Archive for May, 2010

When Two Cultural Worlds Collide (In a good way)

How many times have you been watching a film or a television programme you really enjoy only for it to reach new heights with the addition of a song you love? It’s happened to me quite a few times and I wanted to put a video up which illustrated the point. After a fair bit of deliberation, I have decided to go with the clip below. It’s from the sixth season of The Sopranos and features Christopher Moltisanti lapsing back in to his old ways. For those like me who are fans of the show this scene doesn’t need too much explanation. For those who haven’t seen the show, and I suppose there must be some, I would urge you to go and buy the full box set at the next available opportunity, like a trusted friend in a time of crisis, it won’t let you down.

The song used in the clip is Dolphins by the wonderful Fred Neil. I remember watching this when it first aired on television and just being blown away. It remains one of my favourite passages in a show which as has been well documented, is one of the greatest ever made. I hope you enjoy it, I think it’s majestic.

A Couple Of Book Recommendations

We are careering towards the middle of the year quicker than I had expected so I thought it high time to pop in with a couple of book recommendations for anyone in need of some new reading material. The first is Ask The Dust by one of my favourite writers John Fante. It’s one of four novels which comprise the Bandini Quartet which all centre on various stages in the life of protagonist Arturo Bandini. In the opinion of most fans of his work Ask The Dust is the best of the four although all are worth reading. One person who certainly thought so was Charles Bukowski who once claimed “Written of and from the gut and heart… Fante was my god”.

The second is Nick Kent‘s tremendous Apathy For The Devil:A 1970′s Memoir. Suffice to say, if you are in any way interested in some of the greatest music ever made, journalism, drug debauchery and redemption then this is a book well worth reading. One of the strengths is Kent’s honest writing and recollection. As much as I enjoyed his selected writings in The Dark Stuff, I enjoyed this more which is in no small measure down to the anecdotes contained which have the perfect mix of wit and candour.

Image 1 – E-Verse Radio

Image 2 – The Cultural Pick

No tattoos pour moi

I have exactly no tattoos on my body and never intend to get any. I’m not against them, some of my very best friends have them, they just aren’t for me. I can’t help thinking that they aren’t for some people who already have them either after walking along a hot and crowded Oxford Street in the centre of London yesterday afternoon.

I saw one chap with the word ‘Lucky’ emblazoned down the left side of his neck, quite ironic really as he had the definite air of someone who had suffered a lot of misfortune. Then there was a lady who seemed to have nothing more than a smudge resembling the shape of Bulgaria on her shoulder. It would have been mistaken for a birth mark had the shape not been so indelibly ink based. I’m still confused about another woman I saw who appeared to have a very small celtic cross on the back of her neck. If you’re going to spend money on a tattoo surely you want it to be in a place that doesn’t require two mirrors and some painstaking contortion in order to see the thing?

I was reminded of a joke I heard years ago about a guy with the initials BB, his first name being Basil. He decides on a whim to go to the local parlour and have his initials tattooed on each butt-cheek. When he gets home he excitedly tells his wife he has a surprise for her, whips down his trousers and bends over. A sight to which his wife angrily responds – “Who the f**k is Bob?”.

An Alternative Rolling Stones Compilation

If push came to shove I would have to say that my favourite band of all time are The Rolling Stones. Actually there is no need for pushing, shoving or indeed poking, they have been my favourite band since the age of about thirteen. The first album I bought of theirs was a truly excellent double cassette compilation entitled Rolled Gold which covered the band’s output during their time signed to Decca. As well as containing all the classic hit singles from that period there were also a few album tracks to entice someone like myself to start collecting the back catalogue. This I quickly did and soon had many Stones albums on vinyl and latterly cd.

In my view, the last great album the Stones released was Goats Head Soup in 1973. I’m well aware there are many who would disagree with this and sight in particular the 1978 release Some Girls as their last true crowning glory. While I don’t think it’s a bad album, it just doesn’t resonate with me as much as it does with some others and when compared to Beggers Banquet or Sticky Fingers, really doesn’t compete. I must add though that I think there are also some great tracks on both 1974′s It’s Only Rock N’ Roll and 1976′s Black And Blue.

My favourite Stones eras are the same as the majority of fans and they can be put as simply as ‘The Brian Jones and Mick Taylor years’. I could easily eulogise about the band in these time periods for a good few pages but I’ll try to keep things concise. They really have been my constant musical companion since I seriously got into music in my early teens. Of course there are many other bands and albums I love and which mean a great deal to me but I suppose many of us have an artist that occupies that special bracket. An artist who remains a constant source of gratification, exhilaration and inspiration . For some it could be The Beatles, Dylan or Bowie . For me it’s always been The Rolling Stones.

Over the years I have been asked on numerous occasions what I thought to be the best starting point for those who want to get in to the band. Although there are several Stones compilations readily available to buy in shops and online, some are better than others and I would always advise on acquiring the newly re-packaged version of Rolled Gold as a first purchase. It really is the best starting point and has a few more tracks than could be found on my original double cassette.  For those like me however who have much of the back catalogue (by this I mean absolutely everything released up until 1981 and then a select few from after that year) the prospect of a Stones compilation doesn’t really excite anymore. As a result I have compiled my own which while catered to the purist, still contains a vast array of absorbing and varied songs.

I did put a few stipulations on myself when choosing the tracks. Firstly, there would be none of the obvious big hit singles included on the list such as Paint It Black, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction or Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Secondly, there would be no live tracks, just studio recordings. Annoyingly, this discounts the sublime Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out but one must adhere to one’s own self imposed restrictions. Thirdly, the tracks chosen are those not to be found on compilations readily available to buy, so again rather annoyingly there is no space for the blistering Stevie Wonder cover I Don’t Know Why found on Metamorphosis. There are a few songs contained on my playlist which did crop up on some hastily released compilations by Decca in the seventies in an attempt to make as much money out of the bands back catalogue as possible. Some of these albums such as Stone Age and Solid Rock can still be found in some second hand record shops or at record fairs but have never been re-released on cd. I actually owned Solid Rock on cassette and it served me well around mid-1991 having bought it at Ingliston Sunday Market in Edinburgh but I digress. Lastly, I have concentrated my picks on the eras I’m most fond of.

So, purely for fun, here is my alternative Rolling Stones compilation available in literally no shops. For good measure, I have listed my top ten Rolling Stones albums as well. Again restrictions apply with no compilations on the list apart from one aforementioned live album due to it being so indispensable.

 

The Alternative Rolling Stones Compilation

1.Little By Little from The Rolling Stones(1964)

2.I’m A King Bee from The Rolling Stones (1964)

3.Off The Hook from The Rolling Stones No. 2 (1965)

4.Blue Turns To Grey from Decembers Children (And Everybody’s) (1965)

5.I Am Waiting from Aftermath (1966)

6.What To Do from Aftermath (1966)

7.Connection from Between The Buttons (1967)

8.All Sold Out from Between The Buttons (1967)

9.Something Happened To Me Yesterday from Between The Buttons (1967)

10.Citadel from Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

11.2000 Man from Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

12.Parachute Woman from Beggers Banquet (1968)

13.Jig Saw Puzzle from Beggers Banquet (1968)

14.You Got The Silver from Let It Bleed (1969)

15.Monkey Man from Let It Bleed (1969)

16.Sway from Sticky Fingers (1971)

17.Sister Morphine from Sticky Fingers (1971)

18.Moonlight Mile from Sticky Fingers (1971)

19.Sweet Black Angel from Exile On Main Street (1972)

20.Loving Cup from Exile On Main Street (1972)

21.Soul Survivor from Exile On Main Street (1972)

22.100 Years Ago from Goats Head Soup (1973)

23.Winter  from Goats Head Soup (1973)

24.Time Waits For No One from It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (1974)

25.Fingerprint File from It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (1974)

26.Hand Of Fate from Black And Blue (1976)

27.Hey Negrita from Black And Blue (1976)

28.When the Whip Comes Down from Some Girls (1978)

29.Waiting On A Friend from Tattoo You (1981)

30.Out Of Tears from Voodoo Lounge (1994)

My Top Ten Rolling Stones Albums

1. Sticky Fingers (1971)

2. Beggers Banquet (1968)

3. Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out (1970)

4. Let It Bleed (1969)

5. Exile On Main Street (1972)

6. Goats Head Soup (1973)

7. Between The Buttons (1967)

8. Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)

9. Aftermath (1966)

10.The Rolling Stones (1964)

Image 1: last.fm

Image 2: lastfm

Image 3: lastfm

Impromptu Bob Lind singalong at BBC TV Centre

Much fun was had on BBC Radio 5Live’s Fighting Talk Champions League Special yesterday but shortly after this picture was taken I was in turn taken aback when I found myself in an impromptu singalong of Bob Lind’s Elusive Butterfly with none other than The Guardian’s Martin Kelner and comedian and writer Bob Mills. I was telling them about the article I had written about Lind on this site and then bash, we’re all singing. As splendid as it was inadvertent.