Posts Tagged ‘Ted Nugent’

Buried Treasure: Talking To The People

2 April 2011

[Today: Down in the street…]

By the early 70s, the hopes raised by the Civil Rights movement had congealed into a grim understanding that if the laws had changed, the economic and social reality for blacks was about the same as it ever was. This understanding was reflected in the music of Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and George Clinton’s band Funkadelic. Like Funkadelic, Black Nasty was a Detroit-based funk group that featured rock-styled guitar and soulful organ. They’ve been billed as the heaviest band on Stax Records, but their lone album, 1973’s Talking To The People, is several measures more soulful than any of Funkadelic’s early stuff.

Sly Stone sang about a family affair, but Black Nasty actually was a family affair. R&B singer and producer Johnnie Mae Matthews was known as the ‘Godmother Of Detroit Soul’ because she was the first African-American female to own and operate her own label, and helped influence the careers of many legendary soul artists, including David Ruffin and Betty LaVette. With her encouragement and professional support, her son, Artwell ‘Art’ Matthews, and his first cousin Mark Patterson became the drum and bass backbone of several well-named bands. Their first group was a rock-oriented outfit called Raw Integrated Funk that featured a young Ted Nugent on guitar. Raw Integrated Funk would go through several lineup changes before becoming Black Nasty, which had Jackie Cosper on guitar, Audrey (sister of Art) Matthews and Terry Ellis trading lead vocals, and Thomas Carter on keyboards.

Like the artists mentioned above, Black Nasty made music that reflected the soul-weariness of the early 70s. The super-funky, album opening title-track is nothing less than a primer on how to separate the real soul brothers from the whack attack: “He that knows and know he knows, follow him/He that don’t know but want to know, lend him a hand/He that don’t know but think he knows, look out/He that don’t know but don’t want to know, look out.” The song also touches on drug abuse and is an unlikely marriage of black militancy and get-to-know-your-neighbor esprit. ‘Nasty Soul’ has enough mouth-popping, heavy-breathing, nasty ass vocalizing to make it sound like a clone of Dr. Funkenstein, while ‘Black Nasty Boogie’ features uptempo boogie-woogie-style piano and the invitation to “Shake, shake your jelly.”

But if Talking To The People is funky and silly in places, it also carries some emotional weight. In 1973, America was mired in a hopeless war, bogged down by political scandal, and hampered by inflation. The ghettos in many cities had been burned out by the turmoil of the late-60s, and like the psyche of Black America, were still scarred and in need of repair. Bands like Black Nasty said it’s okay to get down, as long as you know what’s up…

Listen: Talking To The People

Listen: Nasty Soul

Listen: Getting Funky Round Here

Guitar Gods – The Cover Art

19 November 2008

Here’s the cover art for one of my latest mixes – a four disc box-set called Guitar Gods. A compilation like this invites furrowed brows, lists of corrections, and plenty of harrumphing from all corners. Strike up the chorus: “But what about ____________?” There were dozens more guitarists that ideally would have been included, but four discs seemed like enough, and the line had to be drawn somewhere.

World B. Furr (sometime commenter on this blog) was kind enough to collaborate on this mix with me, and help me figure out where to draw that line, and it was a clear case of two brains being better than one. We had a lot of back and forth about who to include and who to leave out, and inevitably there were compromises to be made.

From the liner notes to this mix, here’s a six-pack of guitarists who just missed the cut:

Ace Frehley – When I was a kid I thought every guitarist should sound like The Spaceman. But then somewhere along the way I grew up. Still, I have a strange desire to shout “ACE FREHLEY! SHOCK ME!!!” and put him in the mix. Didn’t happen… [dk]

Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman – Scott Ian of Anthrax once said that if he goes to Hell, there’s no doubt Slayer will playing on the loudspeaker. These two guys have spent the better part of the last 25 years kicking out some of the heaviest and most sinister riffs of all-time — never once losing the fire that first got things started. [Furr]

George Brigman – Brigman is a Guitar God for me because he represents the dreams of the everyman player. As a 17 year-old kid, Brigman self-released his debut album Jungle Rot in 1975 and then watched it disappear. Time has proven it a fuzzed out, lo-fi classic. [dk]

Mick Taylor – Although we ultimately chose ‘Satisfaction’ and the Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones, I feel it’s imperative to point out the genius of Mick Taylor. Few could argue that the Taylor years were the Stones finest, and that’s largely due to the “other” Mick. [Furr]

Peter Green – The driving force of the original, bluesy Fleetwood Mac, Green was one of the best guitarists of his generation. Unfortunately, he lost his sanity in a worm hole of drugs, and disappeared from the music scene for decades. But his is a brilliant, if truncated, body of work. [dk]

Alex Lifeson – There are a lot of excuses people will give for hating Rush. Alex Lifeson’s guitar work is never one of them. This guy is one of the greatest players ever and he’s one-third of the reason why I absolutely LOVE Rush. [Furr]

Without further ado…

[Here’s the front cover…]
Guitar Gods | Front

[Here’s the inside front cover…]
Guitar Gods | Front Inside

[Here’s the inside booklet cover…]
Guitar Gods | Booklet Cover
[Guitar pick photos courtesy of Umlaut!]

[Here’s the guts of the inside booklet…]
Guitar Gods | Inside Booklet

[Here’s the back inside…]
Guitar Gods | Back Inside

[Here’s the back…]
Guitar Gods | Back

[Here’s the track listing…]

Disc 1ne
Chuck Berry * Johnny B. Goode
The Rolling Stones * Satisfaction [Keith Richards]
The White Stripes * Seven Nation Army [Jack White]
Link Wray * Rumble
Dick Dale & The Del-Tones * Let’s Go Trippin’
Cream * Sunshine Of Your Love [Eric Clapton]
Quicksilver Messenger Service * Mona [John Cipollina and Gary Duncan]
Merl Saunders, Jerry Garcia etc * Keepers (Live)
The Allman Brothers Band * In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (Live) [Duane Allman]
The Faces * Around The Plynth [Ron Wood]
Santana * Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen [Carlos Santana]
The Who * Won’t Get Fooled Again [Pete Townshend]
ZZ Top * La Grange [Billy Gibbons]
U2 * Bullet The Blue Sky [The Edge]

Disc 2wo
John Fahey * St. Louis Blues
Robert Johnson * Sweet Home Chicago
Mississippi John Hurt * Frankie
Muddy Waters * Baby Please Don’t Go
Bo Diddley * Who Do You Love?
Howlin’ Wolf * Smokestack Lightnin’
Albert King * Born Under A Bad Sign
Otis Rush * I Can’t Quit You Baby
Freddie King * Key To The Highway
Buddy Guy * A Man and The Blues
Johnny Winter * Dallas
B.B. King * Everyday I Have The Blues
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble * The Sky Is Crying
Albert Collins * Frosty
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band * East-West [Mike Bloomfield]
Roy Buchanan * Sweet Dreams

Disc 3hree
Nirvana * Come As You Are [Kurt Cobain]
Deep Purple * Smoke On The Water [Ritchie Blackmore]
Aerosmith * Sweet Emotion [Joe Perry]
Black Sabbath * Fairies Wear Boots [Tony Iommi]
Ted Nugent * Stranglehold
Spinal Tap * Sex Farm [Nigel Tufnel]
Sex Pistols * God Save The Queen [Steve Jones]
The Ramones * Judy Is A Punk [Johnny Ramone]
The Clash * Clampdown [Joe Strummer and Mick Jones]
Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers * One Track Mind
AC/DC * Highway To Hell [Angus Young]
Van Halen * Eruption [Eddie Van Halen]
Ozzy Osbourne * Flying High Again [Randy Rhoads]
Guns N’ Roses * Mr. Brownstone [Slash]
Judas Priest * You’ve Got Another Thing Coming [Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing]
Iron Maiden * The Trooper [Dave Murray and Adrian Smith]
Metallica * The Four Horsemen [Kirk Hammett]
Rage Against The Machine * Bombtrack [Tom Morello]

Disc 4our
Andrés Segovia * Suite Compostelana: I. Preludio
Buena Vista Social Club * Chan Chan [Ry Cooder]
Jeff Beck * Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers
Led Zeppelin * White Summer/Black Mountain Side [Jimmy Page]
The Jimi Hendrix Experience * Little Wing
John McLaughlin * Peace Piece
Funkadelic * Maggot Brain [Eddie Hazel]
Neil Young * Cortez The Killer
Pink Floyd * Comfortably Numb [David Gilmore]
Buckethead * Lone Sal Bug
Dire Straits * Ride Across The River [Mark Knopfler]
The Beatles * While My Guitar Gently Weeps [George Harrison]
Les Paul * Lover


[I’ll be extremely disappointed if there are less than two dozen fired up comments about how we screwed this up. This mix couldn’t possibly cover off on everyone’s personal list of Guitar Gods, so I look forward to hearing who you think we missed, and what we got wrong. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slip into my flame retardant Kevlar suit…]

On The Fence: Great Gonzos! The Best Of Ted Nugent

17 September 2007

Is Ted Nugent a forgotten 70’s guitar god or the personification of the brainless, macho posturing that has plagued hard rock since its inception? Your pragmatic, carefully thought-out reflections on Mr. Nugent’s art will help me determine whether I need more Nuge in my life, or if this album should be filed under ‘adios amigo’…

Nugent - album

THUMBS UP: Ted Nugent can play some guitar. Plain and simply, the guy knows his way around a lick, and the evidence is all over this album, as well as his work with the late-60’s combo The Amboy Dukes. Love him or hate him, one listen to ‘Stranglehold’ confirms that the Nuge had some serious skills and could sustain the excitement of a guitar lick over the course of a 10 minute song every bit as skillfully as Jimmy Paige Page. And if that doesn’t convince you, take a guess as to who was the top grossing touring act of 1977, 78, and 79? None other than the man himself…

THUMBS DOWN: ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’. ‘Yank Me Crank Me’. ‘Wango Tango’. ‘Dog Eat Dog’. Needless to say, nobody ever confused this guy with existential philosophy. We’ve all seen his bow-hunting/uber-conservative/jackass-maximus act on television, and frankly, his songs – hot licks and all – pull about 10 watts on the brainpower scale. But most damningly, Nugent is the perfect MP3 artist. His ‘greatest hits’ contains at most four songs that are worth owning – even if you’re a hardcore Nuge-head (can such a thing possibly exist?). Good, but not great…

[After a protracted, ugly strike that saw them confronted by pipe-wielding Pinkertons, the vote-tabulating elves are back on duty this week. Don’t make their picket line ordeals for naught – make your opinion known, and give them back the dignity of work…]