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

Friday, November 30, 2018

John & Yoko:above us only sky

"Channel 4’s feature-length documentary about the making of Lennon’s album Imagine, featuring unseen footage from John and Yoko’s Berkshire home where much of it was recorded, is as close as you’re going to get. There’s testimony from musicians who played on the album, plus interviews with Yoko and eldest son Julian Lennon. But it’s John who commands the attention, bashing out his songs on the upright piano so the band can learn them, and telling fellow ex-Beatle George exactly what sort of guitar solo he’s after." - TV Guide

Truly this is a mere 'advert' for the repackaging of the reissue and yet isn't really about the making of the album at all, it is barely about the making of the one hit track and I am guessing, whilst I love Yoko and always saw her first as a quite independent artist in her own right, the influence here is clear. She hangs over the whole project like a judgemental omnipotent influence ensuring that nothing untoward is touched upon.  However not only did she really co-write 'Imagine' that finally becomes clear by referencing 'Grapefruit' but this hagiographic whitewash of a film clearly did not want to rattle any cages or spoil things by exploring anything even approaching the truth. It is merely about just the song and as everyone has called it the 'untold story' which is patently laughable! There is nothing here that we haven' t seen before. Given the film makers finishing up by saying they edited it from thousands of hours of footage it seems extraordinary how bland an end result they have committed to broadcast. Quite why some of the art folk or gallerists and retired DJs and 'D' listers are represented here (Yoko's gallery perhaps?) the whole set up is totally unfathomable and frankly I couldn't even be bothered to find out who the hell they are and even dear Klaus Voormann sounds old and confused getting his facts wrong about now . . . . . . . Even Julian is used as a cursory footnote here. To say that the song 'Imagine' is "not religious" is foolish in the extreme as 'no hell below us, above us only sky"  and "and no religion too" always made it simplistically clear but this doesn't look at their life together in Berkshire where they hardly spent 2 years in their newly bought stately home how John was no father to poor Julian at all by then or visits the reasons other than what comes across as whimsy to move to New York in any depth at all their life style changes there and for example their fascination with numerology or suffering from such heroin addiction (or consumption really in that they never injected) but had smoked it on and off for years, so that in New York that John readily saw UFO's on the skyline over the Dakota building for example and the footage of the rich man's 99 acre stately home of Tittenhurst Park where they spent twice the value of the house on eccentric landscaping projects (their lake was built without any planning permission) and 'doing it up' only to leave after a couple of years selling the house to Ringo and all of this is certainly stuff that we have seen before. The heartbreaking encounter there with the supposed ex-Vietnam vet with his fuses blown is not new and doesn't really warrant a second viewing. We might be forgiven for thinking the footage we haven't seen is only the 'D' lister talking heads waffling on saying next to nothing. 
Heck you know we ALL have an opinion on John and Yoko!

Truly truly dreadful piece of hagiography. Hardly worth bothering to watch

                        WINGS - 'WILD LIFE'

                                                                  'Dear Friend'

Fans can listen to the previously unreleased ‘Indeed I Do’ and two versions of the John Lennon-inspired closing track 'Dear Friend - 2018 Remaster' and Dear Friend - Home Recording II' now.

                                                                     For JOHN!

The re-issue of 'Wild Life' one of my very favourite Paul and Linda and Wings albums of all time . . . . . .   

where it not for the price of £130 I would buy this in a heartbeat                

"whatever happened to . . . . . ." 
Just because I felt like it . . . . . . I mean talk about classic!>?
here's the Groobin' Stooves Hectic Tonkie Women!
of course . . . . . . more cowbell if you please

Lifting the veil of Faerie!

Web page of the week!

A Scottish adventurer, inventor, and photographer named Neville Colmore claimed to have constructed a device capable of “…parting the veil of Faery…”. The device, which he called the “Spectobarathrum”, produced beautiful photo graphic plates he called “fatagravures”, through a now lost process. The original “Spectobarathrum” along with all of the images he claimed to have made were believed destroyed in a fire. 

They say it's your birthday . . . . . . . 

Remembering singer, songwriter, musician and humanitarian George Harrison (born in Liverpool, Lancashire, UK) - February 25, 1943 - November 29, 2001

On this day in music history: November 29, 1969 - “Come Together” / “Something” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney / George Harrison, it is the eighteenth number one single in the US for the iconic rock quartet. The double A-sided single is the only extract from The Beatles and issued in the US one week after the album (five weeks after in the UK). “Come Together” is written by John (but credited to “Lennon/McCartney”), it begins as a campaign song for his friend Dr. Timothy Leary who is planning to run for Governor of California. The song is instead kept for the band. The opening line of the song, “Here come ol’ flat top” is lifted from the Chuck Berry song “You Can’t Catch Me” resulting in a lawsuit from Morris Levy, whose publishing company owns the rights to the Berry composition. George Harrison writes “Something” during the sessions for “Let It Be”, and is in part inspired by the first line of the James Taylor song “Something In The Way She Moves”, and also by George’s then wife Pattie. It is the first time that one of Harrison’s songs is released as the A-side of a Beatles single when it is issued in the US on October 6, 1969. Both sides enter the Hot 100 on October 18, 1969, with “Something” entering the chart at #20, and “Come Together” at #23.  During the time the songs are on the chart, Billboard changes their chart policy regarding the separate charting of single A and B sides. The magazine combines the airplay and sales points of both charting sides, placing them in the same chart position rather than separately. This gives “Something” and “Come Together” the momentum they need to reach number one. By the time, Billboard makes the change in their charting method, Come Together is listed first as the more dominant side in airplay and sales. when the single tops the chart. “Come Together” / “Something” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.


Well here's a treat for a Friday morning and Big O have posted a recent (Sept) set from Richard Thompson at the Americana Festival in Nashville. Richard is simply my favourite living singer songwriter and probably the best guitarist in the world alongside Ry Cooder for these ears. But where Ry maybe edges the guitar work (dependent on my mood) Richard excels at songwriting strange mysterious acerbic songs about life, relationships, morals and the human clay, folks songs for the 21stC.
Simply put he is a master . . . .

All of these tracks for the most part (bar two?) serve as an advert for his latest album '13 Rivers' which you can find here

Thursday, November 29, 2018

From the sublime to . . . . . .well not really, . . .  a different sublime if you will. . . . . . . Music Italy 70 has again posted an article which makes me wish my Italian was better but they choose to post another article about 


Rock 'n' Roll Animal Era

It also contained the source photo for my early painting of Lou

Lou Reed airbrush study 1977 ink on paper (A. Swapp)

Lou Reed - Acrylic on canvas 3' x 4' 1977 [destroyed] A. Swapp

I think we have posted this before but as voices go this is a simply peerless performance and as Dolly Parton songs go this is an extraordinary insightful cover that remade it into a classic and hopefully earned Dolly a ticket load of moolah to boot! I still enjoy Dolly's version too but this soaring vocal performance is almost superhuman and I do NOT believe it was altered by the current vocoder and Pro-tools vocal massaging either. The downhill struggle from this zenith of her singing is amongst the saddest pop stories to follow but just enjoy again this beautiful version . . . . . at her peak and in her prime

On this day in music history: November 28, 1992 - “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 11 weeks on December 5, 1992, and topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 5 weeks on December 19, 1992. Written by Dolly Parton, it is the biggest hit for the pop and R&B vocal superstar from Newark, NJ. Having established herself as a megastar in music, Whitney Houston sets her sights on the movies. She is hired to play the female lead opposite actor Kevin Costner (“Bull Durham”, “Field Of Dreams, "Dances With Wolves”) in “The Bodyguard”. Written by screenwriter and director Lawrence Kasdan (“The Big Chill”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Silverado”), the screenplay has been floating around in Hollywood for nearly fifteen years before it is finally made. When it comes time to record the soundtrack, Houston cuts “I Have Nothing”, “Run To You” and “Queen Of The Night”, three original songs penned for the film, a cover of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” and the hymn “Jesus Loves Me”. Whitney is to also record of a cover of Jimmy Ruffin’s Motown classic “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted”, but is scratched when it’s discovered that it had been recorded by Paul Young for the film “Fried Green Tomatoes”, released while “The Bodyguard” is still filming. Costner suggests that Whitney cover of country superstar Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”. Parton writes the song in 1973 after splitting with her mentor Porter Wagoner. It tops the Billboard Country singles chart in June of 1974. Dolly records it again in 1982 for the film “The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas”, taking it to the top of the country chart again. Producer David Foster re-arranges the song as an pop/R&B ballad, using Houston’s touring band led by musical director Rickey Minor to cut the basic track, with jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum as the featured soloist. When Arista Records hears the finished track, they like it, but feel that the forty five second long a cappella intro might hurt the songs’ chance for radio play. Their fears are unfounded when it is released on November 3, 1992, becoming an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #40 on November 14, 1992, it pole vaults to the top of the chart two weeks later, making the third highest jump to number one from outside the top ten in Billboard chart history from #12 to #1. It sells over four and a half million copies in the US alone, propels the soundtrack album to 18x Platinum status, with “The Bodyguard” soundtrack shattering the worldwide sales record held by “Saturday Night Fever”. “I Will Always Love You” also wins two Grammy Awards for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record Of The Year in 1994. After Houston’s untimely passing in February of 2012, the words “The Voice” and the title of her biggest hit are written on her epitaph. “I Will Always Love You” is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The last person to be publicly executed 1939 (Versailes, France)

Eugen Weidmann.

Let's be clear shall we? I know there are some nasty vicious evil people in the world but please this is the site of authorities chopping the guy's head off in the street! The public hysteria and almost uncontrollable febrile blood lust was such that they merely adjourned indoors and continued to send convicts to the guillotine until 1977!!

 Eugen Weidmann (February 5, 1908 – June 17, 1939) was a German criminal and serial murderer who was executed by guillotine in France in June 1939, the last public execution in that country. (Executions by guillotine continued in private until Hamida Djandoubi's execution on September 10, 1977)

On June 17, 1939, Weidmann was beheaded outside the prison Saint-Pierre in Versailles. The "hysterical behaviour" by spectators was so scandalous that French President Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Unknown to authorities, film of the execution was shot from a private apartment adjacent to the prison. British actor Christopher Lee – who was 17 at the time – witnessed the event. 

Rare Historical Photos - Weidmann's execution

I was simply to poor to buy this when it came out and as boxed albums go it was at best mixed but boy with a bit more editing it might have worked, as it contained some peaches and I might have been able to afford it. A bit like his first edition autobiography 'I, Me, Mine' (£250 in 1980?) it is way beyond the pocket of most fans and how's that for materialism eh, Georgie never mind being as 'close as we will get to an autobiography' which fails to cover the period of the Beatles, you know the part that made you rich beyond your wildest dreams! But hey it's wrong to speak ill of the dead and everybody likes 'George' don't they? He could possibly be the most acerbic and biting of the Beatles and had a thinly veiled nasty side to boot, still if he chose to believe that 'My Sweet Lord' saved the lives of heroin addicts so be it! For me I preferred 'Wonderwall'

On this day in music history: November 27, 1970 - “All Things Must Pass”, the third solo album by George Harrison is released. Produced by George Harrison and Phil Spector, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Trident Studios and Apple Studios in London from May - October 1970. With the announcement of The Beatles split in April of 1970, George Harrison wastes no time in beginning work on his third official solo release. With his two previous albums “Wonderwall Music” and the experimental “Electronic Sound” being largely instrumental works, plans for Harrison to record a more straightforward album begin in early 1970. Having worked the expansive recording sessions for “Let It Be” into a cohesive album, George asks producer Phil Spector to work on his album. After Harrison plays Spector literally dozens of songs he has been stockpiling since The Beatles “Revolver” album in 1966, he signs on to the project. Many of the songs are ones the guitarist had presented as potential Beatles songs, but were set aside since Harrison rarely had more than two of his songs (with a few exceptions) on any of the bands’ albums. “All Things Must Pass” features musical support from Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Klaus Voorman, Gary Wright, Dave Mason, Peter Frampton (uncredited) and Ginger Baker. One of the sessions for the track “Art Of Dying” features a then nineteen year old Phil Collins (pre-Genesis) playing percussion, though his overdubs do not make the final mix. Completed in the Fall of 1970, the album is released as a lavish twenty three track triple LP box set with a poster. The main eighteen tracks are contained on the first two LP’s with the last five on the third LP titled “Apple Jam”, consisting mostly of loose instrumental jams. It is a huge critical and commercial success upon its release, spinning off two singles including the chart topping “My Sweet Lord” (#1 Pop) and “What Is Life?” (#10 Pop). Regarded as one of the best post Beatles solo albums, “All Things Must Pass” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2014. The album is remastered and reissued twice on CD in 2001, and again in 2014, with a limited vinyl reissue released on Black Friday Record Store Day in 2012. The vinyl LP set is reissued again in 2017, as both a stand alone release and as part of the box set “George Harrison - The Vinyl Collection”. “All Things Must Pass” spends seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

And round and round it goes and the music comes out here . . . . . . . .

On this day in music history: November 27, 1967 - “Magical Mystery Tour” by The Beatles is released in the US (UK release date is on December 8, 1967). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios and Olympic Studios in London from April 25 - November 7, 1967. The album serves as the soundtrack to an hour long film shown on the BBC on December 26, 1967. After receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews following its UK airing, plans for broadcast in the US are immediately canceled. While the record is issued in the UK as a six track double EP, it is released in the US as an eleven track LP duplicating the picture book included with the EP, except blown up to 12 x 12 size. The US LP also includes the A and B sides of all of the band’s singles released during 1967. It is the last Beatles album to be issued with separate mono and stereo mixes in the US, with the mono LP being pressed in small quantities, it becomes a rare and sought after collector’s item in later years. Three of the albums’ five songs “Penny Lane”, “Baby You’re A Rich Man”, and “All You Need Is Love” are originally presented on the original US pressing in “duophonic” re-channelled stereo since none of these had been mixed into true stereo at the time. Between 1969 and 1971, stereo mixes for these tracks are made and first surface on the German EMI release of the album in 1971. The US version of the LP is finally released in the UK in 1976 after years of strong import sales. The rare US mono version of the album makes its CD debut in September of 2009 on the “Beatles In Mono” box set, replicating the original vinyl LP artwork (in a mini LP gatefold jacket), with the vinyl being reissued in September of 2014. “Magical Mystery Tour” spends eight weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.


Legendary guitarist (doesn't quite cover it somehow) traveller from another planet and stranger in a strange land . . . . . something was radically wrong towards the end, his last concert or perhaps rather his last public performance shall we say was dreadful and the last photos show a man who was seemingly desperately sad. Perhaps seriously frustrated by the lack of technology ability to keep up with the music playing in his head, I can't help but wonder that this was induced by some external force, possibly drugs and yet the central sadness is bigger than these mere mortal reasons IMHO. He had begun to hear whole symphonies in his head and was reconciling this with his ability to play what actually were amongst the best blues songs ever recorded. Suffice to say I think he began to think Voodoo Chile was his autobiography . . . . . . . . 

Born on this day: November 27, 1942 - Rock guitar icon Jimi Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix, legally changed to James Marshall Hendrix). 
Happy Birthday to this legendary musician on what would have been his 76th Birthday.

"Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music." Jimi Hendrix

“Crazy Dion” Diamond at one of his sit-ins as a teenager in Arlington, VA. June 10, 1960
via reddit
hey guys! here’s some fun things i learned from this article about Dion Diamond:
  • he did these sit-ins by himself. like idk about you, but i always thought of sit-ins as organized by groups, what kind of bravery does it take, man
  • he didn’t tell anyone about it, like he was no glory-seeker about this. his parents didn’t even know until reporters started calling them up like “hey, did you know your son is in jail?
  • when someone called the cops he’d skedaddle out the back door although he was sent to prison multiple times
  • the last time he got arrested was in Baton Rouge, and the cops were so sick of him that they told inmates they’d put in a good word for anyone who gave Diamond a hard time. (the inmates didn’t take the bait.)
  • he’s still alive!
a hero of our times!
This just in from the DB Newsletter . . . . all about my favourite film 
Order True Stories (the film) Here!
Criterion's special edition release of True Stories, on DVD and Blu-ray, is available today! The release features a new 4K restoration of the film, a documentary on the film's production, deleted scenes, a special film made by the Ross Bros and more! If you are a fan of both the film and the music, you can get BOTH when you purchase the Blu-ray here.  
Order True Stories: The Complete Soundtrack Here!
Additionally, Todomundo! and Nonesuch have released the complete soundtrack as standalone album—all 23 songs, in film order, have been remastered and the cast versions of songs remixed. The album is available as a CD, LP and digitally at Nonesuch.com or wherever you usually buy or stream your music! 

In celebration, David Byrne will host a special presentation of the new True Stories in NYC at the IFC Center on Tuesday, December 4th with screenings at 7pm and 9:15pm. Tickets are still available for the 9:15pm screening here!
Copyright © 2018 Todomundo LTD, All rights reserved.
Classic pop songs of all time .  . . .  and no I didn't buy this when it came out and thought perhaps it was too camp or something. It is of course a simply brilliant and catchy pop song. It is alas also serving here as a cautionary tale of the 21st C as look at Pete Burns here and check out how handsome he is! This extraordinary man went on to have more and more facial and plastic surgery [Burns had extensive polyacrylamide injections into his lips, cheek implants, several rhinoplasties and many tattoos] that he became unrecognisable and did himself untold damage in the pursuit of something no-one thought he needed, to so radically change his once handsome good looks for reasons we now will never really understand is body dysmorphia at its worst and he clearly needed help. Suffice to say it is my belief it contributed to his early death* of a heart attack at 57

On this day in music history: November 26, 1984 - “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” by Dead Or Alive is released in the UK (US release is on May 6, 1985). Written by Pete Burns, Steve Coy, Tim Lever and Mike Percy, it is the biggest hit for the synth-pop Hi-NRG band from Liverpool, UK. Originally formed as a five piece post punk/goth rock band in 1980 by lead singer Pete Burns, Dead Or Alive is reduced to four members in 1984, when guitarist Wayne Hussey departs to focus on his other band Sisters Of Mercy. While writing material for their second album, Pete Burns comes up the initial idea for “You Spin Me Round” after hearing Luther Vandross’ song “I Wanted Your Love”, and singer and actress Little Nell’s (“Rocky Horror Picture Show”)“See You ‘Round Like A Record”. Burns finishes working on the song with the rest of the band. When Dead Or Alive plays the demo for their record company Epic Records, they are unimpressed with it, and refuse to fund sessions to record it. The band take out a loan for £2,500 ($3927.11 in US currency today), hiring then up and coming British producers Pete Waterman, Mike Stock and Matt Aitken (aka Stock Aitken & Waterman). When Dead Or Alive takes the finished recording back to Epic, the label tells them unconditionally that they hate it, and will not provide any funds to make a music video to promote it. Again, the band have to dig into their own pockets to shoot a low budget accompanying video with then fledging directors Vaughan Arnell and Anthea Benton (The Spice Girls, George Michael). Epic releases “You Spin Me Round” as a single, but puts little to no promotional effort behind it. In spite of this, the  record manages to enter the UK singles chart when it begins receiving play in dance clubs, but remains in a holding pattern for over two months outside the UK top 40. The turning point comes when the band appears on Top Of The Pops on February 14, 1985. Their performance gives the record the boost necessary to put it over the top, rocketing to number one on the UK singles chart on March 9, 1985, spending two weeks at the top. It is finally released in the US in May on the heels of its UK success (in tandem with their second album “Youthquake”), due to the early stateside buzz created by club DJ’s playing the record, and by brisk sales of the import 12". “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” peaks at #4 on the Billboard Club Play chart on July 13, 1985, and #11 on the Hot 100 on August 17, 1985. Regarded as one of the quintessential 80’s songs, “You Spin Me Round” is featured in the Adam Sandler comedy “The Wedding Singer” in 1998, and charts three separate times in the UK through various remixes made of the track. In 2009, rapper Flo Rida samples and interpolates the hook from “You Spin Me Round” for his number one single “Right Round”.

Surgery-related health problems experienced by Burns included pulmonary embolisms and near-fatal blood clots.