Tuesday, 3 May 2016

I Should Be Dealing With My Demons, But I'm Dodging Them Instead

Oklahoma born John Moreland's musical journey has taken him from the hardcore metal bands of his youth to his current status as an American roots inspired troubadour. He has released three solo albums along the way (including the recent 'High on Tulsa Heat'), but only came to my attention via a show-stopping performance of ‘Break My Heart Sweetly’ on Stephen Colbert's Late Show in February. Moreland is playing a one-off show at the Union Chapel in London on May 27th. I wish I could be there. I suspect it'll be quite an evening.

(As you read these words, Mrs S & I should be wending our weary way back from a long hectic weekend in the crowded metropolis, to our quiet home beneath the big Norfolk skies. Over the next few days I'll be trying to catch up with what's been going on while I've been away.)

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Western Skies Motel

Danish musician René González Schelbeck, trading as Western Skies Motel, makes, predominantly acoustic, instrumental music inspired by the wide open spaces of rural America. The recent LP, 'Settlers', is a extremely fine piece of work, while a companion 6 track EP, 'Generations', contains 'Myriads', a tune which steadily works its way to an electric crescendo and is my favourite piece from the project thus far. Shades of Fripp & Eno in that one, methinks.

Check out more music from Western Skies Motel here.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

London Calling

As I write these words, the old bone-shaker is at the garage being fine tuned in preparation for the journey and by the time you read this we should be speeding our way down the M11 towards London, where Mrs S has an important three day artistic gig in the heart of the sprawling metropolis. And me? I'll be ticking off a few odd jobs for my two elderly East End-based Aunts. Curtain changing, plant watering, a little gentle tidying - you name it, I'll probably be dusting it. It promises to be a flat out, non-stop, nose-to-the-grindstone few days for me, with interruptions only for extended coffee breaks (with hefty slabs of homemade cake, natch) and taking the dear old ladies in question out for a leisurely lunch or two. I'll be glad to get back home on Tuesday for a rest.


I've managed to catch at least one London date (often several) on every UK Bob Dylan tour since 1981. The one exception was in November of 2005 when work pressures prevented me from attending. So imagine my utter dismay when I checked the setlists online following Bob's Brixton Academy shows, to find that he'd commenced his encores with a brief snatch of 'London Calling', a direct nod to the city and of course, the mighty Clash, the only band that mattered.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Open Wide

A short while after penning this post in 2012, I had a little rethink. I tried to work out exactly where I was and who I was with the last time I went to a dentist and, following a quick recalculation based on those facts, realised that my last visit wasn't in in 1987 as I'd initially estimated, but actually in 1983. A couple of weeks ago I finally plucked up the courage, signed up to the same local dental surgery as Mrs S and went along for my first check up in 33 years. My new dentist, who wasn't even born the last time I set foot inside a surgery, expected the worst as I opened my cake-hole for inspection, but, with a couple of exceptions, was pleasantly surprised at the state of my molars. Yesterday I had a filling, taking care of the lesser of the problems he found. I was utterly terrified, but was a brave little soldier throughout the process. The other discovery made by my dentist came as no surprise, indeed I alluded to it in that post 4 years ago. A tooth at the back has crumbled beyond repair or possibility of normal extraction. It's never given me a moment of pain or discomfort, but surely will one day, so it has to be dug out - and it'll be a nasty job. I'm awaiting an appointment later in the year with a specialist, for which I will be given sedation. It'll be messy, but it's my own fault.

Here are Chatham's finest and the only Dentists I've ever really cared for, with their classic début single from 1985, 'Strawberries are Growing in My Garden (and It's Wintertime)'.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

I Will Play This Song Once Again

I appreciate that some of us have got this record collecting bug worse than others, but who among us would be capable of resisting the chance to own a true rarity by one of our own favourite artists? And by true rarity I mean a very limited, personalised edition - of one copy. Step forward I Will Play This Song Once Again, a record label specialising in excruciatingly limited, personalised releases. Some of the singles in their catalogue have editions of just 5 copies, though my own purchase, 'What Have They Done To You Now?' by Daniel Knox, had a massive run of.....35. This means that Daniel recorded the song 35 times, each a one-off individually cut performance, prefaced by a brief spoken introduction, which in my case was a dedication to me using my full name (pronounced absolutely correctly - believe me this rarely happens) followed by the date and time of recording - four o'clock one morning in December since you ask.

The original recording of 'What Have They Done To You Now?' appeared on Daniel's excellent 'Disaster' album in 2007 and is revisited on my single in a very dramatic, rolling reworking - a unique performance, quite literally. I'd love to play it for you, but it's mine, all mine! Here's the original though. Check out more of Daniel's terrific music here.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Dearly Beloved, We're gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life, it means forever....

Prince enters at 3½ minutes to remove the roof and tear down the walls with his guitar. A staggering solo.

RIP Mr Nelson.

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