Sunday, 27 February 2011

From the Top Drawer VII - Eden

Another cassette release from the A Real Kavoom (ARK) label based in Cornwall in the 1980s.

This is a solo album by multi-instrumentalist Eden aka Phil Pickering, better known as the bassist/vocalist of Webcore and later Zuvuya. Described in the ARK catalogue as 'Interestingly Intoxicating Alternative Overtones Alternatively Intoxicatingly Interesting Well Worth A Listen', it features an early version of 'Nothing Can Stop Us Now' later covered to great effect by Webcore.

Side One: Drifting In Time/Around Around (The Sleeper)/Jumping The Gun/Stay Ahead/Nothing Can Stop Us Now

Side Two: Carousel/Elephant/The Fly/A Second Time Around/Re-Creation

Ripped from an original cassette @320kbps

Download HERE

Saturday, 19 February 2011

From the Top Drawer VI - Mandorla Mu

Coming from a slightly different musical angle this time, although these folks started out playing at some of the same venues and stages as many of the other bands posted here - indeed I was introduced to their amazing music when I saw them playing at a Club Dog night at The George Robey in Finsbury Park.

Band member Stephen Kent has since gone on to pursue a successful solo career and to play with many of the luminaries of the loosely termed 'world music' scene as well as electronic pioneers like Spacetime Continuum and Steve Roach, Kenneth Newby has also played with Steve Roach and has issued several albums under his own name, and Eddie Sayer has featured on many electro-acoustic collaborations.

They started out playing in Camden Lock Market in London calling themselves 'Mandorla Mu' and only later through a mistake in a WOMAD appearance billing did they change their name accordingly to carry on as 'Lights In A Fat City'. Their first cassette issue from 1986(?), still credited to Mandorla Mu and basically a demo tape representation of that Camden era, is what I'm posting here today. You can find the story of their early days in London on Stephen Kent's site here.

This is a fantastic mixture of traditional didjeridu music, bamboo flute, assorted ethnic percussion and other instruments, which on some tracks receive electronic treatment to transport the listener to places far beyond. Their first album as Lights In A Fat City which came out on These Records in 1988 was called 'Somewhere' and was supposedly 'the first contemporary release of didjeridu music in the northern hemisphere' - well worth tracking down, as are all their subsequent projects.

The tape has been ripped as two side-long tracks @320 kbps and the individual tunes are listed on the artwork below.



 Help yourself to the sounds HERE

Saturday, 12 February 2011

From the Top Drawer V - Ozric Tentacles

Time for some Ozric Tentacles, methinks.
Much has been written about the amazing story of this band, from their beginnings at the Stonehenge Festival to their present day worldwide appreciation, how they've sold over a million albums on independent labels and carved out a niche as one of the most classic spacerock/fusion bands of all time. And how the ever-shifting line-up has given musicians who've passed through the ranks a chance to hone their jamming skills to go on to play with other acts such as Jamiroquai, Eat Static and Hole(!). I was lucky enough to have caught them at Stonehenge and saw many of their early gigs.

This is the original soundboard recording of a gig they played at The Star pub in Croydon, Surrey on the 23rd of November 1985. I know it's the original tape, because I took along an TDK SA90 cassette on the off chance that I could get the mix engineer to pop it in his deck to do a recording for me. Happily he agreed and this is the result. The whole thing is only about 53 minutes long as the Ozrics were the support that night to a local band (called 'The Moonbats' if memory serves me right) and it was the other band's arranged gig, hired PA etc. (You can hear Ed apologizing for not being able to go on longer as 'the other band have got to play').

I must have lent the tape out to a couple of people as somehow it has made its way into the trader community and is even listed here -
I have some corrections to make to the details on that page. Neither Gavin nor Roly were playing (Gavin had already left to form The Ullulators and Roly was absent) and the congas you can hear were played by Paul Hankin who's not credited, along with Ben (don't know his full name) who was filling in for Roly but playing a fretless bass. Apart from this the line-up is correct (and Joie does want a hairy tomato - maybe his only vocal during an Ozrics set!?). There is an extra track on my tape (a shortened version of the Erpriff) which appears after the tape flip (joined) so it is longer than the listed set.

I don't have any picturers of the Croydon gig (didn't have a camera at the time) so here's a couple from Club Dog at Wood Green in September 1986. You can see how having an open guest musician policy sometimes leads to a bit of a crowded stage! Notice how people are actually sitting down in front of the stage - gigs were then sometimes that much of a laid-back experience.

The Croydon set is ripped @320 kbps and the download link is HERE

Monday, 7 February 2011

Run From The Cure

If you knew someone who was suffering with cancer, or if you were suffering yourself, wouldn't you want to try out a cure that showed itself to be effective and avoided having to deal with the horrors of chemotherapy? If you knew that it could be made at home or by a friend and you could treat yourself, wouldn't that be even better? You might think so. You might also be asking yourself why this treatment wasn't available to you by going through the usual channels eg. doctor, hospital, specialist clinic etc. Lots of questions.

However, when you hear that this claimed effective medicine is made from hemp oil, with a high THC content, (yes that same 'drug' that, following an outrageous financially-driven but also racist propaganda campaign dating from the 1930s, those 'experts' in government and law have forbidden you, aka marijuana, cannabis, etc) then you know that you will have to make a choice whether to become a living outlaw or potentially a doomed chemotherapy patient at the mercy of the medical establishment.

I won't say any more, just watch this video called 'Run From The Cure' (because that's what the authorities and Big Pharma are doing) and make up your own mind.

To quote -
This is the Rick Simpson Story. After a serious head injury in 1997, Rick Simpson sought relief from his medical condition through the use of medicinal hemp oil. When Rick discovered that the hemp oil (with its high concentration of T.H.C.) cured cancers and other illnesses, he tried to share it with as many people as he could free of charge. When the story went public, the long arm of the law snatched the medicine - leaving potentially thousands of people without their cancer treatments - and leaving Rick with unconsitutional charges of possessing and trafficking marijuana!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

From the Top Drawer IV - Vane

Before there was Webcore or Ring Of Roses, and before there was Lapwing or The New Apes, there was...Vane.

Formed in Chelmsford, Essex and active between 1981-83, I don't know a lot about their history other than the fact that they certainly played in Chelmsford and in London at the usual 'underground' venues of the time, and played at the Stonehenge Festival in 1982 (I first heard about them from some friends who had seen them play there and been mightily impressed - I never did get to see them, shame...). The best source of info that I can find about the band online comes from an interview with keyboard/synth player Paul Chousmer at Aural Innovations.

Great gothic/Bowie-tinged vocals with acid-dipped lyrics backed by the typical flanged guitars of the period, inventive synth playing and accomplished drumming.
Here's their self-titled tape of recordings distributed by A Real Kavoom. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures to publish other than the tape cover.
Only 5 tracks, shame there aren't more (on this tape anyway - I shall be posting a couple of live sets in due course).

Ripped @320kbps as two side-long tracks -
Side One - Wake Me / Glad Again
Side Two - One Too / Dumb, Dumb, Dumb / God Likes Us

Download HERE

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


Today is the traditional feast of Candlemas, 2nd February.
I'm certainly not a Christian and this is one of their celebrations (the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple - yeah, whatever), but it has some interesting weather folklore attached to it and marks the 40th day after Christmas, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox.

In the United Kingdom, good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later:
"If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, winter will have another bite.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, winter is gone and will not come again."
The forecast is for cloud and maybe some rain where I am, so things could be looking up...

It's also alleged to be the date that bears emerge from hibernation to inspect the weather along with wolves, but if they choose to return to their lairs on this day, this is interpreted as meaning severe weather will continue for another forty days at least. Well, I haven't seen too many bears and wolves around here recently but I'll be having a look out of the window later to see if any urban foxes are going through my neighbours' bins.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011