This is a summary of what has recently come to light regarding a Universal Music Group fire in 2008 when a LOT of music master tapes were lost. This is the music equivalent of the fire at the library at Alexandria.
A longer discussion about this was was posted by Rick Beato (about a week later) talking about what this might mean for music fans, foe Universal, and also for artists. A fair point made is that Universal seem to be more active ‘protecting’ their music by issuing ‘take downs’ against people on YouTube than in actually protecting the original music tapes.
If you’ve ever watched Rick Beato’s ‘What Makes This Song Great’ videos you’ll see the advantage in being able to access original tapes where you can isolate particular instruments or vocal performances. Consequently, I think there is going to be a big impact on scholarly activity, particularly in relation to 20th century black music in America as well as the golden age of rock and pop.
This is exactly what it looks like… weird. A one man production, literally recorded in his garden shed in Hull over a 6 year period (’79-’85) and released as a cassette advertised in the back of computer magazines. Those were the days, eh?
It’s a home written and recorded War of the Worlds type affair where all of the characters, including the aliens, have various Hull-type accents. What starts off being quite twee actually grabs your attention and becomes really enjoyable and all the more amazing for the fact that there was clearly no big budget or production team, and this is waaaaay before Garageband. It was all done on a Tascam 8-track,
It ultimately came to the attention of Trunk Records years later… indeed, in the next century!, and it was given a remaster and a limited release on vinyl (500 copies). I managed to snag one and it has pride of place in my record collection. Although sold out, you can download an mp3 version from Trunk Records website for £4.99. It runs to nearly 90 minutes in total so that’s not a bad deal.
Was never really in to the band, but remember the song from my time at Uni. Great version.
Only found out a few years ago that they were a Scottish band, from Bellshill. Bellshil is not a glamorous location and yet has produced The Soup Dragons, Teenage Fanclub, some of the members of Mogwai and, sadly, Sheena Easton. To be fair, Sheena was the first from this list to come out of Bellshill so it’s been improvement ever since. I’ll spare Sheena any more criticism and not talk about The Big Day festival in Glasgow, in 1990, when… oops.
Anyway, congratulations to The Cousins, as our chums across the pond are referred to in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, on their big day. Have a groove with the Soup Dragons.
🎵 I have been listening to Nick Mason’s A History Of Music and Technology ... a joint production of the BBC and The Open University. Not all the way through yet, having only just finished Episode 3 – The Electric Guitar, but have to say … available in your podcast player of choice. Go for it.
King Creosote, otherwise known as Kenny Anderson or KC, is something of an enigma who built a whole scene, in the 1990s, around his record label (Fence Records) and his home stomping ground of the East Neuk in Fife, Scotland. Most notable to come out of the scene were the Beta Band (yes, THAT Beta Band… Gordon Anderson is his younger brother), and KT Tunstall.
KC is almost as well known for his reluctance to leave Fife as he is for how prolific he is as a songwriter. I’ve had a quick stock check and I have 4 albums by his first band Skuobhie Dubh Orchestra (yes, it’s cod Gaelic and meant to be pronounced like the Hanna Barbera ghost hunting dog); 2 albums by his next band Khartoum Heroes (first band with name change after threatened legal action… sounds like Cartoon Heroes!); and 42 albums and 4 EPs under his own KC pseudonym… and I am still missing at least a dozen albums. Themes and tropes abound in the KC back catalogue but, above all, there is some excellent songwriting.
For me, his finest album is ‘From Scotland With Love’ which was written to accompany a documentary film for the Cultural Festival partnering the Commonwealth Games in 2014. It’s not a jingoistic album, in line with popular sentiments in many countries currently, but rather a look at various historical periods in Scotland through the use of archive film footage… so, no William Wallace then. It’s also unique because it doesn’t focus on the well off who usually had access to early film and photographic technology but, instead, on the everyday people who worked in the shipyards, down the mines, fishing and farming. It also covers key events such as emigration, and also the Battle of George Square, 1919 – the last time the Riot Act was read in the United Kingdom.
The film was premiered on Glasgow Green during the games with KC and a large band (14 piece?) accompanying the film in best silent movie fashion. It was a tremendous event… free entry, and was subsequently released on DVD and CD/vinyl.
The track above, Miserable Strangers, deals with emigration. Happening not that long, historically speaking, after the clearances. If the words, music and pictures don’t move you I can’t help you. You’re a rock.
Get the album, you won’t regret it. Even better, get the film. Heck, buy them both. The setting and history is clearly Scotland but the themes are universal.
The other night I had reason to hang around the International Arrivals gate at MSP airport for several hours while the person we were waiting for was being hassled by customs agents.
We were sitting near the spot where oversized checked luggage is deposited. A guitar case appeared. Acoustic dreadnought case by the looks of it — sturdy enough to be thrown around the hold of a plane, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Huge stenciled letters along one side: JSONDARA. Soon, a very dapper young man retrieved the case. He wore skinny slacks, short boots, a jacket, fedora. He gathered one or two other items from the nearby carousel and was on his way.
Later, I searched for JSONDARA — which for some reason I had interpreted as an artfully misspelled Jason Dara. Nope: JS Ondara. His website tells me that he’s from Nairobi and that he eventually settled in Minneapolis — because Bob Dylan is from Minnesota.
Bob Reynolds is a tenor sax player who has an established track record under his own name, and also plays with Snarky Puppy. This is a gig that was recorded at the last minute, both high quality video and audio, and subsequently released as an album to buy with the video being put on Bob’s YouTube channel.
I ordered the CD which also gives access to high quality MP3s (for the iPod) and a variety of other file formats including FLAC.
It’s not what my wife would describe as ‘crazy jazz’ but is 6 tracks of predominantly mid tempo, blues influenced tracks. Maybe think more along the lines of Kenny Burrell and Grant Green rather than John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins.
He’s joined by his Snarky bandmate Mark Lettieri as one of the two guitar players. In the videos he’s the one with the blue Strat style guitar. The drums and bass are particularly grooving on this album.
Give it a listen. You don’t even have to buy it, just watch the videos on Bobs channel. That said, he’s released this independently and as you can see from his vlog (lots of posts, VERY interesting) the guy’s a working musician so, if you like the music, maybe do him a solid.
Meantime, check out the video of Blues for Charlie