"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, August 23, 2003

This is from the .blues blog maintained by my pal and fellow Yomiuri scribe, Les Coles. He also maintains the excellent tokyo-blues.com check out the harp lesson there or the edited version on the bbc's hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.
Les 6:50 PM [+] ::
Feel like going down the crossroads?

Voodoo doctor auctions Devil's Pact services on eBay

Eastern England (Aug. 22) -- Author and Voodoo practitioner Doktor Snake is auctioning his services on eBay to help musicians gain fame and fortune by making a pact with the Devil at the crossroads - just like 1930s bluesman Robert Johnson reputedly did.

Snake, author of "Doktor Snake's Voodoo Spellbook" (St. Martin's Press), says he has made the pact himself (before he got a publishing deal) and that he intends to personally guide winning bidders through the Crossroads Rite.

Snake says he will also provide a "genuine Devil's contract," which will serve as a binding agreement between the musician and the Lord of Darkness.

He does stress, however, that it is not as Satanic as it sounds.

"What lies at the heart of the Crossroads Rite is not about the Devil," he explains. "The Devil as prince of all evil is really a Christian invention. In the Crossroads Rite, the Devil is more a teaching spirit that gives you access to your inner-genius."

Snake claims that, during the 1990s, a number of now high-profile rock singers and musicians consulted him about performing the Crossroads Rite before they became famous. He says confidentiality prevents him from naming names.

He is confident that he can help winning eBay bidders gain fame.

"This is a foolproof method of achieving a meteoric rise to fame and fortune," he says.

Doktor Snake is a practising Voodoo doctor (or witch doctor), currently living in Norwich, Eastern England. Unusually for a professional Voodoo practitioner, he is white.

As chronicled in his "Voodoo Spellbook", Doktor Snake's Voodoo mentor was the late Earl Marlowe, a Trinidadian "conjure man" who Snake played in a band with in London during the 1980s. Marlowe took him under his wing and taught him the arts of Voodoo - along with the secret lore surrounding the Devil's Pact at the crossroads.

Doktor Snake's eBay auction goes live at midnight on September 7th

Thursday, August 21, 2003


Kevin Wood / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer


The Thorns

Sony Music Japan Int'l, 2,400 yen

Grab your 12-string guitar, California folk-rock has returned.

The tasty three-part harmonies of singer-songwriters Pete Droge, Shawn Mullins and Matthew Sweet instantly evoke the The Byrds, the early work of The Eagles and especially Crosby, Stills and Nash, with an occasional hint of Tom Petty, the Beach Boys and the Mamas and Papas.

All three are accomplished solo artists and producers. Despite being accustomed to working alone, they were keen to try a more interactive project.

After things clicked during a brief demo session in the spring of 2002, the three spent a couple of weeks writing songs on a ranch in California's Santa Ynez Valley and in a suite in the Montrose Hotel in Los Angeles. That autumn, they were joined in the studio in Atlanta by producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Train), ace session drummer Jim Keltner and E Street Band pianist Roy Bittan.

The result is 13 tracks (plus two extras just for Japan) that hark back to the best of the aforementioned bands while creating a new melodic, harmony-driven power-folk for the new century that owes more to 1970s pop singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne than traditional folk roots. No faux-soul boy band nasal whinging tweaked in the studio here, these guys are the real full-throated deal.

The lead track "Runaway Feeling" has a steering-wheel tapping feel and simple catchy progression that could fool the listener into thinking they've stumbled onto a lost track from Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever, and the melancholic "Dragonfly" could have been the lead single from a Vietnam-era Crosby, Stills and Nash album. "Long, Sweet Summer Night" is the kind of short, sweet pop tune that Brian Wilson wishes he could still write.

The production and arrangements are polished and bright, but the rougher original demo of "Brambles" featured as a bonus track for Japanese release indicates that The Thorns might benefit from a looser, more acoustic-based approach that lets a darkness into their California sunshine.


Masked and Anonymous

Sony Music Japan Int'l, 2,400 yen

While film soundtracks rarely feature enough new material to merit critical attention, an exception must be made for Bob Dylan's latest cinematic effort, Masked and Anonymous. By all reports, the movie, directed by Larry Charles, is surreal, and the soundtrack certainly reflects that with four new performances by Dylan and 10 by other artists covering his compositions, often in other languages.

The Magokoro Brothers' "My Back Pages" with its Japanese lyrics might provide a good entry point for Japanese interested in seeing what all the fuss is about. Los Lobos add a little Latin spice to the semi-cajun "On a Night Like This" and the album even includes an Italian rap version of "Like a Rolling Stone." One of the most interesting interpretations is Sertab Erener's Arabian-flavored "One More Cup of Coffee."

America's greatest living songwriter tackles the traditional bluegrass number "Diamond Joe" and the Confederate anthem "Dixie" with equal aplomb and his scorching reworking of "Cold Irons Bound" from his 1997 Grammy-winning album Time Out Of Mind is the high point of the album.

A must-have for serious Dylan aficionados, but for the casual fan there are better collections of covers available.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Get with it people! The Beatles are tired! Van Halen is way better....&*$#$^%^#(....
Sorry about that, The spirit of John Shymko just took over my typing hand for a moment. Me like Beatles too!

I actually had a dream about the Golden Nugget the other night. I owned the place and you were patting down the kids for quarters!
Ah, nuggin'.