Gulf Crisis - Leaving Kuwait

Gulf Crisis August 1990 – leaving Kuwait . . .in droves, except if you were American .

August 24, 1990 – Gulf Crisis Update + CBS Hourly News – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

August 24, 1990 – News for this day continued with bulletins and updates. The Crisis in the Gulf was heating up by the hour. Embargo’s were in place and reserves were being called up in the U.S. – the “coalition Of The Willing” was assembling, and those who were able, were leaving Kuwait in droves.

The crisis for this day centered around more than 100 Americans being transported from Kuwait to Iraq, by police to become. The Iraqi authorities claimed it wasn’t a hostage situation, but The State Department had a different interpretation and tensions were mounting on the home front over loved ones stuck in an untenable situation. For the time being, the Americans were safe in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Many speculated this was Iraq’s payback for the U.S. refusing to close its Embassy in Kuwait. The Embassy and several others had been surrounded by Iraqi soldiers and no one was getting in or out. But with Iraq refusing to allow the Americans to go, it prompted further outrage from The White House.

Further escalating the situation was also news from the White House that the Iraqis were reportedly still receiving shipments of Chemical warfare products and other military materials in violation of the UN Trade sanctions.

As a show of force, the U.S. battleship Wisconsin steamed into the Persian Gulf earlier this day, bringing a substantial amount of firepower into the Gulf with the addition of Cruise Missiles on board. Whether all that firepower was going to be used was up for speculation. From the ground, it was looking like the troop buildup was continuing, adding to fears that a war was going to break out at any moment.

And Austrian President Kurt Waldheim arrived in Jordan before going to Baghdad the following day to ask Saddam Hussein to release the Westerners held in Iraq and Kuwait.

All that, and a whole lot more for this tense August 24, 1990 as reported via CBS News Updates and CBS Hourly News.

Julia Holter

Julia Holter – Exploring new horizons in Outer Sound.

Julia Holter – in concert at Route du Rock 2016. Recorded August 16, 2016 by Arte Live.

I’ve heard bits and pieces of music by Julia Holter the past couple of years – but never really got a chance to sit down and listen to what she was doing. Come to find out, Julia Holter is a local (Los Angeles) – and more than that, she went to the same High School I did (Hamilton High in West L.A.) and the same College I spent a brief time in (CalArts). So, not only is she a local, I should be much more aware of her work. And I’ve been having a chance to listen to what she’s been up to, and I’ve become a fan.

She’s taken the model of Baroque-Pop (for want of a better term) and has expanded on it in a way that makes it completely engaging and unique. Nobody else is doing what she’s doing right now, and it’s refreshing to listen to.

And clearly she’s going in the right direction, based on the flood of positive reviews and critical impressions of late, particularly during this tour, promoting her latest album Loud City Song which was released only 4 days ago. Latest word, she was a huge hit at Greenman Festival in Wales a few days ago. She’s coming back to the West Coast to do two gigs towards the end of this (August) month. August 28th at the FYF Festival in L.A. and playing San Francisco and Sonoma on August 31st and September 1st respectively. And then she heads to South America for several gigs before flying back to Europe in October. Busy schedule. But she’s making fans and she has something to add to the rapidly expanding musical mix we’re going through right now.

Anyone who thinks music has become stagnant really needs to sit down and listen to this concert, as well as check out her material (she has two other albums out, aside from the new one).

I’m looking forward to what she’s going to come up with next. In the meantime, dive into her appearance at Route du Rock in St. Malo, and crank it up.

 

juku Cram School - 1986

Students at a Juku Cram School – Summertime, and the living is stressful.

August 23, 1986 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

August 23, 1986 – 30 years ago today – the big news was the disclosure and only the most perfunctory acknowledgement of a Chinese newspaper report that a U.S. Citizen was convicted in China on allegations of spying for Taiwan. U.S. officials would confirm only that an American was recently arrested, tried and sentenced. The American, going by the name of Roland Shensu Loo was arrested and convicted of collecting a “large amount of Intelligence” since 1984 and was working for the government of Taiwan. Loo was given 12 years in prison, while his companions received sentences ranging from 3-10 years. Other reports surfacing said Loo and his associates were arrested some six months earlier and sentenced in July.

And further reports from China, via news sources in Japan, that a border skirmish had gone on between Soviet and Chinese troops. An official statement called it an “isolated incident”, along the Sino-Soviet border. The report went on to say one Chinese soldier was killed and another was wounded in the July 12th shootout with a Soviet border patrol.

Drugs at Air-Traffic Controllers were making news this day. Reports that flagrant Cocaine, Hashish and other narcotics were openly being used by Controllers who were working at the at the Palmdale California Air Control Center. Blame was being placed on the Traffic Control managers, who were taking up positions owing to the Air Traffic Controllers Strike and subsequent firing some months earlier.

And while American students were lolling during the last few days of Summer Vacation, hundreds of thousands of students in Japan were busy enrolling in Juku Cram Schools, in preparation for the new school year. To the tune of upwards to $1,000 a week, High School students got up for 6:00 am calisthenics and then for a solid 12 hours of intense study, and a short walk for recreation and 5 hours of sleep at night, only to do it all over again the next day.

And that’s a small slice of what went on, this otherwise uneventful August 23, 1986, as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.

She Wants Revenge

She Wants Revenge – one of those bands who successfully manage to get under your skin and stay there.

She Wants Revenge – Live At Rock am Ring, Mendig Germany – 2006 – WDR – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

She Wants Revenge was one of those bands I first heard via MySpace many years ago, didn’t know who they were, but couldn’t stop listening. And when they were done, I wanted to hear more. Comprising a duo of Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin, the band from Southern California are eerily engaging – their combination of Darkwave, Alternative, Post-Punk Revival and traces of Goth were a compelling mix of musical genres and styles, together with biting and provocative lyrics, they were a unique and wildly interesting band.

Why they haven’t become household name is a mystery. They did achieve a modicum of success via TV and film soundtracks, and they did several tours with Depeche Mode and Placebo in 2006. Despite the comparative lack of mainstream success – they did gain a large (and growing) following. Their debut album sold over 300,000 copies and their subsequent 2nd and 3rd albums have sold reasonably well. Earlier this year they dropped hints of a possible reunion, they had been inactive since announcing a hiatus in 2012.

Tonight it’s a concert from the legendary Rock am Ring festival in Mendig Germany, part of the big promotional tour they did to coincide with their release of their debut album and opened for Depeche Mode.

Even though they played early in the day (morning, actually) and attendance was sparse, they still turned in a spirited and energetic performance, which was luckily captured by WDR for their Rockpalast series.

Sadly, there isn’t a lot of live material for this band, so this concert is something of a rarity and needs to be played very loud, in order to get the full effect of Justin Warfield’s compelling voice. But that’s just me.

Their albums and singles are still in print, and I would urge you to check them out if you aren’t familiar – I would also urge you to keep an eye out for some promised reunion gigs, which are said to be happening later on this year.

Dan Quayle

Dan Quayle – barely out of the convention and eyes were already rolling.

 

August 22, 1988 – CBS World News Roundup – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

August 22, 1988 – ironically also a Monday. News from Poland was looking ominous as some 70,000 workers went on strike. The strike took place at the Gdansk Shipyard, the place the Solidarity Movement began some 8 years earlier. It was a major escalation in a series of strikes which began in the Coal Mines and shut down the Port of Szczecin. Lech Walesa issued the strike call the previous day. He said going on strike would run the risk of harsh-repression, but that the time had come to stand up and show they existed. Walesa received unofficial word that the regime was willing to deal with the Solidarity Movement and offered to delay the Gdansk strike by a week, if he felt that the authorities would promise to negotiate. There was no promise, and so this morning the strike began.

Today was also the 20th anniversary of the Invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces. The observance was marked with mass demonstrations in Wenceslas Square in the center of Prague. Initially, the numbers were small, but by afternoon the number of protestors was over 10,000. Later on in the evening, Police moved in and began beating and arresting demonstrators – further evidence that some things just didn’t change.

The big domestic news for this day centered around the ongoing controversy with GOP running mate Dan Quayle and his military service record. He proudly declared a stint in the Indiana National Guard for some six years. The story resulted in a tidal wave of questions and assertions that he was given preferential treatment, particularly since it was the Vietnam War period. So Dan Quayle was to spend most of his time during these first few days after the GOP Convention victory dance, defending his record and denying allegations people pulled strings.

Meanwhile, the polls were showing a boost in the Bush-Quayle ticket by as much as 10 points over the Dukakis-Bentsen ticket and the campaign trail was blazing. George Bush was heading to Chicago to address a Veterans Of Foreign Wars convention where he was expected to defend Quayle’s Service record, while Quayle went to Washington and got some eleventh hour schooling on handling a political campaign.

And that’s a small slice of what went on, this August 22, 1988 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.

 

Eliane Richepin

Eliane Richepin – not a “disheveled virtuoso”, but a remarkable performer in the style and manner of Alfred Cortot.

Eliane Richepin with the ORTF Orchetra, conducted by Pierre-Michel Le Conte – Honneger: Concertino – ORTF 1948/49 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

Back to performances via French Radio this weekend. A performance of the Honegger Concertino for Piano and Orchestra, featuring the highly underrated and undeservedly overlooked French pianist Eliane Richepin, along with the Orchestra of The ORTF (French Radio), conducted by long-time associate Pierre-Michel Le Conte in a broadcast from circa 1948-1949.

The Honegger is a familiar piece, it is frequently played and played by most major (and minor) symphony orchestras throughout the world. But there is an air of authenticity when it’s played by a French orchestra, particularly one from before the 1960s. French orchestras just sounded different, with a richness of playing and phrase few orchestras could match during this time. And the ORTF orchestra (now known as Orchestre National de France) was one of the best of the radio orchestras, led by the legendary Eugène Bigot, until Le Conte took over in 1960, after spending some 10 years as Bigot’s assistant.

So this is authentic playing as Honegger heard it, and it is a historic record of a style and manner of playing which is no longer performed.

But with some things historic, there is a catch. This set of discs was part of a considerably larger group of transcription discs, many of whom fell into neglect over the years. This one had spent several years face-down on a cement floor until I discovered it. Needless to say, it has a lot of scratches going into it. I have tried to lessen the disturbing distractions of those scratches as much as I could without sacrificing the sound – but some things couldn’t be helped. So there are places where the scratches are more pronounced than other places. But rather than not offer this disc, I felt it was important that you have a chance to hear it, and perhaps at some point a better copy will appear, or Radio France will unearth the masters for this recording in its vaults. That would be nice – but I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, enjoy a rare performance of a familiar piece and try not notice the scratches.

Andy Partridge

Andy Partridge – gleefully chatting about Nonsuch, which would be their last album delivered to Virgin Records.

Andy Partridge talks about XTC, during a publicity session at Geffen Records on June 8, 1992. Partridge was in town (Los Angeles) to help promote Nonsuch, which would be their last album for Virgin Records (and subsequently for Geffen, their U.S. licensee). Although Partridge is enthusiastic, you can’t help but feel something was amiss during the course of the interview, where a few disparaging remarks are made about Virgin’s A&R department.

Although not one of the more successful XTC albums, certainly a far cry from their earlier work, and given a severe drubbing by critics, I think the trashing was a little excessive, as there are several gems to be found tucked into the grooves, owing to the keen and perceptive writing skills of Andy Partridge.

After leaving Virgin, they set up shop with Cooking Vinyl which released their last two albums in 1999. Although they had ceased touring in 1982, they were still actively recording, and in one case assumed the identities of fictitious alter-ego 60s band Dukes Of Stratosphear for two very memorable albums. And even though their hit singles comprised primarily of work done earlier on in the bands career,XTC had a marked influence on so many bands during the 80s and well into the 90s that they became something of a musician’s musicians band ever since.

This chat with Andy Partridge was originally done for a long defunct radio syndication firm, who used to regularly interview bands and artists during the late 70s up to early 90s and inject snippets into their weekly programs. Because the questions weren’t intended to be part of the aired interview, they are recorded off-mic – so it may take a little getting used to, figuring out the questions. But it’s a rare opportunity to hear one of the founders and guiding lights of one of the most influential and revered bands of the 80s. Luckily, XTC’s albums are still in print – and if you aren’t familiar with all their work, check them out – they have a lot to offer.

In the meantime, have a sit-down and a listen as Andy Partridge explains it all to you on June 8, 1992.

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