Friday, 31 August 2018

Fire On High


I first heard this as the 'B' Side of "Livin' Thing" . It is the opening track to the great Electric Light Orchestra album "Face the Music". I remember being impressed by the Electric chair cover, although the album was anything but grim.

It's actually quite a monstrous sound and shows fun, ingenuity and brilliance that seemed to desert the band in later years producing insipid pap such as "Mr Blue Sky" and "Xanadu".

ELO did produce my second favourite album ever "Eldorado"  and this song was the opener from the follow up "Face The Music" which contained some excellent blue eyed soul as well as this over the top sound storm. It is another one for the #SongsYouveNeverHeard sequence although it may one that you have forgotten.

The ELO were formed to continue where the Beatles finished with "Strawberry Fields" but when Roy Wood left it did become Jeff Lynne's vehicle.

So this is my last post for August 2018, and it is time to hit my bed now.

Enjoy this.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Orange Clawhammer


Another for the #SongsYouveNeverHeard series, I first heard this as an unaccompanied sea shanty style song on "Trout Mask Replica", still one of th emost amazing albums you will ever hear should you be able to get your hands on a copy.

Then I got hold of an NME compilation CD which had a version with music, including a harmonica. The only accompanied version I can find features Frank Zappa on acoustic guitar which you can hear here.

The song inspired an eponymous Beefheart tribute band and their site is here.

It is incredibly powerful and once you hear it it will stay with you forever, one of the many gems left to use by Don Van Vliet.

I know this is a very short post, but I would love to know what YOU think about it.

Enjoy your Thursday.

A Kaleidoscope of Rainbows


Well I've hit all targets for this month, but will still be walking into work today. Last night I was searching for something to listen to and Neil Ardley's "Kaleidoscope of Rainbows" popped into my head, a wonderful piece of music despite the odd trumpet noodling interludes but the introduction, which I am sharing with you "Prologue/Rainbow One" is wonderful.  The descending bass line against the rising vibes is sheer perfecton.

Although this is in the jazz universe, Neil Ardley is described as a composer who works with jazz musicians.

Kaleidoscope of Rainbows uses the five-note scale of Balinese gamelan music and has been seen as an early example of world music and features composition and improvisations. Neil Ardley, who left us fourteen years back gives an overview here and if you want to listen to the complete album it's on Youtube here.

This has been a decent week and September will start with a walk to Wylam with my daughter Kirsty, son in law Mark and Fiona on Sunday, so September shouldn't be a problem for hitting my walking targets. I am just waiting for the first moth when I don't hit my target but then again it'll probably never happen, I will always try and make sure that it does.

Yesterday I had tea with my friend Krista who runs Kota based in Commercial Union House and that was just lovely to catch up  and we are going to do lunch. We were talking about how we always make vague dates that we never keep and she got out her diary and we nailed it down.

Visit the Kota link, there are some wonderful things there including a lot of Moomin based items.

Enjoy your Thursday my friends.


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Seventeen Hundred


I thought I would post this just to hit seventeen hundred posts since I started posting, breaking the #August50 target, and sharing another #SongsYouveNeverHeard to make it worth reading and listening to.

There is a hell of a lot of great Antipodean music and my favourite band from down under are The Saints, but I also love Split Enz, Crowded House and Midnight Oil. I completely missed out on AC/DC in my teens / early twenties but they are a perfect example of how to last while staying exactly the same. Similar to the UK's Status Quo who really lost it when they tried to change their twelve bar sound, although my favourite two Qho songs are "Mystery Song" and "Accident Prone" which do deviate slightly from their normal formula.

The #SongsYouveNeverHeard that I am going to share with you is the excellent "S'cool Days" by Stanley Frank which was backed by the equally excellent "On A Line", one of those perfect singles like The Beatles "Paperback Writer" backed with "Rain". All I know about Stanley Frank is that he is Australian (I think ... and yes I know how silly that sounds) and that is about it.

Another for you to enjoy.



Fifty Up


This is my fiftieth post this month. I suppose the quality of a lot of these posts has not been up to my usual standard, though that's not very high anyway. I know a lot of my friends read the posts but find it odd and virtually no one leaves any comments . positive or negative on the blog, although my friend Julie leaves a lot on Facebook.

Still the main point of this blog is to keep a diary and store memories for myself, it is a fairly selfish endeavour and therefore by extension is fairly selfish to expect people to leave comments. Life does take it's toll and even leaving a short comment can sometimes take a lot longer than you think it will.

When I share these posts on Facebook (where most of my interactions come from) I tend to give a short resumé of wat's in the post, I don't know if that puts people off.

Given that each post will be around 200-250 words this month has seen me put down 10K-12K which is enough for a short novel, although this will be short on interesting narrative but high on  interesting music content.

I am wondering if I can hit 300 posts this year, which should only require twenty posts a month, which is obviously more than feasible given that that has been my lowest monthly total this month (in June) and this is post 221 this year.

My next project will be #SongsYouveNeverHeard which I will start with this post and continue til the end of September, I would love you to leave a comment letting me know if you have heard the song, if you like it and any other thing you like.

So how do we start this .. Earle Mankey's "Mau Mau" which I heard once on John Peel and then never again. I tracked down a vinyl copy on Ebay about fifteen years back, and still love the record. I wrote about it here, and also created a Youtube slideshow featuring among other thing my dog as a teenager Simba and my first dog when I left home Jasper.

Earle Makey was a guitarist with Sparks but that about as much as I know about him. Also don't you think Russel Mael looks like Freddie Mercury on the cover of "A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing" ? Enjoy.


Bath


Elizabeth the First reputably said she took a bath once a year, whether she needed it or not. I am probably in the same boat, although I do shower at least once a day, whether I need to or not. I don't know why that came into my mind as I showered this morning, although there are times when you are out and you are thinking there are people who who subscribe to the Elizabeth the First model.

Today is the first day back at work, for a four day week for the last week in August. The weather is decidedly Autumnal, Summer is drifting away as it always does, but that's the nature of time and the seasons.

I was thinking of titling a post "Farewell, Adieu, Goodbye, See You Later ...." thinking of all the ways you can say goodbye for no particular reason.

This is post 49 in the #Autumn50 sequence and I think that is really the maximum I could set myself for the month. I will probably do more than 50 but I won't be trying to do this many again. As I say I've seen blogs that do hundreds of posts a day which are basically links to other sites, and I have many friends who started to blog and then gave up, and have one or two friends who post when they feel like it, which is the best way to write.

Oh I've hit my walking target for the month, when I expected it to be difficult, but when you expect things to be difficult you often put in extra effort to ensure that you will meet your target and often hit it with time to spare giving you time to relax when you have hit your target.

Again, for no apparent reason, I will share "Toxygene" by The Orb with you, have a great Tuesday.

Monday, 27 August 2018

... And There Is More


Another lazy day and I have an idea for next months vague blog theme, music that only I, amongst the people I know, have heard. The title is taken for "International Feel" the opener and closer to side one of Todd Rundgren's "A Wizard, A True Star" album which I wrote about a while back here

Todd Rundgren was responsible for the sound on Meatloaf's "Bat Out Of Hell" album as well as a lot more, including his own prodigious output. I found this video and love the number plate reference to another of Todd's albums.

I have been enjoying 6Music's Trojan 50th anniversary celebration and there is a very nice looking picture disc available, but for me the song selection doesn't really do it justice, maybe I should get a slipmat. Note that is my opinion of the songs, others may disagree with me but "Everything I Own" by Ken Boothe and "Help Me Make It Through The Night" by John Holt are hardly essential especially when you have gems such as "Ali Baba" to pick from.

So I'm going to probably watch "World War Z" (that's Zed not Zee) tonight, the first twenty minutes looks excellent.

Time for tea.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Darkness Falls


Nothing bad, but it is getting dark well early now. Today was grey and the central heating is switching it on and we're starting to feel the chill and the temperature dips short of the 20s we've been used to.

It is unusual when where you are expecting light and vision, there is now dark and blackness, lit by street lights and the odd car driving by.

It is only nine o'clock now but I am going to take the opportunity to get some more sleep and more importantly rest. I need to do nine thousand more steps to hit my target for the month so I have no pressure to do a lot of walking this week. I can lie in a little longer and take the bus to work, although I do like walking in and meeting up with the cows on Nunsmoor or seeing the CHAT Trust Phoenix.

Although it's Trojan's fiftieth I was thinking it's a bit late really considering the development of ska and reggae that began in the 1950s , and I was also thinking that Island was just as important, but reading the history here I found that Island launched Trojan so that explains that little mystery.

The first Trojan number one in the UK was "Double Barrel" by Dave & Ansel Collins around 1971, which was the first single my brother bought, and I also saw them perform at Greys Monument six years ago, I put three songs up here.

So I'll share a  full version  soundtracking James Bond dealing with various ne'er-do-wells with you before I go to bed.


Walking Through Treacle (Again)


Although I don't really have to do many steps, today has been difficult, feeling like I'm walking through treacle. I don't feel bad in myself but it's just that having to walk any distance I feel I am pushing against something, like wading through treacle.

Also I'm coming to the conclusion that Firefox is becoming very slow to becoming almost unusable. Microsoft Edge is definitely unusable and Internet Explorer is not very good either. At the moment Chrome seems to be the most reliable browser.

It has been raining but today has been made enjoyable by the amount of ska and reggae being played to celebrate Trojan's 50th anniversary, but I didn't realise that many of the Trojan singles were "enhanced" strings for the UK market, a prime example being Nicky Thomas' "Love of The Common People", although the youth of the time rebelled against this touching up preferring the original raw sound. I've included both so you can hear what they did.

Enjoy both.


Obediah


One of the lowlife characters from the excellent "Fourteen Letters" that I am reading at the moment. It starts of like a full on train, then I thouht it was going to get boring, having a Victorian timeframe setting, but no it just through a lot of connected threads into the pot and every so often you get those "Aaahhh" moments. I will definitely seeing this one through to the end.

This is now my highest posting month, and I don't think I will do it again once I've hit #August50 as you can't always think of something to write about, although in this amazing world there should always be something that you can put down a few words about, although you do sometimes hit a mental brick wall.

We're on the middle day of the Bank Holiday and I have some very mundane shopping today and also a few basic chores to do, but the main thing is I am getting some rest while still exercisng my mental faculties.

6Music are doing a feature on Trojan Records to celebrate it's 50th anniversay here. The real conundrum about sixties ska which was the music of Jamaican and Windrush Immigrants is that it was also the msuic taken up by racist skinheads which was a real mystery although it was very working class / classless music so maybe that was the attraction. It was also prevalent on fairgrounds as well , as I remember from my short time working on one.
Slade Looking Hard

So maybe we will go for Symarip's "Skinhead Moonstomp" one of the many songs on my huge Trojan Box Set collection. I don't know if you know but Slade (as Ambrose Slade and early on) were a skinhead band so I enclose a picture, with Mr Holder looking very threatening on the right.

Enjoy your Sunday people.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

This Connect


The title is just more unknowns sending friend requests, I doubt  they would even speak to me, so they're deleted. If someone comes along and you have mutual interests or can talk or chat via text, then Facebook connection is fine, but an anonymous request, hit the delete button.

It's Saturday morning the Sun is shining and I feel I've got a load of things to do, including grocery shopping, physiotherapy exercises, a few website updates for Codonposis here.

Menu Français des Fleurs Sauvages
The weather is cold but sunny but I definitely feel a restful weekend coming on, after just feeling tired all week and missing a pirate metal gig ate Trillians.

I have also remembered I need to share a recipe for Tartiflete with Wildflower. after sampling their gorgeous French Onion soup yesterday. This is their menu for the next thee weeks so I will possibly sampling more, though it may be just more Onion Soup.

So now need to choose either some Francophile music or Pirate metal

Maybe we'll go with David Bowie's take on Jacques Brel's "Amsterdam" which manages to cover a few European bases,

Enjoy your Saturday, I intend to


Friday, 24 August 2018

Red Sky


This morning looked out the back and the sky was a definite shade of red and deep pink. Made me think of of the "Red Sky in th emorning, Shepherds Warning" , although the sky outside looks sunny and blue with wisps of fluffy clouds.

Musically Jimi Hendrix's "House Burning Down" - "Look at the Sky Turn a Hell Fire Red" sprang to mind as well as U2's "Under A Blood Red Sky" which was the first U2 album I really liked all the way through paving the way for "The Unforgettable Fire" which was their first studio album to show what they could really do.

The 22nd was my sister Yvonne's birthday but for some reason I didn't make a blog post, which given that I am trying to hit #August50 gives me another one to catch up, but this is my 43rd post this month which equals the number of post I did in October 2015 when I did my #ALifeInNumbers sequence which was a sequence of fifty nine songs for my fifty nine years in which the sequence number appeared in the song.

Hendrix music is very sparse on Youtube but this Randy Hansen tribute is rather impressive.

It's the Friday before the Bank Holiday, have a brilliant day everybody.


Thursday, 23 August 2018

Being Lazy


Due to one thing and another I expected today to be the first day in a very long while that I stepped into the office having walked less than a thousand steps. It turned out I had done 1500 steps, still not a lot but more than I had expected. I am 50K steps ahead of my target for this month so there is very little pressure to up my game for this.

Weather is grey and rainy so not the most uplifting of days.

The thing is I hadn't realised that this weekend is a Bank Holiday weekend, so we have a long weekend which causes a short week next week.

On the subject of apathy and laziness I am feeling so tired and wanting to just sleep that I am not sure if I can even complete this post. I will do, but  it is difficult to actually just write about nothing when your mind and body are not firing on all cylinders as you need it to.

Tomorrow I have a physiotherapy session for my left arm, which hopefully will aid me, although to be quite honest while my arm is sore and weak, it is improving. That reminds of Rick Allen drummer with Def Leppard who lost his arm in a motor accident when his safety belt was improperly fastened. One of the things he said was he didn't realise how heavy his arm was and took a while to come to terms with only having one are.

I think that we all don't realise how much strength and energy we need to put our arm out for a bus.

There, I've managed to finish this and also weave Def Leppard into it and feature "Overture" from the first EP which I bought from a bargain bin in WH Smiths in Liverpool. I remember John Peel played it to death and then the band complained and said he never played them, John Peel was where I first heard them, and I am sure a lot of other people nationally.


One Word Poem


The last couple of mornings I've drifted awake at about five and thought I'll reset the alarm for seven and have a lie in. My body and my mind are fine with this, but there is something else, a nagging presence that keeps telling me I may as well get up, lying in be is just wasting tine.

I just thought that the noun / adjective derived from the verb to lie is lying. I suppose lieing or liing would possibly be a bit strange, but that's the nature of the disparities the English language. On that one of thos mad concepts came in to my mind, a "One Word Poem". How impossible is that, although I am sure someone has presented it as a valid piece.

Obviously One word rhymes with itself and has the same number of syllables as itself, and maybe you could have a poem made of words that are spelt the same but sound different, for instance:

"Wind
Wind"

or

"Read
Read"

Then you could have a list of words that sound the same that are spet differently

"Wind
Wined
Whined"

or

"Read
Red"

Just a few linguistic mind wanderings before I finish my coffe and take off for work. It's Thursday and it's a good day.

Maybe an appropriate song is Bowie's "Eight Line Poem" from "Hunky Dory".It is amazing how Bowie still manages to influence us and make us think, an amazing man.


Tuesday, 21 August 2018

I Don't Want


I was thinking of a maybe writing a poem that started:

"I don't want coffee
 I don't want tea
 I don't want alcohol
 I don't want soup ..."

Then I thought I couldn't really stretch it out any further.

I never understood the phrase "I need a drink" refering to alcohol. I've only ever needed a drink when I have been thirsty. I understand also, the need for stimulation so coffee and other caffeine based stimulantscan be beneficial.

Most alcohol tastes attrocious, though I did acquire a taste for Guinnesswhen I was in hospital recovering from ITP in the mid eighties, and the odd alcoholic drink has been pleasant, I still love the smell of Southern Comfort.

Flavoured Ciders are the new alcopops, Cider is Apple flavoured not berry or mango or whatever. They are very easy to drink though and I also used to like drinking Cider, it was usually quite refreshing.

I don't mind Diet Coke and often use it for a caffeine fix but am well aware of the damage Aspartame can do, so if I do indulge it's generally two 500ml bottles a day, or maybe two 330 ml cans. It does surprise me that a 500ml bottle is classed as two servings.

So as I've been on about drink what about The Dubliners' "Seven Drunken Nights"

Grey


The sky is a uniform grey (or is it gray), surfaces outside still are covered in rain / dew, the lawn is finally looking very well but is obviously too we to be mowable and I am drinking decaffeinated coffee as I write this. I've taken the Grammarly spelling  / context checker off because it became too intrusive and was slowing down my typing everwhere. Maybe I should prepare my blog posts in Word to ensure  that it's reasonably grammatically correct and the spelling is correct.

It's my sister Yvonne's birthday tomorrow, which I knew was coming up, but last night my dad said he was worried because he couldn't remember how old she was going to be. I told him she probably wasn't bothered and she would just love a card.

It is amazing how you can miss words out but it still makes sense to you , but to someone else it may look as though you don't know what you are talking about.

I'm not sure if it's raining outside, so I'm not sure if I will be walking into work today.

This weather seems to create an oppressive quiet, though I will disperse that by leaving on my Donna Summer and Malcolm McLaren mix on my player. That's another thing, it now takes a minute to put together a Spotify / Deezer whatever playlist but in the seventies a live DJ had to do that in real time, then we got cassettes (I know there was reel to reel but they were hardly portable) and you could create your mixtape but a sixty minute tape took more than anhour to put together, and if you made a mistake it took even longer.

I'll leave you with Donna Summer's take on Jon & Vangelis' "State of Independence".

Have a great Tuesday

Monday, 20 August 2018

Walking Soundtrack


When I finally started the music as I walked over Nunsmoor, I'd forgotten what I'd set up to play. It was four of my favourite Donna Summer songs and Malcolm McLaren's "Fans" which is a wonderful album.

The four Donna Summer Songs are:

I Feel Love (Original)
I Feel Love (Patrick Cowley Remix)
Unconditional Love
State of Independence

People complain because I don't really rate "Hot Stuff" but life would be so tedious if we all liked the same thing, wouldn't it?

"Fans" is jam packed full of gems and I'm going to share Boys Chorus (La Sui Monti Dell'est) with you, some heavenly backing with Malcolm's cockney wide boy / Artful Dodger chorus of :

"All Work
No Joy
Makes Mac
A Dull Boy" 

Which is true for all of us, well it is definitely true for me. All of this music should be in your collection and given the capacity of our devices we cany carry huge collections with us.

So I will be listening to this for a while but feel free to enjoy.



A Quiet Walk


This morning the first half of my walk to work was done without headphones, so it was effectively quiet , just the sounds of nature and the traffic. It is sometimes nice to just have the non silence, although I always eventually need to listen, but more of that later.

I was in Bradley's on Saturday and mentioned and showed them pictures of the CHAT Trust Phoenicx which I decided to route my walk past this morning as you can see here. This was after noticing the excellent notices on the four doors of Dabbawal in High Bridge on Sunday here.

It always gives me a lift to see witty and funny and original window decoration, and this definitely falls into that category.

This post is about harlf the length of the posts I normally do, but when I add this bit and then talk about what piece of music I am going to share it will suddenly self expand and I will have hit my normal 250 word target.

Maybe we can go with the Happy Mondoy's cover of John Kongos' "He's Gnna Step on You Again" (a favourite of my dad's) which the slowed down, baggied up and retitled as "Step On".

Time To Turn The Hourglass


It's Monday Morning, which is nicely alliterative, but it is time to get off to work. The temptation is to get the bus.

Skies are grey, the trees are still green but Autumn is coming and Summer is slipping away, but this mean we get the beautiful colour changes in leaves and bushes.

Given that I have been continuing with th ehourglass analogy (and yes turn it hover and we have a full hourglass of fun time for the week, I am going to choose "Hourglass" by Squeeze, although reminds me of the first ever Squeeze song I heard, the amazing "Take Me I'm Yours" which I think was on the "No Wave" compilation (though I may be wrong about that>

Anyway this is a short post to keep me on track for #August5, it is Monday Morning so have a wonderful day everyone.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Eighty Minute Hour


It is sort of strange and amusing how when the weekend starts petering out that time seems to go so musch faster. It's basically the fact that on Friday night after the Friday afternoon where the clocks seeme dto stop and hours stretched out to seem like eighty minutes or longer despite the fact you were doing so much and seemingly becoming unbelievably productive.

Then when you get out you have the whole weekend , and full hourglass of being able to take it easy and do as you please. Then at nine o' clock on Sunday night the sixty four hours of pleasure time you had are reduced to eleven hours and seven of thoses you will hopefully be sleeping.

It's like when you are trying to meet a tight deadline (although with devcnt planning you can always meet deadlines as long as everyone does their job and there are no surprises or unexpected hitches).

I've borrowed the title from Brian Aldiss' excellent story which is a wickedly simple concept and I suggest you investigate it further, and you may soon believe it is actually happening.

I always illustrate why time seems to get faster by this concept:

When you are six, you get six weeks summer holiday from school. That seems like forever, a week for every year of your life. To get the same effect now I would need a sixt week summer holiday to see a break as unbelievabley wrong, but we get four weeks a year and I never take more than a week at a time because I don't want endless weeks at work without a break.

Sorry if this is a bit of a downer, it's not meant to be so I'll leave you with "Time Capives" from "Journey by Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come, a wonderful band who were one of the first to you the Bentley Rhythm Ace Drum Machine which once went on a fifteen minute drum solo that they couldn't stop. Ah when things were mechanical in the pre digital age.

Sleep well.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Saturnight


I'm sure the title was used for a Cat Stevens compilation in the dim and distant past, in fact it was a Japanese only live pressing from 1976. Here's the description scraped formAmazon:

"CAT STEVENS Saturnight - Cat Stevens Live In Tokyo (Scarce 1974 Japanese-only limited edition 12-track LP recorded at Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo in June 1974 & housed in a unique numbered sleeve with world tour dates that year printed on the back with an illustrated inner six-page Japanese/lyric insert & obi-strip. "

The title is a contraction of "Another Saturday Night" the song of Sam Cooke's that he covered and had a biggish hit with.

I am enjoying "The Fourteenth Letter" though people are dropping like flies and there seem to be a plethora of subplots to unravel and get tangled in.

I've also finished the last episode of "Timewasters" and hoping that there is a series two in the pipeline.

It's eleven of the clock on Saturday night so Cat Steven's "Another Saturday Night" would be appropriate, although it shares it's title with a great zydeco compilation by Charlie Gillett which I have a copy of on vinyl.

Sleep well.