Friday 31 July 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 38 (Intro)

July 31:

Welcome to another weave through the wonderful world of Alan’s Album Archives on the World Wide Web. This week we’ve been going hi-tech as a prelude to developing our site by adding a series of ‘listmania’ lists to online retailers Amazon. So the next time you hunt for one of our AAA accredited albums you should see our name come up on one of our four AAA lists. Several readers have been asking me where they can get their hands on the albums reviewed on this site so, much as I hate helping one conglomerate company over smaller retailers, this seemed the easiest way of giving everybody what they wanted. Please give us a ‘star rating’ if you happen to find one of our lists – it all helps plug this site! Meanwhile, on with the news (what little there is this week)...


Kinks News: BBC4 are giving us a third repeat of the Blues At The BBC compilation, featuring one of the earliest Kinks television recordings from 1964. The Kinks do a great version of Got Love If You Want It, with Ray Davies aping all the blues legends that had just appeared on the show before the young upstarts did.

Moody Blues/ Pink Floyd News: BBC4 are repeating their nicely detailed jog through prog rock’s finest moments tonight between 9.45pm and 12.30am. As well as a repeat of the ‘prog rock at the BBC’ programme (which I missed first time round) and ‘prog rock Britannia’ (which I didn’t – lots on Jethro Tull I’m pleased to say and small sections on the Moodies and the Floyd) we get a 15 minute ‘sounds of the 70s’ this time around featuring a song by the Moody Blues (‘Question’ , I reckon, as that’s the most common Moodies clip from the series, although it could be the re-issue of ‘Nights In White Satin’ they were plugging in 1972). There’s also a repeat of ‘BBC’ and ‘Britannia’ (though sadly not ‘S.O.T.70s’) on Saturday, August 1st.    


♫ Anniversaries: Happy birthday bonanzas this week (July 31st-August 6th) go to Jerry Garcia (guitarist with the Grateful Dead 1965-95) who would have been 67 had he not he not died tragically 14 years ago. Anniversaries of events this week include: The Beach Boys feature in the UK charts for the first time with third single ‘Surfin’ USA – in time they become more successful in Britain than they were in their American homeland (August 1st 1963); George Harrison’s much-talked about concert for Bangladesh finally takes place on August 1st 1971; the Beatles become the headline act at Liverpool’s Cavern Club for the first time (August 2nd 1961); The Who buy film lot Shepperton Studios for the sum of £350,000, but only use it for rehearsals and one well-remembered gig (the last with Keith Moon, recorded specially for the ‘Kids Are Alright’ documentary that came out months after his death); Almost two years to the day since their first headline gig, the Beatles play their last session at the Cavern Club, clocking up nearly 300 performances at the venue (amazingly it’s as late as August 3rd 1963 – the same period they released fourth single ‘From Me To You’);  Wings are announced to the press on August 3rd 1971, just before their informal series of concerts up and down the UK’s university campuses; The ‘Beatles are bigger than Jesus’ storms really hits the fab four’s American tours in a big way when six of the countries’ biggest radio stations ban their singles (August 4th 1966); Pink Floyd perform the first of their mammoth concerts to promote ‘The Wall’ album (August 4th 1980); the Beatles release ‘Revolver’, one of the most influential and important records of all time, 43 years ago (August 5th); August 5th is a good day for records in fact – just a year later Pink Floyd release their debut LP ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’; The Small Faces release their debut single, the wonderfully ungrammatical ‘What’cha Gonna Do Bout It?’ (August 6th 1965) and finally Pink Floyd almost celebrate the 2nd anniversary of their ‘Wall’ shows with the premiere of the ‘Wall’ film on August 6th 1982.   

News, Views and Music Issue 38 (Top Five): AAA Band Arguments

And now for this week’s top five: Now I don’t want to have an argument about this but when you get several talented people together in the same room, all vying for ideas under intense pressure, even groups as wonderful as the AAA ones can quickly find things getting out of hand. So here is a quick run down of the five biggest AAA ‘arguments’ currently available on record (although it’s worth pointing out that one of these is entirely musical and one of these is entirely false – more on that later – and shock horror, CSNY aren’t one of them!)

5) The Kinks ‘Hatred’ (‘Phobia’, 1993): Fittingly, for a loose concept album about how all of us have something irrational holding us back from greatness, The Kinks end their illustrious catalogue with a song about the falling out between the Davies brothers. The row on record here between Ray and Dave is deliberately over the top but both brothers admit there’s more of a grain to truth to lyrics like ‘You hate me and I hate you so at least we understand each other’ (even though Ray later claimed it was written as a ‘duet for a two-headed monster’ for a musical he was writing, he was fooling nobody with where he got his inspiration). The brothers reportedly had a big fight over the fact that Ray wrote it solo after promising Dave a co-write – so, not much acting going on that day. Classic line: ‘Hatred is the only thing that lasts forever but hatred is the only thing that keeps us together’

4) The Beach Boys ‘Cassius Love vs Sonny Wilson’ (‘Shut Down Volume Two’, 1964): Once again, we pity the Beach Boys. Delivering seven records a year to Capitol Records was never going to be easy so to lessen the burden all their pre-Pet Sounds albums contain at least one non-musical what-the-hell-is-going-on-number. This is failed attempt number five – a mock studio argument between Mike Love and Brian Wilson about who has the worst voice as their bemused fellow Beach Boys pretend that they’re concerned but in truth sound like they want to wash their hands of the whole affair. If stories are to be believed the real arguments were a lot less ‘pally’ than this one, but then that’s what you get for working with your brothers and cousins – at least there were only two of the Davies clan working together. The title, by the way, refers to a famous boxing match of the time that was about to take place – Cassius Clay is, of course, better known as Muhammed Ali, but the Beach Boys never actually resort to fisticuffs on this curious track. Gee, you can just hear what manager-dad Murray Wilson said when he played back the tapes for this track. Classic line: ‘At least I don’t sound like Mickey Mouse on helium!’

3) The Hollies ‘Yes I Will (I’ll Be True To You’) (‘At Abbey Road Volume One’, recorded 1965 released 1999): You can hear on this session recording the moment when childhood friends since the age of five Allan Clarke and Graham Nash start thinking about parting company. The band’s all cued in for yet another go at this song’s complicated harmonies when Clarkey calls for his microphone to be changed. Nash is fed up and wants to know why he didn’t think of that earlier and then, after 10 seconds of what seems to be heading into a blazing row is extinguished as the pair plus Tony Hicks rush headlong into some of the most exquisite harmonies on record. Sadly the tape doesn’t run to what the pair said to each other after the take but it’s perhaps no coincidence that this warm, loving ballad was recorded just two years before the pair’s big split. Classic Line: ‘So sit on a chair!’ ‘But where’s a chair?!’

2) John Lennon and Phil Spector ‘Conversation’ parts 1-3 (‘Lennon Anthology’, recorded 1974, released 2000): Two of the most influential and – it has to be said – frightening men ever to be in the same studio at the same time met for the third time during Lennon’s ill-fated first attempt at his ‘Rock And Roll’ LP. Shortly before running off with the tapes, legendary producer Phil Spector tries his best to keep control of the proceedings despite heckles and interruptions from a bunch of drunken musicians and a star who wants the last word as badly as he does. For my money, these three tracks are the highlight of the Lennon Anthology set, with Spector getting gradually wound up to fever pitch as the pair of musicians banter praise, insults and general annoyance at the world in general. You won’t be surprised that the pair never actually finished this record (Lennon re-recorded most of it himself the following year), although amazingly they did finish a song together – the gorgeous ‘Here We Go Again’, shelved until Lennon’s posthumous ‘Menlove Avenue’ album. The song the pair are working on, by the way, is ‘Just Because’, a song that will end up closing the album. Amazingly, it does get finished. Classic line: Spector: ‘What are you going to do? Play jazz with Jethro Tull at the Roxy? Or Elton John probably’ Lennon: ‘I refute – Elton’s a good friend of mine’ ‘Well, good – he’s got the same name as you only he spells it at the back and you spell it at front’ ‘But Elton’s going to die young – I’m going to be a 90-year-old guru’ ‘I make music – you make gurus – let’s go’ ‘Be careful Phil ‘cause I’m going to write your history...’

1) The Byrds ‘Hidden Track on Notorious Byrd Brothers’ (1968, re-released 2006): When The Byrds started their fifth album they were a quartet. When gthey finished they were a duo. Here’s why: in the most jaw-dropping tape since the infamous bootleg by the Troggs you can hear exactly why the band broke up. The group are trying to record David Crosby’s song ‘Dolphin’s Smile’ (as so often happens on this list,it’s one of the lightest, fluffiest, peace-loving songs he ever wrote). But drummer Michael Clarke won’t play ball – you can tell he hates this song and every time his fellow Byrds start asking him to play with a bit more, well, skill he gets crosser and crosser and less likely to comply. To be fair, Crosby does his best to control his temper, telling Clarke how great he can play most of the time which is why Cros knows he’s just goofing off this time around and producer Terry Melcher does his best to ease the whole situation from the control room, sounding as if it’s the third time today the band have self-destructed in his face. To be fair, Clarke just sounds as if he’s having an off day and wants to be left alone, not made to play music that’s 180 degrees away from what the Byrds started with. But somehow the argument inevitably escalates anyway – this is four very different people heading out in four very different directions. It’s a wonder this record got made at all. Classic line: it’s a close match between ‘How do you want me to play it again?’ ‘Try playing right!’ and the highly sympathetic ‘Oh poor baby – feeling misunderstood now are you?, ahhh poor diddums’.

Well, that’s all for another week – don’t start arguing with us if you’re missing out on what you want to see in ‘news and views’, drop us a line instead and we’ll see what we can do. Ciao for now!


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