Tuesday, September 11th

Finishing the book [see below] and the whole Summer thing took my eye off the ball, but Five Things will return refreshed next week. In the meantime here are a few notes…

IN THE NEWS…
So they’re finally making the Dusty Springfield movie, with Gemma Arterton starring. “I’ve been an admirer of Dusty Springfield since I was a teenager. Her effortless, husky voice, the way she conveyed emotion through music, how she helped bring Motown to the UK… She was generous, witty, mercurial, shy, extrovert and a true English eccentric. I simply cannot wait to play her.” Now, this is where it gets interesting: the narrative will focus on a pivotal time in Springfield’s career – the 1968 recording of Dusty in Memphis, which gave birth to top 10 hit, “Son of a Preacher Man” recorded after Aretha Franklin passed on it.

As Paul Sexton wrote on udiscovermusic.com earlier this year, “Recordings got underway with Wexler, Dowd and Mardin all in the control room at American, and with the great session players known collectively as the Memphis Cats adding their studio expertise. But for all her vocal greatness, Springfield’s insecurities, and a certain uneasiness in these new surroundings made the Memphis sessions difficult for all concerned. Notwithstanding the authentic Southern flavour of the tracks, the album’s title belied the fact that Dusty’s final vocals for it were recorded at later sessions in New York.”

LISTENING TO…
“Todo Homem”. An aching falsetto, a feather bed of Rhodes, a beguiling melody, a fingerprint of bass and nylon-string guitar, some whistling. Fleet Foxes may be a lazy touchpoint, or Bon Iver, maybe*. I just haven’t heard anything as mesmeric as this for a while… Tom Veloso with his family, Caetano Veloso, Moreno Veloso & Zeca Veloso. 

WATCHING…
Drinkers Like Me – Adrian Chiles (BBC Two). A thoughtful and fascinating programme, but there seemed to be a gaping hole where liking or appreciating the pleasures of the taste of wine and beer, or the combination of food and drink, was missing. Directed by Laurence Turnbull, it used short selections from a cool array of music. Early in the programme a soupcon of Alabama Shakes’ “Sound & Color” made me listen more closely. Here’s what else was used, handily listed on the BBC website.

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The Bodyguard, generator of an absurd amount of press. Really? It’s quite poor. Nobody’s told Richard Madden that staring isn’t acting, and every character is made from the thinnest cardboard. There’s no hinterland here. I don’t mind suspending disbelief, but there has to be something to suspend it from. Mind, I never liked Jed Mecurio’s Line of Duty – characters speaking in cliches and wearing way too much makeup for the 9 to 5.

READING…
Just finished First Time Ever, Peggy Seeger’s memoir of her life as Pete Seeger’s younger sister and Ewan McColl’s second wife (and the subject of McColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”). I’ve never really been a fan of her brand of folk, but the book’s unflinching and extraordinary style makes for a compelling read. An excerpt: “You reveal yourself the minute you go on stage. You present who you are, who you have been and how you want to be thought of. Your behaviour on and off stage tells all to the practised eye – if you have one persona on stage and another off, that can be tricky, for if these two entities do not work well together they will either trudge on like a tired marriage or one will begin to dominate… The audience is cannier than you think. They will only be fooled if they want to be fooled. But sometimes they may not know that they’ve been led down this or that path until it opens up into a clearing where we can all sit down and have the picnic…” There’s an excellent review of it here, and thanks, Tim, for loaning it to me.

IN PICTURES…


Klaus Voormann’s bass for sale.

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So Long: Marianne’s Leonard artefacts auctioned at Christie’s.
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Bob Gumpert brings a bottle of Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey to us!

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Clay Risen in The New York Times said: “More restrained than its stablemates, the Double Barrel – in which different whiskeys have been blended and further aged together in another cask – smells of cake batter, fresh berries and children’s cough syrup; as it develops in the glass, its nose turns darker and woodier, with a hint of sweet fortified wine lurking in the background. It tastes surprisingly astringent and medicinal, given the nose, with a thin mouthfeel and notes of tobacco, allspice and wood smoke, resolving in ground pepper.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Amanda Petrusich wrote a lovely piece about trying the range in The New Yorker here.

*I admit laziness here.


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The book of Five Things is available from Amazon here.

Front Cover

He writes with the insight of someone who has inhabited the world of the professional musician but also with the infectious enthusiasm of someone who is a fan like anyone of us. It’s entertaining and inspiring in equal measure.” – from an Amazon review by Zuma

“What a treat! And it has the years before I discovered your blog…” – Dan Franklin, Publisher

“A terrific book, stuffed to the gills with snippets of news items and observations all with a musical theme, pulled together by the watchful eye of Martin Colyer… lovingly compiled, rammed with colour photos and interesting stories. Colyer has a good ear for a tune, an eye for the out-of-ordinary and he can write a bit too.” – Steve Carr, everyrecordtellsastory.com

 

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