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.

Monday 13 July 2015

Too Much Space

It seems I struck a chord of recognition with a few blogging chums in my last post. Space - not just the final frontier, but also the arch enemy of the record and CD collector. I had a massive clear-out in 2011 prior to our move, but the quantity of physical product I own is still fairly substantial. About a year ago I bought a 6tb external hard-drive and started ripping all the CDs that were within easy reach and also moved a great deal of my downloaded music onto it from my laptop. Then the hard-drive crashed and I lost a ton of stuff. Until that point I'd had vague thoughts of getting rid of all the actual CDs, but losing so much so quickly, changed my mind. Hence my current attempt at reducing volume.

Here's how slim an unjewelcased CD in a cellobag is.

What I've done so far. A dozen boxes cut down to six. In alphabetical order, natch.

And this is how much more there is to do, another 25 or so boxes.

I'm listening to stuff as I go too. Wondering why I ever bought this, finding I own two copies of that and generally chipping away at the chaff. I'm also reacquainting myself with a few choice nuggets, some of which will find their way onto these pages in the coming months I've no doubt. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Here's one such old favourite I rediscovered yesterday, French combo Hey Hey My My with the title track of their 2007 EP 'Too Much Space', a state of affairs we'll never suffer from here at Swede Towers.

Saturday 11 July 2015

Out of Space

You join me here at Swede Towers as a major, long-delayed project gets underway. After nearly 5 years of being boxed up and beyond reach, I've begun the process of dragging my CDs, blinking and spluttering, back into the light. While the collection is nowhere near the size it once was, the space that the CDs take up in the house is far more than we have to spare. I've mused on the various options open to me for too long, now, to quote Secret Affair, it's time for action. Step one, dispatch jewel cases. Step two, put each booklet, disc and back cover into resealable cellobags. Step three, repeat process throughout entire collection. Step four, assess how much space I've saved. Step five.....more musing.

This could take some time.

Friday 10 July 2015

This, That and the Other

Three random tunes from the vaults. 'This Moment' by Matthew Sweet, Jah Woosh singing 'Don't Do That' and Big Audio Dynamite with 'Other 99'.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

On a Cliff Tip

Head over forthwith to the very fine Charity Chic Music to sample two choice slices of vintage Jimmy Cliff tunage. A couple of hours ago, immediately after doing that very thing, I continued the party back at my place by digging out a pair of my own favourite sides by the reggae legend, 1970's 'Be Aware' and 'Rub-a-Dub Partner' from 1982.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

C Duncan

The local sparrows have always pulled and pecked a bit, but this year they've really been munching away at Mrs S's beloved garden. Leaves from the stems and petals from the flowers, nothing, it seems, is safe from their roaming beaks. They leave a trail of devastation behind them, causing Mrs S a whole bunch of grief. Perhaps their extra-curricular quaffing is a comment on the quality of the actual bird food I put out for them, though that always disappears fairly sharpish too. To Mrs S's credit the garden still looks fantastic, regardless.

Nom nom

All of this is a long-winded way of introducing 'Garden', the latest track to be lifted from C Duncan's imminent debut LP, 'Architect', following on from last year's equally classy single, 'For', and 'Say' from earlier in 2015. C Duncan hails from Glasgow and I feel sure that one of my Scottish based blogging chums must have flagged him at some point over the past few months, though as I've only lately come to fully realise just how special his music is, I'm sure they won't mind me spinning a couple of his tunes again.

Check out more of C Duncan's music here.

Monday 6 July 2015

Storm Is Rising

In 15 years of living on the coast in the 1980's and 1990's, I watched many a big storm roll in from the sea, crash, bang and flash overhead for a bit, before moving on inland. I've never experienced a storm like the one we encountered in the early hours of Saturday morning though. It was the Mother of all storms. In fact it was the Mother, Father, Sister, Brother and complete extended family of all storms. I grabbed my camera and tried to document the cacophony kicking off in the skies around us, but this was as good as it got.

Thursday 2 July 2015


A few more photographic memories of our short holiday in North Norfolk.

This is Bruce. He immediately made us feel very welcome on his patch and became a proper little poser whenever a camera appeared.

Fred Astaire. We stayed in a secluded cabin, the roof of which Fred and Ginger (not pictured) treated as their dance floor each morning. Fred appears to have removed his tap shoes for this photo.

There were no street lights in the remote village we called home, so we were treated to some glorious late evening skies. 

We saw a wide variety of birds on our travels, from tiny Wrens to the mighty Marsh Harriers that seemed to be everywhere. I spent much of the time gazing through my binoculars at the bird-life rather than the camera lens, but while walking down a long country lane in the blistering heat, we encountered this Chaffinch who showed no inclination to fly away, at least until he'd finished his song.


Murcof - Memoria

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