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A Vodun video to make me smile

A bit of papa-pride in this video. Made by my son Joshua and his partner Noomi. Please feel free to repost.

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Genre-bender from Hatful of Rain

UnknownFrom the first banjo pluck on Hatful of Rain’s new album “Songs of the Lost and Found” you are dragged into the Appalachians. Then Chloe Overton starts singing and it all feels a bit Nashville. But there is something not-quite-American about it. Is there a tad — just a tad — of British folk in there?

This third album by Hatful of Rain delivers what it promises — a combination of “English, Celtic and American inspirations”. So “Start Again”, the first track, is Appalachian/Nashville. The third track, “Devil’s Dyke”, is laid-back British folk about World War I. Further down the list you get “Ponderosa Pine” – a bit of gentle bluegrass.

Before that, though, is “Gathering Wood”, a haunting Celtic(-ish) instrumental that turns a bit Appalachian, which is hardly surprising given the relations between the two styles – different but the same.

In some ways it is all summed up by a track called  “Won’t be Druv ” which will have American listeners (and some Brits) scratching their heads. It is American banjo and fiddle all the way – but the title is the  unofficial motto of the English county of Sussex.

It means “we won’t be driven”, which is certainly clear from this very satisfying album of  complementary genres that go together is very very well.

Trump and Pink Floyd

DbgAmvZVAAAJZRUFor a glorious few hours on April 23 the world of Donald Trump and Pink Floyd collided — and it wasn’t a bad trip. It all began with the very, very bizarre White House picture above and a man named Hunter Lurie.

“Which Pink Floyd album is this” Mr Lurie ,  or @hunterlurie tweeted, triggering an onslaught of magnificent musical imagination and — shall we say — less than flattering appraisals of the Trump presidency. Here are some of the best:

Dark Side of the Goons

Obscured by Clowns

A Momentary Lapse of Treason

Wish You Weren’t Here

Meddlers

The Division Bellends

The Delicate Sound of Plunder

A Dossierful of Secrets

A few people took the remit beyond what Mr Lurie had suggested and proffered song titles and lyrics:

The Lunatic is on the Grass

Careful with that Shovel, Emmanuel

See Enemy Play

Just Another Prick Builds a Wall

It was all rather wonderful and just 14 hours in Mr Lurie’s tweet had 1,500 comments, 11,000 retweets and 32,000 likes/hearts.

It is a very strange photo. The two women in high-heels moving away from their husbands in opposite directions as if in a separate frame make it particularly eerie. Twin Peaks and Six Feet Under got a lot of references.

When the music’s just starting

UnknownRecord Store Day is  a mixed moment for me. On the one hand, I love the idea of a day designated for the celebration of vinyl (my collection can be seen here). The B side is that it has been taken over by what we used to call “The Man”.  Record companies pump out rubbish from their archives and some collectors buy stuff just to sell it on eBay a day or two later for five times what it is worth.

Nonetheless, I make the trek each year to my local vinyl shop — the fabulous In The Groove — and buy something. This year it turned out to be a treat — “The Doors – Let’s Feed Ice Cream to the Rats”.

The thing about this recording is that it is early Doors, a concert held at The Matrix in San Francisco on March 7 and 10, 1967. The band had barely been playing for a year. Guitarist Robby Krieger (underrated in the guitarist Pantheon in my opinion) reckons the first gig was a Christmas party in November 1965 at a Hughes Aircraft site where keyboardist Ray Manzarek’s  mother worked. They played jazz standards. It was Jim Morrison’s first outing.

So this recording is at most 15 months after The Doors arrived. It was held at The Matrix, which is something of a storied venue. Located on Fillmore Street, it was famed for launching Jefferson Airplane, but also hosted an amazing set of musicians from Big Brother and the Holding Company vis Santana to the likes of The Velvet Underground.

To the modern listener, this wonderful recording sound a tad odd in one respect. After Morrison and Co. have belted out a magnificent song, the audience response is one of polite, appreciative clapping. It is miles away from the raucous response in arena gigs to come. This is probably because The Doors were newish and the audience sophisticated in rock terms.

This doesn’t detract from the album, just adds a quaint quirk. It is The Doors, after all, and the performances of songs like “Summer’s Almost Gone” and “Moonlight Drive” are frankly what one would expect from a bad that it is increasingly evident was way before its time.

Here is the track list:

Side 1: Unhappy Girl, Moonlight Drive, People Are Strange, My Eyes Have Seen You, Summer’s Almost Gone

Side 2: I Can’t See Your Face In My Mind, When The Music’s Over,Let’s Feed Ice Cream to the Rats – The End

 

 

 

Nothing compares, indeed

Prince wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U” but never released it. Now, The Prince Estate has put it together with video of him and The Revolution practising (if you can call what he does in high heels that).

Waste of time my saying anything about it. Just watch and enjoy.

Stagger(ing) Nick Cave concert film

This is one of those “I wasn’t expecting that” moments. A distant appreciation of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds has just become a fixation.

Audiences in selected cinemas worldwide were served up a treat on April 12 with the broadcast of “Distant Sky”,  the concert film of Cave’s October 2017 concert at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen. What a ride it was.

Longtime Cave fans would a) not have been surprised and b) might have wanted a bit more of the early post-punk stuff. But for me — a relative newbie — it was a treasure, a rocky, progy, punky delight dominated by the charismatic Cave teetering in front of his ecstatic Danish audience. Behind him, music maestro Warren Ellis and the rest of  the Seeds hammered out a magnificent orchestral set, one moment soothing the soul, the next setting the heart racing to near attack levels.

I realise that this will be controversial, but one surprise for me was the near prog rock element of some of the performance starting with the opener “Anthrocene” and moving through “Tupelo”, “Jubilee Street” and even the older “The Weeping Song”. Starting slow and building up into soaring crescendos, I kept thinking of Sigur Ros, but only in terms of format.

Cave’s rapport with the audience was special, even dragging dozens up on stage for a final “Stagger Lee”. He was truly mesmerising. Count me now as a real fan – better late than never.

SET LIST:

  1. (feat. Else Torp on vocals)
  2. Encore:

 

Fine looking guitars

Ok, I would not normally post an ad. Indeed, there is a part of me that is hesitant to do so. But these guitars are just so lovely, I had to.  The music is not bad either. I got no money for this, nor a guitar. Just posted something that I liked. Forgive me and enjoy.