A Pensioner Writes

Y0u may recall that not long ago I was involved in an exchange with those two grand gentlemen of letters, Wilf Turnbull and Derek Philpott, who write to various pop songsmiths to point out the anomalies in their lyrics. For example…





Dear Mr. Costello,

Re: Everyday I Write the Book

I am perplexed my bespectacled friend. Either one is to assume that you pen a tome every twenty-four hours, or you have been working on the same one for some decades now. The former suggests works of dubious quality and the latter a case of writer’s block. Please clarify.

Yours etc.,


They’ve now decided to publish all their letters and have set up a webpage to invite crowdfunding of their project. You can read about it and join in here.


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My Top 10 Albums

As suggested earlier, here’s a post we can all dance around… Here are my Top 10 Albums with a sentence or two about each as a template to get you started. The Moderator has kindly given us a bit of leeway to include compilations, soundtracks and greatest hits … so here we go…


John Lennon: Plastic Ono Band

Hard to describe the impact this had after Abbey Road. Raw, honest and brave. Probably has to go at No. 1 as the best album ever made. Followed by, in no particular order…



Steely Dan: Can’t Buy A Thrill

The Dan’s first and most pop-oriented album. Well-crafted songs, original and intelligent lyrics, beautifully sung by David Palmer, great arrangements, great playing and benchmark production with absolutely no filler.  Still stands up over 40 years on. Timeless.



Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left

The most original songwriter of any era — and an exquisite record with Robert Kirby’s string arrangements. Everybody believed in him — except the one person that really needed to…  Nick Drake died at the age of 26 in enigmatic circumstances.



Van Morrison: Astral Weeks

The album was recorded in a day, semi-improvised, with the premier jazz players of the day. This album set a benchmark which only Nick Drake managed to touch.



The Verve: Urban Hymns

Every track is a winner here.  Great band sound. Like all great albums, not simply music, but a friend for life.



Brian Eno: Another Day on Earth.

A delicate ‘less is more’ chilled album you will not tire of listening to.




Jimmy Guiffre Trio: The Train and the River

My favourite jazz album. Bluesy jazz guitar, bass and sax trio. Having no drums allows the fluid rhythmic playing that expresses the album’s title.



Peter Gabriel: Passion (soundtrack)

My favourite ‘world music’ album — real world.




Jimmy Cliff: The Harder They Come (soundtrack)

My favourite reggae album — all the top artists, all their best tracks.




Abba: Greatest Hits

All the great songs in one place — a pantheon of 3-minute wonders, neither cynical nor clever, just one indestructible diamond after another. (I’m including Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 ‘cos my list goes up to eleven 🙂

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This is a quick post of my Mustang Bass for Boris. It won’t be up long — there’ll be a new one on the way shortly. You can hear what I was playing on the link.

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I’ve often thought it…

Roddy Ring has sent this link to the following insightful article in the Santa Barbara Independent, written by the delightful young lady pictured here… (I’m free on Thursdays).

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New Post

So … a new post. It’s the sort of thing I can only get away with once — but I think we’re all getting a bit tired of the hamster… sorry, Guinea Pig.

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Season’s Greetings

I’ll be off-line for a few days next week  … so just to wish all my contributors and detractors, enemies and friends a Very Happy Christmas Holiday and a Prosperous and Fulfilling New Year. The Moderator sends his best too…

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Jack Bruce 1943-2014

The bassist Jack Bruce passed away today.  For those who’d like to recall just what a great player he was, there’s a selection of clips to view on this link.



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In 1967, the Roadrunners were Paul Rodgers, vocals; Mick Moody guitar; and me on bass — along with a drummer (Dave Usher) who only wanted to earn enough money to buy his own truck.

Shortly before turning pro and leaving Middlesbrough for London, the band recorded a rehearsal at a local church hall.  This tape, made on a domestic reel-to-reel machine, was thought lost decades ago.  It was found recently, but obviously in very poor condition.  Best efforts have since been made to clean it up.

Either way, it’s the first known recording of three aspiring musicians who went on to greater things.  You can already hear that Paul Rodgers was destined to be one of the great voices of rock.  Within a couple of years of this recording he’d already moved on to help set up Free, before going on to Bad Company and, eventually, Queen.  Mick Moody later played with many solid blues/rock bands, the best-known being Whitesnake.  On this tape I’d been playing little more than a year and was only too obviously trying to run before I could even walk — yes folks, I ‘overplayed’ from the very beginning. So here it is …‘as tight as a pair of clown’s trousers’ …a historical or hysterical recording …however you care to hear it.

▶ Rock Me Baby is the B.B.King song that featured in the Jeff Beck Group’s live set at the time we first heard it.

▶ The Walk is a Jimmy McCracklin R&B favourite of the time.

▶ Get Ready: the Temptations’ song is given our own unique treatment.

▶ Early in the Morning is a traditional Blues that we learned from ‘The Sound of ’65’ album by the organ-based Graham Bond Organization, a band that featured Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.

▶ Getting Mighty Crowded is the Betty Everett song that was also covered many years later by Elvis and the Attractions.

▶ Rehearsal Jam: An early attempt at song writing by the band, with lyrics yet to be sorted out.  Jimi Hendrix had recently made his first appearance on British TV, and his impact on the Roadrunners is obvious.

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