30 Days, 30 Albums – My Albums.

30 albums in 30 days is the challenge. These are my albums chosen in no particular order, other than what I felt on the day.

01 – Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon – 15/09/2016

02 – Elvis Costello, All This Useless Beauty – 12/09/2016

03 – Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells – 13/09/2016

04 – Roger Waters, Amused to Death – 14/09/2016

05 – St. Vincent, Strange Mercy – 15/09/2016

06 – Pete Townshend, White City: A Novel – 16/09/2016

07 – The Shins, Wincing the Night Away – 17/09/2016

08 – Pink Floyd, The Wall – 18/09/2016

09 – George Harrison, All Things Must Pass – 19/09/2016

10 – Elvis Costello, Mighty Like A Rose – 20/09/2016

11 – Pink Floyd, Animals – 21/09/2016

12 – Mike Oldfield, Amarok – 22/09/2016

13 – Dire Straits, Love Over Gold – 23/09/2016

14 – The Who, Quadrophenia24/09/2016

15 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Whiplash – 25/09/2016

16 – Pink Floyd, The Final Cut – 26/09/2016

17 – Eric Clapton, Pilgrim 27/09/2016

18 – Tom Petty, Greatest Hits – 28/09/2016

19 – The Beatles, Live at the Hollywood Bowl – 29/09/2016

20 – St. Vincent, St. Vincent – 30/09/2016

21 – The Books, The Way Out – 01/10/2016

22 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – 02/10/2016

23 – Elvis Costello, This Years Model – 03/10/2016

24 – Roger Waters, The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking – 04/10/2016

25 – John Mayer, Born and Raised– 05/10/2016

26 – Sting, The Last Ship – 06/10/2016

27 – Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach, Painted From Memory – 07/10/2016

28 – The Shins, Port of Morrow – 08/10/2016

29 – Mike Oldfield, Ommadawn – 09/10/2016

30 – Pete Townshend, The Iron Man: The Musical – 10/10/2016

30 Days, 30 Albums – The Challenge

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I have recently begun a 30 days, 30 albums challenge, in the hope that somehow it will help me mix and master my new album, which I hope to complete in the same period.

I’m only a few days in, but I strongly recommend the challenge. It’s only by doing something like this that I remember just how little time I manage to devote to actually listening to music, and just how much I actually enjoy it. So if you feel like you need a similar epiphany, it’s an easy way  (I gather the rules don’t necessarily state that the days have to be consecutive).

I’m going to keep this site updated with the list as I go, and you can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/lapelcelery/ if you want to keep track of what I’m listening to in a more visually appealing way… Maybe you’ll get some ideas of your own!

Finally, below is a sample of the pre-master copy of the first track from the new, upcoming album “Flowers”. Enjoy!

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman?”

A review of sorts…

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If you already recognised physicist Richard Feynman from his picture, then you’re probably already sold on this post. If you’re not familiar with his life and work at all, then you’re exactly who this post is meant for.

In much the same way as another of my personal heroes Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman has become a hugely iconic figure (putting aside the considerable and numerous achievements and accolades of his working life) as a populariser of not just his own fields of study, but of the appeal of interest, passion and intelligence in general.

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To keep a long story short, I’m not particularly fond of review writing. The temptation is too strong to be overly verbose and I nearly always feel like I come across as an egotistical and attention-seeking writer in retrospect.

But once in a while a book, an album or something else that’s just so damn good makes me suspend my self-doubt for long enough to write down just enough words to recommend it to everyone else.

This is a particularly strong example of one of those times.

I find it hard to come upon books (read: authors) which speak to me. This is a particular problem in the field of fiction, so I often find myself reading biographies.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” isn’t really a biography. It’s a collection of personally dictated stories from Feynman’s life (as told to author Ralph Leighton). And yet it gives such a good insight into his mind that you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d written it down. Come to that, given the astonishing nature of his life, you’d also be forgiven for thinking it was fiction!

I won’t go on, because it would be too easy. I could rave about this book. I have. If you have a passing interest in anything, you will love this book. Every story is a gem. It speaks of a man’s true passion for understanding everything about the world we find ourselves in, and it’s infectious. And if anybody reading it has an experience in their life which has anything approaching the retelling value of just ONE of those in this book, then that story will surely be told many times, to many people.

There’s not much more to say. Five Stars. Full marks. The best book I’ve ever read that I can call to memory, fiction or otherwise.

And if you’re still umming and ahhhhing, pick a story from the book at random (you can find it online), and read it. You’ll go on to read many more. Or skip to a random point in the following video. You’ll like him. He’s Richard Feynman.

Hank Marvin’s Custom Shop Stratocasters

Hanhankk Marvin is inarguably one of the most influential guitarists of all time. The Shadows remain a British institution and comfortably beat out the Beatles and the Stones for the title of the first British Pop Rock band.

But then, they did have a secret weapon.

Hank Marvin’s unique guitar style, the centerpiece of the bands sound, has influenced any guitarist you’d care to mention, from Mark Knopfler to David Gilmour, George Harrison to Pete Townshend, Jeff Beck, the list goes on.

And no wonder he was the first in Britain to develop such a sound. He was the first person in the UK to use a Stratocaster.

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Hank’s use of the whammy bar broke new ground for guitarists everywhere, and in more recent years, he has adapted his main instruments to aid this by improving tuning stability.

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Fender has released several Hank Marvin signature models, beginning in the early 90’s.

Hank apparently didn’t get along with the Lace Sensors in the earlier models, but lately he’s been exclusively using a more exclusive run

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This is the “Fender Custom Shop Limited Edition Dealer Select 1959 Custom Red Stratocaster”. Developed in 2009 by Fender, it is a direct copy of the original Strat Cliff Richard bought for Hank to use in the 50’s.

In “Flamingo Pink” with gold hardware, a birdseye maple neck, and a neck profile and hand-wound pickups to copy the originals, it’s essentially a signature model without the signature on the headstock.

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Hank however has made a few modifications. The guitars he now uses have a graphite nut, Fender noiseless pickups, locking tuners, a VML easy-mute tremolo arm, and either graphite string trees or none at all.

It’s a beast of a guitar. But for the purists who prefer the original, Bruce Welch still plays it in the Shadows alongside Hank’s newer model!

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Lyric Spotlight: “The Bottom Line” – Thomas Williams

Can you believe the news today?
Never mind the headlines, they’ve got some good deals in the breaks.
With every want and need within our reach,
The price of pleasure rises as our pleasure becomes free.

The music is wallpaper now
distraction packaged to a T, no more concepts to espouse.
Deaf dumb and blind, the children dance.
to rhythm without reason, and rhyme to meet a word count.
Nothing left to hear.
nothing left to say.
What’s good to sell is good to buy, and they won’t deviate.

I don’t hear you in the songs anymore.
The middlemen are multiplying,
their politics taints more and more.
they’ll give you your platform based on what they stand to gain,
and human beings don’t sell as well as ad campaigns.


Divide us and we fall
entertain us and we swarm
It’s the coldest kind of war
And those who sell the mortar want to build the walls.

Only beauty is capable of art.
So much for being made of starstuff, you’ve got to look the part.
It’s nothing more than waiting now.
We’ll lack the means to fight the fight,
with no-one left to show us how
and one by one the men and women who used to lead the way
fade away.

When our daughters and our sons have been diluted,
Then maybe we’ll decide to make a difference.
And perhaps our hindsight will remain just good enough
to remember how. To protect innocence.

Meanwhile, we pay the price to buy these lies.
And the rents rise.
And stars are made, and hope dies.
and the bottom line is,
it all comes down to the bottom line.

Thomas Williams, 2016

Pete Townshend’s Custom Gibson Les Paul Deluxes

21423_Used_Pete_Townsend_3_Les_Paul_Goldtop_Pete149_1 One of the guitars most associated with Pete Townshend during his time with The Who is the Les Paul Deluxe, and rightly so since he used them for longer than any other model of guitar during that period.

Having gone through copious quantities of the SG Specials he favoured in the previous years (though he had used LP Deluxes intermittently), he switched to  using primarily Les Paul Deluxes in 1972, presumably at least partly because the SG special had been discontinued by this time.

 

During the 1973 Quadrophenia tour, these guitars were used in their ‘stock’ condition, but over the next few years, changes were made.$_57862ef7888413a7f8ab5b6eab22f454b1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1974, Pete began to have his guitars numbered, owing to the number he took on the road  with him. This seems to have been achieved simply with some duct tape and marker. He also seems to have always preferred the LP’s without truss rod covers.

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By 1975, these stickers had been replaced by large, block numbers.

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In 1976, he started to use the Deluxes in the condition they are most well known. A DiMarzio Super-Distortion was installed in the middle position of the Les Pauls, and two extra toggle switches added.

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A Gibson Pete Townshend Signature Les Paul Deluxe.

With these new electronics, the (usually) neck tone control became a volume for the middle pickup, and the (usually) bridge tone became a master tone control for all three pickups.

The toggle switch closest to the bridge is a coil tap for the middle pickup, and the rearmost toggle changes the phasing of the middle pickup and turns off the other pickups.

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Gibson later released signature models of the LP Deluxe under Pete’s name, in red, gold and sunburst, all of which were finishes Pete used. Curiously, the red finish of the reissues seems not to match the Wine red of Pete’s, and despite details like the sandwiched body and the maple neck (see the above images of the goldtop for a visual),  the reissues have a fretboard marker on the first fret, which Pete’s never did.