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Friday, October 26, 2012

VA - Time to Go The Southern Psychedelic Moment 1981-86 (New Zealand 2012)

Uncle Roddus Album Of The Day

I spotted this online recently and thought I had best check it out as I knew most of the groups on it and have enjoyed plenty of classic Flying Nun music over the years, although I don't have as much of it in my collection as I should. Many of the best Nun bands are represented on this double set but most of the songs are  unfamiliar to me, not being their most well known songs that I know from listening to student radio in my younger days. That makes this less appealing than some of the other Flying Nun Compilations which are great Kiwi music nostalgia trips and at times the kiwi accent doesn't sit so well for me in the vocal department, This particular scene through up some great musicians and song writers but not to too many great singers.
That complaint aside, it is great to hear another track from the incredibly rare Playthings again and I so wish some one would get it together to re issue the small amount of music they recorded on CD, I just dig their lo-fi post punk pop. The legendary Gordons are always a highlight on Nun comps, although I already have their first brilliant album of furious anarchic pre-grunge and again wish someone would re-issue their second and last album. The rest of this set is run of the mill Flying Nun which is good, but for me, not essential. Rating 3/5. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Various Artists - Appetizers (USA 1973)

Uncle Roddus Album Of The Day

1. Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
2. Arlo Guthrie - Lovesick Blues
3. Bert Jansch - The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face
4. Linda Lewis - Rock-a-Doodle-Doo
5. Paul Butterfield - Baby Please Don't Go
6. Seals and Crofts - Jessica
7. Van Morrison - Warm Love
8. The Faces - Borstal Boys
9. Todd Rundgren - Is It My Name
10. Fanny - All Mine
11. Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies
12. John Cale - Paris 1919
13. Procol Harum - Toujours L'Amour

1. Incredible String Band - Second Fiddle
2. Steeleye Span - Misty Moisty Morning
3. The Doobie Brothers - Dark Eyed Cajun Woman
4. Wet Willie - Airport
5. T.Rex - Born To Boogie
6. Deep Purple - I'm Alone
7. Lorraine Ellison - Many Rivers To Cross
8. Martin Mull - Licks Off Of Records
9. William Truckaway and Magic - Roller Derby Starr
10. Flo And Eddie - Another Pop Star's Life
11. Seatrain - Bloodshot Eyes
12. The Beach Boys - Susie Cincinnati
13. Foghat - What A Shame.

This is one of the early record label samplers that started appearing in the late sixties, one of the first being the excellent "Rock Machine Turns You On". Plenty of familiar names on this double set but the songs are not all so familiar. A reasonable quality set of early 70s pop/rock and a somewhat eclectic mix to boot makes for some interesting listening but not an essential collection. A couple of real clangers spoil the show a bit with one of those horrible corny 70s pop songs from Linda Lewis and a piece of rubbish from the deplorable Alice Cooper. There are some good rockers from the likes of the Faces and Todd Rundgren of which I wasn't familiar and more offbeat stuff like the reggae tinged instrumental from the " Incredible String Band" and a good comedy song from Martin Mull, who ever he was. A Roddus rating of 3/5 for this lot.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Skream - Skream (UK 2006)

Uncle Roddus Album Of The Day

"Tortured Soul"
"Midnight Request Line"
"Blue Eyez"
"Check It" (featuring Warrior Queen)
"Dutch Flowerz"
"Tapped" (featuring JME)
"Summer Dreams"
"Emotionally Mute"

I can't remember how I found this album but it is an early example of a slow tempo electronic music called dubstep. I have several compilations of dubstep that I brought after hearing this but I still find this the most enjoyable example of the genre that I have heard. Although I don't really listen to much modern electronica, it is refreshing to find the occasional example that I enjoy listening to. This particular example has plenty of deep groovers with some nice jazzy sax on some trax, especially the extended acid groove of "Summer Grooves". "Blur Eyes" is another standout track amongst a pretty good set. Overall Rating 4/5.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Grand Funk Railroad - Born to Die (USA 1976)

Uncle Roddus album of the day.

Time to do some quick reviews of stuff hiding in the deep dark depths of the Uncle Roddus hard drive. I have enjoyed some of Grand Funk Railroad's other albums and this one from well into their career  being something like their 12th album, is an average slab of mid 70s AOR blues based pop/rock. They were sounding pretty commercial by this stage, although not as blatant as say The Eagles or Fleetwood Mac, but I quite enjoy this one inspite of it being more tame than the psych of their earliest releases. Plenty of good melodies and good tunes but not something I'm gonna rush out and buy next week but deserves a Roddus rating of 3/5.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Paske Hut - 6-7th October 2012

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No.125
Paske Hut - 6-7th October 2012

Uncle Roddus doesn't get out in the mountains too much in the winter, usually due to work and also because the greater incidences of foul weather either putting me off or trips getting abandoned altogether. Spring is the time I usually get back into my tramping and I can get a bit of a taste of the winter trips with there still usually being plenty of snow around on the tops. This latest trip gave me a real taste of winter tramping and although I was enthusiastic enough at the start, for a while I was beginning to regret coming. Read on for the tale of my latest Epic trip.

After reading the trip report of the clubs previous expedition to this remote destination, just before writing about this more recent one, it is now more clear to this scribe why Uncle Bernhard was asking me about how high was the ground clearance of my car. I told him it was just normal, but it is an all wheel drive, and so it was that after meeting at Amberly, three others piled into my Subaru to follow Uncle Bernhard in his relatively new four wheel drive as we headed for the wilds of the upper Clarence. 
The forecast was for showers and nor-westers with possible snow down to 500M possibly clearing late afternoon or evening, Sunday was to be fine. After a longish stop at Culverden for pies and coffee, we set off again looking longingly at the clear blue sky's above the ranges to the north and the dark gloomy clouds in the direction we were heading. Got over Jacks Pass on a clear road but with very light snow falling, which got heavier and heavier as we got closer to out destination. Uncle Bernhard stopped at the St James Cycleway to use the facilities as the snow was falling quite thickly and had a discussion with Jonathan where doubts were expressed as to whether we could actually get over Paske saddle or not or whether we could camp at the top end of the Clarence if we couldn't achieve the above. Our leader was getting cold feet, perhaps after his last experience on this trek and decided to head back to Fowler Hut for lunch and look at the option of heading into Lake Guyon instead. So we drove back to Fowler Hut, only to find it full of kids going Mountain Biking. Executive decision was then made to head back to Lake Tennyson and have a go at the Paske Saddle. At the Lake, while the snow was still falling, it wasn't heavy enough to be settling deeply and so we finally set off  around the lake, after crossing the Clarence outlet without losing any poles or getting overly wet, not long after midday
After skirting the Southern end of the lake in full wet weather regalia, we stopped to eat lunch in the shelter of the beech trees on the western shore. After scrambling around the lakes edge, round clumps of Matagari and scrub, we regrouped at the northern end of Lake Tennyson before the long and snowy trudge up the Clarence  the snow not letting up and getting thicker on the ground as we progressed. We arrived at the base of Paske Saddle some time just past 5PM, had a quick refuel and Jonathon check in to see if everyone was OK to keep going, as we had a lot of work yet to do. Fortunately it had stopped snowing by now and the sun tried to make an appearance before we started our ascent.
The going was pretty tough, with a steep ascent of snow covered scrub, but steady progress was made and we eventually cleared the scrub and got onto the soft new snow. About 100M from the top it was time to don crampons and this is where the continuing crampon adventures of Uncle Roddus continue. After the last two adventures of losing my crampons on a bum slide off the back of my pack and then finding a broken strap on the last trip, I thought I had sorted them out. Considerable time was spent first trying to get them strapped on on a steep windy slope with both freezing hands and frozen crampon straps, after two attempts, as one came off during testing, I finally got them secured. Others were having trouble also with the first time they had used them and being unfamiliar with the complex strapping systems. In due course we all got started, and duly followed Jonathan, Murray and Lovisa, who were well gone by now, up the very hard ice to the saddle. Dale was the first to the top, but with visibility getting difficult as the light was fading and the snow was causing  difficulty seeing a way off the top as there was a cornice along the saddle and we couldn't see the tracks of the others who had already dropped off the saddle. I started to head off to my right, as this looked like a possible route but the fresh snow became quite deep and here did the crampon problems start again. My crampon came apart where the two parts joined and as the snow was fresh and soft I thought I may be OK, I still had one crampon on my foot, but the new snow was very dry and powdery and did not give much support before my cramponless foot slid on the ice below. This made the descent a bit frustrating but I persevered with some bum sliding and foot sliding until we re grouped at the tussock line where we were able to do away with the crampons. I thought my crampon had broken, but it turned out that the soft deep snow I had tried to walk through and pressed up the metal strip and released the little lug that holds them together.
It was getting dark by this time and so headlights were extracted from packs and crampons stored away as we followed Jonathan and Lovisa's tracks in the snow down through the beech trees down to the river. We lost their tracks near the bottom, so followed the river downstream towards the hut with this scribe feeling very tired and somewhat grumpy and seriously considering the possibility of how he could get out tomorrow without going back over the way we came, he wasn't the only one. We caught up with the others crossing the river and soon were relieved to site the hut at about 9:30PM.
As promised, Sunday dawned stunningly fine and all was forgiven and forgotten of the previous days challenges as we enjoyed the spectacular views presented us by the setting and all the fresh new snow.
We left the hut at 8:45AM and with great visibility headed back up the valley and started the climb up to the Paske saddle. The new snow provided better support going up than it did going down and it was some way up before crampons were needed. After yesterday's mishaps I was meticulous of knocking the snow off the bottom of my crampons and one other of the party suffered a similar fate with his crampons as I has the previous day. The ascent to the  saddle was successful and breathtaking(in more ways than one) and was much easier when we finally hit the hard ice. After some quick photo shoots on the saddle it was off again back down to the Clarence. The descent started off well with very hard ice making for excellent cramponing but as we started to hit the softer stuff and falling through the top crust occasionally the same situation befell my crampons and made life somewhat more difficult when we hit some harder patches on the way down first with only one and one half crampon on then just half a crampon till finally both were off and much more caution was needed than from the others to get me to the bottom.
The Clarence was a little more breezy than the Paske and so most of us hunkered down behind rocks and banks to partake some lunch before we set off back to Lake Tennyson. Discussion was had between the two who had done this trip before as to the track that sidles above the western edge of the lake and as we neared the lake they started searching for the aforementioned track which was eventually found via a cairn up a small side creek. This was a well preserved track, allowing us a much faster time along the lake than the previous day and had this scribe wondering why we didn't use it then, but so go the peculiarities of  an Uncle Bernhard trip. We all safely arrived back at the vehicles around 5:30PM to no snow and an easy exit back to Hanmer, where Bernhard nearly earned himself a Loo-loo award by driving off without Stephen, as we headed off back to Christchurch, I'm sure Stephens wife smartly pointed out the error of his ways as Uncle Bernhard quickly pulled over to pick up a worried Stephen.

Are we Mad? Getting ready to go.

Setting off around the lake.
The snow falling as we hide in the trees for lunch.

The North end of Lake Tennyson.
Slowly making out way up the Clarence.

Almost at the start of our ascent.

Climbing up to Paske Saddle with the Clarence in the background.

Getting into the deeper snow.

Nearing Paske Saddle the weather started to break, still a bit breezy though.
The view from Paske Hut on a stunning Sunday morning.

Paske Hut.

looking the other way from Paske hut.

Uncle Roddus At Paske Hut.
The rest of these Photos document the rest of the trip back to Lake Tennyson and what a contrast to the previous day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bettye LaVette - Thankful N' Thoughtful (USA 2012)

Uncle Roddus Album Of The Day Part 3

1. Everything Is Broken (3:44)
2. I'm Not the One (3:34)
3. Dirty Old Town (3:55)
4. The More I Search (The More I Die) (4:21)
5. I'm Tired (3:18)
6. Crazy (5:47)
7. Yesterday Is Here (3:38)
8. Thankful N' Thoughtful (4:21)
9. Fair Enough (3:15)
10.Time Will Do the Talking (4:05)
11.Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (3:20)
12.Dirty Old Town (Slow Version) (7:01)

This new album by Bettye LaVette was briefly reviewed in my latest Uncut Magazine and was highly rated with a 9/10, so when I spotted it on a blog I had to give it a go to see what the fuss is about. These veteran artists doing albums of covers has become common nowadays with Johnny Cash's American Recordings series setting a very high benchmark. Someone with the talent of Bettye can put out some outstanding music with the right songs chosen and the right Musos to back them up and this set had managed to get those ingredients right. Bettye has been around the business for nigh on 50 years, but I was not familiar with any of her work, although I knew of her and had a fair idea of what area of popular music she inhabited. Hearing her sing in her soulful croon, she sounds so familiar to me, although a search of my itunes library only turns up two songs. After listening to this set several times I must say that Bettye is one of the all time great female soul singers and still in devastating singing form. This album kicks of with an absolutely brilliant cover of Bob Dylans "Everything Is Broken" and rates as one of the best Dylan Covers I have heard along with Wanda Jackson's take on "Thunder On The Mountain" and Steve Earls excellent version of "One More Cup Of Coffee". The rest of this album fails to quite live up to that stratospheric high but it is an exceptional rendering of well chosen and played tracks and keeps me interested and impressed throughout. Rating 4/5

Suicide Bombers – Criminal Record (Norway 2012)

Uncle Roddus Album Of The Day part 2

01. Trailer History-Is About To Begin 01:15
02. Let’s Rock ‘N’ Roll 03:30
03. Easy Access 04:03
04. Napalm Heart 04:31
05. This Time Tomorrow 03:27
06. Smoke & Mirrors 04:43
07. High On Explosives 03:17
08. Electric Fire 04:06
09. Bombers En Vogue 03:40
10. Teenage Breakdown 04:23
11. Cindy 03:44
12. Princess Socialite 04:06
13. Riot 03:38
14. Outro:.. Over & Motherfucking Out! 00:45

Van Halen are alive and well and living in Norway. Well not quite, but this album looked interesting enough to download from the blog I spotted it on for a listen and including the aforementioned Van Halen, the other maybe more relevant comparison would be Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction. Anyhow this is balls out moronic hard rock/heavy metal firmly rooted in the 1980s and shouldn't be taken at all seriously but just enjoyed for the shear thrill of it all. Great sound, great playing, pretty good songs, average singer but an enjoyable set and gets my rating of 3.5/5.And play fucken loud.

Clout - The Best of Clout (South Africa 1994)

Uncle Roddus Album Of The Day

I spotted this on a blog recently and being described as an all girl rock band from South Africa circa 1977 caught my interest and so I downloaded it for a listen. I had never heard of them, although the blurb on the blog mentioned their world wide hit "Substitute", which also went to No.1 here, It still didn't ring any bells for me. This set kicks off with that aforementioned hit and when I heard the first few seconds, I felt instant recognition and a slight cringe, but as the song progressed and kicked into gear I recognised it for the great and catchy little classic it is. Clout is a terrible name for a all girl pop/rock band, sounds more like some kind of Seattle Grunge band, but these girls produced a sort of disco tinged pop with rock learnings and at times I felt they may have being trying to compete with ABBA. Now that in itself should be enough to get me running screaming from the room, but this best of ... set actually isn't all that bad and I am quite enjoying it. I would have hated this music 25 years ago but it has aged remarkably well and I am going to rate this set 3.5/5.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Aretha Franklin - Aretha Now (USA 1968)

Uncle Roddus Album Of The Day

Another Aretha album from my Original album box set that I recently acquired and another album chock full of great 60s R n' B hits and other wonderful songs with Aretha at her peak. This original R n' B is so far superior to the mindless conveyer crap that passes for R n' B nowadays that its hard to believe they are related musics.  Anyway this is a top-notch album and although I needed to move on to something else late morning, after several listens in the ipod at work today, getting back to it tonight for review just impresses me even more listening to it on the Cyrus.Rating 4.5/5