The Final Isolation Room Playlist
Welcome to final Isolation Room Listening Booth.
The idea for the IRLB was sparked when the RPM Record Club could no longer hold meetings due to the Government-introduced Lockdown in March 2020, an attempt to limit the spread of the Covid 19 virus...however, even though an official ending has not been announced, an easing of social restrictions has evolved to the extent that, what with shops open, pubs open and schools just about to open (as I write this), the door of the Isolation Booth is going to be pushed open as well. Take care in the outside world as nothing has actually changed and Covid is still there, despite all the smoke and mirrors from our "leaders".
The good news is that the Booth is going to have a refurb.....fresh coat of paint, new deck and headphones, maybe wash the curtains........and will become the RPM Seven Day Soundtrack; a playlist of fave tracks chosen by RPMers each week. See you 5th September over on the new page.
So, onwards with the final Listening Booth and here's what was chosen by RPMers, Friday 28th September 2020.....with an emergent theme developing.........it's over to......
"Hi all..............Glad to hear from Tim that we are moving on from lockdown."
"I have been playing and listening to a lot of blues lately. A while ago, on here, I posted Canned Heat’s 'On The Road Again', which was based on Tommy Johnson’s 1928 recording of his Big Road Blues. Last Sunday, I accompanied my musical partner Skip, who was on harmonica and vocals, and we performed our version of this song, at the outdoor, 'socially distanced,’ early evening, Sunday session at the Kings Head in North Elmham. (Next one on the 6th). For something so under rehearsed, it was very well received. It was nothing like the first minute of this gem, but I can only wish… I’ll try and sneak this past Tim as I really don’t need anyone to listen to the whole track….(I admire the cunning way an early bonus track is introduced here....Ok, you can have it....Tim)........just the stunning introduction by Mick Taylor, the man that was then, yet to become, the best guitarist that The Rolling Stones ever employed on stage."
Big Road Blues performed by Erin Harpe - "I have never been fond of straight ‘Recreationist' blues players but I love what Erin Harpe brings to modern acoustic blues. Here she is in her ‘Lockdown Bed Room’....."
Nine Summers Lost by Harry Manx - "This guy isn’t so young anymore, though I still think of him as one of the modern blues players, and young or old it is hard to think of a more complete player than Harry Manx."
The Intro and The Outro by The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band- "Whether Benny hill or Franck Zappa, I have never been particularly fond of comedy records either… I usually can’t be bothered to listen to them more than once… but there are exceptions. Especially when I need to Lighten up……. (Another intro, or Outro)"
"I need to Lighten up……."
"My three tracks for the final Isolation Room are......."
"Here are some selections from the music I've been listening to in the past seven days...."
Heat Treatment by Graham Parker & The Rumour -
"Title track from their second LP. This version is from the BBC series Sight & Sound (I'm sure a few RPMers will remember Sight & Sound from the late seventies.... You could watch the visuals on your TV and get the sound in super stereo from your FM radio... Hi-tech or what!)"
ⴵⵣⵣⴵⵎⴵⵏ (Azzaman) by Imarhan - "This is from their second (and most recent) album 'Temet'. I picked a track from this LP as one of my choices back in week 11 of the Isolation Room and it's an album I return to on a regular basis..... It's without doubt my 'most played' album of the past 12 months."
"Here's my 3......"
"Since becoming aware of Van Der Graaf Generator in early 1970 they have become one of the bands I most I return to on a regular basis. Both the band and lead vocalist Peter Hammill form the numerical core of my collection (almost 40 vinyl and CD albums) and there is scarcely a week where they don't make an appearance on the deck. I first saw the band at Sheffield City Hall on January 27th 1971. That was one of Charisma's famous 'Six Bob Tours' with three bands for... 6/= (that's 30p to you young 'uns) which saw VDGG appear alongside Lindisfarne and Genesis, although the latter didn't appear and were replaced by, possibly, Bell and Arc or Audience. I had already invested in their debut LP proper 'The least we can do is wave to each other' and their new album 'H TO HE WHO AM THE ONLY ONE' was on heavy rotation on the ailing Philips Stereogram. Since that time Sue and I have seen the band, and Hammill, on many occasions and have yet to leave a gig feeling disappointed. With so much to choose from it was always going to be difficult but here I've tried to show a couple of different sides to Hammill's solo work... and thrown in a track from my favourite album. Don't worry about the lack of VDGG.... I'll pick three from their albums when you've had time to recover from these!!!"
Time Heals by Peter Hammill- (Taken from 'Over' LP, released April 1977. Charisma label).
"Taken from what at first appears to be one of Peter's more 'accessible' albums, this is a densely worded observation about the ending of his first marriage to Alice in 1976. There are very tender parts to the song ("As time went by our steps entwined, unwritten lines drew taut...And I tried to find a way to make it all safe...") which are quickly followed by the harsh realisation that the marriage may be 'over' (For pain and love go hand in hand... And hand in hand go you and my friend, You are his and I am yours and just cannot evade you"). The album was originally to be entitled 'Over my shoulder' with a cover shot of Hammill caught looking back with a mixed expression on his face but, at the last moment the title was truncated and a more relaxed photo of Hammill in a window seat with his Gibson guitar was substituted. Current, past and future VDGG members support him and, a first for a Hammill album, strings (courtesy of soon to be BBC radio producer Michael Brand.... *see below too) make an appearance on 'This side of the looking glass' to heighten the emotional pull of the song. Emotional, yep, but the album never becomes maudlin despite it's subject matter."
Of kith And Kin by Peter Hammill/Gary Lucas - (Taken from 'Otherworld' LP, released February 2014. Esoteric Recordings label).
"Over the years, Hammill and VDGG have long utilised electronic effects * without descending into 'gimmickry' and here, on this album, Hammill and Lucas explore ambient music and link it to a suite of songs which see the lyrics generally being occupied with observations of 'the biz'. Lucas, ex of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band and Jeff Buckley's outfit, had first seen Hammill in 1973 during a visit to London and was hooked. He interviewed Hammill when he worked on a music mag and was invited to attend a VDGG show in 2005 where he made personal contact with Hammill. Years passed and Lucas e-mailed Hammill several times about the possibility of recording together in the future and a date was eventually set. Lucas arrived with a slew of sonic ideas which were quickly put down with both participants playing treated and untreated guitars. Hammill then added the vocals and sent the results to Lucas who gave them the thumbs up without any further overdubs. A handful of live dates followed but, despite the obvious warmth between the two, no further recordings appear to be projected. 'Of kith and kin' includes some of Hammill's more familiar tropes, references to the sea and being washed away ('After the flood' from 1970's 'The least we can do...' immediately springs to mind) and the immediacy of death among them, but here it's the guitars which are the star. A one-off which, for once, really enhances the work of both involved. "
* First exposed on the mail order only 'Loops and Reels' cassette..... which I still have tucked away.
German Overalls by Peter Hammill- (Taken from 'Chameleon in the shadow of the night' LP, released May 1973. Charisma label)
"Solo album or band album? This was released as a solo album but not only features all of VDGG but also (different recordings of) songs for the projected follow up to the bands classic third album 'Pawn Hearts'. Then there's the subject matter of some of the songs; a non-too romantic view of how and why the band broke up during a tour of Germany. Imagine Lennon going back to the other Beatles in late 1970 and saying 'Hey guys, I'm recording some solo songs, including one called 'How do you sleep', and I'd like you to back me on them'. Hammill even throws in direct name checks of band members Hugh Banton and Dave Jackson in this punningly titled song (German overalls.... Germany over all.... Deutschland uber alles!!!) which, by its conclusion, sees Hammill pondering the possibility of becoming a bona fide pop star.... well, maybe!!! In a different universe the band didn't split, recorded this as a 'band' and became household names outselling Yes and Genesis but, well, would we have had the other, later, solo and band classics if they had? 'Chameleon...' is, in my opinion, the essential Hammill solo album featuring the superb '(In the) Black Room', the backwards looking 'Slender threads' and 'Easy to slip away' (name checking former flatmates Mike Brand* and Susie Penhaligon who were first mentioned in 'Refugees' on the band's debut album) and the corruscating 'In the End'. Fantastic stuff..........."
Tintagel By The Sea by Peter Hammill -
"Bonus track .....(he had to get one in, didn't he?....😉 Tim)........just to show PH has a 'lighter' side. PH says "Nick Wilson, the producer/director of Playaway at the time was a University friend of mine. He’d always wanted to do something at Tintagel and this was his opportunity." I actually 'clocked out' from work to go home and watch this!!! "
"Stay safe and next week I'll censor myself and just tag three tracks. I promise!!!!!"
"As this is officially a finale, I shall have to pick 3 of my favourite artists. Also, titles that have some relevance to the 6 months since the RPM members were actually together at Elsing Village Hall. Keep safe everybody."
"Hi RPMers. Here’s my 3 . Thought I would go for 3 album tracks in order on the record . I never get tired of listening to them. Cheers."
"Here are 3 choices that I've held in my "possibles" for a while..............."
"Hello again RPM faithful. For the final IRLB it must be time to share three from The Alabama 3 (“they’re not from Alabama and there aren’t three of them”)......"
"Greetings and best wishes to all RPMers as ever. No themes or quiz questions this week, just 3 songs I've particularly enjoyed listening to recently. The first two are songs in my CD collection, but the third is something I had years ago on vinyl (sold 20 years ago) and have only just rediscovered through the miracle of U-Tube. "
Coragem Irmon (Courage Brother) by Cesaria Evoria (from the album "Cabo Verde") - "This highly melodic number showcases her voice superbly and features lovely contributions from the American jazz saxophonist James Carter and a French pianist called Alain Jean-Marie."
I'm Just An Old Chunk Of Coal by John Anderson - "One of the great voices (and accents!) of 1980s country music, with a song that demonstrates his sense of humour.(If this number does not amuse you, try "Black Sheep"). This song was written by Texan Billy-Joe Shaver."
St. Louis Blues by Johnny Copeland from the 1981 album on Rounder "Copeland Special" - "OK, I know this is one of the most recorded songs in the history of popular music, and you might have thought you never wanted to hear another version, but this really is a stunning piece of music. Mr. Copeland had been on the scene in Texas for many years prior to the release of this record, which was made in New York with a crew of N.Y. jazz musicians including saxophonists Arthur Blythe and Byard Lancaster. The soprano sax that snakes through this track is played by George Adams, and I think the album sleeve shown here is from a Rounder label "Best of." I wish some reissue specialists (Ace perhaps?) could put "Copeland Special" out again on CD- I'd be on it like a shot."
“Just as the strains of Hawkwind’s Levitation album were coming to a close, thus ending the mammoth first decade LP play-off of last week, the nice postie delivered some newly released LPs……..btw, I obviously take it as a compliment that this week a bunch of you copied my 3 songs-by-the-same-artist theme of last time 😉."
Villon Song by Stick In the Wheel – “Continuing to push the boundaries of “folk music”, Stick in the Wheel do not disappoint with new offering Hold Fast…..on see-through lime green vinyl as well. There’s trad folk , there’s folk rock, there’s ambient folk and there’s unclassifiable folk like this cracking track”.
More info about Villon Song here (no, it’s not a bonus track, it’s stuff to read.)
Blood of the Past by The Comet Is Coming – “Discovered these guys last year, so they are probably the newest band I like at the moment. Three albums released along with a couple of EPs, this is from their 2018 album, Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery, which has had a number of plays this week. The band’s music is instrumental usually, but on this track we have Kate Tempest doing a guest spot. I was talking last week about Hawkwind having carved out a genre of one for themselves and I think that is what The Comet Is Coming are doing as well; unclassifiable, but great music. Could this have been the outcome of spaceship Hawkwind crash-landing into the Court of the Crimson King..................?”
Four Boys Lost by The Levellers – “Back to the new LPs; Peace is the title of this album, the first batch of fresh recording for about 8 years from the Levs…….the title being aspirational, according to the band. This is my favourite track from this new record by one of my favourite bands............remember those early heady RPM days when the first ever Mystery Album was Levelling The Land.........and there was tea and Jaffa Cakes.....?”