The soundtrack to cooking lunch on a Saturday!
Winter is drawing in. Today it rained and rained. COVID is keeping us under our roofs. It’s time to hunker down around our hearths, be they fireplaces or flatscreens, kitchen stoves, turntables or tablets.
Hearths are places for stories, the oral tradition, passed on tales. And nothing conveys a story more than a bed of music – prompting the next verse, stirring and prompting reaction, locking down inevitable conclusions with half-expected rhyme.
I got to thinking – there must be a lot of story songs that have a special place in Afterworders’ hearts – be they folk ballads, rap battles, ponderous prog rock pottering or snappy punk flick of the wrist. Can I unlock a flow of recollection and anecdotage?
Ground rules What I want are posts with connections, a little scattering of descriptive context. This ain’t the place for scattershot spraying of countless URls. Less is more. We’re tellin’ stories, here, not selling encyclopaedias. Please one clip max per post, and wait your turn.
Come at me with your best!
I’m increasingly fascinated by artists, late in their career, coming up with an album of real class. It works best if the artist has been in the wilderness for so many years they reach the point when they no longer have an audience to please, so they please themselves. Then, they prove that form is temporary and talent is permanent in producing an album to savour.
David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash are probably the best known examples but Grace Jones and Mavis Staples have managed it, too. Ry Cooder doesn’t count because he has been consistently brilliant all the way through. I don’t think Robert Plant could be described as ever being in a wilderness even though his last four albums are among his very best.
Eddie Chacon of Charles and Eddie has a new LP out next week which is meant to be hypnotic. Lewis Tayloresque, without the guitar, I’m told. If so, he’s a perfect example because he wasn’t that successful to begin with.
I’m told that Gary Newman’s latest work is as great as his eighties peak but I’d like members of the Afterword to point me to the album to look at first. » Continue Reading.
Playing this a lot recently. Apparently it has never been officially released as Liz didn’t think it was up to muster. I disagree. Seriously apart from live tracks, are there many unreleased songs that are as good as this?
So, arguably my two favourite artists are releasing brand new albums today, Bruce Springsteen and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco would actually be the fave). Exciting day!
Will probably not be comparable to 22 Nov 1968 when The White Album and The Kinks Are The Village Prservation Society (both in my top 10 of all time) were released, but we have to be thankful for what we get these days.
Also released today:
Thin Lizzy box set Gorillaz new album John Prine box set Lemonheads reissue A Beastie Boys compilations (and probably several “Yes” live albums)
Kindle edition £0.00
My email feeds are full of shows for next year and I confess to be on the cusp of thinking about a time when gigs return to normal. So I clicked on the Damned, with the original Vanian/James/Sensible/Scabies line up reforming for shows next summer. Now I know the biz is in a right old state at the mo, as income has all but dried up, bands, venues, promoters, roadies, crew etc etc, but 75 quid to stand in the shitty O2 Academy? Think I’ll pass. Is this indicative of pricing for the future, or is it based on distancing still being a thing? Which, without fixed seating might be, um, optimistic.
What does it sound like?:
“The critics favourite indie band ” as All Music describes Yo La Tengo are a fascinating band with maninstays husband and wife team Ira Kaplan and drummer wife Georgia Hubley. Not over endowed with chops but a great sense of groove and melody they have a whopping catalogue with a lot of diffeent stuff from garage rock to ambient. Many on the blog complain about overly long albums with bands seemingly obliged to fill the digitial capacity of a cd. Well if the classic 40-45 minute LP is your style then how about the EP? Ideal for those times when an LP really has one good side. According to Pitchfork the songs on Sleepless Night were originally released as one side of an LP included within a limited-edition catalog for Yoshitomo Nara’s LACMA exhibition. The artist worked in collaboration with Yo La Tengo to choose the EP’s songs. The new edition of the EP features cover art by Nara. YLT have already put out an EP of ambient stuff this year but this one is a collection of sparse understated songs. A blues from the 40s that has apparently been done a few times, » Continue Reading.
I have seen him twice and I had hoped to see him with the trio or the quartet but given the best he can hope for is to hold a cup with his left hand,my hope is hopeless. I expect he will leap into curating his legacy.
What a truly joyous song!
What does it sound like?:
Every year, in the last week of February, Joe spends four or five hours turning off all his amps before he goes up into the loft at Nerdville, and chooses a jigsaw. For the next 3 days, he sifts edge pieces then slowly fills in the rest of the picture. He limits himself to as few glimpses of the picture on the top of the box as possible and works in absolute silence. Exactly a week later they go back in the loft. Then, fully rested, the amps come back on and it’s back to work.
For the other 51 weeks of the year Joe writes, records and performs, ensuring that his annual delivery of a studio album, a tour, a live album and then another tour continues uninterrupted. Jigsaws don’t pay for themselves, and Joe is the hardest working man in rock n roll.
In case anyone was worried that Joe was slacking off the pace this year, fear not. He has released an updated version of “A New Day Yesterday” called “A New Day Now””, and that was on top of an instrumental album under the name The Sleep Eazys, titled » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
If ever there was an album that defined a whole genre, this is it. Now given a fiftieth anniversary makeover, this is quite simply an awesome album, groundbreaking at the time of its original release and still standing up in the present day. The term ‘heavy metal’ hadn’t been invented at that time of course, but this album is a prime example with its crunching hard rock riffs. The original album has been remastered here, and comes alongside the 1974 quad mix, appearing on vinyl for the first time. The real treasures though are two live sets from 1970, recorded in Montreux and Brussels. Spread over three LPs, and again previously unreleased on vinyl they showcase the band in all their majesty in their early days. It’s a shame the set lists are almost identical, but the Brussels show adds a great Black Sabbath and, less essentially, Rat Salad. You also get a replica 1971 tour book, together with a poster and there’s even a nice forty page book thrown in as well. The downside is that this is quite a pricey set, but on the upside you get to hear stone cold classics » Continue Reading.
Was inspired to post these when reading about the appalling Dee Anthony in an article about Peter Frampton’s autobiography in this morning’s Guardian.
As bad as he was, DA surely wasn’t nearly as awful as Stan Polley who swindled Badfinger out of all their money and – arguably – caused the suicide of Pete Ham in ’75 and Tom Evans eight years later. Surely the unluckiest band ever, Badfinger and their story are worthy of a post on its own – assuming, of course, no one’s done one yet. Running up the rear are the likes of Morris Levy, Allen (De)Klein and just about any other manager of a black act in the early 60s.
Aside from Brian Epstein (“he changed the world without hurting anyone”) very few genuinely good guy(s) I can think of. Obvious one would be Shep “Ubernensch” Gordon – been Alice Cooper’s manager for over 40 years based on nothing more than a handshake and also helped bring – among others – The Duellists and Koyaanisqatsi to the screen. There’s also U2’s Paul McGuinness (whose own foray into movies/TV was Sky’s excerable Riviera).
Leaders of the “Bad but apparently not-all-bad” camp are Don Arden (Kenney » Continue Reading.
The Banality of Evil.
Can some of our more learned members explain this phrase for me. I kind of get it but don’t know the backstory. A bit serious for me but I love hearing the intellectual intelligence on hear as much as love the intellectual humour.
P.S. I think Benny Hill is hilarious too.
YES, OCTOBER 22 IS INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY! (LOOK IT UP)
WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING TO CELEBRATE THE INTERNATIONAL HOLIDAY THAT SO FEW SEEM TO KNOW ABOUT?
I’LL BE DOING MY BIT BY RESPONDING TO COMMENTS WITH MY CAPS LOCK BUTTON TAPED DOWN!
The post by our very own Niall B alerted me to this excellent book on the story of Free and Bad Company, covering also Paul Rodgers solo work and his short lived collaboration with Jimmy Page, The Firm. The story is recounted through the recollections of fans, friends, fellow musicians, journalists, producers and promoters with of course contributions from over the years by the band members. For me, the first part of the book, covering the formation and rise and fall of Free is the most compelling section, with lots of schoolday and adolescent memories from their contemporaries. Free must rank as one of the greatest British bands with their bluesy rock sound showcasing Rodgers untouchable vocals and Kossoff’s emotive guitar work. Bad Company picked up where Free left off, particularly on their first two albums, but they were always more of a straight ahead rock band powered by Mick Ralphs’ playing and song writing. Personally, I feel they began to lose their way with the Burnin’ Sky album, by which time they were focusing more and more on the lucrative US market, and it was downhill from there as subsequent releases became much more predictable and, dare » Continue Reading.
Kindle version just 99p today, on amazon.
So, the government’;s negotiations with politicians in Manchester and the EU have collapsed and CV19 deaths are back up to a daily Grenfell Tower toll. Apparently S Yorkshire and a lot of other places are heading for Tier 3, while Serco, Accenture and their mates have made a dog’s breakfast out of Test and Trace., even though they spent billions. The furlough scheme is slowly being pulled. Oh and by January, Brexit driven, proper shortages in the shops and pharmacies will kick in.
Genuine questions. Have any of us lived in more perilous circs? Any predictions where this is heading for UK society?.What is the End Game?
It feels to me a bit like the mid-1970s; we are in stasis. To quote a favorite poem we are waiting for the barbarians to provide a solution. My one prediction: following on from the BJ shit show an Independent Scotland within the next 5 years is nailed on now
Sorry for the doom I got some very bleak family news this weekend and watching the Downing Street briefing is not helping.
A bit of a Long John Baldry/Alex Korner figure. More famous for introducing members of his band to their initial dose of limelight.
What does it sound like?:
This 2cd/dvd set showcases the band’s 2019 residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. This is a show with a difference as the first half is mainly devoted to some of their less performed material, such as Die Hard The Hunter, Too Late for Love and Switch 625. Inevitably these days, there’s an acoustic segment on a separate stage, enabling the band to showcase power ballads like Two Steps Behind and Have Yoy Ever Needed Someone, before they move into greatest hits mode for the rest of the evening, finishing with a great run of half a dozen or so of their best known crowd pleasing songs. The vociferous crowd are intent on having a good time, and seem as familiar with the deeper cuts as they are with the obvious choices, while the production is spectacular, especially for a relatively small venue such as this one. A good time was had by all!
What does it all *mean*?
A really enjoyable couple of hours spent in the company of one of Sheffield’s finest exports. They know exactly what their audience want, and make sure they deliver the goods.
Goes well with…
Hot dogs and Bud.
Release » Continue Reading.
Thunder Thighs, we used to call her. Apparently this is a Bozz Scaggs song. I know him in name only. I suspect this is about to change.
What does it sound like?:
Yes have had a hard time recently; difficulties when they wanted to tour and Jon was ill, bad feeling around the execution of the Rock n’Roll Hall of Fame entry performance, the death of Chris Squire, and the decline of Alan White, who was no longer able to keep up with the frenetic tempos and precision playing Yes’s best music requires. Steve Howe has worked hard to create a non-Fragile (hah!) version of the band which can meet their marks and give the music the seriousness and the syncopation it needs.
With Jon Davison on vocals they have a convincing new Jon without the grating “Lancastrian-Californian pixie” vibe, Billy Sherwood doing a great job on the bass; Geoff Downes getting into his role (as he should, given he has been doing this for 40 years, on and off) , and Jay Schellen doing the faster drumming work (Alan White still providing what he does), so it all sounds good. Better in fact than the last Yes live album I reviewed here (Yes 50 live, in July 2019).
I was disconcerted that there was no “FireBird Suite” to kick things off (has there » Continue Reading.
I will c&p MM’s excellent instructions, so this is what you need to do now
2 We will then pair everyone up with two other people – you compile a CD (more later) and post it to two others. So post two out, get two back. You swap your addresses via DMs so no-one except your pairs need know you live at Platform 8 1/2. 3 Your CD: one CD only. 12 tracks only. Theme: The Future. Please rip your files without track or artist names so your partners can listen without prejudice. Artwork is up to you. MP3 tag is a free PC programme that allows you to strip all the artwork and info from your MP3 file. 4 DM us your track listing. DON’T POST IT ON THE SITE. 5 CDs to get to your partners in the mail by the (we will give you a gentle reminder on the blog). 6 You can then let the world know what you thought of the CDs you received in a megapost. Posting of reviews by 18 November. 7 We will post track listings around December 6th and watch the recriminations/accolades fly.
During US tours in 2010-11, the late Bert Jansch played a handful of songs that were either never recorded or, if recorded, are as yet unreleased. There are a few audience recordings of these, one of which is conveniently on YouTube – featuring two of these works in progress, ‘Chase the Devil’ and ‘Duckin’ and Divin’, the latter written after a couple of gigs with Pete Doherty. I wonder if Pete knows?
The opening line (repeated after a fluff) is fabulous:
‘When you get where you’re going you wanna be somewhere else…’
Here at 21:20 (with ‘Chase the Devil’ at 17:25):
Vashi Bunyan, Robert Forster, Sybille Baier and “Connie” Converse…
Mousey asked me to pay special attention to the music when I went to see Babyteeth, as it was composed by a friend of his in Sydney. The film was so engrossing that I completely forgot about his request. But then came a scene where Milla and Moses sat happily by the poolside to the soundtrack of a song I know rather well, Diamond Day by Vashti Bunyan. And it worked perfectly.
Vashti sent off in 1968 in a horse-drawn carriage to join Donovan’s commune on the Isle of Skye. Who would have suspected that a song from her long-forgotten cult album from 1970 would re-appear in an Aussie indie film in 2020?
Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens, that’s who!
Trying to make a connection between Australia and Vashti, I just stumbled across an excellent piece he wrote in 2009 about three “lost women” of popular music..
Vashi, Sybille Baier and “Connie” Converse…
What an excellent writer he is!
Go and see the film. Read the article. And listen to the artists that Forster writes about.
But first, answer this question.
Have you had any moments recently, while watching the » Continue Reading.