With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Gregory Porter – Harrogate International Centre – Saturday 11th July 2015 July 11, 2015


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The delectable Catwoman and I took ourselves off to see the supremely talented Gregory Porter in Harrogate on Saturday night. Without a doubt he is an incredibly talented singer. If you see him as ‘just’ a jazz singer then you need to think again, yes he is very much in the jazz field but this guy also oozes soul and he can sing gospel and blues. His band is incredible and could easily work as an instrumental band in their own right. But when you add Mr Porter’s voice to the magical sounds the band produce you have a perfect mix.

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Until tonight I had only really heard the songs from his ‘Liquid Spirit’ album. I hadn’t appreciated that this was his third album! Gregory is also a very talented songwriter. My particular favourites are “Liquid Spirit”, “Water Under Bridges”, “Hey Laura”, “Free” and “Wolfcry”. The pianist Chip Crawford is an incredible pianist and his playing reminded me at times of Mike Garson. In the extended intro to “Wolfcry” Chip slotted in a piece from ‘Peter And The Wolf’ and the ‘Star Wars Theme‘. Ithink my favourite song of the whole show was “1960 What?” from his first album ‘Water’

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Listening to Gregory and his band I was reminded of my days of being a soul boy and heavily into jazz funk in the late 70s. His vocals have a hint of Marvin Gaye about them and the overall sound of Mr Porter and his band was for me reminiscent of Roy Ayers, Norman Connors, the Blackbyrds and especially Gil Scott Heron. I will definitely see Gregory Porter again if the opportunity arises. On top of his immense talent he comes across as a very gracious and humble man. He clearly has great respect for his band; Chip Crawford (piano), Aaron James (double bass), Emanuel Harrold (drums) and Yosuke Sato (Sax). I think the feel-good-factor injected from this gig will stay with me for quite a while.

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As often happens I will end this post with a public service announcement. It is probably obvious, but none of the pictures or videos in this post were taken or filmed by me!

 

“I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon” November 29, 2012


Based upon information released recently it is alleged that the US Government had planned to blow up the moon in the late 50s as a means of intimidating their nemesis in the Cold War, the Soviet Union. After the Russians effectively took the lead in the Space Race with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 it was apparently believed that a show of strength like blowing up the moon would really scare the Russians. Apparently it was called ‘A Study of Lunar Research Flights’ or ‘Project A119‘. Even that sounds a little James Bond like doesn’t it?

It really does seem like a crackpot scheme and it is unlikely at the time that anyone possessed enough in their nuclear arsenal to actually complete the task. At best it might have left the man in the moon looking more like the elephant Man and the satellite’s surface covered in high levels of radiation. In addition any debris that fell to earth would almost certainly have been radioactive as well.

I wonder if this idea came from the same think tank that thought of the idea of using an explosive cigar to blow up Fidel Castro or to rig the voting in Florida in 2000 in favour of Dubya. Ooops wait a minute that second one was true wasn’t it? had it happened then Neil Armstrong probably wouldn’t have been there to utter his famous ‘one step for man’ line. But then again maybe it did happen and didn’t work very well other than to make the moon radioactive. That would certainly give more credence to those people who believe the moon landings were faked and took place in a film studio directed by Stanley Kubrick.

I’d love to know what you think of this incredibly stupid, yet potentially real plan of  Eisenhower’s government. Bearing in mind that his Vice President was Tricky Dicky Nixon, maybe it isn’t surprising! Anyway as I have said many times before so here are a few songs that may not have happened or certainly wouldn’t have been the same had the moon been blown to smithereens, feel free to add your own moon related songs.

Apologies but there are two kiddie fiddlers for the price of one on this next one!

And finally a special Billy Bonus, my favourite track from Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark side Of The Moon’; “Brain Damage”

 

“You’re worth more, you’re worth more than this, you can take a leap without the risk” December 23, 2011


Now that the wind had changed direction Matt's face would remain like that

It’s that time of year when we reflect as individuals on the highs and lows of our year and more importantly we decided what the best album and song of the year was. Many publications take part in this annual festivity and my newspaper of choice, the Guardian, is no exception. I expected to see the top 2o albums and songs of 2011 as voted by Guardian readers (including me) to show a similar profile to the lists of other publications and possibly of the critics employed by the newspaper.

Matt sold all his clothes to buy votes in the Guardian poll

However thanks to what I would call (rather begrudgingly) and excellently executed piece of guerilla voting by all of Matt Cardle‘s fans which must number in the high hundreds (ok that was wishful thinking on my part). They have managed to succeed in voting him into first place in both lists. Regular readers of this blog will know the general disdain I show the X factor and all it spawns and for me Matt Cardle is no exception. I find him insipid, limp, lacking charisma and at best an ok karaoke singer. Before the devout fans get on their high horses let me say that I have listened to his album before forming this opinion. I am not like the Christian Fundamentalists in the USA who burned Harry Potter books without having the good grace and common sense to read them first.

Being beaten by Matt Cardle had hurt Polly very deeply

Fair play to the Matt Cardle fans, but in my humblest of opinions his stuff shouldn’t even be close to the top twenty for the year or even the top 50 for the year, unless of course we are talking about the turkey awards. The number two slot in the albums list was taken by Polly Harvey‘s ‘Let England Shake’ and for the songs it was the sublime “Video Games” from Lana Del Ray. Click here to read the Guardian report on what I will refer to as Cardlegate.

The full lists are shown below. I have 11 of the albums and 12 of the songs if you’d like to begin to understand my own eclectic tastes. My own favourite song for the year is “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People, which is in the list and my favourite album is ’50 Words For Snow’ from Kate Bush. The latter sadly isn’t in the list;

Guardian Readers’ albums of 2011

20 Destroyer – Kaputt

19 Adele – 21

18 Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi

17 Björk – Biophilia

16 St Vincent – Strange Mercy

15 King Creosote & John Hopkins – Diamond Mine

14 The Arctic Monkeys – Suck it and See

13 Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX – We’re New Here

12 Josh T Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen

11 Wu Lyf – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain

10 Metronomy – The English Riviera

9 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

8 Katy B – On A Mission

7 The Horrors – Skying

6 Tom Waits – Bad as Me

5 James Blake – James Blake

4 Wild Beasts – Smother

3 Bon Iver – Bon Iver

2 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

1 Matt Cardle – Letters

Guardian Readers’ songs of 2011

20 St Vincent – Cruel

19 Nicola Roberts – Beat of My Drum

18 Azealia Banks – 212

17 Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks

16 Summer Camp – Better Off Without You

15 Wild Beasts – Bed Of Nails

14 Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle

13 Lady Gaga – Born This Way

12 Bon Iver – Holocene

11 Joe Goddard – Gabriel

10 SBTRKT – Hold On

9 Laura Marling – Sophia

8 Metronomy – The Look

7 Radiohead – Lotus Flower

6 PJ Harvey – The Words That Maketh Murder

5 Adele – Someone Like You

4 M83 – Midnight City

3 The Horrors – Still Life

2 Lana Del Rey – Video Games

1 Matt Cardle – Starlight

Here are a few related videos, starting with one of my least favourite songs of the year “Run For Your Life” from Matt Cardle

 

“The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb, Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdinck, or the Rare Earth” May 28, 2011


News broke earlier today that the immensely talented Gil Scott-Heron passed away yesterday in New York aged just 62. He fell ill after returning from a European trip. He was perhaps more poet than anything else, but was also seen as a pioneer of rap and hip hop with his mainly spoken word recordings. In fact his first album came about after his first book of poetry was published and he suggested to his publisher that it would be a good idea to record a backing for his readings of his words.

He also had a great talent for intelligent and clever protest in his lyrics. Classics of that genre would be songs like “The Revolution Will Not be Televised” which is still quite pertinent today. The first time I ever heard anything by him was when I heard “Johannesburg” on the radio in 1976. That was probably my first experience of what apartheid was all about as well and added to my political views, which were very much shaped by the music I listened to in my formative years; Marvin Gaye, Temptations, Bob Marley, The Clash and John Lennon among others.

He worked regularly with Brian Jackson who helped provide the fusion of soul and jazz that backed a lot of Scott-Heron’s work. After a couple of spells in prison for cocaine possession and alleged parole violation he returned with an excellent new album early last year. The album was ironically titled ‘I’m New Here‘ and received widespread acclaim. A remix of the album retitled ‘We’re New Here’ was done in collaboration with Jamie Smith aka Jamie xx of the band the xx.

He has been described as the Godfather of Rap and the black Bob Dylan. His influence runs very wide and he will be sorely missed. My condolences go to his family, friends and all his fans around the world. Gil Scott-Heron RIP. I would like you to celebrate his life with some of his greatest songs, well my ten favourites at least. Let me know what you thought of Gil’s work.

 

 
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