Whole Lotta Led

Whole Lotta Led – the Barn – 26 April 2014. No lookalikes here – just superb musicians playing Led Zep songs really well. One of my Jemtunes blog followers said a little ago that there’s no such thing as too much Led Zeppelin. This proves him right on so many levels.

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Constant

April is ‘National Poetry Writing Month’ so here’s something for the writing challenge.

Music knows no boundaries

It cares not how I feel

It has but one sole purpose

To cure all and to heal.

It will lift me and console me

It will always be a friend

It will surprise me and amaze me

For its wisdom knows no end.

They say familiarity

Sometimes breeds content

That’s all too true for this is where

I’m all too often sent

For music knows my every mood

And unequivocally provides

The lift that nuance might suggest

From somewhere deep inside.

Music is my constant solace

And has been through the years

Always there when e’er I need

In smiles and joys and tears.

 

(This one’s called ‘Constant’. I wrote it yesterday but only found out about the writing challenge today. Enjoy.)

Freebird – aka ‘Guitar solos part II’

I my teens I had an old Bakelite TV on which I could only get BBC2. Which was fine by me as the only programme I was interested in was aired on a Tuesday night on BBC2 – the Old Grey Whistle Test.

Originating from their self-titled debut album ‘Lynryd Skynryd’ in 1973 and penned (well, the opening chords at least) by guitarist Allen Collins, this was the song to end all parties – up to 15 minutes of unadulterated guitar brilliance. Allen Collins reigns supreme in this clip from 1975 and, if you want to hear what I’m taking about but can’t be bothered to wait, fast forward to 5:40 in.

Alphabet tunes

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Whilst my tribe take over the TV on Easter Sunday – thought I’d dust off a few tunes. So here’s a little random A-Z from my music collection:

  1. Joan Armatrading – My Myself I/Walk Under Ladders
  2. Sam Browne – Box
  3. Cry of Love – Brother
  4. Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Laughter
  5. Elbow – Asleep in the back
  6. Free – All right now
  7. Al Green – Al
  8. The Hives – your new favourite band
  9. I am Kloot – Natural History
  10. Jethro Tull – Aqualung
  11. Kasabian (self titled)
  12. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
  13. Mountain – Man’s World
  14. Nirvana – Never Mind
  15. One Minute Silence – One Lie fits all
  16. Cat Power – the Covers record
  17. Quantic Soul Orchestra – An announcement to answer
  18. Rage against the machine (self titled)
  19. Steely Dan – very best of
  20. Talking Heads – Once in a lifetime
  21. Underworld – Second toughest in the infants
  22. The VirginMarys – Cast the first stone
  23. Wishbone Ash – Argus
  24. XTC – Go 2
  25. Neil Young – After the goldrush
  26. ZZ Top – Antenna

Woodstock – 3 days of peace & music

IMGP0655In 1969 four young men had a dream – to produce the greatest rock concert ever held. Little did they know at the time how enormous a reality their dream would become. Woodstock, the festival, was a milestone in rock music history – a once in a lifetime event – a spectacular event that became symbolic of the sixties and labelled a generation to be remembered forever as the ‘Woodstock Generation’. Although those at the festival itself numbered in excess 500,000, over 2 million attempted to get to the 660-acre dairy farm in White Lake, NY. It was a statement of a generation, epitomised by a voice that shouted ‘make love, not war’ and championed by a massive variety of stunning musicians who, like the festival itself, have since made an indelible stamp on the history of popular music culture.

IMGP0906Woodstock – the album – a triple gatefold – captures a snapshot soundbite of those three days. It’s one I have played and re-played countless times – the stage announcements, crowd noise and particularly the  rain chant immediately preceding the epic ‘Soul Sacrifice’ from Santana on side 4- admirably capturing the ambiance of the event.

The festival site was declared a disaster zone, sometimes remembered as much for the rain as it was for the music. But it was a warm rain and the storms only lasted a while and the sun came back out and all was well again. Richie Havens (who sadly passed away in April 2013) sums it up so well…

″The rain made the people interact with each other. The rain made it necessary for us to share whatever we had – the plastic that went over our heads, the coat or whatever – and it was the natural forces that played a great deal in what happened. So I balance it out as a cosmic accident. It was half ours and half God’s″

IMGP0907Woodstock was about a lot of things, but the music was always the kingpin. And there was so much of it. I have many favourites; Soul Sacrifice has already been mentioned, but there’s also Richie Havens’ ‘Freedom’, ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ – the first ever live performance anywhere from Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joe Cocker’s brilliant Beatles cover of ‘With a little help from my friends’ and of course, ‘Purple Haze’ from Jimi Hendrix. But, as suggested by my last blog – the ubiquitous Ten Years After helping of ‘I’m going home (by helicopter)’ always wins it for me. In Woodstock – the movie (which I also have on DVD now) these nine minutes of guitar mayhem finish with a totally knackered Alvin Lee dropping his signature Gibson ES335 and staggering off stage with a huge watermelon.

Woodstock was and is THE festival. There’s never been anything quite like it since, and probably never will be. But, if it wasn’t for the bravery of a dairy farmer from upstate New York who stepped in at the eleventh hour when the original festival site plans flopped, it might never have been.

″Max Yasgur for President: That’s the way it is, Baby″ (Times Herald Record, Middletown, N.Y. 24.09.69)