Monday 10 November 2008

News, Views and Music Issue 11 (Intro)

November 10:

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that there was no issue of the AAA newsletter last week. (That’s ‘eagle-eyed’ not ‘eagles-eyed’. All the ‘eagles eyed’ viewers will be too busy noticing that the eagles haven’t cropped up on these pages yet. Be patient, they will some day). There was in fact lots of news last week, but owing to a combination of recovering from a bad fibro attack, falling prey to a heavy cold and being driven monkeynuts by a computer keyboard that decided to miss out half the keys this issue has had to be delayed a week or so. Here’s what you missed, together with what’s happening now:

AAA News: Many of our early fans (well, one of them) have requested some of our AAA pages in a different format to ‘publisher’ so we’ve been busy converting files into Microsoft Word this past week. If you still can’t read these pages (well, presumably you can read this one or that sentence makes no sense, but you know what I mean) then drop us a line about any other computer programmes you would prefer to use and we’ll do our best to oblige. I even learnt how to use Microsoft Powerpoint a couple of months back, so expect a slide show edition sometime soon! Oh and a belated AAA welcome to those of you who are joining our small support club about now—you are truly one of the AAA nucleus if you are joining us this early! AAA visitors last week: 19 (and only 7 of them were me. oops, does that count?!)

World News: Of far less importance and on a much smaller note of social significance, we now have a new American president! Is the world now ready for a swing to Democrat politics, the party with a long list of presidents who turn out to be either Beach Boys or CSN fans (and in Bill Clinton’s case a Deadhead)? Did our site play it’s part with the anti-Bush releases our artists keep turning out and we keep reviewing (mainly by Crosby, stills, nash and young)? Err, probably not, but welcome to the world stage Obama and let’s hope that he really is the ‘leader’ Neil spent most of his ‘living with war’ record looking for.

Beatles News: Just when all seemed quiet on the fab four front comes news from Apple that they will be joining forces with board game giants Monopoly to create a special ‘Beatles’ edition of the property trading game. I think it’s due in the shops anyday now, but the news I came across was second-hand and sketchy (it’s certainly been advertised on Amazon already—I went to check!) For those of you who, like me, cut up sheets of A4 paper and stuck them onto your old boards to create new ones, this is a great—if expensive—alternative (I had a great set of Dr Who worlds called ‘logopoly’ as well as a general music one based on the ‘Guinness hit singles’ book—when will they be coming out I wonder?!) and is sure to be the traditional big Beatles seller this Christmas. There will be six counters to choose from in the moptop set (a walrus, a ‘sun’, Maxwell’s silver hammer, an octopus in a garden, a rocky raccoon and I forget the 6th one; —why no yellow submarine or lucy with diamonds?!), a ‘ticket to ride’ instead of a ‘chance’ card and you can collect ‘streets’ based on Beatles albums (eg three properties all relating to the white album) as well as real-life buildings like Abbey Road and the Cavern Club (as Mayfair and Park Lane, naturally). Of course if your games of Monopoly are anything like ours, they soon descend into a mirror image of the Beatles’ final years pretty quickly anyway—all those court cases and divisions between friends that wrankle for years (this will now be especially telling if you’re trying to collect all the songs from ‘Let It Be’…).

CSN News: Goodness knows when this release snuck out, but I noticed a deluxe re-issue of Graham Nash’s ‘Songs For Beginners’ album out on hi-definition stereo CD (CSN really love those 5.1 surround mixes at the moment) while in Southport HMV for last month’s fibro-meeting. I never saw any reviews for this album anyw here, but it does have a ‘2008’ copyright date so must be vaguely recent—any more news on this set out there? Perhaps its no surprise that this re-issue passed everyone by because it is a little skimpy by CSN re-issue standards (there are no bonus tracks which is dead unusual) but it’s just great to have this fine album (review no 46) out on CD again after all this time so I’ll stop complaining. Other Nash news: we might have a Graham Nash retrospective in the shops for Christmas along the lines of Atlantic’s fine 3CD David Crosby set ’Voyage’ a couple of years back. There will be some unreleased goodies, just like that release, alongside Nash tracks from CSN, CSNY and Graham’s five hard-to-find solo albums, but whether these rarities will make up a single ‘additional’ CD again or be spread across the set we don’t yet know. More news when we have it!  

Kinks News: We’ve been here before many times over the past few years, but this week came the closest to a full-blown Kinks re-union than at any time during the past 15 years (and the first time the original quartet have played music together in 40). All four original members—Ray and Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory—apparently got together to record three new songs for a new Kinks CD. Ray for one is hoping for a whole LP according to ceefax—the first under the Kinks name since ‘Phobia’ in 1993— and pleasingly has told the world’s press that he wants the record to be a more ‘collaborative’ process than it used it to be, with lots of co-writes between the four musicians. Of course, if this story goes even a teeny tiny bit of the way towards following the Kinks’ past headlines, the whole project will be followed by a big row and the project being shelved (and—if they get that far— two members of the group attacking each other on stage with a cymbal. Ah memories). For now, though, let’s bask in the glow that we might have another Kinks album to enjoy sometime soon...

Moody Blues News: More on those Moodies re-union CDs we mentioned last issue. My copies should be arriving any day now (they’re due for release on November 10 but still hadn’t arrived as of November 12th) so I can’t tell you any more about the sound—but I have found out more about those bonus tracks. They are: on ‘Octave’ (1978) four tracks taken from the Moodies’ American tour that year (the last with original keyboardist Mike Pinder); on ‘Long Distance Voyager’ (1981) alternate mixes of ‘The Voice’ and ‘Gemini Dream’ and on ‘The Present’ (1983) alternate mixes of ‘Sitting At The Wheel’ and ‘Blue World’. Note: in the last issue we said that the bonus track of ‘wheel’ was the 12” and moaned about how similar that mix was to the one we knew and loathed anyway—well, shock horror, we got that wrong. The bonus track will be the Japanese 12” version of the song which apparently is quite different and something special! (why didn’t we get that mix over here then? And why did I waste 50p at a car boot sale if our 12” mix is actually one and the same version as one moodies site reckons—I thought it sounded familiar!)

Oasis News: Err, oops again. I know we promised that ‘electric proms’ set list in full this week but, well, I put it down somewhere really obvious where it was safe after the show had been on and now it’s so safe even I can’t find it. More next week (if I can find the flipping thing! Thanks fibro-fog!)

Neil Young News: We weren’t expecting much good to come out of BBC4’s Neil Young documentary ‘Don’t Be Denied’. You see, it’s not as if we’ve been starved of Neil Young documentaries in recent years and trying to stuff what is surely the most prolific career of any of our AAA artists into a single hour seemed to be asking for trouble. However, flawed as it was, ‘Denied’ was an excellent documentary, restricting the talking heads to people who were actually there (no 20-year-old rock journalists for this documentary—although, ahem, I’ll gladly give my opinions to the next documentary crew who ask) and even getting some interesting insights out of a tired and crotchety looking Neil. It’s also amazing that no previous documentary had thought to use Neil’s most autobiographical track to date (’don’t be denied’ from ‘time fades away’ 1973) as it’s lynchpin, dealing as it does with Neil’s childhood and first foothold on the rungs of stardom. There was quite a bit of rare footage too including CSN rehearsals and a hilarious Buffalo Springfield clip of the band singing Mr Soul which says more about the rivalry between camera-shy Young and show-off Stills than any amount of interviews does! Highly recommended.

Anniversaries This Week:  Apologies to those who missed their birthday-sakes last week (Art Garfunkel and Gram Parsons—Byrds,1967—both November 5th). This week anniversaries include: Neil Young who turns 63 on November 12th and Gene Clark (a member of The Byrds from 1964-66 and 1972) who would have turned 67 on November 17th. Anniversaries of events this week include: the first live appearance of the Human League in 1980 (November 12th), the first number one scored by the first Moody Blues line-up back in 1965 (’Go Now’, November 13th) and in 1987 Dire Straits became the first group to sell over 3 million copies of an album in Britain (’Brothers In Arms’, released in 1985). 

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