Monday, November 19, 2018

A Little Knight Music

For me Gladys Knight began around 1972 as I beginning to hear new music for myself, listening to the radio, watching what were all too brief music shows on tv and even venturing out with my parents and siblings to that  institution called "The Record Store" to buy new music.

I think - cos it's a mighty long time ago - the first album I heard by her and her band The Pips was Greatest Hits and the first I remember getting myself because it was an import was the British compilation Help Me Make It Through The Night which was issued in 1973 which I still own followed by that first Buddah album 'Imagination'.

Of late I've gotten around to collecting the five cd series issued by Motown UK in 2006 that features 10 albums by Gladys knight and the pips spread with two albums per cd.
It's not like I'm unfamiliar with some of these titles as I have lps of them some in mono as issued by Tamla-Motown in the UK and so the stereo is new to me although I'd of preferred to have mono for the earlier albums as it's that nothing in centre, with all else hard left and hard right stuff that is so distracting especially on headphones.

Following a period whilst signed to two labels releasing the 45's Letter Full Of Tears and Every Beat Of My Heart re-recorded for their Motown Greatest Hits album, they signed up in 1965 to Motown, recognizing the talent but it's fair to say Berry Gordy didn't really know what to do with them.


Everybody Needs Love issued in 1967 was their first Motown album and is a mixture of songs written for them and covers showing from the get go the call and response Gospel infused style they were to become famous for.The Tittle track, Take Me In Your Arms (and love me) ans well as they take on I heard It Through The Grapevine. The first cd couples this with Feelin' Bluesy from 1968 which is all covers as Berry Gordy didn't want then muscling on the Supremes territory but this nonetheless proved to be great vehicle for displaying Gladys voice on tracks like It Should Of been Me (Yvonne Fair had a top 5 UK hits with this in 1976) and The End Of Our Road.

The second disc in the series sees Silk 'N Soul issued in 1968 and is another covers but they were teamed with Norman Whitfield who just put another of a twist to enable the material to become theirs.with songs such as The Look Of Love, I Wish It Would Rain and Every little Bit Hurts.
1969 saw the issue of the second album on this cd, Nitty Gritty, a rousing piece of psychedelic Soul that contains not only the title track, a re-interpretation of Cloud Nine and Didn't You Know You have to Cry Sometime.

Disc three is a gem containing the If You Were My Woman and Standing Ovation albums from 1971.
The first album is a mixture of songs written for the group such as the title track and I don't Want To do Wrong as well as covers such as Let It Be and One Less Bell To Answer.
Standing Ovation was an album of covers - the group felt very much pushed back and were to leave for Buddah Records soon - but among the covers includes their sensual remake of Help Me Make It Through The Night and Make Me The Woman Go Home To written for by Clay McMurray

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Ghoulish Affair

This weekend last I was away for what is a highlight in littles life, parties, and in particular the Halloween one staged by a friend here in the Midlands which for me meant a short train journey after a bus ride and meeting with them as they dealt with some other business in town before picking me up.
Although compared with certain other events I attend this was comparatively short in terms of days away, obviously bringing things to literally add to the party soon takes up space so I needed a full complement of tote bags and case.
Having arrived back, the first task was to get the fire light and a brew on because three more people were staying overnight on the Friday after finding a good spot tm to put my stuff as with fourteen of us being here for Saturday and Sunday space in the front room in particular would be at a premium.
Some things I brought for Saturday's buffet  were taken out and the Pumpkin the host had brought for me saving trying to carry that on the train was paid for.
As well by prior arrangement I'd be sleeping in their so it made sense to put what I needed at hand but not in other folks way.
I sorted out my advance Christmas card pile for folk and got out my Hello Kitty white and pink plushie.
It wasn't long before the first two guests arrived which as our host was otherwise  detained I let in and by the time the last one of the day had made it it was time to get some food going.
We had a big pork chop with well cooked rind, roast potatoes from the garden which I washed for the host and Andi helped with vegetables.
The remainder of the evening was taken up with much conversation punctuated with bangs from a local firework display.
Come Saturday morning I was up fairly early in a grey jumper and wine coloured pleated skirt ready to take my pills and fix a spot of breakfast after rounding up stray cups and glasses.
 As people were coming later on, I had a few things to do of which one was to help out - it's 2018 and I'm expected to do something(!) - and that involved converting Gingerbread persons into Gingerbread Girls by decorating them.
I used eatable cake icing to add eyes, tops and skirts for them 
I made a number of variations on a theme which included one as a girl soccer player.
By about 13:00 hours most people had arrived so our Host and Andi set on making Burger with fried onion and to which another and brought salad together with sauces to add to suit your own taste.
By about 14:25 the last four guest had arrived in time for theirs.
Soon it was time for Fred and Florence's Exceeding Good Food Hunt which was a kind of treasure hunt out of doors where you had to find one item for which there was a prize which then lead to clue for the next and so on until we got to the last one where everyone had something - for me it was a caramel filled chocolate bar.
The next event was also out of doors, namely Pumpkin Carving to which several people had brought various tools to get into the pumpkin with and most of us remembered first time to save the top we'd cut out ready for the tea light to be fitted.
Finished mine looked a bit like this.
We went indoors to clean up and otherwise get ourselves ready for the cold buffet that included Pizza, pork pies (drools), salad and a home made trifle with cream.
By just after 19:00 it was time to put on warmer attire as it was time for our bonfire to be lit a safe distance from us which was a good idea as it turned a bit breezy. I had my Puma trackpants on.
It roared loudly with much crackling as people held sparklers waving them about.
Then we started our firework display oohing and aahing to the vibrant colours and sounds.
The display ended with two fireworks dedicated to members of our group who'd passed away.
After a short break it was time for the music quiz which had food connections where a tune was played and you had to guess the answer. Sammy won a cabbage for it!
The was much lively conversation until just before one in the morning when I got to bed.
I was as ever the first up and dressed this time in a green jumper - our host likes green apparently - ready to take my tablets and have a cup of tea as gradually everyone got up and about.
We had a bacon sandwich  to keep us going before we went to a gastro-pub within walking distance for a meal together before we all set off as some people had three hours or more to travel and it is a nice way to end a weekend together.
I had a turkey roast with trimmings and sticky toffee treacle with cream which arrived very efficiently given it was really busy with diners plus regular drink trade.
Upon arrival back at our hosts venue, everyone said their goodbyes before we meet again next year and Andi kindly took myself and another to the local rail station to make our ways home which for me included a taxi straight home as Sunday buses are infrequent and in any event don't run to our estate on that day.
I'd like to thank our host for a well put together party with fun events, everyone who helped out in various ways and for just being a gas to spend time with.

Monday, November 5, 2018


Well folks after the weekend I am back, with a half a day before this blog is due so where is a post I made earlier on while I was googling around as you do when I spotted this lovely poem which seamed apt for those of us whole struggle with various aspects of our lives.

Sparkle In Your Eye:

When I look at you, I see the sparkle in your eye, 
It tells me whats true and never tells a lie.
The sparkle in your eye, 
Even when you are sad, never does it cry.
Whenever it expresses its feelings, 
It tells me straight away, 
What you are stealing, 
Without doing a survey.
It tells when you'll fall, 
So I'll catch you like a ball.
It's the sparkle in your eye that says, 
You'll make it in the next couple of days.
The sparkle in your eye, 
Never, ever shall it die. 

By Ulveena Aitzaz from Lahore

Poetry was one thing I really enjoyed at school, reading learning and reciting it in front of the class, traditional European as well as Japanese styles.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Ghouling years

Just a matter of few days before I'm off for a ghoulish time so I'm working presently on packing my case, double checking as you do that everything you need is in there plus other things like money.
It's interesting to reflect on how it has been in the last three and a bit decades the way we mark this time of the year has changed because over here in the UK Halloween as such wasn't marked but people did hold All Hallows Day parties with guising and toffee apples.
The more recent custom of Trick and Treat isn't native to the UK but an import from the States a good number hold the children's tv program  Blue Peter responsible for doing a feature on in the early eighties that then spread like topsy.
Into that the participates created outfits to which people rewarded with candy and it wasn't long before as in the States commercial outfits became widely available even if face paint and the like obviously was hand applied.
In this country it cuts into the Guy Fawkes season where we mark the foiled attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament with effigies, bonfires and fireworks in 1605.
For that ear muffs may help as some fireworks are really loud!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Fall Sightings 2018 Part 2

In what seems more like a last hurrah of spring  rather than The Fall, I've been out quite a bit this last week noticing things.

 We're getting in classic golden fall territory in our local wood withe the leaves going a coppery colour and a good number down to ground level making a colourful carpet.

Strange things having been going on as while as you can see the leaves are starting to decay actually on Saturday Afternoon they were smothered with at least three Ladybirds per leaf and indeed I had to carefully scoop one that had attached itself to me and put it on a leaf.
There were two spotted ones and the Harlequin ladybird.

The trees at the end of the  lane are starting to go go coppery as those just opposite already have

 Down at ground level you can see the leaf carpet around each trunk and to where Zee-Zee's mates were spotted running up and down the branches in a carefree way.

It's been a great week out.

Monday, October 15, 2018

A spot of colouring

The weekend was not particularly conducive to going out with strong winds on Friday so with even bigger and strong people than myself struggling I needed to stay indoors which as you probably aware isn't something I like at all, being an outdoor girl.
One thing you can do when it is like this is colour and so I had my colouring book out on Friday.
 Normally when I colour I use Staedtler colour pencils available in the Noris Club 36 colour pack as they respond well to different pressures for shading and don't easily break in the way some cheaper ones found in convenience stores do
They also sharpen well.
That illustration is from the Jacqueline Wilson Colouring Book published by Penguin UK and illustrated by Nick Sharratt who does the drawings in her stories.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Fall sightings 2018

This week in the crazy world of me we actually go outside at the start of the Fall where within a built up area you actually get to see things you'd normally have to go a bit beyond down the country lanes for.
 I wouldn't go mentioning requiring a new jumper in the presence of these two as they may well Baa you out within seconds. They're within a hundred yards of a community centre but it doesn't feel like it.

 If anyone ever accused these two of horsing about they'd have quite answer to that as I careful supported the camera with the lens set at 105mm in uneven light and later on adjusted the exposure a little.
It was around here I once almost lost a camera bag to curious horses!

 There's nothing like crisp leaves and sunlight although I used to cheat in the old days armed with the Olympus OM4 and use the TTL flash with a warm up filter sometimes to get the kind of golden colour cast I like.