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). 

News, Views and Music Issue 11 (Top Five): Political Songs

And finally, the latest in this week’s top fives: songs about Presidents and/ or politics.

5) ‘I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician’ (The Byrds/ Byrdmaniax, 1970). Roger McGuinn thinks he’s written a comedy song here, if the tooting horns and tongue-in-cheek delivery are anything to go by. But actually the words to this song could be used equally well for a serious song on the subject, of how the narrator is determined that if he is given the power to rule over people, he would never be ‘scary’ like so many of the world leader’s he’s known so far in his life and the feeling that, unlike most of them it seems, he would respect ‘the old red, white and blue’. Something tells me George Bush junior never actually heard the song during his time in office, because he broke every single rule mentioned in the song.

4) The whole 2 hours of ‘Preservation’ (The Kinks/ Preservation Acts 1 and 2, 1972-73). ‘I visiualise a day when people will be free and we’ll be living in a new society, no class distinction slums or poverty, so people of the nation unite…’ How we wanted to believe, but that nice if rather emotionless Mr Black isn’t all he seems. Yes here it is again making its third or fourth appearance on this list; Ray Davies’ concept about the emotionless Mr Black getting ousted by conman Mr Flash really is so similar to our present age that it makes me wonder whether the elder brother had a time machine at his disposal. As far as I know, however, Obama was never a second-hand car spiv and McCain never intended to introduce a 14-hour-a-day curfew. Don’t believe everything you see on CNN.

3) ‘Campaigner’ (Neil Young/ Decade, 1977). ‘I am a lonely visitor, I came to late to cause a stir, though I campaigned all my life towards that goal’. Some seven years after he wrote ‘Ohio’ about tin soldiers and Nixon coming and 30 years before he started singing ‘let’s impeach the president for lying’, Neil returned to his apolitical stance with this subdued song inspired a photograph of Richard Nixon looking battered and harassed after the Watergate trial, standing at the entrance to a hospital where one of his relations (we’re not sure which) was dying. Looking at the nearlies and also-rans of the political world, this forgotten Young song is a place where ‘even Richard Nixon has got soul’. So moving is the song that – even after hearing the burning cauldron of anger that’s Ohio – you want to sympathise. Blimey.

2) ‘Americana Panorama’ (10cc/ Windows In The Jungle, 1983). OK, so ‘americana panorama, Reagan was a right banana’ isn’t the best lyric that Eric Stewart ever wrote, but it still makes us laugh. Juxtaposing Reagan’s infamous stint as a Hollywood actor with all the very real and scary things relating to the end of the cold war that were happening in the 1980s, this is nightmare played as comedy and all the more chilling for it, appearing as it does on 10cc’s most frivolous-sounding but actually hardest-hitting LP.

1) ‘Let’s Impeach The President’ (Neil Young/ Living With War, 2006 and CSNY/ Déjà vu Live, 2008). Funny how this one keeps cropping up this site but hopefully this will be the last appearance of this song for a while (unless Obama goes the same way as his predecessor, but then he’d have to lose a lot of promising talent very quickly). Anyway, here is a quick reminder of how not to win people’s hearts and minds, with Bush’s contradictory statements about 9/11, the Iraq War and his foreign policy in general heard over a chorus of ‘flip…..flop’ while a solo horn tries in vain to drown out the song with a passage from ‘america the beautiful’. Half the audience walked out on the CSNY ‘freedom of speech’ tour of 2006 when they played this song and – despite the AAA’s best efforts to stay neutral – something about this song seems to have clicked for most CSNY fans too. Time for the world is running out…roll on January (to paraphrase another Neil Young song).  

That’s all for now, see you next week!

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock