Saturday, 20 March 2010

Prog rock...


Last evening, BBC4 had a 'soaked in indulgence' programme, with loads of earnest faces and eventually, some down to earth discussions about what the early seventies were all about for music.

With leathery tongues firmly lodged in aging cheeks, most of the young dinosaurs (those who are still with us that is; or maybe not...), put up a pretty good argument for what was really a great time to experiment.

There was a small snippet about the instrument above, which I'd never even heard about, and now I definitely want one! The clip showed Tony Levin from King Crimson really making this Chapman's Stick sound marvellous.

Incidently, they also showed a very old clip of Genesis playing 'I know what I like' live. There's a line in the song which goes: -

"Sunday night, Mr Farmer called,
he said listen son, you're wasting your time,
there's a future for you in the fire escape trade,
come up to town"!


I'm pretty sure this must be a reference to a firm I used to know well, now long gone. S.W Farmer and Sons had a factory and head office in Lewisham, and were well established steel fabricators and erectors. I reckon there are still some of their specially designed fire escapes still clinging to crumbling walls somewhere!

Not a lot of people know that...

And finally, a sad farewell to Lesley Duncan, who died last week. ''Love song'' was on a triple compilation album, The Music Makers', which we bought for £1.50 about then. It really was - and still is a beautiful song, and often wafted around the first ever Turrets on the old Dansette.

25 comments:

rvi said...

Not now inhabiting your once fair land, I did not hear that, but it sounds interesting. Also very interesting on the History Channel locally last week was the entire story of the hippy movement from the early sixties until it petered out some 20odd years later. The prog explained in considerable detail all the background to the events of the period and the leading personalities involved and was accompanied by photos and snippets of lots of the great music of the 60s and 70s including original footage of many of the major music festivals. Brought back some great memories of that time, although I was not part of the movement.

Thud said...

as a veteran of the punk wars the porg reminded me that whilst we won the battle we lost the war...never trust a hippy scrobs!

Electro-Kevin said...

So that's a Chapman's Stick. I thought it was a lip balm.

Electro-Kevin said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hb7DYgcwSo

To prove that the acoustic guitar simply cannot be beaten.

Electro-Kevin said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddn4MGaS3N4&feature=related

To my mind one of the greatest guitarists in the World today.

The Lakelander said...

Whilst it's not exactly fashionable to be a fan of prog rock bands these days, I am unapologetic about my love of music from this era.

How many of today's so-called "stars" will anyone still be listening to in 30 years' time?

Hmmmm....and I'll be 80 then!

Scrobs... said...

I think there was a certain kind of musical arrogance around then Reevers. We were 'supposed' to like the stuff that was churned out, and while much of it was pretty good (to me anything which replicated an organ and an electric guita, with a few serious faces, would be elevated to the front...), there were many performers who were self indulgent, and actually not very good at their job.

I've bored many people here about watching Mike Oldfield performing 'Tubular Bells' live on Mark Chivas' show in the very early seventies, but it really was a marvellous achievement then, and I treasure that one hour or so of BBC2 from all that time ago!

Scrobs... said...

Thudders, I was actually always intimidated by hippydom. I just couldn't keep up with the sex, drugs, roack 'n roll, and general difference.

My old lot was to try and conform; even then, and I still hope I did...

Scrobs... said...

Elecs, you've really opened me up to Tommy Emmanuel!

Such an incredible artist, and thanks for comparing the technique so easily!

Scrobs... said...

Elecs, that Andy McKee's another new name to me!

I must get out more...

BTW, if you Sellotape the lid from a biscuit tin (or similar) loosely over the the sound hole of your accoustic guitar, lean slightly forward so that it has a little freedom,and then play your usual stuff, just listen to the effect!

I promise you, it is so different, and it's yours for free, because I invented it, and I'd like your opinion!

Scrobs... said...

Lakes, I just love the Mellotron years. That Chapman's Stick is news to me, and I'd love to get one!

Years ago, there was a guy named Michael O'Shea, who did something similar with a door - yup, a door, which had all sorts of strings and percussion implements nailed all over it.

He made a lovely sound, and somewhere in the vaults of the Beeb, there is a recording of some of his work, because he was on one of those 9.00am progs together with an author, an explorer, a doctor, a criminal, a politician etc etc...

Scrobs... said...

Lakes, I've just remembered who hosted the show!

It was Russell Harty!

Philipa said...

Great post, Scrobs. love the lesley Duncan track. Have been singing this in the kitchen all weekend.

Scrobs... said...

Hi Pips,

That's quite some kitchen you've got there...

Sealing wax! Marvellous stuff - an' the record's OK too! Thanks!

Elby the Beserk said...

@rvi said...

// Also very interesting on the History Channel locally last week was the entire story of the hippy movement from the early sixties until it petered out some 20odd years later. //

Oh no it didn't. It's not a movement, it's a frame of mind. We are everywhere - you just aren't looking hard enough :-)

mutleythedog said...

I am not sure music matters that much. |I am listening to ACDC right now - and before that the Ting Tings. I lost interest in the whole genres thing in about 1991

Daisy said...

i have just always listened to what i liked regardless of the popularity...harry chapin was a favorite...still is...i could never be a hippy though, i have this thing about body odor and that seemed really popular among the hippies here at least...music yes, lifestyle no...(puts on a wee drop of shalimar to forget...lol)

T. P. Fuller said...

I'll get my coat.

Scrobs... said...

I seem to remember the term 'Hippy' being a laundered synonym for 'Beatnik' Elbers - perhaps I'm wrong...

Peace and love didn't come cheap when you lived in a basement off the Fulham Road...

My favourite song then was 'What's the difference' by Scott McKenzie, and that was about as close I ever got to sniffing the flowers...

Now Flowers ESB; that was a pint well approaching with caution!

Scrobs... said...

Muuers! I lost touch of all the genres, mainly because I couldn't really tell the difference, and after that, I didn't really bother.

Apart from wanting the sound of the Mellotron on every disc that is...

And a few minor chords thrown in for good measure.

And 20 Gold Leaf.

Scrobs... said...

Daisers, how nice to hear from you!

I used to listen to 'Bookends', by lying on the floor, (20 Gold Leaf to hand), with my head exactly between the two speakers on Dad's stereo.

I can still picture the smoke wafting aloft to the beginning chords of 'Save the life of my child'!

rvi said...

Elby: Cool, man! I got the vibes and I sit corrected. Henceforth, in penance (oops, nearly typed penzance there), I will wear flowers in what's left of my hair every Thursday until October.. You may still be "everywhere", but you do keep yourselves fairly well hidden these days. Just for the record, I lived in beautiful old Marrakesh at least 2 years before your lot came and spoilt it (by which time I had thankfully moved on).

Peace...

Scrobs... said...

Reevers, I used to feel some unpleasantness with hippies. The arrogance and bland misunderstanding of reality back in the sixties was a bit of a bore, and although tolerance was the norm, quite honestly, we all got on pretty well without them.

I never had a problem with hippiedom, it was as obscure as dealing with any other foreign intrusion then.

rvi said...

Scrobs: Yes, I too never had a problem with them and I must say I did like (and still do) a lot of the music generated at the time. I came across a few who quite frankly appeared to me as little more than unwashed layabouts, but that may have been a mistaken impression and I had no envy of their lifestyle. The fact was they were all just so different from the rest of us trying to lead a normal life and earn a crust to pay the bills.

One thing which puzzled me at the time - and indeed still does - is where they got their money from to be able to indulge in a life of complete indolence. None of them ever seemed to have a job but they all somehow managed to smoke, eat, drink and dress themselves in those amazing costumes - and the easy riders always seemed to have no trouble finding the readies to fill the tanks of their Harleys before hitting the road again.

As PE says: I think we should be told.

PS: I am a great fan of Mike Oldfield. The difference these days is that you can see brilliant animated vids of instruments playing themselves!!

Scrobs... said...

Reevers, we never did find out where the money came from, and assumed it was the parents - the last people on earth...

Agree about Mike Oldfield, there's a post looming on him soon!

As for those vids on musical instruments, I love them too!