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Andy Long Bass Player

Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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Cardiff

Focus live in Cardiff

I first heard ‘Hocus Pocus’ by Focus in the mid 70’s. My dad had bought the ‘Moving Waves’ album, unusual for him as he was a rock and roll fan but I think he enjoyed Jan Akkerman’s guitar. I played the album to death. I’ve always loved the band but never been to see them live.

last night (19 October 2017) I ticked that box in Cardiff as band founder Thijs Van Leer, classic line up drummer Pierre Van Der Linden, together with guitarist Menno Gootjes and the most recent member bass player Udo Pannekeet brought an outstanding set to the Globe.

They did not disappoint. The musicianship in this line up is absolutely jaw-dropping. An incredible set of blistering jazz/prog/rock. Fantastic soloing and unstoppable energy. Most of the band’s material is instrumental and I don’t always remember the titles, but included in the set were ‘Sylvia’, ‘Harem Scarem’, ‘Round Goes The Gossip’, ‘House Of The King’ and a few new tunes.

Favourite for me was the epic 23 minute (or more) ‘Eruption’ and of course an elongated and frenetic ‘Hocus Pocus’.

A few pics here, they are not great as I was not close to the stage, but enjoy!

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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

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.

Progressive Christianity Network, Cardiff

pcnA year or so ago I was invited to a small group that meets regularly in Cardiff. The group is part of the Progressive Christianity Network of Britain, a small organisation of people who are seeking an open and contemporary approach to their faith.

The Cardiff group meets twice a month in a church in Pontprennau. There are usually around 8-10 of us at the meeting which is centred around a visiting speaker, video presentation or discussion idea.

It’s been a refreshing and thought provoking time for me at the group. I don’t always agree with the ideas that come out of it, but I think that’s kind of the point, all the members have come to progressive thought via a different path.  In my own church I’m a raging liberal with funny ideas, whilst at PCN I feel more like a conservative trying to hold on to the reins.

At the start off 2017 I will be taking over as the convenor of the group, which sounds very grand, but really just means that I will be facilitating the evenings and booking speakers.

I’ve lined up a few interesting speakers already, here are some of the forthcoming evenings

17th January – Fair Trade In Wales: Aled Pickard and John Mathias

21st February – Some Christians are trans, what does that mean?: Elaine Sommers

21st March – The Dategrove Group: John Henson

Other speakers have yet to confirm topics and I have a few video evenings lined up too.

The group meets at 7:30pm on the first and third Tuesday of each month at Pontprennau Community Church. If you would like to come or want to be added to the mailing list please email me

 

 

Cardiff Gig – Ten Feet Tall

A bit short notice, but we are playing in Cardiff this Monday, 5th October. It’s at Ten Feet Tall in Church Street in the Town Centre.

There are two other bands playing, Dora’s Fur and Tony Hands. We are the headline act, playing at 9:30

£3.30 admission.

Here’s a weblink

 

Dahlias at Dyffryn

P1000728We returned to Dyffryn Gardens today, a National Trust property just outside Cardiff. Dyffryn is a beautiful property with stunning walled formal gardens that are stunning at any time of year, well worth a visit.

This autumn the gardeners at Dyffryn have been hard at work planting hundreds of varieties of Dahlias to celebrate the centenary of Reginald Cory’s Dahlia trials, in which he collected over 1,000 species and more than 7,000 plants in all.

Dahlias are a fantastic addition to any garden blooming late into the season and bringing a variety of strong colours and striking flower heads. The thousands of available varieties break down into different categories including Pompom, Orchid, Cactus, Semi Cactus, Giant, Decorative and Collerette.

I’m no expert by any means, but I’ve included a slide show of some of the varieties at Dyffryn this season, next year I’m going back to Dahlias in a big way.

Enjoy the pics.

Live Session on Radio Cardiff 98.7FM

On Wednesday 10th September (which is tomorrow as I write) the Tim Crahart Blues Band will be playing a live session on Radio Cardiff 98.7FM.

We will be appearing on ‘Soul Of The Blues’, presented by Jeremy Rees between 2100-2200.

We are planning to play a couple of our favourite tracks from the first two albums and something special from the forthcoming album ‘Blues Like A Prayer’.

Hope you can join us.

P1000512

 

Pics from Cafe Jazz

here’s a few photos from our gig at Cafe Jazz in Cardiff on August 1st. These were taken by our good friend and supporter, Chris Cooper, so thanks Chris.

If you want to find out more about the band visit the site at www.timcrahartbluesband.co.uk.

There’s a mailing list there to sign up for news and you can order CDs or buy downloads from there too. (or from my own music page on this site).

Gig at Fagins, Taffs Well

I’ll be playing with my band, the Tim Crahart Blues Band, next Thursday, 7th November at Fagins in Taffs Well, near Cardiff.  Admission is free and the band will be on from 2100, it’s an acoustic set.

Fagins is one of our favourite pubs to play, they serve spectacular real ales, mind-blowing ciders and stunning food and  the atmosphere is wonderful.

If you can make it there we’d love to see you, I’ll even buy you a pint!

fagins

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