Wednesday, 25 February 2015

50 years of tunes - 1970 - The Stooges "Funhouse"

Time for a bit more Proto-Punk, their debut album missed out to the Tull but their second is phenomenal. I was lucky enough to see the reformed line-up perform the entire album, in order, at the Hammersmith Odeon back in 2005, a gig that remains one of the best I've seen.

1970 - The Stooges "Funhouse"

Released: July 1968
Label: Elektra
Producer: Don Gallucci

Side one:
1. "Down on the Street"
2. "Loose"
3. "T.V. Eye"
4. "Dirt"

Side two:
5. "1970"
6. "Fun House"
7. "L.A. Blues"


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

50 years of tunes - 1969 - Jethro Tull "Stand Up"

Tull are one of my favourite bands. They're a little different from the rest of the seventies prog crowd and have a sound that is very much their own. Stand Up is Tull's second album, their first with long term guitar player Martin Barre and the moment they really began to leave their Progressive Blues origins behind and began to really find their feet.

1969 - Jethro Tull "Stand Up"

Released: September 1969
Label: Island
Producer: Ian Anderson & Terry Ellis

Side one:
1. "A New Day Yesterday"
2. "Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square"
3. "Bourée" (instrumental, J. S. Bach arr. Anderson)
4. "Back to the Family"
5. "Look into the Sun"

Side two:
6. "Nothing is Easy"
7. "Fat Man"
8. "We Used to Know"
9. "Reasons for Waiting"
10. "For a Thousand Mothers"


Friday, 13 February 2015

70 Favourite Films

Inspired by some list makers on Twitter I decided to do a list of my favourite films of all time. I didn't quite have enough for 100 and didn't want to drop any out to make it 50 so compromised on the slightly unusual number of 70. I love films but know I have some pretty glaring omissions (I've still not watched The Vikings before you ask!) so figured I'd list them in chronological order so you can let me know what I need to see.

1931 - City Lights (Chaplin)
1939 - The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock)
1944 - Arsenic and Old Lace (Capra)
1949 - Kind Hearts and Coronets (Hamer)
1949 - Passport to Pimlico (Cornelius)
1951 - The Lavender Hill Mob (Crichton)
1954 - Seven Samurai (Kurusawa)
1954 - Rear Window (Hitchcock)
1958 - Touch of Evil (Welles)
1958 - Vertigo (Hitchcock)
1959 - Some Like It Hot (Wilder)
1959 - Twelve Angry Men (Lumet)
1959 - North by North West (Hitchcock)
1959 - School for Scoundrels (Hamer)
1960 - The Apartment (Wilder)
1962 - To Kill A Mockingbird (Mulligan)
1963 - Carry On Cabby (Thomas)
1964 - Goldfinger (Hamilton)
1966 - Farenheit 451 (Truffaut)
1968 - Carry On Up The Khyber (Thomas)
1969 - The Italian Job (Collinson)
1971 - French Connection (Friedkin)
1972 - The Godfather (Copolla)
1973 - Mean Streets (Scorcese)
1974 - The Godfather II (Copolla)
1974 - Dog Day Afternoon (Lumet)
1974 - The Taking of Pelham 123 (Sargent)
1975 - French Connection II (Frankenheimer)
1977 - Star Wars (Lucas)
1977 - Annie Hall (Allen)
1979 - Alien (R.Scott)
1980 - The Shining (Kubrick)
1980 - The Blues Brothers (Landis)
1980 - The Empire Strikes Back (Kershner)
1980 - Raging Bull (Scorcese)
1980 - Restless Natives (Forsyth)
1980 - The Long Good Friday (Mackenzie)
1981 - Blade Runner (R.Scott)
1984 - Paris, Texas (Wenders)
1984 - This Is Spinal Tap (Reiner)
1985 - Ran (Kurusawa)
1987 - Raising Arizona (Coens)
1990 - Goodfellas (Scorcese)
1991 - Thelma & Louise (R.Scott)
1992 - Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino)
1993 - True Romance (T.Scott)
1993 - Three Colours: Blue (Kieslowski)
1994 - Three Colours: White (Kieslowski)
1994 - Three Colours: Red (Kieslowski)
1994 - Pulp Fiction (Tarantino)
1994 - Leon (Besson)
1994 - The Shawshank Redemption (Darabont)
1994 - Ed Wood (Burton)
1995 - The Usual Suspects (Singer)
1996 - Fargo (Coens)
1996 - Trainspotting (Boyle)
1996 - Trees Lounge (Buscemi)
1997 - LA Confidential (Hanson)
1997 - Boogie Nights (Anderson)
1999 - Fight Club (Fincher)
1999 - Magnolia (Anderson)
1999 - Jackie Brown (Tarantino)
2001 - The Man Who Wasn't There (Coens)
2001 - Black Hawk Down (R.Scott)
2002 - City of God (Meirelles/Lund)
2005 - Sin City (Rodriguez/Miller)
2005 - Hidden [Cache] (Haneke)
2007 - The Departed (Scorsese)
2007 - No Country For Old Men (Coens)
2010 - Monsters (Edwards)
2012 - Amour (Haneke)

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

50 years of tunes - 1968 - Johnny Cash "At Folsom Prison"

Johnny Cash is one of my favourite artists and you won't find a better example of why than this album, the first of his live prison albums. It's also one of my favourite live albums, the connection Cash makes with the inmates is palpable and many of the songs sound better in this form than the original studio recordings.

1968 - Johnny Cash "At Folsom Prison"

Released: May 1968
Label: Columbia
Producer: Bob Johnston

Side one:
1. "Folsom Prison Blues" (Johnny Cash)
2. "Dark as a Dungeon" (Merle Travis)
3. "I Still Miss Someone" (J. Cash, Roy Cash Jr.)
4. "Cocaine Blues" (T.J. Arnall)
5. "25 Minutes to Go" (Shel Silverstein)
6. "Orange Blossom Special" (Ervin T. Rouse)
7. "The Long Black Veil" (Marijohn Wilkin, Danny Dill)

Side two:
1. "Send a Picture of Mother" (J.Cash)
2. "The Wall" (Harlan Howard)
3. "Dirty Old Egg-Suckin' Dog" (Jack H. Clement)
4. "Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart" (J.Clement)
5. "Jackson" with June Carter (Billy Edd Wheeler, Jerry Leiber)
6. "Give My Love to Rose" with June Carter (J.Cash)
7. "I Got Stripes" (J.Cash, Charlie Williams)
8. "Green, Green Grass of Home" (Curly Putman)
9. "Greystone Chapel" (Glen Sherley)

Friday, 6 February 2015

Top 5 Albums of 2014

Not only did I leave this until 2014 was completely over but I've left it to the tail end of my top fives of the year thereby ensuring I'm only eight months ahead of the major music publications Albums of 2015.

1. Sharon Van Etten "Are We There" - I first discovered Sharon Van Etten after her third album Tramp did well in the 2012 end of year round ups. Had I heard that album earlier I’m sure it would have done well in my own top 5 that year. My expectations for Are We There were, therefore, pretty high and initial listens a little disappointing. Are We There is a sparser record with some fairly downbeat themes so not the sort of album that you’ll instantly love. However, repeated listening proved rewarding. It is a heartrendingly wonderful collection of songs full of emotional resonance. Eleven tunes that I think are all superb and at least five of which were contenders for my song of the year.

2. Shellac "Dude Incredible" - This may well be my favourite Shellac album ever. It’s intense and loud and brilliant. I’m a big fan of Steve Albini’s ability as a sound engineer and he’s done an amazing job on Dude Incredible. It’s a bit of a cliché but the drum sound is particularly incredible. Every beat is crystal clear and resonates with the enormous power of Bob Weston’s sticks.

3. Thee Silver Mt. Zion "Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything" - A bit like Shellac, this might be my favourite Silver Mt Zion album. It's certainly their most commercial, though this is a statement based on my fairly skewed idea of what might constitute commercial and with the understanding that TSMZ are about as far from commercial as you can get without reaching the outskirts of the Avant Garde.

4. Johnny Cash "Out Among The Stars" - I wondered whether this album was really eligible seeing as it was originally recorded in 1981. However, seeing as it was released for the first time in 2014 it surely does. Recorded when Cash’s career was on a downward path, his record company at the time refused to release it. In the nineties the American Recordings series reinvigorated Cash's career but also captured his gradual decline in health. Some of the later releases became quite an emotional listen as his voice became more fragile. What makes Out Among The Stars particularly enjoying is hearing Johnny Cash in his prime again. There’s some real joy in these tunes, a little cheesy in places perhaps but some proper high points too. Baby Ride Easy is a lovely duet with June Carter Cash, Tennessee has a chorus sung by school children that will melt your heart and both Out Among The Stars and She Used To Love Me are proper Cash classics.

5. Mogwai "Rave Tapes" - Mogwai just don’t release bad albums. Rave Tapes might not be quite as fantastic as Hardcore Will Never Die but it's still a fabulous record. I saw them live on this tour at an amazing gig back in January where my restricted view seat was almost as good as having a back stage pass.


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

50 years of Tunes - 1967 - Aretha Franklin "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You"

My favourite Aretha album, the first of a run of seminal long players that are all outstanding, this one is absolutely spellbinding

1967 - Aretha Franklin "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You"
Released: March 10, 1967
Label: Atlantic
Producer: Jerry Wrexler

Side one:
"Respect" (Otis Redding) – 2:29
"Drown in My Own Tears" (Henry Glover) – 4:07
"I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" (Ronnie Shannon) – 2:51
"Soul Serenade" (Curtis Ousley, Luther Dixon) – 2:39
"Don't Let Me Lose This Dream" (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) – 2:23
"Baby, Baby, Baby" (Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin) – 2:54

Side two:
"Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)" (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) – 3:23
"Good Times" (Sam Cooke) – 2:10
"Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" (Dan Penn, Chips Moman) – 3:16
"Save Me" (Curtis Ousley, Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin) – 2:21
"A Change Is Gonna Come" (Sam Cooke) – 4:20