That fifteen films meme...

Unfashionably late, as usual!

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen films you’ve seen that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen films you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

Not in order of preference.

Do go tag thyself!

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In the words of the rebel Jesus...

Re-post from last year - still listening and admiring Jackson Browne nailing it...

This amazing song from Jackson Browne is one of my fave Christmas pieces with so much truth and depth compared to other commercial stuff and what we sing in church. Verse two is really hard hitting linking 'Temple Trading' to both the church and environmental issues way back in the early nineties:
Ah, they call Him by the "Prince Of Peace"
And they call Him by "The Saviour"
And they pray to Him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill His churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in Him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
In the last verse he apologises for appearing to be judgemental (which I wonder if that's another sideswipe at the established church!) before closing the song with the fantastic proclamation:
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus



Bummed I can't embed this on the blog for you but please dig it anyway:

Click this---> :: SMOKE FAiRiES @ BLACK CAB SESSiONS

Bonus:: Seasick Steve @ Black Cab Sessions

We Might As Well Be Strangers...

Last night's episode of the BBC mini series Nativity where the tension betwixt Mary and Joseph is both at breaking point and breaking down as the awareness that Mary's innocence is true grows.

Despite the literary license used to flesh out the narrative, which Biblical purists find uncomfortable, I find it totally riveting, beautifully artistic, sensitively produced and, at times, intensely moving...



On Friday evening there was an excellent BBC4 documentary following the vibrant soprano Danielle de Niese as she worked towards a performance in a leading role as Susanna in the Marriage of Figaro by Mozart. Part of the ritual of staging an opera is having distinct rehearsal types in sequence:
  1. Music
  2. Staging
  3. Technical
  4. Sitzprobe
  5. Orchestra staging
  6. Full dress rehearsal
Yes, Sitzprobe also struck me as the most fascinating rehearsal, as well as the most unusual word, derived from the German: sitzen (to sit) and proben (to rehearse). The film showed the full cast sitting and listening to the orchestra as all the sections were played, both instrumental and accompaniment. And that's all the cast did, just listen...

In my early days as a musician I noticed more experienced players would stop and listen all the way through as a piece was introduced rather than start playing along as I was prone to do. This gave time to detect extra nuances and other important elements that I was missing by my 'keen to impress' musically immature participation.

Sitzprobe is an important and often overlooked discipline in many aspects of our hectic lives...

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Stand up, stand up for Emmanuel Jal...

An Advent meditation from 'ethical rap' artist Emmanuel Jal, endorsed by the peacemaking initiative The Elders, in support of We Want Peace. Emmanuel has appeared at the Greenbelt Festival twice plus the stunning biographical film about his life 'War Child' was previewed there. That turned out to be one of those Greenbelt 'moments', as, when the film show became very delayed, a member of the audience, Shaz Brown, volunteered to perform some of her stunning and earthy urban poetry while we were waiting, everybody there will remember how amazing that was...
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me... he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1



Via Bob Lefsetz

I heard he was sick...

I'm not sure Frank Zappa is going to be remembered, to a great extent he's already been forgotten.  But if you don't own the first few albums, you're missing out.  "You Didn't Try To Call Me", from both the very first album, "Freak Out", and the doo-wop remake on Ruben & the Jets, encapsulates the despair of unrequited love as well as any song ever written.  And when you hear the line about reprimering the right front fender, you chuckle, Zappa was not like today's artists, taking himself too seriously, he never lost his sense of humor.

And Zappa was not only about himself.  He was an empire builder.  He released records by acts diverse as Alice Cooper, Wild Man Fischer, the GTOs and Captain Beefheart.

The Captain did not start out with Frank.  Nor did he remain with him.  But his most famous work was released on Zappa's Bizarre label.  Frank had two, Bizarre and Straight, eventually he had more.

"Trout Mask Replica" was not made for Top Forty radio.  Hell, it wasn't made for any radio.  It was an album made to be played from start to finish in your bedroom, as you tried to decipher its dense lyrics and music.

And the hype was just as good.  In "Rolling Stone", Beefheart said it took only eight hours to record the record.  When asked why it took so long, the Captain replied that he had to teach the band their instruments.

Not that we believed that.  But how great to have someone who could reply tongue-in-cheek, who wasn't giving the bland answers television seems to require in its endless quest to appeal to everybody, ultimately appealing to nobody.

Eventually, the Captain became more comprehensible.  There was that album "Clear Spot", that came in a plastic bag, which contained the positively mainstream "My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains".  Which the Tubes ultimately covered.  But they've been forgotten too.  The real Tubes, the "White Punks On Dope" Tubes, not the MTV eighties Tubes singing about sushi and beauties and...

And then the Captain faded away.  He didn't play the oldies circuit, he went back to being Don Van Vliet and resumed painting, his first love.  Supposedly the fumes got to him.

Maybe the obits will say.

And if you really care about history, if you're the type who's up for a challenge, who takes the road not traveled and doesn't turn back, check out Beefheart's work.  Start with "Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)", it's the most accessible.

But there won't be TV tributes and there won't be a funeral at Staples Center and you still won't hear his music on the radio.

But those who remember will never forget.  An era when being a musician was the highest calling and financial reward was not the Holy Grail.  Zappa was exploring.  He and his merry band of musician/pranksters didn't compromise a whit.  They just kept on doing what they believed in.  Sometimes the audience caught on, sometimes it didn't.

Alice Cooper went on to hook up with Bob Ezrin and record one of the great rock albums of all time, "Killer".  The fact that it took forever for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame to acknowledge this diminishes its quality not a bit.

Pamela Des Barres, nee Miss Pamela, went on to be a famous groupie.  Then again, that's what she was before she was in the GTOs.  That's how close she wanted to be to the band.  That's how close we all wanted to be to the band.

And Beefheart was like Zappa.  Playing on a high plane, waiting for the audience to catch up with him.

Eventually Frank played on a low plane too, which gained him some commercial success, but Beefheart never did this.  And when the record deals ran out, he moved on.  An artist is about artistry, not fame.

I read the news today, oh boy.  And I was emotionally affected and needed to reach out to you.  They're rewriting rock and roll history and getting it all wrong.  They want you to think that Patti Smith was more important than Alice Cooper, that Top Forty radio ruled in the late sixties and early seventies, that everybody was always in it for the money.  But that's wrong.  We know the truth.  It's incumbent upon us to keep the flame alive.  Beefheart was part of the firmament.  He may not have been dead center, but he had a place.  And we took notice.  And his death leaves an emptiness.  There's a hole in the sky tonight, a black one, where Don Van Vliet used to live and create.

TOOT BLUES: A documentary about Tim & Denise Duffy and the artists of Music Maker Relief Foundation

A  fascinating documentary about the start of Music Maker Relief Foundation.
Now is a perfect time to lend them your support. Watch:

The ONE artist meme...


Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, answer these questions. Be as clever as you can. You can't use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think...

Pick your Artist: Peter Gabriel

Describe yourself: Across the River
How do you feel: Down To Earth
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Mercy Street
Your favourite form of transportation: On The Air
Your best friend is a: Kiss Of Life
You and your best friends are: Heroes
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Shock The Monkey
What is life to you: The Book Of Love
Your current relationship: The Power of The Heart
Your fear: Here Comes The Flood
What is the best advice you have to give: Love To Be Loved
I would like to die... Home Sweet Home
Time of day: Big Time
My motto: Don't Give Up

h/t Rev Sam and tagged by Canon Phil

I tag: Pastor John, The Artist and Tartist, Jon Evens, Tim Abbott and RJ (when love comes to town)

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Brandon Flowers - a divine spark...

A breathtaking video by The Killers' front man Brandon Flowers beautiful song 'Only The Young':
Mother its cold here. Father Thy will be done.
Thunder and lightening are crashing down.
They got me on the run, direct me to the sun.
Redemption keeps my covers clean tonight.
Baby we can start again.

This is a fun little toy website with an elegant design and it kinda pisses me off. It's dismissive of the actual skill it takes to craft a song, and it makes a mockery of the simplicity of blues music. Like when someone dismisses hip-hop by saying "Oh I could do that". you can't, you didn't, nor would you. So shut the fuck up

slide finger stolen from Ando


While we're on the subject of Natchez MS, here's the late William Carradine aka Cat-iron. Vocally, he reminds me a lot of fellow Natchezite Robert Cage. According to this YouTube poster:

William Carradine was born in Garden City, LA. in 1896. In 1958 folklorist Frederic Ramsey, Jr. found him at his home in Natchez, MS. and recorded an album's worth of blues and gospel numbers by him. Ramsey had met a local musician by the name of Thurmond Monroe who was the alto saxist for a local Natchez group by the name of the Otis Smith Orchestra, who told him where to find Carradine, who lived in the slums of Buckner's Alley. Monroe would go to his shack from time to time and give him some change just to hear him play the old songs. At the time that Ramsey and Monroe went to Carradine's shack to visit him, he didn't really want to play any blues since he had found religion. He also didn't have a guitar and Monroe found someone to borrow a guitar from so he could record, and he and Ramsey managed to coax some blues numbers from him. Carradine may have never heard his recordings played back to him, he died shortly after they were made.

William Carradine (Cat-Iron):Vocals & Guitar

Recorded in Buckner's Alley Natchez, MS. 1958

Originally issued on and this recording taken from the 1958 album "Cat-Iron Sings Blues and Hymns" (Folkways FA 2389) 


NATCHEZ BLUES: New Tintype Photos by Bill Steber

I've been a fan of Bill Steber's photography since I first saw his iconic black and white photos on the cd covers of Fat Possum Records artists like Junior Kimbrough. Bill recently posted these photos on Facebook and with his kind permission i'm posting them here. 

Bill writes:
"In May of 2010 I traveled to Natchez MS with my darkroom and 8x10 view cameras to make wetplate photos for a story on the Natchez blues scene for Living Blues magazine. Natchez has a such a haunted history, being the site of one of the largest slave auctions in the antebellum south, Civil War battles, and in 1940-the nation's most tragic single fire to date, when 209 people died at the Rhythm Club. I wanted the photos to capture the gothic and timeless feeling of Natchez. Many thanks to the performers there who sat for long exposures in the sweltering heat to make this story possible. This issue of Living Blues is now on newsstands"

Tintype photo of Little Poochie at Rosalie Mansion for 
Living Blues story on the Natchez, MS blues scene.

Tintype photo of Mississippi River Bridge connecting Natchez MS to 
Vidalia, LA for Living Blues story on the Natchez, MS blues scene.

Tintype photo of Elmo Willams

 Tintype photo of Hezekiah Early made at his home
Tintype photo of Trustee Prisoners working the 1st annual Soul Survivors Blues festival in downtown Ferriday, LA that featured performers from the Natchez area

Tintype photo of Windsor Plantation ruins in Port Gibson, MS.

 Tintype photo of Little Jimmy Anderson

Tintype photo of Mammy Restaurant on Hwy. 61 just South of Natchez

Tintype photo of slave chains embedded in concrete at the Forks in the Road 
historical slave auction site in Natchez MS. Located at the edge of the city limit 
along what is now St. Catherine at Liberty Rd., the Forks in the Road contained 
numerous wooden buildings housing slaves and the second largest 
slave auction site in the South.

Tintype photo of Robert Cage

Tintype photo of Lonnie Johnson, resident of the Forks in the Road community 
in Natchez, in his garden beside the public housing apartment where he lives. 
The Forks in the Road was the site of the largest and most prominent slave 
auction and warehouses in Mississippi, importing slaves from Virginia and
Maryland and marching them along the Natchez Trace South to Natchez 
where they were sold on a first come, first serve
manor to planters in the Deep South.

Tintype photo of Gray Montgomery taken at Natchez Under the Hill

Tintype photo of YZ Ealey

Tintype photo of (l to r) Little Poochie, Hezekiah Early and YZ Ealey

Tintype photo of site of the infamous Rhythm Club fire, where 209 people died 
on April 23, 1940, for Living Blues story on the Natchez, MS blues scene. 
A broken concrete slab defines the space of the original building, which once 
was a church before being converted to a night club. The small building at the 
back of the original site is a car-washing business and now houses a small 
museum dedicated to the tragic fire.


via Metafilter:
"Blues Houseparty is a fun, entertaining and highly recommended 57 minute documentary that takes us into a Virginia houseparty of 1989, where the assembled Piedmont blues and gospel musicians and their friends pick guitars, sing, dance and engagingly reminisce on the houseparties of old. Amidst hearty laughs, barbecue and general good times, the guests recount personal memories of fun and rowdiness, corn liquor, 500-pound hogs, the devil's music and the Lord's music. There's a whole lot of cultural history on display here, a slice of black American life that is all but gone now. The mood is infectious, to say the least, and the music just keeps getting better and better throughout the film. The next best thing to being there!"

R.L. BURNSiDE ~ Rollin' & Tumblin'

My oft-mentioned pal DJ Hillfunk sez:
"Here's another reminder of why we're here...a lot of friendships that have taken me to many states & met a whole lot of good people & made so many friendships home & beyond,more than my wildest dreams that like the same music that I use to listen to by myself !" 
You got that right buddy.


Shot by Del-Ron Thundercloud Smith aka Cuzn' Wildweed:

When the roll is called up yonder...

... So singer Caleb Followill of the excellent Kings of Leon proclaims in the first line of the band's single 'Radioactive', the words taken directly from the well known Gospel hymn. The inspirational video also demonstrates an acknowledgement of their church roots, featuring an excellent young choir, perfect music for a joyful Gaudete Sunday!

Recently ITV recently carried a documentary which followed the band around for 48 hours entitled 'Excess All Areas' (Explicit!). Despite the title and the presenter's efforts to talk sex drugs and rock and roll, the band came across very much as the family that they are genetically, very different to most bands with similar status.

And to make an important join - check out Martyn Joseph's brilliant song 'Brother's in Exile'...


Check out this wicked Deep Blues/Roots/Punk Podcast!

Dave Holt does a terrific podcast oriented towards Deep Blues/ Roots Music and Punk called called Mottey's Garage. Check it out!

Jónsi - Totally Transcendent Tunes

Advent Two

Every so often an musician emerges who is clearly a prodigious talent. Jónsi hails from Iceland and clearly draws on his cultural roots to season his incredibly atmospheric music. His live shows feature stunning background graphics which appear to both surround and integrate with the band's contribution. Wonderful stuff!

h/t Tim Abbott's recent blog review


The Farmer's Prayer...

A distraught farmer finds all his cows frozen in the snow. He prays to God for help. A woman appears, puts her arms over his icy cows. They immediately defrost and start walking again. "Thank you so much", said the farmer, "you must be an angel sent by God?". "No", she said, "I'm Thora Hird"...

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Stumps The Clown via a tip from Wandering Stanger blog. Cheers!


Who the hell would even think to look for video of Pink Anderson? 
Lex 10 @ PCL Linkdump is who.


Thanks to UK's DJ Hillfunk for this!