Buried Christmas treasure

christmas small
I recently received an early Christmas present in the shape of a pen drive loaded with the entire Buried Treasure back catalogue, and as Tom Petty’s radio programme is currently in its eighth season and there are 24-5 programmes per season with 20 or so tracks per programme you better believe that’s a fair old amount of music. I’m currently listening my way through Season Two and I came across this Christmas show which I thought you people might like. He does play two of his own recordings, which isn’t usual, but those of you who don’t like TP&TH can always skip those.

Happy Christmas!

1 Theme Song
2 I Feel OK – Detroit Junior
3 Merry Christmas, Baby – Otis Redding
4 Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
5 Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas – Staples Singers
6 Silver Bells – Booker T and the MGs
7 White Christmas – Otis Redding
8 Tom’s Mailbag
9 Christmas Comes But Once A Year – Albert King
10 Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Elvis Presley
11 Merry Christmas – Lightnin’ Hopkins
12 Santa Claus Baby – The Voices
13 Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ – Sir Mack Rice
14 The Christmas Song – King Curtis
15 Run, Run Rudolph – Chuck Berry
16 Red Rooster – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
17 Back Door Santa – Clarence Carter
18 Happy New Year – Lightnin’ Hopkins
19 Christmas Song – The Chipmunks
20 Feels Like Christmas – Al Greene
21 Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/
Auld Lang Syne – Jimi Hendrix
22 Jingle Bells – Booker T and the MGs

Happy birthday, TP!

American Gothic

It’s Tom Petty’s birthday today – he’s 63 – and I thought you’d like to see this painting of him and Dylan in American Gothic mode. I don’t know who it’s by; it just popped up on the Facebook Tom Petty Friends page the other day. Here’s a clip of Tom’n’Bob in 1987.

And talking of the Tom Petty Friends, I’m pleased to say that the birthday video they’ve made this year includes me! So once TP wakes up and looks at Twitter he’ll be able to see me, his devoted fan, wishing him a happy birthday. (Well, perhaps.)

Also, this Lego version of the band appeared on blockaholic.com the other day…

Lego TP&TH

Where do you get Lego guitars, I’d like to know? Anyway – have a happy TP birthday, everybody!

Love is a long road

The Beacon Theatre, New York City

The Beacon Theatre, New York City, photo by Andy Tennille

When I heard that the tickets for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 5-night run at the 2,800-seater Beacon Theatre in Manhattan were to be allocated by lottery, I thought I might as well have a go. It proved to be an expensive decision. To win didn’t mean you got a free ticket – what you won was an opportunity to buy a ticket. Well, I won twice and I’m not going to tell you how much the whole thing cost – because, to be honest, I don’t know and I don’t want to know.

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I heart Peter Doig

1990-91 White Canoe

1990-91 White Canoe

I saw a mention of a forthcoming Peter Doig exhibition in the Grauniad last year, and now finally it’s been announced – August 3 to November 3 at the Scottish National Gallery. I’m a huge fan and will certainly be visiting Edinburgh to see the show, so I’m wondering whether any RRers will be going too, and whether we can get a Social organised. Indicate your interest in the comments!


Take a ride on my train – ‘Spill Challenge

Union Pacific

Everybody likes a train song, right? Catch ten of these…and there’s one you’re going to have to miss.

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Fancy an outing to the Half Moon in Putney?

Half Moon ad

I’ve already got my ticket for this – it was only £13! – and I was thinking it would be really great if some of you others could come too! It’s a Thursday, so not very good for a social, but we could have a drink beforehand at least.

Darrell Scott is an American singer-songwriter in the Americana mould – you may know him from tfd afasarae You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive. Danny Thompson is a bass player best known (to me) for his work with Richard Thompson (no relation) and the Pentangle; but he’s played with loads of other people as well, and he plays in many styles. Darrell and Danny made a live album a while ago, and here are a couple of tracks to show you the sort of thing.

02 It’s The Whiskey that Eases the P

06 You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive

So, on the assumption that the noise they’ll make will be similar to that…here’s where you can book!



The science bit - here's where your parathyroid glands sit

Look – parathyroid glands

Friends, do you feel tired all the time, and is your body stiff and achy? Do parts of you sometimes get numb? Are you lethargic? Do you get lots of headaches, and have trouble sleeping? Do you find yourself forgetting things, and is it hard to concentrate? Have you noticed that life doesn’t seem such fun any more, and that you don’t look forward to doing things you usually enjoy? Do you feel anxious, or even paranoid, a lot of the time? Do the people closest to you say you’ve got a lot more grumpy and irritable lately? Have you started suffering from indigestion, when you never used to? Do you sometimes find it difficult to talk, because your tongue won’t form the syllables properly? Has your gag reflex got more sensitive? Have you got a persistent cough? Does your voice get so hoarse that you can’t sing the Tom Petty songs you’ve rehearsed with your band in San Antonio TX? (Oh, perhaps that’s just me.) Is your hair getting thinner on top? (Sorry, chaps – that one’s only for women.)

Then go along and ask your GP to test your calcium levels.

Here’s the science bit. We all have four parathyroid glands – they sit on the thyroid gland in our necks, and their job is to regulate the amount of calcium in our bodies through the production of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Normally they’re each the size of a grain of rice – but occasionally one will become tumorous, and go rogue. Far too much PTH is then produced, so that the other three glands shut down, and your calcium levels go haywire. Your body starts to leach calcium from your bones, in order to remedy what it thinks is a calcium deficiency. Not everyone who gets this has ALL the symptoms above; what they all do have is osteoporosis, but they won’t know they have, until they fall over and break something important. Even if they’re lucky and don’t fall over, they’re at risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and kidney disease. The condition just wears your body down. It shortens your life.

What’s it called? Hyperparathyroidism
What’s the treatment? Surgical removal of the affected gland.
Is it a serious operation? Nope. Takes about 15 minutes and you can go home the same day.
Does it work? Yes, and you start feeling better almost straight away. The dormant glands wake up and start working properly.

I had the operation yesterday, and though I have a headache and my throat is very swollen, I already feel much better. In fact I have No Reason To Cry. And I’m eating lots of ice cream.

Back when I was 58

Back when I was two, in 1951

To celebrate my fifth anniversary on RR (November 9 2007 RRSA Illness) I thought I’d do a playlist of some songs/artists I’ve discovered since I’ve been listening…starting with a long life and a short life.

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Album review: The Misers A Weight Off The Mind (Is Still A Load On The Shoulders)

Misers live in stately homes – yes, that would be right

They’ve kept people waiting a bit for the second album…the Misers’ first, Amplified Life Stories, as choice a slice of Americana pie as ever came out of the West Midlands, was released in 2009 but now, with A Weight Off The Mind (Is Still A Load On The Shoulders), they’re broadening out a bit, steppin’ out and strutting their stuff. A strong American rock and alt.country influence is still detectable however (the Who-like introduction to Old Town notwithstanding) and in fact the opening, title track seems to be inviting the participation of Emmylou Harris. But it’s to songwriter and frontman Neil Ivison’s great credit that he hasn’t thought it necessary to affect an American accent for these songs. His singing, alway strong, is at its most effective in the slower numbers – he gives an impressive vocal performance on Back In Your Arms and really stretches himself out for the album closer Second Time. And the band now have a ready-made anthem in My Life Story complete with rock star guitar solo. Which will come in handy, no doubt, in the bigger venues they should be playing before too long.

One reason for the late appearance of the second album is that this four-piece band lost two of its members and gained two replacements in the interim – and also radically changed their approach to recording, from warts-and-all analogue to the kind you do with computers. It seems to have worked though. With new band members Paul Connup (guitar) and Sid Griffin (bass) alongside – or more probably in front of – original drummer Shane Dixon, their sound is crisp, the arrangements are often subtle; and I especially like the complementary acoustic guitar and cello on The Shrine and the mariachi-mandolin style of I Got A Woman – it’s here that the aforementioned Ms Harris gets a proper reference, along with Gram and Johnny’n’June. (And is there a more subtle homage to Gillian Welch’s I Dream A Highway at this point?)

If there is a fault with the album, it’s perhaps the aspect of ‘being all things to all people’ and the lack of a unified style. But that’s hardly a criticism of a band that’s currently refining its approaches and exploiting its crossover appeal. I’ll come clean and say I was an instant fan of the first album and found this one harder to get into; which is probably a sign that it’ll stay with me for longer.

So, Misers, what direction for a third album, if we may look so far ahead? Here’s a thought: Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers all had their breakthrough third albums produced by Jimmy Iovine. Wonder whether Jimmy’s busy these days?

Here are the Misers in rehearsal, September 2012

And here’s a taste of the new album – Fine Line and Back In Your Arms. Release date is November 5. Hmm, we’ve got fireworks here in MK already.

The older you get, the quicker they come

It’s Tom Petty’s 62nd birthday – and this time the Guardian gets it right (thanks to me)

For TP’s birthday this year I thought I’d do one of amylee’s lists of 11, and these are eleven of his lesser-known songs, some from his solo albums and some with the Heartbreakers. And guess what, I love all of them – they’re all in my top 50. And I don’t think I’ve posted any of them before. But if you want to play the dump-one-keep-one game, feel free – I won’t be cross.

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Be careful

Yesterday evening something weird happened. Whispering Bob (Bob Harris of Old Grey Whistle Test fame) was posting songs on Twitter, and I was watching them come up – not listening, I was listening to something else – when what should appear but My Beloved by Diana Jones. Which is one of my favourite songs, and it was on my list for the ‘Spill eleven songs game, so I clicked on the ‘view photo’ link and what then appeared was…not a picture of Diana Jones, but the photo of my grandson Jimmy which I’d put at the top of the ‘Spill post.

I was a bit unnerved. I emailed Blimpy, since he’s the expert in all things ‘Spill, but he’s puzzled too. We can’t think why, even if Whispering Bob had taken the track from the ‘Spill, the photo would’ve come with it. So the message is: be careful what you post on the ‘Spill, because it might go out to all Whispering Bob’s 25,000 followers.

Not all of them will have clicked on Jimmy’s picture though.

A guest Guru and her T shirt

Personalised! Click to read

Well, the first thing to say is, to all you once and future guest gurus, that you can have your own special Guest Guru T shirt from Shane, and he’ll do them any colour and size you want (so long as they’re on his list) so as to make you feel super special! Which of course you are anyway, and especially me, because mine is the first one ever.

I’ll just say a little bit about the process I used as guru for Songs For Your Teenage Self. When Adam emailed me with the topic I was a bit worried, because I thought it was going to be huge, and I wondered whether I’d be able to cope. Well, it was huge, but not quite in the way I’d expected, and I found it quite easy to cope with the number of songs recommended.

From the very first I knew I was going to have to set some criteria, and the first one was to give good justis…which many of you responded splendidly to, and not because I’d said so, I’m sure! That’s part of what made it such a brilliant week – the other part being the music itself of course.

I started listening to the recommendations straight away, and pretty soon I realised I was going to have to make lists so as not to leave anything out. (I also found, to my surprise, that the Spotify list and the box were no use, because the songs in there were in a different order and I would keep finding myself listening to things I’d already heard.) So I had a list called A, a list called Maybe, and a list called No; and I listened straight through the blog in chronological order. Not everyone posted links – especially not during the TFF of course – but I found that didn’t matter because nearly everything was on YouTube. There was one track I couldn’t find at all and I had to send to Japan for it, but other than that they were all online. I would set the song going and then pull up the lyrics so that I could make quite sure the song was on topic.

Now, I’m aware there’s been some concern about me not listening to every track all the way through, and I’m sorry about that, but really and truly if I could tell that the song wasn’t on topic after I’d read through the lyrics, I would stop listening and move on. On the Friday evening I noticed there were songs coming through that were about giving advice and I decided that wasn’t really what was wanted (and in any case, we’ve already had songs about advice); and neither were songs that were about looking back to one’s own teenage years, so I posted a comment about that. DarceysDad, that’s why your Outfit didn’t get considered, even though I love it to bits as you knew I would!

Finally a word about personal taste. There have been criticisms of gurus in the past (especially JonD) that they only choose songs they already like, the corollary of this being that “Xxxx will never get listed because Xxxx doesn’t like them.” I have said that myself, though possibly not in public. I hope you are surprised by my A list – it certainly surprised me. I had never heard of dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip, nor of Patrick Stump; and though I did know about Withered Hand I never supposed I would find myself loving his music. You just never know till you really listen.

(I hope you also noticed that I picked the Byrds’ version of My Back Pages over Dylan. If anyone had really wanted to float my boat, though, they’d have recommended the version from Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert, as you’ll understand when they get to the second verse. EC alert, by the way.)

So there you go. Thanks for a great week, and I’ve put in for another turn because I enjoyed it so much.

‘Spill Game week 7 – he got dimples in his jaw

Picture of Jimmy removed for reasons explained in later post ‘Be careful’. Sorry!

So these are all songs that, when they come up on the shuffle when I’m driving, cause me to take a deep breath and go “ahhhh…” with satisfaction.

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Vote NOW for your favourite steenbeck cake – and eat it at the West Country Social!

1 Banana, lime and coconut bread

2 Strawberry tart with white chocolate and hazelnut crust

3 Crazy-paved gooey chocolate brownies

I thought it would be a good idea to have one of steenbeck’s cakes from Out Of The Ordinary at the Social (baked by me), and DarceysDad has provided a list of three favourites for you to vote for. Please only vote if you intend to attend the Social; and don’t vote if you’re coming but don’t intend to eat cake.

steenbeck’s blog has a keyword search function, so you can look up the recipes if you need more info before voting.

Tired, wet, muddy, crushed, pounded, ecstatic

tfd hits the Isle of Wight Festival. It hits back

I first realised something was wrong as I joined the (very long) bus queue in the pouring rain after getting off the hovercraft in Ryde. A rumour ran along the queue that it was taking the buses 6 hours to get to the festival site – a distance of 6 miles. That can’t be true, we thought. But it was, though our driver shaved off an hour by taking a detour via Newport. What had happened was that the first cars into the festival car park had immediately stuck fast in the mud; no more could get in, and the route soon got blocked with traffic for its whole length. We also heard that there were two car ferries circling in the Solent – the police were preventing them from landing.

Five hours later, then, the bus reached the site and I thought my troubles were over. It was dark by then of course, and still raining; and in front of me there appeared a vision of hell – a hill of mud, lit by strings of lights reflected on its shiny surface, up which a host of dark figures with tents and bags were slowly toiling. There was no way of telling how much further it would be once you got to the top. It was a lot further, and I dared not let my suitcase fall. For the first time, but not the last, I regretted my foolishness in not stopping to buy wellies on the way.

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Waiting for Monday

I’m in this photo – those are my blue sleeves on the barrier

Talking of waiting…I’ve just realised that it’s now a week since I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Cork…and I won’t see them again till Monday! Gee whiz, the waiting is the hardest part. So to cheer myself up I’ve made a playlist of the songs they did in Ireland. The setlists weren’t very different (and believe me, I have complained). So I’m sitting here listening to this, and it occurred to me that perhaps some of you might like to listen too. These aren’t the actual performances, mind, but they’re all live recordings (except one) of the songs I heard last week.

So just imagine, if you will, that it’s a week ago in the Marquee in Cork, TP&TH have just come on stage, I am standing beneath TP’s mic stand and my favourite band are playing just for me.

1 Listen To Her Heart
2 You Wreck Me
3 I Won’t Back Down
4 Here Comes My Girl
5 Handle With Care
6 Good Enough
7 Oh Well
8 I’m A Man
9 Something Big
10 King’s Highway
11 Free Fallin’
12 It’s Good To Be King
13 Something Good Coming
14 Learning To Fly
15 Yer So Bad
16 I Should Have Known It
17 Refugee
18 Runnin’ Down A Dream
19 Mary Jane’s Last Dance
20 American Girl

And while I’m at it I thought I’d post this week’s Buried Treasure Show, which is specially good (apart from the Dave Clark Five, of whom TP is strangely fond). It’s no. 154. I won’t bother with the playlist, because you can find it on TP’s website – as he will tell you.

The English Market, Cork

There was no water, but the fountain was still very pretty

Last Friday, after I’d checked into my hotel in Cork, I went for a bit of a wander round the town until it was time to start looking for the venue for the gig, and I discovered the English Market. (That’s ‘discovered’ in the sense of Columbus discovering America, of course, since lots of people already knew it was there.) It’s a covered market that somehow winds its way behind the ordinary shops – there are at least 3 entrances that I found and there may well be a few more. And it’s a place of many gustatory delights.

Bread stall in the English Market

I didn’t buy anything that first day, even though there was a man on one of the stalls frying potatoes, which looked lovely, and a sign behind him saying Potatoes and Sausage 4 Euros. But I had had such a huge breakfast in the Dublin hotel that morning that I really wasn’t hungry. I knew I was only going to get a ‘mini breakfast’ at the Cork hotel the next day so I decided to come back to the market after that – there would be time for a second breakfast before I caught the bus to the airport. Instead I went in search of the venue, which doesn’t have much of an internet presence (for instance, there’s no map showing it), and was surprised when I found it that there was no queue there yet, although it was 3 o’clock by then; so I started one, and was subsequently interviewed by the local radio station and achieved my aim of being leant on the barrier immediately below TP’s mic when the gig started. But I’m not talking about the gig here, of course. This is about the market.

The next morning I found that the hotel’s definition of a mini breakfast wasn’t the same as mine and I was once again not hungry when I turned up mid-morning at the English Market again. I had hoped that my appetite would’ve returned, but it hadn’t, so the potato and sausage man had no business from me. I bought some white chocolate buttons from the chocolate man, though, and sat down in the cafe with a coffee till it was bus time…Incidentally the coffee I had in Ireland was (nearly all) wonderful, even the kind provided by Aer Lingus.

Though there were stalls with all sorts of food in the market, the majority were of interest to carnivores only, especially fans of chicken and fish. (They didn’t even have that much fish in Kirkcudbright!)

Tripe and burgers

Several of the stalls had tripe. On this one there were also ready-battered burgers. I was not sorry to have to leave both those things behind. I walked along to St Patrick’s Quay and sat down at the bus stop, only to find I’d left the chocolate buttons in the cafe. Well, they’re bad for you anyway. And at the airport they had Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

At the bus stop

So, tfd, were you disappointed?

TP shows off the fancy embroidery on his weskit

Well, folks, I was…with Regina Spektor. I thought the first song she did, with no accompaniment except her own tapping on the mic, was really excellent. And I also liked the second song with her band. But after that I just felt everything was far too samey. Perhaps I should’ve taken more time beforehand to become familiar with her stuff…but she’s not on the European leg of the tour so I’m going to forget about her for now and investigate Jonathan Wilson (who?) the new opening act.

So anyway. We were in the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX, which is a basketball arena. I’d been thinking that the venue would be quite small, because a basketball court is small, but this proved not to be the case. It was vast (and sold out). They must like their basketball a whole lot in Austin. Matt and I had whiled away the time before the show started having very expensive drinks in the VIP lounge and we had enjoyed ourselves so much talking to fellow TP&TH fans that we had neglected to go and look at the merchandise…but never mind, I’ll have 6 more opportunities to buy stuff and I now know which T shirt Matt would like for his birthday.

Where was I? Oh yes. Imagine that we’re no longer in the VIP lounge but in our third-row seats watching the techies set up for the band. There was an enclosure with gear in it on the floor on our side of the stage and we saw some celebrity kiddiwinks having a tea party there, and after that Benmont Tench came and wandered round a bit, and so did Ron Blair, and so did someone who might have been Mrs TP, only I wasn’t quite sure. And then the lights went down, and everybody stood up and started to make a noise, and then it looked like this:

TP&TH get going

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tfd fears allayed

TP x 5

A video about the lighting design for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ current tour was posted on their website the other day and I got a bit worried, because there didn’t seem to be any video screens and I’m going to be quite far back for at least one of the concerts I’m going to.

But it seems I needn’t have worried!

Safety Last!

No, it's not the bit with the clock. It's before that.

I’m a huge Harold Lloyd fan, and so are my children, so I was really pleased when SpottedRichard told me about a showing of the film, with live musical accompaniment, in Oxford last week. I collected both my daughters and one son-in-law, and we met SR at the cinema where a fine time was had by all!

And don’t tell Naomi, but I’ve bought her the complete films of HL on DVD for her birthday…hoping I’ll be able to borrow them when the novelty’s worn off.

You can watch the whole of Safety Last! on YouTube:

So who’s YOUR favourite silent film comedian?

Two Sparrows

I haven’t even finished listening to the album yet but I just can’t wait to share this song with you…

Many come from the west to many here from the east
like birds alone with their songs
on the wires, the trees and the eaves
I will give you the gold I stashed away
I will give you the fat of my land
My sister has two lovely sparrows
one in each of her hands

Two Sparrows by the Gourds from their 2011 album Old Mad Joy which I’ve only just got round to buying. I’ll be doing a proper ‘Spill post shortly about my favourite albums of 2011 – I’m a bit behindhand on account of the retiring and the moving house and all.

‘Spill Challenge Vol 2 #5: songs you think are by a completely different band

What, she doesn't know which of us is who?

This was a post I put together some time ago for a Challenge but somebody pipped me to the post (!) so it’s popping up now instead.

I’m hoping I’m not alone in this (cos that would make the challenge really boring) but there are a few songs in my collection that I misidentify EVERY TIME they come up on my iPod. Say I was whizzing round glorious Dumfries and Galloway in the motor*. A track would start and my unconscious mind go “Yes! That’s the [insert name of band]!”

And then the vocal would start, or something else recognisable, and my now more conscious mind would go “Dayamn! Made that same mistake again!” Because it’s someone completely different.

One example is the Beach Boys’ Fun Fun Fun, which I always think is going to be Chuck Berry. But that’s not a very good example, because after all they do use a Chuck Berry riff for the intro. What I’m after, if you can think of one, is a song that you really really like by a band you really really like which you should recognise…but somehow you never do.

For instance: I know I only discovered TP&TH 20 months ago, but I’ve been listening to them with great dedication ever since. (Check my last.fm page if you don’t believe me.) And yet I still always think this is the Who.

Love Is A Long Road by Tom Petty



*I don’t do so much whizzing in MK, mostly because I don’t have a 60-mile round trip every weekday.