Friday, 7 August 2020

In League With the Freeway?

I don't profess for one minute to know what Robert Plant was wanging on about when he wrote Big Log; suffice it to say that in 1983 it was one of a trio of records (actually, make that four1) that seemed to follow me around in, what I remember as being, one of the hottest summers since 1976. And like '76 it was one of those years that changed me in more ways than one2. 

However (there's a always a however), as good a song as the aforementioned Big Log3 is, and it is, it had one of the most annoying drum machines running thru it from start to finish. It was like he'd left the click track on the recording and forgot to take it off. I still struggle4 with it to this day whenever it comes on the radio. Note to self - compile a list of ten great records spoilt by something that only annoys me.

Which is why I derive so much joy from Allison Krauss' beautiful reading of 'The Log'. I could, I think, listen to this all day. Especially on long hot summer days; like today.

Allison Krauss - Big Log (2011)

1 Along with Long Hot Summer, Cruel Summer, and Information (Dave Edmunds, in case you were wondering).
2 I really must explore the narrative that links those two summers and, perhaps, spill the beans.
3 What a truly awful title.
4 "Aaaagh!" What was he thinking?

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

It Must be Love

In the June of 1976 - my long hot summer - I was seeing a young 
thing called J----; yes I am being coy, it's my story and I'll be coy if I want to. (And the reason I can call her a young thing is because I was a young thing too.) In fact, so infatuated with her was I that, in the merry-merry month of June, I shelled out the grand sum of 40p (eight bloody shillings) and gave her a copy of Queen's then current chart smash 'You're My Best Friend'. I thought she was at the time, so I celebrated the fact thru the medium of vinyl. J---- loved it. And me (she told me). Which was fine because I loved her too. What could possibly go wrong?

Fast forward two months (a long time in long hot summers; an even longer time when you're hot and bothered and in love) and I'm paying a return visit to my local record emporium). Another eight bob and another piece of black plastic. I figured nothing says I love you more than Chicago's new single 'If You Leave Me Now'. Looking back now I didn't realise that I was laying myself wide open. Within days of giving her disc number two I was history. There was me thinking we'd come too far to leave it all behind, but instead she took away the biggest part of me. 

Though I think I found it again quite quickly. Probably while Chicago were still in the charts, thinking about it.

See how beautifully Lemon Jelly sampled it 35 years later. This is a taster - full version here

Lemon Jelly - Soft (2001)

Saturday, 1 August 2020

What the Future Holds?

Ronnie Scott's was meant to be reopening tonight; the legendary Soho jazz club of 60 years standing was scheduled to open its doors for the first time since March - albeit with 50% reduced capacity and the by now ubiquitous strict social distancing.
However, it wasn't to be. The plug got pulled at 9.16pm on Thursday night (as did a lot of things) in a cowardly tweet from our inept and grossly corrupt government.

I am a huge fan of Ian Shaw* and it was from watching him and Claire Martin play a behind closed doors** gig at Ronnie's last week that I got wind of the reopening. Ian - and Claire too - have been regulars at the club for such a long time I'm surprised they don't live in the window, Bagpuss style. This is Ian with a self penned song from his excellent Theory of Joy album.

Ian Shaw - My Brother (2016)

* So much more than a jazzer -  Ian is an award winning singer, songwriter, pianist, comedian and actor. He even makes Drum and Bass records - proof, if proof were needed.

** The whole gig is here. If you've got an hour to kill this weekend I can't recommend it highly enough: two artists at the peak of their powers.


Talking about brothers, mine has really been through the wringer of late. But some good news came through yesterday. This is for him.

Friday, 31 July 2020

(Not) Everybody Loves the Sunshine

Phew! What a Scorcher. Today's sky high temperatures probably won't appease those living in the North West of the country who woke up today to find a sudden withdrawal of privileges.(Once again our spectacularly inept Government proved beyond a shadow of doubt they really don't have a clue what's going on.) So if, like the Number One Son, you live in Manchester, I feel for you. I really do. As with Leicester, it can't be much fun standing on the naughty step as you watch the rest of the class go outside to play.

Ironically, James sent me his 2020 (So Far) playlist only yesterday and it's full of wall to wall Summer bangers. Party music, if you will; as long as the party is neither in your home or garden. Or with other people who aren't from your household. Give me strength.

Anyway, back to those bangers. James knows my love for the System. Here's a tune that is so heavily influenced by the soul funk duo who gave us You Are In My System (a huge hit for Robert Palmer) it's uncanny. I absolutely love it. 
This then goes out to anyone with an M postcode.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Real Tuesday

Today is Tuesday; it being the day after Monday, that figures. But today actually feels like a Tuesday - not a lockdown Tuesday. For the first time in a very long time (it started at the weekend) there is a modicum of normality (normalcy, anyone?) creeping back into my life. Later this morning I've got a Zoom call that should secure some freelance work, and this afternoon I'm joining my friend Deke on the final leg of his charity challenge walk to provide tea and encouragement - I may even walk a couple of miles with him. Like I said, it actually feels like a real Tuesday; long may it continue.

The Real Tuesday Weld - The Day Before You Came (2014)