DJTees Blog

This is where I indulge in my passions - VINYL & ROCK 'n' ROLL

I want them all...

I want them all...

Authored By John Nicholson

I think I’m going to see if I can collect all the records released as a live recording of a festival. In fact, I might already have everything. This occurred to me recently after getting the Mar-Y-Sol double album of that festival (which is excellent, by the way. I’ve got several already, including  Woodstock, obviously. Jimi and Otis Redding at Monterey, The Mamas And Papas at Monterey, the triple release of Texas International Pop Festival and Isle of Wight, The First Great Rock Festivals Of The Seventies - Isle Of Wight / Atlanta Pop Festival.Monsters of Rock 1980, Hendrix’s release...

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What you’re listening for is the riffs...

What you’re listening for is the riffs...

Authored By John Nicholson

Although I talk a lot about old records from 40 or 50 years ago, I love rock of the 80s and 90s. You have to know where the good stuff is, perhaps it isn’t as easy to land upon gold in 1990 as it is in 1973, but it’s there all the same.One of my favourites is Wicked Sensation by Lynch Mob featuring George Lynch released in 1990. It’s what I characterise as a song n shred which is to say, the guitars are wild, with loads of high octane soloing, super-fast playing of scales and pinching of strings, added...

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It’s not commercial but it is fantastic...

It’s not commercial but it is fantastic...

Authored By John Nicholson

I’ve just come in from the music room after listening to a double 10” Grateful Dead live record from1987, Victims of the Fury by Robin Trower and most remarkable of all, ‘ Another Live by Todd Rundgren and Utopia which is a remarkably eclectic live album and, I think one of the great unheralded live recordings. The fist side is sort of progressive rock with just 3 long numbers which shift and twist but are lyrically interesting: ‘Another Life’ and ‘The Seven Rays’, both cosmic thoughts delivered in a rock setting. The third track is ‘The Wheel’ a folky soul song...

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Not many have heard them...

Not many have heard them...

Authored By John Nicholson

If you’re a fan of the progressive rock genre, there’s a chance Illusion passed you by. They only made two albums and rose out of members of Renaissance, who also deserve your attention. Incidentally there is a psychedelic rock band of the same name from America. I had their debut, which got to #69. They supported all sorts of big names.Back to Illusion. They were intended to be a reunion of the original line-up of Renaissance (whose second 1971 album was titled Illusion), but singer and guitarist Keith Relf died before the project was cohesive.When they left Renaissance, after two...

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I’m amazed such an ambient record did so well...

I’m amazed such an ambient record did so well...

Authored By John Nicholson

I love Tubular Bells. I first heard it when I was about 12 and a half and it made perfect sense to me then as now. Which, now that I think about it 51 years later, is quite odd for a pre-teen but there you are. It’s worth recalling how odd it was, and how radical unless you were a fan of Steve Reich or Phillip Glass and used to ambient rhythms.It’s often said that Richard Branson bought The Manor in order to record it in a visionary fit and that it was the first album Virgin had released. This...

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Everything is related to everything else...

Everything is related to everything else...

Authored By John Nicholson

There are so many albums worth your attention in the last 60 years, it’s hard to know where to start when exploring anything that isn’t mainstream, but one of the ways into it all is to pick a musician and get every album they played on.Because you can end up with albums you’d never have listened to. One of the most fun people to do this for is, of course, Jimmy Page or John Paul Jones because they were such prolific session musicians.It’ll give you a tour of 1960s music, taking in the Who, the Kinks and the Stones and...

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Rock was much bigger then...

Rock was much bigger then...

Authored By John Nicholson

Something occurred to me the other day while listening to Planet Rock about the nature of rock itself. Rock is now a genre in itself primarily dedicated to bands playing loud guitars and growling vocals. Airborne are typical. Basically AC/DC with more volume and more ‘too old to live, too young to die’ attitude thrown in, which just seems fake. It’s ‘rock attitude’ - a set of  prescribed thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.It was all so much easier in the 70s when I was a kid. Rock was much bigger and took in everything not pop or soul music. It was...

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Soundtracks - a separate culture and an increasingly exotic and fascinating one...

Soundtracks - a separate culture and an increasingly exotic and fascinating one...

Authored By John Nicholson

I’d like to talk to you today about the culture of soundtracks. It’s an area of collecting that is alien to me but those who do, love it and some records attract high prices. It’s odd really, many records are one theme song and the rest is incidental music, especially until the 80s when they became effectively compilation albums of hits.Why they thought albums of incidental music would be of interest to people, I don’t know, few of the records were hits.. Of course, there’s a long history of original recordings of stage shows being released, but some of these...

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Who played that solo?

Who played that solo?

Authored By John Nicholson

The death of the session musician has long been marked. But once upon a time they were an important part of the warp and weft of rock and roll. The foot soldiers of the music scene, they were often handsomely paid to add sparkle to songs. The Wrecking Crew and the Section were, along with the Muscles Shoals Section, the most famous and were on hundreds of records, often uncredited. The Section released three largely instrumental records which were rather classy and they, Danny Kortchmar, Craig Doerge, Leland Sklarr, Russ Kunkel were the core, were on loads of Asylum Records...

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New & Original...

New & Original...

Authored By John Nicholson

Some of the most interesting music is those albums which appear to have no root in any other music and are therefore totally original. Remember, they can’t sound like anything before them.The first album by The Nice, Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack is one such record. Leading the way for ELP and a load of other bands with a classical influence built into a proggy context. They get forgotten about now, but nothing had sounded like The Nice before The Nice, banned in America for burning the stars n’ stripes, of course.Another original is Music From The Big Pink by The...

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I may be a romantic fool but...

I may be a romantic fool but...

Authored By John Nicholson

It’s funny, posters, advertising gigs, even the basic screen-printed ones which were bog standard, are now sold on eBay as memorabilia. I doubt anyone will do that in 50 years time for today’s shows. Much less today’s posters for gigs actually are works of art in themselves. And it wasn’t just on the West Coast, everywhere had artists who created posters, especially stateside. Back then, everything wasn’t always just functional. It was an opportunity to be creative and express something about the culture. Mind you, even those single colour screen prints for shows at the Newcastle Mayfair look exotic these days...

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What a time to be alive...

What a time to be alive...

Authored By John Nicholson

I was too young to go to any of the festivals during their golden age, though I saw Zep at Knebworth. And the centre of gravity was in the USA anyway. But if I had, I’d certainly have been more into it as a lifestyle. More ‘this is the counterculture revolution’ than just going for the music. I was very prone to believe such talk when I was 18 and 19 before life made me cynical.So I would have been the naked one in the river eating alfalfa sprouts and smoking herbs and then getting high listening to Johnny Winter...

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Actually, maybe that was the best year...

Actually, maybe that was the best year...

Authored By John Nicholson

I was talking about the best year for music the other day. Competing hard is 1972. It's not as prog-stellar as a year later, but it does include one of my personal most influential records; ‘Made In Japan’ by Deep Purple. I am not alone in finding that album changed my young life and in fact, changed my whole outlook. I discovered it three years later and couldn’t stop playing it. It was exciting and it felt grown up.Thick As A Brick from Jethro Tull is another favourite, especially in its abbreviated format on the live album. Harvest by Neil...

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Which is the best year in music?

Which is the best year in music?

Authored By John Nicholson

There are many things written about which is the best year in music. To a degree it’s a bit of a pointless argument, because you can probably pick any year from 1966 to 1976 and make a convincing argument. Obviously, it depends on what your taste is, to a degree.A cursory glance at the American #1 albums reveal how great a year it was. There were chart-toppers from The Moody Blues, Carly Simon, War, Elton John, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Wings, George Harrison, Chicago, Jethro Tull, Rolling Stones and Allman Brothers. I mean how does that...

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Not heavy and God forbid ‘funky’...

Not heavy and God forbid ‘funky’...

Authored By John Nicholson

Do you like an album that was always thought to be the artist's worst? When it happens it creates a strange feeling of dissonance. You’d sit there wondering why people don’t like it and you do. It’s more common than you might think. Some things just connect with you and some don’t. The first time I experienced this was when I eagerly brought home Deep Purple’s ‘Come Taste The Band’, the first with Tommy Bolin. I got it on release because they were my favourite band. I bloody loved it, Bolin’s solo at the end of ‘Comin Home’ gave me...

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