Death of the Album

I have seen several pieces on the death of the CD recently such as this one here on The Register; whilst this is all very interesting I am more worried about the real tragedy here – the Death of the Album!

Why is this important I detect you thinking? Well read on and find out!

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Robert Calvert

…the Roger Waters of Hawkwind?

Why write this?

There is plenty on the web to inform the curious as to who Robert Calvert was and what he did and I do not intend to repeat that here. I just want to give my only tiny slice of Calvert history and make one observation. As to whether or not he is the Hawkwind equivalent of Roger Waters I would suggest he is similar to that but not quite; nor is he the equivalent of Peter Gabriel or Robbie Williams.

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Twelve Year Rule – clipping the long tail of rock & roll

Does even the greatest band stop producing great work after time?

What’s the premise?

A colleague at work made the following observation (my words): “All the great bands have a period of 12 years in which they release their best works. Even if they keep together for a lot longer, you can’t put their recent works in the same league as their best works.”

It seems to me that there is a lot of plausibility to this, but I thought I would think it through with some examples…

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Diamonds are Forever

All time greatest records of all time

What’s the idea?

I suggest that in the realm of popular music there are some tracks that are as close to perfect as makes no difference. These are not necessarily one-hit wonders that you hear twenty or more years later and sing along to (e.g. Echo Beach) nor are they monster rock ballads (insert Zepellin track here) but they are the perfect little gems of popular music that you bump into on a mix tape or odd radio programme and are instantly back to the time and, you know what, they actually are as timeless and perfect as you always thought.

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Jukebox Delights

F23 Track 8…

A jukebox of delightsIf I go to a pub I don’t know, I like to have a look at the jukebox. These days of course the chances are that the sound of Sky Sports and gambling machines will drown out the humble jukebox, but there are still places where you can get a decent pint, sit at a table and put your coins in the machine to get treated to a few pieces of music that you have chosen.

The best part is that you don’t know ahead of time what will be available, so it is a real pot-luck experience. Over the years I have built up a list of tracks I will always play if I find them, and that list I present today (though I have no doubt forgotten many of my faves.)

So without further ado, and in no real order other than alphabetic, welcome to my jukebox (or at least the first dozen entries)!

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Bad ShepherdsOne day there will be a thesis written exploring the theme of ‘what happened to traditional folk music – why is it not contemporary’. This thesis will discuss the power of popular music to displace other creativity but will deconstruct traditional music into pointed, passionate tales of everyday life, politics and anger; at this point the focus will move to the late 70s punk and early alternative/indie music and point out that UK Punk (and its contemporaries) are, indeed modern folk!

This will then cite the Bad Shepherds as one of the bands that first made this point by example, and mention that they include Ade Edmondson (also known as a comedian and ex-member of Bad News).

Musically this is a mix of traditional music, a lot of celtic influence and echoes of the kind of multi-ethnic folk showcased on the Imagined Village.

The choice of tunes is eclectic, lots of them work very well (God Save the Queen and London Calling leading the way). Some are growers (Tube Station for example). Yes the vocals could be stronger but Ade gives a lot of passion this is clearly no spoof outing but a genuine heart-felt performance.

At the end of the day it is tempting to wish for a follow-up album with any number of other tunes of the time (e.g. Germ Free Adolescence, Anarchy in the UK, Psycho Killer, Hong Kong Garden…) but I suspect that the Shepherds will do things their own way, and I look forward to the outcome.

If you’ve got fond memories for the music and an open mind, give this a go!

[This is a slightly tidied up version of my Amazon review]