I last posted an episode of The Rock n Roll Years in July 2018 which covered the year 1965. Unfortunately I don’t have the 1966 episode so I’m going to jump ahead to 1967. For the history of music in general and what is most important to me – my history of music, 1967 is an absolutely key year so I’m going to do a couple of posts on the subject, especially as for obvious reasons I’ve got plenty of time at the moment to do such things.
However I will write more on the subject in the next post. For now here is the programme. Apologies that the 1st couple of minutes are missing. The Forsyte Saga clip was the 1st item though.
next week i’m going into the studio to start recording a new album that will consist of a number of songs nearly all of which i’ve written in the last four years which was when i last laid an album (yes it’s an egg-like process for me). the one exception was a song i wrote back in mmix i think which is called hermetic and a demo of that can be found elsewhere on this website in a post that is called something to do with dunwich.
creativity often outruns itself so i’m leaping ahead to the album after that and then i’m bouncing back with the idea of trying to cover a rather large backlog of songs stretching right back to the seventies so i’m spending a little time thinking about them and thought maybe i’d do some demos to see which dozen or so i could pick out.
the first one i’ve done is a song from about seventy-five or seventy-six that is called anyway. i used to write a lot of songs about writing songs and this is one of the better examples of that i think. my reasoning was that i should write songs about what i was doing right then and right then i was writing a song. if you listen to the words then you might think ultimately that i’m saying writing songs is a pointless exercise. so if there is a point then it is that even though it’s pointless i’ve done it anyway so maybe it’s not pointless after all. or something like that.
birds have been a theme for me for a long time although actually there’s only 4 songs that have a bird reference on the current album. it’s possible that this bird thing started with anyway’s flock of bullfinches. probably not but it’s a nice thought.
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
The last Granite Mix had a track by Bill Evans in it (not to mention earlier appearances in the geological section) and now I’ve decided to dedicate a whole mix to the man, just to show how much I love his music. His world is a curious mixture of beauty and tragedy perfectly expressed by the way he would hunch over the piano in his simultaneous role as servant and master. Here’s a clip to show what I mean.
Tony Scott was another character who found his contemporary world hard to deal with. There aren’t many clarinetists in so-called Modern Jazz (so-called because I don’t like labels/genres in music, but unfortunately the alternative is to redefine musical history which would be tedious).
1957 was a very productive year for Charles Mingus and as well as East Coasting he put out The Clown, Mingus Three and A Modern Jazz Symposium Of Music And Poetry as well as recording Tijuana Moods which wasn’t released until later.
Kind Of Blue was my first (as far as I’m aware) encounter with Bill Evans and it is no doubt the most well-known album that he played on. There is a certain amount of controversy over whether Bill should have had any of the composition credits on the album, specifically on Blue In Green. In his autobiography Miles insists
Some people went around saying that Bill was co-composer of the music on Kind Of Blue. That isn’t true; it’s all mine and the concept was mine. What he did was turn me on to some classical composers, and they influenced me.
On the other hand Evans has told how Davis gave him a piece of paper with 2 chords (Gmin13 & A7(#9#5)) and asked what he’d do with it. It seems he did a fair bit with it and all he did with it was used. So on the original album the track is credited to Davis and on subsequent recordings that Evans did of the track it’s credited to both men.
The live recordings taken from the 2 albums released in 1961 – Sunday At The Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby which were recorded on June 25th 1961 for me are up there with the finest ever live recorded music. It’s all a matter of taste come to that but certain things affect the whole shape of what comes after and other things just disappear down a black hole.
So my favourite things by Bill Evans are the June 25th live recording, the contribution to Kind Of Blue and then there’s the solo session recorded on January 10th 1963 which Evans requested never to be released. For me that’s like Kafka saying in his will that all his unpublished manuscripts should be destroyed. Luckily in both cases it didn’t happen. Basically he was so strung out on heroin at the time that he did the session to get some money to score. I don’t remember the exact story. Obviously I wasn’t there, but I’ve read about it. Most of the time in this world you’re not there. Unless it’s yourself of course. But the thing about the session is that the deliberative, totally introspective nature of the performance means that… well it’s difficult to explain, but the most I can say is that listening to the music from that recording is like eavesdropping on a genius when he thinks he’s alone and musing with the universe.
After that there’s a couple of live tracks with the 2 main bassists that Bill found to replace Scott LaFaro (I haven’t even covered that, I’m going to have to save it for later). Firstly Chuck Israels and then Eddie Gomez.
And then finally another solo piece another popular song by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse a ballad that was one of his favourites not least for the title. Fool though he might have thought himself sometimes for his massive heroin and then cocaine intake the legacy’s there. Few can claim to have achieved more.
I’m being very slow about the restoration of my videos but one that called out to be done was one which is called may which was found on a post dated March 14th 2012. I’ve restored it to the post and am duplicating here too as it’s more fitted to a May post. I thought of it for I was walking past the very spot earlier today where I filmed it. The scene was much quieter than is shown in the film. I think when I filmed it, it was much warmer, maybe it was later in the month.
I’ve got a pile of videos I want to put up just need to get a production line working. If I can get another 2 up before the end of May then I will be doing well with all the other things I have to do this month.
my first post youtube step towards moving image representation begins here with a bbc archive clip of jean-luc godard which is the item i was in the process of trying to upload when the whole thing changed for me. the first in my efforts to temper ubiquity with freedom. this wouldn’t actually have been particularly the first choice if i’d thought about it but circumstances have decided in its primary purpose and who am i to gainsay that? there is a revolutionary emphasis that fits here.
i will try to go back through all the old posts and substitute youtube embedding or links with pure video of a simple html code embedment. but this may take a while especially as i possibly don’t have any of the original any longer in which case some may have disappeared forever which is i always think more beautiful anyway.
there is a bit of the rolling stones but i’m not intending to make much of that it’s not very long. there’s an another annoying interpolation from george melly (see my post on pasolini’s medea which is one of those videos i’m talking about in the previous paragraph). it comes right at the start. godard is not one of my favourite film directors but i think you’ve got to respect him for what he gave to film style and also to the concept of film as dialectic.
Another book addition to the micromuseum catalogue. This one dates from 1977 and is a beguiling publication. I had this book lying around (on top of a fender twin reverb to be precise) because I was going to do this post about it and a friend was round and she kept being drawn to it. It’s a poem illustrated with artwork. The poem is quite long and is by Wallace Stevens. Its inspiration was Picasso‘s painting vieux guitariste aveugle. Stevens’ poem is called The Man With The Blue Guitar and Hockney’s etchings are entitled The Blue Guitar. The project was devised by Hockney in the summer of 1976 while he was on holiday on Fire Island, New York.
To give some sort of notion of the book I have selected a few random clips of verse and scanned 3 of the illustrations. The concept of a great poem illustrated by great art is a strong one. There are probably some other books like that around, I will investigate, but if there are I can’t imagine that any could be better than this. I’ll let you know.
Things as they are have been destroyed
Have I? Am I a man that is dead
At a table at which the food is cold?
Is my thought a memory, not alive?
Slowly the ivy on the stones
Becomes the stones. Women become
The cities, children become the fields
And men in waves become the sea.
Dew-dapper clapper-traps, blazing
From crusty stacks above machines.
Ecce, Oxidia is the seed
Dropped out of this amber-ember pod,
In 1991 I spent a few evenings doing a recording session with my friend Andy Smith who is now manager of the PMT music shop in Bristol. Whenever I call in at the shop and see Andy he always tells me that he has no time to do any music any more, which is a shame because he is very talented. We worked on 2 songs, one which we completed which is called What Is It That You Dread? that tackled the subject of having a 2 year old daughter and an about-to-be-born son whilst the Gulf War and other atrocities seemed to be leading the human race towards Armageddon. The coda was from a radio recording that I made on the night when the US started the war with a precision-guided bombing raid on Baghdad. Now I wish I’d kept the whole of the recording, but all I have left is a very poor quality copy of the actual track. This is some of the dialogue from it
we continue to hear, er, an occasional round, er, go off in the background
they’re spurting fire into the sky, heavier calibre. I don’t know what they are but they’re more impressive than that used earlier.
Are things better today? I’m not sure when we live in a world where to some people Anders Breivik is a hero.
The other track we worked on was never finished – at least no vocals were ever added, but the recording quality was better, probably because the track was simpler and didn’t have so many added layers. I can’t remember who played what though I’m sure the drum machine programming was mostly by Andy and I think he played bass as well. I definitely would have done the rhythm guitar, but I suppose it’s the 2nd guitar that could have been me or could have been Andy. Sounds more like Andy to me, but sometimes I surprise myself.
Now, some 21 years later (my son’s age of course) I have recorded the vocals. I could do better but as usual I can’t be bothered. I have a philosophy which decrees that you shouldn’t work on things too much. If what you can do fast isn’t good enough then maybe next time it will be better. And there’s also a distorted guitar solo at the end which is another 1st take. In fact I wasn’t really thinking of it being a take at all, it was just to check the levels but once it was done it seemed adequate especially when you consider what I’ve just said above.
Compared to the serious shit I’ve described above re the other track, the lyrics to the song which I call Real are a reversion to my normal Nonsense. See the category Nonsense for further details. At times it seems like a John Cooper Clarke tribute, which is fine because I think he’s great, but there are definitely bits that are vaseyesque.
this is a piece I called may because I filmed it in that month. it blends a couple of things together which are generally called blitts kreegen or something of that sort and ends with an out-of breath extravanganza which goes by no name other than compleasure. earlier this evening I was confronted by the eyes of a maniac but I managed to survive and now I redeem pleasure simply beneath a concave window of other parts hung sideways and curvaceously perpendicularly trapezoid.
now we are in march and the recumbency is proportionate to the viscosity. in may the rubric becomes infantile and sucks at many teat-like purveyances.
if I go back in may this year it’s not to be expected. the frail-like incumbency can be replaced by ovoid rectitudinal symbiotics. you know what I’m saying