portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Saturday, April 20, 2019

JOHNNY CASH - Ring of Fire

Again from multiple levels of interest here, not least songs of classic importance and an early influence the master John Cash was introduced to me by my brother Steve and he bought 'Live at Folsom Prison' when it came out over here . . . . . . . it had a strange affect upon me and the song about shooting a man just to watch him die always made me feel uncomfortable as I was by then even a committed pacifist. I dug deeper and realised he had never even been arrested for any such crime, let alone done time, made me re-think things, and finding he had an ambivalent relationship with his 'god' was unusual given his self confessed pill addiction and drink and drug use. 
To discover him again later on through Ry Cooder covers [Get Rhythm, Don't Take Your Guns To Town etc) was an added bonus and the Highwaymen had a strong affect upon me again and in later years I collected many bootlegs of Cash and his wife June Carter (from The Carter family no less) Later still upon his death bed and coming up with his finest swan song was maybe the most impressive recording I had ever heard at that time. 

On this day in music history: April 19, 1963 - “Ring Of Fire” by Johnny Cash is released. Written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore, it is the thirty-eighth single release for the country music icon from Kingsland, AR. By the early 60’s, Johnny Cash is spiraling out of control, due to a heavy dependence on prescription pills and alcohol. At the same time, his marriage to first wife Vivian Liberto is also beginning to come apart, due to his frantic work schedule and multiple affairs with other women. Even with all of these personal issues, it does not slow down Cash’s creative output. During this time, the singer becomes reacquainted with June Carter, the daughter of Mother Maybelle Carter of the famed Carter Family. While on tour with The Carter Family, Johnny and June quickly become friends, and that friendship eventually blossoms into a mutual infatuation. It moves Carter to write about those feelings, also taking inspiration from a book of Elizabethan poetry owned by her uncle A.P. Carter. One poem includes the line “love is like a burning ring of fire…”, which provides the initial idea June to develop it into a song. Collaborating with songwriter Merle Kilgore, the pair write “Ring Of Fire”. Carter gives the song to her sister Anita, whose folk like reading is recorded and released in January of 1963. When it fails to become a hit, Johnny decides to record it himself, with some immediately distinctive touches. Liking it from the outset, but not its original arrangement, Cash has a dream about the song being accompanied by “Mexican horns”. Given a loping and galloping rhythm, the singer’s version of “Ring Of Fire”, complete with a mariachi horn section, is recorded at Columbia’s Nashville recording studio on March 25, 1963. Released only three weeks later, the song is a smash, spending seven weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country singles chart beginning on July 27, 1963. “Fire” also crosses over to the Hot 100 chart, peaking at #17 on the same date it tops the country chart, and is his first top 40 pop hit since “Ballad Of A Teenage Queen”. Recognized as one of his signature songs, “Ring Of Fire” is covered by a wide variety of artists, including Eric Burdon & The Animals, Olivia Newton-John, Blondie, Wall Of Voodoo, Dwight Yoakam, Social Distortion, and Alan Jackson to name a few. Years later, the writing credits are disputed by Cash’s ex-wife Vivian, who claims that Cash had actually written it himself “while high on pills and booze”. Liberto then also claims Johnny had given the writing co-credit to June Carter “because she needed the money”, though this has never been proven as being true. Widely revered as one of the greatest country singles of all time, Johnny Cash’s version of “Ring Of Fire” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. “Ring Of Fire” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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Another from the bargain ex-jukebox bins and love this single and love Laurie . . . it always amazed me that she married Lou (Reed) and still don't entirely understand it but hey it made both of them considerable even more interesting somehow . . . . . . 

On this day in music history: April 19, 1982 - “Big Science”, the debut album by Laurie Anderson is released. Produced by Laurie Anderson and Roma Baran, it is recorded at The Lobby and The Hit Factory in New York City From Late 1981 - Early 1982. After being a staple on the New York avant-garde art and music scene since the 70’s, Laurie Anderson is signed to Warner Bros Records in 1981. The label sign her on the strength of the track “O Superman”, which is originally released on music archivist B. George’s One Ten Records. The first release from the avant-garde musician/performance artist is a selection of tracks from her eight hour long stage production “United States Live”, later released as a five LP box set and book. The half sung/half spoken word piece “O Superman” becomes a surprise hit in the UK, reaching #2 on the singles chart. A number of tracks from the album is sampled by hip hop artists such as Cut Chemist, Cannibal Ox, cLOUDDEAD, and Mr. Lif. Originally released on CD in 1984, Anderson’s album is remastered and reissued in 2007 on WMG subsidiary Nonesuch Records. The CD reissue comes with enhanced content, including an mp3 of “Walk The Dog” and the music video of “O Superman”. “Big Science” peaks at number one hundred twenty four on the Billboard Top 200, and number twenty nine on the UK album chart.
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Great article today from the now legendary Aquarium Drunkard on one of my favourite albums of all time, Pulp's 'His 'n' Hers' by a regular contributor J. Neas.

Jarvis and Candida

Pulp :: His ‘n’ Hers

"There are a number of stories of artists that took the long road to commercial success, but the story of Pulp is an especially curious one. This is a band that spent significant time in the artistic wilderness — nearly 15 years. And then, suddenly, one album permanently set them into the firmament of Britpop elder statesmen – Blur, Oasis, and Suede in particular. That album, His n Hers, turns 25 today, and its sharp, calculated fission of a decade and a half’s worth of preparation still sounds like a chart-topping album, albeit one from some alternate timeline where some very different things happened in terms of commercial music."

Really worth a read . . . . . . as always
J. Neas (Contributor) — Greensboro, NC


The gals it seems can be nerdy and have weird crushes too it would seem. 
Quotes of the week for me were Bebe Roxha (so ultra cool) flirting with Johnny Vegas on the Easter Special Celebrity Juice. She seemed completely enchanted, literally, by Johnny and he of course made everyone laugh (he was dressed as a rabbit) and Bebe confessed she liked him and clearly is fascinated by men who can make her laugh but she also seemed mesmerised and had clearly never met anyone quite like him, (who has!?) adding
 'I could really have a thing for you, . . .  I like you and er, . . .  I'm just not entirely certain whether I'm safe or not'! !!  ! 

The place collapsed! I like her and she taught everyone to twerk . . . for which she seemed very well . . . .er, equipped! 

They showed her video which she said her mum and her granny would tell her off as they hadn't even seen (it IS quite steamy!!! ahem)though quite whether her Gran and her Mum would or should have been watching Celebrity Juice is another question. It IS my guilty pleasure and my children despair of me!! Ha ha ha ha ha  . . . . . . I say!Go Johnny!
This look says it all to me . . . what exactly is THAT!?

It's a Johnny Vegas!!

Twerk that stuff! I'm not sure she's safe either! 

Mind you I think Will Mellor was pleased and after all it was his birthday!!

Phew! Is it warm in here?

The line up on Graham Norton was great and the music was from 'Mabel' (Neneh Cherry's daughter! They don't come any cooler) who Graham made confess she was a massive Harry Potter fan!! And came over all unnecessary when sitting next to Daniel who had just been showing off his new film's Lego Playmobil character another figurine to add to his collection. (Yep he collects them and had Playmobil make a Graham Norton one! Geeks!) so Mabel had to mock fan herself down as she sat next to Daniel and they immediately hit it off as 'Harry' tested how much of a fan she was. Watching all the films doesn't count. She had read ALL of the books and then he asked her which house she would be in, quick as a flash she retorted she had mulled it over for years and when she was little wanted to be in Hufflepuff and then Gryffindor of course she said and finally decided on Ravenclaw! Hilarious! Way to prove you're a nerd methinks!!! 

Daniel loved it of course . . .  he again was very self deprecatingly funny and when responding to Americans who hear the British accent say they think he should be James Bond he says "oh no, no NO! That is so wrong!" but now he is a Playmobil 'James Bond' he thinks he has found his true metier!!!! The clip from the film looked really good, funny too . . . . 


She confesses! Mind you as the only man on the sofa with these four!!??? 

       Still can't get over Jodie's broad Scouse accent . . . . .

Ravenclaw you say?!


Friday, April 19, 2019

Oh you wanted more? . . . . . . . . 

I am an Animal . . . 

Just because  . . . . . when I realised a previous version  had been taken down so here you go . . . .  a truly wonderful love song . . . . . . . . . if this doesn't make you dance round the living room in your pants there is something wrong with you!

so I feel like setting a new standard and every time you take down one of my posted videos I will replace it with two! . . . . . . . . . . . . 

the original which is what was taken down . . . . go figure . . . . 

They say that love often passes in a second
And you can never catch it up
So I'm hanging on to you as though eternity beckon
But it's clear that the match is rough
Common sense's tell me not to try'n continue
But I'm after a piece of that diamond in you
So keep an eye open
My spirit ain't broken
Your love is so incredible
Your body so edible
You give me an overdose of love
Just a little is enough
I'm like a connoisseur of champagne cognac
The perfume nearly beats the taste
I eat an oyster and I feel the contact
But more than one would be a waste
Some people want an endless line that's true
But all I have to have's a little time with you
A smile sets me reeling
A kiss feel like stealing
Your love is like heroin
This addict is mellowing
I can't pretend that I'm tough
Just a little is enough
Just like a sailor heading into the seas
There's a gale blowing in my face
The high winds scare me but I need the breeze
And I can't head for any other place
Life would seem so easy on the other track
But even a hurricane won't turn me back
You might be an island
On the distant horizon
But the little I see
Looks like heaven to me
I don't care if the ocean gets rough
Just a little is enough
Common sense's tell me not to try'n continue
But I'm after a piece of that diamond in you
So keep an eye open
My spirit ain't broken
Your love is so incredible
Your body so edible
You give me an overdose of love
Just a little is enough

Songwriters:  ©️ Peter Townshend


'Good' Friday Pure Pop

Classic pop songs of all time . . . . . . . . . . it's all about a little respect!

*Happy Easter weekend! As we look forward to Sunday the 21st April, the Spring Equinox, let us remember what it is named after. The Goddess Ëostre, an Old English goddess mentioned by the 7th to 8th-century English monk Bede, who wrote that Ēosturmōnaþ (Old English 'Month of Ēostre') was an English month, corresponding to April, which he says "was once called after a goddess of theirs named Ēostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month" Being the 21st April or Spring Equinox the exact mid-point between Mid-Winter and Mid-Summer

Spare a thought too perhaps for those Christians who celebrate Pascha at this time marking today as they do as the anniversary of the flogging, torture and putting to death of their Jesus the Nazarene by the Romans named today as 'Good' Friday but they don't know why.

On this day in music history: April 18, 1988 - “The Innocents”, the third album by Erasure is released. Produced by Stephen Hague, David Jacob and Erasure, it is recorded at Blackwing and Swanyard Studios in London from Late 1987 - Early 1988. After their second album “Circus” and the companion remix album “Two Ring Circus”, keyboardist Vince Clarke and singer Andy Bell return to the studio in the Fall of 1987 to work on their third full length album. The English synth pop duos third release is their breakthrough in the US, and the first of three hugely successful albums for them in their home country. It spins off two singles including “Chains Of Love” (#11 UK, #12 US Pop) and “A Little Respect” (#4 UK, #14 US Pop). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2009 as two CD + DVD deluxe edition. The first disc contains the original eleven song album, plus two remix bonus tracks. The second disc features B-sides, single edits and live tracks. The DVD features a full live concert filmed at Birmingham NEC on November 15, 1988. It also includes the original music videos for the albums’ singles, as well as additional live concert and television performances. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2016. “The Innocents” spends two weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number forty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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Awww heck let's have some more . . . . . . . 

Sometimes it's the broken heart that decides . . . . . . . 
Again a classic 'goth-rock' signature marks Smith above so many others of the time . . . .  
posted before but again I don't really mind

On this day in music history: April 18, 1980 - “Seventeen Seconds”, the second album by The Cure is released. Produced by Mike Hedges and Robert Smith, it is recorded at Morgan Studio One in London in Early 1980. Following up their debut release “Three Imaginary Boys” (released in the US as “Boys Don’t Cry”), bandleader Robert Smith writes the majority of the music and lyrics for their second release on his parents Hammond organ with a built in tape recorder. The album is recorded and mixed in only seven days, at a cost of around £3000. The collection of mostly downbeat and dark songs cement their status as one of the premier goth-rock bands, and set their musical path for the next few years. It spins off the single “A Forest” (#31 UK), becoming their first record to make the UK singles chart. The album sees its first US release in 1981 when A&M Records packages it as part of a 2 LP set titled “…Happily Ever After” with the follow up album “Faith”. It stays in print only a couple of years before it is deleted, and remains so until it is finally reissued as a stand alone album in 1986, after Elektra Records in the US acquires the rights to The Cure’s earlier albums. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2005, as a two CD deluxe edition. The first disc contains the original ten song album, with the second featuring fifteen bonus tracks including four songs from The Cure side project Cult Hero, demos and live performances. Out of print on vinyl for many years, it is remastered and reissued as double vinyl set, featuring the full contents from the 2005 CD release. The original ten song LP is released simultaneously on black and limited edition white vinyl. “Seventeen Seconds” peaks at number twenty on the UK album chart.
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Men At Work

A bit of a one hit wonder in the UK ('Down Under 1981) but Colin Hay their mainstay and singer songwriter deserved more attention and this song explains why I reckon . . . . . 
On this day in music history: April 18, 1983 - “Cargo”, the second studio album by Men at Work is released. Produced by Peter McIan, it is recorded at AAV Studios and Paradise Studios in Melbourne, Australia in Mid - Late 1982. Just as their debut album “Business As Usual”, is beginning to make its belated breakthrough in the US, after its international success, Men At Work return to the studio to record their sophomore effort. Less than a month after the band win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, the public gets their first taste of the album with the single “Overkill” (#3 Pop) in late March of 1983. An immediate radio smash, Columbia Records in the US hypes the upcoming release of “Cargo” by issuing a special double vinyl promo LP to Top 40 pop and Album Rock radio stations, the weekend before its arrival in record stores. The four sided radio discs previewed cuts the songs interspersed with interviews of the band discussing the recording of the album. Though it is well received upon its release, it only sells roughly half of what the previous album sold in the US. Much of this is blamed on CBS in the US issuing it while the first album is still selling strongly, and that the band has reached the saturation point in terms of radio play and media exposure. The album is also criticized as in spite of containing strong singles, that it is weighted down by excess filler material. It spins off three singles including “It’s A Mistake” (#6 Pop) and “Dr. Heckyll & Mr. Jive” (#28 Pop). Following its release and the tour in support of it, Men At Work take an extended hiatus, before re-emerging nearly two years later with the album “Two Hearts”. Originally released on CD in tandem with the LP and cassette, it is remastered and reissued in 2003. The remastered CD contains the original ten song album, plus the two non LP B-sides “Til’ The Money Runs Out” (B-side of “Overkill”) and “Shintaro” (B-side of “It’s A Mistake”), and three live tracks. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2013, as part of their “Silver Label Vinyl Reissue Series”. Another limited edition pressing of the album is issued by MFSL in 2014 (Europe only), containing the UK only “Still Life” three track 12" EP. The “Still Life” EP is pressed on blue, black and white splatter vinyl, is numbered and limited to only 250 copies. “Cargo” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Just because I heard it again and thought . . . . . "I like this" . . . . . .so there, I don't care if you agree . . . . . . . . . or not . . . . . . 

Oh yes, you know it . . . . . . when it came out  . . . . .and then recently someone said "This video has someone's Grandma in it." 
Well I'm a Granddad and I bought it when it came out . . . . . . . . .does that count? I think it does!

Because . . . . . I became haunted by this piece when I bought Boomer's Story when it came out in 1972 but this is the best version EVER. Check out George Bohannon on trombone solo, of course Ry starts off on Spanish guitar and Flaco then takes the melody forward and the legendary Van Dyke Parks on piano 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

For my wife . . . . . . who isn't very well . . . . . . . . .one of the best love songs ever . . . .even revisited in 1999

The Rolling Stones - Dead Flowers

a bouquet for the IFPI

This is dedicated to the IFPI who removed my video of the Stones 'Under My Thumb' to have it replaced by me with two versions. That's how it works! Videos like this excite people and cause the sale of albums especially older video clips cause folks to go back and search albums to buy from the first album to the last!

This is for them . . . . . . .what's brown and sticky?

A stick . . . . . . which they are dumb as . . . . . . . .end of!


On this day in music history: April 16, 1973 - The television special “James Paul McCartney” is broadcast on the ABC television network (UK airdate is on May 10, 1973 on ATV). The hour long program showcases music both from Paul McCartney’s solo career (thus far), as well as The Beatles in both elaborately staged numbers and in more intimate setting. A number of songs are from his then current release “Red Rose Speedway”, as well as performing his then current (and soon to be chart topping) single “My Love”. McCartney also debuts the title song to the next James Bond film “Live And Let Die” on the show. Though rock critics bash the program as being “self indulgent”, it performs decently in the ratings. After years of circulating as a bootleg, the program is restored and released on DVD as part of the deluxe box set edition of “Red Rose Speedway” in December of 2018. 
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Tuesday, April 16, 2019


'It Don't Come Easy'
I think I have posted this before and I don't care! I love Ringo and bought his first two albums and have said what I think about his signature drumming style but this for me was his peak for singles. You know it don't come easy . . . . . . 
On this day in music history: April 16, 1971 - “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr is released (UK release date is on April 9, 1971). Written by Richard Starkey, it is the second solo single by the former Beatle drummer. Less than three weeks prior to the official announcement that The Beatles are breaking up, Ringo Starr issues his first solo release, the pop standards album “Sentimental Journey”. Before sessions wrap on that album, Ringo writes “It Don’t Come Easy” (originally titled “You Gotta Pay Your Dues”) with assistance from his band mate George Harrison, though does not take a co-writing credit. The first recording of the track with George Martin producing takes place in Studio Two at Abbey Road Studios on February 18, 1970, with Ringo on drums, Harrison on acoustic and electric guitars, Klaus Voorman on bass and Stephen Stills (who happens to be present at the session) on piano. The band run through twenty takes of “Easy”, before another ten with take thirty being considered the best. The first version is shelved when Ringo feels that it can be improved upon and to this day remains unreleased. On March 8, 1970, they record a re-make of “It Don’t Come Easy” at Trident Studios in London, this time with George Harrison handling the production duties. The second recording session features the same musicians, plus Ron Cattermole (saxophone, trumpet) and long time Beatles roadie Mal Evans playing tambourine. The basic track is cut, with further overdubs recorded the following day. After this, the song is still unfinished, and the recording does not resume again until final overdubs and mixing are completed in October of 1970. During the final sessions for “Easy”, the B-side “Early 1970” is recorded. Also written by Starr, the song is the drummer’s account of The Beatles after they split, expressing his hope that he’ll see his mates and play music with them again. With Ringo’s second album, the country and western flavored “Beaucoups Of Blues” being released in late September of 1970, the two songs are held back for release until after the new year. Issued as a stand alone single in April of 1971, “It Don’t Come Easy” is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #49 on May 1, 1971, it streaks into the top five just five weeks later, peaking at #4. It becomes Ringo’s first million selling single, and one of his most popular and beloved songs. “It Don’t Come Easy” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. 
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- Gift From a Flower to a Garden -

I bought this album for my brother for his birthday and whilst a hippy style statement the flower to a garden aspect said a lot of what I felt about him. 
If I was a hippy 'flower' child then he was a garden . . . . . I thought of him as a tree and thought he towered beside me like an oak and could never be taken away from me and those that loved him. I was wrong and saw him struggle and wrestle the cancer that killed him over thirty years ago now harder than I have seen anyone battle anything . . . . . . . . the strongest, kindest, most peaceful man I ever knew

 . . . . . . miss you every day Steve

On this day in music history: April 16, 1968 - “A Gift From A Flower To A Garden”, the fifth album by Donovan is released (US release is in December 1967). Produced by Mickie Most, it is recorded at Pye Studios in London circa 1967. Originally released as two separate albums titled “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” and “For Little Ones”, it is one of the first rock albums to be issued as a box set. The songs on “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” are electric based pop songs, while “For Little Ones” are acoustic based children’s songs. The set is lavishly packaged with a full color booklet including photos and printed lyrics, “A Gift From A Flower To A Garden” peaks at number thirteen on the UK album chart, number nineteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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Francis Picabia, 'Notre-Dame de Paris', 1908

856 ans d’histoire… 

Notre Dame De Paris

I am saddened of course by the loss of any great beautiful artefact but am minded to comment it is a 'thing', a building and am pretty sure the Catholic Church can afford to rebuild it. There have been already, whilst the embers are still being dampened, promises of over £400 million to rebuild it which of course should not be beyond the wit of man. My responses are that the loss of any great beautiful artefact transcends politics and religion. Over one hundred firefighters worked on getting the blaze under control. Thankfully without any losses and whilst all the wood which took some 1300 trees back in antiquity to build, the stone is seemingly still left standing.

Nobody was hurt, no lives lost. 
All is not lost.
We can rebuild it!


'Under My Thumb'

Not entirely sexist as has often been presumed but a role reversal song about the shift in power within a romantic relationship 'Under My Thumb' is classic Stones and check out the bass on this mix which you can hear better than on the original I reckon . . . . . . . Wyman at his best. The arrangement too is simply brilliant and should be rightly considered a Brian Jones masterpieces

Peabrained IFPI banned the last video under copyright law. Idiots! Explain how that helps anyone? The Rolling Stones? The listener? The Fan? No thought not. . . 

So here they are on Ready Steady Go! Introduced by the great Cathy McGowan
This one's for Brian . . . . . . . 

Tell you what just because they stripped that last version lets have another . . . . . . . .
This from The Vault in Leeds Roundhay Park 1982
This is for Mick! 
"It's Alright!"

On this day in music history: April 15, 1966 - “Aftermath”, the fourth album (sixth US) by The Rolling Stones is released in the UK. (The US release is on June 20, 1966). Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, it is recorded at RCA Studios in Hollywood, CA from December 3 - 8, 1965, and March 6 - 9, 1966. Issued as the follow up to the chart topping “Out Of Our Heads”, it is first Rolling Stones album to be recorded entirely in the US, and is their first to feature all original material written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards. It is also a significant creative leap forward for the band as they experiment with new sounds and instruments, with guitarist Brian Jones being the main catalyst.The UK LP features different cover art and fourteen songs, and the US LP has eleven, removing the songs “Out of Time”, “Take It or Leave It”, “What to Do”, and “Mother’s Little Helper”, adding the then current single “Paint It Black” (#1 Pop) to the track listing. The UK version of the album features the full length version of “Out Of Time”, with guitarist Brian Jones playing a marimba (an African percussion instrument). The edited hit single version running under three and a half minutes,  makes its LP debut on the US compilation “Flowers” in 1967. A third version featuring strings in the place of the marimba part, is included on the later hits compilations “More Hot Rocks (Big Hits And Fazed Cookies)”, “Metamorphosis” and “GRRR!” (Super Deluxe Edition). Though it is not released as a single, the album track “Under My Thumb” featuring Brian Jones playing marimba, becomes one of The Stones’ most popular and enduring songs. In later years, the song takes on a much darker subtext, when it becomes associated with the tragic stabbing death of Meredith Hunter, at the infamous Altamont Speedway concert in December of 1969. The band are performing the song onstage, while Hunter is stabbed by one the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, who are hired as security for the concert. Originally released on CD in 1988, both the UK and US versions of the album are remastered and reissued on CD in 2002 as a hybrid SACD. The high def versions are discontinued and reissued as standard red book CD’s after the initial press run. The stereo vinyl LP (UK) is remastered and reissued in 2003. In 2016, the long out of print mono mix of “Aftermath” is reissued as part of the box set “The Rolling Stones In Mono”. The mono version is remastered by Bob Ludwig, with the lacquers being cut at Abbey Road Studios in London by mastering engineers Sean Magee and Alex Wharton. “Aftermath” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number two (for 2 weeks) on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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I didn't get this and yet I love this song despite it's strangeness and implied incestuous suggestivity by being sung by father and daughter but it is a great song written, as is said, by Van Dyke Parks' brother (who knew? not me!) 

On this day in music history: April 15, 1967 - “Somethin’ Stupid” by Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 9 weeks on April 1, 1967. Written by C. Carson Parks, it is the biggest hit for the father and daughter vocal duo. With pop vocal legend Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy Sandra Sinatra both having scored number one singles during the previous year, naturally the idea for them to record together is proposed. Nancy’s producer Lee Hazelwood finds the song “Somethin’ Stupid” written by singer and songwriter C. Carson Parks (the older brother of musician and songwriter Van Dyke Parks). Parks originally records the song in 1966 with his wife Gaile Foote under the name Carson & Gaile, but their version is not a hit. After playing the original version for Nancy, she let’s her father hear it, who also immediately loves the song. A session is quickly organized with Hazelwood and Frank’s producer Jimmy Bowen both working on the record. The track is recorded at Western Recorders in Hollywood, CA on February 1, 1967, completely live with an orchestra and members of The Wrecking Crew backing the singers. Guitarist Billy Strange is credited with writing the arrangement for “Somethin’ Stupid”. Fellow Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco, plays the distinctive latin flavored acoustic guitar parts on the song. Completed in only four takes, all agree that the record will be a hit. Any apprehension about a father and daughter singing a love song to each other go out the window immediately, when it is released as a single in early March of 1967. Entering the Hot 100 at #50 on March 18, 1967, it races to the top of the chart four weeks later, becoming the only father-daughter duet to top the US singles chart. The single also receives a Grammy nomination for Record Of The Year in 1968 (though loses to The 5th Dimension’s “Up Up And Away”). “Somethin’ Stupid” is later revived by singer Robbie Williams and actress Nicole Kidman with their version hitting number one on the UK singles chart in December of 2001. “Somethin’ Stupid” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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On this day in music history: April 15, 1972 - “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 6 weeks, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 6 weeks on April 1, 1972, and peaking at #4 on the R&B singles chart on May 20, 1972. Written by Ewan MacColl, it is the first chart topping single for the singer, songwriter and musician from Black Mountain, NC. Originally written by Scottish folk singer Ewan MacColl* (the father of singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl) in 1957 for his future wife Peggy Seeger (the sister of folk music legend Pete Seeger), while the pair are having an affair, and while MacColl is married to someone else. Roberta Flack at some point hears the song, and begins performing it on evening and weekend gigs at night clubs in Washington DC (during the week she works as a teacher). She also records “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” for her 1969 debut album “First Take”. When the album is first released, it and the song attracts little notice. Then in 1971, actor and first time director Clint Eastwood hears Flack’s rendition, feeling that it will perfectly underscore a scene in his film “Play Misty For Me”. He acquires the rights from Atlantic Records to use it in the film. Once the film is released, the audience reaction is immediate and overwhelmingly positive, with people literally going from movie theaters to record stores looking for the song. Atlantic quickly prepares an edited version of the nearly five and a half minute track, and rush releases it as a single in February of 1972. Entering the Hot 100 at #77 on March 4, 1972, “Face” rockets to the top of the chart six weeks later. The single wins two Grammy Awards including Record and Song Of The Year, and is ranked as the number one single of 1972 by Billboard Magazine. The huge success of the single also propels Flack’s album “First Take” to number one on the pop and R&B album charts. The album is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2016. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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* well as has been said before and better than I but Jimmie Miller (MacColl's real name) was not Scottish but born in Salford (his classic 'Dirty Old Town' was written about Salford) and there should be a mention of Kirsty's mum, Jean Newlove, as it was her, Miller's second wife he cheated on with Seeger. He had first been married to the theatre director and producer the legendary left wing radical Joan Littlewood for whom Miller wrote 'Dirty Old Town' allegedly in  minutes to cover a particularly difficult scene change in a piece they were working on together. I once went with a group from Tech College in Witney, were I began my education, to see the Littlewood Theatre and the play we saw involved audience participation and was almost totally beyond me. We also went to see the Oliver and Smith production of Shakespeare's 'Othello' which I found detestable and hated Olivier ever since!! but that, as they say, is a different story . . . . . . I think I was in love with Maggie Smith ever after too!   
                              . . . . . there is of course no doubting the beauty of the song


I was a tad harsh on Joni the other day so here's a nice set from the BBC courtesy of Big O. It is Joni at her best . . . . . . . . in her prime and early too, 1972

It's a Naughty Dog production - we like them . . . . . 

Monday, April 15, 2019


One for my pals from BH Blackwell's (well Phil really!!) who is the only one who will get this but it made me smile and is a pop conundrum and no mistake! 
Wah wahwah wah wah WAH!


I bought this the year it came out in the bargain juke box bins and it fascinated me for the vocals from Michael McDonald and there is a dissonant chord or note early in the chorus that fascinates me. No-one else covers it in their versions of the song and it intrigues me as I would love to hear a real musos take on what is happening and why
Give it a listen and see if you can hear what I mean . . . . . 

On this day in music history: April 14, 1979 - “What A Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #72 on the R&B singles chart on April 7, 1979. Written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, it is the second chart topping single for the Northern California based rock band. McDonald and Loggins write the song in early 1978, with Loggins first recording a version of it for his album “Nightwatch”. The Doobie Brothers cut their own version shortly afterward, but once in studio, recording it proves to be a struggle. McDonald and producer Ted Templeman has a particular vision for how the song should sound, wanting it to have a “loose, floppy feel”. They spend five to six days recording and re-recording the basic track, which is particularly taxing on drummer Keith Knudsen. Finally, the master take is finally achieved with Templeman and Knudsen playing drums in tandem. Issued as the first single from their album “Minute By Minute” in December of 1978, the song becomes a smash. The track is also remixed by legendary club DJ Jim Burgess, and is released as a 12" single. Entering the Hot 100 at #73 on January 20, 1979, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. “What A Fool Believes” wins two Grammy Awards for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year in 1980. One of The Doobie Brothers most frequently covered songs, “Fool” is also recorded by Aretha Franklin, Matt Bianco, M People, Peter Cox (Go West), and Dionne Warwick. The Doobies themselves re-record the song with country singer Sara Evans in 2014. “What A Fool Believes” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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Go on support your local music master!

Sunday, April 14, 2019


You know, they always say that the photographer is a hunter of images. That is a flattering image, the idea of a hunter, it’s virile, acquired power. Actually though, it isn’t that. We are fishermen with hooks and lines.”
– Robert Doisneau
Somewhere there is a picture of Robert Doisneau outside my shop window when I ran Blackwell's Art & Poster Shop and I was overjoyed as he stood in front of my window display at the time of his exhibition at MOMA Oxford. He out me to the test with my schoolboy French and I struggled to communicate but between us we managed and the exhibition organiser often smiled at my clumsy attempts to communicate with my hero. It wasn't until later he explained too me that Parisians are notorious amongst the French for insisting upon talking in their native tongue. "Oh, he can speak perfect English,' he explained, 'he just won't!" 
I liked and admired him even more . . .  once my chagrin and embarrassment had died away!