MUSiC: The Shad Shack

The Shad-meister!

Recent listening to Charles Kynard has prompted me to recall a period, some years back, when there was a huge surge in folk online posting rips from vinyl, of obscure records not then available on CD (or even streaming).

Extremely groovy stuff!

This period saw huge amounts of less well known music being made available. It was a temporary boom, as there are obviously potential copyright issues. But it gave a small window of opportunity for those with eager ears to discover new and unknown material.

One of the sites I particularly dug back then was this one, or rather, this one, on Mainsteam Records’…

What a funky logo!

I hoovered up as much of it as I could. So I have a good deal of the classic Mainstream 300 series as MP3s. But it’s even better getting this stuff on CD. The three Kynard albums are absolute gold. Love ‘em.

The Mama Don’t Dance crew.
The original ‘72 album.
BGP’s ‘complete’ reissue CD.

When funds allow I’ll be getting more of the Jap’ reissues. I already have all the much vaunted Alice Clark stuff (that was released in the UK on CD, some while back). But it’d be great to get some Roy Haynes, Hal Galper, Pete Yellin, Hadley Caliman, Mike Longo, etc.

Caliman looks Damn cool, here!

I hadn’t realised that Caliman is on Santana’s Caravanserai, an all time favourite album of mine, from Devadip’s purplest of patches. He plays sax on track one, ‘Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation’, and flute on track ten, ‘Every Step of The Way’, opening and closing proceedings.

To read more about The Shad-Meister, try this link.

MUSiC: Chuck Rainey, Bass Legend

I adore this track (and the album it comes from).

Listening to my recently acquired trilogy of Mainstream albums by organist Charles Kynard, I’m overwhelmed by the general grooviness. From Kynard’s playing, which obviously gets star billing, to the supporting cast.

The cast. Richard Fritz, top left.

Arranger Richard Fritz deserves kudos, for his excellent compositions and arrangements. I read, on, that he and Kynard were school chums! And then the musicians, who make this superb gumbo, really ought to be remembered and celebrated.

And it’s great to see that, in the instance of bassist Chuck Rainey, they are:

I put Kynard’s rendering of Joe Quarterman & Free Soul’s ‘So Much Trouble’ front and centre for three reasons: one, it’s a totally ace slab of funky fabulosity (and that’d be reason enough); two, Rainey’s bass is superb throughout… but three is the clincher; he gets to take a solo. Quite rare. His recording contributions are usually more ‘supporting’ than ‘featured’, if you know what I mean?

If I were choosing bassists that have made a great impression on me, and who I aim to emulate when I pick up an electric bass, he’d probably be right at the top of my picks. I particularly like his lightly bubbling finger style sixteenths, in his right hand. Along, of course, with his choices of notes (a favourite Ron Carter theme) with his south-paw.

What a great musician! Love you forever, Chuck!


Most nights nowadays I listen to a video such as the one above, which helped me sleep last night.

I have the volume fairly low. And I might place the phone face down, so the light from the screen doesn’t undo the good work the audio is doing.

I started listening to these things at night during a period of appalling insomnia, probably about a year ago. These days, or rather nights, I’m sleeping like the proverbial baby.

And videos of this sort have played a part. I like ones in which one can discern the ‘plop’ of individual drops. As opposed to the ‘frying bacon’ effect of some. I guess that could be described as ‘slow heavy’ rain, as opposed to ‘light fast’ rain?

There are loads of such videos, and channels devoted to them. One hopes they are benign!? The good ones – and most I’ve tried seem pretty good – are 8-10 hours or longer, in duration. And, crucially, are not interrupted by the evil blight of advertising.

HOME/FAMiLY: Antonio Moves In

Antonio & Teresa.*

We’ve been considering letting out a room for aeons. Indeed, we did so, via AirB&B, briefly, five or six years ago.

I’ve been very much opposed to it, to be honest. We’re in our 50s now. I don’t want to be sharing our home with strangers!

But circumstances have arisen whereby our brother in law Antonio needed somewhere to live. And we were able to provide a solution.

He moved in today. Or rather tonight. Arriving after 9 pm, having travelled from Spain the same day.

* Photo taken 21/4/24, i.e. not the day he moved in.

MiSC: Extremely Weird Dark Dreams

This Crumb cover has the feel of dream imagery.

Woah, Nelly! I just roused myself from a rather unpleasant dream. I wonder why such things happen? Is the mind rehearsing scenarios from which to practice escape? Or is it just the morbidity of plain unadulterated fear?

I kind of don’t want to give the ideas in the dreams the oxygen of further thought. And yet at the same time they’re darkly compelling and fascinating.

At one point there was a veritable maelstrom or kaleidoscope of imagery. Indeed, it’s my suspicion most dreaming us like that, with the conscious part of the mind trying desperately to parse some of it into meaningful narrative threads.

Fuseli’s infamous classic, The Nightmare, 1781.

Amongst the tsunami of weird stuff there were pleasant bits – banks of daisies in twilight meadows (the source of that easy enough to discern; something I saw last night whilst out delivering*) – but I didn’t see anyone driving a car in reverse at breakneck speed, over massive potholes, eventually causing their vehicle (a steampunk altered Robin reliant type affair, with rear view periscope doodad!) to cartwheel through the air.

One of the darker threads revolves around finding oneself trapped in an imminent demise you can’t prevent scenario. And the feeling of unavoidable impending doom was what caused me to wake myself up. Why allow my own mind to inflict such a horror story in itself?

My dad has said, very often (and esp’ so in recent years), that he’s disturbed a lot by nightmares. I’ve had spells. But not recently. And that’s despite real life circumstances that one would’ve thought conducive to deep anxiety. Might there be a genetic hereditary component? Or perhaps this just overspill from all my recent psychic trauma?

Another theme that emerges from this nighttime psychic Freak Out (hence the above-linked video) concerns how we as a species seek to control our own and others minds.

But one upshot of this moment of weird brain activity is that some aspects of it seem like perfect material for a crime thriller short story plot. Albeit a potentially psychedelically surrealist one…


Blossoms and daisies, Cambourne, whilst out delivering.

POETRY: Pangur Bán

Doorkins Magnificat, RIP.
Pangur Bán and I at work,
Adepts, equals, cat and clerk:
His whole instinct is to hunt,
Mine to free the meaning pent.
More than loud acclaim, I love
Books, silence, thought, my alcove.
Happy for me, Pangur Bán
Child-plays round some mouse’s den.
Truth to tell, just being here,
Housed alone, housed together,
Adds up to its own reward:
Concentration, stealthy art.
Next thing an unwary mouse
Bares his flank: Pangur pounces.
Next thing lines that held and held
Meaning back begin to yield.
All the while, his round bright eye
Fixes on the wall, while I
Focus my less piercing gaze
On the challenge of the page.
With his unsheathed, perfect nails
Pangur springs, exults and kills.
When the longed-for, difficult
Answers come, I too exult.
So it goes. To each his own.
No vying. No vexation.
Taking pleasure, taking pains,
Kindred spirits, veterans.
Day and night, soft purr, soft pad,
Pangur Bán has learned his trade.
Day and night, my own hard work
Solves the cruxes, makes a mark.

Seamus Heaney’s translation, from 9th C. Old Irish, of an anonymous monk’s poem.

Faith, the cat, of St Augustine’s Watling St:

Survivor of The Blitz.

DAYS iN: Dans Le Jardin

Cherry blossom paradise!

It’s wonderfully warm and sunny out, today. So we spent a bit of time in the garden.


Ah, the simple pleasures! Heinz cream of tomato soup with buttered toast, in the garden.

Cherry blossom #2.
The garden, looking rather splendid.
Wisteria, in (or on?) the ‘Green Room’.

Each year the wisteria growing over the green room frame gets more established. It hasn’t flowered yet.

Love the light on this.

We love how sunlight enlivens the structure; the glowing natural lines of vegetation contrasting with the man-made geometry of the structure.

A baby apple!

I think we’re due a bumper crop, fruit wise, this coming year. Certainly the apple, pear and fig trees are all pretty fecund.

A busy bee.

And the bees and other pollinators seem to like the garden as much as we do.

HOME/DiY: Drum Room Stuff, Pt II

Still not there yet. But much better.

This afternoon I removed the masking tape, from the newly repainted feature wall, started to repopulate the room with all the stuff.

I can do picture arrangements anew now.

Jus ol’ Tom back up on this wall, so far. There’s a filing cabinet in’t corner, that needs to come out, and live elsewhere. I also need a better way to store the bull fiddle.

This light needs a diffusing shade!

The main light in the room is an ugly glaring naked bulb. That needs sorting, ASAP! I wonder, can I get something that’ll attach directly to the thread visible in this pic?