Friday, 30 March 2018






Billy Idol was one of those crazy, proper full-on Rockers.  The drugs, the booze and the near death experiences were all that made the headlines after he went solo from the great Punk band Generation X.  That aside the guy made some fabulous Rock records! I had heard of that band through songs like "King Rocker" and "Valley Of The Dolls" but Billy caught my attention with a re-working of "Dancing With Myself".  The self-titled debut solo album was a more mature Gen X with a New Wave spin.  When "Rebel Yell" came with the brilliant Steve Stevens' guitars and musicianship more to the fore and Keith Forsey's amazing production Billy was prominent on MTV with his made-for-tv good looks, Elvis sneer and edgy videos.  "White Wedding" was the song that got me into being a major fan of the man.  Billy was an English, bad ass rocker who had taken America by storm, this album was the stepping stone to massive stardom.

Amazingly, this album only reached number 36 in the UK, for some reason this country was blinkered to our own success story! It hit number 6 in the USA, no wonder he moved over there, the UK just didn't get it.  Anyway, the album spawned four singles, the first being the title track "Rebel Yell" which only reached 62 but hit number 6 on its re-release in 1985.  The song is a rip roaring fast tempo rocker, full of Rock guitar riffs and a stomping keybaord theme throughout, complete with Billy's snarling Elvis throaty vocal.  Add to that a memorable chorus its just a great song! "Eyes Without A Face" was the next single and it became, at the time (before the re-released singles in 1985), Billy's first big hit, reaching number 18 here in the UK.  The slower tempo ballad-like song had a lovely melody which disguised the dark tone of the lyrics.  The third single "Flesh For Fantasy" only reached number 54 in the UK chart and was a very experimental song.  All the Rock elements were there but with some enhanced atmospheric electronic sounds, still a classy record ahead of its time in 1983.  "Catch My Fall" the last single from the album reached a disappointing 63 in the UK.  It was a medium paced rocker with some saxophone and although a great song, the remixed version on the album "Vital Idol" was much more punchier.

"Daytime Drama" is a mid tempo Pop Rock track, Billy's vocals are toned down more than normal, almost crooner like.  The musical backing is reminiscent of the early 80s bands, such as The Police, The Cars etc.  Really nice song though proving that Billy wasn't just a brash, snarling rocker, he could pull it back a bit and sing a nice ballad.

"Blue Highway" is back to the Billy we know and love, best to play loud! A rousing Blues Rock song.  Just for reference check out the live version on the later Expanded edition of "Rebel Yell", it is awesome.  This is pure Rock N' Roll, man.

"Crank Call" is almost classic 80s Pop Rock, akin to the likes of early Bon Jovi and Def Leppard.  Guitar riffs and solos, throbbing drums and Billy's soft vocals building to a crescendo of pure Rock for the chorus.  Another gem for the album.

"(Do Not) Stand In The Shadows" is a weird one but it works.  Starts off almost sweetly then pounds into a Punk rocker going back to Billy's Generation X days.  The relentless beat with its sing-a-long chanted chorus is a class throwback to the late 70s and early 80s.

"The Dead Next Door" is a very eerie, sobering end to the album.  It is beautifully sung and is a very poignant, mysterious and emotive song.  It is just like Billy to experiment with all genres and styles as he has always done. 


Tuesday, 27 March 2018





By Andrew Goodwin for NEW MUSIC EAR

ALBUM SUMMARY - "Time Travels" is the brainchild of New Zealand composer Jonathan Besser.  This is a Classical Jazz concept album and is produced by his long time friend Victor Levine.  Enlisting the capable Christopher brothers, Daniel (bass, electric guitar) and Drew (drums & percussion) as the rhythm section it was a perfect blend.  Jonathan's piano parts are played on an old 1928 Knabe parlour Grand, restored in 2003 and really encapsulate the "big" pure sound beautifully.  Non-Classical lovers don't be put off by the tag "Classical Jazz", there are experimental elements of Funk and Blues here and it is an engaging listen, to get the full experience, chill out listening in headphones to capture the whole experience!

01 WHO'S COUNTING? - The opening track is a kind of march style song with full force.  Very dramatic and mysterious, clever off beat and off tune elements which reminds me of a soundtrack to a movie thriller.  A mix of light piano and heavier, angry chops and the Swing style slow, jagged tempo set us up for a rollercoaster ride of experiments to come.

02 KLEZMATIZED - Uptempo foot tapping track, sounds like a real Jazz jamming session.  Gives the feeling of happiness and fun and the funky bass gives this a real lift.  Really love this track, all musicians give the impression that this was a good time!

03 SWINGTIME OUT - Gentle, bass and piano in this real Swing Jazz chilled out track.  Minimal sounding but very casual and easy on the ears.  I can imagine being in an old style bar late at night with the band playing on stage in the cool, smokey air.

04 STEP FIVE - Romantic and emotive sounding track, again would be a superb backdrop for a black and white old style movie.  It has that old style quick and then slow electric piano parts that were synonymous with the films of a bygone age.

05 ONE TWO TREE - This is an unusual one, it somehow reminds me of a Ska/Jazz hybrid with the random off key harsh, angry piano chops.  Musically minimal but changes from mild upbeat to angry crescendo and then calms again.  Mysterious and experimental, described on the sleeve notes as a "herky-jerky walkdown in dissonant tones".  That sums it up perfectly!

06 SUSPENSION - The experiments keep on coming! This is almost like a Pop Blues and Jazz mix as screeching guitars work brilliantly with the light piano.  Also with the whirring sounds it sounds very alien-like and a little sci-fi.  This is close to Classical Jazz meeting Progressive Rock!

07 THREE MONKS -  Another unusual mix that works.  Piano flair from Jonathan and the Christopher brothers' funky bass, psychedelic guitars and drums make this a great listen.  A very cool groove indeed.

08 NO LAUGHING MATTER - Piano and light brushes on the drums for this track with minimal guitars.  It is a light ballad but also has some very dark moments at certain points.  The song builds to a big angry crescendo at around the one minute mark then cool's back down to a gentle finish.

09 AMBIENT SEVEN - Similar to the previous track with its minimal sound.  A nice, chilled track, steady on the ears with piano and brushes at the fore.  Has a very emotive feel and gives a really calm ambience that surrounds you as you listen.

10 DARK LOOP - Described as a "haunting journey", it is indeed like that.  An epic piano led track and at almost eight minutes long it has a lot of variations.  Starting off with a slow gentle piano it builds up to the middle of the song where the playing is more intense.  It meshes with the bass, guitar and drums for a little Funk sounding segment which if I was a little critical, could have been longer.  It is a nicely crafted song though, and it ebbs and flows throughout right until the end so you don't know what is coming!

11 THREE MONKS ELECTRIC - Savng the best to last in my opinion, I really love this track.  Funky bass leads the piano in a fun loving full on Funk Jazz jam.  Like the majority of this album the music is minimal but it still packs a punch and the songs are so well constructed they still make an impact.

Friday, 23 March 2018





I must admit I wasn't a huge Haircut 100 fan although I did love their catchy songs.  When Nick Heyward left the band before the second album recordings I didn't hear of him again until his solo single "Whistle Down The Wind".  Originally stating at the time of leaving he said he had pondered solo work for a long time but later admitted he suffered from stress due to the constant workload of the previous album and hits and was unceremoniously sacked.  Haircut 100 didn't fare so well while Nick carved himself a solo career, although not with the mega success of his previous band, but cult status and recognition by his peers and media of being a great songwriterI have all but one of his solo albums and I think on the whole he is still maybe a little underrated as a singer songwriter.  That, however, is my opinion and I am sure it could be debated.

Back to this album, it reached number 10 in the UK charts and spawned four singles.  The first, the aforementioned "Whistle Down The Wind" was one of my favourite singles of 1983, reached number 13 here and it even gave Nick his one and only top 20 hit in the United States.   The song showed a more mature composition from Nick, his vocals suiting the light, lilting ballad.  It was released in March and had that Springtime air to it, a great chorus and just a brilliantly crafted song.  The next single was "Take That Situation" was a great Jazz Blues type Pop song, similar to Haircut 100 but a lot more polished.  Lots of brass accompaniment and giving it a real uptempo blast.  It reached number 11, which was a suprise as I felt "Whistle Down The Wind" was much better.  Before the album was released Nick released a third single, "Blue Hat For A Blue Day" which reached 14 on the chart.  A really beautiful ballad, gliding along seamlessly between pure Pop and a little bit of soul! "On A Sunday" was released after the album so maybe that is why its chart position was only 52, everyone I guess already has this song.  This was an unusual song but one of my favourites, its Pop Rock style reminds me of very early INXS and The Cars.  Proving that Nick could turn his hand to any style if he so wished.

"When It Started To Begin", the opening track of the album set the scene of what was to come.  A storming Jazz/Funk track, lots of brass, lots of percussion and Soul backing.  Great start!.

"Two Make It True" almost reminds me of Edwyn Collins' band Orange Juice and those kinds of bands in the early 80s.   Alternative Indie Pop at its best, lots of style changes in the song, experimental and a compliment to the man learning his craft that it worked!

"Club Boy At Sea" starts of minimal with some high vocals from Nick then smoothes into a Pop Rock style that a lot of bands in later years had adopted.  Bands like The Adventures, the Waterboys and maybe The Bluebells used this style of low quietened vocals and atmospheric backing a little more to the fore.

"The Kick Of Love" is a piano-led Jazz Funk workout which includes excerpts of brass, almost Spanish guitar and piano solos.  Not one of my favourites but it does grow on you every listen, just admiring the composition of the song.

"The Day It Rained Forever" is a 50s crooner/Goth hybrid.  It sounds weird but it works! Basically Nick is singing like someone out of an old 50s romance film but then the eerie brass backing comes in.  Imagine one of the Rat Pack singing with The Sisters Of Mercy.  Don't take my word for it, have a listen!

"Atlantic Monday" ends the album the way it began.  Its actually summing up the album's contents, there is a bit of everything.  Jazz, Funk, Blues, Soul harmonies, lots of brass and percussion.  Brilliant end to a great debut album.  Love this track, gets your foot tapping until the end!


Wednesday, 21 March 2018


Neon North is an Alternative Indie Rock band and the project's brainchild is Spencer Lillo.  Spencer resides in Calgary, a city in the Canadian province of Alberta.  They have just released their debut single, "Traffic Lights".

I was searching for some info on the band before Spencer kindly got back to me to fill me in some details.  Upon searching I found an interesting note, that Spencer wrote the songs note by note using a sheet music program that allows midi playback.  Then he recorded all the music in his home studio and enlisted the help of his good friend, tenor vocalist Max Avery to sing the lyrics.

The single, "Traffic Lights" has certain elements that remind me of a few bands, Echo And The Bunnymen, Suede and Razorlight to name but a few.  I am not sure what Spencer's influences are but maybe there are some Radiohead and Coldplay parts in there too.  Its got all the aforementioned bands' traits such as the uptempo musical background and the slow drawn out vocals over the top.  If you're a fan of any of these bands mentioned then I would check Neon North out!

A 3 track E.P. including "Traffic Lights" will be released in the next couple of months and will be followed by a full album later in the year.  I am intrigued to hear more tracks, so let's wait and see where Spencer wants to lead Neon North, and in what direction.

Friday, 16 March 2018


INGAJA is a singer songwriter from Lithuania, raised in a small seaside town called Klaipedia.  Taking her influences from Ben Howard, Lissie and also one of my favourites, female Dutch singer Anouk.

She released her debut E.P. early last year entitled "Darkness".  Upon listening to the songs there is an eerie atmospheric feel to them, but its a pure "live" sound which is always a plus with me.  I can surely hear the Anouk influence and there's also a little tenacity of Tori Amos and vulnerable softness of Eva Cassidy.

This lady has worked hard over the years acquiring knowledge and fine tuning her talent taking part in various events around Lithuania and abroad.  She sings about the environment which surrounds her and also memories and personal life occurrences.  The E.P. was broadcasted on BBC radio in Liverpool and is played all over Lithuanian local radio.

The songs are emotive, crafted gems on the E.P., the vocals sound honest and sincere and the music is haunting at times, but in a good, positive way.  INGAJA also thinks a lot of nature and regularly makes time to connect with it to stimulate her creativity.   I especially like the track "Secrets", its Acoustic Rock sound and harsh, biting vocals are brilliant.  Let's hope for more from this lady.

Friday, 9 March 2018


After writing my music memories for this very blog, I wondered how other people felt about music, why do they like the songs, the artists or the genres? So what does YOUR music ear like?

Personally for me, the 80s music will always be special to me, it was fun, it was my childhood and almost every song reflects that fun and freedom of being a kid with no worries.  I have my idols Debbie Harry, Adam Ant, Prince and Madonna, just for what they represent, all 80s artists who taught me life lessons and gave me escapism and hope.  They also inspired me to write my own song lyrics and poems.  Words to me are important, so songs with great meaningful lyrics will always catch my ears.  I like Rock because the drums and guitars pairing is just a magical combination, its the anthemic sound that can elevate a ballad or an all out Rock n' Roll song to higher levels.

I am an emotional guy so sad songs or love songs can mean a lot to the listener, if heard in certain situations, they can last a lifetime.  Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" (because of a tough time in my life after Mum died), Prince's "Purple Rain"(even sadder now that Prince is dead, the end guitar solo is heartwrenching), John Legend's "All Of Me" (my wife walked down the aisle to this and it makes both of us teary) and Katherine Jenkins' "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming" (my wife and I simultaneously saw this on TV while we were dating!) all mean a lot to me.   Music for me is memories, songs, bands, genres, all can be the mental scrapbook we have until we die.  Everyone has their favourites, everyone has a different story.  Some songs mean a lot personally, while keener ears love the compositions, the lyrics or simply the way the musicians perform the tracks.

I asked 10 different people about their thoughts on why they love music.  Some went in depth, some gave simpler explanations.  All opinions are valid in this experiment, no opinions for or against by myself, just people who love music.  Lets begin...

DAWN reflects on an inspirational song...

"It's not really a genre, but a particular song, "Something Inside So Strong" by Labi Siffre.  I had to make a very difficult decision, and it is one I think about every day.  This song lifts me up and gets me back on my feet.  It makes me want to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.  It inspires me, keeps me going and tells me that I am still strong."

EVA remembers childhood, college and life changes...

"I like Rock mostly, some Pop, Country and Classical. Favourite group I would have to say is Abba because I grew up with their music as my mum used to exercise to "Dancing Queen" among others.  My favourite band is a hard decision but it is probably Bon Jovi.  I just love their songs.  I also like Pink and Celine Dion together with Roxette who I listened to a lot during college whilst learning for my exams.  Last but not least is Katherine Jenkins, who came into my life (not literally!it was the song "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming") when I was dating my husband.  Life started changing for the better.  There are many others but that is a rough guide to my tastes!"

GILL tells us about bands' appreciation...

"I love the bands Tyketto and Dare.  I have listened to their music since the 80s and still listen to them now.  They still do gigs every year and both grouos do a "meet and greet" with their fans at every gig, free of charge.  They are appreciative of the fact that they would not be where they are today without their fanbase.  We meet up with other fans before each show and the band members are all very nice people.  Their music ranges from Acoustic Melodic Rock to hard Rock anthems.  If anyone has not heard of these bands they are well worth a listen and you may be surprised at what you hear!"
JEANNETTE talks about different moods, the 80s and classics...

"Music depends on moods.  If you are busy around the kitchen you want lively and upbeat music.  Usually this is the 80s music as that's my childhood, but alos more current artists like Bruno Mars.  If you are talking with guests or having a meal then you want more subdued songs in the background (although I can't think of an example as I don't enteratin much!).  Rock is always in our lives so if we go to a concert it is always Rock, for example, Foo Fighters.  I still like 80s Rock and have been to see a few lately such as FM and Dare.  Would like to see Def leppard too!"

"Also, if you are in a car and a classic song come on the radio like Simon And Garfunkel or Neil Diamond or 70s stuff, you sing every line at the top of your lungs.  This is because it is music your parents liked and you are reminded of the happiness it brought."

JOANNE recalls different reasons such as old favourites, videos and lyrics...

"I like lots of different music, for lots of different reasons.  I don’t think I am particularly rigid, and go through phases, at the moment I like Clean Bandit a lot and Ed Sheeran.  I suppose favourites that I keep coming back to would be Billy Joel, Mumford and Sons, Matchbox Twenty, Kodaline and Alanis Morrisette.  I like a good video that tells a story, like Kina Grannis' "My Dear" and One Republic's "I Lived"."
"One of the most important things for me in songs, is the lyrics, I like them to strike a chord with me, or to mean something to the artist, be about something real in their life.  One of my favourites is Billy Joel's "You’re My Home", at a time when home was something I was craving.  Oh, and you can’t beat a video with a dog or two in it Like Swedish House Mafia's "Save the World"!"

KATE reveals her Metal favourites...

"I like a wide variety of music, I like to think that I don't pigeon hole myself into just one category. For example, I may listen to really heavy Death Metal at times, but also love a bit of BeyoncĂ© and Steps!  The reason I love my favourite bands/artists are for various reasons. They are all within the same genre essentially but at the same time so different."

"Halestorm is probably my favourite favourite! I love the quality and the sound of the lead singer Lzzy Hale's vocals. She has a wide vocal range and so many different qualities to her voice. She is very powerful and can scream (not death metal shrieking as everyone assumes) but still make it musical. At the same time she can sing softly when the song requires it. She's multi-talented, playing guitar, piano, drums and writes all the songs herself. I can always find a way to relate to the songs personally in someway.  My personal favourites are "I Get Off", "I Am The Fire", "I Miss The Misery", "Scream", "Mrz Hyde" and "Innocence", although I could probably list them all!!!"

"Alter Bridge are a highly skilled band. Again the lead singer Myles Kennedy's vocals are amazing, he has such a wide vocal scale. The combination of his voice and the music can give you goosebumps. The harmonies within the songs are amazing too. The guitar riffs and solos are amazing also and you find yourself singing along to them when there isn't any singing.  My favourites are "Lover", "Metalingus", "Cradle To The Grave", "My Champion" and "Show Me A Leader""

"Skindred are a UK band who are best described as Reggae Metal. The sound is an amazing mix of Metal Rock and Reggae. The lead singer Bneji Webbe is hilarious! The songs are so easy to dance to and you definitely struggle to stay still while listening to them! You may not be able to catch many words as he tends to sing in Caribbean Patois or similar.  My favourites are "Nobody", "Pressure" and "Ninja"."

MARTIN gives us his top 5 album reviews...

"Rush - "Permanent Waves" 1980 - This album captivated me the first time I heard it and still does!  It starts with probably the most famous and successful Rush track, "The Spirit Of Radio" which is a great stand alone track.  This is really an album to play and listen to on a train journey, when driving a long time or all in one go on a free afternoon.  It is 36 minutes long with just 6 tracks.  It is like the concept albums of the 70s with only "The Spirit Of Radio" and "Freewill" probably single tracks.  The album is just 3 guys from Canada.  Drummer Neil Peart, lead guitarist Alex Lifeson and singer Geddy Lee.  The trio experiment with complex rhythms, articulate lyrics, great guitar riffs, high pitched vocals to create an epic crative Rock sound."

"Coldplay - "Mylo Xyloto" 2011 - Coldplay music is simplistic, depressing and boring right?  Maybe step outside your predetermined views and listen to this as a one album test.  Music can be more than your own genre or admiration of technical musicianship.  It can be about enjoyment, collective experience and life inspiration.  This album has 14 tracks and you will recognise some tracks as they have been used extensively on TV and film soundtracks as they are so powerful.  There are big uplifting tracks such as "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall", "Major Minus"and Charlie Brown".  There is also the collaboration with Rihanna, "Princess of China" and the famous "Paradise".  It is a poweful and uplifting album with huge "live live to the full" inspirational moments."

"Thin Lizzy - "Jailbreak" 1976 - This is a classic Rock album with 9 tracks.  It sums up Thin Lizzy with its incredible dual electric melodious guitar harmonies from Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham, with front man Phil Lynott on bass and rasping Rock vocal.  Brian Downey provides the exciting drum backing.  This album contains many of the classic Thin Lizzy tracks such as "Jailbreak", "The Cowboy Song", "Emerald" and the storming "The Boys Are Back In Town"!  The outstanding mix of harmonic guitar solos and Phil's rugged vocals build the song up bit by bit to exciting memorable climaxes on every song.  This highly skilled Classic Rock album really is a quality snapshot og a memorbale Rock era which is the foundation of all music to follow.  Thin Lizzy should not be missed!"

"Tom Petty - "Full Moon Fever" 1989 - Tom Petty (who sadly passed away in 2017) released this album as his first solo effort after 7 albums with The Heartbreakers.  This album includes his most famous hits "Freefallin'" and "I Won't Back Down".  They document his life challenges and contractual battles with the music industry over track rights and who dictates the music he releases, hence the phrase "won't back down".  This album is a great escape from the hassles of the day, with great rhythms dominated by Tom's great vocal tones.  A feel good album to be played to escape, chill and "freefall" with iconic music.  Tom's crisp, soothing voice draws you in and makes this album an easy and memorable listen."

"Foo Fighters - "Sonic Highways" 2014 - This is a very unique Foo Fighters album, a project if you will.  It has only 8 tracks, which is the worst part of this album, more music could have been better.  The Foo's travelled around 8 American cities, each having a unique take on the musica history of the USA.  The set was recorded in 8 historic studios of Chicago, Washington DC, Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle and New York City.  The musical styles of each studio are inspired by each city's music history.  This really is outstanding music with complex guitar and drum segments.  All these facets are better explained in the Documentary dvd.  If you love top quality Rock with technical musical excellence then get your ears around "Sonic Highways"!"

MIKE succinctly states his admiration for Rush...

My favourite band is Rush, a 3 piece Canadian Rock band.  What brought me to love this band was that I could not believe this huge sound was produced by only 3 people! All three, Geddy Lee (bass, vocals, keyboards), Alex Lifeson (guitars) and Neil Peart (drums, percussion, lyrics) are all amazingly talented musicians.  They also write great songs and have dedicated their lives to music."

ROB talks easy going music, the live experience and escapism..

"Not sure where to start, for me music is a mood thing! I can listen to many genres all in the same day.  If it’s late night reading normally Eric Clapton, BB King, John lee Hooker, just simple music, nothing too heavy to tax my brain.  Messing around the house I prefer more upbeat stuff, anything from All Time Low, Foo Fighters, and I have Kerrang TV on a lot . Music is best LIVE!  For that it is U2, not everybody’s cup of tea but for me, passion, emotive song writing and the experience. (30 shows and counting!).  This year I have U2 (2 shows), 30 Seconds To Mars,  Huey Morgan, FooFighters, Def Leppard up to now.  In some ways music is an escape into a world to relax, forget about work, problems and remember the past" 

and finally...

STU recalls memories, nostalgia and a helping ear from yours truly...

My favourites music is 80s, live and chillout and my favourite artists are notably Prince, Deacon Blue, The Christians, Jimi Somerville, Eurythmics, The The and countless others.  Primarily, I think all music is influenced by mood. And I think as we get older we look back on our formative years and the music that we listened to then with great fondness. It takes us back to moments,or memories of when life was simpler and we close our eyes and get lost in another time and place. And as we're all a bit nostalgic I think we like to think music was better at that time. No idea if it was or not, I'm quite certain our parents would say the same of the 50s/60s and the kids of today will in the future talk of Ed Sheeran and Rihanna in the same way we talk about Prince or Madonna. So musical inspirations very much tend to come from nostalgia for me and I find it incredibly difficult to get excited around the current musical climate"

"So why certain artists? Well for me the most important thing is if they can perform live. Can't beat a good live act and for a couple of hours to just feel the energy of a crowd and be lost in the music is an escape from normal life. Ive been lucky enough to see a couple of hundred artists over the years starting with FGTH (with Andrew Goodwin of New Music Ear!) to most recently Olly Murs (at work, I wouldn't pay to watch him!) and there are just certain moments created that stay with me forever. From "Purple Rain" at the O2 to "Bat Out Of Hell" at the MEN to "When The Fingers Point" at the Royal Court all are defining songs by artists that just connect with a crowd and memories that will never be forgotten. Live music also crosses over with the nostalgia thing as for a couple of hours at a concert I'm 18 years old again, lost in the performance, singing badly but no one cares and attempting to dance. So if I'm to like an artist they better be good live!"
"So why particular artists? Impossible to be precise about why an artist appeals. There are far too many factors that influence this. From the lyrics, to the talent, to the time, to the showmanship, to the mood they create. I think we just latch onto someone for a multitude of reasons and then feel an affinity,or a sense of ownership, or exclusiveness. Prince is a good example to take. Why was Prince the greatest artist ever? Why wasn't he more popular? Why was Michael Jackson considered better? And why did I latch onto to Prince and not Jacko? I certainly have nothing in common with him. In fact he was the polar opposite of everything I am. Talented, funky, good with the women, can sing and dance and can captivate thousands of people with his charisma and charm. So theres not a single logical reason why I should think hes without a doubt the greatest musician the world has seen. I like to think that because of my enlightenment in being able to see this I'm somehow superior to the masses who would rather listen to Westlife or Justin Timberlake. It sets me apart from the masses because I know talent and they don't. So thats why certain artists appeal- Musical talent, lyrics that connect, and a feeling of ownership or protectiveness of the music I like.  I want to be able to put music on,and it take me to another place, to alter my mood, or enhance it. I want to relive the memories, or create new ones and I want music to reflect who I am. I want the lyrics to connect with me and I want to feel an exclusiveness that I like someone that the uneducated masses don't."
"So that's my summing up of why I like certain types of music although its far too broad a subject. Theres also the whole subject of peer groups. Obviously we have to be introduced to music one way or another and in my formative years it was through the friends that I had that my greatest musical influences came. So it was undoubtedly Andrew Goodwin of New Music Ear who introduced me to Prince and started me on an obsession and a passion that will stay with me for life. So thanks for that Andy, who knows if I ever would have fell in Love with the man and his music if it wasnt for you."
So there you have it, a lot of different views.  A lot of different reasons why we love music.  It can be songs, albums, live performance, lyrics or just the feelings music brings to us such as escapism, joy, sadness and excitement.  You can find new music, you can inherit music from your parents, you can share experiences with your friends.  Music is the one thing that doesn't cost us the earth, because it is everywhere.  It doesn't start wars, it doesn't cure pain and illnesses, it doesn't make us rich but it makes you FEEL good, it can make you cry tears of joy or tears of sadness, it can make you dance, it can make you escape from all the bad things in the world.  Enjoy your music and we all have opinions, we all will like what we like, no matter what anyone says.  It's a personal thing...thanks for reading.
Thanks to everyone who participated and gave their thoughts... :)  

Friday, 2 March 2018





After the 80s "almost every song a gem in the charts" phase pretty much ended after 1986.  When Stock Aitken & Waterman took over and Acid House and other weird sounds arrived I was looking desperately for new bands to follow.  Scottish Rock band Del Amitri were among a handful of those special bands (including Texas and Deacon Blue) that had something new to offer.  Although this album was released in 1989 I didn't pick up on the band until the song "Nothing Ever Happens" in early 1990.  Justin Currie, the lead singer had this great gravelly Rock voice and the band played amazingly tuneful songs with beautiful melodies and emotive lyrics.  I picked up every album the band made and even though the debut was far different I played this band a lot during barren creativity times in the early 90s.

"Waking Hours" reached Number 6 in the UK charts, which is amazing with some of the dross that was around at the time.  Anyway, the album spawned 4 singles with none reaching the Top 10.  "Kiss This Thing Goodbye" eventually scraped to 43 when released as the first single.  I only heard this once I had bought the album and instantly loved it.  It has a real live sound like every Del Amitri song, that pure sound where you can hear every instrument and vocal clear.  It was very like a Scottish folk song.  "Stone Cold Sober" only reached number 90 and was a slower tempo ballad.  It reminded me a lot of The Police and The Cars, half British, half American 80s Pop Rock.  "Nothing Ever Happens" was the third single released at the end of 1989 and proved to be the band's biggest hit.  A look at the world in a beautifully simple composition and a chorus that everyone easily remembers.  Classic Pop Rock, love it.  The fourth single "Move Away Jimmy Blue" was a gorgeous ballad in the style of the previous single, minimal backing once again for Justin's emotive vocals.  This track reached 36 and was supposed to cling on to the previous single's success.  The band were a breath of fresh air to me in the dark derelict 90s that were to come. 

"Opposite View" is a kind of Genesis/The Cars hybrid.  Uptempo and twangy guitar solos and crashing drums abound, this track proved that the band could Rock a little if they felt the need.

"You're Gone" is a dark and mysterious track, based around guitar and drums, a slight Country Rock feel and again hard hitting lyrics from Justin.  Perfect production to get that little bit of eerie Celtic darkness in the track.

"When I Want You" is a mid tempo almost quirky track.  It has sad elements and then a happy, positive chorus.  Yet another superbly crafted track by the band.  

"This Side Of The Morning" is like a sea shanty.  Vocals take the lead and you could imagine hardened sailors singing this little song while waiting to sail in an old bar.  

"Empty" is the most Rock song on the album, almost Progressive with more extra Psychedelic sounds in the background.  Some searing guitars and the fast, slow atmospheric elements give it an early 70s vibe.

"Hatful Of Rain" ends the album and pretty much sums up the whole album.  It is no surprise the Greatest Hits package in 1998 was titled the same.  It has the gorgeous melodies, the heartfelt lyrics, simple chorus, minimal backing and great production.  A great album full of hits in my book!