Tuesday, 20 October 2009




mongoose said...

Goddamn hippies! Everywhere you turn.

Elby the Beserk said...


You betcha :-)

As the deadheads say - "We are every where". Saw hem first in '72, and my last does was Bob Weir's Ratdog in New York in 2007. Introduced to them by the Blessed John Peel, who played them on the Perfumed Garden. Stuck in this little boy's head at 15, and still stuck there at 58.

Jerry has moved me beyond words, bless him. To tear, and to joyous uncontrolled laughter. Still does.

Cheers Ishmael. Much appreciated!

mongoose said...

Mr Elby,

Never got around to seeing the Dead. Athough I've bought a couple in my time. A friend of a friend is Mike Churchill from Ten Years After. He tells a few tales... And is now living with his mum and plays golf. How are even the mighty fallen into ruin.

Elby The Beserk said...

Ten Years After! Went to see them at the Free Trade Hall in M'cr - double bill with Jethro Tull. They didn't make it .. for whatever reason.

Always caught the Dead when they were over, bar the one '70 show; sadly, that was two days before my 1st year exams at Oxford, which, if you failed, you were out. Full stop. And I was having too good a time ... then they turned up '72 - my finals term. Dead won, finals lost, and I got a 3.3, a rare honour :-) No regrets.

Only sad I never got to see them in their home territory; no money and lots of kids laid that one to rest. I have had some of the finest times of my life seeing the Dead, for sure.

Not sure (pedant on) I'd classify The Band as hippies (pedant off). Fine fine band, tho', on their own and with Dylan.

call me ishmael said...

We've done The Band, ed.

With God on our side said...

The Dead led me on to The Stanley brothers and Bill Monroe.
And i'm still exploring.

mongoose said...

Mr Elby,

A Gentleman's Third. Well done. Three years not wasted.

I am a bit younger than you. Compared to The Clash even The Band are hippies.

Boris,the in control,berserk said...

Mr Elby,

If only you'd not joined the Bullingdon Club. What might have been?

mongoose said...

And BTW there is this. (Sorry Mr I.) Not the live concert but a lovely thing done afterwards to make the film work. The Staples Singers...

Johnny Winter said...

Give it a rest with the Band,son. Other than backing Bob,they were also rans.

Elby the Beserk said...


Same here! Huge fan of old Amurkan music.

Boris - the hippies and the Bullingdon Club were well in opposition during my time at Oxford. Mind you, so were we and the engineers, a bizarre bunch who would turn up each term with new zip-up cardies knitted by granny, tucked into their jeans. LSD and fine psychedelics were my feast at Oxford, rather than butts champagne and dustbins full of Newkie Brown

Ne'er the twains would meet.

Elby the Beserk said...

@Johhny Winter

You say. Mind you, you weren't bad, given you only had one tune. Actually, I saw you a couple of times and had a ball - but it's always been the same old song, hasn't it - rather like The Allman Brothers. Southern Rock in 2009 is the same as it was in 1969.

Elby the Beserk said...


Loved and love The Clash. Saw them two or three times, including at the wonderful Lyceum, where I also saw the Dead, the Stones, and many many find bands.

mongoose said...

Mr Elby,

If only the first half of the Seventies hadn't happened, eh?

I saw the Clash when they were pimples on their own arses. Must have been 76 or 77. The Ramones too. Then we all went a bit Ska for a year or two - mostly at the Domino Club. This was a mad shebeen in Coventry precinct, an old carpet shop with blacked out windows. The Specials...

Elby the Beserk said...


Coventry Ska thing. Ah yes. I might have seen The Rampones backing Talking Heads. I might have been in the pub tho'. I did see U2 backing Talking Heads, and they were shite. No change there then. My girl's a bit more punk era than I, but I have always welcomed music that pisses folk off. First half of the 70s I think I ignored UK music altogether.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, but what about Yoko Ono?

John Bentley, drummer with the Specials AKA, used to deliver my 'papers. That's about it, in my case, for punk shoulder-rubbing.

He was a very nice chap, John, mature for a 'paper boy, probably doing the Coventry equivalent of paying his dues, man.

lilith said...

Actually, I am marrying Elby because he is a Deadhead :-) (As is Calfy's father...when we broke up there was a mass copying of tapes)

This track is so you, Mr Smith.

Elby's offspring call The Dead's oeuvre "twiddly diddly music".

Sadly I can't find a decent "Lovelight" on youtube, which was the track that bewitched me at 18.

call me ishmael said...

Danko, Manuel and Hudson generally eclipsed in the dwarfspic, Scorsese's, homo-erotic hymn to Robertson and bit-of-rough Helm; this is one of the better parts of The Last Waltz, Mr mongoose.

call me ishmael said...

Whaddayamean, Lilith, so you?

mongoose said...

Mr Ishmael,

I had forgotten you were in Coventry too. I was a child with those children and shared the horror of the destruction of what it was and the thrill of this awkward, black music growing out of what was left and the new people there. The town being of course a true wasteland in those times. It was a fine time. Soon enough I was off to college and never again did I really touch that place.

The Last Waltz is better than that in my eyes but we'll not debate it. Robbie played the guitar in his way as well as anyone. Scrocese was true out of his depth. It was Helm, I think, who was describing the birth of this fusion music - black, gospel, R&B - "in the middle of the land there" and Scorcese asked him what it was called. Levon looked up , paused the pause of The Man, and said "Rock'n'roll".

And not for the first time, the aesthetic affront was Van the Man in his gigolo catsuit. Jesus!

call me ishmael said...

Read Across The Great Divide, for the lowdown on the Robertson-Scorsese-Grossman dimension and how that fuelled Helm's resentments. I didn't say it was a bad or a poor film; just check out how long the camera lingers on Robertson and Helm for support of my theme - that, for all his bullshit, Scorsese sees both the Band and, later, the Blues, as a series of pretty boy images. Even though Robertson wrote, Dylanesque, most of their material, Hudson, Manuel and Danko were the true musos; it is that they were a band that Scorsese neglects, visually.

The Morrison performance was, as you say, something else entirely. Best of all, for my money, was Dr John, seen here a while back.

mongoose said...

I have not studied it, Mr I. It is just a stone in the wall of my youth - watched it a hundred times. It is guitar hero shit, I agree. Too much so. Scorcese? Once art/music gets "clever", you are screwed. One suspects that it was all just money anyway.

Neil Young was plainly as stoned as a rat. Muddy Waters though was the eye-opener for me. I began to like, if I am allowed to say, just plain black music about then.

BTW put Electric Ladyland on the boy's ipod today. They have to be trained and, God, that stuff is good too.

call me ishmael said...

Money and cocaine, in the case of Marty and Robbie.

lilith said...

Uncle John's Band is an invitation to listen to the music, the zeitgeist. Which is rather "you", non?

"You" in the sense that your "walls are built of canon balls, your moto is "don't tread on me"...

Meant in an admiring kind of way.

lilith said...

Motto, not moto.

call me ishmael said...

Ah, so.

I always liked the patient, gentle meandering, the could-be-Celtic chord structure, the falsetto; a cousin, I feel, to Lay down, my dear sister, won't you lay and take your rest....

Thanks, Lilith.

Elby the Beserk said...

Robbie R the classic case of total cunt and fine artist. Levon I love to bits and always have done, he drove The Band, and is still putting out fine, fine Rock 'n/& (delete as applicable) Roll music. And the Band were - as the Dead described themselves in one of the periods of full-on mentalist R &/n R (early '71), a "shoot 'em up saloon bar band" - which is what the Band, in their incarnation as The Hawks, in Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks, were. The true test of a great rock 'n roll band - how would they be in a rowdy fuck off bar?

Coventry. Christ what a fucking wasteland. Been there twice, once to see Man City play in the Jimmy Hill days, when I was chased to the station by a gang of yodelling skinheads, some couple of miles it seemed to me, with the filth watching on and laughing. Made it as I was very fit in those days and have and had fucking long legs. The other time was to a Librarian's conference. Happily, they didn't chase me to the station, tho' Cataloguers are as mad as skinheads on the rampage.

woman on a raft said...

chased by a gang of yodelling skinheads

Frank Ifield has a lot to answer for, although strictly speaking he can't be held personally responsible for being born in Coventry.

mongoose said...

Yes, a couple of miles is about right, Mr Elby. Far enough for the laughably named "Sky Blue Army" to kick a few backsides. See Coventry and die. Indeed it felt like it. A complete shit-hole then and very little better now.

mongoose said...

And there is no reason, Mrs WOAR, for profanity. Frank Fucking Ifield? We used to throws stones at him in the street. Hunted him out of the town with dogs.

call me ishmael said...

I have no need, Mrs WOAR, to follow your link, She Taught Me To Yodel, as I am sure it is, was a favourite of Mere Smith of distant memory, bless her, a harmonica-playing, Belfast mill girl; the maxim, only the good die young, however often I try it on, remains a hair shirt with a Ruth Man Kelly level of self- inflicted suffering.

Coventry isn't that bad, or no worse than many other places picked-up and then dropped by, in this case, the car industry but some branch, anyway of the Holy Free Market and if you head South you come to Kenilworth and Warwick and Stratford and Leamington Spa, none of them what they used to be but still fine English towns, Christmas Eve in St Mary's in Warwick as good a night of showbiz haute as is ever performed in the Lord's name. Further yet lie the Cotswolds, home of Jeremy Klaxon, Broadway and Chipping Campden, through which the poor are allowed to drive, agape.

Lots of mediaeval buildings, still, the new Cathedral, old pubs like The Dyers Arms, some good schools, Warwick University and everywhere, in parks and around the town centre, an almost tangible presence of War's Desolation, of memento mori.

If one must be in the city, there are worse than the city of three spires, mr mongoose.

mongoose said...

It is all very well being generous, Mr Ishmael, and as Midland cities go, Coventry is not as bad as, say, wulver-AMtum, wistBROM or even lestA. For a triumph of infrastructural planning btw I offer you the M69 - a motorway from Coventry to Leicester, built so that people can more easily go somewhere even more fucking horrible than where they are.

The Cathedral and the Golden Cross, yes, the charms of the Warwick Uni girls - speccy-eyed intello-totty, Mr Elby, often from the Engineering Dept - who ventured as far as Earlsdon at weekends. I wonder if they still do. But that is it.

You failed to mention the concrete wilderness of "The Precinct", the feral, forgotten souls of Wood End, the countless acres of Council shit-heap tenements out in Tile Hill - where the unemployed live, the appalling food, the atrocious beer "Too bruws, luv, plyze", the freakish horror show as dickhead union reps destroyed an engineering industry of world reknown and quality, the ghettoes out in Stoke and Binley, the pompous, vile ladder-up fuckers out on the Kenilworth Road. Even the bloody ring road is a shrine to incompetence and vileness on an almost Stalinesque scale. "Excuse me, Mr Planner, Sir, but that appears to be a tenth century monastic edifice of some sort. Is it all right to put this mighty concrete slip-road right over it's roof?" "Shut it, yow, and go geruz some spam cobs furuz dinna."

And get thee up the Foleshill Road and see what you see. Fucking wasteland, mile after mile of misery and your prize at the end? Beduth and Nuneaton, the plain, wallflower girls at the end of the known universe. Jesus, I'd rather die in bastard Bedworth than live in Coventry.

Frank Ifield a-crooning in The Craftsman of a Friday night. Yeck, I thought that I had forgotten. It is too much to bear.

call me ishmael said...

Those things are here, there and everywhere, mr m, not an especial burden on Coventrians.

woman on a raft said...

I just thought Mr Elby might like to know precisely why he was chased by a rare tribe of yodelling skinheads. Surely this is the kind of thing which haunts nightmares - why were they yodelling? Anthropologists have built careers on less, if they didn't get their heads kicked in while doing the field research.

Frank is still with us and looking bloody marvellous - which illustrates the wisdom of leaving Coventry and supports Mr Mongoose's point.

Part of the unfairness of life is that despite hanging around in all that sun, Ifield hasn't shrivelled and I doubt he's carrying even 2 stone more than he did as a young man. He's in far better nick than Dylan, not that Bob was exactly Mr Photo even as a teenager, but still, he doesn't look to me like there has been much remedial work other than making sure he always, always had a good sunscreen. Compared to the re-surfacing which Clint Eastwood has had done over the years, Ifield manages to look pretty similar working with nothing but Nivea and a standard haircut. Let that be a lesson to us all.

On Monday June 8, 2009 Frank Ifield was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours, receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to entertainment.

Mere Smith would have been pleased to know how well his career went and that it matured and endured. Ifield became a respected interpreter of country music.

call me ishmael said...

Not by me, he didn't.

mongoose said...


As I had threatened, I did indeed invest 50p in putting Frank on the pub jukebox. I was almost lynched. May we be preserved from such madness next weekend. There is no excuse for such depravity. Even in Coventry.

lilith said...

LOVED the Frank Ifield link Mrs Raft. Neighbours all got a good sunday morning clocks have gone back blast :-)

Elby the Beserk said...


Thanks you hugely for the Frank Ifield; alone, a justification for Coventry. Did he/family not emigrate to Oz, so that he could be the progenitor of Australian Country & Western? We have a stall in the local market which seems to sell nothing but Irish Country and Western, which, given the amount of fine music issuing from the place (excluding Gob Beldof and bloody U2), seems ... odd.

Tip of the hat to the cathedral, as well.

This former Northerner has always held the midlands in contempt; apart from regular visits to Aston Uni, a former customer when I was employed, I have only once set foot in Brum. Odd, I have to say.

Wolverhampton; in our 12 hour pre motorway journeys to family holidays in Cornwall, the first stop for thermos tea was in the shadow of the Cathedral. Theo only other visit was to Molyneux, where the natives made me feel entirely unwelcome.

Soft spot for the Villa tho' - saw City win their semi there the year we last won the cup, 1489, I think; great ground and a total sacrilege that they destroyed the front - one of the great walks of football, striding up to Villa Park.

What it used to look like

Another fine Archibald Leach piece of stadium architecture.

As for Warwick Uni, I will shortly be wed to a former student of said institution :-)

Been there a couple of times for gigs. Jah Wobble & Bill Laswell was very fine, but the place is an abomination.

Frank Ifield. What a star. The charts were so much more fun way back when.

I remember yooooooooooooooooooooo

Mr. Mongoose. Juke boxes. I had a mate from Sheffield who was a Wednesdayite. We'd go to Hillsborough on and off, and return on a few pints of the very fine Barnsley Bitter, only once coming a cropper. We hit one pub after a game, full of low types, and we put Celebration by Cliff on the juke box 10 times. Pre-programmable. We left as the third iteration commenced...

mongoose said...

Mr Elby,

Where I now hang out they think that I am a notherner. Watford gap and all that jazz.

Frank Fucking Ifield - his real middle name btw - may God forgive you all.

Good wheeze with the jukebox, mind. One of the joys of the modern mega-jukebox is slipping some mad vileness into a Friday night. I am quite fond of the Max Boyce gambit - Hymns and Arias. Quite useful if it's too busy. Thins out the crowd. Committing suicide in the yard, I shouldn't wonder.