Saturday, December 31, 2011

Diddy's Disco


When we were lads, the pub that was the nursery of our drinking, just next to the school, threw a disco every New Year's Eve. The DJ was Diddy Dave the barman, a diminutive Lancastrian who had played the pubs and clubs of  the North West in his youth and would consequently sometimes scatter a couple of northern soul classics in amongst the better known Tamla Motowns, Town Called Malices and Come On Eileens of our requesting. The Weather Girls 'It's Raining Men' I recall was a particular favourite of his - and no, 'he never married'. That dance floor in the public bar by the jukebox where the pool table usually sat was truly one of the greatest of my life, all spilt beer and sweat and hormones and cheap perfume on the girls from school done up to their nines. At midnight you were licensed to kiss every single one of them on the lips and they didn't even mind. Never such paradise again.

Now New Year's Eves are, as I have related here before, cosy indoors affairs that came as a mighty relief after so many over-priced nights in chocker London pubs with vomit and violence and hung-upness at best always just round the corner, in our difficult twenties, in our insecure thirties, and not a cab to be found gone midnight.

So - I've done another booze shop. And Mrs H's bezzie is joining us, which'll be nice. And the girlies will want to stay up too, now they're bigger.

Meanwhile Diddy Dave, I'd wager - long-since retired - will be playing cards at Hookhills Community Centre, then home for an early night.

This one's for him.

HNY to you all.

The Weather Girls - 'It's Raining Men' (1982)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Finally, From Clarence



No man is a failure who has friends

Merry Christmas, lovely people x

Friday, December 23, 2011

Yeah Baby


I'm a bit late, sorry.  I've been watching Local Hero on the telly; *sigh* but I love love love that film. Candles lit, feet curled at the foot of the sofa with Mrs H sat at the end; a beer, well, perhaps two. Much needed after a week of spending money I do not have and stoking up debt for a cold January.

Oh lift us 'Retha, lift us, lift us - don't let me be the Grinch.

Traditional Ghost post.

From Ronco - The Perfect Christmas Gift x

Aretha Franklin - 'Kissing By The Mistletoe' (1961)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Alma'



Here's a spooky little tale for Christmas that me and my girlies loved when we first saw it last year.

They're about to make a full length version, but I can't believe it'll top this.

Friday, December 16, 2011

August Christmas


Heard this for the first time just three days ago.

Mind, I can't listen to him without thinking of the Radio One Roadshow, Torre Abbey Meadows, Torquay 1982: when Mike Read Mike Read 275-285 opened proceedings with 'Stool Pigeon'.

It's not a very Christmassy memory, I'll grant ye.

I'm stumbling from a pub lunch to a nice-parents-from-the-school Christmas social drinkies tonight, so wish me well - I will almost certainly (inadvertedly) swear and make inappropriate remarks, much to Mrs H's chagrin.

August Darnell - 'Christmas On Riverside Drive' (1981)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Jones

Righteous!

And thanks to Ye Anciente Vinyl District competition and the splendid people at Daptone Records I have this on 7" single.

I must have been a very good boy that year.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 'Ain't No Chimneys In The Projects' (2009)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Yule Love

"He's behind you!"
Those of you who don't 'do' Twitter (and I wish you would, we'd have such fun) may have missed my link to this ace recent interview with Darlene Love.

Meanwhile, written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry & Phil Spector here is possibly The Greatest Christmas Pop Record Of All Time...

Darlene Love - 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' (1963)

Friday, December 09, 2011

The Smiling Hour


You know if silence was golden
You couldn't raise a dime

Mose Allison - 'Your Mind Is On Vacation' (1976)

Friday, December 02, 2011

High Tide


Don't ya think the best thing about this is the way it starts just like the original before the stutter-crash! of Portishead's entrance at 0.12?

In a mostly dull week of darkening days that dragged, one of a few get-me-through Radio Moments was hearing this late Wednesday night on Claire Anderson's Late Lounge.

Drink news: I was forced to crack the emergency Guinness before the school quiz last night, so I'm imbibing a London Pride prior to a proper sit down with Senor Pinot in a bit. He sends hugs.

Paul Weller - 'Wild Wood (The Sheared Wood remix)' (1994)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spread Your Tiny Wings And Fly Away


This time last year a great belt of snow was sweeping south across Britain and even London was in for a good dusting. November 2011 it seems will bow out in more traditional drizzle and gloom.

Have your parents musical tastes left a lasting legacy on you? These people think so (thanks Simon for pointing me at the piece). Tim Jonze's bit in particular leapt out at me because I have that very Country Classics record he mentions and I like that he called Anne Murray's 'Snowbird' a 'beautiful song', because it is.

It was written by the Canadian singer-songwriter Gene MacLellan, the rest of whose oeuvre I'm afraid has passed me by.

We shouldn't let its 70s Radio 2 JY Prog playlist associations blind us to its brilliance.

I'd love to hear Richard Hawley have a go at it.

See ya then, November.

Anne Murray - 'Snowbird' (1970)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Equally Cursed And Blessed


This is good.

I like it.

Bit frosty.

Swede poppy.

And continued evidence of the all-pervasive influence of 'Be My Baby' by The Ronettes (the unassailably positioned, number one best pop record of all time, ever).

I am grateful to my good friend Dr. Al for bringing it to my attention on a CD he made for me back in April (ah Spring, when hope was ours).

I shall need something warming tonight; that chill's got in me bones.

Lykke Li - 'Sadness Is A Blessing' (2011)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cute, In A Stupid Ass Way


Well look, this has all been very nice but I really must get on.

Here's Jacques Brel (difficult, bohemian, Belgian) via Scott W. fantasising about what it'd be like to be a proper pop star.

English lyrics by Mort Shuman, who knew a thing or two about popular music himself.

Marvellous.

Scott Walker - 'Jackie' (1967)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The 10 Best Pop Records Of All Time


The more assiduous amongst you may have noticed the germ of this in comments over at Drew's not long since.

Specifically, a Mr 'JC' asked 'wouldn't it be great to get an old-fashioned arguement going....not on the internet but down the pub.....just what are the ten most perfect pop songs????'

Last night I met, for the first time, a fellow blogger - a person who, until now, I have only known through these internets. The very surface of reality did not, it seems, fracture - though judging by how it feels this morning, my skull possibly did.

We have resolved this burning issue for you.

On a crappy piece of notepaper (see above) from Drew's capacious bag (I do not know what else was in there - maybe JC), the two of us fuelled by the elation of meeting and quite a few pints of London Pride, we agreed The List.

Clearly, there were Guidelines:

1. Pop records - not country, or rock, or soul, or swing or dance or easy listening; Pop (we'll save the debate about what 'Pop' is until next time. Though can I just say? I think we all know)

2. Big and famous and, er, Popular.  Pop is not 'obscure'. We all know 'lost pop gems'. For the most part these are adored by a few thousand people. They are wonderful, life-enhancing and special. They are probably some of the best records ever made. They are not in this list.

3. We had to agree. Unless both of us approved a record, it could not make the list.

4. Nothing Scottish (this was just to wind up JC. Only kidding.)

Here, then, are the 10 Best Pop Records Of All Time.

1. The Ronettes - 'Be My Baby'

The unassailably positioned, number one best pop record of all time, ever.

The rest are, as they say, In No Particular Order...

2. The Beach Boys - 'God Only Knows'

OK, it is kind of, to do it an injustice, a 'ballad'. But it must be on this list. You may take it for granted you've heard it so much. Just listen to it again. Loud.

3. Blondie - 'Heart Of Glass'

Some debate over whether this was actually 'disco'. Debate short-lived. Clearly this is pop.

4. The Shangri-Las - 'Leader Of The Pack'

Universally acknowledged by everyone we mentioned it to in the pub (well, Harriet and Tom the nice young couple on the next table anyway).

5. Isley Brothers - 'This Old Heart Of Mine'
 
6. Dionne Warwick - 'Walk On By'

7. Jackson 5 - 'I Want You Back'

8. The Monkees - 'I'm A Believer'

Neil Diamond!

9. ABBA - 'Waterloo'

We agreed ABBA were the greatest pop group of the 1970s. Some debate over which song to go for. Agreed our favourites were all ballads, therefore inappropriate. Couldn't think of a poppier one than this.

10. The La's - 'There She Goes'

or possibly

10. Madonna - 'Like A Prayer'


I wanted a Beatles song. Or 'Wichita Lineman'. Or Billy Fury. Drew vetoed them. I'm really not sure The La's deserve to be in such illustrious company. Possibly Madonna does. Harriet and Tom on the next table thought we should have 'something more modern'. Maybe number 10 should be left blank 'for your own choices'. Also, by this stage it was Drew's round. Again.

-------

Anyway, I'm sure you're all pleased we've done this because obviously it'll save you ever having to have this discussion again.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Full Circles


I restored this to myself today, an album I borrowed and taped from a ramshackle amateur 'record library' kept in a cupboard in a student hall in an old building in another lifetime, when I was just 18.

Back then I played it to bits; still have the C90 (Billie Holiday on the 'B' side - one sad winter Sunday as she sang 'All of me/Why not have all of me?' I told a girl, smugly, 'Ah, but you can't, can you?'. Sheesh).

Going forward by looking back; and there's sweet old music in other places too that's new to me.

The Jim Hall Trio - 'Circles' (1981).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Royale With Cheese

Double O groovy!

Herb Alpert - 'Casino Royale' (1971)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Newport Up


That kind of thick drizzle that clings has come in over SW London tonight.

I'm a bit no-time this-time this week: just enough to pop this up for you. From Newport '56 - "the greatest performance of [Ellington's] career... It stood for everything that jazz had been and could be."

A davyh vinyl rip at 320kbps.

Gee baby, ain't I good to you.

Duke Ellington - 'Newport Jazz Festival Suite: Part 2 - Blues To Be There' (1956)

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Smiling Hour


Set 'em up pally.

Sammy Davis Jr. - 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head?' (1960)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Bouncing With Bud


I've been computerising more vinyl - the sound on this Blue Note LP!

And this track?

Amazing.

Explodes a grey day.

Max Roach on drums.

Bud Powell - 'Un Poco Loco' (1951)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Reel Life (Just Around The Corner)


Have you dropped in on Press Play & Record yet? Its kind hearted, pseudonymous, author has been uploading entire NME mail-order cassettes from the 1980s, with full tracklistings and artwork (see above) throughout October.

I've loved being reunited with, amongst many others, The Mighty Reel, Straight No Chaser, Pocket Jukebox and The Tape With No Name all of which at some point I had, or knew, or tape-to-taped, or cribbed tracks from, but have since lost.

I've been reminded of many lost gems, as well as of the wonderful Peel-like eclecticism the magazine embraced in those distant, glory days.

Pay a visit, you must.

---

Inspired by hearing again the speedy alt. version of this* that opens The Mighty Reel, I dug out my LP of Imperial Bedroom for the potato-roasting slot on Sunday; hadn't played it in years.

*Vinyl rip, contains crackles.

[Thanks to ally for the original site tip-off]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Reggae # 31


Rush I some booze.

Tappa Zukie - 'Rush I Some Dub' (1976)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog

Torquay seafront, Monday

A strange few days of storms and, for the moment, calm; thundering to Devon under vast Constable skies to see my Mum in hospital and look after my Dad, not in the best of mental health and not coping well on his own. Back and forths to the hospital, making sure he ate something, throwing out all the food in the fridge with Best Before dates of faded memory.  If you have elderly relatives, you'll know the score. She's home now at least, struggling to navigate a paper bag-full of medication and Doing Too Much given two days ago she had three blood transfusions. It's a worry.

Thank you, Sir Richard, for this one - in the dark last night somewhere on the M4 between Bristol and Reading, me and a service station coffee and the blue light of my dashboard.

Richard Hawley - 'Don't Get Hung Up In Your Soul' (2009)

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Smiling Hour


From the pen of Tony 'Crossroads Theme' Hatch; Britain's Burt Bacharach, or the 70s Simon Cowell.

A davyh vinyl rip (crackles!) from the original Capitol LP.

Love that cover shot!

What would you say to a little drink?

Peggy Lee - 'Call Me' (1966)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Re-Make/Re-Model


Mojo Filter writes...

"Just a little tribute to the great electronic adventurer himself. I'm up for trying for those ultra-blue harmonic feedback-type fequencies that seem to come out of the shpeeeker. VEry Bluely in mine eareyes. L.O.V.E, love !!"

Yes.

I L.O.V.E. the way this blisses out/extends the frustratingly short but genius original whilst staying true to its spirit - a fine, fine piece of work that I'm sure Mr Eno likes.

Brian Eno - 'Another Green World (The Blue Realm remix)' (2011)

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Smiling Hour


Blue-blooded Blue Note, companeros - 100% proof.

I shall require a beverage.

Thelonious Monk - 'Straight, No Chaser' (1951)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yet Never Blossom


Here are four minutes in which legendary Young Marble Giant/Weekender Alison Statton, practically a patron saint of these pages, sings a melancholy melody over woozy synth, ambient noise and a plucked lute? uke? from Spike. It's Basil Kirchin's 'I Start Counting' for the Rough Trade generation, probably.

I love it.

Alison Statton & Spike - 'The Seed Remains' (1997)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nu Jazz Tuesday


I hadn't heard of Two Banks Of Four until yesterday and hadn't heard their music until today.

'I think this will be right up your street' writes glen grainger, whose splendid musical choices may also be sampled here.

And do you know what, given they're kinda mid-period Working Week meets Koop via St Germain, he's right, so right.

glen, you spoil us - thank you.

Two Banks Of Four - 'One Day' (2003)
Two Banks Of Four - 'Unclaimed' (2003)

[vocalist - Valerie Etienne]

Friday, October 07, 2011

5


This has been a blog on the internets for five of your Earth years. It's a long time, it's no time at all, it's flown by, it seems like forever.

I'd never have imagined I'd stick with it so long.

I've posted whatever I've been listening to and written about whatever I've been doing, thinking or feeling -  most of it stuff of little consequence - and you've kept dropping in, and I'm chuffed. I've said before and still maintain - your comments are the very best thing about this.

And thank you, fellow bloggers, for the music - there's been so much of it.....so many trails you've set me off on, so many previously unheard records I've taken entirely to my heart and now could not live without.

And when I've been blue you've made me laugh and when I've disappeared up my own arse (which I may well be currently doing) you have pulled me out (hmm, attractive image).

That's What - as the very great Burt Bacharach once said, or was it Carole Bayer Sager - Friends Are For.

Thank you.

Lograremos un gran final
No nos moveran
Sabiendo que vamos a vencer
Y venceremos
Y venceremos
Y venceremos...

Working Week - 'Venceremos (We Will Win) (jazz dance special 12" edition)' (1984).

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Bert Jansch (3rd Nov 1943 – 5th Oct 2011)



"Playing with Bert was like a long walk through the woods. Mysterious, ancient & natural. Leaves would fall but the sun could come out too" - Johnny Marr.

Bert Jansch - 'Running From Home' (1965)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Blog


Looking to avoid the cost of Mr Dyno-Rod, I spent most of yesterday morning trying to unblock our drain. Unsuccessfully.

I have a bruised and swollen forearm from trying to reach down the bloody thing and still imagine I can smell its vomity-oily smell, despite the two showers and bath I’ve had since.

Mid-work today I ran out of printer toner and have spent and hour and a half trawling round local shops looking for a replacement. They haven’t got one right now, but they can order one in.

There’s only cheese for lunch.

My life is impossibly glamorous.  

This calls for 80s indie.

The Flatmates – ‘Heaven Knows (Tranquiliser Mix)’ (1988)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Yeah Baby


We bless the weather and we bless it again, companeros - 29C in London today and though we know it won't last, that makes it kinda sweeter, in a way.

Here's something sultry I never thought I'd be posting in the dog-days of September.

I shall require a beverage and I shall require it chilled.

Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes - 'Summer Days' (1974)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indian Summer



Dave Brubeck - 'Indian Summer' (2007)

(He'll be 91 this December).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blue Monday


They've forecast 'unseasonably mild weather', though this morning's breaking kind of grey.

We'd best let McCoy Tyner's singing lines lift our spirits and lift 'em high on this beautiful, beautiful thing.

McCoy Tyner - 'She's Leaving Home' (1995)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Smiling Hour


Let there be you
Let there be me
Let there be oysters
Under the sea

Well, mussels - I'm having mussels again tonight. With big chunks of French bread and frites and cold white wine too, you know me. 

This song's been with me all my life - to begin with on this posthumous LP Dad had, with narrated bits by the BBC's Alan Dell between the songs and a big scratch on one side where the three year old me once bumped into the record player.

Battersea-born Shearing's light touch, the lovely lyric and Nat's easy vocal all make this pretty special, I'm sure you'll agree.

Here's to ducking bits off falling satellites.

Chin chin.

Nat 'King' Cole - 'Let There Be Love' (1961)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Seed And The Sower


I've been listening to a lot of Grant McLennan/Go-Betweens in the last few days.

It's not the anniversary of his death or anything, though I checked that because so often I find there's a spooky synchronicity in these things; something a little quirky did happen last night, mind.

I was knocking up a davyh tomato pasta and chatting with my lovely eldest daughter about Big Things like Death and God and The Universe (she'd had R.S during the day) when we veered off to the less profound but in my mind no less important subject of tomato soup.

She said she'd really like some more of that posh fresh one with basil in it from Waitrose and I said 'Hang on, we've more ripening tomatoes in this house right now than we know what to do with (see above), so rather than fork out for lar-di-dar stuff we can ill-afford, why don't we make our own?'.

Suddenly Grant, who had until this point been playing largely unheeded on the iPo in the background sang out, clear as a bell

I read about your death in the paper
When I was buying tomato seed

That fair stopped us in our tracks, I can tell you.

Grant McLennan - 'Hot Water' (1995)

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Smiling Hour


You know, sometimes only Tone will do.

And it's an early Pinot please bartender for I cannot face gin without lime, and dagnabbit we are out.

Tony Bennett - 'The Best Is Yet To Come' (1962)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ad Lib On Nippon


It's all turning out a tad frantic this week; no time to breathe, blog or blether on.

I'll tell you what though, this is lovely.

And there's a Japanese connection with the last post too!

It almost looks like I plan this stuff!

Horace Silver - 'Cherry Blossom' (1962)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Yeah Baby


This came to me kindly from glen grainger, oft to be found in the saloon bar at Dusty Sevens, in return for Weekend services rendered; it is a lush and lovely rare groove classic and a fine thing I think to get our autumn Fridays here on the road.

Cheers glen, and cheers, indeed, to us all.

Yasuko Agawa - 'L.A Night' (1984)

Monday, September 05, 2011

In Search Of Efmu


A year or two ago my good friend Dr Al. made a compilation CD for me with this track on it. I love it!

I hadn't heard of Efmu, and that's not unusual, but the frustrating thing has been trying to find out more about them and trying to get hold of more of their music.

They are on MySpace (yikes!) and I even went through the laborious process of signing up to the wretched thing in the hope that I could download the tracks there, but no dice (and sheesh if there's a less user-friendly 'social network' than MySpace then I've yet to hear about it; I cancelled my membership ten mins after setting it up).

They are based in Paris, a French/Latin American (?) duo (sometimes, see pic, trio?)  - guitar, percussion/sax; they are unsigned; they seem to have no website of their own; the only links you get by Googling them are to venues they are playing or have played (none in the UK); I am the only listener to their music (this track) on LastFM (!)

And since they describe their musical genre as 'acoustic/fusion/latin' they are right up my musical rue. 

Et alors....where can I get Efmu music?

Efmu - are you out there??

Efmu - 'Neva' (2005?)

Postscript: Dr Al. has been in touch. He says 'we stumbled on them in a bar in Paris years ago and liked them so much we bought a CD from them after the show'. But Efmu, do you have new music for us?

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Hello, I'm Back


You Tube user "TheLizzie12" writes - "I so love baddddddd Hollywood musicals of the 1970s, and there were plenty! This has to be one of the worst. In the UK, Coronation Street fans will be thrilled to see little Simon Barlow being picked up by Liv UIlman @ 0.11 and shouting "Whoah!" (ha ha)"

davyh writes - "A terrific Burt Bacharach tune is a terrific Burt Bacharach tune! And this (below) is a vinyl rip from Mrs H's original soundtrack LP! With gatefold sleeve, poster and lyric sheets! (but possibly that's not important right now). It's not Liv Ullman singing, of course. And as I'm sure the 'buffs' amongst you will know, the original Frank Capra movie is very special...".

Diana Lee - 'The World Is A Circle' (1973)

I've been wanting to post this for ages.

It'll get more downloads than anything else I've put here for months, you see.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gone West


'In my beginning is my end' wrote T.S Eliot in his Four Quartets poem 'East Coker', and I really don't know about that - but it would be true to say that 'Near East Coker is my holiday destination'.

There will be no jaunt SW France-ward for us this year, austere times and all that, and whilst I will miss the southern sunshine I will not much miss the 14 hour drive; instead tomorrow we pootle westward in England for a quiet week where the zider apples grow and an American poet's ashes rest. 

Late Summer, the golden light, lengthening shadows and a decent pint - you know the sort of thing.

Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon

Well, hopefully not that dark T.S - I'm looking for at least one barbecue and some nice sunsets.

Catherine Howe - 'In The Hot Summer' (1971)

Will Tweet anything that grabs me - and see you back here in September x

Monday, August 22, 2011

'French' Connection


The sample and the sampled...

A Tribe Called Quest - 'Luck Of Lucien' (1990)
Billy Brooks - 'Fourty Days' (1974)

Breaktastic.

Friday, August 19, 2011

L'Heure Souriante



I am eating moules tonight, with big hunks of French bread.

So Mrs H'll be on the salad*

And yes, I have started on the rosados.

I absolutely bloody love this.

Les Négresses Vertes - 'Face À La Mer (Massive Attack Remix Full Version)' (1993)

*unfortunate food poisoning incident, Ibiza 2002

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oui, C'est Ca


Françoise Hardy -  'Voilà' (1967)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Will The Doctor See Me Now?


Last night I had a dream about Nina Simone.

I was at her concert, walking the aisles of a huge arena-type venue.

There were many blocks of seats facing different directions and at least four grand pianos, each a different colour, on separate stages, so you couldn’t tell where she'd perform. This was distressing.

I wandered into a labyrinthine backstage area, blundered into a small room. Standing in it was Nina, waiting to go on stage.

Shocked, I apologised for intruding, told her I was lost. She said 'Think nothing of it'.

She said she’d be performing just out here, and pointed beyond the curtain.

I thanked her, kissed her hand and walked out to a block of seats sunk into a posh restaurant area, waiters in white tuxedos serving tables.

They said this was an exclusive viewing area carrying a $50 supplement. Feeling shabby, and not having $50, I shuffled away. Maybe I’d walk up to the back. A long way away, but at least I’d be facing the stage.

Suddenly Nina appeared. She gave the waiter a note. She said a young (sic) Englishman had come by, lost, and could they seat him in the restaurant area?

Realising it was me, the head waiter beckoned me to a table near the front. Would I like a drink? I ordered a gin and tonic. 

The lights dimmed. 

Nina’s performance began.

Nina Simone – ‘I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl (live)’ (1974)

[I have just ordered this album on vinyl, using vouchers kindly gifted for my birthday. It's coming from France. I hope it arrives not-too battered].

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yeah Baby


William De Vaughn - 'Be Thankful For What You've Got' (1974) 

[Acknowledgements to Robert Elms, who spun this on BBC Radio London this afternoon].

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nostalgia

Almost a billion people on Planet Earth have no access to clean drinking water.

Which rather puts the Lack Of Opportunity protestations of those who went 'free shopping' for HD TVs, DVD players and Nike trainers in London this week in perspective, for me.

Also, it appears that for most people at last.fm, Weekend are 'a punk/shoegaze/psychedelic band from San Francisco, CA'.  When surely as far as all sensible persons are concerned they are 'a group formed in 1981 by ex-Young Marble Giants’ vocalist Alison Statton, with Simon Booth (guitar) and Spike Williams (guitar & viola)' (I wrote that!).

Truly, the world is a mess.

Weekend - 'Nostalgia (81 demo)' (1981)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Peace Piece


All I feel like posting today.

Bill Evans - 'Peace Piece' (1958)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Come On And Do The Congas


From Cuba out of New York City baby - another from an ancient cassette.

No school like the old school, dos cervezas por favor.

Daniel Ponce - 'Oromí ' (1987)

Monday, August 01, 2011

I Dream Of Places Far Beyond...


Bebel Gilberto - 'August Day Song' (2000)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

46


Officially middle-aged blogger born same day as celebrated billionnaire author (hugs, Jo! Send money!) posts probably favourite ever 45 to commemorate 46th!

World is on holiday!

*Cuddles daughters, goes for curry, drinks gin*

x

Weekend - 'The View From Her Room' * (1982)
Weekend - 'Leaves Of Spring' (1982)

* "It's about a day when the rush hour traffic was going past outside my window and I had to keep the window open and hear it as it was so hot in the middle of last summer. There's an air of escape in it as well I think" - Alison Statton.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Reggae # 30


I've heard a lot of versions of this song, most of them terrible. But I like the Keyboard King's take very much, especially his rare, raggedy vocal.

And look, Camp Freddy came through with the beach record shack pic too!

Cause for celebration all round I'd say.

Is someone going to the bar?

Jackie Mittoo - 'Summer Breeze' (1974)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Old Woman Cooking Eggs


This is a reproduction of Diego Velázquez's painting An Old Woman Cooking Eggs which is in the National Gallery Of Scotland.

In his collection of short prose pieces themed around 'bequests' - from political commitment and atheism, to how to tell a good restaurant and the lost joys of outdoor sex - Where There's A Will  (50p last week from my local charity shop) John 'Rumpole Of The Bailey' Mortimer writes so beautifully about it in two pages I found so right that I've had a strong compulsion all week to quote from it at length here, and have now given into it.

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"To the proud stones of Greece and poet's imaginings other bequests must be added to make up the superhuman, mirror-resembling dream. I have a gallery of pictures in my head so that, if I went blind, I could still enjoy them. I would direct you to the National Gallery of Scotland, one of the least exhausting, most rewarding collections in the world that, in a few comfortably intimate rooms, contains more masterpieces to the square foot than you have the right to expect. Among the saints and great ladies, the naked beauties and the suffering martyrs, taking her rightful and honourable place is an old woman cooking eggs.

Velázquez went to Madrid in his twenties and very soon became a court painter, truthfully observing pale-lipped kings, overdressed infantas and the sad faces of the palace dwarfs. Before that he served five years apprenticeship to a Sevillian painter whose daughter he married and, taking time off from his religious paintings, looked hard and clearly into the kitchen.

The everyday scene in the Edinburgh gallery is lit in the sort of way the painter learned from Caravaggio, so that the objects in the kitchen achieve an extraordinary significance. The old woman has an aquiline, Sevillian nose, sharp eyes, a firm mouth and grey hair. The white cloth on her head and shoulders falls into soft folds on the coarse material of her dress. She has the suntanned, loose-skinned hands of her age but one of them holds an egg carefully and the other delicately points a small wooden spoon, ready to drip a little oil in which we can see eggs setting, their yolks and whites clear in the pan. An unsmiling peasant boy is carefully dripping in more oil and the old woman watches him anxiously. The miracle of the painting is in the exact and loving re-creation of oil, eggs and earthenware, the shine on the brass pots, the shadow of a knife on a china dish, the feeling of flesh and cloth. Forget all concerns about blessings or terrifying events occurring beyond the grave, this picture celebrates the significant moment when the eggs start cooking and another spoonful of oil has to be dribbled in.

The old woman, or someone very like her, turns up again in another of  Velázquez's kitchen scenes, this time in London's National Gallery. Her head is again covered with a white cloth and she is instructing a sulky and unwilling Martha on how to pound garlic and cook some fresh fish and more eggs. In a mirror we can see that Jesus has arrived at the door and is about to engage the no-doubt eager Mary in a conversation about life, death and the miracle of salvation. Far more interesting to the old woman is seeing that the fish is cooked properly, dinner is on the table in time and the garlic is well-pounded.

Velázquez went on to paint grander scenes. Venus, the goddess of Love, lies naked, admiring herself in a mirror held up by Cupid, presenting to us her splendid bottom. He painted kings on prancing horses and military triumphs such as the surrender of Breda and royal persons hunting wild boar. He became famous in Italy for his portait of Pope Innocent X, a merciless military commander. His final act was to decorate the Spanish Pavilion on the Isle of Pheasants for the marriage of the Infanta Maria Theresa.

Through all these great events, wars and festivals, the lives of kings and Popes, the old woman remained busy in the kitchen, dealing with the important things in life, such as the exact amount of olive oil needed to fry eggs." 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Take The Box



Boy, does that title take on a horrible irony now.

What a talent, what a terrible waste.

I maintain this is her finest song.

Sleep soft Amy x

Friday, July 22, 2011

Yeah Baby


Roebuck "Pop" Staples and his daughters - Mavis, Yvonne and Cleo - had been steadily building a cult following for their gospel and message songs when they teamed up with producer Al Bell and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section in 1970. Within a year they hit the top of the pop charts and their message reached around the world. This record is a chronicle of that amazing breakthrough period.     
(original sleeve notes)

I haven't been able to dislodge this from my fuzzy old head since Mondo's lopsided quiz this morning, so it's an inevitable post I'm afraid.
It's hardly rare or unheard, but at least here in a davyh vinyl rip, with that bass-high-up-in-the-mix sound that all Stax LPs seem to have.

School's out for summer!

I shall require a beverage.


The Staple Singers - 'I'll Take You There' (1972)