Monday, 16 May 2022

Monday Long Song

'This is a Mindfulness Drill' by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (featuring vocal turns by Sharon Van Etten, Perfume Genius and Moses Sumney) is a 2021 re-imagining of 'Sapphie', a 1998 LP by Richard Youngs. 'Sapphie', an album very close to my heart, contains three long songs, including the breathtaking 'Soon It Will Be Fire', my entry point to the great man's music. I almost went with Van Etten's version of 'The Graze of Days' today, which is pretty darned impeccable, but instead here's Sumney's beautiful reading of 'Soon It Will Be Fire', followed by the achingly raw original. I honestly can't recommend these albums highly enough.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Soon It Will Be Fire

Richard Youngs - Soon It Will Be Fire


Monday, 2 May 2022

Monday Long Song

This week's long song is a no-brainer. Legendary keyboard maestro Klaus Schulze passed away last Tuesday, just four months shy of his 75th birthday. The impact Schulze and his kosmische chums made on my young ears was considerable (here) and remains so, even if these days the sounds of bubbling modulations and subtly sweeping synths have to compete with my own constant internal soundtrack of screaming tinnitus. 

Schulze was 29 years old when 'Moondawn' was released in 1976 and, having already passed through the ranks of both Ash Ra Temple and Tangerine Dream, was five albums into a long, extremely prolific solo career. 'Floating' opened proceedings on solo LP No.6.

Klaus Schulze - Floating

Monday, 25 April 2022

Monday Long Song

The Dylan Group out of Washington DC were all done and dusted by the time I stumbled upon their music in the early noughties, leaving behind a slim body of work released between 1997 and 2000. I'm pretty sure that I bumped into the bafflingly titled 'Gazer =[(Shoe)(Star)]2 + Beat' on my virtual travels around the internet, which prompted me to hoover up their entire catalogue on my actual travels around the many second hand CD stores situated in New York in those days. Back then I would to fly out to visit my cousin and her family with a half empty suitcase and return home loaded down with so many dusty $0.50c CDs that I could barely lift it. Anyway, all these years later this sparse, persistent tune is still the one of theirs I return to the most. (The occasional dubby echo on the drums always reminds me of 'Bela Lugosi's Dead'.) Dylan Cristy and Adam Pierce, who did most of the heavy lifting with The Dylan Group, are better known for their day job as members of Mice Parade.

The Dylan Group - Gazer =[(Shoe)(Star)]2 + Beat

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

A Series of Brief Obsessions #5 - Vertical Montanas

The previous instalment in this series detailed my 18 month obsession with Jonquil and this single sits neatly alongside that obsession. Vertical Montanas were a ten-piece amalgam of the aforementioned Jonquil and fellow Oxford combo Youthmovies who, after originally making plans to guest on each other's recordings, ultimately decided to form a whole new band together. These two songs, recorded in 2007 and released on a pink vinyl 7" single the following year, comprise their entire output. Both of these unconventional tunes featured heavily on my CDr compilations at the time.

Vertical Montanas - Thick Mugs

Vertical Montanas - Of Scramblers; Rotting Birds And Gullies... The Trawlers, Crabs, The Caterpillar Tracks

Friday, 15 April 2022

Friday Photo #21

Tomorrow it'll be exactly 60 years since this photo was taken. It's the second in a series of annual birthday portraits taken of me in front of the family radiogram, a series that stretched until my 21st birthday in 1981 (see more examples here and here). The relatives must have been round, as I'm dressed in my best bib and tucker (the bow-tie was something of a fixture in the early days) and keen to show off my first ever bike....or more accurately trike. Dad was one of eight children so there were no doubt Aunts and Uncles aplenty on hand to spoil me rotten on my big day. Mum, like me, was an only child, but her own Mum, my dear old Nan, was probably not too far away from the action either. If you squint you might be able to make out an Easter Egg or two nestled among the birthday cards atop the radiogram, even though my second birthday actually fell a few days before the Easter weekend of 1962.This year it's the first time that my birthday has fallen on an Easter Saturday since the day I was born in 1960, having only coincided with that particular date on three other occasions in the 20th century, in 1927, 1938 and 1949.  

I'll be at work from 7 till 5 tomorrow, as the last minute rush to buy whatever Easter Eggs we have left reaches a no doubt chaotic and panic stricken crescendo. Then home for a chilled beverage or two in the evening.

Monday, 4 April 2022

Monday Long Song

Covid re-entered my workplace three weeks ago and has spent the time since cutting a swathe through the store. The staff have been dropping like flies. Fortunately most cases have been at the milder end of the spectrum, but several have been knocked sideways by it, suffering all kinds of unpleasantness. Those of us who've mercifully remained thus far untouched by the virus have been putting in extra hours in order to try and keep the shelves filled. Approximately 200 of us work at the gaff in total, though lately there have been times when it's felt distinctly like the Mary Celeste. There just aren't enough healthy pairs of hands to get the work done. I mention all this only to explain the recent virtual radio silence from my end. A long overdue catch up with my Aunt in London this past weekend had to be postponed too, as I worked throughout. Hopefully another week or so should see staff levels returning to something approaching normal and I can reschedule a visit for later in the month. 

Although I'd obviously much rather so many of my co-workers weren't under the weather, I can't deny that the substantial overtime is financially welcome, following my own lengthy period on the sick with shingles over Christmas. Speaking of which, while I was laid up and laid low, the last thing I felt like doing was shaving - so I didn't. And I never started again. Right about now I'm in week 20 or so with yer actual beard, I've not trimmed or tidied it at all and it's beginning to get pretty wild in the chin area. I'm not exactly sure where I go next with it to be honest, in fact I'm not even 100% certain that I like having a full beard at all (I've only ever sported the occasional goatee before now), but what I've discovered I really do like (a lot) is not having to shave. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

A Series of Brief Obsessions #4 - Jonquil

Sandwiched between the lo-fi sonic experimentation of  2006's 'Sunny Casinos' and the mutant disco of  2012's 'Point of Go' came 'Lions', the endearingly oddball folktronic sophomore album by Oxford combo, Jonquil. Throughout 2007/8 Mrs S and I fell hard for these guys. The cover mounted CDs issued with The Wire magazine provided all sorts of interesting avenues to pursue in those days and so it was with No.17, which featured A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Fridge, Husky Rescue and Kammerflimmer Kollektief  - all favourites at Swede Towers at the time, as well as introducing us to the music of the aforementioned Jonquil.

For 18 months Jonquil's name seemed on everyone's lips, but for some reason it never quite happened for them. During this period they recorded entertaining alfresco performances for the la Blogothèque Take Away Show series (available on YouTube in two parts here and here), plus had the distinction of becoming the band I've had to travel the least distance from my house to see, when they rolled up at the pub at the bottom of my road in July of 2007. 

As I mentioned at the top, Jonquil continued their journey in a different musical direction before apparently petering out, but lead singer Hugo Manuel eventually found acclaim under his synth-pop alias of Chad Valley, with whom he released four albums between 2011 and 2018.  

Jonquil - Sudden Sun

Jonquil - Whistle Low

Monday, 21 March 2022

Monday Long Song

I particularly enjoyed the clutch of albums released by John Dwyer and various friends throughout 2020 and 2021, especially 'Bent Arcana' and 'Gong Splat'. The strength of these solo projects has me revisiting the music Dwyer makes in his day job with Oh Sees. I'm woefully out of touch with the band's prolific output (at least 11 albums since the last one I know from 2019!), but I have enough of their tunes dotted about the place to keep me out of mischief for a Sunday afternoon. 

'Keys to the Castle' from 2017's 'Orc' is a song of two halves...or more precisely of one quarter and three quarters. A two minute punk blast, followed by a six minute blissed out lugubrious groove.

Oh Sees - Keys to the Castle

Friday, 18 March 2022

Friday Photo #20

When I was a kid growing up in Walthamstow, one of the highlights each Summer was the annual carnival parade, in which a long line of decorated flatbed lorries snaked around the town's streets, via the end of my road, raising money for local charities. Every year my folks would walk me up to the corner, give me a few coins to throw into a collection bucket and encourage me to shout my head off at the colourful passing show. It was all unspeakably exciting. In 1965 Dad took some photos of the event, including this one. 

Of course in the cold light of 2022, the visual evidence Dad managed to capture all those years ago, pricks the bubble of my hazy youthful memory. The floats and flatbeds slowly making their way through the crowds along Markhouse Road aren't the professionally reupholstered vehicles that I thought I remembered, but are actually amateurishly decorated old warhorses, crudely festooned with multicoloured crepe paper and hastily handwritten signs - no doubt held together by endless reels of sticky tape. It should be noted however, that a long forgotten hero did make a rather splendid effort when it came to creating that Dalek - credit where it's due.

My overriding memory of the carnival, sadly not captured for posterity, is that, standing at the junction of Markhouse Avenue and Markhouse Road, you could hear the whole shebang coming a mile off. Pots, buckets and old tin dustbins rattled with coins and were bashed together to ramp up the atmosphere - the shouting, crashing and honking of horns becoming louder and louder until the whole deafening parade was right in front of us. And then it was gone, gradually fading away into the distance until the following year. 

This from Niagara's third LP, 1973's 'Afire', is a somewhat more rhythmical approximation of the sounds I heard for a few minutes each year, while standing at the end of my road.

Niagara - Carnival

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Peace Will Come When All Hate Is Gone

Had he still been with us, today would've seen Fred Neil celebrating his 86th birthday. Neil was already a figurehead of the Greenwich Village folk scene by the time a young upstart by the name of Bob Dylan rolled into town in 1961, but even earlier than that he'd worked in the Brill Building and had a hand in writing songs for the likes of Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison. Many of Neil's compositions are best known in the hands of other artists. Harry Nilsson's version of 'Everybody's Talkin'' won a Grammy after it was featured in the 1969 film 'Midnight Cowboy' and 'Dolphins' has been covered by the likes of Billy Bragg, Beth Orton and, magnificently, Tim Buckley. Neil drifted into semi-retirement in the mid-1970s and dedicated much of the last 30 years of his life to the preservation of dolphins.

Here's Fred Neil's original 1966 recording of 'Dolphins' and, from the previous year, perhaps my favourite of all his songs, the wonderful 'Little Bit of Rain'.

Fred Neil - Dolphins

Fred Neil - Little Bit of Rain

Monday, 14 March 2022

Monday Long Song

I've had a copy of Mark Lanegan's autobiography 'Sing Backwards and Weep' sitting next to me untouched for a number of months now, waiting for the right moment to enter what will undoubtedly be a long dark ride. It was only recently joined in the to-be-read pile by 'Devil in a Coma', the hastily published account of his 2021 battle with Covid. In the days following the dreadful news of Lanegan's death three weeks ago, I read all of the obituaries and listened to little else but his music around the house. I also picked up 'Devil in a Coma'. It's an easy, but extremely harrowing read, detailing not only his months of physical suffering, but also the prolonged mental torment of being trapped in a sick and broken body.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This
 little corner of the internet did Mark Lanegan proud, with a series of well written tributes around the blogs and a terrific array of music drawn from his sprawling catalogue. Here, belatedly, is my contribution. From the 2009 Soulsavers LP 'Broken', an inspired reading of Gene Clark's masterpiece, 'Some Misunderstanding'. 

Monday, 7 March 2022

Monday Long Song(s)

Both Eliza Carthy and her legendary dad Martin are making plans to hit the road again, individually and occasionally as a duo, following the immense loss of Norma Waterson at the end of January. I've seen Martin several times in the relatively recent past, but when I catch up with Eliza in the Summer, it'll be for the first time in at least ten years.

Here's a set from Eliza's self-titled 1997 album with the King's of Calicutt and Martin with the terrific 2006 re-recording of  'Famous Flower of Serving Men', an epic murder ballad I've been privileged to see him play a few times and which originally appeared in an earlier incarnation on his 1972 LP 'Shearwater'. 

Eliza Carthy and the Kings of Calicutt - Sheffield Park / Polly Bishop's Slip Jig / Roger de Coverley

Martin Carthy - Famous Flower of Serving Men

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

A Series of Brief Obsessions #3 - Brightblack Morning Light

You know those hot, clammy days that we sometimes get in the Summer? Days when it's a genuine effort to move from A to B, when sweat sticks the clothes to your skin and cool fresh air seems a distant memory? The music of Brightblack Morning Light is the aural equivalent of one of those days. It oozes and slithers from the speakers, as if weighed down by extreme humidity. It feels positively oppressive - in a good way, natch.

I was walking through Mrs S's studio one day in 2007 when I heard a Brightblack Morning Light tune coming from her laptop. They were a new name to me and I was instantly hooked by the dense, sultry, airless sound. I quickly hoovered up both the available long-players, 'Ala. Cali. Tucky' and the self-titled follow-up. The band's third and final album, 'Motion to Rejoin', arrived in 2008. 

My obsession with Brightblack Morning Light was brief, only by virtue of their catalogue being so slim. Their second and third albums in particular can be picked up relatively inexpensively and come highly recommended. Here's a track from each of them.

Brightblack Morning Light - Hologram Buffalo

Brightblack Morning Light - Everybody Daylight

Monday, 28 February 2022

Monday Long Song - Stop the War

A 1970 Whitfield/Strong written anti-Vietnam war song from Edwin Starr, here covered 12 years later by a young Neneh Cherry (along with Joe Blocker and the late On-U Sound legend George Oban) as a response to the Falklands War. 

Here we are another 40 years on.  

Raw Sex Pure Energy - Stop the War

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

A Series of Brief Obsessions #2 - Dillon Fence

Dillon Fence came my way as so many bands did back then, via the new release folder of a visiting record company rep. For an hour or so each month we'd glug coffee as he or she tried to convince me that everything in that folder was the next big thing and that I really needed to have it in my racks. Actually, to be fair, most of the reps knew my limits as well as I did. A tiny shop in a quiet seaside town was never going to be responsible for breaking an act nationwide, although in one or two cases over the years we certainly did our bit to help in terms of sales - I'm looking at you Sheryl Crow. But I digress. Many of those reps became friends, growing to know the direction my own personal tastes moved in and recommending accordingly - hence Dillon Fence. Sonically hovering somewhere between Teenage Fanclub and 'Grave Dancer's Union' era Soul Asylum, 1993's 'Outside In' was and is my favourite of their three albums. Here are two cuts from it to give you a flavour.

Dillon Fence - Collapsis

Dillon Fence - Safety Net

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

A Series of Brief Obsessions #1 - Lions and Tigers

The good news regarding the recent tech-trauma of my crashed hard-drive is that the local computer guy was able to salvage around 85% of the contents - photos, tunes and documents. A great result, by any standards. The 85% was his estimate by the way. Thus far I've yet to not find anything that I've gone and searched for, though no doubt that will happen at some point. Either way, I'm pretty ecstatic with what I've got, considering what the alternative could've been.

While biting my nails down to the quick as I awaited updates from the computer guy, I found myself playing even more physical product than usual. Digging particularly deep into the CD archives, I unearthed a bunch of compilation CDrs put together by myself and Mrs S during our earliest days together, nearly 20 years ago. We'd play these comps around the house continually for a week or two at a time, until moving onto the next one - like turning the page of an audio diary. Hearing some of those tunes again after so long was tantamount to reconnecting with very old friends. While playing one of the CDrs last week, I was struck by how much of my musical journey over the years could legitimately be described as a series of brief obsessions - some briefer than others. Every now and then, hearing just one track may lead to a long term commitment to an artist, or at least to picking up an album or two by them, but sometimes, for whatever reason, that one song might be all I'll ever have. 

In this occasional series I'm going to share a few of the one-offs, left-behinds and obscure forgotten favourites from my back pages. Take for example Lions and Tigers. Sometime in the mid-noughties I picked up their 5 track CD EP 'Pure & Applied'. Don't ask me where I got it, when exactly it was that I stumbled upon it, or what persuaded me to shell out for it - as my old Nan was wont to say, I can't remember, I've been asleep since then. All I can say for sure is that I liked the music I heard and still do, in particular the soundtrack-for-an-unmade-film vibe of the instrumental closer, 'Toca Su Guitarra'. According to Discogs, aside from one other track on a split single in 2006, 'Pure & Applied' was the sum total of the band's output. I can tell you no more.

Lions and Tigers - Toca Su Guitarra

Monday, 14 February 2022

Monday Long Song

Though Lee Perry's relationship with Island Records faltered in 1978, within the walls of the Black Ark, Scratch's work rate continued at a frantic pace. Whole albums worth of material were apparently cut with legendary artists such as Junior Murvin, George Faith and Augustus Pablo, but much of the resulting music remains unreleased. Old friend Bob Marley stopped off at the studio late in the year, part-way through the Kaya world tour, to record two fabulous sides with Scratch at the controls, 'Who Colt the Game' and 'I Know a Place'. These gems were also shelved, eventually gaining a belated release in 1998.

Meanwhile Perry continued to cut and voice tunes of his own. Here's the dense, intriguing, Nyabinghi-paced 'Free Up the Prisoners', released as a 33rpm 12" single on the Conquering Lion of Judah label in 1978, before reappearing on the rarities compilation 'Soundzs From the Hot Line' in 1992. 

Lee 'Scratch' Perry - Free Up the Prisoners

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Brian Connolly - 25 Years Gone

I was in the audience for what transpired to be Brian Connolly's last UK gig fronting the original Sweet line-up, at the Hammersmith Odeon in February 1978. By the Summer of that year, for well documented reasons, he was out of the band, though his departure wasn't officially announced until the following Spring. It was the first time I'd seen Sweet in concert since their Christmas show at The Rainbow in 1973 and much had changed in the intervening years. In 1973 I was 13, living in London, still pretty much glam obsessed, though beginning to feel my way into wider musical territories. By the time I rolled up to the Hammersmith Odeon, I and my family had been out of London for nearly three years, punk had happened and my eclectic record collection was coming along nicely - as were the pimples on my chin and the dodgy bumfluff covering my upper lip. My memories of that night in 1978 are of a triumphant performance. I was crashing at a mate's place in London and we spent the journey back to his gaff raving about the show and what the future might hold for the band. Little did we know.

Post-Sweet, Brian Connolly pursued a solo career while struggling with increasing health problems, dying 25 years ago today (or yesterday depending on your source) at the age of  just 51. 

Here's 'I Wanna Be Committed', a great Chinn & Chapman penned single that never was. Recorded in 1974, but left on the shelf in favour of the band's own 'Fox on the Run'.   

Sweet - I Wanna Be Committed

Monday, 24 January 2022

Monday Long Song

You may recognise 'Jah No Dead' from Winston Rodney's impassioned solo acapella version, sung over the sound of crashing waves in the 1978 film 'Rockers'. If you're unfamiliar with the scene, it's well worth a couple of minutes of your time (here). The original Burning Spear studio version of the song was released under the title 'Marcus Say Jah No Dead' on the 'Social Living' LP, also in 1978. Two years later an extended mix appeared on the flipside of the 12" single 'Free the Whole Wide World'.

Burning Spear - Jah No Dead

Monday, 17 January 2022

Monday Long Song

On Friday evening my laptop (formally my trusty laptop) screen froze and, then it went blank and I got a 'no bootable device' message. I ran a scan and it couldn't detect a hard-drive. On Saturday morning I took it to a local computer repair place who confirmed that the hard-drive was dead. The guy installed a new hard-drive within the hour and now it's like I have a brand new computer! For five years it's taken between 10-15 minutes to boot up, but now it's instant. Miraculous! He's trying to recover whatever he can from the old hard-drive, but even if he's able to retrieve anything, it's going to take him several days. It's mainly GB's of music which is neither here or there in the grand scheme of things, but also more importantly it contains hundreds of photos. More recent shots from my phone are automatically backed up to cloud storage, but older photos uploaded from my camera aren't (I know, I know...), so I've potentially lost virtually the entire record of my time with Mrs S. You may well have thought that I'd have learned from previous mistakes. Nearly 10 years ago I backed photos and diaries from an older laptop onto a mains driven external hard-drive, which literally went bang shortly thereafter. Nothing at all was retrievable that time. I lost the very earliest photos of me and Mrs S plus all my writings about her. Our history is gradually being erased. Very symbolic. On a positive note, the laptop is so fast now, it's amazing - like having a brand new piece of kit. Before you ask, yes I've ensured that everything going forward will be properly backed up, plus I've ordered a brand new portable external hard-drive for added security!

The only digital music currently left in the archive (other than hundreds of CDs of course) is on a small, much older portable hard-drive that I've been lugging around for years. I've completely forgotten what most of the stuff on it sounds like, but have been having a listen to various bits and pieces over the weekend. Here's a Kreidler tune from 1996 (....gulp.), though I suspect that I chanced upon it via a 2000 reissue.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Friday Photo #19

Over a period of many years in the pre-internet days, my Mum patiently attempted to pull together the various strands of our family tree. It was a difficult and longwinded task back then. She visited graveyards, examined ancient registers, scoured censuses and drafted letters to organisations around the country and beyond in an effort to connect the dots between seemingly unconnected names, faces and dates. Whenever I'd go home for a weekend, she'd excitedly tell me of her latest discovery - who was related to who, in what way, where they were born and when they died. I, of course, nodded and smiled, absorbing next to none of her laboriously gleaned discoveries, while probably stuffing a sandwich down my neck before heading off to the pub to meet my chums. Years later, I'm left with Mum's research. Scraps of paper, scribbled notes, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates and fading photos. The dots she painstakingly tried to connect now fill several dusty carrier bags. I'm gradually transferring it all onto Ancestry, but I wish I'd taken more notice at the time. It meant as much to Mum then as it does to me now.

This is Alice, my maternal great-Grandmother. She was born in 1856 and died in August 1927, five years before Mum was born. Her husband Charles, my maternal great-Grandfather, pre-deceased her in November 1924 aged 67. They are both interred at Bow cemetery in the East End of London


Today's tune is an absolute beauty from Tom Waits and contains one of my favourite couplets of his: '...arithmetic arithmetock, turn the hands back on the clock...'

Tom Waits - Alice

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Show Me Those Who Are Not There

The shingles has lingered much longer than I imagined it would. I felt so guilty about being off sick during the busiest period of the year that I foolishly went back too soon, working three long shifts from 22nd December until Christmas Eve and then on Boxing Day. I somehow made it in the day after that, but had to come home after three hours, barely able to hold myself upright. I've been off again ever since. I'm hopeful of a more cautious return to the fray next week, this time easing in with short shifts to start with.

With so much time to kill, I initially tried listening to music or reading a book with limited success, agitated by the pain and fuzzy-headed from the painkillers. I don't have a TV, but I do have my trusty laptop and eventually found distraction by revisiting several television programmes of my youth via YouTube. I passed the hours reconnecting with episodes of such shows as Callan, Z Cars, Softly Softly Task Force, Quiller, The Sweeney, along with a few others from the 1960s & 70s, that I remember watching with my parents. The sedately paced Softly Softly Task Force was Dad's favourite back then, whereas I preferred the rough and tumble (and smoking...the endless smoking!) of The Sweeney. The distant familiarity of Barlow, Watt, Carter and Regan's respective adventures was strangely comforting, but my how the world has changed since I last watched them.

Friday, 7 January 2022

Friday Photo(s) #18

One day in the mid-1980's, very quietly, without fuss or announcement, Dad stopped eating meat. Never once, from that moment until he passed away in 2007, did I ever hear him use the word vegetarian to describe himself, yet he never ate meat again. He'd simply finally reached the point where he could no longer square his love of animals with the consumption of dead flesh. He made no big deal of it, felt no obligation to justify his decision and never attempted to persuade anyone else to do the same thing. It was purely a line he felt he could no longer cross. Indeed, Mum continued to be a meat-eater for the rest of her life and it was a further 5 or 6 years until I became a vegetarian.

Dad's love of animals extended well beyond our family pets. Mum's eyes would roll as she'd tell me about car journeys delayed by Dad pulling up to rescue a injured bird (they then drove around for a couple of hours looking for a vet to leave it with) or, in this particular case from 1983, to free a sheep caught in a barbed wire fence on a remote country lane. He wouldn't use any tools to do the job as he neither wanted to accidentally hurt the sheep or damage the fence, so he untangled it painstakingly by hand. The sheep remained calm throughout the lengthy process apparently, seemingly well aware that Dad was friendly and there to help.   


Today's soundtrack is provided by Welsh guitarist Toby Hay, who has released three albums under his own name, another in tandem with Jim Ghedi plus a number of EPs. 'Sheep Song' is Hay's contribution to the 2020 Tompkins Square compilation album 'Imaginational Anthem Vol. X'. 

Toby Hay - Sheep Song

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

That's His Kind of Blues

Jasper C. Debussy pre-dates Marc Bolan's short spell with John's Children by three or four months. The song was recorded by Simon Napier-Bell in the winter of 1966 as a proposed follow up to Marc's third solo single Hippy Gumbo, though it was ultimately shelved and didn't see the light of day until the huge early 1970's success of T.Rex encouraged Napier-Bell to dig it out, dust it off and cash-in. Key session musicians for the recording included drummer Clem Cattini, guitarist Big Jim Sullivan, piano wiz Nicky Hopkins and, rumour has it, a certain John Paul Jones on bass. The eventual 1972 issue of Jasper C. Debussy featured a '...go for keep cool y'know...' spoken intro from Marc, the meaning of which passed by this 12-year-old completely. It isn't the nonsense phrase it appears to be however, as his actual words had been censored by studio trickery. When the song re-emerged in 2002 as part of a reissue package, his original unexpurgated studio rant was reinstated, '...fuck off or keep cool y'know...!'

Monday, 3 January 2022

Monday Long Song

A belated tribute to the great Robbie Shakespeare today, by way of 'Gates of Zion', a stand alone 1980 single from The Mighty Diamonds. The tune was cut at Channel One, so, given the time frame, my guess is that the backing is supplied by The Revolutionaries, though Robbie and his lifelong partner in riddim Sly Dunbar are in fact the only musicians officially credited, outside of the vocal trio themselves. Rest in dub Robbie.

The Mighty Diamonds - Gates of Zion

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