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

Sunday, August 21, 2016


one of the most important radical revolutionary recordings of all time

The Beatles 1966 Revolver
released August 1966   -   Happy Birthday !   -   50 years

artwork by Klaus Voormann

Saturday, August 20, 2016


On 18 August 1955 Pete Seeger testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). I've not been the biggest fan of Pete Seeger but in this one respect alone I stand by him shoulder to shoulder. 

Seeger refused to take the Fifth Amendment, but also refused to acknowledge the right of the Committee to ask him questions about his political affiliations, or the names of other people.

“I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it,” Seeger said.

“I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this Committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis [D-LA], or yours, Mr. Scherer [R-OH], that I am any less of an American than anybody else. I love my country very deeply, sir.

CHAIRMAN FRANCIS E. WALTER [D-PA]: Why don’t you make a little contribution toward preserving its institutions?

MR. SEEGER: I feel that my whole life is a contribution. That is why I would like to tell you about it.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I don’t want to hear about it.

The committee then tried to question Seeger about where he performed, and if he ever performed, citing Elia Kazan’s testimony regarding the Communist Party’s wish to have American entertainers perform for them. Seeger replied, “I feel these questions are improper, sir, and I feel they are immoral to ask any American this kind of question… .  I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody. That is the only answer I can give along that line.

Pete Seeger found guilty of contempt of Congress (and faced 10 years in prison) but successfully appealed his case, which was overturned in 1962. Seeger was also blacklisted – his songs not played on the radio and he could not appear on TV – for 17 years.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


“The wind machine was throwing their hair around and their famous faces looked like the figures on Mount Rushmore.” - Don McCullin, photographer
July 28, 1968; Mad Day Out

 WE CAN WORK IT OUT . . . . 

“While you see it your way
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone
We can work it out
We can work it out” 

Q: “A psychiatrist recently said you’re nothing but a bunch of British Elvis Presleys.”
JOHN: “He must be blind.”RINGO: (shaking like Elvis) “It’s not true!! It’s not true!!”JOHN: (dances like Elvis)

Sunday, August 07, 2016


- 6th August 1928

Reblogged from http://24hoursinthelifeofawoman.tumblr.com

Bob Dylan, 1965
‘Bob Dylan arrived at the Factory with Bob Neuwirth to negotiate with Andy, who wanted Dylan to star in one of his films. Dylan tensely agreed to a screen test, during which this shot was taken. Afterwards, Dylan picked up one of Andy’s Elvis paintings – ‘I’ll take this, man’ – and drove away with the painting tied to the car.’

Edie Sedgwick during the filming of one of her screen tests, 1965
‘The Factory lights would be turned down, the harsh spotlight fixed on Edie’s perfect features. Andy turns on his 16mm Bolex movie camera and walks away for the duration of a single roll of silent film, nearly three minutes.’

Sterling Morrison, John Cale and Lou Reed
 Larry Fink photos to be published next year . . . . . 

David Byrne, Debbie Harry and David Johansen 
“I photographed a number of friends eating Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. The idea originated at RISD when I took a Mick Rock photo of Lou Reed and put it on a box of German Kellogg’s Corn Flakes… You can find a photo of Andy holding the box in Victor Bockris’ Lou Reed biography.”
–Bobby Grossman

“I just do art because I’m ugly and there’s nothing else for me to do.” ― Andy Warhol

Saturday, August 06, 2016

                          REMEMBERING MARILYN 

“I didn’t pay much attention to the whistles and whoops, in fact, I didn’t quite hear them. I was full of a strange feeling, as if I were two people. One of them was Norma Jean from the orphanage who belonged to nobody; the other was someone whose name I didn’t know. But I knew where she belonged; she belonged to the ocean and the sky and the whole world.”

“Hold a good thought for me.”


Big O again posted this earlier this week   . . . . . . fantastic and I adore Natalie and her work . . . . a lifelong fan I have pretty much everything official I think from the 10,000 Maniac days to now, so this is a much valued addition. Extraordinary haunting signature voice whether being backed by a band or in collaborative efforts with David Byrne et al but especially her extraordinarily poetic solo work.Truly creative poetic artist . . . . . . . .get it before it disappears 

Thursday, August 04, 2016

So Long Marianne . . . 

This rather lovely tribute from the Big O newsletter . . . . .

Leonard Cohen with Marianne Ihlen in 1966.

Leonard Cohen has paid tribute to Marianne Ihlen, the woman who inspired 'So Long Marianne' who died last week, reported NME. Writing on Facebook, Cohen asked that the letter to him from Jan Christian Mollestad be used in his memorial. Jan Christian Mollestad is currently completing a biographical film about Marianne.

Wrote Mollestad, "Marianne slept slowly out of this life yesterday evening. Totally at ease, surrounded by close friends," the letter began. "Your letter came when she still could talk and laugh in full consciousness. When we read it aloud, she smiled as only Marianne can. She lifted her hand, when you said you were right behind, close enough to reach her."
It continued, "It gave her deep peace of mind that you knew her condition. And your blessing for the journey gave her extra strength. Jan and her friends who saw what this message meant for her, will all thank you in deep gratitude for replying so fast and with such love and compassion."
The letter concluded, "In her last hour I held her hand and hummed Bird on a Wire, while she was breathing so lightly. And when we left he room, after her soul had flown out of the window for new adventures, we kissed her head and whispered your everlasting words, 

'So long, Marianne'."

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

R A D I O H E A D 


from Big O again this morning

They say . . . . . . 

Live at the OpenAir St Gallen, Sittertobel, St Gallen, Switzerland; July 2, 2016. Very good FM broadcast.In May, 2016, Radiohead released their ninth studio album, A Moon Shaped Pool. Sam Richards of the NME described A Moon Shaped Pool as “an album of eerie, elusive beauty that is strange, shimmering and uncertain all at the same time”. Andy Beta of Rolling Stone described it as “a haunting, stunning triumph” and Radiohead’s “most gorgeous and desolate album to date”, praising its timbres and melodies. Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote for AllMusic that “there’s a melancholic comfort to its ebb and flow, a gentle rocking motion that feels comforting; it’s a tonic to the cloistered, scattered King of Limbs and even the sleek alienation of Kid A.”+ + + + +

Moon Shaped Pool For Sale

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

B ★ O  W  I  E  too

s t a r g a z e - THE DAVID BOWIE PROM 2016

this just in from Big O (of course) and really worth checking out if you missed the concert on the BBC

Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, UK; July 29, 2016. Excellent radio broadcasts.
Cale illustrated everything that is usually so wrong with the mix of pop and orchestral, where all those fantastic instruments simply end up as gilding to a loud band, offering little more than a veneer of sound like a big synthesizer.
Source 1 (1 - 19): BBC Radio 3 > 323kbps 48k HLS aac stream > ffmpeg > aac > Audition > FLAC
Source 2 (20 - 21): BBC 6Music > 323kbps 48k listen again stream > RMC7 > FLV (aac) > Audition > FLAC
The David Bowie Prom [BBC Prom 19, 2CD]
A celebration and reinterpretation of the music of David Bowie with the Berlin-based, genre-defying musicians collective s t a r g a z e and its Artistic Director AndrĂ© de Ridder. They are joined by guest singers and collaborators - including John Cale, Marc Almond, Neil Hannon, Conor O’Brien, Laura Mvula, Paul Buchanan, Jherek Bischoff, Anna Calvi and Amanda Palmer - to re-imagine the Bowie catalogue with fresh settings of classic works. This is the complete concert patched together from two different BBC broadcasts.
+ + + + +
Hazel Sheffield, The Independent:
The BBC went hard on David Bowie’s death (January 10, 2016). BBC 6Music held a day of special broadcasts.  BBC2 changed its scheduling. Plans for the Bowie prom must have got underway not long afterwards. Stargaze, an orchestral collective known for their work with pop artists like Owen Pallett and Villagers, were asked to turn Bowie’s oeuvre into the stuff of proms.
They start standing in the round at the Royal Albert Hall, playing the brooding Warszawa from Low.
Warszawa was conceived by Brian Eno to invoke the desolation of Warsaw at the time of Bowie’s visit in 1973. While the ensemble play, Neil Hannon from the Divine Comedy enters the stage as Stargaze segue into Station to Station. Amanda Palmer from Dresden Dolls stands behind him on backing vocals. Palmer dispels the somber atmosphere after the song.
“The most important thing is that this is not a wake. This is an artful celebration of some of the most beautiful music in the world,” she tells the audience, who applaud from the many corners of the venue.
Stargaze director Andre de Ridder told the BBC he was a bit nervous before the concert, the first prom to be streamed live on BBC Four, Radio 3 and 6Music. “I hope we’re not overwhelmed!”
In the end they are somewhat by John Cale’s Space Oddity, which turns out dirge-like for the addition of the house gospel choir. The nimble arrangements cannot survive the number of people onstage. Amanda Palmer even brings our her baby for After All, a nightmarish fan favourite from The Man Who Sold The World, which despite best efforts becomes funereal.
There was brilliance at work - but the experiment never quite lifted off… Let’s be clear, it was billed as a “reinterpretation of the music of David Bowie” and put together by a mismatch of musicians who loved/respected/wanted to honour the spirit and avant-garde creativity of Bowie. To that extent it might be deemed a success.
For the first time in Proms history, a pop star’s work was treated as seriously as any classical composer. The results may not have been an unqualified success but this richly imaginative, bold, thoughtful, daring and emotional night amply demonstrated that Bowie fully deserves to be considered an all-time great from any perspective.
Despite obvious flaws and failed renditions, the Bowie Prom was the most thrilling orchestration of pop I have ever seen because it dared to really reimagine the music.
+ + + + +
Thanks to PsyKies for sharing the show at Dime.
PsyKies noted:
Recorded off air from the live BBC Radio Three broadcast 29th July 2016. Source was the BBC HLS 323kbps 48kHz internet stream. As Radio Three did not broadcast the final two tracks these have been patched in from the BBC 6Music radio broadcast.
Audition was used to edit out most of the announcers (one tiny segment remains), increase levels on main broadcast by 6dB, match levels on patch material, crossfade into patch, track and convert to FLAC/44.1kHz. FLAC tagging done using mp3tag and fingerprints generated using TLH.
Front cover picture posted at radiotimes.com.