It’s like an allergy with no apology…

There was this dark haired Italian girl. She lived across from us and had three passions I knew of, red wine, John Martyn and chocolate. At least once a day she played One World and smoked sat on the stoop. Her hair was raven black and curled provocatively over her shoulders, her skin was olive and perfect and her lips were the deepest red and always on the edge of a smile. During Small Hours she would sway along with the music as the guitar loops swelled and echoed down the street, during this part of the day it seemed her stereo had one setting loud and the weather was always sunny.

IMG_7754.JPGShe took my then girlfriend Michelle under her wing and introduced her to the joys of real chocolate, and red wine, they would dance to John Martyn and cook together, sometimes at the same time. At least two or three times a week we would eat together and she would play John Martyn albums and try and explain the attraction, the passion, sensuality, rawness of the music. How the actual lyrics were unimportant, it was the sound of the voice.

Eventually her work at the university in Brighton ended and she left. There were kisses and promises to keep in touch, this however was at a time before cell phones, email and you were just one move away from losing touch. Inevitably this happened and we all continued our lives.

I like to think somewhere in Naples or Florence there is a beautiful Italian woman sitting on her stoop blaring out One World as she sits and sips her wine, sways and smiles. Maybe some gray in her hair and laughter lines around her eyes but it’s always sunny and her lips are on the edge of a smile.

Some nights if I play John Martyn and Michelle is walking around she will unconsciously start to dance and smile with a far away look in her eyes as she thinks of those warm evenings in Brighton in the 80’s.

Oh yeah you really should take the time to listen to One World by John Martyn, it’s a trip worth taking.

Advertisements

I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home…

Siting here in the limbo of paying rent and a mortgage simultaneously the only sane thing to do is buy some more records. Many of the usual outlets, discogs, Amazon and eBay are out of reach as frankly I have no cash.

The answer obviously is the charity/thrift shop. The delights of the record pile in the thrift store are few and far between. Hidden amongst the Streisand and Manilow was this familiar gem.

IMG_7740

Let’s be honest this looks like a bunch of amateurs hanging out in their mothers basement rather than the super group it really was. A wonderfully low-tech album sleeve in replacement of the less acceptable original cover.

The sleeve looks as if it has been used as a floor mat and there was an unsavory look to the vinyl. This really was a desperation buy on some level. Everything cleaned up well. I did apply judicious use of disinfectant to the cover wondering what toxic germs I may be bringing home.

This is the first time I have ever heard this album, I have overcome many of my Clapton biases over the years, even going to see him live once, which was enjoyable if not awe inspiring.

So I have decided to look on this as a Hawkwind, Spencer Davis Group, Family and John Mayall Bluesbreakers off-shoot album.

I am not one for lists and am not good at keeping to a yearly theme so we will see what this year brings. Probably a lot of thrift store shopping, the leftovers of the obsessive collectors who have the leisure time to get there at opening.

There is also our big construction project going on, over the last six months we have been working on moving to ten acres we bought. This is a strange experience waiting for the county to approve septic systems, wells etc. The biggest challenge right now is the house has to be 70 feet form the creek, 10 feet from the neighbors property line and 3o feet from the road. This seems easy but our place is zoned forest and we have 1 acre to fit things like a house on. It’s a puzzle as Shawn the builder says but we will overcome.

We’re going all the way ’til the wheels fall off and burn…

Knocked Out Loaded is not the best Dylan album, it’s not the worst though if only for the 11 minutes of Brownsville Girl.

Full of strange disjointed images, Gregory Peck, judges, cars and a swelling gospel chorus. Maybe it’s Sam Shepard’s input or maybe it is the hallucinatory nature of the whole thing. The wistful longing for a lost love, the one line throw away non-sequiturs. It is one of Dylans great nonsense epics along with Bob Dylan’s dream and more recently Highlands.

IMG_7720.JPG

Sometimes it feels like it is the type of brilliance Dylan knocks out when the world starts thinking he has lost his touch.

“You know I feel pretty good but that ain’t saying too much, you know I could feel a while lot better.”

Kisses in the fallout shelter…

Concept albums get a bad name.  Since The Pretty Things wrote S.F. Sorrow, The Kinks knocked out Arthur and The Who jumped on the bandwagon with Tommy, they have been loved and loathed. There is however something to be said for the song-cycle. Woody Guthrie apparently started things off with Dust Bowl Ballads, it all got out of hand in the 70’s and Queensryche and Green Day have had a go in later years. It may be enough to say the format has had something of a resurgence.

There is however the niche post-apocalyptic Folk-Rock concept album. I will immediately be wrong in saying there are to my knowledge only two, both by Jon Boden.  Boden is more usually associated with his overbearing 3000 piece folk rock ensemble that split up just as they were getting big known as Bellowhead.

IMG_7698Which brings me to the album Songs from the Floodplain, released in 2009 and Mr Boden plays all the instruments himself, wrote all the words. all the music apart from the one traditional track and sang all the words. It is the essence of mid-70’s indulgence for the new millennium and funnily enough it is 8 years old already. What makes it different than Bodens other work is the understated singing, rather than his usual slightly hysterical theatric delivery he employs with Bellowhead that was to my ears annoying.

What you you get is a series of character studies as the modern world declines after some unnamed disaster, the sinister Preacher roams the land and the local folk resort to a return to a more pastoral if difficult life. It’s a melancholic and muted album that draws you  into the collapsed world of decaying factories and the search for petrol to mow the lawn. There are small things described in detail and the larger foreboding presence of something malignant just out of sight. It is the musical equivalent of the great English disaster novel such as No Blade of Grass by John Christopher or Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids.

So maybe 2018 will be the year of the concept album.

 

we live in a trailer on the edge of town…

25311006_10213168422518814_919780188021974251_oIt’s been a trial but Christmas is here and the county finally came through and approved our septic system placement. This may just about be the best Christmas present ever.

Things have been held up for almost six months on finally getting our stuff together in the country, Shawn the builder has been very patient with us asking questions every week and Phil the money man has been almost as patient as we tell him don’t worry it is going to work out.

So finally now we know were all the shit is going they can now start with all the cool stuff like digging a well and laying foundation for the house or as I like to say trailer.

Anyway I hope you all have a great day/week. Happy whatever you do and be good to each other.

The bus came by and I got on…

Anthem for the Sun and other mystical stuff.

The Dead’s second album and what’s it all about? To be honest I have no idea and I am not sure they do either.

This came my way by accident in my friendly neighborhood junk shop and I thought IMG_7675.jpgwhy not it’s been many years since I tortured myself and my neighbors this way. So off we go and to be honest it’s not as bad as I remember or maybe I have enough residual whatever to finally get something of what is going on.

Studio, live, whatever’s next, throw it all in and mix it “for the hallucinations” as Jerry said. I am not sure if they achieved what they hoped for, it’s at times like having a bus driven by three drivers as you wind on down the psychedelic road. Or maybe that is the intention after all. Frantic drumming, strange musical interludes and is that a trumpet in there and we haven’t got past side one and then Jerry plays some guitar.

Side two kicks off with kazoos and some confusing lyrics, a jam or two, some guitar mumbled lyrics and all the other stuff. My favorite moment is at the beginning of Caution (Do Not Stop On The Tracks) when Pigpens voice cuts through the cacophony accompanied a snare drum and Jerry to sing. It’s the most normal moment in a symphony of chaos and gives you a moment to hold on.

“All you need…”

So you be good to me and I’ll be good to you…

Out of the ditch and onto the beach.

I am not sure if the album references the Neville Shute novel or the 1959 movie or is more literal than that. The beach is after all as far as you can go, unless you walk out into the waves. It’s a place of contemplation or finality. Young stands there with his shoes off as if he is ready to step into the ocean, maybe say goodbye to L.A. and all it signifies, who knows.

IMG_7454I have never really been one to spend a whole lot of time trying to understand what is going on with the songs, yes we get the Mansons in Revolution Blues and the rape of the earth for oil in Vampire Blues and who really knows what Ambulance Blues is about apart from pissing in the wind. I really enjoy Walk On and See the Sky About To Rain but my favorite is For The Turnstiles, maybe it’s the pianos and banjo’s.

Many automatically name this their favorite album. What makes it stand out I think from other albums is the seemingly personal nature of the songs, they are however all a little distant, maybe that’s the honey slides. It’s as if the songs are Young looking back, getting ready to look forward. There is also the mystery of the album, barely available for 20 years it became a cult. Who really knows the real reason but it did manage to raise it’s mystique over more readily available records.

It’s for sure a bleak record but it is at times more bitter than despairing, maybe it’s the hangover record at the end of the day. The bleary eyed look back after the chaos of Tonights the Night and Time Fades Away.

The weird thing is I find it pretty easy to get excited about the two other albums in the Ditch Trilogy, they are polarizing, perverse, unsettling albums. On the Beach is just weary, yes it’s a good listen that exhausts you. Time Fades Away rakes you into the depths of despair, Tonights the Night is the wake and then there is the inevitable hangover.