Dear friends, music lovers, aficionados, aesthetes, musicians, talents, record nerds, dancers, readers, film buffs, artists and plumbers – today we fly to America. We have our tickets, August 13th direct to New York and then on to Dallas to hang with, play with and do select shows with Salim Nourallah as well as lots of shows in the hidden corners of America. Oh wait, no that’s not happening, is it? Everything is cancelled and we have until the 31st of January to rebook our tickets but this means we won’t have a chance to do this until autumn 2021. But we will be able to release the new MOAT record, Poison Stream, with a preview track coming soon. Then there’s the Space Summit record and the re-release of Nightjar. Also by next year, we will have completed other projects we are working on which we’ll report on as we finish them. Olivia is in the process of booking European shows for early next year which we will announce as soon as we have a decent amount of confirmations, then we wait and see if the world is still here.
So, for now, let’s just calm down, ride out the conflicts and encourage understanding as we hope for more positive things to happen in the world. I would like to concentrate on MUSIC, my music and music I make with friends and collaborators. I would also like to suggest that in this toxic political climate that it’s not just opinion that divides us but absolute philosophical opposites, therefore we do not achieve anything by exchanging insults, but we do have to fight for what we believe in and do everything we can to stop blatant corruption, racism, homophobia, misogyny and violence. But ultimately we need to leave each other alone, let it go and follow our own path and hope that the masses come down on the side of good sense and a peaceful end. We are so perplexed by the opposite side’s viewpoints but then who can explain Mariah Carey to Rush fans. We need to be peacekeepers, not antagonisers, we need to be rational and fair, we need to treat everyone equally and we need to accept the voice of the majority because democracy is the closest we can get to fairness but fairness must be executed in the vote, otherwise we are Lance Armstrong and how can you not be torn up inside, how can your soul not be blackened by cheating to win. If we lose at least our souls will be intact if not our future.
I was out in the street today buying carrots and French beans, I had the top of the carrots cut but the beans today were already cut. Strangely after the greengrocers, I went to WH Smith’s and bought Uncut. I also bought Quorn fillets and a seed mix to sprinkle on our food with extra pumpkin seeds. I bought a new box of Nag Champa incense and at a charity store found an Ian McEwan book I hadn’t read (A Child In Time), nothing to do with Deep Purple, I don’t think? I’ve read eleven of his books, I like him a bit. I found a couple of cheap second-hand CDs, a Joan Armatrading album from 1995 that I’ve never heard of called What’s Inside and a compilation called Jingle Jangle Mornings, a sixties Folk-Rock Compilation. I got two CDs through the post, Herbie Hancock’s Sextant and Lucinda Williams’ Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone, double CD. I also found a cheap plastic replacement single-cup cafetière, I shop therefore I am.
I ran into friend Matt and his son Arthur who is down visiting mama Eloha from Bristol and chatted whilst 7-year-old Arthur head-butted me in the stomach for ten minutes, haha, nice to see them all. I talked to Rich (promoter) and Steve (soundman) outside the Acorn Theatre continuing our conversation from the other day, it’s so lovely to talk to sane people. Olivia and I went to the post office to pick up a package, Olivia has some exciting new stage garments to dazzle you with. Then we walked down to the sea and looked over the wall near the Jubilee pool with a young seagull as company, the sea was so still and waveless it could have been a lake. I couldn’t stay long as I had to get up to the studio for a session with Brian in New Jersey and later Jeff in Ohio.
Football tonight was Leipzig versus Atletico Madrid (they knocked out Liverpool) but they lost to Leipzig tonight who will face a semi-final against Paris St-Germain. If you can only watch one match, watch tomorrow’s, Bayern Munich versus Barcelona, that should be a cracker.
Thank you for all the positive reaction to what to some out there was obviously a controversial post, that’s 3 out of 500 and a 100 and something comments. Now let’s try and get as excited about listening to music and putting our leisure time into the arts, our creativity, finding that artistic pursuit that feeds our souls and that we can share with everybody.
Music today comes from Dutch Beat group Q65. It was a CD kind of day and their first album Revolution released in 1966 is a classic of the genre known as Nederbeat. It’s like The Animals and The Stones and early Kinks but with equally great songs and style. Although there’s three Willie Dixon songs on the album, including Spoonful and the 14-minute version of Bring It On Home. Otis Redding and Steve Cropper’s Mr Pitiful and Alain Toussaint’s Get Out Of My Life Woman, Bo Diddley’s I’m A Man and Howlin’ Wolf’s No Place To Go with 9 of their own songs. It’s highly recommended if you like the Beat group thang.
The Best of Q65 1966-68 has most of Revolution and its bonus tracks included, but there are 5 tracks that are not on this album (including Bring It On Home) so you need both. The band was formed in The Hague in 1965 by guitarists Joop Roelofs and Frank Nuyens. They recruited Wim Bieler on lead vocals and harmonica and Peter Vink on bass with Jay Baar on drums. Their name comes from two cover songs recorded by The Stones and slightly altered – Bobby Troup’s Route 66 was the opening track on the Stones’ debut album released in 1964. Suzie Q was written by Dale Hawkins, Stan Lewis and Eleanor Broadwater and was the last track on their second album No.2 released in 1965. (In America their second album was 12×5 released in 1964, a mixture of tracks, including the UK released 5×5 EP and others.)
The band broke up in 1968. A posthumous LP Revival was released with some extra tracks. On the Best Of album, two of these tracks are credited to their new name Circus but it didn’t seem to last. They got back together in 1970 and I’m trying to trace these later records, including Afghanistan (1970) and We’re Gonna Make It (1971) where they apparently took a Psychedelic turn. Originals copies of these hard to find albums go for huge amounts of money and even the CDs can be tricky to find. After the first incarnation there’s all kinds of personnel changes but original member Baar died in 1990, Bieler in 2000 and Roelofs in 2018.
I have two albums and one CD by another Dutch group, Supersister, and although they are Dutch (also from The Hague) they are associated with the Canterbury scene because they simply have that sound. They made one album in 1970 that I don’t have called Present From Nancy which I haven’t heard but apparently it had charting singles. It’s hard to imagine when you hear their Progressive second album To The Highest Bidder (1971). The band features Robert Jan Stips on keyboards and lead vocals, Sacha van Geest on flute, Ron van Eck on bass and Marco Vrolijk on drums. Stips also wrote all the songs. If you love early seventies Progressive Rock you will love this.
Their next album Pudding En Gisteren (Pudding and Yesterday, yes it’s really called that) was released in 1971 and follows that same playful, clever path. This was the last album for van Geest and Vrolijk. It’s so reminiscent of Caravan, Kevin Ayers (with a not so deep voice) and Egg. Stips’ keyboard playing once again dominates and the light-hearted openers on Side 1 soon turn into bizarre Progressive meanderings on the 13-minute Judy Goes On Holiday which seems to parody The Beach Boys, those crazy Dutch. Side 2 is one 22-minute track, Pudding En Gisteren – Music For Ballet. Excellent Prog.
Robert Jan Stips is a legend in the Netherlands also playing with Golden Earring and The Nits. I’m a fan of Dutch bands and have quite a collection of Dutch music, not just Focus.
Song Of The Day is Q65’s debut single The Life I Live from 1966.