Iain Cameron's Diary
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2004-06-26 - 5:15 p.m.
Paul W mailed in the week about the Macca interview in Uncut – esp the bit where Macca talks about Rev in the Head. I got the mag this morning – he seems to be concerned about statements in there that he feels are factually incorrect – but he seems to keep on dipping in Rev in the Head – as we all do.
The most interesting part of the interview is where he talks about the issues that arise for him as an individual overshadowed by the collective past of the Beatles. How it seems unreal that there once was a time where when he was stuck on a song her could just pass it across to Lennon to sort it out.
The cover CD has a 1965 recording of Sunny Goodge Street by Donovan. Andrew referred to this track a few weeks back. The note in Uncut says that this was one of the first suggestions that Donovan was more than just a Dylan imitator – how true. I vaguely remember that the arranger was John Cameron – because he shares this name with my father (who was an aeronautical engineer.)
I think is SGS is an interesting track – partly because of the reference to Mingus Mellow Fantastic. At the time it was written Mingus would still have been remembered for his visits to pioneer jazz./blues musicians in London such as Alexis Koerner. The tune has that minor descending bassline and is in a tripping 3:4 jazz waltz – features which occur of course on 5LL – bearing in mind that SGS has strings, it is a very early example of the musical grammar that matured on the later album about four or five years later – and stands comparison with Elektra experiments of a similar kind.
Laurence came by with his parents. He has been accepted on the two year record production degree course at the Guildford Academy of Contemporary Music. He wanted to see vynil that I had hung onto and was particularly taken by a 1963 Herbie Hancock album and the heavy vynil Pye Blues Robert Johnson pressed at about the same time.
I said I thought that the box set Asch recordings 1937-47 is pretty interesting. This was compiled by Moses Asch in 1965 in the original Folkways office just off Time Square. Asch started Folkways in 1948. The rosta on this double album includes Leadbelly, Champion Jack Dupree, Josh White, Lonnie Johnson, Brownie MgGhee, Sister Ernestine Washington, Art Tatum, Jazz at the Philharmonic which sounds pretty close to an electric guitar rock solo. The record was sold me in my first year at Selwyn by a rep for Transatlantic who I hear died last week.
In fact you can search the Folkways archive at the Smithsonian and thus I have just discovered that the proto-rock guitarist is in fact Les Paul and the recording may be the inaugural JATP in LA – July 2 1944. I think the reason it sounds like rock is that it is one of the very early solid bodied guitars that Les Paul had built. The concert situation means that the valve amp is cranked up. When I heard him in NYC just off Time Square about four years ago the sound was more “antique”.
I also showed him the Shelagh Macdonald album, strings arranged R Kirby with R Thompson, D Mattacks, P Donaldson, D Thompson, R Warleigh engineered by John Wood. Streuth its worth getting a turntable to hear this stuff. To think she has vanished into thin air.
We also lingered over the cover of Mohawk by the New York Art Quartet which was recorded on July 16 1965 in NYC with Rudy van Gelder and issued in the UK by Fontana with a cracking design by the dutch artist Marte Roling. John Tchicai is on this and I explained to Laurence than he had played with Lennon and Yoko in Cambridge about five years after this recording. Laurence’s band has gigged a lot in Cambridge.
Finally we looked at John Handy Live at the Monterey Festival from 1965 issued in the UK in 1966 on CBS. Handy had played with Mingus who had played Monterey the preceding year. Both tracks are in a screaming 6:8 – Sunny Goodge Street on amphetamine – said to be a driver of early KC.
Anyway here’s the Wheeler poem off the back of the Tumbler – also preserved in vynil.
John is more of clamberer; bumbling into
Stacks of old Weekend Telegraphs and running
round corners into prams. John wins surprise
packets; splashes after Bombay swans and
eats pigeon pie.
Open your eyes: say “Water”
“Water you mean”
Down in Suburbiton, where trains and the
Ladies and February trickle past.
John twiddles and tumbles.
Open your eyes and say “Tumbler”
“Tumbler in cider”
All the time, John is not a blundere; He is standing with a tabby cat.
Open your eyes; say “Jennifer Martyn”
“Whacko for John”
By the way I bought a book on literary theory and two P J Harvey CDs.