?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Metphistopheles Previous Previous Next Next
Weird Recollection, Weirder Coincidence. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Weird Recollection, Weirder Coincidence.
Work today isn't worth writing about. Morning was meh, afternoon more aargh, but I'm home and it's over.  Instead, I'll note something about one of the strangest albums of music I've ever owned.  Something in the 5-7 a.m. Parade of Weird Dreams reminded me of it, or perhaps it was mention of today's scheduled (and since postponed) launch of the NASA spacecraft Orion.  I know that got "Rocket Man" in my head, and from there I jumped from that song's reference to "touchdown" to this mission's return method of "splashdown," and that, in turn, took me to this:



We own the CD of this recording, and I can barely recall how or why we came about it. It was during college that I started following the band, an offshoot of Jefferson Airplane (the liner notes to a long-lost, much-loved compilation of all the band's permutations revealed that they wanted to name the group "Hot Shit, but cooler heads prevailed."). I never heard the two of them (or any Airplane/Starship incarnation) ever play live, other than an ill-fated attempt by Jorma Kaukonen to go punk in the late 70s with his rude band Vital Parts. That was a forgettable show. But the songs on this mid-70s live recording, released in 1984, were among the ones I remembered Jorma and Jack (Casady) for- including "Embryonic Journey" and "Keep on Truckin'."

And this has what to do with NASA, you ask?  Only that it was recorded live-to-air on New York City FM station

WQIV in the mid-1970s. During the recording, news of the Apollo-Soyuz mission returning to Earth after the first USA-USSR rendezvous in space reached the station, and the astronauts' radio transmissions were played at the same time as Jorma and Jack continued with "Police Dog Blues." The transmissions mixed with the song were preserved for this release as the last track of side 1.

WQIV itself has a unique place in radio history; the call letters emphasized it being the first (and quite possibly the last) FM station to go one two better than stereo and begin broadcasting in quadraphonic sound.  This was a 70s trend that lasted for about 13 of Warhol's available 15 minutes, but it was in that window that the band came into the studio and recorded these tracks.

----

That, alone, would have been weird enough for a post. Then it got weirder.

After my meh morning court appearance, I drove back to Rochester, and put on the internet stream of the UR radio station, which from 9 until noon plays a wonderful mix of eclectic music called "Open Tunings." (The streaming site is here, and the bottom button links to WRUR. And yes, I pledge to them.)

In short order, what came on the station but that self-same original recording (from the "Burgers" LP) of "Keep on Truckin'."  The host then mentioned that Hot Tuna, still smokin' and still in the can, is playing two shows at the State Theatre in Ithaca, tomorrow and Saturday nights.

It's tempting. The State's a beautiful old movie house that's since been restored an converted to a concert venue. In the 70s, when I frequented it, the owners resisted the trend of the time to split the interior of the theater into side-by-side screens, instead turning the balcony into the "State 2" for most of my college career. I can still remember seeing "Empire Strikes Back" on that in-your-face upstairs screen, with even greater intensity than it would've produced in a more conventional cinema.  Alas, it's probably too short notice, but come 8 or so tomorrow night, I'll look up to the near-full moon, and remember fondly the band's historic (if slightly stoned) place in the heavens.
Leave a comment