Friday, 20 November 2020
Tuesday, 17 November 2020
Seems like a fair question. I once said that CDs were the McDonaldisation of music, MP3 and digital music even more so. All of a sudden album content became irrelevant. See this post from 2015 for more thoughts.
We see people doing mixtapes and playlists but anyone can list some songs or drag a couple of MP3 and share them , or share a bloody Spotify playlist, but there's hardly any personal investment and the chances are that the person receiving the said item will look at it and not bother listening to it. The iPod generation , or is it iPhone generation often don't even listen to whole songs let alone an album.
I once watche da bit of the X-Factor and the act covered the Moody Blues "Nights in White Satin" (a five minute song) which was cut to ninety seconds for the performance, so I wasn't impressed by that.
Digital media is great for when you are walking and this morning I was listening to the non album disk of "The Thrill of It All" by Roxy Music and "Sultanesque" came on, one of my favourites. It's a Bryan Ferry composition , five minutes of drone sound and was the "B" side of "Love Is The Drug" , and I used to love putting it on pub jukeboxes much to the annoyance of most of the clientele , but it is a great piece of music and a great example of Ferry's adventures in tone and sound, "South Downs" is another similar piece. I am thinking of buying th evinyl single because I like it so much.
So "Why Vinyl?" . Well thanks to the persuasion of my friend Marek at RPM I have a wonderful retro reconditioned record player, and when I listen to an album apart from providing a warm deep bas backbone to the music, there is no skipping or resequencing songs . You listen to the album , well at leas a side of it , and that is twenty minutes or so, which is long enough but not too long.
CDs are up to eighty minutes and digital streams can never end , so vinyl lets you listen in manageable chunks an dthe only choice you have is what to put on.
It is my preferred listening medium these days, although I listen to CDs and digital when I work from home , and digital when I am walking.
So I will share "Sultanesque" with you as the sun goes down on this November Tuesday.
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
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
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.
Monday, 21 September 2020
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.
Thursday, 17 September 2020
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.
Monday, 6 July 2020
Yesterday I received a strange text request from a friend , he needed something from someone in the Financial Sector, nothing major and the fact he was just around the corner from me. Now either he has moved or his round the corner is a lot further than mine .While I work with accountants and have worked in banking , I am definitely not a financial sector person. So I called him, immediately receiving an apology as he had texted the wrong Mike S adjacent in his phone list.
The conversation was not short , and we had a great catch up as a result of a mistake. It's very easy to say next week or next month and all of a sudden nothing actually happens. As I get older in some ways I get lazier, almost preferring TV to socialising. I am on the final series of "Vikings" and have finished several others but have others to watch, although I can't bingewatch in reality.
I'm also quite surprised how the spellchecker on this blog , misses some things and seemingly autocorrects using the wrong word. For instance "bank" became "back" which could prove a little embarrassing.
Anyway today for the first time in months I played a CD. CDs are convenient but actually need to be close to hand and not in boxes or drawers. I ended up playing several starting about nine o'clock and going through til finishing work. I finished with Roxy Music's awesome soundscape "Avalon" which has one of the most unreadable covers I have seen , and on the way included three compilations "This Is Soul" , an Motown summer promo and "Fools Gold" (Chiswick Chartbusters) but I played the Louise Distras "Street Revolution" EP about four times. I met her at The Cluny (see here) and we had a great crack on , so I am going to share "Solidarity" , a live take of the closer from that EP.
Saturday, 7 December 2019
That's how I feel reading "On Some Faraway Beach" the David Sheppard biography of Brian Eno. Two weeks in I'm only up to page 140 of 450. The thing is the writing is excellent and interesting and unskimmable, you want to read every word. Roxy Music were probably the band I was furthest into combining so many stylish elements visually, lyrically and musically. It's just the typeface and setting makes it difficult to read many pages at one sitting, but I do actually love it.
I am just passing Brian Eno's time with Roxy Music and flowing into "No Pussyfooting" which features two twenty minute drone pieces "The Heavenly Music Corporation" and "Swastika Girls" his wonderful album with Bob Frip and his first solo "song" album "Here Come The Warm Jets". One of the pieces on "No Pussyfooting was accidentally played backwards by John Peel and in the deluxe CD version you have that option as well as a half speed (so double length take.
So included a part of "The Heavenly Music Corporation" and I often listen to this to go to sleep to, no hooks, nothing that grabs your attention but , in my opinion, an amazing wash of sound.
Monday, 2 December 2019
Humphrey Bogart is the only person I have ever seen who could light up a cigarette and still look cool. This might be an odd intro to a blog post but it is highly relevant as it's inspired by the book I am reading, "On Some Faraway Beach" the Brian Eno biography by David Sheppard.
It is just talking about the first Roxy Music album , and although the songs mostly follow the standard rock time 4/4 time format with solid rhythm (the longest vowel-less word I know) backing from Graham Simpson and Paul Thompson most of the songs don't contain standard choruses. I'd never really noticed it before but it is true , and if you have a copy listen to it and if you haven't got a copy get one.
The closing song on the album is Bryan Ferry's wonderful tribute to Bogart, "2HB" (nothing to do with pencils) but it is a great song and I just wanted to share that this frosty Monday morning.Ferry also did a solo version so I will share that, the song and the soundscapes and sentiments are so perfect.
Thursday, 22 August 2019
That's the colour of the sky this morning. As you can tell I have not got that much to write about. Listening to Huw Stephens on 6Music but a lot of the music is just passing me by but was impressed by a new one by DJ Shadow (ft De La Soul) "Rocket Fuel" so some good has come of me switching on the radio this morning.
So basically it's go out , pick up train tickets , go to work and that's my Thursday.
I have ordered "Another Green World" on vinyl to complete my Roxy Music related collection (first album , "For Your Pleasure" and "Viva" all from Vinyl Guru in Newcastle) and they sound a lot better that I thought even with the slight paint mark on "Editions of You" (it was second hand and cheap and plays fine). It's amazing what watching a Brian Eno documentary can cause you to do, while it's not exactly advertising but it did influence me and "Another Green World" is coming via Amazon Prime.
There's a little Roxy on my Instagram posts here and here
So we obviously go with "Rocket Fuel" this morning.
Wednesday, 10 July 2019
Can anything be truly original.?
This question is usually asked about art forms and will have been debated and answered by people far more qualified and intelligent than I. If you ask the question on Google you get this list but I am just going to put down a few of my thoughts on this.
The question came into my head last night and I started wondering about it.
Science (I know that's a huge umbrella) is probably the main area where someone can be truly original in methods for discovering existing things and creating new ones, but it still works within an existing framework.
Religion is usually based on some kind of moral code with an off world figurehead and an on world leader group. AGain based on a defined framework.
Then we come to art. Thom Yorke once said Radiohead were going to dispense with melody, but I still hear tunes in their work. Surrealism takes us away from the norm but it still anchors itself in familiarity. If it didn't you could not connect with a desired audience.
That is usually the point of everything, is to share and connect in some way, whether to benefit, control or make money.
Sometimes simple board games require true originality (I'm thinking Edward De Bono's "L" game), but again they start with the defined framework of a board.
All art is a rearrangement of existing letters of the alphabet and grouping them into words, and in music you have a set number of notes augmented by sounds from nature and electronic devices , and as soon as it becomes liked it becomes familiar and becomes part of the framework.
This is just a few thoughts with no real conclusion and is not very original but I just wanted to put this down.
For some reason Roxy Music's second album "For Your Pleasure" has come to mind and while I was thinking firstly "Editions of You" with Brian Eno's synthesiser sol , I then ping ponged between the sinister title song and "The Bogus Man" and I will go for the latter with the 2011 tour visuals.
Sunday, 18 November 2018
So that's basically what I'm going to follow, Krista had annotated hers with years and events but maybe mine wont be that detailed, though hopefully it will provide you with a little insight into what makes me tick. Although this will be albums it is not necessarily my favourite album list, just albums that mean something to me and I wouldn't grow tired of. It also dates me fairly and squarely in the late sixties, early seventies but that's just the nature of the beast.
So here goes:
- Future Games by Spirit: Still my favourite album of all time and it's sort of a film for the ears featuring dialogue from Star Trek and Sci-Fi "B" Movies with some fine songs and plying. I still listen to it a lot and it still makes my mind fly.
- Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix Experience: An absolutely gorgeous cornucopia of blues, space rock and containing his take on Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" which must rate as the best cover version ever, a double album that again takes you places that you want to be.
- Live At San Quentin by Johnny Cash: My dad introduced me to Johnny Cash, and my friend Chris Waring reinforced that, although he was not deemed cool by my school contemporaries, though he is now. This is one of his live prison albums and just encapsulates the outlaw spirit that a lot of us would like to live.
- Stranded by Roxy Music: Always one of my favourite bands, and though this was the first without Brian Eno in contains what is probably their finest song "Mother of Pearl" and that is something that would have to be in my music collection.
- Quadrophenia by The Who: Their second concept album which actually makes a lot more sense than "Tommy" and contained a photo story book about Jimmy the Mod ending up on Brighton beach, which I spent time on when I was down there. Lots of unforgettable songs with motifs for each band member, each representing a facet of Jimmy's "quadrophenia".
- Blood on the tracks by Bob Dylan: There are lots of choices for Dylan but this has "Lily,Rosemary and The Jack of Hearts" one of my favourites story songs that I never tire of, and "If You See Her, Say Hello" which still makes me think about my split with my first girlfriend. The album was about Dylan's divorce so no surprise there.
- Scary Monsters and Super Creeps by David Bowie: Again not even my favourite Bowie album but a consistently excellent one with not a dud on there. Maybe tomorrow I would have chosen differently but I wouldn't complain if you put this album on.
- Li'l Beethoven by Sparks: This is just like a box of musical fireworks. Sparks always surprise and delight and bring a smile to your face and this is probably my favourite album of theirs.
Saturday, 28 July 2018
I switched on 6Music and Chris Hawkins was going to play a seldom heard Roxy Music classic. I wasn't too sure what it would be, but it turned out to be "Trash" the lead single from their first comeback album "Manifesto" . The opening two songs were worth the price of the album on their own, and the single "B" side features a slow take on "Trash" ("Trash 2") but I liked the brooding"Manifesto" title track even better, and still do. Roxy could never hang on to bassists so I think that's Gary Tibbs in the video who also was in Adam and The Ants if I remember rightly (mentioned in "Ant Rap").
It's early Saturday morning and rain has stopped for now. Today I am going to hit the Library to see about downloading their eBooks and visiting the Newcastle Food Bank to see what they need for the School Holidays. I can't believe that we are one of the richest coutries in the would an government policies force people into food poverty. The thing is my disposable income is getting less as well and that sort of thing is very bad for the economy, when disposable income drops, the economy shrinks, and companies cut back on workforces further reducing economic capacity.
Anyway it's weekend, and as usual I'm up early instead of just lying in, but it is so hot that sleep is not really an option. I will spend some time noodling on keyboards and guitar in the hope of actually getting some songs down to put on Soundcloud.
Today I am determined to not buy any vinyl. My collection is complete. Really.
Though I saw this beautiful limited edition copy of "Anthem of The Sun" by The Greatful Dead in Beyond Vinyl yesterday so just had to have it. My instagram post of it is here.
Have a great Saturday
Tuesday, 5 September 2017
Today was the first time for a long time that theweather has affected my walking. It didn't help that I was feeling really tired this morning despite being in bed by ten last night. It was my friend Lynn's birthday so I walked to hers and dropped off a birthday card before walking across the park to catch the bus. As I'm sitting typing this I have done 6.5K steps so thats;'s above average anyway, although I am still 500 steps short of what my targert will be so I have to do some more walking. This morning in was pouring, now it's like a summer's day so perfect for actually walking , so I should be able to get a few steps in.
The good thing about getting the bus is that I can watch some TED talks (and managed three today) including the one below.
Anyway although I am being relatively lazy , I am sure that I will recoup the steps and listen to lots more albums. I sold another two albums on my Discogs site (it's here if you fancy anything).
I decided to let you have a listed to "Sol Caliente" by Quiet Sun from the album "Mainstream", Phil Manzanera's pre Roxy Music band. I was thinking it was sunny and I always loved the "Sol Caliente" concept, it is not a word you tend to associate with the sun.
Anyway enjoy this gorgeous evening
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
This post is part challenge but part something I want to do. It's my birthday and usually you do something special on your birthday. I'm starting this at 6.10 am and will finish it tonight. The challenge as I said before is to write my best blog post ever, but how do you do that? Should it be short and punchy , should it be epic and informative? I know it will be somewhere in between as I have had some thoughts about it and now is the time where the words have got to flow from my fingers to produce this post. The thing is, it wont be edited, these are the words that are coming out, and this is actually part of what may be my best post ever, although you can always say that because if you check out my first posts, they were quite brief, and the observations of single points usually.
Today I tend to ramble a bit more, like today was my birthday and had a lovely surprise at work when my friends bought me a very nice cake which I managed to divide up using plastic knives (we really need to get real knives) , also I have had lots of messages from lovely friends around the world, and close to home, which gives a wonderful feeling that there is so much love and good will among the people I know. I always try to be positive and look for the good in things and today, and the past couple of weeks have made that extremely easy for me.
So what makes a good blog post, I've not written fiction, and reporting on something (like the awesome GOAT gig on Monday with my friends Jon and Julie is not a thing for something memorable, the gig itself was memorable but my scribblings could never really do it justice.
So what is left , well it's good to keep positive and throughout like there are often things that aren't people that have an effect of you and are things that you want to share with others, and one of the best things in life is sharing things with people, because that get's you talking and helps with the initial lasting hooks and threads of friendships and relationships. It may be a place , an event, a book , a Tv program or a film. ALl of these thing we can all share in.
The sentiment at the top is from a Bryan Ferry song, not one of my favourites but a wonderful line, and sometimes you would just love people to be here with you but that cannot be because of where they are or what they are doing. It's not a bad thing and it is good to have that desire because it will get you out and get you socialising. So if you don't know these are a few of my favourite things:
It has similarities with other books such as Lord of The Rings and His Dark Materials, both of which I love but this is my personal favourite and will hopefully be reading it again soon.
|My Favourite Film|
|Spirit of Adventure|
So that's a few things that I like to give you a small insight into me. I hope you found this interesting, but be positive and look forwrd to tomorrow because the always great things waiting round the corner, it's just sometimes you have to go and find them , and when you do it feels absolutely brilliant.
Sunday, 20 April 2014
|Buy More Records|
Although later on I may be painting decking, depending on the weather. I hope it last a bit longer than in previous years when I finally do it , though I will publish photographs (of the said decking!)
I remember selling my EMI version of Anarchy in the UK by The Sex Pistols for £30 then buying the album on Virgin for £3 , the import single for £1.50 and still having £20 to spend! which brings me on to ....
|Cake at RPM|
Still it was a great atmosphere and I could have spent a lot of money, which I will do when it's a little quieter.
Came home and cleaned the decking again so it should be ready for painting today or tomorrow. So after this I am going back to my bed, and going to have a bit more sleep.