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Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

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

Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Huckleby » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:52 pm

I was putting together a CSN and Neil Young mix for a nostalgic wet dream, and I discovered some great music that I missed. 1969-71 brought some sweet hippie collaborations from San Fran.

To begin the love-in, the first CSN album is just great from start to finish, starting with Suite Judy Blue Eyes. That album is timeless, try it again.

Listen to how great Crosby & Nash could sing in 1971 (the opening Nash song is a little precious, but hang in there....)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cb8W9ZgNN0

Well, around 1970, members of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Crosby/Nash were recording albums together. Some of it is patchouli-drenched, but damn, great stuff there too.

I've never heard David Crosby's solo debut "If I Could Only Remember My Name" until yesterday. It's a beautiful record with the Grateful Dead laying down their most lyrical instrumentals anywhere. Maybe too mellow for some tastes.
If you are concerned about its moral values, be reassured that the Vatican has named this as one of the top-10 rock albums of all times:
http://theweek.com/article/index/200178 ... ock-albums

The same cast of characters also made "Blows Against the Empire" by Paul Kanter/Grace Slick in 1970. I knew Jerry Garcia was all over that album, but I didn't realized Crosby/Nash wrote some of best songs and contributed vocals.
Have You Seen the Stars Tonight

Another Grateful Dead/Crosby/Nash collaboration from 1971:
The Wall Song

The sweetest San Fran hippie music ever comes from the Youngbloods in 67, obviously.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fWN6VvgKQ
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Igor » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:25 pm

Huckleby wrote:The same cast of characters also made "Blows Against the Empire" by Paul Kanter/Grace Slick in 1970. I knew Jerry Garcia was all over that album, but I didn't realized Crosby/Nash wrote some of best songs and contributed vocals.
Have You Seen the Stars Tonight


The highs of the Airplane/Starship/Kantner/Slick/Balin/Hot Tuna stuff are so good, but the lows are sooo bad. Personal faves are Surrealistic Pillow, Volunteers, Blows Against the Empire, Dragon Fly, Freedom at Point Zero, and about half of Modern Times. Even though Mickey Thomas was a doorknob that drove the final stake in the band, he was right in that all of Kantner's songs were sounding the same at that point.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Huckleby » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:32 pm

Igor wrote:The highs of the airplane/Starship/Kantner/Slick/Balin/Hot Tuna stuff are so good, but the lows are sooo bad.


Absolutely. I never listened to those albums from start to finish back in the 70's, they struck me as corny, and it would be torture today. But even a supposedly weak album like "Bark" had a couple great songs on it.

I can't get through any 60's psychedelic albums.

BTW, this is the musical gang
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Ear ... _Orchestra
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby kurt_w » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:02 am

Hey, neat thread. And thanks for the link to the wikipedia article about PERRO. If you look at the list of who was involved, it's an incredible concentration of talent.

And yet, so much of Blows Against The Empire seems like a kind of hokey, pretentious waste of all that talent. Did it sound better at the time? Not being part of that generation, I wouldn't know... I first heard BATE in the 80s and the hippie sci-fi concept was already eye-roll-inducing then, and like the rest of the world I've only grown more cynical over time.

Apparently, the album was nominated for a Hugo award (a literary award in science fiction) in 1971, but lost out to "No award". Ouch!
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:12 am

I'm a fan of the Beach Boys and the Grateful Dead doing Okie From Muskogee in 1971.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:42 am

I lost my appetite for the Grateful Dead after moving into the Madison dorms way back in '91 (seriously, they were on a permanent loop and it became so maddening I've never looked back) and I find CSN far too wimpy for my tastes. Gorgeous harmonies? No doubt. But if all I want is pretty harmonies, there are plenty of other sources for that with far better songs. Stills is also a heckuva guitarist, but again, he doesn't really do anything that can't be heard on other people's records, so I'll continue ignoring them as I have for the last few decades. The atrocity of a piece of drivel like "Our House" counts against them far more then their very occasional pleasures count for them. Unless there's a Y in that CSN, I just can't muster up any interest.

But I do loves me some Jefferson Airplane. I agree with all the criticisms already spelled out above, but their highs are so high (no pun intended) that I'm willing to forgive them their excesses (and just plain shittiness sometimes.) Collectors Choice released a whole bunch of archival live albums a few years back and I snatched up every one of them. I enjoy Blows Against The Empire while still acknowledging its high cheese quotient, and I really only discovered that record a few years back, so it's certainly not any kind of hippie nostalgia on my part. And speaking of PERRO contributors, I also like more Quicksilver Messenger Service than most, I'd wager, although they can be the most boring band on the planet when they're not trying.

Huckleby wrote:The sweetest San Fran hippie music ever comes from the Youngbloods in 67, obviously.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4fWN6VvgKQ
The Youngbloods were a pretty great band, and this is hardly representative of their overall sound, but man, I don't think I could ever tire of this song. Some of my all-time favorite guitar noodles.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Huckleby » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:59 am

kurt_w wrote: And yet, so much of Blows Against The Empire seems like a kind of hokey, pretentious waste of all that talent. Did it sound better at the time?

You have to remember the importance of being earnest. Both on that album and the companion, "Starfighter", the singers were sincere and passionate. I remember smart kids revering that album. I specifically remember a friend attending a concert with Grace Slick singing songs like "Have you Seen the Stars Tonight" and "Starship" live, and it was transcendent. She was an incredible talent live.

Of course, drugs made all the difference. And I'm not saying that in a condescending way.

I remember an incident from when I was a wee child attending a corporate family summer picnic for my dad's company.
Nearby in the park, some hippies set-up giant speakers and they were blaring Jefferson Airplane music, I think "Surrealistic Pillow" and such. In that atmosphere, the music was so intense and mysterious and wonderful, it's amazing that I found my way back to the corporate picnic rather than defecting to the tribe.
Last edited by Huckleby on Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Huckleby » Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:08 pm

Speaking of drugs and CSN and their muse, Joni Mitchell, my one experiment with psychedelics involved some peyote and a Joni Mitchell concert. Uhh, this would be Joni Mitchell in the early 80's when she was playing jazzy music
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLKb9Ms68ME

OMG, what an incredible experience. Jaco Pastorus crazy bass.

I don't believe that drugs make bad music sound good, they open up the mind to appreciate good music.

BTW, I recently listened to a long interview with Joni Mitchell from this summer. That woman is fascinating, honest, brilliant.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEJuiZN3jI8
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:06 pm

Huckleby wrote:I don't believe that drugs make bad music sound good, they open up the mind to appreciate good music.
I'm not sure I buy this. Apart from the obvious fact that all music appreciation ultimately boils down to personal opinion, it's pretty easy to get carried away by an endless noodley jam if you're in a seriously altered state because, lacking focus yourself, you don't necessarily realize just how pointless the music really is. Similarly, so-called psychedelic effects and other unmusical noises can be interesting when you're tripping balls but just sound stupid when you're sober. Which is not to say, of course, that this in any way dimishes the in-the-moment pleasure of such an experience, which can (and should be) cherished on its own terms. This is similar to the "live music effect", which I would define as the additional non-musical enjoyment sometimes gained simply by being part of a communal experience as it's happening.
The first example is best illustrated in my experience by the untold joy I used to get from dropping acid and blasting Jane's Addiction's Nothing's Shocking album way back when. When I hear that album now, I cannot fathom what I ever found appealing about it -- it's abrasive, poorly played garbage to my older, more sober ears. But there's no denying that it had a very visceral effect when combined with the proper chemicals. And the proof of the live music effect was demonstrated to me when I had the opportunity to listen to a recording of a live Who show I once attended. I was stone cold sober for that and had an absolutely amazing time, but I really couldn't believe my ears when I heard the recording because holy crap was it an uninspired slog. Especially when dealing with your musical heroes, sometimes it helps just to be in the vicinity.

This isn't just true for music, of course. A bad movie can be immeasurably improved by watching it with an appreciative audience, for example, and drugs can add imagined dimension too. I'll never forget doing whippets while watching the tunnel scene in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. That's a pretty freaky scene even when you're sober, but on nitrous, not only was Wonka talking directly to me, he was laying bare the mysteries of the universe and the truth of all existence. I've since forgotten them, of course.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Huckleby » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:28 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Huckleby wrote:I don't believe that drugs make bad music sound good, they open up the mind to appreciate good music.
I'm not sure I buy this. Apart from the obvious fact that all music appreciation ultimately boils down to personal opinion, it's pretty easy to get carried away by an endless noodley jam if you're in a seriously altered state because, lacking focus yourself, you don't necessarily realize just how pointless the music really is.


Music is said to be the art form that most directly connects to the emotions. (Not sure where I read this, but it strikes me as true.) I think drugs enhance music appreciation primarily by stripping-away interfering analysis. Maybe similar to way that meditation can lead to clarity by calming racing thoughts.

On related note, when somebody says they don't like a particular artist or style, I see this most typically as a limitation of the listener, rather than admirable discernment. I mean, with many exceptions. I come to this opinion from my own personal experience. So often music I don't like is just music that I don't get - yet. The pathways to the emotional touchstones haven't been made.

Which is to say...... music that I've appreciated while being stoned remains appealing to me at other times. Once the pathway to appreciation is found, the trail remains.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Huckleby » Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:34 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I lost my appetite for the Grateful Dead after moving into the Madison dorms way back in '91

Nobody needs to ever explain not liking the Grateful Dead. Having endured plenty of bad concerts, I get how awful they can sound to unreceptive ears.

But Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia are very lyrical session musicians, they add color & jazz feel to records they contribute to. Even your dorm experience can't wreck that.
Last edited by Huckleby on Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:22 pm

Honestly, I'm probably past the point of oversaturation that made me recoil so strongly from the Dead. But I no longer own any, don't really feel the need to re-acquire it, and am not exposed to them regularly anymore as few of my current circle of friends/music-buddies are fans. I saw them several times pre-college and always had a blast, but of course, drugs definitely played a role there. But even when I considered myself a fan, it wasn't the long jams and endless noodling that I appreciated the most, it was their more folky stuff. My favorite was probably Reckoning, to give some sense of where my taste and theirs most intersected.

Huckleby wrote:On related note, when somebody says they don't like a particular artist or style, I see this most typically as a limitation of the listener, rather than admirable discernment.
I wholeheartedly agree that there's a difference between something sucking and something just not being my cup of tea. I wouldn't know how to distinguish between a great opera singer and a mediocre one because I dislike the sound of opera singing no matter who is doing it. But I also don't consider that a "limitation". Liking everything makes much less sense to me than having very narrow tastes (and I like to think my tastes are pretty far-ranging. Heck, I like opera overtures just fine. Once the singing starts, though, I'm outta there.) Seems to me if everything sounds good to you, you have no opinion at all, which is pretty much the definition of lacking discernment. Furthermore, if you love music as much as I do and have a large collection, too much eclecticism ultimately leads to less true appreciation of anything in particular -- there's only so many hours left in your life, after all. This is an argument I often make for continuing to dismiss artists I've ignored for decades. Maybe there is a killer John Denver song I've never heard, but fuck it if I'm going to waste the time wading through his seemingly endless discography looking for it. I'd rather spend that time exploring genres and artists I already know I enjoy. I don't really subscribe to the notion that "life is short", but it's definitely finite.

Huckleby wrote: So often music I don't like is just music that I don't get - yet. The pathways to the emotional touchstones haven't been made.
I think this works both ways. I used to like plenty of music that just doesn't do it for me anymore. One of the big surprises doing my alphabetical CD listening project was realizing that DEVO just doesn't excite me like they used to. I used to really love'em a lot but now they seem, for lack of a better word, dated. I'm not getting rid of my DEVO albums because there are still stand-out songs that really groove me and who knows, maybe the pathway to their enjoyment will open up to me again in the future, but I can't imagine wanting to jam any of their records again any time soon.

Huckleby wrote: Which is to say...... music that I've appreciated while being stoned remains appealing to me at other times. Once the pathway to appreciation is found, the trail remains.
I guess I've never really had this experience. I've certainly been stoned when I've first heard some great music, but I've never disliked something only to "get it" when stoned, then find it still sounds good sober, which seems to be the process you're describing.
But then, I'm wary of any claims that drugs do anything for your mental state except get you fucked up. Generally when people explain how drugs "opened their mind" or led to any kind of truth, I get pretty dismissive, as that's not been my experience with them at all.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby Huckleby » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:00 am

Huckleby wrote: I can't get through any 60's psychedelic albums.


I was listening to some Byrds albums and I realize that this was a lie. "Younger than Yesterday", "Fifth Dimension" and such albums are very spacey and enjoyable.
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby david cohen » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:14 pm

For those of you who are bit torrent friendly and want to explore PERRO to their fullest extent, try locating the Stephen Barncard PERRO tapes. Stephen was the engineer at Wally Heider's in SF and he put together a 2 hour DAT tape for Graham Nash and Paul Kantner featuring material from the PERRO sessions over about a 6 month period in 1970. It's quite amazing. I got a copy from Stephen about 15 years ago and it still blows my mind. A quick google search will fill in the blanks;)

Hell the Grace Slick solo piano piece while Crosby, Garcia and Kantner talk about scoring a QP is worth the price of admission alone!
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Re: Say, can I have some of your purple berries?

Postby UsualSuspect » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:35 pm

Note: I have been lurking here for a several years now and am familiar with most of the regulars. Hi there Sno, Wags, Huck, bdog, Meade, Neddy, etc! I had to write on this thread because it's about music I like and grew up with on the SF peninsula near Palo Alto and was a kid during the 60s, with older brother and sister and friends who showed me the music AS IT WAS Happening. We must realize nostalgia may play a role here, but CSNY holds up over time. Try 4-way Street.
Now, Wags, I used to think CSN +/- Y were too mellow...when I was about 16 and wanted to RAWK HARD! "Fire" from "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown" was one of my first albums. Oh yeah heavy duty. I have since grown to appreciate CSN and have learned to play "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" with open DADDAD tuning. It rocks plenty and I love Stills' playing and singing too. Now I just need someone to sing harmony with me.
Differn't strokes...I don't feel any need to defend the Dead, like it or don't. Ah what the hell... Good shorter story songs ie "Friend of the Devil", and they invented the creative improv psychedelic jam which is quite different than improv jazz. When the jams were at their best it was quite a journey, although there is plenty of that that loses me. Then their is the very progressive Blues for Allah Help on the Way/Slipknot/Franklin's Tower which is GREAT, the top of their craft. I went and put it on as I am typing this.

Oh yeah, plenty of good hippie music out there came from The City or its environs: Big Brother, Quicksilver, Airplane, Santana, Creedence, 13th Floor Elevator. I've been to plenty of shows at Winterland, GG Park, Frost Amphitheater at Stanford (Beat Cal!) but never Fillmore West, I was just too young and didn't make it by the time it closed down.

There is plenty of room for all kinds of styles on MY shelf, it just depends on my mood. Louis Armstrong to Frank Zappa, kick-ass Van Halen or Brian Setzer, or the Nutcracker Suite for some comfort classical.
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