Friday, December 17, 2010

Have you see her, have you heard? The way she plays there are no words. (Stone Roses)

Speaking of Grateful Dead (previous post): I have often wondered why they bothered with two drummers. The Dead's songs are not that wild that they need two drummers surely? I know Hart calls himself a percussionist but that seems disingenuous. It's not like the Allman Brothers Band where one plays drums and t'other plays percussion instruments. Both Hart and Kruetzmann are playing drums in the Dead.

This got me thinking about other bands with two drummers and why they have them. The school of thought on the two drummer thing comes down to: either they exist to gain certain effects (eight limbs playing like eight limbs) or produce meatier drum sounds (eight limbs playing like four).

You either use each player to generate something totally different that comes together in a way that one drummer couldn't possibly achieve, or, you have two or more drummers playing the same thing to get an organic meaty sound that delays/EQ can't replicate. Like in a marching band.

Personally I mostly fail to see the point. Bonzo only needed one set after all. But then I watched Zappa's Roxy band and remembered he had Chester Thompson and Ralph Humphrey on drums. And they were amazing. Trouble every day from the Roxy and Elsewhere album has a HUGE drum sound. Zappa was a percussionist at heart and if it's good enough for him etc.

Chester Thompson also features on the Genesis track Home by the sea. It ends with an extended orgy of drums that puts the case for two drummers most succinctly. But the Dead?

P.S. Just heard from my son that Captain Beefheart died recently. He (my son) and I remain big fans. A sad day - the planet needs more courageous musicians like Frank and Don. Where is the like in today's crop?? Sho nuff there's no one!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a buck dancers choice my friend (Grateful Dead)

Two purchases from Kings' Recordings were live Grateful Dead albums: Europe '72 I have in a variety of formats; I first taped a version of it way, way back in the day. I also have a fairly scratched triple vinyl copy and now a double CD set with loads of bonus tracks (including a stupendous version of Truckin').

It was one of the first things I ever heard by the Dead and it made an impression. All those long druggy noodling versions of songs on Live Dead never did it for me - instead I loved the relatively shorter, more coherent, noodling versions of songs on Europe '72.

I love the space in these versions. I'm not sure how they achieved that but it is there - a lightness of touch that is absent from Live Dead.

The second set from Kings' was Nightfall of Diamonds and picks up a set from 1989.

I love this one even more and it may well be my favourite live Dead experience (Workingman's Dead and American Beauty are the best studio sets by some distance but I also love Terrapin Station). There must be well over 50 live sets of the band that have been released over the years, and I've certainly not heard them all (who has?) but this one stands out for me from what I've heard.

On Nightfall... the band is tight as a drum (haha, and what else would you expect - they can play these songs in their sleep) and they are battle scarred (Garcia's voice on Dark Star is about shot), yet it's a magnificent collection of songs. Gotta say I love their version of Dylan's Stuck inside of Mobile with those Memphis blues again too. I turn this one up really loud in the car on the way home from work!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wild Horses couldn't drag me away (Rolling Stones)

King's Recording is a CD/DVD shop in Abu Dhabi. On the second floor of the Hamdan Center to be exact. And so far it's the best CD store I've come across in the UAE/Qatar middle eastern region. If there's a better place - tell me!

It's got a great front display window (like the old Marbecks shops used to have) and it's got a great Fives style layout - a long centre aisle. Fantastic for browsing! I know I'll be back - it's a great reason for visiting Abu Dhabi.

They know their product too - as in they know what moves and I'm not talking about top 40 crap. This is a music shop, it's no Virgin Mega-store like in Doha or the Abu Dhabi mall. There they are keen to sell you t-shirts, kid's toys, phones, hi-fi equipment, books, computer games as well as DVDs and music. None of that at King's Recordings.

I stocked up!

Jacky got me a Christmas pressie there too - the newly boxed Beatles collection. I've considered getting it in NZ and Doha but the cheapest was King's. I also found some weirdos like Clapton's Reptiles. Reading a Haruki Murakami memoir put me in touch with this overlooked Clapton album. Haruki explains what a good album it is to exercise to and if it's good enough for him, I guess it's gonna be worth exploring.

Got lots of other weird things too that I've never seen before - some Jefferson Airplane/Starship DVDs, a Camel compilation, Embrace's If You've Never Been, Nena by Nena, and so on. I also snaffled the Who's BBC sessions, Ringo's latest, another Deep Purple live album (from an old Aussie tour) and others. Like I say - I stocked up while the going was good [and cheap - some albums were only 15aed (about $7)].

I'll be drip feeding my impressions of this stuff over the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Love and peace - Wozza