Tribute Concert Announced For Don Craine of the Downliners Sect

by admin  17th Jun 2022 Comments [0]

On Sunday, August 21, 2022 there will be an afternoon tribute concert to the late great Don Craine at the Half Moon in Putney. The show begins at 1:00pm and features the Downliners Sect, the Masonics, and the Fallen Leaves.

Contemporaries of the Rolling Stones, Pretty Things and the Yardbirds, the Downliners Sect came into being in the spring of 1963 when deerstalker-hatted rhythm guitarist Don Craine of the Downliners found Keith Grant.  They played their own brash and exciting brand of R&B and still do.

Critic Richie Unterberger wrote: “The Sect didn’t as much interpret the sound of Chess Records as attack it, with a finesse that made the Pretty Things seem positively suave in comparison.”

Their first single on EMI “Baby What’s Wrong” entered the charts and their second, “Little Egypt,” made them stars in Sweden.

“We were quite influenced by the Downliners Sect,” said David Bowie.

“Downliners Sect were IT!” agreed Van Morrison.

Both Steve Marriott and Rod Stewart auditioned for a place in the band but were turned down because they both wanted to be frontmen, while Don Craine and Keith Grant did not wish to relinquish that role.

The Downliners Sect remained true to their beliefs and never sold out.

They recorded the Lou Reed and John Cale composition “Why Don’t You Smile Now” in 1966 before the emergence of the Velvet Underground.

In the mid-seventies they were embraced by punks who  recognised their uncompromising spirit.

In the 90s Don and Keith  teamed up with Billy Childish and Bruce Brand to form Thee Headcoat Sect. They toured extensively and recording two acclaimed LPs.

Don and Keith played together for 60 years. They agreed that, whatever happened to either of them, the group would carry on. With the loss of Don in February, Keith, as promised, carries the name Downliners Sect on. This concert is a tribute to Don.  Tickets are £10. All proceeds will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The Masonics and Fallen Leaves as long term fans are honoured to play this tribute as guests of the Sect. Inspired and influenced by the Downliners Sect, both groups recognise the Sect as pioneers, they just follow.

The Masonics, featuring  Bruce Brand of Thee Headcoat Sect, Mickey Hampshire, John Gibbs and Miss Ludella Black are influenced by Chuck Berry, Link Wray, the Sonics, Bo Diddley, Johnny Moped and the Beatles.

The Fallen Leaves, formed from members of Subway Sect and the Chords, are Champions of the Glorious Underachievers.  Believing a good idea played badly supersedes a bad idea played well, they play simple songs for complex people. They are Punk Rock For Gentlemen.

“This valve amp, treble-to-the-max rave-up would have had the mid-’60s Who or Pretty Things bricking it backstage at the Embassy Club”  – Mark Paytress (Mojo)

Tickets at: tickets.halfmoon.co.uk


The Who: Half Speed Mastered Albums, Shel Talmy, Pete and Roger on the Monterey International Pop Festival and more

by admin  12th May 2022 Comments [0]

By Harvey Kubernik

 

Keith Moon, the drummer of the Who and I in 1975 did an interview for the now defunct Melody Maker at the Laurel Canyon home of his manager, Skip Taylor, the record producer of Canned Heat since 1967. That year I witnessed the Who’s Southern California live debut at the Hollywood Bowl.

In our ’75 conversation, Moon and I discussed the Who.

“Everybody labors under the misconception that Pete Townshend is the leader of the band. There is no leader. It’s the Who. We’re a group. Each individual is one fourth of the whole. There’s a lot of talent in our group.

Tommy never stopped growing. When Pete was writing it, he got to a point where he was saying, ‘Where do I go from here?’ We were sitting in a boozer in London, which is most unlike us, throwing ideas around. And I said, ‘Well, what about a holiday camp?’ So, it was ‘Tommy’s Holiday Camp’. This is how the Who works. Everybody contributes, everybody is part of what we are involved in. The involvement is total, with no one person in control.”

Just issued in May from UMe is the first in a series of half speed mastered studio albums from the Who; My Generation and A Quick One. These limited-edition black vinyl versions have been mastered by long-time Who engineer Jon Astley and cut for vinyl by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios with a half-speed mastering technique which produces a superior vinyl cut and are packaged in original sleeves with obi strips and certificates of authenticity.

July will see the release of two more half speed mastered Who albums, The Who Sell Out and Tommy.

Regarded as one of the most important albums of all time, Tommy is a rock opera about a deaf dumb and blind boy, which, when released in 1969, reached No 2 in the UK charts and No 7 in the US. The album contains songs such as “Pinball Wizard,” “The Acid Queen” and “I’m Free” and is packaged in the original sleeve artwork.

Released in 1967, The Who Sell Out was the third album released by the band and is revered for being one of the first concept albums, celebrating the short-lived pirate radio stations of the late ‘60s with its groundbreaking use of fake adverts and jingles between songs. Highlights include “I Can See for Miles,” “Armenia City in the Sky” and “Tattoo,” and as with Tommy, it’s also been mastered by Jon Astley.

(more…)


Painting Trees: Damo Suzuki on Being Content at Home

by admin  10th May 2022 Comments [0]

By Bill Furbee

 

Paintings and the outdoors have taken the place of a tour van and stages for improvisational icon Damo Suzuki. Spring is here and, today, Damo can probably be found in a nearby park, painting trees.

Damo and I first spoke in February of 2020-an interview to promote a scheduled performance at Chicago’s Empty Bottle. Shortly after, however, venues around the world shuttered their doors in response to the spread of COVID-19. With his schedule suddenly silent, Damo happily agreed to a follow-up call just a month later. Thankfully, his amiable nature was still on tap.

“I don’t have a job at the moment,” he told me, then. “It’s not possible to do anything. I canceled my US tour, I canceled my Italian tour … I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he reported from his home in Cologne, Germany.

He paused to pour himself a Kölsch beer.

“But it’s okay,” he told me. “Maybe (this is) an opportunity to make something else.” He reflected for a moment, then beamed a wide smile. “Cheers!” he said, lifting a frothy glass of beer to the camera on his computer monitor.

And now, we’ve spoken for the third time. Damo’s still at home, and in no hurry to get back on the road. If it was a decade ago, Damo might have been looking for picnic blankets and hiking gear. But, times have changed. There is a pandemic at large. Vaccine requirements and contract tracing-measures that are helping to bring the virus under control, allowing concerts to take place again-aren’t exactly conditions that Damo can get behind.

“At the moment, it’s so much difficulty traveling,” he says. “I don’t like to make a test at the airport; I don’t like to make anything that the system wants to have. Every country has its own directions-like if you eat or drink in a cafe, you sometimes have to have a vaccine passport, you must be vaccinated or you must have a test,” he says.

“For me, it’s a good time to have a break. So I treat it as my vacation, at the moment-for three years,” Damo admits, with a chuckle.

“It’s okay,” he reasons. “I’ve traveled quite a lot already before.”

Damo also has a lot of books at home-nearly 10,000, in fact. He’s eager to share titles and authors that he’s preoccupied with, while admitting, “fiction I can make with myself … my life is sometimes like fiction! Nonfiction is much more interesting at the moment.”

Meanwhile, a number of his recorded performances are still being issued. While Damo would much rather perform than release recordings, he acknowledges that many of his collaborators are interested in releasing those performances. So, he mostly leaves that decision to them.

“I’m not so particular about making an LP or album,” he stresses. “It’s not (been my job) for a long time. I just like the live concert, and not always documenting. But some people who have performed with me, they like to release it. It’s okay, they can make it. I don’t say many things. Because they also have the right to make something as documentation. So I cannot say, ‘oh it was not very good’ or anything-it’s not my task, it’s not freedom. They just ask me, (and) 99% of the time I say ‘okay.’ But, if they have something like on the front cover I wouldn’t like, if it’s demonic or satanic, or something like that, then I really don’t like to have it.”

Worth noting that Damo’s most celebrated band-psych-rock progenitors Can-has also been issuing a steady stream of reissues and rediscovered concert recordings of late. Damo, however, assures me that he’s had no communication with management or any surviving members.

“No, no (input) at all, I don’t have any contact with them,” he says. “That was already a half century before, you know? So it’s not that much things to talk about. I don’t take too much time to think about things, past.”

He adds: “I like to make music for the people who like this kind of music; I have never been interested in having a huge audience. It’s not my thing.”

Where does this leave Damo?

“I feel good!” Damo laughs, quick to point out that he now has time to exercise and observe nature. “If you’re outside, you can get vitamin D, the sun,” he says, “and it’s not been so cold this winter.”

As spring heralds in a season of new beginnings, Damo is happy to stay where he’s at for the time being.

“I like to go outside with a sketchbook,” he says, as our call wraps up. “And I like to paint trees. Spring,” he says with a beaming smile, “is always good!”