Over the next week running up to Xmas, I’ll be assembling my favourite tracks of the year 2017: my Festive Forty (a shorter name in lieu of the late, great John Peel)
Dumbing down my playlist to concentrate on getting a “real” job and fulfilling commitments to re-educating myself, I’ve been notably lax in this weird and worrying year of the Trump.
One album that stood out from the pack was FLEET FOXES’ Crack-Up; other sets from the likes of usual suspects U2, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, LIAM GALLAGHER, KASABIAN and The NATIONAL were good, but not great. MOGWAI never fail to astound me, and though it took numerous listens, Every Country’s Son finally shifted the wax from my hairy lobes. ALT-J, LAURA MARLING, BJORK, a discosmic ARCADE FIRE and one for the nostalgic among you, ROGER WATERS, were in their own way, superb.
So here it is, my er… Festive 40. Interesting in the fact that it shapes up like a ED SHEERAN chart – but without him!

1. If You Need To, Keep Time On Me – FLEET FOXES
3. Fool’s Errand – FLEET FOXES
4. Cassius,- FLEET FOXES
5. – Naiads, Cassadies – FLEET FOXES
6. I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar – FLEET FOXES
7. Third Of May / Odaigahara – FLEET FOXES
8. Kept Woman – FLEET FOXES
9. On Another Ocean (January / June) – FLEET FOXES
10. R U A Feminist – BREAKFAST MUFF
11. aka 47 – MOGWAI
12. Battered At A Scramble – MOGWAI
13. Arisen My Senses – BJORK
14. The Same Asylum As Before – STEVEN WILSON
15. Everything Now – ARCADE FIRE
16. Deadcrush – ALT-J
17. Old Poisons – MOGWAI
18. Picture That – ROGER WATERS
18. Hit With That Snare – ALT-J
19. House Of The Rising Sun – ALT-J
20. Soothing – LAURA MARLING
21. In Cold Blood – ALT-J
22. 3WW – ALT-J
24. Creature Comfort – ARCADE FIRE
25. Don’t Pass Me By – LAURA MARLING
26. Wild Once – LAURA MARLING
27. Electric Blue – ARCADE FIRE
28. Chemistry – ARCADE FIRE
29. Pure Comedy – FATHER JOHN MISTY
30. Blissing Me – BJORK
31. The Gate – BJORK
32. Babyboomers – BREAKFAST MUFF
33. Coolverine – MOGWAI
34. Bird In A Gale – ROGER WATERS
35. The Way You Used To Do – QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
36. The Man – The KILLERS
37. Yuk Foo – WOLF ALICE
38. Call The Police – LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
39. Big For Your Boots – STORMZY

Not a comprehensive list by last year’s standards, but what songs would you include?

“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends… We’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside…” – Karn Evil 9: Ist Impression, Part 2 by Emerson, Lake & Palmer

martin books2.fw
From the maker(s) of The Great Rock Discography (a series of 18 coffee-table breakin’ books), comes the soon-to-be, all-encompassing GREAT ROCK BIBLE.

2017? Who knows what might come from gloomy global happenings. Let’s hope it’s peaceful and enriching for the poorer of our people – everybody deserves a chance, not just the few who lead through bragging and bullying.
As you may have well noticed if you’re an avid reader of my biographies on the GRB, I’m not quite putting the hours into the site as in previous years. That’s due to me tackling a novel, one that I’m sure I’ll finish and hopefully get published. As soon as it’s completed I’ll be back on song with many more biographies (hopefully with some cash to plough in for my elusive discographies – over 50,000 of them, up-to-date and unseen by the general public and a different kind of publisher.

Er… moving on… 655,000 visits in past 365 days (140,000+ visitors), in total since its inception = 1,577,000+ visits (410,000 visitors) – can’t be bad – a big thanks to all the readers – more features soon!

I, Martin C Strong will take on the mighty task of reviving, revamping and resuscitating ye olde GRD files, to give you the reader an up-to-date guide to the wonderment that is “rock” music – in all its forms! From blues, folk and country to prog, punk and metal, from R&B, soul and funk to rap, hip hop and whatever, the mission is to serve you, the reader, with the history of rock’n’roll, old and new. This site will be X-Factor free, although other pop acts might squeeze into the equation.

For readers who still want to obtain my 18 books (7 editions of The Great Rock Discography, a disastrous Essential Rock Discography, a Wee Rock Discography, a Great Psychedelic Discography, two Alt & Indie Discographies, two Hard Rock & Metal Discographies and the shared Lights Camera Soundtracks – all published by Jamie Byng at Canongate Books, plus two Polygon/Berlinn editions of a trilogy(!): the Great Folk Discography, and Mercat’s Great Scots Musicography), they’re out of print, but you’ll find them mostly everywhere on-line.

Although I’ve closed the book on the previous website, I’d like to thank proof-reader Nathan Drew, who helped in his spare time. While I hope he can come back on board, I also would like help from biographers, discographers and, especially, a typesetter. If you think you fit the bill of becoming my apprentice – long hours, little pay, but with big rewards in the future – get in touch via email (see contact above).

Thanks has to go to web designer/developer Frazer Law of Strangely Brown Productions(www.strangelybrownproductions.com) who has developed and designed The Great Rock Bible website and, hopefully will take time to teach one the ropes on how to administrate the site properly. I know there’ll be obvious teething problems somewhere down the line, but I should think he’ll help guide one through them all.

One feature that has taken a couple of years to come to fruition, is the near-lost works of the late, great Harry Horse (born Richard Horne), who contributed a plethora of caricatures to the Great Rock Discography series during the 90s. He tragically died on the 10th January 2007. In terms of this GRB project of music (and art), is his outstanding lifetime’s work, overlooked by many, but here, resurrected in all their original glory. One can’t just dismiss his work, especially for the out-of-circulation GRD tomes, for which he was an essential part. Praise to Harry’s sisters Kay O’Hanlon and Emma Blackler (and other family members), plus publishing agent Caroline Sheldon, for permissions to include all the artist’s GRD works – and several exclusive ones that never saw the light of day… until now.

Other features will include:-

  • Featured Artist – whatever I see fit to gain bigger exposure, or just a mighty rock band ready to explode back on to the scene.
  • In Passing – the death(s) of some big names and a mini-obituary and link.
  • The Month/Year In Review – a round-up of fresh album releases and what’s to come.
  • And in the future…

  • The Great Rock Survey – a reclamation of my GRD feature from the mid-90s, taken over in subsequent years by Rate Your Music. Naughty, naughty, but thanks anyway.
  • Music advertising sections – competitive rates for any music-orientated business who’d like to promote their albums, concerts/festivals record shops, etc.
  • A petition to sign on behalf of the comeback of the once-Great Rock Discography series, for former fans who’d like to see it back in the shops after nearly a decade in the wilderness. It was said to have sold over ¼ million copies up to its untimely cull in 2008 – pity then I didn’t stick all the proceeds under the proverbial mattress and not into a damn house. What a fool believes!

Will the fully-updated, re-vamped and revised (US-friendly) discographies ever be viewed by its ever-decreasing fanbase? Well, that’ll be up to you before they all go into cyberspace. That would be a pity. Want an example of what I’m raving about, email me. I was 100% confident that the GRD/GRB would be published, and although one’s not really tried (by agent or correspondence as yet), one feels that it might slip of reach to publishers, still reeling from a recession and not willing to fork out the readies to publish factual or historical music tomes – just single artist/group autobiographies.

If you donate something (larger amounts will gain free access to the new Great Rock Bible – see mock cover on site), sign the up-and-coming petition, and forward some constructive feedback, one’ll take whatever one’s got synopsis-wise to a reputable publisher to garner consideration. Either that, or in time one’ll do it one’s self, vanity-style, and send you the reader a chance to “Build Your Own Book” © with all YOUR favourite artists!
From a warm-hearted but freezing-cold soul, of sorts, to past GRD writers, thanks also to authors/musicians in their own right: Brendon Griffin (BG; co-scribe of biogs/reviews on Lights Camera Soundtracks + the GRD), Adam Stafford (AS; leader of Y’all Is Fantasy Island), Mark Robertson (MR; former sub-editor at The List), and several others.