2016 continues its grim toll with the passing of AA Gill on Saturday. A marmite figure for sure, but I never read anything he wrote which I didn’t enjoy. His books of travel writing always throw up interesting perspectives and views, showing he was far from a right wing Clarkson lite figure. And his “Sap Rising” – famously reviewed by the Guardian with a “Do not buy this book” (they immediately put the quote on the cover) is a hilarious and quite outrageous romp. I didn’t keep up with his newspaper columns but I’ll dig out the travel book later and re-read his piece on the visit to Dachau. Stunning stuff.
People who enjoyed the “Serial” podcast may like “Crimetown” which I just picked up via the Lefsetz Letter – it takes particular towns and explores the local history of crime. The first series is Providence Rhode Island. Great tales and particularly splendid (and genuine) wise guy accents.
Twang, Bartleby, Attackdog and El Hombre Malo polish their plectrums, clip on their capos and gather in the pod to discuss guitars. No, wait, come back! Inevitably there is some nerdery (it’s four guitarists talking to each other after all) but much humour, wry reflections on ability or otherwise, gig injuries, rubbish instruments endured and favourite players appreciated. As it’s Christmas our pickers have picked a few bonus tracks showing off their, ahem, chops for your pleasure.
OK the tree’s up so it’s officially upon us. What are your favourite Christmas films, as in, you watch them as part of the ritual. For me (I hesitate to say us as I am probably more locked into the ritual than the rest of the household….anyway, for me they are “It’s a wonderful life” (weeping by the Doc/wrong pills scene), “White Christmas” (good till the General’s inspection) and late comer “Arthur Christmas”(generally solid other then when the elf says “not on my watch” but that might be an “Apollo 13” hangover). Yours?
Happened to catch Mick Jagger on “Breakfast” this morning. He was charisma and charm itself and the bits they played from the new album sound great. Everything a 71 year old rock star should be!
At last Twang, Morrison, JazzJet, Pencilsqueezer, Mike_H and Tiggerlion don berets, dark round sun glasses and co-respondent shoes to discuss the wonderful world of jazz. Chins are stroked, names dropped and Skype does its best to remove Tigger from the proceedings all together. A splendid time is had by all and Sting gets a shoeing along the way. Doo be doo be doo.
Hi all. There is much love for Gretchen Peters here in some quarters…on her excellent website she posts a free (usually) live monthly download which is always fab. As an early Christmas present she is making all 100 previously issued tracks available for those on the mailing list. If you are a fan you’ll probably already be on the list…if not, and are curious, you can find out why we are such devotees. Really she is one of the finest writers currently working, regularly issuing new material which is always excellent and touring. Sign up sign up!
I’m just listening to my reissued 180g etc copy of “If only i could remember my name ” by the Cros and wallowing in that 60s hippy vibe where a crackle here and there is perfect for the whole experience . I have the urge to grab something else of similar mood. Suggestions?
It’s all very surreal, this Brexit business. The people who don’t want Parliament to be sovereign and instead be part of the EU and therefore subordinate to their Parliament are now delighted because the (unelected) courts have said Parliament is sovereign and MPs should now have a say over Article 50, assuming, despite the fact that pretty much everywhere in the country other than Scotland, London and North Herts voted to leave, that their elected representatives will overturn the referendum result and we can remain in the EU. Which is more democratic. Or something. As a reluctant reminder I’m not sure where this leaves me.
Twang, Johnny Concheroo, Blue Boy, Junior Wells and Fortune 8 abandon the pod to meet at the crossroads at midnight to discuss the blues…they make a deal with the Devil that they will be done in an hour but Old Nick, as well as having the best tunes, curses the producer with a discussion as fine as a vintage shot of Jack over ice on a hot summer night, meaning Twang abandons the edit and delivers the full skinny. A topic so broad was never going to be adequately addressed in one session…even now the team are dusting their brooms in preparation for part 2…
You can waste an enjoyable 13 minutes with this mini programme on YouTube on the top 10 coolest instruments and also rans. Number 1 is predictable but there are some great clips along the way.
The guitar playing in “Hotel California” regularly, and quite justifiably, turns up in “Greatest solo” lists. However it’s not a solo at all, of course – it’s a duet if anything. In olden times it might have been called a guitar duel….so who won? Don Felder has an immediate advantage as he is playing a cool double neck so he gets to do the tinkly bits, and his extremo string bending is unbeatable. But…but…Joe is upstaged by no man and seems to be plugged into some extra force, coming up with stuff no one else does. So the questions, who won?
P.S. This is what you ponder when driving to Ikea in Milton Keynes in the holidays…
The quite superb AW podcast on the new Beatles film has me of a mind to read a book on Les Fabs. The last one I read was “You never give me your money” (which I enjoyed enormously) and before that “Recolution in the head” yonks ago. What’s a good general purpose balanced perspective? Obviously this is the place to ask.
“Aqualung” by The Mighty Tull is available in limited edition on green vinly only at Sainsbury’s as of this morning. This is a public service announcement.
A fair few hippies here I’d guess, and a few old punks and New Romantics no doubt. Any ex-skins or greabos? Teds? Or were you unaffiliated? I was a late hippy/hairy, only 9 in ’67 but fully long haired and waist coated by 75 though in no danger of going to a commune. My Mum wouldn’t have let me. You?
What does it sound like?:
It’s rock, as in raaaaaawwwwk. Massive crashing chords topped with stirring choruses with stacked vocal harmonies. Very much a modern rock album, both rock radio friendly and big enough for festivals and those ready to shake a head (preferably with lengths of hair not generally found in these parts). I first came across guitarist Oli Brown on a few freebie compilation CDs where he revealed himself as a terrific new talent to the UK blues scene, combining notes you don’t generally hear in that genre with youthful flash. Here he is on steroids, wailing and widdling furiously. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s heavy.
What does it all *mean*?
There’s always a market for FM (is it still called that?) rock. UK bands don’t generally rock like this these days. Get across the pond quick lads, where they have more red meat in the diet. In truth it’s not my bag, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad album. I played bits to Twang Jr who pronounced it “awesome”, and in fairness he is much closer to the age of the band or their audience than your reviewer. Approach with confidence if this is your » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
There are many Vans – there’s acoustic visionary Van, soul Van, pop Van, blues/jazz Van, R&B Van…..this is tuneful, slightly wistful Van, a la “Beautiful Vision”. The production is clean and tastefully arranged, and there’s no grumbling away about Irish stuff without thought to a tune (OK, there’s a Caledonia at one point…). There are melodies aplenty and the band play like a dream. The trouble with streaming rather than having the thing is you don’t always have track details so I don’t know who is playing, but it should be said they do a fine job. There’s the perfectly judged rhythm section, the odd nippy guitar solo which doesn’t overstay its welcome and some splendid Hammond organ and piano. As ever the backing vocals and harmonies are excellent. The Van harmonica gets a good outing (no sniggering at the back, children). This is Van you can play anywhere, any time and it will be appreciated. The overall mood is blue tinged, sometimes in the lyrics, sometimes in out and out blues numbers such as “The pen is mightier than the sword”, the bouncy “Going down to Bangor” or the sole cover version, “Share » Continue Reading.
Any recommendations for video editing software? Windows Movie Maker used to be OK if lacking in the audio processing dept, but is now gone. iMovie on my Mac is absolutely atrocious. I’ve tried NCH VideoPad and Shotcut on PC both of which are pretty un-intuitive and have hardly any documentation. I just want to take stuff off the camera, trim the crap, enhance the audio a bit if necessary (it’s generally music stuff I’m doing) and add some titles then bung it on YouTube. Is this too much to ask? Any ideas?
We get the opportunity to review gigs, albums etc – any volunteers welcome! I have a few in Nottingham at the moment – PM me if you fancy a free night out and the opportunity to add some content to the site.
We have a bit of a laugh about the punning names of tribute acts of famous bands, but are any of them actually worth seeing? Where many acts now barely have any of the original members, and supplement their ranks with ex-members of tribute acts it seems the wall between “real” and “tribute” is pretty permeable.
So which ones are worth a look? My submission is the tremendous Nearly Dan. No Dan fan wouldn’t love their immaculate renditions of Dan numbers (often doing live album versions rather than srudio album versions) plus Becker/Fagen solo material. They are so good Dan deniers could adopt full sneer with confidence. I did see a tremendous Free tribute a while ago called Absolutely Free who were scarily authentic sounding too.
Your suggestions? Counterfeit Stones, anyone? Bootleg Beatles?
The Afterword is giving all members the ability to put on your own festival. The rules are:
1. One day only, starting at 12 noon to late.
2. Any era, everyone is alive. Selecting which career point to feature is permissible.
3. Three stages – you decide what they are.
4. Have consideration for ticket sales – a mass of completely different genres may not attract the punters.
5. Default assumption is acts are in their “peak” assuming there was one…
Twangfest in comments….
The Wadster’s anguished post makes me want to review my backup arrangements. I back everything up on a scheduled basis off the two desktops (PC in the office, Mac in the music room) onto dedicated external hard drives using Syncbak and Time Machine respectively. I periodically write all the photos and videos to DVD and store at my Mum’s. I have bits and pieces on Dropbox and Amazon cloud.
However I can’t help thinking I ought to take more advantage of the Cloud. For the Mac I guess it’s easier to use Apple’s Cloud storage as whenever you try to work differently to the way Apple want you to it is a nightmare, so I am subservient to the decisions they have made. Also it’s probably easier. For the PC I could use OneDrive (which I find a bit flaky), Dropbox or Amazon Cloud….or not bother.
We spent the hols in a bit of France with virtually no light pollution, and the views of the stars were stunning. Now I can recognise the Plough, Orion and Cassiopeia but that’s about it, but as the views were so amazing I downloaded a star map for the following night for that area, and spent ages gazing upwards spotting the Summer Triangle, the Teapot, Altair, Vega…fabulous. Couldn’t see the North Star but I now know how to find it…now I want more. Any other star gazers here?
Anyone else gripped? My money is on Jess coming good and the circumstances of Henry’s conception being aired. I don’t think I can stand much more of Rob whatever the outcome. Apparently the actor is leaving so I guess one way or the other Ambridge will be rid of him.
Twang, Leedsboy, Hannah, Retropath2 and Askwith hunker down in the pod and reflect on the summer past, the joys of offspring on holidays, sounds enjoyed, buying some old, folk clubs and, inevitably, vinyl vs. CD and the Mighty Tull (briefly, non believers). The team end on a glum note though, at the thought of going back to work.