It’s Official

19 11 2007

It’s Official – Today, The New York Times became the Onion – the headline reads :

“Study Links Drop in Test Scores to a Decline in Time Spent Reading”


And may we suggest:

“Music Linked to Instances of Listening”

Record Hound of Barcelona

7 11 2007

As you all know that Spanish visionary, A. Gaudi, loved his music. Some insists he was a serious trance + techno fan, sneaking off to rave the Balerics between concrete pours.


But I’m convinced it was the fandango that fueled his modernist visions. Regardless, images of records, LPs mostly, began to shade his architectural landscape. Here are examples from around the 1900s at the Casa Mila, Casa Batllo and the Park Guell in Barcelona.


Years ago we had asked Gaudi to help us out and try his hand at an ARC logo. Pretty good, but we had to pass. Like Charles Dickens; a great mind, but his spelling was not quite up to snuff.


B. = Barcelona

WM3 Shocker: Satanic Ritual Abuse isn’t real!

30 10 2007

The Damien Echols defense team have filed a new motion which you can read in full here. The DNA evidence, as hinted in the earlier West Memphis 3 post, points to another individual. Also the wounds on the children’s bodies that had every quack self-appointed “expert” screaming “Satanic Ritual” seem now to be consistent with turtle bites. Remarkable, isn’t it? The revelation that B-movie grade horror stories about bloody rituals worshiping Satan™ have all been a lot of bullshit? And the evidence science presents us with suggests that turtles are the true Lords of Darkness? People love a good fairytale, I know, but let’s see if we can make it out of the 16th Century some time soon, shall we? Is there something about the fantasy the Christian religion is founded on that makes it so prone to hysteria? There’s a lot of question marks here, I apologize for that, but even at this late date I find it hard to believe that people can be such flipping complacent, incurious, gullible sheep. In my childhood the Yippies had a slogan; “Question Authority”, which in my high school days was later refined by the punks into a lapel button that read “Fuck Authority”.

Those were the good old days. Free the West Memphis Three.


P.S.: These Turtles had nothing to do with it.

– J.

Satan™ v. Jesus™: Who Cares? the West Memphis Three still aren’t free.

22 10 2007

If you saw the documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills , (1996) or the 2000 follow-up, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, you already know about the West Memphis Three; Damien Echols, sentenced to death, and Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin, sentenced to life in prison for the murders of three young boys in the Robin Hood Hills section of West Memphis, Arkansas. If you don’t know about the case, the wiki article is a concise overview, and the site has much more detailed technical information about the legal history. There is also a blog and a Myspace page which are more concerned with networking supporters and fund raising.

If you think 1993 was a long time ago, you’re right – and be glad you haven’t spent these last fourteen years in prison. But there isn’t anything stale about the ramifications of this case. In essence, an unusually horrendous triple murder was committed and a small town, quite understandably, panicked at the horror of the deed. Their fear, fed by “satanic ritual abuse” hysteria, coupled with the abysmal incompetence of the State of Arkansas during the investigation and the weighty intransigence of its prosecution, led to the railroading of three teens who the local populace apparently felt were disposable.

This is a story about misfits and the price they can pay when they are less lucky than most, and that is the relevance of the WM3 to this blog. Pontificating as we do from the patrician heights of the ARChive’s comfortable Chesterfield, we often celebrate the far out and the just plain out of fashion; poets and hillbillies; those who have spent a life pursuing art so unique that they are exalted as the living acme of their form, or they sleep in doorways. Heavy metal, in its Christian™ and Satanic™ incarnations, is a source of joy in these pages, as are ukulele numbers about wanking. We revel in novelty and rebellion but we don’t like to remember the taunts and abuse each of us has endured in our own experience as the designated scapegoat, misfit, punk, nerd, hippie, freak, creep (I won’t list any of the popular epithets that can get you killed, for obvious reasons, and you can supply them without my help). Nowadays, according to all reports, everyone is “cool” (what a pathetic, impotent word that’s become) with the result being none of us can imagine there are any true outcasts left, let alone that there can still be grave consequences to simply never fitting in. And meanwhile, a decade and a half after the WM3 convictions, the country as a whole descends ever deeper into a quagmire of irrationality that calls itself Christian fundamentalism – perfect emotional weather for another witch hunt, so don’t be surprised campers, it will happen here. There will always be a wrong place to wear black clothes, or listen to the wrong music, or check the wrong books out of the public library (the mistakes that landed Damien on death row) or hang out with weirdos (Jason’s great sin) or a bad time to be borderline mentally retarded (which was Jessie’s mistake). Your homework, dear reader is to reflect on the evil inherent in the mob – regardless of the name under which it operates: Church, State, Pep Club, Future Farmers of America, etc.

This has all been lovely and cheery, I know, but is there a reason for this post? There’s the spinach factor, of course, meaning it’s good for you to remember that the classic miscarriage of justice does happen. We can’t forget these kids, and I mean all six, the murdered and the unjustly convicted, not to mention their families. There’s another potentially satisfying reason, however. New DNA evidence is in, after many months of costly analysis, and there are upcoming court dates which folks close to the WM3 defense team describe as encouraging. The Baroness and I have a friend who has been deeply involved in the case for many years. Nothing specific has been revealed to us but there appears to be some optimism regarding the DNA in as much as none of it belongs to any of the Three. The next month or so will really tell, the case has gone on for so long that this finally may be the last chance for justice. Visit the website and donate something for the last push – it’s now or never.


– Jonny

Boogie Children

15 10 2007

A couple weeks ago the Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. played a show at Banjo Jim’s. Hijinx ensued, as always, what was unusual was how much I liked the band following us – Swamp Cabbage. Strange because musically the two groups are as different as Hillbilly Boogie and Southern Boogie (or as the lads more accurately describe themselves “North Florida fatback boogaloo” which definitely puts them in a category distinct from the Marshall Tucker Band). Still, they had chops and ideas and funny lyrics and an endearing stage presence. Be astounded by their stagecraft when I tell you the high point for me was the cover of Edgar Winter’s stoner classic “Frankenstein”. You heard right folks, the entire epic composition rendered in full by guitar, bass and drums – and I liked it! Even when one particular section seemed to shade into the final rave up part of the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post”. I dug it.


Naturally, this intense experience got me thinking about how simultaneously boring / fascinating the original was back in the day. The album side that launched a thousand bong hits. Enjoy:

This all clearly is headed toward one inescapable theme – The Keytar: Scourge, or Menace?

Edgar was way out in front on this one. The Wikipedia notes what Winter rocked out on in the above video “was not a keytar—it was merely an ARP 2600 keyboard with a shoulder strap added.” MERELY!? We are ‘merely’ witnessing innovation, sir. The first commercially available synthesizer-on-a-guitar-strap was named the Moog Liberation. Elegant and apt moniker, hinting at a larger political movement that one day might shake the very foundations of civilization, the keytar did precisely as advertised – it liberated the keyboard player, freed him in the sense that now he could jump around like an idiot, just like that illiterate jackass with the guitar he’d been watching from the back of the stage all these years. Sadly, it quickly became evident that being the one guy who can read music doesn’t mean you necessarily qualify in the charismatic front man department. The keytar experiment came and went in the Eighties, thankfully. For those youngsters who are tempted by the current rebound in popularity of the keytar I say unto you: Here’s a guy who never needed to lug his ax all over the stage to get noticed.


I’ll leave you with a bit of contemporary comic genius from Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job. Absolutely no comment from me will add to your experience.

– Jonny


4 10 2007

For more than 20 years now ARC has been setting aside singles and LPs, sheet music and CDs, all with space age themes. The goal is a gallery show, when we gets a gallery, titled, “Music of the Spheres.” What better time to highlight some of these gems than the 50th Sputnikary.

Sound of Space

Appropriately, about the best song ever to emerge from the space race was the Equadores “Sputnik Dance,” done by an unidentified pickup band, perhaps studio musicians. This solid R&B dance number may represent their entire output. (and can someone send a check so we can start mounting soundclips?)

sputnik dance

“Sputnik Dance” / “I’ll The One” // “A Vision” / Stay A Little Longer” Equadores. RCA, EPA-4286, no date.

Daddy-O’s may have panicked when they heard that blip overhead, but the kids just used it as a backbeat. Also-rans Sputnik singles include:
• “Sputnik (Satellite Girl)” / “Unfaithful One” Jerry Engler and the Four Ekkos, Brunswick, 55037,1957. Best name – those “ekkos” [sic] were described on the news in ’57 as, “the sound that will change the world.”
• “Sputnik (Pt. 1)” / “Sputnik (Pt. 2)” Lou Donaldson. Blue Note, 1713, 1957;
• “Shakedown “ / “The Sputnik Story” Bill Thomas. Cullman, 6402, 1958
• “I Don’t Want Nothing But Your Love “ / “Shake It Over, Sputnik” Billy Hogan. Vena, 101, 1958
• “Sputnik II” / “With This Ring” Al Barkle and the Tri-Tones. Vita, 173, 1958
• “Sputnik Three” / “Really, Really Baby” Buel Moore and the Garnets. Vita, 174, 1958
• “Sputniks and Mutniks” / “Dreaming” Ray Anderson. Starday, 342, 1958. Reference to Laika?
• “Sputnik” / “Hiding My Tears (With A Smile)” The Teen-Clefs. Dice, 98/99, 1959.
• “Sputnik Number Two” / “Buddies With The Blues” Bobby Bare. Fratenity. 848, 1959
• “Rock Old Sputnik” / “I’m Falling In Love” Nelson Young. Lucky, 002, 1958
• “Motha Goose Breaks Loose” / “Sputnik ‘69” Hannibal. Pan World, 521, 1960
• “Lowenbrau Laendler “ / “Sputnik Polka” Ernie Reck. Soma, 1093, no date

Huckelberry Hound

Space, and the implied “who’s out there and why?” remains one of the dominant themes of man’s inquiry into the nature of the universe and his place in it. Composers throughout history have been fascinated by both the physical and metaphysical aspects of this inquiry, with both cosmic and comic results. The Gods are in heaven and every song of praise, chant and two-hundred strong chorus is an attempt to join them. As science bought us closer, new mythologies stirred the imagination through literature, films and recorded sound. Going into space was our latest, greatest adventure; imagining space our longest running fiction; HAL has replaced Icarus, yet we still name the ships, “Apollo.”

Oh, by the way, “Outer Space,” if it was on the ground, you could drive there in under an hour. (our atmosphere ends at the Kármán line, about 100 km or 62 miles).

Beyond old saws like, “The Planets,” classical highlights include John Morgan’s “Atomic Journeys/Nukes In Space”, the Soviet “Constellation of Gagarin, and Terry Riley’s NASA commissioned work, “Sun Rings.” Even Laurie Anderson pulled a stint as NASA’s resident composer.

Jazz has used ‘Space’ as a title source for ‘mood’ recordings, to tie together concept albums, to toy with electronics or as a model for disjointed ways of working, like Sun Ra’s many hand drawn and colored covers; including, “Space is the Place”, Maynard Ferguson’s Battlestar Galactica, and the first time Duke Ellington sang on record, “Moon Maiden.”

And where would we be without Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie), Rocketman (Elton John), that Space Cowboy and Moondog? “Flying Saucers” by Dicky Goodman, with a narrative spliced between tag lines from current pop hits, represented a pioneering use of samples. Don’t get me started on Vangelis or Pink Floyd. Best outfits go to the pre-Devo, Spotnicks!

Did you prefer “Mr. Spaceman” by the Byrds or “Mr. Spaceman” by the Holy Modal Rounders? By the way there are 12 minor planets named for rock stars, including Jerry Garcia and Frank Zappa.

Astronauts turned out to be real music nuts, with Neil Armstrong admitting he carried Les Baxter’s “Music Out of the Moon” onboard America’s first orbiter. Bet he wished he had taken the moon-babe along instead…


Astronauts who played music in space with instruments they snuck aboard include Aleksandr Laveikin, Ron McNair, Jean-Loup Chretien and Susan Helms. Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan was the last man ever to set foot on the moon. But another thing no one remembers is that in 1987 he sang along with the Up With People crowd on “Moon Rider.”

That Transitional Time of Year

3 10 2007

T rex + Jackie G

Yes, once again, as we drift through time, and green turns to brown, its the soothing T-Rex sound of “Celebrate Summer” that prepares us for the shock of Jackie Gleason’s raucous “Autumn Leaves”.

T.Rex. “Celebrate Summer” / “Ride My Wheeles” EMI, MARC 18, 45rpm, 7″ single, 1977


Jackie Gleason. conducting “Autumn Leaves” / “Can This Be Love” // OO! What You Do To Me” / “After My Laughter Came Tears” Capitol promotional record, white label, EAP 1-674, 45rpm, 7″ “album”, no date.

Boop, Boop, Shakey Jake Woods Is on the Move

23 09 2007

If you’ve spent any time in Ann Arbor, MI in the past thirty years it’s likely you are familiar with the inimitable Shakey Jake Woods. He was a constant presence around town, playing his guitar and waving at people passing by while dressed in his signature suit, hat, dark sunglasses, and colorful scarf.

Many people have stories about their encounters with Shakey Jake.

For a short time I worked the sound system at Mr. Flood’s Party on Liberty Street. Jake occasionally hung at Flood’s during the late afternoon sets of free music. One day he called me over to his bar stool and said he had a suit at home he no longer needed that he thought was my size. 100% silk, he insisted, the only kind of clothing he ever wore. And to prove his point, he unbuttoned a few shirt buttons and said to check out his t-shirt. 100% percent silk indeed! Jake said if I wanted the suit I had to promise him a few things. His demands were that I ask my girlfriend out for Easter dinner and that I buy her flowers. I agreed to his demands and true to his word Jake gave me the suit. It was blue with thin pinstripes. The pants were a bit snug, but otherwise it was a decent fit.

The next time I saw Jake at Flood’s he asked me how the date went. This was followed by one of his raspy and highly infectious laughs. I told him that my girlfriend insisted I thank him on her behalf and that because of the suit I looked like a million bucks. Jake laughed again and with a satisfied and knowing look in his eyes said, “boop, boop, on the move” and then strutted out the front door.

Over the years I purchased several items from Jake. The most prized is a cassette of his songs and jokes. A musical daredevil Jake sometimes played his guitar with two or even just one string. His unique style opened my ears and the ears of many others to new sonic possibilities.


Shakey Jake passed away on September 16.
Boop, boop, on the move . . .

— Bryan

One of Six

21 09 2007

Canadian poet/singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen was born in Montreal on this day in 1934.

Cohen was an accomplished literary figure prior to beginning his now four-decade-long recording career for Columbia Records. Along with most of his Columbia Records catalog the ARChive’s holdings include the hard-to-find Folkways Records release Six Montreal Poets (FL 9805) which was issued in 1957. On this LP Cohen, A.J.M. Smith, Irving Layton, Louis Dudek, F.R. Scott, and A.M. Klein read their own poetry. Cohen’s poems, which appear in his Let Us Compare Mythologies, include “For Wilf and His House”, “Beside the Shepherd”, “Poem”, “Lovers”, “The Sparrows”, “Warning”, “Les Vieus”, and “Elegy”.

Six Montreal Poets

For more about Mr. Cohen go to

— Bryan

Sonny Rollins live at Carnegie Hall, Tuesday September 18, 2007

19 09 2007

On November 29, 1957, tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins played at Carnegie Hall for the first time leading his own group–a trio consisting of ex-Duke Ellington bassist Wendall Marshall and drummer Kenny Dennis. Although he was only 27 at the time, Rollins had already played and/or recorded with such leading lights of modern jazz as Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Babs Gonzales, Fats Navarro and Miles Davis. In 1957, on the day after Thanksgiving, Rollins was the opening act on a bill that featured Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Chet Baker with Zoot Sims and Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane.

On September 18, 2007, Rollins, now a legend, commemorated the 50th anniversary of that gig with a return to the Hall. He recreated his trio setting with current bass star Christian McBride and a guy who played drums with Rollins 50 years ago–Roy Haynes (who’s gotta be about 80 or so now, though he didn’t look it and certainly didn’t sound like it).

In 1957, Rollins’ performance was a short, three-song segment of a longer all-star jazz show and he only played three songs: the original “Sonnymoon for Two,” “Some Enchanted Evening” (from the Broadway musical South Pacific) and the Kurt Weill composition “Moritat” (which would become a pop hit as “Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin two years later). At the show last night, Sonny stretched the songs out to about ten minutes each, with McBride and Haynes providing excellent accompaniment. It was truly sublime. Especially within the first two minutes of the first song when Rollins showed off his circular breathing technique. This was Rollins’ night and he wasn’t going to fool around.

Sonny Rollins

After a half hour break, Rollins came back to play with a sextet that included his bass player since 1962 Bob Cranshaw; guitarist Bobby Broom, conga and African percussionist Kimati Dinizulu; Steve Jordan, a drummer I initially had misgivings about as he is known for playing in mostly rock settings; and joining Rollins on the front line was trombone player Clifton Anderson–Rollin’s nephew.

This group performed three funkified grooves that hinted at Rollins’ Caribbean roots (his “St. Thomas” is a calypso-influenced classic that he’s been playing since 1956). Jordan’s drumming stood out, as it drove the band without becoming showy or in the way. Anderson may have got the job due to his family ties, but he kept it because he can play trombone quite well. Broom, the guitarist, seemed to mostly play solos. It surprised me that he rarely played rhythm parts, especially during the more funky passages.

For the most part, the whole thing was kept together by the bass player, Cranshaw, who most definitely knows a good groove when he plays one. Dinizulu’s percussion work was a lovely spice.

Throughout this segment of the show, Rollins, who was dressed in a satin-like, over-sized white long-sleeve shirt that matched his hair and beard, played in the hard, rhythmic manner for which he is known. Although purists may have enjoyed the first set better, the second set most definitely had its moments–every time Sonny Rollins played his tenor saxophone. He was clearly enjoying himself, swinging the saxophone around his neck as he played and moving up, down and around the stage, employing a cordless microphone attached to his horn.

Rollins and his group ended the show with a jazzed-up version of the soca standard “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” which allowed for each member of the group to solo.

A contemporary of John Coltrane, Rollins is truly a legend. For the first twenty years of his career he was considered Coltrane’s chief rival of post-bop, hard-driving tenor saxophone playing–some say Rollins was better. When Trane died in 1967, Rollins was the undisputed boss. Lucky for us, Rollins is still alive and playing fabulous music.

–Freddie Patterson

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