Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Rod Stewart

rod-stewart

Your view on Rod Stewart may well be defined by your age or at worst your musical taste.

Fortunately for me I can easily dismiss the majority of his work post 1975 and enjoy some of the greatest R&B drenched rock produced by a white British male singer.

The Faces “A Nod Is As Good As A Wink….To A Blind Horse” is a classic album from 1971, though ironically my favourite track is the brilliant “Debris” which was of course written and sung by the greatness that was Ronnie Lane.

“Debris” – The Faces

two, three, four

I left you on the debris
at the Sunday morning market
you were sorting through the odds and ends
you was looking for a bargin

I heard your footsteps at the front door
and that old familiar love song
’cause you knew you’d find me waiting there
at the top of the stairs

I wouldn’t of went back
just to see how far it was
and you looked shocked to tell me
but I had to love her myself

there’s more trouble at the depot
with the general workers union
and they said they’ll never change a thing
well, they won’t fight and their not working

oh you was my hero
hell you are my good friend
I’ve been there and back
and I know how far it is

but I left you on the Debris
now we both know you got no money
and I wonder what you would have done
without me hanging around

 

the faces

By this time Rod embarked on his solo career with “An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down” (1969) and “Gasoline Alley” (1970), and over the next five years produced a string of classic albums:-

May 1971 “Every Picture Tells A Story”

July 1972 “Never A Dull Moment”

October 1974 “Smiler”

August 1975 “Atlantic Crossing”

This was the watershed for me, the title of the album said it all really and although this album retained some of the energy of the earlier releases it was much more polished and was the last we heard of the raw Rod The Mod.

He crossed the Atlantic and for me forever more became a caricature of all that was wrong with music at the time, from the hair do to the lycra the music had been taken over by the image emphasised by the string of blonde girls on his arm.

This was probably the turning point.

This week sees the release of “The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998”

The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998

Fortunately thanks to iTunes I was able to cherry pick the tracks that I wanted and surprisingly, especially to me, a couple of the better tracks are in fact stripped down versions of songs from some of the latter albums which I have dismissed above which with some rough and ready versions of earlier album tracks and a couple of cover versions amounted to £8 well spent.

Here is a great version of a Isley Brothers 1966 hit

“I Guess I’ll Always Love You” – Rod Stewart

“You’re In My Heart” – Rod Stewart

I didn’t know what day it was
When you walked into the room
I said hello unnoticed
You said goodbye too soon

Breezing through the clientele
Spinning yarns that were so lyrical
I really must confess right here
The attraction was purely physical

I took all those habits of yours
That in the beginning were hard to accept
Your fashion sense, beardsly prints
I put down to experience

The big bosomed lady with the dutch accent
Who tried to change my point of view
Her ad lib lines were well rehearsed
But my heart cried out for you

Chorus:

You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul
You’ll be my breath should i grow old
You are my lover, you’re my best friend
You’re in my soul

My love for you is immeasurable
My respect for you immense
You’re ageless, timeless, lace and fineness
You’re beauty and elegance

You’re a rhapsody, a comedy
You’re a symphony and a play
You’re every love song ever written
But honey what do you see in me

(chorus)

You’re an essay in glamour
Please pardon the grammar
But you’re every schoolboy’s dream
You’re celtic, united, but baby i’ve decided
You’re the best team i’ve ever seen

And there have been many affairs
Many times i’ve thought to leave
But i bite my lip and turn around
’cause you’re the warmest thing i’ve ever found

(chorus)

Finally here is perhaps his best known song……..before it had a title!

“Maggie May” – Rod Stewart

 

 To buy the music of Rod Stewart (and The Faces) click HERE

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October 5, 2009 Posted by | Blast from The Past, New News, Old Music, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Nic Jones

nic jones

Nic Jones until recently had never really crossed my radar.

Folk music was and to a degree still is a genre of music that I tend to dip my toe into rather than dive in.

It has so many sub-genre be it geographical or otherwise, however a great deal of the music I do listen to on a regular basis has it’s foundations in the world of “folk” where the songwriter, like the blues, is that great writer “Traditional”.

The music of Nic Jones sits nicely beside my admiration for Davy Graham, John Fahey and Bert Jansch as he is recognised both as folkie and as an inspirational guitar player.

He is perhaps best known for his 1980 album “Penguin Eggs” from which this is taken

“Canadee – I-O” – Nic Jones

penguin eggs

Nic’s guitar style was unique in its day and has often been imitated since. He played with a plastic thumb pick but not his fingernails. Instead he opted to grasp and pluck the strings of the guitar which led to the slapping down onto the fingerboard with no small force. The off-beat, percussive ‘ping’ sound which became his signature on the later albums is produced by a technique known as frailing, used by banjo players. The middle fingertip of the plucking hand is held behind the base of the thumb and then quickly flicked out and back in, striking the D-string with the main part of the nail.

He was also frequent user of open tunings, particularly in C and G.

His early musical interests included acts like Ray Charles and The Shadows. He first learned to play guitar while at school. His interest in folk music was aroused by some old school friends who had formed into a folk band called the Halliard. When the members of the Halliard decided to turn professional, one of them left to pursue a different career and Nic was invited to take his place. Whilst playing with the Halliard, Nic learned how to play the fiddle, and also how to research and arrange traditional material.

The Halliard split up in 1968 as the members decided to pursue individual interests. For Nic, after a period at home with his family, this meant forging a career as a solo artist. At first finding work as a session musician, his solo career eventually took off and he recorded five solo albums, plus contributions to another album with the folk act Bandoggs.

In February 1982, he was involved in a serious car accident while driving home after performing at Glossop Folk Club. He broke a large number of bones and suffered some brain damage and was hospitalised for eight months. Although he survived, he still suffers co-ordination problems and feels he is unable to play the guitar well enough to perform and record. He can no longer play the fiddle at all.

Nic now lives in Devon and continues to play guitar and write songs for his own pleasure. He has also developed a passion for chess. His wife, Julia, set up the record label Mollie Music which has issued three albums of re-mastered live recordings from Nic’s early career.

To buy the music of Nic Jones click HERE

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Folk, Old Music | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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