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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

PETE SEEGER R.I.P. 1919-2014

Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died January 27, 2014. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, NY. His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labour rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the ’50s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama. “My job,” he said in 2009, “is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.” - New York Times

"I grew up with the folk songs of Pete Seeger. Big Bill and the political songs of Paul Robeson and the repertoire of ‘labour’ songs, ‘Joe Hill', "If I had a Hammer” ‘Michael Row’, ‘Little Boxes’ et al. He may have upset us younger folk when he turned into the axe wielding reactionary going after our beloved Dylan but we forgave him . . .eventually."

 Pete Seger’s music has been covered by The Byrds and Joan Baez. His message has been mimicked by musicians like Tom Morello. For more than 70 years people have been listening to his music. Arlo Guthrie, the son of Woody Guthrie, shared his thoughts on the iconic singer today on Facebook.

Big O covers these things so well and there has been much written these past day or so but not least by my daughter's fellah, Rob Power, over at Music Radar

I have to post a link not least because my daughter would hound me if I didn't but also cos it's a fine piece of work ad contains the following Youtube link

Arlo wrote that Seeger was a mentor, father figure, and most of all a friend to him during his life.

Guthrie writes on Facebook:
I usually do a little meditation and prayer every night before I go to sleep – Just part of the routine. Last night, I decided to go visit Pete Seeger for a while, just to spend a little time together, it was around 9 PM. So I was sitting in my home in Florida, having a lovely chat with Pete, who was in a hospital in New York City. That’s the great thing about thoughts and prayers- You can go or be anywhere.
“I simply wanted him to know that I loved him dearly, like a father in some ways, a mentor in others and just as a dear friend a lot of the time. I’d grown up that way – loving the Seegers – Pete & Toshi and all their family.
“I let him know I was having trouble writing his obituary (as I’d been asked) but it seemed just so silly and I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t sound trite or plain stupid. “They’ll say something appropriate in the news,” we agreed. We laughed, we talked, and I took my leave about 9:30 last night.
“Arlo” he said, sounding just like the man I’ve known all of my life, “I guess I’ll see ya later.” I’ve always loved the rising and falling inflections in his voice. “Pete,” I said. “I guess we will.” I turned off the light and closed my eyes and fell asleep until very early this morning, about 3 AM when the texts and phone calls started coming in from friends telling me Pete had passed away.
“Well, of course he passed away!” I’m telling everyone this morning. “But that doesn’t mean he’s gone.

Big O post this nigh on complete concert set from Pete and another hero Big Bill Broonzy
and I can't put it any better than this:
midnightcafe reviewed a copy of this show in 2007:
There are many thoughts that come to mind when I hear the name Pete Seeger: Socialist, outspoken folkie, encyclopedic knowledge of music worldwide, compatriot to Woody Guthrie, Pinko-Commie, and axe-wielding madman running after an electrified Bob Dylan. It is his love and gift for folk music from around the globe, though, that I hope he will always be remembered.
Listening to Pete Seeger, in concert, is like being with a historian and archaeologist of the world’s music. He seems to know every song ever sung, and to be friends with their writers and singers. He is the soul of America, a true treasure trove of song.

Picture of Pete Seeger with Big Bill Broonzy at Circle Pines Center in MI, 1957
by John Glass, posted at berkshirefinearts.com - Thanks!
Just a note [of astonishment] if correct this picture dates Big Bill to the year before he died at 65. 
Gosh he sure looks well for 65! No?

Rest easy Old Fellah! Time to put down the Hammer (and the Axe)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

 Big O has posted a Glastonbury '95 set from

Jeff Buckley

If you don't have this set already this really worth a punt a fine quality BBC radio broadcast
There's no Hallelujah but seven tracks from 'Grace' one of the finest albums ever recorded IMHO
I had this already but actually this is better quality
 Big O says:
This is an absolutely stunning set from the late Jeff Buckley. The day he drowned (May 29, 1997) was definitely a massive loss for the music world. His only album, Grace, is fantastic and it would have been a pleasure to watch his career evolve. For the time being, enjoy this set - just incredible, even for those unfamiliar.
Jeff Buckley - Glastonbury 1995

They also have posted today a set from Mick Taylor, Ronnie Wood and with Al Cooper on keyboards trubute to a favourite of mind Jimmy Reed a couple of months back from New York's 'Cutting Room' venue. It's fun and worth a punt if not the real deal, [Mathis James Reed died in '76] it's a good example of two guitar rock and blues masters to one of the greats
I first bought a picture gatefold EP of Jimmy Rogers called Bright Lights, Big City at the age of 13 when I first discovered the blues through my older brother Steve, who had introduced me to Leadbelly and Mississippi John Hurt and it also contained Big Boss Man the two legendary songs that defined Reeds oeuvre for me.
Big O quotes Patrick Doyle of Rolling Stone
: Wood and Taylor’s show last night at the tiny venue was a loose blast as they played the blues they grew up on – the setlist included no Rolling Stones songs and mostly explored Mississippi electric blues pioneer Jimmy Reed… While the pairing may seem surprising, the duo go way back: Wood was a huge fan of Taylor’s in England in the Sixties. He would even fill in for Taylor when he was stricken by stage fright in his band the Gods. “He used to be too nervous even to go on, and he’d say ‘Ronnie, play my bit for me,” Wood recalled in According to the Rolling Stones. “Mick Taylor always underestimated his talent”…

Ronnie Wood & Mick Taylor - Jimmy Reed tribute November 2013
Reed Songs covered:
Good Lover 5:10 (8.7MB)
Big Boss Man 5:01 (8.4MB)
Bright Lights, Big City 4:22 (7.3MB)
Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby 3:56 (6.6MB)
Baby, What You Want Me to Do 5:35 (9.4MB)
Blue Carnegie 4:53 (8.2MB)
I’m Mr Luck 8:28 (14.2MB)
I’m the Man Down There 5:45 (9.7MB)
High and Lonesome 4:50 (8.1MB)
Going to New York 4:04 (6.8MB)

Ronnie Wood - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Mick Taylor - guitar
Simon Kirke - drums
Al Kooper - Hammond B3 organ
Wilbur Bascomb - bass

Enjoy! I know I did

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Big O excels
from The Night Before Last!


Treaty? What treaty?
The ACFN refer to themselves as K’ai Taile Dene, meaning “people of the land of the willow.” A Legal Defense fund was set up to support the ACFN’s legal challenges against oil companies and government that are obstructing their traditional lands and rights. As people of the land the ACFN have used and occupied their traditional lands in the Athabasca region for thousands of years, hunting, trapping, fishing and gathering to sustain themselves and continue spiritual cultural rights passed down through generations. The ACFN’s legal challenges will ensure the protection of their traditional lands, eco-systems and unique rights guaranteed by Treaty 8, the last and largest of the nineteenth century land agreements made between First Nations and the Government of Canada, are upheld for the benefit of future generations.

Wonderful stuff again from Big O! The guy’s is a global treasure, enigma and wonderment. Active politically and creatively still more than most of his peers
and informed too, I'm ashamed to say I didn’t know about Athabascan K’ai Taile Dene - keep sticking it to the Man Neil while you sing you heart out, power chords or nay!
Cool as it comes . . . . check this OUT!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Everly Brothers - I'm On My Way Home Again 

with Clarence White on guitar

R.I.P. Phil Everly

Dedicated to the Memory of Colin 'Bill' Northcote

a dear friend from school days I learned today has passed away before Christmas just when I was trying to take in the death of Phil Everly - Bill and I shared a great deal and not least our love of music along with his older brother John who was pals with my older brother Steve, so it seemed apposite to post the Everly's version of 'I'm On My Way Home Again'. I dedicate this to you Billy!

We got up to all sorts and he introduced me to suede Levi jackets, going to festivals and The Grateful Dead, mostly by turning up one day with a copy of 'Working Man's Dead' under his arm, when it came out (1970?) and raving on and on about it. We hung out and played it into the ground, we lingered over analysing in wonderment the first Led Zeppelin album when it came out, we hung out at the recreation ground and generally made nuisances of ourselves. When I went away to college we lost touch, as you do, and I know he had his struggles but lately we had been talking about getting to meet up gain through another mutual friend in Leon. It wasn't to be and I am deeply saddened for that. Taken away too suddenly - my thoughts are with Liz, his children and all his family at this time

Of course Big O stepped up straight away and have posted two Everly Brothers gigs here
and another from
They say -
On January 3, 2014, Phil Everly, a lifelong smoker, died in the Los Angeles suburb of Burbank at the age of 74. Phil died of complications from lung disease, his wife, Patti, told the Los Angeles Times. Phil Everly and his brother Don made up the Everly Brothers, one of the biggest pop acts of the 1950s and early 1960s. The pair had an onstage breakup in 1973 that led to a decade-long estrangement, but Phil later told Time magazine the brothers’ relationship had survived this. “Don and I are infamous for our split,” Phil said, “but we’re closer than most brothers,” the BBC reported. The Everly Brothers were elected to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in its first year, 1986, and they were given a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys in 1997.

On a technical note, I have always been obsessed by their guitars; the custom built Gibsons with the famed moustache plates and always wanted one but could never afford one. Epiphone did a copy budget version which you can still find knocking around for £200 or so and they were always beautiful. The Gibson version now would cost you a few thousand pound but they are really beautiful and play like butter. I first saw Donovan playing one and I think he liked it because they had stars running as fretboard markers and the moustache shaped pick guards were mock tortoisesehell and always black and gorgeous. Still want one today!

Phil and Don had them custom built to their own specs. . . . . . they even had them built with different colour pick guards too  .  . . .  . juss sayin'