Simple Pleasures part 2

by arkangel

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you can't beat the Simple Pleasures of life...

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Solid Air

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John Martyn playing the Solid Air album at the Albert Hall - a very special music night out
16th Apr 2007, 21:24   | tags:,,,

hildegard says:

A god among men, if that's the monopedal Scotsman your title leads me to expect...

16th Apr 2007, 21:46

arkangel says:

The one and same and only

17th Apr 2007, 00:28

I have tried to like the bloke but the music I've heard leaves me cold and on the occasions i've met him he's been a right c**t to everyone around him

17th Apr 2007, 00:30

arkangel says:

Try harder ;-)

17th Apr 2007, 00:33

hildegard says:

Funny that, Hobo - he's quite the gent when you're not around.

Arkangel - did you add that text later or do I need to advance my eye test?

17th Apr 2007, 00:50

arkangel says:

Added it later as is my wont - my Mobile Phone Text Inputting Tolerance Quotient (MPTITQ) is low.

17th Apr 2007, 07:25

arkangel says:

ParaB, may I suggest Don't Want to Know from Solid Air as a starting point...

How can you be left cold by a man who writes lines like:
“If you kissed the sun right out of the sky for me”

When and where did you meet him?

17th Apr 2007, 07:34

I bought solid air when it came out as did many other people I knew, and I thought there was something wrong with me cos it just didn't do for me what it was doing for them. Three of my friends have suffered the ordeal of supporting him on tour and i've met him on numerous occasions both pre and post gigs - I like so much different and diverse music that I'm not really prepared to "try" and like something - you either connect with it or you don't, and with john martyn there just isn't a connection - I can appreciate his technical wizardry on guitar but it stirs nothing within me.

20th Apr 2007, 22:24

arkangel says:

The thing I really like is the simplicity of the lyrics - proper songs, profound but simple. I was listening to Van on the way home tonight and, much though I love him, he can't do that, his strength is in the way he sings, not his words.

20th Apr 2007, 23:15

so moondance, jackie wilson said, bright side of the road, have i told you lately, they're not great songs?

21st Apr 2007, 15:52

hildegard says:

Hm, in my universe, Van Morrison CDs are things you use for keeping birds off the veg patch. When it come to Van as a man, you certainly used to be able to rely on him for a mannerless, narcissitic oaf. Maybe he's changed; I don't keep up, not since the time my mate went backstage for an autograph & he asked her if she'd like to watch him undress. Like it'd be a treat for her.

21st Apr 2007, 16:04

arkangel says:

Great songs more for the way they are performed than the lyrics...

Into this life we're born
Baby sometimes we don't know why
And time seems to go by so fast
In the twinkling of an eye

[Bright side of the Road]


You've been taking your time
And you've been living on solid air
You've been walking the line
And you've been living on solid air
Don't know what's going round inside
And I can tell you that it's hard to hide
When you're living on solid air

[Solid Air]

Simpler and better

21st Apr 2007, 16:08

arkangel says:

Hildegard, I reckon it's generally a good idea to separate the Art from the Artist - it saves a lot of disappointment and disillusion

21st Apr 2007, 18:19

hildegard says:

Being rather keen on the work of Martin Heidegger, I'm familiar with that exercise. ;)
The first part of that comment was the music criticism...

21st Apr 2007, 18:52

arkangel says:

Ezra Pound is another good reason for this policy

I've just got a high regard for vegetables which is how I missed your music criticism ;-)

21st Apr 2007, 19:20

I'm in complete agreement with the separation of the artist and the art, and also in agreement that Van could do with a brush up his interpersonal skills - I disagree about the Van Morrison songs being good for the way they are performed as he must be one of the most covered artists around, and if a song can be covered by such a wide variety of artists surely that's what makes it a good song? I'm not disputing John Martyn's talent or craft for a second, and nor was I saying that Van is "better" songwriter, just that I personally have no emotional connection with his work, whereas with Van I do. Richard Thompson is another case in point - I've supported him on a couple of occasions and find it uncomfortable being in the same room for more than 10 seconds but I love his work. I took a friend along to see him live once, thinking they'd love it, he did a spellbinding 2 hour set, solo, and at the end the friend said he would rather have watched paint dry! 's all subjective...

22nd Apr 2007, 12:13

arkangel says:

I think Van tends to do his own songs best. Which covers of his stuff do you like most?

22nd Apr 2007, 17:01

I'm not particularly talking about well-known cover versions, though rod Stewart has done a couple of memorable ones - Have i told you lately and crazy love spring to mind, but I have a lot of friends on the folk/acoustic circuit, most of whom have at least one van morrison song in their repertoire. Georgie Fame does a lovely laid back slouchy version of moondance with Van on backing vocals.

23rd Apr 2007, 01:29

arkangel says:

I always like the contrast between Van's version of Have I Told You Lately and Rod's. With Van there's an interesting ambiguity as to whether he's talking about a woman or God or both. With Rod you can guarantee it's a busty blonde he has in mind.

Other decent covers are Elvis Costello's Full Force Gale and Brian Kennedy's Crazy Love, although i reckon at the end of the day the best man to do a Van is Van the Man.

23rd Apr 2007, 10:23

practicalpsychologist(doug-at-dougmiller-dot-demon-dot-co-dot-uk) says:

So Arkangel, we have a debate about three artists here. let's deal with the easiest first. Rod. Rod was a great singer and his work with Jeff Beck (Truth), The Faces and his first couple of solo albums have left a great legacy. He was a great performer but I use the word was deliberately. He has not done enything post 1973 that warrants real discussion. He even ripped off Jorge Ben's great track 'Taj Mahal' for 'If you think I'm sexy' for which he was rightly sued.

Next up is John Martyn. I have spoken to him twice. In Portrush and in The Old Mean Fiddler. Both times he was rude but also very pissed. What baffles me is why Solid Air is the one that people refer to. Grace and Danger, One World, Bless The Weather and the excellent Live at Leeds are all better. I have seen him live around a dozen times and occasionally he has been too out of it to perform but mostly he has been great.

Arkangel will know of my blog on Van The Man. His music leaves me cold apart from a few isolated tracks - Natalia off Wavelength. does it for me but seemingly no-one else. Live, he was dreadful. It felt like a bad cabaret night in the hospitality rooms at Sheffield Wednesday football club.

So JM wins it for me by a long way. He sustained excellence for 12 years (1970-82), Rod for 5 years (1968-73) and Van manages it on isolated tracks. As one friend said to me if you concentrated all of Van's best work into around 4 albums he would be great. There is too much rubbish attached to his output.

23rd Apr 2007, 12:25

arkangel says:

Knew I could rely on you to have a view or two on this!

23rd Apr 2007, 12:29

practical psychologist says:

And of course Rod Stewart, How could I forget the great Python Lee Jackson - Rod and Beck 1973. I picked up the single for about 10 quid 10 years ago. Worth more than that now. And now we have these wonderful turntables that turn your old vinal into MP3's...

23rd Apr 2007, 19:53

arkangel says:

Doesn't it hurt your head having all that stuff in there?

24th Apr 2007, 23:24

practicalpsychologist(doug-at-dougmiller-dot-demon-dot-co-dot-uk) says:

It does. The joy of working for myself is that I now sit with my headphones on all day (which adds to the headache). Today I have listened to: two cds of the Bitches Brew box set, Biosphere, Maggot Brain-Funkadelic, Rico and the Rudies (great Brixton ska from 1969) and KLF (Chill out) as well as about an hour of '60's chicks' - an internet radio station. A nice mix. Just going out on the bike for some southern french air.

By the way the Python Lee Jackson track is called 'In a Broken Dream' and it is marvellous.

25th Apr 2007, 16:34

practicalpsychologist says:

And there is a very good remix of Sunshine's Better by Talvin Singh. I am not sure that there are many quality remixes of Rod or Van the Man by the new breed.

26th Apr 2007, 21:19

arkangel says:

Just went to look for the Talvin track on the interweb but no joy, so i'm listening to JM's original and you know what, it's really rather good...

Gimme some clues for tracking down that remix.

26th Apr 2007, 22:31

practicalpsychologist says:

I believe you may now have 'found' this? I saw Talvin Singh live at The Barbican just after he had won the Mercury music prize. He had Bill Laswell playing bass, Ryuichi Sakomoto on keys and Cleveland Watkiss on vocals as well as some brilliant Indian musicians. It was one of the best gigs I have ever seen. And Laswell's bass was the loudest thing I have ever heard.

27th Apr 2007, 16:22

hildegard says:

PracticalP - as you're manifestly a guru, let me try you with one that's eluded me for some time. Any idea of the name, or previous musical incarnations, of the old ska warrior who plays bass with Radio Bemba & Manu Chao?

27th Apr 2007, 16:47

arkangel says:

Nope, haven't yet found it. Got any clues for me?

27th Apr 2007, 17:03

practicalpsychologist says:

Check your email.

Hildegard - be back to you. The Mediterranean beach is calling.

27th Apr 2007, 17:34

arkangel says:

I know nothing ;-)

27th Apr 2007, 17:38

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