Friday, 4 November 2011
News, Views and Music Issue 120 (Intro)
Dear all, it’s been a bit of a nothing week as I try to recover from the huge workload of the last six weeks – and yes, my body is really feeling it now (Ow! And that’s not a Michael jackson type ‘ow!’ by the way) The only new to report is that our site has now passed 10,500 hits (that’s 200 visitors a week for the past fortnight!) Our Alan’s Album Archive Artists haven’t exactly been busy either after the onslaught of the past month: just one new item for you this week. (STOP PRESS: Blooming heck there’s five of them now, just a few hours after writing that sentence – how did that happen?!) We do, however, have part two of our – so far – well received list of YouTube rarities for you to enjoy. Nothing to say, but it’s OK.
♫ Beatles News: Last minute news – the new George Harrison doc ‘Living In The Material World’ will receive its UK TV premiere in two parts, spread across Saturday and Sunday, Thursday 12th and 13th. Running marginally shorter than the DVD version, the two programmes are on at 9.45pm and 9pm respectively on BBC2. Currently I’m halfway through the DVD version and its a curious mixture of genuinely insightful interviews and snippets of film clips along with an awful lot of Anthology soundbites. The home footage of the Beatles larking around on holiday are priceless though and the Harrison family have taken the time to do all sorts of things above and beyond the call of duty, such as cleaning up the Hamburg ‘Star Club’ tapes which is a terrific find! I just wish it was longer and rare – although I haven’t seen the ‘solo years’ doc yet so that could all change! The book, by the way, really is wonderful, with lots of George’s pictures of the Beatle years and holidays, although the best pictures for me are the reproductions of George’s schoolbooks, full of doodling for guitar sets ups (including ‘my mate Paul’ on stage!) next to his homework! There are two other Beatle related docs on as well that week: The first doc is on Saturday at 11.20pm and is a repeat of the Timewatch film about Beatlemania, which is scatterbrained and messy but well worth watching for the snatches of rare footage of the mop tops on tour. Meanwhile Sunday at 11.05pm sees a new documentary called ‘The Beatles on Record’, which hopefully isn’t just a repeat of the doc included in the box sets with yet another new name and sets to analyse how The Beatles matured during their eight year recording career.
♫ Nils Lofgren News: By a nice coincidence, which seems to be becoming a common occurrence here at the AAA, five minutes after finishing my Nils Lofgren review I’ve learnt that Nils will be the special guest appearing on the woefully strung-out Radio 2 celebrations for the Old Grey Whistle Test. Quite why they’ve decided to dedicate a series of radio programmes to a TV show and then got the guests who are still alive to re-record music for it is anyone’s guess, but hey I’ll forgive anything to hear Nils on the radio again. Nils’ episode is on this Wednesday, at 10pm on Radio 2.
♫ Monkees News: The latest (fifth?) in a series of Monkees specials by Rhino handmade has just been announced – and the selection of the unloved ‘Instant Replay’ has caught everyone by surprise (albeit it’s not actually that bad – see news and views 64 for more). There’s actually a lot of prime unreleased or at least rare Monkees from this period to add to this set – but no, Rhino have gone back to their new tactic of giving us ‘alternate mixes’ of stuff we know several times over already (do we really need four versions of ‘Through The Looking Glass?’ To be honest one was pushing it a bit for what I needed!) There is the first official issue of the TV special ’33 and 1/3rd Revolutions Per Monkees’ special on CD, true, but ‘Naked Permisson’ and the minute-long ‘String For My Kite’ aside, you don’t really want that either (and why no release for the bluesy ‘I’m A Beliver’ duet with Kulie Driscoll or the 20-minute version of ‘Listen To The Band’?!) Also, the box for the new set makes a big thing out of having Mike Nesmith’s early Nashville sessions – so why not a) add some of the ones that are still in the vaults (about a third as much again compared to what came out at the time and on the three Missing Links sets) and b) put them all together in one place, instead of spreading them across 3 CDs? Rhino Handmade excelled themselves with the ‘Headquarters Sessions’ box set – lovingly annotated, in strict chronological order and full of two and a half CDs of backing tapes, outtakes, studio chat and alternate takes. But ever since then they’ve been scarping the barrel – and Instant Replay was an album that was already scarping pretty near to the bottom of the barrel in 1969. Just like most fans did the first time round in 1969, give this one a miss.
♫ Oasis News: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are live in concert on Radio 2 this Thursday, November 3rd at 8pm – for two whole hours I’m pleased to say! This will be Noel’s first full length concert and fans are intrigued as to what Noel will perform to fill up the time (apparently he does some Oasis songs and not just the usual ones either – expect a review next week!) The concert is also being broadcast on the red button various days this week and next week starting with 4am on Friday, November 4th.
♫ The Who News: A little addition to last week’s Pete Townshend ‘John Peel lecture’ for you: as well as the radio slot on BBC6 at 7pm on Tuesday, October 31st, Pete will also be on the BBC red button at the same time – and it will be repeated various times across the next few days before the weekend!
ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday greetings to AAA members born between November 8th and 14th: Ian Craig Marsh (synthesiser with the Human League 1979-81) who turns 55 on November 11th and Neil Young who turns 66 on November 12th. Anniversaries of events include: The Rolling Stones break the record for the most money earned for a single concert (£108,000) after a gig in Los Angeles, beating the previous record: The Beatles at Shea Stadium (November 8th 1969); The Human League officially split into two – Phil Oakey keeps the band name and gains two cocktail waitress singers whilst synthesiser experts Ian Craig Marsh and Martin Ware form Heaven 17 (November 8th 1980); David Crosby officially leaves The Byrds, to be replaced for a matter of weeks by his old colleague Gene Clark and leaving Crosby free to form CSN (November 9th 1967); The Moody Blues release their seminal single ‘Nights In White Satin’ (November 10th 1967); The Human League make their live debut in their hometown of Sheffield (November 12th 1980); The Moody Blues release their ‘other’ big seller ‘Go Now’ (November 13th 1964); Brian Jones buys the House at Pooh Corners, aka AA Milne’s house Catchford Farm in Sussex where the guitarist will later drown (November 13th 1967); The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film premieres in America (November 13th 1968) and finally, Cat Stevens releases his landmark album ‘Teaser and the Firecat’ and Pink Floyd release their landmark album ‘Meddle’ on the same day (November 13th 1971).