the 4 year hiatus in this on-going series is a result of the dilemma i had with dealing with the 2 songs written by andrew goodwin that were mentioned in my coathanger song. i had planned to try and create versions of them both. that is clues and belgrade ’88 which are referenced in the line
searching for clues
but when andrew tragically died in a fire back in september 2013 i lost the momentum. i wanted to carry on with the project but somehow i just couldn’t do it. i think the only way i could record those would be to do them sometime with mike mulholland and bernie martin we ought to do it maybe they’ve already done it without me i better ring mike sometime and see how he’s getting on.
meanwhile i’ve decided to leave out andrew’s songs and carry on with the next song in the trail which is referenced in the line
finding old gardens
old graveyards too
and this song is called culture and i wrote it i think in 1977. i just listened to the song on the whose last trickle album (track 11) and i think i prefer the new version which i’ve just done – the vocal doesn’t really sound too good on the 1978 recorded dry rib version. in mitigation as i’ve said before it was the first time i’d ever been in a recording studio. i’ll include the track too so you can see what i mean.
The next Rock ‘N Roll Years post is that of 1961. You can find it below but first as I’ve done a couple of times before I’ve selected some of the films released that year and stuck them in a table with a link which is generally to the film’s trailer but where possible to see the film itself (although these things can come and go like the tide).
Some comments on some of the films :-
La Notte was the first Antonioni film I ever saw, this was on TV in about 1970 or so, I’ve never watched since but would like to, ideally on a big screen somewhere.
Around the same time I saw Last Year In Marienbad on TV. I’d already seen and loved Hiroshima Mon Amour as mentioned earlier in this blog, but the Marienbad film was a total revelation for me and within another few years I managed to see it 3 or 4 more times. This of course was before the era of VHS or DVD so that had to be at a cinema or film club. There’s a simple game in the film where objects (doesn’t matter what – I think in the film it’s cards) are laid out in rows and you take turns to remove them – one or more but only from a single row at a time. The person who picks up the last object loses. I spent a lot of time for a year or so showing people how to play that and invariably beating them as the mysterious character in the film does. Actually if both players know what they’re doing it’s simple in that the person who goes first will always win.
I went to see The Guns of Navarone with my brother and sister and I think a couple of other kids at the cinema in Huddersfield when it was out. My father dropped us off and was going to pick us up later. In those days most films, especially one as long as this were screened with 2 reels so that there was a longish break between each half of the film. Our timing was out so badly that we watched the 2nd half of the film first and then the 1st half – very post-modern but not to be recommended in general.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mysterious Island but I’d really like to – animation by the great Ray Harryhausen, a score by the great Bernard Hermann, but above all for the presence of one of my favourite actresses – the magnificent Joan Greenwood.
And finally while on the subject of favourite actresses, Ozu’s The End of Summer was the last time that Setsuko Hara worked with the master.
granite 13 is a mix i constructed some time ago late at night in a lively pensive mood. probably i don’t really remember. some of the artists have been on other granite mixes but that’s only to be expected. graphs show patterns and patterns evolve into branched out structures of growth replete with inner and outer significance. trellises draw stems and tendrils favour south-facing surfaces.
lotte lenya, best singer of all bond villains is my favourite interpreter of her husband’s music. sorry this track isn’t great quality it came tortuously originally from a radio broadcast – bbc radio 3 that would be.
nancy wilson i have talked about before and not sure what else i can say except that if you’re going to look at only one of the youtube links that i’ve embedded in this post then i would particularly recommend hers
bonnie prince billy i find a refreshing character i’ve chosen a video rather than a live perfomance for the link because i somehow think he works especially well with film.
ron goodwin wrote the music for seventy-odd films including four miss marple features with margaret rutherford in the lead role. i can’t find any full versions of those online but here’s a trailer.
balkan music has got a strong thing going with it’s mixture of asian and european traditions and this albanian unit is a good example of what i’m talking about. what am i talking about?
my clan done ran from japan to atlanta with stamina
slingers and gamblers and gram handlers
tical light the owl cigar let’s get steamed
infra-red guard your beam
i’m not an expert on the blues but for me john lee hooker was the guy who took it a bit beyond and spaced it out by reducing the number of chords which is always good for me though i admit sometimes i fancy putting a few in.
alfred schnittke is another composer/musician that i have talked about before and not sure what else to say. how about – my favourite composer? at the moment anyway.
baden powell – probably talked about him too (when i say talked i mean written). and the link is the second best one to watch.
here’s the mix
granite mix 13
i can’t stop loving you
today, tomorrow and forever
bonnie prince billy
the lion lair
ease down the road
miss marple theme
film music of ron goodwin
unknown albanian musicians
unknown albanian song
only built 4 cuban linx
john lee hooker
crawlin’ king snake
the best of john lee hooker
collected songs where every verse is filled with grief
At last I have got my film of the Bristol Cream 2016 tour to Marseille ready and here it is. It speaks for itself really but I haven’t gone to the trouble of giving it any credits in itself so perhaps I should just say that I pretty much used up 98% of whatever I shot and made some use of some fairly random elements. The music comes from French composer Olivier Messiaen’s Fêtes des belles eaux. As far as I know Messiaen has no connection with Marseille but he is French so that should be ok. If I could be bothered I would make some slight adjustments but sorry I can’t take or leave it – you never know there may be a sequel.
It’s singing with soul that counts. Billie has so much soul. When I sing a tune, the lyrics are important to me. Most of the standard lyrics I know well. And as soon as I hear an arrangement, I get ideas, kind of like blowing a horn. I guess I never sing a tune the same way twice.
But Bird never encouraged me to do anything that would prove wrong for myself. And on that record date, he really told me what to do so far as music and my life was concerned.
He asked me how I had been doing because he knew I was a young wild kid running around and not knowing what was happening. That day he showed me the thing he wanted me to do and the thing he stood for. The purpose of his whole existence was music and he showed me that music was the paramount thing and anything that interfered with it, I should stay away from. Later on I was able to take advantage of his advice, but he died before I had a chance to see him and tell him I had.
What is most important is not the style itself but how you are developing that style and how well you can play within it. You can definitely be more creative exploring specific things within a style. Sometimes, Paul, Scott, and I play the same tune over and over again. Occasionally, everything falls in right, and we think it’s sensational. Of course, it may not mean much to a listener at the time, but, then, most people in clubs don’t listen closely anyway.
It turned out that Milhaud was the one who convinced me to go back, saying I couldn’t possibly give up jazz, that it was in me and if I wanted to represent the culture, jazz was such an important part. He said it was more important to express the culture and not gain the technique. And he pointed out that every great composer had expressed his culture in which he was familiar and was completely familiar with the folk idiom and jazz was the folk idiom of America. He talked me back into it. It took a period of six months, I guess, and then I became interested in jazz again.
I’ve never been in jail so I can’t write about chain gangs or cotton fields. Then I remembered when I was in Chicago and the watermelon man used to go through the alley-a couple of times a day-and he had a little song, ‘Wah tee mee lo-w.’ There were cobblestone alleys, and the first idea I got was to try to make some kind of rhythmic sound like a soulful wagon going over the cobblestones, with the horse’s hooves and everything. For the melody I started thinking, ‘Suppose somebody were calling the watermelon man-what would they say?’ They’d say, ‘Hey, watermelon man.’ So I tried to write a melody that sounded like that. And even before the lyrics came out, any time anybody joked with me about ‘Watermelon Man,’ they’d sing, ‘Hey, watermelon man,’ to the first melodic phrase, even though they didn’t know I had this in mind. I guess the melody sounds so strongly like it that you automatically get that kind of verbal image.
this is the first part of a two part series where i present some snaps taken mostly late at night on my way home from somewhere i walk a lot usually the same old streets but there’s a number of directions and always variations on route i seem to stumble on the surface of buildings with roofs and turrets then slip sideways into a cobbled alley that leads towards a dungeon not really but you never know
i admit i’ve tampered with with some of the images but largely they are as they appeared on the night which never of course gives justice to what you actually see and some are daytime intrusions that i deemed worthy for reasons of chiaroscuro and i added a spontaneously created soundtrack not while i was watching the footage separately and took edits from forty odd minutes of recorded music if that’s what you can call it i don’t see what else to call it for now maybe later i’m working on my theories
I had a week in the French alps earlier this month at a resort Les Deux Alpes and was able to do a bit of walking about especially in the parc national des écrins. And took some rudimentary shots with my phone camera which I present below.
But first here is a soundtrack to listen to while you look at the pictures.
The mountain on the right is the Aiguille de Venosc. I can’t talk definitively about the rest.
Ah that makes it a bit clearer – Aiguille de Venosc again on the right but the mountain on the left must be the Roche de la Muzelle, 3,262 metres up and it has a small glacier.
And that’s a waterfall somewhere in the middle of the forest area on the previous photo.
The Lac de la Muzelle. When I got to the resort all I had was a pair of sandals and I was wondering whether I’d have to buy some boots. On my first day I went out in the sandals and thought I’d see how far I could get and how it would work out. They’re good Timberland sandals with a very solid base. Basically climbing up to this lake is the equivalent of climbing Snowden from sea level and it was a baking hot day over 30 degrees and for the last 1,000 metres (and the first on the way back down) there is no shelter from the sun. In fact that quotation from an old song of mine probably went through my head at the time although there are no gorse bushes up there. Lots of similar stuff though and probably more insects than I’ve ever seen. Anyway after that I had a more restful 2nd day, but I knew that I didn’t have to buy any boots.
This is a crepuscule shot that needed a better camera or at least more skill on my part but it’s caught a really interesting phenomenon where a cloud seems to have come down over the glacier.
Another lake, this one’s called Le Lauvitel. It isn’t as high up at the last one being at a nice round 1,500 metres approximately. It’s bigger though, easier to get to though still a pretty steep climb. I went there twice and the 2nd time I continued higher up to a smaller lake called Lac de Plan Vianney which is probably about the highest I got to (2,250 metres apparently). As I reached the point where I could look down on the lake I came over the top and there was an ibex a few metres away although it didn’t hang about and soon left me to private enjoyment of the lake. Actually there wasn’t a great deal of enjoyment because this was very different weather than earlier described. My sandals and my feet were both soaking wet and pretty cold. My feet were stained brown from the sodden sandals. I took each sandal off one at a time and gave each foot a rub but it didn’t really help much. I had no food with me and it’s possibly not that many generations since this was too a glacier.
In the evening after my 1st visit to Le Lauvitel the weather had changed. You can see in the previous photo that there are clouds building up. About 7 o’ clock I went out for a walk at the other end of the resort which is when I recorded the audio track which you may or may not be listening to. This shot shows the moment shortly before a massive thunderstorm. When the torrential rain started I was probably about a mile from my hotel within a minute I was totally drenched. Luckily the temperature was still warm and it just became a 20 minute tepid shower with all your clothes on. In my hotel room I had waterproof clothing but I hadn’t bothered to take it out with me and anyway it wouldn’t have helped my feet. The happy side of the experience was that there was a whole bunch of other people who were caught out like myself. I’m not sure what they’d been doing but they seemed like a large group and one of the guys was wearing a black cloak and had a shepherd’s crook or something like that. I didn’t actually have a conversation with them but we ended up laughing a lot together. Even drowned rats can have fun.
This is the other side of the resort which leads down to a reservoir, looking up to the large glacial plateau which allows people to ski most of the year. On my last day I climbed up on the left hand side of the mountain stream in this picture and then worked my way across to the ski-ing, mountain-biking side of the mountain. There’s a lot of lifts. The contrast between the natural life there and that in the national park is dramatic.
On my way up I diverted off for 10-15 minutes to get to this view of one of the cascades.
That’s the end except to say that British interest in this area of the alps perhaps didn’t start with a bang but a Whymper.
if we can get the better of the rich power-greedy blood-hungry leeches like murdoch and his ilk it may happen sooner than you think
here’s a lo-fi version of my song children of the sea
i lost a guitar strap a few weeks ago and the new one i bought has got a mighty creak so let’s pretend this was recorded on a sailing ship gently watching those little children dying and being re-born while the ropes creak and from time to time the captain’s peg leg taps on the deck
here’s a couple of improvised recordings i did at home about a week ago. it’s a couple of sequences devised for possible use in situations like i’m out playing on my own using my loop pedal and i do an instrumental. such musical fragments can turn into other things with the passing of time.
now it’s the end of may and everything is in full fruitfulness in my part of the world.
the air is dry
in the clear sky
the ash are blue
and so are you