17-23rd November: Local lines

Heh I'm doing an Xmas photo album for the mother-in-law of our long weekend in Lorraine-Alsace in the spring so working is just keeping an eye on the notifications here :)

Using "PhotoBox" for that, there's a 60% reduction until midnight - keep at it boyo!

Thanks, Peter, for the SNCF acronyms. Good to see that they have a sense of gallows humour. I bought a CD in Cash Converters the other day by another of those Texan singer-songwriters, an ex-lawyer called Jeff Talmadge. Intelligent, evocative music. 50 cents spent very well indeed (50 cents, too, for 'Black Uhuru' and a fabulous CD by the Brazilian maverick, Carlinhos Brown). Worth the rummage! Cap'n Beefheart, Ian! Did you know that there's a new CD/vinyl re-mastered set of his finest vintage (circa Spotlight Kid)? And don't get me started on the good doctor, John. The blackest white man in the world. I never quite got Family, though, Ian - even though I had Music From A Doll's House. Get on with your work, Sampson!

Oh lol Jim Reeves :) Saw CB live twice at Preston Guild Hall and somewhere in Liverpool, the night after. Was a mindblower. Trout Mask Replica was the one we kept playing.

I do have a home-made "Best of Rod Stewart" handy too !

Enjoyed CB live, an experience a bit like SAHB in his heyday. A lot of the Captains work was 'avant-garde' (I can't think of another expression !) and the studio albums didn't do a lot for me except for Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller). The Captain sadly departed from this world a couple of years back. Yep, Dr John was ok.

If it's confession time : I enjoy listening to Matt Munro, what a voice ! Oh yes, and Jim Reeves !!!

Heh, I still have the Beach Boys to hand :)

Loudun Wainwright was a good 'un. (Think it's spelled like that). One who gave that tradition a shakeup was good ol' Captain Beefheart. read his biography recently. There was that Dr John character too, not bad at times.

I'm ashamed to say I still listen to the Carter Family ....sad I know !

Robert Johnson is about as good as you can get in that genre for me.

I have always enjoyed the 'typical' american folk/country/rock performers like John Prine, Laudun Wainwright & the late great Townes van Zandt.

Fair enough Peter - and I agree about Genesis :)

Later on, got into old-time country blues, like Blind Willie MacTell, Robert Johnson, Leadbelly (height of cool was a Leadbelly LP on your Lambretta backpacker), Mississippi Fred McDowell, etc etc. And found some old-time Cajun recordings from the thirties, amazing French melodies and patois.

Could never get into Family Ian. My fave 'prog rock' group at the time was Crimson who pushed the boundaries a bit further probably. The biggest con for me at that time was the early Genesis, basically a bunch of spoilt brats taking the mickey out of prog music scene. Thing is they got away with it !! Fortunately they made up for it later with some music which merited their superstar status IMO.

I enjoyed Nucleus in my more 'psychodelic' moments tho' not being a great lover of jazz.

Yes Mark, exactly like a Paul Théroux book here. My hair was long and romantically wavy, down to my waist too at one time. Had to cut it back for brickying though :) I thought SF Sorrow was one of the finest albums ever made by anybody. I did however take on "Family" as my fave band a bit later on. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is an excellent film, thoroughly recommended !

All this just brought back another memory- my first wife was a patient in St Mary Abbott's when Hendrix died there just after the Isle of Wight. One of my clients was Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac but I was never a fan of their music.I was into Early Music and opera by then and still am!

SNCF - Servons Nous Café Froid

SNCF - Sur Neuf, Cinq Feignants

Definitions courtesy of SNCF employees

The Pretty Things were it. Dick Taylor missed out by leaving what became the Stones, but the Prettys are still together, ostensibly alive and kicking.

My hair, which grows in ringlets but not dreadlocks, was thick and almost too full BUT longer than Phil May's for a while. Ringlets to below my waistband. Those were the days.....................

Some fascinating conversation going on. It's like reading a Paul Theroux book about some exotic railway trip. I have to say that the disused station on the other side of the border is incredible. It's like something that Wes Anderson might have dreamed up. Did y'all see 'The Grand Budapest Hotel', if that was the title? Glorious stuff. By the way, Ian and Brian, I'm a big fan of the Pretty Things. I used to cut out pin-ups of them from my Fabulous magazines. I always thought that Phil May's hair was unfeasibly long. I used to have a vinyl copy of 'S.F. Sorrow' which I sold for peanuts (and subsequently bought a re-mastered CD), but thankfully I kept hold of 'Parachute', a bona fide masterpiece in my view. Ah, happy days! Good evening, gentlemen.

Cripes there's some names there I recognise now. Didn't get about much in the early 60s except for trainspotting, but later on Bonzo Dog Doodah, Yardbirds, Pretty Things (hot faves!). Went to Isle of Wight (Hendrix, Family), Keele (Van Morrison, Grateful Dead), Worthing (Phun City yay!), and later Country Joe & The Fish, Captain Beefheart..... ok that's enough to be doing with for now :)

Half Moon Putney. I used to go to the folk club Royd Rivers, Cliff Aungier and Gerry Lockran ran from 1963 on they had on Ralph McTell, Alexis Korner, Long John Baldry and Bert Jansch and from unknowns to name a few the Rolling Stones, the Who, Yardbirds, Pretty Things, U2, Elvis Costello, Roy Harper, Nick Cave, k.d.lang and Kate Bush played there among the many. I knew Alexis and Bobbie Korner passingly, both died young and their three children too, only one outliving Bobbie. Nostalgia. Both the Half Moon and Bull are going strong but tarted up sadly.

Off limits club in Berlin. I shall have been there for sure. Too many to guess though.

All of which has what to do with Mark's blog? Started with the cold I think.

I saw Alexis Korner too and I used to like the Yardbirds alot. Used to do Bromley Court Jazz Club, Ken Collyer's all niters, the Black Cat at Catford, the Marquee, Beaulieu Jazz Festival (including the famous one). Half Moon at Putney and the Bull's Head at Barnes. Bonzo Dog Doodah band a few times. A particularly nasty club called the Tatty Bogle in Soho. Lyttleton, Chris Barber, it's all flooding back..........and I almost forgot a really seedy maison close in Berlin wher the door had a huge sign over it saying "Forbidden to all Allied Troops"- place was heaving with every imaginable uniform on the guys and precious little on the others!

)h yeah David. I remember the Brest-Litovsk change. I did the Hoek van Holland through. Hoek to Warsaw, then to B-L then on to Moscow. Two days in a hotel that must have originally been built to compete with Battersea Power Station then the silly IOM meetings and back to Berlin and off to work. Dreadful trip on one unheated and then an overheated train going and the same coming back. Samovar service was brilliant though, although I hate the muck they make with them.

Phil Seamen. Ah yes, with Ginger Baker's Air Force when Cream split up. So must have been early 1968. They played our college spring ball. I believe the local powder and puff traders did very well that day! That was a wall of noise...

Missed that about Acker Bilk dying. Humphrey Lyttelton's mum used to live down our road in Preston, on the gate was a round bit of wood like a vinyl disc, with "Golden Record Villa" on it, or something like that. Saw Alexis Korner a couple of times long ago, remember Phil Seamen? Ran into him once, when he was hanging around with Ginger Baker.

Had time to stop at Warsaw and play a game of tennis against some of the Embassy staff natch. No Bentleys or Astons though. Had a whale of a time in St Petersburg selling Levi jeans to Russians. The pick up arrangements were totally comic and the night time rendez vous included a man in a dirty mac and a trilby reading a newspaper under a streetlight. We were opposite down a dark alley doing the trade and the signal was that if the police came up the street the newspaper would move up and down and we would scapa. One of our party wore a kilt day and night and picked up quite a crowd of supporters; he flogged his collection of Acker Bilk records as Benny Goodman or Bix Beiderbeck who had just visited Moscow, and achieved huge prices. Saw that Acker died about ten days ago!

Yes, you should write all that down, David. Sounds brill. Reminds me of the film with Richard Burton, "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold", excellent stuff. Managed to find all the 70s/80s BBC series of Le Carré's "Smiley" works, bliss to watch the whole series of a book in one go.

Still admiring the exploit of climbing over that wall :)