John Berberian and The Rock East Ensemble – Middle Eastern Rock (1969)

capa cópia

Armenia. Beginning in the eleventh century, a long series of invasions, migrations, conversions, deportations, and massacres reduced Armenians to a minority population in their historic homeland on the Armenian Plateau. A large-scale Armenian diaspora of merchants, clerics, and intellectuals reached cities in Russia, Poland, Western Europe, and India. Most Armenians remaining in historical Armenia under the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century survived as peasant farmers in eastern Anatolia, but others resettled in Constantinople and other cities in the empire. There they became artisans, moneylenders, and traders.

In the nineteenth century, the political uncertainties that beset the Ottoman Empire prompted further insecurity in the Armenian population. During the WWI, Armenians from the Caucasus formed volunteer battalions to help the Russian army against the Turks. Early in 1915, these battalions organized the recruiting of Turkish Armenians from behind Turkish lines. The Young Turk government reacted by ordering the deportation of the Armenian population to Syria and Palestine.

Genocide Map
Genocide Map

More than 1 million (!) died from starvation, were killed by Arab or Kurdish tribes along the route, either massacred or forcibly removed from the eastern Anatolian provinces, what became known as the (forgotten) Armenian Genocide.

(Due to the graphic content of this little-known Holocaust, we decided not to show these horrors committed on the page, there are links in the text for this.)

Aside from the historical persecution and diaspora, Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage. The Satrapy of Armenia was established in the 6th century BC, after the fall of Urartu. In the first century BC, the Kingdom of Armenia reached its height extension under Tigranes the Great.

Mesrop Mashtots Moument
Mesrop Mashtots Monument

Armenia became the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in the early years of the 4th century (301 AD). They got their own distinctive alphabet and language, invented by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD, a fundamental step in strengthening the Armenian statehood and the bond between the Armenian Kingdom and Armenians living in the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire.

Located between the East and the West, a place of collisions between great empires of antiquity and the Middle Ages such as Rome, Iran, Byzantium, Arabs, Seljuks, Mongols crossed Armenia and destroyed it interrupting its cultural development leaving behind nothing but the smoking ruins. Having managed to resist each of the powerful newcomers, the people have saved fidelity to their culture which nevertheless underwent some changes. As a result, the national culture of Armenia acquired some features characteristic to both civilization then: Eastern and Western.

Cilician Traditional Costume
Cilician Traditional Costume

Sergei Parajanov was a Soviet film director and artist who made significant contributions to UkrainianArmenian and Georgian cinema, with an own cinematic style, which was totally out of step with principles of socialist realism. 

This, combined with its controversial lifestyle, led Soviet authorities to consider him a persona non gratapersecuting, imprisoning and banning its films!

The Color of Pomegranates
The Color of Pomegranates

Let’s go to our artist:

John Berberian (October 9, 1941) was born in New York City. Berberian’s parents were Armenian immigrants that came to America in the early 1920s with a rich musical culture. His father was an accomplished oud player, as well as an instrument maker. Oud masters of Armenian, Turkish, Arabic and Greek heritage frequented his family’s home. He first recorded traditional oud music with violinist Reuben Sarkisian, when a student at Columbia University in the mid-1950s. John subsequently recorded for a variety of labels including MGM, RCA, Roulette, Verve and Mainstream Records, two recordings from this series, Expressions East and Oud Artistry, were record-breaking in sales expanding beyond the ethnic market.

As a younger member of the longstanding Armenian community of Massachusetts, Berberian worked on a musical style known as Taksim (improvisation), a firm deeply rooted in traditional Middle Eastern folk music. Berberian has commanded the respect of musicians worldwide, he has been featured in numerous concerts and dances throughout the USA, Canada, and South America, and is one of only a handful of musicians worldwide given the title of Udi (oud master) (!). He presently lives in Massachusetts and maintains a very active performance schedule, up to this day.

60's Portrait
60’s Portrait

Let’s go to our album:

In 1969, two producers from the Verve label, Peter Spargo and Harvey Cowen, tried to do for the oud what others did for the sitar. Spargo knew Berberian, having used him in various sessions. They hired him, with other Armenian musicians from New York and two jazzmen, including Joe Beck; they mostly did not know each other and rehearsed and recorded the same day they met for the first time. Verve fired the two producers before they could make of Berberian the new (sic) Ravi Shankar.

‘The Oud and The Fuzz’ is an original sound derived from the Druze tribe of Northern Africa. ‘Chem-OO-Chem’ is a popular Armenian song, 6/8 is the traditional rhythm for Armenian dances. This features lead vocalist Bob Tashjian. ‘Flying Hye’ (with hye referring to flying in Armenian) starts in 9/8 which changes to 6/8 and has a melody taken from the (famous) Greek dance form of Tsamiko.

Armenian Ensemble
Armenian Ensemble

Also ‘3/8 + 5/8= 8/8’ refers to how complex Middle Eastern melodies can build up, based upon Turkish classical music. ‘The Magic Ground’ is a based upon A minor (or Kurdi for Arab music), which takes off in 2/4, then breaks into a swing.

Once again do not be fooled by this tacky cover art! Released originally in 1969, Middle Eastern Rock is a unique, compelling fusion record from Armenian-American oud player John Berberian. The results, which blend elements of psychedelia, free jazzklezmer, African, and Middle Eastern textures, are dazzling, and are sure to thrill anyone with a taste for outside albums, be ready and Բարի ճանապարհ:!

The ‘IM’ highlights are The Oud & The Fuzz and 3/8 + 5/8 = 8/8.

Tracks Include:

A1 The Oud & The Fuzz (Berberian) (4/4)

A2 Tranquility (6/8)

A3 Chem-OO-Chem (6/8)

B1 Iron Maiden (2/4)

B2 Flying Hye (9/8)

B3 3/8 + 5/8 = 8/8

B4 The Magic Ground (Berberian, Baronian) (2/4)

A2 To B3: Traditional

Credits

  • Art DirectionSid Maurer
  • Artwork (Cover Art) – Jim O’Connell, Sandy Hoffman
  • Bass (Fender Bass) – Chet Amsterdam
  • Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone SaxophoneSouren Baronian
  • Drums – Bill LaVorgna
  • Electric Guitar (Amplified Rock Guitar), Guitar (Fuzz) – Joe Beck
  • Engineer – David Greene, Tony Maye
  • Goblet Drum (Dumbeg) – Steve Pumilian
  • Leader, Oud – John Berberian
  • Liner NotesJack Maharian
  • Percussion, VocalsBob Tashjian
  • Producer – H.H. Cowen, Peter Spargo
  • Rhythm GuitarEd Brandon

Companies

Recorded At A&R Studios, New York City

Produced By H.H. Cowen, Peter Spargo

Director of Engineering – Val Valentine

Engineers: David Greene, Tony Maye

Verve Forecast FTS-3073

Sunny Yerevan
Sunny Yerevan

Yma Sumac – Voice of the Xtabay (1950)

cover

Peru. The Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 km (120 mi) to 700 km (430 mi) wide, and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes is the location of several high plateaux – some of which host major cities such as Quito, Bogotá, Arequipa, Medellín, Sucre, and La Paz. The Altiplano plateau is the world’s second-highest following the Tibetan plateau.

Peruvian Andes
Peruvian Andes

Many years before Les Baxter set off his brilliant career as a composer and arranger with the cornerstone exotica album Ritual of the Savage, formerly Martin Denny establish commercially the genre in 1957 peaking a #1 position on the Billboard charts two years later, or even afore Hawaii emancipate itself as the 50th state in the U.S. along with the tiki culture fever, deep in the Peruvian Amazon forest, there was a girl supposed to be an heiress from the ancient Incas, who molded his voice within the jungle fauna. This unrealistic story could be a lie, but it is not.

A supernatural coloratura that showed to the world the original indigenous traditions, its music, customs, and beauty. Thanks to this Peruvian songbird post-war America enjoyed as never the musical impressions from distant regions and unknown places, later sold as mythical Shangri-las or stereotype South-American jungles.

Machu Pichu Overview
Machu Pichu Overview

The girl, was Yma Sumac certainly the grandiose female voice of the twentieth century, owner of a vocal range of 4 and a half octaves! Today’s post will begin the search for that which has already been heralded as the revelation of all time, admired by Sinatra, Dietrich, Elizabeth II, and many others, the diva throughout its career has gone from folklore chants for the opera, mambo, jazz and even rock.

She also starred in two Paramount films, Secret of the Incas (54) and Omar Khayyam (57), worked on Broadway, even got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and literally toured across the world in more than 500 shows over 20 years of hight activity. On Capitol Records, she sold more than 4 million albums through the 50s and early 60s! These achievements should never be forgotten, Yma’s strong personality and endowed voice will always remain. (RIP)

Yma Sumac, 1954
Yma Sumac, 1954

Let’s go to our history:

Born in the high mountains of Ichocan, Peru, Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo (13 September 1922 – 1 November 2008), had dreams of being a great singer since his childhood. However, such a dream was deemed almost impossible in Peru and especially for a proper lady. But the girl was unstoppable, around the age of 9 she could often be seen high atop a mountain in the High Andes singing ancient Peruvian folkloric songs, to a group of rocks, which she pretended was her audience. Entranced by the beautiful birds that sang nearby, she began to imitate them, by incorporating their high pitched sounds into her repertoire. (!)

Her voice matured by age 13, a year before Yma’s arrival in Lima, Moisés Vivanco, musician, composer, and director of the Peruvian National Board of Broadcasting had formed the Compañia Peruana de Arte, a group of Indian dancers, singers and musicians. On hearing the young girl sing, he invited her to join his company, but her mother would not consent. Yma, however, was interested, on the pretext of attending night classes, she rehearsed regularly with the Compañia and with them made her radio debut early in 1942, appearing there in over Radio Belgrano, Argentina.

Traditional Costume
Traditional Costume

Vivanco and Miss Sumac were married on June 6, 1942, in a civil ceremony in the city of Arequipa, at the foot of El Misti, famed Andean peak. After the wedding, the troupe played in theatres, night clubs, concert halls, and over radio networks in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City. Soon enough South America was quite enchanted with this amazing voice, in 1943, she would record around 16 songs in Argentina. Seeking bigger dreams they arrived in New York on January 1946, the company reduced to three members, Moisés, Yma, and her cousin Cholita Rivero, and sought engagements as the Inca Taky Trio.

From 1946 to 1949 they played in many clubs, but Americans were not prepared or particularly interested in the music, finding it a bit bizarre, but many were enchanted with Yma’s lovely face and voice. One night in a small New York club, a talent scout from Capitol Records was present. The man apparently saw great potential in this young lady, he immediately signed them to Capitol, a major American record label.

Moises Vivanco & Yma Sumac
Moises Vivanco & Yma Sumac

However, changes would have to be made. Imma Sumack would be changed once again, to Yma Sumac a more glamorous spelling. The focus would be on Yma, and Vivanco would be the man behind the Diva. The simple twangy traditional Peruvian accompaniment would have to be incorporated into large and lush orchestral versions if it were to take on Universal appeal. Now in her mid 20’s Sumac’s voice had reached its unparalleled peak, and her beauty intoxicating. Voice of the Xtabay was recorded in 1950 and sold over 100,000 copies without major publicity. (!)

After a massively successful concert at the Hollywood Bowl that same year, Yma Sumac would become world-famous, traveling the globe and being a vocal phenomenon. She toured and recorded 7 albums for the entire decade of the ’50s, had worldwide fan clubs and was eventually declared the 8th wonder of the world! In 1961 she went to make two weeks of concerts in Russia, there, the demand for her was so great that she stayed in staggering for 6 months. By tours end, she and husband Moises Vivanco were more than ready for (their second and final) divorce.

Life Magazine, 50s
Life Magazine, the 50s

In the early 1970s with the encouragement of a few fans, Yma Sumac recorded a complete album of psychedelic music, titled Miracles. Her now-infamous temperament dominated the entire project and the album was quickly pulled from record stores everywhere, once complications arose. The original story from this fabulous Lp will be held here soon. The millennium brought a handful of surprise personal appearances, which resulted in Yma Sumac being awarded the Orden Del Sol of Peru in May of 2006, she traveled to accept the honor in person and stayed two weeks.

Let’s go to our album:

I’m very proud to introduce this kind of music, besides all rock, the folklore and world traditions will always be welcomed here! Our today’s album is Yma Sumac’s first and most popular release, and also one of her least hokey or pop-oriented. The spectacular cinematic arrangements composed, arranged and conducted by Les Baxter leads us to many different colorful landscapes, always accompanied by Yma’s frightful performance; the fuzz about his vocal range is ample but I’m not an aficionado in high notes, his technique in lower regions are incredible even for a contralto singer.

Life Magazine, 50s
Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo

Our history with an artist like her is just starting, I’m sure everyone will enjoy the many releases of the Inca empress. The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Virgin of the Sun God (Taita Inty), probably the greatest arrangement from the album, a slow-paced percussion invites to the wonders of some faraway place, with lush strings and Yma’s vocal outbursts, an instant classic. And Tumpa (Earthquake), this folklore chant has a short clip in-film on Secret of The Incas, Yma’s shrieks are really incredible, be welcomed to this ancient Latin American treasury and ಉತ್ತಮ ಪ್ರವಾಸ!

Tracks Include:

A1 Virgin of the Sun God (Taita Inty)

A2 Lure of the Unknown Love (Xtabay)

B1 High Andes! (Ataypura!)

B2 Monkeys (Monos)

C1 Chant of the Chosen Maidens (Accla Taqui)

C2 Dance of the Winds (Wayra)

D1 Earthquake! (Tumpa!)

D2 Dance of the Moon Festival (Choladas)

78 rpm album

Capitol Records, Monophonic – 1950 United States

Capitol (1950 and 1952 releases), track position may vary.

All songs by Moises Vivanco, except:

A2 John Rose / Leslie Baxter and C1 Moises Vivanco / Leslie Baxter

Credits

  • Conductor, Arranged by, Composed by (Additional Music): Leslie Baxter
  • Music by (Inca Music), Lyrics by Moises Vivanco
  • Photography: Tom Kelly

Recorded in February 1950

Originally released as a 78 set and 7″ boxed set

Lima's Shore
Lima’s Shore

Alice Coltrane W/ Strings – World Galaxy (1972)

capa cópiaToday’s record has a distinct imprint, something really powerful, different from everything that already appeared here. With a very suggestive name, i invite you all to enter in a spiritual journey led by the surpassing Alice Coltrane, namaste!

Let’s go to our history:

Born and raised in the religious family of Solon and Anne McLeod in Detroit, Michigan, Alice McLeod (August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007) became interested in music and began her study of the piano at the age of 7. She consistently and diligently practiced and studied classical music. Subsequently, she enrolled in a more advanced study of the music of Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky.

Alice: ‘Classical music for me, was an extensive, technical study for many years. At that time, I discovered it to be a piece of truly profound music with a highly intellectual ambiance. The classical artist must respectfully recreate the composer’s meaning. Although, with jazz music, you are allowed to develop your own creativity, improvisation, and expression. This greatly inspires me.’ (!)

Heavenly Strings
Heavenly Strings

With a scholarship to the Detroit Institute of Technology, her musical achievements began to echo throughout the city, to the extent that she played in many music halls and churches, for various occasions as weddings, funerals, and religious programs. Her skills and abilities were highly enhanced when she began playing piano and organ for the (gospel) junior and senior choirs at her church.

But her brother, bassist Ernie Farrow, introduced her to jazz early on, and as a teen, she became quite taken with bop and its offshoots. In Detroit, she played piano on sessions with masters like guitarist Kenny Burrell and saxophonist Lucky Thompson. By the early 60’s she was sharing the bandstand with vibes player Terry Gibbs, it was on tour with Gibbs that she met saxophonist John Coltrane.

John & Alice
John & Alice

Their 1965 wedding was the start of a musical union as well. When she replaced pianist McCoy Tyner in the classic Coltrane Quartet there was hubbub in the jazz world. But John Coltrane’s music was unfolding further with every passing month, he had begun probing musical motifs and deep inspiration from the East.

When her husband died in 1967, Alice continued working with members of his last group, including Garrison, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, and drummer Rashied Ali. She began playing the harp, utilizing sitar and tablas in the ensemble, and turning fully to Eastern cultures for inspiration. Spiritual and colorful, her music morphed into the soundtrack for prayer and meditative techniques. (!)

70's Alice
70’s Alice

Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, and over the 70’s she established herself into the Vedantic Center, in California, changing his name to Turiya and evolving as a spiritual Hindu guru. Even releasing some albums through the 80’s and 90’s, she decided to diminished their public appearances, and following a 25-year break from major public performances, returning to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, with a concert for the San Francisco Jazz Festival with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.

Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital in LA, aged 69. (RIP)

Alice & Swami Satchidananda
Alice & Swami Satchidananda

Let’s go to our record:

This big lush symphonic beauty must be heard over and over, with no distinction of tracks or highlights, Alice’s music creates his own wash of color and dynamic for the strings to fall like water from the sky into her mix, it shifts and change constantly as the rhythm section responds, in the prism of Coltrane’s textured harpistry.

This set may take some getting used to for some, but it’s easily one of the strongest records Alice Coltrane ever released, and one of the finest moments in 70’s jazz!

Prepare yourself and be ready for the voyage, चांगल्या ट्रिप!

Tracks Include:

A1 My Favorite Things (Rogers – Hammerstein)

A2 Galaxy Around Olodumare

A3 Galaxy In Turiya

B1 Galaxy In Satchidananda

B2 A Love Supreme (Coltrane)

All Galaxys composed by Alice Coltrane

Personnel

  • Alice Coltrane: percussion, piano, organ, harp, tamboura
  • Reggie Workman: bass
  • Ben Riley: drums
  • Elayne Jones: timpani
  • Frank Lowe: saxophone, percussion
  • Swami Satchidananda: voice
  • Leroy Jenkins: solo violin

The String Orchestra

  • David Sackson: concertmaster (all other members, strings)
  • Alan Shulman
  • Arthur Aaron
  • Avron Coleman
  • Edward Green
  • Harry Glickman
  • Henry Aaron
  • Irving Spice
  • Janet Hill
  • Joan Kalisch
  • Julien Barber
  • Ronald Lipscomb
  • Seymour Miroff
  • Thomas Nickerson
  • William Stone

Credits

  • Arranged, Orchestrated, Producer – Alice Coltrane
  • Cover, Design – Peter Max
  • Engineer (Assistant) – Dan Tuberville, Dennis Ferrante
  • Mixed By – Baker Bigsby
  • Mixed At – The Village Recorder (LA)
  • Narrator – Swami Satchidananda (tracks: B1, B2)
  • Photography By – Philip Melnick
  • Producer – Ed Michel
  • Recorded By – Tom Flye
  • Recorded At – Record Plant, NYC

Recorded November 15 and 16, 1971, at The Record Plant (NYC)

Impulse AS-9218

Alice's Lastly Portrait
Alice’s Lastly Portrait

Mother Love Bone – Shine Ep (1989)

Capa

Seattle, 1988. Before the worldwide mass exposure created on the so-called grunge scene and its characters, a genre that suddenly was self-proclaimed the soundtrack of Generation X (sic), there was a short-lived band who certainly opened the gates of stardom to all, this band was Mother Love Bone!

The first one to draw national media attention to the region, a contract with a major record company (PolyGram), putting the early Seattle scene definitely on the map. Alongside with Soundgarden, Melvins, Mudhoney, Nirvana and Alice in Chains, this prominent quintet had only a two-year living, with a full length (posthumous) album and an Ep. With no more than 20 shows held, one west-side mini-tour, two videoclips and a lot of hype around them, MLB was a comet of love.

Led by a flamboyant Andrew Patrick Wood (January 8, 1966 – March 19th, 1990), who previously created with its first band Malfunkshun, an alter-ego stage persona called, L’andrew the Love Child, a response to the Satan worship metal clichéLove Rock 333 (their sound) was the title that Andy glimpse, much based on its personal rock faves: Kiss, Queen, Elton John, and Marc Bolan. Andy’s exuberant personality, outlandish clothes, and funny lyrics helped bring attention to the band.

Mother Love Bone
Mother Love Bone

But the path the band was predestined to follow was subtly interrupted by Andy’s od on March 19th, 1990. He had historical problems with cocaine and heroin since 1985 (its first rehab), after the tour opening for The Dogs D’Amour, on mid’s 89, he checked himself into rehab and passed the last four months of the year sober. Their full-length album was recorded during this time. With the turn of the decade, high expectations on Apple began to arise, as its three remixes and a certain pressure.

A righteous future was broken when its fiancée Xana la Fuente, found him on a comatose state lying on the bed of their apartment. After three days in Harborview Hospital, living on life support, Andy was diagnosed with hemorrhage aneurysm; together with it’s family and band members, with A Night At The Opera playing, holding hands around the bed, they decided to plug out the life support and let him go.

Andy Wood
Andy Wood

Six months later the basis for Pearl Jam was formed and started to rehearse. Temple of The Dog was recorded on the end of the year, with two songs made directly to Andy (Say Hello 2 Heaven and Reach Down) it was Chris Cornell’s last homage to his friend, they also lived together for six months. Both Ten and TOTD releases happened in early 1991 and hits the musical charts in different ways, yet Seattle’s scene had already been paved by Andy, the love child. (RIP)

Let’s go to their history:

We will let Malfunkshun and Andy’s complete story to a dedicated post on the future, however, there is a very nice documentary about them directed by Scot Barbour.

By 1987, Andrew was living in Seattle and hanging out with Jeff Ament (bass) and Stone Gossard (guitar), members of Green River. It wasn’t long before the three of them were writing together, and as time went by they became closer. In late 87, early 88, Lords of the Wasteland started playing occasional shows, with the inclusion of Bruce Fairweather (guitar), though the repertoire was composed of covers.

By the time of their last show, Andy, anxious for success, left Malfunkshun and started to dedicate all his time for the new band. Stupid names like Dum Dum Boys or Daddy Long Legs were suggested, but it was from Andy’s mind that the band would be recognized: Mother Love Bone.

Promo
Promo

Regan Hagar (Malfunkshun’s drummer) was replaced by Greg Gilmore (10 Minute Warning) and the band changed their name, after a week of persuasion. They got into the studio as soon as possible and recorded 10 songs including, Holly Roller, Stargazer, Lady Godiva Blues and Capricorn Sister. The demo was received by Kelly Curtis (later the manager of Pearl Jam). Kelly made it possible for the band to record another demo, this one was sent to Geffen records who paid for them to make a third demo. With songs like Bone China, Crown of Thorns and Captain Hi-Top.

The demos made it out to a bunch of different companies, so the band waited through the summer and it paid off; they got a lot of calls from labels that heard the demo and they finally decided to signed with Polygram. They even got there on label on the company, Stardog Label. This process took place during February / August 1988.

They returned home and signed Kelly Curtis as their manager. In early 1989 starts the process to their debut album Shine. The band went on tour for the album and then took a few months to break, by September they were recording their next album.

Love Rock
Love Rock

In 1990 they had played around Seattle and gained much respect from local bands like Soundgarden and Melvins. The band had finished making their upcoming album Apple when Andy checked himself into a rehab program to deal with his addiction.

They were set to make their debut, when Wood died of a heroin od on March 16th.

Temple of the Dog was formed in Andy’s memory. The band included Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron, and Chris Cornell, and the new guy Eddie Vedder! After Temple of the Dog, Stone and Jeff got together with Eddie, Mike McCready, and Dave Krusen to form Pearl Jam. Bruce Fairweather joined Love Battery and Greg played with Blind Horse and Endino’s Earthworm.

Let’s go to our record:

Andy Wood, Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard passed through the early ’80s in Seattle with punk, hard, glam, arena rock bands, gigs, friends, shows and a whole scene of musicians. They’re one of the founders from the so-called grunge scene and it’s here that this record gets something special and reveals us another side. It doesn’t resemble anything from the heaviness or angst-filled lyrics and moods like Soundgarden, Melvins, Mudhoney, Nirvana or Alice in Chains.

Apple's Photo Session
Apple’s Photo Session

With a heavy-tenor (like Robert Plant) sung by Andy, its lyrics, persona and a sharp band, they got all bases from the American Hard / Glam, with some mellow ballads on piano and funky uptempo. These ego imaginary dreamy lyrics ruled the short production of the band, yet they made also some mordacious, happy humor criticism, especially about catholicism, freedom of love, and the myth of commercial rockstar.

This is a small 5-track release, there are some proto-grunge, hard rock, funk, an epic ballad, and a blues. The ‘IM’ highlights are for: Crown of Thorns, their most famous song, much covered by Pearl Jam, got an 8-minute piece, here with Chloe Dancer introduction, the touching preamble reveals us some brute biographical lyrics based on choices, love, death, and addiction. An almost forgot classic from a modern rock!

Seattle's Wall
Seattle’s Wall

Cameron Crowe’s film about love on the early ’90s, Singles, was set in Seattle. On the very beginning of the film, we’re shown to a wall with Mother Love Bone name’s on it, still, Andy’s death interrupted any chance of a sequel or international recognition.

And Capricorn Sister: One of the first made, a nice blues with an over the top performance by Andy, remembering us those old blues singers from the South. This song also appears on Apple, but Shine’s version is much better, on the very final there’s a little funny hidden-track, Zanzibar, check it!

The Ep was recorded in November 1988, during ten days (or five?)Lastly, there is a revealing excerpt of Scot Barbour’s interview about Andy’s final moments:

Single's Wall
Single’s Wall

Scot: ‘Andy was allergic to everything, well not everything. But a lot of different prescription drugs & foods. In fact, that’s the REAL theory of how Andy REALLY died. Andy actually survived the heroin overdose and it looked like he was going to pull it off and live. When he was in a coma he was given a few different drugs to help him come back from the coma. The back of his brain swelled up so badly that the top his spinal cord actually protruded his brain causing him to be brain dead.

That is when they decided to take him off Life Support. The belief is that his brain swelling was the result of an allergic reaction to at least one of the drugs that were administered to him during that time. Coincidentally, the patient records for the last 24 hours of Andy’s life are missing and have yet to be located. And Virginia Mason (?) Hospital in downtown Seattle has made no statement. (!)

Shine's Tour
Shine’s Tour

He wasn’t into drugs as much as people are lead to believe. Andy had just gotten out of rehab recently. And the heroin dose he overdosed on was extremely small. Another very coincidental thing was the Hospital had reported four other heroin od’s that evening Andy was brought to the hospital, it was definitely a ‘bad batch’ that had hit the streets and wound up in Andy’s arm.’ (!) Drum Bun!

Tracks Include:

1 Thru Fade Away

2 Mindshaker Meltdown

3 Half Ass Monkey Boy

4 Chloe Dancer / Crown of Thorns

5 Capricorn Sister / Zanzibar

Released: March 20, 1989

Credits

  • Artwork: Klotz
  • Bass: Jeff Ament
  • Drums: Greg Gilmore
  • Guitar: Bruce Fairweather, Stone Gossard
  • Photography: Charles Peterson
  • Producer: Mark Dearnley
  • Vocals, Piano, Lyrics: Andrew Wood

Notes

Recorded at London Bridge Studios, Seattle. //// Mixed at London Bridge Studio, Seattle.

Mastered at Sterling Sound, New York.

Management: Kelly Curtis Management.

Label: Stardog/Mercury

(P) (C) 1989 Stardog Records.

Seattle
Seattle