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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Swappers' Review of the Year!

Part One

Well it’s been an odd year, quite weird all round really. Since my accident last September this year I have not been at all well. Strange symptoms and endless tests at the doctors and then the hospital all thus far to no avail. All seem to think there is something wrong with my endocrine system which is helpful as up till now I didn’t even know I had one! This has affected my work rate and I am lucky to have been needed to fill posts as a locum throughout the city where people know they could rely upon me to turn up to work in the social care field and be  . . . . well reliable!
This year saw me turn 60, which is weird also! Hope the coming year is better for all of us but  . . well, me too!

Deaths – those we lost this year

    Nelson Mandela
It had been expected of course and the hullabaloo was all to be celebrating the man who got apartheid shifted in South Africa. Some of the hypocrisy was a tad strong. Current politicians who believed Thatcher when she told us he was a terrorist! She was a liar! The one thing Madiba did try to teach us was the power of forgiveness and if I can’t forgive Mrs Thatcher then I will try to forgive this current lot! I said I’ll try! If I wish to remember him, I put on Jerry Dammers’ ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ and dance around the living room with joy.

    Seamus Heaney
Heaney’s death affected me curiously more than I imagined. I have always had a soft spot for him and whilst I don’t believe I own any books of his, I always enjoyed his poetry when I read it and his readings when they were broadcast. However to find myself moved to write a poem for him myself surprised me and though I am quite pleased with the outcome, it’s still a little like reading a piece by someone else. Which used to be why I wrote in the first place! To give myself something else to read.
An Irish master gone

   JJ Cale
JJ passing saddened me and since buying the first album [with a lifelong favourite song in ‘Clyde’ about a bass playing dog!], I have been a fan. I also recall the excitement of hearing another hero in Captain Beefheart cover Cale’s ‘Same Old Blues’ and don’t ya just love it when you discover your heroes like each other!? JJ much missed and not least for his introducing me to Harmony guitars and my small collection of their acoustic range. Check out what he did to his electric! Call me The Breeze!

  David Jacobs
For me David Jacobs was simply the first voice of popular music. He always seemed a true gentleman with a natural dignity but as ‘straight’ old society went, we admired him too and he was always a voice of authority that we loved.
Pin your ears back pop pickers!

    Ray Manzarek
Ray, Ray! What does one say about Raymond Daniel Manzarek. It was he who first heard the Dionysian lyric poetry of Jim Morrison on the beaches of LA and thought there’s something going on here. Let’s set it to music! Mystic and keyboardist extraordinaire, I had a love hate relationship with him, as I just wish he hadn’t sung!
I have finally got to that age where all my heroes are dying off where once I thought they would live forever but then I thought that about my brother, my father and lastly my mother!

    Lou Reed
Lou I knew could not die! He was too curmudgeonly! How dare death come and take the old rock n roll grumpy bastard hisself. Again another love/hate relationship with his pro needle heroin shite! Mock (allegedly) shooting up on stage is wack, Jack! Lost too many to the vicious sludge that is and will ever be Sister DiaMorphine. But ‘New York’ is a timeless classic for me and always fairly close to the turn table (what’s a turntable?! ED) The work with John Cale, another true poet hero, is tireless also! Songs for Drella I defy anyone with artworld pretensions not to adore!

    Iain Banks
I met Iain Banks at a Book do (The Nibbies way back) and he was a delight to meet and unerringly kind and solicitous to a mere bookseller. I admired everything he wrote and The Wasp Factory remains a favourite along with several others. Curiously I have never read any Iain M Banks and perhaps I should do so now in memoriam to a thoroughly decent fellow and fine fine writer

   Sir Anthony Caro
I met Sir Anthony through my work at MOMA in Oxford and as for gentlemen and thoroughly decent chaps, he was right up there in the pantheon of people solicitous of the wellbeing of lowly folk such as I. This was true of many great artists, John Piper, David Hockney, R.B.Kitaj etc but sadly not true of so many burgeoning fame monkeys playing the ‘Don’t You KNOW who I am?” card it was laughable. Sir Anthony was invariably kind, gentlemanly and interested in others. I find my interest in his sculpture whilst not one naturally drawn towards, always fascinating and aesthetically pleasing.

    Richard Griffiths
Ever ‘Uncle Monty’ to those of us obsessed with the Bruce Robinson film ‘Withnail and I’ I ws saddened to hear of Richard Griffiths passing. I enjoyed his History Boys to his Harry Potter’s unspeakable dad, from his cop turned chef, Henry Crabbe, in TV show ‘Pie in The Sky’ to his King George in Pirates of the Caribbean part 127 but it was as the raging thespian ‘Uncle Monty’ we adored!
“Oh, you little traitors. I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is, you'll agree, a certain 'je ne sais quoi' oh, so very special about a firm, young carrot.”

    Peter O’Toole

What to add about the passing of Peter O’Toole one of my favourite drunks and exquisite actor who it will always be said didn’t live up to his early promise. How many of us has THAT been said!? Too busy living to make our sad lives more palatable to worry about something as vulgar as ambition! The stories about O’Toole are legion, more so than the  parts he portrayed and this is in part why we loved him so. His Lawrence of course too pretty not to be famous but his ‘Venus’ too in late life I adored. The Ruling Class remains a perennial favourite and of course my hero Dylan Thomas’ 1972 film and radio broadcast of ‘Under Milk Wood’ in which O’Toole personified Captain Cat. I enjoyed The Stunt Man and the self parodying ‘My Favourite Year’ and even fripperies such as the delightful cartoon Ratatouille. In drink he hung out with Richard Harris, Richard Burton, Peter Finch, and classmates Alan Bates and Albert Finney and inlaer life TV presenter and radio DJ Chris Evans even regales when in his drinking days about finding Peter knocking at the door of his house and the next three weeks being a blur! THREE weeks mind!
Lawrence Of Arabia occupied O'Toole for two years, filming in seven different countries.
By the end of it, he'd lost 2st, received third-degree burns, sprained both ankles, torn ligaments in both his hip and thigh, dislocated his spine, broken his thumb, sprained his neck and been concussed twice.
But his extraordinary performance made him a star. Lawrence Of Arabia was a world-wide smash when it opened in 1962 and was hailed as one of cinema's true masterpieces.

"I woke up one morning to find I was famous," he said. "I bought a white Rolls-Royce and drove down Sunset Boulevard, wearing dark specs and a white suit, waving like the Queen Mum. "Nobody took any fucking notice, but I thoroughly enjoyed it."

The drink finally took it’s toll and he was hospitalised. There was so little of his digestive system left that any amount of alcohol could prove fatal. Having come so close to death, O'Toole was determined to live each day to the full.

"The time has come to stop roaming," he said. "The pirate ship has berthed. I can still make whoopee, but now I do it sober." He was in his forties!

For ‘Venus’ playing opposite the mesmerisingly wonderful Jodie Whittaker (Attack The Block) O'Toole notched up his eighth Oscar nomination for his performance, the story of an almost wholly platonic romance between an elderly thespian and a 21-year-old girl.
O'Toole was delighted at the script and at his casting.

"No one better for a dirty old man who falls for a sluttish young woman," he said.
So O'Toole was known s the Last Man Standing of a generation of hard drinking thesps, the last surviving British reprobate. "The common denominator of all my friends is that they're dead," he said.
"There was a time when I felt like a perpendicular cuckoo clock, popping up and down in pulpits saying: 'Fear no more the heat o' the sun.' They were dying like flies."
But like all the other hellraisers, he has never once regretted the mistakes he made.

"I loved the drinking, and waking up in the morning to find I was in Mexico," he said.
"It was part and parcel of being an idiot."

Thursday, December 26, 2013


 Christmas Message!

From Sir Christopher Lee

with Musical Accompaniment from 



by mojochrooic!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Thingummie and a Happy Wassnames

- 2013 REVIEW a half hearted tip of the hat to the year

Much missed Lou!
The Little Willies - Lou Reed

and from the wonderful Writer's Almanac a seasonal poem from the legendary Garrison Keilor:
Gift of the Magi

In the tiny apartment on the Lower East Side,
The beautiful Della combed her long hair,
And thought about Christmas and bitterly cried,
For they had no money, no money to spare.

So little money, and Christmas was near,
And Jim worked so hard and for so little pay.
He’d grown discouraged, her darling, her dear
She must give him Christmas, she must find a way.

So she went to a wig shop and sold them her hair,
Her beautiful hair that her husband adored,
Her face was all pale as she sat in the chair,
And she cried as the barber cut it off short.

And out in the street, with a scarf on her head,
And the money in hand, Della searched through the shops,
And there in a window was the gift she must get:
A platinum chain Jim could hang on his watch.

His beautiful watch that his father had owned,
So handsome and beautiful, just like her Jim.
And she bought him the chain and gladly went home
And curled her short hair as she waited for him.

He opened the door and he saw her hair
And she ran to his side and tried to explain
It would grow back so quickly and she didn’t care
And she gave him the beautiful platinum chain.

Jim took her gift — how brightly it shone.
He covered his face and sighed in despair,
And he told her, “I bought you those tortoise shell combs,
Tortoiseshell combs for your beautiful hair.”

He had pawned his watch to buy her the combs,
To buy him the watch chain, she sold her hair
And the two of them looked at each other and groaned,
At the sight of the two useless gifts sitting there.

They sat holding hands and they started to laugh
At the beautiful emptiness of what they were wishing
The gift of the Magi is to hold what you have
And not think a minute of what you are missing

Happy Crimbo!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Wassnames and a Happy Doobry! 

 to one and all 

Christmas Island

Saturday, December 07, 2013

....and it just keeps on coming

Big O presents



Finished on 28th November 2013 Big O continue to deliver all three nights of Bobby's stay at the The Royal Albert Hall within a week. I still say that back in the day as they say we waited for years for the 'Great White Wonder' and other bootlegs but here we can get them within hours! 
Never ceases to astonish me. Here thanks to a favourite -legger Naughty Dog
Here enjoy Bobby and the Boys at their best  . . . . thus far

Disc 1
01. Things Have Changed
02. She Belongs To Me
03. Beyond Here Lies Nothing
04. What Good Am I?
05. Duquesne Whistle
06. Waiting for you
07. Pay In Blood
08. Tangled Up In Blue
09. Love Sick
Disc 2
01. High Water (For Charley Patton)
02. Simple Twist Of Fate
03. Early Roman Kings
204. Forgetful Heart
05. Spirit On The Water
06. Scarlet Town
07. Soon After Midnight
08. Long And Wasted Years
10. All Along The Watchtower
11. Blowin’ In the Wind
12. Outro

and yes, the observant amongst you (who ARE you talking to? ED) will have spotted what became a viral news item Bobby stopped to SHAKE hands with PEOPLE!?!!!

Enjoy! I know I did . . . . . 

(Picture: Alex Lentati)
Bob's Sculptures 'Seven Gates' at The Halcyon Gallery

Mood Swings: 16 Nov 2013 – 25 Jan 2014
Gallery Details
144-146 New Bond Street
T. +44(0)20 7100 7144
E. info@halcyongallery.com

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Big O keeps delivering!

Bob Dylan - First Night 


I think the main reason I wanted Big O to post all three nights was largely because Bobby is on fire lately and positively 'SINGING'! (I know!) and not least because on the first night he sang 'Roll On John' the last track from his last album 'Tempest' from which most of the recent gigs glean their tracks (anyone else of Bob's age you know doing this apart maybe for Leonard Cohen and Neil Young at a pinch) and the track is a tribute to his old friend John Lennon.
Nice touch, Bobby!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ry Cooder from 1972

Big O posts a set from Ry Cooder this morning and maybe for completists only yet being a radio broadcast has a quality not always expected from such early boots.

01. Radio Announcement/Talking (1 glitch)
02. Police Dog Blues (Arthur Blake, adapted by Ry Cooder)
03. Tuning/Song Intro
04. Comin’ In On A Wing And A Prayer (Harold Adamson and Jimmie McHugh)
05. Tuning/Song Intro
06. Great Dream From Heaven (Joseph Spence)
07. Tuning/Song Intro
08. Clean Up At Home (Sleepy John Estes)
09. Tuning/Song Intro
10. Tattler (Ry Cooder/Russ Titelman/Washington Phillips)
11. You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond (Blind Willie Johnson)
12. Radio Announcement/Song Intro
13. F.D.R. In Trinidad (Fitz MacLean)
14. Tuning/Song Intro
15. Floating Bridge (Sleepy John Estes)
16. Billy The Kid (Traditional, arranged by Ry Cooder)
17. Diddy Wah Diddy (Arthur Blake)
18. Dark Was The Night (Cold Was The Ground) (Blind Willie Johnson) (1 drop)
19. Jesus Is On The Mainline (Traditional)
20. Going To Bownsville (Sleepy John Estes)
58 mins



Singer-songwriter John Prine announced on his website Nov 21, 2013 that he has an operable form of cancer, "non-small cell carcinoma," on his lung. His Nashville-based doctors caught it early: "They see no reason why I won't fully recover," he said. Prine also underscored that this episode is unrelated to the cancer he beat in 1997, when doctors discovered a growth on his neck. To plan around his surgery and recuperation time, though, he has to move his two Louisville performances to February 28 and March 1. His Madison, Wisconsin show will take place on March 15. The Green Bay makeup date has yet to be announced. Previously purchased tickets will be honored at the new shows. "For me, there's nothing like performing," Prine said. "I look forward to seeing all my friends and fans in 2014. We have some great cities and venues lined up." - Rolling Stone

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bob Dylan at The Royal Albert Hall 2013

You can rely on Big O and it doesn't get faster than this people! From the night before last!
 Second night of the three night stint back at the historic stomping ground of legend and The Beatles being in the audience to witness history being made. One does wonder what must be going through Bob's mind as he revisits these legendary places or is it just another night in another town?!

Poster by Marijke of The Fool - Art.Com
Bob at The Royal Albert Hall 1966

Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Let's Go To Memphis In The Meantime!"

Thanks to BB chronicles (yes I do visit other sites than Big O!)
For this set from one of my favourite songwriters and slide guitarists

John Hiatt

John Hiatt
& The Goners
Opening for The Robert Cray Band
September 18, 1987
The Warfield, San Francisco,  CA

FM Broadcast (KFOG-FM) recording, excellent quality
01.  Intro
02.  Memphis In The Meantime
03.  Alone In The Dark
04.  Thank You Girl
05.  Learning How To Love You
06.  A Crazy Girl Is Hard To Find
07.  Tennessee Plates
08.  Your Dad Did
09.  Thing Called Love

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mo' Macca - Ja Wacca

Paul McCartney opening night of tour of Japan - Osaka 11-11-2013

Get it here at Big O (Where else?!)

Cup of Tea, Anyone?

That'll be 44 songs in nearly three hours! Fine set and fine recording
Macca ploughs on and despite people complaining he is losing the pipes he's on fine form here
People also complaining on the Big O site that he isn't varying the setlist with new stuff, he does three songs from his new 'NEW' album and he used to be in another band that people pay to hear him sing from and frankly the setlist is astonishing! 44 songs in three hours?! Awesome!
Can ya diggit? I dig a pony!
Disc 1
Track 101. Welcome Back To Japan Radio - Pre-Show Annoucement 8:10 (13.7MB)
Track 102. Intro 1:33 (2.6MB)
Track 103. Eight Days A Week 3:01 (5.1MB)
Track 104. Save Us 3:02 (5.1MB)
Track 105. All My Loving 3:04 (5.1MB)
Track 106. Listen To What The Man Said 4:03 (6.8MB)
Track 107. Let Me Roll It 7:55 (13.3MB)
Track 108. Paperback Writer 4:25 (7.4MB)
Track 109. My Valentine 3:27 (5.8MB)
Track 110. Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five 4:14 (7.1MB)
Track 111. The Long And Winding Road 3:47 (6.4MB)
Track 112. Maybe I’m Amazed 5:36 (9.4MB)
Track 113. I’ve Just Seen A Face 2:35 (4.3MB)
Track 114. We Can Work It Out 2:55 (4.9MB)
Track 115. Another Day 4:44 (8.0MB)
Track 116. And I Love Her 3:44 (6.3MB)
Track 117. Blackbird 3:12 (5.4MB)
Track 118. Here Today 3:02 (5.1MB)
Track 119. New 3:01 (5.1MB)
Track 120. Queenie Eye 4:04 (6.8MB)
Track 121. Lady Madonna 3:30 (5.9MB)
Track 122. All Together Now 2:29 (4.2MB)
Disc 2
Track 201. Lovely Rita 3:31 (5.9MB)
Track 202. Everybody Out There 3:51 (6.5MB)
Track 203. Eleanor Rigby 3:01 (5.1MB)
Track 204. Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite 3:00 (5.0MB)
Track 205. Something 5:12 (8.7MB)
Track 206. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 3:49 (6.4MB)
Track 207. Band On The Run 5:21 (9.0MB)
Track 208. Back In The USSR 3:30 (5.9MB)
Track 209. Let It Be 4:10 (7.0MB)
Track 210. Live And Let Die 3:52 (6.5MB)
Track 211. Hey Jude 10:22 (17.4MB)
Track 212. Day Tripper 3:21 (5.6MB)
Track 213. Hi Hi Hi 3:35 (6.0MB)
Track 214. Get Back 6:08 (10.3MB)
Track 215. Yesterday 3:16 (5.5MB)
Track 216. Helter Skelter 6:12 (10.4MB)
Track 217. Golden Slumbers 1:41 (2.8MB)
Track 218. Carry That Weight 0:26 (724k)
Track 219. You Never Give Me Your Money 0:43 (1.2MB)
Track 220. Carry That Weight 0:34 (959k)
Track 221. The End 5:41 (9.5MB)
Track 222. The Last Announcement 0:56 (1.6MB)
2 hours 48 mins

Paul McCartney - lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar, ukelele
Rusty Anderson - electric guitar
Abe Laboriel, Jr - backing vocals, drums, percussion, bass
Paul “Wix” Wickens - keyboards, percussion, harmonica
Brian Ray - backing vocals, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mo' Bobness!

Yup, you got it! 
Big O has the latest Bob Dylan gig from last week at Glasgow on the 20th November
Disc 1 (Set 1)
01 Things Have Changed
02 She Belongs to Me
03 Beyond Here Lies Nothin’
04 What Good Am I?
05 Duquesne Whistle
06 Waiting for You
07 Pay in Blood
08 Tangled Up in Blue
09 Love Sick

Disc 2 (Set 2)
01 High Water (For Charley Patton)
02 Simple Twist of Fate
03 Early Roman Kings
04 Forgetful Heart
05 Spirit on the Water
06 Scarlet Town
07 Soon after Midnight
08 Long and Wasted Years
09 Encore Break
10 All Along the Watchtower
11 Blowin’ in the Wind
lineup: as per the usual
Bob Dylan - vocals, piano, harp
Stu Kimball - guitar
Donnie Herron - steel guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin
Charlie Sexton - guitar
George Receli - drums
Tony Garnier - bass

Big O thanks Lesterferget who recorded the show and shared the tracks at Dime.
Lesterferget noted:
Whether or not you need another version of Bob’s now “standard” set I suppose depends on the severity of your particular illness where he’s concerned. If you “need” it, here it is…
I’ve seen Bob a few times now, and each tour’s been different. He ruffles feathers, delighting and confounding in equal measures, but over time experience has taught us that ultimately he’s “right”.
A real retro feel to the stage set. Semicircular blue/black curtain acting as a backdrop (onto which lighting effects were occasionally shone), six old-style, “dusky yellow” stage lights suspended in an arc above the band, eight small, white lights on stands in a semi-circle below them (behind the bands numerous vintage amps and instruments), and some uplighting at the front of the stage to lend a little more shadowy menace to the band’s already gang-like appearance.
The show starts quite abruptly, without warning, with a strum of the guitar from behind the curtain. Bob and the band stroll on, Bob in two-tone black and powder blue suit, trade-mark fedora with his “gunslingers” in grey suits and black shirts. We’re off…
From start to finish I was struck by the quality on show. The band’s been together a while now. The sound is incredible… the “space” between the notes… it’s like they’re hanging each one up individually, to sparkle and delight, as if baubles on a Christmas Tree. You notice them all… this is a masterclass in taste and musicianship.
Bob? Last time I saw him I was left feeling he was somewhat on the decline, his voice little more than a dry growl. Now, he seems accepting of his weaknesses, and has adapted. Yes, he still “growls”, but these days it’s more “rich, dark treacle” than “dry and hoarse”, real brooding and threat in his delivery, the emotional aspect (very much in evidence) coming from a different angle than before. “Things have changed”… in the flesh this is intoxicating, heady stuff.
No support act, the two sets are so engaging that they seem to be over in little more than a heartbeat. Tonight is no “going through the motions” of what was played over the previous two nights. This is played like it matters… and may even be “life or death”. Lots of highlights. Tangled up in Blue and Simple Twist of Fate positively dance, but similarly the newer numbers work really well. Duquesne Whistle’s rhythm’s irresistibly infectious. Bob’s delivery of “I pay in blood… but not my own…” has all the terror of a Gangland Godfather behind it, and Forgetful Heart would move a stone to tears.
Bob doesn’t say much outside of his songs. His body language suggests he’s enjoying the show as much as we are, confirmed when he slaps upraised hands with a few of the audience who’ve rushed the stage towards the end of the second set (someone even attempted to get onto the stage at one point). There’s a little smile and a twinkle in the eye accompanying this rare crack in his usually poker-faced, assassin-eyed persona.
I attended the show with a very good friend of mine who’s seen a few of the shows this tour (many, many thanks to you, by the way…). He felt this was the best, although each show had its own feel, its own highlights, its own spirit, and he’d thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed all of them.
So, Bob might be playing the same numbers (very nearly) every night. That said, it sounds like every event is unique. You can come away each time saying “yes, I might have seen it before… but not like that. Wow”. Powerful stuff.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Didn't it RAIN, Chillun?!

For no other reason than I LOVE this song and Sister Rosetta Tharpe too!
Why it's nearly enough to turn me religious!
Didn't it rain, didn't it, you know it did!

The legendary Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Manchester in the early sixties when the BBC regularly broadcast Blues programmes and exspecially if there was a religious theme!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013



 Staggering quality recording over at Big O (Of Course!)


 Just downloaded it and frankly it is amongst the VERY best audience recordings I have in my collection which down in the vaults is VAST! GET IT NOW before it goes offline!

Dedicated to the Memory of two Steves - Steve Swapp and Stephen Blackman - lovers of Dylan both

Disc 1 (Set 1)
01. stage announcement/
Things Have Changed
02. She Belongs To Me
03. Beyond Here Lies Nothin’
04. What Good Am I?
05. Pay In Blood
06. Waiting For You
07. Duquesne Whistle
08. Tangled Up In Blue
09. Love Sick
Disc 2 (Set 2)
01. High Water (For Charley Patton)
02. Simple Twist Of Fate
03. Early Roman Kings
04. Forgetful Heart
05. Spirit On The Water
06. Scarlet Town
07. Soon After Midnight
08. Long And Wasted Years
09. All Along The Watchtower
10. Blowin’ In The Wind

The Band - Bob Dylan - vocals, piano, harp
Tony Garnier - bass
George Recile - drums
Stu Kimball - rhythm guitar
Charlie Sexton - lead guitar
Donnie Herron - banjo, violin, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel

The Heineken Music Hall

Monday, November 04, 2013

Van Morrison - MOONDANCE Extended Version

 . . . and remember folks it's always worth checking out what the artist wants and if he wants you to download it (or not) sometimes he sure as eggs is eggs doesn't want you to buy it!

Morrison, now 69, did not want this extended album released. He said on his website: "I did not endorse this, it is unauthorised and it has happened behind my back. My management company at that time gave this music away 42 years ago and now I feel as though it’s being stolen from me again.”
link- 2 disc version
alternative source - 4 disc version link

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"One chord is fine," he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. "Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz."


Sad loss - the enigmatic Lou Reed has passed away it has been announced this evening and an inspiration and challenging mentor to many has gone. Funny, serious, camp, bruising, possessed of genius and rare affection (see Andy Warhol & Songs for Drella with John Cale). He had a liver transplant earlier in May this year which did not bode well but he was resilient and determined that it would see him further create and he fully expected to be around a lot longer than this. Our thoughts here go out to his partner the wonderful Laurie Anderson and all his friends and fans

Sweet Jane - Lou Reed Rock 'n' Roll Animal

Sister Ray - THIS IS Lou REED!

So's THIS! Two Hours from Dusseldorf!

UPDATE:  Knew Big O would get around to posting something so here's a link to their Dayton gig from 1974

Live at the Palace Theatre, Dayton, OH; October 27, 1974. With parts from: The Felt Forum, New York, NY October 9, 1974; and patched audio in Heroin from The St. Bernard Civic Auditorium, Chalmette, LA; November 8, 1974. Excellent soundboard.
Thanks to lurid uk who originally shared this at Dime and to acetboy for the fixes.
acetboy noted:
There is some wild panning during the stereo parts [in the original tracks]. I’m guessing that the recording is the sound as it was sent to the PA. A stereo PA that they were having fun moving things around in.
I applied a bit of eq to this. And evened out the channels to keep equal energy in them throughout. There is a certain shimmery sound to the cymbals that we’ll have to live with. I didn’t want to kill the high end.
There is a cut in ‘Heroin’ that always bugged me. I had a feeling I could patch it if I had the right source to use. I suspected that the only possibility for a patch source would be the Chalmette gig from a couple of weeks after the Dayton show. I finally got that recording recently when it was shared again. Thanks slashdog!!
During the part that needed patching the band is pretty much playing the same thing at both shows. It took some work but I got it so that the patch source would play right in time with the Dayton ‘Heroin’. That is, it would play in time for a few measures right before the Dayton recording cuts and then for a few measures after the Dayton recording comes back in.
Of course Lou’s phrasing is never the same. During the crossfades that bring the two versions together you can hear two Lous briefly on a word or two. I had this one version with a long crossfade in and it sounded like two Lous singing the vocal in ’round’. For those who don’t want the patched ‘Heroin’ I am including the original track unpatched.
 Big O themselves put it so
Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died on October 27, 2013 on Long Island. He was 71. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May, Rolling Stone reported. According to the Associated Press news agency, Reed’s literary agent said he died of a “liver-related ailment”. Andrew Wylie said the musician died at his home in Long Island, New York, on Sunday morning and had not been well “for a few months”.
With the Velvet Underground in the late ’60s, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the ’70s into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example
2nd UPDATE - THERE'S MORE! Big O have posted another Lou Reed gig this one from the time of 'Growing Up In Public' - 1980

Lou, Florence Italy 1980
Line up:
Lou Reed - vocals, guitar
Stuart Heinrich - guitar
Chuck Hammer - guitar
Ellard “Moose” Boles - bass
Michael Fonfara - keyboards
Michael Suchorsky - drums

Set list - 
Track 01. Standing on Ceremony 3:41 (6.2MB)
Track 02. How Do You Speak to an Angel 3:52 (6.5MB)
Track 03. Sweet Jane 3:57 (6.6MB)
Track 04. Real Good Time Together 3:05 (5.2MB)
Track 05. I’m Waiting For the Man 3:26 (5.8MB)
Track 06. Coney Island Baby 5:43 (9.6MB)
Track 07. Vicious 2:25 (4.1MB)
Track 08. Walk on the Wild Side 3:04 (5.2MB)
Track 09. Heroin 7:18 (12.3MB)
Track 10. The Kids 4:46 (8.0MB)
Track 11. Caroline Says II 4:30 (7.6MB)
Track 12. The Power of Positive Drinking 2:17 (3.8MB)
Track 13. So Alone (snippet) 0:18 (520k)
Track 14. My Old Man 3:37 (6.1MB)
Track 15. Keep Away 2:52 (4.8MB)
Track 16. Street Hassle 12:10 (20.4MB)
Track 17. Rock ‘n’ Roll 3:24 (5.7MB)
Track 18. You Keep Me Hanging On 4:47 (8.0MB)
76 mins

 The lovely people at Big O send me a lovely email stating that there are the following Lou Reed sets still up and running I think


Lou Reed
Alice Tully Hall 1973

Lou Reed
Australia 1975-77

Lou Reed
Brooklyn 2006

Lou Reed
Columbia University 1979

Lou Reed
London 2010

Lou Reed
Los Angeles 1976

Lou Reed
Master Class (London 1992)

Lou Reed
New York 1976

Lou Reed
Paris 1974

Lou Reed
Stockholm 1974

Lou Reed And Zeitkratzer
Metal Machine Music Live!

Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, John Zorn
Montreal 2010

(That's at least TWO versions of Metal Machine Music LIVE!)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

PHIL CHEVRON (The Pogues) 

R.I.P. 1957 - 2013

Oct 8, 2013: Guitarist Phil Chevron of The Pogues died on Tuesday at the age of 56 after a long battle with cancer, the band said. Chevron joined The Pogues in 1984 and became a core member as the group made its name internationally in the 1980s and early 1990s with albums including "Rum, Sodomy and The Lash" and "If I Should Fall From Grace With God". Chevron, whose real name was Philip Ryan, wrote the band's popular ballad "Thousands Are Sailing". He was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 2007 and was given a clean bill of health in April 2012 but the cancer returned. His last appearance was at a testimonial concert in his honour in Dublin two months ago. - Reuters

Thousand are Sailing - Phil Chevron

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Big O have it covered! . .  . . . . . .


October 5, 2013 – 4:55 am

After the 20-year-old Miley Cyrus claimed that Wrecking Ball’s controversial video was inspired by the Prince-penned Nothing Compares 2 U - which Sinead O’Conner turned into a hit in 1990, the Irish singer was compelled to warn Cyrus that she is being “pimped” by the pop industry. This is the open letter which O’Connor posted on her blog.
Dear Miley,
I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today I’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.
I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way “cool” to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether it’s the music business or yourself doing the pimping.
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.
The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think it’s what YOU wanted… and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, “they” will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.
None of the men ogling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped… and that includes you yourself.
Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and its associated media.
You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever… Don’t be under any illusions… ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty… which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.
I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money… we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.
You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age… which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.
Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question… I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. It’s really not at all cool. And it’s sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.
As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image… whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now… Not because you got naked but because you make great records.
Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that it’s somehow cool to be prostituted… it’s so not cool Miley… it’s dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers… that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.
+ + + + +


Miley Cyrus has responded to Sinead O’Connor’s open letter warning her not to let the music industry make a “prostitute” out of her.
Writing on Twitter, Cyrus compared O’Connor - who has openly battled with mental health issues - to the actress Amanda Bynes, who was hospitalised after a mental breakdown earlier this year. “Before Amanda Bynes… There was…” she posts before an image of Tweets sent previously by O’Connor asking for psychiatric help.
She then posted a follow-up image of Sinead O’Connor’s controversial Saturday Night Live appearance from 1992 during which she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II.
O’Connor wrote an open letter to Cyrus after the pop-star cited the Irish singer as an inspiration for her explicit video ‘Wrecking Ball’, in which she swings naked from a metal demolition ball. The video followed her controversial performance at the MTV VMAs during which she twerked for ‘Blurred Lines’ singer Robin Thicke. - NME (click here for more)
+ + + + +


Sinead O’Connor has reacted forcefully to online taunting by Miley Cyrus in the wake of her impassioned letter to the singer, demanding an apology and threatening legal action for potentially damaging her career.
Following O’Connor’s much-discussed open letter, in which she warned the young singer of allowing herself “to be pimped” by the music business, Cyrus responded by mocking O’Connor’s mental health issues of two years ago via screengrabs on Twitter. “Before there was Amanda Bynes,” Cyrus wrote of the actress who has also battled mental health issues.
Hours later, O’Connor penned a second letter slamming Cyrus for posting the two-year-old tweets when “I was unwell and seeking help” in a way that made them appear recent. She called Cyrus out for specifically referencing the troubled Bynes.
“I mean really really… who advises you?” she asks incredulously. “Have you any idea how stupid and dangerous it is to mock people for suffering illness? You will yourself one day suffer such illness, that is without doubt. The course you have set yourself upon can only end in that, trust me.”
O’Connor goes on to call Cyrus’ flippant attitude “dangerous and irresponsible” and a bad example to young women. “Have you no sense of danger at all? Or responsibility? Remove your tweets immediately or you will hear from my lawyers,” she warns. “Mockery causes deaths. Period. It is an unacceptable form of bullying, no matter who it is doing the bullying.”
In her first and only response to the controversy on Twitter, Cyrus answers an offer to a meeting that O’Connor made in her initial letter. “Sinead. I don’t have time to write you an open letter cause I’m hosting & performing on SNL this week. So if you’d like to meet up and talk lemme know in your next letter.”
Cyrus’ note inspired a forceful third letter from O’Connor, posted again to her website. In it, O’Connor doubles down in her defense of Bynes (”an entirely innocent party… who did nothing to deserve your abuse”).
“You can take five minutes today between g-string fuckin’ changes to publicly apologize and remove your abusive tweets,” she writes. “If you do not then you don’t give a shit who you mock and what damage you do by being so ignorant.”
O’Connor reiterates that if Cyrus does not apologize, she will bring about legal proceedings “since it is extremely hard to be given work when people think one is suffering from mental illness.” - Rolling Stone (click here for more)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

WIRE 2013

Big O have posted the BBC 6 Marc Riley show  

After releasing the acclaimed Pink Flag back in 1977, Wire have gone on to record 12 more studio albums, including Change Becomes Us released in 2013. The new album is a hybrid of material they wrote back in the early days and things they wrote more recently and was released on vinyl as part of Record Store Day. - BBC

I was privileged to be working at MOMA Oxford when Graham Lewis, Bruce Gilbert (as Dome) and Professor Russell Mills did an installation piece there and under the direction of Deputy Director Marco Livingstone, we housed the Wire re-union gig of 7th June 1985 which was an astonishing evening and exists in bootleg form only I think.(available here) I have it on tape and still listen to it, Ambulance Chasers being a favourite piece!

I miss them and they were always a joy to be around and talk to about mutual interests, I shared with Russell a fascination with the work of Brian Eno which he had been involved in illustrating and my tutor at college had been composer Gavin Bryars, favourite authors (Samuel Beckett of course) There was much laughter too and we all drank possibly rather too much Guinness 

Track 01. Chat (3.6MB)
Track 02. Swallow (5.9MB)
Track 03. Chat (256k)
Track 04. Chat (1.1MB)
Track 05. Another The Letter (1.4MB)
Track 06. Chat (8.0MB)
Track 07. 23 Years Too Late (11.9MB)
Track 08. Chat (249k)
Track 09. Chat (2.2MB)
Track 10. Attractive Space (4.1MB)
Track 11. Chat (629k)
Track 12. DJ Intro (347k)
Track 13. Adore Your Island (4.4MB)
Track 14. DJ Outro (122k)


Click here to order Change Becomes Us. 

WIRE - Bloomsbury Theatre, London on Sunday 21 July 1985

Monday, September 30, 2013

  Nic Jones

[ . . . . this week I are been mostly listenin' to . . . . ]

Nic Jones - Canadee-I-O [from the album Penguin Eggs] 

Thanks to the extraordinary BBC 3 programme on Nic Jones this week (tipped off by my very good friend and colleague Sandy Sims) I have been checking my Nic Jones and don't think I have mentioned him on the blog before. This programme by  Michael Proudfoot was a heartfelt and indeed heart rending but inspiring film profile that, if nothing else, made everyone sit up and appreciate that not only is one of the living legands of 'folk' still very much around post his terrifting accident back in the 80's in which he is said to have broken very bone in his body barr his spine (he thinks!) but shows great optimism as his son and the sons of others indeed as it features Eliza Carthy, the daughters too are continuing to carry a torch into this darkness time by singing Nic's songs tunes and arrangements

Nic Jones and Son - Canadee-I-O

Nic Jones - (live) Wanton Seed

Thursday, September 26, 2013

BBC's "Peaky Blinders" - I was going to give this new series the benefit of a couple of more weeks before reviewing and summarising my reactions and thoughts but once the laughter clearly showed no signs of letting up I felt compelled to write while I can still hold my hand steady. Where everything looks like a 80’s pop video, why even the dirt looks choreographed, the puddles look staged and the scenery like something from a local theatre production of Ali Baba. The leading man is prettier than the women in it and the horses prettier than him! The men’s hairdressing appears to have been done in the one & only barber who laughably only has one style, some perverse kind of short back and back left long on top. Pudding basins all round but be sure to leave something for Cillian Murphy to flourish and flick out of those steelie blue mincers.

Speaking of pop videos the music is strangely disturbing if not distracting here and doubtless some misguided attempt at a modern twist to appeal to the younger audience by occasionally having The White Stripes interspersed with Puccini behind the more laboured attempts at drama. It’s a bit like having Red Hot Chilli Peppers do a D.H. Lawrence film soundtrack. Why even Nick Cave has been used as the theme! No attempt at historical accuracy here as indeed there doesn’t seem to be anywhere.

The chorus line . . . . . .
The d├ęcor too are mainly laughable not least for their studied grime that looks like it’s been applied with a make-up brush with a colour range from varicose vein blue to tubercular brown to consumption grey but the set is laughable too. The factory appears to do no actual work at all as the steel drums that were there last week appear to be in exactly same place. Aesthetically placed by the shooting sparks and bursts of flames that shoot with no apparent purpose but at least in time with the soundtrack. ‘Make sure the rust looks evenly painted for pities sake you lot!’ All very theatrical and I was thoroughly expecting the ensemble to burst into ‘Mack The Knife’ or ‘Whiskey Bar’ any second. Someone took their degree in set design by watching ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ and nothing wrong with that except that this is Birmingham England and the B.S.A factory not New York in the 20’s. The only thing in come appears to be both feature opium dens – ooh, how exotic!

It is the acting that beggars belief though! The accents alone are given to sliding around as if recorded weeks apart. Mind you the combination of Brummie and Irish is somewhat of a challenge. Sam Neill’s accent slides from scene to scene but is largely dreadful despite his protestations that it is based upon that of his father, the clipped vowels and broad attempt slips around like so much fish on a plate. Poor Mrs Helen-Homeland-Lewis-McCrory has to struggle to maintain the broad Brum her character requires but she is underused here in general so there would appear to have been little time for her to master it.
It would appear worth sticking with if only to see if the laughter level increases but “tough epic gangster drama” this ain’t!