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

Sunday, November 18, 2018

a favourite beat and sound . . . . . think I know it word perfect and this is the kinda music playing in my head as I walk down the street . . . . . . . 

Glenn Miller’s “I’ve Got a Gal From Kalamazoo” from Orchestra Wives (1942) with Jackie Gleason playing a bass player, Cesar Romero playing a piano player, Marion Hutton, The Modernaires, Tex Beneke, and The Nicholas Brothers burning up the dance floor! Hotcha!

From the same movie and rare footage of the Miller band playing . . . . . 

and I'd better include this . . . . . . 
I haven't posted anything from Brain Pickings for a while but have touched on Georgia O'Keefe before now and her relationship with Alfred Stieglitz always fascinated me. Indeed averything about O'Keefe fascinated me and this piece is no different truly fascinating read. Subscribe to Ms Popova's weekly newsletter her It's FREE! subscribe here 

Brain Pickings

Georgia O’Keeffe on the Art of Seeing

In her stunning autobiographical reflection on the moment she understood what it means to be an artist, Virginia Woolf beheld the cosmos of connections in a single flower. Decades later, the Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman offered a different, complementary lens on the art of seeing through his now-famous monologue known as “Ode to a Flower.”
Before Feynman, before Woolf, another titan of the creative spirit found a powerful metaphor for how we experience the world — how we see it, and how we don’t — in a flower.
Georgia O’Keeffe, Red Canna, 1924 (Georgia O’Keeffe Museum)
“I found that I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way things that I had no words for,” Georgia O’Keeffe (November 15, 1887–March 6, 1986) wrote in the foreword to a catalog for an exhibition of her work two decades before she became the first female artist honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art — a triumph largely predicated on her arresting large-scale paintings of flowers, magnified and abstracted to radiate uncommon emotional intensity haloed by awe. Although art critics consistently insisted that O’Keeffe’s depictions of flowers were her commentary on women’s sexuality, the artist herself resolutely denied these interpretations. For her, they were her commentary on seeing — a magnifying lens for the attention. Painting these close-ups was a way of learning to look, a way of removing the blinders with with we gallop through the world, slowing down, shedding our notions and concepts of things, and taking things in as they really are. 
Georgia O’Keeffe by Rufus Holsinger, 1915 (Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library)
In a passage originally published in the exhibition catalog An American Place — which also gave us O’Keeffe’s serenade to blue — and later cited in Georgia O’Keeffe: The Poetry of Things (public library), she writes:
2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngA flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower — the idea of flowers. You put out your hand to touch the flower — lean forward to smell it — maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking — or give it to someone to please them. Still — in a way — nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small.
So I said to myself — I’ll paint what I see — what the flower is to me but I’ll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it — I will make even busy New-Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers. 
Well — I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower — and I don’t.
Georgia O’Keeffe, Grey Lines with Black, Blue and Yellow, 1923 (Georgia O’Keeffe Museum)
Complement with O’Keeffe on setting prioritiessuccess, public opinion, and what it means to be an artist, and her passionate love letters to Alfred Stieglitz, then revisit cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz on the art of looking, Annie Dillard on the secret to seeing, philosopher Martin Buber on what a tree can teach us about seeing others as they truly are, John Ruskin on how drawing trains you to see more clearly and live with greater presence, and Emily Dickinson’s astounding herbarium — a forgotten masterpiece of attention at the intersection of poetry and science.

Saturday, November 17, 2018




Harry Nilsson was a 'juicer' and the one thing common to John Lennon and Harry's sojourn into an 18month drunk was their codependence. Alcohol is like that. Alcoholics need help and I wish I had been able to work with Harry Nilsson as to why and what drove him to drink himself to death at the age of 53 (beyond the life expectancy of most alcoholics it's true). John, not so much he was an inveterate dabbler with substance abuse although the spell as house husband when Sean was little may have hidden a prolonged addiction to smoking heroin, a drug Lennon partook of early and seemed to enjoy although everyone will tell you that it does nothing for your creative inspiration unlike cannabis, hashish and/or LSD.  Now Music Italy 1970 from Helaberada has posted copies of some interesting articles on the subject, mostly of Harry and his addiction to alcohol and the curious episode (for Lennon perhaps) where the two men hooked up to have a prolonged spell of massive self indulgence. Sharing a house with fellow alcoholics Ringo Starr and Keith Moon couldn't have helped and who ever thought THAT might be productive!? Hanging out with fellow juicers Alice Cooper and Micky Dolenz amongst others was a recipe for death let alone disaster! 
Both singers with a history they self identified as frustrated and under appreciated 'geniuses' Lennon one half of an extraordinary songwriting partnership and realising the sum of the four parts were greater than any of The Beatles singly (with the possibly exception of Paul) and feeling the seven year itch with Yoko who turned out to be clever enough to understand her man and who appears to have managed the whole episode if rumours are to be believed.  Nilsson the possessor of one of those voices that can soar to the stratosphere and do almost anything but thrown away his fame on the back of egotistical self pity perhaps. Consulting John in panic at losing his voice the smoker and inveterate drinker wondered why . . . . . 

See here:

How every sad drunk has appeared at least once in their lives. They think it's funny. It's not
Alcohol certainly affect your judgement!

I'm a big fan of David Hockney and I consider him perhaps our greatest living artist. He is bright talented funny and a true creative genius IMHO 

“We live in an age where the artist is forgotten. I see myself that way.”
– David Hockney (painting sells for $90.3 million)
A Little Dab'l Doo Ya!

My selection of a Song for Saturday!


Mr Ryland P Cooder on geetar!

if this doesn't get you outa your armchair and shuffle around the living room dancing in your pants there is something seriously wrong with your eardrobes (thank you Prof Dr Sir Stanley Unwin)

Speaking of Jimi . . . . . (he appears on this posthumously) we bought both Stephen Stills 1 & 2 when they came out and, though sounding somewhat dated now, he is a fine guitarist and fine soulful singer. I was never entirely sure about the moral issues raised by this song but maybe that's best left to another day. Enjoy!

On this day in music history: November 16, 1970 - “Stephen Stills”, the debut album by Stephen Stills is released. Produced by Stephen Stills and Bill Halverson, it is recorded at Island Studios in London from June - July 1970. The first solo release from the songwriter and musician it features musical support from friends such as Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Booker T. Jones, Cass Elliott, Rita Coolidge, John Sebastian, Graham Nash, and Jimi Hendrix who passes away two months before its release, and is dedicated to his memory. It spins off two singles including the classic “Love The One You’re With” (#14 Pop), becoming Stills’ biggest solo hit. “Love The One You’re With” is covered by a number of artists over the years, including versions by The Isley Brothers, Luther Vandross, Tight Fit, Bucks Fizz, and by Stills own daughter Jen Stills. The album is remastered on CD with high resolution HDCD encoding, and is reissued on vinyl as a limited 200 gram LP pressing by Classic Records in 2009. Rhino Records also reissues the album as a 180 gram LP in 2010. “Stephen Stills” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

 thanks to Jeff Harris' blog 
Pretty sure we will have had this before and from Jeff Harris to boot I have no doubt but you know what? I don't care and it is just an excuse to play 'All Along The Watchtower'. Now I loved the original of that song and it numbers as being on a favourite album and totally unique musical creation IMHO but Jimi, though allegedly nervous as to how it would go down, was stunned to hear that Bob Dylan LOVED his re-arrangement and why wouldn't you!? It takes a master to take a composition and make it their own and then have the writer let it influence every time, EVERY TIME, they play it themselves. Bob's covering of it in concert in recent years owes more to Jimi's rearrangement than it does to Bob's original . . . . . . . .discuss! (Hah!) Can you imagine being Bob Dylan and hearing this for the first time?

On this day in music history: November 16, 1968 - “Electric Ladyland” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 2 weeks. Produced by Jimi Hendrix, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London and The Record Plant in New York City from July - December 1967, January 1968, and April - August 1968. The third and final album of new material released by the band, the sixteen track double LP set is a musical tour de force, showcasing Hendrix’s musical diversity. It features several of Hendrix’s best known songs including “Crosstown Traffic”, “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”, “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” and his cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” (#20 Pop), which becomes his biggest chart single in the US. The album also features guest musicians such as Steve Winwood, Al Kooper, Brian Jones, Jack Casady, and Dave Mason. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the album is remastered and reissued as a deluxe edition box set on November 9, 2018. Consisting of either three CDs + one Blu-ray disc, or as a six LP vinyl set, it contains demos, studio outtakes live recordings and a documentary on the making of the landmark album.  The live recording is taken from a concert recorded at the Hollywood Bowl on September 14, 1968, featuring several songs from the then as yet released new album. The Blu-ray disc features a new 5.1 surround mix of the full album, remixed by original recording engineer Eddie Kramer. Regarded as a landmark 60’s album, it is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. Electric Ladyland" is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Friday, November 16, 2018



 I mean I would drag my sorry carcass over ten miles of burning coals just to kiss the hem of her garment!

Helen Mirren as Morgana in Excalibur (1981) 

 More fascinating stuff from t wilcox over at Aquarium Drunkard this morning . . . . . .

When you hear “Goodnight, Irene” and “Wimoweh” these days, it’s a little hard to believe that the Weavers were one of the most politically radical bands of the 20th century. But the pioneering folk-pop quartet (featuring Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman) was tangled up in the Red Scare of the 1940s and 1950s, harassed by the FBI, called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and attacked relentlessly by right-wing media. It’s this complicated, fascinating tale that Jesse Jarnow unravels in his new book, Wasn’t That A Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle or the Soul of America.
Like Jarnow’s previous effort, Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic AmericaWasn’t That A Time does an impressive job of pulling together an array of diverse sources, from secret government files to private journals, painting a rich portrait of the strange days that the Weavers helped define. The band members themselves — all complicated characters, to say the least — all come to vivid life via Jarnow’s deep research and reporting. The stories are amazing. Who knew that Pete Seeger once smashed a banjo in a backstage fit of rage? Or that late 1940s folk festivals in Westchester County were liable to transform into violent riots? Or that Ronnie Gilbert was a bona fide psychedelic adventurer, enjoying acid trips well before the summer of love? Every page of Wasn’t That A Time is filled with revelations, all told with Jarnow’s now-signature freewheeling style. A fantastic read. words / t wilcox

Thursday, November 15, 2018


Now I haven't seen any of Game of Thrones (it's been on for over nine years [I think] so catch up seems unlikely- I know I KNOW but it's a private pay per view tele thing!) but I have enjoyed several of the interviews with actors who star in it. I have always enjoyed the wonderful Lena Headey's work, Peter Dinklage I have admired along with the beautiful Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner and the terribly handsome Kit Harington but especially the youngster Maisie Williams too who I have seen interviewed on the tv several times now and she always seems fascinatingly honest, real and frankly spoken in all her appearances. It does occur to me however some of these folks can be guilty of a feeling that we must all have shared at one time or another of failing to stop when you realise the words that are coming out of your mouth!

This struck me as possibly being one of those moments but endearing and funny none-the-less!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nuff said . . . . . 
On this day in music history: November 13, 1971 - “Santana” (aka “Santana III”), the third album by Santana hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 5 weeks. Produced by Santana, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in San Francisco, CA from January - July 1971. Following the release of the highly successful and acclaimed “Abraxas”, the third album by the San Francisco, CA rock band is technically released without a title but is referred to by fans as “Santana III”. It is the last to feature the “Woodstock Era” line up, as Gregg Rolie and Neil Schon depart to form Journey. It spins off the singles “Everybody’s Everything” (#12 Pop) and “No One To Depend On” (#36 Pop). “Santana III” is the bands’ last chart topping album until “Supernatural” in 1999. It earns Santana a place in the Guinness World Book Of Records for the longest gap between number one albums, over twenty eight years. In 2006, the album is remastered and reissued on CD as a double CD Legacy Edition  with four additional bonus tracks on the first disc. The second disc consists of live recordings taken from a concert at the Fillmore West Auditorium in San Francisco on July 4, 1971 on the closing night of the original venue. Two track from this set had been previously issued on the triple LP (+ 7" interview disc) live album “Fillmore: The Last Days” in June of 1972. “Santana III” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Douglas Rain was perhaps most famous for one faceless movie role — the eerie voice of the HAL 9000 computer in Stanley Kubrick’s landmark 1968 film, “2001: A Space Odyssey” he was a Shakespearean actor who performed for 32 seasons with the Stratford Festival in Ontario died this past Sunday [11/11/2018] in St. Marys, Ontario. He was 90. 

STAN LEE  28 December 1922 - 12 November 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018


“Among our articles of lazy hardware, I recommend the faucet that stops dripping when no one is listening to it.”
Marcel Duchamp


Classic pop singles of all time (an occasional series)  . . . . 

R Dean Taylor's 'Gotta See Jane' was a pop classic story telling single that curiously didn't really hit in the States but Britain made it a minor hit especially after his earlier club hit was promoted here and he had a no.1 with 'There's a Ghost In Our House' where dance clubs picked up on the record and Motown UK released it as a single, and it went to the top of the charts in England and throughout Europe. We paid attention then when 'Jane' came out and we listened to this a lot at our local youth club when it came out. In 1970, Dean recorded "Indiana Wants Me" which he always felt would be a hit record but he had to work really hard to break it.  Two radio stations broke the record in the States eventually after much pushing. Breaking again in Britain we didn't really understand it at all - who WAS Indiana!?!"Indiana Wants Me" became a million-seller and climbed to #1 on the US charts, making R. Dean Taylor the first white artist in the history of Motown to do so.

over at Plain & Fancy they have a nice link to this and a great piece of biography noting it was co-written by Holland of Holland/Dozier/Holland fame from all the soul classics but this was a psychedelic story song about driving and presumably crashing (sic - brakes squealing from the vert start) on the way in the wet stormy weather to see his girlfriend, a kind of updated version of all those 'Terry' by Twinkle type disaster songs . . . . . . . . 

The Rockasteria - R.Dean Taylor