Sunday 31 May 2009


And one especially for the Bullshite Boys and their fans:

If only somebody would upload Isn't This a Lovely Day!

Saturday 30 May 2009

Spector Sentenced

Spector gets 19 years to life in prison for murder
Associated Press
Published: 5/30/2009 12:00 AM
LOS ANGELES -- With his carefully tailored suit and coifed hair, Phil Spector kept up appearances even as a judge sentenced him to 19 years to life in prison for second-degree murder, consigning the legendary music producer to likely live out the last years of his once storied life in prison.
There was no soundtrack for the final scene of the pop maestro's criminal case, only a hush in the courtroom Friday as the mother of actress Lana Clarkson stood and spoke in a soft voice of the agony of losing her daughter, "my first child, my precious gift."
Spector, 69, declined to say anything. His lawyer said outside court he hopes to prove on appeal that Spector did not kill the actress, who died from a gunshot wound at Spector's ornate "castle" in 2003.
The forewoman of the jury that convicted Spector sat nearby and told The Associated Press later it was hard to watch the tears of Donna Clarkson and Spector's young wife, Rachelle, who sat in a front row behind her husband.
"It's still sort of heavy on the heart," said Irma Soto-Lopez, who had wept herself on the day of the verdict. "I feel sorry for both families."
Other jurors from both of Spector's trials showed up for the final act.
"They joined us to put a period at the end of a long chapter in their lives," said Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, who spent six years on the case in which one jury deadlocked and a second voted for conviction.
He had harsh words for Spector outside court: "I find nothing tragic about him. ... I think he got what he deserved."
Defense attorney Doron Weinberg said a strong appeal is anticipated. Meanwhile, he said, Spector was anxious to know in which prison he will be spending his days.
"He will be a very high-profile inmate. There's a question of how others will treat him," Weinberg said.
Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler gave no indication of his feelings. He dispassionately ruled that 15 years to life was mandatory, as was a four-year enhancement for personal use of a gun. He imposed more than $26,000 in restitution fees.
Spector gained fame decades ago for what became known as the "Wall of Sound" recording technique that changed rock music.
Clarkson was most famous as the star of Roger Corman's 1985 cult film classic "Barbarian Queen." She was 40 when she died.
Rachelle Spector said outside court that it was a sad day for everyone involved.
"The Clarkson family has lost a daughter and a sister. I've lost my husband, my best friend," she said. "I feel that a grave injustice has been done and from this day forward I'm going to dedicate myself to proving my husband's innocence."
Spector's son Louis, accompanied by his wife, also came to the sentencing. He had attended much of the trial.
"I'm torn about this," he said. "I'm losing my father who is going to spend his life in jail. At the same time, justice is served."
Prosecutor Jackson said afterward that the outcome sent a message: "If you commit crimes against our citizens we will follow you and prosecute you. And no matter whether you are famous or wealthy, you will stand trial."
Jackson said the case was "rock solid" legally and will not be subject to a successful appeal.
Spector's April 13 conviction suggested to some that California prosecutors had broken a decades-long string of celebrity murder case losses that included the acquittals of O.J. Simpson and actor Robert Blake.
Spector, however, wasn't a performer; not a sports star with a following or a singer who captivated the public. He was a behind-the-scenes guy whose recording technique changed the sound of rock music.
Famous, yes. A celebrity? Not in today's pop culture.
Spector had two trials with essentially the same evidence. His first in 2007 was televised gavel to gavel and spectators flocked to the courtroom. But when the jury deadlocked after a five-month trial, his legal "dream team," which at times numbered half a dozen lawyers, bailed out.
By the time the second trial started in 2008, interest had waned. The judge ordered cameras turned off and only a handful of spectators and reporters stopped in sporadically to watch testimony.
The retrial lasted the same length of time as the first trial but there was only one defense lawyer, Weinberg, a well-regarded veteran from San Francisco. A young woman prosecutor, Truc Do, was brought in to work with Jackson. Most importantly, there was a new jury.
During jury selection, only a few panelists remembered Spector's heyday as producer of teen anthems including "To Know Him is to Love Him" by The Teddy Bears, The Ronette's "Be My Baby," The Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron" and The Righteous Brothers' classic, "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'." Spector also worked on a Beatles album with John Lennon.
Ironically, Clarkson didn't know Spector's music legacy either when she met him only hours before she died at his Alhambra "castle" in February 2003. She was working as a hostess at the House of Blues nightclub on the Sunset Strip, where she had to be told by a manager that Spector was an important man.
His time had passed. Clarkson's career also was ebbing. Their fateful meeting, recounted in both trials, led to her death and the end of his life as he knew it. For the next six years he spent millions of dollars on lawyers as he sought to prove that Clarkson killed herself.
But what had happened inside his house was never clear. Clarkson's body was found slumped in a chair in a foyer. A gun had been fired in her mouth. Spector's chauffeur, the key witness, said he heard a gunshot, then saw Spector emerge holding a gun and heard him say: "I think I killed somebody."
Weinberg said forensic evidence proved that Clarkson shot herself and cited her desperation at not being able to get acting work. Jackson said the shooting fit the pattern of other confrontations between Spector and women, and Do said Spector would become "a demonic maniac" when he drank.
Much of the case hinged on the testimony of five women from Spector's past who said he threatened them with guns when they tried to leave his presence. The parallels with the night Clarkson died were chilling even if the stories were very old -- 31 years in one instance.
Weinberg said Spector's appeal will assert that the judge erred in allowing the women to testify.

In better times...

No video, alas...

The Truth Is Out There...

Newspaper Ad 'Called For Obama Assassination'

Saturday, May 30 05:09 am © Sky News 2009

A newspaper has apologised after publishing an advert which appeared to call for the assassination of President Barack Obama.
The Secret Service are investigating the classified ad placed in Pennsylvania local paper the Warren Times Observer.
It said: "May Obama follow in the footsteps of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy."
All four of the presidents named alongside Obama were assassinated.
Publisher John Elchert said it was removed as soon as a manager noticed the significance of the reference.
"It was just an honest mistake," he said.
An apology posted on the paper's website said the ad "apparently alludes to the wish that President Obama meet an untimely end".
The case has been handed to local police and the Secret Service, he added.
A spokesman for the Secret Service said they knew who placed the advert and were taking the threat seriously.
"We do not have the luxury of doing otherwise," Jim Mackin said.
President Obama has had 24-hour protection from the Secret Service since the early days of his campaign.

Friday 29 May 2009


The Great Loudo Returns (on yet another label!)

Loudon Wainwright III honors Charlie Poole with double album on 2nd Story Sound Records.

Loudon Wainwright III will release a two-disc tribute to Charlie Poole this summer that examines the life of the country music pioneer.

"High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project," scheduled to hit retailers
Aug. 25, features songs from Poole's repertoire plus new tunes written about his life as a bootlegger, banjo picker, amateur baseball player, drinker, rambler, gambler and textile mill worker,according to a press release.

Poole, who died at the age of 39, was not a songwriter; his recordings and performances consisted of re-interpretations of popular and traditional music, which is reflected in Wainwright's upcoming collection.

Guests on the album include Rufus and Martha Wainwright, The Roches, Nickel Creek mandolin player Chris Thile and many others. Additional details about "The Charlie Poole Project" can be found at a new website dedicated to the release:

Nick Lowe and Ron Sexsmith at The Sage

NICK Lowe is the very essence of songwriting cool.

His shock of hair as dazzlingly white as his shirt, the lean Lowe nowadays resembles a well-preserved and sophisticated Premier League football manager.Backed by a superb four-piece band, the man who once christened himself the Jesus of Cool, dipped into his extensive back catalogue for a masterclass in songwriting craft.

The early pub rock hits –including Cruel To Be Kind and I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock and Roll – were rebooted, to the delight of the audience.But it's the songs Lowe's fashioned over the last decade and a half which represent his finest work.Indian Queens, You Inspire Me, I Trained Her To Love Me and the superb Hope For Us All were just some of the highlights, topped off by a spine-chilling solo encore of The Beast In Me, the song he wrote for his late father-in-law, Johnny Cash.
Support for the night was provided by the brilliant Ron Sexsmith, who is Lowe's equal in terms of songwriting skills, but who was content to open for his musical friend, before duetting with him on an old Louvin Brothers number during the encores.So: a great double bill and a wonderful concert of crafted songwriting, the only disappointment being the half-full house. Some of you missed a great night.

Terry Kelly
Also published in The Shields Gazette
26 May 2009

Thursday 28 May 2009

Friday Night!

Dear FNBs,

We're meeting at The Bridge at 8pm on Friday. Bring your buckets and spades - it's gonna be a scorcher! (Grahame's opting for paisley, Big Dave for latex).


"Can't explain why Ian
has stopped giving me
tips for Sheffield dogs
always so enthusiastic
wanting to go for pints
but now he just mumbles
a half-felt 'hello' ..."

Wednesday 27 May 2009


Last Night's Setlist - usual venue

Out On The Weekend*
Give Me Strength
Heart Of Gold*
Like A Hurricane

* with harmonica

Saturday 23 May 2009


Glen Campbell - Guess I'm Dumb

"Allowable expenses"

Tory MP claims £5,000 for gates

The latest expenses revelations by the Daily Telegraph show a Conservative MP claimed almost £5,000 to have automatic gates installed at his home.Shadow business secretary Jonathan Djanogly said they are security gates and were installed at his Huntingdon constituency home on police advice.
The paper says the MP also claimed £13,962 for cleaning over four years.
It also reports claims from one Labour MP for a hotel with his girlfriend and another to fund a home for his friend.
According to the Telegraph, the wooden gates at Mr Djanogly's house cost £4,936 and can be opened by a remote control while he is still sitting in his car.
'I completely understand'
In a statement, the MP defended the gates as a measure to protect him from potential reprisal attacks by animal rights activists.
He said: "The automatic gates are integrated with a CCTV system which I installed with police advice after I had security threats following from my representation of constituents' interests at Huntingdon Life Sciences."
Mr Djanogly added: "I want to stress that I completely understand the public's concerns about MPs' expenses and my party's absolute determination to respond to that concern."
Other expenses claims by him highlighted by the paper include £13,962 for cleaning and £12,951 for gardening at his home, which the paper reports did not have a mortgage, over a four-year period.
Mr Djanogly said the cleaning and gardening claims were "allowable" expenses.
He has agreed to repay £25,000 after talking to the Conservative scrutiny panel set up by party leader David Cameron to study his MPs' claims.
Saturday's Telegraph also reports Labour MP Khalid Mahmood claimed for £1,350 to stay in a five-star west London hotel with his girlfriend, after separating from his partner, with whom he shared a home in Wembley, north west London.
The paper says another Labour MP, Northern Ireland Minister Paul Goggins, allows a university friend to live rent-free in a home that is paid for by the taxpayer.
And in a fourth set of claims published in Saturday's edition, Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin used £50,000 in expenses to pay his sister-in-law rent.

Friday 22 May 2009


Pelaw Jim's mam and dad, Joan and Andra McCullough, celebrating their Diamond Wedding
anniversary this week at their home in Jarrow.

Happy anniversary from us all!

Wayne Allwine RIP

Wayne Allwine, who died on May 18 aged 62, supplied the voice of Mickey Mouse in the Walt Disney cartoons for more than 30 years; his wife, Russi Taylor, is the voice of Minnie Mouse.


We're kicking off at the Head of Steam tonight. See you there.

Oink if you love your children...

A Labour MP says he will stand down at the next election if his constituents demand it, following allegations over his second home expenses claims.
The Daily Telegraph says Dr Ian Gibson, Norwich North MP, claimed for a London flat while his daughter and her partner lived there rent-free.

Among the latest reports on Friday, the Telegraph says Dr Gibson sold the London flat to his daughter and her partner for less than he paid and well below the market value.
He is reported to have sold the flat to them in April for £162,000, despite having bought it for £195,000 in 1999.

Dr Gibson has insisted he acted within the rules and "made nothing on the house whatsoever".


Thursday 21 May 2009

Duck Off!


Another Tory MP, Sir Peter Viggers, will step down at the next election after claiming £30,000 on gardening.

The Daily Telegraph said that Sir Peter, MP for Gosport, claimed £1,645 for a duck island.

After hearing about the latest expenses revelations, David Cameron told Sir Peter he faced the removal of the whip if he did not announce that he would not run again at the next election, the BBC has learned.

The Conservative scrutiny panel will decide what figure Sir Peter will have to pay back. Sources say it will be a "substantial sum".

Sir Peter said the claims he made "were in accordance with the rules at the time, and were all approved by the fees office".He added: "As with all other Conservative MPs my expenses are being examined by David Cameron's scrutiny panel and I await any recommendations they may make."


Wednesday 20 May 2009

Summer Love Songs and Dennis Wilson documentary

Beach Boys - Peter Blake, 1964

by Howie Edelson

Out today (May 19th) is the Beach Boys' Summer Love Songs, the group's latest compilation featuring newly-remixed stereo versions of some of their most beloved tracks. Among the classic hits found on the set are "Don't Worry Baby" and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" -- featuring revamped stereo mixes utilizing the songs' long-lost masters, "Surfer Girl," "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "God Only Knows," California Girls," "Girls On The Beach," and "Help Me, Rhonda," among others.

Summer Love Songs features tracks from the band's earliest days up through the late '60s and early '70s, well after they had outgrown their classic "striped shirts" era. Mike Love was asked if after the Beach Boys' initial successes, he ever considered that the group was evolving from pop stars into actual artists: "Oh no, never thought of it that way. I knew that we were musically endowed by, you know, our families and stuff like that, because we grew up in a musical environment, so music was second nature to us. I mean, it was something that we would've done as a hobby if we never made a transition to a hugely popular group. But we never thought, 'Oh my gosh, we're 'artists'' -- we didn't have, at least I didn't have, that perception."

One of the highlights on the set is a remixed version of the 1970 Dennis Wilson rarity "Fallin' In Love" which was B-side side to Wilson's first solo single "Sound Of Free." The European release has been out of print for nearly three decades and remains one of the most collectible Beach Boys-related vinyl releases.

Official Beach Boys archivist Alan Boyd compiled the new collection with Grammy award-winning producer Mark Linett. The pair experimented on creating what many fans are calling the definitive mix of the Wilson classic: "Obviously we had the original 16-track master and we did a new mix for that. Dennis had doubled his vocal and so we used some elements of that, sometimes using the double and sometimes focusing on the other track this time. At the very end of the mixing process, we decided to do an isolated mixdown of the string parts just to have it. And as we were listening to it we were commenting on how 'Beatle-esque' it sounded. And we decided to try putting a string intro on the song, using the actual string part from the song's second verse."

Wilson's biographer Jon Stebbins, who played a crucial role in the return of the session masters for "Don't Worry Baby" and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," says that "Fallin' In Love" is yet another of Wilson's forgotten evergreens: "I think 'Fallin' In Love' kinda represents when Dennis was first considering a run at a solo record. He released it in Europe as a solo single in 1970 under the title of 'Lady.' This is kind of a new version -- or a version that has elements that we've never heard before. 'Fallin' In Love' was the original working title for it, so maybe it's appropriate that they go back and call it that. But I believe that the song was written about Dennis' wife Barbara, who he was married top at the time. (It's) very typical of the things that Dennis was writing around that time, especially about Barbara."

The full tracklisting to Summer Love Songs is: "Don't Worry Baby" (new stereo mix), "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" (new stereo mix), "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "God Only Knows," "Surfer Girl," "California Girls," "Please Let Me Wonder," "In The Parkin' Lot," "Your Summer Dream," "Kiss Me, Baby," "Hushabye" (new stereo mix), "I'm So Young" (new stereo mix), "Good To My Baby" (new stereo mix), "Fallin' In Love" (new stereo mix of Dennis Wilson solo track)," "Time To Get Alone" (new stereo mix), "Our Sweet Love," "Help Me, Rhonda," "Keep An Eye On Summer," "Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)," and "Girls On The Beach."

Wrapping production now for BBC TV is the first major documentary on Dennis Wilson. The film, which will air on Britain's BBC 4 this summer features in-depth interviews with Wilson's sons Michael and Carl Wilson, former Beach Boys David Marks and Blondie Chaplin, producer and songwriting partner Gregg Jakobson, engineers John Hanlon and Tom Murphy, former touring Beach Boy Jeff Foskett -- now of the Brian Wilson Band, the Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins, and Wilson's confidante Ed Roach, whose footage and stills are featured throughout the piece -- including Roach's never-before-aired footage of Wilson recording Pacific Ocean Blue.

Legends: Dennis Wilson is directed by Matt O'Casey who is best known for his recent award-winning Blondie documentary One Way Or Another. Biographer Jon Stebbins is producing the doc with Howie Edelson serving as the primary creative consultant. There's no word on a U.S. air date yet, but a DVD version is in the works.

Demo of Neil's Archives - enjoy

Check out Journey Through The Past - this is a country jaunt, not the piano ballad previously released.

Michael Martin


Michael Martin

Fare thee well...

Let me get this right: forced out of his job by the people whose behaviour he refused to criticise and he's probably going to wind up with a seat in the House of Lords and a £75,000 pension...

Tuesday 19 May 2009

"Working flat-out for the people I represent."

£18,000 for food?

Party whips face expenses focus

The focus in the row over MPs' expenses has shifted to claims made by the Labour and Conservative chief whips.

The Daily Telegraph has published details on expenses claimed by Labour's Nick Brown and the shadow chief whip, Patrick McLoughlin.

It says Mr Brown made claims totalling £87,708 over four years, including £18,800 for food, and Mr McLoughlin claimed £3,000 for new windows.

Both politicians say that they have done nothing wrong.

Mr Brown, MP for Newcastle East and Wallsend, has been at the centre of his party's efforts to contain the scandal, moving to suspend two Labour MPs accused of making claims for mortgage payments on "phantom loans".

The Telegraph says that Mr Brown's claims, which he made public himself a few days ago, totalled £87,708 between 2004 and 2008.

This included £18,800 for food, with regular claims of £400 per month during the recess. Until recently, MPs were able to claim up to £400 a month for food without providing receipts.

In 2004/5 and 2005/6, the paper says, Mr Brown submitted claims for £200 every month for "repairs" and £200 every month for "service and maintenance" as well as £250 per month for cleaning, without submitting any receipts.

On claims during recess Mr Brown said: "I spend the recess in my second home, against which I claim, working in my constituency and, for the last two years, carrying out my responsibilities as Minister for the Region."

BBC political correspondent Reeta Chakrabarti said Mr Brown had sought to pre-empt disclosure of his own expenses by publishing redacted information several days ago and was mounting a bullish defence of his behaviour.

Mr Brown told his local newspaper, the Newcastle Journal, that he claimed the "full amount" for subsistence costs but this had to be seen in the context of his responsibilities as chief whip and minister for the North East.

"I am working flat out for the people I represent," he told the paper, pointing out that he spent Monday to Thursday in London and Friday and Saturday in the North East on ministerial and constituency business, before returning to London on Sunday.

"The claims represented a contribution to the cost of my Newcastle home. It doesn't represent the full cost that I bear myself. When the system moved from un-receipted to receipted expenditure, I submitted receipts for everything I claimed."

From the BBC News website:

Monday 18 May 2009

When The Man Comes Around: Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider

“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him...” Revelation 6:8

Pale Rider (1985; directed by Clint Eastwood)
by Frank Black, May 2009

For his first straight Western in the nine years since The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Clint Eastwood took on the genre’s central myth of the romantic hero saving the idealised community from organised greed: Pale Rider (1985) is his take on George Stevens’ Shane (1953), updated to include more violence, sex and an environmental theme, but it also extends the Eastwood persona developed in the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone and those he had since, like High Plains Drifter (1973).

By cross-cutting between the peaceful mining community (lots of women, laughing, clean-looking children and a small dog) and a gang of mounted men riding towards them to destroy their settlement, Eastwood opens the film clearly evoking sympathy for the former. While these miners replace the small farmers of Shane, but it’s made clear that they are not considered a destructive force and they live off the land, invoking the tradition of the idealised yeoman farmer prevalent in many Westerns - and, indeed, in American and European myth. Instead of Shane’s cowboys who demonstrate their destructive intent from the start by riding through the Starretts’ vegetable garden as opposed to going around it like the hero, Pale Rider has the industrialised mining company that employs the gang.

In keeping with traditions of the genre, the duality of the role of landscape is clear: it is wild and dangerous, represented by the gang emerging from the wilderness, but it also harbours the hero, who rides out of the mountains that are white with a snow that symbolises moral purity, seemingly in response to the prayers (a mixture of New Testament understanding and a call for Old Testament-style revenge) of the girl, Megan, whose dog has been killed by the gang, while the sound of thunder foreshadows the violence that will come. The Book of Revelation speaks of Death riding a pale horse, to which the girl's mother, Sarah, ominously alludes when she sees Eastwood mounted on a white horse that implies not only that he is a traditionally good figure within the generic framewok, but also one that will bring death.

Eastwood looks like an older version of his usual Western persona, unshaven and stylishly, if roughly, dressed, and he demonstrates his fighting skill (including some bizarrely ill-advised martial arts-style pick handle twirling!) and moral judgement by siding with a victim of the gang members in a fight as he rides into town. The man turns out to be Hull Barret, played by Michael Moriarty, the head of the household that stands in for the Starretts from Shane.

The Eastwood character is revealed to be a preacher and has a curious circular wound pattern on his back. Although Barret isn’t married to Sarah Wheeler, to all intents and purposes, it appears to be a marriage; however, it is made clear that both Megan and her mother are sexually attracted to the hero and while he refuses the advances of the teenage girl, the mother eventually initiates sex with him, unlike Shane where the attraction to Marion Starrett is obvious but it goes no further and is one of the reasons the hero feels he must leave. Nothing is made of the sexual liaison and Barret doesn’t seem to be aware that anything is going on.

As in Shane, the protagonist works with the small community; here the values of co-operation and community are stressed when he helps Barret move a large rock from the middle of the stream.  However, they are helped by other members of the community (unlike the similar scene where Shane and Joe remove a tree trunk from the farm); thus the empowerment of the small community as it comes together is emphasised and celebrated.

The value of roots and community and the chance to make something of oneself are stressed by Hull, who points out that it is not gold, but the hope of living in a free and caring community that holds the miners together in the face of the ruthless corrupt capitalism of the mining company.

Like Shane, the preacher does not get wholly involved in the fight until one of the miners has been gunned down by marshals employed by the mining company in a scene clearly paying homage to the one in Shane where Jack Wilson shoots Stonewall Torrey – although here, he faces several marshals who shoot him with the same bullet pattern as the one already noted on the Preacher. The other act that provides a stimulus is the attempted rape of Megan by the son of the company owner; hence the Preacher is given, within the boundaries of the genre, moral imperative for his actions.

While the environmental theme is central to the film, it also exploits the tension between the traditional views of civilisation in the genre where it can be both good and bad: the country can be a better place to live in, but with progress comes corruption and greed. The image of the machine destroying the garden is a powerful one and there are several scenes of the company’s hydraulic mining methods, using water jets to blast away the earth from the hillsides to underline its destructive nature, The owner, Coy Lahood, is seen arriving on a train – which, in some films, can signify progress, but it can symbolise, as it does here, the corrupt values of the East which will spell the end of the ‘yeoman’ miner and the democratic frontier community. The fact that a gang of marshals are hired by the company shows that even the law is corrupt, and the way they are filmed when the miner is gunned down,standing in line, drawing their guns in unison and firing together, suggests they too are part of the machine.

The final confrontation between the Preacher and the marshals is a Spaghetti Western-stylised drawn out affair as he picks them off one by one until he faces the leader.There is never any doubt about the outcome; it’s the way the fight is filmed and some of the particular incidents that add tension. The use of close-upsand the sound of the spurs are familiar from Leone’s Westerns, although the dramatic music is not there. The coolness of Eastwood’s character, which has been established not just through Pale Rider, but throughout his previous work in this and other genres, is emphasised as he walks slowly up to the marshal while loading his gun. It is apparent that the marshal knows him from the past and when the Preacher shoots him, he puts the circular bullet pattern in him, suggesting that he had been a previous victim of the marshal and his men and had somehow survived – unless we go for the supernatural option, which Eastwood has referred to in interviews - and we read this as revenge by a living ghost, plot a device already used by Eastwood in his High Plains Drifter (1973), in which the ‘hero’ virtually destroys a small town because he is a ghost, returned to wreak vengeance for the treatment he received from the townsfolk when he was alive.

The ending has echoes of Shane as the daughter tries to persuade him to stay while he rides off back into the mountains – but, of course, he cannot. His work there is done; there is no place for a man of the gun now that the lawlessness has been removed; if he stayed, he would disrupt the equilibrium of the Barret family (where mother Sarah has already found that Hull cannot match up to the mythic standards of the Preacher), and the promising frontier community he has just fought to save.

Sunday 17 May 2009

Donald Fagen on Ike Turner

The Devil and Ike Turner:
Parsing his hits
By Donald Fagen
Posted Monday, Dec. 17, 2007, at 1:36 PM ET

"I got to keep movin'
I got to keep movin'
Blues fallin' down like hail
(Blues fallin' down like hail)
And the days keeps on worryin' me
There's a Hellhound on my trail
(Hellhound on my trail)"
—Robert Johnson

Most all the musicians of my acquaintance know the legend of Robert Johnson, the great Delta bluesman. At a crossroads at midnight, Robert meets the devil (or Eshu or Papa Legba) and, in exchange for his immortal soul, comes away with supernatural skills as a singer and guitarist. Many versions of this Faustian story put the crossroads at Clarksdale, Miss., where Highway 49 meets Highway 61.
Muddy Waters was raised in Clarksdale. John Lee Hooker and Sam Cooke were born and grew up there. Ike Turner was a Clarksdale boy, too. This was the 1930s in the Deep South. Real bad stuff happened. Nevertheless, by the time he was a teenager, Ike could bang out a boogie on the piano and play the guitar with an authentic Delta twang. But, in truth, talented as he was, there wasn't anything really supernatural about Ike's skills as a musician. His singing was always spirited, but, relative to the wealth of local competition, no big deal. What Ike excelled at was leadership: conceptualization, organization, and execution. It's intriguing to think: If Ike walked down to the crossroads one moonless night, what exactly did he ask for?
Long before he met Tina (originally Anna Mae Bullock) in St. Louis in the late 1950s and began the 16-year partnership that would end with his name used mainly as a comic byword for "blow-addicted megalomaniacal black wife-beater," Ike had already been successful at some half-dozen careers in music. He was a DJ, a relentless talent scout, an arranger (for Sam Phillips at Sun, among others), a bandleader (with his own group, the Kings of Rhythm), and a session player (he recorded with B.B., Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, and many others). His employers included the Bihari brothers at Modern Records, the Chess brothers in Chicago, and a host of tough club owners. They didn't like to fool around with their money. Ike had to be at that session on time, he had to book those gigs, make sure the band's suits were pressed, and that they rolled in to the next town ready to play. Organization!
Ike could make things happen. Most of the obituaries I've seen mention "Rocket 88," a jump blues about an Oldsmobile that Ike and his Kings of Rhythm recorded in 1951. Chess records released it under the name "Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats" (Brenston, Ike's bari sax player, was the vocalist that day). A lot of music critics seem to think it was the first record to make the leap from R&B to rock 'n' roll, probably because the busted amp that guitarist Willie Kizart was using added some serendipitous distortion to his sound. But it's Ike's stomping piano that drives the tune. "Rocket 88" went to No. 1 on the R&B charts and, no doubt, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis were listening.
The next year, the Bihari brothers sent him to Memphis to find bluesman Rosco Gordon. Ike liked Gordon's tune "No More Doggin' " and had Rosco bring in his band for a session. In fact, Ike liked the tune so much, he secretly had the band come back and record it again with himself singing. (Fortunately, Rosco heard what was going on and broke up Ike's game.) "No More Doggin' " made it to No. 2 on the charts that year. Rosco Gordon's piano style—particularly on that record—was a quirky sort of boogie with a deep shuffle and a heavy accent on the upbeats. If it sounds almost like ska music when you hear it, it's no accident: The record is often cited as the template for Jamaican ska rhythm—whence came rock steady, whence came reggae. No wonder Ike tried to steal it.
When Papa Legba, the Crossroads Devil, steered Anna Mae Bullock into his path, Ike found his muse. I love all those early records Ike worked up for Tina and the Ikettes: "A Fool in Love," "I Idolize You," "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine," and so on. Ike's concept (really a more raw and countrified version of Ray Charles' act) was simple: The band plays tight; Tina goes berserk. My favorite from this period, though, is "I'm Blue (The Gong Gong Song)" by the Ikettes, with Dolores Johnson singing the lead vocal. A static sequence of transparent cells filled with the sound of smoldering desire, this piece is Ike's overarching masterpiece (most people might be familiar with it as the sample used by Salt-N-Pepa in their 1993 hit "Shoop").
In 1965, Ike hired young Jimi Hendrix as a second guitarist for the Revue, but he was a big showoff, and Ike had to let him go: Jimi wouldn't stay inside the lines.
Papa Legba started to work overtime on Ike's behalf in the late '60s. Ike and Tina opened for the Stones and crossed over big time by covering rock tunes like "Proud Mary" and "Honky Tonk Woman." Now they were superstars, and the greenbacks were flowing. As is usual in these cases, Legba closed in to collect the vig. By all accounts, Ike got higher every year, and meaner, too. It's really hard to focus when there's a Hellhound on your trail. From Ike's point of view, squinting through the harsh fallout from all that booze and goofy dust, he may have figured that forceful action needed to be taken to ensure that everything in his world was up to his rigidly high standards of organization. He may have determined that, with the Hound so close and all, he'd better at least have his ducks in a row. Chaos had to be fended off, and the ends justified the means. Or something like that.
Or was it that Legba had given Ike exactly what he'd wished for—a schoolboy's dream of a girl who could be both a soul mate and a creature he could mold into the perfect lover and musical partner—knowing that Ike would never have the empathetic chops to see what he actually had?
After Tina finally left in '76, Ike, already way shredded from the whole Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll thing, totally came apart. Years of continued heavy drug use and run-ins with the law ensued, culminating in his serving 17 months in a California state prison. He was still in jail when he got the news that he and Tina had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Finally, just when things were starting to look up, Tina's book came out, followed by the film What's Love Got To Do With It.
Now the poster boy for spousal abuse, Ike started to fight his way back. He reconstituted the Kings of Rhythm and came out with a book, Taking Back My Name ("Sure, I've slapped Tina. … We had fights and there have been times when I punched her without thinking. … But I never beat her. … I did no more to Tina than I would mind somebody doing to my mother in the same circumstances."). Obviously, there was something Ike just didn't get about the whole hitting problem. In his comeback shows, he had a series of surrogate Tinas come out in Tina-type outfits and sing Tina's songs. It seemed like he still couldn't figure out why she was gone. And yet he soldiered on, releasing two respectable albums, the second of which, Risin' With the Blues, won a Grammy just last year.
How did Ike make out with the Crossroads Devil? We'll never know. Faust, in Goethe's version, does horrible things, especially in regard to his honey, Gretchen. At the end, he's about to be thrown into the yawning jaws of hell when a posse of angels comes to the rescue, singing:
"He's escaped, this noble member
Of the spirit world, from evil
Whoever strives in his endeavor,
We can rescue from the devil.
And if he has Love within,
Granted from above,
The sacred crowd will meet him
With welcome, and with love."

I'd like to think Ike's version came out the same.

Donald Fagen is a New York City musician and co-founder of Steely Dan.

Article URL:


Women in Music #11

Thursday 14 May 2009

Kelly and Henderson: The Bullshite Boys - out on DVD this week!

Criterion is proud to present the first ever appearance on DVD of Neil Simon's legendary six-part series The Bullshite Boys, a hilariously surreal sitcom about two aging Jewish vaudevillians sharing a brownstone town house with their sister, Hat (Hattie Jacques), in Nazi-occupied Brooklyn.

This collectors' edition features the never-before-screened alternate pilot, "The Deer Story", in which Jim returns from work and notices a large deer stuck in his headlights. The boys enlist the help of their sister and begin to butcher the animal in their garage, but their efforts to get a free meal are thwarted - first by the arrival of the local Gestapo officer (Derek Guyler) and then by the vicar (Richard Wattis) who insists on a donation of venison before he'll leave.

Years later, Eric Sykes would admit to being influenced by the basic premise of the show when scripting his own sitcom, Sykes. However, he claimed the Nazis and the deer were "unworkable" and that it was "touch and go" about Derek Guyler for a while.

DVD extras include the 1964 documentary series, A Round with Kelly and Henderson, in which the two popular entertainers swap showbiz stories on the golf links of England; also featured is the first and only episode of the aborted second series, A Round with Kelly, in which one half of the lovable team buys a round in various pubs in Newcastle. Henderson was unwilling to participate, citing creative differences and train times as his reasons. It was to be another five years before they appeared together in The Bullshite Boys.

Fans of the duo will be pleased to know that they are still making regular appearances at Hexham Golf Course.

This day in 1942

14 May 1942 Terence Kelly born, Gateshead. Terry played as a centre forward for Newcastle's "N's" (nursery side) but failed to break into the first team squad at SJP and was released in 1962.

This is why he became a mackem.

Last Night's Set List at the Egypt Cottage

It was a busy night with more than double the usual turnout of players. Paul came to witness the proceedings but left early - obvoiusly having better things to do. He missed some interesting music, including: -

I Don't Want To Talk About It
Roll Another Number (for the Road)
Everybody's Talkin'

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Tex Avery

"Red Hot Riding Hood and Friends. It was with Avery's revisionary fables and fairy tales that his animation style at MGM first matured into something nearly revolutionary. Red Hot Riding Hood is prefaced with a full-blown "false start" before the actual film begins: a saccharine and totally misleading, oh-so-pretty interlude in the forest, deliberately suggestive of certain cloying excesses of Walt Disney and Harman-Ising, with little Red gleefully skipping along through the over-fecund foliage of the garden variety fairy tale, the big bad wolf readying himself to pounce, etc., etc. But here's the hitch: the wolf, Red, and Red's old grandma are painfully aware that they are being asked to play-act in an all-too-simpering rendition of the fairy tale, and they demand, right to the camera, a new and less sissified interpretation. The modernizing variations liberate the principals and Avery's increasingly more frenzied animation of them: Grandma's been turned into a nymphomaniacal swinger, and her rustic cottage home is now a hip penthouse pad. Little Red is now a pert and leggy pin-up girl, a red-hot singer/stripper, the wolf has become a street-prowling "Hollywood wolf" (the 1940s stereotype of pure male lecherousness), and the forest is supplanted by the big-city nightclub as the enchanted place of forbidden sexuality. "

From "Tex Avery - Arch-Radicalizer of the Hollywood Cartoon", by Greg Ford.

See the complete article in Bright Lights film journal at

Tuesday 12 May 2009



He may well be a Fat Aussie B*ST*RD, but he's our Fat Aussie B*ST*RD!

Monday 11 May 2009

The Archives - an update

The ultimate dilemma! I've recieved the Preview Disc of Neil's Archives (as a bonus for ordering early) today. What should I do? Listen to the Archives or go to THE match? Help me FBs!


Sunday 10 May 2009


Cousin Jim has made a firm commitment to film three classic episodes in his episodic life. 'The Deer Story', 'McConkey's Jacket' and 'The Bishop' will be available soon on dvd. Praise the Lord!


Thursday 7 May 2009


Young Donald

Q & A: Donald Fagen
April 25, 2009 — irom
Donald Fagen on Our Secret Society
By Devon Wendell

Recently I had the opportunity for an exclusive interview with my great friend, mentor, and former employer, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan on the influence of jazz on his life and music. Here’s the result. And don’f forget that Donald, Walter and the gang will begin their summer tour of the U.S. and Europe in June.

Devon Wendell: Do you think jazz aficionados have inborn obsessive compulsive tendencies, like if I don’t go out and find every recording that Fats Navarro ever played on, I’ll go insane?

Donald Fagen: I still have a little of that OCD jazz fan thing. Luckily, I had much better taste when I was in high school. My rigid aesthetic eliminated all but the very best composers and improvisers - Rollins, Miles, Ellington, Bird and a few others - that was it. I refused to buy Blue Note albums on the grounds that Alfred Lion forced the players on the label to write all those tunes with the funk cliches in them. Moreover, my allowance limited me to only the very best albums , so I couldn’t obsess too much. Now I have horrible taste like everybody else.

DW: The fusing of rock with different genres of jazz is part of what’s made the Steely Dan sound unique. When was the first time you felt you accomplished that distinct ‘fusion” successfully in a recording?

DF: Because Walter and I were jazz fans, we were comfortable with the harmonic language of modern jazz. On the other hand, we also liked r&b, soul music, Dylan, Laura Nyro and so on. Aside from the fact that we knew there was something amusing about overdriving a delicately balanced 13th chord through a Fender amp, I don’t think we were consciously “fusing” anything.

DW: Didn’t you get the memo sent out in 1963 that no flatted 5ths or 7ths are allowed in rock n’ roll?

DF: No. but I remember that we had to inform certain guitarists that hanging on a flat 5th - as opposed to using it as an ornament in the way that blues players do - was mega-dorky, unless, of course, your intention was a surferesque farcical effect to begin with.

DW: What was the very first jazz recording you heard?

DF: Wow. Well, my mom had a few Benny Goodman sides from 30s.

DW: I notice that when you play piano at times, you attack the keys in a very percussive manner that is visually reminiscent of Monk’s. Is that an intentional or just a physical reaction to the music?

DF: Monk sounded totally natural to me the first time I heard him. And I remember thinking, hey, he plays like a gorilla, like me, it must be okay. Later I got to watch great studio players like Artie Butler and Paul Griffin. Like Monk, they basically played at Gospel level, like Aretha Franklin - tough and loud.

DW: Did you get to see Monk perform at The Five Spot?

DF: No, but I saw him later, at the Village Gate with Charlie Rouse - fantastic.

DW: Discovering jazz at a young age, did you feel that it isolated you from other people your age, like you were part of some swinging nerdy secret society?

DF: Yes, but I used to read a lot and I was skinny and Jewish so I was already isolated.

DW: Growing up, what were some of the most memorable jazz performances you witnessed, good and bad?

DF: Charles Mingus and his demonic drummer Danny Richmond were the most exciting. I saw them a number of times, usually at the Vanguard (Max Gordon used to give me a coke and sit me near the bandstand). Maynard Ferguson’s 1961 band was monstrous. I saw Monk, Coltrane, Basie, Coleman Hawkins with Roy Eldridge, Bill Evans - all bigger than life. And one country bluesman who killed me: Mississippi John Hurt.

DW: Jazz radio certainly isn’t what it was in the 50’s. Were you a fan of The Symphony Sid show out of NYC?

DF: My favorite was Mort Fega on WEVD. By the time I was listening, Sid was going heavy on the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz thing.

DW: Did you get to hear his final broadcast?

DF: No, but someone sent me a tape of a 1961 Christmas show where he’s totally blotto.

DW: I remember being in the studio with you during the “Two Against Nature” sessions and I was playing a Coltrane recording from his early Riverside years and you remarked; “That’s when he was playing out of tune.” Has your amazing sense of pitch made it hard to enjoy some of Coltrane’s, or say Eric Dolphy’s, music when the intonation often seemed intentionally off for thematic purposes?

DF: Not at all. Coltrane rarely played out of tune, but, in any case, it’s only on some of those Prestige records with Miles - my favorite period for Coltrane anyway. I like him best as a wild, off-center hard bop player. Eric Dolphy plays out of tune, out of time and just plain out - and it’s always perfect. I couldn’t play Eric when my mom was home, though. Or the Stones, either.

DW: So many jazz artists that I’ve encountered of all ages are die hard Steely Dan fans, a lot of whom don’t particularly like rock music. How does it feel to have had such a huge impact on the music that has influenced your life so much?

DF: Actually, I know for a fact that some jazz people still hate us. And that’s okay. My jazz purist self still hates us. As I mentioned on the phone, I met Gary Giddins the other day and I said I really liked his work.. Gary said, “You know Robert Christgau’s a really big fan of yours!”

DW: What younger jazz artists have gotten your attention over the past decade?

DF: To tell you the truth, I’m pretty out of touch. I like Chris Potter. And the guys in our horn section.

DW: Do you feel any major innovations have been made in jazz in recent years?

DF: Search me. I’m pretty lost after about 1966 or so.

DW: I remember you commenting that the musicians you and Walter hire must know bebop changes. Has finding those kinds of players become an easier process over the years?

DF: Yes. Schooled jazz players can play just about any sort of music these days. Which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all great soloists. That’s as rare as ever.

DW: Are there certain jazz recordings that you must always have with you on the road?

DF: I have most of the records I listened to in high school on an itunes playlist.

DW: For jazz and most truly innovative music, it’s the packaging that’s added to the gestalt; art work, liner notes, photography, etc. With the digital age and downloading music, do feel this that this has been lost forever?

DF: Yes.

DW: Do you find that jazz lovers take the music too seriously and miss that sense of humor that people like Duke, Monk, Sonny Rollins, Mingus, Dizzy, and even Bird incorporated so naturally into the music?

DF: Yes.

DW: For many of the “purists”, “Smooth Jazz” is considered the nail in the coffin or something out of Revelations. How do you feel about the genre?

DF: I agree. Sirius Radio recently changed the name of their jazz station from “Pure Jazz”, which played great stuff, to “Real Jazz” which is a gagger.

DW: What’s your all time favorite Steely Dan cover by a jazz artist?

DF: I still like one of the first - “Do It Again” by Herbie Mann. Also, Joe Roccisano did some nice charts where he just used the tune as a jump off point. That’s the best way to go.

DW: Honestly, whose version of “The Goodbye Look” do you prefer, yours or Mel Torme’s?

DF: I’ve always been afraid to listen to vocal covers of my tunes. I’m scared of that “Sammy Davis Jr. sings the Bob Dylan Songbook” effect. Or, “Bob Denver reads “Howl’”. You know what I mean?

DW: I sure do. Thanks for taking the time to talk. It’s always fun to hear what you have to say.


Check out The International Review of Music at

Da's Doings

Set list from last nights gig in the Egypt Cottage: -

1st Set:
Tennessee Waltz
Too Far Gone
The Needle & The Damage Done

2nd Set:
Falling (Premiere live performance)
Don't Let It Bring You Down
Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Closing Jam:
Impromptu blues in E

Wednesday 6 May 2009