December 4, 2009 Playlist

"Paranoid" by Black Sabbath (1972)
Black Sabbath  "Paranoid"  1970 (UK)
We're focusing on producers and engineers on the show this week -- those behind the scenes sound sculptors who make records sound the way they do.  One of the most influential -- and downright mysterious -- producers of the golden age of Heavy Rock was Rodger Bain, who is mainly known for midwifing the first (and best) three Black Sabbath albums, of which this was the second.  (He also helmed the debut sessions for Judas Priest and Budgie.)  Paranoid almost shouldn't need any introduction -- this is simply a masterpiece of heavy metal, in fact it's pretty much the blue print for any metal that concentrates on the HEAVY part of the equation.   (Also, Sabbath's original singer, the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, is having a birthday this week.)
The two most famous video clips of vintage Black Sabbath both come from this album's hit singles -- the immortal "Paranoid" and even more awesome "Iron Man".  But the hits don't stop there -- here's a live version of their doomy peacenik anthem "War Pigs".

"The Producers"
Behind The Scenes Sonic Genius
Artist Song Album Year Country
Produced by TOM WILSON

In the 1950's, he was the first to record albums by way-out jazz radicals Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor.  In 1965, he overdubbed a rock rhythm section onto "The Sounds of Silence", thus creating "folk rock" and launching Simon & Garfunkel to superstardom.  The same year he convinced folk musician Bob Dylan to go electric, and produced his epochal hit "Like A Rolling Stone".  Then in 1966 he moved from Columbia to Verve, where he promptly signed The Velvet Underground and The Mothers of Invention -- the two most radical and influential American underground groups of the decade.
 "The Sixties" simply would not have been the same without him.
Tom Wilson with Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan Subterranean Homesick Blues Bringing It All Back Home
1965 USA
Eric Burdon & The Animals Winds Of Change Winds Of Change 1967 UK
The Mothers of Invention (Frank Zappa) Help, I'm A Rock Freak Out 1966 USA
The Velvet Underground Venus In Furs The Velvet Underground & Nico 1967 USA
Produced/Engineered by Edwin H. "EDDIE" KRAMER

His early engineering gigs at Olympic Sound Studios in London included The Beatles and Rolling Stones, but it was after working with Jimi Hendrix that his career really took off.  He engineered every Hendrix recording session, and even followed Jimi to New York where he also manned the boards for Led Zeppelin, KISS, and a host of hard rock legends (as well as
producing posthumous Hendrix albums.)  He's not only the primary architect of the Hard Rock sound, he is also especially known for live recordings, beginning in 1969 with the ultimate live album -- the Woodstock  soundtrack -- and continuing with most of the classic live albums of the 1970's including mammoth hits Frampton Comes Alive  and The Song Remains The Same.
Eddie Kramer
Blue Cheer Feathers From Your Tree Outsideinside 1968 USA
Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes Brain Games Of Yesteryear Marriage On The Rocks - Rock Bottom 1970 USA
Sir Lord Baltimore Kingdom Come Kingdom Come 1970 USA
KISS She (live) KISS Alive! 1975 USA
Jimi Hendrix My Friend The Cry Of Love rec. 1968,
rel. 1971
Produced by RODGER BAIN

This notorious name is listed as producer for the first three Black Sabbath albums, as well as the debut by Judas Priest and the first two LP's by the lesser-known Welsh power trio Budgie.  The cleanly-seperated but super-dense "wall of sound" he created in the studio has defined Heavy Metal ever since.  He quit the music business completely in 1976, and not much else is known about him.
(I can't even find a photo of the guy!)
If you have a photo of Rodger Bain please email me!
Black Sabbath Hand Of Doom Paranoid
1970 UK
Judas Priest Run Of The Mill Rocka Rolla 1974 UK
Budgie Hot As A Docker's Armpit Squawk 1972 UK (Wales)
Black Sabbath Faeries Wear Boots Paranoid
1970 UK
Produced by JOHN CALE

John Cale played bass, piano and viola in The Velvet Underground, and according to many accounts was their primary arranger and architect of the group's early sound.  After recording two albums with them he quit to focus on his production career, commencing with work on fellow ex-Velvets singer Nico's solo albums, and midwifing the recording debuts of proto-punk legends The Stooges, Jonathon Richman's Modern Lovers and The
Patti Smith Group.  Some of his other collaborators over the years have included Terry Riley, Nick Drake and Brian Eno. 
John Cale
The Stooges No Fun The Stooges 1972 USA
The Modern Lovers Roadrunner The Modern Lovers rec. 1972, rel. 1976 USA
Nico Afraid Desertshore 1970 Germany

He earned his first fame in the late 1960's as lead guitarist and songwriter for regionally popular Philladelphia group The Nazz, and launched a respectable solo career (as well as the prog band Utopia) in the 1970's.  But perhaps even more impressive was his behind the scenes career at Bearsville studios in New York, where some of his early credits included engineering albums by The Band and Gil Evans, followed by production work on a long list of hits by Badfinger, Grand Funk Railroad, Sparks, Hall & Oates, Meat Loaf, Cheap Trick and many others.
Todd Rundgren
Patti Smith Group Seven Ways Of Leaving Wave 1979 USA
XTC Grass Skylarking 1986 UK
New York Dolls Pills (Bo Diddley) New York Dolls 1973 USA
Produced by Bryan "BUTCH" VIG

Back in the late 1980's
in Madison I used to see this long-haired blonde guy hanging out all the time at a certain record store.  Turned out he was the drummer in a local band Spooner, and he had built a recording studio in town and was recording local & regional bands there (including Killdozer, Die Kreuzen and Laughing Hyenas.)  Then later I heard this no-name punk band from Seattle was in town to work with him on their new record (they liked the sound he got for Killdozer), and they played a show that I didn't bother to attend -- a few months later that record came out and it was Nirvana's Nevermind, arguably the most important rock album of the 1990's.  His subsequent work included popular records by Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill, Tad, L7, Helmet and Soul Asylum. That blonde dude turned out to be the architect of "grunge rock".
Madison native Bryan "Butch" Vig
Nirvana On A Plain Nevermind 1991 USA
Smashing Pumpkins Cherub Rock Siamese Dream 1993 USA
Sonic Youth On The Strip Dirty 1992 USA
Killdozer Hot N' Tot Burl EP 1986 USA
"Recorded by" STEVE ALBINI

Always intensely devoted to his DIY & analog principles,
this guy is NOT a record producer.  He is merely a recording engineer who allows artists to "produce themselves."  Yet his name on an album has become synonymous with a specific sound and even seems to give a certain aura of "integrity".  Though he will record pretty much anybody willing to hire him, he often charges artists according to what they can pay -- friends and artists he likes might get his help for free, but millionaire rock stars on major labels always have to "pay out the ass."
Steve Albini
The Breeders Lime House Pod 1990 USA
Big Black The Ugly American Racer-X EP 1984 USA
The Wedding Present Fleshworld Singles 1989-1991 (compilation CD) 1991 UK
Produced/Engineered by Konrad "CONNY" PLANK

The so-called "krautrock" movement in West Germany in the 1970's didn't really make much of a wave at the time, but over the decades has turned out to be a primal source of innovative 20th century sounds.  The most important single person in the history of der Kosmische Musik  is probably this fellow, who seems to have produced or engineered just about every notable German group, including masterpiece albums by Kraftwerk, NEU!, Cluster, Guru Guru, Ash Ra Tempel, and on and on.
Conny Plank
bius & Plank
(with Holger Czukay from Can)
Two Old Timers Rastakraut Pasta 1980 Germany
Kraftwerk Von Himmel Hoch Kraftwerk 1970 Germany
NEU! Negativland NEU! 1972 Germany
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