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Track of the Day

9 Sep

Mary Stuart on this day, 1553, aged just nine months old, was crowned “Queen of Scots” in the central Scottish town of Stirling. To mark the occasion I’ve loaded Fredde Gredde’s version of Killer Queen by Queen. The work that the 25-year-old Swede put into this deserves a hats off. you made my day Fredde!


On This Day 1533

7 Sep

Elizabeth I, was born. Later when she could walk and talk – In order to suppress Catholicism, she had thousands of Catholics in England and Ireland murdered.  She also gave Mary, Queen of Scots refuge, then betrayed her, locked her up in the tower for nearly 19 years, then murdered her.
She encouraged piracy against Spanish ships and allowed the slave trade to thrive. Way-d-go Bessy!
This is for her.

Track of the Day

6 Sep

John Dalton, English chemist who led research into atomic theory and color blindness, was born this day 6.9.1766. Here’s Debbie Harry with Blondie – pure natural matter!



Roger Waters of Pink Floyd celebrates his 69th Birthday today. In an interview  in Berlin – concert on 4.9  he uttered his support in the preserve the Berlin Wall project to save from building luxury apartments in its place. point taken. Then he went on to fly an enormous inflated pig, with a painted St Davidstern over the heads of the audience at the Olympic Stadium concert. Well, shine on you provocative crazy diamond.


Track of the Day

5 Sep

Today is International Day of  Charity. Lou Reeds ‘Perfect Day’ cover, with Reed, Bono, David Bowie, Elton John, Burning Spear, and Shane MacGowan, Emmylou Harris and others, raised more than $3.3 million for Children in Need Charity. Here’s the original version.

Hemingway: Lady Gaga of the 20th Century

2 Jul
Ernest Hemingway 21.7.1899 – 2.7. 2013

Ernest Hemingway 21.7.1899 – 2.7. 1961

Ernest Hemingway  was the ‘The Lady Gaga of his era’, (Marty Beckerman: The Heming Way). He was as celebrated as the afore-mentioned in his day, he was controversial and one of the most important writers of the 20th century, revolutionising American writing.
Born on 21, July 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, Ernest Hemingway served in World War One as an ambulance driver before entering the world of journalism, which pathed the way to his literally style before publishing his story collection In Our Time. His novels; The Sun Also Rises, was written during the time he spent in Paris, where he met F. Scott Fitzgerald  – who in turn took the manuscript to his own publisher who published it … the rest as they say is history. A Farewell to Arms followed  about his experiences in the war, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea, were acclaimed, the latter winning the 1951 Pulitzer.

He served as a newspaper war correspondent in the Spanish Civil War and second world war In 1954, Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in literature.

Hemingway’s private life was more fragile and stormy than his professional and macho persona. In 1953 he was involved with two successive plane crashes while on Safari in Africa, newspapers reporting his death after the second. He suffered from alcoholism that may have exacerbated the onset of depression in his later life. After being clinically treat with electroshock treatment he became very sick and he lost his will to live.

Hemingway ended his own life with a rifle, aged 61 on this day 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho.

Ernest Hemingway lived in Cuba between 1940 and left midst the Cuban Revolution, he’d had a full life moving from war-time in Italy then to Paris, Key West, Africa, Spain and back to his final home in Ketchum, Idaho. I leave you with some wonderful music of that time and of those places… and a bit of BuenaVista Social Club for good measure.

The Walker Brothers Walk.

3 May
The Walker Brothers; Scott Engel, John Maus, Gary Leeds

The Walker Brothers; Scott Engel, John Maus, Gary Leeds

The actual date is contentious, but the Walkers Brothers did  bid adieu to fans in May 1967. Scott Walker (born Noel Scott Engel in Ohio on the 9th January 1944), John Walker (b. John Maus, New York, 12 Nov. 1943) and Gary Walker (b. Gary Leeds, 3. Sept 1944 in Glendale, CA). Leeds – an ex-memebr of The Standells, met Engel (former bassist of Routers) and Maus while they were performing with The Dalton Brothers. The three formed the Walker Brothers and after a dodgy start in the US, they moved to England where they were taken under the wing of manager Maurice King. Maus had debuted as lead vocalist with Pretty Girls Everywhere, but it was Scott Engel’s voice – that can still melt bricks in my opinion, which shot them in the top 20 with Love Her in May 1965.

Right place, right time, helped the Walker Brothers fill Phil Spectres Righteous Brothers shoes as they had enjoyed the success and were now starting to fall in the UK charts.  Hits like ‘Make It Easy On Yourself’, ‘The Sun Ain’t  Gonna Shine Anymore‘ followed, but friction in the Walker camp between Maus and Engel was starting to smoke – and the second solo EP ‘Solo Scott, Solo John’ in 1967 signalled their intentions to split. Their flirt with fame as a trio turned to tragic love affair .  They attempted to weaken their decline between 1965 and ’67 with tracks like ‘You Don’t Have To Tell Me‘, ‘Another Tear‘, ‘Stay With Me Baby‘ and the film theme tune from’ Deadlier Tan The Male‘ – a James Bond spin-off with a great title, 1967. And the final nail in the coffin came with the farewell song ‘Walking In The Rain‘ – with a diluted review from Musical Express, titled; ‘Walkers Last Not Great’.

Gary Leeds went on to form his own group, Gary Walker and The Rain, in the autumn of 1967. Maus went onto a solo career and wrote songs like ‘Annabella‘ with Graham Nash that received chart success. Scott Engel started taking another route – partying antics with play boy bunnys lead to the music of Jacque Brel and Engel was hooked. He covered 3 songs by Brel, including Jacky, on his first solo album ‘Scott’.

Well, you can’t keep a good man band down and the Walkers walked back on the scene in 1975 with their comeback album ‘No Regrets‘. The follow-up  ‘Lines‘  was similar to it’s predecessor but  their Swansong Album ‘Nite Flights‘ took on a brave experimental  flavour, one which would become better known in Scott Engels future solo work.

Walker Brothers Discography: Take It Easy With The Walker Brothers (1965), Portrait (1966), Images (1967), No Regrets (1975), Lines (1977), Nite Flights (1978), The Walkers Brothers In Japan (1987, rec. 1968). Compilations: After The Lights Go Out- Best Of 1965-1967 (1990), No Regrets – The Best Of The Walker Brothers (1991).

This is just my small way of paying respects to a band I loved as a teenager – born the year they split I can only commemorate a past I’d like to have witnessed. I’ve made a playlist of the tracks I love of theirs, and a couple of others from artists whole played a role in the Walker Brothers lives and vice versa. The Old Man is Back Again has been left out (see post Track of the Day, 27.03.13 ). David Bowie covers My Death (Scott Walker) in 1973. Tom Rush’s original version of ‘No Regrets‘ takes on a lighter, resignated sadness to the high drama of the Walker Brothers. Engel suffered from chronic nightmares which influenced a lot of his solo work. Rawhide could be one them? The Electrician – a political epitaph, written about N. America sending people to train torture in South America. Neko Case covers Engels ‘Duchess‘ in 1997, originally rec. 1969.


















May Day Playlist

1 May
Walter Cranes' International Solidarity of Labour 1889

Walter Cranes’ International Solidarity of Labour 1889

The first of May – or May Day, has a load of stuff pinned to it – from way back to raucous pagan celebrations, the Celtic fest of Beltane – or in central northern Europe ‘Walpurgisnacht‘. For me it contours images of getting in a tangle round the school Maypole.

Regarded today as International Workers Day. 1st May celebrations were born out of of commemoration for the Haymarket Martyrs, 1886 in Chicago. As a demonstration gathered during a general strike for the eight-hour day, a bomb was thrown while police tried to disperse crowds – police reacted with pistol fire and 4 demonstrators were killed. Hence, a whole load of demo-ing went on between then and 1904, when the Socialist Party and Trade Unions were called in by the Second International Congress to kind of promote – in all countries, energetic demonstration, for the legal establishing of the eight-hour day, also to respect the class demands of the proletariat and let’s not forget universal peace. Quite a tall order.

As for todays playlist – eight in all, and keeping with the general theme. Never Been In A Riot by the Mekons, written in response to White Riot by The Clash seems like a good place to start.

  1. Mekons Never Been In A Riot
  2. Lee Dorsey Working In A Coal Mine
  3. Merle Travis Sixteen Tons
  4. Woodie Guthrie Talkin Hard Work
  5. The Vogues Five O’Clock World
  6. Jimmy Dean Big Bad John
  7. Merle Haggard Working Mans Blues
  8. Bob Dylan Maggie’s Farm (a totally not-fitting-into-the-dylan-60s poet image – 80’s rendition for Farm Aid)









Earth Day,*22. April, 1970

22 Apr

It’s been observed since April 1970 – was pioneered by John McConnell in 1969. However, a second Earth Day was founded by US State Senator Gaylord Nelson, after he witnessed the consequences of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill in 1969. He planned it as a general educational forum to discuss complicated issues (a Teach-in). While the event was kept Stateside in the beginning,  an organisation launched by Denis Hayes- who was the original national coordinator in 1970, made the effort to take it internationally – to 141 nations, and today it’s coordinated by Earth Day Network.

The day’s 30th anniversary in 2000 was used to promote a global call for cleaner energy while 2010 saw the launch an initiative to plant 1m trees. But in light of the report from the IEA (Input To Clean Energy) the figures have been underwhelming and could be doing better:
As for the 1 million trees, New York alone has reached 662,111 trees to date, The Big Tree Plant, UK website claims to have planted 239,514 in towns, cities and neighbourhoods over England.

There are always pros and contras and people singing about the Planet, about the dire situation but as Funkadelic so aptly put it with Maggot Brain (the song unintended to be an earth anthem);

Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time
For y’all have knocked her up.
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe
I was not offended
For I knew I had to rise above it all
Or drown in my own shit.

John Denver also wrote the song ‘Plant A Tree’ for the National Arbor Day Foundation, but I can’t quite bring myself to download and blog it. Instead heres ELOs Everyones Born To Die to start your day – a jolly old song where Jeff Lynne seems to be under the Influence of Dylan.


20 Apr

As stated on the 18.3.13 post – RSD is upon us. There’s absolutely tonnes of good stuff happening today. Celebrations over the globe rejoicing in vinyl!
2013 kicked off with 78 percent more vinyl record sales than the previous year –  and to add sugar to the figures, 500 plus records have been exclusively produced for the days events – which is a definite incentive for fans to get their hands on limited editions.

Check it out. Here are links to news and events:

World Art Day 15 April

15 Apr

In the hope of spreading Art awareness, last year Bedri Baykam presented a proposal suggesting that Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, April 15, be declared World Art Day (WAD). A whole bunch of countries including Mexico, France, China, Cyprus (Greek), Sweden, Japan, Slovakia, Mauritius and Norway unanimously accepted the proposal by the IAA’s General Assembly. The AA/AIAP, is an NGO operating with UNESCO, comprising artists belonging essentially to the fields of painting, sculpture, printmakers and artists practising other forms of creative work in the visual arts.

Although the music world isn’t included in WAD, there does exist a World Music Day celebrated every year (since 1982) which takes place on 21. June. More of that in June, but for now here is WAD playlist. I have to praise John Langford for his entertaining prowess. He’s just great and this song slaps down on the counter what it’s like to be an artist and entertainer. And it goes without saying that Langford’s other bands, mates and collaborators – Sally Timms, The Sadies and the amazing Mekons – join him in excellence.
Brian (Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle ) Eno, is not only an accomplished master mind musician and author, he created ‘Self Storage’  – an Installation that was exhibited at the Alcan Foil Factory near Wembley in 1995. The song Regiment from the Album My Life In A Bush Of Ghosts (Brian Eno, David Byrne) is an amazing, eclectic, sensual mix of east meets west and the Album as a whole was considered ground breaking upon its release in 1981. It is indeed timeless as it brings together electronics, ambience, held together with a beautiful bass line and beat.

  1. Regiment, Brian Eno and David Byrne
  2. There She Goes Again, Velvet Underground & Nico
  3. Andy Warhol, David Bowie
  4. Renaissance Man, Gene Burnett
  5. Architects Dream, Kate Bush
  6. John Langford, Are You An Entertainer
  7. Art For Art Sake, 10CC
  8. Street Life, Roxy Music
I leave you also with the video of Roxy Music’s Street Life. Brian Ferry- well he’s just a walking work of art in a sharp suit.
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