MORGAN’S MEDIA BLACKOUT #681.386!
– Live In Central Park NYC May 12, 1975 (RCA / Real Gone Music) :: As if that newly found color footage shot
by Jean-Luc Godard of the Airplane playing on an LA rooftop in 1968 wasn’t good enough, we now have this newly found
recording that comes straight from the archives of the latter day law firm of Slick, Balin, Kantner & Creach. I shutterbugged
this particular iteration of the band when they hit My Town back in 1975 so I can testify with unimpeachable impunity that
this twofer perfectly encapsulates that incarnation at the height of their arena-packing prowess, right down to the insightful
inclusion of “Better Lying Down” from El Slicko’s Manhole album. Bonus points for the far out fab-o-phonic
1964 era mixola which idiosyncratically isolates the vocals on one channel while exiling most of the band to the other.
Lennear – Phew! (Real Gone Music) :: And while we’re on the topic of titanic pioneering
rock ’n’ roll women, if you’re not already familiar with Claudia Lennear’s vocals calisthenics on
the Concert For Bangladesh and Mad Dogs & Englishmen films, then maybe it’s high time that you
got yourself freshly reacquainted with this benchmark album from 1973 which was waxed by one of the landmark ladies of the
genre at the top of her game. Backed by such stellar studio stalwarts as ace axe maniac Ry Cooder; pneumatic traps master
Jim Keltner; and New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint, this is one of the most rawest and most high octane butane blistering
pieces of music that you’re likely to hear in this lifetime or any other lifetime for that matter. And if you’re
of the opinion that the only big letdown to this story is that Lennear never recorded a second album, don’t worry ’cause
even she’d never be able to top this one for sheer out ’n’ out peerless perfection personified.
PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Johnny McLeod – If You’re Living (self released) :: In a perfect
world, Johnny McLeod would need no introduction. But since this is a less than perfect world, allow me to set the audio table
for you by reiterating what I said about him in the August 1985 issue of CREEM: America’s Only Rock ’n’
Roll Magazine, wherein I wrote:
Johnny MacLeod with The Young Pioneers
– Dynamite In The Stove (True North/CBS) :: Even though I live in Toronto, you can count on one hand the number
of times I’ve bent your ear about Canadian talent in the ten years I’ve been writing for CREEM, so bear with me
on this one because Johnny is the only singer-songwriter I’d put serious money on. He released one album (Every
Twist Reminds) in 1980 with his former band the G-Rays, and has spent the last half decade leading up to this triumphant
moment. The man’s lyrical and musical depth knows no equal, so I’m not going to give you a comparison against
which you can judge him. But considering the current value of the U.S. dollar against the Canadian dollar, I’d say that
a trip across the border to but this album would be more than worth your while.
Thirty years later
I stand by those words—especially the parts about the money and the lyrical depth. However, with the release of this
new album, I would add one extra word which is not to be bandied about lightly:
I happen to know
a few things about poetry, which is I’d like to point you in the direction of a few song titles which grace this heartfelt
confessional because they alone should give you a good indication of the kind of emotional insight we’re dealing with
here: “Never Is Your Soul Alone.” “The Pleasures Life Reveals.” “If You’re Living.”
“More Than I Can Do.”
Oh, and then there’s “Here’s Your Moment” which begins:
is feeble and thin. Soon its weight will cave itself in. Go and bid your reward to begin. Here’s your moment. Here’s
the offer that hangs from your name.”
And that’s why I’d still put serious money on
Johnny MacLeod—and so should you because, both spiritually and intellectually, odds are you won’t get a better
rate of return for your dollar.
To get a copy of If You’re Living, contact Johnny at: Box 113,
31 Adelaide Street East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 2H8
Be seeing you!