Tag Archives: John Martyn

Dinosaur Jr

This evenings post is based on pure self-indulgence. Low impact comment backed up with enthusiasm for subject.

Before proceeding, please press play…….

I’ve mentioned before my admiration for J Mascis & Dinosaur Jr. Having seen DJ four or five times and J & the Fog once, they rate with the best of up lifting live music experiences. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mahler’s Symphony of 1000, Kate Bush singing with Peter Gabriel, John Martyn marginally sober….. J Mascis on a good night with viable amplification can step up to the plate and physically move you elsewhere.

The last time I saw J was for  a gig supporting the release of ‘Beyond’. That was excellent but prior to that was a Fog gig at the Boat Club in West Bridgford, in support of ‘The Light’. Probably the loudest experience ever. A million watts of volume in a room the size of my office. A cigar chomping Mike Watt, George Berz blew the doors off the joint and had my ears spinning for days.

J is one of the most elemental forces of guitar nature and in my view is up there with Peter Green, Jimi, Santana, McLaughlin and John Martyn.

So here’s a whole load of J fun. Lou Barlow @LouBarlow announced on Twitter that Dinosaur are recording a new album which I can’t wait for. I so hope they tour it in the UK and do more than three gigs. I would happily promote a Nottingham gig and I know the local wildlife would turn out to see these guys.

I strongly suggest you hit the iTunes store, search the NPR podcasts for Dinosaur Jr at the 9.30 Club in Washington. In mArch theres a DVD of the gig and it is twisting. Songs from the entire period ‘Repulsion’ through to ‘Over It’.

Speaking of which……..

Here’s one more.  ‘Feel The Pain’ live from 2007….

And for no other reason than gratiitous file sharing, a full live show. A brilliant audience recording from less than a month ago. Sorry to the original source for going all MP3 but this is about coverage not purism. Original links available on request. Excellent sound and a typically genius performance. Just remember, three blokes, analog tech, massive voltage…..

Dinosaur Jr
Grand Central
Miami, FL
January 23, 2012


01. tuning/intro
02. Thumb
03. The Lung
04. Budge
05. They Always Come
06. No Bones
07. noodling/banter
08. Little Fury Things
09. Out There
10. Feel The Pain
11. Kracked
12. Freak Scene
13. Forget The Swan
14. encore break
15. In A Jar
16. Just Like Heaven
17. Mountain Man

Don’t be subtle. Turn it up.

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Filed under Comment, Gigs, Music, Uncategorized, Video

Top Ten Albums 2011

Please forgive this wilful seasonal predictability, but I’m on a mission to give a shout to my Top Ten Albums of 2011. Yes, I know there are a thousand and one top tens in the culture mag & tabs this time of year. I will deviate slightly from the norm in that I don’t have ten and I’m not rating them. Playing albums is no game of chance. They need to fit the moment and the mood, and more importantly be to hand when you need them. Far more has been than will be in my attentive lifetime so I’m sure I have played more old music than I have recent. But despite the constant callings of Bob, Pink, Neil & Jimi there has been plenty to rock the lobes.

So, marching on, in no particular order, here’s my favourite moments from 2011……………………..

REM – Collapse Into Now

The bands last studio album. I’ve been a fanboy of the band since seeing them on the Oxford Road Show singing So. Central Rain in 1984. It’s a little sad that they have stopped the box car rolling but I’m sure they will all produce more music worth following.

This is the best song from the album. A slow burner with a beautiful Stipe vocal.

Peter Gabriel – New Blood

The ‘Scratch My Back’ & ‘New Blood’ projects by PG both received some negative fan feedback. This was totally undeserved. PG has always stepped up to new plates and whether its other artists songs or revisits of his own he has such a stunning and emotive voice, and talent for song writing, that you can’t ignore his output. I saw the 3D show of the ‘New Blood’ performance and it raised some neck hair. I hope we get the promised ‘I’ll Scratch Yours’ album with some great covers of PG’s songs by the great & the good. Lou Reeds ‘Solsbury Hill’ is a great start.

Here’s a brilliant song from the Jools Holland show…

J Mascis – Several Shades of Why

The best guitarist in world. Don’t argue, it’s true. His first properly named solo album (except the Amma record & ‘Martin and Me’) and a real doozie. Great songs, amazing playing. I had a ticket to see J & the Fog but it was cancelled. There aren’t enough people who appreciate this man. Pay attention to this…

I Break Horses – Hearts

Getting close to my favourite album. Maria & Fredrik from Sweden released their debut album on Bella Union mid year. Its an absolute joy of stargazzy electropop and ambience. I hope they do a more pronounced tour of the UK in 2012.

Lanterns On The Lake – Gracious Tide, Take Me Home

Another Bella Union band but this time from Newcastle. I saw them in the Bodega and had to buy the album. Looking forward to more from them in the future.

Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow

As a male person of a certain age and socio/cultural background I am born’n’breed to give Kate my attention. Having watched ‘Wuthering Heights’ on TOTP back in my youth I’ll twitch to all new notes she drops. ‘Directors Cut’ was good and the new version of ‘The Red Shoes’ was worth the purchase, but to have a new-new album so soon after was a big surprise. It’s such an amazing album with incredible side shows and a stunning main act. Elton’s contribution has to be his best vocal in years and Stephen Fry’s alliteration and verbosity is engrossing and clever. Above all, Kate singing about her dreaming of humping a snowman and waking up with wet sheets & the snow flake animism of the opening song are worth the buy in.

This is a fan video of the song ‘Snowed In At Wheeler Street’.A  great effort by someone who cares.

Tom Waits – Bad Like Me

Anything that Tom puts out is worth some time. 8 years since the ‘Mule Variations’ with ‘Orphans’ & ‘Glitter & Doom’ inbetween. A brilliant studio album with some of the best musicians playing along. The duet with Keef and the excellent Marc Ribot on guitar. Tom stays at the top of my bucket list of artists to see.

One of the best lyricists writting words like “what sounded like fireworks turned out to be just what it was…” No one else comes close to Tom.

David Lynch – Crazy Clown Time

There is so little to say about this. David Lynch is simply an artist who is in the enviable position od doing pretty much what he wants. Make a movie on betamax, open a night club, have prom party. ‘Crazy Clown Time’ is completly original, a little bit funny and totally scary. It’s jostling for No1 on here and is mental enough to get the top slot.

If you didnt know, DL is into TM. That probably has something to do with this. Listen carefully for the link between happiness and good dental hygiene.

John Martyn – Heaven & Earth

John’s postumous album. Part complete when he moved on and completed by friends. It’s not quiet there with is great albums but it has a wonderful mumbling beauty that no one else could ever achieve. I saw him live maybe half a dozen times and he was a uniquely talented artist. Phil Collins contribution is good and brings back memories of ‘Grace & Danger’.

Radiohead – King of Limbs

Predictable. Radiohead can do no wrong. I’ll buy thier extreme product versions for random amounts of money and indulge the albums, remixes, versions, YouTube specials etc etc. Because they are good, unlike Coldplop, U-aswell, Snowshovell etal.

Thom can’t even dance which is admirable…..

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

The second album by Justin Vernon owes a lot I think to Peter Gabriel. Really interesting production, a bit themeic/conceptual with some moments of elation amongst the angst. PG covered one of his songs on ‘Scratch’ and I hope he returns the favour on ‘Yours’.

…..and finally…………………………..

JTP – Last of the Country Gentlemen

I guess he’s my No#1. I saw him live twice. It’s not the happiest record ever made. But there are so few other things it can be compared with. The playing is exemplary, the lyrics are so patently pawed over endlessly, the performance is dragged out from the bottom of a tainted soul. When he plays he breaks up the pain with blue jokes and prat falls, but nothing distracts from the huge talent that makes this happen. This is Josh T. Pearson on the shores of the Rivers of Babylon…..

So there you go.

My musical wishes for 2012 are …..

  • Something new from David Bowie (please, please, please….)
  • A Metal album from Josh T Pearson
  • A tour from I Break Horses
  • Finding the cash to see Tom Waits live if he plays ever…..
  • A new Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds record
  • An album from Liz Fraser
  • The lost/last Sparklehorse album gets released
  • X-Factor gets cancelled

Happy new ears tweeps……



Filed under Comment, Music, Video

Nick Drake

I’ve been in the car quite a bit this week mainly listening to John Martyn Live in Leeds and an old Free album. John Martyn amazes me. He came across as the complete opposite of the man his songs illustrate.

As my friend Binaryward pointed out, John wrote the beautiful song Solid Air for his friend Nick Drake. Nick’s songs appear to illustrate his persona far more accurately. I started re-listening to his three released albums last year and whilst the media seems to put him across as an artist for introverted teens there is a lot there that bears repeated listenings.

So today I’ve got the following bits and pieces for anyone interested.

First, here’s part one of a good documentary called ‘A Skin Too Few’. There are a further four parts all on You Tube. There are some interviews with family & friends and it paints a picture of a talented and loved individual, missed by those who knew him.

Second is a BBC radio documentary narrated by Brad Pitt. The accompanying text reads…..

“Nick Drake is the quintessential cult hero, and you can hear again why as Radio 2 presents another chance to hear 2004’s acclaimed documentary, presented by Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt.

Pitt was approached by Radio 2…after the network learned he was a huge Nick Drake fan. Pitt says: “I was introduced to Nick Drake’s music…and am a huge admirer of his records. “When Radio 2 approached me to get involved in this project, I was delighted to be asked and pleased that I was able to fit it into my schedule.

This documentary looks to explore Drake’s life through the words of those who knew him – collaborators such as producer Joe Boyd and arranger Robert Kirby, his family (including his sister, actress Gabrielle Drake) and his friends.”

Nick Drake – Lost Boy – In Search of Nick Drake 

Finally, here are two volumes of outtakes. Nick only released three studio albums, rarely played live and was never filmed playing so any artifacts are precious. I don’t think any to content has been released but if it turns out that there are officially released items here I will remove the links on request.

Volume One (88.8MB)

Recorded at The Music Room, Far Leys,

Tanworth In Arden, 1967-1968

1. Get Together

2. Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right

3. Courting Blues

4. Strolling Down The Highway (alt. take)

5. Here Come The Blues (alt. take)

6. Tomorrow Is Such A Long Time (alt. take)

7. Cocaine Blues (alt. take)

8. Milk And Honey (alt. take)

9. Summertime

10. Black Mountain Blues

11. Nick’s Monologue

12. Joey (alt. take)

Island demos. Rejected arrangements, engineered by

John Wood. Recorded at Sound Techniques, Chelsea,

London, between July 1968 – December 1968

13. Time Has Told Me

14. Saturday Sun (first take)

15. Thoughts Of Mary Jane (alt. take)

16. Day Is Done (alt. take)

Volume Two (82.31MB)

Recorded by Brian Wells, Hampstead, London, 1969

Probably recorded between 1968/1969.

Chaotic section of the home tapes.

1. Fly (second take)

2. Place To Be (alt. take)

3. Hazey Jane I (alt. take)

4. Parasite (first take)

5. Parasite (second take)

6. Brittle Days I

7. Brittle Days II

8. Poor Boy (alt. take)

9. Time Has Told Me (alt. take)

10. Work In Progress 3

11. Voice From The Mountain (demo)

12. Brittle Days III (variation)

13. Far Leys

14. Brittle Days III

15. Work In Progress 7

Engineered by John Wood at Sound Techniques,

Chelsea, London. February 1974 or July 1974

16. Impromptu Sound Check

17. Black Eyed Dog (guitar track, alt. take)

18. Rider On The Wheel (guitar track)


Filed under Comment, Music

John Martyn

Some people love Roy Harper, he’s good. Some people love Nick Drake, he was great and died to soon. I love John Martyn.

Whilst I heard John in the late seventies and early eighties. The first time I saw him was at Glastonbury in 85/86. He was the most singularly independent and original artist to come out of the UK folk scene. Rude, uncompromising, rebellious and so exceptionally talented as a song writer and performer its hard to place him.

It’s a little over a year since he passed away and I can only recommend watching the ‘Johnny To Bad’ BBC documentary if you can find it, or read ‘Some People Are Crazy’ which you can get for a couple of quid.

Here’s some late era John doing what he did best…..

I was lucky enough to see John a dozen times in various conditions of ability including his ‘Solid Air’ revisited tour. Unfortunately I missed the final ‘Grace & Danger’ tour even though (despite dubious eighties production) it’s one of his best albums.

I can however offer this. As far as I can tell it’s his last show from November 2008 at Vickers Road in Dublin. He passed away the following January whilst working on his final album which will hopefully be released this year.

This is the set list. Follow the link. 

John Martyn and Band
Vicar St., Dublin 25th Nov. 2008

01. Cooltide (Part)
02. Some People
03. Grace and Danger
04. Lookin’On
05. Johnny Too Bad
06. Sweet Little Mystery
07. Hurt in Your Heart
08. Baby Please Come Home
09. Save Some (for Me)
10. Our Love
11. Jellyroll Man
12. I Don’t Want to Know
13. May You Never
14. Solid Air
15. Rock, Salt and Nails
16. Never Let Me Go

I have no info about the taper. It’s an historic show, perhaps not the best quality but for anyone who knows his music its a must.

Visit the website for more about the final album and a new tribute recording.

A hero of real music.

UPDATE 09-02-11

It makes some sense to let the serpent eat it’s own tail and post the earliest recording I’ve been able to find of John Martyn.

Its Here….

Live at Les Cousins

Seven tracks, all from a little Soho Club in the late 60’s. It gets a mention in the biog.

01 Back Again – Dont Think Twice

02 Goin Down To Memphis

03 Winding Boy

04 Woodstock

05 Traffic Light Lady

06 Would You Believe Me

07 Jelly Roll Baker

…..again, not the top quality audio it’s nice to have but give history a go….


Filed under Music, Uncategorized, Video