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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

advert break!

Now if you have been paying attention (WHO? ED) you will know I really enjoy NPR radio station and their Tiny Desk Concerts in particular.......they totally turned me on to Jacob Dylan, Neko Case and they have featured some of my favourite singers, songwriters and artists. The latest email featuring Steve Earle..........fantastic! BUT they have a download ability now....(wasn't it always there? ED) so I downloaded Richard Thompson, Adele (astonishing and such great fun...."I forgot to take my gloves off! Cackle!) and others....I am not going to post them here but rather encourage you to hop across and check them out
National Public Radio
update today! and I have been looking for a good quality boot of my hero Arthur Lee and Love for years...missed seeing him in Oxford where he was too ill to appear and got my money back.........which do you think I'd rather have done?
'Forever Changes' is in the top tem albums of all time for this listener.................

Check this form todays NPR update
 (26th April) Song of The Day
Arthur Lee- Freed from The Vaults

If you need further incentive here's the links

Steve Earle - Tiny Desk Concert

Adele - Tiny Desk Concert

Richard Thompson - Tiny Desk Concert

My First Tiny Desk Concert inspiration................

 Oh, Yes ......and Jimmy Cliff

Enjoy! Heck, SUBSCRIBE!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Is it me?!

Just been ruminating on the state of audiences lately at gigs and listening to a Leonard Cohen gig from last year (how come there's no Leonard on here? ED....."patience, patience, mon brave, there's loads to come" A.S.) Now after seeing Bob Dylan at The Roundhouse a couple of years back and being surprised to find drunken oafs and yobbos threatening us and generally taking the shine off things, I had been reflecting that people don't listen any more. The Cohen concert (Bowling Green Weisbaden Germany from 2010) is marred by being an audience tape which generally aren't worth the candle anymore because you can hear people inanely chattering throughout the concert.
Now I can't afford to go to many concerts and save up my money to have a special evening in the presence of my musical heroes, the last thing on my mind is wanting to chat to my pals as I am listening to a music concert.
The examples are now legion.
From the people determined to prove they are the bigger fan by clapping at the point they realise which number is being played....which is kind of traditional and even 'back in the day' (what does that mean? and where did it come from? ED) it irritated the heck out of me.......so they clap for longer and quicker than the next person, to idiots shouting out the artists name (like we don't know who we've gone to see!) requesting songs ("Nobody ever said to Van Gogh, 'Paint a Starry Night again, man!'" Joni Mitchell) but lately I have found the recording gear is so sensitive we have examples of people discussing the last time they saw the artist, 'what cheese did you bring' and whether they should have 'brought another bottle of wine' and whether it's the 'Merlot' or the cheaper vinegar they keep for visitors - I kid you not!

"You didn't come here for music did you? You came for something more, didn't you? You didn't come to rock'n'roll, you came for something else didn't you? You came for something else --WHAT IS IT?" Jim Morrison

Can you imagine going to see a classical master and folk all talk throughout? Do people turn up to the opera and talk incessantly all the way through? Did Bach have the same problem? Chopin? Schubert? Even today, does anyone got to see a Gavin Bryars concert to talk to their mates?
Oh so I'm a snob am I?
Well, it's about wanting to 'experience' the performance and wanting to hear what is being expressed isn't it? As such that's why we clap at the end, isn't it? When we have heard what our troubadours have to tell us. The type of music is irrelevant tho' I admit we never went to see the Sex Pistols for the ambience (or did we? ED) and the louder style of music is fine by me...try chattering through a Led Zeppelin concert or even the loudest gig I ever went to XTC playing Oxford. You COULDN'T have talked through it! So when the music is less er, boisterous I want to listen to what the poets and troubadours have to say to me! Bobby too has been struck by the 'visceral' reaction in recent years and none the worse for that but if you can hear your neighbour wondering whether he has put the cat out, whether he has brought the Yarg or the Wensleydale maybe someone should turn it up.
"Play it fucking loud!" eh, Bobby?
The chattering classes and the hooligan element that earns so much they can afford to just turn up to any gig mindless of who or what is on and drunkenly holler and shout at anything that moves. No matter some folks have travelled distance to come and see a concert performance, it's just another entertainment, vaudeville routine by their court jesters to temporarily take their minds off whatever terrible vicissitudes have caused them to stagger out into the night air to disctract from their sorry condition for a brief moment. May as well stay home drink a bottle of White Frightening and dance to the radio!
For me it's about respect and showing some regard for the artist's work. Above all I have come here to listen! Hey ho!
Just saying.....................

The Ole Curmudgeon ;o)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Just a head's up tonight....( I am back in my sick bed unsure as to what the heck is going on but feeling drained and weak.....huh?!) towards a little item from NPR (my favourite online radio station) . Now I grew up alongside Pentangle and the folk electro revival or whatever you want to call it.....the music of Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny and Pentangle, enthralled by these master musicians the voice of Jacqui McShee and Bert Jansch's guitar playing especially spoke to me but also the work of John Renbourn fascinated especially their work together with Pentangle with the legendary Danny Thompson on bass. Richard Thompson was a wonderment of course but somehow more since he went solo. NPR have a stream of a recent piece by John that is wonderful. It says it all at the site but here's a direct link....

John Renbourn - Renaissance Music
John Renbourn - Palermo Snow

More music and stuff soon when I get back on my feet......................say a little prayer

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Local girl (well local-ish Ed) Thea Gilmore is celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th birthday by releasing a cover album of John Wesley Harding.........and gigging to support the fact. Now I really like Thea Gilmore (no relation to either Dave [spelled differently] or Gary......;o) ) and have seen her live in Oxford where she was wonderful and she is a gifted singer with a heart wrenchingly achingly beautiful voice but also a song style and writer of great songs all her own. Here in her message the links to her release of the album (on eBay no less!) and the gig at the Union Chapel.....see you there?

Thea says:

"So hey did you know Bob Dylan turns 70 on May 24th...?

Yes that's right the 'three score years and ten' moment has arrived for Mr Zimmerman, AKA the Bard of Hibbing, AKA the man who inspired generations of folk like me that the way forward was with a six string acoustic and about five chords.

Oh yes and arguably the greatest songwriter ever.

Now I don't know about you but I'm rubbish at remembering to send cards... but still it seemed churlish to ignore the occasional altogether SO I've done two things

(1) I've taken this opportunity to record my own tribute to the man and the occasion, specifically I've re-recorded "John Wesley Harding" Bob's classic 1968 album. It's full of songs I connect with, some of which I've been singing live for years, so I bit the bullet and in a merry week in the studio cut the whole bloomin' lot. It's out on Fullfill Records on, you guessed it, week of May 24th. BUT You have a chance to get the album nearly 3 weeks early on my labels sneaky Ebay page: GO HERE to order your copy.

(2) I've decided to play Union Chapel, London on the night of May 24th, I'm gonna hold my own personal birthday party for Bob, I'm going to perform the whole album live, (plus no doubt a few more well chosen bits and Bobs... and maybe even some of my own stuff, you never know!)
I'm inviting some musical friends down to join me, and I'm gonna be backed by the band who played on the record, including stellar guitarist Robbie McIntosh (ex Pretenders, Paul McCartney, Norah Jones).

Wanna come? Tickets are now on sale HERE!!! and this is going to be an extremely special night, a musical birthday celebration like no other. (Cake and candles I'm still working on)

'Salute him when his birthday comes'. As someone once (almost) said.

See you there?

Thea xx

Need to add a link to my 'virtual' pal Dan's weblog as he found the Dylan gig from Beijing and it's a great one - check it out here........'Haven'
Bob in Beijing 6-4-2011

He has three video links too! THANKS DAN!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Couple of new ones this morning and they couldn't be more different..........the phenomena that is the voice of Adele with three (count 'em) singles currently in the top 40 didn't dissuade me that she is anything other than a fine fine voice.

We seem to have a strong tradition of coming up with uniquely strong voiced women.....I'm thinking Annie Lennox, Eddie Reader, Amy Winehouse, and their is an obvious link to Alison Moyet but also thinking about Linda Thompson, Christine Collister and somehow more pertinent Jools' beloved Ruby Turner. A great tradition to be added to I reckon. Seemingly universally enjoyed, I make no apology for sharing this concert from Paris a couple of nights ago...............I have also found a wonderful concert from the wonderful Hal's Progressive Rock Blog of the Magic Band playing the Liquid Rooms Edinburgh in 2004...........good quality and fine fine band as I have said previously the night in Oxford's 'Zodiac' was one of the best gigs I have been to in years

Over on the music page and the Beefheart page respectively..................

The Magic Band


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Jimi Hendrix' 'Are You Experienced' was a milestone for me and I bought it when it came out, so astonished was I that I took it to my local youth club and played it on the system there in it's entirety.... twice ......and during the second play to the assembled folk, open mouthed as I recall at the 'experience', I was set upon by the club bully and battered into a submissive cowering foetal position, crunched down between the benches and the rough stone wall having the top of my head battered until a friend of my older brother's lifted the bully off me by the scruff of his neck and seat of his pants, having determined I had received 'quite enough'. I never understood this reaction and such extraordinary critical comment from one of the older boys except in retrospect perhaps he felt threatened by the 'strangeness' of the sounds..........it still means a lot to me and 'Third Stone from The Sun' one of my favourite all time pieces of music of the era.

Though substantially 'different' it wasn't until 'Electric Ladyland' came out that anything similar happened (happily without any similar physical reaction)....I still have an almost photographic and auditory memory of the afternoon my friends, Leon and Leo, playing the album when their parent's were out, on their Dad's state-of-the-art Hi-Fi at full volume. Gobsmacked doesn't quite cover the experience but it will have to do. To say I had never heard anything like it, is, of course, shared now by so many true Hendrix fans that we have shared across the years since. Nothing that I can recall had quite the same effect then or since. As contemporary music went it was peerless, sublime and a wonderment of nature, art & music culture. I should point out perhaps that while both brothers were fine guitarists it was Leo who had the exceptional talent to be able to learn all of Hendrix's work as it appeared and to be able to play anything pretty much. Now I know there are people out there who THINK they can play like Hendrix but Leo stood as the only person I have ever met who could play as Jimi played note for note. He got it! He could play other stuff too and was a wonderful guitarist and simply the best I have ever heard then or since. An abiding memory is of he and his wife Michelle singing Nick Drake's 'Time  Has Told Me' finger style and lovely too.  We went through an awful lot of stuff together. So it is to Leo's memory I dedicate these bootlegs today to his then wife, Michelle and their fantastic children and of course to his brother Leon who is still a friend somehow since we were about ten years old, this is for him too................. see over on the my back pages page..........

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

OK (that's better. Ed) now I am still suffering a cold and virus and we are all at home in bed so I have snuck (what? It's a word!) downstairs to try to post some Bobby that Sealy hasn't got! Now the catch with this is that I have absolutely no idea what he may not have........but I'll have a go....check the latest, Dave over on the Bobby page........


Monday, April 04, 2011

Before I crawl off up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire............there's news just in from the wonderful NPR about Paul Simon's new album....apparently his best since 'Graceland'! If true I would check it out immediately. Praise indeed....and thus far it's sounding pretty damn fine to me....the wonderful 'Afterlife ' and 'Dazzling Blue' standing out after a first listen..............

Listen to it here in its entirety or track by track.......................

Paul Simon new album 'So Beautiful or So What? - listen to it here

So anyway ( Oh DO shut up! Ed) I am sorry I have a cold.....cue 'my Hovercraft is full of eels' reference......(oh DO get on with it! Ed) ...OK.......OK.....so I have just got up and its late in the afternoon and my head is full of rocks and people shouting and banging lump hammers.....my good lady wife is ill in bed too (She is NEVER ill! I'm the one who gets man-flu, so you can tell its serious)........ and I have received a lovely email from a virtual friend in the USA saying lovely things. Now we are both big Dylan fans (which is how I got in touch with most of the music forums that for reasons best know to them selves have now barred me........Over enthusiasm being one purported reason - go figure!)  I found myself listening to Nashville Skyline Rag as it cheers me up. So I dedicate this Dylan boot to Penelope K!
Now there are loads of versions of this flying around the t'nternet but hopefully you'll agree this is a good one. The version of Nashville Skyline Rag is better than the one on the album IMHO

 Over in the usual place people.........(that'll be the Dylan page....?" Ed)

and just for a treat there's another legendary quality boot -  four discs of Bobby at The Supper Club 1993


Saturday, April 02, 2011

New mewsic postings this weekend people.....are:

Bob Dylan - House of the Blues Dallas Texas 2008
and his
truly breathtaking set from the Irving Plaza, New York 1997
...............over on the Bobby page (funnily enough...Ed.)

also some more contemporary sounds from:
Stephen Fretwell live in the Arts Centre Colchester 2009
 (with added 'heckler fan par excellence')

Jay Bennett & Ed Birch (from Wilco) Live in Seattle 2002
that I found on Big O who said at the time:

          "Jay Bennett, a member of Wilco from 1994 to 2001, died in his sleep on May 24, 2009. The multi-instrumentalist, engineer, producer and singer-songwriter was 45.

Since April, Bennett had been dealing with intense pain from a hip injury suffered during a dive from the stage while playing with his group Titanic Love Affair. At the beginning of May, Bennett filed a lawsuit against Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy for breach of contract and unpaid artist’s royalties. 

Just after he left Wilco, Bennett teamed up with multi-instrumentalist Edward Burch and released The Palace At 4am (Part 1) in 2002. In a Rolling Stone review, Evan Schlansky wrote: “Eschewing much of Palace’s pent-up pop orchestration, Bennett takes the role of cracked-voiced troubadour, with acoustic guitars providing much of the album’s backbone… Don’t worry though - he hasn’t completely sworn off the mellotron. Bennett’s weary baritone is the weakest instrument here, but his gift for melody is obvious, and worth returning for.” [For those who need convincing, check out Disc One’s Puzzle Heart.]

On the other hand, a Bennett fan blogged: “Brimming with alt.country perfection, this CD is great. Some Wilco fans even argue that this should be the follow up to Summerteeth instead of the overly indie-avant garde Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Where with YHF, you can kind of feel where the country in alt.country comes in, on Bennett’s CD the country is worn on his sleeve.”

Taking the album on the road in 2002, Bennett and Burch practically perform the entire Palace At 4am album live at the Tractor Tavern. Here’s to the memory of Bennett.

Paolo Nutini live in Dunfermline 2009

Both available over on the my music page......

Have a great weekend people!

 .......and hey! Lets' Be Careful Out There!