There’s no denying that I like an organ’s thick juicy sound. My love started with that Farfisa bounce in 60s garage rock – i.e. 96 Tears. It expanded with Vanilla Fudge, ELP. I think on of my fruit jazz organ lps with Jimmy Smith’s Monster (more about him when I get to ’S’].

Back in the day when I flipped though bins of 2nd hand cds I came upon Brother Jack McDuff (1926-2001) lp: Gettin’ Our Thing Together (1968) which had one of the most hideous covers I’d ever seen, so I bought it for fifty-cents. He’s a funkier version of Jimmy Smith. On this mp3 collection I have Do It Now (1967)/Gettin’ Our Thing Together (1968)/Moon Rappin’ (1969),  Sophisticated Funk (1976). All great fun & worth checking out.

Also on this mp3 cd is Booker T & The MGs: Time Is Tight: This is a three cd set that covers all their studio lps up to & including ‘Melting Pot.’ Now this is funky is a more soulful way, more pop than jazz. All the hits are here: Green Onions, Hip Hug-Her as well as endless tasty cover versions of the Beatles, movie themes (Hang’Em High) & original songs. The group was also the house band for a couple of labels i.e. Stax, Atlantic & played on hundreds of number one singles by a list of stars too long to include here.

Booker T was also highly influential on many British groups: Procol Harum owes them a debit of gratitude, as does Pink Floyd whose long dreamy passages could be by Booker T. At one time I had the lp Melting Pot as well as a cassette of ‘Greatest Hits.’ Melting Pop is a masterpiece that transcends genre & if you don’t have it – get it.

Next on the shelf is the stand-alone of Jimmy McGriff’s (1936-2008) – Tribute to Basie (1966). Another fine jazz organist this is a, as you might guess, more of a big band work out with organ instead of saxes taking the lead. Another cd I picked up flipping through bins at a 2nd hand music store. Now I flip though iTunes for obscure old school disco.

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Pink Floyd

By Pink Floyd I have Piper At The Gates Of Dawn 1967, Saucer Full Of Secrets 1968, Ummagumma 1969, Atom Heart Mother 1970, Live 1970, Meddle 1971, Live at Pompeii 1972, Dark Side of the Moon 1973, Wish You Were Here 1975, Animals 1977, The Wall 1979, Delicate Sound of Thunder 1988, The Division Bell 1994, Pulse 1995. And Return to the Dark Side of the Moon a tribute lp (2006). Some as stand-alones, others as mp3.

Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother & Meddle are perhaps my favourites. Their first two lps were trippy pop songs, radio stuff but in those next three they they became experimental, stretching the notion of what rock pop could be. The mp3 of Atom Heart contains the full tracks, the lp had some of edited down to fit the limits of vinyl. I loved the choral work on it. The band owed more to Booker T & the MJs than was recognized at the time. Electronic groups like Underworld owe a debt of gratitude to Meddle.

Dark Side was their return to more ‘tradition’ song form & length & it was a stunning success. The Wall hit the right rebellious notes but I wasn’t that big a fan. The many live releases are excellent but they seem intent on reproducing studio work than expanding & exploring it. If you are unfamiliar with Pink Floyd I suggest you crawl out of your cave lol.

Mixed in with the mp3 collections are: Procol Harum: Home 1970 – they leave their organ based sound to embark on blistering guitar work; King Crimson: Starless & Bible Black 1974  – this is true progrock with amazing freeform – almost jazz like sonic explorations. Then the US band Formerly Anthrax: Show Of Hands 1970 – I had this sweet lp & eventually replaced it with mp3 – organ based pop. They are not to be confused with the British group Show Of Hands. I have a ‘hits’ compilation by them – Backlog 87-91. A version of Traffic. A band I only found searching for Formerly Anthrax 🙂

Give Me A Little Sign


a bluejay feather dances over snow 

the first full moon of the new year

a silent wrap of smoke

forms the letters of a name

whose name   mine   yours 

our hopes for the future

a dangling curtain moving at dawn

a pale   handless shape

peers out into the fog

before the fire burns pure ashes 

to scatter sooty on the snow

for the next fitful omen


a bus pulls up at the right moment

an old friend alive

where you least expected to see them

the number nine keeps popping up

how many times before it has meaning

like that bluejay feather 

it has to have a meaning

a good moment to do something

but I don’t know where to begin

play the lottery  submit that manuscript

make that phone call I’ve been putting off


should I act blindly

or bide my time for a better opportunity

a voice in an empty room

a phone call that goes unanswered 

was that wrong number the right one

where are my lucky shoes

what do the stars have to say


entrails of run over squirrel tell me 

it isn’t wise to dash across a busy street

grounds in the bottom of my Tim’s cup

tell me it’s time 

they cleaned that damn machine

that look in your eyes tells me 

it’s time to drop my guard


will our clothes piled on the floor

the fold of pants legs and t-shirts

twined accidentally in the dark

be a sign of more than pleasure to be had

is there a message 

in the goosebumps on your back

in the fevered breath on my thigh

can I let a kiss be a kiss 

not the next fitful omen

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Funky Black Organs

Hey lets get retro & super funky with some Booker T. & the M.G’s. My stand alone’s are Best of 1, Melting Pot, Best of 2. Plus the anthology: Time is Tight (an mp3 collection) which is supposedly the complete but didn’t include the ultra fantastic Christmas Album, so I’m not sure how complete it is 🙂


leaning out for love

I once had the Best of 1 as a cassette – Hang’Em High is sweet fun. The CD is inclusive what was on the cassette with more. Best of 2 has more of the earlier hits: Green Onions etc. These are instrumentals that were copied in hundred of films as parody or homage to the swinging hip youth of the time. Though I don’t think B.T & M.G’s ever did a film soundtrack.


pole wrapped in love

Melting Pop is their masterpiece – it slips from soul-pop to funk to jazz with such ease you may not even notice it. Amazing wordless chorus work is layered in on some cuts. Long & almost leisurely I hear the clear connection between Booker &, of all groups, Pink Floyd – spacey organ & guitar drifting. This is an lp I wore out & was eager to replace as CD. I first heard it on the east coast thanks to a hot married man I had had a crush on (he never came across but did enjoy catching my eye and adjusting himself.)


drowned by love

The anthology collection is great too, all the hits I have on the stand alones are there. The sound is jazzy, soulful, funky, if at times a bit kitchy – those covers of pop hits i.e. Mrs. Robinson don’t come across as genuine. I was already a fan of Jimmy Smith by then so it was easy to go from Smith’s jazzy sound to Booker’s. Smith also got stuck doing covers of pop songs. How to sell jazz in the 60’s was a puzzlement.



‘Did a kid about five foot nothing, in ragged shorts and a blood spattered T-shirt run past here in the past few minutes?’


‘Is there any other way out the plaza?’ Sgt. McLland asked.


‘Then he must have come this way.’

‘Then why ask?’

‘If this is the only way he must have passed you.’

‘No. I wasn’t here. I just got here myself. Does that answer your question.’


‘Perhaps he went into the church.’

‘Church?’ Sgt. McLland asked.

The plaza was surrounded by dull office buildings.

‘Yes, a modern miracle. Looks like just another office building in the square but it is a church. L’Eglesa de Madrea Gaudalope. He may have gone in there to light a candle.

‘Thank you. Which is the church?’

‘All doors lead to the same place.’

Sgt. McLland pushed the door of the nondescript building open. It moved with a long slow creak. If someone had come in here he would have heard that. The building was a shell, inside was a single room several stories high. He was nearly blinded by the light that flooded in from all sides.

At the far end of the room was an alter with a vast crucifix suspended over it. Each of his footsteps echoed in the dusty stillness. He could hear his own breath.

A flight of sparrows startled him. He turned around and Jaspito stood, wide eyed, clutching a tall thin white candle. The wax dripped over his hand, some had splashed on to his ragged shorts.

‘I have done nothing. The Virgin she will tell you.’

In the air between them the Virgin appeared in a long pale blue shift that tapered into a mist.

‘Be gentle with the child. He is guilty but if I forgive you must forgive as well.’

‘I did nothing Virgin. I did nothing.’

The apparition turned to Jaspito. ‘My son this nothing to you is a great sin to me, to others. If you do not see that then there is no hope for your salvation. I cannot protect you.’

‘Sacred Mother I did no harm. Please. Why do you not believe me.’

McLland stepped past the apparition and put his around arm the boy.

‘I will take care of him Mother.’

‘No it is too late. He came for my sacred protection.’ her hands reached out to him.

As Jaspito rose into the air he began to tremble, the melted wax flicked down on McLland.



September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo


( I’ve registered already 🙂 )

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


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Do You Hear What I Hear

 How quickly do you get tired of festive music? Two minutes? Two days? Over the years I’ve built up a little collection of Christmas music that covers languages: Welsh, Russian, Swedish, French and even some Elvis. I dig them out once a year & give them their annual listenings.

lane02does it come in green

I do favour the campy/cheesy side of things with the Beach Boys, The Ventures; special favourites Booker T & The MG’s go hand in hand with Jimmy Smith. I even have one of my family’s Christmas lp’s: Eddie Fisher. I can’t say as I have an absolute favourite though. Brenda Lee’s Rocking ‘Round the Christmas Tree is pretty close to perfect though. Plus Silent Night sung by a choir of starving children on an ice flow (just kidding).

lane03lane way bargains

One thing I always enjoy is a A Christmas Carol beautifully read in complete – a free download – takes a couple of hours to listen to but it has spoiled me for any movie version. I have it burned to a cd along with Dylan Thomas reading A Child’s Christmas in Wales, plus the Million Dollar Man’s Christmas adventures, and (could it get any better?) Charles Laughton reading a Pickwick Christmas and (too much?) Ronald Coleman in a very abridged Christmas Carol.

lane01red daisies

Yeah I love Christmas but I’m always happy when its over.



another piece out of the archives:


it’s hard to resist the notions of patterns

how the repeated gets repeated

the notion

that if you go back to the same bed

you leave in the morning

you have really gone nowhere

start to finish

at the same point

doesn’t equal progress

yet   for many that is progress

to maintain the same pattern

to have the comfort

of ending back where they started from

I do not resist the comfort and ease

of repetition

that gives structure

funny though

how much quicker and smaller these

rituals become

the older one becomes

the aching years and summers of youth

are the all too fast and brief

flash from one winter to the next

winters coming too close together

and summers never long enough

flowers come go  come go

and the gardening continues

when will the circle be broken

things are done

to keep that break from happening

the right foods for the heart

exercise  avoid the sun

drinking lots of water

a few less morsels at every meal

to cut down on the burden of the waist

each a little ritual

in hopes of avoiding the break


to add a few morsels of days

the gift of the moment

the miracle of breath

and joy of experiencing

what there remains to be experienced

days are numbered

but no one knows what those numbers are

we don’t know

what they are going to add up to

what will remain

is rarely equalled to

what we may have done

the mark made disappears with time

I decided not to worry about the mark made

but to enjoy what there is to enjoy

to create sustain without concern

leaving a legacy

is the least of my intent

a few memories will linger

till the last of those

who remember me

are gone

that is enough for me

another of the aging details

I sometimes forget

is about what may remain

who gets what

maybe I’ll give it all way

before the break

shedding is a good stage

to prepare me for the transition

into the next one

shed all that I wouldn’t want to move with

pretend my life

is to be reduced to a single room

what would I want to keep

make it that simple

and see what

loses its hold on me

what is really wanted

and what is there merely

because I have a place for it

those things that are pleasant enough

but which it

may be time to live without

to move on

to clear and clear

make more empty shelves

and leave them empty

invite the emptiness

into the present day

to prepare me for

what may be the void

when the circle is broken


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