Friday, February 27, 2009

Pictures For Your Exhibition - Gerry Mulligan

by Joe Schwab

As I do my weekly dig through the Euclid photo archives, we once again go to our resident 50's and 60's photographer Bernie Thrasher. Here are some wonderful photos of Gerry Mulligan in St. Louis from around 1963. I believe all of these photos were taken at Kiel Opera House where Mulligan's Concert Stage Band played a one nighter. I have some 50's photos of Mulligan as well that I'll post sometime, but these are especially great because of the inclusion of Zoot Sims, the featured soloist for the Concert Stage Band seen below, as well as a nice shot of GM with his fans who were usually of the female variety.

Euclid's Dungeon Dig of the Week

Rarities and oddities that have reared their ugly heads from our 45 rpm dungeon.

The Five Du-Tones "The Chicken Astronaut" One-derful Records 1963

We'll stick to the astronaut theme 1 more week with this out-of-control b-side from Saint Louis' own The Five Du-Tones, which understandably didn't achieve the modest success they enjoyed with "Shake A Tail Feather". Enjoy.

"The Chicken Astronaut" mp3

Thursday, February 26, 2009

R.I.P. Ian Carr

by Joe Schwab

I hate to be one of those blogs that dwells on musicians deaths. The recent passing of Fathead Newman, Hank Crawford, Blossom Dearie, Louis Bellson etc. are well documented. But sometimes certain deaths slip through cracks. On February 25th, the jazz world lost British trumpet giant Ian Carr. Carr covered the boundaries of everything from hard bop to fusion in his career. His long association with Don Rendell produced some of the finest Jazz of the 60's, often rivaling much of the Blue Note output of the time as far as beauty and inspiration goes. His later 70's work with his fusion band Nucleus was often neglected, but just as edgy and interesting as the bigger sellers of the era.

In another career altogether Ian Carr was prolific biographer and historian of jazz. His Miles Davis biography is still considered one of the definitive books on the Dark Prince. He's also documented the life and times of Keith Jarrett and the entire British jazz scene.

Obviously Carr's death is of more relevance in his home country, but over the past few years U.S. jazz fans have begun to recognize his contribution as a musician. His original recordings with Rendell regularly reach four figures on eBay, and for good reason. Not only are these records scarce, but they are also filled with innovative, beautiful playing.

Below is a sample of Rendell and Carr performing "Blue Mosque":


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Local Spotlight Volume 2

Judge Nothing EP (Scrapdog Records 1990)
(l-r: Doug Raffety, Carlos Huddleston, Bob Wadlow, Andy Dykeman)

One of the best and most beloved bi-state area rock bands in the nineties, Judge Nothing had their humble beginnings as Club Zero in Alton Illinois circa the early eighties. Mainstays Doug Raffety and Andy Dykeman changed their Bass player and changed their name to Judge Nothing in 1987, just in time for the resurgence of Bernard's Pub and the start of the soon-to-be-legendary Cicero's scene. In fact, Judge Nothing were one of the very few bands that could hold their own at either club. January of 1989 took the boys, with Carlos Huddleston on Bass, to Star Sound in Bethalto Illinois to record the "Shoe Bob" demo, an homage to Alton's favorite son Robert Wadlow. In 1990, fledgling Bridgeton label Scrapdog Records teamed up with the boys, now with Flea Bodine on bass, for the label's 2nd release, the 4-track eponymous "Judge Nothing" EP. These 4 tracks only hinted at the greatness that was to come, though the band wouldn't hit full-stride until "A Cheese Sampler" a year later, "More" in 1992, and their well-documented run with Chicago's Thick Records.

"Crowded Down Here/Something New" mp3

"Loose Wire" mp3

"TTLS" mp3

Euclid Sessions - Future Clouds and Radar

by Steve Pick
Photos by Jim Varvaris

What do you want from a live rock performance? Great musicianship, of course, with the ability to play intricate parts as well as simple ones, the skill to generate tight, perfectly placed rhythms and then to loosen them up, and the talent to know when to push the song harder and when to pull back in service to the others in the band. Great songs, too, with melodies perfectly crafted to tease both the parts of the brain which demand familiarity and the parts which crave novelty. And arrangements which make use of the talents on hand and make the songs even better than they would be if delivered simply.

Well, that's what we got from Future Clouds and Radar when they appeared Sunday at the store. It's no surprise, of course, as we at Euclid have been singing the praises of the this incredible band from Austin, TX for a couple years now. After two albums - the self-titled double debut, and the shorter but just as sweet Peoria - it's obvious that these guys can do just about anything they set their minds to.

Robert Harrison (who once led a different band called Cotton Mather) assimilates all the best songwriting tricks from greats who have gone before. There's Lennon and McCartney, of course, but also a bit of Stones from their psychedelic period, some Crowded House, and everybody else who knew how to really pack a melody together into something special. He's now got Future Clouds and Radar down to a four-piece line-up including drummer Darin Murphy, bassist Joshua Zarbo, and keyboardist Hollie Thomas. When these guys get revved up on stage, as they did again and again Sunday, you can feel the joy of their musical union.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Albums of My Life - 1960 John Coltrane, "Giant Steps"

by Steve Pick

This is the third in an ongoing weekly series of reviews of a single album to represent each year of music critic / KDHX DJ / tallest guy in Euclid Records Steve Pick's life. He apologizes for missing the Sunday deadline, and promises to not let it happen again.

There is a tendency to think of Coltrane as inexorably rushing from the mainstream of hard bop jazz to the wildest avant-garde squonks. In the course of just over ten years, Coltrane recorded dozens of studio albums, and even more live performances, and there is clearly a progression from one thing to another which makes sense if you bother to listen to them all in order.

But, then again, stop, spend time with just one record at a time, and you're struck by the fact that no matter where Coltrane was on his journey, he was always right there in the moment, breathing vitality into the music, letting his restless mind explore the nooks and crannies of any composition he happened to touch.

So, we come to 1960, and Trane's first album for Atlantic Records. Having already zipped through the modal experiments with Miles Davis, Trane took things to the opposite extreme with "Giant Steps." There may be no wilder navigation of chord changes in the history of jazz, with virtually every note of the delightful tune shifting to a different harmony. Pianist Tommy Flanagan nailed the changes, as did the brilliant bassist Paul Chambers, who also helped drummer Art Taylor give this track such a powerful drive. But it is Coltrane's soaring tenor that really gets inside your skin as it goes falling and rising with that wonderful melody.

And then comes "Cousin Mary," a lighter, airier, and faster psuedo-blues, followed by the brief but frenetic "Countdown" on which Coltrane begins to shape the sheets of sound he would soon be briefly famous for. "Spiral" is another zipping number" and that's side one, four masterpieces of speed, technical prowess, and undeniable heart.

Side two opens with another hard bop gem, "Syeeda's Song Flute," which has some particularly tasty Flanagan piano before we switch gears entirely for one of the world's most beautiful ballads, "Naima." Here, Flanagan and Taylor are replaced by the great Wynton Kelly on piano and Jimmy Cobb (whom I inadvertently and foolishly misidentified last week as Philly Joe Jones on Kind of Blue). This cut, named after Trane's wife, is the sound of pure love, full of respect and devotion. Finally, we get one more burner from the regular band, the exhilarating "Mr. P.C." And Coltrane's first truly perfect set under his own name is through, ready to be flipped back and started over.

1960 was a great year for jazz LPs (and a pretty good one for rock, pop, and other genres) - check out this list of faves from the year, if you don't believe me - but Coltrane's Giant Steps belongs on a short list of greatest jazz albums ever made.

Cover Me - Live at the Alabama Women's Prison

by Joe Schwab

Johnny Cash went to Folsom Prison, B.B. King went to the Cook County Jail, but Mack Vickery - the ladies man, the legend, the gift to womankind - was smarter than his better selling contemporaries. He went to the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama to record his live prison record. Mack's history was a rich one, having written songs for Jerry Lee Lewis, Faron Young and Johnny Cash among others, and even recording a few sides for the legendary Sun label. But it might be this record that sums up the legacy of Mr. Vickery who passed away in 2004, still just as handsome and a ladies man until the day he died.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Blossom For Hires!!

From our Friend Jim Eigo with Jazz Promo Services, here's the beloved Blossom Dearie who just recently passed (see our tribute from Feb. 9) from a 1963 Hires Root Beer promotional record "Music to Sell Root Beer By". Blossom is joined by an All-Star band that includes Jim Hall and Ernie Royal.

Click below for the MP3s:

Euclid's Dungeon Dig of the Week!!

Rarities and oddities that have reared their ugly heads from our 45 rpm dungeon.

Bun Wilson-"Big Dumb Astronault"

We normally consider most country novelty songs ("Ahab The Arab", anyone?), along with political satire, to be among the lowest forms of humor. However, this kitchen sink song, which manages to combine the space program, hot dog stands, 1950 Fords from Kentucky, and a baboon for good measure, results in a catchy mess that is to hard to resist. So, we couldn't resist. Enjoy.

Click below for the MP3:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Miles In St. Louis - 1953 Interview Part One

by Joe Schwab

It's been well documented that Miles Davis came home to East St. Louis in 1953 while in the throes of a bad heroin addiction to spend time on his father's farm in order to kick. Before departing for the farm, Miles made a stop at radio station KXLW to visit with Modern Jazz DJ and hipster Harry Frost and his Fresh Air program. This is a fascinating look into Miles' persona and the most extensive recorded interview with him from this era. Miles discusses his career and recordings up until that time. Most people have never heard Miles' voice before it was entrenched with the raspy croak that we're used to and it's rather hard to fathom that this is the man who would later become known as "The Prince of Darkness". The Miles we hear is amiable and friendly, but obviously hurting from the drugs he was determined to defeat.

This is a very very rare and historic recording, enjoy and look for the second part of the program next week.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Links You Need In Your Life

This is really just an excuse to let you know that the most astounding video archive of soul, jazz, Latin music, and who knows what else has just turned up on live. Run right away over to where you can see full length streaming archives of Soul! That was an African-American variety show which ran from 1968-1973with guests such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Max Roach, and Tito Puente. They'll be uploading a new episode pretty regularly, so be prepared to have your minds blown.

Meanwhile, for those of you waiting eagerly for the first issues of the Euclid Sessions 45s - they're coming in very soon, don't worry - you might want to check out the little game our friends the Hard Lessons played with their record cover. It's too late to enter their contest, but the answers are fun to know, anyway.

Pictures For Your Exhibition - More Miles Davis at Peacock Alley

by Joe Schwab

The first postings we did from the Euclid photo archives, were of Miles Davis at the now infamous Peacock Alley gigs. This one week stay in St. Louis has spawned a CD, and a book "Miles and Me" written by Quincy Troupe with much of it revolving around this engagement. Here are a couple more of the wonderful photos taken by Bernie Thrasher. One is a close up of Miles. Just dig those glasses. The other one is Miles and Philly Joe Jones. Again, dig the shades and also dig the famous tenor on the right belonging to a certain Mr. Coltrane.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cover Me - Monkey Time

by Joe Schwab

I'm not sure if there's anything that mankind loves more than monkeys. There's this relationship that we have with our evolutionary forefathers that simply cracks us up. We see ourselves as animals that can smoke, roller-skate and grind an organ with the best of 'em (place organ grinding ape joke here). So here I submit this weeks crazy covers, featuring monkeys followed by the greatest of all chimp bands, Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Albums of My Life - 1959 Miles Davis, "Kind of Blue"

by Steve Pick

This is the second in a series of 50 weekly posts as Steve Pick, Euclid Records clerk, KDHX dj, and music writer, explores the finest albums from each year of his life.

The first jazz album I ever bought came out in 1959. That was Mingus Ah Um, by Charles Mingus, and when I discovered it in my 23rd year, I thought it was the cat's pajamas. This was dance music, near as I could figure, though some of the songs were clearly meant for slow dancing.

My next jazz purchase was Kind of Blue, and it's the one I have to choose to represent the year, a year chock full of great jazz and even a handful of terrific rock'n'roll albums. There is a reason this is the most famous jazz record ever made - it's not necessarily the finest, though it's certainly up there, but it's accessible at every level of musical interest.

The fast songs don't blow by you, the slow songs melt into your soul. You can listen at a superficial level, or you can dig deep into the relationships between the melodic improvisations of Miles, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, or Bill Evans (Wynton Kelley on "Freddie Freeloader") and the astounding rhythm section of Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones.

I've listened to it probably as much or more than any record I've ever known, and it constantly surprises me. The tunes are simple, direct, and catchy. The solos are wistful, brutal, sensual, and shiny. On CD, there's a second take of the gently mesmerizing "Flamenco Sketches," and "So What" is played at the speed it was recorded, rather than the incorrect speed at which it was released for three decades. You can now buy a Legacy edition, with brief snippets of alternate takes and a live concert by the same band. But, for the most part, it is the five stunning masterpieces which Miles and his cohorts created for the original LP which retain their clarity and delight now almost forty years after their release.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Local Spotlight Volume 1

Featuring the best and not-so-best that Saint Louis area music has to offer.

"Mary"/"Goodbye Boy" by Electric Sensation

Click below for the mp3:

Click below for the mp3:

This intriguing local release recently surfaced in a box of old 45s we were looking through. All we've been able to gather about this single is it was privately pressed around 1965. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Euclid's Dungeon Dig of the Week!!

Rarities and oddities that have reared their ugly heads from our 45 rpm dungeon.

This rarity on the wonderful Checker label caught our eye for the title alone. How can you go wrong with a song called "See You Soon Baboon"? Click below for the audio.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pictures For Your Exhibition - Horace Silver

by Joe Schwab

This weeks photo is a beauty. Taken in the 70's in St. Louis, here's a wonderful photo of the great Horace Silver taken in living color by photographer Roscoe Crenshaw. I don't recall the year, but it was taken at the La Casa nightclub during a one week stay here in town. Silver is always such a great photo subject with his long stringy hair and unorthodox style of playing. We have a number of Roscoe's fine photos in our archives taken from the 70's thru the 90's. We'll be featuring a number of them over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Record Store Day is Coming Back

Mark your calendars, people. Apr. 18 will be the second National Record Store Day, and Euclid Records is gonna make it the best day you'll ever have in a record store.

You want live music? We've already got confirmations from the Bottle Rockets, Grace Basement, Troubadour Dali, the Hard Lessons, Terry Adams & Scott Ligon, and Jason Ringenberg, with more to be announced as we go. There will be a storewide sale going on, not to mention another of our wildly popular sidewalk sales, barbecue will be available from the Highway 61 Roadhouse, and lots more surprises and fun stuff that we'll be thinking up between now and then.

So, really, why not make Apr. 18 the most exciting holiday of the year? Come on down to Euclid Records, and see why there's nothing more exciting than walking into a giant room filled with music, and making some of it your own.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Future Clouds and Radar to Play Euclid Sessions Sunday Feb. 22

The critically acclaimed rock band Future Clouds and Radar will appear at Euclid Records as part of the ongoing Euclid Sessions series of live in-store performances. With the release late last year of their second album, “Peoria,” Future Clouds and Radar have moved from the single-minded if panoramic vision of leader Robert Harrison to the even wider-screen concepts of a full-time four-piece band. Flanked by keyboardist Hollie Thomas, bassist Joshua Zarbo (formerly of
Spoon), longtime associate and drummer Darin Murphy (Cotton Mather's Kontiki) and
gifted multi-instrumentalist Kullen Fuchs, Harrison stays true to his genre-bending
eclecticism, leading the journey through a maze of fuzz-box vocals and ethereal keys. Euclid Records is located at 601 East Lockwood in Webster Groves; the performance will begin at 3 pm. Future Clouds and Radar will also appear at Off Broadway on Thursday, Feb. 19.

Those who have seen either of the band’s St. Louis performances at Off Broadway have spent the bulk of the last two years breathlessly telling their friends and family that Future Clouds and Radar are one of the most exciting and exhilarating rock bands to turn up in years. Their songs are unforgettable, melodic, densely arranged with exotic and delightful touches. Or, as Amplifier magazine put it, “In a perfect world the government's $700 billion bailout package would include buying a copy of Future Clouds and Radar's sophomore album Peoria for every man, woman and child in America...”

This will be the sixth in a series of live in-store performances to be followed up by the release of limited-edition 45 rpm singles recorded in the store. Each release will be strictly limited to 300 copies, and $1 for each one pressed will be donated to the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund (NOMRF) to benefit musicians displaced or suffering loss of equipment in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The performance will be recorded live, and the members of Future Clouds and Radar will choose one or two songs to be released on the 7” single.

R.I.P. Blossom Dearie

by Joe Schwab

Unique, charming, whimsical, creative and tasteful are only a of the few words I can use to describe Blossom Dearie. This morning I got an email informing me of the passing of the legendary singer and pianist at the age of 82.

Blossom’s sweet girly voice, so recognizable, made her impossible to ignore. Her taste in songs was impeccable. From the classic composers such as Jerome Kern and Richard Rogers, to the clever hipsters Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough, Blossom’s taste in songs and her smart approach to the piano made her a national treasure. Her popularity in New York was unprecedented, but she was equally revered in Japan where most of her catalogue is still in print. Her Verve records of the 50’s are some of the finest in the Jazz Vocal genre.

In the 60’s and 70’s when record labels were no longer interested, she took the approach of starting her own label Daffodil, which became a model for other singers such as Anita O’Day and Betty Carter. Below are a couple of things I dug up on YouTube, one early in her career from the Jack Parr Show. The other video is from a bit later in her career. Even in her 80’s, Blossom was still singing in clubs around the country and sounding all of sweet 16. Goodbye Sweet Blossom.

This one can't be embedded, but you'll be glad you clicked through.

Cover Me - The Root Doctor

by Joe Schwab

Since I've been buying records for most of my 50 years, people assume that I've seen everything. I'm always quick to point out that I see something new nearly everyday. Yesterday was no exception. This week I went to Chicago to purchase a large collection and while going through the many boxes of fine, clean Jazz vinyl (check our racks soon) I came across this gem by Chi-Town Blues guitarist Roy Hytower the Root Doctor. This cover, reminiscent of the old Laff and Rudy Ray Moore covers; featured The Root Doctor treating his root client with his elixir of choice ,a romantic blend of herbs, parsnip, Tang, prune juice and rhubarb creating his Fresh Prune Tang. The Root Doctor still plays around the Chicago area, seducing audiences and women with his special blend of both the Rhythm and the Blues.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Albums of My Life - 1958: Bo Diddley, "Bo Diddley"

By Steve Pick

For the next 50 weeks, I'm gonna pick one album to represent each year of my life, and give you a good reason to want to hear it yourself. Inspired by a game I played on Facebook recently, I figured it would be fun to knock out quick reviews of albums I've loved for so long.

Bo Diddley
, Bo Diddley, Chess Records

1958 was a very good year for jazz albums - you can choose between Blue Train by Coltrane, Something Else by Cannonball, and Monk's Music by Monk, just to name three amazing examples - while rock & roll ruled the singles charts. At the time, most rock albums were collections of previously released singles, and Bo Diddley's debut album fit the bill. But, oh, my goodness, such singles.

There's the title track, the song that gave the name to a beat that's been recycled thousands of times. There's "I'm a Man," a blues so tough Muddy Waters immediately copped it for himself. There's "Bring It to Jerome," with its haunted house rhythm sound, and sideman Jerome Green proving he could sing his name as proudly as Bo could sing his. There's "Who Do You Love?," one of the spookiest and most exhilarating records ever made. There's "Diddy Wah Diddy, "Diddly Daddy," and "Hey! Bo Diddley," classics all which prove you don't need much more than an intense rhythm, some sonic experimentation, and a belief that you are the man the world's been waiting for to achieve rock perfection.

Strangely, though you can find pretty much all these songs scattered across Bo Diddley compilations, this particular album, with the famous photo of Diddley posing with his legs spread wide, and his band wearing those checkered jackets, is out of print these days. This needs to be rectified.

Oh, Facebook friends, assuming you've memorized the list I posted a few weeks back, you might be wondering why I changed the 1958 entry. It turns out I was misinformed, and Howlin' Wolf's Moanin' In the Moonlight wasn't released until 1959. I still highly recommend that one, but Bo Diddley owns the year of my birth.

If you feel like playing along at home, this website allows you to see pretty much everything that came out in a given year.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pictures For Your Exhibition - Chet Baker in St. Louis

by Joe Schwab

Here's a shot of a very young Chet Baker, taken here in St. Louis at The Glass Bar (Peacock Alley). I'm guessing this is right around 1956, shortly after Chet had returned from his first trip to Europe, resulting in the untimely overdose death of pianist Dick Twardzik. Pictured here along with Chet are tenor player Phil Urso, drummer Lawrence Marable and I'm guessing Carson Smith. Maybe someone out there can verify this. The photo was taken by Bernie Thrasher.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Euclid Sessions - Holsapple and Stamey

by Steve Pick

What a pure delight it is to work in a store that allows two of the greatest songwriters of the last thirty years to come in, set up on our stage, and share some of their best material for free. Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey were in the dB's, the band that really should have been the Beatles of the 80s but which fell victim to all sorts of bad record company luck - once, their label went belly-up pretty much the week before their record came out. Their one and only duo record, "Mavericks," has to be on any serious short list of best albums of the 90s, too.

So, Super Bowl Sunday, the crowd was primed for a good time. Maybe 2/3 of the people had been lucky enough to catch them in a house concert the night before, and if there were few surprises for us Sunday, nobody seemed disappointed. New songs from the upcoming May release "Here and Now" blended with dB's classics and a few numbers from "Mavericks." Honestly, after hearing some of the new songs two or three times - I'm listening now to the recording we made of the performance - I'm already in love with material that hasn't been released yet. "Early in the Morning," for example, is as sweet and funny and melodically rich as any of Holsapple's previous gems.

Stamey writes the more unsually structured numbers, while Holsapple just comes up with richly enjoyable verse/chorus/bridge songs. The two of them blend their voices beautifully together, and each plays nicely intricate little guitar parts, with Stamey making perhaps the more convincing case as a lead player. For forty-five minutes Sunday, the two of them held the audience captive, as at least on a small scale, Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey were recognized for the incredible talents they are.

Oh, yeah, the lyrics you see scrawled in Stamey's hand at the top of the page were specially rewritten for the song "Gravity." You know, kinda how Springsteen rewrote a verse of "Glory Days" for his Super Bowl performance.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Euclid Sessions Website Information

This is our new web site that will not only keep you up to date with upcoming in-stores and events, but this is also the place to subscribe to the Euclid In-Store Sessions 45 Series. You can read up on the series, pre-order individual upcoming releases and read reviews of the ins-stores you've missed.

We're currently taking pre-orders for our first three releases. All are $8.00 each and limited to only 300. All feature silk sreen prints by different artists around the U.S.

Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3
John Coltrane Stereo Blues pts. 1 & 2
Cover by Phil Huling
Recorded at Euclid November 15, 2008

Terry Adams and the Rock & Roll Quartet
Thedi/Eat That Pumpkin
Cover by Jim Flora
Recorded at Euclid November 30, 2008

The Hard Lessons
Gateway City/Graveyard Shift
Cover by Craig Horky
Recorded Live at Euclid November 23, 2008

All these singles along with upcoming in-store recordings with Chris Stamey & Peter Holsapple and Troubadour Dali; benefit New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. A charitable organization formed after Hurricane Katrina who raise money to replace lost equipment and instruments for those musicians that lost it all in the wake of the flood.

Cover Me: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Reycards

by Joe Schwab

Here are two Filipino crazy wacksters, who came to us via Vegas and Hawaii. The Reycords were Rey Ramirez and Ricky Castro, two zanies from the Philippines, taking that long standing Filipino comic tradition to the vinyl shelves with this classic "Besame Mucho". Apparently these two wild and crazy guys were known to have donned women's garb for comedic effect. My question is this, how does one sit down with massive belt buckles and such tight jumpsuits? I guess a dress is a pretty fine option after wearing these outfits.