Music Reviews By Mike White. Various Artists Shots In The Dark (Delphi Records, PO Box 69188, LA, CA 90069)Twenty cuts all covering the work of Henry Mancini...

Various ArtistsShots In The Dark (Delphi Records, PO Box 69188, LA, CA 90069)
Twenty cuts all covering the work of Henry Mancini. This is a proper tribute to one of the best, toe-tapping film composers. Some of the songs are done kind of goofy and some are straight with variations in instrumentation but each band has respect for the music, resulting in a great mix of tastes that sound like they were all cut from the same cloth—not like those kooky "let’s do this one like a rap song and that one like a country song" collections like Kiss My Ass. It’s not a perfect disc since there are a few vocal cuts that bug me but it’s definitely something I'd recommend. It’s good for you hipsters into your cocktail music and has a bit of a harder edge to appeal to those not into "the scene."

As a bit of trivia, the cover model is Rose McGowan, star of Doom Generation, Bio-Dome, and Scream (among others).

Manfred Hubler & Sigi SchwabVampyros Lesbos (Motel Records, 210 E. 49th St. New York, NY 10017)
Usually I only pick up a soundtrack album after I’ve seen the movie for which it was created. When that’s the case I have definite images that come to mind for the music. I’ve never seen Vampyros Lesbos, The Dead Came from Akasava, or Mrs. Hyde: She Kills in Ecstasy, but, damn, would I like to! If the images in these three Jess Franco films are anything like what this music conjures in my head then they must be fantastic!

If I had to put it in a category it'd find its way into my "Mod Fusion Good Life" file along with a few cuts from Naked City and Ennio Morricone. Musical styles vary from song to song but there’s also a lot of changing up during these groovy tunes. So, not only will you be the hit of the party if you slap this platter on your hi-fi during one of your far-out get-togethers but you can also groove on it solo, digging the intricate design of the songs.

Various ArtistsSix Days On The Road (K-Tel Hell Records, PO Box 1094, Cincinnati, OH 45201)
Taking its title from the Dave Dudley song of the same name, this is a fine collection of selections you might find on a truck stop juke box circa 1978. Yes, that’s right, the golden age of trucking is now yours to enjoy in your own home. It’s a goldmine of found wax and soundbites that’s definitely more off the beaten path than Road Songs and features tunes even stranger than the average truckin' hit (and that’s saying something)!

The best part is that this collection is just one of many available from Mike Huegen’s K-Tel Hell Records (which are all on cassette, but let’s not get nit-picky). Mike’s been adding titles on a fairly regular basis to provide tunes for your every mood.

NirvanaFrom The Banks Of The Muddy Wishkah (Geffen Records, 9130 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069-6197)
Consider for a moment the Live Album. In the 19’70s, live albums were having their heyday. Live At Budokon and KISS Alive brought Cheap Trick and KISS into the limelight. And where would Peter Frampton be without Frampton Comes Alive? I’ve never heard a studio version of any Frampton song and I count my blessings each day for that fact. These albums captured the excitement of a live show while exemplifying the musicianship of the bands and for that reason they essentially "broke" the bands to a large-scale audience.

Nowadays, Live Albums are filler. They are the stuff that contract obligations and lack of imagination are made of. In the case of Nirvana, the Live Album is another hand on the teat of the Seattle Cash Cow. But, this is watered down skim milk compared to the cream of their past endeavors. The Wishkah fails on every level. I hoped that this album would really be something special but, instead, it’s a thrown-together mess.

Of the sixteen songs on the album, five have already been released live on the B-sides of singles ("Sliver" & "Polly" on Heart-Shaped Box, "Been A Son" on Lithium, "School" & "Drain You" on Come As You Are). These are different versions, but there’s not that much difference between the two.

Of the sixteen songs, four of them are from their 11-25-91 show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam and three of them are from their 12-28-91 performance at Del Mar Fairgrounds, California. If this album’s going to be a collection of live songs, I would think they should have sixteen different performances represented. The sound quality differentiates enough from song-to-song anyway and it’s not like Nirvana only played ten shows over their entire career!

As it is, Wishkah sounds more like a sampler from which I'd like to hear the entire show of this performance or that, like the Seattle Center Arena 1-5-94 show that sounds like a studio recording as evidenced by a super-clean version of "Milk It". Why not find one performance that captures the intensity of a live Nirvana show (with good sound quality) and just release that? That way you might get some feel of a live concert and get treated to some between song banter (but can anyone really ever top Paul Stanley for song intro’s?)

"What’s that smell? It smells like TEEN SPIRIT!" (Cue guitar riff)

"I know, I know people are feeling a little bit crazy tonight! Break out the LITHIUM!" (Cue guitar riff)

I think this latest Nirvana release should have been spectacular—maybe even a box set. I would have loved to have seen an Incesticide Part Two with songs that still haven’t been widely released (maybe even those aforementioned live B-sides) and/or a collection of live versions of every track from all four of Nirvana’s studio albums. Not only does Nirvana’s music deserve better treatment than Wishkah provides, but, the fans should be given their due as well.

In the meantime, I can only recommend playing the odds and buying over-priced bootlegs which are available at finer independent record stores. They cost twice as much but usually have comparable sound quality and include more songs and a greater diversity of selection. Most places don’t allow you to listen to the discs so be prepared to be screwed (but buying Wishkah is a guaranteed fuck-over).

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