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

Monday, July 31, 2017



SAM SHEPHERD


Sad to hear of Sam Shepherd's passing away from Lou Gehrig's Disease at 73 last Thursday. He was an early hero an actor, playwright and catalyst to many. I admired his play 'Fool For Love' and it blew me away when first I saw it. I admired his friendships with Bob Dylan, Rolling Thunder largely being documented by him, and friend to Patti Smith and sometime film actor too. Husband to Jessica Lange for over 30 years, I admired him immensely and his written work and roles in films I found mesmerising. Last saw him in 'August: Osage County' and again found him mesmerising amongst a sterling cast and in a fascinating piece that haunts me still. 
He will be sorely missed. American culture will be the poorer for his passing.





Sam Shepherd - Obituary NY Times


Sam Shepherd was the real deal . . . . . . 


Big O posted a fascinating book review recently and it is worth a view here and passed on from Counter Punch who we like . . . . . . 


DYLAN AND WOODY: GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELIN’ BAD

Daniel Wolff’s lastest book, Grown-Up Anger, is the crossroad where the sound of anger, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie meet. It’s also about using that anger to make the world a better place. By Ron Jacobs.
Anger, when directed at injustice, is useful and important. When it is placed in the hands of a writer as capable as Daniel Wolff, it becomes a thing of beauty. Wolff’s most recent book, Grown-Up Anger: The Connected Mysteries of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and the Calumet Massacre of 1913 is that thing of beauty.
It is simultaneously a history of capitalism and labor organizing in the United States, a biography of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, and a critical discussion of a number of songs composed and sung by these two American icons. Like the road Guthrie and Dylan romanticized and wrote about, the author Wolff takes the reader through a winding landscape of labor unrest, capitalist greed, personal hardship and popular success. It is a story familiar to many but told in a unique fashion that brings alive Dylan and Guthrie’s songs and the social and political context they are both informed by and inform.
Wolff begins the text with a recollection of his first hearing of Bob Dylan s masterful tune “Like a Rolling Stone,” but quickly shifts to Woody Guthrie’s poignant telling of a massacre of miners’ children in Calumet, Michigan in December 1913. Guthrie’s song, titled “1913 Massacre,” is the foundation on which the text is composed.
As Wolff points out, the tune to “1913 Massacre” was appropriated by Bob Dylan for his song “Song to Woody.” That tune is the one of two original tunes (at least in terms of its lyrics) on Dylan’s first album. (The other is “Talkin’ New York.”) The rest of the album is made up of Dylan’s interpretations of various folk and country blues traditional songs.
Although Dylan was considered a folksinger at least until 1965 when he released the albums Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited, his first disc is arguably his only truly folk album.
As Wolff’s narrative unfolds, the reader finds himself deep in a history rich in struggle. The struggle is between the rich and the poor; the working class and the ruling class; the street and the entertainment business. The protagonists include benevolent robber barons who paid reasonable wages and provided health care and education to the workers and their families; greedy owners who acted as if their riches were the result of their blessedness and hard work when in all honesty the hard work was that of their employees and the blessedness was nonexistent.
No matter what their approach, though, when the profits were down or the workers rose up, every capitalist called in the strikebreakers and men with weapons. In short, it is the story of industrial capitalism in the USA. It is a story often told, but rarely taught. Never has it been relayed in the manner the reader discovers in Grown-Up Anger.
What about the anger? Why does the author include it in his title? Let me go back to the beginning of the text, where Wolff introduces his book and Dylan’s song “Like a Rolling Stone.” After discussing his own anger as a 13-year-old in 1965 United States - a United States that was escalating an imperial war in Vietnam while trying to temper a just and justifiable rebellion of its dark-skinned citizens with guns and money - Wolff makes a simple one-line statement about Dylan’s tune. “For all the singer’s humor and apparent ease,” he writes, “It was the sound of anger.”
When one is 13 in modern civilization, one should be angry. After all, the growing awareness that the world you’ve been living in is much crueler and meaner than you had previously believed either makes one depressed or angry. If it doesn’t, you might be a psychopath.
Teenage anger is often misdirected. All too often, that misdirection is inward, where one blames oneself for the realization that the world is troubled. Wolff’s narrative provides an alternative. Take that anger, he suggests, and turn it into grown-up anger, like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and use it to make the world a better place.
Grown-Up Anger takes the reader from Calumet, Michigan to Woodstock; from Carnegie Hall to Los Angeles; from Oklahoma to New York City; and from Mississippi back to Calumet. Its captivating tale is matched by a narrative style as easy as the road that stretches out ahead and as tight as the bonds the slavecatcher tightened around the runaway’s wrists.
Individual biographies intermingle with broad strokes of history and critical examinations of music and lyrics to create a book about song and hope, song and despair; capitalism and capitalists, working people and labor. In writing this musical and political biography of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and capitalist America, Daniel Wolff has composed a text for the ages.
Note: Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem. He lives in Vermont.The above article was posted at Counterpunch.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

THE DOORS - LIGHT MY FIRE

Interestingly (well to me) I heard the Jose Feliciano single of 'Light My Fire' before the Doors version and it wasn't until my old school friend, Alan Bateman, played me the first album that I really gone blown away by the band. I had loved the Jose Feliciano version which my brother had bought but the opening track of 'Break on Through (To The Other Side)' totally grabbed me and the two tracks over 10 minutes long on each of the album sides [actually Light My Fire was over 7 minutes and The End just 11] were like epic journeys into an LP land never before experienced outside classical music, Break on Through was still more a single! Light My Fire was epic despite Jimbo getting fed up with singing it apparently. Though this may be apocryphal as he had encouraged Robbie to write it. The first album still stays in my top ten of all time . . . . . . . along with the last (L.A.Woman) which is usually top

On this day in music history: July 29, 1967 - “Light My Fire” by The Doors hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Robby Krieger, John Densmore, Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison, it is the biggest hit for the L.A. based rock band. Composed mainly by guitarist Robby Krieger, it is credited to the entire band when he brings the unfinished song into the studio (in August of 1966 at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA), for the other band members to expand upon. The nearly seven minute long track is edited down to under three minutes for single release when it receives heavy airplay as an LP cut. The edited mono single version also presents the song at its originally recorded speed. The more commonly heard stereo LP version was mixed at a slightly slower speed due to an error made during the mixing process. Released as the second single from the bands self-titled debut album in May of 1967, it quickly becomes a radio staple. Entering the Hot 100 at #93 on June 3, 1967, it reaches the top of the chart eight weeks later. Shortly after The Doors top the chart, they are invited to perform their number one hit on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 17, 1967. The censors at CBS ask the band to change the lyric “girl we couldn’t get much higher”, to “girl, we couldn’t get much better”, feeling that the original lyric is a drug reference. Jim Morrison initially agrees, then sings the original line anyway during the live broadcast. The move infuriates host Ed Sullivan, leading him to permanently banning The Doors from the top rated variety show. Only a year after the original version “Light My Fire” tops the chart, it becomes a major hit again, when it is covered by musician Jose Feliciano. His version peaks at #3 on the Hot 100 in August of 1968. The song is recorded numerous times over the years by several artists including Shirley Bassey, The Four Tops, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Sinatra, Stanley Turrentine, Al Green, Minnie Riperton, and Amii Stewart to name a few. The jazz/R&B duo Young-Holt Unlimited (“Soulful Strut”) record an instrumental version in 1969, which is widely sampled in later years, most notably as the basis of Above The Law’s hit “Untouchable” in 1990. “Light My Fire” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998.

with thanks to Jeff Harris' wonderful blog 'Behind The Grooves  On this day in Music History    

Friday, July 28, 2017

Andy's Chest




THE DAILY PIC (#1510): This little-known photo, taken by Robert Levin in May of 1981, illustrates two important things about Andy Warhol: The extent of his injuries from the shooting that nearly killed him in June of 1968, and the fact that he managed to survive and overcome them. His survival was almost completely due to an Italian-American surgeon named Giuseppe Rossi, who I’m sad to report died last Monday in Naples, Florida. He was born in 1928 – the same year as his most famous patient.
I had the wonderful luck to speak to Dr. Rossi a little while ago, in the company of the thoracic surgeon and medical historian John Ryan. We learned precious details about Warhol’s injuries (misreported in many accounts), about the touch-and-go course of the operation and about Rossi’s role in saving his patient’s life. Ryan – who knows infinitely more about such things than this art critic does – describes the operation as “one of the great saves in surgical history. The one bullet went through the right chest, the abdomen, and then the left chest, injuring nine organs in the process. Warhol was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Columbus Hospital, but Dr. Rossi got him to the operating room, saved his life, and fixed every problem.“ And he did that thinking that Warhol was some Union Square homeless person, not, as has been claimed, because he’d been warned about the importance of his patient.
One tidbit from Rossi’s account of the operation that gives an idea of Warhol’s parlous state at the time: His organs were so full of holes that, over the course of the surgery, 12 units of blood had to be transfused into him. A normal male body without any leaks only holds about 10.
Today’s Pic shows the leak-free body that was Rossi’s gift to Warhol – and to all the art lovers who have profited from the two decades’ worth of “late” work that the artist went on to produce.
The Daily Pic also appears at Artnet News. For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.
Personally I was shocked and devastated when Andy was shot by Valerie Solanas and yet wanted to know her motivations. I have a first edition of her manifesto for The Society For Cutting Up Men and it is a grim read. I remain a life long fan of Andy's work and although I think he was actually quite dysfunctional socially and may have contributed through bystander apathy to the deaths of several folk not least the only woman he might have actually married (albeit for some camp type joke) in Edie Sedgwick, he cannot be blamed for the not taking of any action merely judged morally perhaps. He remains one of the greatest artists of the Pop Art movement and thus the 20th Century. 
The other thing that fascinates me about this picture is that it illustrates another extraordinary anomaly and dualistic enigma about him and that is whilst he was prepared to have photos taken of his chest post shooting (there are several besides this rarer one) he has never from what I can tell been photographed without his wig. He is shown in early shots clearly balding early and as a younger man he effected a severe combover yet after he gained some notoriety as an artist he was never seen with out his enormous variety of wigs. I can find none
We haven't had enough Tom Waits 'round' here lately . . . . (ever? ED) juss because eI was listening to this album I found in the shelves and in it's cardboard sleeve . . . . you know how it goes . . . . .



From Bad as Me . . . . . Raised Right Men . . . . . .yessuh!

 . . . . . and 'Chicago'



 . . . . . . and turn it up . . . . . . for the memory of poet, drummer, publisher and friend and fellow Waits fan, Mr David Attwooll . . . . . . fine fine man, one of the finest . . . . . 

Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue (live)

Probably the most definitive and popular of all Dylan albums, 'Blood On The Tracks' of 1975 features  the artist at his most creative, arguably his most poetic and the album features in most top ten albums in anybody's lists. Check this live version of the legendary 'Tangled Up In Blue  and listen carefully to his changing of the lyrics and wonder at Bobby's ability to remember all those fine fine words. This is indisputably Dylan at his very best . . . . . McCormick, Neil of The Telegraph wrote: "The most dazzling lyric ever written, an abstract narrative of relationships told in an amorphous blend of first and third person, rolling past, present and future together, spilling out in tripping cadences and audacious internal rhymes, ripe with sharply turned images and observations and filled with a painfully desperate longing."




 . . . . . it is probably true that I own more albums by Dylan than any other artist and have bought everything I think from 'The Times the Are A' Changing' onward although there may have been exceptions and they may not exactly have been bought in sequence it is now fair to say I own all the official studio albums. I also have more ROIO's by Dylan than any other artist and wouldn't care to guess as to how many this is. The first Dylan bootleg I bought was a foreshortened Great White Wonder of his with the Band called the 'Little White Wonder' a singular album of the Basement tapes era Dylan. I bought it in The Netherlands with my wife and brother, Steve whilst we passed through a little town called Amersfort and found a little bootleg shop. It is my pride and joy as the artwork alone is worth seeking out . . . . . 

90,030 plays
Andy says:
Raspberry Beret - Prince

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

If you haven't checked out the link over on the right for Max Moonlight then you really should
here is my old friend Johnny with his pal Walter who I saw playing the streets of Oxford last week

Bluegrass Mewsic!



Covering J.J. Cale's 'Call Me The Breeze'!  . . .and then some!?!




is there anything this man can't play?!



 . . . . . well the simple answer is no! From Beefheart to Irving Berlin, Django Reinhardt to Hendrix to Bluegrass, Hungarian Polkas to 30's Danceband music!

New Album out in November! We need to watch out for this one . . . . . . . . Farewell Zombie Emperor



Bobby goes Electric!



On this day in music history: July 25, 1965 - Bob Dylan performs an “all electric” set at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, RI. Backed by guitarist Mike Bloomfield and members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, this is a radical departure for the formerly acoustic based folk rock musician. Having released his fifth album “Bringing It All Back Home” in March of 1965, his first to feature electric instruments, it is immediately controversial among Dylan’s contemporaries. The act of a folk musician playing an electric guitar is considered by the audience to be musical heresy, and react negatively by booing Dylan. He leaves the stage after just three songs. The incident inspires Dylan to write and record the song “Positively 4th Street” four days later, a rebuke of former friends in the folk music community who have criticized him for “going electric”. Bob Dylan accidentally leaves the guitar that he plays during his set at Newport behind on the private chartered plane he travels from the venue on. The sunburst 1964 Fender Stratocaster thought to have been lost for over the last four decades, is found in the possession of the pilot’s family in 2012. The guitar is found with several sheets of paper in the case containing early drafts of several unfinished songs. The instrument sells at auction (from Christie’s auction house) for a record breaking $965,000 (to an anonymous bidder) in December of 2013. It surpasses the amount paid for the previous record holder, Eric Clapton’s black Fender Stratocaster nicknamed “Blackie”, which had sold for $959,000 in 2004.
Just because . . . . . . .well because the infectious beats and rhythms of Latin American music have always stayed with me and probably from listening to this . . . . . . it led me to the music of the islands around the area from Martinique to Cape Verde and the West Indies as was known then the ares that linked Tobago and Trinidad calypso with the other places shared and linked with Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras! Get off your bottom and shake it!


On this day in music history: July 25, 1966 - “Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘66”, the debut album by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 is released. Produced by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, it is recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA from May - June 1966. Having originally set his sights on becoming a classical pianist, musician Sergio Mendes begins playing jazz in nightclubs in and around Rio De Janeiro in the late 50’s. While playing these clubs, Mendes meets Antônio Carlos Jobim, regarded by many as one of the fathers of bossa nova. Jobim takes the young musician under his wing. Soon after, Mendes travels to the US in 1962 to play with American jazz musicians and further his own career. After meeting his future attorney and manager Richard Adler, Sergio forms Brasil '65, recording three albums for Atlantic and one for Capitol, all sell poorly. Adler suggests that Mendes put together a new band with two female vocalists singing in both English and Portuguese. While touring in late 1965, Sergio is in Chicago, when he encounters a young singer performing in a coffee house. Lani Hall impresses Mendes so much that he invites her to move to Los Angeles to join his new band. Soon after, he finds singer Bibi Vogel to sing with Hall, as well as musicians Bob Matthews (bass), José Soares (percussion) and João Palma (drums). The new band dubbed Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66, audition for various labels, and are turned down by all of them. While holding another audition, A&M Records co-founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss walk in. Alpert is immediately blown away by the band and offer to sign them. After Atlantic releases Mendes from his contract, Brasil '66 begin recording their first album in the Spring of 1966. With Hall nor Vogel actually able to speak Portuguese, Mendes teaches them how to sing in his native language phonetically. A perfect balance of pop and bossa nova songs by prominent American (Henry Mancini, Norman Gimbel), British songwriters (Lennon-McCartney, Newley & Bricusse) and Brazilian composers like Jobim, Baden Powell and Vinícius de Moraes put to Mendes’ arrangements, it does not take long to find an audience. Led by their cover of Jorge Ben’s infectious “Mas Que Nada” (#47 Pop, #4 AC), they become a worldwide sensation. Like iconic bossa nova albums like Stan Getz’s “Getz/Gilberto”, “Jazz Samba” and Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “The Composer of Desafinado, Plays” before it, “Brasil '66” further popularizes the genre. It is the first of eight best selling albums the band release over the next four and a half years. Originally released on CD in 1989, it is remastered and reissued in 2006. The album is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2011. “Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66” peaks at number seven on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the Jazz album chart, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Being obsessed with the Blues from an early age (I bought Chris Farlowe's 'Stormy Monday' when I was 13 and had been collecting EP's by Big Billy Broonzy, Leadbelly and Howlin Wolf and Josh White from even younger - pretentious moi!?). This album came as a total surprise and I still have it on vinyl somewhere. I had a phase of following John Mayall and bought quite a few albums in the reduced bins and paying little more that 10/- if I could (that is ten shillings to those who don't know and was my pocket money at the time equivalent today of 50p)
On this day in music history: July 22, 1966 - “Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton” by John Mayall & The Blues Breakers is released. Produced by Mike Vernon, it is recorded at Decca Studios in West Hampstead, London, UK in March 1966. The album is initially planned as a live recording, but the recordings are scrapped and the band record in the studio instead. It is released to great acclaim upon its release in the UK, further cementing Eric Clapton’s reputation as a brilliant lead guitarist, and is regarded as one of the quintessential British blues recordings. Clapton uses his newly acquired (and now legendary) 1960 Les Paul during the sessions. The albums now famous cover photo features the band posed together looking at the camera, with Clapton eyes averted reading a “Beano” comic book. In 2006, Universal Music Group releases a double CD Deluxe Edition of “Blues Breakers” featuring a remastered version of the original album with the original stereo and mono mixes, with the second disc featuring live recordings made for and originally broadcast on the BBC radio program “Saturday Club Sessions” as well as the stand alone single “Lonely Years” and its original B-side “Bernard Jenkins”. “Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton” peaks at number six on the UK album chart.




We all aspired to play like this in 'Hideaway' and its changes in tempo is something I had become addicted to in my own playing and tried my best to emulate whenever I could. If it sounds overly simple today it is largely thanks to Eric Clapton and thousands of fans who dragged the blues into common parlance as it were. It has become a standard by which every guitar player was judged
Again I don't think I knew anyone who DIDN'T buy 'My Aim Is True' when it came out! I was no exception and still have my original vinyl copy and it remains an extraordinary moment in music history. There is not a filler track or duff song anywhere on this and his next three albums were exceptional but I left him around then and it wasn't until 'Almost Blue' that I bought another Costello album. This however reminds me of my dear pal Stephen Blackman who adored Elvis from this moment on . . . . 

On this day in music history: July 22, 1977 - “My Aim Is True”, the debut album by Elvis Costello is released (US release is in November 1977). Produced by Nick Lowe, it is recorded at Pathway Studios in London circa Late 1976 - Early 1977. After six years of performing in pubs and clubs around his native Liverpool, Costello receives his big break in 1976 when he submits demo recordings of several songs to Stiff Records in the hopes of being signed to the new label. Initially, the label is only interested in him as a staff songwriter (for musician Dave Edmunds), but are persuaded to sign him as a recording artist. The album is recorded in twenty four hours of studio time (cut in six four hour sessions at a cost of £1,000) spread out over several weeks. Recording with members of the band Clover, Costello often takes time off (calling in sick) from his day job as a data entry clerk in order to rehearse and record the material. It spins off the classics “Alison” and “(The Angels Want To Wear My) Red Shoes”. Originally released as a stand alone single in the UK in October of 1977, the track “Watching The Detectives” is added to the US version of the album, when it is issued four months after its UK release. The original US LP cover art also differs from its UK counterpart, with the UK version featuring the front cover photo in black & white, with the background on the back airbrushed pink, beige, blue, green, purple, yellow, orange or crimson red. The US version features the front cover photo airbrushed yellow, with the back cover photo, using either a yellow or white background.  A mid 80’s reissue of the album reverts to the original UK cover with the black & white front photo, and yellow background back cover. The album is remastered and reissued numerous times over the years since its first CD release in 1986, with expanded reissues on Rykodisc and Rhino Records. “My Aim” is also reissued as a hybrid SACD in Japan by Hip-O Records in 2011, with 180 gram vinyl LP pressing released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2009, and UMe in 2015. “My Aim Is True” peaks at number thirty two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

J.J.Cale - After Midnight





There's a lovely set from J.J. over at the wondrous Voodoo Wagon recently and I highly recommend it. Its is interesting to hear him with a band like this who do their best to back him adequately but it is unmistakably JJ's guitar style that sticks out like a beautiful sore thumb IMHO

J.J. Cale - Leland Meadows 1993





Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mostly because it is raining . . . . . and we haven't had any rain for a while so this relentless steady rain is welcome . . . . . . .



655 plays
I love this song:
Buckets of Rain // Bob Dylan
like your smile and your fingertips
like the way that you move your hips
I like the cool way you look at me
everything about you is bringing me misery
Little red wagon, little red bike
I ain't monkey but I know what I like




SELFIE!




First ever self-portrait photograph of a human. The photographer, Robert Cornelius had to remain motionless for 10 to 15 minutes to capture the picture. 1839

LOW

 O ★  I  E




This kind of annoyed me when it came out in the early nineties, as in it was the re-issue that included this song previously unreleased and a couple of other tracks of versions of songs left off the original which I bought when it came out. I hadn't previously been a Bowie fan as such and found the Ziggy Stardust stuff a tad too hoaky and camp for me but appreciated that folks liked the glamorous glitter rock school which really left me cold even though I saw T Rex live and appreciated the glam-rock crew for what they were. 'Low' however was the first off the Berlin trilogy, so called, that marked David's collaborative work with my hero of the time, and still, Brian Eno. I followed him avidly in his career although cannot say in retrospect that I bought everything by any means. I did however really enjoy the 'Man Who Fell To Earth' and Low & Heroes especially.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The key is in the story . . . . . .


+ + + + +

CHESTER BENNINGTON R.I.P. 1976-2017


This announcement from Big O today:
Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington has died aged 41, LA County Coroner says. The coroner said Bennington apparently hanged himself. His body was found at a private home in the county at 09:00 local time (17:00 GMT) on July 20, 2017. Bennington was said to be close to Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell, who took his own life in May. Formed in 1996, Linkin Park have sold more than 70 million albums worldwide and won two Grammy Awards. The band had a string of hits including Faint, In The End and Crawling, and collaborated with the rapper Jay-Z. In May 2017, Linkin Park released their seventh studio album, One More Light.
A key element in the group’s success was to fuse elements of metal and rock with rap and hip-hop to shape the nu-metal genre on songs such as Crawling, In The End and Numb. Arguably their biggest asset was Chester’s powerhouse voice. He had a huge, raspy vocal which suited their stadium-filling, singalong anthems. Whilst his vocal persona could be described as angry and harsh, in person he was warm, articulate and funny. The singer is said to have struggled for years with alcohol and drug abuse, and has talked in the past about contemplating suicide as a result of being a victim of abuse as a child. Bennington wrote an open letter to Chris Cornell on the latter’s death, saying: “You have inspired me in ways you could never have known… I can’t imagine a world without you in it.” Cornell would have celebrated his 53rd birthday on July 20. He hanged himself after a concert in Detroit on 17 May. - BBC

+ + + + +

I cannot pretend to have liked Linkin Park or have been very aware of their lead singer Chester Bennington who has been found dead (taken his own life on his friend's Chris Cornell's birthday) but what I do respond to is his story which is all too familiar to anyone who has spent any time working in recovery. What I do know is those who struggle to cope with abuse as children are tormented, tortured and harrowed for the rest of their lives often and the facts and figures around heroin and alcohol abuse are clear. I once did a training course on working with the survivors of child abuse that gave the bare facts that amongst the entrenched heroin and class A drug abusers some 83% have been abused in some form or other and of those eighty percent, 67% have been sexually abused so when you next hear a story about 'bloody junkies' or addicts behaving badly maybe try to put it in some context. That Chester Bennington was able to discuss or even mention his abuse is the exception and suggest he had some therapeutic help along the way and I hope he did but sometimes it is not enough and I have lost so many people I worked with because it became too much. So judging suicides is not helpful  . . . . . . .  a 'coward' he most definitely was not

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

R.E.M. 

End of The World (As We Know It)

Perfect Power Pop!
This music is a s near to perfect as it gets IMHO. Like Talking Heads I went through a phase of listening to everything and this single still enchants me not least for it's lyrical content and clever word play and complex words to songs alway fascinate me. I think it was the first single bought and was again one found in the bargain bins maybe from a jukebox clearance . . . . I have bought every album since

Advert for Pantaloons or Breeches



I like so much about this advert I thought I would share it
  • The fact the shop is located “in Strawberry Alley… at the Sign of the Death of the Fox” is totally awesome!
  • That they also wash your breeches and sell “buff balls” which were it seems balls of ochre based dye used to maintain the color of leather and NOT dances attended by scantly clad prostitutes which was apparently the meaning of the phrase a hundred years later 
(source: The Pennsylvania Gazette, August 6, 1761.)

thanks to the source Ye Olde News

GEORGIA O'KEEFE II

// From her twenties until the end of her life, O’Keeffe studied and admired various aspects of Asian culture. Many of her abstracted landscapes, such as this bird’s eye view of a river, show her interest in the calligraphic line and flattened perspective of Japanese and Chinese painting.


 // Posing for the photographer Bruce Weber in 1984, O’Keeffe fused Eastern and Western influences by pairing a kimono with a vaquero hat. The swirl of her “GOK” brooch, designed by her friend Alexander Calder, echoes the larger form of her own sculpture behind her. 
// This kimono, a padded men’s garment in striped gray silk with a black collar, suited her lifelong taste for clothing that was practical, androgynous, and monochromatic, while also reflecting her fascination with Asian culture.
Posted by Jessica Murphy
Artwork: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986). Green, Yellow and Orange, 1960. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 87.136.3. © artist or artist’s estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 87.136.3_SL1.jpg) Portrait: Bruce Weber (American, born 1946). Georgia O’Keeffe, Abiquiu, N.M., 1984. Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm). Bruce Weber and Nan Bush Collection, New York. © Bruce Weber Wardrobe: Padded Kimono (Tanzen), circa 1960s–70s. Silk with woven black and gray stripe. Inner garment: Kimono. White linen (?). Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.; Gift of Juan and Anna Marie Hamilton, 2000.03.0359 and 2000.03.0404. (Photo: © Gavin Ashworth)
I was aware of 'Joy Division' from the literary references first and 'Atrocity Exhibition' was no exception and nor was their name so I knew something was going on but it wasn't until I saw Ian on the tv that I took them more seriously. Extraordinary movements from an extraordinary lyricist who could cite JG Ballard and 135633 Ka-Tzetnik and Moshe M Kohn [who are credited with 'House of Dolls'] I could hardly drag my eyes away from his ethereal presence and strange angular seemingly hypnotised behaviour. His death shocked me to the core and I then bought everything the New Order released mostly on 12" but it is still Curtis whose voice haunts


On this day in music history: July 18, 1980 - “Closer”, the second album by Joy Division is released. Produced by Martin Hannett, it is recorded at Brittania Row Studios in Islington, London from March 18 - 30, 1980. Originally formed in 1976 by Bernard Sumner (guitar) and Pete Hook (bass), the two friends decide to buy instruments and form a band after seeing The Sex Pistols perform in their hometown of Manchester. Along with their mutual friend Terry Mason (drums), they also ask Martin Gresty to sing lead. When Gresty turns them down, they go in search for a lead singer by placing an advertisement in a local Virgin Records store. The ad is answered by Ian Curtis, another childhood friend who is also an avid fan of the punk rock scene. Initially calling themselves Warsaw after the David Bowie song “Warszawa”, they play their first gig on May 29, 1977 along side The Buzzcocks, Penetration and John Cooper Clarke. Warsaw go through a succession of drummers after Mason steps aside to manage the band. Third drummer Steve Brotherdale is replaced by Curtis’ former school mate Stephen Morris in August of 1977. The band also abandon their original name after only three months when they discover there is a London punk band called Warsaw Pakt. They rename themselves Joy Division, after the name of the forced sex slavery wing of Nazi concentration camps, referred to the in the novella “House Of Dolls”. After releasing their first EP “An Ideal For Living” in 1978, they sign with Manchester based indie label Factory Records. Releasing their debut album “Unknown Pleasures” in June of 1979, the band increase their already loyal following and begin writing material for the follow up. With their rise in popularity, singer Ian Curtis’ personal problems also begin to overwhelm him. Suffering from epilepsy, Curtis begins having frequent seizures, becoming increasingly depressed as his marriage also is failing. He pours his emotions into the lyrics of Joy Division’s songs, most poignantly in the non-album single “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (#13 UK), and others like “Atrocity Exhibition”, “Isolation” and “A Means To An End”. The band complete the recording of their second album “Closer” in less than two weeks, at Brittania Row Studios in London, owned at the time by Pink Floyd. Two months before it’s released, Ian Curtis commits suicide on May 18, 1980, by hanging himself. He is only twenty three years old at the time. When “Closer” is released, it is very well received and is praised as a post-punk masterpiece. Surviving members Sumner, Hook and Morris (with his girlfriend and later wife Gillian Gilbert) form New Order out of the ashes of Joy Division, going on to even greater success during the 80’s and beyond. “Closer” hits number one on the UK Indie Album chart, peaking at number six on the UK Album chart, and is certified Gold in the UK by BPI. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The NEW DR WHO!!


I like Jodie Whitaker. I have really enjoyed her work in film from 'Venus' opposite Peter O’Toole and 'Attack The Block', which probably stands as the first film my children turned me on to, through to her work on television from 'Marchlands' to 'Black Mirror' and up to 'Broadchurch' and now 'Dr Who' where she has just been announced as the 13th incarnation of the Doctor from Gallifrey 




Now I have watched Dr Who since the start with William Hartnell and amongst the 18 actors (count them*) who have played him officially thus far.  I of course have my favourites with Tom Baker right up there but have enjoyed Sylvester McCoy, Jon Pertwee, Matt Smith, Patrick Troughton, Chris Eccleston, John Hurt, David Tennant, Peter Capaldi especially and perhaps less so fond of Peter Davidson and Colin Baker but I was looking forward to discovering who was to play the new doctor. Knowing that it was likely to be a woman, I was hoping for Joanna Lumley (who has already tried the role albeit for Comic Relief!) or someone with suitable gravitas as well as the chops to be interesting say like Victoria Coleman. I could even see a strop line in which River Song (Alex Kingston) were reincarnated buy some intergalactic fluke as the new Dr or even the female half of the Master/Missy (the excellent Michelle Gomez) came back as him too.  I am however overjoyed with the choice of Jodie and the one thing I will say is all those already saying they are jumping ship and will not watch it. You are prejudiced and bigoted and are cutting your nose to spite your face. Why would you prejudge something without having seen it? (that is after all the definition of prejudice) Let’s wait and see hey?




 I for one am looking forward to the next step and also hope for the continuance of ‘Nardole’ as portrayed by the wonderful Matt Lucas who for me would have been my chance to take the role of the Doctor as I find him mesmerising in his role. It is far far more worrying that Stephen Moffat is to go, who for the Capaldi exit series returned to form throughout with the possible exception of the last episode which IMHO tried to cram way too much into one finale rather than spin it across say a further three episodes to get to the same place as it proved scrappy and untidy and over packed with complexity. However to the new team I say one thing. 
Bring it on people.




*William Hartnell
Patrick Troughton
Jon Pertwee
Tom Baker
Peter Davison
Colin Baker
Sylvester McCoy
Paul McGann
Christopher Eccleston
David Tennant
Matt Smith
Peter Capaldi
Jodie Whitaker
plus 
John Hurt - War Doctor
Richard Hurndall - as Hartnell’s Dr or No 1
Michael Jayston
Geoffrey Hughes
Toby Jones
David Bradley - as Hartnell’s Dr or No 1

      I could be persuaded that the Comic Relief Drs count as well coming from BBC as they do but they are to   
      be considered 'outside the show' so haven't included them, or have I? and that's quite another argument 
      so that would add Joanna Lumley, Richard E. Grant, Hugh Grant (no relation). Jim Broadbent  
      and Rowan Atkinson


On this day in music history: July 17, 1968 - The Beatles third film “Yellow Submarine” has its world premiere at the London Pavillion Theater in London. Directed by George Dunning and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn, and Erich Segal (“Love Story”), the animated feature is a joint venture between King Features Syndicate, United Artists Pictures and The Beatles company Apple Corps. The band contribute four new songs to the films soundtrack (in addition to eleven previously released songs) is not released until January of 1969. The films US release does not take place until November 13, 1968. “Yellow Submarine” is well received upon its release, and is regarded as a classic today. When The Beatles company Apple Corps regains ownership of “Yellow Submarine”, the film undergoes a major restoration in 1999 and is released on DVD for the first time. It is digitally enhanced and receives further restoration work before it is reissued a second time on DVD, and on Blu-Ray for the first time in 2012.



with thanks to Jeff Harris' wonderful blog 'Behind The Grooves  On this day in Music History   

Monday, July 17, 2017

Think I must have missed posting this but have been listening to this for the past week and think it possibly the best Van Morrison ROIO that I own and that is quite a few . . . . . from the peerless







If you down load one thing today make sure it's this . . . . . . 
The Rolling Stones - Honky Tonk Woman
1,021 plays

Near perfect Rock 'n' Roll  . . . . aw heck this IS perfect! What is a Honky Tonk? Is it a pub? In which case I have visited a few and seen a few Honky Tonk Women but heck this is great. Check things of note Jimmy Miller's cowbell work! No, no more cowbell is required. Check the two sax players tenor and baritone!  Not Bobby Keys in this instance . . . . . . but Steve Gregory and Bud Beadle. Fabulous and owes most of it's lazy funk to Charlie's drumming and new boy Mick Taylor who changed Country Honk a Gram Parsons piss take to a full blown Rock classic . . . . . .