It’s always a pleasure to get a great review in a magazine that you read, namely Shindig. You have to have the attitude that if the press doesn’t review you, then never mind, if they don’t like it, brush it off and if they do like it, it’s a sigh of relief but ultimately it’s what you think about it that really matters. It seems that a review can make the difference simply because there’s so much to choose from out there in music land and one negative comment can lead someone who’s on the fence to Edwyn Collins instead of Richard Strange because Edwyn was hip and Richard wasn’t, whether they were better or worse is purely subjective. The NME famously made and broke people with the stroke of a pen, making musicians quiver at the vitriol or bask in the superlatives. I always found them to be too cruel and read Sounds instead. It didn’t mean I wasn’t aware of the records they liked and the records they hated, I just didn’t need them to tell me how terrible The High or Ocean Colour Scene might be whilst loving The Stone Roses. I have records by all the bands I’ve mentioned and from the lofty vista of 2021 you can ponder a lot about musical history – and fashion.
We took the boxes with the MOAT sleeves to the UPS pick-up point today and they are on their way back to North Carolina, should be there by the end of the week, so we can get them out to you. I’m sorry we couldn’t get them to you sooner but the pandemic and the customs slowed everything down from postage to manufacture to red tape, hopefully, it’s worth the wait. The place where we left the boxes is the same place where I’ve found João, the helpful electronics man who speaks good English, and today he took a look at my dodgy iPod (couldn’t help) but also sold me a couple of 1TB hard drives so I can back up my computer before I change my OS from Mojave to Catalina and another to keep my Logic Pro music ideas. All I have to do is learn the system, wish me luck, remember I don’t drive.
I managed to get out in the street today without my big coat and whilst out there disrobed even more and was running around in T-shirt and waistcoat (that’s vest in American, vest in England is something you wear under your shirt). This week is allegedly the last week of constant rain, it’s already become sporadic and next week it’s going to be between 60/16 – 64/18 degrees. So is the fabled Southern European weather on the way? On the virus, I was looking at the Portuguese stats today and on the 28th January – 16,000 new cases, on the 9th February – 2,500 new cases. Friday this week we will have been in lockdown for four weeks. That’s no schools open, no shops or cafés, some open for takeaway. Just supermarkets, pharmacies, and a couple of electronic stores, the post office, and the bank. I suppose we’ll find out on Friday if the lockdown will continue. Travelling to England is now not possible because of the quarantine rules that have you in a hotel for two weeks at your own expense.
I spoke with Ahad Afridi about the sequencing, he likes it – result. I was supposed to have an interview today with Spill Magazine but it got postponed at the last minute. So I called Anekdoten Nicklas in Sweden to catch up. After that I had a sesh with new sessioneer Jon in Seattle, we had a good talk about how I could help and then it was time for Deep Space 9 – Season 2 over dinner, it’s got to get good eventually, right? After dinner, I had Kvarg.
Music today was Highway by Free, their 4th album and the album that I seem to know the least by them. Their first, Tons Of Sobs, released in 1969 and s/t, released in 1969 as well as later albums, I know well. Highway was released in December 1970 hot on the heels of their previous hit album Fire and Water, the album with All Right Now (UK No.2, US No.4). Fire and Water was released in June of that year and reached No.2 in the UK chart. Unfortunately, Highway only reached No.41 and the single The Stealer failed to chart. In early 1971 they returned to the studio but only managed to record four tracks, out of the blue one of them My Brother Jake, became a hit reaching No.4 on the UK chart, they then broke up. They released Free Live! in September 1971. They reformed and released Free At Last in May 1972 but their days were numbered, although they had another hit from this album with Little Bit Of Love reaching No.13 on the UK chart. They then made Heartbreaker in 1973 with another hit, Wishing Well, reaching No.7. At this point Andy Fraser was gone, replaced by Japanese bassist Tetsu (he also replaced Ronnie Lane in the Faces). John Rabbit Bundrick joined on keyboards. By Heartbreaker Paul Kossoff was falling apart and didn’t play on the whole album. He died on the 19th of March 1976 at the age of 25. Andy Fraser died in 2015 aged 62. Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke are alive and well.
Note: My Brother Jake was released on the double compilation album, The Free Story, in 1973.
Also note: In May 1971, Rogers and Kirke were 21, Kossoff was 20, Fraser was 17.
The Faces did a live version of The Stealer on the BBC that appeared on the box set, Five Guys Walk Into A Bar… released in 2004.