Friday, October 21, 2016

Weekend Mix: LEGEND

Sal may have oversold my mix. It is neither as transcendant as "Then Play On" or as inspirational as Bruce, rocks............LAMF.

Over the years I've collected a lot of albums purporting to be "lost masterpieces", records which upon release didn't enter the canon, but were greeted with indifference at best.
Usually it's obvious why. With the exception of Big Star, most often it's a combination of bad luck, weak vocals and worse songs.
I don't know why I never took a chance on LEGEND, as it has a very cool cover. I remember seeing it, back in the day, in the import section, but until recently I had no idea what it was about.
They were "pub rock" a few years before it was a thing.
Mickey Jupp is a fine singer, songwriter, who also plays guitar, and a mean rollicking New Orleans piano as well.

Here are liner notes from the recent reissue of "Legend" (aka The Red Boot):

"In some circles, Mickey Jupp is something of a minor legend, a roots rocker with excellent taste and a cutting wit, best heard on the songs "Switchboard Susan" and "You'll Never Get Me Up in One of Those," both covered by Nick Lowe. 

Basher's endorsement is a clear indication that Jupp is a pub rocker, a guy who specializes in laid-back good times, so it shouldn't come as a great surprise that his first band, Legend, was proto-pub, an unabashed celebration of old-time rock & roll, filled with three-chord Chuck Berry rockers and doo wop backing vocals. Nevertheless, listening to their 1970 LP is a bit of a shock, as it's completely disassociated with anything that was happening in 1970, even with Tony Visconti enlisted as their producer. 

Legend's sensibility is ahead of its time in its retro thinking, pointing the way to the rock & roll revival of the late '70s and not even that similar to the country-rock of Eggs Over Easy or Bees Make Honey, as this has little of the rustic feel of the Band: it's just straight-up oldies rock, a trait emphasized by those incessant doo wop harmonies that are on almost every cut. 

Those harmonies and the light, almost goofy, touch of Jupp's writing here distinguish Legend and also illustrate why they made no waves in 1970; it's hard to see the counterculture getting roused over the verse "If you were an apple you'd be/Good good eating/If you were a book you'd be/Good good reading." 

These slightly silly flourishes do have a lot in common with the wry humor of Nick Lowe, who at this time was denying this mischievous streak as he attempted to sound like Crosby, Stills & Nash, but at this point, Jupp was largely on his own doing this light, good-time pub rock. That may be why it sank without a trace at the time, but heard apart from its era, Legend is a minor delight, one of the first flowerings of the pub rock sensibility."

-Stephen Thomas Erlewine

This music is straight foreard, no-frills Rock N Roll. The "Red Boot" was produced by Tony Visconti, so it's no coincidence that drummer Bill Fifield left shortly afterwards to join T-Rex and record "Electric Warrior" credited as Bill Legend.

It was engineered by Eddie Offord, Yes, ELP, etc.

They didn't break any new ground, but the familiar elements of blues, country and early rock n roll they worked with was treated with dignity and love. 

In short, they rocked. 

"Moonshine" was released in 1972, and self produced. After which they disbanded, and,


"Jupp pursued a low-key existence until the pub-rock revolution (spearheaded by local bands such as Dr. Feelgood, for whom he wrote the hit single "Down at the Doctors") created a fresh interest in rock and roll. He signed to Stiff Records in 1978, and they initially released a compilation album of the first three Legend albums, which was also called Legend, giving three albums with this title. This was followed by his first solo album, Juppanese, an album in two different styles. The first half was recorded with Rockpile and produced by Nick Lowe, and is in a simple raw style, whereas the second half, produced by Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, was slicker.The album had a racist cover photo, in which Jupp sits at a table of oriental food, pulling at the corners of his eyes. Jupp had a long-standing connection with Procol Harum; one of his early idols was Gary Brooker then with R&B group the Paramounts. When Procol's bassist David Knights went into management, Legend were his first act. He also produced their final album Moonshine. Robin Trower also produced Legend's second single "Georgia George Part 1"which was actually Jupp backed by Mo Witham and Procol's Matthew Fisher and B.J. Wilson.

The follow-up album Long Distance Romancer was produced by Godley and Creme, and has a slick, highly produced, sound, which was generally seen as less successful.

Jupp went on to release a further seven solo albums, some appearing on Swedish and German labels. His songs have been recorded by Rick Nelson, Elkie Brooks, the Judds,Chris Farlowe, Delbert McClinton, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Gary Brooker, the Hamsters, Dr. Feelgood, Roger Chapman, and the Searchers."

here is a taste:    Cross Country

This compilation includes two songs from "Legend" (1969), "Legend" (Red Boot, 1970), most of "Moonshine" (1972), some singles, and "Natures Radio" (1976).

It totally Rocks.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Weekend Mix: The Opening Act

I think BBJ has something wonderful in the works for the Weekend Mix, but I wanted to get this out there before hand. Think of it as the support act.

I don't recall where I got this, but it's a personal fave. Over the course of Bruce Springsteen's "Devils & Dust" tour of 2005, he managed to play the entire "Tunnel Of Love" record. Here it is, sequenced seamlessly.

"Tunnel Of Love" is an extraordinary collection of songs that must be talked about when discussing Springsteen's great body of work. These stripped down versions offer a different perspective and to my ears, evoke new emotions as they play on.


Ain't Got You (Grand Rapids)
Tougher Than The Rest (Asbury Park)
All That Heaven Will Allow (Bridgeport)
Spare Parts (Hamburg)
Cautious Man (Denver)
Walk Like A Man (Stockholm)
Tunnel Of Love (Grand Rapids)
Two Faces (Dallas)
Brilliant Disguise (Rome)
One Step Up (Columbus)
When You're Alone (Buffalo)
Valentine's Day (Columbus)


Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Fiddling about on YouTube while I sipped my coffee this morning, I found this. I had no idea it existed. It is the first time I am seeing it and I admit, it got to me. The fabulous Posies, performing at my shop just a few months before we closed for good. What a day that was. And what an unexpected flood of memories, both amazing and horrible, to begin my Tuesday.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Songs Of The Week, 2016: 10/8-10/14

Goin' Down- Dinosaur Jr.
Get To This- Los Lobos
You'll Forget- Neil Diamond
Miss Shapiro- Phil Manzanera & Brian Eno
Texan Love Song- Elton John
The Sea Refuses No River- Pete Townshend
Lost it- Boz Scaggs


Friday, October 14, 2016

Weekend Mix: Turn Right At Oz

Right hand drive with a manual transmission, BTW.

I worked for 20 yeares and 10 days at The American Museum Of Natural History in NYC.
For most of them part of my job was travelling with exhibits as a human owner's manual.
While that means I spent more time than anyone should in Houston, I also went to Tokyo, Hong Kong, and New Zealand.

I went there in August 2005, which is winter in the southern hemisphere. I insisted on bringing a surfboard anyway, even though the water temp was 50 degrees, which is really cold.
I negotiated to stay on for an extra week.

I led a team of 4 co-workers. I made this mix for everybody as sort of introduction.
One of them also stayed on, but he explored the south island, where his rented car received no radio signals. He later said my mix saved his sanity.

My contact in New Zealand had a cousin running Escape Campervans NZ. All of which  are painted by local artists. They decided I was the right guy for the "Pimpmobile".
I lived in it while criss-crossing the North Island.
I'd done my research and had a list of surf spots.
I'd drive through largely empty landscapes full of sheep. The exit would often be a 25 kilometer dirt road to a wild and utterly empty coast.
I'd see big waves breaking way out there, and decide it prudent not going into the cold, unfamilar water where no one knew who I was, and my research indicated I should watch for sharks.

I first became aware of New Zealand through Split Enz. "Mental Notes", produced by Phil Manzanera in 1976, really blew my mind. By the time they became popular, co-founder Phil Judd, had beem replaced by Neil Finn, brother of Tim. Their music became more accessible, and to my ears much less interesting.
That's probably why I never got into Crowded House.
I have "Woodface", and it didn't fit here.

The Tall Dwarfs, The Clean, The Chills, and The Straight Jacket Fits are spikier, but no less melodic.

The Tall Dwarfs, a duo from Dunedin, south island, are likely the inspiration for "Flight Of The Conchords".

My left foot is pointing at the Tasman Sea, while my right is pointing at The Pacific Ocean.


Turn Right At Oz

Turn Right Here, Too

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Wish List, 2016

I am listening to Bryan Ferry's "Avonmore," which I quite like. But it also made me think, "Man, I wish he had one more record with balls in him. Enough with the dreamy crap."

This also reminded me of a post that I ran a few times over the years, asking, "If you had your druthers, what would you like to see from your favorite artists?"

I think a number of readers, including myself, wished for one last "real" Rolling Stones record. Maybe something stripped down. A blues record? That wish is now looming large, as "Blue & Lonesome" is set for a December release. Sadly, Don Was is hanging around still, so the first single is as our friend Chris Collins pointed out, "Dan Aykroyd blues. This doesn't feel organic or heartfelt- the only things we wanted from an album like this." But, we shall see. I have low hopes.

Here are a few of my musical hopes and wishes:

Todd Rundgren records with a band and not a laptop and allows an outside producer.

Same for Jeff Lynne.

Paul McCartney records an acoustic album, trying less to be modern and more like the guy who wrote "And I Love Her," "For No One" and "Blackbird."

Pete Townshend writes ten new originals that have nothing to do with each other, with no plans of a future opera or ballet. Just ten songs that comprise a new solo record.

Tom Waits retires the megaphone, xylophone, woodblocks and chimes, and releases a record of piano ballads and blues.

Al Green plus Joe Henry for one last great soul record.

One more record from The Jam.

How about you?