Category ALBUM FOCUS

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS BOTTLE OF WINE

The idea of a brief album review is quite appealing. Can a meaningful commentary be jammed into, say 200 words? A little while back, a number of bloggers took up that challenge, with interesting results. Vinyl Connection’s contributions are here and here. But what about reviewing an album using no words at all? That was the gauntlet […]

BIRDS OF PARADISE

Browsing the ‘Cover Pairs’ posts for the compilation/deletion project, I came across SEABIRD [COVER POST #37]. Having written on Chick Corea’s Return to Forever—my first ECM album and a record that still brings great enjoyment—it’s time to tell you about a favourite feel-good album, Paradise Volume One by Australian composer/musician John Sangster. Now Mr Sangster […]

HOUSE OF JANSCH

In 1967 Bert Jansch was highly regarded in folk circles but still some months away from forming breakthrough folk-rock-jazz five-piece band Pentangle with his six-string mate John Renbourn. He had, however, released three guitar+voice albums plus another with Renbourn. Bert had also been hanging out with Donovan where he had been enough impressed with the trappings of pop […]

MELLOW FELLOW

We are in a TV studio in London, and the aspirant Music Quiz champion in the spotlight has chosen Donovan’s sixties music as his special topic. Having already netted points for the musician’s birth name and place (Donovan Phillips Leitch, born Glasgow, May 1946) and his first album release (What’s bin did and what’s bin […]

JUST SOME JOSEPH LOOKING FOR A MANGER

He was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Montreal. His father, who had an engineering degree but ran a clothing business, died when he was nine years old. During degree studies that were solid rather than stellar, he did receive one endorsement indicating future directions: an award for creative writing. A member of the […]

10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT PAN

1 Pan is the Greek god of Nature, of untrammelled wilds and rustic settings. He is the player of music, the companion of nymphs, the patron of shepherd and flocks, and a bit of a lad with the ladies. Goat from the waist down, crowned with curling horns, it is sometimes written that Pan is […]

WORLDS IN A MAGICIAN’S HAT

Yesterday I ran a beginner’s dungeon for a group of children between the ages of 11 and 15 (plus an embedded 50-something). Today I’m recovering. The convalescent state rekindled a process of memory-mining around my introduction to the prince of all role-playing games, an excavation that began last year when I read David M. Ewalt’s […]