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Andy Long Bass Player

Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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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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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.

Could be looking for a gig…

We’re taking a bit of a break from the Tim Crahart Blues Band, which has left me at something of a loose end, bass-wise for the moment.

Hence I am looking for some musical opportunities in or around the Newport area. I quite fancy doing something a bit prog rock as that’s my passion, musically. But in the past I’ve played a lot of blues, rock ‘n’ roll. jazz, rock etc so could be up for anything.

Laying my cards out on the table at the outset – I’ve got quite a responsible day job which takes a lot of my time, so I don’t want a band that plays five nights a week. Just something occassional would be nice. I am not now and never have been looking to conquer the world in any musical capacity. 

So if you are about to embark on a world tour or just signed a ten album deal, probably best not to get in touch with me.

on the other hand if you play a couple of times a month and have the kind of laid back attitude that only comes with great age and you could do with a half-competent bass player, maybe give me a shout via the contacts page.

redfront

 

Frozen Shoulder and Playing Bass

For the last couple of months I’ve been suffering with extreme pain in my right shoulder. Some x-rays and tests led to a diagnosis of frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. This is a condition caused by the thickening and inflammation of the capsule tissue surrounding the shoulder joint. It is extraordinarily painful and debilitating, especially at night.

Frozen Shoulder

I’ve seen several doctors for advice, but it seems that there is no really effective treatment, it just gets better over time, but can take up to two years to recover.

I’m taking a variety of painkillers and I even had a steroid injection. That was stupidly painful and hasn’t really helped. I’m trying to exercise it every day but it’s hard work.

In terms of playing bass it’s having some quite negative effects. I am unable to lift anything heavier than a cup of tea with my right arm, so Tim and Harvey have had to help me out a lot in loading and unloading equipment.

Thankfully I switched my cabs out to those lovely lightweight Edens a while back, which helps.  I’m having to play sitting on a stool most of the time (like a proper old fart), but even then it’s difficult to lift the bass off the stand and onto my lap. Once it’s there I can play OK (well, about as good as normal anyway).

For short sets I can stand to play, I’ve lengthened my strap a bit to try and ease strain on the shoulder.

Any other bass players out there had similar problems, any advice welcome.

Andy

Chris Squire: Legend and Inspiration

yes-chris-squireI heard the devastating news today that Chris Squire had passed away, just a short time after announcing that he had been suffering from leukemia.

I’ve been listening to Chris’s incredible, punchy bass lines since I bought my first two Yes albums around 1977. I was thirteen at the time and one of the boys in school wanted to sell these two LPs. They were ‘Time And A Word’ and ‘Tormato’. Two very different albums, neither of which would be thought of as classic Yes, but they started me on a journey which has continued ever since.

SCAN0068I first saw Yes live on 14th July 1984 at the NEC, Birmingham on the 9012live tour. A fantastic show that was opened by half an hour of Bugs Bunny cartoons on a big screen. I’ve seen them many times since then, in many forms, most recently on the three-album tour in Bristol.

Throughout all the line up changes Chris has always been there. I wonder what the future will bring. I hope they find a way forward and I’m sure that’s what Chris would want.

I started to play bass at the age of nineteen after being a failed guitarist and Chris has always been one of my favourite and most inspirational bassists. His clanky Rickenbacker stomping all over the mix is one of the key elements to the classic Yes sound. I love to play around with Chris’s lines, although I don’t do them justice.SCAN0067

My favourite Yes album has always been ‘Close To The Edge’ but my favourite Yes bass album is definitely ‘Fragile’, both for the epic solo piece ‘The Fish’ and for Chris’s outstanding part on ‘Heart Of The Sunrise’ which became a live highlight for the band throughout their career.

I never got Chris’s autograph on my copies, just Bill, Rock and Steve.

So long Chris, and thanks for ‘The Fish’

 

Music gear for sale

Hi all

A couple of friends of mine have some equipment for sale, details below. If you are interested in anything please contact the seller direct, I am just plugging it for them.

First of all a few bass amps from a fan of the band, Richard Harding. I’ve got no pictures of these, but you can contact Richard at rharding@doctors.org.uk

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TRACE ELLIOT BASS STACK FOR SALE as new condition!
AH300SMC 300 Watt amplifier head with 7-band EQ, dual band compression.
1048H 4×10″ Celestion loudspeakers plus high-frequency horn cabinet.
1518 1×15″ Celestion loudspeaker cabinet.
All are rugged carpet covered with polished stainless steel protective corners.
Classic Trace Elliot sound, pre-Gibson/Peavey takeover.
Custom fitted padded covers included, plus manufacturer’s manual, speaker & mains leads.  £950 ono (less than half original new price!).

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PHIL JONES BASS STACK FOR SALE

PJB M-500 720 Watt Head.

The M-500 is a single one channel power house with ultimate tone shaped by the 12-band graphic EQ and 3 band parametric EQ. It can power multiple speaker cabinets with ease. Our exclusive optical limiter circuit gives it a very smooth operation. Bass Player magazine in 2004 review quoted it “the best on board limiter found in a bass amp”.

2% silver solder connections; 2.5 mm steel chassis; heavy duty chrome plated corners; recessed Allen bolt mounted handle; custom machined metal and anodized aluminum knobs; and much more. No details left unattended; and they scream quality.

Speaker Cabinets:

Top

Model 6T
Power 600 W
Speaker 6×5″  12Ω 50Hz-15KHz
Dimensions 20.5 x 18.7 x 13 inch 520 x 444 x 330 mm (W x D x H)
Weight 51lbs / 23kg
Color Black

Under

Model 9B
Power 900 W
Speaker 9x5″  8Ω 40Hz-15KHz
Dimensions 20.5 x 18.7 x 18.1 inch 520 x 444 x 381 mm (W xD x H)
Weight 75lbs / 34kg
Color Black
 2 PJB Heavy Duty speaker leads. Mains lead. PJB Manual.
£1,000- ono for the older of the two stacks- slightly road warn but in good condition . Homemade waterproof speaker covers.
£2,000- ono for the newer one , as new condition. PJB Speaker Covers.
Photos on PJB website   http://www.philjonespuresound.com/
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Secondly a friend in work is selling this pair of speakers. £70 if anyone is interested. email zarissawood@firstgroup.com
photo 1 photo 2

My New Bass – Fender Precision USA Standard five string.

Boys and their toys ‘ey?  Every so often I get a yearning for a new bass, but in recent years I have tried (at least tried) to be a bit more sensible about it.

Back in 1999 I bought a brand new Mexican built Fender Jazz five string and had that for a few years, it was a lovely bass for the money. £300 brand new in those days. I often wish I’d kept it, but as is the way of things to got traded in and that was quite a few basses ago.

This year I decided it might be time to venture back into Fender territory and initially had a fancy for a USA jazz model. You understand of course it had to be a five string, I rely far too much on that bottom ‘B’ to consider anything else, hence a vintage model was never in the running.

A lot of my bass playing friends out there have bass collections that are taking over their houses, so I have tried to hold to a ‘one-in-one-out’ policy and that is working out quite well. The only question was, which one is going to go.  Also I needed to make a bit of money if I was going to get a USA model, even at second hand prices.

Hence I decided that the Status Streamline was going to be the sacrificial goat. A truly fantastic bass, but I tend to play my S2 Classic for most gigs and the Streamline was a backup and a portable option when space was at a premium.

Mark Stickley and the boys up at Bass Direct in Warwick were brilliantly helpful to me and I want to thank them for everything they did.  I took the Status up to the shop and they agreed to sell it for me so that I could finance a new bass.  Whilst there I tried out a few fantastic jazz bass options from other manufacturers. I especially liked the Sandbergs and the Mayones. 

I left the bass with them and awaited the results…

Meanwhile my good friend Matt Cohen of The Reasoning, was also getting itchy fingers. He traded in his two Fender Precisions and opted for a gorgeous Vigier five string. This meant that his two Precisions were prostituting themselves before me every time I logged on to the Bass Direct website! (Phwoaar!)

After a few days a deal was sorted with the Bass Direct guys and I am now the owner of this little beauty. I was looking for something with a very traditional sound that would suit the blues band well and this passive, single pickup, classic design fits the bill perfectly. It’s thunderous tone is perfect for a blues trio.  Come and see us play soon and you can judge for yourselves.

The photos below are blatantly pinched from the Bass Direct listing, hope you don’t mind Mark?

Status Graphite Streamline Five String for sale

I’ve put one of my basses up for sale. It’s the Status Graphite Streamline. A one-piece graphite bass, headless, small body, 34″ scale, five string. It’s an absolutely fantastic bass, lightweight, very portable, but with a full on, professional Status sound. I’m only selling it because I’ve got a fancy for a USA Fender Jazz five string.  So if you are interested or know someone who might be, please get in touch,

Update – you will now find the bass for sale at an excellent price at the fantastic Bass Direct shop. Here’s a link to the sale page

http://www.bassdirect.co.uk/bass_guitar_specialists/Status_Streamline_5.html

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