No Columbus, no Cha Cha Cha!

9 10 2010

We think you should take the long weekend off and find some time to dance!

In honor of this new commitment, may we show you a few of our favorite Cha Cha Cha LP covers (from our collection of over 300 here @ the ARChive)?  Click to enlarge.

After all, had Mr. C. actually made it to India, mighta been, Chi Chi Chi…

And a reminder : THIS is one of our worst funded years ever, and all contributions ($50 min) are greatly appreciated to help keep the library going.  Plus you’ll get first dibs at our next sale in Dec.    Maybe pick up a cha cha record or two…     Thanks, B. George

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Turn Around with Confidence (when the internet can’t dance)

28 09 2010

Like you, I look for records all the time.  But there are over two million here @ ARC, so it’s difficult to know when what you’ve found is what’s needed.  Not everything in the library is cataloged, and my computer is not always with me.  I’ve found that by just seeing the cover, I can keep about a quarter of a million items straight.  In general, when deciding if I should buy something or not, I guess.  The upshot is that I mostly buy junk.

Junk here, is of course, a well defined, highly selective term – an unusual item, in good condition, that catches my eye.  Under a dollar is a plus; completely bizarre, a must.  Nestled in the 40 or so discs I found this past weekend were a few gems, like…

What I liked about this misguided masterpiece is that some of the bandmembers were “unavailable for photographs due to hectic schedules.”  Now does that show confidence in this recording?

What amazes me is that there is little or no info on these recordings available on that internet thing.  The best known artists here, pioneering Calypsonian Sir Lancelot, is the subject of some online ink, but even WorldCat fails to deliver any sense of his recorded output.  i-tunes sez: “No results were found. Please try a different search.” (but he is on some compilations).  This is a 78rp ‘album’ containing 3 pristine discs, including one of his best-known recordings, “Ugly Woman.”

Sometimes there’s real musicianship buried here, like the trippy and yet unexplained People’s Victory Orchestra.  I’ve been searching for years for more than snippets of their history (70s releases, from Queens, principals William (or Richard or Robert) and Carla (Lund) Alt (or Arlt). Bill engineer @ Atlantic, with Carla ran vintage clothing store) and they have had the good grace to keep a secret, secret.  ‘Victory’ is seriously non rock-ey, unlike the other two LPs (The School and Weltschmerzen), but a nice hippy concept concerto of an LP, complete with a 64 page booklet chronicling a Canadian train ride.

Here’s another no informationer, recalling that fateful day, August 27th, 1965, when American and British royalty partied.  It’s by Lady KKK, sometimes Lady KinKyKarrot, but I bought it for the Chris Jones cover, he a major penciller for DC Comics.  This 10” is a soundtrack for the no doubt intriguing eponymous film, claims to be Various Artists but all the tracks are very much alike – filled with bad MS and BR accents doing mock-doc over very nice, moody lounge, with an occasional side of sitar.

It’s on Rockinbones Records, but their webthing has never heard of the Lady.  She’s from Brescia – Parma, Italy, and just a bit o’info @ http://www.myspace.com/ladykinkykarrot

Rounding out and down, here’s a late blooming singing nun, for our growing, and never listened to, singing nun section @ the ARC.





vacance, puces et…we’re back!

13 09 2010

To celebrate the new year, the end of summer, strikes in France or as the kids say, “whatever,” I took the day off and made a trek way uptown to the Whitney Museum.  Prime reason was to see the Christian Marclay exhibition and then walk back downtown to see some friends.  Well Christian’s show was nice, The Lee Friedlander exhibit shot from inside his car was terrific, and the Charles Burchfield paintings were a revelation.  Not someone I would have gone out of my way to see.  Glad I did.

Marclay’s galleries are a lot like the ARChive’s basement –rows and rows of audio–related bibelots and bilia, suggesting meaning through juxtaposition.  One nice assemblage was a rack of clothing with musical imagery + themes.  That’s a good lead-in for last weekend’s finds at an upstate flea.

Who knew Canada was the home of the Twist?  Beyond the French Twist, there’s a big CAN C&W line dance fascination with the Honky Tonk Twist, and you can practice the chorégraphe via the 600 plus videos on that u-tubby thing.

The real deal weekendwise was the Wal-feld 5000!  This children’s 78 rpm player has a Bakelite resonator/pick-up/needle holder (UK Made) on a tin tonearm, and a brightly lithographed tin body, covered with fairy tale and children’s story imagery.  I see a lot of early playback devices, and seldom are they in such perfect shape.

Wal-feld Co. Inc. was in Lynbrook, NY, and manufactured a wide range of audio related gotta-haves, including musical dolls and wooden juke boxes.  No date on my machine, but it only cost a buck to return for repairs.  Online legal notices indicate Wal-feld went bankrupt in 1965.

Another “O Canada’ flea-find was this Nov 2, 1974 George Harrison / Ravi Shankar concert program for a benefit at the Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia, to aid the Appalachian Regional Hospitals.  Nice artists pics, good graphics and a fine glossary of all things India, musically.





But You Need An Electron Microscope…

17 08 2010

There are some great things to see in Ohio.

Having eschewed a junket to see Cleveland’s Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame when it first opened (knee-jerk reaction when I heard that they used funds from the Ohio school system.  Nice summary here ) I finally took the plunge.  It’s only an hour from the ancestral homestead (Poland, the first city of the Western Reserve), so why not?  Best thing was in the Springsteen exhibit, seeing all the handbill and fliers and promo activities it took to get his early band, The Castiles, off the ground.

The main reason for my CLE visit was to see the new Rock Hall Archive being set up by Andy Leach, the Director of Library and Archives. The new 22,500-square-foot facility is housed at Cuyahoga Community College, set to open in May 2011.   Andy had visited ARC last fall, so it was my turn.  I wasn’t the only one anxious to get in, as recently a passerby fired a few bullets into the glass façade.  Have a look at this swell building Columbia University – see what a Community College can do!  Inspired?

The Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives at Bowling Green State University occupies a Soviet era building on a bleak campus, across from a new arts building, with hopes of some architectural largess coming their way soon.  The man in charge since the late 60s is Bill Schurk, a good soul.  He’s still enthusiastic, curious, engaged.  Amid the manageable piles are trash and treasures, souvenirs and curiosities, in one of America’s great popular music collections.  The hall-walls are lined with paper ephemera and the main room a constellation of 45s dangling from the ceiling. They’ve managed to make an institutional space fun, while remaining on good terms with the fire marshal.  I got a tour and ARC donated a book we knew they didn’t have, about channeling wisdom from Gerry Garcia.

Other hotspots on my summer tour included Youngstown, OH and Ann Arbor, MI.

I attended Michigan (12 credits short – still waiting for the honorary degree) and had not been back for more than 20 years.  We visited friends and had wonderful food @ The Earl Restaurant. When last in AA the Earl was just starting up, Dominoes Pizza and Borders Books were small local businesses and the football stadium held a mere 100,000.  Lets just say it’s more of a party school these days, but it’s no longer the Rainbow People’s Party.  Pre-Earl party dining meant a visit to the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery for a heralded Belgian style ale, which they were out of.  Drove 500 miles and told to try the local supermarket – nice marketing savvy!  Always in stock is the annual bumper crop of helpful interns from the University of Michigan School of Information. For the past few years these students have come to the ARC in NYC as part of their alternative Spring Break Program.

As a student my breaks were rarely alternative, and one job I had in AA was setting up chairs at Canterbury House, a way to hear music for free.  Canterbury House was/is run by the Episcopal Church, and beyond its value as an important venue for more than 50 years, they also co-sponsored the very first Ann Arbor Blues Festival.  Big on Canadians (work cheap? Nearby? Great artists?) meant that I was lucky enough to see early gigs by Neil Young (Sugar Mountain set) and Joni Mitchell.

My tenuous Youngstown (Poland is a suburb) music connections were explored in an earlier blog, so lets just mention Charlie Staples Bar-B-Q.   Ribs here are as good as anyplace out East, and many down South. I stock up on their unmarked, quart size, Ball-jarred hot sauce.  But it means going to downtown Y-Town, a region few from my burb have ever visited.  This is the lone speaker in the beautiful formica-ed back room they will never see…

But YOU can see the room, and sample the Q, when you visit Y-Town next September for the opening of “Ronnie Wood: Paintings, Drawings and Prints.” at the Butler Institute of American Art. Mrs. Butler once lived in Poland and taught me to draw.





Walkin’ 9-5

3 05 2010

Yup, that’s how I spent my last tree huggin’ beach lovin’ day in San Fran, touring Muir Woods, Chimney Rock, Point Reyes (et fried oysters), Inverness (et Bar-B-Que’d oysters) and the Drake Bay Lighthouse – all north of the Golden Gate.  Muir is Redwoods a go-go, high and mighty, while the lighthouse ‘may be’ the ‘windiest point on America’s Pacific Coast,’  not to mention the loudest, with a drone to make you believe in the Siren’s call.   It’s all true.  Uh, and did I mention I like oysters?

But my REASONS for being in SF was to organize placing our catalog online, (something I try to do every ten years or so) and work on getting the Muslim World Music Day website built and hosted.  Thanks to all those helping with the tasks: the crews at Gracenote and the Internet Archive, and Scott San Filippo (who also donated copies of his single from a bygone era, “No, No, No”/”I Know What You Are” by his our-voices-haven’t-changed-yet band, The End (Friendly Ghost Records, 5536, 7″ single, n.d.).

Sidelines and highpoints include visiting author and critic Greil Marcus, getting a brief tour of the UC Berkeley Music Library, dinner at Chez Panisse, a buying frenzy at Arhoolie Records/Down Home Music and seeing a very nice show on the history of the SF rock.  Here’s two of many new adds to the ARC collection – you decide the sublime or absurd…

That’s Earl Bostic’s  Let’s Dance (King Records, 395-529, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, n.d.) and Jean (the gal) and GenII (the computer) on Two Loves Have I (Mark Records, MC 8518, 12″, vinyl disc-LP, 1974) in nothing less than Quadraphonic.

Somethin’s Happening Here – Bay Area Rock ‘n’ Roll 1963-73” was the show at the Museum of Performance and Design, co-curatored by ARC pal Alec Palao.  Alec graciously donated a copy of the book and 4 CD set chronicling the scene. Stephen Braitman, my redwood guide, also donated a pile of rarities to the show, including what is thought to be the only copy of a single celebrating White Levis by the Jefferson Airplane.  Ironic that the show is in the Veteran’s building, with many Viet Vets coming and going, while the show celebrates the same era with a decidedly anti-war POV.

Another treat was the murals @ the Beach Chalet.  By Lucien Labaudt, they rival the more well know group in Coit Tower, but overlooking the Pacific and surround by craft brewed beer ($2 a pint on Monday nite).

Tooling around SF in my rented Chevy, and seeing a pile of Chinese electric scooters @ the Internet Archive, forced me to buy this paean to forgotten glories.  I’m a former Wobbly and Michigander, so there ‘s a special place in my heart for Union songs and the vanishing breed of autoworkers.

Joe Lisi and His Guitar.   It’s the UAW All the Way (LEM Productions, ESS-1185, 12″, 33.3, LP, n.d.).

Speaking of auto-neurotica I’ve lived in NY for over 40 years and never gotten a parking ticket.  EVERY time I go to CA I get a parking ticket.  Is it me or signage?  Maybe it’s this side that is the easy-going coast?  So I love CA, but it’s a song I sing with an expression as below…

Thanks to Brooke and Gabby (Sonny Stitt’s grand-daughter) who made a week in SF possible and palatable!





Greil Marcus in Lipstick Traces “Live”

12 11 2009

Please join your friends at the ARChive as they present their first event up at Columbia University – Greil Marcus in Lipstick Traces: Live

Thursday, November 19, 6 pm
Free and open to the public

Altschul Auditorium, 417 International Affairs Building (SIPA), 420 West 118th Street

Lipstick Traces_flyer

In Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century, Greil Marcus delved into the cross-currents, tangles, and whirlpools that made such vastly different movements as dada, lettrism, the Situationist International, and punk part of a single current. To mark the just-published 20th-anniversary edition of the book, Columbia University presents Greil Marcus in a one-man performance of Lipstick Traces.

This will be smart AND fun!

A book signing will follow the event. Lipstick Traces: Live is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Columbia Libraries, the ARChive of Contemporary Music, and the Arts Initiative at Columbia University.

In addition, the Music & Arts Library at Columbia University will display books by Marcus, books that influenced him, and posters, records, and other materials courtesy of the ARChive of Contemporary Music. The exhibition will be on display from November 1 to December 15, 2009 at The Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library, 7th floor of Dodge Hall, at 2960 Broadway.

Here’s a simple bibliography of Greil’s work:
* Rock & Roll Will Stand (1969), edited anthology
* Double Feature: Movies & Politics (1972), co-authored with Michael Goodwin.
* Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music (E.P. Dutton & Co., New York, 1975/2008).
* Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island (1979, editor and contributor)
* Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century (1989/2009), a book on 20th century avant-garde art movements like Dadaism, Lettrist International and Situationist International and their influence on late 20th century countercultures and The Sex Pistols and Punk Movement.
* Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession (1991), about the phenomenon of Elvis Presley in the years since his death
* In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992 (1993, published in the US as Ranters and Crowd Pleasers)
* The Dustbin of History (1995)
* Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes (1998; also published as The Old, Weird America: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes, 2001), an account of American folk culture, seen through Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes.
* Double Trouble: Bill Clinton and Elvis Presley in a Land of No Alternatives (2001)
* The Manchurian Candidate (2002)
* The Rose & the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad (2004, co-edited with Sean Wilentz)
* Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads (2005), a “biography” of the Dylan song
* The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy in the American Voice (2006)
• A New Literary History of America (2009, with Werner Sollers, Harvard University Press)

call or e-me if you have any questions :  B. George 212-226-6967  arcmusic@inch.com=

DIRECTIONS  –  International Affairs Building (SIPA) / Altschul Auditorium

Getting to Columbia’s Campus:
The main entrances to Columbia’s campus on Morningside Heights in Manhattan are at Broadway and 116th Street (where the subway station is) and at Amsterdam Avenue and 116th Street.

Public Transportation:
The best way to reach campus is using the subway. Take subway line number 1 or 9 local to 116th Street (Columbia University) station.

Parking:
You may park on the street or use the local parking garages. The 512-520 Garage is located at the corner of 112th Street and Amsterdam; the Riverside Church Parking Garage is located on 120th Street between Claremont Avenue and Riverside Drive.

Finding Altschul Auditorium on Columbia’s Campus:
The International Affairs building (also known as SIPA) is on the eastern side of Columbia University’s Morningside Campus. The building is at 420 W. 118th Street, on the south side of 118th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Avenue (closer to Amsterdam). Altschul Auditorium is located in the lobby of the building on the first floor, room 417.

Entering From Campus:
From the main campus entrance (right by the subway stop at 116th Street and Broadway) walk east all the way across College Walk (116th Street) to Amsterdam Avenue. Go north two blocks to 118th Street and cross Amsterdam; the International Affairs building is there on the corner. The entrance is on 118th Street (south side).





Alternative China in New York

2 11 2009

For MORE than just this week Columbia’s Arts Initiative, with minimal help from ARC, brings the latest Beijing music scene to your very doorstep.  Organized by the Chinese record label Maybe Mars and the rock club D-22, it’s THE CHINESE UNDERGROUND INVASION TOUR, featuring Carsick Cars, PK-14, White and Xiao He.

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Anti-Cantopop, this group of performers work outside government-controlled media channels, with a sound building off of New York’s No Wave of the late 70s and EU Industrial.  Add to this the PR blub; “The Beijing musicians have nonetheless reconfigured this urban western vocabulary to fit with Beijing opera’s traditional delight with textural experimentation and China’s centuries-long history of infatuation with shimmering melodic structures.  With the sound of broken-down machines cranking out lovely pop songs, the unique sound emerging from China’s music underground illuminates the new social void, aggressively questioning the moral and social basis of the fragile modernity on which it subsists.”  What more could you want?

This series of shows feature the best and brightest:
Carsick Cars is China’s premier underground band.  They’ve played with Sonic Youth on tour, and their 2nd CD was produced by Wharton Tiers.  Their song “Zhong nan hai” has become an anthem for this new Chinese counterculture.  Talk about diverse appeal, Kanye West posted one of the band’s videos to his blog while the Wall Street Journal offered praise!

White is the leading experimental band in China, minimal and mechanical, the latest CD produced by Blixa Bargeld of Einsturzende Neubaten.

Xiao He is described as a surreal folkie, drawing critical acclaim from recent shows in Europe, with a “progressively eclectic sound that draws upon traditional instrumentation and vocal arrangements looped within his live performances.”

P.K. 14 was called by Time Magazine one of five top bands in Asia and one of the most influential bands on the burgeoning Beijing scene.soundkapital_event

Accompanying the live shows is a not-to-be-missed gallery exhibition and book release for Sound Kapital, a remarkable photographic overview of the bands and fans by photographer Matt Neiderhauser.  It’s at the Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main St. @ Water, Brooklyn, 718-666-3049, running from Oct 28 – Nov 29.  Opening reception Thursday, Nov 5, from 7-9, with a pile of music afterward.  I’ll be there, so come by and say hello…

Here’s the short list of Confirmed local shows:
Weds 11/4 – Manhattan  – VON  – Xiao He & Shouwang (from Carsick Cars)
Thurs 11/5  – Brooklyn, NYC  – powerHouse Arena  – Xiao He, Carsick Cars & P.K. 14
Fri  11/6  – Brooklyn, NYC  @  Glasslands  – These Are Powers, Soft Circle, Carsick Cars, P.K.14 & Xiao He
Sat  11/7  – Manhattan  @  SANTOS Party House  – P.K.14 , Carsick Cars, Antimagic, BJ Rubin, Knyfe Hyts
Sun  11/8  – Manhattan  @  Columbia University  – Xiao He
Fri  11/20  – Manhattan  @  Ding Dong Lounge  – Octagon, Carsick Cars, P.K.14 & Xiao He
Sat  11/21  – Williamsburg  @  Secret Project Robot  – Carsick Cars, P.K.14, Xiao He,  Aa, Knyfe Hyts 81 & others…
Sun  11/22  – Manhattan  @  PERFORMA’s Grande Finale  – Shouwang, Xiao He, and many others…

Get the whole schedule and any changes here.

And as music could never happen without devotion AND finance Columbia’s Alumni Arts League will present a Sunday brunch with alumni Michael Pettis and Charles Saliba to discuss current events in China, from financial markets to rock and roll, over a private brunch with an intimate group of fellow Columbians and Asian Cultural Council guests.

Charles and Michael are the force behind the D-22 club and the Maybe Mars record label, the folks behind this current tour.  It’s Sunday afternoon on Sun, Nov. 8, and alums can get details by calling 212.851.1879.








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