Like a diamond

Young punk (?)(1977)

Insider (1981)

Outsider (2002)

Grand Old Man Of Rock (2011)

Well, the thing is that I’ve been wanting to do a podcast about TP for ages now, but the problem always was: how do I decide which songs to include? Then one day the answer came to me: during the 30 Days game I’d been keeping a list of my noms so as not to repeat any, and looking down the list at about the two-thirds mark I realised that my TP noms (which were many) in fact covered a good span of his recording career. There were still a few gaps though – and in fact not enough opportunities left to get one song in from each album, not to mention that some albums were already represented twice – but I made a valiant attempt through blatant shoehorning activities and finally arrived at a list which I think is pretty good. I’ve left out the compilation, soundtrack and live albums, and most of the songs in the podcast are different versions from the ones I posted for 30 Days, because they’re studio-recorded. So even if you watched all the videos I posted, you’ll still hear something new in the podcast, as well as my fab commentary of course, and some remarks from the great man himself who was happy to help. [Tell the truth, tfd - Ed.] OK, he didn’t know a thing about it.
Here we go then: Tom Petty, his music, from 1976 to now.
Woo hoo!

Podcast song list

Fooled Again (I Don’t Like It) – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 1976
I Need To Know – You’re Gonna Get It! 1978
Shadow Of A Doubt (A Complex Kid) – Damn The Torpedoes 1979
The Waiting – Hard Promises 1981
Insider – Hard Promises 1981
Change Of Heart – Long After Dark 1982
Southern Accents – Southern Accents 1985
Spike – Southern Accents 1985
It’ll All Work Out – Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) 1987
End Of The Line – The Traveling Wilburys vol. 1 1988
Runnin’ Down A Dream – Full Moon Fever 1989
Learning To Fly – Into The Great Wide Open 1991
You Don’t Know How It Feels – Wildflowers 1994
Room At The Top – Echo 1999
Dreamville – The Last DJ 2002
Like A Diamond – The Last DJ 2002
Saving Grace – Highway Companion 2006
Shady Grove – Mudcrutch 2008
Lover’s Touch – Mojo 2010

All songs composed by Tom Petty except:
End Of The Line – George Harrison
Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Jeff Lynne
Shady Grove – trad.

Well, if you’ve got down this far you’ll certainly be up for the ‘Spill point challenge – I’ve mentioned shoehorning but (for only one point, now that Chris has made it easier by putting the spreadsheet in the box) which of the songs in the podcast did NOT feature in the 30-Day Challenge at all? Clue: it’s about a couple who are maybe about to set up home together but they are the opposite of Wills’n’Kate.

The bus came by, and I got on


That’s when it all began:


Side One:

(1) That’s It for the Other One

A – Cryptical Envelopment

B – Quadlibet for Tenderfeet

C – The Faster We Go, The Rounder We Get

D – We Leave the Castle

(2) New Potato Caboose

(3) Born Cross-Eyed


Side Two:

(1) Alligator

(2) Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)


Jerry Garcia (3rd left): Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Kazoo and Vibraslap
Bob Weir (3rd right): Rhythm Guitar, 12 String Guitar, Acoustic Guitar and Kazoo
Ron McKernan (far right): Organ and Celesta Claves
Phil Lesh (2nd left): Bass, Trumpet, Harpsichord, Guiro Kazoo, Piano and Timpani
Mickey Hart (2nd right), Bill Kreutzman (far left): Drums, Orchestra Bells, Gong, Chimes, Crotales, Prepared Piano, Finger Cymbals
Tom Constanten (not shown): Prepared Piano, Piano and Electronic Tape

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In Their Own Way They Changed Music

This year, 2011, marks 40 years since the death of Gene Vincent and 30 since the passing of Bill Haley. As most people will know, both are heroes of mine and I had the pleasure of working with both of them.
I therefore thought it appropriate to put up a few of their tracks to mark the occasion.
The Gene Vincent numbers are “B-I-Bickey Bi Bo Bo Go” which is a silly title but one of my personal favourites of his with the first set of Bluecaps. “Over The Rainbow” was made slightly later and I included this to show he didn’t just rock out all the time. The third is “Pistol Packin’ Mama” which attained his highest UK chart placing. Made at Abbey Road, the arrangement was by Eddie Cochran who was due to duet with Gene, but the car crash on the A4 at Chippenham put paid to that. Georgie Fame was in the backing group.
Bill’s tracks begin with “Crazy Man, Crazy” cut in 1953, just after he’d changed the name of his backing group from The Saddlemen to the Comets. It was his first US top 20 hit and resulted in him and the band being booked into a black club in Chicago. They didn’t believe white men could swing like that.

The second track is “Happy Baby” which is perfect for jiving to. It shows off the guitar playing of Franny Beecher who had replaced Danny Cedrone. Danny died from a fall down stairs shortly after cutting “Rock Around The Clock”
The third of Bill’s comes from the 60s and is titled “Train Of Sin”. He was trying to introduce new stuff into his repertoire, but audiences just wanted “Rock Around The Clock” which re-entered the charts in 1964,68 and 1974.
I feel that both men, in their own way, changed music for the better and even if you don’t like the tracks I’ve picked, you will agree with that statement. Without Bill Haley, it’s doubtful that Rock and Roll would have entered the mainstream and maybe there would have been no Elvis, Buddy Holly (both of whom were inspired to record by seeing Haley) or any of the others who followed.

What’s Happenin’ Stateside!

I previously posted the jazzy ‘Low Lights & Trick Mirrors’, which was one of four compilations from Autumn 1986 provided by the NME.
Here’s another cassette from that series which is a compilation of predominately soul tunes from the EMI catalogue.
It was also issued in truncated versions as an LP & CD for the knock-down price of 99p at the same time and tracks have since appeared on various ‘Talcum Soul’ northern soul compilations, but none of them have the same flow.
From The O’Jays to Bettye Swan, here are 17 killer tracks that should have you groovin’ around your PC, if not you really need to see a doctor …

It is grey, damp, melancholy, let’s think of better times ahead

There isn’t really a theme to this particular playlist, except perhaps that all the tracks I’ve chosen have a certain quality that reflects my state of mind at the moment.

There is a kind of otherworldliness about many of these, tinged with maybe a dash of melancholy, distance or maybe detachment from the day-to-day dullness of grey, dismal February.

I’ve tried to make the playlist a kind of voyage, starting out with a dash of experimentation that flows into Jerry Garcia’s achingly beautiful “The Wheel”, via some old and new psychedelia, a dash of a Fripp and Travis soundscape, a leavening of classically lovely female singing and finally coming home again, via post-rock, to a place of aching beauty again.

The photograph that heads up this playlist is one of my own. It is the Château de Sercy in the southern part of Burgundy, just north of Cluny. I have no particular reason to post it, except that it is a lovely place and the sky is blue in the picture.

We all need a bit of blue in our skies at this time of year. I think that February is the worst month of the year, but hopefully this playlist ends on an fairly uplifting and optimistic note and leads the way to a happy 2011 for all of us ‘Spillers and our loved ones.

Anyway, now for the music;

1. Jerry Garcia – The Wheel
2. Moby Grape – Looper
3. Mazzy Star – Look Down From The Bridge
4. Warpaint – Warpaint
5. Robert Fripp and Theo Travis – Moonchild
6. It’s A Beautiful Day – Bombay Calling
7. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan – Black Mountain
8. Sandy Denny – I’m A Dreamer
9. Mogwai – Like Herod
10. Sigur Ros – Agaetis Byrjun


Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter

To keep you amused till midnight…and possibly beyond! This is my first ever attempt at a podcast, and it’s about my musical journey from when I first got interested in music, in the early 60s, till now. Plus there’s a competition, with valuable ‘Spill points for prizes – your challenge is to tell me, from those musicians/bands represented here…whose music do I have a complete collection of? (Clue: it’s more than one.)

I know this is a bit like the idea that Blimpy suggested the other day on bluepeter’s EOTWQ post, but I’d already started doing this then and I didn’t want to waste it.

The Frogcast is in two parts, the first being just over 30 minutes long and the second 37.

EOTWQ waxes nostalgic

All your aspiring rock star needed in 1978. Including the boots.

So, when I was looking out my B sides the other week, I couldn’t help but have a little muse about my Dansette.

As you know, I’m hoping to move house this year; and I won’t be able to take all my stuff with me. I definitely DO want to take my LPs, 45s and 78s – but that’ll mean taking my very horrible 70s stereo too, or I won’t be able to play them. If only I still had my Dansette, I thought. How lovely that would be.

1 What bit of kit do you think should make a comeback? (Not just music kit. Any kind. Clothes even.)

2 It’s February. What first signs of spring do you look for?

3 Would you write your autobiography? Why? Why not? (You’ve got the appropriate writing skills, so don’t worry about that part.)

4 Duvet, or blankets and sheets?

5 Do you research your family history? If so, what’s the furthest back you’ve got?

[Supplementary question: what's the LP that you can just see part of in that stack? The photo will enlarge if you click on it. I've no idea of the answer, but I need to know.]

playlist pairs- dreamy January

I’m struck by the similarity of these two pieces of music, both ideal for those of us who prefer to linger in the last outreaches of the holiday period, instead of fully embracing the new year with all of its unfulfilled potential (or for those with especially hard-to-get-rid of hangovers).

First up Joe Henderson performs an achingly lyrical Lazy Afternoon on drummer Pete la Roca’s album Basra, accompanied by Steve Swallow and Steve Kuhn and recorded in May, 1965.
Bobby Wellins takes on a similar role during the iconic ‘Spill favourite Starless and Bible Black, recorded two months earlier by Stan Tracey’s quartet.
Each of the tenor saxophonists has an exquisite, gossamer tone, while the pianists add washes of colour in water-drop quantities. The bassists drop languid tones in the manner of Paul Chambers’ playing on Flamenco Sketches, and the drummers link the bars with barely visible spiders webs on brushes and cymbals (though Tracey’s drummer Jackie Dougan does darken the mood at the end).

Take a load off and relax. The year hasn’t really started yet.

Tight Pants

Ron Asheton (The Stooges): Nico stayed a long time, about three months. Iggy never said if he was in love with her or not. But I remember after she left, Iggy came downstairs looking for some advice. He came up to me and said, “Well, I, I think something’s wrong, maybe you can tell me what this is?” So he whips out his cock, squeezes it, and green goo comes out. I said, “Buddy, you got the clap.” Nico gave Iggy his first dose of the clap.

1. “Search & Destroy” 2. “Tight Pants”

A Touch of Jazz : Mode for Joe – Joe Henderson

I should write a long diatribe about how good this is, but being musically illiterate that is a non-starter, all I want to say is this is Blue Note at its finest provided by tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson.
Accompanying Joe are such BN heavyweights as Lee Morgan (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (Trombone), Bobby Hutcherson (Vibes), Cedar Walton (Piano), Ron Carter (Double Bass) & Joe Chambers (Drums).
Recorded in 1966, this is straight ahead groovy jazz, with everyone putting in stellar performances. From ‘A Shade Of Jade’ to ‘Free Wheelin”, there is not a duff track on this album.
Have a listen whilst admiring the fab Reid Miles cover …

Low Lights & Trick Mirrors

Occasionally a tune is mentioned on RR that someone used to have on an New Musical Express cassette. For the uninitiated, during the eighties the NME would offer readers music compilation cassettes for the price of the post & packaging – for £1.99 you could get an NME approved comtemporary compilation championing new artistes and an archive compilation usually taken from a major label and was an introduction to so much good music.
The playlist here is a tape from 1986 of ‘cool’ jazz from EMI/Capitol Records archives that has the usual suspects – Art Blakey, Cannonball Adderley, Chet Baker and a blues from Billie; as well as gems from Johnny Dankworth, Gil Evans and Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes amongst others.

Enough chat, just imagine it’s the wee small hours of the morning and you’re driving through the city streets, preferably in black & white, with this as your soundtrack …


I Want A Lip – April Stevens
Think – James Brown
Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting – Charlie Mingus
Mule Skinner Blues – Fendermen
Indépendance Cha Cha – Joseph Kabaselé & L’African Jazz
Ooh Poo Pah Doo – Jessie Hill

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah

treefrogdemon on the beach at Pontevedra with the Beatles covers band

I’d mentioned my holiday romance on RR so I went looking for the photo, and here it is – Ernesto, el chico rubio*, is on my left.

The lads were a band that played exclusively Beatles songs, but as none of them spoke any English they had done a phonetic transcription of the lyrics and learned that. Which must have been rather hard to do! Anyway, their efforts to sing in English left me in stitches – I did offer to write down the real lyrics for them but they preferred to do it their way.

In the photo I am 16, having just done my O-levels, and it was my first trip abroad – to Pontevedra in Galicia, north-west Spain.

* the blonde boy – he was referred to as this – disparagingly – by the people I was staying with. I would get in from some outing and they would say “el chico rubio fue aquí”. Which would cheer me up no end as the outings (it was a school trip) weren’t that exciting…

So! Anybody else have fond holiday romance memories (that they’d care to share)? They don’t have to be Beatle-related.

Unfamiliar Energy

Two things came to mind when I saw this clip, first David Cameron and this Charlie Brooker piece, especially this bit:

Like an ostensibly realistic human character in a state-of-the-art CGI cartoon, he’s almost convincing – assuming you can ignore the shrieking, cavernous lack of anything approaching a soul. Which you can’t.

I see the sheen, the electronic calm, those tiny, expressionless eyes . . .

and second the line from Jay Electronica’s Exhibit C:

That’s why when you talk the tough talk I never feel ya.

You sound real good and you play the part well, but the energy you givin off is so unfamiliar.

Berg-kirstis Polska

Berg-Kirstis was a mountain troll, “who used to play this diabolical polska to attract decent folks into the bowels of the mountain. We try that too, with this recording”. Pianist Jan Johansson, writing about his wonderful 1963 album of Swedish folk songs, Jazz på svenska, which he recorded together with bassist Georg Riedel.

More information and clips available under the Heptagon records site.

Under The Covers with Ramsey Lewis

No guessing which top pop combo Mr Lewis is covering, but it’s the way they’ve been covered : luscious strings, horns and even a moog!  It’s all for you in the ‘box … and on a thingy player (mucho gracias maki!)

Oh, Sweet Pea….

“All these… weirdos, and me… getting a little better every day right in the middle of ‘em. I had never known… I had never even imagined for a heartbeat that… there might be a place in the world for people like us.”

Sometimes you watch a film and a song really stands out, and then you have to wait until the end credits to try and work out who it is, and sometimes the writing’s too small or it flashes by too quickly or you cant work out just from the song titles which one it is. But then you do find out who it is, these days with the internet, it’s all lot easier, and then you do a bit of research and find that jasonaparkes has already bigged up the exact song in an Amazon review and made mention of the exact sequence of the film that it’s from (saying that it’s the best dancing onscreen since Band A Parte, no less).

And then you realise that if you post the song on The ‘Spill, the chances are that you’ll find out a lot more about the song and the singer, and probably which exact hip-hop artists used the suspiciously sample-able drum break in the tune, and possibly more.

Am I wrong?

Mystery Songs

Ode To Billy Joe

I’ve always loved this song. It burned into my ear when I was a young man, and it still has the same effect – brooding, circumspect, reported speech, and a devastating chorus. The tension between the family seated round the table (spookily realised in the video) and the feelings of the singer (actually withheld from us) are brilliant. But there’s always been a number of mysteries surrounding the song. But first : a fact. Bobby Gentry (christened Roberta Lee Streeter) sent in the demo for this piece of Southern Gothic to Capitol Records. They were so taken with it, that they simply added strings and bass and issued the demo, which is the song we hear today. It was the B-side of her first single, but quickly received more airplay and attention, and Ode To Billy Joe became the name of her first LP, released in 1967, and knocking Sgt Pepper off the US LP charts.
{Sgt Pepper was released today (June 1) in 1967 in the UK whilst we’re on the facts, factfans.}
And the mystery : what did Bobbie and Bille Joe drop off the Tallahatchie Bridge? How was that connected to his suicide?
Bobbie never told us despite appeals to reveal that it was a baby, that Billie Jo was gay, an engagement ring, who knows. She did say in one interview that it wasn’t a baby, but there was pressure from the anti-abortion lobby at the time which might make that statement questionable.  It’s a mystery.
After a successful run of singles and LPs, Bobbie Gentry had a run in Las Vegas, had a child then disappeared off the map. Apparently she now lives in Los Angeles in private, but she hasn’t made a record since the late 70s.

All of which actually adds to the mood of the song for me. Her voice as she dips down to very low notes in the chorus sends a shiver down my spine.

Anyone think they know what’s going on here ?

UK 60s Psych / Freakbeat

Years ago I got given a couple of compilation tapes of 60s Psych, after losing the inlay cards and eventually the tapes I’ve tried to recreate them using the wonderful mp3 format, most of the tracks were easy enough to find on the usual compilations but there were a few that proved a bit trickier to locate. Anyhow, here’s the English one, enjoy!

Hush – Grey
John’s Children – Remember Thomas A’Becket
Living Daylights – Always With Him
Loot – Baby Come Closer
Mirror – Faster Than Light
Open Mind – Cast A Spell
Smoke – My Friend Jack
Status Quo – Face Without A Soul
The Birds – No Good Without You
The Craig – I Must Be Mad
The Creation – How Does It Feel
The Creation – Making Time
The Dakotas – The Spider & The Fly
The Flies – I’m Not Your Stepping Stone
The Lemon Tree – William Chalker’s Time Machine
The Pretty Things – Midnight To Six
The Pretty Things – Talkin’ About the Good Times
The Sons of Fred – Baby, What You Want Me To Do
The Syndicats – Crawdaddy Simone
The Yardbirds – Happenings Ten Years Time Ago
Them & Van Morrison – I Can Only Give You Everything
Tomorrow – Hallucinations
Tomorrow – Strawberry Fields Forever
Tony Jackson & The Vibrations – Fortune Teller
Voice – The Train To Disaster
Wimple Winch – Save My Soul