June 28, 1981 Millard 1st Generation: Heart of Markness Podcast
We listen to another great 1st generation recording by St. Mike Millard, from June 28, 1981 at the LA Forum. This is the Long Distance Voyager tour, with Patrick Moraz playing keyboards. Lots of hits in this show.
I have been revisiting Led Zeppelin’s 1980 tour, and I had never listened to their July 5, 1980 show, in Munich. This is one of the only (maybe the only) show from this tour that doesn’t have a soundboard out there. That late 1980’s glut of dry soundboards did this tour no favors. Jimmy’s tone is brittle and highlights every flubbed note wayyyyy more than a good audience tape.
Munich is a very good audience tape, maybe even excellent. There’s good stereo separation, good ambience, and you can hear Jimmy’s guitar the way you would have heard it in the hall. On top of that it was a fun show.
At the conclusion of the show, a second drum kit was set up, next to Bonzo’s drums. Not even Keith Moon got his drum kit when he played with Zep in ’77. This is a one time thing.
After a brief break, Led Zeppelin comes back with the drummer from Bad Company, Simon Kirke. Bad Company was the biggest act (aside from Zeppelin themselves) on their Swan Song label, as well as friends with the band, so they had special access. Jimmy and Robert even jammed with Bad Company a couple of times, but that’s the subject of another blog post.
So here is a very cool, very funny, version of Whole Lotta Love, with two drummers. This is also the second to the last time the band would play this song, before Bonzo’s untimely death. It’s a fun one. Jimmy goes into the fun blues things, and even brings the drummers back into line, when they get lost. This recording really changed my mind about this tour, and tipped the scales in deciding to make this tour the topic of my next podcast.
Back in the long long ago, the late ’80’s, I managed a record store in Southern NH, and I bought an album from a group about whom I knew nothing (Jon Snow), called The Lyres. One track, this drunken horror show of a take, has stuck with me for 30 years.
She Pays The Rent starts with a shimmering tremolo guitar(which I loved because I had an amp with that effect) and builds into a nice organ based ballad. The vocals are rough. Jeff Connoly plays organ and sings, and if he’s not shitfaced in this song, then he’s doing a great impression of someone who is.
It’s pitchy, it’s politically incorrect, it’s rough, and it’s awesome. She Pays The Rent. There are myriad different versions of this song, but this is my go to. Enjoy.
I want to share this nice unreleased Coverdale Page track. It’s a nice acoustic number entitled Southern Comfort. There’s no solo or anything, but the chord voicings could only belong to one Mr. James Patrick Page. I could never connect with the Coverdale Page album.
A few years ago three unreleased songs were “leaked” by David Coverdale on his website. As such only lossy (.mp3) versions of these songs exist out here in the wild. This one, Southern Comfort, is the only acoustic track.
The is some mud in the water regarding this track, with some saying this is a unreleased track from David Coverdale’s 2000 solo album. However, the man himself said on Twitter that this song is from the Coverdale Page sessions. So, case closed. Plus it’s obviously Jimmy Page playing with that tuning.
One of these day’s I’ll cover Coverdale Page on the podcast. Until then let this hold you over.
In any case enjoy this little rarity (although rarities are a rarity in this digital age. Nothing’s rare if it’s on YouTube). 🙂
Many Led Zeppelin fans of a certain age remember the Death Wish 2 soundtrack. It was, decidedly, not Zeppelin. Jimmy Page has performed a few songs from this over the years, City Sirens, Who’s To Blame, and Prelude. He’s played them with the Arms Tour, with the Firm (at least Prelude), and on the Outrider tour.
They’re good tracks but there are a couple of others from this album which deserve some love. Jimmy’s choice of Chris Farlowe as vocalist has, in my opinion, limited the appeal of this soundtrack, but this was a very rushed, last minute project, and Chris was a friend with whom Jimmy had recorded before, so I get it. You may recognize Chris’ voice as the singer of Prison Blues on Jimmy’s Outrider album.
Hypnotizing Ways (Oh Mama)
Hypnotizing Ways is a nice rock song. Jimmy doesn’t usually use suspended fourths (music nerd alert), but I like it. If there was another singer on this I think it would have more traction, but I enjoy it.
A nice little instrumental jam. I really dig it. You can hear flashes of the guitar god on the solos. Jimmy made the noble decision to walk away from the Zeppelin catalog (at least until 1988), after the breakup of the band, so hearing some very Zep-like licks is refreshing.
The story of how this project came about is an interesting one, at least as much as the XYZ project, so perhaps I will do a podcast about it. Until that glorious day you will have to make do with these two songs, which have fallen through the cracks.
At this time the only place you can buy this (remastered and expanded) soundtrack is from Jimmy Page himself, on his website. From what I understand it sounds great and the extra tracks are pretty badass.
Derek And The Dominos are an anomaly in the career of Eric Clapton. Everyone knows about Layla, and the story behind it (kinda), but few know the album itself. It’s fucking great. You must listen to it fully.
After the breakup of Cream, and then the formation and immediate dissolution of Blind Faith, Eric Clapton was tired of being Eric Clapton. He was not tired of being addicted to heroin yet, though. He was still all thumbs up on that.
Eric Clapton was only 25 in 1970, yet he had already been famous for 7 years. He was the guitarist of the Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream for fuck’s sake. Cream. For that alone he would be in the hall of fame, and that was just one charm on the bracelet. And then Blind Faith which also was huge. Holy Shit. It’s a lot. Eric was a little freaked out being God. He toured with his Blind Faith opening act, Delaney and Bonnie, where he was fairly anonymous. It’s also where he met up with the fellows who would become the Dominos to his Derek.
Around this time (1970) George Harrison (bosom chum of Clapton) had just left the Beatles and was recording All Things Must Pass, his bestest solo album. It also featured all the other Beatles, just not all together (now), along with a bunch of fucks who would end up being the Dominos. Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason (kinda), and Jim Gordon. American fellows and exceptional musicians. They had swing, they had that southern Lynyrd Skynyrd shimmy. Seriously, listen to the music on Layla. It is pure Southern swamp. Hell, it could be Muscle Shoals.
Take a look at the above performance on the Johnny Cash Show. They’re tight. They sound great, and it has a country groove to it. Derek & The Dominos kicked ass.
So, where were we? Ah yes, Eric Clapton took George Harrison’s band as his own. That’s not all he took. Wink.
The Longing Of Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton had fallen in love with his best friend’s wife. Pattie Boyd Harrison has had more famous songs written about her than anyone else I can think of. Here’s some off the top of my head:
For You Blue
Bell Bottom Blues
There’s an article about 10 songs about her on Mental Floss, but the ones above are the biggies.
Eric Clapton’s Layla era songs are full of longing, regret, defiance, and conflict. The boy is hurting, but he’s in love. Look at the video below and see that even decades later, there’s still emotion he can tap into. Also, look at what a good singer he became.
Ok. This post has taken forever, over days, so I’m just going to birth this half formed, rather than let it languish in eternal almost done.
I am a child of the 1980’s. Generation X, that’s me. I’m middle aged but still play video games and read comic books. I’m probably creepy to the young women at work, but I still think I’m cool.
Anyway. Enough about my life. I’m about to hang myself in a moment of clarity. Let’s talk about my favorite band from the shittiest decade of all time, the 80’s.
The Cult showed up on my radar in 1985, on MTV (insert comment re: mtv:videos) with the song Rain.
This song kind of has balls, underneath the 80s shit production (more on that soon). They have a good look, and good song with a nice hook, and I dug it. I went out and bought the album (on vinyl for I was a record store snob). I LOVED IT. It had some clunkers but it was a solid album. What made it like manna from heaven was that it had balls. Kind of, but kind of was enough in that musical desolation that was the 80’s. (Mark, you seem to not like the 80’s much. Why is that? how perceptive. the 80’s were pure garbage. It’s the Taco Bell decade of the 20th Century. It’s completely void of nutrient but full of fat and flavor. It was the death rattle of the brief hope of the 60’s.) Anyway, back to our show.
Rain was good. I liked it. She Sells Sanctuary is good as well. It’s the most throwaway track in that it’s fluff, but it’s good fluff. What makes this album hold up as a good album is Love. The song Love has an actual groove. That’s something of which the 80’s was completely void. It was all white dancing. At least where I grew up in the Boston Metro area. Love would be a great song if the production didn’t completely neuter it. That song need some goddamn bass holding that groove together, and beefing up the drums. But no. It sounds like you’re listening to a good song on a drive in movie speaker. This band needs ambience. You need to record the room as well as the instruments. Like the Black Crowes. But no, the Cult got boned aurally.
I posit that in an alternate universe The Cult were the U2 of the 80’s and 90’s, with hit after hit, and arena tours and great production. U2 was huge because Brian Eno produced them, and contributed enormously to the sound of the band. The Cult never had a Brian Eno or George Martin to polish the rough diamond into a shining gem.
This post is a goddam train wreck because all I really wanted to was say, “Hey, listen to these songs. They’re good.” But then I started writing about the band, because who the fuck knows who the Cult are in 2016? Over six weeks I would login and add more words to this piece, trying to find a theme upon which to expound, but I never could really care enough. So. Listen to these songs. They’re good.
Why must you watch these Velvet Underground documentaries? Simple. There are few bands as absolutely seminal as the Velvet Underground. Hopefully you already know who they are, and why they’re the fertile crescent of Shadow that gives depth and perspective to the Optimistic Arrogance of the 60s. They’re a counterpoint to the Love Generation. Not pessimistic, or mopey, at all. Just dark and realistic. They’re the hours of hellish introspection that follow the euphoric trip. That’s it. They’re the comedown.
Velvet Underground Documentaries Number One
A Closer Look
A Closer Look (aka Under Review) is a recent (new millennium) documentary that features tons of Warhol Factory people, music critics, and (to my delight) lots of Mo Tucker and Doug Yule. It’s just about as good as it gets as far as Velvet Underground documentaries go. This video has been encoded at an abysmal 144p, which is super low res. However, it’s the one I can find online that’s complete. You can hunt around and find a higher res version in segments, if you’d like, but this one was satisfying to me.
You don’t get a lot of Doug Yule in most Velvet Underground documentaries. He was frozen out of their induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as their famous 1993 reunion tour. That’s too bad, because he was a contributor to their later work, and was a legit member who should be recognized for that. He burned bridges when he recorded a Velvet Underground album after Lou Reed left, without any other Velvets involved, but… so? The Velvets weren’t legends then. They were just a name to which Yule apparently had rights to use. Bad form perhaps, but not worth a 45 year ostracism.
Velvet Underground Documentaries Number Two
1987 French TV
I don’t even see a title for this one, but it’s from 1987, is just excellent, and.. it features interviews with Lou Reed, John Cale, and NICO (who died about a year later). Good stuff! Everyone is much younger, the band had been a viable force about 15 years prior (rather than 40+ in the first of the Velvet Underground documentaries), so everything is fresher. Plus the inclusion of Reed, Cale, and Nico, add gravitas to the story.
Excellent. You’ve watched both Velvet Underground documentaries, and are now converted. Welcome. Everyone should have a little Velvet in their collection, much in the same way millennials still buy Dark Side of the Moon. It’s canon.
So, if you’re a person of quality and would like to own some Velvets, I applaud you. Digital copies abound from the carrier of your choice, but if you want to own something you can hold, and kiss, and covet, and worship, then here are some suggestions from yours truly.