Five Things: Wednesday 30th October

Down With The Cool KIds
The depressing lack of cool jazz in the new series of Homeland is more than balanced by its recent appearance in Downton Abbey, thanks to young Lady Rose. As an imported-from-London Jazz Orchestra plays, Lady Grantham (Maggie Smith) is asked by a guest: “Is this your first experience of Jazz, Lady Grantham?” “Oh, is that what it is?” (pregnant pause, looks at the band…) “Do you think any of them know what the others are playing?”

Virgin 40th Anniversary Pop Up (or down) Exhibition, Bloomsbury
Deep in the basement of one of those extraordinarily grand ‘London Headquarters’-style buildings from the beginning of the 1900s that resemble landlocked battleships, a hollow hagiography of a label I always found slightly naff. I’d gone because I thought they had recreated the original Oxford Street shop, opened in 1971, where as a teenager it had usurped Dobell’s for me as a place to buy music, because they sold bootlegs. Upstairs, under the counter. You had to get to know the guys in the shop, and you had to know what you were looking for. “Have you got, uh, Wooden Nickel? Stealin’?, Oh, great, thanks, that’s £3, right…”


Photo shows Ridiculous letter from Anna Wintour to Professor Green that is beyond comment, and modified rusty Telecaster, one careful owner, as played on Tubular Bells. [Click to Enlarge]

[However, they hadn’t recreated Oxford Street, but the Notting Hill branch at the time of the Sex Pistols NMTB launch, which felt a bit lame. Note: The word “bootleg” originates from the practice of smuggling illicit items in the legs of tall boots, particularly the smuggling of alcohol during Prohibition. The word, over time, has come to refer to any illegal or illicit product and has become an umbrella term for unofficial, or unlicenced recordings.—Wikipedia]

Reed Between The Lines
Watching the BBC video of “Perfect Day” as it ended another tribute to Lou Reed I was struck by the less obvious artists who appeared in it: Emmylou Harris, Dr John, Robert Cray… did you remember Robert Cray singing a line? I listened to New York whole, top to bottom, as Lou wished. It’s my favourite Reed album, and I remember boring friends in 1989, endlessly making them listen, saying it had the greatest guitar sound ever recorded (the chorus guitar of “Hold On”). It opens with the killer triple-whammy of “Romeo Had Juliette”/“Halloween Parade”/“Dirty Blvd”. Sensational. Best piece of writing from the past few days about him is here.

Van Morrison, Into The Mystic, Take 11
Nothing will replace in your heart the Moondance version of a song Morrison first titled “Into The Misty”, but listen to this tracking session take. Van on intense, focused and dynamic rhythm guitar, possibly John Platania on second guitar, drummer Gary Mallaber and bassist John Klingberg playing off his lead… these guys are in the moment, in the mystic and it’s glorious. As Lou would say, you can’t beat two guitars, bass, drum.

Ronnie Wood Ticket For Sale. Stop Pushing At The Back.

Someone included me in a round robin offering this for sale. £125? For Ronnie Wood playing three chords for two hours. I love Jimmy Reed, but there are limits. I saw a Sky Arts tribute to BB King the other day, where a large group of guitarists and singers added very little to B’s show. In the 30 minutes I saw, Ron contributed the least, but was a jocular figure, happy to be there. Mick Hucknell sang, Susan Tedeschi barely got a look in on guitar but sang very nicely. Slash was jarringly inconsistent, sometimes good, sometimes not. B was imperious when he played, which was not a lot of the time, but was always telling, which others weren’t. But the man who was king was humble Derek Trucks, whose mix of slide and fingers pulled off a truly wonderful solo in the sentimental ol’ slowie “Guess Who” and knocked everyone else into a cocked hat.

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