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

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Right up there in my top albums of all time and probably always in my top three (as I have said before) the titular track would probably be my all time driving song and possibly my all time favourite song dependent on my mood at any given moment. This swan song of an album came out three months before Jim's death and I was still in shock over here in the UK but buying this in it's original cover became a salving source of comfort and somehow loads of us didn't believe he could be dead. Of course the legends and myths survive but it is fairly commonly accepted that Jim whilst enjoying a prolonged sojourn in Paris with 'wife' No 1 Pamela Courson may have mistaken a wrap of her heroin for cocaine and snorted just too much. Pam had a habit which she continually tied to hide from Jim as he disliked the drug and enjoyed this powders that went better with alcohol. Heroin and alcohol do not mix and cause many to overdose or rather in combination they shut down the lungs and respiration is threatened. Not drinking as heavily as he had perhaps, he was happy in France and had recorded a session of poetry but after a night out with friends Gilles Yepremian, HervĂ© Muller and Alain Ronay he had been drinking beer with he returned to their apartment and snorting a line got into a bath which is where Pam found him dead the following day. 

Pamela herself died of a heroin overdose in 1974 unable to continue she had been haunted by Jim's death ever since.

On this day in music history: April 29, 1971 - “L.A. Woman”, the sixth studio album by The Doors is released. Produced by The Doors and Bruce Botnick, it is recorded at The Doors Workshop in Los Angeles, CA from December 1970 - January 1971. After the departure of their producer Paul A. Rothchild (leaving after having differences with the band over musical direction), The Doors along with recording engineer Bruce Botnick handle the production duties on their sixth studio release. Unlike past albums, much of “L.A. Woman” is recorded live with few overdubs. They will be augmented by bassist Jerry Scheff and rhythm guitarist Marc Benno. It is the bands last album with lead singer Jim Morrison who dies three months after its release. The first press run of the LP features a die cut cover (with rounded corners similar to a photographic slide) with a portrait of the band printed on transparent yellow acetate plastic with the title and band name embossed on the front. Subsequent re-pressings of the LP are printed on standard cardboard stock without the die cutting and plastic window. It spins off two singles including “Love Her Madly” (#11 Pop) and “Riders On The Storm” (#14 Pop). To commemorate the albums’ fortieth anniversary, it is remixed, remastered and reissued as a double CD set. On the first disc, some tracks are extended, running past the fade out point of the original mixes. The second disc includes alternate versions of several songs and previously unreleased tracks. The album is also reissued in 2009 as a 180 gram vinyl LP, restoring the original cover artwork featured on the initial pressing. “L.A. Woman” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Henri-Georges Clouzot, “L’enfer” (1964) clip

Someone should do a film about Romy Schneider and Alain Delon’s relationship. Heartbreaking due to his infidelity (sic) with Nico of Velvet Underground fame by whom he had a son. 

Alain Delon's greatest love was Romy Schneider. After five years of passion, Alain broke it off by leaving Romy in an empty apartment, with a bouquet of roses and a note saying he's joining Nathalie in Mexico. After their separation, they remained good friends and even shared posters for several films. The death of Romy Schneider in 1982, was a terrible blow for Alain. Delon never really let go, in a most romantic gesture he showed a journalist the photos he kept of her in his wallet, years after her death. He freely admits she was the love of his life. It was too painful for Alain to attend her funeral, and so he privately paid his respects the next day and visited her graveside. He also arranged for her son to be buried alongside her.

He left a note on her grave saying (in French) “You have never been so beautiful. You see I even learned some German for you “Ich Liebe Dich Meine Liebe”” 

Romy Schneider & Henri-Georges Clouzot on the set of “L'enfer”, 1964

Haven't posted any CSNY for an age so this is most welcome from Big O (where else) this morning

This is a lovely crisp soundboard recording and good to hear, short but sweet. I was a fan early on of CSNY and saw them at Wembley in 1974 with headliner Joni Mitchell but have said before it was The Band who stole that entire concert from everyone and we danced like crazy people! 
The Bridge School has had or done a number of benefit concerts and I must find out more about them. This is from Oakland CA so assume the school is there also. There have been an extraordinary range of artists support them from Dylan right on through . . . . . . . .enjoy!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

BOB DYLAN - The Nobel Concerts - April 1st &2nd STOCKHOLM

and from Big O (of course) this morning one of the Bob Dylan sets from his visit to Stockholm earlier in the month whilst collecting his Nobel Prize for Literature on April Fools Day of course


Couple of great posts out in the ether web this morning, not least this from the mercurially wonderful Voodoo Wagon from Richard Thompson - stunning quality here and check the tapers notes, I have no idea what he is banging on about but as matrix recordings go it is little short of astonishing. 
It is in FLAC format and as such is worthy of anyone's RT collection and then some

Richard Thompson - Iowa 91

Early Show:
01. Woman or a Man
02. 1952 Vincent
03. Shoot Out the Lights
04. Two Left Feet
05. God Loves a Drunk
06. Jerusalem on the Jukebox
07. Pharaoh
08. Now That I Am Dead
09. She Moves Through the Fair
10. I Feel So Good
11. When the Spell in Broken
12. Wall of Death*
13. Waltzing's for Dreamers
14. Valerie

15. Ca Plane Pour Moi

*includes bits of Tom Thumb's Blues, Pretty Ballerina, Needles and Pins, 
When You Walk in the Room

Late Show:
01. I Misunderstood
02. Turning of the Tide
03. Mystery Wind
04. The Choice Wife
05. She Twists the Knife Again
06. Al Bowlly's in Heaven
07. Killerman Gold Posse
08. Beat the Retreat
09. Tear Stained Letter
10. Genesis Hall
11. Read About Love
12. Psycho Street
13. Can't Win
14. Don't Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes at Me

15. Ghosts in the Wind

Thanks to Dime and the people that share!!

and to round it off he posts this!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Also in 1969 on this date I bought 
On this day in music history: April 23, 1969 - “With A Little Help From My Friends”, the debut album by Joe Cocker is released. Produced by Denny Cordell, it is recorded at Olympic and Trident Studios in London circa early 1968. The first album by the Sheffield, UK born rock vocalist features musical support from musicians such as Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood, Albert Lee, Henry McCullough, as well as L.A. studio veterans like Carol Kaye, Paul Humphrey and vocalists Merry Clayton, Madeline Bell and Brenda & Patrice Holloway. It spins off two singles including a cover of the Dave Mason penned “Feelin’ Alright” (#69 Pop) and the title track (#68 Pop), whose striking rearrangement with provide Cocker with his commercial breakthrough. The single release of “With A Little Help From My Friends” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001. The song is also used as the theme song for the long running series “The Wonder Years”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999, with two additional bonus tracks added. It is remastered again and reissued as a hybrid SACD disc in 2015. “With A Little Help From My Friends” peaks at number thirty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold In the US by the RIAA.

but for us a small group of friends we preferred the follow up double live album 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' which we never stopped playing. I still have both albums . . . . . .  

My bid for the best Stones album ever . . . . . again from an occasional series of albums or singles bought when they came out and I have the zipper cover of Sticky Fingers with insert by Andy Warhol. It also has some of the best Stones tracks EVER!?

On this day in music history: April 23, 1971 - “Sticky Fingers”, the ninth album (eleventh in the US) album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Jimmy Miller, it is recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield, AL, Stargroves in East Woodhay, Hampshire, UK with The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, and Olympic Studios in London from December 1969 - January 1971. After seven years with their former label Decca Records and free from former manager Allen Klein, The Rolling Stones begin to regroup as the new decade begins. Signing a deal with Atlantic Records in the US (and EMI throughout the rest of the world), they begin work on the follow up to their previous studio album “Let It Bleed”. Following in the bluesy rock vein of their two previous albums (“Beggar’s Banquet” and “Let It Bleed”), it also features a number of guest musicians including Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Jack Nitszche (keyboards), and Ry Cooder (guitar). “Sticky Fingers” is an artistic and commercial triumph upon its release, being widely regarded as one of their best. The albums iconic cover art is designed by artist Andy Warhol (graphic artist Craig Braun, photographer Billy Name), with the cover photo featuring a waist to knees shot in jeans of a Warhol Factory actor/model (speculated to be everyone from Jet Johnson, Corey Tippin, or Joe Dallesandro) that includes a working zipper. The metal zippers actually cause a problem with records being damaged during shipping, but the problem is solved by simply shipping them with the zipper being pulled down, pressing against the label area instead of the vinyl surface. The album is also the first to include the now familiar “lips and tongue” logo (designed by graphic artist Ernie Cefalu) that becomes  the bands trademark. Reissued various times over the years, the album is remastered and reissued as a double CD, with the second disc featuring alternate takes and live performances from a concert recorded in 1971. “Sticky Fingers” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
another from Jeff Harris' wonderful music blog

Sunday, April 23, 2017


One of those days = anything that can go wrong will

But why do these things happen to me?
Have I got the sort of face that these things happen to?
Have I got the sort of face that some people seem to want to hit with a shovel? (don't answer that!)
I guess the clues were there and I should have realised at the beginning that the portents weren't good!

My bus stop was cordoned off for road works but I spotted there was a free standing bus stop sign round the corner on the verge. I should maybe have realised it was going to be 'one of those days' when a man in a 'Highways Maintenance' van pulled up and he took the bus stop sign threw it in the back and started walking back to the cab. I asked
'Er excuse me should I continue to wait here or is the bus stop back open?'
No reply was forthcoming . . .
'Er exCUSE me! Is there a bus stop still here? . . . . '
The driver did not acknowledge me and got in his van and promptly drove off.

Now witness to this had been two Chinese lads who appeared really confused by this behaviour. It having taken them some moments to work out there wasn't room for the buses to stop where they would usually wait, only to come round the corner to see someone taking the bus stop sign away! I did my best to reassure them and having checked the electronic display informed them a bus for town would be coming any minute as it was marked "DUE"

They smiled uncomfortably at being spoken to by a stranger but sure enough a town bus hove into view and they smiled at me with nervous relief. I was waiting for the hospital buses and so stood there somewhat longer. . . .

When my bus arrived I flagged it down there being no bay or indeed any stop sign anymore and had an agreeable and amusing chat with the driver about where the sign had gone and what did I think!
But I guess the whole thing should have been a sign as to what was further to come . . . . . .

Having had my appointment at the hospital which was less than satisfactory and rather frustrating, I was happy to immediately get on a return bus straight away some hour later than the time of my appointment. It was raining heavily by now.  The bus oddly was packed!
I walk with a stick now if I have to cover any distance and was comforted to see one of the disabled seats was free, it suits my back and I let my stick nestle against me and it may have disappeared against my scarf, I now think with hind sight . . . . I should perhaps say I am not registered disabled but have a back condition that is troublesome and have been walking with a stick now for some several years as it helps over any certain distance.

A tall imperious looking gentleman and his wife got on the bus stop in The John Radcliffe hospital and walked up to where I was sitting on the right hand side where there are flop down seats so that pushchairs can be accommodated. I had chosen to sit there earlier as there was a free space and then a lady with three children got in the opposite side of the aisle to accommodate her buggy.

The couple stalked towards me. Their body language was such that they looked like they wanted to sit where I was, his face gurning a little, tutting as he realised perhaps where they had sat on their way there was now occupied but the gentleman sat directly at my knees in the seat that required pulling the flat seat down and his lady wife sat next to me. After waiting for the bus to pull away the gentleman looked at me several times and I could see out of the corner of my eye as he eyed me up and down. He had a middle class military bearing wearing expensive 'country style' clothing, navy blue Army style sweater, corduroy trousers and sensible shoes, she was suitably matching in a long skirt and camel coloured sweater with a silk scarf about her head and neck. Eventually he turned to look at me again  and said
 "You know you really shouldn't sit there if you are not disabled."
To which I said
'Excuse me?'
And he repeated the statement to which I responded
"I'm sorry are you speaking to me?"
He answered me
"Yes, I'm saying you really shouldn't be taking up a seat for the disabled if you are younger and able bodied"
In a split second I thought and found myself replying "And how do you know I'm not? Disabled that is?"
He responded, a little startled perhaps to be challenged
"Well are you?"
To which I found myself saying, in a bad mood and not willing to continue the argument
"Well that's really none of your business is it?! Nor is my age come to that and how do you know how  old I am?!"
He seemed cross now and replied
"Well it is my business and I am making it my business to ask you" when asked 
He replied as I had thought
"Well my wife and I wanted to sit there"
I paused for a moment, "And are YOU registered disabled then?"
He seemed flustered and was going a little red in the face and said
"Well that's not really the point but you saw us get on at the hospital! YOU didn't get on at the hospital! And I am merely pointing out it would have been a courtesy to let us have the disabled seats."
'Where I got on the bus is none of your business is it?' I replied' besides one of you has got the seat in question" to which his wife piped up
"John, just leave it!"

Now this sounded like a tone that there was too much of 'a fuss' and an impending fight over a seat and that I was in someway being a hooligan or in the wrong, where I do not believe I was. I inched my walking stick forward and toyed with it as I do, twirling it around in my thumb and forefinger. He spied it as I believe did she.
I paused and said
"I got on the bus at the Churchill Hospital not that it has anything to do with you! . . . and I believe I have every right to sit here and if you wish to make something of it I suggest you take the matter up with the driver!"

I let the silence speak for itself as the rest of the bus by now had sensed the awkwardness and gone quieter. It was still quite busy. The couple having noticed my stick I think, stayed quiet but suddenly stood up and she said 'Come on dear' and they got up and proceeded to sit behind me as a chap got off rising from that seat at his stop.

Now the next thing that happened illustrates the differences in the class system and my own prejudices being put to task I guess because of course I was sat there quietly fuming, going over the disagreement in my mind as to how I might have handled it better when this gentlemen in a wheelchair and his lady wife got on at the last stop in the hospital grounds and sidled their large chair into the space in front of me where the flop down seats were and his wife sat next to me, I smiled at them and they had quite a palaver to fit the chair in but all was well, they smiled back and she seemed especially friendly, if he looked a tad tired and it was a miserable rainy day. He sat in his waterproofs and with his large black footwear, the type of shoes I have seen diabetes sufferers wear. She pulled down the hood of his waterproofs and I could see with great care and affection making him comfortable. She touched the back of her hand to his cheek and he smiled wanly. Suddenly a voice popped up that I recognised, it was the first gentlemen making an observation from the seat behind
"Now there's an opportunity if ever the was one to get up and make way for someone less fortunate than yourself!"
The lady sat next to me glanced at me and appeared to summarise the situation in a split second, quickly replied
"No, no,  . . . no need - we are all quite happy here!"

The gentleman in the wheelchair opened his tired eyes and looked at all concerned and then made eye contact with me and smiled the most lovely smile. They continued their journey with little private conversation to each other and little billings and cooing between them and I gathered he was a professor and she was clearly his wife and we had a pleasant journey forward, despite the rain and the packed bus, the entire atmosphere changed and the hullabaloo of background chatter resumed.

The only people to stay quiet, were the couple behind me . . . . . .although I did occasionally hear muttering and grumbling, I couldn't make out any words except perhaps the occasional 'No!' or once a terse 'Can't you just leave it!?"
I smiled to myself as they eventually got off in North Oxford opposite Marks And Spencer.


Photos of the Beatles taken by Angus McBean at EMI house, London, firstly in 1963 for the cover of the Beatles first album, Please Please Me and in the same location again in 1969, originally intended for the Beatles Get Back LP. The Get Back album was shelved (and later salvaged and turned into Let It Be) so the photo was only used for the Get Back single, and later the Beatles ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ albums respectively. Note the clothing change in the later photos. I had no idea these were by the legendary photographer Angus McBean and he is really worth 'Googling' MOMA Oxford had a show with his work in it and he was a master
Pics:  © Angus McBean. 

another in the occasional series of albums or singles bought when they came out and this goes for the album 'Cheap Thrills' by Janis Joplin (1968)

It probably isn't my favourite track from that album but it is a classic and the selection of favourite's is hard from such an album where every track suits some mood or other. I guess given a push I say 'Piece of My Heart' I gave it to someone who melted it on the back seat window of a car and miss my original but have had it since several times over on CD and remastered versions and it remains a classic not least for it's brilliant cover by another artist hero, the legendary Robert Crumb. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

continuing series of singles or albums bought when they came out, this the first solo album by Pete Townshend was never off the turntable when it came out and has some great tracks not least this . . .

On this day in music history: April 21, 1980 - “Empty Glass”, the debut solo album by Pete Townshend is released. Produced by Pete Townshend and Chris Thomas, it is recorded at Eel Pie Studios and AIR Studios in London from Late 1978 - Early 1980. The first solo release for the lead guitarist and chief songwriter of The Who features songs chronicling Townshend’s personal struggles with alcoholism, drug abuse, and his marriage. It is a critical and commercial success upon its release, spinning off three singles including “Let My Love Open The Door” (#9 Pop) and “Rough Boys” (#89 Pop). In 2006, the album is remastered and reissued with four bonus tracks of demos and songs as works in progress. It is also reissued as a limited edition 180 gram clear vinyl LP in 2017. “Empty Glass” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
and this one too bought as a single and it is one of the greatest hit singles The Cure ever released, such a great song and still sounds fresh today IMHO

On this day in music history: April 21, 1992 - “Wish”, the ninth album by The Cure is released. Produced by David M. Allen and Robert Smith, it is recorded at The Manor in Oxfordshire, UK from Mid 1991 - Early 1992. Issued at the follow up to the critically and commercially successful “Disintegration”, the band record the album at Virgin Records founder Richard Branson’s studio. Musically it is a dramatic shift from the moody and dark sound of the previous album, with many of the songs having a more upbeat and poppy sound. It spins off three singles including “Friday I’m In Love” (#1 Modern Rock, #18 Pop) and “High” (#1 Modern Rock, #42 Pop) becoming their highest charting album in the US, and earning a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album in 1993. “Wish” enters the Billboard Top 200 at its chart peak of number two, number one on the UK album chart, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
another from Jeff Harris' wonderful music blog

Friday, April 21, 2017

well just because . . . . . . . . . . it IS Friday after all . . . . .

 . . . . . comparisons are odious but . . . . . . I always took it that it was a tribute to Livingstone. No?

McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed

Here's another first (as in first bought when it came out) and the McCartney solo album was a straight away purchase and no mistake but 'Maybe I'm Amazed' became something of an anthem for loads of us. What a great love song it is. I recall hitchhiking to Leicester Polytech as was then (later to be DeMontfort University and also where I did my fine art degree under the tutelage of Gavin Bryars and art historian Fred Orton) to see The Faces and Rodney introduced their version of 'Maybe..' by saying . . . "Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Mateus Rose Ltd  . . . . and here's a number you may not know it and if you don't know it, I really don't know where ya bin!"

He was right, recorded on home recording machines for the most part this showed us all, as if there had been any doubt, that Paul could play every instrument if required not just bass, but drums and lead guitar too

On this day in music history: April 20, 1970 - “McCartney”, the solo debut album by Paul McCartney is released (UK release date is on April 17, 1970). Produced by Paul McCartney, it is recorded at 7 Cavendish Avenue, Abbey Road Studios in London and Morgan Studios in Willesden, UK from Late 1969 - March 1970. Following the recording of The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album, Paul McCartney works on his first solo release while The Beatles are in the process of breaking up, booking studio time under an assumed name and also recording at home on a Studer four-track recorder set up in his living room. The home recordings are done without the benefit of a mixing board, with McCartney literally plugging microphones directly into the back of the tape machine. Though no singles are issued from it, the album is very successful with the track “Maybe I’m Amazed” becoming a major airplay hit. Eight days prior to the albums UK release, advance copies of the album are received by the press. Inserted into the album is a short Q&A written by McCartney that in effect announces the break up of The Beatles, and publicly declares his departure from the band the next day on April 10, 1970. In June of 2011, a remastered version of the original album is reissued, including  a 2CD + 1 DVD archival boxed set, featuring previously unreleased material from the recording sessions. “McCartney” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, number two on the UK album chart, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


 "Over My Shoulder"

this from Emily's new newsletter today. A beautiful video for a heart wrenching song, dedicated to little Aylan Kurdis the three year old boy washed up on the shoreline of the Aegean sea in 2015 . . . . . . 

"‘Over My Shoulder’ tries to imagine what it must be like to have to leave your home with your partner and young family, to set out on an incredibly dangerous journey in a desperate search for a safe place; somewhere to live peacefully and raise a family without the daily threat of bombs, starvation, drought or the constant fear of losing someone you love.
I wrote this song with one of Britain’s finest songwriters, Boo Hewerdine. We were sat at a piano in a basement studio in London on September 9th 2015, just a few days after the deeply disturbing and heart-shattering photograph of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year old Syrian boy, had gone viral on social media.
The powerful image of a dead child, face down and fully clothed, lying on a beach on the Aegean coast, brought the reality of the refugee crisis crashing in to our consciousness - if it hadn’t been there already. It felt as if the whole world had stopped and finally taken notice; what had previously seemed unimaginable was brought in to stark focus by this simple photograph. For many watching from the safety and comfort of their own homes, this young boy, with his little trainers and his red t-shirt, looked like he could be one of our own children.
Like many others before and after them, Aylan’s family had been attempting to sail to the Greek island of Kos to escape the devastation of war in their home country. Like so many others, they did not survive the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean.
This is a time when we all need to show generosity and compassion and recognise that we are in a position to help others that have suffered so much loss; loss on a scale most of us can barely comprehend. Most of the time it doesn’t need much – a simple show of empathy and understanding can go a long way. It shouldn’t need a photograph of a dead child on a beach for us to empathise with human suffering. I hope this song might serve as a reminder to us to be grateful for the beauty in our lives, and for the things we often take for granted, such as food, water, safety, shelter, family and loved ones. Above all, let us not forget how, from time to time, we have all relied upon those around us for help, support, connection and love to pull us through.
Thank you for reading, and please do watch the video. As always, I'd love to know what you think."      
'Emily Barker

Website here . . . .


Filmed and edited by Jake Gavin

Music and lyrics by Emily Barker and Boo Hewerdine
It’s time to say goodbye
Never thought I’d see this day
I’ll be looking over my shoulder
As the shoreline slips away

Gave my money to a stranger
He wouldn’t look me in the eye
He was looking over my shoulder 
We both knew the reason why

Somewhere on this big old blue
I’ll find a place for me and you

So please don’t tell the children
I never learnt to swim
I feel them looking over my shoulder
As the waves come crashing in

Somewhere on this big old blue
I’ll find a place
Somewhere on this big old blue
I’ll find a place for me and you

It’s time to say goodbye
To all that we have known
No more looking over my shoulder
There’s no place like home

Purchase the album "Sweet Kind of Blue"

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