42 1 min 10 yrs

Because Friday night is Music Night: and so we lose another great

Alvin Lee, the great blues-rock guitarist and singer for Ten Years After died this week. Even in the age of great rock guitarists, what a player he was –

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  1. “I had missed that he had lived..”

    S’rather unkind Colm.
    Not like you at all…

  2. It’s OK Colm, I had not heard of Mr Lee either. May he rest in peace.
    I’m (slightly) more able to appreciate this genre of music than I used to be, but unfortunately I find the sound quality is rather lossy on this. (Or else my ears are ringing after just spending an hour listening to Ride, as the mood took me this evening).

  3. And who was is who said “When I hear the word culture I reach for my gun” – and no it wasn’t Troll πŸ˜‰

  4. Very true, Pete. I’d try and start a debate about why Mark Gardener’s songs were better than Andy Bell’s, and why Loz Colbert was the ruddy best drummer in history, but most on here wouldn’t know “Nowhere” from “Going Blank Again”. it’s shameful.

  5. Tom Tyler –

    I didn’t understand much of that. I assume you’re referring to dreary student music under dank skies near a northern uni campus somewhere.

    I did understand the bit that was wrong, about someone called Loz Colbert being the best drummer in history.

    That can’t be true, because Ian Paice and Keith Moon were the greatest drummers.

  6. Was that the Erasure singer’s name too? Oh yes, so it was. The Andy Bell I’m on about was one of the two guitarists in Ride. Success seemed to go to his head, and he came to think that he was the musical genius of that band, and he insisted that the credit for songwriting be split specifically between him, and Mark Gardener, on their later albums. Unfortunately, this only served to highlight that Gardener was writing all the gooduns, and the band split in 1996.

  7. Some artists’ music is not well known simply because it is not very good.
    Or else it appeals only to a very few who fancy that they have ‘taste’,

  8. Ha Ha Pete, I’m referring to Ride, a band from Headington in Oxford, whose drummer Laurence Colbert, although I’m willing to admit was not superior to Keith Moon, was certainly almost as tight. Give them a listen! Colbert’s drumming is as good as any drummer can aspire to being.

  9. Tom Tyler –

    I’ve never heard of any of them, or a band called Ride. I’ve heard of Erasure. I’m thinking homosexual electro pop stuff in the 1980s?

  10. “Success seemed to go to his head”

    Tom – seeing as you are about the only person who has heard of him, surely it’s more accurate to say that ‘success’ was all in his head πŸ™‚

  11. Pete

    Surely you must have spent some time in the 80s dancing around to Erasure’s ABBA tribute EP. You can’t get much gayer than that πŸ™‚

  12. Nope, Ride were lumped into what the NME termed the “shoegazing” scene (ie, as you say, dreary student music under dank skies near a northern uni campus). I appreciate that a huge lot of that music was crap, but (as with every genre), the real jewels in the crown will shine out. As you know, I have always had a huge problem appreciating early 1970’s music, simply because “punk rock” was the thing I got into during my teen years, it was seen as a reaction against the overly pretentiousness of many of the early “prog-rock” bands, and because it was the genre that most shaped my outlook while I was 15-17 yrs old, it made sense to me. Still, to this day, I am drawn towards late-70s punk bands, and I have this strange repulsion towards early 70’s music. Not because the music was good or bad, but because pop music is linked to one’s teenage experiences, I suppose.

  13. Tom

    In all your time here on ATW I have always noticed the passionate intensity and knowledge you have and feel about music and it’s impact on your life. I like music but in a much more superficial way than you and I could never talk about it with the gravitas and intrinsic fierce spirit that you do. I guess I am the musical equivalent of the bloke who says “I know nuffink about Art but I know wot I like”

  14. However, Ride got into the Top 10 singles chart a few times, around 1992-93. They were never pushy or chart-oriented (in fact, their music could have been the 1990s equivalent to early Genesis, I often think). They just quietly penned some good 90’s rock music, and they’re worth a listen.

  15. Colm –

    I’ll see if Phantom has a copy of that.

    Tom Tyler –

    I agree. I have two older brothers. One was into his early 70s rock and metal, the other was into ska and punk, so I grew up with both from when I was 8 or 9. They’re what I stuck with too, so all that 80s pop stuff passed me by really.

    Being the worst guitarist in the worst pub band that was ever bottled off stage, I can appreciate a Johnny Marr. He can really play, but with a Morrisey droning on in front of him to a pack of students it’s not really appealing to me. Apart from “What Difference Does It Make?” That was good.

  16. Thanks, Colm. You’re right, I am rather obsessesive re music, I suppose!
    I’m currently working on recording my “album” – I know that as an ordinary-looking 45 year old, I have no chance of becoming a “pop sensation” or that kind of thing, but it’s my secret ambition just to quietly release a CD of my songs, and even if just 500 people like it and buy it, so be it. It’ll happen, some day!

  17. I quite liked the Smiths, and I could listen happily to a lot of ska but didn’t really follow Ska acts, but early seventies prog rock was the direst music ever.

  18. Tom

    What do you mean you’ve no chance of becoming a pop sensation. If Susan Boyle can do it, there’s hope for you πŸ˜‰

  19. Good luck with that, Tom. In my younger days it was my mission to get to a point where I could record and release that would have some chance of getting somewhere. Never happened! Still, I enjoy listening back to various demos… some more than others though!

  20. I liked The Specials/Madness/Selecter, all that Two-Tone ska revival stiff in 1979, although I had no appreciation of the original music that those bands were trying to revive! All the same, it was an exciting moment in pop history!

  21. …But Joy Division…oh man, they were something else entirely. Shocked me to the very core. No other band, past or present, comes anywhere close to them. That was something outside the box. Made me realise just what music could be. That’s never faded, nor has any band come within a million miles of them, they were that unique.

  22. Tom

    Does the tragic personal story behind the demise of the band add to their mystique and power or is that part of their story irrelevent to the feeling you have for their music ?

  23. Tom’s our in-house musical savant.

    I had know idea who Pete was talking about until I hit play, then I got it. Has anyone else noticed Mr. Moore plays a lot of stoner tunes? πŸ˜‰

  24. Oh Daphne, I’m sure nothing stronger than a fine Panama cigar, or maybe even a crafty big fat commie Cuban one passes the lips of fine upstanding law abiding British suject Mr Moore πŸ˜‰

  25. Daphne –

    Stoner? On the contrary! If you hit play again you’ll hear these opening lyrics:

    Everywhere is freaks and hairies
    Dykes and fairies, tell me where is sanity
    Tax the rich, feed the poor
    Till there are no rich no more

    Clearly we have conservative stuff going on here. Followed by libertarian sentiments …

    I’d love to change the world
    But I don’t know what to do
    So I’ll leave it up to you

    All in all I think we have a paleoconservative anthem there.

    But hey, lyrics aren’t such a big thing with me (though lyrics fans will be knocked out next Friday, oh yes). Stoner or conservative, as long as the riff is there then I dig it, man.

  26. Pete

    Are you saying you can’t be a Conservative and like a spliff at the same time ?

  27. Pete, sorry but everyone who listened to that band was getting bent at the time.

    Not openly, Colm. They’re all closeted.

  28. That;s an intereting question, Colm, and I’ll try and answer it as fully as I can:

    I was only 12 when Ian Curtis took his life, and at that time I had never heard of Joy Div. Their single “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was released in June 1980, but due to a video technicans’ strike at Top Of The Pops, the video was not shown on TOTP when it was out. I merely heard the record once or twice on the radio. I vaguely recall liking the song, but no more than that.

    Jump to March 1981: New Order’s first single “Ceremony” (written by JD) reached No. 33, and I heard it on the Top 40 countdown on Radio 1. I was intrigued. Later that year, New Order’s second single “Procession” made it to No.38 on the charts. It sounded serious, enigmatic, not your usual “pop song”. Again, I was intrigued – who was this strange band, writing these strange, “serious”, “artistic” tunes? In April 1982, New Order’s third single “Temptation” reached No. 29 on the charts, and I went and bought it. The band’s keyboard player, Gillian Gilbert, did an interview for “Smash Hits”, and therein, I learned that New Order was the same band that had written “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. Moreover, I learned that the band were not at all interested in being “pop stars” or “celebrities”, but that they merely saw themselves as ordinary musicians. This fact utterly turned me on to them, and I began to seek out their earlier “Joy Division” records in my local record shop, around 1982-3-4.
    I bought “Atmosphere”, then “Love Will Tear”, and then their albums “Still”, “Closer”, and “Unknown Pleasures”. These albums revolutionised both my understanding of what rock music could be, and also had a profound personal effect upon me: Here at last was a singer with no “rock-star pretension”, not merely uplifting his ego, but singing in a very personal manner. I had found what pop music could really be all about. Then, to my horror, I learned that, the direction that Ian Curtis’ lyrics had seemed to be about – he had actually took that to its final conclusion, he had committed suicide on 18 May 1980. I was horrified at this. And yet, listening to JD’s music, and IC’s lyrics, I should not have been surprised. He clearly sung about the state his mind was in, on the album “Closer”.

  29. Colm –

    Proud to say that a box of fat, genuine Cuban* Romeo y Julietas resides in the south wing as we speak, and that one of them will be sparked up tomorrow afternoon.

    That, along with two fingers of single malt, while I clean the shotgun and watch the rugby on the TV? It’s fair to say I’m at the apex of civilisation, here in Essex.

    * To be clear: if I’m violating a fed law by trading with Cubans, and if a fat, doughnut-munching NSA parasite is reading this because of the mention of Cuban contraband, the feds can go screw themselves. That feels better.

  30. A British citizen can smoke ten Cubans a day in England without it being any concern of the US govt. If you’re comfortable with propping up the Castro Brothers’ Gulag, then by all means go ahead!


  31. Tom

    It’s a joy to read your musical postings. Like most of the common people “Love will tear us apart” is the only Joy Division song I am familiar with – the greater commercial success of New Order is of course much more familar to me, but I have always been transfixed by footage of Ian Curtis whenever I see it. Why would someone so clearly intensely involved in his musical life want to put himself in a position where he could no longer experience music at all.

  32. Yes Pete, no doubt watching the Rugby courtesy of good old Auntie Beeb, your viewing free for you at the expense of others, just like good old Socialist scroungers everywhere πŸ˜‰

  33. Thank you, Colm. Like you, I cannot imagine why Mr Curtis could have wanted to end it all.
    Yet I remember, when I was in the 6th Form at school (around 1986), people saying to me, “Joy Division – pfaaahh! They won’t be remembered 10 years from now”. And yet their influence simply grows and grows, unabated, unaffected by the passing of time.

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