On Wednesday night I went to a preview of ‘My Generation’ co-produced by Simon Fuller and Michael Caine. This was a fascinating overview of the 60s (almost exclusively London in the 1960s), narrated by Michael Caine who also carried out interviews with Paul McCartney, David Bailey, Twiggy, Mary Quant, Roger Daltrey etc. Following the film there was a live Q&A with Michael Caine (on the evening of his 85th birthday) and the director, David Batty, simulcast to 400 cinemas across the UK. During this it emerged that the researchers spent 3 years trying to track down footage that hadn’t become too familiar over the years. Their big breakthrough was tracking down Peter Whitehead, director of ‘Tonite Let’s Make Love in London’ among other films, who is now in his 80s and living in Scotland. Amazingly, he has in his garage hours of original rushes, outtakes etc from his various 60s films which he agreed to loan, provided they were restored and properly digitised. ‘My Generation’ is well worth seeing if you are interested in the 60s or lived through them. There are apparently going to be six TV programmes which will feature the various interviews in full.
Found in the bottom of a cupboard!
I recently came across this intriguing playlist, put together by DJ Bill Brewster, of funky music performed by unlikely artists. For example, ‘Ease Along’ by Sir Cliff and David Cassidy doing Ned Doheny’s ‘Get It Up For Love’, ‘I Dig You’ by Demis Roussos, ‘Tribal Dance’ by Peter Green and so on.
There must be many other hidden gems out there, like this one by Alan Trajan. Any other suggestions?
I seem to play pretty much all my music on Spotify these days, even if I have the CD sitting somewhere in my garage. As a result, the number of ‘saved’ albums is growing fast and becoming pretty unmanageable. The Spotify app is fairly poor (eg compared to the Amazon Music app) but I’ve started creating playlists specifically for albums, eg ALBUMS – ECM, ALBUMS – ALICE COLTRANE etc so at least I can find the damn things. Anyone have any better ideas how to manage their music in Spotify? The Albums field is pretty limited when you have a lot of albums saved.
Nice collection of blues programmes on BBC iPlayer under the BBC 4 Collections series. Curated by Julian Joseph, the series includes several Arena Blues Night editions (BB King, Sonny Boy Williamson and the ‘Chicago Blues’ documentary) and the Alexis Korner series from 1979, ‘The Devil’s Music’.
I’ve just come across a Spotify tool called Organise Your Music. Basically, it analyses all your playlists and presents them in a variety of ways – by genre/micro genre, moods (amped, chilled etc), styles (clean, quiet, loud etc), decades, when added, popularity. You can then create new playlists based on these categorisations, amend them to your heart’s content and save them to Spotify. Some of the micro genres are new to me. I apparently have 4 tracks defined as ‘deep chiptune’ which is news to me (tracks by Magic Sword, 65 days of Static, Anamaguchi, Peter McConnell since you asked). And if that wasn’t enough, you can access a plot of each grouping with X and Y axes showing such variables as ‘acousticness, anger, energy, loudness etc. I guess this tool gives you more of an overview of your ‘collection’ plus it’s tremendous fun to play with.
One of the joys of Spotify is creating a hand-made playlist (I’m not talking about grabbing Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits for example and sticking it in a playlist). I’m sure it’s been done here before but how about sharing some of your favourite personal creations? Here’s mine, called Mellow 1 and designed as a party/dinner party playlist. It’s meant to be played sequentially. I’ll try and share some more but how about yours?
What does it sound like?:
The conventional impression of 1950s Britain is of a rain-soaked and foggy land exhausted by the war and struggling to come to terms with lingering rationing and austerity. To counter this view along comes a sparkling new box set from Jonny Trunk featuring all manner of exotic recordings by artists with names like Reg, Ted and Eric. The Americans too had their own brand of exotica with artists such as Arthur Lyman, Esquivel, Les Baxter and Martin Denny but, as the sleeve notes suggest, the British experience was rather different. ‘Recovering from war, steeped in tradition and closer to European, Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Quietly reserved, gently comic and slightly confused.’ The three albums included in this box set are : ‘London’s Rarest Primitive Pop and Savage Jazz’, ’Persian Pop and Casbah Jazz from the Wild British Isles!’ and ‘Polynesian Pop and Placid Jazz from the Wild British Isles!’. Each album explores a different substrata of this fascinating music. Highlights include ex-Vernon Girl, Lyn Cornell, with a spirited vocal version of Johnny Dankworth’s ‘African Waltz’, folk singer Nadia Cattouse’s frantic jazz chase produced by her big band arranger husband, Dave Lindup, and ‘The » Continue Reading.
I came across this newish blog, from Independent and Guardian journalist Neil Morton, on Twitter so thought it might appeal to the Afterword cognoscenti.
I enjoy a good mash up and this one, ‘Virgin O’Riley’ is one of the best I’ve heard. I did some work on electronic music and production a few years ago so I know how difficult it is. It’s possibly sacrilege to dedicated Who (or Madonna) fans but you can still listen to the originals.
I’m visiting London in a couple of weeks for a bit of retail therapy, ie record shopping. It’s been about 5 years since I last visited the capital and I’m guessing the pool of decent record shops has diminished. I’m planning to visit Rough Trade East and hopefully favourite places like Honest Jons and Soul Jazz are still open. Any other recommendations?
This 1967 film features Robert Hughes, Olivier Todd and Lewis Nkosi wandering around ‘swinging’ London and pontificating about what it all means. Very evocative. It also includes segments with Arnold Wesker and Osbert Lancaster as well as a sweaty club scene with Herbie Goins and the Nightimers, including Harry Beckett and Mick Eve (one of Georgie’s Blue Flames). Well worth a watch.
I’m probably not alone in having tons of digital music files, from all kinds of sources. However, I’ve not yet found a truly satisfactory way of playing these via a connection to my hifi setup. I’ve tried a lot of options, including JRiver, Audirvan, Fidlelia etc, and probably wasted money along the way. I know iTunes is an option but the vast majority of my files are FLAC which is not catered for by the current version, and probably never will be. All I want is a pleasant, robust and easy to use system. If it is at all relevant, I use Macs and control playback on a MacBook Pro. Anyone have any suggestions?