Tuesday 26 December 2023

The Beatles Legacy - The Red & Blue Albums (2023 Remixes)

Listen to the documentary on the Red 1962-1966 & Blue 1967-1970 compilation album series

Do you want to find out more about The Beatles, and in particular the Red and Blue album compilation series? Well I have some good news for you; there's a really excellent Beatles documentary series now available to listen to for free right here

Based on their recently re-released and remixed Red 1962-1966 & Blue 1967-1970 double album compilations, the documentary series is made up of six short chapters on the Beatles You Tube channel. I've compiled a playlist for you of all the chapters so that you can listen to all six episodes in one sitting by clicking here.

This is definitely worth a listen and will give any new Beatles fans valuable background and context into some of the best songs that make up The Beatles vast and impressive back catalogue. Open up your ears to find out how lucky we baby boomer generation were to live  through this wonderful music the first time around back in the sixties.

No band has ever progressed and developed so much in such a small period of time as The Beatles did. The group were only recording together for eight years but the way their song writing and musicianship progressed and evolved over that short span of years is truly quite remarkable. There are just five years between 'Love Me Do' and 'A Day In The Life' for goodness sake! 

Compare 'Please Please Me' from 1962 with 'The White Album' some six years later in 1968; their desire to move forward musically with each album, the willingness to change, to up their game and improve their quality, it's unsurpassed. It is very, very impressive. It's quite unbelievable that any group could move forward at such a pace and still maintain such a high quality of output at such a fast rate as they did. They were unique.

These re-released Red & Blue 2023 re-mixed CD compilation sets are absolutely fantastic. New technology has enabled superb remixing of all the tracks to sound so much crisper and sharper, particularly the older mono ones. Most importantly the speaker channel separation of vocals and instruments is now almost perfect, sounding just like it would have sounded like in the studio at the time of recording. No more of the vocals coming out of one speaker with the instruments coming out of the other. We now have a true stereo mix that's been worth waiting for. 

The remixing on the Red double CD set is astonishing with every single track now re-mixed in stereo, the sound is nothing short of remarkable. This is a huge improvement on the last part mono CD release in 2009 and the original vinyl release way back in 1973. 

The Blue double CD set also comes with every track re-mixed in stereo. Whilst many on this set have been released before on recent re-mixes of original albums there are still around a dozen new 2023 remixes worth having. Revolution just explodes out of the speakers on this set. 

There are also plenty of bonus cuts on both the Red and Blue CD versions, including the 'lost' John Lennon composition Now and Then, which recently charted at number one on the singles chart. Other worthy extra bonus tracks include I Saw Her Standing There, Twist and Shout, This Boy, Taxman, Here There and Everywhere, Tomorrow Never Knows, Blackbird and Dear Prudence. 

Want more detail on the track listing? There is an excellent and fully comprehensive album review of The Beatles Red & Blue 2023 expanded boxed set by clicking right here. It's definitely worth a read.

These albums demand to be purchased so go ahead and do it without hesitation. It's a piece of great British musical history that is available at an affordable price. Both the Red & Blue twin CD sets can currently be purchased (Dec 2023) from The Beatles store here for a total price of £43.99. 

Friday 20 January 2023

Long Time Gone

David Crosby 

14th August 1941 - 18th January 2023

David Crosby has left the building and I’m left devastated by the sad news of his passing. He leaves behind a fabulous legacy of gorgeous music, not only with bands such as The Byrds and more notably Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young but also as a solo artist.

This man introduced the wonderful music of Crosby, Stills & Nash into my life, he also discovered Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne who were to enter my soul as well as my LP collection. CSN were my favourite go to band, a group of musicians I’ve grown up with, listened to forever and seen in concert many times. Their debut album back in 1969 is still one of the best albums in my collection. The blend of those three part vocal harmonies and the songs are simply perfect. At their peak CSN were unsurpassed, a true supergroup of musicians.

There was no other concert experience like watching Crosby perform live on stage. His angry masterpiece ‘Almost Cut My. Hair’ became a classic and the delightfully delicate and jazzy ‘Guinnevere’ showed off his acoustic guitar playing skills at their very best. He was the consummate musician’s musician.

Crosby was also a political animal who often courted controversy. He was the archetypal Woodstock hippy calling for peace and love, not war. But he took no prisoners in his calls for justice. Whether he was singing about student deaths at Kent State University in ‘Ohio’ or saving whales in ‘Wind On The Water’ or worrying about nuclear waste in ‘Don’t Dig Here’, David Crosby always had a cause to fight for and then bring it to our attention, he very much wore his heart on his sleeve.

David Crosby led a colourful and somewhat troubled life. In 1983 he was sent to prison for carrying a gun and drug offences, he narrowly escaped death several times due to his poor health and heavy habitual drug abuse. He also had a penchant for riling and upsetting those around him, including his closest friend Graham Nash.

Crosby somehow survived his wasted years of the 1980’s, got clean, started writing songs and playing guitar again and began his long journey back on the road to recovery with wife Jan. He reunited with CSN and his 'lost' son James Raymond and was to make some of the best solo music of his career in recent years before sadly passing away at age 81. Throughout his life it was his music that shone, that’s what he will be remembered for.

Danny Baker tweeted a tribute that sums up The Croz eloquently: ‘David Crosby was often an unlovable, egotistical, belligerent druggy old cuss. But he was genuinely touched with genius. To the end he cursed himself for squandering his gift. Creations like this are bordering on the divine’. Four sentences that sum up the man and his life perfectly.

RIP David Crosby.

An older Crosby performing an old favourite, 'Guinnevere'

Crosby Stills & Nash belting out Crosby's 'Almost Cut My Hair'

Monday 16 January 2023


The Wilson household is home to Egg the giant cat. Now this cat just loves a box...no matter how big or how small. He decided he would try to see if he could turn this particular box into a new cat bed. He failed miserably. 

Sublime Brighton dominate Liverpool

Brighton & Hove Albion 3, Liverpool 0
Amex Stadium, Saturday 14th January 2023

Wow, just wow!!  What a stunning game of football this was. I think I might have just witnessed the best 90 minutes of football from a Brighton & Hove Albion team in all my 47 years of being a season ticket holder. Nothing compares to the 90 minutes of pure class that Albion put on show last Saturday. It was total football that any team in the country would have struggled against on the day. It's a big question but are we now seeing the best Albion team of all time? I say yes.
Given the quality of opposition on Saturday I can’t remember a game, when playing against one of the so called ‘big top six teams', that a Brighton side have outplayed and out passed the opposition for an entire match for every minute of the ninety. Sumptuous football and a dream to watch. They outclassed, outfought and outthought their rivals in every department, winning back the ball quickly on the rare occasion that they lost it and playing some beautiful one touch football.

Albion not only dominated the play in every area of the pitch but they also passed Liverpool off the park from start to finish. Albion were simply superb, it was a privilege to be there to see it. I sat there hardly believing what I was witnessing. Watching Roberto De Zerbi running up and down the touchline after each goal, high on emotion and full of Italian passion, was just so great to see. Albion fans love to see a manager who shows his passion and is prepared to take risks to get his team where he wants them to be.

I was so pleased for two goal Solly March who gave a man of the match performance. He has not only become so much more confident under manager Roberto De Zerbi but now appears to be turning himself into a goal machine. To be honest this is something that most Albion fans did not expect to ever see. Solly has grown mentally, physically and technically over the last year and is now showing himself to be a very talented and gifted footballer playing first under Graham Potter and now Roberto De Zerbi. Who knew? 

De Zerbi has propelled this team forwards after Graham Potter's departure. It’s amazing how he now has them believing they can win every game, no matter who the opponent is. He has them moving forward with positivity, creativity and confidence . He has unpicked the lock that Potter couldn’t open and finally got the team scoring goals…from every position.

A really strong team sprit and unity runs through this club, it’s players, staff and fans. There is no room for big egos or those who won’t give 100% commitment to the cause. Leandro Trossard can be brilliant on a match day but he is also prone to going missing in action on occasion. He and his agent may well regret their recent behaviour, no one player is bigger than the club as Leo has found out to his cost. Albion did not miss him on Saturday when they gave Liverpool a drubbing. Sometimes a player needs to appreciate what he has in front of him, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

I find it increasingly frustrating when commentators continue to show a lack of appreciation and respect for the so called smaller, less fashionable club. Yet again, after this match, most pundits focussed on Liverpool's weaknesses rather than Albion's strengths. I say why blame a defeat on the way the losers played rather than on the way the winners played. Please start to acknowledge that 'teams like Brighton' are beginning to reach levels not far behind the other top Premier League clubs. Teams such as Albion, Fulham and Brentford are all beginning to show that the old world order may well be in for disruption as they improve at a faster rate than the other teams above them.

Albion's squad now looks to have plenty of depth and strength to it. With the likes of Welbeck, Webster and Lamptey waiting to get in the starting eleven things are looking on the up. If De Zerbi can keep this squad together and keep moving in the same direction then further progress is surely bound to come. I'm not saying the 'E' word yet as we're only half way through the season and things can change very quickly at this level but it's 'so far so good' for Roberto De Zerbi and Brighton & Hove Albion FC.

Up the Albion!!

Saturday 4 September 2021

Herd immunity will not come

Just to end the week on a rather bleak and gloomy note it now appears that herd immunity is never going to happen. According to Dr John Campbell's latest podcast on his You Tube channel anyway. Everyone, yes that includes you, is going to come into contact and get infected with Covid at some point in the future. It's endemic and isn't going away anytime soon.

Scientists and doctors agree that getting double jabbed offers you the best possible protection (around 90%) against getting seriously ill, hospitalised or departing this Earth earlier than planned due to Covid. Just think, if you're not vaccinated against it you may never get to see Brighton & Hove Albion win the Premier League and European Cup.

If you've not had the vaccine yet what on Earth are you waiting for? Just have the jabs. Don't say you haven't been warned.

Feel Flows straight out of stock

So, what is going on here? A surprisingly huge demand for the Beach Boys new box set Feel Flows: The Sunflower & Surfs Up Sessions 1969-1971 has resulted in Amazon, HMV and other outlets entirely running out of stock on the day of its release here in the UK. My Amazon pre-order was suddenly cancelled a week before it’s due delivery because they were out of stock even before its release date! Finding copies of this superb 5 CD box set is becoming increasingly difficult just one week after it was released.

HMV sent me an email at 1.20am this morning telling me they now had more copies back in stock, by 8.30am they had sold out again. It is now available on Amazon who are giving an unusually long 3 week delivery lead time. It would appear that this item is like gold dust. Why?

I'll tell you why. The Feel Flows box set contains two of the Beach Boys finest and most critically acclaimed albums, Sunflower and Surfs Up. There are stacks of demos, outtakes, unreleased tracks and live recordings as well as remastered versions of both albums and a 48 page book. It’s 135 tracks with 6 hours, 32 minutes and 55 seconds of pure listening pleasure for all Beach Boys fans.

Sunflower and Surfs Up were rather overlooked and undervalued at the time of their original release but they are now regarded as being essential Beach Boys listening material and are two of the best albums the group ever made. Many are now discovering for the very first time these long lost and forgotten Beach Boys songs from their late 60’s and early 70’s period. A surprisingly strange but welcome phenomenon. Of course these albums are something that us die hard Beach Boys fans have always known about; we have loved, treasured and appreciated them since the day of their release.

I would say give this boxed set a listen but you probably won’t be able to lay your hands on a copy.

More info on Feel Flows: The Sunflower & Surfs Up sessions 1969-1971 can be found here.

There's a comprehensive video review of this box set by Giggens on his You Tube channel here. It's well worth watching, what this guy doesn't know about the Beach Boys really isn't worth knowing. Lots of other BB album reviews can also be found on his channel. 


Tuesday 20 April 2021

ESL - A bad idea, a really bad idea

European Super League created to 'save football' - Real Madrid president Florentino Perez

So the ESL was created to save football. Well I never realised that so gee thanks for saving our national game Mr Perez, you utter knobhead!

This is what happens when you let super rich foreigners buy our top football clubs. Over 100 years of English football history and tradition being potentially wiped out so that the owners of a few money grabbing rich clubs can become even richer.

Interesting to note that there are no French or German clubs in this so called ‘European’ Super League. German football clubs actually have the right idea with fans having a controlling interest in how their clubs are managed and run. It’s a model that has been successful in Germany and could possibly work elsewhere.

Nobody who cares about football wants this European Super League cartel, apart from some heavily debt laden Spanish and Italian clubs and the obscenely rich owners of six English football clubs. The oligarchs, sheikhs and franchise obsessed Americans of this world care nothing about English football, its traditions or its fans. All they care about is lining their own pockets.
There’s way too much money in the upper echelons of English football and very little in the lower leagues, that imbalance needs to be addressed. This ESL proposal won’t fix it but it will certainly change things - by making the precarious situation of lower league clubs even worse!

I'm sure that most fans of 'The Greedy Six' are not in favour of their team joining an exclusive European super league with the possible risk of having to exit the Premier League. The proposal is to play ESL matches every Wednesday evening which is not the most attractive fixture day for those many fans who have to work for a living. Mid-week away trips to the continent are expensive and difficult in the midst of a pandemic. Most fans will be trying desperately to hold on to their jobs in the current Covid climate so how will they be able to take the time off work to follow their team abroad, or even at home for that matter? It's absolute madness but hey, do the club owners really care?

This proposed ESL is a bad idea and a shameful disgrace, don’t let this happen. It's time for fans to reclaim the game that belongs to them.

Rant over. 

See the news item on the BBC sport website here.

Friday 26 March 2021

On the turntable today...Jackson Browne

It's a 70's lockdown and on the turntable today we have Late For The Sky by Jackson Browne. Released in September 1974 it is easily one of my all time favourite top five albums. Yes, it really is that good.

Okay, I admit it, I hold my hands up. I had long hair and was a bit of a hippie in my younger days. The sixties and seventies were the decades when pop music evolved from the innocence of Please Please Me through to the angry punk of Anarchy In The UK. In fifteen short years we were given a pile of different musical styles and sitting comfortably right in the middle of that pile is the west coast singer songwriter genre and this is definitely my 'thing’. 

Laurel Canyon was the focal point for much of this creative songwriting energy of the early 70's with the likes of CSNY, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and the Eagles blossoming and going on to forge their own successful careers in the music industry.
There were some fantastic albums around at that time; James Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim, Carole King’s Tapestry, Neil Young’s After The Goldrush, CSNY's Deja Vu, Eagles Desperado, Carly Simon’s No Secrets and Joni Mitchell's Blue. Jackson Browne’s debut album and its follow up For Everyman were equally as good but his third album Late For The Sky is without doubt his best, most deeply personal and creative piece of work. It's a stellar album and I love it.

Every track on this album is delicious, if the singer songwriter music genre appeals to your taste then you'll just love this album. It's filled with acoustic guitars, piano, organ, fiddle, peddle steel guitar and these instruments are all blended with perfect backing vocal harmonies from the likes of Don Henley, Dan Fogelberg and J. D. Souther. There is no filler here, it's the quintessential southern California singer songwriter album rammed full of great songs oozing sheer class and quality.

There are just eight tracks on this album, all of them are exceptional. Stand outs are the title track, the stirring Before The Deluge, the delicate Fountain Of Sorrow, The Late Show with the infamous door slam at the end and the beautifully poignant For A Dancer. The songs have themes of love and loss that are deeply moving at times. 

It is music that encourages you to listen to every word that is sung, listen to every note that is played and most importantly it still stands the test of time. This album has it all; deeply moving lyrics, great melodies, superb vocals, excellent playing from a backing band of top musicians and good production. Even the cover sleeve is a work of art. It’s an album that I still play and listen to all the time. 
Late For The Sky is Jackson Browne's masterpiece, I urge you to give it a spin on your turntable. It’s songwriting, musicianship and production of the highest quality. I think it's a wonderful album but if you don’t like it, that’s cool, I’m okay with that. We all have different musical tastes, mine is clearly better than yours 😉