Archive for October, 2008
David Axelrod has described it as ‘one of the best albums that I ever did’. Circumstance may have prevented it from being released back in the day, but now we can all appreciate Little Willie John’s lost Capitol recordings.
The fine people at Kent Records have seen fit to release Nineteen Sixty Six, featuring John’s complete Capitol sessions. The twelve selections move forward his sound from the tough R&B sides he recorded at King, towards a more contemporary mid-60s soulful groove. On arrangement duties is HB Barnum, making Lou Rawls an obvious sonic comparison, with some James Brown balladry thrown in the mix for good measure. Those West Coast session men were worked hard and, as this album proves, it certainly paid off. The sad tale is that the album could never be released in 1967, for John returned to prison for an earlier crime he had committed. The album was consigned to stay in the can in 1968 when John died in Wall Walla Prison in Washington State from pneumonia. However the master tapes survived and have been remastered for us to hear.
Nineteen Sixty Six is out now on Kent and available from Amazon here.
Ska legends The Skatalites are to tour the UK and Ireland this winter.
The original Jamaican nine-piece band released 27 albums and countless hit singles, and frequently played on records by Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker, Delroy Wilson, The Wailers, and Lee Perry. The current line-up features Doreen Shaffer, Lloyd Brevett, Lester Sterling, Cedric Brooks, Vin Gordon, Devon James, Ken Stewart, and Kevin Bachelor.
The tour dates are:
London The Albany (5th December)
Cambridge The Junction (7th)
Bath Komedia (8th)
Leeds University (9th)
Edinburgh Liquid Room (11th)
Aberdeen The Lemon Tree (12th)
Glasgow The Arches (13th)
Dublin The Pod (15th)
Belfast The Black Box (16th)
Cork Pavillion (17th)
Contact the individual venues for tickets. The official Skatalites website can be found here.
2009 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Island Records, and label founder Chris Blackwell is to arrange the Island 50 Festival.
Blackwell founded Island in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959. Relocating to London in 1962, Blackwell built a diverse and substantial back catalogue of artists and it became the biggest independent record label in history. From the early Jamaican roots in ska and the cutting edge of rock and pop in the late 60s, Island has been responsible for the careers of Bob Marley, Traffic, Toots & The Maytals, Marianne Faithful, and even Paul Weller (among many more). They also licensed the music of mod label favourite Sue Records to be released in the UK under the guidance of Guy Stevens.
Blackwell has agreed to oversee a festival planned for May 2009 of live music, cinema, photography and memorabilia involving Island artists past and present. Of the various events that will happen throughout the year expect to see Island 50 Live (a week-long festival of live shows by Island artists past and present at The Shepherds Bush Empire), a TV/Radio documentary by the BBC, an Island 50 book, an exhibition of photos, artwork, and memorabilia, the Island 50 Film Festival (screenings of The Harder They Come, Bob Marley Live At The Lyceum, Rockers, Countryman), as well as album re-issues and new compilations.
Barry Murphy returns once more trawl the TV and radio guides (so you don’t have to) to find anything worth tuning into this week. All listings are for UK terrestrial TV, Freeview and national radio, with the shows running from Friday 31st October to Thursday 6th November 2008.
Highlights of the week
The last part of the BBC’s series exploring what makes British fashion and style distinctive British Style Genius (Tuesday 4th. BBC 2, 9pm) concludes with a look at how many of Britain’s most iconic fashions have evolved from the street rather than the catwalk. Original Mods show how they patched together influences from American jazz, French arthouse cinema and Italian cafe culture to create a sharper look and there’s a look at the hidden subtleties behind the 1970s skinhead style, with its militaristic, boots-meets-Ben Sherman look. There’s also a look at how the European sportswear-influenced 1980s street style took its inspiration from the tennis courts and sowed the seeds of a label obsession that still dominates the street look today.
In this weeks radio highlight Neneh Cherry tells the story Fela Anikulapo Kuti and highlights the relevance of his influence today on the music scene of Nigeria and across the world in The Afrobeat Revolutionary – Fela Kuti (Tuesday 4th. BBC Radio 2. 10.30pm).
If you remember the 60s-inspired French band Strawberry Smell, you might be interested to know that ex-members of the group have regrouped under the name Pony Taylor.
A new band and a new sound, described as a mix of pop and northern soul, but perhaps you need to check them out to appreciate what really means. And you can check them out via the band’s MySpace site. Not sure about a song title of Married To Wigan though…
Pony Taylor MySpace site
If you have a liking for mod revival sounds – or just want to do your bit for charity, you might want to get down to Filthy MacNasty’s for a night of live music in aid of the Thyroid Eye Disease Charitable Trust.
Bands on the bill include Pope, RT3, Long Tall Shorty and Ian Page, Dave Cairns and Bryn Barklam of Secret Affair (playing Small Faces tunes). DJing is courtesy of Eddie Piller and Dave Edwards.
It takes place on Saturday 15th November – see the flyer above for full details, with entry a £5 donation.
If the drop in temperature has got you thinking about classic knitwear, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an upcoming John Smedley Factory Sale.
As ever, you’ll be able to pick up end-of-range, surplus and slight imperfects for seriously knockdown prices – just as long as you don’t mind getting up early and battling with the crowds for the best pieces and prices.
It takes place from Friday November 14th through to Sunday 16th November, 10am until 4pm on each each day. If you’ve never visited the John Smedley factory, you’ll find it at John Smedley Ltd, Lea Mills, Lea Bridge (near Matlock), Derbyshire, DE4 5AG. Check out the current range via the link below.
John Smedley online
Barry Murphy returns once more trawl the TV and radio guides (so you don’t have to) to find anything worth tuning into this week. All listings are for UK terrestrial TV, Freeview and national radio, with the shows running from Friday 24th October to Thursday 30th October 2008.
Highlights of the week
The undoubted highlight of the week is The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector (Saturday 25th. BBC 2. 9.40pm). In his first TV interview for 35 years, legendary music producer Phil Spector dissects his songs and talks about his reverb-laden "wall of sound" production techniques. The documentary also features footage from his recent high-profile trial.
BBC Electric Proms gets underway this week with highlights including The Last Shadow Puppets from Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall (BBC 4. Friday 24th, 11.35pm) and Oasis from the Roundhouse in London (BBC 2. Sunday 26th, 11.10pm).
Finally, the recent thee part adaption of the Jake Arnott novel He Kills Coppers gets a repeat showing over consecutive nights starting Monday 27th, 10pm on ITV 3.
Paul Weller has announced a large show at London’s O2 Arena, with support coming from psychedelic scousers The Coral.
The date is set for Saturday 21st March 2009. Weller’s every UK show of 2008 has sold out, a reflection of the well-received June album 22 Dreams. Tickets for the O2 Arena are on general sale this Friday the 24th (from 0870 735 5000 or online at www.bookingsdirect.com), but there is a special pre-sale available from Wednesday the 22nd via www.paul-weller.com. Tickets are priced at £37.50, plus booking fee.
In other Modfather news, Weller at the BBC is a 74-track, 4-CD hard-back book set of BBC sessions and live concert tracks covering 1990 to 2008. It includes a 64-page booklet with extensive sleevenotes, brand new interviews with Paul, Noel Gallagher, Bobby Gillespie, Tim Burgess, Steve White and others, plus numerous unseen photos from the archives. The release is also available in a ‘highlights’ version on double CD and 3LP vinyl, as well as a digital box set to download. The sets are out on November 3rd from all the usual stockists
The Move were perhaps, after The Beatles, our most consistently great purveyors of late-60s pop. However the Black Country barnstormers are still overlooked and unfairly dismissed by many, but hopefully the release next week (27th October) of The Move Anthology 1966-1972 will help resolve the situation.
The 4CD boxset contains 62 tracks and over 3 hours of music, overflowing with the hits, outtakes, demos and alternative versions you would expect. It also features an entire 1968 Marquee show. The full-colour 72-page booklet contains rare photos and memorabilia, and an extensive 10,000-word Move history essay featuring band interviews and complete track-by-track info. In addition the first 5,000 copies sold come with a special double-sided poster and five reproduction postcards featuring each of the original members.
Anthology 1966-1972 is out Monday and available from Amazon here.