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

Saturday, March 30, 2013

 Last Show for Wilko

Sad news just in from Music-News:
Wilko Johnson, who has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and has not sought treatment for the disease, has played his final show.

Johnson undertook a farewell tour to play one final time for his fans but was forced to cancel the final two shows on the tour in his hometown, Canvey Island. It appears that he may have contracted some sort of illness while performing with Madness in the cold last Saturday night.

His management posted the following statement on Sunday:


Important Announcement: Due to health reasons, tonight and tomorrow night's Canvey Island concerts have been cancelled. An official announcement from management will follow shortly. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience for those fans that have already made their way down to tonight's concert.

I only performed one song but it was freezing and the wing was blowing up an absolute gale. It was whipping into my face and how Madness performed for an hour I have no idea. It was very very very cold and I think this is why I feel down.

It is really upsetting not to perform for the people of Canvey at the end. I really wish I could have done it and if one little bit of me thought it was possible I would have done it
Don't fret Wilko, we love you no matter what and come what may
Keep on Rockin'

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Now we're talking........faith restored in young folk Jack White keeps on keeping on.....this just in from Big O...........of course


March 20, 2013 – 5:36 pm
Owns a record store? CHECK. Heads a record label? CHECK. Makes all kinds of records? CHECK. We can think of no one better to fly the flag for Record Store Day 2013, can you? Let’s let Ambassador Jack White speak for himself, both on video and in his official Ambassadorial quote.
Years ago someone told me that 1,200 high school kids were given a survey. A question was posed to them: Have you ever been to a stand-alone record shop? The number of kids that answered “yes” was… zero.
Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, “Can you blame them?” How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc?
Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence and, to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences? Just click your mouse.
Well, here’s what they’ll someday learn if they have a soul; there’s no romance in a mouse click. There’s no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum). The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater. The Internet is two-dimensional… helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being. But we all know all of that, right? Well, do we? Maybe we know all that, but so what?
Let’s wake each other up.
The world hasn’t stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet.
So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others.
The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn’t know that it’s a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they’ll know.
Let’s wake each other up.
As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013, I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.
Let’s wake each other up.
- Jack White

Update: As the most excellent photographer, muso and blog follower JohnnyC (see there ARE some! ....well one! ED) he dropped by to posit a thought, I thought I would reciprocate and ensure his link got featured Check out Southsea's exceptional Pie and Vinyl

Pie and Vinyl

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


 from BIG O

A true rarity here from a band of heroes. The Velvet Underground would have had a page to themselves on my blog had there been sufficient boots around to feature. Even the band individually I would feature pages on had there been enough and frankly the quality of Cale and Reed boot material is usually less than lossless. So as Big O mentions there is always a lot of fuss when something surfaces. It is really worthwhile reading the notes here to understanding how rare such an event truly is.


Coupla days later Big O added this little doozie

The Velvets - Everything You Ever Heard.....

Big O says:
Everything You’ve Heard About The Velvet Underground [VU333, originally released as a three-LP set, shared here on 2CD]
Demos, early recordings, outtakes, rehearsal and live, tracks and out of print material. Good to fairly good audio. Vinyl rip, with some pops and crackles.
Anyone who requires a one-stop gateway into The Velvet Underground should get the group’s five-disc Peel Slowly & See boxset. Even hardcore fans might want the set for its different mixes and demo tracks.
For a companion compilation of odds and sorts, Everything You’ve Heard About The Velvet Underground, released in 1982, ought to fit the bill nicely.

Here are some comments by james_jones, posted at rateyourmusic.com in 2004:
Disc One [Ed: Writer was referring to LP1 or Side 1 and 2] comprises 12 tracks highlighting Lou Reeds’ pre-Velvet days. Included are songs by luminaries such as The Carol Lou Trio, The Shades, The All Night Workers, The Primitives, The Beachnuts and, of course, The Roughnecks (how could you forget them!).
I really like the emerging druginess of Why Don’t You Smile by The Nightworkers (which was later reworked by Maureen Tucker and Jad Fair in the late ’80s). I even like (Do) the Ostrich by The Primitives, but some of the tracks such as The Beach Nuts singin’ I’ve Got A Tiger In My Tank, suck bigtime. You can see the future direction Lou was gonna go by the recordings done by The Roughnecks, in that Lou’s drawl and distinctive guitar sound were starting to form. A lot of the early tracks sound very weird now and they must have sounded even weirder when they were recorded in 1964/5. Maybe the drugs were just starting to kick in coz some of the recording sessions sound like they would have been a real hoot!
The last three tracks of Disc One include a strange feedback drone called Loop which more than definitely hints at Lou’s future direction with noise eg Metal Machine Music recorded a decade later (or was the track just caused by speed psychosis?). The closing two tracks probably recorded in 1967 include taped conversation at a Andy Warhol book launch - with the Velvet’s first album playing in the background. The last track was simply more experimental taping of dialogue for the East Village Electronic Newspaper - circa 1967. Disc One is a very interesting historical piece, but easy listening it is not.
Easy listening? You want easy listening? Then why you checking out a Velvet Underground boot?
I played 'Metal Machine Music' the other day after checking these postings and found it positively melodically tuneful. Loop is positively danceable!
But that's just me.........murble murble mutter mutter
P.S and remember they don't stay up for long so get 'em while they're hot.
Hot Tamale and they're red hot!
"You better decide which one of them bills you want before they all disappear...."

Saturday, March 09, 2013

ALVIN LEE R.I.P. 1944-2013

On March 6th 2013 there was posted the following on Alvin Lee website
With great sadness, we have to announce that Alvin unexpectedly passed away early this morning after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure.

We have lost a wonderful, much loved father and companion. The world has lost a truly great and gifted musician.

~ Jasmin, Evi and Suzanne
I was lucky enough to see Ten Years After twice over the years and mostly really early on at festivals around the UK. I'm Going Home became a talisman and lynchpin track we couldn't shake and I well remember coming round in the mud to hear 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl'!!! Man that guy was FAST!

The news page at AlvinLee.com has a lovely piece that says it all. Alvin Lee.com NEWS

Big O of course has this little gem Ten Years After L.A. 1970

Rest In Peace Alvin

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

For Kevin Ayers....

R.I.P  16 August 1944 – 18 February 2013  
Photograph: Marc Broussely/Redferns

Kevin Ayers and The Whole Wide World 1970

(from Big O) 

The Whole Wide World [no label, 1CD]

Live at Gemeendecentrum, Drijbergen, The Netherlands; July 30, 1970. Broadcast on VPRO Piknik radio and TV. Ex stereo broadcast.
As oddly disconcerting as any live Ayers experience ought to be, this live broadcast from 1970 catches the Whole Wide World at their most maddening, a collection of songs that veers deliberately between the whimsical and the obtuse, with little middle ground in between.
So a fractured “We Did It Again” rubs shoulders with a mystifyingly brief “Lady Rachel” (oddly dominated by a piping Stylophone), “The Hat Song” rattles manically alongside a disheveled “Clarence In Wonderland,” and “Why Are We Sleeping” spreads out over close to twelve minutes of sheer madness, including a lengthy snatch of Ayers doing his best impersonation of a kitschy nightclub balladeer.
The Dutch broadcasters themselves add to the chaos with barking dogs and snatches of speech, while the general air of lunacy is only heightened by some positively leviathan improvisations. “Clarence In Wonderland” is extended out over more than 13 minutes, via solos that all but become sound effects; “We Did It Again” touches the quarter of an hour mark, as it rides a grinding garage riff that makes Mick Farren’s “Mona” sound restrained; and “Colores Para Dolores” is essentially a Lol Coxhill showcase that really wants to burst into the theme from the Benny Hill Show.
So, all is as one would expect to find from a period Whole Wide World show. - Dave Thompson

Kevin Ayers - guitar, vocals
Robert Wyatt - drums, vocals
David Bedford - keyboards
Lol Coxhill - sax, vocals
Mike Oldfield - bass, guitar
Bridget St. John - vocals on Track 1

Sunday, March 03, 2013

A Young Hipster & A Hip Oldster

Now don't my many visitors (huh? ED) think I am merely an old Hippie just blasting the old grooves ! [What ARE you waffling on about? ED] Here's a beauty from Big O a youngster who we are interested in and like; Jake Bugg in Europe from last year and this and, something of a rarity if the notes are anything to go by, Neil Young and Orchestra from 1977
Go on, you know it makes sense!

There’s a new star in ascendant in London. Jake Bugg, from Nottingham, UK, was chosen by the BBC to appear on their “Introducing” stage at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival aged 17, and because of this was given a contract by Mercury Records. At the London 2012 Olympic games, Bugg’s song, Lightning Bolt, was played during the build up to the 100m men’s final. On October 15, 2012, Bugg released his self-titled debut album; a week later, the song, Two Fingers, charted at 33 in the UK while the album reached No. 1 in the UK charts.
This is what Barry Nicolson of the NME wrote:
There’s a great story about Jake Bugg that illustrates just how different he is from your average British teenager. Shortly after playing his first gig (not in some fauxhemian east London snakepit, but at his high school in Nottingham), Bugg’s friends, suitably impressed, implored him to audition for Britain’s Got Talent.. but Bugg was having none of it. “I never would have done that,” he told one interviewer, “because it doesn’t seem genuine, it doesn’t feel natural.”
Bugg, now 18, has been endorsed by none other than Noel Gallagher of Oasis. “Little Jake Bugg, he’s great. I’m a YouTube fan of his,” said the Oasis songwriter last September. Bugg has been invited to tour America with Gallagher.
The young Bugg carries his youth into his debut album. Note the lyrics of his single, Two Fingers, with an excellent chorus: “So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain/Light a cigarette and wish the world away/I got out, I got out, I’m alive and I’m here to stay,” he sings. In a recent interview, he said: “I want my music to have some impact on people’s lives, like the first dance at their wedding or the song a couple met to.”                Reaffirms your faith in humanity don't it juss?

Now for some Shaky........

Here are some notes by 1chucho posted at Dime:
“Everyone played and it was the country wall of sound, the Gone With the Wind Orchestra. What a sound! Soon after I was so high on that orchestra that I did a free concert in Miami and took the whole group down there and played. But we didn’t record it - I can’t believe it. It must be the only thing I’ve ever done that I didn’t record. I did “Sweet Home Alabama” at that show, and the folks loved it. (My own song “Alabama” richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record. I don’t like my words when I listen to it today…)”
- Neil Young 2012 (”Waging Heavy Peace”)

This was a benefit in Miami shortly after Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane went down on October 20, 1977 killing bandmembers Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines. In tribute, Neil followed “Alabama” with “Sweet Home Alabama.” And then, in classic Neil Young style, he followed that with “Are You Ready for the Country,” to my ears a song about the finality of death. 
“You gotta tell your story, boy, before it’s time to go.”

Can ya diggit? I think you can . . . . . . . . .