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Ant-Bee - With My Favourite Vegetables (CD)

Genre: Pop/Rock
Release Date: 9th March 2015

Label: Gonzo
Catalogue Number: HST271CD
Price: £7.99
Available: Sorry - Not currently available

Ant-Bee - With My Favourite Vegetables

These days there are many artists who work through the intensely 21st Century modus operandi of file swapping. But Ant-Bee, aka Billy James was doing it over a decade before it became de rigeur. Billy James, an author of rock biographies and a musician in his own right, reassembled great musicians from the psychedelic era in his own Ant-Bee project. Featuring contributions from The Mothers of Invention, the Alice Cooper Group, and members from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, Ant-Bee has recorded several albums of material that bring together the styles of several branches of late-60s experimental rock music.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Ant-Bee began in 1987 in Los Angeles as a venue for James to showcase his musical affinity to the psychedelic and experimental music of the late 1960s. Signing to Voxx/Bomp! Records in 1988, Ant-Bee released Pure Electric Honey, which featured guest appearances by former members of The Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart. Sounding like a cross between the Smile-era of The Beach Boys, early Pink Floyd, and late-period Beatles, the record became well known in the underground scene in Europe.

Assembling a live band, Ant-Bee performed in the Los Angeles area in 1990 to much success. While the band recorded a couple of videos, the next recorded material Ant-bee would release was a German EP, 1992s With My Favorite "Mothers" and other Bizarre Muzik Reassembling the original Mothers of Invention for the first time in over 20 years, James and company performed material that was both humorous and spaced-out. James recorded with The Mothers of Invention once again on the second Ant-Bee record With My Favorite Vegetables & Other Bizarre Muzik (1994), which received strong press and sold quite well.

Lindsay Planer on Allmusic writes:

This title is the second full length release from Ant-Bee [AKA Billy James]. Unlike his debut long player -- the uniformly brilliant Pure Electric Honey (1990) -- Ant-Bee with My Favorite "Vegetables" & Other Bizarre Muzik (1994) is drawn from a multitude of sources. The decidedly low-fi nature of the recordings forecasts the alternative music sub-genre by at least half a decade while simultaneously saluting the unique sonic pop sculptures of Pink Floyd instigator Syd Barrett as well as Brian Wilson circa his indulgences with SMiLE (1967). In fact, Ant-Bee's spot-on reproduction of "Do You Like Worms" reveals James' legitimate grasp of Wilson's complex theoretic and harmonic arrangements. The same holds for the dark and deranged electric psychedelic pop bliss of "The Girl With the Stars in Her Hair" as well as the delicate acoustic "In A Star." The latter title sounds like a nod to both Alex Chilton's Big Star days as well as former Db Chris Stamey's power balladry. Yet with all these influences, James rarely loses the focus of his own intangibly evident and strikingly unique musical perspectives. The more intricate and substantially longer works -- "Who Slew The Beast" and the multi-movement "Live Jam: Once the Clothes Are Off..." suite -- are notably reminiscent of '68/'69 era Mothers Of Invention jamming. This is especially true of Zappa's extended performance at the conclusion of Ahead Of Their Time, which finds the Mothers at the Royal Festival Hall in London on October 25th, 1968. These instrumentals are also filled with sublimely difficult passages and interactions which whiz through the keen-eared listener with the same force as a long lost or obscure Gong or Soft Machine groove. The various spoken segments are brief chunks of larger Q&A's that James had done with Bunk Gardner, Don Preston and Jimmy Carl Black. They recount flashes of their earliest experiences with Zappa and their tenure as seminal Mothers. With Ant Bee the trio also recapture their identities as Dom DeWilde (Preston), Geronimo Black Black) and of course Bunk (Gardner).

  1. Lunar Egg Clips Runs Amuck
  2. The Girl with the Stars in Her Hair
  3. Motorhead Snorks/Motorhead Speaks
  4. The Live Jam
  5. Jimmy Carl Black Speakin' at Ya
  6. In A Star
  7. Do You Like Worms?
  8. Bunk Speaks
  9. Another Garden Variation
  10. Pachuco Falsetto Laughs
  11. Here We Go Round The Lemon Tree
  12. Who Slew The Beast
  13. Dom Dewild Speaks
  14. Dom Dewild Tranzforms (Before Your Very Ears)
  15. Dom Dewild Speaks Again


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