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

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