On Sunday September 15th 1963, four black girls (11 to 14 years old) were murdered by a bomb placed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Just like Nina Simone, John Coltrane was inspired to compose a musical tribute/response. Recorded on November 18th 1963, “Alabama” is Trane’s most compelling commentary, inspired by a . . . → Read More: John Coltrane – Alabama, by Pat Thomas
I’d love to go to a Stoned Soul Picnic right about now…… by the way – the four night run of shows by Miles Davis (with Chick Corea-Keith Jarrett-Jack DeJohnette-Steve Grossman and Airto) in June 1970 that become Miles Live at the Fillmore [East] was in fact, Miles opening for Laura Nyro each night . . . → Read More: Laura Nyro – Stoned Soul Picnic, by Pat Thomas
34 years ago today, REM’s Chronic Town EP was released and it simply changed the whole landscape of indie-rock, college-radio, clubs, touring, fanzines – it inspired a whole host of imitators (god help us!) but also tons of bands that sounded absolutely nothing like them (such as SST bands). During the first half of . . . → Read More: R.E.M. – Gardening at Night, by Pat Thomas
Strangely, this version of “Joe Cool” sung by Vince Guaraldi is NOT featured on any of the countless Peanuts soundtracks issued by Fantasy Records (their albums only have an instrumental version) – I had to buy a CD called Lost Cues from his family’s estate.
– Pat Thomas is the author of Listen, . . . → Read More: Vince Guaraldi – Joe Cool, by Pat Thomas
“Credit must be given to the foremothers: the Shaggs. In 1969 they recorded an album that can stand, I think, easily with Beatles ’65, Life with the Lions, Blonde on Blonde, and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks as one of the landmarks of rock history. The Wiggins sisters (an anti-power trio) not only redefined . . . → Read More: Good News About the Shaggs, by Pat Thomas
I just watched Mavis! on HBO – this documentary is so good, it even caused me to have warm feelings towards Jeff Tweedy!
There’s great vintage clips and commentary from Chuck D & Dylan, plus a warm moment with Levon Helm not long before he passed.
– Pat Thomas is the author . . . → Read More: Mavis! Staples Documentary is Excellent, by Pat Thomas
I’ve been trying to get my hands on this album for decades, today is the day I’ve got it in my hands! Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames live at The Flamingo Club in September 1963 recorded by Glyn Johns. The music has been described as involving “distinctly sensuous body movements and even the . . . → Read More: Georgie Fame – Rhythm and Blues at the Flamingo, by Pat Thomas
December 1979’s Concerts for Kampuchea, a fairly successful meeting between 70s classic rock in its final breaths and a crop of ‘new wave’ bands starting to hit commercial success. Plant was the only old dude to mix it up with a ‘contemporary’ band – although nobody thought about it at the time – Rockpile’s . . . → Read More: Robert Plant and Rockpile – Little Sister – Concerts for Kampuchea, by Pat Thomas
Frank Sinatra in 1968 singing Laura Nyro’s “Sweet Blindness” (from Eli and the Thirteenth Confession) dressed as the 6th member of the 5th Dimension – let’s go down by the grapevine, drink my daddy’s wine, get happy!
– Pat Thomas is the author of Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power . . . → Read More: Frank Sinatra – Sweet Blindness, by Pat Thomas
Only took me about 30 years to find this album by Millie – the very first known Nick Drake cover version – a jaunty rocksteady / ska version of the song “Mayfair” was recorded before Nick’s own version that appears on Nick’s debut album, Five Leaves Left. Must be heard to be believed.
. . . → Read More: Millie – Mayfair, by Pat Thomas
While others make the pilgrimage to genuflect inside Room #8 at Joshua Tree Inn for Gram – you’ll find me in Tipton, sitting under a headstone inscribed “Harold Eugene Clark – No Other.” Today is Gene Clark’s birthday and nobody ever captured the LA experience as poignantly as he did with this.
– . . . → Read More: Gene Clark – Los Angeles, by Pat Thomas
John Renbourn never enjoyed the 20-something beard-driven renaissance of his pal Bert Jansch in Ballard, Brooklyn, Silver Lake or Oakland – but this new 20 song collection of all unreleased early 60’s recordings should help – Beverly Martyn (John’s wife) sings on a few cuts, while Davy Graham and Mac MacLeod sit in on . . . → Read More: John Renbourn – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, by Pat Thomas
In 1971, Porter Wagoner recorded this perfect description of “The Rubber Room.” You might describe it as “psych-country.” It’s certainly not a pop song. As Waylon Jennings once said, Porter “couldn’t go pop with a mouthful of firecrackers.”
– Pat Thomas is the author of Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black . . . → Read More: Porter Wagoner – The Rubber Room, by Pat Thomas
You can trace the cultural landscape of the 70s – by mirroring it to the music of Rod Stewart – the decade begins with the sublime British folk and American ‘roots-music’ influenced solo albums running parallel with the blues based swagger of his Faces recordings (a good time was had by all) – then . . . → Read More: Rod Stewart – Hot Legs, by Pat Thomas
When Steve Wynn finished producing Chris Cacavas debut solo album in early 1989, I took the master tapes over to the offices of CMJ; College Music Journal. I played this song for the editor and he smiled and looked at me and said “holy shit, this sounds like the Buffalo Springfield jamming with Steppenwolf”. . . . → Read More: Chris Cacavas – Angel on a Mattress Spring, by Pat Thomas
Pat Thomas at Big Pink
Here are 30 bands that I’ve NEVER shared a stage or dressing room with – and I’m totally at peace with that:
1) Pavement 2) Thurston Moore 3) Bonnie Prince Billy 4) Kid Rock 5) Tool 6) Helmet 7) Fleet Foxes 8) Rem (after Bill Berry left) 9) Replacements . . . → Read More: 30 Bands I’ve Never Shared a Stage With, by Pat Thomas
Every couple of years, a new generation discovers folk singer/songwriter Jackson C. Frank – and gets all obsessive about him – similar to Nick Drake, Judee Sill, (and for reasons I’ve never understood) Vashti Bunyan – and yet, oddly not enough people do that with Sandy Denny. Anyway Frank is worth some obsessing – . . . → Read More: Jackson C. Frank – The Complete Recordings, by Pat Thomas
Blending the gospel with the secular; Dylan in New Orleans, November 1981: This show was recorded for a proposed live album, which was never issued (apart from “Heart of Mine”, which appeared on Biograph), Dylan scholar Paul Williams calls this “one of his most inventive tours”, and the setlist — which mixes songs from . . . → Read More: Bob Dylan – Stadiums of the Damned, by Pat Thomas
I had been a resident of San Francisco for all of 24 hrs when I strolled into a South of Market bar in October 1987 and spotted Chuck Prophet propping up a bar stool. I sat down, didn’t introduce myself, then started making comments and asking questions about the other members of Green On . . . → Read More: Chuck Prophet – Brighton 1993 Savannah, by Pat Thomas
I clearly remember Peter Holsapple and DB’s playing “Suspicious Minds” at Scorgies in Rochester, NY circa 1984 and Peter making an impassioned plee for folks not to believe all the myth and horseshit of Elvis and just dig the music – that made a strong impression on me. During that era doing an Elvis . . . → Read More: Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds Live 1973, by Pat Thomas