A heads up – Tim Ayres profiles the Bert Jansch Conundrum (1977-81), with bassist Nigel Portman Smith contributing:
A heads up – Tim Ayres profiles the Bert Jansch Conundrum (1977-81), with bassist Nigel Portman Smith contributing:
Sub-titled ‘How 35 years of John Peel helped to shape modern life’, this book was published in 2015. I read it at the time and corresponded briefly with the author, having felt moved to tell him how much I appreciated – as someone who has written research-heavy books myself – the sheer amount of work involved (which may not be apparent to many readers, so light was his touch as a writer) in it, and the subtle qualities of the end product.
What David did was cherry-pick / randomly sample (there was an element of both, I think) over 250 radio shows fronted by Peel spanning 1967 (the last days of ‘The Perfumed Garden’ on pirate radio) to 2003 (the last days of Peel). His sources included tapes of broadcasts (with comments by Peel on the state of the world, his health, his views on this or that artist peppering the text), ‘Programme as Broadcast’ files kept on microfiche at BBC Written Records (showing exactly what was played and when), period interviews with Peel and a few of the artists he championed at various times (all used sparingly) and extracts from general news stories of the day » Continue Reading.
The Last Gig Before The Apocalypse – a fantastic charity night at the Pavilion, Belfast, with the Brian Houston Power Trio, the Holsteins (reunion), One More Great Adventure (a new venture by Maghera legends James Devlin and his crew) and Dave McLarnon’s Hat Band – a one-off grouping of local legends featuring Dave McLarnon (Shock Treatment, Peacefrog), Billy Shovel (Ghost of an American Airman), Norman Boyd (Stonefish), Ali MacKenzie (Bush Turkeys, Mighty Mojos, etc.), Petesy Burns (Stalag 17, Outcasts, Petesy Burns’ Arse,. etc.).
Five Ulster rock classics by Peacefrog, The Adventures, Energy Orchard, Rudi and Them. Let’s rock!
This appeared on YouTube today – a fantastic raggle-taggle version of something from Bert Jansch’s little-known country-rock period in 1974 from a shower of fellows straight out of a Coen Brothers hillbilly film. Get down!
My good pal ‘Uncle Spike’ has an entrepreneurial offspring called Dave, who’s doing a degree in event management (I know, I know…). Still, we are where we are.
Dave’s dissertation involves a survey about the reopening of music festivals after Covid. The more responses he gets the better. If you’re interested, have a look.
Long version: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdIQye0W7eT9rPamWvoJT3PTqWuFlwwKYUQEajZSrbnyyIcrQ/viewform
Short version: https://tinyurl.com/1psctkbe
A public service upload. Might contain Van talking about arranbee…
Colin H on Rick Laird, Brian Auger, Glenn Hughes, John McLaughlin
The recent news that Rick Laird is seriously ill has prompted me to share some of the content from ‘Bathed in Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond’ (2014) – adapted with a little bit of new research, among which is this terrific photo / news item from ‘The Stage’ on 9 January 1964. Rick very kindly talked to me for the book about a time long before he and John McLaughlin renewed their acquaintance in the Mahavishnu Orchestra, when they were both in the Brian Auger Quintet for a residency at London’s Pigalle nightclub and also a short-lived trio.
Baritone saxophonist Glenn Hughes was common to both groups. Glenn and John had previously played together in Georgie Fame’s (pre-fame) Blues Flames in 1962–63 and in the Tony Meehan Combo (October 1963 – January 1964). John and Glenn would have a last musical hurrah together with a version of Brian’s quintet in August 1964, reassembled for a German residency. By that point, Rick had moved on to become house bassist at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, backing a series of American headliners at the club and on TV. » Continue Reading.
I don’t know how I’ve not seen this before now – terrific webcast film of Horslips recording a radio session for RTÉ’s ‘Miriam Meets’ show in 2012. All four numbers were caught by the roving verité man, but the sound engineer is the real star – it’s sensational recorded sound to my ears: crisp, clear and still blistering.
Horslips (1971-80) reunited as an occasional entity in 2004. Since then, they’ve recorded only one studio album (‘Roll Back’ in 2004 – a quietly fabulous re-arranging of past works for a sort of unplugged format – much better than simple acoustic strumalongs of old hits) along with two live albums, one electric band the other electric band + orchestra. This session feels close to an electric band *studio* recording – a controlled environment, perfect sound, no need for anyone to be leaping around.
No, not another Brexit thread – a load of radio tracks recorded by Johnny Renbo’s short-lived late 80s band. I digitised these yesterday and recorded two of the three items, from ‘Folk on Two’. I’m thinking somebody else must have sat up to 2am or thereabouts to get the ‘Nightride’ session, or at least some of it (one or two tracks per night over the course of a week in a 12 midnight till 3am show, comprising inane upbeat chat from posh-sounding presenters with Mantovani and 60s/70s folk-rockers on the comeback trail (lots of the Renbourn generation recorded for ‘Nightride’ in the 80s – I recall hearing an incongruously blistering Strawbs session one night while unable to sleep; it probably didn’t help).
The excellent Simon Spillett – jazz saxophonist, incredibly prolific and compelling writer of substantial CD booklets, generally around British jazz of the 1950s-70s, and author of the superb Tubby Hayes biography ‘The Long Shadow of the Little Giant’ – has just launched a blog.
Over the past few months, since joining Facebook, he has used it largely as a blog, posting wonderful essays about aspects of jazz history and its people. For various reasons, he has come to more fully embrace writing and ‘being a writer’ recently. In my view, that’s great news – because he’s one of the best, and the latest in a distinguished history of British jazz musicians being equally adept as essayists and long-form writers. Humphrey Lyttelton, George Melly and Dave Gelly are three others that come immediately to mind – though George was, I think, a significantly better writer than musician, per se 🙂
I hope Simon will transfer some of his long-form Facebook essays (some presented there in two or three instalments) on to the new available-to-all blog. Certainly, he will be posting new material there regularly. I take my hat off to him!
Last year, Covid was Buryan’ Sarah McQuaid’s career. She flipped that portent of doom over and ingeniously decided that, instead, her career was Buryan – St Buryan, the cloistered building thereto in the village down the road (just before the road runs out at Land’s End).
Sarah raised some cash from crowdfunding towards a live album and DVD / series of song films – filmed and recorded in rules-compliant conditions at the church. The first sample has just premiered online. Sarah still needs some cash to finish the DVD editing end of things. If you can help her, please do. If you can’t, just enjoy the music. It won’t necessarily cheer you up but it might reflect some muddling-through hopefulness. Any port in a storm…
Martin Williamson has had something to do with the Furs and his latest project certainly wears that influence on its sleeve – the Auld Gods. Also featuring Belfast punk legend Dave McLarnon. Out now!
I stumbled on this Altan video of the trad ‘Month of January’, from January 2019. I’m stunned it has had only 420 views in all that time. Let’s give it a few more.
One consequence of lockdown is that singer Mairead has mused on social media about whether she wants to return to the life of a musical troubadour once it’s over. She’s certainly served her time. Altan have been on the road since roughly 1990, peaking perhaps (in commercial terms) in the mid to late 90s. I saw them often in Belfast and Dublin and Donegal then – they were truly exhilarating – but lost touch with their music after the 90s. I saw Mairead at an awards do in Belfast two years ago and she shouted a breezy ‘hello!’ as she dashed across the room to another crowd of well-wishers and revellers. Whatever she chooses to do next, I wish her well. 🙂
I wasn’t originally going to post this on the Afterword, because it isn’t related to music, books, TV, Richard Thompson, progressive-rock, etc. Plus, in these times, we *all* have friends in difficulties of one sort or another – and there’s only so much any of can do.
But on reflection, it’s a friend in need, a long way from home and it’s potentially life-changing… so I’ll just leave the link here and if you want to share it somewhere or contribute a small sum, then great.
In brief: Veronika is from Slovakia, and is a massage wizard. She has lived/worked in Belfast for a few years, but has only one relative in the UK. She very recently married a fellow mainland European in Belfast, who was also in Belfast more or less alone, but who has relatives in Scotland. Veronika was diagnosed with a brain tumour late last year – and moved to Scotland a few weeks ago, permanently, with her husband (both giving up their jobs), for two reasons: (1) to get surgery with one of the best UK surgeons for this condition in February; (2) to stay with her husband’s relatives while recuperating, which may take months.
What does it sound like?:
This can only be the most impressionistic of reviews, because the quantity of music is immense and I don’t have the requisite muso ‘chops’ to critique it properly even if I had the time. But I *have* had the time so far to listen to around two-thirds of it, and some of that twice, and it’s terrific, so…
What is it and what does it sound like? Well, it’s 28 BBC broadcasts spanning 1969–90 by groups led by British jazz woodwind maestro Barbara Thompson (principally the Latin-ish Jubiaba and the melodic jazz-rock-ish Paraphernalia, along with a 1969 quintet session with co-leader Art Themen, a 1989 quartet session, a 1970 octet + strings session and a 1971 12-piece + strings session) plus a few fantastic broadcasts in which Babs was a player – a New Jazz Orchestra session from 1969, a Dave Gelly Sextet session (in tribute to enigmatic late pianist Mike Taylor) in 1969 and a 1978 session in which she was a featured addition to the Don Rendell Five, Don being one of the British jazz greats of the 1950s–60s whose playing was progressive and distinctive, but who eschewed the jump into ‘jazz-rock’ » Continue Reading.
Perhaps people here who are Scottish or Welsh have grown up feeling the same, but being from NI, it’s certainly always been clear to me that the place has been an embarrassment and annoyance to successive UK national governments. It’s impossible to avoid the feeling of being second-class citizens when travelling on ‘the mainland’ – or when ordering goods online that are supposedly delivered ‘anywhere in the UK’ (Shetland et al.) only to find that that means ‘except NI’. National newspaper deals too – ‘free Sherlock Holmes books with this voucher (except in NI)’ etc. Oh, and we have a load of local banks that are somehow allowed to issue their own bespoke “sterling” notes… except that nobody ‘on the mainland’ accepts the bloody things. It might as well be toy money.
In short, I have for my entire lifetime been embarrassed by Northern Ireland and felt second-class when among people in England/Scotland – embarrassed because its most prominent public figures are a shower of bigots or terrorist apologists (DUP & Sinn Fein), because its biggest claim to fame is a boat that didn’t work (Titanic) and that now, unfathomably, drives tourism here, and because its currency is useless elsewhere » Continue Reading.
No, the Specials have not reunited to campaign for the erstwhile Mahavishnu maestro’s release from the trappings of luxury bought by ‘Miami Vice’… Jan is offering a free download today of a 1979 outtake, a reggae version of Orby’s ‘Oh Pretty Woman’. It’s… unusual. But it’s free!
The Wookaladies recorded a long-awaited album a couple of years ago… and then various things happened that delayed it appearing… then they launched it in October 2019 at a sensational Belfast show… and seemingly within days it was withdrawn… because the Wookas had an offer from a record label in Germany, which might release it on a bigger platform… and next year it looks like that will indeed happen. Still, you never know.
In the meantime, here they are with a terrific non-album version of something festive. Watch it soon – before they withdraw it! 😀
…this came to mind earlier. A magical, compelling performance of a traditional song by Dick Gaughan from 1980. Chilling.
Another sensational performance from John McLaughlin and the boys in the Winter of the World…
They see a red door…