Starting an hour earlier this week, I managed to get my mum to the hotel bar an hour earlier. As you may know from my song Just like Nan, she has something of a capacity for social observation. 'WHAT A SHAME' she said in a really loud voice when a businesswoman of a certain age in a long red dress came and sat near us. 'THERE'S MY BOYFRIEND' when Ricky Jervais came on the big screen. She thinks he's absolutely gorgeous. He obviously does as well. A painting there has been intriguing us both. 'What is on that painting, Mark'? 'Well mother, its 2 young naked lesbians frolicking on a windswept misty moorland'. 'oh'. We both had a look later and decided my description was accurate. A couple of young dykes- good luck to them! Of course, it was tastefully done. In black and white, with thunderous skies suggesting by implication all sorts of- action. I am quite surprised it made it to the public bar- I don't suppose the manager is a woman. Or maybe she is...

The Searchers

Speaking of which, I hope its ok to venture into such territory, but something did catch my eye at the traffic lights on the way to 'the park'. A girl of around 17 walked in front of my car, and I'm not joking she had the most enormous breasts. She was petite, blonde, short. And up above, were these I suppose at least 38d cups, ok 40. And I have to say she was showing them off and had an aura of, shall I say hard confidence. I hope they take her far in life.

Which brings me to Village Green Machine activities. This week, did a load of psychedelic backing harmonies on Tomgirl, and added an echoed 12 string acoustic put through the AC30. All sounding good. But then, I tried playing my Danelectro tuned to a chord, through my echo device, played with a bottleneck. Hey presto its See Emily Play! And I can play like that- it was running ahead of me in terms of what I thought I could do. Its new territory. I didn't think it would sound like Syd, certainly not to that extent. Its exciting, adds a new psychedelic dimension, expands the sonic possibilities. And so Tomgirl continues to build, I regard it as a major future track.
However, some of what went down does not sound like Syd Barrett, which is desirable as to be honest, I love to venture into uncharted territories, at least uncharted for me. Experimentation is the lifeblood I'm sure, as well as good influences.

The Hollies

Also this week. Another new song to be recorded soon called No New Messages. It will be a simple acoustic thing, like Battling To Survive which is the third track on the single to be released soon. Writing a song is very much about being brief I think these days. Say what you have to say, make a good hook, and get out.

So yes we have sorted the artwork for the single, a theme based on that used for England's Dreaming Spires. Looking fab and we will be setting a release date soon.

Sounds this week, well I've been blasting an old favourite For Certain Because by The Hollies in the car and singing to it. Its a good LP, made in '66 with a nice bass end, good songs mostly, written by the band. Underrated songwriters. After all, The great Everly Brothers did an album of Hollies songs, the excellent'' Two Yanks In England''. For Certain has an air of unbridled optimism, so reflective of the era, yet is full of the heartaches of young romance. It touches on psychedelia, the best cuts having this infectious optimism I've mentioned, Its You for instance, and then there's the great Stop Stop Stop, as good as the singles Manfred Mann were putting out and self penned too. there's Suspicious Look, if that's the correct title, with its lugubrious groove and chiming 12 string Rickenbacker ( mine is creating issues- I have a 12 string Rick) and What's Wrong With The Way I Live, a storming late beat era pop song. I am in love with this 1966 take on beat music, its a British thing. The Manfreds. The Searchers, The Hollies, they all made great records in that year. (PS the fuzz pedal I use on Tomgirl belonged to one of these bands, yes I know you know but I can't resist mentioning it again) It was beat pop, but had an extra edge , an energy prevalent in that year in particular. It wasn't straight pop, either IMO. It verged on psychedelia, it fascinates me to think the music of that year had a particular quality which is indiscernible, but which really exists, and makes it the best. I think '66 was the best year ever for pop. For one thing, the musicians were growing up, but it was pre Hendrix, and really, pre psychedelic. Pop seemed to be straining at the leash, bursting with youthful innocence and optimism. Then of course it got heavily psychedelic, but that's an different scene.

Manfred Mann

My song Tomgirl goes into quite a heavy extended psychedelic passage, but I have maintained the song structure. Andy Babiuk from Chesterfield Kings and I talked about this- we like records which have the weird stuff incorporated into a 45 rpm format. Otherwise it can move towards Grateful Dead territory. I like some of their stuff, but, I like songs rather than freeform impro ruling the roost.

I played live this week for the first time in ages. It went well. Good reaction. Blew roof off. Not like the polite stuff I used to do. Its now or never. No, I didn't sing that. Its now or never for me, with VGM.

Will be doing more live stuff soon, thanks for reading, hope you like reading my 'Letter'


Reading Village Green Machine's ezine. Tomgirl
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