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Sunday, September 22, 2013

JEFFREY MORGANíS MEDIA BLACKOUT #386


CROSS-BORDER JEFFREY MORGAN’S MEDIA BLACKOUT #386
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Jefferson Starship
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.

Claudia 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 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.

SIZZLING 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 PioneersDynamite 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 buy 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:

Poet.

I happen to know a few things about poetry, which is why 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:

“Your reluctance 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!

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