Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-03-11 - 9:32 a.m.
I listened to an earlier mix of Pundafonix which I found on a MD as I dredged through. In fact I also listened to Serious Music all the way through – its pretty clean.
I was interested by the pieces I had weeded out from Plundafonix – and I thought I might go back to some of them. I was in correspondence with Alwyn Marriage about the event a week today – Beyond Belief. This led in the direction of the Plundafonix collection – I was wondering if I could present my contribution as part of that CD or an extension of the material on it and in that way induce a few more sales, The CD has an Easter theme and this is a Lenten event in part.
I went to see Mike South’s band – Highway Dave and the Varmints – at Robin’s Nest 2 in Bilston – the venue where I saw 21CSB and which has the Jeffeson Airplane scheduled for later in the Summer. Albert Lee and Hogan’s Heroes were the main attraction and Mike held his own very well in that company – using his B Bender Tele into a Tweed. A different approach to AL but in no way compromised on the virtuosity front. I was really interested to hear his Varitone – which looks like a Japanese copy of a simple mid 60s Gibson solid. He used it on a Gretsch setting – which sounded not especially Harrison like – although the package overall reminds me a lot of Beatles For Sale even though all the songs are originals. The most interesting song used it as a Ricky12 which I though was very convincing. The song takes the idea of Black Country country music and explores the Black Country’s industrial heritage eg making buckets and pails. It has the kind of affirmation that you get in Born In the USA.
Albert Lee was with Pete Wingfield on keybs and Jerry Hogan on pedal steel . The backline was as good as you would expect them to be in that company. I had last seen AL with Bill Wyman and Gary Booker in Gfd. Its an interesting comparison. Both bands start out by playing good time rockabilly style, AL started his set with an AABA blues based song and by the time the band hit the opening subdominant of the B it was cooking in the way most bands get to about the third number of the 2nd set.
The question is where you take it from there. Bill Wyman goes into the more adult and sophisticated area of the blues – say Nina Simone territory – and so the most powerful music is where they stop being 60 year old teenagers and connect to their adult experience.
AL has to incorporate his virtuosity which is stunning. He was playing a Musicman post-Strat into a sixties Fender with a head and four by twelve. Very loud and very pure – there was hardly any rough edge even when it was cranked well up – all of which serves to clarify his prodigious technique. When it comes to melodic invention over simplish chord structures you have to think Mozart – which may strike some as a stupid comparison but there you are. But the question for me with M is where that gift lets the emotion through eg in the Magic Flute or Cosi van Tutti. I think it is a problem for an artistic who from an early age makes his living as a virtuoso and entertainer. Pete Wingfield for example is very much at the entertainer pole whereas Hogan looks as if he is always seeking the opportunity to let the soulful side of the pedal steel through. It remained an unresolved question for me – but it was a big audience – more than for 21CSB.
I started in Quincy Toupe’s memory of Miles. It starts in the late 70s – on the Upper West Side – and the second time Quincy sees Miles he ignores him on Broadway around 81st as Miles purposefully walks south – Miles having started a conversation with him on the first occasion at a party on Central Park West. Its daft but I get a slight frisson from having stayed nearby these locations (a year ago) and walked the pavements – to book a flight to Detroit – where the put down took place – and maybe bought my juice in the allnight store that Miles might have used. I suppose that’s what being a fan is all about. Plus the fact the previous time I stayed on 52nd
More on the Electrifying Mojo – from the Rough Guide to Techno: he made the traditionally black sounds of P-Funk and the Gap Band popular among whites and gave white groups like the B52s and the J Geils Band unprecedented African American followings. He single handedly broke Prince in Detroit. That’s taste-creation on a global scale for me – warming them up with the B52s to get ready for Prince – building the platform on which most the worthwhile 80s pop was created.