Woo woo, woo woo Welcome to Earth my son yeah…

How do you figure out you’re a fan?

Is it when you realize that you own just about every album they have released apart from the mp3 only live release? And you want that.

Is it when you after listening to all of the albums chronologically decide to spend the money on the tickets for the show in December? This probably would have happened anyway.

Or is it when you find yourself sitting in the woods listening to All Across this Land and find a great peace settle on you? This is generally what happens when I listen to music in the woods, well apart from certain types of music that involve teutonic knights pillaging their way across the landscape as the peasants flee.

I guess it is when a band become the preferred listening for at least a week. Or is this just the completist collector in me?

It’s probably when you pre-order the new record and then order the soundtrack from the stage show. Or is that again just the collector?

So finally I am able to actually admit without shame I rather like that band Blitzen Trapper. Yes they are quirky, a little country, a little folk, they have created a stage play but more importantly sometimes you want to really throw your foot on the monitor and rock out with them. They are in fact perfect for the Oregon woods or to be accurate the Cascade foothills. Their vaguely folky rock is perfect for a meander by the creek and a sit in the damp fall woods.

Also any song that begins with Woo Woo Woo is an instant classic.

Any band hearkening so much back to the 70’s need to hook you up with a Zeppelin cover. If you want to see some awkward dancing take a look around 1:26.

So I am going to accept my fan status, however this pretty much makes it difficult to be objective in any way.

Her are some pictures form my morning stroll as well it’s hard to believe that somehow I managed to own this.

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I can’t believe you’re trampling me…

I remember the Royal Court Theater sometime in the late 80’s. A sweaty writhing festival of bouncing and pummeling and shouting. A deranged individual hanging from the mike stand he was riding sweat showering down on the audience.  The music loud and insistent and pervasive. The audience and band one. It was then I realized that the young woman I had brought to the gig was not going home with me. In fact she was not going home with anyone, in fact she had gone home alone and about 10 minutes ago. Or as a matter of fact almost as soon as the wild show that was Julian Cope had staggered onto the stage as his Syd Barrett meets Jim Morrison leather clad rock god persona had arrived.

For about two hours he hollered railed and gyrated his way through the show. There was no thinking, no mercy and only an ego as large as Cope could manage to pull it off. Surrounded by the worshippers at the church of Cope it was easy to forget that I hadn’t wanted to come and had only bought the tickets as a way of getting the young woman I went with to come out with me. She had however become overwhelmed it seems by the event even before it began. Of course a concert at the Royal Court in those days could be pretty overwhelming.

I never saw this young woman again, I never saw Julian Cope again either, maybe it was all a bit overwhelming after all.

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The jury is often out on Cope. He has however managed to meander his way through the pop world doing whatever he wants to do and seemingly only answerable to himself so more power to him, He has also written some of my favorite songs over his albums. If you want a crash course in his early work St. Julian is as good an entry point as any other, it does manage to be a bit more consistent than his other efforts.

 

 

Hat’s off to ****** Roy Harper and Have a ****** Cigar…

So like most people I belong to probably far too many online groups about music or books or games or movies and sometimes the inane comments get to me.

So for those of you out there who care, Roy Harper is a lot more than the guest vocalist on the fourth best Pink Floyd album or a convenient name for a track on the best Led Zeppelin album.

Here’s to the Loony On the Bus who has been producing infuriating and inspiring records for many years. Has been remarkably consistent in his anarchic view of politics, religion and social issues, has influenced his peers and at various times has had Bruford, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, the McCartney’s, Keith Moon and Ian Anderson to name a few appear on albums or on stage with him and still is a thorn in the side of whatever establishment is in power and has a true sense of sartorial elegance.

Which at the end of the day is a great commendation, he pissed off the establishment and looked good doing it.

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Well we don’t mean anyone any harm…

I’ve been trolling my way through the sordid underbelly of the Jethro Tull canon. Failed t.v. shows, stage shows and rock operas abound.

I do however have to admit a soft spot for Too Old To Rock’n’Roll, Too Young To Die. It’s a little unpleasant in places, bawdy and uncompromisingly Jethro Tull at times but somehow a whole lot of fun. It’s uncomfortable as you follow old Ray Lomas on his merry adventures, just a little sad and maybe as I age my way along a little too close to home.

I also remember the glee I had several years ago stopping at the service station at the junction of the A1 and A66 at Scotch Corner. I may have stood on the tarmac and had a moment for myself and Ian Anderson and thought of old Ray speeding his way along on Doris to his less than fatal collision.

And at the end of the day it’s a great album cover.

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Exorcise the beast…

There are finer Tull albums without doubt. There are even better albums in general I am sure. This however was my admission to all things Tull. It all began in a murky bedroom in West Derby as John the crazed bearded red head fanatic took the time to explain to me how this was the greatest album I would hear this year, the year being 1982. I am sure that it was not true that this was the greatest album I ever heard in 1982, it did however result in me going to see Fairport Convention at the Southport Arts Center as Dave Pegg was in both bands and then to Cropredy.

John convinced me to go see the band live. I was enthralled at the time by the willingness of a grown man to prance around the stage in a codpiece and gurn his way through one legged flute playing. The tour also had the most absurd pirate ship stage set and was actually the epitome of everything punk had been angry about, this only made it more enjoyable on some level. Over the following years I saw more members of Fairport Convention play in both bands and enjoyed Mr Anderson’s appearances at Cropredy.

So if you want to hear a Tull album that is entirely competent, hits all the Tull buttons, sometimes too hard. You can even take the time to air guitar your way through some of Martin Barre’s rockier moments you don’t need to go further than Broadsword and The Beast. It also has some nice folkier elements throughout.

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Gimme some more…

Every day I drive past a house with a confederate flag flying in the yard.

Every day I wonder what this means to the owner and ultimately to me.

Every day I think something along the lines that there will always be the ignorant out there flying their flags of hatred and intolerance.

I don’t buy the idea that flying that flag is a gesture of defiance to a government that does not represent the people, although watching the orange man on t.v. I may have to reconsider exactly who is being represented by whom these days.

Today as I drove past that very house Ain’t Gwine to Whistle Dixie (Any Mo’) by Taj Mahal was playing. I came home and put The Real Thing on and basked in the brilliance of a blues band playing with  four tuba’s as a stone cold genius whistled over the whole mess of blues.

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I am not sure if music can make all things better but the very best records can make you forget for awhile and give you the strength to stand up and be counted.

The Real Thing is one of those albums that just make you smile from start to finish. It is a joyful celebration of the blues, it’s bawdy, raunchy and raw and a whole lot of fun in a swaggering mess of music.

The brilliance of this album is encapsulated in the 19 minutes of You Ain’t No Street Walker Mama, Honey but I Sure Do Love the Way You Strut Your Stuff. Which while being an epic jam is not your noodling deadhead version of the blues but the type of blues that drags your whiskey soaked soul through the swamp to leave you sobbing at the crossroads and wondering what type of lost soul flies the flag of hatred for all to see.

I truly believe sometimes late at night that if we just managed to get the hateful to hear the right records we would have hope as a species. We would be able to fix the planet heal the rifts between people and feed the hungry. We may even manage to dance a little and sing what we really need though is more tubas…

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If you want to get into it, you’ve got to get out of it…

In a fit of nostalgic insanity or fanboy lust, whichever makes the most sense I just managed to acquire Choose Your Masques by Hawkwind.IMG_6758

I believe this may be the result of the regression caused by too much Dungeons and Dragons or a physical real time in the moment acknowledgement that Hawkwind are actually in my DNA and I will always have some amount of affection for just about every album.

Of course the albums from the 80’s while not even close to the peaks of the early 70’s are the albums I bought on the day they came out. These are the concerts I went to three or four times a year until the early 90’s. This is the band that I saw at countless festivals and despite their silly name I still mumble as my favorite when asked by anyone who your favorite band is.  This causes some puzzled looks in the USA, of course my back up favorite does the same with Airport Convention.

The truth is that at this age I am well past having to feel ashamed of the music I listen to, this is the realm of the teenager or adulting and not the grizzled veteran of the rock’n’roll wars I have become. So these days Graham Parker, the Grateful Dead, Hawkwind and Sabbath rub shoulders with Fleet Foxes and Iron and Wine and others happily filling the gaps between the constant hubbub that life sometimes feels like it has become.

So Hawkwind really are a part of my DNA, that part that confuses doctors and passersby.