Fakewood Mac

I wrote an article for the Please Kill Me website on one of the oddest stories from pop music history – the fake Fleetwood Mac. You can read it here.

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Kate Bush’s ‘Lily’

Photographer Gitte Morten has started a blog titled One Kiss In Apple Blossom. It features women who are Kate Bush fans describing their favourite Kate song, and Gitte’s photographic response to them and the song.

Being a major Kate Bush fan, as soon as I heard this idea, I was all over it. However, Gitte lives in Somerset, England, and I am in British Columbia, Canada. Being about 4500 miles away made a photo session a bit of a challenge. But thanks to FaceTime and Gitte’s willingness to experiment with photographing a computer screen, she made it happen – and it was a great deal of fun. Here are the results, and my thoughts on Kate’s song “Lily”.

Fiona: Lily (1993)

After the Dark: Teddy Vann & Akim’s ‘Santa Claus Is A Black Man’

[originally appeared in Shindig! issue #86]

The late ‘60s and early ‘70s were a time of social unrest in the United States, and black Americans were a major part of the uprisings against systemic discrimination and inequality. While many black activists were challenging the societal norms that perpetuated racial oppression, they were also reclaiming pride in their own heritage – and producer and songwriter Teddy Vann was one of those activists. His ’73 single ‘Santa Claus Is A Black Man’, featuring his five-year-old daughter Akim, has been rightly described as “merging African-American empowerment with the spirit of the holiday”.

Vann was astoundingly prolific and multi-talented; although largely self-educated, he was Continue reading

Announcing My New Book

I’m very pleased to announce that my new book, Song Book: 21 Songs from 10 Years (1964-74), has been released by New Haven Publishing. You can order it from any of the sites listed here.

The book includes extended and updated versions of some of the Shindig! magazine articles posted on this site, along with previously unpublished material.

I’ll be posting updates and news about the book on Facebook and on the “Song Book – the book” page on this site. There’s also a YouTube channel for the book, featuring playlists of the songs that are discussed in the book, as well as a promotional video.

I hope you’ll check it out!

Procol Harum….in Canada: The Making of “Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra”

(originally appeared in Shindig! issue #77)

Ask a Canadian to describe the city of Edmonton, Alberta, and the two words you are likely to hear are “cold” and “boring”. Edmonton is the northernmost large city in North America, sitting on roughly the same latitude as Moscow – and, as your correspondent discovered while living there, Edmonton can indeed be cold. Very cold. Like “outdoor temperature of -35C and windchill” cold.

However, despite its nickname of “Deadmonton”, Edmonton is not boring. Its winters are long and dark, but many of its residents grew up in small Prairie towns where, if you were bored, you made your own fun. So when Edmontonians get an idea, instead of thinking of reasons why it won’t work, they figure out how to make it happen. That adventurous attitude of “hey, this could be fun” led to the ’72 album Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – a significant milestone in Procol Harum’s career, and a huge influence on the city where it was recorded.

By the late ‘60s, the potential for crossovers between classical music and rock music had already been demonstrated by Continue reading