In a continuing thread, my Discover Weekly playlist, on Spotify, has revealed another gem. -Never heard of them (Canadian brothers, plus others, nothing to do with Sonny) -Not wholly representative of the album (the rest is a bit more gentle, but, jeez, his voice…) -The album is 2 years old (how the feck did that pass me by? Where were you lot to tip me off?) -Just when you think you know what’s going to happen (those harmonies at the end floor me) -Could anything be more up my strasse? (No)
Sometimes, when you fall in love, it’s not the real thing. This was not one of those times. Angie was the 16 year old girlfriend of the bass player. I was the drummer.
Angela was a beauty. A tall blonde, sure, but her beauty was as much inside, as out. She was kind, passionate and, above all, fun. But she was someone else’s girl.
It was 1974.
I loved being a drummer. Wow. Typing that has made me realise that I probably won’t play drums again. I’ve known that for years (41 years, to be precise,) but seeing it on the screen is scary.
The last thing I wanted to do was upset the equilibrium of the band.
But she was gorgeous.
Okay. Back to the matter in hand.
I don’t think I was perusing her. She was around our group of friends all the time. She was a fun person in a room, you know, one of those people that we all gravitate to. I was the acne-ridden kid that was crippled with shyness. Still am, to be honest.
It was a sunny, Sunday morning. My Mum called up the stairs to me, “Niall, door.” I ran » Continue Reading.
The Spotify ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist has played a blinder, this week. From Golden Smog, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Ethan Johns through to John Fogerty, Jason & The Scorchers and The Georgia Satellites, there is hardly a duffer on it. But it is this that has soothed my troubled mind all week. I gather he’s a member of Lambchop but, since they haven’t crossed my path much, I wasn’t aware of him. This is just gorgeous. Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that make me happy.
I miss him more and more.
than I love it, please allow me to post this song. It has been my friend for 40 years and, until tonight, I thought that only me and my mate Des, had ever even heard of Meal Ticket. Tonight, the hugely wonderful music fan that is @skylarkingmatt tweeted a photo of the new Meal Ticket box set that he was currently playing.
I was staggered.
I have been following the progress of the box set for months, through the Cherry Red website, and had pre-ordered a copy for me, and one for Des, which I posted to him, a few weeks ago. It is a wonderful thing, full of beautiful songs, great playing and, *doffs tin hat* the only origins of Americana, outside of America.
Meal Ticket were so ahead of their time. They are/were a perfect Afterword band.
Of course I don’t mean that but, hey, got your attention, right? I love every Dan album. They all have surprises, quirks and tweaks. Yes, they all have the odd duffer but, shit, who doesn’t? But the Dan I fell head over heels in love with is the one on Can’t Buy A Thrill. The warm, multi-harmonied rock band. The band I thought would save the world. The band that wasn’t so aware of just how feckin’ good they were. The band that weren’t so knowing. CBAT is packed with warmth, in the sound, the recording, the guitar tones and the drum sound. Everything afterwards, though brilliant, sounds a tiny bit colder. A tiny bit cleverer (is that even a word?) A tiny bit more knowing. There is no duffer on CBAT. I adore all of the references, the nods, the winks. They don’t feel ‘placed’. They feel completely natural, completely real. Can’t Buy A Thrill is the sound of a band at the height of their powers. After it, Steely Dan sound amazing, clever, heroic. But they no longer sound like a band.
You may have your own opinion, so hit me with it.
She was gorgeous. She still is, fourty years later. Although, I could never tell her. She’s newly married. But, back then…… She was my best mate’s girlfriend. But he’d gone away for three weeks.
I’ve been asked to continue the story of the encounter in the bar at Surrey Uni, when she kissed me, snared me, kidnapped me.
So, here goes.
After the kiss, I just died. Honestly, she was so stunning, so beautiful, I could have died, right there, on the spot.
It was 1974.
We were a gang, a band. Literally, a band. She was the guitarists’s girlfriend, I was the drummer. I was newly dumped. (“Dumped” is such a ’70’s phrase.)
I think it was the kiss that did it. She was a stunner, always had been, but, feck my old boots, the kiss was mind boggling. She took my face in both hands and thrust her tongue into my mouth. It was the most sensual thing that had ever happened to me. Ever.
The next evening, I knocked on her door. She opened it, bleary eyed, but instantly scared.
“Hello,” she said. I melted into a pool of, I don’t know ……mush? desire?….yearning?….love?
As Colin has pointed out, Jan Akkerman is celebrating his 70th birthday, today. So, that gives me the perfect excuse to post the track that contains THE GREATEST GUITAR SOLO EVER RECORDED, as voted by this august site*. Well done, everyone.
*If you missed the thread, or forgot to vote, tough shit.
Steve Porcaro (of Porcaro brothers & Toto fame) released his first solo album this year. It sold sod all, received no plaudits and died without trace. It is in my 3 most played albums of the year.
Leif Vollebekk. Never heard of him, or this song, until I stumbled across this on the God’s Jukebox site, last night. It’s gorgeous and has one of those ‘live’ drum sounds that I love. He’s Canadian and I shall be investigating more. Great voice – not unlike Foy Vance.
I have loved this song since it appeared on the Wildflowers album, 22 years ago. I know it off by heart, inside out and upside down. There is a couplet in the lyrics that I cherish, because it speaks to my heart, my soul.
I am an inveterate worrier. A few years before he died I had a long conversation with my Dad, about The Troubles in Ireland, and how they were affecting his brother and my cousins. I was terrified. His advice has stuck with me, even when I can’t adhere to it: “Why worry about things that you can’t control? It’s a waste of time and energy.”
Anyway, the lyric in this gorgeous song is: “I’m so tired of being tired Sure as night will follow day Most things I worry about Never happen anyway.”
Today, as this song cropped up in a playlist, I found myself gazing off into the distance, transfixed by the words and just amazed at how much they have determined my life. My wife quotes that lyric at me, a lot, whenever I cannot sleep for worrying about some work situation that is out of my control, or some change of our » Continue Reading.
It’s early March 1994, one of those early Spring days that make you think the dark days of Winter might finally be coming to an end. I am walking along the quiet lanes of Farnham, hands stuffed in my pockets, collar up and shoulders hunched against the chilly breeze. But the milky sun is doing it’s level best to claw it’s way through the clouds, and I can feel it’s warmth, fleetingly on my face.
I’ve been out of hospital for six weeks and, at 37 years old, I’m back living with my Mum. Her lovely cottage, that we helped her find when the family home got too much, after Dad died and, one by one, after we’d all moved out, is just about big enough for the two of us. I haven’t got much stuff anyway. Two bin bags of clothes and my records. Not much to show for 15 years of married life.
I pull at my collar as the breeze picks up. I am the thinnest I’ve been for years, and will ever be again. I’ve only started eating again in the last few days, the homemade Cottage Pie replacing the endless tins of Heinz Tomato soup. » Continue Reading.
Mick Ralphs family have announced that, following the end of the recent Bad Company tour, Mick has suffered a stroke. He is recovering in hospital, but no further information is forthcoming. Mick was Mott’s guitarist at my first ever live gig, in 1971. I was at the first night of the first Bad Company tour and Ralpher has always been one of my heroes. He was also responsible for the Greatest Guitar Solo Ever Recorded, on Mott’s David Bowie produced version of Sweet Jane which, as all right thinking people know, is the only version you need. Get well soon, Mick.
A wonderful tale.
Vintage TV, Sky 369, 10.30pm tonight. Neil McCormick’s generally excellent Needle Time show features Shawn Colvin.
What does it sound like?:
When Rod Stewart asked producer David Mackay if there were any unused demos of Frankie Miller songs, Frankie’s wife turned up 2 black bags full of cassettes and dats of songs, all with Frankie’s vocal on. Mackay realised straight away that he could put backing tracks to the songs, and release them as they were, and Frankie’s tiny band of devoted fans would buy it. However, if he could get some well known singers to duet with Frankie’s voice, the album would get wider exposure and, hopefully, help to pay for Frankie’s 24 hour a day care. 2 1/2 years later, we have this album.
In August 1994, Frankie was in New York. He had formed a band with Joe Walsh, Nicky Hopkins and Ian Wallace and he was in town to write with Joe. Frankie and Annette, his wife, went to see The Eagles Hell Freezes Over gig and went back to the hotel. Overnight, Frankie suffered a massive brain haemorrhage. He was in a coma for 5 months. Eventually he had to learn to walk and talk again, and he still needs constant care. Over the years, friends like Joe, Rod and » Continue Reading.
Keith Carlock, Steely Dan’s wonderful drummer, tweeted this photo, this afternoon. So, you rock up at the beautiful Beacon Theatre, with your Dan ticket in your hand, floating on air. You look up at the billing on the marquee. ‘Special Guest…’
You faint dead away.
*clicks link on iPad to interesting looking article/story/interview from local paper/national paper/music mag/news site* *goes and makes cup of tea while link loads* *drinks tea while the nine photos, three videos and moving banner adverts on the page stutter, falter and, finally, fail to load* *finishes tea whilst final video, crucial to the piece, crashes the page* *gives up*
Dear entertainment and media sites, if you can’t be bothered to fund your website and servers to fundamentally WORK, then I can’t be bothered to wait for you. I’ll get my news and entertainment (and spend my money) elsewhere.
This is a terrific read. Journalist Jim Waterson has put together a minute by minute timeline of 9/11, from the view of the people around George W Bush.
After I’d finished reading it, I went back and re-read several passages, substituting “The President” with “Donald Trump.” It is almost as scary as what actually happened.
It was raining. Not heavily, just that light rain that can fall on an English summer, that makes everything glisten and the air smell of cut grass. I was looking out of my bedroom window at the little cul-de-sac that we lived in. It was a weekday, early summer, 1977 and I had a lieu-day off work. It was 10am, and a day off stretched out before me. And it was raining. Which was perfect. It matched my mood, bringing it’s grey clouds into my world and, potentially, turning them black. And it was own fault, which just added to the heap of misery. Of all the things I could be doing on my day off, I had agreed to drive two people to Hampton Court for a day out, and then pick them up later. ‘What a nice thing to do,’ you might be thinking. Wrong. The two people were a bloke I had never met and his new girlfriend, the same girlfriend who had dumped me just ten days earlier. After two and a half years together.
“What the fuck are you doing, agreeing to drive her about?” My brother knew exactly how to get right to the » Continue Reading.
After my big news of last week http://theafterword.co.uk/ok-thanks/ several people asked to be kept updated from my full post CT scan consultation. So, here is the news…
Update from yesterday:
Mostly good news. My lungs are in fairly good nick. There is some inflammation, where he thinks the lungs when into ‘aggressive defensive’ mode, fighting off the virus, but the damage does not look permanent. The lymph nodes are fine but he can see they’ve taken a battering. There is no evidence of any pneumonia left and his original diagnosis of asthma may not turn out to be be permanent.
The chest pain he thinks is linked to four months of constant coughing. It has put strain on some of the muscle connections in the left side of the chest cavity, exacerbated by the fact that I sleep on my left. He says to try a warm-pack, or even some heat cream, to alleviate it. As far as the ongoing cough and breathlessness, he thinks they’ll just take time to go, but will go completely. He has changed my steroid inhaler, easing back from three double puffs to two, and adding another drug to help open the airways.
He says » Continue Reading.
I had a phone call just now: “Mr. Brannigan? It’s Sam, secretary to Dr. Davies.” “Oh, hi.” “As you know, he’s on holiday but he just asked me to call you about your CT scan, and to tell you that it is clear for lung cancer.” Silence. “He says he’ll see you next week, as planned.” Long pause….. “Ok. Thanks.” “You’re welcome. Have a good rest of the day.”
I don’t remember much about the next half hour.
I have been ill for 112 days.
I can remember feeling this virus rise up through my body, from my feet, on the 8th April. The incredibly aggressive strain of influenza turned into pneumonia, a stupidly twisted strain called Pertussis, that gave me whooping cough.
I am 59.
After that, the virus triggered asthma, which I now have for life.
X-rays have revealed two shadows on my lungs.
So, yesterday, I had a full CT scan.
I am awaiting the results.
Life goes on.