Friday, 29 December 2017


It's that time when we look back on the year and remember our favourite moments. Newspapers, magazines and websites are full of lists suggesting 'the best' books, films and naturally music from 2017. You can take your pick ?
My nomination in the category 'Comeback' is the major return to form shown by Liam Gallagher with his solo album 'As You Were'. You know the deal, it's music with attitude. I could have selected any number of tracks but have gone for that rock attitude on 'Come Back To Me'.



While on another track he's almost apologising for his behaviour > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDrPghDvYA4 

An Oasis documentary film 'Supersonic' was on TV the other night. Good job they didn't bleep out the swearing, otherwise there wouldn't have been any dialogue left !!!

Friday, 22 December 2017


Two years ago the Friday Music Spot featured a song from Christmas Past > and last year it was Christmas Present. To complete the trilogy, here's my personal wish for the Future.

Walking through the bullring at Waterloo yesterday I realised there are still people living rough on the streets of London. My hope for Christmas Future is that this is not the case in years to come.
Legendary singer-songwriter, Ralph McTell, has re-recorded his timeless song, ‘Streets of London’, with a choir made up of clients and staff from Crisis – the national charity for homeless people – and guest vocalist Annie Lennox, to raise money for the cause in the run-up to Christmas. First penned 50 years ago, the classic song shares its birthday with Crisis, whose 50th anniversary also falls this December. 

To quote Ralph McTell: “It’s 50 years since I wrote 'Streets of London' and it saddens me that the issues raised in the song are still so relevant today". 



Friday, 15 December 2017


Chatting to one of my regular listeners earlier this week, he was most insistent that I check out Loggins & Messina, and particularly their 1974 LP 'Mother Lode'. Their music is very 70s California, and it might just make you feel a bit warmer on a winter's day. I've picked this track off the album called 'Be Free' - which has a bit of everything and the accompanying video takes you through all the seasons. 


Unfamiliar with Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina ?  Bet you're heard this one before: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDcTyyXQb8

Friday, 8 December 2017


Triggered by last week's work related track here's another story.
At my first job we produced the artwork for a local giveaway newspaper called 'Focus'. It was mostly adverts for businesses in the South London area, with articles to fill in the gaps. One filler was a very basic music page. I'd been asked by the Paper's owners if I'd like to compile this section and as it involved 'free' LPs sent to me to review any lack of journalistic ability on my part had been overlooked by all concerned.
Early in 1972 I heard there was a rock band called Focus and thought this was a coincidence worth exploring. So I wrote to the record company 'Blue Horizon' who released their music in the UK. They replied and sent me a press release that informed me they were a Dutch band. They also sent me their single 'Tommy' which was off the recently released album 'Moving Waves'.
The single and it's 'B' side were fantastic and as a result, despite no one having heard of them, I starting wittering on to friends about this great Dutch band Focus. Some months later, at the end of May, they made an appearance on 'The Old Grey Whistle Test'. 
Suddenly the same friends are calling me up and raving about them. The word was out. That British TV debut included a performance of 'Hocus Pocus'. Melody Maker newspaper voted Focus as 'Brightest Hope' that year. They played the Reading Festival in August followed by the MM Poll Awards at the Oval cricket ground in September. A return appearance on the OGWT in December sealed it and host Bob Harris said the show was inundated with calls and letters about the band.
Their new record label Polydor had issued a latest LP 'Focus 3' in November and then had to press more records to meet the demand.
A single off the album was released in early 1973 and reached No.4 in the UK chart. The single was called 'Sylvia'.

This track was also on my dad's cassette tape I made for him - remember that story? see: http://billblogs2.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/musicassettes-or-compact-tape-cassette.html

More >
May 1972: The original OGWT appearance on YouTube, comes complete with the almost compulsory equipment breakdown, that was such a part of 'live' concerts in the early 70s. 


Friday, 1 December 2017


Officially tomorrow I retire. Some might say I have had a few practise goes at this over the years, especially during the 1980s.
With that memory in mind I have a track from Australian band Redgum that captures the mood very much from then but also now.
Someone mentions walkabout and kiss your job goodbye.


The lyrics tell the story, while I'm not quite sure exactly what the video is all about it has enough open roads to fit the bill. Pun intended !

Friday, 24 November 2017


Another week and time for Siem Reap in Cambodia. 
'Angkor Wat' is the main attraction and this is a traveller's personal video off YouTube. Music is by Nomyn titled 'Daydreamer'.

If you were hoping for some more 'drone' footage - we can do that too > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCpAWH_1ttc


Friday, 10 November 2017


And this week's sees us up, up and away over Vietnam. 
My son sent me this video called an Aerial Concert (in 5 chapters) - quite stunning (as are the other amazing 'drone' video productions by ThangSoi).
The music is 'Becoming Human' by Ryan Taubert. Full screen for full effect.




Friday, 27 October 2017


Week One >> Take off to Thailand. 
No idea who supplies the music, but the aerial footage is simply brilliant - fasten those seat belts !



Monday, 23 October 2017


After nearly two years the  FRIDAY MUSIC SPOT  has reached 100 !!
We kicked-off on 13th November 2015 with Funkadelic's 'Maggot Brain'.
The first 50 songs can be seen via this link. Here's a run down of 51-100: listed below. So welcome to:





51 (>)  Turn My Ship Around .…….….……….…….… Jeremy Buck
52 (>)  Wishing Well .……….……….……………….……  Bad Company
53 (>)  Fallout .………………….….…….… Catfish and the Bottlemen
54 (>)  Don't Believe a Word ..…..….…. Gary Moore & Friends
55 (>)  Bicentennial Present .…..………..….…… Peter Baumann
56 (>)  The Last Resort …………….……..……………………….… Eagles
57 (>)  Friday On My Mind .….……..………………… The Easybeats
58 (>)  Von den Elben .…….………..…………………………………… Faun
59 (>)  Midnight Blues ……..….………………………….. Snowy White 
60 (>)  Better Things .………..… Ray Davies/Bruce Springsteen

61 (>)  China In Your Hand …………..………………….………… T'Pau  
62 (>)  America's Sweetheart/Can't Be Loved . Elle King
63 (>)  Canon Rock  ….……..….………………………..….… Laura Lace
64 (>)  Heat of The Moment ….…….…..…..……….….……..…. Asia
65 (>)  Thinking Out Loud ……………………………….… Ed Sheeran
66 (>)  Believe ….……….………………………..…….… Mumford & Sons
67 (>)  I Think It's Going To Work Out Fine …… Ry Cooder
68 (>)  Soon ….……………………….……………….…………….……..…… Yes
69 (>)  The Devil's Answer ….…………….…..…  Atomic Rooster
70 (>)  Samba De Janerio ….……….…….……….…….…….…  Bellini

71 (>)  Spring 1 ….……………….………….…………….….… Max Richter
72 (>)  Always Gold….……….……..….…………….…….. Radical Face
73 (>)  Firth of Fifth ….……….……..….……… Steve Hackett Band 
74 (>)  Dreams …………………………….…..…..……… The Cranberries
75 (>)  Most People ….……….…….………..……….……………… Dawes
76 (>)  Back of My Hand ….……….…………………..….…… The Jags 
77 (>)  One Last Breath ….………………..….……………….…… Creed
78 (>)  Driver's Seat  …….……………………….… Sniff 'n' the Tears
79 (>)  Landslide  ….……….…………………………..… Fleetwood Mac 
80 (>)  Melissa ….……..…..……….….…….. Greg Allman & Friends

81 (>)  Open Your Eyes ….……….……………..……….. Snow Patrol
82 (>)  Closing Time ….……….…….…………………….…… Semisonic
83 (>)  Lofty Skies ….…..….…….…..…………. Tyrannosaurus Rex 
84 (>)  Back It Up …………………………………..……..….. Nils Lofgren
85 (>)  The Singer Not The Song ……………….. Rolling Stones
86 (>)  Philia …….……….….………..……….………… Baiju Dharmajan 
87 (>)  I'd Love to Change the World ……… Ten Years After
88 (>)  Suite: Judy Blue Eyes … ……….… Crosby, Still & Nash
89 (>)  Music from: ………….…………..… Penguin Cafe Orchestra 
90 (>)  Live the Life  .……..……………….…………..….. Rod Stewart

91 (>)  Summer Breeze ….….…….……….…… The Isley Brothers
92 (>)  Taillights Fade ….…….….………….….…….…… Buffalo Tom
93 (>)  Comfortably Dumb ……….………………….…..… Pink Floyd 
94 (>)  A Dustland Fairytale …….……….…..………….. The Killers
95 (>)  Illusion of Life ….…………….………….….….….. The Illusion
96 (>)  San Franciscan Nights …. Eric Burdon & the Animals 
97 (>)  Flowers in the Rain ……….….……..…..……….. The Move
98 (>)   The Sky is a Neighbourhood ….……..……Foo Fighters
99 (>)  Even The Losers …… Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 
100 (>)  The Voyager ….…….…………..……..….…..…Mike Oldfield

Click on the (>) to go to the track of your choice. (Not sure if all the videos are still available).

Friday, 20 October 2017


This week's Music Spot is being triggered remotely as I'll already be 'on voyage' by the time you are watching this.
Basically it's just a kaleidoscope of images to transport you to some other place. Float away on an appropriately named soundtrack by Mike Oldfield, from his 1996 album release of the same name 
'The Voyager'. 



> This sets the tone for the coming weeks - as I've loaded up the Friday jukebox with a travel log for you to roughly follow our itinerary and come along for the journey.

NB: This is the 100th Star Track on the Friday Music Spot. Come back Monday for the Chart Show.

Friday, 13 October 2017


I'd already set up last week's Music Spot when the sad news concerning Tom Petty came through. A tribute is therefore a bit late but the moment not missed.
Following a 'Classic Albums' tv show, shown last Friday, about the 1979 'Damn the Torpedoes' album, we have today's Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Star Track.
Side one, track three off the LP:- 'Even The Losers'. Fantastic guitar too, from Mike Campbell.


One track is hardly enough, right. And if you were wondered where the Byrds-like chiming Rickenbacker guitars were? Here they are > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMyCa35_mOg
Still want more… well 'Damn the Torpedoes' – whole album >>>

Friday, 6 October 2017


September was a good month for new music. Album releases from The Killers and Foo Fighters. An extraordinary concert of Icelandic avant-garde rock from Sigur Ros. And I discovered a band from Toronto called Alvvays (really spelt like that) and their 2nd album called 'Antisocialites'*. 
As we haven't had any thumping rock music in a while and as they are my son's favourite band AND it was his birthday yesterday, I'm going with the Foo Fighters and 'The Sky is a Neighborhood'.
This track is a 'grower' (so give it a few plays to work it's magic). Great video with the sky at the end, something else. All join in
Bangin' on the ceiling
Bangin' on the ceiling
Keep it down

* Interested? Sample some anti socialness from Alvvays. Link >
Those students and scholars among you will have noted that the Friday Music Spot is fast approaching the milestone of 100. Watch this space.

Friday, 29 September 2017


After last week we're staying firmly planted in 1967, with this weekend being the 50th Anniversary of the launch of BBC Radio 1.
This was billed as the nation's answer and replacement to Pirate Radio in the UK. For after 3 years of playing pop music from ships anchored outside the 3 mile limit of British shores these pirates had been shut down by the spoil-sport government.
How successful this legitimate replacement proved is open to debate and opinion, but it was at the time heralded with a great deal of excitement and many a fanfare.
Tomorrow at precisely the exact hour of the original launch (06.55) BBC2 and DJ Tony Blackburn will do it all again and you can tune in your transistor radios - sorry DAB / Cable TV / smart phone / computer / Clock radio - or what ever device you currently listen to the radio on, and remember Wonderful Radio 1. (iplayer link here)
For more information and a rundown on the original programme see the excellent website Radio Rewind. Most people can recall that the first song played was The Move's 'Flowers in the Rain', and it was, right after the Radio 1 music jingle and the Tony Blackburn Show's theme by Johnny Dankworth called 'Beefeaters' - overlaid with Tony's wretched dog Arnold barking. Here's The Move:


Radio BBC2 is on FM between 88.1 - 90.2 MHz

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Do the DLR in a day

This was my working title as I set out. If I'd realised the frequency and how fast the trains were on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) plus how few stations it involved I'd have known it wasn't going to take all day. 
(The entire District line from Wimbledon to Upminster has 41 stations and this takes an hour and a half. The DLR has just 45 stations total and the world record for passing through all stops is just under 1hr 54mins). The various interchanges clearly add time to your journey, but the area and distances covered are relatively small. Even taking into account, as before, my own set of 'Tube Challenge' rules that you take time to look around places while you're there, this was not an all day affair. 
The interesting thing about the DLR, if you didn't know, is that there is no train driver ! The automated system opened in 1987 to serve the redevelopment of London's Docklands area.

I began at the Bank
No driver, so everyone wants to sit at the very front and enjoy a driver's eye view. I fail to achieve this at first, but do manage it for a great deal of the trip.
My initial destination is Lewisham passing through the futuristic landscape of Canary Wharf.
On my return journey I get off at 'Cutty Sark' and walk through the Greenwich foot tunnel, under the River Thames, (something I've never done before). The next diversion is to walk a section from Cross Harbour to South Quay to see a bend that enables you to see both sides of the train plus it's reflection in the glass building behind.
Back on board to Canary Wharf where I get a different train (and line) to Stratford. This station is also very modern but the spur to the grandly named Stratford International is disappointing, serving to take you to the larger train terminal but little else.
The line southwards running to Woolwich Arsenal goes past the old disused docks and London City airport while the tunnel under the Thames into the station is great from a driver's perspective. Lunch at Woolwich, which is a strange mix of cultures, old and new, shabby and smart.
Back up the same line I get off at King George V station and walk through a rather rundown area, rather quickly it should be said, and over the bridges by the airport to Gallion's Reach station. Planes landing more often than I'd expected against an increasingly darkening sky.
Gallion's Reach being on the Beckton branch meant I could go to the end of this line before returning along the north side of the airport past the Excel centre, the Dome and eventually back past the Canary skyscrapers and into London at Tower Gateway.
It had taken me 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete.
NB: Additional line extensions and therefore stations are planned in the near future. Another visit will be necessary soon.

A helpful more geographically accurate map of the DLR below (plus a few photos).
Coming into Heron Quays station - I'm driving !
Plane landing at London City airport.
Dramatic skies over London and the City airport.
Tunnel vision > Greenwich foot tunnel (left) & DLR train approaching Canary Wharf station.

Friday, 22 September 2017


40 years ago this coming week I was all set to visit America for the very first time. I'd wanted to go for ages and finally on the 28th September 1977 I flew into San Francisco. It was the start of something that probably has never really ended. The 'wanderlust' is alive and still kicking me all over the place.
Arriving in 1977 meant I was a good ten years to late for 'The Summer of Love'. I'd loved the music and the message and of course the art that accompanied this time and though a bit young to be part of the scene the memory of flower power and hippies going to San Francisco was very strong. From here on I was California Dreaming - it just took me 10 years to be woken up. 

There's a whole generation
With a new explanation*

The UK singles chart in 1967 told the tale: Starting in June 'Whiter Shade of Pale' at number one for 6 weeks, followed by 'All You Need is Love' and by August Scott McKenzie was singing 'San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair)'. Followed by a session band called The Flowerpot Men with 'Let's Go To San Francisco'. Another song released in August yet didn't make the charts until November was the excellent 'San Franciscan Nights' by Eric Burdon & the Animals - let's go there!


Didn't you just know there'd be a VW painted with flowers in the video.

*Lyrics by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, sung by Scott McKenzie.


Thursday, 21 September 2017


Foo Fighters Arms pub, Bethnal Green, E2 9LH

The 'Dundee Arms' pub becomes the temporary 'Foo Fighters Arms' as a promotion for new album. 

Friday, 15 September 2017


After almost 20 years in Space, around lunchtime today (GMT) the joint Nasa, and the European & Italian space agencies 'Cassini mission to Saturn' will finally end. 
On its final orbit Cassini will plunge into Saturn's atmosphere at tens of thousands of miles per hour. After losing contact with Earth, the spacecraft will burn up like a meteor, becoming part of the planet itself.
Given all the components on board were pre 1997 and how technology has progress since - this mission and its success is almost beyond belief. See the brilliant NASA website to discover the full story of taking off in the wrong direction for Saturn, gravity assisted speed boosts (and still taking 7 years to get there), new moons and many more mind boggling facts, distances, speeds and photographs.

So what else could we possibly have today other than some space music: This is The Illusion with 'Illusion of Life'. We're "Star-Tracking Across the Universe".*


A Horizon documentary will review the mission and the final hours in a special programme to be broadcast on Monday 18 September at 21:00 BST on BBC Two. 

* A bit of silliness from The Firm > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCARADb9asE

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

A Double Bill

This week's beer suggestions from ALDI:
Wild Bill's and Wizard – sounds like a custom-made double-bill especially for me !


Wild Bill's IPA – £1.19
Wizard Amber Beer – £1.29

Friday, 8 September 2017


Here's something I've been attempting that you may want to try. Pick your favourite band for each decade, starting in the sixties. (Artists: i.e. Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson - can be in a separate selection) this is groups only. (Which may make it easier)
My choices are:
1960s > The Kinks
1970s > Pink Floyd
1980s > Dire Straits
1990s > REM
2000s > The Killers
2010s > Mumford & Sons (though of course this decade hasn't quite ended yet).

One of the above favourites, yet to feature on the FRIDAY MUSIC SPOT is The Killers. So here they areLive on Letterman with a cast of thousands… (I could have picked any number of their songs but this is one of my favourite favourites). 'A Dustland Fairytale'


The Killers are about to release a new album on 22nd September called 'Wonderful Wonderful' !

Friday, 1 September 2017


Earlier this week I went to the Pink Floyd exhibition at the V&A in London. Ever since their music has been playing in my head, so no prizes for guessing where were going this week.
I know we have had Pink Floyd previously (click here>) - and a no repeat policy was my intention, but we ARE talking Pink Floyd here.
The exhibition, which has had its run extended to October 15th, was brilliant, as it guided you through the years, album by album, in the company of an audio track from personal headphones. Giant inflatables, flying pigs, aeroplanes and massive stage set walls along with instruments, costumes and all manor of memorabilia were on show. 
Selecting a track for this Friday I had so many contenders that in the end I decided to go along with the exhibition. This ended in a large room, surrounded on four sides by giant scenes and this song. From the 1979 LP 'The Wall' and performed live in Hyde Park in 2005 - 'Comfortably Numb'.


If you'd like to "Fritter and waste a few more moments in a dull day" - this is the way >
Released in 2006 the dvd of the 'Pulse' concert from 1994 at Earl's Court has the most incredible lightshow. I'm not going to name the tracks, it's a surprise, just enjoy the show:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-Qj80oyZto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgwjGrdieIY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pucXbToAao

Friday, 25 August 2017


A new week, another frequency on a different wavelength:
BBC Greater London Radio (GLR: 1988-2000) and in particular Gary Crowley's show on Sunday afternoons during the early 1990s was undoubtedly responsible at the time for helping increase my fledgling CD collection. 
His radio show would unearth new talent like: Manic Street Preachers, Teenage Fanclub, Buffalo Tom, Smashing Pumpkins, Pulp, Placebo, Suede, Kingmaker, Catatonia, Gigolo Aunts, Dandy Warhols, to name just a few. Mostly artists from independent record labels, many of them are still together today.

If you have never heard of Buffalo Tom, from Boston, you are about to. This is 'Taillights Fade' off their 1992 album 'Let Me Come Over'. 25 years ago - where did those years go ?
Interestingly this track almost fades in… give it some volume 


More indie rock? Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_erydVaGk4  and/or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EUOVya_5RQ

Wednesday, 23 August 2017


Ramble Inn pub, Tooting SW17

> I just love the mobility scooter parked outside. Cheers 🍺🍺🍺

Friday, 18 August 2017


Having written FM Spot last week as an abbreviation for THE FRIDAY MUSIC SPOT I realised this could indicate some sort of radio station - as in Capital FM or Classic FM etc.
Frequency Modulation (FM) isn't new technology (invented in the 1930s in America - the tragic story of its birth is told here > https://www.damninteresting.com/the-tragic-birth-of-fm-radio/). Consequently FM radio was slow to emerge through the late 50s and 60s but being better suited to high fidelity music than AM broadcasts were, it finally took off and by the 1970s in the US it had arrived.
It became popular in the UK and the rest of world during this time but in one case, BBC Radio 1, it would be 1987 before it was allocated an FM frequency. Up until this time the station only shared evenings and weekend FM airtime with Radio 2, meaning during the week no daytime 'Wonderful Radio 1" FM transmissions. (More on this in the coming weeks).

Which about brings me to… I was listening to BBC Radio 6 at the weekend (strictly speaking a digital station and not on an FM frequency, but let's not split signals here). On came the song 'Summer Breeze' by the Isley Brothers, their version of the Seals & Crofts number from 1973. But would it be the superb LP version or the single, issued as an A side: 'Summer Breeze (Part 1)' and a B side '(Part 2)'. Would the radio play the full version or just the shorter single 'A' side? As it faded on 3 minutes I realised I wouldn't be enjoying the last 2 minutes of the full version, where Ernie Isley unleashes a guitar solo, that is one of my all time favourite solos, of all time.  But today we can!  And here it is…


Friday, 11 August 2017


Here's a relatively new song (2013) that sounds very much like an old song, circa 1972. From Rod Stewart's album 'Time' this is 'Live the Life'. The album was a welcome return to form for Rod and became his first No.1 album in the UK charts since 'A Night on the Town' in 1976. 
I really like the philosophy expressed in this track:

So love the life you live
And live the life you love


And always remember let the good times rule