Category Archives: Other Stuff

You say ‘Palermo’, I say ‘Palermo’. Let’s call the whole thing off!

Listening to the latest Ed Palermo album – ‘The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren‘– which itself is a wonderful melange of both obvious and obscure Zappa tunes along with some Rundgren deep cuts, I suddenly realised that his ‘Un-American Songbook Volumes 1&2‘ was, by a long chalk, my most played album of 2017 and somewhat oddly I haven’t recommended it to both of my readers here.
I first popped a copy of it into my in-car CD player back in April ’17, en route to see Denny & The MuffinZ through on the East Coast (Scotland) and it hasn’t seen the light of day since!
Ed P must surely have one of those Men In Black memory erasers. How else could I not recall him hanging around, with me, when I dropped the needle regularly on at least 95% of the tunes here, way back in the Seventies?
It’s uncanny, his particular selection of these sounds – my personal favourites back then – have now been dusted off and remade/remodelled into new great things of wonder.

Ed first came up on my radar. twenty years ago. when he released ‘Big Band Zappa’. Since then EPBB recordings have been fairly thin on the ground until suddenly during the last eighteen months when, all of a sudden, a burst of activity (or should that read prolificity?) has resulted in, first of all, ‘ One Child Left Behind’ then this beauty (Songbook #1&2), before the latest Rundgren adventure.

There are no Zappa credits or titles at all  on these ‘Un-American Songbook’ recordings but Francophiles need not fret, FZ is all over this disc, like a rash. Whether it’s Hot Plate Heaven during King Crimson‘s ’21sr Century Schizoid Man’ ,  Blodwyn Pig’s ‘Send Your Son to Die!’ being squeezed through an Electric Aunt Jemima filter or indeed that ‘Chunga’s Revenge’ bassline on Traffic‘s Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (very Gotan Project ! ). Zappa peeks out behind the curtains in far too many places to begin to  catalogue here!
High spots abound, however my particular favourite, today anyway, is Ed’s amazing arrangement of the Stones ‘We Love You’.
As the tune progresses, it slowly gets mashed up with The Beatles ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, violinist Virtuoso Katie Jacoby plays the original vocal melody THEN some those backward tape loops. As if that weren’t enough, the horns are simultaneously playing ‘G Spot Tornado’ over the top of all this glorious madness.
First time I heard this, I nearly crashed the car!!!
Elsewhere, the plaintive strains of their version of Radiohead’s ‘The Tourist’ sounds to these ears like the best record Robert Wyatt never made.
The ONLY thing that could have improved this record would have been to get Green Day‘s Billy Joe Armstrong read out Lee Jackson’s vocal sign off to the EPBB’s version of The Nice’s assault on Leonard Bernstein’s America!
America is pregnant with promises and anticipation but is murdered by the hand of the inevitable
Go buy this record, now!



Green Shoots of Recovery?

Took a walk through my local shopping mall today. Something that I don’t do too often – and, by the look of things, neither do many others.
Incredibly depressing to see so many businesses vanishing and their associated jobs leaving the area. Can’t see this being sorted in the short term.
With the proposed Braehead Bridge over the Clyde, this is just going to get worse!

Album of the Year, 2015


Until the eleventh hour (early November to be precise), my 2015 album of the year was a straight shoot out between two gals.
Kaki King’s ‘The Neck is a Bridge to the Body’ caught my attention, immediately upon release, back in March. The_Neck_Is_The_Bridge_To_The_Body_Kaki_King

and then immediately after that (and seldom off my CD player since) was Ela Orleans’ Upper Hell. That haunting melodic collaboration with Howie B, by way of Dante’s inferno.

Should you ever get a chance to catch Ela live, do so without a second’s hesitation.
She’s absolutely mesmerising!
But then, while I debated which one was better than the other, out of the blue, as the year wore on, appeared Evil GeniusBitter Human – a collection of instrumentals by the Los Angeles trio that features Wormhole wizard Max Kutner (Grandmother of Invention stunt guitarist, Magic Band guitarist-stage left ). Stefan Kac on Tuba and Mike Lockwood on drums
bitter human
I often buy albums purely on the strength of unusual instrumentation or juxtaposition thereof (e.g. Brass Monkey) and so this item was a shoo in for me . I can’t really recall playing an album quite so often, one time after another, since Ali Farka Toure’s The River.
Overall there’s a flavour of Henry Threadgill running through and over the whole thing but that’s no bad thing, no bad thing at all. Over the weeks, I realise I’ve been editing wee imaginary films to go along with this wonderful music.
Want to see them?

Blind Elephant’s Green Felt Jungle Dance – It’s a Czech cartoon that was made during the early days of the Cold War but was never seen until the early nineties. A small frog, which we’ve  seen earlier, fishing with his two froglets, is now being chased by a sinister fox made from used pipe cleaners.

Juke’s Prompt – James Corden has ordered a pizza delivery and rushes around as he readies his squalid suburban apartment for its arrival. His fiance meanwhile dumps him by text and the arriving pizza, in a metaphor for the state of his romance, is violently binned.

Another Ale for the Gesture Urn – The working week of a village pharmacist is studied and condensed into six and a half minutes of sonic bliss (Documentary)

Secondary Air While staking out a bordello and enjoying the skills of its  masseuse, a heavily moustachioed Tom Cruise is slipped a hallucinogenic suppository. As he trips out, in an out of focus over-saturated slo-mo tumble, and slowly realises he’s missed the villain escaping with the loot, the house band is playing this tune.

For No Particular Reason – Stop -motion close up of a Danish Pastry speedily deteriorating into the blue mould of decay.

(Share in a) Regional Meat Vision – Jim Rockford is in the shower. Some malcontent calls him and leaves this tune on his  ansafone!

Ice People – A potters wheel turns, showing an embryonic vase slowly being corrupted by pieces of sheep offal that are thrown lightly into the clay.

Vamp for Lenny Kekua – William Burroughs cut up letters repeatedly spell out ‘Hoax’ in a variety of languages.

Manuever – Dr Morbius explains The Krell, and their history, to some angry pensioners.

Evil Genius, Bitter Human – An alcoholic Jack Lemmon  has entered a sandcastle building contest. Building more and yet more elaborate castles we share his frustration as he repeatedly knocks them over to build afresh. Somewhat cleverly, the viewers never see a completed castle.


A taste of those I’ve been discussing……..


Soylent Green approaches!