Sunday, July 16, 2017

R.I.P. Old School Record Guy and Jazz Lover JOE FIELDS

Joe Fields, a jazz lover and record label owner who took a chance on me with four or five jazz LPs in the 1970s has died.

He was 88.

Downbeat reports:

Joe Fields, a driving force in the jazz music business for over 50 years, passed away on July 12. He was 88 years old.

Fields was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1929 and raised in Brooklyn. In high school he was an accomplished athlete, winning the prestigious New York Journal American Lou Gehrig award. He was also an industrious student, working many jobs during his school years, including selling newspapers, pushing a rack in the Garment District and driving a cab. He played college football at Syracuse and the University of Bridgeport, where he was captain of his team his senior year. While attending Bridgeport, he met and married the woman who would become his wife of 66 years, Joan Nancy Boyd.

After graduating from college, Fields had several business ventures but found his calling in the music business. In the late 1950s, he began selling records to music stores in Brooklyn. Fields was hired by London Records to pick singles for the United States market.

He worked for MGM, Verve, Prestige and Sue Records before becoming the national sales manager at Buddha Records. While at Buddha, Fields started its jazz division, Cobblestone Records. He started his own record label when he acquired Cobblestone from Buddha and renamed it Muse Records.

I had three artists (co-produced with Skip Drinkwater) on Joe's Muse/Cobblestone:
  • Norman Connors during his Pharoah Sanders period
  • The Grubbs Brothers aka The Visitors, highly influenced by their cousin John Coltrane
  • Catalyst, virtuoso players ranging from hard bop to fusion

Read more at Downbeat and thanks for the photo!

 

 

 

 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

We backed up my SoundCloud to Archive.org and you can too

I am a big consumer of online multimedia and as the editor and publisher of POCHO I regularly embed video and audio files.

The videos I feature are usually served by YouTube and Vimeo, and audio files mostly come from SoundCloud. I've never spent much time contemplating SoundCloud's business model -- I just thought of them as an audio YouTube analog.

Now it turns out SoundCloud is having cash flow problems and may not be around much longer. As far is POCHO is concerned this is no big deal --- creaters gonna create anyhow -- but as a SoundCloud creator myself I need to consider where my audio files will live if SoundCloud shuts down.

Thankfully my old friend Tom Higgins was a step ahead of me and put a shell script up on GitHub that you can use to move your files from SoundCloud to a nice new home on Archive.org.

Thanks, Tom!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

It was 60 years ago today St. Hubbins and Tufnel taught the band to play

Today is the 60th anniversary of the day that David St. Hubbins met Nigel Tufnel and formed The Originals, which eventually became SPINAL TAP.

From SpinalTap.com:

Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins grew up in the same city block in London's Squatney District, knowing each other only slightly. David played guitar in a skiffle band, the Creatures; Nigel did the same for the Lovely Lads. The two began jamming together outside tube stations, and eventually, formed their first legitimate band, the Originals, later changed to the New Originals when the East End Originals (now the Regulars) threatened suit.

The New Originals collapsed in 1964 without record company support, but David and Nigel were hired by the legendary Johnny Goodshow Revue and played the Seaside Circuit, gigging after hours at local pubs — and it was in a Southampton tavern, The Bucket (now the Bucket and Pail), that they met and jammed with John "Stumpy" Pepys, then drummer for Leslie Cheswick Soul Explosion (now Les & Mary Cheswick).

When the weather turned cold, the three hooked up with bassist Ronnie Pudding from the Cheap Dates (now Cheapdate) and began working in London as the Thamesmen. They released their debut single on Abbey, Gimme Some Money b/w Cups and Cakes, in late spring 1965. It did not hit the charts immediately.

Meanwhile, the band played extensively in the Benelux nations, particularly Amsterdam's Long-Hair Club, where they met sixteen-year-old keyboard prodigy Jan Van Der Kvelk, who did musical charts for the band and used his Dutch music-biz connections to get them work. Leaving Amsterdam and Van Der Kvelk behind, the band returned to Britain as the Dutchmen and found Gimme Some Money climbing the charts. The band quickly changed their name back to the Thamesmen but the single had peaked and vanished from sight.

During the next eighteen months the group performed under the following names: Rave Breakers, Hellcats, Flamin' Daemons, Shiners, Mondos, the Doppel Gang, the Peoples, Loose Lips, Waffles, Hot Waffles, Silver Service, The Mud Below, and the Tufnel-St. Hubbins Group; personnel included: Nick Wax, Tony Brixton, Dicky Laine, and Denny Upham (keyboards); Jimmy Adams, Geoff Clovington (horns); Julie Scrubbs-Martin, Lhasa Apso (backing vocals); and briefly Little Danny Schindler (vocals, harmonica), later with Shvegman-Hayman-Kvelkman Blues Band featuring Little Danny Schindler (Shvegman, Hayman and Kvelkman signed with CPR Records as Talmud).

Continued here...

Friday, June 2, 2017

R.I.P. Sunset Strip landmark House of Blues


The House of Blues is going down. Photo by Alison Martino for Vintage Los Angeles



My favorite night there was September 5, 2000, an evening I memorialized for SpinalTap.com.


Editor's Note: Dennis Wilen, webmaster for Harry Shearer, and Bunezuela, who paid $510 for two tickets to the film premiere, reports from Spinal Tap's triumphant return in Los Angeles, September 5, 2000

No fooling those Sunset Boulevard scenesters!

Despite the House of Blues marquee showing TUES NITE: SUSSMAN BRIS, the can't-fool-me crowd of hepsters packed the HOB for the tour-opening gig of Spinal Tap's 16th anniversary premiere.

The hard rockin', Spinal Tap t-shirt wearing-crowd was like totally ready for an extremely rare appearance by one of England's loudest bands. With tickets to the uber-private HOB "industry preview" gig reportedly going for up to $300 on eBay and September 7 David Letterman taping tickets in the $3K range, there was no question this was the hottest show in Hollywood.

I myself with my own eyes saw swinging stars like Carl Reiner, Al Franken, the inimitable Hef (no ascot tonight!) with two matching blonde bimbettes, and my old Philly homeboy, bass-playin' Freebo, whose mysterious presence was only explained by the show's encore.

There were lots of other celebs, I am told, plus many industry weasels in attendance. Surprise opening act was The Folksmen.

Dressed in matching khakis and vertical red and white candystripe shirts, the group played their one hit, what had once been several traditional ballads, and, to show they're no strangers to that rock and roll music you kids like to listen to, closed their set with a rousing version of Boston's More Than A Feeling.

Even if you think you've heard this rock classic in every possible setting, you would have probably been as dumbfounded as the audience was upon hearing it on string bass with two acoustic guitars. Stunning.

Finally, as the velvet curtain rose on the laser lit, smoke-filled club stage, the thundering intro to Hell Hole, cut one side one on Tap's debut LP, filled the room, and Tap was Back from the Dead, in a mighty big way.

 From left to right, dark, hairy and menacing Derek Smalls, as always, on bass. In the center, on vocals and rhythm, blonde and beautiful David St. Hubbins. On the right, as flashy as ever, Nigel Tufnel sent out the soaring leads on his artlessly played Japanese Stratocaster copy with lots of buttons.

The band never stopped to rest or chat much or even tune up as they hammered hit after hit across the proscenium to the screaming horde. Bitch School. Christmas With the Devil.

Whatever that song was during which Derek had gotten trapped in the pod, but not this time. The British Invasion hit that started it all off for Tap: Listen to the Flower People. And then, unbelievably, as the lights flashed and the thunder rolled, a prop Stonehenge is lowered to the stage. It was easy to forget, at that moment, the huge, bald spot in the middle of Derek's flowing tresses, the crusty cold sore on Nigel's lip and the fact that St. Hubbins was made up like a geisha whore on crack.

The magical musical tale began. This was Progressive Rock at its perige! Or is it apogee? I never remember.

And, apparently as part of a personnel compromise that got the band back on the road, the part of the midget was danced by a woman (Jeanine?) who might have been St. Hubbins' bird, ya know watteye mean wink wink nudge nudge? But I'm not sure.

As the epic ended, the crowd was silent. The 'Henge retreated into the lights. What could possibly follow this? Cheers. Cheers. Cheers as Freebo, carrying a goddamn tuba, and a famous bass player with a bald head, wire-rim specs and a long gray ZZ Topish beard (I am spacing on the name) came on to join the Tapsters, and, in a fitting finale, together they layed down the bottom-heaviest version of "Big Bottom" you'd ever want to hear.

And I don't say that lightly. My ears are still ringing. And my mind is still spinning — in a good way.