Sunday, March 15, 2015

Daevid Allen - 1994 - Live 1963

Daevid Allen 
Live 1963

01. Love Is A Careless Sea
02. My Head Is A Nightclub
03. Capactiy Travel
04. Song Of The Jazzman
05. Dear Olde Benny Green Is A-Turning In His Grave
06. Ya Sunne Wot
07. Frederique La Poisson Avez Frite Sur De Dos (Version: Tres Tres Rosbif)

Daevid Allen: Composer, Guitar, Primary Artist, Vocals
Hugh Hopper: Bass, Guitar
Mike Ratledge: Piano
Robert Wyatt: Drums

This disc features one of the earliest line-ups of The Soft Machine playing at the Marquee Club in London (where The Who would soon make their reputation). The music is not easy listening by any means and can only be recommended to die-hard fans of Canterbury groups. The liner notes feature fond reminiscences by Daevid Allen and gentle caveats by Hugh Hopper. Despite the occasionally amateurish playing and musical pretensiousness of the group members (at the time of this recording they claimed to be strictly jazz fans), the disc is an important historical document and should be seen as such. Parts of the songs appear in later Gong recordings, and Daevid Allen continues reciting poetry and anecdotes between songs during his live performances.
One must not judge this historic musical document by pointing out neither the poor sound quality nor the band's performance overall.
While a Bootleg is an unofficial recording made almost exclusively at the band's peak of popularity, this is a testament of an historic moment in the history of British Rock.
Before Soft Machine (labeled as one of the precursors of Prog Rock), before Caravan. Even before The Wilde Flowers, there was The Daevid Allen Trio. We can securely trace back the beginnings of the Canterbury Scene to this particular recording and that is the main point of this recording.

By 1963 Allen had just met his landlord's 16 years old son, Robert Wyatt and, along with Hugh Hopper (or was it Kevin Ayers?)were very much into free jazz from the likes of Sun Ra. Allen was experimenting with Beat poetry by the likes of Ginsberg and Burroughs hence the poem like lyric structure over a pandemoniac free jazz groove.

This is definitely a piece for die hard Canterbury fans and completists,  however, it should be viewed not as a mere bootleg but as an important piece of a musical puzzle named The Canterbury Scene.

Daevid Allen - 1993 - Je ne fum' pas des bananes

Daevid Allen 
Je ne fum' pas des bananes

01. Daevid Allen - Intro 0:17
02. Banana Moon - Pretty Miss Titty 4:03
03. Banana Moon - Rich Girl 3:45
04. Banana Moon - Un oeuf for You 5:36
05. Banana Moon - My Mother's Gone to India / Hare Krishna / Time of the Green Banana / Remember the Name 5:25
06. Daevid Allen & François Bayle - La belle cérébrale 2:53
07. Gong - Est-ce que je suis (Garçon ou fille) 3:38
08. Gong - Hyp Hypnotise You 3:28
09. Daevid Allen - Goldilox 3:28
10. Daevid Allen - Why Do You Come Knocking at My Door? 4:31
11. Daevid Allen - Rock'n'roll Angel 3:16
12. Banana Moon - Why Are We Sleeping? 9:36
13. Banana Moon - French Garden 3:24
14. Banana Moon - French Garden 3:31
15. Daevid Allen - Pretty Miss Titty 5:54
16. Banana Moon - Pretty Miss Titty 1:46
17. Daevid Allen - Gong Song 4:33
18. Banana Moon - Je ne fum' pas des bananes 5:00
19. Daevid Allen - Je ne fum' pas des bananes 3:12

Whichever way you look at it, Daevid Allen is one of the most interesting and enigmatic characters in music. An Australian, he was working in a Melbourne book shop when he discovered the writings of the ‘Beat Generation’, and his life was never the same again. He travelled to Europe in search of the Beatnik ‘nirvana’ in 1960, and found himself in a Paris hotel, living in a room that had only very recently before been vacated by poet Allen Ginsberg and his life partner, fellow poet Peter Orlovsky. Here he met Terry Riley who introduced the young Allen to the world of free jazz, and the notorious William Burroughs.

“[he] was looking for a jazz band to play while he performed dramatic versions of (his cut-up book) The Ticket That Exploded with Ian Somerville and Brion Gysin. My room was right next door to Brion’s—he was doing interesting tape loops similar to Terry Riley, who was around, too. Burroughs invited me up to his room and said, ‘Well Dave, there’s two ways that I can communicate this information to you. One way will take 30 years and the other will take five minutes. Which way you do want it?’ Anticipating instant sodomy, I said, ‘I think I’ll take the 30 years.’ He was happy with that and told me, ‘I’ve got this job and I want you to play.’ We put on the show and there was the weirdest collection of people in the audience. Burroughs had one scene with nuns shooting each other up with huge syringes. Terry Riley came, and we ended up playing together outside in the street with motorscooter motors, electric guitar and poetry. It was wild.”

Armed with these revolutionary new ideas, he travelled across the channel to England where he formed The Daevid Allen Trio featuring his landlord’s 16 year old son Robert Wyatt on drums. A few years later in 1966 they formed the legendary Soft Machine with Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge.

After a European Tour in 1967, Allen was refused entry to the UK because of a visa irregularity, and moved back to France, where he became involved in the famous student insurrection of 1968. He then moved to Deya, Majorca where he, and partner Gilly Smyth began to assemble a loose-knit collection of musicians who began recording under the name Gong. One of these musicians was Didier Malherbe (latter dubbed Bloomdido Bad-De Grass by Daevid), a tremendously gifted saxophonist and flautist, who Daevid claimed to have found living in a cave on the estate of poet Robert Graves. The rest is history.

In the weeks following being refused re-entry to Britain in September 1967, Daevid Allen started playing gigs with various musicians and artists under the collective name Gong, at a Paris club called La Vieille Grille. Early in 1968, he met experimental film director Jérôme Laperrousaz and told him he was looking for musicians to form a band. The latter forwarded the request to a local band called Expression, whose lead guitarist had just left. The rhythm section, consisting of Patrick Fontaine (bass) and Marc Blanc (drums), was recruited and played its first gig with Allen only a few days later, still under the name of Expression. The set consisted of two Soft Machine numbers, "Why Are We Sleeping?" and "We Did It Again", mixed with spontaneous improvisations. They subsequently took the name of Bananamoon.

Then came May '68 and the student riots in Paris. Daevid Allen was forced to leave Paris with his partner Gilli Smyth. The group reunited in July at the Avignon festival, opening for the jazz group of vibraphonist Gunter Hampel. This was followed by a few gigs. Then they embarked for Mallorca, staying at Allen's house in Deya. At the end of the year they returned to France, spending the Winter at Bob Bénamou's ashram in Monteaulieu, near Nyons (Drôme). It was during this period that the trio recorded several demos for the Barclay label. This led to nothing, however, and the three members went their separate ways : Allen resurrected the Gong project, while Fontaine and Blanc went back to Paris to form Ame Son (in 1974, he opened for Gong on a French tour when playing in the band of English vibraphonist Robert Wood). Their recordings survived, however, and thanks to the efforts of longtime fan Thierry Leroy (who had financed Gong's 1992 comeback album Shapeshifter), were released on CD in 1993 under the title Je Ne Fum' Pas Des Bananes.

Daevid Allen - 1992 - Who`s Afraid

Daevid Allen 
Who`s Afraid

01. Thinking Thoughts
02. Love
03. Who's Afraid?
04. Shadow
05. Bopera III
06. Pretty Teacher
07. Call It Accident
08. Song For Robert
09. C'Est La Maison
10. More And More
11. Quit Yr Bullshit

Daevid Allen: vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar
Kramer: vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, flute, producer, engineering
David Licht: drums, percussion

I love Daevid Allen, but I find some of his solo output a little too acoustic, too self-indulgent, or too childish. However, this is a terrific CD, and although produced on a limited budget, it effectively provides some more psychedelic backdrops for his songs that make them more appealing to me. Kramer's style is not Gong, of course, but Bongwateresque, and it works. A fun record to listen to, that sounds like it was great fun to make as well. If you are a Daevid Allen fan, this is a definite keeper.

Daevid Allen - 1982 - The Death of Rock

Daevid Allen 
The Death of Rock

01. Death of Rock (4:47)
02. Poet for Sale (live) (5:15)
03. Tallys Birthday Song (3:45)
04. You Never Existed at All (4:11)
05. Afraid (2:01)

CD Extra Tracks:
06. Radio Gnome Concert Intro Loop (3:56)
07. The Switch Doctor (28:38)
08. Gong ORFT Invasion 1971 (8:59)

- Daevid Allen / guitar, vocals
- Elizabeth Middleton / voice, piano (tracks 3 and 5)
- William S. Burroughs / voice (track 4)
- Mark Kramer / piano (tracks 1 and 2)

Originally issued in 1982 as a 12" EP, this vastly expanded CD version compiles a large passel of Gong mastermind Allen's highly eccentric electronic and vocal experiments, plus some stray odds and sods. Yes, some of this makes a beeline right for the land of the indulgent, but there's much that's tremendous here as well, including the unsettling "You Never Existed At All", which situates an Alan Spelt Eraserhead atmosphere against a tweakily effected vocal for maximum Rubber Johnny alienation effect and, most notably, the nearly half hour long "The Switch Doctor", a "Registered Nurse"-like sprawl of surrealist audio art pastiche thats a must hear for anyone into the Gong myth.

Daevid Allen - 1982 - Divided Alien Playbax 80

Daevid Allen 
Divided Alien Playbax 80

01. When 8:01
02. Well 1:27
03. Bell 1:02
04. Boon 1:08
05. Dab 1:43
06. Gay 2:15
07. Rude 1:47
08. Disguise 1:06
09. Pearls 2:35
10. Bodigas 0:57
11. Froghello 2:40
12. Fastfather 5:06
13. Smile 9:02

Bass - Bill Laswell
Drums - Fred Maher
Drums, Percussion - Bill Bacon
Guitar, Voice, Recorded By, Producer - Daevid Allen
Synthesizer - Michael Brainhorn

Using tape loops from the sessions for New York Gong's "About Time", Daevid Allen toured the states performing this and other material. I believe that this is a document of that material, though I can't find information on the web. I can say that this contains some of his best singing and has a very rough DIY edge that fits very nicely with the contemporary cassette underground culture. They aren't "songs", more like snapshots of feelings and attitudes. His gnarly guitar tone permeates, and the lo-fi loops keep it placed in its specific time. This, and the EP "Don't/Stop" with David Tolley, exemplify his vocal skills.

Daevid Allen - 1979 - N'existe pas!

Daevid Allen 
N'existe pas!

01. Professor Sharpstrings Says 0:21
02. The Freedom Of The City In A Suitable Box 3:57
03. They Say They Say 2:29
04. Something Tells Me 3:22
05. It's A Fine Air For Fliss 3:36
06. But It's Really Not Real 3:19
07. Because Bar Room Philosophers 2:30
08. 333 4:09
09. No Other Than The Mother Is My Song 3:39
10. Theme From Hashish To Ashes 1:55
11. The Turkeybirds Breakfart 2:08
12. Rajneesh With Thanks 0:30
13. Non God Will Not Go On Or The Wrong Way To Be Right 11:20
14. O Man You 2:19

Acoustic Guitar - Pepe Milan
Banjo - Angel Aduana
Drums - Brian Damage (2) (tracks: A1 to A8, B1 to B4, B6) , Rodney Dust (tracks: B5) , Ronald Dust (tracks: B5)
Guitar, Vocals - Daevid Allen
Percussion - Chris Cutler
Percussion [Pipe On Plastic Disc] - Ronald Walthen
Saxophone, Clarinet - George Bishop

Of his late 70s output this is the best. Gone are the acoustic musings of his his previous 2 albums and in comes a more jazz flavoured avant-garde feel.

A nice album. In typical Allen fashion it turns silly here and there, but the record is always warm hearted and varied. Recommended. Check out the track "No Other Than the Mother Is My Song". Great stuff!

Daevid Allen - 1977 - Now Is The Happiest Time Of Your Life

Daevid Allen 
Now Is The Happiest Time Of Your Life

01. Flamenco Zero (1:45)
02. Why Do We Treat Ourselves Like We Do? (6:45)
03. Tally & Orlando Meet The Cockpot Pixie (3:13)
04. See You On The Moontower (5:46)
05. Poet For Sale (3:55)
06. Crocodile Nonsens Poem (1:00)
07. Only Make Love If You Want To (5:29)
08. I Am (11:04)
09. Deya Goddess (6:36)

- Daevid Allen / guitar, vocals
- Victor Peraino / synthesizer
- Xaver Riba / violin (4)
- Vera Blum / violin (2)
- Marianne Oberascher / harp (8)
- Pepsi Milan / tablas
- Juan Biblioni / tablas
- Sam Gopal / tablas

For my money, this is Daevid Allen's most enjoyable (semi-) acoustic album. It is so endearing that I recommend it unreservedly to everyone who enjoys Daevid's singing on (say) ANGEL'S EGG's original B-side. Tracks like 'Why do we treat ourselves like we do' and 'Only make love if you want to' are intimate and wistful; they also have lovely melodies, and you'll feel as if Daevid were right next to you, warbling away and playing his acoustic guitar. Somehow, nothing on GOOD MORNING (which was distributed more widely than HAPPIEST TIME) touches me as deeply as these particular two tracks. They really show you Mr. Allen's gentlest side.

Most of the other compositions are equally enjoyable. 'Tally and Orlando...' is a string synthesizer-driven waltz, during which Daevid takes a ride in a real flying teapot with two of his children (or grandchildren?) It ends delightfully, with the kids chanting: 'Daevid must be joking!' Exactly so. 'See you on the Moontower' is Daevid and his electric guitar (with lots of echo on his voice) in rockabilly mood, but without bass or drums. 'Poet for Sale' features Daevid reciting a satiric poem in protest against the commercial exploitation of artists. On the album's original B-side, the most ambitious piece was 'I Am', a wonderfully dreamy piece of Ambient music (let's just not call it 'New Age', O.K.?) with lots of mellow synths, harp, glissando guitar, and the somehow unbearably moving sound of a donkey braying in Deya, Mallorca, where this album was recorded.

Daevid Allen - 1976 - Good Morning

Daevid Allen 
Good Morning

01. Children of the New World (3:42)
02. Good Morning (5:17)
03. Spirit (4:47)
04. Song of Satisfaction (2:17)
05. Have You Seen My Friend? (3:37)
06. French Garden (3:23)
07. Wise Man in Your Heart (11:28)
08. She Doesn't She (2:39)
09. Euterpe Gratitude Piece (9:50)*

- Pepe Milan / mandoline, charango, acoustic guitars, glockenspiel
- Ana Camps / vocals
- Tony Pascual / Moog String, keyboard & guitar
- Toni Ares / contrabass
- Toni Tree Fernandez / guitars

- Gilli Smyth / space whisper & licks
- Daevid Allen: vocals, glissando guitar & solo guitar

Special Guests on Wise Man in Your Heart:
- Mike Howlett / Bass
- Pierre Moerlen / Percussion

2007 CD Esoteric ECLEC2004 with one bonus track noted with *

Amongst the sleeve notes of this 2nd solo album proper, Daevid exclaims ' At last .... a band without a Drummer ! Hooray ! ' This album is the product of Daevid's getting together with a Spanish troupe of acoustic musicians called 'Euterpe', whilst he was based in Majorca. 'Euterpe', by the way, is the name of a Greek God of Music..... and there is no Drummer !! The music is as whimsical and dreamy as anything Allen has created (before and after). Most of this material is purely 'personal' sounding and stream-of-consciousness stuff. It is surely Spacey and Psychedelic, original and weird. Even if Allen is an out- to-lunch sort of character, his individual ideals, beliefs and approach always sound way ahead of their time. And he does have a valid perception of the world in which we live in. The musical illustrations presented here by Daevid and his 'bunch of Catalunatics' only occasionally display some form of melody, and for the most part, have a strange structure, if indeed any at all. For these traits alone, the album stands its own ground. I came across this record during the mid-90's, and haven't listened to it that often, but it's certainly excellent. I adore the cover-art - it's so Gong. The highlight and masterpiece track off the album is the big one on side 2 - 'Wise Man In Your Heart' (11.35) - featuring none other than his trusty Gong-mates Pierre Moerlen (Perc.) and Mike Howlett (Bass). This tune alone is amazing. A phenomenal, mesmerising Glissando Guitar heavy travel, with a superb rhythmic backing, and kozmik rant from Allen. This composition is precious and reason alone for tracking down this release. Those familiar with the extended, Space-excursions from Gong, 'You' (in particular), along with the more Jazz-oriented Moerlen- led ensemble, will discover a perfect marriage between the two styles. The title track is another strong piece of music. I'm not really convinced it belongs in the Canterbury camp, but Space-Heads and Gong- Freaks should enjoy this excellent album regardless.

Daevid Allen - 1975 - Banana Moon

Daevid Allen
Banana Moon

01. Time Of Your Life (3:21)
02. Memories (3:37)
03. All I Want Is Out Of Here (4:48)
04. Fred The Fish And The Chip On His Shoulder (2:27)
05. White Neck Blooze (4:36)
06. Codein Coda (1:00)
07. Stoned Innocent Frankenstein (3:28)
08. And His Adventures In The Land Of Flip (11:44)
09. I Am A Bowl (2:46)

- Archie Legget / Bass, Vocals
- Barry St. John / Backing Vocals
- Maggie Bell / Backing Vocals
- Robert Wyatt / Drums, Guitar (2), Vocals (2), Backing Vocals
- Daevid Allen / Guitar, vocals
- Gary Wright / Piano (2)
- Gerry Fields / Violin
- Gilli Smyth / Vocals, Space Whisper (6, 7, 8)
- Nick Evans / Trombone (9)
- Christian Tritsch / Bass, Rythm Guitar (1)
- Pip Pyle / Drums (1)

This album (with its splendid cover picture) has long been a favourite of mine. If you enjoy Daevid Allen's Gong, you shouldn't be without it. In my opinion it's even more fun than CAMEMBERT ELECTRIQUE, while its original A-side is as brilliant as FLYING TEAPOT (despite the absence of Tim Blake or Didier Malherbe).

BANANAMOON is a predominantly electric album. It seems to have been written and performed in a VERY good mood, and its high spirits are infectious. The opening track, featuring out-of-control drumming by Pip Pyle and ditto lead guitar by Allen himself (I think) sets the pace. The only truly melancholic moment on the album is track No. 2: the definite performance of the lovely Soft Machine ballad 'Memories', featuring Robert Wyatt on vocals and drums, sensitively accompanied by Daevid on rhythm guitar and by Archie Legget on bass. Until BANANAMOON appeared, this song had never officially been released. To my mind, it's as good as anything on the Soft Machine's first two albums. (Which is saying something!)

The album continues with the far out 'All I want is out of here', which sounds just like a performance by Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. Spirits are raised even more by the faux-Bluegrass of 'Fred the Fish', which has Daevid singing about packing his bags for Australia. This two-and-a-half minute track alone is worth the price of admission.

But even greater stuff is to follow, as the original A-side ends on a hilarious parody of a typical Kevin Ayers-type ballad. Daevid sings in the lowest register he can manage, and he's even borrowed two of Kevin's original backup singers. Fabulous. All that's lacking is one of those pristine Mike Oldfield guitar solos - but they would have prettified BANANAMOON too much.

In fact, this album's forte is that it sounds so spontaneous, and so delightfully messy. Especially on its original B-side, which opens with yet another cheerful rock dittie, 'Stoned innocent Frankenstein', seguing into the all-out psychedelic/space-rock assault of 'And his Adventures in the land of Flip'. 'I'm a Bowl' forms a thoroughly Canterburian conclusion: childlike and whacky.