Twang welcomes (The Mighty) Tull supremo Ian Anderson to the pod, who popped in to talk about the not one but two tours he’s running in parallel this year. We also cover the greasy spoon days of touring, guitarists past and present, choice of supermarket and the ultimate definition of prog from an anointed Prog God.
Twang welcomes Mousey to the pod for a 121 natter. We discover growing up in New Zealand, being a nerdy piano kid, seeing ELP at Wembley and writing songs for Play School. In a long career as a successful musician our guest is remains refreshingly keen and still got a kick out of walking across the Abbey Road crossing even whilst recording there.
I am sure there are good uses for so called big data in looking at trends etc, but for the sort of micro targeting people get bent out of shape about, I suggest it’s almost worthless. The “targeted” advertising I get is never, ever, anything I’m interested in, and even Amazon, who ought to have a better idea than most, only suggest I buy something I just bought (50 bin liners bought last week Sir? No, I won’t need any for months). There are plenty of things I am probably susceptible to but none of them ever get suggested. Big data – big load of toss.
For some reason I was moved to make a playlist of the soft sweet soul music I hated as a grim faced, long haired blues boy in the 70s but came round to in the 80s. We’re talking spine tingling vocals (probably with falsetto), strings will be in evidence, bass will probably be played on an analogue synth and any guitar will be gently wah wah’d rather than widdled.
What should I add?
In our 100th episode Twang welcomes Skirky, FentonSteve and Mister Pee to the pod to discuss how music is recorded. Partly a history lesson, partly a set of opinions strongly held and fiercely defended, the team can agree (more or less) that it’s never been easier to make and consume music and that this must be a good thing.
The new and final series of”Homeland” is back on Sunday evening. The last series was a cracker and left Carrie in dreadful state so I’m really looking forward to this. It’s the last series ever, apparently, and has moved a long way from Nicholas Brody. This series apparently pulls it all together for the finale. Can’t wait!
What does it sound like?:
Ben Watt’s new album opens with minimalistic piano, rigid beats from a drum machine and the line “Nineteen years old, life in front of you, everything on hold, feels like you’re balanced on a wire”. It’s bleak and doomy, and those expecting a repeat of the 70s folk rock vibe “Fever Dream” tapped into are in for a shock. There are no retro fittings and no guitar solos. The sound palette is piano, drum machines or kit drums distilled down to rim shots and the odd kick, double bass, synths and lots of samples from an online resource called Freesound.org, and for a while at any rate stays cold, bleak and quite beautiful. There seems to be a despairing vibe over the first few tracks, looking back, revisiting old ghosts, old places now changed beyond recognition (and we’re talking abut Hull here, where Ben and Tracey met at university). The first few plays I didn’t get it, missing the patchouli scented feel of this album’s predecessor which ticked about every one of my boxes, but Ben sounds restless here and clearly wanted to move on and the music opens up and sound more organic » Continue Reading.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Beeb, and have argued in support of the licence fee many times. There should be a reliable broadcaster with balance and no agenda, reliable, honest, trustworthy. And no frigging adverts.
But….but. I’m losing my faith. Their election coverage was pretty poor, their support for the two party solution, that awful debate where Jo Swinson was crucified where it turned out the tickets were allocated in proportion to current parliamentary seats (for the next parliament election….). The vox pops with angry pensioners in Stoke shouting about “we should be out” with never a follow up question, never some exploration of why it matters to them so much. Question Time, which is unwatchable. The Today Programme which is often unlistenable with their habit of inviting (e.g.) a scientist and populist nutter and give them the same airtime and the same patina of respectability. Thought For The Day. The bloated website. The adverts for their own programmes. The over-paid presenters. The senior management cost (cars from the station to the office as obviously they can’t get the tube). Allegedly the Beeb team at major sporting events is multiples of 10 bigger than commercial stations. » Continue Reading.
St. Albans Arena
The Musical Box are billed as more than as tribute band, given that they have acquired the actual stage sets, costumes and some instruments from Genesis and have had the thumbs up from the original members. The first half opens with “The Eleventh Earl of Marr” and it becomes apparent that we are in Phil Collins era for the most part with impeccable reproductions of tracks from “Wind and Wuthering”, “A Trick of the Tail” and even “…and then there were three” which I really like though more serious Genesis heads think is a bit thin.
It is immediately apparent that the band are top players, perfectly reproducing the parts pretty much note for note, with “Phil” grinning and clattering around the kit just like the real thing. “Tony” even reproduces Mr. Banks’ slightly prim expression as he trills out signature keyboard lines. Tribute bands stand or fall on the vocals and here they are right on the money. A minor frustration is that the vocals are slightly too low in the mix – as Feedback File remarks to me, recreating crap 70s live sound is possibly a tip to authenticity too far. » Continue Reading.
Someone posted a performance I’ve wanted to hear for years on a Facebook group – Julianne Regan (she of All About Eve) singing “Who knows where the time goes” with Fairport at Cropredy. I think we can agree this is a tough gig, and to my ears Julianne nails it. (It’s only available on a few obscure Fairport compilations and turned up on the Spotify version of the Dave Pegg comp troublingly titled “A box of Pegg’s”).
Anyway, other examples of someone stepping into unfillable shoes and pulling it off? Or falling flat on their face?
After one abortive attempt and significant re-education in modern technology Twang welcomes ColinH to the pod. We discover Colin’s story covering his favourites, writing, making music, Van Morrison and, shock spoiler, he likes the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
A few stats on the podcast! We have made 22 episodes, so almost hitting one every two weeks, on topics ranging from specific discussions (reggae, James Bond, music biogs, critics, post punk, Half Man Half Biscuit, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Van Morrison) to general rambles, the launch of the 121 discussions, year end reviews, Beatles reissues, special guests (Mike Vernon, David Hepworth, Kathryn Williams). 27 guests have shambled into the pod, some more than once. A few even started without 15 minutes debugging Skype, phoning/texting/PMing missing guests. Phew, I feel exhausted thinking about it.
So…for the New Year, what topics should we tackle? Ideas welcome! Everyone is obviously welcome so PM if you fancy being on or in a 121 – most people start by insisting they couldn’t meaningfully string three words together then quickly realise it’s basically a chat with mates and settle in to talk for England. The more the merrier!
Also we should hit number 100 this year – so ideas to mark this auspicious ever welcome!
Brighten up a nothingy sort of day with this rather fine feature on Fairport in a one off lineup (I think they were technically broken up at the time) with Linda Thompson on vocals, though this is well after Richard left so you get some solo stuff (including live brass band on “I want to see the bright lights tonight”). Other highlights include a mandolin trio with Swarb, Peggy and RT picking up a storm and a rather fine bass solo from Peggy in the last number. Nice to see Mike Harding presenting too.
Netflix have published their top 10 shows but although I watch it regularly, I’ve haven’t seen any of them other than the McCann one. Any fans of the others here?
Netflix’s top 10 most popular releases of 2019 in the UK
1. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann 2. 6 Underground 3. Murder Mystery 4. The Witcher 5. The Irishman 6. After Life 7. Stranger Things 3 8. Our Planet 9. Sex Education 10. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes: Limited Series
I fancied producing a Christmas song so here it is – the slightly husky vocal due to a very seasonal cold. Enjoy!
Twang welcomes FeedbackFile, Tiggerlion and Steve T to the pod for a review of the cultural year, taking in music, TV, film, Twang’s ennui, old Hawkwind albums and Jenny Lewis’s strangely symmetrical mole. There is genuinely something for everyone in this bumper cast. Have great Christmas pod listeners.
I saw an act on Friday night called Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer, who has invented his own genre called Chap Hop. Sort of PG Wodehouse does rap. He raps to backing tracks and plays a mean banjolele. The place was pretty full and many people were in plus fours, sporting pipes and brogues were virtually a condition of entry. I chatted to him before the gig and he plays a lot, and all over the world. He’s funny too.
I thought I’d seen it all but are there other bonkers genres out there we need to know about?
This just popped up on Faceberk. I have no affiliation with them, but thought some here would like them. The cutaway diagram of the Vox AC 30 is great. Especially good with a touch screen!
Someone pointed out on Twitter this morning that “Jingle Bells” should more correctly be “Jingle, bells”. Similarly “God rest ye, merry gentlemen”. There must be plenty of others. Chuck Berry, for example, could have gone the pedant route with “Johnny, be good”.
Over to you.
What does it sound like?:
This is a review which will probably have my good friends Chiz and Lodey snorting with derision. This is a rerelease of a collection of performances from Eric Clapton’s Crossroads concerts which raise millions for drug recovery treatments. A mate of mine went and said it was fantastic, the good vibes tangible in the air. But here’s the thing – it was released in 2016 and this just marks its release on vinyl. Pah.
But…but….I hadn’t heard the previous release, and I have to say there are some sterling performances here – pretty much anyone who is anyone in there blues/rock/country world makes an appearance, sometimes with their own band or sometimes in combinations of other players. So you get great performances from Jeff Beck (with the fabulous Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, doing that solo on “Cause we’ve ended as lovers”, Tal fans), ZZ Top in great form on “Jesus left Chicago” stretching out and enjoying the moment like a proper band who can actually play live. “Tulsa Time” is a joy – Clapton, Vince Gill and Albert Lee chicken’ picking’ away with Sheryl Crowe on lead vocals. The same lineup play a tip » Continue Reading.
Twang welcomes Blue Boy, Chiz and Eddie G to the pod for a ramble around the world of criticism taking in masters of the genre such as CSM, Nick Kent and Ian McDonald through Amazon reviews, Q, The Word, Afterword reviews and where the team have been on the receiving end (or otherwise) of the attentions of Grub Street.
What does it sound like?:
Those of you who have the official release of the “Band of Gypsies” album will know what this sounds like as it is a complete set of the four shows from which that album was compiled. To explain, Hendrix played two shows on 31/12/69 and two more on 01/01/70 (confusingly both nights went past midnight so you hear various dates but essentially the concerts were on those two nights and ran past midnight). Opinions vary on the change of musicians from the Experience lineup – my view is Billy Cox is a much better bass player than Noel Redding and it shows, and while no one could match Mitch Mitchell for his free, open jazzy style, Buddy Miles is more of a solid groove player which personally I like more. These days I prefer a drummer who doesn’t clatter about all the time, so this rhythm section works for me. I don’t mind Buddy Miles’s vocals either – another bone of contention for some – his soully phrasing contrasting well with Jimi’s stoned drawl.
The playing of course is outstanding – funky, loose, creative, with Jimi in full flow, one minute up there with » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Full disclosure first. Shifting Buffalo, ITRW, is my friend Ben, so don’t expect an 1979 NME style hatchet job here. But…but…come back! This is really good so I’m sharing it here.
The origin of this album was an intensive songwriting day when SB single handedly wrote, recorded and mixed 10 songs in a day using the “A Shropshire Lad” poems as lyrics. This is a brushed up and slightly more polished version of that manic effort but still has a charming bedroom studio vibe.
The instrumentation is remarkably full band sounding given its origins, with a pallet of drum machines, guitars, synths, other keys and vocals. The general feel is a interesting hybrid of late 70s synth pop experimentation (woozy synths, drum machines, and doomy vocals) with perhaps proggy guitar overtones, though “The loveliest of trees” with its bucolic lyrics and acoustic guitars could easily be a Caravan outtake. Some tracks are more conventional rock workouts, “Wake” being a particular highlight. A.E. Housman could have been famous in the 70s.
Overall it’s a fun set rich in texture and variety and for an asking price of, oooh, nothing, it’s well worth checking out.
What does it sound like?:
An oddity, this. It’s a nice little box containing two CDs of the 2009 Yes concerts in Lyon, coupled with four “new” studio tracks. This is the line up with Rick’s son Oliver Wakeman on keys and Benoit David covering for Jon Anderson plus Howe/Squire/White.
The live stuff first. The setlist is a full career review so you get “Yours is no disgrace” as well as “Owner of a lonely heart”. The band play at the level you’d expect, Oliver W is a top notch keyboard player and sounds spookily like his old man especially on piano. Steve Howe is particularly on fire, his signature guitar parts all present and correct and as ever a total virtuoso on electric and acoustic both (“Corkscrew” from his “Turbulence” solo album is a highlight for me). Annoyingly the mix leaves Chris Squire somewhat buried which is a shame as I always thought he was Yes’s secret weapon, his high neck metallic clanking driving the sound a decade before Hooky thought it was a good idea to appropriate. This sort of line up refresh stands and falls on the vocals, and it must be said Benoit David delivers » Continue Reading.
Twang welcomes Eddie G, Neela, and Chris F to the pod to discuss James Bond. Martinis in hand (shaken not stirred), clad in immaculate white tux, they cover the films, the books, the actors, the baddies, music….many opinions are aired and we agree Connery was best.