July 8, 2004


(The Belated Farewell)

On June 11th passed the giant. Ray Charles died, aged 73. To call Uncle Ray a legend would mean to understate his position as a key figure of the twentieth century’s art.

Charles lived music, which was the only ray of light in his long life. A bitter irony: a man with such a name didn’t see the light but, having lost the sight when he was six, Ray has always kept a memory of the world’s beauty and of a girl with a red dress on the singer raved about in “What’d I Say”. Perhaps, it was his tragedy that determined the musician’s greatness, for the only way of filling the blind void was with sounds. Maybe, it was due to his grief that the passionate, animal growl came from – the howl that made some grimace from a thinly hidden racist hate and others forget of all but music. Music was his passion, and passion was his music: in “Yesterday” Charles managed to find the depth not known even to the song creator,

It’s hard to imagine what modern music would have been like without Uncle Ray. The first black artist to break into the white space of country-and-western, he bred it in with the blues’ loneliness and the gospel unity brought out of church into secular world – and, thus, bore rhythm-and-blues. With a magic pass over the piano keyboard, Charles showed the way to rock ‘n’ roll and soul, while his inner sight was cast to jazz and classic symphony quite alien in those days to any other colored man – not to him. And if Ray himself composed not so much, it’s difficult to fathom the meaning of what he’s done with music which existed before him – and how he did that.

It can’t be said that with Charles’ passing a whole epoch passed as well, for he was too unique. The only era which is not anymore was pure blues sung by sharecroppers in the South, yet Ray witnessed that time and brought their smell over to the new millenium. There’s been no other medium between epochs, between cultures, between worlds – like Uncle Ray. His energy and unbridled charm pulled people in from the distance, with even TV interviews becoming something to behold. Singing wasn’t that much of a duty as of late.

But the veteran wasn’t able to sing not – so he played and played, and played… He couldn’t be bound to just one place – so he moved on, moved on and on. He rolled the matter of space to spread it in time and, by this, provide it with a continuity – and the continuity of tradition which feeds any novation. Ray could not stop his flooding emotions, admitting this sin in the hot hymn of “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, the only sin that can’t be condemned.

“Hit the road, Jack”, sang Uncle Ray. Now Ray Charles hit the road – from here to eternity.


They’re never far away, yet in the recent years the studio output of FAIRPORT CONVENTION was rather scarce. But the band are far from being done in, and among the gigs and festivities found time to come up with something new. A new album, out now, is called “Over The Next Hill”, with the title hinting on their road’s infinity. The folk bunch still allow themselves a glance over the shoulder: “Si Tu Dois Partir”, the French version of Bob Dylan’s “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” taken long ago to the charts by Manfred Mann, was recorded by FAIRPORTS for the first time on their immense “Unhalfbricking” and is a celebration of the record’s 35th anniversary. The furrow’s continuing…

1. Over The Next Hill
2. I’m Already There
3. Wait For The Tide To Come In
4. Canny Capers
5. Over The Falls
6. The Wassail Song
7. The Fossil Hunter
8. Willow Creek
9. Westward
10. Some Special Place
11. Si Tu Dois Partir


For DIO, 2000’s "Magica" signalled a glorious return to classic Ronnie James’ songwriting, and that was just the first installment of a sci-fi / fantasy sonic trilogy the singer promised to deliver. Two years later, though, the band came up with not a follow-up, "Killing The Dragon" was something different, partly inspired by the 9/11 events, and now is a time to get back on track. Which Ronnie and his sidekicks – Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright and Scott Warren – will do on August 30th with “Master Of The Moon”. The tracklisting’s already released – yet the songs order still may change:

1. Death By Love
2. I Am
3. The End Of The World
4. One More From The Road
5. Shivers
6. In Dreams
7. The Man Who Would Be King
8. Living The Lie
9. The Eyes


Over the years, there’s been not much concert material from THE SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND, save for 1975’s “Live” and a smattering of BBC recordings released after great Alex’s untimely death. The more reasons to rejoice brings a new CD, called “British Tour ’76”, out in September. Recorded for radio, it was still a real concert and would be fully enjoyed.

1. Fanfare
2. The Faith Healer
3. Tomahawk Kid
4. Isobel Goudie
5. Amos Moses
6. Vambo
7. Framed
8. Boston Tea Party
9. Dance To Your Daddy
10. Delilah


The Pinkpop festival has always been a tremendous event luring many a music luminaries over to Netherlands. To celebrate this classic rock celebration the people behind the festival finally decided to open their vaults and release not one but two DVDs featuring great artists, even though some of them are relatively unknown. A tresure trove, that is:

DVD 1:

1. Kevin Coyne – Lonely Lovers
2. Kevin Coyne – It’s Not Me
3. RED WHITE & BLUE – As The Crow Flies
4. Alan Stivel – Gaeltacht
5. NAZARETH – Bad Bad Boy
6. NAZARETH – Jetlag
7. JESS RODEN BAND – Jump Mama
8. STREETWALKERS – Run For Cover
9. URIAH HEEP – Sweet Lorraine
They Shoot Horses Don’t They
Blinded By The Light
12. Nils Lofgren – Code Of The Road
13. PARTNER – Kayuta Hill
14. MASSADA – Saguru
15. RUSH – La Villa Strangiato

DVD 2:

2. BRAINBOX – Down Man
3. SUPER SISTER – Mexico
5. CCC INC. – Keep On Trucking Mamma
6. MUNGO JERRY – In The Summertime
7. FOCUS – Hocus Pocus
8. ALQUIN – The Dance
Stuck In The Middle With You
10. ALQUIN – Oriental Journey
Hen’s March Through The..
12. Colin Blunstone – I Want Some More
13. WISHBONE ASH – The King Will Come
14. STATUS QUO – Roll Over Lay Down
15. FUNGUS – Madlot
16. Captain Beefheart – Miirrorman
Here Comes The Sun
18. COCKNEY REBEL – Sebastian
19. STATUS QUO – Rain
20. STATUS QUO – Junior’s Wailing
21. Rory Gallagher – Laundromat
22. COCKNEY REBEL – Tumblin’ Down


July 8, 2004

Category(s): News

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