KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Tiger Lillies, the – “Circus Songs ” – [Misery Guts Music]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Imagine if Tom Waits and Dame Edna somehow had a love child and he grew up to be a Contra Tenor (male soprano) singer and accordion player – well, this is what it might sound like…
Euro/Brit singer-songwriter Martyn Jaeques and two Adrians form the Tiger Lillies and they have been turning out a huge library of CDs in the last few years that have been almost totally ignored in the USA. This particular release takes us to a Circus that is more twisted and ugly than most Big Tops and Freak Shows, but there is somehow a sad respect for the mutants that run the show. There are a few obvious choices for over-the-top cover songs: Send In The Clowns, in particular but mostly these are originals. Track 3 has the only bad language, but this is very strong stuff in general – a very dark, dramatic and strange recording. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Davis, Sammy Jr. – “Yes! I Can (Vol One) ” – [Rhino Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   B Library, CD

Starting at the age of 2 and a half in 1928, Sammy Davis Jr. was almost instantly an incredible Vaudeville performer, dancing, singing, comedy, acting and becoming a big part of “American Show-Biz” for 64 years. This 4 CD set spans most of his adult career (from 1949 to 1988) with outstanding quality and variety. Even if you ignore the religion, politics and “Rat-Pack” environment that came later his lifetime you will have to agree that the guy had the chops! Jazz songs, Blues, Tin-Pan Alley classics, Broadway show-stoppers, ballads and Pop – many hits and award winning stuff here (and even the less well known tracks are moving!) Disc One covers 1949 to 1960 including some of his tracks from the film version of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.”
My Hot Picks for this disc: #1, #7, #8, #15, #21but give the others a try as well. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Davis, Sammy Jr. – “Yes! I Can (Vol Two) ” – [Rhino Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   B Library, CD

Disc Two covers 1961 to 1965 – includes some of his most successful work. His long association with Frank Sinatra and the rest of the original “Rat Pack” leads to much more film work and international fame. His versions of songs by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse kept him on the top of the charts (even against the “British Invasion.”) Some of these tracks continue the jazzier feeling interpretations and some great duets. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Davis, Sammy Jr. – “Yes! I Can (Vol Three) ” – [Rhino Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   B Library, CD

Disc Three covers 1961 to 1978 (but mostly late 1960s) with a mixed bag of originals and adaptations: TV theme , show tunes and the infamous “The Candy Man”/”Mr. Bojangles” that have been staples of KFJC programming since I don’t know when… Not my particularly favorite era for Sammy but who can argue with success. (where is that picture of him and Nixon hugging, anyway?) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Gimme Dat Harp Boy [coll] – [Big Snake Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   B Library, CD

Starting with a spoken intro from Captain Beefheart hiz own self, this collections spans about 50 years of roots blues, odd jazz (trad, swing and flute honks-n-squirts,) pre-psychedelic poetry, raw hillbilly/Hawaiian country, novelty tunes, raunch & roll and other nifty treats that influenced the young Don Van Vliet as he developed into the Captain of Beefheart weirdness. Not arranged in any chronologic order and the extensive LINER NOTES DO NOT MATCH THE TRACK ORDER! You will find some amazing stuff here, some that were eventually covered by the Magic band. Basically clean for language but there are some suggestive old blues (Black Snake tracks #6 & #7 especially) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Skeriks Syncopated Taint Septe – “Skeriks Syncopated Taint Septe ” – [Ropeadope Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Some Fun, Fine, Funky, Punky, Hip-Hop Jazz from Seattle. Saxophonist Skerik (he has been on many other recordings with groups like Critters Buggin’, Frog Brigade and Galactic.) There is a lot of variety here from Horn Driven Groove-Monster to Zappaesque Aligned Noodles, but nothing is too scary – I could have almost put this in A library… all tracks are instrumental – no vocals. No idea on Skerik’s real name. Recorded Summer of 2003 live in one session at the Owl & Thistle club in Seattle.
Track 2 has an odd Latin beat – not quite sure if it is a Rumba or something else, but it is way fun. Track 4 is just a short introduction to Track 5 a mostly very happy, pop rock jazz thing – let it play through! Track 6 features a twisted analog synth-piano and B-3 Organ duet with wild guitar.
Track 9 is a Double Bari-Sax Monster Mash -YOW!
The group name comes from the 1930’s Anti-Drug Czar Harry J. Anslinger – it was the term he used for the “Rhythmic and Moral Contamination that is Jazz? *review by Studebaker Hawk

Reefer Songs [coll] – [Mojo Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Proving the often stated case that early Jazz Musicians were nothin’ but a lot of Dope Smokin’ Vipers that would soon corrupt the moral values of our “Youth”- this is a GREAT collection of songs that relate to the drug culture of the 1920s through the 1940s. There are solos, small groups and big bands singing about Dopey Joe, Minnie the Moocher, Jerry the Junker, Texas Tea, and all that other “Fine stuff.” These are some of the songs that inspired the revival of jug bands in the 1960s and the re-revival by groups like the Asylum Street Spankers and many others. Sometimes funny but there are some sweet-sad songs as well. Remember, grass was quasi-legal up until about 1937 so these were songs that fit into the culture of the times. Just the thing for your “4:20 Break” and as far as I can tell the lyrics are all clean (if suggestive…) 1996 release date. We also have another version in Blues *review by Studebaker Hawk

Primetime Sublime Community or – “A Life in a Day of a Micro… ” – [Corporate Blob Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

East coast project combining real and synthi musicians, cut-ups and complex editing for a lot of funny stuff. There are a lot of references to modern classical composition but more silly than most.
The long production ‘A Life in a Day of A Microorganism? is a take on those 1950’s elementary school science films that soon goes horribly wrong. Even broken into 3 parts it is a bit too long (and there are a few lame ‘Gay Jokes?) but it might fit somewhere in your show. The shorter tracks are outstanding and well worth a spin. There are some ‘self-promotion? sort of announcements but not overdone… *review by Studebaker Hawk

Skerik – “Left for Dead in Seattle ” – [Critters Buggin]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Every Track is Different! These are recordings done over the last 10 years with various combinations of musicians. They were ‘left for dead? on the shelf because Skerik was too busy doing other things to finish them, but he finally did it. This is not at all like Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet – not much ‘jazz? here at all.
Track 1: just a low voice intro.
Track 2: sort of a Tower of Power/JB Horns Groove thang. Shake it!
Track 3: goofy Vocorder + Parlament-Funkadelic feel – very fine!
Track 4: vocal + sax jazzy thing that has more than a touch of Zappa.
Track 5: rapping drum (real and machine) & bass low ride – clean vocals.
Track 6: violin feature over various vibes and marimbas
Track 7: Psycho-Klez with Idiot Flesh like craziness vocals – scary stuff but fun.
Track 8: the feel of track 7 continues instrumentally into the desert…
Track 9: Goof-Rap version of this Xmas classic – not just for December!
Track 10: continues the Santa thing into Hell- lots of guitars.
Track 11: Bonus track with string orchestral effects – very minimal.
All are interesting and worth a spin!!! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Walls of Genius – “Before … and After ” – [Self Release]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Walls of Genius were not the first to use a mix of goofy instruments, samples, vocals/spoken word and noisemakers in a post-punk/new wave experimental weirdo band but they were certainly among the early ‘well known? perpetrators of this kind of quirky SubGenious music that has since become a staple of KFJC’s library. This is a CD reissue of a 1984 cassette release, part of a series of about 30 tapes made between 1982 and 1986. Little Fyodor is still touring around the country, performing for secret societies in strange little clubs. He pronounces his name as: “fee-ay-dor” ‘Spazz Music of Macho Irony? is what the Rev. Stang calls it. More at letterstodanfogelberg.50megs.com/ and littlefyodor.com MANY FUCKS on Track 10 otherwise clean *review by Studebaker Hawk

Holland Band – “Truck Liedjes Vol 2 ” – [H C D Music Productions]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Country

All Time Favorite Dutch Truck Driving Songs (Volume 2)!
The Ones That Were Not Quite Favorite Enough To Make Volume One!
By A Completely Unknown Band!
Singing in Dutch! You Might Understand One Word In Twenty!
Check’em ALL out! (LIEDJES = Lye Ghezz, sort of. That means Song. Truck means Truck, dammit! for any other pronunciation talk to Ned Walker… )

Tien-Vier Goede Vriend! (Ten-Four, Good Buddy!) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Gove County Philharmonic, the – “Circus Doesn’t Stop At…, the ” – [Pfmentum]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Starting off with an old, scratchy recording of a pleasant little city park band (strings and horns) playing a waltz on a Sunday afternoon, the Grove County Philharmonic is a quaint look back at another century of music. THEN THE EVIL CLOWN HITS YOU IN THE FACE WITH A TURD PIE, KICKS YOU IN THE ASS WITH HIS FLOPPY SHOES AND STOMPS ALL OVER YOUR EARS WITH A SCREAMING, DISCORDANT MUTANT CIRCUS BAND FROM HELL!!!!!!
Actually, after that first shock things get stranger, nicer, and back to strange again – all over the place, musically until the band kinda just fades away down the road …. I like it! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Free Radicals – “Our Lady of Eternal Sunny… ” – [Rastaman Work Ethic]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Take a whole bunch of people to recording studios in Houston and New York and turn them loose – what you get is an amazing mixture of jazz, funk/soul, noodles, beats, poots and honks – some great, some don’t go much of anywhere (and they cut after a few seconds – watch out!) A few tracks have a ska/rock flavor but overall it is mostly more leaning towards somewhat structured jazz. Very nice when they get going… *review by Studebaker Hawk

Connah, Graham – “Because of Wayne/The Only Song ” – [Evander Music]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

This 3 CD 2 Group set from Graham Connah is quite something! Part jazz, part rock, part Zappaesque weirdness with interesting combinations of wind, string and electronic instruments, some clever vocals and a wacky, playful quality that will have you trying to dance along to the odd time signatures and jolly funky squonks. Disc One (Because of Wayne) were recorded live at Bruno’s in 98/99 as “Sour Note Seven” and the other 2 discs are 2000 studio sessions as “Jettison Slinky” with many line-up changes but there is a conceptual continuity throughout. Mighty Fine! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Brass Monkey Brass Band – “Live in Time and Space ” – [Weed]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Some local brass wackos have formed this modern New Orleans Brass Band to put the SF/Improv flavor into some old standards and new tunes. Jon Birdsong (Lords of Outland) on the sousaphone really sets the funk pace but everybody else does a lot of interesting stuff here as well. Goofy fun in a “live in studio recording” (must have been some party!) Mostly instrumental with some incidental vocal things between songs. Track 7 is a nice take on a Steve Wonder tune and is actually 16 minutes long with a little gap – the end is a dub take (very odd) so let it play! *review by Studebaker Hawk

Donner Party, the – “Complete Recordings 1987-1989 ” – [Innerstate Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

We have the first two LPs collected on this CD, but Disc 2 has previously unreleased material. Donner Party crossed a lot of styles, from Byrds/Dylanish 12 string jangle-hippie folk rock to cow-punk to sort of They Might Be Giants to thrashing junk kore with serious lyrics. There are some happy little songs about death and what happens to your guts when you die and other sweet things, but mostly I would call this just really good late 80s SF Rock. too bad there is not a lyric sheet in this – there is some fine writing…
Don’t miss the 2nd CD Bad words noted on Disc 2 track One (Please Don’t Listen) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Father Harry – “Spring 2000 ” – [Oblate Media and Communi.]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

No bad words on this CD
some questionable snippets of (maybe) Backstreet Boys and such are used to punctuate the themes, but Fr. Harry is back as his usual wacky self, telling clever little messages of goodness to the great unwashed.
If you liked him on his previous hit records, you will like this one, but if you have avoided him in the past a great big foot might come down out of the clouds and skoosh you like a bug. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Phelps, Nik & Spr (soundtrack) – “Fetch! ” – [Nik Phelps]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   CD, Soundtrack

Hey! This sounds like cartoon music! Well, it is…
Nik Phelps started the Sprocket Ensemble out of the Clubfoot Orchestra roster – it is a varied group of San Fran musicians that play well in any style. These tracks are from various performances making live soundtrack music for some independent cartoons and short subject films. This stuff is all over the place, from classic 1930’s sounding tracks to bits of jazz, klez, Raymond Scott/Carl Stalling flavor and improvish things. Check inside the liner page for more deets. Goofy, but no Pluto ;-) *review by Studebaker Hawk

Mekons – “Journy to the End of the Night ” – [Quarterstick Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

The Mekons have been around since 1976 , making one or two albums a year since then and are still creating interesting music. Blends of strumbly folk with reggae tinged lyrics, fiddle driven cow-punk tear stained ballads, moody gloomy happy pop songs – whatever the want to do seems to come out great. Important, clever lyrics, great arrangements – a KFJC standard (check the library!) well worth many spins… Try any track. *review by Studebaker Hawk

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