Phew! That’s that done! My 30 page incapacity form has been filled (me being me, with seven whole extra pages – they never give you enough space in these things to ‘encourage’ you to feel under pressure to leave things out), all 215 weblinks have been re-posted (if you see any difficulties please let me know, because it’ll mean I’ve missed one somewhere- all very easy to do), my broadband problems are all sorted and my Christmas shopping is back on-track. It’s been a hideously long, strange and tiring month or so but thankfully it seems to be over now. I feel a chronic fatigue crash coming on after all that extra work and sleepless nights...but before I do I just had to get in this week’s review for the new Noel Gallagher album. Now we keep mentioning new AAA CDs to buy in our news items recently – sadly they all seem to be box sets (all nine of them at last count: four Maccas, three Floyds, a Who and a Beach Boys, see our last few issues for more details) and I just can’t afford any of them at the moment (remember, keep buying stuff from Amazon via our website and we get 5% - costing you nothing!) so at last I’ve actually been able to buy something and tell you about it! Alas, its not particularly good...
♫ Beach Boys News: A late bit of Beach Boys radio news for you: BBC6 repeated their ‘First Time’ interview with Brian Wilson on Sunday, October 23rd at 7pm – it should still be around on Iplayer if you want it (and I actually know how to work it now I have broadband at last!) The interview took place originally to promote ‘Smile’ in 2004 and, well, its not the best really, thanks to some really dumb questions (‘I’ve heard you were really at home in the studio’ ‘umm.....yeah’) and no music choices outside the obvious. Brian’s on pretty bright form, though and sounds comfortable with his legacy here – quite a contrast from pretty much any interview of the 90s and especially the 70s and 80s.
♫ Byrds News: Remember all those sea-shanties we used to get on Byrds CDs? ‘Jack Tarr The Sailor’ ‘John Riley’, even Roger McGuinn’s own ‘Space Odyssey’?! Well, McGuinn’s recorded a whole C D of them, as a follow-up to his well received CD of folk songs last year. McGuinn’s never been the most prolific of writers but still wants to record and he’s come across the best solutions, by recording ‘forgotten’ traditional songs that are in danger of dying out if someone doesn’t rescue them. Chances are there’ll be less takers for sea shanties than folk tunes but still, the wittily titled ‘CCD’ (as in ‘sea CD’ – ouch, that hurt!) has been getting great reviews across the board.
♫ CSN News: Fans have long known that the ‘Judy’ in Suite: Judy Blue Eyes referred to songwriter Judy Collins after Stills’ ongoing love affiar with her (which inspired many of his best songs). Judy has just released another volume of her memoirs (I think this is her fourth?) with the title ‘Sweet Judy Blue Eyes’ and tales of her time with CSN and Stills in particular.
There’s also a repeat for the Micky Dolenz-presented ‘Laurel Canyon’ doc on BBC6, on Monday, October 31st and Tuesday, November 1st at 3am, featuring lots of rare CSN audio footage. We’ve covered it elsewhere on our site a couple of years back when it was first on – suffice to say its well worth hearing just for the CSN section and hearing Monkee Micky Dolenz try his hand at becoming a radio presenter!
♫ Dire Straits News: A rare early live concert by the band at the BBC’s Paris Theatre in 1978 is being repeated as part of BBC6’s ‘Live Music Hour’ this Friday, October 28th at 3am. Back in the days when Dave Knopfler was still in the band, it features lots of songs from the first Dire Straits LP.
♫ Hollies News: Fantastic! ‘Look Through Any Window’ is the title of the long-awaited fourth release in the superlative ‘British Invasion’ series due this November, full of 20 fascinating rare clips of The Hollies from 1963 to 1975. We reviewed the Small Faces edition in our pages about 18 months ago – the best AAA DVD release we’ve had in years - and in news and views issue 69 we actually listed five ‘other’ bands we wanted to see get the ‘British Invasion DVD treatment’ : The Hollies came third! So well done all concerned for rounding up some fascinating footage of the band in their heyday and actually adding to the long list of suggestions we made. There’s even three tracks that we’ve already featured in our ‘top 60’ Youtube videos which we’ve already written to run during the next few weeks (and I don’t fancy writing them out again so I’m leaving them in, because technically this footage isn’t available until next month!): the promo for ‘Little Lover’, the film clip of ‘Now’s The Time’ and the shot of The Hollies filming ‘On A Carousel’ at Abbey Road. Even if you have all the footage you’ll still want to get this set for the new interviews with Clarke, Hicks, Nash and Elliott. More info when we buy this set – as we surely will!
♫ Oasis News: For the first time since Oasis in 2005, we have an AAA artist at #1! Yes that’s right, Noel Gallagher has beaten Adele (who seems to have spent more weeks on the album chart than Dark Side Of The Moon recently, with two records in the top 10) and the latest goons from X factor to become the best-selling artist of the week. Does he deserve that accolade? Erm, probably not sadly...see below!
Noel’s also been doing a lot of plugging for his album recently. Firstly, he appeared on the new revamped-but-still-same-as-the-old-one Jonathon Ross show on ITV last Sunday along with the 21st century hybrid of Tony Hancock and Eric Morecambe, Miranda Hart. Noel looked most put out when he was left to look after her dog and in fact seemed uncomfortable most of the way through, mumbling both during the chat and an interminable version of debut solo single ‘AKA...What A Life’. In fact, had this been his first interview (instead of his first post-Oasis interview) on nationally telly, you’d be hard pressed what to make of him – the genuinely inspired wit of Noel’s commentary on the ‘Time Flies’ Oasis DVD simply wasn’t there, even though he did have a good laugh at the only two decent jokes on the show (‘the Gallaghers had lots of hits...until the roadies came to split them up!’ and ‘I thought they’d be together forever – I’m referring to your eyebrows Noel!’)
Noel’s also due to pop up on Radio 2 on as part of the station’s ‘In Concert’ series. You can see it on TV on the red button on a loop on Thursday, November 3rd from 9pm till the early hours. He’s also got a documentary on Channel 4, ‘Somewhere In Between’ which is at half past midnight on Monday, October 24th, although its repeated most days since.
Finally, BBC4 have a whole night dedicated to record label Creation this Friday, October 28th – Oasis were, of course, the biggest success of Alan McGee’s attempts to overthrow the way rock labels were run back in the 1990s! The night starts with ‘Upside Down: The Creation Story’ at 9pm, moves on to the compilation ‘Creation At The BBC’ at 10.40pm and ends with an ‘Omnibus’ interview with McGee.
♫ Pentangle News: BBC4 are repeating Bert Jansch’s ‘Live Session’ from 2003 as a mark of respect to the Pentangle guitarist, who died a fortnight ago. The screening takes place on Thursday, October 27th at 11pm, was filmed at St Luke’s in London and features Johnny Marr as a ‘special guest’.
♫ Paul Simon News: There’s a new best-of compilation (the 8th?!) featuring Paul Simon and Simon and Garfunkel together coming soon titled ‘Paul Simon: Songwriter’. The set features 32 songs from across Paul’s career although the only new song for collectors is a previously unreleased live version of ‘The Sound Of Silence’ (why not just use the original?!)
♫ The Who News: Pete Townshend has become the first musician chosen to speak at the BBC ‘John Peel Lectures’ on Monday, October 31st (broadcast by BBC6 that day at 7pm). A good choice, given how lucid and iridescent Pete can be when talking about his favourite subject, music. BBC6 are celebrating by repeating Radio 2’s ‘Before I Get Old’ documentary from earlier this year from Monday to Thursday, October 24th-27th at midnight – very handy for me because I missed the first part and the second was unexpectedly excellent! The programme was originally in two one-hour parts but has been split into four half-hour ones for this repeat.
♫ Neil Young News: Ah, now the fuss over Jimmy MCDonnaugh’s in-depth biography ‘Shakey’ becomes clear: Neil’s been working on his own memoirs, clearly fired up by the release (after 30 years of waiting) of the first part of his ‘Archives’ project. He’s already signed to a publisher (Blue Rider Press, part of the Penguin group) and is already part of the way through the project, taking notes from how his dad (sports journalist and author Scott Young) used to work. The book is tentatively titled ‘Waging Peace’ (as in ‘waging war’, but nicer) and is due for release next Autumn. More news if and when!
ANNIVERSARIES: Happy birthdays part #1, for those born between October 25th and 31st: Denny Laine (guitarist with The Moody Blues 1964-66 and Wings 1972-79) who turns 67 on October 29th. Anniversaries of events include: Dire Straits release their second album ‘Makin’ Movies’ (October 25th 1980); The Beatles sell out by accepting MBEs from the German-ancestor Queen Elizabeth II (October 26th 1964); A young record buyer named Raymond Jones (who may or may not be our own columnist Nelson sent back in time from the future – see this year’s April fool’s day special) asks Brian Epstein for a record by The Beatles – My Bonnie – alerting the NEMS Liverpool store manager to his future career (October 28th 1961); The Who release their break-through single ‘My Generation’ a year after being rejected by EMI (October 28th 1965); John Lennon and wife Cynthia officially divorce (October 28th 1968); ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ breaks the record for longest stay on the album top 200 when it charts for a staggering 491st week! (October 29th 1983) and finally, Hotlegs – soon to become 10cc by adding Graham Gouldmann to the line-up the following year – make their live debut supporting The Moody Blues (October 30th 1970).
Happy birthdays part #2, for those born between November 1st and 7th: Bert Jansch (guitarist with Pentangle 1968-72 and various reunions) who sadly would have been 68 on November 3rd, Lulu (singer) who turns 63 also on November 3rd, Art Garfunkel (a quite different kind of singer) who turns 69 on November 5th and Gram Parsons (guitarist and much more with The Byrds in 1968) who would have been 65 on November 5th. Anniversaries of events include: The Beatles start their last stint at Hamburg’s Star Club (November 1st 1962); George Harrison releases the first solo Beatles LP which is also the first album to bear an ‘Apple’ catalogue number: his under-rated soundtrack to the ‘Wonderwall’ film (November 1st 1968); The Beatles wow mums and dads at their one and only Royal Variety appearance, telling those in the more expensive seats to ‘rattle yer jewellery’ (November 4th 1963); The Beach Boys’ legendary single ‘Good Vibrations’ enters the UK chart on it’s way to #1 (November 4th 1966); The Who’s Quadrophenia tour suffers yet another blow when the pre-taped section ends up playing out of synch with the band, causing Pete Townshend to physically attack the group’s sound man mid-gig (it’s not his fault by the way) (November 5th 1973); The Beach Boys manage the surely unique feat of making #1 in the UK charts in the same week 22 years apart – with ‘Good Vibrations’ in 1966 and ‘Kokomo’ in 1988 (November 5th); Bill Graham puts on the first of his many legendary ‘Fillmore’ shows starring AAA members Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, the former before they even have a record contract (November 6th 1965) and finally, Paul Simon comes out of retirement with his first concert for five years (November 6th 1980).