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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A memory .. . .. . . ..
Fairport Convention took the Dylan song "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" into the charts, albeit in an unusual fashion: the group translated the song into French (partially, retaining the English "...you gotta stay all night" as the end of a line beginning in French for comic effect) as "Si Tu Dois Partir". Recorded for the ‘Unhalfbricking’ album, the song coming from a game of 'Ghosts' that Sandy Denny won with, the song was issued as a single in 1969. I was 16 and yet to hear ‘The Great White Wonder’ Dylan bootleg that I would buy in Holland years later which featured him singing his own song but we had heard another charted ‘pop’ version. This version of Bob Dylan's "If you gotta go, go now" was the band's only charting single, reaching number 21 and staying in the British Chart for nine weeks. When it came out and everyone I knew was playing it, I thought why are they getting excited about a pidgin French Cajun version of a Manfred Mann song!? We gathered regularly round a friends house round the corner from where my parent’s lived and listened to records, drank coffee and smoked cigarettes encouraged by their parents to be there rather than hanging out on the streets. Rumour has it that Fairport played a gig in which they asked members of the audience to translate Dylan’s song which made it’s pidgin Cajun French more explicable!

Si Tu Dois Partir
C'est pas que je te demande
Que faire que tu ne jamais fais
C'est seulement qu'il fait trop tard
Et il fait trop noir pour trouver la porte

Mais si tu dois partir, va t'en
Mais si tu dois partir, va t'en
Si non, tu dois rester la nuit

C'est pas que je te demande
De prendre part dans ce jeu
C'est seulement je n'ai pas de montre
Comme toujours faire le par contre

Mais si tu dois partir, va t'en
Mais si tu dois partir, va t'en
Si non, tu dois rester la nuit

Tu sais j'aurais des cauchemars
Et aussi mauvaise conscience
Si je t'empeche de faire
Ce que vraiment tu espère

Mais si tu dois partir, va t'en
Mais si tu dois partir, va t'en
Si non, tu dois rester la nuit

I didn't 'get it' but friends bought 'Unhalfbricking" the album from whence the track came on the strength of it which contained the heartbreaking Sandy Denny track " Who Knows Where the Time Goes" which was more my speed and it has haunted me ever since, I just didn't get the jokey French song when they could have released that one! Why it even included breaking glass bottles as percussion. The album also contained a further two Dylan titles though I don’t recall being aware of this at the time. The Convention had been invited to Bob Dylan's London music publishers to hear then unreleased tracks from The Basement Tapes sessions. The band's bassist, Ashley Hutchings, said "We loved it all. We would have covered all the songs if we could." In the event, versions of "Percy's Song", "Million Dollar Bash" and "Si Tu Dois Partir" were used on the album. Nor did we know the heartbreak and sorrow behind this album’s release only later to discover that just months before ‘Unhalfbricking’ had come out, Richard’s girlfriend, Jeannie Franklyn, and Fairport drummer Martin Lamble, who was a mere 19 years old, were both killed in a car crash.(*) This made the unfettered jollity of the Bob Dylan pastiche more confusing to me. 
(* Simon Nichol's moving account of the terrible van crash on the M1) 
In an attempt to educate myself as to what was going on, I bought the Island budget-price sampler, ‘You Can All Join In’, which had a profound affect upon me and I have stuck with many of the bands I heard therein, not dissimilar to the other sampler of the era 'Rock Machine Turns You on" an American version if you will of the same idea and I stuck with many of the bands on that album too. 'You Can All Join In' included Jethro Tull, Spooky Tooth, Free, John Martyn, Traffic with the titular track and of course Fairport Convention.

 Liking the Fairports' sampler track, ‘Meet on the Ledge’ the chart success and jolly sound of Si Tu Dois Partir confused me as to why everyone thought it such a blast. 'Meet on The Ledge' also haunted me forever and seemed a much more serious and relevant song.
What ledge? Why would we meet there and didn't I want to jump off? Or were we all just clinging on? Huddled together, holding on against the wind. Too many friends indeed blown off this mountain side. True now as it was then……

"The song's title comes from a large, low hanging tree limb on which Richard Thompson used to play as a child, and which he and his friends had dubbed "The Ledge". Richard Thompson acknowledged that some people interpret "the ledge" as some sort of code for the afterlife and that it is popular at funerals. In an interview with Mojo magazine March 2011 Richard Thompson said: "The hardest thing about being a 17-year-old songwriter is that you're embarrassed - you're never going to write a song saying, 'These are my feelings, I love you.' So I was trying to find some semi-veiled language that conveyed something to somebody somehow but which didn't really say anything up front. It's a slightly naïve song, a little obscure. I don't even know what it means." Thompson added: "I had to sing it at my own mother's funeral. It was in her will. That's about the hardest thing I've ever done".

We used to say
That come the day
We'd all be making songs
Or finding better words
These ideas never lasted long

The way is up
Along the road
The air is growing thin
Too many friends who tried
Were blown off this mountain with the wind

Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
When my time is up I'm gonna see all my friends
Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
If you really mean it, it all comes round again

Yet now I see
I'm all alone
But that's the only way to be
You'll have your chance again
Then you can do the work for me

Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
When my time is up I'm gonna see all my friends
Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
If you really mean it, it all comes round again

Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
When my time is up I'm gonna see all my friends
Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
If you really mean it, it all comes round again

As a consequence of my not ’getting’ the song ‘Si Tu Dois . . . ‘ I chose to sulk and not go when the guys heard that Fairport were up the road at the Manor, Richard Branson’s recording studio, and imagine my chagrin when they duly returned later that day with tales of being asked in and playing in the garden on a beautiful English sunny summer day and one of the boys returned with Sandy having signed his plastercast where he broken his arm replete also with signed copies of the single too to add insult to injury as it were! It didn’t seem much later but in fact it was to be nearly ten years later that reports came down that Sandy had died in an ‘accident at home by falling down the stairs’ but in reality she had left Fairport in 1969 to pursue solo efforts and formed 'Fotheringay' but also by the seventies had begun to use drugs and drink heavily and had banged her head on concrete several days before then subsequently prescribed 'distalgesic' by an ill informed doctor not understanding the fatal consequence of this drug when combined with alcohol. Sandy had by then stopped caring for herself or her child by that stage and that angelic ethereal yet all too human & troubled voice was lost forever to us.

Across the evening sky, all the birds are leaving
But how can they know it's time for them to go?
Before the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I have no thought of time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving
Ah, but then you know it's time for them to go
But I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time

For who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?

And I am not alone while my love is near me
I know it will be so until it's time to go
So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again
I do not fear the time

For who knows how my love grows?
And who knows where the time goes?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New (ish!) Bobbie Boots Source
Guess I get a bit down reporting all the deaths of late but here's some cheer


Thanks to chat amongst folk at the newly rekindled Croz' forum ROIO* I found this site where the folks are making compilations of Bob Dylan themed tracks available from the tour that never ends. Now lots of you may be put off and have given up the ghost where Bobbie is 'seemingly' playing all the same set night after night and the mix is always the same but this wonderful site proves otherwise. The quality is peerless!
for any Bobbie afficiando I cannot recommend this site highly enough.
Not a dud amongts them and the guy's artwork is ACE!
[see above and below]
You better decide which of those bills you want before they all disappear!
Having been hounded out of sharing any of my music files these days not least by Dylan's Sony agents over here, it is only a matter of time before they are told to be taken down, so get them tamales while they're red hot!

a favourite compilation that is rarely off the record player these days (what's a record player? ED)
Piano Blues & Barroom Ballads: European Tour, Fall 2003
Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine) - November 3
Tryin' To Get To Heaven - November 11
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - November 3
Million Miles - November 24
Desolation Row - October 20
Can't Wait - November 3
Jokerman - November 24
Queen Jane Approximately - October 15
Cry A While - November 3
Boots Of Spanish Leather - November 15
A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall - November 25
Bonus Tracks:
 Dear Landlord - November 24
Love Sick - November 25
Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) - November 23
Romance In Durango - November 24
Silvio - November 23
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again - October 16

*Croz was the wonderful bloke who made the Bob Dylan radio show 'Theme Time Radio Hour' available to us mere mortals who couldn't get it any other way and he has still got the files hurtling around the interweb - some folks even charging dollar for the privilege! (SHAME on YOU!)
He is a fine guitarist and singer who is as obsessed with Dylan as any of my pals and has rekindled a music forum to discuss such things. You'll find him if you know what you're doing! 
Any probs email me separately and we'll see what we can do.!?!
Very sad news to report today.

Bob Casale of Devo has passed away
Born: July 14th, 1952 . Deceased: February 17th, 2014
photo circa 1980 by Jules Bates/Artrouble

"As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning. He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got. He was excited about the possibility of Mark Mothersbaugh allowing Devo to play shows again. His sudden death from conditions that lead to heart failure came as a total shock to us all."
Gerald Casale, Devo founder.

Ultimate Classic Rock reports:

Bob Casale, the guitarist for New Wave hitmakers Devo, died yesterday (Feb. 17) at the age of 61. The news was broken by his older brother Gerald, who played bass and keyboards in the group.

The Casales formed Devo at Kent State University near Akron, Ohio around 1973 with the Mothersbaugh brothers (Mark, Jim and Bob — who was known as “Bob 1″ while Casale was “Bob 2.”) Jim Mothersbaugh left in 1976 and was replaced by Alan Myers, who died in June 2013.
Devo gained traction with the release of their 1978 debut, largely on the strength of a stilted, synthed-up take on the Rolling Stones‘ (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,’ which angered purists and delighted iconoclasts. Their image, which saw them perform in matching jumpsuits and terraced, plastic hats called “energy domes,” was an extension of their art school background.
While they only had one Top 20 hit, ‘Whip It,’ other songs like ‘Girl U Want,’ ‘Working in the Coal Mine’ and ‘Through Being Cool’ were modern rock and college radio staples for years. By the end of the ’80s, their commercial peak had been long in the distance and the group broke up.
Devo reunited in 1995, periodically recording one-off songs for soundtracks and touring. Their 2010 album ‘Something for Everybody’ was hailed as a solid return to form.
Mark Mothersbaugh told Cleveland.com that the news has understandably hit him hard. “This is so sudden and tragic… He was the nicest guy in the band. He had the best personality. He had the longest fuse. He was a problem solver.”

I bought their first single when it came out here in the UK and everything after, albums et al
Loved the witty thought provoking clever but ultimately danceable electro synth pop beat