Return of The Green Gorilla

6 10 2010

The GG is back! Sorry for the short hiatus and infrequent posting over the last few weeks. I’ve been busy with some other projects and thus, have been less active here on The GG. Everything should be back up and running with new posts daily… or at least close. It’s also time to update the On The Turntable page. It’s long overdue and I would like to fill in the lost months in the archive.  Look for that, and more, in the coming weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this dated 90’s R&B classic, “Return of the Mack”. I dunno, it seemed oddly appropriate. PS– You may recognize this sample as Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love”, which was also famously covered by the Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense.

…I’m Back!

I Want To Be Your Man

7 05 2010

This is one of The Stones earlier hit singles. It’s a Lennon/McCartney tune that was written a bit hastily on request. Mic and the boys had run into John and Paul back in November of ’63. They were short on material and asked if they had any songs for them. John and Paul went back to the studio with them and quickly threw together “I Want To Be Your Man” from a single verse they had worked out previously. It never was released by The Rolling Stones on a full LP, but was available as a 45 in both the UK and US. It even climbed as high as No. 12 on the UK charts. The Beatles released their own version of the song just three weeks later. It’s quite different but still very good, featuring Ringo on lead vocals. John later said of the song, “That shows how much importance we put on it. We weren’t going to give them anything great, right?”. I love that, it’s some very funny commentary. The two bands were actually very friendly, but obviously with an ego like Lennon’s he was always competitive… even with his own band mates. Each group had there own take on the song, both of which illustrated their respective points of view. The Stones’ was rough and raw, with loud amps and screaming vocals. The Beatles’, while still not tame, was much sweeter with nice pop sensibilities. These two old videos are great examples of both.

The Rolling Stones

The Beatles

Sgt Pepper’s: A Breakdown

28 04 2010

It’s so iconic and yet most people have no idea who or what they are looking at. The Beatles 1967 album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is known not only for it’s great music but for the incredible album art as well. If you’ve ever wondered who are all those people standing behind the Fab Four, today is your lucky day.

But first, a little background on this Grammy Award winning piece of rock n roll art history. The album’s packaging was art-directed by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake and his wife Jann Haworth, and photographed by Michael Cooper. Fraser was a prominent London art dealer who had become a close friend of Paul McCartney. It was he who urged  that the group abandon their original cover design, a psychedelic painting by The Fool. Fortunately for The Fool, his design for the inner sleeve was still used, at least for the first few pressings and is now something of a collectible. Robert Fraser was one of the leading champions of modern art in the UK in the 1960s. He argued that The Fool’s artwork was not well-executed and that the design would soon be dated. So, he offered to art-direct the now famous cover. Fraser then suggested they use an established fine artist and introduced the band to a client, noted British pop artist Peter Blake. Blake, in collaboration with his wife, created the famous cover collage known as “People We Like”. The final result shows the Beatles, as the Sgt. Pepper band, surrounded by a large group of their heroes who are rendered as life sized cut-out figures. Also included were wax-work figures of the Beatles as they appeared in the early ’60s, borrowed from Madame Tussauds. The collage depicted more than 70 famous people; including writers, musicians, film stars and (at Harrison’s request) a number of Indian “gurus”. There were also a few controversial persona’s that were originally intended to be included but were edited out at the last minute, among them were Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ… perhaps too risky for even the Beatles. The collage was assembled by Blake and his wife during the last two weeks of March 1967 at the London studio of photographer Michael Cooper, who took the cover shots on March 30th in a three-hour late night session. The rear side of the cover had the lyrics printed on it with a small picture of the band near the bottom. It’s significant because it was the first time lyrics were presented in this manner on a British pop LP. The final product was a “gatefold” album cover, that is, the it could be opened like a book to reveal a large picture of the Fab Four in their custom-made military style costumes against a bright yellow background. The reason for the gate fold was that the Beatles originally planned to fill two LPs for the release. The designs had already been approved and sent to print when they realized they would only have enough material for one LP.

Ok. So, using the numeric outline of the original cover (below) you can dissect who is who, finally getting to the bottom of this age old question. Both the original and the outline are from larger sources. Should you need to zoom in, simply click the image to enlarge it.

The Breakdown:
  1. Sri Yukteswar Gigi (guru)
  2. Aleister Crowley (dabbler in sex, drugs and magic)
  3. Mae West (actress)
  4. Lenny Bruce (comic)
  5. Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
  6. W.C. Fields (comic)
  7. Carl Gustav Jung (psychologist)
  8. Edgar Allen Poe (writer)
  9. Fred Astaire (actor)
  10. Richard Merkin (artist)
  11. The Varga Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
  12. *Leo Gorcey (Painted out because he requested a fee)
  13. Huntz Hall (actor one of the Bowery Boys)
  14. Simon Rodia (creator of Watts Towers)
  15. Bob Dylan (musician)
  16. Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
  17. Sir Robert Peel (politician)
  18. Aldous Huxley (writer)
  19. Dylan Thomas (poet)
  20. Terry Southern (writer)
  21. Dion (di Mucci)(singer)
  22. Tony Curtiss (actor)
  23. Wallace Berman (artist)
  24. Tommy Handley (comic)
  25. Marilyn Monroe (actress)
  26. William Burroughs (writer)
  27. Sri Mahavatara Babaji(guru)
  28. Stan Laurel (comic)
  29. Richard Lindner (artist)
  30. Oliver Hardy (comic)
  31. Karl Marx (philosopher/socialist)
  32. H.G. Wells (writer)
  33. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (guru)
  34. Anonymous (wax hairdresser’s dummy)
  35. Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
  36. Anonymous (wax hairdresser’s dummy)
  37. Max Miller (comic)
  38. The Pretty Girl (by artist George Petty)
  39. Marlon Brando (actor)
  40. Tom Mix (actor)
  41. Oscar Wilde (writer)
  42. Tyrone Power (actor)
  43. Larry Bell (artist)
  44. Dr. David Livingston (missionary/explorer)
  45. Johnny Weissmuller (swimmer/actor)
  46. Stephen Crane (writer)
  47. Issy Bonn (comic)
  48. George Bernard Shaw (writer)
  49. H.C. Westermann (sculptor)
  50. Albert Stubbins (soccer player)
  51. Sri lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
  52. Lewis Carrol (writer)
  53. T.E. Lawrence (soldier, aka Lawrence of Arabia)
  54. Sonny Liston (boxer)
  55. The Pretty Girl (by artist George Petty)
  56. Wax model of George Harrison
  57. Wax model of John Lennon
  58. Shirley Temple (child actress)
  59. Wax model of Ringo Starr
  60. Wax model of Paul McCartney
  61. Albert Einstein (physicist)
  62. John Lennnon, holding a french horn
  63. Ringo Starr, holding a trumpet
  64. Paul McCartney, holding a cor anglais
  65. George Harrison, holding a flute
  66. Bobby Breen (singer)
  67. Marlene Dietrich (actress)
  68. Mohandas Ghandi (painted out at the request of EMI)
  69. Legionaire from the order of the Buffalos
  70. Diana Dors (actress)
  71. Shirley Temple (child actress)
  72. Cloth grandmother-figure by Jann Haworth
  73. Cloth figure of Shirley Temple by Haworth
  74. Mexican candlestick
  75. Television set
  76. Stone figure of girl
  77. Stone figure
  78. Statue from John Lennon’s house
  79. Trophy
  80. Four-armed Indian Doll
  81. Drum skin, designed by Joe Ephgrave
  82. Hookah (water tobacco-pipe)
  83. Velvet snake
  84. Japanese stone figure
  85. Stone figure of Snow White
  86. Garden gnome
  87. Tuba

This is the historic back cover with the lyrics printed for each song.

Here is the inside photo that appeared on the gatefold.

The Fool’s original psychedelic design for the inner sleeve, available only on limited pressings.

Originally, the group had wanted the album to include a package with badges, pencils and other small Sgt. Pepper goodies but this proved far too costly. Instead, the album came with a page of cardboard cut-outs carrying the description:


  1. Moustache
  2. Picture Card
  3. Stripes
  4. Badges
  5. Stand Up

*Buy this LP online

Ruth Flowers | aka DJ Mamy Rock

13 03 2010

Amazing what you can find on the internet, just amazing. Apparently I’m the last to know that there is a 69 year old granny from the UK taking the Paris club scene by storm. Her name is Ruth Flowers and although she’s been working at this for about 4 years, she is supposedly still working on her first single “Mamy Rock”. As much as I believe this is just a clever marketing ploy, I am enjoying it nevertheless. The funny thing is, it is working. She has actually booked numerous high level gigs and is bolstering some acclaim (real or otherwise).

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the lovely ol’ bird herself. Ladies & gentlemen, Ruth Flowers…

The BBC did a great little piece on Ruth that catches her in some nice candid moments. It’s very charming.

To hear just a wee taste of Ruth’s upcoming single “Mamy Rock” all you have to do is click here.

For a good laugh, I strongly encourage everyone to visit her site to learn a bit more about her and her recent endeavors: Official Site. There are some off-putting photos and plenty of other things that may potentially make you uncomfortable. Oh and, this is also where you go if you want to book her for your next birthday party or Bar Mitzvah.

Wolf People

25 02 2010

The London based band, Wolf People, just released their first album since signing with the US indie label Jagjaguwar. It’s called Tidings and is made up of a bunch of early recordings member, Jack Sharp, made in Bedord, EN from ’05 – ’07. This is a period that actually pre-exists the band in it’s current formation. Which is kind of strange considering I had first heard about these guys as a great live band. When I heard this album was coming out I thought it be a good opportunity to check them out, little did I know it’s more like a solo album. But, I dig all the same. It’s not as cohesive and fluid as I first thought it would be but the real tunes mixed in with all the field recordings, whistling tape and outtakes are really cool. I don’t even really mind the short bits between songs as it’s the dirty sound of these recordings that I especially like. There’s a lot of feedback and ambient noise mixed in with crackling tape and hissing amplifiers… it’s great. The music and the sound really compliment each other too. The sound of the band is very British classic rock. The label describes this group of songs in particular as being “based on updated versions of classic blues structures and half-remembered English folk songs”, which is a very apt description. Overall, I really enjoy it. At times, the instrumentals reminds me of Blind Faith or Traffic, both of which I love (uh oh, I think I’ve developed a weird obsession with young Steve Winwood). Plus, the analog, somewhat LoFi aesthetic is something I really appreciate after years of  hearing mostly sterile sounding digital recordings from the ProTools era.  That being said, the fact remains that this is more of a prehistory to the actual band that is currently storming the UK. Needless to say, I am eagerly looking forward to a US tour. In the meantime, there are some videos to wet the whistle.

The gear on this cool album cover is actually available as full size print/cut/fold projects that you can make yourself. I can’t see myself doing this but I like the idea. You can find the printable images here. Tidings only comes on vinyl or MP3, which I’m a fan of… get them here.

The band at Mosley Folk Festival 2009… minus a flautist though. I was bummed, but pretty cool regardless.

Other Videos:

This seems like a basement jam but I think it’s probably the closest I can find to seeing them live in their truest form… not sure yet.

Great song called Village Strollin’ from visual artist, Pete Fowler’s,  A Guide to Monsterism Island soundtrack.

Playing “Tiny Circles” live at the Tapestry in London.

Follow the band:

The band’s official site: Wolf People

Wolf People UK Blog

Wolf People on Facebook

Wolf People on MySpace

Jagjaguwar Site

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