Dorothy Ashby–Myself When Young, Soul Vibrations–Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop, Harp & Koto!

Dorothy Ashby, Detroit-born 70s jazz funk harp and koto player and singer extraordinaire. Here’s one of her great songs, Myself When Young, replete with flute, strings, koto, bass, drums, percussion, great vocals, etc. The first part is a killer break too.

Dorothy Ashby–Myself When Young

Dorothy Ashby–Soul Vibrations

Dorothy Ashby–Windmills of Your Mind


Can and Red Krayola/Red Crayola

Ah, the wonderful world of psychadelia and krautrock! These people did in the 1960s and 1970s what so many postpunk and new wave bands tried to do in the 1980s and indie bands tried to do in the 1990s and 2000s. Those musicians could all have gotten PhDs and cured cancer and brought world peace if they only knew the music they were trying to make had already been made 20, 30, 40 years earlier for them!

Can–One More Night
Awesome drums, harmonics, etc. Can’t beat trippy jazz dance drums with experimental guitar and bass and electronics and English-speaking native Japanese lead singer living in Germany. Can ends up sounding like trippy German Japanese experimental hippies channeling James Brown via Pink Floyd a lot of the time, the drums sometimes end up sounding like some Manchester songs from the 1990s but much better. There’s some Can song that’s quite like the Stone Roses’ Fools Gold.

I’ll bet Grateful Dead and Phish fans would really like Can. American Beauty is one of the best albums ever made BTW.

Sounds like 1995 and 1981. Pretty sure Joy Division listened to a lot of Can–what’s that one Joy Division song that sounds like this?

God, this song is so beautiful!!! WTF??? Indie rockers gave up the term “post rock” after they discovered that Can and Brian Eno basically did all that stuff in the 60s/70s.

Can-Vitamin C
Yup, here it is: Pink Floyd meets James Brown. Hey you, you’re losing your vitamin C!!!!

Red Crayola-Hurricane Fighter Plane
What??? It’s new wave postpunk in 1967. That’s BEFORE Captain Beefheart’s Troutmask Replica!!! The same year as Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Ah, there aren’t really many YouTube videos of the Red Krayola/Red Crayola songs I’m looking for. You can preview them/download them on Amazon:

Red Crayola-Jewels of the Madonna
This really sounds like fucking PAVEMENT! Steve Malkmus!!! Jeez!!! It’s crazy that this was from the 1960s. What?????
Red Crayola-Green of My Pants
Red Crayola-Leejol
Red Crayola-Dairymaid’s Lament
Red Crayola-Sherlock Holmes
Red Crayola-Listen to This

Red Crayola-
Former Reflections Enduring Doubt
This is just a noisy freakout.

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Live at Montreux 1974/1984 DVD: Surprisingly Awesome!


I’ve always been a huge fan of the Mahavishnu Orcehstra’s first two albums, Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire, and just recently realized how amazing their third album is, Visions of the Emerald Beyond.  For more context, I think the track Devotion on John McLaughlin’s 1970s solo album Devotion is amazing, as are his When Fortune Smiles and Extrapolation albums, and the Tony Williams Lifetime albums on which he plays guitar.  I will now have to pull out the Apocalypse album to see if I like it as much as I like Visions of the Emerald Beyond (which I like better than the Lost Trident Sessions–they messed up on the mixing of the Trident Sessions big time, it sounds like too contemporary of a mix/too digital/fake, what’s with the weird drum placement in the mix, maybe the guitars stand out too much if I remember correctly, they should remix that album to sound more like the mix of all the other 70s Mahavishnu albums).

I could do without the sixth or seventh Mahavishnu Orchestra album Inner Worlds, which features lots of bland weird 70s hippie R&B cult ballads–he really should have dropped the name Mahavishnu Orchestra for that album.  John McLaughlin’s Electric Dreams album in the late 1970s is very bland to my ears (oh, actually I like some of it as I’m listening to it more!), and his early 80s album Mahavishnu really blows too.

The Mahavishnu 80s album is like Herbie Hancock’s Rockit mixed with the Main Street Electrical Parade mixed with muzak, which might sound good in concept, but here it’s totally devoid of any funk, hard edged rock touches,  or even any electric guitar solos (on an album with John McLaughlin???)–and filled with tons of terrible, awful bad 1980s synth sounds (as opposed to good 1980s synth sounds, which do exist elsewhere in the universe, just not on the 1980s Mahavishnu album).  There’s like 10 seconds of actual electric guitar on Radioactivity…the rest sounds like some bad Sega video game synth-guitar farting noises…in an elevator…in a Nordstroms…opening out into the section with the perfume counters and the lingerie section…in Moraga…bland, bland, bland, yuck, yuck, yuck.

But here’s the thing…the 1984 Mahavishnu band playing the Mahavishnu songs on the 1984 disc of the Live at Montreux DVD set rocks!  I mean, John does play the synth guitar, but he also pulls out his real electric guitar too (he will literally take one off and puts the other on all during the same song) in equal measure, and plays some of the best electric guitar solos he is capable of playing, all caught on great looking and sounding footage.  There’s awesome feedback on the first song, and he does this awesome hammer on hammer off stuff or something, it’s kind of like John McLaughlin meets Van Halen or something.

The band actually rocks, it’s weird, the Mahavishnu 80’s album is so bland, and there are some cheesy moments on the 1984 DVD too, but all of the musicians really shine.  The keyboardist breaks out his Rhodes sometimes, and plays this really amazing Rhodes solo.  The bassist plays this Jimi Hendrix song on his bass, the drummer and saxophonist do their thing.  Too bad they didn’t play like this for the album!!!  It kind of reminds me of a really good night at Yoshis or something…kind of cheesy, just edging into adult contemporary, but really good too.  ; )  Is this show the beginning of that kind of “Yoshis” rock?  Oh, and what’s that amazing low pitched sound John McLaughlin gets in that one part on his synth guitar, he should have used that more…

The 1974 show is awesome as well.  It’s MO II, with the lady, the other drummer, the other bassist (I should probably know all this, Narada Walden Smith or something, Ralph something maybe, Gayle Moran maybe, too lazy to look it up) and the awesome Jean Luc Ponty.  The playing is really fantastic.  Only maybe half of the show has video–but that’s still a good 74 minutes or so of great video!

I’m going to be seeing the John McLaughlin/Chick Corea Five Peace Band soon, and I really, really like John McLaughlin’s Floating Point album–it’s awesome, he plays synth guitar and killer electric guitar in equal measures here too, with awesome songs and solos, and the drums are crazy.  The drums are like real prog rock/jazz fusion drums in the style of Billy Cobham and Bill Bruford in their heydays, but there are two drummers, from India, and it’s cacophonous in a good way, almost like good drum and bass in parts–John McLaughlin and a keyboardist will be playing these relaxing synth parts but the drummers wil be making this incredible racket in the background, it makes for a great contrast and is kind of unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, drum-wise.  With all of this great material and touring coming out it’s a great time to be a John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra fan, thanks John McLaughlin!

Screen cap from All About Jazz

Superb Technical Metal: Pegataur–The Falcon Priest

Pegataur–The Falcon Priest.  Wow, Eric the guitarist is amazing and the drummer kicks ass!  Check out the non-stop pinch harmonics!  It’s like the Fucking Champs with 1/3 less members but just as good!  In these tough economic times there’s not much money to feed band members so if you can cut it down to two members and still make a racket like Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Sir Lord Baltimore, all the better!  I think they’re breaking like some musician’s union rules though by skimping out on that third band member 😉

It’s quite zen or something how Pegataur is so economically powered–Pegataur is truly leading the “green revolution” in terms of economical packaging, minimizing consumption and cutting waste.  It’s like Bain and Co or McKinsey analyzed their business processes and said, “Okay, any more members would only be redundant and wasteful so we’re laying them off to rightsize your musical organization–your input and output flows are optimized and peak operational capabilties are achieved at two members with respective core metal competencies of guitar and drums.”

Bill Cobham / George Duke Band – Almustafa The Beloved

Bill Cobham / George Duke Band – Almustafa The Beloved

Amazing jazz fusion/funk/prog from the 1970s…GREAT synth and keyboard licks, drumming by Billy Cobham, guitar by John Scofield, bass, vocals, and Chapman stick by Alphonso Johnson.  Sampled to great, great effect in that one Freestyle Fellowship song!!  The main riff sounds like some crazy Star Wars take off–but Star Wars came out on May 25, 1977!  I’m getting on the spaceship!!!   Parts are like Lonnie Liston Smith meets the Mahavishnu Orchestra…This kind of music must return again…love the chorus part at 5:13…then listen to that little prog break at 5:39…Radiohead only wishes it were half as good and experimental as any of these 70s bands…

July 6, 1976

Montreux, Switzerland

Track 4

Billy Cobham – Drums
George Duke – Keyboards, Vocals
John Scofield – Guitar
Alphonso Johnson – Bass, Chapman Stick, Vocals

Great Christian Vander Trio Live Show

There’s this great Christian Vander Trio live show floating around, awesome piano, bass, drums:

Paris, 01-31-1990

-The Night Has a Thousand Eyes

-Day After Day

-Like Sonny

-My Favorite Things


-Chim Chim Cheree

Anyone have a link?  Of course, this is the amazing Christian Vander of Magma fame.  Magma and the Christian Vander Trio, you must come play in the United States!

Kool Keith — Tashan Dorrsett

Wow, so Kool Keith actually has a good new album, Tashan Dorrsett! (mp3s)

His rhymes and delivery are way better than his last few efforts–perhaps inspired by the actually *really good* production/beats this time provided by DJ Junkaz Lou. Kutmaster Kurt and other producers had sounded pretty tired on their last few efforts with Kool Keith. In contrast, DJ Junkaz Lou pulls out some really good drum samples and programming , samples, scratches, and awesome analog sounding synth parts. Kool Keith hasn’t had production this good since…well, forever. Some might say Dr. Octagon had good production…but this is equally as good. Keith does fall back into some scatological and bladder-oriented rhymes once again…but overall Keith and DJ Junkaz Lou keep it pretty inspired and fresh. Really surprised at a very good effort with some really nice beats/production work. I heard Beck recorded a few songs with him way back, they should finally release those.

Amazon: Tashan Dorrsett! (mp3s)

Deezer: listen to Tashan Dorrsett for free

The Larry Hutch remix of Supa Supa Supreme is a particular standout production-wise.

Tashan Dorrsett trailer on YouTube. Only one beat is featured (sans album scratches and lyrics).