Category Archives: Music

What I’ve been listening to in 2017

Here is a YouTube playlist of my now-traditional top-ten list of the albums I’ve listened to the most in the previous calendar year. (See this list of previous entries.)

I listen much more to whole albums than to individual tracks, so each year I pick the ten albums that I listened to the most (not counting compilations), as recorded on the two computers where I listen to most of my music. (So these counts don’t include listening in the car or the kitchen, or on my phone.) I limit the selection to no more than one album per artist, and skip albums that have featured in previous years. Then from each of those ten objectively selected albums, I subjectively pick one song that I feel is representative.

Here they are in ascending order of how often I listened to them. Continue reading

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Paul Simon: One Trick Pony (1980)

Paul Simon’s fourth post-Garfunkel solo album, One Trick Pony, is the soundtrack to the movie of the same name. The film was pretty much ignored on release, both by audiences and by critics — its IMDB entry has only four critic reviews. But one of those is by Roger Ebert, who to my mind stands alone among movie critics, and he rightly recognised it as “a wonderful movie, an affectionate character study with a lot of good music in it”.

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They didn’t think it through #2: Jailbreak

The opening and title track of Thin Lizzy’s enjoyable 1976 album Jailbreak begins:

Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak
Somewhere in this town

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess it;’s going to be at the jail.

They just didn’t think it through.

Whitesnake: a tragedy in about 12 acts

I’m not sure why I should suddenly find myself wanting to write about Whitesnake, but that’s the way the neurons crumble. For some reason, their songs are stuck in my head today, and I feel like their albums each deserve a paragraph or two — at least, until we get into the 2000s.

Whitesnake, classic line-up. Left to right: David Coverdale (vocals), Bernie Marsden (guitar), Neil Murray (bass), Ian Paice (drums), Micky Moody (guitar); front: Jon Lord (keyboards)

Whitesnake’s history is complicated, but to summarise: David Coverdale, having been plucked from obscurity to replace Ian Gillan as Deep Purple‘s lead singer, issued a couple of solo albums after Purple broke up. I really like these albums — White Snake (two words) and Northwinds — though I have to admit that critics have not been kind to them. These were not hugely successful, but did enough business that Coverdale formed a band to tour the Northwinds material. That band issued an EP, Snakebite, and stayed together to record their own material after the end of the Northwinds tour.

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What I’ve been listening to in 2016

Here is my now-traditional top-ten list of the albums I’ve listened to the most in the previous calendar year. (See this list of previous entries.)

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I listen much more to whole albums than to individual tracks, so each year I pick the ten albums that I listened to the most (not counting compilations), as recorded on the two computers where I listen to most of my music. (So these counts don’t include listening in the car or the kitchen, or on my phone.) I limit the selection to no more than one album per artist, and skip albums that have featured in previous years. Then from each of those ten objectively selected albums, I subjectively pick one song that I feel is representative.

Continue reading

My new-year’s resolution: write a bad song every week

A little over two years ago, I cracked the problem of how to write a song: let go of the idea that it needs to be a perfect, precious jewel, such as Paul Simon or Joni Mitchell might produce. As I put it at the time: “write a bad song. It doesn’t matter. Just write a song.

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So, needless to say, in the intervening time, I have written absolutely no songs at all.

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Live video of Dancing Through the Storm by Crooked End at the Mitcheldean Festival

Back on Saturday 16 July this year, our prog-rock band Crooked End played a forty-minute set to close the Mitcheldean Festival. We played three songs — being proggers, all our songs were long, so we couldn’t fit any more in. The one we really cared about was our own composition, Dancing Through the Storm, and we finally have a (poor-quality) video of that song. Here it is!

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