Dub Collision mix: Devil In Disguise

DevilInDisguise1
1 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band-Billy in the Low Ground 00:56
2 The Dillards-Man Of Constant Sorrow 1:24
3 Jesse Winchester-The Brand New Tennessee Waltz 3:09
4 Linda Ronstadt-Keep Me From Blowing Away 3:09
5 Buffalo Springfield-Kind Woman 4:11
6 The Byrds-You Don’t Miss Your Water 3:49
7 Dillard & Clark-Train Leaves Here This Mornin’ 3:53
8 The Flying Burrito Brothers-Christine’s Tune 3:04
9 Rick Nelson-So Long Mama 3:28
10 The Grateful Dead-Mama Tried 3:03
11 New Riders of the Purple Sage-I Don’t Know You 2:27
12 Neil Young-If I Could Have Her Tonight 2:21
13 The Band-King Harvest (Has Surely Come) 3:38
14 Barbara Keith-The Bramble and the Bush 2:55
15 Crazy Horse-Dance, Dance, Dance 2:13
16 Michael Nesmith-Propinquity (I’ve Only Just Begun To Care) 3:00
17 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-Teach Your Children 2:53
18 Beau Brummels-Jessica 2:21
19 Jerry Jeff Walker-Backslider’s Wine 3:35
20 Cowboy-Seven Four Tune 2:42
21 Ian Matthews-Biloxi 4:17
22 Moby Grape-If You Can’t Learn From My Mistakes 2:36
23 Little Feat-Texas Rose Cafe 3:41
24 Poco-Just in Case It Happens, Yes Indeed/Grand
Junction/Consequently So Long 9:36

Because my musical world triangulates, as I would tell you, The Byrds, Thelonious Monk, and Pauline Oliveros–crazy, I know–here’s a mix that speaks for itself.

Although I was partly deflected off the folk-rock course for a long period, the time during which I sank my ears into all sorts of different waters, the fact is folk and country rock was my original ‘home.’ This compilation brings together some prime exemplars from roughly the period 1967-1974. Favorite tunes here and music for DFH like me.

Hayday

I’ve explained somewhere here sometime ago that my own organic journey through the sonic worlds is unapologetic in its forty year attempt to square Flatt and Scruggs with John Coltrane. These exemplar/examples are but two of the ways I can stretch the dichotomy. Noting this, on the right side will always float country air. This has ratified some biases too, because my tastes tend to put a premium on the instrument rather than the letter, and to prize naivete over bombast.

The other aspect is simply finding the first sonic grades in the school of hippie psych and cowpone. So, for example, I can dig (Untitled) and The Guilded Palace of Sin endlessly. If you miss the reference, its way too late. On the other side is a bigger subject, a subject for another post–enough to say on the left hand are the rivers of Duke and Monk.

So, it is, turning back to the folky right, that I keep an ear out for those retiring, dimming hippie folk country vibes. As it happened a very long time ago, on May 14, 1970, I ventured with a much straighter object of affection and some long-haired friends down to Public Hall to see a typical, weird, 1970 bill: John Mayall, Poco, setting up, of all possibilities, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. So: lucid appropriation; naivete; and, ear splitting bombast.

It was all good, yet I came for the ebullient middle set of Poco. The band, formed by Richie Furay and Jim Messina, ex-Buffalo Springfield, was–I’d argue–the most earnest country rock outfit of that era. This quality of sincerity would be snuffed as genre convention not more than five years later given the drug-fueled excesses of much more successful ensuant country rockers. (I’m thinking of one band in particular.) Poco would labor on through the decadent seventies and longer too. But, 1970-1971 was their true ‘hayday’.
[audio:http://nogutsnoglorystudios.squareone-learning.com/music/02-You Better Think Twice.mp3|titles=Poco-You Better Think Twice]
You Better Think Twice (Poco/Poco 1970)

Anyway. . .I was set up in more ways than one for maximum enjoyment. For one thing my mentor the amazing Dynamo Man had helped me to leverage Flatt and Scruggs and Moby Grape so as to appreciate Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, The Byrds, The Band, and, The Flying Burrito Brothers. I had seen The Byrds (and Clarence White) kick down a gym the previous fall. And, I had gotten down into the grooves of Poco‘s excellent first two records. The result remains etched: Poco-Public Hall-May 1970, remains ensconced in the roster of the ten best rock shows I ever sunk my ears into.

The spring tour later evoked live Deliverin’, their third and best record. It almost captures the ebullient gift I witnessed. A few months later lead guitarist Jim Messina was gone and Paul Cotton was in. Cotton’s thicker guitar sound helped take the band in a slightly harder direction. CBS Records sponsored a showcase before a small audience of friends and industry type at the end of September 1971. The tapes have surfaced 39 years later. Poco, live at Columbia Studios, 9/30/71, is a good one. The new, very old recording, is just as earnest and upbeat as the classic Deliverin’. The recording itself is vintage; the ol’ 8 into 4 into 2 track gains separation and looses a bit in the ambiance the Felt Forum provided for the spring date. Always a highlight was Rusty Young’s innovative, at times startling, pedal steel work.

Then there’s the context, because as much as Americana and countrified folk rock came back to the table and has remained there for two decades, the fact is by the end of the seventies the earnest originators had been sent to the far margins.

Still, it was a good feelin’ to know and this archival set is a stirring gem.

Here’s a chunk of latinized rock, pulled from a bootleg of a gig at Duke U. five days before the CBS Studios set. . . okay, mild bombast too but with some of the most psychedelicious steel work ever by Mr. Young.

[audio:http://nogutsnoglorystudios.squareone-learning.com/music/012-El Tonto De Nade Regresa.mp3|titles=Poco-012-El Tonto De Nade Regresa]

(Richie Furay put out a excellent record last year, Alive.)

Poco @ Wikipedia

interview with Rusty Young, unknown date (1990-ish?)

Nez’essary

In messing around with a slide.com show featuring the many hundreds of recordings that count as constituting the enormous ne plus ultra of my musical favorites, I surfed around looking for a cover graphic of an obscure LP by Michael Nesmith, Nevada Fighter. Several links lead to updated information about Mr. Nesmith, “Pa Nes,” and soon enough I was reflecting on my first encounter with his music.

Of course it was my original musical confidant and mentor, the amazing Dynamo Man, Jamie, who, after recognizing our affinity for country music and country-rock, early on in the fall of 1969, created first time experiences over luminaries The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Grateful Dead, Linda Ronstadt, and, by the time 1970 rolled around, Michael Nesmith. | Wikipedia article |
Pa Nez at Pacific Arts
photo by Henry Diltz
I reckon not many late sixties era cowboy hippies found their was to Nesmith and The First National Band’s initial trilogy, released by RCA on their thin, rubbery excuse for vinyl. However, the Dynamo Man excitedly delivered the flexible slab of Magnetic South to the platter, and, as he often announced, ‘you’re not going to believe this Hoon!’

He was alluding to Nesmith’s iconic status as a member of one of The Monkees, created in 1965 by ‘programmers’ to be the stars of a mild counter-culture send-up and comedic TV show. Ironically, he didn’t know that in 1966 The Monkees were absolutely the band I related to most!

Pa Nez blew us away. Over the next year he completed his trilogy with Loose Salute and Nevada Fighter. His principle musical partner, pedal steel virtuoso Red Rhodes, was the crucial element in Nesmith’s country-inflected folk-rock. (Rhodes, joined our steel master pantheon, along with Lloyd Green, J.D. Maness, Sneaky Pete, Pete Drake, and Rusty Young.) I’ve read Nesmith described as a troubador. This seems right on the money, for Nesmith’s witty and grown-up songwriting provide settings for very personal music, rendered in his tuneful but wavering voice.

One can imagine that the honchos at RCA didn’t know what they were getting into with Nesmith. Apparently he had clout to release what he wanted to produce. There’s probably a good back story given that Nesmith’s clout played RCA in an era when it usually worked the other way around.

Nesmith played out his RCA string with the completion of the trilogy, Loose Salute and Nevada Fighter, the singular and volcanic Conway Twitty-meets-Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd hunk of psychedelic country rock, Tantamount to Treason Volume 1, (with the Second National Band, featuring the legendary guitarists James Burton and Al Casey.) Tantamount to Treason Volume 1, released in 1973, remains the only example of country rock welded to experimental psychedelia; it’s wonderfully unhinged stoner music.

Next was The Hits Keep On Comin’, duos with Rhodes, and beloved by Pa Nes fanatics for its intimacy and heart. Finally came Just Your Standard Ranch Stash, a lush and enjoyable melange.

Nesmith often is granted some royal status as a progenitor of country-rock. This rests on some of the country inflections he introduced into Monkees songs. That’s okay, but it doesn’t anticipate in anyway the murky origins of country-rock in L.A. and Woodstock and elsewhere. My own opinion is that Nesmith is more crucial for delivering masterpieces in the genre, after the genre’s 1967-1969 heyday. The Eagles earned millions, but Nesmith was the superior songwriter and auteur.

Dynamo Man and me, Hambone #1, wanted to meet Michael Nesmith. It was our intense high school desire to learn what made Nez tick. It wasn’t that we wanted to discover what the source of his musical genius was, it was much more directed toward discovering what was at the source of his being a visionary, of his being a sort of seer. After all, it was Pa Nez who figured out that VHS video would gain support on TV in short form music videos; it was Pa Nez who would point the way toward artistic control in starting his multi-media, artist-owned Pacific Arts.

I’ve collected some seeqPOD materials featuring Nesmith. There’s a precious and telling moment in the 1971 American Bandstand interview with Dick Clark, in which Clark asks Mike ‘if he considers himself to be a philosopher. Nez replies with an embarrassed nay-saying grumble. Pa Nez turned out to be much more than a mere philosopher.

excellent article @takecountryback
| cogent blog mention

Videoranch, Nesmith’s web site. Available there are the many masterpieces he’s produced over his long career. A suggested starting point world be the double CD set of Nez and The First National Band.