Category Archives: Music

Paul Actual McCartney

I’ve waited 30 years for this, but on Saturday 23rd, at the O2 Arena in London, I finally saw Paul McCartney live!

He’s 72 years old — he’ll be 73 in less than a month. Yet he played forty songs.

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So how was the Cinderford Music Festival?

Fiona and I played our set at the Cinderford Music Festival yesterday. We were delighted to do it, in part because it’s so local and we like to support local things. (We live 5 km from Cinderford.)

This isn't us -- it's a band called Vevolution playing at the 2014 festival.

This isn’t us — it’s a band called Vevolution playing at the 2014 festival. I don’t think there are any photos from the 2015 festival yet, and probably none of us in any case.

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I’m playing a half-hour set at the Cinderford Music Festival tomorrow at 1:30pm

I’m playing a half-hour set at the Cinderford Music Festival tomorrow at 1:30pm. Fiona will join me to provide backing vocals and flute. Here’s the blurb as it appears in the festival programme:

Mike Taylor sings and plays songs that people know and love — songs by bands like the Beatles and the Kinks, and songwriters like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. He describes his voice as “adequate” and his guitar playing as “unobjectionable”. Come and sing along.

Please come and join us if you’re in the area! It’s free entry: all the details are on the Festival’s Facebook page, but the venue is the clubhouse of the Cinderford Football Club, Edge Hill Road, Cinderford, Gloucestershire GL14 2QH.

Old music was better

For a long while — decades at least, I’ve had the impression the modern popular music is not as good as it was in the 60s, and indeed when I was growing up in the 70s or even the early 80s. What do I mean by “not as good”? I mean less melody, less harmony, less lyrical invention and most of all, a growing uniformity, where every song songs increasingly the same as every other song. Continue reading

I’m going to see Paul McCartney!

The first record I ever owned was the single of Laurel and Hardy’s song The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. I’m not proud of that, but it’s the truth, so the record may as well show it. I seem to remember I was given it for Christmas 1975, but I can’t blame my parents — I’d definitely asked for it. This when Bohemian Rhapsody was at number one. Let us never speak of this again.

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What I’ve been listening to in 2014

Here is my now-traditional top-ten list of the albums I’ve listened to the most in the previous calendar year. (See previous entries for 20132012, 20112010 and 2009.)

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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 on the iPod.) 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.

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I’m leaving on a jet plane

One of the songs I sang at the Forest Folk Club tonight was John Denver’s I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane. Even though I’d not had time to learn all the words, and had to read from a printout — something that I’ve found degrades performances — it went down very well, and had lots of people singing along in the chorus.

But why does it work so well? Surely by any objective standard, the chorus is bodged.

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