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Fagatron Post No. File: hsoda. File: front. Currently Listening Post No. File: Chloe Burbank Volume. File: folder. File: moody1. File: tbv. Slip On Through Susie Cincinnati My Solution Tough, really tough. And of course there was increasing negativity with the Vietnam War. So we were hitting a big wallof change. Things were definitely moving quite rapidly and we were just on the edge of it. How did the band deal with Brian's withdrawal from leadership? It's kind of like a running track; you're going to get tired out.
You're not going to win the Olympics every year. We had a recording contract and product requirements, so the other guysinthe band suddenly had more of a chance and started writing. It was areally interesting period. He was always there, but notin a dominant way, not at the forefront any more. It was more of a supporting cast role. He was more or less following the lead of his younger brother Carl, who was beginning to become areally good producer.
And "Everybody was turningonandwe werekindofturning off": TheBeach BoysinLondon, November 16, myself and Mike, of course, and Dennis, who started to make his own category of music. He was like his older brother, but in a different way. So things started to open up for us, individually. How did that manifestitself in the studio? Everybody was turning on and we were kind of turning off, into the transcendental state of mind, encouraging people not to use drugs.
We all still meditate in our own ways. It really does help a great deal and the music reflected that. It was amore passionate and subtle kind of music. Itwas just a beautiful little love song. We put those kinds ofthings on there because they were really good songs, not because they were about some cultural shift, trying to be something we weren't. One of the most striking things about that era was Denniss emergence as a songwriter. Did youknow hehaditin him? In January we were in Japan and had alot of time on our hands.
We played about 14 shows, so I started showing Dennis how to play the piano and how to chord. Ikind ofunlocked what was already in there and he started putting it all together. Whatdo yourecall of the Sunflower sessions? Everybody was cheering everybody else on with their songs. It's just a great album, Iloved everybody's songs on there. And I kind of like that Sunflower is underrated, because I think that makes it.
You have to dig a little to find it. Sunflower is my favourite Beach Boys album over Pet Sounds. Everybody seemed to continue that forminto Surf s Up I thought we were on an amazingly good track. Ithink we dida pretty damn good job to get that done. Oh my God, it's ridiculous! Some people were writing their lives. I haven't changed. To this day I live by the beach in California and ma total surf guy.
I could've done a much better job, but Mike insisted on putting these meditation lyrics in it, whereas I wanted it to be more dramatic. He sang the lead and the lead singer always gets the upper hand. Daryl Dragon helped alot too. He was the piano assistant and we had those crazy little chords going on there. It was a good direction for us, in alot of ways. This 5oth-anniversary edition, therefore, is notthe clear and crisp version of All Things Must Pass that's hovered in some people's imaginations for decades like some audiophile Holy Grail, as sparse and dry as 's Living In The Material World.
As an album, it would have been no starker than Plastic Ono Band, released two weeks later. Dhani Harrison: "It must have been as best we could, but now you can hear all these aheavy record for him" things that were buriedin the mix. What did your dad think of the original album? It musthave been aheavy record for him, buthe was proudof it; when we didit again in , he was very happy tobe working onit all.
It's an intense record and a very intense periodin hislife - his mum passed away, he dlefthis band,he'dmoved. He created what he set out to do, musically, and spiritually, and physically in the garden at Friar Park.
So, big success! This LP coming What did you want to achieve when you started on this box? We're not going to do this again [at this scale], so we wanted everyone to feelrepresented. You can't choose which fans version you wantto do, youhave to do itall. Itwasquiteajigsaw puzzle.
Were youoriginally hoping to de- Spectorise the album? Paul [Hicks] andlhavetriedtoleanaway fromthat. Theoriginalrecord was brilliant. Some of thedecisionsSpector made were perfect, andsome were notthe best for the track. New, lengthy liner notes. She oscillated between genres, as comfortablein thearthouse as she was on the horror screen. Less known, though, is her music, even as she wrote songs for some ofthefilms she appeared in.
After all, if they were really that good, what was there to be afraid of? Did it work? To Rob Dickens, the Warners executive who signed him, Frame's suede fringed jacket authenticated his credentials as an emerging troubadour gunslinger, equally in thrall to The Clash as he was to Dylan. Neither did he pay much attention to anyone who expected him to repeat the formula of High Land, Hard Rain.
But then, that's hardly surprising. Have you ever met a year-old who wants to be like their year-old self? No matter though. By the time he was poised to release 's Frestonia, seven years had elapsed since Frame had last troubled the Top Foran artist who cited his move to Warners as a repudiation of Rough Trade's lack of ambition, it must have hurt to see himself, still only 31, adriftin the age of Britpop and trip-hop, deprioritised by the label who had effectively handed him a blank chequebook - not least because Frestonia was his oneindisputable masterpiece for the label.
Theensuing decades haven't dampened its emotionalimpact either. Recorded fresh out of rehab, it'san album that chronicles the most fragile of awakenings, played out over a series of big, redemptive pop songs. With sobriety comes painful clarity — and this was the point at which all theinsecurities that had beset his peers finally penetrated Frame. As Uncut went to press, finished copies of the record had yet to arrive, but ifthe outer box has been designed with alittle room to spare, just enough, ideally, to slide in your existing CD of High Land, Hard Rain, then we can draw a line under this story and dare to hope for a solo years box.
Given the pared-back acoustic guitar and voice setting, you'd beforgiven for placing this with other once-lost folk singers like Sibylle Baier and Elyse Weinberg, and whilethere are connections, Black has herown thing going on: the songs skirt profundity through everyday observational flair; the voice arresting, thephrasing stagy but assured. Extras: None. The Glasgow-based four-piece shared influences, notably an appreciation oftherepurposed funk rhythms that were popular among acts on the Postcard label Bricolage were more Orange Juice, while Franz mainlined Josef K.
It neatly showcases their ability to smoothly segue from gutsy guitar rock riffing to moody impressionism and folk- informed harmonies via angular, synth-enhanced jazz-rock and wry, Beatle-esque retro pastiche. While you wonder what's coming next, the hooks and unorthodox grooves get under your skin.
The blend of quirky, pastoral prog and inventive instrumental jams that characterised early albums still charms, and even if the schoolboy humour of albums like Cunning Stunts and For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night has worn thin, the music mostly endures. It achieved a career-high Billboard chart position of 5o in the US, butunlikethe GG albums that followed, that wasn't achieved by unpicking the knotty tangle ofjazz chord progressions, baroque harmonies and angular, Crimson-ish avant-rock that builttheir reputation.
Dense but rewarding. In , Christine Perfect — the maiden name by which she was still known, at least professionally — was performing with Chicken Shack, dabbling with her husband's band Fleetwood Mac, then led by Peter Green, andalso finding time to record and release this bluesy delight on, naturally, Blue Horizon. Christine Perfect is full of sultry brilliance. McVie shows off her keyboard skills throughout the album, though, but also stretches her voice, allowing it to soar, whisper or belt depending on whatthe songs need.
Available in a limited edition of 2, snow-white vinyl copies. In this 5oth- anniversary vinyl edition, you get a better look at just how fab the cover artis. Peacock chair. Who could ask for more? For Michael Kasparis, who runs Glasgow's Night School imprint, the keys to the kingdom of late Scottish songwriter Jackie Leven were gifted to him by friend and label artist Molly Nilsson.
The experience of hearing the song for the first time was so profound for Kasparis that he almost crashed his car. That's afamiliar story. But it makes sense — Leven's always been an artist who engendered strong responses in listeners. Of course, there's also something grimly compelling about Leven's backstory. First finding attention as a member ofthe punk-adjacent Doll By Doll, he survived amid-'8os mugging that damaged his larynx, butturned to heroin addiction; after kicking his habit, heformed The Core Trust, an organisation that treated addicts.
There was a short stint with ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock in Concrete Bulletproof Invisible, but the shackles really seemed to come offin , when Leven's solo career started properly via a string of quixotic, magical albums. Releasing more than 20 albums since then, his seemingly endless fount of song ended when he succumbed to cancer in Itfeels reductive, though, to use Leven's autobiography to explain the statuesque, yet deeply human songs he wrote.
In lesser hands, with a lesser songwriter, it'd date the material, strand itin its era. In Leven's case, however, it gives the songs a spectrality, a peculiar, flickering radiance, that this burly, imposing character, a voice like liquid mercury trapped in jagged basalt, can harness such intimacies from this base material. Yet Leven always returns, ever loving, to his Kingdom of Fife.
Notes from Nillson, Kasparis and author Ian Rankin. Limited poster available too. Note that this reissue is only being released in the US. Most ofthe tracks on this two-hour set are about 20 minutes long: they start as intricately arranged charts that become the basis for lengthy improvisations, changing tempo, rhythm and genre without losing sight of the melody or chord structure.
Mingus never particularly liked free jazz, but his core sextet here — featuring Cecil Taylor- ish pianist Don Pullen, impudent baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett and high-note- hitting trumpeter Jon Faddis — often move in that direction, lurching from leisurely ballad-playing to tricksy hard bop to ecstatic freakouts. One wonders what kind of quality control Prince was operating intheyears before his death: putting out boring prog-fusion albums but keeping gems likethisinthe vaults.
Though he played including Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, he resisted the J-word and its colonial implications. There, thelikes of Krzysztof Penderecki would experiment. But for most musicians, access to the synths and hardware proved difficult during socialism. Only the state broadcasters had adequately equipped studios, so those who used them produced background and library fare — what became known as el-muzyka - in thrall to Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream.
That's part of the charm of tracks by Andrzej Mikotajczak and Krzysztof Duda, while the Kraftwerkian funk of Grupa Jot and synthetic tears of Stefan Sendeckiadd acosmopolitan touch. A page booklet accompanies 2LP black and colour vinyl editions. Theseries continues with a couple of LPs. Saxophonist Don Rendell had been aface for a couple of decades when he cut 's Space Walk, but it hits just the right mix of playfulness and experience.
Wheeler hadonefootin London's nascent freeimprov scene but his debut as a bandleader instead pursues a dynamic big-band style with flurrying guitar from a young John McLaughlin, shortly before he moved to New York to play on Miles Davis's In A Silent Way. In the increasingly busy world of archival releases, theres amenacing VanDer Graaf Generator box, some very fine BryanFerry reissues, a cool John Coltrane comp and more.
On Witch, Winer's largely ignored Virgin debut, her provocative lyrics, delivered in a lackadaisical Tom Waits drawl, and love of heavy rhythm and dub framed herasatrip-hop pioneer. Since then, across a number of self-released albums and projects, she's never really changed her tune, while artists — from Vincent Gallo and the late Jon Hassell to recent collaborations with Jay Glass Dubs included here and MaxwellSterling - relish her unique, unpredictable quality.
This is a ine introduction to her wild world. Subscribe online at uncut. For enquiries please call oremail:supporteuncut. This is Eaux Claires Hiver, an event that hovers somewhere between a festival and an artistic residency. Musicians and artists have spent several days experimenting and working with one another and are now presenting their collaborations to small audiences in intimate locations across the town. Later, there will be a tribute to Prince.
On the third night, meanwhile, Big Red Machine take over the main hall at the Pablo Center - a large, modern arts building on the Chippewa River. The band, made up of Vernon and Dessner, play as if they are not so much performing as deep in conversation with one another. This is nota set of crowd-pleasers - only one track appeared on the band's first album.
The rest are new works, semi-formed, their edges still sketchy and blurred. Still, the audience is rapt. Below: the first ERU. It was about expressing things that we both needed expressing. Back then, The National were gathering pace with their fourth album, Boxer. Dessner sent Vernon a sketch for a song, "Big Red Machine" - the nickname ofthe Cincinnati Reds baseball team that won the World Series back to backin and The title was significant — Dessner and his twin brother Bryce, also a member of The National, were born in Cincinnati in Ten years after that initial collaboration, the pair released their self-titled debut in , featuring guest spots from the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Kate Stables, The Staves and Lisa Hannigan.
Justin's so wildly talented and inspiring. He empowers and excites my brother to do things outside of his comfort zone. Then Aaron is sucha work person, he pushes things absolutely as far as you can. So to have someone like that for Justin is also really exciting. In Big Red Machine collaborations, this is even more pronounced. But we've never had a master plan. It's kind of like we just kept making things. It's been a total blessing in my life.
He tells of the fierce sense of then I came up with a lyric. The oflike we're looking at the same stars from across the collaboration is ongoing, he says. We push each other, we help each other and there's alot of love and care. There was a white board, several marker pens anda rising sense of panic: inlessthan a week's time she would be overseeing a festival at the Funkhaus, a former GDR broadcast centre in the east of the city.
He relishes its moments of Breakout singer- Vernon. But I love making songs. Get into the mess of it. The point is to challenge and find "Hoping Then" and Vernon sent the song to her. He offers open and candid reflections on some of the definitive moments life has dealt him, and often with an unflinching honesty. The naturalinclination to make a song is suddenly something that is expected.
This is such a major change for someone like me who grew up writing songs every day. We're still exploring and trying though. So you can see how difficult it can be. This time around it was different. Dessner was stunned. Dessner would send a sketch of a track and each collaborator would respond - making musical contributions, singing, writing their own lyrical segments. They're inhabiting this abstract world. Feeling rather than thinking.
It makes me want that song to last forever and ever. Really everyone who sings and plays on the record rules so heavily. I didn't know what I was capable of. It has not always been easy. The tiny bit of fame I have has taken a lot of energy from me. I call it overexposure. I overdid it for years. It's almost embarrassing. I almost have no recollection of any of them as singular events, just one long panic attack where I was really feeling unwell.
I was just kind of stuck, I think. But that song came out and I sentit to Justin. It was also a powerfully. Moses Sumney and James Blake. Theresult was some of the finest. For their eighth album, The National opened up the familiar and close-knit setting of their all-male band to arange of featured female voices, including Gail Ann Dorsey, Sharon Van Etten andMina Tindle.
The move brought aremarkable reinvigoration of the band's sound. Not heart surgery, the pandemic or even his exit from Fleetwood Mac. Surrounded by dogs, he takes the short walk across the yard from his home to his out-house studio. Yeah, I think one is enough But then, Lindsey Buckingham has always been one to confound expectations. Back then, things were different. In fact, the subject of Buckingham's departure from the group in — after he requested a delay to their upcoming tour so he could release his own album - comes up early in our conversation, after Buckingham himself raises it.
It is, he explains, inexorably tied in with the origins of this new album. Then I ended up having a bypass operation, so we had to kick it down the road a little further. And then the pandemic hit. So it's been a sort of running gag, to have so many false starts.
It does start to become a one-on-one, like with a canvas. Would he? You think so? He's an awful busy guy. He's Mr Producer now. That would be areally interesting exercise, to let someone else do for me whatIseem to beintent on doing for myself. No question! Ifyou start with not worrying about sales, then it frees you up and you know the people that have the ears for it are gonna find it.
Itis, he explains, something ofa trial by fire, as he works out whether his voice, damaged during his heart surgery, can cope with five gigs a week. It's just a more arty approach and you know that the people coming want to be challenged and they want to be surprised. He also reveals his admiration for Jack Antonoff, producer of records by St Vincent and Taylor Swift, and is excited when the idea of working with him is suggested by Uncut.
We moved, it took a long time for my studio to get all set up and during that time the pandemic happened. When did your interest in unusual studio set- ups begin? It was probably what The Beatles used for Sgt Pepper. I was taking my cues from Les Paul, who was bouncing tracks over tracks over tracks. Stevie and I had become a couple, then a musical duo, so I needed a place to be able to work on this stuff.
My dad gave us a store room in his coffee roasting plant just south of San Francisco, and I would go up there at night after everyone had gone and work for five or six hours. That's how Stevie and I demoed all the material for the Buckingham Nicks album.
You played absolutely everything on this new album? Yeah, everything on there is me. The songs are crisp and dirty at the same time. Part of that is built into my situation. Most people embrace one or the other. But there aren't a lot of people who have carved out Hat's all, folks: Buckingham right backstage withMacin SantaMonica, California, thosetwo paths in parallel the wayI have. One could say that maybe I need some therapy. You wrote much of this album atthe Same as you were writing forthe  Buckingham McVie album.
It starts to become like painting; butin a group situation, the process is maybe a little more like movie-making, because there are more links in the chain, perhaps even more politics. There may be certain songs I would gravitate to, that would be great for solo work, which maybe the rest of the band might not really feel as strongly about.
Ironically, much of that material was stuff I'd recorded for a solo album and I gave it over to the band. That wasn't the first time that had happened. Presumably the band would veto your more angular, weirder material? Yeah, maybe - but you've gotta think about what makes a unified piece of work. The stuff of mine stood apart in a pretty stark way from what Christine and Stevie were doing.
All we could really do at that point to find more of a centre for all three was to rough up the stuff that Stevie and Christine were bringing in and keep everything as rawas we possibly could. At least The Beatles had worked up to that point incrementally - we just slapped everybody across the face going from Rumours to that!
In a way that was the beauty ofit, that it was so confounding of expectations. I wanted to do two songs that felt like a pair. Tusk, What happened next? That got put on the backburner. Then when Christine came back we thought maybe that would engage Stevie in the idea of doing a Fleetwood Mac album. Once we got close to finishing that Mac tour with Christine, she and I worked on her songs.
Then we wentin the studio for a couple of months and cut all of that, it was great. All this time we're still trying to get Stevie on board for a Fleetwood Mac album and she just won't do it. Her rationale is "Albums don't sell any more At some point we just gave up and decided to make it into a duet album. Did that start the process which culminated in youleaving the band? I think she came off stage every night feeling like she'd come in second.
Even so, Stevie was still this figurehead in the band. Idon'tthink Mick especially would have been happy with that. Everyone wanted to protect the touring mechanism and no-one wanted to even contemplate Fleetwood Mac without Stevie Nicks. That's understandable. So yeah, it all grew out of theloops. Those are two of my favourite tracks on the album. Do you think these new songs will fit into your live shows well?
How bad did it get between the two of you? There were alot of things Stevie refused to do as part of the group, because they weren't about her. She finally got to this place, not long before I got ousted from the band, where she was able to play arenas by herself. Iwas happy for her; it was admirable that she'd been able to do that on her own.
The power, it was this ongoing, expanding thing. Isthere any deep reason behind this record being self-titled? That was my manager's suggestion. It does seem to make a statement, though. It reintroduces you as a solo artist.
But we ain't getting any younger. That's certainly served me well in Fleetwood Mac onstage. But all ofa sudden your body starts rebelling against that, it all becomes a factor you never really thought about having to deal with before, as far as whatit does to your psyche. Even before Christine returned to the band in , Mick and John and I had gone into the studio and cut a whole bunch of tracks of mine with Mitchell Froom at his housein Santa Monica. The idea was to make the start of a Fleetwood Mac album.
I believe over time she has incrementally bought into this idea Rie Vaan inNew York, of herself as Stevie Nicks, in capital letters. I never saw the show. But because they were all over the mapin terms of material - I know it was important to Mick to get back to doing some Peter Green and some other stuff, they had Neil Finn doing something too — it sounded to me like they'd somehow turned Fleetwood Mac into a bit of a cover band.
It didn't seem right for the legacy at all, but that's showbiz. Talking of Peter Green, is it right that you and Mick reconciled when Peter died? So that was a turning pointin terms of us breaking the icea little bit, on a warmer level, not just a functional level. That's touching. Do you remember what it was like when you first joined Fleetwood Mac, stepping into the shoes of musicians like Peter Green, Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch? The Stratocaster did not fit into that sound, so had to start using a Les Paul.
How are things now between you and Christine and John? John and I were never really close anyway. When all the stuff went down with Fleetwood Mac, he pretty much stayed off to the side. There's never been a huge rapport with John, as much as I admire his talent and his intelligence. With Christine, I think I talked to her once.
But it was hard all round - they were all caught in the middle when all that went down, they didn't want it to happen but they didn't feel strong enough to be able to do anything about it. I think Christine's comment to me was, "I'm sorry I didn't stand up for you, but I had just bought a house.
Definitely, yeah. But who knows? Maybe the five of us will end up doing something. Says Buckingham: "10 years ago there was some optimism that Stevie would wannaplay ball, but she apparently didn't. So, yeah He plays nearly everything including, in arch '80s style, Linn drum machine and Fairlight.
Recorded almost entirely by Buckingham, with astripped-down acoustic flavour, it's one of his finest. Buckinghams cuts, such as the. He is also recording a live album. Mayfield was a multi-faceted genius. Artistic courage was just one of myriad talents.
The connection felt significant. The audience was pumped, they couldn't wait for him to come in and do his thing. Curtis was so commanding on stage, he had such good communication with the audience. They were following everything he did. You gotthe feeling that they were holding on to every last phrase.
Mayfield had become the voice of acultural movement, speaking hard truths with depth, empathy and humanity. Four months before the Bitter End shows he'd released his debut solo album, Curtis. Musically, the mix of melody and rhythm, beauty and toughness, influenced everyone from Bob Marley to Prince and Kanye West. Lyrically, the songs are powered by righteous anger infused with aspiritual humanitarianism. As the storm ofthe Civil Rights struggles of the '60s subsided, Mayfield posed the question, both to himself and his audience: what next?
There were no easy answers. His kaleidoscopic reflections of black reality are hopeful and despairing in equal measure. We knew what he was saying because we were all coming up in the same era. His message was in there, but we were just playing. Curtis loved to play. He had joined the vocal group in , aged 14, back when they were called The Roosters. The environment forged his visionary blend of compassion and streetwise suss.
Asthe decade turned, Mayfield swapped formal attirefor funky threads and started smoking weed. He toiled over it. We worked on ituntil we got it right. Curtis's work ethic was strong. He was strictly business! He didn't kid around much. He stayed to himself pretty much, too. He very seldom came and talked to the guys. He just wanted you to do your job and keep him happy.
It : canmess with people abit. Wereally needto talk abouthis guitar-playing. We ve done afew of his songs over the years, but we've always had to simplify the chords. It begins with the good friends with a great It's tricky to try and play like Curtis! A DJ called Ady Croasdell, somereally weird made-up guitar tunings. He was aphenomenal guitarist, as well as everything else. He could do everything!
He wrote for so many people on Curtom. The first two, Curtis Hutson. It's incredible that he was doing all that and Roots, are incredible. Johnny Isaw him play on a few occasions. Commonwealth Institute on of all Curtis's solo stuff. That really set me off. Don't worry. Horns, strings and wah-wah usher in a funky eight-minute apocalypse on which nobody gets a free pass. Super Flyis incredible. Eu three times. The first time MOT Fes uc You think of one and they was around , through of empowered just keep coming.
It was a Me DrRobert. A kat iEurtis Mayfield] ahotel off the Edgware Road. Released in September, Curtis gave Mayfield a Top 20 album. He lounged on the cover wearing asunburst yellow suit and floral shirt, beads strung down to his navel, looking hip and current. Strange to think that contemporary reviews were cool. Critics missed the melodicism of The Impressions, but now the medium needed to match the message. It required a tighter focus. Therhythm drovethe writing, with fewer chord changes and less complex melodies.
Solo, the of the things he was talking about back thenarestillrelevant now. Racism, inequality, ecology, the whole corporate takeover thing. He's meaningfulin loads of different ways. He covers the whole spectrum. Whenlstartedto getinto his solorecords, it was also around the same time thatlalso started gettinginto NinaSimone. They're notthe same, obviously, but there's a similarity in that the power andthe message doesn't have to come from shouting or — produced by Fata Wisan Hesctcross-legged onhis bed.
He was justlovely. Later,in , Idid aninterview with him at Ronnie Scott's which was filmed for Channel 4. I've never dared watchit back! Ididn'tknow him well, buthe was always really lovely, agentle man and aspiritual man. He hada realessence about him. It becomes more andl felt that his writing came more from that serious and more focused on what the personis standpoint.
Songs like "Choice Of Colours" are saying. It'sinteresting when youhave that match : humanist, really. He was a great poet as well as of astronglyric against this quite gentle voice beingagreat songwriter, arranger, producer and musical backing. Thatfedinto what! The thin, yearning tone sweetened the message while somehow making it more heartfelt and urgent. Four months after Curtis, Mayfield and his new band arrived at the Bitter End to record the live album.
Everything had become looser, freer. Curtis would start and we'd pick up the rhythm. No, we'd be on stage making bets to see who would make the most mistakes, Curtis or Tyrone. It was always between those two. We'd laugh about it. It was probably due to Curtis.
He was a strong leader. Even if those musicians hadn't played with him for long, there was this aura that he had about his playing, his status, his role, the way he approached his guitar. He wasin command. It was the same way with Jimi. People respect and follow you. Lots of colour in the room, great lighting.
The audience could reach out and touch the band! From the moment we started rolling tape, we were in for a big ride. I felt that. The truck was parked outside and I was running back and forth, checking the mics. Mayfield responds in the moment, chatting easily with the crowd. Mayfield understands his constituency. You put that record on and, from the first track, you just know you're in the presence of somebody great. The vibe was the thing.
The same band entered the studio shortly afterwards to make the magnificent Roots. This hot streak is all the more remarkable considering Mayfield was also overseeing a personal fiefdom. He was an astute businessman. He never crowded himself. Because he was running his own company, he could pace himself. Mayfield jumped at the opportunity. He was sent rushes from the film, enabling him to sync the music to the visuals. Mayfield knew ghetto life from his upbringing, the pimps and pusher-men on every corner.
His deeds weren't noble ones, but he was making money and he had intelligence. And he did survive. I mean, all this was reality. As Mayfield noted, while the majority of us never encounter a major gangster, most of us know a Freddie. The songs were all very meaningful. They laid down the backing tracks in three days, strings and horns recorded alongside the band. In this case, all the instrumental stuff was at the same time. We had the advantage of listening to the arrangements then and there.
His arrangements on Super Fly are simply staggering: apposite and intricate. But he and Mayfield fell out over the album credit, which read: "Successfully arranged and orchestrated from the original dictations of Curtis Mayfield by Johnny Pate". Pate claimed he did significantly more than transcribe dictations and requested a writing credit on the two instrumental tracks. Mayfield refused. Craig McMullen feels that Curtis called that one wrong.
A masterpiece. You can't dictate that stuff, it takes askilled person in reading music to do those kind of parts. They were going to gointoalegal thing and then Johnny backed off. I thought that was wrong of Curtis. Things were never really the same between him and Johnny.
He fathered 10 children from several relationships. By the time of Super Fly was abusing cocaine and prone to vicious mood swings. Thatdoesn't mean he couldn't get cantankerous, but we would laugh it off. Aged 30, Mayfield had attained acommercial and creative peak with a gritty, uncompromising record which spoke directly to the concerns of his people. The message was powerful and was needed.
We needed help to get out, we needed power, we had to have the same rights as other people. Curtis was trying to get this point across. Despite being paralysed from the neck down and left quadriplegic, in he released one final record. Unable to play guitar, on New World Order Mayfield painstakingly pieced together each vocal part, line by line, whilereclining in a wheelchair. When he died, aged 57, on Boxing Day , Mayfield's legacy was secure, primarily thanks to the power and beauty of the records he made in the early 70S.
Fifty years later, the music speaks more clearly and compassionately than ever. In , they had made Help! Just before Christmas, as was now their habit, their second album ofthe year had been released. Rubber Soul still sounds like the perfectly balanced expression ofa pop band with artistic ambitions, expanding their creative range without jeopardising the relationship with their vast and adoring public.
Thefollowing year would be different. Butin February, during an interview with the Evening Standard, John Lennon compared their popularity with the statistical decline in Christian worship. In July, the group released an albumin America titled Yesterday And Today, its cover showing the four of them smiling as widely as usual while holding the bloodied body parts of dolls.
Another uproar forced its withdrawal. They Their debut album, Please Please Me, had been recorded inasingle day. Rubber Soul time. Revolver took hours, the result ofa band suddenly liberated from constant live performances and from an aborted third feature-film project. Nowso successful that they were free from the imposition of studio budgets, they were able to use Abbey Road as a laboratory.
But the album might not have been recorded in England at all. The others needed no encouragement to experiment with sound, to tackle new subjects, to turn pop into art. In the world outside, it was atime of celebration and discontent. Lennon recording, someone in the had just completed his la LU es eters.
As they wrapped up the final mixes on June 21, race riots were erupting in American cities. The Beatles responded by opening the album with their first real protest song. But it was not a civil rights anthem or a hymn to the Chinese proletariat. His sardonic whine was counterpointed by the snap and snarl of the backing track, which might as well have been recorded in Memphis.
Thealbum's black-and-white cover, by their Hamburg friend Klaus Voormann, mixed Beardsleyesque ink portraits with collaged photos ina pre-echo ofthe look of International Times, the McCartney-supported underground paper whose first edition would be published afew weeks later.
As the world changed, once again they were in the lead He's a good advert for how incredibly famous people might want to conduct themselves. He seemed to be above needy celebrity. He was, I like to think, a very singular personality in rock music.
WhenI was alittle kid in the early ', his support for the Krishna movement was a big deal - he had the eyes ofthe world on him, but hesingle-mindedly followed his own path. Considering how scrutinised The Beatles were, that took a lot of balance, perspective and self-assurance. A lot of that was to do with not just the songs but the sonics.
It's lean, punchy and very well edited. But then, Revolver is all about attack and compression. Of course Revolver is influenced by all the things you hear on those records - particularly the soul records that are hipin the UK and London at the time - but it's The Beatles. They didn't need to look outwardly at other scenes to find a concept. In a way Revolveris the culmination of an extremely mod phenomena. Being able to watch those was one of the reasons why I dressed like George Harrison for a bitin The Smiths!
George Martin's strings remind me of Vivaldi. It's so McCartney in where it goes melodically. McCartney's melody gift was innate; John had to work atit more. It's quite a complex melody. He was 23 when he was doing this stuff, really sophisticated. He had just moved in with Jane Asher's folks. He was being educated culturally and he was eager to advance his skill set. It's like he's moving on from Hamburg quicker than the other guys, in arrangements and themes.
Arethe ballads on this album the climax of a particular sort of McCartney writing? In fact, when I got married, my wife Krista and me walked down the aisle to it. Even the way ittails off at the end, with that last little bar with the strings: da-da-da-da-der. It's brutal. Like the last bit of dirt on the grave? That's it, you can almost see him wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks away.
It's a really strong image. This song about loneliness and death is the most played Revolver song on Spotify. It's up to ,, at the moment! So it still resonates with people. They were moving at! Ina way, this transitional period is the most exciting. George has started writing incredible songs on his own. Their production is getting experimental.
The technology is changing. George spent hours trying to get the backwards guitar to sound right. I think it had to do with the recording having been done a bit faster, then when you play it back at the regular speed it sounds slower — which is why the song sounds likeitshould bein E minor but it's in E flat. Please, just let me sleep another five minutes I remember hearing this song and my mum saying to me, "Your dad really liked to sleep, he was a good sleeper!
It shows how powerful my dad was, that he could achieve all this with just a couple of chords, a cool lyric and a great melody. It's one of my favourite songs. I think it was one of my dad's, too. Iheard it at a pivotal time in my life when I was experimenting with psychedelics, questioning cultural norms and rejecting societal pressures that had been drilled into my head since the day I was born. Theflowing rhythm of the tabla hand drums and the twangy hum ofthe sitar provided the perfect backdrop for the sly message ofthe counterculture that George was illicitly slipping into The Beatles' sound.
It was the first time Eastern music reached the mainstream consciousness, thanks to the most popular band of all time. It broke ground by introducing a new hybrid of philosophical love song. It's sardonic and cynical — but somehow totally zen. The song encouraged what I already knew deep inside myself - that material possessions don't matter, that lifeis brief and love is what'struly important. George was tapping into a higher knowledge; he exuded something real despite being rich and famous.
He was enlightened and grounded and eager to learn and grow, both as a musician and a person. I thought ifI could break the code, I could find the true meaning to life and happiness. It inspired me to meditate for the first time ever in my life and became my mantra at times. Me and Clarkey actually won. They weren't there at the very end because they had to catch the last bus home to Liverpool at nine o'clock. In the '60s, was mad for tapeloops. It might have taken a day or two because it's quite a lengthy process.
But after The Beatles stopped touring, the idea of having all the time in the world to do what you like doing was freeing and stimulating. If you dare to experiment alittle bit, it's good for you. It's quite a fun thing to do, to just dream up aname of a character and try and write thestory of that character and then makeit fit with another character. Father McKenzie and Eleanor. The Hollies were playing at the Twisted Wheel that night, about half a mile away.
It was obvious there was something magical about these four people. That's before they'd even played any music.
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