Friday, 23 March 2012

Meanwhile in Memphis

This looks like a great film, about which I knew nothing until a friend posted a link to Facebook today. The great and the good of Memphis music appear here (I can't list them all here, you'll just have to work it out for yourself), and many of the sentiments expressed I have also stated or written myself virtually verbatim when trying to convey the essence of the abstraction known as "Memphis' approach to music."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Transformed Spotified!

Given that this humble bloglet has next to no readers, I guess this would qualify as extreme long-tail promotion, but here goes anyway. Yesterday, my elder daughter (it's always the kids first) informed me that the Linda Heck Transformed album is now available on Spotify! Check it out here.


I Found My Love in Memphis

I must have lost my mind somewhere. How could I have not posted the original version of this song, to which I have referred so many times in these pages? The formidable George Clappes, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Andy Kaufman meets Elvis

I remember seeing this as a dumbfounded 14 year-old, back when it first aired. I had no idea who Andy Kaufman was, and much like the rest of the audience, felt terribly embarrassed for him as he began his impressions. Then the Elvis transformation occurred, and everyone was stunned, as well as a bit relieved. This aired five months before Elvis died, so I guess we could argue that, as with so much of the rest of his work, Andy Kaufman was ahead of the curve, presaging the wave of tribute artists who followed in the wake of The King's passing.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Carry On London

So sphincter-clinchingly awful, you can practically hear the studio musicians cringing hopelessly as they hammer this one out before retreating home to contemplate suicide. I'm sort of surprised that this hasn't been dusted off to raise our spirits ahead of the Olympics, the Queen's 200th birthday, or whatever it is we're meant to be celebrating this year. And not a single mention of East Dulwich - despicable.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Robert Palmer Memorial Barbecue

Not sure what possessed me to do this, but working from home the other day, I was suddenly seized by a need to thrash this out very quickly over my lunch break. Wish I'd had the chance to get to know Bob better, but in the few brief encounters we had, he introduced me to a lot of sounds and ideas, and he was very funny.

Flaming Who

The Flaming Lips in rehearsal, attacking a condensed version of "Tommy" with gusto.

Unexpected find of the day

Have a psychedelic Friday!

This version of "Wind Chimes" is great, but I have always preferred the weirder and darker version released on "Smiley Smile."

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Dread Zeppelin, live in Alaska, 2000

Unexpected find of the day

A short video of the Black Oak Arkansas compound, apparently discovered as the band was on the run from the police in 1966, having just been busted in Memphis.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Monday, 12 March 2012

How I Got to Memphis

I'm thinking maybe there's a compilation album in here somewhere. Presenting The Avett Brothers, with a harrowing tale of love gone bad, Memphis-style. The cello's a nice touch.

Scenes from London life


Another unusual Memphis song

The Cass Brothers, "Memphis"

"Lovely ladies, it's up to you and me, to make it in Memphis."

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Scenes from London life


Water and Dreams


It was with great delight that I found this video clip in the Internet Archive. In it we find Memphis architect Roy Harrover, author of a number of the city's most iconic modern structures, describing the background to the development of the Mud Island park, and proudly showing off the results via a dimly lit slide show, to an audience in Dallas in 1984.

View of the iconic Hernando De Soto Bridge from the "arrivals level"

Then Mud Island was only in its infancy, but nearly 30 years later, it is a sad shadow of its former self. Gone are the five restaurants mentioned here, and the crowds. However, the River Walk model remains impressively intact, and the views of the city's waterfront and the river itself are undiminished by time. I took the kids there on a visit last April, and they loved every minute of it.

View from the island back towards The Pyramid, a much less worthy project

Mississippi River from the southern tip of the island

"Gulf of Mexico" fountain at the end of the River Walk

He alludes to 90 shows in the amphitheatre per season, and indeed, during this time frame, I saw Elvis Costello twice (Nick Lowe/Aztec Camera opening), R.E.M., Merle Haggard, a great Stax review featuring Booker T. & The M.G.'s and Eddie Floyd, and my little brother's band (called Last Exit) at a battle of the bands event in this amazing venue, now largely silent. It's sadly ironic, but hardly surprising to those who know Memphis, that Mr. Harrover closes with a statement of satisfaction that the project seems to have instilled Memphians with a sense of pride in their own heritage - alas, apparently of a highly ephemeral nature.

Kids frolicking ankle-deep in the "mouth of the Mississippi"

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Johnny Cash Radio Show, KWAM Memphis, 1955(?)

Johnny rocks out and sells awnings, chain link fences, kitchens, and aluminum screens.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Monday, 5 March 2012

Stuff Memphians Say

Okay, I know this meme is very tired, but this little segment does have the ring of truth to it, and there are some good references (weatherman Dave Brown, wrestling legend Jerry Lawler, and Jerry's Sno Cones) in it. And yes, Memphis is full of terrible driving, and Poplar Avenue should always be avoided whenever possible. One thing that struck me when watching this for the first time was that none of the characters actually sounds the way I remember Memphians talking. Such is the influence of mainstream media that the drawl of yore has been superceded by a more Midwestern sound in the younger generation. Oh, and I miss Libertyland, too.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

"Transformed" home brew AM radio spot

Back when I was growing up, it was not at all uncommon to have new album promo spots on AM radio that sounded something like this. I remember many of them as being very influential in my decision-making process to buy or avoid certain artists or albums. I know that all of this has been rendered completely irrelevant in recent years, but I felt perversely compelled to create an AM radio extended spot for the new "Transformed" album by my friend Linda Heck, just for the hell of it.

Come by Here

Yet another unlikely cover which Alex Chilton made his own.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Scenes from London life


Now let it all become unloosed!

Yesterday, I took delivery of a box of awesome from across the pond.


Contents: several copies of the Linda Heck album, "Transformed," which was fitting given that yesterday was also the official release date.


I can't quite express how proud I am to have been involved in a project which I think yielded some amazing results. I got to work with some of my very favorite people on the planet, and there's something very satisfying (and slightly surreal) about seeing one's name alongside a list of people as talented as these.


Most of all, I'm really proud of Linda for seeing this project through to fruition. It was a two-year process, of which the cumulative studio time was almost certainly less than three weeks, but which was fraught with a myriad of life distractions and stumbling blocks encountered along the way.

She persevered, however, and it is a reality at last. Her selection of musicians, instruments, and arrangements perfectly adorns each of the 15 excellent songs here, marking her emergence as a bona fide producer, beyond her obvious gifts as a writer and singer. Doug Easley was, as always, the wise and mysterious guiding hand, with a bag of fairy dust in his back pocket. It sure was a blast, hope we can do it again!

It sounds amazing and also looks good next to your other CDs. You can preview (and purchase, please!) it here.