Word on the street is there might be some Thompo fans around here. If so, here’s a 1973 concert I’ve just digitised:
I thought some here might enjoy this – Gay & Terry Woods with Gary Moore sitting in, at a folk club in Kent, 1971.
Just stumbled on this wonderful performance and thought I’d share it…
I wonder will the great man perform this 1975 Mahavishnu classic, unearthed for his 4th Dimension set during his 2017 ‘Farewell America’ tour? Let’s hope so…
I haven’t been able to identify this (lyric Googling has yielded nothing). Vocal reminds me of Nick Lowe, but I don’t think it’s Brinsley Schwarz. Oh, who knows…
I suspect Twang will know.
My friend Lonesome Chris Todd’s solo debut ‘Dark Horses’ EP was released digitally yesterday – two originals, two blues classics: the former recorded in studio luxuriance, the latter in ‘field recording’ style (one mic, one home recording gadget).
Here’s the amazon download link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Lonesome+Chris+Todd&i=digital-music&search-type=ss&ref=ntt_srch_drd_B07P5G7XWN
I just digitised this from a reel, Pete Atkin’s sole BBC radio session of the 70s, with a terrific string quartet and band – and words, of course, by Clive James. I’ve always liked the idea of Pete & Clive but never cared for the one album I’d previously heard. But I’m rather taken with this.
Here are 8 acts whose identities have eluded me. Tracks found on reels of otherwise identified Peel session acts, with odd LP tracks here and there. Some of these might be LP tracks. Who knows? Hopefully the Massive…
Leafing through Ken Garner’s ‘In Session Tonight’ book, I noticed a UK act called Gypsy (i.e. not the US west coast one) who racked up no less than 10 BBC radio sessions between 1971-73, all but one for Peel and Bob Harris.
I’d never heard of them.
Discogs tells me they made two albums and a handful of singles for United Artists – records released in the US as ‘English Gypsy’. The members were David McCarthy, Robin Pizer, Rod Read, John Knapp and Moth Smith.
No, me neither…
Anyone else heard of these people? Did they live locally to Maida Vale or something?
I’ve compiled two audio montages – around 80 minutes’ worth in total – from various fragments of Peel’s late-night episodes of ‘Night Ride’ from 1968, from a couple of off-air reels. Poets, ethnographic oddities, folk, blues and beyond. Some of the music is from LP, most is from session recordings – full details in the blurb under each video. Most of the poets are live in the studio, a few are poetry recordings from unknown stage performances. Session tracks include Stefan Grossman, Marc Brierley, John Renbourn & Jackie McShee, Fairport Convention, Pentangle and others. Poets include Adrian Mitchell, Brian Patten, Roger McGough, Pete Morgan, and Adrian Henri with Andy Roberts. Enjoy.
I’ve been posting various John Peel Night Ride and Top Gear sessions from the late 60s as montages on YouTube recently. There’s 16 sessions or bits of sessions there so far. Feel free to investigate. Here’s one, a very atmospheric Michael Chapman session on Night Ride in 1968 (his first of a dozen for JP):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvQz1l6_UGcVideo can’t be loaded: Michael Chapman – Peel session – Night Ride 12.6.68 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvQz1l6_UGc)
Someone on a forum I’m in asked that question earlier today. In fact, there were SIX ‘first Peel sessions’… and they were all actually John Peel/Pete Drummond sessions. I’ve compiled a snapshot of that first 1/10/67 ‘Top Gear’ and the following few shows in a montage.
The six ‘first Peel sessions’ were by The Move, Big Maybelle & the Senate, Tomorrow (featuring Keith West), Tim Rose, Traffic and Pink Floyd. All were broadcast on ‘Top Gear’ on 1/10/67. The first three of those acts recorded their sessions on 21/9/67, the other three on 25/9/67.
Strictly speaking, ‘Top Gear’ didn’t become ‘John Peel’s Top Gear’ until 4/2/68. Between 12/11/67 – 28/1/68 John co-presented the show, and thereby its exclusive session recordings, with Tommy Vance. There were six shows between 1/10/67 (the first episode) and 5/11/67, and these were co-presented by a pool of presenters. John Peel and Pete Drummond did the first one. John co-presented two of the other five with Drummond, while Drummond co-presented the other three with Tommy Vance, Mike Ahern and Rick Vane. Yes, a case could be made that several legendary early ‘Peel sessions’ were actually ‘Drummond sessions’.
In this montage, I’ve assembled tracks from three » Continue Reading.
We don’t often hear people covering Pentangle soings, do we? Here’s their near-hit in three time signatures given a spring clean by a woman from, I’m guessing, the Netherlands.
Here’s a song from a recording I have – I can’t recall if I made it myself or asked the sound man to record it for me – from a show at the characterful Rotterdam Bar in Belfast, November 1992.
In the period before his ‘comeback’ album ‘When the Circus Comes to Town’ (1995) and all the celebrity endorsements, Bert was touring small bars around Ireland and half-filled arts centres elsewhere. He had begun this comeback trail, if you want to look at it in that way, by touring as a duo with Rod Clements in 1988-89, then with Peter Kirtley in the early 90s, and sometimes as a duo in that same period with his long-time Pentangle stalwart Jacqui McShee.
Both Rod and Peter were in the part-time Pentangle,in turn, during the late 80s/early 90s, with the band making its last album (the underappreciated ‘One More Road’) in 1994, bar a less compelling ‘Live 1994’ the following year.
The Bert & Peter duo had great moments – Peter was a real seat-of-the-pants player, exciting to watch and hear. He probably still is. On the 1992 Irish pub tour they played this song of Bert’s, ‘O’er the Lonely » Continue Reading.
Here’s a glimpse from a day of digitising off-air Bert Jansch recordings in my collection. It seems appropriate to the moment (in Britain) – obviously, as Locust will confirm, Stockholm is under six feet of snow with howling winds, bears and marauding trolls 365 days a year 🙂
Rod Clements created a duo with Bert for a couple of years in the late 80s, at a time when Bert’s career was in its nadir. The album they made, ‘Leather Launderette’, for a small North-East label, Black Crow, remains under-rated and is probably unique in Bert’s canon in being unavailable on CD (ownership complicated).
Assuming the ‘Bert Jansch at the BBC’ project I mentioned elsewhere comes to fruition, that hole in Bert’s musical story will be partly addressed through two Radio 2 sessions, both from May 1988, representing between them six songs from the album, a Woody Guthrie cover they did for a tribute LP on the same label, and three classics from Bert’s past – of which ‘The Snows’ is one. This version comes from ‘Night Ride’, from the days when Radio 2 was MOR and cosy, but veteran artists like Bert could still sneak on with a » Continue Reading.
I’ve been asked by Earth Records to curate a Bert Jansch BBC (audio) box set, likely to be 4 discs, the great majority of which will contain master-quality audio direct from the BBC or individual producers It’s very early days indeed but I’m sticking this notice up to get the word out to anyone who might have anything recorded off-air, for bonus tracks. People may be unaware that they recorded something in the 70s or 80s that no longer otherwise exists.
I’ve got several things myself in this category, the earliest being a couple of tracks from a duo Night Ride session in 1968 that are uncirculated, plus bits from the 80s and 90s and from regional BBC stations that will almost certainly not be extant at source.
Some years back, essentially pre-internet, I was amazed and delighted at a word-of-mouth appeal for material towards a Duffy Power BBC set on Hux – a lot of master-quality and off-air goodies were acquired, enough for us to be selective with the finished content. Perhaps something similar will happen here?
I feel sure that somebody out there will have taped Bert’s 1973 ‘Sounds of the 70s’ session, or a couple of » Continue Reading.
The Bert Jansch Foundation, a charitable trust, is sending four guitars around the world for Bert Jansch enthusiasts to run events and/or film performances to keep his music alive. My associate Steve McCann ran a public event last weekend in Belfast at the Black Box café, which he invited me to play at. The invitation resulted in a new song and it seemed I might as well go the whole hog and film it for the Foundation’s online collection. I added ‘Blues For a Green Earth’, an instrumental I recorded with Bert in 2004.
Big thanks to the award-winning Mark Case for filming this, and to Lamppost Café legends Mary Armstrong and Victoria Armstrong-Corbett for staying late letting us film in their fabulous first-floor room. No coffee (regrettably) was consumed in the making of this video. I’m sure we can make up for that in the fullness of time.
I discovered I had an inherited reel to reel tape of a BBC Radio Ulster broadcast from (I’m guessing) 1978, which I doubt is in the BBC archive. I’ve just digitised it. Think of it as a podcast. It’s a fascinating half-hour.
Interviewees include John Peel, Dave Robinson (Stiff), Geoff Travis (Rough Trade), Terri Hooley (Good Vibes), Cliff Moore (It Records), various Outcasts, Rudi, Undertones members… and someone from the Dougie Briggs Band, who appear to have occupied a space in the NI ecosystem similar to Eddie & the Hot Rods in London (between pub rock and punk) and, unless I’m mistaken, are now forgotten. Similarly, I believe the presenter here is Mike Kerr – purveyor of a very specific kind of ‘BBC Northern Ireland’ plumminess of voice particular to the 70s and 80s – who is also, as far as I’m aware, a forgotten figure.
Aberdeenshire Council fails to spot phoney stonies. In other news, a spokesman for Historic England has said new evidence suggests Mick Jagger dates dates back to 6,5000 BC. ‘The primitive nature of his music was the deciding factor,’ said Dr Haile Bogus, on his way to putting his collection of Jagger artefacts on eBay…
I’m thinking of flying over to see JM at the Barbican in April. I’ve never been there before – can anyone recommend which seating area I should book (stalls, circle, balcony)?
Here’s the fellow on his farewell USA tour in late 2017. After a load of burbling, the sublime ‘Lila’s Dance’ begins at 5:30:
Sometimes these days I write long essays in reissue/archive CD booklets, but more often (not least because it’s easier) I get involved in the background of such projects – putting audio source holders in touch with appropriate labels, recommending other (better) people to do the notes, digitising audio if required, rummaging around for period adverts to scan for the booklet from my vintage magazine collection, etc.
I was delighted to do all of the above for a terrific release coming up next month on the Turtle imprint (part of the Cherry Red group): ‘Honesty: The Unreleased 1963 Studio Session’, a 2CD set and the very first album ever by the Fat John Sextet.
The release came about, really, via Facebook. I’m a member of an FB group that celebrates 1950s–70s British jazz and among its other members are a couple of fabulous musicians who passed through the ranks of Fat John’s band back in the day (versions of the band spanned 1962–66). I posted something there about Fat John, being one of those names that crops up relatively frequently when scouring period copies of the ‘Melody Maker’ for other research purposes, yet who left little trace on record (just » Continue Reading.
The Sunflower Bar, Belfast
I had a few friends in the crowd and doubtless Petesy had many, many more there. Certainly, the room seemed to be awash with ‘old punks’ – ‘Trouble Songs’ author Stuart Bailie, Rudi mainman Brian Young and various other characters from Kyle Leitch’s days as the guv’nor at Caroline Records, Anne Street. The bonhomie was terrific. I was wearing a Mahavishnu Orchestra T-shirt – I was the guy the punk wars were fought over – and nobody punched me on the nose. That can only be a good thing. We sorted out that old Harp Bar/Pound Club antipathy last night. Now we just need to sort out Stormont.
It made me think..
The musical connections, camaraderie, positive energy and good vibes (no pun intended) apparent in all these adventures thus far can only lead to more great things down the line.
The Black Box, Belfast
There’s a saying where I live: ‘Dublin never got into punk, Belfast never got out of it.’ Certainly, Belfast was one of the epicentres of punk in the 1970s worldwide, and a very distinctive brand of punk flourished here. Punks in Britain liked to posture about being underdogs – but *everything* about Northern Ireland – socially, culturally, politically, geographically, employment-wise – was beneath the underdog at that point. To an extent, it still is. Sham 69 could nudge the kids into being united, Belfast punks could rage about the adults being disunited. And if you look at Stormont – a regional assembly that hasn’t functioned for two years – they’re still disunited.
I was at secondary school (well, okay, grammar school) from 1979–86, so while I saw the odd punk act on ‘Top of the Pops’, and while one or two people in my year had ‘punk’s not dead’ type slogans written on pencil cases, it wasn’t part of my lived experience; it already history. So, I never saw any punk bands in the 70s. I popped my head through the door of a venue hosting Stiff Little Fingers in the late » Continue Reading.
I was tickled to find out from this news story about the Geordie influence in the Chinese telecoms scene. HUAWEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII YABOOGAMAN!
A shower of corporate villains who want to build shiny crap in the middle of Belfast have hired NI actor James Dornan to lend his silky voice to a rather creepy propaganda film claiming ‘We are Tribeka’. The irony that Dornan generally plays manipulative villains must have escaped them.
My friend Conor Shields, who runs a community arts charity in the area they want to bludgeon, has responded with a blisteringly powerful poem of his own. Over 30,000 FB views in 24 hours.
It seems we are NOT Tribeka – or Chewbacca or Buildcrappa or anything else. Presumptuous scumbags.
Here is Dornan’s video, with Conor’s in the comments.