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

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Ok OK, so its that time again and this year is no exception in terms of celebrating our inability to count (sic!) the Swappers Winter Hamper and all its glorious contents 80, THAT'S EIGHTY Seasonal Tracks fer yew. Now I don't know about you but I have posted these in my Dropbox so drop by and see (ha haaar).....I don't know about dropbox and it's availablity but I think you can play them as the copyright issue surely makes it unreasonable to download?!
But have a go and see......its a great selection from Bob Dylan to Kate Rusby, John Fahey to Mike Heron (yes yes I KNOW it's the Feast if Stephen AGAIN but I adore it and it is my favourite song of the season...... ) Enjoy! And remember, go buy the albums after you have found something you like......you know it makes sense and is the ENTIRE purpose of my sharing any music anywhere, now then or in the future!  So to all you file sharing sites who booted me off this year and to the Forums who castigated my use of language and saw fit to banish me to the outer nether regions of t'Interwebnetdom. here's my annual message from Castle Keep chez Swappers Mansions

Merry Wassnames and A Happy New Thingummy!

 and Stay Cool Won't you!?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

R.I.P  Ed Cassidy

On December 6, 2012, (drummer) Ed Cassidy, one of the founding members of Spirit, died of cancer in San Jose, CA at the age of 89. And with his passing, the group has formally entered the history books. Randy California had drowned in 1997. California had legally acquired the band name Spirit in 1974 and he and stepfather Cassidy had stuck together till his death. Drummer for The Rising Sons with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder his roots were in Jazz and had played in bands all over until he split to form Spirit

I grew up on the 'Rock Machine Turns You On' compilations and it had Spirit and Moby Grape on and the songs  'Fresh Garbage' and 'I Gotta Line On You' were amongst my favourites in my youth!
Weirdly somehow they played the basement of a local pub the Penny Farthing near to MOMAO when I worked there years ago now and we went across and enjoyed the set....it being great if extremely odd, to see them all still going........

I Got a Line on You......................... Big O has a set here SPIRIT- Cooper River Park Be-In, Camden NJ 1990

Check the drumming on these two versions........ Fresh Garbage from 1984
Can ya dig it? I think you can........... Purists like me want the original? Oh Ok then.........takes me right back flashback! I loved him cos anyone with the name Cassidy was cool and I always assumed that he was a relative of Neil and Jack.....and in a way he was......Rest In Peace Ed

Monday, December 10, 2012


Now here's a turn up for the books . . . . .a Van the Man boot and an interview in relation to the new album 'Born to Sing/No Plan B' we don't see enough of the man bootwise......but this is interesting for the interview alone! When DID you last read an interview!????

Van Morrison World Exclusive: In his most revealing interview ever the legend opens his heart to John Bennett 

Wunderful stuff . . . . . Get the album here . . .

Thursday, December 06, 2012

 The Groobin' Stooves - 2nd Night in London

 From Big O (where else? ED)
The Rolling Stones - O2 Arena 2nd Night 

Better than the first night I reckon but you tell me . . . . . . . . .!?

Dear friend,

As a therapist and member of the BACP, I am extremely concerned about recent events and developments regarding 'gay cures' so called and especially their effect on my profession. I just signed a petition to put a stop to phony gay "cures" happening right now in Australia and the UK - as part of a global tour of treatment sessions.

This has to stop. These gay "cures" are extremely dangerous and so damaging it drives many to self-harm and even suicide. The governments of France and Argentina have already taken action as part of this campaign. There are sessions planned in 8 more countries, including Australia and the UK. But we can stop this awful practice. 

The next session is starting on Sunday, there is no time to lose. Will you sign this petition to stop gay "cures" now?


Friday, November 30, 2012


well not that I've actually been intraction (so you're lying then? ED) well it's the thought that counts.....er, I mean it's poetic license.....(Have you got one of those cos let's face it your driving licence didn't help you much did it?! ED) Oh shut up! Let me get on with it now I have permission to type and am back on the full-time work situation I need to catch the guys up with some Zimmy and some Groobin Stooves!

Annnnnyhooo, here's the link of links to the last concert of the year 2012 of Neverending Tour for 
His Bobness!
This from the concerts with The Sultan Of Swing hisself, Mark Knopfler

Now, I have not checked this out yet but Big O says the following so you have been warned . . . . . Chuck Armstrong wrote at ultimateclassicrock.com:

Less than half an hour after [support act Mark] Knopfler’s performance, Dylan and his band walked out on-stage and immediately broke into 1967’s You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere. As typical with any Dylan performance, there was no chit-chat with the audience, only rocking song after rocking song. The only time Dylan took a break from the music was to introduce his band, which consisted of long-time members like bassist Tony Garnier and drummer George Receli, as well as pedal steel guitarist Donnie Herron, guitarist Stu Kimball and a legend in his own right, guitarist Charlie Sexton. Dylan’s set included classic tracks like Highway 61 Revisited and Tangled Up in Blue, and he also jammed on two brand new tracks from his latest studio album, Tempest - Early Roman Kings and Soon After Midnight. Playing mainly on a grand piano, Dylan also spent some time behind an electric piano as well as showing off his phenomenal mouth harp skills with his harmonica. From Knopfler joining Dylan and his band onstage for a handful of songs to the encore of the one and only tune, Blowin’ in the Wind, Dylan’s final scheduled performance of 2012 exceeded expectations. Fans might also want to search out a copy of the JF Master version of this show. While it is also an audience recording, Dylan’s vocals are clearer and the sound is much brighter. Unfortunately, the original uploader does not allow it to be shared lossy.

For those of you not happy with trying to scrape around in the penny jar to raise your £950 for a Stones ticket to watch a bunch of septuagenarian's looning around through the wrong end of a looking glass here the MEWSIC!

 Ladies and Gentlemen, the Oldest Rock n Roll Band in the World . . . . . .


I dedicate these two boots to the memory of my dear dear friend Stephen Blackman who rekindled my waning interest in both Bob and the Groobers some years ago now so that we became obsessed (again)and as I have mentioned we went to see His Bobness at The Roundhouse gig back in 2009. 

I miss you Stevie everyday.........

Saturday, November 17, 2012


The Democratic Party has won the election and the privilege to sit in power while the US economy crumbles bit by bit over the next four years. Watch the tea leaves with Michael Hudson.
The Democrats could not have won so handily without the Citizens United ruling. That is what enabled the Koch Brothers to spend their billions to support right-wing candidates that barked and growled like sheep dogs to give voters little civilized option but to vote for “the lesser evil.”
This will be President Obama’s epitaph for future historians. Orchestrating the election like a World Wrestling Federation melodrama, the Tea Party’s sponsors threw billions of dollars into the campaign to cast the President’s party in the role of “good cop” against stereotyped opponents attacking women’s rights, Hispanics and nearly every other hyphenated-American interest group.
In Connecticut, Senate candidate Linda McMahon spent a reported US$97 million (including her earlier ego trip) to make her Democratic challenger look good. It was that way throughout the country. Republicans are pretending to wring their hands at their defeat, leaving the Democrats to beat up their constituency and take the blame four years from now.
Obama’s two presidential victories represent an object lesson about how the 1% managed to avoid rescuing the economy - and especially his own constituency - from today’s rush of wealth to the top. Future political analysts will see this delivery of his voters to his Wall Street campaign contributors control as his historical role.

Republicans are pretending to wring their hands at their defeat, leaving the Democrats to beat up their constituency and take the blame four years from now.

In the face of overwhelming voter opposition to the Bush-Cheney policies, the President has averted popular demands to save the economy from the 1%. Instead of sponsoring the hope and change he promised by confronting Wall Street, the pharmaceutical and health care monopolies, the military-industrial complex and big oil and gas, he has appeased them as if There is No Alternative.
If the Republicans are correct in accusing President Obama of steering America along the “European” course, it is not really socialism. It is neoliberal financial austerity, Greek style. His task over the next two months is to avoid using deficit spending to revive the economy.
The neoliberals whom he appointed as a majority on the Simpson-Bowles Commission already have inflated their trial balloon claiming that the government must balance the budget by slashing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not by restoring progressive taxation. My UMKC colleague Bill Black calls this the Great Betrayal. “Only a Democrat can make it politically safe for Republicans, who hate the safety net, to unravel it” he notes. [1]
Having appointed the Bowles-Simpson commission members who seek to shift the tax burden off business onto consumers, the President will pave the way for Bush-type privatization. In his first debate with Mitt Romney, Mr Obama assured his audience that they were in agreement on the need to balance the budget (his euphemism for scaling back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid). By christening this “the Great Bargain,” President Obama has refined Orwellian doublethink. It is as if George Orwell went to work on Madison Avenue.
Four years ago, the economy stood at a potential turning point in the war of finance against labor and industry, President Obama could have mobilize public support for politicians willing to rescue hopes for prosperity. He could have appointed a Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve chairman who would have used the government’s majority control of Citibank, Bank of America and other “troubled asset” holders to take these into the government sector to provide a public option.

Having been elected with an enormous voter mandate, Mr Obama could have reversed the sharp polarization between creditors who were pushing the 99%, industry and real estate, cities and states deeper into financial distress. Instead, his policies have enabled the 1% to monopolize 93% of America’s income gains since the 2008 financial crisis.

He could have written down debts to payable levels at only a fraction of the cost that was spent on rescuing Wall Street. Obama’s political genius was to avoid doing this and nonetheless keep his “street cred” as paladin defending the 99% rather than the 1%.
Having been elected with an enormous voter mandate, Mr Obama could have reversed the sharp polarization between creditors who were pushing the 99%, industry and real estate, cities and states deeper into financial distress. Instead, his policies have enabled the 1% to monopolize 93% of America’s income gains since the 2008 financial crisis.
At a potential turning point in the direction the American economy was taking, rescue and change were averted. We have seen what will stand as a classic example of cynical Orwellian doublethink. Promising hope and change four years ago, President Obama’s role was to hold back the tide and divert voter pressure for change.
He rescued the financial sector and the 1%, and sponsored the Republican privatization of health care instead of the public option, and to take $13 trillion onto the government balance sheet in the form of junk mortgages, largely fraudulent loans held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ($5.2 trillion alone) and other casino capitalist gambles gone bad. Mr Obama was Wall Street’s white knight.
The trick was to get re-elected as a Democrat rather than as a Republican sponsoring a health care plan crafted by the Koch Brothers’ Cato Institute, and putting Wall Street bank lobbyists in charge of the Treasury and (de)regulatory agencies. As a Blue Dog Democrat, how was President Obama made to look better than the alternative?

Big fish eat little fish, and the 1% are devouring the 99%. Those who describe how this is happening are accused of class war… What is collapsing is the idea of equity and fairness in the economy - and in the politicians that are remaking markets to benefit the 1%.

The answer is clear by looking at the alternatives being offered. The Republicans have played ball. They call him a socialist - not too far fetched when we look at how Europe’s Socialist, Social Democrat and Labour parties are backing austerity and supporting anti-labor policies, privatization sell-offs and other neo-oligarchic policies. That is what socialism seems to mean these days.
While corporate profits are recovering nicely, most peoples’ savings and the net worth of their homes are down. This is not economically sustainable. Something has to give - and voters are afraid that it will be their wages and savings. As corporate pensions plans are being cut back or reduced in bankruptcy, their under-funding suggests that debts to retirees will not be honored - only those to Wall Street. Big fish eat little fish, and the 1% are devouring the 99%. Those who describe how this is happening are accused of class war.
It is not the old fashioned class war of industry against employees. It is a war of finance against the entire economy. And as Warren Buffett has noted, the financial class is winning. Instead of breaking up the banks, the five largest “Too Big to Fail” banks have grown even larger. With support from the White House, they used their TARP bailout money to buy smaller banks, turning the financial sector into a vast monopoly that is busy privatizing the election process so as to hold the government hostage.
What is collapsing is the idea of equity and fairness in the economy - and in the politicians that are remaking markets to benefit the 1%. Most voters opposed the bank bailouts of 2008. The Republicans were politically savvy enough not to vote for it, so that they could strike a populist stance. But Mr Romney has not picked up this line of attack, even though it might have enabled him to defeat a president in whom much of whose constituency has lost confidence.
There is disillusionment and many young people, minorities and the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” have been busy writing op-eds and blogs that this time they were going to “vote with their backsides” - by staying home. And that is pretty much what the election returns showed. Their complaint is that President Obama has broken nearly every campaign promise he made to voters - but not a single promise he made to his big campaign contributors!

That is the essence of being a politician today: to deliver one’s constituency of voters to the campaign contributors. In this respect Barack Obama is America’s version of Tony Blair; or alternatively, Margaret Thatcher and Neville Chamberlain rolled into one. We need a new word to describe this - something more than simply “irony.”

That is the essence of being a politician today: to deliver one’s constituency of voters to the campaign contributors. In this respect Barack Obama is America’s version of Tony Blair; or alternatively, Margaret Thatcher and Neville Chamberlain rolled into one. We need a new word to describe this - something more than simply “irony.”
It’s not just Mr Obama, of course. It’s the Democratic Party leadership. So here’s the litmus test to watch: On what committee and at what rank will the Senate put Elizabeth Warren?
Will she be named head of the Senate Banking Committee? Will she even be on it? Is she an embarrassment to Democratic fund-raisers on Wall Street - or window dressing to help give the impression that the Party really is other than crypto-Republican.
What inspired the Occupy Wall Street movement a year ago was a spontaneous protest against not only President Obama but also the Democratic Party for its lack of real effort to stem the right-wing tide. The Democrats did not rush to the OWS defense, although some operatives tried to jump in front of the parade and steer it into the usual liberal blind alley. (They did not succeed!) Voters have expressed a wish for just the opposite policy than the Democrats’ rightward turn, but the American political system excludes third parties, not being based on proportional representation as in Europe.
“By their fruits ye shall know them.” The Democrats took labor unions, minorities and middle class voters for granted because they had nowhere else to go, thanks to Mitt Romney giving Mr Obama wide room to move to the right wing of the political spectrum. This is the political wrestling match that is being scripted.

A new title is needed for a new pro-labor, anti-militarist coalition that would restore the spirit of true reform, progressive taxation and the rule of law (that is, throw financial crooks in jail).

We can see the denouement. As in Britain, unionized public-sector labor is being singled out. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff, showed his colors (and incensed Progressive Democrats) last week by signing a contract with the contractor of about 350 airport maintenance workers to cut back their wages by up to $5 an hour (from $15 to $10).
How will the “Not Blue Dog” Democrats respond? Will Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin and Alan Grayson in the Senate and House take on the President in opposing austerity and the appointment of yet more Wall Street lobbyists to his cabinet?
Here’s the dilemma the American president faces: Markets are shrinking, and consumers are having to repay debts they earlier took on during the heady Bubble Economy that crashed in 2008. Paying down these debts leaves less to spend on goods and services. Labor productivity is soaring - but not wages. While the bailout economy’s fruits are going to profits and paid out as interest and dividends, neoliberals are demanding that the retirement age be raised, not lowered, and that work hours be lengthened more, not shortened. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s helicopter only hovers over Wall Street, not the rest of the economy.
The middle class that voted so strongly for Mr Obama four years ago is being squeezed. To describe their plight, I expect the next four years to see the spread of a fresh vocabulary to describe what is happening: debt deflation and neofeudalism, while the classic terms rentier and oligarchy may become popular once again.
But neither party will use these words. Only a third party can do that. Right now its potential members are called “Independents.” A new title is needed for a new pro-labor, anti-militarist coalition that would restore the spirit of true reform, progressive taxation and the rule of law (that is, throw financial crooks in jail). The problem the economy faces is how to revive wages and consumer demand, and to write down personal debts, not government debt. Mr Obama has joined with the Republicans in perverting the vocabulary to pretend that government is the problem, not his campaign contributors on Wall Street.
Note: Michael Hudson’s new book summarizing his economic theories, “The Bubble and Beyond,” is available on Amazon. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. He can be reached via h@michael-hudson.com. The above article was posted at CounterPunch.

Monday, November 05, 2012


Big O says ( for it is they!) 

Live at the Voodoo Experience, City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana; October 26, 2012. Excellent webcast.
The upside is that Neil Young & Crazy Horse are on a roll - they are on fire. The downside is that, given Young’s catalogue, he could have played a much more varied set. But this is still a great time to collect live Neil Young - the sound is great and the performances are equally great.
This is what Keith Spera (NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune) wrote:
In their jeans, T-shirts and work boots, accented by gray, thinning hair, glasses and/or a paunch, the four members of Neil Young & Crazy Horse looked like the guys who constructed Voodoo Fest’s main stage. Instead, they were the guys who deconstructed it… Young, bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina and rhythm guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro muscled through two exhilarating hours of especially stout guitar rock. If Gary Clark Jr. was a fighter jet at Voodoo, Crazy Horse was a squadron of B-52 bombers…
In his book, Young revealed that he had, on a doctor’s suggestion, given up both pot and alcohol after a lifetime of indulging. A clear head apparently agrees with him. He was animated, laughing and clowning with his bandmates in “Fuckin’ Up” and elsewhere. And his playing, concentrated at the middle and far end of his guitar’s neck, was superb…
At 11 pm, as an encore of “Like a Hurricane” blew itself out, Young sacrificed his guitar. He tore off the strings, scratching them against the instrument’s pickups to produce more distortion. As the guitar lay prone, he contemplated it and nudged it with his foot, as if to see whether it was really dead. It was. In one of the greatest Voodoo sets to date, Young, abetted by Crazy Horse, played it to death.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse Oct 26th 2012

 Remember remember the 5th of November and if possible blow up the Houses of Parliament while you're about it!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Hindsight is a dangerous thing as witnessed by the recent grilling of the new Head of the BBC re: the Savile Debacle

 Some setting of context is required . . . . Most of us of a certain age knew/know most of this . . .Gilbert Harding, Kenneth Williams (Julian & Sandy on 'Round the Horne' et al thinly veiled 'gay' speak of Polari that I adored and still do!) but is it dangerous to associate homosexuality (when it was illegal remember) with perversion that saw Joe Orton & pals feel that 12 was a bit too young for their boys but 14 year olds were fine!

 There is a notion that homosexuality and paedophilia are somehow linked and they aren't but it also seems to me that public school, boarding school traditions makes for the buggery of school boys for one, part of a culture that lends the lowest common denominator of moral behaviour to be taken for granted, 'schoolboys will do that don't cha know' - Lord of the Flies anyone?

 There are recent accounts of all sorts of 'actors', being known for such moral turpitude; the predatory lesbianism of Comic Actress (P.R.) for example . . .as one new female runner was warned not to get in a lift with her for fear of her legendary reputation of aggressive groping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .when friends went to TOTP studio we all knew Jimmy Savile was a creep and a "DJ" therefore beneath contempt, not a real artist or "star", but what about John Peel? We worshipped HIM! First wife 15 years old and girlfriends later not much older and often spoken about as funny, for after all we were all that age too! But dear old Auntie Beeb transported these people to stardom . . . . . .

Brilliant article here obtained from B3ta ezine. . .

 "Light entertainment: our paedophile culture" by Andrew O'Hagan (London Review of Books) http://cdn.lrb.co.uk/v34/n21/andrew-ohagan/light-entertainment 

 Brilliant article placing the current 'hysteria' in some context. Who's guilty? Why we all are!

Friday, November 02, 2012


For the sixth Crypt Covers, the most excellent 'Hope & Social' were joined by wunderbar Wonderband, "Wilful Missing". The idea behind the #cryptcovers is to attempt to record a cover track, chosen by the fans, in just one day.
I spent WAY too long thinking about what song they could cover and thought of all sorts of arty and interesting titles they might successful do together and really I shouldn't have worried.......what else would they come up with? ...........  .............why it stands to reason..........Who ya gonna call?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012



From Big O (where else? ED....no actually Swappers do you even check other websites?)

$ingaporeans have never experienced a storm. Yet its roads are regularly flooded, albeit for about an hour, when rainfall is heavy. These floods, called ponding by the $ingapore government, have become regular affairs since 2010. Wikipedia has the details. We should look at New York City now to see what a “once-in-50-years” type flood really looks like.
By 2 am on the morning of October 30, 2012, USA Today reported:
An estimated 5.7 million people in seven states were without power early Tuesday morning across the East and at least 14 deaths had been confirmed as mega storm Sandy swept across the region.
New York City took the brunt of Sandy’s wrath Monday night as a wide swath of the USA’s most populous city was hit by a storm surge that caused widespread flooding and power outages. Early Tuesday morning multiple fires burned in New York’s Queens borough, with local TV reported that firefighters were unable to reach some of them due to flooding and power outages.
Sandy was no longer a hurricane by the time it slammed into the south New Jersey coast at 8 p.m. ET Monday. Now designated a “post-tropical cyclone” by the National Hurricane Center, the 900-mile storm remains deadly, destructive and likely to cripple much of the East coast for several days.
By 7:45 am: An estimated 6.2 million people in seven states were without power across the East and at least 16 deaths had been confirmed. President Obama has declared New York and Long Island federal disaster areas.

+ + + + +

Lower Manhatten black out (via @nicksummers).
Picture posted at zerohedge.com.

Brooklyn. Picture by doorsixteen, posted at alternet.org.

This photo from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
shows water innudating a PATH station in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Posted at alternet.org.

A vehicle is submerged on 14th Street near the Consolidated Edison
power plant in New York. Picture by John Minchillo,
posted at usatoday.com.

Manhattan. Picture by Kevin Hagen, posted at online.wsj.com.

The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel is flooding… (via @NewsBreaker),
posted at zerohedge.com.

Carey Tunnel (previously the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel).
Picture by Andrew Burton, posted at ctpost.com.

New York Avenue C and 13th Street (via iWitness Weather),
posted at zerohedge.com.

Lower Manhattan. Picture by @HobokenGirlBlog,
posted at alternet.org.

14th Street, New York. Picture posted at ctpost.com.

Lower Manhattan. Picture by Ray Wert, posted at alternet.org.

Streets are flooded under the Manhattan Bridge in the Dumbo section
of Brooklyn. Picture by Bebeto Matthews, posted at ctpost.com.

Entire front of the buildling blown off. Picture by @MegRobertson,
posted at alternet.org.

Transformer explodes in New York (14th Street).
Picture by George Weld, posted at telegraph.co.uk.

Lower east side (via David Schulz). Picture posted at zerohedge.com.

Connecticut wave, picture shared by Ernie Clark.

Atlantic City. Picture posted at ctpost.com.

North Michigan Avenue in Atlantic City. Picture by Michael Ein,
posted at latimes.com.

Dodging the rain and waves in Marshfield, Massachusetts.
Picture posted at cnn.com.

Cape May, New Jersey. Picture by Mel Evans, posted at latimes.com.

Coastal area damaged by surge. Picture posted at bbc.co.uk.
+ + + + +

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My avid readers (ha ha ha....huh? ED) will have noted my passion for the work of John Prine, I have pretty much everything I can lay my hands on and really admire his songwriting skills...he introduced me to the broader work of Steve Goodman the author of 'City of New Orleans' a favourite evocative song which I first head via Arlo Guthrie ( I went through a massive Arlo phase around the time of 'Alice's Restaurant' and still admire him) so here I am especially pleased to note a posting (from Big O? ED) of a Steve Goodman set........
This includes a BBC set from 1976

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blimey! Mo'  Neil! 
Big O are rapidly encouraging the Neil Young posts to turn into an equivalent to Bobby 'His Zimmyness' Dylan's Neverending Tour and posting gigs almost as soon as they have happened!

Neil Young and Crazy Horse 

(13th October Austin Texas)

Big O says . . . .

Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s current tour continue to charge along.
Here are some comments at thrasherswheat.org:
It’s obvious that Poncho and Billy are fully aware that Ramada Inn may be one of the best songs Neil ever wrote, and it’s obviously a blast for them to play it. Poncho is pushing Neil - something I don’t recall before. But the band appears to actually be challenging Neil to take it to a higher level - love it. LUV IT. - Anonymous
You just missed what may be the best version of Down By The River ever recorded - ever. - Anonymous
This is what Hector Saldana blogged at mysanantonio.com:
One of rock’s greatest icons, a symbol of ’60s hope and a hero to punk and grunge rockers, Neil Young took the Bud Light Stage with his garage band, Crazy Horse, and unapologetically jammed over extended and inspired set. Donning a Willie Nelson cap (before throwing it into the crowd after two songs) and dressed in a T-shirt, ragged jeans and armed with his battered signature black Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, Young played with fire, opening with “Love and Only Love,” a relentless two-chord workout followed by the Civil War death saga “Powderfinger.”
Nothing was as haunting and hopeful than “Walk Like a Giant,” its inspirational, sometimes broken tone born of weary wisdom about political winds changing. For longtime fans, Young delivered the acoustic “The Needle and the Damage Done” and stinging electric stabs at “Cinnamon Girl” and “Down By the River” - and his mantra “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black).”
There's also a nice BBC set from Mumford & Sons for you young trendies out there (well none of THEM will be coming across here Ha ha ha ha . . . ED) In the Live Lounge in Maida Vale for the Fearne Cotton show


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mo' Neil...

from Big O,    of course...... (yawn..... ED)

I HAD to include this bit of text from blogger Rambler . . . . . . . . 
This is what the Rambler blogged:
Call me a sentimentalist, but for a rock and roll show, there were a couple of poignant moments during the concert I attended last night.
The first came during Young’s second acoustic solo number, a new song called Twisted Road from the soon-to-be-released album Psychedelic Pill. The lyrics to this song sound like an excerpt from his memoir Waging Heavy Peace, as he recalls the moment when he first heard Bob Dylan sing Like A Rolling Stone and recounts other musical memories. He sounded almost wistful as he sang it, but though there was sentiment, he sounded sincere, more like an old man looking back on his youth than one attempting to re-live it.
The next poignant moment came at the end of the set, and with this one I admit I may be projecting, but I’ll share it with you anyway. Young and Crazy Horse played an uncompromising version of Hey Hey, My My. In the bombastic, protracted ending of the song, as they hit power chord after distorted power chord, Neil repeats these lines from the chorus, in a way I haven’t heard on previous recordings of the song:

once you’re gone,
you can never come back
once you’re gone
once you’re gone

In those words, sung in that way, almost as a coda to one of his most famous and iconic songs ever, I thought I heard the Neil Young I met in his memoir, thinking of the people he’s loved and lost, the good friends who helped him become the man he is today, including several who have died. The words were half-spoken, half-sung, chant-like. It was only a moment in a two-hour concert, but for me it was the moment that stands out and the one I will remember the most.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

  Gil Scott-Heron


From Big O - October 14, 2012 – 4:20 am
On May 27, 2011, poet, spoken-word artist, musician and author Gil Scott-Heron died in New York. He was 62. Randy Shields still remembers the man.
The commanding voice that named the names, that directed a musical letter of rage (air mail special) to whitey on the moon, and lived to see a revolt (if not a revolution) televised from Egypt, has died. Gil Scott-Heron died at age 62 in NYC’s St. Luke’s Hospital.
I don’t know what age I was when I first heard Scott-Heron wittily and boldly lambasted Nixon and Spearhead Agnew and Ronnie Raygun and Attilla the Haig and Marlin Perkins and Papa Doc Bush - they and their America didn’t mean shit to him (and me and millions of other Americans) and it felt damned good to hear it. One of his favorite targets was Americans’ greatest religious experience: getting something for nothing - specifically, the ripping off of black art, music and culture by (mostly) white capitalists while its creators often died paupers.
He declined the title of “Godfather of Rap” and it was easy to see why. I was blown away by NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” the first couple weeks I listened to it - the anger, the violence, fighting back against racist cops, the clarity about who your enemies are, the cheapness of life worn like a badge. But I found that I couldn’t keep listening to it indefinitely - the music, especially, was both depressing and boring.
And that’s what Gil Scott-Heron and his brilliant longtime collaborator Brian Jackson figured out: they created a poetic, free-flowing, typically flute and percussion-driven platform for Scott-Heron’s AK-47 mouth to artistically and scathingly say that America was a racist war-loving hypocritical slag heap, deluded by fake movies, fake history, fake images and fake media.
Scott-Heron and the multi-instrumentalist Jackson fused and maxed out beat poetry and music to what they always should have been, with fabulous hypnotic grooves and the occasional tasty solo. Scott-Heron ra-ta-tatted against injustice, but you kept on listening, for decades, because the hooks and creativity are always present whether moving through funk, soul, R&B, free jazz, African or Caribbean beats. Drugs, violence, poverty, inequality, opportunistic “leaders” and sellouts, addiction, defeat and lives that never got off the ground were frequent subjects. But the really unforgivable sin was musical boredom.
In his prime, Scott-Heron shouted that the emperors were not only stark naked but stark raving mad. He had empathy for people struggling against addiction and poverty and whenever you have empathy - artistically, personally, politically - it will lead you to a better place. And this is another difference between Scott-Heron and many of the rappers he is alleged to have inspired.
Empathy begat the anger. I dispute that most of the rappers I hear are angry - if they were, they would be totally revulsed by Barack Obama. How empathetic are Americans, in general, when they acquiesce to the nonstop killing of innocents all over the world - they may think they are angry or that their backs are against the wall but these are largely the cries of the alienated, unconnected and passive, satisfied as debt-slaves with iTrinkets and currently presided over by MC Obummer, an astounding master of, as it turns out, killing hope.
I saw Scott-Heron perform three years ago at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. To see the creator of “Storm Music” and “The Bottle” perform in an intimate club was a thrill. He had a voice and presence that you paid attention to - his baritone was born to deliver Shakespeare, as bassist Ron Carter once said.
He and his rockin’ pianist, blistering lefty lead player and the smoking rhythm section were so relentlessly good that I didn’t even miss my favorite song, “Storm Music,” or “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” The new songs, from “I’m New Here,” were instantly embraced. And “The Bottle” swung mightily that night. And he was hilarious, both that night and on his recorded offhand pot shots against the ruling class, something that isn’t often noted when he’s written about.
That Philly show fell in a time period, the fall of 2009, where I also saw James McMurtry and Iris DeMent. Interestingly (maybe) is that Scott-Heron did not perform “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,” DeMent did not perform “Wasteland of the Free,” and McMurtry did not play “We Can’t Make It Here,” all absolutely classic songs pointedly critical of America.
I’m sure these artists had different reasons for not playing these tunes but I took it as a bad omen. The impression it made on me was that now that the Big Bad Bush was gone it was time to STFU about America. It was time to start feeling good about America because an uncouth goon from Texas was replaced by a smooth-talking intelligent Wall Street stooge.

So, after two years of Obama, I mused: the working class of America, especially blacks, can get as much action on their concerns by sending a letter to whitey on the moon as they can from having America’s first black president in the White House.

Protest and anger were uncool. Nothing as pseudo-glorious as Reagan’s Morning (Thunder) in America but, rather, some weak-ass liberal Sleepytime tea time in America. Scott-Heron had also spoken favorably about Obama.
So, after two years of Obama, I mused: the working class of America, especially blacks, can get as much action on their concerns by sending a letter to whitey on the moon as they can from having America’s first black president in the White House.
In the jumbled world of confusing musicians with leaders, I thought about how Scott-Heron canceled a planned show in Israel in 2010 (why did he ever schedule it?) - persuaded by activists that it would be similar to playing in apartheid South Africa.
One might imagine that Scott-Heron would be helping to lead a BDS movement instead of being confronted by it. But why should we expect musicians and celebrities to be more unaffected by capitalism than 99.9% of the rest of the population?
His embrace of Obama perfectly symbolizes the personal and political decline and irrelevance of the left over the last 40 years. We didn’t just come a short way, baby. We went headlong the wrong way. O working class, we have to be constantly moving forward toward the overthrow of capitalism because when we cease to advance we will either die immediately or be lost for decades.
So I’m thinking of Gil Scott-Heron and his commendable activism against the nuclear industry and apartheid South Africa, and the litmus test of one’s humanity and commitment to justice, equality and the rule of law, i.e., supporting the Palestinians against Israel, and how two weeks ago [Ed: this article was written in 2011] I saw my first keyboard hero, Ray Manzarek (of the Doors), at the Sellersville Theater, pleased with his acid-tested spirituality, telling the crowd that Christians and Muslims and Jews should put away their religious books and just love each other and, by the way, he and Robby Krieger are looking forward to playing as the Doors in Tel Aviv this summer because “the Israelis are so cool.”
(Hey, Ray, how about you and Robby do something that truly breaks on through: be on the next Free Gaza flotilla and play a Gaza concert if and when you “break on through” the illegal Israeli blockade - maybe you can see how “cool” the IDF is. Maybe you can grab Jim Morrison from out of the ether, where you said he resides, and bring your interstellular spirituality down to earth where it might mean something. It says in the Uncool Book that faith without works is dead.)
Oh well, as a sometime Zionist, sometime Christian troubadour once admonished us, “Don’t follow leaders and watch the parking meters.” He never explained the parking meter thing though I assumed he was warning us not to take up the drunken dares of friends to vault over the meters after the bars close.
And I give Gil Scott-Heron almost the last word: “It ain’t no new thing - America is always the same old shit.”
Now, are those words from many years ago too negative and cynical, too unhopey and unchangey? Well, decades after Gil Scott-Heron urged people to send their unaffordable, unpaid “doctor bills to whitey on the moon,” he lived to see 45 million Americans without any health insurance and 47 million on food stamps. He railed against ghetto poverty in 1970 and 41 years later lived to see the greatest inequalities in wealth since the Great Depression. And he lived to see the first black POTUS, a Nobel Peace Prize-winner who’s currently slaughtering innocent dark-skinned people in five different countries.
America can’t make clothes, shoes, toys, electronics, peace or justice but we make a hell of a lot of irony. Anyway… Gil Scott-Heron, don’t rest in peace as everyone is advising you to, rage on wherever you are, be witty and scathing, be the fighter you are, be bold when no one else will, whether you’re in heaven or hell, I’m sure that things can be better in both places.
Take with you into eternity the fiery ambitious man/child who wrote a well-regarded novel, “The Vulture,” when you were only 19 years old. Fuck crack, fuck Rikers, fuck HIV, fuck the blunting of capitalism on your spirit, it happens, from time to time the darkness comes along to terrorize the weak and challenge the strong, because you were a human being, not a god, the storm is coming, it grows on the waves from Johannesburg to Montego Bay, these were tiny blips on the road to making a beautiful soul, none of us are who capitalism says we are, we have no idea who we are or what we could be, but justice is coming on the wings of a storm and we resist in the present for those yet unborn, what’s that music (storm music) playin’ on the radio, what’s that music (storm music) playin’ everywhere I go, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sweeter feelin’ in the whole wide world than Gil Scott-Heron playing “Storm Music” on the radio…
Note: Randy Shields can be reached at music2hi4thehumanear@gmail.com. Visit Randy’s website at innagoddadadamdavegan.blogspot. The above article was posted at CounterPunch and dissidentvoice.org.
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