Saturday, 21 April 2012

Paul Buchanan: Birmingham Symphony Hall May 22 2006 and 'Mid Air' taster

It's a good time to be a Blue Nile fan...

Next month sees the release of 'Mid Air' - the debut solo album by Blue Nile supremo Paul Buchanan. Long time readers of BPFE will know that I am a card carrying, 100%, gold plated, fully paid up, lifetime membership, tattoo toting* Blue Nile saddo, so this is BIG NEWS to me. It seems that Mr B has finally learned that to promote a record, you have to go and do things (interviews, TV, blahblahblah) and the profile of this forthcoming release has been higher than any other Blue Nile related thing I have ever come across. Albums have previously escaped by moonlight rather than been released. Tours aren't 'announced' -they're 'rumoured'. Maybe this is the release that elevates his 'cult' ststus to something more....lucrative, I guess.

What's it sound like then? Early signs are good. The album consists entirely of covers of songs originally recorded by Cradle Of, not really. 'My True Country' was issued as a free download from his new website and on a recent UK TV show - 'Later with Jools Holland', he performed the title track. Both tracks are Piano led and both tracks are gorgeous. The album comes out on May 21st and I advise you get one ordered sharpish. Fingers, toes, legs and arms are crossed for some live dates later in the year.

Mention of live dates leads me on to this...

For your listening pleasure, here's some Paul Buchanan live stuff, exclusive to Big Plans... This is a recording from the 'Paul Buchanan' tour of 2006 from Birmingham UK. It goes without saying that it's a fantastic performance and this is a reasonable recording too. Sadly the taper has 'edited' the recording, cutting out audience chat etc which means that although the music is intact, the recording doesn't 'flow' like a regular show. Beggars can't be choosers and all that. If you're a BN/PB fan, you've gotta have it.

"Happiness" from Birmingham Symphony Hall May 22 2006

So, I think we're up to date...if anything else shows up, I'll let you know.

Paul Buchanan: Birmingham Symphony Hall May 22 2006

PB Soundcloud with some recent interviews/'later' audio etc

"My True Country" from "Mid Air"

Paul Buchanan Website

* Not really. I'm too scared to have a tattoo.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Bert Weedon 1920 -2012

If you play Guitar in a Pop or Rock band, it was Bert Weedon who taught you. Maybe not directly, but all the Guitarists you loved (Clapton, Townsend, May etc etc) bought that 'Play In A Day' book, read about how the Guitar works, learned E, A and D and then changed the world. 

Up until 'Play In A Day', music tuition books had been as dry as dust, but Bert made the learning relevant to the new generation of Guitarists - inspired by Skiffle and eager to form Beat Combos across the land. Romanced by the allure of the Electric Guitar, thousands of people bought the book and enriched their lives with music.

He was a self-effacing guy, never smug and genuinely amazed and righly proud that he had inspired people to learn an instrument. It's only a little bit of a hyperbole that he probably influenced as many people as musicians like Mark Knopfler, Steve Hillage, Sting and the countless others who picked up that book.

Without him, the landscape of music would be very different.

Mudskipper: "Eggshells"

Sometimes you find beauty in unexpected places...

It was July '98 (I think) that I ventured to The Flapper and Firkin in downtown Birmingham to see my current faves The Mutton Birds plug the 'Envy of Angels' album. I purchased my customary Diet Cola beverage (60% water, 35% nobrand cola drink, 5% sweat) and settled in to watch the support band. As we all know, this can be a bit of a lottery and often we can be treated to:
A terrible local band showing off in front of masses of their mates who vanish the moment they have finished
Some terrible labelmates of the main band who should have 'Tax Loss' stencilled over all their gear
A terrible solo acoustic guitar toting Nick Drake wannabe who really should have stayed in the back bedroom
A well meaning but mis-matched and terrible band booked by the promoter who are completely inappropriate for the main band, venue, audience or indeed, each other
A terrible band who are mates with the terrible sound man who should have all their equipment seized by the government

...cynical? Me?

But tonight was different. Shambling onstage were a band from Wolverhampton, just a few miles down the road. Not the most auspicious of introductions as Wolverhampton hasn't got the greatest history of producing Kick-ass Rock and Roll. Slade are from the outskirts of Wolvo and Scott Matthews (awesome contemporary singer songwriter) was born just downwind, but it's not a rich heritage. So, these four plain looking blokes picked up their guitars and were quietly incredible. None of the songs got past mid tempo. There were no howls of anguish from a dark place. No face melting uber-shreding solos were performed. Just fantastic music. A sort of delicious hybrid of Neil Young and The Blue Nile. In fact they did a beautiful version of Uncle Neil's 'Helpless' that night. And then they shuffled off again. Don McGlashan was moved to say during the MBs set 'I don't know about you, but I thought Mudskipper were bloody beautiful'. And he was right. They were.

('Another World' from 'Eggshells')

But like so many Midlands bands, their low key approach was to be their downfall. They issued a stunning, self released CD and then got a deal with Pomona who released another CD featuring tracks they'd already issued on their 'first' CD. They were that kind of band. They were massive in Willenhall, but sadly, nowhere else. After a fairly intensive trawl of the Interweb, I came up with nothing, apart from one lovely quote where they were described by a local paper as 'Wolverhampton's quietest band'. What an accolade!

So low key were the band, that I didn’t even know they made an album until about three months ago when an offhand comment by a member of my band resulted in a halted rehearsal and a frantic scramble for the CD. No viral marketing for these boys, then.

Posted here for your delectation is the 'self produced' CD with a couple of tracks from the rerecorded ‘second’ album which didn’t appear on the first. The Pomona (8 track) version is still easily available second hand on Fleabay or Amazon. Expect to pay no more than three quid. Both are called ‘Eggshells’, rather confusingly.

I know you've never heard of these guys, but check out the sample above. It's a stunning album and well worth a download. If you like it, let me know. I've found out that the Guitarist is still active as a promoter on the local music scene, so I'm sure he'd love to hear any comments, however belated.

Seriously...this is a quiet masterpiece of an album.

Mudskipper: 'Eggshells'

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Levon Helm 1940 -2012

Without a doubt one of the coolest dudes in Rock and Roll.

Have a safe journey Levon

Record Store Day 2012

Yay for Record Store Day!

This Saturday, I'll be sneaking out of the house and spending far too much money on records. And when my gorgeous and sensible wife challenges me on my return, I’ll say, 'But Darling, it's a philanthropic gesture!' She won't believe me of course and I'll be made to do stuff like gardening and child care as a penance. Bah!

Yeah, Record Store Day- it's either:
a. A great way to draw attention to a rapidly diminishing but culturally important branch of retail or
b. An undignified squabblefest where unscrupulous dealers buy up loads of product which they resell on Fleabay for serious bucks

I really want it to be a. It's probably about 30% b tho...

Here are a couple of fantastic things which came from last years RSD. The Blitzen Trapper tune came from a limited 7" which I snagged at Polar Bear in Birmingham. It came with a handy download code, so (as the 7" is now no longer in print) here it is. I think Blitzen Trapper are ace and well worth checking out - lots of Americana type influences, but with a healthy dash of Fleet Foxes thrown in to sweeten the deal. Smart. The second tune is one that I was alerted to by the lovely Sal over at Burning Wood. I've been a bit of a fan of Jill Sobule since her 'Things Here Are Different' CD (produced by Mr T Rundgren, no less) but this came as a real surprise. It’s from a great album – “A Day at the Pass”, where she tackles a bunch of covers and some original material, ably assisted by John Doe of X. Quite an unlikely partnership, but it really works. This tune - 'Never My Love', is absolutely beautiful.

Blitzen Trapper: "Maybe Baby"

Jill Sobule and John Doe: "Never My Love"

Right mission is to snag a Ryan Adams 7", an MC5 7" a Brendan Benson 7" and the Cleaners From Venus triple...wish me luck!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Record Producers: UltraMegaSuperPost

Hi chums,

As a bit of a public service (and seeing how the original posts were bundled into files too big for me to upload to Mediafire) here are all the fantastic, BBC 'Record Producers' shows I have posted as individual files. Fill those gaps in your collection! Trade 'em with your mates! Stick them into this amazing presentation folder! - well maybe not the last one, but you get the idea. I've also snuck in a new one - Trevor Horn. Fascinating stuff. If you haven't heard these before, I really urge you to try one - the Roy Wood and 10CC shows are especially great - but I am biased...

Thanks again to Isaac Bonnell for finding the 'missing' Nile Rodgers show.

A little Nerdishness won't hurt ya! Go on...nourish your inner geek!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Game Theory: 'Lolita Nation' Demos

The Holy Grail.

I saw this tantalisingly listed on a bootleg trading site many years ago and following a lot of undignified pleading, cajoling and tears, I finally located a copy. I say 'I' was the lovely Oxy (long time contributor to BPFE) who came up with the goods. He sent it to me just before Multiupload got closed down, so it sat on my hard drive overlooked and unloved for many a month. But now it's time to reveal it to the world in all its Technicolor splendour.

You don't need me to tell you how incredible the original album is. IMHO it's the College Rock 'White Album' - ambitious in scope, polarising opinions and loaded with genius moments and weirdness in equal measure. It's a desert island disc for me and I'm sure many of you.

So what's it like then? I ain't gonna lie kids, it's (expletive deleted) great! Quality is decent (levels can go up and down a bit, but what the hey) and it's thrilling to hear Scott yell instructions to the band while they track the songs. Hearing the tunes in this state makes previously overlooked parts pop out - tambourines jangle out of nowhere, little riffs appear (or disappear) in odd places... My favourite moment comes in the second version of 'the Waist and the Knees' where Gil Ray unleashes a furious, Keith Moonesque drum tattoo. Oh my days.

'We Love You Carol and Alison (Demo)

In a perfect world, Rykodisc would reissue 'Lolita Nation' with this stuff as a bonus disc, with extensive liner notes by Scott Miller, Mitch Easter and anyone else involved. Up until that happens (and judging by some of the comments on the GT/Loud Family Facebook page, don't hold your breath) we'll have to make do with this. And by make do, I mean love and cherish and play greedily.


…and a million bazillion ‘Thank You’s’ to Oxy for coming up with the goods.

PS - Just noticed this T Shirt design! Yaarrrggghhh!

Spring Cleaning!

Yep, we're clearing the decks at BPFE towers...

Here's a few links which I'd uploaded but didn't post, so rather than post them all individually, here's your chance to gorge on some loveliness. Here's the last of my Be Bop Deluxe shows (all dating from '76-'78) and a fairly recent acquisition - a Game Theory Show from 1985 originally uploaded by the lovely Kneesfudd...cheers man. Track listings are under the cut.

I think by now all the links are updated with the exception of the 'Record Producers' files and the 10cc documentary which I'm having to reduce in size to get them uploaded. Check back in a day or two for them.

So we're back on the horse again. I've got a couple of yummy things to post later in the week.

I've also finished messing about with the template of the blog - apologies to those of you who checked in while I was 'experimenting' the space of about 20 minutes, there were about 10 different versions of the opening page uploaded. I'm happy with this one...for now, at least.

Let's never be parted again, gentle reader...

Sunday, 15 April 2012


Well, 99% of the links have been reinstated. Lets see what happens, shall we? If this works, I've got a few odds and ends from before Christmas to post and then, as long as I can get my ass/arse in gear, prepare for some all new stuff. Let joy be unconfined!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Anyone out there...?

Pssst…over ‘ere….

Well after a few months of sulking and Blog avoidance, it’s time to (tentatively) get back in the saddle. The much documented closure of Multi/Megaupload meant that my links were pretty much redundant, but I’m trying Mediafire…early signs are good. At the moment, the only ‘new’ link is the one for the Alternate Learning EP, but that seems to be working just fine.

Uploading new links is a boring and slow job, but it’s started and hopefully we should be back in business pretty soon. Rest assured I’ll let you know.