Double Live Gonzos, part 3: The Last Waltz – The Band

A *triple* live gonzo, no less, and a movie. And if I refer to my 2002 four-CD box set, then its twice the length of the triple-album original. I’ve been thinking hard about what version to work from, and I’ve decided not to do a song-by-song rundown since I’m much more familiar with the expanded […]

Bad first songs

OK, “bad” is hyperbole in most cases here, but go with me. A bad opener is a much rarer beast than the bad last song, at least among albums that are any good. Most artists seem to be better at recognising the best place to start than the best place to end. Nonetheless, missteps happen; […]

Final songs

The following post probably shouldn’t be taken all that seriously. Just a few thoughts I’ve been kicking around for a couple of days. There is a difference between a great collection of songs and a collection of great songs. Revolver is a collection of (mostly) great songs. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a […]

I’m Down to My Last Cigarette – The Jayhawks

Let’s hear it for those quietly impressive, hard-working sidemen and women. Every band needs one or two. Standing behind Jayhawks singer-songwriters Marc Olson and Gary Louris for most of the 1990s was the unfortunately named Karen Grotberg, with her catseye glasses and slightly bouffant hair, looking like a small-town librarian who hadn’t quite made it […]

Chemikal Underground & the Delgados

There’s a 30-minute documentary on Chemikal Underground available on the BBC iPlayer right now. Chemikal Underground, despite its name, was not an acid-house label. It’s an indie label, formed by the members of the Delgados in Glasgow in 1994. After putting out their own single, they released records by Bis, then signed Mogwai and Arab […]

I’ve Never Heard… Talking Book by Stevie Wonder

Or, truth to tell, any Stevie Wonder record. Not all the way through. I’ve heard large tracts of the one I’m most familiar with, Songs in the Key of Life (I have my mother’s old vinyl copy at home), but none of them in their entirety. So I decided to pick one, and ended up […]

Never Any Clapton, Part 1 – Dying Days by the Screaming Trees

Hi there. I haven’t done a series on guitar solos for a long old while, so here it is, back for 2019. Let’s start with a big one. Four years had passed since their last album by the time the Screaming Trees released Dust in 1996, and much had happened in that time, little of […]

Double Live Gonzos, part 4: Live at Leeds – John Martyn

John Martyn died on 29 January 2009 – 10 years ago today. Like much else about its creator, Live at Leeds isn’t what it seems. It’s purportedly a straightforward recording from 13 February 1975 of John Martyn, Danny Thompson and John Stevens playing live in the students’ refectory at Leeds University. Actually, Live at Leeds […]