Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hoyt Axton - The Balladeer

Hoyt Axton had a long and varied career as a country-folk musician/actor from the early 60's and in to the 80's. This is his first album recorded during the early 60's in San Francisco. I should point out that this is missing the first and fourth track because of it being a pretty bad rip from Limewire as I had an extremely hard time tracking down this album. Normally I wouldn't post an incomplete album like this, but I think this one is worth it anyway. The rest of the songs are fine though. Hoyt had a booming voice that could fill an arena. The sound on this record fits in quite nicely with the folk revival that was going on in Greenwich Village at the same time. It would be easy to write Hoyt Axton off as a squarish folky from that era but I think that undermines some true talent here. He has some serious soulful moments on this record and plays one of my favorite versions of "John Henry" ever recorded.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lou Reed - All Tomorrow's Dance Parties

Found this little gem hiding in the 7" bin at the record store where I'm currently employed. It's a 2000 reissue on Norton of Lou Reed's earliest recordings. The first side is two songs written by Reed and recorded with studio musicians in late 1962. They were recorded for a producer named Bob Shad and were apparently Lou's first lead vocal performances. Side B was recorded in 1958 with Lou Reed's high school "band" called The Jades. On the back of the sleeve it quotes Reed as saying "The Jades wasn't a band. It was just one guitar and two other guys singing." Phil Harris was the lead singer for this band so I don't think Lou actually sings on these tracks, though they did get studio cat King Curtis to play sax on the recording. Lou Reed was 16 years old when these songs were recorded. The music is FAR from any similarities to the Velvets and is much more straight forward 50's pop music. The songs are great though, and it's really neat to hear where this iconic American musician got his start.