Friday, 31 December 2010

Goodbye 2010, and good riddance, mostly

One of the few really outstandingly positive things in my year was regrouping with old friends on New Year's Day in Memphis to play some music for the first time in 16 years or so. It far surpassed even my wildest expectations. And, as an unforeseen bonus, later in the year I managed to get back to Memphis for some studio work with the unspeakably awesome Linda Heck and Doug Easley. I only hope that 2011 may bring me some similarly satisfying moments. And bring you whatever you are missing in life as well... Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Merle does Marty

As a small child there was a lot of music in the house, a somewhat baffling mixture of Beatles, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, soundtracks from various Broadway shows, and a lot of Ray Price and Merle Haggard. All this probably accounts for my impatience at spending too long with any one genre. Merle's certainly one of the more unique voices in country music history, though I've always heard a lot of Lefty Frizzell in his timbre and phrasing. This remarkable video clip reveals his immense talent as a mimic (this is the live album segment alluded to by Ralph Emery). Marty Robbins' expression at hearing himself done so flawlessly is a joy to behold.

Christmas scenes from London life

Ringo the Snowman

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

So much for "Ebony and Ivory"

BBC Radio 4 recently ran a great documentary (sadly no longer available) on TONTO and its creators, the special sauce behind Stevie Wonder's spate of classic albums in the early 70's. One sad revelation in it was that Stevie underwent a kind of personality change as the result of a head injury (which would probably explain a lot of his desultory later output), and this, coupled with the strained race relations of the time, led him and his handlers to conclude that the "white boys" behind the scenes deserved neither recognition nor royalties. So much for "Ebony and Ivory."

Scenes from London life


Friday, 17 December 2010

R.I.P. Captain Beefheart

And the greats keep dropping like flies. I didn't discover him nearly as early as perhaps I should/could have, but once I did, a lot of things suddenly made sense, and certainly nothing was ever the same again. Thank you, Don Van Vliet.

Happy Birthday, Warner Brothers


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Scenes from London life


Hold On

Can it be 30 years today? I can certainly remember where I was - mopping the kitchen floor at the end of the night at the barftastic Steak and Ale, Poplar Avenue, Memphis. What a devastating moment.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Innocent memories from that long-forgotten time when local TV stations actually produced programming. WMC TV5 newsman Dick Williams had a weekend side-gig as a magician on this long-running show, seen here in 1983. The furniture commercial was very typical of the time.