Latest Blogposts

Stepping Stones - I’ve got a new album. It’s pretty much a one man show, but with a few crucial contributions to playing, writing and arranging.… Read More
The First (of many?) - The first album by Punk Soul Brothers is a solid collection of minimalist agitational beat-heavy tracks. But the sound is smooth enough not to offend audiophiles, and the well-timed lyrical bursts are entirely comprehensible. A grim determination to fight the powers that be permeates the majority of the tracks. The musical elements usually stay close to a bass riff which holds down each song. Touches of hedonistic or nonsensical humour pop up like punk hairstyles. With the manner of a child wriggling out of its parent’s unwanted grasp, most of the lyrics take an anti-capitalist, anti-government stance. Mid-album tracks like… Read More
The Art of Everyday Anarchy - In Sophie Scott-Brown’s excellent, well-researched and insightful biography of Colin Ward, one of Britain’s most interesting alternative thinkers of the twentieth century, the reader can find an in-depth analysis of the various stages and evolution of my dad’s work and life. There are criticisms, some valid and others which I’m not really qualified to offer an opinion on, and there are typographical and factual errors, but these are minor weaknesses in a discourse which never fails to clarify and offer explanations for what Colin Ward did, and appreciates his contribution to positive changes in the way people can potentially live… Read More
RUNE AND FLASH: Inside the Dream Prison - Like Joe Canzano’s last book, SUZY SPITFIRE AND THE SNAKE EYES OF VENUS, RUNE AND FLASH revolves around a highly motivated female character with homicidal tendencies. Part teenage dystopian romp, part social commentary, a cross between J.G. Ballard and THE HUNGER GAMES, the author creates a convincing world with just the right amount of characters, in which different groups and organizations clash within a frightening technological scenario. The interactions of a group of teenagers who are learning to write dreams together provides a bit of fun against the backdrop of psychological manipulation by the controllers of the Dream Station. Older… Read More
Cash Promotion - The Singer To these ears, Johnny Cash’s singing style was basically the same for the vast majority of his recording career. From his debut in 1957, peppered with classics heard regularly from that point on, to the ‘American II’ album in 1996, where the singing is energetic, enthusiatic and technically strong, he had great tone quality, decent intonation and put lyrics across convincingly. After the onset of Shy-Drager syndrome in 1997, there’s what seems like an involuntary wobble and a reduced lung capacity which caused some to question the wisdom of the powers that be continuing to record Cash, as… Read More
A Place Like This (remastered) - A Place Like This – the title track describes the UK’s 2025 City of Culture, which wasn’t very cultural when I lived there! – is a group of tracks, most of which are collaborations with Mike Pierce-Goulding, who co-wrote eight of the songs, recorded and mixed seven of them and whose skills on keyboards, guitar, composing and arranging are especially prominent on five. It was mainly recorded in 2000-2, with three tracks newly put down in 2019. I have remastered the whole project and I hope it is more playable now than it was previously.… Read More
Ben Z Walker & The Test at Grossman’s - I’ve got a new name, the band has a new name and, in the three years since we last performed live, some of the songs we do have been recorded and released on a CD called ‘Impermanent Resident’. We’re playing at Grossman’s, Toronto’s Home of the Blues, on Friday June 10th and will be playing all the tracks on the recording which feature Kevin Barrett (guitar), Michael Kaler (bass) and Tim Shia (drums). We’ll also be doing a load of other songs, not all by me. The music starts at 5:00 (NOT 8:30 as originally advertised), it’s Pay What You… Read More
MAN-agement - The Latest Albums by Man and Son of Man 1 Anachronism Tango by Man came out in 2019, coinciding with a mini-British tour by a band which was then in its fifty-first year of existence. The band’s previous album had included songs, vocals and keyboards from Phil Ryan, who died in 2016. Is there as much depth in the material and texture without him? Maybe not, but there are still some interesting moments and some good sounds. With the loss of Ryan, we are back to the father/son dichotomy of Martin (bass/vocals/songs) and Josh (guitar/vocals/songs) Ace*. The contrast between the… Read More
The King Of Social Funk - For some reason, the term ‘singer-songwriter’ seems to be frowned upon when the person being referred to works in the dance music or pop genre. I haven’t heard Michael Jackson, Prince or Robert Palmer given that description, nor, for that matter, Gil Scott-Heron. It’s true that Scott-Heron was many things, but he did sing and he did write songs. His memoir, ‘The Last Holiday’, is available to read, and at least two biographies have been written, one of which is ‘Pieces of a Man’ by Marcus Baram. The Last Holiday Scott-Heron’s first thirty-two years encompassed some rich and varied experiences.… Read More