Monday, May 31, 2010

Sonny Boy 'Eyesight to the Blind'

This is one of the all time great blues songs. Recorded for the Trumpet (pre Chess) label this is an immense lustful appreciative blues that you must listen to. When he sings 'her daddy must have been a millionaire' you know you're in the presence of one of the great American poets. There is a racial subtext to this song but I'll let you figure that out.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pinball fever

Prof Green

I really like this. Something about this record makes me want to say = 'have you heard this?' - it's rare that I like a British pop record but there you go.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is this the greatest psychedelic rock song ever?

This song by the 13th Floor Elevators has slowly grown on me over the years - I have printed the lyrics as they are kind of mumbled and they are spectacular.

Well some they pledge allegiance while others treasure seek
And soul wisdom spoken back, each life will be unique
Some want only pleasure, you only want to please
Or bring as the highest life that prayer ever sees.

I don’t ever want to come down from your village and your big town

I won’t tell foreigners earth’s their home
Well armed by the life you’ve been making
And not crush powers not your own
Just stick to your own overtaking

I don’t ever want to come down from your village and your big town

Encouraging all men, I wish you would
To live in a fable, I wish you would
I can’t do no other with you and David’s Saint fable
I’m not even trying to or curious fair
Each unicorn makes it completely prepared

I don’t ever want to come down from your village and your big town

Billy Graves 'The Shag'

1959 song about someone taken aside and taught how to shag by the Queen of the Hop. Maybe after playing this you'll be shagging too.

Harold Burrage 'She knocks me out'

A Chicago soul and r and b legend, Harold Burrage should be more famous. This was on the ill-fated Cobra label. Love the middle 8 when he goes all Jackie Wilson on us.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Maximum Rock and Roll video of the week

This is a nice surprise - a review too for Animals & men.

Hubert Sumlin teaches you to play 'Smokestack Lightnin''

Joined on vocals and harp by David Johansen. Join my Facebook group dedicated to giving the Wolf the 100th birthday party he deserves here

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Wolf live in Britain

Cool clip of the Wolf playing to an audience of nerdy white people - how I wish I was one of them. Brilliant clip. Please watch it to the end - track 2 where Hubert Sumlin does some wizard solos - that sort of stuff he does that has the power to heal the sick and stop wars - it's that good I tell you. It captures the 60s band sound on film in all its glory -

60s Howlin' Wolf

Colur footage from the 60s of Wolf and friends goofing around at a night club. Little Walter's present and many more. From the Howlin' Wolf Story DVD.

Howlin' Wolf Centenary

Here's Facebook group I started - Make 10 June International Howlin'Wolf Day

June 10 this year is the 100 years anniversary of Howlin' Wolf's birthday. How are we gonna celebrate it? I know this fact as its my birthday, the same day 50 years later...maybe I'll just have a Wolfing session. Seriously I usually play a bit of Chester Burnett on my birthday anyway - I'll have to think how I can do something a bit more - something special for the 100th anniversary.

Otis Rush 'My Love Will Never Die'

If you ever need proof as to how unjust this world is then take the case of Otis Rush - how is it that Eric Clapton is so rich and hardly anyone knows Otis Rush? Go figure. This song - sentimental, dramatic, tragic and not everyone's cup of tea - is one of my favourite Cobra recordings.

Adam Ant 'Beat My Guest'

Clip from a fairly recent gig in London. Sounds allright. I'd go see him.

Adam Ant sectioned

Sad to see the singer sectioned - news article here. Let's hope he has a speedy recovery. A lot is being made of his recent charity gig - clip here - I don't think it's that bad - what is swearing illegal now? He is supposed to be a punk rock singer...

Animals & Men 'Nag Nag Nag'

Song we recorded in 2004 in Bristol with a 6 piece line up - 2 drummers - Geoff and Andy - 2 guitars - me and Phil Cass - a powerful noise but too big for any of the stages we'd be likely to play so we didnt ever play live with this set-up.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

'Du Pain ou du sang'

I recently had the honour of having a piece I wrote translated into French in Heartbeat fanzine - it was interesting seeing your words in another tongue - one phrase that sounds most melodic in French is the phrase 'bread or blood' which was the slogan of the revolting Radstock colliers in 1817 - sounds better in French.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

30 years ago today

Ian Curtis died. I think Animals & Men must have been the first ever band to be influenced by Joy Division. We saw their first ever gig in London at the Hope and Anchor and were right on them from the earliest releases. They were an influence right away. Below is a band that I think have been influenced by them in a good way - see what you think.


So this fantastic band have split up. I can't believe it - they are so good - but I think they have left a new lp and cd as their legacy. This French band supported us and blew us away - we for the first time were seriously worried we were gonna be able to follow the support band. Come back boys!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Fall 'Bury' live at Frome Cheese and Grain

Yes it happened - it wasn't a joke - the Fall played in Frome. FIrst gig I have ever been to at this venue which tells you something about their choice of bands and pricing policy. It's only been open about 10 years and is only a few miles down the road.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Fall's new video 'I'm not from Bury'

Well last night's gig in Frome was stupendous. A perfect vantage point - a great set from the new lp - everything was good. Thanks to Geoff for organising and Andy for the after gig hospitality.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Piney Brown 'You Bring Out the Wolf In Me'

Is this the best song ever? (Heard on WFMU's Ichiban of course). I did one of those Facebook tests 'what is your spirit animal' with the result being the Wolf, so this resonates with me. But I have to say - give this a listen good people - if this don't make you grin and tap your toes get down the doctors quick - you might be dead!

American Folk Blues Festival 1983 feat. Louisiana Red

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Cortinas 'Defiant Pose'

I am pretty excited by the forthcoming vinyl compilation that Bristol Archive Records are bringing out soon by this long lost punk band. I used to really like them and with them being local it made it all seem like not just something that was just about London. I well remember seeing them as a 17 year old on local telly performing one of their songs - I really want to see that clip again sometime somebody - but listen to this and see if it's your bag. I think they sort of carried on an RnB groove that was placed after say Eddie and the Hot Rods but in a line so we, in Frome, kind of resonated with their sound. Maybe they should reform for a few gigs?

John and Doreen

My sister has been going through the Mitchard family photo archive and has been scanning them - some of the pics I have never seen - obviously I ain't gonna bore you with many but this is one I particularly liked as it was unknown to me and captures my parents in their 'courting' phase. (No... apparently it's their honeymoon) I love the background too.

The Fall 'Bill is Dead'

Clip from Snub TV many moons ago. In an alternate world - one that isn't ruled on the basis of injustice the Fall should have had the acclaim that Oasis got - that may seem odd but they were spot on in this era and Oasis were just fakes...but that's the trouble with this world - it's a crap version of how things should be.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Us and Dragonflies

Have you ever had a dragonfly larva? When I say 'had' I mean kept one as a pet - I had one as a kid and it ate all my tadpoles - it frightened me to death - it was like the alien in Alien - grossing me out until one morning I came down and found it sat on the side of the washing up bowl I was keeping it in as a beautiful Dragonfly. I almost forgave it.
Anyhow back in the early years of the 20th century they dug up a Dragonfly fossil in Radstock in one of the pits - it was the largest fossilised bug ever found at the time though I now think it has been surpassed. Boltonites radstockensis. Hence the choice of song for the below film.

Yellow Coat - Screamin' Jay Hawkins

This is really the final word on Yellow Coats - hope you have the yen to hear it as it might make you think twice about laughing at the man in the banana yellow overcoat. Did I tell you about the time I met Screamin' Jay? Oh I did...sorry.

Radstock in the snow

Are you ready for snow nostalgia? This is from earlier this year in our 'hood. Sue filmed it and I am the toothless idiot in the yellow coat. My Dad gave it to me so don't laugh. Very much a d-i-y project with our band Animals and Men song 'Dragonfly' as the soundtrack. Not that you see Dragonflies at that time of year.

Louisiana Red at the Thunderbolt Bristol

Thursday 13 May
Blues Legend LOUISIANA RED & Michael Messer
One of the last great surviving bluesmen, Louisiana Red was born in Alabama in 1932. His mother died a week after his birth and his father was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Louisiana Red not only plays the Blues, he lives it through his guitar and his singing. Strongly influenced by Muddy Waters, Lightnin‘ Hopkins and Arthur Crudup, he has long ago found his own voice, his own style, his own form of expression. In a career spanning over half a century, Louisiana Red has played with just about every major bluesman you can name. In 1983 he won the W.C. Handy Award for ’Best Traditional Blues Artist’. Michael Messer is recognised as one of the world’s leading slide guitarists and blues innovators. One prominent critic described him as `an unavoidable force in modern blues` £10Adv from Bristol Ticket Shop Tel 0117 9299008 £12 on the door

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Women of the Red Army tribute

Great montage of images of women soldiers of the Red Army in WW2 made as part of the Victory Day celebrations. Interesting that the Soviets were the only nation in WW2 that used women warriors in all combat roles, from pilots to tank crews - you name it - and they were the ones that won! (Space here left for a patronising comment by us men)

The Escape 'Murder' 1982

This is a blast from the past - from Bristol Archive Records - we (the Terraplanes when we had 2 drummers and singers) actually supported this band once - at the Bridgwater Arts Centre - around this time. Dave Massey reviewed it.

Interview with Cavan (Kev) Saunders

Here at Bristol Archive Records. CPS is playing the Piano Bar Frome on July 29th. Should be good.
If you are wondering what the set will be about here's what he says

My vocal style has been compared with Lou Reed , Jim Morrison and Johnny Cash.
Musically the song styles take in Folk, Alt Country,and Rhythm and Blues.
Some have likened what I do to Blue eyed soul/New wave artists such as Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. I play a set that mixes mostly original compositions with,cover versions of songs by people such
as Fred Neil, and Jerry Jeff Walker.

I am looking forward to it already

Monday, May 10, 2010

Your Future Our Clutter - The Fall

I don't get excited much these days (it's my age) but I am really looking forward to seeing the best rock and roll band in Britain in Frome on Saturday. It seems really weird the Fall playing Frome - it's like some alternate world where good bands play locally. It's not right. This looks like the set opener - see ya there?

Paul Robeson 'Anthem of the Soviet Union'

I love it when a couple of threads on this blog come together - and this is an example. My Dad is a big Paul Robeson fan and his political activism only made him even more of a hero to my old man. Robeson even made a film about the South Wales mining community The Proud Valley (no clips on Youtube sadly). I think his courage and intelligence deserves more respect - check this from his wiki

Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an internationally renowned American bass-baritone concert singer, actor of film and stage, All-American and professional athlete, writer, multi-lingual orator, scholar and lawyer who was also noted for his wide-ranging social justice activism. A forerunner of the civil rights movement, Robeson was a trade unionist, peace activist, Phi Beta Kappa Society laureate, and a recipient of the Spingarn Medal and Stalin Peace Prize. Robeson achieved worldwide fame during his life for his artistic accomplishments, and his outspoken, radical beliefs which largely clashed with the Jim Crow climate of the pre-civil rights United States. He became a prime target of the right during the McCarthyist era.[1][2][3][4] Despite his being one of the most internationally famous cultural figures of the 20th century, persecution by the US government and media virtually erased Robeson from mainstream US culture and subsequent interpretations of US history, including civil rights and black history.[3]

Cab Calloway 'Reefer Man'

Another oldie from the era of the older generation this song kind of proves that great music never dates - this is staggeringly good with some amazing bass playing...some hiphop star ought to cover it.

'Stormy Weather' Lena Horne

As we're trawling through the music that was an inspiration to my Dad and his generation what better than to have this excellent performance from 1943? Ms Horne died today, but I should think music fans will be appreciating this and her music for a long time to come.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sam and Friends

If you're not interested in Russian military parades maybe you might be interested that today in 1955 was the debut of Kermit in a series called Sam and's an episode from 1961.

Foreign contingents join victory parade in Moscow

Well I've been enjoying the footage of today's parade in Moscow - I thought you might want to see the Welsh Guards etc. But then you probably don't. Wiki on the 2010 Victory Parade

Foreign troops join Russia's Victory Day Parade

News article here about the 65th Victory Day in which troops from Britain, Poland, France and the US march. No major leader came from the UK however - Prince Charles' offer to go was turned down without reason. Anyone got any guesses as to why he might not be welcome?
You might also be interested in this BBC article about Lenin's London connections and the pub in Clerkenwell where supposedly he met Stalin in 1905.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

'Lazy Bones' Hoagy Carmichael

I love Hoagy Carmichael - I have to thank my Dad for that. One the great songwriters of the 20th century. This song has a particular resonance with me for some reason - though I have to say I don't spend a lot of time sleeping. If you want to hear and see more - go here to see him playing Memphis in June to George Raft. Hoagy - real name Hoagland, named after a circus troupe the Hoaglands that stayed in his mother's house, acted in 14 motion pictures, including things like To Have and Have Not and an episode of the Flintstones.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Nathan Abshire 'Jolie Blon'

More Cajun magic from Nathan Abshire. Imagine this stuff in your local pub...would you ever leave?

Leonard Nimoy 'Bilbo Baggins'

OK I am lightening up. It's a good day - let's all sing along with this and be happy.

Bad Day - Carmel

I feel conflicted about today - it's my son's birthday so I won't moan about politics.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Balfa Brothers

I am not sure when I first discovered this Cajun act - it may have been the movie Southern Comfort where they do a song or perhaps a compilation album of Zydeco stuff but anyway they are a firm favourite in this house where their tonality and je ne sais quoi cause us great joy. Give it a whirl - you might like it.

Election day in the UK

Always General Elections remind me of my childhood. My father John Mitchard used to stand for parliament back in the day for Labour - here we are in 64 I think when he stood in North Devon. I have pretty happy memories of these old style elections when they used to have debates in town halls and PA speakers on top of cars. I remember one time when my Dad and his crew went out meeting the people leaving me alone in the car - I got hold of the mic and did the Batman theme very loud which caused them to run back to the car in a panic. I also stuck my tongue out in a family portrait like this one and it got used in the local paper. Good times.

Swindon Railway school photo

I don't know whether this photo is of any interest to railway enthusiasts? Be interested if anyone knows more about it. It's a group photo of railwaymen (including my Granddad Harry Newman who was to become an S&D driver based around Radstock) on the occasion of their passing out. Can't tell you the date but he was born in 1900 so around 1920 I guess. (He's second from the left in a light suit).

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Reds (1981)

As one of you has noticed - the Russian Revolution has pretty much been ignored by Hollywood - it's probably for the best - it would be shit and besides I expect the filmmakers are probably worried that they might be blacklisted in some future witch-hunt but there is one notable exception - Warren Beatty's John Reed biopic calleds Reds. Watch the trailer - it certainly looks more exciting than I remember it but it was a good film and if you like Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton get a copy. John Reed wrote the classic 'Ten Days that Shook the World'. We actually had a song called that in the old Animals and Men days - before this movie came out I hasten to add - didn't record it though - anyone remember it? (Sue just said she does remember it - but not the words)

Four Lions trailer

This new comedy from bete noir of British alternative comedy Chris Morris looks funny and worth seeing. Tells the story of 4 hapless British jihadists as they try to become home-grown terrorists.


You may be bored to death with my interest in this hat - certainly my family are but that's just the way it is. If you wanna be in my Red Sotnia you have to take the rough with the smooth. These images I like - the poster's text reads something like 'She was born under the red flag in 1918'.
Anyway according to the wiki on this cap

Budenovka (Russian language: Будёновка, budyonovka) is a distinctive type of hat and an essential part of the communist uniform of the Russian Civil War and later. Its official name was the "broadcloth helmet" (шлем суконный). Named after Semyon Budyonny, it was also known as the "frunzenka" after Mikhail Frunze. It is a soft, woolen hat that covers the ears and neck and that can be worn under a helmet. The cap has a beak and folded earflaps that can be buttoned under the chin.

The hat was created as part of a new uniform for the Russian army by Viktor Vasnetsov, a famous Russian painter, who was inspired by the Kiev Rus helmet. The original name was bogatyrka (богатырка) - hat of a bogatyr - and was intended to inspire Russian troops by connecting them with the legendary heroes of Russian folklore. Bogatyrkas were meant to be a part of a new uniform, so they had already been produced during World War I, but hadn't been officially adopted. Another version, quite popular in Russia, is that bogatyrkas were designed for a military parade as a part of a "historical" stylized uniform (which also included an overcoat with "designer" cross-pieces, which also were used in the Red Army to a limited extent). Some Russian historians even speculate the parade in question was a supposed victory parade in Berlin.

During the Russian civil war, communist troops, who had no obligation to comply with the uniform standards of the Imperial Russian army, used bogatyrkas, as they were abundant and distinctive. Bogatyrkas were commonly decorated with red star pins as a distinguishing mark. Such decorations were often makeshift, but later were standardized, and a bigger star badge of broadcloth was sewn to the front of the hat, typically red but in some cases blue (for cavalry) or black (for artillery). This allowed the communists to use the image of "Red bogatyrs" fighting the old and corrupt Russian system, thus employing the original idea by Vasnetsov. At this time the hat was renamed the Budenovka after Semyon Budyonny, the commander of the First Cavalry Army, as the hat was particularly popular with cavalry units.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Pigs: Youthanasia + They Say:(Bristol 2009)

Bristol Archive Records have been doing a great job reissuing classic tracks from the punk era from this city - check out the catalogue on the blog (BRISTOL – THE PUNK EXPLOSION). Glad to see this brilliant Bristol band, the Pigs are one of the bands brought back into the spotlight. We loved their 'Youthanasia' ep and were seriously floored when the DJ at the OCCII played it back in March of this year. Now I see they have reformed and are playing live in selected venues - this video shows you that they have still got the skill and ability to play this material - I'd love to catch them live - here they are at the Thunderbolt. Also, on the vintage Bristol punk scene, Bristol Archive are releasing a Cortinas vinyl lp soon...

Rare As The Yeti - Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds

Newish song from Kid Congo - you may have enjoyed his 'Historia de mon amour' many years ago. This looks to be a similarly catchy toon. Nice one.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Adam Ant interview

So Adam has been doing some live shows - great! Here's a recent interview with him.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Smoking ban

I know you probably think I am an idiot for objecting to a wholesale smoking ban. Now I have a good reason for it - according to the wiki on Smoking Bans

The first modern, nationwide tobacco ban was imposed by the Nazi Party in every German university, post office, military hospital, and Nazi Party office, under the auspices of Karl Astel's Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research, created in 1941 under orders from Adolf Hitler.[27] Major anti-tobacco campaigns were widely broadcast by the Nazis until the demise of the regime in 1945.[28]

NB My son on reading this thinks I have succumbed to this phenomenon

Reductio ad Hitlerum, also argumentum ad Hitlerum, (dog Latin for "reduction to Hitler" or "argument to Hitler," respectively) is an ad hominem or ad misericordiam argument, and is an informal fallacy. It is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context. Hence this fallacy fails to examine the claim on its merit.

Its name is a pun on reductio ad absurdum, and was coined by an academic ethicist, Leo Strauss, in 1953. Engaging in this fallacy is sometimes known as playing the Nazi card,[1] by analogy to playing the race card.

The fallacy claims that a policy leads to—or is the same as—one advocated or implemented by Adolf Hitler or the Third Reich, and so "proves" that the original policy is undesirable. For example: "Hitler was a vegetarian, so vegetarianism is wrong." The tactic is often used to derail arguments, because such comparisons tend to distract and anger.[1]

Iron Felix 1919

Never mind Iron Man 2 when are they gonna make a movie about Iron Felix?
Biography of the head of the CHEKA here

'Funnel of Love Wanda' Jackson ft Lux and Ivy

Hear WJ revisiting this song with the Cramps...hear the Fall version below. How's that for service?

The Fall 'Funnel of Love'

Most of the new Fall LP is now up on Youtube - search 'your future our clutter' - this one is a Wanda Jackson cover.

Red Cavalry

I found this image on the web yesterday.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Ken Loach online

Check out this Youtube page for the latest uploads from Britain's greatest director. There's some of his greatest films from the early days such as 'Kes' and 'Cathy Come Home' with the promise for more to come. We're very lucky round here as Ken is very active locally supporting Bath City football and also being a good friend to the Little Theatre in Bath as a venue for his films.

Ralph and Susan of Animals & Men 2010

We got our son to take this photo of us to go with a fanzine article. Unfortunately there wasn't space so we thought we might as well share it with you.

May Day

Well today is a big day for us (cough) workers and peasants - and also for neo pagans as the festival Beltane - read about it here. I suggest you combine both festivals - maybe have a parade or march but do it naked covered in the dew of the morning.