Posted tagged ‘1980’

Ike and Tina: The end

March 31, 2014

Tonight on The Midnight Tracker, we have a side that might best be described as part historical document, part curiosity.

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It’s from “The Edge,” a 1980 album by Ike Turner. And, yeah, that cover art is about a subtle as a sledgehammer. Ike liked cocaine, and was deep into it at the time.

While Ike’s name is in the biggest type, it’s not a solo record.

Side 2 is Ike playing his own songs and backed by Home Grown Funk, a popular Memphis group that had gone to Los Angeles in the mid-’70s to try to make it big.

Side 1 — tonight’s side — is Ike and Tina Turner together on record for the last time (at least until the compilations and reissues started coming).

It’s a bunch of covers from the mid-’70s, recorded at the end of Ike and Tina’s time together. They split personally and professionally in 1976 and divorced in 1978. When this record came out in 1980, both Ike and Tina were struggling to make it on their own.

Hear, then, what the end of Ike and Tina Turner sounded like. Tina was in her mid-30s at the time and had been with Ike for 15 years.

“Shame, Shame, Shame,” “Lean On Me,” “Philadelphia Freedom,” “Use Me” and “Only Women Bleed,” Ike and Tina Turner, from “The Edge,” 1980. This is Side 1. It runs 17:40. It’s out of print. Three of the cuts are available digitally on “Ike and Tina Turner Sing Great Rock & Pop Classics,” a 2011 compilation CD of covers.

All but “Philadelphia Freedom” are fairly interesting interpretations. The original versions were by Shirley & Company in 1974, Bill Withers in 1972, Elton John in 1975, Withers in 1972 and Alice Cooper in 1975.

No small irony that the last song is about a battered wife.

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Lights in the night, from long ago

May 31, 2012

We used to be tight, and then life took us in different directions, to different places.

We still are tight, but only two or three times a year, and then only for a couple of hours at a time.

Had the Hose and I been within reach of our records when we were together on Memorial Day, we might have put this one on.

I can’t recall how we came to know the eccentric sounds of Flash and the Pan in our corner of Wisconsin in the early ’80s. I doubt they were getting any radio or jukebox play. Maybe we saw them on “Pop Clips,” a quirky music video show that aired on Nickelodeon. Maybe it was on “Night Flight,” a much cooler show that aired on USA. Those were the days before the dawn of MTV.

Flash and the Pan was a studio group led by two Australians, Harry Vanda and George Young. They were in the Easybeats — “Friday On My Mind,” anyone? — in the ’60s. Then they went into producing, including a new band featuring Young’s younger brothers — AC/DC, with Angus and Malcolm Young.

In the late ’70s, Vanda and Young went back to work as musicians, putting out a sometimes moody, sometimes rocking, sometimes swinging, sometimes mysterious brand of synth-pop with deadpan spoken vocals. It made you think, to say the least.

That is what emerges tonight from the sweet blue haze of time as we revive the spirit of a long-ago late-night FM radio show on which they played one side of a new or classic album.

“Make Your Own Cross,” “Lights In The Night,” “Let The Captain Beware” and “Atlantis Calling,” Flash and the Pan, from “Lights In The Night,” 1980. This is Side 2. It runs 20:09.

All interesting tunes, musically and lyrically.

“Lights In The Night” — “Talkin to the ceilin/Feelin kinda ill/If the radio doesn’t get me/The TV will” and “Throw away the feelin/Throw away the pill/If the bottle doesn’t get me/The thinkin will” … A song that oozes dread.

“Let The Captain Beware” — “East is East and how it used to be/But now it rage/Cos it want to turn the page” … It was 1980. Were we talking about the rise of radical Islam, and was the captain the West?

“Atlantis Calling” — “In Bimini there’s a temple that is rising from the sea/In Iberia the language of the Basques a mystery/The Tiahuanaco ruins, a secret closed to men/Canary Island legends, and don’t forget Stonehenge” … More cerebral than Donovan’s “Atlantis.”

Oh, yeah, and it’s dedicated to Bon Scott.

The long and short of comedy

March 14, 2012

Our mantra while on furlough last week: If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.

Over at our home blog — AM, Then FM — we took our lemon and made lemonade. We spent the week spinning vintage comedy bits, mostly from the ’70s.

I dug out more than a dozen comedy albums, most of them bought as dollar records over the last few years. For all the hours of material on those records, and I listened to much of it, it seemed that shorter bits held up best. Among them, Bill Cosby’s “Lone Ranger,” Richard Pryor’s “Exorcist” and Cheech and Chong’s “Dave.”

When it came to my National Lampoon records, which I’ve had since the ’70s, I went with a couple of pieces from “Radio Dinner” rather than something from “Lemmings,” the Woodstock satire best heard in its entirety, and thus in context.

Likewise, there’s only one way to listen to the great Rodney Dangerfield. To bring it over here, to The Midnight Tracker, to capture what his weary yet rapid-fire stage persona was like.

We saw Rodney Dangerfield do a live show in a Vegas-style dinner theater here in Green Bay in the early ’80s. It must have been 1980 or 1981. I remember none of the jokes. They came much too quickly (and I’m sure Rodney would find a joke in that line). That said, I vividly recall laughing from almost the minute Rodney walked on stage to the minute he walked off.

I am certain it went something like this:

“No Respect,” Rodney Dangerfield, from “No Respect,” 1980. This is Side 1, one long cut. It runs 18:46. Recorded live at Dangerfield’s nightclub in New York City. I pull out the record to double-check something and I see there is no sleeve. No respect, I tell ya.

I haven’t seen a lot of comedy shows over the years. Rodney Dangerfield was the first comedian I ever saw live. Hard to top that.

We saw Bill Hicks at a comedy club in Memphis one night in the late ’80s. He was on his way up. That came close.

We rode in an elevator with Sam Kinison in a Milwaukee hotel in the early ’90s. A mischievous-looking boy, maybe 10 or so, got on, too. Kinison gave the kid the evil eye and asked “You getting off soon?”

Yeah, we’re done here tonight. You’ve been a great crowd.

Uncharted territory

June 28, 2008

For the first time in the short history of The Midnight Tracker, we have the other side of an album for you.

Last month, we fulfilled the Hose’s somewhat inexplicable request for the soundtrack to “Where the Buffalo Roam,” the 1980 film with Bill Murray as gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. We offered Side 1.

Tonight, for the Hose, for all you Neil Young completists and for all you fans of bad cinema, we have Side 2.

As noted last time, Young contributed seven cuts to the soundtrack, all riffs and variations on “Home on the Range.” Young and David Blumberg also did the orchestral arrangements. The rest of the soundtrack consists of what even then were classic rock tunes.

“Straight Answers,” “Highway 61,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” “Ode to Wild Bill #3 With Dialogue,” “Keep On Chooglin’,” “Ode to Wild Bill #4,” “Purple Haze” and “Buffalo Stomp Reprise,” various artists, from “Where the Buffalo Roam” soundtrack. It runs 19:38.

The soundtrack is out of print. Also, apparently only the VHS release of the film has the original soundtrack. Later DVD releases substitute sound-alike tracks for all artists but Neil Young.

By request … really

May 26, 2008

We do requests here at The Midnight Tracker, and we finally are getting around to this one.

Our old pal, The Hose, has for no apparent reason been wanting to hear again the soundtrack from “Where the Buffalo Roam.” That’s the 1980 film starring Bill Murray as gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

The soundtrack is noteworthy primarily for Neil Young’s involvement. He contributed seven cuts to the soundtrack, all riffs and variations on “Home on the Range.” Young and David Blumberg also did the orchestral arrangements.

Whether that’s a good thing, you be the judge.

Aside from Young, the soundtrack consists of what even then were classic rock tunes from Jimi Hendrix, the Temptations, Bob Dylan, the Four Tops and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

As you listen to Side 1, that’s Murray and fellow actor Rene Auberjonois, in character, singing “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” Really.

“Buffalo Stomp,” “Ode to Wild Bill #1,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “Ode to Wild Bill #2,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Home, Home on the Range,” various artists, from “Where The Buffalo Roam” soundtrack, 1980. It runs 19:02.

The soundtrack is out of print. Also, apparently only the VHS release of the film has the original soundtrack. Later DVD releases substitute sound-alike tracks for all artists but Neil Young.