I thought it was a terrific start. It’s been too long since it left our screens and I was immensely pleased it had lost none of its edge.
What does it sound like?:
I was very fond of Greenslade in the early 1970s.
I first saw them supporting Rory Gallagher. It seemed a bizarre combination – Greenslade a band consisting of two keyboard players, bass and drums supporting a guitar hero. It was a double bill of convenience as both acts were managed by Gaff Management (more notable for managing Rod and The Faces) and at the time it seemed a strange line-up, though in retrospect I now think it was eminently sensible. After all, what guitarist wants to front a band, only to be shown up by the brilliance of Rory half an hour later?
Anyway this album brings together a mostly good selection taken from Greenslade’s four studio albums (though not necessarily my choice – for instance from the Bedside Manners Are Extra album, I would have selected Chalkhill ahead of Time To Dream).
Let’s get the negative aspect out of the way first; that being Dave Lawson’s vocals. While never the strongest singer, when I listened back in the 1970s I don’t recall being bothered by them at all, but now, especially when he strays out of his natural range, I find him grating, » Continue Reading.
The Dodgers have made a recommendation for me of a new release – Ooh Child by the late Valerie Carter. It’s her two albums from the 70s “Just A Stone’s Throw Away” and “Wild Child”. I’d not heard them, so had a listen to the first one earlier. It’s an excellent production, very tasteful, superb playing from various members of the then LA scene including Jackson Browne, Lowell George and Linda Ronstadt. The trouble is, it just doesn’t have the overall heft to make it an essential purchase. It’s just very pleasant. But I can’t question the quality of her voice, which is why she was a first choice for people like Jackson Browne as a backing singer. And JB did compose an excellent song dedicated to her – That Girl Could Sing. She is also supposed to be the inspiration for Steve Winwood’s Valerie. Though as the lyrics are by Will Jennings, I’m not wholly convinced about this. I’m sure you know it, but there’s no harm in listening to it again, despite that ever so 80s production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbKNICg-REA
However as this is a thread about Valerie Carter, it would be remiss to ignore her, so this is the » Continue Reading.
The Barbican, London
A 16mm home-movie of the Williams family flickers on the screen at the back of the darkened stage, where the unseen Buick 6 create a skeletal soundscape of slide guitar blues notes, bass pulses and scattered percussion, which all precede a prerecorded spoken introduction from Lucinda. Anticipation builds until she emerges into the light to introduce this celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the release of Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. She seems incredibly nervous, moreso than I have ever seen her before. After a spoken introduction she launches into Right In Time. Musically it’s a straight version, played as on the album, but she’s changed the phrasing, which keeps throwing the version I’m singing along to myself in my head. The album is played in its entirety and the sequence of songs remains unchanged. Pretty much every song gets an introduction, talking about the inspiration or the circumstances of its creation. A lot of the information is new, some of it I’ve heard before. I won’t repeat anything here, to avoid spoiling anything for anyone going to other UK dates, but it all adds to the pleasure of hearing these songs » Continue Reading.
I know there are fair few fans of Kathleen around here. The good news is that seven years after the release of Voyageur and going on to take an indefinite break from music after touring in support of the album, she has gone back in the studio. She is posting on Instagram (her account name is kittythefool) pictures from a studio in Kingston, Ontario where she is recording with band regulars Jim Bryson and Gord Tuff. No expected release date has been mentioned nor any information about a tour in support of whatever results from the sessions. But it’s good to know she’s put serving coffee at her Quitters shop at least on temporary hold.
Last week I downloaded a torrent of a Spirit gig recorded in Chicago in May 1975 (the same tour that resulted in the Spirit of 76 album). The version of Hey Joe that they performed is rather bizarre as Randy changes the lyrics to launch a continued attack on Elton John. I searched online to see if I could uncover the source of his beef with Elton – other than the huge album sales and ticket prices mentioned in the song – and in doing so found that there is a version on YouTube. Here it is. Meanwhile I’m none the wiser about the cause of Randy’s disdain. Do any older Afterworders have any insight into this?
I’ve just heard Jo Swinson of the Lib Dems on Newsnight. She referred to “what I heard on the doorstep“. Over recent weeks I’ve heard any number of politicians of all persuasions referring to “what we’re hearing on the doorstep“, yet we had no-one from any party whatsoever come around and canvas our opinions/voting intentions during the Euro election campaign. No one I’ve spoken to has had anyone canvas on the doorstep. Canvassing seems to be a thing of the past. I live in North London. What are experiences from elsewhere in the country? Have politicians actually heard anything on the doorstep or are they making up these conversations simply to back-up their position?
Alison Moorer and Hayes Carll made it legal yesterday. I wish them well and a long and happy marriage.
The Tanks, Tate Modern, London
This was a truly unique musical experience, though I can admit to only enjoying about 15% of the complete performance. Some forty years ago, Gavin Bryars got hold of a fragment of tape of a homeless man singing an unknown religious melody – “Jesus’s Blood Never Failed Me Yet”. He created a loop of it, so that it ran for as long as anyone cared to play it for. Bryars composed music to play along with the voice. Over the years he has released a number of versions of performances of the piece, constrained only by the medium – a vinyl version (24 minutes), a tape (30 minutes), the on to a CD version at 74 minutes. There was also a version performed with Tom Waits. Last night through to this morning Never Failed Me Yet had its ultimate performance. A non stop 12 hour rendition, starting at 20:00 Friday evening and ending at 8:00 this morning, performed at The Tate, with free admission. I went along for the first hour and arrived back in time to catch the final 45 minutes. The performance opens with the old man’s voice. He » Continue Reading.
That was it; coming up for 44 years since I first him and more than 20 gigs later I’ve seen my last Roy Harper performance. As he told us, he’s 78 next June and so this is his farewell tour (though he dropped a couple of hints that it may run for a while longer – I don’t believe him).
I really wish that I could report that he went out with a mighty bang. He didn’t, though it was a lot more than a whimper. It just didn’t hit the heights I have been hoping for since I bought my ticket many months ago, though it contained many fine moments.
The good news for us Harperphiles is that there will be at least one more record, but the three new songs here were a microcosm of the evening; the second new song, utilising the tune of Times They Are A Changin’ was about cyberspace and clickbait and was to my years a crock of shit. The first new song was a rage filled recounting of the injustice he underwent inspired by the court case where he was prosecuted in a post-Savile accounting for » Continue Reading.
I’m really saddened and shocked at this announcement. From past correspondence about Jeremy, I suspect there are a couple of people here who will be raising a glass and saying good riddance (or maybe they have left, I don’t know). He wore his heart and politics on his sleeve but was nonetheless genuinely funny. He’d probably say the putting RIP after his name was inappropriate, but I’m not sure what else to put. Many people won’t know much about him as he wasn’t really a national figure. He was notorious for his lack of singing ability, nay his bray, on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’s rounds that called for vocalising – namely Pick Up Song and One Song To The Tune of Another. He was also notoriously blacklisted from Just A Minute for bad language. On The News Quiz the best team ever was Jeremy and the late Linda Smith. I was fortunate enough to be in the audience at The Drill Hall in Bloomsbury for a recording when those two were paired. It was fabulous. Jeremy and Linda riffing off each other. The recording took almost two hours but the nation never got to hear most of what » Continue Reading.
I have just heard Emily Maitlis use this term on Newsnight, in a discussion with Health Minister Matt Hancock. It’s a new one for me. Has anyone else ever heard that phrase before?
Here are the results – I’m unable to format, copying from a spreadsheet with the result it looks even messier with the points totals. So I’m giving scores for the top 5 alone.
There were a total of 99 different entries. The top five scored thus: 1 – 71; 2 – 51; 3 – 35; 4 – 21; 5 – 19
Beatles – The Beatles (White Album) 1 Bob Dylan – More Blood, More Tracks 2 Primal Scream – Give Out But Don’t Give Up 3 Bobby Gentry – The Girl From Chickasaw County 4 The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society 5 Jethro Tull – Heavy Horses 6 Marillion – Clutching At Straws 7 John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once 8 Kate Bush – Complete =9 Tom Petty – Hidden treasures =9 Love – Forever Changes =10 Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller Present Jazz On The Corner =10 David Bowie – Loving The Alien Box =10 The Moody Blues – In Search Of The Lost Chord =10 Robert Kirby – When the day is done =10 John Lennon – Imagine =16 Prince – Piano & Microphone 1983 =16 Roxy Music – Roxy Music =16 Frank Sinatra – » Continue Reading.
Is there no widespread interest in the rereleases poll? Thirty four entries must be well under half the contributions to the new releases poll. I will, as with LoW, be closing the poll on the 31st. There are two albums clear of the field but a third is in touching distance should there be late support for it. Come on people now, smile on me, let’s have those favourites, even if there are only one or two you want to nominate.
I can’t help thinking that the BBC is trying to ensure they keep someone they regard as a star performer rather than appoint the best candidate. To me Fiona Bruce is a bit of a lightweight. This is nothing against female presenters; any of Martha Kearney, Kirsty Wark, Sarah Montague or Emily Maitlis, among prominent BBC female staff could do a great job. Emily Maitlis especially seems to have the steel and nerve for the job, given her no punches pulled interview with David Cameron’s former advisor Steve Hilton on last Wednesday’s Newsnight. The only male I could think of as a suitable candidate was Jim Naughtie, who has demonstrated over the years that he has all the credentials. But that’s all academic. We’ll see how FB does in the QT bear pit. I wish her well, nonetheless.
Given that @Lodestone of Wrongness has volunteered to produce a chart for best new albums of 2018, I will volunteer to run a poll on the best rereleases of 2018. I’ll limit submissions to five albums. I will similarly award points in descending order with your first choice scoring 5 down to 1 for the fifth.
The Scala, King’s Cross, London
One of the preconditions for a great gig is that the artist/band are actually enjoying themselves on stage. Israel Nash was having absolute blast.
This was the final night of their European tour, which may have given a supplementary boost to proceedings as Israel and his band didn’t have to save anything for tomorrow. Against that friends in Holland saw him Nijmegen a couple of weeks ago and they reported he was brilliant there too, so maybe he’s giving his all every night.
This was my gig of the year. I’ve seen some top-notch gigs in recent weeks, (Kacey Musgraves, Bruce Cockburn, Over The Rhine) but much as I enjoyed them, they lacked was the joy, exuberance, ecstasy and intensity of this gig.
Whatever, Israel was over to promote his last album, the excellent Lifted and most of the set was focussed on songs from that, but there was plenty from earlier albums too.
The band was smokin’ hot and for people who like guitar duels (that’s people like me) Israel and lead guitarist Joey McLellan had a couple of really storming battles over the evening. I should also acknowledge the » Continue Reading.
I’ve been listening to the magnificent Chris Wood box set Evening Blue, which covers Chris’s career including, naturally, Traffic, unreleased solo work and sessions he did for various bands and artists, some well known (Free, John Martyn and Nick Drake) and others not so well known. One of the lesser known artists is someone called Gordon Jackson. Not the actor from Upstairs Downstairs, The Professionals and The Great Escape (the dumb ass, falling for “the oldest trick in the book”) but a guy who was apparently well regarded in the Midlands’ music scene at the end of the 60s. Until listening to this collection I’d never heard of him before (or if I had, I’d totally forgotten about him). He seems to have produced one album only Thinking Back, and then disappeared. There are three tracks on Evening Blue which feature all of Traffic. Other musicians involved were Jim King and Pole Palmer of Family and Julie Driscoll. It’s all very much of its time, but I rather like the tracks I’ve heard. I’ve posted a link to Song For Freedom. He was still living a couple of years ago, because there is a YouTube film of hm talking about » Continue Reading.
The Green Note, Camden, London
This gig redefined what a tight band is. The Honeycutters are without doubt musically a very tight unit, but the meaning was squared at The Green Note as they performed on a stage that tends to look crowded when there is an acoustic duo playing, never mind a five piece band. Just fitting a drum kit, pedal steel and a keyboard on to it was a logistical nightmare, squeezing the musicians to play them plus a bassist and Amanda on there was a minor miracle.
This was my first time seeing Amanda and her band live. I discovered her music last year just a couple of weeks after she had played here, I was somewhat downhearted to find out.
Given that my favourite album of 2017 was the eponymous Amanda Ann Platt & The Honeycutters and also given my disappointment with last year’s near miss of the opportunity to catch them live, this gig was long anticipated and my expectations were pretty high.
So overcrowded stage notwithstanding, this was a night that left me, my wife and the audience grinning form ear to ear come the final encore.
The first half » Continue Reading.
I, and I’m sure many of you, will have noticed the tendency among publishers to go for larger font sizes in new books, thus making books much fatter than they need to be. Earlier today I was browsing in a local book shop and noticed John Le Carre’s novel Absolute Friends, looking a bit bigger than I recalled. This edition runs to 438 pages and costs £8:99. I’ve compared with my paperback edition from 2004 which was 383 pages and cost £6:99. So that’s a 14% increase in size. Using the Bank of England inflation calculated the cost then is equivalent to £10:22 today, and adding in the 14% increase in size today’s price should be £11:65 (I realise this is a crude equivalence, but this is a blogpost, not a management report). I’m mystified by firstly the increase in the size of books generally, when we’re in an age where we’re supposed to be conserving resources and secondly by the lower prices. No doubt printing technology has improved in the intervening years, but my feeling is that this is so unnecessary.
We get frequent comparisons to Olympic swimming pools, London buses and elephants among other things, when people try to help us image the volume of something. However I am unable to compute, even approximately, 40 trillion trillion trillion packs of butter, as expressed by unnamed scientists in this story.
It’s been some years since dog owners started using dog-poop bags to pick up faecal matter deposited on the footpath. It was a development I was really pleased to see, substantially reducing that hazard of dog-shit being walked into your home for one as well as reducing infection risks like toxicara to children. But in the last few years I’ve noticed a change in behaviour. Dog owners are bagging the shit and then just leaving it in the street for others to pick up. Last year my wife and I visited Snape Maltings in Suffolk. We went for a walk across the flat lands behind it. We were appalled to come across a tree “decorated” with dozens of bags of dog-shit hanging from its twigs. Now I’ve had someone deposit such a bag on our garden wall. It may be a small problem but it is really f*#&ing hacking me off. Does anyone have any other fresh, first world problems they’d like to add?
The sad news, predicted for some months now has come to pass: guitar maker Gibson have filed for bankruptcy. Will I ever get hold of a dream Gibson semi acoustic, Now?