Friday, 8 January 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 51 (Intro)

January 8:

Welcome back, dear reader, to the most monkeynuts musical newsletter this side of...a spin-off series. We hope you had a good xmas with a music-filled stocking and some reading glasses to cope with the strange fonts our computer has decided to give us this year. Sadly it’s becoming clear that with continued CFS troubles in this new year I won’t be able to keep up with all the demands that writing a weekly newsletter entails so I may have put issues back to being fortnightly from now on. Fear not, dear reader, you will still be getting oodles of information for your money every issue (especially given that each issue is free) and all your favourite sections will be still be present as ever (I dare say some of your least favourite sections will still be present as well). So what treasures will 2010 and the new decade have for us? We wait agog with anticipation to find out – but in the meantime this issue and the next will be clearing up a few pointers about the releases that came out at the tail end of 2009. And for that promised alien contact from clandusprods promised in our april 1st edition last year. Just in case any of you are reading these issues in order of year then let me remind you all that we want to see your ideas on these pages – so drop us a line or comment about what albums you want us to review ( no spice girls requests or anything too modern, please) or email us a review of your own (to And hello to all of you who’ve been joining us over the xmas period – I see our visitor count has jumped up an impressive 115 since the last issue and now rests at 550 so welcome to all of you who have joined us.


Nils Lofgren News: The 4th, last and rarest Grin album, Gone Crazy, is to receive a CD release at last! Scuppered by poor sales on its release, which saw record company A and M ditching the band in favour of recording Lofgren as a solo artist, it remains the hardest to find of all four albums and only one track Youre The Weight made it to the CD compilation of the four Grin albums. More news if and when. Unusually Nils cropped up for a second time during the xmas hiatus since the last newsletter, appearing no less than twice in BBC 4s six-part Guitar heroes documentary. Both Keith Dont Go (episode 2) and Back It Up (episode 6), both taken from an otherwise unavailable 1974 appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Sadly this series was otherwise a lost opportunity with only the usual suspects (The Who doing Long Live Rock and the 1111111th showing of the TOTP version of Wont Get Fooled Again; The Rolling Stones doing Brown Sugar but surprisingly no Neil Young, Beatles, Hollies or Grateful Dead (guitar heroes in all four, surely). We did get two rare Dire Straits tracks at least: a riveting Sultans Of Swing from 1979 and a rather less sparky version of Tunnel Of Love from 1981. 

♫ Neil Young News: Just when my band balance was beginning to recover slightly comes the 4th release from the Neil Young Archives. ‘Dreamin’ Man’ is a live recording of the complete ‘Harvest Moon’ album in 1992 and apparently includes a 20-minute version of the already epic and majestic ‘Natural Beauty’ that adds a great deal to our appreciation of the album. Unlike the other archive releases, however, this a snapshot of how an album was re-created live rather than sampling a Neil Young concert at a particular time and is also the most modern of all four releases. The cover is also blooming awful – the original of ‘Harvest Moon’ was quietly enticing like the album itself, but ‘Dreamin’ Man features a garish silhouette in, erm, pink (hence the guest colour we’ve been using this issue just to see what all the fuss is all about). Who on earth is designing these Neil Young Archive covers? The Spice Girls?!?


♫ ANNIVERSARIES: Happy birthday bonanzas to the following AAA musicians (December 26th-January 1st): No less than 2 Moody Blueses have birthdays this week – keyboardist Mike Pinder turns 67 on December 27th and flautist Ray Thomas turns 67 on December 29th; There’s also two Monkees born on the same day – December 30th – three years apart (guitarist Mike Nesmith turns 67 and singer Davy Jones turns 64); and finally, happy birthday to Pete Quaife (bassist with The Kinks 1964-68) who turns 66 on December 31st. Anniversaries of events include: Capitol Records – the American arm of EMI – finally agrees to release a Beatles single in the US after passing up the first four to smaller subsidiary labels (‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, which will be #1 in the States by the end of January); The Beatles’ TV Special ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is screened for the first time (December 26 1967); The Beatles also played their infamous ‘coming home’ gig at the Cavern in 1960, the show that arguably became the turning point in their career after months honing their craft in Hamburg (December 27th); Beach Boy Dennis Wilson dies at the age of just 39 after drowning in the sea surrounding his moored boat – according to eye-witnesses he was looking for possessions thrown overboard in a rage years before (December 28th 1983); The Beach Boys finally drop their original name ‘The Pendletones’ for a New Year’s Eve gig – originally named after a brand of surfing shirt, they adopt their new name after  their first single ‘Surfin’ is mistakenly pressed with that name (1961); It’s the end of an era for music collectors everywhere – Paul McCartney officially files a suit to dissolve The Beatles on December 31st 1970; Meanwhile it’s the start of an era when, on January 1st 1962, The Beatles audition for Decca Records – they receive word of their failure later in the year but by then have some interest from EMI...; Legendary music show Top Of The Pops screens for the first time on January 1st 1964 and finally Bill Graham’s Winterland Arena – the second home of the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane - closes on January 1st 1979.

And on January 2nd-8th: Happy Birthdays to three people on January 3rd: George Martin (Record Producer) who turns 84, ‘Smile’ lyricist Van Dyke Parks who turns 69 and Stephen Stills who turns 65; Happy birthdays also to Syd Barrett (guitarist and so much more with Pink Floyd 1967-68) who would have been 64 on January 6th; Jerry Garcia (ditto with the Grateful Dead 1965-95) who would have been 67 on January 8th and Terry Sylvester (rhythm guitarist with The Hollies 1969-80) who turns 63 on January 8th.Anniversaries of events include: Beach Boy Carl Wilson refuses to acknowledge a letter that drafts him into the American Army – against all odds only him and Davy Jones are ever given the notice during their time in AAA bands (January 3rd 1967); John and Yoko’s ‘coming out’ album (in more ways than one) ‘Two Virgins’ is released – in brown paper packaging – on January 3rd 1969; The Beatles attend their last ever recording session (of the original band anyway), taping George’s song ‘I Me Mine’ on January 3rd 1970 – only John Lennon is missing from the line-up; Mick Jagger’s film ‘Performance’ has it’s premiere on January 4th 1971; Faithful Beatles roadie Mal Evans is shot by police in peculiar circumstances on January 5th 1976; the first ever Beatles single is released – no, not ‘Love Me Do’ but the German-only single ‘My Bonnie’ backing Tony Sheridan released on January 5th 1962; Davy Jones collaborator Charlie Smalls’ musical ‘The Wiz’ opens on Broadway on January 6th 1972; The fallout from Woodtsock begins when farm owner Max Yasgur is sued for $25,000  for damages by neighbouring farmers (January 7th 1970) and finally ‘Daylight Again’ becomes the 6th album by CSN/Y to go platinum on January 7th 1983 – and to date the last.

For only the second time in the history of this newsletter there are no AAA birthdays for the following week. Anniversaries of events for next week (January 9th-15th), however, include: John Lennon’s ‘Double Fantasy’ album goes double platinum a month after his death on January 10th 1981; The Beatles release their second single – and, possibly, first #1 depending whose chart you read – ‘Please Please Me’ on January 12th 1963; Aynsley Dunbar officially joins Jefferson Starship on January 12th 1979 after his predecessor Johnny Barbata hurts his hand in an accident; The second series of Kampuchea benefit concerts, headlined by The Beach Boys and Jefferson Starship, takes place on January 13th 1980 (see last issue for the 1st); The Who release their first single under that name with ‘I Can’t Explain’ (January 15th 1965) and finally The Rolling Stones are infamously censored when appearing on the US Ed Sullivan TV shows, changing the lyrics of their new single to ‘let’s spend some time together’ (January 15th 1967).  

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