Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Vox Lil Looper

I got a Vox Lil Looper for Christmas - thank to Mrs F as ever. I've only had one session with it but great fun so far. I like that it has effects on the unit and that you can therefore get a bass sound from a guitar as it has an octaver type effect. I've built up some chords and bass with which I can then solo over the top of. Great fun.

Not sure I'll incorporate it ever into live performances but will be using it at home definitely.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Joe Cocker - RIP

Sad news indeed.  A legend - such an incredible voice...

What else could I pick but one of the greatest covers ever ...

Friday, 19 December 2014

Review of the year...

It's been a bit traditional on the blog here to post a review of the year over the years I've been talking to myself you good folks on here.

So 2014?

Gig of the year.  Not done that many these days as I'm more cash strapped than I used to be and with my son living away from home I don't go with him to gigs like I used to.  Anyway from those I did see it would have to be Show Of Hands at Tunbridge Wells.  Super stuff, great playing and singing and the sound was excellent throughout.  Close second were Bellowhead.

CD of the year.  Now here was a year with a few big names releasing... but sadly I thought Elbow, Coldplay and esp U2 all missed the mark a degree (Elbow) or several (Coldplay) or totally (U2).  But there were so many great things out.  Blair Dunlop, Bellowhead, Uriah Heep... etc.

Hmm... So I'm going to award three this year.

1. Rock - Uriah Heep The Outsider.  Just a thunderously brilliant album as though losing Trevor Bolder seemed to inspire them to greater things as a tribute to him.

2. Mainstream - David Gray - The Mutineers.  David Gray's best album since White Ladder quiet simply brilliant.

3. Folk - Hmm... still torn with this category.  I'll cheat the CD release by False Lights is Feb and I think that'll win them next years award.   So... Bellowhead for Revival - probably their best to date.

Read of the year... The Farm by Tom Rob Smith - not a pleasant read in some respects the subject matter throughout is challenging but well written and with great twists.  Thoroughly recommended

Thursday, 11 December 2014

False Lights Salvor

Anyone who has a long memory will know that I've waxed lyrically about the great Sam Carter on this here blog from time to time in the past.

Now ... he has teamed up with Jim Moray to form a new folk rock band called False Lights.   Their first release is Salvor which is just flipping brilliant.  And you can listen to it all now (plugin compatibility allowing etc.) on Soundcloud...  just click and love it!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Book Reviews - The Empty Throne Bernard Cornwell and On Wings of Eagles Ken Follett

Bernard Cornwell - The Empty Throne.

The next instalment in the Lord Uhtred saga.  I've always really enjoyed Bernard's books, great historical research and then placing great fictional characters with great stories into real life historical events.  This saga now on the eight instalment.  We've followed Uhtred from his forcible exit from his family home of Bamburgh Castle as a child, through his time as a slave to his unusual alliance as a pagan with the most pious King Alfred helping Wessex to eject marauding Danes from it's borders and helping Alfred in his quest for a united England.  In this one Alfred is dead, Uhtred himself is recovering from the near fatal wound he received at the end of the last book The Pagan Lord.  He is grievously ill and with his failing strength others manoeuvre around him to try to ensure the crown of Mercia is grabbed by enemies.  Of course Uhtred whilst ill is not to be ignored and he soon is politically dealing to reinstate his mistress Alfred's daughter on the throne and also challenging those in battle who have been fighting for another outcome including him engaging in a major fight with a new Viking foe who'll return again in further episodes in this story.  Great historical novel gets a thumbs up on the FTUBRS*

On Wings of Eagles - Ken Follett

I like Ken's writing.  This is however different from him to me, rather than a fictional story woven into a history setting this one is the recounting of a true story.  In 1978 during the Iranian revolution two executives from the American computer company EDS were arrested and imprisoned in Tehran.  Simply put Iran was broke and corrupt to crazy.  EDS had not been paid for some months for the work done but also had been paid some millions of US dollars already.  Some people in the Ministry for Health seemed to think they could extort the payments back out of EDS by setting the bail for the executives at $12million.  EDS felt extremely let down by the USA Embassy that did nothing to help them and the dithering in the Carter administration didn't help.  In the end Ross Perot the owner of EDS set up a rescue team who went to Tehran with the plan to break the executives out of jail.  However once there on the ground the prisoners were moved to a prison where a jailbreak was impracticable until they were able to whip up an anti-regime protest to enable a complete jailbreak of all prisoners and then the team had to drive through a fractured and dangerous Iran to get over the border into Turkey.  I have to say I very touched by some of the story - esp the ending.  However throughout I was also worried about how Ken portrays the story - he seems a little bit hero worshipping some involved, particularly Ross Perot.  So a two thumbs horizontal - a great story to read but I'm concerned how some of the events and characters are portrayed and not Ken's best writing I feel.


* Furtheron Thumbs Up Book Review Scale - 
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down, 
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal, 
one thumb up, 
two thumbs up 
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded