Cult Sights & Sounds, Bristol, Spain & South America



Archaeology Corner: James William Guercio & Electra Glide in Blue

No, it’s not a name anyone is immediately familiar with, unless your interest in the band Chicago extends to the man who produced their early albums (James William Guercio ) or you are such a rabidly fanatical Beach Boys fan that you know the name of their manager in the mid-1970s (James William Guercio ) or you’re even more of a Zappa/Mothers freak and have read the list of “material contributors” to their ground-breaking first (double) album, Freak Out , which, among such luminaries as Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Salvador Dali and Sonny Boy Williamson, lists one Jim Guercio. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: James William Guercio & Electra Glide in Blue”


Every Album I Own: R is for The Residents

Since I don’t own any albums by bands beginning with Q (no, not even Queen) it’s on to R, and the Residents. I well remember the first time I heard the Residents. It was the early 1980s. I had escaped secondary school at sixteen for the superficially freer atmosphere of Filton “Tech”, a College of Further Education on the outskirts of Bristol. Half the students were apprentice mechanics* and the other half were pretentious twats like me, studying art and drama and film, and attempting to emulate their elders by throwing dinner parties to impress their new friends. At least I was. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: R is for The Residents”

Every Album I Own: P is for Pere Ubu

Geoff Nicholson’s book The Lost Art of Walking covers all aspects of perambulation, including the many musical references to using our feet. Among others,  Nicholson name-checks Johnny Cash (I Walk The Line) Patsy Cline (Walkin’ After Midnight) Nancy & Lee (Boots) Aerosmith (Walk This Way) and even Yoko Ono (Walking on Thin Ice) all of which I love, yet he makes no mention of Pere Ubu, who dedicated an entire album to The Art of Walking. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: P is for Pere Ubu”

Every Album I Own: N is for NEU!

We have a tradition in my house where, every January 1st, I play the three “classic” NEU! albums (Neu!, Neu! 2 and Neu! ’75) one after the other. Okay, so we didn’t have that tradition until 3 days ago but I think I’ll be doing it again next year, so Happy NEU Year everyone! Continue reading “Every Album I Own: N is for NEU!”

In Extremadura, out now!

My second book is a radical deconstruction of the Brit Abroad genre (see, for example, A Year In Provence,  Driving Over Lemons)  (on second thoughts, don’t!)  Spanish travelogue, potted history (both regional and national) and treatise on the nature of mortality rolled into one, it includes predictable digressions on cinema (Orson Welles, Luis Bunuel, Nic Roeg)  & literature (Javier Cercas, Peter Dickinson, Tintin) Islamic & Christian peregrination,  wild swimming in Scotland, celebrity speed freaks and the death of David Bowie.  Continue reading “In Extremadura, out now!”

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Every Album I Own: M is for Magic Muscle

I only possess one Magic Muscle album (Laughs and Thrills) and it’s not even very good – a scrappy compilation of early live tracks cobbled together from different gigs – but then again, Magic Muscle were essentially a live band, and, more than that, a way of life. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: M is for Magic Muscle”

Archaeology Corner: Bloody L!

Here’s a question they’ll probably never ask on Have I Got News For You. What do Rolling Stones sidekick David Litvinoff, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and TV show Little Britain have in common? The answer is… Llanddewi Brefi, a tiny village in Ceredigion, Wales. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: Bloody L!”

Every Album I Own: L is for (Patti) Labelle

… and for Lady Marmalade, although that’s only the tip of the iceberg which is the Labelle canon. Formed in the early 60s as the Blue Belles, or Bluebelles, Labelle rose to fame with a Busby Babes-style front four of Patti Labelle (formerly Patricia Holt), Cindy Birdsong, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, singing perfectly acceptable but unremarkable bubblegum pop-soul. In 1967, Birdsong left to join the Supremes, which is probably where she belonged, and the remaining trio changed their name, their look and their musical style radically, to become the freaked-out funk/soul/disco/rock hybrid we know and love. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: L is for (Patti) Labelle”

Every Album I Own: K is for Kiss Alive II

You wanted the best and you got…. Kiss. I was going to devote this post to King Crimson, just so I could wax lyrical about how under-rated and under the radar Robert Fripp has been for most of his career, considering the part he has played in the music of David Bowie, Daryl Hall and the mighty KC themselves (as in Crimson, not the Sunshine Band, mighty though they also are). I didn’t want to talk about Kiss, and have people think that all I ever listen to in my little flat is Blue Oyster Cult and Judas Priest and Kiss, even if it’s true. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: K is for Kiss Alive II”

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