With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“Take a run and hide yourself away” July 15, 2015


ricky-gervais-twitter-quote

It’s great news that David Cameron and his dreadful Conservative government have at least postponed the vote on the repeal of the fox-hunting band. Having been out foxed Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP he is now a little like a fox on the run himself. Some UK newspapers are even referring to this as a humiliation for him. I’d like to think that he does feel humiliated but somehow I doubt that he does.

Well if you won't let us posh arseholes hunt and kill foxes we'll bloody well hunt vicious lambs instead!

Well if you won’t let us posh arseholes hunt and kill foxes we’ll bloody well hunt vicious lambs instead!

For me the idea of chasing after a fox with a baying group of red jacketed toffs on horseback and a pack of dogs is not vermin control. It’s sadism. Anyway we and the foxes, live to fight another day. But don’t let the subject drop! This is but a small victory.

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As I have said before this is a music blog so let’s celebrate with some fox related songs.

Cameron as the fox in a fox hunt? I'd pay to see that!

Cameron as the fox in a fox hunt? I’d pay to see that!

 

 

“Walks around all day long singing this song” June 30, 2014


bobby womack 09

I realise that I’m a couple of days late with this post but I couldn’t let the passing of such a musical giant as Bobby Womack go without saying anything. The first music genre I really got into was soul music. I recall reading about the likes of Bobby Womack in Blues & Soul magazine in the early 70s. My lifelong friend Glen Voisey and me used to frequent an excellent, though long since defunct, record shop at Rayners Lane called The Bop Shop. They had racks and racks of second-hand vinyl and I remember buying Womack’s “Harry Hippie” and “Across 110th Street” on 7 inch vinyl without previously having heard either track. Initially I had just read how great the man was. I was not disappointed; “Across 110th Street” remains one of my favourite songs. How can anyone not love “The Poet II” album?

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Bobby was not only a great singer and guitarist (Jimi Hendrix was a fan of his playing) he was also a great songwriter. Other people recorded some fantastic interpretations of his songs. Notably for me is Millie Jackson’s version of “If You Want My Love, Put Something Down On It”, which he wrote with his brother Cecil. The Rolling Stones clearly valued his talent having a big hit in 1964 with “It’s All Over Now” a song written by Bobby and Shirley Womack and recorded by one of Bobby’s early groups the Valentinos. Womack was also a great interpreter of other people’s songs too, his version of “California Dreamin'” is testament to that. Bobby has recorded and released great music for more than 50 years. he has worked with the likes of Sam Cooke back in the 60s right through to Damon Albarn with the Gorillaz and his last solo album “The Bravest Man In The Universe” released in 2012. Bobby will be sadly missed and my thoughts are with his family, friends and his legions of fans. Bobby Womack RIP

 

“You’re gonna hear electric music Solid walls of sound” March 24, 2014


Elton's got balls!

Elton’s got balls!

Don’t you just love Elton John’s “Bennie And The Jets” from his 1973 double albumGoodbye Yellow Brick Road‘? I certainly do. I knew that it wasn’t a live recording but the applause included on the track makes it sound as though it is. Did you know that the applause wasn’t even recorded at an Elton gig? In fact it is drawn from recordings of the audience clapping and shouting at Jimi Hendrix’s Isle Of Wight festival set in 1970.

1344350759690_4041473I know of another occasion where that kind of thing has happened too. The sound of the crowd used on the title track of David Bowie’sDiamond Dogs‘ album is actually the applause taken from a live album by the Faces! Can any of you offer any similar gems?

 

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“I ain’t hidin’ from nobody. Nobody’s hidin’ from me” July 29, 2013


jjcalepic

Most readers of my blog are probably already aware of the loss of one of musics great innovators. J J Cale passed away a few days ago aged 74. His career began in the late 50s and he never really stopped. He played on Eric Clapton’s new album ‘Old Sock’. Personally I didn’t know much about J J until I heard Clapton’s cover of his song “Cocaine“. Clapton also covered Cale’s “After Midnight“.

JJ+Cale

Cale received a writing credit on the track “Run” from my favourite Spiritualized album ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’. Largely because it is a cover of J J Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze” with some extra lyrical content. Cale was an early user of drum machines. Neil Young, no slouch in the guitar skills department himself, once said that the two greatest electric guitar players were J J Cale and Jimi Hendrix.

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My thoughts are with J J’s family, friends and fans across the world. RIP J J Cale.

 

“Flying like an autumn wind, lady did you lose a friend?” February 21, 2013


kevinayers1974

I first heard Kevin Ayers back in the early 70s and ‘Joy Of A Toy’ remains a favourite album of mine. So it is with sadness that I am posting about his demise. He passed away in his sleep aged 68 on February 18th at his home in France. Ayers was a pioneer of the British psychedelic scene and first found fame with Soft Machine. John Peel once said this of him; “Kevin Ayers’ talent is so acute you could perform major eye surgery with it”. Click here to read the BBC report of Kevin’s death.

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Kevin has worked with many people, including Syd Barrett, Brian Eno, Mike Oldfield and John Cale. He was there for the formation of Soft Machine in the mid 60s. The band was named after the William S Burroughs novel ‘The Soft Machine’. Kevin once sold his Fender jazz bass to Noel Redding from Jimi Hendrix’ band. This was after an extensive US tour. He grew up in Canterbury and lived for some time in Ibiza and France.

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Interestingly he wasn’t the only one in the family with such a pioneering spirit. His father Rowan Ayers was a BBC Producer and was responsible for kicking off the classic BBC music show ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test‘. If you have never listened to Kevin Ayers then I suggest you rectify that right now! I have included a few of my favourite Ayers songs at the end of this post. My thoughts go to Kevin’s family, friends and fans. RIP Kevin Ayers – a true British Rock legend!

 

Elton John – Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate Tuesday June 5th 2012 June 5, 2012


Some months ago when Elton John announced a UK tour of some places that never seem to get big rock stars performing the list included the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. So as I live just down the road and as Sir Elton is now 65 I thought I had to get tickets for me and my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman to regular readers. I love Elton’s music, especially the early stuff, but until today I had never seen him live. It was well worth the wait and the ticket price.

The support act was the amazing 2Cellos, which does exactly what it says on the tin. The act consists of two cellists from Croatia; Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. If you had said to me before today that two guys playing cello could be really exciting and create an amazing rock sound I may well have laughed at you. But frankly these guys are outstanding. They played three covers; Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, U2’s “With Or Without You” and an electrifying version of “Purple Haze” the Jimi Hendrix classic.

Just as we all thought they were about to start another song Elton and his band took the stage and raced right into “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting“. 2Cellos remained with the band for that and many other songs during Elton’s incredible two and a half hour set. He seemed to show no sign whatsoever of his recent illness and really seemed to be enjoying himself. The band who included long time Elton stalwarts Nigel Olsson on drums and Davey Johnstone on guitar. These guys have played together for more than 40 years now and I think that trust and knowledge of each other really shows.

The backing vocalists could undoubtedly be an act in their own right including; Rose Stone a founding member of Sly and the Family Stone and the sister of Sly and Freddie Stone and also Tata Vega who produced some terrific albums for Motown in the 70s. Having started the set with a superb rocker the band followed up with “Bennie And The Jets” and “Levon”. I was really pleased with the eclectic set list Elton had chosen. It included many of his biggest hits along with some of those that are not heard as often. Those included two fantastic selections from the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘ album; “Funeral For A Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding” and “Grey Seal” and the gorgeous “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” from ‘Madman Across The Water‘. I was disappointed to see so many people head for the bar and the toilets when Elton played “Hey Ahab” from his recent collaboration with the supremely talented Leon Russell.

Most of the crowd were out to have a good time and the rain didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. Although it was quite ironic to be listening to “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” when the weather had created the effect that the sun had never really come up! There was an element in the crowd that seemed to fit with the stereotypical breed of Harrogate snob. They seemed to be there more for the social occasion, to drink Pimms and most importantly to be seen. One bloke and his wife/ partner asked us to swap seats with him so that he could sit near his friends. We refused largely because they had been getting up and going in and out of the grandstand during the whole show (well the part they stayed for anyway). But it was interesting that five minutes after our refusal all his ‘friends’ left without telling him! I named him Mr Yo Yo Bollocks.

There were two ladies who spent most of the show dancing around and trying to get everyone else up, including the security guards. They were draped in a ‘we love Elton’ Union Jack and seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, but I suspect that their hangovers may be huge. It took “I’m Still Standing” to get everyone up, most of whom stayed up for the rest of the show. When Elton and the band left the stage it was hard to figure out what the encore would be as they had played some many classics, but of course it was the beautiful “Your Song”. Preceded by Elton signing a whole bunch of autographs for those at the front.

Elton John is a talented musician, a gifted songwriter, a real showman and a consummate performer. There are not many people around that can match him I believe. It is nearly 39 years since I saw my first ever gig (Jackson 5 at the Wembley Empire Pool in 1973 if you’re interested!) and todays show is easily in my top 5 ever. If you are going to one of the shows on this tour I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. If you’re not then do whatever it takes to get a ticket; sell your grannie, send your kits out to clean chimneys or get your dog to wine ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ (OK probably too late on the last one). And finally thank you for a great gig Elton!

I have no film from tonights show (I was enjoying myself too much to get my phone out) so here is a clip of Elton playing “Your Song” from a couple of years back, followed by 2Cellos with their version of “Smooth Criminal”

 

“I’m goin’ way down south, way down to Mexico way” April 5, 2012


It is with great sadness that I must convey the news of the passing of the Lord Of Loud, Jim Marshall creator of the guitar amp of choice for rock gods and guitar icons. Acton born James Charles Marshall had been a singer and drummer during the war years as his health kept him out of the armed forces. I would go so far as to say that he was one of the most influential Englishmen in the history of rock.

In his drumming and singing days he had built an amplifier that enabled his vocals to be heard above his drums. Later, from around 1960 he opened a music store in Hanwell, West London. The shop initially sold drums and then he expanded his stock to guitars. Ritchie Blackmore and Pete Townshend were among his early customers, both were seeking a much bigger amplifier that would enable them to significantly crank up the volume on their instruments. That is when Marshall had the idea for what became probably the most famous and iconic brand of amplifiers in music. Marshall Amplification was born in 1962.

For me the guitarist most associate with Marshall was Jimi Hendrix, he evene had some of his road crew trained by Marshall at the west London shop. Jim Marshall had many claims to fame, another of these was his time as a drum teacher, his pupils included Mitch Mitchell drummer with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Mickey Waller who played drums for Little Richard.

My thoughts go to Jim’s family, friends and countless fans and users throughout the world. RIP Jim Marshall.

So in memory of the wonderfully talented man how about some music from Hendrix himself, ably supported by one of Jim Marshall’s drum students!

 

 
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a1000mistakes

Well, I'm dyslexic so writing about something I love: Music, might help but it's most likely just full of mistakes. That title is also lyrics from The Drones song called I Don't Want To Change. Oh, my name is William and thanks for having a look.

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