Friday, 16 February 2018

Two new tracks

Seriously!  Two tracks!!!


First some rocky type stuff.

Then some folk rock featuring my octave mandolin

Sunday, 21 January 2018

This journey

I started blogging in early 2006. This blog since 2008 and my other blog over at WordPress since 2013.

Whatever has happened my recovery has been the constant common theme.

Today I'm 5000 days sober thank you for walking with me.

Thursday, 11 January 2018


Proof I think of my point about Glen Hughes and his incredible voice.  This was the encore from the show last week

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Where you been? Gig Review of Black Country Communion Hammersmith 4 Jan 2018

Or more to the point where have I been....

Unwell - see my other blog for some details but I have a condition that has become really impactful recently.  To the point where I suspect for too long I'll be no longer working in any capacity.  In effect I can't really travel, am not driving etc. So unless there is a job I can do within walking distance of home who don't mind someone who every few hours has to lie on the floor until the world stops spinning and then is frankly useless for as long as that lasts - 5 min to several hours and afterwards can barely stand or walk for a few hours more.  Reasonable adjustment is an interesting conversation with an employer who thinks it means brail keyboards and wheelchair accessibility.

Anyways....  Musically - nothing has been happening really as also my hearing is nearly gone in my left ear as a result and I have constant roaring tinnitus couple with painful feelings in my ear with loud noises.   Ear plugs help but don't cure it.

I was hoping to do a few gigs in the lead up to Christmas but failed to get to see Joanne Shaw Taylor - who my son said was really excellent.  Also my daughter and wife really enjoyed Newton Faulkner as well while I sat at home watching Eastenders.

I did get to see Black Country Communion with my son last week but I did pay for that with another horrid attack.  I think more related to the travelling - seems if I go in a train or a car journey above a handful of miles my condition decides the world should revolve uncontrollably as a result.

BCC were really brilliant and I was so glad I got to see one of their very rare live performances given the conflicts a supergroup like them have on their time.  Glen Hughes is 67... really!  He neither looks it, acts like it or most importantly sounds like it.  One of the best rock voices ever and he was simply stunning.  Joe Bonamassa blasted away brilliantly in an understated performance for him, clearly being "one of the band" is within his capabilities.  Derek Sherinian also can be backup musician and virtuoso easily too.  Finally Jason Bonham did at a few points sound spookily like his Dad - that indefinable quality of a drummer who still keeps time but somehow is just ahead or behind the beat at points where it really needs it.

Monday, 25 September 2017

CD review - Black Country Communion - Four

Or BCCIV as it is billed on the cover which features a fiery phoenix rising from the flames - very apt.

A few years back it looked like that was it from BCC as they collapsed in a bunch of disgruntled tweets between band members.  Essentially Joe Bonamassa saw his solo career as his prime objective, Glenn Hughes saw it differently and when Joe declined to extensively tour the last BCC album that became an impasse.  Joe left, taking Derek Sherinan (keyboards) off into his solo band.  Glenn and drummer Jason Bonham briefly rekindled in a band called California Breed which Jason then similarly didn't tour the album off before that collapsed.

We move on... Glenn gets inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of Deep Purple (he was in the post Ian Gillan Mark 3 version of the band.  He was also in the short lived non-Blackmoore Mark 4 lineup).  Joe calls him up to congratulate him, they make a dinner date and shortly they are talking about a new BCC album and at Glenn's writing material.

So - internal wrangling and reconciliations out of the way.   What's the album like?

Flipping brilliant!  I'd pre-ordered a while ago and also shelled out over £100 a ticket to get tickets for one of only 2 (currently scheduled) live gigs.  I missed seeing them before, you only live once.. etc. etc.  I then read some reviews seeming to say it was an inconsistent album, patchy and not full of drive.  Well I'm here to openly disagree with all the above.  It kicks off with the first single release, Collide, totally BCC.  Booming rift, huge drums and Glenn's incredible vocals.  Whilst that might be BCC by filling in the numbers a bit it is still a terrific track.  Over My Head continues in great form.  Then to one of my favourite tracks the Joe Bonamassa lead vocal track Last Song for My Resting Place.  This kicks off with a strummed mandolin, features a fiddle player... "sorry was this a bluegrass album?" you might ask.  No, no, thrice No.  Actually this reminds me more of the folky Zep stuff and Tull etc. as other points, those UK bands that drew on folk themes into the rock genre.  For me a really stand out track.

Other stand outs you should jump over to Spotify and listen to include Wanderlust and the simply brilliant Love Remains a heartfelt song from Glenn dedicated to his sadly departed parents.  His vocals on this are just spine tingling and tear inducing.

For me ... possibly the best BCC album yet and that is high praise, I don't get the reports of inconsistency or patchy performance at all.

One ironic thing that raised my lips in a curl was that on the sleeve notes (that's one reason I still buy CDs guys... I know I'm sad) is where Derek Sherinan is now the one who clearly has another more vital agenda pushing his own new band Sons of Apollo who's debut album Psychotic Symphony hits the streets very soon.  I'm presuming the lack of touring is driven as much by his issue there as it is JB's continual solo work ethic.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Guitar work... and plans...

Long time no update... and I know hardly anyone reads this...

I got around to some guitar work recently.  I bought a Fret Levelling Beam recently (more about that in a mo) and used that on two Telecaster kits I built a while ago where there were some fret issues, largely no doubt to me bodging it before with a shorter file.  The Levelling Beam did seem to make it a lot easier to get something considerably better.

I also have been installing some shims on the necks of various guitars.  I know there is a lot said where people groan etc about them but if you've a bolt on neck it actually is one advantage that installing one is a non-destructive way to try and sort stuff out.  In particular, with my 12 string electric it helped me get a better action and massively improved overall intonation.  On one of the Telecasters it helped get a better angle over the brass bridge saddles.

Finally on the Squier that I rebuilt sometime ago it helped set a better working angle on the bridge again allowing palm muting to be much less of a painful hassle due to the adjustment screws.  To my ears I heard no discernible change in tone.  I did buy some thin maple veneer, about 1 mm thick so there is good wood to wood contact maintained, maybe plastic shims or cardboard (yes I've used that before!) are reasons why these get bad press.

Here's a quick photo of the Squier Strat in bits, the veneer is about to be cut to fit... It is by the pencil which I've just drawn around the heel of the neck onto it.

Note this is a typical sight - my tools etc. strewn across the dining room table.  Mrs F is incredibly tolerant and patient you know.  So to the plans....  

I'm planning to build a proper workbench at some point, either in the garage or the shed.  My shed is not looking great after 25 years, I think I need to replace it.  It is crooked and has leaks in the roof etc.  Anyway a bench is planned.  I've also bought a router and a sander since I've been inspired to move from building kits to actually trying to build a guitar!  Crimson guitars are the biggest inspiration on this.  I bought the levelling beam on discount as part of a competition to win a guitar built by Ben (the head honcho there) in 6 hours.  All of which you can watch, like I did, on Youtube.  So stay tuned as this will be a long project no doubt!  

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Leave Out All The Rest (Official Video) - Linkin Park

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest