Categories
mixes music

granite mix sixteenth

And yet another mix of music from my collection which grows and grows. I selected a few tunes using Spotify the other night when I was round at a friend’s house which I’d never done before. Easy enough to find an artist then for simplicity’s sake I pressed shuffle play. It seemed to me that was a crap way of creating a mix. Without any knowledge the results soon debase to tedium. That’s why I have no interest in investing in a streaming service. As far as I’m concerned you’re far better in knowing and understanding your own collection. That’s not a rant just an observation.

Granite Mix 16
Artist Title Album
Echoes of Zion A Charge To Keep I Have Get On Board Little Children
Ravi Shankar Fire Night Improvisations
Bob Dylan Clothes Line Saga The Basement Tapes
Gato Barbieri El Dia Que Me Quieras Fénix
Back Door Askin’ The Way Back Door
Aretha Franklin Respect I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You
John Surman Three Aspects A Biography of the Rev. Absalom Dawe
Michael Mantler When I Run Silence
Yochanan Hot Skillet Mama Sun Ra – The Singles
Geoffrey Toye The Haunted Ballroom Miniatures (British Light Music)
Kevin Ayers Eleanor’s Cake Which Ate Her Joy of a Toy
The Velvet Underground Guess I’m Falling In Love Live at the Gymnasium 1967
Stan Getz O Morro Nao Tem Vez Jazz Samba Encore!

Echoes of Zion a gospel quartet have been going since 1930. No upcoming events but they did a gig in October at Zion Grove Baptist Church in Atlanta.

I once sat a couple of rows behind Ravi Shankar at one of his daughter’s gigs. My first exposure to his music was probably his soundtrack to Jonathan Miller’s TV version of Alice in Wonderland in 1966 which was probably responsible for fostering a love of Indian classical music in me.

I’m not familiar with Bobbie Gentry’s 1967 hit song Ode To Billie Joe but after all you can enjoy Dylan & The Band’s song just for its own quirky calm inanities.

Gato Barbieri here in his usual passionate style swoops down with a version of Carlos Gardel’s eponymous song from his 1935 film.

In the summer of 1972 friends and I would range out to the North Yorkshire Moors to a lonely pub called the Lion on Blakey Ridge to see a band play in a packed bar. It was a classic case of being in the right place at the right time and listening to tracks like Askin’ The Way which they used play then brings it all back to me.

I love a lot of female singers but Aretha is the greatest.

The first John Surman album I bought was Westering Home which came out on a low-priced Island LP series, not brilliant quality vinyl but it still plays ok now I think – there was a distinctive black inside sleeve. He was already using overdubbing techniques then which were further developed during the S.O.S. (Skidmore, Osborne, Surman) days. This country it seems to me has never properly recognised one of its greatest musicians.

I’m very fond of the 3 words and music albums that Michael Mantler did. I think he did at least another one but I don’t have it and maybe it doesn’t exist, but the 3 I’m thinking of are No Answer, The Hapless Child and Silence from which this track comes. The last one is my favourite.

In the sleeve notes to the double CD of Sun Ra – The Singles there is the following description of Yochanan by blues researcher Dave Whiteis

He had an elastic face with big bulging eyes. He would contort his face into odd expressions and roll his eyes. He was very comical, very creative. Yochanan wore loud colored clothes – bright reds and yellows, or sun colors. He wore a turban and wore sandals all year round even when it was snowing. He never wore an overcoat no matter what the temperature. Never needed it he said because he was ‘the man from the sun’.

Geoffrey Toye’s ballet music is the oldest piece in the mix dating back to the thirties when it was produced with contributions from the legendary figures of Ninette de Valois and Robert Helpmann. It also goes the furthest back for me because this was a piece of music I heard frequently in my childhood, so when I rediscovered it when I bought a secondhand album called English Music some twenty or thirty years later it evoked an involuntary memory.

I first heard this song by Kevin Ayers on the Harvest Records sampler double album – Picnic – A Breath of Fresh Air. In my opinion it’s the best song on that album along with Syd Barrett’s Terrapin, but I would think that wouldn’t I.

I only heard for the first time the live recording of The Velvet Underground from 1967 last year, but all the tracks are great and it should be much better known. I particularly like the instrumental version of The Gift but didn’t choose that for this mix because… well probably because I often choose tracks by just randomly keying in some letters as a search string.

But I think I decided specifically to end the set with Stan Getz for some reason. Maybe not the nicest of guys by most accounts but he was a great musician and a great interpreter of the work of Jobim/Moraes.

granite 16

Categories
anthropomorphism birds music songwriting

mus et ursus

In 1974 probably in the 8 week term that is known as hilary I wrote a song which is the oldest song that I have on a cd. In fact I have it on 2 cds. And that is why this the 3rd series of repeated songs exists. The first version was recorded in 1980 probably possibly and as usual as it’s historically a precedent I’m highlighting it first. It’s out there in the world. I was happy that someone else (Chuck Warner) made that decision because to be perfectly frank I didn’t think it was good enough. As a song it’s fine it’s just the recording I’m talking about – not that there’s anything wrong with the musicians, just that if I thought it was going to be released to a wider audience I would have wanted to work and record it better. It wasn’t meant for general public release. But as I’ve said before it’s all there is so that’s in a way irrelevant.

The Mouse And The Bear (1980 version)

The 2nd version was recorded in December 2007. The people involved were Jeff Spencer, Paul Wigens, me, Immy & Mossy Price. The last 2 just had a cameo role and I’m glad to say that they’re both musicians now although that’s as a result of many more variant influences than me. More female musicians is pretty high up as a goal in my manifesto however.

the mouse and the bear (2007 version)

The 2 songwriters I associate with this song are of course Syd Barrett and Kevin Ayers who initially I copied. (Back in 1971). Most of my early songs were either based on one of the other of those 2. Luckily The Mouse And The Bear is not exactly quite like any song that either of those 2 wrote, I can certainly perceive the similarities. I have an even earlier song called The Story that I can play which is in the same vein. More Kevin Ayers-like in that it has jazz chords. The chord thing with Syd is moving mainly major chords up and down without worrying about basic rules of harmony but he never got round to any jazz chords all that much other than that Bb diminished in Here I Go. Maybe I’ll do a demo of The Story soon that would be nice. Really I ought to be working on the next stage of the coathanger trail but I’m stuck with that difficult requirement and so it’s possible I won’t be able to do that until the spring of 2014.

Categories
geology mixes music wells

Granite mix 4

Back in 1968 Aretha Franklin brought out an album which was called Aretha Now. I was 14 back then, my brother or my sister who were older than me had the album which contains 10 songs including Think; Say A Little Prayer; You Send Me and the one in this mix See Saw. I remember, I remember, I remember and I’m speechless.

Twenty-two years earlier in 1946 the BBC adapted Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost for radio and Gerald Finzi wrote the incidental music. Later he developed the music into an orchestral suite.

Over the last year or so I’ve been making some arrangements of a few instrumental pieces for solo guitar. One of the first ones I did was a setting of My Foolish Heart as played by Bill Evans. One day I hope to arrange Waltz For Debby for 2 guitars. There is much to…

Córdoba.
Lejana y sola.

Paco Peña is one of my favourite guitarists. This recording comes from a Radio 3 programme which I think was broadcast sometime in the 90s. I don’t know the details of what the piece is, but it is, of course, beautiful.

And I’m pretty sure this is Nicanor Zabaleta although I don’t seem to have the cd any more and can’t find anything obvious on amazon (no link I’ll let you try that one yourself). Somewhere I’ve got some radio recording of a Gillian Tingay recital which I can’t seem to lay my hands on. It was easier when it was all vinyl. Still they did seem to go mysteriously missing even then.

I have written before about the 1st time I saw Kevin Ayers & The Whole World back in 1971, but I’m not going to trot it out right now, maybe later sometime. That was the year that whatevershebringswesing came out. I remember still hearing some of it first on John Peel‘s Sounds of the Seventies. A bit disappointed at first. But Song From The Bottom Of A Well in itself would justify the whole thing and there’s a couple of other classics.

Kevin was “born 16 August 1944 in Herne Bay, Kent” according to Wikipedia. According to the same source John Douglas Surman was born exactly 2 weeks later in Tavistock, Devon. Well that’s strange isn’t it, perhaps not. I think John Douglas is the first repeat I’ve made in this Granite series but as far as I am concerned he is much under-appreciated and is one of the finest British musical creators of the last 50 years.

John Lee Hooker was born in 1917, the same year as my father. In fact 99 days after my father’s birthday. 9 + 9 is 18 and if you subtract 1 from 18 you get 17. This is starting to get scary.

I also don’t have much to say about Gulzar and his film, Lekin because I don’t know much about him, but I always loved this Bollywood stuff after hearing it in Brick Lane curry houses in the late 70s and early 80s. Here’s a link for some incredible excerpt from some film with music by Hridaynath Mangeshkar and Gulzar.

And also I heartily recommend this film of John Fahey playing in 1969.

And for the end we have Nico, well her son’s on vocals. I love the presence of his breath intakes in between the song’s verses, for me that’s duende.

here’s the mix

Granite Mix 4
Artist Title Album
Aretha Franklin See Saw Aretha Now
Gerald Finzi Music for Love’s Labour’s Lost: Alegretto grazioso Finzi – A Centenary Collection
Bill Evans Trio My Foolish Heart Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Paco Peña Unknown Radio Broadcast
Salzedo Chanson dans la Nuit Unidentified Nicanor Zabaleta album
Kevin Ayers & The Whole World Song From The Bottom Of A Well whatevershebringswesing
John Surman The Snooper Withholding Pattern
John Lee Hooker Blues Before Sunrise Unknown JLH Compilation
Gulzar & Hridaynath Mangeshkar Kesariya Balaam Gulzar’s Lekin
John Fahey Unknown Tango I Remember Blind Joe Death
Nico Le Petit Chevalier Desertshore
Categories
geology mixes

granite mix 3

I still remember very well first hearing Rock Bottom back in 1974. My friend Ray Kent bought it before me and played it to me. He described it as soft rock. My favourite British rock/pop albums are The Madcap Laughs, Rock Bottom and Shooting At The Moon. What have all 3 got in common? The contribution of Robert Wyatt.

I like the song Alabama Bound so much that I wrote a sort of tribute song which I call Belerion Bound. I don’t play it too often, maybe I’m too much of a Puritan to want to emphasise it’s hedonistic agenda. Actually it’s called Don’t You Leave Me Here and is by Papa Harvey Hull & Long ‘Cleve’ Reed.

It’s hard to remember just what impact David Bowie‘s Station To Station had back in 1976. It takes me back to the sitting room of my friends Rod & Sheila Henderson in Hyde, Manchester. The still from The Man Who Fell To Earth on the cover seemed to hint at things that were extra-terrestrially incumbent. Actually the film came out earlier in the year, before I was living in Manchester. The film I associate with my short time there is another offering from that year, Taxi Driver. That’s something for another time. There is much to write about it seems.

Which leads me to the soundtrack of another 70s film, Roma. I didn’t get to see this film until 73 or 74 and I have a vague memory that I saw the end of the film (the motorbikes bombing around Rome) first as the previous screening hadn’t finished when I took my seat. It’s not a good idea to do that, although not too bad with a film like Roma.

I first saw John Cale perform on June 1st 1974. That’s easy to remember because the concert was recorded and came out on an Island Records album and that’s what they called it.

Sun Ra I think I saw twice, both times at The Venue by Victoria station. And in reference to the earlier paragraph, that was somewhere I also saw John Cale do a solo gig on his first solo tour and I saw Nico do a solo gig there once too.

Monk sadly I never saw. I’m working on a guitar solo version of Pannonica and have been doing for a while now. It’s going to take me a little longer before I contemplate playing it live, but one of these days.

Misterioso is another of my favourites. I’ve seen the Kronos Quartet a few times. The first album I bought with them on was Terry Riley‘s Cadenza On The Night Plain. There is much to listen to it seems.

Finally back to 25th December at Rod & Sheila’s in 1976. My best Christmas present was the box set of Keith Jarrett‘s Solo Concerts. I may have played one of the sides sometime that Christmas morning. Afterwards I left the triple album in its box on top of the TV set. It’s never a good idea to leave records on the top of the TV. Especially not on Christmas Day in 1976. Later that afternoon I found that the records had sort of changed shape and not much of the vinyl was left in a listenable state. So this recording of Side 4 of the record is from my 2nd copy of the album (although I’m afraid it has some vinyl defects near the end). I should point out that this last track is a couple of minutes over 20 minutes long.

here’s the mix

Granite Mix 3
Artist Title Album
Robert Wyatt Little Red Riding Hood Hits The Road Rock Bottom
Papa Harvey Hull & Long Cleve Reed Don’t You Leave Me Here The Songster Tradition
David Bowie Golden Years Station To Station
Nino Rota Ecclesiastical Fashion Show Roma
John Cale Baby You Know Sabotage
Sun Ra & His Outer Space Arkestra Rocket Number Nine The Singles
Thelonious Monk Quartet Straight, No Chaser Live At The It Club
Kronos Quartet Misterioso Monk Suite
Keith Jarrett Lausanne March 20th 1973 Part 1 Solo-Concerts

Thanks for listening and finally I would like to copy out the words of a poem by William Carlos Williams. I don’t know why exactly but the desire hit me a little bit earlier.

An Exercise

Sick as I am
confused in the head
I mean I have

endured this April
so far
visiting friends

returning home
late at night
I saw

a huge Negro
a dirty collar
about his

enormous neck
appeared to be
choking

him
I did not know
whether or not

he saw me though
he was sitting
directly

before me how
shall we
escape this modern

age
and learn
to breathe again