Saturday, 30 November 2013

In Appreciation of... Lisa Stansfield

A couple of weeks back I saw Lisa Stansfield at the Indig02.  I was a fan of hers from the Coldcut collaboration "People Hold On " that introduced her to the world but a series of albums that followed proved she was no part player and not only had a great set of pipes but could write nifty tune as well.

I'd not seen her live and given the passing of time wondered how her voice would stand up and what I was going to get for my money.  No worries there - all the fab songs from her heyday were there - still great tunes, still performed with a great voice (with an added  new tone which enhances rather than disappoints).  At an early point we got the "here's a new song..." but frankly this lady hasn't lost any of her craft.  These new tunes "the conversation" and particularly for me "Stupid Heart" fitted well with her set and certainly held up (or more) with the past glories.  "Stupid Heart" could be an old southern soul classic - and needs to be covered by a Mavis Staples or a rejuventaed Aretha (if only she would re-emerge).

On checking the web I found a very similar set from earlier this year at the Java Jazz festival and then coincidentally saw that she was appearing on daytime TV. I Sky+ it and found her live performance of "Heart" once again thrilling.

A new album is due early next year - can't wait.  For those who want her classic sound there is the obvious hits compilation and then the best album of her career "Real Love" which I couldn't live without - Yes Brits do soul very well thank you.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Howling At The Moon - Walter Yetnikoff with David Ritz

Brilliant biog of one of the great Record Men of the boom period of the 70s and 80s.  Yetnikoff took Columbia from the reshaped position left by Clive Davis to top of the market then led the sale of Columbia to Sony.  This is a great read - flawed genius meets the excesses of the age. The financial rewards in the business at the time drove the lifestyle and the outrageous behaviour reflected in stories of record industry legend.  Read this after or before hitting Stan Cronyn's "Exploding"  which is the story of arch rival label Warner Brothers.  During the early 80s Yetnikoff used the legend "Fuck the Bunny" to rally his troops at sales conferences to beat Warners to the top spot.  This reflects the era and the man.  Ritz is effective as ever bringing out the human side of a driven individual.  A fun and fascinating read.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Glastonbury 2013

Great Glasto this year.  particularly enjoyed Of Monsters and Men; Haim; Gabriella Aplin; Jesse Ware; Bobby (of course) and Chic - all from the comfortable campsite that is my sofa.
The Stones and Mumfords are still on my SkyBox!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Not Abba - Dave Haslam

No it wasn't all flares, space hoppers, afros and punks. Neither was it prog rockers , Glam and all frivolous fun.  The 70's was a fab decade but one of political and social change - much of it reflected in the mass media arts of music, film and TV.  This book is a year by year trawl through what happened and when.  It takes me back to my formative years (I was 13 in 1971) when adults seemed miserable and brow beaten by life in general - they had good cause - with the rise of UK mainland terrorism; strikes, blackouts and raging inflation.  Teenagers, a second generation if you will from the Summer Of Love period (hippies behind them) saw the new world very differently.  I would recommend this book to anyone but for those of you of a similar age - this and it's fiction counterpart, The Rotters Club are great reads and will take you back to a very real image of a decade of major social change in this country.