Can you have a sad farewell to recycling bins? It’s certainly goodbye to convenience. Down there by the beach today in the late summer air, the bins were overflowing because they are needed and they don’t empty them often enough. So what’s the thinking in taking them away? There’s some construction going on, sure, but there must be somewhere else in the town that they could be. Whilst I was shedding a tear, another dude was recycling and he told me that the Sainsbury’s (supermarket) recycling has been closed for a while. So what’s going on? Do councils/countries regret the invention of recycling? Are they thinking, ‘what a hassle’? This made me think about the sixties when there was the old-fashioned traditional metal dustbin. Everything went directly into it, there were no bin bags and food, glass, plastic, anything and everything went in there, can you imagine? There was a TV series called The Dustbinmen, who remembers that?
Later when rubbish disposal became more sophisticated the term dustbin men became un-pc and at some point, it became refuse collector or even sanitation engineer. Nowadays there’s all kinds of rules and they won’t take your rubbish unless it is properly prepared. In different countries, I’ve seen Neanderthal attitudes to recycling, especially in California, in homes and restaurants. Everything in the same bin. In a world where the oceans are heading to be populated by more plastic bags than fish, can we not take responsibility for this and attempt to preserve the planet, save nature, the seas and the animals and at least be horrified at what we are doing and consider 1000 years of landfill and its consequences.
It was beautiful by the sea today. Olivia and I walked along the shore where it’s just stones and there we found all kinds of weird and wonderful traces of nature. A stranded jellyfish, seaweed tentacles in the wash of the waves, giant stones worn by the incessant pummelling of the water, a fish head pecked clean by the gulls. There were so many of the young seagulls on the beach today with their speckled feathers and squeaking. Also sandpipers and newborn black-headed gulls that don’t have black heads yet (as the parents don’t) because the black head is the winter plumage – for some reason that only the bird god knows.
Leaving the beach we happened on Neil and Bex (coincidentally Bex was German). They were filling up their 1974 orange VW campervan in the garage. We didn’t know them they were down here from Bristol and we just got talking because of the V dub. They are such beautiful machines with souls. I can’t imagine that a horrible person could own one. They are only for the humble.
Walking up through the alleyways of the cats from the sea to the Archive/Studio there’s lovely lush summery trees and characterful houses, some overgrown with vines and hidden by vegetation. What is it about the houses that are less manicured that makes them more appealing? It’s as if that fresh lick of paint has brushed away the magic. There’s no authenticity in the new, no mystery, no legacy, there’s no story that has to be lived and the result imprinted on the walls, the windows and the doors like the lines on the face of an old wise wizard.
I’m not sure what’s going on with my fingers but today I trapped a finger in the studio door as I was leaving. It was so close to being serious, I just managed to pull it out before it closed completely, it freaked me out. It reminds me of the first few weeks I met Olivia, we were in Dublin and I played a show with Frank Kearns from Cactus World News, as we were talking after the show Frank closed the car door on Olivia’s fingers. The door was actually closed and she was trapped, how nothing was broken I don’t know. Frank was mortified.
Sessions today with Tony and Noel in Sydney and Surrey. Tony told me Melbourne is in curfew after 8PM and Noel told me that 78s (shellac) are made from secretions of an Asian bug. I hear crazy truths every day.
Music today has been the wonderful guitar playing of Derek Trucks and his band starting with his third album Joyful Noise (2002). He was just 23 when he made this album and he has said himself that it helps being the nephew of Butch Trucks, long time drummer in the Allman Brothers who he had joined in 1999. But he was there because of his skilful, emotional slide guitar playing, Duane would be proud. With the death of Butch Trucks and Greg Allman one imagines that the band is over unless tribute tours ensue.
His style seems to be a mixture of Jazz and Blues but he seems to live in some kind of mystical bubble. On this album, he repays the ‘nephew’ concept by having Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, nephew of Pakistani Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, guest and it’s the inclusion of material like this that takes Trucks into another world, his slide guitar fitting in as effortlessly with this as it does with tracks that feature Solomon Burke (considered by some to be the king of R&B/Soul), more in keeping with what you might think Trucks’ style is. But it simply works for both singers and the contrasts between the two might be as unlikely as the next track that features Panamanian Salsa and Latin Jazz star Rubén Blades. Susan Tedeschi, Blues singer and Trucks’ wife also appears on this album. I’m not sure if they were together at this point but the two have played together in the Tedeschi Trucks band for the last 10 years which has seen Derek Trucks band albums take a back seat. The last one was Roadsongs in 2010. Joyful Noise follows no known path, jumping from Fusion to Blues to Soul to World Music in the blink of an eye and it’s all the better for it.
The fourth, Soul Serenade (2003), is actually the third album, made before Joyful Noise but held up in legalities. Jazzy and Bluesy with some Reggae nods to Bob Marley in the opening track and featuring Greg Allman on Drown In My Own Tears. Cuban Mongo Santamaría’s Afro Blue keeps up the connection to Latin Jazz as Trucks determinedly refuses to be seen or pigeon-holed purely as a Blues artist, yet.
Next album was Live At Georgia Theatre (2004) where his guitar playing virtuosity shines. It was followed by perhaps his most famous solo album, Songlines (2006). Although it has the usual high-quality guitar playing it also features Mike Mattison on lead vocal and he is really good but something has started to happen. There’s another Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan song on this album where Trucks’ guitar takes on a voice all of its own, it’s special but there’s not enough of it. The inclusion of Chevrolet credited to Ed Young and Lonnie Young is confusing because it’s the same song as Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness) on Donovan’s Sunshine Superman credited to him. Explanations anyone? If you don’t want those genre tangents this album is altogether more accessible, fitting in with an audience that’s less adventurous, but although I like this record, gimme tangents, always.
Already Free (2009) won a Grammy for best Blues album which is always a worry because it seems to mean mainstream Blues, there’s less probing the new ideas and less messing with the genre’s minds. Tedeschi Trucks won the Grammy for Revelator in 2012. I once went to see a Blues package in Sydney and it suffered the same issues. It was Shuggie Otis who I really like from his albums, Taj Mahal and Robert Cray. Robert Cray was so middle of the road, Taj Mahal wasn’t very Bluesy and Shuggie didn’t seem to have the magic anymore. On a side note, Eric Clapton seems to have made both amazing and terrible records, how come? The fact is if you are going to play the Blues you have to be amazing otherwise it’s just old hat. Already Free is a really good mainstream Blues album if you like that kind of thing. His guitar playing is always special but I wish he would just go on mad tangents with that inimitable style of his but it seems there’s little chance of getting Grammy-winning bands to make experimental Blues, at one point he was almost doing it and that’s what I loved about him.
Song Of The Day is Sahib Teri Bandi / Makki Madni – NFAK (The Derek Trucks Band – live at Crossroads 2007. Derek Trucks talks about it with his guitar:
Derek Trucks talks about it with his words in 2006: