Friday, 31 July 2015

All Change

The time has finally come and it really has been a long time coming. While generations are born, raise families, grow old and die, I sit and wait for a single page to load on my computer - and when it finally does, I pray that it doesn't cause the hard-drive to crash into blue screen mode. How the darned thing hasn't been thrown out of the window at some point in the past couple of years, I truly don't know. So anyway, the short and long of it is that after much emptying of pockets, rummaging down the sides of sofas and raiding of piggy-banks, I've ordered a new Dell laptop, which should hopefully be arriving at Swede Towers within the next 48 hours. I mention all this to forewarn that normal service might be even more sporadic than usual while I familiarise myself with the comparatively cutting edge technology that's currently winging its way in my direction. If I get a chance I'll schedule a couple of posts to tide me over the bedding-in period, though, as ever, time is tight at the mo'. Also, the endless waiting for, and re-booting of, this old steam driven computer is doing nothing for my stress levels.

In other news, I've nearly finished removing the jewel-cases from all of my CD's (as mentioned here). In the process of carrying out this fingernail shredding task, I've unearthed a veritable mountain of tunes that I hope to share in the future. I've also had bright ideas for a couple of potential new features that may (or may not) crop up round these parts at some point. I haven't actually written anything down yet though, so that's a worry - I might well forget it all by tomorrow.

To commemorate the various changes currently taking place in my part of the world, here are Sparks, with a favourite of mine from 1985.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Shirley Inspired

This tribute to the great Shirley Collins pulls no punches and leaves few stones unturned - 3 CD's containing 45 tracks stretching to just under 3½ hours of music. It's a mighty undertaking. Does it overstay its welcome, sag, drag or bore? No, no, no and absolutely no. You've got traditional folk, you've got modern folk, you've got freak folk and you've got interpretations of songs that stray far outside any recognised definition of the F-word. It's a marvellous, lovingly curated set that I'm sure will continue to reveal further treasures with repeated plays. 'Shirley Inspired' was put together, in part, to help fund a new documentary film, 'The Ballad of Shirley Collins' and I'm pleased to have played a tiny part in such a worthwhile venture. Find out more here.

Monday, 27 July 2015


There was a time when I would have bread with every meal. Three pieces of toast for breakfast, a sandwich or two for lunch and a couple of slices of bread and butter to mop up my plate after dinner. Those days are long gone though, along with the almost permanent bloated feeling and a couple of Stone in weight. These days, bread is more of an occasional treat, as it was a couple of days ago when Mrs S baked a scrumptious heavily seeded loaf. I had two slices, lightly toasted, topped with a big dollop of thick cut marmalade and washed down with freshly brewed black coffee (Guatemala El Libano Caturra, since you ask). Some things are just made to go together - toast, marmalade and black coffee are three of them.

This isn't actually Mrs S's loaf, but the resemblance is close enough to get my mouth watering.

This is The Geraldine Fibbers, fronted by the redoubtable Carla Bozulich. They were only around for a few years in the mid-1990's, but still managed to put out 2 excellent studio LP's, a live album plus a selection of singles, EP's and mini-albums.

If you know one song by The Geraldine Fibbers, it's probably 'Dragon Lady. The video is a little dated, but the tune still kicks it.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Saturday Scratch #48 - Augustus Pablo

Saturday Scratch, an occasional series that shines a light on a selection with a Lee 'Scratch' Perry connection.

Earlier this week, the venerable 1001 Songs posted an utterly indispensable Augustus Pablo classic, which I highly recommend that you check out here - your week just isn't complete without it. This got me rummaging around for a choice Pablo cut to feature back here at my place. When it came down to it, one tune stuck out above the rest, 'Vibrate Onn', recorded with The Upsetters at the Black Ark in the Summer of 1977. There are a number of subtly different mixes available of this dense, far-out piece of oddness, but this particular uploader has kindly extended the blissful experience by appending the equally groovy flipside, 'Dub Onn'.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015


A Dutch glam-rock-one-man-band anyone? Looking like the lovechild of Alvin Stardust and Catwoman, this is Pantherman, better known to his Mum as Frank Klunhaar. In 1974 Klunhaar, influenced by Roxy Music, Leo Sayer, Todd Rundgren and Jobriath, wrote, recorded and released an eccentric self-titled single on Polydor in Holland. A second single, 'Panther Walk', was issued later in the year, followed by a third, 'One Man Band' in 1975. Unfortunately, chart success wasn't forthcoming and Klunhaar shelved the Pantherman project to concentrate on a career in record production.

Monday, 20 July 2015


Bittersweet, funny, poignant. This is 'A Bigger Man' by Paperface. The song is gorgeous, the clip is inspired and the photo? That's me on Christmas Day 1972, three days after seeing T.Rex in concert. I was dreaming that I'd take over the world one day, me and my guitar, in a chauffeur driven car, all the way.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Good Times Bad Times

Anniversaries abound. Yesterday it was exactly 37 years since my first Clash concert and today it's 37 years since my first Bob Dylan gig. Life has never been quite the same since that magical 24 hour period in 1978.
Sadly, yesterday also marked the 35th anniversary of the death of Malcolm Owen, lead singer of The Ruts. The Ruts were one of the few groups with the potential to rival The Clash in terms of passion and musical versitility. Certainly they were the only band who got anywhere near The Clash when it came to reggae. If you don't believe me, check out the 'Rhythm Collision Vol.1' LP, released as Ruts DC in 1982. Meanwhile, here are a pair of roots rockers from 1979. We remember you Malcolm.

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