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The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Music news, rumors, what you're listening to, how you're listening to it and whether it's all on the up-and-up.

Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:14 pm

Kyle Motor wrote:Your fave track is actually a cover of a Hollies b-side, which itself is a cover of a Doris Troy single.
Sweet -- I knew that, of course (that it was a Hollies song -- I had no idea it was a Doris Troy song), but as I said above, my memory is mostly holes at this point. It's on one of their first couple LPs, I thought -- listening to your link brought back memories of hearing it last year when I picked up that Hollies Complete '63-'68 set. (And now I have no idea which I heard first as I can't remember when I picked up Ellie Pop.) Ah, vague familiarity... the friend of the superficial music listener. And if this thread hasn't already made that fact clear, I am a superficial music listener (and I feel no shame over this.) I love music, but I'm not nearly as motivated to learn the history as you or mini are, so your corrections/connections/information/wondrous tales are always most welcome.

Anyway, I swear the rest of the album (which a quick glance at the liner notes assures me is all original stuff) is also great.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Kyle Motor » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:25 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Anyway, I swear the rest of the album (which a quick glance at the liner notes assures me is all original stuff) is also great.

Absolutely. It's one that original LP copies are expensive, partially because they've been hyped as "psychadelic" for so long, but it's really a great, inventive pop/rock record. For those who want to check it out, it is on Spotify.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:49 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
And now, a short little update, filled with pleasant surprises...

The Electric Prunes -- I only have 1967's Underground plus a bunch of other tracks burned off a comp. I don't recall when I last jammed this and my memory was of a less-than-inspired psych act with little that stood out beyond the obviously great single, "I Had Too Much To Dream", which I hear regularly in other contexts. But jamming it this week, I was really surprised at all the little pleasures on this CD. ...snip... Good stuff, and now I definitely want to explore more. So tell me what I've been missing, please.



Depending what you have burned from a comp ... probably not very much, unfortunately. The first single was non-LP ("Ain't It Hard"/"Little Olive") but that's probably on your comp tracks. The debut LP is only 50-50. Underground is where it's at, but essentially the last of the real Electric Prunes aside from one great final single: "Everybody Knows You're Not in Love"/You Never Had it Better". The Mass in F Minor album is a David Axelrod studio thing, though it does have some involvement by at least part of the original band. I enjoy it as exploito-psych, but it's pretty silly (if you remember "Kyrie Eleison" from Easy Rider, that's part of it). All "Electric Prunes" releases after that (barring recent reunion recordings) are unrelated to the original band and are mostly substandard hippie junk; there's passable songs here and there but not anything good enough to worry about tracking down.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:02 pm

Cool -- thanks, mini.
The first single is indeed on my comp (and "Little Olive" was another standout), "Everybody Knows You're Not In Love" was one I linked to above and Mass is one I used to own on LP but ditched long ago (and probably contributed to the notion in my head that there wasn't much going for The Prunes, so I'm glad to hear it's not really a proper band LP.) For the record, this is the comp I had.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:08 pm

Yeah, you're set. I'd have to look at the first LP to be sure, but as I remember every decent song was pulled for the Long Day's Flight comp. I had that on vinyl in the '80s (RIP Publishers Central Bureau).

Believe it or not, the bleep in "You Never Had it Better" is on the original 45. I'm not sure I've heard a version without it.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby scratch » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:18 am

Professor;

Please update in this thread again soon. I'm suffering from awesomeness overload and need a touchstone to reality. Or something like that.

Sincerely, if not awesomely,

Scratch
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:00 am

Sorry, scratch -- I've been super-busy for the last coupla weeks and haven't had a chance to listen to much music. When I have it's been nothin' but Duke Ellington. And as predicted, I'm finding it hard to think of things to write about him. So far, it's all been awesome... but that's all I've got.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby dave esmond » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:53 am

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:And as predicted, I'm finding it hard to think of things to write about him. So far, it's all been awesome... but that's all I've got.


That pretty much sums it up tho'.

Maybe concentrating on the sidemen or arrangers will get you some talking points. But listening for that could be a lifetime task. A really enjoyable one, but still one that might never end.

Off to listen to some Johnny Hodges.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:44 am

Well, I'm still only about half-way through Duke Ellington, but I figured I'd better check in. I'm still feeling overwhelmed and underqualified to talk about this stuff meaningfully, but perhaps posting some thoughts on what I've gotten through will prompt a discussion which will illuminate the remainder of the Ellington on my shelves.

So here's what I've listened to so far (please forgive the repetition of adjectives for "great". This is some seriously amazing music):

PIANO REFLECTIONS -- fantastic stuff, alternately playful and beautiful (and sometimes both.) Most of this stuff is just a trio; Duke on keys, Wendell Marshall on bass, and Butch Ballard on drums. I'm not familiar with those two sidemen, but their work here is soulful and charming. Really wonderful.

THREE SUITES -- Duke and his orchestra barrel through amazing rendtions of Tchaicovsky and Grieg classics. The third suite is an Ellington-Strayhorn original which is also good, but perhaps due to it being less familiar, not as exciting to me. Still pretty great though. A triumph.

BLUES IN ORBIT -- small band (10-piece) sides from 1958. Awesome stuff -- really cooks.

STUDIO SESSIONS VOL. 8 1957, 1965, 1966, 1967 SAN FRANCISCO CHICAGO NEW YORK -- more small-band stuff. This disc really rocks and it hangs together surprisingly well considering the leaps in time and geography. Lots of fantastic drumming on these tracks (Louie Bellson!) All Duke originals. The last 4 tracks are fucking amazing, utilizing rock and r&b beats without abandoning any of the swinging. This one got several listens before I moved on.

MONEY JUNGLE -- excellent trio sides with Mingus on bass and Max Roach on drums. All over the map -- some straight-up beautiful ballads, some far-out wiggy jams, and some sizzling hot grooves. Some pretty out-there stuff (esp. for 1962) but there's never any doubt these guys are playing TOGETHER -- even when someone takes a solo and seems to be going bonkers, they always come back in on a solid groove(, man.) Mingus particularly shines. This has been a favorite of mine for years and nothing on this listen did anything to diminish my high estimation of it.

BACK TO BACK: DUKE ELLINGTON AND JOHNNY HODGES PLAY THE BLUES -- as the title suggests, this is some bluesy jazz (another clue: all but one track's title ends with "Blues".) Johnny and Duke are joined only by trumpet, guitar, bass, and drums, so there's some serious '50s cool going down. Marvelous stuff.

DUKE ELLINGTON & FRIENDS - COMPACT JAZZ -- This was the first Duke album I ever owned and it's a fine enough introductory sampler, I suppose (if not where I would start initiating someone) but it really is just a hodge-podge. It spans 1954-1966 and really runs the gamut style-wise. Lots of great stuff here, to be sure, but there's no flow and very few liner notes, which fail to make the case that there's anything particularly special about this group of recordings. All Duke originals, many standards -- the sole exception being my favorite version of the Billy Strayhorn-penned Ellington theme song "Take The 'A' Train" sung by Ella Fitzgerald. Some live, some studio. Like I said, a real hodge-podge. But it's certainly an interesting hodge-podge.

JUKEBOX HITS 1941-1951 -- It's easy to forget when taking the longview of Ellington that while he's indisputably one of the finest composers of the 20th century and a jazz pioneer possibly without equal, dude was also a massive hit machine, at least for the WWII years, racking up 5 consecutive #1s on the Billboard R&B chart and 7 other Top 10 hits from '42-'45. This is pure dance music from start to finish. Whether jumping rhythm numbers or melancholy ballads all of these songs were clearly conceived to get people on the dancefloor. There are a couple of vocals which are less-than-stellar (Herb Jeffries is no Al Hibbler), but the band cooks throughout and there's plenty of opportunities for them to stretch out a little. Delightful stuff (or fluff, if you prefer.)

THE GREAT LONDON CONCERTS -- 1964 Big Band recording, played to an appreciative crowd. Nice mix of hits and longer pieces ("Harlem" is a particular standout in the latter category.) Adorable banter from Duke, especially when he refers to "the kids in the band". A bunch of pros at the top of their game. Wonderful stuff.

JAZZ PARTY IN STEREO -- Groovy big-band session from 1959. Some of these tunes -- particularly those featuring the percussion section -- are almost Space-Age Bachelor Pad music, and with Dizzy Gillespie on-hand, things get extra-cheeky. Throw in a fine Jimmy Rushing blues and you've got a recipe for one hell of a party record. Great stuff!
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:13 pm

I just threw Jazz Party in Stereo on the turntable ... and lo and behold, here's this thread. Nice timing.

I'm listening to the '80s digital transfer that has the applause and crowd ambience mixed out. It's really weird hearing this without it.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:18 pm

minicat wrote:I just threw Jazz Party in Stereo on the turntable ... and lo and behold, here's this thread. Nice timing.

I'm listening to the '80s digital transfer that has the applause and crowd ambience mixed out. It's really weird hearing this without it.

I've never heard it any other way. (I have the MFSL CD version.)
It's not a live album, so are you telling me for the original release they pulled a James Brown and dubbed crowd noises in? Or were there just that many people groovin' in the studio?
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby minicat » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:31 pm

Yup, the original release pretends it was really a party in the studio and dubs in a bunch of extraneous noise. If your MoFi has the original Irving Townsend liner notes it talks about them setting up chairs and stuff for an audience because a bunch of randos showed up for the session.
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby david cohen » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:50 pm

So when you get to the K's, which King gets pulled out first: BB, Earl, Albert or Freddie?
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:18 pm

david cohen wrote:So when you get to the K's, which King gets pulled out first: BB, Earl, Albert or Freddie?

The King section proceeds alphabetically as follows:

Albert King
Anna King
B.B. King
Ben E. King
Earl King
Freddie King
King Crimson
King Curtis
King Khan
The Kingsmen
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Re: The Giant Wagstaff CD Listening Project Thread

Postby scratch » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:07 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:The King section proceeds alphabetically as follows:
Albert King
Anna King
B.B. King
Ben E. King
Earl King
Freddie King
King Crimson
King Curtis
King Khan
The Kingsmen


King Tubby? (Or King Tubby's as many of his fans referred to the late founder of dub)
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