The Beatles’ Lost Album

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Last time, Rob used the natural phenomenon of the Black Moon as a shameless marketing opportunity. Now for something a little different…

A few weeks ago, my son James and I went on an outing to London to see the wonderful new movie Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years. For those of you that don’t know, the film is a documentary about the Beatles during their heyday when they were the biggest band in the world – and it’s pure joy. I’m not going to review it here. Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian says it better than I ever could: “A wave of euphoria and happiness pours from the screen, and [director Ron] Howard’s movie surfs that wave.” Read his review here.

James is twelve but has been a Beatles fan since he pilfered my Sergeant Pepper CD some years back (clever boy) so we spent the following few hours basking in our favourite bits and geeking out over the movie’s many treasures; speculating on what the Beatles would be doing now if all still alive (I’m certain Bob Geldof would have got them back together for Live Aid!).

This speculation led to us setting ourselves a fun exercise: to put together our own Beatles album from the solo work released following their break-up. It should sound something like a Beatles record released around 1974, with two sides like a real LP and a title. We also set a loose formula (from which I strayed): four Lennons, four McCartneys, two Harrisons and a Ringo!

So here are our lost Beatles albums:

DREAM AWAY by James

Side 1: Cold Turkey (Lennon), Gimme Some Truth (Lennon), Monkberry Moon Delight (McCartney), Working Class Hero (Lennon), Wah Wah (Harrison)

Side 2: Let Me Roll It (McCartney), I Dig Love (Harrison), Crippled Inside (Lennon), It Don’t Come Easy (Starr), On You (McCartney), All Things Must Pass (acoustic from Beatles Anthology, Harrison)

SHINE ON, EVERYONE by Rob

Side 1: Instant Karma (Lennon), Let ‘Em In (McCartney), Crippled Inside (Lennon), Six O’Clock (Starr), You (Harrison)

Side 2: #9 Dream (Lennon), Another Day (McCartney), How? (Lennon), If Not For You (Harrison), Maybe I’m Amazed (McCartney)

We’ve playlisted them up so you can listen to them on Spotify (technology, eh?). Just follow the links:

DREAM AWAY

SHINE ON, EVERYONE

We’re rather proud of our efforts, and it was great to hear some of John, Paul, George and Ringo’s solo adventures for the first time. I’m particularly impressed at how edgy James has gone with his album (and Working Class Hero is an epic pick!).

What would you choose? What’s on your Beatles lost album? Feel free to tell us in the comments section, or on Facebook.

Until next time. Shine on, everyone!

Kraitt out

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If you enjoyed The Beatles’ Lost Album, check out some more of my other posts at Roblogtime. You can also read my self-published novel Black Moon, available now on Amazon Kindle. For more details, visit the Black Moon website at www.black-moon.online.

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Zappa #atozchallenge

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You could say the music of Frank Vincent Zappa is an acquired taste but there really is something for everyone in this undoubted genius’s huge back catalogue.

I have to thank my brother Steve for introducing me to Frank, and he certainly made the eyes pop out of my pre-teen head with those filthy lyrics (you actually get swearing in songs?!); unforgettably catchy tunes; incredible musicianship from band members like George Duke, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Steve Vai; and, of course, epic guitar solos.

Zappa’s oeuvre is so diverse and seemingly impenetrable, I couldn’t even begin to point you in the right direction to sample what he has to offer, but the AV Club’s Gateways to Geekery series offers a good beginner’s guide in the article Where to dive into Frank Zappa’s weird, unwieldy discography. Check it out but I wouldn’t blame you for approaching with caution a man who called his children Dweezil and Moon Unit; built a music studio called the Utility Research Muffin Kitchen; and wrote songs with titles like Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow and Theme From The Third Movement of Sinister Footwear.

Zappa was a man who wore many hats: musician, composer, arranger, innovator, satirist and political activist, to name a few. He was also a great story-teller through his songs. I started this blog to showcase my own story-telling so it seems fitting to end this crazy month of daily posting with a story. Today’s link is one of my favourites but I would urge you to seek out the brilliant Joe’s Garage or the galactic Inca Roads.

And, by the way, I DID IT! This is the last post of the darned A to Z Challenge. I now plan to take a week off and return to weekly posts chronicling my self-publishing adventure. The countdown to publication of my novel BLACK MOON begins soon so watch this space.

In the meantime, thanks for reading. Over to Frank…

Kraitt out!

Starfish and Coffee #atozchallenge

prince under the cherry moon image search results.jpgall good things, they say, never last

 

Natasha #atozchallenge

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NIf you know me, you may also know I was in a band at school. You’ll know this because, given half a chance, I drone on about it with deep nostalgia and then threaten to start one up again to relive the glory days.

Our line-up was myself on vocals, song-writing partner Nick Hirschkorn on keyboards and vocals, James ‘Q’ Garelick on guitar, Jimbo on bass (too cool to have a surname according to Nick) and Dominic ‘Mini’ Rogers on drums. From time to time, we featured guests Barney Cokeliss on extra keyboards, China Mieville also on extra keyboards and vocals, and a backing singer who’s name has escaped me (sorry, if you’re out there, but I’m betting this is a long forgotten blip in your life).

The first question people ask is: what were we called? We had several names in our short lifespan. First, we were Frontline; because it was the name of Nick’s Dad’s clothing company so we could get t-shirts with the band’s name on them. We then changed our name to Blah Blah Café, which is so eighties it’s not even funny. Finally, we called ourselves The Indifferent, which is almost as eighties as Blah Blah Café and even less funny.

And we actually weren’t too bad! Mini and Jimbo provided a tight rhythm section and Jim was a truly blistering guitarist, fuelled by a heady mix of B B King and Mark Knopfler (he could play a mean Sultans of Swing solo). Nick pounded the keyboards like a Jewish Elton John and I probably laid it on a little too thick with the Daryl Hall vocal acrobatics (see blog post H for Hall & Oates).

Predominately, we were a (firmly middle-of-the-road) cover band and offered an eclectic set list including Chuck Berry, Elvis, The Beatles (who doesn’t?), Fleetwood Mac and that ambitious Dire Straits cover – which is a bitch to sing, I can tell you (and featured me on very ropey rhythm guitar). We rehearsed on weekends at each other’s houses (apostrophe, Ruth Fletcher?) and even played a few gigs, including a triumphant turn at a Jewish charity event organised by my good friend Emma Cope-Thompson (now Spitz) at the Serpentine in Hyde Park. We even had some screaming girls at the front of the audience, but I wonder now if that had been organised by Emma – bless her!

Nick and I wrote the songs. He provided the music. I agonised over the lyrics (and I really did agonise). We were like a North London Holland-Dozier-Holland, or so we liked to think – more like Holland & Barrett (I think that gag might work for my British readers)! While Nick had a good ear for very catchy rock’n’soul; I came up with some pretty patchy rhymes betraying my crushing teen angst. Basically, I wrote songs about not having a girlfriend. I was no angry young man and I was definitely not a revolutionary poet. The songs had titles like Crush On You, Pretence and Don’t Let Me Go. My favourite questionable lyric was the song Natasha.

Natasha was a story song in which I revisited an incident that took place during a school skiing trip to Bad Gastein in Austria. One evening, I somehow found my young teen self talking to the beautiful girl behind the hotel bar. I was instantly smitten, though completely out of my depth. Faintly amused by my clumsy attention, she told me her name – Natasha, slipped me a free cocktail (even though clearly under-age) and I never saw her again. The cocktail was a mixture of French liqueur Get 27, Crème de Menthe and fruit juice. My (possibly false) memory tells me it was delicious but I’ve never been able to recreate it. And, of course, I wrote a song about Natasha. Here’s the chorus:

Her name’s Natasha,

I think I love her,

But now she’s left me,

With the recipe for a cocktail.

Come on! You tell me what rhymes with Natasha?!

Ever serious about our future in the music business, we saved up our pocket money for a studio session and recorded a demo tape. I still have a copy of it somewhere. We even sent it to top A&R man Muff Winwood (brother of Little Stevie) at CBS Records (who happened to be a friend of a friend of a friend of my Dad). He wrote back with some words of encouragement and advised us to keep touring. We soldiered on through our A Levels but inevitably fizzled out when we left school. Who knows what could have happened if we’d followed Muff’s advice…

Deep down, I have never given up hope that we’ll reform and play the Roundhouse.

See you on Monday.

Kraitt out!

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Get Vingt-Sept (with a soft G) – sounds better in French

 

M is for Miles #atozchallenge

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No need for words today. M is for Miles. I’ll let the link below do the talking…and swinging.

“It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.” Miles Davis

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See you tomorrow for some bad lyrics.

Kraitt out!

 

My Favourite Lisas #atozchallenge

LSoldiering on with this confounded A to Z Challenge, I give you my favourite Lisas.

According to the internet, the name Lisa is a Hebrew name. In Hebrew the meaning of the name Lisa is: or Elizabeth, from Elisheba, meaning either oath of God, or God is satisfaction. Also a diminutive of Bethia (daughter or worshipper of God), and of Bethany, a New Testament village near Jerusalem.

The Urban Dictionary tell us:

The name of a girl who is very pretty and is so lovable that boys fall in love with her instantly.
Chick: OMG! DID YOU SEE LISA YESTERDAY?!
Dude: Yeah, I’m like…in love with that chica.

So here they are. But you must have your own favourites. Do tell…

See you tomorrow for some more music.

Kraitt out!

K is for Kraitt #atozchallenge

KWhen I was seventeen (it was a very good year), I applied for a job at Our Price Records in Golders Green, North London (where I grew up). In those days, young readers, one had to physically buy music on vinyl discs, cassette tapes or smaller metal compact discs. You would buy this physical media in shops having heard and liked the music contained therein on the radio or possibly Saturday morning television. I wanted to be the one selling that music and advising girls my age what to buy. Our Price in Golders Green was our local outlet, at that point a chain shop but previously a natty independent record store called Oliver Crombie.

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How cool to bring your album home in one of these…

 

I filled in the application form (elaborate for a simple shop counter position, if you ask me) and waited. The letter reply, flatly refusing me employment, began “Dear Mr. Crack…” At that point, I knew I hadn’t got the job. But it remains the most notable misspelling of my surname in my short time on this earth.

As far as I know, Kraitt is a made-up name. My paternal grandparents arrived in the East End of London as children in the early 1900s from Lodz in Poland. I’m not entirely sure how the family name changed from possibly Krett, Krettski or Krettska (as it was in Poland) at the point of arrival but it was apparently not unusual for names to change in this way. Unfortunately, because of the absolute destruction of records by the Nazis when Poland was occupied, we’re unlikely to find any family history back there – although my good friend Naomi Leon, genealogist at Research Roots (check her out at Research Roots), keeps asking if I want her to trace my family. She’s brilliant and I would highly recommend her services so I will set her the task one of these days.

If you take off one of our double Ts, our name becomes the most poisonous snake on the planet, the Krait, immortalised by the great Roald Dahl in the short story Poison. If you Google the name (with the correct spelling), search results are dominated by myself and my brother Steve (keen photographer and social media enthusiast at kraitt.com). There is also a Syrian academic based in the University of Vienna called Tyma Kraitt who I really ought to look up one of these days.

So I do possess an unusual surname. It is difficult to spell, leading to longer calls when booking restaurant than I would like. The struggles on the other end of the phone are still faintly amusing, and the misspellings raise a smile, but nothing tops Mr Crack. I’m pleased that this weirdly unspellable word will live on with our children, if only to aggravate people working in data entry for job application forms.

And there’s always fun to be had with nicknames. At school, they called us Kraitty and Milk or Beer (think about it). Coach Vic Darvey at Farnham Rugby calls my son the Kraittmeister General (which I like very much). My good friend Lucie Barat calls me Kraittanator (my personal favourite).

See you tomorrow for some more fun with names.

Kraitt out.

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The common Red-Headed Krait. I have brown hair.

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