ASK FRED

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What was the great Ur-re­verb?

I read a news­pa­per piece re­cently re­gard­ing Duane Eddy’s use of an echo cham­ber – ap­par­ently, he ran his gui­tar sound through a huge grain tank to en­hance that fa­mous twang – and I won­dered, who used an echo cham­ber first? Don Kings­ley, via e-mail

Fred Says: The first suc­cess­ful use of the ploy can be at­trib­uted to Turk­ish-born Jerry Mu­rad and his Har­mon­i­cats, whose echo-en­hanced ver­sion of Peg O’ My Heart, recorded for Chicago’s tiny Vi­ta­cous­tic la­bel, topped the US charts for eight weeks in 1947. I also re­mem­ber be­ing amazed by the huge sound of the Stan Ken­ton band dur­ing the ’40s, achieved through the use of eight con­crete-clad sub­ter­ranean echo cham­bers, 20 feet be­low the Capi­tol Records Build­ing, de­vised by Les Paul who had ex­per­i­mented with echo in a cave that he pur­chased. In later years, sax­o­phon­ist Paul Horn recorded in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions – the Great Pyra­mid at Giza, the Taj Ma­hal, etc – in a search to gain en­hanced sound. But the very first use of cre­ative re­ver­ber­a­tion? Read­ers’ thoughts are wel­comed at the usual e-mail ad­dress!

WHAT WAS THE ORI­GIN OF MOR­RI­SON’S SONG

Is there any back story to Woman In The Win­dow, the song on Perry Far­rell’s Satel­lite Party al­bum Ul­tra Pay­loaded that fea­tured the voice of Jim Mor­ri­son? Was the vo­cal take re­ally un­re­leased, and how did this come about? Kent Boreham, via e-mail

Fred says: Perry Far­rell, along with The Doors’ John Dens­more and ac­tor Josh Hart­nett, em­ployed the Satel­lite Party track as a theme song when launch­ing Global Cool, a cam­paign to re­duce car­bon emis­sions, in Jan­uary 2007. At that point Far­rell ex­plained that the Mor­ri­son vo­cal had been recorded in 1970 “be­fore Jim left for Paris”. In truth, Woman In The Win­dow was one of the po­ems voiced by Mor­ri­son at Elek­tra’s stu­dios in Los An­ge­les dur­ing March 1969, which later sur­faced on the some­what mist­i­tled Lost Paris Tapes boot­leg. Other ex­tracts from these ses­sions have sur­faced from time to time, promi­nently on the 1978 re­lease An Amer­i­can Prayer, where the three sur­viv­ing Doors recorded new mu­sic over au­dio of Mor­ri­son read­ing po­etry and other spo­ken word per­for­mances.

WHEREFORE ART BUZZY?

What­ever hap­pened to Buzzy Lin­hart, who made the su­perb Buzzy, on Kama Su­tra Records, with such peo­ple as Skunk Bax­ter, Todd Rund­gren and Mo­ogy Kling­man in the early ‘70s? Pete Cummings, via e-mail

Fred Says: I know the record, which many peo­ple re­fer to as ‘The Black Al­bum’ to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween this and an ear­lier LP, also ti­tled Buzzy, which was made in Eng­land with south Wales’s Eyes Of Blue. Lin­hart went on to play (mainly vibes) on al­bums by Richie Havens, Jimi Hen­drix, Carly Si­mon, Cat Mother and var­i­ous oth­ers. While con­tin­u­ing to re­lease solo al­bums up to 2015, he be­came a suc­cess­ful song­writer and even slot­ted in some TV act­ing parts along the way. But he’s also suf­fered health prob­lems, in­clud­ing knee trou­ble, os­teo­poro­sis, strokes and heart at­tacks, so much so that an on­line cry for help ran: “I’m in trou­ble, need a com­plete shoul­der re­place­ment, los­ing ev­ery­thing.” He blamed a cop whom he main­tains de­lib­er­ated dis­lo­cated his shoul­der due to a case of mis­taken iden­tity. Well-wish­ers can do their bit over at swee­t­re­lief.org/ pro­gram/buzzy-lin­hart-fund/.

Plagued by ques­tions, cav­ils and enig­mas? Then let sage Fred Del­lar il­lu­mi­nate the pop-lore dark­ness!

DID BONEY M LIFT FROM COZY POW­ELL?

Af­ter a re­cent vinyl night, some­one brought Boney M’s Night­flight To Venus (don’t ask) to play, so play we did. Hav­ing never heard this al­bum be­fore I was com­pletely as­ton­ished when the ti­tle track proved to be a di­rect copy – drum beat, gui­tar riff, ev­ery­thing – to Dance With The Devil by the late great Cozy Pow­ell. Didn’t any­one no­tice this at the time? Paul How­ells, via e-mail

Fred says: Ap­par­ently, Cozy Pow­ell was com­pletely cool about pro­ducer Frank Far­ian em­ploy­ing the Dance With The Devil drum­beat and never re­ceived any roy­al­ties from sales of ei­ther Night­flight To Venus or the fol­low­ing track Rasputin, which ar­guably also owed much to Cozy’s per­cus­sive pur­suits. In­ci­den­tally, there are those who point out that Dance With The Devil it­self was it­self an em­u­la­tion of sorts, one that utilised the main melody of Hen­drix’s 3rd Stone From The Sun. Fi­nally, men­tion of Rasputin acts as a re­minder of one of pop’s eeri­est facts – that for­mer Boney M lead singer Bobby Far­rell died in a St Peters­burg ho­tel on De­cem­ber 30, 2010, while Grig­ori Rasputin, the sub­ject of the group’s hit, was as­sas­si­nated in St Peters­burg on De­cem­ber 30, 1916. Spooky!

WAS THAT THE SOUND OF TOM PAX­TON?

In Greta Ger­wig’s film Lady Bird, there‘s a scene, just six or seven min­utes in, when Lau­rie Met­calf is driv­ing a car while a singer that sounds like Tom Pax­ton can be heard on the sound­track. The song is also re­peated to­wards the end of the movie. Can you iden­tify the song? T.A. Merry, via e-mail

Fred says: The per­former is the late John Hart­ford and the song is This Eve Of Part­ing, which orig­i­nally ap­peared on Hart­ford’s The Love Al­bum in 1968. It cur­rently ap­pears on a Lady Bird sound­track al­bum but be care­ful, be­cause there are two al­bums with sim­i­lar sleeves – one fea­tur­ing Jon Brion’s film score and the other con­tain­ing the var­i­ous vo­cal tracks by Hart­ford, Ala­nis Moris­sette, Dave Matthews, Ani DiFranco plus oth­ers, some of which have lit­tle to do with the movie but ap­pear un­der the du­bi­ous “in­spired by the film” des­ig­na­tion.

HELP FRED

I picked up the 1978 Mary Lou Wil­liams and Ce­cil Tay­lor duet live al­bum Em­braced – ba­si­cally the sound of two jazz pi­anists play­ing at cross pur­poses, one ‘tra­di­tional’ and one free. Was this the most non-sym­pa­tico team-up ever re­leased on vinyl? Hard to quan­tify I know, but still… Ian Davies, via e-mail

Re­verb mad­ness: (clock­wise from main) Les Paul won­ders if it needs more gui­tars; Boney M and in­flu­encer Cozy Pow­ell; Mary Lou Wil­liams; Jim Mor­ri­son and Buzzy Lin­hart.

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