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Month: December 2005

Joe Strummer Mix

It was the holiday season three years ago when Joe Strummer left this world. In memory of one my major musical heroes, here’s a snapshot of Joe’s work through the years. We miss you, Joe.

Joe Strummer: The IckMusic Mix (mp3) – 18.8 MB, 27m:27s

  1. Tommy Gun (The Clash, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, 1978)
  2. Bhindi Bhagee (Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros, Global a Go-Go, 2001)
  3. Janie Jones (The Clash, The Clash, 1977)
  4. Nitcomb (Mescaleros, Rock Art & the X-Ray Style, 1999)
  5. The Leader (The Clash, Sandanista, 1980)
  6. Death or Glory (The Clash, London Calling, 1979)
  7. Boogie With Your Children (Joe Strummer, Earthquake Weather, 1989)
  8. Silver and Gold (Mescaleros, Streetcore, 2003)

In Memory of Joe Strummer: August 21, 1952 – December 22, 2002

Christmas with Cockburn

[See this 2008 post for the show.]

Since we’re on the final stretch to Christmas, I thought I would sneak out a few of my essential tunes courtesy of my favorite Canadian, Bruce Cockburn. In 1994, the Columbia Records Radio Hour broadcast Christmas with Cockburn, which featured Bruce with special guest Nancy Griffith. I had my cassette deck locked and loaded.

These are the songs that make me forget about the almighty dollar and the overall stress of the holidays, and actually get me into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas with Cockburn:

Shepherds
Deer Dancing on a Broken Mirror
I’m Gonna Fly Someday
One Day I Walk / Intro to Huron Carol
Huron Carol
Mary Had a Baby

This isn’t available anywhere, but you can buy Bruce’s Christmas album, or any other of his excellent albums spanning more than 30 years.

Beautiful Piece of Brass

I first heard this version of “In the Still of Night” on Vin Scelsa’s show on Sirius (Sunday Night Idiot’s Delight). I’ve always been a fan of the 1956 original, recorded by the Five Satins and written by leader Fred Parris. But to hear this wacked out, in-your-face brass band version put a whole new spin on the song’s greatness and beauty.

This one was recorded by Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy, and released on 1998’s ‘The Odyssey of Funk and Popular Music’. They give the brass band treatment to such songs as “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People”, and even the Spice Girls’ “Two Become One”.

From the 1970s until his death in 1999, Lester Bowie was the preeminent trumpeter of the jazz avant-garde — one of the few trumpet players of his generation to successfully and completely adopt the techniques of free jazz. Indeed, Bowie was the most successful in translating the expressive demands of the music — so well-suited to the tonally pliant saxophone — to the more difficult-to-manipulate brass instrument. Like a saxophonist such as David Murray or Eric Dolphy, Bowie invested his sound with a variety of timbral effects; his work has a more vocal quality, compared with that of most contemporary trumpeters. In a sense, he was a throwback to the pre-modern jazz of Cootie Williams or Bubber Miley, though Bowie was by no means a revivalist. Though he was certainly not afraid to appropriate the growls, whinnies, slurs, and slides of the early jazzers, it was always in the service of a thoroughly modern sensibility. And Bowie had chops; his style was quirky, to be sure, but grounded in fundamental jazz concepts of melody, harmony, and rhythm. – from All Music

Lester Bowie Brass Fantasy: In the Still of the Night (mp3) – from The Odyssey of Funk & Popular Music

A Study of Plantlife

An old friend of mine, a mutual Prince fan through the years, recommended a few months ago that I sit my ass down and listen to Plantlife. A funky, soulful, laid back group, they’re originally from L.A., but made the move across the pond to London.

Their 2004 debut, The Return of Jack Splash, on the Counterflow label is still only available in the UK. They’re definitely worthy of some love though over here stateside.

“Why’d U Call Me” definitely channels Prince, with a George Clintonesque falsetto and a little old school Cameo vibe thrown in. Very nice. Me like.

“When She Smiles” is a good times – sunny day groove. Enjoy.

Plantlife: Why’d U Call Me (mp3)
Plantlife: When She Smiles She Lights Up the Sky (mp3)

I Can’t Get Behind That!

From what I know about his albums, William Shatner’s musical output could be written off as a novelty. But when I heard this Shatner / Henry Rollins spoken duet, if you will, it captured my attention. Not to mention I found myself emphatically nodding my head and agreeing with what they were saying, it speaks to my increasingly easily annoyed & cynical side. I guess I’m getting old(er).

William Shatner w/ Henry Rollins: I Can’t Get Behind That (mp3)

From Has Been (2004).

More Strays

I just received the Strays Don’t Sleep self titled debut CD / DVD today in the mail, all the way from the UK. After one listen, I have one thing to say: Hey Strays! Release this baby in the U.S.!!

My site has been deluged with visitors searching for their single, “For Blue Skies”, due to it being played on One Tree Hill last week. “For Blue Skies” is available on iTunes, so go check that out.

See my previous Strays post to read more about them, or visit them at their Official Web Site or their My Space page.

Here’s one off the CD:

Strays Don’t Sleep: April’s Smiling at Me (mp3)

I found my copy of the CD off of eBay. But you can find some others here at Froogle.

One Year of IckMusic

Today marks exactly one year since my first post to IckMusic. My enthusiasm in maintaining it has stayed pretty strong throughout the year. Sometimes I do get a bit busy (or lazy), but rarely does 3 or 4 days go by without a post. I still get a kick out of checking my web stats on Statcounter.com, and seeing how my posts reach people all over the world. Australians, Belgians, Japanese, Argentinians, the Brits, the Spanish, the French, and the list goes on and on. Pretty cool how something I do out of my loft in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona reaches the far corners of the world. It IS a small world after all.

As for the mp3 downloads, I’m partly suspicious that a lot of people out there are eager to get as much free music as they can, but the idealist in me likes to think that I’m expanding people’s musical horizons. I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest obscure music, like a lot of music bloggers do. I just share what I like at the time, whether old or new, artists well known or not so well known.

I love Comments. Music is the most powerful medium out there, in my opinion, and it’s great to receive feedback from readers around the world, and to read how a particular song or artist affects them. Everyone has a story, so I once again encourage readers / listeners to leave Comments. It’s quick, it’s painless, and it reminds me that there are human beings out there in cyberspace.

So thanks for visiting, especially all you “return visitors”, as Statcounter calls you. Drop a comment or an email to me from time to time.

And so here is a song that exemplifies this and other music blogs. I first heard it courtesy of FluxBlog I believe, right when I discovered this sub culture, this hidden jewel of the internet, this MP3 Blog World AKA Audioblogosphere. I promptly bought their CD. That’s how it works, music industry, that’s how it works Clear Channel (blechh). Where in the hell else would I have heard this quirky, manic, infectiously groove-a-licious song?

So as IckMusic celebrates its first anniversary, I thank the other bloggers out there, and I thank Sirius Satellite Radio, both who have turned me on to some great music in the past year, and who will continue to do so.

Need New Body: Show Me Your Heart (mp3) – buy the CD, ‘UFO’

Christmas at IckMusic

Here’s my first batch of extra special Christmas music selections to carry you through this holiday season.

Hands down my favorite Christmas song and my favorite performance of the song:

  • The Temptations: Silent Night (mp3) – buy

A twisted instant Christmas classic from Grandaddy:

  • Grandaddy: Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderlandbuy

A cool radio excerpt of Coldplay:

  • Coldplay: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (mp3) – buy

Time for Twilight 22

Tonight’s post harkens back to my WLUM Milwaukee Hot Mix listening days in the mid 80’s. Featured tonight is Twilight 22:

The ’80s electro outfit Twilight 22 was led by computer/synth-wiz Gordon Bahary, but also featured contributions from lead singer and co-songwriter Joseph Saulter. Bahary got his start when he was invited to assist the great Stevie Wonder during the recording of his 1976 classic Songs in the Key of Life (Bahary was only 16 years old at the time). Wonder invited Bahary to help out on his next recording, 1979’s Journey Through the Secret of Plants, for which the teenager produced and programmed synthesizers. It was around this time that Bahary met Saulter through a mutual acquaintance (Herbie Hancock), while Bahary was working on Hancock‘s Feets Don’t Fail Me Now. Although Saulter was originally a drummer (playing in an Los Angeles-based outfit called Rhythm Ignition), it was his vocal skills that drew the most attention, leading to the formation of Twilight 22 in the early ’80s. Their lone single, “Electric Kingdom,” was one of the seminal moments for electro, but their 1984 self-titled full-length for Vanguard was their last label before splitting up shortly thereafter. Both Bahary and Saulter went on to play on other artist’s records, as well as production. (from All Music)

Twilight 22: Electric Kingdom (mp3)
Twilight 22: Siberian Nights (mp3)

If you have $100 burning a hole in your pocket, you can pick their 1984 album used on Amazon.