Tag Archive: blyth power


vinyls1There have been a few things happening lately that have caused me to reflect on old records and the songs of my formative days. I guess one of the advantages of getting to such a veritable age is that there is more to look back on, more memories to juggle and probably a bigger record collection to jog that memory. And as you get older the more sensory stimuli for joggin’ the noggin,’ the better.

A few weeks before the lockdown came into effect I had decided to weed through my vinyl collection and see if any of it was of any value and pop it onto Discogs and e-bay and perhaps make a bit of extra cash on the side. I’m glad I did as my main income is from writing promotional material for the music scene…so that sort of went south quickly…and picking up a few quid here and there whilst I scrabble around for alternative scribbling work has made all the difference between buying the sort of cheddar which could be used as pungent, industrial building material and the sort of comestible which at a push might be okay for temporary grouting.

And so sorting through these records, many of which I have carried with me from house to house for almost 40 years, has been a wonderful experience. There are some bands which I know I will never part with, The Waterboys, Blyth Power, Thin Lizzy, Sisters of Mercy, music which has been around me for so long it has sort of become part of my DNA. And some I forgot you even had, The Boys Next Door, who later coalesced into The Birthday Party who in turn became Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, and I even found a few long forgotten Lilac Time albums which I have been playing incessantly.

And since the lockdown, in an effort to keep each others spirits up, there has been a rash of music sharing, top 10s and influential artist type posts, and, under the orders of David Rose, serial gig go-er, blogger, unashamed dad dancer and all round good egg, I have dived into that too with my first two influential albums being Ghost of Cain by New Model Army and Alnwick and Tyne by (“the mighty”) Blyth Power.

And I guess all of this proves one important thing. Music isn’t really about what other people think about your tastes, it’s about what works for you. I can be the most elitist person going when it comes to judging others music tastes but then just because I favour listening to The Alarm’s anthemic, windswept wail and unnecessarily big hair (which you can sometimes hear on record due to it being so tall it was picking up Radio Wales) whilst you prefer Nicki Minaj singing about …well, god knows what…doesn’t mean I should judge you unfairly. I mean, I will because I am an imperfect being and totally set in my ways, but the point is I shouldn’t.

As L. P. Hartley famously said in The Go-Between …oh, another cool band reference…The past is a foreign country…but my own particular past is littered by some great music and no-one can take that music nor the memories of people, places, gigs and parties that goes along with it, away.

Live and Local

SWINDON105_5Logo-300x186This week we have John Day in interview about Swindon Photographic Society. Music from Three Minute Tease, We Ghosts, Pignose, Mr Love & Justice, Blythe Power, The King in Mirrors, The Blowbacks, Nudy Bronque, Emi McDade and Antonio Lulic.

 

listen here

My connection with Wob goes back to the heady days when folk music (albeit in a punked up fashion) was entering a bit of a renaissance period. A band of soap dodgers from Brighton were doing great things under the pseudonym of The Levellers and the fall out from that getting some recognition for a slightly older and less commercially viable band called Blyth Power. Blyth Power sang about the Industrial Revolution, railways and cricket and I loved them. With the arrival of an amazing album called Alnwick and Tyne, for many people they had set a benchmark that sadly they would fall increasingly short of as the years went on.  A band of constant line up changes meant that guitarist Jamie Hince (yes, the one that went on to fame with Scarfo and The Kills) was leaving and the replacement was a young guy called Wob.

Wob went on to a solo career as a singer songwriter, travelling the world and releasing a string of well received albums and it had been years since I had seen him, the logical thing to do was to get him up to Swindon, The Vic to be precise to play their midweek shennanighins that goes by the name of Wacky Wednesday. And what a great show it was.

The guy is a one-man festival of infectious energy, silly stories and great songs, he knows how to work a crowd and even instigated a crowd wander giving a ukulele rendition of The Charleston.

The strangest part of the night was a conversation I had with a punter at the bar, which went something like this.

Punter: This sort of music is everything I hate!

Me: Why?

Punter: It’s that constant clang clang clang sound he makes.

Me: Err…that’s what an acoustic guitar sounds like.

Punter: Well, I was lucky enough to grow up listening to some great music.

Me: Such as?

Punter: Slayer, Metallica, Pantera… that sort of thing.

Me: I’m sorry to hear that… there is more out there than just old school heavy metal you know?

Punter: But it’s all shit!

Me: I think you might be at the wrong show.

etc. etc. etc.

The weird thing was the guy stuck around all night and kept coming back to me to tell me how much better music was in his day and telling me that they should get some heavy metal put on at this venue. Even if I wanted to change the music take place in front of us with the  wave of a magic wand, would I turn the wonderful Wob into some Spinal Tap-esque rock leviathan. Err…no!

What this guy was actually telling me was that he owns about 20 albums that he bought about twenty years ago and has never had the foresight or intelligence to go looking for interesting new music. The only music worth listening to is already in his record collection, but how did it get there, because as a younger man he had a more enquiring mind (well not that enquiring looking at the list of bands he reeled off, but you know what I mean) and actually listen to the music of the time as it was being made. Why stop!

People are strange.

Blyth Power – Alnwick and Tyne featuring Wob (acoustic gtr and no shirt) and Jamie Hince (electric gtr and hair)