Got The Fever

Monday, March 31, 2008

The King

I have to admit that I haven’t been posting as often as I should (could), but life happens. However, once in a while I get the real passion back again and I just captured an abundance of passion this past weekend.

I have a cyber friend from Germany, Helmut, who every so often turns me on to a few outstanding tracks, or in this case, a whole album!

He’s given me advance tracks to an album by The King! Who wouldn’t want this? From what he’s telling me, an album will be released this summer consisting of unreleased sessions. Apparently around 1971-72 The King (given the material, I think in an effort to reach an even wider audience that was into ‘harder’ rock) recorded versions of then so called ‘FM’ rock staples.

Listening to a few of these I can really picture the sessions that led from his ‘Suspicious Minds’, and ‘Burning Love’ tracks into these.

LA Woman
You’re kidding, right? The Doors classic? I can only believe that he picked this, as I mentioned earlier, in an effort to reach the ever splintering masses who were moving away from AM and were flocking to album oriented rock. Although, this was an AM hit.

Nothing radical about the approach, but when done by The King it’s special anyway. But, you are not going to believe just how cool it sounds and how well he’s pulled it off!

Whole Lotta Love
What? The King doing a Zep song, and this one in particular? No way!


Don’t expect Jimmy Page and company, but really get the feel for him stoking the flames and giving it the King’s treatment! This is an extravagance as only he could do it! It’s more controlled than the original, but he doesn’t dampen the feel one iota. Rather, it has a more studio feel to it, but it’s sharp nonetheless. I think you’ll be very surprised and pleased by this!

The quality of these recordings is amazing and I have to assume that they, the producer(s) went through many processes (maybe overdubs to the originals?) to get them to this level. I know these will be soon popping up all over the net, but I'm glad to offer them here as soon as I got my hands on them!

I’m curious as to what the cover art will look like and also track listing and what session players were used.

Many thanks to Helmut (link held by request) for giving me such a treasure. Certainly gives me more to appreciate about The King and another reason why many consider him still on top!

LA Woman
Whole Lotta Love

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mash Ups

Sure, I’m addicted to music collecting. I admit it freely.

I gather, download, buy, trade, accept freebies and distribute to friends music of all styles. Yes, I am a music whore.

I am continuously listening to music during all times of day or night, I have to have a mix CD for traveling anywhere – short trip, long trip, driving around, going to work, visiting someone, coming back from work, special events and a mix, or certain album, for most every reason I can think of.

I’m sure I am not alone. There are lots of music whores like me who simply must listen to SOMETHING at any given moment.

However, there is one downfall to this. While trying to constantly find the just perfect mix of eclectic tracks, we tend to gloss over old staples. Songs which are perfectly good, could be even slight degrees better, in favor of the specialized assortment.

Which is why I was really happy to find a few sites that took sometimes unfairly overlooked tracks and gave them a whole new angle with which to approach them by. It’s the ‘mash-ups’ phenomenon.

You take two (or more) great tracks and with the help of technology, they’re integrated - playing seamlessly simultaneously, and when done correctly and with imagination, perfectly augment each other, making for a fresh and unique listening experience.

Sure, yet one more way for a music whore to continue to enjoy great music that he’s always had. Great for mix CD’s!

The selections I chose for today are from the Wax Audio blog who seem to (for this fairly new convert to the new technique) do a spectacular job of track selection and final product. Allow me to use his quote from the original posting from where these tracks are taken from:

Wax Audio presents...MASHOPOLOS
So... on a somewhat less serious note, this is MASHOPOLOS! It's a pop, hard-rock, metal, disco, movie-soundtrack, hindi-pop, bhangra type album put together using other people's music. Each pairing was achieved by loving cajoling and violent contortion of the source materials and was produced here in Athens, Greece (hence the album title) throughout February and March 2007. I was supposed to be resting and recouperating after 15 months hard overland slog across Asia - but just couldn't resist getting my hands dirty again. Stay tuned for more traditional Wax Audio fare later in the year!

Mashing Up That Hill
I quote now from the individual track listing:

Mashing up that Hill

These two artists have collaborated before - I was disappointed with the result. So here's my version - especially for those who love Kate Bush (sacred territory for me). Special thanks also to Robert Fripp from King Crimson for his unwittingly supplied ambient guitar noodlings.

I had to have listened to this a dozen times before reeling myself back in. Kate and Prince together? A pairing of two brilliant tracks, both sacred on their own, and yet derive such power from each other in this new format. This is a clever and inventive mash that takes nothing at all from the originals, and yet produces a novel and extraordinary pairing.

Whole Lotta Sabbath
Again, from the original posting:

Black Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Sabbath
Ever wondered what might have happened if Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin got together for a studio session 37 odd years ago? Wonder no more...

Packed with raw energy times two, I was blown away to hear this pairing. Raucous and unyielding, I was astounded and smiling at the same time when I first played this from the limited confines of my Dell. Two peerless, unlimited gods who gave birth to a new category of rock are mashed together in another unlikely pairing. But, guess what? It works, complete with images of fireworks! I only wish it could have been about a minute longer.

I invite you to take in a sparkling sprinkling of this twist on favorites. I want to thank the folks over at Wax Audio
for turning me – and now you, on to these tracks. Be sure to browse through their site for a complete listing of all their work and mashups.

Mashing Up That Hill
Whole Lotta Sabbath
From: Wax Audio

Friday, March 07, 2008

Jeff Healey

I was saddened this past week to hear of the passing of Jeff Healey. As late as it might have been, my first exposure to the man came in 1989’s “Roadhouse”. As the cliché goes, I was ‘blown away’ by his sweaty, gritty version of “Roadhouse Blues” and also swept up in the voluminous rendition of “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man”. The latter has such visual representation for me taken from the scene in the film when it was played.

The Jeff Healy tracks, for me, were more than the sum of individual songs that appeared on the soundtrack, they were an equal to the film itself and gave the awesome sword the film was its mighty sharpened edge.

I feel that Jeff accomplished and proved his edge in many of his releases that include “See The Light”(1988), “Hell To Pay”(1990), "Get Me Some”(2000) and “Feel This”(1992). A man with many styles that encompassed rock, jazz and blues. Truly he’s a guitarist that could please most.

If I was to be forced to pick a favorite album though, you might find it curious that I choose one that’s comprised of all covers.

Stuck In The Middle With You
Picture a swell rising below you. You stand on the board and begin to rise up. Much too quickly you lose balance and tumble beneath the curling crush of the white crest of the wave. Misjudging due to loss of direction, you realize that you’re far too deep under to take a breath and that breath you need is pounding at your expelled lungs. You struggle, panic lurking beneath a pallid veneer. Finally, surface, air and sun came back all at once.

This could what you might feel like listening to this stupendous version originally done by “Steeler’s Wheel”. Playing a cover, you best be sure that it’s packed with original attitude, and built with presentation and presence. Could you pick a better cover to hear in an overcrowded dive, deep past midnight, swilling with no thought of consequence, gyrating no matter your style and shouting at the top of your now raw voice?

Stop Breaking Down
Do you realize that the man was not only blind and played guitar, but played guitar in an unnatural way? The guitar lied flat (yes, flat) on his lap and he placed his fingers on TOP of the fretboard! Sans palm around the neck of the guitar! I don’t know but one or two who could lay claim that they could play this well without Beck, Clapton, Blackmore or Cray themselves as personal instructors. And, this guy does it blind. Can I have an ‘Amen’?

I venture that Robert Johnson had to have been smiling when he heard how well manipulated his song had been covered. Totally engrossing and immensely entertaining this bedrock jewel gives us but a glimpse of the true artist behind it.

Let it be known that Jeff left behind not only many fine recordings for us all to remember him by, but more importantly, a wife and children who would trade in all the recordings and fame for just a little more time.

Like another cliché goes: tough act to follow. Look for his just completed album "Mess Of Blues" to be released within the month.

Jeff Healy Band: Stuck In The Middle With You
Jeff Healy Band: Stop Breaking Down
Cover To Cover [1995]