Sunday, February 24, 2013

Listening to Jumpin' the Blues

I haven't been able to sort out the Sunday listening today; Merle Travis was too bibbly-bobbly this morning and then Gareth Lockrane's Hammond organ-suffused jazz did the trick for half an hour...
I went out to do some errands in the Buckinghamshire villages this avo, and came back to Agatha Christie and toast with blackcurrant jam.
And now it's Jumpin' the Blues, an Ace Records compilation which is just perfect for early Sunday evening; risque from both a male and female perspective and rough enough recording-wise to distort in places. Yeah!! Distortion!!! The saxes are yelling, Winifred Attwell's in the next room playing piano (at least I think it's her, it's just so frilly), the cheap cymbals are crashing, and the vocalists are having a bloody good time. Dolens Dickens, you're fab!

Talking of music: the students at the University of the East had a visit last Tuesday from Colleen Murphy, a dynamic woman who started and runs Classic Album Sundays where groups of people congregate to listen to classic vinyl albums in pristine conditions, played on top-of-the-range audio equipment. These events happen all over the world and are the best antidote to mp3-ism. Ever wondered why you buy so many mp3s and never listen to them? It's because the sound quality is clumsy; the bit rate is low and your brain gets tired trying to bridge the minute gaps between the bits (just like fluorescent lighting). So all you are hearing is a nod in the direction of the music, rather than the actual track itself, and your head doesn't like it!
Colleen's events allow listeners to hear analogue music and to listen to people talking around the music, not just about it. To find out more go to

Last night I should have been at Viv Albertine's gig at Nambucca in Holloway, but I am still too virused-up to go out in the evenings. So I stayed in and finished the illustration for Eliza P's forthcoming album, Eclectic Kettle, which Martin Stephenson is producing. I had to imagine the gig in my addled head, which wasn't as good as being there. Anybody go and can tell me all about it?

Larstly, I was sad to hear of Kevin Ayers dying last week. His track May I? from the album June 1st 1974 was so very romantic to a just-teenager. I went to see him at Newcastle City Hall (had to leave at 10.30 to catch the last train back to Wylam). The PA blew but he just carried on regardless, standing at the front of the stage and singing with his lovely silly posh voice; in some ways it was the perfect thing to have happened, complementing as it did his air of the futility of everything.
Bless his sweaty cotton tour socks and his English Gent Adrift persona!

I feel a trifle blue now... jumpin' blue? Take Out Your False Teeth Daddy, sings Margie Day.
Nothin' blue 'bout that!

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