50 years ago today – Bath Blues – Teenage Dreams So Hard to Beat

The last Saturday in June 1969 was the 28th of the month, it was the day after I had finished my O-level exams. Ahead of me was a long summer, some holidays in West Cork where the seeds of my current residence were sowed, 4 weeks clerical work at SWEB and a return to “the 6th form”.

But first was “The Bath Festival of Blues”. 1969 was the height of The Blues Boom in the UK ie it was just about to finish. This proved to be a forerunner of the festivals to come but was thankfully mud free. There is an argument that this event was a directly responsible for influencing Michael Eavis to start The Glastonbury Festival – Somerset, open air, music etc.

I attended with 30,000 others, the venue was Bath Rec, the security was scant and the atmosphere was very, very laid back. My friend Pete (who went on have a varied and successful career in the oil industry) & I hitch hiked from Cardiff (it took ages) and then caught the train back; silly really as a cheap day return would have cost a tiny amount more than the single fare.

What do I remember? Setting my eyes on the legendary DJ John Peel (who was responsible for our house being affectionately nicknamed Rees Acres), Fleetwood Mac headlining, Led Zeppelin’s performance, Ten Years After warming up for their astonishing performance at Woodstock, Keith Emerson’s Hammond organ solos and choreography, the political call and response of the Liverpool Scene (featuring poet Adrian Henry).

Most of all I remember feeling “grown up” and free to be myself, I have never lost my love of live music and this kicked off a decade of seeing every band that I could in venues large and small. I have grown more selective over the years but am still a sucker for a “bit of live.”

Get that wasp off my sandwich

I was up and about in plenty of time to be one of the first to cast their vote in the referendum this morning.

It is obviously a serious subject and not one that people tend to discuss too much in public. I am not going to share an opinion in this place except to encourage you to use your vote if you have one.

We’re enjoying a beautiful day in West Cork and the photograph above was taken an hour or so ago from  just outside my workplace “The Woodshed”.

I couldn’t avoid singing this.

 

The Monday Morning Quote #459

“The challenge is staying alive,  dying is easy.” 

Joe Walsh (who celebrated his 70th birthday on Nov 20th)

 

Walter Becker RIP

I somehow managed to miss out on tickets for the forthcoming Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers gigs, they were on my musical bucket list and will have to remain there.

It was with great sadness that I read of the death of Walter Becker. The tributes will flow from those who are far more entitled to comment on the technical elements of the music that Steely Dan made. I just know their first four albums as the soundtrack of the years 1972-78 and that Reelin’ in the Years still makes me smile and want to dance. I remember the excitement that I felt when I managed to buy an import copy of the single at a wooden record shack in the Haymarket in Newcastle. I know I had it on the album but it was a great single, so when it played out it was finished, it didn’t merge into the next track – some of you will understand the feeling.

Had I realised that they were a “jazz” group it is doubtful I would have shown such interest or had such enjoyment. Thank goodness my ears were my only arbiters.

Richard Williams blog.

London Jazz News.

The Guardian

Once more:

Lefsetz on George Michael…

“Music, when done right, is undeniable. It doesn’t matter what the critics say, it doesn’t matter what you believed yesterday, it doesn’t matter what your friends have to say, you’re immediately infected, the sound just makes you feel good, puts a smile on your face, makes you glad to be alive.”

Full article here – worth a read.

Look out your window I can see his light…

In the week of David Bowie’s death there has been much outpouring of grief. Someone said to me on Tuesday, “ever since Diana the British seem to have taken to weeping and mass emotion after the death of someone / anyone famous”. A trifle cynical perhaps Mr B, but I don’t disagree.

Here is the most even-handed obituary that I have read, it’s by Richard Williams and those with a very long memory will remember him as the very first host of the Old Grey Whistle Test even before whispering Bob. Showing my age, I enjoyed Williams’ writing in the Melody Maker in the 70s and he still helps to shape my musical tastes.

I particularly like this piece and that he admits to not liking some of Bowie’s music particularly the Ziggy Stardust period.

For many years I dismissed David Bowie as a shallow opportunist. What was he doing that Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, conceptually and musically, hadn’t done with more wit and originality? I saw him at the Greyhound in Croydon in the summer of 1972, supported by Roxy Music in a pub room that can’t have held more than 200 people. He did the Ziggy Stardust thing, he and the band in full costume, and I didn’t care for it much.

Those particular songs still don’t do anything for me, but time sometimes dissolves prejudices and now I can see that what I took to be shallowness and opportunism were aspects of what we call the pop process: the way things evolve through mimesis and metamorphosis, adapting to their time. And the response to the sudden news of his death leaves no doubt of the profound impact he had on people whose lives were then in the process of being formed.

It continues here.

For me, I loved Ziggy Stardust & subsequent albums, wandered away during the Berlin trilogy due to a busy life but thought Let’s Dance etc was wonderful. A true artist who wasn’t afraid to try different things, to accept that sometimes they didn’t work, to learn from that and then move on.

My favourite lyric come from the song Bewlay Brothers on the album Hunky Dory. I have no idea what it means but I just love the words.

And my brother lays upon the rocks
He could be dead, he could be not, he could be you
He’s chameleon, comedian, Corinthian and caricature
Shooting up pie in the sky

RIP Mr Jones and thanks for all the times I helped the people dance with you.

2016 #15

 

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