Top notch prog this week, from 'Spyglass Guest', the third LP by Greenslade, released in 1974. I've bloody loved Greenslade for more years than I care to remember and they're right up there with ELP in my early teen affections. The band put out four albums between 1973 and 1975 before splitting due to management problems in 1976. I'd argue that they improved with every release and that their true masterpiece still lay ahead, though they nevertheless left a slim, but consistently excellent catalogue behind them.
Monday, 11 January 2021
Thursday, 7 January 2021
After notching up 73 entries of the Version City series by early December 2019, I somehow failed to add to that tally at all in 2020 and the idea fell by the wayside. Here though, finally, is entry No.74.
German singer/songwriter Konstantin Gropper has released half a dozen albums trading as as Get Well Soon, in addition to creating music under his own name for films and TV. Gropper's first album, 'Rest Now, Weary Head! You Will Get Well Soon' was a big favourite in our house in 2008. The inclusion of a cover of Underworld's 'Born Slippy', may have seemed initially unlikely, but it's judged to perfection.
Monday, 4 January 2021
In the week leading up to Christmas I drove to work in the dark and I drove home in the dark. No biggie, it's what happens at this time of year. On December 22nd it started raining and didn't really stop until the early hours of Christmas morning. The rain coincided with unusually strong tidal surges along the River Waveney. Throughout those commutes I hit standing water several times, which I don't mind admitting is a bloody scary thing to happen in the dark. I'm not talking puddles either. These were fast flowing, deep streams, moving across the carriageway and it got to the point where I just hoped for the best that I'd make it through some of them without flooding and stalling the car. While I made it by the skin of my teeth, others weren't so lucky and several vehicles stood abandoned by the side of the road. All this time, I was obviously aware of the ferocity of the weather conditions, but had no visual confirmation as I journeyed through the darkness. I was just grateful to make it to and from in one piece.
On Christmas morning I woke to a message from a friend checking in to see if I'd been affected by the floods. He'd read online that the emergency services had been on the scene in my town for the whole night. When I looked online myself, the first thing I saw was a photo of a fire engine standing in a very familiar location - directly outside my place. I went out for a wander in the warm sunshine and saw the devastation for myself. The worst flooding in this area for over 50 years by all accounts, for a while only one road remained passable in and out of town. Surreal scenes of streams, paths, fields and roads all gone, replaced by vast lakes. All the properties beyond mine in my street, down towards the river were either still under water or had sustained serious flood damage overnight and, as I walked around the outskirts of the town, the story was repeated again and again. It was terrible to see people having to salvage their saturated belongings on Christmas Day, particularly at the end of such a dreadful year. Just over a week later and the water has gone, but for the unfortunate households affected, the clean-up will take considerably longer.
Released in 1979 on the legendary Studio One label and produced by the equally legendary Coxsone Dodd, 'Flood Victim' rides the popular Real Rock riddim, well known to many for its use in Willie Williams' original recording of 'Armagideon Time'.
Wednesday, 23 December 2020
This morning, before another long day of retail madness commences, I'm briefly firing up the old laptop for the first time in nearly a fortnight to pass on compliments of the season to one and all. By any measure, 2020 has been a shocker and I remain constantly grateful for the two principle communities that I'm a part of - the gang of oddballs at work, who it lately feels like I'm spending my whole life with, and the geographically far-flung bunch of likeminded souls that hang out in this little corner of t'internet.
I finish work at 6pm on Christmas Eve and am back in the store at 8am on Boxing Day. My highlight of Christmas Day itself is already set in stone. At 8pm I'll settle down before my computer, as I have done 40-odd times already this year, to watch Robyn Hitchcock & Emma Swift perform another live Sweet Home Quarantine show from their East Nashville HQ. It's an absolute joy every week.
It feels like I've listened to very few song based records this year, erring instead towards ever longer, meandering instrumental pieces with which to carve a path through my cluttered brain. In contrast though, I'll leave you with three very short, distinctly diverse festive-themed tunes, each clocking in at 2 minutes or less.
Take care all. Enjoy your Christmas however you can and stay safe.
Thursday, 10 December 2020
One morning in October as I clocked in for my shift, I couldn't help but notice that music was playing through the public address system, a system until then only used for imploring reluctant members of staff to 'jump on a till' when an unexpected rush occurred or to berate an inconsiderately parked customer into moving his or her vehicle. Yes, a nominal internal company radio station was on the air - in reality an external drive playing a selection of random tunes interspersed with social distancing information. The music, however, was awful - truly awful. I'd consider myself to have a working knowledge of pop music, but this stuff was unrecognisable and bland in the extreme, falling slap-bang into the category of aural wallpaper. The weeks went by and gradually it became the default background noise of a working day. Of course I expected to hear random Christmas songs phased into the playlist as we entered the festive season, but what I didn't bank on when I walked into the store on December 1st was to hear this belting out of the system.
You could've knocked me down with a feather. It was yer actual Coral....playing at work! Next up was 'Talk of the Town' by The Pretenders. Then 'One Vision' by Queen, which was slightly less welcome to be honest, but you get my drift. Suddenly, without warning, we were getting proper songs by proper artists instead of endless bucket loads of dreary muzak. Yes, this stuff is indeed interspersed with the anticipated Christmas songs, but wondering what tune is coming up next has certainly put a spring in my step each day. To date we've had music from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Bob Marley & the Wailers, The Supremes, Steve Winwood, The La's, James Brown, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Sam Cooke, early Rod Stewart, The Travelling Wilburys, Dusty Springfield & The Four Tops to name but a few - and just yesterday 'Penny Lane' by The Fabs themselves, it really is all over the place and has become a welcome soundtrack to my working day. Even the festive tuneage stretches beyond the blindingly obvious. I mean when was the last time you heard this one going head to head with Slade and Wizzard in your local supermarket at this time of the year?
Monday, 7 December 2020
Monday, 30 November 2020
Driving home from work at quarter to five on a crisp, cloudless Thursday evening, the sun, which set a full 45 minutes earlier, had left a glowing orange residue low in the sky, while off the road to my right a dense mist enveloped the Waveney Valley. It was all too beautiful. My in-car soundtrack was one of a selection of old self-made compilation CDrs rediscovered during the recent house move. I had no way of knowing what tunes it contained, but this one started to play as I drove towards that dimming orange horizon and I thought to myself, right at this moment, there's nothing I'd rather be listening to.
By the time Siouxsie & the Banshees' 'Join Hands' tour rolled into Ipswich on October 9th 1979 (39 years ago today), two of ...
This morning, before another long day of retail madness commences, I'm briefly firing up the old laptop for the first time in nearly a f...
Top notch prog this week, from 'Spyglass Guest', the third LP by Greenslade, released in 1974. I've bloody loved Greenslade for ...
This is the meadow, across the way from my place, underwater on Xmas Day and visible again on Monday 28th. In the week leading up to Christm...
After notching up 73 entries of the Version City series by early December 2019, I somehow failed to add to that tally at all in 2020 and the...