Monthly Archives: October 2001

Tonight, I’m doing a performance at Cinema Classics. They are going to screen ‘Night of the Living Dead’ while me and a friend play some live music over a spooky background I put together using some of my coolest records with that ‘dark’ feel to them. Off the of my head, I’m using Eden Ahbez (from Eden’s Island, Les Baxter (a loop from the astounding ‘Pool of Love’, and a crazy piece from Wild in the Streets called ‘Psychedelic Senate’), Bill Doggett (from a frenetic masterpiece called ‘The Kicker’ on the Wow album), Henry Mancini (some cool walking bass stuff from ‘Peter Gunn’), Lalo Schifrin (‘the killer’), Ennio Morricone (the ethereal ‘La donna gattina’), Percy Faith, and Margo Guryan. And there’s even some completely original material as well, played on 2 guitars and my spanky new saxophone. I’ll be expecting to see my huge army of NYC readers there, without fail.

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I got my new saxophone. It is quite superb. In other news, I was sitting at home in Brooklyn last night, and suddenly the whole house shook. Turns out it was an earthquake. Like I wasn’t nervous enough already!

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Hmm, I should have gone into work today, but instead I assembled backing tracks for an upcoming musical performance. I guess I will make the effort and go in tomorrow to tidy up a few things. My other big news is that I’m about to buy a new saxophone. Nice one!

Bill Doggett: 'Wow' (CD; Verve; 1964)
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I think I could really get into Bill Doggett. I first came across him via the inclusion of the superb 'Honky Tonk part 1' in the soundtrack to 'Blue Velvet'. I also have one of his albums on vinyl, but this lavishly packaged Verve Master Edition CD really blew me away. The songs are simple and bluesey, and the arrangements are tight - so tight that it almost sounds like funk, and this is 1964... Doggett's razor sharp hammond organ playing is brilliant. A great record

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My work has rather taken over my life. But thank the lord I’m able to listen to music there. It helps me focus and filter out the football talk…

Compilation: 'Trains & Boats & Covers - The Songs of Burt Bacharach' (CD; Sequel; 1958-1978)
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I'm really enjoying this fab compilation of UK interpretations of Burt Bacharach covers. More detail to come soon, but it's quite marvellous - from cool latin influenced instrumental covers to over-wrought belting vocal versions.

Yeah, this compilation sounds better every time I hear it. It's a mix of well known and lesser known songs, with most recordings being completely new to me. Only two super famous interpretations are included here - Sandie Shaw's '(there's) always something there to remind me' and Gary Miller's 'The Story of My life'. The rest is all very fresh and extremely enjoyable.

My favorite 'belters' are Lisa Shane's 'Come and Get me' (what a superb song!), Billie Davis's 'The last one to be loved' and the great Anita Harris's 'Trains and Boats and Planes'.

There also some great instrumental easy listening takes, many from obscure early 70s Pye albums, such as the City of Westminster String Band's 'I say a little prayer', the Dennis Lopez Liquid Latin Sound's 'Lost Horizon', and Sounds Orchestral's 'I'll never fall in love again'. One particular gem is the jazzy harp instrumental version of 'Close to you' by David Snell.

Also, there are some fun group vocal tracks, including two by Tony Hatch, and a hilarious version of 'Do you know the way to San Jose' by the Paper Dolls, a group of female singers who sound like they've never left England, let alone hung out in California.

There also some great beat oddities, such as Tony Cody's fuzz guitar/Isaac Hayes style version of 'Walk on By' and the superb garagey version of 'My little red book' by the Rockin' Berries, which uses a distorted guitar and minor chords in the chorus to great effect. Also fun are the Searchers singing 'This empty place', although I could probably do without the Beatles-style 'Wishin' and hopin' by The Eagles.

Other highlights include Petula Clark's cool french version of 'Anyone who had a heart' ('Ceux qui un coeur') and Rex Harrison's outrageously over-the-top and dramatic 'A House is not a home'. This surprisingly excellent compilation ends with a cool early 70s soul version of 'Don't make me over' by Barbara Jean English, with a delicious spiralling strings opening.

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Bjork was kind of amazing. Radio City Music Hall is a beautiful venue, but they suck for not stating in advance that cameras would be confiscated – we weren’t even going to use it, and had to waste an hour at the end of the show waiting to pick it up. Bjork had some sparkly outfits, and the sound of the stripped down electronics and her voice alongside a full orchestra was really astounding, particularly on her anthemic masterpieces ‘isobel’ and ‘bachelorette’.

I was just having a random internet voyage in search of new music, and I came across this interesting page. I’m coming across this kind of thing a lot – more and more of the people I encounter when looking for records are really massivly into hip-hop. Often these people seem to get turned on to older records by hearing them sampled on modern records. I tend to get into things a different way, but thinking about it, I’m probably a bit further down the ‘record information’ chain. Stuff I’m into like Dorothy Ashby probably surfaced in my life through 1) someone sampling it; 2) someone being turned onto it enough for it to get reissued 3) someone enthusing about the reissue to me. I’m not putting it very eloquently, but I guess I’m trying to say that it’s interesting how different musical ‘communities’ end up being into the same stuff, even though on the surface you’d think ‘hip hop fans’ and ‘instrumental pop/jazz/soundtrack’ fans might be into very different stuff.

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So, I’m going to see Bjork tonight at Radio City Music Hall. I’ve been too busy to get remotely excited about it. In fact, I was lamenting this morning about how I must have become quite old, since I don’t get excited about things that much anymore. Like, I remember in 1991 getting tickets for the Morrissey show at the Kilburn National club about two months in advance, and counting down the days. By contrast, although I bought it, I’ve hardly listened to the Bjork album, and have had such a hard week that I’m worried about falling asleep later. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing the inside of Radio City, and it sounds like it will be an elaborate show.

Oh, and on Wednesday night we played another show. We have a new name, ‘The Isolators’. We were ok. Not as good a turnout as the last show, but hey……..

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