From the Rockmine Almanac for today (1st February):
1965. Eighties Euro-pop starlet, Stephanie is born Princess Stephanie Marie Elizabeth of Monaco.
1962. The Beatles play The Cavern Club at lunchtime. At night they perform at the Thistle Cafe, West Kirby, Wirral, Cheshire. This performance is the first for which Brian Epstein took a commission, although he only takes 10% to cover the cost of petrol, oil, and miscellaneous expenses. The Beatles are paid the substantial (for that time) fee of 18 pounds. The Thistle Café was a dance instruction hall and cafe, and for this performance Brian Epstein convinced the proprietor to call it “The Beatle Club”. The show was advertised as the “Grand Opening of The Beatle Club”, but The Beatles never played there again! Support group: Steve Day & the Drifters.
1994. Bobby Farrell, lead singer of Boney M, is given a two year suspended sentence when he appears in court at Leystad, Holland. Farrell admitted pouring petrol over his wife during a row in August 1992 when she threatened to sell the copyright to the group’s name which she owned. Although the singer said he would set fire to his wife, a friend was able to calm the situation. Farrell told the court that he did not mean to harm his wife. He was sentenced to one month in prison, suspended for two years.
2000. Jerry Lee Lewis goes to a local hospital after cutting his finger with a knife at his home in Nesbitt, Mississippi. As the finger needs stitches, Lewis is given a local anesthetic to which he has a bad allergic reaction. He’s transferred to Methodist Healthcare-Central Hospital in Memphis for treatment to counteract that and held overnight for observation.
1968. Top Of The Pops (U.K.) presented by Jimmy Savile and John Peel. Featuring Amen Corner – “Bend Me Shape Me”; Brenton Wood – “Gimme Little Sign”; Engelbert Humperdinck – “Am I That Easy To Forget?”; Manfred Mann – “The Mighty Quinn”; Plastic Penny – “Everything I Am”; Sandie Shaw – “Today”; The Love Affair – “Everlasting Love”; The Move – “Fire Brigade”; The Tremeloes – “Suddenly You Love Me”.
2003. Mongo Santamaria, the Cuban conga player and percussionist, who was at the forefront of latin-jazz fusion, dies in a Miami hospital, aged 85. He had been on life support after suffering a stroke the previous week. His only mainstream commercial success was in 1963 when he hit the U.S. Top 10 with a version of Herbie Hancock‘s “Watermelon Man”. He will also be remembered for writing “Afro Blue”, a song made famous by John Coltrane.
Waking The Witch – “Boys From The Abattoir” (2007)
Having discovered this band late last month and included two tracks from their site in the blog for January 21st, the album arrived in the post today. It always troubles me when I hear of a band just as they’re about to split up. I’m meant to know what great music’s out there; and if I don’t, what hope does the average CD buyer have?
This is very much first listen time although I will admit to having played “High Fire & High Water” three times. I’m a compulsive collector with a tendency to obsess (Nicky Campbell once even called me “anally retentive” on Radio One. Coming from an obsessive collector of James Bond memorabilia, I took that as a complement). Anyway, I digress.
I want to know more. I want more of this band. Forget that. This isn’t one band, it’s maybe four or even five. Each of these girls could stand on their own, maybe even Patsy Matheson and Becky Mills as a duo. Who knows what they’ll do?
To me, the trouble with this is that there are too many styles, each showcases the writers’ talents but they’re diverse, disparate and detracting at times from one cohesive whole. There are tracks here that I know I’ll love forever. Patsy Matheson’s “Top Of The Hill” is already burrowing its way under my skin. It has the feel of Damien Rice from the marvelous “O”. Great indie songwriting but it nestles alongside Jools Parker’s songs which have a smooth jazz edge. Ideal late night listening and adorable.
Patsy Matheson opens the album with the breathless timbre of Amanda Marshall and a beautiful slide guitar that evokes warm long nights. Becky Mills has worked a miracle with “Jenny Thornton…” Part Kirsty MacColl, part finger-in-the-ear folkie, she plays with words in the way that Dylan did in the sixties. Way too many images to fit in each line. Almost impossible to sing along to; a real work-out for the tongue-tied. Yet she pulls you in, to the story of a no-hope town that the train passes above on the viaduct.
Can a band be too intelligent? Maybe even too difficult to pigeon-hole? I’d love to see what happened if they all sat down together and wrote a song but that may be why they’re going their separate ways. There’s not a bad song on this album. There are even couple of really great ones.
There’s real talent and stunning potential here. All I can hope is that we don’t lose it and see the girls fade further from view. Go check them out at www.wakingthewitch.co.uk
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