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a lot of useless nonsense, which probably shouldn't be here, but is ...

1. Cars:
This schedule helped me put some of the other pieces of this jigsaw together

I can remember what cars I had when things happened ...

like when Roy Butterfield sat in the back of my silver Ford Cortina pretending to be a spy

his "disguise" was a newspaper, held in front of his face, with two holes torn in it for him to "spy" through

we had to get out of the car to stop laughing, touring musicians have a weird sense of humour

this was on the way back from a gig with Monster Magnet at Durham University

what year was that? this chart doesn't tell me, but it gets me a few years closer ...

from to make & model engine


reg/ photo


1968 1970 Austin minivan 850cc grey/rust 33 CDU
1970 1971 Austin mini 850cc blue/white LAC 492E
01.08.71 31.07.72 Austin mini clubman estate 1000cc garish yellow YRW 316K
01.08.72 31.03.75 Ford Cortina XL 1600cc silver fox HUE 228L
01.04.75 30.06.78 Ford Capri GT 1600cc garish green OHP 932M
01.07.78 31.12.80 Ford Capri Ghia 2000cc metallic red VDU 567S
01.01.81 28.02.82 Ford Capri Ghia 2000cc metallic blue HOF 20W
01.03.82 31.07.83 Ford Escort XR3 1600cc silver NOE 33X
01.08.83 31.07.92 Ford Sierra XR4 2800cc red A40 UOH
01.03.92 31.07.92 Ford Escort XR3i 1600cc orange E??? ??? uninsurable, hence ...
01.08.92 11.03.98 Ford Sierra Azura 1600cc white K270 WOA family saloon
12.03.98 present Ford Mondeo Verona 1800cc dark silver R940 YOC

2. Golf:

... no excuses, this is absolute self-indulgent twaddle
29th June 2000 Purley Chase GC, off yellow teespcgc2906.jpg (59290 bytes)

Just the best scorecard I've ever had, 85 gross, which should reduce my handicap from 21.6 to 18.4, let's see!

Played with Ron Evans, Keith Cantelon, Tony Smith, Barry Shorthose and Ron Muppet as a medal-score Am Am (2 teams of 3)

For my part I always say that golf is a game where you simply play the course, not the people on it ... but I have to say that Ron, Keith & I whupped 'em!

3. My Desert Island Disks:

Not a collection of favourite records, a bit deeper than that ...

These are tracks that I have already heard a thousand times, but still make what little hair I have stand on end

Trouble is, I could find another hundred that all qualify, but check out ...






All for You

Earl Van Dyke & the Soul Brothers

a 1964 instrumental single, and from their album "This is Tamla Motown"

I first heard this at the Marquee disco and was knocked out by the real gritty Hammond organ sound scorching along over a boogie beat, with almost twee girly-vocal lines thrown in for good measure.

Performed by what was the '60s Tamla Motown studio band, whose rythym section worked on the principle of  "little is lovely" or how a one note bass-line and tambourine can sound like a funky orchestra.

They played on 22 number one pop hits and 48 #1 R&B hits, grossing some $300 million for Motown - not bad for an "unheard of" band who Motown seem to have forgotten! This, and Money by Barrett Strong are just 2 of the great unplayed Motown records


Eight Miles High

The Byrds

a single, and on the 1966 album "5D-the 5th dimension"

After the band's chart topper, Mr Tambourine Man and other Dylan-esque songs this track was unbelievably heavy with soaring, Rickenbacker 12-string guitar solos, which sounded more reminiscent of  John Coltrane than the "folk-rock" band that they were supposed to be. On top of this the Byrds' tight, contrasting vocal harmonies created a piece of music that made me sit up and listen to Radio London on a sunny afternoon when I was supposed to be studying for my A-levels.

The track was banned by the BBC who obviously hadn't even listened  to the lyrics, which simply tell the story of the band's first ill-fated trip to England. Eight miles is 42,000 feet, the cruising altitude of the Boeing 707 that brought them over here.

David Crosby did, however, later admit in his autobiography that, although the lyrics were nothing to do with drugs, the band were absolutely stoned at the time they wrote the song. Read Crosby's autobiography for a harrowing and disgusting tale of life on hard drugs - and he is one of the survivors !





Up on the Roof

Laura Nyro

from the 1973 album, "Christmas and the Beads of Sweat"

I don't think there's anyone who can't sing along with this track, which was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin and originally a hit for the Drifters in the 60s.

Laura's voice and interpretation bring a plaintive simplicity to the song which it never had before, and always needed


(I'm in) Chains

Tina Arena

a chart single and from the 1996 album "Don't Ask".

arena.jpg (9376 bytes)

A record that restored my faith in popular music, especially when I heard it on a BBC Sunday afternoon Radio One chart show that I would never have listened to, if it wasn't for my (younger at the time) beloved children ...

it simply has class ... ten buckets of it

and is a classic 60s style "soul" record with a 90s sound, by a  good looking Aussie girl, what more do you need

from the off this record sounds as if it's going to build to a ten megaton explosion, and doesn't ever quite get there, which means that you immediately want to hear it again ... and again ...  and again ...


Along Came John

John Patton

from the 1963 Blue Note  album (BST84130) of the same name
currently available through Songsearch (on my Links page)

patton1.jpg (6630 bytes)

John Patton on hammond organ, Grant Green on guitar,  Ben Dixon on drums, Fred Jackson & Harold Vick on tenor saxes. This was the Blue Note studio band of the time who were so tight and together that they probably recorded the album in one take!

I love anything from this era, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Mcgriff, Horace Silver, Stanley Turrentine, Tony Williams, McCoy Tyner  etc.

 ... but this track is my favourite, end, period, full stop. Can I take the album to the desert island please? Can you get me the album?


Do it Again

Steely Dan

a 1972 single and from the album "Can't buy a Thrill"

thrill.jpg (12365 bytes)

It's amazing how many of these tracks I first heard on the radio, this on the Johnny Walker lunchtime radio 1 show, which I remember listening to while driving around in my Ford Cortina, see cars.

I remember having to order the album from the brand-new Virgin Records, where they had at least heard of it. It arrived within 3 days and I was very pleased with Sir Richard Branson's new record shop

This track has strange lyrics, excellent instrumental solos and wonderful feel, a superb piece of music which sounds as good today as it did when I first heard it


The Hoochie Coochie Man

Muddy Waters

... lyrics by Willie Dixon, a single and on a few hundred albums, the latest and best being "Hoochie Coochie Man", produced by Johnny Winter
Check out the Muddy Waters website.

"on the 7th hour, of the 7th day,

of the 7th month, the 7 doctors say,

I was born for good lovin,

and that you'll see,

I got 7 hundred dollars,

don't you mess with me,

because I'm here ... chorus"

NEED I SAY MORE? that's why I don't write lyrics!



Mondo Bondage

The Tubes

a 1975 single and from the debut album, "The Tubes"

tubes.jpg (10367 bytes)

I first heard it on the Emperor Roscoe show, Radio 1, Saturday morning, while driving to Weybridge to see Hils and her lovely friends in my green Ford Capri (which is how I know the year, see cars).

The album was produced by Al Kooper and this track, to me, has the most powerful "amen" ending I have ever heard, possibly with the exception of 8 Miles High, see above. Despite having "heavy metal" style riffs, rhythm and lyrics the Kooper-esque production adds strings and mood which lift it way above that genre.

The Tubes were an excellent band and never made an indifferent, let alone bad, album. Their stage show was pure theatre with excellent music, these guys could play. Check out their weird website


Parchman Farm

Mose Allison

from the 1957 album "Mose Allison Sings", now reissued as "Greatest Hits"
A much better bet is the 48 track "Allison Wonderland" anthology which is available through Songsearch (on my links page)

allison2.jpg (8205 bytes)

So who plays the blues and doesn't have any influence of this man in there somewhere, even if it's second-hand and they don't know it at the time.

For such a legendary artiste, Mose Allison is remarkable because

  • he is white

  • his vocals sound white

  • he plays excellent piano

  • he has a wonderful, wry sense of humour, yet his music bites

  • he is still out there gigging (with white beard)

The song tells the story of a guy incarcerated at the famous Memphis work-farm who really doesn't think he should be there because "all I did was shoot my wife." I have been threatened by feminists for performing this song. I have tried to explain that the song is ridiculing the US redneck philosophies rather than sympathizing with them, to no avail

allison.jpg (8930 bytes)


Castles made of Sand

Jimi Hendrix

from the 1968 album, "Axis Bold As Love"

axis.jpg (16120 bytes)

The sensitive side of Jimi that's often forgotten, one has to say with superb guitar , although with Hendrix that's stating the obvious.

There is no way to describe this beautiful track, you will just have to listen to it to see what I mean


Smokestack Lightning

Manfred Mann

from the 1964 album, "The Five Faces of Manfred Mann"
available again via Songsearch (on my Links page)

... written by Chester Burnett, who was nicknamed "Howlin' Wolf" by US folk man Jimmie Rodgers. The "Wolf" original is a remarkably earthy piece of 60s blues and quite different from this version. And it is that difference that makes this track so good.

The Mann blues-band were superb arrangers of  "covers" and made great use of dynamics. This was the first song I heard them play "live" and it completely changed my view of how I wanted to play music


Great Balls of Fire

Jerry Lee Lewis

issued as a single in 1957 and on the 1961 Sun Album "Jerry Lee's Greatest" and a few thousand (literally) compilations

jerrylee2.jpg (11302 bytes)

Not only did this blow my brains out, my parents hated it, an essential factor back in those days - when I was 9 years old!

I know, there were supposed to be 10 records but ... this is the encore !!!


You'll Never get to Heaven if you Break my Heart

Dionne Warwick/
Jeff Beck

 ... on countless albums including "Dionne Warwick sings the music of Burt Bacharach & Hal David" which is featured opposite because it has a nice cover

dionne2.jpg (9640 bytes)

You're quite right, these two never did record this song together - but it's a nice thought ...

A beautiful song sensitively sung by "she of the expressive voice", Dionne Warwick on a single in the 60s

Then in the 70s I saw the Jeff Beck Band (at the Lanchester College, Coventry) who were Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass, and Micky Waller on drums (what a team !!)

Jeff had to change a guitar string, Rod Stewart cleared off to get some drinks and Ronnie Wood started playing this song. Jeff eventually joined in "beck-melodic" style and they all (except Rod who was still at the bar) broken-voicedly sang the final chorus before Micky Waller played a musical, rather than extrovert, drum solo to link to the next number ... or wait for Rod to come back with the drinks.

I get the feeling it was completely improvised but it has haunted me to this day. A superb band showing that music truly has no need for barriers around it.

If anybody knows of a recording by Jeff Beck then I'm all ears ...



Blue Moon

the Marcels

a 1961 number 1single, from the "best of" album and a million compilation albums

marcels2.jpg (11409 bytes)

This was the record that had my parents, and many others actually in the music business, saying that "covers" like this should be made illegal ! Their anguish was because of the "new arrangement" and added lyrics ...

"ba bu bu baa bu baa bu ba ba (x2)
dingy dong ding - blue moon, moon, moon, blue moon - dut du dut du du
moon, moon, blue moon - dut du dut du du (x2 then return to start) ..."

But in fact this 3 minute track had great rhythm, superb harmonies and featured a final ascending repeat of the hook line which you just wanted to go on forever.

For my part, were in not for this track, I would have never realized what a superb song it actually was

... and, 45 years down the trail, I still think "they don't write songs like that any more ..."




Death of a Butterfly (Tu Tu Piccolo)

Malcolm McLaren

from the 1984 album "Fans" - and Puccini's opera Madam Butterfly
mclaren.jpg (8871 bytes) ... same as Country music, Opera always left me cold. Even though  the music is undoubtedly beautiful I found it hard to listen to lyrics I couldn't understand a word of.

Then along came ex Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren with his version of the whole thing

I remember hearing DJ Dave Lee Travis, on Radio 1, trying to imagine the situation in the studio at the recording ... McLaren urging the Boston Choir to "get down"

Choosing a track from this beautiful, poignant and totally unique album was difficult but this, the finale of the opera, brings a lump to my throat as it changes key into the final chorus, during which soprano Betty Ann White actually brings tears to my eyes - which, I am told, is what opera is supposed to do.

So it took Malcolm McLaren with rock rhythms and his "rapped" lyrics (and a bunch of "real" opera singers) to finally convert me - but it's still the only opera I've ever got around to listening to ... because it has balls

Yes I know, "opera lovers" will now be throwing darts at my picture ... but I can't help it - I adore all 6 tracks on this album. 




Ain't that Peculiar

Marvin Gaye

a 1965 Tamla Motown single, on the "Moods of" album and a few (billion) compilations

marvin.jpg (11018 bytes) ... from a guy who was apparently such a bastard that his own father shot him in 1984. But "Dad" was a religious zealot and it's questionable as to who of the two of them was the real nutter

However, what a legacy of music he left behind, both in "smash-hit" singles and more obscure ones like this.

Yet again, I first heard this at the Marquee disco and was knocked out by the sublety of the rhythm and arrangement, probably due to the fact that Marvin was a drummer when he joined Motown.

There have, over the years,  been many "covers" but they all sound pathetic in comparison with this track.




Under my Thumb

the Rolling Stones

a 1966 single and from the album "Aftermath"

aftermath.jpg (9817 bytes) To me the Stones' first two albums were superb, but they then degenerated into self-penned commercialism - I never did like "Satisfaction" and preferred them playing blues.

So what a pleasure it was to hear this, what seemed an eternity later, in 1966. Brian Jones, I think, shared my feelings and put his last influence on a Stones album before his death. He played the marimba hook-line on this remarkable track which has, in my opinion, never been matched by the band.

I first heard this in the "Scotch Club" in Torquay, on my last holiday (sleeping in a friend's car) before I started my accountancy articles. But that holiday is another story altogether - which would need its own website to tell ...




Country Boy

Ricky Skaggs

from the 1985 album "Live in London" - song written by Albert Lee
skaggs.jpg (11165 bytes) "Cheese, Opera, BMWs and Country Music" - things that I either detest or that don't impress me much, making me out of step with the rest of society

In the case of country music there are 2 exceptions:

1. Shania Twain who, teamed with ex AC/DC producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, managed to put a "rock" influence and some balls into the music ...oh, and she looks good and doesn't dress like a country bimbo

2. Ricky Skaggs, who dresses like a country hick and plays traditional bluegrass, but who I have loved since I first heard this track 15 years ago

But who says there's logic in musical, or any other tastes

Go to AMG for excellent biographies and discographies of both Skaggs and Lee, or to Songsearch to buy this album, which is worth every penny





the Beatles

from the 1963 album "With the Beatles"

beatles.jpg (7388 bytes) Trying to pick an individual "essential" Beatles track is a nightmare! At the last count I was down to 12.

Why this cover of the Barrett Strong original? ... because it demonstrates what  good performers, rather than just songwriters, they were. They had no soloists as such but think about it - if they'd later got "collaborators" Eric Clapton and Billy Preston to join, what a remarkable blues band they could have been.

If this sounds crazy, remember Paul McCartney's rock and roll album of a couple of years ago - which I think is the best thing he's ever done. Stuff the "Mull of Kintire" and such other garbage up the nearest vacant aperture


Along Comes Mary

the Association

from the 1966 album "Here Comes the Association" and the 1968 "Greatest Hits" album (both still available - see AMG & Songsearch)
association.jpg (11910 bytes) I first heard this track in August 1966 on the portable singles player (staggering at the time) of a very nice bunch of Coventry girls at Paignton beach, Devon - but that's another story. The song hit me between the ears and, over the next 2 or 3 years was followed up by masterpiece after masterpiece.

This band had a "fresh clean" 60s instrumental style - similar to the Lovin' Spoonful but with vocal harmonies which have never been matched before or since and a unique lyrical style viz:
"... and when the morning of the warning's passed
the gassed and flaccid kids are flung across the stars
The psychodramas and the traumas gone
the songs are left unsung and hung upon the scars
And then along comes Mary ..."

It was a difficult choice between this track and "Requiem for the Masses", an almost operatic piece that, if  I had to, I would choose as my requiem - that and my version of the Willie Dixon song, "I love the Life I Live (and I live the life I love)"



Congratulations for getting this far - now try the Desert Island Rubbish ...

1mbb website by Tim James