Recovery. A Remix.

Recovery.
Syllabication: re·cov·er·y
Pronunciation: [ri-KUH-vuh-ree]
Part of Speech: noun

Selected Definitions
1. a return to a state of normalcy, in health, mind, strength or other tangible concerns.
“signs of recovery in the housing market”
synonyms: recuperation, convalescence
antonyms: relapse, deterioration

2. the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.
“a team of salvage experts to ensure the recovery of family possessions”
synonyms: reclamation, redemption
antonyms: collapse, decline

The next few installments of Jukebox Heart will be concerned with the concept of Recovery. Each of us deals with recovery in one form or another throughout the majority of our lives; in health, wealth, and other things less tangible. Sometimes the process of recovery is so trivial that our bodies do all the work for us and we hardly notice. Other times, this process can be so comprehensive that it consumes all of our resources without any guarantee of success.

We begin this series on Jukebox Heart with selections from the long out of print and now highly sought after anthology aptly entitled “Recovery”. This is a boxed set of ten 7-inch singles, released in 2008 in a limited run of 500 sets on the Fractured Recordings imprint. Twenty artists were commissioned to select a song from the past that had great personal significance to each of them and create an interpretation of that song in the style in which they have built their reputations and repertoires.

Of the twenty sides contained within Recovery, three were chosen for presentation here. The three artists whose sides were selected represent the artists with the most personal significance to me, as I struggle through my own jungle of Recovery…

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Click here for BJ Nilsen

BJ NILSEN RECOVERS JOY DIVISION’S HEART AND SOUL

BJNilsen (b.1975, Sweden) is a sound and recording artist who since the early 90’s has been putting out work in various constellations. His music is primarily focused on the sound of nature and its effect on humans. He employs field recordings, often electronically treated, and in his work explores the perception of time and space as experienced through sound. His selection here is a wildly out of character sucker punch version of Joy Division’s Heart And Soul from which he strips all but the faintest whispers of text and context but recovers the urgency and rage of the original while creating a stomping dancefloor classic.

Selected Discography

(1999) North (Ash International)
(2000) Wood c/w Bridge/Field (Ash International)
(2001) Wind in collaboration with Chris Watson (Ash International)
(2003) Land (Touch)
(2006) “Sov Gott” appears on a split 12″ with Milan Sandbleistift (Licht-Ung)
(2007) The Short Night (Touch)
(2009) Man From Deep River in collaboration with Stilluppsteypa (Editions Mego)
(2010) The Invisible City (Touch)
(2010) Draught #1 cassette (Ash International)

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Click here for Christian Fennesz

CHRISTIAN FENNESZ RECOVERS A-HA’S HUNTING HIGH AND LOW

Austrian guitarist, composer, and electronic musician Christian Fennesz is recognized as a key figure and one of the most distinctive voices of electronic music today. His wide international reputation has been consolidated through his substantial contribution to new musical expression. The emphasis on the guitar texture and the burying of pop melodies under layers of effects are common features of Fennesz’s music. Ultimately, this is something that can be traced to the various Fripp & Eno collaborations of the 1970s; and the early guitar synthesis work of Chuck Hammer who recorded with Lou Reed and David Bowie. Also, the music of the Beach Boys has had an influence on Fennesz, as revealed by his cover of “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” on the Plays EP. The Beach Boys influence is mentioned in a Pitchforkmedia interview, in relation to the album title, cover art, and melodic emphasis of his Endless Summer LP. His dissecton and recombination of this A-Ha anthem makes perfect sense, then, in the context of this discussion.

Selected Discography:

(1997) Hotel Paral.lel (Mego)
(1999) Plus Forty Seven Degrees 56′ 37″ Minus Sixteen Degrees 51′ 08″ (Touch)
(2001) Endless Summer (Mego)
(2004) Venice (Touch)
(2008) Black Sea (Touch)
(2010) Szampler (Tapeworm)
(2014) “Bécs” (Editions Mego)

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Click here for Ryoji Ikeda

RYOJI IKEDA RECOVERS AC/DC’S BACK IN BLACK

Ryoji Ikeda is a Japanese sound artist who lives and works in Paris. Ikeda’s music is concerned primarily with sound in a variety of “raw” states, such as sine tones and noise, often using frequencies at the edges of the range of human hearing. The conclusion of his album +/- features just such a tone; of it, Ikeda says “a high frequency sound is used that the listener becomes aware of only upon its disappearance” (from the CD booklet). Rhythmically, Ikeda’s music is highly imaginative, exploiting beat patterns and, at times, using a variety of discrete tones and noise to create the semblance of a drum machine. His work also encroaches on the world of ambient music; many tracks on his albums are concerned with slowly evolving soundscapes, with little or no sense of pulse.

Selected Discography:

(1997) +/- (Touch)
(1998) 0°C (Touch)
(1999) 99 [for 20′ to 2000] (Raster-Noton)
(2001} Cyclo. (with Carsten Nicolai; Raster-Noton)
(2010) Dataphonics (Dis Voir)
(2013) Supercodex (Raster-Noton)

And if that diamond ring don’t shine: Incredibly Strange Bo Diddley cover…

BoDiddley

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This came in a collection of 45s I recently picked up. If ever there was a “Golden Turkey”, it is this. An instant classic.

“Bo Diddley” is a rhythm and blues and rock and roll song first recorded and sung by Bo Diddley at the Universal Recording Studio in Chicago and released on the Chess Records subsidiary, Checker Records in 1955. It became an immediate hit single that stayed on the R&B charts for a total of 18 weeks, 2 of those weeks at #1, and seven more weeks than its flipside (the B-side, “I’m a Man”). It was the first recording to introduce African rhythms into rock and roll directly by using the patted juba beat. It was Bo Diddley’s first recording and his first hit single. The song is featured on many of Bo Diddley’s compilation albums including His Best.

In 2012 the A and B-side pair were added to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry list of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” American sound recordings.

The song is rhythmically similar to hambone, a technique of dancing and slapping various parts of the body to create a rhythm and song. It is lyrically similar to the traditional lullaby “Hush Little Baby”. When Bo Diddley started playing with it, his electric guitar amplified the patted juba with his backup musicians on maracas and drums unifying the rhythm. This combination of rock and roll, African rhythms and sactified guitar chord shouts was a true innovation and is often called a Bo Diddley Beat.

He first titled his version “Uncle John” but before he recorded it, he changed the title to his own nickname Bo Diddly, with an “e” added to the song’s title and his professional name by one of the Chess brothers.

Other Cover Versions:

.Buddy Holly: Single by Buddy Holly from the album Reminiscing
B-side “It’s Not My Fault” Released 1963. Recorded 1956 and 1962 at Norman Petty Recording Studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Buddy Holly recorded the song in 1956, but it was not released until the LP Reminiscing in 1963 and later became a single release. Buddy Holly on vocals/guitar and Jerry Allison on drums recorded “Bo Diddley” at one of their earliest sessions with producer/engineer Norman Petty at his recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico sometime in 1956. In 1962 Norman Petty overdubbed the demo of “Bo Diddley”, as well as others, with the Fireballs.

.The Shadows did a (vocal) cover version on the album Out of the Shadows (1962).

.It was also covered by The Animals in 1964.

.Bob Seger performed the song in a medley with Who Do You Love?, another Bo Diddley song, under the title “Bo Diddley.” The original studio recording, backed by Teegarden & Van Winkle, opens Seger’s 1972 album Smokin’ O.P.’s, and a live version with the Silver Bullet Band appears on his 1976 live album, Live Bullet.

.An energetic version by Janis Joplin is available on the 1999 box set Box of Pearls.

.More recently, steel guitar great Robert Randolph has covered the song at some of his live shows.

.The song was performed by a supergroup consisting of Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Little Walter on Super Blues in 1967.

.The Grateful Dead performed it with Bo Diddley himself at the Academy of Music in New York City, March 25, 1972. They went on to perform it by themselves, May 23, 1972 at the Strand Lyceum in London, England, the third to last show in their 1972 European tour. See the officially released Steppin’ Out with the Grateful Dead.

And in case you have never heard the original, here it is, played out on youtube on an original 78 RPM from 1955 on the Chess Records subsidiary, Checker Records.

Hard Copy: Fear Drop

With the advent of digital download, print media with accompanying free records, tapes or CDs are becoming increasingly rare. In Hard Copy, Jukebox Heart presents one such print media item and its associated audio. This time, the wonderful Fear Drop magazine.

Based in La Ferriere-sur-Risle, in the north of France, Fear Drop was founded in 1993/1994, and after some rather eclectic beginnings, was quickly devoted to various forms of musical experiments. The majority of these experiments lay in that proverbial gray area between abstraction and figuration, and the magazine’s priority evolved such as to seize and preserve these aural passages. Today, the project is articulated mainly around the reflection, description, and the translation of abstract musics. Each issue of the magazine Fear Drop is accompanied by a compilation CD gathering new pieces, the majority of which are composed exclusively for inclusion in Fear Drop.

I first leaned of Fear Drop recently, when a newsletter arrived in my inbox from Touch Records announcing the inclusion of several Touch artists on the CD accompanying the most recent issue, number 15, including BJ Nilsen, Chris Watson, Jana Winderen, and Mike Harding himself. Also included is Black To Comm, whose recent performance at Boston’s Gothe Institut was simply fascinating. So I immediately searched for back issues and scored all the way back to issue 7.

Featured here is Issue 14, issued in late 2008, which is an entire issue dedicated to an analysis of The Cure’s “Pornography” album, originally issued in 1982. Indeed, the accompanying CD reworks and reconstructs the entire original LP with 8 artists coming together to form a compilation, with each artist interpreting one of the 8 tracks on the original LP. Th resulting tracks were then sequenced as on the original recording. Artists include the diverse mix of Nadja, Savage Republic, Troum, Contagious Orgasm and more. The results are varied and range from the faithful to the completely unfamiliar. Savage Republic provides a very faithful rendition of The Hanging Garden, which, considering the bands heavily percussive bent, makes a good deal of sense. One of the most unpredictable tracks is presented here.

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Wild Shades provide a cover of “Siamese Twins”, and the results are gripping, engaging and as amusing and unlikely as the Flying Lizards cover of “Summertime Blues”. Click on the arrow above to hear the track.

The Cure is one of those bands that everyone who grew up in the last 30 years grew up with. So we all have our periods of The Cure which resonate with us. Perhaps, too, we have a well-defined moment when we realized that we may have outgrown them and moved on to bigger and better things. Of course, one never really outgrows The Cure. Oh sure, we may have our fill of self-indulgent music snobbery that evokes the requisite nasal upturn upon the mention of the band’s name. Too pedestrian? Sure, sure. But when those doors close, I’d be willing to bet you have that one guilty pleasure, that one Cure song that no one knows you know about but you that gets your foot tapping where no one can see it, or that makes you cry and blame it on seasonal allergies, or, goddammit, just makes you dance. Period. Sublime moments for me: Seeing The Cure perform Boys Don’t Cry to an audience of 30 people in the basement of a Boston University dormitory. Seeing them again years later performing Primary to synchronized out-of-phase strobe lights. And then again, Shake Dog Shake, once again in Boston. But for me, the magic ended with Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. Even the title made me bristle and blanched my cool all-black wardrobe. Things would just never be the same, even if the album was a little darker than the title suggested. But gone were the dim, foggy days of Faith and Seventeen Seconds, that was certain. Pornography, of course, was a an entirely different affair. I remember playing it in the living room when it was hot off the press, which prompted my then room-mate to urgently enter the room, saying, incredulously, in a tone which ultimately suggested three question marks, “Is This The Cure???” When I nodded, he just said, “OK, now they are starting to frighten me.” Porngraphy, was, in fact, their grand opus of the time. Not as accessible as the previous two albums I just mentioned, but certainly more to the point. Robert Smith’s hair was getting longer; his eyeliner, darker; his pout; deeper and the cracks in his voice, well, more cracked.

In any case, closet fans of The Cure can now call the date of the release of this issue of Fear Drop their National Coming Out Day. Fear Drop has reclaimed hip street cred for The Cure for their most secretive admirers, and validated those of us who never really cut the strings, even if we pretended to…

To hear the original version of Siamese Twins, as performed by The Cure, click on the arrow below.

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Fear Drop is a non-profit. Please visit Fear Drop and send a little love their way…

Bizarro Cover Versions: Druscilla Penny

Bananafish is a magazine which was founded in 1987 in San Francisco, California, by “Seymour Glass”, focusing on various aspects of underground culture, particularly musical genres such as noise music. The style of the magazine was a mix of interviews, articles, fiction, and music reviews, often written in Glass’s absurdist, stream-of-consciousness writing style, which at times bordered on nonsense. “Reviews” were often contextual accounts of a day in the life of Seymour in which the record under review happened to be playing. The text was complemented by bizarre artwork and photographs, frequently unrelated to the articles they accompanied. One trademark of the magazine was its use of appropriated text and images from uncredited or unknown sources, taken from found objects picked up by Glass, other contributors, or readers.

Another regular feature was the inclusion of a compilation 7″ record or CD of music by artists profiled in the corresponding issue. Bananafish is often credited with giving many Americans their first exposure to Japanese noise musicians such as Merzbow and Solmania, as well as domestic noisemakers like Emil Beaulieau.

One of the issues that was published was a sort of twisted tribute to the Carpenters, and the 7″ record, produced by Rrron Lessard’s (yes, of Emil Beaulieau fame) well established RRRecords label, and featured several artists covering tunes by our beloved brother/sister duet. The above portrait of Karen and Richard is a special rendering of the duo especially for use on the label of this 7″ record. The image below is the cover of the Bananafish issue that accompanied this record.

Banafish Issue

The included single was a twisted tribute to K&R. All the tracks were Carpenters’ covers and included such artists as Thinking fellers Union Local 282, World of Pooh and Emil Beaulieau. Included here is World of Pooh’s cover of Druscilla Penny, one of the few tracks originally sung by Richard. World of Pooh is one of the stops along the way in Babara Manning’s extensive recording career, part of which was covered here in a previous Jukebox Heart installment. This track was culled from the single included with the Carpenters issue of Bananafish.

Click on the arrow below to hear World of Pooh’s cover of “Druscilla Penny”.

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Record included with Banafish

See the track listing below:

A1 Cathy Kidd & Tim Smyth – Rainy Days And Mondays
A2 Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 – Superstar
A3 Piglatin – Hidden Track
B1 Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 – KLTX
B2 World Of Pooh – Druscilla Penny
B3 Lucian Tielens – Sing
B4 Cathy Kidd & Emil Beaulieau – Hurting Each Other

Bizarro Cover Versions: Sincerely

I have not been able to find any biographical information about this fabulous band, The Bop-A-Loos. I only know of a few 45s, this EP, and another LP. The reason this is included in the Bizarro Cover Version category is that it is just incredibly odd to hear this mambo adaptation of the Moonglows’ classic. That ascending staccato saxophone and the totally aggressive dramatic conga playing really make me giggle. And all those rollicking parallel fifths on the piano! My Music Theory professor would most assuredly have been ripping his plugs out – a biiiiig Luigi NoNo, that. Notice that they also cover another doo-wop tune, Hearts of Stone. Not as screamingly riotous as this, but also fun. And dig those crazy conga players on the cover. Total Vintage 1955. Put on your Dr. Scholl’s cha-cha heels, Gladys, it’s going to be a bumpy night…

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Here’s the soulful, original version, in case you hadn’t heard it already, from 1954.

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Bizarro Cover Versions – A New Category on Jukebox Heart.

Another new category on Jukebox Heart. This time, cover versions that are so off the mark that they are just spot on. Ironic? Perhaps. But Irony is the new black. This category will bring us songs remade in the most unlikely of fashions by the most unlikely people. So it’s very fitting to kick off this new category with this beautiful find.

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Here is Dion Dimucci, of Dion and the Belmonts. That’s right, it’s THE Dion. – a staple of Laurie Records – and of his own solo accord as Dion, doing an unrecognizable and unbelievable version of Hendrix’ Purple Haze.

Dion, in his solo career, was most famous for his early 1960s hits Runaround Sue and The Wanderer, but he had a whole lot more. His recordings with Dion and the Belmonts are absolute essentials on every 50’s rock and roll collection. But as the politics of the 60s heated up and the Beatles began to become more intellectual, the innocence of Dion’s signature greaser/doo-wop sound fell way out of favor. Dion’s own maturity and political awareness sparked him to record a comeback-hit of sorts, and it’s rumored that he kicked a long-term heroin habit shortly before releasing Abraham, Martin and John. One wonders if he fell off the wagon when putting this version of Hendrix’ “Purple Haze” however, because there must have been some irresistibly heavy shit being passed around at Allegro Sound Studios the day this was cut. If not for the writing credit under the title, you wouldn’t even have a hint it’s the same tune. Dion’s version doesn’t even contain a guitar track – much less a wimpy one. The prominent line here is clearly a flute. A flute? A flute. Not exactly one of my rock and roll instruments of choice. This was a commercial failure, apparently too twee even for the flower children of the day.

Laurie Records persisted into the early 70s, somewhat capitalizing on the doo-wop revival by reissuing all of its early 45s and creating collector edition box sets. Laurie also brought us some other very familiar acts such as The Mystics (Hushabye), The Chiffons (He’s So Fine, One Fine Day, etc), The Royal Guardsmen (Snoopy vs. The Red Baron) and even jumped into the British Invasion scene with Gerry and the Pacemakers.

This has made an appearance in various other blogs of mine before, but it’s such an important entry in this new category, I couldn’t think of any better track to launch this category, other than perhaps Shatner’s “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”, but that’s been way overdone as it is. *wink*