Saturday, October 24, 2009

Early: Six-Song Set Edition

One thing I miss about being a DJ is putting together a a good set of music. This week I had a lot of songs I wanted to post but didn't really have a lot to say about them, so I thought I'd put a bunch of them together in one post. So, these songs are meant to be listened to sequentially.

The Squires: Aurora


You may not have heard of the Squires, but you know their guitarist quite well: Neil Young. He was quite enamored with the Shadows' guitarist Hank Marvin when he recorded this instrumental single in Winnipeg in 1963 at his first recording session.

Vashti: Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind


Before she recorded her seminal Just Another Diamond Day album, Vashti Bunyan released a few pop singles as "Vashti" under the tutelage of Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. This one, her first, was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and released in 1965.

Lyme and Cybelle: Follow Me


Warren Zevon didn't hit his stride until the late '70s, but he started out his musical career in the sixties as one half of the duo Lyme and Cybelle, along with Violet Santangelo. "Follow Me" hit 65 on the pop charts in 1966. Zevon went on to release a little-heard solo album in 1969, then work as the Everly Brothers' musical director in the early '70s before he finally found his groove.

The Parliaments: (I Wanna) Testify


George Clinton's 1970s Parliament/Funkadelic empire started as a simple doo-wop quintet from New Jersey known as the Parliaments. "(I Wanna) Testify", from 1967, is probably the most well-known the the Parliaments' singles. It's already a long way from their doo-wop beginnings, possibly because Clinton was the only member of the group able to travel to Detroit for the recording. When the song became a hit, he assembled a new group of musicians to tour, and the P-Funk dynasty began.

Kaleidoscope: Egyptian Gardens


In the late '60s, there were two important bands named Kaleidoscope--one in the UK and one in California. This is from the California band, who are most well known for giving the world multi-instrumentalist David Lindley. Before he was sideman extraordinaire to the '70s California singer-songwriter movement (Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Crosby & Nash, etc.), he was part of this eclectic psychedelic group. The Middle Eastern-influenced "Egyptian Gardens" is the opening track on their 1967 debut album, Side Trips, an album that also takes in blues, psychedelic pop, old timey music, and vaudeville.

Red Onion: African Mask

[out of print]

Red Onion brings us back to that fertile New Brunswick music scene in the 1990s. Frontwoman Laurie Berkner went on to greater fame as a maker of music for kids, but I've always liked this psychedelic-influenced song from a cassette EP Red Onion released in 1995. Smokin' bass provided by All Gods' Children's Adam Bernstein.

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