...BECAUSE SOME OF US THINK THAT THIS STUFF IS IMPORTANT
What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I’ve Always Kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny review


Sandy Denny in September 1971: “Her natural talent would never desert her nor would her almost overwhelming stage-fright.” Photograph:  Steve Wood/Evening Standard/Getty Images
Like a signal losing strength with each passing year since she died 37 years ago, the legend that is Sandy Denny has begun to fade. But her friends and fans continue to call out her name. Richard Thompson, who played with her in pioneering British folk-rock band Fairport Convention, introduces this sympathetic and solidly comprehensive survey of her life and work with a cry from the heart.

“As decades pass, and fashions in music come and go, I realise more and more that Sandy Denny was not only the most important singer of my generation, but that no one has come along to touch her since. Who has her dynamic range, from unbelievable power to a whisper, all with the utmost expression? Who has her musical intelligence, her ability to sing the right thing at the right time? Who has her command of the dramatic, and her ability to tell a story by inhabiting the song? Then there is the unique and distinctive songwriting . . . and her great charisma as a performer – it leaves the rest of the field forever struggling to catch up.

Alexandra Elene MacLean Denny was born in Wimbledon, London on January 6th, 1947 into an unremarkable middle class London family. Sandy was at times “mischievous” and “headstrong”, she was described by a grammar school friend as “bubbly, self-confident, happy and full of life”. Natural talent When Denny accepted a scholarship in 1965 from Kingston Art College – she was a talented artist – she was already playing support slots at some of the folk clubs then mushrooming around 1960s Britain.

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Fairport Convention and Matthews Southern Comfort
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Live In Maidstone 1970
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Live At Maidstone Castle 1970
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Captain Beefheart Art To Go On Show

The star, real name Don Van Vliet, retired from music in 1982 and spent his remaining years as a painter, and now a vast collection of his avant-garde works will be made public for fans to view.

Some paintings will make up part of the Body Shop display in London, and others feature in a solo exhibition in Cologne, Germany, marking only the second showings of Van Vliet's work since his death in 2010.

Gordon VeneKlasen, director of the Michael Werner Gallery which is organising the shows, tells Uncut magazine, "He was absolutely serious about the work he made, about the work he did..."

The London exhibition launches on 30 September (15) and the Cologne event runs until 24 October (15).


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Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work..


Don Van Vliet (born Don Glen Vliet; January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist and poet known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work..

AndersonPonty Band Better Late Than Never

The album title refers to the fact that Jon Anderson (he of Yes fame) and Jean Luc Ponty have been discussing an album together for around thirty years and this finds them in the right places and at the right time. The result is fascinating but it takes some time to begin to get into.

To many, Jon Anderson has a Marmite voice. Some love his melodious vocals and sense of melody but others find his virtual falsetto annoying and uncomfortable. The reality is that with right material and the right partners he is magnificent but stray off that path and he is quickly deep in the mire.

Jean Luc Ponty is a musician of rare breadth. Capable of playing in the jazz, rock, Blues or classical worlds and a history that includes Frank Zappa, John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola as well as a massively successful solo and band career with his own jazz compositions but once again he needs to be playing with sympathetic musicians to bring out his best.

The rest of the band are brilliant players in their own right including Jamie Glaser on guitars, Wally Minko on keys, Baron Browne on bass and Rayford Griffin – the list of the artists these guys have played with would be longer than this article.

A lot of this album is sublime. Andserson's vocals are well matched to Ponty's range on the violin and as ever his compositions are superb.
Intriguingly, one of my favourite tracks is a version of Yes' 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart' where Ponty's violin brings a huge rhythmic benefit to the track.
Ponty's own 'Mirage' gets a working over on 'Infinite Mirage' to great effect

When the pace slows, as on 'Wonderous Stories', it falters a little – moving this number into a jazz form doesn't quite hit the mark.


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THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem

Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. 

It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not?" 

Why not indeed!!" 

I HAVE A FRIEND
HE HAS A JOB
Dealing with disgruntled customers
whose cars have been recalled
due to any dangerous defect
finally admitted by the manufacturer
DONOGHUE vs STEVENSON (snail in the Scottish ginger beer bottle)
established long ago torts of negligence
so necessary now in days of mass production (and lax standards)
Folk are angry when airbags do not deploy
They get angry at him when he will not allow their claims
for redress(financial)or recall or replacing with new automobiles.
My friend is on the front line of the future
where adroit negotiations are required
to forestall anger,violence,reaction.He is pre-legal.
He is successful,calming folk who are fulminating 
as they cite Ralph Nader('UNSAFE @ANY SPEED)and demand action.
He is pro-active,suggesting alternative modes and possibilities of resolution
I see him as that person raking leaves in autumn(he will always find employment)
Even when his bosses tumble and fall with false economies
Even when the world is awash with defective and dangerous cars
Some people are born into the future.Some people learn from their pasts..

from other people's mistakes...

THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: ATKINS MAY PROJECT "A World At War" ©



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Anthology
CD - £9.99

Empire of Destruction
CD/DVD - £9.99

Valley of Shadows/The Serpents Kiss
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Valley of Shadows
CD - £9.99

The Serpents Kiss
CD - £9.99

Zappa Plays Zappa revives sounds of the future, Dweezil Zappa says

Dweezil Zappa, Frank Zappa’s son, founded Zappa Plays Zappa to introduce his father’s music to younger generations. The band plays Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Crossroads KC.

When he founded Zappa Plays Zappa in 2006, Dweezil Zappa had a few goals in mind.

Foremost, he wanted to bring the music of his late father, Frank Zappa, to a new generation of music fans. Initially, however, the show took another tack.

“The goal at the beginning was to give younger generations a chance to experience the music live,” he said. “We didn’t know whether we would be able to do it on an annual basis or continual basis. So the first time around, some alumni were part of the show. That was something more the promoters wanted.”

He had something different in mind, however.

“My view of the whole project was to send out a young band with no previous affiliation playing with Frank and play for newer generations. As it turned out, we were able to do that on a regular basis and bring that to life.”

Zappa Plays Zappa will perform Tuesday night at Crossroads KC. Zappa talked to The Star recently about the project and his upcoming album, which will include a collaboration with his father.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:


Frank Zappa is considered to be one of the most influential rock musicians of the late twentieth century. Between the start of his career in the late fifties and his death in 1993 he recorded and rele..


On September 19, 1985, Frank Zappa testified before the United States Senate Commerce, Technology, and Transportation committee, attacking the Parents Music Resource Center or PMRC, a music organizati..






Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/back-to-rockville/article36387972.html#storylink=cpy

Barbara Dickson with Nick Holland at The New Brighton Floral Pavilion

Barbara Dickson has come a long way since hertheatre debut in Willy Russell’s John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert at Liverpool’s Playhouse Theatre in 1974. But, of course, she was well known as a folk singer on the circuit well before then, including gigs on Merseyside.

So it was a sort of homecoming for the woman whose mother was a Liverpudlian, married to a Scotsman, ending up in Dunfermline, where Barbara was born. These are the sort of anecdotes that Barbara, 67, gives out between songs, and endears her to her audience.

She was pleased to be back in New Brighton, a place she remembers visiting as a child, coming over on the ferry to play on the sand. “It was a long way from Scotland to sit on the beach and eat ice-cream. It’s changed a lot since then,” she said.

Her current tour with Nick Holland on keyboards, sees her without her usual band, but, she says, this makes it more intimate. However, although this was a pleasing night out, what the band does is give more of a depth of sound.

Having said that, Barbara’s wonderful voice, that never seems to change, is what the fans come for, and she did not disappoint. With just a guitar and keyboard, backed by Nick on keyboards and vocals she ran through a plethora of heart-warming songs.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:

Morning Comes Quickly
CD - £7.99

Answer Me
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Winter
CD - £9.99

Che Faro
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B4 74 - The Folkclub Tapes
2CD - £11.99

Full Circle
CD - £9.99

Into The Light
DVD - £12.99

Time And Tide 
CD - £9.99

DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION DETAIL SUBURBAN GHOSTS

Downes Braide Association are gearing up to release their second, Suburban Ghosts.

The duo of Yes and Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes and songwriter Chris Braide will launch the record on November 6 via Cherry Red Records. It's the follow-up to DBA's 2012 debut Pictures Of You.

Braide says:“Suburban Ghosts is an album about isolation and loneliness in small town suburbia. A blank town under a sky full of stars, the same blank town you left behind. Now everyone has long gone, you're haunted by images of those former frost covered school gates and the laughter of children in the park and of the lovers you had once loved. The alternative life you could have lived.

"You see a photograph that reminds you how fragile we are. Somebody close to you whom you should have been there for. But it's too late to go back now. It's time to let them go, those suburban ghosts.”

Songwriter Braide has worked with Beyonce, Lana del Rey, Paloma Faith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, David Guetta, Sia, Afrojack and Marc Almond’s latest album The Velvet Trail on his way to winning Ivor Novello, ASCAP and Billboard awards.


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Union (Standard DVD)
DVD - £9.99

Union
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Union (2CD)
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Rock Of The 70's
DVD - £12.99

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £7.99

Rock of the 70s
DVD - £9.99

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Life at 33 1/3: ELO: Close to perfection

I was an Electric Light Orchestra follower from the moment I read about the project. After all, they were The Move in disguise, and I loved The Move. There’s no denying that I struggled with the first ELO- album. The music sounded unstructured and weird, and to my surprise this was particulary due to Roy Wood. Jeff Lynne was responsible for the album’s more accessible moments, including the hit single with the enigmatic title “10538 Overture”. I was in for another shock as Wood suddenly left the band, taking some key players with him, and formed Wizzard.

Wizzard got off to a flying start with a stack of brilliant hit singles that stuffed 50’s rock’n’roll, 60’s pop, 70’s glam, blasting woodwind and see-sawing cellos into a Spectorian “wall of sound”, topping it all with sing-along-choruses that even a goldfish could hum.



Jeff Lynne struggled on with the residual ELO-members, adding some new names to the line-up. “ELO 2” was certainly more striking than the debut, but most of it sounded hesitant and lacked direction. The fun, but very obvious cover version of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” (incorporating the famous riff from Beethoven’s 5th symphony) saved the day, providing the band with a sorely needed hit single.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £9.99

Scene & Heard: Yes bassist Billy Sherwood talks about replacing Chris Squire


Scene and Heard with Stuart Derdeyn talks to in-demand musician Billy Sherwood. The Las Vegas born bassist has held down duties for everyone from Paul Rodgers to William Shatner but is in Vancouver as the replacement for Chris Squire in Yes. The UK prog rock legends play with Toto at the Hard Rock Casino in Coquitlam on Saturday, September 12. Also new music from Vancouver’s Saints of Death, Branko (Buraka Som Sistema), Pere Ubu, Badi Assad and Terakraft.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:

Union (Standard DVD)
DVD - £9.99

Union
DVD - £12.99

Union (2CD)
2CD - £7.99

Rock Of The 70's
DVD - £12.99

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £7.99

Rock of the 70s
DVD - £9.99

THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Frank Zappa - Theme from Lumpy Gravy ('64)



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO


Frank Zappa is considered to be one of the most influential rock musicians of the late twentieth century. Between the start of his career in the late fifties and his death in 1993 he recorded and rele..


On September 19, 1985, Frank Zappa testified before the United States Senate Commerce, Technology, and Transportation committee, attacking the Parents Music Resource Center or PMRC, a music organizati..

THOM THE WORLD POET: The Daily Poem

Rob Ayling writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. 

It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied with in seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not?" 

Why not indeed!!" 

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Monday, 28 September 2015

Zappa on Zappa to Perform Classic Zappa Album 'One Size Fits All' in Its Entirety

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s final album, One Size Fits All, Frank Zappa’s son Dweezil and his band (who perform as Zappa on Zappa) will play the wacky album in its entirety when they perform at the Kent Stage on Sept. 22. In addition, Zappa & Co. will perform an additional 70 to 75 minutes worth of music from Frank Zappa's vast catalog. Prior to the concert, Zappa will offer a “masterclass” during which he’ll “instruct, guide and share” insight with fans who want to learn to play guitar better. In a recent phone interview, Zappa, who has said the album is one of his favs because of its “incredible arrangements and instrumentation,” took us through the disc track-by-track. 

“Inca Roads” 

It’s a song that is a fan favorite for a number of reasons. For me, the most ingenious thing about it is that it’s one of the pivotal pieces of music in my dad’s career. It’s the foundation for what he did frequently after that which was to make a song that has composed parts but is interwoven with things that are improvised. Sometimes, they even involve hand signals. When you have the combination of written and improvised parts, it means that every time you play the song it’ll be different. Much of his music is created that way, but this song set the foundation. At that phase of his career, it’s something that became really important. When he was touring, he didn’t want to play the same thing over and over. It has an insane melody and very tricky musical passages. It’s one of the hardest songs to play especially if you want to play it 100 percent accurate. It doesn’t easily roll off the fingers. 

“Can't Afford No Shoes”

It’s a song that sounds least like any of his songs in his catalog. It has a really cool chord progression that keeps modulating. It’s an infectious and melodic part of the song. It’s one of those ones where if you hear it, you think it’s more simplistic song. But it’s really complicated. [Frank Zappa] plays fretless guitar that sounds like a slide guitar. There’s never a song where you can be on cruise control. 

Read More...

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:



Frank Zappa is considered to be one of the most influential rock musicians of the late twentieth century. Between the start of his career in the late fifties and his death in 1993 he recorded and rele..


On September 19, 1985, Frank Zappa testified before the United States Senate Commerce, Technology, and Transportation committee, attacking the Parents Music Resource Center or PMRC, a music organizati

Korg All Access: Rick Wakeman's buying guide to digital pianos.



CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Gole/Almost Live in Europe
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Fields of Green/Always With You
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1984/Out There
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Night Music
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Live At The Empire Pool - King Arthur On Ice
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1984 - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1981
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Live in Lincoln Cathedral
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Live At The Maltings 1976
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Video Vaults
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Cirque Surreal 
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Gole 
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Cost Of Living 
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The Mixture
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