Archive for the ‘music’ Tag

May Early Bank Holiday Charity Shop Finds (Martini recipe)   Leave a comment

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, no, no, no

We were dumping off some stuff at a charity shop the first day of the Bank Holiday weekend and found something, as usual, to take home with us: Martini glasses! Four for £2! This prompted us to buy some vermouth for the bar, some stuffed olives for the finished product, and to seek out suitable music.

In vinyl, we struck gold for the cocktail hour: in pristine condition, Frank Sinatra’s Come Fly With Me and …Sings For Only The Lonely. However, we didn’t find these until the penultimate stop of our foraging trip and, in the meantime, racked up these CDs:

Amy Winehouse Back In Black
Iggy Pop Live at the Hippodrome Paris 1977
Slim Gaillard and Babs Gonzales Shuckin’ and Jivin’
Elmore James Canton Crusade (1951-56)
Strut That Thing: Essential Recordings of Piano Blues and Boogie
And, a four CD set of Classic Doo-Wop Vocal Groups
R.E.M. Automatic For The People

How bad can the rest of the weekend be when it starts this well?

Make it one for my baby, and one more
For the road

The martini is this one (makes 2):

3 shots of Greenall’s gin
3 shots of Cinzano dry vermouth
3 dashes of Angostura bitters (hence the colour)
6 olives with pimentos

Stir with ice, strain and decorate with the olives.

I know.  If you use bitters it should be orange bitters and a lighter hand.  And, the vermouth is a lot more than most would expect from me, but this really is a sublime mix.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, y’all.

Posted April 29, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in Booze, music

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Bruce Langhorne, RIP   Leave a comment

Bruce Langhorne died of kidney failure a couple of days ago at the age of 78.  In these pages, I refer to music he was, in part, responsible for all the time (like here, and here).  Also, he looks like my cousin, Chuck.  Godspeed, sir.

Posted April 17, 2017 by Drunken Bunny in music, Obits

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Queen’s Head, Hammersmith, London   3 comments



It was a fool’s errand to seek out a pub playing Dylan tunes, but I’m a fool and the man just won the Nobel Prize so out I wandered to find one.

At the Queen’s Head, I found the ‘fools’ part of the errand as three dimwits around the corner from my snug were engaged in the most boring conversation ever about lottery strategies and their history of near misses. “Then, there was this other time I had a 6, an 8, a 22, a 32, a 40, and a 51 and the numbers drawn were a 3, a 7, a 12, a 22, a 47, and a 49. If I just got two more numbers I would have won £25. That happened once when I had a 9, a….” This was going on when I arrived and showed no signs of ending as I left.





I had a Black Cab Stout which was viscous and bitter and the colour of burnt motor oil. I highly recommend it. Great wine selection there, too.

The house leaves the impression that it might have been an old post office. The sign has a postage stamp motif and there are shipping artefacts used as decorations all over the exposed beamed, flagstone floored warehouse of a pub. But, no, it has always been a pub dating back to at least the early 19th century.




Every table in the front 2/3 of the bar was reserved so the early drinkers were squidged up together toward the back. The music was the most banal kind of pop you could hope to avoid and the house seemed geared toward the sort of bland, professionally employed, thirty-something consumer of this autotuned nonsense. No Bob here…maybe at the next one.



Posted October 14, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Horseshoe, South Harrow, Middlesex ( #August2016PubPerDay number 4)   1 comment

Horseshoe South Harrow

Inside the Horseshoe reminds me a lot of the Golden Nugget and the Silver Room, both in Tucson.  Some of it is the spread of professional drinkers and some is just the atmosphere (the massive bar with the simple but ample spirits prominently highlighted — and surprisingly tidy — also add to this impression).  But, the flashback seemed almost more chemical than nostalgia.

I pulled up to the southernmost end of the bar and got a pint of Doom Bar.  About halfway into the house, the scene you see here:

Horseshoe South Harrow ceiling

extends at least as far in the opposite direction.  “Is it raining out?” the barmaid asked while I gawked at the mugs.

“Sprinkling…[gasp]…just started…[wheeze]…won’t last,” I said as I was still catching my breath.
“I was wondering if it was or if you had been out running.”
“I often wonder that, myself.  Obviously, you’ve seen me run.”


The music on my entrance seemed to be some Irish Republican hymn which was followed by the paedo-creepy, “Happy Birthday, Sweet 16” mad all the more surreal by me being the youngest bloke in the house.  I became obsessed when the next thing on was “Johnny Come Home” by Fine Young Cannibals (who is programming the jukebox here, I wondered).

I was nearly finished when what I reckoned to be some Emerson Lake and Palmer came up. No. Ha!  It’s Meat Loaf…and like a Bat Out of Hell I jogged on.

{August 2016 Pub Per Day Challenge pub #4, overall pub #1516}


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



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.)


Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen   Leave a comment

2016-03-29 Christadelphian Sign ALT

The topic at the Christadelphian Meeting Hall for 10 April 16 (mock-up, above), shows up on their web site as Jesus said, “I come not for the righteous but call sinners to repentance” but has been posted on the church broadside as the 1 May baptism speech.  But, I’ve been watching a lot of politics, lately, and following the politician’s example I won’t let the question asked prevent me from answering the question I to which I wish to respond.




I don’t know about the righteous but when Jesus calls SINNERS (746-6377) in Dillard, Georgia he rings Earl Zoellner’s phone. In Los Angeles, he gets the Snack Mart; and, in Zion, Illinois it is the practice of Dental PC Partners. I didn’t do a comprehensive search on this but I found some that are kind of interesting.

For instance, the Rev Jimmie M Clark, 3790 Parks Rd, Lexington, NC 27292 sells ‘Clergy Vestments’ in the most ironic find. You can order up your robes at (336) 746-6377. That’s 336-SINNERS.

Doris Herzlinger, Ph.D. does research on Embryonic Development as Associate Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Cornell University (using the SINNERS phone number in what the Christian right might find the most vindicating example).

My favourite has to be Precision Piano Tuning, Lowe Farm, Manitoba at (204) SINNERS. When I was about 12 and learning piano properly, my grandma (who had been one of those circus-sideshow-type tent revivalists that preceded televangelists) used to play the living shit out of the keys. Self taught and legally blind, she would find where she was on the keyboard by slapping a few chords and then tear into whatever gospel she felt like.

I was frustrated by the classical sheet music plopped in front of me by my tutor; Nanny asked, “well, what do you WANT to play, punkin?” “I don’t know, Nanny, how about showing me some of that whore house boogie woogie?” Precision Tuning could probably have helped me out and wouldn’t likely belt me across the ear for asking.

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



{*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.