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“Second Line” for Bowie

As ugly as a teenage millionaire pretending it’s a whizz kid world You’ll take me aside, and say “Well, David, what shall I do? They wait for me in the hallway” I’ll say “don’t ask me, I don’t know any hallways” But they move in numbers and they’ve got me in a corner I feel…

Can We Take a Joke?

Comedian Jim Norton tackles the twisted state of the 21st century, including how modern technology affects everything from free speech to hooking up. People typically invoke Lenny Bruce as a litmus test in these matters but I think the real test is Derek and Clive which, on recent form, I believe would be subject to…

Parental Advisory

Astonished to see that my Amy Winehouse: The Album Collection comes with one these most grievous of offenses against taste and decency and liberality. Frank . . . our culture is still being infantilized and no doubt has supporters from both the illiberal Left and the illiberal Right — the “central scrutinizers” of Joe’s Garage. “Explicit…

Eighteen with a bullet

This song must rate as one of the greatest of all doo-wop songs and what is interesting is that it’s not American and it comes along a good 25 years after doo-wop’s heyday. Some say it’s a pastiche — it’s only a reflection of the times with more “knowing” lyrics. This said, the ground had already…

Gatemouth’s Texas Swing

I’ve been working my way through my last haul from the Louisiana Music Factory. This compilation with sleeve notes by non other than Scott Billington showcases a musician at the height of his game aged around 60, something he sustained right to the end hitting 81. Zappa was a big fan of Gatemouth as guitarist.…

Bacteria strain named after Frank Zappa

This from the NME. Always good to hear that Frank is getting recognition from unlikely quarters on the grounds that he gets no real radio play and that he pissed off the ideologues of both political wings.  P. Zappae is not the first time that Zappa has inspired the name of a new discover. The musician has provided inspiration…

The Gumbo Variations

Released on the 1970 LP Hot Rats, “The Gumbo Variations” is a studio jam session. A basic drum beat, a wobbling bass line, a simple melodic frame, and the stage was set for the three main soloists of the day. First, Ian Underwood delivers one of the best saxophone solos he recorded for Zappa: crossing…