Feb 122012

An old friend and should-be Townsman passed along this Brian Eno promotional video, which neither of us had seen before. Perhaps it gets us one step closer to uncovering another related Rock ‘n Roll Holy Grail, the full 24-minute, Alfons Sinniger-directed 1974 documentary of Eno & The Winkies playing four songs in the studio. Keep hope alive!

Nov 282011

There may be nothing I regret missing and altogether forgetting more than this 1978 TV special, Rock ‘n Roll Sports Classic, which appeared on ABC, the network behind “jiggle tv” classics like Charlie’s Angels, Three’s Company, and the awesome Battle of the Network Stars series. What the hell was I doing that night that cause me to miss this show? How is it that I fail to recall even missing it in the first place? Was I already too cool for school, sitting out a legendary sports-rock event because it didn’t pair off members of The Clash vs The Band?

Check out this washed-out clip and tell me Townsman alexmagic wouldn’t trade 5 to 10 years off his life to have been able to watch this thing in real time? Shoot, I could have invited you over for our first live RTH event, all of us gathered around the television in my Mom’s basement!

There are some better-quality clips of this show posted on YouTube, but they were edited down by some Runaways fanboy. I never liked Joan Jett and that crew from the git-go, although they do dominate the field in some of these events. When they’re introduced for the sprint in this fanboy’s edited clip, however, he skips over all the members of the blue team. Eff that!

My request is for someone/anyone to help us locate high-quality, uncut clips from this broadcast. We need to be able to put our heads together and study the moves of not only the women from the Runaways but Dash Crofts, Marilyn McCoo, and Kenny Loggins. If we can find high-quality footage of this show we may have to schedule a live get-together to break it down. Help a brother out, won’t you?


Mar 222011

What more can a rock nerd hope for than to be set on a quest for a new holy grail? A few new quests are beginning to line up for me, including one that’s been right under my nose since childhood!

In a recent Saturday Night Shut-In I played a Moody Blues track from the band’s first, Denny Laine-led album (the one with the also Laine-sung hit “Go Now”). It was pretty cool, and you can find it at about the 31:15 mark here, if you don’t believe me. Laine was also featured in a recent Who Is It? thread. I believe it took longer for anyone to guess who the modern-day Laine was than any of the other matured rockers. Poor Denny Laine, unfairly ranked #3 in the command chain of Wings because he wasn’t sleeping with the boss, coulda been a contender, or at least a second-level British Invasion force in his own right.

What happened to Laine between his leaving The Moody Blues and landing with Paul McCartney & Wings? Did he ever release a proper solo album, as this promo clip for a solo single might lead me to believe? Can anyone save me the effort of looking up all this stuff and just tell me what the deal was/in with that guy? I need the real deal, not a bunch of Wikipedia links. I’m sure at least one of you can fill me in on some cool Denny Laine arcana. Thanks!

By the way, did Laine get the Wings gig for combining Paul’s Sgt. Pepper’s ‘stache with John’s specs?

And check this out: The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone had a 1972 hit with his version of this song. Continue reading »

Dec 042010

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/03-Peppermint-Lump1.mp3|titles=Angie, “Peppermint Lump”]

Here’s a thought I had while walking the dog this morning:  the Internet, as wonderful as it is, has really fucked up the process of loving rock and roll. Like some gloriously bad drug, it’s made the process of finding stuff so easy and instantly rewarding that it’s put another important human experience — the process of seeking — to sleep. And that process of seeking was one of the things that put the world of recorded music up on a pedestal; that gave rock its mystery — its Godhood.

Please recognize that I was only walking my dog five minutes ago, so I can’t claim to have properly beard-stroked and pipe-tamped my way through this one. That’s your cue to chime in and help me.

The genesis of this thought-bomb occurred last night, as I was driving home. I had the wonderfully eclectic and entertaining Stiff Generation CD in the stereo, and was bouncing about between tracks, when the player alighted on “Peppermint Lump,” as performed by Frisbie. (I found this out later; I’d long since lost the CD cover — another side effect of the digital age that’s demythologized rock and roll.)  Anyhow, as I tooled down the byways of northern Virginia, I thought to myself: “Man, that sure sounds like a Pete Townshend song. But what on Earth would he have been doing on the Stiff label?”

I got home, and popped open the laptop. About 60 seconds later, I had my answer — and a YouTube “audio” of the original track in question. This was satisfying at a certain level, but at another, it really bugged me. It was so easy!

About 10 years ago, I found out that Harry Vanda and George Young (of Easybeats and AC/DC producers fame) were very briefly involved in a studio lark they called the Marcus Hook Roll Band. I think I learned about the MHRB in the liner notes of an obscure Australian Easybeats greatest hits album — and the story excited me. Supposedly, in 1972 or thereabouts, Harry and George — on a legendary studio Lost Weekend — had gotten drunk and thrown together some simple, balls-out rock and roll for fun, involving George’s younger brothers Angus and Malcolm. Then they sobered up and largely forgot about what they’d done. Somehow, some way, a record exec heard these tracks and flipped out, thinking they were huge hits in the making. Back in the studio they went, and cranked out a whole album’s worth of this cock-rock stuff, laughing and winking at the silliness of it all.

Anyhow, 30 years later — but before the internet really gained the ability to help — I began my quest to find some Marcus Hook Roll Band. The long and short of it is that I had to enlist the services of a friend who lived in Holland, who scoured local record stores and online used/bootleg CD outlets until she finally found one. Which she then mailed to me. Turned out it sucked. But it was like buying a lottery ticket — half the fun was waiting to find out if you’d won, and imagining how much better your life would be if you did. That’s what you spent your money and time on — and now that pleasure is largely gone.

The end of the Rock Holy Grail doesn’t necessarily mean that the God who once supped from that chalice is dead. But he’s been demystified in a critically important way. And that’s a bad thing. You may discuss when ready — I look forward to your responses.


Dec 012010

"Helter Skelter" in Nixonian True Stereo

The search for the complete version of The Beatles“Helter Skelter” continues. It’s as if the Nixon administration got to the 12 or so minutes that no one but White Album participants has ever heard. As our occasional series continues, what rock ‘n roll holy grail has most recently been on your mind?

To tide you over, here’s the complete, unedited version of “It’s All Too Much,” a song I’d be happy hearing if it went on for 3 hours.

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/06-Its-All-Too-Much-complete-long-uncut-version.mp3|titles=06 It’s All Too Much (complete long uncut version)]


Sep 242010

It’s not like I’m near death or anything – or no more so than any relatively healthy soul walking around like there are thousands of tomorrows ahead – but as I age in this age of easy electronic access to our shared past, from YouTube clips of local tv ads from the 1970s to eBay auctions on forgotten toys to posted .jpgs of Xeroxed flyers from local band shows in the mid-1980s, I find myself continuing to chase digital flashbacks of a handful of images and tunes that are burned in my memory. Maybe some folks want to see God’s face or the face of a loved one flash before their eyes before they themselves leave this life, but I want to see a couple of dumb things that matter to me for reasons I can’t quite explain. Continue reading »


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