Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Où Sont Les Nuggets D’antan

Attentive readers are aware of my enthusiasm for the series of benefit/tribute/all-star concerts sposored and performed by LA's Wild Honey Orchestra in recent years. This one in honor of the Lovin' Spoonful, for example.

But this forthcoming one -- well, words fail me. A 50th anniversary show celebrating the release of Lenny Kaye's groundbreaking 1972 double-LP anthology of 60s garage/psych/proto-punk rock Nuggets.

[Click to expand the images for more info].

I vividly recall the day the original album first crosssed my desk at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review; I was like a kid in a candy store, although I was surprised at how many of the songs were unfamiliar to me (i.e., apparently hadn't gotten much airplay in the NYC area). In any event, the sound (on a lot of the ones I was familiar with) was way better than I expected, and Kaye's liner notes struck just the right balance between scholarship and fan gush. Bottom line -- a great compilation, and let's face it: Nuggets is the only album in rock history that's come to represent an entire genre.

Alas, there's no way I can attend the show, but for the rest of you guys -- if you're gonna be anywhere near LA in late May, get your tickets now! It's for a good cause! One of the guitarists from the original Love is gonna be there! A bassist for both The Leaves and The Turtles too! And the lead singer of The Chocolate Watchband as well? Jeebus -- what are you waiting for?


Allan Rosenberg said...

I feel like I have to make it out to LA one year to catch one of these shows. Every single one I've heard has been wonderful.

Captain Al

JB said...

I wish this was something I could attend because John Sebastian is a legend.

pete said...

I thought I was soooo smart, so Francophone, replying to that photo you posted on FB. I should have come here first.

SteveS said...

Not that this is relevant to anything, but in addition to writing some incredible songs, John Sebastian recorded one of the best covers of "Viola Lee Blues" (a song I've been inexplicably obsessed with for the last 10 years) I've ever heard. Unfortunately, the sound quality of this clip leaves much to be desired.


cthulhu said...

I actually saw John Sebastian once, opening for Robin Williams at about the height of the letter’s standup career (1981). Just Sebastian and a Strat and an amp (probably a black panel Deluxe or Twin) and nary a pedal in sight. Very cool performance - when he played the theme to WBK, he introduced it with, “I like this song…because it paid for my house.“ Williams appeared to be coked to the eyeballs and spent most of the show making unfunny dick jokes; sigh.

Anyway, I often listen to Lenny Kaye’s superb show on Little Steven’s Underground Garage channel on SiriusXM, and lately he’s been running through some of the stuff coming up on the re-release of Nuggets, with his inimitable recollections; great stuff. And of course the Nuggets stuff is, along with the British Invasion, the heart of that channel, and part of why I listen to it so much. Wish I could make the show, but I don’t think anything could entice me to drive to El Lay on a Friday night, even something as stellar as this is likely to be :-(

M. Bouffant said...

Good to see that Jim Pons is still kicking.

Nick Danger said...

Steve - I've got my tickets and have been going to each and every show since they were doing all the Beatles albums in order from Rubber Soul forward. Each and every show has been fantastic and for an amazing cause. Then this dropped in my inbox back in Feburary -

For most of his nineteen years, Wild Honey founder Paul Rock’s son Jacob, diagnosed with severe autism at age 3, has only been able to roughly verbalize the words “eat” and “yes.” His crippling inability to communicate spawned years of violent, often bloody, and increasingly compulsive self-injury.

In 2020, during pandemic-Zoom school, Jacob suddenly found his voice via a breakthrough in his long-practiced iPad typing. One of the first full sentences Jacob typed was "I want to be called Jacob" (he had always been called "Jake" up to that point). Soon he began writing smart, compassionate poems, literate, concise movie reviews, and expressing fierce political idealism. Through his dad-held iPad, Jacob revealed an intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm far beyond anyone's wildest hopes or expectations.

And then, 18 months ago, a bombshell: the Brian Wilson/Bob Dylan-loving Jacob casually revealed that he had just finished composing a nearly 70-minute symphony in his head.

In the following weeks, Jacob typed out a detailed description of his musical vision and the intended emotional impact of each moment. It was to be made up of 6 titled movements: 1) Tumultuous Desire, 2) Page Turner, 3) Brilliant Disguise, 4) Laughing In My Sleep, 5) Playing to Win, 6) Laughter in the Face of Sadness. Jacob’s vision follows his journey from anger, pain, and chaos to exploding moments of joy, celebration, and bittersweet melancholy in the wake of his communication breakthrough.

Jacob’s vision has found its perfect collaborator in the extremely talented family friend Rob Laufer, the musical director of the legendary Wild Honey Orchestra. Following and interpreting Jacob’s notes, Rob has created a midi score to match the musical outline. About their work together, Jacob says: "I want to cry because it is so perfect. I love that Rob can read my mind."

With the midi-files of the music complete, the respected JoAnn Kane company is midway through the completion of the score and acclaimed conductor Daniel Lessler Newman https://www.danielnewmanlessler.com/ has been engaged to conduct a 50 plus piece ensemble from USC's Thornton School of Musichttps://music.usc.edu/ for the October 2023 performance.

Wow. Just wow.