“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.
Nervously checking for any news in Jerry Donahue* I came across this old fave which fair cheered me up. Peggy displaying some great mando chops and the drummer on bass, they make a fine cheery row. Love it when the groove kicks in at 1.11. A bit of riddly for a dull back to work week.
*no news. Is this good news?
https://youtu.be/A-ah9PjQO4EVideo can’t be loaded: Fairport Convention – Brilliancy Medley on Old Grey Whistle Test 1973 (https://youtu.be/A-ah9PjQO4E)
For the message function, can you send a message to several people? Is there a name delimiter e.g. a comma or something? I need to message a few people and would prefer not to send multiple individual ones? Is this possible? Anyone know?
I do like a good playlist. I co-promote an occasional roots music night which spans blues, folk, country, bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll of an old fashioned sort. I recently whipped together, quite unscientifically (I whizzed through the library alphabetically, picking what caught my eye) a load of songs to play between bands on the old iPod. It lasted me all the way back from France yesterday…I’ll show you mine, you show me yours!
I have a mind to tape a podcast at the weekend chewing over the summer now it’s nearly over. Anyone wanna take part?
What does it sound like?:
Cyndi Lauper singing country! It’s produced by country supremo Tony Brown with the cream of Nashville session men and star guests including Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson and Jewel. So be assured it sounds fantastic. I’ve always thought, right from the first album, that Cyndi had some country music in her blood– there’s a bit of Tammy and Dolly in the way she hits those high notes, and in her vibrato. Here it is fully unleashed. Most of the songs are well known and Cyndi delivers them with verve and obvious joy and typical irreverence and humour too. Country music is misunderstood by many as being either schmaltzy weepies or my dog/truck won’t start clichés. In truth it’s the home of the song, of the tune, of great pickin’ and singing’ and never far from healthy humour. All are present here, and when Cyndi delivers some virtuoso yodelling on a Texas swing take on “I wanna be a cowboy’s sweetheart” this reviewer was whooping with joy.
What does it all *mean*?
Many artists late in their career seem to gravitate to a country album. I’m always suspicious of projects like this as they » Continue Reading.
I started mentally composing this post on a very long drive back from France, listening to various play lists on the iPod. 20 albums with great guitar playing which made a big impact on me at the time and still do (in no particular order). They are all old (I can hear wails from the List Hate fraternity about the absence of anything after 1979 or similar) but in truth this is more likely because I’ve always been more interested in the song than the guitar player, though as a nipper, learning guitar, a well applied plectrum always caught my ear more than it does now. It’s not comprehensive – no Zep, no RT, none of the later generation of ace players (the first Van Halen album and “Surfing with the alien” by Joe Satriani would be in the top 30 as representatives of later rock stylings), no Dave Gilmore who I consider one of the finest…no Jeff Beck who probably IS the finest. The first 20 I thought of in a stream of consciousness. I could finesse for ever and there are albums I probably like as much of any of them which don’t feature great picking. Take it » Continue Reading.
I want to get a portable Bluetooth speaker setup for hotel room usage – playing Spotty or other downloads to the phone. Any advice welcome!
Each year there’s an international event, known as The RPM Challenge, (note: “it’s a challenge, not a competition”) to musicians to write and record an album during February. It’s a bit like writers producing a novel in a month by writing n thousand lines a day. I’ve started it before but never finished it – this time I decided to try harder…. I decided to do a concept album… Anyway, I discovered Harold MacMillan made his “never had it so good” speech when I was in utero, so I settled on the concept as being to have a look at how we’ve done since then – literally in my lifetime. It’s not autobiographical, more a chronological look at history and culture. We start in 1957 and end up, well, now, thinking about the future. Also, it’s not musical pastiche, though some of the flavour of the times creeps into the tracks one way or the other. Like all good concept albums there’s a lyric sheet which I’d urge you to have a look at, if only for my little intro to each track. Like all good concept albums, it has lots of tracks (some quite short) and is great » Continue Reading.
What will you be reading on the sun bed this year then? And anything you’d recommend? I am catching up on a few JG Ballards I’ve missed, the biog of Tubby Hayes, the Glyn John’s biog which I bought and forgot to read and an unspeakable Tom Clancy, whose work I enjoy in a “peeling off a scab is both pleasure and pain” kind of way. If you don’t know the great man’s oeuvre, try “Executive Orders” which eerily predicted 9/11.
Some bands have stuck in my mind but I’ve never got around to checking them out, and now they have drifted into possibly well deserved obscurity. One is 70s festival stalwarts Stray…never heard them, and their name is ungoogleable if I ever got around to looking for them (which I won’t). But I wonder…were they any good? Another one is Glencoe – I vaguely remember the adverts – 4 hairy rockers glaring out from the NME….any good? I have the faint feeling some of them went on to the Blockheads. Any Glencoe fans out there?
So who are the ones you always wondered what they are like? We are here to help.
What does it sound like?:
Ben Watt’s second album, since he relaunched himself as a solo act with 2014’s Afterword appreciated “Hendra”, is a low key delight. A band nucleus comprising Watt on vocals and guitars, Bernard Butler on grungy folk rock guitar plus rhythm section have created an acoustic rock sound which has been captured in old school fidelity doing odd things like all playing together in the studio and having songs of heart which build and flex as their mood develops. There’s great use of texture and arrangement, old woozy synths drift across the soundscape and the whole thing wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the Island catalogue in 1971. Ben’s vocals have never sounded better – with EBTG he always suffered, popping up next to one of the greatest pop voices these islands have ever produced, but here he comes across all gruff, passionate yet still understated. The title track is a great example – a 70s arrangement with blurry sounding bass and drums, a catchy cyclical guitar riff, slapping congas and a big lifting chorus.
What does it all *mean*?
It means Ben’s avid listening to artists like John Martyn, Tim Buckley and Richard » Continue Reading.
Haven’t been around much recently as I’ve been busy workwise and with life in general and also, if I’m honest, I got seriously wound up over something and decided I needed a break. Anyway, it’s nice to see the old place creaking along if slightly deprived of some well-loved contributors. But hey ho, here’s one of the things I’ve been doing…my new guitar! I’ve been working away from home for months and decided a toy was in order and had the idea to get a guitar custom built. Thing is, I am hardly short of our fretted friends already, so specifying something from scratch was rather tricky since pretty much all my needs are already met. But….but…. as all guitar lovers know, the right number of guitars to own can be calculated by the formula N+1 where N=the number you currently have, so what the hey. Anyway, I had a think about my requirements…. (more nerdiness in comments)….
I have a spare ticket for Jonathan Wilson at the Union Chapel on Thursday (well, 2 actually). If anyone wants it/them PM me. £17 or sensible offer accepted. ..I’d rather they were used than wasted.