Release Date: April 16, 2013
Today Legacy Records released both albums by legendary Brooklyn New York band Dust on a single CD remastered from the original analog tape masters. Dust (1971) and Hard Attack (1972.)
Brooklyn: We Go Hard…
Even in the time before Twitter, information could fly like mad bees through high school hallways and such was the case in the early 1970’s when friends started buzzing about a band called Dust. Unquestionably local heroes here in Brooklyn, everyone seemed to know a relative or close friend of one of the members, and that sixth degree of separation from a signed act was an inspiration for an upstart guitarist like myself. Seeing the skulls staring from the cover of their first, self-titled, LP on the racks at Jaime’s Record Store on Flatbush Avenue made the rumors reality. The following year Hard Attack, adorned with Frank Frazetta’s Frost Giants painting, made an even bigger impression. Was their ever an album that better represented its title?
Truth is I owned neither of these albums in their time. You didn’t need to buy them to hear them regularly. In the days of communal listening everyone had a personal stash of records they brought along when visiting friends. At gatherings I was responsible for supplying Black Sabbath’s first, the Who’s Live At Leeds and Screaming Lord Sutch and His Heavy Friends, among others. I did add both Dust albums to my collection a few years later, when they turned up in the “cut-out” bins at Titus Oaks (also on Flatbush Ave).
While most pre-press for the CD points to Dust as progenitors of American metal, (a title I’d personally ascribe to Blue Cheer) that spin actually short sheets the bands talents. They were in fact children of their times, likely listening to friends’ record collections, and being influenced by a wide variety of styles. Across the 17 song disc you’ll get flavorings of Cream, Mountain, The Who, and even Beggar’s Banquet/Let It Bleed era Rolling Stones. That said, the dirge-like “From A Dry Camel” with its extended eastern modal jamming, the instro “Ivory” and the heavy riffing and extended bass guitar solo of “Suicide”, will not disappoint fans of early Black Sabbath.
In this classic power trio line-up Kenny Aaronson’s bass playing at once approximated the styles of both John Entwistle and Jack Bruce, and like them his melodic counterpoint drives many of the tunes. He also peppered the mix with dobro slide and touches of pedal steel guitar ala Led Zeppelin 1. Like early Zep records Richie Wise’s acoustic guitars are used to add texture intermingled with the electric rhythm and lead tracks. Marc Bell’s powerhouse double bass drum tracks are an excellent primer for current 70’s centric skin bashers.
Highs and Lows…
I’m extremely happy to have these recordings updated respectfully and available to new listeners, not just bin pickers. The enjoyability of these songs goes deeper than their artifact value. To their credit the band has done an exceptional remastering job. The CD compares quite favorably with the original vinyl pressings adding extra depth and detail without compressing the sonics for the sake of loudification.
Don’t expect arena rock production here. These tracks are from the days before everything became bathe in an ocean of ambiance and it’s refreshing to hear their tight, nearly dry, staging. The remaster reveals more space around the vocal reverb, crispness in the acoustic strums, grit in the electrics, and an all around enhancement of the bass sound, accentuating its gutteral low end. A vinyl version of this release will be available on April 20, 2013 – i.e. Record Store Day.
Based on the striking graphics of the original Kama Sutra LP’s, the CD cover art is a bit disappointing but the booklet is loaded with each band member and producer Kenny Kerner getting their say. The albums have been chronologically flopped for some inexplicable reason and it’s certainly a missed opportunity not to have included at least one live tune from the band’s heyday.
Though Dust dissolved in late 1972 the members did not go gentle into the good night. Marc Bell became world famous as Marky Ramone, and Richie Wise (along with Kenny Kerner) produced the first two albums for a little NY band called KISS. Kenny Aaronson continues to rock the low end and I had the pleasure of hearing him do just that at the Eagle Vision’s Rory Gallagher Tribute a while back.
What It Is…
Circuits to Cure Cancer is an ad hoc group of effects pedal makers, reviewers and distributors who have focused their creative skills to spin up a unique fundraising opportunity. Between April 18 and 28, 2013 more than 30 of these electrical alchemists’ products will be auctioned on eBay with 100% of the proceeds going to the St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital.
To make the auction even more outstanding, several of the pedals will offer custom tweaks, one of a kind embellishments, autographs (Keith Urban, St. Vincent, Josh Ritter) and key serial numbers. Visit the main CtCC site to see a by builder list of the stomp boxes going on the block, and keep an eye on the Circuits to Cure Cancer Facebook profile for up to the minute news about additions.
Kudos to those who helped organize Circuits to Cure Cancer. St Jude’s is a charity my family and I regularly support because of its high ratio of donation to objective. In the last five years 81 cents of every dollar has gone to research to find cures for children with cancer and other life threatening diseases, and no family ever pays St. Jude for anything.
Sadie, daughter of Australian effects maven Brett Kingman gives you the lowdown. Please help spread the word via all social media outlets.
What It Is…
I’m thrilled to announce a very special event for those who appreciate sparkling acoustic guitar tone and lightning licks. On Saturday April 20th, 2013 at 1:00 pm Street Sounds Music Store will treat us NAMM deprived Brooklynites to a Guild Guitar Clinic featuring renowned musician Doyle Dykes.
Dykes is a life long player, a songwriter and author. He toured with the late Grandpa Jones and has played the legendary stage of the Grand Ole Oprey on many occasions. His compositions and recordings have been heard in a number of interesting settings including as cues for NPR News, Disney’s California Adventure theme park, and even on the Space Shuttle Atlantis. His style ranges from Bluegrass to Jazz, Beatles to Devotional.
The gifted guitarist will offer attendees a short course on his fingerpicking style and introduce them to the beautiful Signature Model Guild has created to his specifications. Based around the Guild F47 Dykes’ instrument features an Adirondack (Red Spruce) top and quilted Maple back and sides with classic Florentine cutaway. Its fretboard and headstock embellishments honor his heroes Chet Atkins and Duane Eddy, while its slightly shallowed body adds snap and responsiveness to the overall sound. Doyle’s choices make this a standout addition to any player’s collection.
Don’t miss the chance to see and hear this magnificent six-string live in the hands of the player who helped design it. Street Sounds is located at 9206 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209. Admission is free, and proprietor Rocky Schiano and his family always welcome you like you’re kinfolk.
What It Is…
On Sunday April 7, 2013 Brooklyn Bowl hosts what has become a seasonal tradition for all things with strings, The Third Annual Brooklyn Springtime Guitar Show. Event promoters Lisa Sharken of Vintage Guitar Magazine and DJ Uncle Mike (who also runs the Collect-i-Bowl Record Fairs) have packed the house with a variety of vendors eager to show you their unique wares.
I first reported on the show back in spring of 2011 (read it here) and have made it my business to be on hand every time since then. It’s a great chance to test drive the handiwork of a diverse group of custom luthiers, boutique amp alchemists, and stomp box builders. There are of course plenty of high quality vintage instruments to encounter as well. The gathering has a fun, local swap-meet feel. You can bring a guitar, amp or old EFX box you’d like to sell or trade.
If you love being surrounded by a bounty of beautiful instruments, and appreciate the warm glow of rectifier tubes, you must not miss this event. Doors open at 11:00 AM, and the show runs until 5PM. Admission is FREE! The Brooklyn Bowl is located at 61 Wythe Street, between N.11 & N.12. The venue has plenty of great local brews on-tap (I’m partial to Kelso of Brooklyn’s Nut Brown Lager) and Blue Ribbon, the in-house restaurant, has a menu of tasty vittles a step above the usual pub fare.
Bang, Bang, Boom, Boom
Label: Mascot Label Group/Provogue Records
North American Release Date: April 2, 2013
I must begin this review by disclosing that I am an unabashed fan of Beth Hart and have been since first encountering the Leave The Light On album and the Live At Paradiso DVD. Admittedly that has been a bit of a “secret handshake” existence. So – no surprise – I was thrilled to see Hart’s high profile guest spot as chanteuse to guitarist Jeff Beck at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors event that found her belting “I Would Rather Go Blind” in tandem with Beck’s stinging unorthodox guitar licks. It’s always a sweet vindication when an artist you’ve championed gets some healthy buzz and an honest shot to break to a major audience. In conjunction with that December 2012 highlight and a tour that is selling out multiple venue dates, Hart’s new album Bang, Bang, Boom, Boom should present the bulls-eye career moment that has proved elusive in the past.
Hart has always produced work deserving of wide recognition. Along with her vocal prowess she is an excellent hit-producing songwriter (Jo Dee Messina’s “Delicious Surprise,”) smart interpreter (hear her version of Warren Haynes’ “Soulshine”) and savvy collaborator with the likes of guitarists Joe Bonamassa, Neal Schon, Slash and Jeff Beck. Bonamassa appears on this album’s “There In Your Heart,” adding his signature Clapton-esque lead lines.
Opening the album with a simple piano figure that grows into a torchy confessional “Baddest Blues” presents a worthy addition to the list of baroque step children of “I Put A Spell On You” like The Shangri-Las’ “(Remember) Walking In The Sand” and The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” While not as overwrought as either of the aforementioned, the song’s massive guitar punctuated chorus, multi-tracked vocals, and lyrics would have easily made it a spectacular candidate for a James Bond film theme.
The first single is title track “Bang, Bang, Boom, Boom” featuring a beer hall bounce that evokes 1920’s-30’s Brecht and Weill cabaret. The style is mined for the imagery in the official video, casting Hart as a Marlene Dietrich inspired femme fatale in a desert blackmail payoff scenario.
While Hart’s medium of choice is blues based it is not specifically THE Blues as characterized and nearly caricatured by classic rock bands of the seventies. Though often compared to Janis Joplin, that singular observation is too facile to describe an artist whose range is as wide as Hart’s. On this album she gets to explore the full spectrum of possibilities her vocal and songwriting talents afford. There’s everything from Gospel tinged testifying on “Spirit of God”, Mad Men era Sinatra on “Swing My Thing Back Around” that is dripping in a super snazzy horn arrangement, “Thru the Window of My Mind” (produced by Rune Westberg) offers a floating melodic line that would be at home on the classic U2 album The Joshua Tree, and there’s an aura of White Album era Beatles in the chord voicings of “Everything Has Changed.”
Producer Kevin Shirley first worked with Hart and Bonamassa on 2011’s Don’t Explain, an album that Bang, Bang, Boom, Boom is a stylistic kissin’ cousin to. Shirley has fashioned a tight and richly detailed sonic design that cradles Hart’s nuanced vocals. Check the nearly whispered opening lines of “Caught Out In the Rain” for a lesson in finesse. All embellishments exist to serve the singer, even when things get brassy and rocky, making for excellent radio friendly tracks.
Though the live Kennedy Center Honors performance of “I Would Rather Go Blind” ends the album with a bit of a tacked-on or bonus track feel it is a welcome addition as the possible selling point that brings in those who first encountered Hart via that broadcast. I think they’ll be quite pleased to have joined a fan base that will soon no longer be a secret society.