RADIO HELSINKI #12
August 23 2017
Radio Helsinki Listener! Alas, we come to the end of our time together on Radio Helsinki. I am writing these notes as the John Coltrane album Offering: Live At Temple University is playing. It’s August 16th, which means it’s Scott Asheton’s birthday. Scott was not only the rock solid drummer in the Stooges, but he was also in Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, responsible for our second track of the show. SRB was a genuine Michigan super group! Fred Sonic Smith of the MC5 on guitar, Scott Asheton on drums, Gary Rasmussen from the Up on bass and Scott Morgan from the Rationals on guitar. Most of the recordings to be found are live. If you look on Discogs, you can find them. The Too Much Crank LP is a good place to start. What a band! Not being able let a good thing go, we will visit with Scott Asheton again later in the show when we listen to Not Right by the Stooges.
One of the more peripheral releases by well known artist is featured this time around with the song Truck Love. It’s taken from the Burnin’ The Ice album, a collaboration of Berlin’s Die Haut and Nick Cave. Thankfully, this album was re-issued a few years ago having been gone for years. Some of my favorite vocal performances by Mr. Cave are on this record. This one’s worth checking out all the way through.
As this month draws to a close, I am trying to listen to all my warm weather favorites that I will be shelving on September first. As I have probably told you too many times, I listen to a lot of music seasonally. For me, August 31 is the last day of summer, even though the calendar doesn’t agree with me. For instance, summer means late period Coltrane, after McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones were gone and Alice Coltrane and Rashied Ali had stepped in. In September and onwards, it will be time for Atlantic era Coltrane. I don’t know why I think of music in this way but I do. It perhaps goes to my ideas of ceremony and ritual with music. Like the putting up and taking down of a flag. For me, a lot of records are so much more than a grouping of songs. I like the idea of a record having a certain place in your life because you have invested something of yourself into it. I think that’s the best way to get what’s on a record in the first place.
This is one of the reasons I like vinyl as a way to hear music but also as a thing that exists in the physical world. As the joke goes, “I’m in it for the expense and inconvenience.” I like all aspects of vinyl. From lugging it through airports for weeks on tour to finally get it to the turntable to the fragility of records and how easy they are to damage. They force you to value them, or not as is sometimes the case. I have a lot of CDs but I don’t think of them as things that contain music but just code. The fact that as I write this, there is an LP spinning a few feet away from me is amazing. It is something that’s actually happening. A CD spinning in a player doesn’t occur to me as anything remarkable at all. I’m not putting the medium down, I use them all the time but I can’t hold one in my hand feel it’s part of my life. Yes, I know that this all reads a little crazy. I have been working on building content for a website that sells high quality reissues, new pressings and audiophile limited editions of LPs. One of my tasks is interviewing people from different parts of the music industry about vinyl. Over the last few weeks, I have interviewed producers, mastering engineers, label heads, journalists, critics and music historians. They’ve all been very interesting but the most interesting part of all the interviews is when near the end, I ask them a handful of boilerplate questions that we have for everyone, about the first records they purchased, what their listening environment is like, etc. The answers are pretty amazing. The heartfelt testimonials as to how much they like putting on and listening to records have a consistency, an unerring sincerity that is quite profound.
This is why I’m hoping that these shows I’ve put together for you have perhaps inspired some curiosity and driven you to the record store in search of some vinyl. Maybe you’ve even heard some music that was unfamiliar but that you really liked and have made things better. This is one of the main reasons I have had a radio show for so many years, I’m trying to get the information out there. It is my way of “sticking it to the man,” if you will. I think that music is a cure for a lot of human ailments and the more of it that’s out there, the better off the human condition will be. And it is a condition, too. Look at what’s happening in the United States right now. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, or what side of the political divide you’re on, it’s not a good situation. I’m trying to listen to music every day to stay as untoxified as possible. As I’ve been writing these notes, it’s been Coltrane an Sun Ra.
Of our twelve shows together, I think this might be one of our best mixes of moods and textures. I was listening to it hours ago and digging it.
The final assemblage of these shows required more than a few hands, starting with me working in my low tech set up to the capable and thankfully patient at Radio Helsinki, who made my evenings with you possible. It was quite a lot of work all around and I am grateful for the opportunity, that Radio Helsinki asked me to come on board for a little while and that they had the ability to put all the shows together so many thousands of miles away from where they were created. It was a truly collaborative effort and if you were to remove any of the people involved, none of these twelve shows would have happened. Thank you again and again for listening. I hope to get to Finland as soon as I am able.
01. The Heartbreakers - Born To Lose (original mix) / L.A.M.F. Definitive Edition
02. Sonic’s Rendezvous Band - Electrophonic Tonic / Too Much Crank
03. Joy Division - No Love Lost / Substance
04. Radio Birdman - What Gives? / Radios Appear
05. Beasts Of Bourbon - Chase The Dragon / The Low Road
06. Gary Wilson - Hold Back The Daylight / Mary Had Brown Hair
07. Al Eide - Life On The Edge / Wild Fury
08. The Obsessed - Touch Of Everything / The Church Within
09. Die Haut & Nick Cave - Truck Love / Burnin’ the Ice
10. The Stooges - Not Right / The Stooges
11. Seekae - You’ll / +Dome
12. Various Artists - Commercial for ‘CD FM Radio’ / Radio Myanmar
13. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Burning of the Midnight Lamp (single mono mix) / The Singles
14. Embrace - Dance of Days / Embrace
15. Agent Orange - Everything Turns Grey / Living in Darkness
16. Ty Segall - Black Magick / Sentimental Goblin
17. The Ruts - West One (Shine On Me) / Singles Collection
18. Young Prisms - Midnight’s When / In Between
19. Root Beer Barrels - (Tell Your) Man To Suck It / Soft Hard Rock
20. Robert Johnson - Me And The Devil Blues / Centennial Collection
21. Boris w/ Merzbow – I Am the Walrus / 12”
22. The Beauty Pill - The Cigarette Girl From The Future / The Cigarette Girl From The Future
23. Weird War - Grand Fraud / If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Bite ‘Em
24. Point Juncture, WA - Paint It On / Me Or The Party
25. Spectres - Rubber Plant / Condition
26. Pontiak - World Wide Prince / Sea Voids
27. Honest Marquee - The End / Honest Marquee
28. Alistair Crosbie - The Last Day Of Summer / The Last Day of Summer