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

Thursday, February 28, 2019


TALK TALK singer dies aged 64

On this day in music history: February 27, 1984 - “It’s My Life”, the second album by Talk Talk is released. Produced by Tim Friese-Greene, it is recorded at Wessex Studios in London from Mid - Late 1983. Originally formed in 1981, Talk Talk first consists of Mark Hollis (lead vocals), Lee Harris (drums), Paul Webb (bass) and Simon Brenner (keyboards). Signed to EMI Records in 1981, Talk Talk draw comparisons to label mates Duran Duran, even sharing the same producer Colin Thurston for their first album “The Party’s Over”. Spinning off four singles including “Talk Talk” (#23 UK, #75 US Pop), the band shifts their musical path. Before this occurs, Simon Brenner leaves and is not replaced. Talk Talk hire Tim Friese-Greene, having worked on Thomas Dolby’s debut “The Golden Age Of Wireless”. Not only does Friese-Greene produce the band, he becomes its unofficial fourth member. They are supported in the studio by Robbie McIntosh (guitar), Ian Curnow, Phil Ramocon (keyboards), Morris Pert (percussion), Henry Lowther (trumpet) and Phil Spalding (bass). Also taking an interest in the visual aspect of their music, Talk Talk work with director Tim Pope. Having created memorable music videos for The Cure, Soft Cell and Altered Images, Pope and the band form a lasting creative alliance. The title track “It’s My Life” (#46 UK, #31 US Pop, #1 US Club Play) is released in January of 1984. Looking down upon lip synching in videos, Hollis refuses to do so in the clip for “Life”. The video consists of shots of Hollis wandering around the London Zoo, inter cut with wildlife nature footage. The singer’s anti lip synching stance is further emphasized, when animated black bars and other symbols appear over his mouth in the video. Unhappy at the move, EMI insist that the band make a second clip, which features the original video back projected while they deliberately mime to it poorly and humorously. While it misses the top 40 in the UK, “It’s My Life” is Talk Talk’s breakthrough in North America. The Canadian release contains the extended 12" mix of the title track, rather than the regular 7"/LP mix. It spins off two more singles including “Such A Shame” (#49 UK, #89 US Pop, #12 US Club Play), and “Dum Dum Girl” (Europe, Australia and New Zealand only). The album’s striking cover is painted by artist James Marsh, incorporating images from British Victorian artist John Everett Millais’ work “The Boyhood Of Raleigh”. Regarded as an 80’s classic, “It’s My Life” continues to enjoy popularity, and is later covered by No Doubt in 2003. Originally released on CD in 1985, “Life” is remastered and reissued in 1997. The reissue features the song lyrics in the booklet, handwritten by Mark Hollis. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by Simply Vinyl in 2000, and again by EMI in 2017. “It’s My Life” peaks at number thirty five on the UK album chart, and number forty two on the Billboard Top 200.[Thanks to Jeff Harris' blog Behind The Grooves]

Mark Hollis's death, after "a short illness from which he never recovered", was confirmed by his former manager on 26 February 2019

Not my favourite XTC album, and I have everything, (my favourites would be Skylarking, Drums and Wires and English Settlement) but the account of the pressures upon Andy and Colin to produce another hit goes some way to explain this I feel. It isn't that it's a bad album for fans but doesn't have the broader appeal maybe that singles and albums prior to this achieved. 

On this day in music history: February 27, 1989 - “Oranges And Lemons”, the tenth album by XTC is released. Produced by Paul Fox, it is recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA in Late 1988. Under pressure from their record label to produce a hit and paired with a first time producer (who later goes on to produce The Sugarcubes, 10,000 Maniacs, Phish), sessions for the album will not always go smoothly. In spite of all this, the end result is the bands most successful album in the US, spinning off two singles including “Mayor Of Simpleton” (#1 Modern Rock) and “King For A Day” (#11 Modern Rock). The albums title is inspired by song lyric from their previous album, which in itself refers to an old English nursery rhyme. Remastered and expanded reissues of the album featuring new 5.1 surround remixes by Steven Wilson, and the original stereo on CD and blu-ray, and an audiophile LP pressing on 180g vinyl are released on Partridge’s label Ape House Records on October 30, 2015. “Oranges And Lemons” peaks at number twenty eight on the UK album chart, and number forty four on the Billboard Top 200.  Thanks to Jeff Harris' blog Behind The Grooves

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Keef guilty of possession 1977

On this day in music history: February 27, 1977 - Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in his hotel room in Toronto, Canada. He is charged with illegal drug possession when they find 5 grams of cocaine, 22 grams of heroin, and assorted paraphernalia. Richards is so out of it that it takes the police forty five minutes to wake him up in order to arrest him. The amount of drugs found on the musician is large enough, that he is charged with trafficking, and his bail is set at $25,000. Faced with the prospect of spending seven years in prison, the judge instead has Richards commit to performing two benefit concerts for the blind, with the charges being reduced from trafficking to “simple possession of heroin”. The suggestion for the concerts come from a young blind female fan that testifies in court on his behalf. Prior to his arrest, Richards becomes friends with the girl (who he refers to as his “Blind Angel”), having helped her get to Rolling Stones shows by arranging transportation for her. The incident in Toronto is a major catalyst in Keith Richards kicking his heroin habit for good.


kd lang
25th Anniversary tour 
San Antonio Texas Sept 2018

Cracking broadcast of the 25th anniversary concert for kd lang's 'Ingénue' from Texas last year. Can it really be 25 years? I am getting old. I recall this haunting voice when the album hit over here and we all played it bits! 'Constant Craving' was what it was all about but the whole album was a peach and cheek out the lady's pipes on this here! Staggering stuff and not lost her range or strength it seems too me. 

PBS’ Great Performances S46E08 - Landmark Live In Concert 2018. Live at the Majestic Theatre, San Antonio

Big O - kd lang 25th Anniversary of Ingenue

Will The Wolf Survive?


and the answer if this picture is anything to go by is yes, possibly longer than we will!

Wolf inside the Exclusion Zone at Chernobyl © Sergei Gaschak

Where Are They Now? is a animated short film by Steve Cutts that shows the current lives of old cartoon characters. The film is narrated by Jessica Rabbit, but features many other characters such as He-ManSkeletor, the ThunderCats and Garfield.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


“The word today is “irony.” The date, the 24th. The month, February, which also happens to be the shortest month of the year, which also happens to be Black History month. The year, 2019. The year, 1619. History. Her story. 1619. 2019. 400 years.
Four hundred years. Our ancestors were stolen from Mother Africa and bought to Jamestown, Virginia, enslaved. Our ancestors worked the land from can’t see in the morning to can’t see at night. My grandmother, Zimmie Shelton Retha, who lived to be 100 years young, who was a Spelman College graduate even though her mother was a slave. My grandmother who saved 50 years of Social Security checks to put her first grandchild — she called me Spikie-poo — she put me through Morehouse College and NYU grad film. NYU!
Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who have built this country into what it is today along with the genocide of its native people. We all connect with our ancestors. We will have love and wisdom regained, we will regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment. The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there.”
– Spike Lee, Feb 24, 2019 (Oscars)

Indeed . . . . .

I love how he skips off!! Ha ha ha ha ha . . . . . . . 

Not a purchase when it came out as such but a 'grower' of an album I found after 'Gumbo' turned me on to the good Doctor (we adored the Night Tripper earlier on but that's a whole other story ) and I have pretty much everything now. It has two classic songs on it that I will play over and over and as the notes mention from Jeff Harris 'Such a Night' besoms a signature song by Mac and is probably my favourite song on this album and one of my top Dr songs of all time

On this day in music history: February 25, 1973 - “In The Right Place”, the sixth album by Dr. John is released. Produced by Allen Toussaint, it is recorded at Sea-Saint Studios in New Orleans, LA in Late 1972. After recording several acclaimed, but moderate selling albums, the New Orleans born musician and songwriter finally makes his commercial breakthrough with his sixth release. Working with legendary songwriter and musician Allen Toussaint, the producer surrounds John with a group of top notch musicians including The Meters, Ralph MacDonald, and David Spinozza. Sporting a more funk oriented sound than his previous albums, it spins off two singles including “Right Place, Wrong Time” (#9 Pop, #19 R&B) which become his most successful single. It is followed up by “Such A Night” (#42 Pop, #76 R&B), which also become’s another one of Dr. John’s signature songs. The original vinyl LP is issued in a tri-fold sleeve, that is discontinued on later pressings, reverting to a single pocket sleeve.  First reissued on CD in the mid 90’s, “Right Place” is reissued on translucent orange vinyl in 2012. Another limited LP reissue pressed on multi-colored vinyl (orange, yellow and green) is released by Rhino Records in 2015. “In The Right Place” peaks at number twenty four on the Billboard Top 200.

Mac 'Dr John' Rebennack

Monday, February 25, 2019

An early crush, Paul McCartney's first girlfriend, the beautiful actor Jane Asher who had a five year relationship with The Beatle until found in bed with another girl while she had been away. Here in Deep End but she starred in Alfie opposite Michael Cain, The Masque of the Red Death, The MistressCrossroadsDeath at a Funeral, and The Old Guys

Jerzy Skolimowski’s “Deep End” (1970)

The Eyes have it!

Catherine Deneuve timeless beauty although some consider her sister,  Françoise Dorléac [tragically killed in a car accident aged only 25], as the more ethereal beauty somehow, Catherine has lasted so long as one of the most classically beautiful women on the planet and has completed an extraordinary film career 

Catherine and her sister, on the right, Françoise

Some pictures for a Monday  . . . . . 

Jimi Hendrix's defining moment live at the Royal Albert Hall. He played there several times between 1967 and two years later on 18th and 24th February 1969. He closed the show on 14th November 67 where he appeared as a show package with The Pink Floyd, Amen Corner, The Move, The Nice and The Outer Limits. The final shows were both his first and final headline shows at the legendary venue and the more mature performance is considered as career defining , cementing forever his place in music history

©️the legendary David Redfern/Getty Images1969

Sunday, February 24, 2019

My song for a Sunday?

I saw 'La La Land' last night and hated it! It is rubbish! I really and I mean REALLY like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling but this was weirdly so fake and awful I couldn't actually watch it . . . . if I had been at the cinema I would have walked out! I HATE musicals! That may have something to do with it and I know Hollywood and general folk LOVE their musicals. But I have hardly ever seen a good one! I guess I am spoilt but if you are going to do a musical my bench mark would be this!

My single of all time would Mr Ray Charles and the Blues Brothers listen careful to this. Ray is backed by the MG's noteworthy are Mr Steve Cropper but check out the bass playing on this and note who it is by.

 Ladies and Gentleman Mr Donald 'The Duck' Dunn!

Up there in my best songs of all time . . . . . it's rude and also features a list of great dances of all time!


Early on I was a fan of The Move and the mod image was largely set by members with the possible exception of the burdgeoning eccentricity of Roy Wood who was always his own man (sic). 'Ace' Kefford the bass player, whose band it had been originally, was perhaps the most stylish member alongside Carl Wayne the sometime alternate vocalist and Trevor Wood on guitar and the equally legendary drummer Bev Bevan.

The Move - Deram Records

Plain and Fancy notes an article from Brumbeat this week that covers Kefford's career

You can tell what they were singing about and where the influences came from and some of Wood's writing here is psychedelia at its height and it came as no surprise that someone maybe couldn't cope  psychologically if you are going to tour with Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix as part of a package (sic!) but check the bass on 'I Can Hear The Grass Grow'! Despite much silly posturing in retrospect the songs ,may seem naive now but actually are pioneering new writing and trying to pin down the true psychedelic experience and the musicianship was definitely budding into something unique here and the most accomplished appears to be Kefford. We all thought he was cool!

'Night of Fear' is fairly clear what it was about and the fear will get you soon enough  . . 

By the time this last track came out showing their heavier side Ace had experienced a 'nervous breakdown' from the demands of touring and no surprises there. He recovered and went on to other things but is still alive and well (we hope)

Check out the article as is so often the case (always? - ED) Plain & Fancy publish really good articles and this is no exception

Friday, February 22, 2019

This . . . . . . . perhaps one of the most hauntingly beautiful sad songs of all time reflecting what it is to become aware of our sense of mortality . . . . . . the unanswerable question

I feel like revisiting this . . . . . after the 'divide and rule' pressure of late from the right wing politicians on this nation of ours and the Brexit split across political parties created I feel as some weird kind of distraction technique I smell a rat and the split has done nothing to aid communication and solidarity, a distraction away from the austerity model, lacks of any significant pay rises in over eight years for the public sector and the bankers and the panjandrums wielding the whip and divying up the spoils behind our backs somehow. You remember what the banks did? They have their hands in our pockets still. The NHS belongs to us, we paid for it and before they privatise it totally to Branson and his ilk let's try another tack . . . . 

that this song summarises what I think the answer is may be a given but let it sink in and hope that things improve . . . . . . I doubt it! But I can hope can't I? Let's work together . . . . . . . . it made me feel more positive for a moment despite a dreadful feeling of doom and gloom . . . . . . . 

Peter Tork

Musician and actor Peter Tork (The Monkees) (born Peter Halsten Thorkelson in Washington, DC) - February 13, 1942 - February 21, 2019, RIP 

Pretty sure visitors will have read what The Monkees meant to me as a youngster and accounts of my rushing home from the evening shift of my newspaper round to catch the TV programme at teatime here in the UK!

Peter Tork was certainly an accomplished musician despite his 'wacky' persona in the group and the attendant TV series. My old boss, Katie, in the USA sang with him early on in both their careers and he was picked up from the circuit as a multi-instrumentalist. That they were a construct seems to have been difficult for many to accept which in retrospect is laughable. Based on the success of the Beatles films friend to Jack Nicholson,
Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider specifically for the American television series The Monkees, which aired from 1966 to 1968. Frankly this was a commercial brainwave to construct a band with similar characters and make a TV programme about them using that sort of teenage irreverent humour. Despite what the newspapers said about none of the Monkees playing on their records, (they may not have at first) but clearly they could sing and play, Davy came from musical theatre in the UK, and Tork, Dolenz and Nesmith were all accomplished and competent musicians. Mike Nesmith perhaps the most accomplished and who went on to have the greatest album success. There has been talk over on other blogs I note with some irritation that this was not the case and there was an awful trolling of the blogs by followers denying they ever appreciated the likes of Jimi Hendrix who did indeed play support when he first started the Experience. The Monkees sold over 75 million records which makes them angst the most successful pop bands fall time {Davy Jones passed away 29th February 2012 from a heart attack after running his beloved horses - he had once been a jockey and raced and kept a stable in Indiantown, Florida. He was 66. At the time Peter Tork bid him farewell with "Adios my Manchester Cowboy"}

Julie Newmar and Peter Tork in The Monkees (1966)

They boys were in awe of his talents and certainly appreciated his expertise and were happy too be associated even if Jimi may not have been entirely as happy with the association, early on you would open sets for anyone!

Peter will l be missed by his friends and family and all the fans of the Monkees and I count myself amongst them. Frankly you do not get your obituary in Rolling Stone magazine if you are some no mark show band bassist. 

BBC says:

PETER TORK R.I.P. 1942 - 2019

Peter Tork, a member of the made-for-TV pop group The Monkees, has died on February 21, 2019 at his home in Mansfield, Connecticut. He was 77. “There are no words right now… heartbroken over the loss of my Monkee brother Peter Tork,” bandmate Micky Dolenz tweeted.

Tork, who played keyboard and bass for the group, was diagnosed with a rare form of tongue cancer in 2009. The Monkees - Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork - were brought together for an American TV series in 1966. They were huge in the 1960s, with hits like I’m A Believer and Daydream Believer.

A post on Tork’s official Facebook page said “the devastating news” was being shared “with beyond-heavy and broken hearts”. It said: “Our friend, mentor, teacher, and amazing soul, Peter Tork, has passed from this world.” A message posted on the band’s official Twitter page said that Tork had “passed peacefully” and invited fans to share their favourite memories by adding their comments.

Tork’s contemporary, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, tweeted: “I’m sad to hear about Peter Tork passing. I thought The Monkees were great and Peter will be missed. Love & mercy to Peter’s family, friends and fans.” - BBC

Mike Nesmith said “Peter Tork will be a part of me forever,” said Mike Nesmith. “As I write this my tears are awash, and my heart is broken. Even though I am clinging to the idea that we all continue, the pain that attends these passings has no cure. I share with all Monkees fans this change, this “loss”, even so. A band no more, and yet the music plays on. As for Pete, I can only pray his songs reach the heights that can lift us and that our childhood lives forever — that special sparkle that was the Monkees. I will miss him – a brother in arms.”
+ + + + +

http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=4356Track 212. I’m A Believer (stereo remix) 2:52

Also for those wanting these complete and Lossless

Music Italy 70 came up with a great idea this morning and it features photos of great rock figures and the adding a track featuring them at their best
So . . . . . well I changed some and might carry on the tradition a picture and a clip. . . . 

It's Friday! have a great one and it will soon be the weekend!

Jeff plays Beatles . . . . . 

Heck let's play the video!


Oh go on then grab this while it lasts . . . . . note Pete Ham from Badfinger on accompanying guitar
BANGLADESH for the people there and the recent victims of the terrible fire, purchasing the single on iTunes helps support the people of Bangladesh still

Changed this one to mey choice of track David and Tina working together . . . . . 


Me And Bobby McGee

Al Kooper
Season of The Witch

Lively Up Yourself

Viv Albertine -The Slits
Rare(ish) full length video
Typical Girls

The late Ariane Foster (Ari Up), Viv Albertine, Teressa Pollitt and Peter Edward Clarke ("Budgie") create some new wave punk in 1979