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

Friday, December 30, 2016


Maybe in response to a year where xenophobia and hatred of the 'dread immigrant' mixed up with ignorance as to what a refugee actually is or those seeking asylum let alone any understanding of the world that has created them, I felt the need to post some Playing For Change videos. Mostly the live recordings are shown simultaneously being played around the dust ball that is our planet and unites people of all countries and cultures joined together in music. They don't always get it right in my humble opinion but boy when they do!? They really cook, and here are some of my favourites from the last 12 months or so . . . . . .

with the master hisself, Toots Hibbert  . . . . . and TAJ MAHAL!

and perhaps my favourite above all with the wonderful Mermans Mosengo and Keb Mo (we love these guys!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Disney card 1938 artwork by Hank Porter

Love this artwork check out the detail and I know it's theme is silly kid's stuff but just look at the artwork involved in that . . . .delicious!

Janes . . . . plural


Kurt contemplates . . . . 

'It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas' Batman opined

Salvador Dali christmas!

If you haven't got a tree, just BE one!

Andy Says 'Merry Christmas!'

Calvin and Hobbes were occasionally quite deep . . . . 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Of course with all the recent deaths and so many this year one tends to forget what one's put on Facebook and what one's blogged so I was relieved to see Rickay Gervais' posts upon George Michael's untimely death .  . .  after noting his passing and what a tragedy this is he posted George's appearance on the 'Extras: Christmas Special' from 2009

The ability to self parody, to laugh at oneself, is a very revealing trait it seems to me and all the interviews with George Michael have seemed to show an intelligent thoughtful man reflecting often on his place in the world of 'showbiz' and not always being comfortable with it. Yet not bemoaning his fate or the fame and the positives it brought him somehow. While I may not have cared for his music I liked him, as a man a person and nowhere more than here . . . . . . .



Now we're talking . . . . . . BIG O also posted this the other day and apart from a fine acoustic concert set this has the only version of 'Silent Night All Day Long' which stands as one of the only Prine Christmas songs . . . . . (the quality isn't that brilliant but I don't know why, it is listenable and at least no hiss and so but sounds a bit like the mikes are too far away somehow . . . . . it's a Naughty Dog production so you know it's worth having and I'm just being picky)




Good to excellent FM Broadcast from BIG O courtesy of Auntie Beeb . . . go on you know you want to . . . it's worth it for the version of 'Waterloo Sunset' alone! astonishingly good and an early favourite band (what again? ED Yes! I bought 'You Really Got Me' and ' Dedicated Follower of Fashion' when they came out as singles so STFU)

Monday, December 26, 2016


(RECOVERY . . . . .egg nog anyone?) 

No thanks!

Tom Waits contemplates the previous day's foolery
Atheist posts religious song . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . we're allowed to you know . . . . . . such a lovely song . . . . .we can feel the question 
....even if answer came there none

On this day in music history: December 26, 1970 - “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks. Written by George Harrison, it is the first solo chart topper for the former Beatles lead guitarist. Inspired in part by the huge gospel crossover hit “Oh Happy Day” by The Edwin Hawkins Singers (#4 US Pop, #2 UK), “My Sweet Lord” is written while George Harrison is appearing as a guest on friends’ Delaney & Bonnie’s European tour in 1969. Initially, the song is for Harrison’s friend Billy Preston who records it for his second Apple LP “Encouraging Words”. While working on his third solo album “All Things Must Pass”, George decides to record a version of “My Sweet Lord” himself. The track is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in May of 1970 with musicians  Klaus Voorman (bass), Jim Gordon (drums), Ringo Starr (drums and percussion), Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland and Mike Gibbons of Badfinger (acoustic guitars) Billy Preston, Gary Wright (keyboards), and Harrison himself on acoustic guitar, slide guitar and lead vocals. The background vocals, credited to the “George O'Hara-Smith Singers”, is actually the former Beatle himself overdubbed several times. The orchestration is recorded at Trident Studios in London during August of 1970. At first he declines to release a single from the album , but is persuaded by producer Phil Spector, US Apple promotion manager Allan Steckler and then Apple business manager Allen Klein of its hit potential. Entering the Hot 100 at #72 on November 28, 1970, it rockets to the top of the chart just four weeks later. A huge hit around the world, “My Sweet Lord” is also the subject of a long and arduous lawsuit. Bright Tunes Publishing claims the song plagiarizes The Chiffons 1963 hit “He’s So Fine”. The matter eventually is settled more than two decades later. In another ironic (or perhaps not so ironic) twist, former Beatles manager Allen Klein purchases the publishing rights to “He’s So Fine” during litigation over the song, further extending and complicating the lawsuit. Harrison eventually purchases the rights to The Chiffons song from Klein’s company for $587,000 in 1998, the original price that ABKCO paid for the copyright twenty years earlier in 1978. “My Sweet Lord” is backed with the song “Isn’t It A Pity” which also features members of the band Badfinger on guitars. The single version differs from the album version of the song, being an alternate take as well as having a longer running time. Two months after George Harrison’s passing in November of 2001, “Lord” is reissued as a single and hits number one on the UK singles chart in January of 2002, thirty one years after its original release. “My Sweet Lord” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Sunday, December 25, 2016



Here are some of the best of Christmas songs (sort of . . . ) by some of my favourite artists courtesy of the blog I visit more than any other - Big O - [it stands for Before I Get Old so that's torn it!]           Enjoy!

CHRIS ISAAK . Blue Christmas

TOM WAITS - Silent Night/Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis - Austin Texas 1978

DELANEY & BONNIE With ERIC CLAPTON - Poor Elijah - 1969

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE - The Other Side Of This Life - Winterland San Francisco 1968

THE DOORS - Light My Fire/Persian Night - Stockholm Sweden 1968

THE DOORS - Medley: Alabama Song / Back Door Man / Old Stone Road / Five To One - Bakersfield California 1970

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART - Upon The My O My - Kansas City 1974

DAVID BOWIE - Ashes To Ashes - Milton Keynes UK 1990

BRIAN ENO AND DAVID BYRNE - America Is Waiting - Outtake

JOHN MARTYN – Mr Jelly Roll Baker - Bologna Italy 1977

BEATLES - I’ve Got A Feeling - Acetate Outtake

DON McLEAN - Vincent - Manchester UK 1975

JOHN LENNON - Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - New York 1972

KEITH JARRETT - Treasure Island - Bremen Germany 1975

NORAH JONES - Don't Be Denied - Paris 2016

Low – Silent Night

Mike Heron and Trembling Bells – Feast of Stephen 2010

 . . . . . and this is sheer GENIUS!


Seasonal piccies!

Santa left his boots . . . . . 

Homeless man dressed as Father Christmas 

Sign of the times . . . . . . 

Yes deer . . . . 

Wishful thinking




classic father and son shot 

Yup ,  . . . . . . .enjoy yourselves  . . . . . . . .

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Subscribe to the Wonderful Ben Watt - he makes wonderful mix tapes and has done another seasonal wonder called Winter Aconite (Deep Folk Mix Tape 7) see below . . . . . 

Ben Watt
I stumbled across a recording of a weather report from the Burns’ Day storm of 1990 during which more than ninety people lost their lives. It inspired me to make this latest Deep Folk Mixtape. I chose songs and field recordings that all deal with winter and the Christmas season - a period of reflection and loss but also coming together and regeneration. Merry Christmas, all. See you in 2017.


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Wonderful stuff . . . . . . . .