Thursday, 31 March 2011

In a Fire, The King Will Come

Thunder rolls, piper and drums
Evil sons, overrun
Count their sins - judgement comes.

The rain of yesterday had been replaced by wind this morning, except there was still a trace of the wet stuff early on, enough to tempt me into my wet weather trousers. All of this seemed to be having an adverse effect on the birds and while there was no sign of migration, neither were there many of them singing. Those that were included both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff in the cemetery, but only the latter at Radipole where as usual Cetti's Warbler, Reed Bunting and Water Rail were all at it.

Saving grace came by way of a 'fourth' pair of potential breeding Great Crested Grebe recorded for the first time today, while the

'Deep-Blue Meanies' set up their detection equipment on the lip of the Weymouth bye-pass.

After 2 or 3 weeks absence (for me at least) once again the male Hooded Merganser was showing well at Westham Bridge

and regular readers know that can only mean one thing,

another series of photographs of this

remarkably gratifying bird - Long Live the Duck!

As far as the breeze was concerned, the wind-sock at Ferry Bridge told the story. A little south of westerly and 'stiff'. From there on in the only sighting of note were c5 Wheatears in fields along the East Cliff, an addition to the Observatory day list, so with little else in prospect I accepted a lift to Weymouth with John Down. The last time I saw him he had secured tickets to see Wishbone Ash, for the umpteenth time,

which had inspired me to return home and play their 'third' album 'Argus', for me their best 'studio' offering, to date. It's doubtful there's a Wishbone fan in the world who'd disagree that the 3 tracks contained on this record The King Will Come, Warrior and Throw Down the Sword are the bands finest compositions, and a 'must play' at every concert. Ostensibly a trio of 'Battle Hymns' which in my view MUST be played in the order stated and without interruption. Unfortunately, this is not how this album was engineered, the fairy insipid 'Leaf and Stream' having been included to separate the first 2 tracks. But fear not, there is an alternative which I always take.

'Live Dates' is an exceptionally well produced double album featuring a good number of this 'duel lead guitar' units best known songs, plus an extra non-WA blues thrown in, recorded at various venues throughout the land. Here the guitar playing particularly is far more fluid, especially on the 3 tracks in question, while the climax on The King Will Come reaches new levels.


Argos was released in April 1972 and Live Dates in June 1973.

Up until that time the band members comprised Steve Upton (drums), Ted Turner (lead guitar & vocals), Martin Turner - no relation - (bass guitar & vocals) and Andy Powell (guitar & vocals) then Ted left to be replaced by former Tina Turner guitarist Laurie Wisefield (sen-bloody-sational).

The only non-WA track on 'Live Dates' was the Jimmy Reed (1959) blues Baby What You Want Me To Do. This was recorded at the Portsmouth Guildhall on a night I was a member of the audience. I still maintain that it's me in the crowd shot on the inside cover - let me know what you think.

In the mid-70's The Ash declared that they would 'never' play the seminal track 'Phoenix' again in public. In 1979 they closed the Reading Festival (the best performance of the band I have ever witnessed) with, yes, 'Phoenix' running 5 minutes over time (Mid-night) and incurred a £1,000 per minute penalty.

Thanks JD for the lift & inspiration!

So, until something turns up and to keep our public happy we return to the archive.
The Fairy-Wrens
(some of Australia's smallest and most striking birds) are a family group of 8 members, some of which are divided into sub-species. On our 10 week trip during 2008 we encountered a good number of these.

Superb Fairy-Wren (male)

Superb Fairy-Wren (female)

Red-winged Fairy-Wren (male)

Red-winged Fairy-Wren (female)

Splendid Fairy-Wren (male)

Splendid Fairy-Wren (female)

Red-backed Fairy-Wren (male) we didn't knowingly see a female.

Variegated Fairy-Wren (male)

Variegated Fairy-Wren (female)

White-winged Fairy-Wren not easy to find let alone photograph.

Blue-breasted Fairy-Wren (male)

and finally, after showing my 'second favourite' painting yesterday

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère was the last major work by French painter Édouard Manet,
and is my favourite painting of all time. There is so much going on in there even the pundits cannot agree on the angle of perspective - well worth looking up, the original hangs in The Courtauld Gallery which is housed in the gateway to Somerset House at the north end of Waterloo Bridge, London!

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