Monday, 10 June 2019
Monday's Long Song
I have discussed the older hippies that I hung around with from 1st year at High school before and the music that they introduced me to, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Gong and a lot of others, this along with the stuff that I was hearing from Stiff and his brothers meant that I had quite a mental taste in music as a teenager. Something that every now and then led to the earnest young indie types in their oversized Oxfam purchased car coats trying to rip the pish out me about, which never really bothered me as I had no need to carry a copy of the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde under my arm and kid on that I was such a sensitive soul in order to win the heart of a fair maiden. I was thinking about this at the weekend after a comment from Michael on SA's excellent posts last Thursday and Friday when he said that 88/89 was a time when the barriers came down and people were no longer scared to shout about their influences and I thought "yip, I remember that period". It really fucked me off, all these clowns that before wouldn't go near anything that wasn't in the indie chart or written about out with the confines of the NME and would baulk at Sounds were now aficionados of all things late 60s counter culture and even more galling experts on the sound of young America, it was all a bit, "there's always been a dance/soul/hippy element to the records I like. The overcoats were gone and flares and Lennon specs were considered high fashion
Anyway, when I was thinking about all this, I reminisced about some of the happiest times of my early teenage years spent in the Village Hall in New Lanark. Three of the guys I hung about with, Jim, Chris and Alec had a band the name of which escapes me at the moment, and as two of them were residents of the now UNESCO World Heritage Site they got to use the hall for band practice. I spent a lot of time taping these "jam sessions" as they called them and up until about ten years ago I still had one tape which I gave the guitarist Alec a loan of to listen, as it contained what was an extremely self indulgent over ten minute interpretation by him of Jimi Hendrix, doing The Star Spangled Banner, Jim and Chris got bored and fucked off out for a smoke if I remember correctly. I never did get that tape back and foolishly hadn't made a copy.
The band of course did almost exclusively cover versions of your staple hard rock and blues songs, such as Sunshine of Your Love, Communication Breakdown, The Pusher, Framed, more than a couple of Hendrix songs and a very good interpretation of Big Brother and The Holding Company's Summertime. Alec was an extremely talented, self taught musician and that is not just the misremembering through rose tinted glasses and the mists of time, as when I unearthed that tape, through the hiss and the echo I was amazed that what I was hearing was the guitar playing of a 16/17 year old boy, the drumming was good and, sorry Jim, the bass rudimentary at best but Alec's guitar playing was the real deal.
One song that I always looked forward to at these sessions was their version of War Pigs where I would sometimes try to make the sound of the siren in the introduction. A few weeks ago I had stuck on Paranoid, the album that this is from when wanting something a little bit different and really enjoyed it which probably brought the memory of those band practices back into my head. I played the album again yesterday. For me, the band that basically invented heavy metal never bettered this classic. At one time, I had every Black Sabbath album up to Live At Last with the exception of Technical Ecstasy which was right pish.
There were times at these "sessions" when other local musicians would turn up, a couple of members of local mental biker band the Hemorrhoids, a keyboard player who would later play with John Martyn, Doobie Anderson another drummer who may have replaced Chris in the band for a while and another local guitarist Sinky who was nearly as good as Alec but thought he was better which would lead to a lot one upmanship which was very funny and highly entertaining.
I had decided on War Pigs for today's post a couple of weeks ago when strangely a track from this album popped up on my Twitter timeline on Saturday posted by a guy who was a founder member of the Hamilton Ghosts Scooter Club, which could lead to further reminiscing of my later teenage years if you are really unlucky.
Black Sabbath - War Pigs