Friday, December 21, 2007


This was originally on my personal website starting some time around May/June 2005, announced on the KHC site, . I never linked it to my home page, and so wanted to put it here, and beef it up with some YouTube/web research. With a few minor changes below is the original article:

Before a recent Karl Hess Club meeting, at the Tower Records near by, I noticed that Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger's Streetnoise album had been reissued as a CD, remastering having taken place not too far away in Venice, CA. The most widely heard recording in the USA that Auger participated in is probably the 'heavy' Thelonious Monk meets Mozart harpsichord comping he added to the Yardbirds "For Your Love" single back in the 60's. Driscoll (now Tippetts) most famous for the re-recorded version of Dylan's "This Wheels on Fire" used as the theme song on the "Absolutely Fabulous" TV show.

There's hardly anything to add to the musical reviews at:

I wanted to comment briefly on the political content of the album, which ties it in some with the Karl Hess Club in ways other than geographic chance. "Streetnoise" touches on various topics common in the era it epitomizes, civil rights ("A Word About Colour"), social activism ("Save the Country"), alienation ("Vauxhall to Lambeth Bridge"), but goes on to deal with some things not so frequently dealt with.

The instrumental "Ellis Island" is dedicated to big band leader Don Ellis, who's exploration of rhythm on a larger scale paralleled Augers. Auger, with the title, compares the excitement of what Ellis is showing with that of moving to (and exploring) a new continent (which Mr. Auger eventually did), hinting at the topic of immigration.

Unique in pop music at the time, to my knowledge, (let me know if you know any exceptions!) and otherwise dealt with musicly only by Husa's "Music from Prague", "Czechoslovakia" is protest song about the Soviet invasion of said country.

Many might dismiss "I've Got Life" from the musical Hair as a bubble headed up beat show tune, but along with some of the more blues oriented material on the album, it does celebrate personal/bodily integrity.

I recently heard a talk by Polish poet Adam Zagajewski, in which he attributed a lot of his fascination with jazz to the fact that the central trait of jazz, improvisation, represented the antithesis of totalitarianism, such as he lived under for so long. The album "Streetnoise" overall marked a turning point in interest in jazz. It was recorded at about the same time as Miles Davis's "In a Silent Way" and helped start a trend that would see ex-Auger sidemen like John McLaughlin and Rick Laird, along with some of those wild and crazy guys from Central Europe like Austrian Joe Zawinul and the Czech Jan Hammer bring to fruition. In the early 70's it became cool to listen to jazz again.

In conclusion, the first time I recall seeing the term "Politically Correct" was on the liner notes the "Encore" album Auger and Driscoll (by then Tippett) made a few years after "Streetnoise", their last recordings together. It was not only the first time I saw the phrase, but it was the last time I recall seeing the term and not feeling a sense of nausea at the twisted semantics it has come to represent.

Dallas E. Legan

Addenda, 17 Dec. 2007

Browsing through the "Rough Guide to Bob Dylan", I noticed that it listed Driscoll and Auger's version of "This Wheel's on Fire" as the third best Dylan cover of all time, so I thought a few videos might be in order:

Other video significant to album and artists.

Julie did something far more fatal to her career than overdosing on heroin - she married a jazz musician. One of the links in the original article above spoke of her discovering 'entirely new ways of using the human voice.' Some samples of her work from the last decades, and other links:

Some Brian Auger info:

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