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

Monday, April 30, 2018

Oh you KNOW it! . . . . . probably up there in my top three singles of all time (albums too) bought when it came out




On this day in music history: April 29, 1971 - “L.A. Woman”, the sixth studio album by The Doors is released. Produced by The Doors and Bruce Botnick, it is recorded at The Doors Workshop in Los Angeles, CA from December 1970 - January 1971. After the departure of their producer Paul A. Rothchild (leaving after having differences with the band over musical direction), The Doors along with recording engineer Bruce Botnick handle the production duties on their sixth studio release. Unlike past albums, much of “L.A. Woman” is recorded live with few overdubs. They will be augmented by bassist Jerry Scheff (Elvis Presley) and rhythm guitarist Marc Benno (aka Leon Russell). It is the bands last album with lead singer Jim Morrison who dies three months after its release. The first press run of the LP features a die cut cover (with rounded corners similar to a photographic slide) with a portrait of the band printed on transparent yellow acetate plastic with the title and band name embossed on the front. Subsequent re-pressings of the LP are printed on standard cardboard stock without the die cutting and plastic window. It spins off two singles including “Love Her Madly” (#11 Pop) and “Riders On The Storm” (#14 Pop). To commemorate the albums’ fortieth anniversary, it is remixed, remastered and reissued as a double CD set. On the first disc, some tracks are extended, running past the fade out point of the original mixes. The second disc includes alternate versions of several songs and previously unreleased tracks. The album is also reissued in 2009 as a 180 gram vinyl LP, restoring the original cover artwork featured on the initial pressing. “L.A. Woman” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

thanks to the most excellent Jeff Harris' blog 'Behind The Grooves 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

HAPPY 85th WILLIE!




UPDATE:Willie Nelson :: Happy 85th Birthday, Hoss
lovely tribute and birthday wishes from 

really worth a read and a listen too!

Friday, April 27, 2018

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT









At risk of boring everybody rigid (there really is no-one there - ED) yes I bought this when it came out and have a couple of editions not least the digital one but prefer my first edition . . . . . . . . . . . . 


Yup you know it bought when it came out and maybe this is a prime example of where Paulie's beginning to cloy somewhat I mean 'Ebony and Ivory'?! Sheesh! Am I embarrassed I bought it? Nope!
This is frothy light and poppy and yes I liked it then. . . . . see who you can spot in the vid . . . . . . most notable omission from the notes below, Eric Stewart of The Mindbenders and 10CC fame on guitar. With McCartney II the end of Wings . . . . . 


On this day in music history: April 26, 1982 - “Tug Of War”, the fourth solo album by Paul McCartney is released. Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at AIR Studios in Montserrat and London and Strawberry Studios South in Dorking, UK from June, October - December 1980, February - December 1981. After the solo effort “McCartney II” in 1980, Wings reassembles to record their first album since 1979’s “Back To The Egg” in October of 1980. When it becomes clear that the sessions are not going well, it leads to McCartney disbanding Wings in 1981. Starting again fresh, McCartney calls upon producer George Martin for guidance. Once reunited, the sessions are very productive, producing enough material for not one but two albums, with the remaining tracks are released as the follow up album “Pipes Of Peace” in October of 1983. It features guest musicians such as Stevie Wonder, Carl Perkins, Steve Gadd, Ringo Starr and Stanley Clarke. Upon its release, it is McCartney’s best received album both critically and commercially in many years, receiving five Grammy nominations including Album, Record, and Song Of The Year. It spins off three singles including “Ebony & Ivory” (#1 Pop) and “Take It Away” (#10 Pop). The album is remastered and reissued in 2015 on CD and vinyl, with a three CD/DVD deluxe archive edition that features a newly remixed version of the album, along side the original 1982 mix. It also includes two booklets containing copious amounts of previously unpublished photos documenting the making of the album. The DVD features the music videos for the three singles, as well as a documentary featuring rare  and previously unseen footage of the recording sessions. The vinyl release of the album is also available with a bonus 7" of “Ebony And Ivory”, as an exclusive through Barnes & Noble. In December of 2017, “Tug” is reissued again on vinyl, on standard black and limited edition blue vinyl. “Tug Of War” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

thanks to the most excellent Jeff Harris' blog 'Behind The Grooves
Just because . . . . . . . . one of the greatest songs of all time . . . . . a peon to every partner everywhere



On this day in music history: April 26, 1961 - “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King is released. Written by Benjamin Earl Nelson, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, it is the sixth solo single for the R&B and pop vocal legend. In spite of recording several classics as the lead singer of The Drifters including the classics “There Goes My Baby”, “This Magic Moment” and “Save The Last Dance For Me”, a contractual dispute with manager George Treadwell drives Ben E. King out of the group in mid 1960. Continuing to work with the songwriting and production team of Leiber and Stoller, King begins recording on his own. After his initial solo releases “Brace Yourself” and “A Help-Each-Other Romance” (duet with LaVern Baker) fail to make an impression on the charts. On October 27, 1960, King is recording at Atlantic Studios in New York City, working on the song “Spanish Harlem” (#10 Pop, #15 R&B) which becomes his first major solo hit. With time still left in the session, Leiber and Stoller ask King if he has any more songs. The singer plays them an unfinished song he had originally intended to record with The Drifters. Inspired by the song “Stand By Me Father”, written by Sam Cooke during his days as lead singer of The Soul Stirrers, Leiber and Stoller re-work the initial melody and Ben and Jerry write the lyrics. Calling the musicians back, the song now titled “Stand By Me” is quickly recorded. Before the session concludes, all involved know that they have created something special. Released in the Spring of 1961, “Stand By Me” makes its impact felt immediately. An instant classic, it quickly rises up the R&B and pop singles charts, spending four weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart beginning on May 29, 1961, and peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on June 12, 1961. Following its release, “Stand By Me” is covered numerous times over the years, including versions by John Lennon, Spyder Turner, Mickey Gilley and Maurice White. Ben E. King’s original recording has a long life after its initial run on the charts. In 1986, director Rob Reiner uses the song as the theme to his film “Stand By Me”, based on the Stephen King short story “The Body”. Featured prominently on the oldies dominated soundtrack, Atlantic Records reissues the song as a single. Driven by the popularity of the film, “Stand By Me” re-enters the Billboard Hot 100, and returns to the top ten, peaking at #9 in December of 1986, over twenty five years after it had originally charted. The song becomes a smash in the UK a second time, thanks to its inclusion in the film, and being featured in a popular commercial for Levi’s jeans, sending the single to #1. In 1998, “Stand By Me” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame, in 2012 receives the Towering Song Award by the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, and in 2015, King’s original recording is selected for inclusion into the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress, just five weeks before the singer’s passing.

thanks to the most excellent Jeff Harris' blog 'Behind The Grooves 

Thursday, April 26, 2018






Jimi Hendrix, 1967 UK promotional poster
Photo by Donald Silverstein

Just because . . . . .I have said it before and I will doubtless say it again but can you imagine being Dylan and hearing this for the first time? Extraordinary to take someone's work and transform it so that their version almost becomes the seminal one. A better song for all that if you will?. Allegedly Dylan loved it (why wouldn't you and everyone's version since almost base themselves upon Jimi's arrangement )
 Perhaps more even than Leonard Cohen
upon hearing John Cale's version/arrangement of 'Hallelujah' or it being covered by Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright (let alone all the other ghastly covers that hijacked this rarest and darkest of erotic songs and made them cloying and ersatz, histrionic versions of Cale's re-arrangement like the awful Alexandra Burke version or and there's are many worse than that just google them. These latter would I think have made Cohen laugh first to burst. 



T'internet is a wonderful place but it has pictures posted now that give no credit to their source and it frustrates the hell out of me. People especially on Pinterest  misquote, miscredit and put images that are just plain uncredited with no attempt toward copyright and Tumblr is just as bad . . . . . . . . 

I found this image this morning which haunts me and it was coupled with a quote from Baudelaire from the Flowers of Evil who and which  I love and yet . . . . . no credit as to artist or to why it was posted. . . . it is beautiful though.




anyone?
Ma se, senza lasciarti irretire, sai calare negli abissi, leggimi:imparerai ad amarmi.

Charles Baudelaire

which I might translate as:

But if, without being ensnared, you can descend into the abyss, read me: 
you will learn to love me ... "

Charles Baudelaire

The Essence of Britishness, Through the Eyes of an Under-Recognized Portrait Photographer

the work of John Myers

I wasn't sure whether I knew the work of John Myers but it reminds me of the work of fellow art student back in the day, as they say, of fine art photographer Tom Wood. 


The New Yorker magazine did a spread
The Essence of Britishness, Through the Eyes of an Under-Recognized Portrait PhotographerIn the spring of 1972, a British photographer named John Myers, then in his late twenties, started taking portraits of his neighbors in and around the town of Stourbridge, in England’s West Midlands. He worked principally with a five-by-four-inch Gandolfi plate camera. His subjects were ordinary men, women, and children, usually portrayed alone, though sometimes grouped together. Very few were smiling, and none looked at the camera with an aspect more optimistic than that of mild resignation. For this viewer, who grew up in nineteen-seventies England, there is a recognizable quality of Britishness to Myers’s pictures, whether or not it is explicitly signalled. The image chosen to open the book, “David in Knight’s Armour,” from 1974, shows a small boy dressed in Crusader’s regalia and brandishing a plastic sword, a lion rampant on his breastplate. In one image, a leather-clad motorcyclist has decorated his bike with a small Union Jack; in another, a proud car salesman displays the British flag above the desk in his office. But the Englishness is evident, too, in the irremediably damp crevices in the brickwork of buildings or between the paving stones of sidewalks, and in the hunched shoulders of Myers’s subjects, many of whom look to be feeling a little chilly, physically and emotionally. In their formal poses, they seem as conscious of their status as the objects of an artist’s gaze as any Renaissance Pope or Regency monarch.

New Yorker - John Myers by Rebecca Mead

“Terry and Linda in their Flat,” 1973

“Richard Smith,” 1973

“Michelle,” 1974

“Robert,” 1973.

“Young Girl,” 1973



“Paul and Richard,” 1973.

“David in Knight’s Armour,” 1974.

“Motorcyclist and Combination,” 1973.
"Green Lane, Lye" - 1973
Rebecca Mead joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 1997. She is the author of “My Life in Middlemarch.”

thanks to The New Yorker







Wednesday, April 25, 2018




The Beat - Mirror in the Bathroom (1980)
Roger Charlery / Andrew Cox / Everett Morton / David Steele / David Wakeling
from: “Just Can’t Stop It” LP
Personnel:
Dave Wakeling: Lead Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Ranking Roger: Toasting / Vocals
Andy Cox: Lead Guitar
Saxa: Saxophone
David Steele: Bass
Everett Morton: Drums
A favourite Kerouac book I read at college whilst at Leicester's Fine Art Dept.  Earlier I had started reading Kerouac whilst studying GCE's at Witney Tech College not starting out, as so many must have done before me, with 'On The Road' but with 'Lonesome Traveller' and 'Dharma Bums' but this edition a City Lights special as I recall is especially important to me [I still have it somewhere and at the time it was considered a rarity over here in the UK) and it helped me start the Dream Club at Fine Art school . . . . several students and a lecturer (printmaker Roy Bizley as memory serves, who I liked enormously) met to discuss dreams, poetry and so on and we explored the idea that you can train yourself to remember ones dreams by the technique I think divulged therein or certainly that Jack used. We got pretty good at improving our recall and wrote certain dreams down and then read them to each other . . . . . my favourites from this period were from fellow student the wonderful Carol Jones who went on to successful administration in the arts at Nottingham I think. Her dreams were amongst the most vivid I had ever heard of and invariably made us all howl with laughter! She was a good friend and I miss her. My dreams at the time and frankly now are as dull as wallpaper by comparison but that's another story. Wherever she is I wish her well.



“I’m a lonely independent man with no ties, no hopes, bleak tricks to make a living, full of death, indecision, sedentary laziness and worst of allI don’t know why I’m on earth and what I should do to satisfy not any craving inside myself but some kind of craving in the sky, the lostcloud sky.”
Jack Kerouac, Book of Dreams, 1961

Ready Rubbed?
Ogden's NutGone Flake etc

THE SMALL FACES











Nice article from Music Italy 70



WAR MOTHER!

Barbara Bush
Not to speak ill of the dead but. . . . 
I hadn't heard or read anything especially negative about Barbara Bush at the time of her passing away but surely my memory serves that she was little more than the venomous warmongering matriarch who scared her children more than their dad's ultra right wing conservatism? This goes some way to address that thought . . . 
So Barbara Bush, the matriarch of a dismal and bloody era of American politics, died last week (April 17, 2018). Predictably, in death she is being hailed as a feminist, a humanist, a doyenne of literacy, a moderating force on the viciousness of the neocons and racists who populated the White Houses of her husband and son. That’s not the way I recalled her, in my brief biography of her son George W, “High Plains Grifter,” published in Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror. Here, then, is my shot at revising the revisionists… By Jeffrey St Clair.

Start from the beginning. George W Bush wasn’t born a cowboy. He entered the world in New Haven, Connecticut, hallowed hamlet of Yale. His bloodlines include two presidents and a US senator. The cowboy act came later, when he was famously re-birthed, with spurs on his boots, tea in his cup and the philosophical tracts of Jesus of Nazareth on his night table.
Bush is a pure-blooded WASP, sired by a man who would later become the nation’s chief spook, a man frequently called upon to clean up the messes left by apex crooks in his own political party, including his own entanglements (and those of his sons) with the more noirish aspects of life. His grandfather was a US senator and Wall Street lawyer, who shamelessly represented American corporations as they did business with the Nazi death machine. Old Prescott narrowly escaped charges of treason. But those were different times, when trading with the enemy was viewed as, at the very least, unseemly.
His mother, Barbara, is a bitter and grouchy gorgon, who must have frightened her own offspring as they first focused their filmy eyes onto her stern visage. She is a Pierce, a descendent of Franklin, the famously incompetent president, patron of Nathaniel Hawthorne and avowed racist, who joined in a bizarre cabal to overthrow Abraham Lincoln. (For more on this long neglected episode in American history check out Charles Higham’s excellent book Murdering Mr Lincoln.)
Understandably, George Sr spent much of his time far away from Barbara Bush’s icy boudoir, indulging in a discreet fling or two while earning his stripes as a master of the empire, leaving juvenile George to cower under the unstinting commands of his cruel mother, who his younger brother Jeb dubbed “the Enforcer.”

His mother, Barbara, is a bitter and grouchy gorgon, who must have frightened her own offspring as they first focused their filmy eyes onto her stern visage. She is a Pierce, a descendent of Franklin, the famously incompetent president, patron of Nathaniel Hawthorne and avowed racist, who joined in a bizarre cabal to overthrow Abraham Lincoln.

This woman’s veins pulse with glacial melt. According to Neil Bush, his mother was devoted to corporal punishment and would “slap around” the Bush children. She was known in the family as “the one who instills fear.” She still does… with a global reach.
How wicked is Barbara Bush? Well, she refused to attend her own mother’s funeral. And the day after her five-year old daughter Robin died of leukemia Barbara Bush was in a jolly enough mood to spend the afternoon on the golf course. Revealingly, Mrs Bush kept Robin’s terminal illness a secret from young George, a stupid and cruel move which provided one of the early warps to his psyche.
Her loathsome demeanor hasn’t lightened much over the years. Refresh your memory with this quote on Good Morning America, dismissing the escalating body count of American soldiers in Iraq. “Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many,” the Presidential Mother snapped. “It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”
Even Freud might have struggled with this case study. Imagine young George the Hysteric on Siggy’s couch in the curtained room on Berggasse 19. The analysand doesn’t enunciate; he mumbles and sputters in non-sequential sentence fragments. His quavering voice a whiny singsong. The fantasy has to be teased out. It’s gruelling work. But finally Freud puts it all together. This lad doesn’t want to fuck his mother. Not this harridan. Not this boy. He wants to kill her and chuckle in triumph over the corpse. Oh, dear. This doesn’t fit the Oedipal Complex, per se. But it explains so much of George the Younger’s subsequent behavior. (See his cold-blooded chuckling over the state murder of Karla Faye Tucker.)

How wicked is Barbara Bush? Well, she refused to attend her own mother’s funeral. 

Perhaps, Freud isn’t the right shrink for Bush, after all. Maybe the president’s pathology is better understood through the lens of Freud’s most gifted and troubled protégé, Wilhelm Reich. (I commend to your attention Dr Reich’s neglected masterpiece Listen, Little Man.) Sadly, we cannot avail ourselves of psychological exegises of either Freud or Reich. So Justin Frank, the disciple of Melanie Klein, will have to substitute.
In the spirit of his mentor, Frank, author of Bush on the Couch, zeroes in on the crucial first five years of W’s existence, where three factors loom over all others: an early trauma, an absent father and an abusive mother. It is a recipe for the making of a dissociated megalomaniac. Add in a learning disability (dyslexia) and a brain bruised by booze and coke and you have a pretty vivid portrait of the Bush psyche.
With this stern upbringing, is it really surprising that Bush evidenced early signs of sadism? As a teenager he jammed firecrackers in the orifices of frogs and snickered as he blew them to bits. A few years later, as president of the DKE frathouse at Yale, Bush instituted a branding on the ass-crack as an initiation ritual.
Young pledges were seared with a red-hot wire clothes hanger. One victim complained to the New Haven police, who raided the frathouse. The story was covered-up for several decades until it surfaced in Bush’s first run for governor of Texas. He laughed at the allegations, writing the torture off as little more than “a cigarette burn.”
Note: Jeffrey St Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution. Email him here or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch. The above article was posted at CounterPunch.

+ + + + +

courtesy of Big O

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

and yup you got it . . . . .  not entirely sure whether I bought this first or the titular 'Joe Cocker' but 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' the year after was a blinder that was never off the turntable when it came out. I was influenced by a local bass player who turned me on to Joe's 'With a Little Help . . . . . ' [thanks Bill!] but the covers of Dave Mason's 'Feelin' Alright' and finding him cover a John Sebastian (of The Lovin' Spoonful) The Box tops 'The Letter' et al meant he was godlike to me then 

We loved Joe with his Sheffield builder hod carrying stance and his wild air guitar gesticulations and his awesome gravel full soulful voice and I think I must have bought the first three albums but not sure where they are now . . . . . .didn't really check in again with him until '9 1/2 Weeks' came out and Randy Newman's 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' broke big time with its naughtiness which every red blooded heterosexual male will always associate with Kim Basinger . . . . . ahem, cough cough!


On this day in music history: April 23, 1969 - “With A Little Help From My Friends”, the debut album by Joe Cocker is released. Produced by Denny Cordell, it is recorded at Olympic and Trident Studios in London circa early 1968. The first album by the Sheffield, UK born rock vocalist features musical support from musicians such as Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood, Albert Lee, Henry McCullough, as well as L.A. studio veterans like Carol Kaye, Paul Humphrey and vocalists Merry Clayton, Madeline Bell and Brenda & Patrice Holloway. It spins off two singles including a cover of the Dave Mason penned “Feelin’ Alright” (#69 Pop) and the title track (#68 Pop). The latter’s striking rearrangement provides Cocker with his commercial breakthrough. The single release of “With A Little Help From My Friends” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001. The song is also used as the theme song for the long running series “The Wonder Years”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999, with two additional bonus tracks added. It is remastered again and reissued as a hybrid SACD disc in 2015. “With A Little Help From My Friends” peaks at number thirty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold In the US by the RIAA.
thanks to the most excellent Jeff Harris' blog 'Behind The Grooves
Yup you got it . . . . . in fact I think this is the last Stones album I bought when it came out, Andy Warhol cover, zip n cool insert photo n'all. This is of course a truly great album . . . . . but love? It's a  . . . . . .


On this day in music history: April 23, 1971 - “Sticky Fingers”, the ninth album (eleventh in the US) album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Jimmy Miller, it is recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield, AL, Stargroves in East Woodhay, Hampshire, UK with The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, and Olympic Studios in London from December 1969 - January 1971. After seven years with their former label Decca Records and free from former manager Allen Klein, The Rolling Stones begin to regroup as the new decade begins. Signing a deal with Atlantic Records in the US (and EMI throughout the rest of the world), they begin work on the follow up to their previous studio album “Let It Bleed”. Following in the bluesy rock vein of their two previous albums (“Beggar’s Banquet” and “Let It Bleed”), it also features a number of guest musicians including Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Jack Nitszche (keyboards), and Ry Cooder (guitar). “Sticky Fingers” is an artistic and commercial triumph upon its release, being widely regarded as one of their best. The albums iconic cover art is designed by artist Andy Warhol (graphic artist Craig Braun, photographer Billy Name), with the cover photo featuring a waist to knees shot in jeans of a Warhol Factory actor/model (speculated to be everyone from Jet Johnson, Corey Tippin, or Joe Dallesandro) that includes a working zipper. The metal zippers actually cause a problem with records being damaged during shipping, but the problem is solved by simply shipping them with the zipper being pulled down, pressing against the label area instead of the vinyl surface. The album is also the first to include the now familiar “lips and tongue” logo (designed by graphic artist Ernie Cefalu) that becomes  the bands trademark. Reissued various times over the years, the album is remastered and reissued as a double CD, with the second disc featuring alternate takes and live performances from a concert recorded in 1971. “Sticky Fingers” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
thanks to the most excellent Jeff Harris' blog 'Behind The Grooves 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Just because . . . . . . . .it's still sunny . . . . . . and a young man's thoughts . . . . .feminist reggae!


One of the best driving songs ever . . . . . . . . 
I had been to see 'Camelot' the first musical I ever saw at the cinema and very affective it was too if a tad tired dated and cloying now and for a moment became inspired by Richard Harris and indeed enjoyed all his acting performances ever after from 'A Man Called Horse' up to and including his Professor Dumbledore . . . . . but there is no doubting the strangeness of this song by the legendary Jimmy Webb a fine songwriter and piano player but that this was inspired by a breakup with his then girlfriend it was also also inspired by something else surely!

On this day in music history: April 22, 1968 - “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris is released. Written and produced by Jimmy Webb, it is the debut single release and the biggest hit for the Irish born actor. Fresh off the success of writing major hits for The 5th Dimension (“Up, Up And Away”, “Carpet Man”) and Glen Campbell (“By The Time I Get To Phoenix”), songwriter Jimmy Webb sets his sights on writing something even more ambitious. Inspired by his recent break up with longtime girlfriend Susan Horton, he conceives the idea of writing a cantata, a suite of interconnected songs expressing his feelings over the loss of the relationship. Once it is complete, he offers it to The Association for their second Warner Bros album “Birthday”. When the band realizes that the cantata will take up one entire album side, they decide to pass on it. Not long afterward, Webb meets actor Richard Harris (“A Man Called Horse”, “Gladiator”), at a fundraiser in Los Angeles. Harris, having recently portrayed  King Arthur in the film adaptation of the musical “Camelot”, expresses interest in making a record. Webb plays the section of his cantata titled “MacArthur Park” for Harris, who loves it immediately and wants to record it. The basic track is recorded at Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA with members of The Wrecking Crew on December 21, 1967, with further overdubs recorded on December 29 and 30, 1967. Webb takes the finished track to London to record Richard Harris’ vocals there. The finished song, consisting of four distinct movements clock in at seven minutes and twenty seconds, more than twice the length of the average hit single of that time. Initially, ABC/Dunhill Records is extremely hesitant to issue it as a single because of its length, but sense they have something special on their hands. One of the labels promotion men play a dub of the track for WABC Program Director Rick Sklar in April of 1968. When the staff of the station hears the song and reacts positively, Sklar agrees to put it in rotation. From its first airing, public response is overwhelmingly positive, forcing ABC/Dunhill to quickly scramble to get records pressed and into stores to meet demand. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on May 11, 1968, it peaks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 22, 1968. The accompanying album “A Tramp Shining” is also a major success, peaking at number four on the Billboard Top 200 on July 13, 1968. “MacArthur Park” becomes a pop standard, being recorded by numerous artists, including a cover version by Donna Summer that hits number one on the Hot 100 in November of 1978. “MacArthur Park” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Perhaps my favourite Prince song . . .this is a work of genius and the more I listen to it the more I hear in the arrangement. It is astonishing and at first the brain processes this is a mere pop song but listen to what is going on in the back ground and it will blow your socks off! We miss him! Extraordinary man and force of nature . . . . . . 


On this day in music history: April 22, 1985 - “Around The World In A Day”, the seventh studio album by Prince is released. Produced by Prince, it is recorded at the Flying Cloud Warehouse in Eden Prairie, MN, Mobile Audio Studio, St. Paul, MN, Sunset Sound and Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA from January - December 1984. The second album credited to Prince & The Revolution, it is issued only ten months after “Purple Rain”. Though Warner Bros wants Prince to continue to tour in support of his hugely successful album, to maximize its sales worldwide, Prince has other ideas. Bored with touring, the musician insists that his next album be released as soon as the last single from the previous album falls from the charts. The new album is the first in a number of musical departures that Prince takes in his career. Much of the albums first half has a distinctively psychedelic influence, with the rest being balanced out with funk, pop and gospel sounds. Initially it is released with minimal publicity and without a single until nearly a month later. Prince suggests that “Paisley Park” be the first single (which is released in the UK), but with US radio already giving “Raspberry Beret” heavy airplay as an LP cut, Warner Bros in the US insists that it be issued instead. The album receives favorable reviews, and a positive reaction from fans. It spins off three singles including “Raspberry Beret” (#2 Pop) and “Pop Life” (#7 Pop). The initial CD packaging of the album comes in a three panel cardboard long box that unfolds (showing the song lyrics, like the LP’s inner gatefold) with the actual CD inside of a mini cardboard sleeve (of the album cover artwork), inserted into a slot inside the longbox. This packaging is discontinued after the initial press run, and the CD comes in a regular jewel case on subsequent re-pressings. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued in September of 2016, replicating the original LP packaging and the “Balloon Boy” hype sticker.  “Around The World In A Day” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
For reasons best known to someone else we all went crazy when this came out . . . . . guitar obsessives maybe but it knocked us for six and many of my friends spent all their time trying to learn it . . . . . . . me not so much, though I appreciated it and yup, bought it when it came out

On this day in music history: April 22, 1968 - “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams is released. Written by Mason Williams, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the songwriter and musician from Abilene, TX. Listening to the radio avidly while growing up, Williams develops an interest in music. By the time he is in his teens, he joins his high school choir, also forming an acappella vocal group with fellow class mates. Graduating in 1956, he moves west to attend Los Angeles City College and study mathematics. Returning to home the following year to study at Oklahoma City University, Williams also decides to take a piano class along with his other courses. The teacher tells him bluntly “that he would never become a great musician, but would probably be able to play very well someday.” The statement is literally life changing, deciding to change his major from math to music. He finds his true musical calling when he buys an old Stella acoustic guitar for $13. A quick study, Williams is soon playing professionally and becomes immersed in the folk music movement, forming The Wayfarers Trio. Following a stint in the Navy in the early 60’s, Williams returns to music full time. Relocating to Los Angeles, he meets and befriends comedians Tom and Dick Smothers. Also working as a comedy writer, Mason is hired by the brothers in 1967 when CBS gives the duo their own comedy/variety show. Around the same time, he signs to Warner Bros Records, recording “The Mason Williams Phonograph Record”. Among the songs written for the album is an instrumental originally titled “Classical Gasoline”. However, the copyist writing down the musical notation shortens it to “Classical Gas”. Working with producer Mike Post (“Hill Street Blues”, “The Rockford Files”), the album is recorded in the Fall of 1967. Williams is backed by various members of The Wrecking Crew including Jim Gordon (drums), Lyle Ritz, Larry Knechtel, Bob West (bass), James Burton, Mike Deasy (guitar), Gayle Levant (harp) and Gary Coleman (percussion). When the album is released in February of 1968, the classical, baroque flavored instrumental begins receiving airplay while it is an album cut. Warner Bros releases it as a single and by the late Spring, “Classical Gas” takes flight. Entering the Hot 100 at #93 on June 22, 1968, it peaks at #2 six weeks later on August 3, 1968. “Classical Gas” wins three Grammy Awards for the virtuoso guitarist in 1969, including Best Instrumental Composition, Best Contemporary-Pop Performance, Instrumental, and Best Instrumental Arrangement. One of the most popular instrumentals of all time, Mason Williams’ original recording is widely used on regional TV news broadcasts and in films and television programs. The song is cited by music publishing society BMI, for having received more than six million plays on radio. Still active in music, Mason Williams presently lives in Oregon, dividing his time between performing and writing. 
There is a wonderful set from Calexico over at Big O this morning. I really like Calexico and the new album is great but live this is cool as . . . . . . .  
from Stuttgart last month and worth it for the Big O competition entry from the other week of the cover of Tom Petty song, the wonderful "Learning To Fly'  . . . . . . . sound quality is uniformly excellent


Enjoy!

I certainly did

Take the soft top out for a spin along the coast highway and play 'Ballad of Cable Hogue' real LOUD!*

* not to be confused with John Cale's song but both (presumably!) inspired by the Sam Peckinpah movie with Jason Robards and the gorgeous Stella Stevens







Sunday, April 22, 2018

A favourite . . . . . . check the piano playing, it's Nellie herself and she was known more for her rhythmic liquid jazz piano style than novelty records like this but I LOVE the song! Deed I do!


Loaded bought when it came out  . . . . . over here
Bought this when it came out and played it to death! I loved this album . . . . .'A Little Is Enough'  and this track were my favourite's, dedicated to his wife Karen and his kids and the Sex Pistols (sic?) the titular track being an allusion to the Sufi mystic poet Hafaz who Pete would have discovered through his devotions to guru avatar Meher Baba. [great for a sunny day here . . . and I would definitely end up dancing around the room in me pants]


On this day in music history: April 21, 1980 - “Empty Glass”, the debut solo album by Pete Townshend is released. Produced by Pete Townshend and Chris Thomas, it is recorded at Eel Pie Studios and AIR Studios in London from Late 1978 - Early 1980. The first solo release for the lead guitarist and chief songwriter of The Who features songs chronicling Townshend’s personal struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, and his marriage. It is a critical and commercial success upon its release, spinning off three singles including “Let My Love Open The Door” (#9 Pop) and “Rough Boys” (#89 Pop). In 2006, the album is remastered and reissued with four bonus tracks of demos and songs as works in progress. It is also reissued as a limited edition 180 gram clear vinyl LP in 2017. “Empty Glass” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.


Saturday, April 21, 2018