Fleetwood Mac – a band of two halves?

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I have recently been building a large personal playlist on a well-known music streaming service.

I have more tunes on there from Fleetwood Mac than any other band.

I have sixteen tunes from the Rumours and post-Rumours (post-1974) era.

I have eight tunes from the Green/McVie/Spencer/Fleetwood/Welch/Weston era from 1967 to 1974.

Fair enough. But I see Fleetwood Mac as two bands really. You only have to listen to their version of the standard “Everyday I have the Blues” from 1969 and compare it to “You make lovin fun” (both below on YouTube) to realise that.

Fleetwood Mac1 was very earthy and bluesy. Fleetwood Mac2 has folk and rocks roots but is very pop-orientated. Both of the Fleetwood Macs are excellent in their own way, but it really is a stretch to reconcile the two sharply juxtaposed styles.

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The outlandish glory of Professor Longhair

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It’s funny how convoluted routes can lead one to the most glorious music.

Walking around Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently (as you do) I overheard the phrase “working for the Yankee Dollar” being sung over the PA system of a local attraction. I noted it to add to my streaming playlist when I got home. It turns out the song was “Rum and Coca Cola” being sung by the Andrews Sisters. It is a wonderful rendition and will forever, now, remind me of our glorious trip to Malaysia.

When you search a song on a certain streaming service, it brings up several versions of that song. Anyway, once the Andrews Sisters’ version of “Rum and Coca Cola” played, my ears were assaulted by the most outlandish cacophony. It was the version of “Rum and Coca Cola” by Professor Longhair.

Until that moment, I had not heard of Professor Longhair. It turns out he was a New Orleans Blues pianist and singer, who lived from 1918 to 1980.

Anyway, on closer listen, the great blues man’s version of “Rum and Coca Cola” is absolutely brilliant! Yes, it sounds a bit out of tune at first, but taken as a whole it is absolutely gorgeous. It was recorded live February 3 or 4, 1978 at Tipitina Club, New Orleans. Here it is on YouTube:

The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars remember the Battle of Katia

I stand out on the left at the annual Battle of Katia memorial service at the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars memorial just outside Gloucester Cathedral yesterday, Sunday 22nd April. My grandfather, Charles Henry “Harry” Walter, was a volunteer in “D” Squadron with his horse, Susie from August 1914 to April 1918.

Two days after this report (below) in the Western Daily Press, my grandfather went to the recruiting station in Bristol and signed up.

He’s obviously not recorded on any war memorials, because he was lucky enough to survive the war and live to a ripe old age.

As is often said, you don’t get your name recorded in wartime unless you are dead, bad or get commended for an astonishingly brave act.

When Harry volunteered, his first port of call was Newbury Racecourse, where his regiment were training with their horses on Greenham Common.

After months of training on horseback, the regiment shipped off to Egypt. They left their horses there and fought as infrantrymen in Gallipoli. It seems a bit daft after all that training with horses, but perhaps that was one of the many “cock-ups” of the Dardanelles Campaign – I don’t know. I learnt yesterday that the Hussars insisted on continuing to wear their spurs on their boots during the Gallipoli campaign, even though they were on foot, to remind everyone that they were really cavalrymen!

Brexit: No cake, but let’s welcome the prospect of a nice big bit of fudge!

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Along, I’m sure, with many LDV readers, I’ve read hundreds of articles on the subject of Brexit over the last couple of years.

But one piece of writing has finally encapsulated a precise sensible solution to the whole sordid, messy business.

David Shariatmadari is a writer and editor for the Guardian in London. In a post yesterday entitled “On Brexit, the views of the 48% must be respected too. That’s democracy”, he argued that:

Given that the UK is split, it’s only fair if the government delivers ‘Brexit in name only’, as is looking increasingly likely.

After explaining that the Irish impasse will probably lead to the UK “both in a customs union and closely, if not entirely, aligned with the single market”, he concludes: Continue reading