::                                                              ::
  ::                     - WHAT'S RATTLIN'? -                     ::
  ::     The Weekly (or so) Digest for Canterbury Music Addicts   ::
  ::                         Issue # 169                          ::
  ::                  Friday, November 17th, 2000                 ::
  ::                                                              ::


                     JOHN GREAVES : BACK AT LAST !

Many of our favourite artists on the Canterbury scene take a lot longer inbetween albums than we would wish, and John Greaves is no exception. His latest solo album, the magnificent "Songs", came out in 1995, and his last album of entirely new material to date was "La Petite Bouteille De Linge" nine years ago. Of course, John has been far from inactive since then - numerous concerts and recordings with the likes of Peter Blegvad and Michael Mantler among others, not to mention quite a few that are still in the pipeline. But his upcoming new release, "The Caretaker", can only be seen as a major event. And not simply because John Greaves album are so rare - based on hearing it once, and seeing John perform some of them live, I can safely say that this, to my ears, is his best album so far. Of course I have a soft spot for "Songs", but "The Caretaker" focusses on John's talents as a vocalist and bass player much more extensively and very successfully indeed.

Although the album features many guest appearances, it is consistent in the use of the guitar/bass/drums trio as the foundation of the sound (in the same way "Songs" was based on acoustic guitar, piano and double bass). John makes a welcome return to bass guitar, and is joined by Francois Ovide on guitar and newcomer Manuel Denizet on drums. As Ovide, an in-demand session and live player, wasn't available for live work, John has been joined by another well-known figure of the Canterbury scene, French guitar virtuoso Patrice Meyer, best known for his work with Hugh Hopper's band. The new trio (christened "New Band") began rehearsing earlier this year and has already played a handful of gigs, including two nights at Jacky Barbier's well-known club in deepest Burgundy.

I had the privilege to attend both these gigs late last month, and can only wish there will be many more to come. I had reservations at first regarding the sparse instrumentation, but this is certainly one of the best "power trios" I have seen - John and Manu make up a very tight and inventive rhythm section, and Patrice admirably fills up the space with a variety of sounds and styles that never lets you wish for a larger line-up. And the repertoire, which includes the obligatory "classics" - "Silence", "How Beautiful You Are", "Green Fuse", "Almost Perfect Lovers" and an unbelievably rocky "Bee Dream", to quote a few - has been totally re-approached to suit this format.

The details of when and on which label "The Caretaker" will come out have yet to be finalised, but to whet your appetite here are excerpts from a conversation I had with John about the album:

Q: Compared to the acoustic flavour of "Songs", this new album is almost the opposite - very electric. Was that already apparent at the writing stage? Did you adapt the songs to suit this general direction, or would you say they are intrinsically electric and rockier?

A: Well, I guess they are. Although in my experience of songs and songwriting, not my own but lots of other people whose work I adore, I think if a song is good you can do it just any way you like, really. These songs were conceived for this band, which actually I suppose is the answer to your question. I haven't really done that since "Parrot Fashions", where there were several songs which were definitely conceived with... well, the same guitar player, of course: Francois. I knew I had the great opportunity of having this group, we had done a few rehearsals before we decided to do this record, although we didn’t ever get on the road with Francois and Manu. But I thought if we couldn’t do that, then we’d better get in the studio and do some stuff specifically written for that. And I think I’m right in saying that just about all the songs were written with that in mind. Apart from "The Wrong Song", which I wrote later, and there are no drums on it, so it’s different...

Q: In terms of the group approach, one gets the feeling that a lot of the arrangements were really put together from jamming together in the rehearsal room...

A: Absolutely, in rehearsal. There’s a lot of fuss about arranger credits and producer credits and everything else... I mean, I always think that, unless you’re going to the studio and you use a rhythm box, or you tell a drummer to play on the third or fourth quaver every bar or whatever you do, I think all musicians contribute to the arrangement, and to the construction, and the production of the songs. Particularly in this case, because... I’ve never actually gone with a bunch of musicians, saying ‘you play this’ and ‘you play that’ - maybe I’m just not capable of doing that. Maybe for technical reasons, or... I rather prefer to think... not ethical reasons, musical reasons really. You should, if musicians have got something to say, then you should let them play what they want to play... It’s still exploitative though - I mean, I still want to get the very best out of anybody I work with!

Q: And that also goes back to what you were saying about the songs being adaptable.

A: Yes. I suppose so. It takes a degree of confidence in the writing. But it’s a great privilege, they’re very supportive, and I don’t have any doubts about whether whether they're going to like it or not? I don’t even ask the question, I mean I suppose they’d tell me if they didn’t! And obviously there were a few pointers here and there, some harmonic structures - actually they’re quite precise, the harmonic structures, but within that, Francois contributed enormously to the way the thing sounds. And Manu as well, again, I wanted to work with him cause I liked the way he plays - I mean, I like the way he is, he’s very free, but other times he’s there and sounds like a good old rock’n’roll drummer to me. And it’s a very fine line, that, a very fine balance, very hard to... Well, I can’t say it’s hard to achieve, because I think, immodestly, we achieved it!!

Q: Unlike "Songs", you sing all lead vocals on this album. Is this the sign of a newfound confidence in your ability as a singer?

A: I think it might be.... That is either because I have the confidence, or that, as I prefer to think, that... again, as time goes by, you develop a certain objectivity, perhaps, about your own voice that you think might actually be of interest to the listener. Or because it might be the complete delusions of some egomaniacal nut... You take your pick, really! I prefer the middle one, I think. It's impossible, I don’t know how anybody can listen to their own voice and think, "wow, that’s great!". Unless, of course, if you were... unless you’re Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, then you can understand - you know what I mean... It’s very hard. But between the enjoying the process of singing and the listening back, I’ve got over the shock that I had when I used to... I’ve always enjoyed singing, since I was fourteen, but I did suffer from the delusions... I always thought that I must sound like Frank Sinatra. So when I heard myself back on the tape, it was a terrible shock to me to find out that I didn’t. Didn’t sound like Frank Sinatra at all!! So that hasn’t changed much, I mean, I sing slightly less out-of-tune, but I don’t sound any more like Frank Sinatra!! (laughs)


Today I received information on a newly published book, "MW3", which is the common work of artist Jean-Michel Marchietti and Robert Wyatt. Some of you may be familiar with the first two volumes of this series, which consist of original English versions and French translations of some of Robert's lyrics, accompanied with drawings by Marchietti. Sadly, both volumes are now out of print in their "regular" version, and only some of the more expensive limited editions are still available. But the good news is that "MW3" has just been published.

It includes the following lyrics:
"Pataphysical Introduction", "Muddy Mouth", "Born Again Cretin", "Vandalusia", "Mass Medium", "Pigs", "Amber And The Amberines", "Another Great Victory", "The Duchess", "The End", "War Without Blood" and "Alliance"
plus three previously unpublished texts:
"For Thomas Bernhard", "Benchmarks" and "Toledo/Texas"

The second volume, "M2W", came with a CD of Robert reading two of his lyrics. This time, the book comes with a bonus CD which is a tribute to Robert's music by various artists covering his songs, including Pascal Comelade, Jo Bogaert, Chris Cutler, Jean-Francois Pauvrois, Look de Bouk, Toupidek Limonade (ex-Hellebore), Jaggernaut, L'Ensemble Raye... and Robert himself.

The "regular" edition (271 copies printed) of the book and CD is available for 200 francs. A limited edition, signed by the artists and including an original painting, costs 700 francs.

This superb collector's item can be ordered from:

Association AEncrages & Co
5, place du Vieux Gerardmer
88400 Gerardmer (France)

(Cheques and IMOs made payable to "Association AEncrages & Co")

More information:
E-mail: mailto:aencrages.roland.chopard@wanadoo.fr


PS: I hope to meet some of you at the Caravan concert in Paris or at the Dreamtime gig in London on November 29th! - AL


From: Jim Powers <j.and.m.powers@juno.com>
Subject: Gong in Lawrence KS
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 10:11:24 -0500 (EST)

Dear Aymeric,

I finally saw Gong, in Lawrence KS. What a great show! The club, The Bottleneck, seemed huge with them playing in it. My wife, who has a working familiarity with Gong from hearing my CDs appreciated the fact that Daevid was having such a good time entertaining us, and made a much greater effort to put on a show than many other recent bands do these days. Daevid also, at the beginning, noted that Lawrence, Kansas was the birthplace of William S. Burroughs, and that Gong hadn't played there in 21 years, so he really knows his geography and cares where his fans are and what their homelands are all about. As a jazz fan, he might want to visit Kansas City, Missouri (where we live) to see the 18th and Vine Jazz District and Museum (under expansion right now). Sun Ra's Arkestra (under the direction of Marshall Allen) make it a point to play here once a year, (usually Halloween). But I digress.

Catch you on the flip side,

Jim Powers


From: PT <normalsf@grin.net>
Subject: Mushroom vs. Faust vs. Bundy K Brown
Date: Wed, 01 Nov 2000 09:41:22 -0800

This might interest some of you:

The San Francisco band Mushroom,
who also doubles as the band University Of Errors with Daevid Allen.
and who also has backed up Kevin Ayers on occasion,

has recently combined efforts with Krautrockers FAUST
and Tortoise founder Bundy K Brown for a 12 inch vinyl of remixes.
titled: Compared To What/Mushroom vs. Faust vs. Bundy K Brown

This is a 180 gram, green vinyl of all new Mushroom recordings getting the remix treatment from Bundy and Faust.

For those unfamilar with Mushrom, the sounds range from space rock to progressive jazz... with Faust and Bundy providing their own special flavors. Trumpet player Jon Birdsong, known for his work with Beck and Beth Orton, is heavily featured. So fans of 70s Miles Davis and Ian Carr, would be wise to check it out as well.

For more info and ordering, check out: http://www.weedrecords.com



From: Rick Chafen
Subject: Curly's Airships
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 09:15:01 -0800 (PST)

Hello, Rattlers all,

After some years of silence, but avid reading, I have chosen a momentous occasion for my premier missive.

Imagine a brand-new piece of English rock music that spans nearly 2 hours, with no choruses, few melodies and only the briefest of recurring themes! Sounds like it should be right down a Canterburian's alley, doesn't it?

May I direct everyone to http://www.curlysairships.com for the complete scoop about this extraordinary new project, six years in the making.  Curly's Airships tells a true story along the way - a gripping tale of
the last two giant airships built by Great Britain in the 1920s.  

The project was created and manifest by Van der Graaf Generator founder, Judge Smith. Several other better-known members of VdGG are present - organist Hugh Banton is featured throughout - on a variety of historically-relevant organs - and there are significant and memorable flute, whistle, and saxophone contributions from David Jackson, and a terrific cameo vocal role for Peter Hammill as the villain of the story.  John 'Fury' Ellis, a member of Hammill's K Group, is the guitarist on all tracks and it's a delight to hear his intricate work.

Paul Roberts and Arthur Brown complete the cast, while the sound itself is augmented by such things as seances, sitars, shanties, a wonderful Tenor and a mystery marching band. Still, no Canterbury connection?  Well, I'll try for two more: 1) Arthur Brown did appear at this summer's Canterbury Festival, and 2) Curly's last airship, the R101, probably flew right over Canterbury on its ill-fated flight, during the section entitled Bedford to Hastings.

Judge Smith describes this not as an opera, nor a rock-opera, and not even a concept album. It is, he insists, related through a new medium called Songstory.

Most Hammill fans I know are also Rattling away, so for all of you who rattle without Hammill and his henchmen, here's an ideal chance to broaden horizons. This music must be heard beyond obscurity. It cannot be contained in any category, except "exhilarating to experience"!
Cheers to all. Happy listening.


From: "Miguel Terol" <mterol@gva.es>
Subject: Greenslade gigs in November
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 11:48:35 +0100

Hi, Aymeric and everybody!

I've received the info about forthcoming gigs by Greenslade. The  progressive band is back again, they've just released a new album  and they're going to play some gigs in England this same month.

This is the lineup for live concerts:

Dave Greenslade (keyboards)
Tony Reeves (bass)
John Young (keyboards, vocals) (from John Wetton's Band)
John Trotter (drums) (from Manfred Mann Earth Band)

Gigs are:

22 - Wavendon, The Stables
23 - Wolverhampton - Robin Hood 2
24 - London - Astoria, Charing Cross Rd
25 - Southampton, Brook
26 - Tavistock - The Warf

More gigs to come in February 2001.

Best regards,
Miguel Terol

The Musicians' Olympus:


From: Clay Gaunce <thetrip@pop.uky.edu>
Subject: "Hopper Tunity Box"
Date: Thu, 02 Nov 2000 18:51:25 -0500

I'd like to purchse a copy of "Hopper Tunity Box" but am having difficulty finding it. Out of print? Any fellow 'Rattler's out there know where or from whom I might purchase a copy?

Always a pleasure, Aymeric.

Clay Gaunce


From: "Anthony Shaw" <tonyshaw@clinet.fi>
Subject: Live to Infinitea
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 17:48:11 +0200

Here's a copy of a review appearing at http://www.allaboutjazz.com for what it's worth!

For old PHP's there's also an article I wrote on Daevid Allen there, and lots of other more refined reading on American jazz-related musak.


In the age of digital precision, it's a reassurance to know that the  spontaneity of live recording is not extinct. And when the band in question has a sum total of over 100 years of professional experience it's a tonic to hear the power of the record. The disc provides ample evidence that Gong both should  and shouldn't be included under the jazz rubric! The selection of 14 tracks includes 10 pieces from February's funk-jazz inspired ZERO 2 INFINITY(SNA 824), featuring all 7 musicians on that CD in league with the same man behind the mixing console since 1973, Switch Doctor David Id. The band's style still veers like that of its co-founder Daevid Allen between sheer outer-spacedness of his multiple echoed glissando guitar (Infinitea and Invisible Temple), to an earthy freeform interplay with the 2 reed layers, veteran Gongist Didier  Malherbe on flute, soprano and alto saxes, and doudouk, and newcomer Theo Travis on saxes and flute (on Foolefare and Magdalene).

As an introduction to the music of Gong this album represents the same  potpouri of styles that has been typical of their production for over 30 years. However the main focus, as the title suggests, is singularly the music of this  millenium's tour lineup. The 10 new pieces are the combined works of all band members from north african Dervish wind work by Malherbe, to the disco-funk of  drummer Chris Taylor and more standard freeform saxophony of Travis. Blended in are 3 standards from Gong's classic LPs of the early 70s, Zero the Hero and the Witch's Spell, Inner Temple and the wistful, poetic Selene, first penned in 1969 by Allen with co-founder Gilly Smyth. She adds her characteristic vocal witchery (originally described as space whisper) here and elsewhere, while bassist Mike Howlett slips in odd allusions to other of the band's golden oldies from those halcyon years.

Instead of swaying new listeners to the far-fling Gong diaspora (the band  currently being on a 3 continent tour), this album shows their abiding strength is in live performance. They demonstrate energy far beyond that appropriate for a band with an average age well into the 50s, skills honed during those intermittent decades on the road, and proof that audience contact was the spice that was missing from their last 2 studio CDs. I can vouch that seeing is believing (a 2 hour plus non-stop performance witnessed during the summer), but in lieu the of direct experience LIVE GONG will resound around your cranium to your continuing delight.

PS Apologies to Gwyo Zepix for omitting reference to his invaluable cynthetic contributions on the disc.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*               FORTHCOMING CANTERBURY-RELATED CONCERTS                 *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

        [for more info : check out the 'Concerts' page of CALYX]

==> CARAVAN <===========================================================

Nov 25 - PARIS (France), Le Bataclan

Line-up: Pye Hastings, Geoff Richardson, David Sinclair,
         Richard Coughlan, Doug Boyle, Jim Leverton, Simon Bentall

==> GONG <===============================================================

Nov 20 - LONDON, Hackney Empire [also: Invisible Opera Co. of Tibet & Zorch] / Nov 22 - SHREWSBURY, Music Hall / Nov 23 - WHITLEY BAY, Dome / Nov 24 - ABERDEEN, Lemon Tree / Nov 25 - GLASGOW, Renfrew Ferry / Nov 26 - EDINBURGH, Liquid Rooms / Nov 27 - BIRMINGHAM, The Foundry / Nov 28 - SHEFFIELD, Boardwalk / Nov 29 - CAMBRIDGE, Junction / Nov 30 - NORTHAMPTON, Roadmenders / Dec 01 - ALDERSHOT, West End Centre

Line-up: Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Mike Howlett, Theo Travis,
         Gwyo Zeprix, Chris Taylor + Didier Malherbe [in London]

==> GONGZILLA <==========================================================

Dec 12 - PITTSBURGH (PA) / Dec 13 - BUFFALO (NY) / Dec 14 - CLEVELAND (OH) / Dec 15 - CINCINATTI (OH) / Dec 18 - DETROIT (MI)

Line-up: Bon Lozaga, Hansford Rowe, Benoit Moerlen & Vic Stevens

==> DIDIER MALHERBE / HADOUK TRIO <======================================

Nov 28 - EPINAL, Theatre Municipal / Dec 18 - PARIS, New Morning / Jan 19 - CHOISY-LE-ROI, Theatre Paul Eluard [Festival Sons d'Hiver] / Mar 23 - VILLEBON-SUR-YVETTE, MJC Bobby Lapointe / Apr 05 - TRAPPES, Le Grenier A Sel / Apr 24 - QUIMPER, Theatre de Cornouailles

with Loy Ehrlich (hajaj & synth) & Philippe Foch [Nov 28] / Steve Shehan [other dates] (percussion)

More info: http://www.malherbedidier.com


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*                        AND OTHER GOOD GIGS...                         *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

==> DREAMTIME <==========================================================

Nov 29 - LONDON, Red Rose Club (Finsbury Park) / Dec 13 - LONDON, Red Rose Club (Finsbury Park)

Line-up: Gary Curson (sax), Jim Dvorak (trumpet),
         Nick Evans (trombone), Keith Tippett (piano),
         Roberto Bellatella (double bass), Jim LeBaigue (drums)

==> JOHN ETHERIDGE <=====================================================

Nov 18 - LAUNCETON with Sweet Chorus / Nov 23 - POOLE with Dave Gordon Trio [+ Chris Garrick] / Nov 24 - MAIDSTONE with Dave Gordon Trio / Nov 19 - TEIGNMOUTH, Festival / Nov 25/26 - LONDON, Pizza Express Jazz Club / Nov 27 - YEOVIL, Jazz Club (The Ski Centre) / Nov 30 - OXFORD, The Spin (Wheatsheaf Pub) / Dec 01 - LONDON, Vortex Jazz Bar, with Chris Garrick & Malcolm Creese / Dec 02 - LONDON, Vortex Jazz Bar, quintet with Hugh Warren & Ian Thomas

More info: http://www.johnetheridge.f9.co.uk

==> F.FRITH/I.MORI/Z.PARKINS <===========================================

Jan 12 - PARIS (France), Sons d'Hiver [solos evening] / Jan 13 - PARIS (France), Sons d'Hiver [Traffic Continues w. Ensemble Modern]

==> MAGMA <==============================================================

Nov 18 - MARSEILLE (France), Espace Julien / Nov 23 - MULHOUSE (France), Le Noumatrouff / Nov 24 - NANCY (France), Salle Poirel / Dec 22 - RENNES (France), Salle de la Cite

==> SUPERSISTER <========================================================

Nov 30 - TILBURG (Netherlands), 013 / Dec 03 - AMSTERDAM (Netherlands), Paradiso

==> BARBARA THOMPSON'S PARAPHERNALIA <===================================

Dec 01 - NORTHAMPTON, The Roadmender

Line-up: Barbara Thompson (saxes & flute), Jon Hiseman (drums),
         Peter Lemer (keyboards), Billy Thompson (violin),
         Paul Westwood (bass)


                          END OF ISSUE 169

WHAT'S RATTLIN'?     -      WHAT'S RATTLIN'?      -     WHAT'S RATTLIN'?

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