Hello, thanks for coming back.
Or for coming for the first time! In previous blogs I have gone wildly off course, in that I have been expounding my views on all sorts. I love talking as though there were no parameters, but really this blog is a Village Green Machine information service, which sounds as dry as a transport timetable I know. Recently, I asked Mr Blakey, a real person, to sign up as a friend on myspace. His choice of recreational reading is' bus timetable'-. So maybe such things are indeed veritable literary treasure. Jarvis Cocker might like them, anyway. I do like Jarvis, though. A constantly intriguing man.
Having said all this, merely reciting this weeks musical activities may interest the reader, but frankly it is a bit boring for me, since I have just done all the things, and enjoyed some of them. So I don't know, I'm a bit torn really. Do you know, when my brother was put into respite care, he was entertained by two nuns, singing and playing acoustic guitar.The mind boggles at what they might actually have been singing, but poor Keith hasn't been the same since.
Yeah Wendy Richards RIP. She was an institution, when you think how many programmes she was in, loads I probably don't know about but I like Dad's Army, which she cropped up in quite often, and of Are You Being Served- Nigel I have the box set, one of our favourites, especially since it features that lovely old lady Mrs Slocombe, who was so very fond of her dear little pussy. How sweet... ps she reminds me so much of someone but I'm not saying who...
Now, I was going to do this sober. But actually, I have just drunken, quite quickly, a bottle of Grolsch so that could lead to another, and actually there is that bottle of Jack Danilels down there, which Glenn the bass player reckoned would not last the rest of the day, after the BBC session. However it did. Glenn, give me a shout.
So on myspace I have been signing up fan pages for comedies and comedy actors . We have, the ultra droll Mr Les Dawson. And Olive, another real person from On The Buses. She was a stripper in real life, allegedly. ALLEGEDLY. Poor Olive, an innocent victim of her husband Arthur's ''little operation''. I would like to know, what did he actually have done?
OK music. This week, I recorded one of my earliest compositions, A Better Way Of Life. Tribal drums, influenced by Maureen, Ringo, (Rain), maybe Mick Tucker from The Sweet, who I like a lot, rip Mick. The song has a catchy jangly riff I played on my Epiphone Casino, with the Vox organ kicking in a bit further along. Its a slow mid tempo song with a groove. I have been listening to Revolver again recently, I wanted the song to sound a bit like something from that great LP. I Di'd the bass, recently my bass playing has settled down , I didn't think it was at its best on EDS but now its more at the level it ought to be at. So its a big, warm bass sound over tribal drums, with jangly guitar, Vox organ, and a soul influenced vocal. (PS I think this recording is like a Revolver track in the unintended way that it has an eclectic mix of influences, a Roger Mcguinn influence going in with a Stax feel almost, this is why it feels so mid period Beatles) The singing has been influenced more and more by my love of northern soul. I learn from these people that the way to sing is to find your own true voice- it is as an expression of ones true self in the moment that, the voice comes into its own and is what it ought to be, in my view. Now, mix all these elements up, and the new recording is in fact moving quite close into the Revolver territory, since the Beatles were very much a melting pot of mid 60s influences, with a lot of soul and r&b going on. So I have a similar mix of influences going into my new track ,and I have to say I am very pleased with it on playback. These days I record many less overdubs, which means on a good day I can complete an entire track. We go in once a week, so a lot of material is recorded and waiting to be put out. There is more space in these latest recordings, which lends a more airy atmosphere, rather than the thick carpet of sound I got on, say, White Plastic Moccasins. PPS Hi John Leckie if you are reading. Hoping to be in touch again soon.
I am delighted with the responses to Village Green Machine, it is incredible and ofcourse, I suffer from typical insecurities, at times. So, the positive endorsements matter. I believe in what I am doing, I know I can make very good records. But, self assurance isn't quite so, granite like, unless we say granite can crumble. I don't know- after all this is only pop music. Even the greatest have shown themselves to sometimes have feet of clay. Look at the greats from the 60s- by 1985 they were in an artistic mess and decline. The Stones. Dirty Work (you knew I was going to mention that one!) really is not great, although it has a couple of really good tracks. But the drum sound? And, it seems such a mess in places. Dylan. I was on tour with Nikki Sudden when I heard Under A Red Sky. Maybe it sounds better now, but I am not going to fork out just to find out that isn't true! Which other 60's giants took a tumble, especially in the 80s? Jefferson- Starship. Actually that single, We Built This City, was written by one of America's top songwriters. Horrid production and a death to their gorgeous Surrealistic Pillow 60's aesthetic, as an 80s rebirth of sorts took place. Neil Young? I can't comment on such a deeply personal work as Trans. The 80s seemed a wilderness for these people, and of course the decadent living of the 60s must really have carried on and taken its toll by then, on thousands of back up musicians as well as the notorious famous and high profile misbehaviours. But the point I am making is, no serious musician can or should start saying how great they are, at least not without thinking that they are only as good as their next recording. Because that kind of conceit suggests to its subject that since they are so great, they always will be, and don't have to try very hard, if at all. Dangerous thinking. And then of course they are surrounded by 'yes men' who never criticise, and adoring dans who think an artistic statement is farting into a paper bag. So the reality gets distorted in their own minds,. It is not difficult to lose the plot.
However, I have a very steady gaze at the moment. Its going great.
All the best to you
Mark Lemon, Village Green Machine