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

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


(COVID-19 update here)

So, how are we all holding up? 
This photo is from the Spanish Flu epidemic of a hundred years ago. Scenes reminiscent of that tragic event are already occurring in around the globe. But for most of the rest of us the situation is not so dire (and will hopefully stay that way!). We just have to find a way to fill our stay-at-home days without letting anxiety and fear and boredom get the best of us. (P.S. I have never suffered from boredom and consider it something boring people get!)

I still manage a daily walk of a mile or so (although curiously didn’t over the weekend - too peopley!). Today I started making a Pit Fall Trap for the creepy crawlies in our garden, and emailed my gang in the hope they would join me and give something to do for my nearly three year old granddaughter who I miss something chronic. I also worked on a garden bird spotting list after I had seen Chris Packham’s wonderful morning broadcast on birds and wildlife watching ion the garden alone with his step daughter Megan, who is as delightful and knowledgeable as her dad, which has become a daily uplifting routine. 

As has checking music broadcasts from some of my favourite musicians (Richard Thompson, Emily Barker, Johnny Hinkes and his wonderful ‘noodles’ as he calls them) and I usually end the live feeds with a daily check in from Ricky Gervais which always makes me laugh. 
I’m watching a lot of dross on the tele which is odd as I have LOADS of great DVD films to watch thanks to Christmas and birthday gifts. Still got loads of books to catch up on. We bought a couple of papers over the weekend as we had stopped somewhat. So I am still to read the Observer. 

I don’t know how I fit it all in! What are you up to?

Stay safe and remember

Friday, March 27, 2020

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Bob Dylan
Greetings to my fans and followers with gratitude for all your support and loyalty across the years. This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting.

Stay safe, stay observant and may God be with you.
Bob Dylan
Murder Most Foul
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

This just in from the boys over at Voodoo Wagon

Goodbye, Manu!

Today, one of the most influential musicians died from the corona-virus, Manu di Bango. 

Today, one of the most influential world musicians died from the corona-virus, Manu di Bango

MANU DIBANGO R.I.P. 1933 - 2020

Veteran Afro-jazz star Manu Dibango, fondly known as Pappy Groove, died on March 24, 2020 after contracting the new coronavirus, his representatives have confirmed. The 86-year-old Cameroonian, best known for the 1972 hit “Soul Makossa”, is one of the first worldwide stars to die as a result of COVID-19. “He died early this morning in a hospital in the Paris region,” his music publisher Thierry Durepaire said.

Manu featuring Sly & Robbie

UPDATE: Aquarium Drunkard made a Manu Mixtape!

Some For The Makossa Man

“Some for The Makossa Man,” a celebration and glance at the world of afrobeat giant, Manu Dibango: a trailblazer whose music laid the groundwork for what would become disco and hip-hop. He passed away today from COVID-19. Rest in peace, Makossa Man.
Here are just a few records, from his otherwise enormous catalog of music. These have hardly left my bag over the last decade. Enjoy. – Daniel T
Manu Dibango – Tropical Garden
Manu Dibango – Reggae Makossa
Ravi Harris & The Prophets – Soul Makossa
Manu Dibango – Super Kumba
Manu Dibango – Abele Dance
Deadline – Makossa Rock
Starvation – Tam Tam Pour L’√Čthiopie (Part Two)
Manu Dibango – Big Blow
Manu Dibango – Lily
Manu Dibango – Goro City
Athanase – He He He
Manu Dibango – Tom Tom
Georges Anderson – Fou De Toi


From Miles Davis to The Velvet Underground: Brian Eno picks 8 songs he couldn’t live without
There’s something particularly joyful about Brian Eno and Desert Island Discs parallel influence on music. While the buzz of the business continues to bubble and swell around them they quietly and methodically go about their vital business. Here, we’re revisiting eight songs Brian Eno couldn’t live without as he appeared as the guest on Sue Lawley’s Desert Island Discs back in January 1991. It’s hard to underestimate the importance of a show like Desert Island Discs. The British institution has become a mainstay of the musical lexicon. Having interviewed world leaders and garage bands alike, the BBC Radio 4 show is based on a simple premise: which eight discs would you take with you to a desert island?As well as being stranded on the inescapable island with your eight favourite tunes, you are also gifted one luxury item, one book, the complete works of Shakespeare and your choice of a holy book. It’s a format which always invites its guests to share the journey which had brought them to the studio and whether it’s reflecting on the people who made the music or the scenarios the music soundtracked, the conversation is always an enlightening one. The same can, of course, be said for Brian Eno. As ever, the succinct and sometimes scolding introduction from Sue Lawley is all you need to know about the star she’s interviewing. Eno’s introduction is one of the most relatively vague we’ve ever heard: “My castaway this week is a rock musician. As the flamboyant keyboard player of the group Roxy Music he achieved huge popular success. But at the height of his fame he gave up the world of weekly gigs and adoring fans to experiment with electronic music. Now, widely admired for the way in which he revolutionised background music in airports and supermarkets and for his experiments in video, he’s become the intellectual guru of the rock world.” As Lawley then reveals, Eno is a terribly difficult man to pigeonhole and it’s something he’s been doing throughout his illustrious career both in a band and on his own, in the studio with David Bowie and behind the mixing desk with U2, Eno has done it all. It’s an eclecticism that is reflected in the music he would take with him to his desert island. Eno’s first pick is Gene Chandler’s ‘Duke Of Earl’ which was a track from a “group of songs that was a very big influence on me as a kid,” he said, before adding: “In fact, they sounded to me like music from outer space when I first picked them up on my transistor radio late at night.” He later continues: “Listening to music like that I realised I could make music.” The next pick may well appear as a trendy pick these days but in 1991 Eno used his next to choice to throw a spotlight on Fela Kuti which Eno describes as the “best dance music I’ve ever heard,” he continues. “With this record I can’t sit still.” It’s a hint at the myriad of influences that have been woven into Eno’s music throughout his career. The third choice is maybe something a little more expected. As Lawley delves into the musician’s art college past, Eno divulges his beatnik history and his penchant for women’s clothing during the swinging sixties, they do eventually lead into his selection of the Velvet Underground, a band Eno has worked with across his career. “They were very, very contrary,” muses Eno on picking ‘Sunday Morning’. “This was a time when everyone was singing about flowers in their hair and The Velvet Underground came out with songs about ‘Heroin’ and ‘Waiting for The Man’. They were very tough. Urban. And I thought with some very good songs.” Away from the stripped back alt-pop sounds of the Velvet Underground, Eno also picks some lesser-known moments including Nikolai Ivanovitch Kompaneiski’s ‘Herouvimska Pessen’ and Fairuz’ beautiful ‘Ya Tayr’ in between sharing the inner moments of Roxy Music, including the rift that separated he and Bryan Ferry. To swoop back into the gloriously sanctity of music, Eno also picks Miles Davis’ brilliant ‘He Loved Him Madly’, about the track he says: “About the time I left Roxy, there were some new things happening in Jazz, spearheaded by Miles Davis who was making records that were highly controversial and pretty unpopular, in that they used a kind of rock format and a rock sound to make music that was very diffuse and somewhat incoherent, actually. I found this music extremely interesting.” Eno returns to that rock sound when he selects Captain Beefheart’s ‘Too Much Time’ a song which Eno says “has rather a good theme for a desert island,” and welcomes the golden hues of the bounding song to cascade across the airwaves. There’s still room for one more song selection, also known as the Castaway’s favourite. After revealing that his luxury item was at first “a pleasant way” to commit suicide, then a “lifetime supply” of drugs, finally he settled on a telescope. His book would be Richard Rorty’s Contingency, Irony & Solidarity to complete his selections. He was ready to reveal his favourite song to take with him, ‘Lord Don’t Forget About Me’ by Dorothy Love Coates. “The last record is a gospel song, I mean, gospel is, I suppose, the music I’ve listened to more than any other over the last few years. I particularly love the gospel style of singing, the way that the voice is liberated in this way of singing. This is a song by probably the most liberated of all the gospel singers.” It’s a powerful, goosebump-inducing way to end the show which sees Eno as every bit the intelligent maestro you’d imagine him to be. 
(Credit: Wikimedia)

From Miles Davis to The Velvet Underground: Brian Eno picks 8 songs he couldn’t live without

Brian Eno’s eight favourite songs:
  • Gene Chandler – ‘Duke of Earl’ 
  • Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 – ‘Alu Jon Jonki Jon’
  • The Velvet Underground – ‘Sunday Morning’
  • Miles Davis – ‘He Loved Him Badly’ 
  • Nikolai Ivanovitch Kompaneiski – ‘Herouvimska Pessen’
  • Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – ‘Too Much Time’ 
  • Fairuz – ‘Ya Tayr’  
  • Dorothy Love Coates – ‘Lord Don’t Forget About Me’  
BBC have made the episode, with slightly shortened musical pieces available on their website through the BBC Sounds channel and on Spotify.

Found this!





Big O do it again his morning with a lovely acetate alternate version of 'New Morning' If you listen to one thing today listen to this, perhaps one of his finest love songs

Track 01. If Not For You 2:44

Big O

Monday, March 23, 2020

(My daughter's birthday!)

March 5th

1982 - John Belushi
Actor and singer John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin. Belushi was one of the original cast members on US TV's Saturday Night Live, played Joliet 'Jake' Blues in The Blues Brothers and also appeared in the film Animal House. His tombstone reads "I may be gone, but rock n roll lives on."

1992 - R.E.M.
R.E.M. cleaned up in The Rolling Stone Music Awards winning Album of the year, for 'Out Of Time', Artist of the year, Best single for 'Losing My Religion', Best video for 'Losing My Religion' and Best band, Best guitarist and Best songwriter awards.
1994 - Grace Slick
Grace Slick was arrested for pointing a shotgun at police in her Tiburon, home in California. The singer was later sentenced to 200 hours of community service and three month's worth of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

1995 - Viv Stanshall
Viv Stanshall of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band was killed in a house fire. The English singer-songwriter, painter, musician, author, and poet is best known for his work with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, for his surreal exploration of the British upper classes in Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and for narrating Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells.


1962 - 'The Proclaimers' Craig and Charlie Reid
Identical twin brothers, Craig and Charlie Reid from the Scottish band The Proclaimers, who had the 1987 UK No.3 single 'Letter From America', 1988 UK No.6 album 'Sunshine On Leith' as well as the 2007 UK No.1 single with the Comic Relief charity hit 'I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).'

1957 - Mark E Smith

Mark E. Smith, singer from Manchester post-punk band The Fall. Smith formed The Fall in 1976 and was the only constant member of the band. He was known for his tempestuous relationship with his bandmates, and frequently fired them – there have been 66 different members over the years. Smith died on 24 January 2018 aged 60 after a long illness with lung and kidney cancer.

1933 - Tommy Tucker
American blues singer-songwriter and pianist Tommy Tucker who scored the 1964 US No.11 hit 'Hi Heel Sneakers'. Tucker left the music industry in the late 1960s, taking a position as a real estate agent in New Jersey. He died on 22 January 1982 aged 48, after being overcome by poisonous fumes while he was renovating the floors of his New York City home.

Saturday, March 21, 2020


March 21st

1961 - The Beatles
The Beatles played their first ever evening show at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, supporting The Swinging Bluegenes, (later to become The Swinging Blue Jeans).

1964 - The Beatles
After 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' had held the No.1 position on the US singles chart for seven weeks, The Beatles started a two-week run at No.1 with 'She Loves You'.

1971 - Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin appeared at the Boat Club, Nottingham, England on their 'Back To The Clubs' tour. This was the first tour which saw Zeppelin performing 'Stairway To Heaven', 'Black Dog' and 'Going To California'. Zeppelin opened the set with 'Immigrant Song' and 'Heartbreaker'. This small club on the banks of the River Trent had also seen performances by Elton JohnBlack SabbathSex Pistols and Rod Stewart.

1973 - David Cassidy
The BBC banned all teenybopper acts appearing on UK TV show, Top Of The Pops after a riot following a David Cassidy performance.

The BBC destroyed their copy of this. This video was found in Australia and was shown on "Rag

1976 - David Bowie/Iggy Pop
After a David Bowie concert at the Community War Memorial arena in Rochester, New York, Iggy Pop and David Bowie were involved in a drug bust at their hotel room where the police found 182 grams (a little over 6.4 ounces) of marijuana. The pair spent the rest of the night in the Monroe County Jail and were released at about 7 a.m. on $2,000 bond each.
1980 - Hugh Cornwell
Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers was sent to Pentonville Prison after losing his appeal against a drugs conviction.

1984 - Yoko Ono
Strawberry Fields, an area in Central Park bought by Yoko Ono in memory of her late husband was opened.

2001 - Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson's interior decorator told The Times newspaper that the singer kept 17 life size dolls, adult and child sizes, all fully dressed in his bedroom for 'company.' 

2006 - Solomon Linda
Three South African women whose father, Solomon Linda, wrote ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ in 1939, won a six-year court battle that gave them 25 per cent of all past and future royalties from the song. Linda who was a cleaner at a Johannesburg record company when he wrote the song, received virtually nothing for his work and died in 1962 with $25 in his bank account. The song had been recorded by Pete Seeger (as ‘Wimoweh’), The Kingston Trio, The Tokens, Karl Denver and R.E.M. and was featured in the Disney film The Lion King. It was estimated that the song had earned $15 million for its use in The Lion King alone.
I loved this 'folk' song and had Karl Denver's 'bonkers' version when I was but a little one but the original haunts me especially after Miriam Makeba's version 'Mbube'

2016 - The Beatles
A rare Beatles record found in the loft of Les Maguire - the keyboardist in fellow Liverpool act, Gerry and the Pacemakers sold for £77,500 at auction. The 10-inch acetate of 'Till There Was You' and 'Hello Little Girl' from 1962 was described as 'a Holy Grail item'. It was the first Beatles disc to be cut before the band broke into the national charts


1943 - Viv Stanshall

English singer-songwriter, musician, author, poet and wit, Vivian Stanshall a founding member of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band who had the 1968 UK No.5 single 'I'm The Urban Spaceman'. He was Master of Ceremonies on Mike Oldfield's album Tubular Bells. Stanshall died on March 5th 1995 after an electrical fire had broken out as he slept in his top floor flat in Muswell Hill, North London.

1940 - Solomon Burke
American preacher and singer Solomon Burke, known as the king of rock & soul. He had the 1961 US No.24 single 'Just Out Of Reach Of My Open Arms', and the 1963 US No.1 R&B hit, 'Got To Get You Off My Mind'. Burke died on October 10, 2010 at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport while on a plane from Washington Dulles Airport that had just landed.