Elsewhere by Graham Reid

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Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

love is the song we sing

Content tagged as love is the song we sing.

JANIS JOPLIN: Singing out the painful sparks within

JANIS JOPLIN: Singing out the painful sparks within

Of all those admitted to that illustrious pantheon of Dead Sixties Rock Stars, Janis Joplin has been the one least well served. Jimi is revered and regularly remarketed; and Jim has his reissued albums, an Oliver Stone bio-pix, a new headstone in Pere La Chaise and people still seem to refer to him as “a poet”. And Janis?...

The Warlocks: Can't Come Down (1965)

The Warlocks: Can't Come Down (1965)

By the mid Sixties the spirit and style of poetic Bob Dylan was everywhere as singers and writers tried to match his surreal wordplay. Dylan's harmonica, image heavy lyrics and monotone is everywhere in this demo by the Warlocks out of San Francisco. Of all the Bob-copyists the Warlocks had the best claim to similar territory: they were...

MARIJUANA: My life in a happy place; no apologies

MARIJUANA: My life in a happy place; no apologies

As the 21st century dawned there was considerable argument in New Zealand about whether marijuana should be decriminalist, a debate prompted by a Green MP Nandor Tanczos attempting to bring a bill before Parliamant along those lines. People took positions on the far ends of the spectrum. As this happened I went to the editor of the New...

Victoria Spivey and Lonnie Johnson: Dope Head Blues (1927)

Victoria Spivey and Lonnie Johnson: Dope Head Blues (1927)

When Lou Reed took a bit of flak for writing about street life (drugs, hookers, transvestites) he just picked the wrong idiom. These topics were common enough in literature and pulp fiction, but new to rock music. Dope songs were certainly common in jazz and the blues -- in fact there has been a long tradition of singing about marijuana, cocaine...

LIKE, OMIGOD! THE 80'S POP CULTURE BOX (TOTALLY) (Rhino box set)

LIKE, OMIGOD! THE 80'S POP CULTURE BOX (TOTALLY) (Rhino box set)

The Eighties was probably no more different or diverse than any other decade, but it does seem weird on reflection: Ronald Reagan and the Rubik Cube; the arrival of CDs, CNN and MTV; personal computers and ghetto blasters; Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta; Ozzy eating a bat and suave Duran Duran; cocaine and Jane Fonda's workout videos;...

A Mountain of One: Institute of Joy (Pod)

A Mountain of One: Institute of Joy (Pod)

After a couple of much sought after EPs the London duo of Zeben Jameson and Mo Morris here (with a lot of help from their friends) unveiled their much anticipated debut album last year. And quite some cosmic trip it was. Their often very lovely and certainly astral-aimed psychedelic sound owed debts to the likes of Pink Floyd (the Meddle...

I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER: THE PSYCHEDELIC YEARS 1965-69 edited by JAMES HENKE AND PARKE PUTERBAUGH

I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER: THE PSYCHEDELIC YEARS 1965-69 edited by JAMES HENKE AND PARKE PUTERBAUGH

Somewhere among my old photographs at home is one of me standing beside John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls Royce. It was London in late ‘69 and -- aside from revealing the embarrassing affectation of a black cape -- it‘s most interesting for what is in the background: a Morris Minor of the kind that was considerably more common...

The Gun: Race with the Devil (1967)

The Gun: Race with the Devil (1967)

In the age of Cream (mid '66 to late '68), Blue Cheer and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the power trio became an established form and this group from Buckinghamshire -- two brothers and another -- took the hard rock, guitar pyrotechnics sound to the top of the British charts with this single. And that was about it for them. That's actually...

Timothy Leary: You Can Be Anyone This Time Around (1970)

Timothy Leary: You Can Be Anyone This Time Around (1970)

Older, if not wiser, "heads" will know exactly who Dr Timothy Leary was -- an advocate of the widespread use of LSD to change cultural consciousness and to open individuals to the vastness of the cosmos within and without. Tune in, turn on and drop out became a mantra in the late Sixties. His album You Can Be Anyone This Time...

THE SIXTIES by ARTHUR MARWICK: The big picture of the isms and schsims

THE SIXTIES by ARTHUR MARWICK: The big picture of the isms and schsims

One of the more mindlessly amusing one-liners about the Sixties says that if you remember them t.hen you weren’t there. Duh. That sitcom aphorism reduces the decade to flakiness and drugs, and bears no serious scrutiny at all. By rule-of-thumb and common consensus, what are loosely called the Sixties are the five years between She...

Moby Grape: Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot (1968)

Moby Grape: Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot (1968)

Varying the speed of tapes in the studio is not uncommon, but asking that your listener get up and change the speed of their record player on an album is another thing entirely. Certainly there have been singles which play one side at 45 and the other at 33 (often 12" singles or EPs from the Eighties) -- but in '68 the increasingly...

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: The Dead rise again

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: The Dead rise again

There are some pretty odd tribute albums out there lately - and they seem to be getting stranger by the day. A couple of years ago it was all sensible kind of stuff, artists getting together to play Byrds songs or salute Neil Young. That’s cool. These days, however, we are getting albums like the Manson Family Sings the Songs...

The Magic Numbers: The Runaway (Shock)

The Magic Numbers: The Runaway (Shock)

By abandoning the pure pop-economy of their terrific, 05 self-titled debut for the more embellished and ambitious sound Those the Brokes in 06, this English outfit of two sets of siblings lost followers, and momentum. But where that debut was a radio/car album, Brokes was a headphones experience. The openers here – a...

Endless Boogie: Full House Head (Shock)

Endless Boogie: Full House Head (Shock)

In his rock'n'roll essays and fiction collection The Boy Who Cried Freebird, the American writer Mitch Myers traces the notion of “boogie” from its name (having sex, basically) through the blues (John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillun in 48) and boogie-woogie piano a building block of early rock'n'roll and then into those endless jams...

Turtle Island String Quartet: Have You Ever Been . . . (Telarc/Ode)

Turtle Island String Quartet: Have You Ever Been . . . (Telarc/Ode)

Classical artists playing the music of Jimi Hendrix is hardly a new idea: the Kronos Quartet had a crowd-pleasing built-in encore of Purple Haze when they first started out, and of course Nigel Kennedy finally made good on his threat/promise to do an album of Hendrix. Before them however in the mid Seventies Gil Evans arranged some Hendrix...

Ken Nordine: Now Nordine (extract only, 1975?)

Ken Nordine: Now Nordine (extract only, 1975?)

In the mid Seventies a friend of mine living in West Virginia started sending me cassettes of a programme that beamed out late at night on Public Radio. It was called Now Nordine and all I knew at the time was that it was "made possible by a grant from . . . anonymous". They were weird half-trips into strange references (snippets...

Ken Nordine: Word Jazz; The Complete 1950s Recordings (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Ken Nordine: Word Jazz; The Complete 1950s Recordings (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Ken Nordine's voice -- assured, resonant, clear -- was his passport into radio where he worked as an announcer and narrator. But he was also of the Jazz Generation and in the Fifties he anticipated the Beats by blending poetry and music and then creating his Word Jazz recordings in which he would recite poems, unusual prose-poems and stories...

Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Hawkwind: Spaced out in the suburbs

Aside from meeting some interesting (and ocassionally odd) people, interviewing musicians gets you into some different places. In another life I doubt I would have ever been backstage at the Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall in New York, inside Abbey Road, in expensive hotel rooms in places like Tokyo or Los Angeles, or sitting in a BBC studio...

Ticket: Awake (Aztec/Southbound)

Ticket: Awake (Aztec/Southbound)

When Kiwi acid-rockers Ticket from the early Seventies re-formed towards the end of 2010 for a couple of gigs it was hoped that this reissue of their trippy classic, Hendrix-inspired album would be available at the door. But that didn't happen because . . . Lots of reasons I suppose. But here it is now, remastered and in a gatefold sleeve...

The Savage Rose: A Girl I Knew (1968)

The Savage Rose: A Girl I Knew (1968)

Since Richie Unterberger wrote Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll: Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Genuises, Punk Pioneers, Lo-Fi Mavericks and More in 1998, many of the artists he unearthed (Wanda Jackson, the Chocolate Watch Band, Roky Erickson, Can etc) have enjoyed some considerable cult -- and sometimes even mainstream, success. Jeez, Sandy Denny...

Procol Harum: The Best of, Then and Now (Salvo)

Procol Harum: The Best of, Then and Now (Salvo)

It is hard to believe -- and somewhat sad -- that the authorship of Whiter Shade of Pale, this group's defining moment (and which also captured the dreamy, surreal English Summer of Love in '67), should only have been resolved in Britain's House of Lords a few years ago. It's also a shame that -- just as in any film about the war in Vietnam...

BLUES MAGOOS 1966-68: Pop's psychedelic pioneers

BLUES MAGOOS 1966-68: Pop's psychedelic pioneers

Some albums catch a band at a turning point, one foot in the past and the other stepping towards an unknown but promising future. If the Beatles, through exhaustion and wrung out by the constant pressure to produce, had called it a day in late 1965 their legacy would have been easy to distill down: a few joyfully adolescent pop hits,...

Sir Douglas Quintet: Lawd I'm Just a Country Boy in This Great Big Freaky City (1968)

Sir Douglas Quintet: Lawd I'm Just a Country Boy in This Great Big Freaky City (1968)

When this song was written, Doug Sahm -- singer, writer and frontman for the Sir Douglas Quintet -- was feeling somewhat jaded about the hippie paradise that had been San Francisco. He and the band were from Texas and in the mid-Sixties had, like so many, moved to the Bay Area to enjoy whatever was happening there. But increasingly the...

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE; THE SIDE PROJECTS 1970-74: The Baron and the Nun go it alone, together

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE; THE SIDE PROJECTS 1970-74: The Baron and the Nun go it alone, together

The New York garageband Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop of 1966 was one of the first albums to have the word “psychedelic” in the title, but it wasn't quite the spaced-out sweet thing the name suggested. 13th Floor Elevators out of Texas the same year with their debut The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators...

13th FLOOR ELEVATORS (1966-69): Shall we take a trip, or a Roky ride?

13th FLOOR ELEVATORS (1966-69): Shall we take a trip, or a Roky ride?

The description “psychedelic music” – much like “freedom” – can mean whatever you want. The first albums with “psychedelic” in the title were by 13th Floor Elevators out of Texas (The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators) and New York's Blues Magoos (Psychedelic Lollipop), both...

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968)

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968)

By the latter part of the Sixties there was a clear difference between how American and British "hippies" perceived "the psychedelic era". If it's true that no music movement comes without its own new set of clothes then the difference was visible on the streets. In the US where ponchos, fringed-jackets, tie-dye t-shirts...

The Great! Society: Somebody to Love (1966)

The Great! Society: Somebody to Love (1966)

There were at least three different versions of this psychedelic classic which is best known in its third incarnation by Jefferson Airplane. But the song dated back to before that '66 single/album track -- back to the band that singer Grace Slick was in before she joined the Airplane. Her previous group -- with her husband Jerry and his...

Barry McGuire: California Dreamin' (1965)

Barry McGuire: California Dreamin' (1965)

After his growling and apocalyptic version of PF Sloan's Eve of Destruction in '65 the former folkie Barry McGuire -- who had been in the New Christy Minstrels and had co-written their big hit Green Green -- was looking for new material to include on his second album. Producer Lou Adler lined up a number of covers -- the Beatles' Yesterday...

The Mamas and the Papas: Free Advice (1967)

The Mamas and the Papas: Free Advice (1967)

Although they looked kind of clean-cut by the hairy standards of the day and sang such pretty songs, what we would learn later was how fraught and seedy some of the internal workings of The Mamas and the Papas were. The song Go Where You You Wanna Go for example was less about living your life in the hippie spirit than John Phillips' address...

Janis Joplin: Trouble in Mind (1965)

Janis Joplin: Trouble in Mind (1965)

The great Janis Joplin has been dead for over four decades now but it would be fair to observe that no woman in rock has ever approached her deep understanding of the blues and earthy, powerful delivery . . . let alone her self-destructive approach to life. Yet she has been largely forgotten and, as this essay notes, no one seems in any mind...

WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE; A FILM ABOUT THE DOORS, a doco by TOM DICILLO (Madman DVD)

WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE; A FILM ABOUT THE DOORS, a doco by TOM DICILLO (Madman DVD)

Two things strike you immediately about this much vaunted and Grammy award-winning doco: That Jim Morrison was a man of brooding good looks except when he smiled and then he looked just plain goofy (and there is a lot of him smiling and laughing in the early footage here); and that the script which Johnny Depp reads in a tired monotone seems to...

Highway: Highway (Ode)

Highway: Highway (Ode)

A decade or so ago there was a major excavation undertaken of New Zealand pop and rock of the Sixties, thanks to enthusiasts like John Baker and Andrew Schmidt, and Chris Caddick at EMI who actioned a series of terrific compilations. Some of the work of these people spilled over into the early Seventies. Thierry Pannetier at EMI was...

GREETINGS FROM ROUTE 66, edited by MICHAEL DREGNI

GREETINGS FROM ROUTE 66, edited by MICHAEL DREGNI

When, in 1946, Bobby Troup wrote what became his classic song Route 66, he could hardly have anticipated how popular it would become. After all, he'd really only written a few words and the hook (“get your kicks on Route 66”, which may have been his wife's suggestion) and after that he just filled the song up with the place...

Ray Manzarek/Roy Rogers: Translucent Blues (Blind Pig)

Ray Manzarek/Roy Rogers: Translucent Blues (Blind Pig)

Given his organ playing was such an integral part of the Doors' sound, it's surprising Ray Manzarek's subsequent four decade career has garnered so little attention, although to be fair it has thrown up few decent albums. I recall trading in his Carmina Burana within a week of getting it in the early Eighties and just last month I paid $5...

Scorpio Rising: Peace Frog (1992)

Scorpio Rising: Peace Frog (1992)

For a short while Scorpio Rising out of Liverpool seemed to point a new direction in British rock post-Stone Roses. They formed the year of the Stone Roses' impressive debut and had a similarly psychedelic approach to rock guitars and dance beats. After their single Watermelon and EP IF, they were in demand on the live circuit, released...

THE MOODY BLUES INTERVIEWED (2011): Voices in the sky

THE MOODY BLUES INTERVIEWED (2011): Voices in the sky

In the late Sixties, when the boundaries of pop and rock were being extended into jazz and quasi-classical areas, the Moody Blues were one of the most musically innovative and productive groups of the period. Their albums between Days of Future Passed in 67 and Seventh Sojourn in 72 – an extraordinary seven albums in five years...

Wooden Shjips: West (Fuse)

Wooden Shjips: West (Fuse)

Wooden Shjips (sic) out of San Francisco once again serve up their particular brand of astral plane psychedelic drone-rock which sounds filtered through steel wool. Their appealing tripped-out grunge sits somewhere along the faultline of their city's Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and a full volume, garageband metal overhaul of...

JIMI HENDRIX IN 2011: Return to Winterland 1968

JIMI HENDRIX IN 2011: Return to Winterland 1968

From the moment Jimi Hendrix arrived in London in the early hours of September 24 1966 to his death in the same city just a few days short of four years later, he seemed to be constantly moving, playing and recording. He played his first jam in London the night he arrived, and a fortnight later -- after jamming with the Brian Auger Trinity,...

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