Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Nic Jones

Nic Jones is one of the most respected and influential folk musicians in the UK, despite the fact that a car accident ended his performing career 28 years ago. An early member of The Halliard, Nic then built up a solo career throughout the 70's, culminating in the now-iconic Penguin Eggs in 1980. His distinctive percussive fingerpicking has been a big influence on many musicians and Radio 2 Mike Harding Show listeners voted Penguin Eggs the second best folk album of all time in 2001.

Due to high demand, a couple of compilations have since been lovingly produced, providing fans with live tracks and unreleased recordings, including 'Game Set Match' and 'In Search Of'. In a VERY VERY EXCITING twist, this summer Nic began to perform live again!!! I hope to be lucky enough to see him one day.

The classic: 'Canadee-i-o'

'Clyde Water' (Drowned Lovers)

A little fun with 'Wanton Seed'

For more information and info on how to find these releases go to Nic's website...... http://www.nicjones.net/index.htm

Thursday, 9 December 2010


Dennis Wilson

As drummer for the Beach Boys, Dennis had already had considerable fame and success but apart from a few lead vocal roles ('Do You Wanna Dance?' 'This Car of Mine'), he didn't get the opportunity to show the full extent of his talent. He released a single in 1970, but it wasn't until 1977 that he released Pacific Ocean Blue, his first solo album.

It's wonderful!!  Emotional  ballads, funky soul songs and laid back California rock and Wilson's distinctive rasping vocal. Dennis loved the sea and this album has that theme throughout (he was the only Beach Boy that actually surfed).
It opens with the epic River Song, worth the price of the album alone. Its a massive but heartfelt production, featuring the Little Rock Baptist Choir and brother Carl Wilson.
There are many more highlights, my personal favourites being 'Dreamer', 'Rainbows', and the heartbreaking 'End Of The Show'.

Dennis was gregarious and fun-loving, and the unfortunate flip-side in his case was a growing problem with alcoholism and substance abuse. He died in 1983, but fittingly, he was buried at sea, where he was happiest.
He left behind an unfinished album called Bamboo, which is now available as a box set with POB. It contains one of his most beautiful songs, 'Holy Man'. Although a final vocal track was not recorded in time, it has recently been produced with the original vocals sung by Taylor Hawkins, a fellow drummer from the Foo Fighters. Sit down, get comfortable, listen and drift off to Carl's guitar...........

River Song

Holy Man feat. Taylor Hawkins


For more info go to the lovingly maintained fan site http://www.danaddington.com/denny/

Monday, 29 November 2010

Givin' It Back

Can't you see the soldiers?
I see them marching..... 

1. Ohio/Machine Gun (Young/Hendrix)
2. Fire And Rain (Taylor)
3. Lay, Lady, Lay (Dylan)
4. Spill The Wine (War)
5. Nothing To Do But Today (Stills)
6. Cold Bologna (Withers)
7. Love The One You're With (Stills)

In many ways this record has fallen through the cracks. Released by the hugely successful Isley Brothers in 1971, it is an album solely made up of covers. The Isleys had, until this point, been a relatively straight soul group with hits like 'Shout', 'Twist and Shout' and 'This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You). The group had left Motown just a few years previously through frustration, and were hitting their stride with their new funk-based sound when they released this wonderful oddity. Covering so many white artists was a particularly brave move in these times where black and white audiences were still very much defined. Perhaps this is one of the elements that makes this album so special; with acoustic guitars, plenty of Latin percussion, emotive soul vocals and some wonderful soaring guitar solos from the newly inducted Ernie Isley, this album transcends genre stereotypes.

Ohio/Machine Gun is epic, a big undertaking, although this is a passionate and emotional reinterpretation which hits equally as hard, in my opinion, as the originals. Fire and Rain is beautiful and mournful. Lay Lady Lay is soothing and gentle. Spill The Wine  is awesome Latin soul. Nothing To Do But Today gives a funk groove that completely transforms the Stills original. For Cold Bologna, the band were joined by the song's writer himself, Bill Withers, on guitar. 
Love The One You're With has always been a favourite song of mine, and I had previously thought that Aretha's version recorded live at the Fillmore was my favourite cover, now I'm not so sure.....

Anyway, do listen. It's a wonderful and rare thing to find an album you can listen to all the way through and love every second, and I have certainly found that with 'Givin' It Back'.  I hope that you might take a shine to it too.

Love The One You're With

Fire and Rain

Spill The Wine

A live version of Ohio/Machine Gun from 1973

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dick Gaughan

'I raise up my glass and drink deep of its flame
To those who have gone who were links in the chain
And I give my soul's promise I give my heart's pledge
To outlaws and dreamers and life at the edge'
Dick Gaughan ©Grian Music 2001

Dick Gaughan is a Scottish folk and protest singer, and a man who talks a lot of sense. A loveable troublemaker through and through, he is a writer of the some of the most witty and thought provoking modern folk songs but also a master of traditional balladry. His subject matter is gloriously varied (and often surprisingly educational!) ranging from the protestant preacher Jack Glass ('The Devil and Pastor Jack') to 18th century philosopher and revolutionary Thomas Paine ('Tom Paine's Bones').

For more info check out his website (built and maintained by Gaughan himself)  http://www.dickgaughan.co.uk/main.html

'Craigie Hill'

This is 'Now Westlin Winds' (words by Robert Burns), a particular favourite of Gaughan's.

Here is a more recent classic, (and a particular favourite of mine!) an interpretation of a Brian McNeill song that seems made for Gaughan, 'No Gods'. (skip to 5mins)

Thursday, 18 November 2010


Terry Reid

Considering Terry Reid had support slots with the Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, Cream and Fleetwood Mac, turned down places in Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, and had songs covered by Cheap Trick and The Raconteurs, he should be much better known. A combination of bad management and bad luck worked against him, but for those who do know him, he's up there with the best.
Still playing and recording today, check out http://www.terryreid.org.uk/ for more info.

He played, and continues to play, a wide range or styles, incorporating soul, funk, jazz and folk into his laid-back rock all tied together with his trademark howling vocal.

This is Terry performing 'Dean' at the 'Glastonbury Fayre' in 1971. Thats Linda Lewis joining in at the end, (still enjoying the tail end of her first acid trip) and David Lindley on lap steel guitar. One of my favourite live performances ever.

'Seed Of Memory'

'Superlungs My Supergirl'

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Jazz Baroness

In this blog I will concentrate mostly on the musicians, but just to mix it up a little, here is a great APPRECIATOR.

Pannonica de Koenigswater

Nica and Monk

Pannonica (also known as Nica) was born in 1913, a member of the Rothschild financial dynasty. Following the break up of her marriage in 1951 she moved to New York and became a patron, friend and fan of many on the jazz scene. She helped those in need pay doctors bills, buy new instruments and get to gigs. She became particularly good friends with Thelonious Monk, who lived with her for much of his life, even taking the rap for him when he was caught in possession of drugs. She used her money and position to ceaselessly champion the music she loved and the people who inspired her, despite the racist and derogatory comments from the press who didn't understand her.

Charles Mingus and Nica

A part of her legacy that I am particularly grateful for is her book; 'Three Wishes'. This is a compilation of candid photographs by Nica and the answers to the question she posed to all her friends:
'If you could have three wishes, what would they be?'
Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker (who later died in her house), Sonny Rollins, Monk and many others all gave their answers, with often funny, sometimes heart warming and always insightful results.

And while you wait, listen to this! An Oscar Peterson interpretation of Horace Silver's ode to Nica.

The Master of Space and Time

He's back (although for many he never went away), Leon Russell is once again in the mainstream eye with new album 'The Union', composed and performed with Elton John and produced by T Bone Burnett. This combination is not as odd as it might seem, just listen to John's 1970 record 'Tumbleweed Connection' and Russell's influence is all over it. Session musician to most 1960s and 1970s music legends, band leader, songwriter, label founder, studio owner and solo performer, his CV is as impressive as you can get.

He was a member of the Wrecking Crew, backing Phil Spector's vocalists, on some of the most well known songs of all time. Three Beatles and two Stones members played on his first solo album. He co-ordinated and performed in Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour, his songs have been covered by BB King, Ray Charles, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, Peggy Lee and The Temptations among many others. The list of his notable session work would be endless.

Apart from all that, he has an incredible presence.

Anyway, for a proper biography go to his website:
(Actually check out his website anyway- it is a great representation of the man. My favourite part is the section titled 'Leon Speaks...', where I was expecting an interview or something similar,but the page simply reads 'Leon speaks through his music'......)

So here we go, some performances that show what the man can do:

Here is the song he reportedly wrote about Rita Coolidge, and hit for Joe Cocker, 'Delta Lady':

'Hummingbird' Gorgeous song.
Here is the Robert Johnson classic, Come On In My Kitchen:

'If I was A Carpenter'

Here is my current personal favourite Leon, which is very drunk Leon at Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic in 1974. Note the way he reacts to Waylon Jenning's entrance, and the trepidation on Willie's face:

And just for fun... Here's 'High Heeled Sneakers' from 1964, a different look for Leon in those days!

Another expendable blog.

I promise, this will be nothing special. Its as much for me as for anyone who should happen to stumble across it.
But with any luck, I will introduce people to some music that they have yet to stumble across.

Red beans and ricely yours,