Sunday, 22 April 2018

#TenAlbumsInTenDays #5 - The Race For Space - Public Service Broadcasting

This was the first coherently themed Public Service Broadcasting album, they had put out "The War Room" EP, and this was their second album. "Inform, Educate, Entertain" is a mission statement for the band and you will probably learn something by listening to enything by this band.

There pasting of dialogue from films, and documentaries is similar to what happened in Spirit's "Future Games" and early Big Audio Dynamite albums although without the dialogue the e songs are just driving instrumentals (and rather excellent at that).

"The Race For Space" revisits both the Russian and American sides of the race that started in the 1950s, with dialogue from John F Kennedy and The Apollo program.

The band are probably one of the finest live experirences you can see today, and I amazed at J. Willgoose Esq.'s ability to tee up the sound samples wile playing guitar. Even the crowd banter is done via keyboard.

I have seen this band three times though they now tend to sell out gigs immediately so I am not sure if I will see them in a live situation again, but you never know. I've included a live take of "Go" at one of the gigs I saw the at , the 6Music Festival at The Sage in 2015, and I am somewhere in that crowd mass. An absolutely brilliant gig and part of a brilliant festival.

#TenAlbumsInTenDays #4 - The Book of Invasions - Horslips

I'd got into Horslips through "The Tain" an album based on a story from Irish mythology which Michael Moorcock had lifted from for his Corum section of the Eternal Champion series (which I must attempt to re read).

"The Book of Invasions" got a five start NME review but I was at the record shop on it's day of release and got it home and put it on. This had never happened before but that album was the only thing that was on my record player for two weeks.

There were flashes onf Thin Lizzy (who also were lovers of Irish Mythology) in there, as well as the Irish folk tunes mixed in with the mythology, maybe it just hit me at the right time, but it is on the player as I am writing this, and maybe it's a little under produced but every song that comes on you love listening too and also can't wait for the next one.

Like a good book or film , you don't want it to end. Almost every song is like that and definitely the album makes you feel like that.

It's an album where every song flows into the next one , the same as say "Dark Side of The Moon" by Pink Floyd, you don't skip songs on this.

I found a slideshow for the album which clocks in at forty minutes but it is difficult to choose one song from this essential part of the music I love

Saturday, 21 April 2018

#TenAlbumsInTenDays #3 - Future Games (A Magical Kahauna Dream) - Spirit

Before the internet and email and mobil phones the was CB , Citizen's Band Radio. I'm not exactly sure what the attraction of this was for the average person but I know a few people who had CB Radio set ups.I could see a use for it for long distance lorry drivers and this was documented in the CW McCall song "Convoy".

This album opens with a track called "CB Talk" with Randy California descring the Spirit album. I had been majorly impressed by  "Spirit of '76" but this album took things to another level for me. The songs are excellent but are spliced with soundbites from Star Trek (this was just pre Star Wars), Science Fiction "B" Movies and The Muppet Show. There are a lot of interjections from "Jack Bond" the drummer Ed Cassidy's creation (he was also Randy California's father in law!)

It was like a movie for the ears, carried along by the excellent songs. California was favouribly compared with Jimi Hendrix but he was definitely his own man, but they still tackle Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" and deliver a creditable take although no one has ever touched the Hendrix version.

The songs are California sun influenced as well as being touched by certain other substances. THis album is my favourite all time album and when I first got it I was working shifts so would often drift off listening to this during the day.

Like all good albums you listen to it as a whole and ideally it should just be continously played, non stop.

Friday, 20 April 2018

#TenAlbumsInTenDays #2 - Eldorado - A Symphony By The Electric Light Orchestra

When Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood were in The Move they wanted to start a project that contined where The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" had left off. That project became The Electric Light Orchestra and their early albums contained some amazing musical detours, but with a heavy reliance on the string section hence the "Orchestra".

Some of the early singles showed their versatility none more striking than the all out orchestral rock and roll arrangement of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" being followed up by the perfect Philadelphia soul sound of "Showdown".

A switch of label from EMI's progressive arm Harvest to Warner Brothers (now Sony) for "On The Third Day" and then my second favourite album of all time "Eldorado".

I was a fan of the band an bought the single from the album the gorgeous "Can't Get It Out Of My Head" but was blown away by the full on string backed rock and roll of the 'B' Side "Illusions in 'G' Minor". That persuaded me to invest in the album with it's "Wizard of Oz" cover and it has remained a favourite ever since. The use of strings and choir organ / vox humana make for a most impressive sound for Jeff Lynne's excellent songs.

The string arrangements throughout the album are amazing particularly on "Poor Boy" but almost every song is a gem , and it is an album that you happily play from start to end. THis was followed by "Face The Music" before they finally hit paydirt with "A New World Record", but in my opinion this is their finest forty minutes and I still play this frequently.

#TenAlbumsInTenDays #1 - Man In The Hills - Burning Spear

I'm quite surprised this is the first time I have mentioned Burning Spear on this blog. My friend Denis Jackman nominated me to post #TenAlbumsInTenDays on Facebook. This is just ten albums that you still play, and to be quite honest good music should stay with you. Since starting walking and and especially since getting my Emopeak headphones I have been listening to a hell of a lot of music as it usually takes me forty minutes to an hour to walk to work which is time to listen to an album.

I'm not sure when I picked up on this, it was definitely early eighties and I think I got it from Rumbelows near Matthew Street in Liverpool whin I was working an Littlewood. I may have heard him on John Peel or may have just liked the cover of the album, I was already into reggae from the sixties skinhead ska and then Bob Marley and Lee Perry, but when I put this album on it grabbed me from the first song (which is the title song).

The thing is if you buy the CD  you can get one that has "Dry and Heavy" also included, but I do enjoy playing ska and reggae on vinyl with the bass turned up. One you put a vynyl album on you tend to enjoy it more because the inherent push button laziness in us all makes us listen to the whole side before we turn the thing over or swith it off.

Tomorrow is Record Store Day so I will be out in Newcastle seeing what is available and seeing bands an whatever. Given the good weather it looks like a good weekend.

Have a great one

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Buick Smokestack

So we now have sun, is Spring really here? My day was immensely brightened up by unexpectedly meeting my friend Julie in reception today, so that was a big plus.

My walking has still been hit and miss but I am just about ahead of the game.

Recently I've revistited Bob Dylan's excellent "Highway 61 Revisited" and it is full af brilliant songs, but I was struck by the riff that drives "From A Buick Six" which reminded a hell of a lot of the riff behind Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightnin'". Bob Dylan is remakably scan on Youtube for older stuff so I settled on an excellent cover by Gary US Bonds, so you can listen and compare the two.

One thing I find strange is that the MP3 version of "Higway 61" in £7.99 but the CD (with free MP3 download) is £5.99! Work that one out, check the link below. Amazon's pricing is weird at times. The Howlin' Wolf MP3 is double the price of the CD.

I've also been nowminated for one of these ten albums in ten days on Facebook and I may actually do a post about each album tomorrow though by then I will be three days into it.

Anyway this is just a very very short post as I need to go and make my tea.

Enjoy your Thursday evening my friends.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Walking The Mean Eyed Cat

I woke up this morning actually wanting a lie in. It's been a busy weekend. We're over half way through April and I am only just keeping up my steps for my rolling three month Million Steps Challenge. This is something I took one my self that was inspired by the challenge last year, but I've kept it going. The thing is with a challenge like this you may hit your day's steps but the following day you have to start again, but if you don't hit your target one day they you have to do more the next day if you want to make it up, so to take the pressure off I try to so more steps than neccessary each day so there is no pressure ti hit the daily steps as my target is 340K a month. The thing is this month I keep really slipping off teh pace for one reason or another, it started with bad weather at the start of the month then yesterday I went to Dunblane and back and as a result only did 6K steps, and am about 1K ahead of my required steps.

At the weekend Preston North End came back again to win after being behind against a Queens Park Rangers team who are on fire at home. Preston have won more points from losing positions this season that any other team, but of they reach the play offs it will be akin to a miracle but it still could happen given the final three weekes of matches in the Championship.  I feel my walking this month is like that, but I am determined to hit the 340K.

Last night I watched the Tom Cruise film "Oblivion" which was quite good, but unusual in that you never actually get to see an alien in the film and is clever in making you think that humans are aliens, it is worth a watch.

So today the weather is good and I intend to hit my step target.

Mean Eyed Cat Food
On Friday I had a Tortilla and Empanada at The Mean Eyed Cat which was rather excellent and I will be doing that again (you can see it on my Instagram Channel here) , and Fiona had said she thought it was a Johnny Cash song. I thought it was Billy Le Riley, but Fiona was right so that's the song I will leave you with. Some details here. While looking for the song on youtube I found this great cover by The Johnny Trouble Trio which I can't embed but you can watch here. Don't you love what you can find on the internet.

Have a good Monday.