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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Some great stuff this morning over at my favourite cafe. A 10,000 Maniacs soundboard set from Miami Florida in 1992

slightly low in volume but hey, turn it up!

I adore the work of Natalie Merchant but tend to forget how great this band was . . . . . nice set and worth revisiting

Then Mat at the cafe served us up with this . . . . . 

Now I am sure it has been hammered to death elsewhere but I love the work of Gillian Welch and the stuff by her partner Dave Rawlings hasn't always hit the spot for me but this, not least because of it's selection of Dylan covers, is really worth checking out. The interplay of the two 'bands' continues to fascinate but over all the Gillian stuff is what pleases me the most but hey, it's really worth checking out and I know there are fans out there who dig Dave's band over the Welchwerk!

Finally the cafe came up with a fine carafe of the MAN from Jo Wiley's who the end of September and it has many of my very favourite Morrison songs. Not ENTIRELY sure about the new single 'Too Late' it's catchy enough but sort of pop throw away to these ears. Perhaps it will wheedle it's way into the Morrison songbook but it is more than made up for by 'Cleaning Windows', 'Brown Eyed Girl', 'Enlightenment', 'Carrying a Torch' and 'Here Comes The Night' and his band are tight as a gnat's chuff!

I think you will!

Monday, November 28, 2016


Interestingly enough here, Jimmy Cagney appears, from his hand position on the fret board and his right hand strum or picking position to know what he is doing around an acoustic guitar. Not least the fact he is holding a vintage 'Martin', I wonder . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, November 24, 2016

WITHNAIL connection of the Week

 (for my old pal Phil Munday)

'Willow' Robinson is Bruce Robinson's son and he's a singer . . . . . . . Bruce of course being the brains behind writing and directing 'Withnail and I' the legendary quasi-autobiographical cult movie adored by everyone sane (or not) also the author of one of the last works of fiction I read 'The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman' (97 I think or thereabouts). . . . . . Robinson Snr hasn't written much but this is extraordinary IMHO

As for Willoughby Robinson I am not sure, he has a strong voice and can clearly play guitar very well, this just sounds all a bit self conscious, the first single 'Stones' especially so. All a bit earnest and intense. But I imagine he could go far . . . . . . . and I am a very old man so what the Frack do I know . . . . . ?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Leonard Cohen goes to see Bob Dylan

Leonard Cohen went to see Dylan in concert:

"I went to his [Bob Dylan’s] concert. It was terrific. I’ve been to many Dylan concerts. This one, there was a walkway from the hotel to the auditorium, so you could enter into this private area, the people who had boxes. We were in one of those boxes. First of all, I’ve never been in a private box in an auditorium. That was fun. And a lot of members of the band came. But it was very loud. Fortunately, Raphael, our drummer, had earplugs, and he distributed them. Because our music is quite soft and that’s what we’ve been listening to for three or four months. As Sharon Robinson said, Bob Dylan has a secret code with his audience. If someone came from the moon and watched it they might wonder what was going on. In this particular case he had his back to one half of the audience and was playing the organ, beautifully I might say, and just running through the songs. Some were hard to recognize. But nobody cared. That’s not what they were there for and not what I was there for. Something else was going on, which was a celebration of some kind of genius that is so apparent and so clear and has touched people so deeply that all they need is some kind of symbolic unfolding of the event. It doesn’t have to be the songs. All it has to be is: remember that song and what it did to you. It’s a very strange event."

Leonard Cohen - 2008

Leonard Cohen in 2008

Monday, November 21, 2016


“Now behind the eyes and secrets of the dreamers in the streets rocked to sleep by the sea, see the titbits and topsyturvies, bobs and buttontops, bags and bones, ash and rind and dandruff and nailparings, saliva and snowflakes and moulted feathers of dreams, the wrecks and sprats and shells and fishbones, whale-juice and moonshine and small salt fry dished up by the hidden sea.”

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Of course . . . . . . . . . 

Saturday, November 19, 2016


 . . . . . and there's more

So Big O posted this earlier and it is almost like they accepted a challenge from me as I had all they posted post Leonard Cohen's passing on the 7th this month and this is a truly wonderful gem

Being an FM broadcast this is truly astonishing good quality . . . . . . 

Of sad note Big O have added the updated circumstances of Cohen's death

While Cohen had been suffering from cancer, according to his manager, Cohen’s death was the result of a fall at his home on the night of November 7, and he subsequently died in his sleep. “The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful.” The BBC also reported that a memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date, the announcement said. The Montreal-born singer’s hits included Suzanne and I’m Your Man and he released his 14th album, You Want It Darker, in October 2016. In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Cohen spoke about the prospect of death with calmness and clarity: “I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”

Friday, November 18, 2016


November 16, 2016
Joni going out for her 73rd birthday!

Joni has been on a long road to recovery since March 31, 2015, when she was found unconscious in her L.A. home. There have been many reports of her suffering the contentious Morgellons  syndrome the informal name given to a self-diagnosed skin condition that is best described as "delusional infestation" in the majority of casesHer condition when she was found collapsed was listed as life-threatening and it seemed was a brain aneurysm, though finally after a period of hospitalisation during which there seemed to be some argument as to whether she was in a coma or not, in late June of that year, Mitchell's attorney Rebecca J. Thyne said the artist “has physical therapy each day and is expected to make a full recovery.” Shirley Collins visited her last year and said she was "walking, talking and painting" every day. She has kept a low profile since but was snapped here out with friends at the Catalina Bar and Grill

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

From the now legendary 1Heckofaguy weblog

and this from 1985 in Vienna from the peerless Voodoo Wagon

Leonard Cohen - Live Arkadenhof
July 6, 1985
Wien, Austria
Soundboard @320 

Set 1
01 Bird On The Wire
02 The Law
03 Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye
04 There Is A War
05 Who By Fire
06 Dance Me To The End Of Love
07 The Gypsy's Wife
08 Diamonds In The Mine
09 Hallelujah
10 Coming Back To You

Set 2
11 Avalanche - solo
12 A Singer Must Die - solo
13 The Stranger Song - solo
14 Chelsea Hotel #2 - solo
15 Night Comes On
16 Story Of Isaac
17 Famous Blue Raincoat
18 Lover Lover Lover
19 Sisters Of Mercy
20 Tennessee Waltz
21 The Partisan
22 So Long, Marianne
23 Memories
-- Encore
24 If It Be Your Will
25 Suzanne
-- Encore 2
26 Passing Thru
27 I Tried To Leave You
-- Encore 3
28 Heart With No Companion

It's lovely . . . . . 

Saturday, November 12, 2016


John Cale - Hallelujah (Official Video) Song by Leonard Cohen

In 1991 John Cale covered and rearranged Leonard Cohen's song 'Hallelujah' and asking Cohen for the lyrics John was sent a fifteen page long fax choosing the six verses we know today as ' the cheekiest verses' this was then covered by Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, k d lang and others more mainstream artists like TV competition winner Alexandra Burke (who didn't like it) and Brandi Carlile, Regina Spektor, Willie Nelson, Susan Boyle, Tim Minchin, Alter Bridge, (Myles Kennedy) and a mercifully spoken version by Bono. 

Largely it is John  Cale's arrangement that people cover and if you check out earlier videos on Youtube or Vevo you will find versions of Cohen singing it live that bear little resemblance to Cale's
but for many the definitive version will always be Jeff Buckley's I imagine if like me you just find it so astonishingly beautiful. So from Leonard to John to Jeff . . . . . . . 


R.I.P now Field Commander 

Thanks to the wonderful Voodoo Wagon this morning who have achieved the unachievable and posted a Leonard Cohen set that I didn't already have (Nice try Big O but you didn't manage it!)

check this 

1993 must have been an extraordinary year, the European concerts especially in Scandawegia are peerless. 

Leonard - Zurich 1993

enjoy  [UPDATE: One of the best you will EVER hear!]
but mourn our losses too . . . . . listen to that golden voice is the best way I know how
This nicely put too from Floppy Boot Stomp

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died at the age of 82. Cohen's label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer's Facebook page. "It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away," the statement read. "We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief." A cause of death and exact date of death was not given.
More at Rolling Stone 

Also there are a couple of really interesting covers of Cohen's work from Mojo magazine over at Willard's Wormholes
which are definitely worth checking if you weren't aware quite how far his influence really seeped into the collective artistic consciousness
check this

WW Archives - Lenny Mojo mag 2012

and here

WW archives Lenny Covered 2008

Friday, November 11, 2016

LEONARD COHEN R.I.P. 1934 - 2016
Canadian singer Leonard Cohen has died on November 10, 2016 aged 82. Cohen’s label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer’s Facebook page. “It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the announcement said. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.” There were no details about the cause of Mr Cohen’s death. The BBC also reported that a memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date, the announcement said. The Montreal-born singer’s hits included Suzanne and I’m Your Man and he released his 14th album, You Want It Darker, in October 2016. In a recent interview with the New Yorker, Cohen spoke about the prospect of death with calmness and clarity: “I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”
The singer-songwriter later clarified that he was "exaggerating." "I've always been into self-dramatisation,"Cohen said last month. "I intend to live forever."

Leonard and Anjani

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Some time ago I was in the hospital waiting for a treatment much like an X-Ray (I have had I think every known type of scan lately this past year or so and they all merge into one after a while) and I sat in the waiting area across from this sign. I was there for four hours or so and began to stare at this sign. Is it intended for me I wondered? I had no idea but the more I stared the less sense it made. Perhaps it was for staff?

I am considered a relatively intelligent man but the more I looked the less I understood. What DOES it mean? What is one supposed to do?
 Your comments would be appreciated.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

current mood . . . . . . . . . 

Sunday, November 06, 2016


The artist David Shrigley I have enjoyed the work of for some years now and he never ceases to please and surprise. It was my very great joy to have met him through fellow artist and friend Col. Glen Baxter whilst introducing the latter gent to Pomegranate Inc who I worked for after leaving my employ with Blackwell's book chain. I found him amusing and fascinating by turns, he was friendly and had no affectations or airs as one might have expected . . . his work and published output is always worth a visit and warrants further study, contemplation and wallowing therein.

Friday, November 04, 2016


they're coming . . . . . . . . 


the new Kings of Leon album seems like a doozie and like what performances I have seen thus far . . . it reminded me how much I enjoyed the Glasontbury set back in 2004. As we say round here , y'ere t'is . . . . . . 

It's Friday here so . . . . . . TURN IT UP!

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

More Bobby boots . . . . . . .

“Man, I love your boots“ — Bob Dylan

Midnight cafe

So to continue the celebration of the Nobel Literature prizewinner here's another recent Bob Dylan bootleg from the wonderful Midnight Cafe. This is just astonishingly wonderful. There are clips from Bob all over 2000 but I would dearly have loved to be at this gig in Portsmouth - this is the second night and Mat at Midnight Cafe has promised to make the first night available again. Watch out of it but in the meantime here's the second night's set and it is cooking on gas!

Disc one
Hallelujah, I’m Ready (acoustic) (Larry – Mandolin)
Mr. Tambourine Man (acoustic)
Hard Rain (acoustic)
Ballad Of Frankie Lee & Judas (acoustic)
Tangled Up In Blue (acoustic)
Searching For A Soldier’s Grave (acoustic)
Country Pie
She Belongs To Me
Tombstone Blues

Disc two
Trying To Get To Heaven
Drifter’s Escape (Bob on harp)
Everything Is Broken
Things Have Changed
Like A Rolling Stone
It Ain’t Me, Babe (acoustic)
Watching The River Flow
Forever Young (acoustic)
Highway 61 Revisited
Blowin’ In The Wind (acoustic)
Dear Landlord (1)
Positively 4th Street (Larry on pedal steel) (2)
(1) Visalia, California March 14, 2000 Visalia Convention Center
(2)Santa Cruz, California March 15, 2000 Civic Auditorium

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

BOB DYLAN - Philly '95

gotta follow up the Bobby news with some fine bootlegs that have popped up the last few days . . . . . in celebration for his Nobel Prize for Literature I guess . . . . . . . .
From the uniformly excellent Big O (yes yes and I know there's more . . . . . ) today

‘Theater of Living Arts' Philadelphia 1995

Some have though though this recording a bit 'hot' but for me it is amongst some of the best and with a tad of turning the twiddly bits on an equaliser you would get the balance to suit personal taste. It is however well balanced and largely clear on the vocals and thankfully for the plethora of recent recordings from the last ten years or so mercifully free of audience irritation.
I love it and I am getting picky now . . . . highly listenable and check out Big O's notes and enthusiasms from those posting it