The Severn Way

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on Haven Avenue:
Shrewsbury is a small town, and you’re never too far from the countryside, but I didn’t realise just  how close. Follow a narrow track from the town’s large Frankwell car park, past the cricket ground, and you are in fields, and following the Severn Way. Your path leads you through…

Dad’s Vinyl #8: Good Vibrations

I  can tell ‘Good Vibrations’ has been played a lot, it pops and clicks all the way through – although there are no scratches, and it never jumps – and the paper sleeve is in a bit of a state.

This is one of the singles i think I heard being played when I was a kid, but I’m not sure*. It certainly wasn’t played as much as ‘Hotel California’ or ‘American Pie’, but nothing was (until mum’s Barbara Streisand phase in the early 1980s).

The Beach Boys "Good Vibrations" 7" single

The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”

For such an upbeat track, ‘Good Vibrations’ has an unexpected air of melancholy.  It starts in a minor key ‘I… love the colourful clothes she wears…‘, and quickly moves to major chords, but even during those ecstatic stacked harmonies – good! Good! GOOD! – it seems somehow sad, like the minor chords have stained the positivity,  uncertainty spilling out over the three and a half minutes.

The song almost seems like instant nostalgia, knowing that this perfect summer, this perfect girl, this happiness, is fleeting.  Is the ‘she’ of the song even real?




*I suppose I could just phone him and ask, but that takes all the fun out of it.

Dad’s Vinyl #7: Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass)

This was one item in Dad’s vinyl collection I was determined that I, and not my brother, would take possession of.

the 12" vinyl album The Rolling Stones 'Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)

The main reason was ‘Paint it, black’ which I remembered was on there, which is a fantastic tune. Plus you can’t go wrong with punctuation in rock song titles*

the cover of Rolling Stones "Big Hits High Tide and Green Grass"

I’d forgotten what else was on it. That was a bit silly.

(I can’t get no) Satisfaction is on there, one of the greatest singles ever according to Rolling Stone (only beaten to #1 by Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’). I hadn’t owned any Stones until this vinyl, so actually hearing this song properly, at a decent (ie, slightly excessive) volume was an exhilarating experience.

back cover of Rolling Stones "Big Hits High Tide and Green Grass"

There are a few tracks I don’t love – ‘Come On’ is merely ok, ‘Have you seen your mother…’ is a bit of a mess, Lady Jane is a bit embarrassing.

On the other hand, ‘Get off of my cloud’ and ’19th Nervous Breakdown’ are stonking great songs, it’s amazing how much vitality is contained within these grooves, even though guitars are out of tune, the mixes are unbalanced, and things are distorted.  This stuff is alive!

The track listing:

  • Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadow?
  • Paint it, black
  • It’s all over now
  • The last time
  • Heart of stone
  • Not fade away
  • Come on
  • (I can’t get no) Satisfaction
  • Get off of my cloud
  • As tears go by
  • 19th nervous breakdown
  • Lady Jane
  • Time is on my side
  • Little red rooster



*See also The Cardigans’  “I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to Be Nicer”

Dad’s Vinyl #6: Eloise

Some 60’s records get played over and over again, like ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ (you know the sort of record), and others just seem to have disappeared. I hadn’t even heard of this song until The Damned released their version in 1986, and got to #3 in the charts, and I’ve not heard it since.

'Eloise' by Barry Ryan, 7" single

‘Eloise’ by Barry Ryan

This is a properly mad record.

Barry’s singing starts off mildly frantic and breathlessly over-enunciated,  and 5 minutes later he’s sounding like a man with his extremities on fire and a gun to his head. The music is similarly ridiculous, arranged to within an inch of its life, with parping horn sections, angelic choirs, two drummers (one in each ear) and ending with a climax balancing on top of another, larger climax, balanced on a pyramid made of loud bits.

It is gloriously silly.



And for comparison, here is the Damned’s version.

Dad’s Vinyl #5: I Can See For Miles

'I Can See For Miles' 7" single by The Who, 1967

‘I Can See For Miles’ The Who, 1967

I’m not a Who fan, I’ve heard loads of songs over the years (Mostly ‘Substitute’ and ‘My Generation’, over and over) so while I’ve heard loads, I’ve not really listened. Dad must have been quite a Who fan back then, the boxes of vinyl he dropped off a few months back has quite a few 60’s Who singles.

He must have played this one a lot, as it sounds terrible – even after a good clean – a record played almost to death. Even though it’s a bit tinny and distorted, this rocks.  It rocks in a propulsive, chaotic – that’s not just Keith Moon, either, it’s all of them – even punk-ish way. Christ knows what this sounded like back in 1967.

It’s good to know that at some point in the distant past, my Dad – who hasn’t listened to anything more challenging than Don Henley for the past decade – once listened to music this raucous.


Note: It is the mono version I’ve been listening to. The YouTube version is stereo, and that sounds a bit sterile in comparison. I’ve included both, see what you think.

An Application For Rubber Grommets

If, like me, you’ve got cupboards full of small rubber grommets, I’m sure some days you sit around and try to think of a use for them. Maybe make an evening of it, open a bottle of wine, draw flow charts and diagrams in a vain attempt to just find some use for the things.

Well, I have it, the holy grail of surplus rubber grommet applications.

To stop sympathetic overtones on my mandolin.

Sorry, what’s that?  What the *** are you on about, Andrew?

Oh, I’d better explain a bit, then. With photos.

Sometimes the strings behind the bridge – the bits you don’t strum/pick – resonate in sympathy with what you are playing. unfortunately, since these bits aren’t tuned (or even tunable) the resulting tones are discordant and unpleasant. They are sympathetic overtones, or something like that.

Some players thread leather laces through the strings to damped the unwanted sounds, and some use small rubber grommets to stop the vibrations. So that’s what I’ve done. The grommets are slightly wider than the gap, so they get squashed slightly, but i don’t care.


Dad’s Vinyl: #4 This Old Heart Of Mine

Going through Dad’s old singles, I’m surprised at how much R&B there is. These days it seems he mostly listens to Don Henley. Back then – his late teens, early twenties – there was a fair bit of soul: some Marvin, Pickett, Smokey, Supremes, and a couple of singles by The Isley Brothers.

This Old Heart Of Mine - The Isley Brothers , 7" single

This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You) – The Isley Brothers

The Isley brothers may not one of the first bands you think of when you think of Soul/R&B , but they’ve been having hits since the 1950’s, and are amazingly still going (although they are now down to just 2 members, the others lost to death, illness or religion).

This was their second big hit, from the brief time they were signed to Tamla and had Lamont and Dozier writing, and the Funk Brothers playing.  A lot of Motown and Tamla singles from this time sound similar, not surprising when they were written and played – and often produced – by the same few people. The real character of the piece comes from the singer, in this case Ronald Isley, and what a singer he is. His voice is silky smooth, but not too smooth, there’s a bit of grit in there too.

A few hit-free years after this, they left Motown to (re)start their own label and had a big hit with ‘It’s your thing‘, which is ridiculously funky, and which went on to sell a million copies, which singles could do back in those days.