Review — Oasis: Supersonic

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 3:57 pm by George Smith

Watched Oasis: Supersonic this weekend, a documentary slated to run one day in the US before going to DVD and streaming services.

It’s a pretty good record of the band’s volcanic rise on the music of the Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? LPs, climaxing with a quarter of a million at Knebworth.

Which mostly meant nothing to me since I missed the boat on them, starting in 1994.

Supersonic’s also a good argument for strong social welfare programs as young people attempt to put something of their own together. “The dole,” informs the movie, financed the Gallagher brothers, first in a lifestyle of buying records starting out as strugglers and, more important, on the trip to a show as an opener in Glasgow. The Glasgow gig got them signed on the spot to Creation when the ower of the label showed up.

Oasis, Liam and Noel Gallagher, were from “council housing” in Manchester, an incredible cultural triumph of the working class, the young men being part of an English economic system that had given up on creating jobs for the working class and youth.

Noel Gallagher, it turned out, was a fantastic guitar pop songwriter. “Live Forever,” one of his first, is a tune the s band immediately realize is special when they hear it performed acoustically. His brother, Liam, is the perfect singer and frontman for the music. The debut, Definitely Maybe, immediately vaults Oasis into the first rank of British pop acts.

Until (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? it’s a continuous rise until Knebworth in front of a sea of humanity.

It had me listening to the three CD deluxe sets of their first three records, the two the movie follows and Be Here Now which marks a fall from peak popularity for music to constant notoriety for fighting and scandal sheet drug escapades.

Oasis singles’, delivered as the second disc of the Morning Glory package are quite an assembly of hits s ranging from rollicking goodtime rockouts to the wistful and elegiac: “Step Out,” “Down Are Way,” “Wonderwall/The Masterplan” and “Champagne Supernova.”

Like most of my countrymen, I whiffed. Attention deficit disorder mixed with a large dose of condescension. Our loss. In 1996 the appeal in their homeland is summed up by a quote from the New York Times:

“What Oasis has done in Britain, unifying an entire country under the banner of a single pop act, a band could no longer achieve in a country like the US. In Britain the band reigns unchallenged as the most popular act since the Beatles, there is an Oasis CD in roughly one of every three homes there.

In fact, for Supersonic the US is not in the picture, something for which the Oasis reputation is much better off. Their debut in country, at the Whisky in LA is shown as a now humorous disaster where the band and crew are so spun out on methamphetamine they were up for days. Rodney Bingenheimer introduces them and the wheels fall off. Noel Gallagher drily points out his set list, written up by a roadie, is different from everyone else’s. And that was only part of it.

Here in the land of the culturally splintered they were a passing fad, only for the coasts, written off by a gourmand at the New York Times as “low priced … cologne,” a band “more like the Rutles, the Beatles parody act of the 70’s that looked like the Beatles and played songs in the style of the Beatles but didn’t blatantly steal entire melodies and lyrics …” Even Noel Gallagher wears a “Rutles pin” jibes the writer.

After twenty years passage the disses are so over the top as to be hilarious, a comedy script from a lampoon of a rock critic as offbeat snob.

“[When] it all came together, we made people feel something that was indefinable … The love, the joy, the passion and the rage, and the joy that came in from the crowd,” says Noel Gallagher before the end credits. In Britain, Oasis were a reason for being, music to grow up to.


This week’s Gold Cup Culture of Lickspittle Moment

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll, Shoeshine at 11:29 am by George Smith

Laugh at all the special bootlicks and shoeshiners, n.B., the New Yorker and music journalists.

The gold cup winners:

The writings and posts on Bob Dylan winning a Nobel by people who’d have a hard time naming even one of the many scientists in the last 70 years or so who won Nobels for work that pushed civilization much farther ahead than lyrics from classic rock and pop.

Yay, Bob.


Hot rock track from Old White Coot

Posted in Phlogiston, Rock 'n' Roll, WhiteManistan at 12:27 pm by George Smith

Download and collect ’em all.

Or listen to LP while it’s built.


The latest from Old White Coot

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll, WhiteManistan at 2:33 pm by George Smith

Field folk boogie to the dollar store, a daily ritual. “No More Zumba,” a sign on the way. Harp: Penn Dutch, Jr.

Or page down to the playlist and hear ’em all. Highly recommended.


Music for while you read

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, Made in China, Rock 'n' Roll, WhiteManistan at 1:10 pm by George Smith

Old White Coot — field recordings in stereo! Collect them as they come. Perfect for readings on the Culture of Lickspittle.


Book arrival

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll at 2:48 pm by George Smith

Just in, digital copy of Chuck Eddy’s “Terminated for Reasons of Taste,” published by Duke University Press.

I am entertained by the story of Eddy in the Army in Germany in 1983, where as a 2LT he’s commended by his reviewing officer for having whipped his unit into fine shape. Just in time for Able Danger Able Archer, a NATO exercise the Soviet Union thought was going to be a first strike, mostly due to Ronald Reagan’s brainless yack about “the evil empire” and the deployment of the Pershing missile to Europe. So far, fine lunchtime reading.

I’ve know Chuck Eddy for quite some time. He was the first rock critic to review my “Arrogance” record for Creem magazine way back in the mid-Eighties. And much later, he was one of my editors when I free-lanced for the Village Voice from 2000-2006.

The title is taken from the reason given for his firing by the Village Voice when new ownership took over in 2006.

I’m enjoying it and will have more to say later. But, yes, I do review books.


Old White Coot (continued)

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Phlogiston, Rock 'n' Roll at 12:38 pm by George Smith

I’m pre-empting all the false-Americana music slated for release this fall. It’s another tune from “Old White Coot,” presented by the Cootenanny Company. The chorus alone is bound to raise smiles of recognition all over America.

And while you may have heard it, it’s never been made available for download to your gadget.

It’s pure electric folk blues, hmespun BDSM Americana, a tale of basement action.

“I’m wild about the women, keeping me from my peace at night/I got to keep ’em tied up, so they don’t start a fight.”


Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll, The Corporate Bund at 10:12 am by George Smith

Owen Jones, from the Guardian:

Tax avoidance epitomises an unjust social order: one in which different rules apply, depending on your wealth and power; and where societies are rigged in favour of shamelessly greedy elites.

That’s why today’s ruling by the European commission – to force Apple to pay up to €13bn (£11bn) in unpaid taxes – is so significant. Apple is one of the world’s biggest companies. Its arrangement with Ireland allowed it to pay little tax on income earned across the continent: this, the commission says, violates rules on state aid. It also represents a defiant rejection of US attempts to defend tax-avoiding corporations.

The New York Times also ran an op-ed, urging action on Apple and other shirking American corporates. No link, because it only emphasizes the general unwillingness of the country to move on the issue in any way that benefits the 99 percent.

The grievance, now from the US government on the European Commission/EU grasping at US corporate sovereignty, only makes the moral character of the country look worse. The EU moved against Apple while the US would not, staking a claim in a claback ruling to money the US government had been hoping to wring out of Apple in some future repatriation/tax holiday scheme sold as fairness to the richest of American corporations.

“But the money won’t be repatriated and taxed under American law if Europeans, in the course of enforcing their own laws against tax havens, get their hands on it first,” reads the Times. “And that, in a nutshell, is why members of Congress and Treasury officials are so upset about the Apple ruling.”

And the song, folksy and acoustical as opposed to electrical, is another cut from Old White Coot, an album you will surely enjoy.


Mean Future download

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 12:49 pm by George Smith

“Guess this turned out to be even righter than I thought.” — Chuck Eddy


Play It Again Records closes — knew it well

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll, Sludge in the Seventies at 1:42 pm by George Smith

Over 30 years ago I don’t think there was a day I wasn’t at Play It Again Records on the south side of Bethlehem.

When I was at Lehigh, it was a 5 minute walk from the chemistry building, easy to hit at lunch and the end of the day.

Play It Again was the only retail business that would carry Chainsaw fanzine, which was a diy punk rock pub put together by my ex-wife and myself. And it wouldn’t have carried Chainsaw if I hadn’t cajoled the owner, Joe Hanna, a man of open mind, into selling indie vinyl after I got tired of having to buy mail order. Plus it sold my record and our only Chainsaw cassette, “Annoy Your Neighbors With This Tape.”

A few years later, the store was also a hub for the community summer staff for WLVR, Lehigh’s college radio station.

It was a great place, indelibly part of the history, the good part, of the Lehigh Valley.

Hanna was actually the singer in a band we put together in the 80s, Senseless Hate, too. We rehearsed in the store — the original place at 333 S. New St. before it moved up the block to the place pictured. There were a few amusing if pointless shows, one song which made it to a punk rock omnibus.

From a recent Morning Call piece on the closing:

The space at 129 W. Fourth St. remained, at least Wednesday, equal parts retail store and dream dorm room. Wrestling figures, quirky posters and untold bric-a-brac share the business with rows and rows of records and CDs. The cassette stock has dwindled, but there are some of those, too, and CD-display stands.

Hanna, of Salisbury Township, will still own the building. He said he’s closing because he got an offer he couldn’t refuse from a restaurateur, John Okumus, looking to open a [pizza restaurant] there.

Hanna plans to remain open until Aug. 10, a few days before Okumus gets the key…

[When] Hanna started out, buying music to play at home was the only alternative to sitting by the radio waiting for your favorite song to come on.

“If you wanted to hear your song when you wanted to hear it, you pretty much had to buy the record,” Hanna said. “That was it.”

Buy the record. How quaint.

The business had been stable, I was informed, but the restaurant offer was a very good one. The south side of Bethlehem has been transformed. It went from a long time as a slum off Lehigh to being nice retail and entertainment real estate. Plus, 35 years is a fine run, all things considered.

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