Today’s Music to keep me SSSaaaannnnEEEE in Isolation – Billie Holiday

What a voice. She sends chills through me. Another tragic lady. That version of Strange Fruit is chilling.

Today I’ll immerse myself in Billie.


Today’s Music to keep me SSSSaaaaNNNNeeee in Isolation – Ken Nordine

A friend – Roger Stenning – introduced me to Ken Nordine back in 1967. I was knocked out. His voice was so cool. He called it Word Jazz. There were a couple of albums – Word Jazz and Son of Word Jazz.

In 1968 I got hold of an album called Colours. That was brilliant. My friends and I would have our jazz woodbines and listen to Ken. Delightful.

Today I’m delving back.

Jimi Hendrix at Woburn Abbey

Hendrix played the Woburn Abbey Festival. We had to be there.

We camped in a field which the farmer had, rather maliciously, sprayed with liquid manure. The smell infested our tent forever. It had to be thrown away.

Geno Washington was the act who had the unenviable slot before Hendrix came on, but the tension of anticipation was too great. Everyone wanted Hendrix, poor Geno had no chance. No matter how good he was he wasn’t Jimi. The crowd booed and threw everything they could get their hands on at the stage. They wanted him off. There was electricity in the air. Everyone was baying for Jimi. Eventually, Geno gave up and left. The roadies began setting the stage up.

Everything was ready. The stage was empty but it held such promise that all our attention was focussed on it. There was a pregnant pause that seemed to go on and on as we impatiently waited. Everybody was up on their feet, calling out, clapping, chanting, trying to contain the nuclear energy of expectation. This is what we had all been waiting for.

Then Jimi, Noel and Mitch came out on to the stage. The whole arena erupted and surged forward taking me off my feet.

The band plugged in and began to play. The speakers were crap. The sound was distorted. The speakers were just too small to deal with a big outdoor space; they couldn’t handle the volume. It didn’t matter. We could hear it and we could see them. The bass formed a wall of noise. Hendrix’s guitar soared and whined through it all. The drums pounded and the vocals punched over the top. The sound quality might not have been first-rate but it was good enough!

The crowd surged forward to get even nearer, I was in the crush near the front. We all wanted to watch Jimi as he performed his magic. He was so much larger than life in a big black broad-brimmed hat with a coloured sash around it, a floppy bright flowery psychedelic shirt, green loons with a scarf tied around the leg. He held that guitar like a weapon and unleashed it on us. The excitement was palpable – hysterical. The band were multicoloured giants storming around the stage. Noel stood still, studiously playing, while Mitch pounded away and Jimi stole the attention. You could not take your eyes off him. Hendrix was magnificent. The band blazed. Who cared about the sound quality? This was a wall of excitement the like of which an outside concert had never witnessed. We were bouncing up and down, caught up in the overwhelming group mania, living every note, every growl and wave of the hand.

He stroked, caressed and wrenched at his white Stratocaster, pulling out every trick. He played it between his legs, upside down and behind his head. The sound roared and the fanged beast he had produced and set free, devoured us.

Afterwards, in the press, they said that this was one of the jaded performances. If that was below par then bloody hell. It was the most exciting gig I’ve ever been too. Any more excitement and it would have been heart attack time. He was stupendous.

I only managed to see Jimi perform three times in a small club – I think Klooks Kleek, where he was mind-blowingly brilliant, at Woburn, where he was fabulous, and at his farewell concert at the Albert Hall which was nowhere near as exciting.

I’m glad I was alive to see such jaded dreams. I so wish Jimi was alive to have given us more of that magic. I’ll never experience anything like it.




Today’s Music to keep me SAnnnnne in Isolation – David Gray

For some reason, I took a shine to David Gray! Went to see him live and he was excellent.

So today (in amongst my Peter Green) I shall be playing David Gray!

Who knows what’s waiting in the winds of time! Grab what you can and live!!

When it’s over we will shine!


Today’s Music to keep me sANe in Isolation – Fairport Convention

I still remember the Fairports from the sixties with Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny. They were formidable.

They’ve become a bit of an institution. I’ve caught them a number of times down the years with the great late Dave Swarbrick. They are always good.

Today I will be playing my Fairport Convention. They take me back to those wonderful times.

Hong Kong – Acrobats, Music and Dancers.

While in Hong Kong we attended an evening of music, dance and acrobatics. They were all amazing. Of course, I had to try all the acrobatics but somehow my body would not bend quite the same for the contortionist bits and I seemed to lack the balance or strength to do the other things! I might learn to play those strange Chinese instruments instead.

Poetry – Mystical Music

Mystical Music


Sometimes, when the drum and bass drive

Into a churning beat,

When the guitars weld to become one

In interweaving unity.

Then that’s it!

A synergy of everything

In which the cosmic vibration

Of the entire universe

Is expressed

In every note,

In every rhythm

Every sound –

This is it!

The great unity,

The vibration of the heavens

Over which the poetry

Of infinity

Rises and falls

Through the ceiling of forever.

For all that exists

Is the pulsating moment

That moves the body

Through the ‘it’ of now.

That is it.


Opher 6.6.2020

Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

The first time I heard CSN was on their first album. You could not help but be entranced by the harmonies. Those first few albums set the scene. I particularly liked the double live Four Way Street. Neil Young brought more bite to them.

As always it was the more political material that I was most attracted too but they also produced some mesmeric songs.

So today I will be playing my CSNY loud all day to banish the Blues!!

Teach them to think!!!


Today’s Music to keep me ANGRY in Lockdown – Phil Ochs

Today I’m so angry at the blatant Tory propaganda machine and its strangling of democracy via control of the press and BBC that I wanted something that reflected that.

I wanted something overtly political.

I thought about Gang of Four, then Buffy St Marie. I thought of Billy Bragg but I’ve already had him (as well as Stiff Little Fingers). I’ve had Dylan and Bob Marley and Roy Harper. I’ve had Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.

So today I’m going for Phil Ochs. I need a big slice of his anger and political idealism!!

Here’s to you Phil!! Your music lives on!! Your sentiments are even more important now!!

Where are the new generation of angry poet rebels??

Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Django Reinhardt.

I thought I needed a bit of gipsy jazz to get my blood flowing today! Django and Stephan Grappelli will hit the mark.

Django was such an amazing player. I am always inspired. He overcame the handicap of having such a badly damaged hand and yet to play better than anyone! What an inspiration.

I wish I’d managed to see him!

But today I’ll be in my head in a little café and they’ll get the place rockin’! Three fingers of genius!!