Spill Awards 2017: The Results

Scene: an empty stage, lit by a single old-fashioned filament bulb without a shade, which every so often flickers balefully. Is this a clumsy metaphor for what the Oscars will look like when all the women boycott them and all the men have been disgraced? No, it’s the empty stage of my mind. I can’t go on. I must go on, or this will never happen. I can’t go on. Go on. Go on go on. Go on go on go on go on go on.

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‘Spillin’ The Beans – I bet you thought I’d gone for good…………

……………..But no, ‘Spillin’ The Beans is really back again.

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This week, because something reminded me of a long-forgotten blast from the past, I am going to talk about one of the lesser-known (obscure, even) bands of the early 1970s and that band is Gnidrolog. “Who?” I hear you say, “Never heard of them!” and, I reply “No, and who could blame you, because they only ever got played by John Peel and they managed to avoid commercial success completely.

So, who were they? Well, they were a short-lived band formed by two brothers, Colin and Stewart Goldring (the band’s name is a slightly-amended anagram of their surname) in 1969 and who existed until 1972, the year in which they released two albums. The first had the enigmatic title “In Spite Of Harry’s Toe-nail” and the second was the less oddly-named “Lady Lake“. Neither title caused much upheaval in the album charts and the band went its separate ways. Despite the lack of success, various members of the band went on to perform with better-known and far more successful acts, drummer Nigel Pegrum joining Steeleye Span and bassist Pete Cowling played with Pat Travers for many years. The Goldring Brothers themselves went on to form a pretty awful (and probably joke) “punk” band called The Pork Dukes, over which I shall draw a discreet veil. Gnidrolog, inexplicably perhaps, reformed in 1999 and released an album called “Gnosis” in 2000, which proved to be quite popular in Europe. The band has a page on Facebook.

The original lineup of the band was;

Colin Goldring – lead vocals, guitars, recorder, tenor sax, horn, harmonica
Stewart Goldring – lead guitar, vocals
Peter “Mars” Cowling – bass guitar, cello
Nigel Pegrum – percussion, flute, oboe, piano

and they were joined by John Earle on soprano, tenor and baritone saxes, flute and lead vocals for their second album.

So, you wonder, why am I writing about this obscure band? Well, it is because despite their obscurity, they did make some quite interesting music. They fit into the same soundworld as the likes of Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator and King Crimson., and you can detect all sorts of other influences in the music too, even a touch of early Bowie in the main vocals, although Peter Hammill is a more obvious reference point. One oddity is that, apart from one track on Lady Lake, the band doesn’t use any keyboards.

Of the two 1972 albums, the later one, Lady Lake is the more successful and accessible, but the first is the more experimental and contains the seeds of the more-polished later work. The music is pastoral in places, with a lot of flute, sax and other woodwinds. It also features spiky angular passages and discordant singing and playing to dramatic effect. It is very much music of its time, the guitar work and bass-playing is very early 70s, (especially on the first album, which has a couple of “sub-Fripp mixed with blues-rock wig-out” solos for example, as is the overall production and dynamic. The weird thing though, is that I hear little flourishes of this oddness in some much more recent music, such as on the second album, “Hidden” by These New Puritans. Overall, though, they are a band who are probably always going to be seen as a footnote in the history of progressive rock and the music of the 1970s.

So, have I whetted your appetites? I know, probably not, but if you are curious you can find their music on YouTube;

Lady Lake is here

In Spite of Harry’s Toe-Nail is here

 

RR Films: Intermission

You may have noticed the absence of this feature last week. I had a couple of attempts at spinning news items into a topic but, not only did I struggle to make a connection, I then had to look too hard for appropriate films. The project – or its author – is getting stale after 80 outings.

So this is maybe not farewell but it is at least adieu. I’ll leave you with a recommendation though: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It’s becoming the Oscar front runner and I’m very happy about that (the US Academy was never going to make Elle best picture…), as it is a beautifully played tragi-comedy where nothing is straight-forward and it becomes increasingly difficult to condemn the bad behaviour being indulged in.

So, for the time being, That’s All Folks!

Earworms 22 January 2018

I come from the land of ice and snow … with laryngitis and a snuffly nose … welcome to this week’s Earworms on the theme of “warmth” – mostly – no matter, no matter, all worms welcome. If you have an Earworm you’d like to share, please send an .mp3 or a link to earworm@tincanland.com, together with a few lines about why you’ve chosen it. Many thanks to all; next week’s theme, should you choose to accept it, is: birds.

EMA – Down and Out – Vanwolf: Been listening to this album I got late last year. Quite atmospheric with a sort of fuzzed up sound to it.

The Beach Boys – Warmth of the Sun – Magicman: written by Brian Wilson the morning after Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Nov 23rd 1963. “What good is the dawn that grows into day?” Stunning next level harmonies for the era, somehow given the bleak moment there is still beauty and warmth, a reason to live. It probably helped that Brian lived in Hawthorne, Los Angeles where November is reasonably warm. We sang it a few times, but it’s quite difficult. Even The Beach Boys live efforts are wobbly. This is from “Keep An Eye On Summer : Beach Boys Sessions 1964” compiled by Alan Boyd …

Funkadelic – Sunshine of Your Love – Ravi Raman: first song that I thought of was this, which had popped up, after a long time, when Sarah posted the Shuffle challenge. A more than decent cover of the Cream classic.

The Stranglers – Always the Sun – AliM: From their 1986 album, Dreamtime. “How many times has the weatherman told you stories that made you laugh? / You know it’s not unlike the Politicians and leaders, when they do things by half / Who gets the job of pushing the knob? / That sort of responsibility, you draw straws for it if you’re mad enough.”

The Beach Boys – Warmth of the Sun – Magicman: … and this is the Stereo mix, you lucky people.

Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real – Just Outside Of Austin – tincanman: Sweet (some would say overly) love ballad in the vein of those Webb Pierce 70’s songs labels didn’t know what to do with. It’s a fine line with these, and I think he falls on the right side of it. Chip off the old block (yes, THAT Nelson) that way.(Reminds me of “Gentle on my Mind” Ed.)

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Songs to Describe 2003

 

What songs describe the world and its events in 2003? You can suggest songs that describe how life was for you personally as well as the wider political, social and cultural ramifications arising from that year.

If the response is positive, I’ll do this on RR as an occasional theme but without the personal bit. And anyone is welcome to run with the idea if they want to use the idea for RR or SB.

nilpferd mentioned enjoying the reminiscing themes and I enjoy them because discussion opens up. And, to be clear, songs don’t have to be from 2003.

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You Don’t Have to Know Me

I have a lot of favourite songs that I have never recommended. There are lots of artists whose music I like but have never recommended. And there are a few I have mentioned once and then forgotten or ignored because I have no idea about the lyrics or that perfect theme was long ago or they were a bit crap but I loved them anyway…

Some of these artists were at their peak long ago. Some will be popular in the futureif Faroese folktronica ever becomes a thing.

And I added three songs from one album just to give you more of an idea about the artist.

What unfairly neglected artists do you have on your shelves?

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