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

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


More from the wonderful Emily Barker from her F/B page and tantalising teasing about her new song and its video

but also she likes to post updates on her sounds and offers playlists on Spotify and adds piquancy with her chosen coffee of the days (a shared passion)

I love these down homie real vids she posts in homage to the music of others which its why I care so much to post her work here

Here she says:

This Monday morning’s Music + Coffee combo...
One of my favourite record stores in the UK is a shop called '
Music's Not Dead' in Bexhill-on-Sea. Not only is the shop-owner, Del an incredibly lovely human, he's also incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about music. Through these qualities a community has formed around the shop and they regularly host in-store shows - the likes of which I have played many times over the years!

I can't wait to head there when it's safe to do so to browse the shelves and play some new music to the Bexhill folks. I ordered this new release by Phoebe Bridgers called 'Punisher' from Del’s shop and am pleased to say that it's just as stunning as her debut 'Stranger in the Alps'. This week's coffee is from a Stroud-based company called Shipped by Sail who import goods that can't be grown in the UK and freight them in via old, engineless sailing ships thus making it emission-free! 
This dark roast is from Colombia and was grown by smallholder farmers around the central Andean village of Salgar. It's mightily yummy.
Here's me in my kitchen making a brew to Phoebe's new record: 
https://youtu.be/nij8Aj9oqUQ  Enjoy your day!Emily x

Monday, June 29, 2020

It's Monday and its therefore time for a Singy Songy Session
from our 

Kate Rusby

Kate says . . . . . :
Singy Songy Session #15!!!!! 🎉🥂😁This week we have 'THE LARK' from my 2005 album 'The Girl Who Couldn't Fly'. We also did a version in 2012 with my hero Nic Jones singing with me, on my '20' album which celebrated twenty years touring! Sorry it's a day late I was too croaky yesterday, 😕 so we didn't manage it. I felt so bad I'd missed it, but phewf here we are back on track!!  😊🌈☀️😃#thegirlwhocouldntflythatcanflynowbutjustnotallowedattheminobvs#singysongysession

Sunday, June 28, 2020


Just because . . . .this from one of the greatest photographic books ever published (an occasional series) 

Robert Frank 'The Americans' 

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”
― Robert Frank

and we did, and we do, Mr Frank we do . . . . . . . . . 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

and the again there's this . . . . . . . . . . . . it is SATURDAY after all!


Get out your armchair and gotta show some love for a gal not afraid to blow her own trumpet . . . . .( we do LOVE a trumpet) from NPR Tiny Desk Concerts comes Jenny and The Mexicats!

Jenny and the Mexicats is a discovery from South by Southwest a few years ago that I haven't been able to get out of my mind, and with good reason: The band's high energy shows are unforgettable, as is its sound. Mixing flamenco, originally from southern Spain, with Jenny Ball's jazz trumpet background and a little bit of cumbia has created their one-of-a-kind musical identity.
The grooves these musicians create can be frenetic (as in the first performance here, "Frenético Ritmo") or slow and luxurious ("The Song for the UV Mouse House"). In both cases, the group presents the perfect cushion for Ball's impassioned singing and engaging stage presence. There are no weak points in the instrumentation, and with Ball out front, the songs come to life as the short stories they are — like that of the young lady who appreciates a beer before taking on life's challenges in "Verde Más Allá."
Watching this performance, it's easy to see why Jenny and the Mexicats is picking up new fans as the group travels the world spreading its good cheer. The musicians bring their festival circuit-level performance down to almost a whisper here, but the intensity of their playing remains. After watching, perhaps you'll end up like me, with their names permanently entered in your mental Rolodex.
Set List
  • "Frenético Ritmo"
  • "The Song for the UV House Mouse"
  • "Verde Más Allá"


Producers: Felix Contreras, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern, Beck Harlan, Dani Lyman; Production Assistants: Joshua Bote, Molly Stofko; Photo: Jenna Sterner/NPR.


St. Mary Of The Woods 


James McMurtry -St Mary Of The Woods 2002 (Out of Print) Floppy Boot Stomp oh yas oh yas

Again the guys at Floppy Boot Stomp (well this morning it's Silent Way! When isn't it? ED Now now there's a few of those guys posting fine fine music!) have posted a real absolute doozie and quite why or how any label would let 'St Mary of The Woods' go out of print is totally beyond me but I know and you know I don't normally post links to albums that have been officially released but James McMurtry is a case in point and needs mo' listenin'!  Here's a deal with the label, you re-issue it and I will take this down!

Bob Dylan, Dave Alvin, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Ely, Robbie Robertson, Steve Earle, Lou Reed. Are you with me? James McMurtry's musical world resides in a dimension inhabited by those aforementioned artists. His literate, heartland rock was first championed by John Mellancamp and now almost 15 years later James is revered by legions more. He finds a good lazy groove and he tells a damn fine story. That's his modus operandi and he's mastered it. 
"Not since John Prine made his debut in 1971 has a musical voice from the heartland offered such biting images of ordinary Americans living and dying in places far from the bright lights of the big city" - New York Times.

We love the work of Mr McMurtry and if you feel like you have heard his songs before you either have or are tapped into the 'universal' . . . . . . . song writing wonderment!

Enjoy! I know sure as eggs is eggs I serpently did!

Friday, June 26, 2020


'It's Friday, I'm In Love'

Kate has released another track from her forthcoming album 'Hand Me Down' covering the classic pop song from 'The Cure'

She says:

Well woo hoo 🎉🥳🌈 We thought we’d send out a second track from ‘HAND ME DOWN’ Released today 😃The Cure’s ‘FRIDAY I'M IN LOVE’ 😊❤️Available now for download. Hope you like it. HAPPY FRIDAY everyone!!!!!!! 🥂☀️




Jane Elliott is an American schoolteacher, antiracism activist, and educator. She is known for her "Blue eyes/Brown eyes" exercise. She first conducted her famous exercise for her class on April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. When her local newspaper published compositions that the children had written about the experience, the reactions (both positive and negative) formed the basis for her career as a public speaker against discrimination.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Recently on television there was some prime time Black, dare one say it, BLM styled, drama. After the wonderful Patrick Robinson in the heart felt and rage inducing ‘Sitting In Limbo’ about Anthony Bryan and one man’s experience of the simply horrifying Windrush scandal, I then watched the breathtaking Michaela Coel in the debut of her ‘I May Destroy You’ which she writes, directs and stars in a so far terrifying, humorous, shocking and challenging new style in contemporary drama.

After the side splitting ‘Chewing Gum’ comedy series (which she also wrote and starred in) which made me ill with laughter, she went on to tackle a serious role in ‘Black Earth Rising’ which proved to us all she could really extend her acting range seemingly effortlessly and as if overnight we really sat up and noticed this extraordinarily beautiful young woman. This latest outing for her skills is challenging stuff mind and SPOILER ALERT looks like getting more serious as we delve deeper. ‘I May Destroy You’ continues on BBC (yes okay I grant you occasionally the Beeb get it right and this was all headed in the right direction for sure) each Monday and Tuesday and simultaneously the two episodes are released jointly on iPlayer

The harrowing truth is that the story here is based on autobiographical fact as I discovered only today  and as reportedly happened towards the end of Michaela working on 'Chewing Gum' when she was date raped, sexually assaulted by someone who drugged and took advantage of her. I found this fact alone difficult to deal with [as I am sure she did and then some] but what does someone like this extraordinary woman do? Why she spends the next two and half years basing her next piece of writing upon those very acts! She is if nothing else extraordinarily tough! 

It has resulted in one of the most unique works I have ever experienced, it is little short of a writing masterclass and in fairness to give her 12 episodes is brave and clever and the result is perplexing, fascinating and funny and at times overwhelmingly powerful. The shift in narrative perspectives is quite unique from week to week and double episode at a time and for this watcher an avid fan of Coel anyway, staggeringly shocking and powerful. I am trying not to give away too many spoiler alert aspects as again as a trend goes each week the next two episodes are shown on respective Monday and Tuesday nights alongside streaming on the BBC iPlayer. 

There are episodes that shift and change gear without faltering. The dialogue of certain episodes alone is so clever as to be at once hypnotic and shocking. The casual approach to drug taking, to sexual encounters and the unflinching attention to detail. The millennial's approach to culture, black and otherwise, is extraordinary as it exposes its shallowness and at once the fashionability of the social media creative control and contemporary 'hip' culture, black, white, Asian or otherwise! 

Is it rape if a man during sex with you, a female, removes his condom half way through? (It's even a 'thing' called 'stealthing' the things you learn these days from listen to Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4!) Forcing you to take the morning after pill against your will but because someone has had non-consensual sex in that way? The sex act was desired but not in that manner. The answer is 'yes' it is. 

There are sub-plots that twist and turn and explore so called grey areas also. Is it rape between two men if you have had sex just prior to procuring a three way if the dominant male desires to 'go again' but you don't wish to? Again the answer is yes, yes it is!

Anybody sticking with the series is in for a mind jolting ride because SPOILER ALERT it set a new benchmark in drama for me uneasy shifts between theme and venue, drama and plot, the episode where she causally finds herself on holiday from much earlier out of sequence is a trip up technique and the dotting around in time a device here used to great affect but it’s not for the nervous (or squeamish where the female monthly cycle is concerned! (Yes men I’m talking to you!!) quite extraordinary, groundbreaking, a breathtaking exploration of consent, race and millennial life involving casual hook-ups, even more casual attitudes to drugs, blow, coke, MDMA, pills generically and of course the use of rohypnol by predators and the facts of life writ large in all their unflinching detail.

Last nights episode (6 The Alliance) concerned itself with a sudden flashback to school days where youngster's burgeoning sex and lies were treated as casually as the now former perpetrator of a sexual assault tells a lie (truth honesty and lies are returning motifs) who now runs a group for the victims of such that our character went to school with and the black pupils do their level best to take immediate revenge upon. It took a moment to work out exactly what was going on as many episodes have curiously and intentionally I reckon. 

The shift in truth telling, what has happened what constitutes rape EXACTLY what is sexual assault if consent has formerly been given, is it different for men, is it different for gay men? are the mechanics different if you have taken drugs? Are the partial aspects different for women than men, for all of us!? All different takes are addressed and leave us thoughtful, occasionally drained of emotion and troubled but along the way we have been encouraged to laugh and find certain characters however shallow curiously endearing, we are falling in love with many and finding some intensely irritating.

Just as the more delicate and romantic 'Normal People' seduced us with the beautiful youngsters and became a benchmark for the lack of ability to talk about how you feel, 'I May Destroy You' takes it up a notch and explores how, and even if we can communicate after we have taken a raft of substances and lashings of alcohol, if one of them turns out to be rohypnol, if we cannot hardly speak and make sense to ourselves let alone anyone else including our closest friends. What exactly has happened here?

I for one am reeling with the dramatic twist and turns, it has challenged me and made me think, I am reeling with the contemporary aspect of a different world for this sad old white man. But boy has it made me sit up and take notice!

Tour de force doesn't quite cover it. 

Chalk and Blade - I May Destroy You podcast

BBC iPlayer i-may-destroy-you

Digital Spy - I May Destroy You Review


To save you the effort of wading through the torrents and tirades of racist filth that is and has become the comments section in the website Big O (Before I Get Old) here's another review of Bob's new album Rough And Rowdy Ways. . . .well one song interview review . . . . . . . worth a read and Jefferson Morley writes from a point of really knowing his chops

In “Murder Most Foul,” Bob Dylan could not have been more explicit in his rejection of the dubious official story which holds John F Kennedy was killed by one man for no reason. The Nobel Laureate has taken the skeleton out of the closet. But does anybody still care? By Jefferson Morley.

Bob Dylan Has a Lot on His Mind,” the New York Times reported on June 12. That’s for sure. In late March, as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down America, the 79-year-old singer-songwriter released “Murder Most Foul,” an epic, 17-minute song-poem about the assassination of President John F Kennedy. [Ed: On June 19, 2020, Bob Dylan released his 39th studio album, Rough And Rowdy Ways, which contained the single, Murder Most Foul. The song was released on March 27, 2020. Lasting 16 minutes, 56 seconds, it is the longest song Dylan has released.]
Since “Who killed JFK?” is one of the central questions of American history, you might think that the Times interviewer, historian Douglas Brinkley would ask the Nobel laureate about how he came to compose his dark and brooding take on November 22, 1963. You might think Brinkley, a CNN commentator, would ask Dylan why he decided to release the song as the country and the world reeled from a plague.
You might think wrong. Brinkley asked Dylan four questions about “Murder Most Foul,” none of which concerned Dylan’s thoughts about how and why the liberal president was shot dead in broad daylight, and no one was ever brought to justice for the crime.
In “Murder Most Foul,” Dylan could not have been more explicit in his rejection of the dubious official story which holds Kennedy was killed by one man for no reason. Over a rippling guitar and piano accompaniment, Dylan growls out a biting dissent from the conventional “lone nut” wisdom.

The day they blew out the brains of the king
Thousands were watching; no one saw a thing
It happened so quickly, so quick, by surprise
Right there in front of everyone’s eyes
Greatest magic trick ever under the sun
Perfectly executed, skillfully done
Wolfman, oh wolfman, oh wolfman howl
Rub-a-dub-dub, it’s a murder most foul

In a telling display of the intellectual denial that dumbs down media discussion of JFK’s assassination, Brinkley did his best to evade the challenge of Dylan’s deeply political art. Brinkley (or perhaps the Times editors) did not care to mention the dread word of “conspiracy,” even though Dylan’s belief that JFK was killed by powerful enemies propels his stream of consciousness song from beginning to end.

Historian Douglas Brinkley asked Bob Dylan four questions about “Murder Most Foul,” none of which concerned Dylan’s thoughts about how and why the liberal president was shot dead in broad daylight, and no one was ever brought to justice for the crime.

Questions Dumb and Dumber
Dylan, who is clearly well-versed in the case of the murdered president, makes his point obvious with cutting couplets. About the official story, he snarls,
I’m just a patsy
like Patsy Cline
Didn’t shoot nobody
from in front or behind.
Brinkley, adept at missing the point, begins by asking an odd question: “Was ‘Murder Most Foul’ written as a nostalgic eulogy for a long-lost time?”
That’s a weird description of an unsentimental song about the awful impact of a bloody deed. Dylan punted the question politely.
“To me it’s not nostalgic,” Dylan said. “I don’t think of ‘Murder Most Foul’ as a glorification of the past or some kind of send-off to a lost age. It speaks to me in the moment. It always did, especially when I was writing the lyrics out.”
“Somebody auctioned off a sheaf of unpublished transcripts in the 1990s that you wrote about JFK’s murder,” Brinkley went on. “Were those prose notes for an essay or were you hoping to write a song like ‘Murder Most Foul’ for a long time?”
“I’m not aware of ever wanting to write a song about JFK.” Dylan replied, reminding Brinkley that ‘Murder Most Foul’ is about a crime, not a politician. (Dylan added, “A lot of those auctioned-off documents have been forged. The forgeries are easy to spot because somebody always signs my name on the bottom.”)

When it comes to JFK’s assassination, Bob Dylan has a lot on his mind, but the New York Times doesn’t dare talk about it.

Brinkley continued to dance around the subject of JFK’s murder in favor of two themes, technology and hyper-industrialization, that appear exactly nowhere in Dylan’s song.
“There is a lot of apocalyptic sentiment in ‘Murder Most Foul,’ Brinkley said. “Are you worried that in 2020 we’re past the point of no return? That technology and hyper-industrialization are going to work against human life on Earth?
Dylan chided Brinkley for his solipsism.
“Sure, there’s a lot of reasons to be apprehensive about that,” he said, “There’s definitely a lot more anxiety and nervousness around now than there used to be. But that only applies to people of a certain age like me and you, Doug. We have a tendency to live in the past, but that’s only us. Youngsters don’t have that tendency. They have no past, so all they know is what they see and hear, and they’ll believe anything.”
A competent interviewer might have followed up by asking Dylan why he still cares about JFK’s death or what young people should believe about November 22. Instead, Brinkley closed by asking a question so lame as to be ludicrous
“Your mention of Don Henley and Glenn Frey on ‘Murder Most Foul’ came off as a bit of a surprise to me,” Brinkley said. “What Eagles songs do you enjoy the most?”
Huh? The greatest poet of his generation writes a complex lyric about the most important assassination of the 20th century and releases it amid the biggest catastrophe of the 21st century–and this tenured historian enquires about the man’s taste in 1970s soft rock. Now that is denial.
Never patient with clueless interviewers, Dylan replied facetiously.
“‘New Kid in Town,’ ‘Life in the Fast Lane,’ ‘Pretty Maids All in a Row.’ That could be one of the best songs ever,” he deadpanned. Brinkley probably thought he was serious.
When it comes to JFK’s assassination, Bob Dylan has a lot on his mind, but the New York Times doesn’t dare talk about it.

Note: Jefferson Morley, author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton, is the editor of The Deep State blog. He is a member of the Truth & Reconciliation Committee, founded to reopen the investigations of the assassination of JFK, MLK, RFK, and Malcolm X. The above article was posted at CounterPunch.
+ + + + +

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


I first discovered Laraaji through Brian Eno and here Aquarium Drunkard shares an interview about his recent work, life and meditative processes, laughter and the power of being silly! Something I have become an adept at as part of my desire towards transcendence! 

Laraaji discusses Sun Piano - Aquarium Drunkard

It seemed apt to share this delightful piece which made me smile on this beautiful sunny day here in the South of England and yes it made me giggle too!

Monday, June 22, 2020


Vali was a flamboyant artist who divided her life between her adopted home of Melbourne, the Hotel Chelsea in NY, and a 14th century cottage in her valley near Il Porto, Italy. She was acquainted with Tennessee Williams, Salvador Dali, Django Reinhardt, Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet , among many others. Vali died in Melbourne in 2003 after a short battle with cancer at the age of 72.

Opium - Vali Myers

Vali Myers on life and death: 
“I’ve had 72 absolutely flaming years. It (the illness) doesn’t bother me at all, because, you know love, when you’ve lived like I have, you’ve done it all. I put all my effort into living; any dope can drop dead. I’m in the hospital now, and I guess I’ll kick the bucket here. Every beetle does it, every bird, everybody. You come into the world and then you go.”

"The end is never worth the beginning" Vali Myers

Sunday, June 21, 2020



The guys over at Floppy Boots Stomp have posted a blast from my past in the guitar legend Harvey Mandel's long out of print 'The Snake'

As SW notes: 

Self-taught guitarist Harvey "The Snake" Mandel is a musical innovator whose guitar style comes out of the electric Chicago blues of his youth. He helped to develop playing techniques such as two-handed fretboard tapping, and the use of sustained and controlled feedback during the mid-'60s. He has played with everyone from Charlie Musselwhite (who nicknamed him "the snake") and Canned Heat to Jimmy Witherspoon, Bob Dylan, John Mayall, and the Rolling Stones.

*Silent Way*
A really good record with a truly horrible cover.

Track List:
The Divining Rod
Lynda Love
Peruvian Flake
The Snake
Uno Ino
Ode To The Owl
Bite The Electric Eel

Recorded at The Village Recorder, Winter of 1971 & 1972

Harvey Mandel on World Cafe NPR

Interview at Rock and Blues

Still unsure? Check out Peruvian Flake here
Unsure what his influences may have been . . . . . . . .