Twang is joined in a pod basking in summer heat and thick with the sweet smell of sinsemilla to discuss reggae from its ska roots, a groove mutated by Caribbean musicians playing covers of American R&B, through the rock steady hits of the 60s and into the 70s global stardom of Bob Marley, The team consider the important acts of the time, consider British reggae, the rise and dominance of dub and later evolutions such as disco mix.
The hotly awaited reissue of the mighty Tull’s “Stormwatch” has been confirmed for 11th October. It’s definitely one of my favourite Tull albums, not top five but certainly top 10. It’s a much darker sounding album that its folky predecessors, and quite dense sounding so I’m looking forward to the Steven Wilson remix which I’m hoping will shine some new light into the songs. The band lost the fab John “Old Brittledick” Glascock half way through the sessions and Ian Anderson played most of the bass parts, maintaining the Tull tradition of recording sessions being fraught with difficulty. It’s another 4 CD bonanza in book format and I’m confident will maintain the high standard set by the earlier reissues.
Twang welcomes Feedback File to the pod for a ramble through his musical past and other life stories. Unusually the boys are together in person, so Skype has no opportunity to introduce technical excitement this time. We cover teenage boy prog appeal, yuppies, classic pop, 80s work culture, writing music, books, podcasts….
To book a moment in the podcast sun PM @Twang and schedule a 121!
I’ve been very much enjoying the Smershpod podcast recommended by @neela which is a review of all the Bond films and related work (other films using the same actors etc) and other representative films he fancies talking about. He’s having a run at the 80s at the moment, notable for the endless explosions, paper thin scripts, big hair, cocaine production soundtracks and glossy haired perfect cheek bones (and that’s only the blokes). Much hilarity ensues – the “Top Gun” one is brilliant. There’s fun to be had in those films though.
I’ve been on a gritty 70s jag for a while now, and in many ways those films don’t date – The French Connection or The Godfather are as brilliant now as ever. 60s films, less so.
Back to the black and white 50s they still have their charm but seem from a different world, a cool one (Casablanca anyone) but even so.
Someone said to me the other day that they don’t watch “old films” as modern telly is so good you don’t need to. Au contraire, I said, you need to more than ever. They capture an era and an atmosphere that a modern production » Continue Reading.
I’ve done this post a couple of years running now and it’s always produced real gold so here we go again. Please recommend, for holiday (or otherwise) reading which is:
1. A page turner novel
2. Something historical
3. Something political
4. Non fiction
5. Wild card (you choose).
Year: 2019 Director: Erik Nelson
The film takes footage captured in 1943 by esteemed director William Wyler as part of the war effort which was then made into an allied morale booster called “The Memphis Belle”, named after the B17 bomber and crew on which the film focussed. Director Erik Nelson took the original 5 reels of film and completed an astonishing work of restoration to bring them back to life, adding authentic sound recorded from one of the 9 remaining airworthy B17s. The musical soundtrack was written and partly performed by one Richard Thompson.
The story is told by the surviving members of the flight crew who are now well into their 90s. As ever you are astonished by the ages of these guys – the “old guy” on one plane was 26, and the tail gunner telling the story was 19 when the war ended… Needless to say they look amazing in the wartime footage – square jawed, resolute and handsome but not, they are all at pains to stress, heroes. The heroes, they tell us, are the ones who didn’t come back.
The film opens with a recently discovered Nazi propaganda short telling the population that » Continue Reading.
Not much reggae on here though I know there are fans. I was just in an enjoyable debate with a pal about which is the best Bob Marley album. He’s “Survival”, I’m “Uprising”. You?
I thought that might get a few people’s attentions. Anthony Robustelli is a guy with serious muso chops who wrote a fairly definitive guide to Steely Dan in “The Steely Dan FAQ” which exhaustively gets down and nerdy on the Dan.
However, as if that wasn’t enough, he then took the various unfinished Dan demos which are knocking around on the internet and on shonky CD “releases” and recorded them properly with a seriously good set of musicians to create an album called “Steely Dan – Interpretations of Unrealised Classics”. And it’s really good!
There’s a good podcast where he talks about it at some length, but in a nutshell where the Dan demo was a clear statement of intent he was faithful to their arrangement etc, but where it is more of a sketch he took artistic liberties adding sections, lyrics and grooves to where he thought it would have gone had Walt and Don fully developed it. Then recorded it in Royal Scam/Aja style analogue sonic quality (i.e. avoiding the slightly glassy sound of Gaucho and to a degree Two Against Nature).
Those who know the demos will recognise them here and spot the additions, and if you » Continue Reading.
Twang is joined by Dai, Blue Boy and newbie Bogart to discuss Bruce Springsteen, AKA The Boss. From his earliest beginnings they consider the three phases of Bruce (an absurdly reductive concept inflicted on the team by ringmaster Twang), the monumental live performances and what they want him to do next. Much fun is had and the result is a stadium sized pod as befits its subject.
Is it possible to have an edit function for reviews? Despite endless checking a few clangers always creep in which need mod effort to fix but probably would only take seconds for the author. Is it a load of work to do it?
Royal Albert Hall
The stage is set with three large and quite beautiful drum kits at the front, with the rest of the band’s gear behind. I’d heard about the three drummers, which was a concern (two drummers almost always being one too many) but I needn’t have worried. The band come on stage promptly at 7.30 after an amusing plea not to take pictures during the performance read, I’m fairly sure, by Fripp himself and immediately the drummer thing makes sense. These are drummers like Ronaldo kicks a ball. They all play the kit musically and like well drilled artillery, but also a range of percussion, gongs, octoplus and rota toms – if you can hit it, you can be confident these three did between them at some point. And it is utterly gripping to watch and hear as textures and grooves float across the stage and back. We’re only 2 minutes in…
The percussion fest settles into “Larks Tongues part 1” and “Cirkus” then “Lizard” follow swiftly. The flexibility of this Crimson lineup becomes clear when I realise the middle drummer is also a keyboard player, and in fact probably plays keys more then » Continue Reading.
At the suggestion of Paws For Thought, Twang welcomes Malc, Dr Volume, Fenton Steve and Paws to the pod to discuss the band and their brilliant strain of indy punk folk and their superb hilarious and often deeply affecting lyrics. Much laughter transpires and HMHB newbie Twang becomes a fan for life.
A PR who contacts me occasionally tells me that there is a John Wetton box set in the pipeline following his passing a couple of years ago. As there is a lot of affection for the great man here – a terrific singer as well as bass player. Info is:
Since John Wetton’s passing in January 2017, his family, friends and management have been working on finding a fitting tribute to such a remarkable man and iconic artist. The result of this labour of love is a box set entitled “An Extraordinary Life”, dedicated entirely to John’s solo career. The project has the full support of John’s wife, Lisa, and his son, Dylan, who are wholly involved with compiling the contents.
The set will include definitive, remastered editions of each of his six solo albums, with bonus tracks and artwork selected by John towards the end of his lifetime, and in some cases expanded to two discs:
1. Caught in the Crossfire 2. Battle Lines 3. Arkangel 4. Sinister 5. Rock of Faith 6. Raised in Captivity An Extraordinary Life will also feature a lavish hardback “coffee table” book written by one of John’s friends, the journalist Nick » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
Very straight renditions of popular classics rendered in true twangy Hank manner, impeccably played and unmistakably him over his solo career. You get “Sealed with a Kiss”, “Peggy Sue”, “Guitar Man”, “Moon River”, a decent take on “Jessica”, “Fields of Gold”, “While my guitar gently weeps”…you can probably imagine the rest. The sound is very clear with no grungy rock versions of Shads hits to upset the target audience which it’s safe to say is not really this crowd. I’m a fussy git and it sounds all done in the box, highly quantised and I doubt there’s a real instrument here other than Hank’s guitar. A surprise inclusion is a samba version of “Hotel California” which catches elements of the original guitar solos in the midst of mucho percussion and some impressive acoustic flamenco-ish playing. Most of the hits are here, though no “Apache” oddly which was this picker’s intro to Hank. My school band’s heavy rock version is sadly lost to the mists of time but trust me it was brilliant.
What does it all *mean*?
Hank is still here and whilst I wish he’d pushed the boat out and done something different » Continue Reading.
The England team play Scotland this afternoon in their opening match for the Women’s World Cup. Anyone watching? We watched the opening match on Friday night and it was good fun, fair to say not as aggressive and power based as the men’s game but plenty to get excited about and a nice drop in theatrics, cynical “professional” fouls and general dickheadedness.
Come on you Lionesses!
I love a bit of musical mayhem with everyone going mental but it’s 10 to 12 on Sunday night, the family are asleep, I’m having a probably ill advised final glass of red and thinking “less is more”. This is about perfect.
Twang welcomes Steve T to the pod for a natter taking in his journey through music and life via the Everglades and Midlands metal to the Word and the comforts of a folkier vibe.
To accept the comfy chair and a grilling from Twang don’t be coy and fire off a PM forthwith!
It’s all old pal’s 60 next week and I want to get him a book of maps, maybe a history of maps or history told through maps or similar. History and maps anyway. I want something which is interesting and beautiful.
You are the people to ask. Any suggestions gratefully received!
Twang welcomes legendary record producer Mike Vernon to the pod to discuss his career spanning numerous classic albums but especially Afterword favourite John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton” (AKA “The Beano” album) and the first generation Fleetwood Mac, plus a catch up on Mike’s more recent activities. Mike is happy to go deep on the nerdy stuff and Twang periodically proves unable to avoid going into gush mode.
What does it sound like?:
This is the first release of a discovery of a treasure trove of Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac live recordings and unreleased studio sessions from 1968 and 1970. The 1970 material will be released later but volume one concentrates on 1968 when the band had only just formed. Those who love the first album will know what to expect here. Peter’s playing is loud and proud, confident and flowing and remarkably assured for someone who had only just taken centre stage in his own band and in fact had only stepped out as a lead guitarist a matter of years earlier. Peter’s voice is as soulful and uncannily bluesy as a white boy can be, especially as he makes no attempt to impersonate black blues singers preferring to find his own tonality and mood. The Fleetwood and, well, Mac rhythm section is tight and swinging. To this listener Jeremy Spencer is the weak link – I know he was a key part of the early band’s live appeal etc but his two bottleneck licks become wearing when repeatedly played and I have to wonder what other special sauce he brought to a band already » Continue Reading.
WILD ROSE tells the complicated story of Rose-Lynn, a woman on a quest to become a country music star, while also grappling with the responsibilities of being recently released from prison and a young mother of two children. (Pinched from IMDB as it’s a perfect summary).
Jessie Buckley is amazing as the chippy wannabe country singer, whose ambition is constantly compromised by base urges and bad choices. It’s a wonderful feelgood movie, the music is great and played/sing by the cast. Jessie is terrific at the mic. To me it’s what “A star is born” could have been had Lady Gaga not turned into, well, Lady Gaga after an hour. We loved it.
Twang welcomes Skirky, Carl and Feedback File to the pod for a general natter taking in Danny Baker, shameful admissions, definitive masterpieces, what we’ve learned, recommendations of the week, music, books telly, pleasures and pain of owning a dog and heron control.
Spring is sprung!
What does it sound like?:
This is the latest in a series of officially released bootlegs of the Dream in concert in the USA and Australia in the 70s. Now I’ve always liked the Dream though I’m far from an expert – we used to listen to “Phaedra” back in the day and marvel at the spaciness (man) before moving on to Hawkwind. So it’s been interesting hearing more of their oeuvre.
First, it’s not all the boings and swishy noises which I sort of remembered. The trio split (very loosely) between a synth guy majoring on sequencers creating pulses and rhythms, a mellotron guy and another synth/guitar guy plus there’s “real” piano too played by someone (the notes are a model of economy…). The review download didn’t think to name the tracks either so I can’t comment on individual ones but it’s very varied with everything from spooky atmospheric stuff, trancy soft vibes and much rockier pieces featuring a lot of power chord electric guitar. There’s plenty of melody too. These aren’t one finger proto-synth pop players, they clearly have chops and an eye for composition and arrangement as well as improvisation.
Sound quality is of the “official » Continue Reading.
I resisted digital newspapers etc for a long time but I got a nice tablet for Christmas and succumbed to a great deal on the digital Times (and Sunday Times ) – a fiver for 3 months – and I love it. The pictures are amazing, the integration with podcasts and other deep dives are great. There are so many deals now I shall move on to the offer from the Indy when this one runs out. There’s always the Grauniad too which is free though they seem to have gone mad recently in the Editorial dept, but they are back in profit which is good news.
I held out for ages as I like the whole Sunday paper thing, but I’m most taken with the experience so far.
Any ns here?