Thursday, 11 August 2011
News, Views and Music Issue 109 (Intro)
Well, last week we were younger than yesterday, but this week we’re on the old straight track again, giving you the lowdown about an album I can guarantee that 99.9% of you readers don’t own. But you should – this site is all about passing on information about the great albums that don’t get talked about enough and I can hear the other 0.1% of you nodding along because the few of us that know it really know it’s worth. So let’s hear it for the under-rated Jack The Lad, spin-off from the under-rated Lindisfarne and all those other great albums that sold a pittance but can change your life, most of which I haven’t even discovered yet. But I will – and thanks to this column so will you.
There’s not really much to add this week – our average site hits have fallen slightly but alas my laptop’s still too wonky to keep up my advertising efforts. A quick hello to my friend Jim though, as thanks to him and his visit to the UK this week I’ve been able to spread the word about Alan’s Album Archives halfway round the globe to China!
♫ Byrds News: BBC6 have been a bit quiet on the AAA front of late, what with a repeat of the BBC’s mammoth 10 part series about Jamaican music, but there is one documentary of note to Byrds fans. ‘Grievous Angel: The Gram Parsons Story’, which is repeated in just one part on Monday, August 8th, was made for the 30th anniversary of Gram’s death in 2003 and discusses his work with the Byrds alongside the Flying Burrito Bros and the International Submarine Band and his career singing duets with Emmylou Harris. Talking of which, by coincidence I’ve just come across Gram’s two albums ‘GP’ and ‘Return Of The Grievous Angel’ in a charity shop and mighty impressive they are too, far better than the Byrds’ ‘Sweetheart Of The Rodeo’ and the Flying Burritos’ ‘Gilded Palace Of Sin’, both famous Gram Parsons albums which have always seemed badly over-rated to me – but thanks to this double-album set I really ‘get’ his work now. We miss you Gram...
♫ Monkees News: Apologies for the late posting, but Saturday August 30th saw a rare showing for the Pacific Arts film ‘Tapeheads’. Why is of this of interest to Monkees fans you ask? Well, Pacific Arts is the company Mike Nesmtih ran for a short time before struggling finances saw it go bust (it’s a very similar story to George Harrison’s ‘Handmade Films’ in fact) and Nes makes a cameo appearance in the film when John Cusack’s character mistakes him for the director of a music company – in fact he’s just a man replacing the water coolers! There are quite a few Monkees links with the concept, too, which is about a couple of unemployed security guards trying to run their own MTV-style music video company – the series of mock-videos for fast food and heavy metal groups involving paint are hilarious and the highlights of a mixed film – and clearly Nes getting his own back for the wild and weird things the Monkees prodeucers made him do 20 years before!
ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday cakes all round for AAA members born between August 8th and 14th: Mark Knopfler (guitarist, singer and pretty much everything with the Dire Straits 1979-93) who turns 62 on August 12th and David Crosby (singer and guitarist with The Byrds 1965-68 and with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young various dates between 1969 and present) who turns 70 on August 14th. Anniversaries of events include: August 8th 1964 saw the release of perhaps the greatest AAA spin-off single of all time: ‘Ringo For President’ by the Young World Singers’. ‘It would be nice but I don’t have the time right now’ quipped Ringo when asked it!; Ready! Steady! Go! for perennial TV favourite Ready! Steady! Go! which premieres on August 9th 1963 and runs for three years and four months; the infamous Charlie Manson murders take place in Laurel Canyon, relevant to this site as Manson is a close friend of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, quotes various songs from The Beatles’ White Album at the crime scenes and causes several AAA members living in California’s Laurel Canyon to emigrate elsewhere (August 9th 1969); Paul McCartney is arrested on his first ever drugs charge, several years after John and George, although conversations later suggest he actually carried the rap for wife Linda who is pregnant with daughter Stella at the time. Ironically, this drug conviction means Macca is not allowed to visit the States for any length of time and Lennon’s drug conviction means he can’t leave there – this is pretty much the only thing stopping a Beatles reunion at this point in time (August 10th 1972); the first of the annual Richmond Jazz Festivals takes place on August 11th 1963, with those well known jazz musos The, umm, Rolling Stones headlining; The Beatles announce the formation of Apple Records barely a week after first mentioning their plans for their new company – the first release is the band’s ‘Hey Jude’ (August 11th 1968); A tearful John Lennon gets as close to an apology as middle America will ever get over his ‘Beatles bigger than Jesus’ remarks (August 12th 1966); The now sadly forgotten ‘Festival Of Hope’ takes place, the first to be designed from the outset to raise money for charity (that decision came late in the day at Woodstock). Headlining are AAA men Jefferson Airplane (one of their last gigs) and Stephen Stills, but despite the talent on offer the festival ends up making a loss (August 12th 1972); The Kinks’ first charting entry ‘You Really Got Me’ is released this week (August 13th 1964) and finally, Jefferson Airplane make their debut performance at San Francisco’s Matrix Club, a venue that just happens to be owned by vocalist Marty Balin (August 13th 1965).