“We’ve already heard from Neil Diamond‘s Hot August Night on this list, arguably the greatest live album of all time. Or the best ending to one anyway, the fourth and final side, which kicks off with Holly Holy. Some have called it a Christmas song, which is odd, because Mr. Diamond is Jewish – what it is, is a gospel-inspired, wild and profound reach for (and grasp of) glory — a beautiful noise indeed. Because it’s not ironic, man, this stuff makes me live, man, let the seed be full with tomorrow, it doesn’t get more hopeful than that, man, and also the part about the lame man not just walking but flying – and then the song f***ing takes you there, beyond gravity. Because only music can. I’m paraphrasing my friend Steven here from better part of a decade ago, and I agreed with him, even if I needed about five drinks in me to bring myself to it. Or more to the point, back to it, because he wasn’t saying anything I hadn’t said myself (or tried to anyway) decades previous, twelve or thirteen, the first time Holly Holy sent me over the rainbow. The Hot August Night version being the version, hot band and small orchestra, and singer and song and audience all coalescing in one grand and miraculous f***ing slam.” (Philip Random)
These 12 Mixtapes of Christmas have got nothing to do with Randophonic’s other 12 Mixtapes of Christmas from two years ago, or even with Christmas (beyond being a gift to you). And they’re not actually mix tapes, or CDs for that matter – just mixes, each 49-minutes long, one posted to Randophonic’s Mixcloud for each day of Twelvetide (aka the Twelve Days of Christmas).
There’s no particular genre, no particular theme or agenda being pursued, beyond all selections coming from Randophonic’s ever expanding collection of used vinyl, which continues to simultaneously draw us back and propel us forward (sonically speaking) — music and noise and whatever else the world famous Randophonic Jukebox deems (or perhaps dreams) necessary toward our long term goal of solving all the world’s problems.
Bottom line: it’s five hundred eighty-eight minutes of music covering all manner of ground, from Roy Orbison to Curtis Mayfield to Can, Bob Dylan, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Kraftwerk, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and beyond (and that’s just from the first mix) — anything and everything, as long as it’s good.
“File Neil Diamond’s double live Hot August Night in the Everything You Know Is Wrong category, certainly if you considered yourself even halfway cool in 1972. Because here was a guy that moms liked unleashing one of the greatest live albums the world had ever heard, particularly the climactic side four, the climax of which was a medley of Soolaimon (originally found on Taproot Manuscript) and Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show (originally found on the album of the same name) but neither of those originals came remotely close to the drama-power-glory of what happened that hot august night, August 1972, LA’s Greek Theatre. I’d go deeper into it all but I know my words would quickly fail. The temptation is to say, you had to be there, except I wasn’t. I was in some suburban rec-room a year later, bored with Cat Stevens and Three Dog Night, fourteen years old and ready to be saved. For a few minutes anyway.” (Philip Random)
Tracks available on this Youtube playlist (not entirely complete or accurate).
The Final Countdown* is our longest, most random and (if we’re doing it right) relevant countdown yet. Which is rather a long of way saying, we’re not one hundred percent sure yet what it’s all about – just the end of result of a long and convoluted process that finally evolved into something halfway tangible back in early February. The 1297 Greatest Records of All Time (right now right here), if that makes sense. And even if it doesn’t, we’re doing it anyway for as long as it takes, and it will take a while.
Installment #2 of The Final Countdown* went like this.
1275. Towa Tei – congratulations
1274. Negativland – greatest taste around
1273. Little John + The Monks – black winds
1272. Atmosphere – get fly
1271. Brian Eno + David Byrne – I feel my stuff
1270. Flaming Lips – Pompeii am Gotterdammerung
1269. Pet Shop Boys- Where the Streets have no Name
1268. Tranquil – Ruby
1267. Giorgio – Automaton
1266. John Mayall- dry throat
1265. Clash – Jimmy Jazz
1264. Cornelius – tone twilight zone
1263. Lord Sitar – blue jay way
1262. Miike Snow – Animal (Mark Ronson remix)
1261. Japan – gentlemen take polaroids
1260. Dub Syndicate – the precinct of sound
1259. Dixie Hummingbirds- loves me like a rock
1258. Mothers of Invention – America drinks and goes home
1257. Mothers of Invention – Ritual of the Young Pumpkin
1256. Neil Diamond – Free Life
Randophonic airs pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options usually available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.
“Taproot Manuscript was the album where Neil Diamond made it clear he wasn’t going to be just some fresh-faced popster anymore. He was going to be going deeper now, and higher. Yeah, the hippies were sneering at him because his jeans weren’t torn or faded or crusty enough (and he probably used cologne), but who really cared if he could deliver a song as perfect as Coldwater Morning? Particularly that high note he hits in the chorus. That’s the kind of thing that stops time if you’re twelve or thirteen and just starting to figure out what passion really is. How deep it goes.” (Philip Random)
The cool kids were confused. What the hell was Neil Diamond doing at The Last Waltz, The Band’s farewell concert (still considered by many to be one of the greatest concerts in rock and roll history)? What he was doing was delivering the goods (in leisure suit, shades, freshly coiffed hair), destroying all notions of cool and uncool with a song that told the fierce and sad truth about what time does to us all. It removes us completely, but maybe if we cut the bullsh** at least some of the time, our songs remain.
The Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part Thirty-Six of the journey went as follows:
- Jeff Wayne – Horsell Common + The Heat Ray
- Neil Diamond – Holly Holy
- Led Zeppelin – in the light
- Crosby Stills + Nash – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
- Yes – your move
- Yes – all good people
- Bob Dylan – desolation row
- Grobschnitt – solar music 
Neil Diamond‘s Hot August Night, possibly the greatest live album ever released, starts well indeed with Crunchy Granola Suite, the power of which is only slightly negated when you realize it really is about eating well, lots of nuts and berries. From the album’s liner notes: “Then softly, the music begins, the lights dim. The music rises, the stage is a smoky, opalescent jewel in the darkness. But one light shines brighter than the others, a white pool in the brilliance, and for an instant, sound hangs suspended, only the air breathing. Then he’s there, the crowd exploding, Neil Diamond, casual, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world, those 5000 people demanding his soul. And for the next 107 minutes, he gives it to them.”
Presented in countdown form, the Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
Part Twenty-Six of the journey went as follows:
- Queen – liar
- King Crimson – easy money
- Utopia – Hiroshima
- Roxy Music – end of the line
- Roxy Music – sentimental fool
- Roxy Music – mother of pearl
- John Martyn – I’d rather be the devil
- Led Zeppelin – Achilles last stand
- Neil Diamond – Soolaimon + Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show
- Allman Brothers – of Elizabeth Reed’s Mountain Jam