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

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Just fabulous! Missed this on the tellybox! But Big O have more than made up for this. Apart from the realisation that NEW ORDER like me are in their 60's this is just a glorious triumphant set from The Other Stage at Glasto

Live at Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, The Other Stage, Worthy Farm, Pilton, UK; June 25, 2016.

Monday, June 27, 2016


Saturday Night (1992) & Sunday Morning (1992) – R.I.P. 2016

Saturday NightSunday Morning
Saturday Night (1992) 
Sunday Morning
Stunning Set Of Companion 
Albums From A Musical God… And His Disciples In other news  . . . . . sorry credit where credit is due this news in from Williard's Wormholes
The great Ralph Stanley passed away last Thursday. You should get these… Ralph Stanley’s fragile, “high lonesome” vocals have historically been nothing short of heartbreaking, while his catalog of compositions – both solo and with his late brother Carter – defines mountain music in all its virtue and glory. There’s certainly no shortage of great albums from Ralph or the legendary Stanley Brothers, but this companion set of 1992 releases –  Saturday Night and Sunday Morning– is just plain essential. The concept should be obvious: a mix of hell-raising secular music side-by-side with the morning after, God-fearing spirituality found in all the best bluegrass & country music. Turns out, the divide isn’t so great after all, as elements of both salvation and damnation find their way into all the songs across both discs. But, that hardly matters, as both albums flow like a single, glorious masterwork. The marketing draw here is supposed to be the gathering of greats (Monroe, Jones, SkaggsKraussYoakam, Emmylou, Gill & others) – all disciples – performing alongside this Americana deity in the grand Stanley Brothers tradition. And, while the various ensemble performances are spectacular, it’s Stanley himself that anchors these LPs, with nuance so sincere, so steeped in tradition, that even country’s non-believers will recognize its essence and substance. Those who know Ralph via O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Stanley’s a cappella “O Death” and “Angel Band” are heard in the film) will understand. This comes from the two-fer CD reissue available at Amazon, HERE. [available on import only not so much in the UK HERE UK

Sunday, June 26, 2016

THE BEATLES Eight Days A Week (2016)

A brief clip from Ron Howard’s upcoming documentary on The Beatles’ touring years, 1962-1966. There’s a website, of course, www.thebeatleseightdaysaweek.com. Note The Beatles’ company logo… which now publicly uses the corporate name, “Apple Corps.” This began after a series of lawsuits and settlements with Steve Jobs’ Apple Inc., which – believe it or not – resulted in The Beatles now having to license the Granny Smith apple logo from Apple Inc. in order to use it. The negotiations were kept secret, but the prevailing theory is that The Beatles basically sold the trademark to Jobs after endless litigation, and now just pay a fee for its continued use. Aren’t you glad you don’t have rich people problems?
from the wonderment that is the wonderful WILLARDS WORMHOLES

Saturday, June 25, 2016


This sad news just in from Big O:
Bernie Worrell, the keyboardist, songwriter and synthesizer pioneer who served as co-founder of Parliament-Funkadelic and a key Talking Heads collaborator, died on June 24, 2016 after a battle with cancer, according to his Facebook page. He was 72. Diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in January, Worrell was the guest of honor at a massive benefit concert last April, with the likes of George Clinton, Questlove, David Byrne and Meryl Streep performing and paying tribute. In mid-June, however, his wife Judie Worrell announced his health had taken a turn, writing, “Bernie is now heading ‘Home.’”
As a member of Parliament-Funkadelic, Worrell’s synth playing provided the funk innovators with some of their most distinctive and immediately recognizable elements, which subsequently became signature sounds of the more futuristic strains of R&B, and the bedrock of hip-hop’s West Coast “g-funk” wave, with Dr Dre in particular sampling Worrell’s music almost religiously.
Shortly after his departure from the P-Funk universe in 1981, Worrell was recruited by Jerry Harrison, guitarist for the art-rock/New Wave group Talking Heads, whom Worrell had never heard. Though he found their earlier music “stiff,” Worrell joined the group as a session musician, contributing synthesizers to 1983 album “Speaking in Tongues,” which would go on to become the Heads’ highest-charting release. He toured with the group for years, and his importance to their live sound is made abundantly clear in the Jonathan Demme-directed 1984 concert film, “Stop Making Sense.” During the ‘80s, Worrell also recorded with Keith Richards, Fela Kuti, and Jack Bruce, and after the breakup of Talking Heads, he released a spate of solo albums in the early-‘90s. (1991’s “Funk of Ages” is the clear standout.) - Variety

You might (sic!?) want to Turn these UP! Bernie rest easy now . . . . 

George Clinton, Bernie and Bootsy - Hell yes!

Friday, June 24, 2016

NO WAY BACK . . . . . .



3.00am Pound Plummets already as early results show a significant pull ahead for the LEAVE vote!
Worst trading day on record for the £ EVER. (Where's the Pound? Oh there it goes off the bottom of the chart)
Chief engineer of the EU referendum Nigel Farage says "we will win war whatever the outcome"! (So why exactly have we bothered Nige?!) didn't know we were at war but hey . . . !

4.20am as the LEAVE campaign heads towards 52% of the share, a volatile pound hurtles wildly out of control drops past the value of the Euro, hurtling past the dollar and is headed below the chocolate coin in Little Johnny and his sister Xenophobia's last year's Christmas stocking, Mr and Mrs Little Englander wake on Friday morning to find the pound in their purses scarcely worth a pocketful of brick dust, their house worth less than a tent in Istanbul and the politicians considering giving themselves another double figure pay rise if they can negotiate with the bankers the value of a fruitgum Boris found down the back of the green leather banquette.

You mean they fell for it?
Want (or need) a modicum of positivity on this sad day? Check out Paul Mason. He even has a plan bless 'im!
Personally I think he is wrong but I would so like him to be right. It might(I say might!?) make you feel a bit more positive that there are folks like this thinking hard about what comes next.
He certainly has a point but I fear his wide eyed optimism here is way off mark. Glad someone isn't feeling despondent and even naive enough to come up with a plan but I have this terrible feeling he's wrong. It is not the collapse of the neoliberal Blairite centralists it is the resurgence of a right of centre working class self interested, xenophobic, blinkered and could care less about our services, education and NHS  being flogged off to Little Slimey Johnny HUNT and his cronies. 
Sad sad day.

As PM Cameron resigns [well in October], we look forward to his replacement


Now this is why I love the internet and this is why I love bootlegs in the best sense of the word . . . . . If it weren't for Big O I wouldn't have heard of this wonderful singer songwriter Beth Wood. I found 'Wilful Missing' and many more this a way
Now I can go buy her stuff as I did with them . . . . not that there's a connection other than how I found them . . . i..e. through the media and we can check out a wonderful live performance here and listen and enjoy and then go online to buy some . . . . . . . . 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

EU Hokey Cokey! In/Out and otherwise . . . . . 

Last night's BBC Referendum Debate in Wembley Arena (I kid you not) chaired by ex-Bullingdon Club member, David Dimbleby, raised more questions than it answered.

1/ if there is no going back once we have voted to leave and once OUT we won't be able to get back in again, then presumably if we stay IN we CAN leave later on down the line?  If say we lost a veto on condition countries like Turkey joining upset us in thirty or forty years time? So presumably we COULD leave at some future time if we wanted? Therefore stay in and if you still don’t like it, youngsters in particular, for we are voting on YOUR world now, some thirty years away when Syria, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan are trying to join why you could leave and start your own club then! No? Why not?

2/ A question occurred to me. If we are the "fifth biggest economy" in the world as both sides argued last night fifth biggest in the free world, presumably we have achieved this over the past 43 years (since we joined in 1973) you know SINCE we have been IN Europe not despite it? So why leave? If it’s not perfect do something about it by fighting the battle within. Don’t run away and hide! When did we as a nation EVER do THAT?

3/ I don't trust the Leavers who seem to have no plan for what to do if we leave but to sell off more of the countries assets, like a gang of self seeking asset strippers they will sell off OUR NHS to their mates and privatise still more of it than they have sneakily done already. They have sneaked past a wages bill In the guise of a ‘minimum’ wage law into a “living” wage law so that workers can be paid LESS or see overtime cut and benefits of work reduced (see the evidence - Amazon, Tesco, Waitrose, Costa Coffee, John Lewis etc).
Don't trust these Johnsonite shysters and the shifty and disingenuous Andrea Leadsom who had been one of the bankers (Barclays Head Office, Financial Institutions Director) we trust SO much. They are Chauvinistic, asset stripping LIARS (Europe costing 350million a week that we “send” to Brussels is a LIE!) intent on finding more profit for their cronies by selling off what belongs to us, you know our country and dividing it up amongst themselves and if you shake their hands count your ring fingers and check your watch afterwards! They seemed last night to have been programmed or prompted to get the buzz words in “Take back Control! Vote Leave on Thursday” like a mantra, The only snag with that being that it really REALLY grates after two or three times never mind ad nauseam

4/ Take back control? You aren't IN control of Westminster now when little more than a quarter of the populace (some 27%) voted this lot in, therefore the majority 73% OF US! didn't want a Conservative party in charge in the first place! Riding roughshod over our services, cutting our council budgets and pocketing the cash, endless cuts to OUR services causing double back recessions from the result of the Bankers playing fast and loose with our mortgage money so that this government has created a larger National DEBT than the past four Labour Governments put together (check it out!£555 billion since 2010) 

Changing the face of education and selling it off alongside our OUR NHS>
When you have to pay to see the Nurse and your prescriptions cost more than you can afford and you don’t have insurance for your hernia don’t come crying to me that you have had your Health Service sold out from under your noses
Leaving Europe will make this WORSE!
Once they have got shot of the Human Rights act they want get rid of workers protections supported by Europe, check out the history of the trade unions it took years of blood sweat and tears to win those workers rights. People died for those rights and we have still been walked over time and time again by the right wing. They want to ride roughshod over our education by privatising schools into academies making them run by unqualified commercial interests rather than teaching for teachings sake, education is a human right you know? Threatening the culture, the arts and music for commercialised subjects producing drones to work their so-called commercial interests rather than institutes of excellence. More little bankers anyone? They want to rid you of your rights rather than have a system of checks and balances from Europe with the basic Human Rights act once protected going out the window they will be able to get rid of the laws. Do you people like a failed journalist and unqualified second rate business man (Gove) in charge of that? Do you want a failed businessman in charge of your NHS selling it off to his cronies when he cannot sell marmalade to the Orient (Hunt)?

5/ There is one simple fact about immigration currently that we seem to be missing amid all the hysterical Britain First/BNP funded (sic) hysteria and plain racist xenophobia
Immigrants have contributed more to our economy than they have taken out! Simple so let them come under the conditions that they always have. We haven't been overwhelmed since 1973, immigrants counts as less than 4% since then so nothing is at "breaking point" at all! So why would we be overwhelmed if we vote to continue the job we started?
As evidenced by Gisela Stuart, Priti Patel, Farage’s wife etc immigrants have much to contribute or they wouldn't be here!

6/ ALL economic experts agree we are better off IN, the professors and lecturers at LSE, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) and the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) etc etc just because I do not have an understanding of economics doesn't mean I KNOW better than the guys at LSE it means I need to trust them when they say it would be a catastrophe if we left, triggering a recession, wages falling, jobs decreasing and the pound in my pocket being worth less! THAT is what these experts are for! That we now mistrust independent experts is one of the cleverest sleights of hand the LEAVE campaign have managed in brainwashing folk. Rather you would believe Boris Fracking Johnson!? I don’t think so! The man’s an idiot that I wouldn’t put in charge of a slip wire ride

7/ Finally. Please do NOT confuse migration with refugees! We have a duty to rescue refugees fleeing in fear and terror from Syria and the barbaric ISIS/ DAISH caused terror, slaughter and chaos and do not confuse the bodies of little children washing up on the shores of the Mediterranean with people seeking to migrate here for work! FOR WORK! We owe BOTH an intelligent and understanding response to BOTH things AND can afford to do so as we are the "fifth biggest economy" in the world!

8/ Boris, borrow the jingoistic nonsense from the film ‘Independence Day’ by all means but did you actually watch the film? It didn’t go well!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Another nice soundboard Bob set this morning over at Big O hadn't got this and they keep on surfacing! More listenable than many of the boots of late . . . . . . . and always fascinating to hear rehearsals 

Bob Rehearsal Tapes '85

Saturday, June 18, 2016

This is Fun!


check it out here at the wondrous Willard's Wormholes!

they say . . . and they're never wrong . . . . . 

FLUX By Belew, Volume One (2016)A New Concept In Streaming Music…

Outrageously cool new release from Adrian Belew, the formidable guitarist, solo artist and former sideman to the stars (Zappa, Talking Heads, Bowie), prior to his 30-year run as lead vocalist for King Crimson. FLUX By Belew, Volume One is more than just an album, it’s a conceptual musical application. Belew’s FLUX:FX (HERE) is an iTunes and iPad app that allows for unique sound manipulation, while FLUX By Belew (HERE) is an Adrian-centric version of FLUX that shuffles an untold number of Belew’s sounds, effects, melodies, tunes, fragments and ideas into an evolving, ever-changing array of “music which is never the same twice.” I’m not an app type, though, I might be willing to drop the $9.99 for it based on this CD version of the concept. FLUX By Belew, Volume One offers 44 tracks that make up a fraction of the project’s overall database, anchored by algorithms that play the short segments in shuffle mode (which is how Belew suggests this CD should be played, to approximate the concept). But FLUX’s musical selling point is Belew’s diversity. He’s a popster at heart, but his experimental drive manifests itself across an array of 10 to 40 second instrumental outbursts interspersed with short, 2 to 3 minute mini-song segments that highlight not only Belew’s Beatle-esque pop obsessions (check out his excellent 80s pop outfit, The Bears, below), but also his Rhino/whammy bar guitar outbursts and Crimson-esque syncopation. The quick segues and anything goes format keeps the pacing brisk and ever-changing, with no quarter given to song structures or unnecessary frills. I love this approach to music and am investigating the app, if only to hear how many ideas Belew has accumulated for this project… which – given his career – must be massive. As a preview, however, this album provides a keyhole peek at Belew’s futuristic vision of streaming music, Belew-style. Adrian may also be way ahead of the cultural curve with this innovation, as rumor has it that the popularity of streaming music might even be pushing Apple itself out of the downloading business within the next five years. We’ll see.

Thursday, June 16, 2016



From the wonderful blog 'Midnight Cafe' comes a re-post of a Tom Waits live set in LA from my favourite period of Tom's at the time of 'Big in Japan' which I was introduced to driving across the Golden Gate Bridge on my way to work in San Francisco (aw come one how cool is THAT?) with my then boss, Katie Burke, over at Pomegranate Inc. It remains a favourite album for that very reason, a memorable experience and rarely have I been so totally blown away by a new album release from someone I thought I knew everything by. I enjoyed working for Pomegranate in that I got to hurtle around the planet at 35,000 feet in a metal tube with wings on and land in places like San Francisco (which I adored) and New York, Scotland and Europe (mostly Germany for the Book Fair in Frankfurt) and Pomegranate staff were all such fun and they made such nice things and I hoped them for a while

Certain tracks stood out for me 'Hold On', 'What's He Building In There', 'The House Where Nobody Lives', 'Get Behind The Mule' . . . aww heck pretty much all of them! If you do one thing today download this!

Tom Waits – Lead Vocal, Guitar, Piano, tambourine 
Smokey Hormel – Guitar, Banjo, everything else not mentioned
Larry Taylor – Bass

As Matt Brewster adds in comments section very usefully 

My understanding is that VH1 asked Tom Waits to do a Storytellers for their channel, set him up and filmed it but for whatever reason never actually aired the footage. Eventually the audio leaked out and has been traded in bootleg circles ever since. It is essential listening as Tom Waits sure knows how to tell a story (and write a song.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

So shocked to hear of the tragic death of Jo Cox . . . speechless somehow that this is what we have come to

My own posting on Facebook meant that I hadn't posted anything here so here it is as it happened
I had been struck yesterday by the cross party comments about Jo Cox and never expected to find myself moved by the words of Chris Grayling but yesterday it happened and I was surprised to hear his emotion and use of the word 'love' before the other more platitudinous speeches started, not including Jeremy Corbyn's which I was also much moved by and I somehow feel Conservative Andrew Mitchell's description of her from working with her on the All Party Parliamentary Working Group on Syria being ' a five foot bundle of Yorkshire grit and determination' was true. Never have I heard the word 'lovely' used so often for a politician. 
Can't bring myself to post any usual sillies or humour this morning but am reflecting how the temper and tenor, largely in the media, of the heated & divisive build up to a public political debate can engender hatred, ignorance and misunderstanding to the extent that someone, mentally ill or not, feels so tense, stressed and aggravated that they become violent and murderous, is a savage indictment as to where we are now
This . . . . . 
From Jeremy Corbyn's statement 

The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family - and indeed the whole country - will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today.Jo Cox had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity. She worked both for Oxfam and the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund, before she was elected last year as MP for Batley and Spen – where she was born and grew up.Jo was dedicated to getting us to live up to our promises to support the developing world and strengthen human rights – and she brought those values and principles with her when she became an MP.
Jo Cox died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for us all.
Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour colleagues, but across parliament.
In the coming days, there will be questions to answer about how and why she died. But for now all our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children. They will grow up without their Mum, but can be immensely proud of what she did, what she achieved and what she stood for.
We send them our deepest condolences. We have lost a much loved colleague, a real talent and a dedicated campaigner for social justice and peace. But they have lost a wife and a mother, and our hearts go out to them.
I found this moving and intelligent

Jo Cox - The Spectator - A Day of Infamy

The thing that all violent people in the world will never understand is the necessity for humour to the rest of us! It IS the best medicine and I dedicate this to all the folk who know me and all of you dropping by   . . . . . . . 

Full Peter Kay CARSHARE Outakes with Reece Shearsmith and Co-writer Sian Gibson as Kayleigh