Thursday, 21 January 2016

The 1972 Silver Machine Show -- Mix of the Month

The 1972 Silver Machine Show by Rock N Rail on Mixcloud

When I put this mix together a couple of weeks ago, I topped and tailed it with two tracks that would act as tributes to artistes that passed away in 2015: Silver Machine from Hawkwind featuring Lemmy on Bass and Vocals and Siberian Khartru by Yes featuring Chris Squire on Bass.

Hawkwind’s Silver Machine is such a strong, timeless track that, in tribute to it as well as Lemmy’s performance, I felt this collection should be great rock tracks from 1972, the year of its release.

And I had no idea then, that the third and tenth tracks chosen would also act as tributes. Tributes to David Bowie and Terence Dale 'Buffin' Griffin.

Like Silver Machine, everything Bowie has done sounds as good today as it did when first released. In some cases, they sound even better.

And, I am SO pleased I chose Jean Genie as, for me, it is the track that takes me back to listening to Radio Luxembourg through a naff one-piece ear-phone, listening to it in Tony Collins’s front room. It is just a perfect record in so many ways, rocking its way to the sky, filling every room and dream with electric guitar driven swagger. Fantastic. Fabulous and marvellous.

And ’72 was the big breakthrough year for Bowie. From Starman to producing and elevating the status of both Mott the Hoople and Lou Reed via Jean Genie, John I’m Only Dancing and everything Ziggy Stardust and those Spiders from Mars.

Ah. Mott the Hoople. Touched by the hand of Bowie, without which these ears would’t have heard the band that became one of my all time favourites. And Buffin, or Dale Griffin as he became known to us from ‘The Hoople’ onwards, was a stand-out member of the band. Apart from being a great drummer, he went on to ensure the bands’ legacy was preserved in print, movie and audio awesomeness. A true gent who’s passing didn’t go without a tear from me.

Back to this ‘mix’ and the final tribute track closes the collection. 'Siberian Khartru' from the classic ‘Close to the Edge’ by Yes, and another 1972 landmark. Some say the finest prog-rock album ever. Chris Squire’s imaginative, almost lead-bass work driving along this collections’ closing track with rock gusto that brings Roger Deans poster to life.

The rest of the tracks on this collection now pale into insignificance to an extent, but they also act as a reminder of how strong and exciting the music scene was in the early seventies. The fact that 40 years later these records and these artists are - in most part - still relevant tells us just how strong the industry was then. Great days. Great records. Great memories:

1. Silver Machine by Hawkwind.
2. Run, Run, Run by Jo Jo Gunne.
3. The Jean Geneie by David Bowie.
4. Don’t Waste My Time by Status Quo.
5. Hold Your Head Up by Argent.
6. School's Out by Alice Cooper.
7. Reelin' In The Years by Steely Dan.
8. Sylvia by Focus.
9. Burlesque by Family.
10. Sucker by Mott the Hoople.
11. Time Was by Wishbone Ash.
12. Siberian Khatru by Yes.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Walking With The San by Charlie Simpson & San Bushmen -- Record of the Week!

Earlier this week notjustmum stumbled upon a telly programme that has become a 'must watch' in our house and provided some very heartwarming entertainment.

And none more so than the episode we saw on Wednesday when 'Singing in the Rainforest' on Watch took us to Namibia to meet the San people along with Busted's Charlie Simpson and his mate Alex Davies.

Now, apart from the Thunderbirds movie theme, Busted mean absolutely nothing to me. At all. But from the start of the programme, Charlie made an immediate impression.

And this continued throughout the programme. He really had compassion, care and concern for the San people. We learnt how they have had to change their traditional way of life -- hunter gatherers -- as conservation restricts hunting and that they survive on deliveries of grain. Compared to the Panamanian tribe we saw in the previous episode enjoying a session with the Happy Mondays (seriously), these people looked poor and hungry. They are small and slight and their diet poor. But... what happy, lovely people.

The former Busted frontman tapped into all this with great skill. The climax of each episode of 'Singing in the Rainforest' sees the UK band or artist collaborate with the indigenous tribe they spend a week with and Charlie's effort is the best of the series. By a mile, really.

Charlie was accompanied on the trip by his old school-chum and post-Busted bandmate Alex Davies, and the pair really endeared themselves to the San as well as prove very, very accomplished writers, players and performers.

We were told that, as well as the song being able to highlight the changes and threats the San face, proceeds from sales of the song would be given to aid the San. Needless to say we have purchased from iTunes. But not just because of the aid it provides: it's a really good song on so many levels.

I will not dismiss Charlie Simpson quite so readily in the future and, in fact, am about to listen to his second solo LP 'Long Road Home'.

Buy and download 'Walking with the San' from iTunes.