Thursday, July 19, 2007

See you in August...

No posts for 3 or 4 weeks.

Going to Villa Pia.

Never Let It Fade Away

It seems weird to think of it now, but for a while in the 70s my dad was one of the most famous men in England.

He was an actor, and had been around for a while doing TV things like Z Cars and The Avengers and films like Guns At Batasi and Cleopatra, when he landed the lead role in a new soap opera for the BBC called The Newcomers. He did well in that, and when he left he went across to the other side and joined the cast of Coronation Street as Elsie Tanner's latest bloke.

Well, things went their way and soon dad and Pat were a couple in real life. And whenever I was out with them they'd get stopped in the street and asked for autographs - and from time to time there'd be an article in the press about one or the other. I guess they were the Posh & Becks of their day.

After a while they left 'the street' and went into theatre, including touring Gaslight round the UK and New Zealand, and at some point during this he made an album. This one.

They split up eventually, of course, and then dad died - and Pat didn't come to the funeral even though they were still married. Pat later married Tony Booth, so in some strange way Cherie Blair is my 'sister-in-law-in-law'.

This album isn't bad at all. It isn't great, either. It's an actor who can sing, singing with some friends. He clearly wasn't making any great effort, and in some ways it even out-blands the Twiggy album (still my all-time most popular download, folks - maybe blandness is kewl? Maybe this will shift even more???), but it's pleasant enough.

Alan Browning - Whisky And Milk

01 - Dream A Little Dream Of Me
02 - What A Difference A Day Makes
03 - Misty
04 - Soon It's Gonna Rain
05 - Ruby
06 - Girl Talk
07 - A Prisoner Of Love
08 - Catch A Falling Star
09 - I've Got You Under My Skin
10 - And I Love Her


A Few Quick Ones While I'm Away

I'm going on holiday tomorrow, to Italy, for three weeks. So I thought I'd do a quick post before I go, with links to a few random albums I've uploaded recently.

Mike Heron's Reputation - Mike Heron's Reputation (1974)

Disclaimer: all this is personal opnion, unfettered by facts or research. It's just how I see things this morning.

When the Incredible String Band finally broke up in 1979, following a couple of rather sad & lacklustre albums, it soon became clear how much Robin and Mike needed each other in order to create top quality music.

Freed from Mike (Paul)'s mainstream sensibility, Robin (John) lurched off into celtic myths & legends while Mike rebounded back into MOR soft rock. Not that either lost their songwriting abilities, just that Mike became a bit dull & Robin went too far into wyrdness.

However, before we lost Mike altogether he made one final great - well, very good - album. Alongside Malcolm LeMaistre (who, it could be argued, heralded the downfall of ISB before Robin brought in Gerard Dott to seal the coffin), Graham Forbes and Stan Lee (not really), Mike Heron's Reputation made one more album (the rotten 'Diamond Of Dreams') before Mike went truly solo.

ISB reformed, of course, with Clive Palmer & then without Robin, but I haven't bothered listening to the recorded concerts because somehow middle-aged blokes singing songs from 5000 Spirits and Hangman's doesn't seem right to me. And the 1st album exists - for me - in a vacuum all of its own.

I saw the ISB a few times (anyone remember Friars Aylesbury?), also Reputation a couple of times at the Marquee - but LeMaistre was always going on about his braces and pissed me off.

I hadn't heard this album in 20 years when I ripped it, probably won't for another 20 but... it's not bad. Just not great.

01 - Down On My Knees (After Memphis)
02 - Easy Street
03 - Evie
04 - Residential Boy
05 - Without Love
06 - Born To Be Gone
07 - Angels In Disguise
08 - Wine Of His Song
09 - Meanwhile The Rain
10 - One Of The Finest
11 - Singing The Dolphin Through


Martyn Bates - Letters To A Scattered Family (1990)

The other Martyn Bates post went down very well, so here's another.

01 - On The Day You Climb Down
02 - Snow Rages
03 - City, All Of Strangers
04 - Little Days
05 - Your Jewled Footsteps
06 - For Love, Waiting To Die
07 - Shuttered Nights
08 - First And Last February
09 - This One Refrain
10 - I'll Wrap Your Hopes


Fiddler's Dram - To See The Play (1978)

Fiddler's Dram, of course, had the big hit with 'Day Trip To Bangor' but that was about it for them. Cathy Lesurf joined the Albions and the rest of them metamorphosed into The Oyster Band.

This is their first album, and very good it is too. It contains the *original* version of Bangor, not the poppy version they recorded and released as a single.

01 - Jack In London City
02 - Song Of Victory & Song Of The Blackbird
03 - Day Trip To Bangor
04 - Flash Lad
05 - Ythanside
06 - Keyhole In The Door
07 - Youankis & Skraperez & Guerz Ar Gechantez
08 - Wa'ney Island Cockfight
09 - The Two Brothers
10 - Peel the Tatties & The Pig In The Kitchen & The Barony
11 - False Knight On The Road
12 - Nottingham Goose Fair


Barry Dransfield - Bowin' and Scrapin' (1984)

Here's an album that I ripped & uploaded a couple of weeks ago, and then before i had a chance to create this post i wuz beaten to it by Time-Has-Told-Me (go there when you've finished here - he's got similar tastes). I haven't compared my rip with his, it could be better or it could be worse.

01 - Rattling Roaring Willie & Metal Man
02 - Fiddler's Progress
03 - Who Knows Where The Time Goes & My Lagan Love
04 - Sheffield Hornpipe & Pet Of The Pipers
05 - Up The Aisle (Wedding March & Wedding Song & Bridi
06 - Sandy Bell's
07 - Obliged To Fiddle & Planxty Davy & Spanish Cloak
08 - Bushes And Briars & Swedish Air
09 - O'Carolan's Concerto
10 - Recitation Upon A Gentleman Sitting On A Cremona V
11 - Sally Gardens & Clonmel Races


Reggae In My Jeggae

I know next to nothing about certain genres of music, for example soul & reggae. In fact, it's fair to say that I don't really like 'black' music in general - I've wondered whether this makes me racist in some way - I don't think so.

Anyway I was working in a record shop in Kilburn in the late 70s & we had a deal with a reggae label who used to give us their choice of albums on sale or return. Some of them I liked and bought for myself, including these.

I've no idea whether these are any good or not, but they're about al the reggae I've got apart from a bit of Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs. And no, I'm not a big fan of Bob Marley - though I do like Linton Kwesi Johnson and (soul-wise) The Meters.

Tradition - Tell Your Friends About Dub (1978)

01 - Dub In Paradise
02 - Gambling Dub
03 - Dub Out War
04 - Never Gonna Settle Dub
05 - Reggae Music Dub
06 - Tell Your Friends About Dub
07 - Herbs Tree Dub
08 - Prediction Dub
09 - Dub Down Here
10 - Why Dub


Tradition - Movin' On (1978)

01 - Every Little Beat Of My Heart
02 - Rastafaria
03 - You Walked On By
04 - We-Wah-To Go To Zion
05 - Prediction
06 - (Africa) Our Forefather's Land
07 - You Ran Off
08 - Movin On
09 - Jamaica Land Is Zion
10 - Rainy Day
11 - Six Million Dollar Baby


The Simeons - Dub Conference In London (1978)

01 - Dub Conference In London
02 - Dub Under Contract
03 - Love Dub
04 - L T Time
05 - More Time
06 - Jah Rastafari
07 - Immortal Dub
08 - Cool Stepping
09 - Mark At The Control


Black Beard - Strictly Dub Wize (1978)

Dennis Bovell was/is the producer behind a lot of the best reggae, or so I'm told. He certainly does the music for Linton Kwesi. This is the first of his 'solo' outings - creating dub versions of other tracks. It's good (I think).

01 - Cut After Cut
02 - Rebel Chase
03 - Ites Of Dub
04 - River To Bank Rocking
05 - Tell Yuh So
06 - Strictly Dub
07 - Mint Ah Music
08 - Surrey With The Fringe On Top (Ska Be Doo Za)
09 - Ah Weh


Even Molluscs Have Weddings

Until fairly recently I had not heard of Joanna Newsom, but over the last couple of weeks I've been listening to her more than anybody else.

The obvious comparisons - vocally, at least - are Bjork and Kate Bush, but vocal timbre is only one aspect of the story.

Joanna's first two EPs are interesting but ultimately forgettable, I wouldn't recommend starting with either of them because they don't even hint at what is to come. Her first album proper, 'The Milk Eyed Mender', dispels some of the Bjork/Bush comparisons but there's still not really enough meat to make it a stone classic.

Which is what Ys is. I don't know what to say about it, it's unique and marvellous. If I was pushed for a comparison I'd have to say that it reminds me, in some ways, of 'Don Juan's Reckless daughter' - not musically, but in terms of its ambition and scope. However, whereas DJRD was the album where - for me - Joni lost her way and never found it again, Ys is a much more cohesive and successful album and defines a whole new genre and class of music. Epic, almost Joycean in its tumbling maelstrom of ideas and themes.

This is a recording of a Dutch (?) radio broadcast from some time between the first two albums, featuring Joanna solo with just her harp. I found it on the Web - can't remember where so can't credit the original uploader - edited out the Dutch host and spliced all the interview segments together at the end.

I'm going to see her at the Albert Hall in September - should be good.

Joanna Newsom - live on the radio (2005)

01 - Swansea
02 - Sadie
03 - Inflammatory Writ
04 - Peach, Plum, Pear
05 - Clam, Crab, Cockle Cowrie
06 - Interview