Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Bob Dylan Nobel Prize in Literature Pub Crawl, preview   5 comments

bob-and-beer

I have started — but, never finished — The Magic Mountain annually for over 30 years. I did lighting once for a student production of Strange Interlude but whenever I hear the title I think of Groucho Marx. But, as Nobel Prize Winners in Literature go, Bob Dylan holds a place in my heart that the others can never approach. I have attended literally dozens of his shows, some of them actually good and two or three of them among the best experiences of my life.

So there I was, no shit, when an email arrives from Jackie with the subject, “this is not a joke.” Inside, it had two lines which read

“Bob just won the Lit Nobel,” and
“Sooo boring at work today.”

Assuming she’d been reading some parody website, I replied,

Ain’t it just like the web
To play tricks
When the library’s
So quiet.”

She shot back,

No, no, no,
It ain’t fake, babe.”

I checked it out and the ridiculous and sublime Bob-head had actually been elevated to Nobel Laureate. I came into work an hour and a half early and had toiled through lunch so I didn’t think twice (it’s alright) to leave a half hour early to find a bar with either an appropriate soundtrack or some other Dylanesque trait.

My train arrived in Hammersmith at sunset. It was time for my boot heels to be wandering. The first stop would be the Queen’s Head (approximately).  The quest continued at the Jameson and the Bird in Hand before a most remarkable success at the Havelock Tavern.

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Sort of related, I seem to reference Bob in these pages more than any other writer or musician:

A photo that looks like the cover of “Bringin’ It All Back Home”


Quoting “On the Road Again” in re: a trip to the States
Quoting “Outlaw Blues” for a Toronto Mayor’s obituary
Quoting “Like A Rolling Stone” in my Citizenship announcement
A tourist trip past the site where the film version of Subterranean Homesick Blues was shot

Subterranean Homesick Blues 2
A plethora of Dylan lyrics for a house move post
A weird one about the move from Cambridge Uni to the U of Oxford
Nudity, beer, and a tiger refuge in Tennessee


Mis-heard lyrics from “On the Road Again”

And, “Bringin’ it All Back Home,” again, on a birthday run write-up

Posted October 14, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in art, Books and Movies, Drugs, music

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Billy Bragg, Shappi Korsandi, Francesca Martinez et al at CWU Meeting, Bournemouth   2 comments

jc4pm

 

Tabloids making millions betting bullshit baffles brains
They cynically hold up their hands if anyone complains
And they say “All we’re doing is giving people what they want”
Well they’re crying out for justice, people crying out for justice.

—From ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun‘ by Billy Bragg

Jackie took a break from her meeting in Highworth and found me in the library reading the Twitter feeds which had suddenly exploded with the news that the Hillsborough Inquiry found that The 96 had been “unlawfully killed.” “What do you reckon this will do to the playlist, tonight?” I asked and she responded, correctly, with some of the lyrics, above.

We were leaving, when her business completed, for Bournemouth to see a review show in support of Corbyn for Prime Minister featuring Billy Bragg (who wrote ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun’ in response to the Sun’s reprehensible coverage of the disaster and just about everything else) and a large contingent of other acts and political speakers we were eager to see. These included comedians Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Grainne Maguire, and Joe Wells; ‘punk’ poet Attila the Stockbroker; singer-songwriter Grace Petrie; and guest speakers Dave Ward (General Secretary of the CWU, whose conference sponsored this event) and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.

 

CWU JC4PM lineup

Great show and I would have been happy to see full performances or talks by any one of the guests but everyone stuck more-or-less to their allotted 15 minutes. Along with the collusion of the Right Wing with what passes for the press and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (the Hillsborough Disaster and/or the Battle of Orgreave featured in 2/3 of the performances), resistance to austerity measures, changes to schools organisation, and attempts to break the doctors’ unions were made musical, lyrical, and — with great pathos — funny.

CWU wristband

 

I don’t know how it has come to pass that I never saw Billy Bragg perform in person, before, but these were free tickets in Bournemouth and we just couldn’t miss it. Here’s my one live encounter with him prior to this trip:

Right after I quit driving a taxi for a living in Atlanta, I paid for my first year of University driving a long service route for Kodak that included most of Northeast Georgia. One summer day I had a call a couple of doors up from the 40 Watt Club in Athens (when it was on Clayton Street). The heat was oppressive that day and I stopped to give a dog tied in front of Chick Music a scratch on the head and a lap of water from my bottle. Another guy came up and rubbed the pooch’s ears saying, “‘allo, doggie.”

I looked up and recognized the fellow; “hey, you’re Billy Bragg.”
“Yes, I know.”
“I really like your stuff. What are you doing …here?” I’m not sure, all these years later, if it came out that way or “What are …you doing here?” or “What are you …doing here?” or the much more colloquial “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve got some work down the street,” he said nodding in the direction of the 40 Watt. I assumed at the time he meant the 40 Watt, but he was probably using the rehearsal studio REM kept at the time…he was working on Don’t Try This At Home in John Keane’s recording hut ’round about then.

“Oh, right, work,” I said reaching back to grab the tools from the car. “Never ends, eh?”
“Too right,” he laughed and headed down the street, my brush with greatness at an end.

(By the way, here’s his spectacular performance on Mountain Stage the following spring, that we listened to in the car whilst awaiting a screening of Reservoir Dogs at the Tate Center…great show with REM and Robyn Hitchcock…we still have our original cassette recording which we put in just before leaving for the movie.)

 

Jimi at the Atlanta Pop Fest, Byron, GA, July 1970   Leave a comment

Edie likes Jimi

I was eight years old and my family had just moved to a former fishing camp my dad bought about 6 miles outside Griffin Georgia (which is to say 10 miles from the middle of nowhere and quite the asshole of the Universe).  My sister was ferrile, but as my folks were going back to Atlanta to clear out an apartment (we had moved from Hawaii in the spring) they entrusted her with my care for the day.  She then stole their other car and loaded me up to go camping with some of her friends.

300,000 of her friends, as it turned out.  We went to the misnamed Atlanta International Pop Festival at the Byron Raceway another 60 miles south from our new house.

 

atlanta intl pop

 

She also loaded up some records hoping to get some autographed.  One, in particular, was Are You Experienced which she left on some grass outside our tent.  Dew covered, some microdots melted on it resulting in the stains.  She considered the album ruined and gave it to me; I still love the record and have laughed my ass off watching every friend to whom I have related this history over the last 45 years lick the cover.

 

This record has been experienced

Sadly, that’s what I remember of the show — I was only eight years old and overwhelmed by the crowd and excited to be camping in south Georgia nearly where I was born but also exotic to me as I hadn’t been ‘home’ since I was in swaddling clothes.  I knew it was noisy and there were a bunch of stinky hippies everywhere, but nothing about the musical line up registered at all nor would it have made any difference to me had it done.

So, this past weekend I put on what I thought was a straightforward Hendrix documentary called Electric Church (my cat loves Jimi) only to find that it was a concert film of his performance in Byron.  Jackie thought she’d be able to follow it by sound so I started while she mixed drinks in the other room.  The film opened with white text on a black screen describing the date and location and I stopped breathing.  Shit: I’ve been to a Hendrix concert.  Most of the other acts I would want to see (the Allman’s, BB King, Johnny Winter, Richie Havens) I eventually did, years later; others, I let slip by (including Grand Funk Railroad, Mott the Hoople, Procol Harum, Rare Earth, and Ten Years After).  I even worked with Colonel Bruce Hampton (Hampton Grease Band) in Atlanta briefly in the 80s.

I guess it means nothing, even less to non-fans.  To me — and, I’m sure, to those few of you out there who have left spittle on my Jimi record — it puts another piece in the puzzle.  Or something.

Tim and Kesey   3 comments

Kesey and Tim

 

Tim’s clearcoat cured well and he looks lovely. I wandered around looking for the best place for him and spotted this other gnome I acquired on a birthday run a few years ago.  I spray painted him gold to make him look valuable but his freakish features gave Jackie the willies and he never acquired a name (although, when she didn’t refer to him as “that freak-ass gnome” she sometimes called him Shatner).

 

Tim back on duty

 

With Tim back on duty, it seemed reasonable to tidy up the other little feller.  He had a bunch of bubble flaws and I fixed the ones on his hat and some on his tunic with caulk but eventually gave up as he got a bit messy.

 

Kesey holes

 

I wanted to keep the psychedelic theme started with Tim (although I was tempted to paint this one into a Star Trek outfit or with the jockey silks’ colours of my Grand National pick this weekend or even a Cubs uniform), and initially was going to use Jerry Garcia as my model but he doesn’t look much like Jerry and I didn’t fancy trying to paint one of those dancing bears on his shirt or hat.  Instead, I went with a Ken Kesey in Merry Pranksters motif.

 

Kesey primed

Primer layer

 

Kesey is garish, as seemed appropriate, and the tie-dye tunic went through several iterations before I was satisfied with it — not exactly happy, but satisfied. The first daubs were leftovers from the shoes and trousers so Jackie asked if I was giving him a camouflage look; “yeah, camouflage at a Packers game,” I answered before explaining the long plan.

 

Mid-way through the process

Mid-way through the process

 

The hat was going to be based on a striped top hat I saw Garcia wear at a show in DC, but I decided to make it a wrapped up American flag after some deliberation.  The ice cream/gelato is pistachio, by the way.

Kesey Views

 

Kesey close-up

 

Posted April 9, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in art, Drugs, music, sport

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Acoustic Club in the Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl, Wales (and Woody Pines)   1 comment

Pavillion Porthcawl

We finished our bottle of wine and I went back for some ciders; the bartender asked, “Are you with the band?”  Probably a fair question since we had the only authentic American South accents in the house (and probably within a 60 mile radius); “no, we’re actually from the South”.  Oh, sure, Woody Pines and the boys yokeled it up with rambling stories told in ill-advised pseudo-drawls and that were meant to evoke folksy authenticity but actually came across as cringe-worthy as a black-and-white minstrel show.

woody pines

In the first set, they claimed to be from Nashville, and their press material (above) has them from North Carolina.  Turns out, the bass player is from Southern California, the lead guitar from Miami, and Woody is actually from New-fucking-Hampshire.  Not a proper southerner in the lot.

But, they do play the living shit out of their instruments.  There’s decent writing, as well, with hints of John Prine and Tom Waits coming through (hey…one of them is from Alabama, at least).  The lead guitar is fantastic and channels Django Rheindart and Eldon Shamblin in equal proportions, and the stand up bass has an air about him like Jimbo from the Reverend’s band.  There was this amazing act that was ACTUALLY out of North Carolina in the 80’s and 90’s called Flat Duo Jets that consisted of a guy with a guitar and another guy who often only had a single snare drum and in live performances they sounded like a 12 piece jazz orchestra…on crank; these three guys sound a lot bigger than they actually are, too.

Woody Pines

 

We found out about these guys when we tuned into Bob Harris’ Country on Radio 2 at the end of January and heard this fantastic cut during part of a Western Swing set that included a Dixie Chicks and something else that was just great from Ashley Monroe (who turned out, otherwise, to be rubbish). Bob, despite being an Major League asshole*, plays a lot of obscure talents that are almost always touring here soon so we decided to seek out this boy and his band.  Woody and the band were, indeed, touring Britain soon after (and some cool places, indeed) so, of course we booked seats at the gig in Porthcawl.

The seating in the intimate Acoustic Club (the downstairs bar and music venue in the Grand Pavillion) is pretty intimate: 22 tables with 5 chairs each.  We lucked into one where we were the only occupants although our neighbours might have joined friends across the room.

Update:  Brits always say Americans don’t ‘get’ irony.  Case in point, I have been lectured about authenticity by the tour manager of these great musicians who spent their entire act pretending to be something they neither are nor understand:

scathing review and lecture

 

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{*Bob, who famously, whilst hosting the New York Dolls on their first Old Grey Whistle Test appearance, referred to them smarmily as “Mock Rock” (see the end of the linked video) despite them serving as the punk vanguard, was, just as famously, targeted for murder by Sid Vicious a few years later. He was also marked for mockery as model for the host of “Jazz Club” on the Fast Show (known as Brilliant in the States)…nice.}

Find it on the pub map here.