Monday, 18 June 2012
Today a music legend celebrates his birthday and Paul Weller is paying tribute to him with a special release.
In honour of Sir Paul McCartney turning 70, Weller has covered 'Birthday' by The Beatles and made it available to download for one day only (Monday 18th June).
I've just downloaded my copy and very good it is too - don't miss out, get yours before the end of the day.
Sunday, 17 June 2012
Issue 270 of 'Blues & Rhythm' is out now and comes with a free Bear Family Sampler CD.
This issue focuses on Jimmy Witherspoon (5 glorious pages) and The Esquerita Story, plus a feature called, 'Travelling and Recording the Blues'.
The obituries section includes Donald ' Duck' Dunn and the comprehensive reviews section includes 'R&B Humdingers Vol 11' on Vee-Tone Records, the Muddy Waters Blues Band's, 'Mud In Your Ear', and volumes 4, 5 & 6 of 'Raw Slices Of Maximum R&B' on the Jookin' label.
To get your copy (or subscribe), email Byron Foulger at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.bluesandrhythm.co.uk/ for more details.
This is a magazine dedicated to original, classic, Rhythm & Blues (as opposed to the modern blues scene) so is well worth checking out.
After 27 years, Dexys (now minus the ‘Midnight Runners’ part of their moniker) are back with their new album, ‘One Day I’m Going To Soar’.
Main man Kevin Rowland is joined by original bass player, Pete Williams, Mick Talbot (Merton Parkas/The Style Council) who briefly played in the post ‘Geno’ 1980 line-up before being part of the breakaway act, The Bureau, and a brief appearance by ‘Big’ Jim Paterson.
The eleven songs here have their lyrics written by Rowland with the music predominantly written by Rowland and Talbot. Jim Paterson has writing credits on four songs, Pete Williams on one, with Alex James from Blur and Glen Matlock each having a single credit.
So what does this album sound like? Well, it’s certainly not the Hammond and horns soul revue style of ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’ and 2-Tone tour days; but that’s not to be expected 30 plus years later (Paul Weller isn’t still recording in the style of The Jam, for instance). However, there are still occasional flash-backs to the fiddle and brass days of ‘Too-Rye-Ay’ in places. What we do still get is Kevin Rowland’s passion and intensity – its burning as bright as ever, as is his distinctive and superb voice.
‘One Day I’m Going To Soar’ is a story, each song taking us further along the time line than the last. We start off with ‘Now’ and Kevin’s admission of not quite fulfilling all of his dreams despite doing the best that he could. ‘Lost’ is about what it says on the tin whilst ‘Me’ appears to talk about his insecurity with his peers and what they think of him. The next phase of the album starts with’ She’s Got a Wiggle’ and Kevin’s attraction to a certain lady and continues with the relationship and love blossoming. However, just when all seems to be going well, Kevin suddenly ends the relationship realising that it wasn’t love but infatuation. Dexys then deliver the excellent ‘Incapable of Love’ ending with him (unsuccessfully) asking his lady if she would consider an open relationship! The final part of the album contains ‘Nowhere is Home’ where he reflects that he will always be alone, followed by the really good ‘Free’ and the confessional ‘It’s OK John Joe’, before a final short flourish of ‘Free’ to end the album.
This album demonstrates, once again, the genius of Kevin Rowland and, as an album, is a great work. Dexys will be touring in September, playing the album in full in exactly the same order to tell the story – they are also promising some old favourites too.
It’s been 27 years since the last album, ‘Don’t Stand Me Down’, and it’s been well worth the wait.
The classic sixties move, 'If...' is being shown on Film 4 during the early hours of Thursday morning (21st June) and is well worth setting up your Sky + for.
Starring Malcom McDowell, the Amazon blurb says, "If... is, for those new to it, set in a British public school, and from this setting it has plenty to say on authority and society.
Directed by the late, great Lindsay Anderson, the film centres on Mick Travis, magnetically portrayed by Malcolm McDowell.
Superbly marrying fantasy and more realistic elements, 'If...' is packed with iconic, and often quite surreal moments, leading right up the to the famed and indelible ending that sticks long in your mind once the credits have rolled.
A strong, powerful influence for many who followed it, 'If...' is powered by Malcolm McDowell’s astounding performance (which would earn him the part in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange). It’s arguable that he’s never been better than he is here, and he’s in good company, thanks to a top-quality supporting cast too.
Perhaps the greatest complement to 'If...' though is that, decades after is initial release, it’s not only recognised as one of the finest British films ever made, but it’s regarded in many quarters as a classic of cinema full stop."
So there you have it - miss it 'If' you dare!!!
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
My initial impression on picking up the A to Z of Mod is that it is a well presented book of a nice size with some excellent photos and illustrations. Written by Paolo Hewitt and Mark Baxter, we are told that the authors are experts in Mod (something for the readers to decide, surely). On close examination, the content of the book appears to suffer from style over substance and is more of an ABC of Mod than an A to Z; a primer to give a taste of what the Mod style is, rather than anything definitive and comprehensive.
What I found somewhat bizarre were the sections dedicated to Bradley Wiggins, The Young Disciples, Galliano etc. yet no sections for legendary Mod DJ, Tony Class, no mention of the Phoenix List or the Phoenix & CCI Rallies. Also conspicuous by its absence is the whole 80’s Mod scene, which was probably Mod in its purest, sharpest, form (those of us involved were there because it was our choice, not because we were riding the wave of a latest fashion trend) – no pieces on The Truth, Makin Time, The Moment, The Prisoners, The Rage, The Gents, The Direct Hits, The Jetset or The Risk etc. And no mention of Unicorn Records (or Detour Records, Twist Records and Biff Bang Pow Records for that matter) or ‘Sneakers’ club. The section on fanzines (should have been ‘Modzines’) pretty much moves from Maximum Speed and Extraordinary Sensations of the revival period to Double Breasted and the excellent Heavy Soul of the last couple of years – no mention of Derek & Jackie’s ‘In The Crowd’; the longest running and biggest selling Modzine of all time.
And if you are going to mention Richard Barnes’ ‘Mods!’ book, please read it first; it was published in 1979 not 1989, and Richard was never a Mod (although the A to Z describe him as, “an early Mod, lived the life, buying all the best clobber”). On the first page of narrative of ‘Mods!’, Richard Barnes himself says, “I wasn’t a Mod and never even thought of being a Mod.”
Furthermore, The Who's pop art album containing radio adverts was not 'A Quick One' from 1966 as the book suggests, but 'Sell Out' from 1967 - another basic error.
As for the film ‘Quadrophenia’, the book states, “events conspire to render Jimmy suicidal and he is last seen riding along the cliff tops - the scooter is then seen flying over a cliff and the viewer is left to figure out our hero’s fate.” We all saw Jimmy walking away from the cliff top at the very beginning of the film so there is nothing to “figure out”.
On the plus side, it was great to see The Hideaway Club get a decent mention and the influence they have had on the modern day scene acknowledged.
It would appear to be a book on the Mod scene written by outsiders looking in and I can’t help thinking that this would have been a far better book had it been put together by a Paul ‘Smiler’ Anderson, an author for whom Mod is a way of life, rather than someone who knows a bit about the 60’s Mod scene, The Jam, Oasis and Acid Jazz (apparently loafers were made popular again by The Style Council – although they only formed in 1983; never mind those of us on the scene in 1979 who had been wearing them for 4 years pre Style Council, probably due to the influence of 2-Tone).
Much of the essence of Mod is attention to detail – something that is sadly lacking here. Overall, I found the A to Z of Mod a disappointing attempt at what could have been a very good book. And that’s a great shame.
Monday, 11 June 2012
The June issue of Record Collector is on the news stands and features the Small Faces as its covers stars following the recent release of the 'Deluxe' editions of their 4 main albums.
The two main features are interviews with Kenney Jones and original band member, Jimmy Winston.
Kenney talks about finally becoming a Small Faces fan himself and the process he went through to track down the master tapes and apply some 'bottom end' to their recordings to give their songs the sound they should have had in the first place. He also touches on his time with The Who and how he came to be the only drummer they wanted in the band after the death of Keith Moon.
In Jimmy's interview, he talks about being mistakenly described as the keyboard player in the original Small Faces whereas he feels he played a lot more guitar than organ on the early tracks. He also tells us about his post Small Faces recordings and how he and Steve Marriott reconciled in later years and wrote a number of songs together (although it doesn't tell us what they were called and if any of them were ever recorded).
And, as it is Record Collector, we get the valuation of those original Small Faces and Jimmy Winston pressings (along with one or two rarities).
Yes, it's come round quickly - the Dreamsville Mod Rally in Lowestoft is this coming weekend (15th & 16th June) with the venues being at the Claremont Pier (NR33 0BS).
Friday 9pm - 2am 60s Mod, R'n'B, Soul, Jazz & Ska at "Zoo"
Saturday 1pm - 6pm Music & Stalls at "Edge Bar"
Saturday 9pm - 4am Mod, R'n'B, Soul, Jazz & Ska at "Zoo"
Resident DJs are Andrea M, Lee Miller & Dave Edwards
Special Guest DJs include Mark Thomas, Smiler, Rob Messer and Johnny C
Smart Mod Dress Only - no greens, no jeans, no trainers, no boots!!!
Sunday, 10 June 2012
Secret Affair have announced that their long awaited new album, ‘Soho Dreams’, is to be released in September 2012 and accompanied by a full UK tour.
Dates announced so far are: -
Sept 7th Sub 89 Club, Reading (plus special guests, The Purple Hearts)
Sept 8th Pop Factory, Porth, Wales
Sept 21st The Brook, Southampton
Sept 22nd Woolacombe Scooter Rally
Sept 29th The Assembly Rooms, Leamington Spa
October 19th 02 Academy, Leicester
October 20th Kings Hall, Stoke On Trent (plus special guests, The Lambrettas)
November 16th Band On The Wall Venue, Manchester
November 23rd Concorde 2, Brighton (plus special guests, The Lambrettas)
November 24th 229 Club, London (plus special guests, The Lambrettas)
If ever the term ‘Super Group’ applied to a band on the Mod scene, it applies to Speakeasy. Featuring Brett “Buddy” Ascott (The Chords/The Rage/Pope), Simon Stebbing (Purple Hearts/RT3), Mark le Gallez (The Risk/Thee Jenerators), Fay Hallam (Makin Time/Prime Movers/Fay Hallam Trinity) and the late, great, Mike Evans (The Action/Mighty Baby), the band came together as the ‘House Band’ for the Mod Aid 20 single in January 2005. They subsequently recorded a glorious EP at Toe Rag for Biff Bang Pow Records later that same year featuring one song each from Simon, Mark & Fay (included on this CD). Sadly Mike is no longer with us, but with Mic Stonier taking up bass duties (and Fay busy on other projects) the nucleus reassembled to record a heartfelt cover of The Actions’ “Shadows and Reflections” in tribute to Mike, and carried on to record enough material for Speakeasy to release this full length CD on the Paisley Archive imprint of Detour Records. So what is it like? There’s a real British R&B feel on some of the tracks (‘Let’s Roll’) and some great musicianship too (‘Your Precious Ways’), with a number of songs that could be contenders for A-sides of singles (‘The Blues Have Got Me’, ‘Red Wine Song’, ‘Soul Searching’, ‘Love and Understanding’) and Fay’s Hammond masterpiece, ‘Seeds’. A great album of quality songs. So far, this is my album of 2012 – Speakeasy is quite simply a super group (in every sense of the phrase).
Welcome to the Modernist Society blog, a one-stop shop for all things Mod.
Here you will find news, views and reviews of what is going on in our mod, mod world – from CD and book reviews, ‘live’ gigs and tour news, Mod fashions and art, to any ‘essential viewing’ we spot in the TV listings.