Today was the day we had to check if the rumours were true and walk to the leisure centre and find out if the swimming pool is truly reopening? The answer was, ‘yes it is’, but there’s a lot of rules. You have to book, you get 50 minutes, you have to be wearing your swimming things under your clothes but you are allowed to take the rest of your clothes off before you jump in the water (could have been a deal-breaker). You have to choose which lane, slow, medium or fast which seems like a recipe for disaster as people try to objectively judge their own speeds in relation to others without actually swimming, plus there’s no overtaking? There’s only going to be lanes, no fun allowed, no stopping to chat if you are so inclined, does that mean you can’t rest? Apart from the heart attack from not resting after the shock to the system, the speed thing could be an issue. If you have a caravan in front of you then you just have to wait till they pull over, should they decide that is the right thing to do as they realise they are holding up the traffic. We’ve all been in situations where a caravan is just gliding along oblivious with the attitude of I’m allowed to be here as much as you are, yes but…oh I give up, it takes all sorts. You are allowed a shower when you get out of the pool but you have to put a red plastic disc in front of the changing room when you are done because the staff have to clean every changing cubicle after it’s been used (same with your locker). So Tuesday is the big day and after 6 months of not being able to get in there, my body is probably going to rebel. The muscles won’t know what hit them.
We came back from the pool and found ourselves watching the new FKA Twigs video as well as a short film and an interview but tonight is not the night to talk about her, she is amazing, that’s all I’ll say. After that, I pulled all sorts of records out of the shelves to prepare for Noel who is coming down on Thursday to donate his best friend’s (Norman Armstrong) record collection to the archive. He was a fan of the ex-band, he sadly died of cancer in 2015 and it seems that this is the best place for that collection to end up, splitting it up seems tragic as every ageing record collector knows, the thought of it being cherry-picked and sold off is a frustrating prospect. Before I die I will be trying very hard to find a way to keep this collection together with minimum fuss for Olivia. In the meantime making space for the eight boxes that Noel is bringing down is the order of the day.
I haven’t made it to the bulging box of emails yet and the bulging box of music I have to listen to from Salim and from sessioneer Tyler. Tomorrow is studio day, working on Ahad’s album but there may just be a little break as Liverpool take on Arsenal in the Community Shield. The FA Cup winners play the Premiership winners at the start of every season. It signals that the new season is imminent and of course this year there was hardly a break before the last season ended. Manchester United star Paul Pogba has tested positive for the virus, Harry Maguire, Man U captain, has found some trouble in Greece with the authorities where he went on holiday for that short break (that’s all he needs, it was supposed to be relaxing). Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona, I saw a figure of 500 million euros, he’s 33! (By the way my dad’s name was Lionel.) No one quite knows when crowds will be let back into the football stadiums (or the venues) and the crowd atmospheres, especially at home, most definitely affects the result.
On the subject of ‘effects’, all the games have had two audio listening choices, you can watch it with the natural sound of the stadium, the sound that the players hear or you can watch it with overdubbed crowd noises. They have two channels on the network showing the game simultaneously so you can choose. This is interesting because that means that somebody has to be mixing the overdubbed sounds so that when a goal is scored or a chance missed there is a rise in cheers or oohs and aahs. So if you are familiar with how you mix a song, you would have say the bass on one track, a guitar on another and so forth. In this case, it means that they have to have oohs and aahs on one track, disappointed whistling on another, mad excitement on another, general singing and ecstasy…well, you get the picture. Somebody must be there mixing it whilst watching the dynamics of the game. This also means that the home team must get to use the sound of their own crowd and in turn, every club has had to get this together. You can’t have a generic football crowd cheering, it has to be your supporters. My question is whose crowd did they use during the Champions League and Europa League games when they were playing on a neutral ground in another country? Answers on a postcard.
Today, I wrote two more lyrics for those who ordered Handwritten & Illustrated Lyrics from us, Olivia is now going to set about doing her magic. I’m sorry it’s taken a while but they are on the way and we will be making a concerted effort to get them out quicker in the future. This reminds me to tell you that the Noctorum Offer The Light CD is still available for just $5 plus postage till the end of the month (that’s till swim day, Tuesday).
Music today was directed by the part of the archive I was trying to organise and that was the World Music section and that meant Demon Fuzz and their album Afreaka, released in 1971 and recently reissued through Music On Vinyl, jumped into my hands and demanded to be played. Lots of organs and bass lines but with singing and brass that has you a little confused. Is it Afro-Rock, Soul, Funk or Progressive Rock and of course it’s all these things, add in some sixties, a bit of Ska, some Reggae and some Jazz there you have it, clear as day. There’s also singing in between all the instrumental bits by Smokey Adams. The band were immigrants from Africa living in London in the late sixties and getting involved in the music scene. Great album, gotta have it.
Paddy Corea – tenor & soprano sax, flute, vibes, congas
Ray Rhoden – piano & organ
Sleepy Jack Joseph – bass
Smokey Adams – vocals
Steven John – Drums
Winston Raphael Joseph – guitar
Clarence Crosdale – trombone
Ayine Folarin – additional congas
Mulatu Astatke is the father of Ethio-Jazz. This instrumental masterpiece with Astatke’s jazzy electric pianos also features Fekade Amde Maskal’s on tenor sax and flute. Mogus Habté also plays tenor sax, with Yohannès Tèkola on trumpet, Andrew Wilson on guitar and wah-wah guitar, Giovanni Rice on bass and Tèmarè Harègu on drums. Can you imagine having a name with three accents? This is another great album recorded between 1969 and 1974.
You don’t expect to hear seventies Trinidadian Jazz Funk with vocals and steel drums. Then again you don’t expect to listen to a band called Batti Mamzelle (not on Spotify by the way). Apparently John Peel was a bit of a fan but they only made one record and it found its way into my record collection because of the crazy name and the crazy cover art.
Not for everyone this one, mind you what is?
Peter Duprey (Bass, Backing Vocals)
Winston Delandro (Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Electric Piano, Spanish Guitar)
Richard Bailey (Drums, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Timbales)
Miguel Baradas (High Tenor & other Pans, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Timbales)
Ralph Richardson (Tenor & other Pans, Backing Vocals)
Russel Valdez (Double Tenor Pans, Backing Vocals)
Frank Ince (Congas, Backing Vocals)
Jimmy Chambers (Lead Vocals)
Last record of the night is Ali Farka Touré’s The River (1990), a mixture of music from Mali with American Blues but as you can see, there’s a mix of instruments, some no doubt you’ve never heard of. Innovative, unique, a special guitar player. Essential.
Ali Farka Touré – vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, njarka (died 2006 aged 66)
Amadou Cisse – calabash, percussion, vocals
Mamaye Kouyate – ngoni
And on selected tracks:
Roy McLeod – harmonica
Seane Keane – fiddle
Kevin Conneff – bodhran
Steve Williamson – tenor sax
Song Of The Day is Ali Farka Touré live @ the Watermans Arts Center 1988: