Five Things, Thursday, June 22nd

First, a few Five Things recommendations if you’re in London over the next few days, then a request for information, followed by an offer you can refuse…

ONE THE DOUGLAS BROTHERS SEE/SAW5-douglasDamon Albarn/Bryan Ferry/Abdullah Ibrahim  This brings back memories of the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in the late 70s, in a crowded club, sitting on the floor right underneath Ricky Ford’s tenor sax as Ekaya, Ibrahim’s band at that time, played some of the most beautiful music I’d ever heard… “We photographed the South African musician and composer, Abdullah Ibrahim, playing the piano at the Blue Note jazz club in Greenwich Village. Our photo session was doubling as his sound check. This shows him absolutely lost in his music, which was so absorbing that we almost forgot to shoot. We probably took half the amount of frames we normally did as we both kept stopping and listening. Properly awesome.” The Brothers quit photography after about seven years of high-profile editorial and advertising commissions, and the show is a selection of their archive which narrowly escaped being dumped in a skip a few years ago. [nb. They’re Southend boys, the younger siblings of Graeme Douglas, guitarist/songwriter with Eddie And The Hot Rods]. Until Saturday 24th, Art Project Bermondsey Space, SE1

TWO HENDRIX WALKING TOURS5-hendrixWe’ve missed the Monterey 50 talks, and the Hendrix lessons go on throughout the year, but upcoming are three Hendrix Walking tours. All start in Brook Street at the Handel & Hendrix House. Lasting 90 minutes, they cost £15 each.
1) This tour visits other places where Hendrix lived, including addresses in Montagu Square and Upper Berkeley Street. The walk will also take in venues Hendrix frequented and the location of his last official interview.
2) This tour goes to the site of the studios where Foxy Lady was recorded, the location of The Experience’s first-ever rehearsal, and the venue where the band had their debut performance.
3) Finally, this tour visits the site of a number of venues that Hendrix frequented, including The Speakeasy, Bag O’Nails and the place of his last public performance.

THREE VISIT SERGEANT PEPPER’S HOME5-abbeyroadI hear that the studio visit is excellent (it wasn’t running on the day I was passing) but the shop was a fine second prize. It usually has a small exhibit of rare photos and the actual tape boxes from Beatles sessions, alongside a wide variety of quite cute merch (“I am the Eggman” egg cups, anyone?). And it’s always fun to see the slight chaos as tourists interminably hold up the traffic recreating the Abbey Road cover. Click on the photo to enlarge.

FOUR IN THE WORDS OF SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON, “HELP ME…”5-musos“I can’t do it all by myself…” I was organising my dad’s negatives the other day and came across this fascinating picture of a caught moment, shot on Ektachrome (which has faded to these lovely matt colours). I’m assuming this is after a show, and I think they may be eating my dad’s approximation of Red Beans & Rice, but that’s as far as my knowledge/guesswork goes. So if anyone knows the subjects/situation, please let me know. [Thanks to Charlie Banks for revealing that the woman is Rosina Skudder, occasional vocalist with Ken at Studio 51].

FIVE BUY THE FIRST ALBUM RELEASED ON SOUTHWESTERN RECORDERS!dfdisplay copyHere at last… Forty-eight minutes of Mood Music for a Decaying World! Thrill to the sound of Theramins and eBows and mistreated guitars! Be amused by the attempts to build a song on the howling of coyotes! Hear the appropriation of Baby Dodds’ drumsticks! Find songs written in honour of Twin Peaks (the first time round)! Go to the music player on the right for a taste, and if tempted, go here to order your very own hand-made copy. The first ten orders (I may be getting ahead of myself here) go into a Prize Draw for the chance to win a ticket to go with me to the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 28th June to see Old Crow Medicine Show play Blonde on Blonde in its entirety. Bon Chance!

If you’re receiving the e-mail out, please click on the Date Headline of the page for the full 5 Things experience. It will bring you to the site (which allows you to see the Music Player) and all the links will open in another tab or window in your browser.

Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week: Wednesday 11th April

Lionel Richie, What I’ve Learned, Esquire (US), April issue
“If what’s happening now in America had happened in the sixties, we would have protests like you’ve never seen before. But in 2011, people can name every player on the football team, but they can’t tell you how badly they’re being taken advantage of and by whom. They know what Gaga’s doing, but they don’t know what the government’s doing. Everyone’s on Facebook and Myspace and Yourspace and Theirspace and Twitter and Tweeter. Great, fantastic! But anybody paying attention?” From Tuskegee, Alabama, to 1600 Penn Ave—Lionel for Vice Pres 2012!

emusic find of the month
Hayes Carll’s Kmag Yoyo (military acronym, “Kiss My Ass Guys, You’re On Your Own”), which features the beautiful, Willie Nelson-esque Chances Are. “Chances are I took the wrong turn, every time I had a turn to take.” Every so often a classic country song is just what you need. And the title track’s Subterranean Homesick feel is pretty cool, too.

News that Rumer is to cover It Could Be The First Day by Richie Havens sent me back to Stonehenge, one of the albums he made in the late sixties which also featured his great covers of I Started A Joke and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue. Richie also features on An Album To Benefit Preservation Hall (2010), which rounds up some usual and unusual suspects (Paolo Nutini, Andrew Bird, Tom Waits, Pete Seeger, Merle Haggard, Dr John, Steve Earle, Amy Lavere) in support of this venerable New Orleans institution, and his track may just be the best thing on it. Trouble In Mind is a totally gorgeous version of a old chestnut—with soft horns, walking bass, sad dobro and sandpaper clarinet underpinning Havens’ stoic vocal.

Girl Talk, Girl Talk
Speaking of muted horns, that song prompted me to find a tape recording I’d made in the late seventies. I had, unfashionably, gone to Ronnie Scott’s with tutor-cum-landlord, Dennis Bailey, to see Panama Francis And His Savoy Sultans. Dennis insisted we see a bit of jazz history, and we weren’t disappointed. To hear a (little) Big Band in a small club is an experience not to be forgotten, but what stayed with me was a glorious take on the torchy Girl Talk, a song composed by Neal Hefti, lyrics by Bobby Troup, written for the 1965 film Harlow, a biopic starring Carroll “Baby Doll” Baker. The song has been described by Michael Feinstein as the “last great male chauvinistic song written in the 60’s,” but hey—an instrumental version = no-one offended! Panama laid out a sifty undertow on his kit, the horns spread out and one of the great melodies took shape. By the time the second chorus comes round they’ve put the burners on and the whole thing is glowing and swinging and Dennis is shouting yes! yes! and we’re laughing with sheer joy, enveloped by the sound of beautifully burnished brass.
nb. Julie London does my favourite vocal version, and it is a staggering chauvinistic lyric…

In A White Room
We were talking about the surviving Abbey Road letters (as seen on the back of the Abbey Road album) that were on the memorabilia and antiques show, Four Rooms, and discussing what item of rock memorabilia we’d most like to own. The Jayne Mansfield cut-out from Sgt Pepper? Brian Wilson’s sandpit? The guitar on the cover of Joan Baez/5? My favourite choice was Simon’s: Nick Drake’s cape/blanket, Way to Blue cover.

%d bloggers like this: