Spirit Of the Age – Attilla The Stockbroker

Attila The Stockbroker (John Baine) is a UK based Punk Rock Poet with a finely honed social conscience, left wing politics and is an all round bloody nice guy.  He turned 57 yesterday and posted  a little reminder of this piece he wrote 10 years ago.  I love it.  What do you think.


You’ve got to be young and black to rap, right?
So I’ve no chance ‘cos I’m old, punk rock and white…
You’ve got to be young and black to rap? Wrong!
Anyone can rap – or write a punk rock song
So don’t look at me with scorn or derision
I don’t accept boundaries of cultural division
I’m MC Attila and I’m right in your face
So listen up folks ‘cos I ain’t going no place
This rap’s called ‘Spirit Of The Age’
All my life I’m gonna be on stage
Millions of ideas buzzing round my head
and I’ll be rapping till the day I’m dead
Aged 48 I won’t be sedate
Rancid rule, Joe Strummer is my soul mate
49 I’ll be doing just fine
Reeling in the Right on my verbal fishing line
Fifty? I’ll be nifty!
So don’t look at me like I’m sad or I’m shifty….
51 I’ll be having some fun
When Brighton score 10 and Crystal Palace score none
52, I’ll be talking to you -
And I’ll make more sense than Blink 182….
53? Top of the tree!
Red rebel rhymes and rapping rebel poetry
54, like I said before -
Show me a fascist, I’ll show him the floor
55 – cutting it live
While boring arty poets take a nose dive
56 – high in the mix
This old punk rocker will have learned some new tricks
57, still first eleven
Drinking real ale like it’s manna from heaven
58, I’ll be fuelling debate
Giving it straight from the 51st State
Aged 59 laying down the line
Pulling out words and watching them intertwine

60? Still defying convention!
I won’t be drawing my punk rock pension…..
As long as I’m alive I’ll be live on stage:
Age of the spirit – spirit of the age!


75 Essential Albums – Day #10 Bruce Springsteen – The Rising

Here goes with day 10 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Bruce Springsteen – The Rising

The Rising was the Boss’s first studio album for 7 years and his first collaboration with the wonderful E-Street Band for 18 years.  The album holds a special place in my heart because I managed to see four european shows on the Rising tour.  As I am sure everyone knows the album was Springsteen’s response to the 9/11 bombing (although some of the songs precede that awful event).  In my view it was an incredibly brave decision to release the album so soon after the horror of that incredibly sad day.  It would have been easy for Springsteen to have been accused of ‘cashing in’ on the deaths of so many.  Of course anyone with even a passing knowledge of Springsteen and his music know that the man has a massive social conscience and he approached the event with care and sensitivity.

One might have expected songs full of anger and a thirst for revenge but Springsteen took a totally different approach.  The songs are full of grace, care and tribute to those who died.  They reflect sadness, loss and the bravery of those who gave their lives trying to save others.  It is something of a memorial but it is delivered in powerful fashion lifted by hard, bright guitar licks delivered by Nils Lofgren, Steve Van Zandt and Springsteen himself.  The thumping beats, two sets of keyboards, three guitars and of course Clarence Clemons Saxophone set the album apart from anything else released at the time.

Whilst the album is a reflection of hurt and loss there is an under story of hope.  For example in ‘Into the Fire’ there is praise for the bravery of emergency service personnel who lost their lives but in the chorus it becomes an anthem of hope:

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love bring us love

Simple, beautiful and powerful, a message of love in the face of hate.  In ‘empty sky’ Springsteen gives voice to those new Yorkers who woke to lament the loss of Manhattans towering landmarks, it reflects the emptiness, incomprehension and inability to understand the actions of the terrorists on that day.  ‘Nothing Man’, a haunting ballad, tries to explain how the rescuers who survived the day must have felt after being thrust into the limelight of media coverage as a result of their brave actions on that day.

“Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” with its big, meaty riff and strutting lyrics and “Let’s Be Friends”, with its bouncy beat wouldn’t seem at first listen to fit in but they are songs of hope, a promise that things will get better.  The Rising is far from a call to arms, it is a call to rise above the injury, to rise above hatred and hurt.

Bruce Springsteen has gathered many a superlative over the years. The Rising is an album unlike any other, it is a truly soul wrenching experience.  A remarkable piece of work.


The Sound of Summer:

We all know that Bullying destroys lives. Check out this video by a young artist from New Zealand. She has a great voice and the song has a very powerful message. Please share this on FB, Twitter and reblog it to help spread the message :)

Originally posted on Abbie's Babble:

For the last few weeks the kids and I have been loving a new song on the airwaves. I recently learned it’s by an awesome and inspiring young kiwi artist.

The lyrics, the message, and the story to get the song out there – it’s too good and too important not to share.

Here’s the link to Nakita Turner’s website but even if her story doesn’t interest you, take five and listen to her song.

View original


The Leylines – Let it Go EP

The Leylines are a five piece band of musicians from England’s West Country.  The band are currently based in Weston-Super-mare.  I first came across them playing live at ‘Something Else in The Dean’ a grassroots music festival in the forest of dean.  I was very impressed with their live performance.  They were, for me, one of the highlights of a great weekend of music.

The band are currently working on their debut album release but I did manage to get hold of their four track EP ‘Let it Go’ so that I could get a flavour of their recorded output.  It must be said that the band picked four excellent songs to showcase their talents.

Vocalist Steve Mitchell is a great focus for the band.  He has a slightly gruff, slightly throaty singing voice which, especially on ‘Sorry my friends’, really reminded me of the Levellers Mark Chadwick.  In fact that track would not have been out of place on Chadwick’s recent solo album ‘Moment’.  The track both opens and closes with lovely fiddle pieces by Hannah Johns and once the vocals kick in the song is driven along by a very tight rhythm section, the guitars and fiddle playing a sympathetic supporting role. Backing vocals are understated and add a nice depth and texture.Leylines3

‘Save your soul’ is a simply gorgeous and a fantastic showcase for Mitchells vocals.  The track opens with just a simple finger picking guitar before the vocal starts with ‘Save your soul, not mine, save your heart not mine’, it is mournful, it tugs at the heart strings.   The fiddle comes in adding a gentle melancholic feel as Mitchell sings ‘You’re just not the one for me’.  The guitars drums and bass are added in layers as that line is repeated over and over, it builds and incredible feeling of love lost, of heartbreak, of sadness.  Its the sort of song you can imagine being played in front of a huge crowd who sing along with their cigarette lighters illuminating tear filled eyes.  It is simply beautiful.

The title track ‘let it go’ is an altogether more upbeat affair. It paints a picture of the North devon moors, of freedom, of wandering outdoors of the trees and the sea.   The urgent rhythm of the drums and the flowing fiddle playing are sure to get feet moving, it is a very danceable track but you just have the feeling that there is a hint of darkness underneath the outward dynamic jollity.Leylines2

Runaway is again upbeat but you do detect that all is not well in the world as the commentator runs away to a place in his mind.  You get the feeling that here is someone trying to remain positive in a fractured world, who is withdrawing into himself to draw on an inner strength in his determination to overcome adversity.

The leylines are in their infancy as a band but there is a maturity in their sound.  They draw inspiration from the sort of socially aware folk rock that has been espoused so successfully by the likes of the Levellers and the Oysterband.  The musicianship is strong and the songs hold up very well as a piece of work.  This is an extremely enjoyable EP, the forerunner of what I am sure will be an excellent album. The songs are catchy and have good chorus line hooks that you can easily see festival crowds singing along too.  The one piece of advice I would offer is to use these hooks a little more sparingly as there is a tendency across all four tracks to use the same couple of lines time and again to draw the listener in.  This works fine on an EP and would be fine on four songs out of a 12 track album but I suspect it could be easily overdone.

So in conclusion this is an excellent debut from a very exciting new folk rock band.  I can’t wait to hear their album and I look forward to catching them live again sometime very soon.


75 Essential Albums – Day #9 Thin Lizzy – Live and Dangerous

Here goes with day 9 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection.  They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released.  You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).

Released in 1978 hot on the heels of the hugely successful Bad Reputation Album ‘Live and Dangerous’ showcases all that was great about Thin Lizzy at the height of their powers.  There has always been some controversy about how much of the album was actually recorded live but frankly I don’t give a stuff about this.  Whilst there is a considerable amount of studio overdubbing the album feels live and it contains 17 of Thin Lizzy’s greatest songs.  There is not a single weak track in the line up and Phil Lynott is at his brilliant best.  Even if there was some tweaking in the studio, the album is powerful and energetic.  The duelling lead guitar parts from Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson and Lynotts thumping bass lines combine to sweep you along in a torrent of emotional high octane rock music.

It is the song selection and sequencing that combine to make Live and Dangerous one of the best ‘Live’ albums ever released.  The album cover with Lynott wielding his bass fist pumping lit by spotlights is one of the most instantly recognisable album covers ever.

Opening with ‘Jailbreak’ the album builds through ‘Emerald’ and ‘Southbound’ before hitting the first of many peaks with a fantastic Rosalie/Cowgirl song.  Lyons vocal on this track is simply breathtaking.  His voice and phrasing dazzling, his gruff throaty growl softened by tender and sensitive delivery.  The next peak is of Mount Everest proportions with a trio of songs that lead side three of the Double Vinyl release.  ‘The Cowboy song’, ‘The boys are back in town’ and ‘Don’t believe a word’ are as fine a run of songs as you are ever likely to hear.

In summary this timeless classic ‘live album is an absolute must have for any fan of rock music.  It is so good that in 2011 NME rated it as the best live album of all time.  It is hard to disagree.  If you don’t own this one you should hang your head in shame.

Over the years I have seen many hundreds of live bands including most of the ‘greats’ I will always regret never having the chance to see Thin Lizzy live.


Grand Slam

Actually I already experienced my Grand Slam Moment

In July 1989 Maurice Johnston, a Scottish Footballer and Ex-Glasgow Celtic Player had agreed to return to Celtic but instead joined Rangers. This was a huge moment as Rangers had not knowingly signed a player who practised Catholicism.  Johnston was Rangers first major Roman Catholic signing”. He was the highest-profile Catholic to sign for the club since the World War I era, though other Catholics had signed for Rangers before. The move angered both Celtic and Rangers supporters. Some Rangers fans burned scarves and threatened to hand in season tickets over the signing, while Celtic fans referred to Johnston as Judas.  Rangers’ kitman protested by making Johnston arrange his own kit and withholding from him the chocolate bars dispensed to other players.   He won over a lot of Rangers fans in November 1989 when he scored an injury time winner for Rangers against former club and bitter rivals Celtic.

I was at that match and had taken my best friend at that time to the match.  It was his first ever Rangers match.  The atmosphere at the match was, as always, absolutely electric.  It was probably the noisiest game I ever attended.  Rangers had bossed the match, absolutely battering Celtic but it looked like the match was going to end in scoreless draw.  Johnston scored with almost the last kick of the match and the stadium absolutely exploded.  The crowd erupted into chants of “Mo, Mo, Super Mo” I have never heard anything like it.  The Celtic fans in the ground were devastated and distraught which made the moment even more sweet.  I have never experienced another sporting moment that even came close in terms of excitement and passion.  it was an incredible moment, one I will never forget.