Today In Music, May 25th

From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Sunday 25th May):


1943. Jessi Colter born Miriam Johnson in Phoenix, Arizona. Originally Colter worked under her real name. She took Jessi Colter as her stage name after her second marriage to Waylon Jennings (her first was to Duane Eddy). It was the name of her great-great-great uncle who was a member of Jesse James outlaw gang.

On Stage

1960. The Cavern Club stages its first beat night in a break from its regular jazz gigs. Until today, beat and before that, skiffle had only been seen in the club during lunchtime sessions. The opening beat combo was local band, Rory Storm And The Hurricanes featuring Ringo Starr on drums.

In Court

1937. Elvis Presley‘s father, Vernon, is sentenced to three years in Parchman Farm prison for forgery along with Gladys’ brother and another man. After the sentence farmer Orville Bean, who’d advanced Vernon $ 180 to build his house in 1934, called in his loan. Gladys and the three-year-old Elvis were forced out.

In Politics

2000. Sheryl Crow testifies to a House Of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property. She was arguing on behalf of a number of recording stars (Fleetwood Mac, Don Henley and Billy Joel) who are all protesting an ammendment to the 1976 Copyright Act. The new act considers recordings to be “works for hire” and the property of the record company. This will scrap rights musicians have to the masters of their recordings after 35 years. Also on hand were Mary Chapin Carpenter , Deana Carter and Ronnie Spector. Don Henley, who was not present, was lambasted by committee chairman Howard Coble who said, “I hope you get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from counting all the money you make compliments of the Copyright Act.

On Television

1995. Later… With Jools Holland (BBC-2, U.K.) 5.4. Paul Weller – “Woodcutter’s Son”; “You Do Something /to Me”; “Wings of Speed, Walk On Gilded Splinters”; Supergrass – “Alright”; “Caught by The Fuzz”; Baaba Maal – “African Woman”; “Sidiki”; The Vulgar Boatmen – “Wide Awake”; “Heartbeat”; Joan Armatrading – “Back On The Road”; “Merchant of Love”; Scott Walker – “Rosary”. Here’s the Mod Father with “Woodcutter’s Son”.


1992. Khalil Rountree, tour manager for Boyz II Men is shot dead in a Chicago hotel where he and the band are staying while on tour with Hammer.


It’s been an interesting few days. I’ve been looking for places to stage a memorabilia exhibition and visiting a variety of possible venues. One, which tickled my fancy, was the Moray Arts Centre at the Findhorn Foundation. For a place well known for its weirdness I felt a bit disappointed. My first stop, the foundation’s cafe, was surprisingly middle-class with copies of all the establishment newspapers for the customers to peruse in an atmosphere more reminiscennt of chic Chelsea coffee house rather than radical counter-culture.

What surprised me most, however, was the fact that I was being stared at. A group of German tourists, possibly on a break during their guided tour, wouldn’t take their eyes off me. Here I was, in what I’d always considered to be the hippiest of all places in the U.K. and I’d become a temporary exhibit. To satisfy my curiosity, I have to admit I had a wander through the Scandinavian suburbia of the eco village that mixed converted sheds with vast and hugely expensive state of the art houses but I still couldn’t find anyone that looked like they belonged with the eco warriors. There was one guy with a neatly trimmed beard and short pony-tail who looked like a polytechnic professor on his day off and a delightful woman of early middle age in a perfect pastiche of carpet and curtains. Dressed totally in black with my grey, chest-long locks blowing in the breeze, I felt totally out of place.

Anyway, when I did eventually make it to the Moary Arts Centre, the first thing I saw were posters for an upcoming exhibition of John Byrne‘s paintings. John, who is a hugely talented playwright, is steeped in rock music. His seminal series for BBC in the 1980’s, Tutti Frutti, charted the highs and lows of a band struggling to break into the big time. He also had an alter-ego, Patrick, whose work adorned the covers of Stealers Wheel and Gerry Rafferty albums in the seventies.

It seemed totally sensible for me to ask if I could get a poster to put up here and on Rockmine to publicise the exhibition and to ask if I could get an invite for the private view, to review it. I was told that the posters were only for sale during the exhibition, if they had any left and as they clearly carried a copyright mark, could not be reproduced. There was me actively offering to help promote the event and I was getting that! As for an invite to the private view, they were for people who mattered. Needless to say, I walked out without even raising the issue of an exhibition.

I’m not sure what part the caravan park plays in the Findhorn community but as I drove out past the village shop I pondered what would’ve happened if Tommy’s Holiday Camp had been left for thirty-odd years. I may well go back; but I might wait till I’ve cut my hair and got a suit so I blend in a bit more.

They may not want me to publicise the exhibition but I can share some of Patrick’s work with you. Here’s the cover for Gerry Rafferty’s “Night Owl”, signed by the man himself.



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