All My Mayall

One of my friends on the east coast was a die-hard blues performer/fan. He introduced me to John Mayall. The first Mayall Lp I bought was Bare Wires, then Alone (a solo lp in which he plays everything). At the time I wasn’t what one would call a fan though. Blues was too adult for me. I was more California harmonies or psychedelic pop than serious British blues.

I now have as either stand-alone or mp3: The Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton; A Hard Road; The Blues Alone; Crusade; Bare Wires; Blues From Laurel Canyon; Blues for the Lost Days; Turning Point; Jazz Blues Fusion; 70th Birthday Concert. 

Top-40 was not his aim even though the Blues Breakers did feature, at various points Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor. Although his blues roots ground all his recordings he experimented with where things could go – Hard Road is rock blues; Alone – traditional; Bare Wires added horns for a more soul sound; Turning Point: acoustic & jazzy. After that I didn’t really follow his career. Some of these I had when they were first released, others were added more recently as I filled in blanks in my collection. Clapton fans should have his work with Mayall.

The most recent addition was the 2003 2 cd set: 70th Birthday Concert where he reunites with Eric Clapton, Chris Barber & Mick Taylor along with the then current Bluesbreakers for a great set of old & new material. His voice is in good shape & they all play like wise teenagers 🙂 He’s a survivor & is still performing & recording.


“Did you know Donaldson or Hanson?”

“Not well. They were older bad boys. I mainly hung out with the guys in the chess club. Not exactly a bunch of daredevil trouble makers. You?”

“I didn’t hang out. School and home to do school work. We weren’t encourage to hang out.”

I realized that whatever sort of teenage life Vasili had it was so different from mine that I had no idea what it was like.

“I suppose not. We grew up in a much more liberal climate than you did.”

“Right. Plus you knew who your father was. I had only my sisters & even that was limited by what the state did with us after our father defected. They didn’t directly punish us for what he did, but there were no positive consequences either.”

We were in the kitchen. The organized clutter wasn’t as omnipresent here. 

“I think this was probably where my father spent a lot of his time when he was in the house & not in his shop.”

He opened one of the cabinet doors and there were rows of TVs. Vasili turned on switch and they all flickered to life. Each showed a different part of the house & yard.

“I figure he did this after the those guys assaulted him.”

“Wow! How did you find this?”

“Looking for a coffee mug.” Vasili laughed dryly. “I imagine he sat when I am sitting now and watched these when he wasn’t in the shop. There are vcr tapes going back years.”

“What? He kept surveillance tapes for the last how many years?”

“He reviewed them every day.” He took a book out of the table drawer. “He kept logs of what he saw & kept ones that he might need as evidence. There is only a handful of those.’

“Man he was paranoid as hell.”

“No, paranoia is fantasy. The RCMP actually had their eye on him. Besides after what happened to him he needed real physical evidence to protect himself.”

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Love Sculpture Blues


What! Not another mp3 collection of obscurities covering several genres, decades & styles! 🙂 This one is filed under L for Love Sculpture. I have Blues Helping, Forms & Feelings. A Welsh blues band with unexpected progrock flash. Their take on Sabre Dance came up in my tumblr feed a few years ago. A fast metal version of the classical war horse that was great fun. So I did a quick search & downloaded their two lps. The Brits loved US blues & this is okay stuff – not John Mayall but okay.

Mayall wrote a couple of tributes to J.B. Lenoir, Here I have Lenoir’s Top 50 Classics. This is 50’s blues by a performer who died young but left a real legacy of music that influenced many. A deft guitar player his song cover all the bases: broken heart, political protest & voodoo boogie.

One Christmas I was given Legends of the Blues: A Robert Crumb illustrated book that included a great sampler cd of some of the artists (i.e. Bukka White, Big Joe Williams) discussed. The book is an excellent guide to the legends. A couple of which I sought out & so on this cd I have Blind Joe Reynolds: Outside Woman Blues – period recordings nicely preserved. & Henry Thomas: Texas Worried Blues. There is a fun frank sexual content to many of these tracks. Lines like ‘always going through somebody’s drawers.’ Coy smutty & direct at the same time.

Even more coy but not bluesy is Ivor Novello. I have the The Ultimate Collection. Nice period recordings of British music hall songs – some sentimental, some suggestive & all charming. Novello was the Elton John of his day (one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century) – smartly dressed, campy & talented.  To complete the circle started with Love Sculpture he was also Welsh.

It as another day to drag my ass to school. Drag Drag Drag would echo in my head as I forced myself out of bed. I had done my homework. I always did but didn’t remember a word of it. I could recite the lyrics to every Dylan song mind you but couldn’t recall the periodic table or even what it was I was supposed to be memorizing. Maybe it trig formulas  or the dates of historic moments. When was the Treaty of Utrecht signed. That has always plagued me. Lost so many jobs and ruined so many relationships when I didn’t have the answer to that one simple question. when was the Treaty of Utrecht signed. A question that I knew was bound to come up sooner or later and ruin everything as I drag drag drag my ass though life.


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Lofgrin Makes Me Smile

I have a nice collections of lps by Nils Lofgrin – some are lp to cd transfers & others downloaded. In the 70s he made some of the sweetest pop/rock around but never hit superstardom – perhaps by choice. I have Nils; Cry Tough; I Came To Dance; No Mercy; Night Fades Away; The Loner. Rounding out one of the mp3 collections is Al Kooper: I Stand Alone; Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace, The Joker; Johnny Winter: Second Winter; Matt Hryhorsky: Hardest Last Name.

Nils has a pleasant voice, great song writing & a likeable springing bouncy guitar style that makes me want to dance. This is happy music without being corny or cloying. He’s played with Neil Young, he was a Bruce Springsteen Band member for decades too. The lps are full of great originals & lots of sweet covers of unexpected songs. The Loner are all covers of Neil Young songs. If you are unfamiliar start with I Came To Dance.


Al Kooper’s I Stand Alone is his first lp after leaving Blood, Sweat & Tears. It could be an extension of that lp in fact – similar experimental sound less horns. It was a disappointment at the time as fans expected it to duplicate BS&T. Steve Miller Band: Your Saving Grace, The Joker – lps from different decades of the band. Grace is more soulful while Joker is out & out commercial brilliance. Miller’s guitar work drives both but on Grace has more laidback context.

Now for some local CanCon Matt Hryhorsky: Hardest Last Name. This is an ep I bought years ago at some place like The Central of the Supermarket when Matt featured at an event. The sound quality is excellent, the songs are good & his guitar playing is superb. Finally here is the amazing Johnny Winter’s Second Winter – I remember think – three sides! when this lp was first released. Winter is a guitar genius blues & rock with a touch of soul. This is a stunning set that is merciless in energy & attack. If you haven’t heard it do so asap.

The Bill

Joe was feeling pretty good. Better than he had felt in several weeks. Better than he had felt when he finally broke off with the guy he’d met on line who turned out to be a physically abusive drunk. Better no love than a bruise he had to explain.

Today he felt specially good because he had gotten through to his cable provider on the first phone call. No waiting and waiting and even better the service representative spoke without an accent. Not that he was racist but sometimes side had to know what was exactly being said. Joe felt good about that and also because the cable provider upgraded his cell phone for free with no activation charge just to get him to renew his contract. It was always good to know who to ask for someone in customer retention. So simple.

Yes, Joe was feeling very good as he entered his favorite restaurant. His favorite booth was free – one of the few that only sat two people. He had a book he was enjoying and he couldn’t wait to tell his favorite waiter about his success with the cable company.

Joe sat at the booth. Ken came over and put a bill on the table and walked away.

Joe looked at the bill. It was over two hundred dollars with several entrees. He figured Ken had made a mistake.

“Ken!” he waved the waiter over. “This isn’t my bill. I haven’t even ordered anything yet.”

“Are you refusing to pay?” Ken glared him.

“This isn’t my bill.” Loe’s heart began to beat faster. “I just got here. I haven’t had time to order anything. See the table is clear.”

Ken glanced at the table. “The table looks clean to me. Even if it wasn’t that’s no reason not to pay your bill. We get enough assholes in here.”

“But … but …”

“Young man,” an older lady at a nearby table glared at him. “Don’t give the waiter such a hard time. Pay him so we can get some service too.”

“But I haven’t ordered anything. I certainly didn’t order all this or have time to order it. Fried chicken, roast beef dinner,’ He began to read the items off the bill.

“Let me see that,” the maître d’ snapped the bill out of his hand. “What seems to be the problem Ken.”

“This guy refused to pay his bill.”

“This isn’t my bill.” Joe took a deep breath and kept his hands relaxed. 

The maître d’ glanced at the bill. “Of course if sir is contesting the total, we will add it up again.”

“I am not contesting the total …”

“He said his table wasn’t clean enough so he’s not paying it.’ Someone from another table added their two cents worth. “The tables here are always spotless.”

“Oh, we get your type in here far too often. Order a meal eat it then find some petty thing to complain about.” The maître d’ sneered.

“I have been coming in here for year and have never complained about anything.” Joe’s voice rose.

“No need to shout, sir.” The owner came from behind the front counter. “This is a respectable family restaurant. We can’t have that kind of language.”

“Here! Here!” Cheered the old lady from the nearby table. “Let me eat in peace.”

“But I didn’t say anything offensive.”

“Then just pay up like a good guy.” The owner patted Joe on the shoulder.

“But this isn’t my bill. I didn’t order any of this. I didn’t have any of these drinks. Apple screwdriver. Kafka flip. What ever that is.”

“Oh so your are saying this isn’t your bill. Is that what you are saying.” One of the cooks had come out of the kitchen and picked up the bill.”

“Yes that’s what I’m saying.”

“He’s right. Ken this isn’t this man’s bill. He is at table 12 the bill is for table 21.”

They all looked over to table 21 and a large gentleman grinned and waved at them. “I say, can we pay up and get out of here. I’m in a frightful hurry.”

Nils, Lofgrin, Al Kooper, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Winter, Matt Hryhorsky

– April 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales – online


travel restrictions means no 😦

Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C. 


All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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Canned Heat

I have a fair lot of Canned Heat – some stand alone’s: Canned Heat & Boogie; The Best Of. Plus mp3’s paired off with Country Joe & The Fish: Living The Blues; Hallelujah; Future Blues; Reheated.


Canned Heat & Boogie: is their first two lps on one cd. The Best Of – exactly what it says. Heat only had one big hit single: On The Road Again which became one of those flower power anthems for hitch hikers. The music is mainly traditional blues – electrified & respectfully performed. Well produced & good fun. I wasn’t a real fan back in the day though. These I’ve picked up in the early 2000’s. Best of … at a 2nd hand spot; The other at HMV or Sam’s. Boogie has to have one of the ugliest covers ever.

With Boogie they loosen the hold of blues shuffle to move into a more rock sound, long loose tracks that explore & are great fun. The band was very popular amongst blues purists but as they rocked more that changed.


The one lp I bought of theirs was the double Living The Blues. A strange, conceptual beast: first side was several studio tracts (including On The Road Again): side two was a long suite that traced the history of music from cave man drumming to electric; side 3&4 was a 40 min+ live version of Refried Boogie – the mp3 version allows for no break in the live stuff. The Boogie, in its various forms I get bored with: a blues shuffle with various guitar, drum, bass wanderings & those ‘lets hit it one … two  … three … times’ stops.


Hallelujah; Future Blues: less experimental & more of the traditional solid with political anti-war material mixed in. They broke up and reunited several years later for Reheated which is strongly bluesy, sweet but unexceptional.


My memories of Heat in the late 60’s, early 70’s – was more about their look than their music – the blues based stuff was too serious for me – I preferred the Hendrix approach. My blues loving pals were more into John Mayall & other British blues guys. The Heat were typical long haired, bearded, tie-died hippy types. The older me likes them fine.



The poster’s were up all over the neighbourhood.

‘Lost cat’ with a bad photo of what could have been a cat below and under that, ‘Scratch is our cat. She disappeared two weeks ago. She is an orange tabby with brown and white spots. We miss her very much. Reward.’

I must have passed five or six of them before I actually stopped to read one. The light poles in this area were covered with the remains of various posters, flyers and diet come-ons. I’d stopped paying them attention some time ago.

It was the plaintiveness of the ineffective photo that made me stop and read. I’m sure the original was a clear picture but photocopying hadn’t enhanced the appearance of the cat at all.

I couldn’t remember what I had been doing two weeks ago. Maybe I should put up posters for that: ‘Missing memory’ with a bad photo of me smiling underneath and then below ‘Scratched out of my memory: What I did two weeks ago has disappeared. It was of something with somebody, perhaps, or it could have been of me walking home like I am tonight looking for something in posters taped to light poles. I don’t really miss what I don’t remember. Reward.’

What sort of a reward I could give if someone brought that memory back? ‘Thanks’, or, ‘what the hell.’ No wonder I didn’t want to remember that my life two weeks ago was just as banal and lost as it is now.

The writing on the lost cat poster was a childlike scrawl. What did I lose as a child beside my willingness to care about anything I’d lost or would loose? Hell, I don’t think I’d’ve had the willingness to let anyone know I missed that damn cat. No, not me sir, who cares? There’s other cats in trees, so I’m not going to let on that Scratch was the one cat I ever loved.

I walked up the steps to my house and breathed a sigh of relief that I had, in fact, never owned a cat.


January 20, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – featuring  Dominic Berry Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9


March 12, Saturday: attending:



June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC


September 1-5: attending FanExpo 2016expo16

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo



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AC/DC Blues

AC/DC Blues is next on the pop shelf. This is one of my compilation mp3 collections of a variety of lps, cds. 121 tracks that runs just over 6 hours. This one is sort of themed – starting with two old lps: AC/DC Blues & The Copulatin’ Blues – as you might guess they pre-40’s jazz/blues/folk dealing with queer & straight sex.

shoe03walked more than a mile

‘Sissyman Blues’ to ‘You Stole My Cherry’ – song with fun double and triple entendre lyrics. Funny raunchy and frankly out there. The two lps were given to me from a pal’s collection – though I did find a fresh copy of Copulatin’ with dozens of extra tracks.

shoe02the shoe and the spoon

From these I did a search for a couple of performers for more of their stuff and was able to find ‘best of’ sets of Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, Bo Carter, and Tampa Red. The sound quality for some isn’t great but history is history and without it there is no context for the new.

shoe01don’t fence me in

When I hear the suggestive lyrics current sexy pop stars, or any number of rappers, I can’t but think I’ve heard it before, better and more honestly by some of these ‘old’ musicians. LMFAO manages to catch the raunch with a sense of fun I can dig. Which leads me think of the dearth of the openly sexual in queer pop in particular – but that’ll be my rant on Friday – ‘How Deep Is My Love’ as opposed to ‘How Many Inches Can You Take?’


hey! another list poem:

General Knowledge Test

all contestants must score over 40 to be considered for the show

01 What is the Capital of France?

02 Who wrote David Copperfield

03 How many moons does Neptune have?

04 Name the moons of Saturn.

05 Who starred in The Great Ghastly.

06 Where is Devon?

07 How many times did the mouse run up the clock?

08 How far did the dish run away with the spoon?

09 What year was the Treaty of Berlin signed?

10 Who won the war of 1717?

11 What is the chief export of Malta?

12 Did the chicken cross the road?

13 Name three flowers that are edible.

14 List all the stores in Square One Mall.

15 How far is it to San Jose?

16 If there was no way out how would you get in?

17 What was the number one single in August 1971?

18 Who won the academy award for best costume in 1987?

19 Find the square root of 6×13+56-9.

20 What is the legal drinking age in New Mexico?

21 Which US president signed the peace treaty of 1914?

22 What was the reason Splitov gave for defecting from Russia?

23 Where were you on the night of December 24 1999?

24 What did we ever see in each other?

25 Give three uses for ice other than keeping things cold?

26 Did John Lennon & Mick Jagger ever write or record together?

27 What was the number one TV comedy series in 1956?

28 Why does the world keep on turning?

29 Which country has the highest divorce rate: France or Japan?

30 Name three books of the Bible not written by hand.

31 Can cancer be cured?

32 Where is the statue of Eros?

33 Name four of 1000 islands.

34 Who wrote ‘Death by Assimilation?’

35 Which author rode in the Queen’s Guard from 1919 to 1956?

36 Who invented the hard boiled egg?

37 What was the first recorded use of the words ‘beats me?’

38 Arrange the following into seven different words: sbaufkeibo

39 In what country is fried pineapple considered a delicacy?

40 What is the national language of Timor?

beadsno more worries

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Spoonful of Beautiful

orange you glad

BuDa kicked off 2013 with a dynamic January show, hosted by Philip Cairns, with three features who left me wanting more – sadly time restraints at Glad Day force us to wrap the show by 9:40 or all of them would have been called on for encores.

First feature Faye Guenther read Hostage Spaces – a short story told from the ‘You’ point of view. It opens  with an almost clinical description of a building’s white marble lobby: “smooth dove-coloured leather couches that never hold a body, standing in illuminated pools of white on white” The descriptions move into a more personalized sense of the space, of the You addressed, “the soreness begins to explore your face”; of the life You lives, then brings other people into that life – a lover, a coworker: “you lifted your head and recognized someone….Her eyes were the color of trees this time of year, you thought, reaching for sun.” A naked woman appear to You offering, perhaps, a release from the space that hold You hostage as you are “smoking into the soft precision of a spring night.”

don't be shy

Next up was Regie Cabico – who captivated us with his well-honed slam skills & structures. He sang (nicely), made us laugh – men meeting and exchange cell phone pics of their cocks  and place those cell phones together to rub in the safest sex possible – ‘he smelled like a thousand likes on Facebook’ A raunchy, queer set of the highest order ‘my mouth is perpetually the year of the cock’ – more please – he closed with, what I regard as a slam staple – how deep is my love, in this instance two poets in love: ‘your poetry is so lonely Orpheus wants you to be his lyricist.

Joshua Jlatte Lopez – the music feature was sheer joy. He did an amazing set of blues standards: Spoonful, St. James Infirmary etc and some originals. His guitar playing is tasty without being flashy even when it was throwing off sparks in effortless runs and solos. Spirits of Robert Johnson, Canned Heat, Roy Buchanan flowed though his hands and vocals. One Spoonful – not enough.

put your hat on

Other news – the clean up of Valleys has been moving along well. I had to ‘translate’ my original file from appleworks to the latest Pages by importing it first into simple text – that process seeded it with a lot of small code inserts that I have to delete. I was hoping to do lots of cuts but so far that hasn’t happened. It flows better than I thought. I’ll have a PDF version ready to sell in a week or so for those you who find the excerpts too slow.

I’ve also been plugging away at my Bradbury story-a-week challenge but failing – I’ve been working on the same story since the first of the year – it grows but characters, as I hope, take over and don’t want to be done with so quickly – so perhaps I’ll aim for a story a month instead – I’m at about 2000 words for this one so far.


festive gutter ball
festive gutter ball