Monday, 1 September 2008

News, Views and Music Issue 2 (Intro)

September 1:

OK, so none of you have actually had a chance to see last week’s news because the site isn’t up yet, but it will be soon, so be patient and you can be reading all kinds of goodies soon (101 to be exact) [why have I just told you that? Presumably we must get this site online at some point or you wouldn’t be reading this now!] What we have established this week, however, is an alan’s album archive group on facebook. If you’re a member go and look us up. If you’re not a member, well, there isn’t much on our facebook group that isn’t up on this site yet so don’t worry about it, but if superpoking your friend and painting his virtual trainers green whilst taking quizzes to find out which Pink Floyd member your character most resembles (mine is Roger Waters, alarmingly) and sending care bears to your old friends from high school is your kind of thing, get joining now!

Beatles: Lots of news this week, mainly courtesy of Mojo Magazine. First up, EMI either have clairvoyant staff or they have been thinking  on the same lines as yours truly as, weeks before this website gets printed condemning the old Beatles CD masters of, gulp,1987 (where did that time go?) EMI have just announced that they will be re-issuing all the original Beatles albums plus the two Past Masters single/EP tracks/ Rarities sets and the Yellow Submarine ‘songtrack’ album in new 5.1 transfers and—reading between the lines—in both stereo and mono formats (plus, so it’s rumoured, an additional extra of the complete 1987 ’fake stereo’ instruments-in-the-left-speaker, vocals-in-the-right-speaker mixes of the earliest albums as well as an all-new stereo mix). There don’t seem to be any bonus tracks a la Anthology on these new sets (due for release in mid 2009) as we suggested but, hey, you can’t have anything and 2009 looks set to see a new generation of Beatlemania all over again! Other news: sadly the DVD release of final Beatles film Let It Be has been officially scrapped about four years after first being announced and going strangely quiet again (the concept dates way back to 2004’s Let It be Naked CD remix when it was mooted to be the next project in line until the ‘Love’ remix album turned up). Rumour was this release was to have been a deluxe set filled with oodles of out-takes from the filming of the band studio rehearsals and some extra camera angles of the ’Rooftop’ gig, which would have been great for the truly Monkeynuts collectors like us (Let It Be is, after all, the only Beatles film with ’out-takes’ still intact anywhere, aside from the ’Hey Bulldog’ clip excised from some cinema and video copies of Yellow Submarine—the others all got ‘thrown away’ once the film’s shelf life expired). However, Ringo and Paul—the two Beatles who probably hated the project most—say they don’t want to sanction the release of a DVD linked to a period that caused them so much misery and don’t think they should dredge up the past all over again (If that’s the case, why oh why did Let It Be Naked sneak out as a remixed CD? Wouldn’t both projects ‘set the record straight’ to use the Beats’ own words from a few years back? Contrary to popular belief the sessions weren’t all doom and gloom—well, a third of them weren’t at any rate!) Finally, its news to me, but apparently EMI are either missing a master-tape or a copy of a master-tape (the reports I’ve read are unclear which) of a half-hour session dating from the Beatles For Sale sessions (late 1964) and including hitherto unheard and possibly un-catalogued recordings of I’ll Follow The Sun, I Feel Fine and She’s A Woman. The tape seems to have passed into the hands of a private collector and it was sold for auction this month. And before anyone asks, no I don’t have a copy!

Oasis: Well, there I sat last week, a can of vimto on my knee and a TV remote in each hand, riveted for the first verse of new Oasis promo ‘Shock Of The Lightning’ (the first hearing of the first release from new album ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ due for release in October) - the first new Oasis song in, ooh, ages. Marvellous — the guitars chime as in days of old, Liam sounds youthful all over again, Oasis have finally given up filming up promos in the dark and swapped their camera for a technicolour one (what was with all those monochrome documentaries we kept getting during the making of their last album?) and there was even a reference to a ‘(Magical) Mystery Tour’, just like those Beatles-filled days of old. In short, it was just like 1994 all over again for those, err, ‘magical’ first 30 seconds. However, this being modern Oasis, the band take a great idea and aren’t quite sure what to do with it after a while so they just repeat it again and again and again and again and again for much of the song. A shame, but this is still a promising first new single from a band who still seem to have much to offer.

  Hollies/ 10cc/ Oasis: All three bands are to be heavily featured on BBC4’s Manchester Night’ on Friday September 5th, with a long overdue look back at the North West’s equal second best musical town for AAA recordings (that’s equal with Newcastle and after Liverpool; doubtless someone will email in and tell me a town I’ve temporarily forgotten ands should have added here!) and a long overdue repeat of the excellent ’Rock Family Tree’s’ ‘Manchester’ programme (alas this site wasn’t up when BBC4’s Liverpool repeat was on or I’d have plugged that too!) More on these progs next week  

News, Views and Music Issue 2 (Top Five): The Face Of Bo

And finally, the latest in our top fives: songs that Doctor Who’s friend The Face Of Bo might have sung if he hadn’t have been a big face in a jar and had been a rock God on planet Earth in the 20th/21st century:

5) ‘Face The Face’—Pete Townshend gets jazzy as he tells us over a sprightly backing why we should ’win the race’ and, you guessed it, ’face the face’. (He even sings ’New York, Chicago’ at one point—he meant ’New Earth, New New York’ surely?)

4) ‘The Story Of [Face Of } Bo Diddley’ —Eric Burdon narrates a five-minute tale of how British musicians in the early 60s ripped off American musicians in the late 50s who in turned ripped their material off from old blues singers. His tale of 50s legend Bo Diddley walking into an Animals’ gig with his entourage and dismissing their performance as ’rubbish’ is one of the most hilarious recordings ever made in the 60s (and a bit post-modern to boot) - not least because the Animals sound pretty much at their best here on this long-burning blues and even include extracts from Beatles and Stones songs for good measure in their history of rock and roll.

3) ‘Doctor, Doctor’—’Doctor doctor please make me well, I’m in trouble I can tell’. This is surely what the Face of Bo was trying to sing  with his dying breath as David Tennant looked forlornly at his old friend biting the dust. The Who actually said it first, though, in a hard-to-find B-side from 1966.

2) ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’ - OK, so we had to mention it somewhere. Yes everybody, there really was a number #1 spin-off record based around Doctor Who. And yes, it was sung by a car, even though said vehicle (’Ford Timelord’) had nothing whatsoever to do with the series other than a dodgy name. Compared to most #1s of the 1980s (and most Doctor Who spin-off singles it has to be said) its actually quite good, although how it beat the likes of the Human League, CSN and The Kinks to chart stardom in that period I’m not quite sure. 

1) ‘You’re Not Alone Anymore’—OK so technically he didn’t use the last word, but otherwise this sentence is the very one the Fewc of Bo used in his message of importance to the Doctor, a storyline that had been set up a whole 11 episodes earlier ( in series four of the news series, as if anybody reading as far as this didn’t know!) Bo wasn’t just a pretty face either: The very next episode the Doctor ended up meeting fellow timelord The Master, despite thinking the whole of his kind had been destroyed by the Daleks (conveniently but understandably off-screen between series formats). Surely, though, he’d have much preferred to have met the Travelling Wilburys, who recorded this song on their first album Volume One— which was one of the last performances by the much-missed Roy Orbison.                    That’s all for now folks, see you next week.

Oasis "Definitely Maybe" (DVD) (News, Views and Music 2)

An Old Favourite I’m Currently Grooving To: “I wanna be myself, I can’t be no one else…” Oasis’ Definitely Maybe DVD, especially that superior live take of I Am The Walrus which makes me want to take back all of the rude things I said about the band’s version on our AAA ‘Masterplan’ review but have been banned from making any more changes to (although to be fair, this is a far superior performance to that compilations’ rather dodgy one). Second, there’s one of a long list of neglected Noel Gallagher-sung acoustic gems, the aptly named Sad Song. The promos to Live Forever are pretty great too. Ones to avoid? The in-joke filled Digsy’s Dinner must have sounded hilarious when Noel wrote it—but when the band and friends try to talk about its ‘profound’ lasagna-filled lyrics 10 years on, its no wonder they all look so embarrassed all of a sudden. Amazingly, Oasis will try to ‘re-create’ this whimsical experience on a majority of the much maligned third album Be Here Now. Star rating for DVD out of /10: ♫♫♫♫♫♫♫ (7)