• Bacharach, Burt – Reach Out, 1967
  • Bacharach, Burt – The Look of Love (Comp.), 2001
  • Baker, Chet – The Complete Dick Twardzick Sessions, 2004
  • Baker, Chet – The Best of Chet Baker Sings (Comp.), 1989
  • Baker, Chet – Italian Movies (Comp.), 2013
  • Baker, Chet – Grey December, 1953
  • Baker, Chet – & Strings, 1954
  • Baker, Chet – Sings, 1956
  • Baker, Chet – Cools Out, 1956
  • Baker, Chet – Playboys, 1956
  • Baker, Chet – Sextet, 1957
  • Baker, Chet – Big Band, 1957
  • Baker, Chet – Embraceable You, 1957
  • Baker, Chet – It Could Happen To You, 1958
  • Baker, Chet – Introduces Johnny Pace, 1958
  • Baker, Chet – 50 Italian Strings, 1959
  • Baker, Chet – Chet Is Back, 1962
  • Baker, Chet – Baby Breeze, 1964
  • Baker, Chet – Albert’s House, 1969
  • Baker, Chet – BB&C (Let’s Get Lost), 1989
  • Baker, Chet – The Pacific Jazz Years (Boxed Set), 1994
  • Baker, Chet – A Grand Encounter, 2004
  • Banana, Milton – Milton Banana Trio, 196?
  • Banana, Milton – Rhythm & Sound of the Bossa Nova, 1963
  • Banana, Milton – Tipo Exportacao, 1978
  • Banana, Milton – Aos Amigos Tom, etc (Comp.), 1989
  • Band, The – Music Big Pink, 1968
  • Band, The – The Band, 1969
  • Barry, John – Ipcress Files, The, 1965
  • Barry, John – Themeology, 1997
  • Bartz, Gary – Music is My Sanctuary, 1977
  • Baxter, Tom – Skybound, 2007
  • Beach Boys, The – Pet Sounds, 1966
  • Beastie Boys, The – Paul’s Boutique, 1989
  • Beastie Boys, The – Check Your Head, 1992
  • Beastie Boys, The – Ill Communication, 1994
  • Beastie Boys, The – The In Sound From Way Out, (Comp.) 1996
  • Beastie Boys, The – Hello Nasty, 1998
  • Beatles, The – With, 1963
  • Beatles, The – A Hard Days Night, 1964
  • Beatles, The – Help, 1965
  • Beatles, The – Rubber Soul, 1965
  • Beatles, The – Revolver, 1966
  • Beatles, The – Sgt Pepper’s, 1967
  • Beatles, The – The White Album, 1968
  • Beatles, The – Abbey Road, 1969
  • Beatles, The – Let It Be, 1970
  • Beck – Mellow Gold, 1994
  • Beck – Odelay, 1996
  • Beck – Mutations, 1998
  • Beck – Midnite Vultures, 1999
  • Beck – Sea Change, 2002
  • Beck – The Information, 2006
  • Beck – Morning Phase, 20??
  • Beefheart, Captain – Safe as Milk, 1967
  • Beefheart, Captain – Strictly Personal, 1968
  • Beefheart, Captain – Trout Mask Replica, 1969
  • Beefheart, Captain – Lick My Decals Off, 1970
  • Beefheart, Captain – Mirror Man, 1971
  • Beefheart, Captain – Clear Spot, 1972
  • Beefheart, Captain – Unconditionally Guaranteed, 1974
  • Beefheart, Captain – Bluejeans & Moonbeams, 1974
  • Beefheart, Captain – Shiny Beast, 1978
  • Beefheart, Captain – Shiny Beast, 1978
  • Beefheart, Captain – Doc at the Radar Station, 1978
  • Beefheart, Captain – Ice Cream For Crow, 1978
  • Beefheart, Captain – Sun Zoom Spark (Boxed Set), 2014
  • Black Heat – Black Heat, 1972
  • Benson, George – It’s Uptown, 1966
  • Benson, George – Beyond The Blue Horizon, 1971
  • Benson, George – Breezin’, 1976
  • Benson, George – In Flight, 1977
  • Berry, Chuck – The Roots of (Comp.), 2001
  • Black Sabbath – Paranoid, 1970
  • Blakey, Art – The Jazz Messengers, 1956
  • Blakey, Art – Moanin’, 1959
  • Blakey, Art – Big Beat, 1960
  • Blakey, Art – A Jazz Message, 1964
  • Blakey, Art – Eight Classic Albums, 2012
  • Holiday For Skins, Vol. 1, 1958
  • Holiday For Skins, Vol. 2, 1958
  • Moanin’ 1959
  • Roots & Herbs, 1961
  • A Night In Tunisia, 1960
  • Mosaic, 1961
  • Art Blakey!!!!! Jazz Messengers!!!!!, 1961
  • The Witch Doctor, 1961
  • Blakey, Art – The Complete Blue Note Collection, Part 1, 1957-1960, 2015
  • Horace Silver & The Jazz Messengers, 1954
  • A Night at Birdland, Vol. 1, 1956
  • A Night at Birdland, Vol. 2, 1956
  • At the Café Bohemia, Vol. 1, 1955
  • At the Café Bohemia, Vol. 1, 1955
  • Orgy in Rhythm, Vol. 1, 1957
  • Orgy in Rhythm, Vol. 2, 1957
  • Blakey, Art – The Complete Blue Note Collection, Part 2, 1957-1960, 2015
  • Ritual, 1957
  • & The Jazz Messengers, 1959
  • Holiday For Skins, Vol. 1, 1958
  • Holiday For Skins, Vol. 2, 1958
  • At the Jazz Corner of the World, Vol. 1, 1959
  • At the Jazz Corner of the World, Vol. 2, 1959
  • On View at the Five Spot Café, 1959
  • A Night In Tunisia, 1960
  • Bland, Bobby – Two Steps From The Blues, 1961
  • Blegvad, Peter – Just Woke Up, 1996
  • Blue Brazil – Various, 1994
  • Blue Brazil 2 – Various, 1997
  • Blue Brazil 3 – Various, 2000
  • Blue Break Beats – Various (Comp.), 1992
  • Bobo, Willie – Finest Hour (Comp.), 2003
  • Bon Jovi – One Wild Night, 2001
  • Bossa Nova, etc vol. 3 – Various, 2001
  • Bossa Nova, etc vol. 4 – Various, 2001
  • Bossa Nova, etc vol. 5 – Various, 2001
  • Bowden, Chris – Time Capsule, 1996
  • Bowie, David – David Bowie, 1967
  • Bowie, David – David Bowie [sometimes Space Oddity?], 1969
  • Bowie, David – The Man Who Sold The World, 1970
  • Bowie, David – Hunky Dory, 1971
  • Bowie, David – Ziggy Stardust, 1972
  • Bowie, David – Young Americans, 1975
  • Brand New Heavies – Trunk Funk (comp), 1999
  • Brand X – Unorthodox Behaviour, 1976
  • Brand X – Moroccan Roll, 1977
  • Brasil, Victor Assis – Trajeto, 1967
  • Brazilian Beats – Various, 2007
  • Brazilian Funk Experience, The – Various, 2006
  • British Hustle – Various, 2003
  • Brooks, Roy – Beat, 1962
  • Brooks, Roy – The Free Slave, 1972
  • Brown, Clifford – Four Classic Albums (Comp.), 2008
  • Brown, James – Live at the Apollo, 1962
  • Brown, James – Sex Machine, 1970
  • Brown, James – The Payback, 1973
  • Brown, James – Hell, 1974
  • Brown, James – In The Jungle Groove (Comp.), 1986
  • Brown, James – Funky People, 1986
  • Brown, James – Make It Funky (Comp.), 1996
  • Brown, James – Greatest Hits (Comp.), 2001
  • Brubeck, Dave – Time Out, 1959
  • Brubeck, Dave – The Riddle, 1960
  • Brubeck, Dave – Time Further Out, 1961
  • Brubeck, Dave – Countdown, 1961
  • Brubeck, Dave – Time In, 1965
  • Brubeck, Dave – Time In Outer Space, 1962
  • Brubeck, Dave – at Carnegie Hall, 1963
  • Brubeck, Dave – The Great Concerts (Comp.), 1988
  • Brubeck, Dave – Real Gone vol I (Comp.)
  • Brubeck, Dave – Real Gone vol II (Comp.)
  • Brunswick, The Best of – Comp, 2002
  • Buckley, Jeff – Grace, 1994
  • Buckley, Jeff – Mystery White Boy, 2000
  • Buckley, Jeff – Live at L’Olympia, 2001
  • Buckley, Jeff – Live at Sin-É, 1993/2003
  • Buena Vista Social Club, The – The Buena Vista Social Club, 1997
  • Bunyan, Vashti – Just Another Diamond Day, 1970
  • Byrd, Donald – Off To The Races, 1959
  • Byrd, Donald – Royal Flush, 1961
  • Byrd, Donald – A New Perspective, 1964
  • Byrd, Donald – Slow Drag, 1967
  • Byrd, Donald – Blackbyrd, 1972
  • Byrd, Donald – Places & Spaces, 1976
  • Byrne, David – Feelings, 1997

MUSiC: CD Review – Cold Shot/Snatch & The Poontangs, Johnny Otis, etc.

An X-rated entry (snigger) for ye blogge. Here we have a two-fer, put out by Ace Records: Cold Shot and Snatch & The Poontangs, both being Johnny Otis albums, albeit released under different names. And, rather unusually, both kick off with (different) versions of the same song, the superbly hilarious ‘Signifying Monkey’.

Cold Shot (1968) is a very bloozy affair, featuring Johnny’s famous guitarist son, Shuggie Otis, and singer Delmar ‘Mighty Mouth’ Evans. And, apart from the initial ‘Sig’ Monkey (Part 1)’ business, is fairly work safe or family friendly.

Snatch & The Poontangs (1969), however, is a completely different matter altogether! A talented artist, as well as musician, Johnny O’ did the R. Crumb rip-off cover cartoon. And he may also have painted the inner gatefold, which depicts late ‘60s Freak Brothers-esque urban rioting.

On the delightfully earthy Snatch, after the even filthier ‘Sig’ Monkey (Part 2)’, we also get such treats as the rather wonderful ‘Pissed Off Cowboy’. I scoured the web for lyrics for some of these smuttier gems. Alas, to no avail. So I may do the world a favour, and put the texts online, as best I can, at some point soon (time allowing!).

Taking the two albums together, they cover a whole range of blues styles and sounds, from the Bo Diddley beat of ‘Hey Shine’ to the lyrical conceit of ‘the dozens’, in which humorous insults (the ‘dirty dozens’!) are traded. And there’s also the fabulous tradition of bigging up one’s badass self, as exemplified here by ‘Two-Time Slim’, ‘The Great Stack-a-Lee’, and ‘Big Jon Jeeter’.

Anyway, these two albums sit very well together. And are augmented by a couple of bonus tracks. Great stuff!

MiSC: Noam Chomsky…

Teresa and I are staying in Cardiff for a few days, visiting with relatives. Tonight, ‘Garden’ Noam Chomsky came up, at one point, in a family conversation.

I interviewed him, many, many moons back. ‘Twas a disaster, in all honesty! Here’s a far better interview, from The New Yorker online.

It’s fascinating for so many reasons: in how it illustrates Chomsky’s intelligent and articulate nature/character; how and why (and this was something I’d wanted to get at in my interview with him), even at his advanced age, he bothers to sign petitions, take part in protests, etc; his concise and eloquent summation of where things are at.

It’s interesting for me, as over the years I’ve often allowed my lazy nihilistic side to dominate. It’s very invigorating – yea! even life affirming – to hear someone of Chomsky’s international standing put things I hold to be true so pithily. Here’s a favourite example from the NY piece:

‘… [S]ince roughly 1980, since the neoliberal regression began, there has been a significant decline in the partially functioning democracy that existed before.’ Those are my italics. As so often, Chomsky nails it perfectly.

A younger Noam. Fab pic’!

This is a reminder to me that I really ought to read his more of his books on all this stuff. Not too long after seeing a doc’ on him called Manufacturing Consent (also the name of one of his books), when I was around about 18 years old, I bought a ‘collected works’ paperback by him, from what was the Heffer’s Bookshop, in Cambridge. But, truth be told, I’ve hardly read it!

What Chomsky says in the New Yorker piece on ‘cancel culture’ is equally to the point! But, intriguingly, what lead me here, and to making this post at all, was not the mere mention of someone I find inspiring and interesting (Chomsky!). But the attention-grabbing headlines quoting him effectively saying that Trump is/was worse than the usual bogeymen (Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.).

Out of context that sounds totally insane. But, once unpacked, it actually begins to make sense. Trump’s unbounded egotism, in service, primarily, to himself, but secondarily – and crucially – to his ‘class’, or his enablers (the fiscal elite), is, very literally, what Chomsky describes as ‘an existential threat’ to the very future not of any particular portion of humankind, but all of humanity!

And, whilst Noam’s view – internationalist though it always is, is also almost always notably Ameri-centric – the current political chaos in the UK is evolving along Trump-esque lines, with the Tories, thus far at any rate, drifting further and further right, ever deeper into that awful neoliberal regression.

Avec le pipe, a la Bertie Russell!

If, like me, you find Noam Chomsky a fascinating and inspiring person, you might enjoy this link, to an illustrated ‘life in photos’, by the New Scientist.

MiSC: Stumbling Down a Rabbit Hole…

I was looking for a comical photo of an old duffer in ridiculous under-armpit high-rise trousers. I failed in that enterprise! But I did re-discover old town, whose modern take on old fashioned classics in clothing I really dig.

Perusing their ‘Small Trades’ gallery then lead to learning about Irving Penn’s book of photographs of the same name, which old town acknowledge as a major influence. And from Penn we get to his wife, the ‘first supermodel’ Lisa Fonssagrive. And via her to photographer Fernand Fonssagrive!

The young Irv Penn, and his beautiful wife. Looking like the leads in a Hitchcock movie!

Fernand had a thing for patterned shadows falling over beautiful women. A thing I most definitely share!

Nuttily enough, this all started with me wanting to find some pictures of furry chaps. By which I don’t mean hairy blokes, but those crazy cowboy over-trousers. Ah, the labyrinthine ways of the interweb!

MEDiA: Hong Kong Phooey, 1974

A sudden wave of nostalgia swept over me, recently, in the guise of the theme song from Hanna Barbera’s Hong Kong Phooey theme song.

Recently, well, today, to be precise, we watched almost all of the episodes whilst child-minding for my sister. I actually dozed off for a considerable portion. And then I had to help cook the evening meal. So I didn’t actually see as much as I’d hoped to.

Now, back home, I’m watching from the start again. And it’s really silly! Not amazing, but just kind of fun, especially as a dose of nostalgia.

Scatman Crothers.-

Scatman Crothers’ voice is perfect for Phooey, somehow approximating in vibe to his half-closed eyes when in Penry mode: mellow, relaxed, and winningly self-confident, despite his hopeless incompetence. Blissfully unaware that his triumphs are all accidental, or brought about by Spot, the cat, or other helpful characters.

Penry and Spot.
The hapless Sgt Flint, centre.

Sgt Flint is endearing, as a gruff, dim and bear-like flat footed-copper. And Rosemary? I loved Rosemary way back when. And I find I still love her now! ‘Your lovable lady fuzz’!? Delicious!

Switchboard sweetheart, Rosemary.

The stories are ridiculous. Never was a ‘McGuffin’ less relevant to the enjoyment of a show! It’s all just an excuse to have Phooey (and frequently Spot) goofing about in crazy situations. The charmingly doofus Phooey, with his correspondence course book of Kung Fu up his sleeve, is undoubtedly where the charm lays.

For a cartoon with such a short run, it seemed to hit some kind of nerve, such that it’s remained on screens ever since it was made, way back in ‘74. And I find, that whilst I’m now far older, I still have a soft-spot for this mild mannered janitor/superhero, and his sidekicks, Spot, Flint, and very definitely, Rosemary!

HOME/DiY: More Loft Flooring

Over the least week or so I’ve been chipping away at getting more flooring down, up in the loft, so we can store more stuff up there.

I did a load of work like this about four or five years back. But that floor space quickly grew to be full to o’erflowing! I think the area I originally floored was about 60 sq. feet? Minus the access hatch.

The two areas I’m adding, one either side, are about 40 sq. feet each. So we’ll have about 140 sq. feet when I’m done. I did the western side already. And that’s already getting full!

Just a little bit more to do.

I need to shift a ton of stuff, quite possibly literally, to get the eastern side clear and ready to be laid. It’s grim work up in the loft; there’s about 140 years worth of soot and dust and dirt up there!

When I did the first tranche of work I substituted the fibreglass type insulation for foam boards. I don’t know if that was worth while or not? But fir the remainder I’m recycling the insulation that was there already.

That said, I’ve been getting rid of the oldest (lowest/dirtiest) layers, bagging them up and taking the hideously dusty and dirty stuff to the local dump. I need to run some wiring / lighting and power – up there.

This tie-beam rather gets in the way.

FiLM REViEW: Ted K, 2021

I have to admit I find Ted Kaczynski darkly fascinating. I ought also to qualify that immediately, by making it clear that his lone wolf campaign of murder and mutilation, what he himself viewed as ‘revenge’ against society, was appalling. Obviously!

Sharlto Copley (what a splendid name!), who I first saw in Elysium, and District 9, is superb as the titular Ted K. And this film is very well directed. We can really feel Ted’s isolation and rage.

I’ve read Kaczynski’s manifesto (see this post), and – unlike the ravings of some infamous killers – it’s got a good deal in it that actually makes sense, or rings true. But, like so many critiques of the ills of modern life, whilst there’s much that’s understandable, or even valid, it’s not really cogent as a road map to a better future. Not, that is, unless you share Ted’s Adolf Hitler like levels of Nihilism.

Copley is terrific as Ted.

A quote from said manifesto, used in the film – ‘The aim of The Freedom Club is the complete and permanent destruction of modern society’ – succinctly sums up Ted’s wishes, whilst neatly encapsulating his ‘madness’. The lone wolf wants to be part of something bigger (his ‘Freedom Club’), and yet, as he admits in other writings, he knows his ‘one-man show’ can never achieve such grandiose ends.

This film captures very well his fascinating and tragic mental isolation and unhappiness. There’s a powerfully tragic scene in which, dressed smartly, he hand delivers a letter of complaint to a telecommunications company. In this one moment, we see both the microcosm and macrocosm: his ‘stolen quarters’ – he’s making a complaint about a malfunctioning payphone he regularly uses – mean nothing to the huge faceless corporation that runs the service. They even spurn Ted’s occasional efforts to play the game by their own rules; the refusal of the functionary to pass on his hand-delivered letter epitomising the inhumanity of the system at large; common humanity is sacrificed to the machine.

Ted is vexed by technology.

The telephone calls Ted makes from the malfunctioning phone booth, about which he has complained, are, at least in this film, mostly to his brother, David. David is the guy who would ultimately contact the police, leading to Ted’s arrest. Ted exhibits a schizoid hatred of and dependency upon his family. And he sounds depressingly like a brand of misfit ne’erdowell I’ve known personally (and perhaps even been, to my shame). Indeed, we probably all know or have encountered the type.

Something that strikes me, as I watch this, as a ‘resonant’ truth about the failings of humanity, is how Christians worldwide fail to have true faith in their supposed God’s ability to dispense justice. One might follow a similar line further, expanding the ‘fate’ thread to take in both religious and secular views, and argue that eco-terrorists ought, likewise, to have a little more faith, and just let modern industrial society destroy itself.

The real Ted K, in prison, c. 1999.

But there’s the rub. Ted, like ask many of us, frankly, wants his heaven right now. And under the reigning dispensation that ain’t happening. So, as he says early on in the film, it becomes, more than a righteous crusade^ to improve the world, merely a matter of revenge. And, as he also says, he feels empowered by his acts of revenge.

I think Ted K is a very well done movie. I found it fascinating, and compelling, rather like Kaczynski. It raises many questions, whilst maybe answering just a few. And it dramatises an interior mental world very well. There are some bizarre moments – is ‘Becky’ real?* – which, odd as they were, feel appropriate.

All told? Really very good. Well worth watching.

* In the film Becky seems to be an imaginary idealised woman Ted fantasises about. But she might be tenuously based on Becky Garland.


Er… what was this going to say!?

^ The Rampage film series features a fictional American ‘domestic terrorist’, whose externalisation of his own psychosis is justified in the grandiose narcissistic tradition of the righteous crusader, killing the innocent (who they see as bovine docile collaborators, i.e. not innocent) to make a better world.

MiSC: Social Darwinism

Charles Darwin gets shoddily treated, in my view, by the whole ‘Social Darwinism’ idea. As a pal of mine likes to point out, it’s really Social Spencerism, anyway: ‘it was Spencer, not Darwin, who gave us the phrase “survival of the fittest,” though Darwin would later use it in his writing.’ And it was Spencer, not Darwin, who used these ideas to support his conservative economic ideology. That said, Herbert Spencer derived the term and his ideas from his reading of Darwin. Suffice to say then, that these are, perhaps, somewhat muddy waters?

But I guess my beef here is twofold. I don’t know that much about Herbert Spencer. I’ve read a lot more by and about Charles Darwin, and what I know of him suggests a subtler and more humane mind; the kind of mind the quote in the picture at the top of this post reflects, aware of and sensitive to moral socio-political issues. Not the ‘spiritual father’ of the ‘perverted science’, as Churchill so memorably and astutely put it, that informs such ideologies as fascism, and the current ‘free-market’ right, as embodied by Trump, Bojo, and now the appalling cypher that is Liz Truss.

Darwin knew the answer to the rhetorical question he posed. And I think it’s long past overdue time to stop attributing fascist ideologies to him.

PS – The Darwin image is a tea-towel, from The Radical Tea Towel Co!

MEDiA: Book Review – Why We Sleep, Robin Walker

At the time I first drafted this review, I was only about a quarter of the way through this book, having just finished Part 1, This Thing Called Sleep.

I was initially a tad underwhelmed. But as I read more, Walker’s enthusiasm for and deep knowledge about sleep won me round. And I really like his very readable unpretentious writing style. The understated eloquence might be part of why this is proving to be a grower.

I myself have had very varied patterns of sleep over the years. And what Walker is saying is both enlightening and salutory. And, rather sadly – a situation Walker frequently laments – our society seems very much out of kilter with our deeply ingrained needs, and evolutionarily embedded behaviours.

This doesn’t surprise me in the least. We can just add sleep to an ever-growing list of things modern life misprizes, mishandles, and indeed downright abuses. And a failure of understanding, of basic comprehension even, is fundamental to this self- or socio-inflicted harm.

Anyway, I’m now returning to and finishing this review having finished the book nigh on two weeks ago. All told it’s a superb book. And I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It has so much to tell us that we all really ought to know.

And, right at the end, it has a list of ways to improve your own sleep habits. The first and, so Walker says, the most important, is to have a regular routine: go to bed and get up at the same time everyday, even the weekends. Get eight hours sleep every night.

For those of us who suffer difficulties sleeping – my wife is the exact opposite, a champion sleeper! – Walker’s frequent recitations of the damage sleep loss causes is pretty scary. Ironically the kind of anxiety inducing stuff that might well cause further sleepless nights. And our ideas of catching up on sleep are ill-founded. More part of the problem, not the solution.

Walker has some almost evangelical aspirations, regarding how sleep and knowledge of its benefits can improve both individual lives, societies at large, and pretty much the whole world! Sometimes at these moments he comes across, to me at least, as a little out of touch with the harsh realities of modern human life. As a top flight academic, fêted by almost everyone, including academia, big corporations and sporting organisations, he sometimes seems to me to be fooled into thinking out current hyper-capitalist culture is sustainable.

Whilst I love his positivity and enthusiasm, my cynical side says we’re more likely to self-destruct than choose a wiser path, as a species. I don’t believe our current socio-cultural m.o. is sustainable. And Walker’s own mountains of evidence, regarding the global ‘pandemic’ of sleep deprivation, is part of the compelling evidence for this.

Anyway, putting my pessimism aside momentarily, if this book, or at least the information it contains, were to become part of a core-curriculum in education, perhaps modern humanity might stand something a tad better than a snowflake’s chance in hell (that phrase chimes with current zeitgeist concerns!) of recognising the value of sleep, and restoring it to its rightful place in our lives?

As the poet (?) said…