Monday, August 25, 2008

Provisional Picnic timetable?

A typed Electric Picnic timetable which purports to be the official one has been leaked.

It's clash city as far as I can see for quite a number of acts I was hoping to catch and there's a few mystifying times/stages too. Yet again, the Main Stage will be deserted for most of the festival, particularly on Sunday which is just one old cripple and heritage act after another. The most glaring omission from the Main Stage on Sunday has to be Christy Moore who is playing the noisy and boisterous Crawdaddy stage on the Friday evening. Stange choice that. Sunday is probably the weakest of the three days, thanks in no small part to the atrocious decision to book the Sex Pistols. The tent will be heaving for MBV no doubt, as it will for Underworld on the Saturday, the set I'm most looking forward to all weekend.
Friday night has plenty to offer as does Saturday evening. Wonder who the 'mystery guest' on Sunday night will be? As you can see the time after MBV has been left blank, unless of course they're planning an hour long wall of feedback during "You Made Me Realise" instead of the customary half hour.
Hot Lunch festival site report: A friend of Hot Lunch was on site in Stradbally this morning putting up a mast, and reports that the Green 'Oscar Wilde' campsite and dance area is probably the wettest/swampiest part of the site. His exact words were "it's a disaster waiting to happen". The yellow 'Hitler' campsite is also set to be a bit soft but he said the rest of the site is holding up pretty well with just a few areas under water.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Johnny Cash at Glastonbury

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

And with that famous introduction, uttered from the centre of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury on Sunday June 26th 1994, Johnny Cash won himself around 60,000 new fans and invented the Sunday afternoon 'living legend' slot at the festival. It helped that he followed his iconic introduction with a decent set, and his Glastonbury show has gone down in history, with even the man in black himself rating it as one of his own own personal favourites. Christ, the Garda helicopter is flying around outside, the knackers must be at it again. One would imagine the Olympics would have quietened them down. However, for me the Glastonbury show is typical of the stodgy ground Cash had mithered himself in for decades. I saw him in Dublin at the turn of the decade and whilst good fun, it was hardly the sort of show to cement itself in ones list of favorite gigs. It was so old hat that he even had TR Dallas supporting him that night!

Anyway, the Glastonbury show did mark a pivitol moment in the career of The Man in Black as it was this year when he released 'American Recordings', the first in is savage series of albums with Rick Rubin. Some tracks from it appear in this set, marking the transition. The album (and subsequent sequels) was perhaps the greatest reinvention of his career but yet, like the inventions of the Man in White, Joe Dolan, all he changed was the music. He still dressed the same, sounded the same and looked the same. But what a look!

The show is not fully captured on this disc, as this is a radio broadcast. The full concert can be found if you look hard enough and no doubt you'll end up on some Russian site full of fucking pop ups.

Tracklist: - Folsom Prison Blues- Sunday Morning Coming Down- Cristopher Song- Ring of Fire- I guess thing happen that way- the Beast in Me- Let the Train blow the Whistle - Big River- A Boy Named Sue

The wah-wah psychedelic blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf

Two of the most revered but hardest to find blues albums of all-time are a pair of discs released at the tail-end of the 1960s – Howlin’ Wolf’s “This is Howlin' Wolf's New Album” and Muddy Water’s “Electric Mud”. They are perhaps the best (and the only survivors) of the Psychedelic Blues era when bluesmen reluctantly embraced what the kids were getting high to and played a hybrid blues that would scare anyone. As a child, these were two curious beasts at the back of my dad’s record collection, and they equally terrified and enthralled me. Sadly, they were part of a mass clear-out in the 1980s of which I’ll go into again at some stage so when I got to read about them as a teenager, and their importance, they had disappeared. However, on a trawl through another website where I was, er, getting the lend of a couple of Isaac Hayes albums and James Brown’s long-lost “Hell” album, I found them. But the links were dead. So I asked the webmaster if he wouldn’t mind uploading them again and he did, just for me. I owe him lunch, which I’ll buy him when I’m in America next month. Anyway, it was like meeting two childhood friends, and, for a couple of weeks, here they are for you dear readers (Hi Johnny, Simon and Ken!)

The albums were released by Cadet Concept, a short-lived but influential record label founded by Marshall Chess, the son of Leonard Chess of Chess Records.

Somehow, Chess convinced both bluesmen to deviate from their pure blues roots and embrace the then hip sounds of psychedelic electric guitar rock.

"Electric Mud" is one of most original blues albums there is. When this album was recorded in 68, Waters' career was in a slump and noting how the likes of Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones were making a mint out of “re-interpreting” old blues classics including some of his. Marshall Chess thought it best to seek out a new audience for Muddy and Howlin’ (and probably a few others too) if the kids were getting down to their stuff, albeit reimagined and ripped off. Both men were elder statesman who couldn't even sell to their own community but were still well known so over a hot lunch he convinced them to embrace a new sound.

“Electric Mud” is a wah-wah pedal and fuzz box friendly feast for the ears. The basic instrumentation on it includes a heavily distorted guitar (often with the wah-wah up to eleven), fuzz-tone electric bass, saxophone, synthesizer, and drums. This is quite a stretch from the trademark Muddy Waters sound! Five of the eight songs on 'Electric Mud' were Muddy Waters back catalogue staples, songs he had sung thousands, of times. A little hesitantly, he sang them as he always had. His accompaniment, however, was very much of the moment, and dopers of the world could united with new renditions of songs like "I Just Want To Make Love To You," "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man," and "Mannish Boy," in a hard, psychedelic rock style. It's a career-best recording of "Mannish Boy", and may be familiar to some as it appeared on an Uncut CD a while back. He even tries a Rolling Stones cover - “Let's Spend The Night Together." The vocals are one of the strong selling points of this album, and Muddy Waters is in great voice and some of his writing on it gets an A+ from me.

The record was a big hit, popular with both, er, communities and with all types of music lovers, including my dad.

"Electric Mud" was followed up with an attempt at relaunching the career of Howlin’ Wolf.

Wolf's opinion of the resulting record was emblazoned on the cover in bold letters- “This Is Howlin Wolf's New Album. He Doesn't Like It. He Didn't Like His Electric Guitar At First Either.”
In fact, he fucking hated it but it’s a class album and well worth downloading or buying if you ever see it in a shop. It’s worth ten fortunes though so the possibilities of that are impossible.

For the album, Marshall Chess brought in the same band that was used in the “Electric Mud” sessions: Pete Cosey and Phil Upchurch- guitars, Louis Satterfield on bass and Morris Jennings on drums to create the psychedelic blues-funk- rock-n-roll fusion that was becoming popular at the time.The album is funky with a tight rhythm section making Wolf's loose bluesy vocals pierce through even more. On Smokestack Lightning, a song he had probably performed a million times in its original raw form, a flute crops up to add some jazz fusion touches before the song trips off into a wah-wah wonderland. The rest of the album is just as funky and gritty.

If you don’t like big stoned wah-wah guitars and widdly-widdly-wee solos and funky drumming (as well as the odd glass-breaking howl) avoid both, but if you like a new twist on the blues, get these impossible to find (both albums have long since disappeared) albums while you can, particularly "Electric Mud".

For your aural pleasure:


01. I Just Want To Make Love To You 02. I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man 03. Let's Spend The Night Together 04. She's Alright 05. Mannish Boy 06. Herbert Harper's Free Press News 07. Tom Cat 08. The Same Thin

Cut n paste either of the following links into a new window but BEWARE, they are “sponsored” links and if an ad doesn’t appear (skip it) the first page that will come up is a holding page full of porn; When it opens click on the line that says ‘if your link has not appeared here in ten seconds’ or words to that effect as quick as you can and the download will give you numerous options such as Rapidshare, Megaupload etc. or


01. Spoonful 3:48 02. Tail Dragger 4:20 03. Smokestack Lightning 5:48 04. Moanin' at Midnight 3:13 05. Built for Comfort 5:17 06. The Red Rooster 3:48 07. Evil 4:06 08. Down in the Bottom 2:43 09. Three Hundred Pounds of Joy 2:34 10. Back Door Man 6:17

Cut n paste either of the following links into a new window but BEWARE, they are “sponsored” links and if an ad doesn’t appear (skip it) the first page that will come up is a holding page full of porn; When it opens click on the line that says ‘if your link has not appeared here in ten seconds’ or words to that effect as quick as you can and the download will give you numerous options such as Rapidshare, Megaupload etc. or

Thanks to The Roadhouse.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gunnsunrosus go for broke

Axl Rose toasts his new Wall-Mart deal. "Screw you record store owners of America!"

Back in the late 1980’s and up to point when I realised that they were shite all along in the summer of 1992, if someone told me they had nine fresh tracks from an unreleased Guns ‘N’ Roses album, I’d have painted their house, killed their mother and raped their sheep to get my hands on them.

Earlier this year, after a widely publicised “leak”, nine Guns and Roses (or ‘Gunnsunrosus’ as they are referred to here in the midlands) tracks from their 14-years-in-the-making album "Chinese Democracy" appeared all over the internet. Anyone with even the slightest illegal download tracking skills could have found them – they were everywhere. And there was plenty of chatter that Gunnsunrosus were back! Back! Back! I had no interest in them; really and truly none at all. The world and its mother has spent over a decade reading about the tedious creation of this Axl solo disc, and even 14 years of rumour couldn’t sum up the “eagerly awaited” excitement in me. At one stage, as a smelly black tay-short wearing lad, I loved Axl and the boys but my G n’ R fixation only lasted until the bus home from Slane on May 16th 1992. They were shite that day and probably every other day. Utter, total shite. It was a gig I didn’t have to fight too long to forget about.

In fact, now that I think of it, all I remember from that day is an early morning naggin of vodka on the bus to Slane, My Little Funhouse being shit, another naggin of vodka, Faith No More being savage, the crowd throwing paper cups in the air for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours until Gunnsunrosus finally took the stage (in fact the wait was so long that a friend took up smoking such was his boredom - the poor fucker still smokes and personally blames Axl. I think I got sunstroke, and to add insult to injury I sobered up as Axl and that raggle-taggle bunch – except Matt Sorum, he was too clean – finally took the stage about 4 hours after Faith No More finished ). Of the Gunnsunrosus show itself all I can remember is the mind-numbing wankology of it all – solo after solo after solo, extended “Use Your Illusion” bombast after bombast and sweet fuck all from their one and only good album, “Appetite for Destruction”. The best song of the night was a short Axl-on-the-piano cover of Black Sabbath’s “It’s Alright” (the standout track 1976’s “Technical Ecstasy” album featuring an almighty emotional vocal from alcodrummer Bill Ward) and when it was all over I never listened to Gunnsunrosus again, even though I continued to buy their albums and CD singles. When I heard their cover of The Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” on the end credits to the awful “Interview with a Vampire” adaptation I thought I was going to spew. That was the official end point. Good luck, fuck off, and goodnight.

Anyway, to cut an increasingly long story short, the other day I was happily downloading a Pink Floyd gig from 1971 from a relatively harmless bootleg blog when I spotted nine allegedly "mastered, finished" tracks from Gunnsunrosus eagerly, er, awaited "Chinese Democracy" album, months after all the furore and excitement about them had died down and months after I had first saw them on th’internet.

“I wonder what the Axl Rose-led ‘band’ sound like?” I said to no one in particular, my curiosity peaked by a recent AC/DC purchase and a drunken bout of air guitaring, so I grabbed them.

And guess what? They are shit. They are so embarrassingly bad and so beyond normal standards of shit that I’d love to get Gillian McKeith in to have a rummage through them.

But shit doesn’t matter to bands like Gunnsunrosus who should, by right, be called brands. Fello brands like U2 haven’t released anything remotely interesting since “Pop” back in 1997 whilst it’s been so long since The Rolling Stones released anything decent that it’s doubtful whether there’s anyone old enough still alive to remember it.

Like all brands it is the actual release of the product that’s much more interesting than the actual product itself. Never mind all the digital prospects and new markets. Brands like Gunnsunrosus deliver to old habit creatures, so a physical release is where it’s at for these dinosaurs. According to reports from America, negotiations are well underway for "Chinese Democracy" to come out as an exclusive in Wal-Mart supermarkets only in the States. Holy Shit! What about the Salt Lake City version of Soundcellar? A deal like that makes the album title all the more pertinent doesn’t it? Democracy my ass. What about the little guy? Gunnsunrosus is now managed by big shots Front Line Management who also manage the business affairs of Christine Aguilera, Van Halen and bloody Aerosmith. They also manage that other “great” American brand The Eagles and last year they released their awful double disc MOR-fest "Long Road out of Eden" exclusively through Wal-Mart, much to the chagrin of every other merchant still left in business in the States. I’d never heard of this (sadly I heard The Eagles album) and then I read in Billboard that beloved Slane-bound veterans AC/DC are also releasing their next album exclusively through Wal-Mart. “Merchants were particularly incensed that the deal was apparently struck with the blessing of Columbia,” the report says. I bet they were.

Different or exclusive versions in different stores is nothing new, especially in America where, for example, David Gilmour’s “On an Island” had different formats for different stores, as did Bloc Party’s Grouse Lodge-recorded second album, whatever-it-was-called. And here we have Xtravision having movies for a month before others and the likes of Zavvi having different covers but this just sucks, and following other trends in the music business there’s no doubt we can expect similar things to happen in Ireland in, oh, about 40 years.

I hope people like Tommy in Soundcellar gets to stock “Chinese Democracy”. Like banks and backers needing Coldplay albums, people like Tommy in Soundceller need brands like Gunnsunrosus. I don’t, but I sure prefer to see places like Soundcellar still in business, but if you really want to hear Gunnsunrosus have a look around you’ll get those nine tracks of mp3 shite in all their glory.
Instead though, you should take a look at

It’s a short feature by Last Light Films. A nice piece of work, and they have a few more up there on YouTube. It's kind of like those business profiles you’d wished you’d written but only thought about them when the business was closed. There’s loads of them around, and now I’ve got time on my hands (book finished, back in the real world for a while, hello, hello, good to be back etc..) I’m gonna try and profile some of them as a New Years Resolution.