Stomu Yamashta

Ever found yourself ordering from an online seller and noticing that the shipping costs for one album are the same as for four? I did today, not for the first time, and the two albums I had put in my cart needed another two adding, because of the postage savings, or at least that’s what I told myself, knowing it wasn’t really true but believing myself anyway. The seller was offering an Ian Dury album I didn’t have, the only one I don’t have that was released during his lifetime, ‘Apples’, which is not the greatest album but the unquenchable need to complete the set kicked in and I ordered it along with a Kilburn & the High Roads album. So that was the two. I then spent £10 on two more to save myself £1.47 shipping, I know, I can do the maths, it makes absolutely no sense, or does it?

No, it doesn’t, not really, however, I looked through everything else the seller had for sale, some 400 LP’s and found one that looked interesting. It was ‘Raindog’ by Stomu Yamashta which I then spent about 10 minutes listening to online and decided immediately that I liked it, because I did, it was great, why had I never heard this before? There was a second album by Yamashta so I bought that one without even listening to it, there, I haven’t wasted any postage costs, I’m so proud of myself.

So who is he? Stomu Yamashta (or Yamash’ta), born Tsutomu Yamashita 15 March 1947, and is a Japanese percussionist, keyboardist and composer best known for pioneering and popularising a fusion of traditional Japanese percussive music with Western progressive rock music in the 1960s and 1970s. In the latter part of the 1970s, he led the supergroup “Go” with Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze, and Michael Shrieve. He has some tracks on the soundtrack of The Man Who Fell to Earth, the one with David Bowie, which was recently re-packaged and re-released, although I don’t think the included tracks were written specifically for it.

The first album I procured was ‘Raindog’ from 1975, track number 2 of which was named,  with extraordinary foresight, after this very blog, decades before this blog existed.

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Tracklist

1. Dunes 15:00
2 . 33 1/3 7:40
3. Rainsong 5:03
4 . The Monks Song 6:01
5. Shadows 5:08
6. Ishi 6:59

I’ve had a good look around and can’t seem to find any actual footage of Yamashta from this period, or any period really, but below you can listen to track 6. Ishi for a flavour of the album before scrolling down a bit further to listen to the whole album should you wish to, I’d recommend it.

Line-up / Musicians

Stomu Yamash’ta / percussion, composer & arranger

With:
– Murray Head / vocals
– Maxine Nightingale / vocals
– Tsuneo Matsumoto / guitar
– Gary Boyle / guitar
– Brian Gascoigne / piano, clavinet, synth, composer & arranger
– Hisako Yamashta / violin, composer & arranger
– Daito Fujita / bass
– Hozumi Tanaka / drums

Here is the whole album:

There are what seem to be a whole range of styles going on, prog, jazz-fusion, classical and so on, but I rather like that. Apparently ‘Raindog’ was a stage show about a dog trying to make it rain on a japaneses village or somesuch, sounds terrible, but I like the music. It reminds me of lots of other things at times and occasionally of nothing else.

The other album is Stomu Yamash’ta, “Come To The Edge ‎– Floating Music” but I haven’t heard any of that yet so won’t talk about it, other than to say it’s from three years earlier, 1972.

 

The Pixies – Bossanova

The used record bins normally have absolute crap or classic albums that are over priced. The reason I say over priced is entirely due to my genuine belief that it is not necessary to have a pressing of a record that has a specific colour or designed label, or some other curiosity as, 99 times out of 100, the actual music on the record is exactly the same as a much cheaper, more common version. When you drop the needle all that superfluous stuff that makes a record more valuable is irrelevant.

I have, for example, a perfectly good pressing of Led Zeppelin III complete with the skinny wheel thing, it cost me about £20. In the used bin there was one in OK condition, first press, £50. My copy is mint. It makes no sense to me. Anyway, last week I was having a little look and I found three albums in there that were of interest, one of which was a really nice copy of Bossanova by the Pixies, it’s a 1990 pressing, the year it was released, but I would have been just as happy to have a re-press, honestly, I would.

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According to Rolling Stone magazine this album was 91st in their 100 albums of the 90’s, a list which contained a lot of good albums, although to give some frame of reference, Alanis Morrisette was at 45 with ‘Jagged Little Pill’, I know which I prefer but that’s just me, although I suspect not.

It seems ridiculous to me that this album is 27 years old! Imagine it, in 1994 Sgt Peppers was 27 years old and I looked back on that album and considered it to be from another time entirely, 1967, released the month before I was born. It was of its time. This album isn’t, listening to it again now I do believe if it was released for the first time today it would probably do better than it did originally, placing low in the US charts at 70, faring better in the UK at 5, or 3, depending on where you look.

It is considered to be a bit of a straight ahead rock album, but that isn’t entirely true, even with this album the Pixies were forging their own particular path that borrowed elements from elsewhere but was still undeniably their own sound. I was convinced that the track ‘Allison’ was released as a single, which would have been pretty bloody short as it runs at only just over a minute, a brilliant minute, but it wasn’t a single, the two singles were ‘Dig For Fire’ and ‘Velouria’.

It was then that I found the official video for ‘Dig for Fire’ on the 4AD youtube Channel, which has ‘Allison’ tagged on to the end, so, well, I guess it was a double A side or something, I’ve no idea to be honest but it does explain why I thought it had been a single.

I remember seeing the video for ‘Velouria’ on TV when it was released and I sat there for nearly 4 minutes expecting something to happen, I’ll say no more than that, watch it for yourself and enjoy what is a magnificent song.

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A1 Cecilia Ann – Written-By – The Surftones – 2:06
A2 Rock Music – 1:52
A3 Velouria – Theremin – Robert F. Brunner – 3:40
A4 Allison – 1:17
A5 Is She Weird – Theremin – Robert F. Brunner- 3:01
A6 Ana – 2:09
A7 All Over The World – 5:26
B8 Dig For Fire – 3:02
B9 – Down To The Well – 2:29
B10 The Happening – 4:19
B11 Blown Away – 2:20
B12 Hang Wire 2:01
B13 Stormy Weather – 3:26
B14 Havalina – 2:33

I remember going into the now long defunct Soundhouse record store in Gloucester Street, Leamington Spa and seeing a copy of the first Pixies album, ‘Surfa Rosa’ and  buying it for two reasons, the first was that the cover had tits on it and the second was that it was on 4AD, the same label as the Cocteau twins, so that was recommendation enough. It was completely different to what I was expecting but I loved it.

‘Bossanova’ is very a very different album, and only a couple on from the debut, but sonically it is fantastic. Not quite reaching 40 minutes long, but songs don’t have to be long to be good, neither does an album. Nowadays, since the advent of CD’s, there does seem to be a desire to fill at least 74 minutes and that often, but not always, results in inferior tracks, but The Pixies didn’t do that, they just wrote perfectly formed tracks and didn’t fill up the dead space with throw away songs for the sake of it. I like that about them.

Bonus! Bonus! Bonus!

The Happening, not an official video, at least I don’t think so, but a great track, about Area 51, has to be

Double Bonus!

Full concert from 1991, which was probably promoting Bossanova.

 

Jeanne Moreau

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Jeanne Moreau was a French actress, singer, screenwriter and director. She won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for Seven Days… Seven Nights (1960), the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress for Viva Maria!(1965), and the César Award for Best Actress for The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea (1992). She was also the recipient of several lifetime awards, including a BAFTA Fellowship in 1996.

Moreau made her theatrical debut in 1947, and established herself as one of the leading actresses of the Comédie-Française. She began playing small roles in films in 1949, with impressive performances in the Fernandel vehicle Meurtres? (Three Sinners, 1950) and alongside Jean Gabin as a showgirl/gangster’s moll in the film Touchez pas au grisbi (1954). She achieved prominence as the star of Elevator to the Gallows (1958), directed by Louis Malle, and Jules et Jim (1962), directed by François Truffaut. Most prolific during the 1960s, Moreau continued to appear in films into her eighties. She died at the age of 89 in 2017.

In 1963 she also released a self titled album that had the secondary title of 12 Chansons. This album was in a second hand bin and I picked it up, looked it over, and bought it. I really have no idea why, none, as I knew it was in French and I don’t understand French. The only thing I can be sure of is that the last record I received from ‘That Special Record’  , before they closed their doors, probably made me open to it, this record being Claude Lombard ‎– Claude Lombard Chante.

The first two paragraphs probably make it look like I knew who Jeanne Moreau was, but I didn’t, I copied them from Wikipedia, but I think I may see if I can find a few of the better known films she appeared in and give them a viewing, one of which will be Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows— alternatively known as Lift to the Scaffold) and the reason why is the video that ends this post. You’ll see it when you get there. As a side note, according to Discogs, the album is worth twice as much as I paid for it, which is nice, but probably irrelevant.

I find the comments on most of the videos rather odd in a way, almost all of them have R.I.P as a comment, which I sort of get but she isn’t going to read them and youtube isn’t, as far as I know, the place you go to mourn somebody you didn’t know, or maybe it is, modern life is odd.

Tracklist

A1 J’Ai La Mémoire Qui Flanche
A2 La Vie S’Envole
A3 La Peau, Léon
A4 Rien N’Arrive Plus
A5 Moi Je Préfère
A6 Le Blues Indolent
B1 La Vie De Cocagne
B2 L’Homme D’Amour
B3 L’Horloger
B4 Ni Trop Tôt, Ni Trop Tard
B5 Les Mensonges
B6 L’Amour Flou

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This is Moreau singing Le Tourbillon, which isn’t on the album but the back cover is clearly a still from this film (François Truffaut’s film ‘Jules et Jim’). She is adorable.

Though not on the album, here is an extra from a film she appeared in that is basically her walking down a street with Miles Davis providing the music. It is rather lovely.

In December of 1957, Miles Davis journeyed to France to record the score to the director Louis Malle’s film Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows— alternatively known as Lift to the Scaffold).  The recording, which featured American drummer Kenny Clarke and French session musicians René Urtreger, Pierre Michelot and Barney Wilen, is noteworthy because it was totally improvised while the musicians watched the movie on a screen.  The movie itself — Malle’s feature-film debut — is described by critic Terrence Rafferty as a “richly atmospheric thriller of murder and mistaken identity unfolding over one restless Parisian night.”  In this photo, Davis entertains the film’s star, the French actress Jeanne Moreau.

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Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 37)

Somewhere In the 80’s

Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Part 2

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Lord Upminster (6.5)

Here we go with part 2 then and ‘Lord Upminster’ from 1981. This is the Sly and Robbie album, as The Blockheads and Dury had parted company, although Chas Jankel did fly out to Nassau to write and record for this album. Dury and Jankel had no material and did their writing on the flight out and during the recording, which is an issue as Dury could take a very long time to create lyrics that he considered ready, after many many re-writes, and the short gestation period of the tracks on Lord Upminster was not wholly successful.

Side 1 of a fairly short 8 track album is quite forgettable to be truthful, it really is quite disappointing and no matter how much I want to like it greatly, I can’t, I don’t dislike it either, it’s just OK. Side 2 is much better, as though they saved all the good tracks for it. The closing song is one of my favourites of all Dury songs.

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“Spasticus (Autisticus)” was written in 1981 as a protest against the International Year of  Disabled Persons, which Dury quite rightly considered to be patronising.  The repeated refrain of  “I’m Spasticus, I’m Spasticus, I’m Spasticus Autisticus” referenced the line “I’m Spartacus” from the 1960 film Spartacus. Dury was considering touring under the name “Spastic and the Autistics” for the record, playing on his own disability and the term “blockhead”, but his friend Ed Speight suggested that the song should be about the freed slave of the disabled.

The term Spastic had been used in the UK as a derogatory term, calling people spastic or spaz was an insult. It was rather unkind to sufferers of cerebral palsy as well of course. The BBC decided that the lyrics were offensive as did the majority of other radio stations and it received no air time. The record company weren’t that interested either. This indicates fairly clearly that they didn’t actually listen to the song or understand the lyrics, it wasn’t a piss take, it wasn’t offensive, it was a rallying cry.

The song was performed live on television and broadcast worldwide during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Paralympics, by Orbital and members of the Graeae Theatre Company, which I really had no idea about. I went to the Paparalympics in 2012 and it was brilliant, but today is the first time I’d seen the video below (stick with it, it’s worth it)

How bloody brilliant is that, 30 years on and there it is again.

A1 – Funky Disco Pops
A2 – Red Letter
A3 – Girls Watching
A4 – Wait For Me
B1 – The Body Song
B2 – Lonely Town
B3 – Trust (Is A Must)
B4 – Spasticus Autisticus

I saw Spasticus performed live at the Oxford Apollo or New Theatre, whatever its name was then,  in 1984, at least I think it was, Dave probably still has the ticket stub, Dave? It was a stunning performance with Dury walking on stage wrapped in, what appeared to be, real barbed wire. The tour was in support of  the next album.

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4000 Weeks Holiday (8.4)

Released in 1984, this was the first Dury album that I bought. Everything prior to this I had only as singles, the rest I heard in Dave’s bedroom. For whatever reason, the Blockheads were out of the picture and Dury now had backing from ‘The Music Students’, either by choice or at the insistence of Polydor, the record company, accounts vary. There had been a delay in releasing the album as Dury was insistent that the track r-2963892-1503177722-7480-jpeg‘Fuck Off Noddy’ be included and the record company weren’t happy about it. There were rumours about the Enid Blyton estate threatening to litigate, there was also a track about Billy Butlin that didn’t make it, amid allegations of Butlin kiddy fiddling, it was all  a bit delicate.

I don’t think the album would have been any better from having either track included, I’d even say it is better without them. It’s a really good album that has actually become better over time.The single “Really Glad You Came / (You’re My) Inspiration” was released during that time, the songs were two different lyrics put to an almost identical tune and the single

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was a total failure, even though these are the two tracks most often used on Greatest Hits compilations. It’s a shame this single bombed as these are really good tracks, though not necessarily what the record buying public would be expecting from Dury. Its follow up single “Ban The Bomb / Very Personal” was mocked by critics, and to be honest, it is probably the weakest track on the album.

The album also contains “Peter the Painter” which was written following a request from British Pop artist Peter Blake, who had been Dury’s teacher at London’s Royal College of Art. Blake was having his own exhibition at The Tate Gallery, London and asked Dury to compose a theme tune for it. “Peter the Painter” was the result.

PETER THE PAINTER

Who’s got the toughest brush with the sweetest strokes?
At the Royal Academy for Jack-the-Lademy
Mr. Blake is the actual bloke at the Royal College of Useful Knowledge
He plays his part without complaint at the Royal Society for Insobriety
Gets his pencils and his paint from the Royal Commission for Intuition

It’s not a fake, it’s a Peter Blake
It’s navy blue, it’s crimson lake
It takes the cake and no mistake,
For goodness’ sake take a look at those Blakes

As mentioned previously, Dave and I went to Oxford to see Ian Dury & the Music Students and, to this day, it is still one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to some bloody good ones. A lot of it was about the stage presence of Dury, he really owned it when he was up there, and his Spasticus performance, wrapped in what appeared to be real barbed wire, was outstanding. I am convinced we also saw a very you Supergrass as one of the many support acts, but I have no proof of this. Three lads of the right age, from Oxford, there’s a good chance it was them.

Below is a playlist of some of the tracks from the album. I couldn’t find a decent ‘Ban The Bomb’, which says a lot about how well it was promoted. Looking on Discogs, only 1 person on there owns a copy, which is most unusual, and makes it rather a rare thing and probably expensive to buy, even though it’s not all that good.

Below is 40 minutes audio of a concert as Ian Dury & the Music Students from 1984, so the same tour I went to:

Also, because I recently picked up a 12″ singles of it and because Big Dave (who is not big but is Dave) has it in his top 10 bass lines, here is a quick snippet of you’re my inspiration playing at home, sort of sideways.

Tracklist

A1 (You’re My) Inspiration
A2 Friends
A3 Tell Your Daddy
A4 Peter The Painter
A5 Ban The Bomb
B1 Percy The Poet
B2 Very Personal
B3 Take Me To The Cleaners
B4 The Man With No Face
B5 Really Glad You Came

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Apples (6.9)

Not as bad as portrayed pretty much sums up this album, which is a collection of songs from the short lived stage musical of the same name.  Critics pointed out that the songs were not as good as Dury’s ‘old stuff’. though two of the tracks, “Apples” and “England’s Glory”, were written over 13 years earlier while Dury was still in Kilburn & The Highroads.

The show, which had several more songs than were included on the album, only lasted 10 weeks before closing, reviews were not favourable and, presumably the ticket sales weren’t either.

I’ve only heard the album a couple of times and it’s the only one I don’t actually own, but there is a particular track that I really like and which is included in Radio show 8, called ‘Love Is All’ which is down below along with the title track ‘Apples’.

Love is all:

I did find a short clip of ‘Englands Glory’ being performed on the stage set:

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Apples” Dury, Rod Melvin 4:18
2. “Love Is All” 4:34
3. “Byline Brown” 3:06
4. “Bit O’ Kit” Dury 2:07
5. “Game On” 3:08
6. “Looking For Harry” 3:34
7. “England’s Glory” Dury, Melvin 4:14
8. “Bus Driver’s Prayer” Traditional, arranged and adapted by Ian Dury 0:56
9. “PC Honey” 3:21
10. “The Right People” 2:55
11. “All Those Who Say Okay” 3:51
12. “Riding The Outskirts Of Fantasy” 4:08
To be honest I’m not really sure if this should be classed as an official release, it is more of a collection of songs from a musical than a deliberate attempt to release an album, if you see what I mean.

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The Bus Driver’s Prayer & Other Stories (7.6)

This album was released in 1992 and, even though it followed a successful Blockheads reunion tour following the death of their drummer Charley Charles, it was not a Blockheads album, but it does feature them all at certain points, except bassist Norman Watt-Roy.

The album began life as a result of the 1991 film After Midnight. Dury was asked to produce music for the film and he recruited Blockhead Mick Gallagher and Music Students member Merlin Rhys-Jones to help out. Two of the songs, “O’Donegal” and “Quick Quick Slow” appear on the album, and another, “Bye Bye Dublin” doesn’t.

Lyrically, the album was very much regarded as a return to form for Dury, examples of this being:

From Poo Poo In The Prawn

I was a very hungry fella
I defrosted my paella
Came down with Salmonella
Three weeks intensive care

They failed to send technicians in
To check the air-conditioning
Which was unfortunately transmissioning
A case of Legionnaires

There’s a malaise
In the mayonnaise
There’s a poo-poo in the prawn
Where we missed them
In the system
Little germs are being born
There’s no respite
From the cess-pit
There’s no shelter from the pong
Where the hell did we go wrong? 

From Poor Joey

This is my routine: first I ponder and peck
I look in the mirror and I shit on the deck
I try to fly, I bang my head
I think of something creative instead

I ruffle my feathers and have a good scratch
Spend at least half an hour trying to undo my catch
Not as though I want to be deleted by an owl
I’ve got to fight this awful situation somehow

Though the story of poor Joey is seemingly about a Budgie, it is, I would suggest, an allegory for how life can become entirely routine and one can become trapped in this routine, a prisoner of ones own repeated actions.

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As far as I am aware no singles were released from the album but there are a couple of contenders on there.

Demon Records were unhappy with the final album and hardly promoted it, despite favorable reviews including in the March 1993 issue of Vox where it was awarded six out of ten stars (which is an ok rating, although not great). Mick Gallagher continues to praise the album as one of his favorites, and noted in the book Song by Song that it was the album by which he personally mourned Dury following his passing in 2000.

Apparently the album received criticism for its use of a drum machine, even though the drummer had recently died, which seems a little unfair.

  1. “That’s Enough of That” (Dury, Gallagher, Rhys-Jones) – 4:49
  2. “Bill Haley’s Last Words” (Dury, Gallagher, Rhys-Jones) – 3:12
  3. “Poor Joey” – 3:50
  4. “Quick Quick Slow” – 3:14
  5. “Fly in the Ointment” – 2:55
  6. “O’Donegal” – 3:53
  7. “Poo-Poo in the Prawn” – 3:17
  8. “London Talking” – 1:15
  9. “Have A Word” (Dury, Gallagher, Rhys-Jones) – 3:57
  10. “D’Orine The Cow” – 3:18
  11. “Your Horoscope” – 4:00
  12. “No Such Thing As Love” – 3:38
  13. “Two Old Dogs Without A Name” – 4:43
  14. “Bus Driver’s Prayer” (traditional, arranged and adapted by Ian Dury) – 0:59

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Mr Love Pants (9.0)

This was the last album to be released while Dury was still with us, and the last I will be talking about here. There was a live album, ‘Live! Warts ‘n’ Audience’ from 1990, and, posthumously released,  another called ‘Straight From The Desk’ in 2001 as well as studio album ‘Ten More Turnips From The Tip’. Added to that there was a series of re-issues that had lots of out takes and alternate versions that Dury never wanted to be released, but they were released anyway.

But back to this album, this is a real, actual return to form and as far as I’m concerned it is up there with the first two albums. Released 6 years afrer Busmans Prayer it is an entirely different proposition, with the the Blockheads back on board and playing brilliantly, the quality shines through. I’ve listened to this album many times and can put it on shuffle with New Boots and Do It Yourself and nothing seems out of place to me (although production values are different of course, I mean the songs).  In a  BBC documentary Dury dismissed all of the albums between Do It Yourself and Mr. Love Pants as inferior, and as a whole I’d tend to agree.

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  1. “Jack Shit George” (Dury, Merlin Rhys-Jones) – 4:23
  2. “The Passing Show” – 4.24
  3. “You’re My Baby” – 3:30
  4. “Honeysuckle Highway” – 4:49
  5. “Itinerant Child” – 4:46
  6. “Geraldine” (Dury, Mickey Gallagher) – 3:37
  7. “Cacka Boom” (Dury, Merlin Rhys-Jones) – 4:49
  8. “Bed O. Roses No. 9” – 5:19
  9. “Heavy Living” – 5:08
  10. “Mash It Up Harry” – 5:55

“Itinerant Child” was to be released as Ian Dury & The Blockhead’s first single in 18 years (since 1980’s “Sueperman’s Big Sister”) and a video was recorded but the record label, East Central One, rejected the idea. “Mash it Up Harry” was released instead on both CD and 12″ record. As far as I know the video for ‘Itinerant Child’ has never surfaced, although it could be out there somewhere. Bad call by the record company I think, as a single, ‘Itinerant Child’ is the better option. Perhaps the record company were swayed by the football chant at the end. Though it almost certainly isn’t true, the Harry of the song is Harry Redknapp in my head and the team is Tottenham Hotspur, hence the Spuds references. I read somewhere that it is a song about a gay man, but that sounds like crap to me gleaned from alluding to sticking things up ones bottom in the lyrics, which would be a perfectly normal thing for Dury to write.

Here, from ‘Jack Shit George’, which is fairly heavy on the profanity, is a sample of what are curiously beautiful lyrics:

You can’t bear another’s beauty, you can’t emulate a grace
You can’t filch another’s mystery, occupy another’s space
You can’t do another’s duty, or take a special place
In another person’s history when they’ve sunk without a trace

The man could write, and I don’t think it was particularly about being clever with words but more about taking time to find the right ones and not being afraid to use them, not going for the banal or obvious but the words that really allowed him to say what he wanted to say in the best possible way.

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Here, for no particular reason, is a ‘Rare’ footage of Dury that I found.

As a special treat, a complete concert to listen to from the Hammersmith Odeon recorded in September 1979, it is over there on the right, you may have to scroll up or down to find it but it is there.

I do think that Ian Dury was a one off, we’d never seen his like before and never will again, he took all his influences and turned them into something new, making the best of what he had and giving us something memorable and wonderful to keep. To finish with a quote from ‘The Passing Show’ would be apt I think:

But when we’re torn from mortal coil
We leave behind a counterfoil
It’s what we did and who we knew
And that’s what makes this story true

Ian Robins Dury (12 May 1942 – 27 March 2000)

 

Gary Numan ‎– Savage: Songs From A Broken World

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I signed up to the Pledge music campaign for this album, and it was late, but to be honest the deadline that was set for completion wasn’t very realistic so that was expected. Numan did a lot of bits and pieces for the ‘Access Pass’ bit with regular updates and videos, which is good as this is supposed to be the added value bit and a lot of artists don’t really seem to bother with it as much as they should, Zola Blood being an example, a few messages over the period of a year and that was about it. Numan really did fulfill his side of the bargain with his access pass involvement.

I signed up for the double vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and that is what I got, along with a badge and a postcard that I wasn’t expecting, which was a small but nice addition.

I saw Numan, with Dave (Hi Dave) earlier this year and heard a lot of the tracks live before they were released, and they sounded really good in a small venue, however, there is a slight sense of sameiness (that can’t be an actual word) about the album when you listen to it through from start to finish, a lot of which is to do with the repeated use of sounds, particularly the deeper bassy bits (apologies if that was a bit technical there).

The single, ‘My Name is Ruin’ is a highlight in this set, and was undoubtedly the correct choice as lead single from the album. It features Persia Numan on backing vocals and this works really well, it’s pretty catchy as well and bears repeated listening. To be honest, there aren’t any bad tracks on the album and it does feal like a logical extension from the last album ‘Splintered: Songs from a broken mind’ which looked inward, with ‘Songs from a broken world’ looking outward.

“My Name Is Ruin”

When they called me broken, I knew
When they called me evil, I knew
When they called me ruin, I knew
I would always find my way to you

When I beg forgiveness, they knew
When I beg for mercy, they knew
When I beg for nothing, they knew
I would always find my way to you

My name is ruin, my name is vengeance
My name is no one, no one is calling

My name is ruin, my name is heartbreak
My name is loving, but sorrows and darkness
My name is ruin, my name is evil
My name’s a war song, I sing you a new one
My name is ruin, my name is broken
My name is shameless, I’ll tear you wide open

When I called you poison, you knew
When I called you shameful, you knew
When I called you a liar, you knew
I would always find my way to you

I’ll show you ruin, I’ll show you vengeance
I’ll show you no one, and no one is calling
I’ll show you ruin, I’ll show you heartbreak
I’ll show you loving, and sorrow and darkness
I’ll show you ruin, I’ll show you evil
I’ll sing you a war song, I’ll sing you a new one
I’ll show you ruin, I’ll show you broken
I’ll show you shameless, I’ll tear you wide open

Tracklist

A1 Ghost Nation
A2 Bed Of Thorns
A3 My Name Is Ruin
B1 The End Of Things
B2 And It All Began With You
B3 When The World Comes Apart
C1 Mercy
C2 What God Intended
C3 If I Said
D1 Pray For The Pain You Serve
D2 Broken
D3 Cold

 

The main concept of the album is of an environmental dystopia brought about by global warming, and that seems quite on the money right now. However, even though I know that there was no offence intended by the cover art, apparently some folk have taken offence to it, with Numan in seemingly Bedouin garb alongside the word Savage. It is not the best cover ever.

There do appear to be three more singles from the album, but only one video has been made, for the fourth single, which is ‘When the world comes apart’, which isn’t anywhere near as good a video as for the first single.

I think a certain amount of credit has to go to Numan, who, unlike many other bands/artists who first came under the spotlight at the end of the 70’s and the begining of the 80’s, he has not rested on his laurels, living off past glories and producing nothing new. He has regularly produced new music and for a very long time refused to play many of the old tracks for which he was best known. This changed in recent years as he has now toured the old albums, ‘The Pleasure Principle’ and ‘Telekon’ in particular, but while still creating new music. I believe he has become more comfortable with the old tracks and sees them as less of an issue as, while he prefers to keep looking forward, you can’t deny the past.

You can go back as far as 1997 and find really good albums that were mostly overlooked, ‘Exile’ for example, is an excellent album that explores the concept that God and the Devil are different sides of the same coin. ‘Pure’ from 2000, another excellent album, as was the last release, ‘Splinter’.

For a few of his earlier albums Numan has taken the general concepts and themes from stories he has written, but which are seemingly never published, and turned them into songs, the first of which was ‘Replicas’ and I suspect that we have a similar method here. I’m pretty sure that ‘My Name Is Ruin’ is about a father hunting down his daughter who, in the dystopian future setting of the album, has been abducted.

Following the album’s release, it was revealed that, in spite of it being predominantly recorded with electronic instruments, it had been excluded from Billboard’s dance/electronic music chart, with an executive from Billboard advising BMG that “Sonically, the Numan album just does not fit in” with Billboard’s perception of electronic dance music. The Billboard dance/electronic chart’s number one position for September 15 was held by Calvin Harris, whose album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, sold approximately 600 fewer copies than Savage. So. fuck Billboard I say. More importantly, it reached Number 2 in the UK album charts, kept of the top spot by the Foo Fighters with ‘Fire & Gold’ and reached Number 1 in the UK indie chart.

Because I can, here is ‘My Name is Ruin’ again, this time from the gig that Dave and I were at in Leamington Spa.

I am going to give this album an 8.3, which is a pretty decent rating I think, a little more variety (at least as far as my ears are concerned) and it would have been rated a bit higher, but like all new albums, sometimes these things take time to bed in and it could be revised either way in the future.

Radio Show 8 Now Available

It’s over there on the right, or you can find them all here:

33 1/3 Radio

Comments always welcome from either listener.

Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Part 1

I worked from home today (Monday) and as I did so I listened to records. Usually I’ll play various albums, not really thinking about what I’m choosing, just whatever is nearest the record player, but today the first record I played was ‘Lord Upminster’ by Ian Dury that I picked up for a few pounds at a recent record fair. This resulted in pulling all the Ian Dury albums I had and playing them all. This subsequently resulted in this post.

Where to begin? With ‘New Boots and Panties’ of course, where else. Well maybe Kilburn and the High Roads but I don’t have any of their albums, so that didn’t seem like a good idea.

New Boots and Panties!! (9.8)

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Credited to Dury rather than with the blockheads as they hadn’t officially formed as a band at the point the album was released in September 1977, that happened afterwards during the ‘Live Stiffs’ tour, and two of the Blockheads don’t actually play on the album. ad2The album is often included in Punk lists but it isn’t Punk at all, it was just released around the same time as that scene was on the rise, it’s actually full of stories about working class people and closer to music hall and pub rock than Punk, but it did have a feeling of anti-establishment about it and seemed to align itself quite naturally with the punk scene.

‘Sweet Gene Vincent’ was released as a single from the album but failed to chart, the next 2 singles were top 10 hits but neither were on the album, ‘What a Waste’ and ‘Hit me with your rhythm stick’ kept the interest in the album high though I have a suspicion that a few people bought it expecting the hits.

In case you wondered, the title of the album came about because Dury bought most of his clothes second hand, except for boots and underwear, so now you know. Also, the lad on the cover is his son, who has a musical career all of his own which you can check out here – Baxter Dury

TRACK LISTING

A1 Wake Up and Make Love with Me
A2 Sweet Gene Vincent
A3 I’m Partial to Your Abracadabra
A4 My Old Man
A5 Billericay Dickie
B1 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
B2 Clevor Trever
B3 If I Was With a Woman
B4 Blockheads
B5 Plaistow Patricia
B6 Blackmail Man

Here is the entire album played live at different times and at different venues (Blockheads is out of order as it’s part of the same video as My Old Man)

Following Dury’s death the album was re-released with outtakes and different versions, which, I read somewhere, is something Dury didn’t want to happen, but you can’t stop record companies its ion they see the chance of making a few quid. There was also a tribute album, which is good in places, called ‘Brand New Boots And Panties: A Tribute To Ian Dury’, listen to it below if you like.

Tracklist
1 –Sinéad O’Connor  – Wake Up And Make Love With Me
2 –Robbie Williams  – Sweet Gene Vincent
3 –Paul McCartney – I’m Partial To Your Abracadabra
4 –Madness – My Old Man
5 –Billy Bragg And The Blokes – Billericay Dickie
6 –Wreckless Eric – Clevor Trever
7 –Cerys Matthews – If I Was With A Woman
8 –Grant Nicholas From Feeder – Blockheads
9 –Shane MacGowan – Plaistow Patricia
10 –Keith Allen – Blackmail Man

On it’s release the album was exceptionally well received by the music press. Allan Jones of Melody Maker described the album as “a tense, harrowing account of urban degradation, that conveys with more vocal, musical and lyrical vehemence than any so-51rblujecgl-_sx356_bo1204203200_called ‘new wave/punk’ combo has yet been able to muster, the desperation and squalor of the social conditions (and the effects of those conditions upon individual personalities) it so provocatively illustrates.

In Sounds Vivien Goldman gave the record a five-star rating, saying, “Lawless brats from council flats have finally found a voice that speaks from, of and about the people. A voice that combines passion with the vernacular ‘she got into a mess with the NHS’ – sage street advice, plus cinematic observation, plus humour.

Roy Carr in the NME said, ‘… it’s impossible to bag Ian Dury, except to say that he has taken the essence of the Cockney music hall and utilised rock as a contemporary means of expression. On occasions, Ray Davies has dallied with a similar approach, but Dury has none of the self-conscious pretentions that Davies exposed in his flawed Flash Harry caricature. Ian Dury feels no need to adopt a transatlantic voice to comply with his subject matter, preferring to deliver ribald and bittersweet monologues in the tone of voice he was born with … Whether or not you buy New Boots and Panties at least make hearing the album a priority. It’s your loss if you pass.

In The Guardian Robin Denselow praised the honesty of Dury’s songwriting, saying that the singer “has refined (if one can use such a word of Dury) his early style into a remarkable, distinctively London-orientated blend of cockney music hall, rock, and Bowie-style electronics. This is mixed, with no nonsense and no frills, with a set of powerful, forthright and honest lyrics that will send self-consciously daring punks scurrying back to the safety of their dole queue clichés. I admire him for the way he throws himself full tilt into his emotions, using a backdrop as squalid as the worst of the East End for songs of unashamed sexuality, admiration, or hate. The tribute songs – straight and never mawkish – are to Gene Vincent and to Dury’s father, and equally honest are the demented, stream of consciousness tirades.ad

On a side note, I really rather miss the old music papers. I’d often buy Sounds or Melody Maker and occasionally NME as well. In pre-internet times it was one of the only ways to get any information on new or old music and about gigs, also, the writing was often more considered and better written than we find nowadays, even though I didn’t always agree with it all.

This brings me not at all neatly to the two top ten singles and what is going on with ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’, well, it wasn’t on the original album but appeared as the first track on side two of early repressings of the album, including a gold vinyl pressing in 1978, but was not credited on the sleeve or label, presumably so the sleeve and label didn’t have to be re-done. Interestingly, it was originally released in August 1997 but deleted after only two months having sold only 19,000 copies, that would get you in the charts nowadays.

‘What A Waste’ was released in April 1978 and peaked at number 9 in the UK charts with ‘Hit me with your rhythm stick’ being released in September 1978 and hit the number 1 spot. Dury had a policy of not including singles on albums at the time but I don’t know if these were held back from the album, weren’t finished in time or didn’t seem to fit. Regardless, they aren’t on there.

I remember back in 1978 being at my Dad’s girlfriends house (now my step-mum) and I did a full miming rendition of ‘Rhythm Stick’ including much jumping about and pretending to have a walking stick. It must have been cringengly embarrassing for anybody watching, but I was 11 and was enjoying myself thoroughly.  ‘Rhythm Stick’ is, in my opinion, one of the greatest pop singles ever released, in any era.

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Of course, one of the key things about Ian Dury & The Blockheads were the lyrics, Dury used to have reams of paper covered in lyrics that he whittled down into individual songs, but also how tight The Blockheads were, the guitar solo from ‘Rhythm Stick’ is still one of my favourites. Lyrics wise though, I prefer ‘What A Waste’, it’s poetry:

What a Waste

Ian Dury & The Blockheads

 

I could be the driver an articulated lorry
I could be a poet I wouldn’t need to worry
I could be a teacher in a classroom full of scholars
I could be the sergeant in a squadron full of wallahs
What a waste
Because I chose to play the fool in a six-piece band,
First-night nerves every one-night stand.
I should be glad to be so inclined.
What a waste! What a waste!
But I don’t mind.
I could be a lawyer with strategems and ruses
I could be a doctor with poultices and bruises
I could be a writer with a growing reputation
I could be the ticket man at Fulham Broadway Station
What a waste
Because I chose to play the fool in a six-piece band,
First-night nerves every one-night stand.
I should be glad to be so inclined.
What a waste! What a waste!
But I don’t mind.
I could be the catalyst that sparks the revolution
I could be an inmate in a long-term institution
I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die
I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by
What a waste
Because I chose to play the fool in a six-piece band,
First-night nerves every one-night stand.
I should be glad to be so inclined.
What a waste! What a waste!
But I don’t mind.

Do It Yourself (9.5)

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There are a ridiculously large number of different covers for ‘Do it Yourself’, somewhere around 34, although nobody seems to be absolutely sure. Do It Yourself was released on 18 May 1979 and the sleeve variations were part of a huge publicity stunt: Stiff Records initially released the album with at least 31 sleeves, each one a different Crown Wallpaper design. Crown also wallpapered all of the sets for the Blockheads’ subsequent promotional tour. The sleeves greatly helped sales and there were reports of fans travelling to different towns and even importing more sleeves that were released abroad; in addition. various badges, combs, watches, paint brushes and wallpaper ties were distributed, mostly the creations of designer Barney Bubbles, who also created the Blockheads’ ‘clockface’ logo.

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There are folk who have collected all the covers, which is a hell of a task and, to be honest, a little bit mad as it is only the covers that are different. I am not one of these people but whoever took the photograph below is:

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The cover at the front, quite by coincidence, is the version I have, which is handy. So ‘Do It Yourself’, well, again we have a single that isn’t on the album, this one being ‘Reasons to be cheerful pt.3’, which is a brilliant track and was a top ten hit. The album sold 200,000 copies and reached number 2, kept off the top spot by ABBA’s Voules-Vous, a fine pop album of its time but I think history would have prefered ‘Do It Yourself’ to have taken the top spot. Sometimes history isn’t cool.

Tracklist

A1 Inbetweenies 5:16
A2 Quiet 3:33
A3 Don’t Ask Me 3:16
A4 Sink My Boats 4:13
A5 Waiting For Your Taxi 2:51
B1 This Is What We Find 4:10
B2 Uneasy Sunny Day Hotsy Totsy 2:09
B3 Mischief 3:35
B4 Dance For The Screamers 6:35
B5 Lullaby For Francies 4:58

There were some calls for ‘Rhythm Stick’ to be included on this album and for ‘Inbetweenies’ to be released as a single, but the lack of singles didn’t seem to do it any harm from a sales perspective. Listening to it again today, immediately after ‘New Boots & Panties’, I think you can feel the connection between them, with several of the tracks started during the sessions for the first album and the album being recorded in the same studio, though the production is a little ‘softer’, the tracks themselves are a logical progression.

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Because there were no singles from. the album there are no videos, but there is the one below of ‘Inbetweenies’ that somebody made showing several of the covers, photos and memorabeelia.

and here is a live version of ‘This is what we find’:

As an album it is another corker, perhaps it is actually better to not have the singles on the albums, particularly now as I know them exactly as they are and when you listen to an album a lot the sequence of the tracks becomes really important, putting another track in there where before there was something else would make it seem, almost, unauthentic.

Favourite lyrics? Well it’s these for me, they remind me of school days when we were immortal and didn’t give a shit;

MISCHIEF

Popeye Pearce is pimple, Laurence Smith is hard
Ricky loves a kicking and he wants to join the guards
Barry breaks the windows of his broken home
Have a guess. His tiny mind’s been scarred

Lionel touches women when they’re walking through the park
He goes in people’s gardens nicking laundry in the dark
Roger left a sleeper across the District Line
His dad’s a shipping clerk

Boys let’s have a laugh
Let’s have some mischief

Fill a Durex full of water
And throw it on a bus – that would be mischief
Take a pigeon to the pictures
Let’s cause a bit of fuss – a bit of mischief
Let’s go bloody raving mad
Let’s do something really bad
They won’t forget the day you had
Some mischief

Jack and Stan are tossing pals like monkeys in the zoo
When they got caught by Gonad Gibbs they had to wank him too
Incentive didn’t want two of Dave – Get it?
He failed his interview (failed his interview) – Oh yeah?

She’s got crinkly hair
Underneath her underwear
I know because I’ve been there

(Anticipation, anticipate)

Wow!
Wow!

Don’t let’s hang about
Let’s have some mischief

Here, pour locking fluid on a Bentley, then let down his tyres
Hahahahaha
Let’s go and kill some kiosks, start a few more fires
Could this be mischief?

Let’s go completely over the top
Let’s do the bop that just won’t stop
Let’s go and have another drop
Of mischief

I’m sorry I done it, I’m sorry I done it, I’m sorry I done it, I’m sorry I done it, I’m sorry I done it,

I’m sorry I done it, I’m sorry I done it, I’m sorry I done it, I’m sorry I done it, I’m sorry I done it,

I’m sorry I done it!, I’m sorry I done it!, I’m sorry I done it!, I’m sorry I done it!, I’m sorry I done it!

Laughter (8.0)

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The first album to actually have a single taken from it, although one had been released prior to the album which was left off, this was ‘I want to be straight’ which reached number 22 on the charts. The Blockheads had undergone a significant personnel change since the previous album, with Chaz Jankel, leaving in the wake of a stressful tour. Jankel’s place on guitar was taken by Wilko Johnson of Dr. Feelgood. Johnson had considered retiring from the music business until he was asked by Davey Payne and Dury, old friends from their pub rock days, to join The Blockheads. His first appearance was on the single:

Tracklist

Sueperman’s Big Sister
Pardon
Delusions Of Grandeur
Yes & No (Paula)
Dance Of The Crackpots
Over The Points
(Take Your Elbow Out Of The Soup You’re Sitting On The Chicken)
Uncoolohol
Hey, Hey, Take Me Away
Manic Depression (Jimi)
Oh Mr Peanut
Fucking Ada

The album was released on the 28th November 1980 but wasn’t well received and didn’t seem well, although the accompanying ‘Soft as a baby’s bottom’ tour was a sellout. This was the last album for record label Stiff and, in my view it is underrated. With the first two albums being pretty much classics, it was always going to be difficult to keep up the quality, particularly as Dury was an alcoholic at this point and had issues with depression, both conditions being reflected in some of the albums tracks. ‘Uncoolohol’ being about the former and ‘Manic Depression’ and ‘Fucking Ada’ about the latter.

‘Suepermans Big Sister’ was deliberately mis-spelled to avoid copyright issues with DC comics, although I would have thought that they could probably have pursued it if they really wanted to. I seem to recall that I was a little disappointed with it as a single when it was released but listening to it todays I really don’t know why as I really like it.

‘Oh Mr Peanut’, well, I have no bloody idea to be honest, Dury just seems to be having a bit of a laugh at somebody expense;

Oh, Mr. Horribleness
That’s enough of that
You’ll call me a ninny
And you’re a stupid twat

Oh, Mr. Horsebreath
Why don’t you piss right off?
Stick your finger up your nose you toff

In a later interview, Dury did admit that ‘Hey Hey, take me away’ was about the time he spent at Chailey’s Special School while stricken with polio, which clearly wasn’t a happy time.

Dury also revealed that he called the album ‘Laughter’ because he thought that doing so might cheer him up.

Let’s have a bit of ‘Dance of the crackpots as well

I like this album but it needed ‘I want to be straight’ on it to take it up above an 8.0 I think. They were difficult times for Dury and he was making things difficult for those around him, and it shows in the finished product, but as a wordsmith he’s still producing, just not quite to the highs of the previous two albums.

Ian Dury – On My Life

Part 2

Spiritualized – Amazing Grace – The EP’s

Back in 2003 Spiritualized released a 3 EP version of their then current album, ‘Amazing Grace’. The first EP came with a box that would hold all 3, but if you only bought EP 2 and/or 3 you wouldn’t get the box. I have the box, and the three EP’s, though I think there was a pin or something included, which I don’t have.

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It is a pretty cool thing, although it may have been a marketing excercise, still, it is a nice artifact. I already had the actual album so this means I now have it twice but that’s OK. I like Spiritualized and am still looking out for a couple of releases that I haven’t managed to find at a reasonable price. The tracks on the EPS’s are also in a different order to the album, I’ve no idea if they are randomly placed or if they are based on track length so that everything was able to fit on a different format.

Tracklist

Ep1
A1 Cheapster
A2 Hold On
B1 Never Goin’ Back
B2 The Power And The Glory
Ep2
A1 Lord Let It Rain On Me
A2 Oh Baby
B1 Rated X
B2 Lay It Down Slow
Ep3
A1 She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit)
B1 This Little Life Of Mine
B2 The Ballad Of Richie Lee

It’s difficult to pass comment on any Spiritualized release when comparisons are always drawn against ‘Ladies and Gentlemen..’ which is quite rightly regarded as a classic album and is, in my opinion, almost perfect, but it is fair to say that, while not quite reaching the heights of that earlier release, this is a damn fine album. It has all the hallmarks that one would expect from a Spiritualized album and is a bit more ‘Indie’ in places, which is neither a negative nor a positive, it is just different. ‘This little life off mine’ is quite wonderful as is ‘She Kissed me’, in fact, there aren’t any bad tracks on the album. Listening to it in the original track order from the album is probably preferable I think, though that may be down to the fact that the original order is how I’ve always heard it so it is a little odd to hear them ordered differently.

This album was supposed to be a ‘garage’ album, as Jason Pierce said at the time “What I liked about The White Stripes was coming up in their slipstream, putting a guitar over your shoulder again and saying, ‘Hey, listen to this sound were making”. The tracks were given to the accompanying musicians in the morning and were supposed to be recorded and finished by the end of the day, As another commentator has noted, only Jason Pierce could produce an album with 11 brass and string musicians, timpani, a dulcimer and sleigh bells, and call it back to basics.

‘Amazing Grace’ does seem very familiar if you’ve been listening to earlier releases, and it also seems effortless.  The ability to create such consistently high quality compositions and performances is quite a rare thing. It is an extraordinarily good album, full of pure beauty at times and sometimes it is noise, but it does all seem to sit together as though that is how all albums are mean to be.

Mono – Requiem For Hell

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I was in the record store on Sunday, just browsing really and, having been trough almost everything and about to leave the store, I noticed the sleeve in the above image. I had no idea what it was but made a closer inspection to find it was by Mono, a band I already liked but hadn’t realised that they had a new album out. I’d seen one in the store before but it was £32, a little more than I had wanted to spend at the time. The album was actually a 2016 release but I haven’t been keeping up with Mono for quite a while, the only other album of theirs that I have being ‘Hymn to the immortal wind’ from 2009 (which is excellent in case you wondered). This one was priced at £28, again a bit on the steep side but I decided to go for it.

Although a double album, it is only three sided, with the fourth being an etching of a feotus, resulting in the total length of the album being 46:03, pretty short for £28.

The sleeve is nice, with a die cut circle in the back and the vinyl is 180grm. The etching is pretty pointless, as they often are, I’d have been quite happy with a completely blank side instead but I suppose it is easier to realise that this side shouldn’t be played.

Tracklist

A1: Death In Rebirth (8:05)

A2: Stellar (4:59)

B1: Requiem For Hell (17:49)

C1: Ely’s Heartbeat (8:27)

C2: The Last Scene (6:43)

D: Etching

As for the music, it’s great, I love it. I am rather partial to long instrumental tracks in a post rock style though, so unless they had suddenly turned to J-Pop then it was a pretty safe bet for me.

Interestingly, I stumbled across a documentary on youtube titled: “MONO – Journey Through Hell (Official Documentary)” which is the official documentary celebrating the release of the 9th album “Requiem For Hell”. Along with it was a short band bio, as below:

MONO — The Tokyo, Japan based 4 piece Instrumental Rock band MONO was originally formed in 1999. Their unique approach of blending orchestral arrangements and shoegaze guitar noise in their music has been held in extremely high regard; so much so, that the band’s musicianship can no longer be sustained by Rock music alone and was praised by British Musical Magazine NME as “This is music for the Gods”. One of the most monumental live memories of the band was a special set of shows with 23-piece orchestra in New York, Tokyo, London and Melbourne. Their annual world tour consists of around 150 shows. The band has now visited over 50 countries and proudly holds the stake of being one of the most internationally successful bands in Japan. Among their fans, they are revered as one of the best live bands in Rock. After releasing 9 successful albums including a live album with New York orchestra, the band received the highly regarded award “The Marshall Hawkins Awards: Best Musical Score – Featurette” from the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema for their collaborative short film “Where We Begin” in 2015.

Now in 2016, the band has finished recording their 9th album with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio, Chicago. The album is scheduled to be released on Oct 14th, 2016.

Here is the actual documentary:

And here is the official video of the track ‘Requiem For Hell’, shortened from its original 17:49.

Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space

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Having bought the latest release, ‘Every Valley’, by PSB I decided to also buy the previous release, ‘The Race For Space’ which, as the title suggests, is about just that. As is their method, it contains many vocal samples to help illustrate the story they are trying to tell and for this particular subject we open with John F Kennedy delivering his ‘We choose to go to the moon’ speech at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas on September 12, 1962. It’s edited, so not the whole thing, but begins with “we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance.

PSB seem to be the Marmite of music, you either loved them or hate them, and so far I have to sit in the camp of the former as it isn’t all about the samples, I like the music itself and the samples are there, for the most part, in place of a vocalist and it works just fine for me as they aren’t random but cleverly placed and they fit the music really expertly.

Track 3, ‘Gagarin’ is made doubly fabulous by the video below, it’s a sort of celebratory song for a man who should be a hero to everyone on the planet. To quote the sample, ‘The whole planet knew him, and loved him‘.

October 4th 1957 marked the start of the space age, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory was the largest radio telescope in the world and the only device that could track Sputnik’s carrier rocket. The Lovell Telescope picked up Sputnik on 11 October 1957 – on the anniversary of that date in 2015, Public Service Broadcasting filmed the video for ‘Sputnik’ in front of the iconic structure. The video celebrates the launch of the first satellite into earth orbit and highlight The Lovell Telescope’s role in making space exploration history.

And continuing in celebratory mood we have ‘Go’ which relates to the Apollo 11 mission, the one where, if you are not one of the many conspiracy theorists, man reached the Moon for the first time.

A1 The Race for Space
A2 Sputnik
A3 Gagarin
A4 Fire In The Cockpit
A5 E.V.A
B1 The Other Side
B2 Valentina
B3 Go!
B4 Tomorrow

It really is a joyous album and there’s lots of info included in the accompanying booklet, tucked in to the half of the gatefold sleeve that doesn’t house the record. There are serious moment of course, not least on track 4, ‘Fire in the Cockpit’, relating to an incident at Cape Kennedy:

Astronauts Virgil I. Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were killed tonight in a flash fire during tests of the Apollo Saturn 204 vehicle at Cape Kennedy. The fire occurred while the astronauts were in the spacecraft during the countdown of a simulated flight test.

I shall probably go back again, to the release before this one. I like these guys.

Peter Gabriel – Secret World Tour – 1993

The second time I saw Peter Gabriel live was on the Secret World tour back in 1993, which was 24 years ago and yet it feels like no more than 5 or 6. “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so …” I was 16.

At the Earls Court gig Sinead O’Connor turned up and sang the two songs from ‘US’ that she appeared on but also took the place of Kate Bush for ‘Don’t Give Up’, or so I thought but I can’t find any record of that ever happening. Perhaps I imagined it, though she did join in on ‘In Your Eyes’ and ‘Biko’ during the encore according to the set list I found online. I’m dubious, I’m sure I remember ‘Don’t Give Up’ and it isn’t even in the set list, although maybe I just thought that would be a cool thing to do and was disapointed when they didn’t but my memory has morphed it into something else, ah well, it was quite a while ago.

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They were an item for a while around this time but it still came as a very pleasant surprise to see them perform together.

This is the set list from the night:

  1. Come Talk to Me
    (with Sinéad O’Connor)
  2. Quiet Steam
  3. Steam
  4. Games Without Frontiers
  5. Across the River
  6. Slow Marimbas
  7. Shakin’ the Tree
  8. Blood of Eden
    (with Sinéad O’Connor)
  9. San Jacinto
  10. Lovetown
  11. Shock the Monkey
  12. Washing of the Water
  13. Solsbury Hill
  14. Digging in the Dirt
  15. Sledgehammer
  16. Secret World
  17. Encore:
  18. In Your Eyes
    (with Sinéad O’Connor)
  19. Biko
    (with Sinéad O’Connor)

Dave and I went to the gig, it was a Monday evening, May 31st 1993. I can’t remember how we got there, it was probability by train and tube. We were on the balcony to the side but had a great view of everything going on, and it was both a musical and visual extravaganza.

I happen to have been quite the fan of O’Connor, her debut ‘The Lion and the Cobra’ is, in my opinion, a wonderful album, I had it on cassette and played it to death. I like bits and pieces after that but, for me, it remains the best thing she ever did.

Rather than go into a long explanation of what the concert consisted of, you can watch it yourself, not Earls Court but from the same tour, same set list but, sadly, no Sinead.

 

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 36)

 

What I Did On My Holidays

Whenever I travel somewhere I will look to see if there are any record shops nearby. This trip took me to Portugal, about 15 minutes by car from Albufera in a rather remote but very nice coastal area. There were no record shops. There was a mall of sorts that was a 14 minute taxi ride away and we went there, to look for women’s clothes mostly (not for me) and there was a store there called FNAC, I have no idea what it stands for but it had PS4 games and laptops and suchlike so I wandered in and near the back of the store I found a music section, which included records, not that many, about 100 or so, but I left the store with a couple of them, which was an unexpected surprise for me and a break from having to give my expert advice on skirts and blouses.

Both albums were Billy Holiday re-issues and were reasonably priced at 14.99 Euros (I don’t know where the Euro symbol is on my keyboard) each.

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They are both wonderful albums of course, she was a rare talent.

Genesis – Not with a bang but with a whimper

I was listening to a couple of old Genesis albums last night and, as happens sometimes, I set the controls for shuffle and went through most of the studio albums on the iPhone today. This then reminded me of something that annoys me, a lot. first though, an overly long re-cap of those studio albums and what I think of them.

From Genesis to Revelation (1969)

fromgenesistorevelation

This is a perfectly fine album of its time, that time being 1969, it’s even quite sophisticated in places but I’ve never thought it worth a great deal of repeated listening. Jonathan King, their producer I suppose, he certainly helped open doors for the band, wanted the band to make an album with songs loosely based on passages in the Bible in the form of a concept album, and in the music style of the Bee Gees. It was recorded in August 1968 during school holidays, with King adding string accompaniments. There were three singles, which were released before the album was, these being ‘The Silent Sun’, ‘A Winter’s Tale’ and ‘When the sour turns to sweet’, none of which achieved any commercial success. Rating: 5.0

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Where the Sour Turns to Sweet” 3:14
2. “In the Beginning” 3:42
3. “Fireside Song” 4:16
4. “The Serpent” 4:36
5. “Am I Very Wrong?” 3:28
6. “In the Wilderness” 3:21
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “The Conqueror” 3:44
2. “In Hiding” 2:56
3. “One Day” 3:16
4. “Window” 3:53
5. “In Limbo” 3:06
6. “Silent Sun” 2:08
7. “A Place to Call My Own” 1:57

Trespass (1970)

trespass70

This album was largely ignored on its release, which is a shame, as the opening track alone, ‘Looking For Someone’, is a real favourite of mine (perhaps because somewhere in there is the riff from ‘I am the walrus’). To open what most would probably consider as their ‘Proper’ debut album with just voice and organ suggests much greater confidence in what they were doing than perhaps they have previously admitted, but the whole album has this confidence. Having ditched the attempted pop of the previous album they were now producing tracks that were 6 to 9 minutes long, the closing track ‘The Knife’ being the longest and released as a single. Who releases a 9 minute single? It wasn’t a hit.

I do understand why this album does not receive a great deal of critical acclaim, or when it does it is more about where they were heading than where they were, but I like it all the same. Guitarist Anthony Phillips would leave the band after this album and they would be looking for a new drummer with the departure of John Mayhew. Rating: 6.8

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Looking for Someone” 7:06
2. “White Mountain” 6:45
3. “Visions of Angels” 6:51
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Stagnation” 8:45
2. “Dusk” 4:15
3. “The Knife” 8:55

Nursery Crime (1971)

nurserycryme71

I have some issues with Nursery crime as a whole, the opener ‘The Musical Box’ is just brilliant, and I’ve been listening to it for 40 years or so without it’s impact on me diminishing. I read things into it that were probably never meant to be there, but I hear them. The issue I have is that nothing else on the album quite reaches the heights of the opening track, it should have been the last track I think. This is not to say that I don’t like the other tracks, ‘Seven Stones’, ‘Return of the Giant Hogweed’, “Fountain of Salmacis’, all good, really good, but I’ve never had much time for ‘Harold The Barel’ or ‘For Absent Friends’. You can certainly see the progression through these first three albums and a growing confidence in the writing, tripping over the 10 minute mark with ‘The Musical Box’, which, as a side note, I first heard on the first live album and it took me a while to get used to the studio version. This is where Steve Hackett and Phil Collins have joined the band of course, which continued the development of the sound and the proficiency with which they could create. Rating: 7.3

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “The Musical Box” 10:27
2. “For Absent Friends” 1:44
3. “The Return of the Giant Hogweed” 8:10
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Seven Stones” 5:08
2. “Harold the Barrel” 2:58
3. “Harlequin” 2:53
4. “The Fountain of Salmacis” 7:47

Foxtrot (1972)

foxtrot72

Ok, full disclosure, I love this album and won’t hear a bad word said against it. I was only five years old in 1972 and it would be another six years before I heard it, but imagine, eleven years old and fed a diet of empty radio friendly pap and then this, it was quite the (from Genesis to) revelation. What the hell was I listening to? It was also the first album of theirs that I ever heard, so the previous 3 albums were discovered after this one, it was my introduction to the band and the songs all feel like they, in some strange way, are partially mine. They belong to me and I to them because this sort of experience with music alters your DNA, merges with it and never leaves.

There was a point where I could sing along to the whole of ‘Suppers Ready’, though I don’t think I could do that now, I’d get by though. The album is a culmination of everything that had gone before and some still believe that this is the pinnacle of the Genesis output, I don’t. As a band they changed a lot over the years and this is, I think, the pinnacle of what I see as Phase 1 of the band. The thing is, they couldn’t do this again so they had to change, which they did with the next album.

There are some very interesting annotated lyrics to ‘Suppers Ready’ at a site called Fandom, click the link if you are interested, but here they are straight, reproduced here because I have such fond memories of sitting on the floor in my friend Dave’s bedroom, back against the bed, with the gatefold cover open, reading the lyrics as the record played and never really figuring out what it was all about, but loving it anyway. Rating: 9.1

Walking across the sitting-room, I turn the television off.
Sitting beside you, I look into your eyes.
As the sound of motor cars fades in the night time,
I swear I saw your face change, it didn’t seem quite right.
…And it’s hello babe with your guardian eyes so blue
Hey my baby don’t you know our love is true.

Coming closer with our eyes, a distance falls around our bodies.
Out in the garden, the moon seems very bright,
Six saintly shrouded men move across the lawn slowly.
The seventh walks in front with a cross held high in hand.
…And it’s hey babe your supper’s waiting for you.
Hey my baby, don’t you know our love is true.

I’ve been so far from here,
Far from your warm arms.
It’s good to feel you again,
It’s been a long long time. Hasn’t it?

I know a farmer who looks after the farm.
With water clear, he cares for all his harvest.
I know a fireman who looks after the fire.

You, can’t you see he’s fooled you all.
Yes, he’s here again, can’t you see he’s fooled you all.
Share his peace,
Sign the lease.
He’s a supersonic scientist,
He’s the guaranteed eternal sanctuary man.
Look, look into my mouth he cries,
And all the children lost down many paths,
I bet my life you’ll walk inside
Hand in hand,
gland in gland
With a spoonful of miracle,
He’s the guaranteed eternal sanctuary.
We will rock you, rock you little snake,
We will keep you snug and warm.

Wearing feelings on our faces while our faces took a rest,
We walked across the fields to see the children of the West,
But we saw a host of dark skinned warriors
standing still below the ground,
Waiting for battle.

The fight’s begun, they’ve been released.
Killing foe for peace… bang, bang, bang. Bang, bang, bang…
And they’re giving me a wonderful potion,
‘Cos I cannot contain my emotion.
And even though I’m feeling good,
Something tells me I’d better activate my prayer capsule.

Today’s a day to celebrate, the foe have met their fate.
The order for rejoicing and dancing has come from our warlord.

Wandering through the chaos the battle has left,
We climb up a mountain of human flesh,
To a plateau of green grass, and green trees full of life.
A young figure sits still by a pool,
He’s been stamped “Human Bacon” by some butchery tool.
(He is you)
Social Security took care of this lad.
We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to a flower.
A flower?

If you go down to Willow Farm,
to look for butterflies, flutterbyes, gutterflies
Open your eyes, it’s full of surprise, everyone lies,
like the fox on the rocks,
and the musical box.
Oh, there’s Mum & Dad, and good and bad,
and everyone’s happy to be here.

There’s Winston Churchill dressed in drag,
he used to be a British flag, plastic bag, what a drag.
The frog was a prince, the prince was a brick, the brick was an egg,
the egg was a bird.
(Fly away you sweet little thing, they’re hard on your tail)
Hadn’t you heard?
(They’re going to change you into a human being!)
Yes, we’re happy as fish and gorgeous as geese,
and wonderfully clean in the morning.

We’ve got everything, we’re growing everything,
We’ve got some in
We’ve got some out
We’ve got some wild things floating about
Everyone, we’re changing everyone,
you name them all,
We’ve had them here,
And the real stars are still to appear.

ALL CHANGE!

Feel your body melt;
Mum to mud to mad to dad
Dad diddley office, Dad diddley office,
You’re all full of ball.

Dad to dam to dum to mum
Mum diddley washing, Mum diddley washing,
You’re all full of ball.

Let me hear you lies, we’re living this up to the eyes.
Ooee-ooee-ooee-oowaa
Momma I want you now.

And as you listen to my voice
To look for hidden doors, tidy floors, more applause.
You’ve been here all the time,
Like it or not, like what you got,
You’re under the soil (the soil, the soil),
Yes, deep in the soil (the soil, the soil, the soil, the soil!).
So we’ll end with a whistle and end with a bang
and all of us fit in our places.

With the guards of Magog, swarming around,
The Pied Piper takes his children underground.
Dragons coming out of the sea,
Shimmering silver head of wisdom looking at me.
He brings down the fire from the skies,
You can tell he’s doing well by the look in human eyes.
Better not compromise.
It won’t be easy.

666 is no longer alone,
He’s getting out the marrow in your back bone,
And the seven trumpets blowing sweet rock and roll,
Gonna blow right down inside your soul.
Pythagoras with the looking glass reflects the full moon,
In blood, he’s writing the lyrics of a brand new tune.

And it’s hey babe, with your guardian eyes so blue,
Hey my baby, don’t you know our love is true,
I’ve been so far from here,
Far from your loving arms,
Now I’m back again, and babe it’s gonna work out fine.

Can’t you feel our souls ignite
Shedding ever changing colours, in the darkness of the fading night,
Like the river joins the ocean, as the germ in a seed grows
We have finally been freed to get back home.

There’s an angel standing in the sun, and he’s crying with a loud voice,
“This is the supper of the mighty one”,
Lord of Lords,
King of Kings,
Has returned to lead his children home,
To take them to the new Jerusalem.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Watcher of the Skies” 7:21
2. “Time Table” 4:47
3. “Get ‘Em Out by Friday” 8:35
4. “Can-Utility and the Coastliners” 5:45
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Horizons” 1:39
2. “Supper’s Ready”
a. “Lover’s Leap”
b. “The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man”
c. “Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men”
d. “How Dare I Be So Beautiful?”
e. “Willow Farm”
f. “Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet)”
g. “As Sure as Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men’s Feet)”
22:57

Selling England By The Pound (1973)

genesissellingengland

I mentioned my friend Dave a little while back, this was and probably still is, one of his favorite Genesis albums, but not mine. The reason being that I never had a copy of my own until I bought it on CD about 15 years ago, and by then my delight in discovery and sponge like absorbing of all things prog related had severely abated. I appreciate it, I like it, a lot, it just never had the effect ton me that the other albums did, not its fault, just circumstances.

I’ve come to appreciate the songs from different avenues over the years, such as the tracks included on the live album ‘Seconds Out’, sung by Collins rather than Gabriel.

I’m not that keen on ‘The Battle Of Epping Forest’, I don’t hate it, I just never seem to listen to it much which is indicative of how I feel about it. I did listen to it just now while writing this, still feel the same way. This I think is the start of Phase 2, much better production, song construction is tighter, and there is a very distinct difference between the feel of ‘Foxtrot’ and this. Despite everything I just said – Rating: 9.00

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight” 8:02
2. “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” 4:03
3. “Firth of Fifth” 9:36
4. “More Fool Me 3:10
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “The Battle of Epping Forest” 11:43
2. “After the Ordeal” 4:07
3. “The Cinema Show 11:10
4. “Aisle of Plenty” 1:30

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974)

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The end of Phase 2 and the end of Peter Gabriel era Genesis. I had this album when I was 13, which was 6 years after it was released but it was all brand new to me. In the pre-internet era where would you hear anything from this album if you didn’t own it? Time for a confession, I had absolutely no money to buy this album so, one fateful day, I went to the only record shop in town to the ‘Imports’ section where all the albums had holes punched in the corners (thereby avoiding import tax as they were damaged), the thing about the imports section was that the actual records were still in the sleeves, the rest of the shop just had covers in plastic sleeves. Cut a long story short, I stuck a copy of the album inside my coat, pretend to browse a bit and then left the shop. Yes, theft, not proud of it, but it happened.

Anyway, back to the album, the inside of the gate-fold cover had a rather long story penned by Gabriel inside that told the story of a spiritual journey of self-discovery of a Puerto Rican youth in New York City named Rael, and the story is told through his interactions with others. Again, I would put the album on, read the story, follow the lyrics and become completely embroiled in it. For a long time I would put this album as probably the best ever made, although since then I have come to realise that there doesn’t have to be a best of anything when it comes to music, there’s too much diversity for comparison.

As individual tracks some are a little strained I find but as a whole they work together to tell, what is, a rather odd little story. Which one would expect of Gabriel. Rating: 9.2


Side one
No. Title Length
1. “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” 4:52
2. “Fly on a Windshield 2:47
3. “Broadway Melody of 1974” 2:11
4. “Cuckoo Cocoon” 2:14
5. “In the Cage” 8:15
6. “The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging” 2:45
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Back in N.Y.C.” 5:49
2. “Hairless Heart” 2:25
3. “Counting Out Time” 3:45
4. “Carpet Crawlers 5:16
5. “The Chamber of 32 Doors” 5:40
Side three
No. Title Length
1. “Lilywhite Lilith” 2:40
2. “The Waiting Room” 5:28
3. “Anyway” 3:18
4. “Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist 2:50
5. “The Lamia” 6:57
6. “Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats” 3:06
Side four
No. Title Length
1. “The Colony of Slippermen”

  • a. “The Arrival”
  • b. “A Visit to the Doktor”
  • c. “The Raven”
8:14
2. “Ravine” 2:05
3. “The Light Dies Down on Broadway” 3:32
4. “Riding the Scree” 3:56
5. “In the Rapids” 2:24
6. “It” 4:14

Trick of The Tail (1976)

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With Peter Gabriel having left the band after (or was it during?) the previous tour for The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, drummer Phil Collins took over lead vocals, which was in many ways fortunate for the band as utilising an existing member at least kept the band dynamics intact and Collins had already been contributing much in the way of backing vocals by this time. This was the beginning of what I consider to be Phase 3. It is almost a completely different band, snappier songs, somehow more focused and the production and writing is sharp.

If you can get over the whole Gabriel leaving thing and take this as a single album without all that has gone before then you should be able to recognise it as a quite brilliant release. Very different to what had come before but still retaining its flavour.

There isn’t a bad track on it and as an introduction to Collins as the new vocalist, I really don’t think they could have done anything better. Rating: 9.0

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Dance on a Volcano” Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Phil Collins 5:53
2. “Entangled” Hackett, Banks 6:28
3. “Squonk” Rutherford, Banks 6:27
4. “Mad Man Moon” Banks 7:35
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Robbery, Assault and Battery” Banks, Collins 6:15
2. “Ripples” Rutherford, Banks 8:03
3. “A Trick of the Tail” Banks 4:34
4. “Los Endos” Collins, Hackett, Rutherford, Banks 5:46
Total length: 51:01

Wind And Wuthering (1976)

genesis1976windandwuthering

This was a somewhat more serious album than ‘Trick of the Tail’ in that it had less hooks and was more ballad based, sort of, which took longer to get into and fully appreciate but was somehow more rewarding as a result. I remember well that I found the album to be a grower and the more I listened to it the more I liked it and appreciated its more subtle intricacies. This was the last album with Steve Hackett on guitar but it doesn’t mark the end of Phase 3.

As an album I find it to be one that I have to actually listen to, not as background music while I do something else, I actually find that if I try to do that then I end up paying attention to it and then whatever I had planned on doing never gets done. Rating: 9.0

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Eleventh Earl of Mar” Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford 7:39
2. “One for the Vine” Banks 9:59
3. “Your Own Special Way” Rutherford 6:15
4. “Wot Gorilla?” Phil Collins, Banks 3:12
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “All in a Mouse’s Night” Banks 6:35
2. “Blood on the Rooftops” Hackett, Collins 5:20
3. “Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers…” Hackett, Rutherford 2:27
4. “…In That Quiet Earth” Hackett, Rutherford, Banks, Collins 4:45
5. “Afterglow” Banks 4:10

…And Then There Were Three… (1978)

genesis_-_and_then_there_were_three

I listened to the whole album only yesterday and it is, for me, a rather under appreciated part of their discography. It is the end of Phase 3 for me as it still retains the feel of the two albums that preceeded it, even though Hackett is gone and, as the title suggests, there are only the three of them left, Rutherford, Banks and Collins. There isn’t a bad song on the album and it spawned a proper actual hit single in ‘Follow you, follow me’, which I recall taping off the radio. A top ten hit single no less!

I think that, in a similar way to the previous album, it was repeated listening that really allowed these songs to settle for me. I had my doubts that the band as a three piece was sustainable but this release proved that it was. Rating: 8.7

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Down and Out” Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford 5:25
2. “Undertow” Banks 4:47
3. “Ballad of Big” Collins, Banks, Rutherford 4:47
4. “Snowbound” Rutherford 4:30
5. “Burning Rope” Banks 7:07
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Deep in the Motherlode” Rutherford 5:14
2. “Many Too Many” Banks 3:30
3. “Scenes from a Night’s Dream” Collins, Banks 3:30
4. “Say It’s Alright Joe” Rutherford 4:18
5. “The Lady Lies” Banks 6:05
6. “Follow You Follow Me” Rutherford, Banks, Collins 3:59

Duke (1980)

duke_genesisalbum

It is 1980 and, at the age of 13 I was about to decide that this was the last great album by Genesis. I still stick to that even today. I spoke to Dave tonight and we chatted about exactly this and, with some reluctance, he agreed. There are parts of future albums that are good, but nothing as consistent as this and some of those that preceded it. I owned this album, bought around the time it was released and found it fairly easy to get into, partly because this was where the band became somewhat more singles related having perhaps realised that it was something they were capable of doing after the success of ‘Follow you, follow me’, although, the album was packed full of really good songs regardless of whether they were suitable as singles or not.

I’ll look it up in a moment but from memory ‘Turn it on again’ was the first single off this album and definitely ‘Misunderstanding’ followed as I had that on 7″. I looked it up, ‘Duchess’ was released in the middle of those two.

The album flows really well, and opens and closes with, thematically at least, the same track. Rating: 9.1

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Behind the Lines” Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford 5:31
2. “Duchess” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 6:40
3. “Guide Vocal” Banks 1:18
4. “Man of Our Times” Rutherford 5:35
5. “Misunderstanding” Collins 3:11
6. “Heathaze” Banks 5:00
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Turn It On Again” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 3:50
2. “Alone Tonight” Rutherford 3:54
3. “Cul-de-sac” Banks 5:02
4. “Please Don’t Ask” Collins 4:00
5. “Duke’s Travels” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 8:41
6. “Duke’s End” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 2:04

Abacab (1981)

abacab

Abacab is a good album, but there’s just something about it that I can’t completely get on with. I sometimes feel it was as though some of the tracks were such deliberate attempts at chart success that they lost a sense of effortlessness that good songs have, as though they have appeared fully formed and been pressed to wax the next day. Obviously that is not what happens but, in general, I don’t want a song to make me think about the process of creating it, certainly not on the first few listens, but this did and continues to do so.

I could be completely off the mark, but it’s a feeling I find difficult to shake off, though this doesn’t mean I dislike the album. There were singles taken from this album, ‘Abacab’, ‘No Reply At All’, ‘Keep It dark’ and ‘Man On The Corner’. Rating 8.6

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Abacab” Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford 7:02
2. “No Reply at All” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 4:41
3. “Me and Sarah Jane” Banks 6:00
4. “Keep It Dark” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 4:34
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Dodo/Lurker” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 7:30
2. “Who Dunnit?” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 3:22
3. “Man on the Corner” Collins 4:27
4. “Like It or Not” Rutherford 4:58
5. “Another Record” Banks, Collins, Rutherford 4:30

Genesis (1983)

genesis83

One of the problems I have with this album is that I think that the track ‘Illegal Alien’ is a steaming pile of shit, I really do. I enjoy side 1 but as soon as I turn the album over I am confronted by said steaming pile of shit. There are decent songs on the album though and it spawned 4 singles, ‘Mama’, ‘That’s All’, ‘Home by the Sea’ and ‘Steaming Pile of shit’ (I won’t mention it again!)

I remember liking ‘Mama’ at the time and I’m pretty sure I have the 12″ single of it somewhere, although I’m not as keen on it now, I think it was of its time but ‘Home by the sea’ and a few either hold up still. Rating: 7.8

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Mama” 6:46
2. “That’s All” 4:22
3. “Home by the Sea” 4:46
4. “Second Home by the Sea” 6:22
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Illegal Alien” 5:12
2. “Taking It All Too Hard” 3:54
3. “Just a Job to Do” 4:44
4. “Silver Rainbow” 4:27
5. “It’s Gonna Get Better” 5:00

Invisible Touch (1986)

invisibletouch86

I bought this when it was released and my overall feeling when hearing it was one of disappointment. I didn’t like side 1 of the album, which were all singles, as was ‘Throwing it all away’ from side 2. I did like ‘Domino’ and ‘The Brazilian’ but as an album I found it bland. I rated all these albums independantly without considering the ratings of the other albums and this came out higher than ‘Trespass’, that was a mistake. Rating: 7.0

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Invisible Touch” 3:26
2. “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” 8:49
3. “Land of Confusion” 4:45
4. “In Too Deep” 4:59
Side two
No. Title Length
1. “Anything She Does” 4:06
2. “Domino”

  • Part One–”In the Glow of the Night”
  • Part Two–”The Last Domino”
10:42
3. “Throwing It All Away” 3:51
4. “The Brazilian” 4:49

We Can’t Dance (1991)

genesis_-_we_can27t_dance

I thought this album was a bit of a return to form with ‘No son of Mine’ and ‘Driving the last spike’ being particular highlights. I wasn’t that keen on the title track to be honest but the video was quite funny I suppose. I have no time at all for ‘Jesus he knows me’, it’s all bit embarrassing that one, I understand what they were getting at but it’s a crap song.

‘Hold on my heart’ is quite nice but I couldn’t help feeling that it was something stolen in some way from a John Martyn album, I don’t quite know why, there’s something about it. Rating: 8.2

No. Title Length
1. “No Son of Mine” 6:39
2. “Jesus He Knows Me” 4:16
3. “Driving the Last Spike” 10:08
4. “I Can’t Dance” 4:01
5. “Never a Time” 3:50
6. “Dreaming While You Sleep” 7:16
7. “Tell Me Why” 4:58
8. “Living Forever” 5:41
9. “Hold on My Heart” 4:37
10. “Way of the World” 5:38
11. “Since I Lost You” 4:09
12. “Fading Lights” 10:16

Calling All Stations (1997)

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So Phil Collins had now left the band and was replaced by Ray Wilson of Stiltskin. Genesis was effectively over and I just can’t accept that this even bears the Genesis name.  It is terrible, I know, I’ve listened to it, I’m not jumping on any bandwagons here, I’ve heard it, once when released and once today, I really never need or want to listen to it ever again. Banks and Rutherford should be bloody ashamed of this utterly forgetable and pointless drivel. Rating: -3.0

No. Title Length
1. “Calling All Stations” 5:43
2. “Congo” 4:51
3. “Shipwrecked” 4:23
4. “Alien Afternoon” 7:51
5. “Not About Us” (Banks, Rutherford, Ray Wilson) 4:38
6. “If That’s What You Need” 5:12
7. “The Dividing Line” 7:45
8. “Uncertain Weather” 5:29
9. “Small Talk” (Banks, Rutherford, Wilson) 5:02
10. “There Must Be Some Other Way” (Banks, Rutherford, Wilson) 7:54
11. “One Man’s Fool” 8:58

And that is it and very much the point of this rather overly long post. The ratings are mine of course, my opinion only, and people will disagree, but let’s graph this stuff:

graphhhhhhhh

It is plain to see, a legacy destroyed by the last album. Which is why, with Gabriel releasing a cover album, Steve Hackett touring old Genesis songs, Phil Collins looking like he will be able to drum again and Rutherford and Banks not seemingly up to much, get back in a room and make an album. It could be great but a 7.0 would do, just so Genesis doesn’t end with the whimper that is that final album.

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50 Singles! Part 2

The title is a lie, it is actually 41 singles, thought I bought 50, there was only 41 in the box. Ah well, no matter, here they are:

Roxy Music Dance Away
These Animal Men Light Emitting Electrical Wave
Blondie Dreaming
Gary Numan We Are Glass
The Rolling Stones Start Me Up
The Polyphonic Spree Hanging Around
The Decorators Twilight View
The Vapors Turning Japanese
Echo & The Bunnymen The Killing Moon
Gerry Mitchell & Little Sparta Feasting On My Heart
Effi Briest Mirror Rim
Aztec Camera Still On Fire
Billy Joel Uptown Girl
Birdland (2) Ep 3: Sleep With Me
Adam And The Ants Stand & Deliver!
Simple Kid The Average Man
The Raconteurs Steady, As She Goes / Store Bought Bones
Siouxsie & The Banshees This Wheel’s On Fire
Buffalo Springfield For What It’s Worth / Rock ‘n’ Roll Woman
Laurie Anderson O Superman
The Tubes White Punks On Dope
Blondie The Tide Is High
The Stranglers 5 Minutes
Soft Cell Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
The Psychedelic Furs Pretty In Pink
Swing Out Sister Breakout
T. Rex Telegram Sam
Gold Blade Not Even Jesus
The B-52’s Give Me Back My Man [Party Mix]
The Young Offenders That’s Why We Lose Control
Stevie Wonder Part-Time Lover
Les Rythmes Digitales (Hey You) What’s That Sound?
Rachel Stamp My Sweet Rose
The Young Offenders Pink & Blue
Enon Evidence / Grain Of Assault
The Pretenders Don’t Get Me Wrong
Razorlight Rock ‘N’ Roll Lies
Ramones Don’t Come Close
Frankie Goes To Hollywood Relax
Blondie Hanging On The Telephone
Val’s Basement Fatgold / (Lil’ Red) Routemaster

I can’t say I like all of them, but for the £23 I paid I got enough that I do like to warrant the expense.

Here is a video playlist of the tracks I could find videos for.

Dinosaur – Together, as one

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If you’ve been listening to the radio show at all then you’d have heard my take on the Mercury Music Prize and how much I liked the album by Dinosaur, well, proving that wasn’t just bullshit words I bought a copy of the album today. At £17 it was pretty reasonable for a new record in a gatefold sleeve, although it came with no extras, which is fine as I never use the download cards anyway, I much prefer a CD tucked in the sleeve.

It is a brilliant debut album and they really are exceptional musicians, as can be seen from their performance at the MMP awards the other week:

I’ve listened to the album several times now and it just keeps getting better and better.

Tracklist

A1 Awakening 8:33
A2 Robin 6:50
A3 Living, Breathing 6:37
B1 Underdog 2:50
B2 Extinct 9:29
B3 Primordial 7:46
B4 Interlude 2:56

I actually think the right person won the award itself, but for a band like Dinosaur the exposure it has provided them has been invaluable, not only for them but for myself as they wouldn’t have even been on my radar without being nominated. I really do love this album.

The official video for ‘Living, Breathing’ :

London Jazz News reviews the album below:

Laura Jurd – still in her mid-20s – is already on her third album. Both Human Spirit(2015) and her 2012 debut Landing Ground foregrounded Jurd’s ambitious compositions, drawing on a repertory company of young musicians. Together, As One presents a unified front from Jurd’s regular working quartet, now called Dinosaur. The Dinosaur sound and feel is perhaps best represented by the first track Awakening. This has a superb asymmetric (5/8) pulse out of which Jurd’s trumpet floats across echoplexed synthesizer washes before a fragile theme emerges from the sonic haze. Not an unusual way to begin a jazz fusion track, but Dinosaur make it feel authentic and fresh. After the long intro Conor Chaplin’s bass installs a long 5/4 riff into the piece followed by plangent electric piano by Elliot Galvin. This was not the only time during this album that I was reminded of Ian Carr’s Nucleus and Herbie Hancock’s ‘Mwandishi’ band (featuring Eddie Henderson), but that’s more because of mood and style than compositional and improvisational content. Dinosaur’s music sounds young and defiantly European – there’s a hint of Acoustic Ladyland – and its best moments stick in the mind with an easy grace. The nine-and-a-half-minute Extinct has a cunning groove that emerges slowly from the primordial audio swirl of its intro. A plainly stated middle section theme changes the mood for a while before the Sly-like groove returns for the remainder of the song. Primordial has a hammering, antsy fanfare that morphs into a triple-time lope for an eloquent solo by Jurd. I liked Galvin’s keyboard sounds best when they were idiomatic (electric piano, Rose Stone-like organ in Extinct) or heading for outer space (the twangling synths and electronic washes of Interlude). In Corrie Dick, Jurd has the empathetic, endlessly inventive drummer that every jazz composer dreams of, and occasionally deserves. Bassist Chaplin is a star. There’s a close empathy (which is not always reflected in the mix). Although it may win awards, Together, As One doesn’t come across as a self-consciously ‘award winning album’: the production is understated, the performances are straightforwardly good and no-one is trying too hard to impress, which makes it all the more impressive.

A Gal Called Dinah

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I visited the new used vinyl store today that opened up in Leamington Spa at the weekend. There wasn’t a whole lot there that I could get excited about but they did have a large £2 an album section that was mostly full of records that nobody would want, but I found a few bits and pieces of interest, one of which was Dinah Washington ‘A Girl Called dinah-washington-a-gal-called-dinah-vinyl-lp_5958262Dinah’. There are a few reasons why it caught my eye, one is the cover, which I rather liked, also that I have a sudden interest in old jazz and blues albums, I’ve always been interested, in a peripheral way, but recently I’ve actually been buying them when I see them and when they are cheap. At £2 there wasn’t any risk in buying this one and having played it I was blown away by the quality of her voice, it really is quite wonderful. I’d heard her before but never really paid any attention until now.

As is often the way, I’ll pick a record up and then go and read about it, I had no idea she had died so young:

Early on the morning of December 14, 1963, Washington’s seventh husband, football great Dick “Night Train” Lane, went to sleep with his wife, and awoke later to find her slumped over and not responsive. Doctor B. C. Ross came to the scene to pronounce her dead. An autopsy later showed a lethal combination of secobarbital and amobarbital, which contributed to her death at the age of 39. She is buried in the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

The sound of the recording is crystal clear on the vocals and the difference between modern recording techniques and the old analogue methods is pretty obvious, I have to say, I prefer the old analogue, it gives you that feeling that the artist is there in the room with you in a way that modern recordings usually don’t.

Tracklist

A1 Fly Me To The Moon
A2 Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby
A3 Miss You
A4 A Handful Of Stars
A5 Destination Moon
B1 You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You
B2 Red Sails In The Sunset
B3 Where Are You
B4 Coquette
B5 Take Your Shoes Off Baby
Not on the album but taken from the 1958 film ‘Jazz on a summers day’ and worth watching just because it’s amazing!
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