At last, Mozza has come clean, revealing his long-suspected Mahavishnu influence in this concert performance from last year that features the biggest gong in rock since Billy Cobham – used in battle from 4.26 on…
Regular Afterworders will have heard me talking about Ballyclare bluesman Lonesome Chris Todd and his band the Hardchargers before. I’ve said it before but interest declared again: I’ve been helping Chris over the past year or so – and currently – towards a debut album (released last month) and furthering his performing opportunities outside of Ireland. I won’t benefit financially from any of this stuff – just an enthusiast for an artist wielding some contacts and loaning a bit of no-interest cash if needed. So, less a PR thread than an AW regular sharing one of his adventures…
Here’s the latest plank in creating that platform, the first of three live clips professionally filmed, by director Paul and his sidekick Jeff, at a show at Belfast’s Empire Bar on December 29th. Like most good things in rock’n’roll it was stitched together at an hour close to 11… or maybe 12…
We’d been introduced to Paul by NI film-making legend Michael Beattie. Paul was up for it – a plan to film three good quality live clips at the Empire show, to help get the message to overseas agents and promoters – in good time but reckoned, from costly past experience, » Continue Reading.
Lonesome Chris Todd, kingpin of the Ballyclare blues scene, was on Gerry Kelly’s BBC Radio Ulster show today, talking about hard times, paying dues and playing some blues. Regular Afterworders will know I’m a fan… so I cobbled together a slideshow to the new song he played, ‘Red Lion Yard’.
Last spring, Chris tried his luck in Blandford, Dorset – and found that (at that time) he didn’t have any. A week was spent sleeping in his van in Red Lion Yard, a pub car park. Ironically, during that period he did manage a few useful gigs – as sideman with Billy Boy Miskimmin, next on the bill to Jethro Tull at a festival on one occasion – and got a taste of playing shows in England after years of playing only in Ireland.
Still, you live and learn – and Chris got a great song out it, ‘Red Lion Yard’. To my ears it’s as if Charley Patton time-travelled from the Delta and found himself having existential car-parking issues in Dorset.
Hopefully, 2018 will work out much better in the Ballyclare blues world.
The word is that Jim Rodford, bass man with Argent and later the Kinks, has died in a fall. I recall seeing him a few years ago at a small open-air country music/Americana event in Belfast, playing bass with a US C&W singer, whose name I forget, smiling throughout, sight-reading the whole set from a music stand. Apparently, the band’s own bass player had a problem and Jim was flown in at short notice. He did a great job. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it’s the guy from Argent… and I imagine everyone else here neither knows that nor cares…’ By all accounts a very nice guy.
Here he is in 1973 playing a catamaran, and holding his head up:
For the jazz and blues buffs among us, Val Wilmer’s classic 1977 book on black Americans in jazz ‘As Serious As Your Life’ is getting a new edition on March 1 through Serpent’s Tail. As far as I can tell, it’s had four covers and three subtitles in its time, the original subtitle being ‘The Story of the New Jazz’, then (in 1999) ‘John Coltrane and Beyond’, and now ‘Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution 1957-77’. The new cover – a rather austere presentation, given the font and layout – is an adaptation of the original cover pic. Richard Williams provides a new foreword.
‘In this classic account of the new black music of the 1960s and 70s, celebrated photographer and jazz historian Val Wilmer tells the story of how a generation of revolutionary musicians established black music as the true vanguard of American culture.
Placing the achievements of African-American artists such as Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Sun Ra in their broader political and social context, Wilmer evokes an era of extraordinary innovation and experimentation that continues to inspire musicians today.
As vital now as when it was first published in 1977, As » Continue Reading.
A simple thread, this – just saw this clip of WA playing two songs (Warrior and Throw Down the Sword) live in Belgium last week and thought it worth posting here. Really atmospheric, and great sound – especially Bob’s new Rickenbacker bass and the tone on Andy’s solo in ‘Throw…’
Following on from the luxury session musicians thread, it might be fun to look at some little-known examples of an artist using (uncredited or otherwise) an entire other band as backing on a record.
Focus fulfilled this role on two or three projects in their early days. Here’s the curiously named Ramses Shaffy on a Dutch single from 1970, with Focus very much ‘doing their thing’, which would become so much better known worldwide a couple of years later:
What does it sound like?:
I vividly recall being gripped and excited when I first heard ‘Crow Coyote Buffalo’, a 2008 album collaboration, released as Mama, between Sarah McQuaid and Zoë Pollock – one a shoestring, social-media savvy troubadour living in a rambling old house near Land’s End, the other a happily faded 80s pop star with enough residuals to live nearby in a yurt and potter about on a ukulele. Amazingly, Zoë’s perpetual-gap-year vibe and carefree music-making was somehow a perfect fit with Sarah’s hitherto defining characteristics of precision, planning and purpose. The album was a wild ride – thrilling, quirky and liberated. When Sarah was shaken out of her comfort zone, magic of a quite unexpected kind happened.
With Zoë’s free-spirit lifestyle proving incompatible with the business of tour dates, Sarah was back to being the precise, organised, careful cottage industry sole-trader of before. Her third solo album, ‘The Plum Tree & The Rose’ (2012), was also her third album with producer Gerry O’Beirne, all three recorded in Ireland. Although featuring some of her best song-writing, not least ‘In Derby Cathedral’, Sarah knew that the album ought to mark the end of her association with Gerry as » Continue Reading.
Danial Peter, a guitar buff with a very clear presenting style, has recently posted this fascinating breakdown of what John McLaughlin actually plays in the side-long epic ‘Right Off’, on Miles Davis’ ‘A Tribute To Jack Johnson’ (1971).
Famously, the track began as an informal jam between John and the two other musicians on bass and drums, with Miles rushing in from the control room when he heard it. (Later in the track, Herbie Hancock, who had literally wandered in to say hi, on his his way past the studio with a bag of groceries in his hands, was motioned over to an unfamiliar keyboard by Miles and ends up playing on the track there and then.)
I play a bit of guitar – no great theory expert, all bluff and instinct, really – but Daniel’s revelation that John is really only playing a Bb7 is fascinating to me. Being John McLaughlin he, of course, stretches and inverts the living daylights out of that chord, making it sound to the fairly casual listener like an armoury of chords. Clever and yet, in a way, simple stuff. The performance was all about the groove – keeping it moving, with an » Continue Reading.
Yes, it’s John McLaughlin’s birthday – one day after JRR Tolkien’s.
Colin H on Pentangle 1969-73
The first half of the tale, chronicling 1967-69, with supplementary diversions on repertoire, releases and broadcasts during that period, appears here:
It seems that there must be a word limit to threads, as I’ve had difficulty uploading the next installment on the original page. So here, in the comments, is Part 3 (of 4) of the tale, with similar supplementary diversions to be added.
(answer in comments)
‘Mountaineer’ over at the Steve Hoffman forums has managed to find some space in between people arguing about shipping dates to debut this splendid bit of video sleight of hand, interlacing moving images of Mountain performing ‘Dreams of Milk and Honey’ at a 1970 festival with the blistering professionally recorded audio from a Fillmore closing-night performance the following year – plus some cosmic graphics to fill in the gaps, like liquid light show…. He’s done a marvellous job. I thought some AWers might like to see it. We don’t often mention Mountain round here…
For those concerned that we don’t get enough doccos on Scots Gaelic singers, be concerned no more:
Colin H on Pentangle
This may turn out to be the longest Afterword feature there has been. There may be those who falter before the end… there may be others who can’t be bothered starting… I was unexpectedly at a loose end this evening and, somehow, digging up and posting this piece for the sake of making it available to anyone who may be interested came to mind. I’ll post the first tranche (about a quarter of it) now, and the rest in instalments over the next few days.
Here’s the context: In 1999 I wrote a book about Bert Jansch. In 2006 I was commissioned by Sanctuary Records to prepare a tracklist and annotate a box set on his 1967-73 band Pentangle. I created an essay for the set by drawing from, editing and finessing a large slab of text I’d researched and drafted circa 1990-91 on the band, with a book in mind, before becoming a professional writer for a time (1994-2001, and again from 2012). Some of that early 90s material had been adapted for use in the Jansch book, but in it I covered really only the beginning and end of the band. Somewhere between that » Continue Reading.
… yet strangely this one was flown in. Amazing, given that Northern Ireland has no shortage of such people already here:
I’ve hesitated to start a new thread on this, as I posted a tour heads-up thread and a ‘wow – he’s back to double-neck’ thread within the past couple of months, and I fear annoying people with too much Maha… But… dammit, John McLaughlin has just played his last ever tour in America, where he made his name (relocating to New York in 1969 after a remarkable 10-year British career under the radar, but popping up in all sorts of places, traversing all sorts of scenes – a Zelig of the Swinging 60s in London) and where the Mahavishnu Orchestra burned bright and then burned out, 1971-75.
It may well be that he has played his last ever show (as opposed to tour) in America – at UCLA Royce Hall, Los Angeles, a couple of days ago. The tour was remarkable for him playing a load of Mahavishnu tunes for the first time in decades, including a full separate two-band set of the stuff with tour co-headliners Jimmy Herring’s Invisible Whip.
Here then is a glimpse of the last homage in America to the Greatest Band That Ever Was, ‘Eternity’s Breath’:
How did it go? Any YouTube clips?
Regular Afterworders will know that I’m a fan of Northern Irish blues trio the Hardchargers and have been involved in helping them record and release an album. It was recorded late December 2016 and will be released on January 5th 2018. It’s a terrific album (well, I would say that…), but it’s certainly been a winding path.
A planned sabbatical for the first third of 2017, with frontman Lonesome Chris Todd moving to Dorset to work with Billy Boy Miskimmin’s band, was affected by Chris having family strains back home, an impossible landlady in Dorset, and winding up living in a pub car park for several days. And then it got really bad.
The trio’s drummer, Hodge, had become seriously ill in the interim, sharing the situation on social media and very bravely facing it down. There were a handful of gigs undertaken in the middle of the year, with Hodge in recovery, and things looked like they might be heading in a positive direction.
Chris, however, was heavily burdoned with a number of issues in his private life, which have taken a heavy toll, though a corner has definitely been turned in putting out those fires in the » Continue Reading.
At last, some details have been released:
In April 2018, Madfish celebrate Wishbone Ash, one of Britains most enduring and best-loved rock acts, by releasing a comprehensive deluxe 30 CD box set, The Vintage Years. Loaded with rarities, memorabilia, a new interview and a lavish 156-page hardback book, a third of this new collection features previously unheard & unreleased material.
Following decades of being starved of unreleased material from the true vintage years from Wishbone Ash, fans will soon be able to enjoy the long-awaited, remastered anthology from this esteemed and influential band in its pure quality in both musical and printed content.
Check out the trailer for the box set here: https://youtu.be/ptd1wjsy8GA
This box set is strictly limited to 2,500 copies and includes all 16 studio albums between 1970-1991, all of which feature bonus material including rare album outtakes, B-sides and 12 previously unreleased studio tracks. These are presented in mini-gatefold sleeves. Three of the 16 albums are currently out of print on CD (Nouveau Calls, Here to Hear & Strange Affair). The box set will feature brand new cover artwork designed by Colin Elgie, the original designer behind the award-winning Live Dates sleeve artwork.
There are 3 » Continue Reading.
This may come as a surprise to most readers, but the Republic of Ireland doesn’t have postcodes. Well, I think some kind of postcoding has been half-heartedly introduced in the past couple of years, but nobody uses it (maybe our Republic of Ireland AWers can tell us more about that). Often, non-metropolitan addresses leave out street names too. So I could write to Seamus O’Flaherty, The Big House, Leitrim and it would probably get to him – somehow postpersons down there don’t need normal locational stuff on envelopes. Goodness knows how they do it.
Having explained all that, are there songs involving Republic of Ireland streets without postcodes or house names without streets?
Van Morrison’s ‘Streets of Arklow’ almost qualifies, and his ‘Down by Avalon’ mantra sounds like something you’d find on an envelope to an individual in rural Ireland in place of any other geographical information.
Over to you.
No, not that one, the other one…
It seems FRoots magazine is in financial trouble. A kickstarter page has been created to raise £20,000 towards buying editor Ian A Anderson and his small team enough time to revamp the business model while still continuing to create the magazine.
I hugely admire Ian for creating and running the magazine since 1977 or thereabout, and I wrote for it a fair bit in the 90s, and the odd time since. I’m not really ‘in the folk world’ but I believe it would suffer without this delightfully quirky and ornery organ of (needed) publicity and comment. I’ve pledged something myself. Here’s the link:
…it’s a wonderful new video for ‘The Tug of the Moon’, from the forthcoming Sarah McQuaid album. I think she’s brilliant.
Colin H on Musings on the byways of British Jazz
That got your attention, didn’t it? Rather like the Afterword (definitively described once, by Hannah, as ‘still not as good as it used to be’), the British jazz scene has FOREVER been whingeing that it’s all gone to hell. There is some unreachable, vague point at which the British jazz scene was apparently great – but that point is ALWAYS years before the date at which a given person is stating it. Maybe in the 60s it was great in the 50s; maybe in the 70s it was great in the 60s, etc. etc…
Certainly, as my recently acquired April 1957 copy of British magazine ‘Jazz News’ would have one believe, the whole thing was all over already – flee at once, jump overboard, every man for himself…
I was delighted to find this on eBay recently. The magazine ran from 1957–63, beginning as monthly and then becoming fortnightly, even trying weekly at one point. I have many 1960-63 copies but ‘50s copies are much rarer.
I thought the Afterword might enjoy this wander down memory lane, around the beginning of the pop/rock era. So here is a » Continue Reading.