vrijdag 31 juli 2020

Soft On Terror. Naive Set

The artwork of Soft On Terror suggests a high level of DIY. Undoubtedly this will go for the music as well. The love for making and releasing music is a main drive for all involved in and with Subroutine Records. Naive Set will be no exception.

This inner drive to create is underscored by the average level of quality the releases of artists on the Subroutine label show. It is so easy to write on a lot of them.

Naive Set came into my life with the release of a single from its upcoming EP. The title song is a hybrid song mixing lo-fi with jumpy 80s post new wave and extremely interesting melodies. The song is very elementary. It doesn't do much more it seems than lay accents in the music and singing. The keyboard intro already suggests there's more to the song, although it easy to forget when the song starts. What caught me very early on is the pleasant melody of 'Soft On Terror'. Although I do not really agree with the lyrics. I remember a movie set in the Sahel somewhere where terror moved in and youngsters played some music in their private home. It did not end well for them. So better keep playing this music, Naive Set. The organ returns later in the song adding an enormous warmth to the song, almost turning it into another song. And do not forget to notice the subtle harmonies as well.

The three other songs on the album are somewhat mellower. The edginess is off, revealing a band that manages to incorporate 55 years of pop music into its songs and still have its own sound. Everything from The Kinks to Britpop and alternative rock of the past 30 years can be found here. This results in three beautiful songs where the instruments are woven into the whole and soft melodies are sung over it all. A soft voice not stressing anything makes things complete. This is what indie rock sounds like when the anger and confusion has made place for contemplation of a later stage in life, where things are starting to fall into place.

Naive Set does not need to create huge riffs or lots of noise. The band's strength is the way the instruments find each other within the song, bounce off and return, underscoring the vocals that are mixed prominently up front. The music can't possibly be described as 60s. For that indie rock characteristics are too prominent. The vocals, e.g. in the final song 'Nothing', could have been culled from a psychedelic song from the late 60s. No matter how nihilistic the lyrics are "I believe in nothing", "It all leads to nothing", etc., the song decries something else. Naive Set believes in its music, as all four songs, are well-crafted with a keen ear for detail. These are not random songs they do not believe in.

As far as I'm aware Soft on Terror is my introduction to Naive Set. A very pleasant one. There are several albums so I understand. Time to catch up.


You can listen to and buy Soft On Terror here:


or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:


donderdag 30 juli 2020

SoOn. Avery Plains

Recently I asked myself a question once again: Am I getting biased where alternative rock music from The Netherlands is concerned. Let's say from circa 1975 onwards not a lot of Dutch bands entered my collection if they had not grabbed my attention before that date. The main exceptions being Herman Brood, with still remaining doubts on album level and Doe Maar in the early 80s. The first album that really impressed me after that was 'Lamprey' by Bettie Serveert and 'Caesar' by the band with the same name. In the 10s and now early 20s band after band keeps being added. Most of them I would never have heard from had I not started this blog.

Avery Plains reached out to me if I was interested to listen to its upcoming album. After a first peak I did so with gusto and pleasure. There's a lot of melodic noise on the album that combines a couple of decades. Avery Plains' influences start in the early/mid 80s. Just listen to 'Blancmanche Blancmanche' and you will find a finite list with acts from the era getting a mention. Usually when Blancmanche enters my ears I tend to move in another direction. This song is everything Blancmanche was not. The 90s enter through bands like Buffalo Tom. The Boston scene of the day certainly made an impression on Avery Plains. Stretching things a little I'd say that Avery Plains is the loud little brother of Blaudzun.

In other words a lot of interesting music has found its way into SoOn. It comes out like on the debut album of Litzberg last year. An enthusiastic, wide sound with layers of electric guitars, hard to reign in, although SoOn does have its more introverted moments. Welcome counter points to the fierce alternative rocking sections.

Avery Plains is a band from Groningen led by Jurgen Veenstra and active since 2011. Since then the band has slimmed from seven and ten members to just four. The foursome is ready to release the second album of the band, after the eponymous debut album in 2015.

The band in my ears manages to capture energy in its music, resulting in extremely loudly played passages. Yet SoOn starts with 'Two Sad Wings', a six minutes plus song that doesn't mind working with dynamics. I'm sure the guitars were on ear splitting level in the studio. The mix is thus that the lead guitar is mixed somewhat in the background pretending not to be that loud. SoOn ends with an alternative ballad, again showing the dynamics the band is capable of.

Yes, a negative comment could be that Avery Plains is showing off its influences too easily. But why should I complain when listening to 'SoOn'? Buffalo Tom is spelled all over the song. When it's this nice I don't care. Tom Janovitz has more or less retired from rock so enter Avery Plains. But granted, the music on SoOn cannot be called original. Also I do not rate it in the top two alternative rock albums of 2020. That slot remains reserved for Porridge Radio and The Beths, so far. SoOn certainly is a runner up and an album I play with lots of pleasure.

Why? Because primarily the songs are good and the energy is there. Following on the heels of the quality of the songs are the arrangements. There are so many nice details woven into the songs showing that the band worked hard in creating the details that adorn its songs. Songs can be loud and have great details. Avery Plains has them galore. It's time for you to check it out. The link's provided below.

To come back to my introductory question, I opt to answer it with no. A lot of Dutch alternative rock bands, at least to my ears, are exceptionally good. SoOn by Avery Plains has been added to that list.


You can listen to and buy SoOn here:


or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:


dinsdag 28 juli 2020

Neon Cross. Jaime Wyatt

Jaime Wyatt levert met Neon Cross een album af dat overloopt van gevoel en doorleving en dat zich onmiddellijk schaart onder de betere albums binnen de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek dit jaar.

Jaime Wyatt is nog jong, maar heeft al een leven vol ellende achter zich. Het voorziet haar songs van veel emotie, wat Neon Cross een flink stuk optilt. In vocaal opzicht maakt Jaime Wyatt diepe indruk met haar doorleefde strot en dit wordt prachtig gecombineerd met de bijdragen van een aantal topmuzikanten op het album, onder wie de betreurde Neal Casal, die nog één keer mag schitteren. Het levert een album op dat mee kan met de betere albums in het genre dit jaar en dat me meer dan eens doet denken aan de muziek van Allison Moorer. Veel warmer aanbevelen kan ik Neon Cross van Jaime Wyatt niet.

Felony Blues, het in 2017 verschenen debuut van de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter Jaime Wyatt, ontdekte ik pas een paar maanden geleden, toen de eerste berichten over haar nieuwe album rond begonnen te zingen. Het debuutalbum, dat de singer-songwriter uit Nashville maakte nadat een heroïne verslaving haar de criminaliteit in had gedrongen en in de gevangenis deed belanden, was indrukwekkend genoeg om uit te kijken naar Neon Cross, dat deze week is verschenen.
Het tweede album van Jaime Wyatt maakt de hoge verwachtingen makkelijk waar en is nog een stuk beter dan haar debuut. Jaime Wyatt moet nog 35 worden, maar heeft al een zwaar leven achter zich. Dat hoor je op Neon Cross dat een stuk doorleefder klinkt dan de albums van haar leeftijdsgenoten.
Voor Neon Cross deed Jaime Wyatt een beroep op de getalenteerde producer Shooter Jennings (zoon van legende Waylon Jennings en singer-songwriter Jessi Colter), die een aantal uitstekende muzikanten naar de studio haalde. Neon Cross wordt gedragen door de fraaie en ruimtelijke pedal steel klanken van John Schreffler Jr., die beelden van weidse Amerikaanse landschappen op het netvlies toveren, maar bevat ook de laatste muzikale verrichtingen van Neal Casal, die kort na de opnamesessies voor Neon Cross een einde maakt aan zijn leven, maar nog één keer schittert met fraaie gitaar-, mondharmonica- en orgelbijdragen.
In muzikaal opzicht is Neon Cross een indrukwekkend album. Niet alleen omdat de topmuzikanten op het album prachtig spelen, maar ook omdat het binnen de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek een breed palet bestrijkt, met een voorliefde voor country. In vocaal opzicht is het tweede album van Jaime Wyatt nog veel indrukwekkender. De stem van de singer-songwriter uit Nashville is voorzien van een rauw randje en Jaime Wyatt vertolkt haar songs vol emotie en doorleving. Het zorgt er voor dat Neon Cross een album is dat je vastgrijpt en niet zomaar los laat.
Jaime Wyatt heeft de weg naar boven weer gevonden, maar maakt geen geheim van de vele diepe dalen die volgden op haar eerste succesvolle stappen in de Californische muziekscene. Neon Cross is hierdoor een intens album, maar bij beluistering van Neon Cross hoor ik ook veel speelplezier, wat het album voorziet van veel energie.
De Nashville scene wordt momenteel gedomineerd door zoetgevooisde zangeressen met een voorliefde voor countrypop, maar Jaime Wyatt is uit ander hout gesneden. Haar wat ruwe rootsmuziek zou uitstekend gedijen in Austin, Texas, maar natuurlijk lopen er ook in Nashville nog genoeg muzikanten rond die weinig op hebben met blinkende countrypop.
Zeker wanneer Jaime Wyatt wat krachtiger of met een wat stevigere snik zingt hoor ik wel wat raakvlakken met Alison Moorer, die haar songs ook met veel gevoel en doorleving vertolkt, wat ook niet zo gek is als je weet wat voor leven zij achter zich heeft gelaten. Met Alison Moorer hebben we een van mijn favoriete singer-songwriters te pakken, maar Jaime Wyatt komt met het prachtige Neon Cross dicht in de buurt en heeft ook nog eens een album afgeleverd dat bij iedere keer horen weer wat mooier en indrukwekkender is. Alle reden dus om Jaime Wyatt te omarmen als een van de grootste beloften binnen de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Neon Cross hier luisteren en kopen:


of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:


maandag 27 juli 2020

After The Fire After The Rain. The Lost Brothers

The Lost Brothers betoveren op hun nieuwe album met subtiele en beeldende Americana met hier en daar Ierse invloeden en een vleugje van The Everly Brothers.

11 songs en 41 minuten lang betovert het Ierse duo The Lost Brothers met wonderschone klanken. Het zijn weidse en beeldende klanken die vooral als Americana zijn te typeren, maar ook invloeden uit de Ierse muziek en uit de Amerikaanse folk uit de jaren 60 hebben hun geluid gevonden naar het geluid op After The Fire After The Rain. En als Mark McCausland en Oisin Leech ook nog eens tekenen voor harmonieën die herinneren aan die van Don en Phil Everly en de instrumentatie steeds weer een net wat andere kant op schiet is de betovering compleet. Voor mij absoluut een van de mooiste Americana albums van de laatste tijd, zo niet de mooiste.

De muzikale erfenis van The Everly Brothers is de laatste jaren gelukkig weer springlevend. Er zijn momenteel immers nogal wat duo’s die zich hoorbaar hebben laten beïnvloeden door de muziek die Don en Phil Everly zo’n 60 jaar (!) geleden maakten.
Het levert zo af en toe memorabele albums op, bijvoorbeeld die van The Cactus Blossoms en The Milk Carton Kids, maar ook flink wat albums die me vooral inspireren om de wonderschone harmonieën van The Everly Brothers weer eens uit de speakers te laten komen.
Ook bij beluistering van After The Fire After The Rain zijn associaties met de muziek van The Everly Brothers niet te onderdrukken, maar het Ierse duo slaagt er absoluut in om een greep naar een willekeurig album van Don en Phil Everly voorlopig te onderdrukken.
Mark McCausland en Oisin Leech komen zoals gezegd uit Ierland en hebben al een aantal albums op hun naam staan. Voor hun laatste album toog het tweetal naar New York, waar naast producers Daniel Schlett en Tony Garnier ook nog flink wat gastmuzikanten aanschoven. Onder deze gastmuzikanten grote namen als M. Ward, Howe Gelb en Jolie Holland en verder muzikanten die strijkers, blazers en pedal steel toevoegen aan het geluid van The Lost Brothers.
Het is een geluid dat ik in eerste instantie zou hebben omschreven als Americana, maar Mark McCausland en Oisin Leech hebben ook zeker invloeden uit de Ierse volksmuziek opgenomen in hun muziek en zijn, zeker wanneer de mondharmonica opduikt, ook niet vies van de folk zoals die in de jaren 60 in en rond New York werd gemaakt. Invloeden van de soundtracks van spaghetti westerns maken het geluid nog wat veelzijdiger.

De twee Ierse muzikanten beschikken allebei over een mooie stem en het zijn ook nog eens stemmen die prachtig bij elkaar kleuren. Het zorgt zo af en toe voor harmonieën met een redelijk Everly Brothers gehalte, maar The Lost Brothers behouden gelukkig ook een eigen geluid.
After The Fire After The Rain lag al een tijd op de stapel, maar toen het album er eindelijk af kwam was van twijfel geen sprake. The Lost Brothers hebben een album afgeleverd dat in vocaal opzicht bijzonder makkelijk overtuigt, maar ook in muzikaal opzicht is After The Fire After The Rain een album van grote schoonheid. Daniel Schlett en Tony Garnier hebben als producer nog geen heel indrukwekkend cv (laatstgenoemde is vooral bekend als bassist van Bob Dylan), maar hebben het album van The Lost Brothers prachtig ingekleurd.
After The Fire After The Rain is een ruimtelijk klinkend album dat afwisselend beelden van Amerikaanse woestijnen, bergketens en rivierbeddingen en het groene Ierse platteland op het netvlies tovert. Zeker het ruim aanwezige gitaarwerk op het album valt op door veelkleurigheid en schoonheid, maar ook de wat subtielere bijdragen in het geluid van The Lost Brothers zijn uitermate trefzeker.
Het elftal songs op After The Fire After The Rain kiest voor flink wat variatie, maar de songs vormen absoluut een geheel. Het is een geheel dat zich laat beluisteren als een roadtrip door weidse landschappen met af en toe een tussenstop in de grote stad. Het is druk binnen de Americana, maar The Lost Brothers slagen er glansrijk in om iets toe te voegen aan alles dat er al is. Al even uit zoals gezegd, maar dit wonderschone album verdient echt alle aandacht.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt After The Fire After The Rain hier luisteren en kopen:


of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:


zondag 26 juli 2020

Kidbug. Kidbug

’Supergroep’ Kidbug citeert uit een handvol muziekstromingen uit de jaren 90, maar voegt ook flink wat avontuur en verleiding toe aan dit buitengewoon aangename debuutalbum.

De leden van Kidbug hebben hun sporen in de muziek stuk voor stuk verdiend, maar tellen op tot iets dat aan de ene kant bekend in de oren klinkt, maar dat je aan de andere kant ook steeds weer fascineert. Met invloeden uit de noiserock, de indierock, de shoegaze en de dreampop is het gitaarwerk op het debuut van Kidbug vaak behoorlijk stevig, maar er zijn altijd verrassende wendingen en hiernaast is er de soepele stem van Marina Tadic die zorgt voor verrassing, avontuur en verleiding en die de songs van de band ook nog eens een melodieuze draai geeft. Supergroep is misschien wat overdreven, maar leuk en interessant is het absoluut.

Kidbug werd de afgelopen week hier en daar binnengehaald als een ‘supergroep’; een term die vooral in de jaren 70 werd gebruikt wanneer leden van hele grote bands de krachten bundelden in een nieuwe band en die voor het eerst werd gebruikt toen in 1969 Cream werd geformeerd.
Het predicaat supergroep is misschien wat veel eer voor de band Kidbug, want zo bekend zijn de leden van de band niet. Adam Harding geniet mogelijk enige bekendheid als voorman van de band Dumb Numbers, terwijl Marina Tadic vooral in Nederland bekend is met haar alter ego Eerie Wanda (haar debuut Pet Town behoort wat mij betreft overigens tot de verrassingen van 2019). Bassist Bobb Bruno en drummer Thor Harris staan ook nog eens op de loonlijst van respectievelijk Best Coast en Swans.
Het is misschien geen supergroep volgens de jaren 70 definitie, maar in muzikaal opzicht mag het debuut van Kidbug er zeker zijn. Kidbug ontstond toen de liefde Marina Tadic en Adam Harding bij elkaar bracht, maar ook in muzikaal opzicht blijkt het te klikken tussen de twee muzikanten en de later aangeschoven ritmesectie. De band beschrijft haar muzikale kindje zelf als "cuddlebug sludge”, maar omdat er al genres genoeg zijn beperk ik me maar tot al bestaande hokjes.
Van deze hokjes zijn dreampop, shoegaze, noiserock en indierock het meest van toepassing op de muziek van Kidbug. Adam Harding is niet vies van gruizig gitaargeweld, Marina Tadic zingt prachtig speels en dromerig en de strak spelende ritmesectie slaat alles vakkundig aan elkaar. Hoewel het debuut van Kidbug vooral een gitaaralbum is, was er ook zeker plaats voor andere instrumenten in de studio, waardoor het geluid van de band is verrijkt met keyboards, vibrafoon, percussie en mij onbekende instrumenten als buddha machines en de hurdy gurdy.
Flink wat songs op het album zijn deels verstopt onder gruizig gitaargeweld, maar de mooie en trefzekere zang van Marina Tadic zorgt er steeds weer voor dat de kop en de staart van de song nooit uit het oog worden verloren. Het zijn songs die soms behoorlijk stevig zijn en die bovendien niet vies zijn van bijna psychedelische passages, maar het zijn ook prachtig melodieuze songs die makkelijk verleiden.
De songs van Kidbug zijn door het gitaargeweld en de hier en daar stevig aanzwellende synths behoorlijk overweldigend, maar de band vertrouwt zeker niet alleen op grootse en meeslepende klanken. In de songs van de band zijn keer op keer bijzondere wendingen te horen, waardoor je niet alleen nieuwsgierig blijft, maar de spanning in de songs van Kidbug ook prachtig wordt opgebouwd en weer afgebouwd.
In muzikaal opzicht wordt flink uitgepakt en keer op keer indruk gemaakt met stevig gitaarwerk, maar de speelse zang van Marina Tadic is minstens even belangrijk. De afwisselend dromerige en avontuurlijke zang voorziet het geluid van Kidbug van veel dynamiek en zorgt er bovendien voor dat de band meer doet dan fantasieloos voortborduren op de muziek van de inspiratiebronnen uit de jaren 90.
Zeker als de ritmesectie loodzwaar is en de gitaarmuren meedogenloos zijn, vraagt het debuut van Kidbug om een flink volume, waarbij ook de zang het best tot zijn recht komt. Het roept associaties op met een enorme stapel met mijn favoriete rockalbums uit de jaren 90, maar het debuut van Kidbug voegt er ook wat aan toe en had ik daarom zeker niet willen missen.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Kidbug hier luisteren en kopen:


of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:


zaterdag 25 juli 2020

Fantasize Your Ghost. OHMME

Het Amerikaanse duo OHMME experimenteert er driftig op los, maar betovert ook met prachtige melodieën en wonderschone harmonieën op een album dat hopeloos intrigeert. 

Sima Cunningham en Macie Stewart maken als OHMME muziek die alle kanten op kan schieten. Het ene moment is het nog aangenaam en toegankelijk, het volgende moment kan het totaal ontsporen of op zijn minst stevig tegen de haren instrijken. Fraaie harmonieën en ingenieus gitaarspel zijn de belangrijkste ingrediënten van een album dat zich laat omschrijven als een vat vol tegenstrijdigheden. Het is even wennen, maar hoe vaker je naar het album luistert, hoe meer er op zijn plek valt. OHMME maakt het je zeker niet altijd makkelijk, maar dat is ook precies wat de muziek van het duo uit Chicago zo leuk en zo interessant maakt. 

OHMME is een Amerikaans duo dat bestaat uit Sima Cunningham en Macie Stewart. Beiden hadden hun sporen in de muziekscene van Chicago ruimschoots verdiend voor ze in 2014 OHMME formeerden. Het leverde twee jaar geleden het debuutalbum Parts op, dat nu wordt gevolgd door Fantasize Your Ghost.

Fantasize Your Ghost is mijn eerste kennismaking met het duo uit Chicago en het is absoluut een enerverende kennismaking. OHMME maakt muziek die stevig tegen de haren instrijkt en die, zeker bij eerste beluistering, maar weinig aanknopingspunten biedt. Aan de andere kant maken Sima Cunningham en Macie Stewart ook muziek die nieuwsgierig maakt en die niet alleen tegendraads, maar ook verleidelijk is. Het maakt van Fantasize Your Ghost een vat vol tegenstrijdigheden, dat ik uiteindelijk niet had willen missen.

Openingstrack Flood Your Gut laat direct horen wat ik bedoel met het bovenstaande. De track opent met natuurgeluiden en mooie puntige gitaarlijnen. Het combineert fraai met de harmonieën van Sima Cunningham en Macie Stewart, die verleidelijke koortjes combineren met wat staccato intermezzo’s. Wanneer ook het gitaarwerk steeds wat verder ontspoort raakt OHMME verder verwijderd van de verleidelijke klanken aan het begin van de track.

Selling Candy, track nummer twee, is nog een stuk steviger. De gitaren mogen onmiddellijk ontsporen en ook de koortjes van Sima Cunningham en Macie Stewart zijn een stuk steviger aangezet. Het ontaardt met enige regelmaat in een enorme bak herrie, maar OHMME verliest het popliedje over het algemeen niet helemaal uit het oog. Het is muziek die flink wat muziekliefhebbers de gordijnen in zal jagen, maar het intrigeert me mateloos.

Na de bak herrie keert het tweetal in Ghost weer terug naar wat melodieuzere muziek. Het combineert prachtig met de zang van het duo uit Chicago, maar ook in deze wat toegankelijkere track is heel veel spannends verstopt in zowel de instrumentatie als in de zang. Ook in The Limit slagen Sima Cunningham en Macie Stewart er weer in om toegankelijke elementen te combineren met experiment, wat een volgend popliedje oplevert dat de fantasie eindeloos prikkelt.

Het is zeker geen muziek die je op de achtergrond laat voortkabbelen, want daarvoor gebeurt er teveel in de muziek van OHMME. Naarmate het album vordert en je gewend raakt aan de muziek van het Amerikaanse tweetal, vallen de tegendraadse elementen in de muziek van OHMME steeds minder op en groeit de fascinatie voor de muziek van het duo uit Chicago, dat uitstekend past in de avontuurlijke muziekscene van The Windy City. Het blijft echter een album van uitersten. Het mooie en atmosferische Some Kind Of Calm wordt gevolgd door het zwaar experimentele Sturgeon Moon, dat een noise variant op jazz laat horen.

Ik heb Fantasize Your Ghost inmiddels vele malen beluisterd en ben steeds meer onder de indruk van de combinatie van wonderschone gitaarlijnen, warm klinkende harmonieën, geweldige melodieën en heel veel en vaak wat grillig experiment. Het tweede album van OHMME is geen album dat ik op ieder moment van de dag kan verdragen of waarderen, maar zo op zijn tijd is het een album dat in eerste instantie wat energie kost, maar uiteindelijk vooral energie geeft.

Heel veel albums die momenteel verschijnen roepen bij mij 1001 associaties met muziek uit het verleden op, wat best aangenaam kan zijn overigens. Fantasize Your Ghost van OHMME doet dit nauwelijks, wat het een uniek album maakt.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Fantasize Your Ghost hier luisteren en kopen: 

of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:


donderdag 23 juli 2020

L.A. Yesterday. Lee Gallagher and the Hallelujah

Who is Lee Gallagher? Not a family member of the Oasis twosome. I'd guess from listening to L.A. Yesterday. I can't answer the question as I had never heard of this artist until the album landed on my virtual doorstep. After the first listening session I was sold.

Lee Gallagher's music reminds me of the Jon Allen album of over a decade back, with that radio hit on it I can't remember the name of right now ('Dead Man's Suit/'In Your Light'). With one difference, I like all the songs on this album. L.A. Yesterday has a nice rough edge that goes far beyond the rasp in Gallagher's voice. Where Jon Allen polished everything up or more likely this was done for him, Gallagher leaves those edges in tact.

The result is that I'm hearing Fleetwood Mac of the mid 70s, country rock, ballads and The Faces/The Black Crowes with better songs and everything in between. A lot in music of the past 50 years comes together on this album in a glorious way.

Listening to the album for the first time something struck me. During dinner that evening one of the sons said that in Japan a man married a hologram. WTF?, I thought. Later that evening I heard Lee Gallagher singing about making love to a hologram in 'Goodnight Sweet Maria'. What happened recently? Have I missed out on something? Anyway, I'm not about to trade in the real thing for some time soon I hope.

It is in the song I just mentioned that all these influences come together. I almost like 'Goodnight Sweet Maria' as much as Dirty Sweet's 'Delilah' and in this line of 60s - 70s - country - roots - rock my compliment can not be much larger. A great melody adorns the song, a blistering guitar solo, a sweltering organ and passionate singing, including a beautiful soul choir. Man, what a song this is. The pinnacle of L.A. Yesterday, but a pinnacle is nothing without a solid structure and believe me the rest on the album provides with ease it seems.

For one thing, Lee Gallagher sings like he means it. There's no holding back if he doesn't have to. There's passion on the album, without overdoing it, so that it counts where it matters most. Ten songs that show the best he's got. In other words, there's no filler found here.

Lee Gallagher worked out of San Francisco for his first steps in the music industry. For L.A. Yesterday he relocated to Los Angeles to work and record with producer and guitarist Jason Soda. This work became a mix of old and new friends working on the record. The combination worked out quite well. L.A. Yesterday is mostly on fire. What I can't stress enough is that the songs are exceptionally good. The result is a special album that everyone loving this kind of music must check out. There's simply no disappointment possible. This is rock and roll and soul like it is supposed to sound.


You can listen to and buy L.A. Yesterday here:


or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:


woensdag 22 juli 2020

Spectacle Of Love. Libby Rodenbough

Libby Rodenbough maakt op haar debuutalbum diepe indruk met prachtige songs, een steeds weer bijzonder smaakvol geluid en stem die dwingt tot luisteren.

Ik had tot een paar dagen geleden nog nooit van Libby Rodenbough gehoord, maar inmiddels ben ik flink verslaafd aan haar deze week verschenen eerste soloalbum. Spectacle Of Love laat zich deels beluisteren als een vergeten klassieker uit het verleden, maar het is ook een album dat je steeds weer weet te verassen met bijzondere klanken en arrangementen en waarvoor je alleen maar kunt smelten wanneer Libby Rodenbough zingt. Spectacle Of Love is zo’n album waarvan je wel eens stiekem droomt of over fantaseert, maar opeens is het werkelijkheid. Absoluut een van de grote verrassingen van het moment.

Libby Rodenbough verdiende haar brood tot voor kort als zangeres en violist van de Amerikaanse band Mipso. Ik had eerlijk gezegd nog nooit van de band uit Chapel Hill, North Carolina, gehoord, maar de traditioneel aandoende rootsmuziek met moderne accenten van Mipso is absoluut de moeite waard. Het is iets om later nog eens te ontdekken, want voorlopig gaat alle aandacht uit naar Spectacle Of Love, het eerste soloalbum van Libby Rodenbough.
Spectacle Of Love is een album dat maar een paar noten nodig heeft om de aandacht te trekken. De openingstrack van het album opent met warme en tijdloze pianoklanken die je mee terug nemen naar de jaren 70, waarna een bas clarinet zorgt voor bijzondere accenten. De muziek klinkt loom en zwoel en past perfect bij de prachtige stem van Libby Rodenbough, die bij oppervlakkige beluistering afwisselend aan Norah Jones, Rickie Lee Jones en Edie Brickell doet denken. Wanneer ook nog eens flink wat strijkers worden ingezet wint het 70s gevoel verder aan terrein, al is ook direct duidelijk dat Libby Rodenbough haar eigen weg kiest op Spectacle Of Love.
Openingstrack How Come You Call Me is zo smaakvol en eigenzinnig ingekleurd en zo mooi gezongen dat Libby Rodenbough voor mij vanaf de eerste noten een gewonnen wedstrijd speelde. De Amerikaanse singer-songwriter heeft zich er echter niet makkelijk van af gemaakt en weet in iedere track opnieuw te verrassen. Spectacle Of Love is een behoorlijk ingetogen album, maar in de instrumentatie is altijd ruimte voor bijzondere accenten. Het album is ook nog eens zo mooi opgenomen dat het lijkt of Libby Rodenbough en haar medemuzikanten bij jou in de woonkamer staan.
Het warme en organische geluid op het album vertrouwt ook in de tweede track op de bas clarinet en op de prachtige stem, die zich als een warme deken om je heen slaat, maar aan het eind mogen de strijkers op bijzondere wijze ontsporen, wat ook de tweede track op het album een avontuurlijk karakter geeft. Het is een avontuurlijk karakter dat steeds blijft terugkeren op het debuutalbum van Libby Rodenbough, maar ook steeds net wat anders wordt ingevuld.
Wanneer de clarinet in de derde track ontbreekt worden de bijzondere accenten al even fraai over genomen door fraai opgenomen snarenwerk, maar altijd is de prachtige zang van Libby Rodenbough en haar emotievolle voordracht de constante. Libby Rodenbough kan op haar debuut alle kanten op. Een experimentelere track met alleen haar viool, tracks die toch wat opschuiven in de richting van haar band Mipso, een mooi jazzy popliedje, je vindt ze allemaal op dit bijzondere album.

Spectacle Of Love is niet alleen een prachtig klinkend en fraai gezongen album, maar het is ook een intiem en intens album dat alleen genoegen neemt met volledige aandacht. De songs van Libby Rodenbough zijn zo mooi en haar zang is zo trefzeker dat Spectacle Of Love net zo makkelijk een vergeten klassieker van een aantal decennia geleden zou kunnen zijn, al klinken de verrassende wendingen absoluut eigentijds.
Spectacle Of Love van Libby Rodenbough is een album om je eindeloos mee op te sluiten en continu te beluisteren, maar ook dan blijft het album wonderschoon en hoor je nog steeds nieuwe dingen. Libby Rodenbough zoekt meer dan eens het experiment op haar eerste soloalbum, maar kan ook verrassend fraai ingetogen en jazzy of juist aanstekelijk en soulvol klinken. Ik lees er bijna nergens iets over, maar het eerste soloalbum van Libby Rodenbough is een prachtig blinkende parel.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Spectacle Of Love hier bestellen:


of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:


dinsdag 21 juli 2020

I Am The Walrus. Spooky Tooth, The Beatles. A digital conversation

The new digital conversation between three gentlemen starts with a mention of a cover version of a famous The Beatles song and stays fairly close to the topic, which is quite a-typical to be frank.

Gary, 6 July:
I was going though my albums and looked at an old Spooky Tooth record and found this 1970’s cover track: "I Am the Walrus”, I don’t know what you think but listening to it I thought it was a really ‘cool' version?… checking it out online I found it also charted in the Netherlands at no 38!

Mark, 7 July:
I've got this on a Best of Spooky Tooth cd. Quite a formidable challenge for any band to take on a psychedelic opus like I Am The Walrus but I agree they did a pretty good job with a slower, heavier sound than the original with its more exotic flourishes. Others have dared tried it too: it fell to Leo Sayer to take it on for the "All this and World War II" soundtrack comprising entirely Beatles songs if you remember that extravaganza from the mid-70s. Oasis performed it very noisily in concert with Liam giving it like Lennon very effectively: there's a live recording on one of their B-sides. And of course Wout will testify how The Analogues recreated it with extraordinary precision.  Although one authoritative source at the time said "the Walrus was Paul", a Wings recording has yet to surface however......  

Photo: Mark
My Spooky Tooth cd is a Japanese one and typically the booklet has all the lyrics - and more, because it seems the Tokyo transcribers struggled to get fully on Lennon's wavelength - see attached for the additional subliminal references to "holy magic penguins," "submarine infiltrators" while Shakespeare was taking a bath. Maybe they were taking an extra puff when they sat down to write the lyrics. The Shakespearean reference is quite understandable actually. I remember vividly being at a party in Chester in about 1972 while I was still at school when somebody put on the hi-fi I Am The Walrus - the original meisterwerk - and proceeded to dissect its content, with a group of us sitting right by the speaker straining to hear the excerpt from a radio performance of King Lear which dips in and out of the mushy mix of found sound at the end of the song. This all resonated well and studiously so: King Lear just happened to be one of our O-level English texts that year:  "I know thee well: a serviceable villain; As duteous to the vices of thy mistress As badness would desire. What, is he dead? Sit you down father, rest you....."

Photo: Mark
Spooky Tooth were not quite up there with the likes of Procol Harum in the heavy psychedelia stakes but they were certainly an interesting band with very talented players. And The Beatles connections continued into the 70s: Henry McCullough who was in the original line-up that recorded Walrus would join Wings around the time of Red Rose Speedway and My Love features his wonderful guitar solo. Gary Wright became a close friend of George and played keyboards on All Things Must Pass and several of his later albums as well as some of Ringo's songs including It Don't Come Easy. Mike Harrison was no relation though!  

Which Spooky Tooth record do you have, Gary? You don't often come across their records in second hand record shops and I see original Island pink label copies of The Last Puff which Walrus is on go for between £30-£50 on ebay depending on condition of vinyl and sleeve. Later pressings on the A&M label go for much less - maybe a tenner at most. Depends what you have exactly.

Wout, 8 July:
Spooky Tooth. Several years back I ran a series on the blog with a specific angle. I discovered the Veronica top 40 chart list in the fall of 1968 and became an avid reader and listened to it on Saturday afternoons. Hence I got to know a lot of isolated hit singles that in many cases I never got to know the album behind. I decided to check out the albums that I never got to know. So from Bee Gees to Barry Ryan and Golden Earrings.

I started listening on Spotify to those albums. Some were great others pretty average, like Blue Cheer's. One of those albums was Spooky II. I immediately liked it and found it for a reasonable price, to my surprise, (in the same store we were in this winter, Mark) as it must be fairly obscure and have played it several times since.

The hit, top 20 at best I think to recollect, was 'That Was Only Yesterday'. At the time, before writing, I had no more than a faint recollection of the chorus. The other small hit was indeed 'I Am The Walrus'. That I had no recollection of. After we moved to a provincial village the reception of Veronica, a pirate station laying off the coast at Scheveningen, was horrible and there was no Top 40 in the village to be found until somewhere in 1971 (and they charged money for it as well!, 0,05).

I just listened to 'I Am The Walrus' and find it a bit of a difficult affair. A bit too strained I think to make it into something more, but with some great moments.

The Oasis version I saw on Jules Holland's programme years ago. It sounded very impressive as the band turned it into a Phil Spector Wall of Sound experience with a huge string section as I remember it. It is indeed on a b-side of one of the earlier singles. In as far as cd singles have a b-side of course. Oasis was good at that as they included some really good songs to the singles. Sometimes better than on the actual albums. I collected them at some point but in the end missed a few, so I'm not complete here.

BTW, Spotify automatically started to play something else after playing I Am The Walrus for me. Hawkwind is blasting out of my computer speakers. 'Assault And Battery' is quite the song, something to go into deeper for sure.

Mark, 8 July:
I hope you both got the twist of Lennon with his devious Walrus quip in Glass Onion. Later in the song God on the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band lp he did set the record straight. So later at the Garden Party when Rick(y) Nelson recounts how "Yoko brought her walrus" she did have the right Beatle on her arm after all. 

However, Paul did have the last word:

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
   "To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
   Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot— 

   And whether pigs have WINGS." 

I know what you're thinking: it's time for Mark to take a walk along the briny beach.....

Wout, 8 July:
I'm still curious which Spooky Tooth albums you have in your collection and what you think of them now, 50 odd years down the line.

Talking about the walrus, Mark. I never quite got that discussion. I know what John sings in 'Glass onion', but never got quite why. I suppose it has to do with Paul having died in in a car incident in 1966 and since being taking over by a look alike. Who is at least as creative and good as the original Paul was. Is that correct? BTW, talking about conspiracy theories. Also in the mid 60 they were there alright.

On creativity and Paul. We have played 'I saw Her Standing There' a few times in our front garden and play it with our band (and my previous band) as well. This is a sort of rock and roll song, but just listen what The Beatles do with it. Don't forget, it's the first song on the first LP. The "I'll never dance with another" part is nowhere in earshot in any rock and roll song and there's the "And my heart went boom ..." part as well. Utter brilliance that we can still play to the joy of many and they sing along too, to an album track none the less. I once read that Paul wrote the song already in late 1950s. In hindsight it is easy to state that this was the announcement of great things to come.

Nothing to do with Spooky Tooth of course. I just found out that I have some Spooky Tooth albums as MP3s, from the time is was still legal to download music in NL, including 'The Last Puff', so I will start giving it a listen later today. Never got around to it before. Downloading music is not such a smart thing to do in the end. Now there's Spotify of course.

Gary, 8 July:
I have got the first Spooky Tooth Album "It's All About"... but sadly it isn't a first pressing which I understand is very rare indeed? Probably brought new in 74-75? I also have 'The Last Puff' album which has got 'Walrus' on it which again isn’t a first pressing but I recall I bought it off a mate in the late 70s? I am sure I had a third album but I can’t remember what it was (Spooky Two?) and it is no longer in my collection so no idea if I am dreaming about this or not?

And yes… Spotify seems to have the full bibliography for Spooky Tooth… so easy to access and listen to now before buying… of course if you are ever lucky enough to find one at a record fair?

Mark, 8 July:
Spooky Tooth's first album with the pink Island label featuring the original "eye" logo (rather than the later "i" logo) in excellent vinyl and sleeve condition:  you're talking £100+. Some early copies are also on the Fontana label which I think may be French, Dutch or German copies - also quite valuable. Generally this album is pretty rare whatever label so if yours is in good condition as I'm sure it is, then I expect it would still be an interesting item for collectors to bid on. 

The second album Spooky Two can also command high prices - I see there are eye label copies on ebay going for well over £200.

I must check if Spitalfields market is now back open: there's a big  record fair  there on the first and third Friday every month. Great for singles, Wout!

Gary, 8 July:
Interesting… but mine have catalogue numbers (It’s All About) ILPS 9080 1975 - (The Last Puff) A&M Records Cat: SP 4266 which is bizarrely a US import!

I don’t really want to sell them though… at least not until I have to?

Wout, 8 July:
I have no clue whether I have singles or albums of any value and do not care basically. All I'm interested in is what is on them. That would be different if you're a real collector, which I am not. Thinking about it, the most interesting thing I may own is, if I remember correctly, is an Andrew Gold album that turned out to be an Eagles album, the third one. Everything on and around it is Andrew Gold. The album must have slipped through the quality control and that no one in the record store wanted it until I bought it at a steep discount, for the two famous singles from ca. 1977.

The lyrics to Spooky Tooth's 'I Am The Walrus' "in Japanese" are hilarious, Mark. John Lennon could not have dreamed them up in his wildest LSD induced fevers. For a Japanese employee listening to it and writing down the lyrics such an easy thing to do it seems 😂.

In general it is amazing that we all three own a Spooky Tooth album and all a different one at that. Let's face it, it is a rather semi-obscure band from around 1970. There is an album that is older than 'It's All About'. The band at the time was called Art and the album 'Supernatural Fairy Tales'. It is in the same MP3 collection and never played. The cause of our new conversation is playing once again. 'Last Puff' will follow soon. The first "new" song actually sounds pretty good if not groovy. Something to look out for 2nd hand.

Looking up the band Art on Wikipedia, it contained Mike Harrison and Greg Ridley. It must have been an unhealthy experience as they are the Spooky Tooth members who are longer among us. The other three are. Art existed only for half a year before turning into Spooky Tooth, with the other three members coming from other bands.

Photo: Mark
Mark, 9 July:
Of course you're right, Wout: what is down in the groove is the most important thing but records of this vintage inevitably raise the question of value and even investment, if only for the purpose of legacy. I don't want Hiroko, Julia and Sara to lose out by handing over to an unscrupulous dealer or wide-eyed charity shop, buried in a house-clearance job lot, my original mono White Album worth nigh on £300, my limited edition Dylan bootleg series box sets, my Japanese Oasis albums and my autographed Francoise Hardy and Jam lps. Soon I'm going to have to catalogue and value everything I've got in investment terms as well as cultural significance! I expect Gary will need to do that as well. 

Pressing errors are weird: it must have been bloody annoying when you bought it but like stamp printing errors they attract eccentric collector interest and the rarity value goes up accordingly. I spotted with my beady beatley eye an early pressing of  Abbey Road in a shop in v.good condition which had the Apple logo-shift to the left printing error on the back - see attached. This is quite well known to serious Beatle collectors. A minor detail you might think.  Anyway I snapped it up for about £10. I see there is currently a copy going for £700 on ebay......To quote from one of John Lennon's poems in Spaniard in the Works, maybe I need to mention this in "my last will and testicle".

Speaking of ageing, Beatles and Eagles, if you play Ringo's 80th birthday party video in amongst Joe Walsh and others doing various birthday renditions, there is topically a very interesting piece of Fabs history recounted when The Beatles insisted they would not play to segregated audiences during their US tour in 1964. How times have changed - or rather, still not enough. Joe Walsh plays Ringo's innocently gender-confused concert favourite Boys with some impressive slide playing on what looks like Glenn Frey's guitar. I hope I can be as extrovert as Ringo still is in fifteen years' time!

Wout, 10-7:
Yes, certainly, if you have these exceptional printings, I'd be very careful of them. Being a collector means you also know what to be on the lookout for and always hoping to run into the person who just sees "a" 'Abbey Road' instead of that special one. I do not and am simply happy with "a".

Long ago I collected stamps and was always looking in the catalogue to what this and that stamp was worth. What I learned fast is that there is a huge difference what a stamp trader pays the hapless collector for stamps and what he charges the next collector for that same stamp. My late uncle collected since boyhood and expected to have a part of his pension this way. Was he disappointed. The trader offered him a few hundred guilders for the lot he had paid thousands for.

This is of course the same in record collections. The trader buys whole stacks for a few pounds/euros and reaps the profits.

Now that is where the internet came in. Ebay and such gives every one the opportunity to trade his or her wares for themselves and charge a fair price. The internet also does things good. So cataloguing is a good idea to assist the hapless in the family.

Mark, 14-7:
I975 pressing so that'll have the palm tree Island label. Any other unusual and interesting records in your pile, Gary?

Gary, 14-7:
When you say “interesting” Mark?🤣

I think the best thing would be for me to catalogue my collection and let you see… may take me a few weeks though? 

Wout, 15-07:
Cataloguing records? Yes, I did that until somewhere in the early 80s. Since then I can only hope that the records are in their unique order: alphabetic on the artists and chronological per artist. If not, I have a real problem 😱.  Next to that, I used to know the unique order and certainly still know from when I was young(er). Nowadays with more modern bands, I haven't got a clue often, let alone know what a song is called, who the bass player is, etc. On the other hand I am also less interested in these details. The music comes absolutely first. And if its really good I'll still buy it. The order for the new The Beths album has just gone out - A perfect blend of alternative rock and pop. The duration of the delivery time suggests that it is coming from New Zealand by rowing boat though.

Gary, 15-7:
So are you using Discogs as your database Mark (and Wout)? It does seem to be a very useful application for a desktop and allows you to identify and fill those slots in your collection? https://blog.discogs.com/en/discogs-101/

Although I haven’t explored it yet, they seem to have a smartphone App that allows you to check your database, prices etc on the go?

Mark, 15-7:
I do dip into the Discogs database occasionally, Gary, usually when I can't see much choice for a specific item on ebay or to check how their fixed prices compare with what's on offer on ebay - including when competitive bidding on ebay is escalating (I avoid bidding wars and usually drop out early if my early lead bid has been overtaken). Unlike ebay where you can make savings on new unused releases because of the number of sellers trying to undercut each other. For vintage and unusual records, I prefer ebay because the sellers are often genuine individuals who you can contact directly with questions about condition etc. I don't think Discogs which is a large, mainly fixed price online business can match that personal contact. Shipping prices seem to be higher as well. Generally am a bit wary of them.

Wout, 15-7:
I always wondered what that website was for (and didn't bother to check it out either). What I use it for is to establish a track order if for some reason iTunes doesn't have the album I'm MP3-ing.

I have never bought an album on eBay as well. I prefer to find things by chance in my favourite record store in Leiden. Usually albums from the 70s that I didn't have the opportunity to buy then or changed my mind about because my taste changed.

Spooky Tooth is on the list alright should I run into the first album or The Last Puff.

Gary, 15-7:
What I like about this is that you can coordinate your collection catalogue with the Discogs database (which is probably the best-in-class) and thus identify possible future acquisitions etc?

Mark, 15-7:
Conceptually it sounds great. Gary - very much in synch with the digital era we live in, even if the target objects are thoroughly analogue in nature. So I do appreciate your bringing it to my attention. However, as you will recall, I do tend to adopt a hesitant hybrid approach when it comes to personally transformative technologies. So what I do is maintain, in miniscule manuscript on a durable card in my wallet, a wants-list of lps, singles and cds. When the mood takes me (as it often does) and my domestic financial allowance is sufficiently in the black (as it rarely is), I peruse the list and then proceed to chase down a few choice items online, starting usually on ebay. As Wout will bear witness to, I also extract this inevitably dog-eared list from said hard-pressed wallet when hitting the bricks and mortar to rifle the racks of vinyl. I fear that if I were to adopt a more digitally systematic, 21st century approach in coordination with Discogs, I'd doubtless render the Carvell family household bankrupt within the week. That's my pathetic excuse.

Wout, 15-7:
I feel for you, Mark. Financial limitations. There were days that I could afford to buy any record I wanted and days that I could hardly afford anything. Right now I'm somewhere in between. There's another limitation approaching fast though. "This is the room your collection is getting in the home and not one centimetre more". This was the message I got when I moved in. What happens after, there's no telling. Height is the only room left in a little while. All these choices in life.

Mark, 17-7:
Yes space is a problem for me too, Wout: records, books, models, photo albums, Council of Europe papers..... Although Sara moved into her flat in south London earlier this year, she still has a lot of stuff in her bedroom here. Once that has been sorted out, I intend to expand my lebensraum.

How's it going with White Rabbit? I hope Gillian Welch's spirited rendition may have been an inspiration for feeding your head. I don't think Echo and The Bunnymen did a version which perhaps they should have...... They did do a live version of All You Need Is Love though. Which reminds me that I found a Paul Weller single - Out of the Sinking from his 1994 album Stanley Road in a charity shop recently which as a B-side (sort of) has an impressive cover of Sexy Sadie (the sleeve features an image of the Maharishi).  The sleeve of Stanley Road was designed by the artist Peter Blake who did the Sgt. Pepper sleeve (and also the Oasis compilation Stop the Clocks and one of the recent Who albums - he is a true pop artist). According to The Guardian, following the release of his latest album On Sunset (haven't got it yet), Paul Weller has joined John and Paul as the only artists to top the UK album chart in five consecutive decades - which is pretty amazing.

Another wonderful songwriter who like Gillian Welch has been incomprehensibly quiet for the last 10 years or so is Tracy Chapman. Her last release of original songs was Our Bright Future released in November 2008. I think one of her greatest songs with truly profound lyrics is All That You Have Is Your Soul (with Neil Young on acoustic guitar) on the album Crossroads. Happily her cds are very cheap secondhand and quite often turn up in charity shops for a quid or so. Another of her songs - The Promise from her New Beginning album - is on the soundtrack to last year's Tom Hanks film A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood which we've just watched. It's a wonderfully quirky biographical film based on a hugely popular American children's TV host (who is totally unknown in the UK). Nick Drake's Northern Sky (from Bryter Layter) is also on the soundtrack. Brad Pitt is a surprising champion of Nick Drake: he narrated a biography for BBC Radio a few years ago: https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/r2music/documentaries/nickdrake/index.shtml

Wout, 19-7:
I was re-reading our conversation on I Am The Walrus. Mark, you wrote about sitting around the speakers listening to the fade out part. I remembered something similar. When there was a birthday party in the late 60s at my eldest aunt's family, my 8 years and a little older cousin, who designed the WoNo logo by the way, would play me her latest singles. One of them was 'Hello Goodbye' / 'I'm The Walrus'. I remember us listening intensely to the fade out because John was supposed to say "hello" in Dutch, so "hallo". I never heard it though, not even close. Not even with The Analogues, so I must conclude it was just a rumour.

Mark, 19-7:
Aloha Wout!

I think what you are referring to is known in Beatledom as Hello Goodbye's so-called "Maori finale" (should be "Hawaiian..." as in the sequence with the hula dancing girls filmed for Magical Mystery Tour) with its "hela-heba-hello-a" (I think.....) extended catchy coda to the incredibly catchy word-play lyric of the main part of the song. A double dose of McCartney's pop genius firing on all echo-drenched cylinders. 

The combination of these two totally different but equally amazing songs on that one incredible 45 rpm single must have stunned the fans when it was released - and it is still stunning over 50 years later.

Wout, 20-07:
Hawaiian? I'm never to old to learn. I never knew that and still have never seen the dismally reviewed Magical Mystery Tour movie.

Sticking to our original start, we were listening to the long outro of I Am The Walrus. Putting it louder and louder as it faded away on the little pick up of my cousin.

I'm too young to remember the single being released, but did know how important The Beatles were to girls but not much later also for guys. The release of 'Abbey Road' was quite a thing I remember. I remember us sitting in the living room of our downstairs neighbours as the eldest brother had the album, although I am in doubt whether he played the album or a recording. What I do distinctly remember was losing interest very soon as I did not know any of the songs. Albums take time and as a nine year old there were so many other interesting things to do.

The duo single 'Hello Goodbye'/ 'I'm The Walrus' is one of those double a-sides that are legendary. It shows all sides of The Beatles in two songs. 'Hello Goodbye' appears to be a regular love song, until I start paying real attention. There's so much going on in just a few minutes. A work of pure genius. Turn the single around and a work of great imagination is revealed. And all as part of a continuous stream of brilliance. Yes, The Beatles have once again become my absolute favourite band of all time.

Gary, 20-07:
I thought I would find out more about this and found this interesting online article from "The Daily Beatle”! It is thought that the inspiration came from a visit the Beatles made to Wellington, New Zealand on June 21st 1964. It also includes a Maori translation of “hela, hebe helloah, hela, hebe helloah”… “Kushi hela” = “glad”; “Purna Heba” = “a desire fulfilled”; “Dukh, sukha Helu” = “discussing many things, good and bad”….

Of course, it would have to be Ringo to represent the Beatles for the nose rub! (Photo that can't be shown due to copyright issues, but Google and you will find, Wo..)

Gary, 20-7:
Looking at the video… I note the wonderful toy drum kit that Ringo is playing! Also poor George didn’t get a Hula girl assigned to him😉! Did you know that The Beatles throughout their formation were contracted to be ‘seen' using Vox guitar amps made in my local town of Dartford? I understand that Vox amp designer Dick Denney (and local legend!) designed beefed up amps for them to play large halls and stadiums, probably those you see in the video? In the studio they could use whatever they liked of course!

Vox ad
Mark, 20-7:
I knew Dartford must have made its mark on civilisation somehow. I only think of it as a place to cross the Thames. The attached Vox ad is a play on the name of a BBC radio show they did at the height of Beatlemania:  "Pop Go The Beatles".

Do they still make amps and speakers in the UK? I read they had outsourced their manufacturing to China and Vietnam but planned to set up production again in the UK, not sure if they were thinking of Dartford.

Mark, 20-7:
Looks like McCartney is still bound by that contract, Gary....  (Picture shown of Paul McCartney we cannot show due to copyright reasons with a stack of Vox amps behind him.)

Mark, 20-07:
So "Maori finale" is actually right. A phrase McCartney may have stored in his memory from that tour in New Zealand. I wonder if he realised and mentions it when he now does concerts there. The girls in the grass skirts are doing hula dancing in the video though - well, sort of.

I'm not sure this is actually in the Magical Mystery Tour but it was filmed around that time and in the same "anything goes" spirit. MMT is a quirky experimental made-for-TV film, very much of its heady time, awash with psychedelic colours (when the BBC still broadcast in black and white...), lots of British cultural references, in-jokes and bizarre segues which is probably why the critics slammed it at the time despite the wonderful music and extraordinary visual sequences such as the one for I Am The Walrus. Dali loved its surreal flourishes and Steven Spielberg said they studied it at film school. Monty Python gopt the idea for their famous sketch with the enormous exploding Mr Creosote in a restaurant from a sequence in MMT with Lennon playing a restaurant waiter feeding spaghetti on a shovel to an obese woman. The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band with Viv Stanshall turn up to perform for one sequence as well (while Lennon ogles a stripper). I think you would enjoy it, Wout - it's The Beatles doing their own thing, warts, flaws and all. Only about an hour in length.

Gary, 20-07:
Of course, Dartford is now recognised by experts as being the cradle of civilisation (whole episode devoted by Kenneth Clark…. episode 14 I believe… rarely seen these days?). If you should ever wish to visit, passports, visas and a letter of accreditation are required as we can’t just let any riff-raff in!

Wout, 20-7:
Remarkable, I note, that Vox never sponsored the two lads that actually came from Dartford and went on to conquer the world with their own brand of R&B. Never support the competition the makers must have thought at the time and had already signed-up to absolute front runners of beat music.

Mark, 20-07:
Oh yeah - forgot about the Stones as local boys! They did use Vox as well and did promotions like  this ad.

Wout, 20-07:
I stand corrected. 


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