Al Stewart is the eminent songwriter of his generation, the only British artist from the 1960s London folk scene to enjoy massive success in the States. More importantly is the unique nature of his songwriting.
Jason Barnard speaks to Al about the songs that shaped his journey in music:
The Radha Krishna Temple – Hare Krishna Mantra (Single A-side, Apple, 1969)
Doris Troy – Ain’t That Cute (Single A-side, Apple, 1970)
Billy Preston – Sing One for the Lord (Encouraging Words, Apple, 1970)
George Harrison – My Sweet Lord (demo) (Early Takes Volume 1, UM 2012 rec 1970)
Ringo Starr – It Don’t Come Easy (Single A-side, Apple, 1971)
Ronnie Spector – Try Some Buy Some (Single A-side, Apple, 1971)
Badfinger – Day After Day (Single A-side, Apple, 1972)
David Bromberg – The Holdup (Single A-side, Columbia, 1972)
Shankar Family & Friends – I Am Missing You (Single A-side, Dark Horse Records, 1974)
Splinter – Costafine Town (Single A-side, Dark Horse Records, 1974)
George Harrison – You (Single A-side, Apple, 1975)
George Harrison – Beautiful Girl (Thirty Three and 1/3, Dark Horse Records, 1976)
George Harrison – Not Guilty (George Harrison, Dark Horse Records, 1979)
This landmark podcast ties in with release of the John’s remarkable book, George Harrison: Soul Man Vol. 1. It’s the first in-depth illustrated critical review of the quiet Beatle, mapping the first half of his solo career. Hear tracks George wrote, recorded or produced in this revealing show.
Take a read…“The years of looking backwards time; the hours of looking forwards time. Your mantelpiece clock has nearly run down and there is no way to wind it again. Yesteryear is yesterday, as if the last thirty years were one long dream.” I’m straight into The Luck of Eden Hall’s ‘The Acceleration of Time’ long player!
Opener ‘Slow’ kicks off with carriage clocks into a “I Had Too Much To Dream’ style rocker, conversely propelling the listener down the rabbit hole at dizzying speed.
‘A Procession Of Marshmallow Soldiers Across The Clockwork Pudding’ is the psych song you’ve had pounding around in your head for years but slips away as you enter the waking realm.
‘Arthropoda Lepidoptera’ then continues this theme with a powerful edge.
‘White Caps In The Wind’ floats the listener away building to a crescendo over an eight minute trip.
Closer ‘A Man Of Conservative Style’ brings Bowie, pop-psych, The Who and indie rock into a bloody great five and a half minutes.
A hugely ambitious double album by Chicago’s finest.
Out 1 June, pre-order now in the formats: digital, limited Edition Double Vinyl LP, CD and (flying off the shelves) Limited Edition Pop-Up CD:
The legend goes that there is no part of the music business in which Billy Terrell hasn’t been involved in. During his five decade career Billy has sung, composed, arranged and produced for a dizzying array of artists and genres.
The Strange Brew’s Jason Barnard chats to Billy about the last 50 years.
One of my earliest highlights of producing The Strange Brew Podcast was getting the chance to do an extensive interview with July, the then recently reactivated, psychedelic legends.
The July album, released in 1968 is an essential addition to the collection any fan of late psych rock. Its track ‘Dandelion Seeds’ is still making waves to this day across the Atlantic. However what was surprising digging deeper into their story was that in 1965 and 1966 the Ealing based band, then known as The Tomcats, went over to Spain and became stars.
In producing the podcast I found out that copies of the Spanish recordings seemed rarer than mint copies of the July album so it took all my ingenuity to grab copies. And little of what I heard, a mix of covers of local hits and the best of the British chart were worthy of much wider release. It’s therefore great to hear a new comprehensive The Tomcats collection.
A great example from the cd is ‘A Tu Vera’ originally cut locally as traditional flamenco moody ballad but turned by the band into a rocker with blistering guitar worthy of Dave Davies.
As contemporaries of The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds, The Tomcats gave ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘For Your Love’ spirited work-outs. Both are included here sounding better than ever.
Also worthy of mention are the handful of original numbers pointing the way for the band’s future direction. Singer Tom Newman’s doomy ballad ‘Running At Shadows’, which gives this collection its name, is arguably the finest track here.
For the band’s full story check out my interview and podcast with July from 2010: