Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Why Do People In The Industry Think They Can Dabble With Releases? #264

Why Do People In The Industry Think They Can Dabble With Releases?

I just don't get it, why does a Giles Martin think that he can "remix" the Beatles output (not that I care about the Beatles). Why could he not have left the catalogue alone and maybe do a remaster only? Or this Wilson guy who thinks he must show the world how it's really done. I mean there are even Deep Purple remixes. Is this a sort of ADHD syndrome? The guy at the mixing desk gets a load of money, the band can sell the same stuff over and over again? I get it, it's business as usual and usual in this case means, sod artistic integrity. Which begs the question, was there ever such a thing as artistic integrity in Rock and Pop? 

There are even cases where whole gigs are put into a different sequence because the producer thought his take of a gig is valid and he's letting the world know. Case in point, the two CD releases of John Coltrane with his Graz gig in 1962. I was a bit confused to see that it apparently didn't follow the proper sequencing and instead Werner X. Uehlinger thinks he knows best and John Coltrane didn't have an idea. 

Executive producer's note: The four tracks on this first release have been selected from the 1962 concert tape which Hat Hut Records has licensed from ORF Steiermark, Graz, Austria. I approached the Program as I would have done with a studio recording, by deciding not simply to reproduce the concert, but to present the music from a dramatic perspective. The second release, which hopefully will follow soon, will present the concluding portion of the concert with a different dramatic perspective.

Thank you Mr. Uehlinger, this is exactly what we've been waiting for, a different dramatic take more than fifty years after the fact. Actually I expected better from you, especially since Hat Hut (and the offshoot ezz-thetics) are one of a kind and the labels are a beacon in Jazz circles. But noone needs a reimagination and believe it or not, John Coltrane's music is his and not yours to be playing games with.

Both CDs were released in 2019 and 2020 and I recommend you to buy the releases with the original order and not this one, however beware of a lot of counterfeits/bootlegs.



Monday, May 13, 2024

Dr. Feelgood - A Case Of The Shakes (LP - Testpressing) - #263

Dr. Feelgood - A Case Of The Shakes (LP - Testpressing)

I might have said it before, but here we go again. I'm not checking minutiae for Dr. Feelgood and/or Wilko Johnson releases anymore, I have better things to do in life. But the odd acetate or test pressing makes my heart still beating somewhat faster and I'm twenty years and more back in time, when it was essential to get my greedy hands on an item that wasn't in my collection yet. 

Just recently I got the B-side test pressing of "A Case Of The Shakes" ("only" the B-side) which was advertised as coming with an alternate track sequence. Which Dr. Feelgood aficionado wouldn't jump at the chance. It's UAG 30311 B, so it makes this British to the core. Unfortunately, there's no alternate track sequence, I double checked even with the Canadian release, because I thought that just maybe the seller made a genuine error. Well, the latter has a different track sequence, but this would be for the A-side only.

Now, I won't be complaining to the seller and I'm glad I was able to add it to my collection and the next thing to do is, to look for an A-side, not. No way, if I happen to stumble over one, the better for me. If not, I won't be losing any sleep. How does it sound? A bit bass heavy if I might say so. I don't recall the original to be such deep off the end.



Sunday, December 31, 2023

Steve Hooker - Seven Veils (CD) - #262

 Steve Hooker - Seven Veils (CD)

I've read the credits of the first song only after maybe a couple of dozens of run-throughs (seriously, this CD is on heavy rotation together with Emanuel Casablanca's new one, there's no room for a sheet of paper in between). First track coming up, I thought yes, I haven't heard Steve Hooker so Rock'n'Rollish  in a long time. Small wonder, "The Promised Land" is a coverversion of a song by a certain Berry C. and with that the next remark, should one know this person? There's a small bell tolling somewhere in the distance.


It shouldn't really surprise anyone that Steve Hooker gets started with a Rock'n'Roller. The Rockabillyblues and Soulman, as he brands himself. Soul on the other hand is a bit of a surprise, I'm not the brightest candle in the room when it comes to that genre and I've been skating very thin ice only for about ten years now. That is not to say, I haven't had any Soul records in my collection previously. Stay with what I know! On this new CD (2024) you'll find nine tracks, two of them coverversions (the other is written originally by a certain Redding O) and one track is a "Smokin' Remix" which can be heard in its original version on this CD as well. Seven originals and two coverversions, this alone is remarkable, wouldn't it be Steve Hooker. Of course, he's doing a coverversion every now and then, all for your enjoyment, but I appreciate his work really even more for his own original efforts


Very interesting is also the fact that "Treasure Island" is an instrumental. There's usualyy a bit of a gap amongst a lot of artists in that department when it comes to artistical integrity. Mr. Hooker sails the waters beautifully and is totally in control and presents a rocker (which is more like the Boogie direction, if I'm not completely off the rocker). With this Redding O. thing ("Snatch A Little Piece"), one should think that Soul is the main ingredient. That's maybe so, but I hear the guitar like it usually never appears in Soul (not even talking about the rhythm section). At a shade under 28 minutes with those nine tracks, one chases the other. It's not Prog noodling, that's for sure. Somehow with "Sadie Brown", this song will pop up again later, Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoia come to mind and their "Heads Down No Nonsense Mindless Boogie", even though only because of the tile. But it is indeed a no nonsense mindless Boogie. Excellent!


No need to dissect every track on this CD (Pimphouse CD5), here's the short version: If Boogie and down to earth Rock with strong ties to Blues and Rock'n'Roll is your cup of tea, you've come to the right address. Since your sleepy head of a record dealer doesn't have the CD in his racks anyway, make a direct order on Steve Hooker's website at Stripped Down Stompin' Band (stevehooker.co.uk) and pay through Paypal. You won't break the bank and your collection will start to look very tempting to your friends and colleagues. Regarding the website, have a look around, the man is on the road for decades now and has made a few claims for greater notoriety, but in my book has missed the spotlight always by a fraction only. Not because of his fault, I add, rather because of the niche he's ploughing with his music. There are no riches for the dedicated. And he's done so on a constantly high level. Support the artist!

The Band (Stripped Down Stompin' Band):

Steve - Guitar, Bottleneck, Handclaps, Vox

Vic - Fender Bass

Brian - Drums


Stingray Davies - Bells, Hammond

Dee - BVs (Backing Vocals)

Writing this text, I'm listening to the CD for the third or fourth time (I'm not using text modules). And again, "Snatch A Little Piece", definitely not Soul (btw, noone has claimed it to be).



Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Black Slacks - Savage Sessions 1982-83 (LP) - #261


Black Slacks - Savage Sessions 1982-83 (LP)

Shortly after the 12" Rockin' Drifters release with recordings from 1980, this slab of wax makes its entry on the market and the band is the Black Slacks and on offer is a piece of Finnish Rock'n'Roll history 1982-1983. This is a very small print of only 100 copies (and no CD). I've no idea wether there are still copies available, I highly doubt it (the announcement of the forecoming release was in June 2023).
You can try your luck with the label on their site on 

As with the Rockin' Drifters, you get Arto "Archie" Hämäläinen once again, albeit two years older (making him 19 at the time), but in a seldom seen or heard role, this time as the drummer of the band. I knew that Archie had played the drums at one time in his life (and also saxophone, if my recollection of what I've been told is correct). But the fact that there would be a time when these recordings came to the surface was just not possible even beyond positive thinking. In contect, even the release of the Rockin' Drifters were something I didn't expect to see/hear during my lifetime. There he can be heard at an age of 17 on the guitar which proved to be his main instrument in decades to come.
I can't contribute to the story of either band and all I know about the Black Slacks is taken from the reverse side of the cover, titles "The Story" and then a short text in Finnish (see below - this is a Google translation).

What can you hear on "Savage Sessions 1982-1983? Fourteen tracks, of which thirteen should be well hung cover versions. I'm not too sure about "Herätys Kello (Tick Tock)". The credits state "J. Landi - Arr Black Slacks" and I can find a certain Jerry Landis on the internet wit a track called "Tick Tock", but I'm not even sure it was his composition. The genre is Rock'n'Roll, no question about that, and all in 1982-83 where, except in Finland, no thought was wasted on the style. Which is just to show how deep music in general and R'n'R specifically is ingrained in Finnish society (but so is Punk, British Style R'n'B, Metal etc.). The recordings are from a cassette from the stash of Arto "Archie" Hämäläinen and have been transferred. I bet, that this was never intended for public consumption, but despite the obvious sound problems is this an astonishingly good tape at 40 years old. It's definitely not Hifi, the fluctuations in sound are too obvious, but as a historical document in the wider sense of Doctor's Order (which came only much later), this is remarkable and priceless. I'm waiting now for a release with Archie on the saxophone.

As mentioned above, "The Story" has been lifted off the release (with just a bit of corrections - thank you Google translate, Finnish is not your strength) and I was actually a bit perplexed, Archie on Bass for a later incarnation of the Black Slacks? Confirmed, by the man himself! You're never too old to learn something.

Line-Up on the 12"


Tapio "Teiso" Mikkola: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar

Janne "Janski" Heikinnen: Lead Guitar

Keijo Ohtonen: SLAP Bass (R.I.P.)

Arto Hämäläinen: Drums

Pasi Pajunen: Rhythm Guitar 1982


One question remains to be asked and answered, what was the reason Archie stuck to the guitar after playing drums, bass, guitar (and if true - which I don't doubt the least - saxophone). He's a first rate gitarrero and it would take a long, hard brainstorming to come up with anyone else to be a match on the axe. I might ask him though.

THE Story


Teiso rehearsed Rockabilly in the living room of Pekka Teräs, who lives next door, where Teiso sang, Pekka hinted to Arto Hämäläinen that he would be a tough singer and after a while Arto went to talk to Teiso and the deal was born. This is how a band called THE STARLITES was born in Järvenpää in 1981, consisting of Teiso: Laulu, Veso Ikonen: Slap Bass, Pasi Pajunen: Rh-Guitar/background singing, Janski Heikinen: Lead Gtr and Arto Hämäläinen: Drms. The band played together for about six months In 1982 the name of the bönd changed to BLACK SLACKS Vesa Ikonen, left the band. Pasi Pajunen continued in the band for a few months, but moving to the USA stopped playing. Vesa sold his brilliant bass with the Slap feature, Keijo Ohtoselle joined the band as a new member. The rehearsal venue was Filmilinna (Filmari) in Järvenpää, where the band rehearsed at the back of the house.


All the songs on the album were recorded at Filmar in 1982-83, the band toured a lot at local schools and on 04.06.1983 at Lepako in Helsinki. After the Batto gig, Jamski Heikkinen left the band, but Jari Eklund had tipped Teiso to Bop Cats' Utsi Uusitalo and so Teiso got to sing in Bop Cats at the Punkalaitumen Särkän Weekend Hop party on 20.08.1983, two songs *TENnessee R'N'R" and "HYPNOTIZED".

BLACK SLACKS continued with a different composition in which Original members were only Teiso and Arto, who played bass in the new line-up. Jamski Heikkinen went on holiday in Cantania, Italy and travelled there with local rockers and told about Slacks, gave the band's contacts to a local party organizer and soon Italy contacted Finland and thus BLACK SLACKS got to the Italian gig in 1984 with this new lineup, By the end of that year the band was at the end of its life cycle.

See the spelling of Archie's name. I don't know wether this was a typo back then or just a change from the standard spelling.



P.S.: I can't thank Ari Kaipio enough for pointing me towards these releases (Rockin' Drifters and Black Slacks) and even more so, for sending me a copy of each release.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

flector – Leaving The World (CD 2022) - #260

flector – Leaving The World (CD 2022)

Here it is, the first full length album of flector (after an initial three track CD). I've said my bit about the band and the CD "Leaving My World" is very much what I expected and had hoped for. Seven tracks, clocking in at just beyond the 41 minute mark and not a million miles away from their earlier taster (although this time, there's a whole new line-up). The band played a gig a few weeks ago in Wetzikon (Scala) introducing the new CD (and selling it at the merchandise table, obviously). 


The songs are very well chiseled out and the music meanders somewhere along Epic, Prog and Hard with enough detours not to pin a single style on their lapels. In fact, the genres just mentioned blend into each other and the tracks will hold your attention at any moment during the performance. A few weeks into buying the CD, I will skate on thin ice, but I truly believe that the album won't get boring in the near future. There's so much to discover and it's just the right side of pompous. Unlike some bands noodling their "Prog" through all loops. It flows all natural and not artifically blown up.

I spare you my thoughts on the songs, you really have to listen to them. I've spoken to quite a few people about the music of flector and in general (100 %) the feedback was excellent. This is going from "great", via "genius" to "fantastic", and I'm not one to disagree. You might want to check out YT, there are some of these tracks online, although the sound quality is for the bins (as usual on YT). The CD itself is very well recorded and leaves nothing to be desired sonically.



 flector are not a professional band at all, but they do sound like one. And the fact that all of their songs are original ones is well worth mentioning. I have the utmost respect for bands getting down on their knees and come up with something original. Their status doesn't just extend to this CD (and the previous EP) but they're an experience on stage as well. At the aforementioned gig at the Scala in Wetzikon, flector pulled out all stops (as they usually do, no idea why I should mention this).

The flector management also sends this CD abroad (as well as t-shirts), ask on their website www.flector.space and have a fallback to earlier times when music was so much more than just streaming. And the proficiency of their playing is just the icing on the cake. What else? I've seen the band live a couple of times and on stage they seem to come across a bit harder. This is another topic I have discussed with a few people but I don't think it's because live music in general is a bit edgier (which I believe is true), but it does sound like the option to go "hard" is well balanced.



P.S.: If anyone wonders why I should spell the name flector with a small f, this is how the band set out at the beginning. I notice a change to F lately, but I'm not sure this is their intention.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Delusions Of Grandeur on Facebook #259

Delusions Of Grandeur on Facebook


I'm a member of the KIOOS (Keep It Out Of Sight) group on FB, because the topic is a wide ranging scope of all matters Pub-Rock. And what's more, the discussion is quite civil and sometimes even interesting (which you can't say for a lot of groups on FB – internet stupidity (pun intended) rules the waves). So, here's for some background:



The last original member of Dr. Feelgood passed away in 1994 and then the whole shebang took a turn for the worse. The band carried on without a single original member in its ranks. Back in the noughties I spent a lot of time on the internet checking up on bands that claimed to be the successor of a previous incarnation. It's not pretty, believe me. As for me, a band without a single original member is a covers only band and has no right to keep on using a brand name. Of course, legalese will tell you that the name has been signed over to someone who is allowed to cash in. But as a music fan, I feel cheated. No, make this, I am cheated.


I do try to avoid those "discussions" and "arguments" whenever possible. It used to be much more important to me, but nowadays I won't even acknowledge such bands, much less buy or listen to their product. On the other hand, if they want to release new media or merchandise (and find a new group of buyers – or the leftovers from the original band), more power to them. There's a ton of good music out there and I don't have to spend my money on bands that cling to past glories, of which the current members were no part of. You can say, that I've found my peace regarding this subject and I circumvent the topic quite easily,


That is, until a certain point. One of these is the yea-sayers who claim that their way is the only way and would accept the umpteenth faux incarnation, just because they can and will spit their venom. Interesting thing is, they always do blame the nay-sayers for their opposing views. You can't discuss this with the pro fraction. I can understand this in a way, because most of them seem to be latecomers and have no idea what it was like when an artist set out at the beginning. And those are the folks that tell you what you need to do and think. Just like I would tell someone what Rock'n'Roll was meant to be in the 50's.

Checking "social" media, you'll also find, that most flaming wars start with someone from the yea-fraction starting a post along the line "...not wanting to wake the beast, but ..." or "... this is not a discussion about the real ..." etc. Yes, right, and the world is flat. The whole setup is so transparent and shows only one purpose, to stir the pot and to get the 15 minutes of fame (on FB nevertheless). And so it goes on and on and even if the whole of the nay-fraction drops of the face off the earth, the yea-sayers couldn't stop at what they are doing. Let's be honest, these bands are mostly has-beens and they are close to retirement, trying to squeeze the last out of the glory other people before them have achieved.


O.K., this by way of introduction the subject to better understand what this is all about. Now to the clip (from FB) that is included with this post. Steve Leslie is the admin for the aforementioned KIOOS group and has actually never come to my attention for being rude or disrespectful of the folks frequenting his group. This has definitely changed when this post popped up and the very first sentence I read was



Gonna stick my neck out here ... well, not really as any derogatory posts will be removed."



Seldom has an admin claimed to be the absolute ruler and he who opposes his views, will be shot at sunrise. Censorship? You bet! Looks like he's trying to gather his troops for a final battle and he wants only folks who are loyal to him on board. Or just maybe I don't get it and it's just games people play. How to work your way up to be a smalltown dictator in your spare time. If the admin is happy with his handselected flock, good for him. But discussion and exchanging views is not followers bowing to each wink of the master and hopping along to every disastrous battle on the way. I would advise some people to stick this kind of delusions of grandeur to within their own walls.







P.S.: I do expect better, much better, from an admin of an FB group with more than 5000 followers.


Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Last Avenue – Hedonism (CD) - #258

Last Avenue – Hedonism (CD)


2022 comes along and with it a new album by Last Avenue called "Hedonism". The ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life. Well, I had to check and as a service, here we go. It ain't Rock'n'Roll when you have to use a reference book (or software), but Last Avenue isn't your average "heads down no nonsense mindless Boogie" band anyway. Not that I'm not an absolute fan of some of the latter. Quite on the contrary, but let's talk about the new CD instead.


Having released a few albums, you always expect something. Worse, same or better, these are questions that you want answered. Sometimes I think it's very difficult for a band to pile great albums on top of each other. With Last Avenue, they plough ahead and there is progress and it's not progress for progress' sake. There is a natural flow and the current CD does them proud. I'll need to go through the lyrics (I do this very rarely), but something caught my eye and I need to dissect this on a shakespearean level.


The music? Get to the point, I hear you say, we're not at a Bob Dylan lecture. Oh well, the audience has no patience and the instant gratification incentives have taken hold, but fear not, the music! Catchy tracks from start to finish with a certain sophisticated colouring. See "The Beginning", but speaking of the aforementioned "heads down no nonsense mindless boogie", "Dressed To Kill" comes as close to a mosh pit as Last Avenue will allow. Hey, all you rockers out there with tears in your eyes, yes, they did this one for you.


But they haven't forgotten ballads either and in the tradition of the band along comes "This Place Is Magic". However, while both tracks are great, I'd like to know who decided to follow a rocker with a ballad. Something doesn't add up here. I do remember a discussion with "Doctor's Order" back in the day, when they used to throw in a ballad or two in their second set and it broke the flow. I told them so. When you have the band firing on all cylinders, you need to shift gears upwards again. It might work better on media, who am I to say?



Help me out there, where is "Here We Go" borrowed from? This is like, "Oh, hello, long time no see"! Maybe it's just the rhythm that evokes pictures of beaches and sun and cocktails and ... it does have that Carribean feeling and palms (as Ivor Biggun so beautifully described in one of his songs). "(Whatever) Tomorrow Brings" is very much another ballad, but I bet my last Swiss Franc, you won't go outside to do any chores.


"As God Came To Town" lets the guitar rip through the track with a clean sound and a joy to listen to. Sound is actually very important with Last Avenue's releases and I do mean good sound. I can't imagine that a lot of studio time has been sunk into the recording and mastering, but it goes to show, that even with limited funds a band can achieve some outstanding results (of course, I'm only guessing, I can't see Last Avenue being stuffed). "Dualism Sucks" and the guitarist sounds like his real goal in life is being the lead in a Hardrock band. Heavy rhythm and Godzilla on the prowl. Echoes of Motörhead. Yes, forget I said anything.


"In & Out", I have a problem now, suddenly I realize, I'm mostly following the guitar player. So let's drop the guy for now. Uh, no! Another showcase for the man on the electric one. It's getting to be another kind of interesting with a song like "For What They Were Living For", the voice does carry the song (with a little help from the guitar).  The closing track is an instrumental named "In The End".

Martin Gaisser: Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals

Christian Schönbächler: Guitar, Backing Vocals

Jérémie Bochet: Bass, Synth, Backing Vocals

Ron Summers: Drums


Check out the website at www.lastavenue.ch and support the band. You have seen some of their flyers on my Facebook page, showing their gigs throughout Switzerland and neighbouring countries. Catch them while you can, a good time is guaranteed.




Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Pete Gage & Doctor's Order – Live 1998 (CD) - #257

Pete Gage & Doctor's Order – Live 1998 (CD)


Now that I had some time to let it sink in, I still can't make heads nor tails out of this. The fact that Doctor's Order did gigs with Pete Gage well before their debut release? The fact that the 1998 live outing was recorded at all? The release on CD more than twenty years later? The selling of this CD is tagged as sensational and I do tend to agree with this statement.


When I read about the upcoming release, there was mention of the sound quality not up to par but that it had been brushed up and was in an acceptable state (I'm paraphrasing here). While it's definitely not an audiophile reference recording, it's enjoyable to the hilt and you shall be forgiven, if you intended to test your new equipment with this release. In short, it is far better than what I expected from reading about it. Just let me say, I never use the Bass, Treble or Balance on my stereo, but this time I set the Treble to almost a quarter past. And the sound did enhance considerably (probably an audiophile's nightmare, but there you go).



The recording has been made by Rane Mäkinen (what you call an audience recording) and Teppo Nättilä seems to have had a tape all the time, that just saw the light of day recently again. So, this is not a bootleg per se, as it's released by Doctor's Order with their full input and permission. And I suppose with Pete Gage's approval as well.


The recording was done at a place called Beefy Queen in Helsinki on October 21, 1998. And the line-up was:


Pete Gage – Vocals, Hamonica, Piano

Jari Elsilä – Guitar, Backing Vocals

Timo "MadMan" Väätäinen – Drums

Teppo "Teddy Bear" Nättilä – Bass, Backing Vocals

Elsa Kuloniemi (as very special guest) – Slide Guitar 


What you get here are nine tracks at just beyond 33 minutes. I can't say wether this was the whole set, parts have been lost or damaged or wether Pete Gage appeared on only the tracks that are now offered to the public. The whole set consists mainly of Dr. Feelgood songs and covers and, of course, Pete Gage is the man in 1998. The songs you've all heard before, suffice to say the singer does what he used to do in his own band. With his quite recognizable voice, he's the anchor here. Interesting fact, most songs are actually from the Wilko Johnson songbook (see picture). Plus  Johnny Kidd's "Shakin' All Over" (just unkaputtbar) and Mickey Jupp's "Down At The Doctors" etc.



You get a very good idea at what it must have been this evening at the Beefy Queen and you wish you would have been there. But don't cry over spilled milk, there's this substitute available (limited to 100 copies and closing in to zero fast at Blues-Shop) and, yes, it's still not the real thing. But it'll do if you missed it, like I did. The photos that you see on the release were taken by Anita Repo, sleeve design, editing and mastering by Ipi Kaipiainen and the DO logo by Jari Elsilä.