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Grassroots music & politics – 2

UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR

Having started with the far right, now for the not quite so far right…the Labour Party.

Are musicians and creative people generally more likely to lean to the left, politically speaking ? It does generally seem that way.

Labour once had a good relationship with musicians – I’m particularly thinking of their engagement with Red Wedge, the collective of musicians who attempted to engage young people with politics in general, and the policies of the Labour Party in particular, during the period leading up to the 1987 general election, in the hope of ousting the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.

Fronted by Billy Bragg (whose 1985 Jobs for Youth tour had been a prototype of sorts for Red Wedge), Paul Weller and The Communards lead singer Jimmy Somerville, they put on concert tours and appeared in the media, adding their support to the Labour Party campaign.

Artists…

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“The Plan Is Working…”

“The Plan Is Working…”  from the forthcoming Frankenstein Sound Lab mini-album  Austerity.

A sort of musique concrete piece built around voice samples and featuring your friends and mine David Camoron and Iain Drunken Smith.

I’m doing the final mixing on the other 3 tracks, and they should be available for free download in the near future.

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FRANKENSTEIN SOUND LAB – Apollo Pavillion, Peterlee

Another from the ongoing SPIRIT OF PLACE project – the Apollo Pavillion at Peterlee, County Durham.

We’ve posted about the Apollo Pavillion before – https://alchemyandaccident.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/apollo-pavilion-peterlee/

…see that post for more information about it.

 

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Almanac – May 18

1048 – Omar Khayyám born.  Persian polymath, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, and Islamic theology.

Outside Iran and Persian speaking countries, Khayyám has had an impact on literature and societies through the translation of his works and popularization by other scholars.

The greatest such impact was in English-speaking countries; the English scholar Thomas Hyde (1636–1703) was the first non-Persian to study him.

The most influential of all was Edward FitzGerald (1809–83), who made Khayyám the most famous poet of the East in the West through his celebrated translation and adaptations of Khayyám’s rather small number of quatrains (Persian: رباعیات‎ rubāʿiyāt) in the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

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1911 – Big Joe Turner born. American “blues shouter” (a blues-music singer capable of singing unamplified with a band) .

According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.”

Although he had his greatest fame during the 1950s with his rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, Turner’s career as a performer endured from the 1920s into the 1980s.

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1913 – Charles Trenet born.  French singer and songwriter, most famous for his recordings from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s, though his career continued through the 1990s.

In an era in which it was exceptional for a singer to write their own material, Trenet wrote prolifically and declined to record any but his own songs.

While many of his songs mined relatively conventional topics such as love, Paris, and nostalgia for his younger days, what set Trenet’s songs apart were their personal, poetic, sometimes quite eccentric qualities, often infused with a warm wit. Some of his songs had unconventional subject matter, with whimsical imagery bordering on the surreal.

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1995 – Brinsley Le Poer Trench died. From 1956 to 1959 he edited the Flying Saucer Review and founded the International Unidentified Object Observer Corps.

In 1967, he founded Contact International and served as its first president. He also served as vice-president of the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA). He was an honorary life member of the now defunct Ancient Astronauts Society which supported the ideas put forward by Erich von Däniken in his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods?.

In 1975 he succeeded to the earldom of  Clancarty on the death of his half-brother, giving him a seat in the British House of Lords.

He used his new position to found a UFO Study Group at the  Lords, introducing Flying Saucer Review to its library and pushing for the declassification of UFO data.

Four years later he organised a celebrated debate in the House of Lords on UFOs which attracted many speeches on both sides of the question.

Trench also claimed to know a former U.S. test pilot who said he was one of six persons present at a meeting between President Eisenhower and a group of aliens, which allegedly took place at Edwards Air Force Base on April 4, 1954.

Clancarty reported that the test pilot told him “Five different alien craft landed at the base. Three were saucer-shaped and two were cigar shaped… the aliens looked something like humans, but not exactly.”

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1999 – Augustus Pablo died. Jamaican roots reggae and dub record producer, melodica player and keyboardist, active from the 1970s onwards.

He popularized the use of the melodica (an instrument at that time primarily used in Jamaica to teach music to schoolchildren) in reggae music, and was a committed Rastafarian.

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Almanac – April 13

1919 – Eugene V. Debs was imprisoned at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, for speaking out against the draft during World War I.

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1946 – Al Green born.  American singer, best  known for a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including “Tired of Being Alone”, “I’m Still In Love With You”, “Love and Happiness” and  “Let’s Stay Together”.

Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Green was referred to on the museum’s site as being “one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music”, and he was included in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, ranking at No. 66

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1964 – At the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for the 1963 film Lilies of the Field.

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Almanac – February 28

1943 – Barbara Acklin born. American soul singer and songwriter who was most successful in the 1960s and 1970s, her biggest hit as a singer was “Love Makes a Woman” in 1968.

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