Friday 26 February 2021

On the turntable today...Fleetwood Mac

It's a 70's lockdown...The multi million selling Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is on the turntable today. Released in February 1977 Rumours was the bands 11th album release and it was massive, selling shedloads of copies across the world. It turned the band into a hugely successful touring and recording act. 

The album was a diary of events for the band as it told the story of internal love affairs, relationship bust ups, fights, splits, parties and tensions within the band itself at that time. The subject matter proved to be the catalyst for a hugely successful and popular album. The lyrics cut straight through to the heart of the matter and musically the band were very strong with melodies to die for. Rumours garnered critical acclaim and was an instant commercial success selling over 40 million copies worldwide.    

What a nice nice way to welcome in the weekend. 

Monday 22 February 2021

On the turntable today...Joni Mitchell

It's a 70's lockdown...Today we have Joni Mitchell’s For The Roses on the turntable. Released in November 1972, this follow up to the hugely successful and startlingly honest Blue, took Joni away from her folk roots and into a new and different direction.
The often overlooked Roses is a fine piece of work and lyrically one of her very best. Her vocals and musicality are not to everyone’s taste but as an album it’s in a class of its own.

In 1974 this change in style would lead to a more jazzy feel that would reach its peak with her critically acclaimed and most commercially successful album, the magnificent Court and Spark.

Sunday 21 February 2021

On the turntable today...The Beatles

On the turntable today we have the lovable fab four with their groovy 1968 double LP offering The Beatles, better known as The White Album. This double LP was a revolution when it first came out but as soon as you hear it dontcha know it’s gonna be alright.

How a band of mop tops could go from Please Please Me to this in just five years is nothing short of astonishing musical progress. The mix of songs on this album is simply amazing. We have Ob La Di, Ob La Da sitting alongside other tracks such as Revolution 1, Revolution 9, Julia, Helter Skelter, Good Night, Birthday and While My Guitar Gently Weeps. A more diverse collection of songs on the same album you would be very hard pressed to find. 

It's the diversity of this bunch of songs that is its attraction. You will find stuff you love (Blackbird) and other stuff that's perhaps a tougher listen (Revolution 9). It's a must have album though, especially the 6 CD deluxe set with the Esher sessions. On this edition you can hear the germination of songs that would reappear later on Beatle solo albums. Lennon's Child of Nature would eventually evolve into Jealous Guy on Imagine and McCartney's Junk would return for his first solo outing.

Not as commercial as earlier Beatle albums but still an essential part of any Beatles music collection as it highlights the bands progression from Love Me Do in '63. The Beatles White Album is a part of the bands closing chapter and was to point the way forward for their musical future as it entered the 70's after the group split. Although on the pricey side the 6 CD box set with a Blue-ray disc and lavish hardbound book does represent good value purely for the high quality packaging and enclosed comprehensive collection of rare rehearsal tracks and the Esher demos. You can view the product on Amazon here

Friday 12 February 2021

Travel on a journey with Passenger

Album: Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted
Artist: Passenger

Release date: January 2021

What a stunning new album this is by Brighton based singer songwriter Passenger (Mike Rosenberg). Unbelievably it’s his 13th album release, all of them excellent but this one is truly a real gem. A genuinely brilliant piece of music that is sure to be my favourite album of the year even though it’s only February.

The wistful music is hauntingly beautiful and superbly arranged. It’s a strongly emotive piece of work and whilst the subject matter of heartbreak, loss and longing may seem desperately sad the beautifully crafted songs are in fact surprisingly uplifting in their openness and honesty. The subtle guitar playing and heartfelt vocals are on point throughout. It’s a truly magnificent album from a singer songwriter right at the very top of his game.

The deluxe edition is spread across two CD’s and the acoustic versions on disc 2 give an added dimension to the songs that makes you appreciate just how well written they are. Gentle music that is simply perfect for any lockdown. This comes highly recommended, please give it a listen.

Click the album image at the top of this page to follow the Spotify link.

Wednesday 3 February 2021

'Phenomenal' Brighton win at Liverpool

Liverpool 0, Albion 1
Wednesday 3rd February 2021

This is my team in a nutshell: Brighton play attractive, free flowing football with lots of possession but until recently the team lacked that killer instinct in the final third, they needed to be more ruthless. Sometimes you have to win ugly when you're near the bottom of the table. There have been too many draws and narrow one goal defeats for the fans liking, compounded with the managers tendency to frequently change team line ups causing even more frustration. However, it's also true to say that Brighton are a very hard team to beat and as a fan I would far rather be watching attractive attacking football than a boring defensive style of play. It's not often Brighton have been well beaten, Leicester away springs to mind, but fans can get notoriously fickle when things aren't going the way they would like or expect. 

Brighton manager Graham Potter tends to look at things as a long term project even though some fans are impatient for results and look worryingly at the league position. Relegation is not something the Albion board desire but they, and particularly chairman Tony Bloom, have every faith in their manager and getting rid is not an option in their eyes. They believe in what Potter is trying to do. The manager is not afraid to introduce younger players into the starting eleven, his brave decision to let first choice goalie Maty Ryan move on loan to Arsenal and bring in rookie Robert Sanchez as his replacement showed a remarkable amount of bravery and confidence in the 23 year old shot stopper.

So it was that Brighton travelled to Anfield on the back of some good results having recently taken seven points out of a possible nine in their last three games against Spurs, Fulham and Leeds. Perhaps more significantly Albion hadn't conceded any goals in those three matches. Having only lost one game since the turn of the year (a narrow 1-0 defeat away to Manchester City) Brighton fans were beginning to wonder if the tide was about to turn. And so it proved to be. 

In the pre-match press conference the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for Graham Potter and the style of football that he is trying to introduce on the Sussex coast. Indeed, Klopp was more complementary than many Albion fans of late about what the Brighton manager is trying to achieve. The possession based brand of football played out from the back is attractive but not always fruitful in terms of results in Brighton's case. 

Was this to be the match where some of those doubting Albion fans began to believe in the Potter project? The team took to the pitch to show what they were capable of and to a man they were strong, calm and magnificent. They passed the ball consistently well all game, they outplayed Liverpool for large spells and defended like lions when they had to with a solid wall of blue shirts between their goal and the Liverpool forwards. And for once Brighton took their chance when it presented itself after some beautiful intricate one touch passing movement which led to young midfielder Steven Alzate thumping the ball into the corner of the Liverpool net in the 56th minute. It was 1-0 to the Albion and Liverpool never really looked like they were going to score as their lackluster front line huffed and puffed but found no way through. The Brighton players worked their socks off, with Adam Webster looking particularly assured in the solid back line of three centre halves. Even Dan Burn had a wonderful game, foraging forward from his left wing back position to create several opportunities for himself and his team mates. It was a pleasure to watch this team at last realise the potential that they have.

Believe me, this was no lucky win, it was fully deserved for a Brighton team who showed courage, commitment and a sense of belief in the plan that their manager had given them. They were not overawed or intimidated by the Premier League champions. The team finally showed us what Graham Potter knew all along, that they can play attractive football and get the desired result. It was an outstanding performance that will live long in the memory and will surely raise the players confidence levels. They visit Burnley on Saturday and that will be a physically tough battle, Albion will need to work hard and be on their mettle if they are to gain all three points. The victory at Liverpool pushes Albion up to 15th in the Premier League with a comfortable 10 point cushion between them and third from bottom Fulham. The team now need to carry their recent good form into their upcoming matches, in particular the home match against Crystal Palace on 22nd February which all Albion fans will want to win.

Brighton have generally been playing well all season but just not taking their chances. The defence is now starting to look rock solid and the team appear to have learned how to grab their goal scoring opportunities when they come along. Onwards and upwards, hopefully. 

Click on the image below to watch BBC's Match Of The Day analysis of Brighton's performance. Look out for pundit Danny Murphy saying that Brighton were 'phenomenal'. Who am I to disagree.