Saturday 29 September 2018

Someone Get Me a Ladder

£3.00 in the British Heart Foundation, Dumfries

I've just read Greg Lake's autobiography: he wrote Lucky Man in 2016 when he knew he was dying - Greg passed in the December, and the book was published posthumously last year. Keith Emerson, the 'E' in ELP, had taken his own life in March 2016, which leaves Carl Palmer the last man standing.

Trilogy (1972)
Lucky Man is a Dear Diary type read, and none the worse for that, full of facts and figures, if a little lacking in emotion; understandable, though, given the circumstances.

Brain Salad Surgery (1973)
Emerson Lake and Palmer have cropped up once or twice around here - prior to punk they were a touchstone in my life and in my record collection; I often tell people that you can condense their whole back catalogue into just two albums - Trilogy, released in 1972, and, a year later, Brain Salad Surgery.

Still You Turn Me On is from 1973's Brain Salad Surgery. When the band wanted to dial back the pomp and circumstance running through their long players, they would turn to Greg Lake and say "Write us an acoustic ballad." Their debut album carried Lucky Man, Trilogy was tempered with From the Beginning and this was the point in their live shows where Keith and Carl could slope off to the bar while Greg sat out front on a stool and held court. Whilst simultaneously chewing gum.

Greg Lake - Still You Turn Me On 

Sunday 23 September 2018


This time last year I was telling you all about Los Straitjackets. Unnerving and unmissable in equal measure, Nick Lowe must feel permanently underdressed these days.

Seems he and the Straits would often soundcheck with Dionne Warwick's Heartbreaker, before finally embracing it full on and dropping it into their set. Although, some would argue, not one of the Gibb brothers best songs (even though it went Number One all over the world in 1982), Nick and the band have breathed new life into it and have, I think, made it into an uber cool record*. See what you think.

It's from a tasty little EP - Tokyo Bay - released in June of this year.

Saturday 22 September 2018

So Let Me Go Far (A Pilgrimage)

"Did you put the hand brake on?"

And then there were four
It's like a clarion call. One of your favourite bands announce that they're gonna be performing their (utterly, utterly splendid) second long player (a quarter of a century after its release), in its entirety. In the same running order as the album, and everything. LIVE!

Next Monday, Dodgy are announcing dates for their Homegrown 25th. Anniversary tour. They did something similar back in 2013, 20 years after they released their debut album.

I shall be pulling in a couple of shows - at least; in the same way that next March/April I'm getting a few miles under my belt catching this lot; I've already got tix to see Phil Mogg and co. at Northampton Roadmenders, Nottingham Rock City and Shepherd's Bush Empire.

Next year's diary is filling up fast.

Dodgy - So Let Me Go Far (1994)

Monday 17 September 2018

All Change

Crows have been looming large just recently, one way or another. I'm not normally someone who goes looking for hidden meanings in this sort of stuff, as it's usually just a hop, skip and a jump to places I'd rather not go, thank you vey much. But... if yer humble crow can shine any light on events to come - in some sort of totemic way - and if indeed they are an omen to the future, then I think, for what it's worth, they represent change.
Even if it just gets that little fella on the middle row - third from the right - turned back up the right way. Cos that's how I've felt these last few days, can I just tell you.

Monday 10 September 2018

Egypt? I Don't Know

It will not have escaped your attention that Paul McCartney has released yet another solo album. His 76th, or is that how old he is? I lose track. Time was when such an occasion was marked at Medd Towers by hotfooting it down to my local record emporium and standing in line for the pleasure of topping up Macca's latest offshore bank account.

These days I leave it to others* to try before I buy. And when I say buy, I mean rip the audio off of the Youtube video and chuck it in my digital vault where it will sit unlistened to for the rest of eternity. Sorry Macca, I know this sort of behaviour doesn't butter your parsnips, but you really have squeezed me dry over the years. The pips really are squeaking now.

*Anyway, I've let one of the best writers around, Martin Hodges, be my eyes and ears on this one - and I too think I Don't Know is the standout track. It really is. In fact, if McCartney ever released it as a 7" single on blue vinyl (and put, say, 'Jet' on the B-side), I'd pay a couple of quid for it. That I do know.

Macca - I Don't Know (2018)

Sunday 9 September 2018

Bath Bombs

We all know that major cities including London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester, Hull, Sheffield and Newcastle took a pasting during WW2. Industrial cities, strategic ports, places where they made stuff - in particular, munitions - were all high on Mr. Hitler's 'To Bomb' list.

But they came after cultural and historical cities too. Like Bath. Just 13 miles inland from Bristol (another of the Luftwaffe's prime targets), the beautiful city of Bath bore the brunt of a blitz so fierce that between April 25th. and 27th. 1942 it was utterly annihilated. Over 400 people perished and a more than 1,000 injured, with nearly 20,000 buildings suffering devastation.

Here's a short film telling the story.

Thursday 6 September 2018

Man and Machine

If the designers of football shirts think that they are in any way part of the fashion industry, they are sadly deluded. I'd ban replica shirts - in a heartbeat - from being worn anywhere other than a football pitch at 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon.

That said, in their 1973/4 season, Chelsea came up with an away shirt so f**king sexy it is still talked about 45 years after it was put out to pasture.

You know what it's like when you see a photograph and think to yourself 'God, that is so good.'  Here is one of those aforementioned photos.

Long story shirt short: Charlie Cooke (Chelsea, Scotland, Los Angeles Aztecs) pictured in 1974 crouched in front of a matching Mark 1 Ford Escort RS Mexico. Nothing more to add, really.

Monday 3 September 2018


Just back from Liverpool where sleep was in short supply*. John Lennon wrote I'm So Tired whilst in India studying meditation with the Maharishi in 1968. After three weeks of quiet, and not so quiet, contemplation, it was driving him insane; to the point that he was plagued by insomnia. And it is a very John song. Every line is pure Lennon. Paul McCartney admits he had absolutely nothing to do with it.

This is for anyone who's having trouble getting to sleep tonight.

The Beatles - I'm So Tired

* Not getting to bed much before 5:00 a.m. probably didn't help