Recently, a new article about the origins of Van Morrison‘s Astral Weeks was making the rounds of Facebook, here’s a few words that I’ve jotted down on how I “hear” that album: I’ve never understood why people feel the need to expand the tale (and myth) of Astral Weeks. It’s perfect just the way . . . → Read More: Come On People, It’s Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, by Pat Thomas
In the 1980’s there were a handful of life-changing records. Not just records that I loved -but ones that caused me to actually make changes in my life. The Dream Syndicate inspired me to move to California. The Rain Parade is partially why I got into the music business. One record that also affected . . . → Read More: 28th Day – 25 Pills, by Pat Thomas
No thanks to Mojo, all classic rock bands have been covered to death. So the most interesting action is now the ‘sidebar’ stories. The Beatles Good Ol’ Freda movie was better than covering Sgt. Pepper for the 1000th time! With that in mind, this NEW movie is a gift for WHO fans. for anyone . . . → Read More: Lambert & Stamp Who Documentary, by Pat Thomas
Fantagraphics Books has just released Invitation To Openness: The Jazz & Soul Photography Of Les McCann 1960-1980 a beautiful hardcover coffee table book which collects the photographs of legendary musician Les McCann; he documented the jazz and soul scene —across several decades. All of them previously unpublished until now. Perhaps the largest collection of . . . → Read More: Invitation To Openness: The Jazz & Soul Photography Of Les McCann 1960-1980
45 years ago today, 2/28/1970 – Van Morrison released the Moondance album. I jotted down a few thoughts on what I think in 2015.
Van Morrison’s second Warner Brothers album is so good; it arguably could have been a ‘best of’ collection. One of those rare records in which there’s no bad tracks. At . . . → Read More: Van Morrison’s Moondance: A Perfect Album, by Pat Thomas
I’ve never understood the fascination that my friends have for ABBA. My ABBA compilation, would be a 4 song EP. Their music is a piece of chalk marinated in vinegar. However, I have a soft-spot for the 1975 Frida ensam (“Frida Alone”) LP. Sung all in Swedish, it includes versions of Bowie’s “Liv på . . . → Read More: Frida Ensam, by Pat Thomas
Was interesting to hear in both the movie and the panel discussion afterwards last night in LA, how many “punk legends” got inspired by “prog-rock” in the early 70’s. Great discussion by Jello Biafra about Hawkwind and Keith Morris praising Yes, King Crimson, etc. He wasn’t mentioned but John Lydon also went down that . . . → Read More: Records Collecting Dust Movie Coming to Portland Feb. 11, by Pat Thomas
Not only the best LP to come out of the massive Flying Nun / Kiwi stable (which had much good to great talent, but few who delivered complete albums as consistent and captivating as this one), but amongst the best indie albums anywhere by any group in the second half of the 80’s.
. . . → Read More: The Bats – Daddy’s Highway, by Pat Thomas
Joe Cocker was one of those guys that my pals liked to mock and was fun for John Belushi to parody. But at his peak, Joe was “thee song interpreter” of his generation. Most famously, he was one of the first and best to really rework a Beatles song into something new, different and . . . → Read More: Joe Cocker – Darling Be Home Soon, by Pat Thomas
For me, this 1970 LP is the best “holiday” album. Why? Laura Nyro wrote all the songs, except one, which Carole King did. Felix Cavaliere and Arif Mardin produced it. The backing band are the Swampers from Muscle Shoals – plus Duane Allman AND Alice Coltrane play on it. What more could you want?
. . . → Read More: Laura Nyro – Christmas and the Beads of Sweat, by Pat Thomas
For me, the soundtrack of the late 80’s and early 90’s, the definitive ‘indie rock’ artist, was Barbara Manning. Her ethereal vocals over the top of a 1960s English folk / 70’s Krautrock / 80’s Kiwi Flying Nun blend was not only unique, it was transcendent. Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo and Robyn Hitchcock . . . → Read More: Barbara Manning – Scissors, by Pat Thomas
I’ve always liked this movie, Redford’s character as an incredibly driven loner from a small town, who is drawn to the spotlight and Europe is a good role for him – the cinematography of the skiing and small towns is incredible (filmed on location providing a great snapshot of small European towns circa 1969). . . . → Read More: Downhill Racer, by Pat Thomas
Listening to the new Robert Plant album Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar and while it’s not nearly as captivating as 2010’s Band of Joy (which ranks with Plant’s best work ever) – this new one, at this stage in his nearly 50 year career is fairly fresh and different from previous work. Quality-wise, I’d . . . → Read More: Robert Plant – Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, by Pat Thomas
The new “Cat Stevens” album isn’t as good as I thought it would be – it’s about 20x times better! Also pleased to hear “Cat” questioning some of his spiritual beliefs and most surprising, blues music with the likes of Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica. And fellow traveler Richard Thompson makes an appearance.
– . . . → Read More: Cat Stevens New Album – Tell ‘Em I’m Gone, by Pat Thomas
There are unconfirmed reports that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce is dead. Frankly, that matters little, as I’ve enjoyed his presence for decades and it won’t diminish now. I carry a copy of his solo LPs “Songs For a Tailor” and “Harmony Row” with me at all times. As a teenager, those Cream records became rooted . . . → Read More: Jack Bruce RIP, by Pat Thomas
1971: Quincy and heavy friends ‘sing’ Carole King, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, and more. Nearly every jazz and studio musician in NYC and LA played on this – from Freddie Hubbard to Joe Beck to Jimmy Smith to Carole Kaye with Paul Beaver on moog, Toots Thielmans on harp.
– Pat Thomas . . . → Read More: Quincy Jones – Smackwater Jack, What’s Goin’ On, by Pat Thomas
Considered so ‘uncool’ – he’s totally cool, during this 1968 to 1972 period when he recorded for Uni Records. Besides the highly-crafted hits, there’s the occasional Fred Neil or Joni Mitchell cover, but the highlight is always his own tunes, wacky sh*t like “The Pot Smokers Song” – every one of them perfectly played . . . → Read More: Neil Diamond – The Pot Smoker’s Song, by Pat Thomas
Interesting to note that during the week of the protests at the Chicago Democratic Convention in ’68, the Beatles released “Revolution” and the Stones “Street Fighting Man” as singles.
– Pat Thomas is the author of Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975.
40 years ago today, Van Morrison released the Veedon Fleece album – for every person who moans that Van never recorded another Astral Weeks – this album is for you. For everyone who claims Van is an “old git” – but thinks that someone like Robyn Hitchcock is still relevant, then keep in mind . . . → Read More: Van Morrison – Linden Arden Stole the Highlights, by Pat Thomas
We all remember Shaun Cassidy as a 70’s “teen idol” – but we tend to forget his 1980 exploration into “new wave / punk” with his “Wasp” album produced by Todd Rundgren with Todd & Utopia as the backing band – they cover songs by Bowie, Talking Heads, the Animals, and Ian Hunter. There’s . . . → Read More: Shaun Cassidy – So Sad About Us, by Pat Thomas