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Friday, April 29, 2011

WWW of Spin Turlock #26: Harvey & Heavy Music

The endless series of music reviews continues...

Robbie Basho - Falconer's Arm I & II

was an American guitarist who recorded between 1965 & 1986, before his untimely death...more on that later..
He's most often referred to in the context of such pickers as John Fahey & Leo Kotke, but his thing was somewhat different from said mooks. Basho incorporated eastern modal styles & other non-US sources BEFORE McGuinn, Harrison et al on the steel string guitar.
That approach yielded what we used to call a "mixed bag" of aesthetic results. On the one hand, there's a whole bunch of third-eye stimulus going on. On the other, a whole lotta "new age" snoozak would be generated as a result. And Basho would occasionally open his yap, as many contemporary observers would point out, to less than fab effect.
This particular outing is one of the better ones. The recording is primitive by modern day standards, but the power shines through: his paws must have had callouses on callouses. The third eye motion does not let up from start to finish, even when he's warbling.
Basho died during a visit to the chiropractor. There is a life lesson to be learned from this: only let loved ones rub your back.
Rating: ****

Photo courtesy of

Various artists: The Fonotone Records Story 1956-1969

Joe Bussard, whose swell comp of vintage blues, jazz, old-timey, and gospel 78s was praised in our last issue, was head of the Fonotone label back in the day. Most of these recording strived to emulate the feel of said 78s, and the musicians he recruited to do this were top drawer. Stefan Grossman, Mike Seeger, and John Fahey (under the pre-Blind Death handle of Blind Thomas) all show up here.
The problem with things of this nature is, after a certain while, you get the running standing still effect. All of the aforementioned players moved on, but this comp - while enjoyable - stands frozen. And after three hours, it wears on you.
Even the Chesterfield Kings run comparatively further, by comparison, working with the admittedly time-limited garage-rock genre.
Rating: ** 1/2

Various Artists:
Psychedelic States: Alabama in the 60's Vol.2

And speaking of limited, this is rare these days. Think of it as a pubescent, fuzz-box driven ode to Eddie Flowers primo childhood memories. All of it is completely derivative ,but so fuggin' what? Doofus inspiration abounds, including the lyrical inspiration of George Wallace Jr. Foreigners like myself eat this stuff up.

T Rex
- Live 1977

Sad, but true: the end was near for head dino,Marc Bolan. Judging by this document, had he missed that tree in September '77, the entropy of the universe would surely have taken him down. This documents what creeping entropy sounds like in the advanced stages. I won't listen to it again...too depressing.

Bob Seger (w/the Last Heard & w/the Bob Seger System)

Thanks to You Tube, you can hear all those regional, Detroit hits, from 1966's East Side Story to 1972's Looking Back, most of which were reprised on the the first, Live Silver Bullet LP. That's how I first encountered this stuff: listening to "Rosalie" on Windsor's CKLW 800 AM (The Great Eight"), the only remotely rock station I could pick up in Kincardine, ON. in 1975. Bob grew a beard & got famous outside of the Windsor/Detroit area with Night Moves, and forsook the hard rock/soul mix for "mature" singer-songwriting. You, on the other hand, have a shaving razor and a high-speed connection. Use both judiciously. Dig these clips, and try to tell me they're anything less than great. I will surely scoff you down

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