Back when I was in school (late 80s), we had a small group of friends
who would all head down to fat george’s record shop on Bridge Street in
Berwick on a Saturday morning to order records… any old records… the
more obscure the better.
In those pre-internet times, the source of all knowledge about what was
available was the Music Maker Publications big red book of records, which
listed just about everything that was on general release.
I bought some great stuff through that, and some total bollocks. Great
stuff, like Steve Berry – ‘Trio’, John Zorn – ‘Spillane’, the best of Weather
Report etc. etc… and some rubbish like ‘Electric Storm in Hell’ by White
One record that we all really wanted to get but could never find was
‘Ladies Don’t Have Willies’ by a band called 64 Spoons. It seemed like the
most preposterous title for a single – add to that the daft band name, and
we had to know what it sounded like. But sadly, week after week, George
couldn’t find it, it was out of print… whatever, it never turned up.
Fast forward 15 years, and in the last two tours I’ve done, with the
Schizoid Band and Level 42, I’ve been touring with two ex-members of
said Spoons! Jakko Jakszyk (guitar/vox with Schizoids) and Lyndon
Conner (keys/vox with L42) were both in 64 Spoons!
Enter not-at-all-evil Dann, delving deep into his extensive CD collection
to provide an early 90s compilation of Spoonerisms from the late
70s/early 80s… and bizarrely enough, it’s pretty good. Very good in
places. Very silly and self conscious in other places, but sort of Squeeze
meets Cat-Food era Crimson, meets Joe Jackson with a touch of
Blockheads-funk… The kind of thing, that were it more widely known,
would now be forcing people onto the dance floor at schooldisco.com
Still haven’t heard Ladies Don’t Have Willies though…
After that, the next CD I listened to couldn’t be more different Juldeh
Camara is a West African singer/composer and player of the one string
fiddle! I first heard his stuff on Charlie Gillett’s show on BBC London, but
then met up with Duncan Noble – a bassist who has assembled a touring
project with Juldeh, playing in the UK early next year.
It’s amazing how Juldeh manages to keep your attention… even mesmerise
you with just fiddle and voice. And judging by the range of material on the
CDR that Duncan gave me, he’s more than happy to recontextualise his
playing and writing into whatever setting is around, from acoustic blues
to funk/soul stuff… I really hope that their tour doesn’t clash with my dates
in California next year, as I’d love to see this live…
Finally got stuck into the last chapter of Derek Bailey’s ‘Improvisation –
its nature and practice in music’ book last night. It’s an amazing book, but
I do have a habit of dropping books somewhere in or around the last
chapter… seems to be a theme running through my life (do half the
washing up, write half a song, tidy half my office, etc. etc…)
Anyway, the last chapter is all about the Musicians Improvisors Collective
(MIC – I think that’s what it stands for…), and is very interesting indeed.
The whole book is very highly recommended for anyone interested in
improv and its relationship to music making as a whole…
Busy day today – meeting Jam-comedy-writer this afternoon, and going
to see Moby play tonight… well, going to meet up with Greta Brinkman,
who happens to be playing with Moby. Evil Harv’s coming as well, so that’ll
be my dose of eville for the week sorted then…
before that, need to tidy up here, as my mum arrives for a short stay
later on. Always nice to see my mum, cos she’s great!