Monthly Archives: February 2015

Andy Powell v Martin Turner . (Part 4) Yet more!

Some time ago, Martin Turner asked that the issue be put to bed, and has maintained his dignity by not commenting any further. He has even asked fans to resist expressing their annoyance. But, Andy Powell can’t resist still having a dig. On the ‘official’ Wishbone Ash website, he manages to comment on 80s bass player Merv Spence’s sad financial situation with a snide remark about Martin Turner’s finances. No doubt the handful of Powellites will be sniggering.  No doubt that rapidly-dwindling number are too dim to realise that they are the ones who have been contributing to Mr Powell’s cynical ‘bank raid’ he mentioned.   ( I reckon it would now be a ‘sub-Post Office raid’. Pitiful.

The Blueflies. The Junction, Castleford. 6.2.2015

 

I can still remember the night, about 25 years ago, when we went into The Lion in Castleford, to be confronted by a stupendous version of ‘Take me to the river’ . It was followed by a mixture of James Brown and Led Zeppelin, which was definitely not what The Lion was used to. Great things seemed around the corner. Miles, the new kid on the block guitar slinger. Gav, self-confessed Andy Fraser fan. Fatha, the oldest drummer (and indeed person) in York.   I dug out one of their cds from 1994, ‘Regrets’ . A mixture of jazz, funk, soul thrown into a 13 song cauldron of original songs (bar one).  Subtle hints of Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs, with outrageous pastiches of ‘Burlesque’ and ‘Reeling in the years’.

But that was then , this is now. Fatha had to retire the other year, as he was officially the oldest person in the universe. Miles and Gav are soldiering on though.  Tonight is a mixture of pub rock  standards, with some not-so standard. Blues/R&B fans would be catered for by ‘Let’s work together’, ‘Dimples’ and ‘Riot in cell block no.9’, Hendrix aficianados got ‘Fire’ and ‘Foxy lady’. Familiar to the Castleford pub rock regulars were ‘Sunshine of your love’, ‘You really got me’  and ‘Gimme all your loving’. ”Something in the air’ (Tom Petty version), ‘Rocky Mountain way’  and ‘Love the one you’re with’ (with a touch of Hendrix) were a refreshing departure from the standard Castleford setlist of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy.  We had to leave before the end for the bus.

So why didn’t the Blueflies conquer the world in the mid-nineties? Hard to say. Maybe the industry couldn’t cope with the diversity displayed on their 1994 cd. They were too busy looking for the next boy band or Oasis/Blur clone. It had taken R.E.M more than a decade to achieve their deserved status. Plus Miles has always seemed to have parallel careers in a  more jazz-based field.

In terms of the pub covers scene,  you won’t find much better, and there were plenty of the Castleford Friday regulars in the Junction rather than the Lion.  And the people in the Junction deserve it. They have resurrected the place as a real ale venue, and don’t even try to compete with Wetherspoons. Her Ladyship and I try to get down on a Friday night at some stage. BUT, it would help if they could advertise the music night a bit better (rather than just in the local Castleford paper which we don’t get).

Check out the group and the venue if you haven’t previously, you won’t be disappointed.

Long Time Gone. David Crosby (and Carl Gottlieb)

Book review No 3. First published 1988, this edition 2007.  Lent to me by Les, who saw CSN the other year at The Sage, and reckoned it was one of the best gigs he has ever seen.

Almost 500 pages long, 3 x the length of either of Bruce Thomas’s or Deke Leonard’s books.

Lots of early detail about his growing up, his parents, his siblings, so I was losing interest quite early. And it set the scene for one of the most tedious (auto)biographies I have ever read. I found myself flicking through huge wedges of stuff about sailing and drug-taking.  Hardly anything about what a lot of people may have wanted, eg the making of the first CSN lp, ‘Deja Vu’, concerts. We got a brief mention about how ordinary the CSN ‘Daylight Again’ was, mainly because HE wasn’t on it. They did dig out some solo tracks from Mr Crosby which he had just about finished.

The sad thing is that Mr Crosby comes across as being just boorish. A bully ( listen to him berating Michael Clarke’s drumming on one of the Byrds ‘extended’ cds.). He basically pushed himself to the front in the Byrds, he couldn’t handle being in the shadow of a better singer and songwriter (Gene Clark) and focal point (McGuinn with his sunglasses and 12-string). He moans that his songs weren’t accepted by the Byrds (eg ‘Triad’ about his sordid obsession with having two women).

His time in CSN and CSNY? He writes about 2 songs a year, whereas Mr Young writes about 2 a week. He is still living off them 45 years later.  The blurb on the back? Laughable, sycophantic crap.

I almost feel guilty that I am saying this, as it makes me appear ungrateful to Les for lending me it. But if it stops anybody buying it (and swelling Mr C’s bank balance), I feel justified.

 

The Big Wheel. Bruce Thomas.

Second ever book review.  First published in 1990, my copy is 2003.

Mr Thomas adopted an unusual style, by reverting to the other Attractions as ‘Drummer’ and ‘Keyboard Player’ with their bespectacled frontman as the ‘Singer’.

Like Deke Leonard’s book, it pretty much starts with his first tenure with EC. There is a section of growing up on Teesside which had a bit of interest for yours truly. Mr T went to the other grammar school in Stockton-on-Tees (the Rugby Union one, I went to the Football one), although he is a few years older than me.  And I was looking forward to reading his section about his days in The Roadrunners and their initial attempt to crack the bright lights of London. Again, no names mentioned (well, there is but…).

Unfortunately, the description of life on the road in America was almost too literal. Too much description of roads, mountains, telegraph poles, cacti etc. As a music fan , I prefer to read a book about the musical escapades if the book is written by a musician.  So I found myself skimming a lot.

I don’t really think his descriptive style warrants the gushing blurb, but it was OK.   One interesting point is regarding his less-than-complimentary opinions of the other musicians. Back around the time of ‘Watching the Detectives’ we went to see them at the Penthouse in Scarborough, and they were great. We knew one of the doorman, who had tried to engage in conversation with the Bass Player. He asked ‘Haven’t you played here before?’ (which he had with Quiver?).  His smart-arse reply was ‘Was it with Zeppelin?’ .  I think his word for the Bass Player rhymed with ‘tanker’.

A bit too wordy for me.

Rhinos, Winos & Lunatics. Deke Leonard

First ever book review to appear on the site (another two to follow). As all are not recent, just a few words on each. The first two were recommended by David Clayton from the Free Appreciation Society. I put them on my letter to Santa…and he obliged. He even got Deke’s signed. I’ll class them as ‘History Class’.

So, Deke Leonard’s description of life with Man. First published in 1996, mine is the 2001 version.

First good point is that it starts with a young Mr Leonard tentative steps into the world of pop music. No pages and pages of where he was born, where his parents were born, what his pet hamster was called etc.  And that pretty much sets the tone of the book.

Plenty of info about the ever-changing personnel of the group Man, who are the musical equivalent of a revolving door.  I would have maybe preferred a few more gig and recording details, but the pages passed by easily. OK, the latter pages got a bit overdone on the sex and drugs aspects, mainly in their (almost!) brush with fame in the Cipollina years. But for the main part it is a good read for music fans. He has a good turn of phrase and finished with the reformation in 1983, which was when I started listening to them.