Featured Book – In Search of Captain Beefheart – The Preface.

Preface

 

Jack White launched into the searing riff that was the intro to ‘Death Letter Blues’. It shot me straight back to 1968 and the thrill of seeing and hearing Son House. Son’s national steel guitar was more ragged than Jack White’s crystal clear electric chords, and nowhere near as loud, but the chords rang true and the energy and passion were exactly the same.

Meg pounded the drums and the crowd surged forward.

It was Bridlington Spa in 2004. White Stripes were the hottest thing on the planet. The place was packed and the atmosphere electric. I was right near the front – the only place to be at any gig – the place where the intensity was magnified.

It was a huge crowd and they were crazy tonight. I could see the young kids piling into the mosh-pit and shoving – excited groups of kids surging like riot cops in a wedge, driving into the crowd and sending them reeling so that people tumbled and spilled. For the first time I started getting concerned. The tightly packed kids were roaring and bouncing up and down so that I found myself propelled first one way and then another as the forces echoed and magnified through the mass of people. At the front the crush was intense and everyone was careering about madly. My feet were off the ground as we were sent hurtling around. I had visions of someone getting crushed, someone falling and getting trampled. Worst of all – it could be me!

For the first time in forty odd years of gigs I bailed out. I ruefully headed for the balcony and a clear view of the performance. I didn’t want a clear view I wanted to be in the thick of the action. It got me wondering – was I getting to old for this lark? My old man had only been a couple of years older than me when he’d died. Perhaps Rock Music was for the young and I should be at home listening to opera or Brahms with an occasional dash of Wagner to add the spice. I had become an old git. Then I thought – FUCK IT!!! Jack White was fucking good! Fuck Brahms – This was Rock ‘n’ Roll. You’re never too old to Rock! And Rock was far from dead!

The search goes on!!

We haven’t got a clue what we’re looking for but we sure as hell know when we’ve found it.

Rock music has not just been the backdrop to my entire adult life; it’s been much more than that. It has permeated my life, informed it and directed its course.

From when I was a young boy I found myself enthralled. I was grabbed by that excitement. I wanted more. I was hunting for the best Rock jag in the world! – The hit that would send the heart into thunder and melt the mind into ecstasy.

I was hunting for Beefheart, Harper, House, Zimmerman and Guthrie plus a host of others even though I hadn’t heard of them yet.

I found them and I’m still discovering them. I’m sixty four and looking for more!

Forget your faith, hope and charity – give me Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll and the greatest of these is Rock ‘n’ Roll!

I was a kid in the Thames Delta, with pet crow called Joey, 2000 pet mice (unnamed), a couple of snakes, a mammoth tusk, a track bike with a fixed wheel, a friend called Mutt who liked blowing up things, a friend called Billy who kept a big flask of pee in the hopes of making ammonia, and a lot of scabs on my knees.

My search for the heart of Rock began in 1959 and I had no idea what I was looking for when I started on this quest. Indeed I did not know I had embarked on a search for anything. I was just excited by a new world that opened up to me; the world of Rock Music. My friend Clive Hansell also had no idea what he was initiating when he introduced me to the sounds he was listening to. Clive was a few years older than me. He liked girls and he liked Popular Music. Yet he seemed to have limited tastes. I can only ever remembering him playing me music by two artists – namely Adam Faith and Buddy Holly. In some ways it was a motley introduction to the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

I was ten years old which would have made Clive about twelve or thirteen, I suppose he could even have been fourteen. That is quite a lot of years at that age. We used to got off to his bedroom, sit on the bed and he’d play me the singles – 45s – on his Dansette player. He’d stack four or five singles on the deck, push the lever up to play and we’d lean forward and watch intently. The turntable would start rotating; the mechanism clunked as the arm raised, there were clicks and clunks as the arm drew back and the first single dropped, then the arm would come across and descend on to the outer rim of the disc. The speaker would hiss and crackle and then the music kicked in. We watched the process intently every time as if it depended on our full attention.

The Adam Faith singles were on Parlaphone and were red with silver writing. Buddy Holly was on Coral with a black label and silver writing. We reverentially watched the discs spinning and listened with great concentration to every aspect of the songs. It was a start.

Yet Rock ‘n’ Roll was by no means the only quest I’d started on. I was an early developer. I’d hit puberty at ten and can remember myself as the scruffy little, dirty-faced kid who climbed trees, waded through ditches, got covered in frogspawn and lichen and was suddenly sprouting pubic hair – very confusing.

Life was going to change for me. I was in a transition phase.

My friend Jeff has a photo of me from this age that seems to sum it up very nicely. I was briefly in the cubs before they chucked me out for being too unruly (they – ‘they’ being the establishment – also chucked me out of the scouts and army cadets!). I went to cubs with my mate Jeff. Jeff lived at the end of the road and I used to go and call for him. It was only about 400yds away. I set off in plenty of time, did my thing on the way and arrived at Jeff’s house. His mum obviously did a double take and went for the camera.

Oblivious to any underlying motive on Jeff mum’s part I innocently posed with Jeff. The resultant picture, which shows the two of us proudly standing to attention doing the two fingered cub salute (very appropriate I always think), showed Jeff immaculate with creases in his shorts, flashes showing on his long socks, cap, woggle and scarf all perfectly aligned, and me not quite so sartorially presented. To start with I am utterly begrimed with green lichen, having shinned up a number of trees; one sock is around my ankle and the other half way down my calf; my scarf and cap askew, and my jumper and shorts a crinkled, crumpled mess. It looked like a set-up but was probably par for the course.

Looking back I can see why Clive liked Buddy and Adam. Buddy Holly was a genius. In his short career of just three years he wrote tens of classics of Rock music with hardly a dud among them. He was highly prolific, innovative and talented. I think of him as the Jimi Hendrix of his day. He was far ahead of Elvis. His mind outstripped all the others. I think Buddy’s death, along with Jimi’s, John Lennon’s, Eddie’s and Jim Morrison’s were the great tragedies. Out of all the early Rockers he was the one with the musical ear, the melody and adaptability to have really progressed when the music scene opened up in the 1960s. The other Rockers all got caught in their own 1950s style or went Poppy. I would have loved to have seen Buddy interacting with the Beatles. My – what we missed out on!

In many ways Adam Faith was Britain’s answer to Buddy. The arrangements of the songs were cheesy covers of Buddy and Adam did his best Buddy warble. Britain hadn’t quite got it right with Rock music. The production and direction from management (Larry Parnes the old-fashioned British Impresario has a lot to answer for as he guided his Rockers into a more ballad driven, family safe, Pop sound that he figured would make him more money) was all a bit twee. Even so, back then, Adam Faith sounded good to me. In Britain in the 1950s we were starved of good Rock ‘n’ Roll. The good old Auntie Beeb, with its plumy DJs did its best to protect us from the dreadful degenerate racket created by the American Rockers.

I wonder where Clive is now; is he still alive? I wonder what happened to him through those heady days of the 1960s. I don’t suppose he even thinks about me much or imagines what he unleashed.

I am a collector. It is a strange addiction that started back then. Clive would sell me his Adam Faith and Buddy Holly singles when he’d got bored with them. I bought them cheap and I still have them all.

The age of ten was a bit of a milestone year for me. I not only discovered Rock ‘n’ Roll but also fell madly in love. Glenys was a dark Welsh temptress of eleven who utterly bewitched me (females are always portrayed as temptresses – but I was certainly tempted!). She too had reached puberty early and the two of us indulged in ‘real lovers kisses’ like they do in the films. For nine months it was heaven. We even talked about having kids and wrote each other love letters.

Glenys was a bit wild and, obviously, led me astray. We planned to get out for a night on the town. We could imagine the delights of Walton-on-Thames at night. For us it was the big city – all full of lights, crowds and excitement. We saved our money and arranged to go to bed fully dressed, slip out when our parents had gone to bed, meet by our tree (a big elderberry tree that we had a camp in) and head off to the bright lights – big city. Even at ten I had a craving for the Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle. We were wild, man! Unfortunately I must have drifted off to sleep and awoke the next morning fully dressed with light streaming through the window. Glenys assured me, huffily, that she’d waited for hours. Then, next night, I got there and she never showed up. Then on the third attempt my dad caught me wandering around and I had to make a lame excuse about needing a drink of water. Glenys and I never actually made it to those illicit bright lights. But that was probably a good thing. It remained a mythical place of bustle and excitement where in reality it was probably all shut up with just a couple of fish and chip shops and a load of drunks.

I was hopelessly in love. I’m not sure about Glenys – she did seem to be cultivating a stream of admirers. But the love affair was doomed. Her family moved and took her with them. I was bereft.

This was made worse by the doldrums that Rock had lapsed into in 1960. Life was crap.

I lapsed back into the solace of my huge collection of pets and wild animals. I taught my crow Joey to talk and fly. I sold my mice, guinea pigs and hamsters to the pet shop and ran a mini stud farm while I tried to allow my broken heart to mend. It was a kind of hibernation.

I emerged to find, at the age of thirteen, that there were loads of other girls all brilliantly enticing and willing to engage. There was also suddenly an explosion of Rock music. I resumed both my quests and the zoo took a distant third place.

I am writing this in my ‘den’. I spend a lot of my life here. I have my shelves of vinyl albums, my drawers of CDs, my cupboards of singles, my piles of magazines, my hundreds of Rock biographies all around me. I’m immersed in it. Yesterday I spent the day organising my CDs. It takes a bit of doing as I have over ten thousand. I use the Andy’s Record shop system; I catalogue them using the first letter of the first name – so Buddy Holly goes under B. I have tried grouping them under genres or eras but that’s fraught with problems. At some time I will endeavour to rearrange my albums. I don’t need to that but I do like holding them, looking at the covers and reading the blurb. It brings back memories and I can imagine the music and the feelings that went with it, the concerts, the friends and the times we lived through. There’s something very tactile about an old vinyl album. It’s a piece of art. When you hold it there’s warmth to it. You connect with the people who held it before you, the feel of the music, the musicians and the era it was made in. The cover tells you a story from the artwork, the photos and liner notes, to the label it was released on. Certain labels mean something special like Folkways, Electra, Stax, Dead Possum or Track. You knew what they stood for.

Collecting is an obsession. It is probably a type of madness, a symptom of autism that is mainly confined to males – but what the hell!

Back in the ‘old days’ there were hundreds of us collectors. We’d meet up clutching our recent purchases, pass them round, discuss them madly, play them, argue over them and roll our joints on the covers. We’d vie with each other to get hold of rarities, obscure bands or artists, bootlegs or rare pressings. We’d develop our loyalties and our allegiances for certain artists (the more unknown the better) and develop our collections. The first thing you did when you met someone new was to get a look at their collection. It told you everything you wanted to know.

Back then records were hard to get hold of. They meant something. You had to hunt them down. Every Saturday you’d be making the rounds of the second hand shop, rifling through the bins of vinyl albums hunting for the bargains and rarities, with the expectant baited excitement of discovering that gem. You’d meet up with your friends, show your purchases off with pride, and discuss your new discoveries and what gigs were coming up. It was a good way to socialise. Nowadays we are few and far between and viewed suspiciously as eccentric dinosaurs, children who have not grown up, or sad decaying hippies. Whatever. We still do it though.

In the age of decluttering, coupled with the wonders of digital (I also have a few terabytes of digital recording – mainly live concerts and bootlegs), where you can download a band’s or label’s entire recorded output onto your I pod in an hour or browse through all the cheap releases on Amazon or EBay and find exactly what you want in minutes – it takes most of the thrill out of it. I have now obtained albums and recordings, in pristine quality, that, in the early days, I would have died for but there is no longer the same thrill in the hunt or the excitement of uncovering a longed-for rarity in the second-hand rack. It’s the same with football – now you can have exactly what you want, when you want it, it does not mean as much.

In 1959 I started my collection of singles. Having become addicted I moved on to albums. My first purchase was the quite incredible ‘Cliff’. I know, Cliff Richard is naff, a sugary sweet, Christian Pop singer. But in 1959 Cliff was a genuine British Rock Singer and produced more great Rock ‘n’ Roll tracks than anybody else. There was more to Cliff than ‘Move it’. He, more than anybody else (apart from ‘The Sound of Fury’ and a little later Johnny Kidd plus a few assorted tracks by other mainly Larry Parnes kids) captured the sound, excitement and rebellion of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His first album, recorded in 1959 live in the studio before a small audience of screaming girls, was a storming, rockin’ affair. Back then Cliff was neither wet nor Pop. He, like Elvis, suffered from bad management, and was directed down the saccharin Pop road to success. What a travesty. He became wet, Pop and MOR. I still love that first album though.

Strangely, given that most collectors are blokes, it is apparently the girls who buy the most singles. They set the trend. And girls tended to like songs to be romantic. They veered away from the loud and raucous. They like the pretty boys. It paid Cliff, Billy and Johnny Burnette to become sweet faced pin-ups rather than wild rockers.

Soon I had a heap of albums including the wonderful Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. I made wooden brackets so that I could put them up on the wall in my tiny bedroom. When someone shut the door too violently they flew off the wall into a heap on the floor to my great dismay and chagrin. I was a junky. I had to get my regular fixes of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I sat in my room playing them over and over. When I got a new record I’d rush back and play it to death while reading all the liner notes until I’d absorbed every note and word and wrung everything I could out of it.

As a kid I loved the loud visceral excitement and rebellion of the music. As I grew older I wanted something that was more musically complex and intellectually stimulating. I still loved the excitement and energy of early Rock ‘n’ Roll and R&B but I craved something more.

I was looking for Captain Beefheart, Roy Harper, Son House, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan but I didn’t know it. It was a search that took me through many absorbing and exciting revelations. There were, of course, the Beatles, Stones, Downliner’s Sect, Pink Floyd, Free, Hendrix, Syd and Cream. There were the Doors, Country Joe, Janis, Jefferson Airplane and Love, Zappa, Jackson C Frank, Leon Rosselson. There were Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed and Slim Harpo. There were the Who, Kinks and Prettythings. There was Bert Jansch, Donovan and John Renbourn, Otis Redding, Aretha and Booker T. There were the Sex Pistols, Clash, Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers, Elvis Costello, and Ian Dury. There was Bob Marley, Michael Smith and Lee Scratch. And now there’s Nick Harper, Eels, White Stripes, Tinariwen and the North Mississippi Allstars. There were a thousand others. I saw most of them live. I met a number of them. I even got to the recording sessions.

It’s been quite a journey.

I am a collector. I have the records to prove it. I also have the collection of memories.

The life we live, the choices we make, the ideals we chose to live by, all make us the people we become.

I have always been an idealist. I wanted to solve all the world’s problems and have a great time doing it.

I also became a teacher.

My music has been the soundtrack to my thoughts, dreams and ideals. It has driven me, provoked my thinking, awoken my sensibilities, fuelled my anger, and filled me with love and pleasure.

I apologise to me wife and kids. It’s not easy living with an obsessive junky, an insane romantic on a mission. Someone will have to clear out my den. My head will take care of itself. Those thoughts, memories and dreams will be gone but hopefully they’ll leave behind a few ripples that will make the odd person think.

Right now I’m off in search of my heroes. There’s still much to discover.

If you would like to purchase a copy in either paperback or digital please follow the links below.

 

In the UK:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Search-Captain-Beefheart-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1502820455/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532076236&sr=1-1&keywords=In+Search+of+Captain+Beefheart

 

In the USA:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Search-Captain-Beefheart-Opher-Goodwin/dp/1502820455/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532076743&sr=8-1&keywords=In+Search+of+Captain+Beefheart

 

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8 thoughts on “Featured Book – In Search of Captain Beefheart – The Preface.

  1. Opher, originally I was just going to make short comment. Then I thought what the heck, tell him how it is. So this is how it is.

    Music Book writer to Music Book writer, Opher, I’d have to ask this.
    Didn’t you write this book some years ago? I’d have thought by now that you’d have found the time to iron out the missing words from the script and the missing letters, such as in too, rather than to, all that kind of thing. It’s not major but at least gives the reader the impression that you hadn’t even bothered to read back to yourself your first draft. People expect, especially your type of audience with this subject matter, that is people who have exacting preferences and collect music and care about music, they require a bit more attention to details. Collecting is all about details in case you haven’t realised. I say that because you make mention that you’ve moved onto digital downloads yet talk of “pristine quality”, when in fact it’s anything but and all you are listening to is 5% of the original musical source spectrum. Us real collectors out here are shaking our heads with a wry smile about that. You really should at all costs avoid such simplistic and false claims because trust me, the rest of us know a lot better than that. Which is why we stuck with vinyl in the first place and spent thousands of pounds on the best equipment to play it on and machines to keep it clean. You completely forgot that you had other people reading this. You cannot ever do that.
    By all means tell us you have collected a load of digital downloads but for goodness sake don’t tell us about “pristine quality” because immediately I’m thinking, “oh dear, he’s still using that shitty old Dansette that he had as a kid, no wonder he thinks that way”. When in fact were you to hear my vinyl playback system, you’d go home and promptly delete all that rubbish from your computer’s memory because it doesn’t sound anything like what it should sound like, you’d then sell the computers and anything else you could get your hands on and go out and buy a fuck-off turntable and really get to work out what a record sounds like. By virtue of your opinion and description you’ve written vinyl off as a not so good format when in fact you could not be further from the truth. It is not the readers fault that you are listening to crackly and scratched, used up and trashed records as acquired from second hand shops and thrift stores bargain bins. You’ve done the format such disservice.

    Collecting is also about possession of accumulated knowledge on subject matter. It most definitely needs to be accurate. Such as within the Introduction it mentions that Don Van Vliet lived in a trailer with his mother Sue. In fact he did not but in a proper house as contemporary photographs will attest.
    It’s also sensible to avoid unnecessary exaggeration such as The White Stripes at Bridlington and it was a huge crowd. I just happen to know that the Bridlington Spa theatre only holds 3800 tops and that by no means is a huge crowd. It is within the four walls of that theatre but not were the gig held at any of the country’s O2’s. Neither does the hottest thing on the planet have it’s contemporary album ranked as low as 370 from Rolling Stone’s listing of the 500 greatest albums of all time in 2004. (It’s ranked considerably less today and no longer a feature of that top 500.)
    Its things like this that deflate another knowledgeable reader.

    It’s also a pity that you didn’t go into any details at all about which particular bootleg records you collected as that really indicates someone who has got his act together.
    Heavy duty bootleg collectors were separated like wheat from chaff. These were the people that had to be tapped for info, not the skinflint skulking out from the 2nd hand shop with ten for a quid scuffed up relics under his arm. These people were off the radar and had nothing to say as they were only picking up the used scraps and were a million miles from any zeitgeist.
    I would immediately suggest that a collection of 10,000 vinyl records accumulated from second hand shops would be a disastrous listening experience. Furthermore, how would anybody get to know the musical contents of that many records back to back properly? The answer is they could not, so what is the point of accumulating that sort of number and from thrift stores at that?
    Neither once did you ever venture into the world of pressing differentials with various issues, such as widely known within collector’s worlds of Beatles, Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd as immediate examples. The imprinted data as found within the dead wax of any of these band’s original pressings is a world all unto itself. This would be most useful information to the novices in this field who would be illiterate to this fact. It’s all very well saying a particular title is great, but mark my words there’s a world of difference between the sound of that record having been pressed in UK by EMI or shipped out for excess pressing in Spain.
    Collecting records was never a numbers game but the knowledge of knowing which records to collect, which pressings, which editions. For example a bona fide Pink Floyd vinyl collector would never want to listen to (he may of course own a copy) a first pressing of A Saucerful of Secrets because the pressing plant made a dog’s dinner of it. He would listen to the corrected second pressing. The list of these differentials is endless and make for a book all by themselves. But my point was that you in your supposed exalted state as some kind of Seer, could at least of touched base on its point of existence.

    Concerning this particular section of the book.
    Who was Leon Rosselson? Are you sure the Prettythings were known at that?
    Things like I pod and EBay, etc., indicates some carelessness and not written by someone on top of his game.
    It’s also a strange situation to see continued reference to Bert Jansch and John Renbourn listed as separate entities and not collectively as members of Pentangle, which is very much where they both made their names back in the day. Hardly anybody knew of their activities before the formation of this ensemble in early 1967. It’s highly unlikely judging by what else caught your fancy at the time that you would have elected to purchase Renbourn’s solo 1968 release titled “Sir John Alot Of Merrie Englandes” by John Renbourn Musyk Thyng And Ye Grene Knyghte. Isn’t it?

    Basically, Opher, all things considered, I could barely have scored this book a 2 out of 5 rating. It’s full of inaccuracies and so forth and only because of reasons of too little research and most of which were wholly unjustifiable and unnecessary.
    I suggest that you start from scratch and rewrite it properly.

    1. Obviously Andrew not a memoir for a geek such as you. Thank you for your response – wrong on many levels as usual.
      No I’m not into the Hi-fi experience. Doesn’t interest me in the least. I like my music loud and as it comes. I’m happy with it blasting out on a car radio. I have a big chat with Nick Harper about this and he has a great ear for music. He agreed with me. But hey – whatever rocks your boat.
      Neither am I into the collector thing. I like collecting as much as anyone and have a vast collection of vinyl, CDs and digital. But I don’t get daft about it. I’m happy listening to a digital as much as vinyl. The digital age opened up access to stuff that had never seen the light of day. Great stuff. But hey – you continue with your one-up-manship. I’m happy having the music. I don’t play that snobby game.
      In terms of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn – I got into them before they formed Pentangle. I bought their first albums when they came out and still think they were the best things that either of them did. I used to see them perform at Les Cousins before Pentangle arrived. Indeed it was at one such show that I first saw Roy Harper. I used to go and see Pentangle rehearse and perform at the Three Horseshoes pub for free.
      Not only did I purchase did I purchase Sir John A lot of Merrie Englandes, Liz loved it, but it was used with Liz’s dance group at that time.
      Of course you were far too young to be involved in any of this or the things I was going to and experiencing. You caught it second-hand later. Shame. You might have had a different attitude if you’d actually have been there.
      Leon Rosselson was the singer/songwriter who wrote brilliant songs such as World Turned Upside Down. The Prettythings were a British R&B Beat group when I got into them.
      This was a book about the feelings and emotions of actually being there and getting into the music. It’s not a dry set of facts for geeks. Not the sort of book for you I would imagine.

      1. Opher, I think you’ve confused over some other person. I’m Ian Russell, he who co-wrote the world famous and huge selling Pink Floyd publication “Pink Floyd: In The Flesh” : the complete performance history, by Glenn Povey and Ian Russell. First published in 1997 by the magnificent company Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. Upon release the book was selling at retail for £20. That’s now £40 in today’s money.
        I also contribute written archive articles to a number of printed periodicals.

        I was trying to offer suggestion for improvement and when I said that you should do a re-write, I really meant it.
        Of course I remember Rosselson, although I wouldn’t write home about him as he made not so much as a ripple, but perhaps explain who he was to your reader?
        You know yourself (or should) that he was a most obscure artist and he shouldn’t be bundled in along with well-knowns.
        The Prettythings were Pretty Things, as you see.
        I don’t agree with this “geek” theory of yours, because it is in fact a “geek” who brags about numbers of, size of collection – which is exactly what you did and repeatitively, too. NB. “too” with two oo’s, unlike your poor editorial control as I previously mentioned.

        Ref this claim about Nick Harper. So what about him? Not ever have I ever heard anything remotely resembling a “Rock” music track from him and probably at best only maybe one track with his old man with an electric guitar overdub, just one track mind. Not a particularly convincing pantheon of the world of “Rock Music” recordings is he? Well certainly not in my book. Had your comment arrived from David Gilmour, then that would be an entirely different story, wouldn’t it? Besides, since when did Nick Harper sit in a studio like Jimmy Page working out 9 layers of overdubs to build a guitar track for just one song? That’s why Page produced fantastic sounding albums best enjoyed on good equipment. Were he of a mind that they’d past muster in a car stereo, or some shitty cheap stereo, then he wouldn’t have bothered as his work would never be heard. Similarly with all the hidden extras that make up the sum of the parts as employed by Pink Floyd throughout all of their recordings. I bet you couldn’t even tell me off the cuff what happen at the end of side one on Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” album.

        That’s one hell of a claim you made (yet another) where you said, quote, “The digital age opened up access to stuff that had never seen the light of day.” Really? So you don’t think there’s any possibility that all these recordings had been available within collector’s circles before? You really could not be more wrong about that. Have you never noticed all these books out there, reams of them with details of every recording known to exist by a considerable number of artists, on which bootlegs they can be found, which labels, numbers of pressings, known pressing plants, even details of who actually made the recordings, people like Rubber Dubber who pretended he was disabled and had his wheel chair all rigged with recording equipment and made all of these Los Angeles and Inglewood area recordings in the 1970’s. All of which goes right back to the very first known Rock Music bootleg, “Great White Wonder” by Bob Dylan, first issued in 1969. Or are you completely unaware about any of this? Seems to be very much the case.

        If you can’t take any constructive criticism Opher, fine. But please don’t fire back on the defense and talking a lot of shite with it.
        If you want a book that reflects “feelings and emotions” ???, at least bother yourself to get the basic facts right. That’s a basic requirement of any author writing about any subject matter that they are basically a “reporter” of. That’s all you are here, a reporter following in the footsteps of thousands of others who have all written about exactly the same thing, but the difference being the better writers don’t make crass errors, they do homework and present a written piece worthy of another’s attention.
        Don’t be such a cheapskate with your time input and attention because you’re asking people to part with money and with that you enter a different world. This is no longer a blog where whatever you say is not worth a toss or matters a jot.

        I can’t even begin to recall the number of works I’ve written and held back on presenting until I was sure they were correct. You quite obviously don’t so that’s why I pulled you up about it. Consider your piece with a big stamp all over it “Could Do Better”.

        You’re actually pretty much a distasteful piece of work, aren’t you. I’d hate to know you. We couldn’t possibly be friends even though we’re the same age. My crew would bury you in five minutes.
        I’d also go so far as to say the complete absence of any other music heads here is indicative of your personality. Also, you can’t even bring yourself to so much as say “hello”? Unbelievable. Enjoy the silence.

  2. I also suggest that you correct yourself with that completely ridiculous story about “Liz”, whomever she may be, dancing with her dance group to Renbourn’s Sir John A Lot album. You may want to refresh your memory and actually listen to it, then ask yourself how on earth any dancing group could possibly use such a recording for such an exercise? You must think I came up the Humber in a banana boat.
    You’re completely mistaken if you think this album has anything to do with traditional English dance. Completely mistaken by a country mile.
    You just make it up as you go along, don’t you?
    It’s really no wonder at all to me now why any self respecting publishing house won’t touch you with a barge pole and you languish on print-on-demand on Amazon.
    Are you like this with them when they ask for a re-draft? I bet you are, hence, the result. Bargain basement end-of-the-line Amazon.
    As Roger Waters would say, “Pathetic. Pathetic”.

    1. Cheers Ian – Another dumb bit of arrogant nastiness. You obviously know nothing about modern dance. Still never mind. One day you’ll get off your high horse and come down to earth. The pathetic stuff is all yours. Stuff it sunshine.

      1. Wasn’t there? Wasn’t I? Aren’t you the guy who writes in all conviction that he thinks Buddy Holly was the Jimi Hendrix of his day? Sorry pal, wrong, that was Chuck Berry by miles. You obviously know nothing at all about guitar playing or how demanding physically it is to place like Chuck. You talk the most awful tosh.
        You ever hear Jimi talking about Buddy, or was it Chuck? Go figure.
        But you’re the guy who liked Adam Faith, like a silly little girl. My silly little girl sister loved him. I didn’t and thought him and Cliff were atrocious. I was into black R&B, real music, not white UK chart pop-fart like you. What a jerk.
        Go get fact fixing and clean up your act and learn to write a convincing script, because right now where I sit, you’re pretty much altogether most unconvincing as anything of a writer about Rock music.
        Best you stick to the poetry. You don’t need to get your hands dirty writing poetry and know anything about anything.

    2. Opher, for crying out loud man, come on what’s with you?
      You must be seriously deluded if you think I’m in any way satisfied with your replies.
      You’ve gone in the huff, haven’t you?
      Well that tells me that I was bang-on correct with my Waters jibe. It was not wasted on you.

      You seem to believe for reasons best known to yourself, that you are the only person with any knowledge about music. Whilst I didn’t reduce myself to slagging your rotten taste off – County Joe? – their records were horrible, it would be a good idea if you could perhaps adjust your ego a bit and realise there are others, too, out there who know just as much and if not considerably more than yourself. Others that have a proven record on account that they wrote very successful music books.
      Others that have extensive knowledge of the works of Jansch and Renbourn, because they knew both of them. Others that knew Bill Leader. Others that were due to interview Renbourn after his gig at Renfrew Ferry, which he didn’t make as he’s collapsed and died at home. Others that know perfectly well that very little indeed of the contents of Renbourn’s album “Sir John A Lot…” isn’t suitable for any kind of “modern dance”. Modern? Do you really believe that to be the case?

      By all means be an enthusiastic fan about the few acts that you focus on. Despite the claims of immediate ownership to thousands of albums of which there’s frankly no evidence of within any of your tales, the spartan coverage within your book is problematic. There’s such a tiny assortment of music genres and there’s almost nothing of any note forward from the last forty years. Were you living in Papa New Guinea or something and missed it all?
      For this very reason alone it would never see a proper publishing. You are seemingly unable to write about anything for anymore than a few stanzas without reference to yourself. Reader’s aren’t interested in you per se. Your ego has run riot and overbaked the pudding. Your level of inaccuracies appertaining to many of the subjects is disappointing to note and should never have occurred had some very basic fact checking practices been made. It’s sloppy and careless. It’s drags itself into an inertia that fails to even hint at reasons why one genre of music was subject to influence by another. There’s an abject lack of any technical information at all. There’s a hundred other faults but you don’t want to know, do you?

      Good luck flogging this C+ grade mediocrity to the few sorry souls who don’t know any better.
      Send a copy over to the good folks at MOJO magazine and see if they grant it a review.
      They might well do if any reviewer’s got time, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t muster more than a one-two star rating.

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