Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Happy Halloween - 'new' photo of notorious Newcastle upon Tyne butcher 'Jimmy Giblets'

Is this the face of ‘Jimmy Giblets’?

Frank Black
31 October 2017

I almost feel that this should begin in audience-grabbing, click-bait Trinity-Mirror style with the inevitable Five Things You Need To Know about Jimmy Giblets, but we’re better than that, so I’ll tell it straight, definitely no chaser.

Regular readers will be familiar with the story of Jarrow-born Newcastle butcher Andrew ‘Jimmy’ Gibbons – or ‘Jimmy Giblets’ as he came to be known: a popular, mild-mannered, some even say affable, butcher operating in Newcastle’s Grainger Market in the late Victorian period; a nominee for the prestigious Tartes du Monde in Paris in 1882; a recipient of the Royal Stamp of Approval for his services to butchery in 1884; a brutal serial killer who disposed of his victims in the very pies on which he built his reputation.

Andrea Finley, a researcher at Tyne and Wear Archives, made a chilling discovery when compiling a book of photographs of Newcastle in the 1960s. Staring out at her from a black and white photograph of innocently oblivious shoppers looking for a suitable joint for their Sunday roast in the Grainger Market, there was the haunting apparition of ‘Jimmy Giblets’ with arms crossed and smug look etched across his weathered features.

“There’s no doubt about it: it’s him. That’s how people described him in Victorian times. Bloodied, striped apron, slicked back hair and arrogantly posing in front of his store, flexing his muscles to impress the middle class ladies who were waiting to have their pies filled personally. He looks just he does in the existing photos and etchings we have,” said Senior Archivist Trevor Halliwell.

“I was supposed to work late the night Andrea showed me what she found, but the room turned icy cold and I quickly made other plans. This is one photo that won’t make it into the book.”

No-one knows for sure what happened to Gibbons after he made his daring escape en route to Durham Jail following his arrest for murder, though rumours abound that he resurfaced in Whitechapel in 1887 and later stowed away on a steam packet to Morocco where, in a move that inspired Joseph Conrad to write Heart of Darkness, he was adopted by a local warlord, joined the Barbary Coast pirates and was known as Jimmy the Jarra Corsair. The horror, indeed.

In recent years, surviving members of the Gibbons family, who still live in Jarrow, have made claims that he was framed and that the murders were the work of a butcher’s boy from a rival store, a callow youth known only as Kelly.

See also:

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Friday, 27 October 2017

Dead Poets Society #54

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Gee, You're So Beautiful That It's Starting To Rain by Richard Brautigan

Oh, Marcia,
I want your long blonde beauty
to be taught in high school,
so kids will learn that God
lives like music in the skin
and sounds like a sunshine harpsicord.
I want high school report cards
to look like this:

Playing with Gentle Glass Things

Computer Magic

Writing Letters to Those You Love

Finding out about Fish

Marcia's Long Blonde Beauty

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Fats Domino RIP

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Fats Domino, Early Rock ’n’ Roller With a Boogie-Woogie Piano, Is Dead at 89

By Jon Pareles and William Grimes
The New York Times
25 October 2017

Fats Domino, the New Orleans rhythm-and-blues singer whose two-fisted boogie-woogie piano and nonchalant vocals, heard on dozens of hits, made him one of the biggest stars of the early rock ’n’ roll era, died on Tuesday at his home in Harvey, La., across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by the Jefferson Parish coroner’s office.

Mr. Domino had more than three dozen Top 40 pop hits through the 1950s and early ’60s, among them “Blueberry Hill,” “Ain’t It a Shame” (also known as “Ain’t That a Shame,” which is the actual lyric), “I’m Walkin’,”“Blue Monday” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans.” Throughout he displayed both the buoyant spirit of New Orleans, his hometown, and a droll resilience that reached listeners worldwide.

He sold 65 million singles in those years, with 23 gold records, making him second only to Elvis Presley as a commercial force. Presley acknowledged Mr. Domino as a predecessor.

“A lot of people seem to think I started this business,” Presley told Jet magazine in 1957. “But rock ’n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that music like colored people. Let’s face it: I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that.”

Rotund and standing 5 feet 5 inches — he would joke that he was as wide as he was tall — Mr. Domino had a big, infectious grin, a fondness for ornate, jewel-encrusted rings and an easygoing manner in performance; even in plaintive songs his voice had a smile in it. And he was a master of the wordless vocal, making hits out of songs full of “woo-woos” and “la-las.”

Working with the songwriter, producer and arranger David Bartholomew, Mr. Domino and his band carried New Orleans parade rhythms into rock ’n’ roll and put a local stamp on nearly everything they touched, even country tunes like “Jambalaya” or big-band songs like “My Blue Heaven” and “When My Dreamboat Comes Home.”

‘A Good Ear for Catchin’ Notes’

Antoine Dominique Domino Jr. was born on Feb. 26, 1928, the youngest of eight children in a family with Creole roots. He grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where he spent most of his life.

Music filled his life from the age of 10, when his family inherited an old piano. After his brother-in-law Harrison Verrett, a traditional-jazz musician, wrote down the notes on the keys and taught him a few chords, Antoine threw himself at the instrument — so enthusiastically that his parents moved it to the garage.

He was almost entirely self-taught, picking up ideas from boogie-woogie masters like Meade Lux Lewis, Pinetop Smith and Amos Milburn. “Back then I used to play everybody’s records; everybody’s records who made records,” he told the New Orleans music magazine Offbeat in 2004. “I used to hear ’em, listen at ’em five, six, seven, eight times and I could play it just like the record because I had a good ear for catchin’ notes and different things.”

He attended the Louis B. Macarty School but dropped out in the fourth grade to work as an iceman’s helper. “In the houses where people had a piano in their rooms, I’d stop and play,” he told USA Today in 2007. “That’s how I practiced.”

In his teens, he started working at a club called the Hideaway with a band led by the bassist Billy Diamond, who nicknamed him Fats. Mr. Domino soon became the band’s frontman and a local draw.

“Fats was breaking up the place, man,” Mr. Bartholomew told The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2010. “He was singing and playing the piano and carrying on. Everyone was having a good time. When you saw Fats Domino, it was ‘Let’s have a party!’ ”

He added: “My first impression was a lasting impression. He was a great singer. He was a great artist. And whatever he was doing, nobody could beat him.”

In 1947 Mr. Domino married Rosemary Hall, and they had eight children, Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Antonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola and Adonica. His wife died in 2008. A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.

In 1949 Mr. Bartholomew brought Lew Chudd, the owner of Imperial Records in Los Angeles, to the Hideaway. Mr. Chudd signed Mr. Domino on the spot, with a contract, unusual for the time, that paid royalties rather than a one-time purchase of songs.

Immediately, Mr. Domino and Mr. Bartholomew wrote “The Fat Man,” a cleaned-up version of a song about drug addiction called “Junkers Blues,” and recorded it with Mr. Bartholomew’s studio band. By 1951 it had sold a million copies.

Mr. Domino’s trademark triplets, picked up from “It’s Midnight,” a 1949 record by the boogie-woogie pianist and singer Little Willie Littlefield, appeared on his next rhythm-and-blues hit, “Every Night About This Time.” The technique spread like wildfire, becoming a virtual requirement for rock ’n’ roll ballads.

“Fats made it popular,” Mr. Bartholomew told Rick Coleman, the author of “Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock ’n’ Roll” (2006). “Then it was on every record.”

In 1952, on a chance visit to Cosimo Matassa’s recording studio in New Orleans, Mr. Domino was asked to help out on a recording by a nervous teenager named Lloyd Price. Sitting in with Mr. Bartholomew’s band, he came up with the memorable piano part for “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” one of the first rhythm-and-blues records to cross over to a pop audience.

Trading Tracks on the Charts

Through the early 1950s Mr. Domino turned out a stream of hits, taking up what seemed like permanent residence in the upper reaches of the R&B charts. His records began reaching the pop charts as well.

In that racially segregated era, white performers used his hits to build their careers. In 1955, “Ain’t It a Shame” became a No. 1 hit for Pat Boone as “Ain’t That a Shame,” while Domino’s arrangement of a traditional song, “Bo Weevil,” was imitated by Teresa Brewer.

Mr. Domino’s appeal to white teenagers broadened as he embarked on national tours and appeared with mixed-race rock ’n’ roll revues like the Moondog Jubilee of Stars Under the Stars, presented by the disc jockey Alan Freed at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Appearances on national television, on Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan’s shows, put him in millions of living rooms.

He did not flaunt his status as an innovator, or as an architect of a powerful cultural movement.

“Fats, how did this rock ’n’ roll all get started anyway?” an interviewer for a Hearst newsreel asked him in 1957. Mr. Domino answered: “Well, what they call rock ’n’ roll now is rhythm and blues. I’ve been playing it for 15 years in New Orleans.”

At a news conference in Las Vegas in 1969, after resuming his performing career, Elvis Presley interrupted a reporter who had called him “the king.” He pointed to Mr. Domino, who was in the room, and said, “There’s the real king of rock ’n’ roll.”

Mr. Domino had his biggest hit in 1956 with his version of “Blueberry Hill,” a song that had been recorded by Glenn Miller’s big band in 1940. It peaked at No. 2 on the pop charts and sold a reported three million copies.

“I liked that record ’cause I heard it by Louis Armstrong and I said, ‘That number gonna fit me,’ ” he told Offbeat. “We had to beg Lew Chudd for a while. I told him I wasn’t gonna make no more records till they put that record out. I could feel it, that it was a hit, a good record.”

He followed with two more Top Five pop hits: “Blue Monday” and “I’m Walkin’,” which outsold the version recorded by Ricky Nelson.

“I was lucky enough to write songs that carry a good beat and tell a real story that people could feel was their story, too — something that old people or the kids could both enjoy,” Mr. Domino told The Los Angeles Times in 1985.

Mr. Domino performed in 1950s movies like “Shake, Rattle and Rock,” “The Big Beat” (for which he and Mr. Bartholomew wrote the title song) and “The Girl Can’t Help It.” In 1957, he toured for three months with Chuck Berry, Clyde McPhatter, the Moonglows and others.

Well into the early 1960s, Mr. Domino continued to reach both the pop and rhythm-and-blues charts with songs like “Whole Lotta Lovin’,” “I’m Ready,” “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday,” “Be My Guest,” “Walkin’ to New Orleans” and “My Girl Josephine.”

He toured Europe for the first time in 1962 and met the Beatles in Liverpool, before they were famous. His contract with Imperial ended in 1963, and he went on to record for ABC-Paramount, Mercury, Broadmoor, Reprise and other labels.

His last appearance in the pop Top 100 was in 1968, with a version of “Lady Madonna,” the Beatles song that had been inspired by Mr. Domino’s piano-pounding style. In 1982, he had a country hit with “Whiskey Heaven.”

Although he was no longer a pop sensation, Mr. Domino continued to perform worldwide and appeared for 10 months a year in Las Vegas in the mid-1960s. On tour, he would bring his own pots and pans so he could cook.

A New Orleans Fixture

His life on the road ended in the early 1980s, when he decided that he did not want to leave New Orleans, saying it was the only place where he liked the food.

He went on to perform regularly at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and in 1987 Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles joined him for a Cinemax special, “Fats Domino and Friends.” He released a holiday album, “Christmas Is a Special Day,” in 1993.

Reclusive and notoriously resistant to interview requests, Mr. Domino stayed home even when he received a lifetime achievement Grammy Award in 1987. (He did travel to New York when he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 as one of its first members, although he did not take part in the jam session that concluded the ceremony.) In 1999, when he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, he sent his daughter Antoinette to the White House to pick up the prize.

He even refused to leave New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city on Aug. 29, 2005, remaining at his flooded home — he was living in the Lower Ninth Ward then — until he was rescued by helicopter on Sept. 1.

“I wasn’t too nervous” about waiting to be saved, he told The New York Times in 2006. “I had my little wine and a couple of beers with me; I’m all right.”

His rescue was loosely the basis for “Saving Fats,” a tall tale in Sam Shepard’s 2010 short-story collection, “Day Out of Days.”

President George W. Bush visited Mr. Domino’s home in 2006 in recognition of New Orleans’s cultural resilience; that same year, Mr. Domino released “Alive and Kickin,’ ” his first album in more than a decade. The title song began, “All over the country, people want to know / Whatever happened to Fats Domino,” then continued, “I’m alive and kicking and I’m where I wanna be.”

He was often seen around New Orleans, emerging from his pink-roofed mansion driving a pink Cadillac. “I just drink my little beers, do some cookin’, anything I feel like,” he told The Daily Telegraph of London in 2007, describing his retirement.

In 1953, in Down Beat magazine, the Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler made a bold-sounding prediction that turned out to be, in retrospect, quite timid. “Can’t you envision a collector in 1993 discovering a Fats Domino record in a Salvation Army depot and rushing home to put it on the turntable?” he wrote. “We can. It’s good blues, it’s good jazz, and it’s the kind of good that never wears out.”

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Walter Becker: Three Sisters Shakin'

A demo by Becker and Fagen for a song originally meant for 11 Tracks of Whack (1994)

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Last night's set lists at Cameron's Pub, Half Moon Bay, CA

Solo: -
Mellow My Mind
Give Me Strength
Through My Sails
I'm Just A Loser
Coupe De Ville
Are You Ready For The Country
Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Scratch band (2 guitars & drums) : -
Once An Angel
On The Beach
Vampire Blues
Pushed It Over The End
Southern Man

A fun night at the non-authentic UK theme pub. Players were encouraged to put an original song in their set, so I obliged with "a song about the evils of gambling and drink."

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Thursday night's set lists at Old Princeton Landing, Half Moon Bay, CA

Opening set: -
After The Gold Rush
Human Highway

Closing set: -
Long May You Run
Roll Another Number For The Road
Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Opened and closed the 21st Rustie gathering at OPL. Not as crowded as previous years due to the Bridge School shows being cancelled, but still a good turnout. More fun tonight at Camerons Pub.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker: An Unmatched Understanding...

Image result for steely dan
Two Against Nature: The Bromance of Steely Dan

 Libby Cudmore
Vinyl Me Please
1 November 17th 2016

There is no perhaps no friendship in rock & roll more enduring than that of Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Since first meeting at Bard College in 1966, the duo have spent the majority of the last 50 years side by side, first pounding the pavement outside the Brill Building selling songs, then later in the studio or out on tour.

But their partnership defies the modern adages of #SquadGoals or BFFs. "Walter and Donald are one person with two brains," former Steely Dan guitarist Denny Dias told Rolling Stone in 2000. "When you put them together, the result has an edge, but it's also got insight and compassion."

When their counterparts were writing about girls and drugs, Fagen and Becker were writing tunes celebrating the quiet dignity of male friendships (as well as girls, and drugs, and drug dealers and child molesters and pimps and time travel...). Nothing showy, nothing dramatic. No one is going to write gooey slash fan-fiction about them. But you don't spend 50 years alongside someone you don't respect on a deeply artistic level, and one only has to listen to a handful of songs to realize that Becker and Fagen have an unmatched understanding of the unspoken emotional intimacy between men, and it shows up again and again in their music.

In the opening verse of "Midnite Cruiser" (Can't Buy a Thrill) former vocalist David Palmer sings, "So glad that you're here again/for one more time, let your madness run with mine," but Alex Wilkenson described a scene in the studio that brings the lyrics to life: "...Fagen would sit at the piano and play a slow blues, and Becker would pick up his guitar and play along with him, and because they were separated by twenty or thirty feet it would take a moment to realize that they were reenacting a scene from thirty years ago in the common room at Bard."

"King of The World" (Countdown to Ecstasy) is a classified ad seeking a friend for the apocalypse. Not a last lay, not someone to roll for their last supplies, just someone to chill with.

There isn't time for emotional drama or romance when the world is crumbling all around, but there's always time for a cigarette and a drive across the California wasteland. And while 1986 was hardly the end of the world, after a studio session for ex-model Rosie Vela's 1986 album Zazu, the two, who had reconnected by chance in producer Gary Katz's studio, walked home together over 60 blocks in the neon New York night.

"Any Major Dude Will Tell You." (Pretzel Logic) "I've never seen you lookin' so bad my funky one..." When Becker was recovering from drug addiction in Hawaii in the 80s, Fagen said he would go to New York City jazz clubs, get the performers to autograph a napkin "To Walter" and mail them to his partner. The two communicated regularly by phone, but Fagen's quiet gesture was a reminder that he still had his friend's back in a way that words couldn't fulfill. It's the real-life practice of what they wrote in 1974 -- "Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again." When recounting this story to Wilkenson in 2000, Becker acknowledged the gifts with three words: "I didn't die."

While not technically a Steely Dan song, "Snowbound" (Kamakiriad) finds Fagen sharing writing credit with Becker 13 years after the breakup of Steely Dan. Becker produced the album and Fagen credits him with helping break a nearly decade-long writer's block. "Nobody can make a transition from chord to chord like Walter," he said about the recording of Kamakiriad in 1993. The song, follows an unnamed narrator and pal partying on a frozen landscape, references, "Let's stop off at the Metroplex/That little dancer's got some style/Yes she's the one I'll be waiting for/At the stage door," probably not an activity you'd do with your wife in tow. But it ends with the ominous line (reportedly Fagen's favorite from the album) "We sail our icecats on the frozen river/Some loser fires off a flare, amen/For seven seconds it's like Christmas day/And then it's dark again." It would be another seven years before the world got to see Steely Dan back together, so the darkness didn't last long.

"Two Against Nature" (Two Against Nature) isn't about a couple growing old together. It's about Becker and Fagen, fighting side-by-side against the increasingly distorted fracture of time and radio hits. It's a voodoo love song of sorts, a polyrhythmic recognition that sometimes in this world, you're lucky to find one person who understands the language you speak and for the remainder of your time here, it's the two of you against the tide. "It's more fun to work with someone you know," Fagen said. "We crack each other up...we almost talk in code at this point." The album won them four Grammys in 2000, beating out the considerably younger competition and was a frequent number on 2016's "The Dan Who Knew Too Much" tour. Squad Goals indeed.

By contrast, the majority of the women of Steely Dan songs fall into three distinct categories, none of them particularly affectionate. Distant objects of unattainable desire (Josie, Peg, Rikki, Pixaleen) disappointing goddesses (The girls of "Hey Nineteen," "Babylon Sisters," "Lunch With Gina" and, near the end, "Janie Runaway") or unfaithful spouses ("My Rival," "Haitian Divorce," "Everything You Did"). To the protagonist of a Steely Dan song, relationships with women, though beautiful and wanted, are unable to provide the stability such a man craves. At the end of the day--or the end of the world--it's your friend you want by your side.

In concert, they enter from separate sides of the stage, Becker from the left, Fagen from the right. They don't hug, they barely make eye contact. But there are moments, when Fagen gets out the melodica on "Godwhacker" or "Aja" or "Peg" and Becker is playing guitar, that they stand side-by-side in the well-worn space of two comfortable souls. And near the end of the night, Becker, always the more talkative of the two, introduces Fagen as any number of descriptors -- hitmaker, producer, man about town, the one, the only, the original -- but always "my friend."

Monday, 16 October 2017

Bessie Smith - George Melly and Ken Clarke pay tribute

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Ken Clarke's Jazz Greats - Bessie Smith
Born in abject poverty and killed in a car crash aged 43, Bessie Smith forged a new jazz sound. Ken Clarke and George Melly pay tribute. From January 2004.

Available to listen to here for another 27 days - though you have to make a (free) account and sign in...