Dr. John, the Night Tripper
Produced by Harold Battiste
Debut long player from the Doctor, the Night Tripper, produced and partially written by the legendary New Orleans native Harold Battiste, acid R&B, slow-crawling psychedelic nightmares, creeping from the swamps of Louisiana, cooked up in the Gold Star kitchens of the City of Angels, pots and pan acid batch bubbling voodoo, American as gumbo stew, jumping up on second-line hind legs for the “Jump Sturdy” strut down the street…tribal and influential, essential.
Almost not released by Atlantic and mostly ignored by the public (but likely noticed by the avant-garde element of LA who likely had influenced the Nighttripper), this recording eventually went on to take its rightful place in the annals of American music.
Even if you end up not digging it for days, everybody should at least give it a listen…sit in the dark and let your head spin around Jupiter…take a night trip through American history.
— winch (author of
link to sellers (LP, cassette, CD, download, streaming):
Ride Your Heart
Dead Oceans Records (DOC082)
Produced by Rob Barbato
Debut long player from this LA outfit, the band described at this point as sisters Jennifer and Jessica Calvin, all songs and most of the playing credited to the pair.
The sound clearly has a California feel, mixing many styles from the past: the garage, surf, and dreamy girl group of the sixties, the power pop and lots of Blondie of the 70s, the sonic of punk and the 90s mixed with a bit of the girl-group revival and pop rock of the 80s, even a bit of exotica (and maybe the hillbilly) of the 50s–for example Jessica adding lap steel to the Bo Diddley beat on “Guy Like You.”
For fans of sonic pop music, this debut set is worth a listen.
— winch (author of
Right from the get-go the influences show–Sweet, Queen, Heart, the Runaways, and Abba–and right away it’s like watching some kids at a dance recital: you have to proud that they’re putting everything they’ve got into it, and you’ve got to be more than a little embarrassed for them because they are making fools of themselves.
Queen was perhaps their biggest influence, but while Queen had Roy T. Baker to help with the clean punch and over-the-top production, this L.A. outfit handles their own–but equally OTT–production. Some might argue they needed someone to grab their arms and give them direction instead of letting them blend many styles–glam and hard rock, pomp rock and new wave, but by being allowed to do their own thing, they were able to avoid being just another boring pomp rock or new wave band trying to fit neatly into a category. While they have their clear influences, all the songs are penned by the female vocalist and the lead guitarist, and while this set certainly doesn’t avoid the absurd and downright dumb, it’s certainly never boring, the first side sticking mostly with the rocking.
The flip-side opens with a misguided attempt at rock disco, maybe figuring if Blondie could pull it off…but this just ends up sounding like a horrid version of Abba. After this mess, they get back into the Queen-inspired sound established with the first side. While the second side sounds like it might end as poorly as it began, going into perhaps the worst space-rock song ever recorded, they fortunately end the album with “Machine Gun,” which clearly borrows from AC/DC’s “Bad Boy Boogie.”
If they would have kept their Queen-inspired guitar licks but been pushed into the punk direction that we hear hints of in the closing cuts of each side, this might have been pretty great album. As it sits, it isn’t going to win any awards, but folks with an interest in over-the-top junk from the 70s, might get a kick out of it.
— winch (author of…Eight Track Publishing)
link to seller:
Golden Shower of Hits
Third set from Keith Morris and the gang, varied set but an improvement from their second, enough good cuts to make this essential listening for fans of US HC, the set concluding with the title track, a classic medley of corny pop hits of the 70s. Produced by Jerry Goldstein (of War fame)!