As I was waiting to be served in a Cafe Nero coffee shop earlier the woman in front of me took a photo of the store’s selection of packaged wafers (vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut). I was on the verge of saying to her, ‘That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen’. But it was none of my business. So I’m saying it here instead. Can anyone beat that?
Anyone waiting for the 999 live album on Record Store Day?
One of the great footnote/what-if bands in late 60s Britain, spanning 1967-69, with one album on Elektra, a few singles, two future members of Fairport/Fotheringay and two female singers, Kerrilee Male (on most of the records) and then the great Dorris Henderson (on one single), the latter having recorded two albums with John Renbourn in the previous few years. For four months towards the end former Brian Auger Trinity/future Isotope guitarist Gary Boyle was a member, hitherto unrepresented on record with them.
Here are five of the eight tracks from the bands last two BBC radio sessions, both with Dorris on vocals and the latter with Gary Boyle on fabulous guitar and (who knew?) Jethro-esque flute. Enjoy!
I’m sad to say that Barry Riddington passed away on March 7. Barry (with Malcolm Holmes and a third partner) was the driving force behind HTD Records in the 90s, which morphed into Talking Elephant Records – a happy home for many old-school British folk and rock musicians making new music, along with licensed in reissues of music in that vein.
Barry and Malcolm were like the Blues Brothers of the Home Counties: well-mannered grammar school boys in leather jackets and cowboy hats, happy to sign up morris dancers and people who used to be in Caravan, or Fairport, or that sort of thing. They were on a mission from God – to save 70s rock.
Barry was as self-deprecating as the day is long, and he and Malcolm had sort of bumbled into the music game and made mistakes along the way, but Barry was no fool – more than once he picked himself and his label off the floor and turned it around. More importantly, he was a wonderful human being – he was a generous man and a great friend to anyone who knew him, and the world is a poorer place without him. He’d been » Continue Reading.
Broadcast in mid 1969 on Top Gear. Any ideas?
As of January 2006, Skirky had been playing guitar in bands, some of which had played original music, none of which ‘made it’. As he explains in the Introduction to this warm, witty, unpretentious and entertaining diary of a year-in-the-life of the bar covers band they had become, ‘we couldn’t just knock it all on the head and retire gracefully. Retire from what, for a start?’
As well as being written by a fellow clearly comfortable in his own skin, Skirky (who has, like Dr Watson did with Conan Doyle, employed someone to be his literary agent/name-on-the-cover, in this case one Shane Kirk) has produced a valuable anthropological document. It even helps that we never find out the name of the band (unless I wasn’t paying attention on that page) and only know the members by cunning soubriquets: The Drummer, The Other Guitarist, The Singer, et al. This is thus an ‘Everyband’ memoir – a snapshot of the life and trials of a bunch of music fans who have wound up exchanging the dream of Peel sessions and the right to say ‘Hello, Wembley!’ with feet on monitors for an evening at the Dog & Duck, a few » Continue Reading.
This is a terrific seven minute summation of the Shamsters, from a punk TV Top 10 in, I’m guessing, the early 2000s. I’ve often wondered why there hasn’t been a definitive retrospective Sham docco, but perhaps this is all one really needs?
In between doing far too many other things I’m making my way through reels of recordings from BBC radio in 1968, identifying and digitising everything (mostly session recordings), which will be passed back to artists and eventually the British Library sound archive. In between Denny Laine’s Electric String Band and torrents of indecipherable songs from Tyrannosaurus Rex that all sound the same , the odd quirky vignette from presenter John Peel has been preserved. Here are three of them, beginning with John’s hitherto undocumented fascination (and rightly so) with JRR Tolkien. Alas, Tolkien never did a peel session, but he did release a record of readings, from whence this except derives…
The new issue of Record Collector announces the latest in the mag’s series of exclusive vinyl releases – this time a 2LP set from a Don Rendell quintet recorded at Klooks Kleek in apparently excellent sound in September 1963. Musicians aside from Don are Glenn Hughes (baritone), Kenny Baker (tr), Lennie Williams (bs), Chick Andrews (dr). The presence of Glenn Hughes is exciting – he died in 1966 is a house fire, was highly rated by the cognoscenti but left very little on record to attest to this (he plays the low notes on Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames ‘Get Away’…). During 1964 he briefly comprised a trio with John McLaughlin (gtr) and Rick Laird (bs) – the Rick Laird Trio in the handful of press ads for their gigs.
There are only 500 copies. Buy the mag to read about it or purchase via Record Collector on this line: 0208-7528193
Has anyone else in the UK ever come across such a slab of monstrous arrogance: an employer telling its employees not to express opinions in their spare time? What a bunch of crap.
Every time I’m in a queue at my local grocery store I see – seemingly week in, week out – ghastly looking women’s magazines in garish background colours with unflattering photos of Judy Finnegan on the cover. Very occasionally of Dawn French, but usually Judy. For non UK readers Judy Finnegan is a middle-aged former daytime TV show presenter. I suppose you could say she’s put on a bit of weight, but so what. She is no longer a public figure, as far as I’m aware. Somehow, vast numbers of these trashy looking women’s magazines seem to be more of less entirely based on serving up ever more unflattering paparazzi pics of Judy on the cover with sensational (and almost certainly non-story promoting) headlines such as ‘Fat!!!!’ ‘Wrinkles!!!’ ‘Judy goes shopping!!!!’ ‘Judy puts bins out!!!’
My question (specifically to AW women) is this: who buys this sh*t? Is there REALLY a commercially significant tranche of women who want to buy magazines promising photos of flabby has-beens minding their own business? Why?!?
Commenting on TV comedy is outside my normal comfort zone. Sometime in the last 20 years comedy became very earnest and arty and right-on and reviewed in newspapers – I suspect that whole ‘comedy is rock’n’roll’ thing at a football arena with David Baddiel in the mid 90s, or whenever it was, was the turning point: suddenly comedians gave names to their tours, like albums, and suddenly arenas became ‘the new working men’s clubs’, and smug gits were effing and blinding all over sneery TV panel shows. Any time I hear that stuff I think with sadness about a man from Liverpool who told a joke about German aeroplanes (Fokkers) on the Des O’Conner show in the 80s and who never worked again on TV. I often wonder if that guy watches these panel shows today and thinks, ‘I died for you all, you Fokkers’?
But I digress. I’ve watched the most recent three episodes of Tracey Ullman’s show called, well ‘Tracey Ullman’s Show’ on TV and it looks like its taken a great deal of time, effort and budget. And yet I’m not sure I smiled even once. Is it me?
The great man will be playing a farewell tour of the US in November/December – and playing a set of Mahavishnu Orchestra music for the first time since, well, the Mahavishnu Orchestra!
He played a few Mahavishnu numbers during the late 70s with his One Truth Band, and in his trio with Larry Coryell and Paco de Lucia circa 1980, but then there was nothing until the past three years or so, when he introduced ‘You Know, You Know’ into his current band’s set, and at a couple of recent New York residencies guesting with Chick Corea, where he revisited ‘Miles Beyond’ and, on one occasion, ‘Smile of the Beyond’. Presumably Miles smiled in the beyond.
John’s playing style and, in particular, his guitar sound have changed markedly since the MO era. Let’s hope the inner mounting flame is still there!
If you don’t have any/all of the Island recordings issued between 1969-71 (three albums, a single and a stray live track), here they all are. Let’s hope the mastering is good…
Here’s the blurb:
A NEW REMASTERED 2 CD DELUXE COLLECTION OF THE COMPLETE QUINTESSENCE RECORDINGS ISSUED BY ISLAND RECORDS BETWEEN 1969 -1971
FIRST EVER COMPREHENSIVE COMPILATION OF THIS ERA OF QUINTESSENCE
INCLUDES ILLUSTRATED BOOKLET WITH NEW LINER NOTES & RARE PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMORABILIA
Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of “Move into the Light – The Island Recordings 1969 – 1971”, a deluxe 2 CD remastered anthology of the legendary Psychedelic, Underground & Eastern influenced Rock band Quintessence.
One of the great underground acts of their era, Quintessence came together in the Ladbroke Grove area of London in 1969. The band comprised Australians Phil ‘Shiva’ Jones (vocals, keyboards), Ron ‘Raja Ram’ Rothfield (flute) along with Allan Mostert (lead guitar), Richard ‘Shambhu Babaji’ Vaughan (bass), Dave ‘Maha Dev’ Codling (rhythm guitar) and Jeremy ‘Jake’ Milton (drums). Within months of their formation the Eastern influenced rock music of Quintessence had earned the band a dedicated following and they were signed by Chris Blackwell » Continue Reading.
My digitising of vintage off-air reels continues. Here’s something that doesn’t appear to be on the recent Pink Floyd box set (although there are five other versions therein), ‘Apples and Oranges’, a stray track from their first Top Gear session that was held over till 5.11.67 for broadcast. I’m not a Flod buff myself, but I’m sure there are plenty out there who might enjoy hearing this.
A freshly digitised Fleetwood Mac, ‘Got To Move’, from their first Top Gear session 12/11/67, with Tommy Vance outro (yes, he co-presented with Peel for a month or two).
I was digitising an inherited reel of tape with vintage off-air BBC radio recordings recently and while I can identify almost everything with a combination of arcane knowledge, guesswork (checked against known audio of the suspected artists) and reference to Ken Garner’s two books on Radio 1 sessions, this one eludes me.
The closest I can get is a guess at the seemingly otherwise unknown Patrick Dickinson – the name being listed in Garner’s ‘The Peel Sessions’ as a guest on Peel’s ‘Night Ride’ on 4/12/68 alongside John Renbourn & Terry Cox and the Sallyangie. Parts of both of those sessions are on the reel, close to the mystery one. (The reel in question is not necessarily in chronological order though – it is a reel comprising mostly session recordings that have been copied on to it from original source reels, presumably of whole programmes, near the time. That said, other sessions on it seem to follow more or less chronological order, spanning Dec 1968 to May 1969.)
While Ken’s book gives Dickinson’s name in his programme by programme list, it is absent from his subsequent detailed alphabetical list of sessions and their contents, so one cannot guess the song » Continue Reading.
Perusing 1962 issues of ‘Jazz News’ I came across a quote from Mick Jagger – presumably the first time he had been quoted anywhere in print – commenting on his band’s impending Marquee Club debut the following evening, Thursday 12 July.
And what did Mick say? “I hope they don’t think we’re a rock’n’roll band.”
Obviously, I will inform the band’s management without delay that, owing to some ghastly 55-year misunderstanding, they must immediately cease billing the Rolling Stones as “the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world”. It’s what Mick would want.
And who else was in the band that night? Keith Richards, ‘Elmo Lewis’ (i.e. Brian), ‘Stu’ on piano, Dick Taylor (bass) and Mick Avery (drums). If Johnny C were around he would tell us more about those last three. The band were titled ‘Rolling Stones’ in the brief news item, though a week or two later it was back to ‘Rollin’ Stones’.
And who was on at the Marquee the night before, you ask? Why, it was Dougie Richford’s London Jazzmen with Nat Gonella, featuring Big Pete Deuchar on banjo. The DRLJ had already released a single that year, recorded by Joe Meek and issued on Parlophone, » Continue Reading.
Here’s life at the bottom for a recording group in 1970. The group is Affinity, managed by Ronnie Scott, a full diary, and an LP on Vertigo that year. You’d think they were going somewhere. This section of a documentary fronted by Anne Nightingale from that year gives a glimpse of the lifestyle for an act at this level.
Colin H on Fairport Convention
The Quest For Roger Burridge: 50 Years of Fairport Convention
Welcome to an Afterword exclusive: an interview with Dave Pegg (bass) and Chris Leslie (vocals, song writing, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, etc.) from Fairport Convention, recorded on Saturday 27 January at the Black Box in Belfast, in between a sound check and the first of two shows in the venue – the second having been added the following afternoon by popular demand.
And speaking of popular demand, Roger Burridge: if you’re out there, get in touch with Dave Pegg – he’s easy to find! (For everyone else wondering what this is all about, read on. Or better still, make a cup of coffee, set aside half an hour, and then read on.)
It’s Fairport Convention’s 50th anniversary this year. I followed the band in the 80s and early 90s, not having been of an age to experience them ‘back in the day’ (the band is older than I am, just). Although I reviewed them several times in newspapers or magazines in the 90s it occurred to me that 2017 is the 30th anniversary of the one time I interviewed them. It would be nice, I thought, » Continue Reading.
Analogue Catalogue Vintage Recording Studio
Some people do things, some people don’t do anything, and some people seem to have a knack for getting people in the first two categories to do things – for making things happen – while hiding their influence under a bushel somewhere in the Castlewellan area of County Down. Mrs O’Donnell – that’s who to blame: the sorcerer with the cauldron, stirring up cunning plans and cultural adventures while seeming on the surface to be a well-meaning, slightly disorganised lady in a coffee shop. It’s a devastatingly effective disguise, let me tell you. One is set on a path to writing books, doing tours, making albums on the basis of what seem to have been, in retrospect, throwaway remarks over a cappuccino (or a telephone).
Last Friday night, at a remarkable analogue studio that apparently nobody had heard of (set up as a venue for a select audience) down a dark lane a mile or so outside a one-horse town, coincidentally or otherwise not far from Castlewellan, Irish trad/trad-esque trio Ulaid (John McSherry on uilleann pipes/low whistle, Dónal O’Connor on fiddle, Sean Graham on guitar) and Duke Special (piano/vocals) performed their » Continue Reading.
I’ve just come across a reference in a 1962 ‘Jazz Monthly’ to a CBS compilation LP, ‘Who’s Who In The Swinging Sixties’ – with ‘swinging’ in this case clearly a play on the idea of ‘swing’ as a jazz term and ‘swinging’ as an adjective denoting ebullience. I wondered if this may have been, in fact, the debut appearance of the phrase, albeit in a slightly different context to the one we’re all familiar with (Carnaby Street, London, 1965, etc.). Certainly, the first appearance of the term ‘Swinging London’ in print – from which I think the wider notion of the ‘swinging sixties’ derived – was in a famous ‘Time’ magazine cover story of April 1966.
In the book ‘Days In The Life: Voices From The English Underground 1961-1971’ (Heinemann, 1988), by Jonathon Green, Time magazine’s cultural commentator of the time, Andrea Adam, recalled the origin of that phrase:
‘As I remember it, the expression ‘Swinging London’ just came out of the blue. One of the editors on Time used it jokingly. Somebody said, ‘Oh hey… what about that?’ We never tried to push it as a concept, but it became the working title for the cover. And it caught » Continue Reading.
This may surprise some around here, but I don’t listen to music that often and, within that modicum of time, there has been very little during the last couple of years which has included the Mahavishnu Orchestra (I KNOW it’s all great, and I can hear it in my heard any time…). But sometimes a solid burst of vintage Mahavishnu is a delight.
Having just reminded myself of the first 40-odd minutes of this show from the Birds Of Fire tour in 1973, here it is for others to enjoy!
Just realised it’s John McLaughlin’s birthday. Let’s remind ourselves of the great man with this flash from the archives of oblivion (in this case, an obscure Seattle TV station) from 1973. 20 incomparable minutes of the Mk1 MO on the spring 1973 ‘Birds of Fire’ tour, with extracts from Dawn, One Word, Open Country Joy and Vital Transformation.