Lives

Rick Hardy (1933-2006)

[by Ken Hunt, London] In June 1960 a beat group called The Jets hit the St. Pauli district of Hansastadt Hamburg. With their arrival the British music invasion began. Rick Hardy was one of the original five-piece Jets, the first British group to perform in the clubs on the Reeperbahn, a district famed for ultra-violence, cameraderie and the richness of its lexicon of sexual services. Many other groups followed them to St. Pauli, notably a group that grew wings and became The Beatles. Hardy was more than a footnote in the history of rock music. He linked skiffle and rock, linked Soho and Hamburg and linked Joe Brown, Cliff Richard, The Shadows and The Beatles.

23. 7. 2007 | číst vše...

The life in the bandonion - the Bandonion Freunde Essen

[by Ken Hunt, London] The merest mention of the bandoneon conjures images of Argentina, a sub-culture of disadvantage and disaffection, and people expressing themselves through a once sleazy dance called tango. For decades the bandoneon and tango combined to figure as the lingua franca for Carlos Gardel, were refashioned as the nuevo tango (new tango) of Astor Piazzolla and lurked in the automatic writing of Jorge Luis Borges. In Argentina the bandoneon and tango have became expressways to the nation’s soul, shorthand for longing and loss, passion and pain. The bandoneon’s tones evoke a muscular sort of heartache. Such musing may prompt memories of the composer of Astor Piazzolla’s remark that it was an instrument born in a church in Germany moved to the prostibulos - brothels - of Argentina.

16. 7. 2007 | číst vše...

Anna Marly (1917-2006) and Hy Zaret (1907-2007)

[by Ken Hunt, London] At first glance, Anna Marly’s name may ring no bells. Her original name was transliterated as Anna Betoulinsky and she was born in the Russian city of St. Petersburg on 30 October 1917 - a stormy time in Russian history, the very month of the Bolshevik uprising. Of mixed Russian and Greek parentage, her father was identified as a counter-revolutionary, was arrested and executed in 1918.

3. 7. 2007 | číst vše...

‘Peerie’ Willie Johnson (1920-2007)

[by Ken Hunt, London] ‘Peerie’ Willie Johnson’s birthplace was the Shetland Islands. They are home to one of the most fascinating of Scotland’s indigenous folkways. The Shetlands are a cluster of islands and a cultural staging post. Head south and before you reach the Scottish mainland you come to the Orkneys. Head north and you’ll reach the Arctic Circle. Head east and you make landfall in Scandinavia. To the north-west are the Faroes and then Iceland. To the west is North America. The geographical position and isolation of the Shetlands were what created ‘Peerie’ Willie Johnson’s consummate self-taught guitar style.

1. 7. 2007 | číst vše...

Richard Bell (1946-2007)

[by Ken Hunt, London] The Grateful Dead turned Kris Kristofferson’s Me And Bobby McGee into a road movie. With the Full Tilt Boogie Band, her finest ever band behind her, Janis Joplin turned the song into an increasingly urgent love song. Beginning with Joplin’s acoustic strumming and voice, the song built, propelled by Clark Pierson’s drums and Ken Pearson’s Hammond organ. Then nearly three minutes into the song, Richard Bell’s piano slides in unobtrusively. From there on in, the ensemble interpretation steadily steps up its frenzied energy. Together, the whole band delivers one of the Pearl album’s - and Joplin’s - defining statements.

25. 6. 2007 | číst vše...

Fritz Richmond (1939-2005)

[by Ken Hunt, London] There is an iconic image of Fritz ‘The Orange Dude’ Richmond, who died on 20 November 2006 as the result of lung cancer, in Eric von Schmidt and Jim Rooney’s illustrated story of the Cambridge, Massachusetts folk scene, Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1979. It was taken by John Cooke of the Charles River Valley Boys at Club 47 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Richmond is profiled playing washtub bass, wearing his trademark shades with a scarf around his neck, max musicianly cool. John B. Richmond was born on 10 July 1939 in Newton, MA.

1. 5. 2007 | číst vše...

Ian Wallace (1946-2007)

[by Ken Hunt, London] The drummer and more, Ian Wallace, born in Bury, Lancashire, England on 29 September 1946, died in Los Angeles on 22 February 2007. California had been his home and base of operations since 1976 when he churlishly decided that the warmth of the Californian sun beat the fine wet rain of his homeland. His companion in rhythm in David Lindley’s El Rayo-X, Ras Baboo called him, in the finest tradition of finest crap cinematography and, one hopes, a curl of the lip worthy of Anthony Quayle, ‘English’. He could escape British weather but not his heritage.

1. 5. 2007 | číst vše...

Paul Nelson (1934-2006)

[by Ken Hunt, London] The US critic Paul Nelson chose to walk away from writing, despite a writing career that included stints of writing and editing for Circus, Musician, Rolling Stone, Sing Out! and Village Voice. He wrote insightfully about a range of acts including Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon and The Clash. He specialised in engaging with music that excited him; during a stint at Mercury Records in the A&R department he signed the New York Dolls, an act of faith viewed as folly by many in the company.

1. 5. 2007 | číst vše...

Ivor Cutler (1923-2006)

[by Ken Hunt, London] His claim to inclusion here may seem droll, but the poet, songwriter, teacher, Noise Abatement Society mainman and so-called but very eccentrically sane, Ivor Cutler deserves homage more than an obituary for his surrealistic pillow folksongs. Born on 15 January 1923 close to the Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow of Jewish, Eastern European stock, he died aged 83 on 3 March 2006.

1. 5. 2007 | číst vše...

Egon Bondy (1930-2007)

[by Ken Hunt, London] In 2000 Česká Televize (Czech Television) celebrated Egon Bondy’s life and times with the documentary Fišer alias Bondy. The poet-lyricist, writer, philosopher and political commentator’s achievements could have filled a whole series of television programmes. One of Czechoslovakia’s most prominent and prolific men-of-letters, he railed against his homeland’s politicians and politics throughout his life. Outside his homeland however, he was primarily known as the era-defining lyricist for Czechoslovakia’s best-known beat group, The Plastic People of the Universe.

20. 4. 2007 | číst vše...


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