For those in London who’d like to hear a legendary writer/photographer for only a fiver, here’s the info:
For those in London who’d like to hear a legendary writer/photographer for only a fiver, here’s the info:
I think we can all agree that in the pantheon of Afterword Faux Geordie is/was “one of the greats”. I’m off to thaaa Toon today and will be having a hopefully convivial late evening of bonhomie with both Faux Geordie and Yorki. Any messages for the great man?
Well, this will be interesting… As someone who has absolutely no social media presence (save for contributing here and very occasionally to a couple of other music forums), I have just launched a campaign on a platform designed for people with vast Facebook followings.
So I need help from my AW pals. If you like the look of this, do please pass the Kickstarter link on through your social media or email any friends that might be particularly keen. The funding target is modest, but it will help – I’ve absorbed a lot of research costs thus far so £1000 toward printing will help (effectively, pre-selling around 70 of the planned 200 copies).
This project is more about locking down knowledge in a physical format – with copies to be sent to the British Library, National Jazz Archive, etc – than a commercial proposition. If there’s genuine demand for more than 200 copies, I can get another 50 or 100 printed, or whatever – but it will be increments like that. So there’s only likely to be a few hundred of these in the world. And, if I say so myself, I’m rather pleased with it! Full info » Continue Reading.
I have a feeling this man is providing a tremendous public service by revealing how the magic was created…
Last November I sped down to Dublin (100 miles south) to see Irish jazz guitar legend Tommy Halferty’s 70th birthday concert. I was unfamiliar with Tom’s music, though I knew the name. (I realise there will be several Afterworders who will now tell me they have 20 of his albums and how come I don’s – but there just isn’t enough time in the world to hear everything, especially if a large part of your day job is documenting things that happened 50 years ago.) I went because I’d just heard the great Norma Winstone would be there, a fabulous English singer of 50 years standing (hence, I knew her vintage works…).
The whole show – a set with Norma then a trio set then a one-off septet, playing seven pieces of Tom’s arranged for the occasion by bassist Ronan Guilfoyle who, as far as I can see, sort of runs Irish jazz.
It was professionally filmed and here is a wonderful edit of some of the evening with great sound.
It was uploaded in March, but I’ve only noticed it tonight. The reason I did was because my friend Scott Flanigan – a fabulous pianist and arguably Ireland’s leading » Continue Reading.
dear oh dear…
My pals the WookaLadies are trying to fund an ambitious second album this summer. I’ve heard the songs – they’re fantastic. They have a terrific analogue studio booked and are running a 40-day Kickstarter campaign to try and get £4,000 – half the funds needed.
Here are 3 1/2 of the 5 Wookas playing recently at a festival in Nottingham – their first GB performance, and hopefully the first of many. I say 3 1/2 because Sharon (banjo/lead guitar) couldn’t make it and Clare (normally flute, violin, guitar, mandolin, concertina etc etc) had broken a finger and could not play any of her usual instruments – so learned versions of her parts and Sharon’s parts on piano. Amazing.
I just noticed this on YouTube – a half-hour Belgian film from a concert hall in 1971 that I was otherwise unaware of. A few months ago we had 50 minutes of a Norwegian concert from 1968. Amazing.
The tracks (excerpted) here are: In Your Mind / No More My Lord / Goodbye Pork Pie Hat / I Loved A Lass / Hole In The Coal / Bruton Town / Sweet Child
Colin H on Vincent Crane
As requested over at the mental illness thread, here’s a piece on Vince Crane written in 2004 for a magazine but never published. I have a feeling I may have posted this before on a previous version of the AW. Still, here it is… The 2CD VC compilation ‘Close Your Eyes’ (one disc Atomic Rooster, one disc other items and rarities) is recommended.
‘There was always the sense that it could slip out of control,’ says Roger Glover, engine room of Deep Purple, ‘a lot of heart, a lot of attack, a lot of flailing of hair. That’s probably my over-riding image of Vincent Crane: the flailing hair! Organists at that time – Jon Lord and Keith Emerson, they were the ‘twin towers’, and Vincent was right there with them. Even though Emerson threw knives at his thing, it was all very controlled. Vincent was more of a wild man. He looked great on stage – and there was a chance that this machine might run amok.’
Thirty-five years ago, on Friday August 29 1969, the world – or that part thereof which had wandered up The Strand at midnight, paid their 20 shillings and » Continue Reading.
As time goes on, the 1950s becomes an increasingly fascinating place – certainly, one that has been (to date) far less mined by cultural archaeologists that the decade that followed it. One can easily set aside the thought that this is a book written by someone who is well-known in another medium because it is, simply, a brilliantly written, accessible slab of social and cultural history whose author tells the tale with a light touch that belies the very substantial groundwork he’s put in.
I’ve read a lot on this era – both primary sources and retrospective books like Pete Frame’s ‘Restless Generation’, Dave Gelly’s fantastic ‘An Unholy Row’, and Ken Colyer’s cranky autobiography ‘When Dreams Are In The Dust’ – and Bragg not only uses his sources well but has trawled very widely and drawn from some very obscure sources indeed (like Michael Moorcock’s late 50s fanzine ‘Jazz Fan’, regional newspapers, and Lonnie Donegan’s fan club brochures).
Bragg’s way with words is terrifific. There are some great turns of phrase every so often that raise a smile, and if I had any fears that there might be chunks of lefty polemics or overly laboured comparisons between skiffle » Continue Reading.
Colin H on Dinosaurs
On October 1970 the Melody Maker revealed astounding new research that antedated the Mock Jogger and his garage band cronies at least 30 years prior to the existing understanding of their formation. Somehow swept under the carpet by the Rolling Stones’ publicity machine, this remarkable research deserves to be re-examined. It means Jogger is about 112.
Here is the text from that original 1970 expose:
‘MICK – YOU NEVER TOLD US!’
Nothing is new – back in 1932 the Melody Maker was raving about The Rolling Stones.
Our delightful picture shows an incredibly camp looking band who must have been a sensation. Al Smith was the drummer and the Jagger-like lead singer was Jack Lewis – “an accomplished dancer, a noted athlete and once schoolboy boxing champion of Great Britain”, according to the contemporary report. Al used to lead a group called the Broway Melody Makers until he formed the Stones, “a bright and popular act”.
The review goes on to say of Jack Lewis: “besides his terpsichorean efforts, which are a big feature of the act, he gives a clever exposition of ball-punching to music. Dolly Lewis, his sister, sings and dances equally well, and » Continue Reading.
…came out before Tim Buckley’s own version. Who knew?
Rummaging through early 60s music magazines, one is struck by the wealth of hit-makers and personalities who are all but forgotten today. You wouldn’t believe how big the Bachelors were, for instance, and names like Mark Wynter, Adrienne Poster, Carol Deene, Susan Maughan, Daryl Quist, Frankie Vaughan and many more.
Another was Karl Denver. Here he is in the mid 70s in a frankly mind-boggling performance. Be warned, it contains a fusion solo.
What does it sound like?:
Interest declared – Market Square Music/Dusk Fire-meister Peter Muir is a pal, but I don’t think I’ve reviewed any of the label’s output here before and he has never asked me to. So, enough of the caveats… Peter has reissued, on his Dusk Fire imprint, three of the late Brit jazz composer/bandleader Neil Ardley’s legendary late 60s/70s albums thus far (‘Le Dejeuner sur L’Herbe’, ‘A Symphony of Amaranths’ and ‘Keleidescope of Rainbows’) plus the first-time release for the live set ‘Camden ’70’. Three of those four were with the New Jazz Orchestra, an occasional ensemble featuring a wealth of great British jazz and jazz-rock players, and this new release – combining two half-hour BBC broadcasts from 1971, with excellent sound – is another gem, hitherto unreleased and containing several compositions hitherto unreleased in any form.
The first broadcast is of a concert recorded at the Camden Theatre and interspersed with witty introductions by Humphrey Lyttelton. Most of the players involved will sell this record to people even half-interested in the era without another word from me – trumpeters Harry Beckett, Ian Carr, Henry Lowther, saxophonists Don Rendell, Barbara Thompson, Dave Gelly, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Frank » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Recorded during a short tour of the West Country in January 1972 with, apparently yet unbelievably, one microphone at the back of the halls, this album is a thrilling document in a moment in British jazz – from the end of a five or six year period in which seemingly anything could happen in and around jazz, however progressive, and major labels would take a chance and throw a recording budget at it.
Mike Westbrook, leading a sextet from the early 60s and having struggled through the ‘R&B years’ middle of the decade like everyone else in British jazz, became known in the late 60s as the leader of a progressive big band, doffing its cap at Duke Ellington while simultaneously finding room for all sorts of avant-garde-isms and multi-media happenings.
His Decca-recorded big band works ‘Celebration’, ‘Release’ and ‘Marching Song’ of 1968-69 were followed by the jazz-pop-ish small-group ‘Love Songs’ (1970), featuring singer Norma Winstone and a guitar for the first time in the line-up (Chris Spedding). What Mike regards as the last ‘big’ work of this period, ‘Metropolis’, was recorded for RCA in 1971 – a large band plus future Isotope guitar » Continue Reading.
…appears to be Martin Hughes-Games. Having apparently gone down an evolutionary dead-end (by being a middle-aged white man) somewhere in between Winterwatch and Springwatch, with his place in the eco-system seemingly having been supplanted by another species (a young black woman), the lesser-spotted MHG staged a heroic comeback at the start of this current Springwatch series, having benefitted from some excellent conservation (i.e. lots of people writing to Radio Times saying it wasn’t fair).
But it may only have been an Indian summer, a last hurrah… From managing to more or less tolerably share the eco-system with the new entrant during the first couple of days of Springwatch, the MHG was soon pushed out of its natural habitat, forced to migrate from Sherbourn first to North Wales – momentarily invading the territory of a hardier beast, a Iolo Williams, down by the sand dunes, before being driven north the following day, to be spotted hanging around a beaver’s dam in Perthshire.
Concerned wildlife experts and media commentators anticipate it can only be a matter of days before this individual, believed the last of his species, will be lured to the uttermost north – somewhere around, say, the Shetlands – by » Continue Reading.
Here’s a bit of fun – see if you can identify all of the ephemeral cultural references (mostly British individuals) in this novelty record by Wendy Richard and her pal Diane from 1963. I came across a review, and the rather scary pic that’s first up in the montage, in a 1963 NME recently and looked the song up on YouTube. I can get almost all of the references (one is very creepy), but I’m sure someone here will get them all…
…Rolf is back on the streets next week.
Annoyingly, he was on a package tour with John McLaughlin (in the Graham Bond Quartet) in April ’63 and under normal circumstances I’d get in touch and ask if he had any memories of the tour, for (another) forthcoming McL book. But no.
For anyone outside NI, you probably don’t get to see a lot of these guys on TV from one year to the next, but unfortunately those of us who live here are stuck with them and local politics shows are full of them year in year out talking the same old sh*te.
Newsnight (national BBC) had half an hour with these goons tonight, so have a look and thank God you only have normal old greasy-pole climbers in the rest of the UK.
I say ‘have a look’ but you’ll have some fun doing that – several of them are plunged in darkness for a while, and at other times it seems as if a giant arc light from a stadium has been wheeled in… and then it starts going dark again…
Even the local BBC (who I assume provided the lighting) can’t get it together.
I’ve just discovered this fabulous slab of doomy proto-prog rock from a 1969 Marmale label 45, credited to ‘Keith Meehan’ but written, arranged, produced by Tony Meehan, primarily known for a series of sugary Shadows-like instrumentals in 1963, with Jet Harris, plus one solo hit in January 1964 (with John McLaughlin on rhythm guitar, making his first commercially released appearance on record).
My pal Johnny C (no, not that one) has created a video montage for one of the pieces on my Titanium Flag remaster inspired by Fridtjof Nansen – the one featuring a stunning performance by Jan Akkerman replicating the sound of a man fighting a blizzard in the high latitudes with only an electric guitar and a Marshall stack for shelter. Here it is.
Here’s a question for the French-speaking AW massif – is John McLaughlin stating that he met George Martin during a Peter & Gordon session around 5 mins in here? In what I don’t doubt is a wide-ranging interview… in a language I can’t speak…
I’m thinking of doing a bit of crowdsourcing – after a suggestion by Twang – for one of the music biog books I’m working on. I’d always planned it to be a limited edition self-published affair, and I could stretch to just about doing it myself (finding the two or three weeks necessary to get the text finished is the problem at the moment, with other calls on my time) but the Kickstarter route seems attractive. Anyone got any advice or direct experience?
The Markmeister will amaze and astound with his Beatles lore. His message is this:
I’m doing few public events in 2017 (I’m busy working on a book, you know) but will be at Walthamstow Central Library on Thursday May 11th, 6 to 8pm.
The idea is to dive into the history of the Beatles – and general music/social history – through artefacts brought along by the audience. I don’t know what people are bringing, so it’ll be fresh. I’ll spend a timed five minutes speaking about each piece to ensure everything stays snappy and I get through as many items as possible. It could be the first time our musical history has been done this way, and I fancy it’s going to be a cracking couple of hours, in which the talk can go anywhere.
Here’s the blurb: > Walthamstow Rock ‘n’ Roll Book Club invites YOU to bring along a Beatles or Beatles-related artefact which Mark Lewisohn will talk about for a timed five minutes, explaining the Beatles’ vast history through that specific prism. The item can be anything at all – a photo, a record, a document, a press cutting or magazine cover, a piece of memorabilia, » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
‘What does it sound like…’ – that question is the reason it’s taken me a week to write this. I know, of course, from years of listening what the Quintessence Island recordings sound like, in terms of the musical content, but something about the opening bars of ‘Giants’ on this 2CD Esoteric gathering of the group’s three albums, non-album single and stray live track from the V/A ‘Bumpers’ compilation LP through decent speakers – and then headphones – made me think that I needed a spare hour or two before churning out a review. Why? Well, to A/B the audio with the audio on three still-available trio of Repertoire reissues of the individual albums ‘In Blissful Company’, ‘Quintessence’ and ‘Dive Deep’ (which add the non-LP tracks appropriately).
My instinct was correct, the mastering on the Esoteric 2CD (by one Paschal Byrne) somehow results in a slightly ‘tighter’, less expansive sound than on the Repertoire discs (mastered by ‘EROC at The Ranch’). I suspect Paschal has applied a little more de-noising or a little compression. Ultimately, if you don’t know Quintessence, I don’t think this a deal-breaker – the music still gets through. The differences » Continue Reading.