Friday, December 21, 2012

Have a Fab Christmas

Well that's me done for the year - work is finished (and I'm not back til the 2nd). The shopping's shopped, the presents are wrapped, and the holiday handbrake has been firmly applied.

Although there will be one last blast before Santa's seasonal prowl-about - The Railway's Annual Charity Bash: The 2012 Beatles Convention - An all day event double-decking (the halls) across two floors

Upstairs: Southend's finest musicians will be putting their individual spins on the Beatles songbook 

Downstairs: Martian McNeill and his Bottletop Blues Band (With special guest West Weston and mystery jazzer TBA) - will be swinging through a Sunday afternoon session from 4

I'll be parked up in the downstairs bar spinning in Beatles themed covers, bootleg remixes, inspirations, and solo stompers

Ernie Garrett - Eleanor Rigby

And perhaps a handful of seasonal blues tunes

So until next year (or the 30th when West Weston brings his Bluesonics and Mud Morganfields guitarist to the The Railway) - have yourself a swinging little christmas

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Annual Birthday Post

So, here we are - twelve months on from this and a run of extra miles clonked on the biological clock.

Instead of a mix of the years top tunes we've run out previously- this year, I'm submitting for your listening ears - the Podrophenia Annual 2012.

It's a best of year edition where Piley, the Podrophonic Listening Squad and myself - pick 'n' mix our favourite albums, singles, books, gigs and events of the last year.. With Podrophonic salutes and shouts going out to TV Smith, Thee Faction, Eight Rounds Rapid, Hello Phones, Zoë Howe and Syd Moore with Best Single and Best Album nods going to Blow Up records - but what for?

Find out within the grooves of ......

The Podrophenia Annual 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Sunday Sessions - Mix 'n' Match

I've had something of a run of DJ sets at The Railway over the last few weekends, with every session having a different fitting, variation or twist

Mo Fingers - I leant heavily on the Hammond, soul and funk Last Friday - three and a half hours straight (with only 3 drinks and 1 comfort break) - was mostly a medley of Motown, New Orleans and northern until 11pm - followed by indie, 90s and assorted nuttery til 1 (including the Joe Loss Orchestra's Steptoe Twist)

While last sunday, for the Marc Cecil Soul Session, groovers and shakers with everything from AWB to Louis Jordan and Prince Buster were pitched into the ad-hoc playlist.

This coming Sunday, Martin McNeill is back for his regular residency with West Weston and his harp - (last seen on hooting and honking on Jools' Later).

So expect some bluesier tunes from me starting at 4 and high-firing live music from Martin and the Bottletop Blues boys from 4 30.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Takeover TV

Photo by Lynne Blackburn

Phew - we've had some properly rocking nights at Southend's Railway Hotel - but last Friday's three rounds rapid raised the roof to an all new altitude.

Photo by Graham Burnett

Round 1: The Tuppenny Bunters - swapping instruments, but sharing the same hairdo (and continuing the Brian/Anita, Mick/Bianca, David/Angie matched pair tradition) - ram-raided through covers: Wuthering Heights, Pop Goes the Weasel -  and originals, with crashing drums and gnarly  growling keys, at a pace not unlike a 33 played at 45 (or 78 for some gallops).

Photo by Paul Hughes

Round 2: Dick York and his infectious, ear-worming, catchy originals - Could it Be has been rocking my noggin all week long - and what's this! Behold: an improv appearance from Mrs Dick for some punk poetry,

Photo by Paul Hughes

Round 3: TV Smith took to the stage just nudging near midnight - to a heightened, heated, gathering - powering through a sweaty, solo set of self-penned material.

Watching him working his guitar as weapon of trash destruction is almost Woody Guthrie-ish with the unrelenting acoustic attack and clench-fisted strumming. So wired, fired and inspired were the gathered masses - we even managed a stage a invasion of Southenders United for TV's final song... The Good Times Are Back.

This was our third Retro-Podro team up (and second with the Southend Southend Punk). And a  huge salute is due to TV Smith, Dick York, Fi and Dave Dulake, Steve Worral, Steve Pegrum, Piley, Hannah at the Evening Echo and all our Southend and out-of-towner pals who made the evening such a runaway rumpus

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tonight: TV Smith Live at Southend's Railway Hotel - and It's all free..

*Fires up Podrophenia tannoy*

Last call, last call - for TV Smith at Southend's Railway Hotel tonight.

The evening's programme of events will open with a solo spot from Mr Dick York (of Crysiss)


Followed by Southend's own Tuppenny Bunters, a drums and keys two piece, consisting of Fi and Dave Dulake - managers of The Railway (so no excuse for late arrival there)

And finally Mr TV of Smith rabble-rowsing the crowd with his mix raw-rooted acoustic punk and protest folk.

But behold: there'll also be merchandise stalls: CDs, Sophie Lo posters and handmade Gaye Advert jewellery for sale.

In and around the bands Piley and I will being slinging in some Podrophonic stompers 'n' stampers throughout the aftershow in the main bar until 1am. It's free and starts at 8:30.

So don't just sit there pal, hoof yourself Southendwards from 8

*Feedback. Clicks tannoy off*

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Steve West Weston: The hootingest-tootingest harp player you'll see - on Jools Holland tonight. And he's Southender too

If you're a regular reader of the PM blog - you might have spotted the name Steve West Weston populating the Sunday Sessions posts.. (he hand-picked a couple of cherished Hammond heavyweights hereabouts). Or, possibly,  you may have an lent an ear to Podrophenia the letter H for (for harmonica) where we cued in a West track..

Steve was onboard for last Sunday's set as component player in Martin McNeill's lineup. And aside from the high-flying, jumping and jiving. The pub was a'buzz with chat, natter and news about the hot rocking harpist. The news being, that Steve would be appearing on this week's Later Live...

Tonight you can catch West Weston in action and in full flight honk - on Jools Holland's Later Live - where, he'll be the harp player of choice accompanying Mud Morganfield (Muddy Waters son currently on touring with Steve).

So hurrah, hats in the air - and from ten pm, retune your TV's to BBC2 and behold the blues-soaked screaming genius of Steve West Weston...

Here at the Planet Mondo HQ we'll be raising a glass to celebrate the spectacular occasion along with most of The Railway regulars I'd imagine

Friday, November 16, 2012

Funk Friday: Old Favourites - New Versions

It's been  a couple of Sundays since, the boy Marmite and myself were last parked up at Southend's Railway Hotel, winging in tunes and tracks to fill the gaps between the bands. During the downtime,  I've bagged, bought and bookmarked (for future use) several cracking comps that include: Willie Mitchell, Roaring Blue, a Stax/Volt selection hand-picked by Jukebox Jimmy from his own vinyl vaults - a rediscovery of Motown Connoisseurs and Return of the Instro-Hipsters Vol.2.

Pulling a handful of songs from the newbie music selection will get you......

'Classics Recovered'

Willie Mitchell - Wade In The Water

Marvin Gaye - Sunny

And 'Roaring Instrumentals'

Marmite and I are back next week (25th) for our regular Sunday Sessions

But who's a hootin' and a tootin' of a Sunday in the downstairs bar this weekend? Back for his every-third-week residency - it's Martin McNeill and the revolving line up of the Bottletop Blues Band. The last set JJ Zarbo (bass), Tim Huskisson (keys) Ben (drums) - Martin (guitar) was an absolute roof raiser, with a swell of jiving types swirling and swishing around and about The Railway at the last session

Friday, November 9, 2012

TV 23

Two weeks. A fortnight. Fourteen days - until TV Smith of The Adverts returns to The Railway for his second Southend run of the year, and our fourth Podrophenia Roadshow.. Which,  sees Piley and I teaming-up with Retroman Promotions and Southend Punk to bolt together a night of acoustic and stripped down punk and funky tracks between the bands.

Our June do was an absolute ram-out. The September charabanc with Thee Faction and Eight Rounds Rapid was described by Thee Faction as 'the best night out in Britain'

So book the babysitters, ready your pogo-ing legs and lend us your attendance here
for Friday the 23rd of November

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

60 Minute Man: Jukebox Jimmy's Guide to Music

Picture courtesy of Spitalfields Life

A couple of weeks back I made one of my regular runs to London's most classic cafe, for a hook up with my Pellicci pal - the legend that is Jukebox Jimmy.

Jim is a genuine Jockney, moving from Glasgow to London in 1959. During the sixties, and through the seventies he buzzed about the pubs and clubs of the East End DJing at notoriously moody boozers such as The Blind beggar, The Hospital Tavern, Kate Odders and The Green Gate. Jim's also something of a musical purist, and an avid record collector (hard copies only - CD or vinyl, no digital editions here) still scouring around the capital, sourcing and storing away singles and albums from his favoured genres.

On this particular visit, I was joined by Blow Up pal - Paul Tunkin for a lunchtime chat with Jim and a roaring three-way rattle about on all shades of musical doings As a follow up JBJ. very kindly compiled and narrated a sixty minute CD of some cherished tunes for Paul and myself - with Jim splaining the background to the tracks, how he came to hear a tune, or what to look for in the song writing, vocals or arrangement.

So can I present to you the most personal of podcasts you're likely to hear - Mr Jimmy and 60 Minute Man

60 Minute Man: Jukebox Jimmy's Guide to Music - Side 1

60 Minute Man: Jukebox Jimmy's Guide to Music - Side 2

I'm hoping Jim may be able to theme any possible future specials around some his favourite styles: Soul, Motown, R 'n' B, Bluebeat.

To get the full JBJ story (and where the name comes from) take a trip across the tracks to the always excellent Spitalfield's Life.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hugh Cornwell in conversation - TV Smith in concert.

What a gent, what a legend - what an articulate and intelligent chap. Who? Hugh Cornwell - as interviewed (by me) - for the latest issue of Vive Le Rock.

Fourty minutes seems to be the going rate for a natter-about with yer Elders of Rock - not so Sir Hugh of Cornwell. Two hours of dinner, drinks and chattery, parked up in a polite gastro-pub Ladbroke Grove way. Where, we discussed the new album Totem and Taboo, the new tour, and his recent reworking of Golden Brown in a Marachi style - a cover that's caused crackles in the hackles of some Stranglers avids...

It's all available to view in the latest Vive Le Rock


As a Men in Black bonus, Barry Cain pitches in with an exclusive two-fisted tale of accompanying The Stranglers while they fire up a full-flight riot in Rome.

Barry and the Boys in Black, in Rome

So where in the name of Gary Gilmore does TV Smith come into all of this? Well, Mr Tim returns for his second visit to Southend's Railway Hotel on November 23rd. In fact TV was so buzzed after his last gig he booked this one the very next day! With a note that read

"I'm definitely putting the Railway on my list of "regulars!" Venues run by music lovers for music lovers are something I'm used to in the rest of Europe, but they're a rare thing in the UK..!"

We're running it as three way whammy of : Retroman Promotions, Southend Punk  and Radio Podrophenia (we're DJing on the night). The Facebook page is here if you need all the dates and details

We'd love to see you on the night, whether you're a local or a grockel....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blockbuster, Sparman, T.E.S.C.O

It's an Anne Summers now you know! Gives Blue Plaque a different spin doesn't it

Are just a few of the 'shopping bands/songs' suggestions pitched into our first live Podrophonic run-out over at our all new Radio Novalujon lodgings.

What a fine ol' time was had last Wednesday, with Dave Jazzy Dawson working his multi-media magic - manning the desk, checking the levels, fading the mics and suchlike. And hurrah 'n' hats in the air to see the Pod Squad regulars regrouped for the first time since June..

There's even a Quinn Martin style epilogue - we've kindly been offered a monthly spot on Radio NJ. So from November - the last Thursday of every month will be Podrophenia night.

Should you fancy lending an ear to Radio Podrophenia - Shopping - bung it in your bagging area below...

Radio Podrophenia - Shopping

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Spooky doings at the Sunday Sessions...

It's that time again - every third week, when Martin McNeill's Bottletop Blues Band pitch up and play for a few hours of Sunday afternoon.

Marmite and myself will be warming up the bar with some funk and blues based bumpers 'n' thumpers. Athough being just a nudge away from Halloween, I may wing in a spooky tune or two, something like...

Darkness of evil - Laid Back Funk

We're on from four, the band strike up from four thirty. We'd love to see you shaking a Sunday leg, should you happen to be round and about The Railway way...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wednesday night is Radio Podrophenia night - live via Radio Nova Lujon !!

Wednesday night is the new Tuesday night!

After a heavily extended summer break, Piley and the other one return for a one-off live Radio Podrophenia tomorrow. We'll be parked upstairs at The Railway from 9pm beaming and broadcasting our Podrophonic clatter around the interwaves via the medium of Radio Nova Lujon and Dave Jazzy Dawson's Wednesday night Soup Sessions.

The theme for this pop-up Podrophenia is 'shopping' - so, expect the usual grab-bag of - vintage and modern hits, bits and obscurities. And, possible run outs on themes that include: what have your ex-record outlets become. Shops on record sleeves. Any bits, bobs and banter you fancy bunging in your Podrophonic Basket would be massively appreciated

If you're about from nine this Wednesday, retune your listening ears below. If not, perhaps tell a pal to swing by and see what special offers Piley and I have got in store...

Radio Nova Lujon

Alan Hawkshaw - It's All at the Co-op Now 

And an expect an earful from our Eight Rounds Rapid pals...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sunday Sessions: a funking about by the river special(s)

Sock it to 'em JB

Following a Sunday off - the boy Marmite and I are back and installed behind bar at Southend"s Railway Hotel ,  dabbing about with the newly patched in Radiogram.

Taking the floor from four thirty are Marc Cecil's three piece: The Band With No Name - a free-form funk outfit riding live and unaided by the safety net of setlist or rehearsal. What you hear on the day, happens, as it happens - without any prep or pre-production. Of course it can only help if the collective are a power trio of pro-players: Marc (drums), Julian Burdock (guitar, harp, vox) and Dan (bass)

Working around a sound that's perhaps more good footed than the usual Sunday shenanigans - Marmite and I may tweak this Sunday's setlist with a funkier flow than yer typical Sunday sesh...with these Specials themed groovers getting a run out


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Squeezy does it - a (very) few words with Chris Difford...

Backawhiles in 2008 - Ian Peel (keeper of the ZTT archive), kindly put me in touch with Chris Difford for a natter about his then new volume The Last Temptation of Chris. With all the Squeeze heat happening at the moment it seems appropriate to finally log it in the blog. 

Light on lines, but a neat and nippy read -  in a way it scans like a pre-Twitter Twit-chat...similar to my twinterviews with Yoko Ono and Mary Hopkin

Chris Difford's second solo album The Last Temptation of Chris is as British as Light and Bitter and as London as Pie and Mash (with liqour). Each carefully crafted cracker is packed with more hooks than a velcro belt, more pop than a dropped bottle of Tizer and the nip of sensitively scripted lyrics that sit somewhere between Galton and Simpson, Clement and La Frenais, Andy Partridge and Lennon and McCartney

Chris is on tour at the moment, but managed to find time to help with my enquiries...

'The Last Temptation' was recorded at home, how techie are you when it comes to home recording , and is time spent twiddling , time that could be used tunesmithing?
I have a man who does this for me, it costs money but it's worth it.

What about gadgets like Auto-Tune, would you be comfortable using something like that.
Yes I would, it's very handy for an old chap like me.

There are several candid, confessional moments on the album. Does it work - getting subjects out of your head, off your chest and into a song?
It's a great way of saving money in the therapist's chair.

Are you ever tempted to write a book, fact or fiction?
Yes I have, if I had more time I would nail it.

Who is Jim the storyteller in 'Battersea Boys'?
He is a guy I met two years ago in a hospice, he is not very well, but he helped me write this great song.

It seems to be Londoners eye view of life, do you think geography and location have an influence on music and songwriting?

Almost everything to do with it.

As a guitarist are you self taught, and is there one artist, album or track that made you pick up and play?
I learnt to play by watching Glenn play, he is my teacher.

Are you are guitar collector, and if so what's your most cherished possesion?
I have a nice collection, my top guitar is a Jim Olson.

It's Robbie Williams on the phone, he wants to write together what do you say?
I'm coming right over.

So what can we expect at the live shows - how does it break down with new songs, old favourites and covers?

All of the above and some nice lights too.

You've done the album, you're on tour - what's next?
More of the same....and then more of the same again until I grow up.

Have you got favourite lyric or moment on 'The Last Tempatation'?
It's all great, but I think Reverso is fun.

Recommended Reading

Chris Difford's Myspace

Chris Difford's Website

Chris Difford - Fat As A Fiddle

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'll name that (out of) tune in three...

Is that Eno - back row, far right?

In the niche genre: songs with ear-cringing out of tune arrangements.. this, with it's 'clang, clang, clang went the trolley' horn riff has to be one of the finest..


 Behold: the Les Dawson of the mod scene. It couldn't be Rod could it? He was a Shotgun Expresser

Shotgun Express - Curtains

And oh Bow, who did you drag in for acoustic duties at 2:46

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Golden Hour with Podrophenia...

Modern gadgets re-imagined '77 style- full set here at Alt/1977

Tonight from nine, you'll find Piley and myself parked upstairs at The Railway recording a 'years' edition of Podrophenia. A theme suggested by long-haul listener/contributor - E F Rice

Not sure what vintage Piley's picked, but I'll be winging in six tracks from 1977, a year that in my book of Pop Britannica gets a red-ringed as one of the few genuinely seismic years with a run of albums, singles and films  impacting and exploding with as much cross-cultural fallout as 1956, 1963 or 1967..

One track that may or may not get nipped into the playlist - it's pop, it's punk, it's space-age glam! It's....

A genuine 1977 hi-fi ad'

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sunday Sessions: Roll out the Barrelhouse Woman and the Blue Coat Man..

A full afternoon of leg-kicking (literally), chair-standing (literally) PA-quaking (literally) rock 'n' roll 'n' soul - was had last Sunday as West Weston tore up the assembled Sunday Session jivers and dancers for another Sabbath shindig. The rhythm section of Orlando Shearer and Mike Thorne slinked with a Stray Cat strut, and Paul Garner's blues runs, riffs and sweat-fingered solos seemed to be pulled from his very boots.

Wrapping up from 7:30 -  Mo' Fingers  whipped and whistled along, blazing through a setlist of heavy-handed Hammond melters

This week, the Grand Master of jazz and blues guitar - Martin McNeill is back with his Bottletop Blues Band and Steve West Weston sitting in on harmonica. Come along and park yourself at The Railway Hotel from 4:30 for a full afternoon (and evening if you've got the stamina) of musical doings...

I'll be sharing DJ duties with the boy Marmite. A sneak preview of a couple likely rockers likely to be popped into my playlist are...

Champion Jack Dupree - Barrelhouse Woman

Eddie Boyd - Blue Coat Man

And it just wouldn't be Sunday without at least one Lowell Fulson tune..

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sunday Sessions: All this, and he plays the Hammond too...

Out in Finland last month, sharing a bill with Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter and playing to crowds of around four thousand - Steve 'West' Weston scales down his hooting 'n' tooting this weekend as he brings his blues-blasting band The Bluesonics to The Railway on Sunday from 4:30

Buzz yourself to the bottom of this post and you'll catch Steve as the harp player of choice for Mud Morganfield/Muddy Waters Jr (Muddy's eldest son). A platinum plated endorsement in anyone's Book of The Blues.

But, harmonica aside Steve's also a boogie woogie piano man and a dab-hand on the Hammond. At the last couple of Sunday Session's we've managed to catch a natter exchanging Hammond faves Booker T (me), Henry Cain (Steve).

So buckle up as, today's preview tunes for this Sunday's playlist come to you hand-picked by Steve 'West' Weston..

Merl Saunders Trio And Big Band - Soul Grooving

 Jackie Ivory - Do it to Death

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cathi Unsworth and the Norfolk Noir of Weirdo

Following on from Friday's post - my Weirdo review taken from the current edition of Level 4 magazine, an absolute head-spinning novel framed against an 80s landscape - it is the perfect read as those autumn evenings begin to draw in and the shadows start to stretch out

If you're feeling eagle-eyed - perhaps play spot the song reference for each of the chapters (and keep your peepers peeled for me in the credits)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Words and Music: your recommended weekend reading...

Comes in the format of two art, fashion and music periodicals.

Plectrum The Cultural Pick: where Cathi Unsworth - described by author, David Peace, as “the First Lady of Noir Fiction”, talks to Jay Clifton about her previous books, her approach to writing and latest novel 'Weirdo'. Chris Price, interviews Bruce Lacey on his associations with The Goon Show, Ken Russell, The Beatles - he was George Harrison’s flute playing gardener in Help, and is celebrated in the Fairport Convention song, Mr Lacey. And new short fiction by Max Stites, fashion from Fifi Chachnil, make-up by Illamasqua and shoes by Jefferey West.

Alongside all of this cultural buffet - you'll find me putting Fay Hallam and The Bongolian, Balctic Fleet, Hollie Cook and Philippe Petit (my first classical/experimental review) under the Plectrum Analyser, in the music review section...

Perhaps, follow up by backtracking to my Bad Penny Blues interview with Cathi here..

Level 4: (a horror special) comes loaded with a Cathi Unsworth interview, Julian Wollatt's Zombie photography, Dan Newman's best of TV Horror.

And me (waddya mean shameless self promo!) contributing music reviews (Steve Hooker), book  reviews (Cathi Unsworth). And an exclusive interview with the ex-Ants that are now Wolfmen - Chris constaniou and Marco Pirroni discussing Live Aid, working with Tony Visconti, 12 string basses and conspiracy theories.... it's all hereabouts 

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Sunday Sessions: Flats and Fifths

Swinging at the Sunday Sessions - get me in the floral shirt!

Flats and fifths: those steps and semitones that give jazz and blues their particular modal moan. Jive along to The Railway this Sunday and you'll be for in an afternoon of flats, fifths, blues and boogaloo - live! As the always excellent (and one of my top ten favourite guitarists) Martin McNeill and his Bottletop Blues Band take the floor from four. 

The Bottletops are something of revolving repertory (excepting JJ Zarbo, who 'never misses a gig' on bass) - with a different musical mix each session - sometimes keys, sometimes sax, sometimes special guests: Wes Weston - harp, Wilko Johnson - guitar, Digby Fairweather - trumpet.

So if you're spinning anywhere around the SS postal code zone this sunday - why not ramble your way to The Railway from four and see who's sitting in for this Sunday's session

Dig'n' the Bottletop Blues Band 

I'll be operating the in-house stereogram, spinning in jump blues, New Orleans shufflers, funk work-outs, hammond happenings and reggae shakers 

A couple from the crates popped into the pot may well be...

Count Machuki - Pepper Pot

Thanks to Bluey for a borrow of the pics....

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Protest and Survive: 'the best night out in Britain'

What a tear-up, what a shakedown, what a shindig!

As if Saturday's temperatures weren't scorching enough - the needles were knocked right into the red (in all senses) as the dream team-up of Eight Rounds Rapid and Thee Faction shook, rattled and rolled the roof right off of The Railway Hotel. An evening Thee Faction are calling 'epic' and rubber-stamping the Podrophenia Roadshow as 'the best night out in Britain. Fact.'.

We salute you comrades.

Due to time issues - the Long Run had to zip to another show. So first up (in the newly renovated gig room) - Eight Rounds Rapid - thumb-nailed thus by Faction vocalist Billy Reeves:  the real story of last night was Eight Rounds Rapid. Best young band in Britain? There's a very strong argument for it.

Sharp suits, snappy songs and nippy lyrics combine to make 8RR a fully formed powerhouse, punching well above the tag of 'local band' with a setlist of zippy originals supercharging the audience into a roaring response. 

Handing over by way of MC Marmite Boy - Thee Faction's set of rabble-rowsing R 'n' B was almost speakers corner crossed with a gospel-meet mania. Tunes from the new LP Singing Down The Government were received like long lost friends - with long-haul Faction standards - Union Man becoming refitted as improv seaside sing-a-longs.

And worra reception: a volume of  foot-stamping, hand-clapping cries for 'encore' and 'more' - that I haven't heard at *any* gig since the 80s. Possibly the greatest Southend live night since Dr Feelgood recorded Going Back Home at The Kursaal

The Quinn Martin style epilogue was Piley and I, running 'til one spinning bangers and boomers from popular beat combo's with nineties tracks being the floor filler preference. Along with a bit of Bowie..

There's already talk of a rematch next year - but if you couldn't make the gig - fill your boots for free with a take away version of Thee Factions new single - Soapbox. But it's only on the freemans for a week - so grab it here sharpish..

A huge thank you is due to jazz singing journo Hannah Marsh, for the Evening Echo support

Friday, September 7, 2012

Podrophenia Roadshow the third: Backing the USSR 'n' B

Calling all residents of the Podrophenia postocde: Saturday the 8th September, sees the third Podrophenia live leg-shaker, with Piley and I bringing you a tricolour of musical treats live at The Railway Hotel. A three way shakedown pooling together talent from all along the watchtower Thames Delta.

In the Canvey Corner: The Long Run. A fully formed band fronted by Darren Jones as seen on Podrophenia TV...

In the Southend Corner: Eight Rounds Rapid. As heard on Tom Robinson's 6music

In the London Corner: Thee Faction, a left dressing socialist, soul-stomping collective, hoofing all the way to opposite end of the estuary to showcase their new album - Singing Down the Government


Piley and I will be firing up the Railway radiogram between the bands spinning in funk, soul, covers, and curiosities.It all kicks off from 7pm - so come down and join in the jamboree

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Podrophonic Alphabet. N is for...

Worra pair of Nankers

Back after a summer break, Piley and I roll out the 14th instalment of the Podrophonic Alphabet: N: for new tunes, new bands, New York, Piley's Newsround as well hoots 'n' toots for the third Podrophenia Live Night on September the 8th at Southend's Railway Hotel.  You'll find tracks from all three bands (Thee Faction, Eight Rounds Rapid and The Long Run) on the bill popped into this edition, as well what is a Nanker Phelge - see above.

We've also got a mystery theme tune, some natter about a night out with Hugh Cornwell and and a drop in appearance from Blow Up Records boss Paul Tunkin - so dig in and tell a pal!

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Podrophenia - The Letter N

Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking Back at Wilko...

Take a stroll to the bottom of this post and you'll see the cover of the latest issue (# 8) of Vive Le Rock, an edition frothing over with interviews: Richard Hawley, Kevin Rowland, Steve Jones, Wayne Hussey - also album, book and gig reviews.

Take a thumb through the reviews section of VLR and you'll find me holding up score cards for the New York Dolls, Suzi Quatro, Dirtbox Disco and Zoe Howe's Wilko Johnson biography - written in collaboration with Wilko himself.

Understandably with such a packed programme, editorial tweaks and changes were  necessary to keep to the word count. So, here's my submitted review of Looking Back At Me - and the published version. A tip of the titfer is due to all at VLR HQ for trimming it down, and, keeping the essence intact.

You'll also notice a couple of questions pitched at his Royal Wilko-ness, click on the VLR cover pic to get the rest of our chat and natter...

It's no overstatement to say I've probably ploughed through too many rock biographies in my time. Although only a handful are so supremely sculpted that they will stay with me forever. Looking Back At Me is one for this hand-picked library. Much more than the sum of it's parts - and larger than a life story, this is John Wilkinson walking and talking you through an oral and pictorial history (school reports, rare paintings/photo's memorabilia) of all that is Wilko: academia, anarchy, art, rock 'n' roll and carrying forward the tradition of journeymen blues musicians handing down their tales of troubles and travels.

If you've been lucky enough to have met Wilko ( I have, several times as we drink at the same pub) you'll know what you see onstage is exactly what you get offstage, an explosion of arm flailing, bug eyed-expressionism, intellectual theorising and raconteurism. Wilko isn't someone who knows stillness in anyway. There is no off button.

Zoe Howe's sensitive positioning of all the multi-faceted pieces that make up her study, perfectly renders Wilko's unrelenting restless energy and constant forward motion - she's pulled off the impossible trick of bottling Wilko's (smokestack) lightening. There's blood on the scratchplate, Canvey mud under his nails and the Thames Delta blues runs through him like a stick of Southend rock. Looking Back at Me is a stunning reinvention of the rock memoir format - a combination of compendium and confessional - creating a new standard which all future music biographies should measured against.

To catch the rest of our Looking Back chat - click on the VLR pic

As mentioned at the top the page, the New York Dolls blitzing new album Live From The Bowery is lent a critical ear in VLR - taste test one tune from it here....

New York Dolls - Funky But Chic

Friday, August 24, 2012

The revolution will not be televised. But it will be publicised

Backing the USSR 'n' B

To borrow an opening line from fellow estuary dwellers the Stones 'Summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street' 

Fighting in a War of Position way that is - and in keeping with the spirit of legendary Essex revolutionary Wat Tyler - Piley and I are grinning like loons to toot 'n' hoot, long-haul Podrophonic favourites Thee Faction are coming to The Railway Hotel for their first Southend appearance on September 8th. 

If you haven't lent a left ear to Thee Faction's songbook - think: Dr Feelgood's gritty rhythmic drive with a brassy northern soul snap by way of an actual real-live horn section. 

Just don't take our word for how hot-rocking the band are (both on record and live) - check the rave reviews coming in across the full spectrum of media streams

 “Terrific stuff. Well done! Here, we celebrate the successes of the working class” Danny Baker,

"bringing down the Tories one song at a time” The Guardian 

"100% fun AND they 100% mean it, man. Catch live!” Classic Rock 

“..barricade storming, smart, fun, instantly energising” Daily Mirror 

“Timely. I love these mad bastards” Simon Price, The Independent on Sunday 

Twinning Dr Feelgood and eastern-bloc rockin’ beats … to rabble-rouse your mind and Agit-prop your pop” Vive Le Rock (alright, this one's me actually)

“What a cracking record” Kerrang! 

Piley and I will be rolling out our third Podrophenia Roadshow, slotting in stompers, soulers, groovers and rock-a-doodle-doers across the evening and around the bands - as also on the bill are Southend's rockingest revolutionaries Eight Rounds Rapid

And behold - an exclusive. A sneak preview of the unreleased lead off track 'Soapbox' from the upcoming Faction album 

Salut - and let's rally round and gather together on September 8th at The Railway Hotel for a night of revolution, rhythm and record spinning.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wold Gold

View from the New England Coffee House, Digbeth Street

So where have I been for the last couple o' weeks then? Rolling around the Cotswolds and marching around The Marches mostly.

Parked up in Stow-on-the-Wold for the first week - (our 11th visit since 2003) and red-ringing a list of trips and visits that gathered together: the Wychwood Brewery, Gloucester Cathedral, Sudeley Castle, a ramble-around the footpaths passing Quarwood - a country bundle that was home to John Entwistle until his death in 2002. Evenings were generally spent scanning the Olympics - (the women's shotput turned out to be our new fave spectator sport - mostly because of those blood-bubbling yells) or a soothing wander to our favourite Stow local the Queen's Head - and one of finest pints you'll ever taste, Donnington's BB.

When the light was good - what appeared to be a mirage in the distance, turned out to be Birmingham - ho hum!

Then away to Church Stretton for a few days hoofing up, up and away around the Shropshire Hills: Hazler, Three Fingers Rock and  Caradoc. Squeezing in an Ironbridge run and a one day dip into Wales (Newtown and it's W H Smith museum. Knighton and the Offa's Dyke centre)..

Finally, topping off the break with a couple of days at home, cycling to see the Olympic Mountain Bike circuit fitted around my old stomping ground of Hadleigh Castle. And to wrap up - on Sunday, a run to the Leigh Fishing Festival and a chance to step a leg onto one of Leigh's Dunkirk little ships - The Endeavour..

Of all the albums repeat played on our outings - Fay Hallam and The Bongolian, The Pierces - it was the Duckworth Lewis Method that turned out to be the songbook lodging itself in our noggins. Particularly...

 Duckworth Lewis Method - Mason On The Boundary

 Fay Hallam and The Bongolian - expect a review due soon..


Friday, August 3, 2012

On your marks, get set, go... for an Olympic sized edition of Podrophenia

Recorded live from Southend, just down the road a'piece from the Olympic mountain biking venue (waddya mean - there aren't any mountains in Essex), our Greco/Roman games inspired podcast comes loaded with events such as: worst sporting incidents you've seen (discover what face-planting is), medal winning burps and sporting look-a-likes.

Piley and I, along with some new and regular Podrophenia contributors also have a a run out on picture disc values - and we've a drop in from Fi Jacobs for a Railway Round Up.

All this and 12 tracks of Olympian tunes including Little Richard, the Beastie Boys, Big Boss Man and Morten Valence

Download Podrophenia - Olympics (right click and save)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mary Had a Little Jam

Back at The Railway tonight - with guitar in hand (and possibly bass too), for the Tuesday night fixture that is Bluesday Tuesday - an open mic jam, based around a catalogue of blues classics..

The pub's drums, Hammond, piano are all prepared and ready to go for anyone who fancies jumping on and joining in. Although I'll be trying to wing in my new Epiphone 339 for a test drive

ES-339 PRO: The classic shape and bell-like tone of the ES series guitars, but with reduced body dimensions!

On the subject of blues offs - behold Buddy Guy tearing it up with Jack Bruce on bass, Buddy Miles tub-thumping, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Chris Mercer of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers on horns. Fantastico...


 Buddy Guy - Mary Had A Little Lamb (studio version)


Friday, July 27, 2012

Sunday Sessions: Decks and drums and rock and soul

Regularly of a Sunday, well during Martin McNeill's set, Marmite and I will shoo away any downtime and dead air during the band's breaks by winging in a few tunes to keep the room warmed up and buoyant.

This weekend, Mark Cecil (drummer in Martin McNeill's outfit) brings his own band to The Railway - I've yet to see them in action, but they come recommended with the Marmite Seal of Approval - which is a kitemark of quality in anyone's book.

I believe they're jazzier than the jump blues, New Orleans grooves and western swingers that make up Martin's McNeill's signature sound. So I may add a few new groovers to the crates - tunes like..

Chairmen of the Board - Finders Keepers

We're in from 4pm should you fancy shaking a funky leg.