Week 16 - Fri 16 Apr
Another Friday. Another musical mix of eclecticism. It must be the RPM Seven Day Soundtrack. Here we go, week ending Friday 16th April........as they popped into the ol' inbox........over to......
"Following on from last week; strangely Phil...... you're right. It probably was a burst of acute mental activity out here in Saham that you picked up on, I very nearly choked on my supper (I generally can't wait for Saturday morning so I take a peek at RPM after midnight Friday). In common with Hepworth, I think that 1971 was a good year for albums and I'd direct everyone towards the 'fairly' long list below (sorry Tim!) containing at least several albums which still attract 'classic' status fifty years later. With regards to Led Zep, I thought Beck did 'heavy' better (and earlier) with the 'Truth' and 'Beckola' albums and we were impressed enough with the Allmans to catch them at the first Knebworth Festival in 1972. So, here's a list of those albums from 1971 which still nestle on my shelves:
T Rex Self titled (released Dec but purchased Jan)
Carole King Tapestry
Yes The Yes Album
David Crosby If only I could remember my name
James Taylor Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon
The Doors L.A. Woman
Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers
Marvin Gaye What's going on
Joni Mitchell Blue
Peter Hammill Fools Mate
Jack Bruce Harmony Row
Beach Boys Surfs Up
John Lennon Imagine
Cat Stevens Teaser and the Firecat
Van Der Graaf Generator Pawn Hearts
Genesis Nursery Cryme
Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen Lost in the ozone
King Crimson Islands
David Bowie Hunky Dory
Electric Light Orchestra self titled
And, from the list above, here's three of my absolute favourites:
Laughing by David Crosby - "One of my most favourite albums and one which, when others have heard it (at my insistence) they have in many cases gone on to purchase. Harmonies are perfect, as you would expect with Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell providing the back up on this track, augmented by the Dead's Phil Lesh on bass, Bill Kreutzmann on (relaxed) drums and, playing some of his finest licks, Jerry Garcia on pedal steel. The record achieved number twelve in both the US and UK album charts and went top ten in Canada and Holland. Not only was the album placed at number nine in the Cashbox Top 100 albums of all time, it was listed second on the "Top 10 Pop Albums of All Time" as published in the Vatican City newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in 2010. Colin Larkin, founder of The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, stated "if you are not familiar with this miraculous record, please take the risk.", an opinion I heartily concur with. Pink Floyd fans out there may wish to ponder on 'Fearless' and 'A Pillow of Winds' from 'Meddle' whose recording commenced at exactly the same time as this album's release."
Vision by Peter Hammill - "Hammill said, "This isn't intended to be any kind of statement of my present musical position, but at the same time, it is an album which involves a great deal of me, the person, basically a return to the roots."
Melody Maker said it was "one of THE albums of the year"
Covered by long time Hammill fan Marc Almond on Marc and the Mambas 'Torment and Toreros' album.
This was recorded between the 'H to HE, who am the only one' and 'Pawn Hearts' albums in order to clear the decks of shorter, simpler songs not deemed suitable for VDGG. Charisma head sleeve designer Paul Whitehead (who had designed the sleeve for 'H to HE.....' and would also design the 'Pawn Hearts' sleeve, of which more in a moment) was puzzled when Hammill suggested the sleeve should be based on the chess move, 'Fool's Mate'. Here's what Paul Whitehead said in an interview "It was all based around a fool’s mate, of course. Peter explained to me how this was a chess move to get the opponent in checkmate in the fewest possible moves. So, I got him to set up a chess board exactly as you’d expect it to look when a fool’s mate happened. I then sketched it, and from that created what you see on the cover. In addition, I knew that Peter was into the First World War. That gave me the idea of having a bi plane from that era flying over the board with the title trailing behind. I also added in figures to illustrate some of the tracks. The ship, for instance, is because of the song 'Viking'. I won’t give away all the secrets, though. People should spend time to work out the rest for themselves".
Lemmings/Cog by VDGG- - "A patience tester for most RPM'ers, probably, (Hi Morra!!) but here's VDGG at their brutal best. This album hit Number One.......... in Italy, and led to almost constant tours of Europe and the initial break up of the band after a particularly grueling tour of Germany . Strangely, that situation formed the basis for one of my favourite Hammill solo albums, the coruscating 'Chameleon in the shadow of the night'. The title for 'Pawn Hearts' comes from an (amended) spoonerism where Jaxonsax remarked 'I'm just going down to the studio to dub on some extra porn harts (horn parts)' which was quickly adopted as the nascent album's working title. Hammill expanded the concepts already begum with 'Fools Mate' and the earlier VDGG album H to He....' when working on the sleeve with Paul Whitehead who was given the brief by Hammill that "no matter if you're a king, a pauper or whatever – you're a pawn" which led to a design containing a view of the earth from space and a curtain with overlaid chess piece type pictures of both historical and cultural figures encased in 'space bubbles', including Jesus Christ, John Lennon and The Mekon (for all you Dan Dare fans)."
"Appointment on the 25th for the second jab so we're still 'staying local'. However, recent excursions show that many (young and elderly) seem to think it's now safe to stroll in mixed company, on relatively crowded streets, without a mask. Nerve-racking for us after 14 months of sticking to the quietist places we can think of.
(Oh, and the (Huw Lloyd Langton) 'lick' Tim? Sounds Frippish to me but perhaps John would like to comment?.......... sez the drummer to the bassist!!)"
"I reckon my first two choices this week could provide the basis for a synopsis for a movie. It seems to me that they could be two sides of the same story. Then perhaps the third selection could be played over the closing credits. Best wishes to all RPMers."
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John - "Title track from Elton's 1973 double album. (Would it have been better edited down to a single platter? Personally I'd lose "Candle in the Wind" for a start... but maybe that's just me)."
Midnight Train to Georgia by Gladys Knight and The Pips - "I saw her about 20 years ago, by which time it was, sadly, just Gladys Knight and The Pip. She was still a wonderful singer though, and this 1973 song might just be her best ever recorded performance."
Drift Away by Dobie Gray - "His two big hits came nearly a decade apart, and this is the second, presenting him not as a member of "The In Crowd," but as a purveyor of soothing Nashville-made country-soul."
"Hola gang........Thanks for the Merry track, Piers & thanks everyone for the fab music.
Spanish-language choices this week, enjoy and stay well."
"Hasta lluego, amigos."
"Sunny days and long walks, with good friends, I have been swamped with optimism about getting out and about in the near future. I look forward to socialising, and playing with friends and making new ones, whilst fearing new strains and the possibility of 3rd 4th and 5th waves and subsequent lockdowns. Though, pushing those thoughts to the back of my mind, and with live music scheduled for my near future, I have been skimming through material to plagiarise. Lots of it!!
That has made for hard choices to be made this week.
Having had my new McNeela Concertina delivered from Ireland, (The McNeela Squealer!) it stands to reason that here has been masses of Folk music.
Oh to have been in Brooklyn in 1922....
I also have been listening to a lot of prewar cajun, which, at it’s best, will make me jig about the kitchen, or, stir my emotions enough that I am brought close to tears,
Oh to have been in Lafayette between the wars!
There has also been prewar blues from Detroit and Texas, A little jazz, a lot of early Rock & Roll and Rockabilly, (Did you know that it has been reported that there are currently more Rockabilly Bands in Tokyo than ever existed in the US the 1950s!)
Oh, to have been in Memphis in the 50’s, (or thinking about it, 20s or 30s 50s 60s 70s)
Oh to have been in Memphis at pretty much anytime...
There has also been some Classic FM 70’s Rock .
Oh to have been at the Rainbow!
One of my greatest musical regrets is missing out on hearing Little Feat live.
Hard choices indeed, But I got there in the end, though it was right down to the wire!
Three tracks, each of which, I think, convey the timeless quality of excellent musicianship, pretty well. Two from my potential repertoir... "
Jolie Blonde by The Hackberry Ramblers -
Deep Elem Blues by Jerry Lee Lewis -
Live Dixie Chicken by Little Feat - "And following the track that I submitted last week, by Merry Clayton, I thought I should include a track featuring her (more famous?) brother Sam, whom, for many years, was the astounding percussionist with Little Feat, possibly the funkiest/tightest rhythm section in the history of FM radio? It was so hard to choose between the 'Musikladen' 'Oh Atlanta', and the one I finally settled on......."
"Stay safe, enjoy life, look after yourselves."
"Dear RPM comrades, I trust that you are all well and sane and can continue to contribute to this wonderful soundtrack that we somehow manage to create each week........"
Ils ont volé mon traîneau by Cleoma Breaux (and Joe Falcon) - "This is really courtesy of Piers as you’ll understand if you’ve read his piece this week…"
Calling Me Home by Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi (Title track from their new album They’re Calling Me Home) - "A new release from Ms Giddons and her partner Mr Turrisi, created during lockdown from their home in Ireland."
52 by Francesca Fargion, Hugo Glendinning, Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion - "I was looking for something by Francesca Fargion and came across this wondrous piece about lists (hasn’t everybody’s kitchen table been like this at some time or another?) This is the final piece from a project called 52 Portraits which is a digital project by choreographer Jonathan Burrows, composer Matteo Fargion and video maker Hugo Glendinning where a short gestural portrait of a dancer or performer was released every Monday throughout 2016 http://52portraits.co.uk "
"Hi RPMers, hope all is well......enjoying your tunes .Here’s my 3,"
"I’m going with the 50s theme, as Moro suggested the other week. Hope you like my choices."
"Hi RPMers, here are my three for this week...."
12XU by Wire - "Great track from their 1977 debut LP, Pink Flag."
Empty Room By Man - "I really like the organ on this, very 1969...."
"My favourite musical songs......"
"I've been going through some old photo's this week and was reminded of a visit to America when we spent the best part of 5 days in Memphis after driving down from Maryland. We stayed at a Days Inn right across the street from Graceland having picked up some deal vouchers when crossing the state line into Tennessee - and I was awarded a speeding ticket by a Tennessee State Trooper for going a bit too fast - too keen to get there no doubt. Anyway we duly booked in and I was moved to buy a pair of swim trunks from a Sears & Roebuck store so I could have a go in the guitar-shaped swimming pool. In the evening before buzzing off to Beale Street we were able to saunter across the street and get a nice look at Graceland and read the fans' scrawls on the regularly cleaned wall without any hint of crowds of people. Our stay included several nights enjoying the live music that Beale had to offer,, a long visit to Graceland and I opted to go find Sun Studios while the others went on a Mississippi Steam boat (I got the best deal). When we left Memphis we were heading for New Orleans via Biloxi on the Gulf coast and I persuaded the others in the car that we should visit Clarksdale Miss. The Blues Museum there housed the tumbledown shack that was the home of Muddy Waters in his early life...but that's another story. So my choices this week have a Memphis theme."
All The Way From Memphis by Mott The Hoople - "A rocker from the great Ian Hunter & Co. to start.........."
Memphis Tennessee by Chuck Berry - "This one contains the genius lines
"Last time I saw Marie she's wavin' me goodbye
With hurry homedrops on her cheeks that trickled from her eye.."
Walking In Memphis by Marc Cohn - "This song, which was penned by Marc to express his own visit to the city, really sums up the experience of our visit - Cher's version is not a patch on this one."
"Hope you are all enjoying the new freedoms now available to us all but don't spend all you time down the pub and keep on sending in the lovely tunes."
"Here's my three faves of the week.........."
The Monaghan Jig / Kilfenora Jig performed by Kevin Lees and Sebastian Bloch - "A superb listen, beautifully played on fiddle and accompanied by a guitarist WHO ACTUALLY LISTENS TO THE TUNE.........Irish traditional music isn't just banging out a I, IV, V chord sequence........sorry, don't know where that came from, other than enduring listening to "guitar players" unsympathetically strumming along at folk clubs....normal service will be resumed etc, etc......."
Journey Through The Asteroid Belt by The Comet Is Coming - "I've played a lot of TCIC vinyl this week...........just love this track............and thought I'd go with a live version."
Crawling King Snake performed by The Black Keys - " Best thing I've heard this week.......the Black Keys returning to their hill country blues roots....awesome....can't wait for the album."
"Keep the dial turned to eleven.........'til next time....."