Categories
fire geology mixes music quotations

Kool G Ran It For Teen

there isn’t really a theme to my 14th granite mix, but one thing i tried to do was to keep the tracks short. here’s the mix and after that a table with track listing and then some comments and links and stuff below that.

granite 14

Granite Mix 14
Artist Title Album
John Cale King Harry The Academy In Peril
Nino Rota Notturno O Mattutino La Dolce Vita – Soundtrack
Ralph Vaughan-Williams The Bell Ringers Epithamalion
Joseph Spence Lay Down My Sword & Shield Gospel At Newport
Larry Young Alive Lawrence Of Newark
Armando Trovajoli El Negro Zumbón hit song from film Anna
Captain Beefheart I Love You Big Dummy Lick My Decals Off Baby
Ahmad Jamal I’ll Take Romance/My Funny Valentine Ahmad Jamal At The Blackhawk
Howe Gelb Belly Of Fire Down Home 2002
King Curtis Cuban Twilight Have Tenor Sax Will Blow
Kool G Rap 4,5,6 4,5,6
Federico Mompou Impresiones Intimas No. 9 Gitano Impresiones, Scenes, Charmes, Fêtes Lointaines

the academy In peril is not a particularly well-known work in the john cale canon and is almost as famous for its record sleeve as it is for its music. unfortunately i don’t own a copy of the original album but have a later re-release which doesn’t have the half-gatefold with the cut-outs that the original had but I have seen that original cover in fact the 1st time i heard the album it was at a friend’s house near uxbridge or thereabouts maybe ruislip and he had the sleeve i remember it well. the other thing that is well known about the cover is that it would have been worth a lot more if it had been in black and white which is something that the song a dream from the lou reed/john cale album songs for drella teaches us.

a vast expanse of the roman countryside, to one side are the ruins of the san felice aqueduct, towering arches that come striding across the land. two thousand years ago those arches brought water to the city, but now there are many gaps where whole sections of the aqueduct have fallen in. directly in front is a soccer field, the goal posts dwarfed by the height of the aqueduct. in the distance the sound of motors is heard. a speck in the sky grows rapidly larger. it is a helicopter, and beneath it is a hanging figure. a second helicopter follows close behind. as the ‘copters pass over the field the figure suspended below can be clearly seen. a large statue of christ the labourer swings from a cable. the shadow of the ‘copter and this incongruous figure flashes across the walls of the aqueduct. the helicopters pass on.

federico fellini – screenplay for la dolce vita

why does ralph vaughan williams haunt me the way he does? Is it something to do with the ark tempers of medieval lines? who can tell in this age of imaginativeness?

as soon as i heard joseph spence’s take on utterance i was bewitched as if i had crossed several salt seas of despondency and come at last to fresh water.

at a certain time freedom mixed with sonority to produce several subversely subservient dramaturgy/diatribe/dialogue/dichotomy diptychs

el negro zumbón is complicated. usually attributed to silvano mangana she only mimed to the song in the film anna. it was written by italian composer armando trovajoli and the female singer is flo sandon’s

i’m grateful to samuel andreyev for his fascinating work on captain beefheart and the magic band – definitely one of the joys of youtube which despite my earlier diatribes i am overall in admiration for for its democratic all-inclusiveness. i certainly look forward to more from samuel.

maybe i’ve already written about the time i went to see ahmad jamal the only time i saw him but i’m proud to be able to say even that and if i haven’t written about it then no doubt i will repeat/not repeat it again in the future when my marbles start to lose their shine.

i’ve been to 3 howe gelb gigs but the 1st was something special. during the interval i was standing outside with my friend neil armstrong not the astronaut but maybe even greater in many ways. there was no-one else around and suddenly howe stepped out of the main entrance. he was about 40 metres away from us he looked around with a bewildered expression and then went back into the building. strange.

here’s a fantastic clip of king curtis

as a weather report fan in the mid-70s if i was to choose a favourite track mysterious traveller would be one of the top tracks in my opinion from that era and when i first heard 4,5,6 from kool g rap i recognised the sample straight away. it’s not one of the highlights of my hip-hop collection but is just in the end another of the great tracks that came out in the mid-90s an era that i have covered in the past.

finally what do i find so great about these gentle piano pieces that the catalan composer dreamed scored and deployed. apparently some say that there are superior representations of these pieces by more accomplished pianists than mompou was himself. to my mind who is going to interpret someone’s work better than that person themselves? i don’t know i just don’t get it.

Categories
literature

Reading list

Since 1983 I’ve been keeping track of the books I have read. I can’t remember why I started doing it, but it’s a useful exercise for me for a number of reasons which I don’t intend to divulge at present. As it’s nearly the end of 2012 I thought I would reveal this year’s details with a few appropriate or possibly inappropriate comments.

Wintersol,  Eric Thacker & Anthony Earnshaw (II)

The II in brackets indicates that this is a 2nd reading. Actually in this case it might be more than 2 since I’ve had the book for a long time, or there again it might have been the 1st time I read the whole book through in 1 go. The principal reason for this re-read was to write something here in the Nonsense category.

Red Room,   August Strindberg

I’m a big fan of Strindberg‘s dramas since I saw a student production of Miss Julie back in about 1973, but I’d never read any of his novels. I’m not sure exactly what I think about this book which I downloaded from the Gutenberg Project. I’m inclined to think that Strindberg is a better dramatist than he is a novelist but I will definitely try some of his other novels before being sure about that.

St Joan,    Bernard Shaw (II)

Can’t remember why I re-read this one perhaps I just happened to notice my old Tauchnitz Edition on the bookshelf and thought I needed some Shavian dialectic in my headspace. It relates to the item above in that Strindberg was one of the biggest influences on Shaw’s work. For me it’s not one of his great plays but there again I’ve never seen it staged so can’t properly assess it. Nice fence this isn’t it?

Great Works of Jewish Fantasy,   Ed. Joachim Neugroschel (II)

This is the Picador edition which I bought pretty much when it came out in 1978. I have therefore put this down as a re-read. The story is that actually I lost the book and that was probably before I’d finished reading it – I think I may have left it on a train.

The King of the Pirates,     Daniel Defoe

Another Gutenberg download – this is a fairly authentic (in my opinion) imagination of the real life of a pirate in the 17th century. Defoe defies definition.

Beefheart: Through The Eyes of Magic,     John French

John (Drumbo) French is not a great writer and he often comes over as naive not just when he was in his early 20s but also later when he was writing the book, but this is well worth reading if you’re interested in creativity, the act of creation etc. You have to know a bit about the music and its place in the history of music. After reading it I wrote a song which I called ‘fore done because I thought if ever I needed a pun it was then.

Excavating Kafka,      James Hawes

I cannot recommend this book which I read as part of a lengthy delve into the world of Franz Kafka. Strindberg’s novel & Neugroschel’s Great Works of Jewish Fantasy both were read in relation to or inspired by Kafka’s Diaries which I actually started to read last year but in effect they took up much of 2012. Similarly with the Kropotkin, the Goethe and the Canetti below.

The Hole,    NF Simpson
A Resounding Tinkle,   NF Simpson
The Form,   NF Simpson

3 short plays I read for another of my Nonsense category posts.

Pullman Car Hiawatha,   Thornton Wilder
The Long Christmas Dinner,   Thornton Wilder
The Happy Journey,   Thornton Wilder

Having found the short plays section in the library I also read these 3. I think maybe 2013 will be a The Eighth Day re-reading year. I hope so.

Memoirs of a Revolutionist,    Peter Kropotkin

See here for more about this.

Angelica Lost And Found,   Russell Hoban

The last book of the great writer who died last year. You can club together the last 8 or 9 of his novels together (sometimes known as the London novels) and while they are not necessarily of the calibre to be called great literature I find them engaging and inspiring as a blueprint for creating a work of art which is also a reflection of a life.

To The Wedding,   John Berger

My first introduction to John Berger was in 1972 when his tv series ways of seeing changed the way I thought about things. But for some reason this is the 1st novel of his that I’ve read. It’s short, very powerful and the last few pages are incredibly moving. And yet still I have not rushed out to seek more of his novels – strange?

The Marlboroughs,   Christopher Hibbert

I bought this 2nd hand as something to take away on a journey. I’ve already read Hibbert’s life of Samuel Johnson so I knew he could write a decent book. It’s a pretty interesting story. As a practitioner of war, Marlborough was probably no worse than Alexander the Great when you take into account the challenges of the age. Julius Caesar would enjoy the sordid details of how you finance, equip and keep motivated an army in the late 17th early 18th centuries.

Agents and Patients,    Anthony Powell (II)

Another 2nd hand purchase that I couldn’t resist because of its classic design and evocative Osbert Lancaster cover.

Thomas Mann – A Life,    Donald Prater

Covered here.

Wilhelm Meister,    Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Actually I’ve only read about 10 chapters of this and then there has been a hiatus of several months, but I do intend to read it and will probably have to begin again at the beginning, or at least skip through it as a reminder.

Memoirs of Hadrian,    Marguerite Yourcenar

Wow. I think I just found this in a 2nd hand bookshop and it completely bouleversed me. It’s brilliant. Now I want to visit Mount Desert Island in Maine.

The Razor’s Edge ,   W. Somerset Maugham (II)

I approached this with trepidation because it was a life-changing book for me back in 1968 or 1969 when I first read it. I believe my mother bought it for me as she knew I enjoyed all the short stories in The World Over collection. Recently reading the Isherwood Diaries I have been reminded of the book again. Maugham consulted Isherwood and probably Heard and Huxley as well to get some of the material he used in writing the book.

Alfred the Great ,  Asser et al (II)

Actually this is on the list but I think I basically got the book down from the shelf and had some brilliant idea about something I was going to do related to it but I can’t remember now what on earth that was. I’m definitely going to re-read it soon though.

Coltrane – the story of a sound,    Ben Ratliff

I’d love to read a full, well-written biography of Coltrane. Probably something like that exists, but this is not it. Nevertheless it’s a decent read and provides much healthy food for thought.

Last Journals,    David Livingstone

As recommended by Sun Ra.

The Sacred & Profane Love Machine,     Iris Murdoch (II)

Iris published 26 novels. I have read most of them twice and some more than that. I don’t rate this as one of her best. Ok so you want to know which ones do I think are her best? Fair enough. Under The Net;A Severed Head;The Unicorn;The Black Prince;The Sea, The Sea;The Good Apprentice and The Message To The Planet. I may be prepared to add more to that list on further re-readings.

Kafka’s Other Trial,    Elias Canetti

Funny that Iris Murdoch should end up next to Elias Canetti. This is a very short book but is probably one of the highlights of the vast domain of Kafka criticism. Maybe best to just stick to this one and the 2 Walter Benjamin essays.

Catlin’s Indians,    George Catlin

I was excited about finding this book in the Oxfam shop at the top of Park Street in Bristol and paid £8.99 for it. One of the things that really interests me is the clash between primitive societies and more developed ones. The writing isn’t brilliant and I’m not sure about the art, but it’s still a fascinating document.

Travelling Light,     Tove Jansson

Awww, she’s so great! I just want to put her on a pedestal.

Liberation (Diaries 70-83),    Christopher Isherwood

How to live. How to die. Above all – how to write.

Stuart England,    JP Kenyon

I haven’t finished this one yet. I’m just past the disastrous campaign against the Scots and heading pell-mell towards Rebellion, Civil War and Regicide. This is part of the Pelican History of England series – a recent 5th addition I have of the series of 9. Only about a 3rd of the way through – it’s an interesting age, but this is assuredly not one of the best volumes of the series. Ok so you want to know which ones do I think are the best? Well tough I’m not going to say right now.

Voices of Time, Eduardo Galeano

The only living creative writer (he’s 72) I really care about. For me he’s an all time great, I love his work. I’ve just started this so can’t really comment. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

Categories
mixes music

Granite Mix 2

Well this mix has a bit of a harmonica theme for a good part of it. In my 1st Granite Mix I explained how the music was selected. It’s the same again but this time there was an edit – there were a couple of other tracks between the Captain Beefheart and the Howling Wolf, but I took them out as it seemed to be good to run those 2 together. The whole thing is I think just short of 40 minutes.

here’s the mix

Granite Mix 2
Artist Title Album
Joanna McGregor Ravel: Pavanne Pour Une Infante Défunte Quiet Music
Roscoe Holcomb Fox Chase The High Lonesome Sound
Bob Dylan Walkin’ Down The Line Bootleg Series Vol 1-3
Captain Beefheart Gimme Dat Harp Boy Strictly Personal
Howling Wolf Riding In The Moonlight Unknown Album
Syd Barrett Opel Opel
The Fall Riddler! Bend Sinister
Charlie Haden & Hank Jones My Lord What A Mornin’ Steal Away
Method Man Redman Maaad Crew Blackout!
Categories
music

The Dust Blows Forward ‘n The Dust Blows Back

The recent death of Captain Beefheart gives me the chance to air some words I’ve put on the web before. Also I hope to write something in 2011 which will mention the great man again in my further forays into the world of Nonsense. Actually a lot of the first bit is about me, but I’ve kept it in because I think my comments about his music are worth reiterating and it hangs together as a whole thing better, if you see what I mean.

Captain Beefheart

Now that Whose Last Trickle is out in the world people are beginning to write things about it, other than myself, and the spectre of the good Captain Beefheart looms large as something to pin a sign and say, basically, if you like… then you might like…

To me Beefheart is just part of the story, but definitely a strong part and I’d like to register that fact. Here’s a few recent statements.

First from an intelligent blog to be found at Fire Escape Talking

Your view on whether Dry Rib were a complete artistic success will depend in part upon your tolerance of Beefheart’s excursions or John Cale’s experimentations.

then from the excellent online music shop Volcanic Tongue

Vasey split and formed As, Hem, Syrup who expanded on the erratic avant rock of Dry Rib with Beefheartisms and more of a focus on improvisation.

lastly a comment posted by my friend Hex Windham

I’m listening closely and can hear the roots of your current guitar style in germinal form here — a little jazzy, a little troutmaskreplica, a little Bernard Sumner maybe?

this was my response

Thanks for listening so closely, Hex. My guitar style was pretty much formed before I’d ever heard Joy Division, by about ’78, but Trout Mask Replica I think is a very important album, not just for me, but for everybody trying to do experimental rock in those days. In fact I would like to suggest that the cornerstone 3 albums for most of the experimental British bands of late 70s early 80s were Trout Mask Replica, White Light/White Heat and The Madcap Laughs.

Just to expand on that a bit I’d like to say that most rock/pop music was based on traditional western music systems based on 3 chords, so if you’re playing in G then you also use C and D. Or (following this example) you can use some other incidental chords that contain the notes of the scale of G such as A minor or B minor. Or you can bring in what I think of as the Russian school of pop song that used diminished or augmented chords to link different main chords together. Or you could change key completely for certain effects.

As far as I’m concerned in rock music Captain Beefheart was the most able and original musician to break all those rules and just play chords, irrespective of scales and musical traditions. In this he certainly was aware of both modern/free jazz adventures and also of what you might call contemporary classical music. But the great thing he did was to tie all that down to the basic rawness of the blues and at the same time do things with words that were pretty revolutionary too.

Finally this seems a good place to hang another blog I did a couple of years ago and for some complicated reason took down. It was part of a series I was writing about gigs I’d been to in the past, and certainly doesn’t cover all my experience of seeing Beefheart live – just the first one I went to. Here it is :-

When I was about 7 years old I first came across Mad magazine. There was something very disturbing about it. I was used to stories with goodies and baddies where the former would always eventually triumph. The comic strips in Mad took those very same goodies and recreated them as flawed, unpredictable characters.

Some 8 years later I had similar feelings when I first came across Captain Beefheart and his music. I didn’t get it and wasn’t even intrigued. (These days you can point your browser, find anything there is to know about a band or a musician, find their influences, look those up too and in most cases listen to some of it. As a teenager in the 60s you had to work hard for a bit of knowledge. I’m not convinced that we’re necessarily better off now. Only time will tell.)

Meanwhile in 1974 in Oxford I buy tickets to see Captain Beefheart at the New Theatre. I have a friend coming to stay for a couple of days and we particularly want to see the support band, Henry Cow. It was the only time I ever saw the latter but their attractive, quirky, cerebral music was a perfect opener for Beefheart. In truth the detail that most sticks in my mind is the standard lamps that they used on stage – that was a great idea.

This period in Captain Beefheart’s musical career is generally one that is preferred to be forgotten by many of his fans. I’d never seen him before so didn’t know what to expect. Presumably the largely partisan audience did know that the music had changed a bit, but they all seemed to love it anyway. Obviously at that point in his career he was trying to achieve more commercial success and the experimental elements were missing. But it was still great music. I think Blue Jeans & Moonbeams has some great music on it. I especially love the song, Observatory Crest – it’s just a great premise for a song – a really simple story of going to a concert then driving up to a high point and looking down on the lights of the city. Friends I spoke to later who had been long-term Beefheart fans really hated these changes and I suppose the fact that only a year or so later he had gone back to the older material suggests that the man himself had some misgivings.

I think he should have the last word on the subject himself, remembered off by heart (ashtray?) from an interview he did later – “Friends don’t mind just how you grow”.

……………………………………………….

Some final notes added today to this :-

Actually I now realise that the “Friends don’t mind…” quotation is a line from the song Electricity

I just noticed the other day that Hex has got a new band SS Boombox

Finally here’s a youtube clip of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band performing Electricity