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

Monday, October 31, 2016

Bob Dylan on the phone:

"It was last Tuesday. I came home at half past six, tired after a long day and put the phone in the hall. A couple of minutes later, I discovered a missed call from New York. It turned out to be Bob Dylan! He called me through his manager in New York, Jeff Rosen. I had expected that he would let us know - sooner or later, he would call - but I was still taken by surprise.  It was a nice conversation. After a while, I asked if he wanted to receive the Nobel Prize "of course" he said that the news about the Nobel Prize had left him "speechless" and that he didn't know what to say. He felt very honoured, he added, and also said that he's considering to get to Stockholm but The Nobel Awards week in December is still far away, he finds himself in the middle of a large US tour. We spoke for about a quarter of an hour. Dylan was kind, humble, and humorous". - Sara Danius' Facebook page

Sara's FB Professor Danius is on the board of the Nobel Literature Prize from Stockholm University

Drive-By Truckers.

“It all started at the border / and that’s still where it is today / someone killed Ramon Casiano / and the killer got away.” The opening line to “Ramon Casiano” sounds as much like the invocation of a Cormac McCarthy novel as it does the lead track from a Drive-by Truckers album. But the first song on the Truckers’ most thoroughly political album, American Band, opens with what seems like ought to be its most salient detail. Instead it becomes something much larger in the details.
The titular person was a 15-year-old Mexican boy killed in a disagreement with a 17-year-old American named Harlon Carter in 1931. Carter was convicted and sentenced to three years before an appeal overturned his sentence based on the judge’s instructions to the jury before deliberation. He was never re-tried and the incident itself stayed buried until Carter was confronted about it in 1981.
This doesn’t sound like an intensely important event, aside from the lack of justice, until you trace out Carter’s life afterward. Throughout his adult life, he served as a border patrol agent and even became the head of all federal border operations during the time of the infamous Operation Wetback during the 1950s. He also became an active member of the National Rifle Association, then a fairly benign group dedicated to promoting sports shooting and hunting activities. But that would change in 1968.
The Gun Control Act of 1968 was the first legislation passed to restrict gun sales and transport in some way since the 1930s. The NRA leadership found itself supporting some parts of the law and not others, but Harlon Carter was insistent that the NRA should opposed all gun legislation at all times. As a piece from the Washington Post noted about Carter: “Asked in 1975 if he would rather let convicted violent felons and the mentally deranged buy guns than endorse a screening process for gun sales, Carter did not hesitate to say yes. That’s the ‘price we pay for freedom.'”
Carter would lead a revolt from within the ranks of the NRA, and in 1977 he would become its president. Over the eight years of his leadership, he would push the NRA to become one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the United States – powerful enough to almost permanently derail more serious consideration of further gun control.
Drive-By-Truckers :: Ramon Casiano

The shadow of the NRA has loomed large over American politics since, and the issues of gun and border control are linked together by Mike Cooley’s songwriting in “Ramon Casiano.” “Since [Carter] ran the operation / there’s hardly been a minute since / there ain’t a massing at the border / from Chinese troops to terrorists,” Cooley muses in the second verse. The Chinese troops reference may be a bit of a head scratcher, but in an unpublished part of AD’s interview with Cooley back in September, he noted: “When I was [researching the story for the song], I found that the obsession with the border that we seem to have today is nothing new. There’s a line in the song – there was a group in the early 60s – I think they might’ve called themselves the Minutemen, too – and this group in southern California claimed to have a stockpile of fully automatic weapons and knowledge of Chinese troops massing at the Mexican border.” In the post-9/11 U.S., concerns about terrorists coming across the border have long been talking points, but clearly even in the 60s and some of the heights of the Cold War, the border-crossing boogeymen still existed under a different guise.
“Ramon Casiano” is another great example of the Drive-by Truckers’ gift as story tellers who spin specific yarns that spool out into grander themes. The injustice of Casiano’s death – which itself sees echoes in the numerous killings of unarmed black men by police in recent years – and Carter’s connection to the bolstering of a belligerently pro-gun segment of American culture and of the longstanding issues with the border make for a powerful opening statement. So when Cooley ends the song by singing “someone killed Ramon Casiano / and Ramon still ain’t dead enough,” the heat and the dust of that day in 1931 feels as pertinent as ever. words / j neas

Saturday, October 29, 2016


 . . . . the Dad

I do strongly believe that Paul must have been and continues to be a wonderful Dad and the test is his relationship with Mary, Stella and James and they always seem to have been able to rely on him and get support when needed but the true test of fatherhood it seems to me is how any adopted children may get on with you. Although Linda McCarney's daughter, Heather, went to live with her father in later life, as a 6 year old the world is a scary place when you parent's part and to go on record as saying that although See (her Dad) had a lifelong influence on her, she considers Paul McCartney to be her father is a true testament to Paul's parenting.

 Some may find this joke cruel and or believe that there is some truth in all jokes but you need to be secure in your love of your child and, more importantly, your child secure in your love of her to carry off a joke like this. It is revealed in the expressions. First check out Paul's gauging how it might go down and then check Heather's face - clearly she adores him!  . . . . . and vice versa

I love this sequence and it is a true 'Dad' joke! They are unsurpassable, make EVERYONE cringe and are known to be truly dreadful, as it should be!

Martha &  Heather McCartney - by Linda McCartney

seminal moments in music history  . . . . . .


Chrissie was on TV last week and seemed comfortable, relaxed and funny on a hokey One Show setting she might have cause to be uncomfortable it seemed but she was delightful and the band proved they were just still rocking and on fire in terms of being able to set up and just play live in front of BBC studio outside.
I sometimes forget or take for granted how brilliant Chrissie is and consider her one of the finest songwriters and voices of the era, she is a rock chick with poetic sensibilities and great writing skills . . . . . . check this out if you don't believe me. I think this is as close to perfection as modern 'pop' songs have ever become. This arrangement with the bass, drums and fine fine guitar augmented by Chrissie on rhythm and a pedal steel is down right wonderful. TURN IT UP!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sanatana Dharma

 Samkhya and Mimasa 

Fascinating piece about Atheism and Hinduism here from the wonderful blog site Atheist Republic . . . . . . . . 

This week, Atheist Republic social media manager and guest writer, Utsav, shares some of his thoughts about atheism in India.

When westerners answer census questions, they are usually given the chance to answer "non religious" in the religion section. India does not provide this option for their census records. Is India trying to ignore the atheism that exists in the country?India is the only country in the world with a majority population following Hinduism, or as it was originally known: Sanatana Dharma. As described by the apex court of India, Hinduism is "a way of life" and barely falls in the category of a religion. I was baffled when I was told this. I'd been taught all my life about millions of gods and goddesses in the religion into which I was indoctrinated, and how it was a religion that offered salvation. In actuality, Hinduism respects all other religions, proclaiming all of them as different paths to the same god.One very noticeable thing in ancient Hinduism is the acceptance and celebration of atheism. Yes, atheism. Samkhya and Mimasa are ancient schools of philosophy within Hinduism which not only refute the existence of God, but provide logic to support their claim. While some views may be recognized as pantheism, they still preach materialism and maintain that this is the only life. They were allowed to teach atheism and materialism in schools, or what were referred to as "gurukuls" in ancient times.So, is a religion really allowed to promote atheism? By definition, no. Hence, the term "way of life" was coined by the Supreme Court of India. However, Hinduism fell prey to the rise of institutionalized religion in India in the past few centuries. Samkhya and Mimasawere obviously not concerned about God and praying, so they weren't affected by this institutionalization, which left us with institutionalization of the rest of Hinduism which attempted to explain God and salvation. It grew over centuries into what we see now - a sad, divisive, money laundering group, i.e. a religion.Returning to the original question: Why isn't atheism an option on the Indian census? Because of institutionalized Hinduism which is threatening to infringe on the rights of the individual, and establishing social norms for everyone.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Seminal moments in music history . . . . . . . . .

On this day: October 15, 1984 - “Stop Making Sense”, the seventh album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Gary Goetzman, it is recorded at The Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, CA in December 1983. Recorded during the tour in support of the bands then current album “Speaking In Tongues”, the album is issued as the companion piece to the live concert film directed by Jonathan Demme (“The Silence Of The Lambs”, “Philadelphia”). The band’s main line up is augmented with additional musicians including Bernie Worrell (keyboards), Alex Weir (guitar), Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt (backing vocals). The original LP release contains only nine songs and is heavily edited in order to fit it on one album, and also comes wrapped in a full color picture book. In 1999, an expanded edition of the album is released featuring the complete performance, matching the contents of the fifteenth anniversary theatrical re-release of the film. “Stop Making Sense” peaks at number forty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Having a Rubbish Day?
Turn it up!!!!!!

Plastic Bertrand - LJa Plane Pour Moi
340 plays

Ça Plane Pour Moi–Plastic Bertrand


Saturday, October 15, 2016



NOTES from the wonderful weblog Aquarium Drunkard

Shirley Collins first album in 38 years, Lodestar, is out next month via Domino Records. The album features songs from the 1500s to the 1950s, from the American, British and Cajun canons. “Pretty Polly”, culled from the set, came to Collins attention in 1959 while touring the south doing field recordings with Alan Lomax. Collins, in her own words, below . . .
A song found throughout England and the US. This version is the one I recorded from Mrs Ollie Gilbert in Timbo, Arkansas, in 1959. Alan Lomax, with whom I was working, had settled down to talk and drink with Oscar Gilbert, a fine singer, fiddle player, maker of moonshine, and known as the fightingest man in the county. I’d been banished to join the womenfolk – but I had the recording machine with me, and took down several songs from Oscar’s wife Ollie, a good singer in true Ozark mountain style, and a great source of songs. “Pretty Polly” remained a favorite of mine for over fifty-five years; I could never quite get out of my head her use of Nunited instead of United and the way she fitted in ‘I’m a Nunited States soldier from George Washington I came’ in a line that didn’t quite have enough notes.

Bob Dylan - Press Conference 1965

On writing . . . . . and more besides . . . . . .the legendary press conference in San Francisco 1965 - how Bobby ever decided to let this go on for an hour is amazing and later on he would not be so accommodating it seems to me . . . . . . . .as per usual parts are very very funny as to how out of sync such journalists are but also parts are very frank and compelling and deeply interesting . . . .





part 6/6

Friday, October 14, 2016

One hand waving free . . . . 

Bob Dylan : Wins Nobel Prize for Literature 

As for me it is long overdue to acknowledge the gifts of the man who penned some of the most extraordinary story-telling songs committed to the global song book. Visions of Johanna, Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, Subterranean Homesick Blues, The Drifter’s Escape, Brownsville Girl, Blind Willie McTell, 115th Dream, It’s All Over Now (Baby Blue), One Too Many Mornings, not to even mention the one’s everyone on the planet knows Tambourine Man, Blowin’ In The Wind, Times They Are a’Changing’ etc etc. These are all part of the great glittering pantheon of songs recorded by the great troubadours and minstrels telling us stories. 
 . . . . for me you can keep Hemingway but T.S. Eliot was waiting

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run And but for the sky there are no fences facin’ And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind I wouldn’t pay it any mind It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing

“Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

As pointed threats, they bluff with scorn

Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

Temptation’s page flies out the door

You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be one more
Person crying

So don’t fear if you hear

A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing

As some warn victory, some downfall

Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred

Disillusioned words like bullets bark

As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates

Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged

It’s only people’s games that you’ve got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it

Advertising signs they con

You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you

You lose yourself, you reappear

You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you

A question in your eyes is lit

Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to

Although the masters make the rules

For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

For them that must bow down to authority

That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something they invest in

While some on principles baptised

To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticise
Tell nothing except who to idolise
And then say God bless him

While one who sings with his tongue on fire

Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in

But I mean no harm nor put fault

On anyone living in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him

Old lady judges watch people in pairs

Limited in sex, they dare
To tell fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phone

While them that defend what they cannot see

With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes must get lonely

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed

Graveyards, false goals (gods), I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough, 
what else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could be seen

They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only”

– Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan     Visions of Johanna, Live in Melbourne, Australia     1966

Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind
In the empty lot where the ladies play blindman’s bluff with the key chain
And the all-night girls they whisper of escapades out on the “D” train
We can hear the night watchman click his flashlight
Ask himself if it’s him or them that’s really insane
Louise, she’s all right, she’s just near
She’s delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna’s not here
The ghost of ’lectricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place
Now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously
He brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously
And when bringing her name up
He speaks of a farewell kiss to me
He’s sure got a lotta gall to be so useless and all
Muttering small talk at the wall while I’m in the hall
How can I explain?
Oh, it’s so hard to get on
And these visions of Johanna, they kept me up past the dawn
Inside the museums, Infinity goes up on trial
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
But Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues
You can tell by the way she smiles
See the primitive wallflower freeze
When the jelly-faced women all sneeze
Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeeze
I can’t find my knees”
Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule
But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel
The peddler now speaks to the countess who’s pretending to care for him
Sayin’, “Name me someone that’s not a parasite and I’ll go out and say a prayer for him”
But like Louise always says
“Ya can’t look at much, can ya man?”
As she, herself, prepares for him
And Madonna, she still has not showed
We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
The fiddler, he now steps to the road
He writes ev’rything’s been returned which was owed
On the back of the fish truck that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna are now all that reman
-Bob Dylan, “Visions of Johanna” 1966

Not Dark Yet

Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there’s been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don’t see why I should even care
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

Well, I’ve been to London and I’ve been to gay Paree
I’ve followed the river and I got to the sea
I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
Copyright © 1997 by Special Rider Music

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mindDown the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Saturday, October 08, 2016


One of the finest photographers of Marilyn Monroe has passed away last Friday he was 94

About Marilyn Monroe:
“At the Santa Monica beach we did pictures together all day long, constantly, and it was getting late in the afternoon and the sun had gone down and it was getting windy and she was at the last moment getting very exhausted and tired and she said, ‘George, I hope this can be the last picture’ and I said, ‘I promise it is’. She was dressed in her sweater and she had a little blanket covering her legs, she leaned forward, puckered her lips and she blew a kiss to me and she said, ‘This is just for you’. I’ll never forget this day as long as I live.” -George Barris

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Miles Davis on Billie Holiday . . . . . . and Junk

Miles Davis and Billie Holiday
“I remember when Billie Holiday died in July 1959. I didn’t know Billie all that well; we didn’t hang out or nothing like that. Billie loved my son, Gregory. She used to think he was cute. I knew that she and her husband weren’t getting along because she said to me once, “Miles, I told him he could leave me alone. He could have our house, everything, but just leave me alone.” But that was all I remember her telling me that was personal…. I remember her being a very warm, nice woman, and she had that smooth, light-brown skinned Indian look before drugs destroyed her face. She and Carmen McRae reminded me of the way my mother looked, Carmen more so than Billie. Billie was a beautiful woman before all the alcohol and drugs wore her down.”

“The last time I saw her alive was when she came down to Birdland where I was playing in early 1959. She asked me to give her some money to buy some heroin and I gave her what I had. I think it was about a hundred dollars. Her husband, John (I forget his last name), kept her on the stuff so he could control her. He was an opium user himself. He used to be telling me to come and lay on the sofa with him and smoke opium. I never did it with him, never smoked opium once in my life. He kept all the drugs and gave them to Billie whenever he felt like it; this was his way of keeping her in line. John was one of those slick hustling street cats from Harlem who’d do anything for money…”

“Whenever I’d go see her, I always asked Billie to sing “I Loves You, Porgy,” because when she sang “don’t let him touch me with his hot hands,” you could almost feel that shit she was feeling. It was beautiful and sad the way she sang that. Everybody loved Billie.”

“She and Bird died the same way. They both had pneumonia. One time down in Philadelphia they kept Billie in jail overnight for drugs. Maybe it was a couple of days, I don’t remember. But I know they had her in jail. So she’s in there sweating and then being cold and stuff. When you are trying to break a habit, you get hot and cold, and if you don’t get the proper medical treatment, you go right into pneumonia. And that’s what happened with Billie and Bird. When somebody gets backed up with that dope - using, stopping, using, stopping - and then when it gets into your system, you die. It just kills you and that’s what happened to Billie and Bird; they just gave in to all the shit they was doing. Got tired of everything and just checked out.”
Some quotes from Miles Davis about Billie Holiday

Monday, October 03, 2016


On the turntable today is a peach [set of peaches there's five count em!] from the masters of neat and lively blues based rock 'n' roll! featuring the legendary Lee Brilleaux and one of my favourite rhythm guitarists the equally legendary Wilco Johnson (if you think he couldn't really play check this out!]. Check this if you want a lesson in how to play chops on the Telecaster! I saw the Dr way back in what was then Oxford Polytechnic. They shook the place down to the ground! I didn't then know quite what to expect but they blew us all away with the lively 'pub rock' bluesy sound which doesn't really do them justice but this boxed set does. If you need cheering up download this lot . . . . . . . . .you need a doctor!

This is posted from the equally legendary Willard's Wormholes and if you don't know what to do then just ask . . . . . . . Willard says:

Looking Back (1995)Just an Old Fashioned Blues Band… Sorta. It’s probably a bit of overkill for the casual fan, but this five disc box gathers together a bulk of Dr. Feelgood’s finest early material – a nervous, wired, jittery form of basic blues – and mixes it with the band’s lesser known work from later years… music that has its moments, but lacks some of the gritty essence of the hell-raising terrors that torn through the Pre-Wave movement when guitarist Wilco Johnson was rallying the charge. Disc 5 is filled with interview segments and radio shows that, while telling the band’s story, has limited re-listening value… especially when the edgy drinking man’s blues/rock of 1975’s Down By The Jetty and Malpractice and 1977’s Be Seeing You and Sneakin’ Suspicion are actively calling for your time and attention from other discs. Still… as the band soldiered on with yearly releases, until slowing at the turn of the century, lead singer Lee Brilleaux’s Dr. Feelgood kept the faith, if not quite as many fans, and this box captures the highs of all the band’s highs and lows

and your sure they smoked tobacco in those pipes? . . . . . . . . 

A ledger drawing by Lakota Sioux Chief Black Hawk, depicting a horned Thunder Being (Haokah) on a horse-like creature with eagle talons and buffalo horns. The creature’s tail forms a rainbow that represents the entrance to the Spirit World, and the dots represent hail. Accompanying the picture on the page were the words “Dream or vision of himself changed to a destroyer and riding a buffalo eagle.”