Friday 26 April 2024

Blue Friday: Where There Are Pixels

Disclaimer: this post was written in December 2023, and scheduled for future posting. Its contents may no longer be accurate or appropriate.

Haven't done a BF post for some time, but here's a thing of beauty from Martin Rossiter. Where There Are Pixels shows that it's still possible to feel lonely, however hyperconnected the digital world has made us all.

Honestly, if you still don't have the album from whence this comes, sort yourself out!

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Wednesday 17 April 2024

Music Assembly: Asturias

Disclaimer: this post was written in December 2023, and scheduled for future posting. Its contents may no longer be accurate or appropriate.

Isaac Albéniz (29th May 1860 – 18th May 1909) was a Spanish virtuoso pianist, composer, and conductor. He was one of the foremost composers of the Post-Romantic era, and also had a significant influence on his contemporaries and younger composers. So says Wikipedia, and who am I to argue? Whatever, whilst he is remembered for his piano works based on Spanish folk music, it's Asturias that he is probably best known for, especially the guitar transcription thereof (despite the fact that it wasn't originally written for guitar).

If we'd had Croatian guitar prodigy Ana Vidovic playing this to us, as we sat through another Wednesday music assembly at school, I certainly would have sat up and paid close attention. Am ever so slightly beguiled, even now.

Tip the authorThere. Don't we all feel a bit more cultured now? Despite the guy in the audience with the percussive cough?

Sunday 14 April 2024

Sunday shorts: Love

Disclaimer: this post was written in December 2023, and scheduled for future posting. Its contents may no longer be accurate or appropriate.

Haven't done a Sunday short in a long time, but this is Love by Dave Monks of Tokyo Police Club, a gently building acoustic stream of consciousness with a lovely, literal video interpretation... "'cos that is love".

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Monday 8 April 2024

Monday long song: Astradyne

Disclaimer: this post was written in December 2023, and scheduled for future posting. Its contents may no longer be accurate or appropriate.

I'm not sure that Ultravox get remembered kindly enough. The received wisdom is that they were a serious synth outfit until John Foxx left and was replaced by Midge Ure, who took them in a more commercial, and implicitly less serious, direction.

Well, if that is correct, and it's a big 'if', then Vienna was the pivot around which everything swung. I'm not talking about the brilliant bombast of the single (Joe Dolce though, eh?) but the album of the same name, every second of which is a nailed-on, stone-cold synth classic.

My big sister's best friend had the album, which is how I came by a very hissy taped copy in 1980. This, Astradyne, was track one, side one, and it knocked me sideways.

Tip the authorStill sounds bloody great, I reckon.

Monday 1 April 2024

Plonk

Disclaimer: this post was written in December 2023, and scheduled for future posting. Its contents may no longer be accurate or appropriate.

What do charity-shop CD section stalwart Susan Boyle, where-is-he-now TV presenter Phillip Schofield, bespectacled 90s ginge Chris Evans, Noughties chart-botherer Hannah Spearritt and YouTube non-boxer Logan Paul all have in common? Well, today is their birthday ... but (and it's a massive but) you'll be relieved to hear I'm not going to write about any of them.

Fortunately for us all, April 1st was also the late Ronnie Lane's birthday, he of Faces fame, both Small and, er, unclassified.

With Steve Marriott, Ronnie co-wrote most of The Small Faces' hits, so picking one for today, especially one that I haven't featured before, is going to be hard, because there was a time when I blogged about them often. However, here is a live for TV recording of All Or Nothing that amply demonstrates the distinctive bass sound that earned Lane the affectionate nickname of Plonk.

After the regular-sized Faces broke up in '73, Ronnie recorded a number of albums as Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance, and famously collaborated with Pete Townshend in 1977 on Rough Mix, to the delight of old mods everywhere, no doubt. But he never recaptured the success of The Small Faces and Faces. Then, at the tail end of the 70s, Ronnie was diagnosed with multiple schlerosis. Although he continued to work through the 80s, this became harder; his last live performance was in 1992. By '94 he was living in Trinidad, to benefit from the climate, and his increasing medical expenses were being underwritten by Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, since incredibly no royalties from Small Faces' hits were forthcoming.

Ronnie died in 1997, aged just 51. Gone but most definitely not forgotten, his influence on subsequent generations is illustrated well by the songs that have been written about him. You might expect (and will get) Traveller's Tune by Ocean Colour Scene and He's The Keeper by Paul Weller, but let's start with the perhaps less-expected A Trip Down Ronnie Lane by Ride.

Let's finish up with what remains Ronnie's best-known solo track, The Poacher, fittingly enough for circularity in another live for TV recording. Happy birthday, Ron.

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