The BFI ‘Ghost Stories For Christmas’ box set is essential for this time of year. Set aside 30 minutes and hearken to the sonorous voice…
My pals the Wooka-ladies were filmed in performance for, how shall I put this, ‘an extra-local broadcast in the not too distant’, last Saturday, in front of a select coterie of their greatest fans, closest family members and assorted people who had nothing much else to do on a wet and miserable Saturday afternoon in Belfast.
Unfortunately, I can tell you nothing whatsoever about the show, as the Wooka contracts suggest that if a word is breathed to anyone, a crack squad of BBC hitmen led by a figure like, say, Alan Yentob flying in with his Bond-villain cat at colossal expense will descend upon all their houses, sieze all their belongings and throw them in prison, never to see daylight again. Similarly, once the show is broadcast and available for anyone to see, they must not mention it for months to anyone. (You think I’m making this up?)
Meanwhile, here are Wookalily with no frills and not much amplication, filmed in a disused warehouse by an amateur enthusiast.
I was wanting to buy a Detectorists DVD for a friend who would almost certainly enjoy but I was put off by some seriously negative online comments on the technical quality of the visual aspect (from sharp to washed out and murky).
Does anyone have the official DVD versions? Is it really that bad?
What a crying shame that a brand new cinematically filmed, lovingly crafted TV series can be bunged out in some crappy transfer (if indeed that is the case)… Just get it right…
Just a heads up that Ralph ‘The Ralphmeister’ McLean at BBC Radio Ulster is having a 60s British R&B show tonight on his Rock’n’Soul show.
The likes of Them, Animals, Yardbirds in the first hour (8-9) and the Pretty Things in conversation in the second hour (9-10).
Available to ‘listen again’ or whatever it’s called if you miss it tonight…
Check out this fellow, playing four parts himself with split-screen video. AND his name is Tom Penguin. How much better can it get?
This is astoundingly close to the sound and feel of the two original pieces. Phew…
‘And so, over to the Graham Bond Organisation, the wildest both musically and in appearance… behind the drums sits Ginger Baker, looking like a Francis Bacon portrait in 3D… and Mr Bond himself, a Balzac in dark glasses…’
Thus said Steve Race, a somewhat po-faced man in the 1960s BBC, introducing Graham, Ginger, Mike Falana and Dick Heckstall-Smith, the 1966 incarnation of Graham’s various legendary 60s bands, on ‘Jazz Beat’ at the Playhouse Theatre.
Three years earlier, as the delightfully looser George Melly declared to an unsuspecting pipe and slippers listenership on the same station, introducing an earlier gang with the dsame Hammond-toting leader: ‘Good evening – ‘Jazz Club’, and not a banjo in sight, but of course it’s been a hard winter…’
And so began a bit of history in the making: the onslaught of R&B on the British jazz world. The three Bond Quartet sessions from 1963 (Bond, Bruce, Baker, McLaughlin) are striking in still being somewhere between jazz and R&B – Jack Bruce still playing double bass, McLaughlin’s guitar definitely more jazz than blues, the repertoire more Ray Charles than Muddy Waters. But it was the still the forefront of a big change.
Trad clubs up » Continue Reading.
My co-author John has very decently been sent a review of our book on uilleann pipers from a french magazine. Neither of us are much good at languages. John likes to share reviews on his social media pages. Anyone here fancy translating a few phrases from it into English for us before he does so?
The Wheels of the World – 300 years of Irish uilleann pipers
A la vue de pareil titre, on ne peut qu’être enthousiasmé. Mais au moment de l’ouvrir point une certaine appréhension, car ce type d’ouvrage est parfois rébarbatif. Eh bien, pas de souci avec cette brique très agréable ! Pas besoin de suivre une ligne toute tracée, car les seize chapitres vous permettent de choisir, de plonger directement à la découverte de Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Leo Rawsome, John Doran, Paddy Keenan, Liam O’Flynn (de Planxty), des cornemuseux de l’Ulster … En outre, chaque chapitre est très clairement formaté, avec des commentaires de diverses personnes (cornemuseux et autres) imbriqués dans le texte. On trouve facilement les passages qui nous intéressent le plus. Ainsi on découvre que Séamus Ennis, lorsqu’il jouait des airs lents, pensait aux mots, à l’histoire racontée sur ces airs. De » Continue Reading.
And now they’re going after the Tremeloes…
Here’s an endearing clip of Liv with Aussie pub rock colossus Billy Thorpe, singing and chatting, probably from the early 2000s…
I thought there was something a bit too familiar about Enya’s new record. Honestly, if it takes her 7 years to come up with this there’s something seriously wrong…
Just a heads up that Series 2 of this fabulous (and to my mind very AW-esque) BBC4 comedy drama series (fear not, no laugh track) starts this Thursday. Four episodes of Series 1 still on iPlayer.
That said, the conceit of the trailer for Series 2 is ghastly: a faux-Hollywood Blockbuster voiceover which is not only wrongheaded (even in the context of being ‘ironic’) but actually makes the speech in the clips hard to hear. Have they learnt nothing from that ‘mumblegate’ thing last year?
Here is a fabulous piece of anthropology: a half-hour doc on 60s countercultural lifestyles in London, featuring nearly 5 mins of Quintessence rehearsing the title track at All Saints Church in 1969 (from 17:10 – 22:00).
My attention was drawn to Phil Hare today. He has a new album of instrumental pieces available, at a very modest price. See: www.philhare.co.uk
My associate Kevin B is looking to clear some space. He has, looking for a hoime (or a recycling bin) The Word: 54 issues from Nov 2007 up to and including the final issue August 2012.
Anyone in need?
For anyone with 15 minutes to spare here’s John McSherry and myself chatting to Marie-Louise on BBC Radiio Ulster earlier this evening on the matter of uilleann piping and books thereon.
John plays two fabulous pieces of music (with fellow piping supremo Francis McIlduff) and gives a demonstration, and snippets of Liam O’Flynn and Séamus Ennis are played.
This is so spoof-esque they *must* be doing it deliberately… surely?
Back in November 2013 I took part in a filmed (podcast) evening of John McLaughlin-related music and speech ahead of my book on JM, which was published in March 2014. Most of the evening went online ages back but for some reason this section was forgotten. It features Tíona McSherry performing ‘It’s Funny’, in a one-off grouping with Ali McKenzie (bass), Ronnie Greer (guitar), Scott Hamilton (piano) and Sean Randle (drums).
‘It’s Funny’ was co-written by Duffy Power and John McLaughlin and was first released on a French EP in 1966 credited to Duffy’s Nucleus. That version later appeared on the 1971 LP ‘Innovations’ by Duffy Power, collecting together several of his mostly unreleased mid 60s publishing demos. John McLaughlin, uniquely, featured an instrumental version on his own debut LP ‘Extrapolation’ in 1969.
Duffy passed on in February last year. Earlier today I finished work on a (mostly instrumental) album, which has been percolating in between books etc for three years. During the session, at Cormac O’Kane’s Red Box Studios, we had time (and remembered, at last) to upload this missing video.
I’m delighted to say the CH album will include two previously unheard Duffy Power tracks – collaborations » Continue Reading.
As of today (Van’s 70th birthday). I’ve just walked home from the splendid Lamp Post Cafe (https://www.facebook.com/TheLindoresCoffeeHouse), to start about 10 hours of proofreading, and passed a stage full of Van musos soundchecking, down on Cyprus Avenue, with a couple of beefy guys and traffic cones blocking off the end of the adjoining Beersbridge Road.
I asked Van, ‘Why?’ But he told me, ‘It ain’t why, why – it just is…’
For those who are interested, a link to BBC Radio Ulster’s radio broadcast is at the end of the BBC News piece. The BBC NI TV broadcast on Sept 4 will be accessible to anyone in the UK with one of those Virgin multichannel box things (you can find all regional variations of BBC on there if you scroll down diligently enough).
Myself and John McSherry were down in Dublin yesterday, on RTE Radio 1’s ‘Arena’, presented by Horslips legend Jim Lockhart. We were promoting ‘The Wheels Of The World: 300 Years Of Irish Uilleann Pipers, out in a week or two. John recorded an exclusive solo bit of pipery for the show 20 mins before airtime – which sounds great. We got 12 minutes. If anyone’s interested, I think it only lasts on the RTE site for a day.
In 2010, Claude Nobs – Montreux Festival supremo – knew John McLaughlin and his old Mahavishnu cohort Billy Cobham were both in the vicinity. He also knew that that night’s opening act for Roxy Music were stuck in traffic hundreds of miles away. Would Le Mahavishneux care to jam with Monsieur Cobham? Why not…
Using a borrowed guitar, this was the first time the pair had played in around 26 years, since a fall-out during an attempted Mahavishnu rebrand/renaissance (John, Billy + others) in 1984. There have been a couple of shaky cameraphone clips online before but this terrific quality audio has just appeared. Bryan Ferry and the lads (much as I love Roxy) surely must have realised that there was nothing more than this…
Known for their 12 hour opening numbers and nine day concerts, with albums that involved more vinyl than any known shelf could withstand, it may surprise some around here to know that the Mahavishnu Orchestra made singles. Well, sort of…
There was one commercial single in the UK and US (‘Can’t Stand Your Funk’ / ‘Eternity’s Breath Part 1’, by MO Mk2 in 1975). Before that, both Spain and Japan released commercial singles in pic sleeves of ‘Open Country Joy’ from MO Mk1’s ‘Birds Of Fire’.
But… in the US there was a radio promo single of an exclusive edit of ‘Sister Andrea’, from the live MO1 LP ‘Between Nothingness & Eternity’, in mono on one side and stereo on the other. I was chuffed to pick a copy up for a few dollars on ebay yesterday. And the day before, amazingly, I came across a US mono/stereo radio promo single of ‘Open Country Joy’ and got it for a few dollars as well. I don’t think I was aware of that one before.
Add to that the recent ‘Dawn’ 2LP (white vinyl) bootleg set from a 1973 radio broadcast at Century Theatre, Buffalo, for £14 and I’m feeling » Continue Reading.
No particular reason – I just felt like some no-nonsense Aztec energy. And here it is…
I’ve had the pleasure of being involved recently in two forthcoming releases – a box set on RPM and a single CD reissue on Hux – that celebrate a particular ‘moment’ in British jazz.
The RPM box, ‘Turtle Records’, is now advertised on Spin CDs’ website, so here’s what it’s about…
It’s a 3CD clamshell box set comprising the three original LP releases from legendary British jazz producer Peter Eden’s own label, Turtle Records, in 1970-71. The albums are Mike Osborne’s Outback, Howard Riley’s Flight and John Taylor’s Pause, And Think Again. These have never been reissued officially before (though bootlegs appeared in the early 90s on FMR, stopped by legal intervention from Peter). Original copies would set anyone back over £800 today.
The albums have been mastered from the original tapes and I’ve created a 17,000 word/56 page booklet telling the story of progressive British jazz in and around 1970, having trawled the entirety of Melody Maker issues for that year and specifically interviewed or corresponded with Peter Eden, John Taylor, Howard Riley and other musicians on the albums – John Surman, Norma Winstone, Barry Guy – plus other musicians whom Peter Eden produced in that period: Michael » Continue Reading.
I saw an advert in a cinema three or four weeks ago for Vimto – something I vaguely recalled as a 1970s soft drink that sounded like a floor cleaning product and which no one I knew, perhaps no one on earth, ever drank. An advertising agency has obviously felt their brief to resurrect the dead ‘brand’ was too great a mountain to climb, brainstormed a creature called ‘The Vimtoad’ as a CGI advocate for the thing and thought, ‘What the hell…’
I had to google it the next day to make sure (seriously) that I hadn’t simply dreamed it. But no, this advert exists.
I find myself thinking now of other similarly named anthropomorphic absurdities which might be brought into CGI existence to sell other stuff:
* promoting tourism in central Africa with The Congoat
* promoting Dutch art with The Vermeerkat
* promoting other godawful fizzy drinks with The Red Bullfrog