Tuesday 29 September 2020

The Second Finest Roxy Music Album? - #FruitfulSeptember #12

On my afternoon walk yesterday I was listening to "Stranded" the third Roxy Music album, and my Emopeak headphones ran out of power. It is slightly annoying that you get about four announcements that you have low power then the shut off. I only  need one warning telling me the power is about to go off.

Anyway "Stranded" is another brilliant Roxy Miusic album and does contain their finest ever song "Mother Of Pearl"  with two sections that are a universe apart but do fit together, almost worthy of th edeparted Brian Eno. The album opens with their firs album based single "Street Life" , complete with debutant Eddie jobson's violin solo, followed by the mellower "Just Like You", then the slightly off kilter "Amazona" with lots of guitar effects before closing with the overlong religious "Psalm" closing a satisfying first side. The second side opens with the powerful "Serenade" slipping into the awesome "Song For Europe"  preparing you for the magnum opus "Mother of Pearl"before slipping out quietly with "Sunset".

If anyone wer to put this forward as the greatest Roxy Music album I couldn't argue with them, although my preference is for "For Your Pleasure.

I was shocked my the number of buses I saw on my morning walk, and as approach my 63rd birthday I'm gonna be reminded of my age my the number 63 Stagecoach bus that goes up Netherby Drive every twenty minutes.

So for the #FruitfulSeptember I am not going with another Roxy Music song, but with "Cherry Oh Baby" by Eric Donaldson that was covered by UB40 on their first "Labour of Love" album.

The weather is now bright sunshine, so enjoy the rest of the day.

Sunday 27 September 2020

The Finest Roxy Music Album? - #FruitfulSeptember #11

 On my recent walks I have been listening to a lot of Roxy Music. Today my music player on my Google Pixel 2XL stopped working so I applied another , it sounded fine but it was listing songs on albums in alphabetical order with the option of shuffling. Songs are meant to be in the album order , but so many apps default to alphabetical order, which is plain stupid. It's ok if you are looking at all the songs on a device but not within an album. There is no option to sort by album song number, but luckily the file date sorted them into the correct order.

Anyway back to the point of the post, I've decided that "For Your Pleasure" is Roxy Music's best album. The have made a lot of great albums, and "Stranded" , "Country Life" and the debut are close behind , plus "Avalon" is an amazing soundscape and the rest of the albums have their highpoints but "For Your Pleasure" everything just falls into place.

The cover features Amanda Lear , a jaguar and Ferry as a chauffeur , Ferry being the only band member to feature on the outer cover although they are all on the inner one.

Originally a vinyl release (which I have as well as the CD) , listening now it's in two distinct parts with the strident opener "Do The Strand" sounding contrived but excellent followed by "Beauty Queen" with the superb instrumental break going into "Strictly Confidential" introverted and sullen, before "Editions of You" closes the first part but not the side.

That falls to "In Every Dreamhome A Heartache" one of the creepiest songs to ever hit the mainstream, and it delivers in spades , close the side with swirling guitars and leaving the listener at least a little unnerved.

Side Two opens with "The Bogus Man" with the band almost in Can / Bertolt Brecht territory , and this was the direction Brian Eno wanted the band to go in , although he acknowledged it was Bryan Ferry's vision and band. This goes into "Grey Lagoons" (also known as "The Bogus Man Part Two") which is grand rock and roll with a stunning Andy Mackay saxophone solo before the grand finale of the title track complete with Eno piano treatment and the hypnotic fade.

Although this is their finest album , their finest song is the wonderful "Mother of Pearl" on "Stranded" the follow up the "For Your Pleasure" with Eno replaced by Eddie Jobson from Curved Air.

So that's two posts today, obviously influenced by my afternoon walk, but what to do about #FruitfulSeptember ? Roxy Music have no fruit related songs, or so I thought. Then I found this:

"The Wild Prairie Rose is not only known for its beauty but also for its medical and food uses. The rise hips and roots are used to treat inflammation of the eye. The fruit can be eaten raw or made into jellies. The stems and leaves are used in teas."

So we hit Roxy Music's fourth album "Country Life" for "Prairie Rose" , another great song. 

Basically their first four studio albums, and the first live album "Viva" are all essential , after that they are a little patchy but with some gems in there. The albums below are the essential ones plus an excellent compilation that contains most of the first four albums plus rarities.

The Grey - #FruitfulSeptember #10

They last few days the weather has been very grey. It's not been the most uplifting. Added to that I thhink I have torn a shoulder muscle or trapped a nerve in my right arm , when you get arm pain's at my age you start thinking heart attack so it's hit the medical box for aspirin. Mt right arm is improving and I haven't lost the use of my hand at all , or been in so much pain that I had to go to casualty. Part of it is that I don't feel like writing or walking, and my monthly target is in danger , but after I post this , I so intend to go out for a walk, maybe up Cow Hill to take some pictures.

Looking out of the window the sky is a uniform grey although it is not as cold as yesterday.

I am thoroughly enjoying "Spear Of Destiny" by Daniel Easterman , which , location wise, has a lot in common with "The Lost" that he wrote as Jonathan Aycliffe. I know that I've read "Spear of Destiny" but I only remember the start of the book, but my rubbish memory means that I can reread books and rewatch films and thoroughly re enjoy them.

While working I am listening to a lot of CDs one of which is the 15 disc Bruce Springsteen Soundstage box. It's only radio broadcast quality but is still a great listen, but just doing one gig at a time , there are five gigs with three discs for each one.

This morning's vinyl was "Who Will Save The World" by The Groundhogs and "Bandstand" by Family both of which I bought for the cover art, but are great albums to listen to in their own right.

So for #FruitfulSeptember I was wondering whether a coconut was a fruit and came upon this vague definition:

"Botanically speaking, a coconut is a fibrous one-seeded drupe, also known as a dry drupe. However, when using loose definitions, the coconut can be all three: a fruit, a nut, and a seed."

So I think I can go with a coconut as a fruit , which means I can go for PM Dawn's excellent "Fantasia's Confidential Ghetto: 1999/Once In A Lifetime/Coconut" which has a finale of Harry Nilsson's "Coconut" which has appeared in so many films and a truly great song, and PM Dawn manage to marry it up with Prince and the Talking Heads. The song is on the "Jesus Wept" album which does not seem to be digitally available on Amazon.

After posting this , the sun came out.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Alarmed - #FruitfulSeptember #9

I know it's only Tuesday but this working week I have been awoken on  both days by the alarm. The thing I take from this is that I must be getting a decent night's sleep, although I have been dreaming a lot but can't remember what happened in my dreamscape.

Today I took delivery of "Who Will Save The World? The Mighty Groundhogs" which I bought from Discogs because of the excellent comic book are album cover by The Nefarious Neal Adams. who also did a lot of superhero comics , especially Batman. I heard that Adams came up with the story and the band based the album on that. You can see what I think on my Instagram channel here. I featured them in the music for my last post, so today we need someone different.

I started wondering if a pumpkin was vegetable or a fruit and found this, so it's ok to have pumpkin for #FruitfulSeptember

"A pumpkin, from a botanist's perspective, is a fruit because it's a product of the seed-bearing structure of flowering plants. Vegetables, on the other hand, are the edible portion of plants such as leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, flowers, and tubers"

I wanted to reshare "Tonight, Tonight" by the Smashing Pumpkins from "Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness" because of the awesome video, and the fact that it is a great song

Monday 21 September 2020

Getting Lost - #FruitfulSeptember #8

September has been my sparsest month so far for posting , although there is still over a week left, so we shall see how much more I write.

Yesterday I went for a walk and managed to sort of get lost, I though I was going to come up where the West Road meets Two Ball Lonnen but the road I was on was taking toward the centre of Newcastle with virtually no useful turn offs. So I wasn't really lost, just going down a road I've never walked down in twenty odd years of living here , alth I must I gone down it on the Number 1 Stagecoach bus. I finally came up to West Road via The Temple of Antenociticus , Roman Ruins , which you can see here on my Instagram channel.

One my walk one the albums I was listening to was "Music From The Body" from the film "The Body" by Ron Geesin and Roger Waters . Geesin had worked with Waters on "Atom Heart Mother" by Pink Floyd , and the album is actually a joy to listen to , with lots of short pieces and songs that hark to "Dark Side of The Moon" Floyd. Well worth a listen although not everyone's cup of tea. 

I  though I had a complete vinyl collection , although I know there are certain records that I wouldn't say know to you and over the weekend I remebered a couple of comic book covers which I would like. One was "Jailbreak" by Thin Lizzy with the Jom Fitzpatrick "Overlord" open out cut cover.

The other was "Who Will  Save The World?" by The Groundhogs where to comic provided teh story for the album. So that is two albums that are now on theire way.

On The Groundhogs' "Split" album was a song called "Cherry Red" and that falls in nicely for the #FruitfulSeptember sequnce. The Groundhogs produced a lot of heay rock abums are are definitely worth investigating, and I do believe they are still performing if you can catch them on the live circuit.

Saturday 19 September 2020

A Nice Surprise - #FruitfulSeptember #7

 Sometimes you do wake up to nice little surprises. This morning I started my phone up up and there was a Paypal payment (one of the few notifications I deliberately allow on my phone) , it was for a Discogs order from a Scottish guy in Edinburgh , but apart from the nice surprise of getting a little money was that the guy's name referenced Avalanche Records which I thought had gone to the wall. It turns out it had but now it's back and they have a very informative website here , so I will be dropping in next time I'm in Edinburgh. They have a social media presence on twitter here and Facebook here.

Although we've been promised rain , and yesterday morning was very misty (see here) , the last few days have been very pleasant weather.

I'm currently reading "Spear of Destiny" by Daniel Easterman , and while I have read it before, I have forgotten big chunks of it , and just when you think it can't get any worse for the main protagonists , it always does. He is definitely on of my favourite authors and apparently frequents Oxfam in Jesmond where I volunteered briefly after leaving EE.

So for #FruitfulSeptember we'll go with "Incense and Peppermints" by The Strawberry Alarm Clock , dated but creepily excellent.

Thursday 17 September 2020

Do It Again - #FruitfulSeptember #6

 The first two days of this week I didn't actually go out for a walk , and on Tuesday I virtually didn't leave the house. I know in lockdown that people have said they haven't left their homes , but unless you have a health problem or live in a tower block or very narrow streets there should be no reason not to go out. The thing is with COVID19 is that we still don't know exactly how it's spread and don't have a vaccine so it's basically a question of attempting to keep yourself safe and not spread it to others as you might be a carrier. I don't know that I'm not a carrier so I mask up when in close proximity to someone I don't know.

So the last two days I have gone for longish walks , meeting the cattle on Nunsmoor, and doing that that starts your day making you feel that you have accomplished something and therefore carries over into what you are doing that day. It's always good to feel you have accomplished something even if it is something relatively small. Today I have only walked three miles but it has been a good start.

Music helps while walking and this morning I listened to "For You Pleasure" by Roxy Music , possibly their finest album though definitely not their most commercial , going almost Brechtian on "The Bogus Man" one of my highlights and the direction Brian Eno wanted the band to pursue but as he said , it was Bryan Ferry's band.

Working from home I am working through my CD box sets , and currently listening to "There is a Season" by The Byrds which contains nearly a hundred songs. Yesterday it was "Retro" by New Order and "The Thrill Of It All" by Roxy Music will probably hit next week. This is a major plus working from home , I have listened to a hell of a lot of music which I maybe wouldn't have had chance to working in the office.

So to continue #FruitfulSeptember we'll go with a live take of "Peach" by Prince as we recently featured "Raspberry Beret" , one of his songs , performed by The Hindu Love Gods.

Sunday 13 September 2020

Sydney Opera House (Again) - #FruitfulSeptember #5

 Walking down Fenham Hall Drive I noticed the cranes at Wallsend seemed very close. This is one of many examples I have seen of the Sydney Opera House Effect , but its certainly the most impressive one that I have seen . I first tried taking photos with my phone but they didn't come out very well, then tried yesterday with my Canon camera but it was a bit grey and then today the light was a bit better and the pictures came out better with the 25x optical zoom. I can go up to 50x but that is digital enhancement and you really need and tripod to keep the camera still and given that many of the photos are done dodging traffic , it;s not really an option. You can see the photos on my Instagram channel here.

Due to one thing and another and the task above I have walked nearly seventeen miles this weekend without really trying. I suppose that's good for me and show that I can actually walk. It's amazing the number of times that because I am diabetic and have high blood pressure that people ask me if I'm able to work, and do gentle exercise. Sometimes I do get tired but you cannot let health things get the better of you , you have a life to live.

I feel slightly guilty that have binged on series four of Bosch and am now on the second episode of series five. It is excellent and highly watchable and I do know that when I hit the end of series six in a few weeks I have plenty of other things to watch. It becomes so easy to watch the start of the next episode , then you are thirty minutes through and then you think I may as well finish this one and then you are onto the next one.

I finish and enjoyed "Venus on the Half Shell" by Philip Jose Farmer writing as Kurt Vonnegut's Kilgore Trout and it was enjoyable but am now revisiting "Spear of Destiny" by Daniel Easterman and even though it's not really started I am eighty pages in and completely rehooked. How he has not had any of his books made into films I haven't a clue, although you can see the Easterman / Aycliffe styles criss crossing. 

So for #FruitfulSeptember we will continue with "Apples and Oranges" a single from Pink Floyd when they were still led by Syd Barrett.

Thursday 10 September 2020

Tollbooth - #FruitfulSeptember #4

 I was in Edinburgh at the weekend and at one point when into Deacon Brodie's . Now I know nothing about Deacon Brodie apart from the name and the fact it's a big pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.


Ben Johnson's words:

"A greatly respected member of Edinburgh‘s society, William Brodie (1741-88) was a skilful cabinet-maker and a member of the Town Council as well as deacon (head) of the Incorporation of Wrights and Masons. However, unknown to most gentlefolk, Brodie had a secret night-time occupation as the leader of a gang of burglars. An extra-curricular activity that was necessary to support his extravagant lifestyle which included two mistresses, numerous children and a gambling habit.

It is said that Brodie’s bizarre double-life inspired Robert Louis Stevenson, whose father had had furniture made by Brodie. Stevenson included aspects of Brodie’s life and character in his story of a split personality, ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde’."

I also found this account of the trial of Deacon Brodie 

The titular character of the novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark claims to be descended from Deacon Brodie. His double life serves as a metaphor for her duplicity, as well as her self-imposed demise.

I must have misread the name in the quote of his final words , I thought that one of his forenames was Tollbooth but that's where he was held before his final demise. 

The only other time I have seen Tollbooth used as human nomenclature is it the title of the Paul Kantner and Grace Slick album "Baron Von Tollbooth and The Chrome Nun" which I think I bought for the title alone.

So for #FruitfulSeptember I am going with "Raspberry Beret" , the Prince song , by the Hindu Love Gods which is a Stipe-less REM with Warren Zevon

Monday 7 September 2020

In The Dark - #FruitfulSeptember #3

I am not coming to terms with being woken up by the alarm and it's dark. I'm sure last week it was still light when I got up. I know it's autumn but it seems to have been a very fast transitions from light summer days to what we have now. While I like autumn generally, I don't like grey silent skies.

At the moment there is a uniform greyness in the sky, which brings on the sad feeling of Seasonal Affected Disorder, although for me that's just a general lacl of motivation and positivity.

Tonight I will watch teh final episode of  "Veep" although I have plenty of other things to watch , and "Silicon Valley" will keep me supplied with caustic one liners even though there's not a Donald Trump type imbecile figure in yet, although there are a few Jonah equilavents to be going on with.
I'm also on the final chapter of "Venus on the Halfshell" and though I know what's coming , it's been a wryly amusing observation of the general human condition , so wil lnow have to get abother book to be going on with, although I am still reading "Imajica" on the Kindle  which , although it's my favourite ever book, I am quite happy to stop and start reading whenever I feel like it, although different devices seem to conspire to lose my place in the book . I have a Kindle and also the app on my Google Pixel 2XL phone, and you would think it would be fairly simple to maintain a book position give the state of technology today.
So for #FruitfulSeptember I will share "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino with you, and I know it's an obvious one, but there will be a few of those, but the thing is setting yourself the target in the first place.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Why I Don't Write - #FruitfulSeptember #2

I had no intention of writing anything today, and yesterday something happened which made me think , I have to share that , hence this post. Switched on 6Music after listening to "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" from my Joni Mitchell box set and there was a Genesis like guitar sequence which was playing , but I recognised it a "Strawberry Letter #23" by The Brothers Johnson being spun by Shaun Keaveny. So this is the second #FruitfulSeptember post.

This is the story of the song; 

Why is it called Strawberry Letter 23 not 22? Strawberry Letter 23 was originally a song by Shuggie Otis. At age 17, Otis wrote "Strawberry Letter 23" as way to describe his romantic feelings for his girlfriend. Though the lyrics commonly refer to "Strawberry Letter 22," Otis explains that, "the song is about a love letter. The guy and the girl had written each other 22 love letters. And the 23rd one, he writes is a song."

There is a Shuggie Otis version of the song available as well, and I was sure I had shared this in the blog at sometime before , although maybe it was just on the "Song of The Salesman" site when it was used in an advert.

I've decided that when I go for a walk I shouldn't be bothered about time , that way you can enjoy it much more. On a morning walk I am constantly thinking I need to be back by eight o' clock , to start work, but the reality is that I can start work whenever I want, so I don't need to rush back under normal circumstances.

So the fact that I am posting this shows that it takes very little to cause me to set finger to keyboardand post another rambling missive .
So tht's enough for today and hope it has been informative for you.

Wednesday 2 September 2020

#FruitfulSeptember #1

I often think that I will just not write anymore on this blog , but then it's a diary and diaries never stop. It also is a method of recording things that I may want to remember. So I will keep writing , I am very contrary in my mind at times.

This morning I took a four mile walk to the Freeman Hospital for a check up and all seems to be in order . They now have an impressive fruit and vegetable stall out the front of outpatients but it is farly expensive, but it is in a prime location.

TV wise I have one episode of "Veep" to go although there is an Amazon Prime Veep vs Trump stream which I shall be watching tonight, which has reminded me , I've still not caught the "Parks and Recreation" COVID reunion show.

This morning was a little grey and now we have rain, so I'm not sure if I will get an evening walk. I know we're past the longest day but the nights and dark mornings are drawing in and after yesterday's heat , today is quite chilly.

I'm sure I wanted to say something else in this post but it's gone , and that will be an excuse for another post tomorrow.

I was, then I wasn't, going to do a sequence based on fruit for September but then thought , yeah I will , and #FruitfulSeptember is a good tag to go with, and to start off with "Overnight Sensation" by The Raspberries who have never featured on this blog. Although this was an excellent record , Eric Carmen went solo and produced som excruciating AOR so it's unlikely you will be seeing any of his solo stuff on here, but you never know, there may be hidden gems in his back catalogue.