Sunday, 16 June 2019

My Father's Name is Dad


Dad's just rung. He thanked me for his card and then proceeded to tell me that he's going travelling round Ireland at the end of the month. He's 83. Respect. I think the last time he took the car on the Holyhead to Dublin ferry he was driving a 1963 Ford Anglia. And they still had the Punt. Cars and currency may change but my dad's determination is locked-on. There will be stories when he gets back; to be sure, to be sure.


The Fire - My Father's Name is Dad (1968)

Friday, 14 June 2019

Dotage


My love of David Bowie is based, essentially, on a handful of albums and singles from, in the main, the period 1970-1975. Yes, I know this is shortsighted of me and, yes, I know he was so much more than that. But, like opera, Shakespeare, and beetroot, I think I've been saving latter period Bowie for my dotage: in effect, Bowies's dotage if he did but know it. 

This may or may not turn into a feature that I'll return to on rainy days and Mondays. Or even Fridays. As a holding statement I'll just put this out for today. It's taken from Heathen - his 22nd studio album. Released seventeen years ago and produced by Tony Visconti, I'm still to be convinced that Everyone Says Hi was not co-written with Ian Broudie. Have a jolly Friday everyone.

David Bowie - Everyone Sys Hi (2002)

Monday, 10 June 2019

Leave Your Stepping Stones Behind


Bob Dylan recorded It's All Over Now, Baby Blue in 1965. And since then it's been covered by every man and his dog. Far be it for me to tell you which versions are worth seeking out, and those that belong on the turkey farm - I'll let you make your own minds up.
That said, I am rather partial to Chris Robinson's version. I'm not too sure if the former Black Crowe ever released it officially, but this was recorded in a New York radio station a couple of years back. Check the beards out, too.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood - It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (2016)


We're a man down: one of our blogging fraternity -  The Swede - is not too good at the moment. I'm sure we all wish him a speedy return to form, and hope he's back in harness before too long.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

More Cunning than the Raven


Moose Allain regularly appears on my Twitter feed. His cartoons put a smile on my face most days. A must when wading knee deep in imbecilic rants from the POTUS; not to mention right wing ramblings from several of our own swivel-eyed loons.

So, crows. What's the story morning glory? And just how do you tell a crow from a raven? Well, look no further. Proof, if proof were needed, that 'Are We There Yet?' also has a charter to inform, educate, and entertain. It can also shoehorn a song from the fabulous Black Crowes into any blog post at the drop of a hat. You're welcome.

The Black Crowes - Remedy (1992)

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Imagine

Dirty John

There are a number of songs I don't need to hear again. And at least two of them were written by John Lennon. Imagine is one; mawkish. Woman is another; anodyne. The latter was lifted from Lennon's Double Fantasy album just days after he was assassinated, and put out as a single. Whereupon it went straight to Number One; of course it did.

Double Fantasy was Lennon's first album in over five years. He'd turned his back on music in 1975 and had been working part-time for Warburtons. His new record, released only three weeks before an infamous autograph hunter lay in wait for the ex-Beatle outside the Dakota building, had generally been ignored by the press and public alike. Mark Chapman, however, changed all that.

But if you take Lennon's killing out of the equation, it's a very ordinary album; considering it was made by a very extraordinary man. It's slushy for the most part and a bit of a let down. With the exception of one track. I'm Losing You had been demo'd by Lennon with members of Cheap Trick and it was John at his lowdown best; dirty John, if you will.

But when it came to the finished studio version the rough edges had all been sanded down and his studio musicians had taken all the life out of it. Shame on them.

The Cheap Trick version appeared about 20 years later tucked away on an anthology. And it's still classic Lennon, sounding just how you've always wanted John Lennon to sound. Imagine if the rest of the album had been this good.

John Lennon with Cheap Trick - I'm Losing You (1980)

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Hitchcockian

RH

Robyn Hitchcock's tweets have been most amusing this week; you see, he has a doppelgänger - another grey haired English singer songwriter of a certain vintage, no less. I'll let the polka dotted former Soft Boy explain.


NL

And, for the avoidance of doubt and any conspiracy theorists out there who say that you never see Robyn Hitchcock and Nick Lowe together in the same room...

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Not the Cheshire Regiment


Badge. Noun - a small piece of metal, plastic, or cloth bearing a design or words, typically worn to identify a person or to indicate membership of an organisation or support for a cause. 

'the Cheshire Regiment'
'they wore plastic name badges'

As ever, I'm indebted to the OED for their succinct definition. I strongly urge you to take no notice of those Urban Dictionary folk; what do they know, anyway?

Anyway, all this is, by way of a preamble, to tell you that Sunday Vinyl Session have got some shiny new badges to give away. If you'd like one, get in touch. Better still, come and see us, why don't you? On June 9th. we'll be talking about, and playing the Beach Boys' 1966 iconic album, Pet Sounds. It's a date.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Silver Star


Seeing the Who at Charlton in 1976 as a young teenager was a big deal for me. A very big deal indeed. I wrote about it, briefly, here. Who knows, I may even get round to writing a proper (and somewhat belated) gig review; one day.

On that Bank Holiday 40+ years ago as well as the 'Oo, Alex Harvey, Little Feat and loads of other turns, there was a DJ on the bill - spinning discs between the bands and bouts of intense rain - Messrs. Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle & Moon very nearly bailed that night such was the inclementness of the weather in south east London that night. His name was John Peel.

I can't remember an single record he played all day. Apart from this - the album version of Silver Star. I think the reason I remember it was it went on for bloody ages. And, on certain days, it's still one of my Desert Island Discs. All six minutes of it.

The Four Seasons* - Silver Star (1975)



* Though not sung by Frankie Valli. Valli was out of commission for much of the late seventies and never sang lead vocals on this, or December 63 (Oh What a Night): it was Four Seasons' drummer, Gerry Polci.


Monday, 27 May 2019

Noel Gallagher's Wheeltapping Shunters


The EP is dead; long live the EP. Noel Gallagher regularly puts out Extended Plays (the awkward cousin of the album and single) and this year he's releasing three. The title track from his new one (out in a couple of weeks), Black Star Dancing, is up there with anything he's put his name to in the last 10 years. It is obscenely good. And whosever idea it was to shoot the video using archive 70s footage from Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club - ITV's then Saturday night banker - needs knighting in the next New Year's honours list. Genius.

"Ladies and gentleman, can we have it now for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds..."


And here Gallagher Snr. tells Johnny Vaughan how the song came about.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Could you be more Pacific?


808 State's Pacific State* was "the song that made a nation chill out." So said some hack at the Independent; and, you know what, I think they were spot on. "Mellow but insistent beats", they went on to say, "a light garnishing of wildlife noises, and a soprano sax threading through it like a viper in the Eden undergrowth."

What then, would it sound like if a brass band got hold of it and transcribed the dots for cornets and euphoniums?

Pretty much like this I guess, from the album 'Acid Brass':

The William Fairey Brass Band - Pacific 202 (1997)


* Graham Massey - 808 State head honcho - once said "there's about 42 different versions of Pacific. Pacific 707 is the single we put out on ZTT."

808 State - Pacific 707 (1989)

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Trees


Anyone familiar with the Archers will be aware that Jill’s new gentleman caller, Leonard (played by Paul Copley - better known to younger listeners on Radio 4 as Tom Wrigglesworth’s dad*), can’t paint trees for toffee. Not even if his life depended on it; he recently passed off a picture he acquired from a gallery as one of his own. Charlatan.

These are for you Lenny.


* As opposed to older Radio 4 listeners who will remember him as Mr. Long in King St. Junior which ran from 1985-1998.

Monday, 20 May 2019

A lighthouse; or two


"What time are you on tonight?", I asked her in the pub. "We're on at half eight, but Tim's on at half seven - he's really good, I think you'll like him." So said Rachel Unthank when I saw her in the Prince Rupert, just round the corner from the Palace Theatre on Friday evening. She'd just sound-checked and was with her sister Becky and the rest of the entourage having their tea.

I'm sure I'll wax lyrical about the headliners (and my chance meeting with an Unthank) - I may link to my gig review in the local rag. I might even post the photo of me and Rachel.

But, for now, I'm just gonna put this up here: I did get to the venue for half seven. I did see Tim. And, yes, he is really good. Thanks for the heads up, Rachel.

Tim Dalling - Two Lighthouses

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Quite

No need to turn to page 26; he's a bit nearer than that

Baxter Dury was interviewed in 2005. The Beatles cropped up... 

"My old man rejected the Beatles and white rock'n'roll from England, he was pretty dismissive of it, so you grow up precociously being dismissive of it yourself. There is something I still hate about the Beatles, but when you're trying to write songs you're an idiot if you don't acknowledge them, 'cause they're brilliant."

Quite.

Baxter Dury - When I'm Sixty-Four (2012)