Sunday 31 July 2016

Review: Michael Livesley and Brainwashing House – Sir Henry At Rawlinson End

Review: Michael Livesley and Brainwashing House – Sir Henry At Rawlinson End

English as tuppence, changing yet changeless as canal water, nestling in green nowhere, armoured and effete, bold flag-bearer, lotus-fed Miss Havishambling opsimath and eremite. Feudal still, reactionary, Rawlinson End …
Sir Henry at Rawlinson End is perhaps the very pinnacle of English eccentricity – a pastoral, surreal and meandering tale of the titular Sir Henry and his unusual family, servants and irritants, created initially as a series of sessions for John Peel’s radio show in the 1970s by ex-Bonzo Dog Doodah Band man Vivian Stanshall, then compiled into an album and later made into one of the most brilliantly oddball feature films ever shot.
In the original version, Stanshall acts as narrator and voices all the characters, mixing his already-noteworthy sense of English whimsy with florid and complex wordplay, punning, double-entendre and all round oddness, backed by a authentic sounding folk score to tell a story that goes nowhere particularly, but features a fine cast of characters – the feudal and psychotic Sir Henry, his wife Florrie, brother Hubert, Old Scrotum the Wrinkled Retainer (i.e. butler), housekeeper Mrs E, and ‘resting theatrical artistes’ Nigel Nice and Teddy Tidy. Interspersed with this would be short musical numbers, as quaintly off-normal as the narrative.
Sir Henry seems so connected to Stanshall’s own character and style that it seems impossible that anyone could ever successfully reinterpret it (the film might be considered such a successful reinterpretation, but of course Stanshall was heavily involved in that project). The 2010 stage version of the story – which rather sensibly did not attempt to flesh out the original recordings, but simply present them as a live performance, more akin to a concert than a stage musical, with Michael Livesley taking the Stanshall role of narrator and voice actor – seems by all accounts to have been just such a successful reinvention. Indeed, short of bringing Stanshall back from the dead, this was the only – or more accurately, the best – way of bringing new life to the material and introducing it to a brand new audience. All very good.
The problem with the soundtrack to the live performance – the first release from Rick Wakeman’s RRAW Records – is a rather unavoidable one … namely that, when stripped of the live performance aspect of the affair, it becomes little more than a facsimile of the original – a cover version album, rather like those ‘sounds like…’ LPs of the 1970s. As good as it might be when seen and experienced live, on record it will always seem like a duplicate of the essentially identical but superior original. Livesley does a fine job with the narration and the character voices, but he is no Stanshall – who ever could be, frankly? – and guest appearances from Wakeman and Neil Innes, while very welcome, again fail to register much when you can’t actually see them on stage.
All this makes this album a rather curious affair to review, because this might well be one of the recordings of the year, if not for the somewhat pesky fact that it already exists in a better version. In a sense, it is damned by its own respect and love for the material – the best cover versions are those that reshape and reconstruct the originals, not the slavish duplications of something that we already have, but of course that was never an option here. And unlike a stage or screen musical, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End was never originally conceived to be performed by a variety of casts – it was very much Stanshall’s baby.
So this is an odd fish. A fine interpretation of a great work, lovingly recreated and nicely presented, but which is entirely unnecessary if you own the original piece. Should Livesley’s live version of Sir Henry appear in a venue near you, I have no hesitation in suggesting that you drop all plans and venture forth to catch it. But on record, you are more advised to seek out the original recordings, and this is very much for the completist only.

MJ12 Review



Review by G. W. Hill

MJ12 gets their name from a supposed organization called “Majestik 12” which was supposedly convened in the 1940s to investigate UFOs. While that group might be purely mythological (or perhaps not), this group is very real and very cool. This MJ12 is made up of four musicians. Percy Jones in the bass player. He’s best known perhaps as a member of the group Brand X (a band that’s recently reunited with Jones once again handling the bass work). He has also played with artists ranging from Suzanne Vego to Soft Machine, Brian Eno, Steve Hackett, Ray Harper and more. Playing drums and trombone, Stephen Moses was part of the “loft jazz scene” in New York City. Guitarist David Phelps is currently a member of The New York Hieroglyphics and has his own band. Saxophonist Chris Bacas has played with the likes of the Glen Miller Band, The Tommy Dorsey Band, the Artie Shaw Band, and Buddy Rich’s legendary Big Band. Together these guys create a brand of instrumental fusion that’s sometimes spacey, sometimes bombastic, and always cool. I’d say there is enough rock here to consider this prog rock, but either way, we generally land fusion under prog at Music Street Journal.

Track by Track Review

Call 911

Percy Jones’ bass is purely on fire as the rhythm section leads out here. Other musical elements come over the top bringing a sense of mystery along with some great fusion. This continues to evolve, getting harder rocking as it does so. They drop way down for a mellower movement mid-track and then fire out into some seriously incendiary stuff from there. Then an even more sedate movement takes over between the five and six minute marks. That portion has a bit of a space element. At it continues a police siren is heard. That sound continues as the cut works out into scorching hot fusion to take the tune to its close.

Bad American Dream Pt2
Bass begins this piece, too. In contrast to the opener, there are no drums for almost the first minute of the piece. Instead atmospheric spacey layers are heard over the top. This piece continues to build, but remains mellower and rather trippy. It’s also slow moving. Around the three minute mark, it finally explodes out into more rocking territory. There are both Americana and psychedelic rock elements in the mix on this segment. As it continues to evolve there is some amazing fusion jamming.

Magic Mist
Mellower and trippy at the onset, this has a real space meets psychedelia and world music element to it. The bass joins after a bit and begins soloing. This thing gets quite freeform as it continues. It has a tendency toward noisy edges, and minor chaos, but yet is oddly accessible and mainstream at the same time. This definitely has a lot in common with Rock in Opposition.

Talk Time
This is a cool energized jazz jam. It’s definitely a bit odd in the way it seems to shift this way and that. But, it’s a good form of oddity for sure. This is a killer fusion tune that works quite well.

The Wow Signal
Another that’s more rocker, this has some killer jamming built into it. There is a rather mysterious tone in some ways, too. I love the energized groove to the piece. There are parts of this that actually approach heavy metal. Yet, mostly this is some powerhouse jazzy prog with plenty of surprises.

Big Daddy Road
Space music, jazz and more merge on this cut. It has some particularly traditional jazz trappings. All of that, though, gets countered by some space elements. There is a freeform wandering quality to some of this, too. It’s packed (as the whole album is) with some killer instrumental work.

The Phantom Maracas
Although this is more pure jazz in nature, it’s also rather freeform. It has some intriguing changes. It gets really fierce later, too.

Guns and Pussy
This is such a killer jam. It’s definitely on the prog end of the fusion spectrum. It’s packed with killer twists and turns. It also has some amazing instrumental work.

Magic Mist Reprise
One would expect this to be similar to the original song, and it is. This is truppy stuff that’s quite cool.


Percy Jones (born December th, 1947 near Llandrindod Wells, Wales) is a Welsh bass guitarist, and was a member of jazz fusion band Brand X from 1974 to 1980, as well as a reformed version that lasted ..

Percy Jones (born 3 December 1947 near Llandrindod Wells, Wales) is a Welsh bass guitarist, and was a member of jazz fusion band Brand X, from 1974 to 1980, and..


Rob Ayling, yer Gonzo Grande Fromage, writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied within seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not?"

There are elements we are immersed within.
Invisible air until exhaust emissions.Sand particles beneath
all micro worlds for tinier creatures/who feel us as boots and occupiers.
And do not mention water in a desert/fracked and broken.
Oil and gas have fiery missions.They blaze night sky eyes long distances.
Water is sued to squelch them/to dilute their ferocious gossip.
Heat and capacity love distance.It allows space to dream.
Up close,all machinery is obvious.Beneath soil,seeds sleep
Here you dream of waters-of rains that scour and storm.
Yet you need air /heated much as the earth you stand upon..

Gregg Brown Review

British singer/songwriter/guitarist Gregg Kofi Brown has come full circle with his latest release. A career defining anthology titled "Rock 'N' Roll And UFOs." Gregg Kofi Brown has worked along side such esteemed artists as Dominic Miller (Sting), Joe Cocker and Eric Burdon (The Animals); and has been apart of the Afro-funk band Osibisa and toured with Hanoi Rocks. His new "greatest hits" album features 17-tracks that cover his entire career. Beginning with the pop sounds of "Chasing Rainbows," he leads you through all of his aspects, including the wonderfully vulnerable unplugged version of "All The Way For You." He brings in the funk of "Nikosi B," which features The Who's longtime keyboardist John Rabbit Bundrick and speaking of The Who, included on this set is "Listening To You" performed by the cast of "Tommy" to which Gregg Kofi Brown was a member of. The new anthology features one song from his former band, Osibisa titled "Whisper In The Wind" as the reggae-funk groove delivers the song's upbeat rhythm. With so many styles included in this set, it's hard to pinpoint Brown into one category, which is great for an artist and draws together his many fans to stretch out and experience different genres. To find out more about Gregg Kofi Brown and his latest release "Rock 'N' Roll And UFOs," please visit


Rock and Roll and UFOs
Book - £9.99

Rock n Roll & UFOs Gregg Kofi Brown Anthology
CD - £9.99

PLAYLIST: Strange Fruit #173

SF 173 – 17 JULY 2016

CKY:       96 Quite Bitter Beings
The Ackerleys:  Be Yourself
The Cocteau Twins:         Sugar Hiccup
Townes Van Zandt:         Be Here to Love me
Townes Van Zandt:         Second Lovers Song
PM Dawn:           My Own Personal Gravity
The Beatles:       Cry for a Shadow
Doves:  The Cedar Room
The Firebirds:    Bye Baby
Neil Young?        Southern California Brings me Down
Townes Van Zandt:         Tecumseh Valley
Daniel Patrick Quinn:      Life Vines
Philip Catherine:               Sneezing Bull
The Charlottes: Are you Happy now
Sugar Minott:    Never too Young
Jerry Colonna:   Hey Barmaid
Cate Le Bon:       Wonderful
Jon Downes:      I’ve Never Felt More Like a Father Before
Napalm Death:  Self-Betrayal
Tiny Tim:              The Other Side
Cranium Pie:      #1 (Black Bird of Death/ Masterrace/ Prophelactus)
James Taylor:     Soldiers
Townes Van Zandt:         My Proud Mountains
Memphis Minnie:            I’d Rather See Him Dead

Lieutenant Pigeon:          Goodbye

THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (with lyrics)

Being Sunday I always post sacred music. The name of the deity may change, or even the deity Him/Herself but the spirit remains the same

Friday 29 July 2016


Gonzo Magazine #193
We interview Martin Birke of the mighty Genre Peak about their extraordinary new album, Doug goes to see Peter Gabriel and Sting, and Alan concludes his visit to the Edinburgh Blues and Jazz Festival, while Jon muses on The Eagles and Anton LaVay and looks at  the most scurrilous book about the Rolling Stones... What other magazine gives you all this for free?
And there are radio shows from Strange Fruit, Mack Maloney, and Friday Night  Progressive. We also have columns from all sorts of folk including Roy Weard, Mr Biffo, Neil Nixon and the irrepressible Corinna. There is also a thrilling and slightly disturbing episode of Xtul. There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and pademelons outside zoos(OK, nothing to do with small marsupials who have escaped from captivity, but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
This issue features:
The Eagles, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dr Dre, Adam Lambert, The Who, Jack White, Ozzy Osbourne, Marillion, Rick Springfield, Don McClean, Joe Perry, Strange Fruit, Friday Night Progressive, Mack Maloney's Mystery Hour, Samuel Clarke "Sandy" Pearlman, Lewis "Lewie" Steinberg, Roye Albrighton, Allan Curtis Barnes, Keith Gemmell, Rick Wakeman, Arthur Brown, The Beatles, The Golliwogs, James Young, Cymbalic Encounters, Richard Brautigan, Martin Birke, Genre Peak, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Alan Dearling, United Vibrations, Mop Mop Sound System, Reggae Got Soul, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Blues and Beyond, John Nemeth and Blue Dreamers, John Hunt, Chloe Louise Gray, Mr Biffo, Roy Weard, Richard Freeman, Batman, Hawkwind, Xtul, The Rolling Stones, Bono, Debbie Harry, Kylie Minogue, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Neil Nixon, Walter Carlos
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
Issue 192 (Rick Wakeman and Brian May)
Issue 191 (Karnataka)
Issue 190 (Erik Norlander)
Issue 189 (Rick Wakeman at the O2)
Issue 187/8 (Yer holiday special)
Issue 186 (Beatles)
Issue 185 (Judge Smith)
Issue 184 (Mick Abrahams)
All issues from #70 can be downloaded at if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
You can download the magazine in pdf form HERE:

SPECIAL NOTICE: If you, too, want to unleash the power of your inner rock journalist, and want to join a rapidly growing band of likewise minded weirdos please email me at The more the merrier really.



MJ12  - MJ12 (2016) 

Percy Jones ...

... played with Steve Hackett, Brian Eno and Richard Barbieri but is best known as the bassist of Brand X he a member from 1974 to 1980 was . In recent years he was solo active and involved in various projects such asBang Tower    What Jones with the fusion quartet MJ12 sounds - named after a group of scientists from the 40 who were investigating UFOs - the sound approach in many of the nine tracks Brand X, only more experimental with an emphasis on jazz. As in 'Call 911' and 'Bad American Dream Pt.2.Influence of Weather Report also there as in the excellent track "The Phantom Maracas" and "Guns and Pussy. His bass playing is still phenomenal and special and supporting his buddies Stephen Moses (drums), Dave Phelps (guitars) and Chris Bacas (saxophone) is also high.Special mention should 'Magic Mist and Magic Mist Reprise' the base a sweltering, ambient theme.Great album for lovers of somewhat busy jazz-rock. So not for late summer evening but as discharger after a day at the campfire which was not quite nice. Harry de Vries


Percy Jones (born December th, 1947 near Llandrindod Wells, Wales) is a Welsh bass guitarist, and was a member of jazz fusion band Brand X from 1974 to 1980, as well as a reformed version that lasted ..

Percy Jones (born 3 December 1947 near Llandrindod Wells, Wales) is a Welsh bass guitarist, and was a member of jazz fusion band Brand X, from 1974 to 1980, and..

Album review: GREG KOFI BROWN – Rock ‘n’ Roll And UFO’s

Greg Kofi Brown’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll And UFO’s is an archetypal summer album, with a broad based appeal stretching from the beach to the dance floor. The career anthology by the Osibisa vocalist is full of catchy songs, soulful grooves, funky dance floor friendly work-outs and whisper it, disco. His special guests do him proud , most notably The Chimes vocalist Pauline Henry on ‘This Guy’ and guitarist Dominic Miller on ‘All The Way For You’
On balance the album is top-heavy with excellent songs, but counter weighted by the commercial possibilities of the funky Bomb The Bass mix of ‘Take Your Time’, which aims squarely for the dance floor.

The fact that the latter immediately segues into a closing brace of introspective, unplugged acoustic tracks, illustrates an artist whose primary concern is with his own song craft. ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll And UFO’s’ probably contains more musical UFO’s than die-in-the-wood rock and roll, but it’s none the worse for that. Much like his career, Greg’s true musical forte initially seems hard to pin down on a wide ranging, but enjoyable anthology. He’s a smooth vocalist who dabbles in soul, funk, afro-rock, world music and west end musicals, but it’s when he assumes the mantle of a melodic, acoustic driven, singer-songwriter that he is at his best.
Better still, when he embellishes his core musical ideas with the kind of Afro/Latino arrangement of ‘Whisper in the Wind’ with his long time Ghanaian compatriots Osibisa, he steps up to another level.

Less impressive is his over ambitious attempt at a disco version of Pete Townsend’s ‘Listening to You’, which simply doesn’t fit either the sequencing of the compilation and would have been better off as a bonus track. However, the strength of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll And UFO’ is the fact that over the course of 17 tracks he leaves his mark. There’s a welter of consistently good melodies and a set of engaging lyrics bolstered by articulate arrangements. His husky voice also draws the listener in, over deftly nuanced harmonies..
If anything, this anthology suggest he’s one commercial break away from stepping out in his own right.

The album is set to be followed by the release of Greg’s autobiography, which apparently features anecdotes about the likes of Billy Cobham, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Peter Green and Fela Kuti etc. But in truth he’s trying to hard to be too many things to too many people. The book will surely be of interest to rock fans, while the music here spans a much wider outlook. On songs like ‘Summer Rain’ you’re hearing a mature songwriter and an expressive singer confidently shaping his emotions into meaningful songs. And it’s the strength of his material that pulls together even the most far reaching numbers into a coherent whole.
Denuded of the recurring dance beats, his craft comes to the fore on the unplugged ‘All The Way For You’, on which he finds the perfect foil in guitarist Dominic Miller. Then there’s the gentle acoustic throb of ‘Tender Eyes’, the percussive horn led funk of ‘NKosi Beat’ – which could be both Osibisa or War – the sinewy Prince style ‘This Guy’ and two versions of the poignant ‘Freedom’s Ring’, of which the unplugged and uplifting chanted version is superior to the falsetto led band version.

Despite the slightly misleading title, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll And UFO’s’ is a fine anthology that suggest Greg Kofi Brown is more than capable of stepping out of Osibisa’s shadow and into the light on his own terms. ****
Review by Pete Feenstra

Rock and Roll and UFOs
Book - £9.99

Rock n Roll & UFOs Gregg Kofi Brown Anthology
CD - £9.99

THE GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps


The Beatles and WWII
2CD1DVD - £14.99


Rob Ayling, yer Gonzo Grande Fromage, writes: 

"Thom the World poet is an old mate of mine from way back in my history. Even pre-dating Voiceprint, when I was running "Otter Songs" and Tom's poetry tapes and guest appearances with Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and Mother Gong are well known and highly regarded. It just felt right to include a daily poem from Thom on our Gonzo blog and when I approached him to do so, he replied within seconds!!! Thom is a great talent and just wants to spread poetry, light and positive energy across the globe. If we at Gonzo can help him do that - why not?"

and we still seek peace-
Hiroshima,Nagasaki,haiku,paper cranes
Paper lanterns with candles floating
Temples ,churches,monasteries invaded
by drones and boys with blades

 Soldiers with guns and hate 
Stamp out beliefs alien-like peace
and prayer and meditation.Where
you put your body  as belief
has soon to be in the dog days of August. 
We are on the end of July
perched on the very edge of August
and we still sing peace.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Kevin Ayers in "Wild Thing" music documentary


Kevin Ayers (16 August 1944 – 18 February 2013) was an English singer-songwriter and a major influential force in the English psychedelic movement. Ayers was a founding member of the pioneering ..

When Kevin Ayres died a few years ago many of us mourned.  John Peel wrote in his autobiography that 'Kevin Ayers' talent is so acute you could perform major eye surgery with it. ..

Peter Hammill interview 1978 (Van Der Graaf)

Live at the Paradiso Apr 2007
CD - £10.99

Rick Wakeman: CBN 1995


Rainbow Suite
CD - £11.99

Gospels (Deluxe Box Set)
BS - £199.99

Gastank (DVD)
DVD - £19.99

Gastank (3CD)
3CD - £17.99

Gastank Deluxe Box Set
BS - £199.99

Made in Cuba
CD/DVD - £9.99

Art In Music Trilogy
CD - £10.99

The Myths and Legends of King Arthur (LP)
LP - £22.00

The Phantom of the Opera
2CD - £19.99

Phantom of the Opera Deluxe Box Set
BS - £49.99

The Myths and Legends of King Arthur (CD)
2CD - £15.00

Almost Live in Europe
CD - £7.99

Can You Hear Me?
CD - £7.99

Gole/Almost Live in Europe
2CD - £9.99

Fields of Green/Always With You
2CD - £9.99

1984/Out There
2CD - £9.99

Live At The Empire Pool - King Arthur On Ice
DVD/CD - £9.99

1984 - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1981
DVD/CD - £9.99

Live in Lincoln Cathedral
2CD - £7.99

Live At The Maltings 1976
DVD/CD - £9.99

Caped Crusader- Rick Wakeman in the 1970s
Book - £14.99

Video Vaults
6DVD box - £85.00

Cirque Surreal 
CD - £7.99

CD - £9.99

The Mixture
CD - £7.99
What happens when you mix what is - arguably - the world's most interesting record company, with an anarchist manic-depressive rock music historian polymath, and a method of dissemination which means that a daily rock-music magazine can be almost instantaneous?

Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.