Live/Dead – Grateful Dead

This is going to be a short entry today as we are travelling through the Scottish highlands and my phone signal is pretty unreliable. This was our in car listening today as we wound our way through the Wester Ross countryside. About a year ago I listened to about 50 versions of Dark Star (I know, I know). I was on a mission to find, what I thought was, the best version of the track. And where was the ultimate version of Dark Star played, The Filmore East, Budokan, Woodstock, Winterland Arena, Madison Square Garden? Of course not, it was played in Bickershaw, Lancashire and appears on the Europe ’72 Vol. 2 album.
My wife has one up on me with the Dead, she saw them live in the early 90s. It really rankles me, especially when I asked her if they played Dark Star and her reply was ‘What’s that?’
Like the guy I met once who saw Joy Division in 1979, I asked him if it was a life changing event. He said actually no it wasn’t as he left after two songs to get a bag of chips.
One word review; Man!

Easter – Patti Smith Group

Every night on sep’rate stars, before we go to sleep, we pray so breathlessly.
I have a very deep and powerful memory relating to this album that I have carried around with me since 1978. It is what I have termed my Patti epiphany. I was sitting on a sofa, in Jimmy Smiths’s house, on a Saturday evening waiting for Dr. Who to start (has my life really changed so little). Jimmy’s older brother was getting dressed for a night on the town, he was looking in the mirror, combing back his hair and singing Because the Night. The song seemed to possess him and his hands, which would travel through his hair as the excitement of his evening, and the Patti Smith song, mixed in an intoxicating rite of passage, mixed in a heady brew, mixed in a yearning, that would take him to New Durham Working Men’s Club, the Mecca of desire (this last bit is spoken word poetry and should be recited in the style of Patti Smith, à la Babelogue). But, joking aside, this was my first glimpse at the power of rock music, and what it could do to a rational, albeit spotty 18 year old Rod Stewart fan, with a thing about his hair.
I have always loved Because the Night since then and bought Easter not long after. Tons of great tracks on this album, Till Victory, Because the Night, Space Monkey (which is bonkers), Easter. Everyone goes on about her lyrical brilliance, aural poetry, art-rock experiments, but in the end, you know what, the girl can sing. And now, she is the world’s coolest OAP.
Hidden Gem; We Three
Two word review; Literate rock