August 22, 2007

John Lennon & Mick Jagger’s lost collaboration

In 1973, Yoko Ono kicked John Lennon out. She sent their personal assistant May Pang off with him, with the instructions to “be with John, help him, and see that he gets whatever he wants.” Together Pang and Lennon moved to Los Angeles, a period dubbed “The Lost Weekend.” It was a weekend that lasted from 1973-1975, during which Lennon passed the time with Phil Spector, recording material that would eventually be released as part of his Rock ‘n’ Roll LP. He also caroused through the town with musician buddies who informally called themselves the Hollywood Vampires: Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon, Micky Dolenz and Alice Cooper, and he was known to have recorded songs with Mick Jagger, Elton John, and David Bowie during that time frame as well.

The track he laid down with Mick Jagger was, for a long time, just mythical. In 2003, a London record store owner put an unlabeled record up for auction which he claimed had come originally from Ronnie Wood (guitarist for the Stones) and contained a collaboration cover of Jagger singing the old Willie Dixon blues song, “Too Many Cooks” with Lennon on guitar. Some reports also place Ringo Starr on drums and date the recording to London 1974. That unlabelled acetate (made directly from a master tape, and found in a stack of records) sold for £1,400, and Mick admitted that he had forgotten it existed for a number of years.

Now Mick is going to release that recording on his upcoming compilation album, The Very Best of Mick Jagger [October 2, Rhino]. The album collects material from all four of Mick’s solo albums, recordings from various points throughout his career, and will include three previously unreleased tracks, including the collaboration with Lennon.

It seems to me that Jagger may have recorded an earlier version of this same song in L.A. in 1973 during the Lost Weekend period with Lennon only producing and not playing? The band for this session is credited to include Harry Nilsson on backing vocals, Beatles collaborator Jim Keltner on drums, Stones sax player Bobby Keys, Cream bassist Jack Bruce, and Al Kooper on keys (you may remember him from the hesitant Hammond B3 playing on Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone,” if you’ve seen the Scorsese documentary).

So essentially, I am driving myself crazy trying to nail down the slippery provenance on this specific version. It’s the history sleuth in me. I guess we’ll find out October 2 if Lennon is playing here or not. It’s a cool, funky, brassy song either way.

Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup) – Mick Jagger & “The Jim Keltner Orchestra” (so-dubbed by John Lennon)

photo credit Jef A̩rosol Рstencilled paste-ups on Fashion Street in London (between Brick Lane and Commercial Street), July 15, 2007

June 25, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

Oh, I was so lucky to get to spend Friday night seeing Feist. She is a completely charming and talented performer (not just a musician, as my friend Leora noted –”Are you gonna quote me on your blog?”– after the show). Feist really knows how to engage and enchant the crowd, but she also wields that guitar fearlessly, gets her vocal loops going, dances around in bliss to the crashing drums, and manages to be fashionable all at the same time (brown mini dress, hot pink tights).

The new songs from The Reminder sounded great live (especially “My Moon, My Man” — hot dang that’s fantastically thumping in concert) under the twinkling drapery of Christmas lights. The same imaginative, surreal qualitities that Feist brings memorably into her music videos (flying toast in Mushaboom, everyone deciding to dance in unison on 1234) seeps into her live shows too, through the morphing of her busy hands during the songs into butterflies dancing, waves rolling, or little legs walking down the front of the mike stand.

Despite having sung the song “like 4,000 times,” Feist forgot the middle verse to Mushaboom. She asked the crowd if someone who knew it would come up and fill in. An absolutely elated girl hopped up on stage, grabbed the mike as the music played, and effortlessly jumped in at exactly the right moment: “I got a man to stick it out…” It was one of those great moments of geeky fandom that just makes you happy to witness.

A very few other pictures (and the story of the snarly security guard that almost threw me out of the show) are included in this album. Remaining Feist tour dates here. I would totally love to be Feist for a week, that’s my new rockstar dream.

Here’s your new tuneage for this week’s enjoyment:

Dress Blues
Jason Isbell
A kind reader recommended this track from former Drive-By-Trucker Jason Isbell‘s forthcoming solo album Sirens Of The Ditch (July 10, New West Records), saying that it was “hard to get this song out of my head.” I absolutely agree, I’ve listened to it on repeat: a honeyed slowburner that feels like prophecy.

Can’t Get It Out Of My Head (ELO cover)
Velvet Revolver
Taking the cake for the band that the STP/G’n'F’n'R hybrid was least likely to cover, Velvet Revolver takes on an ELO cover on their newest one, Libertad, dropping July 3rd. And you know what? It’s actually pretty good and I find myself liking it a lot. Although I sometimes question Weiland’s jaunty/naughty sailor look in concert, Slash takes away the guitar solo here in sizzling fashion. Speaking of Slash, I’ve been pondering the plotline of the November Rain video lately. Have you seen this? I don’t know why I think about such things.

This Town
Frank Sinatra, on the Ocean’s 13 Soundtrack
Obviously a movie about swinging crime in Vegas perpetrated by fashionably-dressed men must, by law, include a Frank Sinatra tune. This one is also excellent for adding to your very own mixtape for midnight desert runs to Sin City. The soundtrack to Ocean’s 13 (which I haven’t seen yet but probably will because George & Brad told me to) is another atmospheric-cool collection by David Holmes, who also scored Fuel-favorite Out of Sight (among others). Niiice.

When Did Your Heart Go Missing?
I’ve been curious about hearing this song since Rolling Stone likened it to a lost Wham! track, and yes, I hear the similarities here; it does kind of make me want to wake you up before I go go. But then I read how it is also in the new Nancy Drew movie, and in a totally geeky move I will confess to reading many Nancy Drew books in my youth. I will not see the new Nancy Drew flick (because it would probably be a similar audience to the time I saw Crossroads on opening night and I don’t want to talk about it) but I can picture this song also as a theme to daring teenage intrigue, old mine shafts, and moss-covered mansions. From Rooney‘s new album Calling The World (out July 17). Tour dates here.

Love (unreleased promo track)
The Cure
This song was, for some reason, dropped off the double disc extravaganza of Lennon covers to save Darfur, Instant Karma (a project of Amnesty International, out now). I could have recommended a few other tracks that could have gotten the boot instead of The Cure, whom I love, even though I can never apply eyeliner as deftly as Robert Smith. Thank God I’m better at the lipstick than he is, though.

Speaking of love and Lennon, today marks 40 years since the first public performance of “All You Need Is Love” on a massive world broadcast. Check out this fascinating post/video. Watching the way Lennon sings makes me really happy here; he just seems . . . pure.

October 9, 2006

Happy birthday John Lennon

John Lennon would have been 66 today (had he not been shot by obsessed fan Mark David Chapman in 1980). He was only 40 when he died, and I’ve sometimes wondered what other wonderful music he had still within him.

I figure the occasion of his entrance into this world (with a bang – he was born during a German aid raid over Liverpool the night of October 9-10, 1940) is a fine reason to post some covers off the Working Class Hero: A Tribute To John Lennon album (1995, Hollywood Records). It’s an eclectic little snapshot of the musical environment of the mid-90s, with some spiffy covers & interesting interpretations.

Also speaking of covers, Coverville has a John Lennon covers podcast for free download as well.

Instant Karma! – Toad The Wet Sprocket

Nobody Told Me – The Flaming Lips

I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier – Mad Season
(featuring Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, and Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees)

Power To The People – The Minus 5
(Scott McCaughey with members of R.E.M., The Posies, and Wilco & The Decemberists – in various incarnations)

Also, you may be interested in reading my post on the 25th anniversary of his death last year, which has an active download link to a demo version of my favorite Lennon solo song — one of the most gorgeous recordings you will ever hear: earnest and yearning and raw and perfect.

October 8, 2006

The Departed: Lots of blood and a kickass soundtrack

The Departed is Martin Scorsese’s visceral new flick: 2 1/2 hours of a tightly intelligent plotline, fascinating character studies, lots of caffeinated jump-cut cinematography, more “f**ck”s than you can shake a stick at, and a greater nunber of brains being blown out at close range than I personally care to see.

I guess I’ll never infiltrate the Boston mob (because all the violence truthfully left me feeling a little nauseated), but the soundtrack left me elated and tapping my foot furiously in my red velvet rocking seat. Here is a sampling of what you’ll hear, woven into the film at exactly the right places. The soundtrack is really superb, just what you’d expect from Scorsese: The Rolling Stones capture that rough & tumble Seventies inner-city swagger, while Van Morrison lends his pipes to a lovely live version of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” during a scene of gnawing loneliness and aching lust. John Lennon’s in there, as are the Isley Brothers, the Beach Boys, Dropkick Murphys, Patsy Cline, and even Nas. It’s a real joy to listen to.

Gimme Shelter” – Rolling Stones

Let It Loose” – Rolling Stones

Well, Well, Well” – John Lennon

Sail On, Sailor” – The Beach Boys

Comfortably Numb” – Van Morrison live w/ Roger Waters
(1990, Berlin)

Speaking of soundtracks, keep those fantastic comments coming for that contest I opened up on Friday! I am immensely enjoying all the articulate and passionate rambles about the movie music that you love. I’ve added several films to my Netflix queue that I’d overlooked, and have been re-appreciating the classiness of the Rushmore soundtrack all weekend. Keep it up, and it’s gonna be delightfully hard to nail the winner.

December 8, 2005

The years have passed so quickly

Today marks 25 years since John Lennon was killed outside his New York apartment building by a deranged sicko Mark Chapman on December 8, 1980. I wanted to post some news from about a live tribute and covers project that will take place in the Abbey Road Studios in London, which you can listen to online. Awesome lineup:

From Abbey Road, London:
Jamie Cullum – Jealous Guy
The Delays – Give Peace A Chance, Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
Katie Melua – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Cry Baby Cry
Paul Weller – Love
Badly Drawn Boy – Happy Xmas, Look At Me
Lulu – Money, Rock N Roll Music
Gomez – Hey Bulldog, Instant Karma
Stereo MCs – Walrus, Tomorrow Never Knows
Sugababes – Come Together
Stephen Fretwell – Help!, And Your Bird Can Sing
Trashcan Sinatras – Woman, Free As A Bird

From SIRIUS, New York:
Dave Matthews – Watching the Wheels, Good Morning, Good Morning
Dr. John – Revolution
Daryl Hall – Julia, All You Need is Love
Teddy Thompson – You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, I’m Only Sleeping
Joseph Arthur – Imagine, Across the Universe

You should be able to listen to the Lennon Tribute today here, through the BBC Radio 2 streaming audio Thursday, December 8, from 2 pm ET to 6 pm ET (on SIRIUS Satellite Radio channel 18, The Spectrum and BBC Radio 2).

It seems that we will also be able to download some new Lennon cover tracks from the Amnesty International site for $0.99 each.

The San Jose Mercury News also featured a nice tribute piece here. Well written and insightful, plus it quotes a friend of mine, so it is worth a read. Rolling Stone also has a good story on Lennon, which I found interesting reading for the way it set the scene and filled in details of his life and the night he died which I didn’t know.

I Know (demo version), John Lennon

This song was released on Lennon’s 1973 album “Mind Games,” but I much prefer this earlier stripped down demo version. I think it is a gorgeous song, simple perfection. Enjoy.

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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