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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
geology mixes music quotations

granite mix 11

I think I mentioned before that this mix was to be a mix of things I’ve recorded from the radio over the years. It’s not something I do any more I can’t imagine spending the time. But I used to starting in the late 60s. At first it was to quarter-inch reel to reel. Then it was onto cassette which was what I recorded most of my radio recordings. Later I started to use mini-disc but by then I’d already slowed down in my recording habits.

The quality of the tracks is not brilliant in that they were recorded off the radio mainly onto cassette then in some cases kept for many years then digitised so there’s some crackle a bit of buzz and probably cases where there’s a subtle pitch change. I have mainly tried to make them live recordings in the radio studio or out at a gig but they may not all be – well one’s part of a dj set, that’s sort of live but there’s a couple I’m not sure about.

Thomas Morley was organist at St Paul’s Cathedral and composed many madrigals. He almost certainly knew Shakespeare as they lived nearby and London wasn’t that big back then apparently. He certainly wrote music for one of the playwright’s songs in a famous play. I don’t know who wrote the words for this song they are good.

Sleep, slumb’ring eyes; give rest unto my cares,
My cares, the infants of my troubled brain;
My cares, surpris’d with black despair,
Doth the assertion of my hopes restrain.
Sleep, then, my eyes, O sleep and take your rest,
To banish sorrow from a free born breast.

My freeborn breast, born free to sorrow’s smart,
Brought in subjection by my wand’ring eye,
Whose trait’rous sight conceiv’d that to my heart
For which I wail, I sob, I sigh, I die.
Sleep, then, my eyes, disturb’d of quiet rest,
To banish sorrow from my captive breast.

My captive breast, stung by these glist’ring stars,
These glist’ring stars, the beauty of the sky,
That bright black sky which doth the sunbeams bar
From her sweet comfort on my heart’s sad eye.
Wake, then, my eyes, true partners of unrest,
For sorrow still must harbour in my breast.

From a live concert of Paco Peña one of my favourite guitarists accompanied by another guitarist whose name I don’t know unfortunately. And I don’t know enough to say what type of piece this is siguiriyas or what have you.

Next is The Chemical Brothers well sort of it’s more like The Beatles really but it was a great moment when I heard this Essential Mix set one Saturday night in about 1996. Really you need to have more context than I’ve given here.

I was fortunate to see Paco Peña roughly around the time of the earlier recording and that is also true of this track by Oregon. I’m sure that the set on the recording is pretty much the same set that they did when I saw them in December 1990 at Hope Chapel.

This song by The Fall is taken from a radio session on the programme Mixing It which must have been sometime in 2005. Midnight In Aspen is the story of a dying Hunter S Thompson. I’ve got a better Fall radio session from an 80s John Peel programme but later on I’m using another Peel session. Anyway this is better sound quality.

I can’t remember when I taped this concert by Tadao Sawai but he died in 1997 so it must have been before then. The wikipedia page I have linked to only lists 1 album to his name which can’t be right. There are fortunately 2 albums of his on Itunes and for slightly less than 15 quid you can buy them both. Actually I might just do that.

From a Lou Reed gig broadcast on the radio in about 199? this is a version of A Dream which has Lou doing the vocals rather than John Cale who did them on the album (Songs For Drella) and the filmed performance of the album. I believe the words are taken from Warhol‘s diaries which I haven’t read but I will buy the book one day – gee wouldn’t that be great?

The Schnittke has a very quiet beginning – it’s a short piece and it’s very beautiful in a crystalline way. Without having listened to a great deal of his music I admire him greatly and I have got the underlying philosophy of his work and in a way shamelessly appropriated it myself. I can’t tell for sure whether I’ve included a full work here or just an excerpt of one, but I don’t see it matters and I hope he would agree with me

The oldest recording is this John Peel session which I did not record when it was first aired in about 1971 but later in the 80s when it was repeated. This session was issued on vinyl I believe in the Peel Sessions series and later there was a cd. Both formats are quite rare now. Syd‘s Two Of A Kind was only known to be recorded on this show – you can also find this on a compilation.

Finally a 1991 live concert recorded at the Royal Festival Hall. This was part 1 of the encore. Keith Jarrett is a very serious man and musician.

here’s the mix

Granite Mix 11
Artist Title Comment
Thomas Morley Sleep Slumb’ring Eyes Unknown performers
Paco Peña Unknown See notes above
Chemical Brothers Chemical Beats/Tomorrow Never Knows Excerpt from Essential Mix
Oregon Unknown Live circa 1990
The Fall Midnight In Aspen Mixing It session
Tadao Sawai Unknown See notes above
Lou Reed A Dream See notes above
Alfred Schnittke Voices Of Nature? See notes above
Syd Barrett Two Of A Kind John Peel session
Keith Jarrett Somewhere Over The Rainbow See notes above
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
coathanger trail insects music

coathanger

I noticed the other day that some nice person had put up a comment about a song of mine on Itunes which is called Coathanger. They say it would be a good song in an 80s Italian zombie film. I’ve just added a page to this blog with links to buying various songs of mine on Itunes including this one, which I’m linking to here. The song features myself on guitar and vocals, Paul Wigens on drums, Jeff Spencer on bass and I think the backing vocals are Jo Swan and Jeff.

Coathanger

Actually I prefer the demo version of the track which I recorded in October 2007 shortly after I’d written the song.

Here it is and below is what I wrote about it at the time.

But first – if you have any plans of making an Italian zombie film – please get in touch.

Coathanger Demo

I was working on the music for a possible song a few days ago and when I’d finished it and played around it with it a few times I realised that somehow I had gone back 30 years or so to about 1978 and written a Dry Rib song of that vintage. So then I had the idea to connect the words for the song with Dry Rib and make it in effect a song dedicated to the band.

There are a lot of obscure references to old songs and sometimes their lyrics. It’s a bit of a cryptic puzzle. It’s called Coathanger and I will explain that because I don’t think anyone else will know what that is about. In the early days of the band there was a song we did of mine which was called Cancer. The music was quite reasonable and the lyrics owed a lot to Vintage Violence/Paris 1919-era John Cale. For example,

And I, my heart, was with those gallant crewmen
As was the heart of every mother’s son
Yea and daughter too, I swear it, in the town

But right at the end of the song there was a repeated refrain :

And you aren’t anything other than a coathanger

It was probably that bit that led to the song being dropped so I think it is absolutely fitting now that I should resurrect its essence as a chorus and title.

The music put me in mind of Syd especially the instrumental link section between the end of the chorus and the start of the next verse, so I also put in a tribute to him with the snippets of my voice from a very old cassette tape of a rehearsal.

That’s the end of the bit from 2007 but I’d just like to add that the tribute to Syd Barrett in the other version of the song is the guitar solo at the end.

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
birds music

Tattooed Brains

Further to my recent post about the Thelonious Monk biography here are some related thoughts.

Another biography I got out the library over the summer was Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head. Both Monk and Syd had this nut thing thrown at them and in both cases there was a definitely a reason for that, but it just begs the question as to whether madness is a requisite for true artistic endeavour. Probably not, but maybe we can say that often the very best lurk close by to the seeds of madness.

One other thing in common is that mental outlooks in both cases tended to have a retrograde effect on commercial success. This is truly some sort of madness in that we can equate madness finally with the inability to feed oneself and this sort of commercial success kamikaze turn ultimately ends up as the inability to feed oneself. In Syd’s case this probably wasn’t helped by the fact that he was able to feed himself because somehow there was always money for him.

Towards the end of Monk’s life he lost interest in playing the piano. There was a piano in Nica‘s appartment that he could have used. Barry Harris apparently often played it and sometimes Monk would leave his door open to indicate that he was listening but the desire to express himself had gone. That’s sad but in the end, why not? He’d done it all before. You can end up like a performing seal. Bring me blessed silence finally O Lord.

Vincent Van Gogh‘s another of those guys who was dipping a bit into the insanity pool. I love this segment from Kurosawa‘s Dreams (actually I love all the segments of Kurosawa’s Dreams) with Martin Scorsese playing the painter and that beautiful Prelude 15 by Chopin.