Thursday 9 May 2019

My Eyes Have Seen the Trolley Bus in 1964

Yer humble author hanging out with Robyn after the show

I know he's already had a lot of love from these pages in recent weeks, but the great Robyn Hitchcock is once again looming large in my mind following Friday night's concert at a tiny Ipswich venue, in front of a sold out audience of just 75 lucky punters.

 '... in 1966, when I was a 13 year old boy listening to Blonde on Blonde, I used to dream of one day wearing a polka-dot shirt, blowing a harmonica and playing a slightly out of tune guitar in front of a small audience somewhere in East Anglia...' (Perfectly timed pause, followed by a big smile) '...and tonight my dream has come true..!' 

In a setlist that delved deep into his vast catalogue, Robyn played a request for me (the frankly magnificent 'Be Still'), another for a mate of mine ('So You Think You're in Love') and concluded his encore with a superb cover of 'Visions of Johanna' - it really doesn't get much better for The Swede than that. Here's a 2017 live clip of the lovely 'Raymond and the Wires', also performed on Friday evening.

Monday 6 May 2019

Monday Long Song

The familiar version of Sandy Denny's gorgeous 'No End', with a full band and sumptuous string section, was recorded in 1973 and released on her third solo LP, 'Like an Old Fashioned Waltz'. The initial recording of the song, however, featured just Sandy alone at the piano and was made in December 1972 at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall (about a mile from where I and my family then lived). Steel yourself, it's breathtaking.

Sandy Denny - No End

Friday 3 May 2019

Such a Wonder of Modern Technology

Henry Badowski is a multi- instrumentalist, who released just one album and a handful of singles under his own name, before slipping out of view in 1981. Up to that point he'd played drums, bass or keyboards with a number of punk-related bands such as The Good Missionaries, Chelsea and (the briefly re-named Damned) The Doomed. 

39 years later, I can still recall my initial reaction when I first heard 'My Face'. I became momentarily convinced that Syd Barrett had made a miraculous recovery and had started making records again. Even now, I can appreciate why my youthful imagination made that brief, optimistic leap. 

'My Face' is a great lost single if ever there was one and is probably the song that has featured on more of my own mixtapes/minidiscs/CDRs over the years than any other in my collection.

Henry Badowski - My Face

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Little Walter

That Little Walter was born as Marion Walter Jacobs on May 1st appears to be widely agreed upon, but the actual year in which he arrived is subject to some debate - 1923, 1925, 1928 or 1930, take your pick. What is unarguable is that his innovative, distorted style of playing broadened the accepted scope of blues harmonica, for listeners and fellow musicians alike. What's also unarguable is the fact that he died far too soon - 44, 42, 39 or 37 years of age, depending on which of those birth-dates is the real one. Here's Walter in 1954, with 'Mellow Down Easy', a song written by the great Willie Dixon.

Little Walter - Mellow Down Easy

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