When Frank Zappa came to the conclusion that he had enough of dealing with Warner Bros. Records he decided to form his own label called Zappa Records in 1977 under a deal with Phonogram Records. The first album Zappa Records released that wasn’t one of Frank’s was L. Shankar’s Touch Me There in 1979. Shankar, an Indian-born American violinist, singer and composer, worked closely with FZ who not only provided lyrics for the project but also produced it and contributed some of the music.
The opening track of Touch Me There is the bombastic Dead Girls of London featuring vocals from Ike Willis and Zappa. However the song was originally recorded with Van Morrison handling vox. Van The Man was a Warner Bros. recording artist and the label wanted no part in letting his vocals be used, probably to spite Frank after lots of legal wrangling. Thankfully, we can hear the version featuring Van Morrison as it was released on the compilation The Frank Zappa AAAFNRAAAAAM Birthday Bundle 2011. You can always count on record labels to bury great tracks. See if you agree…
We couldn’t let Thanksgiving pass around these parts without our annual fluffage of the greatest rock movie of all-time - The Last Waltz. Exactly 34 years ago today, about 5,000 lucky fans were treated to a full Thanksgiving dinner, followed by a star-studded “farewell concert” from The Band. With each viewing I seem to come away with a new favorite performance from the flick and after last night’s annual viewing it’s when Van Morrison took the stage to perform Caravan…
Van Morrison will be Jimmy Fallon’s first musical guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, which kicks off March 2 on NBC. Actor Robert De Niro will be Fallon’s first guest. Also tabbed to appear during Jimmy’s first week are Tina Fey, Jon Bon Jovi, Santogold, Cameron Diaz, Billy Crudup, Serena Williams, Ludacris, Donald Trump, Drew Barrymore and Mario Batali.
Fallon recently attended the grand re-opening of the Beacon Theatre where he told Hidden Track that he’s a big Allman Brothers fan and called their shows the best he’d ever seen at the newly refurbished venue. When asked about his favorite Paul Simon song, Fallon went beyond the hits and selected The Late Great Johnny Ace – a tune Simon included on his underrated 1983 album Hearts and Bones.
The former SNL cast member takes the reigns of Late Night from Conan O’Brien, who is currently finishing his last week in the 12:30 timeslot. As previously reported, The White Stripes will make their first appearance since 2006 on Friday night’s final episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Back in mid-November Van Morrison scheduled a special three-night run at the Hollywood Bowl in California with the promise of a full performance of arguably his best work, Astral Weeks. As we reported, those memorable concerts were captured on film for a DVD to be released later this year. But for those of you who can’t wait EMI will be releasing Astral Weeks Live At the Hollywood Bowl on CD and deluxe double vinyl on February 10.
For those of us who couldn’t make it out West, Van The Man has announced that he will once again revisit the album for two shows in New York at the WaMu Theater @ Madison Square Garden on February 27 & 28.
Finally, while we’re a bit late on this one we are sad to report the passing of Delaney Bramlett at the age of 69 from complications of gall bladder surgery. Bramlett was best known as the front man for the blue-eyed soul act Delaney & Bonnie – the group that Eric Clapton decided to join after leaving Blind Faith, and as the story goes was also responsible for teaching George Harrison how to play slide guitar. Bramlett will be missed.
This past weekend Van Morrison took the stage at the Hollywood Bowl for a special three-night stand at the historic venue. The legendary singer-songwriter used two of those nights to revisit arguably his most revered album Astral Weeks. Morrison first delivered a short set of career spanning material, before performing the eight track album in a slightly reworked order – with some members from the original recording sessions joining him.
Both nights were captured on film for a upcoming DVD release of the festivities. While we wait for the release to hits stores, let’s take a look at Van the Man performing the title track from the legendary album from a show this past summer in Castellon, Spain. Unfortunately the videos a bit obscured by an obnoxiously huge VM watermark courtesy of the singers official website, but it still sounds damn good…
Over the last few years, the hot thing has been get indie-rock bands to perform a classic album from their catalog. Well, for his upcoming residency at the Hollywood Bowl, legendary singer-songwriter Van Morrison will perform arguably his best album- Astral Weeks – in its entirety. Joining Van The Man will be a number of the musicians who originally performed on the album. The three night run – set to take place on November 7, 8 & 9 – will be filmed for a DVD release called Astral Weeks Live At The Hollywood Bowl.
If you aren’t into the full album thing, then maybe you’ll dig one of these recently announced tours…
Finally, several months back roots/Americana magazine No Depression ceased publication with the promise of relaunching as a web magazine in the coming months. Well, they have made good on that promise and have recently relaunched with a brand spanking new website and some amazing content. As a way of celebrating this No Depression is sponsoring a number of a parties around the country over the next few weeks featuring an impressive roster of talent that includes Lucinda Williams, Minus 5, Alejandro Escovedo and Nick Lowe, as well as dropping a hint of a full festival to take place in Seattle next July. Welcome back guys!
No matter how much success a musician has found or how many sold out shows that person has played over the years, he or she should never forget what got them to the top of the mountain: the fans. The hard-working, 9 am – 5 pm fans who pay good money to attend shows, buy merchandise and, at least before the digital revolution, buy albums.
On Saturday night, my wife and I trekked up to the United Palace Theater in New York City to see Van Morrison, an icon and legend in the music world. The man has put out enough albums to fill a CD rack and has played the best venues around the world for the last 30 years. He knows what he is and the fans know too. He’s a musical genius. A guy with a voice so smooth and silky, it can hypnotize you. He’s funky and jazzy and has one of the most distinct voices in all of music. He is almost mystical. But he’s also clueless.
Fans, including my wife and I, shelled out anywhere from $80 to $350 for tickets and fees to see Morrison perform for a mere 92 minutes on Saturday night. The set was mind-blowing. A fusion of jazz, funk and rock with just enough lullaby to melt you into your seat, Morrison crafted a setlist of mostly newer material and selections from his forth-coming album filled with life and eclectic punch. It was a wonderful set of music. But it wasn’t enough. With a ticket time of 7:30 SHARP (The word SHARP actually appeared on the ticket), Morrison was off the stage and probably on his way to a nice steak dinner before most New York City concerts even get started. It was 9:02 pm and he was already giving a half-hearted bow to the crowd. Read on to find out why Luke thinks Van isn’t the Man…
Live Nation moved one step closer to an imminent showdown with Ticketmaster by forging a partnership with CTS Eventim, a global ticketing technology platform. The artist formerly known as Clear Channel Entertainment poses the first real threat to Ticketmaster’s reign of terror since the long lost days of Ticketron.
We’re sick of paying $2.50 for the honor of printing our own tickets, so we welcome any relief competition gives to the consumer. Then again, Live Nation isn’t quite the Ralph Nader of the entertainment biz, so maybe we will just have two companies sucking us dry. Yeah, that’s the more likely option. I sense we’re gonna get the fingercuffs from both ends on this one.
So let’s get the Friday before Christmas started with a hearty batch of links:
The latest FIFA football rankings are out, and a scrappy Northern Ireland side has risen four places to 32nd in the world. That’s three spots ahead of the Republic of Ireland, and clearly this week, Northern Irish eyes are smiling. And pointing and laughing at the Irish, I’m sure.
As someone whose borderline obsessed with the other football these days, that seemed like an interesting story to me. And as someone whose borderline obsessed with music, that interesting story made me think of Van Morrison, though I have no way of being sure he actually gives a shit about the national team, nor for that matter the rankings of the world’s other national teams.
But now I’m stuck with Van the Man on the brain, so let’s turn to London’s Rainbow Theatre on the evening of July 24, 1973. Morrison and a sizeable band tore up the stage that night, and now it’s up on The YouTube for all the world to drool. And, hey, if you like what you see, you can always download it from The Trader’s Den. Enjoy the awesome airkicks, a CaraVan staple.
It’s Uncle Neddy’s mix tape time, so let’s all gather ’round the campfire and listen to what our main man has in store for us this week…
Another completely, 100 percent random crop of six tunes as picked for you by iTunes, without further comment. I offer a questionable prize to he or she who can tie these together in a coherent way. I dare you.
01 Chicago People — Sam Prekop: Who’s Your New Professor
02 These Dreams of You — Van Morrison: Moondance
03 All on a Mardi Gras Day — Dr. John: Montreux Jazz Festival 30 June 1973
04 Tyrone — My Morning Jacket: Live on KVRX 15 October 2000
05 The Model — Belle & Sebastian: Our Favourite Party Songs
06 Haven’t Got A Clue — The Flaming Lips: At War With The Mystics
We’re getting back to our roots with a jam-heavy edition of Grousing the Aisles. All four artists featured here love to noodle, each in completely different ways. First up is U-Melt, a band that mixes together more genres than the Bonnaroo lineup. Also featured this week is an amazing compilation of Jerry Garcia covering Van the Man. We follow that up with two of the crispiest shows I’ve ever heard from Gov’t Mule and the Phish. Enough with the small talk — check it out…
U-Melt’s music is all over the place. Within five minutes the band can hit heavy metal riffs, Steely Dan-esque lyrics and poppy melodies. The show featured here is a crispy soundboard from the band’s recent peformance at the Wheel House in Narragansett, RI. One of the segments that you’d only see at a U-Melt show is the scorching Bubblehouse > Boy In A Bubble > Bubblehouse that the band drops early in the show. U-Melt has never run away from their influences, covering the likes of Phish, the Smashing Pumpkins and MMW. Bubblehouse sounds extremely tasty with the addition of some rippin’ guitar.
U-Melt’s epic compositions are the true stars of this March 2007 recording. A Robbins Tale is a well-written tune that’s got a Steely Dan meets ELP vibe. The second set is palindromic in nature, and it’s chock full of some of the best this band has to offer. Kind Insight features Talking Heads-esque vocals with a beat that kinda sounds like Caravan on acid. I think I’ve thrown out enough random band comparisons for one day, so just go check out this show before I run out of ‘em.
Read on after the jump for the rest of this week’s Grousing The Aisles…
As you may remember from last week’s edition, our resident mixologist Dan Alford is taking his downloadable act to Mondays. This line change left a gaping void in the authorship of this department, so I’ve decided to step in and plug the hole as best I can. And for my first trick, I’m breaking out the Cauldron of Hodgepodge and delivering a smorgasbord of nine tunes for your pleasure. Niiine tuuunes.
We’ll kick things off with Got a Thing On My Mind from the ever-funky Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, move into a dyn-o-mite tune called Spiderpussy off a ’70s porn compilation called Pornosonic, hit up Use Me by the incomparable Bill Withers, switch gears entirely and hit Plane Crash by moe. with John Medeski from the Treymoe.deski Tsunami Benefit, segue into Tang the Hump from Stanton Moore Trio, follow that up with a gorgeous live version of Caravan by Van the Man, switch gears again with an inspiring cover of Richard Thompson’s 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by the Del McCoury Band, break out the random When the Going Gets Tough from Billy Ocean and end the proceedings with Something for Rockets off the Benevento/Russo Duo’s Play Pause Stop album. Enjoy.
Urgh! A Music War is one of the most criminally overlooked music films ever made. In 1981, the music scene was smack dab in the middle of punk giving way to New Wave. This incredible documentary chronicles the best bands from that insane time period, featuring bands like The Police, XTC and Devo live in action. Distribution issues make it really hard to find a copy of the flick, but The Lost Turntable has done us all a huge favor by making all the music from the soundtrack available for download.
Proud Papa Glide Magazine answers the question: Who is Juan McLean?
Hold Your Head Up: The Zombies to re-unite and play some Argent
The past few weeks have been the calm before the storm as far as The Police is concerned. Over the past few weeks, Sting has been finishing his lute work and re-uniting with the boys to practice for the upcoming world tour. Billboard runs down the latest news, including word of a warm-up show in a few weeks. It’s SO on.
The lineup at this year’s Bonnaroo festival is really one of the coolest collections of festival talent ever assembled. I mean, look at that roster — it just doesn’t stop, and there’s something for everyone. But the cool managed to get even cooler when the organizers added legendary saxomaphonist Ornette Coleman to the bill a few weeks back. And if you want my advice, there are two acts you shan’t miss down there: Coleman and Richard Thompson (I’ve been fully convinced).
We’ve featured some of Thompson’s work ’round here before, so let’s take this equal time to air some of Coleman’s stellar music. Shit, this is funky:
And how ’bout that shot of Milton Berle’s legendary genitals? Onto the rest:
While we’re on the kickass jazz kick, let’s head to the hall of legends and showcase a little Miles and Coltrane on this clip of What from 1958. I know I use the phrase “off the charts” a lot, but these guys were truly so off the charts that the chartists couldn’t even find new charts on which they would rate. Can’t go wrong with a rhythm section of Wynton Kelly on keys, Paul Chambers on bass, Jimmy Cobb on the kit. Beautiful stuff.
The Modern Jazz Quartet is easily the most underrated jazz band in history. Sure they were acclaimed in their time, but you don’t hear a thing about them in terms of historical legacy. They’ve been one of my favorites for a long time, and one viewing of this Bag’s Groove may make you a full-time convert as well – it’s only the first three minutes, but hopefully it’ll whet your appetite for Milt, Percy, John and Connie.
Vocals for vocals, pound for pound, if I were starting a band and needed a pure, evocative lead singer, I’ll take Van Morrison and I’ll give you the field. And we’d win every Battle of the Bands we enter, and you won’t any of the Battle of the Bands you enter. Warm Love? Yes I’ll take some, Van.
Paging stoned high school and college kids everywhere: You’re gonna want to check out this amazing Pink Floyd TV website that has done the hard work and amassed just about every awesome video of the band out there on the cyberwebs. Full Dark Side in concert. For real, yo.
Finally, we’ll end with a classic music management clip that has somehow escaped my peepers for many months. Here’s a hilarious (and sad) video of two members of The Turtles in 1990 explaining the shitty managerial experiences that come along with being the group that sang “Happy Together.” Really, this video rocks. (And it’s so sad.)
After a couple of short weeks, we’re back to the grind with a full week of action. Don’t think of it as more work, think of it as more Hidden Track. To start you off on the right foot, here’s a handful of links to keep you occupied:
Cold Turkey’s Benji Eisen and Mike Greenhaus offer us a look at the recently completed Jam Cruise
Jimmy Vivino of the Max Weinberg 7 leads a tribute to Bill Graham and the Fillmore East days at BB King’s tonight
For those who miss the smell of vinyl, check out this great gallery of classic rock album covers