Sunday, 18 March 2018

Wine + Meat and Two Veg + Trapped Wind = The Berries, Juniperwise

A few days ago, surfing the net in a rare moment of relaxation, I came across a Fairport Convention parody from 2013 by John Watterson, aka Jake Thackray tribute act Fake Thackray. The "refreshed" lyrics make friendly mockery of the toping habits of individual members of the group, with whom he has performed:
In desperation Simon might
Have to resort to Diamond White ...
He is glancing down at a lyric sheet so I'm guessing that this recording was made at an aftershow gathering, the words dashed off for the occasion. They are pretty good even so, and if Mr Watterson regularly appears with the Fairports perhaps we can look forward to a series of variant versions of increasing poignancy added to youtube as age modifies his subjects' capacity for indulgence.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Ken Dodd

I was saddened to hear of the death of Ken Dodd, who contributed a generous and funny introduction to Funny Bones, the book I wrote with Freddie Davies; he can be seen, above, with Freddie in a photograph taken for the book at one of Ken's Good Turns charity functions in his beloved (the attraction was mutual) Liverpool.

In the chapter entitled Surviving in the Clubs Freddie talks of the inspiration which Ken's act provided when the younger comedian was still trying to find his way:

Friday, 9 February 2018

Does 1973 McCartney song date back to Beatle days?

Paul McCartney fans may be interested to learn that one of the songs from the Red Rose Speedway album may actually date from Beatle days. McCartney has yet to confirm the story, disclosed to a British newspaper this week by an anonymous source "formerly involved with the Beatles",  but it seems that a photostat of a sheet from one of the exercise books in which Paul used to jot down song ideas has recently come to light - though the precise circumstances of the discovery have not been revealed - and the page contains what is clearly an embryonic version of the song Single Pigeon.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Cheapo Cheapo Records Memories

Oh Lord, Rupert Street 1975. Cheapo Cheapo Records would have been just there on the left, chock full of gold & wonder. I'd give a kidney to get into that pic right now.
Having shared my own feelings about Cheapo in the previous post, here are some extracts from pieces and discussions found online in order to fill out the story.

Rob Baker, who tweeted the above observation by Danny Baker, is the author of High Buildings, Low Morals, about the sleazier side of London. I presume that that is the source of the photograph though I don't know whether Cheapo features directly in its pages.

Sadly, I can confirm that it doesn't in the highly entertaining Last Record Shop Standing by Graham Jones, discussed here. Be warned that some of the anecdotes - Billy J Kramer performing in a white suit springs to mind - may cause considerable discomfort should you need to suppress your laughter on a busy train journey, as I did: the result was a strained Muttley sound, plus my eyes streaming uncontrollably.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Cheapo Cheapo Records - the complete story

It's now almost eight years since the death of Phil Cording, owner of Soho's Cheapo Cheapo Records, on the 29th of January, 2009; two months later the shop was closed once for all.

Cheapo had been a kind of haven since I first came to London in 1985: many a Saturday evening had been spent within its doors, ferreting through a mix of tat and marvels. Others have praised its stock of Northern Soul, but for me just about everything had an appeal, possibly because my musical tastes were shaped jointly by David Essex and Hubert Gregg. The film That'll Be The Day started me on a lifelong exploration of rock'n'roll just as Gregg's radio shows were painlessly educating me about the music of the thirties and forties. Cheapo had no shortage of either decade; finding the same LPs I had loved as a teenager in its cramped and dingy surroundings made it a home from home in the middle of the metropolis.

A few months after discovering that Cheapo was no more I began to explore my feelings in this blog, writing about going through through "a kind of mini-grief process", aware of that how ridiculous that sounded. I didn't know then that Phil's death had been the cause; I was mourning the loss of the shop itself and its significance in my life.