Karen Dalton – “In My Own Time” CD (Light in the Attic)

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I’ve heard and read Dalton’s name many times, typically described as an iconoclastic, influential and self-destructive folkie. I wasn’t prepared for the raw pain and power of her voice, something between an ancient black woman and the raunchy confidence of a street corner tough. On this 1971 album, midwived by bassist/producer Harvey Brooks at Bearsville, for the first and only time Dalton got the benefit of a sympathetic and suitably pushy collaborator who drew out her strengths as an interpreter and crafted big, sexy arrangements to cradle her big, sexy and terrible vulnerable voice. The stylistically diverse set veers from blues to folk to honky tonk country. It includes strong covers of two too-familiar songs (‘When A Man Loves A Woman,” “How Sweet It Is”), but if they weren’t already standards, Dalton’s gut-wrenching interpretations might have made them so. Kicking off with a beautiful take on Dino Valenti’s “Something On Your Mind,” with its late Velvet Underground arrangement and the hushed, cracked yearning of her voice, the album also soars on “Katie Cruel,” a traditional tale of an unwanted stranger utterly inhabited by the singer. Generous notes from Lenny Kaye, Nick Cave and Devendra Banhart further laud Dalton, and place her in context as a continual deep underground influence on several generations of interesting artists. Hers is a voice that won’t please everyone

Susan Jacks interview at Scram

Brian Greene has conducted a new interview with Susan Jacks, giving insight into her exquisite and eerie recordings as a member of the Poppy Family and as a solo artist, plus some of the challenges she faced as a female artist seeking personal and creative independence after she split with husband Terry Jacks.

This is a Scram online exclusive over at

Lewis Taylor, Soldier, Spy

So, just this past Sunday after Thanksgiving, I was running around Charlotte killing time, running errands and checking out the local CD shops along the way and I decided to check out a little shop I usually don’t go into too often.

Truth is, I don’t go into this shop too often because they don’t really get anything cool too often. It is the weakest location of a local 3 store chain and I go to the other two stores in the chain much more because the locations are better and the results are usually better; in other words, at the other stores I can find stuff I actually want.

But, I am nearby this bastard third location and I suck it up and decide to go in, totally realizing I probably won’t find anything worth buying. I search for a little while, thinking I am going to prove myself a visionary by totally striking out so far. I then wander towards the R&B section knowing if I don’t find anything there, I will be buying nada from this joint. Upon perusal of this section, I notice a little oddity: an album called “Stoned” by Lewis Taylor.

Not recognizing the guy’s name, I pick it up to check out the liner notes to see if I can recognize some of the players’ and producers’ names. Well, the liner notes are really brief and I only recognize some obscure record industry names in the Thank You’s but I am intrigued because it seems the guy is a one-man band in that he plays everything himself and produced the CD.

Well, I love that kind of shit. Good or bad, I am always curious to hear what a person can do with his musical talent when he tries to do it all himself. So, I wander over to the listening station and pop this CD in and I am floored! Soul in the best of the old (Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Prince) and new (D’Angelo) traditions with plenty of psychedelic rock touches as well to spice it up.

Needless to say, I am THRILLED with my find and before I listen to too much and ruin it for myself, I take it out of the listening station, rush to the register, pay for the shiny disc and commence to take it home.
As soon as I get home, I pop that thing in the CD player and start to do some research on the album while Lewis Taylor’s sweet psychedelic soul music washes over my ears and melts my brain.

Seems the album came out on the Hacktone label in 2005 and was distributed by Shout! Factory. A check of the Shout! Factory website leads to nothing so I next go to my favorite music research portal, Allmusic.com!

Soon I learn Lewis Taylor is an English musician who first found some measure of fame in the mid ’80’s as a member of the re-united Edgar Broughton Band, playing guitar with the group. After leaving, he started a psychedelic combo called Captain Jack and released two albums with them. He then vanished for almost a decade before landing a deal with Island Records in ’96 on the strength of a demo by Taylor that made the Island suits think they had found the second-coming of Al Green, only with multi-instrumental-playing capabilities. He made two psychedelic neo-soul records for Island and was dropped as both flopped. Seems the suits loved him but didn’t have the brains to market him correctly. I guess white Englishmen aren’t allowed to make modern, yet classic-sounding soul records.

Discouraged, Taylor decided to release albums on his own label and has put out about four or five depending on whether you think homemade CDs given out at gigs count as releases.

The album I found, Stoned, is actually the second record he released on his own (it came out originally in 2002) but the first record of Taylor’s to be released in the US. Seems the owners of Hacktone felt the record had sank unjustly and wanted to give it a chance in the States. Sadly, it sank in the States without a trace as well. Seems the album was getting a good push in late 2005 but shortly after Taylor appeared on Conan he developed nodules on his throat and couldn’t tour the US, so it was Conan and out.

Now, in late 2006, the label Hacktone is defunct and Taylor is still obscure, the album now languishing in bargain bins everywhere. This is an artist who has been trumpeted by D’Angelo, Paul Weller, Elton John, Mary J. Blige and a bunch of others but still remains in the shadows.

If you are into soul, neo-soul, R&B or whatever the fuck they are calling it these days, you need to check this album out. A swirling mass of future funk that channels Johnny Guitar Watson, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix at the same time and with vocals as sweet as Prince’s falsetto, Taylor sings some of the most soulful, sensual psychedelic R&B music I have heard in a long time. I can’t truly label it derivative or new but it does combine both the past, present and future in a way that will make your ass shake, your knees buckle and your heart melt. Most adept at guitar, the man shows a facility for any instrument he touches and shows an affinity for crafting elegant tapestries of music while still finding the funk and psyche-swirling it up.

Needless to say I am going to spend a lot of time over the next week or so tracking down everything else this guy’s ever done. To be as old as he is (mid ’40’s) with over twenty years of music biz experience and have that talent vocally and instrumentally and still be unknown is a fucking injustice. Please search this album out if you can and check it out. I know you won’t be sorry.

The Music Nerd knows…..that Lewis Taylor should be more fucking famous than Justin Timberbitch….

Meadow House – Tongue Under A Ton of Nine Volters CD (Alcohol)

Meadow House is young British broadcaster and one-man-band Dan Wilson, the host and fried brains behind "The Exciting Hellebore Shew" on Resonance FM. On his debut album the psych of a sweet nutter is channeled and detourned over the course of eighteen energetic and quite batty tracks. To American ears, this sort of oddball British psych inevitably evokes Syd Barrett and Robyn Hitchcock, but there’s always room on my shelves for such an inventive, confident and naturally melodic composer. At times the sound is playful and childlike, at others so chaotic, anxious and boozy to be terrorizing, but if you’re going to spend time with seemingly schizophrenic popsters you gotta take the sweet with the ouch. I especially dig the iconoclastic holiday hymn stylings of "All Petty Substance Flee." Several dopey disco tracks are less interesting. For purchasing info, see the bottom of this blog post.

1910 Fruitgum Co. – The Best of CD (Repertoire)

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Not to be confused with the similarly-titled BMG collection for which I wrote the notes in 2001 (see below). If you’re seeking the most of this splendid bubblegum band you’ll need to pick up both discs, as there are six songs on the earlier release not on this mainly singles selection, among them the essential "1910 Cotton Candy Castle." But if only one Fruitgum comp is in your future, it’d be hard to compete with this 28-track behemoth. I wish BMG had been as ambitious with their own vault artists as Germany’s Repertoire label! You’d have to dig through a lot of scuffy vinyl to assemble a comparable analog collection spanning the short, delicious career of this most infantile of semi-imaginary Buddah combos. Kicking off with the schoolyard earworm hits (including "Simon Says," "Indian Giver" and "1-2-3 Red Light"), the disc also spotlights the band (or its studio doppelgangers) in its jazzy, psychedelic and garagey manifestations. The b-sides are highlights (and a rare chance to enjoy band-penned compositions), like the growling bad girl raver "No Good Annie," and the Chinese psych-out "Reflections from the Looking Glass." Equally great are the retarded (in a good way) "Sticky Sticky" and the Link-Wray-in-orbit stylings of "Baby Bret." The comp closes with several scarce Italian-language tracks, from the Fruitgums’ late, barely-noticed Continental phase, including the exquisitely spooky "C’e Qualcosa Che Non Picardo Piu." The booklet includes notes from John Tracy and a selection of colorful 45 sleeves, sheet music covers and oddities.

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 Read Kim Cooper’s notes from The Best of the 1910 Fruitgum Company. 

Eight Questions for The Perfectly Imperfect Girl

    Proudly and loudly d.b.a. Black Flamingo, Flack Blamingo (!!), RewBee, RewWalsh and/or, on her latest digital five inches of self-styled “punktry” music called *that*S*rite*, just plain Rew, the jewel of NYC I know as Lisa Ludwig truly is the l-u-v child Ronnie Spector and Patti Smith SHOULD’VE had. 

Chock straight full up of her very own grand brand of supremely potty-mouthed pop (i.e.: “U Suck” …”dirty” version especially) and powered by the ever-percussive spirit of no less than Our Friend Ficca (as in Billy, of Television, Waitresses, Dave Rave Conspiracy et al deserved fame) Rew sweetly took the time to answer, for us all, once and for all…..

1. Munsters or Addams Family:  Which one’s for you, and why?

I secretly alwayz wanted to be Wednesday …the Addams were always so classy & BLACK…my favorite color…….but in real life herman munster lived on my street & i use to hang at their house…sometimez…my brother’s babysat for the kids..i wanted to but i was too young…the house was kind of creepy…but they were really kool & eccentric…they had pugs{dogs} everywhere…& NO rules  …cobwebs everywhere…art everywhere…it was very surreal…we alwyaas thought it was a modern day muensters…cause it was in color!!!

2. Who in the world, living or dead, would you most like to play a game of Twister with?

john john kennedy

3. How many Sid King & The Five Strings records do you own?

ummmm….who?…but i do luv texas!!!…all my records got soaked up in a flood while i was out of town once a few years back…the albums actually saved my apartment by absorbing all the water…thank heaven for cardboard…

4.  If you had been working the front gate at the Dakota that night back in 1980 when nasty Mark David Chapman showed up, pistol in hand, to avenge the chief Beatle for his "bigger than Jesus" wisecrack, what would you have done?

seduce him in any way possible…& then spin him around by his hair like a lasso until his eyes popped out of his head & then leave him until he could see again cause i think his vision was gone to begin with along w/ his mind so i guess he’d still be lying there…

5.  "Gilligan" or "The Professor":  Which one’s for you,  and for How Long?

i do luv getting into trouble so i guess i have to pick gilligan cause he is alwayz getting into trouble & the professor would always be getting out of trouble…& who needs that?  gilligan would probably get me so crazy too..& i luv crazy…just pissing me off & making me laugh… how long…well would we still be on the island??
it is Gilligan’s Island  so i’ll stay forever cause maybe he’s the King by now & that would make me the Queen…rite???  we’d be royalty…

6. What single song, living or dead, do you most wish you’d written… and why didn’t you?

it would have to be the R KELLY ‘Trapped in the Closet" opera…cause damn..that is the longest single i ever heard..& you can never ever believe all the twists & turns that go on & the brilliant writing…it’s pure crazy entertainment & pure genius….i didn’t write it cause as twisted as some may believe i am ,i am an innocent baby next to this man’s imagination…or experience…

7. Whose heart-shaped, purple guitar would you most like to be reincarnated as?

funny i have a heart shaped purple guitar…but i sure would LUV PRINCE having it & playing it…if it were me!..i know he’d treat me rite…

8. In 2000 words or less, your hopes, aspirations and goals, musical or otherwise, for your life and your country?

Wow…hopes..aspirations & goalz..that’s a lot to ask…I HAVE many of these for me & my country….i am basically an optimist or i say i live in total dillusion…i do believe that this world with all it’s ups & downs can be a place for everyone to live somewhat peacefully…all the cops & robbers & extremeists i believe should get their own planet & they can go off on each other all day & all nite non stop…
& all the people in the middle should get their own planet & BE who they are w/out harming their fellow man…
I WOULD LUV my humble honest songz to get thru to masses of people & let them know that we all basically share a lot of the same feelings & desires & ups & downs & heartaches & dreams & surprizes & disappointments…
i for one am an avid believer in mistakes & wishes and dreamz coming true..i love fairy tales & i believe in happily ever after…
i wish i could sometimes tell certain people how i feel …fortunately i write songz about it instead & at least i can purge my innerds outwardly thru this medium…
i want to live in hotels  & i want to tour & have some hit songz to support my life style…
i have always been the type of person who literally loves BOTH sides of the track…
i can hang out on either side …& enjoy both places…cause to me people are people…
i work HARD & want to work hard & keep being disciplined & keep dreaming & succeeeding & i wish all this for everyone else too…
i wish the person i think about too much thinks about me too…& i wish everyone gets to feel & LIVE life to the fullest…
now did i even answer the question>>>???

Meic Stevens – Rain in the Leaves: The EPs, vol. 1 CD (Sunbeam)

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The Welsh never neglected their homegrown Dylan, but the English-speaking pop world only recently discovered this powerful artist via Rhino Handmade’s reissue of “Outlander” (1970/2003). The 19 tracks on this comp span 1965-70, commencing with an early English-language 45 in a gentle, slightly primitive troubadour vein, then delving deep into Stevens’ more personal and intense recordings in his native tongue. I have only the vaguest notion what he’s singing about on tracks like “Yr Eryr a’r Golomen” and “Glaw yn y Dail,” but anyone conversant with the electric folk idiom will be in comfortable territory as these intensely emotional, sometimes psychedelic tunes unfold. The Welsh language has a nostalgic, eerie quality that makes Stevens’ unique work appealing despite the language barrier. Stay with it till the last few tracks, the seldom-heard and hard rocking Welsh recordings from the “Outlander” sessions. This set includes notes on each of the EPs, vintage sleeve art and a handwritten note from the artist.

Robert Altman died last night.He was a hell of a…

Robert Altman died last night.

He was a hell of a brilliant filmmaker, such an original that his followers can’t capture his seemingly effortless ability to combine naturalistic dialogue, improvisation, ensemble casting, and (in his great movies, at least) his profound belief in humanity, for good and for evil.

If you’d like to read what some great, if obscure, writers think about his movies, please go read our Bob Altman issue of The High Hat, published just last week. The editorial at the top should soon be modified to include our sorrow over his passing.

“LUN*NA MENOH: 1986-2006″Curated by Kristine …

“LUN*NA MENOH: 1986-2006”

Curated by Kristine McKenna

December 2nd is the opening
Exhibiton runs from December 2 to December 23, 2006

Track 16 Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition, Lun*na Menoh:
1986-2006. The exhibition will run from December 2 through December
23, 2006, with opening reception for Lun*na Menoh from 6 to 8 P.M.,
with a fashion show featuring the work of Lun*na Menoh to follow, as
well as a performance by her band, “Jean Paul Yamamoto”.

This first full career survey of Los Angeles artist Lun*na Menoh will
feature multiple works from all her art-making practices––painting,
sculpture, performance art, and video. Anchoring the exhibition are a
dozen of Menoh’s subversive one-of-a-kind sculptural garments. In the
Surrealist tradition, these wearable artworks are at turns witty,
diabolical, and unabashedly beautiful. “The Magical Story Teller
Dress,” for instance, is a mechanized gown with a full skirt that
incorporates several picture frames; as the wearer weaves her tale,
paintings in the picture frames shift to illustrate the story. “Men’s
Wardrobe” is a clothing rack of men’s wear that’s been stripped down
to nothing but the seams, and “Which Room Do You Want to Get Into?” is
a bright yellow jumper inset with fantasy boxes evocative of work by
Joseph Cornell. The show will also include several pieces from Menoh’s
“Dirty Shirt Collar,” project, which includes a line of clothing
fashioned entirely from dirty shirt collars, and a series of painted
portraits of her favorite dirty collars. The founder and sole member
of the band Jean Paul Yamamoto, Menoh recently premiered her work of
musical theater, “A Tribute to Yoko Ono,” at LACE.

(for address, directions and basic information)

https://www.track16.com/exhibitions/lun-na_menoh/index.html (to view
some of Lun*na’s work)

Also the catalogue “LUN*NA MENOH: 1986-2006” will be at the exhibition as well!