Celebrating the Olympics
Blues, rock and roll, soul, fifties and sixties pop, cajun, jazz, folk, vinyl records, LPs, EPs, singles, New Orleans, Memphis, UK rock, nostalgia, girl groups, ska, rocksteady.
It's Sam Cooke week! Well, it's always Sam Cooke week really, as he remains my all time favourite singer and I've got most of his UK releases, both singles and LPs. But this week in the space of a few days I've picked up two of his LPs that I didn't previously own, both in excellent condition and both at knock down prices.
Here's a selection of photos from this year's Porretta Soul Festival.
After its uneven start the night before, the Porretta Soul Festival really got into its stride on the second evening. It was all meat with no filler. Once again the Bo-Keys provided backing for two of the acts and after an opening Soul Serenade it was straight into genuine deep soul with the mighty Otis Clay - in my opinion the greatest living soul singer.
It's always a pleasure to get back to the Italian spa town of Porretta Terme for the annual Soul Festival - not least because the weather here is hot, unlike the dismal rain and cold of England. This is the 25th year of the festival, although rumour has it that it may be the last. Let's hope not.
After a relatively quiet period in terms of music deaths we now have news of three notable artists who have died.
I'm surprised not to have seen more coverage of the seventh anniversary today of 7/7, especially with the Olympics just around the corner. The day before, I was in Trafalgar Square with thousands of others when the Olympics decision was announced, to great excitement. It may have been pure chance that I didn't get caught up in the bombings, as I changed from a Piccadilly train at Finsbury Park onto the Victoria Line just before the bomb hit a southbound Piccadilly Line train near Kings Cross. I was working at the Department of Health in Whitehall at the time and got off at Westminster as all hell was breaking loose. With no buses or tubes running I got home by a roundabout route involving a river boat to Canary Wharf.
The Vocalion label dates back to 1916 and in the US issued many classic 'race records', including the 78s by Robert Johnson. In the UK the label made a comeback in the mid sixties, replacing the Vogue label, and was part of the Decca group, despite bearing the Vogue name on its labels. Many of Vocalion's UK releases were classic soul and blues records from the Duke/Peacock/Sure-Shot/Back Beat stable in Houston, although it also released rock and soul orientated singles on labels such as GNP Crescendo, Fat Fish and Vault. Other releases included an early 45 by a certain Davie Jones and the King Bees worth a cool £1000 (sadly I don't own a copy!).