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Watching Madeleine Peyroux Live


Madeleine Peyroux is on a rare short tour of the UK, fortunately she was at The Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool tonight, and although I got late seats which meant we were right at the back of the hall, it was worth it.

Madeleine Peyroux is a shy performer – she looks quite awkward standing behind the mike, however after a few songs she seemed to relax and even make jokes! I haven’t heard her new CD so some of the songs I didn’t recognise, though her cover of Tom Waits’ “Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night” was a delight. Highlights of the show were the ‘improv’ versions of songs off the ‘Careless Love’ album where the band were allowed to go off on long jazz solos – the keyboard player had some hammond style 60s organ which he had a real master of, and the double bass player was just cool (as most are!).

A great laid back gig in a lovely venue, just wish I was nearer the stage!

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Deciding on this year’s top 5 CDs


As with all the newspapers at this time of year I’m doing a best of 2005. Today it’s the turn of my music collection – having gone through the CDs I’ve brought here is my top 5:

1. Verve Remixed 3
2.The Big Romance – David Kitt
3.Illinoise – Sufjan Stevens
4.Piltre – Nitin Sawhney
5. Songs for Silverman – Ben Folds

and the find of the year

Nicola Conte – one cool musician

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Buying a clever remote control


One of the downsides to having speakers in the kitchen but having the hifi in the room next door is the inability to use the remote control to change tracjs, volume etc. Not any more! Thanks to SmartHomes new RF adapter I can now make my infrared remote work through walls. It works by changing the infrared signals to radio waves, by swapping one of the battries (AA or AAA) with the adapter and installing the rather smart reciver near the hifi it works seamlessly. Clever gadget!


Details and Specification:
The internal RF adapter has a AAA-size transmitter and AA-size sleeve, so it can extend your existing remote control’s operating range, regardless of which type of battery it requires. It will work with almost any remote control you’d like. Want to use it with more than one remote? Not a problem: add as many internal RF adapters (sold separately) as you’d like. For homes where maintaining the décor is a prime concern, the system can be hidden from view by using the included Bright Eye Emitter, an unobtrusive, adhesive-backed LED at the end of a 6-foot cable.

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Enjoying a Google challenge


I like to think that I’m pretty good at ‘googling’ – I’ve learnt of the clever things you can do (did you know google can do caculations for you? type in a sum and it gives you the answer) and so I like being given a search challenge – today my daughter wanted the words for the corrupted Jingle Bells (with Batman smells in the lyrics!) – easy googled – “Jingle Bells” batman lyrics – (note the quotes) – print out within 20 seconds. Next an mp3 of the ‘cat song’ we heard at the Eistedfford at Llangollen – tricky this as we didn’t have the real name of the song or who sung it, or the composer – first off googled Russian Cat song Llangollen – which gave us a review of the performance and also the name of the song and the composer – The Cats` Duet (Duetto Buffo di due gatti) by Gioacchino Rossini – googled that adding mp3 and got a performance of it by an American college – all within 2 minutes of searching! The last challenge was to find a song we heard while on holiday in Cuba over 7 years ago – no clue apart from it had something to do with a pineapple! So googled – “song about pineapple” Cuban tradional – amazingly it came up with a review of a CD called Son Cubano NYC, featuring a song called ‘Cuchillo Para La Pina Cubana’ by Charlie Rodriguez Y Su Conjunto – the translation of which is ‘The knife in the pineapple’ – checked out a sample on Amazon and sure enough it was the song! Swiftly ordered th CD for a Christmas present for my partner. What did we do before Google?

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Remembering 1,000 Airplanes on the Roof


I’ve been sorting out CDs I hardly play any more ready to sell on ebay. Came across some Philip Glass CDs and remembered that in the late 80s, while I was at Liverpool Polytechnic I went to see him live in Glasgow with my mum, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof is described as ’science fiction music drama’ and was a cross between a concert and a film, lots of back projection of strange scenes and some brilliant music – I haven’t forgotten it.

The character “M” recalls encounters with extra-terrestrial life forms, including their message, “It is better to forget, it is pointless to remember. No one will believe you.” Are the surrealistic details an accurate recollection of a voyage through space, part of a drug-induced nightmare, or the beginning of a mental breakdown?

Michael Walsh (Time) called it “part Freud, part Kafka, and part Steven Spielberg” and declared that “operatic design may never again be the same.” Peter Goodman (New York Newsday) said, “the powerfully hallucinogenic musical monodrama … is a child of the ’80s in every way.” Michele May (Potomac News) called it “a light show, a ballet, a spoken opera, an art exhibit, a lesson in Zen. Above all, it is a totally innovative entertainment form.”

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Listening to The Lotus Eaters


BBC6Music have been playing ‘The First Picture of You’ by The Lotus Eaters – a classic summer song first released in 1984. I never brought the single at the time, so I decided to track it down. Found the original 1984 LP (yeah, vinyl man!) of ‘No sense of Sin’ which features the song – cost me £25 though, so I best look after it!

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Listening to The Magic Numbers


Received a belated birthday present – The Magic Numbers CD – BBC 6 music have been playing their 2 singles alot, so I’d been toying with the idea of buying the CD. The band (2 guys and their sisters) have great vocal harmonies and some great guitar playing – its a gorgeous sounding CD and possibly this years band to go places.

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Listening to more David Kitt


I seem to have stirred a memory for Vic McGlynn on BBC 6Music – she played her own choice of David Kitt song today – after name checking me she described her weekend as ’emotional’ after going through her David Kitt CDs – I’ve requested another song – ’65’ from the ‘Chester’ EP by Josh Rouse (with Kurt Wagner) – but I think I’ll be pushing my luck here! Just discovered that Vic used to be a DJ on Juice FM in Liverpool – which is 100 yards from our office – small world.

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Enjoying Paul Weller


The Liverpool Summer Pops may have moved venues but the familar yellow and green striped tent made you feel at home. We were there to see Paul Weller, a sold out gig with a real mixed crowd of all ages. Paul was on tremendous form (can’t believe he’s 47) encouraged by a energetic crowd who the moment he came on all stood up chanting ‘Weller’ in a football chant (well it is Liverpool!). He had a change of guitar for virtually every song – memorable songs include ‘Peacock Suit’, ‘Wild Wood’, ‘Wishing on a Star’, ‘You do something to me’, ‘The Changing Man’, plus 2 Jam songs ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ‘Town called Malice’ which had the crowd going mad (lots of 40 year Mods in th audience!), plus Style Council classics like ‘Shout to the Top’ and ‘You’re the best thing’. His band was great – nice to see a brass section and the drummer did a fantastic solo. A fantastic gig which Paul obviously enjoyed – great to see him on form – hope his new album ‘As Is Now’ goes places. The support act – Edgar Jones – a local band was really good – the singer sounding very ‘black’ despite being a skinny white guy.

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Watching Juan Martin


Tonight we went to the Llangollen International Eisteddfod to see the Flamenco gutarist Juan Martin from Andalucia. Read the rest of this post »

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