Charles Shaar Murray

ARTICLE ABOUT Ian Hunter FROM New Musical Express, May 15, 1976

Here we go again with yet another Ian Hunter article. Why do you like Hunter so much, you may ask? The answer is that I don`t especially like him more than others on this blog. As some of you know, I promise to post all articles I find of the 5 most visited bands/artists of my blog. And those artists are right now: Ritchie Blackmore, Deep Purple, Lemmy, Ian Hunter and Steve Howe.
If you want the same treatment for your favourite artist, you need to get people to click on the articles with them in it. That`s all!

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IAN HUNTER: All American Alien Boy (CBS)

By Charles Shaar Murray

There exists a subtle difference between a tax exile and an expatriate.
It has more to do with the way that someone carries themselves than the reasons that sent him away. Rod Stewart is a tax exile, pure and simple, whereas John Lennon is an expatriate. Stewart sounds to have lost touch with his background without having established any real temporary root system; artistically as well as politically and geographically, he is in limbo.
On the other hand, Lennon determined from the outset that if he was gonna live in America he was sho `nuff gonna righteously live there and involve himself as fully in American cultural, social and political life as anybody else on his block; without denying his Englishness he was simultaneously going to do his damnedest to be a good American.
It ain`t for nothing that Ian Hunter shouts out “Look out Lennon here I come – land ahoy-hoy-hoy!” as he bawls himself hoarse on his way into the first chorus of the title song of “All American Alien Boy”. The slightly pretentious title proves itself nothing more than a direct summing-up of Hunter`s stance as resident rather than tourist, a stance which enables him to transcend the superficiality of the out-of-the-limo-window-I-saw generally written by jetstream Anglos buzzing through to deliver boogie to the natives, while utilising his distance from England to recollect emotion in tranquility – or vice versa.

If Lennon is one of the spectres who stalk the landscape of this album, the other Ghost Of Rockanroll Past who`s right in there rattling his chains is Bob Dylan. On the strength of this album it may well be appropriate to nominate Hunter for a second term as This Year`s New Dylan. He`s deliberately cast much of the album in a “Blonde On Blonde” mould, utilising the master`s devices with a knowing pointedness, manipulating the associations, implications and resonances of the instrumentation and the inflections of his own expertly Zimmer Twins vocals for specific effect.
The only occasions when his grip falters is where, despite his mastery of Lennon and Dylan`s use of boisterous humour, he fails to infuse into his mixture the sly irony of his models: the irony that enables Dylan to use the device of saying “The moral of this storreeee” in “Frankie Lee And Judas Priest” and not sound heavy-handed, whereas Hunter flubs the trick in “Restless Youth”, a musically exciting but lyrically suspect sympathy-for-the gunsel song in Maestro`s “Joey” tradition (it even refers to “Little Italy”, f` Chrissakes!).
So, picking up on New York like any starstruck English Dylan freak would, and maybe seeing Dylan`s adoption of his erstwhile pal and partner Mick (“I aren`t a session man”) Ronson as vaguely symbolic, Hunter has ditched the last vestiges of Mott-style rock and roll in favour of his deliberate, conscious, yes-I-know-my-rights-and-am-of-sound-mind-and-body-and-do-knowingly-willingly-that-which-I-am-about-to-do Dylan act.

The album`s opening cut “Letter To Britannia From The Union Jack” is to-and-about Britain, and uses the rather strained metaphor heralded in the title to sound a slightly discordant note of national pride and please-get-it-together-England.
It`s the first of a fairly small cluster of moments on the album where Hunter seems unable to find language that will match the power of his attempted statement and thereby debases his theme while uncomfortable emphasis is thrown on his linguistic fumbling.
On the title cut, however, he`s in roaring form. Gerry Weems` blasting Ronsonesque lead guitar cuts in right on the heels of “Union Jack”`s fade, underscored by Jaco Pastorius` bass, Aynsley Dunbar`s stomping drums, accompanied by Hunter`s own monolithic piano chording, before the inimitable David Sanborn (formerly of the Butterfield Blues Band and “Young Americans” – period Bowie) blasts a path for a bellowingly self-assured Hunter sneering like some Dylan/Jagger fusion.
It`s a fine song, though in its opening stages the solos by Pastorius, Sanborn and Weems that interrupt the verses irritate despite their excellence, and Hunter has a fine old time machine-gunning tortuously rhymed lyrics and racing the band to the changes. His Dylanisms seem endearingly cheeky rather than offensively derivative:
“Don`t get slugged get mugged get bugged or they`ll sling you in the jug. Sweep you under some rug, give you some drug, pull out the plug and then..
I mean, howcum Bruce Springsteen didn`t write that?

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From getting hilariously confused with brash Americana and TV commercials, he drifts back to his distant youth and gets misty-eyed about the callous teendream who rejected the young Hunter in “Irene Wilde”. “A Barker Street Bus Station non-affair” is how he characterises it, proving that he still has his background together.
“Restless Youth”, which ends the side, is by far the heaviest rocker on the album. Chris Stainton comes off keyboards  for his one crack at bass, and he clearly hasn`t forgotten how to crank a Fender bass up to the bonecrunching impact level of his playing on Cocker`s “With A Little Help From My Friends”.
“Rape” proves again that Hunter has a lot to learn from Dylan about writing political songs (and let`s just leave “Mozambique” right out of this, okay? I never liked the damn song in the first place anyway), “You Nearly Did Me In” has a gorgeous chorus (with backing vocals by Freddie and Roger of Queen, gang!) and a nice drift to it.
Hunter unleashes his killer punch in “Apathy 83”, which demonstrates that his ability to slice rock and roll right down the middle is completely undimmed. He also pulls off his most inspired Dylan reference of a heavily Dylan-soaked album with “Was it General Sheridan who said that the only good good man is a dead good man? It was not me, babe!” delivered in the most ringingly triumphant Bobby-the-Zee tones imaginable. He clinches with:
“Nostalgia is starting to focus too late, intelligence is starting too itch.
And there ain`t no rock and roll no more, just the music of the rich.
`N it`s apathy for the devil, apathy for the devil, apathy for the devil.
Apathy`s at fever piiiiiiiiiiitch!”

His final song, “God”, is stone Dylan with Stainton laying down an organ part so Kooperish that if you woke Al up in the middle of the night and played it to him he`d probably think it was him. Hunter`s God opens up the dialogue with “I`m gonna kick your ass, `cuz all you ever do is ask, ask, ask” and ends with “Behave yourself, see you around!” which is probably pretty much how God would talk if Ian Hunter was writing his scripts.
“All American Alien Boy” is a difficult and fairly uncompromising album; it`s uncomfortably personal, occasionally crude and self-indulgent, and it`s by no means an unqualified success. However, it`s also hugely revealing both about the subjects it discusses and the man who made it, and one which has by no means diminished my admiration of Ian Hunter.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Ramones, Genesis, Erich Von Daniken, Eric Carmen, Elton John, Nils Lofgren, Stanley Clarke.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Mott The Hoople and Black Sabbath FROM New Musical Express, April 10, 1976

This is one of those “double” reviews of albums that I`m personally not very fond of. But here you have it. Two albums reviewed for the price of one or something… Personally I find the Sabbath one a great collection of tracks even today, but Mr. Murray wouldn`t agree with me. Enjoy!

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You too can have a legend like mine

Takes only two minutes a day – in your own home!

Mott The Hoople: Greatest Hits (CBS);
Black Sabbath: We Sold Our Soul For Rock `N` Roll (Nems).

By Charles Shaar Murray

A cornucopia of aspects: Compilations seen as examples of the Gentle Art Of Putting Compilation Albums Together, compilations as someone`s idea of the best and most important aspects of the artist in question, compilations as distillations of the essence of the artist and thereby lynch-pins for discussion of the artist`s Galactic Importance, Social Significance, Role in the economic exploitation of the rock-sensitive sections of the populace and occasionally New Jersey.
The Mott album was put together by the current incarnation of the band with the assistance of Stan Tippins, tour manager and close associate of the band since Year Dot.
It covers the CBS years: i.e. from “Dudes” (1972) to “Saturday Gigs” (late `74); the period from the entry of David Bowie to the departure of Ian Hunter.
It contains all the hit singles – that`s “All The Young Dudes”, “Honaloochie Boogie”, “All The Way From Memphis”, “Roll Away The Stone” and “The Golden Age of Rock And Roll” – the last two singles, which didn`t catch public interest too tough (“Foxy Foxy” and “Saturday Gigs”), and a clutch of album tracks: Pete Watts` big moment “Born Late `58” and Ian Hunter`s two melodramatic chest-beating keynote speeches “Hymn For The Dudes” and “Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (March 26, 1972, Zurich).”

Which is fair enough, obviously. “Born Late `58” is no cultural triumph, but it provides continuity with the current Hunterless Mott (who, after all, compiled the album). “Hymn” and “Ballad” are both crucial tracks, but the inclusion of both at the expense of equally crucial (and far more dynamic) pieces like “Sucker” and “Violence” balances the album far too heavily towards the portentious end.
“Saturday Gigs”, whatever its merits/demerits in its original incarnation as a single – the overly self-centred autobiography-of-Mott latter verses blow it for the far more universal opening verses – was just tailormade to be the last track on a Mott The Hoople bestof.
Still, those are individual quibbles with an individual view of the music of what was certainly one of the best and most important British bands of the first half of the `70s – and while we`re on individual quibbles, I still think “Honaloochie Boogie” sucks – and it should go without saying that anyone who wasn`t Hoople-conscious at the time owes it to his/her rock and roll soul to get this album.
On a trivia level, however, it would appear from the packaging that various old wounds dating from the Mott/Hunter/Ronson hara-kari of a year or so back are still more than a little septic.
The cover photo has Hunter – undeniably the group`s Heavy Duty Figure during its hey-day – unobtrusively stashed away behind Morgan Fisher, while Pete Watts in all his glory holds sway front`n centre.

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On the back liner spread and the photo insert, there ain`t one single pic of Mick Ronson – who for better or for worse was a member of Mott The Hoople for a while, even though none of the present Motters have any cause to remember him with any affection – and the unfortunate Ronno is simply listed as having played guitar on “Saturday Gigs”, just as, say, Andy Mackay is listed as having played saxophone on “Boogie” and “Memphis.”
He`s also conspicious by his absence from any mention in CBS`s PR chief David Sandison`s liner note.
It may seem petty to go into all this, but it was a lot pettier for Tippins, Watts, Fisher, Griffin et al to turn Ministry Of Truth and attempt to re-write history like this.
Ronno was in Mott – no matter for how short a time and no matter how unhappily – so give the dude his due, boys. An album of this nature is supposed to be a picture of what went down, not a means of avenging old grievances. Be British about it, f`Chrissakes.
The Sabs` album, on the other hand, is beset by no such problems. For one thing, they`ve had the same line-up all along, so there`s no danger of the album being turned into a battlefield by warring factions. For another, they`ve only ever had one hit, so there`s no need to worry about conflicting identities as a singles band vs. album/concert band.

What it is – fanfare please, maestro – is A Monument To The Work Of A Great Group.
Wisely enough, it concentrates on the band`s early material; working on the principle that the Sabs` current young audience will be more likely to have, say, the last three albums as opposed to the first few. Therefore, the first two albums, “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid” are re-presented virtually in toto, and its various successors are represented proportionately on a sliding scale (i.e. the more recent, the less tracks).
Mind you, it don`t make that much difference because apart from the reactionary intrusion of strings, pianos, synthesisers and other softening/broadening devices introduced to vary the monolithic belabouring of guitar, bass and drums, it all has remarkable internal consistency (when I was a snob – i.e. before I Saw The Light – I would`ve said that it all sounds the same). “We Sold Our Soul For Rock `n` Roll” – I think I`ve seen that slogan somewhere before, like on NME tube-card ads – is wall-to-wall pneumatic-drill riffing in wide-screen Skullarama, heavy as two short planks and monomaniacally psychotic/obsessive rock and roll.
I`m proud to say I love every beautiful braindamaged crushingly obvious moment of it. Cross my heart and hope to…
YaaaaaAAAAaaaaxhgghhhhhhhhhh….

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Woody Herman, Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay, Man, Roy Wood, 50`s Rock and Roll, Boxer, Al Jarreau, Bill Wyman, The Bothy Band, Mike Dorane, Billy Connolly, Fats Domino, Led Zeppelin.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

 

ARTICLE ABOUT Led Zeppelin FROM New Musical Express, April 10, 1976

This is a masterclass in how you slag off an album. Even if you like this album, you must admit that the trashing done by Mr. Murray is utterly great. If I made an album of music that someone didn`t like – this is how I would like to be told. Almost a piece of art this one. Have a nice read!

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How a stampede of rogue elephants missed me by inches

By Charles Shaar Murray

Led Zeppelin: Presence (Swan Song)

Zep albums are like Sherman tanks or platoons of charging elephants: stand in front of one of those, baby, and you best believe you`ll know that something`s just run you over.
“Trampled Underfoot” wasn`t just one of the Zep`s most psychotically irresistible wrecking-ball riffs; the title was the keynote to the entire Led Zeppelin experience.
With “Presence”, the hand-brake`s off the steamroller again and someone`s just chewed through the rope that keeps the rogue males corralled; only this time instead of being right behind the eight ball waiting for the apocalypse to come and swallow you whole, you`re sitting pretty up on a nearby hill with a Thermos flask and a bunch of sandwiches wrapped up in wax paper watching the carnage below in relative comfort and worrying about the ants in your socks.
In other words, I thought my razor was dull until I heard this album, and that reminds me of a comparison that`s so specious I`m ashamed to even think of it myself. Lemme explain.
If – strictly for the purposes of argument – we accept the analogy of hard rock as musical incarnation of feisty rough`n tumble streetfighter, then Led Zeppelin are beginning to bear an increasing resemblance to some hard-as-nails ex-Commando unarmed combat instructor who could undoubtedly take out our imaginary street-fighting yobbo in four seconds flat and be calmly picking his teeth by the time his adversary stopped twitching.

In terms of all matters relating to expertise, and even “feel” in its primary sense – for reference, check out all those funk bands who`ve mastered every single known “funk” device but are so well-oiled and precise that they`ve long ago ceased to be funky in the real as opposed to formalised sense – Led Zep can, quite effortlessly, piss from a great height over any competitors within a Marshall stack`s range of them – not that there are that many to begin with.
I mean, nobody has the orgasmic macho bit down anywhere near as well as Mr. Plant. There ain`t a drummer alive with John Bonham`s pace, time or shoulders. I can`t think of a single bass player who could hold down John Paul Jones` gig without fumbling the ball by either trying to get flash or failing to carry the weight.
As for Mr Page… sheeeeeiiiiit! He`s as near to absolute storm centre as you can get without being either a genius (vide Hendrix), a dangerous loony (Beck) or a musical kamikaze pilot (James Williamson of the Stooges, Wayne Kramer and Sonic Smith of the MC5).
The capacity for organisation which is one of Led Zep`s greatest collective strengths – i.e. when it allows them to marshal their admittedly awesome resources to the utmost – carries with it the seeds of their greatest failings:
the radiation of an unmistakable aura of calculatedness which mars totally the spontaneity – or, to be more precise, the illusion of spontaneity – which is essential if a piece of rock and roll is to be anything more than mere weightlifting, if it`s going to transcend calisthenics, or even gymnastics, and achieve the dimension of dance or sex or violence – anything as long as it provides an analogue of something real.

First the good news.
“Presence” is solid, non-stop, copper-bottomed, guitar-bass-and-drums Led Zep rock and roll.
No mellotrons, no acoustic guitars, no boogies-with-Stu, no-hats-off-to-Harper, no funk or reggae piss-takes: just mercilessly methodical two-fisted pounding Led Zep for the entire duration.
Now the bad news.
There ain`t one single candidate for the Led Zep All-Time Killer Hall Of Fame in the whole caboodle.
Right from the beginning the Zeps have been hauling irresistible cranial lightning bolts from out their grab-bag.
From hats of seemingly infinite capacity they`ve conjured sixty-ton rabbits like “How Many More Years”, Communication Breakdown”, “Whole Lotta Love”, “Dazed And Confused”, “Moby Dick”, “Thank You”, Immigrant Song”, “Black Dog”, “Rock And Roll”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Trampled Underfoot”, “Kashmir”, etc., etc.
There`s nothing on this album that leaves any residue after the first play.
The album`s best stroke is “Nobody`s Fault But Mine”, with a waving forest of overdubbed phased guitars, muscular jostling bass and drums and Plant alternately howling over the band and moaning in the pauses – a la “Black Dog”, he added as an afterthought.
It`s credited to Page and Plant, which would come as a considerable surprise to Blind Willie Johnson, who was under the impression that he wrote the song in 1928.
Nick Kent told me one time that when he did his first-ever Jimmy Page interview he raised the point that many alleged Page-Plant songs – notably “Whole Lotta Love”, “Bring It On Home”, “The Lemon Song”, “Black Mountain Side” and “In My Time Of Dying” – are either traditional or else straight lifts from the likes of Willie Dixon; Page got extremely defensive.

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As well he might – if Blind Willie were still alive and had a good lawyer, he`d be along to collect his dues.
The royalties that Skip James got from Cream`s “I`m So Glad” – Clapton not only gave him his full composer credit but personally made sure that he got the bread – enabled Skip to die in relative peace and comfort, a fact attested by his widow.
Any rock and roller who steals from a bluesman is an asshole.
I hope Elvis Presley had a few sleepless nights after Arthur Crudup died in poverty without ever seeing one penny in royalties from “That`s All Right Mama”, and I would think that by now Jimmy and Percy could afford to pay Willie Dixon his dues for “Whole Lotta Love” and “Bring It On Home”.
(Anyone desirous of checking out these assertions need look no further than Sonny Boy Williamson`s “Bring It On Home” and a Muddy Waters track called “You Need Love”, which is “Whole Lotta Love” with a slightly different beat, but the same lyric and melody and almost the same riff.)
Anyway…
“Achilles` Last Stand” (presumably a reference to Plant`s temporary cripplehood at the time of writing and recording) gets its head down and charges remorselessly ahead, “For Your Life” is a grunt`n-stutter job in both the vocal and riff depts, “Royal Orleans” is short and sharp, “Nobody`s Fault But Mine” has already done bin dealt with, “Candy Store Rock” hustles and stabs, “Hots On For Nowhere” is vaguely swing-ish (i.e. what Glenn Miller would`ve sounded like if he`d been a murderously heavy four-piece rock band), and “Tea For One” has the pace, feel and licks of a slow blues but isn`t.
Sha da da da da yip yip yip yip mum mum mum mum sha da da da da…

“Presence” falls into the back row of the Zep canon (“Led Zeppelin”, “Led Zeppelin II”, “Led Zeppelin IV” (the runes album) and “Physical Graffiti” being the front-runners and “Led Zeppelin III” and “Houses Of The Holy” being the runners-up).
It represents yet another demonstration of the band`s mastery of form and an all-time low in the content department. Someone (I can`t remember who, but my mother used to keep quoting it to me) once said that genius is ten per cent inspiration and ninety per cent perspiration.
“Presence” is the proverbial ninety-nine and forty-four hundredths perspiration.
Mitigating circumstances: I don`t think anybody else could do anywhere near as well with this material, and I`m sure that Zep can slaughter any rock audience that you or Peter Grant or any promoter currently functioning can assemble with this stuff.
But the sad fact remains that despite the excellence of the playing, singing and production, “Presence” never gets any higher than simply being a demonstration of capabilities and an exercise in style.
However, let`s look on the bright side.
Zeppelin are rock and roll`s greatest ground-to-ground tactical nuclear missile, so let`s not listen to any more cry-baby whining about Britain being a second-class military power.
After all, if the Russkies start any hoohah, we`ll just beam this mutha at Moscow and we`ll have `em begging for mercy before the end of the first side.

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A double-page spread for the ad of the album severly shot down by Mr. Murray

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Woody Herman, Howard Schuman and Andy Mackay, Man, Roy Wood, 50`s Rock and Roll, Boxer, Al Jarreau, Bill Wyman, The Bothy Band, Mike Dorane, Billy Connolly, Fats Domino.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Black Sabbath FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 24, 1976

This article can be difficult reading in parts for those not so familiar with English slang. This is the sort of review where you`re not sure if he slags the band off or if he really likes them. Make up your own mind!

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OWOTTA LARRFF

Black Sabbath
Hammersmith

By Charles Shaar Murray

The bastards weren`t loud enough!
Not even halfway loud enough. No right-thinking individual can get off on the Sabs unless they`re loud enough to make yer braincells seep out yer ears and run for cover in the warm safety of your trouser pockets.
You need to feel as if Geezer`s sproinging away on the coils of your cerebellum while they`re connected up to a light socket, if you wanna get technical about it. Simultaneously Tony Iommi`s got to be heaving giant slabs of semi-sentient guitar gunge around just behind your eyelids and Bill… well, Bill`s probably out the back smashing his way through a brick wall by the simple expedient of hitting it with his head, while Ozzie caterwauls about something or other in a locked basement.
That`s the way yer real Sabs conna sewer likes it.
`Cuz when it ain`t that loud, it becomes uncomfortably apparent that Black Sabbath are one of the dullest gaggles of clowns ever to haul onto a stage (Ozzie, this means you, schlubbo. Do you know what you look like in those trousers?) Luckily I gained access to the photo pit after about twenty minutes of the set and was thus able not only to see the boys close up to hear the music at a decent volume.
I really enjoyed it after that.

There was some horrible object tricked out like a giant seashell with a cross on it behind Bill Ward`s drum kit. Their S. Pokesman told me that Bill had recently delivered a jest (larf a minute, Bill is) about how they were gonna sell it to Blue Oyster Cult after the tour, but Blue Oyster Cult are American and therefore have much better props – not to mention better costumes. Just wait`ll you see Ozzie`s outfit.
Larf? I thought I`d never start.
Lessee now – they did “War Pigs”, “Children Of The Grave”, “Snowblind”, “Iron Man”, “War Pigs” – `ang on, I think I`ve already mentioned that one – “Sabra Cadabra” and lots of other good stuff. Geezer and Ioomi had the equivalent of six Laney 200-watt stacks each piled up into a neat little battlement across the back of the stage (but it still wasn`t loud enough) and Iommi was playing a really nice John Birch guitar with little crosses inlaid on the neck. Couldn`t see much of Bill, but he kept knocking his cymbals over so he must`ve been having a good time.
Once you`re in a position to get yer cortex shook, you can just settle down and groove while the band lumber around grinding it out. Occasionally they stop so that Tony Iommi can look pained and blat out one of his patented fast bits. The hall-mark of an Iommi fast bit (to use the technical term) is that it doesn`t really fit into the band context so “Sabba Cadabra” (the number into which it`s usually slotted) has to crunch to a halt while he jabbers away at Velocity Mark 10 for a few minutes.

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Ozzie looks great. He`s got this yellow T-shirt with a glitter V on the front and fringes on the sleeves and the world`s most ridic trousers. They`re tight around the ass (bad move, Ozzie) and baggy round the crotch (no Freddie Mercury I`ve-got-the-whole-world-in-my-pants tactics from these boys) and show his navy-blue underpants off to excellent advantage. They also clash exquisitely with his knee-length blue platform boots.
All joking aside, folks, I really like the Sabs (`specially when they`re really loud).
Most people I know who don`t like them generally make the mistake of taking them seriously (or trying to) and failing to get off because the whole Sabs trip is so patently dumb. The trick is to regard the whole thing (performance, audience reaction etc) as a huge joke mounted especially for your amusement and then (provided it`s loud enough) you can have a wonderful time.
I mean, what other band can provide a moment when their entire audience howls the word “Paranoid!” as loud as they possibly can? That`s always worth the price of admission by itself.
The food was unspeakable.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Alex Harvey, Elvis Presley Fan Club Convention, Lou Reed, Howlin` Wolf, Hot Vultures, Aerosmith.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 10, 1976

The journalist, Mr. Murray, is positive in his review of this album and later even wrote a book about Bowie that you will find here: http://charlesshaarmurray.com/books/
The album, in its original form, was only six songs but is still considered among Bowie`s finest among many of his fans. Despite its status and a #3 position on the US Billboard 200 chart and going to #5 on the UK Albums chart – it is only certified Gold in Canada, UK and the USA to date. Surely some mistake?
Enjoy!

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BOWIE

Don`t touch that dial

David Bowie: Station To Station (RCA)

By Charles Shaar Murray

“A sixty thousand word novel is one image corrected fifty-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine times” – Samuel R. Delaney

LONGACRE BOARD OF EXAMINATION INTERMEDIATE ROCK WRITING

Discuss David Bowie`s “Station To Station” from any perspective available. Up to two hours may be spent on this question. You may answer in note form if necessary.

1. It may be argued that there is a qualitative difference between music made out of necessity (i.e. to fulfil a contractual quota) and music made purely for the sake of enjoyment derived from making it.
David Bowie didn`t have to make this album.
After completing his work on the movie soundtrack of “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, he was supposed to take a holiday until the New Year (this one, putzo) when he was/is scheduled to go into rehearsal for the European tour and, presumably, the next U.S. tour.
However, he ended up writing a batch of songs and flying his band into L.A. from New York to go into the studio and make this; an “extra” bonus album, if you like. Kind of like “The One That Got Away” in reverse.

2. The album opens with the sound of mighty trains chuffing determinedly from speaker to speaker (must be a real trip in quad, Jim), heavily phased to suggest (“allude to” would be more precise) the ambience of the white noise you get when you twist a radio or TV dial attempting to local a channel. (Not to mention “station-to-station” (as opposed to “person-to-person”) long-distance `phone calls).

3. The title song, which opens the album, runs 10.08 (at least, that`s what it says on the label. I haven`t checked it). Bowie doesn`t make his vocal entry until the track is nearly three and a half minutes.

4. If Bowie was James Brown he could well have entitled the second, up-tempo half of “Station To Station” “Diamond Dogs `76”. The dominant sound of this album overdubs the claustrophobic guitar-strangling garage band chording of “Dogs” (plus, to a lesser extent, the howling, wrenching lead guitar of “The Man Who Sold The World”) over the itchy-disco rhythms of the “Young Americans” album, while Bowie`s vocals evoke the lugubrious, heavily melodramatic vibratoed almost-crooning of Scott Walker.

5. “Golden Years,” the album`s Big Single, is placed in the middle of the first side. The placing of an already-familiar single on an album of otherwise new material is always crucial, since it automatically provides a period of decompression, a relaxing of the concentration necessary to assimilate new music.
“Golden Years” is a masterstroke of a single (though not quite in the same exalted class as the masterly “Fame”) and it`s quite the most compact and direct piece on the album.
Elsewhere, Bowie lays out vocally for quite considerable lengths of time – particularly on the title track`s companion Marathon, “Stay”, which can be located over on the second side – leaving the band to cook uninterrupted.
His vocals are not only sparse, but mixed right down and mumbled into the bargain.
In the days when I was into lyric sheets (i.e. before I remembered that Dylan never provided a lyric sheet in his life, and realised that a crucial part of my enjoyment of “Horses” was down to listening to the words as part of  the record and comprehending/understanding/deciphering more of them with each listen instead of copping the whole thing off a dessicated cribsheets) I would have bitched about not being able to do the heavy lyrical analysis schtick straight off.
As it is, I find myself listening to the sounds of the music (and the music of the sounds, man, far out!) rather than even trying to make out the lyrics.
On a purely audio basis, therefore, “Station To Station” represents a solid triumph for Bowie as an organiser of music. Maybe if I had the sleeve I`d know whether it was a concept album (heh!) or not. Hope it isn`t, though.

6. Musically, the biggest surprise on the album is the intro to “TVC 15,” the first track on the second side.
It`s rolling bar-room piano (vaguely reminiscent of Climax`s “Loosen Up”) with Bowie copping the “Oh-woa-hoo-wo-ho” vocal intro from the Yardbirds` “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” (the man is nothing if not eclectic) before settling into a tight but relaxed groove with a great chorus in which Bowie carols, “Transition/transmission”. It`s one of the craziest things I`ve heard in a long while.
Incidentally, I have no idea of what the title means. My theory (which is my own, etc., etc.) is that it refers to Channel 15 on Los Angeles TV, but on the other hand Joe Stevens suggests that it`s the register number of the video course that Bowie`s supposed to be taking at U.C.L.A., while Mick Farren opines that it`s a gearbox of some sort (alternate meaning to the “transmission” motif).
To coin a phrase, I await further enlightment.

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7. “Stay” features a lurching raunch guitar part performed, or so Mr. Kent informs me, by Ron Wood.
It confirms my belief that the standard of Mr. Wood`s playing is entirely determined by the company he keeps, a belief initially fostered by a comparison of his playing at Eric Clapton`s Rainbow Concert and on Rod Stewart`s sole albums (sublime) and on the vast majority of Faces manifestations (ridiculous), not to mention a brief earful of a recent Stones bootleg.
Here he gets plenty of room to smear funk all over the scenery, ably supported by Willie Weeks on bass (and presumably therefore Andy Newmark on drums).
Bowie`s vocal line, embellished by female back-up voices singing octaves, is quite absurdly effete – not to mention loopily wacky a la Sparks – but it seems almost logical when juxtaposed with Wood`s funk riffs.
Since I`m working from a blank sleeve with no info, I can give you no exciting tidbits about the world-famous musicians, engineers, producers, arrangers, derangers, freerangers and so forth who are doubtless embroiled in the proceedings.
I can hazard a guess, though, that Tony Visconti is present in some productorial capacity and Paul Buckmaster in an arrangerial ditto, whereas the other musicians are simply whoever was in Bowie`s road band at the time, with another Carlos Alomar or Earl Slick (or both) on guitars. The more Ronsonesque guitar leads on the album are certainly reminiscent of Slick`s work on the live album.

8. In addition to the above-mentioned songs, the album also includes two real croonaruskies on which Bowie – and this is Ian Mac`s idea, not mine, Dave ol` pal (heh heh) so don`t git mad – sounds totally drunk.
Dig the scenario – the bar`s closed, the proprietor`s sweeping the floor and stacking the chairs up on the tables with their legs in the air like abandoned mannequins, and this turd in the corner just won`t stop singing along to the backing track in his head.
More so than anywhere else on the album, Bowie discards the conventional tradition of rock singing (i.e. non-realistic, purporting to be a stylisation/abstraction?) of the way the singer “normally” speaks and by extension therefore is) in favour of an abstraction of the styles of the so-called “Balladeers”.
Both these songs are placed at the end of their respective sides; “Word On A Wing” comes at the end of side one, while “Wild Is The Wind” ends side two.
The latter was written by Toimkin and Washington (the only non-Bowie song); Tiomkin is presumably Dimitri of the Ilk, and is therefore, equally presumably, a theme-from-the-movie-of-the-same-name.

9. The main lyrical motif of the title song is “It`s too late (to be grateful)/It`s too late (to be hateful)”.

10. “Station to Station” is a great dance album.
It`s funk on the edge, the almost claustrophobic rhythms of “Fame” diffused through the tortured guitars of Ziggy`s memory tapes, plus that new vocal style, simultaneously ugly and mesmeric.

11. Let`s hear it for the title guy in the baggy suit.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits  – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Cat Stevens, Patti Smith, Grateful Dead, Albertos y Lost Trios, Bob Dylan, 10cc, Dion, The Great British Music Festival.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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