Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Wish I Could Have Loved You More...

The album that I've listened to most in the last six weeks, and the one which I continue to do so without fail, is this one.

This is actually the cover of the single I Wish I Could Have Loved You More, which is also available on 7" vinyl, but the album has the same title and the cover illustration is in a very similar vein. This is the d├ębut album by Candie Payne and the UK indie label 'Deltasonic' has also had the great sense to release the album on vinyl with an illustrated inner sleeve.
What is more is that it is also frighteningly good, if rather different to that which might usually make the charts, and when she needs backing vocalists she calls on her brothers, including Sean who is the drummer with the Zutons, and also Abi Harding who is the saxophonist with the same. All are actually very good backing vocalists but neither this album or their contributions to it sound remotely like the Zutons own works.


The opening track, I Wish I Could Have Loved You More, may sound rather like a James Bond theme tune that is just slightly too realistic and melancholy to be real and so, and therefore also in many other ways, this is the track that goes far towards defining the whole theme from the start. If an album can be wistful and sometimes nostalgic, but also both positive and realistic at the same time, then listening to the first side will probably seem too good to be true. The second side might actually, however, turn out to be the better one and that really is an achievement.
I have found three singles, all taken from the album, that are available on 7" vinyl; these are 'I wish I could have loved you more', 'Take me' and 'All I need to hear', which are tracks 1,3 and 5 respectively on the first side of the 12" LP.
For the dates of live performances see here.

I didn't intend to vanish for five weeks...

All sorts of theories about my disappearance have been suggested by my friends, but they are all untrue. I have not been kidnapped, in prison, or even any of the far more improbable suggestions! In fact - as well as still being very much alive (thanks to the people that e-mailed me to ask me just that, or various versions of it) I'd love to thank, above all, absolutely everyone who has looked after me or out for me in one way or another.

I did at least do the whole 2007 "environmentally friendly" thing by being an unwilling victim of a carbon-neutral road traffic accident. I was a pedestrian who was run over by a pedal cyclist... the cyclist luckily suffered no injuries but I ended up in hospital in Lancashire for eight days. It was simply an accident - nothing more or less - but, having experimented when I certainly didn't intend to, I can say without doubt that I don't regard this kind of contribution to an environmentally friendly lifestyle in any way worthwhile.

You might think that I had therefore had so much more time than usual to listen to, and blog about, music but actually it didn't quite work out that way. At first, and maybe apart from an intermittent headache, I couldn't understand why I felt this way but I simply had little interest in listening to any music at all. After a few days I had the desire to listen to music, but only a few albums out of those (thirty or so) that had stayed with me. The one that I listened to most - and it was the one I had most recently acquired - it had actually arrived at home, on vinyl, from a record store barely a mile from the hospital I ended up in - but the better part of two hundred miles away! This fact actually never occurred to me until I got back home and, while I've since regained my interest in all the other music I have, I've certainly continued to play that one and it is the subject of my next post. The only other I played to death in that time was very predictable: 'No Shouts No Calls' by Electrelane.

Home Taping is killing music... piracy.

With all the fuss about copy protection in the digital download age it is very easy to forget that this kind of concern has proven to be of concern before the digital age.
Copying copyright music, or anything else subject to copyright for that matter, is illegal - IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT.
The real issue is therefore how best to deal with the threat of infringement of such copyright and the major labels have, for several decades, worried about just such things and tried a variety of approaches.

When vinyl was still the predominant format they were worried about the impact that home copying on to compact cassette tape might have.

Yes it is true, the tape was a major advance in technology but mainly because you could record your own and play them in car players (the personal tape player became widely affordable somewhat later), rather than as a format for purchased music, and it is that what really prompted the worries that led to the above, which I took from the sleeve of a 1978 vinyl album.
Now, however, the mere thought of cassette tapes has a slightly strange effect on me: half of me thinks I should view them with childhood nostalgia while the other half remembers that they were a pain. They were always getting wound either too tightly or otherwise too loosely or even worse self-destructing in a tangle of knotted tape (a kind of road-side pollution, as car players were particularly prone to this, now happily all but forgotten) that could also take the player with it into oblivion. Well, music is still with us...

Even assuming one's tape of choice was behaving as it should then actually finding the start of any given song was a lottery with no winning numbers given those little "counters" that were hopelessly unreliable (and a really good case of an analogue but apparently digital accessory). I'm sure, and actually hope, that there are die-hard fans of the cassette tape out there surely as there are those whose "comfort food" of first choice would be rice pudding topped with pineapple chunks, or with rose-hip syrup for that matter.
I salute you, but just can't bring myself to join in!
My antiquated format of choice for music actually has almost any number of extra limitations and impracticalities that tape overcame at a stroke but it also has one advantage - that of locating the start of tracks - that CD shares. It is nothing other than choice and, unless this is the first time you have had the misfortune to somehow stumble across this blog, you will have noticed that my foible is vinyl. Yes, it is nostalgia pure and simple: It is an odd kind because, while I do have "old" vinyl from the pre-cassette days, what I like most of all is current vinyl! Of course I listen to CDs, which unlike vinyl are usable in a car, and I am quite happy with using mp3 and other related digital technology and I would not wish a return to a vinyl-only musical world for a moment - unless perhaps the only alternative was cassette tape only!
For me the real thing about vinyl is simply the reality of it - and also, for 12" in particular, the platform it allows for cover artwork - because the pleasure of handling, cleaning and then playing it is exactly the same regardless of if it is as old as BBC Radio 1 (that is actually slightly younger than I) or if it actually first went on sale today.

In recent years copy protection of CDs has sparked a number of attempts to make this more difficult but there are problems. Some systems have been only used in specific markets and issues concerning what is, by law, actually allowable in different countries have proved to be merely the tip of the iceberg since made much more difficult the threat of illegal downloading.
Would you be discouraged to buy an album that, even if you never attempted to do anything illegal, might somehow damage your equipment and, if it somehow did, you would have no legal claim for your loss.

Such consumer contracts are not illegal, at least in the US in 2005, but is this kind of approach really the best when totally illegal downloading - which accrues nothing to the label, artist or anyone else legitimately involved - has now become the major threat?