The Vietnam War – Soundtrack & Original Score

The Vietnam War - Soundtrack & Original ScoreThe Vietnam War is a new 10-part series currently showing on the BBC and available on the BBC iPlayer. This engrossing, disturbing documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick tells the epic story of the Vietnam War includes graphic footage of the war, tape recordings between the various U.S. presidents and their advisors, and first-hand accountants from nearly 80 witnesses including Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

Two soundtracks have been released. The Soundtrack is a great collection of accompanying hits from the era. In total, 38 of the 120 songs used in the documentary are collected in what could be seen as nothing more than a great excuse to compile such heavyweights as The Beatles; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Rolling Stones; Bob Dylan; Jimi Hendrix; Buffalo Springfield; Simon & Garfunkel; Janis Joplin; The Temptations; Barry McGuire; The Byrds; Otis Redding; The Animals; Santana; Marvin Gaye; Nina Simone; The Temptations; Booker T. and the M.G.s; Pete Seeger and more. The other release is the Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

“The Vietnam War era produced some of the greatest, most impactful music ever recorded. We are grateful that so many artists from the period wanted to be part of the film and now the soundtrack. We were equally fortunate to have had the tremendous honour to work with Trent and Atticus. Their original score beautifully complements the music from the time. And we are absolutely thrilled that our audiences will now have the chance to own the original score along with some of the best music from the film,” said Ken Burns and Lynn Novick in a joint statement.

The Vietnam War Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross features over 90 minutes of new, original music on 2CD and 3LP. The original score music is poignant, beautiful, chilling, and at times chaotic and dark. As such, it is a perfect accompaniment for a film about the war that couldn’t be won. “This is war. This is what we do” one marine recounts he was told on questioning the barbaric behaviour of his compatriots.

Over the course of several years, Burns, Novick and producer Sarah Botstein shared with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross raw interview footage and scenes from rough cuts of the film, and suggested a range of feelings they hoped the music would evoke — rage, courage, sadness, fear, chaos, loss, love, sacrifice, aggression, loneliness, anxiety. They also provided a collection of sound effects from the era for the composers to work with.

Ten years in the making, the series brings the war and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward, produced by Sarah Botstein, Novick and Burns, it includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe; photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations.

“The sheer scale of the project combined with the magnitude of the subject matter was initially daunting for us, but the commitment, care and reverence they displayed made the experience deeply satisfying on many levels,” said Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross in a joint statement.

The Vietnam War Original Score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

CD 1

1. Less Likely
2. Four Enclosed Walls
3. The Forever Rain
4. Remnants
5. Other Ways To Get To The Same Place
6. Torn Polaroid
7. Before Dawn
8. What Comes Back
9. Justified Response
10. Counting Ticks

CD 2

1. A World Away
2. The Right Things
3. Passing The Point
4. Strangers In Lockstep
5. Before And After Faith
6. The Same Dream
7. Haunted

The Vietnam War Soundtrack

CD 1

1. A HARD RAIN’S A-GONNA FALL – Bob Dylan
2. HELLO VIETNAM – Johnnie Wright
3. IT’S MY LIFE – The Animals
4. EVE OF DESTRUCTION – Barry McGuire
5. TURN! TURN! TURN! (TO EVERYTHING THERE IS A SEASON) – The
Byrds
6. MASTERS OF WAR – The Staple Singers
7. MUSTANG SALLY – Wilson Pickett
8. SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN’ – Howlin’ Wolf
9. BACKLASH BLUES – Nina Simone
10. THE SOUND OF SILENCE – Simon & Garfunkel
11. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS – Bob Dylan
12. AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG – The Temptations
13. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
14. I’M A MAN – The Spencer Davis Group
15. GREEN ONIONS – Booker T and The MG’s
16. STRANGE BREW – Cream
17. WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY (Live) – Pete Seeger
18. A WHITER SHADE OF PALE – Procol Harum
19. THE LORD IS IN THIS PLACE – Fairport Convention
20. FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH – Buffalo Springfield

CD 2

1. DON’T THINK TWICE, IT’S ALL RIGHT – Bob Dylan
2. PIECE OF MY HEART – Big Brother & The Holding Company
3. MAGIC CARPET RIDE – Steppenwolf
4. THE LETTER – The Box Tops
5. BAD MOON RISING – Creedence Clearwater Revival
6. SOUL SACRIFICE – Santana
7. TELL THE TRUTH – Otis Redding
8. OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE – Merle Haggard
9. THE THRILL IS GONE – B.B. King
10. PSYCHEDELIC SHACK – The Temptations
11. OHIO – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
12. GET TOGETHER – The Youngbloods
13. GIMME SHELTER – The Rolling Stones
14. TAIL DRAGGER – Link Wray
15. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL – Ray Charles
16. WHAT’S GOING ON – Marvin Gaye
17. BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER – Simon & Garfunkel
18. LET IT BE – The Beatles

Travis Pike Feelin’ Good with State Records

 Travis Pike & The Brattle Street East - State RecordsTravis Pike & The Brattle Street EastWatch Out Woman / The Way That I Need You
500 copies on 7” vinyl State Records
Release Date: 10th July 2017

With a career dating back to 1963, Bostonian living legend Travis Pike has had more than five decades in the music business, but the casual listener could be forgiven for not being familiar with his name.

Releasing only 2 singles under his own name on obscure labels (the ballad “Don’t Hurt Me Again”, backed by The Montclairs’ “Feelin’ Good”, released on Pike Productions to tie in with the film release – more about that in due course, and the incredible garage-psych classic “If I Didn’t Love You Girl”, credited to Travis Pike’s Tea Party, Alma Records, 1967), Travis first found his love of song writing when he composed the title track for “Demo Derby”, a 28-minute featurette produced by his father, James A. Pike, which ran as second feature to “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964, enjoying much success as a result.

Joining the US Navy and stationed in Germany, he then experienced a degree of fame in Hamburg’s legendary Star-Club, billed as “Teddy Pike—Twist And Show Sensation”, before a car accident and resulting shattered ankle brought his twisting days to an abrupt end, and Travis returned to the US in late 1964.

Fast-forward almost 2 years to early 1966, and Pike Productions was ready to make another film, this time aiming to produce the “antithesis of the beach party flicks”, then very popular on the West Coast. While recuperating from his injury and operation, Travis taught himself to play guitar and got busy composing. 10 of his original songs were eventually used in the movie “Feelin’ Good”, including the 2 tracks presented here, featuring Travis himself backed by Oedipus And His Mothers, renamed The Brattle Street East; mixed race group, The Montclairs, who also made a brief appearance in the film, performed two more of Travis’ songs. As inconceivable as it seems today, the inclusion of such a group caused a major issue for the film’s distributors in the Southern states, who declined to book the movie unless the ‘offending’ scene was cut. To his credit, James Pike refused to censor his film; unfortunately, it cost him the level of success he had experienced with “Demo Derby”, and the film sank with little trace.

Fast-forward (again) almost 50 years to 2012, and Travis was able to locate three of the film’s original five reels, successfully restoring 6 music sequences, which he subsequently posted to YouTube, so at least some of “Feelin’ Good” can now be seen and appreciated by a wider audience than its original (limited) theatrical release would have allowed.

State Records are to release 2 of the tracks for the first time, officially authorised and sanctioned by Travis himself, as a limited edition vinyl 7” single in glorious MONO!

Watch Out Woman / The Way That I Need You by Travis Pike & The Brattle Street East is scheduled for a 500 copies limited 7″ vinyl single release on State Records on 10th July 2017.

The Senior Service debut album, The Girl In The Glass Case – album review

The Senior Service debut album, The Girl In The Glass Case is released on Damaged Goods Records.The debut album from The Senior Service is titled The Girl In The Glass Case and brings four chums together for the first time. Three of whom are stalwarts of the so-called ‘Medway Sound‘. While two of them recently achieved ‘Medway Legends‘ status, no less!

John Barker, Graham Day, Wolf Howard and Darryl Hartley began rehearsing in John’s studio with a shared love of TV themes and film scores, and the concept of producing original instrumentals based around Barker’s Hammond organ and the psychedelic rock guitar of Graham Day.

The result is a sweet honey-dripping musical journey through 1960s and ’70s TV and film score nostalgia.

Following the purchase of his first Hammond Organ a year ago, Johnny Barker began exploring the depth of sound, warmth and emotion that comes from this much loved instrument. Once bitten by its beauty, a plan was hatched to form a band and play classic Hammond tracks from the likes of Georgie Fame and Booker T & The MGs. But with a few rehearsals the four like-minded friends decided it would be more exciting to write original material with a strong nod to the likes of John Barry and Barry Gray.

The result of those self-produced sessions is the debut album, The Girl in the Glass Case – a title inspired by an original Wolf Howard poem.

The lead single, ‘Depth Charge‘ is one of the more upbeat songs on the album and sounds like a long lost Gerry Anderson theme, while ‘Hit The Lip‘ includes a great sounding guitar reminiscent of R Dean Taylor’s ‘There’s A Ghost In My House‘; and there’s a nod to the wonderful Vince Guaraldi themes of Charlie Brown and Snoopy on the final track, ‘Bees‘.

Bone Jacked‘ is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Hammond-led, the song gets funky with a Taxman / Start stabbing guitar rhythm. ‘Psyclone‘ is another that errs towards a more jazz funk courtesy of some Latin-flavoured percussion and Graham Day’s chugging rhythm guitar – grrovy maaaan!

The Girl In The Glass Case is a complete, well-written, polished yet self-produced debut album that will be warmly welcomed and critically-acclaimed among the ‘Medway Scene‘ and way beyond. The album is fresh and exciting with a nod to the 1960s of John Barry and TV theme tunes from yesteryear.

Comparisons with the original James Taylor Quartet are inescapable. Both come from Medway, perform instrumentals, and feature Hammond organ, guitar, bass and drums. Wolf Howard was also the original drummer for The James Taylor Quartet. But there are marked differences. Whereas with the original JTQ, James Taylor’s Hammond organ took centre-stage and was a showpiece for his expertise, including fiddly ‘have a banana‘ showy titbits and brother David Taylor’s guitar erred more towards the smooth 1960s sound of jazz pop fusion, The Senior Service perform self-composed, well-grounded, solid instrumentals with Graham Day’s more edgy sounding garage rock guitar and wah pedal drifting in and out of the album; and in doing so, giving the songs a little more oomph!

Hey kids! forget about the EU and Brexit, shoegazing and grime. This is happy music for happy people. You dig!?

The Senior Service debut album, The Girl In The Glass Case is released on Damaged Goods Records.

The Senior Service debut single ‘Depth Charge’ on Damaged Goods

'Depth Charge' is the forthcoming debut single by The Senior Service
'Depth Charge' is the forthcoming debut single by The Senior Service

The Senior Service are Jon Barker (hammond organ), Graham Day (guitar), Darryl Hartley (bass guitar) &
Wolf Howard (drums & percussion). They are latest band to burst forth from the Medway Music Scene in Rochester, Kent.

The four have been close friends for many years and have played in several Medway-based groups including The Prisoners, The Daggermen, The James Taylor Quartet, Graham Day & The Forefathers, The Prime Movers and the wonderfully named Disney Firetruck.  All four are Medway born and bred and have always been into film themes and instrumental music.  Amongst their influences are John Barry, Barry Gray, Booker T and the MGs, Ennio Morricone and The Small Faces.

“We got together to play instrumental covers because I happened to have bought a Hammond organ” says Jon Barker, “but we dropped that idea before we played a note and quickly moved onto our own stuff.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS8QuV8UMG8

The Senior Service have been busy recording at Borstal Road Studios (situated in Jon’s basement).  To mark the release of the forthcoming debut single ‘Depth Charge‘ on Damaged Goods, the band will be playing a Single Launch Gig at The Half Moon in Putney on Saturday, 30th January 2016.  The band will be making their first ever live appearance along with very special guests French Boutik and Of Arrowe Hill.

‘Depth Charge’ by The Senior Service is scheduled for release on 8th January 2016 on Damaged Goods as a 7″ vinyl & digital download, Cat No: DAMGOOD447.

Al Berkowitz – A Long Hereafter / Nothing Beyond, album review

Al Berkowitz - A Long Hereafter / Nothing Beyond is now available on Temple Arts
Al Berkowitz - A Long Hereafter Nothing Beyond

Like me, you may not have heard of Al Berkowitz; and you may be forgiven for thinking, as I did, Al Berkowitz is obviously a singer / songwriter. It’s more complicated than that. Al Berkowitz is a trio from Spain who play psych rock fused with folk music and a 1960’s lounge / easy listening.  None of them are called Al Berkowitz.

The band were formed in 2006 when the Spanish psychedelic band The Inhabitants joined forces with American beatnik Aldous Berkowitz . After Aldous’ departure in 2007, they christened the band Al Berkowitz as a homage to their former bandmate and mentor. They are now a trio consisting of Ignacio Simón, Santiago Estrada and Lorenzo Palomares.

Al Berkowitz is formed around multi-instrumentalist Ignacio Simón and his angelic, beautiful honey-dripping voice. The album was self-produced by Simón in an idyllic and tranquil setting off the coast of Cádiz (Spain). The music drifts effortlessly between a psychedelic haze and folk aspirations reminiscent, at least in part, of the likes of Tim Buckley and Scott Walker.

The opening track, ‘You And I‘, sets a sun-kissed and chilled scene.  With its Spanish guitar, echo-drenched vocal and angelic choral backing, I’m transported back to the Mediterranean Sea, watching a beautiful sunset unfold before my eyes. But ‘The Frenchman And The Rabbitman‘ disturbs me.  The angelic voice is replaced with a lemon twisted psych rock. I feel somewhat rudely and abruptly awoken; and so the journey begins.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Im4dK6vGKg

With ‘How Could We Get Ourselves Lost?‘ the album’s tranquility returns which leaves me thinking the previous eight minute psych out was in some way representative of a bad acid trip. An interruption that possibly has significant and underlying meaning.  Am I detecting this is a concept album?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1ZPzXEpIcA

Ignacio Simón‘s beautiful and delicately angelic voice is perfectly accompanied by the sadness of a cello on  ‘How Could We Get Ourselves Lost?‘ and the fourth song to make up ‘A Long Hereafter‘  is ‘Magical Cynical‘ with its oompah-pah piano and sing-a-long chorus, it fills me with a nostalgic sense of golden age vaudeville drunken merriness through 1960’s rose-tinted glasses.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XNof6ny7tQ

The album is very clearly set out in two parts and ‘Nothing Beyond‘ begins with ‘Farewell My Lady‘ with its stirring psych rock attitude.  Confusingly, the song ‘A Long Hereafter‘ appears in this second part. This song has me thinking of Scott Walker, Jacques Brel and Ignacio Simón as a troubadour.

Nothing Beyond‘ has a dreamy sadness.  Full of echo the song floats in a telling way. Like the end of a something beautiful that has served its time and been left to drift effortlessly and happily towards a heavenly unknown.

Sensitive, Not Dramatic‘ introduces an industrial element with its rhythm churning away in the background while monastic-like harmonies fuse psychedelic headiness with experimental err towards kraut rock, as A Long Hereafter / Nothing Beyond closes gradually like vapour caught in a light breeze.

A Long Hereafter Nothing Beyond was originally released on the Spanish record label Green Ufos in March 2013.  The album was apparently well received but suffered from a limited run promotion. Temple Arts signed Al Berkowitz in 2014 and felt it only right this album should be re-released with full support and promotion across Europe in the hope that Al Berkowitz would receive the critical success they feel, the band deserve.

The re-release of A Long Hereafter / Nothing Beyond has been remastered and edited from 12 to 8 tracks, as the original release included 4 tracks against the band’s wishes.  Further to the re-release, Al Berkowitz will be relocating to London later this year to help promote themselves and pursue wider appreciation in the UK and across Europe.

Ignacio Simón has a beautiful, angelic voice and A Long Hereafter / Nothing Beyond, a truly wonderful album; and Temple Arts are right, more people need to hear the music of Al Berkowitz.

Al BerkowitzA Long Hereafter / Nothing Beyond is now available on Temple Arts.