Basement Party 2

Basement Party 2

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Today's Slab...Being for the Benefit of Mr. K(ampuchea)

Today I'm listening to yet another benefit album (I go through certain phases when listening to stuff apparently), "Concerts for the People of Kampuchea." Recorded from a series of 4 concerts in London the last week of the '70s (2 weeks after I was born!), this album, a 2-record set, is leaner than the "No Nukes" album I reviewed the other day. The "No Nukes" album seemed to suffer from a "let's throw everything on here" approach, but the "Kampuchea" album features the cream of the four shows. I think the performers selected were quite a bit stronger also: Paul McCartney & Wings, the Who, the Clash, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, the Pretenders, Queen, and the Specials (not to mention the colossal rock supergroup "Rockestra," featuring members of the aforementioned bands PLUS 3 members of Led Zeppelin).

Side one features four songs by the Who, who are sounding excellent. They had come off a hard year, touring with a new drummer for the first time in their career (Kenney Jones, ex-Small Faces/Faces), after the 1978 death of Keith Moon. They had also been part of a tragedy earlier in the month of December 1979, when several fans were crushed to death at a concert in Cincinnati. Here are the songs they performed: "Baba O'Reilly," "Sister Disco," "Behind Blue Eyes," and "See Me, Feel Me." This was during Pete Townsend's "drunk era" (famously described in the song "Who Are You"). I recall reading an article in some music mag at a book store a few years back about this show and how Pete was drunk out of his mind during the performance the last night of the show. His style is a bit sloppier than I have heard before, but overall the vibe is good. The shows were filmed, and I found footage of the Who playing "Behind Blues Eyes":

Sides 2-3 feature one or a few song by Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Rockpile, Queen, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, and the Specials. All good stuff, and I'm especially partial to the Clash and Queen stuff. The artists featured showcase the variety that British music at the time offered...punk, new wave, and classic rock were all given equal time. Here's a video of the Clash playing "Armagideon Time:"

Side 4 is when it gets really good, with Paul McCartney & Wings taking the stage. Paul helped organize the shows (like his old bandmate George did with the Concert for Bangladesh) and since Wings were at that time one of the biggest bands in the world, they were given a slot close to the end of the last show. Wings performed one Beatles song ("Got to Get You Into My Life"), one song from Paul's first solo album (the rarely performed "Every Night"), and a song which ended up on 1980's "McCartney II" album ("Coming Up").  Here's a clip of Wings doing "Every Night:"

Finally, the grand finale, Rockestra! First appearing on Wings 1979 album "Back to the Egg," this "rock orchestra" featured John Bonham, Billy Bremner, Gary Brooker, Howie Casey, Tony Dorsey, Dave Edmunds, Steve Holly, James Honeyman-Scott, Steve Howard, Kenney Jones, John Paul Jones, Lawrence Juber, Denny Laine, Ronnie Laine, Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Thadeus Richard, Bruce Thomas, and Pete Townsend. David Gilmour, who appeared with Rockestra on the Wings album, couldn't be there since he was busy with Pink Floyd preparing for their tour for "The Wall." This clip shows the mammoth Rockestra performing the "Rockestra Theme" (check out the very intoxicated Pete Townsend):

Overall, I really enjoyed the heck out of this album. The musicians and songs featured were all top shelf, and the atmosphere seemed fun and playful.


  1. This one sounds like a damn fine album, I'm jealous!

    I bought McCartney II not too long ago. That is a weird album. Seemed like he was experimenting a lot on that one. Also picked up Wings "Speed of Sound," which I've been enjoying. That first song alone makes it worth it.

  2. I love that song "Let 'em In!" I remember hearing it at a comic book store in Lansing when I was 18-19 and this fat dork kept reciting the lyrics before they came up. If you ever see "Wings Over America," you should definitely pick that up. It's a triple live album recorded during the "Speed of Sound" tour. Really good stuff on that one!

    McCartney II is just...odd. I like "Coming Up," and that "Girlfriend" song is ok (did you ever hear the Michael Jackson cover of that one?). "Temporary Secretary" isn't bad, but the synths almost overpower it.

  3. Yeah, Its almost like a noise album. I do see Wings Over America sometimes, but its usually a few bucks more than I'm usually willing to spend on used vinyl. But on your recommendation I'll try to keep a keen eye out.

    Hey, don't forget to read/listen through that Temple of DOOM blog I wrote...there's some good jams for you to check out there.