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Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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New Music ‘acquired’ September 2019

This month I decided to try an experiment, I would not buy any new music for a month. A real challenge for me as I usually buy about 200 albums a year. My Twitter friends didn’t think I could do it, well, I almost did…

Talking Heads Stop Making SenseIt’s nearly the end of the month and so far I’ve only bought one CD; the excellent Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads. My Twitter fried @dancing_monk told me that my music collection was pointless without it so I caved in.

On the other hand I have picked up a few new titles to explore this month via bandcamp subscriptions and free downloads, so I’ve got some stuff to explore, here’s a breakdown of new additions. If you want to know what I think of them come and follow me on Twitter (@andylong), but please do take the time to listen to some of them if you can

Steve Lawson: The Arctic Is Burning 

Steve Lawson: How/Why? – Live @ Belfast Guitar Festival

DXIII: When The Mind Slips

Calamateur: Sergeant Howie’s Holy Stamina Test

Andy Edwards: October Moon

Bernhard Wöstheinrich & Ombient: Live At The Gatherings 2019

Oddsfiche: Kops Records Ottawa

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

All these albums will be fifty years old in 2020

Like most of us, (OK, all of us), I’m getting older. The music I grew up with is ageing with me. This week I wrote a list of albums that were released in 1970 and hence will celebrate their fiftieth birthday in 2020. A couple of friends on Twitter asked me to share the list, so here it is.

I’ve got about half of these and I’ll probably end up buying, or re-buying, most of the rest of them next year. The intention is to listen to them on their birthday whilst tweeting furiously about the whole thing.

Feel free to recommend some add-ins or correct my mistakes.

Classic album 50th birthdays 2020
January 3 Syd Barrett: The Madcap Laughs
January 9th Badfinger: Magic Christian Music
January 15th MC5: back In The USA
January 23rd Family: A Song For Me
January 26th Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water
January 27th Van Morrison: Moondance
February Atomic Rooster: Atomic Roooster
  Van Der Graaf Generator: The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other
  The Move: Shazam
February 1st James Taylor: Sweet Baby James
February 9th The Mothers Of Invention: Burnt Weeny Sandwich
February 9th The Doors: Morrison Hotel
February 9th Soundtrack: Zabriskie Point
February 13th Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath
February 26th The Beatles: Hey Jude (compilation)
March Alice Cooper: Easy Action
  The Faces: First Step
  Joni Mitchell: Ladies Of The Canyon
March 7th Mountain: Climbing
March 11th Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Deja vu
March 13th Tyrannosaurus Rex: A Beard Of Stars
March 13th Egg: Egg
March 25th Jimi Hendrix: Band of Gypsies
March 30th Ginger Baker’s Air Force: Ginger Baker’s Air Force
March 30th Miles Davis: Bitches Brew
April Blodwyn Pig: Getting To This
  Colosseum: The Grass Is Greener
  Incredible String Band: I Looked Up
  Cream: Live Cream
  Al Stewart: Zero She Flies
April 17th Brinsley Schwarz: Brinsley Shcwarz
April 17th Ten Years After: Cricklewood Green
April 17th McCartney: Paul McCartney
April 20th Jethro Tull: Benefit
April 22nd Iron Butterfly: Live
May Quatermass: Quatermass
  The Groundhogs: Thank Christ For The Bomb
May 6th Poco: Poco
May 8th The Beatles: Let It Be
May 11th Soundtrack: Woodstock
May 15th King Crimson: In the Wake Of Poseidon
May 16th The Who: Live At Leeds
June Dave Mason: Alone Together
  Rare Earth: Ecology
  Tangerine Dream: Electronic Meditation
  Fotheringay: Fotheringay
  Steeleye Span: Hark! The Village Wait
  The Pretty Things: Parachute
June 3rd Deep Purple: In Rock
June 5th Barclay James Harvest: Barclay James Harvest
June 5th Procol Harum: Home
June 6th Soft Machine: Third
June 8th Bob Dylan: Self Portrait
June 13th Uriah heep: Very ‘Eavy Very ‘Umble
June 14th Grateful Dead: Workingman’s Dead
June 26th Free: Fire And Water
July Fairport Convention: Full House
  Humble Pie: Humble Pie
  James Gang: James Gang Rides Again
  Traffic: John Barleycorn Must Die
  Spooky Tooth: The Last Puff
  Bread: On The Waters
July 7th The Stooges: Fun House
July 14th Supertramp: Supertramp
July 20th The Doors: Absolutely Live
July 24th Yes: Time And A Word
July 25th Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo’s Factory
August Quicksilver Messenger Service: Just For Love
  Status Quo: Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon
August 3rd Canned Heat: Future Blues
August 7th Moody Blues: A Question Of Balance
August 10th The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh
August 13th Iron Butterfly: Metamorphosis
August 14th Hawkwind: Hawkwind
August 16th Eric Clapton: Eric Clapton
August 17th The Band: Stage Fright
September Atomic Rooster: Death Walks Behind You
  If: If
  Mott The Hoople: Mad Shadows
  Blue Cheer: The Original Human Being
September 4th The Rolling Stones: Get Your Ya-Yas Out
September 4th Caravan: If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You
September 14th The Byrds: Untitled
September 18th Fleetwood Mac: Kiln House
September 18th Black Sabbath: Paranoid
September 19th Neil Young: After The Gold Rush
September 22nd Santana: Abraxas
September 23rd The Allman Brothers Band: Idlewild South
October Savoy Brown: Looking In
  Incredible String Band: U
  UFO: UFO 1
  Grateful Dead: Vintage Dead
  Warhorse: Warhorse
October 2nd Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother
October 5th Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin III
October 19th Bob Dylan: New Morning
October 22nd Miles Davis: At Fillmore
October 23rd Frank Zappa: Chunga’s Revenge
October 23rd Genesis: Trespass
November Curved Air: Air Conditioning
  Family: Anyway
  Kraftwerk: Kraftwerk
  Derek And The Dominos: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
  The Velvet Underground: Loaded
  Trapeze: Medusa
  Tim Buckley: Starsailor
November 1st Grateful Dead: American Beauty
November 4th David Bowie: The Man Who Sold The World
November 9th Badfinger: No Dice
November 14th Syd Barrett: Barrett
November 20th Brinsley Schwarz: Despite It All
November 20th Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Emerson, Lake and Palmer
November 23rd Cat Stevens: Tea For The Tillerman
November 27th George Harrison: All Things Must Pass
November 27th Gentle Giant: Gentle Giant
November 27th Spirit: Twelve Dreams Of Dr Sardonicus
November 30th The Doors: 13
December T Rex: T Rex
  Colosseum: Daughter of Time
  Love: False Start
  Van Der Graaf Generator: H to He Who Am The Only One
  Free: Highway
  If: If 2
  Captain Beefheart: Lick My Decals Off Baby
  The Move: Looking On
  Scott Walker: ‘Til The Band Comes In
  Quicksilver Messenger Service: What About Me
December 4th Robert Wyatt: The End Of An Ear
December 4th Wishbone Ash: Wishbone Ash
December 7th Creedence Clearwater Revival: Pendulum
December 10th Ginger Baker’s Air Force: 2
December 11th John Lennon: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
December 11th King Crimson: Lizard
Unknown dates Chicken Shack: Accept
  Edgar Winter: Entrance
  Focus: Focus Plays Focus
  Lucifer’s Friend: Lucifer’s Friend
  Amon Duul II: Yeti
  Bill Evans: Alone

 

100 albums from the 1970s

Over on Twitter (@andylong) a few months ago I started a little project where I chose ten albums from each year of the 1970s, played one each day and posted my thoughts and memories. It’s been great fun, I’ve listened to one hundred fantastic albums from my collection and I’ve had lots of really entertaining conversations and made some new Twitter friends. I had to spend a bit of money too as some people were recommending albums to me that I didn’t already own, so I’ve discovered a couple of albums that I should have been listening to for years.

Here’s a list of all the albums, alphabetically by artist, there is not now and never was any though of putting them in order of which was ‘best’ as that is purely subjective.

How many have you got, which have meant the most to you, which ones have you never heard of and now want to?

Ten albums from each year of the 1970s
AC/DC Highway to Hell 1979
Atomic Rooster Death Walks Behind You 1970
Barclay James Harvest Baby James Harvest 1972
Barclay James Harvest Octoberon 1976
Barclay James Harvest Gone to Earth 1977
Be Bop Deluxe Axe Victim 1974
Be Bop Deluxe Sunburst Finish 1976
Black Sabbath Black Sabbath 1970
Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 1973
Budgie Never Turn Your Back on A Friend 1973
Camel Mirage 1974
Camel Music Inspired by the Snow Goose 1975
Can Tago Mago 1971
Can Future Days 1973
Caravan In the Land of Grey and Pink 1971
Chris Squire Fish Out of Water 1975
David Bowie Ziggy Stardust 1972
Deep Purple In Rock 1970
Derek and The Dominos Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs 1970
Eagles Desperado 1973
Eagles Hotel California 1976
Electric Light Orchestra Out of The Blue 1977
Electric Light Orchestra Discovery 1979
Emerson Lake and Palmer Pictures at An Exhibition 1971
Emerson, Lake and Palmer Brain Salad Surgery 1973
England Garden Shed 1977
Eno Here Come the Warm Jets 1974
Eno Another Green World 1975
Fleetwood Mac Rumours 1977
Focus Moving Waves 1971
Focus Hamburger Concerto 1974
Foreigner Double Vision 1978
Foreigner Head Games 1979
Frank Zappa Joe’s Garage Act 1 1979
Fruupp Modern Masquerades 1974
Genesis Nursery Cryme 1971
Genesis Foxtrot 1972
Genesis A Trick of The Tail 1976
Gentle Giant Octopus 1972
Gentle Giant Free Hand 1975
Gong Angel’s Egg 1973
Gryphon Red Queen to Gryphon Three 1974
Hawkwind Doremi Fasol Latido 1972
Jaco Pastorius Jaco 1976
Jeff Wayne War of The Worlds 1978
Jethro Tull Aqualung 1971
Jethro Tull Thick as A Brick 1972
Jethro Tull Songs from The Wood 1977
Jethro Tull Heavy Horses 1978
Joni Mitchell Hejira 1976
King Crimson In the Wake of Poseidon 1970
King Crimson Starless and Bible Black 1974
Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin Four 1971
Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti 1975
Mahavishnu Orchestra Birds of Fire 1973
Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells 1973
Miles Davis Bitches Brew 1970
Moody Blues A Question of Balance 1970
Nektar A Tab in The Ocean 1972
Peter Hammill Fool’s Mate 1971
Peter Hammill Over 1977
Pink Floyd The Dark Side of The Moon 1973
Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here 1975
Pink Floyd Animals 1977
Pink Floyd The Wall 1979
Premiata Forneria Marconi L’Isola Di Niente 1974
Quatermass Quatermass 1970
Queen Live Killers 1979
Rainbow Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll 1978
Rainbow Rising 1976
Rick Wakeman The Six Wives of Henry VIII 1973
Rush 2112 1976
Rush A Farewell to Kings 1977
Rush Hemispheres 1978
Santana Abraxas 1970
Soft Machine Bundles 1975
Steely Dan Katy Lied 1975
Steely Dan Aja 1977
Steve Hackett Please Don’t Touch 1978
Steve Hackett Spectral Mornings 1979
Steve Hillage Fish Rising 1975
Strawbs Grave New World 1972
Supertramp Breakfast In America 1979
Tangerine Dream Phaedra 1974
Tangerine Dream Force Majeure 1979
Thin Lizzy Jailbreak 1976
Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous 1978
UFO Obsession 1978
Uriah Heep Demons and Wizards 1972
Van Der Graaf Generator Pawn Hearts 1971
Van Der Graaf Generator Godbluff 1975
Van Der Graaf Generator Still Life 1976
Van Morrison Moondance 1970
Weather Report Mr Gone 1978
Whitesnake Trouble 1978
Whitesnake Lovehunter 1979
Yes The Yes Album 1971
Yes Close to The Edge 1972
Yes Relayer 1974
Yes Going for The One 1977

Music bought in 2017

This year I kept a log of all the music that I bought during the year. Initially I was recording how much it cost too, but that got a bit worrying so I decided to ignore that bit.

In 2017 I bought over 200 albums, mostly on CD format (some downloads). If that seems a lot, (if…ha!), Many of them were charity shop or Ebay bargains (but some weren’t.

A few of my Twitter friends have put out lists of their top albums of 2017, trouble is most of my purchases are not new music, I have been diligently plugging gaps in the classic Prog Rock collection, which now looks a lot healthier (and nerdier).

I dod get a handful of new albums too, so here is a selection of some of my favourites from 2017, some new, some not so new.

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The Strawbs live in Cardiff

Two amazing sets from the Strawbs at the Globe in Cardiff last night (7th October 2017).  It’s been a few years since I last saw the Strawbs and that was the acoustic set back at Swindon Arts Centre.  Such a prolific band, so many great albums and a wonderful pedigree of musicianship.  The line up these days alongside Dave Cousins features Chas Cronk and Dave Lambert, the wonderful Tony Fernandez on the kit, who I have seen playing with Rick Wakeman on several occasions and a very pleasant surprise for me in the shape of Dave Bainbridge (Iona) on the keyboards.

The set opened with a track from the new album ‘The Ferryman’s Curse’, the track ‘The Nails In The Hands of Christ’ is a strikingly beautiful tale, I bought the album last night and it really is a cracking piece of work.  The set included a couple of other tracks from this album, plus lots of the classic material including ‘New World’, ‘Round And Round’ and ‘A Glimpse Of Heaven. The set closed with the classic ‘Lay Down.

Here’s a few pics

Hawkwind at The Neon, Newport, March 2017

The first band I ever saw live were Hawkwind. It was the Autumn of 1980 and the ‘Levitation’ tour came to the Colston Hall in Bristol. The line up that night was Dave Brock, Harvey Bainbridge, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Tim Blake and (honest guv) Ginger Baker on drums.  I often look back and think I was spoilt by that for a first gig and didn’t really realise how special a band it was, and especially what an icon Baker was.

I’ve been a fan ever since, although not a disciple (of which there are many), I’ve seen them half a dozen times over the years, sometimes great, sometimes not so.  Last night saw the latest line-up playing at the end of my street, so I had to go of course.

With lead vocals being taken now by Mr Dibs the band’s ever changing face sees long standing drummer Richard Chadwick and 74 year old Dave Brock joined by young bassist Haz Wheaton and a keyboard/guitars chap who might have been Niall Hone?

This was a great set that took in a lot of classic material, the band performed really well. Dave is looking well for an old git, and played well to all the other old gits in the crowd (of which I am one).  The light show was everything you would expect from Hawkwind (see pics below) and the band sounded like classic era Hawkwind, with extended jams and all those classic riffs. Mr Dibs was giving it what for on the ring modulators and other expected sound effects.

Haz Wheaton took centre stage and plays bass like a proper rock monster, he is as much a Lemmy style bassist as you could hope for, battering seven shades out of a Rickenbacker and strumming huge power chords for much of the set. Sometimes switching to a Fender for a spot of subtlety, his musicianship impressed me. Kudos to you Haz, you’re up there.

Two disappointments in this show.  Firstly the sound was not great, it’s a problem that this particular venue suffers from, I’ve never seen a show there where they got it right. In this case the vocals were suffering. Volume too low, with all the crispness and clarity of lettuce, it did spoil an otherwise good show. Secondly I had been led to believe (erroneously it seems) that Tim Blake was in this line up. Hone, or whoever it was, did a reasonably good job, but Tim Blake is Tim Blake innit?

They’re playing Bristol in May so I may well go again and see what happens.  I didn’t get the whole set list down but here’s most of what I remember:

Assault And Battery, On The Edge Of Time, Utopia, Time We Left This World Today, Into The Woods, Hassan I Sabbah, Robot, Shot Down In The Night. There were more and I think they may have done ‘You Know You’re Only Dreaming’, or I might have been only dreaming?

The four encores were:

Spirit Of The Age, Brainbox Pollution, (something else here), Silver Machine

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Anderson, Rabin, Wakeman at Cardiff

ARW at Cardiff

I’ve been a Yes fan for longer than I care to remember, (although there are plenty who’ve been at it longer than me). I bought my first two Yes albums second hand off a boy in school who didn’t like them. They were ‘Time And A Word’ and ‘Tomato’. An interesting pair to start with.

I first saw them live in Birmingham NEC on the 90125 tour in the early ’80’s. Lasers, tilting stage. Bugs Bunny Cartoons.  I’ve seen them a lot of times since then in a lot of forms. Last night saw the latest incarnation of Yes/Not Yes playing their debut show in Cardiff, so unsurprisingly I was there.

With Jon, Rick and Trevor were go-to prog bassist Lee Pomeroy and American drummer and Rabin cohort Louis Molino III.  This was a much anticipated set amongst progrock diehards and did not disappoint.  It was great to see and hear Jon singing Yes material again. I’ve enjoyed the recent tours of the current Yes line-up but Jon’s voice is a unique enigma.

Rabin and Wakeman play really well together, despite not having been in Yes together (with the exception of Union). Trevor is an almighty rock guitarist, wailing solos and lightning fast runs are peppered liberally throughout his playing. He’s very different to Steve Howe and if anything I missed Steve’s classical, virtuosic sensibility, Trevor gave the material a very different sound, but it worked well.

Rick Wakeman, resplendently caped, was stunning as always, effortlessly (or so it seemed) flowing through the material, flitting around amongst numerous keyboards and even going for a stroll in the audience with a keytar, whilst Trevor went up the adjoining isle and met him at the back for a barrage of selfies.

Moulino and Pomeroy were a fantastic rhythm section together, I’ve seen Lee play with Rick previously and last night the band paid tribute to Chris Squire and Lee played a beautiful arrangement of ‘The Fish’, recreating that familiar Rickenbacker klank perfectly.

If you’re the kind of person who gets off on set lists I think I’ve got this right:

Cinema, Perpetual Change, Hold On, All Good People, Lift Me Up, And You And I, Rhythm Of Love, Heart Of The Sunrise, Changes, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish, Awaken, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, (enc) Roundabout

Excellent show, hope I get to see the next one, whoever is in it.

John Wetton and Deke Leonard

Sad to see the passing away of two more great names from the rock world this week, bass legend John Wetton and Welsh guitar great Deke Leonard.

John Wetton is one of those names that has always been there for me, so many of the band he played with over the years have been, and always will be, amongst my favourite listens, albums that are on constant replay in my life.

I bought the first Asia album on picture disc vinyl when it was released in 1982 and his work with King Crimson marks my favourite era of the band (although I love all their stuff.

The riff to ‘Great Deceiver’ is still mind blowing.

Deke Leonard, though less known, was nonetheless a long standing key member of Man for most of their career, just a few breaks here and there, and featured on the majority of Man albums.

Whilst Man have not been a band that I’ve listened to a lot over the years, thy are undoubtedly iconic here in Wales and I really enjoy the few albums that I do own, notably ‘Rhinos, Winos And Lunatics’ and ‘Slow Motion.

 

 

Three Prog Rock Tracks For Hallowe’en

Here’s a few of my favourite creepy songs for your weekend playlist. Enjoy!

  1. Van Der Graaf Generator ‘Darkness (11/11)

Lyrics

How could you make a list, even such a small list as this, without including Van Der Graaf Generator?  Hard to choose which song to include but this is a pretty scary moment, even for them.

Wicked little Scorpio, doomed to die a thousand times before he lives!

2. Atomic Rooster ‘Death Walks Behind You’

Lyrics

One of my favourite bands for years, probably their best album, with William Blake’s ‘Nebuchadnezzar adorning it’s front cover. A moment of genius from Vincent Crane.

3. Genesis ‘The Musical Box

 

Lyrics

Peter Gabriel in one of his more disturbing moments tells the story in which Cynthia knocks off Henry’s head with a croquet mallet, from there on it it gets more twisted and bizarre until both are killed by the nanny.

Feel free to add your own recommendations to the list

 

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