Music throwback: Oscillations- Silver Apples

“In 1996, Simeon re-activated Silver Apples, recording and performing with many musician friends and admirers. “

When I was discussing our respective stacks of old LPs we had, a colleague of mine and I decided that most of our albums wouldn’t be worth very much, due to the items’ availability and/or condition.

I wondered, though, if there might be an oddball piece or two that would be more interesting to the collector. The second item I thought of was the eponymous first album by a group called Silver Apples.

From a history of the band:

“Formed in 1967 as an electronic rock duo featuring Dan Taylor on drums and Simeon [born Simeon Oliver Coxe III] on a homemade synthesizer consisting of 12 oscillators and an assortment of sound filters, telegraph keys, radio parts, lab gear and a variety of second hand electronic junk, the band quickly gained a reputation as New York’s leading underground musical expression.

“First full-length album was released in 1968 on KAPP Records. The self titled album rode the Billboard Magazine Top 100 list for 10 weeks.” Hmm, my Billboard book said it never got high than #193 and was in the Top 200 for a mere three weeks.

However, the album was legendary in some circles. I bought it in the early 1980s based on its reputation. It’s… interesting.

And at least a little valuable. The Discogs site has it going for $50 and up. Of course, that has never been why I purchase music.

The first song is Oscillations, which failed to chart, but is well-known in certain circles. Even though I hadn’t played the album in two decades, I could replicate, fairly accurately, the vocals from that first line:

“Oscillations, oscillations
Electronic evocations of sound’s reality

“In 1996, Simeon re-activated Silver Apples, recording and performing with many musician friends and admirers. On March 10, 2005, original drummer, Danny Taylor, passed away of a heart attack in Kingston, New York. He was 56 years old. Working as a solo performer, with Danny’s drum sounds recreated by electronic means, Simeon has continued the Silver Apples live concerts with performances literally all over the world.”

Listen to:

Silver Apples album

It’s all about the music: Ride, Zombies, Thunder…

One of my daughter’s “new” favorite songs is almost a half century old. She heard it on a Glee album, so I had to play it for her by the original artist.

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, died a couple days ago at the too-young age of 61, after battling pancreatic cancer. According to the timeline on her website, she wasn’t even able to attempt to go into space until 1977 “when NASA conducts a national search for new astronauts and, for the first time, allows women to apply.” The next year, she was “selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate — one of six women among 35 trainees chosen,” the same year she received a “Ph.D. degree in physics from Stanford University.” On June 18, 1983, she “becomes the first American woman to fly in space, when she “serves as mission specialist… aboard space shuttle Challenger.” She had a second mission aboard Challenger in 1984, and was scheduled for a third flight when the Challenger exploded in 1986, after which she was “appointed to the Presidential Commission investigating the Challenger disaster.”

Arthur gives his POV, specifically about her posthumous coming out.

The song that’s stuck in my brain is the great Wilson Pickett’s live version of Mustang Sally. As the chorus goes, “Ride, Sally, Ride.” A true American hero.
While I had read about this sentiment since the shootings in Aurora, Colorado, I actually heard someone in a physician’s office Tuesday morning, complaining to one of her colleagues, that neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney have said Word One about gun control. By contrast:
“Colin Ferguson snuck a handgun and 160 rounds of ammunition onto a commuter train in New York and shot more than two dozen people, killing six of them. His rampage dominated the news and stirred a national outpouring of shock and grief not unlike what we’re now seeing.

“It also prompted an immediate call from a Democratic president for a legislative response. Declaring that the epidemic of gun violence in America had ‘gotten so serious we should consider a lot of things that we haven’t done in the past,’ Bill Clinton made an explicit call for gun control on the day after the December 1993 massacre…

“Clinton’s subsequent push netted results, with the Democratic-controlled Congress passing an assault weapons ban in 1994. And just before the Long Island shootings, he’d signed the Brady Law, which mandated a five-day waiting period for the purchase of a handgun.” Unfortunately, the assault ban ran out in 2004, and the idea of bringing it back does not seem to be in the political wind.

The song that popped into my head is Lawyers, Guns, and Money by Warren Zevon; here’s the less-radio friendly version.
From yesterday’s Los Angeles Times: “Sherman Hemsley, best known for playing George Jefferson on… “All in the Family” and its spinoff “The Jeffersons,” has died. Hemsley was 74…”The Jeffersons,” which ran on CBS from 1975 to 1985, was the first series about an upscale African American couple in prime time… Hemsley earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his role as the irascible business owner.”

Wasn’t always a fan of the show, but always LOVED the Jeffersons theme, which told the narrative of the series in an entertaining way.

We had a very busy weekend. So I was quite tired Monday night, and went to bed at the amazingly early hour (for me) of 10 p.m. Then at about 11 p.m., the Wife and I heard incredible thunder, and saw lightning so bright, it lit up the room, even with the shades down and my back to the window; it went on for 15 or 20 minutes, yet the Daughter slept right through it. Lightning Strikes by Lou Christie popped into my head, though if I could have found a version by the Albany band Blotto beyond this snippet, I would have gone that route.

A very talented young cellist at my church belongs to some cello consortium. They will be playing, I learned from one of my fellow parishioners, the song Kashmir. I got the distinct impression that most of them had no idea what tune that was. It’s a song by Led Zeppelin, originally on the Physical Graffiti album, and sounds like THIS.

Speaking of Zeppelin, here’s a cover of the song The Ocean (track #8) by Kurt Hoffman’s Band of Weeds, which I own on a 4-song EP from Hello Records, which I happened upon in my collection.
Also from yesterday’s LA Times: “Apple reported disappointing third-quarter results today that caused its stock price to plunge in after-hours trading. The technology giant said profit rose 21% to $8.8 billion on revenue of $35 billion, up 22% year over year. The results were less than what analysts had expected. Shares plummeted in after-hours trading, falling $34, or nearly 6%, to $566.78.” A 21% profit means falling stock prices.

The song: Oscillations by Silver Apples, from 1968, which I own on vinyl.
One of my daughter’s “new” favorite songs is almost a half-century old. She heard it on a Glee album, so I had to play it for her by the original artist. It is She’s Not There, the first single by the British group The Zombies, which went to #12 in the UK and #2 on the US Billboard charts and in Canada. “Rolling Stone magazine ranked “She’s Not There” No. 297 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” I love it because the harmony vocals in the chorus keep changing the song from the major to the minor mode. It was famously covered by Vanilla Fudge, which doesn’t sound like the Glee version at all.

After the Zombies broke up, Rod Argent formed a group called Argent, which had a big hit in 1972 with Hold Your Head Up, which I’m TRYING to do, because I’m still a bit fatigued.

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