Monthly Archives: April 2009

Tank Farm – s/t (1995)

tankfarmWilliam S. Burroughs lived in Lawrence for over 15 years, and he died here in 1997. I don’t think about that often, and I certainly wasn’t thinking about it when I bought this tape yesterday at the Social Service League thrift store.

Tank Farm is led by James Grauerholz, who also happened to be  the man who drove Burroughs to the methadone clinic in KC every week. Grauerholz and Burroughs were friends and associates for many years, Grauerholz acting as his manager during Burroughs’ Kansas years. He continues as the literary executor of Burroughs’ estate.

On my first listen to this tape, I knew it was something special. The sound is a delightful mix of warm fuzz Westerberg and Jayhawks jangle. The song writing is unpolished but the band makes up for it in musicianship. I am giving you the first three songs. If you like it I will try and rip the other three tracks. Give it a listen!

And by the way– this is the first cassette ever on The M P M and this is the only place on the entire internets where you can hear this tape!!

Tank Farm is:

Tom Newman – vox, guitar
James Grauerholz – vox, guitar
Chubby Smith – bass
Bruce Colbum – drums

Let’s Go Get Chris Out of Jail (Tom Newman) – download

The Last of You (Grauerholz) – download

Rattlesnake (Grauerholz )- download

Concerned With Insignificances

concernedI was listening to the Ray Agee album again today noticed this stamp on the inside of the record cover. Just inside the front cover there is a blue ink stamp that reads “CONCERNED WITH INSIGNIFICANCES”.

Manifesto on Art / Fluxus Art Amusement by George Maciunas, 1965.

“Therefore, art-amusement must be simple, amusing, unpretentious, concerned with insignificances, require no skill or countless rehersals, have no commodity or institutional value.

The value of art-amusement must be lowered by making it unlimited, massproduced, obtainable by all and eventually produced by all.”

In a separate Ray Agee related update: here is Ray Agee, Frank Zappa and Shuggie Otis playing on the “Johnny Otis Show” in 1970.  There is some chit-chat before the song starts where Zappa talks about working at a florist/record store in San Diego. He claims that the Roy Agee 45 “Wobble Lou” was the first record he ever stole. How totally Fluxus!

Roy Agee, Frank Zappa, Shuggie Otis – “Leave Me Alone” (download)

Ray Agee – Somebody Messed Up, 1972 (Krafton Records)

ray-agee

This is an awesome album. Like, permanent rotation awesome. Ray Agee has a velvet smooth voice and he knows how to use it. The title track lyrics are surprisingly prescient:

“the high cost of livin /has gone up out of sight

too many people out of work /everything costs too damn much

somebody

somebody done messed up the whole damn thing”

Roy Agee was disabled by polio at age 4. A talented singer, he moved to LA from Alabama (and I mean Los Angeles, not Lower Alabama) to record with his family’s gospel quintet when he was seven. He later recorded four solo albums in the genre commonly referred to as “Northern Soul.”

From the liner notes:

“With undying determination to succeed where many have failed, this young man has withstood many heartbreaking disappointments in his struggle to claim the public recognition he so dearly deserves. When you listen to this album, we know you will agree that his dream is now a reality.

Born in Alabama, the home of superstars, Ray Agee is the eighth child of of a family of nine boys and seven girls. A terrible tragedy struck down the young man at age four, diagnosed with a stroke of paralysis, which was so very hard for him to live with. But in the same undying courage to overcome that handicap, this God fearing soul man has met the challenge  of many other stumbling blocks, and stands in the light of the whole world to tell us how it was then and share with us what it is now.”

Agee “supposedly died” in the 1990’s according to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

Roy Agee – Somebody Messed Up (download)