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Deftly fusing blues, gospel, and soul, songwriter William Bell is one of the architects of this Stax sound. Seriously, there’s no denying his power: this is the guy who penned “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” “Everybody Loves a Winner,” and “Born Under A Bad Sign.”

His latest, 2016’s This Is Where I Live, was recently nominated for two  Grammys, for Best Americana Album and Best Traditional R&B Performance. It touches on the classic sounds and themes he’s known for, and was in some ways a homecoming for him, his first album on Stax after leaving in the ’70s.

We phoned Bell at his home studio shortly after the release of This Is Where I Live for an episode of our Transmissions podcast. You can listen to that episode here, and below you’ll find a minimally-edited transcription of our discussion. The Transmissions podcast returns in this month with new episodes. Subscribe on iTunes or via RSS feed.

Aquarium Drunkard: Let’s start with the title of your new record, This Is Where I Live. It’s a very resonate title and it feels in some ways like it’s a comment on the kind of songs you sing, but also on being back on Stax after a long time apart. How does it feel to be back on the label after leaving back in the ’70s?

William Bell: It feels great. I’m coming full circle here back on Stax, and I started my career with Stax. It feels good, it feels comfortable.

AD: You were an essential part of building Stax. When you’re a young man, making records and working, I don’t imagine that you have much of a sense of how historic what you’re doing is. But looking back, signing to the label again, did you take some time to reflect on the legacy and the heritage and the history of what you guys built with that label back when you started?

William Bell: Of course…when we started we didn’t have any idea we would have the longevity that we’ve had. I did [reflect on history]… that was uppermost in my mind and [I was] almost always conscious of trying to — not to duplicate, but to recreate — some of the magic and make sure that we had some great songs with good lyrical content, good melodic structure, and all that. Because that’s what Stax was about, trying to keep it as honest and real as possible.

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Hey, look – a collaboration. AD and Fair Ends just whipped these up: The Aquarium Drunkard cap. Check your head in 2017 with one of two styles — a navy wool with the AD letters sewn on in felt, or go tone-on-tone with the off-white twill / felt letters job. Both are limited edition / limited run.

Here’s our amigo for life Cold Splinters‘ Jeff Thrope sporting the navy lid.

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**more images after the jump…

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Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 463: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Harry Nilsson – Many Rivers To Cross ++ David Bowie – Boys Keep Swinging ++ Serge Gainsbourg – Requiem Pour Un Con ++ David Bowie – Win ++ Julian Lynch – Terra ++ Atlas Sound – Recent Bedroom ++ John Cale – Cable Hogue ++ Julee Cruise – Mysteries of Love ++ Marc Bolan – Pain And Love ++ Lou Reed – Ocean ++ Bob Dylan – Wedding Song ++ Dennis Wilson – Lady ++ The Kinks – I Go To Sleep (demo) ++ Naomi And The Boys – As Tears Go By ++ Le Bain Didonc – 4 Cheveux Dans Le Vent ++ The Brummels – Bof! ++ Bernard Chabert – Il Part En Californie (He Moved To California) ++ Sea-Ders – Thanks A Lot ++ The Olivia Tremor Control – Memories of Jacqueline 1906 ++ White Fence – And By Always ++ Harry Nilsson – You Can’t Do That (Alternate Take) ++ Roy Wood – Wake Up ++ Emitt Rhodes – Long Time No See ++ Jacques Dutronc – L’Espace D’Une Fille ++ Serge Gainsbourg – New Delire ++ Phil Upchurch – Sitar Soul ++ White Hinterland – Dreaming Of Plum Trees ++ The Three Degrees – Collage ++ Dion – Baby Let’s Stick Together ++ Margo Guryan – Sunday Morning ++ John Lennon – Woman

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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45 years ago, a young deejay named Archie Patterson launched a radio show on KFIG FM in Fresno, California. Dubbed Eurock, the weekly program was devoted to psychedelic music coming out of Europe — Klaus Schulze, Amon Düül II, Can, Tangerine Dream, Faust, Guru Guru, and more —- spun by an enthusiastic Patterson, who heard in the music a cosmic resonance.

It began a lifelong mission for Patterson, who soon spun the show off into a fanzine of the same name, and has continued, for four-and-a-half decades, to distribute, promote and foster discussion of progressive music from all around the world, helping to popularize German “krautrock” and introduce director Michael Mann to the electronic group Tangerine Dream, which would go on to score his first film, Thief.

In recent years, Patterson has been busy assembling collections of Eurock books, including 2002’s Eurock: European Rock & the Second Culture and 2013’s Music & Second Culture Post Millennium: Eurock. In 2015, he contributed to a massive box set by German label Vinyl On Demand, American Cassette Culture: Recordings 1971-1983, featuring examples of the electronic music distributed by Patterson’s Eurock Distribution from experimental electronic composers like Steve Roach, Don Slepian, K. Leimer, and more.

These days, Patterson maintains the Eurock website, featuring interviews and podcasts, and he’s working on a film documenting the history of the show/zine/label. AD spoke to him from his basement (the “dungeon,” he calls it) about his history and guiding artistic principle.

Aquarium Drunkard: In 1971, you launched the Eurock radio show on KFIG FM. What were your early playlists like?

Archie Patterson: I would just pick records from my collection, so to speak that I wanted to play each week, which were all basically imported from Virgin Records’ very first micro-store…they were import-only from the European continent or cosmic French rock.

In particular, I had a friend go to meet [representatives of the influential kosmische musik label] the Cosmic Couriers in ’73. I had gotten a whole lot of their music, so we did a program with Klaus Schulze, his second album Cyborg, and this was innovative radio in the sense that we had two turntables. We played side one and side four simultaneously. So, it was going out over the airwaves, and since there were different undulating rhythms in each piece, but they were in the same key, we had people call us up and say, “Man, what is this that you’re playing? I’ve never heard anything like this.”

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2016 was a good year for Damien Jurado fans. In addition to Sub Pop Records reissuing two of his sought after early albums, Rehearsals for Departure and Ghost of David, Jurado released the final album in his Maraqopa Trilogy, the hypnagogic Visions of Us on The Land. Owing to psychedelic folk and dub influences, the album finds him teaming once again with producer/sonic magician Richard Swift. As if all that wasn’t enough, this year finally saw the release of an early Swift and Jurado collaboration on vinyl, Other’s People Songs, which finds the duo covering Chubby Checker, Bill Fay, John Denver, Kraftwerk, Yes and more, which originally appeared on Aquarium Drunkard in 2010.

We spoke with Jurado before soundcheck for an episode of our Transmissions podcast. You can listen to that episode here, and below you’ll find a minimally edited transcription of our discussion, which found us covering everything from The Twilight Zone to Jurado’s cinematic inspirations. The Transmissions podcast returns in January 2017 with new episodes. Subscribe on iTunes or via RSS feed.

Aquarium Drunkard: We’re here with Damien Jurado at the Valley Bar in Phoenix, Arizona. I wanted to start off by asking you about the new record, Visions of Us on The Land, which is a beautiful album, finds you moving even deeper into psychedelic sounds. This is your fourth record with Richard Swift. You guys started working together — is it 2010 with St. Bartlett?

Damien Jurado: Uh-huh.

AD: What was it about Swift that made you want to go record with him in Oregon?

Damien Jurado: Originally, it was the label’s idea. I had been a fan of Richard Swift’s for quite a while at that point. I owned The Novelist and Walking Without Effort. Those albums, and then later on the Ground Trouble Jaw stuff. I was a fan of his, and then Secret Canadian was like, “Hey, maybe you should do a record with Richard?” And I was like, “I don’t know man, I love his music but, musically but we’re not really the same genre, you know?”

AD: Sure.

Damien Jurado: [But] we’re open to the same kind of styles. So they’re like, “Yeah but you guys, we think you guys would be working good together.” I liked his production, so I was like OK I’ll give it a try. We hit it off immediately. The first day we did Saint Bartlett, most of the time we just sort of hung out and listened to records that we liked a lot. Through hanging out with him, I realized, wow, we actually like a lot of the same music. The difference between Richard and I was that Richard, you can clearly hear his influences on his recordings.

AD: Yeah.

Damien Jurado: And mine you can’t. My records, ended up before Saint Bartlett, all sounded like me trying to be everybody else. [With] the exception of Ghost of David, actually. That record is sort of like its own thing, but that would be a preview of what I think I’d later become with Richard. That’s like the real me. So he was like, “You like Sergio Mendes Brasil 66, and you like Herb Albert, you like Ray Conniff, you like Rod McKuen, you like West Coast Experimental Pop Art Band, and you like Captain Beefheart, Johnny Hooker. But you don’t hear any of this stuff in your music.” I just said, “Man, I think I’m just afraid to reveal myself.” He made it okay to really wear my influences on my sleeve a bit more.

phil-spector-christmasOur weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 462: Billy Childish – Christmas Hell ++ Sun Ra – It’s Christmas Time ++ The Black On White Affair – Auld Lang Syne ++ Binky Griptite – Stone Soul Christmas ++ Sonny Bradshaw – Peace And Love (Little Drummer Boy) ++ Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – 8  Days (of Hanukkah) ++ The Soul Saints Orchestra – Santa’s Got A Bag Of Soul ++ Donny Hathaway – This Christmas ++ Jack Scott – There’s Trouble Brewing ++ The Wailers – Christmas Spirit ++ The Sonics – Don’t Believe In Christmas ++ Billy Childish – Christmas Lights ++ Thee Headcoatees – Santa Clause ++ Chuck Berry – Merry Christmas Baby ++ The Jive Turkeys – Get Down Santa ++ Booker T. & the MGs – We Wish You a Merry Christmas ++ Electric Jungle – Funky Funky Christmas ++ Rufus Thomas – I’ll Be Your Santa Baby ++ Juan Torres – Pueblito de Belem ++ Jimmy Butler – Trim Your Tree ++ Don Patterson – Santa Claus Is Coming to Town ++ Kenny Burrell – My Favorite Things ++ Big John Greer – We Want To See Santa Do The Mambo ++ Patsy Raye – Beatnik’s Wish ++ The Marquees – Christmas In The Congo ++ The Youngsters – Christmas In Jail ++ The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) ++ The Kinks – Father Christmas ++ Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmas Time ++ Champion Jack Dupree – Santa Claus Blues ++ Roosevelt Sykes – Let Me Hang Your Stockings In Your Christmas Tree ++ Kay Martin And Her Body Guards – Santa’s Doing The Horizontal Twist ++ The Walkmen – Christmas Party ++ The Walkmen – No Christmas While I’m Talking ++ John Coltrane – My Favorite Things

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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caleJohn Cale is well-known as a man of many talents — producer / arranger / multi-instrumentalist / singer / songwriter / possessor of an insane scream, to name just a few. But one listen to his essential 1992 live album Fragments of a Rainy Season (just reissued/re-jigged by Domino Records) may be enough to convince you that his greatest skills are those of a live solo performer. With just acoustic piano and guitar, Cale delivers a devastating, note-perfect recital of his finest work, from well-loved favorites like “Child’s Christmas In Wales” and “Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend” to deeper cuts like the rollicking “Darling I Need You” and his gorgeous Warhol tribute “Style It Takes.” There’s also, of course, his stark rendition of “Hallelujah,” which as far as I’m concerned is the only cover of this Leonard Cohen tune. Inarguable!”

The new reissue reworks the running order of the original and adds some worthy bonus material (some with strings + pedal steel backing — dig the horror show “Heartbreak Hotel,” or the pounding “Waiting For The Man”) … but however you experience Fragments, you’re in for a treat. This is Cale at his unadorned best, raging against the dying of the light ’til the end.  words / t wilcox

Related: John Cale :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview / John Cale :: The John Peel Session (1975)