Just listened to the Nothing Is Real Beatles podcast featuring a two-part interview with Mark Lewisohn. Really worth a listener Beatles nerds. One fascinating snippet for me was that Mark was asked whether he was planning to create an archive of his research material. He said he was but hadn’t got round to it yet (right answer as he should be concentrating on finishing Vol 2 of All My Years before I pop my clogs!). He had, however, moved his office and the archive weighed over 13.2 tons! That’s an incredible amount of material, and he said he doesn’t really collect artefacts or obvious memorabilia, just loads and loads of information. Difficult to imagine what other band could come even close to such a mountain of material.
Partly inspired by Peter Doggett’s comment in the recent Word In Your Ear podcast – that you could create a sizeable compilation of songs CSN&Y and their coterie wrote about each other – I started to put together just such a compilation (playlist). However, in the end I decided to broaden it out to include other songs by artists about, er, other artists. Any other suggestions for songs warmly welcomed. This is a collaborative Spotify playlist so presumably anyone can add their contributions. A few notes where the reference isn’t obvious: ‘Willy’ by Joni Mitchell is about David Crosby (William is his middle name) ‘Pretty Girl Why’ by Buffalo Springfield is about Stephen Still’s first wife, singer songwriter Nancy Priddy. ‘You Can Close Your Eyes’ by James Taylor is about Joni Mitchell. ‘Empty Garden (Hey Johnny Johnny)’ by Elton John is a tribute to John Lennon. ‘Au Contraire’ by They Might Be Giants is about David Bowie.
“There’s nothing like the smell of a playlist in the morning”.
I can’t remember the last time I played an album from start to finish (actually it was probably ‘Abbey Road’ several months ago). My go-to approach for listening to music is almost always a playlist. This is probably anathema to a number of contributors here but I find that a well-constructed playlist maintains my interest a lot better than an album by a single artist. I accept that this might say something about my low attention span but there we are. Of course, the availability of streaming services has revolutionised music listening. I’m lucky enough to have a Sonos system so I can build playlists from several sources, including my own music library, to create Sonos playlists. I used to invest in Hi Fi equipment but now accessibility and ease of use is much more important to me.
There’s quite a lot of imagination, even skill, in making a good quality playlist in my opinion, taking account of mood, flow etc. I can’t recall who on here contributed the ‘Beauty’ playlist from a year or two back but that is a prime example. It’s a real favourite of » Continue Reading.
Apparently Fraser has put all the Word podcasts, from the beginning, on Spotify.
Pretty surprising change of career for the ganja-infused reggae star? Photographed in Topsham, Devon near where I live. Perhaps you’ve had an ex-member of Pickettywitch come to service your boiler? Or Howard Jones’ mime chum clean your windows. Time to reveal all.
Not sure if Colin H has mentioned this in his recent Mike Westbrook mega post, but Bandcamp are releasing a recording of the Mike Westbrook band live at Ronnie Scott’s Old Place in Gerrard Street (Soho) on May 25th 1968. Essentially this is a live (and extended) version of the ‘Release’ album. Release date is, appropriately, May 25th 2018, the 50th anniversary. For those who may not know, The Old Place was Ronnie Scott’s original club in Chinatown before moving to Frith Street and as Ronnie had a lease to use up he featured young and up and coming musicians, pretty exclusively. Here’s Richard Williams’ write up on the album :
LAST NIGHT AT THE OLD PLACE by Richard Williams
So many good things were contained within the Mike Westbrook Concert Band of 1968 that it’s hard to know where to start. Its personnel included the components of a whole scene of young London-based jazz musicians, bursting with energy and the desire to express the sounds they were discovering collectively and as individuals. For a time, this band gave them the ideal structure. And when they needed a setting, Ronnie Scott and Pete King were there to provide it. » Continue Reading.
On Wednesday night I went to a preview of ‘My Generation’ co-produced by Simon Fuller and Michael Caine. This was a fascinating overview of the 60s (almost exclusively London in the 1960s), narrated by Michael Caine who also carried out interviews with Paul McCartney, David Bailey, Twiggy, Mary Quant, Roger Daltrey etc. Following the film there was a live Q&A with Michael Caine (on the evening of his 85th birthday) and the director, David Batty, simulcast to 400 cinemas across the UK. During this it emerged that the researchers spent 3 years trying to track down footage that hadn’t become too familiar over the years. Their big breakthrough was tracking down Peter Whitehead, director of ‘Tonite Let’s Make Love in London’ among other films, who is now in his 80s and living in Scotland. Amazingly, he has in his garage hours of original rushes, outtakes etc from his various 60s films which he agreed to loan, provided they were restored and properly digitised. ‘My Generation’ is well worth seeing if you are interested in the 60s or lived through them. There are apparently going to be six TV programmes which will feature the various interviews in full.
Found in the bottom of a cupboard!
I recently came across this intriguing playlist, put together by DJ Bill Brewster, of funky music performed by unlikely artists. For example, ‘Ease Along’ by Sir Cliff and David Cassidy doing Ned Doheny’s ‘Get It Up For Love’, ‘I Dig You’ by Demis Roussos, ‘Tribal Dance’ by Peter Green and so on.
There must be many other hidden gems out there, like this one by Alan Trajan. Any other suggestions?
I seem to play pretty much all my music on Spotify these days, even if I have the CD sitting somewhere in my garage. As a result, the number of ‘saved’ albums is growing fast and becoming pretty unmanageable. The Spotify app is fairly poor (eg compared to the Amazon Music app) but I’ve started creating playlists specifically for albums, eg ALBUMS – ECM, ALBUMS – ALICE COLTRANE etc so at least I can find the damn things. Anyone have any better ideas how to manage their music in Spotify? The Albums field is pretty limited when you have a lot of albums saved.
Nice collection of blues programmes on BBC iPlayer under the BBC 4 Collections series. Curated by Julian Joseph, the series includes several Arena Blues Night editions (BB King, Sonny Boy Williamson and the ‘Chicago Blues’ documentary) and the Alexis Korner series from 1979, ‘The Devil’s Music’.
I’ve just come across a Spotify tool called Organise Your Music. Basically, it analyses all your playlists and presents them in a variety of ways – by genre/micro genre, moods (amped, chilled etc), styles (clean, quiet, loud etc), decades, when added, popularity. You can then create new playlists based on these categorisations, amend them to your heart’s content and save them to Spotify. Some of the micro genres are new to me. I apparently have 4 tracks defined as ‘deep chiptune’ which is news to me (tracks by Magic Sword, 65 days of Static, Anamaguchi, Peter McConnell since you asked). And if that wasn’t enough, you can access a plot of each grouping with X and Y axes showing such variables as ‘acousticness, anger, energy, loudness etc. I guess this tool gives you more of an overview of your ‘collection’ plus it’s tremendous fun to play with.
One of the joys of Spotify is creating a hand-made playlist (I’m not talking about grabbing Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits for example and sticking it in a playlist). I’m sure it’s been done here before but how about sharing some of your favourite personal creations? Here’s mine, called Mellow 1 and designed as a party/dinner party playlist. It’s meant to be played sequentially. I’ll try and share some more but how about yours?
What does it sound like?:
The conventional impression of 1950s Britain is of a rain-soaked and foggy land exhausted by the war and struggling to come to terms with lingering rationing and austerity. To counter this view along comes a sparkling new box set from Jonny Trunk featuring all manner of exotic recordings by artists with names like Reg, Ted and Eric. The Americans too had their own brand of exotica with artists such as Arthur Lyman, Esquivel, Les Baxter and Martin Denny but, as the sleeve notes suggest, the British experience was rather different. ‘Recovering from war, steeped in tradition and closer to European, Middle Eastern and Asian influences. Quietly reserved, gently comic and slightly confused.’ The three albums included in this box set are : ‘London’s Rarest Primitive Pop and Savage Jazz’, ’Persian Pop and Casbah Jazz from the Wild British Isles!’ and ‘Polynesian Pop and Placid Jazz from the Wild British Isles!’. Each album explores a different substrata of this fascinating music. Highlights include ex-Vernon Girl, Lyn Cornell, with a spirited vocal version of Johnny Dankworth’s ‘African Waltz’, folk singer Nadia Cattouse’s frantic jazz chase produced by her big band arranger husband, Dave Lindup, and ‘The » Continue Reading.
I came across this newish blog, from Independent and Guardian journalist Neil Morton, on Twitter so thought it might appeal to the Afterword cognoscenti.
I enjoy a good mash up and this one, ‘Virgin O’Riley’ is one of the best I’ve heard. I did some work on electronic music and production a few years ago so I know how difficult it is. It’s possibly sacrilege to dedicated Who (or Madonna) fans but you can still listen to the originals.
I’m visiting London in a couple of weeks for a bit of retail therapy, ie record shopping. It’s been about 5 years since I last visited the capital and I’m guessing the pool of decent record shops has diminished. I’m planning to visit Rough Trade East and hopefully favourite places like Honest Jons and Soul Jazz are still open. Any other recommendations?
This 1967 film features Robert Hughes, Olivier Todd and Lewis Nkosi wandering around ‘swinging’ London and pontificating about what it all means. Very evocative. It also includes segments with Arnold Wesker and Osbert Lancaster as well as a sweaty club scene with Herbie Goins and the Nightimers, including Harry Beckett and Mick Eve (one of Georgie’s Blue Flames). Well worth a watch.
I’m probably not alone in having tons of digital music files, from all kinds of sources. However, I’ve not yet found a truly satisfactory way of playing these via a connection to my hifi setup. I’ve tried a lot of options, including JRiver, Audirvan, Fidlelia etc, and probably wasted money along the way. I know iTunes is an option but the vast majority of my files are FLAC which is not catered for by the current version, and probably never will be. All I want is a pleasant, robust and easy to use system. If it is at all relevant, I use Macs and control playback on a MacBook Pro. Anyone have any suggestions?