(A re-up, if the COMMENTERS demand it, we'll carry on)
One more stellar set of long-lost mod-punk-power-pop-new-wave ravers
(earlier volumes HERE) that, while largely UK focused, also highlights both continental
European and American bands.
* Bank Holiday Weekend (Seventeen, UK, 1979, from only 7")
* Make The Rules (Orbits, USA, 1980, from only 7")
* Crazy Today (UXB, UK, 1980, from only 7")
* Who's Gonna Tell Mary? (Moondogs, N. Ireland, 1981, from only LP)
* Tapan Aikaa (Problems?, Finland, 1979, from 2.7")
* John (Vertex, Sweden, 1981, from 2.7")
* Can't Wait 'Till The Summer Comes (Ronnie Mayor, UK, 1981, from only 7")
* You Don't Live Here Anymore (Fans, USA, 1980, from one of numerous wimpy 7"s)
* Together (Testors, USA, 1980, from only 7")
* I Want My Woody Back (Barracudas, UK, 1979, from 1.7")
* Time (Speedies, USA, 1981, from 2.7")
* Degeneration (Blitzz, Holland, 1978, from 1.7")
* It Shows In Your Face (Gas, UK, 1980, from 1.7")
* No Man's Land (Legendary Luton Kippers, UK, 1979, from only 7")
* Bjorn Borg (Goteborg Sound, Sweden, 1980, from 4.7")
* She's Too Clever For Me (T.P.I., UK, 1979, from only 7")
* No Direction (Start, USA, 1981, from only 7")
* No Way (Donkeys, UK, 1980, from 3.7")
This re-furbished, re-upped series need to be re-enforced by some reactions (i.e. COMMENTS) from you, dear re-readers!
We've spent much of the last week assessing the present and the past of LA hardcore pioneers Black Flag (See HERE). While the band has yet to see the full-scale documentary treatment, too much bad blood I expect, David Markey from Painted Wille did make a documentary on the band's final tour called Reality 86'ed. While it's far and away my least favourite phase in the the band's seven year career, it's a fascinating document for sure.
Well, Bob Dylan's song, "Wagon Wheel" has hit #1 of the country charts, via Hootie (a.k.a. Darius Rucker). It's been a long, strange trip so let's review (and don't forget to weigh in on the song in the COMMENTS section when you're done!):
Back in 2001, Ketch Secor, of string-band revivalists Old Crow Medicine Show, took an unreleased fragment from Bob Dylan's soundtrack to the 1973 film, Pat Garret and Billy the Kid, originally called. "Rock Me, Mama", added his own verses to it, and created the 2st century standard, "Wagon Wheel".
Secor revised Dylan's rough draft to tell a story of a
pivotal point in his own life, in a manner both particular and universal.
The on-going, cross-genre appeal of "Wagon Wheel" today is a reminder just how
effectively older idioms can express contemporary experiences.
In November 2011, Secor, celebrating the song's reaching gold status, considered its origins in the blue tradition, " So, from Big Bill to Big Boy to Bob and on down to me, “Wagon Wheel”
has become a true American folksong, borrowed, half-stolen, and sung out
far and wide."
The First Wheel: The Blues and Mr. D.
How much of Dylan's original fragment comes from blues sources is unclear, at least to this listener. Ethno-musicological battles are best left to rock-critics-turned-blues-scholars like Greil Marcus, who hold the blues tradition as their rightful territory. While the wagon wheel is a well-established blues trope, the Broonzy version, often credited as the direct forbear, has different chords, melody, tempo and, where you can hear them, lyrics. So while Dylan may have begun by riffing on this blues standard, what he came up with was a new, if incomplete, thing. It's that new thing, with its indelible hook, that OCMS's Secor picked up and ran with.
And, for an alternate take on history, Jason Webley and Rev. Peyton tried to cover Dylan's version as closely as possible:
The Second Wheel: Old Crows and Under Grads
Despite the song being a product of the Internet age, it took a few years
for this song to spread to others who exist in the same musical Twilight Zone,
between darkness and light, ancient and modern, popular and acclaimed and enter the lexicon of the indie-folk
elite, including Scotland's Bodega, England's Mumford & Sons and upstate New Yorkers (and OCMS allies) The Felice Brothers.
Eventually, the song crept into the repertoire of both blues artists (Matt Anderson and Shane Dwight) and mainstream country aspirants like Jeremy McComb Jason Lee Wilson (both of whom altered the beloved-by-college audiences 'had a nice long toke' line in their own special way.) and Nathan Carter from Ireland.
Likely via former teenage anarchist, Tom Gabel (now Laura Jane Grace) of Against Me!, the song entered the punk vernacular. Gabel's versions, solo or with the band, both cleave close to the accepted style of the song. Scranton, Pennsylvania's The Mezingers add a bit of bite, newer Chicago punk band, The Fuckers dive bomb the song and Indiana ska'ers Green Room Rockers go at it in a two-tone style.
The often humourless Wikipedia has designated the song, "the new "Free Bird"" and boy does YouTube ever bear that charge out. Literally dozens of homebrew takes on the song are on tap for your consumption and believe me the variations are plentiful enough to make you woozy. Interestingly, one of this sort of amateur pick-up version is what inspired Mr. Rucker to tackle the song.
Black Flag are like a worm, chop them in half and instead of dying they just split into two separate, subterranean organisms. And that's what happened in 2013, we got two bands playing the crushing music of Black Flag. One iteration, using the name Black Flag, features Ron Reyes and Gregg Ginn plus two hired guns, while the other, who go under the name FLAG (more HERE), feature Keith Morris, Chuck Dukowski, Dez Cadena, Bill Stevenson and Descendents guitarist Stephen Egerton.
These L.A. Eighties hardcore progenitors saw seventeen members pass through their ranks in eight years, so that's a lot of people with Black Flag on their resume. In fact, I'd argue that, academically anyway, you could chop that worm up into three and make another version of the band, let's call them BF, with Rollins on vocals, Kira on bass, Robo on drums and, since FLAG bent the rules to fill in for Ginn, Mike Neider from BL'AST on guitar.
Of course, that all this Flag-waving has not gone without raising some ire. Some argue that old men wrapping themselves up in the Flag is undignified or unseemly or unworthy. However, I'd argue that neither is a false Flag and both attest to the long-lasting inspiration created by a group of disaffected men and women set on making their own musical nation.
So, if you missed Black Flag the first time around (I had other plans that kept me from Desh Bhagat Hall in 1985) there's little reason not to take this opportunity by the throat, I know I will, given half a chance.
So which, if any, version of Black Flag would you see in 2013? Let us know in the COMMENTS section!
As soon as I found the bootleg of FLAG (see HERE), I asked design-man Ian
to make some artwork, maybe using a (Raymond) Pettibon image. Ian responded immediately, "How about a Chris Shary?"
The resulting cover (or at least the insert!) were perfect because Chris Shary is one the defining visual artists in American punk rock.
While Chris is primarily know for his work with All and The Descendants, a quick Google image search reveals the shitload of albums covers, logos, stickers and T-shirts he's designed.
Chris' love of brightly coloured cartoon graphics with a playful malevolence lurking beneath them mark him as a genuine original.
Sure it's occasionally tempting to curse the man when yet another lackluster pop-punk band slaps a Shary-esque cartoon band portrait on their album, but the price of great art is often mediocre imitation.
Over at his always entertaining Facebook page, Chris is revealing his sketching skills and is racing towards the 200 mark in his Punk Portraits series.
Chris notes, "The rules are I only used Sharpie markers, and did no planning in pencil at all. These are all quick sketches. Enjoy!"
While I did need the labels to ascertain the identity of some of the lesser-known figure in punk
history that he's portraying, most these ones I chose for you are pretty much
Say goodnight, Phil.
Let us know what you think of these sketches in the COMMENTS SECTION!
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