• Pauline Scanlon

    8 jui. 2007, 12h17m

    This is one of those self-publicity moments...

    I've just posted a blog about Pauline Scanlon, here:

    Musicus Eclecticus - Pauline Scanlon

    Go check it out. It's the first entry on my brand-spanking-new blog. Cool or what.
  • Bargain of the week - The Dubliners

    7 jui. 2007, 16h56m

    My bargain of the week, this week, was a super-cheap vinyl purchase - The Best Of The Dubliners, on the Pickwick label.

    This cost me the very grand total of TWENTY PENCE from a charity shop near where I work - not bad, eh? Of course I've got most of the tracks on CD but you can't beat 12 inches of sleek black vinyl, can you?

    Anyhoo, here's the track listing:

    McAlpine's Fusiliers
    Finnegan's Wake
    Rocky Road to Dublin
    Home Boys Home
    The Patriot Game
    The Holy Ground
    The Wild Rover
    Mason's Apron
    Master McGrath
    The Leaving of Liverpool

    Check out this excerpt from the back cover blurb:

    "Take a hirsute quintet of boyos with names like Kelly, Sheehan and Bourke. Add a couple of guitars, a brace of banjoes and an Irish fiddle. Mix well with five Irish singing voices, no doubt smoothed, mellowed, nurtured and developed by innumerable bottles of Guinness and behold, you have The Dubliners!"

    They don't write sleeve notes like they used to...!
  • Who I saw at Glastonbury 2007...

    26 juin 2007, 16h30m


    Mick Artistic (Green Roadshow Bandstand)
    Don Letts (Leftfield Stage)
    Damian Dempsey (Leftfield Stage)


    Attila the Stockbroker (Cabaret Marquee)
    Pauline Scanlon (Acoustic Tent)
    The Dylan Project (Acoustic Tent)
    Chumbawamba (Avalon Stage)
    The Coral (Other Stage)
    Rhythm Wave (Cabaret Marquee)


    Liam O’Maonlai – the guy from Hothouse Flowers (Acoustic Tent)
    Broken Family Band (Avalon Stage)
    Julie Fowlis (Avalon Stage)
    Gruff Rhys (Avalon Stage)
    Ed Byrne (Cabaret Marquee)
    John Fogerty (JazzWorld Stage)
    Iggy & The Stooges (Other Stage)


    Richard Swift (Park Stage)
    Pauline Scanlon (Small World Stage)
    The Boat Band (Croissant Neuf Tent)
    Seth Lakeman (JazzWorld Stage)
    Billy Bragg (Avalon Stage)
    Tinariwen (JazzWorld Stage)
  • Strange and odd questiony thing stolen from strange and odd scrobbly bloke

    29 nov. 2006, 22h42m

    1. A song that wakes you up in the morning.
    The Pogues – Thousands Are Sailing

    Or possibly something by Poison Idea, recently anyway.

    2. A song you loved in high school.
    Easy this! I bought the 12" the week it came out – Metallica – One. I still have that record. I had a 7" promo of it for ages that I bought for £6 from a secondhand record shop. Some bastard stole it from me a few years later. It now goes for over £50 a pop. Twat. I have never seen another copy of it in the flesh.

    3. A song that mentions a dead celebrity.
    Depeche Mode – New Dress
    As in – "Princess Di is wearing a new dress" – quality song.

    4. A song you'd be embarrassed to listen to with your grandmother.
    Frank Zappa – Bobby Brown Goes Down

    5. A song that MTV will never play in a million, billion years.
    Beck – MTV Makes Me Want To Smoke Crack.
    Throbbing Gristle - Slug Bait.
    7 Year Bitch - Dead Men Don't Rape.

    6. A song with a title that ends in y.
    The Grehan Sisters – Henry Joy

    That’s on a Transatlantic folk LP called "Here’s To The Irish" – I’ve got it propped up against the stereo next to me. Is that obscure enough, do you think?

    7. A song that makes you crave something.
    Buzzcocks – Orgasm Addict

    Only kidding... Or am I???

    8. A cover song that you think is better than the original.
    Richard Thompson – Oops! I Did It Again

    9. The original of #8.
    Oh come on... don’t make me type it.

    10. A song that reminds you of a fandom OTP.
    Fairport Convention – Matty Groves

    11. You have been caught mouthing the lyrics to this song.
    Probably some bollocks by Keane or something. Shite but catchy.

    12. A song that will always make you think of a movie.
    New Order – Temptation. Always reminds me of Trainspotting.

    13. A song that should totally have fic written about it.
    I have no fucking idea what this means!!

    14. A song you wish they'd play in elevators.
    As long as it’s not THAT Aerosmith song then I don’t mind.

    15. You'll stop listening to this song when they pry your MP3 player out of your cold, dead hands.
    Every single song by The Pogues.
    And "Shine On" by The House of Love. Genius.
  • Last night's music telly

    14 oct. 2006, 7h58m

    Another great Friday night of music telly from the BBC last night. My Friday's wouldn't be the same without the BBC's commitment to showing top class music. Here's hoping they keep it up. So... what did we have last night?

    Cambridge Folk Festival 2006 (BBC4, 9pm-10pm)

    A repeat of the highlights from the UK's biggest and best folk festival, presented by the loveable Mark Radcliffe. Starting a programme with The Chieftains can't be bad, can it? Following on from that were further performances from the brilliant Julie Fowlis (who's album I have just ordered from Amazon), John Tams & Barry Coope, Seth Lakeman, Nickel Creek, a distinctly un-folky (but still great) Cerys Matthews, Capercaillie, and finishing off with the legend that is Emmylou Harris (performing the marvellous Boulder to Birmingham).
    As well as this lot there was a cracking (exclusive) performance from Roddy Woomble (he of Idlewild fame) - his recent album is pure folk goodness and features a guest appearance from Kate Rusby, among others.

    Santana: Live In Concert - 1976 (BBC4, 10pm-10.30pm)

    I do not like the recent Santana material. Not at all. It's MTV-by-numbers, soft focussed, AOR tripe. Music for coffee tables.

    But Santana wasn't always like this. This excellent concert showed just exactly how good they used to be - a boisterous version of the classic Oye Como Va was the obvious highlight.

    Originals: Sun Ra (BBC2 11.35pm-00.35am)

    This fascinating documentary told the story of acclaimed jazz lunatic Sun Ra and his deserved place in the evolutionary tale of jazz music. This was an interesting and well-made programme, with appearances from former members of the Sun Ra Arkestra, plus Wayne Kramer of MC5 and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore.

    The most surprising fact revealed in the programme was that Sun Ra didn't take drugs - he was just naturally barmy.

    Great quote from Sun Ra, when confronted by a man who said to him, "My 8-year-old daughter could play that music."

    Sun Ra replied, "She could play it... but could she write it?"

  • All The Gigs I've Been To.... part 3 of ? - Glasto 1999

    16 sept. 2006, 13h22m

    ...And so we arrive at the third thrilling installment of this writer's adventures in gig-land. Unfortunately I somehow conspired to not bother seeing any bands at all between the end of Glastonbury 1998 and the beginning of the following year's festival.

    Once again, I'm sure I will have missed some of the bands I saw at Glasto 99. Them's the breaks.

    Glastonbury 1999

    Sharon Shannon
    Having seen her brilliant performance on the main stage in 1998, I went along to the Acoustic Tent to catch her 1999 show. This was easily as good as the previous year. I wasn't into folk as much then, at least not as much as I am now, but this was definitely one of my favourite Glastonbury gigs.

    Only caught a bit of their show, on the way past to see someone better. They were fucking boring. There's not much else to say really, except I'm glad they now appear to have fucked off into the obscurity they so richly deserve. In the nicest possible way...

    I made a special trip to the New Bands Stage to see this lot, off the back of the Floodlit World single which I had bought (and still occasionally play to this day). I loved Floodlit World so much there was no way I was going to miss this lot. It was an ace gig as well. Tiny Wood wore a dress, which was a rather disturbing sight. I also caught the end of the Death in Vegas gig just before Ultrasound, so that was a bonus. Sadly, Ultrasound are no more.

    Manic Street Preachers
    The first time I'd ever gone to see a Main Stage headliner, oddly. What a way to break the duck. The Manics rocked - brilliant from start to finish. They even played some older stuff. Great gig.

    I am, on the sly, quite a big fan of Hole. It's easy to forget how good their music was, drowned out as it so often is/was by Courtney Love's various extracurricular antics. She may be little more than an annoyance to some, but take it from me, she is also an accomplished musician and an outstanding performer. She doesn't look too bad in a bikini either...
    A raucous gig, heavy as hell, and with Ms Love pissing off the security by inviting various audience members onto the stage. Excellent, every minute of it.

    Ha ha ha. This was the band which featured a certain Mr Keanu Reeves in the line up. This was also one of the worst bands I have ever, ever had the misfortune to see or hear. We went along out of curiosity really - their appearance was something of a talking point at the festival that year. Ended up having conversations with various people watching the band, most of whom were saying things like "God... they're SHIT, aren't they!"
    And make no mistake, to say they were shit, would be to insult shit in a deep, grave and nasty way. They were much, much worse than that. Proof indeed that Keanu is as bad at music as he is at acting.

    Baka Beyond
    From the ridiculous to the sublime! Let me say this - should you ever get the opportunity to see Baka Beyond play live, do it. This was a superb gig - me and the gang were all boogeying away at the side of the field and we could have carried on all day, I reckon. The band even invited the entire audience to a party they were having with Rinky Dink Sound System later on. That could have been a tight squeeze...

    I do firmly believe that REM are quite simply one of the greatest bands in the history of the universe. Especially live - they make it look piss easy, and really, it can't be easy to sound that good. I've seen them again since but nothing will beat this one. One of the best gigs I've seen, anywhere.

    That about wraps up part 3 of the journey through my gig-going history... part 4 in due course...
  • Every gig I've seen (with witty comments, ha!) - part 2 of ?

    12 sept. 2006, 17h41m

    As I came to think about writing the second part of my live music reminiscences, I sort of came to realise that for the next 3 years, we are looking almost exclusively at Glastonbury Festival. Which, come to think of it, is no bad thing at all.

    By the way, if you missed Part One of this epic tale, it is here:

    Anyway, where were we? Ah yes... just finished Glastonbury 1997.

    Which leads us to...

    Hull City Hall, 1997.
    Support: can't remember

    This was genuinely a cracking gig. I was well impressed with them. Unfortunately I got dumped by my girlfriend a few hours later, which was an absolute arse, considering I'd just spent all my money taking her out. Women, eh? I then got really drunk. Such is life.

    Anyhoo... onto the next festival about now...

    Forgive me if I get some of the following bands under the wrong year's festival. Some of it's a bit blurred…

    Glastonbury 1998

    Managed to see quite a few bands this year, but I bet you a tenner I can only remember about six of them. Deep breath... here goes...

    By the way. Yes. 1998 was very, very, very fucking muddy.

    Dunno why I went to see these. They were okay though. But not brilliant. Which is probably why nobody remembers them.

    I own up. I only went to see Kenickie to see if Lauren Laverne was as lovely in the flesh as she used to look on the telly, before her eyes moved round to the sides of her head and made her look like a big old fish-woman-monster. Which all-in-all is a bizarre physical juxtaposition, which neither I nor anyone else can explain. Weird. The music? Not bad I suppose.

    An accident. Me and my mate Ben were wandering around the festival taking in the sights when we suddenly realised we were standing within earshot of a Reef gig. Needless to say we ran off immediately. Reef - exactly what The Rolling Stones would have sounded like if they had been born with no fucking talent whatsoever. "Place Your Hands"? Certainly - right around your throat, you irritating wanker.

    Sharon Shannon
    Fabulous. This was early on (I think) the Saturday on the Main Stage (first act on as I recall) and a great gig to start the day. I saw her again the following year as well (as I may remember to note later). I keep meaning to get hold of some of her stuff but it's now 2006 and I still haven't got round to it.

    Meredith Brooks
    Before you start, she was actually (gasp) QUITE GOOD! I just stopped by on a whim and ended up watching the whole gig, all in all not half bad. Or maybe she was actually rubbish and I was too stoned to notice. No, she was okay, I'm sure of it. Definitely.

    Roni Size & Reprazent
    Monumentally brilliant, as mentioned in an earlier journal entry. I saw them the previous year as well but I think I forgot to put it down in Part One. Shame on me.

    Superb. Criminally under-rated, Audioweb were perhaps too unpredictable for mainstream success (their penchant for chucking dub reggae into the middle of guitar indie maybe a little too leftfield for Radio One) but so what? Great tunes and a stonking live band to boot. What more can you ask for? I tried to get my mate to come to this set with me but he was too busy flirting with an Irish girl round a campfire we had infiltrated, completely oblivious to the fact that the bloke on her other side was her boyfriend. Plonker. So I went on my own. And I had a ball.

    Steve Earle
    Just caught the end of this one, as I was lining up a decent vantage point for Space, who were on next. I didn’t know much of Steve Earle's stuff at the time (though I do now) and I was well impressed. If I'd know he was that good, I'd have gone for the full set.

    The second time I saw this lot (see above). Not as good as the Hull City Hall gig but still good. Bit of a shame they faded away and disappeared really. I liked them. I'm not ashamed.

    I'd love to recount all the other great bands I saw that year, but in all honesty, I spent a lot of it in a wasted stupor, and it's all gone now. I'm very sorry.

    Part 3... Coming up when I can be bothered to write it. Do feel free to leave comments and/or abuse below. Reef fans need not apply.

  • Another dodgy quiz with some interesting stuff in!

    7 jui. 2006, 19h21m

    1. Which bands/artist do you own the most albums by?
    Probably David Bowie I should think. Mostly on vinyl.

    2. What was the last song you listened to?
    Saturn 5 by Inspiral Carpets

    3. What's in your CD player right now?
    An album by Eurythmics, a David Bowie bootleg, and a demo by a band called Tarifa.

    4. What was the last show you attended?
    Beverley Folk Festival 2006. See my journal for more details. The last act I saw live (at this fest) was Altan.

    5. What was the greatest show you've ever been to?
    The Pogues reunion show in 2004. Followed by the same in 2005. Both at Manchester Arena.

    6. What's the worst show you've ever been to?
    I once saw Reef at Glastonbury but that was an accident and I ran away very quickly. Oh and I saw Embrace once as well - they were fucking awful.

    7. What's the most musically involved you have ever been?
    I was in a band in my teens. I’ve promoted a few gigs in the not-too-distant past as well.

    8. What show are you looking forward to?
    The Pogues this Xmas, and Glastonbury 2007!!

    9. What is your favorite band shirt?
    You guessed it… my Pogues shirts. I’ve got a Bob Dylan one that I really like as well.

    10. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?
    Shane MacGowan or Neil Young. Or Bowie.

    11. Who is one musician or group you wish would make a comeback?
    I wish The Pogues would go back in the studio. That would be very cool indeed.

    12. Who is one band/artist you've never seen live but always wanted to?
    Neil Young. And The House of Love.

    13. Name 4 or MORE flawless albums:
    The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God; The Pogues - Rum Sodomy & The Lash; Stone Roses - Stone Roses; David Bowie - …Ziggy Stardust…

    14. How many music related videos/DVDs do you own?
    Not many now, but I used to have loads.

    15. How many concerts/shows have you been to, total?
    Lots and lots and lots!!!

    16. Who have you seen the most live?
    I’ve seen a few bands twice - The Pogues, Space, Roni Size, Martin Simpson, Sharon Shannon, Rolf Harris… a few more as well.

    17. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
    Nil By Mouth perhaps. By Eric Clapton I believe.

    18. What was your last musical "phase" before you wizened up?
    I’m still going. I just add new phases to the existing ones. I don’t give them up. Though I did used to listen to lots of dodgy Spandex metal in my youth, ouch.

    19. What's your "guilty pleasure" that you hate to admit to liking?
    I love ‘Honey’ by Bobby Goldsboro!!!
  • Beverley Folk Festival 2006

    25 juin 2006, 21h19m

    Beverley Folk Festival 2006

    I had the privilege of attending the 23rd annual Beverley Folk Festival last week and caught some great acts throughout this very impressive festival. Here’s a rundown of the bands/acts I managed to catch and a few notes as to who was great, who was not-so-great, and who was monumentally brilliant…

    Edwina Hayes
    Singer/songwriter from East Yorkshire who divides her time between Driffield and Nashville (!). I know where I’d rather be. Musically, she was a bit too poppy for my liking - very reminiscent of Mindy Smith but without the flashes of brilliance that Smith occasionally shows. That said, Hayes was very good at what she did, and was accompanied by a superb guitarist in the shape of Malcolm Darwen, who played some virtuoso slide. Seems a shame that he’s relegated to backing musician status as I thought he deserved equal billing. “Closer To Home” and “No Idea” were strong songs.

    Julie Fowlis
    Julie Fowlis comes from the Outer Hebrides and sings in Gaelic. Accompanied by a band comprising guitar, violin and bouzouki (and tin whistle from Fowlis herself), this lot had the festival bouncing. Wonderfully raucous jigs and reels aplenty, plus some beautifully sung ballads, made this easily one of the highlights of the whole festival. Very highly recommended. I am regretting my decision not to buy her album (and meet the band at the same time), which I did for financial reasons. It’s on the shopping list though, without a doubt.

    Eliza Carthy and Saul Rose
    I should imagine that, if you’re reading this, then Eliza Carthy needs no introduction. On this occasion she was accompanied by brother-in-law Saul Rose on melodeon. This, apparently, was their first gig together in over six years. And a great gig it was too, as they played much of the material from 1998’s “Rice” album, on which Rose guested. Excellent stuff all round. And I saw Eliza in the bar on the Sunday night as well, drinking Guinness - good choice!

    Si Kahn
    This US singer/songwriter was one of the artists I had inked in as a must-see. He’s been performing for over 30 years now but is virtually unknown in the UK. He’s a protest singer in the classical sense - his songs champion the oppressed and exploited, and his words drip with sincerity. In his day job he’s a Civil Rights and Labour Organiser - his integrity is unquestionable. His performances (he played twice - I saw both sets) were consummate and engaging and more than lived up to expectation.

    John Tams & Barry Coope
    Excellent again. John Tams’ between-song banter was so funny it was almost a shame they had to play some songs! I’d have liked to have heard some more harmonica from Tams perhaps, as when he did play it, it lifted things up a notch.

    Coope, Boyes & Simpson
    Another appearance for Barry Coope, this time in his more familiar role as part of this vocal trio. Not really my cup of tea in all honesty, though there were some interesting songs, and it was nice to see something different.

    Or, to be precise, Chumbawamba Acoustic, as they are known these days. The transformation from pop-punk-dance agitprop icons to acoustic folkies is pretty radical but works really, really well. I was surprised at how good they were. They did play a few older songs, including the sublime “Homophobia”, but this was more about the new Chumbawamba than the old. Recommended.

    Spencer Bohren
    New Orleans-based blues artist. I enjoyed this one so much that I bought one of Bohren’s albums after the gig - "Southern Cross". Some wonderful lap steel guitar playing, and awesome slide guitar. Virtuoso playing of the highest order. He also does a mean version of Curtis Mayfield's classic "People Get Ready". Check him out.

    Martin Simpson
    Like Si Kahn, Martin Simpson also played twice over the weekend, both on the same day - meaning I saw both gigs just a few hours apart, which seemed a strange bit of scheduling. However, both gigs were outstanding and I’d definitely go and see him again. The definite highlight for me was his reading of “Little Musgrave” (aka “Matty Groves” - as in the Fairport Convention track). “Matty Groves” is one my favourite songs ever so this made my day - twice. It didn’t match up to Fairport’s version but that’s not a criticism. Simpson’s version was still great.

    Top class Gaelicness and all that kind of thing, from these Irish heavyweights. I’d have preferred more reels than songs but that’s just my personal preference. Another great foot-stomping gig.

    Now THIS is what music should sound like!!! A mental hybrid of Gaelic folk and bass-heavy beats (not unlike Afro Celt Sound System), this was so far up my street it was hurting. Fast and folky dance music for those who know how to dance. Added to that, fiddler/vocalist Angus R Grant looks disturbingly like Charles Manson. So you’ve got a Scottish folk outfit fronted by a crazed serial killer. What more could you ask for? Eh? EH? I hereby award Shooglenifty the award for best performance of the festival, by a country mile. Nice one, lads.
  • One of those random play question things...

    15 juin 2006, 20h53m

    So what you do is you play all your music at shuffle and each song goes for the current question. I nicked this from someone else. But so did he. This could be nonsense, but here goes........

    How does the world see me?
    Song: That's Where It's At
    Artist: Sam Cooke
    Comment: Yeah, so follow my lead, suckers.

    Will I have a happy life?
    Song: Moondance
    Artist: Van Morrison
    Comment: Sounds good to me. Reminds me of Glastonbury, 6am. Heh heh.

    What do my friends really think of me?
    Song: Blues With A Feeling
    Artist: Little Walter
    Comment: Hmmm. What does that mean? Fuck knows.

    Do people secretly lust after me?
    Song: Fifteen Years
    Artist: Levellers
    Comment: THAT LONG??? Who is she???

    How can I make myself happy?
    Song: Diamonds And Guns
    Artist: Transplants
    Comment: Oh yeah, right, whatever. Like, who am I? 50 Cent? God forbid...

    What should I do with my life?
    Song: Rock N Roll With Me
    Artist: David Bowie
    Comment: Yeah, I can live with that. Feel free to join in.

    Why should life be full of so much pain?
    Song: Talkin' New York
    Artist: Bob Dylan
    Comment: Yeah, there's been a bit of that in recent years, hasn't there? Gets on my tits. What's a block of flats or two in the grand scheme of things?

    How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
    Song: Walking The Blues
    Artist: Willie Dixon
    Comment: Well I'll give it a go but it doesn't sound all that promising, does it?

    Will I ever have children?
    Song: Before You Accuse Me
    Artist: Bo Diddley
    Comment: You mean I have more? Where?????

    What is some good advice for me?
    Song: Losers Weepers
    Artist: Etta James
    Comment: Sound advice methinks.

    What is happiness?
    Song: The Boys Are Back In Town
    Artist: Thin Lizzy
    Comment: Yeah. Me, the lads, a pool table, some Guinness.

    What is my favorite fetish?
    Song: Makes No Sense At All
    Artist: Husker Du
    Comment: Damn right it doesn't.

    How will I be remembered?
    Song: Stars And Stripes Of Corruption
    Artist: Dead Kennedys
    Comment: Well now that's just not right at all. Stupid game, this.

    What do people assume when they first look at me?
    Song: Twat
    Artist: John Cooper Clarke
    Comment: I SWEAR TO GOD I DIDN'T MAKE THAT UP!!! Probably true as well, heh heh.

    What Will be a big challenge in life for me?
    Song: Tease Your Man
    Artist: Koko Taylor
    Comment: Unlikely, to be honest. And you know what, I don't think I've ever listened to that track. Yet...

    Am I a good husband?
    Song: Eclipse
    Artist: Pink Floyd
    Comment: [Insert witty comment here. I can't.]

    Do I have a Secret Admirer?
    Song: Built For Comfort
    Artist: Howlin' Wolf
    Comment: Awww how nice. Someone thinks I look comforting. Was it Jodie Foster? No? Oh well.

    How will I die?
    Song: Fade To Black
    Artist: Metallica
    Comment: Appropriate. Sounds peaceful at least - which, frankly, is less than I deserve.

    Is someone trying to kill me?
    Song: Ding Dong
    Artist: Nellie McKay
    Comment: DON'T ANSWER THE DOOR!!!!!!!

    What is my sexual preference?
    Song: In The Basement
    Artist: Etta James & Sugar Pie DeSanto
    Comment: Whoa... kinky.

    What am I afraid of?
    Song: Campaign Of Hate
    Artist: The Libertines
    Comment: Yeah... if all those ex-girlfriends got together, there'd be murder...

    What will I be doing in a few years?
    Song: Hitler
    Artist: Eek-a-Mouse
    Comment: Jesus, let's hope not!!!

    What should I do instead of this quiz?
    Song: Tuesday Morning
    Artist: The Pogues
    Comment: Which would involve going to work. So, sorry, but NO.

    What is a bad habit that i should try to stop?
    Song: You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
    Artist: Madeleine Peyroux
    Comment: Presumably that means I should stop listening to odd Bob Dylan cover versions?

    What's for dinner tonight?
    Song: B&I Ferry
    Artist: Shane MacGowan & the Popes
    Comment: It's about alcohol in places, so I can live with that.

    Your turn......