Johnny Black

Johnny Black  |  May 04, 2021  |  0 comments
Johnny Black on the creation of the iconic artwork for the sleeve of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's

The real story', said Paul McCartney in 1995, 'is that I was coming back from America on a holiday trip. I was in a very laid-back mode and dreaming away, and I started imagining this idea of The Beatles as another band, to be liberated, as liberated as I felt on this holiday'.

Johnny Black  |  Apr 05, 2021  |  0 comments
Johnny Black uncovers the unlikely beginnings of celebrated songs

Many moons ago, raking around in a secondhand book emporium, I came across a dog-eared but irresistible tome called Inspirations. Written by Michael Randolfi, Mike Read and David Stark, it offered up the inspirations behind popular songs, including the taxi cab accident which inspired Leo Sayer to write his 1974 hit 'One Man Band' and the phone call behind The Cure's 1997 single 'Wrong Number'. As someone who loves to know what songs are about, I plunged in with delight but, fascinating though it undeniably was, very few of the inspirations really surprised me.

Johnny Black  |  Mar 19, 2021  |  0 comments
Released as a double album on the Columbia label back in 1969, one LP electric with a supporting trio the other acoustic and solo, it only belatedly received recognition for being such a groundbreaking work. Is it time to re-evaluate our views on the blues?

Exactly why Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, better known as Taj Mahal, has never been hoisted shoulder high as the quintessential bluesman to emerge from the 1960s remains a mystery that may be never be explained. But we'll have a go.

Johnny Black  |  Jan 19, 2021  |  0 comments
Session guitarist, composer of film scores and here, on his fourth album, the roots-rock multi-instrumentalist reached into his musical bag to breathe new life into a diverse selection of obscure songs. It was a commercial failure, but it's no less compelling...

Rated among the finest of Cooder's 17 solo albums, Paradise And Lunch, his fourth release, is easily deserving of Vinyl Icon status.

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.

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