Monday, July 18, 2005

Final Guitar Twaddle for now...

The other guitars in my life are an Ibanez “Martin 1930” copy and a cheap jumbo Jim Deacon (with cutaway). I bought the Ibanez in 1982 and though the octaves are a little out I like it, the wider classical neck and the small hourglass body are all very tactile and comfortable so it’s snug and easily playable. I’ve written a lot of songs on this guitar. It did have a pick up on it at one time and I gigged it for a short while in the early eighties. It also spent time in Aberdeen as a student guitar in the late 90s, but I felt sorry for it and rescued it from potential destruction. The JD is a bit of a heap; ok for strumming and fiddling with and the electrics are reliable if nothing else. Played it a lot in the mid 90s when, to be honest I wasn’t all that bothered about guitars (or what I was playing on them!).

My Yamaha (top right) has only been around six weeks, I guess I’m still breaking it in but it does everything I want already. It’s up a Glen Esk in a cottage right now, I left it there at the weekend and I’m missing it already. I’ve used it three times for our shows at the Roxy and really enjoyed playing it. I think it does well in most departments. I’ve used it with a Morley Wah Wah pedal also which has been fun. It’ll be the main guitar I’ll use for our regular live stuff over the next few months. I’ll probably do some home recording with it in the autumn, for demos, fun and the like.

Lastly and without any current picture or contact, I have a 1964 Vox Teardrop (Bill Wyman) sunburst semi-acoustic bass. I acquired this from a friend around 1976 and played it regularly till about 1984. Eventually one of my sons fell heir to it and played it in various Fife and Aberdeen bands in the late 90s. Currently it’s in bits and needing some TLC, it’s probably in Banff. One pick up is badly cracked and the wiring is shot but the neck and body are ok. A project for some one.

Other guitars I’ve loved and lost: 1975 sunburst Telecaster (classic model), 1971 Shaftsbury Bass, 19?? Semi Acoustic (335 body) Epiphone (Rivolli type) bass, various crappy acoustics, one Yamaha FG?, a Harmony Sovereign twelve string, the Gold Top Antoria (1973?) and a black semi-acoustic whose details I cannot remember at all.

Guitar Twaddle 3

The Ozark resonator cut-away is two years old. Features on the “WIP” CD on all the live recordings and also the remix and studio tracks. Most of these do contain a great deal of effects and distortions added and overlaid so much of the tingly, jangley sound it naturally produces is lost. Used it at one “acoustica” and a few OOTB nights as well as “50 for the Festival” the CBQ nights in August 2004. Recent songs written on it are “not pretty” and “I miss that boy”.

Guitar Twaddle 2

This picture is of my Japanese Strat. Probably about six years old now and quite nicely playable thanks to a mature maple neck and the usual creature comforts. I have painted it in a series of odd designs using surplus nail varnish that Ali kindly donated to the project. Only gigged once (at a Full Moon night at the Complex in Leith) but used on both the “scapes” and “heartburst” recordings and CDs for all the main guitar parts. The tremolo arm fell off a few years ago (in Germany), I’ve never bothered to replace it.

Guitar Twaddle

Recently got a hold of an old (1974) black top Antoria Les Paul. Many years ago I had a gold top that I really enjoyed playing, chugged out a load of James Gang, Mountain and Velvet Underground riffs on it as I recall. All played through a battered WEM PA40 and two 2 x12s or a WEM Dominator. Well I’ve this black one now, I don’t think the neck is original, fingerboard is plain pearl and rosewood and the machines are new and a little odd. None the less the action and feel is good and I’m going to re string it and set it up properly for myself after the holidays. If I’m happy with it I’ll take it to Germany for our next batch of recordings with our buddy Martin Freitag from the band Mobil.

Friday, July 15, 2005

World's Longest Soundcheck

World’s longest soundcheck gets underway.

Had a lot of fun at the Roxy last night: Friends playing were the marvellous Norman Lamont doing both songs and soundscapes and the “Famous Blue Raincoat” Cohen cover.The articulate and polished works of Cloudland Blue Quarter (CBQ) and James Jamieson performing as a duo also featured. The Roxy manager, Linda recorded all our sets so we’ll have some pleasure and pain listening to our performances over again.

The evening began with the soundscapes and smoke, CBQ practising quite impressively before Norman started with the full works. Impossible Songs then did 35 minutes including “That’s my Baby”, “Dancing”, “How I Hate” and “Not Pretty”. CBQ and James followed. We did a further 25 minutes: “WIP”, “Happy Like” and “Twin Song”. CBQ and James again shining with “The Crocodile Song” and “King’s Country”(and a mystery guest introduced by Norman). Norman closed the evening with a shorter set than I’d have liked but included “Nicolle” and the sinister “Desert”.

The audience was sparse but we all had a good time, Ali was looking great in a new jacket and singing with a power and confidence that’s grown in the last few months. Now it's time for a holiday...

Useful links are:

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Roxy Still Rules

Impossible Songs @ the ROXY Thursday 14th July.

Impossible Snobs are back at the Roxy Art House this Thursday 14th July.

Two sets (perhaps) are required in a bag of worms and sandshoes production, more than less than usual will not be too much, or quite enough - thank you.

Also none other than Norman Lamont, Cloudland Blue Quartet and Mr James Jamieson, will be present and playing live. Music starts at 9.00 pm - Entry £3.00 at the door.

Spectacular soundscapes (from Mr NL), Wah pyrotechnics, natural reverb and echo, blissed out vocals and screaming anger, gardens, cranes and skylines, 80's idols and the First World War, searching for Bob, Nicolle and the hungry ghosts of the Southlands. Cats and domestic situations may be mentioned at times. Do not come if you are at all feeble minded, badly prepared or afraid of the effects of magnetism, otherwise all welcome!

Beer and TV on tap, daily newspapers and candlelight, fudge and strawberries and forgiveness for all: Before we take a short break while others gig on.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Shuman Says..

Shuman says "Hi", Shuman says "Stay foxy", Shuman says "I'm watching you, hope to see you on Friday at the Roxy!"

Please try to please Shuman, impossible songs are not responsible for his actions....right now.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Syrus, G8, Roxy.

G8 Live8 F8?

Mingled with the folks and wandered around the centre of Edinburgh after the G8 MPH march, prior to playing at St Andrews Church. Interesting to see the litter and (slight) devastation left by the protesters, discarded placards, water bottles, posters and trash every where, some of it spookily blowing along the empty streets on the Saturday evening breeze. I admire the protest and the protesters but I’d like a world without poverty and without thoughtless littering. Let’s join up our thinking a bit!

Enjoyed playing our short set in the church, quite a few people of all types there seeking a quiet time and some entertainment after the march. Did three songs, “Twin Song”, “Damage” and “Rainbow” all of which seemed to go down well. Unfortunately I dropped a small radio mike which decided to stop working thereafter and my guitar was a bit boomy on “Damage”. Ali sang like an angel and made a good little opening speech, being in church of course makes all the difference to the likes of us.

On the way out of St Andrews bumped into the sunburned and tired looking (but always interesting) Norman Lamont who had survived the march and was now grateful for a lift back to Queensferry.

Home in time to see the end of Live8, Sting was pretty good I thought but the reunited Pink Floyd were possibly the highlight of the whole thing for me. For once there appeared a decent level of emotion and bonding between them as they shared the same stage. Seeing them together and hearing their music brought back a lot of memories for me, their music has, quite unintentionally formed a large part of my life’s soundtrack. The last time I saw them live was in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, I think in 1974; they did “Echoes” and all of “DsoM” as I recall.

Advert now: Impossible Songs: Appearing live at the Roxy Art House in July!

Friday July 8th at 9.00 PM - £3.00 – or free if you are already in at the theatre performance.

Acoustic/vocal soft rock for snobs and intellectuals, neo-new things, bright young things and spoonerisim lovers of all ages. The play list is a closely guarded secret and even if you saw it you wouldn’t understand any more than we do.

CDs may be up for sale along with fridge magnets, a single wah pedal may be heard behind vocals and walls of sound, wine and water shall be consumed, stuff will be strutted.

Phone the Roxy on 0871 750 0077 to book a sandwich and a deckchair.

2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh EH8 9SU.