Thursday, 24 July 2014

Retro Vinyl: The Byrds - Mr Tambourine Man / I Knew I'd Want You (CBS, 1965)

Written by Bob Dylan and performed with a jangly guitar sound inspired by The Searchers, The Byrds Mr Tambourine Man topped the UK charts on July 24, 1965 taking over the number one position from The Hollies I'm Alive.

Although The Byrds sound may have been inspired, it would soon develop and blossom with other folk rock tunes including Turn, Turn, Turn and The Bells of Rhymney. 

This would be the first hit single for the Los Angeles originated band comprising of Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Michael Clark and Chris Hillman. The B-Side of Mr Tambourine Man was a Gene Clark composed number I Knew I'd Want You.

40 years on, Byrds front man Roger McGuinn is still touring and will be revisiting Byrds classics as well as material from his own back catalogue this autumn. For more news on Roger and his current work visit his official website.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Review: Chas & Dave, That's What Happens Tour, Newport Riverfront

Its Chas & Dave's distinct knack of being able to pull songs out of the air and make them their own that makes them such great entertainers. After all, as Chas Hodges said at the Rockney duos gig at Newport Riverfront on Friday evening "In the old days when we played the London pubs its how we paid the rent. We didnt always know what we were doing but it usually turned out alright."

On evidence of Friday nights show they are still doing more than alright, mixing in roots of early rock n roll with a vibrant passion of music hall with Chas on keyboard, Dave on guitar and Chas' son, Nic ("giving it some stick") on drums.

The two hour show was a fun and sometimes impromptu performance, with either Chas or Dave ready to turn the set-list on its head in favour of the pace of the show. Numbers such as Midnight Special and Chas' brilliant boogie woogie recreation of Rocking Glowworm  from the duos latest album Thats What Happens easily slotted in with classics such as Got My Beer in The Sideboard Here and Edmonton Green.

There were some live treats too, a rendition of Chuck Berry's Don't Take But A Few Minutes in the style of how Buddy Holly might have played it, and one of Buddy's own songs Fool's Paradise which saw Chas & Dave create an instant stage hit as Nic had apparently never played it before.

Of course no Chas & Dave show is complete without performances of their greatest hits including Gertcha!, Rabbit and Ain't No Pleasing You, all in all a real feel good end to the week which saw several members of the audience out of their seats and indulging in a good old knees up.

Chas & Dave will continue to tour the UK through 2014. Visit their official website for further information.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Retro Vinyl: The Lumberjack Song / Spam Song by Monty Python (Charisma, 1975)

"I'm a Lumberjack and I'm okay..."

Monty Python may have given their final ever stage show performance at the 02 in London, but there are decades of material to still enjoy from the team comprising of Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin, (the late) Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam.

The Lumberjack Song/ The Spam Song on vinyl  for instance is only a small example of The Python's 1970's vinyl output, of which they became quite prolific before the days of video and DVD.

The single (released on Charisma Records) dates from 1975, although its possible it was reissued a few years later (I remember Terry Wogan playing The Spam Song on several occasions on his Radio 2 Breakfast Show around 1978).

Looking at Discogs website, the single was also available in a snazzy picture sleeve. Not mine, unfortunately, picked up some 18 years ago in a Carmarthen charity shop in a paper white sleeve...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Retro Vinyl Find: The Glorious Voice of Paul Robeson (Music For Pleasure MFP 1095, 1967)

Its a few years since I saw Tayo Aluko's excellent show on Paul Robeson entitled Call Mr Robeson at Newport's Riverfront Theatre, so I was quite pleased yesterday when rummaging through a box of 20p charity shop vinyl that I found The Glorious Voice of Paul Robeson on MFP from 1967.

The Glorious Voice of Paul Robeson (MFP 1095) features 12 songs and spirituals recorded between 1931 and 1939 as well as sleeve notes written by Roger St Pierre. 

As usual with these early MFP albums a lot of time and effort appears to have gone into putting them together as well as presenting well informed sleeve notes.

Given the time period of the recordings, this release features recordings in mono, songs included feature At Dawning, Rockin' Chair, The Cobbler's Song and Lazy Bones.

The Glorious voice of Paul Robeson would later be reissued by MFP in the 1970s (MFP 50332)

Read on: Review of Calling Mr Robeson