of revelatory - funky, forceful, and commanding - and it should have elevated the singer to recognition as a soul shouter, if anyone had actually heard it. But they didn't. Meanwhile, the single's flip side, 'Annabelle With Bells (Home Made Girl)' is an obvious outtake from the 'Motor-Cycle' sessions, crafted in somewhat the same vein as the others on her debut. However, it's more linear and compact than its counterparts and would have made a welcomed addition to the full length LP, had it been included. Why it wasn't remains a question for the ages because if the whole of 'Motor-Cycle' had been like 'Annabelle...,' the LP might have found an audience, but then it also would have been far less of the curiosity that it was then, and remains today.

The girl with just two of her friends
All said and done, both 'Motor-Cycle' and 'Lotti Golden' make for captivating listening, whether taken alone, or in tandem. And I do encourage you to hear them both. Yes, they have their differences as well as their similarities, yet despite their age, they're as intriguing today as they were at the time of their release. I'm truly delighted to have finally gotten hip to just how rewarding spending time listening to Lotti Golden can be. And although I'm not yet geriatric, if I were a younger man trying to describe them, I'd probably be inclined to say something like, "This shit is dope!" And that too, is the stone truth.


1) Motor-Cycle Micheal
2) Gonna Fay's
3) A Lot Like Lucifer (Celia Said Long Time Loser)
4) Space Queens (Silky Is Sad)
5) Who Are Your Friends
6) Get Together (With Yourself)
7) You Can Find Him


1) Staircase Between The Floors
2) Do You Use It
3) North Carolina Sun
4) Staircase Between The Floors (Reprise)
5) Ballad Of Little H
6) Tell Me What's On Your Mind
7) Mean Dog Blues
8) Just Like The River (Ballad Of Jimmy Hill & Me)
9) This Time I Wanna' Lose
10) Lately (I Feel Like I Wanna' Wake Up Out Of This Dream)
11) It Feels So Good, Do It Again
12) Just Like The River (Reprise)

Sock It To Me, Baby/It's Your Thing 
Presumably from the aborted 'Blood Ring' LP of 1970
Annabelle With Bells (Home Made Girl)
An outtake from the 'Motor-Cycle' sessions
 Annabelle is referred to in the lengthy poem that appears on the rear of the album jacket


As a solo musician and songwriter, Lotti Golden is today considered a cult artist, but the story doesn't end there. The talented Golden spent the 1970s as a contributing editor to Crawdaddy!, Creem, and Circus magazines. She's also regarded as a pioneer for her transition to the role of writer/producer in the early 1980s. After penning the mega dance-floor hit, 'I Specialize In Love' popularized by disco diva, Sharon Brown, Golden and her partner, Richard Scher masterminded a studio project, writing and recording under the moniker of Warp 9 (which also included 'Jellybean' Benitez). The wildly successful production product is now considered to have ignited the 'electro hip-hop' movement (a genre of which I know absolutely nothing), assuring Golden a secure future in studio production and hit songwriting for others in the 'urban dance music' scene. Those for whom she penned hits are Brenda K. Starr, Diana Ross, Brenda Holliday, Patti Austin, and others. Continued success came to Golden in the 1990s with her new business partner, Tommy Faragher. Together they authored and produced hits for Colin James, Eternal, Dana Dawson, Hinda Hicks, Bardot, and others whose names and music appear to exist in some parallel universe completely independent from my own. I can however claim to be familiar with a few others who have apparently benefited from the duo's 'golden' touch. That would be Al Green, Diane Schuur, and the O'Jays (the latter of which I didn't even know where still alive and recording!). To my knowledge, I haven't heard any of these productions that were designed exclusively for discotheques. It's an area that's not even on my radar. I guess that makes me more of a bird with a broken wing than I care to imagine. But when it comes to urban dance music, ask me if I care.

My thanks to Galactic Ramble for the scans
of the 'Motor-Cycle' lyric sheet and Golden's poem, 'Night Was A Better Blanket'

Mississippi Moan

  • 7
American Primitive Git Fiddle, 
Prison Work Songs & Country 'n Delta Blues 
March 21, 2014

Dem ol' folks back home

The crap game started at two o’clock that afternoon when C.K. Crow walked into the Paradise Bar with a bottle of Sweet Lucy in one hand and $6.00 in the other. The white boy, Harold, was with him. “Smart nigger can double his money quick!,” said C.K., “If he think I ain’t comin’ out on...WHAM!” and he threw the dice “...SEVEN!” Then he lay his head back laughing and tilted the bottle of wine to his lips.

The place was jumping with funky, wailing blues and high, wild laughter. “Crow suck that bottle like it a big stick of gage. He do it like somethin’ else I think of too! Hee-Hee! Lemme have a taste of Lucy, boy!”
  “You all wise do you celebratin’ ‘fore you puts you money down,” said C.K., “cause you sho’ be cryin’ the blues after. Now where dem dice!?” Old Wesley stood leaning behind the bar, picking his teeth with a matchstick. “Drink of this establishment ain’t good nuff for you, Mistah Crow, that you got to bring you own bottle in here?”
  “Never you mind that, my man,” said C.K., wiping his mouth, “you establishment don’t carry drink of dis particular quality.” He slapped a quarter on the bar. “But I’ll take me a glass, if you don’t mind.” Old Wesley put a large water glass on the bar. “Who you young frien’ over there?” he asked, with a mock sense of severity at Harold who hung back near the wall. “An’ my young frien’ there have a coke,” said C.K., looking around at Harold as though he might have forgotten about him. “Ain’t that right, boy?”
  “Aw, I guess so,” said Harold, sullen, looking away, but aware of the two laughing together now.

Harold had been coming to the Paradise Bar with C.K. for almost a year now, whenever they’d be sent to town in the old pickup to get feed, fence wire, or whatever it happened to be. C.K. had started this thing of stopping off at the Paradise by saying that he wanted to call on some of his people. It involved their crossing over into a section of town that was known on maps, town records, and the like as West Central Track, but in fact it was spoken of simply as Nigger Town. Together they drove through the absurdly bumpy labyrinth of dust and lean-to shacks, outside of which great charred wash-pots steamed in the Mississippi sun above raging bramble fires. Negroes sat hunched along the edge of ramshackle front porches, making slow crazy looking marks in the dust with a stick, or gazing with equal inscrutableness at the road in front of them. C.K. and Harold would drive through and finally pull up at the Paradise Bar.

Sitting on a stool next to the wall near where Harold stood was a blind Negro of about 60 years of age. He was barefoot and was strumming a guitar in his lap. He turned his face, smiling, towards the boy at the sound of his voice, asking “Who is that now? Seth Stevens’ boy?” And there was in his upturned face such a soft unearthly radiance as could have been startling; a wide extraordinarily open face, and the expanse of closed eyelids made it appear even more so, a face that when singing would sometimes contort as though in pain or anger, and yet when turning to inquire, as in waiting for the word, almost illuminated. It was an expression which on an ordinary person would have resembled that kind of sweet Blakian imbecility. But on this sightless Negro face, it now appeared very close to joyous.

The time was approaching two o’clock, and while on the stool against the wall where Harold sat, Blind Tom Robinson began to play his guitar. As the crap game got underway, his head was lifted high, sightless eyes seeming to range out over the players, singing:

“If you evah go to Fut Wurth
Boy you bettah ack right
You bettah not ar-gay
An’ you bettah not fight!

Shruf Tomlin of Furt Wurth
Cay’s a foaty-foah gun
If you evah see ‘im comin’
Well it be too late ta’ run

Cause he like to shoot dem rab-bit
He like to shoot dem on da’ run
Seen dat Shurif hit a rab-bit
Wif his foaty-fouh gun”

“Well, tell ‘em ‘bout it, Blind Tom!,” somebody called out.

“An’ he like to shoot de spar-ry
An’ he like to shoot de quail
An’ dare ain’t many nig-ger
In de Furt Wurth jail”

“Goddam, sing it, Blind Tom!”

“Yes he like to shoot de spar-ry
An’ he like to shoot de quail
An’ dere ain’t many nig-ger
In the Furt Wurth jail!”

By now the players were no longer paying much mind to Blind Tom as the dice were rolling and money was changing hands. Harold leaned over to Tom to whisper in his ear, “Play another one, will ya’ Tom?”
  “Ah' sho’ nuff will, boy!” replied Blind Tom, and he commenced to singing once again not realizing that the crap game which had only just begun was already about to turn ugly:

“Well, de longest train
Ah evah did see
Was one hun-dred coaches long
An’ do only gal
Dat ah’ evah did love
Was on dat train
An’ gone.”

An adaptation of an excerpt from Terry Southern's short story called, 'Razor Fight' taken from 'Red Dirt Marijuana & Other Tastes' published in 1990 by Citadel Underground.

1) Steamboat Gwine 'Round De Bend
John Fahey
 2) Flashes
Ry Cooder
3) The Sailor's Grave On The Prairie
Leo Kottke
 4) Cypress Grove
Skip James
5) St. Louis Blues (W. C. Handy)
Jack Rose & Friends
 6) This Is My Story, This Is My Song
Parchman Farm Inmate: Bama
7) The Side Of The Road/I Come, I Come
John Fahey
8) Jumpin' Judy
Parchman Farm Inmates: Tangle Eye, Fuzzy Red, Hard Hair & Work Crew
 9) Black Snake
John Lee Hooker
10) Sweet Magnolia
Stein Urheim
 11) Stones In My Passway
Peter Green Splinter Group
12) Colored Aristocracy
Taj Mahal
 13) Many Sparrows
Jeremy Spencer
14) Nobody
Ry Cooder w/Jimmy Adams, Bill Johnson, Simon 'Pico' Payne & Cliff Givens
15) Texas & Pacific Blues
John Fahey & His Orchestra

Mississippi Moan, Vol.2

1) Needles
Mark Stevens
2) Linin' Track
Taj Mahal
3) Vaseline Machine Gun
Leo Kottke
4) Sick Bed Blues
Skip James
5) Woodpiles On The Side Of The Road
Jack Rose & Friends
6) What Makes It So Better
Parchman Farm Inmate: Bama
7) Early In The Mornin'
Parchman Farm Inmates: 22, Hard Hair, Little Red & Tangle Eye
8) 34 Blues
Charlie Patton
9) Face To Face That I Shall Meet Him
Ry Cooder
10) Funeral Song For Mississippi John Hurt
John Fahey
11) Needed Time
Lightin' Hopkins
12) Blind Boy Rag
Taj Mahal
13) Crow River Waltz
Leo Kottke
14) Walkin' Blues
Robert Johnson
15) Everybody Ought To Pray Sometimes
Jack Rose
16) Ramblin' On My Mind
Peter Green Splinter Group
17) Dixie Pig Bar-B-Q Blues
John Fahey & His Orchestra
18) Church Bell Tone
John Lee Hooker
19) The Murderer's Home
Parchman Farm Inmates: Jimpson & Work Crew
20) If Ever We Meet Again This Side Of Heaven (78)
Leon Redbone