Charles Manson – Fierce Records – 1985 / Blyth Power – Street Level Demos – 1985 & 1986 / Psychic TV – Basildon Peace Festival – 1986 / Various Artists – Folk In Hell – F.O Records – 1981 / Undivided Roots – Well Crucial Records – 1982 / Prince Far I & Suns Of Arqa – B.B.C Session – 1982

Charles Manson – Side A

Charles Manson – Side B

The true identity of Lance Fairweather has puzzled Mansonist scholars for years and probably never will be revealed.

Apparently, the man valued his anonymity as much as his life, for reasons that will become obvious from the following account.

We do know that he was some kind of producer in Hollywood and an intimate friend of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, producer Terry Melcher and, of course, Charles Manson.

In fact, he is said to have met Manson while living at Wilson’s extravagant Pacific Palisades home in early 1968.

Like Phil Kaufman and Gary Stromberg – neither of whom he knew – Fairweather was a devotee of Manson’s music, but he felt that Manson should first be introduced to the public by a documentary film before his music could be accepted.

For this reason, he brought Melcher to the Spahn movie ranch in the summer of 1969.

There have been many dancers in this world that I have seen, but no one ever danced like Charlie. When Charlie danced, everyone else left the floor. He was like fire, a raw explosion, a mechanical toy that suddenly went crazy.

Charlie was certainly a fascinating cat. He represented a freedom that everybody liked to see. That is why we wanted to document him.

He really was an active revolutionary of the time in that area. Like Castro in the hills before he overthrew the government.

Charlie advocated the overthrow of the government, and the police force and everything. He thought it was all wrong, it was as simple as that. He wanted to do more than talk about it, but like so many revolutionaries, he really had no solution. And he didn’t have the patience to really wait.

Had he waited, he could have had so much more effect with his music. I would say to him, “Charlie, you can do so much more with your music and with film than you can ever fucking do running around in a bus with your girls and preaching the stuff.”

And then in January or February of 1969, eight or nine months after I met him, we started recording him.

Charlie was living at the ranch at that time, and Dennis and I fooled around recording him over at Brian Wilson’s house. As you know, Brian has this studio in his house. But Charlie couldn’t make it with those people. They’re too stiff for him.

Charles Manson: “You know “Cease to Exist.” I wrote that for the Beach Boys. They were fighting among themselves, so I wrote that song to bring them together. “Submission is a gift, give it to your brother.” Dennis has true soul, but his brothers couldn’t accept it. He would go over to Brian’s house and put his arms around his brothers, and they would say, “Gee, Dennis, cut it out!” You know, they could not accept it.”

And Charlie always said, he just asked one thing, he said to me,”I don’t care what you do with the music. Just don’t let anybody change any of the lyrics.”

That was one of his big beefs with Dennis. Dennis had taken some of his songs and changed the lyrics around, which really infuriated him. Charlie had a big thing about the meaning of words that came out of your mouth. That is to say, to him all that a man is what he says he is; so those words better be true.

If Charlie said he would be someplace at 4 o’clock, he would be, even if he had to walk. And it used to infuriate him that Dennis would forget what he promised immediately. So, Charlie and Dennis never got along that well.

One-day Charlie gave me a .45 slug to give to Dennis, saying, “Tell Dennis I got one more for him.” Charlie was really bugged with him because Dennis ran off at the mouth so much.

Sometime later I started recording Charlie at a little studio here called Wilder Studio. And the owner, George Wilder, was leery of Charlie because he knew Charlie was an ex-con, and because Charlie to a straight person is sort of a wild looking guy – his eyes, his hair, his movements and everything.

So he was a little leery of Charlie and he kept bugging me, saying, “Listen, this guy is an ex-con. I don’t know what he’s going to do. He might flip out or beat me up or something. And what about my money?”

So, Charlie turned to him and said, “Aw, don’t worry about your money. You can have all these guitars.” And Wilder, dumbfounded, said, “Wait a minute. What does he mean I can have all these guitars?” It really blew his mind. Charlie just walked out, saying, “You can have ’em, man.” He was bugged. He left him two or three amplifiers, two electric guitars, an acoustic guitar and some other instruments.

Here is one thing to remember about Charlie’s attitude toward giving: Everything Charlie gave away he eventually got back. Only more so. At the ranch one day he demonstrated this attitude by casting a handful of gravel into the air. When the pebbles landed, he reached down and began gathering them up one by one, saying, “You pick up what you want – here, and here, and here.”

By David Felton and David Dalton – Rolling Stone Magazine – June 1970


Charles Manson 12 Nov 1934 – 19 Nov 2017

Blyth Power – Street Level A

Blyth Power – Street Level B

Blyth Power – Street Level C

Two demos recorded at Street Level Studios in Ladbroke Groove, West London, one in 1985 and one in 1986, engineered by Grant Showbiz.

The tracks on the 1985 demo are ‘Ffucke Mastike Room’ that eventually ended up on the 12” version of the ‘Junction Signal’ record released in 1986 on All The Madmen Records. The second track on this demo is ‘Junction Signal’ which was not the version eventually released.

The tracks on the 1986 demo are ‘John O Gaunt’ ‘Good Bye General To Lose’ and ‘Lady Politick’ which are all, as far as I know, unreleased.

An interview snippet by Martin Peters with Grant Showbiz below.

Showbiz started as a soundman for anarcho-hippy punks Here and Now in 1976.

Showbiz ran the sound and stage at many free festivals such as Windsor and Stonehenge. Stamping his personality on proceedings, using a microphone plugged into the soundboard, he would often amiably harangue those onstage to get on with it, or off, as circumstances might merit.

He quickly forged links with the punk scene, producing albums for Alternative TV and The Fall.

In 1979 he set up the Ladbroke Grove-based Street-Level Studio with Kif Kif (ex-drummer of Here And Now) and José Gross (ex-keyboard player from Here And Now, guitarist from Blank Space and The Real Imitations). The studio hosted and recorded a swathe of bands including The Fall, Alternative TV, Mark Perrys’ Good Missionaries, The Door And The Window, 012, World Domination Enterprises, The Mob, Impossible Dreamers, The Astronauts, Blyth Power, Brian Brain, The Petticoats, Androids Of Mu, The Instant Automatons and many others.

Many of the recordings were released on the associated pioneering D.I.Y record label Fuck Off Records.

Around this time Showbiz also began making music himself, playing bass in Blue Midnight.

Q/ Can you tell us a little about your early life…was anyone in your family musical and what sort of music did you listen to as a teenager?

I loved music from an early age although the only musician in my family was my grandmother – I can remember the piano she had, but not really hearing her play. I was entranced by lyrics from an early age and could recite The Beatles’ songs verbatim (and at great volume). I had my own band at nine: called The Wonders, and I wrote and recorded two songs on my dad’s Elizabethan reel to reel tape machine. I also developed a method of recording from the TV by taping the mic onto the speaker on the front of the set – I would hover by the record button throughout The Monkees show and tape the songs, but not the dialogue. Later on I can remember a brilliant solo Neil Young show.

Once a teenager I consumed masses of pop – first single The Animals ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ first album Nilsson ‘Aerial Ballet’ and worshipped at the dual shrines of John Peel and Kenny Everett (before he became a twat).

Bowie / Reed / Beefheart /Rundgren and Gong became my joy. Got to Bowie just before ‘Hunky Dory’ so was around for the whole explosion of success. I marvelled at the fact that Todd Rundgren played all the instruments himself on ‘Something / Anything’ and even printed track sheets which showed each instrument went down individually – I imagined him playing the bass drum all the way through the track then going back and adding the snare, then high hat and so on!

At fifteen Gong invited me back to their farm in Oxford and suddenly I was initiated in to the whole running of a band – Steve Hillage took me under his wing when I was seventeen and taught me basic sound control skills. My first professional gig was guitar roadie for Steve when he supported Queen in Hyde Park. That was where I saw my first proper mixing desk, love at first sight.

Q/ Are you still in contact with any of the old Here and Now crowd and do you know if any of them are still involved in the music business?

Kif Kif (the Drummer) and I still chat once a year or so – we both left the band in 1979 and built a studio called Street Level where “Pay Your Rates” an “Container Drivers” were recorded. He had a brilliant band called World Domination Enterprises, but then got really ill and dropped out of music biz.

Steffy does spacey dub reggae stuff and made an album with Gilli from Gong called “Glo”. Gavin who played keyboards went back to office work. Keith the Missile Bass and Steffy occasionally put together a Here and Now band to tour.

Psychic TV – Basildon – Side A

Psychic TV – Basildon – Side B

One of the Psychic TV events that I attended in 1986 was held in a field in Basildon, Essex.

The other events that I attended were:

Kilburn Ballroom with Golden Horde and Zodiac Mindwarp in March.

In April, London’s Virgin Megastore. Psychic TV performing next to the record racks for around thirty minutes in the afternoon to perplexed punters walking around. Dreader still, the Hackney Hell Crew turned up in their unwashed glory to pretty much take the piss, throw some ‘BRIAN JONES DIED FOR YOUR SINS’ stickers around, and to thieve some records.

The Marquee in central London in May supported by Webcore. An International Times benefit.

Hackney Mankind Squat all nighter in June with Jackels, Silverstar Amoeba and My Bloody Valentine. Curtis of Blyth Power, and late of The Mob was there to see Debbie of My Bloody Valentine, his old Yeovil friend.

July was the Basildon Peace Festival. This gig uploaded tonight.

September was the intimate boat trip party / performance on the river Thames celebrating something I do not recall – Ten years of punk or a significant Throbbing Gristle date perhaps?

October was Kentish Town with Primal Scream.

That was that for 1986.

One common denominator for all these events was ‘Psychic’ Rod from Ipswich.

We both went to as many Psychic TV events as we could in a roughly five year period, and he was a great chap to be around, when on best behaviour!

I do not recall a lot of this Basildon Peace Festival.

I do not recall how myself and Rod got there. Perhaps thumbing a ride? I do not recall a lot about any of the other bands on (perhaps we arrived late). I do not recall any anti-war speakers, nor CND or other anti-war icons.

I do remember that the band after Psychic TV was chart friendly ex Depeche Mode member good time band; Erasure. I do not think that Erasure was the main band of the day. Whatever, we probably gave Erasure ten minutes or something and cocked off home, by what transport, I know not.

One thing I do remember is bringing my cheap, but trusted, cassette recorder with me, and settling onto the field and recording the set, the recording of which came out very clearly.

Sadly I chose to take the wrong ‘blank’ cassette tape from home by accident and actually recorded over a copy of the ‘Ching’ demo by The Mob!

It was a spare copy of ‘Ching’ thankfully, so I still got one here intact!

I do not recall the field being heaving with sweaty bodies during Psychic TV’s performance, more a case of room to spare, and then some, with a few (thirty-odd?) people dancing.

Save, recording over the ‘Ching’ demo, I was pleased with the results of the sound when I got home, listening to it in the quieter atmosphere…

I was so pleased in fact that I duped two copies off of my master cassette tape onto two other cassette tapes. One for ‘Psychic’ Rod and one for Genesis P-Orridge.

I went around Psychic TV’s Beck Road base in Hackney a couple of times a month, generally on All The Madmen / WOT Distribution mail order business. I would be getting records, tapes and T-shirts from Beck Road for the customers that had ordered such fare from this little mail order business, which was also based in Hackney, just around the corner to Beck Road in fact. Brougham Road to be precise.

I would have given Genesis the cassette tape that I had duped, and no doubt he was as chuffed as a puppy with a few metres of Andrex. I do not recall.

Anyhow, imagine my immense surprise, only today, when I punted out ‘Psychic TV / Basildon’ on Google, I found as an answer to my search – a CD available on Cold Spring Records!

Checked some YouTube links of the gig and expecting fine sound desk quality (placing my cassette tape into the ‘do not listen again’ file) I was surprised to hear (with my ears) that the YouTube links were from my (this) original recording that I made on a field with the cheapest cassette recorder imaginable!

Presumably Genesis must have lobbed a load of cassette tapes to Cold Spring Records at some point.

I might have to get a copy of the CD now, for prosperity, and keep it with my old cassette tape.

For the visuals to accompany the audio, I have put up my flyer for the Psychic TV boat event on the Thames and also a few photographs of that night.

Genesis and myself trying to out-do each other in the battle of the blondes.

‘Psychic’ Rod and Genesis.

A couple of live photographs of Psychic TV rocking the boat, actually literally in this case.

Also pages from ‘FINAL WARS’ a rare booklet for the Psychic TV Japanese tour in 1986.

Genesis gave me this booklet (he gave me quite a few things as it goes, a nice guy).

There are some nice images in the booklet which would interest people, presumably people interested in Psychic TV as opposed to random folk!

The problem lies with reading the literature, interviews etc.

It’s all in Japanese.

Good luck with that.

Hopefully this YouTube post will reach some Japanese Psychick Youths out there somewhere…

Folk In Hell – Side A

Folk In Hell – Side B

The ‘Folk In Hell’ cassette… A complete mash up of tracks, not so much chosen but seemingly thrown up in the air and see what landed on the ferric oxide.

This cassette tape courtesy of the F.O Tape empire, overlooked by Kif Kif, José Gross and Grant Showbiz, is certainly eclectic and starts with a Mark Perry bass and bongo driven hypnotic repetitive beat.

(A) Pencil I know nothing off, save what it states on the cover, that they are from Manchester and the track seems a little ‘white boy dubby post punk funk’.

The Mob’s track is ripped off of the ‘Ching’ demo, and one of my favourite cassettes, in fact one of my favourite releases of The Mob.

The Astronauts are next with an unreleased fast paced ‘dub’ version of ‘Behave Yourself’, a track off of ‘It’s A Done By Mirrors’ released on All The Madmen Records. Lol Coxhill with the horns.

Impossible Dreamers featured Justin Adams who after recording bands like Blyth Power went onto far better things, being massive all over the ‘World Music’ World. Impossible Dreamers, a little like Maximum Joy if anyone remembers them. The band were set to be massive. Nothing happened.

My favourite song on this cassette tape is by Tasmin, ‘Sailor’ after forgiving the sea and seagull noises at the start and throughout in parts, we have a Patti Smith-esq / Buffy Saint Marie repetitive mainly acoustic drone. Sounds shit written down, but I love the vocal style, and it works in a D.I.Y way. I know nothing about her.

Vince Pie And The Crumbs with a music hall jolly, veterans of the West London scene; the Idiot Ballroom, the Chippenham and probably the Elgin (?). Not my cup of tea, and I very much doubt that matters! Similarly; ‘Pontin Stomp’ from the Street Level E.P. Sorry if you read this Vince.

No Comment I know nothing about, but I do like Wreckless Eric, and this is a song that could have been written and sung by Wreckless Eric, so I think it’s great!

Celebrated Working Men, have you guessed yet? Correct. I know nothing of this band. An anti scab miner song, which rides a chorus of another song, which for the life of me I can not recall. Maybe The Pogues had a song with a similar chorus several years later, different words obviously.

Androids Of Mu who’s line up included Suze Da Blooze after she left perianal squatter and free festival collective Here And Now. Androids Of Mu were given the pleasure (?) of having the first vinyl album released on F.O Records – And very good it is too. Find it on my YouTube channel.

Steve Lake without Lawrence or Josef creates a psychedelic soundscape with possibly the worst ever drum machine ever recorded. A version of ‘Dancing’ the best song that Zounds ever did. This version is, err, not so good. Sorry Steve.

Protag and Mark’s Instant Automations from Grimsby. D.I.Y attitude way before a D.I.Y attitude existed, this band were trail blazers. A track off of the debut E.P. Protag went onto partner Grant Showbiz, setting up the Lancaster Music Co-Op that supported events at Meanwhile Gardens by the canal in Westbourne Grove. Much later joined Blyth Power and Alternative TV (other way around). A must missed lovely man.

Murphy Federation, years later The Cardiacs sounded like this! Great song, and if you see the only 7″ record in a car boot sale go get it, listen to the London Underground / New Age Steppers inspired dub and then flog it for massive cash on Discogs.

Here And Now need no words, essential to all things Street Level and Fuck Off Tapes, so.

Grosse Catastrophe and Sir Alias, I am not sure if those two artists should be separated, seemingly so according to the cover notes, but on my cassette it seems that there is only one song after Here And Now. A short electronic experimental cut up that reminds me of COME; who would shortly become WHITEHOUSE.

Undivided Roots – Side A 

Undivided Roots – Side B

“Crucial” Tony Phillips came into the music business as a guitarist and writer in 1976, after being invited to play on a session by producer Adrian Sherwood.

The session, mixed by Dennis Bovell, evolved into an album called ‘Dub from Creation’. The album became so successful that a band was formed to promote it.

That band was Creation Rebel. As well as promoting the album, they spent these early formative years touring all over Europe with greats like Prince Far I and Bim Sherman.

The Creation Rebel line up was initially Clifton “Bigga” Morrison, Keith “Lizard” Logan, Charlie “Eskimo” Fox, Veral “Magoo” Rose and Bonjo I, with “Crucial” Tony himself on guitar.

“Crucial” Tony quickly rose to the level of band leader for Creation Rebel, with a pre-Roots Radics Style Scott on drums. Well-honed performances, crafted from their time on the road, naturally led the group back into the recording studio, following up with four further albums ‘Rebel Vibrations’, ‘Close Encounters Of The Third World’, ‘Starship Africa’ and ‘Lows And Highs’.

“Crucial” Tony was also one of the original directors of On-U Sound with Adrian Sherwood. Together, they produced projects like African Head Charge, the Singers And Players, New Age Steppers and Dub Syndicate to their very receptive audience. Other bands the intrepid guitarist played with during this period were Spartans, Freedom Fighters and Suns Of Arqa.

AMS: “One of the first releases on On U Sound was ‘Starship Africa’ by Creation Rebel, which is a classic dub album. Creation Rebel predates On-U. That album was recorded in 1979 when I was 20 or something, and it was the second records I ever made. It didn’t get released until 1980, on 4D Rhythms, which was before On-U. And I released it as part of the new batch when I started the On-U Sound label. It started as a studio thing where I had a lot of great musicians: Tony Henry, Misty in Roots, Clifton Morrison who does Jazz Jamaica, Crucial Tony who was Ruff Cut… they were some very important British reggae musicians, and they were all involved in the original Creation Rebel, but we were all teenagers at the time, or early 20’s”.

In 1980, to meet the needs of the large population of singers, musicians and producers in the area, he, along with other local musicians started up their own operation – the Ruff Cutt rehearsal room and studio. Its humble beginnings were in an unused storeroom on the Stonebridge council estate of north London.

Despite this, Ruff Cutt soon became the place in the wider Harlesden and Willesden areas for young artistes and musicians to rehearse and record. It was out of the musicians who used the facility that a nucleus was formed; it was from that core that the Undivided Roots Band was to emerge some years later with a 10” single ‘Englands Cold / Move Up’, produced by Adrian Sherwood, artwork by Kishi and released on Well Crucial Records.

The luxury of having their own rehearsal space and studio enabled them to work on their musicianship without some of the usual hindrances faced by most young bands. Their work soon came to the attention of CSA Records who released their first single; the self-produced ‘True Love’, penned by Phillips and recorded at Ruff Cutt.

Their debut album ‘Ultimate Experience’, came close behind, its release by Island Records’ Mango division heralded a new phase for the band. After the departure for a solo career by their lead singer Don Campbell, the Undivided Roots Band metamorphosed into the Ruff Cutt Band. The equilibrium was finally balanced; everything now came under the Ruff Cutt banner.

The scene was set, the band now consisted of a quintet of musicians whose only aim was to play top quality music; Carlton “Bubblers” Ogilvie (fellow On-U conspirator and later to be driving force behind 2 Bad Card), Kenton “Fish” Brown, Trevor Fagan, Antony “Bongo Dashie” Thomas and the re-named Tony “Ruff Cutt”.

Their reputation grew, making them the UK’s top backing band as they continued to accompany many Jamaican legends: Alton Ellis, Big Youth, U Roy, John Holt and many other contemporary artistes.

Ruff Cutt started to produce and record several of the artistes they were working with on the road, in their newly upgraded and re-located studio, releasing dozens of singles and five albums with some of the biggest names in the industry including Beres Hammond, Mykal Roze and Jazzwad, one of their original proteges, who himself is now a successful producer (and On-U Sound collaborator) in his own right.

Text snatched mainly from the Skysaw website…

Prince Far I / Suns Of Arqa – Side A

Prince Far I / Suns Of Arqa – Side B

Prince Far I – not so much a DJ in the classic style, but more a chanter of words.

It has often been written that his early DJ name, King Cry Cry, was derived form either the pleading nature of his delivery or the righteous content of his lyrics.

The actual explanation of the “nom de mic” is much more prosaic. The Prince had a strange habit of breaking out in uncontrollable sobbing on becoming angry!

Bunny Lee first recorded Far I in the early 70’s with a tune called “The Great Booga Wooga”.

He went on to cut tunes for Coxsone, notably “Natty Farmyard” and a version of “Queen of the Minstrel”. In 1973 the Cordell’s “Simpleton” appeared on the Lion label, with the flip being a strange half-sung half-chanted version by the Prince entitled “Simpleton Skank”.

In 1974 he voiced “Let Jah arise” for Enos McLeod at King Tubbys, and it is Enos who can be credited with renaming the DJ as Prince Far I.

After some self-productions which appeared on Pete Weston’s Micron outlet, Prince Far I hit a period which included two of reggae’s greatest DJ albums.

Firstly the “Psalms for I” collection, a straight chant of bible word, produced by Lloydie Slim and Micron on top of a set of ultra-tough rhythms from Striker Lee and Scratch. This album found Far I totally into his own style, distinct from all other DJs, primal yet righteous — the real “voice of thunder”.

For some reason people remember Far I as a huge man, a gentle giant. On the contrary, he was quite slight — five foot nine inches.

His physical build tends to be purely, but remarkably, conjured up from the sound of his awesome voice (and also perhaps his ability to enclose large amounts of bushweed within his fist!)

The second landmark album was “Under Heavy Manners” for producer Joe Gibbs, engineered by Erroll Thompson. It contained the Prince’s first big Jamaican hit single, “Heavy Manners”, on the rhythm of Naggo Morris’ “Su Su Pon Rasta”.

In 1976 Prince Far I set up his own label in Jamaica — Cry Tuff, with the sub-title Wisdom Man. Suffice to say at this stage that one Cry Tuff single, “No more war”, was a version of the Little Roy original “Tribal War”.

Cry Tuff issued Far I’s productions in Jamaica. His UK business ran through the fledgling label Hit Run, created by Adrian Sherwood.

This arrangement was almost one of master and pupil, as the Arabs/Roots Radics became Dub Syndicate with Sherwood learning the studio craft as both producer and engineer.

The rhythm tracks were laid in Jamaica by Style Scott & Co, the mix and overdubs taken care of in London — creating a tradition which continues to this day. With albums also out on Virgin and Trojan Far I was a regular visitor to the UK in the late seventies becoming a firm favourite within the synergy that sparked between punk and reggae.

“Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Chapter III” by Prince Far I and the Arabs was originally released in the UK by that most avuncular of record shop proprietors Keith Stone of Daddy Kool.

The whole affair was racked out in rapid studio time, conforming with the can-do ethics of the time — not to mention the lack of cash. The set features super-heavy deliveries by the Prince, pre-ambient doodlings and quirky noises from David Toop and Steve Beresford, and backing vocals from the Slit axis of Ari Up together with Viv Goldman and Elizabeth Archer.

The album is important for those concerned with the history of reggae in the UK. It marked the handing on of the producer’s baton from Far I to Sherwood, soon to launch On U Sound at a time when many critics considered reggae to be a finished force.

Prince Far I, a man to grace any style with wisdom, a chanter to quake the walls of the city, a preacher to strike fear in the weakheart, humble in the garden and proud in the city, was shot dead in Jamaica, September 15, 1983, one year short of his 40th birthday.

Steve Barker – On the Wire

Suns of Arqa are a World Music collective founded in 1979 by Michael Wadada. Since the group’s formation, over 200 people from around the world have played and recorded with them, and in many cases these were like-minded musicians Wadada met as he travelled the world.

Pioneers of World Beat, Ambient, Downtempo and Electro-Dub, Suns of Arqa draw inspiration from around the world, interpreting indigenous, tribal and classical folk traditions.

They have created an impressive legacy and earned worldwide recognition.

Suns of Arqa started out in the World Music scene in 1979, recording their debut album Revenge of the Mozabites which was produced by Adrian Sherwood, who later became known for On-U Sound Records. In 1982, they were invited to play at the first WOMAD Festival by Peter Gabriel.

They performed with Prince Far-I at his last concert before his death in 1982.

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