links: frank zappa, captain beefheart, the residents and others

lots of news, and it's been a little while; so let's have a go at it:
(& yes, keep the info coming in & sure,pass this on to whoever you like)

* Savage Pencil presents...
(1999, cd, uk, emi / songbook series 7243 4 96606 2 5)
Savage Pencil is an underground comic book artist from the UK. He started publishing in Sounds magazine somewhere in the early eighties ('the year punk happened') and this still is very obvious in his drawing style. But Savage Pencil has an excellent taste in music as well. He was asked by EMI to contribute to their Songbook Series (and to assemble a compilation record) and he did a fine job. Each Songbook is an almost thirty page booklet filled with comics / illustrations & text and includes a cd.
Savage Pencil's cd includes Ellington, Mingus & Roach, Sun Ra, the Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart, the Bonzo Dog Band and various other pieces (a couple of which are contributions by Savage Pencil himself). The Beefheart track is 'safe as milk' from the 'strictly personal' album. A bit expensive but a great package.

* A Beatband: Jintro Travels The World In A Skirt
(1993, cd, be, cd 343210)
Before Zita Swoon, even before Moondog Jr, Stef Kamil Carlens' band was called A Beatband. Somewhere in 1993 they published one album, and you can take it from me that it's very hard to find. I've never seen a copy, I don't even know anyone who has a copy. Thanks to the 'new technology' however, I was able to get my hands on a cdrecordable-copy, call it a bootleg if you want. The album itself is a mini, only about twenty minutes of music. Those of you who enjoy Zita Swoon, should put this on your check-list, if only for the excellent version of Ragdoll Blues.

* Robert Williams: Date With The Devil's Daughter
(1998, cd, us, casual tonalities xocd9828)
I mentioned this one last time, but it seems as if it will not come out of my cd-player, so I'll mention it again. If dropping names can convince you, here are some of the guests: Wild Man Fischer on phone and answering machine, Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo fame) on vocals, Jeff Morris Tepper (Beefheart band) on guitar, Bruce Fowler on trombone and Arthur Barrow on hammond organ. The whole lot was 'excecutively' produced by Gabor Csupo. And even more important: it's a great album, it really is.

- concert: The Residents (in Amsterdam, The Netherlands) june 18, 1999
Yes, the Residents were / are touring. After a huge american tour they did some concerts in Yurrip as well. Only one concert in Belgium, at the Dour-festival near the French border, and one in Holland, in Amsterdam. The choice was easy: Amsterdam on a Friday-evening, a one-and-a-half hour drive by car, indoor concert, reservations & seats. Getting to Amsterdam was the hard part. It took us two and a half hours just to get to Amsterdam. After parking the car and getting to the concert hall, way too late, we were more than glad to find out that the concert had been delayed for (at least) half an hour. Appearantly the band's material was stuck in traffic so they (and we) had to wait. That extra time came in handy: the concert was sold-out and our tickets were gone at the desk. Anyway, skipping the high blood-pressure part and me getting a bit unfriendly with the guy at the ticket-booth, we were able to get in. I'm pretty sure I already talked about the latest Residents' album in this column. It's called "Wormwood" and it takes a closer look at the darker parts of The Bible. The cd is fine, but you should really try to see this live. It's real entertainment and it's obvious that it's meant to be a performance. If you don't get the opportunity to see The Big Eyed Ones live, it's my guess that you're stuck to praying that they'll bring out a video of the show. Keep an Eye out for this one.

* Snakefinger: Chewing Hides the Sound / Greener Postures
(1999, cd, ger, euroralph cd 021)
* Residents: Wormwood
(1999, booklet)
* Residents: In Between Screams
(1999, cd, ??, ??)
What's a concert without a small table where one is able to buy some books, cds or posters of the band ? The latest euroralph release presents two albums by the late Snakefinger: 'chewing hides the sound' (from 1979)and 'greener postures' (from 1980). Nothing new, just two classic albums that feature Snakefinger and our Resifriends in one fine digipack. Also 'new' was the 'wormwood-tour booklet': a little booklet that contains all the lyrics from the show. If my memory serves me right, it's the same booklet that comes with the euroralph release of wormwood. 'In between screams' is sub-titled 'Intermission Music from the residents' wormwood'' and that's exactly what it is. One 20-minute track of spiritual, biblical wailing: a gospel choir with a beat. I like it a lot. This latter cd gives no mention of a record company or label number, but it's my guess that's it's some sort of euroralph release.

* Gruppo Sportivo: Hey Girl
(1999, cd, nl, disky communications dc 854242)
Disky communications. Didn't they publish a cheap beefheart sampler as well? Well, here's a 'best of gruppo sportivo'. It includes 'superman', you know the one with the 'take your clothes off'-zappa intro, and lots of other classics. It's a fine collection, but it does not present anything new. Does anyone know what happened to gruppo sportivo? I've seen singer Hans Vandenburg on tv a couple of months ago, taking part in a quizz. If I remember it right, he can't use the name 'gruppo sportivo' anymore. There has been some sort of dispute between him and other ex-gruppo-members. This true? I do know that some of the gruppos performed in Eindhoven quite some years ago as the 'rubbers of prevention' during a Zappa-festival, but that was the last I heard of them.

* Milan Hlavsa: Madness
(1999, cd, cz, globus music 210256-2)
Milan Hlavsa is a member of the Plastic People of the Universe. His solo album 'madness' contains a zappa song: 'trouble every day'. Milan does not hide his influences: it looks like he listens to a lot of Cale, Reed, Cave, etceteras. Nothing that makes me go WOW, but he plays a fine zappa coverversion.

* Tinseltown Rebellion Band: Plays Frank Zappa - Absolutely Live
(1998, cd, ger, lux)
It has been some time already, but I remember seeing the tinseltown rebellion band performing somewhere in Germany very vividly. I can't recall the location (Köln??) - but it was a hell of a concert (hello Jos - how are you? - and I remember talking to Horst as well) At that time, they already had a demo-tape out but that was nothing compared to the concert. And now there's the cd, recorded live november 7 & 8 at the Jakobshof in Aachen, Germany. Up-tempo Zappa, just the way I like it. Excellent stuff.

* Vanbinsbergen: Vanbinsbergen
(1999, cd, nl, via jazz 9920742)
WOW indeed. I know I've already made a lot of noise about Corrie van Binsbergen (remember Corrie en de (Grote) Brokken), but here's another reason why: it's called vanbinsbergen and it's her latest cd. If I get it right, Corrie has various projects. There's corrie en de grote brokken, there's links and there's vanbinsbergen. Vanbinsbergen is a quartet, consisting of two guitars (Corrie en Anton Goudsmit), one bass (Gerry Arling) and one drum (Harry Arling). They play contemporary, jazzy, very guitar-orientated material. Essential listening.

- tv-show: Corrie van Binsbergen: 'jazzportretten'
1999/07/05, nps, nederland 3
I haven't been able to see Corrie in concert yet. Somehow, all these nice dutch people that I know always forget to tell me when and where she's touring, :-). Oh yes, I did go to the Zappa-event in Holland last year (or two years ago) in Rotterdam, but I had no idea when the concerts were to take place, so the moment that we arrived, Corrie had just finished playing her encore. Cold shower. I bought some cds, looked at a part of the concert by a guitar-duo (these guys from the Mathilde Santing band) and drove home. Anyway, 'jazzportretten' did show Corrie and her friends in action. Too short, but very nice. No, I wasn't able to tape it on video, but don't let me bore you with that story.

* Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag: Best By Farr vol.II
(1999, cd, nor, doyen bandstand series doy cd077)
The Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag is a norwegian brass band. According to my nephew, Ray Farr is one of the top arrangers for brass and he (Ray Farr, not my nephew) is now conducting the Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag. They play brass versions of everything (Manilow, Mahler, Rossini, Bernstein,...), including Zappa. Farr's arrangement of the dog breath variations is great. Of course, it's one of Zappa's best tunes, especially when you play it all evening (Uncle Meat, Yellow Shark,...). According to the liner notes, Ray Farr arranged the Zappa piece to please his two sons. Thank you guys!

* Lithium X-mas: Bad Karma
(19??, cd, ??, lost records lost 007)
I had been searching for this disc quite a while and now that I have it, I can't tell you all that much about it. The booklet only mentiones the musicians and the songs. The album itself is a bit doubtful between garage and psychedelic. It really isn't my cup of tea. Track 8, however, is called 'zig zag' and is known to mankind as 'zig zag wanderer' (van vliet).

short bits:
* * * zoogz rift's new album (school of the criminally insane) should be out while you're reading this. more news very soon. it does present arthur barrow on a plus 40-minute piece called 'moby penis'.
* * * the recordings of 'links', another project by corrie van binsbergen, are being mixed. cd is due out in september.
* * * new album by steve vai called the ultra zone scheduled for september as well.
* * * new cd by the late tim buckley: thinwires in the voice
* * * new album (on vinyl) from wild man fischer: meets smegma
* * * belgian band mitsoobishi jackson released an album called boys together outragously
* * * the complete oostende, belgium, concert by contemporary composer frank nuyts, 1999/05/22, was recorded & broadcasted on belgian national radio.
* * * new album by chad wackerman is out.

(©peter van laarhoven - belgium)

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