With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Catherine Rocks The Cleveland Way! May 26, 2018


Many of you who know me will by now know that my wonderful wife Catherine will very soon be embarking on a mammoth 109 mile charity walk on the Cleveland Way in the North East of England. A map of the Cleveland Way is shown at the very end of this post. Why is she doing this? Well four years ago Catherine and I were totally devastated by the loss of two children as a result of an adoption disruption. It was clear to us that the support needed by vulnerable children was just not available. There was no money and no urgency to the long term support that was needed. It is incredibly important to both of us that the children and young people in our community have access to the support they need to thrive and to grow into happy and resilient adults. We know that we are unable to do anything now for the children we lost, but we want to try and make a difference to the lives of other children and young people. We want to do whatever we can to try and prevent what happened to our children from happening again. Please feel free to contribute toward Catherine’s target of £10,000. Her efforts so far means that she is already at 46% of that total. Click here for the link to donate.

Anything you can add to that will be invaluable to the two charities we are supporting. Those charities are The Island (Enhancing the quality of life for vulnerable children and young people in York) and SASH (Working to prevent homelessness in young people aged 16-25 in York, North Yorkshire & East Yorkshire).

The Island offers support to vulnerable 8-13 years olds in York who are struggling to cope at home, at school, or in the wider community, or who are experiencing difficult transitions in their lives. The Island links these young people with volunteer mentors with whom they meet on a weekly basis over the course of a year (or longer if required). This allows them to develop supportive, ongoing relationships, whilst also providing them with the undivided attention and the ‘islands of space and time’ they need to increase their confidence and self-esteem, participate in worthwhile recreational activities, and move forward in their lives.

SASH run supported lodgings schemes which help young people develop the skills they need to live on their own. They provide an emergency nightstop service that makes a difference to young people’s lives when most needed.

Both charities need your support. They only exist because people in our community care enough to help them do what they do. Please click here to find Catherine’s Virgin Money Giving page. Now obviously this blog is essentially a music blog so I have picked ten walking themed songs (ok the first one loosely links to Catherine’s walking route) I hope that you enjoy them. In fact feel free to listen while you donate 🙂

 

 

“The trial was a pig circus, he never had a chance” February 3, 2016


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The other day I decided to take a quick count of all the artists in my album collection where I have at least 10 albums by a single artist. I included CDs, LPs and cassettes (although the only non compilation cassettes that I have are David Bowie bootlegs). Oh and while I’m on bootleg recordings obviously I have included them whether they are live, studio outtakes or simply unreleased stuff. I have not included digital recordings. I was surprised to find that there are 4o artists where I have at least ten releases by them. The list is below, (artist followed by the number of albums) there are no real surprises for me, are you surprised at any on this list? Have you ever done anything similar? I have also added a song from each of the top ten artists 🙂

David Bowie 141
Bob Dylan 30
Johnny Nash 26
Bruce Springsteen 26
Beatles 25
Neil Young 25
Elton John 19
Bob Marley 19
U2 19
Rod Stewart 18
Pink Floyd 17
REM 17
Elvis Costello 15
The Eels 15
Prince 15
Paul Weller 15
Ryan Adams 14
Led Zeppelin 14
Madonna 14
The Clash 13
Elvis Presley 13
Radiohead 13
Kate Bush 12
Oasis 12
Lou Reed 12
Stevie Wonder 12
Morrissey 11
Tom Waits 11
ZZ Top 11
Jeff Buckley 10
Julian Cope 10
Johnny Cash 10
Michael Jackson 10
John Lennon 10
Manic Street Preachers 10
Kylie Minogue 10
Iggy Pop 10
Rolling Stones 10
Frank Turner 10
The Who 10

 

“Spike heels make a hole in a life boat, drifting away when I’m talking and laughing as we float” – Advent day 16 December 16, 2013


16It’s December 16th and therefore day 16 of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts. I’m enjoying the music in these advent posts and I hope that you are too.  So on to two songs with the number sixteen in their title.

tennesseeeerniefordThe first song for today is from Ernest Jennings Ford who was better known as Tennessee Ernie Ford. The song is about working in a coal mine and it is called “Sixteen Tons” it reached number 1 in the US charts in 1955. The song has been recorded by many artists; including Stevie Wonder, the Redskins, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Bo Diddley, Robbie Williams, Dandy Warhols, Tom Morello and the Eels. Whilst Elvis Presley never recorded the song he did play it live when touring the US in 1955. The Clash had the Ford version of the song played just before they came on stage during their ‘Sixteen Tons’ US tour in 1980.

Jack White took over the cover of the May 2012 issue of Interview magazine-815282The second for today features an artist that appeared as part of one of his earlier bands on day 7 of my advent posts. It’s Jack White with a track taken from his first solo album, ‘Blunderbuss’ released in 2012. White says that the inspiration for the song came from his daughter. When Jack asked her what she would like as a snack she said sixteen saltine crackers, he said she could have three. The singles B Side was a cover of U2’s “Love Is Blindness“. The single was sadly largely ignored in the UK reaching only number 129 in the UK singles chart. The album went to number one in the UK though and also reached the top in Belgium, Canada, Switzerland and the USA.

 

“When the ink starts to itch, then the black will turn to red” – Advent day 13 December 13, 2013


13-StarWarsFriday 13th December, one step closer to Christmas and a fabulous day unless you are triskaidekaphobic. So on with the show and today that show comes to you courtesy of two iconic music legends. One from the US and one from the UK. One is sadly no longer with us and the other is very much alive.

johnny-cash-022112-doubleFirst up it’s the now departed Man In Black, Johnny Cash. The track I have chosen comes from the first of the albums that Cash recorded with Rick Rubin; ‘American Recordings‘ released in 1994. The song was written for Johnny by Glenn Danzig and it is called “Thirteen”. It took Danzig just twenty minutes to write the song. The album won a Best Contemporary Folk Album award at the 1994 Grammys. Cash joined the US Air Force in 1950 and for a time his role was to intercept morse code messages made by the Russian military. Apparently he was the first US radio operator to learn of the death of Joseph Stalin. The Cash family line could be traced back to 11th century Scotland.

Oct-Mir 33The second song for today comes from that spikey, scouse minstrel Declan McManus who most of you know as Elvis Costello. The title of that song is “Thirteen Steps Lead Down” it is taken from 1994′ s ‘Brutal Youth‘ album. This was the first album that Elvis had recorded with the Attractions for eight years. The song was released as the lead track of an EP; the “Thirteen Steps Lead Down EP” which included three other tracks. Those were, “We Despise You”, “Basement Kiss” and “Puppet Girl”. Did you know that the backing band on Costello’s first album ‘My Aim Is True’ were called Clover and that they went on to form the nucleus of Huey Lewis and the News? Well you do now. I had the pleasure of seeing Mr Costello play live in June this year and he was brilliant.

 

Jake Bugg – Barbican York Friday 29th March 2013 March 31, 2013


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As far as début albums go I believe that Jake Bugg‘s self titled long player is among the best ever and if you don’t have it yet then do something about it! Anyway a few months ago we bought tickets to see Jake play at the Barbican in York. That night finally arrived on Friday night. I am pleased to say it was a brilliant evening.

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Misty Miller was the support and she played a great 2o minute set. She has some really classy songs and a relaxed stage manner. Her drummer and bass player work well together too. I sensed a bit of Tina Weymouth from Talking Heads about her. Catwoman suggested a voice as strong as Deborah Harry‘s. Either way this young woman is pretty darned good. As well as supporting Mr Bugg she has also played a few support slots with Tom Odell; so she is getting some great exposure. I suggest that you check her out soon.

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As for Jake Bugg. It’s hard to believe that he has only been around for such a short while. I mean he is 35 years younger than me and he was born more than 20 years after I went to my first gig. He is a truly consummate rock performer. Great songs, great playing, the band were great and Jake’s singing was excellent. On top of that I was supremely impressed with his guitar soloing. Jake Bugg will go a long, long way and deservedly so. If his stated mission is to kill off all the X Factor shit then he has the talent, the drive and the weaponry to do it. If your child or anyone you know is a big X Factor fan lock them in a room and make them listen to Jake Bugg. I don’t think it will take them long to convert to real music like Jake Bugg’s. The only downer of the evening was the two drunk tosspots in front of us who spent most of the show talking loudly to each other and on their phones.

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As for the show Mr Bugg played most of his album. “Trouble Town” was superb and “Broken” certainly pulls on my heart-strings. Obviously the crowd went mental when he played “Lightning Bolt” including some people near us who danced to it while throwing some Usain Bolt shapes. I thought he might have used “Lightning Bolt” as his encore, but he had the balls to do it his way. He even played a couple of new songs and if they are a good sign of what musical direction he will take I think his next album might have a heavier sound.

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He did a couple of songs to encore; notably a song that he introduced as one of his favourites. It was a cover of Johnny Cash’sFolsom Prison Blues“. He did it proud. I get the impression that since his musical epiphany aged 12 while hearing Don McLean’s “Vincent” on an episode of the Simpsons he has been a sponge soaking up so many brilliant songs and influences. He is lauded by many people including Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller. But for me he is his own man, an original, definitely the one and only Jake Bugg. I also get the chance to see him again at the Reading Festival later this year and I can hardly wait! I should let you know that none of the pictures or videos in this post were taken by me at the gig.

 

Lisbee Stainton – York City Screen Basement – Friday 15th March 2013 March 17, 2013


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Catwoman and me have a friend called Jo Bagshaw is a truly creative designer of some really superb jewellery. She designed the jewellery for our wedding in September 2011; including an excellent pair of cufflinks which take pride of place in my collection. It was through Jo that we came to be at a gig by the abundantly talented Lisbee Stainton on Friday night. Jo knows Lisbee as she has recently designed some fabulous jewellery pieces based on the award-winning angel wings/ guitar logo used by Lisbee. Click here to reach Jo’s website.

So how was the gig? Well first I have never been to such a packed house at the Basement in City Screen. It is a very small venue but there must have been more than 50 people there. There were two support acts starting with Lauren Varley who played a set of her own songs, including “Mr Cold Feet” and she also added two superb covers one of Johnny Cash and the second an inspirational and soulful version of “House Of The Rising Sun“. Lauren is York based and I would definitely go and see her again. Great voice, great songs and smart and brave choices for cover songs. Click here to hear more of her and click here to find her on Facebook.

The second of the support acts was Aimee J Ryan. When she said that she did ‘go on a bit’ between songs she was right! Aimee has some good songs but her sound didn’t seem to be very clear. This was surprising given that the vocal sound quality for both Lauren Varley and Lisbee Stainton was crystal clear. But she definitely has talent so click here to check her out on Facebook.

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So now we get to Lisbee, from who we were expecting great things. It would be fair to say that she met our expectations. She not only has some excellent self penned songs, she plays guitar well and is a very accomplished singer. Her rapport with the audience is far better than some more established artists that I have seen playing live. She opened by walking straight into the audience from the dressing room to provide many of us with percussion instruments. I used mine throughout the show.

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She also had us singing some multi part harmonies, well I say singing but…… at least we tried!  I really loved “Girl On An Unmade Bed” along with a couple of new songs which may, hopefully, find their way on to her next album. Her band is also incredibly talented. I believe that Lisbee has the talent for greater success and if you get a chance to see her take it, you will not be disappointed. Click here to find Lisbee’s official website and make sure you check out the video for the wonderful song “Sidekick” which she also played on Friday. You can also find her on Facebook by clicking here. If you have been to any of the gigs on Lisbee’s tour I would love to hear from you.

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“Keep smiling through, just the way you used to do” November 11, 2012


Much has been said today of the courage and sacrifices of generations of men and women who lost their lives or their way of life by serving their country and rightly so. I, as I hope all of you, could never express enough thanks for what these people have done and continue to do. So I make this post in memory of all those who have been lost or injured in conflicts across the globe.

 

Reading Festival 2012 – Day 3 – Sunday 26th August August 27, 2012


So how did the last day of the festival arrive so quickly? Perhaps because two old rockers (that’s me and Mr Horslen) have had a fantastic jolly boys outing! Day 3 kicked off with the highly recommended (by Simon Pattinson) Deap Vally. They were fucking good; like an all girl White Stripes but with a much better drummer! We caught some of the Band Of Skulls set and they served up some pretty good blues rock. The Eagles Of Death Metal who on the previous occasions I had seen them were a superb party band. They were good this time but not as good as usual. I wonder whether the fact that the audience is now a bit further from the stage given the new safety barrier arrangement.

The Gaslight Anthem were next on the Main Stage. These guys definitely get better every time I see them, it must be something about the water in New Jersey because there is definitely at least an injection of Springsteen in their songs. Another comedy break came next and Stephen K Amos was bloody hilarious. His handling of hecklers was the best I have seen in a long while. Alberta Cross don’t sound like they’re from Alberta nor do they sound cross. But they do sound good.

The loudest band ever on the BBC Introducing stage has to be Marmozet. Are they Slipknot without the masks? I think I like them. Next it’s the Lock Up stage for Good Riddance, basically a bit derivative of many US punk bands and therefore not particularly original. Was that Johnny Cash playing guitar in the Mark Lanegan Band? Is Mark receiving messages from beyond the grave from Jim Morrison? We need to know! The Kaiser Chiefs were far better than I expected but I doubt that I’ll ever be a big fan of theirs. Every day I love you less and less; indeed. Everything is average nowadays; double indeed! The Black Keys rocked like motherfuckers; ’nuff said!

So just how good was the send off from Reading 2012? It was the Fucking Foo Fighters, that’s how good it was. Undoubtedly one of the best headline sets I have ever seen at Reading and I have been going since the late 70s. Sadly I haven’t been every year in that time, but I have only missed around two of the last twenty and Nick and me have headed to Reading together for around ten years now. The Foos played for two and a half hours and if the field had a roof on they surely would have blown it off. Dave Grohl is a talented genius and a true superstar. None of the rumoured special guest turned up but they weren’t needed. In the few hours before the Foos Nick and I both thought about toning it down or not going as often. But after the Foo Fighters we were completely fired up for Reading 2013. Bring it on!

 

“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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