Scotty of The Underflow

We had written him a letter, which we had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where he sat in Canberra, years ago,
He was Treasurer when we knew him, so we sent that letter to him,
Just “on spec”, addressed as follows, “Scotty, of The Underflow”.
And an answer came directed in an email unexpected,
(And I think the same was written with encryption software black as tar)
Twas his National’s mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
“Scotty’s gone to Canberra scheming, and we don’t know where he are.”
In my wild erratic fancy, visions come to me of Scotty,
Gone a-swanning “down the Faction” where Liberal deniers go;
As his stocks are slowly shrinking, Scotty rides behind them bleating,
About the Premiers shutting places where the townsfolk mustn’t go.
And there were facemasks on the workers,
As the word had got around
That unwelcome Covid-19 had returned,
Twas more contagious than the UK strain,
And gowns and netting caps were back,
With blue bootees and massive goggles on display,
And the humble Carers gathered, lined up to take the jab,
And the emails they kept flowing,
To that PM who was snoozing,
Pleading ‘Pull your finger out’,
You’ve had months to do the planning,
But all we’ve seen is shamming,
Whilst Liberal bold deniers prance about.
So we somehow rather fancy that we’d like to kick out Scotty,
Cause we doubt he suits his office, Scotty of the Underflow.

(Without apology to Banjo).

The kindest blue

How do you review an album like ‘Kind of Blue’ to make it fresh, to make it sound as if you’ve just sat down to listen to it for the first time?   You simply sit down and play it again.  You let your scalp tingle with awe as Cobb makes the first open-tap of the cymbal just seconds into the opening number, ‘So What’.  Then, as you let your self go, you close your eyes and again feel surprise when Miles takes centre stage in your room, then you begin to wonder at the magic of Chambers and Evans (bass and piano) locked together as one and marvel at the compliments that Adderley and Coltrane pay to each other.

People will argue about what is the best jazz album ever; forget argument and just listen to what is good in this beautifully produced record.

Tonight at Noon

Tonight at Noon, Charles Mingus (released 1965)

‘Tonight at Noon’ opens with a storm-blast of Arabian, African and Sub-continental rhythms and sounds that are interwoven with European instrumentation that includes an absolute bedlam of Bebop. This partly explains why it feels like Mingus is just mucking (us) around. But it also feels like the white-cover of American life has been ripped away to reveal seething diversity and conflict.

The rest of the album is a carefully assembled collection of material recorded for ‘The Clown’ and ‘Oh Yeah’. However, nothing can live up to the absorbing crypto-chaos of the introductory piece; the next four tracks are simply good standard Mingus rather than howling genius.

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