Johnny Black

Johnny Black  |  Nov 13, 2020  |  0 comments
Waits once joked he wrote only two kinds of songs, describing them as grim reapers and grand weepers. And while this 1978 album was not a best-seller, it saw him refine his beat poet balladry by drawing on the blues, resulting in some of his greatest tracks

Millions first encountered the name Tom Waits when he was listed as the composer of 'Ol' 55', one of the stand-out tracks on The Eagles' 1974 album On The Border. Anyone sufficiently smitten by that ultra-smooth slab of Californian country rock to wonder who this songwriter was, probably went on to discover that Waits resembled The Eagles about as much as Bob Dylan resembled Peter, Paul And Mary.

Johnny Black  |  Sep 22, 2020  |  0 comments
As more groups turn to touring to generate revenue, Johnny Black casts an eye over the more innovative ways some bands are winning over fans

It used to be so simple. Back in the day, music artists recorded albums and then went out on expensive tours, often making a loss, in order to promote and sell considerable quantities of their LPs. The big money then was in the vinyl, and that vinyl was largely under the control of a handful of major international music corporations, such as EMI, CBS, Warner Bros, Polygram and their ilk.

Johnny Black  |  May 28, 2020  |  0 comments
Almost two years of recording and with his funds dwindling fast, Steve Winwood was beginning to wonder if the attempts to encourage him to come out of retirement really were misplaced. Yet success in the States was to turn his music career around

You'd think somebody who did a record called Arc Of A Diver could swim,' owned up Steve Winwood in 1988, 'but I was scared stiff.' In fact, it was not until the late '80s that the British singer overcame his phobia, taking lessons from a former Olympic swimmer, by which time Arc Of A Diver, released a decade earlier, had enabled him to keep his head above water in fine style.

Johnny Black  |  May 18, 2020  |  0 comments
This month we review: Fassine, Son Little, Seth Lakeman and Pavey Ark.
Johnny Black  |  May 15, 2020  |  0 comments
Peppered with provocative lyrics and a cast of often nightmarish characters, this debut offered a snapshot of late-'70s Britain in all its gritty glory. Yet the catchy tunes delivered with a helping of music hall mischief means it still stands as one of rock's most original LPs

Towards the end of 1977 punk rock had taken hold in the UK in a big way and, for older and established musicians, this was a party to which they had not been invited. For David Bowie the best solution was to relish his individuality, which prompted the advertisement strapline for his LP Heroes: 'There's Old Wave. There's New Wave. And Then There Is David Bowie'. The same could have been said about the 35-year-old Ian Dury, whose music had always stood outside prevailing musical trends and whose first solo album New Boots And Panties!!, was one of that year's most original statements.

Johnny Black  |  May 06, 2020  |  0 comments
This month we review: Ásgeir, My Bus, Arandel and Humanist.
Johnny Black  |  Apr 15, 2020  |  0 comments
It was panned by the British musical press on its release in 1978, yet this shiny synth classic would not only peak at No 11 in the UK charts but see Jean-Michel Jarre break all records with a live performance of the album drawing a crowd of one million

Although there were many pioneers of electronic music, there's no doubting that Jean-Michel Jarre's 1976 album, Oxygene, was the first encounter with fully synthesised and sequenced music for millions of listeners across the globe.

Johnny Black  |  Apr 07, 2020  |  0 comments
This month we review: Jason Aldean, Right Hand Left Hand, Spearmint and Clint Lowery.
Johnny Black  |  Mar 27, 2020  |  0 comments
Come 1979, punk was pretty much over. Would one of its leading lights fade with it, or could the band capitalise on their UK success and clamber to even greater heights without losing the force and the fire that made their first two albums so compelling?

The Clash were formed in 1976 after guitarist Mick Jones attended a Sex Pistols gig in the February of that year and realised that the whole UK music scene was about to change. Keith Levene, Jones's former bandmate in London SS, was drafted in on guitar, Terry Chimes played drums and the three were joined by Paul Simonon, who'd had aspirations to be a lead singer but decided to buy a bass guitar instead. Essentially he was learning on the job. Joe Strummer who had been in the pub rock band The 101ers was the new vocalist and after Levene left he also played rhythm guitar. Simonon thought up the group's name.

Johnny Black  |  Mar 25, 2020  |  0 comments
This month we review: Bedouin Soundclash, Jack Broadbent, Richard Fearless and Jens Carelius.

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