Bob Marley’s Chains
In the week that sees Marley’s name being attached to a global cannabis brand, I find these in Selfridges. Possibly not as heinous as the clothing and shoes that came out a few years back, but still…
Send In The Clowns
Especially if they’re playing “Hotel California”, as this one was, deep in the bowels of Leicester Square.
Keep On Running, still a cracker
Spencer Davis, as told to Dave Simpson, The Guardian:“I’d started the Spencer Davis Group when I was a linguistics student at Birmingham University. I was due to play a pub called the Golden Eagle but only had a drummer, Pete York. Someone told me to check out this combo called the Muff Woody Jazz Band. The guitar-player was Muff Winwood, who would later switch to bass, and there was this kid playing piano like Oscar Peterson and singing like Ray Charles. It turned out to be Steve Winwood, Muff’s 16-year-old brother. We played the Golden Eagle as the Spencer Davis Rhythm and Blues Quartet. Robert Plant and Noddy Holder were in the audience and, when we played there the next Monday, the queue was so big – stretching right round the block – that BBC Midlands came to film it. Chris [Blackwell] was selling ska and bluebeat records out of the back of a minivan when we first met him. One day, he played me “Keep on Running” by Jackie Edwards, a lovely Jamaican man with a pork-pie hat. I said: “We’ve got to cover that.” Jackie was thrilled with our transformation of his song. Steve had the same fuzz pedal Keith Richards had used on Satisfaction, so used it to give the guitar that distinctive raw riff. For the rhythm, I played a choppy guitar style influenced by Motown. Muff had wanted to do some Duane Eddy style bass, but I said that wouldn’t work, so he came up with that famous bassline. It almost sounds like brass. The shouting you can hear in the background is Jimmy Cliff, who happened to be in the studio, whooping with excitement.”
Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee
In Cornwall, in the tiny hamlet of Constantine, near the Helston river, is the single finest liquor store I have ever been in. The Rowe family have run it for fifty years, and from the front it looks like a typical village convenience store. It will sell you half-a-dozen eggs or a book of stamps, but once you get past the post office counter and the family staples there are row upon row of impeccably-sourced wines and spirits, a thousand whiskies, over a hundred rums, countless tequilas and shelf-fulls of obscurities that few London stores even stock. As Andrew, the current Rowe in charge, told me: “You’ve got to offer things that others don’t, to fight the supermarkets.” And to prove it, they deliver any number of bottles, anywhere in the country, for a fiver. As this is a blog about music, here’s my tenuous connection… I have been known to buy wines just for the label (Aussie winemakers Some Young Punks Naked on Roller Skates, for example) but I didn’t pick up any of the Rock Labels shown here (although I hear that the Mollydocker Ringmaster General is great, despite having Dave Stewart on its label). If you find yourself near, go.
In Other News
Meshell Ndegeocello at the Jazz Cafe, and Sam Amidon & Bill Frisell at the Barbican are going to have to wait ’til next week as I don’t have world enough and time at this precise moment. As a large project wends its way to the finish line, I take this positive: working with my editor, Ben, and his melodic laptop, I have been exposed to a Tsunami of music. I’ve been kept energised by the Strokes, chilled out by the Tindersticks and cheered up by Paolo Conte. Thanks, Ben!