My Record Collection 53

Eric Clapton – It was the early seventies when graffiti started appearing saying “Clapton is God”.  Now I must declare that I never subscribed to this point of view; in fact I didn’t really like him that much.  I sort of missed Cream, and Led Zeppelin too, in fact at that time it was all too heavy for me – I was into singer-songwriter music, mostly acoustic too.  That is not to say that I don’t recognize that Eric was a genius guitarist; and, later on, an excellent singwriter and a half-decent singer.  I did once tape a series of his concerts at The Royal Albert Hall, amd has a greatest hits on Vinyl.  Now, all I possess is ‘Complete Clapton’, which of course is not at all complete, but a decent double album none the less.   I like the big hits best ‘I shot the Sherriff’ ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ and ‘Wonderful Tonight’.  He also did great version of ‘Cocaine’ and ‘Round Midnight’ by J.J. Cale (see C earlier).  The album is in chronological order, and I like the middle (late Seventies, early Eighties) perios best.  A nice listen, but it hasn’t encouraged me to either buy any more or to deify him.

Gene Clark – was lead singer in The Byrds (see B).  but he left after a handful of albums.  He seems to have drifted somewhat and had a sporadic and pretty unsuccessful solo career. My sole album of his is No Other.   It is okay – but not half as good as any Byrds record.  Oh Well.

Guy Clark – Thus is (yet) another old American country singer.  Just the one album again, ‘Platinum Collection’ I really quite like it, as I nearly always do country music.  Sometimes I wonder why I ever listen to anything else….hahaha.  Guy sings sweetly and writes most of his own songs – best are ‘Comfort and Crazy’, ;Rita Balou; and ‘She’s crazy For Leavin’’.  I do have a live album of Guy, Waylon and Townes Van Zeldt (see V) which is excellent too.

Petula Clark – Now, before you die of laughter – this was a give-away CD in one of the Sunday papers, which has maybe doen more to kill the Music business than even X factor.  I picked this up in a charity shop, and it brings back old memories…okay, so it is corny.  And it was actually quite enjoyable too.


Remember The Fallen

Sunday 11th November 2018

Today of all days, exactly 100 years after the end of The Great War we will be remembering the fallen.  That war, though fought because of stupidity from the politicians and kings of the time, changed so much – and yet so little.  And the senseless loss of life, the mud and the blood and the rats and the lice of the trenches, the noise of the ceaseless heavy artillery, the stench of the rotting bodies, the cutting down of a generation of young men – was for so very very little.

And every year our very own politicians will lay wreathes and declare how sad it all was, and how we must never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and then tomorrow go merrily on their way selling arms to the Saudis, cutting vital public services and rewarding the rich.

But as well as remembering, even if it just for a day, the dead of that and other conflicts – we must never forget how the end of The Great War solved nothing; how just a mere twenty years later we were plunged into another World War, where millions more, mostly civilians, were to die.  We must never forget how the punishment levied by the ‘Victors’ led almost inevitably to Fascism.  And we must never forget how Nationalism and the culture of scapegoating others (in that case the Jews) led to Dictators, Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin – strong men all, who killed millions in their crazed ideaologies.  And how dangerous the blaming of others (in this case Muslims) will lead us down that same dangerous road.  We must watch our very own strong men – Xi-Ping, Erdoghan, Netanyahu and Trump, as they erode our freedoms……..

And even after that Second World War, how quickly conflicts sprung up – Malaya, Korea, Vietnam – as new enemies were dreamt up by our leaders.  We must never forget that despite all the grand words and the creation of the UN, it was deliberately emasculated from the start.

And we must never forget that despite the ‘lessons’ learnt from Wars, we keep starting them.  Iraq, Syria and now the Yemen, not to mention the almost constant wars in Africa.  Our leaders will profess how they abhor the horrors of War – as they sell their true weapons of mass destruction, as they sign for a new generation of Nuclear Weapons, as they design ever more devastating missiles, as they plan Cyber warfare, as they commission drones and robot weapons.

No, we must remember the fallen – but we must also work relentlessly to prevent the fallen of the future.

Image result for poppy images free remembrance

My Record Collection 52

Mary Chapin-Carpenter – is an American singer-songwriter in the new Country/Americana style.  She emerged in the late eighties, early nineties and I bought three of her albums.  A lovely rich warm expressive voice, especially on the ballads, and she could rock out too.  I saw her live once, and she was very very good.  Something about American performers – they seem so professional, so natural in being up on stage, whereas often British artists seem nervous – almost undeserving to receive the applause.  First album was ‘Stones in the Road’ – best songs; the title song and ‘John Doe No. 24’ and of course the song which made me buy the record ‘Shut Up and Kiss Me’ (if only women had said that to me….hahaha).  Her best record was the follow up ‘Come On, Come On’.  This is a triumph – it just rolls along from song to song.  My favourites are ‘He thinks He’ll Keep Her’ (a feminist anthem if ever there was one), ‘The Bug’ a Dire Straits song sung better even than Knopfler, and the classic ‘Passionate Kisses’.  It seems rare for any performer – let alone a woman, to really express sexual desire in their songs; Joan Armatrading springs to mind too.  There really is nothing wrong with wanting kisses, and the more passionate – the better.  The last of hers I bought was ‘Party Doll’, which at the time I didn’t realise was a live album.  Now, I used to have an issue with live albums – oh, I still bought them if they were by Dylan or Leonard or a real favourite – but they so often didn’t contain anything new, no new tracks and almost studio perfect renditions, that I shied away from them.  Of late I find I can’t get enough of them – so, it goes.  This is a brilliant album – and I now ask myself why I haven’t bought more of hers…  And there is no answer, I buy albums on a whim, or some sort of desperate need to own everything by certain artists.  And with Dylan for instance – no matter how bad they are I still keep coming back, tongue drooling, for more.

Tracy Chapman – We first saw and heard her, I think, during the Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert (he was still jailed at this time, but the concert was huge and BBC showed it.  I taped it of course).  She was one of those fill-in people while the roadies changed stuff back stage.  And she was incredible, a simple acoustic guitar and a voice – oh, that voice.  And her songs were of struggles of poor people at the hands of the rich, women at the hands of men, and they blew everyone away.  She became a huge star and her debut album was massive – but then her star faded, she soon burnt out.  It seemed she really only had a few songs of great quality.  But wow, what quality.  I did have a couple of her records on vinyl, but now only have a Greatest Hits Collection.  And the best are of course from her debut album ‘Fast Car’ and ‘Talkin Bout A Revolution’.

Chemical Brothers – I am reminded of that scene in ‘Death In Venice’ where Dirk Bogarde goes into an Italian barbers and has his hair and moustache painted with black ochre – in order to appear much younger than he really is.  I went to a couple of V. festivals with my daughter and watched as the Chemical brothers did an incredible show.  Pulsating dance music, lights flashing and the whole crowd jumping around.  And in a live setting this stuff works; in the quiet of your front room it is hardly the same.  My daughter regularly buys me ‘new’ music (which is actually probably twenty years old) and mostly I like it.  Though not my genre at all, I can see why it works – except for Rap, which I still do not really like.  Anyway I have one album of these dance artists ‘Surrender’.  I think….well, just like Dirk Bogarde with black running down my face like clowns tears I really don’t like it that much, or rather I have no real connection with it.  Probably we all love the music of our younger years for just that reason.