Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Led Zep VII


Thanks to Peter Grant, their thug in a suit manager, Led Zeppelin never released singles in the UK; it was beneath them. Not so in the States, however; Grant wasn't quite so precious about what his charges released over their on 45. Their seventh single on the Atlantic label was a delicious slice of cod reggae with John Bonham's drums very much to the fore. I think the reason I like it so much is because their dull bass player, John Paul Jones, said publicly, many times, that he hated it; hated the song, particularly hated the title. Get over yerself Jones.

Led Zeppelin - D'yer Mak'er (1973)


It only made No. 20 on the Billboard charts, unlike the album from which it was lifted. 'Houses of the Holy'. which sat at No. 1 for weeks on end.

Friday, 12 July 2019

1929

Edward Kennedy 'Duke' Ellington (1899-1974)
You can't overestimate the power of music: during the Great Depression, which took a hold in the United States from 1929 (the Wall Street crash in October launched the country off a cliff) and lasted for much of the 1930s, it was music - jazz music - that got people dancing.

Of course the country was still in freefall - but listening to, and dancing to, this surgent musical uprising (often during 24 hour Dance Marathons) was what got a lot of Americans though one of the bleakest periods in modern history.

They'd be throwing shapes to stuff like this. Duke Ellington's band would often go by a string of aliases. This was one of them.

The Whoopee Makers - Flaming Youth (1929)

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

1979


It's long been acknowledged, between me and Steve anyway, that the 70s actually started in 1968 and probably kept going till around mid-1983. Culturally, musically definitely, and sportingly - mavericks ruled the world in concert halls and football grounds the world over. So when you talk about 1979 be under no illusion that the 1970s still had plenty of gas left in its tank.

Some stonking albums came out in '79. I particularly remember buying Joe Jackson's Look Sharp, Valley of the Dolls by Generation X (produced by Ian Hunter), this classic by Graham Parker and The Damned's Machine Gun Etiquette. It was also the year In Through the Out Door - Led Zeppelin's swan song was released, and the Clash's eclectic mixed bag, London Calling.

Tom Petty was busy too. Together with his band the Heartbreakers, he released Damn the Torpedoes the day before his 29th birthday. And if you were to press me for one song from today's featured year (go on, press me) I reckon it would have to be this:

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Refugee (1979)

Monday, 8 July 2019

1969



The events of 1969 are currently looming very large. There are a number of monumental 50th anniversaries going on right now; not least Apollo 11 - a must see movie is on general release depicting just what Neil Armstrong and the real Buzz Lightyear got up to when they were floating in their tin can half a century ago.

I remember Aldrin saying in Andrew Smith's Moondust that NASA were very candid with the crew when they signed up for the mission of all missions: their chances of coming back alive were given at no more than 50/50. This is one film I will not be missing.


And Abbey Road. The Beatles' final recorded album (Let it Be, despite coming out in 1970, was already in the can before the Fabs entered EMI Studios in Abbey Rad for the last time). Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn is touring the country later in the year giving his unique take on the events that made Abbey Road, quite literally, The End. And he's coming to a venue near me, so I'm well chuffed.

Joey Ramone may have left this earth (as too have all the original Ramones), but he still looks down on New Yorkers: the sign for Joey Ramone Place, if you look high enough (it's been stolen so many times it's now been sited where it can only be reached by basketball players) is in the Bowery district, close to the site of a (long gone) club where he and the band played many of their 2,500+ gigs: CBGBs - the New York punk venue.


Joey Ramone - 1969


Sunday, 7 July 2019

Yesterday


Went to see the much hyped Yesterday yesterday. Being something of a Beatles nut (clock the number of Beatles and Lennon & McCartney posts on this blog [left]), I thought it would be massively churlish of me if I didn't scribble a few words about it here.
I'm usually pretty quick out of the traps when it comes to rating and ranking new movies, but this is a little bit different - I'm still processing it, would you believe; a fantastical plot (a world without the Beatles - really?) with seemingly more holes than a used dartboard, peppered with more than a few comedy cul-de-sacs and incorporating a typically lame Richard Curtis crow-barred rom-com. And yet, and yet...


That soundtrack; those songs. For all its faults, and there are many, it's the music, ultimately, that carries this film over the line. Himesh Patel who plays struggling singer-songwriter Jack Malik, has been gifted the most fantastic set of songs all gift wrapped and ready to be devoured. And they are, for the most part, played brilliantly.   


Patel is not just a gifted actor but he can play a bit too. That means there's no awkward miming or contrived camera angles to disguise the fact that a non musical actor is holding a strange instrument around his neck and doesn't know what a chord is, let alone know where they can be found on the neck of a guitar.


Himesh Patel - Yesterday (2019)


Apart from Malek's performance (and the Beatles music, obvs) I took three positives away from the film:

Lily James - who played the love interest with just the right amount of girl next doorness. 

Ed Sheeran - just a good egg. The ginger superstar was quite happy to sit on the subs bench for much of the movie, but was given some great lines nonetheless.

The best gag in the film - when Jack Malik realises, after an internet search, that his friends really aren't winding him up when they tell him they don't know who the Beatles are, he then Googles Oasis - nothing but a clutch of exotic holiday websites. "That figures" he says.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Giveaway

Bloody brilliant!
Paul McCartney would often gives songs away: Mary Hopkin (Goodbye) and Badfinger (Come and Get It) being two lucky recipients that spring to mind.
One that a lot of people overlook is a song called 4th of July. In 1974, between the Band on the Run and Venus and Mars albums, Macca recorded a very loose demo but never did anything with it; instead he gave it to John Christie. Polydor put it out as a single, but, despite its lineage, it never amounted to much.

In 2010, when Venus and Mars was given the Macca remastering treatment, they chucked 4th of July in with the extras. Like a lot of stuff McCartney was writing at the time, it walked that fine line between bloody brilliant and twee. For what it's worth, I quite like it.

Twee?

Monday, 1 July 2019

Two to Know


Our next Sunday Vinyl Session (our 4th) is a little bit special: the album, Pink Floyd's 'Relics', has been chosen by Martin Stephenson - he of the Daintees - who will not only curate the afternoon, but also be playing a gig later in the evening in the very same pub!

We've kind of broken our own rule regarding compilation albums with this one, but, hey, it's a belter. Although it's obviously very much Syd's collection (it was Barrett's band, after all), Dave Gilmour can be heard setting his stall out on Side 2.


Here's a rather tasty bit of footage of a Gilmour gig at the Albert Hall in 2006. With very little by way of introduction Gilmour brings an old friend up on stage...


Arnold Layne


Where? Running Horse, Nottingham 
When? Sunday 14 July 2019 - Relics 2-5pm; Martin Stephenson gig 8-10pm