Who killed Elvis Presley?

I think Elvis was killed by Colonel Parker.

The real Elvis was the Sun Elvis – the natural Nashville Hillbilly Cat, the Memphis Flash. He had original style, energy and was innovative. The contrasting clothes, the quiff, the ducktail and sideburns, the way he moved.Those early Sun recordings were superb and life changing.

Then came Parker the killer, the showbiz fairground huckster, the conman who sanitised and castrated Elvis. The signing to RCA, the terrible films, the move to first Rock ‘n’ Roll from Rockabilly – and then to Pop, the cutting of the sideburns, the caricature of himself on stage. the gold lame suits, the backing group singing about hot bananas.

By the time the army got him he was already dead.

The stupid thing is that all the Elvis impersonators choose the wrong Elvis. They’ve made an icon out of the sad pop star and not the radical rockabilly king. I suppose that is because that later slob was easy to copy, but nobody could come near the lean majesty of the real king.

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Loudhailer Electric Company at O’Rileys in Hull

The spirits of Syd Barrett and Grace Slick were seen cavorting through the light show at O’Rileys as Loudhailer Electric Company went through their repertoire of Psychedelic sounds. Geoff’s guitar was heard to make all manner of mesmerising notes.

They go from strength to strength – a tight unit blending poetic lyrics, performance and great, highly original, psychedelic music. They go from mood to mood with mesmerises sounds and storming crescendos. Fabulous.

What Have They Done To the Rain – The Searchers.

I went to see Mike Pender, the lead singer with the Searchers, last night. A nice bit of nostalgia. He was good too!

Back when I were a lad, in 1963, Merseybeat swept the country riding on the tails of the Beatles. I was fourteen and swept up into it. The Searchers were my second favourite Merseybeat group. It was a phase that only really lasted a year before most of the Mersey acts were displaced by the harder, R&B Blues of the Beat groups like the Stones, Yardbirds, Animals, Kinks, Them, Prettythings and Downliners Sect.

But I still have a great deal of affection for the Searchers. They started off as a rockin’ R&B band but a little later developed that jangly guitar sound that was taken up by the Byrds and were doing some Folk covers. They took the Malvina Reynolds song What Have They Done to the Rain into the charts – one of the first meaningful protest songs.

What have they done to the rain? What are we doing to the planet?

It is a song about the effects of nuclear fallout from a nuclear war. Malvina was a great song writer – very feisty!

What have they done to the Rain?

Just a little rain falling all around
The grass lifts its head to the heavenly sound
Just a little rain, just a little rain
What have they done to the rain

Just a little boy standing in the rain
The gentle rain that falls for years
And the grass is gone, the boy disappears
And rain keeps falling like helpless tears
And what have they done to the rain

Just a little breeze out of the sky
The leaves nod their head as the breeze blows by
Just a little breeze with some smoke in its eye
What have they done to the rain

Just a little boy standing in the rain
The gentle rain that falls for years
And the grass is gone, the boy disappears
And rain keeps falling like helpless tears
And what have they done to the rain
What have they done to the rain

Pills and Soap – Elvis Costello

There is so much in this song.

How the media is full of hypocritical reactions to every tragedy – like the Falklands war. The allusion to the Holocaust and the melting down of Jewish bodies to make soap. The way people are driven to hard drugs and suicide. The celebrity Press that distracts us from real issues and feeds us with pictures of the royals. The wealthy establishment that is still raking it in while the rest of us have austerity. The way we are used like beasts of burden.

Elvis is a master of poetic images.

Pills and Soap – Elvis Costello

They talk to the sister the father and the mother
With a microphone in one hand and a checkbook in the other
And the camera noses in on the tears on her face
The tears on her face
The tears on her face
You can put them back together with your paper and paste
But you can’t put them back together
You can’t put them back together

What would you say, what would you do?
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down to pills and soap

Four and twenty crowbars jammy your desire
Out of the frying pan, into the fire
The king is in the counting house, some folk have all the luck
And all we get is pictures of Lord and Lady Muck
They come from lovely people, with their hardline and hypocrisy
There are ashtrays of emotion for the fag ends of the aristocracy

What would you say, What would you do
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down for pills and soap.

Give me the needle
Give me the rope

The sugar-coated pill is getting bitterer still
You think your country needs you, but you know it never will
So pack up yer troubles in a stolen handbag
Don’t dilly dally boys, rally round the flag
Give us our daily bread in individual slices
And something in the daily rag to cancel any crisis

What would you say, what would you do?
Children and animals, two by two
Give me the needle give me the rope
We’re gonna melt them down for pills and soap

Give me the needle
Give me the rope
We are going
To melt them down
For
Pills
And
Soap

Loudhailer Electric Company at Kardomah94!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOU!!!!!

What a great set with so many really strong new songs!! Psychedelic Rock with poetry and verve!! They really nailed it.

What with that light show it was like the 60s all over again!

The songwriting is epic – Morpheus, Dragons and Nigh Herons!! I can’t wait for the second album!

Working as a four piece works well. Lou’s bass lines are divine and Jeff’s guitar is sublime. There was so much fluency to Jeff’s playing. It took me right back to those early days of West Coast Acid Rock with the likes of Country Joe and the Fish and Jefferson Airplane. He was even adding some real bluesy stuff. Superb. Rich is great on egg (and rhythm guitar) and his bass playing was also amazing.  Lou’s vocals are so strong and she’s a great frontwoman! And Rich gets in with a bit of his poetry too! Rich Walker holds it all together with his drumming. The songwriting is right up there with the best! The result is unique, original and superb!!

Roll over Grace Slick, Barry Melton, Robbie Kreiger and Paul Katner – there’s a new wave of Acid!!

Last night they really enjoyed themselves. It was Lou’s birthday and all the family were there to celebrate so they gave them something to make them glow!! A great night!!

Loudhailer Electric Company are poised to break out into a far wider audience!! They are simply too good to stay on the local scene. I can’t wait for my Opher Sofa at the front at Wembley!!

Here’s a few pics to show you what you missed:

Work in Progress – at Kardomah 94

It’s always a pleasure to see Work in Progress deliver their lively set of polished Americana.

Dangerous Dexter on fiddle is great!

The band features strong lead vocals with a beautiful female second vocal – that in my opinion should feature even more. In fact it would be great for her to take a central role on a couple of songs. That would be nice.

The mixture of great mandolin, guitar, fiddle and bass works very well and really suits the music.

I particularly liked the Johhny Cash (Hurt is an amazing song) and Steve Earle though Roll me Like a Wagon Wheel is my favourite.

Tom Robinson Band – “Ain’t Gonna Take It”

I know that if I could play any kind of music I’d be in a Punk Band. It reflects the power and anger necessary in these times.

Tom Robinson came out of the Thatcher years of extreme Right-wing anti-gay and anti-abortion.  Right-wing intolerance and hatred is to the fore once more. There’s a lot to stand up against.

If you value freedom, tolerance and compassion then Tom Robinson’s your man. He took the intensity of Punk and made it into a political weapon. Words have power.

Right now our freedoms are under attack from the Right and religious extremists. They want minorities crushed. They want women supressed, contraception and abortion outlawed and sex education stopped. They want religion stuffed down our kids throats. They want an unfair system that takes from the poor and gives to the rich. They want conformity and violence towards supposed dangers.

As Mark E Smith asked – ‘Who makes the fascists?’

The answer is – the right-wing does.

We have fascists marching on the streets, homophobia, racism, violence, sexism, misogyny and hatred. It is being fuelled by Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and exaggerated fear of terrorism.

We have Islamophobes like Tommy Robinson spreading propaganda. The antidote to Tommy Robinson is Tom Robinson!

We have right-wing sites pouring out misinformation.

But we ain’t gonna take it! Time to unite and fight back. We need to spread the truth.

“Ain’t Gonna Take It”

Prejudice poison
Polluting this land
I’m a middle-class kiddie
But I know where I stand
We got brothers in Brixton
Backs to the wall
Bigots on the backlash
Divided we fall

But we ain’t gonna take it
Ain’t gonna take it
They’re keeping us under
But we ain’t gonna take it no more

Women with children
Have to carry the can
Till they lose them in divorce courts
To some pig of a man
We got Benyon and Whitehouse
Trying to get us stitched
‘Cause abortion and a gay scene
Only meant for the rich

But we ain’t gonna take it
Ain’t gonna take it
They’re keeping us under
But we ain’t gonna take it no more

Sisters and brothers
What have we done
We’re fighting each other
Instead of the Front
Better get it together
Big trouble to come
And the odds are against us
About twenty to one

But we ain’t gonna take it
Ain’t gonna take it
They’re keeping us under
But we ain’t gonna take it no more

Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon – Phil Ochs

How I miss Phil and the biting protest of his tongue. His was a voice that wrangled against the wrongs of his day.

And the speeches of the president
Are the ravings of a clown

If only he had not taken his own life and was still around to comment on the present day political scene. This song is ripe for an update – Here’s to the state of Donald Trump??

In 1965 he wrote this powerful song about the Mississippi and its regime of hate and terror. This was at the time when the KKK were terrorising the black population with the support of the white politicians and police. This was the time where white civil rights protestors were threatened, beaten and murdered and their bodies buried in the swamps (see The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner).

“Here’s To The State Of Mississippi”

Here’s to the state of Mississippi
For underneath her borders, the devil draws no lines
If you drag her muddy river, nameless bodies you will find
Whoa, the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes
The calendar is lyin’ when it reads the present time
Whoa, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the people of Mississippi
Who say the folks up north, they just don’t understand
And they tremble in their shadows at the thunder of the Klan
The sweating of their souls can’t wash the blood from off their hands
They smile and shrug their shoulders at the murder of a man
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the schools of Mississippi
Where they’re teaching all the children that they don’t have to care
All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere
And every single classroom is a factory of despair
There’s nobody learning such a foreign word as fair
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the cops of Mississippi
They’re chewing their tobacco as they lock the prison door
Their bellies bounce inside them when they knock you to the floor
No they don’t like taking prisoners in their private little war
Behind their broken badges there are murderers and more
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And, here’s to the judges of Mississippi
Who wear the robe of honor as they crawl into the court
They’re guarding all the bastions of their phony legal fort
Oh, justice is a stranger when the prisoners report
When the black man stands accused the trial is always short
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the government of Mississippi
In the swamp of their bureaucracy they’re always bogging down
And criminals are posing as the mayors of the towns
And they hope that no one sees the sights and no one hears the sounds
And the speeches of the governor are the ravings of a clown
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the laws of Mississippi
Congressmen will gather in a circus of delay
While the Constitution is drowning in an ocean of decay
Unwed mothers should be sterilized, I’ve even heard them say
Yes, corruption can be classic in the Mississippi way
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the churches of Mississippi
Where the cross, once made of silver, now is caked with rust
And the Sunday morning sermons pander to their lust
The fallen face of Jesus is choking in the dust
Heaven only knows in which God they can trust
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of

 

In the 70s, with the lying and scandal of Watergate Phil updated the song to Here’s to the state of Richard Nixon – an inspired adaptation. Just think how he would have adapted it for Donald Trump!!

Here’s to the state of Richard Nixon
Where underneath his borders
The Devil draws no lines
If you drag his muddy rivers
Nameless bodies you will find
And the fat trees of the forest
Have hid a thousand crimes
And the calendar is lying
When it reads the present time

(Chorus)
Oh here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Richard Nixon: find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the schools of Richard Nixon
Where they’re teaching all the children
That they don’t have to care
All the rudiments of hatred
Are present everywhere
And every single classroom
Is a factory of despair
There’s nobody learning
Such a foreign word as “fair.”

(Chorus)
And here’s to the laws of Richard Nixon
Where the wars are fought in secret
Pearl Harbor every day
He punishes with income tax
That he don’t have to pay
And he’s tapping his own brother
Just to hear what he would say
But corruption can be classic
In the Richard Nixon way

(Chorus)
And here’s to the churches of Richard Nixon (and Billy Graham)
Where the cross once made of silver
Now is caked with rust
And the Sunday morning sermons
Pander to their lust
And the fallen face of Jesus
Is choking in the dust
And Heaven only knows
In which God they can trust

(Chorus)
And here’s to the government of Richard Nixon
In the swamp of their bureaucracy
They’re always bogging down
And criminals are posing
As advisors to the crown
And they hope that no one sees the sights
And no one hears the sounds
And the speeches of the president
Are the ravings of a clown