Invitation To Openness: The Jazz & Soul Photography Of Les McCann 1960-1980

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 All of them previously unpublished until now.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

Van Morrison’s Moondance: A Perfect Album, by Pat Thomas

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

Frida Ensam, 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

Records Collecting Dust Movie Coming to Portland Feb. 11, 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

The Bats – Daddy’s Highway, 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 – Darling Be Home Soon, 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

Laura Nyro – Christmas and the Beads of Sweat, 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

Barbara Manning – Scissors, 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

Downhill Racer, 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

Robert Plant – Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, 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

Cat Stevens New Album – Tell ‘Em I’m Gone, 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

Jack Bruce RIP, 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

Quincy Jones – Smackwater Jack, What’s Goin’ On, 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

Neil Diamond – The Pot Smoker’s Song, 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

Revolution and Street Fighting Man Coincidentally Rock 1968 Chicago Protests, 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.

Van Morrison – Linden Arden Stole the Highlights, by Pat Thomas

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

Shaun Cassidy – So Sad About Us, 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

Pat Thomas, Ron Johnson and Gary Perry to Discuss Legacy of the 1965 Watts Riots, the LA Rebellion and Social Justice, Reviving a Cultural, Social, Artistic and Political Framework on March 23 at 6PM, New Time

The lecture in which Pat Thomas will participate, sponsored by the Northwest Film Forum on 1960s/1970’s underground African American films on Saturday March 23rd in Seattle has been changed from 8 pm to 6 pm – the NEW time for this free event is 6 pm !

After two trips to London (May and . . . → Read More: Pat Thomas, Ron Johnson and Gary Perry to Discuss Legacy of the 1965 Watts Riots, the LA Rebellion and Social Justice, Reviving a Cultural, Social, Artistic and Political Framework on March 23 at 6PM, New Time

Pat Thomas, Ron Johnson and Gary Perry to Discuss Legacy of the 1965 Watts Riots, the LA Rebellion and Social Justice, Reviving a Cultural, Social, Artistic and Political Framework on March 23 at 6PM, New Time

The lecture in which Pat Thomas will participate, sponsored by the Northwest Film Forum on 1960s/1970’s underground African American films on Saturday March 23rd in Seattle has been changed from 8 pm to 6 pm – the NEW time for this free event is 6 pm !

After two trips to London (May and . . . → Read More: Pat Thomas, Ron Johnson and Gary Perry to Discuss Legacy of the 1965 Watts Riots, the LA Rebellion and Social Justice, Reviving a Cultural, Social, Artistic and Political Framework on March 23 at 6PM, New Time

Led Zeppelin – White Summer, By Pat Thomas

This solo/instrumental song, “White Summer,” from 1970, was never on any of their original LPs – but captures perfectly Page’s ability to borrow and steal and make it his own. Yes, I know he got some riffs from Bert Jansch, which Jansch got from Anne Briggs, and let’s not forgot Davy Graham and several . . . → Read More: Led Zeppelin – White Summer, By Pat Thomas